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March 22, 1999

Defenders Adventure #56: A Resolution?

Party Roster:

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
Chiaro, 1st level illusionist, 5 hp, played by Aaron

The party had just suffered heavy damage and casualties in defeating the tribute gatherer, the demon squid. The high priestess of the temple lay dead at Morgan’s feet, as well as all of her closest followers.

In order to save the dead Felix, Kodo, and the Northerner from the Flaming Fist, we had to send the fastest ship, the Koralgesh ship, back to Koralgesh at top speed. This might allow the ship to reach Koralgesh in 12 days, which was not good enough, and so Cassian went along in order to use her Raise Winds abilities to speed the trip along, substantially increasing the risk.

The Flaming Fist was a party in shambles. The fighter/mage had been taken down by the Valhalla warriors in a blown attempt to summon aid and had been incapacitated. The fighter and leader, Roderick, was also incapacitated. Sharilla the half-elf thief and the wizard Belarus were up and about, but badly injured. The Northerner fighter was dead down by the glyphs that had killed him, the ranger was drowned in the bay with the undead sharks, and the Felcon cleric had been fried by a Flamestrike (there never was a Nevronian cleric) and was unraisable. We knew that there had to be a Raise Dead scroll around, so we sent Kodo and the Northerner’s bodies on the Koralgeshian ship and then hoped to continue the adventure with Morgan, Balinor, Quentin, Kain, Alduin, Chiaro, a hopefully revived Felix, the wizard Belarus, and the thief Sharilla.

The first thing we discovered was that the old crew of the ship we had been sent to find had been captured and were being stored with the soon-to-be-slaves in a “prison” on the hill above the town of Lantern. The guard complement was unknown. Furthermore, the ship we were looking for was in the next cave area beyond the body of the tribute gatherer.

After explaining our burial at sea vs. burial on land options to the high priestess, she was questioned through Speak with Dead. It was discovered between her and the one living priestess we had left behind that one of the exits to the temple was trapped with a floor that dumped the victim into a tank with a horrible sea monster of some kind.

There was a Raise Dead scroll in the spyglass the pirate owned, which we discovered by talking to the dead pirate. Also, the pirate had a HUGE parrot reminiscent of Spittle the crow in demeanor.

Felix was successfully Raised off the scroll. Amazingly, he suffered no permanent damage.

Treasure was gathered, the place was looted of all valuables, and a spellshift was done. 14 hours later, we were ready to storm the prison.

Scouting revealed pentagonal building with five towers with a few guards in each. There were several war dogs at the gate.

An Invisible Alduin climbed over the wall and descended quietly down to the other side. At the same time, the Invisible party moved to the gate. Donald and Belarus then threw six Sleep spells in rapid succession, catching the dogs and each of the towers. Alduin noted that the Sleep spell at the dogs had actually caught the three hidden guards in the archway!

However, the last Sleep was not quite in time to prevent some brief alarm from the last tower. Quentin sent Lenore the crow up to drop the Silence stone on the guard, which shut him up long enough to be Slept.

Fortunately, the apathetic people in Lantern didn’t even think twice about the brief bell sound.

That was all it took, and Alduin and Sharilla quickly eliminated all the guards and we freed the 25 prisoners, including 16 crewmembers. 5 of the prisoners spoke only Human, and later turned out to be from Hochland!

As planned, Belle Venture returned to the Temple to pick us up. It had been made clear from Speak with Dead that five of the clerics had left to get reinforcements (after the Fist showed up, our presence was unexpected) in the underwater boat. This was an interesting twist, which meant that we had to leave soon. Thus we planned to have the Belle Venture tow the captured boat to a cove, have Quentin Plant Growth some seaweed to prevent it from being retaken by the Lantern “citizens,” and then return with the crew.

The timing had a lot to do with this plan, since it allowed us to attack the prison at night and then return in time to get away from the temple by evening. The other factor was that the Belle Venture could not tow the other boat and remain invisible.

So we returned to the Belle Venture and put the crew back on the captured ship and set off. However, a small warship was spotted giving chase (toward the visible ship, of course). The Belle Venture swung around and snuck up near the warship, and Belarus let them have it with his excessively powerful but close range staff of fireballs.

BOOM! The four remaining crewmembers after the explosion were easily Held by Kain, and suddenly we had a THIRD boat in the little armada.

Another boat gave chase, but as it approached, it suddenly turned away and ran back to Lantern.

(There were some nice sea die rolls there, thank you very much!)

The priests were buried at sea, as promised, and Rest Eternalled by Quentin. The living priestess had agreed to a trial in Koralgesh.

NOTE: The interrogation of the priestess was intended to plant the seeds of suspicion that the Church of Hindus had set up the Grottoes priests for a nasty fall by not warning them of the second attack. We did this to the best of our ability, and we’ll see if it works. The priestess also knows nothing about the Flaming Fist as a separate entity from the Defenders. Also, there was the disturbing denial by the high priestess that there had been any sort of deal with Hindus at all. The truth is unclear. The Defenders will not act until Hindus’ involvement is confirmed anyway, and even then, I believe that the revenge would only occur when we become more powerful. In any case, back to the story:

The three week journey back to Koralgesh was made exciting only when the flock of jellyfish went by the boat (I rolled a 1). Otherwise it was uneventful.

Meanwhile, Cassian had been spectacular in helping the boat sail back to Koralgesh. For the first week everything went very smoothly, and then boat began to suffer some mast damage, but was close enough for birds to be sent out warning the Korian priest Letier to have Raise Dead on hand for us.

They arrived exactly nine days later, and running up the docks, got Kodo and the Northerner Raised, although it required one scroll use.

The party thanked Letier heartily and paid salvage tax.

Essentially, each party (Fist and the Defenders) came out with about 5000 gp in gems and cash, and three magic items. Koralgesh received Inky Depths, the +3 trident that allows the user to create a black impenetrable cloud underwater and makes the user immune to such effects himself. Koralgesh also received the harpoon +1 and the potion that wipes all spells from memory when drunk.

The Flaming Fist received Kodo’s Large Shield+1, Kain’s Leather Armor+2, a Potion of Treasure Finding, and a Dagger+2.

The Defenders received the magical Sharkskin armor+2 (studded leather +2 that druids and clerics of Silban CAN wear). It has been put on Kain, who traded in his leather+2. Kodo got the large shield +2 and traded in his old large shield+1. Quentin upgraded to a Ring+2, and Felix received Quentin’s Ring+1. We also gained a Potion of Extra Healing, a Potion of Flying, and a 2000 gp credit on salvage tax from the Petethalian navy as the reward on the notorious pirate we took out.

Koralgesh also purchased the warship for 7000 gp.

So we came out ok. XP awards ranged from 2500 for Kodo and 4000 for Felix and Chiaro, to 8500 for Donald and Cassian.

Unfortunately, Quentin and Kain both missed their next levels by a thousand or so, and Chiaro missed 3rd level by 500.

Chiaro did train in Koralgesh to 2nd level, and gained 1 hp, but this only put him up to his racial hit points, and actually he still has 5.

Oh well. Aaron, we’re all rooting for you here!

After that successful adventure, we decided to wait in Koralgesh for a new mission. A reward from the Hochland prisoners arrived in the form of 3000 gp which happily accepted.

Now, a new mission will arrive next week!


March 15, 1999

Defenders Adventure #55: Defenders 13, Queen of Grottos 2

Party Roster:

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
Chiaro, 1st level illusionist, 5 hp, played by Aaron

With support from the Flaming Fist

We last left the party having saved the Flaming Fist’s thief and preparing to move through the large door into the ambush room. The other door, which had not been recently used, had a mysterious blue panel on it, that turned red after someone went inside.

There was much apprehension, though it was later discovered that the room was a latrine.

Anyway, the party moved through the wreckage of the main room and used the secret door through which the QoG priests had rushed the unfortunate Flaming Fist. We had expectations of rescuing four more of them—the cleric of Felcon, the fighter/mage, Roderick the fighter and party leader, and the mage.

A quick Good vs. Evil scan on the thief revealed that she was Neutral.

The ambush room itself had several statues in it which were actually figureheads on the bows of boats. One we actually recognized as belonging to a very vicious pirate.

We opened the secret door and turned down the corridor. We were saved by Chester, who smelled charcoal, which prompted Alduin to find the glyph on the floor for us. It was too large for Balinor and Felix to jump over, and so a pew was dragged there and used as a makeshift bridge.

Having sidestepped that, we opened one of the doors in the corridor. Inside were the badly damaged dead bodies of two priests of the QoG. The wounds were likely inflicted by the Flaming Fist during the fight, and we assumed that these bodies would later be Raised.

The opening of the next door triggered a ringing bell. An injured woman inside got out of bed and yelled, then began to cast a spell before Felix took her out by knocking her unconscious.

Balinor and Morgan had been ready at the back for a fight, and they got one. Two priests came out of one of the other doors, and Balinor moved to meet them. He dispatched one while Cassian and Morgan inflicted ranged damage on the other, who tried to retreat after Cassian threw a Silence spell in the area. Morgan caught him and took him out.

Meanwhile, two other priests had come out of another door and run into Kodo as he emerged from the room with the injured woman. Under a hail of attacks he went down, although his companion managed to get a Hold Person off, which miraculously affected no one. Kodo moved into close combat with him, and after being struck for a wound by the man’s footman’s mace, Kodo struck him down. The original injured woman was taken out.

Hoping there had not been a general alarm, we quickly moved down the corridor, Kodo having healed himself with the Ring of Health. We encountered a sleeping woman, who was easily knocked out under cover of Silence. We tied her up and moved on, hoping to have at least one prisoner at the end of this.

In the kitchen, we found an old man cooking, who seemed frightened. We tied him up, and then Felix used Peacemaker’s ability again: the man was VERY evil. Suddenly we had a dilemma—should we kill him?

We questioned the man, and he said that the high priest was a tall slender woman. He begged us not to kill him because he was an old man. We decided to incapacitate him, which we felt somewhat guilty about until Balinor determined that he survived the first blows, belying his claims of frailty. The man suddenly slipped out of his bonds and reached for a massive cleaver and a rolling pin. Balinor and Kodo both smashed him, but when he didn’t fall Cassian dropped with a Command. He was then killed. It was soon realized that this was the evil pirate whose figurehead we had seen in the ambush room.

Having cleared the area, we opted for the spiral staircase rather than the mysterious blue and red panel doors. As we headed down, Kodo and Felix suddenly stepped on a very nasty lightning glyph, which exploded loudly and really trashed Felix, though Kodo escaped relatively unhurt.

Some more healing was done, and then we continued down, into a fight probably more dangerous than the one with Caxathoros.

As Kodo, Felix, Quentin, and Cassian approached the base of the stairs, a Hold Person flew at them, catching Cassian. In addition, a Slay Living struck Quentin, who resisted thanks to tremendous magical bonuses, merely suffering a double wound.

We could see a single file corridor with three people standing in it, and a shadowy beach behind them. The closest man was blocking the corridor wielding a harpoon. The back two were a woman in silvery armor, and a man in jumpsuit. Felix and Kodo charged toward the lead man blocking the corridor. Quentin began a Cure Serious Wounds. Kain began a Remove Paralysis to help Cassian.

Chiaro, Alduin, and the Fist’s thief (Sharilla, I think?) flattened themselves against a wall as Balinor and Morgan began the slow trek to the front of the party, Donald following closely behind.

Kodo was stuck in the chest by a harpoon from the man in front. Felix was taken down by a Command, but Kodo kept moving. Suddenly, Kodo was lifted off of his feet and began flying down the corridor with increasing speed. He tried to swipe the defender as he went passed but missed. It wasn’t at all clear what had caused this.

Suddenly Quentin’s spell was destroyed by a Silence spell hurled at him.

Quentin shifted into a mountain lion to be partially healed and waited for the fighters to charge past. The harpoon man pulled out a flail and tried to kill Felix. Morgan rushed him desperately, resisting about three spells hurled at him by the clerics in back. He reached the flail man and sliced him up, barely penetrating his Aid spells, and wounding him, forcing him to stop killing Felix. Balinor pulled up behind Morgan but could go no further. Donald pulled out the Wand of Magic Missiles and prepared to fire.

Kodo found himself hurtling through the air toward a huge creature in the middle of the lake. It had lots of tentacles and was clearly pulling Kodo to it. He also noticed a cage with members of the Flaming Fist in it up above, but had little time to comment as the tentacles grabbed him, inflicting tremendous damage. Kodo smashed the creature with his axes, but they had no effect, and almost broke. He pulled out the Horn of Valhalla and began blowing it.

Felix finally woke up from being prone and stabbed the guard, injuring him badly. Donald completed the Magic Missiles just as a Darkness dropped on the fighters, who desperately began to pull out Continual Light pouches. The now freed Cassian threw a Silence at the priests, which cut off one of their barrages of spells (which were amazingly unsuccessful generally).

Kodo realized that he was about to enter the maw of the creature, and so he hurled the Horn at the cage. The Horn flew into the air, and was snagged by the fighter/mage! The Fist had been giving the fighters a play-by-play with Kodo, and Balinor told them to have a fighter blow it!

Unfortunately, Kodo disappeared inside the creature and eaten messily.

The darkness was suddenly lifted by our Continual Lights, revealing that the guard had retreated and the clerics were now surrounded by an entourage of eight ghouls.

No problem. Morgan isn’t affected by ghouls.

At that moment, Morgan replaced Kodo as the new target. The elf began flying through the air, and the prone Felix was unable to grab him in time. Donald released the Magic Missiles into the three enemies and then charged out of the Silence to throw a spell. Felix stood up and faced off with the ghouls, Balinor watching helplessly from behind him.

Felix began slicing through the ghouls one by one, dodging paralysis attacks.

Donald desperately threw a Web spell, which snagged Morgan before he was eaten! Morgan had managed to down a Flying potion, but was now completely stuck high in the chamber.

Kain and Cassian began throwing Hold Persons at the trio of priests. The woman in the silvery armor had begun to walk across the lake. The man with the jumpsuit was not visible, while the third man (the harpoon man) had taken cover behind the ghouls.

Felix chopped up two ghouls, avoided being paralyzed, and then continued to gauge them. The jumpsuit man popped around the corner, through a Hold Person which caught the frustrated Balinor, but missed Felix, and then jumped back. Felix pasted four more ghouls and dodged another attack, hacking through them like paper.

Cassian threw a Dispel Magic at the woman on the water, hoping to dispel her waterwalk and plunge her into the undead shark infested waters. This did not happen, but her spell fizzled—the Raise Water she was casting would have killed us all.

Quentin had finally been able to heal himself and moved into the first Silence by the stairs, looking for something to do. The hitherto forgotten Chiaro ran forward and scooped up the Magic Missile wand and fired at the woman, disrupting another spell.

Cassian ran to help Balinor with a Remove Paralysis. Donald hurled a Slow spell which caught the woman but failed against the tentacled creature due to some sort of magic resistance.

Felix had sliced down six of the ghouls, but suddenly he was flying through the air as well. At that moment, the Fist’s fighter/mage finished blowing the Horn. The portal opened, and the men popped out. They turned and hurled spears at the fighter/mage, who collapsed in a heap. Then they vanished back into the portal.

Kain threw a Hold at the woman, which actually succeeded! She froze in place on the water. Chiaro fired a magic missile at the tentacle creature, which definitely affected it. Donald hurled Magic Missiles at it as well, injuring it.

Felix flew through the air and was grabbed by the tentacles and trashed. He was still alive, and the creature was paid back by hideously powerful slashes of the +5 short sword. Felix slammed the creature twice, which greatly angered it. And then Felix was dead as well.

Quentin desperately ran forward, and then hit upon a brilliant idea. He began a Plant Growth.

Meanwhile, since the fighters were all dead or incapacitated, the thieves took the initiative. The ghouls fared horribly against the double dagger wielding Alduin who sliced one up thanks to multiple fumbles. He moved forward and took down the last one. He found himself facing off against the guard, or would have, had the guard not gone down from ranged damage.

Kain was about to launch a vial of oil at the jumpsuit man, when Sharilla appeared behind the jumpsuit man with a massive backstab. He turned to face her and stabbed at her, but missed. Then Alduin came up behind him and backstabbed him again!

Massive damage brought him down.

Quentin released the Plant Growth, and huge plants came out of the water, hindering the undead sharks, though it had little effect on the tentacle creature.

Balinor had been freed from paralysis by Cassian, and he downed his Flying Potion and took to the air to save the Flaming Fist. Suddenly, he felt the pull of the tentacle creature, and tried to resist. There was a duel between the creature’s levitation powers and Balinor’s potion, and the creature lost! Balinor went hurtling backwards but recovered and moved to help the Fist.

Alduin fired a flaming arrow at the Web to free Morgan, but it failed to light the Web. Cassian began shooting the Held woman, injuring her. Alduin lit the Web on fire with a second shot, and Morgan was freed. He descended into the water and plunged Thunderstruck in it. The explosion injured both of them, and Morgan retreated to fire his +3 arrow. Then Quentin threw his Entangle, but it didn’t catch the creature, which resisted the entire effect. His second Entangle held, and the vines began making life annoying for the squid thing.

In response, it began charging toward the shore.

A wide-eyed Cassian and Kain began to Turn the creature. Alduin hurled a vial of Holy Water but missed. Morgan fired his arrow and nailed the creature. Balinor began trying to bend the bars of the cage.

Chiaro and Donald sent Magic Missiles at the creature, injuring it. When Donald ran out of spells, he grabbed the wand from Chiaro. The creature had reached the shore, and spewed a massive acid spray! Cassian avoided the worst of it, but it slammed Donald, Kain, Chiaro, Alduin, and Sharilla. Chiaro and Sharilla fell down dying, but the others survived.

At last, Cassian Turned the creature back, and it began to flee along with the undead sharks!

Incensed, Donald asked Quentin to be his crocodile mount and to help him go kill that thing! Quentin would have agreed, but then Donald was suddenly caught by the levitation affect. Quentin grabbed on to him and they both went flying toward the creature.

Balinor failed to bend the bars of the cage and gave up, dive bombing the creature. He hit, but found that his hammers did not affect the creature (only +1).

Quentin pulled out his flying potion, and he and Donald each downed half of it in midair. The wand was slowly recharging…

Balinor put away his hammers, and pulled out his dagger+2 and a bar of soap. Let’s see how it likes being SCRUBBED! He flew down at the creature, and before he could attack it, was grabbed and smashed badly, suddenly in trouble.

Donald was rapidly approaching the creature, and he fired his Magic Missiles… and the creature died.

The surviving cleric was incapacitated but left alive. Chiaro and Sharilla were both saved by Cassian and Kain. Felix and Kodo were both dead, but stored within the almost kangaroo-like pouch in the creature.

The squid itself was something called a “tribute gatherer,” a demon that receives offerings and brings them to the Hells or wherever.

There are some ugly issues, but there have to be at least a few Raise Deads lying around the place.

The wrap-up and tying up of numerous loose ends should occur next time.

Well, it was a typical Defenders adventure!


Log Supplement QQ: QQ

Alex's suggestion for dealing with the high priestess:

We know that the priests of the QoG prefer burial at sea. So to satisfy our law vs. chaos argument:

If she gives us information on the Church of Hindus and/or other evil churches, we will kill her quickly, Rest Eternal and then a sea burial.

If she refuses, we drag her back to Koralgesh for a trial, execution and land burial.

This has the advantage that as a chaotic evil priestess, she should have no qualms about divulging information about OTHER churches, and so we benefit and she loses nothing.

March 08, 1999

Defenders Summary #54: Following Vaguely Behind Disaster

Party Roster:

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, 5th level mage, 33 hp, NPC
Quentin, 7th level druid, 31 hp, played by Jeremy
Alduin, 6th level thief, 26 hp, played by Vic
Chiaro, 1st level illusionist, 5 hp, played by Aaron

Well, the game started out mundane enough. We were planning to take on a sphinx that had been harassing travelers on the Long Road from Drake to Petethal. We set out in January 2180 and headed through various Petethalian towns.

Halfway to Jebel, we found an abandoned cart with six horses attached to it, by the side of the road in the height of the rainy season. Tracking revealed that around 25 men had left suddenly, fairly recently.

We examined the contents of the cart, which was heavily loaded with wood. They turned out to be… illegal loggers!

Our stealth group (Kodo, Morgan, Quentin, and Alduin) found them hiding about 1000 feet away. Quentin Entangled 16 of them, but the rest tried to get away. When the rest of the party heard the sounds of combat they headed up to help, but when they returned, three of the horses were gone.

A long chase began with Cassian, Felix, Morgan (and Quentin directing in crow form). They finally began to catch up to two of the escapees, but Morgan’s horse slowed down. Cassian Commanded one of them, who fell off his horse. Felix ran down the other one, who surrendered.

Not bad. Although one of them escaped during the night, we slogged through the mud to Jebel, had them tried by elders, and then refused the 90 gp reward offered and simply ate well.

We reached the Drake border in early March. This was quite annoying, since the trip took about triple the time we anticipated and left us unable to reach Teft by March 15 to find new quests. We were further angered when the Drake soldiers made our lives miserable at the border, so much that we rejected the quest, though not before handing over 150 gp for “licenses” to go into Drake.

Quentin has added Drake to the increasing list of places to destroy with elementals when becomes a hierophant druid. The party agrees.

Disgusted, we headed up to Gesh in the hope of getting our newest member, Chiaro (pronounced key-are-oh), an actual illusion spell. He had been stuck with Light, Wall of Fog, and Detect Invisibility, effects amply reproduced by one of the other spellcasters, which was supremely frustrating.

Chiaro is Koralgesh trained (under Lambu). He is quite skilled at drawing, sculpting, and mapping, and is very artistic. He is dexterous, though not physically strong or durable. He is also quite ugly and rather dislikable (though not like Balinor).

We purchased Phantasmal Force for 800 gp from the Tower, and waited and hoped for quests. We arrived there on April 1st, and they appeared to be fooling about the “City of Adventure” thing. (Actually, it was just our very unfortunate rolls)

We dropped in on Perry and nagged him for awhile, then looked for adventure. The only immediate thing was a mission to storm some former goblin secret ports that they reoccupy every so often. It wasn’t guaranteed that the goblins would be there, but all we had to lose was time.

But of course, I rolled the sea dice:

(Warning: Stone Soules players may experience Déjà vu. If feeling discomfort, please consult your local sage)

About two weeks into the four week trip, a HUGE roc appeared overhead (120 foot wingspan) and NEARLY tore off the mast, clearing it by about 500 feet. We breathed a sigh of relief, assumed it was a good omen (Cassian praised the roc), and we moved on.

Then a week later, a ghost ship appeared behind us. Frantically, we headed up to the deck to fight it, but amazingly Cassian managed to Turn the ship away just before it closed (we could see the front line of wights waiting to attack us). Cassian raised the winds and we sped away rapidly.

The ship disappeared, and we continued to the Goblin Isles.

That having occurred, we then found that all the encampments were empty, and that there was in fact no quest. Very frustrated, we returned to Koralgesh. Although there was a fairly bad storm during the trip, Cassian calmed the winds and we continued.

Then it turned out that we had missed a lovely storm an actual goblin fort mission which many of us were hunkering for. By this time, we were ready to pull our hair out.

Finally, at the beginning of June, we got a mission from the dockmaster, a one-legged dwarf who spoke very slowly in Common. Apparently one of the cloaking ships from the Far World navy had had its magical keel damaged in a fight with an attacking goblin vessel and was being hauled off. Interestingly, this particular victorious group of goblins was planning to sell the boat to a group of priests of the Queen of Grottoes, one of our OLD enemies (Zune Quog was a member of that church; he was the original owner of Maiden Basher).

This was unacceptable to the Petethalian navy and Koralgesh because this temple contained at least one 9th level cleric, and was capable of repairing the ship within two weeks. The plan was to ferry us to the island where the ship was being sold, and for us to either capture or sink it, and not let it fall into their hands. This might involve killing the priests, or it might not. With our bloodthirsty attitude toward Grotto priests, the choice was obvious.

Now, the interesting thing was that Koralgesh apparently has a number of informants in the goblin isles and learned of this sale from multiple informants. The Petethalian navy might be acting as well, we knew, but they were farther away from the scene of the action, so our own role was critical.

So, we set off on a fast merchant ship (with a second crew aboard in case we should capture the vessel). Amazingly, twenty uneventful days of sea travel passed until we reached the island.

The island was about 4 by 20 miles across, and had one town of note, called Lantern. It contained a populace of a quality seen only in Benct and Drake. Real scum. The plan was to bribe our way into some information and proceed to the temple of the Queen of Grottoes, which was somewhere on the island. We would invade somehow, trash the temple, and capture the stolen boat.

We were moored pretty far out in the channel, and had to take a longboat to get in to the docks. The captain told us that if the boat was threatened, it would have to leave the island. There would really be only one way for us to get home: on the Hand of Hindus that comes in every week.

But then we felt obligated to point out that the Hand of Hindus doesn’t like us (see summaries 7-9, 16-18). We would never make it back alive if we had to rely on them. The captain shrugged and said that he guessed we really didn’t have a good way out. That was singularly reassuring.

First, we decided to talk with most intelligent beings in Lantern: the dolphins in the harbor.

Quentin’s conversation (with Waterbreathing) proved VERY enlightening. The dolphin showed us where the temple was. When asked if it had seen any weird boats recently, it said, “Oh yeah, the invisible one?” At this point we were all shocked—how could they have repaired it so quickly? Then it hit us: there was ANOTHER cloaking ship in the harbor. Further conversation revealed that the ship was “right over there.” It is easy to see underwater if you’re a dolphin, though not if you’re a humanoid with Waterbreathing. The dolphin warned us about the undead sharks that appeared in the waters near the temple as guardians, and then said that there was an “undersea boat” that radiated pure evil.

Well good. These are the sorts of things I’d want to have in MY harbor.

We thanked the dolphin, who hoped we would kill the undead sharks for it.

We decided to identify the cloaked ship. A Waterbreathing Chiaro moved close to the boat and cast Detect Invisibility. This revealed a lot about the ship, though the details rapidly became irrelevant when he noted that the ship’s name was “Belle Venture.”

This is the same ship that ferried us to Orc Isle (see summaries 37-42). Delighted, Quentin flew over onto the ship as a crow, frightened the heck out of the crew by asking for Captain Malmir while still in crow form, and had a nice long conversation with elven captain.

It turns out that he was ferrying a group here out of Runk, called the Flaming Fist. Apparently the Petethalian navy had asked for us, but since we were still flailing uselessly about in the Goblin Isles, they went for this group. Apparently they were a group of veteran adventurers including a Nevronian priest, a druid, two very tall Northerner fighters, a mage, a female elven fighter/mage, a half-elf thief, and a ranger. The party leader was a fighter named Roderick. They totaled nine people, like we had until recently.

The coincidences grew when it was discovered that their tall fighter used the short sword, while the small fighter used axes!

The Flaming Fist had been hired to take out the Grottoes people specifically and also capture the boat—apparently whoever hired them doesn’t like that church. Join the club.

They had arrived in town a few hours ahead of us, so we decided to see if we could double our party size and gain some valuable allies. Malmir also hinted that the merchant ship we had come in looked really suspicious and stuck out badly.

Quentin returned, and we decided to head into the town and meet them somewhere. We reached the docks and for a mere 25 gp, they let us keep the longboat there. For a mere 10 gp bribe, we discovered that the party had headed to one of the inns.

The town was even scummier than originally expected. The bar was filled with people, about 70 of them, including ogres, bugbears (grrrrr), gnolls, a few elves, and many humans. We moved to the bar and spent a HUGE amount of money on drinks (10 sp EACH BEER), but the bartender refused to “make alliances,” and actually tell us anything. So, Alduin picked out a fence from the crowd, who for 50 gp told Felix one of the most bizarre things we had ever heard.

Apparently, a group called “the Defenders” had shown up in town. The townspeople had been paid by the Hand of Hindus to delay them in town for one hour, and send a runner up to the Queen of Grottoes temple to warn them so that they could properly prepare a massive ambush. The Defenders had already left town and were about to be killed.

The guy noted that we were on the “Defenders’” side and shook his head. They were dead anyway, who cares?

Felix smiled, nodded, and the party left the tavern. We even managed to make it calmly to the trees outside of town before becoming rather incensed.


Apparently, the agents of Hindus on the island had mistaken the Flaming Fist for us! This was understandable with the sketchy descriptions they would have gotten, but this made us VERY MAD! We had condemned another party of good adventurers to our ambush! Not only that, but the Church of Hindus was actively plotting against us!

We had suspected that Traywick had been tipped off by sources in Benct, though it is entirely possible that the Hindus agents had something to do with that whole mess. Nonetheless, we had to do something and save that party from disaster! We decided to change identities, and we became: the Flailing Fist!

At this point, we were very angry. Both churches would eventually have to pay for this mess, and it sealed the fate of the QoG priests. Any thoughts of a hit-and-run raid left our minds. Also, we began to give consideration to eventual ways to get back at the Hindus priests for their help in this.

We sent Quentin’s birds screaming out toward the temple along some reasonable paths in the hopes of stopping the party there. Each bird was a given a message in Druidic Cant, thereby allowing their druid to interpret them while not tipping off random priests of Hindus or the QoG. We then hurried toward the temple as fast as possible.

We reached a cliff with a narrow set of stairs heading down to some caves below. They were flanked on one side by the cliff face, and by the sea (filled with undead sharks) on the other. We had learned that priests of the QoG have limited control over evil sea creatures and such.

We knew that the group had headed down these stairs an hour earlier, and so we sent our birds down to find them, and they discovered the cave then. It was actually set at the bottom, and was only visible for maybe three-quarters of the tide cycle before completely flooding. The Flaming Fist, not being of sea origins, probably didn’t know that they would be trapped within three hours.

We headed down the stairs. Suddenly we found one was previously trapped. It had gone off, springing the stair into the air with a counterweight powerful enough to launch someone into the ocean. We hoped it hadn’t gotten anyone…

We then used Balinor’s old 10’ pole to tap the stairs, and when another exploded violently upward, we suddenly only had a 6’ pole. Unfazed, we noticed a mark of a wave (a favorite QoG symbol) on the trapped step. We moved on, and stepped over another step before reaching the bottom.

We headed into the cave, which almost immediately began turning and rising. We proceeded until reaching an intersection with the same mark and an arrow pointing to the left. We followed the arrow (tracks led both left and straight ahead) and came to a grisly sight.

What was left of a false door was charred on the far wall. There was a dead Northerner in banded mail on the floor whose body had been pillaged. Apparently they had suspected that the door was trapped, but not that the entire floor was a Glyph of Warding, which was clearly the case. The room had exploded and killed the fighter.

We moved back to the intersection and went straight before coming to a ruined nasty trap. Apparently it should have hurled spears and harpoons and such at the party, but someone had mangled it beyond hope. Someone very angry.

The party moved on and reached a trio of doors, one of which was much larger and grander than the other two. The left (small) and center (large) doors had been used recently. We tried the center door. Inside was a ruined major room of a temple, with splintered benches and such. There were no bodies, but there was a lot of blood on the handle on the OTHER side of the door.

We closed the door and looked at the left door, revealing a cloakroom. Much to our surprise, there was a dead Grotto priest impaled to the door with a glowing short sword, and a badly burned but not dead half-elf on the ground.

We gave her the Extra-Healing potion which brought her back to positive hp, and she explained that she was the Flaming Fist’s half-elf thief. The party had lost their ranger on the stair trap which had flung him into the ocean. The Northerner was killed as we predicted.

The party reached the doors and had gone through the center. When they had all gotten inside, the doors had slammed shut, and a voice had told them that they, the Defenders, were now trapped and dead. They were understandably confused by this, but knew how to react when the priests came pouring through the doors in waves.

Unfortunately, their ambushers had prepared spells for the encounter and the party mage was Held without being able to use his cool staff. The fighter/mage toasted some of them with a damage spell, but they were in trouble. At least twelve priests attacked, and at least three died. Roderick and the other fighter were desperately trying to hold off the clerics, and the Nevronian cleric had gotten off a Silence spell, when suddenly a pillar of flame struck him, badly injuring him. However, the thief took the worst of it, including a double wound, and fled the combat, managing to open the back door with a priest of the QoG chasing her. She thought that Roderick had been killed, but knew that any movement was damaging her. Desperate, she ran into the cloakroom, and when the priest appeared, she rammed her sword through him and collapsed to unconsciousness.

She was depressed that she had abandoned the party, but was obviously grateful for our help and joined us. With a fresh party, maybe we could finish what the Flaming Fist had begun. Clearly the priests had cast most of their spells, and this was our chance to catch them off guard.

With that, we resolved to avenge the Flaming Fist. Here come the Defenders… er, Flailing Fist… er, whatever…


March 01, 1999

Wizard Mountain Summary #2: Mapping and Some Non-Fatal Interludes

We return once again to the exciting adventures of the Wizard Mountain Party, intrepid adventurers trying desperately to get themselves killed...

Party Roster:

Kelric, 3rd level fighter, 37 hp, played by Alex
Halacar, 3rd level fighter, 33 hp, played by Joel
Standish, 3rd level fighter, 32 hp, played by Katherine
Alain, 3rd level fighter, 27 hp, played by Alex
Crack, 3rd level woodsman, 25 hp, played by Alan
Brigling, 4th level thief, 24 hp, played by Katherine
Browork, 3rd level cleric, 22 hp, played by Joel
Frag, 3rd level woodsman, 18 hp, played by Alan
Lissar, 3rd level mage, 15 hp, played by Alex
Kessel, 3rd level mage, 13 hp, played by Alan

When we last left our beleaguered party, they were safe in town.

Initial Party: Kelric, Halacar, Standish, Brigling, Browork, and Lissar. Two new characters joined-- the hobgoblin spear specialist woodsman Frag, and the human mage Kessel. We set off on another exciting adventure.

Before even making it to Wizard Mountain, we trashed some giant ants, though Brigling the thief managed to shoot Browork before the combat was over. Standish yelled for Browork to get out of the way.

The party proceeded into the dungeon. We had last battled a group of weird birdlike being with sharp beaks and skeletal wings. We decided to head back in that general direction and look around. We heard the sounds of squawking and accidentally backed ourselves into a corner. The birds came flying around the corner at the back of the party.

The fighter Halacar and the cleric Browork went to meet them. Browork was soon fleeing toward the back of the party with a wound, but Halacar killed one. Standish and Kelric charged through the party, along with Frag, to attack the vicious creatures. Several were Slept by Lissar and Kessel, who took cover behind the fighters. Kelric, Standish, Halacar, and a very proficient Brigling took the creatures down without much trouble. Most of the damage had been taken by Browork, who also had to duck another missile from Brigling during the combat.

We headed back down the tunnel, only to find ourselves attacked from both sides by birds. Kessel launched a Web at back of the party, which was holding its own initially. The front of the party, Kelric and Standish, along with help from Brigling and Frag, began slashing through the creatures without too much trouble.

The back of the party was faring much worse. Halacar killed a creature, but Browork nearly went down with three separate hits. He retreated, and the only person who could cover him was... Lissar, the mage.

Lissar stepped forward, and was promptly smacked around. Halacar finished his off, moved to cover and swung his falchion just as the bird-thing attacked him...

The result was spectacular.

Halacar's falchion (quality, +1/+1, no less) exploded in his hands, and the shards flew directly into the hapless Lissar, nearly dropping the mage. The bird's free attack then pummeled Halacar, who was merely sitting dazed for a moment.

Lissar scrambled back, but most of the other bird people were trapped in the Web, so Halacar moved to cover him again, and succeeded. Two other creatures were slowly breaking out of the Web, but through the combined efforts of Standish, Kelric, Frag, and Brigling, the creatures were dropped before or as they came out of the Web.

Mass healing was done. We decided to look for the birds' lair, hoping to get actual treasure out of this mess. Unfortunately, despite a lot of searching we couldn't find it, though we did find a burrowed hole leading to a bricked off end.

We limped home and healed.

We set off on another expedition, but thanks to some wonderful rolling by yours truly, the expedition was quite short.

As the party traveled to Wizard Mountain, a huge silhouette appeared in the sky, and the black dragon descended on the party.

The whole party hit the dirt. Most of the party was disoriented with fear, and the dogs cowered. Several of the party had hidden successfully, leaving Frag, Browork, Halacar, and Kelric in the open (woodsman, cleric, fighter, fighter, all in metal armor).

The dragon swooped down first on the hapless guard dog, who yelped uselessly. The dog was killed instantly as the talons grabbed it and rended it to shreds. The dog was popped into the creature's mouth and it circled for more food.

The visible party members scattered, running for their lives. The dragon swooped down at its first target, the new party member Frag.

Realizing his end had arrived, the woodsman turned and set his spear for charge. The dragon shrugged and breathed acid all over him, melting him into a pile of goo. The dragon rose and circled, still looking for food.

Kelric was next. He saw his doom approaching and tried to evade the creature, unsuccessfully. He was snatched up but survived and stabbed the creature in the mouth. He fumbled and his sword dropped to the ground. The teeth gnashed tighter, but Kelric still lived. He was wedged in, and frantically began a last ditch attempt to injure the creature.

He hastily pulled out his flasks of oil and tried to light them....

Gulp. Burp.

The dragon flew away, content. The party ran for home.

Replacing the dead characters were Alain the half-orc fighter and Crack, Frag's older brother hobgoblin woodsman. The party set out again. The guard dog was replaced.

We reached Wizard Mountain without incident, and did a whole lot of exploring. Most of this was mapping. There were a number of rock traps we believe were set up by the bird people that injured Standish's war dog. Brigling also dodged one such trap. We finally found some sort of lair for the birds, since it was vaguely nestlike. There were six red gems in the center that we evaluated at 50 gp each. We took them.

We eventually found a room with a weird pile of metal in the middle of it. The metal moved, and we initially thought it might be a gelatinous cube and shot OVER it. When the arrow passed through and the thing faded into the shadows, we got nervous. We spotted the thing coming along the wall at us. Brigling shot it but the arrow bounced off. Then Standish cleaved it in half with one swing of his sword (+1/+4 vs. reptiles).

It was some kind of weak golem shaped like a snake. Strange.

Eventually we found a spiral staircase, which we left for the moment, and a mortared section against the cave wall. There was a weird droning sound emanating from the spiral staircase, so we went with bashing down the mortar.

Alain crashed through easily, and we found ourselves face to face with, oh, maybe forty 8' tall lizardmen.

"We run," declared Crack. And so we did.

We ran through windy corridors, and eventually stopped to test a Sleep spell (we moved faster than the lizards). The Sleep went off and affected only ONE of them. We nodded and ran all the way out of the cave. The lizards stopped following us when we reached the sunlight.

We ate lunch outside, and then went back in.

The lizards were gone. We decided to head up the spiral staircase into the droning noise. Up the stairs we saw a room with sunlight streaming in. There were weird wind currents in the room. There was a table with a goblet, and a weird coral-skinned gorilla-like thing.

We decided to check out the alcoves.

"But don't touch anything," said a voice into our minds.


It turned out there was a bored trapped air elemental in the room. We chatted with the thing, and it turned out it had been around for about 500 years, since it had been summoned by a wizard "for a week or so." It was bored with the prime material plane, and its only friend was the gorilla, which would kill us if we touched it or the elemental got annoyed. It had a smug and superior attitude, but let us look around the room anyway. We saw some skeletons in the alcove and quite a bit of treasure, but we didnt touch it. We left and told it we would return to chat. We're not sure, but we think the creature didn't really mind despite its snide comments about immortality and and such.

We founded a small beach area with a small waterfall in it. We started along the corridor when a blinding light hit the party from up front. All but Brigling, Lissar, and Kessel were blinded by the light. Something was approaching rapidly. The party staggered slowly backwards, leaving the war dog behind to battle the creature. The dog injured the thing before getting killed. Brigling shot at it, but missed. The creature continued to approach, and the blind Standish turned to fight it, directed by Brigling. Standish cleaved through it, and discovered that it was a reptile (his sword was +4)! Standish had been latched onto, though, and took significant damage.

The party settled down to rest until our eyesight returned.

20 minutes later, the party was still blind. Suddenly something clear and oozing grabbed Lissar's legs and began to dissolve them! Oil was hurled at it, but the flames had no effect. The creature was badly injured by a sword hit (I forget who did it) and tried to escape. Crack refused to let it get away and stabbed at it with his spear despite being off-balance. The thing died and sank into the water.

We healed Lissar and settled down to wait some more.

About ten minutes later, the still blind Halacar found his arms feeling like jelly. He was barely conscious and mumbled for help from the party. There was nothing there, but Halacar was pale and drawn. Alain swept the area above and behind Halacar with his magical quarterstaff, and hit something! Whatever it was stepped out of the way and was gone before anyone could swing again.

Shuddering, we ran back to town. Halacar recovered in a few days, but he had lost a lot of blood plasma and had two marks on the back of his neck.

Seems like a vampire was sucking on Halacar's blood. Great.

Until next time!


Defenders Adventure #53: Indecision and a New Friend

Party Roster:

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
??, 1st level illusionist, 5 hp, played byAaron

There wasn’t much “adventuring” this game, but we did create Aaron’s character and run a brief trip to the X in Petethal.

Aaron is returning hopefully with better luck than before, and he has once again created a party member that should nicely fill a niche. He is playing a human illusionist from Koralgesh, who trained under Lambu. He is middle-aged and about 6 feet tall. The character is as yet unnamed, though certain elements have decided on the interim name, “Sunshine Happypants.” I claim no responsibility.

SHP has Light, Wall of Fog, and one other I’ve forgotten (plus Read Illusionist Magic) though we hope to give him some money to acquire more shortly (particularly Phantasmal Force).

He joins the party at Lanthalasa-te, 2179—2180, just after our excursion through the muddy Petethal to the X.

There were no encounters. We tried Kaal Na Ka’s weird magical cloak on the door, but it had no effect. A nice Identify from Donald (which only knocked him out for 24 hours) revealed that the door required a command word. We shrugged and trudged back to Teft.

There will be several quests available in the spring, but during the winter our options were limited:

Go to the Dark Wood. We decided against this.

Capture Antarcus. The hope here is that we are powerful enough to defeat him, but not so powerful that he would run away.

Kill or at least force to leave the area a Sphinx that has been harassing the merchants between Drake and Petethal. The reward would be 5000 gp/ 2000 gp respectively. We hope to do this quest, although the powers of the Sphinx are essentially unknown.

There will not be a game next week or most likely the following one, but eventually, we’ll get to our next quest!