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Defenders Summary #80: If You Can't Solve it, Kill it

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
Alduin, 8th level thief, 39 hp, played by Vic
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

Quote for the day: "I'm a druid. I'm practically a tree." --Quentin

We last left our bloodthirsty party in the swamp having deftly evaded fanged bullfrogs or some such things. We were located in the section of high ground (see Summary #33-34) where we last spoke with the stork people (they were a ghostly and ominous voice on the wind). We spoke to a buzzard (picture a Warner Brothers buzzard) who directed us to their nest, hidden somewhere in the reeds. We began to travel, and Chiaro used a Detect Invisibility. Chiaro at one point spotted a thing in the bushes, but it vanished from sight in moments.

Then the very bad thing that we expected to happen, happened. Balinor felt three sharp beaks stab him through his plate mail (inflicting 67 damage and four wounds) and he fell to the ground gasping for help. Chiaro, not wanting to die by drawing attention to himself, began casting a Phantasmal Force to indicate where the invisible creatures were. Meanwhile, Quentin and Kain began healing spells and prayers while Donald cast Minor Globe of Invulnerability, shielding himself and Cassian. Cassian began to drink the Potion of Avian Control. Felix ordered the fighters into a line and organized a defense. It appeared that the storkpeople were planning to kill Quentin as things currently stood.

Then weird dancing lights sparkled around the party, but only Morgan collapsed into a little ball in the muck, while everyone else was unaffected. Cassian finished off the potion just as some spell effect bounced off the Minor Globe.

Although Cassian had no idea how many she had, she began to issue orders:

Stop attacking us.
Kill those that didn't just squawk.

This pitted five storkpeople on one, who quickly perished. The stork people showed themselves and began to glide toward us. They were ordered to stand in a line obediently.

Another storkperson was standing nearby, simply observing Felix. Cassian commanded him to come forward, which he did, slowly. Felix was suspicious and drew Peacemaker, and his paranoia was rewarded when the thing suddenly changed to look exactly like Felix and jumped at him.

They stabbed each other and dueled, and Kain was afraid to intervene with a spell in case he hit the wrong Felix. The false Felix, was of course uninjured in appearance even after Felix hit it several times (why on earth didn't that dispel the illusion!?). Eventually, Felix simply dispatched the creature without help.

Balinor was patched up and the party began to kill the storkpeople. The last was questioned and led us to the extremely well hidden "nests," which were actually primitive small huts. We questioned the thing about its race's creation, which involved a lot of separation from reality and stuff (I'll leave others to explain that if they wish-- it was pretty neat) when the thing broke from its charm, and was stabbed repeatedly and died. Questioning also revealed that we had gotten all of the storkpeople.

We searched the nests and found some money and gems, but the most interesting things were a set of a magical black spheres and an ornate platinum rod with a magical bird on the bottom of it that sang when it was taken out of its case.

We healed up and prepared for our battle with the grey philosopher and friends. We knew it would be heinous, so we developed a long and complicated plan which I'll simply reveal as it happened.

The spellshift before we went, Donald cast Strength spells on Balinor and Morgan, raising them into the higher brackets of 18 strength. We left and traveled to the building where we had last encountered the philosopher, and entered. The doors slammed shut behind us. We cast Protection from Evil 10' and Aid spells on Felix and other party members, and other preparatory spells were cast. We headed up the grand stairway and stopped at the landing halfway up.

From there we cast 3 Dispel Magics at the area where the Grey Philosopher was, hoping to eliminate his staff early on. We then dropped a Wall of Fire in a circle, leaving the grey philosopher in one end, and the giant skeletons just outside of the other ends. We charged into the room and all we could see was a giant wall of fire. Quentin and Kain charged for the philosopher's throne with Flame Blades cast. They reached into the Wall of Fire and used their protections and encountered the enemy.

The staff swung and clocked Quentin anyway, and suddenly Quentin felt weak (-2 to all combat rolls). Kain hit the philosopher solidly. It was clear that a) the Dispels had no effect on the staff, and b) the Wall of Fire was hurting the philosopher, but only at GREATLY reduced damage.

Some malices circled Felix, but bounced off his armor. It was clear that the philosopher remembered us when Felix was hit by a malice (although the Aid spells soaked the hit)…

We're back!

The gigantic skeletons (B.A.S.T.A.R.D.s) came out of the fire walls and headed for the party. Albee prepared the Wire Ball just in case while Donald dropped a Web spell in front of one of the skeletons, snagging it. Alduin threw holy water. Felix, Balinor, and Morgan closed with the other skeleton. Felix had been transferred a great deal of defensive gear and was in fact AC -8 for the combat….

Quentin was struck repeatedly by the staff, but consistently resisted its effects, although he was taking serious damage. Kain got another successful hit, and the philosopher was slowly being roasted, but sooner or later Quentin would blow one of the numerous saving throws (3 each time) and would be screwed.

The fighters met in a clash of weapons. The thing was at least a 13th level fighter (it was speed 2 with its bastard sword, and AC -4 with its shield) and swung for huge damage, but it actually missed Felix in its opening attack. Taking full advantage of this, Balinor and Morgan FUMBLED, and somehow managed the worst possible scenario-- both allowed a free attack. Both were clocked and trashed, and Morgan was forced to down a healing potion. Katherine kept track of the fumbles-- I believe there were a total of ten fumbles, many with disastrous consequences.

Healing potions were being slurped down, but Balinor recovered from his initial bad swings to inflict some damage while Felix pounded on the thing. Morgan couldn't seem to hit the guy though, and Thunderstruck was waiting to discharge. Finally the creature swung and clocked Felix, although it didn’t harm him much after the Aid spells. The second hit brought Felix down significantly with a pair of wounds. He used the Ring of Health and continued to fight viciously, fumbling only once or twice, dropping Peacemaker.

Donald launched Magic Missile batteries that would have done devastating damage, but due to horrible luck about half were resisted through some sort of magic resistance. Alduin continued to throw holy water to great effect, never missing.

Quentin fumbled against the philosopher… Bogomel fumbled against the skeleton still stuck in the web… Morgan nearly broke Thunderstruck… chaos ensued…

After much carnage and about 200 points of damage, the fighters dropped the skeleton just as the other one broke free. Needing to by the others time to heal, Nakumanu ordered Bogomel to stand for a moment against the onslaught. Bogomel hit the skeleton!

The precious time bought Felix and Balinor and Morgan the opportunity to down potions and get Cure spells to rid them of wounds. It wasn't quite enough time, and this time Nakunanu and Bogomel couldn't pull of a miracle. They missed and Bogomel was clocked, though he survived. They began to retreat, but the skeleton was faster and would have overtaken them had it not been for Albee.

The heroic monk appeared and blocked the way with his extendo-Spear+1, but missed and was smashed and run over by the skeleton, left bleeding with a wound.

At that moment, the grey philosopher's staff hit Quentin for the fifth time, and this time Quentin was affected badly. The druid lost feeling in his leg and gained a severe limp, reducing his movement by 3". Simultaneously he aged 16 years.

A moment later, the grey philosopher perished in the flames. Kain dropped his Flame Blade and dashed back out to see what had happened, and saw Albee bleeding. He went to help.

The second skeleton met the fighters in full combat. This time, it was as if fate had decided the battle had gone on too long. The skeleton missed, and everyone hit, and thing took massive damage and went down in 3 segments!

Instantly there was complete darkness and disorientation, and we awoke in a grassy field facing a Khargish human, who told us to go sleep in an inn.

The day was sunny and fairly pleasant. There were scattered farms about, and a decently sized city in front of us. The farmer identified it as the ruined city of the Kharg, except it wasn't ruined.

What on earth was happening?

We all appeared to be Khargish humans in mundane clothing, and each of us had only one item with us-- Balinor his hammer+2, Morgan his elven chain, Felix-Peacmeaker, the clerics their holy symbols, Donald a single spellbook, etc. (as players we had chosen the item previously).

We went into the town and explored, and quickly confirmed with what we learned from Augman that this was in fact the Khargish city. I'll leave Vic to provide the full details, but in essence, the city had recently become the capital of the declining Khargish empire. A pirate hired by the city had attacked it and attempted to steal the bridle of Farin in the Temple of Thim (the cow god, as Balinor says), and when he reached for the glass case, the man we identified as the grey philosopher raised his staff and destroyed the city.

We decided that we were either a thousand years back in time, or we were in the philosopher's memories, in some sort of test. We suspect that our mission is either to prevent or at least alter the disaster or the events to come, or demonstrate that the philosopher's decision was right/wrong.

We had no money and so decided to explore the town, debating whether Alduin should use that lesser thief skill of Pickpocket…

We found that the building in which our titanic battle had taken place was a in fact the town hall. We were given directions to the Temple of Thim in the hopes of seeing the bridle and perhaps spotting the philosopher, but we were ordered out when we didn't have horses. Instead, we went to visit the Temple of Kor, hoping that they could help us or at least provide insight. Quentin and Kain went to visit the then larger Argo Forest (the nasty treant forest) in hopes of finding support or advice.

Quentin and Kain landed and encountered a pair of brownies who initially didn't believe that a human like Quentin could be a druid. It was clear that the brownies were angry at the Kharg and that general relations were extremely poor. Even stranger, Quentin and Kain had noted a large canal structure being dug between the Argo and the city. The hostility was confirmed when the brownies tried to kill Kain when they found out he was a cleric of Silban (allied with agriculture). Quentin begged for them to stop, and Kain was put to sleep by an exploding arrow full of weird dust.

Quentin discovered that we were more or less a thousand years in the past, and that the only other settlement of humans on Lendore was at Barnacle Bay, a small fort on an island (now the palace of Duke Haermond).

Meanwhile, the remainder of the party discovered that the cleric of Kor was actually willing to believe us and could actually sense that some of us were non-human. He listened and decided that he needed to do a great deal of thinking (he didn't recognize the philosopher from our description). He would not help us or hinder us (except to help us return home, and, oh yeah, he gave us 12 gp and 2 ep). Yay.

Well, we're completely confused. Are you?



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