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September 23, 2007

Felix Summary #7: Forked Tongues

Party Roster:

Felix, 10th level dwarven fighter, 100 hp, played by Alex
Rathbane, 7th/6th level dwarven fighter/cleric (Clangeddin), 54 hp, played by Katherine
Hendel, 9th level dwarven thief, 52 hp, played by Joel
Gates, 8th level dwarven cleric (Moradin), 52 hp, played by Aaron
Donald, 9th level coastlander mage, 48 hp, NPC
Aral, 2nd level Northerner woodsman, 27 hp, henchman of Felix

[Events of September 7-8, 2007 in Ithaca, NY; Telvar date: December 2189]

A somewhat short but very cool game session, played in Alex’s parents’ house down the hill from Cornell…

When we last left the party, Felix and Friends were trying to decide on further missions. Felix’s interest in restoring the glory of the dwarven kingdoms (or at least halting the decline) led him to seek out quests to benefit the kingdoms. Knowing we wanted something small, Felix needed to decide whether to help the Shabrundians, who were stagnant and at a crossroads as an empire, or to help Eralla, which was believed to be doomed with a hundred years (a single generation).

Some numbers for perspective:

The White Mountain dwarves (the only actually prosperous dwarven kingdom) number roughly fifteen thousand. The Eralla (I'll start spelling it Arala next time, as I apparently got it wrong, but didn't want to confuse readers...) dwarves number less then 250, although there another few hundred scattered about southern Cromwell who might well return in good times. The Eralla dwarves are resigned about their fate, and despite their ludicrous mineral and adamantite wealth, cannot grow. They are under constant assault from the gnolls, giants and derro dwarves that border them, as well as occasional hideous creatures from the Limgut’s kingdom, the Southern Wilderness, and the Pit. Additionally, whenever they really try to trade their wealth, an evil adventuring party takes note and assaults the place. Eralla is actually one of the oldest dwarven kingdoms, thought to be more than 15000 years old, but has been under siege for at least the last 5000 or so.

It really is a grim setup. Felix decided to do what he could to help. One smaller scale mission was to clear a mine shaft that had been abandoned to monsters a while ago, and open some more convenient wealth. But this isn’t really Eralla’s fundamental problem, and Felix found a more satisfying alternative.

There is a tunnel below Eralla that used to lead very conveniently out to Southern Cromwell, but it was sealed off long ago. There was a “conveyer belt” or something like that, one of the once plentiful machines that ran the great dwarven empire. Although it is almost certainly not running (they would be able to hear if it was), the tunnel would greatly improve their economic contact with Cromwell and maybe help ease the decline. We would travel inside and clear out the complex. It was known that they had originally been driven out by earth elementals and derro dwarves (the hated beardless dwarves), but it was unknown who the current occupants might be.

Gates picked up Knowledge, Geology, and Felix gained 2 feats (to be named later). We picked up supplies and headed through the ruins of the older parts of Eralla. The dwarves undid the horrendous traps and gave us the password to a massively locked door, and we were sealed in. The dwarves would cast low-cost divination spells to determine if we were waiting at the door, checking once a week, and let us out if we were detected. Otherwise, we were cut off.

(A side note: we re-purchased our missing Raise Dead scroll for 10,000 gp. I was certainly under the impression we’d gotten one prior to going into the tunnel in Felix Adventure #1, but there were no records of it, so we shelled out the cash. I fear we may have lost 10,000 gp, unfortunately.)

So with the party actually in the negatives, cashwise, we hoped to increase our disposable treasure. A lot of the decline in riches had been due to extremely good causes: massive high-level training, and repairing the shackles that allowed us to permanently eliminate two creatures from this plane, so there are no regrets there…


The first thing that happened after passing through the door was that we came upon a slime trail. We tracked the ichor through the ruins of the city to a 12 foot long giant slug! Being bloodthirsty folks, we attacked it despite its apparent non-hostility. Everyone charged, and the thing tried to flee, but Donald’s fireball and magic missiles killed it without anyone else even getting involved.

There was, sadly, no discernible treasure.

[There was much existential discussion of giant slug psychology with Alex’s father at this point. He ultimately left the room even more confused.]

The second thing that happened after passing through the door was an encounter with an old favorite of Balinor’s, the deadly black pudding! Donald made short work of this one with fireballs and magic missiles. How much better it goes when you’re not trapped in a vault without your wizard…

Eventually we reached the top of a huge mine shaft that was sealed off by a massive metal plate. Around the plate were a dozen large boltholes, each with a glyph on them. It took several hours to undo one of them, and then suddenly there was a blue flash, but Felix resisted whatever the effect was.

Down the bolthole was a 40 foot deep shaft that led to a landing of some kind. A spiral staircase wound down the hole.

We decided, for some reason, to check it for traps, and amazingly this paid off. Hendel found a nasty fire/oil trap on one of the stairs, and deliberately set it off, thereby actually avoiding damage! How rare is it that paranoid adventurers searching a random section of dungeon for traps actually find a trap? There seemed to be some sort of law against it.

We reached the landing, and found ourselves faced with a messed-up door, in the sense that it would take a day of rock clearing to open it. We decided to go with the more expedient trail and continued down the shaft on a ladder.

Halfway down to the next landing, a grey human-sized creature suddenly detached from incredible camouflage with the wall and backstabbed Hendel! The thief would have tumbled to ground and sustained considerable damage, but after he, Felix, and Rathbane all failed to catch themselves on the rope connecting the party, Donald (on an 01!) was able to grab the rope and hang on to the ladder. Hendel stabbed back at the creature’s shortsword arm, but missed. Felix stabbed the creature for minor damage, and it looked like we might have a fight on our hands.

Then Rathbane said, “Hi!” in Guardian Naga. The creature’s eyes turned suddenly fearful and it immediately dashed down the wall (it was climbing like a spider), and fled.

That was a strange reaction.

According to Donald the creature was a member of some kind of assassin race, spiteful thieves that go around killing things and taking their treasure and then running away. There wasn’t any connection to nagas, though.

We mulled this over, then shrugged and continued to the next landing. There was a door here with an alarm bell of some kind. Hendel successfully dismantled it and we opened the door.

We were facing a surprised gnoll. But immediate hostility didn’t break out, and it tried to talk to us. We shrugged and tried our languages. There was no effect until, again, Guardian Naga. The gnoll looked suddenly respectful and fearful, and called out. Two more gnolls appeared. We tried to communicate with them in Guardian Naga. It seemed that they couldn’t actually speak the language, but they recognized it (we imagine it would be like Voldemort’s parseltongue).

The obvious conclusion seemed to be that there was a naga around here somewhere. Guardian nagas are generally good and typically wouldn’t have worshipful followers like the gnolls, so we figured it was probably a different type of naga. The question then became what to do. We seemed to be in its complex/lair. The gnolls were beckoning us forward. Should we kill them and invade the complex? Should we let them lead us to the naga and try to fight it in the throne room?

We decided to follow them, casting prep spells along the way. They led us through a big complex with a lot of doors, and after ten minutes or so stopped and gestured to a ramp passage leading downward.

We figured this way our moment and turned on the gnolls, dispatching them without a peep (partially because of a silence spell…). Felix, Rathbane, and Donald each brought one down, Donald with a particularly brutal shocking grasp on his longtooth dagger. We then headed down the corridor and soon found ourselves at a beach on an underground lake with a single boat and oars sitting there. There was also some broken machinery that we found out later was some kind of automated gold panning device.

There was a cave off to one side of the beach area, and from there slowly emerged a bizarre fire giant. It wore decrepit battle armor, had a strangely retarded look on its face, and was moving very slowly. Comprehension of danger slowly dawned on its face, but the group was faster.

We charged forward, smashing the giant with weapons and nasty attacks under full cover of silence. The creature managed only a single poorly aimed swing at Felix before it was brought down by the fighters and Gates’ spiritual weapon. Hendel didn’t even have time for a backstab, and merely sputtered uselessly.

With that violently over, we turned to the boat and decided to take the offering and row across the lake. We were worried about creatures capsizing the boat, so Hendel held on to the token of swanboat (we actually had two!) in case something untoward happened…

As we rowed around the corner, another beach came into view. On it were eight large chests, some fine rugs, books… and a 25 foot long snake with a human head. Bingo!

The snake/naga was obviously ready for us. We began rowing frantically for the shore, but it launched a huge fireball at the party. Trapped in the boat we were unable to dodge (no dex bonus) but only one person actually caught the full blast. Unfortunately, that one person was Aral, who fell to -9 instantly!

Gates began a death’s door, and the fighters rowed faster. Donald unleashed lightning bolt fury on the creature, bouncing it against the back wall and inflicting massive damage on the creature… and the naga made a beeline for the water. Before we could attack it again, the creature disappeared beneath the waves.

This was a big problem. There wasn’t much we could do to it down there. We attached Felix to a rope, had him drink a waterbreathing potion, and shoved him over, attempting to follow him. The creature was much faster and obviously unhampered by the water, but Donald partially trapped it with a wall of ice spell. Despite this, Felix couldn’t reach the creature.

It backed up, and cast a spell. The boat instantly dispelled out from under us! This would have been complete disaster, if it weren’t for the token of swanboat. It sprang instantly beneath us, under Hendel’s mental control, and the party was saved from watery confusion. But the naga continued to back up and cast spells, although there was no obvious effect.

About this time we realized the swanboat could move quite quickly! Soon Hendel was towing Felix through the water in the hopes of smashing him head first into the naga, but it was still dodging our best efforts. Felix was being dragged and really didn’t have much to say about what was going on, when (perhaps mercifully) the naga magic missiled the rope, leaving Felix to flounder. Cursing, Hendel steered the boat back around to pick up Felix. Gates had saved the unfortunate Aral (who escaped without permanent damage, fortunately) and healed him enough to have him stand up.

The naga decided to make a break for it while we were picking up Felix. It burst out of the water, almost fully healed!

Aral blasted it with a nasty shot from his dwarven crossbow! Hendel nicked it with his light crossbow. Donald launched improved magic missiles at the creature. Hendel nicked it again. It collapsed!

We picked up Felix, and Hendel fishtailed the swanboat onto the shore. Cool boat!

Reaching the shore, we quickly confirmed that the naga was dead. Donald harvested naga organs for, ironically, water breathing potions. We were notably injured and low on healing thanks to the nasty fireball, and decided that we couldn’t continue doing mass looting of the complex. Hendel really wanted to make sure we got anything important from the fire giant’s section. Although the naga’s slaves were now free, they were ex-slaves and so probably didn’t have choice loot, but maybe the leaders had something worth taking.

Hendel, Felix, and Donald took the boat partway back to the bend in the lake, and Hendel peered around the other side from the water. The coast was clear and we landed and searched. The giant had nothing of note on him, and the cave was searched for a few minutes to no avail (and it was a complete mess). After a few minutes, though, we heard the sounds of approaching footsteps. The party jumped back on the boat and fled back to the island. Deciding to keep tabs on what was happening, Hendel swam out of the boat and watched from the bend.

By the time he started observing, there were over twenty gnolls fighting on the beach! (And also about twenty dead gnolls strewn about the beach.) Donald grinned at Hendel. We swung the boat back and Donald lobbed a nice fireball right into the middle of the crowd. Four gnolls survived and began running off. Hendel shot one down, and Donald caught the last three with a sleep spell.

We looked over their gear and loot. Their weapons and armor were of poor quality, but a few of the gnolls had some sort of ore/gem things. We decided specifically to loot those.

Hendel: “We loot the ones with the rocks.”

There were eight chests on the naga island, and Hendel detected traps on four of them. I’m not sure why I thought this was reassuring, but Hendel started on one of the “untrapped” chests. He promptly set off a light glyph and a booming thundercrack sounded, blinding him for several minutes and momentarily freaking out the party.

So probably all eight were trapped. He worked slowly, sometimes disarming, sometimes setting off the traps, but they were all ultimately harmless. Inside we found:

*= magical
**= high magical

7200 fire giant gp
4000 Realmish gp
2 full size spellbooks
4000 cw uncut gems -- 40000 gp
*small ukelele
*3 flasks (potions?)
18 flasks (thin yellowy substance)
**pair of red and black striped felt bedroom slippers
quiver with 21 *long arrows
**headband from naga
3 nonmagical books (3 destroyed by lightning bolt)
*bastard sword

The books turned out to be demon-worshipping texts. Always nice to have confirmation after the fact that the naga “really deserved what it got.”

After eight hours of healing, we decided to check out the rest of the complex. It was empty of enemies, and so we just got the express description:

There was a corridor shaped like a C that had collapsed, despite the fact that no digging had been done. It was determined that this was likely due to a lava intrusion
Trying to track the gnolls, we found visible cart tracks leading down the mine shafts. It seemed that everyone fled down one path. Aral determined that there were “more than dozens,” and they’d probably been carrying lots of loot.

Interestingly there were also 30 dead gnolls in complex, four of which had had throats slit from behind by short sword. They were probably overseers, although Hendel speculated that they were killed by that assassin creature for some reason.

In terms of the bigger picture, one party theory suggested that there were two tribes here: one mining, one composed primarily of overseers. Although there did actually seem to be some mixing between the two. In any case, a civil war broke out among them when the naga was killed, and the miners definitely won.

We also noted a blocked door with big rocks moved out of the way and that had been recently used.

Finally we questioned our three sleeping gnoll prisoners. Bizarrely, the gnolls had no memory of last five years or even the part after the naga died. This was strange. There seemed to be considerable mental deficiency among the slaves, given the retarded fire giant as well. When interrogated, the gnolls were able to identify the ones that were from rival tribes. They also repeatedly accused us of using "aging magic" on them, which was fairly entertaining.

Searching through the loot, we first determined that the spellbook was of little value to Donald. The only spells it contained that he didn’t have were grease and rebind (an obscure, specialized, but very useful 2nd level spell that fixes damaged spellbooks).

It turned out that the uncut gems were actually worth quite a lot. And in any case we had a lot of coin weights of loot, so we decided to use the “save the game” option and return to the door. The dwarves were strangely unimpressed. “That’s it for a week?” they asked accusingly. Strangely impatient given no one had been in these halls for five thousand years! We assured them that we just wanted IDs and were going right back in.

The dwarves asked us why we were carrying vast amounts of “gold juice.” We looked confused. Apparently the 18 vials of yellowish liquid were highly illegal drugs with a street value in the hundreds of thousands of gold pieces!! Apparently they aren’t made with real gold, but merely nicknamed that because of their color.

This was an interesting revelation. Hendel had heard of these drugs; apparently they cause wisdom loss and make people very susceptible to charm spells over the long term, among other things. They are of course highly addictive, and they would be a huge problem except that they take incredibly huge amounts of land and time to produce. Apparently the amount of gold juice we had recovered would take a year to produce on a field the size of Koralgesh’s entire agricultural area!

That sort of made sense. The naga was using the drugs to keep a complacent empire of semi-retarded slaves mining the uncut gems (we had recovered approximately 40000 gp worth). But the math didn’t work out. The drugs were considerably more expensive than the treasure produced. Was there more treasure? Was the naga getting this stuff cheaply somehow? What fields were producing this much gold juice? Was it from the gnoll empire on the Fields of Hwa, where our tribal gnolls had come from?

We headed back up to Eralla where the dwarven sages took a look at our gear:

-21 +1 ff long arrows

-headband of +1 wisdom

-slippers of kicking (adds stun damage equal to real damage) -- monk item

-ukekele of unrest -- plays comical music with great ease, pleasant to listen to; one week later everyone who heard it begins to distrust and dislike each other-- effect lasts for a number of weeks based on wisdom, carries false aura of humor magic, unrest only functions once/year (choose)

18 vials of gold juice -- gold mixed with water, illicit drugs with street value of over 100,000 gp, reduces wisdom, makes you susceptible to charm spells and such, a year worth of plantation fields larger than fields in Koralgesh required to produce this

-one potion unknown; other two are heroism and speed

-magic bastard sword+4/double damage (of slaying) vs. plants

ID cost: 1500 gp

The slippers of kicking are pretty special, but mainly useful for those who use kick attacks regularly, like monks, and therefore not particularly useful to the party in the long term (although Aral has been equipped with them for now).

The headband would be totally awesome except it only takes 17 wisdom to 18, which actually does nothing for cleric bonus spells or spell failure chances. So it’s essentially a +1 on mental saves item for anyone with a wisdom of 14 or higher. It does add to a percentage wisdom, but I think only about 10%? In any case, it’s equally useful on four of the six characters, if I recall correctly. I think the two who wouldn’t benefit were Hendel and Felix? I’m not complaining, it’s just too bad we don’t have anyone who could make really optimal use of this item. This may lead to trading it down the road, or looking for other wisdom upgrades.

The plantslayer bastard sword, while pretty hokey, does actually work on fungal creatures like shambling mounds and of course, treants, so it isn’t useless!

The ukulele is pretty disturbing. The long term disruption of a group of unsuspecting people suggests that a) we keep this very very far away from Phargus the evil bard, and b) that we consider how best to use it. It can actually be used by a non-musician to pleasant effect. The unrest effect only works once per year, so it would have to be considered part of a long term plan. It works kind of well in combination with the gold juice. As an added bonus the ukulele is actually highly magical, but shielded by special magical effects that make it appear to be of low magic.

Although we initially considered destroying the drugs, we think we can find better uses for them. If they can be given to an infiltrating group, they could be used to disrupt an evil society (for example, the frost giants…). The ukulele may well help with this. In any case, we came out considerably ahead financially. We didn’t deal with salvage tax for now, but simply left the less useful items behind as collateral for continuing the mission. This would include the unidentified potion, the drugs, the long arrows, and the ukulele, plus the cash and gems.

One logistical thing to consider: Aral certainly leveled (that one shot at the naga was probably enough to net him the needed 350 XP) and would probably like to train. That could take a few weeks, and there aren’t conveniently located dwarven woodsmen, so we may either want to delay training, delay the expedition, or leave Aral behind for a bit.

Felix’s thoughts on this whole situation will appear in a followup summary.


September 19, 2007


Read all about the travels and travails of the BLADES in Bard's Year 2194

I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. – Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)

Session 63 from 7-Mar-2194; Session 64 from 11-May-2194; Session 65 from 10-Jun-2194;
Session 66 from 1-Jul-2194; Session 67 from 16-Jul-2194; Session 68 from 8-Oct-2194

Talarian Blackguard (Half Elven) Fighter 7 - 68 HP, played by Dean Ne.
Raybur Sidebottom (Dwarven) Fighter 6/Cleric 6 - 64(54) HP, played by Dean Ne.
Phyllis Sidebottom (Dwarven) Fighter 7 - 64(54) HP, played by Katherine An.
Effrede George (Half Elven) Magic User 6/Thief 6 - 34 HP, played by Katherine An.
Conrhia Applewhite (Half Elven) Woodsman 7 - 68 HP, played by Rhonda Jo.
Serlisse Reintar (Half Elven) Druid 7 - 32 HP, played by Rhonda Jo.
Sputnik (Half Elven) Cleric 7 - 49 HP, played by Jay Ba.
Arthur of Petethal (Half Elven) Ranger 6 - 58 HP, played by David Bj.
Zephram Trent (Hill Gnome) Fighter 5/Illusionist 5 - 41 HP, played by Alan Jo.
Shirlard (Half Orkish) Fighter 5 - 44 HP, played by Darleen Ba.
Costigan (Coastlander) Fighter 1//Cleric 3 - 35(25) HP, played by Rodger He.

Session 63 – Dean was out, so Jay covered Raybur and David was Talarian.

March 7, 2194
We receive a letter from the National Archives of the Realm. The National Archives is offering us 400,000 gold pieces in cash or gems for the paintings that Arthur created while possessed. There are several other offers that range from 100,000 to 250,000 gold, but we ignore them.

March 14, 2194 – Session 68
We send a letter to Skylltor Rhune with the final agreement for Arthur’s Paintings. We will get the Transporter system with four pads and six one-way paths plus emergency booster and ten tokens for 347 kgp of the credit. The Transport tubes are able to deliver a payload once a month. It takes a month from sending to recharge to the point that it can send again. From the central Hub in New Teft, the emergency booster can jump start any single pathway, but it takes six months to recharge, so it is not to be used lightly. The two majors are fifteen foot diameter pads with a maximum height of fifteen feet. The two minor nodes are ten foot cylinders in diameter and height. The minors can deliver and accept up to one and a half tons, while the majors have twice the capacity.

Moving the Armorer’s Tower into the safety and security of The Republic will cost a total of fifty thousand gold pieces, with five thousand in supplies from Skylltor’s funds. This task will not take much time and will generally have a certain small percentage chance of failure, so we are hopeful that this will be somewhat easy.

We also arrange for the eight existing obelisks to be moved and individually reshaped into a wall that will cut off the end of the peninsula from the main part of the Dinosaur Reserve. Building the Great Divide will take quite a bit of time on our parts. We will need to help with recovery and guard the placement efforts from approaching dinosaurs. This project is expected to cost thirty-five thousand gold pieces and seven thousand comes from the BLADES FUnd to BUild the Republic.

BLADES FUBUR will then be able to purchase three containment devices and an Extra Healing Potion with the remaining funds. Sputnik and Fred have requested Robes of Many Pockets. The fighters and Fred will get a Backpack of Holding as well.

March 16, 2194
The weather finally clears enough for the “fleet” to sail. We take the Leaf to The Resort and The Captain sails back to Old Teft with our puzzle ring to be identified by Zalk. He’ll also be able to bring back The Icon of All Avatars with our Teleport pads from Skylltor Rhune next spring.

April 6, 2194
We arrive back at the Resort after a reasonably short voyage. Our game plan is to see what we can do to draw the dwarves out in hopes of trying to get them to the West so they can be cured. We think we’ll have to subdue them and if that fails, we’ll have to fight them, perhaps to the death. To that end, we fortify our area of The Resort a bit.

April 11, 2194
We place the letter from the dwarven Prince in the plaza outside the mall under a small stone as a paperweight. The letter is an invitation for Gorgan to come visit the Prince and offers our services to transport the dwarves to the West.

April 13, 2194
The note vanishes, but we don’t see anyone pick it up.

April 15, 2194
Nothing happens over the course of the two days after the note vanishes, so we send our ship on its way and prepare to go back to exploring The Resort. We are thinking about trying to save time by camping in the Taxidermist’s house rather than the retirement area, but we are a little concerned about the roaming horde of undead, so we will explore during the day until we figure out what is going on with the undead situation.

April 16, 2194
We decide to make the whole party Invisible and let Fred clean the Taxidermist’s House with cantrips. We leave a possum in the house with food to see if the roaming undead can come through the wall.

April 17, 2194
The next morning, the possum is fine, but bored. We explore invisibly around the city checking each building to see which are open and see if there are any tracks around. We see smallish bare footprints that look as if they might have been made by Ancients. They seem to go almost everywhere, so we sweep around all the doors in the Artisan’s area in hopes that we can figure out where the undead are coming from and where they are going. We clear about six feet around each doorway.

April 18, 2194
We figure out quickly that the footprints lead to the triple building near the middle of the Artisan’s Area. The building is three “teeth” that are connected. There is a passageway through the middle of the central building from the front to the back. We can see that there are footprints leading in and out of this portal and there are exits into the opposite sides of the building. We have Fred send an Invisible Amorph into the passageway with several Continual Light coins so he can drop them and light our way. Hopefully it will drive back any undead within. As soon as the light is at the doorway to the side, a ghoulish creature starts screaming. The Amorph is blasted out of existence and Costigan and Sputnik are level drained. The party runs away but before Fred takes to his heels, he lets a Pool Ball Lightning go. He makes his saving throw and gets away, too. When we get to the favorite jump point, we activate the Battlement Bridge and get back to our “safe house” in the retirement village. We hole up and in 20 hours, Costigan regains his level. Sputnik regains his after 30 hours.

April 20, 2194
We decide to test a theory – we will send Costigan (the person who has the least to lose by losing a level) with a Silence stone up to the intersection in hopes that the attack is in fact sonic and not something worse. The big chicken decides that he’d rather have Fred send in an Invisible Servant. As soon as the light gets to the intersection, the stone and coin fall to the ground – another dispelled minion.

April 21, 2194
Based on that experience, we then decide that the best way to fight them is from a distance, so we debate using crossbows or lightning javelins, but Fred’s new caster level wins out in the end. He will Fly; scouting their numbers and if he gets a chance, he can Pool Ball Lightning them (multiple hits if they are between buildings). He can probably also Ice Storm them and we’ll give him a couple of Lightning javelins in case he needs to throw some at them.

As he Flies about, Fred spots 14 ghoulish creatures. He figures out that he can catch most of them perfectly between two buildings. He triple hits 11 of them with Pool Ball Lightning, destroying them (66 HP). The rest run for home, but he hits all three of the escapees for another 20 HP of damage from Ice Storm (3d10). He then deals another 16 from a lightning javelin (6d6), killing one and wounding the others. With a second javelin, he inflicts a final 25 to the last two ghoulish things before they can get home.

April 23, 2194
We decide to have Fred continue the nighttime scouting to make sure they are finished. On the second night, a second group of ten appears roaming around in addition to the bodies of the first slain ones, but they don’t move where Fred can get a shot at them.

April 25, 2194
Fred finds a decent killing field on the third night of hunting the remnants. He does 30 - double bounced and slays seven. The remaining three are significantly injured by the Ice Storm. So he resorts to Magic Missiles on them. He finishes one and two escape.

April 30, 2194
They come back out after five nights and Fred double hits for a total of 48 points of damage – slaying both of them.

May 3, 2194
Fred scouts for two more nights with no sign of movement. We use another Invisible Servant to carefully enter the triple building. The openings off the passageway in the triple building appear to have been shops and they were wrecked by the most recent inhabitants. There are few dead things within the shops. The upper level seems to have been two cafes that were connected by a common dining space. Around the perimeter of the upper level are statues that appear to have been sarcophagi. There are about 50 of them total, but only half were actually carved with faces. The carved ones are open and the unfinished are all closed.

At Shirlard’s insistence, we search all of them and find three ornate glass bottles with labels and two smaller square bottles. All five contain magical liquids – they were in one of the sarcophagi behind the bar. We also find nineteen pieces of Ancients’ jewelry – about 2000 gp worth.

The statues were residents of The Resort that passed away. The writing on the sarcophagi tells much of the stories of their lives. We are able to account for all of the missing bodies.

Orkish remains are found in the stores downstairs. We think there were about 6 to 10 and there are some random items amongst the bones. One of the Screaming Ghouls was in the trash as well.

The storage rooms are empty. The doors to the stores, storage rooms and stairways can be closed. There are places where food preparation can be done, but there are no food supplies or food creation, so we’ll have to supply our own, but we can cook here. The stores were a food store, a wine and liquor store, an art supply store and a clothing store. The clothing store is the most trashed, but none are intact. The orkish gear and the five bottles tucked away are the only things that are relatively intact.

May 4, 2194
We go back to exploring in the shadow of The Mall. The next building “in line” is closed. As we enter, we find many damaged statues, some with bits lying around that look like humanoid figures and animals. None are whole – most are rubble.

We do not get attacked by any statues, but we feel like we are being watched and then we notice some eyes tracking our movements. They are not part of a statue and they are creepy watching us. Fred has the Servant shift the stone and nothing happens, so he flips it back over. Fred and Arthur realize that the eyes are flirty women’s eyes and they are flirting with them.

We also find half of a song bird’s head and neck. It is moving around almost as if it was alive. The motions are not a programmed loop. It really seems to follow you and react to your motions.

There is a staircase up to the next level. The second floor is a workshop with tools and stone in disarray. Some things are broken. Everything looks like it has been smashed intentionally.

The third floor room is surprising in that is undamaged. There is a metal frame bed, dressers and a desk. On the right-hand side of the stairs are two weird things. There is a skeleton with bits of jewelry and an intact shirt. Beyond it is an undamaged statue of a dog. There is a glowing smoky globe on the desk.

The dog starts moving and Serlisse tries Speak with Animals. He is reasonably friendly and Serlisse Speaks with him. He is bored. His mistress was coming up the stairs when the thing downstairs killed her. She would spend time with her hand on the stone on the desk. He has only seen a couple of other people before. She was running up the stairs when the axe, tentacles and pincers killed her. It smelled like dying things and burning things and frost burnt meat.

Our Detect Evil shows that the downstairs has turned into a dark and intense, angry, vengeful chaotic evil. When Raybur shines his shield downstairs, for an instant he thinks he can see screaming dwarven faces. When we throw lights downstairs, we get brief flashes of “it.” “It” is a weird amorphous shape that seems to ooze and bubble. “It” is between 3 and 11 feet in diameter.

We try several things and finally we decide to try a three pronged attack. Conrhia will throw a javelin of Lightning, Sputnik will blast it with Radiance and Costigan will shoot a magic heavy crossbow at it. Sputnik and Costigan will have to hang over the edge with help. Conrhia fumbles and pops herself with the Lightning Bolt. Sputnik may have done a bit of damage, but Costigan really seems to make it mad. Somehow it jumps into the middle of the party.

We struggle more than we should but eventually Phyllis with a bit of help from the rest of the party (especially Raybur’s Spiritual Sword) destroys the statue. If Sputnik or Raybur had thought to cast Prayer before the three pronged attack, it might have been a little easier, but the Protection from Evil 10’ Radius saved several hits and possible wounds. Even so we are very battered and it takes most of our healing capability to stop the bleeding. It had multiple arms and a soul draining attack that Raybur and then Phyllis resisted. When they resisted, the rest of us had to fight a fear effect, to which several of us fell victim. When it is slain, we find that the statue was a spiny ball with arms coming out of the center.

The dog does not want to leave his master, so we take her remains with us to Rest Eternal them. The dog preferentially bonds to Arthur, possibly because he is now the most Ancient-like, after 2 months of channeling that aged him 7 years. The dog’s name is difficult to translate, but he says it is “Rug” and another longer phrase which seems to be something about shagginess. He had never left the building before today. He says he is hungry, so we feed him, but when he eats it is like Cookie Monster – food goes everywhere except down his non-existent gullet.

May 6, 2194
We Augury Fred playing with the sphere and get this cryptic quote “Historians must be willing to look into books.” This seems to indicate Sputnik a bit more, so we Augury him checking it out and get the “clearer” response of “Morning begins with the recognition of a new day.”

Sputnik casts Psychic Impression on the sphere and gets feelings of mainly boredom and monotony followed by a dim sense of reasonable happiness. And then they end.

Sputnik activates the device and barely figures out how to use it (makes his Intelligence check exactly). This is her diary and primarily, she was very bored. She was wealthy and knew that she was a great artist, but she was not happy with the way the sculptures were looking. She was making a pixie and was not happy with the upper part. She implies that she has plenty of stone with which to work on her creations. Occasionally she went out to eat with some of the neighbors, but frequently ordered food in. She was very wealthy even among the people here. She was making insane amounts of money. Sputnik picks through the entries for 6 hours before becoming exhausted.

Fred takes over the “reading.” She can buy all the best things she can think of. She can buy as much jewelry as she wants. She has the best equipment. At the Capitol there are some interesting auctions that she thinks of bidding on. Eventually, she buys something really interesting and she keeps it in the back of the drawer in case of an emergency. In searching the room, we find about 15-17 thousand gold pieces worth of jewelry and a ring made from a single piece of ruby that is warm to the touch.

May 7, 2194
We pick up again the next day and to her, the only thing that is interesting is when the statues start moving. The little motions just start happening. She doesn’t think that she has any magical abilities, but the statues are now animated – little things at first, but then more lifelike.

She mentions that the tourists leave but the artists are going to stay and she has enough stone keep working while waiting for the war to pass. She comes to the conclusion that she had sold out – the resort guests are gone and now she realizes that the “art” she had making for them isn’t really art.

Now, she has broken new ground and she has created life out of stone. She had owned a dog name Dark Carpet and she makes a statue of him that also comes to life. She continues to work and makes more elaborate things. The old works, like the stone pixie, annoy her rather than amusing her. After several more months of entries where she works in and orders food in, we realize that she had tabs everywhere and carried no money. She appreciates the lack of tourists in that there are no fawning admirers now. She is stunningly beautiful and many people revered her in ways that annoyed her.

She looks at the last year and realizes that the old stuff is sickly sweet and not visionary. She tries to create a vision of a nightmare representation of the wartime sequestering. She only has a few more entries before they stop. Clearly they were interrupted by the success of her final work.

Some of the entries stand out in that they seem weirder - she refers to the dog by weird euphemisms. Six months after Dark Carpet is finished, she starts to feel weird about the fact that she recreated her dead dog. Sometimes she is mean to the dog, but conflicted about whether to feel bad. He isn’t “alive” after all. The dog is about the talent level of a house dog – no tracking ability and he is afraid of the noise we make when we are doing drills and practicing to stay sharp.

She didn’t damage the statues – the nightmare probably did the destruction. She seems to have been there about six years before the tourists left and then she was killed about a year later.

We long for the day when we can send someone through a teleport system to get magic items identified and make deposits into the Republic’s coffers.

Session 64 – Dean is back and Katherine joins us late with David and Alan as Phyllis and Fred.

May 11, 2194
We explore Building #14. As soon as we open the door, we are not surprised although we are immediately attacked by two metallic minotaur golems. They attack while Zephram attempts to turn them off. Zephram fails his attempt, but Talarian preempts the discussion of whether to try to continue to turn them off by swinging after a segment of discussion by the rest of the party. The first wave of attacks by the party deals 70 points of damage and then Talarian gets to cleave to the second golem as we deal 66 points in the second slew of attacks to the first one. The weenie slayer sword did not activate as the golem was not truly alive. The second falls equally rapidly, but does not turn to absolute dust.

In the room, there is one obvious magical item, no evil and no traps. There is a potter’s wheel that has fallen apart. There are bits of tools and other items scattered about but the ten thousand years have had their effects. There is a gem switch on the wall at the closest point on the wall to the potter’s wheel that is resting on the floor. There are shelves built into the walls. There are vases, magical boxes and such around and some small piles of dirt that may have been slip in a former life. The two magical boxes are built in and they seem like they could be kilns.

When Shirlard pushes the button, the wheel lifts off the floor about a quarter of an inch. There are divots and holes in the surface as if a superstructure could be attached to the kick wheel. There are ruins of furniture lying about the second floor as if they fell apart by age. There are two magical items that are found in the detailed search. Half a bottle of Mind Blast Liquor and a full Tube of Stone-Like-New detect as magical. There is a partial tube of Stone-Like-New that was destroyed when the back end was damaged as if it dried out or something like that. There is some money here, too.

May 12, 2194
We now check building #43, which is amazingly similar to what we have seen before as two golems step out. We hand Talarian and Phyllis the +2 Shields and let them tank. Fred is able to get them to stop attacking and return to the house when he finds the mystical off switch. Inside we find more decayed furniture and a staircase up to the next story. The room looks more like a living space instead of a clear workspace. There are frames on the walls that have clearly preserved gaudy bright colors with words, kind of like travel agency posters. They do not appear to be location names, but they are proper names and there are some Ancients pictured in armor and hats and fake noses.

There is nothing overtly magical or evil visible from the door. The one poster that we can read is “An Unforgettable Experience, Rashaman remembers.” It seems to be advertising a show about a family remembering its past with a huge number of names and blurbs of reviews. It has won The Elemental Award.

Talarian is able to enter with no incident, so the rest of us follow and we check upstairs. There is a fairly obvious exotic item upstairs. There is a magical crystalline parrot that begins to make a strange but pleasant sound. It starts to sort of sing, but when Raybur starts singing, the parrot switches to a brass band sound like you would expect for dwarven song. When the singing switches it tries to sync up with what it hears. It can follow a new tune with a little delay. It remembers the new tunes you teach it.

There a couple of worthwhile things here, there are two more labeled potions that are probably potions of Calm. There is a magical floppy felt hat and a potion of No More Rowdy.

May 13, 2194
We want to see if the golems reset themselves overnight, so we recheck the Theatre Office and find that the golems are not active. So we move on to check out building #16.

A pair of golems flanks the door, but they are not active. The room beyond is a furnished room that has some intact furniture with an unusual blue-green metallic desk back from the door and off to the right. There are three bookcases with barrister glass doors. In one of the cases, the top shelf has intact books and the rest of the shelves are filled with the remnants of books that did not survive. The chair is magical with a net structure and knobs all over it. The desk is non-magical. When we explore the building, we see a ghost moving upstairs and it follows us downstairs, so we head out of the house and try to prepare to communicate with it.

Later in the day, when we go back to try to communicate, the ghost is still downstairs and he possesses Fred. Fred goes to the desk and takes out a highly magical pickled egg with two runes on the jar. He goes to the cabinet and pulls out a magically wrapped book. It is a mathematical text that is above Fred’s ability level. The book is highly magical. Attached to it is a thin black rod bookmark that appears to be its own highly magical item.

When Fred is able to relate to us his impressions of the ghost, we find out that the ghost was given the egg by an adventurer in his will. He went to a fortune teller who old him not to use it until you are absolutely certain that it is the right time to use it. The ancient who is now a ghost hid it away and apparently later died of some abrupt and unexpected natural causes. The math-book, egg and one of the rings in the drawer were all given by the same adventurer. The adventurer had said to use them all together. The ring was utility that he wore all the time. The Ancient in Fred is trying to write a novel of worth. The math in the book that Fred is using is not in the Locatha numbering system. It is the goblinoid set that includes Common. The book is innately magical and being near it grants vast mathematical knowledge. The chair is very comfortable once the knobs are adjusted properly.

As Fred continues to write the book for the ghostly novelist mathematician, he gains a proficiency in mathematics. He works at a furious pace and without rest, but if we present him with finger food, he eats while working.

We are concerned with Fred’s health, so we Implore Nestad (in Sindarin), the Healer Elf, to come and assist us in keeping Fred alive and healthy. We use the jewelry that we found in the sarcophagi as the offering but the spell fails. While still entranced, Fred then gives us a ring from the Ancient’s desk worth about five or six thousand gold pieces as the offering for a second casting and a magic ring that will help give is a Twist of Fate when it is activated.

When Sputnik twists the ring and casts Implore again, the power of the ring helps him contact the Healer for aid. We tell him what is going on and hope that he can keep Fred from having bad effects from the experience. Our wizened friend tells us many things – not all of which we would like to hear, but ultimately probably still very useful.

“The ring and the Tome of Oxo are someone else’s.” The Elven Emissary does not want to interfere with the Tome or the Ring as they are artifacts of another deity. “There is a story from long ago that when one of the kraken was killed there was a jelly of 100 [strange] eggs that was turned into [magic items] by killing the kraken spirit. They had the mind of the kraken [imbued within]. They were given out to assist in preventing the kraken’s return. I say that only because it says ‘Victory over the Kraken’ in minotaur,” on the jar.

We could interfere with Fred’s task by casting higher level clerical spells, but he thinks this is risking greater dangers. The ghost will not survive this but he thinks Fred will probably survive. We could hope that Fred has a better chance to survive with a little help from druidic spells and personal faith clerical spells. “The ring evokes the power of the deity whose hand is here.” We would attempt to fortify and heal Fred with Cure Light Wounds from Raybur, while Serlisse used Cure Serious and Sputnik does an Iron Vigil while Chanting.

The Nestad has done more than he feels is appropriate, but he says, “This is something that might be useful to you.” He hands a pair of clasps, buckles and covers to us. They are no more magical than those on a spellbook, but appear to be perfect for the manuscript. Sputnik activates the Twist of Fate ring again to try to help Fred’s chances of success.

May 18, 2194
After five days of writing, Fred gains multiple mathematics proficiencies and maxes out at six mathematics proficiencies beyond what he might have had before he started. Fred also gains Phase Spider x1 in an existing language slot. The story the Ancient writes is in Phase Spider and it is a novel about a two dimensional character learning about the third dimension and falling in love. [See either Flatland or The Dot and The Line.]

Sputnik retains the 1200 gp ring that was the Twist of Fate. Fred uses a potion of Calm to help him recover from the ordeal, but Sputnik and Fred still require a couple of week’s rest before they can do any more exploring.

The book that Fred has written for the Ancient is four hundred coinweights, called “A Novel?” and is signed “The Unheard Prophet.” The epigraph reads “I was in a wine induced haze watching the spider web and thinking of using the egg. I watched a spider walk up my arm and felt no fear until it bit my arm.” Fred thinks this was the Ancient’s last living thought.

We find a small obsidian spider amongst the novelist’s bones. It looks like one of a large group of jumping desert spiders. That species is known to be very dangerous.

Fred referenced one of the Ancient’s books while writing. It is called Oxo (o’-zo). In order for Oxo to have any effects on the owner, it must be kept close by and must be studied extensively to regain the abilities granted. It gives the holder an innate knowledge of webs and mathematics (six proficiencies). It grants immunity to Webs and Confusion. Webs don’t stick to Fred and if it is dense enough he can climb up as well as move through them. It allows the bearer to climb walls. As Fred is a thief, he can climb on ceilings. Since he is mage as well, he can use an innate ability to cast Web four times a day. A cleric would get free action, while a fighter is granted a bonus of three points of damage with no chance of a fumble. A sage gets an entire field of math knowledge. Normal spiders like you and if the user is a spider, he gets a three bonus to comeliness. Normal spiders like you and you have a comeliness bonus of three to intelligent spiders. It is 75cn, but if you carry it in your hand, there is no encumbrance.

The bookmark is actually a line segment – an extendible rod that must stay with the book and it can be bent a bit. The chain is about a foot long. The rod can be extended to an unknown length. The wrapper seems to be a first level version of the Wrap cantrip.

June 1, 2194
While Fred and Sputnik rest, we decide to do a little more thorough checking of the potter’s house before we move onto a new house. We find more pottery inside the kilns and we will need to be extra careful when moving the pieces.

June 2, 2194
In the novelist’s house, when Sputnik examines the wrapped books, there is no high magic showing and the last book is stained, beaten and scarred – unlike the other eight remaining books. These are the Impressions from the wrapped books. He loves Book One, but he never touches the pages. Book Two frustrated him with how hard it was for him to buy. His thoughts include not hurting it and needing to put it away. Books Three and Five yield no Impressions. Book Four evokes memories of how much he loved reading it when he was young and how was excited to have a copy. He was excited to have Book Six and was very careful with it. Book Seven evokes mixed feelings; he was annoyed at a scuff mark, but was pleased that it does have the signature. Book Eight gave different impressions – disbelief that he got it so cheap, but slight guilty for the same reason. Book Nine gives a very strong impression of frustration that he wasn’t supposed to read the book. The tenth preserved book was Oxo.

When Sputnik casts Life Form on the bones, he gets an impression of the spider being thrown and someone convulsing and dying. When he casts Psychic Impression on the spider, he sees two huge spiders in the jungle while a third places the small spider on the ground. Then the tiny spider crawls off into the undergrowth. We think the mathematician died as his lungs failed and his nerves rotted. He was incapacitated almost instantaneously and died within minutes. He was in his home. Based on what Sputnik saw and our knowledge of the type of spider we found, we think the novelist was driven insane by nerve damage, which may have been how he became undead.

June 4, 2194
For building number forty-two, we use standard operating procedure before we open the door in case there golems or other “surprises.” As it happens, there are no golems but we do find ruined furniture and haiku scrawled all over the walls. When we translate it, we think it sounds like bad teenage poetry. We check upstairs and find more writing on the walls along with a skeleton. It is more of the same kind of poetry.

June 5, 2194
Sputnik tries to read the remains and the only impression he gets is “Hunger brings clarity.” We are confounded by this and think that we will not actually find anything of note here.

June 6, 2194
Building 30 is an open building and it was also a painter’s home. It looked like a bunch of artists lived there and we know that there were three paintings that the hobgoblins sold from this house.

June 7, 2194
Building 31 has active golems and it appears that it was emptied in an orderly way by its occupants, except they left some metal furniture and bulky equipment. We think that the artisans who lived here could have made the other desk. These items are only slightly corroded. There were probably two or three people living here. Everything was moved out except the biggest and least valuable. There are a couple of blocks of stone which seem a bit out of place.

June 8, 2194
Building 32 has built in magic cabinets. It is an incredibly elaborate kitchen. There are intact copper pans hanging around above the work spaces. There is a cart for delivering food. There are large cabinets with glass fronts. The cart, sink and ovens are all magical. The pans and spoons, etc. are not magical. There are cleaver blades on the floor beneath the rack. One of the ovens has a sheet cake in it. Fred is stunned by the smell of the delectable cake when Raybur opens the oven. The cake jumps at Raybur’s face and we try to wail on it, but only magical effects seem to harm it. The cake is so tasty smelling that even though it is trying to stuff itself down Raybur’s throat whole, he is conflicted as to whether to resist or let it eat him. We manage to destroy it without “improving” Raybur’s looks any.

We check the second oven and find that there is another Perfectly Killer Cake, so we use the oven to overcook it. Upstairs, it looks like three people lived here. Sitting on the desk is an open half-full carafe of a rosy liquid. Three shot glasses and skeletons sit around the table. There is only a little trace of what was once liquid in each glass. It seems to have been a very good liqueur. This is a very common after dinner brandy-type liqueur. We find 3 bottles of wine and 16 gp. The cake had a light vanilla flavor. Raybur wishes he could make one of those cakes.

In the cabinets, we can see several types of flour, sugar and other ingredients. It is disturbing how tasty all these goods smell. There are chillers and ovens and mixers and other weird stuff.

When Sputnik witnesses their deaths, he sees three sad but accepting and proud people. They think that they are about to leave. It was a difficult decision to give up their beautiful kitchen and leave with the others. They made the perfect things to give everyone at the send off. They weren’t going to leave, but at the last minute decided to join the others in leaving on the morrow.

He gets an impression of him curled up, gaunt but peaceful looking as his death. There are many impressions of care for the cookbook. There is a final impression of getting it just right.

As we try to figure out what might have happened to The Resort, we wonder if there was something going on that was making everyone and everything closer to perfect than normal. When we think about how well we are able to do the things that are not our primary professions, we think we’re becoming better at those skills, but maybe only slightly faster than we should have if there isn’t something odd going on.

Session 65 – I can’t remember. Was Katherine out with David and Alan as Phyllis and Fred (?).

June 10, 2194
We open the door to Building 33 and find a crystalline minotaur golem standing inside. We surprise it but wait to see if it is active and how it might react to the now open door. It moves a little, hesitates and then moves through the party. We let it go through to see what it is doing and it hits Serlisse, HARD. She takes 16 points of damage and a wound. Zephram turns it off with the Constable’s Authority.

Once the dust settles, we realize there wasn’t any dust to settle inside the house. When we first opened the door, some water had flowed out around our feet and soaked in, but we were focused on the golem. A mini-dam of twigs was holding about three inches of water in the house. Serlisse examines the water and determines that it isn’t healthy – it has a metallic smell. Amongst the dam twigs we can see bits of metal frames, like scaffolding or the back of an open coat rack. It doesn’t seem as if they were parts of an aquarium, though. Some bits are small squares of metal.

When we investigate the downstairs, we find small, corroded metal objects almost like bits of tools. Examining the wood in dam and other places, we can tell that some of it is very old and some is probably only about three weeks old. There are signs of bugs, but no larger animals in the house. One part of the bigger pile has a number of squares of metal that were tacked onto some kind of frame. The metal is pretty corroded and one piece looks like it may have been silver.

When we start upstairs, we can see daylight in the room and then we can see a jagged hole in the ceiling. Zephram notices that there are spider web cracks on the ceiling of the lower level. So we decide that we shouldn’t put too much weight on the upper level floor. Few remnants of furniture are left in the upper story. The room is totally trashed with branches lying around. The debris appears to have come in through the hole but is not the reason the hole exists. When we Detect Magic, we see something magical off to the left amongst the branches about 15 feet from the top of the stairs.

To avoid breaking the floor, we come back with Fly and Levitate ready. With a bit of effort, a magical staff and the object that made the whole are uncovered. We have found a bowling ball sized object, which is craggy with a couple of spikes. With a couple of tries Arthur and Shirlard extract it from the floor. Upon closer examination, it seems to be crystalline.

June 11, 2194
We debate whether to try to get any Impressions from the items. Fred thinks the bowling ball might be a Philosopher’s Stone as they are said to come from nowhere. Sputnik Auguries whether he should take a Psychic Reading of the rock. “Tales are usually interesting and worthy of investigation, but sometimes they just aren’t.” When he reads the rock, he gets surface burns as if he touched a hot stove, but the stone itself doesn’t seem particularly hot or cold.

We go back and clean out the building and collect all the metal bits. There are small brass tacks all through the debris. We find fragments of a wide variety of metals as well.

When Sputnik reads the Staff, he gets the sense of a female Ancient that was very old with white hair. She was rolling the staff in her hands and out comes a rather loud checkered or plaid piece of cloth which she spreads on a work table by letting unfurl itself.

June 12 to 14, 2194
Sputnik gets no readings from the first seven frames. On the eighth one, he gets the sense of rocks, feathers, fur and metal – in Sputnik’s “expert” opinion, it is ugly, loud, and visually offensive. Think of “70’s disco assembled by an insane grandmother.”

June 15, 2194
We examined Building 34, but it had been plundered before we arrived. The stuff that is here is only a couple of decades old, as if someone had picked it as a base of operations and left only trash. Our best guess is that it may have been an orkish party or hobgoblin band. Nothing here is magical, trapped or evil. The upstairs is distinctly empty.

June 16, 2194
Building 35 opens without any surprises. We find knots and tangles of wires hanging from the ceiling. We see damaged looking tools and an intact, lacquered table with a huge flat box on top of it. A pole is in the center of the room with a fine quality light shining from the pole onto the table with the box. We also find some spool-like objects around the downstairs area. The spools are virtually empty. Our guess is that it may have been a string artist’s house.

Upstairs, a brass bed frame and a silver mirror are where the owner left them. The nightstand is also lacquered and intact. An embroidered wall hanging is four feet square showing an aerial view of the city. People and tents are visible and almost look as if they were moving about. Ancients’ style ships are on the water in addition to more normal looking ships. Lots of flowering plants grow at the top of the cliff where we think the Director’s House was.

We find a magical belt with trees and birds and bees worked into the leather in the first drawer. The third drawer has a set of magical sandals and a silver box with a catch but no lock. It makes some music, but seems to break as it is playing. A magical ring and some silver jewelry are inside the music box.

The large box on the downstairs table is about 3 foot square and four inches deep. The spools vary in size and two of the larger ones still have plain black magical wire on them. Two of the larger wire tangles contain the once magical wire. We find a total of 625 labeled coils of thread laid out in the box. The thread is extremely fine and valuable, while the box detects as magical.

June 17, 2194
The next day, we come back prepared to do a more thorough search. We find a low magic thimble searching normally, so we try Locate Object for needles and in the bed’s remnants, amongst the teeth and dust, are three magical needles.

The Impression Sputnik gets from the teeth is an Ancient woman in her middle years (40ish) sitting on the edge of a beautifully embroidered bed. He gets the sense of immense curiosity and she opens a box. Four very nice looking plums are inside; she pulls one out and eats it. Then she reaches down and pulls out a second one. We experience disorientation, searing pain and then it is over. She wasn’t surprised. It was a small wooden box that must have decayed away.

June 18, 2194
Building 36 is another golem-free house. We discover three piles of debris; one with metal, one with carpets. The two carpets are magical. Once again this is a two story house. When we look upstairs, it is stripped bare and nothing is in the piles of debris, except the remnants of a packed up loom – brass parts and gear remnants. One pile must have been carpets with corrosion resistant bands. The metal we could see sticking out was a box, with some ceramic mugs and buttons.

June 19, 2194
The next building in line to be checked is Number 37. No one is too shocked to react, as a metal minotaur activates when we open the door. Zephram shuts it off before it can harm anyone. The middle of the room has a pile of wooden debris with a large sheet of stone on top. As in several of the houses, we find mostly destroyed tools lying about. This time, though, we find lots of miniscule sculptures in four glass cases about the room. The first case is full of dolls that are not too cute to ignore, but they are too cute. The little figurines are made of a variety of stones and ceramics. Some have lifelike poses, while some are goofy, cute, little woodland animals. We see glazed ceramics as well as naturally colored stone figures.

Upstairs is very similar to most of the other houses. We find a snow globe-like diorama with an atoll, lagoon, huts and little people. The people are moving and the boats are sailing out and back in as if they are going somewhere out of sight. We can even smell citrus fruit. The boats are outrigger canoes. All in all, it is an idyllic scene.

When we go back downstairs we find the artist’s remains near the remains of the worktable. There are some tools – small rock hammers and tiny wires. There is a little sculpture amongst his remains. Oddly enough, we have found an elephant. It is much better made than the mastodon that we already have, but we have found two stone elephants on our journeys now.

One of the cases is completely full of dinosaurs. They are sort of a random mix of reptiles, not a life-like arrangement. One of the cases is full of Ancients’ soldiers. They are arranged in blocks, one of Walrusmen and two of Ancients. They have swords, spears and the underwater, automatic crossbows that we love. The soldiers are made of metal and might be arranged in historical formation or they could be toy “tin soldiers”. The fourth case is full of undersea creatures.

June 20, 2194
We decide to try an Augury even though we know that parties tend to do what they will after interpreting the Augury to fit their wishes. “History unrevealed can become History lost.” When we look closer, we realize that some of the undersea creatures are made of coral.

When Sputnik casts Life Form, he finds that the figurine maker was fairly old. In the vision, he is making a small elephant and is putting the final touches on it. He appears to name it; something like “Abby.” He is using a small point to put some finishing touches on it and when he says its name, it starts to grow. He is working on the eye, but pricks the elephant’s eye as it starts to grow. When it is full sized it is bleeding from its eye and crushes its maker and most of the contents of the shop, but somehow it no longer appears to have a pricked eye.

June 21, 2194
The next stop is Building 38. Sputnik shuts down both of the golems that come out. We have found a chime or bell maker’s shop. One set of intact magical wind chimes faintly ring. We suspect they may have been made by the same maker as the ones by the musicians’ retreat. We also find seventy small ingots of copper, brass and other metals. Fred’s estimate is that maybe a thousand gold pieces of materials are here.

The upper floor is another room with a bed frame-type remnant. We also discover twelve Ancient platinum pieces and a straight-handled, magical bell.

June 22, 2194
We have two numbers on our map for the next building. We have labeled it “39 & 40” as it has two “teeth,” which are connected. We open the door to the main building and before we know it, several of us run in fear. When Phyllis, Arthur and Talarian depart rapidly, the rest of the party is left a bit short handed offensively, especially when what emerges from the building is not a standard minotaur golem, but instead an insane meshing of gears and flying spheres that somehow fly up to twenty feet out from the core that is only about eight feet across. While we try to fight it, we are a bit confused as to how in the world it manages to fly so far and still stay “together.” It is almost like it is magically folding through different dimensions. The rest of us are not under a fear effect, but are still frightened, so we stay and trash it. Fred gets hit the worst for a triple wound on eighteen hit points of damage, but he also gets his own back when he scores the final huge backstab after Sputnik shuts it down briefly with a Dispel Magic. It was a confusing nightmare of many spheres and hit almost anyone for great damage. Spiritual Weapons and real hits from our second line fighters did a huge portion of the actual damage. It seems to be made of magic and clockwork portions, which is why Fred was able to backstab the Killer Whirligig even though it was not alive.

June 23, 2194
As being fully healed is the better part of safety, we wait until the next day when we’ve been able to find the yellow band of fighters and have a good night’s spell shift or two. When we check the main building, we find it is filled with kinetic sculptures. The three biggest ones hang from the ceiling and are highly magical. Some of the smaller ones are low magic and even though we are wary, they move in normal kinds of ways. We think that we may be able to move the sculptures out, but it will take an extreme amount of time and it would probably be much better if it was done by an expert.

We use Comprehend Languages to find that the Killer Whirligig was originally named Anger of the Elder Elemental God. Three others have labeled names. As Fred examines the kinetics, he starts to feel a little weird as if things are making more sense. After checking things out from different angles for about ten to fifteen minutes you find that your Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma all go up by one point, depending on which of the main sculptures you are examining.

When we explore upstairs, we find another sculpture on a stand with a mix of hoops and spheres. We try to count how many spheres it has and we think that it might have around fifty in this one work. We also find a small pile of flakes that look like bone fragments near the central podium.

We decide that the threats are over, so we do another spell shift for exploration spells instead of combat spells. We find out that the kinetic sculpture that grants Wisdom is called Hang in There, while the Intelligence booster is The Chaos of Motion, and Movement of the Crowd makes you a bit more Charismatic.

Sputnik casts Life Form and Psychic Impression. He finds that the sculptor was killed by his prototype creation upstairs. The sculptures are a testament to the Anger of the Elder Elemental God. In the time of the Ancients, a ceremony was befouled by the ignorance of innocent Ancients and in retribution, The Elder Elemental God, slew thousands. Sputnik thinks that the Ancient should be honored and his comrades remembered by trying to place these sculptures where they can be seen and used by as many people as possible so that such mistakes may be avoided.

June 24, 2194
We decide to wait until the next day to examine the attached shed in case of surprises. For better or worse, we only find corroded metal parts there in spite of a thorough search.

June 28, 2194
We have explored all of the “normal” buildings in the artisans’ quarter except for the gift shop with the trapped floor and the building that we think might be the elevator to the buildings at the top of the cliff. We hope to be able to go up the elevator and come back down in it again after exploring, but on the off chance that we need to make a hasty exit or the elevator does not work for us, Phyllis sets a series of pitons with ropes on the cliff.

June 29, 2194
We prepare for anything and enter the building at the foot of the cliff. When we enter, we see a weird face. It looks like giantish features and it says in dwarvish, “The Director and his wife are not taking visitors.” We try to ask him as many questions as we can, but ultimately he may not have been terribly helpful. Here are his responses somewhat rearranged to try make our questioning seem more logical than it was.

The face in the door lost count of what year it was at “2755.” He recognizes The Director and the Military Commander as his owners, but he doesn’t know how. It was not due to a seal of office as far as he knows. If we could show him the bodies of the Director, Director’s wife or the Military Commander he would accept us as the new owners. If one of the three owners is now an undead monster, then that individual would still be an owner. He has a sense that he is still legally “owned.” The Director’s office is in the middle of The Resort square. He thinks that the Central Offices or Barracks would be likely places for us to find the Commander. The Commander has an elaborate gold symbol of a downwards pointing fork on his helmet.

Most of the people who lived at The Resort were wealthy enough to keep a running tab. He knows there was a war when the city was quite new and he was brought as the city was finished. He thinks many people came and then the tourists vanished. The last person to call had armor that looks like it was made of thousands of metallic lizards.

The doorkeeper speaks Dwarvish, Locatha, Ancient and Archaic in addition to the local language. He says that he could teach us if we wanted to learn. He can also speak Minotaur. He has seen aquatic elves before.

He would like to have someone move in or buy him so he wouldn’t be so bored. The doorkeeper doesn’t spread rumors, for example about the people who came to visit The Director. Many people left and some people went crazy and then everyone else stopped coming around. He can’t let us in even though he hasn’t seen any of the owners in a very long time. He can see the constable marks on us, which is part of the “non-military.” Constables were generally to keep order and the peace and to prevent crime. He didn’t think about it much as this was the Director’s house and we wouldn’t have the authority to come here.

He has seen some sort of pig people (probably orcs), but he smote them – not fatally – when they tried to force their way into The Director’s Residence. Cat people also came and cast some spells, but left. We think they were probably hobgoblins.

His form was constructed by the Dwarven people of the Far Wall Kingdom. A priestess of the House and Home deity brought him from the plane he had been roaming and asked him to perform this service. He was sold and lived there for three millennia. He didn’t have much of a physical form before he became a door warden. He may have been alive before being bound but he thinks he was really just trapped between realms.

The doorkeeper is called Lutrixan Vacation House as he takes the name of the property where he lives. He has a second face upstairs that he has called out from and never got a response. He had hoped to hear from his mistress who was last seen in their home.

Session 66 – Rodger could not make it to the game, so Jay played Costigan.

July 1, 2194
Near the Theatre Office we find a path that looks like it has been hidden since The Resort’s construction. It leads behind the Office to a wall. We try our constabulary power and find a door which leads into a corridor. Across the hall, we see a door directly in front of us and the corridor runs left and right. We close the door behind us and head right to the next door. We open that door, finding a room with a three foot high shelf of the same material as the wall. We also discover six foot sections with mirrors that look illusionary instead of physical. We count sixteen of the dressing mirrors with two lit with a diffuse light shining down. The room is empty of objects. The trackers find scuff marks on the floor that are months or years old, but not millennia. Looking at the ceiling, we see tracks that might have had something connected. The mirror reflects Raybur’s shield light normally. The room looks like a section of the domed building that we expected to find. The walls are curved as if it is the outside of the building.

The next room has set storage, but everything is spectral and none of them appear to be real right now. It is as if everything is painted on scrims. We can see ladders up to an upper storage with more set pieces. There are fabric panels set in tracks. When we stop to listen, Fred hears voices from somewhere speaking what might be the language of the Ancients. He also thinks the cloth that covers the door to the stage is strangely transparent. When we peer through the door, we discover a bunch of ghosts on stage doing a production with the spectral sets. Our best guess is that half a dozen are on stage and one stronger voice coming from elsewhere can be heard as well.

We fall back to spell shift and prepare for a possible combat. We also decide to speak with Lutrixan Vacation House and he shares that the stage director was Fahtwhan and he was not a likeable guy, but he was very talented.

July 2, 2194
On our first scouting trip, we hear and see ten ghosts singing about the sea and how nice it is to travel across the sea. We detect a slight, resentful evil from the figures on stage. A quavery voice commands “More gusto! More feeling!” As Sputnik has Detect Life running, he tries a different angle and can see a large audience space, but no details except a light colored object near the front of the audience that detects as alive. With a little effort, it seems to be about ten feet long by four feet high. It commands the actors to improvise a new verse.

It is difficult to see much from the wings. The screen is a one-way scrim illusion that covers the storage area. There are dozens of mechanical traps in the back stage area. There is something up near the ceiling that is alive as well. As we continue to use Find Traps, more trip wires show up everywhere.

July 3, 2194
Due to detection spells, it is decided that on the second scouting trip, Sputnik should go sneaking about to see what he can detect without being spotted. He is invisible with every detection spell he can use running and he has the Helm of Ultravision. The big creature on the ground is white with the body of a tiger, feathery wings and a curved shore birds’ head. It is lying on the ground in a pile of cloth. Sputnik sees random items lying on the seats around the flyger. Sputnik detects faint careless, lawful evil from the creature in the seats. In the fly spaces, Sputnik can see webs. Using the Helm, he spots a giant spider in the canopy of webs above the flyger, but it sees the ultravision and alerts the flyger to his presence.

Sputnik high tails it back to the rest of the party somehow managing to not get blasted or have sandbags fall on him. The white creature calls out to us and offers to parlay. We decide that if he wanted to slay us, he would probably just do it, but we approach very carefully and a couple of us try to stay hidden. We also try to avoid Fireball Formation.

The flyger is not Fahtwhan, but the Ancients practicing onstage think he is. Ambeth claims to be an immortal sphinx. Taktath is the phase spider up above. Ambeth has recovered Fahtwhan’s magical amulet. He has lots of answers and we would have to pay for those answers.

When we seem to be reluctant to trust him and may still be considering an attack, Ambeth says that he thinks we might win but we would lose several party members permanently. Sputnik thinks that this may be a sphinx, except he has an ibis’ head and wings instead of a human head. Ambeth appreciates books of an ancient and obscure nature and will take cash in portable forms or we can trade four facts for one of equal value. He figures that he knows much more than we do.

The theatre is his abode. There are one or two things to know about passing through the space. The front door opens itself from seven to eleven every night. There is a safe zone inside the door from which we may announce ourselves. We found a way into the back rooms that he didn’t know about. We can announce ourselves from the scrims. He will take any attempt to disassemble or loot the building as hostile. Just inside the front door to the left is a stairway that leads down to other interesting areas. We should announce ourselves if we choose to pass through the front lobby.

There are a number of interesting written works preserved in The Resort. He would like to obtain them, so he will repay us with information for them.

We ask if he knows about the building with a rooftop garden. He lets us know that it contains something that he doesn’t want to mess with as he might be killed. But if we were interested in tackling it he would be willing to sell us the information he has and maybe buying information that comes from the experience.

There is a casino here, where we can set-up an account and we can earn Resort credit for fighting in The Fighting Pit. The Pit is unforgiving. If multiple faces are put into the account machine, they will all be joined on the account. Ambeth is willing to sell us the location of the Military Commander for one thousand gold in cash or five hundred in resort credit. Four thousand credits would get us all the information on the Military Commander. Any book we find would be worth from two hundred to five thousand in credit.

We decide to head back to camp to think about our options before making any deals. On the way back we decide to stop by and see if Lutrixan Vacation House has any information. He says the casino is in the base of the hotel (the twin towers) with windows that looked out over the lagoon. He thinks that there would need to be a live controller to be able to deposit cash into the accounts. Of course, he has not been there so this is just hearsay.

July 13, 2194
We go back to talk to the sphinx. Ambeth’s stuff is boxed and crated in the theatre. He leads us to the lobby and shows us a counter similar to the outdoor café’s. We also see a minotaur that moves as if he isn’t alive on the landing of stair that seem to lead to the balcony.

Ambeth says that the Casino can be found at the end of an underground passageway. We head downstairs and go a hundred feet or so before we find a metal that is marked in the Ancient’s language. The door has been sealed with hot lead somewhat recently. We think that this is the door to security. Ambeth had warned us not to tamper with the Security section. We seem to be under the central tower in the plaza when we find that door.

We travel about the same distance again and we enter a kitchen that has a good fresh smell of cooked food. A main aisle goes straight through into the next area. Sputnik estimates that these kitchens have enough space and food to feed thousands. Near the end of the corridor, a couple of staircases lead up out of here. One of the archways that we find opens behind another concession counter and beyond that is the casino.

There is a large bar with windows behind it. Through the windows, we can see coral and fish swimming in the lagoon. We start looking around to see if there are any games of chance that we could play. Many of the tables look like we would need to have a dealer. Before long, we spot a recessed face located on a landing a few steps up from the casino floor. It looks just like the lock Sputnik opened to get the Icon of All Avatars. There are more steps leading further upstairs to additional levels.

The casino area has an inlaid floor and intricate undersea sculptures around the room. We find the Fighting Pit on this level as well. The Pit is separated from the casino by a clear wall with a couple of rows of benches that allow spectators to look down upon the combatants.

We notice a control near The Pit that we suspect will allow us to place side bets. In case we can’t bet on ourselves, we’re splitting into two teams.

Dwarven Death (Team 1)
Phyllis - Fred - Raybur - Serlisse - Shirlard

Elves Alive (Team 2)
Talarian - Sputnik - Arthur - Zephram - Conrhia - Costigan

We go to the landing and we can hear strange atonal music coming from the lobby. We can see fragments of ships and maybe gold in the lagoon, which we think could be the Dragon Turtle’s nest. From what we can tell, the fish in the water can’t see us even though the water is crystal clear. The window appears to be Ancient’s stone windows that are opaque on the outside.

We approach the “face alcove” with a Tongues spell running so we can understand what it might say. When we start placing our faces in the alcove, a disembodied voice says, “No account exists. Account created. User added.” We were told that if we cycled through multiple faces, we would be able to combine people onto a single account, so the Elves Alive Team do just that and hear, “User added. User added. User added. User added. User added.” After a short delay, it says, “Current balance zero.” The Dwarven Death then set up their account.

As we explore further, we see a large number of random number games. Fred knows that they are all long run lose games, but you could get a good payoff. All the skill based games seem to require a dealer. The bars around the rim of the tables glow yellow if you touch them on the players’ sides. We decide we have better odds of winning credits if we fight rather than play the games of chance.

Talarian volunteers to go first while we have the Tongues spell running. “Pick an advancement track,” The Pit commands. Talarian sees four symbols in a two by two square pattern. The options are a humanoid, a lizard, a winged lizard and a rapidly shifting pattern of shapes. They all show the number 1, which expect to be power or level ratings. Talarian selects the humanoid. The door closes behind him and the tiny elevator descends to The Pit floor.

The arrangement of the room changes radically leaving four cubes and a square pit. There is a box on the far side of the room and as Talarian’s platform reaches the bottom, an amorphous shape coalesces into a Hill Giant. At the side betting counter, the odds are 3-1 for the Combatant over the House. We do not have any money to wager with so we watch the brawl.

Talarian gets the first hit and wounds the Giant. The Giant misses. Talarian hits him again and jumps back. The Giant pursues, but fumbles and Talarian tries to show off on the free attack but has to settle for killing him on the next swing. The giant fades and Talarian has to go back to the entrance as the walls herd him to the elevator. The Weenie Slayer feature on Talarian’s sword does activate, so these creatures seem to have life.

We find that Talarian earned two hundred fifty credits for Elves Alive. When he tries to go again, The Pit does not work for him. We figure he is not allowed he is not eligible to fight again today.

Phyllis decides to test whether there is any variability in Humanoid 1. She gets a star shaped room with a single column in the middle. Her odds are listed at 3.5 to 1. She also gets a Hill Giant and she finally scores a second natural 20 on Severance. She hits him four times in the first 4 segments and he misses on anything but a 20, so it is merely a matter of time before she cuts him down. She also wins two hundred fifty credits. The Elves tried to wager on her, but exceeded the limit for an unmatched bet.

Our third fight of the day is Raybur. He pre-casts three spells which are all Dispelled as he descends to the floor, but he is able to cast a new spell once he is in The Pit. The odds come up as 3.5 to 1 again. It is a whiff-fest, but Raybur manages to prevail. The Dwarven Death team has five hundred credits and The Elves Alive team has two hundred fifty in Resort Credit. Again we failed to place a side bet.

Fred enters The Pit planning on blasting his Hill Giant with a Pool Ball Lightning bounce-o-rama and lucks out with 9 columns in the room. The Elven team wagers on Fred to win. He is a 5 to 1 favorite with a ten credit wager or He is a 2 to 1 favorit with a five credit wager. He manages a triple bounce for low damage and gets hit by a boulder. The Giant hears Fred’s backstab attempt, but ultimately Fred prevails. The totals now stand at Dwarven Death 750 and Elves Alive 252 Resort Credit.

July 14, 2194
Arthur heads in with Bracers, +3 Ring of Protection and the rest of his basic equipment. He gets a single central pit in an open room. The Dwarves unsuccessfully try to bet on the fight. Arthur opens with a twenty-four hit point shot and a triple wound. He switches to his next crossbow and waits for the Giant to close to normal point blank range. When he shoots again it is sixteen more points of damage. The Giant whiffs and then Arthur swings his bastard sword for 25 more points. We are up to Dwarven Death 750 and Elves Alive 502.

Conrhia decides that her woods woman training should help her survive. She goes in to fight the Hill Giants and gets 3 to 1 odds. She turns him into a pin cushion and shows how it should be done. The totals are practically even with Dwarven Death 753 to Elves Alive 752.

Day Two’s fight number three in The Pit has Shirlard struggling massively, using an older Extra Healing potion and squeaking by. The Elves make 10 gp on a maximum bet at even odds so that the accounts are Dwarven Death 1003 to Elves Alive 762.

For the final fight of the day, Zephram goes in to fight a Humanoid. There are bizarre floating platforms everywhere. He fights at 2.5 to 1 odds and wins handily enough to strut out of The Pit victorious. The Elves take their first lead since Talarian won the first fight. The Resort Credit stands at Dwarven Death 1003 to Elves Alive 1012.

July 15, 2194 – Sputnik Session 66 and Costigan Session 68
After a good night’s sleep, Sputnik and Costigan plan on entering as the only fights of the day unless Serlisse changes her mind. Sputnik goes toe to stub and after a lot of weak hits, he succeeds in dropping the Giant. His odds were 2 to 1.

The last fight of round one is Costigan against the Hill Giant. Costigan has his magic Flail pumped with Wounding spells and he humiliates the giant. This brings our total take to two thousand five hundred twenty Resort Credits. Dwarven Death has a total of one thousand eight credits from four fights and a few side bets. Elves Alive lead at fifteen hundred twelve, though. The humanoid counter has ticked up for everyone but Serlisse but the others are still at level one.

Session 67 – Rodger was out, so Alan was available for Costigan, but Costigan did not fight.

July 16, 2194
We start the second round of Pit fights. Talarian fights a leaping raptor type dinosaur on Lizard 1. Phyllis beats a Stone Giant easily when she tests out Humanoid 2. We find out that Stone Giants pay out five hundred credits.

Arthur tries to use a spear to take the dinosaur’s leaping charge, but fails miserably and after multiple bad breaks, he is killed by the raptor, which rips his head off as the Pit goes completely dark. He emerges from the elevator alive, but he has taken permanent damage that seems to have used his ability to be Raised three times. Even Lizard 1 can be fatal if Lady Luck is against you. Sputnik thinks Arthur will be down for about three to four weeks.

The final fight of the day is anti-climactic when Raybur beats a Stone Giant fairly easily. The total has grown to two thousand for the Dwarven Death and seventeen sixty-six for Elves Alive.

July 17, 2194
Round Two continues with Fred. He Webs, Magic Missiles and backstabs Lizard 1 to death. Conrhia turns a Stone Giant into an arrow caddy on Humanoid 2. Zephram defeats his raptor on Lizard 1. Sputnik uses a lot of spells to buff under Sanctuary and then blinds his poor raptor. Shirlard and Costigan decide to wait for their next fights until they can borrow the Belt of Giant Strength from the fallen Arthur. The main part of Round Two yields a grand total of five thousand twenty-five credits. Dwarven Death has 2,258 to Elves Alive 2,767 gold pieces in credit.

July 18, 2194
The third round in the Pit continues Talarian and Phyllis’ patterns of fight selection. Talarian chooses the winged lizard and beats a baby Green Dragon with a lot of trouble. The dragon used its breath weapon three times. Phyllis continues on the Humanoid path and beats a Frost Giant. Raybur beats a Leaping Lizard easily. Fred torments a bigger raptor with Stinking Cloud and a pit. Fred also showed off his new Web abilities against the Lizard level 2.

We expected the payout to continue to increase by two hundred fifty credits, but instead it doubles with each level, so this brings the totals to Dwarves – 4,013 to Elves – 3,023 with a BLADES total of 7,036 credits.

July 24, 2194
We take a few days to rest and allow the Belt to kick in for Shirlard. She decides to hit the Random button since no one else has been willing to chance it. She faces a slug the size of a two room house. It spits nasty acid gobs at her. She manages to dodge most of them, but gets clobbered by one nasty gobbet. It wasn’t pretty with all the spittle flying, but Shirlard wiped her mouth as she was riding up in the elevator so we didn’t have to see it up close.

Sputnik decides to give it a go on Random 1 and he faces an odd looking creature. It has the back half of a horse, front half of a lion and a scaled woman’s torso and head. She attacks with a Wisdom draining effect which lowers Sputnik’s Wisdom further and further, but his Ring of 16 Wisdom keeps his Wisdom constant, which makes it merely a matter of time.

August 1, 2194 – Session 68
Costigan holds off his lizard on the first level.

August 2, 2194 – Session 68
Costigan takes on the Stone Giant and finally gets bloodied at Humanoid level 2.

August 9, 2194 – Session 67
We decide to celebrate Arthur’s recovery with a good meal before we head back to talk to Ambeth. The total we have earned is now 8,250 gold pieces in credit after spending sixty on dinner.

August 10, 2194
We return to the Sphinx with credit in The Resort and an itching desire to learn more. We start off by trading what facts we can. He tells us that he knows that The Pit continues to double the payouts through level 8.

We ask to find out about the Lieutenant. Ambeth shares the history that he has been able to find out. When the war approaches, the doors are closed and everything is been locked down. The Lt. of the Resort decides that they are going to wait it out. Two months go by; six months; then a year. No one sends any of the magical communications that can pierce the concealment of the dome. The men say that it is time to send out a foray. The Lt. says that the concealment will be broken and he will not allow that. The military begins a mutiny. The Lieutenant uses the golems to kill all of his own men. He goes into his tower, closes the doors and waits for word from outside. He is still there, waiting and worrying whether he made the right decision. He is now a Philosopher. The Philosopher is dangerous and he can ensnare someone in his thoughts. He still controls all of the golem army and he can control time and space with his thoughts.

Ambeth would pay well for any information about the siege. The Lieutenant’s thoughts travel through the air and can sear the minds of any who try to go through the lead sealed security door at the base of the tower. Ambeth says that he would consider it rude if we try to go through there as it might interrupt his access to the Casino. The Lt. is in the Security Tower in the middle of the Courtyard. If we could survive the attempt, Ambeth recommends that we could try to go through the courtyard door if we want to try to approach the Philosopher. His Journals and weapons plus the possessions of his men would be sufficient motivation for someone to try to enter the tower. The Philosopher’s thoughts would be visible as weird wisps of colors. We transferred four thousand credits for this information.

We inquire about prices for possible additional information. Information on a cure for the Dwarves would cost 2,500 credits. It would be 2,000 credits for the information on the party that used to work for Ambeth. The Ghost Ship would be 1,000 credits. The price for information on the Dragon Turtle could be highly variable on price depending on what we were interested in. Information on other factions in The Resort might be available, but he doesn’t want the status quo affected.

For fifty credits, Ambeth tells us that a number of golems are right around the front doors. It isn’t clear that they are designed to attack. We could probably walk right up to them.

The Tower with the rooftop garden is where the Resort manager lived. He accepted the fact the Lt. had killed all of his men and came to the conclusion that the war had been lost. He decided that he needed to wait until the civilization rebuilt itself and he still waits. He is a “something” that is as mad as a hatter. The Philosopher may be waiting until it decides whether staying in The Resort was a good idea.

Ambeth tells us that we could step out the front doors of the theatre and cut across the courtyard. Doors lead to a beautiful garden that seems to be fairly safe. At the far end of the grove are doors to the spa. The Spa allows you to do massive manipulation to whom and what you are. When his party went into the Spa, they seemed to release a major demonic force. They were equal in number to us, but slightly less powerful and less equipped than we are. They were annihilated and did not return. Ambeth doesn’t know if the demon is still there or even if we could get into the Spa. If we make the Spa safe to use, he would give us the information he has on it if we go first to test out the machinery.

The party was made of Realmish human and half-orkish adventurers. They bought from him the weird scrolls that he had (probably Illusionist scrolls). The party was made up of a Chelsean cleric, warriors and mages. This was two thousand credits.

The dwarves are affected by a deity-strength curse which is worse inside the Mall of the Four Elements. If we can get them outside, the power of a demigod would be probably be strong enough to help them. A High Priest or Priestess might be able to Restore their sanity. The dwarves are incredibly hostile and very dangerous. Ambeth is scared of them. He knows the party is at least eight strong. He thinks that the Mall is the localized source of the curse. It will probably take some sort of Divine Intervention to break the curse. Ambeth saw them slaughter the orcs. He is not knowledgeable in healing insanity, but he had heard that the highest level priest or priestess of a religion has some additional sway with their deity. This information cost us two and half thousand credits.

For a mere one thousand credits, paid with twice as much in gems as collateral, we hear about the Undead Ship. Although the city itself is sealed, in order to equalize pressures and due to certain sea level issues, when typhoons hit the island, the dome opens. On just such an occasion, a long time ago, a boat led by “The Royal We,” a bizarre orkish captain with his 200 blood thirsty pirates took shelter and they are still there. He doesn’t know a great deal more, but he thinks that there are about 250 of them on board. He thinks that most of them are probably monsters now. As an aficionado of ancient ruins, Ambeth thinks that any ancient ruin needs a lich-like being. A city of this size needs several.

For 5,000 more, we can hear a tale of Three Dying Civilizations. For an extra 2,000 credits, he will give us a suggestion of where to go next. For 10,000 credits he will tell of a threat to us in the future that we aren’t aware of.

August 11, 2194
We start moving items out of The Resort so that when the Leaf arrives, we can depart as quickly as possible. We are all excited to find out what we have recovered from our “year” in The Resort.

September 2, 2194
The Leaf arrives and we immediately start loading for rapid departure. We leave many items behind where we found them since we know we will have an expert mover coming soon.

October 7, 2194
The Leaf arrives back at New Teft after an excessively calm journey.

October 8, 2194
We have Kirk ID OXO while Kruklek starts on the pile of other magical items.

October 9, 2194
We decide to consult with Kruklek about Simtam while trying to honor Fred’s wishes to not reveal too much to him about OXO and what happened. He seems frightened of discussing Simtam. He says he has tried to avoid that “war.” Millennia ago his people were destroyed by wars. A group of his people wanted to hide the bad things they were doing and they wanted to destroy the interconnectedness of things. They destroyed his civilization and systematically destroyed all the followers of Simtam. They destroyed every piece of information that would even allow the worship of Simtam. Some people have hidden from the destroyers and he says the Chiktak may come and hunt them down. He thinks the phase spider at the way house slightly to the west may be one of the searchers. Taktath, the one with Ambeth, the Sphinx, may be either a searcher or an exile. Kruklek is the descendant of exiles and he thinks each side thought that preservation or destruction of the connectedness was of the utmost importance. He admits to being very scared. Some phase spiders think the interconnectedness can be reestablished, but that would probably draw attention to whomsoever accomplished it.

Session 68 – David and Alan added Fred and Phyllis’ XP. Katherine joined after Skylltor’s offer was resolved (details are inserted in the corrected Telvar dates).

October 10, 2194
The Meteorite is alchemically very interesting. It shows up under a Detect Life spell. It appears to be an iron globe. When Sputnik cast Psychic Impression, it burned him, but is neither hot nor cold. He didn’t stay in contact with it long enough to actually get hurt. It is magical. It is highly out of Balance but is not good or evil or otherwise aligned.

It doesn’t burn Shirlard when she touches it, nor when Sputnik touches it with a Tongues spell active. He gets a chilled feeling, but can’t be certain why. When we take it to the Alchemist, he says that in order for him to run tests, he would need to break off a piece of it, but we would rather wait on damaging it until we have exhausted all other options. Dr. Schnelp suggests that he do full research for thirteen hundred gold pieces.

October XX, 2194
Dr. Schnelp tells us that it is like a little prison with a life force trapped inside. It is no longer alive. There is nothing but life force, no psyche. This is of course delivered with disparagement that we thought that it might be alive just because we Detected Life in or on it. We next try the Alchemist to see what he might be able to find out about the meteorite. It is pretty heavy, so it is not an empty shell, nor is it solid. The Alchemist will search all of his notes to see what he might find.

October YY, 2194
The alchemist tells us that he found a reference in his old school notes that it is very dangerous. He also says that the dwarves should know what to do with it. It is probably thirty to thirty-five thousand gold pieces in value. The alchemist charges us a thousand gold pieces for the research.

October 20, 2194
When Fred arrives at the Locatha, he goes to the Sphere of Influence. When he enters the room, it is active and dominated by a large Moravian star that now follows Fred everywhere. Fred decides that he should stay with the Locatha until he can figure things out, so he sends us a letter by sage mail.
The Locatha say that the Star seems to be the book that Fred wrote for the Ancient novelist. Fred thinks that he has written the Bible of Simtam. He spends 4,000 for sage research to see what else he can find out. He is able to do his thief training while waiting on the research to finish.

November 5, 2194
Today is tax day for The BLADES. The full list of items recovered from The Resort are listed at the end of this year’s entries.

December 19, 2194
As his final chaotic act, Fred becomes a lawful good cleric of Simtam.