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Balinor/Morty/Tarplin Summary #6: Beating up on Helpless Civilians

Party Roster:

Balinor, 9th level Northerner fighter, 86 hp, played by Joel
Morty, 7th/6th human fighter/thief (bard), 74 hp, played by Jay
Bodkin, 5th level dwarven fighter, 49 hp, played by Katherine
Robynne, 5th level woodsman, 38 hp, played by Rhonda
Tarplin, 8th/5th elf druid/mage, 30 hp, played by Alan
Morhion, 3rd level Northerner Nevronian cleric, 28 hp, henchman of Balinor
Leo, 4th level human Nevronian cleric, 25 hp, played by David (Jay this time)

[Events of 25 July 2009, in Charlotte; Telvar dates December 2192 – June 2193]

As I think we had a pretty good review in the last summary, I’ll just jump right in here.

The party began by debating whether to continue hammering on the Khargish councilmembers that were likely to vote against peace. We had eliminated the top voter, the warleader of the Khargish nation (no mean feat, to our dismay at the time), and we wanted to nab at least one of the other three members that remained from this wereboar-infested Khargish village. As it turned out, not all of the votes were guaranteed to go against us, and there was actually a hierarchy.

First it had occurred to us that although our precautions would pretty much stop any divinatory magicks short of commune, the Kharg might well be incensed/worried enough to cast such a high level spell in order to determine what had happened to their warleader! A few well-chosen questions would clearly implicate the Duke, if not us directly. As such, we considered options about moving off the isle permanently.

It was at this point Duke Haermond revealed his crucial ace in the hole: the high priest of the Kharg was IN ON THE CONSPIRACY. He was manipulating commune answers to implicate a bandit group, one that the good-two-shoes Hand of Fate, a Nevronian adventuring party in the Duke’s employ, would eagerly seek out and defeat in vengeance. In the camp of said bandits, they would find, miraculously, the extremely distinctive and powerful spear of the Khargish warleader, and any other items that happened to flow out of our hands. This would be accomplished via an agent with a tokenized bag of extra “loot” he would plant in their camp.

As the Duke had not yet tipped off the Hand of Fate, we still had the option of one more raid, either to eliminate one more group, or to try to finish off the entire village. It was at this point that remorse hit many in the party about wiping out the village of innocents along with the wereboars, and we decided that a single hit on another hunting party containing a voting member would be the best we could do, with the least collateral damage.

With this agreed, we completed some pending trades and explored options from last time. As thanks, the Duke made available to us several items for trade that we might not otherwise have gotten. In the end, we did the following series of trades:

After tax we had gotten 10,000 gp in Duke credit (primarily for giving up the crazy but distinctive spear to the cause). We bought straight out a 3 HD fireball missile (900 gp, usable by anyone), a Wand of Lightning Bolts (2500 gp, 9 charges, 6d6 damage, 1/round max), a Wand of Paralyzation (1500 gp, 4 charges, 1/round max), 6 bandages of wound closure (250 gp each), and a potion of healing (1000 gp) to replace recent losses.

Additionally we traded Robynne’s AC 4/10 bracers and the +2 but very distinictive ring we had acquired for the Duke’s AC 3/3 bracers (100 cw). This is temporary sort of downgrade for Robynne, but in the long run a ring+1 or ring+2 will make this a vast improvement for her. Bracers of that level are quite rare.

Additionally, the (also very distinctive) ring of regeneration turned out to be a bit cooler than I had thought last time, as it DOES regenerate lost limbs and such (easier to do for wizardly magic, apparently), but it takes a few years. So the item went from what I thought might be a ~ 10,000 gp item to a 40,000 gp item. As such keeping it for party heals seemed like an inefficient use, so we traded it for a bag of holding 200/2500, and a robe of pockets for Tarplin, plus 10,000 gp additional credit from the Duke. Partially we felt Tarplin was owed some loot, which I must say we paid back in the course of this adventure, and partially we didn’t really want the ring that badly. Furthermore, Tarplin’s flute has all sorts of powers Balinor hadn’t realized, and he actually took the flute proficiency (240 gp) a bit later on in order to gain access to it. This includes a 1 hp/round heal! As long as we play it. So I think this turned out quite well. Furthermore this wasn’t the only treasure we ended up with, as you’ll see…

So we set out into the woods to scout the village, on January 7th, 2193. Tarplin accomplished this quite nicely from the air in his bird form, noting the comings and goings of the villagers and the councilmembers in particular. The members remaining were an old guy (likely vote against us), a middle-aged guy (who knows), and a younger guy (least likely to vote against). We noted that they had changed their patrols, shrinking them to 5-7 guys, all in camo gear, although probably more wereboars as a fraction of the group. This assessment turned out to be correct.

Worse, the councilmembers didn’t go out on every patrol, or even most of them. We waited nearly 2 weeks, in fact, before finally the YOUNGEST and least important member went out on a patrol, and at that point Tarplin realized he was a DRUID. Oops. This made him and us very reluctant to attack, and in the end we decided to wait for one of the other two. Furthermore there were only five guys in that particular group, so it hardly seemed worthwhile.

Luckily, the middle guy came out a mere two days later.

Bodkin and company had come up with a very clever plan this time, to lure them to the spot of our choosing. Morty would start up in the trees and glide down, making a backstab easier. The weather turned out to be truly horrendous this time, which would limit sight ranges, obscure noise, and make call lightning seem completely natural.

But most amusingly Bodkin would use his new boots of mystery to leave false tracks of fat juicy (“stocky”) deer for them to follow. With Robynne advising, Bodkin laid a brilliantly deceptive trail, and the Kharg completely failed to notice our expertly constructed blinds (there were some nice rolls here), and they walked hopelessly unaware into our ambush. Which did NOT go like last time, at all.

On the 17th of February, we attacked. The group of seven was caught pinned between Balinor, Bodkin, and Morty, who were under the effects of a bless spell in addition. The two on the ground had a supporting cleric, and Robynne was launching arrows from the blind (admittedly at something of a penalty). But Tarplin began the combat with a splash, blasting a call lightning down into their midst, hitting all but the front and back Kharg. 47 points of lightning damage forked into them, dropping 2 and badly injuring 3. Leo dropped a hold person on the remaining people, and held the two injured guys in place. Morhion’s hold had no effect on any of the remaining targets, but it looked pretty good for us.

Balinor charged the back guy, while Bodkin charged the front. Robynne shot one, Morty nailed his with a massive backstab, Bodkin solidly wounded the front guy, and Balinor brought down the back guy. One of the Kharg managed to get a shot off and nicked Morty for 7 damage. Robynne then turned and shot Bodkin’s target, while Bodkin moved to start autokilling the others. However, he discovered that one of the targets was turning into a wereboar. He brought it down quickly with spear hits before it could transform.

Morty went around autokilling with Khargkiller, his longsword +3 vs. wereboars, +5 vs. wereboar GATs (God Awful Things). As it turned out, the middle guy who was held in the initial spell volley was a GAT! The leader was actually only a mere wereboar himself.

Gleefully we elminated the rest. Morty was very embarrassed that he had taken damage. We rest eternalled the corpses and moved to our designated stoneshape tomb spot after cleaning the camp of all signs of combat (not hard in the teeming rain).

Tarplin began to stoneshape a pocket in the wall when suddenly he heard some kind of a sigh (or wheeze) emanate from it! He stopped, blanched, and quickly resealed the wall. He glanced around, but nothing seemed to have happened.

Apparently we had found the stoneshape spot for this part of the island. We decided not to mess with whatever hideous trapped evil was in there (research on cutely sighing monsters was debated, but ultimately rejected). Yeah, there might be more adventures there. Instead we wandered around for a bit looking for another cave. We found one.

Tarplin glanced at the wall and decided that this one, too, had already been used for stoneshape. Sighing himself, he decided that another layer couldn’t make it any worse, and he just ignored it and went ahead creating a new pocket.

We headed back home. The take was:

Spear + 1, type II
Large shield + 1
Potion of healing
Potion of heroism
Broadsword “Allergic”
This last was quite a saga. It was a WOODEN practice sword shaped like a broadsword, with the name “allergic” carved on it. Augman identified it:
+2 broadsword, +3 vs. metal-armored or metallic opponents
He noted that the item itself was magic resistant and appeared to have other powers that he couldn’t pick out.

This seemed fairly cool. Tarplin wondered if he could wish it to be another type of weapon so that he could wield it, so he picked it up at home and thought, “Be a scimitar.”

Suddenly he gained 4 points of natural AC, and his mage class completely dropped off, including the hitpoints from it.


After it didn’t come back a few minutes later (although the AC bonus disappeared after a minute), we got worried and went to Augman. After casting some diagnostics (at a pricey 600 gp), he determined that Tarplin’s class would probably come back if he waited a week, or with a restoration spell. As a restoration scroll would be 7th level, we decided to wait a week.

Sure enough, after making repeated saving throws, once per day, his levels slowly and painfully returned, starting with 0th level. Two weeks of bedrest later, Tarplin was back to shape.

In the meantime we had Augman do research on the item for 1400 gp. We gambled that it would be cooler than the 13000 gp the Duke offered for it, and found out a full powers list. We probably took a slight loss on this deal, but it was interesting:

The weapon was designed specifically for fighter/druids, and it came here recently in the hands of a Far World elvish adventurer. It is +2/+3 vs. metallic armored or metallic opponents, usable only by elves and half-elves, fighter-types and druids. It blunts out normal allergies in the hands of a fighter, it gives a 4 point AC bonus in the hands of a druid, and it eliminates any extra classes the wielder might have. You cannot wear metal armor while using it.

So we basically needed to find a fighter/druid who wanted this thing. We decided that druidic courts would be necessary and planned to ship it out to Petethal in Tarplin’s hands in the near future.

In the meantime, we got experience points! This includes the story award for the (future) successful vote, although not the diplomatic summit itself.

Morhion – 944
Robynne – 6120
Morty – 6350
Tarplin – 2750 mage / 4422 druid
Leo – 6654
Bodkin – 6762
Balinor – 7372

This got Robynne level 6! (And Morty level 7 thief, but he isn’t training until he hits level 8, as it is incredibly inconvenient to travel to the Bardic College.)
Robynne trained in Barnacus to level 6, gaining 7 hp to stand at 45 (2900 gp). In addition, Balinor trained flute proficiency (240 gp) and Robynne trained blind fighting (150 gp), and has one non-weapon proficiency remaining open for now.

Bodkin, Morhion, Leo, and Morty set off to do some caravanning. On a nice wheel-of-death roll, the group fought some bugbears, netting 710 gp, and 210 XP for Bodkin, Leo, and Morty (Morhion got 105 XP).

They spent 75 gp on a great party and bar crawl afterward.

We went on a second shopping spree, feeling flush. We purchased 13 +2 sling bullets (these are nearly indestructible, Morty assured Balinor, which is key for later), for 4500 gp.

We gave up 2500 gp in credit and the +1 medium shield on Leo, to upgrade Leo to a +1 large shield, to pay for taxes on the items, retaining the broadsword to send ot the druidic court.

We spent 3900 gp for a modified version of sleep for Tarplin, who had blown his comprehension years ago. He obtained sleepytime from Peltar, which is like sleep but 2 segments rather than 1 to cast, with a 40’ area of effect rather than 30’ feet, although without any additional targets. Balinor traveled with Tarplin to Restenford to pick this up, where he discovered the Defenders’ house in the usual level of disarray, and slept in the muck while exchanging stories with Morgan, Kain, and Alduin.

Finally, we acquired the best item ever. We traded the spear + 1 for – wait for it – the Dreadful Indestructible Bowl of Slug Control, Yes, this bowl is indestructible, and when you fill it with beer, you can control up to 20 HD of slugs. More importantly, it makes the user look terrifying! When Tarplin tested it out, the area rumbled, his face looked like a skull for a moment, and a phantasmal slug came out of the top of and began making mad gestures of command!

Finally on April 26, 2193, we were ready to take on a pirate town. Or nation.

Yes, we decided to do the third of the “goodwill” missions to the Kharg that the Duke had mentioned. This one had no time limit; it didn’t have to be completed by the summer solstice and the diplomatic summit. It was just something the Duke had been hankering to do for a long, long time.

Yes, we were to eliminate a giant town full of pirates. Between 600 and 2000 of them. But we had to completely rip down the pirate structures, at least enough to ensure that no one left alive would be mad enough to make strikes against the populace of the Keystone Kingdom. The plan would have to be very elaborate, and careful, although our involvement in the end need not be hidden. But this was a monumental task, and we knew we would need all the information we could get to employ the many stratagems we had come up with.

We headed out to the town and set up our usual elaborate blinds, and prepared to dig in for a few months to do some heavy scouting. Our potential allies could include Albee (7th level monk formerly of the Defenders and Killer Bees) and Anselm (6th level Nevronian cleric, former member of the Killer Bees and ally of Balinor), as well as a few dozen Kharg, some of whom were low level warriors. We could involve other parties if necessary (the Seapoint Lightning and the Lower Band came to mind, as well as Alduin, Morgan, and Kain) but it would depend on what we thought we needed to accomplish the mission.

So we set out to do reconnaissance. The town was unwalled and we quickly had a reasonable sketch of where all the key players would be. We decided to look for alternate entrances to the town, and to observe peoples’ behavior, to see what sorts of opportunity we might find for assassination. Morty began to sneak invisibly on a daily basis into town, hoping to discover a secret passage in the giant, old, and well-constructed seawall that followed the coastline. The rest of the party checked for caves and other entrances. Tarplin scouted to see what sorts of animals were spies for other people in the area. Area slugs reported to Tarplin that weird moles in the ground were spies for someone, but they didn’t know who. Five to fifty black glossy seabirds appeared to be spying for the Queen of Grottoes priestess.

And then Tarplin decided to cast summon woodland beings in an effort to assess the situation. This turned out to be a doozy…

Two black-skinned nasty-looking small beings with red caps and twirly mustaches showed up. They were rude and insulting and demanded to know why they had been summoned and how this would be worth their time. After what turned out to be 1130 gp in bribes (500 gp initially, plus 500 gp 2 weeks later, plus a 30 gp tip that they squabbled over), the “bloodthorn sprites” told us a HUGE amount of information about the area.

First they noted that because of the money the vines that had been creeping closer to our camp over the last three days would stop doing so. Furthermore we could always pay some of our debt in the blood of a still-living sentient being. They assured us they didn’t eat them, and they were used for agriculture. I’m not sure why they thought this was a good thing to tell us. In any case we promised to pass on dead bodies to them.

The information:

There are glossy black birds that report to the Queen of Grottoes cleric. The slugs in the area tell us that there are also moles that dig up and report back to someone. Tarplin calls Bloodthorn Sprites to “help” him. Were-rats have rats. The Auger Birds are the Cleric’s. Psycho Dwarves have moles. Crazy Cricket is a golem that belongs to a thief.

There are pipes ALL over the place that are 18” wide. There is a large area of foundations throughout the place. There are two tanks bigger than simple rooms. They are warehouse size and no way in except through the pipes. One of them is the were-rat home. The other tends to flood periodically. The pipes don’t go far – they head to the cave of the crazy dwarves (Burrower worshippers, Balinor suspects) and down to the fountain-like things near the water. One is near the inn. One is near the ballista mount near the sea wall.

There are dwarves one quarter of the way to the giants. The dwarves are meaner than the sprites are and definitely dwarves. They hack down all the bushes and they torture and eat occasional pirates. You have to get past the water wheel, which they don’t stop if a sprite gets caught in it. Don’t go North-East, because you’ll reach a bad forest -- the Trenhurst. The forest actually talks to the sprites and says not to go there. It always murmurs to go away. Their cousin said man-eating trees are their friends and one popped his head off when he tried to get it to kill them.

(“See? They are totally harmless… aggressive plants love us! Watch this, guys!”)

The Queen of Grottoes cleric has the spirits of former priestesses under her control.

The big bad seagull (the Roc) doesn’t work for anyone.

There are steps down to various levels for different tides. The port used to be able handle huge ships. The Fountain mechanism was used for a ballista mount, which is now manned by three to five marines. There are cleats for tying up ships. There is a second ballista near the shipyard on the “mayor’s” house. This construction is extremely old.

Everyone has three to six or even up to ten bodyguards. These seem to be in addition to all of the standard guards. The Priestess is never alone with another cleric. The tavern is where they seem to be the most comfortable being without the guards.

The giant lizards seem to eat the dead bodies that are thrown out by the powerful. (Well, there goes the plan to lure them out with false calls of danger. It appears that REGULAR danger is so common that they have learned not to go out of town when called.)

An interesting episode happened about ten days in:

People start to come out to the sea wall. Three boats sail into town. The commotion seems to be that people are excited when they are first sighted. The ship is long and stylized with the dragon head and tail. The ship is just loaded with stuff. Hull plating, three high-end military ballista, the crew is in fabulous gear. They are towing two medium sized merchant ships. The merchant ships are unloaded and the other ship rises a foot. There are sixty guys on the ship. A few hours after the ship arrive, the tower starts signalling a bunch of things aimed inland.

About four hours after they arrive and one ship is detached and outfitted to start plundering. A crew is rapidly formed and the ship yard supplies heavy crossbows and a ballista to the ship. A couple of nice pieces of gear and a lot of money has been transferred between the dragon ship and the other merchant ship. Three hippogriffs land, which means the Blue and the Gray obtain supplies here. The Blue and the Gray seem to own a couple of the stores in town. This place is poorly run and this place is a chaotic evil place. Some Kharg show up and buy weapons and gear for about 15-20 warriors. There are about 20 bandits that arrive and buy stuff. Very little is left by the end of the second day. On the third day, a couple of guys buy the remnants and sail off in the third ship with a new crew.

The fourth morning has the warship moving a little further out to allow the dragon ship (110’ long and 25’ wide) to sail out of port. It vanishes half a mile out of port. By the fifth morning, the battered warship turns and sails out somewhat awkwardly around the seawall and scatters a fistful of silver pieces over the sea wall to those who were helping to keep the ship from crashing. There are 30 additional bandits that come staggering into town to set up “life” in the shanty town. Two of these get thrown out in a heap after that.

This gave us a lot of ideas. First of all we realized that there were dead bodies all the time popping up and being tossed out of town, so alarms about things coming to the edge of town were really pretty much ignored in a boy-who-cried-wolf sort of way. This could potentially work to our advantage. Moreover these pipes were very interesting. The wererats could potentially be eliminated without anyone knowing if we could sneak into these tanks (passive reduce has a 50 minute duration, so it’d be tight).

“Nobody will notice if the wererats are gone.” –Bodkin
“Yeah, because they’re in a frickin’ tank.” –Balinor

As it was almost time to pack up by this point, we decided to do one last mission for fun and profit. We decided to eliminate the hill giants that may have been the masters of the lizards. We marched up to the area in the dark and waited for some giants to come out hunting. We attacked a pair of them.

Tarplin slowed both, while the party swarmed at them. Balinor and Morty were both hit and held at bay, but Balinor swapped to a longer weapon, and between Bodkin, Robynne, Balinor, Morty, and an aggressive Leo and Tarplin, we brought them down in short order and without much damage to us.

We tracked them back to their cave and went inside under low light, in the hopes of surprising them. Morty immediately spotted a pit trap, which he guided the party around, leading us and our silence cone forward safely. Then a falling log trap barely missed him, and this made a significant clatter. We decided to go under more light, figuring our surprise was blown, when the point was proven as a giant and a bear suddenly bounded around the corner.

The bear came forward at Balinor, who held off attacking to allow Tarplin a chance to charm it. He failed, and the giant was tossing boulders, so Balinor and Morty and Bodkin attacked, beating the bear down. Morty couldn’t attack directly, but pulled out his new sling bullets, and fired a shot. He fumbled, spectacularly. The bullet bounced off of Balinor’s head (inflicting 7 points a wound), and Morty flung his sling across the hall, nearly destroying the “indestructible” sling bullet.

We were unimpressed. Unfortunately Balinor and Morty were beginning to take some damage (Bodkin was unharmed). We brought the bear down partially with subdual damage, while Tarplin dropped a faerie fire spell on both targets. At this moment a second giant rounded the corner, as the lead fighters closed with the front giant. Robynne was blocked from shooting and for this part was keeping watch to see we weren’t being attacked from behind. The clerics began using their healing spells to prop up Balinor.

We brought down the next giant relatively easily, although the giant held Balinor at bay once, causing him to swap to his bastard sword + 2 for reach purposes. This didn’t help at all against the final giant, who was in metal armor and wielded a giantish two-handed sword. He flung a cobra into the party, but Robynne and Bodkin brought it down before it could attack anyone.

Balinor was still tanking, but this giant could hold him at bay rather easily (hitting on a 10) and was getting a bit lucky. Morty was unable to attack because of the corridor hold-at-bay (although he did miss once allowing us a bit of a strike before reclosing his defenses), which meant it was up to Bodkin, Robynne, Tarplin’s magic missiles, and Leo’s spiritual hammer to do the trick. They bashed the creature over and over, and finally Balinor had to retreat for healing from Tarplin…. And the creature finally went down!

We looted the place and tried to deal with the subdued bear. Tarplin tried to speak with it, but on a very bad charisma check (20, oops my fault) he enraged the bear and we had to beat it back down again by shooting it. We left it stabilized and hoped it would find its way to the outside.

Somewhat embarrassing, perhaps, but that was all. We expended no resources, and came out with a good haul:

5380 gp worth of items (2400 gp, gold belt, 3 gems, silver pieces, 2h sword of quality, nonmagical loot and scraps)—post tax 4035 gp, and probably a hair under 1000 XP each (not awarded yet).

So in the end:

n: 10000 gp credit, 4745 gp (and had 10000 gp credit from last time with the spear)
Out: 24313 gp in total costs

So -9568 gp this time

Assets remaining to be cashed: selling broadsword at druidic court
Upgrades made:

Leo -- medium shield + 1 to large shield + 1
Robynne -- AC 4/10 and +2 ring to AC 3/3 bracers
Tarplin -- Ring of Regeneration to Bag of Holding (200/2500) and Robe of Pockets; Sleepytime spell; Dreadful Indestructible Bowl of Slug Control; Wand of Paraylzation; Wand of Lightning Bolts
Morty -- gains 13 +2 sling bullets

Party gains 1 Potion of Healing, 6 Bandages of Wound Closure

Morhion - 1049
Robynne - 6120
Morty - 6560
Tarplin - 2750/4422 mage/druid
Leo - 6864
Bodkin - 6972
Balinor - 7372

+ unawarded giant XP from last fight with 5 giants, 1 bear (probably ~ 500-1000)

Catch you next time!

With help from Jay/Morty/Leo


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