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February 22, 1999

Defenders Adventure #52: The Sword

And so the Defenders began a big downtime.

This included the treasure list done previously. The earlier division was agreed to, except that 5 of the flying potions were given to Barnacus, a healing potion was given to the policewoman, and the Petethalian navy received 1000 gp and the chain mail +2.

The other suit of Chain Mail +2 was used to massively overpay the Phaulkonian Church for Cassian’s training to 6th level. Consider it a very generous early donation.

XP was disturbingly uniform, ranging from 8700 for Balinor and Kain to 9700 for Cassian. (Nakumanu got 120, Tucares and Keldarin got 5000, and the policewoman got 1000)

All training was done in Teft and Posidenus. Cassian trained to 6th, and gained 6 hp to stand at 37. Kodo trained to 5th level and gained 12 hp to stand at 59, tying Felix! Kain trained to 5th level (at a very high play rating due to triple training earlier) and gained 7 hp to stand at 34. Donald trained to 6th level and gained 6 hp to stand at 33, as well as some new spells, including Strength (from proficiencies). Alduin trained to 6th level, and gained 7 hp to stand at 26.

So the rearranged party roster is:

Felix, 6th level fighter, 59 hp, played by Alex
Kodo, 5th level woodsman, 59 hp, played by Rob
Balinor, 6th level fighter, 56 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 6th level cleric, 37 hp, played by Katherine
Morgan, 6th level fighter, 35 hp, played by Alan
Kain, 5th level cleric, 34 hp, played by Jeff
Donald, 6th level mage, 33 hp, NPC
Quentin, 7th level druid, 31 hp, played by Jeremy
Alduin, 6th level thief, 26 hp, played by Vic
(Nakumanu, 3rd level fighter, 25 hp, henchman)

As a side note, a package from the Duke of Black Eagle arrived in Restenford for us. It contained a stiff and formal, but apologetic, note from the Duke explaining that he was sorry his “wayward son” had caused trouble for us and hoped that the 1500 gp and Ring of Repairs enclosed would be sufficient to make up for it, and not to besmirch the family name, etc.

The Ring of Repairs is a one-shot item that will instantly restore a non-magical suit of field or full plate to maximum hit points (unless it is completely trashed). Since we have no suits of either, we’re looking to trade this.

Balinor has for the moment decided to call the new hammer+1, “Other.”

Now, to the part everyone has been waiting for:

The sword.

It turns out that despite all of the discussion, very bizarre and exotic components (spine of behir, etc.) are required to make the weird powers, AND they increase the failure chance. So we opted to make an intelligent, +5 short sword. Nothing else.

We were actually offered a choice of four different swords by the Realm (Universitus), but none were as good as we wanted. They included: Werewithal, a +1 short sword that affects anything; Wary, a +2 short sword of speed that warns when danger is near (we figured it would just be screaming all the time); a frostbrand +2 short sword that goes up to +6 against fire creatures and grants the user fire resistance, but is useless in warm climates (ie. Lendore); and Dawnblade, a +2 bastard sword/ +4 vs. evil creatures, that also counts as a short sword for speed and proficiency purposes.

Dawnblade was the coolest, but we decided against it in favor of the gamble.


The adamantite was forged by Evard at the School of Wizardry. In addition, since the field plate +2 was worth DOUBLE the cost of this process, we also received a ring +1, a potion of avian control, and a potion of invisibility.

Then Alarius began to work his magic.

The sword came out as follows:

Short sword +5
Lawful Good
Intelligence 17 (on a 00 on the dice)

The sword is a genius, but is relatively diplomatic. However, if crossed it has a very violent streak. It hopes to resolve a situation peacefully, but should the opponents prove unwilling, it gleefully slays them.

It can take Felix over if he drops below approximately 50 hp. This makes Felix nearly impossible to charm. The sword’s personality is actually remarkably similar to Felix’s.

The sword has a penchant for collecting shields. It really enjoys fishing.

Its powers are:

ESP once per week
Detect Good vs. Evil 10’ radius, once per TURN
Detect Law vs. Chaos 10’ radius, once per TURN
Speaks Dwarven, Brownie, Guardian Naga

Overall, a devastating weapon with very few problems. VERY COOL.

The sword’s name is Peacemaker.

Now, we need to settle on a quest. A very detailed astrology done on an Auroran telescope just outside of Teft revealed that Old Frosty was likely too dangerous for us. There was a lot of stuff with the Void overshadowing the Cornucopia, and the Scythe obscuring the sign of the Four Brothers and such. Our lucky date was March 2, 2180. Our lucky color was black. Our lucky numbers were 4, 7, and 34.


Well, we hope for another quest. In the meantime, trading needs to be done: we have a plate mail +1 and a short sword +2 to unload in the hopes of finding magical handaxes and stuff. In Petethal we hope to try some things we missed before:

First, test the weird robes for Orc Isle on the door in the ground in Petethal (the “X”). Second, kill the green slime bag (shambling mound?).

Otherwise, we will be waiting for possible quests to come up, whether from the Silban Church, Phaulkonian Church, Petethalian navy, or whatever.

We thanked the archmage and said our goodbyes, and he dropped us off in Teft on October 19, 2179.


February 15, 1999

Defenders Adventure #51: The Power of the Backstab

Party Roster:

Felix, 6th level fighter, 59 hp, played by Alex
Balinor, 6th level fighter, 56 hp, played by Joel
Kodo, 4th level woodsman, 47 hp, played by Rob
Morgan, 6th level fighter, 35 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 7th level druid, 31 hp, played by Jeremy
Cassian, 5th level cleric, 31 hp, played by Katherine
Donald, 5th level mage, 27 hp, NPC
Kain, 4th level cleric, 27 hp, played by Jeff
Alduin, 5th level thief, 19 hp, played by Vic


Keldarin, 4th level fighter, 23 hp
Tucares, caravan guard and fighter
A policewoman from the Universitus (non-classed)
Tensil, student mage (at least 4th level)

We had finally settled on a plan to take out the castle. First, we would uncharm two more guard in the hopes of getting allies. Then we would move around the castle, searching the library and bedroom of Alarius first, in the hopes of catching Irinia unawares by having Keldarin lure her out with a false story about a threat from the ground.

We began with the Dispel Magic, and freed Tucares the caravan guard from being charmed. In addition, the “woodsman” in light armor began sobbing uncontrollably, so we left him alone.

We cast the Augury: Would it be beneficial for us to try to kill Irinia first?

The answer was something like: All other plans would fail.

That wasn’t encouraging, but oh well. We moved out of the room and advanced down the hallway to the library, but it was empty. We noted the crystal just above the statue in the center of the room. We moved to Alarius’ bedroom, the guards in the lead to head off hostile patrols (or manticores, though it turned out that it was night already and the manticores were locked outside).

Keldarin opened the door, and turned around with a grin. “It can’t be any easier,” he whispered. “She’s asleep.”

Yes! Felix and Morgan moved in under cover of Cassian’s Silence and walked up to her bedside. Morgan smacked her with his sword—but it bounced off, apparently from a Stoneskin effect. An alarm would have risen, but the Silence prevented that, though she immediately woke up. Felix swung and bounced off some kind of damage protection.

Kain threw a Hold Person, and Irinia was frozen in place! She was smacked by the all the fighters until her protection finally collapsed and she was left bleeding to death. We gestured to Tucares, who said, “with pleasure,” and finished her off. We stuffed her in the Bag of Holding and left the room feeling good. We also noted the crystal imbedded in the floor somewhere. The floor was made out of diamond.

We moved to Jalil’s (the fighter/cleric servant) room, but it was empty. We moved to Kendall’s room, and Keldarin opened the door. Keldarin said something to Kendall about an emergency, but somehow Kendall saw through the ruse and tried to kill Keldarin as well as setting off a loud alarm that would have helped if there hadn’t been a Silence bubble outside the door. Felix, Morgan, Balinor, and Cassian charged inside to help Keldarin, who fell back from Kendall’s two-handed sword.

Felix moved in and forced Kendall to draw his short sword by closing into minimum range. Felix was by far the better fighter due to his specialization in the short sword, though Kendall was at least 7th level. Felix began with stun damage, but when Kendall drank a healing potion he recovered. Felix then slew him, but not before being hit once for nasty damage by his opponent. Cassian cured him. Kendall had downed his Fly potion just as he died, which was annoying.

A return to the room revealed that the people had become un-Charmed at Irinia’s death, and the policewoman was ready to help. Since she was a non-adventurer, we had her check on the ropes of the prisoners and make sure they were secure, as well as console the still-sobbing woodsman.

We continued to move methodically through the castle, avoiding the gargoyle room and passing through the entrance to the other side. We hoped that if Tensil, the only living student of Alarius, was still alive, then we could recruit him or at least get some more information, and maybe access to the laboratory (which was locked). Tensil was the one who threw the anchor crystal in the first place. The parlor was open to hallway, so we decided to have the still invisible Alduin scout ahead first. He disappeared around the corner, and then suddenly we heard screams.

We moved forward and a huge cloud of gas burst into the hallway. Donald thought it might be a Stinking Cloud. Alduin was somewhere on the other side, still screaming incoherently. Quentin cast Slow Poison on himself and ran through the cloud while Cassian began casting a Dust Devil.

We heard Quentin say something like, “Please get off of him!” Then there was nothing. Kain cast Slow Poison on Morgan and he charged into the cloud just in time to see several weird little creatures grab onto Quentin and nearly kill him. Then suddenly Quentin faded out existence!

Morgan began to retreat. The things moved towards him and he raised Thunderstruck. Then suddenly he felt like banging his head against the wall and things swarmed over him.

A ghostly Quentin suddenly appeared before us! He had used the Oil of Etherealness and gotten away, but couldn’t affect the Material Plane for an hour.

The party was in trouble, but Cassian finished the Dust Devil and we advanced as a group. Spotting the things on Morgan we blew the cloud out of the way and tried to kill the things. Before we could do so, they dropped another cloud on us, which was also dispersed immediately.

Felix and Balinor were unaffected and they faced off against the three creatures. Felix was latched onto and took some damage but slew one of them. Kodo killed another one off of Felix. Suddenly Kodo felt like banging his head against a wall and did so.

Balinor took the last one down and Kodo stopped beating the wall. We moved forward and managed to save Alduin and Morgan, both of who had sustained quite a bit of damage and gone unconscious. They were both quite weak, but Morgan was healed somewhat. Alduin remained quite weak.

Shaken, we continued to explore, this time using Quentin as the lead scout. In the garden we noted the crystal hanging suspended above the twisted plants, and Quentin also spotted a sleeping orangutan in one of the trees. That seemed suspicious, so we moved on without anyone corporeal going inside.

Quentin noted that in one of the two guardrooms were three sleeping people. We moved in and knocked them out, then tied them up. None of them were potential allies.

Tensil was in the next room, and we rescued him. He had been tortured but was still alive with a few spells remaining, though of mostly dubious combat worth. He did tell us that the orangutan was unnatural and had glowing blue eyes. It had been summoned and ripped people’s heads off on raids.

We moved through to the swimming pool and noted the crystal in the water. In a bizarre twist, the swimming pool has no bottom and goes all the way out of the cloud.

All that remained were Jalil, three guards, two displacer beasts, two cockatrices, two manticores, and eight gargoyles. Oh yeah, and Caxathoros, whatever he was.

We learned that the displacer beasts and manticores and gargoyles were locked out of the main complex and so we hoped to find the other guards and avoid Caxathoros.

We moved to the audience chamber. Quentin was still ethereal, but we decided simply to open the doors and attack if anyone was inside.

Kodo ripped the door open and we ran inside. Three guards including a dwarf wielding a bec de Corbin, a woman, and a Northerner wielding a halberd were there, as well as a man in chain who we knew Jalil. Finally, behind them stood… Irinia!

After Brinea and Kaal Na Ka, we weren’t going to fall for that one.

“It’s Caxathoros!” yelled Kodo and we charged and hoped.

We poured into the room. Cassian released her Silence on Caxathoros, and Kain released his Hold Person on Caxathoros, Jalil, and the Northerner. The Northerner was Held, but Caxathoros resisted the Silence (as in magic resistance).

Jalil commanded Balinor to die in Northerner, and he collapsed on the ground. Felix ran at Caxathoros who threw some kind of spell at Felix that immediately turned his armor into a furnace (some very powerful variant of Heat Metal). Felix knew he was in trouble but attacked away, missing. Kodo swung at the woman and injured her badly. Donald’s Slow went off and caught the group except for Caxathoros. Morgan and Alduin advanced with holy water out. Tensil cast Shield and then threw a Continual Light at Caxathoros, which was resisted.

Then Caxathoros simply disappeared.

Quentin, who was ethereal, realized he wasn’t even on this plane. Hoping he had abandoned the others, we tried to finish them off. Felix smashed the dwarf, though it was clear he was going to be knocked out for days due to the effects of the spell in moments. Cassian and Alduin reached for water to throw on Felix’s armor.

Then Caxathoros reappeared behind Kodo. He appeared as a handsome man now, but his expression was enraged as he impaled Kodo on a bardiche through the back and yanked it out again with blinding speed. The previously uninjured Kodo collapsed in a heap and bled to death in seconds.

Morgan, Kain, and Alduin hurled holy water at the creature, which definitely hurt him. Felix tried to fight him, but vanished again moments later.

Felix continued to pound the dwarf and woman and Jalil with the help of Keldarin and Tucares. The woman went down, and Jalil was taken out by a hail of Magic Missiles from Donald.

Then Caxathoros appeared again and rammed his bardiche into the unconscious Balinor, assassinating him instantly. Morgan couldn’t twist around in time to save him, but we realized that we were all dead if we could reach the walls. Cassian dropped a Death’s Door on Balinor, which saved him for the moment despite his hideous injuries, and then she retreated to the wall.

Felix went down from the heat, unconscious and badly seared.

Morgan moved desperately, moving back-to-back with Keldarin while Tucares retreated to the wall. Quentin realized that help was needed and went to talk with the orangutan.

Caxathoros appeared in front of Keldarin, but actually missed. Keldarin stabbed the creature with +3 dagger, injuring it slightly. Morgan moved in and hit the creature with Thunderstruck, but the lightning was resisted, although the sword did injure it.

Caxathoros hit Keldarin and held him at bay, but was unable to strike so devastatingly from a frontal attack. Keldarin hit him again, but then suddenly went down, dying.

Tucares, realizing that this was his moment, swallowed his fear and moved to cover Morgan. The creature tried to take Morgan out with some kind of hideous touch attack, but it missed. Morgan struck back with Thunderstruck.

Meanwhile, the orangutan was trying to kill Quentin with the plants in the garden, though failing to do so since he was ethereal. Quentin went to get the displacer beasts, hoping they might help.

Alduin hurled the last vial of holy water and hit the thing, then moved around for a backstab with his +2 dagger.

Cassian and Kain tried Commands, which failed. Donald launched a Magic Missile salvo and knocked out the dwarf and woman with some help from the warriors. Donald pulled out the scroll from Alarius.

Cassian took the Horn of Valhalla from Felix and dropped it around Morgan’s neck. Kain and Cassian attempted to Turn the creature, but it appeared to have no effect.

Alduin moved in on Caxathoros from behind and backstabbed him viciously. Alduin was then smashed to the ground by the creature, bleeding to death.

The creature turned to Morgan and threw a hideous effect at him. All of Morgan’s metal rusted away to uselessness immediately, except the elven chain mail. This would otherwise have killed him instantly by encasing him in rust.

Morgan grabbed the magic bastard sword Kodo had dropped, and Tucares picked up the +3 dagger from Keldarin and they made their stand. Donald finally managed to get a Magic Missile through Caxathoros’ magic resistance. Then Donald raised the scroll.

Caxathoros was incredibly difficult to hit (-3 AC) and Morgan found the bastard sword difficult. Morgan began to blow the Horn of Valhalla. Donald began to cast Haste off of the scroll.

Caxathoros dispelled the Horn.


Morgan continued to swing the bastard sword, and Donald hasted the two warriors. They went into hyper mode and began to injure the creature a bit more, but it couldn’t last. Donald pulled out the Limited Wish and began casting.

Tensil was out of spells as well. Quentin had managed to get the displacer beasts to agree to a non-aggression, but they were unwilling to go near the supernatural Caxathoros.

Quentin went through the walls to the central courtyard, and to his surprise, saw the tower. It was on the Ethereal Plane! He tried to get into it, but could not, and instead banged on it loudly and called out Alarius’ name. It didn’t work, but it was cool thought!

The Horn regained activity a minute later and Morgan began to blow it again. The creature threw a Fear effect at Morgan, but it failed. He stabbed Morgan, who remained reasonably healthy thanks to the potion of Extra-healing he had downed earlier. Tucares was falling rapidly though.

The Limited Wish failed.

Caxathoros continued throwing hideous effects, and he finally killed Tucares with a thrust. He very nearly Gated in some help, but the Gate collapsed in time. Morgan desperately kicked his quiver of arrows to Cassian, and she drew out the +3 arrow and the 2 +1 arrows. She fired but couldn’t hit the creature.

Then Caxathoros dropped a darkness on the spellcasters. Morgan finished blowing the Horn and the warriors emerged from the wall and charged. Donald ran to bring Balinor back to life with his extra-healing potion. Cassian healed Alduin with a Cure Serious off-scroll and the elf rose. The demon dropped Tucares with a swing of his weapon.

Balinor grabbed the +2 dagger from Donald, kicked the +3 dagger at Alduin, and charged Caxathoros. The extra-planar warriors had fared well in the initial swarm thanks to a fumble by the creature, but were having a difficult time hitting him. Caxathoros appeared to be in very bad shape, and then suddenly Polymorphed into his true demonic form, healing much of his damage.

Alduin moved behind for a backstab with both daggers and Balinor, the warriors, and Morgan slammed the demon for more damage. He killed one of the warriors with a quick stroke, and then suddenly exploded, nearly taking out Morgan and three of the four remaining. He was still alive however, and smashed Balinor.

Just as Alduin began to approach from behind, Caxathoros dropped a darkness on himself and the combat. This stopped Cassian from firing and forced Alduin to back off. In desperation, Cassian hurled her Continual Light into the area.

Suddenly, nomral lightning was restored and Alduin moved in and struck for maximum damage on a backstab!

The demon blew up, this time in his death throes. Balinor went down from the explosion, as did the heroic Alduin. Four of the five warriors were dead, but the last one disappeared into the portal. The rainbow bridge crystal dropped to the floor.

We set out to heal people and were able to save Tucares, Alduin, and Balinor, though Keldarin and Kodo had bled to death. Amazingly, everyone avoided permanent damage, even Felix, who took almost four days to recover.

The Northerner suddenly was released from the Hold Person, and said, “You guys never gave me a chance!” He was going to help us, but it worked out alright since he didn’t die. Instead he remarked that it was a “really cool battle.”


That was a demon of approximately equivalent power to a deathstealer.

Morgan collapsed in a heap with his hair suddenly turned white. He had aged 13 years from the Haste, but suffered no other ill effects. The bad news was that all of his non-magical equipment was rusted away and useless. The good news was that his magical equipment merely required 12 hours of cleaning.

We shut the door and didn’t let anything in as we healed up. Then we planned a snatching of all the crystals. We were over the ocean and thus needed Alarius to redirect the castle if we were going to get back in time to Raise Kodo and Keldarin.

The crystals were in the six towers. First, we took the one from the swimming pool by tying Cassian to a rope and having her swim down with Waterbreathing.

The second crystal was taken from the training room, where it hung suspended in the air. This was accomplished with a simple Fly or Levitate.

The third crystal was taken from Alarius’ room. It was in the floor, but it turned out that Donald’s Shatter spell triggered a panel that opened and allowed us to grab it.

The fourth crystal was in the throne room. Cassian simply moved the Force bubble around and when she left the room with it, the Force vanished.

The fifth crystal was in the library. A Flying Morgan powerdived past what we knew was a nasty golem and grabbed the crystal. The golem activated, belched some kind of gas, and Morgan flew out of the room vomiting. We shut the door.

The sixth crystal was in the garden. We knew the orangutan was bad news, and we need holy water for Protection from Evil, so we opened the laboratory with Dispel Magics (it had been so powerfully locked that it could not be permanently dispelled. This was a great source of irritation for Irinia). There were three vials.

A Flying, Protection from Evil, double Aided, Prayered, Chanted (Phaulkon, Silban) Balinor (Felix was still incapacitated) was going to head through the room, dodge the killer plants and orangutan, grab the crystal and leave. Meanwhile, a Protection from Evil Quentin would Hold Plant the plants.

Balinor flew inside, and the plants were held successfully. The orangutan threw what was probably a Dispel Magic at Balinor, which knocked out one Aid. As Balinor approached the crystal, a Gate opened above him and five black crows poured out began attacking him. He ignored them and grabbed the crystal and began powerdiving.

Suddenly, the orangutan leapt from its perch and soared toward the falling Balinor. Its form began to change, and a huge set of tentacles closed around Balinor and enveloped him…

And the orangutan bounced painfully off the Protection from Evil. The crystal was recovered.

Finally, Tensil had noted in his research that there was some sort of trap around Alarius’ tower. It was going to be bad.

The now recovered Felix would be the person to stick the final gem in, and Balinor would be at the door with the crystal, hoping to summon Alarius quickly.

Felix put the last crystal in, and suddenly felt queasy. He realized that the tower was forming around him! He backed up to safety.

There was a weird pattern tracing itself out near the Flying, Aided, Protection from Evil, Sanctuaried Balinor. Cassian recognized that this was the trap and tried to cast Dispel Magic, but it formed too quickly.

The tower became visible, but at the same time, a HUGE hideous demon appeared in front of the tower. It was frightening. Balinor shrugged and powerdived, hoping. This creature was fortunately quite stupid and managed not to resist the Sanctuary and so didn’t even notice the real threat coming at it. Balinor soared in and touched the door.

A wizened old man of very small stature appeared immediately. He looked at the demon, said a word, and it fell over dead.

“Hi, we’re the Restenford Defenders.”

And so it was done.


P.S. Treasure division is coming up. Among the possibilities are field plate +2 (!), a hammer +1, a dagger +3, and so much more!

Alarius will turn the castle to Barnacus and then we will discover if Kodo and Keldarin survive.

Log Supplement QQ: Drooling Over Treasure

NOTE: I apologize to the lurkers: this message is overly technical about salvage tax and treasure, so feel free to skip it as it contains no relevant adventuring information.

That is unless you want to drool over our treasure!!!

Ok, everyone, here is the lowdown on the treasure. Katherine, Alex, Edwin, and I negotiated and have formed what we think is a satisfactory treasure distribution.

First of all, there were THIRTY-EIGHT magic items, about 70% of them permanent.

While I hope everyone will send in their thoughts, I want to begin with a few words of caution. There were a lot of factors here: salvage tax to Barnacus, the navy, and our allies (including Tensil) all get a cut of the treasure.

We tried to be as fair as we possibly could yet still remain with the Defenders' tradition of being reasonable with salvage tax and not trying to screw anyone over.

We think that this distribution gives something to everyone, except, unfortunately, Kain. However, you will note that we have at least one VERY tradable item at the end of all this. In addition, Quentin has not gained much from this distribution.

In one or two cases, we were forced to give up an item due to financial considerations. There are going to be immense training fees-on the order of 20,000 to 25,000 gp. We only have 5000 gp incoming. A few of the items are ours for the express purpose of trading for training. It will be noted in each case.

Finally, with reference to the Morgan/Quentin argument over the ring +2, it is settled quite easily. Rings and cloaks do NOT count together. As the ring is useless to Quentin, it is given to Morgan in this distribution.

A note about ID: Alarius has kindly identified all items for us, and his alchemist Tensil has identified all potions, at no cost to us (would be about 5000 gp). Tensil is deserving of something for his time, and receives one item which he is happy with.

For those of you who get confused by the piecemeal explanations, there will be a summary of all exchanges at the end of the message.

Now, bearing that in mind, here is the treasure distribution:

We have a 5000 gp reward from Alarius "to avoid you guys actually LOSING money on this." This is not taxable and goes straight into the party coffers. There is also a little over 6000 gp in non-magical items (valued at that by the salvage tax people).

Now, like most places, Barnacus charges a 25% tax. This would total to 1500 gp from the non-magical items. In addition, the magic items were taxed. This would include 4 or 5 of the 16 permanent items, 1 of the four scrolls, and 1 of the 4 totally awesome charged items, including two wands, a bracelet, and a book.

Small potions include 9 flying potions, some healing (including one X-Healing) and some other small things. Some of these go in salvage tax, some go to allies, etc. leaving us with in the neighborhood of 4 or 5 left.

First off, the scrolls:

* Three magic user scrolls, including Teleport, Polymorph Other, Invisibility, Transmute Stone to Flesh, and a few others.
* A Protection from Petrification scroll.

The Petrification Scroll is paid in salvage tax. The others go to Donald.

Next, the totally awesome charged items:

* Manual of Stealthy Pilfering (+1 level to a thief)-Alduin
* Wand of Lightning (9 charges-can lightning bolt or do a Thunderstruck like effect on a weapon it touches)
* Wand of Magic Missiles (26 charges)-can fire off 1 magic missile if used by non-mage spellcaster, 3 if used by Donald (still 1 per charge)-given to Donald
* Bracelet of Beneficent Polymorph (19 charges)-Quentin

The wand of lightning was given up in salvage tax because of its dangers to Morgan. The Bracelet is amazingly cool. It has a 120 foot range. For one charge, the user makes a target save at -2 to avoid being polymorphed immediately into a hapless bunny or some such innocent creature. The effect will become permanent if not Dispelled soon after. The target's aura is DISGUISED by the item-no one knows it isn't a real bunny even with Detect Magic and such. It AUTOMATICALLY switches their mind as well.

This was given to Quentin because we couldn't think of anything else cool to give him. It is totally awesome, but weird. There are few other options-they involve trades.

Next, the permanent items:

* 2 suits of Chain Mail +2 - These are available for salvage tax (one will likely go this way) OR for deferring training costs, especially for Cassian.
* Chain Mail +1-Keldarin (if he is Raised, not a trivial roll for him)
* Medium Shield +2-Given to Tukares in exchange for his +1 Large Shield.
* The Large Shield+1 is then transferred to Kodo.
* Hammer +1 (jeweled)-Balinor
* +3 dagger-Alduin (for backstab possibilities as well as two dagger combat)
* +2 dagger (jeweled)-Tensil for services rendered
* +1 scimitar-Keldarin (if survived)
* Ring +2-Morgan (or MAYBE Donald). Morgan's ring +1 would be given to Tukares.
* Ring of Warmth-Cassian, for later mountaineering possibilities (awesome item that has little combat use)
* Studded Leather+2-Kodo (his dream armor)

Those of you more numerically oriented may note that was 11 permanent items, not 16.

The rest are headed for salvage tax with one shining exception:

* 2-Handed Sword +1 - salvage tax
* Bardiche +1-salvage tax
* War Hammer+2-salvage tax
* Horseman's Mace +1-salvage tax

Pause for dramatic effect.

Alarius has agreed to make the +5 short sword!!!!!!!

We would pay him the +2 field plate, the remaining adamantite and mithril. That's it.

The field plate +2 was headed for Balinor until it was pointed out that it costs 130 gp per point of damage to fix, and if totaled costs 5300 gp to fix! This was so high that we figured there would be votes against it. Instead, if we give up the rest of our precious metals, we have the opportunity of a lifetime. A +5 adamantite weapon.

This process has a 75% chance of success. If it fails, we are left with an unenchanted +1 quality adamantite short sword. But it seems worth the gamble.

This chance won't come along again. I strongly urge the party to do so. Katherine and Alex vehemently concur. Balinor is happy (well, less grumbly) to forgo his chance at +2 field plate for this sword.

Now, this frees up Felix's old +2 short sword in the event of a success. This will be used as trading bait along with Kodo's old plate mail +1. If the plate mail +1 is not traded, then it can be put on Nakumanu. Something can be obtained for Kain this way, and there is an understood IOU for the next adventure as well. In addition, Quentin came out fairly short, so he will be given special consideration in the next adventure as well.

The Petethalian navy would receive 1000 gp and a suit of Chain Mail+2. The two suits would be for: Navy, Salvage Tax, Training Expenses in that priority order.

Donald is also receiving the feathers of the cockatrice which will actually save him on ink costs later (he doesn't have to use hippogriff feathers at 50 gp each).

So in summary, with luck:

* Reward: 5000 gp from Alarius, reward from Barnacus possible (?), Archbishop Aware will Raise Kodo and Keldarin
* Felix-gains +5 short sword, loses +2 short sword
* Balinor-gains hammer +1 (keeps +2 dagger as party equipment)
* Kodo-gains studded leather +2, large shield +1, loses plate mail +1
* Morgan-gains ring +2, loses ring +1
* Quentin-gains bracelet of Beneficent Polymorph
* Cassian-gains Ring of Warmth
* Donald-gains 3 scrolls, Wand of Magic Missiles
* Kain-gains nothing except the satisfaction of a job well done, and a level trained
* Nakumanu-gains plate mail +1 (if not traded)
* Alduin-gains Manual of Stealthy Pilfering, dagger +3
* Keldarin-gains +1 scimitar, +1 chain mail (if he survives, or his family receives it)
* Tukares-gains Ring +1, medium shield +2, loses large shield +1
* Tensil-gains dagger +2
* Barnacus salvage tax-1500 gp, Protection from Petrification Scroll, 2-handed sword +1, bardiche +1, warhammer +2, horseman's mace +1, chain mail +2 if necessary
* Petethalian Navy-1000 gp, +2 chain mail
* Alarius-Field Plate +2, 30 cw mithril, 75 cw adamantite (or what is left over)

Potions of Flying and Healing need to be distributed as appropriate. At least half will probably end up with the Defenders.

Training costs: Cassian-chain mail +2 (if not paid in salvage tax to Barnacus). This leaves Kain, Quentin, Alduin, Kodo, and Donald (though Quentin may not have trained)

Donald is the most expensive, though it is possible that spell trading can reduce the cost. I still expect around 15000 gp to be shelled out, possibly more. We have it, though barely.

The short sword +2 is on the trading block pending the creation of the short sword +5. The plate mail +1 is on the trading block if necessary. The hope is to find an item for Kain.

Thanks for reading through this long message. Send comments, whatever, and realize that we did this as fairly as we could, and hope that everyone is satisfied. Jeff, next time?

Joel/ Katherine/ Alex/ Edwin

February 08, 1999

Defenders Adventure #50: A Crowded Room

Party Roster:

Felix, 6th level fighter, 59 hp, played by Alex
Balinor, 6th level fighter, 56 hp, played by Joel
Kodo, 4th level woodsman, 47 hp, played by Rob
Morgan, 6th level fighter, 35 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 7th level druid, 31 hp, played by Jeremy
Cassian, 5th level cleric, 31 hp, played by Katherine
Kain, 4th level cleric, 27 hp, played by Jeff
Donald, 5th level mage, 27 hp, NPC
Alduin, 5th level thief, 19 hp, played by Vic

The party was busy interrogating Black Eagle, the man we had beaten up upon entering the room. We were unable to get much information out of him, and we decided to wait until either Detect Charm could be cast by Kain (spellshifting) or another person entered the room.

After about a half hour, a man in banded mail, shield, and carrying a scimitar entered the room. He was yanked in by Kodo and Cassian shut the door behind him. He was smashed handily by Felix and Morgan (for stun damage) and he fell down (though barely). This was done with stun damage so that he would be relatively uninjured.

We spoke with him, and this guy seemed to be a complete idiot. He was telling us quite a bit until it FINALLY dawned on him that we were asking him sensitive questions about the mistress, and he shut up. He took awhile even to notice that we had stuffed the other prisoner under the bed. We learned that the mistress of beauty was named Irinia and lived in the castle. The guy was also a zealot/ charmed pansy, but he served for motivations other than outright love. He was worried about the others who weren’t charmed, including the most disturbing of all: the “wizard” who could shapeshift, Caxathros. He had little idea what was going on.

The conversation was interrupted as someone else entered the room. Our next victim was a weird looking guy with strange skin pigments and paints on him. He was carrying a halberd. Kodo grabbed him and Cassian shut the door again, but he had time for a swing. Unfortunately, he chose Morgan, and missed. Then he went down under a hefty amount of damage.

This guy seemed like a mean one. He said he was from southern Tugut, apparently one of the barbarian groups. His response to us was: “You guys are fuckheads. Can I join up?” He spoke in Common as well as human. He was a mercenary. Our other prisoner thought he was exceptionally cruel. The barbarian mentioned that Black Eagle served “the bitch” only out of hopes for “favors” and there was some undignified thrashing from under the bed at that comment. Apparently Black Eagle spoke Common.

We rejected the barbarian’s offer of 2000 gp for his services, and knocked him out. However, he did tell us a bit more about the fortress itself and what had been going on.
A group of three men walked past, and we decided they were too many to take out without some risk.

Then a single man walked by wearing leather armor and carrying a bow. He was rather surprised to see the door open by itself, revealing Kain, who tried Hold him. He resisted, but then the fighters knocked him down.

We waited for one final captive, though I can’t remember what he was equipped with. He went down easily enough.

We unequipped everyone, and then Cassian threw her Dispel Magic. The scimitar man (the second captive, the dumb one) suddenly grew agitated and we removed the gag. He was uncharmed, and he was quite angry. His name is Keldarin. He thanked us for saving him and explained a lot more about what was going on. I’ll get to specifics later, but he proved to be a true ally and a huge boon to our information quest. He indicated that the servants were probably not charmed, and that he new the butler and one other were a good sort. He went out into the halls and got the butler, who returned with him.

“You are the intruders?” he said in a very butlerish voice when he entered.

We nodded, and the butler turned out to be a fantastic move. He told us EVERYTHING he knew. Here is what we know:

We now have a reasonably accurate map of the entire flying castle. It has six towers and a seventh secret one in the middle of the central courtyard. There are two manticores running loose about the castle with orders to attack anyone not working for Irinia. The cockatrices are constrained to the back balcony. There are eight gargoyles, two of which are greater gargoyles. There are two displacer beasts. About half of the guards are charmed, though only some of them may be trustworthy if uncharmed. The butler knows the circumstances of everyone’s arrival and admits that he is the only remaining person who knows ALL the secrets of the castle.

Once we assured him we would attempt the mission, he gave us a full rundown on the situation.

Alarius is the high wizard of the entire Realm, an archmage, and this is his castle. Irinia was one of his students twenty years earlier, and she quit when she grew tired of research. She is immensely powerful though not on a par with Alarius. Irinia’s father was a nobleman who sided with the dictator when the Realmish civil war began, and he submitted to house arrest upon the defeat of loyalist forces. Irinia resolved to regain her father’s kingdom and decided to take Alarius’ castle for herself.

When Alarius realized that the castle was lost, he fled to the seventh central tower, his traditional home of research since it was scry-proof. Irinia could not follow him as the tower shifted to another plane of existence. This was done through the power of six crystals that are the power plant of the castle. Additionally, the crystals were protected in such a way that only one of good alignment, and uncharmed, can affect the crystals. However, Irinia was able to have the crystals moved to each of the six towers separately.

She was unable to gain control of the castle and the fact that it still exists is a testament to the fact that Alarius is still alive, although trapped. She can simply let the castle drift with the wind until she can find the power to gain control of the castle. However, she does have a crystal that acts as an anchor.

Of the original five servants present when Irinia took over, three have died. Only the butler and cook remain. The butler had worked for Alarius for thirty-five years and knew all of the castle’s secrets. He saw people acquired when they came to castle expecting to find Alarius. Of the people off-duty there were two others he thought would make good allies if uncharmed—the former caravan guard and the guard at the Universitus. He was uncertain about the other eight or so.

Caxathros is a weird creature, perhaps not human, who appeared one day and not through the front door. He does little but clearly has frightening powers, including an apparent gaze attack that causes the victim to fall unconscious.

Kendall is the guard captain, a man who would be our enemy under any circumstances. He is very dangerous.

Keldarin, the scimitar man, indicated that he wanted to take out Irinia. The butler is obviously enraged by her invasion as well. We decided to attempt the mission. Our hand was somewhat forced when we discovered that Caxathros’ mission in raven form had been to obtain the anchor crystal, and that the ship was moving again, though it was still over land.

Tensil is the only remaining student of Alarius’. He has few combat spells but would be able to help us, except that he may be dead. Realizing that the castle was over Barnacus, he grabbed the anchor and threw it off the ship in the hopes of attracting the Hand of Fate, whom he knew to be reasonably powerful. They had done a service for the Emperor in the past and he hoped they could help.

Of course, the Hand of Fate are currently in Cromwell helping solidify the western borders. Tensil wanted the Hand of Fate, and instead he ends up with the Defenders. What an ironic twist!

His treachery was discovered and he was beaten severely (the bloody man being dragged that Urides, Cassian’s hawk, saw earlier). He is either imprisoned or dead. He was traditionally supposed to be doing research in the laboratory and was always accompanied by a large group of guards.

The butler also told us that the doors would open with command word we knew, Castle of Diamond, but that anything else would result in the doors killing us. He also explained about the rainbow bridge—it was generated by the crystal and saying two rather whimsical phrases to raise and lower it.

He also said that he had access to the amazingly well-hidden armory. It is protected by a Symbol spell which will kill anyone who doesn’t do the correct motions (which he taught us). The armory was setup for Alarius to have a quick escape route and some defenses. In addition it is totally scry-proof, and if we were to hide in there without Irinia seeing us, we would be safe indefinitely. She still does not know the room.

The butler went to the armory and brought us:

2 Potions of Extra-Healing
Elixir of Health (we find these all over the place)
Potion of Vitality (heal quickly, immune to poison, don’t eat or drink, for a week!)
Dagger +3
A scroll with Haste, Fly, Teleport with Error, and Limited Wish


Of course, Donald casting 7th level spells is a hideous proposition, but the others are quite amusing. Since they were cast at 18th level, the Fly lasts 3-4 hours! And the Haste can affect up to EIGHTEEN people.

We were floored. Let’s take this castle!

Now two conflicting plans sprung into mind. Could we actually retrieve all six crystals without Irinia ambushing us at some point? She probably has some sort of alarm (though maybe not) and would be waiting for us at one of the crystals, figuring that five are useless without the sixth.

Keldarin went into the only tower he was allowed in, the training room. There Kendall and three others were drilling. Keldarin thinks the crystal is in the red light suspended from the ceiling. They certainly aren’t in plain sight, and Irinia would have plenty of time to prepare for us if we attempted this first. The idea would be grab the crystals and free Alarius, who could trash Irinia.

The second plan involved finding a way to ambush Irinia. If we could get her alone, all her wizardly power would not help her if we could kill her quickly. This is obviously hideously dangerous as she is obscenely powerful, but if we can Silence her and just deal enough damage, she won’t survive long enough to kill us.

A possible plan would involve Keldarin or one of the other uncharmed guards finding her and asking her for help about something. When she walks to the door, we hit her hard.

It should be noted that Quentin (in crow form) and Alduin are still invisible.

Since it seems that she will find us anyway, it would be better to engage Irinia on our terms and hope she can’t summon help. The idea of fighting two manticores, eight gargoyles, two displacers beasts, a weird shapeshifter, and the rest of guards is a horrifying thought, but we still have the element of surprise. We will be undetected for at least five more hours after the spellshift.

Keldarin retrieved the other charmed people, who we knocked out and tied up. We have just finished spell-shifting and are about to pick new spells. A few will be Dispel Magics, so that we can free these allies. There is an additional debate about whether we should grab more guards first.

The disadvantage is that they are on duty and that would be the start of our attack, leaving us no time to gain information from the allied guards we just freed. The advantage would be additional confusion and fewer enemies to face.

The exciting conclusion will be next week!


February 01, 1999

Defenders Adventure #49: Chicken 1, Castle Diamond 0

Party Roster:

Felix, 6th level fighter, 59 hp, played by Alex
Balinor, 6th level fighter, 56 hp, played by Joel
Kodo, 4th level woodsman, 47 hp, played by Rob
Morgan, 6th level fighter, 35 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 7th level druid, 31 hp, played by Jeremy
Cassian, 5th level cleric, 31 hp, played by Katherine
Kain, 4th level cleric, 27 hp, played by Jeff
Donald, 5th level mage, 27 hp, NPC
Nakumanu, 3rd level fighter, 25 hp, henchman
Alduin, 5th level thief, 19 hp, played by Vic
Rooster, NPC

The party was bored.

This is very dangerous.

Winter rolled on—endless rain, dreary days… and then one February day, Morgan was strolling along the beach, and happened to find a gold ring with diamonds in the sand. Impressed, he kept it. Days later, pirates were captured by Gelpus and the guard, waterlogged and begging for mercy. They had mutinied against their captain, then gotten caught and trashed against the rocks near Restenford. They were sent off to Barnacus. The pirate leaders, all wanted men, were dead.

Kain spoke with some fish, and Cassian and Felix used Waterwalk to investigate the wrecked ship, and found a treasure chest with 1300 gp in it!

Life settled back down, and Quentin finished training the animals to guard the house in case it blows up again. Ah, carefree are the Defenders.

Over the winter, we decided to send our Bestiary information to Gram. Specifics will be sent out soon. The information is as complete as we can make it, but a few of the locations are sensitive and thus left out.

In late March 2179 we set off for Teft in the hopes of finding something to do. We asked around at the Phaulkonian Church, Silban Church, Petethalian Navy, and the sage of Teft.
The Silban church had nothing challenging to offer, and the navy didn’t have anything yet. The sage of Teft had an interesting proposition—we could go to an island among the Orc Islands and investigate an orcish temple that had been taken over by goblins. Close, but not the same place we went to last time. Of course, for the same reasons, we couldn’t explore this island either.

Three days later, the Phaulkonians had a mission for us. Brenard, a cloud giant worshipper of Phaulkon, spoke with Cassian about it. (Yes, this is the same Brenard that will help Warwick on the Brothers quest in 2186)

Brenard had been following a cloud he thought was occupied by ki’rin, very powerful servants of Kor. He had been hoping to talk, but grew somewhat suspicious when he noted that the cloud was drifting with the wind rather than being directed. He spotted a smoke plume from a location where the cloud had stopped a few days earlier and went down to investigate (these cloud chases take place over days). One hundred and fifty Nevronian nomadic dervishes (fanatical Nevronians) were dead, and their stuff had been taken. They had been attacked by 10 or 20 humans (according to Brenard’s tracking), who had descended on a rainbow bridge (perhaps like the 5th level cleric spell).

The disturbing part about all this was that a ki’rin’s cloud would disintegrate a few days after its death. Ki’rin are ranked at about the power of a lich.

Brenard noted that there was a large crystal castle on the cloud. He broke off the pursuit and continued on to Teft, where he informed the high priest there. We decided to accept the mission after receiving an ambiguous astrology that night.

The plan was that since the cloud could travel faster than a ship (marginally) we would use astrology to nail down a date and predict weather to nail down a location. We discovered that the cloud would be over the Sea of Pastures in a few weeks and eventually hit the Sarkian coast.

The Petethalian navy agreed to ferry us around for a 25% service charge +reward if this was in fact a danger. This was after they nearly laughed at us when we explained what was going on.

It was becoming apparent that the castle would pass somewhere near the southern coast of Lendore Isle. We sailed to Barnacus and hatched a plan. Assuming we could catch the cloud over land, we would attack the raiders when they descended on the rainbow bridge. Then we would either charge up the bridge or use our alternate plan: 2 flying potions and Levitate as well as a flying Quentin, plus 2 Invisibility 10’ Radii. This would allow the entire party to ascend invisible onto the cloud, though it would close with the Flying potions.

We bought two flying potions from Bostun Barr in Barnacus. Our astrological lucky number was 6. Our lucky color was all of them. Astrologies had nailed down the auspicious day and location: April 30.

About a half mile north of Barnacus.

Belatedly it occurred to us we should probably inform Duke Haermond of Barnacus that a flying castle was going to be passing over his city. We were surprised by his reaction.

He formed a town militia and ordered all warriors and adventurers to prepare for a possible ground assault. Then he detached 20 cavaliers and paladins to help us defeat the raiders at the rainbow bridge.


That changed our plans a bit—it seemed that we could let the knights take care of the raiders attacking, and take advantage of the confusion to assault the castle directly using our alternate plan.

On April 30th, a cumulus cloud floated innocently near Barnacus, though the crystal castle was briefly visible. It settled north of Barnacus and we waited in a farmhouse. The cloud suddenly stopped and shot a rainbow into one of the fields and then stopped.

We were confused. This wasn’t the day-lasting rainbow bridge that had been used earlier. A few paladins and the already half-invisible party (Donald had to spell-shift) went to investigate.

There was a perfectly normal farm field there. Kodo did some tracking (invisibly) and spotted a small crater (about 4 foot diameter) with a glowing crystal in it. Odd.

Cassian’s hawk, Eurides, was sent up to scout out the castle. It was a hexagonal building with six towers representing each color of the rainbow (except indigo). There were some “large birds” (giant eagle sized) in between the towers. Several humanoids emerged from the building and dragged another humanoid (unmoving) back into the building.

We were more confused than ever. Quentin suggested that perhaps one of the people had attempted to cast something powerful off of a scroll and failed, injuring or killing himself.

Why were these people stopped over Barnacus anyway? And why wait to a raid if you’re going to do one? Had something gone wrong? Who were they?

Quentin flew up and began to check out the castle. He reported that the “giant birds” were in fact giant wasps in nests. There was an unfamiliar symbol on the front door. There was also a bloodstain on the edge of the cloud where the human had been dragged from. That edge of the cloud was overlooking the exact spot where the paladins and cavaliers were.

Quentin also noted the presence of two “chicken-like things” at the back. A look in the Bestiary indicated that they were cockatrices!

It is uncertain as to whether gaze or beak attack injects poison into you, but you will be petrified one way or the other by them. The Bestiary states that they have a weakness—the “crow of a cock will slay them instantly.” Or so rumor has it. Well, it was time to test out the rumor. We threw an electrum piece at a farmer and scooped up a rooster.

We stuffed the chicken in a box. Eventually, the person best suited to use the chicken was… Morgan! (And Morgan crests the ridge, Thunderstruck shining gallantly in one, a rooster crowing in the other…)

We turned invisible (along with the confused and lightly clucking chicken) and made our ascent. The flying potions were close—Balinor and Felix made it up in plenty of time, Kodo made it with a moment to spare, but Morgan suddenly ran out of gas just short of the top.

A quick grab of cloud fluff saved the usually lucky elf from plunging to his death!

Gasping for breath, Morgan climbed back up and we regrouped at the top. We approached the door—Alduin identified the symbol to be that of the archmage of the province of Wunka in the Realm.

Huh? What on Telvar would he be doing here?!

We were unable to open the door through any subtle means, and decided to wait for someone to emerge. An hour later, a group of four humans, one in Tugutan field commander armor (like Felix’s) emerged. They moved to the edge of the cloud, said something, and then the man with the polearm and no armor suddenly turned into a raven and flew down.

When the warriors returned to the compound we snuck in behind them (the doors closed automatically but not quite quickly enough when were ready for it). They spoke a command word in Human to open it: Castle of Diamond.

We were more confused than ever. The men headed off through one of the interior doors (which were normal). The place was walled by smoky materials (in texture), and light streamed in through the semi-translucent ceiling. The effect was beautiful and bizarre. We decided not to follow the men and began to explore.

We cracked open the first door and noted a group of gargoyles tearing something apart. We shut the door.

We opened another that opened into a long hallway with many doors. We avoided double doors and noted that the walls changed color to match our location in the hexagonal building. We tried to open another door—and someone said in human “took you long enough.”

Morgan let the door continue to swing open and we hoped. The man said “what the…” and began to shout. Kain nearly prevented it with a hasty Command, but his pronunciation of the Human word for Die was off and the man was unaffected. Felix moved quickly and slammed him very hard in the head, but didn’t quite kill him. Morgan was forced to swing and finished the man off. He had been equipped with a glowing bastard sword and plate armor, but had been unhelmeted.

The room itself would have been a lovely luxury suite—had there not been three beds in it instead of one. Kodo was doing a preliminary search while we saved the man for an “interview.” Unfortunately, the only visible person who could speak Human was Balinor, by no means a master of the language, or of diplomacy.

With Alduin invisibly coaching him from the side, Balinor questioned the man about what the heck was going on. This was a particularly interesting conversation since Balinor was speaking in a grunted heavily accented version of Human, and Alduin had to translate the big words occasionally.

We concluded that he was either a “charmed panzy” or a zealot—he was utterly loyal to his “mistress.” Remember that only Morgan, Felix, Balinor, Kodo, Kain, and the chicken were visible (though the chicken was behind a sheet).

When the man clearly was not intimidated, Balinor upped the pressure a bit by referring to the “bird of death” under the sheet. Knowing about the cockatrices, the man began to sweat a bit here and laid down the usual threats, but ultimately wouldn’t tell us much about his purpose.

When asked if he hated all Nevronians, he replied, “Only those that try convert the entire world.” Interesting. If he was telling the truth, he wasn’t such a bad guy. Of course, we need more information.

He claimed to member of the Royal House of Wunka. We were completely shocked when he thought we were enemies of the state—he accused Felix, “the Tugutan.” He also scorned the “mountain men” we were and ordered us to heal him and leave the ship.

This was totally insane. We did get the man to admit that they had “made a mistake” and would be leaving shortly. Balinor stated in no uncertain terms that we could not trust them if they would raid and kill people. The man was enraged when it was suggested that what they were really after was loot and not the noble purposes he claimed.

Balinor, representative of the Keystone Kingdom, negotiating with the Realm? Had the world gone mad?

The man claimed that patrols would kill us the longer we stayed.

We have a few more questions for him—is he after the Duke or the Archbishop? Why does he like his Mistress so much?

This is totally weird.