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June 30, 2004

Felix Adventure #2: Building Blocks of Death

Party Roster:

Felix, 8th level half-orc fighter, 79 hp, played by Alex
Rathbane, 5th level dwarven fighter/cleric of Clangeddin, 45 hp, played by Katherine
Donald Collins, 8th level human mage, 43 hp, NPC
Gates, 6th level dwarven cleric of Moradin, 39 hp, played by Jay Bates
Hendel, 7th level dwarven thief, 38 hp, played by Joel
Nakumanu, 5th level orc fighter, 32 hp, henchman of Felix
Pseu, hit dice unknown but rising, unclassed mimic, “pet” of Rathbane

(Events of May 2004 in Manhattan)

(this is the follow-up to Felix Adventure #1: Defenders Reunion: The Return of the King, and the Sliming of the King, which ended with the following sentence:)

…A few days later, the passageway began to ramp downward, and become more smooth, and then, about a month after we’d initially set out, we reached the edges of the ruined city, the ancient capital of Shabrund…

And we encountered a very large drawbridge. It crossed a huge chasm to what looked to be a gigantic gatehouse. Suspicious, we approached cautiously.

A voice boomed out in dwarven. “300 gold toll.”

The voice didn’t sound like a dwarf, but it seemed we had little choice. “Leave the money by the gate, and don’t look back.”

We did as instructed, and headed into the city slightly poorer. The city itself was mostly a mess of ruined buildings, with lots of main roads and alleyways on a fair facsimile of a grid. Clearly to find the Girdle of Dwarvenkind would be nearly impossible in something this size without clues as to where to look. Thus we had to explore until we encountered someone.

After some debate, we headed down one of the thoroughfares, but were halted at an intersection by a dark diminutive figure (one of the “greebley guys” from the 8th Open). He offered to guide us to a location for an exorbitant fee. Instead we bargained for mere directions and warnings of major hazards. The darkling explained where we could find one of the two groups of mountain dwarves known to be in the city. He also warned us a giant slug that would be frightened off by fire. We paid him and headed down the passage.

Sure enough, a giant slug attacked us, and Hendel was handed a torch and told to go scare it off. He lit the torch, moved bravely forward… and was engulfed in acid. This ruined his clothes but fortunately little else. Satisfied, the slug bolted. Hendel sighed.

We reached a square where the dwarves were supposed to be. There was a large sign that said, “Go away!” in dwarven. When we approached the sign, a Glyph of Warding hit Rathbane, but it had no effect other than a decent amount of light. Shrugging, we called out that we were just interested in talking.

The dwarves eventually responded threateningly, but agreed to meet us if we walked over to this here small door… that of course led to a hideously trapped room. As we entered, the ceiling dropped about a foot, making it impossible to open the door and reminding us of our predicament. “Now we can talk,” the dwarven voice above us chuckled.

Negotiations were slow and painful, but ultimately mildly successful. The dwarves let us know of some enemies in the area we could dispatch for them, including a group of hobgoblins in the northern corridor, but require passing through an area of dungeon mites, rabid thieves that presumably have a boatload of treasure if we can find their lair. There was also a citadel with weird flying manta rays and illusions in the center of the town. There were some troglodytes, and mushroom people that they also wanted killed. And a few score “blue dwarves” (dark dwarves with wizard savants and all that). They also greatly disliked the other mountain dwarves.

We weren’t really pleased with the interaction, but at least they’d told us some information and let us go. We figured we might have better luck with the other group of dwarves, so we went back to the greebley guy to find out where THEY were. After some more money changed hands, we headed to a different section of the city.

And once again we reached some kind of a square and yelled out that we wanted to talk. These dwarves were a bit more civil, merely leading us to a trapped floor plate which would presumably drop us onto poisoned spikes before they were willing to talk. But they agreed to let us know about what we could do in the city (and hinted that if we helped them we could trade with them and rest reasonably safely). They mentioned the hobgoblins and troglodytes, but said that the mushroom people were their allies and any actions against them would be considered hostile. They also told us of a group of a frost giants, and a group of fomorian giants. The fomorians were supposed to be mutants that were physically very dangerous, but not all that bright, whereas the frost giants were tactically intelligent but not as strong. The frost giants are believed to be in an outpost that actually connects to the surface (apparently near the noblink valley). The hobgoblins provided the trade route they used though, and the dwarves were less than keen on their elimination, although the fact that we had cleaned the route to Shabrund did intrigue them.

We considered our options and started on the troglodytes first. We knew there were “a few score” so we approached them carefully. Hendel snuck up on the group of smelly creatures, and spotted a pit trap in the middle of their group, which he warned the party about. What followed was a brief but massive slaughter, with Donald launching a fireball that eliminated the only spellcaster, and Felix, Nakumanu and Rathbane slaughtering the survivors in melee combat. Probably half of the total troglodytes were killed.

Scouting ahead while the party cleaned up, Hendel spotted a troll at the same time as it smelled him, and he turned and fled back to the party. Donald dropped a Wall of Ice that killed most of the rear of the formation, while the trolls in the lead were slain attacked by the melee fighters. Hendel even backstabbed one. However, the ones in the back were fleeing, and Hendel gave pursuit in the hopes of catching them before they could warn the others to run away. But this time the unlucky thief ran into some kind of horrible cold effect that nearly killed him. Backing off, he returned to the party.

The party had been messing with the trap door, and it nearly killed somebody when the spores from the yellow mold sprayed out of the trap, but ultimately we got away unharmed.

Then it was looting time, which was semi-productive. Finally, Donald felt he could eliminate this cold thing by countering with fire (I think, it might have been cold). He launched a fireball down the corridor… and it swelled up to enormous size and the cold aura shot out even further. We ran away.

The dwarves congratulated us on slaughtering most of the troglodytes and allowed us to rest. In addition, they informed us that the frost mold would hurt any warm-blooded creatures (so it made a great defense for the reptillian troglodytes), so that effectively ended any pursuit we might give. The dwarves let us know that they would pay 2 gp/body for compost purposes, or 1 gp/100 pounds of generic organic material.

They also agreed to let their animal trainer work with Rathbane’s mimic creature, the blob that takes various shapes and has been growing massively. Apparently there are two varieties, but this is the smaller and eventually more intelligent one. They may even be capable of learning speech and such. We’re creeped out by this, but Rathbane is learning exercises and training techniques to use.

When we told the dwarves we were looking the Girdle of Dwarvenkind, they told us where it was last seen. It had been brought to the city by an expedition of Shabrundian dwarves 60 years earlier, and lost with them in a pair of large battles. The first took place in front of the citadel, when they tried to sneak in. The weird illusion creatures apparently attacked and while they are offensively weak, they befuddled the dwarves and held them long enough to kill several.

The second great battle happened when they tried another entrance to the citadel from the upper levels, near where the frost giants are. The rest of the expedition (which apparently still included most of the officers) was lost to the giants. So the dwarves believe the Girdle is in the possession of one of these groups.

Realizing that we wanted to gain more favor with this group if we were ever hoping to gather the force to assault the citadel, the frost giants, or the blue dwarves, we decided to build this base by eliminating the fomorians.

We headed up the stairs toward the upper level where the fomorians were. On the way up the stairs, a huge cloud of shadows was coming down, and it paralyzed everyone except Felix. The shadows moved down, and the feeling eventually passed. A nasty effect, but possibly if we were lucky we could defeat this too. It was something to consider for later, at any rate.

Exploring the top floor, we went through several houses and eventually ended up in a large cave with a huge lake in the middle of it. Walking around, we eventually spotted two noblink fishing with a capstan and hauling in a very large fish. They squeaked when they saw us and tried to run, but Donald caught them with a Sleep spell. Then we charmed both of them and convinced them to help us move the other dozen noblink slaves out of the way while we dealt with the fomorians. Apparently these giants go past giant snails to the surface to kidnap noblink and hunt for food. The noblink can’t venture past the snails because they are too weak.

And of course we kept the giant fish.

Apparently, one of the giants was out hunting, so we perceived this to be our chance. Hendel again snuck inside, while the rest of the party came in behind him with Invisibility (10 foot radius) on. This backfired when one of the giants, who had an eye grotesquely on the side of his head, saw right through the invisibility and came charging at us.

This was not good. Donald hurled a Charm Monster and miraculously caught the other giant! The uncharmed giant swung at Felix and dealt him a very heavy blow, leading us to wonder if we would survive this encounter at all. Then he swung and crushed Rathbane to his knees. But the melee offense of Nakumanu, Felix, Rathbane, and a backstab from Hendel, AND his ex-comrade giant was too much for the fomorian, and he keeled over (with over 150 points of damage!).

Still, he had trashed Felix, Rathbane, and Hendel, and we had a charmed fomorian on our hands to deal with. We tried to convince the giant to go to sleep while we kept watch, but this somehow broke the charm. This giant was at a severe disadvantage since we had him surrounded, but it was still a scary fight. The giant nailed Gates, but he was brought down before swinging again with all fighters and Donald hammering away to maximal effect. (The one advantage here is that dwarves have natural defensive bonuses against giants, so Rathbane, Hendel, and Gates were actually tricky to hit even for these powerful giants).

We searched the lair and found 3000 frost giant gold pieces (the equivalent of 6000 human gp). At least we had made a profit! We settled down to heal up, and prepare for the arrival of the last giant, and then perhaps kill the giant snails and lead the noblink out…

And build our power base, one faction at a time. Next up, frost giants? Then the shadow/sacrol or maybe ray-like things?

Tune in for more slaughter with Felix!


June 08, 2004

Rangorn/Star Summary #1: Huntin’ and Killin’ with Rangorn and Star

Party Roster:

Rangorn, 7th level half-elf woodsman, 65 hp, played by Joel
Astronomicon “Star” Phillips, 6th level human cleric, 37 hp, played by Kyle
Zippo, 2nd level dwarf fighter, 21 hp, henchman of Star
Lewis, 1st level human ranger, 15 hp, henchman of Star
Minerva, 2nd level half-elf mage, 8 hp, played by Katherine
Madupe Fadupe (“Juan-Re the Gnomish Swashbuckler”), 1st/1st level gnome fighter/thief, 8 hp, played by Katherine
Alisan, 1st level half-elf Phaulkonian cleric, 8 hp, henchwoman of Rangorn

And a new party gathered to battle evil in Petethal… merciless, unforgiving, and packed to the gills with anatomy bonuses…

A brief history of the characters:

Rangorn, a half-Cromwellian/half-elf whose family fled Cromwell due to persecution, grew up in End-of-the-Road in Dunador as a casual Nevronian. He took his anatomy lessons as a woodsman very seriously and despises evil humanoids. His archery skill was reasonably strong, and in 2177 was able to secure a position as a member of the Stone Soules adventuring party (partly through connections with Runt, Canstin’s new-at-the-time henchwoman). He adventured with the Stone Soules for 8 years (gaining nearly as many levels!) and picked up a powerful magic falchion that particularly mangled ogres. By 2185, Rangorn had become sufficiently intrigued by Alegra and the Phaulkonians in the Soules that he tossed off his casual Nevronian attitude and gave Phaulkon a shot. After the Soules broke up, Rangorn spent a few years patrolling Tan-El and was part of the Daring Dozen excursions into the City of the Gods. After the abortive Borglyn adventure (i.e., “The Game That Was Not”) and the loss of his first henchman Luke to a nest of harpies (in “Alegra’s Company Saves the Roc”), Rangorn spent a few years on a hammock in Petethal (“They Call This Work?”). He also did manage to train extensively as a scout with the Army [Scouting X 3 – Rangorn’s sixth-level feat]. In 2190, Rangorn went on the quest to liberate the Fane of the Winds, and after the group was victorious in reclaiming the shrine at the top of the mountain and rebuilding the Altar Stone, became a Warder of Phaulkon. He has tried especially hard to do Good in the cause of Phaulkon since that time. In 2191, he returned to Depwood and gained membership in the Brotherhood of Rangers to seek out and hunt evil humanoids in Petethal and for the future… who knows?

Star, a Petethalian human, joined the Stone Soules in the early days as Alegra’s henchman (the first henchman of many to come in the party’s history!), and he is a veteran of many adventures. After the Stone Soules broke up in 2185, Alegra released Star from service as her henchman. Indeed, Star had advanced as far as he could as a henchman and had overcome his initial reluctance to adventure and travel independently. As testament to this, Star spent a large block of time as a missionary among the bird-people (aaracockra) in the mountains of Shabrund.. After the Fane of the Winds was liberated, Star truly came into his own, and decided to become a full adventurer in his own right. Given the need for various combat and other skills which Star did not possess, his first thought was to join up with fellow ex-Stone Soule and Phaulkonian brother, Rangorn. Star fights with crossbows and possesses a magical heavy crossbow which is capable of great accuracy over very large distances (a bonus with his great eyesight!). He is also known to possess a few other strange and exotic powers that have served him well over the years.

To provide personal protection for Star and into increase his nascent party’s melee abilities, Star recruited two henchmen. (These notes on the henchmen he decided on were taken from an older summary:)
* Another hapless but hopelessly fun character to enter the room was Zippo, a dwarven warrior. Zippo was quite good with his melee weapons (scimitar double-specialist), but was not known for either intelligence or wisdom. When questioned on other interests or skills, Star discovered that Zippo... raised ornamental birds and parrots! Though he didn't have any strong religious opinions himself, he thought that Star was likely as a Phaulkonian to love exotic birds as much as he did. Of course, Star enquired why he hadn't looked into becoming a Phaulkonian over his lifetime thus far. The dwarf thought that that sounded like a good idea, but conceded that he didn't have much knowledge in philosophy or religion. He thought that if he were Star's henchman, he would definitely become Phaulkonian, as long as Star could help him with complex theology and those 'deep thoughts.'
* After Star questioned Lewis, the Phaulkonian Ranger again, it became clear that he was quite a superior henchman candidate. He didn't appear too noticeable at first glance, but he was once one of the strongest men in the Ranger Brotherhood. Though he was quiet, he had gained numerous commendations from the Brotherhood for good service over 11 years and was quite skilled melee wise – a bastard sword double-specialist. He had assumed that everyone who had applied for the position must be Phaulkonian, else he would have told Star about it. His skills were numerous and varied, and he had the ability to learn even more. And though he was quiet, he was likeable.
Madupe, (who some have called “Juan-Re, the Gnomish Swashbuckler”), a gnomish rogue of double-dagger fame, set out looking for adventure, danger and the chance to stab things in the back repeatedly.

Minerva, a half-elf wizard trainee of Wicker of Poseidonus, spent many years working as a lab tech, occasionally playing with new familiars as she sought out a good match. Finally, after several familiars had died of old age, Minerva acquired Robin the fox, and decided to go adventuring. Minerva is also a Phaulkonian and looked eager at the opportunity to adventure with the ‘famous’ Phaulkonians, Star & Rangorn. (It also didn’t hurt that they came with certain, ahem, resources, which allowed a starting wizard great advantages. The spell Sleep was an early purchase.)

Alisan, a young Phaulkonian cleric who trained in Teft, discovered Rangorn in the Blue Star Inn there in 2191, while looking for her first job. She signed on as a henchwoman and benefited immediately from their compatible styles. Rangorn tracked well; Alisan loved dogs and kept a bloodhound named Sanger. They both shoot composite longbows. Rangorn is stealthy and woodsy; Alisan can camouflage herself and hide her camp. Rangorn takes lots of damage; Alisan can heal. Alisan is a strong contest archer and has two dogs, the bloodhound Sanger, and the war dog Drifter.


The party gathered in Depwood in the winter of 2191 and joined the Brotherhood. This allowed them a 10% salvage tax on cash items, and provided a source of missions. The party was set up to allow rapid tracking and pursuit, with some stealth and strong scouting capabilities, some healing, decent melee capability, and wizardry and wacky powers thrown in for good measure. Rangorn and Star are expert horseback riders. Rangorn generally leads the way with the bloodhound and the fox, tracking and hoping to notice his quarry before it notices him. As Rangorn wants to be quiet, he wears the strange black armor known as a sharpskin suit (“I can’t tell you what it’s made of, but I can tell you that a lot of ‘em had to die to make it!”).

Our first mission came on March 3rd, 2191. We received a report of a half-dozen ogre raiders outside of Jansborough. We rode hard and arrived two weeks later. After questioning locals, we learned of some cattle that had been stolen the day before. After a mere four hours of tracking seven ogres, we stumbled on the ogres’ camp, igniting an immediate combat. The battle was brutal and quick, partly thanks to Grunt-Ender, Rangorn’s ogre-slaying falchion.

(In-game aside: Grunt-ender is normally a +2 falchion, but against ogres it’s a +4 weapon, and Rangorn does 4d4+20 damage, all but two points counting toward wounds, and the ogres melt away grotesquely once they hit 0 hit points. And hey, it’s +3 vs. half-ogres!)

We returned to Depwood on March 27th, and were immediately sent out again on a mission to find 12 bugbears that had hit a caravan. Two days later we reached the attack site and began tracking. In hot pursuit, Rangorn was so hasty that he accidentally walked into an ambush by four worgs (giant intelligent wolves, some of whom can cast spells).

Three of the worgs charged the main party, while one stopped to cast. Rangorn, off to the side and in front, shot the remaining worg and disrupted his spell. He sprinted forward, shooting as he went.

The other three hit the party hard, charging at Zippo, Lewis, and Minerva. Minerva tried a Sleep spell but it didn’t work, and Star’s Command was apparently not intelligible. Fortunately, Alisan’s war dog, Drifter, moved to defend Minerva and got grabbed by the worg. A Command in Bugbear from Alisan dropped one of the worgs, and another was slain by Zippo and Lewis. The last worg took a lot of damage, including a wound, and ran off into the forest, leaving Drifter in quite a bit of pain but still standing.

The last worg had tried to cast again, but Star had enveloped it in some kind of cloud of obscurement. Rangorn couldn’t see, but he fired point-blank into the cloud, apparently disrupting another spell. He fired again, driving home, and the worg suddenly came flying out of the cloud at the woodsman. They both went down in a heap, the worg trying for Rangorn’s throat, but the woodsman pulled out his falchion and chopped at the beast. The worg leaped back up, and seeing the party had defeated his companions, charged off into the forest. Rangorn’s final shot missed, and the worgs escaped. (The spellcaster healed the other fleeing worg and they fled together, according to tracking).

We realized we couldn’t pursue, and continued following the bugbear trail. After a strange encounter with a wild pig on the dawn watch, we stalked the bugbears for a full week before finally catching up to them. They had four on watch, one of whom had a strange shield with an eye that animated, moving back and forth. Rangorn assumed that it was some sort of alarm effect, and stayed carefully away from the camp edge. The party formed a plan: take out all four guards without them getting a chance to wake up the others. It was risky, but we might be able to pull it off.

We waited one shift till the bugbear with the weird shield had gone to sleep. Signaling the beginning of the combat, Rangorn shot a bugbear that he had snuck up on. Minerva, right behind him, dropped a sleep spell that caught another sentry. That left two.

Zippo and Star launched themselves at the third, and Lewis, Madupe, Alisan, and Drifter (and Minerva’s fox, for instant communication and coordination) took the fourth. Madupe immediately launched one of the two Silence stones that Star had pre-cast into the camp. This caused one bugbear to wake up, but forced the awake sentries to run to each bugbear to wake them up, which gave us a considerable advantage.

Rangorn blew his opponent down with bowshots and started on the one that was waking up. The fourth was taken out by Lewis, Madupe, and Alisan. The last standing bugbear ran toward the shaman and the bodyguard with the weird eye-shield, but ran right into Zippo. Madupe ran forward and began taking out sleeping bugbears, while Rangorn brought down the bugbear that had woken up from the Silence. Zippo brought his down, and it was all over as we slaughtered the others in their sleep.

The shield turned out to be very strange-- +2 large shield, grants detect invisibility/ ultravision/infravision and other effects having to do with vision (although not true seeing), but has the major problem that it leaves the wielder ‘dazed and confused,’resulting in a -3 penalty to wisdom. That means that the best candidates for it are fighters (and thieves or mages with shield-use) with wisdom scores of 11-14. We didn’t have anyone within that range (and many of us would literally have lost our class by using it—the negative effects last a full week after you put it down—so we marked it for salvage tax later) (The one possible candidate for it, Zippo, already had a low enough Wisdom, that he would have started getting penalties against mind-affecting magics if he used it, which seemed like a bad idea. Plus, he wanted to pay attention to his parrot, Maypo, and didn’t want to be distracted!).

(Ironically, it immediately occurred to me that Felix of the Defenders would die for this item, so who knows when he finally catches up to 2191?)

We returned to Depwood and waited for a new job. After a month of quiet, four ogres were reported north of Depwood. The party chased them down, and after a week of pursuit, finally caught them and killed them all in an easy battle from horseback. (It was at this point that we wondered if we had given the Rangers the impression we only wanted the “easy jobs.” Thankfully, what happened next was more of a challenge.)

After another month, something more ominous happened. A caravan of six humans had been completely slain, but not really looted. It had been searched for something specific, we thought. Heading to the caravan site, Rangorn believed that 10 hobgoblins and 2 humans (one in heavy armor, one unarmored), and… a pig… had attacked the caravan. Four hobgoblins appeared heavily laden after they left. Because we had thought the pig might in fact be the tracks of a (common in Petethal!) Wereboar, we loaded up on Silver and Silvered weapons.

It was then that a skunk sprayed Rangorn, completely fouling up his stealth and bothering the bloodhound, Sanger, and the rest of the party for several days. This slowed us down but ultimately wasn’t all that bad. Rangorn was bathed in nightly Precipitation spells by Star, which had some effect.

There was a close but ultimately peaceful encounter with a treant. We couldn’t talk to it, so there wasn’t much to be done, and we moved on.

After four days of tracking, we discovered a blind set up in the forest. We couldn’t see inside it, but confirmed with an owl and a crow that there were about a dozen figures inside, and a pig. Still wondering if the pig was oracular in nature, we weren’t sure what to do but decided not to kill it if we could avoid it. (And yup, our concerns about a wereboar were a complete red herring. It did however have cool runes tattooed all over it, which our resident rune expert, Minerva, was eventually able to determine were to give the pig Invulnerability! You see, it was an ATTACK pig, but I digress…) The blind had been there for a few days, so they were obviously waiting for someone. The owl also mentioned that they had some sort of flying contraption that they let into the sky at dusk each day. Minerva guessed that it sounded like a kite.

We decided to take out the blind and lie in ambush for whoever was coming to meet them. We followed the usual plan, with Rangorn creeping up from one side, the rest of the party in a Silence spell on the other, Star trailing behind to cast some Holds and later, a Prayer.

Rangorn crept carefully up to the blind, and heard nothing. He peeked around the blind…

And half a dozen arrows came flying at him. He sprang back, three strong hits buried in his armor, but recovered quickly as the blind crashed down. Six hobgoblins charged out at him. He shot one dead, then fell back with his split-fire, shooting and running back into the forest.

It was at this point that Star’s summoned air elementals crashed through the blinds. It actually took a second hit before the rear blind came down in order for the rest of the party to engage…

The remainder of the party came hurtling into the (now open) other side. Alisan shot at the unarmored human in the back scrambling from near the (sleeping) pig. The Silence stone was hurled in and shut off communication once again.

Minerva nailed the remaining four hobgoblins and the unarmored human with a sleep spell, and Zippo and Lewis charged in to make short work of the final opponent, a human in some sort of hobgoblin plate armor. The human had downed at least one potion, and was smearing something on his sword. Zippo moved in, took a mighty swing… and though he made contact and should have done substantial damage, it had no effect. Something had absorbed the blow!

Rangorn was sprinting backward, five hobgoblins on his heels, but the woodsman had murder in his eyes. Another hobgoblin went down, then another, each with a well-aimed arrow in its chest. A fourth one died, but the last two reached Rangorn. One had a battleaxe that began glowing green (hereafter referred to as “Green Goblin”), which Rangorn was hoping to stay away from (we somehow sensed it was an Elf-slaying or Half-breed-slaying weapon, having seen such before). The other one without a magical weapon hit him, but Rangorn slashed Green Goblin with Grunt-Ender.

Alisan, seeing Rangorn was in trouble, sent Drifter over to help, while Zippo backed off to defend against the seemingly invulnerable human in plate armor (who in addition to everything else was holding him at bay!). Star hit him with a Psionic Blast, but it had no effect (although one of the sleeping hobgoblins got hammered). Madupe began slaying sleeping hobgoblins, and Minerva fired her Light spell, but the human resisted. Star tried a second Blast (but to no effect), and Lewis stepped up to attack, but was brought down violently by the human. Alisan dashed forward and started casting healing spells on the unconscious ranger. The human moved forward, and flames licked suddenly up his sword and lit Star on fire!

Rangorn got hit again, but Drifter brought down Green Goblin. Unfortunately Rangorn had taken a lot of damage and was likely to be dropped by another hit, so he pulled out his healing potion. He had only drunk half of it when the hobgoblin finally missed, so he stopped, and slashed Grunt-Ender across, killing the final hobgoblin.

Madupe was slaying hobgoblins, but Zippo took a big pair of hits from the human, and backed off. Minerva threw her waterskin on Star, putting him out. Star tried a Hold Person, but to no avail, and a third Blast, which succeeded in confusing the human for several segments, during which he shot at the human with his magic crossbow bolts. These appeared to do damage, but still the human seemed in strong shape.

Rangorn charged forward and plugged the human with a +1 arrow at point-blank. The human dropped his sword, pulled out his bow, and shot down the woodsman! Zippo continued to harry the human, though, and Star kept shooting.

Still, all seemed lost, so Alisan ordered both dogs into combat with the human. Sanger could do little, and Madupe moved around for a backstab…

But Drifter leaped and grabbed onto the human, locking his hand into a death grip! The human punched at the dog, four times in rapid succession, and finally Drifter had to let go. But Star and Madupe and Zippo brought him down just before he could try to finish off the dwarf!

After that, it was mop-up. Fortunately Rangorn and Lewis were both saved by timely curative magic, so ultimately a few magic bolts and arrows, and half a healing potion were all that was lost. We saved the pig, one hobgoblin, and brought the unarmored human’s corpse for potential Speak with Dead questions. The hobgoblin made quite a fuss and we were forced to gag him.

(Still, the party hitpoints were something like: Star, 21 out of 37, everyone else at 8 or less…)

The weird effect Zippo had encountered against the human was a potion of heroism, by the way. It gave him additional bonus hitpoints and levels which made him seem invulnerable until they were lost to injury.

We moved about 20 minutes away (along with the treasure – notably, the big box!), but managed to convince the owl to warn us if anyone came to the blind. After four hours, we were in substantially better shape, but, still nervous about the potential strength of any adversaries, we decided to wait and heal up further before returning to the blind.

We found some very interesting treasure, including a very large box that required four of us to carry it. Inside were a number of packed kites! Go Minerva! So why did they want kites? And what was with the pig (who was obnoxious and tried to bite but seemed otherwise normal)?

Unfortunately, midway through the evening, the owl came to warn us that four men had come up to the camp and searched it. By the time we got there, they had left, and had a small lead on us. Rangorn tracked the four humans for a bit, and the four prints were eventually joined suddenly by a fifth track. Judging by the sudden appearance, we guessed that this fifth person was either a druid or a wizard.

We followed the group, healing up as we went, and finally we caught up to them a few days later. Speak with Dead had not been particularly fruitful, although we learned that the pig was a “battlepig” (a trained war pig to guard the mage, who was a sniveling henchman of the other deceased human). Unsure of the strength of the four guards (who were standing in a circle around the central figure), we decided to hit them from the same side, with Rangorn leading with bowshots.

Rangorn was unfortunately spotted as he got close, and the guards went to wake up the central figure. Rangorn shot one guard, then two, but neither fell, and the man in the center got up and started to run away!

The guards were all eliminated by a sleep spell from Minerva, and then Rangorn and the gang were in hot pursuit.

The unarmored wizard (we guessed) ran so quickly that only Rangorn could keep up, and we were losing him in the woods. After a pair of startlingly low damage shots from Rangorn and Star, Minerva dropped a Light spell on the wizard so that we could follow him. Realizing he was in trouble, the wizard suddenly took off into the air. Rangorn fired, hitting him AGAIN for very little damage, and then he was through the treetops.

Star then levitated after him, and saw him flying away as a small speck (maybe looking like he was in some kind of bird form?). Star’s incredible crossbow tracked him nicely and Star shot him twice more, but the man finally disappeared into the distance. Attempts to track him from wherever he landed were unsuccessful, and we had to be satisfied with what we found.

We marched the guards (who surrendered easily) back to Depwood, along with the angry hobgoblin. Rangorn was scolded for not slaying the hobgoblin in the wilderness, fined 50 g.p., and the hobgoblin was sent on his way, but talks with the guards made things substantially clearer.

Apparently a Realmish “merchant” (read: wizard) named Akillet had come to them seeking porters and guards to carry his “shipment of goods” that he would receive at a meeting in the forest, which would be potentially opposed by his political enemies. He claimed to be from a merchant company that turned out to have been disbanded a few years ago, but his papers had looked legitimate. The guards had been given 500 platinum pieces to pay for the shipment, which they still had. [As it turned out there was no legal merchant company, so the money was ours (and we split it fairly, one share per person involved, even with the mercenaries)]. Akillet was observed by the guards to have had a staff of “fireballs,” a spellbook, bracers, a familiar, and four potions.

A few days later, Relic’s party turned up. Relic is a strange guy who hangs out with three even stranger people, but it was his shipment (to “R. Noshouse”) that had been destroyed. As a reward he gave us a dagger +1 and our pick of one of two kinds of kites—a Kite of Alarm (unpack it, send it up, and someone you choose within 500 miles knows you are in danger, and vaguely where you are). We chose that one (the other one I can’t remember at the moment, but it wasn’t as useful for our party). There were other more powerful kites for spying and one for smiting with lightning, but Relic needed those. All in all, it was still a nice reward. Relic would have to track down this Akillet, who he was aware of, but the matter had passed out of the hands of the Depwood people (despite some of our attempts to enlist the aid of the Druids and Rangers to follow him).

After significant amounts of trading with the Rangers and salvage tax, the net result was a decent amount of treasure:

Net monetary gain: 6500 gp or so

General Items: 3 bandages of wound closure, Kite of Alarm


Composite longbow +1/+1 (quality)
Ring +1
Cloak +2 (green-brown, I think; good for forest work!)
6 first-flight arrows +1


Large shield+2


Rangorn’s old platemail+1

Star: nothing but some XP and a freshly made Dispel Magic scroll!


Robe of Useful Items


Dagger +1


Rangorn’s old composite longbow +1/+0 (quality)

Traded in: Shield of the All-Knowing Eye, Hobgoblin Master’s Armor, battleaxe +0/+3 versus humans (+1 versus half-elves)

The green glowing battleaxe which Rangorn had feared turned to be far less dangerous to him than to Star and Lewis, ironically! We would have kept it if anyone in the party used battleaxe, but unfortunately…

The hobgoblin platemail was very interesting. It dripped oil, which made the wearer trivial to track. It was standard platemail, AC 3/3, but movement 12”, once a week could light your weapon on fire and do extra damage, and most interestingly, made the wearer heavily greased and thus able to slip easily out of webs, entangles, and other physical hold effects.

Rangorn picked up a second sharpskin suit so he could have one in the shop while wearing the other, so as not to delay the party. The party agreed to pay all maintenance costs on the armor, which every once in awhile required money to repair. He went with the lightly armored ring and cloak combination to make him able to tank and scout stealthily at the same time. Madupe gains extra damage with her main-hand dagger. Zippo and Lewis tank better, and Minerva gains the ultimate in last-ditch items…

Included in the Robe of Useful Items are pockets with such bizarre things as:

--a 40’ ladder
--3 extra-healing potions
--1000 gp in gems
--a window (like the token)
--a 10’ deep hole
--a moose
--an angry mummy

And a LOT more fun for the whole family, 36 pockets in all! Of course, only Minerva knows which pockets are which, so to anyone else it’s a Wand of Wonder.

Finally, we gained experience points. The henchmen gained between 600 (Alisan) and 1500 (Zippo), and the main characters all got around 2500-3000 XP. Madupe gained 2nd level thief (and 3 hitpoints to rise to 11), while Minerva gained 3rd level mage (and 6 hitpoints to rise to 14). And Minerva learned Stinking Cloud, which will be VERY useful in these situations (and many others). Zippo and Lewis are both very close to their next level (3rd and 2nd, respectively).

So we can declare our first adventure an (almost) unqualified success!

And now, of course, we need a name.