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The Seapoint Lighting and the Balinor Chronicles: You Only Strike Once

The Seapoint Lighting and the Balinor Chronicles: You Only Strike Once

Introducing the Seapoint Lightning of 2191:

Rebo, 6th level halfling thief, played by Joel

Captain Pittsford, 6th level human captain, played by Kyle

Spike, 5th level dwarven cleric of Clangeddin, played by Joel

Francine, 5th level human woodsman, played by Jay

Frankfort, 5th level human cleric of Chelsea, played by Jay

Astoria, 4th level human mage, played by Kyle

And the Killer B’s:

Balinor, 9th level Northerner fighter, 86 hp, played by Joel

Albee, 7th level human monk of Nevron, 42 hp, NPC

Anselm, 6th level human cleric of Nevron, 30 hp, NPC

Bodkin, 1st level dwarven fighter, 12 hp, played by Katherine

Morhion, 1st level Northerner cleric of Nevron, 10 hp, henchman

In 2161, the bard Amortician, also known as Morty, disappeared, along with his entire party, while adventuring in western Lendore Isle…

In 2173, a party called the Seapoint Lightning formed, from an initial adventure with the Restenford Defenders. Their motto: the Lightning Never Strike Twice. Most of them never had the chance to. The survivors (none of them original party members) became deputies of Seapoint, a city of 500 people on the west coast of Lendore Isle. For years they battled the Westpoint pirates. In March of 2178, the party annihilated a small base in a cave complex, and discovered a magical door that could not be opened.

Over many years, the party gained experience and battled the pirates, culminating in a year long series of raids on their base in caves on the coast. In March 2190, the party attacked the Old Bay, but the pirates were waiting, and four of the six members of the Lightning were killed, the rest in retreat. After recovering, the party launched a more prepared assault, and the fight was on. After sallying back and forth, the party finally broke the backbone of the resistance with the death of one of the major captains, and finally cleared the base in February 2191. The party then rested, until the morning of May 1st, when Captain Lofton knocked on their door…

Captain Lofton was the head of City Watch. He’d encountered a puzzle that seemed bizarre enough to require the services of the local adventuring party.

It seemed that the Loment family (Willet and Tara, children Neil and Farna) had vanished overnight. The door on their house remained locked from the inside, and no one had seen them leave. That morning a merchant had come for work he had commissioned from the tailor, Willet, and he had found no one there, and had banged on the door, and eventually alerted the Watch.

The party followed the Captain up to the house and began an investigation. The house was searched from top to bottom, revealing a few hidden valuables, but no secret exits. The chimney was too small to have escaped from. Furthermore, if the family had fled voluntarily, it was odd that they hadn’t taken their coats, since it was raining heavily in an unusually extended rainy season.

It seemed impossible that the family had gotten out by any conventional means. All windows and doors were locked from the inside, and there were no other reasonable exits. Furthermore, Francine picked up tracks heading from Willet’s bed to the center of the room, where they vanished.

We were confused by this, until Captain Lofton figured it out. We looked up from the spot were the tracks ended, spying a lantern hanging from the ceiling.

Apparently our man Loment had gotten out of bed, moved to the lamp to light it, and simply disappeared. And the rest of his family hadn’t even gotten out of bed.

This was indeed strange. We asked neighbors if they’d heard anything suspicious that evening, and they noted that the merchant had come by fairly late in the evening, and argued with the tailor and left. That was the last time the tailor and his family had been seen. The cobbler’s son also claimed that Tara Loment was a witch (in full scathing yokel detail).

The only other tailor in town that could conceivably be competition for Loment was named Sarah. At this point, the party split up—Rebo and Frankfort went to find the merchant, Spike and Astoria went to see Sarah, and Captain Pittsford and Francine went to see Lorianne, the local druidess, as the Loments were druidic.

Lorianne said that they had been followers for 16 years, regularly visiting her grove, but they hadn’t struck her as unusual in behavior. She agreed to query the animals in the area regarding the previous evening.

Frankfort found the merchant’s guards at an inn in town. They were clearly drunk, and surly, but yielded almost no helpful information. Rebo was left to follow them while Frankfort rejoined the party.

Spike and Astoria went to the other tailor, Sarah. There, much to everyone’s surprise, they found the merchant. He was quite rude and arrogant, believing that his report of the crime was sufficient and that he was losing money by the very delay. Astoria pointed out that Sarah was still mending his cloak, so we wouldn’t even be taking up his time. To this he responded something on the order of, “I could be using this time to contemplate new business propositions.” When Astoria pointed out that he was the last person to have seen the Loments alive, and should cooperate and answer our questions to help establish the true criminal, he scoffed, but grudgingly agreed to talk to us.

We learned that he had planned to leave yesterday, but needed the tailor to mend his cloak. He took it to Loment and became incensed when he hadn’t finished it by nightfall. This wasn’t particularly surprising given his general tendency to become angry at anything, Spike observed to himself. The merchant was told it would be ready by morning, so he arrived at the shop and failed to get an answer. After the door was broken down, and the place was searched, he took his cloak back and brought it to Sarah so that he could leave as soon as possible.

The party reconvened and began to search the neighborhood.

There was an older woman, the town “alchemist” (an herbalist), who had many cats, wanderers from around the town. She fed them every morning, and noted that two were missing.

Lorianne, the druid, reported one interesting fact—the birds roosting in Gear, the general store-- not one hundred yards from the Loment house—were freaked out suddenly in the early hours of the morning by something scary, and flew off.

Gear turned out to be an interesting place. It is a large complex run by a dwarf named Barrelstane, and he bought the place with a bunch of magical traps in it. It also has an extra-dimensional pocket where his living quarters are. Obviously he didn’t see or hear anything during the evening, although the defenses were activated.

We spoke with the various churches in town. The Nevronians were clearly desperate for worshippers and not of much help. The old Korian priest suggested that spectres or wraiths must have consumed the townsfolk. We were at a loss as to how that could happen, since undead are usually bound to an area and thus couldn’t be invading the town unless let in by an agent here already. And a Divination by the Osprem church revealed that there were no new sources of evil in the town.

The Chelseans said that if we felt this was a supernatural influence local to the town, there were really only three old buildings that could have spawned this evil unnoticed: the standing stones on the hill outside the city, the mill basement area, and Gear. The latter two were pirate installations—the former is a residual magic area of unknown source.

We spent the night in the tailor’s house to see if anything would happen again.

At around 9 PM, there was a yell, abruptly cut off. The guard outside the house rushed in, and said it came from the fishmonger’s house next door!

We bashed down the door, eventually, but everyone inside had vanished. We got inside within 5 minutes, but the fishmonger, his wife, and his dog were all gone. Again there were no visible means of escape, or a struggle.

The rest of the night was uneventful, and the next morning, the Lord Mayor called on us. He stated that he needed this mystery solved, and fast, before he had no townspeople. He urged the party to call for help if it was needed—the priority was to save Seapoint. We nodded and went back to our investigating.

We had a map of the area, but it wasn’t much help. If we assumed this mysterious force was moving in a straight line, the next place hit would be a group of laborers in the next house over.

We spent the next night in the laborer’s house, but nothing happened. The laborers were quite happy for the protection and we shared some beer with them.

The next night seemed uneventful as well. But in the morning, Barrelstane came running up.

“All the horses in my stable are gone!!” All twenty horses were missing, stolen out of the stable without anyone noticing. The stable was a building near Gear, but not directly attached.

At this point, we sent for help—the Hand of Fate was to be summoned from Barnacus and help with the investigation. The locals from the area around Gear were evacuated to the Church of Osprem, which is across the street from Gear.

The party spent the next night in Gear, with the traps dismantled, but oddly enough nothing happened. No one vanished during the night.

At this point the party was thoroughly confused. So, of course, this was the perfect time for the deus ex machina. It wasn’t quite what one would hope for.

The Hand of Fate was out of town on a diplomatic mission, so in their stead, Duke Haermond sent the recently indebted Balinor Buckannah and his party to help. The Killer B’s arrived on May 5th, flashed some badges, and got to work. And were, of course, just as stumped as the Seapoint Lightning.

Gear did seem to be the focal point. Yes, it wasn’t on the same street as the houses of the victims, except for the stable, but it wasn’t FAR from them. They were separated by a lawn and a small cliff face. Some digging had been done at the base of the cliff, but nothing was found.

So the now combined party camped outside during the evening.

On watch, Albee spotted some movement around Gear! He and Rebo snuck through the grass… and yelled! “Shadows! Get the lights!”

We pulled out our Continual Light stones, to reveal a stream of shadows. Dozens of figures of different sizes were pouring out of Gear! We chased them, and they fled back to Gear. Unfortunately we couldn’t follow them inside because of the magical traps, but we were able to find an arrow slit to peak through, and saw the shadows heading to a central room with armor in it.

The next morning, when Barrelstane opened his door, he was greeted by the entire party, camped outside. We explained what had happened, and he took us up to that room. We pushed aside suits of armor—and on the wall was the outline of some kind of portal. It looked just like the one the Seapoint Lightning had found in the pirate cave!

So the shadows were coming out of this portal! But to what purpose? Clearly all the captured townsfolk were now shadows, having had the life drained out of them by these hideous undead, but who was controlling them?

Balinor appeared well-suited to deal with this threat. His magical hammer, Wrath, makes him immune to the attack of the shadows, the feared strength drain. So the plans of attack all centered around Balinor charging with the rest of the party following behind under a Protection from Evil, 10’ Radius provided by the cleric of Osprem.

We watched the portal, and realized that it opened very randomly, for about half an hour. When it opened during the day, no shadows could come out… this explained the dead periods were no new victims were hit.

Balinor recognized this portal from another of the early Defenders’ adventures—it was a portal like those controlled by Captain Nbod, the pirate in Benct. It would open and close randomly because it was old and weakening. These portals flickered like this for a few years, and then finally died. We were worried that it might not open again soon, so the impetus was on us to check it out.

When it next opened, on May 7th, we cast our spells, and Balinor plunged through…

Balinor landed on a platform of some kind, out in the ocean. He could hear the waves crashing against it, but there were no lights or signs of people. Then the forty shadows attacked him.

The party came through, and the attacks began. Balinor was at the front, immune, destroying shadows with massive swipes of his magical hammers, while Captain Pittsford, Francine, and Albee stabbed with their long weapons. A few arrows from Rebo took out a few more of them. Twenty-five shadows perished, and the remainder fled.

We followed along the docks, and a few hundred yards down we reached a mansion. We were on some small island, which was occupied mainly by this single large house.

We went inside. There was very nice furniture and the place was bizarrely clean and well preserved. On the floor was a graven image of a woman.

Suddenly, portcullises slammed down on both ends of the room, covering the exits. The party turned, and realized that surrounding the entry door was a very large mirror.

Without warning, a bizarre shape came out of the mirror. A purple gorilla, its eyes glowing slits, strode out and moved rapidly to the party. Several weapons went right through it, and it picked up the hapless Morhion.

Picked up might be the wrong phrase. The gorilla folded on itself until becoming two-dimensional, and then encircled Morhion, swallowing him up, and retreating to the mirror. Rebo managed to shoot it, but it only hurt Morhion. The gorilla, which had sustained a few hits, vanished into the mirror. Then a few seconds later, it emerged uninjured.

Balinor ran straight for the mirror and smashed it with his hammers. A small crack appeared, but the gorilla went for Frankfort. The party stabbed the gorilla again, but it managed to encircle the Chelsean cleric as well and began dragging him back to the mirror. Pittsford and Bodkin ran and stabbed at the mirror, but discovered that their weapons had no effect. Only Balinor’s hammers could damage the glass. The fighter smashed as hard as he could, and the crack began to spread on the wall.

The gorilla vanished into the mirror with Frankfort, and reemerged, again uninjured.

This time everyone made a concentrated effort to the gorilla, as it closed on the party for a third time. But before the gorilla could grab another victim, Balinor hit the mirror a tenth time, and it shattered!

The gorilla vanished, and the mirror expelled ALL of its previous inhabitants.

Chaos reigned.

Balinor, Bodkin, and Pittsford were trapped at the mirror, where they had just broken it, but the rest of the party was flung about 20 feet back by the sprawl of beings flowing suddenly out of the mirror.

On the left side of the room, a quartet of people with Korian holy symbols appeared, along with a Northerner. Beyond them, four eight foot tall orcish things appeared. Beyond them, three locathah (merchant fish creatures), and a ten foot long sea slug. And beyond them, Frankfort, and a vampiric sahaugin. Facing the main portion of the party: Spike, Rebo, Francine, Astoria, Albee, and Anselm.

On the right side of the room, a group of humans in banded armor, and an unarmored man with a huge bag of treasure over his shoulder. Silverware spilled out of it. Beyond them…

Morty’s party!

And beyond them, three large sahagin. And Morhion, standing next to them.

And in the center of the room, dividing the combat in two, poised to hit the party, was a fifty foot long giant sea slug.

The battle for the mansion began.

Balinor, Bodkin, and Pittsford stared at the men in banded mail, who nodded, and then turned and began crushing the monster. Bodkin and Pittsford stabbed spear and magical harpoon into the back of the giant slug, while Balinor drew his magical bastard sword, Little Thoughtless, and cut viciously.

The banded mail people remained guardedly at the back, along with the man with a bag of treasure over his shoulder. The man crunched himself into the corner, huddled and obviously terrified.

Morty and his party sprang into action, attacking the sahaugin.

The sahaugin saw the easy target of Morhion before them, and crushed him to the ground before he could react, leaving him dying.

On the other side of the giant slug, the Korians and the Northerner faced off angrily… but hesitated when the giant orcs began crushing the Korians. One of them went down quickly, and the orcs all drank potions. The Korians and the Northerner nodded to each other, and attacked the orcs.

The locathah went against the smaller sea slug, but they were far less dangerous than most of their fellow prisoners.

And the vampire sahaugin launched itself at Frankfort. He was double level drained, but still alive, and drew his Lawful Sword of Chaotic Slaying. The results were to be gruesome.

The rest of the party attacked the giant slug. The slug grabbed Rebo and began dragging him into its maw.

The small slug was battling the locathah, and Albee tried to help, attacking with his Extend-o-Spear, but fumbled and lost the weapon underneath the slug.

Astoria vanished and began to levitate above the combat, looking for a good place to hit with holy water and Magic Missiles. Anselm dropped a massive Prayer on the fight, aiding the Korians, Morty’s party, the locathah, and us.

Morty’s group turned to fight the sahaugin, but found themselves buried under a magical net cast by the largest of their opponents. The sahaugin began to attack them through the net, and Morty’s people desperately tried to saw themselves free.

Rebo vanished down the gullet of the giant slug and it looked for another target. It grabbed Spike and began swallowing him.

Meanwhile, Frankfort drew his sword, and the power surged into the vampire with devastating effect. He hit the creature again, but still it did not fall. Francine moved in to attack, but could not finish off the powerful vampire.

Morty’s party finally cut themselves out of the net, and got free. The group split—part of them attacked the sahaugin, and the cleric launched a Hold Person at the orcs, who had just downed four potions at once. Without waiting to see what happened, the Korian cleric also cast a Hold Person… and all four orcs froze.

The Korians began slitting their throats eagerly.

The smaller slug grabbed one of the locathah and tried to kill it, but Albee, weaponless, punched the creature hard enough to make it drop the fishman.

Frankfort struck the vampire a final time, and it melted in a flash of light!

Spike vanished into the maw of the slug… which then finally died from the massive wounds inflicted by Balinor, Bodkin, Pittsford, Morty, and part of Morty’s group. The sahaugin went down shockingly quickly, and it was all over.

There was more chaos. Spike was cut free from the slug’s stomach alive, but badly burned. Most of the humans who had fallen out of the portal were speaking in Archaic, which only Morty could decipher. Morty declared his authority over the situation, and Balinor happened to mention he was a Deputy of Restenford, and so we got everyone settled down. The Northerner caused the most trouble by far—he was an ex-pirate and wanted for murder by the Korians. The problem was, it was 1100 years ago that this occurred!

The Korians, pirate, and people in banded mail had all been ensnared over a thousand years ago. The mansion was the palace of the queen of an ancient pirate kingdom which had fallen—her portrait was on the floor. The Korians had been captured by the mirror while searching for the pirate, who had been snagged by the mirror while trying to escape the fall of the empire. He wasn’t the only one. The people in banded mail and their merchant leader and the snivelly guy with the bag of treasure had also been snared when trying to escape the destruction.

The queen of this empire was known as the only person who could speak directly to the Queen of Grottoes, the neutral evil goddess of evil sea creatures. Balinor bared his teeth—the Restenford Defenders had long battled the force of the Queen of Grottoes, and were archenemies.

The locathah were merchants from 40 years ago, who had seen the place in the water, and after getting through a very disorienting magical defense around the docks, had ended up trapped inside. Morty’s party had been exploring and found one of the magical portals in a pirate cave (not the same one the Lightning had found), and actually had the keys to activate the portals. Before he could tell anyone of his discovery, he was trapped here.

It was determined that the man with the bag of treasure was a compulsive liar and probably somewhat evil, but not actually dangerous. As such, he’ll probably get employ in Benct, Balinor thought darkly.

The banded mail guys and the merchant they guarded were also somewhat evil. The Korians wanted them tried for their crimes of selling to pirates, but this doesn’t seem like it would hold up a thousand years later. In any event, the merchant’s lands are almost certainly lost to him. (Trying to explain to these people that the Keystone Kingdom was more than just a tiny outpost on an island called Barnacle Bay was tricky.)

Morty was shocked to hear that it was not in fact 2161, but was pleased to be able to continue exploration of the place. The Korians definitely wanted it cleared. The Killer B’s and the Lightning would see it done, and thus was formed the MAP-- Mega Adventuring Party.

But the pirate had committed high treason and murder. He would be tried, we determined. When the pirate heard this, he told us to let him go; he would never face justice. When we tried to subdue him, he downed two potions at once. We ran away, but he simply vomited and died as the mixture became toxic within him.

After an hour, the portcullis rose.

We fled back to Seapoint uneventfully. Rebo, Morhion, and the dead Korian were sent to Barnacus for (successful) Raises. Spike rested and healed from his burns. Frankfort regained his levels. People were released, and MAP went back in to clear the mansion. We were now: Balinor, Albee, Bodkin, Anselm from the Killer B’s; Pittsford, Francine, Astoria from the Lightning; Morty, and his party; and the three surviving Korians.

Morty’s party consists of:

Amortician, 7th level fighter/5th level thief (bard-in-training), played by Jay

Rupert Howitzer, human ranger, played by David B.

Randy Novotny, human Nevronian cleric, played by David

Elliott, dwarven fighter/thief (4th/4th), played by Katherine

Chelios, human woodsman, played by Katherine

Brenda Mor, half-elven thief/mage, played by Jay

We moved back through the portal the next day. There were still at least a dozen unaccounted for shadows to be wary of, so Balinor led again. We entered the room, and the portcullises slammed down again, but the trap was broken. While we were bored in the room, we searched it, but found nothing of interest. After the gates rose, we searched exhaustively through the house. We found interesting things like hot and cold water, a great balcony on top to look out on the sea, a bedroom with a magical pillow and mattress, and lots of fine furniture. There was a pantry that was magically refrigerated, it seemed, and a fountain of water with plumbing.

It was a very nice house. The problem was, was it safe to live in? All the windows were magically trapped. There was an ominous conservatory with plants in it. Who had lived here all these years that it was kept up so well?

We soon found out.

A secret passage was discovered in the basement near the servant’s quarters. It was dark and quiet, and the party advanced in single file through the door.

Just before the whole party had entered, the door suddenly slammed shut, trapping Albee and Francine outside.

The party was in some kind of underground room. The party wheeled about, and something dropped off the ceiling to block the closed secret door.

It was a woman. By all rights, she appeared to be the thousand-year dead pirate queen! She said simply, “I was really hoping that I would be left alone here.”

Then she said, “We should be friends, there is no need to fight.”

Faced with obvious undead, the party attacked. And things fell into chaos, as per usual.

Balinor, Pittsford, Chelios, and Elliott moved to engage, while the clerics began turning. At this point, the woman gestured, and shadows swooped down on the party—from a lantern of shadows hanging on the ceiling!

So this was where the shadows had come from. The evil had to be eliminated, and fast…

Morty was struck by shadows and drained of strength until he could hardly move, let alone act. A Light spell from Astoria damaged the lantern and killed several shadows and weakened the others. However, it did not destroy it. Anselm and the Korian cleric fought to turn the undead.

And at this point, the woman began charming party members. After a strong initial attack, Captain Pittsford was first drained to helplessness and then charmed. Elliott, the dwarven fighter/thief in Morty’s party, stabbed the creature and then after resisting one charm, was taken in by the second. Astoria was charmed as well.

The target of all these—the Mindblanked fighter beating her up— was Balinor.

She then slapped Balinor in the face. He lost two levels.

Uggh. Vampire.

Balinor continued to attack, and continued to lose levels. Soon he had fallen to level 5, and Astoria hit him with a Magic Missile, while Elliott moved behind and managed a devastating backstab on Balinor, drawing wounds. But the vampire was weakening from attacks by Balinor and Chelios, the woodsman in Morty’s party.

Anselm was unable to turn the vampire, but the Korian cleric was able to annihilate the rest of the shadows, and the party focused its diminishing allies on the vampire. Anselm dropped a Prayer, but it was dispelled by the Korian cleric in a very unfortunate casting of Dispel Magic.

Albee and Francine heard shouts from behind the closed door, and scrambled about and picked up a crowbar. Francine lodged it in the door, and pulled, and it began to move… but would they arrive in time?

The door pried open to reveal a terrible scene. Much of the party was sagging in their boots, drained of strength. Much of the rest of party was attacking in a mob on Balinor, and the clerics remained strong in the background, trying to turn back the evil.

The second Dispel Magic was far more successful, and Captain Pittsford and some of Morty’s people were freed from the charm! Unfortunately the Captain could not injure the creature as he had been reduced to a non-combatant by weakness.

Albee and Francine charged forward, and Balinor struck the killing blow, and then nearly collapsed himself. The vampire turned to gas, and vanished.

The party healed, and Balinor’s levels were restored with a potion from the Korians. Elliott, but it would return in a day, as it turned out.

The party scrambled about the building looking for the vampire’s coffin, and eventually discovered a hidden chamber in the conservatory that led, not to the study, but to a temple of the Queen of Grottoes! We removed the coffin and destroyed it, and lay claim to the mansion!

The question now becomes what to do with the place. Treasure division will be handled over email, I hope. A successful and gory adventure, and modestly, one shockingly designed for Balinor’s specific skill set.


with editing by Kyle/Pittsford/Astoria


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