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January 22, 2002

Wizard Mountain Summary #14: Bugs, Boredom, and a Bugbear

Party Roster:

Standish (Katherine)
Brigling (Katherine)
Schreck (David Bjorlin)
Tolangardh (Jay)

We paid a sage to research for a total of 8 days to figure out what
was draining the life's blood out of sleeping characters near the
mushroom forest (which was missing from Edwin's notes in some strange
fashion). It is an invisible cave slug that sneaks up and
drinks all of your plasma. You can protect your campsite with a
circle of expensive salt. We bought an emegency can in case the party
MUST camp in the cave..

We decided to go looking for "new" trouble. After MUCH debate, we
went to the toll house. We found cookies, but they were sent back to
the originating server. No. Wait. That's not right.

We went to the toll house/booth/death trap. The road up the face of
the Mtn hugs the cliff and drops off sharply on the right side. The
house straddles the road. As we approached we could see that there
were a number of arrow slits in the house on the right portion and
across the span.

Inside the arch, there is a door on the left with no apparent way to
open it. Above, a number of holes (I can't remeber the term right
now) would allow for liquid death to rain down. Brigling (I think)
climbed around on the outside of the building.

He saw that the room on the right (with arrow slits) is very well
furnished. The upper level arrow slits are covered with tapestries.
He could hear voices speaking in an unknown language (perhaps a giant
type). The roof has rocks piled on top and there is another door
towards "the left" that leads into the cliff face above the house.
This one has a ring, but is barred from within. We gave up.

We then decided to see if there was another undiscovered country, I
mean entrance to the Mtn. We followed the trail into the swamp and we
got ambushed by a nest of centipedes. Giant centipedes. One of the
dogs got bitten and Standish ordered Tol to heal the dog. Meanwhile
all of the other people (except Tol) cut apart one of the centipedes
each. Tol decided "screw the pooch" and shot two magic missile in 6
seconds and went back to healing the dog. Thus Tol had a higher kill
total for the fight (there were only 5) than ANY other party member
at that point (they only had 2 HP each). The dog was fine.

We continued flirting with Death and her minions by continuing along
the path. It ended at the edge of the swamp near a creek. We decided
to follow the creek up to the Mountain. Lo and Behold! We found a
creek bed. There is also an entrance into the mountain. After a
little distance, there are two sets of stairs flanking a small water
fall. We climbed the right set and went downstream. The water fall is
due to a small overflow at that point. {{{I just had an idea. What
would happen if we smashed the stone at the overflow point. It would
make it more difficult to pass through, but it might also have
interesting effects on the dungeon.}}} The main flow proceeds from
off to the left to off to the right.

As Edwin observed, at every juncture where we could have chosen
"interesting" or "boring," we chose boring. We followed the river,
bypassing a couple of passages on the left (following the WM
right-hand-rule) and found some 3 ft high tunnels on the right.
Brigling investigated a few of these while invisible and we have a
partial map. We eventually found three Xvarts that tried to convince
us to go fight the kobolds and leave them alone. We went home, got a
full load of spells and came back and let them knock Tol unconscious
(to lull them into a feeling of superiority) and then Brigling back
stabbed one (on the second try) and Tol Slept the other two. We
continued to explore the 4 ft tunnels and found a room with some
defensive emplacements and then a room with about 100 xvarts. We
parleyed a bit. They said the kobolds were out the other side of
their lair and we decided that we didn't have enough firepower to
kill all 100 of them (Tol could only hit 10 at that point, then they
would have swarmed all over us).

We surrendered to the late hour and watched the Bugbear fight (in his
first match I think). He fought a giant lizard. Brigling wagered our
beer money (our paltry 4gp take for the adventure) against the
Bugbear. Schreck wagered 50gp for the Bugbear. As usual it was a
whiff fest, but after a while each combatant was down to 1 HP. The
lizard had a better chance to hit the Bugbear, but the Bugbear had
more damage dealing capability. The Bugbear had one last chance to
finish the fight, but missed and got crunched for failing to do his

At least next time, we won't have to decide where to go.


January 01, 2002

Summary #2: Divide and Be Conquered Anyway

Balinor, 8th level fighter, 76 hp, played by Joel
Kodo, 6th level woodsman, 67 hp, played by Katherine
Reinhold, 4th level barbarian, 66 hp, played by Joel
Morhion, 1st level cleric, 10 hp, played by Katherine

When we last left our fighter-heavy party, it had to figure out a way to deal with three frost giants, 4 winter wolves (worg-like beings), AND a crazy high level barbarian shaman who was convinced that he was a frost giant and that these were his children.

The conclusion was that the use of the hereditary circlet, which grants frost giant strength by making you pretend to be a frost giant, had driven the shaman mad due to the unusually long duration of his life at that lofty position. The giants were an incredible threat to the village, which couldn't even hold them off in a direction assault WITH the party's help, much less without them.

Balinor was left with a quandary--how do you defeat an enemy that is stronger than you? Separate them.

We discovered that a herd of animals near the village had been raided by one of the giants, who carried off several of the animals. A plan germinated...

At about 5 AM the next morning, Gertrude the frost giant came with two of the wolves to raid from another herd. Unbeknownst to them, Balinor and his cronies were hidden amongst the cattle, smelling of livestock. When the enemies approached, they sprang out! Unfortunately, no one was particularly surprised.

Balinor took Gertrude, while Kodo and Reinhold each faced off against a wolf. Morhion held his ground, waiting for his healing to be required.

Gertrude swung her huge club and connected with Balinor, smashing the fighter back repeatedly, which left him unable to swing at the giant. Kodo and Reinhold fared much better. Both dodged the worst of the wolves' breath weapon, and Kodo tore into his wolf, dropping the creature with hardly a scratch. Reinhold dropped his opponent, albeit more slowly and with eventual help from Kodo. Then they both turned to help Balinor, who had nearly collapsed from damage.

Kodo's axes and Reinhold's short sword and axe all buried themselves in Gertrude's back. The giant finally missed Balinor, who drove his hammers into her brain, killing the giant.

Unfortunately, even though the local villagers helped patch them up, it took over 12 hours to completely heal everyone, which spoiled part of our chance to catch the giants at the longhouse by surprise. We went to the longhouse and discovered the two remaining giants and wolves in a defensive pattern on the outside of the building, which was less than ideal. We waited, and at dusk, one giant went inside, and one wolf went into the lean-to. This was better, but our original plan (which involved Balinor levitating over the longhouse--using the prevailing winds in the area-- onto the wolf outside before anyone could detect him) was stopped by their guard outside.

So we went with a slightly modified version of the plan. The longhouse was in the bowl of a valley with a cliff at its back where the wind blew from. This is the side with the lean-to. There were no windows in the longhouse, so the giant inside wouldn't know what happened if we worked quietly.

Kodo and Reinhold stealthily crept up to the lean-to, and actually made it into the wolf tent. If they could kill it before it could howl, then we could surprise the giant and wolf on the outside by having Balinor come down to the hill to join the other two. As long as we fought them piecemeal, we could win.

Reinhold and Kodo stabbed at the winter wolf, but unfortunately, it didn't quite die, and it howled!

Uh oh.

Balinor came lumbering down the hill, Morhion behind him, but he was almost 6 minutes distant. Kodo and Reinhold quickly put on their armor, just in time to meet an angry Bort coming around the corner with a winter wolf.

The wolf blasted Reinhold and Kodo with its icy breath and turned to engage. They took their weapons and began hacking at it. The final wolf died in fairly short order, and Kodo and Reinhold turned to face Bort. Bort began crushing at Kodo, while Reinhold stabbed for all he was worth.

The doors opened on the far side and Eric, the final and most dangerous giant, emerged, along with Gungaardt the shaman!

Eric, seeing that the others were occupied, spotted Balinor and began hefting rocks at him. Balinor, despite Protection from Evil, took one off the shoulder, then another, and another. And still he kept coming, a metallic madman trying desperately to reach the combat where the two lightly armored fighters battled. Thinking ahead, he sipped half of a Clairaudience potion.

Bort went down after missing Kodo and incurring the wrath of the woodsman. Kodo landed a series of quick and nasty strikes, and the creature fell.

The pair turned to engage Eric, who clipped Reinhold. Kodo unleashed the Smokeshield, and a billowing cloud of black smoke emerged from the shield, engulfing the combat in darkness.

Balinor and Morhion had finally arrived, and the cleric dropped a Cure on Balinor, who was badly injured but mostly angry from the rock hits. Could the day be won?

At that moment, the shaman landed a Hold Person. Morhion and Kodo froze instantly. Eric then began crushing Reinhold in earnest.

Balinor's mental shield went up and he charged at Eric. The fighter giant swung and dealt Reinhold a tremendous blow, leaving the barbarian bleeding to death.

Balinor gave a roar and came up as Eric was recovering, and smashed the giant twice. Eric turned and swung his axes, but missed!

Gungaardt tried everything he could to stop Balinor, throwing Hold Person, but didn't realize that the fighter was immune. Balinor took advantage of the opening in Eric's defenses and let his strength lead him--unbridled ferocity and offense. His hammers pounded into the giant six times, and Eric collapsed!

Balinor turned to face Gungaardt, finding him easily with the enhanced hearing. The shaman knew he was coming and threw Commands desperately, but the mindless fighter was immune. Balinor reached the shaman and tackled him. The two rolled on the ground, but the shaman was superhumanly strong, and he began crushing the life out of Balinor.

The fighter once again fell to his strength--loud complaining. He yelled for the shaman's wife. "All the giants are dead! Stop your husband from killing me!"

Balinor took several swipes at the crown on Gungaardt's head, but he was steadily growing woozy. Finally, Balinor knocked it off his head, but collapsed into unconsciousness.

Gungaardt suddenly stopped, dazed and lost. His wife ran to him, and tried to comfort him, leaving the circlet in the snow.

Balinor had collapsed in the meantime, and Reinhold had bled to death, but ten minutes later, Kodo and Morhion finally awoke. A few minutes later, Balinor recovered from the pummeling.

And we staggered back on home.

The shaman was a broken old man, suddenly. He seemed to have lost his grip on reality, and his wife became his caretaker. The once ageless old man had become a shell.

A new shaman was lured from the larger village, and given the gear of office. Balinor's party received an award of banded mail +1, and spent most of the loot from giants on Raising Reinhold. Kodo took one of the winter wolf pelts and had it made into a winter wolf cloak (worth about 1500 gp!). Morhion was left with the banded mail+1.

Balinor then trained to 9th level! This completely broke his finances, sadly.

Balinor bid goodbye to Kodo and Reinhold, and traveled to Barnacus on Lendore Isle to complete his training. The 8000 gp was simply more than he had, and he was forced to borrow almost 2000 gp from Duke Haermond, but he is now a Fighter Lord! He also gained 10 hp to stand at 86. And double-specialized in bastard sword.

Yes, Balinor is a name-level fighter who is absolutely destitute. Anyone need a caravan guard?