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June 19, 2002

Summary #4: Crazy/Ugly

Party Roster:

Balinor, 9th level human fighter, 86 hp, played by Joel
Albee, 7th level human monk, 42 hp, NPC
Anselm, 6th level human cleric, 30 hp, NPC
Bodkin, 1st level dwarven fighter, 12 hp, played by Katherine
Morhion, 1st level human cleric, 10 hp, henchman of Balinor

(with advice from Mark Wagoner!)

Continuing to seek ways to alleviate his 1750 gp debt to Duke Haermond, Balinor’s Party, now named “The Killer B’s,” set out to Skull Mountain once again.

Albee trained in Tracking, and Balinor hoped to utilize this skill. Hopefully a hidden entrance to the dark dwarven compound under the Mountain could be found, Balinor speculated. We set out once again. Dodging a giant snake and slaying half a dozen diseased rats, and killing a trapdoor spider (netting a whopping 18 electrum pieces) the party arrived once again at the ominous rock structure known as Skull Mountain.

We noted a number of footprints tracking all over the mouth of the cave, and after first satisfying ourselves that the other entrances were untouched, we began tracking one of the prints. We followed them for the better part of a day before we heard movement ahead.

A human, standing about 60 feet away from Balinor, ordered us to drop our weapons and money and surrender. Balinor put his hammers away and tried to take the gold to the human, but the bandit was less than stupid and ordered Balinor to put it on the ground.

At this point, Balinor ordered THEM to surrender, which didn’t work very well. The bandits, who called themselves the Spectacular Six (although only five were visible… hmm), were not being taken in by Balinor’s threats. So with a sigh, Balinor barked, “Get em Albee!” and whipped out his crossbow. The bandits shot helplessly at Balinor a few times and then vanished into the bushes before the fighter could return fire.

Albee was unable to snag any of them, as his target dodged the Wire Ball, and he was unable to find them.

At this point it was clear that we weren’t following dark dwarves, so we gave up and headed back to the Skull.

We decided to plug up the “ventilation holes” with rocks once again, but this time to wait a significant distance away and have Albee watching the entrance while hidden.

In the morning, the rocks were moved, and Albee had seen no one enter the mouth.

So we tried it again, but this time scattered dust all over so that we could track our invisible rock movers.

The rocks were moved, and there were no tracks. Hmm.

We tried a third time. This time there were two objects that looked like loaves of bread on the edges of the rocks, which had NOT been moved.

Balinor accidentally knocked one of the loaves down the ventilation shaft, but picked up the other one curiously. He wondered if it was poisoned. After about a minute, the party was deciding what to do, when suddenly Balinor took massive nerve damage from the bread! Contact poison, somehow surviving the evening to soak through Balinor’s plate gauntlets.


We returned to Barnacus. On the way we were shot at (by six bolts—I’m assuming the Spectacular Six were trying vengeance), and Albee managed to capture one of our opponents this time, using the Wire Ball. Balinor shot one at long range for little effect.

We healed Balinor up, and returned once again to Skull Mountain, and decided to plug the holes with mud to secure the rocks.

This time, we heard a weird noise. By the time we got down to the cave, there was nothing there, but there were a number of booted tracks. It seemed as though the destination of the tracks had been obscured by someone, intentionally, so we couldn’t figure out where we came from.

I don’t remember who suggested it, but at some point we checked the ceiling above the spot where the tracks ended. And spotted a peephole. Of course! They had come from a trapdoor in the ceiling!

Unfortunately this trapdoor appeared to be one-way.

We checked out the area near the other breathing holes we had discovered (on the top of the hill attached to the back of the skull) and found a small stone slab/panel. This also appeared to be a one-way exit.

At this point Bodkin pointed out that there really might not be a way inside. The dwarves might be holed up in there, only able to get back inside if the dwarves on the inside let them in. This would make it very difficult to invade. It should be noted that both entrances would require high level Knock spells if we chose that method to invade.

Balinor wondered if perhaps we could draw them out. Balinor sealed up all the holes once again, and this time, we camped near the UPPER holes (by the stone slab). At some point during the night, we heard a pop and a clatter, and noted some kind of pole pushing the rocks out from the inside of the shaft! Bodkin wanted to shoot down the hole, but Balinor wanted to get to the other shafts to see if the dwarves might come out. The party ran down the hill, but arrived too late—the rocks had been dislodged.

At that moment, a crossbow bolt whizzed over Anselm’s head. This seemed familiar.

The party was wondering what to do, when a canister bounced at our feet. Some kind of smoke billowed out of it, but the party didn’t wait around to find out what it would do. We scattered, and were separated for a moment.

Then Balinor was shot through the neck. This SHOULD by all rights have dropped him instantly (via an assassination), but his Ring of Heroism kept him standing. Anselm and Morhion frantically cast Cure Lights on the fighter, and informed him that he was “still in bad shape.” Balinor response was better left unquoted. He took out the last half of the Potion of Clairaudience, handed it to Albee, and told him to get the bastard. Albee nodded and vanished. A few minutes later we heard, “I got him.” The party marched out, and a single dark dwarf was entangled in the Wire Ball.

The party questioned the dwarf, with Balinor getting a little rough (hey, the guy HAD just nearly assassinated him!). He refused to speak anything but dwarvish and was quite hostile to Bodkin the “traitor.” We don’t really understand all the history here. Although when we mentioned that we were friends of King Felix, the dwarf Commanded Bodkin to defecate, which he did. And glared at Balinor afterward, since the fighter would have been immune. Oops.

The dwarf had a modified heavy crossbow that fired these canisters. We saw nothing else we could do at Skull Mountain and dragged the dwarf back to Barnacus for questioning. He was interrogated by Haermond’s men, but little was gained, other than that the dwarf was convinced that his group would take over Lendore with a few hundred years.

The canisters that remained turned out to be of mild interest. Two of them were Type I Sleep Gas, which is very weak. The rest was standard oil.

So the adventure was not a total loss, but it wasn’t much. Net loss: potion of Clairaudience, 1 month of adventuring. Net gain: some experience, and about 500 gp worth of stuff. And one hostile captured dwarf.

It’s unclear where to go from here—should Balinor sink resources into this mission? It seems to me it depends on how many dwarves there are. Suggestions I have received include:

Using Wrath to pump strength and attempt to Chisel through the Slab under the cover of Silence (10 minutes to do this). This might be interesting. Knock seems unfeasible unless a mage of significant power came along.

There are some possibilities here. We’ll have to see whether Balinor should remain or not. He has probably managed to repay about 500 gp of his debt at this point.


June 13, 2002

Warwick/Cassian Summary: "....Is a Dead Fire Giant" (Fire Giant Citadel Part Two)

"...Is a Dead Fire Giant." (Fire Giant Citadel Part 2):

Sequel to "The Only Good Fire Giant..." (Fire Giant Citadel Part 1)

More quick synposes...

The party stops tracking the queen, and Cassian Auguries the immediate future.
"Will it be beneficial to cast Commune and then use the Delete statue?" Marriat guards Cassian as the rest of the party destroys the two guards cowering in their pajamas. They note that the guard chamber has room for 8 elite warriors -- all of them had been eliminated. Meanwhile, Cassian receives the Augury results "[sic] Perfection is still possible within a window of time." So, immediately a Commune was cast:

1. Is Obmi in the citadel? NO
2. Does the queen have the ability to access the treasure? UNANSWERABLE
3. When the queen came in had the general alarm been sounded? NO
4. Do we have the abilities and equipment to reach the treasury within an hour? YES
5. Does the secret door in the vestment storage room provide a more direct route to the treasure? YES
6. Has Lludd marked himself, or has one of his allies marked him with no intention of killing him? NO
7. Are there Fire Giant army reinforcements within a half day's travel? NO
8. Are there more than 50 battle-trained fire giants in the Citadel? NO
9. etc.
10. Was the queen aware of the danger?
11. etc.

Encouraged by these answers, Marriat breaks the second Fate... and the party is back in the throne room, with the beheaded King lying before them.


The team quickly moves into place to take out the Queen. Worried about not having a clear shot, Warwick and Marriat share a Potion of Flying and move into unassailable positions near the ceiling. Meanwhile, Mordrick saclaes a wall to ready himself for a backstab.

On schedule, the Queen's bodyguards enter, walking in a protective diamond around her. The two handmaidens trailing behind her stop short as the guards realize that something is wrong. Before they can react, Mordrick has dropped from the wall and struck with sword and dagger. The queen drops, and missiles strike the bodyguards. The maidens begin dragging their liege in retreat, and the guards strike a protective formation to cover the exit. Mordrick takes down each giantess, and the rest of the party eliminates the warriors. The whole battle takes a couple of minutes. The recently woken "pajama guards" are dropped with little effort. Mordrick stabs one who was still grabbing a sword, and the charging party destroys the other.

The bedchambers of the queen and king are scoured for obvious loot, and the party recovers expensive perfume, jewelry, battle trophies, etc. It appeared that the entire throne room and the royal area was clear.

Next, the party is faced with additional exploration. The captured shock trooper, Stomand, was released from the portable hole and given a chance to redeem himself (and win some favor with the Wunkan government). He showed no evil intent, as perceived by Warick's sentient armor, and his equipment was returned to him. Additionally, he identified more items that his party was using -- an ioun stone that absorbs 1st-4th level spells and another "chameleon ring".

They explore a new passage, which opens into a huge meeting hall. Stomand identified it as the central meeting room of the Generals. The party encountered some gnoll servants, who are slept and slain before they can raise the alarm. Next, a few lingering giants and ettin guards were slain via stealthy backstabs and quick arrow-shots. Stomand also identified the location of the armory. Hoping to strip the fire giants of their offensive power, the heroes decided to sack the armory.

They burst into the room, expecting a couple guards. Instead, gouts of flame engulfed the party. A very angry chimera was chained to the center of the room. Fortunately, the flame resistance magic was still in effect, and the beast was quickly dispatched by a volley of missile weapons and magic. Looking around the room, the party realized that destroying the armor and weaponry would take days -- there were at least 30 full suits of battle armor! The armory would have to wait until later.

The party returned to the rooms where they suspected the stone giants were resting. They barged into the quarters, announced their peaceful intentions, and bribed (15,000 gp) the stone giants to remain quiet and out of the way until the assault was completed. The need to free the hapless prisoners also began to weigh heavily on the team. With most of the main hall cleared, the heroes returned to the lower levels of the complex. They were able to surprise 4 fire giant guards and the dog with little commotion. With the screams of nearby trolls, tortured prisoners, and venting volcanic gases, the noise of a quick battle probably just blended into the background. Still, the party wanted to cleanse the entire area before a random giant (or worse) stumbled into them.

Unfortunately, the party stood at an intersection. One passage led toward a clan of gnolls, the other led toward a lair of trolls. Neither could be taken on singly, for fear of being cut-off by the other. With no other options, the party would hold the passage and take on both groups near-simultaneously. Cassian would be responsible for toasting the trolls with her Belt of Fire, while slaying tons of gnolls with the Wand of Ice Storms. The whole event took about 4 minutes. Three fireballs destroyed dozens of trolls, and the dead gnolls continued to pile up so high that they had to scramble over their fallen tribesmen to escape. None did. All told, over 100 gnoll slaves perished. Certain that treasure existed in the troll lair, but uncertain about how to find it, the party randomly selected caves and nooks to scavenge through. No significant treasure was found, but a couple of sets of fire giant footprints were noted. The prints led forward, perhaps into the troglodyte realm beyond. Were they aware of the assault? The party never found out.

As expected, the prison was disturbing. Warwick recalled his month in a frost giant slave pit; he shuddered as he tried to dismiss his own memory-demons. The prisoners included a fire giant, some Northerner tribesmen, a squad of Shabrundian dwarves, a haggard frost giant, and a cloud giantess. The fire giant and the frost giant were shot, a la "fish in a barrel". The cloud giantess was a trade ambassador from the giantish city of Lurten. She had been imprisoned by the fire giant king because of her trade demands, but was unwilling to attack the fire giant king in retaliation. She was cool, at best. The dwarves immediately recognized Lupent, and cheered upon their release. (Strangely enough, they were not particularly surpsised to see him -- he is, after all, the "Champion of the People".) The Northerners were also released, although they were certainly confused about the recent events.

At that point, most of the major objectives had been accomplished -- except the Treasury. Emboldened by the earlier Commune spell, the party (plus a band of non-combantant dwarves and barbarians) sneaked back to the vestment closet of the temple. The Chime of Opening was sounded once, and the party proceeded into the passage beyond.

After a frustrating search (almost an hour) some of the dwarven miners that were freed from the prison found a secret door. (Lupent declared that they would receive a share of his treasure.) The tunnels and passages were labyrinthine, including escape passages with pre-packed traveling equipment. Eventually, a minor treasure room was discovered -- piles of copper and silver with an angry chimera on top. The chimera ws dispatched with little effort, and the party continued its search for the real treasure room.

A final True Sight was used, and the treasury was located. As the party rounded the corner into the room, it found a pond of water with an enormous multi-headed hydra surrounded by mounds of gold, platinum, and equipment. At the first sight of the hydra, Cassian dove back around the corner and began to apply Oil of Fire Inulvnerability to herself. This is fortunate, as the hydra's breath weapon was a searing blast of flame that partially cooked everyone but Lupent (who completely avoided the effect due to his Boots of Avoidance).

Combat was aggressively pursued, and hordes of damage were inflicted on the poor beast. Brenard actually lopped off two of the heads with his Sword of Sharpness. Even a hydra couldn't withstand the tons of near-instantaneous damage.

As expected, the treasury was packed with goodies.

Efreet Noble [Efreet noble was the fight I sort of referenced in my faux summary with the hunderds of points of fire damage (like 60 damage every 2 segments) that Cassian absorbed with the oil. And we rained death on it --Joel]

Ring of Wishes, Potion of Longevity
Deva implored.
Stomand and Lupent (Lupent used his Hat to pretend to be Obmi for the ruse) use Obmi ruse to bring in lots of Giants
Last statue of the Fates is broken
27 Fire giants kill themselves [The 27 fire giants apparently died in the Obmi-faking thing
I think we corralled and killed them, Mark was probably being facetious. We don't think they fell on their swords or anything --Joel]
Headsman and torturer are slain.
Deva goes back to armory
Ogre servant of cloud giant ambassador freed.
The civilians are levitated to safety (from a balcony)
Lots of giant equipoment is destroyed; heads are dropped in lava

Attempt to escape foiled by a hound
Advancing phalanx of FG's is scattered by Screaming Bolts.
Brenard heavily wounded by ballista traps
Finger-tokens used to escape to a nearby mountaintop, where they are picked up by Al Hoch.

Epilogue -- a dozen giants (+4 scouts) are slain and converted into potions of FG control.

Additional notes:

Mordrick and Warwick share the potion of longevity, and the ring of wishes (1 wish) went to Lupent.

--Mark Wagoner (as transcribed by Joel Green)

Warwick/Cassian Summary: Storming the Fire Giant Citadel, Part 2

Summary stub from the bowels of the memory of Kyle and myself: (the resurrected summary is here.)

Party Roster:

Lupent, 20th (?) level dwarf fighter, NPC
Cassian, 9th level half-elf cleric of Phaulkon, played by Katherine
Warwick, 9th level human ranger, Warder of Phaulkon, played by Mark
Mordrick, 9th/12th level dwarf fighter/thief, NPC (played by Joel this time)
Marriat, 10th level ranger, NPC
Brenard, 6th level cloud-giant fighter, Warder of Phaulkon, NPC
And a Realmish shocktrooper eventually taken out of the sack...
A low level dwarven fighter with a potion of Superheroism...

The second portion of the fire giant adventure using the Amulet of Fate. The royalty were eliminated, and there was a particularly interesting fight with a fire elemental that couldn't get through the Potion of Fire Immunity placed on Cassian. Great treasure was recovered (although it was estimated that the expenditure of items roughly equalled the profits) and the Citadel was cleansed of fire giants. A number of captives were freed, including a neutral stone giant, although some of the captives were slain by the party. Mordrick was highly effective the with the Dust of Disappearance, backstabbing priests and battle-armored fire giants for up to 100 damage, killing many of them in a single attack!

I have some memory of the captive being taken out of the sack and helping us in the fights.

At the conclusion of the adventure, the aged Marriat wandered out of town and died in the wilderness, having used up and passed on the Amulet of Fate.


Warwick/Cassian Summary: "The Only Good Fire Giant ..." (Fire Giant Citadel Part One)

Prologue: 5-21-2184, near Hoch Och, Cromwell.

After tracking the missing Windsock for 5 months, Warwick and a band of
mighty heroes confront a powerful being known only as "the peddler". This
disguised rakshasa had been wreaking great evil for centuries, and was
barely driven away from Cromwell but not killed. Recovered from the
peddler's wares were the Windsock and a number of other legendary artifacts.
The most bizarre of these artifacts was the Amulet of the Fates, which
allowed the possessor to control the course of the short-term past and
future. The aged Ranger Marriat received the Amulet in return for his
contribution to the quest, and with this magic he began to plan a mortal
blow against the Fire Giants ...

Present: 7-21-2195, Mt. Plur, Capitol of the Northern Fiefdom of Fire

Marriat's plan begins. Departing from the Phaulkonian/birdman sanctuary
known as the Celestial Sphere, a band of heroes speeds toward the center of
the Northern Fiefdom. At the helm of a mysterious Cromwellian flying
vessel, the High Illusionist Al Hoch shrouds the strike force within a veil
of illusion. Marriat is the de facto leader of the party, although his
cooperative Korian nature ensures that all party decisions will be
consensus-driven. As the central figure of the team, Marriat is the only
member with the experience to properly use the Amulet of the Fates. The
muscle in the party comes from two extremes. First, the 18-foot Phaulkonian
giant Branard wields a massive Sword of Sharpness and wears a fantastic suit
of Land Dragon armor. He is matched in strength and deadliness by the
4-foot Shabrundian champion Lupent, who is renowned for his one-on-one
battle against the Tangg Lord. Mordick, High Lordly Chiseler of Shabrund,
serves as the team's most potent stealth weapon. Critical spell power and
spiritual guidance flows from Cassian, High Priestess of Phaulkon. Warwick
complements the team with his tracking abilities, hatred of evil giants, and
his holy Korian bow.

To understand what happens next, a brief explanation of the Amulet is
necessary. The Amulet is actually comprised of three statues, each
representing one of the true Fates. Although Marriat called them by their
true names, Warwick refers to them as "Preview, Test, and Oops." Breaking
Preview and reciting the proper incantation allows the user and his
companions to experience a full hour of time, and then return back to the
start of the hour. Activating Test allows the party to experience the next
5-minute block twice, and then choose which path they prefer. Activating
Oops erases the events of the last twenty minutes. For each of these
effects, the entire designated party remains aware of ALL of the variant
timelines. The vastness of this power is unfathomable, as apparently even
deities are unaware of the events that occurred but were "overwritten".

The party agreed to use Preview as soon as they arrived at Mt. Plur. They
would then descend into heart of the citadel while trying to avoid
detection. At best, they would locate key objectives and engage them to
determine their responses and defenses. At worst, they would flail around
and try to determine as much as possible about the citadel layout. The
actual sequence of events was somewhere between those extreme scenarios.


Invisible, silent, and scent-masked, they land on a balcony guarded by 2
bored giants. Shielded by illusions, they easily slip past the sentries.
However, their success is short lived, as 3 giants "bump" into the party's
globe of silence. A quick but bloody battle left the giants dead with no
alarm sounded. Still, gallons of blood stained a main corridor. They
restored their Invisibility and moved on.

Feeling pressured to make the most of the remaining Preview hour, Cassian
cast True Sight. Then, the heroes started working down ramps and
passageways, targeting the lower levels of the complex. They were unwilling
to open any doors for fear of setting off an alarm, so they dropped further
and further into the citadel. They "Crypt of the Kings" but decided to
continue toward the more central objectives. After about 45 minutes, they
found a heavily-glyphed door guarded by 3 giants and 2 fire hounds.
Obviously, this was important.

One charge from a Wand of Ice Storms and 3 minutes later, the guards had
been dropped without an alarm. Then Dispel Magic x 3 and a single tone from
a Chime of Opening gained the heroes entry into the ... Alchemical and Magic
Workshop! Two humans and a beardless blue dwarf were quite surprised to see
the invaders, but were quick enough to quickly gain their composure.
Cassian's True Sight indicated that the blue dwarf had no special equipment,
but the humans were extremely well-equipped. The first human, apparently a
robed magic-user, quickly cowered under equipment and started blending in
like a chameleon. The second, a thief wearing sharpskin armor, sprinkled
Dust of Disappearance and only Cassian could perceive him. A gargoyle began
to descend from the ceiling to carry the dwarf away.

Lupent and Mordrick charged, Marriat, Cassian, and Warwick fired at the
fading mage, and Branard began closing the door to prevent escape. The
enemies quickly disappeared and/or moved out of range, frustrating the
initial attack. The gargoyle and mage passed overhead, firing a poison dart
into Warwick. (The entire party had Slow Poison in effect, which would last
for the entire mission.) Cassian could see the thief stalking Warwick, but
he was unable to dodge the back-stab. Warwick was ripped apart and fell
instantly (100+ points of damage). Meanwhile, Mordrick finally located the
mage and gave his own mortal back-stab.

Realizing the danger posed by the invisible super-their, Branard activated
the True Sight power of his helmet, and began advancing. With the lab door
still open, the gargoyle/dwarf combo flew out the door, screaming for help.
Cassian downed them with an Ice Storm, while Branard shredded the hapless
thief. Then, Cassian tried to repair Warwick w/ a Raise Dead, but he came
back as a zero-level, nearly crippled wreck. He downed a Potion of
Super-Heroism and instantly became 8th level! (Yes, our heroes are spending
some magic.) A quick inspection showed that there were bits of flesh
floating around in vats of chemicals - they had found the cloning facility
for Obmi! As a test, the party Ice Stormed and Fire Balled the Lab as they
left, leaving behind clouds of poison fumes issuing from the ruined

With only a few minutes left in the Preview hour, the party split up and
began a very random exploration of the lower level. General chaos ensued,
as various members found the lava smithy, a prison, and a horde of trolls.

Then, the party was back above the balcony. Time had never passed.


With prescience, the heroes slipped by the guards, avoided the corridor
encounter with the strolling giants, and they reached the Lab area within 15
minutes. Just like before, the guards were dropped immediately, with one of
the fire giants decapitated by Branard's Sword of Sharpness. Blood was
mopped, while Branard and Lupent propped up the guards in a lazy slouch.

Branard activated his True Sight, to inform Cassian when the entrance was
cleared. The Lab door was Dispelled, removing the glyphs and magic locks
without having to invoke the Chime. Since the party knew the location of
the hapless Lab goons, the entire party got targeted, point-blank shots.
All three enemies were slain and stripped within 3 minutes. Branard
proceeded toward the back of the lab, to inspect two human-sized doors that
adjoined the lab. Behind them lay a wizard's personal quarters, a
storeroom, and a secret room that contained multiple sets of back-up gear
for Obmi clones. One tone from the Chime had been required to break into
the room.

Within minutes, the party secured Obmi's gear, a set of six spell books, and
a library of books describing cloning techniques. It took a while to stuff
all of the non-magical items and humanoid corpses (for later interrogation)
into Lupent's Portable Hole, while Branard shouldered a bag of magic gear
and giant heads (to prevent Raise Dead). Once all of the portable treasure
was removed, the laboratory was blasted by two Ice Storms and a Fireball.
Branard slammed the door shut as the room filled with noxious gas.

The heroes each sipped an Invisibility potion and returned to exploration.
They avoided the chambers on the lower level, and proceeded back up to the
"main" level. They reached a four-way intersection guarded by a 2-headed
ettin, and they were forced to deal with the sentry because all of the other
corridors had been explored. A back-stab from Mordrick downed the monster,
and they quickly threw him into an alcove.

Once past the ettin, the entrance to the temple complex could be seen.
Destroying the clerical power of the giants was a very high priority, to
prevent future Raise Dead's and Healing for the citadel forces. Fearing the
wrath of the High Priest, the party prepared with Flame Walk, and Cassian
invoked True Sight. They entered the temple. Since it was still early in
the morning, the temple proper was completely deserted, and the only magic
within sight was a Glyphed altar. A side door had guardian Glyphs, so the
party approached and Dispelled them. The party burst through the door, and
3 priests died before they could launch a counterstrike.

Unfortunately, the dead priests were lower-ranked; the High Priest was still
alive. A quick sweep of the living quarters yielded some gold, and the
priests were (of course) beheaded. Still under the auspices of True Sight,
Cassian led the team back to the temple, where they found a tapestry which
concealed a side chamber, with another Glyph on the floor in front of it.
Mordrick passed the Glyph by climbing the wall around it, and then he lurked
into the chamber. As expected the room was occupied by the High Priest and
a pet fire hound, neither of whom detected the uber-concealed dwarf.

Again, Mordrick's backstab was incredible. But, the Priest clung to life
and began reading a scroll. The hound breathed fire on the now-visible
Mordrick, but he was nearly invulnerable to the effect. Mordrick struck a
final, killing blow before the Priest could react. The hound was struck and
fell, bleeding. Mordrick dragged the unfortunate dog to the Glyph, and the
hound was obliterated by Death Magic. The scroll library was located and
destroyed, and the Priest was looted and beheaded.

The party had destroyed the Lab and the High Priest within an hour of
landing. Two objectives had been completed.

While the True Sight was still in effect, Cassian searched the remainder of
the temple complex and found an ultra-secure secret door. A quick Augury
implied that it was a direct path, but was not clear whether that was a good
or bad thing. The chime was rung 4 times and the passageway opened ...
beyond was complete darkness. The passage began to close, and the party
pulled back to keep from being trapped or split apart. Perhaps it led to
the King's quarters, or the Treasury?

The True Sight expired, and the party considered its next objective. They
decided to destroy the Smithy and Armory, as they wanted to cripple the
citadel's ability to recover from the assault. They retraced the path
downstairs, sipped more Invisibility potions, and burst into the forge room.
An opening ice storm and missile fire quickly downed the Smith and two
chained trolls, and it forced a half dozen salamanders to retreat back
across the lava pits. Still under the protection of a Flame Walk, Warwick
and Mordrick chased the salamanders while Lupent threw the troll corpses
into the lava. Of course, Branard continued beheading the enemy corpses.

A series of advances, retreats, and Ice Storms eliminated the Salamanders.
The party found their treasure, which consisted of potions and scrolls(?).
Elsewhere in the forge room, they found ingots of platinum, gold, and 400
coin-weights of meteorite steel. The most valuable treasure, however, was
probably the anvil. Of course it was completely immobile, even to 2 heroes
with cloud giant strength. So, a plan was hatched to destroy it. Several
layers of Ice Storms were placed on the lava-hot anvil. Lupent drank a
potion of Invulnerability and then struck it with the Smith's massive
hammer. The anvil shattered, and Lupent was pelted by deadly shards of
steel. Untouched by the blast, Lupent threw the hammer to Branard, and the
whole team set off to find the Royal family.

By this time, almost two hours had passed since the party landed. The
illusory Scent Mask had faded, and the initial Protection from Evil 10'
Radius had to be re-cast. The party returned to the main level, hoping to
find the King and Queen.

As they passed the temple, they encountered a couple of distraught giants
who had just found detected the blood on the temple floor. The 2 wandering
giants were quickly eliminated before they could share their secret with any
of their comrades. Advancing deeper into the halls, they again encountered
a guarded alcove with 2 doors. This time, only one giant stood watch - this
area was important, but not critical. Perhaps the quarters of an officer?
The suspense didn't last long.

The giant was quietly dispatched, and the door on the right was battered
down. A very surprised cloud giant rose to his feet as the heroes entered.
He screamed an alarm to "Lome, you worthless bitch". However, the doorway
was enshrouded by Silence, and no one came to his rescue. The giant wasted
no time as he advanced with a giant mace. However, the party hopelessly
outnumbered him. The battle progressed quickly and ended with a killing
stroke from an invisible Mordrick. His quarters held nothing of great value,
so the heroes took some money and the giant's head. Door #2 was the next

Door #2 housed 3 Realmish shock-troops. Hideously deadly fight, and Marriat
is slain. Last living trooper surrenders; he is apparently not evil.
Marriat is Cured and Raised, with no permanent effects. The surrendering
Trooper is interrogated with a Truth Potion, and he reveals the location of
the throne room. Most of the generals are out in the mountains chasing
gnolls for slave labor. The trooper is stripped and thrown in the Portable
Hole, along with his slain companions. Shock trooper gear is carefully
placed in Branard's bag of loot.

The party uses Dust of Disappearance to sneak past giants. As two stone
giants exit the throne room, the heroes sneak through the closing doors.
Branard doesn't make it in time, so he stays out the room (along with Phil,
Marriat's invisible familiar). The King, his ettin sentry, a massive hound,
and 2 elite guards are quickly slain. The King was dispatched by an Arrow
of Giant Slaying.

As the party is placing the awesome giantish gear into the Hole, the Queen
and her entourage race out. They are trying to cross the throne room toward
a side passage. A Hold Portal is placed on the escape door, and the Queen's
four guards cover her retreat. The Queen's guards, hounds, and a handmaiden
are slain, but the Queen escapes back into the royal chambers. The party
pursues, with Warwick and Marriat tracking the Queen. Phil explores a side
chamber and notices two elite guards (in their pajamas) hiding behind some

TO BE CONTINUED! Will the party catch the Queen? Will they deal with the
guards left behind? Will they choose to Delete time back to the point of
the Queen's entry? Oooo, oooo, oooo!