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Defenders Summary #71: Be Vewy Vewy Quiet, We’ah Huntin’ Vampiahs

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 last left our valiant Defenders of Good healing wounds and scouting the orcs.

In accordance with our plan, we agreed to blow day 4 and 5 on exploration of the ruins, pending results of course. Among other things, we really wanted to kill that vampire once and for all.

First we checked out the weird spire (which stood about 100 feet up, by the way). We entered through the main door using the Passwall cloak from Orc Isle and found ourselves in a room with four statues of something like steam, lightning, and some other elements. The reason I don’t remember is that this was probably a riddle of some sort, but we never figured it out. Light flickered on and off in the room like a strobe, a phenomenon we had also seen on Orc Isle.

On the floor and ceiling (15 feet up) was an asterisk symbol about 10 feet in diameter, which we eventually hypothesized would unfurl into a spiral staircase, presumably upon solving the puzzle of the statues. Oh well.

There being no exits, we poked around and discovered that the asterisk in the ceiling was some sort of illusion and it was possible to climb up to another floor. We threw a grappling hook up and climbed. Up there we discovered a whole new room with about a thousand weird glowing bricks of all colors stacked in the corner. There was also a staircase leading up and a door with a single rune on it that Kain identified through Runic Literacy as an abbreviation for something. Great.

Kain put his hand on the knob of the door, when a voice said something in a weird language no one spoke. He took his hand off the knob. We shrugged and went up the stairs instead.

There we found another room with an asterisk on the ceiling. We climbed through and reached another room, this one with the ceiling about 60 feet up!

Weirder than that was the presence of three, well, exercise bikes near one of the walls!

Also, a forty degree arc of wall was one-way transparent to the outside, allowing us to view the shore and sea easily. These islands are SO weird.

Seeing little else to do, we peddled the bikes. One at a time at first, and they made a clicking sound. Then we tried all of them simultaneously and the sounds blurred and suddenly there were noises from overhead. We stopped and so did the noises. We tried again, and something happened up there.

We stopped and noise continued for several minutes before stopping.

Since the bikes were elf-sized (or half-elf) this meant that our best climbers were also the best bikers. Leaving Balinor and Felix and Nakumanu to hand peddle them, Cassian, Morgan, Kain, and Albee went up the grappling hook to the high ceiling (using the Ring of Featherfall for safety). Reaching the top they discovered that a weird “machine” was standing over the hole in the floor (the asterisk pattern). Around the backside were two panels with handles to open them.

First we tried to peddle the bikes, and the thing began to shift, and a shutter opened and bright light flared out of the front of the thing. It began swinging in a 270 degree arc, shining light out to sea and possibly visible from the orcish drydock village.

“Turn it off!” we yelled, but we couldn’t do anything. A few moments later it stopped.

I should note that the top room was clearly the top (the ceiling came to a point) and the walls were ALL transparent (one-way).

Hmm. We decided to poke around some more. We opened the lower panel and found some sort of grinding/ compressing mechanism with bits and shards of stuff in it (glass, we thought). The upper panel contained three switches all flipped to the right, and a baseball sized diamond held by a mechanical arm that could be retracted by a handle.

Ahhh. We decided that, first of all, this was a weird lighthouse. The gems downstairs probably powered it and the diamond focused light or something. It seemed like a shame to wreck the obviously magical device, but greed and all laws of adventured dictated that we should take the fist-sized diamond.

First, we tested the glowing brick hypothesis. We stuffed a brick (blue) into the crusher and stepped back. Morgan decided that he wanted to see what would happen and so left the door open.

He flipped the switches to the left and the panels descended to the brick. Then a HUGE burst of light streamed out of the compartment. Albee and Cassian managed to shield their eyes, but Kain was instantly blinded and badly burned. Morgan, on the other hand, suddenly turned into a living torch before their eyes! He shrieked and closed the door. The lighthouse began to swing and Kain desperately tried to heal Morgan but couldn’t see him. They got out of the way and put the elf out, leaving Morgan damaged but intact (and he MADE his saving throw!).

The lighthouse began to swing again and Albee made a grab for the door to try to shut the lighthouse down, but was knocked aside by the swinging. He jumped onto the platform and held on, and tried to open the panel to shut off the light. Light streamed out, burned him, and shrieked and shut the panel again.

Felix and Balinor remained happily uninjured downstairs, drumming their fingers and wondering if there was anything they could do. Nah.

We healed up some and the lighthouse stopped swinging an hour later. Well, the orcs probably saw that. Hopefully they’d just interpret it as another sign of the haunting of the ruins.

We camped and healed in the exercise bike room, still plotting to take the diamond.

The four party members assembled on top once again, and Kain opened the door to the upper hatch. The diamond was still there. He pulled the retractable arm back, reached out, and took the diamond.

A section of floor detached itself into some sort of ruby golem and sprang at Kain. The hapless cleric jumped off the platform, but before anyone could interpose, the thing struck Kain, injuring him and immediately turning him to stone! It then took the unaffected diamond in its hand, put it back, and vanished back into the floor.

Cassian Dispelled Kain, and we decided that it was just too much this time.

We decided to spell shift for Polymorph Self so Donald could burrow down to the tunnel below the ground that the mole had indicated to us earlier. In addition, we got Comprehend Languages to understand to door’s rune and a Tongues spell to understand the warning on the door.

The rune was the symbol for danger.

The voice said, “Danger. Authorized personnel only.”

We went in. Inside was a fairly normal looking room with a cabinet and an ominous black curtain covering a section of the room. We searched the cabinet and found four sets of, well, REALLY dark glasses. And four red robes. None were magical.

Morgan, Kain, Cassian, and Felix put them on, became basically blind, and opened the curtain. Some sort of tremendously powerful bright light came out (enough that they could clearly see by it) and they could see some runes around a glowing portal of streaming brightness.


Someone threw a bit of food in wrapping in front of the light. It blackened and drifted backward into the wall.


Well, it seemed we had a permanent gate to the Plane of Radiance. What we were going to do with it… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

We decided to shut the curtain and finish our exploration of the ruins. Donald began digging a huge hole in the ground and we discovered another complex. We immediately noted that one direction linked back to what was probably the large double doors on the beach where we had landed. There were four of our favorite crystal crab golems there, facing the door and surrounding another asterisk symbol. This one couldn’t be used as a hole, but the one in the ceiling led right back to the first room in the spire (the crabs didn’t activate, probably being triggered to the doors opening or something). We felt incredibly stupid and continued our exploration the other way.

First, as we were crossing a corridor two panels opened from the walls and ten wights streamed out of one of them at the back of the party! Cassian and Kain Turned them back, but we needed a plan. So we followed them to their corridor and pressed them against a wall, breaking the Turn. Donald launched a Web, catching all of them!

As the first broke out, Nakumanu and Bogomel met it with spears, followed by Balinor and Morgan with longswords. Using hold-at-bay we managed to keep them back, though Balinor was swung at TWICE and Morgan was swung at once (all missed).

Satisfied, we looted the ten coffins behind the fighting area. We also checked out the other panel, but here the coffins had fallen into the ocean. Three were visible but buried.

Simple math: seven plus three is ten! The seven wights that attacked us on the stairs (and emerged from the water) were the missing wights from this room! The other three were trapped in coffins. We made short work of them by opening the coffins just slightly and stabbing at them through the hole until they died. Well, we weren’t playing fair with the level-draining monsters, but who would?

Continuing down the rest of the passage, we found ourselves at a pair of staircases leading to a catwalk. Under the catwalk was a collapsed section of wall that had partially buried… another bug-eyed statue. We had seen one of these on Orc Isle (with two huge red rubies for eyes and a hideous grin) and hadn’t touched it then. Felix noted that the statue was Chaotic Evil, and we left it alone once again.

We went up the stairs, traversed the catwalk to another stairwell, and found ourselves looking at our worst nightmare. Another small bone statue held by mithril strands lay innocently in the center of the floor of the room, with piles of bones around it.

We had also found one of those on Orc Isle and hadn’t gone near it. We could see that the only exit from the room collapsed within a few feet, so once again our motivation failed and we left the room in piece (though we did note that the statue was type 4 magic).

We were out of options, and a secret doors check of the place turned up nothing. We spell-shifted once again and decided to Stoneshape and chisel our way into the two buildings mostly buried by lava with no apparent entrance to them.

The first Kain Stoneshaped, but recoiled as some sort of yellow gas seeped out of the building. We waited a moment until it disappeared and we found nothing but a small area with a normal stone bench in it.

The second we chiseled. Badly. Hours passed before we finally broke through.

While we were doing this, Morgan felt himself contacted telepathically somehow. He resisted the effect and it vanished. We were unsure of what it could be, though hypotheses of a Charm Person and Contact Other were popular, as well as a psionic attack or contact of some sort. We were unsure as to whether his elven resistances helped here.

We finished digging and discovered a recently slept in bed and a burrowing hole. Something had left very recently, probably due to the racket we were making.

We heard a voice in orcish. Something wanted to talk to us. It claimed that the master of the undead and the orcs were our common enemies and that he could help us find the vampire for a fee of a potion. He refused to let us see him (he threw his voice extremely well and we couldn’t figure out where he was), but he did let us send Kain’s wolf to verify that he was not undead himself, or really bizarre. The wolf reported that he was humanoid and smelled like vines.

Didn’t sound too bad, so we agreed to shut the hole with a Stoneshape, and left some food and a Potion of Gaseous Form and he led us to a snake hole by NOT throwing his voice. When asked if he wanted to leave the island with us, he claimed that we would not take him due to his unusual looks. He said that he made his living by stealing from the orcs. He claimed to have been on the island for five decades. We shrugged but didn’t’ press the point.

When asked if he was the one who tried to contact Morgan, the creature claimed to have no idea what we were asking. It was unclear whether he was just avoiding the question or not.

We dug out the hole with Donald the burrow worm and reached some flagstones, which Donald couldn’t knock out. Balinor used a crowbar to pry the stone loose, attached to a rope. However, the fall of the flagstone still caught him by surprise and the fighter slipped and fell, swinging wildly, nearly knocked Kain down, slammed into a wall and then hung dangling with his head two feet from a huge sarcophagus.

Balinor was hauled back up, though his canteen and crowbar had fallen into the tomb. Suddenly snakes emerged from all over the place. Donald dropped a Web and we torched them all. Finally, Balinor, Felix, Cassian, and Morgan were lowered into the tomb, with Donald, Kain, and Nakumanu watching from overhead with holy water ready.

Balinor pried open the lid of the sarcophagus, and then dozens of spiders streamed out. Morgan shrieked and managed to get bitten by a spider, but no one else was harmed. Balinor turned to find a half-dozen shadows attacking and he ran at them madly. Thanks to his spiffy new hammer, Wrath, Balinor was totally immune to the shadows and began clobbering them! Cassian then turned them, and they disappeared back into a pair of swirling pillars, which we had also seen on Orc Isle, as they generated shadows there as well.

The spiders, and Felix and Cassian were blown up by several flasks of oil but the room was clear of enemies once again. Singed but still healthy Cassian dropped a Slow Poison to make sure Morgan didn’t keel over from the spider bite, but he was too traumatized from the “bugs” anyway.

Balinor leaned over to pry open the wood coffin in the sarcophagus. Inside was a set of equipment with nothing in it! We dumped holy water on it, but nothing happened.

We raised the sarcophagus out of the tomb and into the light (or relative light) of the jungle. We took the equipment out, which included a weird staff with a gem on the end of it. The staff detected as evil, but nothing else did. It should be noted that the vampire’s “bamboo” pole dropped when he went Gaseous after we defeated him the second time, and was discovered to be a non-magical stone pole, made by ripping it from a statue!

We suspected that this was not all to see and we checked for and found a false bottom on the sarcophagus. Down there was ANOTHER coffin. This one contained nothing but a shadowy outline of a humanoid figure, slowing forming in the coffin.


We tried dumping holy water, lighting the thing on fire, and decapitating it, as well as using garlic. We tried EVERYTHING. Nothing seemed to happen.

Finally, we realized what to do. We hauled the box off the to the spire and opened it in front of the Plane of Radiance gate! The shadow vanished, but the evil of the coffin remained, only slightly charred by the light.

Balinor broke the coffin up a bit, but there was still no effect.

So we threw the coffin into the gate. It vanished immediately.

We went back to check out the other coffin, and discovered, much to our consternation, the shadow now forming THERE inside the equipment. Drat.

Rinse. Repeat.

We dragged the second coffin back to the gate and threw it in too. We even searched all the wight coffins, but found no sign of the shadow. We also noted that the tomb was no longer consecrated evil (only the pillars).

We decided to camp and rest up for the final attack plan on the orcs, having exhausted our exploration possibilities. We knew we had missed something (shouldn’t the vampire have a horde of treasure?) but we just didn’t know what to do. We spell-shifted and Stoneshaped the hole shut again. While shifting in the exercise bike room, we noticed that two orcish warships (smallish) were hanging out about a mile out into the sea off the coast. Realizing that there was a possibility of a landing party, we collapsed the hole to the spire complex and continued shifting. The boats didn’t leave, but neither did they approach overnight.

Finally, on the afternoon of day six, we were ready.

One footnote: Morgan was again contacted during the shift. His reaction has not yet been determined….



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