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October 12, 2008

The 10th Telvar Open: Video Transcript

The 10th Telvar Open: Wrap-­‐Up Scenes from the Video. Transcripts, Mostly Accurate!
Video Summary:
E: Well, the people who are manipulating The Phantasm have very different plans. So, what happens is, Phantasm leads 3 thieves from the Guild—picked because 1 knows a little bit about magic (), one is particularly good at dealing with old stonework (), and 1 is a cleric of Hindus, the god of thieves who can help heal and keep them alive (). Leads them out... with a Teleport Anchor and leads people out to a location where... I realize there are only 3 people here who are familiar with this substance, called Scatterblock. A vicious substance developed during the First Age by the Tyrants to destroy people who tried to teleport into their palaces or Universities. So what happens is, the Great Wilhelm is traveling. The Phantasm has been given a tip-­‐off by these same diabolically-­‐scheming forces. So the Teleport Anchor—something that sucks in people traveling by Teleport within about a mile line of sight between the points—Phantasm climbs up on top of the ruin and drops the Anchor into the Scatterblocked ruin, and stands back and waits.

E: Now, what’s the intent here? Well, Phantasm’s intent is this... He gets disintegrated, she loses everything on his person. The bag of holding comes apart and all the stuff inside should drop onto the Tower floor. It comes free. Free money, scoop it up, throw it in bags, get these guys to carry it back to civilization, and then use one of the three daggers, to, well, kill you three guys when you’re back within about 6 hours of town. Given that that dagger was actually a viciously small golem, that would have been bad, bad. Um, but, so be it.
Katherine: We would have poisoned her first.
E: They were already planning it. They were already planning to poison each other, but they ended up with too much treasure for that to be practical!
E: So, The Phantasm puts the thing down, BOOM. The Great Wilhelm is destroyed, 11 minor deities die. Disintegrated, no worshippers surviving. Strangely enough, these strange little deities die the same day that part of a deity’s essence is destroyed in a battle in a far-­‐off city in the realm and 2 other deities are lured into a fight in a dungeon with two adventuring parties who each have the ability to summon deities and get them into a slug-­‐fight far away. Strange things happen today.
E: So, what has actually happened? The Great Wilhelm has an item that he found in an old minotaur ruin out in the seas in the far, far, far, west of here, almost 200 years ago. Which is... a bag, used as a nursery for young Kraken. The young Kraken long since slain. So what the bag is is... inside is a small pool for the egg. There’s a big pool for the adult Kraken. There are storage rooms. And there are storage rooms for the, depending on how well and wealthy your parents were, the between 2 and
12 adamantite, killing-­‐machine, sharks. There’s actually 2 left when he finds it. He sells one to a researcher at the Universitas, and leaves the other one in the back storage room and hangs his clothes on it to dry. (Because it gives off a strange heat.)
E: So, these things are designed so that when the Kraken gets too big there’s a big button in a secret panel that you press—BEEP! It is then supposed to cause the walls to fall away, the ceiling to sort of lift gently out of the way, and the floor to sink to the sea bottom gently. Allowing the Kraken to be free, without any damage to it, or its nice precious sharks. (Not that they can really be damaged.)
E: So, Wilhelm is disintegrated, and, in the pocket plane, all the guards near the front door are immediately disintegrated also. Obviously, disintegrate is not doing friendly things to the pocket plane. And there is one person, other than Wilhelm, who knows what to do when this happens: the Butler (Alan Jones). Because in the pocket plane is... the Butler. The weakest character in the entire game, by the way, by most measures, the zero-­‐level character. But the only truly well-­‐informed character about Wilhelm. But such as it is.
E: He’s in the back, in Wilhelm’s chambers, with a few other people. One of his bodyguards (gestures), his credenza-­‐slash-­‐giant fly (Sean Guarino), a (mysterious name—gingwatson?) Aside: You’ve had a gingwatson and you’ve had a character with a gingwatson (Rodger and Keith?) —gestures—small weird creatures crafted out of the ether—that have up to 3 forms—will o’ the wisp, animal, and object. You two both had SWORD gingwatsons—most people think sword, strength-­‐draining orb, creature. But it’s actually most expensive to give them strength-­‐draining orb, and the reason for that is that in that form it can most easily escape. So, he doesn’t do that. He just decides to give it the form giant fly—because mainly he needed something that could fly and go scouting, but he actually needed a FLY because he wanted to pull a joke on his intellectual colleague, who we’ll get to in a minute. And he makes it a credenza. So, what’s he going to do with the power that he could use to make a +3 or +4 weapon? He makes it a +3 credenza of bug-­‐squashing. I would like to note that all bugs within a 20’ radius of his eventual death—did indeed die!
E: So, he’s a credenza-­‐giant fly. And then of course, there’s the ice toad that showed up to dinner one evening. Ice toads—normally about an intelligence of 9. Like to sit in caves, occasionally eat adventurers, occasionally negotiate with them. Speak a weird little broken language. I would like to suggest you (Joey) read your character background for everyone. Actually, everyone will need their character sheet, if you wouldn’t mind going and grabbing them. So, Joey, if you will please read the background of your character.
Joey Hess: Okay, were does Boofus come from? Where is he going? The world may never know. How did an ice toad get to be this smart? How did he learn to control the flow of time and space? Why is working part time as a cooling unit in a deranged archmage’s refrigerator? Perhaps not even Boofus knows the answers to
these questions. Boofus has no interest in getting killed.... (to Edwin:) Should I read it all?
E: Yeah
J: Boofus has only one goal when the Open starts. To escape to safety and to find a spot where he can get a really good clam linguine. Figures there are mysteries best left unanswered. He figures the staff in the pocket plane are nice, but not really to be trusted. And he distrusts Elaine’s taste in strappy heels.
E: So yes, he’s like a deity-­‐level intelligence ice toad, who yes, has never had to use his Time Stop powers to save himself.
E: So then you have the person who did the best job and was most important for taking care of Wilhelm OTHER than the Butler, which is the anarchist cleric Elaine. To whom he provided the most ridiculous equipment in the universe. (To Jack:) Which I would suggest you give as brief of a summary as you can without giving every detail.
Jack McKechnie: He has a suit of magical chain mail, but it looks like a party dress. Group: Oh, we saw you!
J: A shield that looks like a fan that can throw a beam of light 80 feet. A glamoured hammer of idiot slaying. (+4/double damage if INT or WIS less than 10. +5/triple damage if both.) Looks like a sparkly wand. Tiara which is a glamoured helmet of weakness detection, with bonus to hit. Glamoured boots which actually just look like heels. Gorgeous purse that changes as you change your outfit. Gold earrings.
Voice: No Vera Bradley bag of holding?
E: I mean, you live in one, do you really need it? So, the best dressed member of the Open. They’re all there. And basically everyone except Phelps (the Butler) that survives is in a little corner in the back gambling. I will note that really if Boofus really wanted to win there wouldn’t be much point, but he doesn’t really care very much about money. And they’re there in the back when Phelps gets up and runs to hit the Button. Since they’re in the back, that puts them all reasonably close to the Button. And so that allows them when ceiling blows and the walls peel away you’re at the problem that the entrance to the bag is here (diagram) inside the Tower and the rest of the bag is in the direction it was last facing. And so the roof of the Tower explodes. So all the stone that makes the walls and so on, the pocket plane is shaped like a big oblong shape, and so the stone that makes up the floors, roof, ceiling, walls, etc., are all real blocks of stone, and they go flying in all directions. And the floor around the Button and for that matter the Pool as well, tries to descend. For the Pool area it is actually in the Tower. Phantasm at this point is DEAD. She’s standing near by peeking into the Tower through a trap door and it is at this point that
roughly, ROUGHLY, 6 tons of stone falls on her. Crushes the whole top of the Tower, dragging her into a rubble pile on the roof of the building below. Eventually much of this story is learned from the Governmental forces, which we’ll talk about later, because they drag her body out back to people who can cast Speak with Dead. So, crushed she is, and dead. And unfortunately, as cool as he is, the Great Wilhelm, his disintegration has been arranged by the forces of nefariousness. So, we start with an explosion.
E: Now, normally Divinations they reach out to your diety and the Fates and try to find out where your enemies are and so on. Well, a Divination from a certain Bugbear, and I should give a little bit of background here. So, there are 2 bugbears and a xvart, and well, later they can tell you about it if they like, but let’s just say there was a bad plan at some point in the past. And the 2 bugbears and the xvart are the only survivors of a previous humanoid tribe due to some particularly reckless actions. So, bugbears normally their M.O. is to find some humanoids and be their bodyguards until such time as you’ve used up all their wealth, or it gets boring, or they get fatter. They’re perhaps particularly lazy bugbears, brother and sister. And so we have the most dangerous fighter and probably the most powerful cleric (well, it’s actually pretty close to tie between this one and Elaine) who are the bugbears. Andrew is the xvart wizard who basically survived the previous debacle by being the xvart wizard, which means that the invisibility spell was very convenient! Also, being about 7th level. So, they have gone into the mountains to escape crab men, for reasons that are also kind of complicated. And found a tribe of Noblink (gesture to Kathryn Snead, et al.?), and they find these guys who show up who are powerful, who are rich (the Noblink have less than 100 g.p. between them) and say “protection” and see these guys casting powerful magical spells to find out about enemies and treasure in the area, and they think, “this is a dream come true!” And Then they hear something really weird in a Divination. Most of the time you find out about treasure in a location. Sometimes you find out that treasure will soon be in a location. And here they find out about a direction to go in to get treasure. They know about a tunnel under a walls to the area where the treasure is. Way too close to the area where the undead are, but that just brings back to mind the incident with tunnel and the undead at night.... So they go through, IN THE MORNING. And they see the explosion (of the Tower) when they’re about half way there.
E: Now, the explosion gets the attention of the Park Staff (the governmental forces). Now this is a national monument. Why? Because 7 or 8000 years ago, slaves rose up here and tried to start killing the evil Tyrants who ruled the world at the time. This is the spot, for the amusement of other people here, where it is said that the first Anarchist clerics arose. And then amongst the thousands of people they suddenly found themselves to have weapons and armor that they didn’t previously have. Which all have names, like... Freedom to Riot, Freedom to Cast, interesting, cool magical items. Long since vanished and scattered, some in some strange pockets. So, in this area there are mass slaughters, undead everywhere. But, the humans go, this is an important historic thing, they build a perimeter wall around it. This is like 6, 7000 years ago, they build a perimeter wall, and they negotiate with
the undead, basically. They tell the undead, we’ll keep them away, and we’ll only come into to keep them (others) away, and a weird bit of negotiation is worked out with the undead. Long ago. They develop signs (hand gestures) to show the undead that they are part of “The Second Empire.” The Second Empire’s been gone a LONG time (about 5000 years) but that’s okay, they still use those symbols (“We will not disturb any grave goods.” Etc.) Which has been handled down mostly intact, and so the Staff knows some hand gestures (“Please go away, undead monsters, please go away, undead monsters.”) And the Staff’s job is keep people from disturbing the undead, keep people from taking grave goods out of the area, and keep stupid people from getting themselves killed. They also have a second job. Which is for this part of the world, for reasons that only certain people here really have any idea of, the Auroran Church has been taking off by fighting slavers. So wealthy (Auroran) people who have been donating money go to the Realmish government and say, “this is a monument to where the first anti-­‐slavery riots happened. We’ll build a museum against slavery. We won’t put any denominational stuff in it. We just want to popularize the idea of fighting slavery.” Not that still wouldn’t bring lots of donations or anything, but ... They seek to build a big museum, big observation tower (overlooking the walled area), look out over the area, informational things. So, there’s an Auroran cleric and a whole construction crew there. Building this huge museum, building this huge observation tower for tourists. Because you’re only 2 miles away from the regional capital of Hortun which was once theoretically destroyed in a fire (one of Wilhelm’s practical jokes). So, the Staff sees this big explosion in the area and since one of their jobs is to keep people from destroying things, and the tallest tower in the entire place has just blown up... So, they leave the Fortress and go inside to figure out what is happening. “go away, undead monsters, please go away, undead monsters.” They head in to go see what is happening. These guys (the noblink) march in from the other side. (Pulls out map to explain.)
E: So, the thieves have come up from the south wall.
Voice: Edwin, can you hold that up. Voice: Thieves?
E: I’m going to, I just realized there’s a line missing (draws). Voice: They must have been in Corey’s room.
E: They were!
E: So, the thieves come in from the South and the thieves’ job is to sort of hang back and watch. Why? Because Phantasm wants to be on the ground to get the best stuff first and never admit that it happened. In case she’s not able to kill all the other thieves. So, she’s on the roof of the place. Peering up the edge of the roof is the dwarf (Katherine), the other two guys are hanging back, peering around, watching for people from other directions. When the Tower explodes, the dwarf and for that matter the Cleric of Hindus both have magic shields and hold them over their heads.
To avoid getting hit by rocks. And, into everyone’s life, some rubble must fall. So, they’re about here. The humanoids are about here (NNE of the Tower) and they keep moving towards the explosion. So they keep going, for what I thought might be an interesting trip, fight some undead monsters, but somehow Rodger managed to avoid rolling a 1 in I don’t know how many rolls.
R: 12.
E: 12, so nothing actually interesting happened, they kept marching along.
E: So, at this point the Staff comes in (from due East, through a somewhat circuitous route). At this spot we have kind of interesting incident because down on the beach we have the Staff. Sorry, the pocket plane Staff (Wilhelm’s friends) some of the stuff drifts down (off the Tower and over the edge of a cliff down to a small lake) and we have the thieves. They’re thinking to themselves, “You know, the only way back through that wall is with one of those little yellow passwall tokens. And the only other token is... somewhere under this rubble. “ (Gulp.) So they start digging, trying to get the passwall token, trying to get to Phantasm, who they have clearly decided they are just going to loot, this is not a recovery mission. In fact, they had pretty much already decided, I found out, they were going to kill her anyway. There’s not a lot of honor going here among thieves. So, they’re digging and they meanwhile find a magic bag. I’m going to say Chris did a lot of work on the bag, which we’re going to find out about it a little bit. So, the bag pretty much ends up going with him (Andy) . So, they start searching.
E: And down on the beach they (the Bag staff—Wilhelm’s friends) start searching. So, down on the beach, there’s a whole bunch of weird stuff. And the only one who knows anything about it is Alan here (Phelps, the Butler). So, he knows how to recognize a few things, finds a few things. There are two big boxes of tokens. There’s one that’s just a big old box... basically, when you’re that high level, and you live in a pocket plane, what do you do with furniture you’re not using right now. “Oh, we don’t need a gazebo by the pool this season.” Bloo-­‐iiiip. Token. Chink. Drops into this box on the shelf. “Ah, there’s gotta be an extra sofa set in her somewhere.” Crick. Sofa set. Let’s go.... It’s a mix of vaguely useful adventuring things and the furniture he’s not using right now.
Jack: We had the uniforms for a zookeeper, garbageman, and.... Alan: Let’s not mention that any longer...
J: This was very confusing to us.
E: So, and I want to make sure I get things right here. You guys started gathering things on the beach? [Looks towards group.] And meanwhile the thieves are digging things up. And the fly (Credenza) is spying on them. Buzz, buzz. And they decide basically they need to get out of here. So they drink half a Strength potion, which
since it only works on fighters, slightly poisoned the cleric who tried to drink it [Laughter]. But they do manage to move the rubble quickly, find Phantasm’s body and some stuff. Now, they found a box full of tokens... his OTHER tokens, which come into play sometime later.
A: Ooooooooh.
Sean Guarino: Oooooooooh.
E: Now, the other bag of tokens are part of the Beautiful Dream of Wilhelm, which we’ll get back to in a minute. Now somebody [Andy] finds that box of tokens, empties it into his bag, except for one token, and says, “Hey, I found a token” and then proceeds to go over here, and find another group of tokens, which turn out to be Phantasm’s. So, they decide to flee. I’m actually worried I might be messing things up here, please correct me if I’m wrong.
Katherine: We talked to people.
Kyle: Yes, we decided to talk to some people.
E: Yes, that’s right, now you guys [the Bag Staff] decide to go up the cliff and look... SG: Look for Wilhelm.
E: That’s right, you guys decide you’re going to look for Wilhelm. So they go up to the Tower and decide to see if they can find Wilhelm’s body. So they go up and the Thieves start explaining how they are the Government. “Oh, yeah, we’re the Park Staff. You all need a permit for this. And a form.”
Voice: Yes, form I-­‐9-­‐3.
E: I don’t think it worked. Voice: No. [Laughter]
E: And they [the Thieves] run away. And it’s finally just Kyle’s character that is the last shape they see vanishing over the wall as they make their way up the Tower. And they get to the top of the Tower and it doesn’t look good. They have this discussion with Boofus about Disintegrates. Unfortunately, there was no disintegrate and you all have an interesting box of dirt. There’s no dust here and Wilhelm’s been scattered throughout the Multiverse by the wonders of Scatterblock.
K: Alas, poor Wilhelm.
E: Well, they did go looking for a dead body, though. And guess what’s at the bottom? A dead body [Phantasm’s]. So they find Phantasm’s body under the rubble [and take her body].
Voice: Carefully unburied at this point.
E: Yes, carefully unburied. So they find Phantasm and carefully gathered a few things as they went along. Now one of the things you have to keep in mind is that Phelps has a list of everything you would ever want to know about the magic items although not whatsoever. He has a list that says things like “Pickle-­‐Spear” and “Barrel of Monkeys.” Yeah, somebody found the Pickle-­‐Spear.
Voice: And we found the Barrel of Monkeys. Joey: Yeah.
Katherine: Yeah, we found the wrong end of it. Kyle: Is there a right end?
E: Yes, so they’re gathering stuff and at some point, they spot the humanoids coming.
Jack: No, they spotted the Thieves circling.
E: That’s right, you spotted the Thieves circling [down to the bottom of the cliff]. Sean G: Yes, and we left some good things down there.
E: And they [the Thieves] are worried that he [Alan—Phelps] is the Archmage, even though he’s the Butler and the lowest level character here, in fact by a lot of people here. He’s the old guy, with no visible weapons in the dark suit.
Alan: I wonder why?
Voice: Who walks around in normal clothes if they don’t have the power to justify it?
E: So they’re scared to death. They’re sneaking up on the edge of the rubble pile, grabbing something and running away. Grabbing something and running away. So they end up with some very strange items like the Helm of Will. Where you think “I wish I had the discipline to do something.” And something very strange happens based on your -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐. They drag out a Robe of Beans.
Kyle: Oh, that was the brown robe.
E: Yes, a robe in which you are both immune to Stinking Clouds, generate Stinking Clouds, and beans you can eat. What everyone needs. And we’ll circle back to strange multicolored ball which bounces. It’s a very messed up item. The Super Ball. We’ll come back to it. And one more thing was grabbed.
Kyle: No, that was the last thing. I tried to grab the other thing, but...
E: Oh, that’s right. But, because of them, Alan [Phelps] decides that something has to be done. There’s the Catapult here, but what he does is he pops open the Barrel of Monkeys. The Barrel is full of a large number of purple, yellow-­‐faced smiling monkeys. Which are like angry Curious George. They start going to things in the area (and there were a lot of things) and trying to beat it to death.
Katherine: How many?
E: There were in the end 288 monkeys... Two “gross” of Monkeys. So, it’s two grosses, and they are Too Gross. Flesh-­‐eating monkeys that look like Curious George, it’s enough to mess with anyones mind. So they climb up—they not only run after the Thieves, who are running very quickly away “Monkeys!” but they are also climbing up the cliff after everyone else. Alan reaches into the box of household things, and the throws down a mounted armor and sword set. And then, a gazebo.
A park bench inscribed with the names of three local comedians. He hurls them down, before he realizes maybe they should get the Bag of Cheap Tricks. Now, normally the Bag of Tricks is a nice item that doesn’t work very often, summons an animal under your command. Now the Bag of Cheap Tricks has a finite number of charges, you can use it as often as you want, and all it does is generate a random, angry animal. Not necessarily a useful angry animal. So when he first throws one of these down, he throws it partly down the cliff at one of the monkeys, and it turns into a Giant Anteater, this is ineffective. [Laughter] Killed a couple of monkeys, though. Now they start to throw animals at the bottom. So, I believe there’s a wildebeest. A giraffe.
A: That was a good one.
E: We have small thing called a raccoon-­‐dog, which did not last long. There was a dingo, it didn’t make it very long either. A reindeer. Another dog. Chris?
Chris: There was a reindeer.
E: Yup, there was a reindeer. It didn’t last very long either. The giraffe bought then some time. Took a long time for the monkeys to climb up and strangle it. And then finally they threw a cheetah down, now that was exciting. And about this point they’d thrown enough objects, about the giraffe point, that they’d distracted enough monkeys. Because basically the monkeys will attack the nearest thing to the barrel, but they’ll go out as long as they can form a continuous chain to find something else to kill. Once they can’t form a continuous chain, they won’t go any further! And so
these continuous chains are getting pulled back in towards the Barrel as the monkeys are dying. Now some of the monkeys went into the water, where a few people had observed the shark go end-­‐over-­‐end into the water. When it hits the water, it activates. So, basically what you have is a shark with an armor class of roughly -­‐8. It has hundreds and hundreds of hit points. It has a psionic attack form. It can generate clouds of poison. It can attack for 8-­‐80 points of damage. And there’s no one to tell it what to do. And it’s vaguely confused. Other than its inborn hatred of living things and it’s constrained in a very small pond, the streams of which are not wide enough for it get out of.
R: Surrounded by undead.
E: Surrounded by undead. Which it can’t actually see, it mainly sees living things. And so a few monkeys get too close to the water. Jaws. Monkeys are dying as they go into the water. So, yeah, the huge adamantite Nursery Shark wandering around... “I have no Kraken babies to guard, I might as well kill some living things. So, it’s at this point that these guys [the Bag Staff] start circling around to get out of there. And they have this debate, which I almost beat them up about, because they declared three different actions, “We’re going to chase the Thieves...”
Jack: We changed our minds.
E: You did. They’re a bunch of chaotic neutral characters, what can I say? They put two tokens in the hands of the fly-­‐credenza. Well I should note that here at the very end, they had right as the monkeys were released had Phelps grab a bunch of valuable stuff and throw it in the credenza and then it turned into the fly to ferry it away. All of his valuable spell books, etc.
Kyle: We did actually observe them doing this. We thought it was the Archmage loading his spell books! [Laughter]
Katherine: We did.
E: Along with his Puzzling Puzzleboxes. Nowhere will you find FOUR Puzzling Puzzleboxes. There’s only one person I know who’s found one [points]—they are small objects and the real problem with them is, you try to open them, and there’s nothing inside. If you open them, your character gets smarter, your intelligence goes up. If you fail, it becomes a compulsion and your character loses a number of hours a day to continually fight with it. It just sucks up a portion of your life. They’re really neat!
E: There are a couple of other small objects, but they aren’t anything particularly interesting. The REALLY cool stuff... the 9th, 8th, 7th, 6th, and 5th level spellbooks get thrown in the credenza, gets turned into a fly, credenza flies off. They then send the credenza to go kill the thieves, they give it two tokens, they don’t know what they do, they say, go use them! Credenza flies off and he throws the first token at them.
E: And it’s cool, it’s a token of flame. It’s designed to be thrown at people, BOOSH, lights a character on fire. Now the second token, I’m blanking, ah, that’s right, you didn’t get to launch. It’s somewhere out there, somewhere under, well, we’ll get to that.
E: So, Andy has all of Wilhelm’s Great Project tokens. Wilhelm’s Great Project is to build a wonderful little resort town, but he decided that he really wanted to build the wonderful little resort town in less than 24 hours. So the idea is to just go someplace and have the little resort just appear. So, he’s been buying really nice resort facilities for a LONG time. He’s got a fine wine cellar, he’s got bakeries, well, we’ll get to that in a moment. He’s got a whole resort town. So, Andy grabs a random token, he has no idea what it does, out of the little box of Wilhelm’s tokens. He picks one, throws it at the credenza-­‐fly, in the hopes that it will activate and turn into something really cool. Well.... It was a really nice dessert bakery. Which I just want to point out can reach an altitude of about 120 feet when thrown that way, well, it comes into being, and the fly is dead. It just had a bakery fall on it. So, what happens now is that the fly dies, and therefore turns back into a nonmagical credenza. And then, stuff flies everywhere.
E: So, the thieves run over amidst the pies.
Andy: Ummm, pies.
E: Yes, so the thieves are eating some of the pies and sorting through the stuff in the credenza. Now, each one of these spellbooks is about a person’s worth of stuff. Each book is about 450 coinweights. So they basically grab all the small stuff, and a spellbook each, and they go running away.
E: Now at this point they actually have Phantasm’s tokens, so now have a way to go the exact way that they came in [gestures at map], well they actually have two tokens, and they’re not sure which one is the one that works.
E: Now, at this point, the Park Staff has guard dogs and at a certain point there’s this weird interaction. The norkers/noblink can smell the dogs. The dogs can smell the noblink. So there’s this whole dysfunctional dance. Stop-­‐start-­‐stop-­‐start. Both parties are convinced that the other party is listening to them. They must be spying! Eventually, the Staff has a Potion of Rainbow Hues which you normally can drink once and for awhile you can camouflage yourself. But it can be split into, yes, one of the weird spasms of game mechanics, sevenths. Of course, there are eight of them, but hey, that’s okay. But they split it up and start spreading it out and sending people up along the ridgeline to spy on the humanoids knowing that they can’t be seen. And they leave the dogs with one of their guys, just standing there. So at this point, the humanoids observe that the Staff seems to have stopped, and the Staff of course is spying on the humanoids. And at one point along here, the fly comes zooming by, sees you guys [the humanoids] and flies back. No idea what is going on

with that. At this point, both parties at roughly the same time begin to see “the monkey incident.” Basically, it’s just waves of purple coming out there, crawling up the cliff. I described it as kind of an insect plague of purple.
E: So, at this point there’s decision by the Park Staff to try and flank. But at this point they’ve also noticed the people on top of the cliff as well. They’ve spotted the giant white toad, the person in the brightly colored outfit, and the two people in the dark colored outfits. So, they decide they’re basically going to get out of there, they see on the one side what appears to be a virtual army of grey guys coming out of the rocks towards them. In the end there’s only 18 of them, but they’re good at looking like more of them than they really are. So, they move along and at this point there is a rendezvous between the Park Staff and the Bag Staff (the people who were inside the pocket plane, Wilhelm’s friends). And they talk to each other.
E: They decide to go head to the place where the building was, to go check on the whole credenza issue, where they find a few of these big old spellbooks, which they pick up, and where they have a discussion, because it’s getting late in the day. What are we going to do? The Park Staff decides to basically make bee-­‐line, tracking the thieves to see where they went, to try to catch them. The other folks, with a guide, a local woodsman, head back. So they had back this way [gestures north on map] retracing their path, to the guy they left with the dogs about an hour or so ago, and start heading back this way [east].
E: Now these guys [The Park Staff] head down from the spot where the bakery is now “located” head down [south] to this spot where there is now a boulder. On top of the spot where they [the Thieves] had been previously walking. And then, over there, their tracks just go straight through the wall. Of course, this was because the Thieves had two tokens. One cheap (low magic), one expensive (high magic). They decide to try the cheap one first (boomph—boulder up against the wall). Oops, must be the other one. So, then they walk a few steps to the side, try the other one and woop, walk through the wall and out into the wilderness. So, the Thieves walk away, there is a little discussion as to whether they should kill each other at this point, but in the end they decide they have too much cool treasure, rather than to kill someone and leave their treasure behind. So, in the end, the only honor amongst thieves is how valuable you are as a treasure carrier.
E: So, they vanish. Now, they had a couple of victory goals, they were basically: Get rich. Goal number 1. And Goal number 2, basically, this sounds weird, not kill any Park Staff. Because that would have been a federal crime, and they would have had Shocktroopers hunting for them for months. So, fundamentally, they wanted to avoid having any altercations with the Park Staff, if they’re around, get away. Because, hey, it would have been really inconvenient to have had to spend months in some underground safehouse waiting for the Shocktroops to go away. So they leave, having done very well, and we’ll circle back to that in a moment.
E: So, part way back is the Bag Group, when they’re partway back, when the Park Staff has examined the wall where the Thieves left from, and they realize, hey, what if the pocket plane folks aren’t who they say they are, so they take the most direct route and head them off, so they’re there waiting when the Bag Group gets there. Cause they move 12” and they can go straight and the other group moves 9” and they have to this long loopy route.
E: While all this is happening, arriving at the top of the cliff, are the noblink, bugbears and xvart, and sitting here is all of the high quality gold and silver plated stuff that was in the credenza. Woo-­‐hoo! Thousands of gold pieces—which they start loading in their bags and they grab a few more things. Then they notice at the bottom of the cliff—look, there’s more stuff! And, a catapult!
Jack: And the monkeys went away by then.
E: Sorry, yes, the monkeys, when there’s no one left around them for more than a few minutes, and this is seen in the distance by the Park Staff and the noblink, that the monkeys all climb back into the barrel and close it behind them. To which, they actually climb down, and they throw a heavy-­‐weighted net over the barrel, and the xvart has a padlock, and he padlocks it closed. And then they look at this big catapult on wheels and they have an idea. It’s effectively a cart—that’s treasure! So they start loading stuff on it. All this good stuff. Huge magical mirrors, magical rugs, a mirror that shows you in fact anything tasteless that you are wearing, which becomes a great source of amusement among the noblink. Because of course, EVERYTHING they wear is tasteless! Small, brown, ugly, loincloths! The bugbears wear this ugly, dented armor. Among bugbears it’s considered ugly to wear armor that isn’t beat up, so you dent it up good when you get it. So in fact everything, other than a couple of the outfits of Darren the Xvart Wizard are considered tasteless.
E: They get the all-­‐powerful rug, Swept Away, which once placed in their lair, attracts all loose dirt, dust, and grime in their lair, making it the cleanest noblink lair that anyone has ever seen. They also gather a number of bizarre, bizarre, items, some of which are disturbingly useful to them. They take the Barrel and have been contemplating their ability to hurl it.
E: Now, the Catapult turns out to be a bit of a problem. But we’ll get to that later. So, they load up the catapult and lead it all the way back up [north] where they came from.
E: Now, what I’d like to take note of is a few items that are recovered from the area. We’re going to end with the noblink, but I’d like to take note of a few things that are pulled out.
E: Phelps [Alan], Phelps has one advantage over everyone else here. He was filthy, filthy rich to start with. Cause he’s ancient, his health plan is longevity potions, he’s older than 72, he’s in fact really, really, really, really old. And with his investments
and things, he’s going to go off and buy a private island. And since he’s carrying roughly 600,000 gold pieces worth of spellbooks, perhaps more if properly sold, considering the rarity of some of the 9th level spellbooks he’s carrying under his arm, so he will vanish just an insanely, insanely materially rich guy. And you know, he never used the charge on his belt of invulnerability, so the next thing that tries to kill him he won’t even be harmed by. And considering the two detection rings he has, he’ll probably know it’s coming anyway. But, on his private island, with whatever staff he decides to hire, life will probably be fine.
E: Now, I should say, at one point, there was a very large stack of gold bricks. But the Anarchist cleric at one point, Divined the area to find out more information about you all early on. With the 20,000 of so in gold bricks. Which, of course, is gratuitous experience points, just basically to send money to your diety... And, well, again, this character just quite well settled for by Wilhelm in terms of money and donations waiting. Unfortunately, it seems that other members of the Anarchist church have spent those donations on something, we don’t really remember, but it’s okay, she’s decent level, and she’s got the most extravagant set of equipment anyone could possibly ask for as a 7th level Anarchist cleric. Especially since none of it detects as magic and it all looks like normal stuff you could wear anywhere. Now admittedly, the tiara and the two little wands, they’re a little over the top, but there ARE places you could go and wear these.
E: The bodyguard, well, he actually does the worst, although he looks like he would do the best. Well, he dropped 2 gold bricks in his backpack, and well, he leaves with them. It’s okay. He could’ve gotten paid better.
Alan: He will. [some comments off to the side]
E: Oh, that’s right, I take it back. He does much, much better than that. He comes up with Hiccup, which is a wrongful, wrongful, wrongful, two-­‐handed sword. It is a +5 weapon, that every one in five times you try to swing it, you spend the swinging time hiccupping. It causes normal hiccupping whenever held, but occasionally when you want to swing you just hiccup instead. It’s wrongful, but I don’t know what you do with it, other than, well, it’s pretty cool. Just one of the many weird things that was collected by Wilhelm.
E: Now, am I missing anything else that was pocketed by the Bag Staff? I believe that’s it.
Sean: What happened to the toad?
E: Now, the toad, well, I’m not sure it really matters. He’s the smartest one here, he can still control space and time, and I think his real problem is: where is he going to get his clams linguine served to him, because Wilhelm can’t get it for him. Well, many histories are left unsolved, but I imagine he someday finds someone “worth talking to.”
Alan: May I suggest the Universitas?
E: Well, I’ll say, that Boofus the Toad was mostly just fun. He doesn’t have much in the way of victory conditions. He was just given to someone who wanted something as different as possible. And as challenging as possible. Because, in the end, who knows what he wants? He’s smarter than me. So, that’s the Bag Staff.
E: Now, the Park Staff comes back, asks some questions, and in the end, is able to actually go out and “clean up the site” and there’s still another good 40,000 gold pieces of furniture, gold, things like that just laying around the area. Eventually, in day trips they clean it up, they do fine, the museum gets built.
Kathryn: Interrogating Phantasm?
E: Interrogating The Phantasm they learn much of what happened. Who is actually to blame, and there are some judicial actions taken against the local thieves, who somehow, some key people are laying low at that time, and they miss it. You know, it thins the ranks a bit and helps them advance a touch.
E: Um, the Park Staff, no one dies, which is pretty darn important. And the undead are not really disturbed. Let’s put it this way, if you cut a little deeper in there [the deck of undead] you get the 4 unresting spirits, cut a little deeper and you start to get things like Wraith Commander, 3 Wraiths, 6 Wights, 20 Greater Skeletons. The deeper we got in this deck, the more the Park Staff gets penalized because the deeper we got in the deck the more angry the undead get, the more riled up they stay longer. So, they do pretty well, but they do get a little bit of a penalty for the actions of the Bag Staff, who decided that rather than trying to tell the undead it was “okay” they just decided it would be fun to “blow ‘em up—blow ‘em up!” You all would have done about twice as well on your undead victory criteria if it hadn’t been for Elaine [points to Jack]. “Blow it up again!”
Kathryn: We were kind of hoping that the guide would do the little sign [to the undead]
Jack: He did once.
E: He did once, but then they eventually just decided they wanted to blow ‘em up.
E: The Thieves. I’m going to start with Kyle. Kyle, what did you end up carrying away?
Kyle: I got a spellbook, I got some of the little stuff from the credenza.
E: You got one of the puzzly boxes. And... he has the Soapstone Skunk. A figurine of wondrous power, under his command when he activates it, that can turn into a
normal skunk or a giant skunk. Detectable from at least 500’ when it’s activated, it’s either a useful smell distraction, or a great way to blind opponents. Which a giant skunk can hit a lot of opponents.
K: Combined with the perfume of scentlessness...
E: Which he has. Clearly some fun for the person who ended up with it. K: I was carrying the stuff, the rest of the stuff from The Phantasm.
E: Ah, so you have Phantasm’s armor class 4 bracers, +2 non-­‐glowing daggers, Phantasm’s bone dagger, a small evil, golem that tries to poison people. It flies and stabs people. And you have her, unfortunately, only +1 short sword. So, you have Phantasm’s stuff.
E: Now, Andy, your character ended up with the short sword, right? And one of the spellbooks, and the tokens. Well, what I’d like Andy to do, by pulling out of his pocket, Wilhelm’s Great Estate. And then we’re going to circle to the noblink. Oh, no, I forgot, we’re going to do you last after the noblink. Actually, Andy, you should start reading them off.
Andy: Stable, 30’ x 50’, with hay and horses. 3 small huts, 15’ diameter each, 10’ high. 3 bedroom farmhouse, nice. 20 x 40 below-­‐ground swimming pool. A stone-­‐ carved amphitheatre, above-­‐ground...
E: Some of these could have been bad. If he had thrown the amphitheatre, that would have killed all the Thieves, just so you know...
A: Non-­‐denominational temple, 50’ x 50’ x 15’. Blacksmith’s lodge with an active furnace. 3 story stone tower, with arrow slits on all four sides and locked, heavy, oak door. Ferris wheel. 60’ x 60’ marketplace with 10’ vendor stalls, two aisles. A tavern 40’ x 60’. A drawbridge. A pier, 100’ long. Glassblowing studio and furnace. A wine cellar, empty. 50’ long stone and mortar wall, 3’ high, 2’ deep, ‘cause everyone needs a wall. And a greenhouse, stocked with potted plants.
E: So you should know that none of those has been activated, and when dragged to a Sage, each one has a value slightly more than the value of the building itself, so someone walks away with, let us just say, a LOT of cash value.
[presumably a small portion of the video is missing here, before Edwin continues below with what Katherine’s thief got, below.]
Video 366: Scene—wrap-­‐up of the whole session! What did the thieves and noblink escape with?
Edwin: Katherine actually left with the best object in the whole game. You had 2 objects—you had the Pickle.
K: I had 3—I had the Pickle, I had a bag, that a shaving kit came out of....
E: Oh, yes, we’ll get to that.
K: I have a bunch of stuff from the small credenza, stuff that came out of there. E: You have a puzzle box.
K: I have a spell book. And I have the Ball.
E: Who has the Floppy Sword? (Points to Andy) He has the Floppy Sword. It’s a sword that looks like it’s made of rubber, unless you swing it, then it becomes stiff and begins laughing. Basically it’s a totally stupid weapon. It’s not so great when normally swung. It fumbles a lot of time, but it never hurts you. It might get dropped and accidentally flip and do a lot of damage to someone near you. It will split and form jagged edges and injure people in the area. But then it will be back to its normal floppy self the next time you swing it. All the while laughing histerically. It basically has its own laugh track that increases in amplitude each time you swing and miss. It’s bright blue with a little bit of white trim. And that’s it for what you have (Andy), right?
Andy: Yeah, I think I may also have a spell book.
E: Yes, you have a spell book. And a puzzle box. There were 3 puzzle boxes and you each grabbed one of them.
E: And you have (Katherine), I just want to cycle back. You have a puzzle box. Cool item. Valuable. You have the Pickle Spear. It’s a great item for a thief to have, or a fighter/thief. Basically, you can get up close behind someone, and make like your going to stab them with the pickle, and then, it turns into a spear. For just an instant. A fairly viscious magic spear. You’ve got one of the good spell books, worth lots of good cash. Oh, and she’s got the Jester’s Bag which is essentially a Robe of Useful Items on crack. Instead of a Robe of Useful Items in which you can kind of tell what’s in all the pockets if you wear it for a few days, it’s full of completely useful items that you can only draw out once and they’re gone, but you have no idea what you’re going to pull out. Full of useful things you might need some day, perfect for a thief, you just carry it around as a sack and just hope when you need it you pull out something useful. I’m sure it will come to some use and some point. Chris gets kudos for having generated 100 items for that bag, even if only the shaving kit was claimed thus far.
Chris: Mostly not very interesting things.
E: Yeah, generally useful, but not really that exciting in the grand scheme of things right now. I should note that the Bag of Cheap Tricks [the survivors of the Bag of Holding had that] had about 50 animals waiting. And the last thing.... Is the Super Ball. And the Super Ball eventually results in the end of Yuri’s life of crime. Because the Super Ball is a disturbing, disturbing thing. It creates in its user an urge.... To become a superhero! And disturbingly, grants a lot of very screwed-­‐up powers. Yuri eventually.... Starts to fly. Yuri eventually becomes immune... to non-­‐magical weapons. And Yuri eventually gains a 19 strength. And a double movement rate. Yuri does become strong as a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Yuri does eventually come up with a totally different career, because he is actually the nicest of the 3 thieves in some dimly twisted sense. No, that’s not true, that’s probably not true at all.
K: But I am the least likely to kill you though.
E: Yes. That’s probably true. So in terms of the most powerful item, there’s no doubt that was the most powerful item carried out.
K: Does it change your alignment?
E: Yes. You eventually become lawful good. K:CanI ....?
E: Yeah, probably so. He travels deep in the Realm, as a hero to the common people, saving them... from Problems. And probably eventually runs afoul of some of his previous colleagues. Which leads you to, the noblink. The noblink have carried out, yes, the Rug, and an enormous amount of treasure. Most importantly, actually, Alan, if I could see your character sheet, I’m going to use it as a cheat sheet.
Alan: Ummm-­‐hmmmm.
[before discussing the noblink’s loot, let’s revisit the video that describes a little bit of the noblink escaping with their loot through the caves]
Video 364: Scene—noblink escaping at dusk through the caves, encountering undead.
Edwin: Zombies. You can try and turn them if you want. (Brief discussion) Keith: Befriend them.
E: Ah, you’re going to attempt to befriend them. “Come to me!” That’s a much harder roll, hold on a moment I’m going to look up how easy or hard that roll is. d20! All my best friends are skeletons!
K: Do I want high or low numbers?
E: Oh, you definitely want high numbers.
K: (Rolls)
Rodger: 16.
E: That’s a really good roll. So now you roll d6. Or actually let me check, I’m not sure, it could be d12. Let me check really quickly.
Kyle: One of the few uses of the d12!
Video 367: Scene: What do the noblink leave with? (Continued!)
Edwin: What do they leave with? They leave with... the Majestic Hat! Which I’m sure is eventually fought over due to the fact that it... makes you majestic-­‐looking! It in fact increases your Command Level, makes you feel like a high-­‐level person to troops following you. That’s all it does. It just makes you look cool. And the fact that it has a huge feather sticking out of it, it looks like a pimp hat, but that’s a whole other problem.
E: They also got, a Bunch of Stuff. No, no, I mean literally. It’s a huge, huge, bunch of bananas. If you pick a banana and immediately peel it, it becomes something useful for your day-­‐to-­‐day life. It creates any non-­‐combat item. Say you broke your china glass that goes with the other three.... You peel it back, and you have a matching one! You discover that you just really need an extra pillow, you peel it back and it pops out!
E: They also have an item, that I must admit, is thrown in the ocean as Cursed. Why? Because they can’t use it, and it’s clearly messed up! They have... No Picnic, the giant picnic basket. Which, unfortunately, attracts Giant Ants. It attracts thunderstorms, which cause lightning strikes on you. It generates yummy food, but, if they had only kept it for the required year(!), it becomes... a backup YOU. If you die, an extra you crawls out. But you are stuck with the fact that it rains on you all the time, lightning strikes you all the time, and you are followed around by Giant Ants if there any in the area. So, it just turns out to be a really bad thing, and gets thrown in the ocean.
Sean Guarino: So he [the Wizard] had it less than a year?
E: Wilhelm wasn’t willing to carry it. You have to carry it with you. Sean: Oh.
E: It can’t leave your person. And in the Bag of Holding doesn’t count.
E: They also have a bow, which they probably don’t throw away right away, but doesn’t seem to work... called, You’re Fired. They probably never discover that if you try to throw it really hard without ammunition, it throws YOU! Roughly that distance. It leaves the bow behind, but throws you.
E: The eventually end up with... the magic sword you all found is the... Long Sword of Invisibility. It always glows, but you can vanish.
E: They leave with... the Harp C Chord. Which the Bugbear Shaman, already knowing how to drum, eventually learns how to play. Which allows them to summon and control small numbers of harpies, one of the many truly horrific things in the local area.
E: They acquire, the Vanishing Point Dagger. Which allows you to, it’s eventually figured out by Darren, if you’re a wizard, vanish. An invisibility-­‐type item, doesn’t work very often. Wizards only.
E: They get the Potion Commotion Moonshine Jug, which ends up being great fun. Basically, you drink it, and it basically gives you a beneficial potion. Which works once a day. So, they end up having lots of fun with that, except for fighting over it.
E: They also end up with A Little Birdy Told Me So. A small mechanical bird, which tells them things. Wilhelm didn’t keep it because the bird is fundamentally not that nice. Which probably doesn’t matter, because of who now has it. It says things like, “You know, I heard, that the people over at the little farming village aren’t very nice. You should go kill ‘em.” It basically whispers little evil things. The bird does eventually end up resulting in the deaths of a few members of the tribe, because, well, it’s actually pretty good at it. “They’re looking at you funny. I bet they’re out to get you.” And it is worth noting that if the tribe dies of the things it has, it is probably at the hands of the Bird. “Go ahead. There are only three of you left, how long do you think he’s going to let you live?”
E: The Barrel [of Monkeys] is definitely the most useful thing they have, because in fact the monkeys—they can’t be used very often, but they will come out, they will kill things, and they don’t take any treasure, they just crawl back in the barrel. In fact, the noblink kill an entire tribe of gnolls by leaving the Barrel open.
E: But it is in fact the most disturbing item they end up with—almost results in their deaths—but in the end winds up being the ultimate weapon of evil destruction— The Catapult of Capitulation. The Catapult cannot fire any missiles—it won’t fire them. It only fires... when empty! When fired (empty), everyone within 500 feet, all of their weapons turn into—white flags! AND they become temporarily invulnerable. For a group of noblink that are almost as good at biting people as hitting them with clubs (and a group of bugbears that stay well, well, back from the combat), this turns out to be a wrongful, wrongful, piece of apparatus. It can only work once a year, but needless to say they put it to good use!
E: So, in the end, they leave with that, along with lots and lots of treasure. Extravagant furniture, six, yes count them six, Comfy Chairs. Comfy Quilts, and other super-­‐valuable combat items which mainly result in squabbling over them, because they’re nice!
Rodger: I don’t see where the squabbling comes from. Voice: Because you got one of them!
R: As I said,.
E: I think it’s because there are only 5 people that are powerful... and there are SIX Comfy Chairs! So... what I think we can say is that because of the vast amount of stuff here that it was possible for a lot of people to end up with reasonable Victory Conditions. I think in the end (points at Alan behind the camera) you can get that thing that you and Rhonda said you had?
A: Uh-­‐huh.
E: For Sean, as the only person skilled (package flies to Edwin). The ‘The Dice Are
Killing Me’ T-­‐shirt. (Laughter. Shirt tossed to Sean Guarino. Clapping.) A: Yeah!
E: And, I think, for getting killed by.... A dessert bakery!
Voices: He got his ‘just desserts’! (Oooooh.)
E: So, people, stack up the characters and let’s go eat some seafood!

October 11, 2008

The 10th Telvar Open: Pocketing the Difference

The Tenth Telvar Open Tournament: Pocketing the Difference
“The random and the directly causal are often completely indistinguishable. I would argue that there is no difference—given that the world is far too complicated for us to really understand the consequences of our own actions.”
--The Anarchist Cleric known as “Bob”
Events of 11 October 2008 in Charlotte, N.C. / 26 December 2196 B.Y. in the ruins of a First Age slave city near the Realmish city of Hortun.
[the same day as the BLADES battle in the sewers of Botsweil, aftermath of a low-level adventuring party releasing two warring gods]
[NOTE: Some of the diverse summaries of these events contain contradictory information, and skewed perspectives based on the experiences of the characters involved. Some of these have been noted specifically, but otherwise the unique perspectives of each group have been maintained. The truth
of each situation probably lies somewhere in the middle.]
Dungeon Master: Edwin B. Anderson, Jr.
Assistant: Chris Allen
With Support from: Katherine Anderson Hosted by: Rhonda & Alan Jones
Near the Realmish city of Hortun lies an ancient ruin, abandoned since the First Age of Telvar. That ruin was the birth place of the Anarchist religion, where the first clerics began their work, establishing the first such temple after a slave uprising against the Codex Tyrants.
After the uprising was brutally suppressed, the site was left undisturbed for a long time, because the Restless Undead therein were deadly. Later, the Realmish government negotiated with the Undead to establish exterior walls and prevent intrusions. This fragile truce with the Undead has held for millennia...
Recently, the current government of the Near Realm has allowed the Auroran Church to establish, outside the walls, a memorial and observing post that will allow pilgrims to come and observe the site of the Revolt against the Tyrants. Though unfinished at this time, the memorial is due to be completed fairly soon...

Summary: Double, Double, Toil, and Trouble.
Dramatis personae:
Moogle, bugbear shaman lvl 7 (Keith Nelson)
Flurph, bugbear fighter lvl 7 (Rodger Henson)
Magistrar Darren, xvart fighter/mage lvl 5/5 (Andrew Anderson) Soopy, noblink warrior (William Paus)
Nurf, noblink warrior (Joshua Paus)
Teams A, B, and C of noblink tribesmen (Sean Paus)
The noblink tribesmen were joined about three weeks ago by the two bugbears and the xvart, survivors of a catastrophic attempt to make a lot of money selling crabmeat (don’t ask – “let us never speak of it again”). The bugbears and noblink established an agreement to work together getting treasure – the bugbears to provide the muscle, and the noblink to provide the mundane labor.
The shaman, while getting to know her new home through divination, found that a large amount of treasure was expected to appear in an area to the south of the tribal village, contained within a human monument to an ancient battle. The area was said to be rife with undead, and someplace that we were familiar with but did not go without good reason. The noblink had identified an underground passage that would bypass the 30’ tall, electrically charged containment fence that threw back anyone who touched it.
We equipped ourselves with some mining equipment to allow for excavation or retrieval if needed, and set off with the teams in the predawn light. We passed an enormous ruinous fortification shortly after clearing the tunnel, and followed a riverbank into the battleground. At 9:30 we were able to see, in the distance, a very tall tower. At that moment, an enormous explosion consumed the top of the tower, throwing debris outward and generally toward us. There appeared to be much more stone and debris within the explosion than could possibly have been contained in the tower. Also within the debris cloud were objects of different colors, suggesting rugs or tapestries.
We continued our trek toward the ruined tower, scaling a ridge to approach from the high ground. Another hour into our trek, we noticed (by scenting them) dogs – not gnolls, but clean, well-groomed dogs – following us. They did not gain on us. We stopped and directed teams B&C to double back in a pincer movement as an ambush, but the dogs did not approach any closer. After a short time we resumed our march, and judging from the sounds and smells, the following dogs and others did not pursue.
Some time later, as we rounded the end of a forested region on our right, we could again see the tower. Beneath the ruined tower, and at the base of the cliff below, we spotted a lake. Now, our eagle-eyed xvart could see purple beings climbing up and down the cliffs below the tower and roaming along the beach. There appeared to be a large white toad and some humanoids at the top of the cliffs. Combat was apparently occurring – at one point a gazebo appeared in midair, falling down the cliff and clearing out purple
creatures. It was followed by a park bench, and then various animals – a giraffe, an ox, and a spotted cat, among others. Each of the animals was attacked by the purple beings, now visible as purple, yellow-faced monkeys. Occasionally a monkey would stray too close to the water’s edge and be consumed by a large shark patrolling the waters.
While we were making these observations and approaching our target, a large fly flew a circuitous reconnaissance path near us, and then returned to the region of the tower. As we continued to watch, the group of beings at the top of the cliff (an armored figure, a figure in black, a figure in a bright dress, and the toad) disappeared around one edge of the tower. The combat below, on the cliff and the beach, gradually wound down. The purple monkeys began disappearing, one at a time, into a large barrel. The last monkey in pulled the barrel closed and the melee ceased.
When we arrived at the top of the cliff, at the base of the tower, we found treasure everywhere. Off in the distance, to the south, we also saw a building materialize in midair, and then collapse to the ground, about half a mile away.
It was clear that someone had been picking through the treasure, and had even gathered some of the valuables into a pile. We found plates and silverware made of gold, platinum, and silver. We then climbed down the cliff, secured the barrel full of monkeys with a padlock, and then examined the shore. There was a large catapult, on wheels, that we realized we could bring back to the noblink tribe via the tunnel. (We even considered that the catapult could launch the barrel to open in midair if needed!) We then cast Detect Magic and began harvesting all of the magic items that would fit onto the catapult as a cart. We found a magic sword, a mirror, a group of undamaged bananas, a large carpet, and other items. All of the good stuff was piled onto the catapult, and we began our hasty retreat – I mean, executed a strategic retrograde movement – and returned to camp with the haul. There were some scuffles on the return trip with a few of the undead in the region as it grew very near to dark, but we survived without losses and made it back home. That area is clearly not a place to be after dark. We became the richest tribe for hundreds of miles around and lived happily ever after, or until the next Open, whichever comes first...
Here was some of our loot:
Catapult of Capitulation – won’t fire anything, but when fired, everyone around loses all
of their weapons (which turn into white flags) but becomes Invulnerable for some time. The Majestic Hat Aka Hat of Awesomeness – makes the wearer feel like they look great.
Mirror of Tastelessness – when the viewer looks in the mirror, any tasteless clothing is identified as such.
A Little Bird Told Me – foments gossip and ill rumors – eventually discarded.
No Picnic (rain, ants, food) – a picnic basket that, if used every day for a year, will allow a complete clone to be created if needed. Apparently we didn’t actually figure it out. While using the basket, though, it rains constantly in the area and big ants come to check things out. Got thrown in the ocean.
Bananas –“Bunch of Stuff”—produces useful items when peeled
Barrel of Monkeys—very hard to control, purple, rubbery-looking, very hard to stop,
infinite number of almost unkillable
Long Sword of Invisibility
Harp C Chord: Allows you to summon and control small numbers of harpies Vanishing Point Dagger: Invisibility device for wizards
Potion Commotion Moonshine Jug: Once per day beneficial potion
Respectfully submitted, Moogle [Keith]
Summary: Does This Fall Under “Other Duties As Assigned”?
The Park Staff
Levka Singer, Woodsman Level 6, played by Kathryn Snead (leader) Esau Velnik, Woodsman Level 3, played by Ryan Jones?
Jacques Dubois, 5th Level Auroran Cleric, played by Ashley Merritt? Kelly Harrowan, Mage 2nd//Druid 4th, played by Rhonda Jones?
And about 15 other park staff.
We were a small party, consisting of myself (Levka Singer, Nevronian Cleric), Rhonda and Ryan Jones, and (??) Ashley Merritt, who played the Auroran Cleric. Either Rhonda or Ryan played the Mage/Druid (Kelly Harawan - I ended up with the character sheet). There’s also a Ranger..... My notes only indicate a druid - but perhaps the character was a mage as well. [If anyone can advise as to who played what—I will correct this!—Kyle]
Here's what I've got on our party. I wasn't keeping the party notes (I think Ashley was), so I don't have anything besides memory and the party map.
We were the staff of a Realmish national monument where a museum was under construction. We are all in the office when one of the construction workers up in the observation tower that was under construction spots some sort of explosion in the park.

We quickly assemble a team to go check it out. We take half of the guards assigned to the monument construction protection detail, half of them melee fighters, and the other half bowyers; however, we make the guards swap armor such that the ones left behind are equipped with heavier armor, and the ones coming with the team have lighter armor. We also take both dogs assigned to the protection detail.
We head into the monument on a west-northwesterly path, designed to skirt the northern edge of the un-named ridge between us and the explosion site. We depart before 10 AM, and engage in many minor encounters along the way. We deal with feral creatures relatively easily, and we use the secret set of gestures to ward against the minor undead we encounter.
Shortly after 11 AM, our scouting abilities (aided by our dogs) lead us to believe there is a large party of unknown origin almost directly ahead of us. Rather than continue on our pre-designed path and intersect the other party, we camouflage ourselves with the help of a potion to blend in with the surrounding landscape. We head south to scale the unnamed ridge in order to better survey the surrounding landscape and spot the other party, but we don't see anything out of the ordinary as we gaze to the west, generally in the direction of the explosion.
We descend the southern end of the ridge and continue almost due west towards the explosion and the Central Overseer's Ruin. About half-way between the ridge and the site of the explosion, we encounter a much older gentleman in formal clothing, and he leads us to a small party of what claim to be the high-class servants of an aged and powerful mage. They claim that they are uncertain as to how they arrived in the monument, or where the monument is. We inform them of the dangers of the monument, especially after dark, and offer to escort them safely back to the office, an offer they accept readily. We send them back in the direction from which we came with some number of our guards and a dog.
We continue in the direction of the explosion and Central Overseer's Ruin, and we encounter tracks heading southeast towards the edge of the monument. As we were tasked with determining who had set off the explosion within the monument (a federal crime), we decided to track what may have been the perpetrators on their path away from the crime scene, a trail which appears to be fresh, especially given that we have an edge for moving quickly through the monument environs. We follow them to the border fence, and note grimly that they successfully breached the border fence to escape the monument only a few minutes before we arrived.
Now that it is nearing mid-afternoon, we must depart the monument immediately to avoid being trapped after dark. We head directly northeast to the main office, and arrive safely with less than an hour to spare. We learn that the servants also arrived safely sometime mid-afternoon, and they were waiting for us when we arrive. They would like to make a claim for the mage's affects, which they indicate are scattered around the explosion site, given that they believe the mage to be dead. We inform them that they must wait for a
specified period of time to make sure that no other claimants arrive with a better claim for the affects, and they seem happy to wait the required period.
The next morning, we set off again to the explosion site to discover quite a bit of scattered debris, including ruined buildings, apparently dropped from the sky, and the wreckage of the Central Overseer's Ruin. We stage a careful recovery operation over the next month, and make sure all signs of the explosion and foreign goods are removed. We extract the cost of the recovery and restoration operation from the recovered goods, and turn over the remainder to the party of servants after the required waiting period has ended.
We make sure to include a detailed description of the incident, evidence on the crime (including testimony from the servants), recovery and restoration operation, financial restitution to the monument, and servants' claim in our monthly report to the agency overseeing monument operations. Our supervisors are pleased to note that we dealt with the situation without compromising the monument construction finances or schedule.
Levka Singer (Kathryn)
Summary: So There Was This Poker Game, You See....
Phelps, 0-level butler, 72 years old, 5 hp, AC10, played by Alan Jones
Vest of free action, shoes of spider climbing, ring of prot evil, belt of invulnerability, actually 141, Wilhelm is at least 100 years older, etc.
Really rich (264000, retire to private island)
Boofus, ice toad, played by Joey Hess,
Obtaining a really good plate of clam linguine
Goofus, credenza-fly, very survivable, played by Sean Guarino
Extraplanar creature, no real goals
Elaine Creathus, 7th level Anarchist cleric, played by Jack McKechnie
Gorgeous purse, parasol/shield, hammer of idiot slaying (sparkling wand +2, +3 vs stupid things, +4//dd INT OR WIS <10, +5//dd INT AND WIS <10), wand of sparks, multi- colored party dress armor, necklace of spiritual stength, jewelry
Kroof, 8th level fighter half-orc, bodyguard, played by David Jones?
Basically, we’re all friends of Wilhelm’s and we live in this pocket plane which was once used to help raise baby Kraken. We’re all having so much fun, that none of us really felt like writing down what happened...J

Summary: A Woman, A Plan, A Scatterblock, Wilhelm!
Dramatis personae:
Phantasm, magic-user 5th//thief 13th (NPC)
Stoofer, thief 4th//cleric of Hindus 5th (Andy Moorhead) Yuri, fighter 4th/thief 6th (Katherine Anderson)
Tellitz, human illusionist 2nd//thief 9th (Kyle MacLea)
Phantasm, the second in command of the local thieves’ guild, (name also spelled Fantasm) has come up with a plan for some easy treasure, and has recruited three members of her guild to help with the clean-up of the treasure. She doesn’t tell the three very much, but this is the gist of what they know:
A historic site along the shores of a local lake is some place where a slave revolt took place in the First Age. It’s surrounded by a magical security fence, and there is no way you can climb over the fence due to magical charms and wards. Because the area is basically an automatic kill zone during the night because of Undead, the work will have to be done between dawn and dusk—in and out quickly. Phantasm has two small, yellowish tokens that allow the group of thieves to safely Passwall through the security fence. Basically, the role of the three thieves will be to stand around as she executes a Plan, and pick up the treasure. Sounds easy enough. We were counseled to have spells on hand to rapidly detect magical/useful from mundane treasure, which the spellcasting thieves do to prepare for the Plan.
On the morning of the 26th, the group is in place at the southern security fence and successfully Passes through the wall by use of the token. As dawn breaks, the group makes its way over broken terrain, wondering why we’re going to this old slave revolt site anyway. I mean, slaves don’t have treasure. And they’ve been dead for millennia!
Eventually, the group reaches a large stone tower in the center of the area, and Phantasm explains her Plan further.
The walls of the tower are made of Scatterblock. Anyone attempting to teleport through Scatterblock will die instantaneously. Furthermore, if they were carrying any treasure, it would be nicely dropped on the ground where it could be picked up. Hence, the role of the three thieves. [Reference to scatterblock in this c. 1996 Stone Soules adventure: http://blog.telvar.net/1996/04/stone_soules_summary_xxi_tanel.html]
The plot thickened. Surely everyone would know to avoid this area and not teleport through it?
Yes... except when they are made to teleport through the area through the use of a Dimensional Anchor (a.k.a. “Teleport Beacon”) which will draw anyone teleporting within a given area to that place.

Well, then who is the target? It is....
Wilhelm the Great! Wilhelm is an eccentric Archmage [see the end of the Summary for some stories of Wilhelm’s eccentricity] known for the strange habit of carrying all of his possessions around with him in a large Bag of Holding. Phantasm’s research indicates that the Scatterblock should annihilate Wilhelm, but dump his Bag of Holding’s contents within the surrounding area (say, a 50’ radius). How convenient!
Phantasm assures us that there will be a very loud bang which may draw creatures or the monument groundskeeping staff, so it will be important to work quickly and to get out quickly through the south wall of the monument with the other token she is carrying before night falls. Further, because Wilhelm is a powerful realmish citizen, if a bit deranged, his death will be investigated by Shocktroopers, and it is important to get back to a Guild safehouse before we can be caught.
Phantasm has verified that the park staff has no federal troops and no powerful adventurers, just a couple of low-level woodsmen, maintenance men, and a construction crew from the Aurorans building their observation point. “Though killing them would not be hard, we should avoid doing so to avoid further federal interest in what happens here.”
About 9 o’clock in the morning, the thieves arrange themselves around the tower while Phantasm heads into the tower to drop the Teleport Beacon. Phantasm then takes her position so that she can be the first to reach the likely area of Phantasm’s materialization/disintegration.
At 9:19 am, the three thieves are standing on the edge of the tower’s battlements when the Plan goes into motion...
...and the tower explodes.
The thieves observe stonework exploding out of the tower, along with tapestries, carpets, expensive furnishings, people, a large malevolent-looking shark. It’s as if a huge building materialized within the tower and destroyed it instantly.
But the thieves did not have long to observe what happened as they were themselves blown off the tower as it collapsed. Though they landed with minor damage, Phantasm was nowhere to be found...
The thieves picked themselves up and immediately set to work finding Phantasm amid the rubble of the old tower and whatever had just appeared therein. It was clear that the “building” that had appeared in the old tower was now vanishing below the northwest side of the tower, at it fell down into the lake below. Debris and treasure was strewn everywhere.
The thieves were concerned less with finding Phantasm alive (she was kind of a jerk) but in finding Phantasm’s TOKEN. It was, after all, the only way that they knew how to get out of the haunted ruins before dark.
As the thieves searched the rubble, they observed a large, buzzing horsefly doing flyovers, originating in the area where the old tower was. They hid from the fly at first, and later they kept searching for Phantasm with the help of spells of divination.
After searching for some time, one of the thieves found a token amid the rubble. However, the lack of Phantasm suggested to us that it was not the token they were looking for, so they kept searching.
A little while later, they discovered what appeared to be Phantasm. Dead. Under some rocks.
It would take awhile to dig out Phantasm, so the thieves set to work immediately.
Some time later and some more reconnaissance on the part of the horsefly, the party heard a voice.
“Hello? Is anyone out there?”
The party hesitated before one of the thieves said “Hello?” “Hello? Who is it?”

Hmmph. Some of the Thieves summary appears to be missing.

Basically, the Thieves talked to the Bag Staff, trying to convince them that they were the Park Staff, but the Bag Staff was not deceived. Then, they attempted to steal stuff from the Bag Staff (stuff that fallen down closer to the lake, not at the top of the cliff) and then make a quick escape. While doing so, they were observed by the Bag Staff, and the Bag Staff threw various things at us from atop the cliff. Including various animals from a deck of magical cards.

Meanwhile, various things were loaded in the credenza, and the Thieves escaped with a few things, having suddenly been attacked by the Barrel of Monkeys dumped open by the Bag Staff.

The credenza then turned into a fly and pursued us. Stoofer, Andy's thief, threw a Token of Dessert Bakery at the fly, killing it instantly and dumping its valuables, including spellbooks on the ground amidst the remains of the credenza.

The Thieves made a bee-line for the wall out, experimented with a wrong token (Boulder) before the right one (Passwall) and escaped. Then, they made their way to a Guild Safehouse where they laid low for a few months with the stuff they had stolen. Eventually, Yuri left and became a superhero. The others continued their life of crime.


Yuri [Katherine] got:
Spell book
Puzzle box
The Pickle Spear. It’s a great item for a thief to have, or a fighter/thief. Basically, you can get up close behind someone, and make like your going to stab them with the pickle, and then, it turns into a spear. For just an instant. A fairly viscious magic spear.
The Jester’s Bag which is essentially a Robe of Useful Items on crack. Instead of a Robe of Useful Items in which you can kind of tell what’s in all the pockets if you wear it for a few days, it’s full of completely useful items that you can only draw out once and they’re gone, but you have no idea what you’re going to pull out.
The Super Ball (artifact). It creates in its user an urge.... To become a superhero! Yuri eventually.... Starts to fly. Yuri eventually becomes immune... to non-magical weapons. And Yuri eventually gains a 19 strength. And a double movement rate. Yuri
does become strong as a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Neutral Thief [Andy] got:
Bag of tokens... 20 Tokens for a good-size Realmish town!
The Joke’s On You, also called The Floppy Sword – blue floppy sword that becomes rigid (+4?) when swung and makes a laughing sound at the same time. Basically it’s a totally stupid weapon. It’s not so great when normally swung. It fumbles a lot of time, but it never hurts you. It might get dropped and accidentally flip and do a lot of damage to someone near you. It will split and form jagged edges and injure people in the area. But then it will be back to its normal floppy self the next time you swing it. All the while laughing histerically. It basically has its own laugh track that increases in amplitude each time you swing and miss. It’s bright blue with a little bit of white trim.
Spell book Puzzle box
Other Thief [Kyle] got:
Soapstone Skunk Spell book Puzzle box Phantasm’s gear A great story
To walk away with his life?
Missed on the beach:
Killing Time, thumbscrews
Box of household tokens (furniture, ball of flame, towels, etc.)
Nurse shark named Bertha (E-vil, ends up in the pond below the tower) Robe of beans (beans for eating, stinking clouds you are immune too) Helm of will
Lost Chord harmonica
Bag of juju beads (intent of the Spider conspiracy, destroying the minor gods) Minor gods destroyed: god of well-tended campfires, and some others
And Behind the Scenes: Arachnids?
A shadowy, concealed figure provided the necessary materials for the Plan to take place to the thief Phantasm immediately before the events of “Pocketing the Difference.”
Including strange, little tokens made out a weird, yellowish metal.
That other adventuring parties have encountered only in the hands (claws? chelicerae?) of the secretive Phase Spiders...
All this while a fateful battle has played out between the BLADES adventuring group and a duo of Spider conspirators, elsewhere in the Realm, in Botsweil, on the very same day.
Sounds very suspicious....
But then, we already know that the Spiders Win in the End.
Summary assembled by Kyle MacLea
Individual Summaries Written by Keith Nelson, Kathryn Snead,
Postlude: Wilhelm the Practical Joker
Wilhelm (Mage 20th) has made a lot of enemies due to his “jokes.” These include:
• Making it appear that the regional capital of Hortun was on fire when it wasn’t
• Making it rain copper pieces in the poor districts of a town while it rained dead
fish in the wealthy district
• Making the clothese of everyone in Hortun transparent for the middle half hour of
the traditional lunch hour
• Selling the dock district of the regional capital to a stupid water elemental prince
in exchange for a wish—then watching it “play” with the boats for 10 minutes before a contingent trigger spell dragged the prince back to the elemental plane of water
• Giving away talking chickens to everyone in town that begged to be eaten and exploded harmlessly 24 hours later if not cooked
• Etc., etc., etc.
Though a powerful Realmish citizen, Wilhelm had made a lot of enemies. (!)