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Defenders Summary #77: The Defenders’ Traveling Circus

Party Roster:

Felix, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Alex
Balinor, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 7th level cleric, 45 hp, played by Katherine
Kain, 7th level cleric, 45 hp, played by Jeff
Donald, 8th level mage, 43 hp, NPC
Morgan, 7th level fighter, 38 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 8th level druid, 37 hp, played by Jeremy
Albee, 5th level monk, 31 hp, NPC
Bogomel, 3rd level fighter, 31 hp, henchman
Nakumanu, 4th level fighter, 30 hp, henchman
Chiaro, 5th level illusionist, 9 hp, played by Aaron

The party began by resolving some logistical issues. Quentin had reached the court of the High Druid and had given him the Kraken warning item. The Druid believed that the right choice had been made and that the party should not inform anyone of the item’s existence.

The party sharply disagreed in this issue, with the most adamant being Kain and Felix, although they also had sharply contrasting viewpoints with each other. Without going into the details it was generally agreed by all but Felix and Quentin that the very highest levels of the good churches should be informed (highest religiously, not politically). However, there is still disagreement about this, specifically about HOW to do it.

Leaving that aside, we resolved other issues. Chiaro trained and learned Wraithform, and there was a distinct slurping noise as Chiaro paid 4200 gp for Spectral Force. His training didn’t finish until after this game’s adventure, though. Also of note, in this year of 2183, the high illusionist of Koralgesh, Remtran (sp), died, and Lambu (sp) became the high illusionist. Chiaro is Lambu’s student, and as such was given a Philter of Persuasiveness from Remtran’s stuff.

Kain also trained and selected crow form upon attaining 7th level as a cleric of Silban. Kain returned in time to make the adventure that followed.

Finally, some held-back story award was handed out, meaning that Alduin gained 7th level (and immediately 8th level) rising to 35 hp! Also, Vic, if you’re reading, pick out weapon and non-weapon proficiencies for Alduin.

Treasure was resolved and salvage tax was paid in the form of a dagger+1, bracers 7/10, and a scroll of Protection from Plants. We kept the Amulet of Turning Undead, the Circlet to the Book of Infinite Spells, the Urn/ Portal to the Plane of Air, and the scroll of Magic Mirror (which Donald then learned).

We traded to the Portal to the School of Wizardry after Zalk identified it, getting the Arm-a-Armadillo (-1 AC, better sense of smell, jumping ability, look like an armadillo), the spells Fireball and Wall of Fire for Donald, and 5000 gp.

We decided that while we were waiting for Chiaro to return, we should resolve something had driven us (or at least some party members) nuts for years. The will-o-wisp near the old bandit fortress was going down. Hard.

This statement of firm resolve perhaps over-dignifies what followed.

We hired one of Peltar’s students, a stuffy and irritable mage named Filban, for 1500 gp to read scrolls of Magic Missile so that we could kill the super-fast creature before it escaped. But first we had to find its treasure. The plan was to talk with animals and plants in the area and use Locate Object—Coins to find the treasure.

Well, it was that simple. Sort of.

We set off toward the fortress, and on the second day out, about 20 bandits in leather armor came out of the bushes around us and ordered us to surrender.

Balinor, who now looked like an armadillo, immediately yelled, “I give up!” and started flinging weapons to the ground, making such a scene that the bandits didn’t notice the whole party laughing and casting various spells.

First a Sleep spell dropped eleven of them. Six others panicked and froze with horror. Several were Entangled. Three eventually tried to get away and two were Held by Cassian, while the last was running away successfully, or so it seemed. Kain transformed into a crow, flew over fleeing bandits, dropped in front of him, and Commanded him to Die while still a crow. The bandit dropped.

We questioned the leader as to what the heck he thought he was doing attacking a group of people in plate mail with short bows. He said that they planned to run away and have us fall into concealed pits and demand that we give them money. Apparently they thought we were a patrol!

We tied them up and had them fill in the pits while we searched them. We found 200 gp and a dagger with Continual Light on it.

During the conversation, the bandit leader looked at Balinor and said to someone, “He DOES look like an armadillo.”

Balinor sniffed and mumbled, “Got a bad cold.”

Kain flew back to Restenford to martial Brillman and his patrol to come out to the wilderness and haul the bandits back to town. We waited for a day and a half for them to arrive, which led to another bizarre encounter.

Yes, a half-dozen stirges attacked the party at night.

This was getting pathetic. None of them hit, and Felix and Donald were killing them with melee weapons (Donald not deigning to waste a spell). One landed near Balinor, and in what was almost a cool move, without even getting out of his sleeping bag, he picked up his double-shot crossbow and shot it to death. Or at least stable consciousness.

To mess up this coolness, Felix picked up the flailing stirge and dropped it near Balinor, who tried to mash it with his hand. He fumbled and the thing latched on and started drinking his blood. After flailing about with his hand, Balinor finely ground the thing into a fine powder by smashing it against the ground really hard. He then went back to sleep.

Morgan slept through the entire encounter.

The bandits were hauled off by a pleased Brillman, and Filban merely shook his head at our antics and looked pained.

We moved on, reaching the bandit fortress the next day. The fortress now had a thatched roof, which was a sign that we had someone else to clear out. Scouting revealed that there were four sleeping ogres inside and a giant lizard with a spiked collar.

We approached the camp, and to assuage Cassian’s conscience, we threw a Detect Good/Evil at them. One of them actually detected as neutral!

Quentin cast Hold Animal, freezing the lizard, and allowing Morgan to sneak inside and kill the three evil ogres. He knocked the last unconscious and tied him up. We questioned the ogre, who turned out to an ogre version of Bogomel, really stupid and dependent on others for survival. We decided to haul him along with us and see if the Baron could do something with the poor guy whose brother ogres we had just killed.

Quentin cast Animal Friendship on the giant lizard (a skink, specifically) and took it along as well, and we rapidly began to look like a traveling circus.

We began chatting with animals in the area. First we spoke with a bunch of toads who eventually indicated that there was a spring nearby where a “goblin” would occasionally appear and grab toads. We know that the will-o-wisp can appear as small humanoids (we once saw what we thought was a halfling). The thing was also spotted near the rocky hills on occasion (we learned this from talking to a grumpy owl who refused to eat our iron rations).

We began searching the area and found a number of traps in the form of rockslides, sinkholes, etc., each baited with a few coins or a dead body. Locate Object turned out not to work through thick layers of mud and stone, and we were starting to get a little frustrated when Quentin cast Speak with Plants and chatted with a weird bush near the spring area (Balinor had nearly sunk into the mud the first time we’d gone there).

The bush had a soft seductive voice and kept trying to get Quentin to eat its berries, which were diarrhetic, but eventually we learned that something had been buried near its roots about three days ago. A xenophobic group of grasses claimed the same thing and there we found a rodent hole, so we weren’t entirely confident about the bush’s story, but thought we would give it a try. As a side note, Quentin took pity on the grass and moved them to another location.

Balinor, using his armadillo claws and a shovel, dug under the thorny bush, which had a weird sticky residue on some of its roots. Balinor accidentally pricked himself, and suddenly began convulsing wildly. It took Nakumanu and Felix quite a while to subdue the flailing fighter while Kain Slow Poisoned him.

That matter aside, Balinor finished digging while Morgan sunbathed on a rock. Eventually, Balinor uncovered a wooden chest and hauled it out. Inside, we found about 8,000 gp in jewelry and coins. Balinor suggested that we look for a false bottom, and we found one, which contained some papers with names of people who might have lived on Lendore.

We assumed that we had finally found the wisp’s treasure, and decided to spend a night in the fortress to see if we had angered it enough.

We had.

In the middle of the night, with Balinor and Kain on watch, Kain’s wolf Smoky was suddenly burned by something, nearly getting killed! We yelled an alarm, and Balinor swung at the general area, missing.

Donald awoke and cast Detect Invisibility and spotted the wisp at the ceiling. The creature would dart down every few segments and try to kill someone.

This went on for awhile with the fighters missing continuously and Kain and Felix getting hurt. Finally, Felix actually clocked the creature. Our goal here was to keep the thing occupied long enough for Donald and Filban to ready their scrolls and begin rapid-fire Magic Missile.

The spellcasters tried helplessly to affect the creature, but it was immune to almost everything. Interestingly, it didn’t seem to care about Thunderstruck either, which would indicate it isn’t lightning-based.

A Beneficent Polymorph from Kain failed to affect it, hitting the wall behind it. A Faerie Fire failed as well. Kain’s Cure Light on Smoky was disrupted by the wisp. Things were getting nasty.

Donald and Filban were at last ready, and they began reading their scrolls. The creature dove and nailed Filban, almost dropping him and blowing the first spell on the scroll. Donald was luckier and slammed the creature with four missiles. Kain also nailed it with one missile from the wand. They immediately read another missile battery and slammed it with 8 more.

The creature realized it was in trouble and tried to run out the arrow slits.

Donald and Filban fired one last round, and nailed it, and the thing exploded into little trails of ash. There was also a scarred skull on the ground.

There were little wisps of smoke drifting toward the ceiling, and Donald told us to bottle them, as they were worth money. Unfortunately, through bad luck we were only able to grab a small amount in one jar (we tried things like Kain and Quentin in crow form carrying a bag into the air to snag the stuff). Eventually, it drifted out of reach.

Satisfied, we headed back, uneventfully, to Restenford. We had made some money, in any case. The net treasure was probably about 8000 gp.

The papers contained the names of criminals and bandits from the previous century, the Baron informed us while chuckling. Still, the mission was a success, and an old nemesis was finally slain.

The skink will be set up as the house guard by Quentin. The ogre still needs to be assessed by the Baron.

Next time, we’ll begin the Khargish ruins.



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