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October 22, 1999

Defenders Summary #70: Balinor Makes a New Friend, and the Defenders Actually Have a Plan

Party Roster:

Felix, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Alex
Balinor, 6th level fighter, 56 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 7th level cleric, 45 hp, played by Katherine
Kain, 6th level cleric, 43 hp, played by Jeff
Morgan, 7th level fighter, 38 hp, played by Alan
Donald, 7th level mage, 37 hp, NPC
Albee, 5th level monk, 31 hp, NPC
Bogomel, 3rd level fighter, 31 hp, henchman
Nakumanu, 4th level fighter, 30 hp, henchman
Chiaro, 4th level illusionist, 8 hp, played by Aaron

We had just left the party standing near the weird spire reminiscent of Orc Isle. We had also checked and discovered that the weird grimy old guy who kept spouting nonsense when we talked to him was Chaotic Evil. We were unsure of what to do, so we left him alone, despite the wolf smelling an noticeable rotting from his direction.

Hey, it could have just been dirt or something. We didn’t entirely take this on faith—we did leave holy water vials all over the place when we camped for the night in the dead mutant creature’s cave. It was supposed to be HAUNTED ruins after all.

Well, if there is a new undead for the Defenders to meet, they find it.

Right on schedule, things went sour. Balinor, Kain, and Nakumanu were on watch when the creature snuck up invisibly behind Balinor and ran his bamboo pole through the hapless fighter. This inflicted grave damage, three wounds, and double level-drained Balinor.

I mean, hey, it had been almost two years since the last attempt to level drain him. Balinor was starting to wonder why they were taking so long to come after him.

The now 4th level Balinor whipped around and smacked the creature, hitting with Maiden Basher (the +1 hammer) and injuring the creature, who promptly disappeared into thin air.

Fortunately, Felix as Peacemaker threw a Detect Evil in the area and spotted the creature in front of Balinor. Nakumanu moved in and stabbed it, unfortunately missing. Kain cast a Flame Blade, but swung and missed.

Chiaro snored contentedly, but everyone else eventually woke up. The creature had moved, and it came in behind Balinor for a second stab—which would have killed him instantly—but miraculously missed! Balinor activated his Strength from the new hammer and became 20 strength! He turned and whacked the creature with Wrath. Felix moved in and stabbed the thing, as did Nakumanu, attempting to corner the thing. Donald sent four Magic Missiles at the thing, but it resisted them.

We seemed to have it in a corner, when it vanished again. Felix swung, but the creature really was gone. Thinking quickly, Felix threw a Detect Chaos and spotted the creature high up, 15 feet in the middle of the chamber!

Where no one could reach it. Arrgh. If it could fly, then there was no way we could keep it from escaping. Morgan went back to back with Balinor, who pulled his +3 dagger and flung it at the creature, but fumbled and the dagger struck the wall with shocking power, almost breaking it.

Chiaro stirred at this point, and Donald threw a Web spell in the opening. The illusionist threw hordes of chalk dust in the air, but the creature had already escaped the area. We spat and cursed until we realized that dozens of snakes were coming through the opening, all poisonous. Balinor and Morgan killed the nine that were through the Web, although Morgan was poisoned and had to be Slowed, and the rest were trapped. Kain spoke with them and discovered that they were in a Limgut-style trance, ready to kill us at all costs. They said simply that they served the Master of Rot.

Morgan couldn’t help but notice then that dozens of poisonous spiders were pouring out of the cracks in the wall.

That did it. We lit the Web and charged out of the cave, though Chiaro managed to get bitten by a spider and poisoned (despite having cast Mirror Image), but was Slowed by Kain. We moved rapidly out of the area and down the great stairs to the original landing spot on the beach.

Or that was the plan. Felix was in front, and suddenly we spotted seven zombie things shuffling slowly up the stairs. We shrugged and Cassian lobbed a Fireball at them from the Belt of Fire, but when none of them fell down, we realized they weren’t zombies.

Nonetheless, we hadn’t guessed what they really were. Felix engaged the first and barely slew it with a swing of his sword. He moved to kill the second, but the thing reached him first and struck him, level-draining him as well!


They were wights. Realizing the danger immediately, Cassian launched another Fireball which did tremendous damage and wiped them all out, leaving only a gold bracelet, a choker, and a short sword of some alloyed metal. None were magical or aligned.

We reached the beach, three levels down, and decided to camp there, hoping that the wights that emerged out of the sea were all the creature could summon.

It was not to be.

We were partway through the spell-shift, with the fighters ringing the spellcasters, when our old buddy the undead guy popped up in front of Balinor and tried to kill him. The alert fighter managed not to be surprised, barely, and the creature miraculously missed him once again (it would have killed him). Balinor struck back, and though his increased strength had left him, he still injured the creature, which had seemed to take a particular interest in Balinor, apparently wanting to finish him off!

The big blow was then struck by Morgan. The elf had come around the side and wailed on the creature with Thunderstruck, doing massive damage. But more importantly, he managed to STUN the creature!

Taking full advantage, all the fighters beat on the creature, which went down suddenly, vaporizing into thin air!

Felix threw a Detect Evil and we could see the mist escaping, just as in the ogre mage. Balinor roared, unwilling to let this go. He kicked Cassian awake and yelled for her to lob another Fireball at the cloud, as it might actually be hurt by it. Cassian responded and blasted the mist, which then vanished. Felix confirmed that it was no longer there.


There was jubilation, but a note of caution. What the heck WAS that?

We looked through the Bestiary, and the closest thing we can come up with is an oriental vampire. There just aren’t a lot of corporeal double-level draining undead—basically you have liches and vampires.

Oh great.

That meant the thing had a tomb somewhere and we needed to find its coffin to kill it permanently. We had other things to do, so we healed up and sent Donald as a Polymorphed gull to scout out the orc villages and such so that we could develop a good plan, while we dug around the shady spot where we’d last seen the vampire.

We discovered from a weird “squirrel on steroids” creature that the thing often hanged out there during the day and had been seen floating away at times, to some unknown location. The creature had not been out at night, as it was too scary.

We dug on the spot and eventually bumped into a burrowing mole. He was very helpful and told us that there was a set of large room down below. Though it would be a major digging job, there is something below the spot there.

On the other hand, it was probably accessible from somewhere else, like the spire, so we put the digging on hold.

We also discovered that the door to the spire can be opened by someone wearing the Passwall Cloak from Orc Isle! This makes the spire a wonderful retreat spot from orc swarms.

The inside of the room in the spire (the only one we could see, as there did not appear to be any exits) contained four silvery statues and a flashing strobe “disco” light like the one from Orc Isle.

As a tangent from this, we decided on an itinerary and a plan for our stay:

Day One—Lizards, get trashed
Day Two—Heal from vampire encounter
Day Three—Scouting, Check out spire, granary plan
Day Four—Explore spire
Day Five—Open
Day Six—In the evening begin master plan for destruction of many orcs
Day Seven—Hide and possible second attack, then pickup by Dunstill and Illic at dusk

Some Details:

The granary plan, which has already been executed in part, goes like this. An Invisible Kain Flies (thanks to Donald) to the roof of one of the stone warehouse granaries at night. He Stoneshapes a hole, drops a Precipitation and a Putrefy Food and Drink inside, and then reseals it with clay. The idea is that this will induce all the rice and food inside to rot away without the orcs knowing it. This was done on the two granaries in one of the three villages.

The main plan goes like this:

There are two other villages on the island, a secondary and the main “metropolis.” We intend to harm both as badly as we can.

There is a very large stone and earthworks dam that if broken would dump huge amounts of fresh water over the smaller village and destroy it along with all the drydocks (it’s the shipmakers’ village). There is also a second dam by itself, which contains huge amounts of fresh water. Between them they contain virtually ALL the fresh water on the island.

The plan is this: (the use of resources is critical due to our limitations on numbers of spells and potions)

The party arrives (perhaps by use of Waterwalk spells) at the dam near the drydock village on the eve of the sixth day. Balinor, Felix, Morgan, Bogomel, Kain, and Albee use their full abilities to take out all the guards there, using multiple Silence spells and Hold spells and Commands and sheer brutal fighter power. Albee can cut down any that try to escape. Then, after the guards are dead, Chiaro will use his illusions to make it appear as if nothing has happened on the dam and will have stationary guards and such.

Just as this combat starts, Nakumanu will take off for the big city. He will set up 2 sets of oil for each of the twelve city districts (which have been separated by large distances to protect against a single fire wiping out the town). Nakumanu will be Invisible and Flying for this plan. Nakumanu was chosen because the many animals will not be able to distinguish him from the smell of any other orc, whereas, say, Morgan would be in serious trouble.

The main plan continues at the first dam. Donald casts Fly on himself and then Polymorphs into a burrow worm! This allows him to mess over the dam quite effectively and set it up for collapse as Cassian will Lower Water to allow him to reach the more difficult spots without being killed by water. Donald and Cassian then Fly to the other dam by using half of the flying potion left behind by Nakumanu on Cassian. Nakumanu has returned and receives the rest of the Flying potion to actually go and light all the fires in the city, or at least as many as he can until the general alarms prevents him from finishing. This should cause mass destruction.

Yes, that would be a flying burrow worm and cleric heading for the other dam. This would of course be at night and out of infravision range.

Then Cassian uses her clerical spells to take out the much smaller number of sentries (who have no backup or witnesses) at the other dam and cast another Lower Water (using the Pearl) and allow Donald as a burrow worm to wreak havoc on the second dam. Here we simply care that the water drains out rather than actually destroying the dam.

Nakumanu returns, and the dam at the drydocks suddenly collapses when the Lowered Water rises up. It will be helped by a Plant Growth from Kain that will mess up the structure, and then have it Dispelled by Kain, further weakening it by removing the roots. The result would be that the water would break open the dam, which for an instant would still look intact thanks to Chiaro, and then the water would break through and destroy the village.

So in summation, we would burn down most of the capital, drown the drydock village, and remove all the food from the other.

This even leaves us the option that if we spell-shift we can attempt a final operation, like freeing the slaves, in the closing hours of day seven, with Donald as a bird waiting to tell Dunstill and Illic to pick us up at the slave camp. We could divert the orcs attention by having Donald set off one of the fireworks on the southern end of the island (the undead infested end) thereby pointing them in the opposite direction from where we are.

It sounds like a plan.

First, we have to explore the spire and kill that vampire once and for all!

An additional note: Miraculously, both Balinor and Felix made their saves (Felix thanks
to the Chant spells) and regained their levels, which is fantastic!


October 15, 1999

Defenders Summary #69: It’s Good to Be Back

Party Roster:

Felix, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Alex
Balinor, 6th level fighter, 56 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 7th level cleric, 45 hp, played by Katherine
Kain, 6th level cleric, 43 hp, played by Jeff
Morgan, 7th level fighter, 38 hp, played by Alan
Donald, 7th level mage, 37 hp, NPC
Albee, 5th level monk, 31 hp, NPC
Bogomel, 3rd level fighter, 31 hp, henchman
Nakumanu, 4th level fighter, 30 hp, henchman
Chiaro, 4th level illusionist, 8 hp, played by Aaron

Other magic items I forgot to mention: we picked up 9 +2 arrows for Morgan and Cassian, and a Shield of Healing (20 charges) for Nakumanu.

We picked up lots of oil and other items in preparation for our raid of the orcish island. Dunstill and Illic realized that since we had experience with this sort of situation before, we were ideal for the job. In fact, the ruins on the southern part of the island were of the same civilization as the ones on Orc Isle. There are rumors of drow elves having been in these islands—perhaps these are their ruins.

The plan is for the party to trash the island as much as possible while the high shamans are away. Dunstill and Illic will be trying to mess up the meeting of the high shamans.

Some stats about the island—there are about 5,000 orcs on the island clustered in three coastal villages in the center of the island. There is also a palace in the middle of the villages. There are haunted ruins (see above) and a dormant volcano and orcish burial ground on the south end. On the north end is an active volcano and another set of ruins, as well as a prison slave camp.

We also made a number of scrolls and spent some of our newfound wealth (ok, so we blew more scrolls than we made). Then it was up to The Dice to get the ship safely to the orc island. Well, after seven uneventful weeks, we had a single week with angry jellyfish and a storm, and then another week with two storms and a non-encounter.

In September 2182, we landed on the south end of the island. We were faced with a pair of huge stone doors and went up the stairs along the cliff instead. We reached a valley with a number of ruined buildings. We discovered a weird building shaped like a spike with a large double door. We ignored it for the moment and continued along, circling the valley.

The “valley” was walled by lava flows presumably from the now dormant volcano. We searched several buildings uneventfully, when a giant lizard jumped us from behind. The creature grabbed Nakumanu in its jaws and tried to kill him. Nakumanu used the Shield to get rid of his wounds and allow Bogomel and Morgan to stab the creature while Felix and Balinor lumbered toward it. Kain tried to talk the animal out of attacking but the dumb thing wouldn’t listen to reason and tried to run off with Nakumanu. Cassian tried to pull Nakumanu out, but he slipped away.

But Chiaro saved him.

No, that was not a typo.

Our hardy illusionist let loose with a Light spell that blinded the creature, slowing its escape as it crashed into foliage and branches. This allowed Felix, Balinor, and Morgan to wail on the creature, which ignored Balinor’s fumbling but went down under a hail of sword swings.

The party moved on to exploring other ruins. We eventually found a building with a single hole in the entrance. There were bones scattered everywhere, and Kain’s wolf smelled something directly ahead.

Hoping to spot the creature, we moved forward. Of course, disaster resulted. Something happened, and everyone but Morgan, Cassian, and Donald collapsed into an unnatural slumber as a huge creature with snakes coming out of it charged at us. Donald identified it as a island mutant creature that was extremely poisonous. Cassian dropped a Slow Poison on Morgan, and it was discovered quickly that the others could not be awoken easily. Morgan turned to face the creature, and wailed on it with Thunderstruck (doing 26 damage and three wounds!). Donald pulled out the scroll of Magic Missile x3 and started unloading massive damage. Morgan continued to trash the creature and it went down after about 100 points of damage were dealt to it!

Morgan had been barely scratched, but it became clear that he would die horribly if the poison wasn’t neutralized, so we spell shifted.

In the next building over we found a group of centipedes piled all over each other in a circle. Albee chatted with them and they swarmed “next door” to eat the dead creature after we told them about it. This caused Morgan to jump with a shriek of “Bugs!” but no harm was done.

We discovered an entirely gold helmet apparently given to the winner of a jousting tournament in Dunador. We also found a potion, 5 gems, and some money.

We healed up and finished our exploration, encountering another pair of giant lizards that we were forced to kill. Highlights included Balinor getting stepped on and Felix and Morgan trashing the things once again, along with Bogomel.

In the interior of the valley, we found a building with a covered section, and discovered a weird human or half-orc or something being in tattered robes just sitting there. Disturbed, we tried to chat with it, and it was generally incoherent, spouting answers that seemed unrelated to our questions, mentioning such juicy tidbits as “oranges are square” to “the bugsies in your hair (to Felix).” It said it had been here forever, and said that the bugsies would take us. Felix used Peacemaker to determine that the creature was chaotic evil.

We were totally unsure what to do, so we put off the decision.

We decided to check out the spike building. The door was revealed as magical, wizard locked apparently. Cassian and Kain were unable to dispel it, but Donald was successful and the door opened, revealing the architecture style “from the lower planes” that the party was familiar with from Orc Isle. Deciding that we didn’t want to get trapped yet, we put a rock in front of the door and waited to see if it would close. It did, after several minutes of wrestling with the boulder.

That is where we left off. The exploration will continue!


October 08, 1999

Defenders Summary #68: Ambassadorial Emissary, My Fat Ass!

Party Roster:

Felix, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Alex
Balinor, 6th level fighter, 56 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 7th level cleric, 45 hp, played by Katherine
Kain, 6th level cleric, 43 hp, played by Jeff
Morgan, 7th level fighter, 38 hp, played by Alan
Donald, 7th level mage, 37 hp, NPC
Albee, 5th level monk, 31 hp, NPC
Nakumanu, 4th level fighter, 31 hp, henchman
Bogomel, 3rd level fighter, 30 hp, henchman
Chiaro, 4th level illusionist, 8 hp, played by Aaron

Reign of Felix the Dwarven King: April 2182- June 2182. I will explain.

This confusing chain of events begins with the Defenders returning triumphantly from the Sentry, having conquered one of the mysteries of Lendore Isle. The party returned to Restenford and had stuff identified in Barnacus. Felix, Morgan, and Albee dispersed to train. We picked up a number of minor magical items, including thread with incredible tensile strength, several spellbooks, a longsword+1, 9 first flight arrows +2 and dwarf sized platemail +1. Donald gained Write and used it to put several spells in his books and also learned Polymorph Other, Dimension Door, and Wall of Ice. After selling off some magical daggers, crossbow bolts, and pawning our puzzle box temporarily to Peltar, the party managed to pull out of debt with literally no money and a 3500 gp loan.

Augman, the Sage in Barnacus, was unable to identify the hammer and crown that the undead dwarf was bearing, so we sent them via Turney’s Journeys (a delivery company) to Zalk for eventual identification. For those who don’t know, Zalk is the premiere identification sage in the New World, and he resides at the School of Wizardry in Dunador.

Felix spoke briefly with the Nevronian Church to check on the implications of the kingship to his soul. The Church was not sure what would happen.

Felix traveled to Teft to train, while Morgan went to Depwood and Albee went to Barnacus.

Balinor, Cassian, Donald, and Chiaro remained in Restenford. They were there when the first event occurred.

Balinor and Chiaro were home when a trio of dwarves knocked on the door. The central dwarf was wearing elaborate robes and said that he was the ambassador Moran Barrelstain of Shabrund. He said that he was aware of the crowning of a new king, and wished to speak with Felix to make sure the situation could be corrected as soon as possible. He claimed that it was an atrocity each day that Felix’s rule continued. Upon hearing that the items were being identified and were not in our possession, the dwarf stated that they could not allow the items to be touched by “outsiders,” and must be stopped as soon as possible. With their usual charm and grace, the pair directed Moran to Teft, where Kain had joined Felix and Nakumanu.

The Restenford group had enough presence of mind to send a letter ahead to Felix. The dwarves arrived and agreed to wait for Felix to finish his training (the last four days or so) before they spoke.

Felix and Kain spoke with the dwarves, who were thoroughly arrogant but willing to negotiate. An agreement was nearly reached when several points were brought up about the dwarves of the white mountains (another kingdom of dwarves). Wouldn’t they be interested in at least witnessing the de-coronation of Felix?

Felix had negotiated for 30,000 gp plus a +2 hammer, commission rights in Shabrund, and several other minor benefits. The ceremony would be performed on a hill a few days away.

Felix and Kain hired a professional negotiator at this point and asked for consultation from the local sage as well. There was evidence that the dwarves of Shabrund were not fond of outsiders and that this was consistent. Clearly they wanted to resolve this as quickly as possible.

Back in Restenford, another set of dwarves arrived. These were from the White Mountain Kingdom and were much friendlier and clearly wanted to advise Felix on his new responsibilities and resolve the situation somehow. We sent them along to Teft and warned Felix. Balinor finally grew suspicious enough to run a check on these dwarves to see if they were for real.

It turned out that the story of this second group of dwarves was true. They were contacted by the Nevronian Church upon hearing Felix’s concerns and were sent to help him.

Felix received the letter about the other dwarves and told the Shabrundian dwarves that the negotiations would have to hold for several days until the other dwarves arrived.

That evening, all hell broke loose. The dwarven delegation broke into Felix’s room at the inn, and one psionically paralyzed him. Peacemaker was aware of what was happening but could do nothing, despite screaming to all as Felix was dragged to the hilltop. The people simply failed to notice them. Peacemaker managed to ESP for a moment and picked up frustration and such, but was then blocked by what was presumably a Tower of Iron Will.

There the dwarves produced a contract in Runic IV and ordered Felix to sign it or die. He was also forced to send bardic mail to the School of Wizardry transferring the items to the dwarves. They stated that the money was nearby and the alleged hammer +2 was handed to Felix. They also warned Felix not to make waves.

The de-coronation ceremony occurred and Felix was dragged back to his room. The dwarves then left to take their prize at the School.

Felix then told Kain what had happened, and they were incensed. It was decided that if the dwarves were legitimate members of the Shabrundian dwarves acting under orders, then little could be done and we would have to bite the bullet.

Fortunately, the Church of Osprem was Communing that very day. The Defenders purchased one question and asked whether the dwarves were acting under orders.


This was really bad. Whether they were actual Shabrund dwarves or not, they were clearly power mad and had to be stopped. Extreme measures were necessary.

It was discovered that the dwarves had used all the express bardic mail horses and left none for the party. So Felix and Kain traveled by fast ship to Poseidonus with the Petethalian Navy for safety. In Poseidonus, through fortuitous negotiation Wicker saw them immediately and felt strongly enough to help them. For a greatly reduced fee of 2500 gp he agreed to Teleport them to the School of Wizardry.

The three left that evening and arrived at the School. It was learned that Zalk had not identified the items and would not for some time. When the entire situation was explained to the constable there, he agreed to verify the dwarves’ identity should they come asking for the items, hoping to resolve the issue fairly while trusting neither the dwarves nor the Defenders.

Fair enough. Additional surcharges were piling up and the items would be identified sooner to avoid possible danger. The Defenders, who were already flat broke, would need to sell several things to make ends meet for this one.

Then we return to Restenford once more. Everyone was around when another delegation of dwarves knocked at the door. They came in and the leader explained that he was Moran Barrelstain from Shabrund and wanted to know where Felix was.

We patiently explained that someone had come by a week previously who had claimed to be Moran Barrelstain, an ambassadorial emissary from Shabrund.

Moran’s response will live on in legend. “Ambassadorial emissary, my fat ass!”

The ambassador wasn’t even due for several weeks. Moran explained that the others were dark dwarf devil worshippers of the religion at the Sentry (lawful evil—the Burrower). He was quite graphic about hewing their arms off and such and said that if we went with him we’d just get controlled and have our arms hewed off if we got in the way… and so on.

We offered to go with him, but he wanted fast transport to the School of Wizardry. We took him to Peltar, who was eating pancakes at the Inn of the West Wind. The dwarf dumped a half dozen gems out of a large sack and Peltar agreed to Teleport him. The party, having no money, shrugged. Moran left his three dwarves with us and told us to “keep them amused since they don’t speak the language.” He really hated speaking Common as it was corrupted by goblin, and was happy to speak in dwarven with Chiaro and Balinor.

Peltar Teleported him to the School.

Five days later, at the School, Felix and Kain were summoned to a bizarre scene. There were several dwarven bodies on the ground with arms hewn off and a large door with arms and eyes holding a sputtering dwarf with an axe.

It was explained eventually by the constable that the dwarves had arrived and the authorities had checked their identities. When they were discovered to be fakes, they were declared under arrest. The dwarves began to resist, and suddenly there were five more dwarves (totalling eight). They had appeared out of nowhere, when suddenly another dwarf ran screaming in and hewing off arms of the other dwarves. Realizing all was lost, the five living dwarves vanished, including the newly crowned king. The magical door had activated and caught one dwarf, who then died mysteriously moments before he was properly questioned.

Time passed. Eventually the mess was sorted out and everyone met in Teft, including a disoriented Morgan.

Both groups of dwarves negotiated this time. We gave the Crown to the more remote dwarves of Shabrund for 10,000 gp reward. The crown shielded the user from all sorts of things and activated key doors in certain complexes and did all sorts of things that were a bad security risk and should be locked away as soon as possible. The hammer was a hammer+2 in the hands of a non-dwarf, but a hammer +3, of throwing, with many other cool powers in the hands of a dwarf.

The hammer given to Felix by the evil dwarves turned out to be heavily enchanted with deceptive magics that hid the fact that it was a normal hammer. We kept it anyway.

We ended up picking the treasure offers from the Shabrundian dwarves over the potential stonemasonry offers of the White Mountain dwarves. We were paid an additional 10,000 gp, had all expenses from this fiasco covered, and obtained two suits of plate mail +1 (for Nakumanu and Bogomel), and a hammer +2 which grants the user immunity to strength drain and once a week can pump his strength randomly up to hill or stone giant level! Balinor’s second magic hammer (Other) was handed over to the dwarves.


Also, Wicker received an extra 1000 gp for his time.

Before we could breathe, a messenger arrived saying Dunstill and Illic wanted to talk with us.

We met with the two veterans and learned that a fascinating mission was available. There is an orcish island normally occupied by many powerful orcish clerics and an impressive navy. The really powerful people have left and are meeting for some sort of ceremony. We are supposed to take advantage of this by landing on the island and taking a week to do as much damage as possible to the infrastructure of the island.

We get to be a wrecking crew, essentially. Sounded fantastic to us. We took it.

Until next time.


October 01, 1999

Defenders Summary #67: The Return of the King

Party Roster:

Felix, 6th level fighter, 59 hp, played by Alex
Balinor, 6th level fighter, 56 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 7th level cleric, 45 hp, played by Katherine
Kain, 6th level cleric, 43 hp, played by Jeff
Donald, 6th level mage, 37 hp, NPC
Morgan, 6th level fighter, 35 hp, played by Alan
Bogomel, 3rd level fighter, 31 hp, henchman
Nakumanu, 4th level fighter, 30 hp, henchman (Aaron this game)
Albee, 4th level monk, 27 hp, NPC
Chiaro, 4th level illusionist, 8 hp, played by Aaron

The party had just finished the rainy season of 2181-2 and hoped to begin adventuring once again. Near the end of the season we received a letter from our old friend Keldarin from the Caxathoros adventure, basically a hi, how do you do letter. So we sent one back about how we killed another one of those demons.

We discovered that on New Years Day a crazed hill giant claiming to be the ruler of the world had attacked Benct. Well, it is no longer coincidence.

Chiaro left for Koralgesh to train to 4th level. Sadly he gained 2 hp—we were disappointed, and wanted him to roll either a 1 to keep the streak going or a 4 to break it in style. So Chiaro has 8 hp. And he acquired Mirror Image, from an illusionist named Jay.

Meanwhile, on Lendore, the Defenders had traded the morning star+1 for 2300 gp, and the bastard sword+1 with extra coolness for a retractable spear +1 for Albee.

The Defenders made a decision that they would attempt to leaf through maps they had collected and find an interesting adventure to do. We decided that the perfect time-killer while Chiaro was gone was the Sentry.

The Sentry is a hill with a crest of some sort on the top. It is evil, and no one has returned from it. We talked to Augman in Barnacus about it (the sage) and he gave us more information.

Only low level parties had gone there, the most recent being several years ago (back in the early 2170s). The place was an evil temple dedicated to “earth spirits” from popular legend. In reality it seems that these “earth spirits” were evil dwarves of some sort. They worshipped a lawful evil deity of strength, power, etc. Much more up front than some sneakier evil deities. These dwarves had a civilization in the mountains to the north, but these have been explored and noted by adventurers. Incidentally, these are the same dwarves who made the weird items that we have found (the “cursed” battleaxe in the shed—see a note from summary #3).

The party decided to do it. We took the weird battleaxe in the Bag of Holding, in case it was important. We traveled uneventfully to the Sentry, which is located a day or two journey west of Hafney Hill and the witching hill. Kain created a number of Goodberries on the way.

We chatted with a possum nearby, and found out that nothing goes in or out of the Sentry. Occasionally an ogre has come by, but not in a long time.

Cassian did an astrology before we left, and discovered that “The Archway leads to the sign of the Nebula.” Ok, so the archway leads to something uncertain. Wonderful.

We marched up the hill, and found a cave entrance, and a separate set of stairs leading up. Peacemaker quickly revealed that the entire place was Lawful Evil, but that he couldn’t tell much more than that. We went up the stairs with Albee checking for traps, and found a large throne facing Hafney Hill, the witching hill, etc.

A clerical Detect Evil revealed that the throne contained a Slumbering Moderate Evil, so we decided to live and let sleep.

We went down to the “cave” entrance, a dwarven-built corridor most likely. We went in and traveled about 30 feet and discovered an odd sight. The wall ended in an archway with a wall beyond it, so the archway led to nowhere. In the center of the archway was a red gem in the wall. Above the gem were written letters in ancient dwarven that Peacemaker could translate approximately. Morgan transcribed them using his cartography skills and Donald read them with Comprehend Languages.

“Those who deem themselves worthy enough must reach for the prize.”

There were also a pair of statues of dwarves wielding a hammer and a battleaxe. We assumed these were golems of some sort. Donald cast a Detect Magic and noted that the corridor was magical for the FIRST 15 feet, but not where we were standing.

We assumed that some sort of cave-in might occur, so Cassian and Bogomel went outside the corridor to help from that side with a potential Dispel Magic. Felix suggested that we kill the golems first, which we agreed with.

So Felix and Balinor aimed blows at the battleaxe golem, while everyone prepared themselves for the combat.

Felix whacked it; Balinor could not affect it with his magical weapon. Both creatures activated. The first 15 feet of the corridor vanished, and became solid non-magical rock! Cassian was on the outside and would miss the fight.

We probably should have figured out that the 15 feet were a portal similar to the one from the dwarven adventure in Sark (see summaries #30 and #31). Oh well.

The battleaxe golem had to punch Felix due to his closeness, so it did and wounded him somewhat. Balinor drew his +3 dagger and attacked the other golem, letting Felix deal with this one.

Albee got pasted by the other golem and retreated. Morgan Thunderstruck the golem, but there was no effect. Gas began pouring into the room from somewhere, so Kain dropped a Slow Poison on himself and Felix.

Balinor swung and fumbled. Donald advanced and stabbed the golem with his +2 dagger (Mindwaster) which did affect it. Morgan got trashed while fighting with his +2 dagger. Donald then got pasted and gave way to Nakumanu. The Goodberries were being consumed rapidly as wounds opened up all over the place.

The gas was clearly being emitted by the golems, and the whole party except Kain and Felix were Slowed. Felix continued to bash his golem and get injured, and Kain ran through an entire Cure Light x3 scroll. Felix finally shattered his and turned to help the rest of the party kill the other one. Balinor dropped his dagger and Albee picked it up for him. Nakumanu got pasted twice and nearly went down. Kain began Cure spells from memory. Nakumanu handed off his +2 dagger to Balinor, who swung with both and hit.

Felix continued to rip the thing apart, and finally, it shattered as well!

As soon as it shattered, a stone plate of some sort appeared at the archway. It advanced on us rapidly, and the wall behind us opened up rapidly. We were essentially ejected from the Sentry!

We could see down the open corridor once again, and noted that the golems were back, and perfectly intact.


We camped out for a few days. Cassian did another astrology, but it was less successful than the first, revealing that “The Archway is important.” Lendore was being excessively cloudy and was messing up her results.

We healed up and decided to actually try the archway this time. We debated about whether it should be a cleric to go, or a fighter. Then we debated about if it was a fighter, would it be better to have the man of effectiveness (Felix) go in or remain behind. Ultimately it was decided that Balinor would try it.

Balinor was given 4 goodberries, a dagger +3, a bagged lunch, and shoved off.

Balinor touched the gem and vanished. The warrior appeared in a 10’ by 10’ room with no doors or exits. A voice boomed in ancient dwarven, “Wlahdsg alkhsdaghash adhgijksho?” or something like that. Balinor knew it was a question.

Balinor said, “No,” in dwarven. Something happened, and then he awoke at stable consciousness in a 20’ by 20’ cell. He used the Ring of Health to recover and looked around. There were many dead skeletons here, with all their gear intact. There was also a limited air supply in this room—clearly the others hadn’t used it up as they had been dead.

Through some miracle, Balinor had survived and was instead trapped alive. He immediately made the best of it by looting the bodies which had at least three magical weapons and a wand, not to mention some holy water and potions, and putting their stuff in his Bag of Holding. Then he began to tap on the walls to look for a way out.

Meanwhile, the party assumed Balinor was not coming back without help. So Felix entered with Peacemaker. It was discovered that the gem went dark for a moment and reactivated later, so clearly only one person could go through at a time.

Felix was in the 10’ by 10’ room. Fortunately, he had Peacemaker, who could actually understand the question being asked. It was a riddle. I’ve forgotten the exact wording—I’ll release it in a note to the summary.

In any case, Felix answered it. He appeared in a hexagonal chamber with a skeletal dwarf wielding a hammer and shield in front of him. The voice said, “Now you must be tested.”

The dwarf charged.

What followed was one of the faster and more brutal fights of Felix’s career. The two warriors were matched in speed and durability and accuracy. However, Felix did half-damage, while the other creature did roughly two-thirds Felix’s normal damage.

But Felix got lucky and killed the creature!

Then Felix managed to avoid being turned into a Lawful Evil servant of the religion. Note: With Peacemaker capable of possessing Felix this would have been really odd.

Felix gained 6 hit points permanently! He was named the dwarven king! He had to appoint a high priest before his reign was over.

A portal opened up in front of him, revealing Balinor in mid-tap. There was confused exchange, and Felix saw the loot and used HIS Bag of Holding to grab the rest of it!

The two warriors turned and found that an archway with a gem had appeared at the opposite end of the hexagonal room. Felix touched it and vanished, followed by Balinor.

The two warriors appeared by the throne outside.

We did it!

It was then that we figured out that the Sentry was analogous to the Shrine of Nevron for this evil religion. Felix had passed the tests and gained power. However, we were all nervous about the results and this whole high priest appointee thing.

Felix also has chosen NOT to sit on the throne, at least so far. The results could be interesting.

As it turned out, the treasure from the other party was minor, but the hammer was cool. We haven’t learned the details yet—we’re being kept in suspense until next week!

Felix has gained the distinction of surviving the trials and becoming the dwarven king, while Balinor has gained the dubious distinction of having actually survived failing the trials.

Joel/Balinor (the servant of Felix, the dwarven king)