Adventurer's Journal

Most recent journal posting is at the top of this page.

Another new adventure. The seventh adventure for our group. The party has decided to help Tanar locate his father. Missing for the past twenty years, Tanar's father, Nigel, left long ago. He was searching for some sort of magical gateway. A diary page recieved by Tanar, contains many details regarding his father's disappearance. The party has set out to discover what happened to Tanar's father, and possibly uncover the mystery surrounding 'Firestorm Peak'.

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 04 Apr 2009
Game-world date: 23 - 25 Sep 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Solmar

Where we left off last session
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party was exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. All that changed on the 15th of Septev, when they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guarded the cursed shrine of Fharlanghn. In a protracted battle, this embodiment of evil slew Thalidimar and Grenco before the party was finally able to vanquish it. After the arrival of new allies, a rested and healed party was finally able to unravel the curse surrounding this shrine of Fharlanghn. After unearthing the remains of the shrine's patron saint, they restored the mortal remains to their proper resting place, cleansed the font of taint, and restored the balance at this holy shrine. Soon after the cleansing ceremonies were concluded, a group of priests and their entourage arrived. Grateful for the service performed by our group, the priests raised Zeddishous from the dead and reincarnated Grenco. With Firestorm Peak and the cursed shrine behind them, the party (sans Khurshel; who stayed in Silverymoon) departed Silverymoon bound for Whillip, aboard the Skycruiser Palisade. After stops in Evereska and Suzail, the party's next stop is - Whillip!

"Whillip at long last"

23 Septev 1003 (~4:30 PM)
Onward

[Dynnera] We set sail from Suzail on the last leg towards Whillip. Solmar indicates that Greywing left the ship due to some urgent family matters. I am disappointed, but hope to see him again at Ilmater’s temple. Some Dream Dwarf named Almel joined the ship. Interesting garb – a large sword sheathed across his back, some intricate shawl/scarf wrap covering his body, unclean feet, and the usual Dwarven beard but painted with rainbow patch quilt colors. I wonder which of my companions will ‘volunteer’ to share a room with him? I return to my room and beginning studying the map I’ve obtained. I want to have it memorized prior to my arrival in Whillip. [/Dynnera]

23 Septev 1003 (~6:30 PM)
Onward

[Solmar] Initiation ritual for new members of ship's crew at sunset. When passing over the Dragonmere, the ship flies low to the water, and first-time crew members are tied to a rope, lowered over the side, and drug through water for a short distance. For some reason, initiation and/or hazing rituals increase camaraderie among units that must work together for extended periods. Decided to participate to explore why. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] Tried experiment during my turn. Remembered something from winter training; supply crates on toboggans can move over powder snow that the supply crates would otherwise sink in. Would this also work while moving over water? Lid for crate transporting long spears correct approximate size and shape. Tied to one foot to secure while being lowered to water. Experiment successful - was able to remain standing on top of water while being towed behind ship. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] Additional observation: stripped off all extraneous clothes and equipment during initiation. Felt less hampered. Should consider reducing use of clothing not required for functionality. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] Ship attacked during my turn by a fish nearly as large as the ship. Fish rammed ship and created a large breach in the hull before the ship could rise above the fish's reach. Sailing Master Jochotari Thimbal hauled me back aboard during ship's evasive maneuvers. Excellent display of discipline and focus on task at hand. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] The ship jerks violently to the left and there are sounds of wood and metal grinding or splintering! Did the navigator fall asleep and hit a mountainside? Alarms are screaming everywhere and I run out of my room. I have difficulty keeping my feet in the passageways as the ship sways in all directions and is climbing steeply. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Turns out the ship had a rite of passage custom called "Baptism in the Sea of Fallen Stars", just past Dragon’s Reach. The ship sails down from safer altitude, ties a rope around new candidates, and has them jump off the ship and trolled in the water, proving their ‘manhood’. Well in this case, some colossal sized whale took interest in the ship itself and started ramming it! It wasn’t until we reached higher altitude that we were finally safe from the beast. The ship, while taking significant damage remains air-worthy, although flying in an awkward tilted position. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] More surprising to me, mingled within the whale stories was conversations about how SolmarSurfed’ the water surface for upwards of a minute before the whale attacked. Some of the sailors are in awe of him now. Seems foolish, but does further remind me that he isn’t truly a golem, as no golem would act in such a carefree and careless manner. [/Dynnera]

23 Septev 1003 (~8:30 PM)
Onward

[Dynnera] Shortly after dinner, Shamus Sabertooth (Ships Coordinator) recognizes Solmar as a “Master of Dragon’s Reach”; membership based on survival of the rite of passage. He also indicates that Solmar is likely the last inductee, as the Captain has forbidden similar rites from occurring again. Funeral services for the crew who died in the attack will be held tomorrow at dawn. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Approached during the evening by Shamus Sabertooth. Presented with certificate designating me as a “Master of the Dragon's Reach”. Rare outside of actual ship's crew. Spent remainder of evening sparring with Skifander until he required sleep. [/Solmar]

24 Septev 1003 (~6:04 AM)
Forens

[Dynnera] Funeral services held and most of us (excluding Enola) attend the service. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Another funeral at dawn to honor the sailors lost during yesterday's fish attack. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] “Offered” a bracelet by a strange Dwarf that had embarked at Suzail. Ulterior motive obvious. Attached the bracelet to the back of my clothing when I declined the “offer”. I disposed of the bracelet. Will remain wary of the Dwarf. Will continue to consider reducing the use of non-essential clothing. [/Solmar]

24 Septev 1003 (~1:00 PM)
Forens

[Dynnera] The Captain, Ike, and the ship’s coordinator met in the Coordinator’s office for tea and biscotti. The brunch is sociable, but soon the Captain, Ike and I turn to business. I express my availability to answer any questions or concern the Captain has of me, and that I have no untoward intentions for him or the ship. The Captain remains noncommittal and raises no questions. I suspect he feels - with our arrival in Whillip in less than a day - that I won’t be his concern for much longer. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] My second business proposition was a trade in kind of magical items. I expressed appreciation of the slippers used by his sailing crew, and mentioned that he must have ready access to additions (e.g. in the unfortunate demise at sea of said crew during the whale attack). He indicates they enhance the movement rate of the crew in addition to their climbing skills; it’s all about efficient management of the ship. I offer the magical chain in trade, thinking it has a natural use on the ship but he feels it doesn’t have equivalent value. I offer him an Izzy stone (which provides protection from poison) and he readily accepts the trade. He cautions me that this isn’t an ongoing business arrangement, but a mutually advantageous opportunity. We make the exchange and I leave the office. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] (I think I gained more then he did, but its all in the eye of the beholder. The Captain likely devalues the slippers since he can readily purchase more. While his intense concern over security probably increased the value of my protective item. I on the other hand, have little to no access to said equipment. Perhaps in Whillip it is time to discard any lingering rogue skills and truly concentrate on my magical abilities (…besides I can emulate most of those skills through magic). It is also time to investigate how to create items like these slippers). [/Dynnera]

25 Septev 1003 (~5:30 AM)
Freeday

[Solmar] Arrived in Whillip during afternoon. Reminded of taxation requirements before disembarking. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We arrived in Whillip at 4:30AM and begin disembarking at 5:30AM. We are all so anxious to return, that we readily give up our sleep, including Enola! As we disembark, we have the displeasure of meeting a Tax Magistrate, asking us to register any treasures we may have brought with us. I fully expect Belt and Solmar to leave not a single gold piece unidentified. [/Dynnera]

To be continued….

DM's note:
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back in Whillip. The adventure was arduous, dangerous and rewarding. Most of all it was memorable. An adventure unlike any other. A journey into the very bowels of evil; to defeat a corrupt source of taint in this land. With the conclusion of this quest, none may say that they died in vain. Long live those who gave their lives. Long live those who strive to defeat evil in this land. Long live the adventures we have come to know as the S.C.R.E.W.O.F.F.S. - Let us take a moment to remember those brave adventurers: Brock - The stalwart and honorable warrior; Tanar - The brave and resourceful magic user; Thalidimar - The faithful and righteous priest. If it hadn't been for the sacrifice of the S.C.R.E.W.O.F.F.S. and countless others allied in this fight, our land may have become a dark shadow of light and justice, a breeding ground for taint and corruption. Many grateful people now know the names of true heroes. Surely they will compose ballads and poems attesting to their honor and bravery. With this long quest behind them, it's time to recover their bearings, rest for a bit, hone their skills, and steel themselves to take on the next threat in these lands. Welcome back to Whillip brave heroes, welcome home!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 21 Mar 2009
Game-world date: 22 - 23 Sep 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Solmar

Where we left off last session
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party was exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. All that changed on the 15th of Septev, when they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guarded the cursed shrine of Fharlanghn. In a protracted battle, this embodiment of evil slew Thalidimar and Grenco before the party was finally able to vanquish it. After the arrival of new allies, a rested and healed party was finally able to unravel the curse surrounding this shrine of Fharlanghn. After unearthing the remains of the shrine's patron saint, they restored the mortal remains to their proper resting place, cleansed the font of taint, and restored the balance at this holy shrine. Soon after the cleansing ceremonies were concluded, a group of priests and their entourage arrived. Grateful for the service performed by our group, the priests raised Zeddishous from the dead and reincarnated Grenco. With this curse behind them (or is it? Perhaps the party is now affected by some remnant of the curse?), the party (sans Khurshel; who stayed in Silverymoon) departed Silverymoon bound for Whillip, aboard the Skycruiser Palisade. With one port-of-call behind them, the party has one last stop before they reach Whillip.
Will the remainder of their journey be boring? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

"Setting sail for Suzail"

22 Septev 1003 (~9:00 AM)
Nexsta'

[Dynnera] Greywing and I find Ike in his office. We ask for an introduction to the other spell casters but it turns out the only other spellcaster is the ships Chaplain, named Navidath. The Chaplain claims to be nondenominational in nature. (I’m surprise by the lack of spellcasting support on this sized ship.) Ike encourages us to approach the Chaplain ourselves. I ask Greywing for a private discussion with Ike, and after Greywing leaves I ask Ike to broker a meeting between myself and the Captain. I inform Ike that the Captain might have some reservations about my nature that I’d like to speak to; that some of these concerns may be unknown to my companions. I ask for some time at the Captain’s discretion, with or without Ike himself. Ike returned later in the day, saying the Captain is unavailable. I ask Ike to be persistent. [/Dynnera]

22 Septev 1003 (~12:00 PM)
Nexsta'

[Solmar] Approached by Captain Thybender during highsun about Dynnera. Concerned about her deceptive nature. I confirmed her secretive nature, but assured him of my efforts to verify her basic nature free of evil. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] At lunch a Whisper Gnome named Skif is hanging around Solmar. He introduces himself as a cleric of Baervan Wildwanderer. He also indicated that he'd just been banished from Everska. I ask where he intends to disembark, but he is non-committal. I introduce myself to him but otherwise just ignore him. [/Dynnera]

22 Septev 1003 (~2:00 PM)
Nexsta'

[Dynnera] I return to my room to gather additional tattoo supplies and change some spells. Afterwards, I begin my daily tattoo business. No one of consequence requests a tattoo. [/Dynnera]

22 Septev 1003 (~2:30 PM)
Nexsta'

[Dynnera] Alarms are ringing and I rush out of the Barber Shop. Gregor seems oblivious and is gawking around the cargo hold. I yell at him that alarms are sounding and to run to the main deck but continue on thereafter. I try to short-cut the run by teleporting 10ft above me, but I end up in Ike’s empty office (I’d love to rummage around but there isn’t time). Unfortunately, I can’t unlock his door even from the inside and have to teleport again to the hall. By the time I run out to the main deck, Enola indicates she’s scared the creature away with her archery prowess! I’m later told it was a Ocularon. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Attacked mid-afternoon by floating gas-bag creature with detached floating eyes. Driven off after it killed and carried off a crew member. [/Solmar]

22 Septev 1003 (~2:45 PM)
Nexsta'

[Dynnera] On my return to the Barber shop, I take a stroll through the cargo hold (with Detect Magic activated). Two of the recently collected crates radiate magic within it; both apparently from Everska (some foundry and bowery labels on the crate). The crates are on the outer edge but packed tightly with other crates. I contemplate a ‘re-allocation’ as Grenco might say, but the specter of teleporting mages onto the ship, as well as the Captain’s paranoia, dissuades me from any action. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] There is nothing eventful for the remainder of the day. I finish my tattoo session (another 1 gp 50 sp made, including a ‘feral’ phoenix on a Half Orc shipmate). The remainder of the evening is spent relaxing on the ship.[/Dynnera]

23 Septev 1003 (~11:30 AM – 4:00 PM)
Onward

[Dynnera] We will be landing at Suzail around 11:30 AM; all may disembark, but the ship leaves promptly at 4:30 PM. Ike finds me and indicates that my persistence has paid off; the Captain will see me sometime after we leave Suzail. I locate Terrance (A crew member aboard the Palisade), offer him 10sp for his troubles, and suggest he lead Grenco and I to his favorite bar. He recommends the 'Rusty Oyster'. First though, I have business at the weaponry shop (called 'The Royal Smithy') and some sage shop or library. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I think cabin fever hit the party as all but Gregor, Enola, and Belt disembark. Before leaving I ask Gregor if he’d permit me to buy him a quartet of masterwork longswords in appreciation for the magical chain gift. He consents and offers up one sword as a sample. (Others may wonder why I would do this; seems extravagant to just stay on the good side of one barbarian. While I do hope some ‘good will’ will come from this, Gregor has shown randomness in action and thought that I wouldn’t assume continued favor. I do this more so for myself – I do not wish to be beholden to someone else for any longer than necessary.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Arrived in Suzail at the beginning of highsun. Greywing met by messenger. Some sort of family emergency recalled him back home. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] I disembark with Grenco and Terrance, but we quickly separate. I tell them I’ll meet up with them at the 'Rusty Oyster'. At 'the Royal Smithy' I meet Master Ganiff, a Hakheerian tradesman. He quickly sells me the quartet of masterwork swords, and I ask him to modify the pommels to include rings for prevention of disarming (with rawhide straps). I ask that he have them delivered to my attention aboard the Palisade before 4:00 PM. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Quinton, Skif and I toured Suzail. Witnessed Purple Dragon Knight drill exhibition. Very skillful and disciplined. Contacted drill leader, Major Paliwan Nevarius, afterward to report Brock's demise and return his personal possessions. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] I also visit the Temple of Deneir (God of sages, knowledge, etc.) and speak to an acolyte. I ask for any maps or information related to Whillip. With much reservation, I cajole after payment, one eighth of the full map of Whillip (Section 3) drawn out by a cartographer on staff. I promise to never divulge the presence of the map or who provided the work to me. (Bah! If they were so concerned about political incidents they shouldn’t have allowed the copy! Is that damn Gnome that well connected? I can imagine that the Thieve’s Guild in Whillip doesn’t abide by the rules, and already has its own copies). I return to the ship after visiting the temple (distracted by the map and my wish to begin memorizing it, I forget about the 'Rusty Oyster'). [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Joined by Ysoac after lunch and discovered the 'Royal Smithy' run by Master Ganiff. Skif replenished his supply of crossbow bolts. I found a well-made bastard sword, but decided to search for something more durable during training back in Whillip. However, Skif purchased the sword and gifted it to me. [/Solmar]

23 Septev 1003 (~4:15 PM)
Onward

[Dynnera] I confirm the longsword shipment is in my room, and I wait by the railing for the final cargo to be installed on the ship. It seems most of party is there as well, although I don’t see Greywing. This is the final stop before the ship arrives at Whillip! It’s been a long time since I’ve returned there! [/Dynnera]

To be continued….

DM's note:
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party was exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. All that changed on the 15th of Septev, when they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guarded the cursed shrine of Fharlanghn. In a protracted battle, this embodiment of evil slew Thalidimar and Grenco before the party was finally able to vanquish it. After the arrival of new allies, a rested and healed party was finally able to unravel the curse surrounding this shrine of Fharlanghn. After unearthing the remains of the shrine's patron saint, they restored the mortal remains to their proper resting place, cleansed the font of taint, and restored the balance at this holy shrine. Soon after the cleansing ceremonies were concluded, a group of priests and their entourage arrived. Grateful for the service performed by our group, the priests raised Zeddishous from the dead and reincarnated Grenco. With Firestorm Peak and the cursed shrine behind them, the party (sans Khurshel; who stayed in Silverymoon) departed Silverymoon bound for Whillip, aboard the Skycruiser Palisade. After stops in Evereska and Suzail, the party's next stop is - Whillip!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 07 Mar 2009
Game-world date: 21 Sep 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Solmar

Where we left off last session
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party was exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. All that changed on the 15th of Septev, when they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guarded the cursed shrine of Fharlanghn. In a protracted battle, this embodiment of evil slew Thalidimar and Grenco before the party was finally able to vanquish it. After the arrival of new allies, a rested and healed party was finally able to unravel the curse surrounding this shrine of Fharlanghn. After unearthing the remains of the shrine's patron saint, they restored the mortal remains to their proper resting place, cleansed the font of taint, and restored the balance at this holy shrine. Soon after the cleansing ceremonies were concluded, a group of priests and their entourage arrived. Grateful for the service performed by our group, the priests raised Zeddishous from the dead and reincarnated Grenco. With this curse behind them (or is it? Perhaps the party is now affected by some remnant of the curse?), While Khurshel has decided to part ways with the party (remaining in Silverymoon), the rest of our group has boarded the Skycruiser Palisade and departed Silverymoon in their quest to 'Get Back to Whillip!'. Now aboard the Palisade, the party is currently relaxing in relative safety. Will the remainder of their journey be boring? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

"Sailing on the Palisade"

21 Septev 1003 (12:30 PM)
Newday

[Dynnera] During our meeting with Ike, he invited us to participant in an emergency training session in the event of a ship wide catastrophe. It will be held on the main deck at 3pm. [/Dynnera]

21 Septev 1003 (2:00 PM)
Newday

[Dynnera] I’m given space in the Barber Shop to set up my tattoo equipment. I let everyone know I’ll be in the shop from 2-5pm every day except for special occasions, such as the training session being held today at 3pm. There is quickly a line of crewmen waiting for tattoos and while performing my art, I ask questions about themselves and the Palisade. The most interesting of the crew to date was the Inspector General of the ship, a Gnome mage named Lieutenant Commander Vitus Gothings I learned a few things:

  • He’s the only mage on the ship (and practically a novice). However, other spellcasters are present on board (known as ‘Branch W’).
  • The ship has the ability to heal itself of damage. Additionally, when it sustained significant damage during a prior attack, the Captain released homing pigeons. In a short time, additional mages were teleporting in and assisting in the repairs.
  • Evereska is very xenophobic, as described earlier. The trade is lucrative, as the Palisade may be the only ship permitted trade rights. The Elves are known for their bows and magical arrows.
  • Palisade has a ship value, no cargo, of three million gold pieces. [/Dynnera]

21 Septev 1003 (3:00 PM)
Newday

[Dynnera] Training was led by a crew member named Apollo Garrison. There are combo life jacket/parachutes adjacent to railing that we are taught how to wear and use in the event of an emergency. Additionally, the lifeboats will magically float to the ground from any height, and have sails to possibly control direction of descent. [/Dynnera]

21 Septev 1003 (3:30 – 5:00 PM)
Newday

[Dynnera] Back to tattooing – I make about 1 gp and 50 sp during the session. Shipmate #152 - a Hakheerian, asked for a tattoo with four crossed swords. [/Dynnera]

21 Septev 1003 (5:00 – 11:00 PM)
Newday

[Dynnera] We arrive at Evereska and it looks as inhospitable as described. There’s a 100 yard clearing for the Palisade to land, and it is surrounded by Elven archers with bows drawn! I am quickly bored. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Arrived at Evereska near dusk. Ike approached me shortly before and warned against debarking during the hour the Palisade would be loading/unloading before moving on. Evereskan Elves are reclusive. Attempted to return the Captain's afghan that I repaired, but Ike indicated I should return it directly to Captain Thybender at breakfast tomorrow. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] While watching the unloading, a shipmate named Terrance Andercroby draws my attention and informs me that the Captain has put the word out “to keep an eye on me”. I invite him to the ship’s lounge at 6:30pm for drinks and additional discussion. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] A Gnome embarked at Evereska (due to being expelled). Needed bunk space, so I offered mine since it is already paid for but unused. His name is Skifander. He thanked me after his prayers at high moon. He is a member of Baervan Wildwanderer's order of Shadowbane Stalkers. Expressed interest in joining the SCREWOFFS. Would probably be a more reliable scout than Grenco. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] I watch Grenco acting with others in the crew in their rendition of “Guys and Dolls”! During a break, I invite him to a have a drink later in the next hour with Terrance and myself. He agrees. (I have to admire Grenco, he has adopted his new form with alacrity. He would be a credit to my kin.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Terrance joins us for drinks and in fact I invite any of the crew to join us (many are now admirers of Grenco for his acting skills). Some things learned include:

  • A funeral ceremony for the dead crewmen will occur tomorrow morning (I plan to attend, to continue the good relations developing with the common crew).
  • Each of the crew assigned to sails duty are provided magical shoes (which are turned in immediately at the close of their duty). These shoes double their normal movement rate and reduce their likelihood of slipping (I really want a pair. Too bad they are so closely monitored. I hope to perhaps negotiate with the Captain a trade of magical items. He must have ready access to additional versions, since lost crew replacements must somehow be recouped. In fact, if amendable, I’d suggest to the party that we trade sufficient magical items for all of us to own a pair!).
  • The Captain is rumored to be related to head of a criminal syndicate in Sembia.
  • A winged Elf (Avariel?) seems to be watching over (spying on) me. In fact, Terrance indicates the Elf works for the Captain. (I believe Solmar is right and I should seek out an appointment with the Captain. I will approach Ike for said meeting sometime after the funeral.) [/Dynnera]

22 Septev 1003 (6:00 AM)
Nexsta'

[Dynnera] The funeral arrangements were quick and respectful. I was surprised to see that Solmar arrived with the Captain to the funeral. I will have to find Ike after breakfast. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Accompanied Captain Thybender at dawn as he presided over funeral for crew lost yesterday. Then we fraternized as he ate breakfast in his quarters. He was pleased with my repairs to his afghan, and offered me another from his collection in exchange for my services. I will donate it along with the rest of my knitting to the orphanage in Whillip. [/Solmar]

22 Septev 1003 (8:30 AM)
Nexsta'

[Solmar] Ship harassed mid-morning by whisper demon. It quickly lost interest and left. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Greywing and I are heading to Ike’s office. We want to remind him about providing introductions to the other spellcasters, and I want to request an appointment with the Captain. Almost immediately outside Ike’s door, we see a ghostly specter leech from the nearby walls. It’s a Whisper Demon! I recognize that I can do limited damage to this monster and need to draw it out. I yell to GreywingGet out of here”, then escape down the hall. Most of our companions are on the main deck. Belt rushes forward to assist Greywing. Fortunately, the Palisade continues to sail past and the Whisper Demon remains… [/Dynnera]
To be continued…

DM's note:
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party was exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. All that changed on the 15th of Septev, when they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guarded the cursed shrine of Fharlanghn. In a protracted battle, this embodiment of evil slew Thalidimar and Grenco before the party was finally able to vanquish it. Afterwards, grateful priests raised Zeddishous from the dead and reincarnated Grenco. With this cursed shrine behind them (or is it? Perhaps the party is now affected by some remnant of the curse?), the party (sans Khurshel, who has decided to part ways with the party), the rest of our group has boarded the Skycruiser Palisade and departed Silverymoon in their quest to 'Get Back to Whillip!'. The first stop on their return journey brought the party to Evereska - an Insular city state, populated by xenophobic Elves. While there, the ship took aboard a quantity of trade goods and a new passenger; One Skifander Sun, an intriguing Gnome expelled from this Elvish enclave. A character that the party will likely learn more of in the days to come.
Now aboard the Palisade, the party is currently relaxing in relative safety. Will the remainder of their journey be boring? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 21 Feb 2009
Game-world date: 17 Sep 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Solmar

Where we left off last session
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party was exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. All that changed on the 15th of Septev, when they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guarded the cursed shrine of Fharlanghn. In a protracted battle, this embodiment of evil slew Thalidimar and Grenco before the party was finally able to vanquish it. After the arrival of new allies, a rested and healed party was finally able to unravel the curse surrounding this shrine of Fharlanghn. After unearthing the remains of the shrine's patron saint, they restored the mortal remains to their proper resting place, cleansed the font of taint, and restored the balance at this holy shrine. Soon after the cleansing ceremonies were concluded, a group of priests and their entourage arrived. Grateful for the service performed by our group, the priests raised Zeddishous from the dead and reincarnated Grenco. With this curse behind them (or is it? Perhaps the party is now affected by some remnant of the curse?), While Khurshel has decided to part ways with the party (remaining in Silverymoon), the rest of our group eagerly boarded the Skycruiser Palisade and departed Silverymoon in their quest to 'Get Back to Whillip!'. Hopefully, while aboard the Palisade, they'll be able to relax in relative safety. Will the remainder of their journey be boring? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

"Sail away with the Palisade"

20 Septev 1003 ~Noon
Godsday

[Dynnera] An uneventful day and evening, something our group really needed.  I start to prepare my spell books for the spell I learned at Silverymoon – Acid Breath (I’m sure Enola will have plenty to say when she first sees it in use.  I don’t care; it’ll save our lives at some point).  [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] I didn't realize how much I had hoped for Thalidimar's return until his corpse denied any desire for resurrection.  His absence causes a sadness like I've never felt before.  Thalidimar was the first person to ever treat me as an equal.  He was the only friend I've ever had.  I will miss him terribly. [/Solmar]

21 Septev 1003 ~06:00 AM
Newday

[Dynnera] Grenco is surprisingly respectful of my need to complete the transcription of the spell I learned into my spell book.  I also get frustrated with the extensive time needed for said task, but I hope a peaceful and relaxing air trip will give him and I plenty of time to commiserate.  Certainly the riffraff encountered during a land trek can be avoided.  Grenco apparently becomes bored watching my efforts and heads to the main cabin lounge area.  [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Approached near dawn by Ike Edwards, Ship's Counselor.  Wished to meet with all of us concerning incident yesterday with Ysoac.  Since Dynnera was still involved with her arcane study, meeting set for highsun after she would be finished. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Solmar knocks on the door and announces that the ships counselor requests our presence.  I tell him I can’t be involved with extended interruptions at this critical junction of the spell and would defer to him and the group’s judgment in this matter.  (Solmar has indicated a gender preference in our private conversations so I have to get used to adopting that vocabulary in both written and verbal form). Solmar is able to change the meeting to around lunch time to accommodate my participation.  Greywing kindly elects to remain in my room as protection. [/Dynnera]

21 Septev 1003 ~10:00 AM
Newday

[Dynnera] Greywing and I hear of some attack to the ship.  He runs out to assist, but I remain focused on my task – I think I have only a ½ page remaining!  The combat ends quickly and shortly thereafter so do my spell efforts.  My companions tell me the ship was attacked by roughly 30 Glass Mephits; small  flying creature capable of spewing molten glass at opponents.  They were easily forced into retreat but not before killing some crew and taking off with at least two dead personnel.  (I’m surprised the general alarm did not arouse the Captain or any ship leadership.  They must have priests and wizards on board to support such a large operation?) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Ship attacked late morning by a mob of small, winged, humanoid shaped creatures.  Quickly driven off, but 2 crew members lost. [/Solmar]

21 Septev 1003 ~Noon
Newday

[Dynnera] We meet Ike Edwards, Lieutenant Commander of the ship and ship counselor, in the library.  He extends the Captain’s appreciation for the assistance in the recent battle and offers the Captain’s apology for his earlier surliness regarding Ysoac in animal form.  He indicates a recent passage to Waterdeep included magically hidden assassins. So the Captain is especially guarded at this time. He makes mention of additional magical safeguards that will alert the Captain if similar measures are taken (magical disguises, invisibility, etc.)  He welcomes us on board and offers any assistance to our group.  (I wish I had cast my Detect Thoughts spell in advance of the meeting as I’d really like to know what the Captain really thinks – or at least what Ike thinks the Captain is thinking.  I will have to make good use of that spell throughout my stay on the ship.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Solmar and Ike discuss the possibility of Solmar repairing a knit afghan. I ask the counselor for two introductions.  First he confirms staff wizards are on board and I ask for an introduction.  Greywing asks to join the future meeting and I readily agree.  Secondly, I indicate a desire to practice my tattooing craft from 2-5pm each day on the ship; he indicated I should be able to set up shop with the ship’s barber (room 9E) and he’d inform the crew.  (Beyond continuing to hone my craft skills, I desire A: to ingratiate myself with portions of the crew, B: to study some of the crew members so if I need to impersonate any I’ll have seen/spoken to them for an extended period of time, and C: to gather information regarding the ship, crew, and its normal passage.  Usually people receiving tattoos like to talk to avoid focusing on the pain involved in the procedure.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] We met with Ike at highnoon as arranged.  He merely wished to convey Captain Thybender's apologies for his reaction yesterday to Ysoac attempting to stow away onboard.  I thought his reaction had been understandable given his responsibility for the ship, but accepted his apology anyway.  Also, Ike informed us that measures are being enacted to notify the captain should anybody disguised be onboard.  After meeting, I suggested to Dynnera that she may want to forewarn the Captain about herself. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Leaving the meeting, Solmar pulls me aside and suggests I inform the Captain of my unique nature.  He is concerned I might trigger the protective alarm.  I tell him I’ll consider that possibility, but as I have yet to trigger any alarm perhaps there is no need.  Or perhaps the alarm is constantly going off to the annoyance of the Captain J.  It’ll be one of the topic areas for discussions with both the wizards and anyone receiving a tattoo. [/Dynnera]

To be continued…

DM's note:
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party was exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. All that changed on the 15th of Septev, when they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guarded the cursed shrine of Fharlanghn. In a protracted battle, this embodiment of evil slew Thalidimar and Grenco before the party was finally able to vanquish it. After the arrival of new allies, a rested and healed party was finally able to unravel the curse surrounding this shrine of Fharlanghn. After unearthing the remains of the shrine's patron saint, they restored the mortal remains to their proper resting place, cleansed the font of taint, and restored the balance at this holy shrine. Soon after the cleansing ceremonies were concluded, a group of priests and their entourage arrived. Grateful for the service performed by our group, the priests raised Zeddishous from the dead and reincarnated Grenco. With this curse behind them (or is it? Perhaps the party is now affected by some remnant of the curse?), While Khurshel has decided to part ways with the party (remaining in Silverymoon), the rest of our group has boarded the Skycruiser Palisade and departed Silverymoon in their quest to 'Get Back to Whillip!'. Now aboard the Palisade, the party is currently relaxing in relative safety. Will the remainder of their journey be boring? S
tay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 07 Feb 2009
Game-world date: 17 Sep 1003
Written by: Dynnera

Where we left off last session
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party was exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. All that changed on the 15th of Septev, when they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guarded the cursed shrine of Fharlanghn. In a protracted battle, this embodiment of evil slew Thalidimar and Grenco before the party was finally able to vanquish it. After the arrival of new allies, a rested and healed party was finally able to unravel the curse surrounding this shrine of Fharlanghn. After unearthing the remains of the shrine's patron saint, they restored the mortal remains to their proper resting place, cleansed the font of taint, and restored the balance at this holy shrine. Soon after the cleansing ceremonies were concluded, a group of priests and their entourage arrived. Grateful for the service performed by our group, the priests raised Zeddishous from the dead and reincarnated Grenco. With this curse behind them (or is it? Perhaps the party is now affected by some remnant of the curse?), the party is eager to return to Silverymoon in order to 'Get Back to Whillip!', where they can relax in relative safety. Will the remainder of their journey be so eventful? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

"The Demise of the SCREWOFFS!"


17 Septev 1003 (9pm)
Aprochen

[Dynnera] None of us except perhaps Belt have the desire to linger at the shrine. We decide to press forward through the night on the trail back to Silverymoon. Since we haven’t had an uninterrupted evening outside of Silverymoon, how much worse could any encounters on the trail be? In was a fateful decision for our entire group. [/Dynnera]

17 Septev 1003 (11pm)
Aprochen

[Dynnera] A shudder runs down my spine as a horrifying loud and abrasive voice shatters the night air with the words..

“YOU WILL DIE FOR YOUR INSOLENCE! DO YOU THINK YOUR ACTIONS CAN NOT BE UNDONE?
MY VENGENANCE AGAINST MALAKAI WILL LAST FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS!
YOU HOWEVER, WILL LAST MERE SECONDS AGAINST MY SERVANT!”

(Have we heard the voice of the evil god Incabulos?) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Almost simultaneous to the voice, a Nightwalker appears adjacent to our group. Only ten feet away from the trail! Unfortunately, combat does end as quickly as Incabulos predicted:

  1. Surprise Round
    1. Nightwalker quicken cast Unholy Blight catching all of us with its effects. All of us take damage and Gregor’s pack horse collapses from the attack.
    2. Gaze attack – Unwittingly, we each face the threat of its gaze. Grenco, the remaining horses, and Zeddishous are affected and stop moving.
    3. It attempts a Hold Monster spell against Quinton without apparent affect
  2. First Round
    1. Belt acts first. Approaching the creature to strike at it. Walking into its reach provided it an opportunity to attack with a slam strike against him. The strike staggers Belt but he remains upright.
    2. Enola strikes out with three arrow shots – all hitting but with no damage taken by the creature.
    3. The Nightwalker acts:
      1. Quicken cast Unholy Blight – damage is taken again. Khurshel, Greywing, and I all look on the verge of death. Others are in various stages of damage.
      2. Casts Finger of Death at Khurshel – Although Khurshel survives the main portion of the spell, the damage taken is sufficient to drop him to the ground.
    4. Grenco and Zeddishous remain still
    5. I cast 2 scorching rays at it – One dissipates before my eyes (spell resistance) but the other seems to affect it.
    6. Ysoac casts his splinter ray spell and strikes the creature for some damage. Scorch remains at his side.
    7. Quinton:
      1. Quicken casts his positive energy healing spell on the group; all are immediately healed a d8 of damage this round but Khurshel remains on the ground (Is he dead?).
      2. Attempts to turn the Nightwalker without effect
    8. Greywing casts an orb of fire at the Nightwalker but it also dissipates.
    9. Gregor and Solmar each draw their weapons and attack. The Nightwalker gets an additional opportunity attack and strikes Gregor.
      1. Only two of Gregor’s attacks strike. In each case no damage occurs.
      2. Solmar quicken casts divine vigor and strikes with his weapon but misses.
    10. End of second round.
  3. Second round
    1. Nightwalker acts first:
      1. Quicken casts Unholy Blight – Greywing and Dynnera fall to the ground. The remainder are staggered.
      2. Uses its Power Attack slam attacks against Belt. 1st slam hits, but he remains upright. 2nd slam drops Belt in a boneless manner and it immediately follows that strike with a 3rd slam against Solmar (hitting again).
    2. Enola yells out, “Ha – Evil kills its own, Dynnera…” and moves away, activating her cloak to turn into a snake.
    3. Quinton casts a cure on Greywing which brings him upright
    4. Ysoac casts another splinter spell. This time with no effect.
    5. Greywing casts a cure on Quinton.
    6. Solmar strikes at the creature causing some damage.
    7. Gregor seeing his attacks are futile attempts to grapple – equally futile.
    8. Grenco and Zeddishous remain paralyzed.
  4. Third round
    1. Nightwalker casts a 15d6 cone of cold – Grenco, Zeddishous, Greywing, and Ysoac all drop to the ground.

[Dynnera] Not worth detailing out further… needless to say all fall before the Nightwalker. Enola is the last as the Nightwalker uses its telepathy skills to locate her in snake form. [/Dynnera]

[Lee] We are frustrated that Robert just killed off the whole party! He tells us that we had some opportunities at the shrine to forestall said vengeance but neglected to pursue it. He reminds us that it was our choice to travel at night – the Nightwalker would never have shown up during the day and we’d likely have been safe within the Shrine. [/Lee]

[Lee] We discuss what level campaign we should restart at – some of us want higher level characters, others uncaring at the moment. Robert ends up indicating 6th level characters, but grants us the request of picking out our own magical items with certain limitations… we begin rolling up our characters as a group. More results below. [/Lee]
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:-) Ok, now for the real journal entry…. I’m wondering what reaction Mark and Lars had if they read top-down without cheating.

Real-world date: 07 Feb 2009
Game-world date: 17-20 Sep 1003
Written by: Dynnera, Belt and Greywing

Where we left off last session
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party was exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. All that changed on the 15th of Septev, when they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guarded the cursed shrine of Fharlanghn. In a protracted battle, this embodiment of evil slew Thalidimar and Grenco before the party was finally able to vanquish it. After the arrival of new allies, a rested and healed party was finally able to unravel the curse surrounding this shrine of Fharlanghn. After unearthing the remains of the shrine's patron saint, they restored the mortal remains to their proper resting place, cleansed the font of taint, and restored the balance at this holy shrine. Soon after the cleansing ceremonies were concluded, a group of priests and their entourage arrived. Grateful for the service performed by our group, the priests raised Zeddishous from the dead and reincarnated Grenco. With this curse behind them (or is it? Perhaps the party is now affected by some remnant of the curse?), the party is eager to return to Silverymoon in order to 'Get Back to Whillip!', where they can relax in relative safety. Will the remainder of their journey be so eventful? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

"So long Silverymoon!"

17 Septev 1003 ~9:00 pm
Aprochen

[Dynnera] None of us except perhaps Belt have the desire to linger at the shrine.  We decide to press forward through the night on the trail back to Silverymoon.  Since we haven’t had an uninterrupted evening outside of Silverymoon, how much worse could any encounters on the trail be? Before leaving the clerics at the shrine, I ask that they send a message to the Palisade airship allowing for our late arrival if need be.  They send a message on our behalf.  We start off on our night trek, with Esma and Ysoac (as an owl) acting as flying scouts in the darkness.  Quinton has dialed back his personal glow for the travel. [/Dynnera]

17 Septev 1003 ~10:00 pm

[Dynnera] Esma returns with news that bandits have an ambush site behind a knoll.  We discuss ambushing them, but ultimately deem it more trouble than its worth and just march into the ambush site.  The bandits were allowing us to pass when Gregor shouted out something to the effect of “Come out, we know you are there.  Fight us like real men!”  The bandits instead chose to scatter into the woods.  We continued on down the trail. [/Dynnera]

18 Septev 1003 ~2:30am
Longday

[Dynnera] A mounted military patrol of nine guardsman with lances and full fighting equipment approach us.  The leader, Commander Weldon, asks us the reasons for our travels but ultimately allows us to continue on.  We inform him of the ambush site ahead and he says “That sounds like Farouk’s Group”.  We recognize this squadron as members of the Argent Legion, part of the Army of Silver Marches.  An army supported by contributions from independent city states similar to Silverymoon(I wait until we’ve departed but I am fuming over such patrolling groups.  It is convenient that only after we vanquish the Taint Elemental that these b-r-a-v-e soldiers appear.  BAH - I mutter curses in Dwarvish.) [/Dynnera]

18 Septev 1003 ~6:30am

[Dynnera] It is now daylight, but we remain hours away from Silverymoon and fatigue sets in on Ysoac, Greywing and Quinton.  For the time being we press onward. [/Dynnera]

18 Septev 1003 ~7:30am

[Dynnera] Greywing is now exhausted but hoisted onto Gregor’s horse.  The rest of us are also fatigued, except for Gregor and SolmarSolmar mutters something about soft-skin disabilities. [/Dynnera]

18 Septev 1003 ~8:30am

[Dynnera] Too many of us are exhausted to continue. We briefly consider using the portable hole for travel, but Zeddishous has vowed not to fly again until the blink dog is returned to life.  (I think he’s gone even further into madness since we don’t have the blink dog’s remains.)  Quinton volunteers that he possesses a bag to the Astral Plane (essentially a gate) – allowing for endless storage and personal breathing space, but the bag could only fit normal human sized creatures through it.  We inquire about its safety and he informs us that a Leprechaun guardian is present.  Nevertheless, we decide to camp. Zeddishous and Solmar volunteer to remain awake to guard the group while the rest of us sleep safely during the daylight hours. [/Dynnera]

18 Septev 1003 ~6:00pm

[Dynnera] Fully rested (except for Zeddishous) we break camp and strive to reach Silverymoon before the gates close.  None of us recall when the gates actually close. [/Dynnera]

18 Septev 1003 ~8:30pm

[Dynnera] Esma & Ysoac report a group of Orcs on the trail… Similar to the bandits, they give our party wide berth and we continue. [/Dynnera]

18 Septev 1003 ~9:59pm

[Dynnera] Off in the distance we see Silverymoon and the Eastern Gates.  They remain open but we can already hear the screeching of the winches as the chains to close the gates are loosened.  We yell out to the guards and sprint to the gate.  We are the last ones through and the gates close immediately behind us. We are finally in Silverymoon! [/Dynnera]

[Greywing] We finally reached the sparkling city of Silverymoon. The trek back might have been enjoyable if not for the forced march. Although we had 2 days, the dexterous mage made it seem imperative we get back. (She is not what she seems that one. Is she a walking contradiction? While we shared our devotion to Illmater, she did anything but relax; it seemed her energy became more focused. She seems driven by something beyond what the gods preach. I suspect her prayers are more to run from something rather than to something. Perhaps when she is ready she will unload that burden upon her brother. While I wonder at the sheer gracefulness of her movements and how they coincide with her thirst for knowledge and magic, I will accept her with open arms. Mayhap it will explain the war she fights within herself. No matter… it is good to find another soul as interested in language as I. I need not judge her, for if it is greed or hate that fuels her motivation, Illmater will invariably strip her of these crutches or break her in the trying. He is not called the god of suffering for nothing.) [/Greywing]

18 Septev 1003 ~10:15pm

[Dynnera] Our rooms are still available at Uldra’s Den and the Innkeeper provides us with food and drink for free, since we obviously haven’t used the reserved rooms.  We quickly agree to meet again over breakfast to determine our next steps. Afterwards we collapse into our respective rooms! [/Dynnera]

19 Septev 1003 ~8:00am
Endsnear

[Dynnera] We agree to meet again in the evening after checking in with the Palisade airship (it arrives today); otherwise our time is our own.  I can not speak to what all did during the day, but for my own accounting - My day in Silverymoon:

  • I check in with the paymaster of the Palisade (a Dwarf named Algarth Kronsmasher).  He indicates each airship charges different rates but his ship’s going rates are 750gp per person with an additional 200gp per horse.  This ship has 6 guest quarters with double occupancy so a total capacity of 12 individuals.  He tells me 2 rooms (4 spaces) remain available, so I deposit 100gp to reserve the space (for two) through midnight tonight on behalf of Greywing, Quinton, Gregor, and Ysoac. I tell him to count the 100gp against the amount owed by Greywing.
    • The trip from Silverymoon to Whillip will take three days.  First stop is Evereska; second Suzail.  All passengers must be checked in by midnight tonight, and on board by 11:00am on the 20th,.
  • I go to the Merchant’s Guild to ask about any existing maps, new or old, regarding Whillip.  They indicate none are available (damn Halfling, Bidvar Minitin, must have got to them too!), but  I can speak to a senior tradesmen for one hour regarding some significant sites in Whillip.  (For 100gp, I receive 10 additional contact areas related to either authorized or underground slavery, or magical/spell learning areas.) [/Dynnera]
  • I go to the Mage's Guild
    • I show them the Blood Rock I have, and ask for an evaluation of whether its global effect could be harnessed to benefit only a group of individuals – I told them I had till tomorrow 10am.
    • I decide to study 1 available spell, Acid Breathe, for my remaining time (except meals) so that perhaps on the airship itself I can write it within my spell book. [/Dynnera]

[Belt]  While I don’t usually put much weight in Dynnera’s comments, I do feel some compulsion to find out more about whether Incabulos’ curse was known and not disclosed.  I go to the Temple of Helm but any Fharlanghn clerics have already left for the shrine.  I wait most of the day until Judge Horatio arrives at his nightside court.  In between cases, he explains to me that the shrine has been known as a haunted location for the past ten years and that previous attempts to clear the Taint Elemental had failed.  He was unaware of any curse. I thank him for his time. [/Belt]

[Belt]  I return to the Temple of Helm and ask to speak to upper hierarchy clergy.  The Dwarven priest I am speaking to indicates he could help me and I ask the same question.  In this case, the priest indicates that only a limited number of individuals, usually his rank or higher, actually knew of the curse.  The description of the shrine as haunted was accurate and more appropriate than raising concerns about the intentions of evil gods among the general populous.  I recognize the right of the hierarchy to determine when and how such information should be conveyed, and thank him for allowing me to be of service. Dynnera will just have to stew in her own complaints if she can’t recognize the lawful right of the clergy regarding what to disclose about the shrine’s curse. [/Belt]

[Belt] I check in with the Palisade and will be ready to board tomorrow at 11:00am. [/Belt]

19 Septev 1003 ~7:00pm

[Dynnera] We meet at dinner, but Solmar and Grenco are missing.  Their rooms are empty and Solmar’s horses are missing so we believe they’ve already boarded the PalisadeQuinton informs us that priests at the temple of Lathander will help ensure the Shrine faces no further reprisals from Incabulos.  All are checked into the ship and ready to depart when Khurshel drops a bombshell; he’s decided to stay in Silverymoon, effectively leaving the party.  (This is the first mage I’ve ever found to be so close-mouthed; couldn’t he have told us earlier like Ysoac!)  I ask him to stay with us to Whillip, like Ysoac, to allow distribution of our collective wealth but he is firm in his decision to remain here in Silverymoon.  He decides to forfeit his interest in any items (i.e. magic) that require identification or selling, but asks for an immediate accounting of the coinage.  I let him know that Solmar is not present, and he is carrying the portable hole.  We ultimately agree to deposit Khurshel’s monetary share of treasure into his Whillip bank account.  [/Dynnera]

[Greywing] (I am unsure if I should be glad or not that Khurshel is not accompanying us. It has been far too long since I spent time with my people. I wish I could hear his whole story. To have someone who would push me to be better; that is what I miss the most from my cabal. Even those I disliked sharpened my wits with every exchange. Something grave must have taken place to damage this Illumian's will in such a manner. I cannot fathom what in the realms could steal his wish to speak. Now I will never know.) [/Greywing]

[Dynnera]  I ask for the return of any magical items held by him on behalf of the party.  They consist of the Wand of Lightning and a Potion of Extra Healing.  I offer the wand temporarily to Greywing but he refuses.  Enola makes some derogatory comment towards me, but I ignore her; as the sole officer of the SCREWOFFs present (Thalidimar dead, and Solmar/Grenco on the Palisades), it’s my duty to collect the party items. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera]  I try to surreptitiously cast detect magic to confirm the complete transfer of items.  I must be out of practice because I think everyone was fully aware of the casting. Fortunately Khurshel did not take offense.  I end the spell immediately upon confirmation that no additional items were on his person. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] All but Khurshel, Enola, Belt, and I decide to return to the Palisade immediately.  We remain at Uldra’s Den for the night. [/Dynnera]

[Greywing] (The monk cleric of Fharlanghn - Now there is someone whom I can identify with! There is no disguising his fervor to remove all evil from the world. I wish that I could be that single minded in my pursuit. He will be a pillar of great strength if our wills ever falter. Goodness, three clerics in the same party. We are thrice blessed! However, it is too early to say that I am home. It does feel good though... Thank you Illmater.) [/Greywing]

20 Septev 1003 ~Morning
Godsday

[Dynnera] Prior to arriving at the Palisade, I complete the following at the Mage’s Guild in Silverymoon:

  1. They inform me that the blood rock can not be harnessed one directionally.  It takes five pounds of the material to infect a five foot area.  A large enough mass of blood rock could cause taint to someone in the vicinity.
  2. I complete my necessary spell research for Acid Breath and have purchased enough materials to write the spell in my spell book. (another 24 hour period).
  3. Immediately prior to leaving Whillip I receive information (from a paid informant) about Glan Sarin.  Somewhere outside the Realms he had been convicted on murder charges and sent away to a prison.  He’d been in that prison at least six years ago, and this information was one year old by the time it reached me.  Unfortunately no additional information was available at the time.
    1. A seer at this Mage’s Guild (in Silverymoon) was willing to scry for Glan Sarin after I gave him my best description of him (via my unique method).  The seer could not see anything.  I hope this means he is still bound in prison protected from magic and not just some misdirection spell on his person.

I complete my activities and arrive on time to the Palisade along with all my companions (sans Khurshel). [/Dynnera]

20 Septev 1003 12:00 ~Noon

[Dynnera] Surprisingly, the ship sets sail on time.  The Captain, a human named Zacharius Thybender, provides some general words of caution regarding being on the ship and otherwise indicates first port at Evereska will be approximately 6:00am on the 21st .  Departure from Evereska will be at Noon. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Our party gets settled into their various cabins. I end up sharing one with Grenco (certainly my preference of any of the companions, although Greywing would be my second choice).  I inform the party that I need to write a learned spell into my spell book., and will remain in my room for the next 24 hours, except for short breaks and baring any catastrophe.  Grenco indicates a desire to speak with me, but indicates it can wait until after my spell preparations are complete. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera]  Greywing yells out from the corridor that Ysoac is being shot at (he had remained in bird form for some reason – I guess he does really prefer it to his elf form.)  I am confident that the others don’t need me and continue on with my spell preparations. [/Dynnera]

To be continued…

DM's note:
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party was exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. All that changed on the 15th of Septev, when they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guarded the cursed shrine of Fharlanghn. In a protracted battle, this embodiment of evil slew Thalidimar and Grenco before the party was finally able to vanquish it. After the arrival of new allies, a rested and healed party was finally able to unravel the curse surrounding this shrine of Fharlanghn. After unearthing the remains of the shrine's patron saint, they restored the mortal remains to their proper resting place, cleansed the font of taint, and restored the balance at this holy shrine. Soon after the cleansing ceremonies were concluded, a group of priests and their entourage arrived. Grateful for the service performed by our group, the priests raised Zeddishous from the dead and reincarnated Grenco. With this curse behind them (or is it? Perhaps the party is now affected by some remnant of the curse?), While Khurshel has decided to part ways with the party (remaining in Silverymoon), the rest of our group eagerly boarded the Skycruiser Palisade and departed Silverymoon in their quest to 'Get Back to Whillip!'. Hopefully, while aboard the Palisade, they'll be able to relax in relative safety. Will the remainder of their journey be boring? S
tay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 24 Jan 2009
Game-world date: 15 - 17 Sep 1003
Written by: Dynnera - One closing paragraph from Greywing.

Where we left off last session
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. So far the journey has been relatively uneventful. Despite the occasional encounter with threatening creatures, the party was fairly secure in their travels. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party was exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. All that changed on the 15th of Septev, when they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guarded the cursed shrine of Fharlanghn. In a protracted battle, this embodiment of evil slew Thalidimar and Grenco before the party was finally able to vanquish it. Soon afterward, new allies arrived. Armed with information, and refreshed by the healing spell of theses two new allies, the party was finally able to unravel the curse surrounding this shrine of Fharlanghn. After unearthing the remains of the shrine's patron saint, they restored the mortal remains to their proper resting place, cleansed the font of taint, and restored the balance at this holy shrine. With Thalidimar and Grenco slain, the party hasn't had an easy time in their rest away from Firestorm Peak. Will the remainder of their journey be so eventful? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

"The Sanctified Shrine - Resurrection Day"

15 Septev 1003
Freeday

[Dynnera] Shortly after the Cadaver Golem attack, Quinton and Greywing’s companion arrives in camp. Gregor is a Hakheerian barbarian with a gruff manner and an exceptional number of long swords on his body and pack horse. Quinton describes him as an almost unstoppable fighting force once alerted of a fight. Gregor seats himself at the fire and while introductions are underway, rummages through his equipment and starts distributing supposed magical items to us! (I’ve never encountered such a disregard or disdain of magical items as he displays.) He provides Khurshel, Enola, and I some items (some eggs to Khurshel, a chain to me, and I think a weapon to Enola.) We do laugh at Gregor’s statement on handing the item to Khurshel, “This will save you, now you owe me your life.” [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] (I actually recognize Gregor from a particular story during my caravan traveling days. The caravan he was guarding was ambushed in a ravine by a herd of dinosaur raptors. All the guards were killed but for Gregor who was severely wounded at the time. He killed the last five raptors in single combat and successfully led the caravan to the nearest town, preventing further losses of life or property to the caravan merchants. I recall hearing the story from one of the merchants who was so moved by the event that he asked me (as Clydeera) to tattoo an image of the battle on his arm.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] We agree to adjust the watch since the spellcasters sleep or meditation needs were disrupted and have two four hour watches. We sleep through the night and early morning without interruption. [/Dynnera]

16 Septev 1003
Hafn'mor

[Dynnera] Greywing has permitted me to share in his daily devotions to Ilmater. It’s a pleasure sharing my prayers with another believer, and one stronger in faith than myself. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] In the morning, Quinton confirms that another message scroll must be sent. We elect to burn the scroll with the following message, “Temple cleansed. Quinton, Greywing, and Gregor with us. Please come quickly!” A return message eventually appears “We are on our way.” During the day we wait at the temple performing minor activities:

  • Solmar, under observation by Enola, Ysoac, and I, walks the entire length of the cemetery plots. No additional undead creatures spring from their tombs.
  • Khurshel discovers a crypt he’s interested in and explores its contents (under Quinton’s supervision).
  • Belt prepares the Consecration ritual spell in the chambers below the shrine. The spell will take all of the daytime hours to cast.
  • Quinton prepares the Hallow ritual spell to bless the shrine itself. He informs us the spell won’t be completed until the following day.
  • At my request, Khurshel sends Esma out looking for some game. She returns having found a rabbit warren and Enola consents to some hunting. Six fresh rabbits are killed and I begin cooking a rabbit, apple, and fennel stew for dinner.

After a late dinner, Belt casts 'Speak with Dead' on Thalidimar and Grenco. Thalidimar indicates he doesn’t want to be returned to life, and only asks that his anointed mace (Ravek) be returned to his Temple. Grenco asks to be reincarnated again and as soon as possible. Ysoac was willing to cast the spell, but unfortunately had used all the costly components the last time Grenco was reincarnated. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Our typical barrage of evening attacks occurs. While our sleep is interrupted, little threat or damage is caused and Quinton’s spelling casting is undisturbed. In one incident a horse-sized red tiger killed Quinton’s riding horse. The tiger was severely injured, and ran away before we could kill it. The second incident revolved around Night Hunters, man-sized bats with an annoying screech. They were killed or abandoned their attacks. Finally, the third incident was worg wolves, likely attracted by all the blood and meat smells at this time. Once again, they were killed or dispersed. (These were the first opportunities to see Gregor in battle – or at least with the wolves. I never thought I’d see someone react as slowly as Solmar, but Gregor matches Solmar’s De - lib - er - ation. While the four spinning long swords and number of attacks was stylistically impressive, the results were not. I hope his skill in actually striking the enemy was inhibited by being half-asleep! With the fresh meat available, Gregor begins to prepare some of the choice horse and wolf meats for future meals. [/Dynnera]

17 Septev 1003 (day)
Aprochen

[Dynnera] Waiting, waiting, waiting… [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Finally (at 6 in the evening) our “benefactors” arrive. Three horses pulling a covered wagon, eight men-at-arms, and two priests. They are a priest of Fharlanghn, apparently comparable in experience to our own; and a priest of Selune of significantly higher experience in the clergy. They thank us for our service in lifting the curse and allowing them to attend to the shrine. They ask of us what services they can provide and ultimately resurrect Zeddishous and reincarnate Grenco at no cost to the group. Grenco shortly returns to the group as a Mountain Dwarf. I ask about not being told about the curse in advance, but they indicate no awareness of the circumstances of our hiring. Belt indicates his discussions were strictly with a judge magistrate named Horatio, and that Thalidimar had made additional inquiries at his temple. (I refrain from further comment as these priests did not appear part of the group that withheld the information for us). [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] It is now the 17th, with a day’s travel away from the city. Enola recalls that we needed to board our flying ship transport by mid-day on the 19th for its eventual departure on the 20th. Ysoac indicates his willingness to return to Whillip, should we wish to make that ship, instead of requiring the division of treasure beforehand. We ask that the priests send a message in advance, using whatever influence they have to allow a late boarding for our group. We contemplate traveling through the night to reach Silverymoon with adequate time. (With Gregor’s horse, we all can’t return via the portable hole. Yes, I have a big grin on my face!) [/Dynnera]

[Greywing] (The group seems very accepting of Bob and I. Even after they had a full rest, I still feel welcome in their presence; and not just because we helped with restoring the shrine. The only exception to that feeling of acceptance comes from the very secretive Khurshel. That one is the total opposite of any brother Illumian I’ve every met. Of course that tux of his is very stylish if not in the style of the Realms - Illmater knows he would not look out of place going to a King’s coronation in that garb. Is he afraid of his heritage? Every Illumian I know fights for the chance to show what they are. Then again, I don’t know his background. He could be an outcast. That would explain him hiding his sigils. Even so, I find it frightening that an Illumian would shun conversation. Even our monks overlook the vows of silence. For without dialogue there would be no need for words, and without words there would be no Illumians. I am shaken to my very core at what this could mean. I cannot bring myself to even look at this specter of a being, let alone ask it how it came to be.) [/Greywing]

To be continued…

DM's note:
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party was exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. All that changed on the 15th of Septev, when they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guarded the cursed shrine of Fharlanghn. In a protracted battle, this embodiment of evil slew Thalidimar and Grenco before the party was finally able to vanquish it. After the arrival of new allies, a rested and healed party was finally able to
unravel the curse surrounding this shrine of Fharlanghn. After unearthing the remains of the shrine's patron saint, they restored the mortal remains to their proper resting place, cleansed the font of taint, and restored the balance at this holy shrine. Soon after the cleansing ceremonies were concluded, a group of priests and their entourage arrived. Grateful for the service performed by our group, the priests raised Zeddishous from the dead and reincarnated Grenco. With this curse behind them (or is it? Perhaps the party is now affected by some remnant of the curse?), the party is eager to return to Silverymoon in order to 'Get Back to Whillip!', where they can relax in relative safety. Will the remainder of their journey be so eventful? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 10 Jan 2009
Game-world date: 15 Sep 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Greywing

Where we left off last session
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. So far the journey has been relatively uneventful. Despite the occasional encounter with threatening creatures, the party is fairly secure in their travels. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party is exploring, enjoying, and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. On the 15th of Septev, they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A cursed, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guards the shrine of Fharlanghn. It slew Thalidimar and retreated into the darkness. With Thalidimar slain, the party hasn't had an easy time in their rest away from Firestorm Peak. S
tay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

"New Beginnings along the traveled road - The arrival of new allies"

15 Septev 1003
Freeday

[Dynnera] With Solmar disabled, I temporarily take possession of the portable hole. We open it up and begin to lay Grenco at rest next to Zeddishous and Thalidimar. Solmar is inert, but Belt’s administrations confirm that it is still alive (DM's emphasis). [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I convince the party to send our second message to Silverymoon. The message as written is Elemental returned and destroyed. Another party member killed. Members infected with taint. Return quickly with healing, resurrection, and taint removal.” We await a response. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] In placing Grenco next to Zeddishous, I recall how the ranger would heal himself by twisting a ring on his finger. After a bit of searching (The portable hole is becoming quite crowded with corpses, loot, and the remains of fallen comrades), I locate the ring, place it on Solmar’s hand, and begin twisting the ring. There is some debate regarding whether “I” would need to pay Zeddishous for the use of the magical item. I ignore the debate. (I would much rather have Solmar functional than concern myself with the petty costs while still at risk!) At each twist of the ring, we see some improvements in Solmar’s exterior golem form. It awakens, and immediately asks “How long have I been disabled?” I indicate 30 minutes, although some sarcastically mutters “20 years”. We quickly inform Solmar of what has come to pass since its deactivation. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The party seeks shelter beyond the shrine, both due to weather conditions and defensibility. Fortunately Solmar remembers where our burning message occurred and remains alert (It is a faithful believer of Helm). A brief return message comes to it, “Sending an advance party.” (I’m starting to despise these priests who have used us and are miserly with critical information.) [/Dynnera]

[Greywing] My rump was sore by the time we finally got there in the dim of the evening. I didn’t complain, as much as I wanted to. Bob would have only told me I could have walked. Speaking of which, Quinton and I have called each other Bob for as long as I can remember... A long time ago, he said to me, “What did you say your name was?” Unlike most Humans, where their first name is the personal name and their last name is their family’s, I told him Greywing was my first name. Add that it was near impossible for him to pronounce my last name. Finally after going round and round, I told him that my close friends called me Vy. He just said he’d call me Bob. [/Greywing]

[Dynnera] Solmar suggests someone go back into the sink hole to retrieve his shield and axe as well as further scout the way. I agree if he and Belt will lower me down the rope. Enola begins a stream of antagonistic remarks about my being evil; she is starting to irritate me. Solmar, Belt and I agree that should I tug on the rope twice, they will pull me up as quickly as possible (no yelling during the scouting expedition). Khurshel has his bat follow me into the sinkhole. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] In the sinkhole I traverse the grounds, trying to recall my old skills of hiding and moving silently. I do not immediately find Solmar’s equipment. When I crest the top of the cave-in berm, I see a nest of bloodrock mixed with nightstone. Bloodrock is the stone that increasing the chance of critical wounding attacks while nightstone is equivalent to raw negative energy and damaging to all within 5ft. It appears the Taint Elemental slept there, with 5ft clear passages on each side of this nest. Beyond this area, a great room exists with stairs leading up, presumably to the shrine, a gem encrusted font, and a sarcophagus in a back alcove. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Not wanting to test the paths myself, I create my own version of the old miners trick with canaries. I cast two consecutive celestial dog summoning spells and have one run up/down each of the passageways. In each case, the dogs fell into a pit trap. I immediately dispelled each summoning spell. (I’m certain Solmar and Thalidimar would not approve of this; plus Enola would cackle about ‘E-V-I-L’ again. At some point I'd like to study the impact of summoning spells. We on the primal plane summon fiendish, celestial, or nature creatures to do our bidding with apparent immunity. Do entities on those planes have spells to cause prime material creatures like ourselves to perform their bidding? Are we fortunate that we’ve never been plucked from our circumstances for such a spell?) I choose to discontinue the exploration and will return to the group. In doing so, I cast detect magic and locate Solmar’s equipment in some shallow water. I tie myself to the rope and have Solmar and Belt pull me up from the sinkhole. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] We spend the rest day awaiting the possibility of this "advance party’s" arrival. Khurshel is anxious to leave, and mentions a barn nearby. He also spots some bloodrock and indentations in the ground, possibly from a meteor strike. Enola climbs a tree to monitor traffic on the road. I spent the time collecting all the bloodrock into one area (~250 lbs total). Khurshel and I each take a sample. (I want to see what value this rock might bring in town or possibly whether its ‘powers’ can be harnessed in some fashion to assist only its owner.) [/Dynnera]

[Greywing] We probably couldn’t have looked more opposite riding together on the same horse. Him decked out in all of his heavy mail, with a pristine white cloth with his gold flecked holy symbol waving about for all to see. And me with my home spun cotton shirt and pants, the color just slightly lighter than the dirt of the road. They were probably wondering why the clergy drug along a servant, and how come they didn’t at least give him some bloody shoes? Although I do not begrudge Bob for the great wealth it must have taken to purchase such an elaborate ensemble, I can’t help but think of the many things like real beds and feather stuffed pillows or even a fat sow it could provide for the orphanage... The group on that lonely ridge accepted us with glad hearts. Their relief was palpable once the healing was given to each. [/Greywing]

[Dynnera] Evening arrives and we decide to camp adjacent to the road, so as to not miss the "advance party". It turns out that a mounted armored cleric hails our campsite and behind him is an Illumian beggar. They introduce themselves as the "advance party"; the cleric being Quinton - A worshipper of Pelor, and the Illumian named Greywing is a monastic mage/priest of Ilmater. (I recognize him from the Temple in Whillip. This is great news, although we’ve never interacted when I was at the Temple.) [/Dynnera]

[Greywing] At first I believed they had been beaten thoroughly and that was the cause for their down-troddeness (is that even a word?). They were beaten up pretty bad for sure, but it was a deeper hurt, something emotional. Now that the taint is receding, I believe the turmoil is because of all the death that this group has had to deal with. I can’t say that I blame them, but you’d figure that a militant group such as they seem to be, would be used to death by now. Then again, perhaps it is good that death does bother their hearts. Perhaps Illmater has finally delivered me to a worthy cause. [/Greywing]

[Dynnera] Quinton quickly dispels any fear or suspicions we have by quickly healing us with one mighty spell, and removing taint from most of the party members. Greywing also heals some of us simply by his healing touch. We sit down amongst our meal as Quinton explains more about the origins of this shrine and our mission. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Quinton indicates that a priest of Fharlanghn, Malakai Palmitori came to this area and freely served the country folk, although accepting occasional donations. Eventually the country folk built this shrine in honor of Malakai. In his lifetime, a great flood coursed through the valley killing many. Malakai used his powers to return many to life. This action incurred the wrath of an evil god named Incabulos, who had caused the flood. The god chose to curse Malakai and the area. Malakai’s body is the key to cleansing this area of taint and should be located near the shrine. We must find and sanctify Malakai’s body. The Silverymoon priests and residents can not step into the area without bringing additional wrath of the god upon themselves and the area. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Just f**king great@! They use strangers to complete a task they are unwilling to sacrifice themselves to complete! Damn - It was only 1 riding day away – too close to ignore except purposely with a blind eye. How righteous and moral of them. If this curse has been present for generations then the whole Silverymoon leadership is culpable. If the strangers are unsuccessful, just get another competent batch and add to the undead body count. If they are successful, well they hope the god’s wrath is directed at the strangers and not themselves. Is this the type of lawfulness that Belt would abide by (I’m sure no law was broken.) Ysoac and Enola express indifference, but I have lost my free will in the past and don’t appreciate the full decision making having been taken away from me. I must consider any possible recourse I could make; Ilmater, they are unworthy of your protections. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Since all our taint is not removed, we feel the need to complete the consecration of this shrine now. After investigating the shrine (as the fire in the surface shrine has been extinguished for hours now), Solmar locates a trap door leading down the stairs. The gem encrusted font in the subterranean shrine has black residue staining it and radiates taint even more than the local area. Quinton and Greywing combine efforts to create blessed water, and a combination of their efforts and some of my elbow grease remove the stain on the font. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Meanwhile, Belt and Solmar look to lift the lid off the sarcophagus, the two of them straining to slide it to one side. Within the sarcophagus is a trove of nightstone (they immediately start taking damage). Apparently, the metal lining of the sarcophagus was shielding us from damage. After some false starts, we all stand aside as Khurshel uses his silvery mage hand gloves to ferry the nightstone safely from sarcophagus to nest. Unfortunately, upon being emptied no body was found in the sarcophagus. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] We determine that the body must be in or buried under the nest. We are fortunate that Ysoac has a scroll that turns him into an Earth Elemental. He quickly strides into the earth, finds the body buried 10ft under the center of the nest, and returns the body to us. Quinton leads a benediction over the body, and it is restored within the sarcophagus. In short order, Solmar and Belt can sense a slow dissipation of the taint in the area! We decide to camp in the temple, with Solmar alerting us if the taint doesn’t continue to dissipate. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] During my watch with Solmar, I decide it is time to confide in it. (I tell Solmar my feelings that it and I have been most vocal regarding leadership decisions within the group, even assuming Thalidimar returns. I also indicate that we are not significantly at odds as others might think. Without providing much detail, I mention escaping slavery and having some rogue skills, although trap detection will have to be developed in Whillip. I also tell him that I am a changeling, although my preference is that the rest of the party continues to assume my disguise abilities come from a magical ring, and not from an innate ability. I suggest there is no harm in this misdirection. I don’t request any pledge from Solmar, nor does it offer one. I do trust in its discretion, assuming it believes no harm would come from this personal secret. (My intent is that Solmar and I gain additional confidence in each other. Finally, I mention my frustrations regarding Enola and the escalation of her belligerence towards me.)) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Solmar is noncommittal, although it says “this explains much”. It states a belief that Enola’s belligerence is merely a flaw in her character and meaningless. Her earliest target was Zeddishous, then Grenco, and with both currently dead her attention has moved towards me. Solmar expresses its biggest complaint of me was the interruption of an apparent private discussion regarding donations between itself and Thalidimar at the Earth Genasi farmhouse. I apologize, stating my unfamiliarity with working in a group dynamic, and I should have given the benefit of time to see if Solmar or Thalidimar would have used private funds, or suggest party funds after their discussion. (I will have to see over time if my confession has any effect in our interactions. Certainly, I believe over time my additional skills would be discovered, so it’s likely preferable to Solmar that I inform it directly. I see little risk in advancing the discussion. I hope we can continue some discussions in future days) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] During Solmar, Greywing, and Enola’s watch, a Cadaver Golem attacks the party. A combination of range attacks and targeted magical spells, and it is quickly defeated (Greywing throws a similarly impressive Orb spell comparable to Khurshel). [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] (I am excited twofold regarding Quinton and Greywing. Quinton appears to be a mighty force of healing and positive energy again undead. Since necromancy is anathema to me, he is the type of person I’d like within the SCREWOFFS. As to Greywing, I am a devoted follower of Ilmater and hope he is open to sharing his daily devotions with me. The mercy and kindness of Ilmater has shined upon me during my escape from slavery and subsequent years thereafter. I look forward to continuing to pay back Ilmater’s kindness in my own unique way; including safeguarding his servant if possible. I hope we can convince them to join the SCREWOFFs and with Thalidimar’s return to life significant divine support will be on our side. (Should this happen, perhaps it will lessen the burden of Ysoac and Belt’s departure from the group (voluntary and involuntary respectively.))) [/Dynnera]

To be continued…

DM's note:
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. So far the journey has been relatively uneventful. Despite the occasional encounter with threatening creatures, the party was fairly secure in their travels. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party was exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. All that changed on the 15th of Septev, when they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guarded the cursed shrine of Fharlanghn. In a protracted battle, this embodiment of evil slew Thalidimar and Grenco before the party was finally able to vanquish it. Soon afterward, new allies arrived. Armed with information and refreshed by the healing spell of theses two new allies, the party was finally able to unravel the curse surrounding this shrine of Fharlanghn. After unearthing the remains of the shrine's patron saint, they restored the mortal remains to their proper resting place, cleansed the font of taint, and restored the balance at this holy shrine.
With Thalidimar and Grenco slain, the party hasn't had an easy time in their rest away from Firestorm Peak. Will the remainder of their journey be so eventful? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 27 Dec 2008
Game-world date: 15 Sep 1003
Written by: Dynnera

Where we left off last session
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. So far the journey has been relatively uneventful. Despite the occasional encounter with threatening creatures, the party is fairly secure in their travels. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party is exploring, enjoying, and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. On the 15th of Septev, they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A cursed, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guards the shrine of Fharlanghn. It slew Thalidimar and retreated into the darkness. With Thalidimar slain, the party hasn't had an easy time in their rest away from Firestorm Peak. S
tay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

“Undeadly evil at the Shrine of Fharlanghn — Part 2”

15 Septev 1003
Freeday

[Dynnera] Our group remains stunned at Thalidimar’s demise and the escape of the Elder Taint Elemental. Solmar takes over maintenance of the portable hole and respectfully lays Thalidimar’s body at rest next to Zeddishous. (I agree it is too risky for me to hold, especially with the curse of the shroud in place, and the rate at which our party members are dying off!). [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The shrine itself is filled with dead and decaying bodies, so much so that they cover the floor and seem at least three feet high. Solmar, Belt, and I can barely observe a stone font in the center of the shrine – fouled of course by the dead. The shrine itself appears made of stone except for some torn tapestries still hanging on the walls, and open skylights letting sunlight into the shrine. Solmar suggests building a pyre within the shrine itself instead of attempting to move all out of the shrine. (I like the idea since it saves time, avoids the potential for diseases, and would kill any hidden dangers.) Belt meditates on whether that plan would be acceptable to Fharlanghn, then consents to the plan. A number of us throw in wood from a nearby wood-stack to stoke the fire, and I set off the wood by the entryway via the shroud (having cast fireball previously I couldn’t use my flaming burst ability). We watch to confirm the fire is self-sustaining; Belt continues to cite his prayers as near the entryway as possible. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I suggest that we send a message to the Fharlanghn clerics, indicating the expulsion of the monster, our current defense of the temple, and their immediate return. Solmar disagrees stating the mission required the confirmed execution of the monster. Our compromise solution, since we had multiple message scrolls, was to send the following update message, “Elemental fled shrine; cleansing and guarding shrine now. Hunting Elemental tomorrow, healing support needed. Need two resurrections. Please advise.” While waiting for a response, I suggest to the group that Solmar systematically defeat the zombies (single combat!) with our potential support if needed. Solmar is concerned of its effectiveness without the Taint Elemental’s demise. The conversation becomes moot, as we receive a return message from the Fharlanghn clerics. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The message states “Destroy the elemental that is haunting the shrine. We can not come until it is destroyed, or risk continuation of the curse.” I turn to Belt and vehemently ask him what the hell do they mean by a curse! Grenco seems equally angered although the others react stoically (Solmar) or with indifference (all others). Belt proclaims ignorance of any curse, and Solmar recommends not leaping to any conclusions since we don’t know the circumstances related to the curse. (Regardless of whether the curse possibly affects us, I’m angered at the blatant obfuscation of information that might have been useful to know. I’m sure Belt acted as a lemming with his priestly brothers; not asking any questions related to the mission, and Solmar’s reaction is likely military in nature, i.e. senior command elected not to inform the ‘infantry’ of ‘need to know only’ information.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] As reinforcements won’t be coming soon, and after some debate, we agree to recuperate prior to continuing the fight with the Taint Elemental. Solmar requests that Grenco perform some scouting of the sink hole so that we can quickly engage the monster if it is residing in there. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Grenco ties a rope to a nearby tree and climbs down into the hole. The ground around the sinkhole is unstable and sections are prone to cave away. About a minute later, I can hear his outcry to the group (in hindsight, is that typical scouting procedure instead of climbing silently up again?). I inform the party, and Solmar, Belt, and I head over to the sinkhole. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Grenco indicates this entry has stakes surrounding it, as well as fetid standing water here and further down a passageway which eventually slopes up. He thinks he heard movement and is asking for some assistance. Solmar and Belt elect to go down the sinkhole while I return to get the others to stand near the sinkhole. When I return I find that Belt is climbing back up the rope, with significant puncture wounds in his body. Apparently he fell during the climb down and impaled himself. With little to no healing spells remaining, he becomes another bystander. Solmar successfully climbs down the rope, and Grenco spends some time clearing wooden stakes from the rope area. (Another scouting action – silent and unnoticeable?) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Minutes later all hell breaks loose! Grenco runs back saying it’s here and they are coming up. Ysoac turns into a bat and flies in the sinkhole to investigate. I turn to Belt and tell him we should pull up on the rope as soon as we feel the others are there; he chooses to ignore me. I feel tension on the rope and begin to pull on the rope but the ground and rope is now muddy and I slip midway, loosing my grip on the rope; the rope falls and then goes slack! This time Belt steps over, and assists in pulling on the rope to find Grenco’s dead body tied to it. My gut is turned inside out assuming that my inadvertent slip may have aggravated his wounds and killed Grenco (how was I to know he was badly hurt or in hindsight I shouldn’t assist? Damn it, this was supposed to be a scouting mission, did we all forget that – you damn courageous and foolish half-orc!) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Down below, I see Ysoac as a bat flying back into the opening and a black bear dragging an inert Solmar behind it. Belt agrees to climb down and carry Solmar up once I cast my reflective field (invisibility) spell on him. While climbing down, we see that the Taint Elemental is continuing its attack and kills the bear. Afterwards, it begins to climb up the sink-hole wall and fortunately doesn’t notice the invisible Belt clinging to the wall (I didn't know he was such a good climber). [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The Taint Elemental reaches the edge of the sink-hole, what turns out to be a fortuitous position for the party. Enola strikes with arrows, Khurshel with his electricity orb or wand of lightning, and myself with explosive rune beads. Ysoac must have summoned a giant eagle as we see one swoop into the hole, grab Solmar, and carry it out of the sink-hole and lay its body adjacent to the temple. The elemental takes damage from our attacks and the ground is weakened such that it falls into the sink-hole. I see the amorphous mass become still, with a now visible Belt standing on top of it! In his fervor to kill it, he seems to have jumped from the rope to author the final blow (fitting as he’s the reason we’re here). [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] We gather around the burning shrine with an inert Solmar (how do you distinguish an inert warforged golem from a dead warforged golem?) and a dead Grenco. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I am curious regarding Enola’s speech of late towards me, as she seems increasing hostile? She seems to pointedly agree with Solmar (as one example), not from any moral stance, or thoughtful agreement of his position, but purely in spite – looking to goad me? She also has made comments either denigrating my person or half-threatening (although those aren’t exclusively directed at me so perhaps it’s her prickly personality; and I can’t forget her arrow attacks the last time I ran from the portable hole. I don’t think she’s really threatening me, since her arrow attacks are usually accurate and deadly. What is the meaning of this posturing? Is she trying to set a female pecking order similar to the pecking order she quickly established with Zeddishous (i.e. “I’m the better 'or only' ranger in the party”)? Damn, this persona I chose was to encourage males to underestimate me, but I didn’t consider other female companions. Perhaps if I slowly change to a less attractive physical appearance, she’ll feel less threatened, although she is already the more attractive of the two of us…Hmm, perhaps unbeknownst to the party Grenco’s advances to Enola have been accepted, either in reality or in her heart? Perhaps she is jealous of the bond Grenco and I have started to develop, or perhaps when he tackled me and all his clothes were burnt off. Were Grenco and Enola together in Silverymoon and Grenco’s gambling/drinking just a cover?) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] (Once we collect ourselves, I will suggest another message be sent to the Fharlanghn clerics, “Elemental returned and destroyed. Another party member killed. Members infected with taint. Return quickly with healing, resurrection, and taint assistance.”) [/Dynnera]

To be continued…

DM's note:
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. So far the journey has been relatively uneventful. Despite the occasional encounter with threatening creatures, the party is fairly secure in their travels. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party is exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. On the 15th of Septev, they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guards the shrine of Fharlanghn. In a protracted battle, this embodiment of evil slew Thalidimar and Grenco before the party was finally able to destroy it. With Thalidimar and Grenco slain, the party hasn't had an easy time in their rest away from Firestorm Peak. Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 29 Nov 2008
Game-world date: 15 Sep 1003
Written by: Solmar and Dynnera

Where we left off last session
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. So far the journey has been relatively uneventful. Despite the occasional encounter with threatening creatures, the party is fairly secure in their travels. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party is exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. On the 15th of Septev, they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Attacked en route by flying beasts, their rest is anything but boring. Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

“Undeadly evil at the Shrine of Fharlanghn”

15 Septev 1003
Freeday

[Solmar] Departed Silverymoon for Fharlanghn shrine during moondark. Priests met us at city gate at behest of Silverymoon government. Cast a spell protecting us from taint for one day. To maximize spell's effectiveness, Ysoac flew us to shrine inside portable hole. Delayed part-way there when attacked by large flying creatures. Khurshel called them wind scythes. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] (How can I ever avoid traveling in this abominable portal hole? I don’t think the others will ever stop suggesting it as the expedite means. I must find some way to circumvent my traveling in it, but we certainly need it for its normal use.) As soon as the portable hole opens I jump out in a panic and run. Fortunately I recover shortly and can still assist in the battle with the Wind Scythes. Although there attacks are quite dangerous, the usual array of missile and magic attacks prevent any extensive damage to our warriors. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Quickly driven off. Arrived at shrine just after daybreak. Dynnera's enclosure-induced panic peaked, and she immediately fled. Regained composure and returned to squad just as taint elemental appeared. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We arrive at the Shrine although I’m unaware due to my panic. I run as quickly as I can away from the portal hole. This time Grenco and Belt give chase, with Grenco attempting to tackle me. I use my minor teleport ability to elude his grasp until my daily allotment I used up. He finally tackles me from behind; in my panic, I use the flaming shroud to force him to let me go. He actually holds on to me until I recover, regardless of the pain or the lost of his equipment due to the nature of the shroud! [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] (I…I don’t understand? I value Grenco’s bravery and concern for my safety but could he have just kept up without tackling me? Does he have feelings for me? I know I like him, but should I let anything else develop? When we return to SilveryMoon, I need to reflect and minimally make amends to the damage caused to him.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Shrine approximately 30 yards up short hill from road. Graveyard between shrine and road with path from shrine entrance down to road. Taint elemental hid behind shrine (nearly as big as the building itself). At Thalidimar's command, we charged up the hill to attack. Zombies rose out of every grave tread on. Minor nuisance easily ignored or dealt with. Moral implications of so many desecrated corpses a much larger issue than the actual zombies. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] The Taint Elemental exhibits its intelligence by making us come to it through its undead traps. Turns out at each step across the cemetery undead zombie minions burst from the ground. These are primarily distractions to our party as they are ineffective in combating us. Belt casts some vulnerability spell on the creature and yells to the group that fire should be more effective against it. He attempts to enter into melee combat but takes a devastating blow and is forced to retreat. Otherwise he attempts to bolster Solmar and Grenco with his divine reach healing (and previously cast bull strength spells). Enola continues to pepper the creature with arrows; her normal strikes however are only scratching it. Solmar and Grenco engage it as well, but it has significant resistance to weapon damage. All three are primarily defenders awaiting the spellcasters to put greater impacting spells on it. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Khurshel casts his array of spells, including electrical orb spells and rainbow pattern spells. Ysoac casts his force splinter spells to good effect. I focus some scorching ray spells and sacrifice my fiery burst abilities to enact a more powerful fireball spell against it. Its difficult to gauge the impact to the creature but we must have significantly staggered it! [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Battle with taint elemental difficult and costly. Weapons marginally effective at best. Elemental damage from casters most effective, but still slow to wear the creature down. It slew Thalidimar, and then used magic to disappear to someplace else. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Thalidimar causes his mace to burst into flames and wades into battle. It was a brave but fateful decision where Tymora’s luck was insufficient to protect him. The creature turned upon him and with two mighty strikes dropped him to the ground. Shortly thereafter it teleported away. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Grenco and Solmar went over to tend Thalidimar but his chest had been caved in from the force of the second strike. Solmar could do nothing for him. We’ve lost another party member! [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Khurshel and Esma (his bat) discover a deep sink-hole near the Shrine. It was near where Ysoac first spotted the Taint Elemental so we believe it retreated here. Perhaps it is time for Esma and Scorch to monitor the sink-hole while the rest of tend to our fallen leader and secure the area.[/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] (I consider our immediate next steps. I will make the following recommendations to Solmar as it takes the temporary mantle of party leadership (1) we should send the message back to the Fharlanghn priests, stating something along the lines of (21 words I think the limit may have been 20), “Elemental expelled from Shrine, escaped into Sinkhole; Undead minions dispatched. Multiple resurrections needed; Mages needed to block elemental return; Come quickly!”; (2) Belt should prepare the shrine for any sanctifying rituals he or the priests will perform; and (3) Supported by the remaining party, we should systematically destroy all the undead minions while we await assistance. Solmar can engage in single combat one cautious step after another, while the rest of us are prepared to step in if necessary.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] (I also begin to think about whether I should stay with the group or continue going alone in the world? The attrition rate within the group is staggering. Is this normal? Certainly a risk/reward analysis is needed as the greater risk of my premature death is balanced by the rapid and greater advancement in my power. Also this group, at significant cost, defeated a dangerous mage and his allies. It is obvious to me that to rid the world of Glen Sarin’s evil, and to exact my revenge against him, I need a dedicated group such as this one. In fact could this group be capable already of such a mission?) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] (I anticipate Thalidimar’s resurrection and return to leadership of the party. But what if in the arms of his Goddess he chooses to discontinue mortal life? If so, I am resolved to shape this party to my objectives and moral standing. I want Ysoac and Enola as part of our group, hopefully we can convince Ysoac to remain with us. With Thalidimar’s moderate voice silenced, I can not abide Belt’s official joining the party. I am willing to follow Solmar’s moral compass to a certain degree as we are not so dissimilar in intent.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] (Speaking of Solmar, it is the likeliest candidate for leader if Thalidimar chooses his Goddess’ realm over this mortal world. Outside of the possibility of Grenco, I don’t believe any of the others would vote me leader of the party. Of the remaining options, I believe only Solmar and I are appropriate candidates… hmm, perhaps Zeddishous… In any event, if I remain with the group I will need to work to better establish the perimeters’ of my relationship with Solmar. Perhaps I should consider revealing more of my history to it; eventually my nature is likely to be revealed and I am not concerned about prejudices it might feel.) [/Dynnera]

To be continued…

DM's note:
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. So far the journey has been relatively uneventful. Despite the occasional encounter with threatening creatures, the party is fairly secure in their travels. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party is exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. On the 15th of Septev, they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Assuming a fairly quick combat, the party had no idea what they were in for. An Elder Taint Elemental guards the shrine of Fharlanghn. It slew Thalidimar and retreated into the darkness. With Thalidimar slain, the party hasn't had an easy time in their rest away from Firestorm Peak. Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007:
[ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct | 20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ]
Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep | 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ]

Real-world date: 15 Nov 2008
Game-world date: 13 - 15 Sep 1003
Written by: Solmar and Dynnera

Where we left off last session
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. So far the journey has been relatively uneventful. Despite the occasional encounter with threatening creatures, the party is fairly secure in their travels. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party is exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. Waiting for the departure of the next flying ship, rest, recovery and advancement await our group in Whillip. Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

“Relaxing in Silverymoon?”

13 Septev 1003
Onward

[Solmar] Found Silverymoon branch of Bank of Whillip, and re-established access to my bank account. Spent afternoon replenishing sundries lost in acid pit. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] I contacted the local Mage's Guild and made my introductions. They extended professional curtsies to me and will allow me complete access to Guild facilities. In the library I’ve selected some spell candidates for research given we’ll be here for a number of days. I’ve also sold a number of magical items to replenish my funds in anticipation of training or purchasing the magical items we’ve just found in Firestorm Peak (why did I ever carry around a Javelin of Chain Lightning anyway!). Unfortunately time is short today, so I will need to return tomorrow. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Attempted to attend concert at sundown. Silverymoon Orchestra performing a show titled "Celestial Beginnings". Forced to leave at first intermission. Crowded audience holding pen triggered compulsion for open spaces. Disappointing and frustrating. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] Ysoac announced at dinner that he would not accompany us back to Whillip. He wishes to remain in/near Silverymoon for the time being. (With Winter coming on soon? His complaints about his discomfort in the cold must be greatly exaggerated.) Mission spoils must therefore be divided prior to departure for Whillip. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] Thalidimar formally extended invitation to join SCREWOFFS to Belt, Enola, Khurshel, and Ysoac. In his haste to prevent further ally attrition, he also called for a membership vote. I pointed out that no vote would be possible, as Zeddishous was still absent. However, Silverymoon is large enough that the resurrection services that he requested should now be available. A discussion about the implications of allies joining as members still possible. Dynnera objected to Thalidimar even extending the invitations without first consulting the existing SCREWOFF members. Her insubordinate and confrontational demeanor would have warranted disciplinary action in any of my former units. Verbal altercation ensued when I corrected her misconception about group member rights, and her breach of etiquette. Disagreement with group leader acceptable; rudeness is not. Furthermore, presentation of an idea can become more important than the idea itself. Confrontationalism almost guaranteed to cause others to reject idea presented, regardless of actual validity. This is a concept apparently lost to Dynnera. Thalidimar displays great patience while attempting to direct such an undisciplined squad as the SCREWOFFS. Discussion about possible new memberships eventually resumed. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] I was surprised at Ysoac’s announcement to stay here and not wishing to continue with our group. I’ve found his skills impressive and complimentary to what the rest of us can perform. His announcement prompts Thalidimar to suggest the others join the SCREWOFFS. I object, and as usual Solmar references its military background in an attempt to restrict discussion. (Its programming is certainly wound tight, especially when in hindsight we are in agreement in concept. Once again it makes a good spokes-thing for the group but I’m glad a moderate thinker like Thalidimar is the leader.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] (Of course I have yet to raise my concerns to the current SCREWOFFS membership which prompted my comments. I do not see myself voting Belt into the party. Partly to the confrontation simmering below the surface between him and Grenco, but more importantly his rigid legalese morality. Solmar exhibits a rigid morality of good, something I generally agree with and respect; Belt applies his vision of law irrespective of all else. His actions at the evil crypt while innocuous of themselves, will cause future conflict. There are plenty of other adventurers that will want to join us, one’s of similar views on the importance of life’s freedom from potential legal tyranny.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Also discussed Zeddishous's resurrection. Discussion ensued concerning 50/50 cost sharing between party and Zeddishous. Dynnera suggested party funds pay for 1/2 of cheaper ceremony than Zed requested, and Zed pay for all additional cost. Due to low party funds, suggestion accepted by majority vote. Gathered Zed's belongings in preparation for ceremony. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We discuss changes to the SCREWOFFS charter, but Solmar wishes to wait until Zeddishous is resurrected, as he is a full member. We discuss the current funds of the party and agree that the party should offer full payment for a raise dead spell to Zeddishous, but any spell of greater cost should be absorbed by Zeddishous himself. I will recommend this as our permanent clause in a revised charter. [/Dynnera]

14 Septev 1003
Forens

[Solmar] Visited Temple of Helm first thing this morning. Gave briefing letter for delivery to Inaen. Inquired about removal of compulsion defect. Personnel here capable. Paid for ceremony and established appointment for evening of the 19th. Unable to perform resurrection ceremony Zed requested at this temple. However, there is a Fharlanghn shrine one day's ride west of Silverymoon with a resurrection font. Cost for resurrection ceremonies performed there considerably discounted. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Before heading to the Mages Guild, I returned to the Aerodrome to look up that Gnome and his mechanical contraptions. After paying his viewing fee, he shows me a seated mechanism that would allow short periods of flight through hand and foot cranks. Interesting and seemingly sound in engineering design. I’ll mention it to the group for consideration. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] At the Mages Guild I inquire with the librarian whether any current or old maps of Whillip exist. (I’m tired of paying that Gnome his fees! Even an old map will assist in my own personal memorization of Whillip’s key locations.) He directs me to inquire at the Merchant’s Guild. Since we agreed to look into resurrection services for Zeddishous, I must cut my visit short and return to the Inn. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] At lunch, Belt reported that Fharlanghn shrine currently besieged by a taint elemental. He has volunteered to liberate shrine, and asked for our aid. Thalidimar and I immediately offered our services. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Belt requests the party liberate a nearby Fharlanghn shrine from a taint elemental. (I am ready to return to Whillip and selfishly hope this could be Belt’s own swan song from the group. Unfortunately, Thalidimar and Solmar both readily agree to assist. I guess I can admit to myself that it is also the right thing to do. Hmm, should I tweak Belt and ask him what the laws of possession are in this country? Perhaps the taint elemental has squatters rights to the shrine by now? Maybe it should submit a petition to the City to defend its rights to the ‘abandoned’ shrine?) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Thalidimar reported that Tymoran Temple able to perform resurrection ceremony. Confirmed that ceremony cost discounted at Fharlanghn shrine. Also, approached by another individual needing resurrection services for companion and offering to pay us 5,000gp to liberate Fharlanghn shrine. All SCREWOFFS and current allies volunteered to help liberate shrine. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] Thalidimar also obtained message scrolls to alert Tymoran priests immediately upon liberating Fharlanghn shrine, eliminating 2-day round trip back to Silverymoon to escort priests to shrine for Zed's resurrection ceremony. Airships bound for Whillip leave Silverymoon every 10 days, so if liberating shrine takes more than a couple days, return trip to Whillip will not be delayed significantly anyway. [/Solmar]

15 Septev 1003
Freeday

[Solmar] Departed Silverymoon for Fharlanghn shrine during moondark. Priests met us at city gate at behest of Silverymoon government. Cast a spell protecting us from taint for one day. To maximize spell's effectiveness, Ysoac flew us to shrine inside portable hole. Delayed part-way there when attacked by large flying creatures. Khurshel called them wind scythes. [/Solmar]

To be continued…

DM's note:
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. So far the journey has been relatively uneventful. Despite the occasional encounter with threatening creatures, the party is fairly secure in their travels. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party is exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. On the 15th of Septev, they decided to visit a nearby shrine. A haunted, tainted, infested shrine - Attacked en route by flying beasts, their rest is anything but boring. Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 01 Nov 2008
Game-world date: 11 - 13 Sep 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Solmar

Where we left off last session
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. So far the journey has been relatively uneventful. Despite the occasional encounter with threatening creatures, the party is fairly secure in their travels. When we last left the party, they were engaged in a violent encounter with a group of rather presumptuous worg wolves. Danger had revealed it's snarling white fangs, and threatened the brave adventurers. Will violence deter these travelers from their destination? How far away is Silverymoon when countless threats abound on the road to safety? Rest, recovery and advancement await our group on their home turf, and the next adventure looms ahead; so s
tay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

“Silverymoon at last”

11 Septev 1003
Newday

[Dynnera] The six wolves encountered turned out to be Worgs. A momentary inconvenience for our group, these wolves are quickly killed or escape back into the forest of this mountain. Our usual coordinated attacks, nothing of note but perhaps Ysoac’s casting of entangle then subsequently splinter bolt at all/some of the worg. After the attack we settle back in camp. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Attacked as we set up camp by a pack of worgs. Quickly driven off. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Three Dragonkin approach the camp. They seem reluctant to battle once the entire group is awakened. They speak in draconic and make reference to some battle in the region. I indicate they should leave or face their demise at our hands (easy to talk tough when Solmar & Enola are awake and ready for action). They quickly do so, although Belt gives chase having cast fly on himself. A minute later Belt returns indicating they were part of a larger contingent of Dragonkin that continued to move away from our location. [Dynnera]

12 Septev 1003
Nexsta'

[Solmar] Visited last night by scouting party of flying, reptilian humanoids. Apparently wanted our magical possessions, but decided wasn't worth the effort and flew away en route to a war. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] A leisurely trip marching throughout the day. No encounters with anything of note and we make camp expecting our usual disruptive evening of foolish creatures. [Dynnera]

[Solmar] Day's travel uneventful. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] As evening settles in, four Ice Toads are spotted bounding towards us from a nearby mountain slope. At least one is oversized to the others. Once again readily defeated creatures, although this battle was more impacted by terrain than anything the creatures did. The terrain significantly sloped with high and low ridges so the party did more damage to itself unsuccessfully jumping from ridge to ridge than the creatures did to us as a whole. Based on the timing of the evening, and my assumption of greater effect on the Ice Toads, I cast my fireball spell on the Ice Toads nearest Grenco. [Dynnera]

[Dynnera] After the battle Thalidimar and Belt heal the injured and Solmar decides to move the horses to a more readily defensible position. We return to sleep without incident for the remainder of the night. [Dynnera]

[Solmar] Attacked shortly after night rest period began. Large "ice toads". Largest nearly killed Bulwark - Ysoac tending to him now. Have relocated horses to more defensible position. [/Solmar]

13 Septev 1003
Onward

[Dynnera] Just after breaking camp we encounter a string of Tlalusk. They appear domesticated based some having saddle gear and they way they are walking. We consider trying to capture them for our use, Khurshel in fact casting an illusionary wall around the back three or four, but they just panic and continue down the path away from us. [Dynnera]

[Solmar] A half-dozen pack animals wandered by as we broke camp this morning. Approximately 2 men tall, long thick fur, six-legged, with large horns and tusks. Thalidimar wished to herd them to Silverymoon for either sale or reward. Khurshel attempted to corral three of them with a spell that appeared like a wooden enclosure, but they spooked and escaped. We did not pester them further. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] A group of horsemen approach us welcoming us to the City of Silverymoon (we are at the outskirts of the city). They are chasing after the Tlalusk and we point them in the direction we last saw them. They tell us of some musical event by the ‘Celestial Beginnings Orchestra’ occurring tonight at the Great Auditorium north of the city, otherwise no new information that wasn’t already known. [Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The guards do answer one question that was bothering us. The Dragonkin we encountered earlier mentioned a war they were fighting. According to these guards, the Dragonkin are fighting a war with some giants over mineral rights in a nearby glacial valley. [Dynnera]

[Solmar] Encountered Silverymoon patrol at midday. They were tracking lost tlalusk (the creatures we attempted to corral in the morning). Indicated that the war is between dragonkin (humanoids from night-before-last) and frost giants over mining territory. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] In Silverymoon, we immediately head to Basil’s Aerodrome, located at the south end of the city. The next scheduled airship (from Whillip) is The Palisade which is scheduled to arrive at Silverymoon six days from now, and leave the very next day (20th). Some of us book our trip in advance while still at Basil’s. [Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Immediately outside of Basil’s, we are accosted by a gnomish vendor wishing for investments in a personally cranked mechanical wing contraption. Khurshel and I review and agree that it looks to be capable of short flight (likely 50 ft or so). The vendor, his name escapes me now, mentioned a greater contraption available to view for only 20 gold pieced, but we say our goodbyes and continue on. [Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The party ultimately gets individual rooms for seven nights at “Uldra’s Den”. Many of the party wish to go to the concert, while I indicate I’m headed to the local Mage’s Guild for introductions and to confirm we can use their services during our stay. Grenco announces its time to eat, drink, gamble, and generally be merry and heads over to “The Ice Berg” a nearby gambling den. Before we all depart we agree to meet for dinner nightly. [Dynnera]

[Solmar] Arrived in Silverymoon early afternoon. Proceeded to aerodrome. Next airship bound for Whillip (the Palisade) will arrive 19 Septev, departing the next day. [/Solmar]

To be continued…

DM's note:
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. So far the journey has been relatively uneventful. Despite the occasional encounter with threatening creatures, the party is fairly secure in their travels. Arrived at Silverymoon on the 13th of Septev, the party is exploring, enjoying and taking advantage of all the city has to offer. Waiting for the departure of the next flying ship, rest, recovery and advancement await our group in Whillip. Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for the next adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 18 Oct 2008
Game-world date: 08 - 11 Sep 1003
Written by: Dynnera, Belt, Thalidimar and Solmar

Where we left off last session
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. So far the journey has been relatively uneventful. Despite the occasional encounter with threatening creatures, the party is fairly secure in their travels. When we last left the party, they were resting comfortably at the Caravan Inn in Sundabar, preparing for their trip to Silverymoon on the 'morrow. Rest, recovery and advancement await our group on their home turf, and the next adventure looms ahead; so stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

“On the road again”

08 Septev 1003
Longday

[Solmar] We are resting at an inn in Sundabar tonight. Will continue on toward Silverymoon tomorrow. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Within the city of Sundabar, we spend the evening at the Caravan Inn without incident. [/Dynnera]

09 Septev 1003
Endsnear

[Belt] I awoke this morning and was confused about something that occurred the previous night. As I buffed out the scar in my metallic skin from the Spectral Panthers, I remember asking Fharlanghn to heal Solmar of the inflictions that these beasts placed on him… but how did Fharlanghn heal a construct like Solmar? Solmar has no vital organs like mortals, nor does he have flesh and blood. Is Solmar becoming human? Is Fharlanghn able to heal both constructs and flesh? Oh, Fharlanghn if you would but enlighten me on the road this day. Give me your thoughts and let the meandering road and the meditations of this traveler be enlightening to this parties hearts and minds. [/Belt]

[Belt] I sat downstairs this morning and was caught in a bit of a discussion about what would be done for breakfast and for food on the road. Dynnera seems to be passionately involved with Grenco about spending some coin on provisions. Traveling with these S.C.R.E.W.O.F.F.S. certainly makes me yearn for the open road and Traveling under the laws of the road. Some comment is made about not sharing food or drink with the rest of the party, as I ordered an all you can eat breakfast for 1 silver piece. Thalidimar and I discuss whether it is ethical to withhold healing from the party, because they do not practice pious beliefs. That is like withholding food and drink from the party for not participating in breakfast. What if they are fasting this meal away so as to grow closer to their respective beliefs? [/Belt]

[Solmar] Left Sundabar for Silverymoon this morning. [/Solmar]

[Belt] The next thing I recall is that we are on our way to Silverymoon once more on the back of a horse. I am reminded of stories of Fharlanghn meeting horse riders on the road and the parable of the Man riding Horse. [/Belt]

[Dynnera] We leave Sundabar in the morning and mid-day encounter another group of dwarven miners traveling towards us. The leader was a Dwarf named Karaman riding a dire wolf. These miners also included a string of gnoll slaves. Karaman told Solmar that they were headed to an ore foundry in the Nether Mountains. He also indicated that some trolls were collecting toll fees at a nearby bridge. (My companions seem more indifferent to the injustice of slavery when the outward appearance of the slaves doesn’t match their own. Perhaps Solmar had some reaction to the slave's future plight as it discontinued the conversation fairly abruptly.) [/Dynnera]

[Belt] We meet a group of miners and their pack of Gnoll slaves heading toward Sundabar and eventually some processing plant I’ve never heard of. I closely inspect them for taint, but it would appear that they have none. We receive word that ahead there is a Troll Bridge, errr….rather Toll Bridge ahead that is going over a river. The remainder of our journey is spent in an argument between Solmar and myself vs. Dynnera and Grenco (shall I ever get use to this Half Orc?) and the right fee to pay to use the bridge. I know that Fharlanghn would say that the open road is free, but to go over a river on a bridge requires generosity on the part of the traveler so as to maintain two roads which come together by this bridge. [/Belt]

[Solmar] Passed another dwarf miner caravan that was heading toward Sundabar. This one had slaves - gnolls that appeared to be well treated. Dwarf leader warned us of bridge guarded by trolls demanding toll to cross. We parted without further interaction. As despicable as slavery may be, it is legal in many areas, and I cannot arbitrarily attack slavers without proper authority or just cause. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Late in the afternoon, we arrive at the bridge with a temporary sign indicating a toll for passage is required. Stepping out from an outcropping is a War Troll. It speaks to us in Dwarven, indicating that 50 gold pieces per person must be paid. I attempt to negotiate a toll of 5 gold pieces per person but the War Troll looks at our equipment and says it would accept magic items in trade. I secretly cast detect magic and see that the bridge has 5 separate magical spells cast on it, and that the War Troll is wearing magical armor and has a magical great sword. I tell the War Troll I need to discuss the fee with the remainder of my party. [/Dynnera]

[Belt] As we approach the bridge, I am told that these are some hybrid Troll’s, bred for war! The one troll approaches us asking for a fee of 50 gold per person. Though it seems to be too much, I realize that this is a fine piece of architecture to go over this raging river. The party begins to discuss and we offer less gold to pass, but are turned down for magic items. It seems that Dynnera is carefully eyeing the Troll and his belongings. I see drool running down the tusks and face of Grenco. I do now appreciate his current form, as I can see what lies in the heart of our scout. [/Belt]

[Belt] Grenco instead pulls out his spell casting sword and summons the Colossus to carry us across the river. Little difficulty is had as we are able to go from one side to the other. The Troll simply watches and respectfully salutes us. It would seem that this Troll has honor and lives by the code of his watch. [/Belt]

[Dynnera] After discussion, Grenco agrees to cast the Colossus spell from his sword to ferry our whole group across the bridge. Enola casts a Calm Animal spell to control some of the animals, while Ysoac uses his handle animals’ skills for the remainder. The party is successfully ferried across the river by the Colossus without any disruptions by the War Troll. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Encountered guarded bridge late afternoon. Solitary war troll on duty. Spellcasters determined that it carried magic weapon, but more important was numerous spells placed on the bridge itself. Defeating troll may not have been sufficient to allow passage over bridge. Troll requested 50gp each for access to bridge. Negligible cost, but Dynnera and others protested. They wished to search for another location to ford the river (not likely to be near - we were in mountainous terrain, and river flowed in deep crevice) or find some other way across. We couldn't spend a few extra days in Longbridge to observe their annual festival because Dynerra and others wished to return to Whillip as expediently as possible, but diverting the trip for several days is acceptable to save a few coins? Confusing. Eventually, Grenco used the spell in his sword to create the large stone creature, which lifted us across the river's chasm. Ysoac calmed the horses as they were lifted across. Troll did not challenge us. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Grenco reroutes the party around one specific area of the path when he indicates a party of ogres are nearby.  While on guard, no incident occurs and we continue on in the final hours of our march.  We set up camp and hope for uninterrupted sleep. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Traveled a bit further along the trail before setting up camp. Grenco spotted ogres attempting to ambush, and we avoided them. [/Solmar]

10 Septev 1003
Godsday

[Belt] We rest, a good day’s travel should have been met with a good night’s rest. However, it seems that is not the case. I am first awoken by the shouts of Solmar and Khurshel that there are some flying beasts coming toward us. However, I heard little from Khurshel as I pulled an earthworm from out of my tunic. I ask again, what nature are these beasts? Evil or Demonic? The response is simply, “Yes.” Oh joy, what nature of Demon is this? I start channeling the divine shield of Fharlanghn, reciting again and again the saying, “Let the road under me and the sky around me shield me from impending evil.” I come out of my trance to see that most of the horses are frozen in fear and the vast number of flying demons are now trying to feast on our mounts. [/Belt]

[Belt] I take to the air to dispatch one of the beasts, infusing my own blood into my fists of furry to dispatch a demon. It is at this point that I attempt to land and hear the shrieking cry of these beasts that oddly enough sounds like the whining complaints of Dynnera when she is in the portable hole. It’s good to have had training ignoring those shrieks. The remainder of the beasts are dispatched quickly and it seems our fearless leader has been struck by the beasts cry. After coming out of his fearful state, Thalidimar heals one of the horses who had been kissed by this demon. What sort of kiss is this, that would harm a horse? [/Belt]

[Dynnera] Our night camp is once again interrupted, this time by 12 Vargouille.   The Vargouille are winged demonic heads that shriek and attempt to bite victims to further propagate its race.  Fortunately they depend on their paralyzing shriek as they have low vitality.  We quickly dispatch them all and try to sleep.  [/Dynnera]

[Belt] As I drift off to sleep, I find that just a short time later, I am awoken again by Solmar, this time there are dogs that seem to desire our horses for their meal. “Fharlanghn, why can’t I just finish my sleep? You must be kidding me.” The dogs are dispatched quickly and I realize that perhaps now I can rest once more. [/Belt]

[Dynnera] Can we get one night of continuous sleep!  A pack of 20 wild dogs attack the group.  Most are quickly dispatched and the rest run away. [/Dynnera]

[Thalidimar] The travel back has been exhausting. The trip to the mountain was relatively quick. On the way back however, it seems that every living thing with a sharp point somewhere on it’s body decided to come after us and spoil our leisure time. Dogs and bugs trying to eat our horses? What is that? Bad luck trying to get us back for saving the world? Tymora be with us and help us to get back to Whillip quickly and safely. [/Thalidimar]

[Belt] I drift back off to sleep and had the most amazing dream and vision of this road. It was pure and open, meandering as a river through the world of dreams. I saw the tainted of Firestorm Peak under the road to be tread upon by the righteous. I saw my mother up ahead calling to me to come and wrap her arms around me and Fharlanghn himself speaking with Thalidimar in words of great reason and knowledge….. Whhhh-aattt…Whhh-attt! Solmar is now standing over me, bringing me out of my dream/vision. He tells me there are Ogres around the bend and I must be quiet so to be ready for what might happen. [/Belt]

[Thalidimar] We have much unfinished business to tend to, with Zed needing to be brought back and Grenco to get some underpants that fit him, not to mention all the book work back at the Inn that’s been piling up. Did I volunteer for treasurer? Of course not, I didn’t volunteer for leader either... Am I supposed to be doing the books? Guess that’s something that needs doing also, re-assigning duties and getting some of our group sworn in, official like. That is if fate will allow us passage back to our home. [/Thalidimar]

[Belt] In my groggy state I whisper out “Thalidimar, Thalidimar, wake up. There are Ogres afoot.” I then realize that I am not in my vision/dream anymore, but rather, Thalidimar is no where to be seen in the camp… Was this his watch? The Ogres only want our fire for their uses with a slaughtered horse. Nothing ensues and I rest and ask Fharlanghn what was meant by the dream I was so rudely awoken from. [/Belt]

[Dynnera] Ogres approach our camp and we ready for combat.  Instead the ogres only ask to use our camp and fire remnants.  We shared our fire and continue along the path. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Attacked shortly before dawn by flock of flying heads - Khurshel called them vargouille. Quickly dispatched. A pack of wild dogs then tried to take down one of the horses, but quickly driven off. As we began to break camp, a small band of ogres arrived and wished to use our campfire to cook a horse they had killed. I gave them a burning punk to start their own fire, and we left without further interaction. [/Solmar]

[Thalidimar] I cast repose on Zed’s body last night and I realized how much I actually missed him. Now that we’ve got Grenco back, it’s a little better, but seeing Zed’s cold lifeless body made me rehash their deaths. I just wish that Tanar were here too. Maybe that’s why I still feel like something is left undone. The whole bloody trip was for him and now he can’t even take part in the victory. Isn’t it better though, that he didn’t find out that his father turned to the dark side? That doesn’t make me miss him any less though. Did I already say that I missed Zed? Guess I did. Well, fate may eat our horses, but it won’t stop us from getting back safely. I am after all a luck bringer, and Tymora has been bolstering us the whole way. I have faith. We'll make it back. [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] At the end of our marching trip we encounter a small shire called the Road Side Village.  An Earth Genasi named Gerrick approaches and welcomes us in peace.  He also indicates that “The Protector” would punish those that break the peace.  Most of the villagers are at harvest, but Gerrick is willing to share his barn with us for the night.  The only major building in the shire is a Temple of Gond.  We spend a secure and complete night in Gerrick’s barn.  [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Ended day's travel at a small roadside village inhabited by Gond worshiping Earth Genasi. Village spokesman, Gerrick, offered shelter in his barn for the night. Helped bring in the day's harvesting in exchange for hospitality. [/Solmar]

11 Septev 1003
Newday

[Solmar] Before leaving, discussed with Thalidimar merits of donating to village. A small amount of gold often proves to be an invaluable investment when it leads to alliance-forming good will. Intended to ask him for loan until I can regain access to my account with bank of Whillip. Dynnera butted into our conversation demanding that no party funds be used for donation, even though no such possibility had been raised. Placated when assured only personal funds would be used. Ultimately unnecessary, as Gerrick refused donation. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] In the morning, Solmar and Thalidimar suggest a parting gift to Gerrick of 100 gold pieces.  (WHAT THE FU**!!! They balk at spending money for meals but then cavalierly suggest spending 100 gold from our party funds!)  I vehemently disagree, not with the sentiment - as I appreciated Garrick’s hospitality, but with the assumption of using party funds.  They quickly back off and suggest offering Garrick a horse; I acquiesce. Garrick ultimately refuses the gift, and we leave. [/Dynnera]

[/Solmar] Day's travel uneventful. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera]  At mid-day, Six wolves jump out at us, we ready ourselves for battle. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Dynnera's attitude toward party gold has been confusing to me. For example: she wished to spend party funds in Longbridge for better food when rest of squad was content with usual rations, but then she did not wish to contribute to Roadside Village's prosperity after receiving their hospitality? She wished to depart Longbridge immediately rather than observe their annual festival in a few days' time, but was willing to delay trip to avoid paying bridge toll? Apparently contradictory, but I have formed a theory; Dynerra is extremely materialistic and greedy. Staying in Longbridge would delay arrival in Whillip and division of spoils from mission, as well as incurring extra (negligible) cost to stay at inn, so was unacceptable to her. However, buying nicer food benefited her directly, so was acceptable. She even bought for other squad members, but probably considered it an investment toward gaining future cooperation in obtaining more wealth. Donating to village unacceptable as no obvious immediate material gains apparent beyond food and lodging already used. Delaying trip back to Whillip to avoid paying toll at bridge acceptable as it would preserve more wealth for distribution back in Whillip. Even when I had to verify her aura free of evil energies, she used the situation to further her ability for material gain. I've seen her looking at Thalidimar enviously, and heard her inquire about his many magical possessions. This probably was her primary reason for joining our squad - the prospect of somehow obtaining Thalidimar's possessions, or at least a similar collection of her own by association. Often, someone so focused on gaining wealth is easily manipulated. Combined with her secrecy, she cannot be fully trusted, and must be watched carefully for any signs of treachery. This may also explain her reticence toward me, given my paladin status in the service of Helm (the Vigilant One). [/Solmar]

To be continued…

DM's note:
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. So far the journey has been relatively uneventful. Despite the occasional encounter with threatening creatures, the party is fairly secure in their travels, but first they have to deal with a pesky pack of wolves. Rest, recovery and advancement await our group on their home turf, and the next adventure looms ahead; so stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 04 Oct 2008
Game-world date: 07 -08 Sep 1003
Written by: Dynnera, Belt and Solmar

Where we left off last session
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father, but thing changed along the way. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father was found assisting Madreus the Alienest. (An evil mage responsible for infecting the Realms with a contagious stream of taint). In the climactic battle, the party defeated Madreus, his minions, and Nigel the apprentice. After defeating Madreus, all those under his control were released from his corrupting influence. Despite the fact that party members were highly infected with corruption, they took the time to complete the most crucial task. They refocused the Vast Gate - an interdimensional portal which acted as a conduit to the Far Realm. It was this Vast Gate that allowed taint and tainted creatures into our Realms. While Madreus labored towards some unknown nefarious goal, the party took heroic measure in stopping him and his mad plans. Staunched is the flow of taint, restored is the balance of good and evil, and here ends the damnable story of Madreus the alienest. The inhabitants gathered about Firestorm Peak can now live in relative safety. Surely some pockets of corruption remain, but the Disciples at the Nether Mountains Monastery will have little problem dealing with that which remains. Thanks to our brave adventurers, Firestorm Peak no longer represents evil, corruption and malignant growth to the people's of the Nether Mountains. With the adventure concluded, the party has begun a journey that takes them away from Firestorm Peak, out of the valley, and back to Whillip. Will this journey be any less dangerous than their previous forays into the accursed mountain? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

“Bumps in the night”

07 Septev 1003 (~2100)
Aprochen

[Dynnera] At approximately 8pm, the party was attacked by three Spectral Panthers, incorporeal magical beast, during Solmar and Belt’s watch. One of the creatures is killed, while the remainder flee after a number of our attacks. Solmar is almost deactivated from the extent of the attacks and Belt is significantly injured. Some of the actions included:

1. Solmar – Melee attacks, including some while prone, since the attacks of the opponent frequently incurred a knock-down component due to the strength of their attacks.
2. Ysoac – Flaming Sphere spell.
3. Thalidimar – Celestial Bison summoning, Mass Aid, and healing for Solmar.
4. Belt – ineffective melee attack and casting a Divine Reach healing spell on Solmar.
5. Enola – Arrow attacks.
6. Khurshel – Awakening party members with Rouse spell (Thank you for the more gentle approach, especially as I’ve activated the flaming shroud during our camp.)
7. Myself – Flaming Burst ability and Arrow of Strength Draining spells. (This was the first use of my researched spell and I had great satisfaction in seeing it work so well against one of these creatures.)

Afterwards, the healers tend to Solmar and Belt and we all return to sleep. (We all seem to be easy sleepers from all our traveling.) [/Dynnera]

[Belt] Damn my haste sometimes! I didn’t realize the panther’s reach until it was too late. Allowing it an extra devastating (i.e. critical) attack upon me. Fortunately, Fharlanghn's health and blessing allowed me to survive the attack, perhaps with a small assist from Thalidimar’s Mass Aid spell. It did cause me to defer further attacks until after I healed myself with a Cure Serious Wounds spell. As I was about to reengage, I noticed Solmar significantly injured and cast Cure Serious Wounds upon him. [/Belt]

07 Septev 1003 (~2230)
Aprochen

[Dynnera] The party is attacked by a swarm of centipedes, during Solmar and Ysoac’s watch. While the entire party is awakened, the swarm is dispatched quickly by Belt, Solmar, Enola (in snake form) and Ysoac (in some sort of anteater animal shape). The creatures had attacked one of the horses as well as Solmar. (I guess it has some edible parts to it.) [/Dynnera]

08 Septev 1003 (~0001)
Longday

[Dynnera] The party is spooked by some colored lights in the marsh during Solmar, Grenco, and Enola’s watch. Khurshel uses the Rouse spell again to wake me and others still asleep. Grenco is off into the marsh and Enola is shooting arrows into the distance; they look like they hit – damn she’s a good archer! Belt and Solmar attempt to follow Grenco into the marsh but quickly return when solid ground can’t be located. Almost simultaneous with their return is Grenco’s, who indicates nothing of interest but colored lights moving in the distance. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Enough is enough with these nightly encounters! I recommend to the party that we disband camp and strike another a few hours away, or just start our travels early as this encampment is attracting too much attention. I’m outvoted and we remain where we are (I think the party is overconfident as who knows if another encounter will occur?) [/Dynnera]

08 Septev 1003 (~0900)
Longday

[Dynnera] Finally we awaken normally and not with monster combatants. We prepare for travel a little later than normal. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Rest last night frequently interrupted. First, attacked by three large, ghost-like predatory cats. Later, a swarm of centipedes attacked one of the horses. Both attacks repelled with minimal injury to party. Also, Grenco wandered into marsh during his watch. Entire party initiated a search, but Grenco returned. Minimal report about investigating “a light” only explanation given. He continues to act independently, with minimal consideration of the group overall. [/Solmar]

08 Septev 1003 (~1400)
Longday

[Dynnera] On the path heading away from Sundabar is a caravan of miners. This dwarven mining company is lead by a Dwarf named Dophgar. Solmar and Dophgar exchange pleasantries and a recommendation to stay at the Caravan Inn within Sundabar for a safe stay and victuals. We continue on without incident. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I seethe inside when Dophgar asks about any slaves for purchase. Fortunately his company is devoid of any slaves at present, so I can easily avoid any untoward actions (at least in the opinions of the party). Since he didn’t purchase slaves within Sundabar, I suspect an open or active slave market is not present within the city. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Encountered caravan of Dwarf miners shortly before reaching Sundabar. They inquired about possible locations for slave markets. Offensive. My entire race is created to be slaves - no, worse. We are created only to be destroyed in the place of men who do not have the fortitude to defend their ideals personally. I wouldn't even know of the concept of freedom except I was removed from my own world and had it thrust upon me. Because of this, I now have the perspective to realize the wrongness of my race's situation. To treat another sentient being as nothing more than an object or possession is the epitomization of evil. Bogan taught me this, even if it was unwittingly. [/Solmar]

08 Septev 1003 (~1500)
Longday

[Dynnera] We arrive at the walled city of Sundabar and within the hour we're at the Inn. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] We are resting at an inn in Sundabar tonight. Will continue on toward Silverymoon tomorrow. [/Solmar]

To be continued…

DM's note:
With their adventures in the shadow of Firestorm Peak concluded, the party is back on the trail again. On their way home, back to Whillip. So far the journey has been relatively uneventful. Despite the occasional encounter with threatening creatures, the party is fairly secure in their travels. Rest, recovery and advancement await our group on their home turf, and the next adventure looms ahead; so stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 20 Sep 2008
Game-world date: 03 - 07 Sep 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Solmar

Where we left off last session
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father, but things have changed along the way. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father was found assisting Madreus the Alienest. (An evil mage responsible for infecting this region of the Realms with a contagious stream of taint). In the climactic battle, the party defeated Madreus, his minions and Nigel the apprentice. After defeating Madreus, all those under his control were released from his corrupting influence. Despite the fact that party members were highly infected with corruption, they took the time to complete the most crucial task. They refocused the Vast Gate - an interdimensional portal which acted as a conduit to the Far Realm. It is this Vast Gate which gave taint access to our Realms. While Madreus labored towards some unknown nefarious goal, the party took heroic measure in stopping him and his mad plans. Staunched is the flow of taint, restored is the balance of good and evil, and here ends the damnable story of Madreus the alienest. The inhabitants gathered about Firestorm Peak can now live in relative safety. Surely some pockets of corruption remain, but the Disciples at the Nether Mountains Monastery will have little problem dealing with that which remains. Thanks to our brave adventurers, Firestorm Peak no longer represents evil, corruption and malignant growth to the people's of the Nether Mountains. After a well deserved rest at the Nether Mountains Monastery, the party sets out again. With a reincarnated Grenco at the front of the party, our group of adventurers heads back into the heart of Firestorm Peak,. They intend to honor their agreement with the Myconid king. Will this journey be any less dangerous than their previous forays into that accursed mountain? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

“Longbridge and Beyond”

03 Septev 1003
Onward

[Dynnera] Before parting from this ambush, I carve out a foot long piece of the hide/scale combination of the Blue Spawn Ambusher. (This souvenir could be of some interest to future magical research, or at least help me perfect the needed color tint for my monster tattoo portfolio. Many customers request unique dragon creatures.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] As we continue down the trail, we are attacked by two Kaortic Hulk invisibly positioned on ridges near the trail. Ysoac uses his Call Lightning spell against the creatures, and I show the party my unique Arrows of Strength Draining spell against one of the creatures. Khurshel throws out additional orb of electricity spells while the remainder use their impressive melee or range attacks to kill one, and cause the other to change into gaseous form and escape. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Attacked by two kaortic hulk; quickly dispatched. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] The remainder of the day is uneventful. We make camp. The temperatures are almost freezing so I end up finding a stone outcropping to lay upon while the flaming shroud is active. Ysoac approaches as close as he can. [/Dynnera]

04 Septev 1003
Forens

[Dynnera] What the hell! I’m awakened by water dousing my body, and the flaming shroud extinguished! (I find out later that Thalidimar cast Create Water above me since no one could approach to wake me.) There is confusion as Thalidimar is yelling about a Nightwalker, Grenco about an Ogre Magi, and Ysoac about something called a Frostman. Thalidimar then mentions something about seeing through an illusion and viewing some hunched three foot tall humanoid creature with black scales and mangy hair. It departs before a confrontation occurs. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Thalidimar spotted a creature attempting to invade our camp early this morning. He awoke most of the party, and it immediately fled. Conflicting reports as to what the creature was. Never saw it myself. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] In the morning on the trail, some Kenku are pushing a covered cart. They run into the woods as we approach. Inside the cart are the dead remains of other Kenku. We depart with Solmar yelling to them that we mean them no harm. Belt appeared overly sensitive that Grenco might steal something from the cart. (Hmm, with the immediate danger of taint over, Belt and Grenco’s feud may once again escalate.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] In the afternoon we reach the Town of Longbridge. Solmar announces to guards at the wall that we are the S.C.R.E.W.O.F.F.S. and past acquaintances of Constable Westlin. They allow us to pass and we head to the Green Briar Inn and Tavern where the S.C.R.E.W.O.F.F.S. had stored horses and other equipment. We spent the evening in comfort at the Inn. (I’m surprised that most of the S.C.R.E.W.O.F.F.S. are so cheap. They actually want to eat trail rations over enjoying some real food and wine! I volunteer to pay for real food and drink for the entire group, but save the better bottles of wine for Grenco and I to enjoy. Ahhh, even simple fare is heavenly right now! The party hasn’t quite gotten used to Grenco as a Half-Orc, but I’m comfortable. Surprisingly his demeanor hasn’t yet changed as it would if it was me; he hasn't fully adopted his new form yet.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Arrived back in Longbridge mid-afternoon. Obvious that criminal activity continued to increase after we left. With source of taint now removed, hopefully this trend will now be suppressed. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] Debriefed with Westlin. He indicated that since order can probably now be restored, the town may yet salvage its annual festival. Probably to be held on Godsday next. Discussed staying to observe local customs with S.C.R.E.W.O.F.F.S., but majority vote determined we will return to Whillip immediately. [/Solmar]

05 Septev 1003
Freeday

[Dynnera] We leave Longbridge as soon as the gates open up. Early in the morning we encounter a group of Hybsil, smaller version of Centaurs with a lower body of an antelope. Ysoac and Enola have a discussion in sylvan with the Hybsil (I recognize the language by the little training I was able to complete with Zeddishous), and then the Hybsil depart. Ysoac indicates they are a hunting party assisting in the protection of Longbridge. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Left Longbridge for Sundabar. Encountered small creatures that looked like beheaded antelope joined to the bottom of Halfling torsos. Someone called them hybsil. They seemed friendly enough. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We travel throughout the day and camp for the night. I ask Ysoac and Enola if they’d be willing to continue my sylvan language lessons. Ysoac agrees so long as I continue using the shroud to provide warmth to the party at night. [/Dynnera]

06 Septev 1003
Hafn'mor

[Dynnera] We travel throughout the day without any encounters and camp for the night. [/Dynnera]

07 Septev 1003
Aprochen

[Dynnera] We travel throughout the day without any encounters and camp for the night. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The party is attacked during the night by four Peryton, a hybrid creature with a giant eagle body and purple stag head. The creatures are fairly quickly defeated by our group, with the only thing of note being Belt taking to the air with his Fly spell to continue his melee strikes in the air. As it is still early after the attack (only the 2nd watch had occurred) we all attempt to return to sleep. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Attacked shortly before mid-day by large birds with antlers. Khurshel called them Peryton. They did not survive their first pass at us. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] (There is an overabundance of hybrid magical creatures in this area. They can’t all be due to the Vast Gate! Whether a past dragon domicile or due to the Firestorm Peak “natural” reoccurring conflagration, worthy of note should I ever need to settle down in a magic-prone area.) [/Dynnera]

To be continued…

DM's note:
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father, but things have changed along the way. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father was found assisting Madreus the Alienest. (An evil mage responsible for infecting this region of the Realms with a contagious stream of taint). In the climactic battle, the party defeated Madreus, his minions and Nigel the apprentice. After defeating Madreus, all those under his control were released from his corrupting influence. Despite the fact that party members were highly infected with corruption, they took the time to complete the most crucial task. They refocused the Vast Gate - an interdimensional portal which acted as a conduit to the Far Realm. It is this Vast Gate which gave taint access to our Realms. While Madreus labored towards some unknown nefarious goal, the party took heroic measure in stopping him and his mad plans. Staunched is the flow of taint, restored is the balance of good and evil, and here ends the damnable story of Madreus the alienest. The inhabitants gathered about Firestorm Peak can now live in relative safety. Surely some pockets of corruption remain, but the Disciples at the Nether Mountains Monastery will have little problem dealing with that which remains. Thanks to our brave adventurers, Firestorm Peak no longer represents evil, corruption and malignant growth to the people's of the Nether Mountains. With the adventure concluded, the party has begun a journey that takes them away from Firestorm Peak, out of the valley, and back to Whillip. Will this journey be any less dangerous than their previous forays into the accursed mountain?
Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 06 Sep 2008
Game-world date: 01 - 03 Sep 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Solmar

Where we left off last session
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father, but things have changed along the way. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father was found assisting Madreus the Alienest. (An evil mage responsible for infecting this region of the Realms with a contagious stream of taint). In the climactic battle, the party defeated Madreus, his minions and Nigel the apprentice. After defeating Madreus, all those under his control were released from his corrupting influence. Despite the fact that party members were highly infected with corruption, they took the time to complete the most crucial task. They refocused the Vast Gate - an interdimensional portal which acted as a conduit to the Far Realm. It is this Vast Gate which gave taint access to our Realms. While Madreus labored towards some unknown nefarious goal, the party took heroic measure in stopping him and his mad plans. Staunched is the flow of taint, restored is the balance of good and evil, and here ends the damnable story of Madreus the alienest. The inhabitants gathered about Firestorm Peak can now live in relative safety. Surely some pockets of corruption remain, but the Disciples at the Nether Mountains Monastery will have little problem dealing with that which remains. Thanks to our brave adventurers, Firestorm Peak no longer represents evil, corruption and malignant growth to the people's of the Nether Mountains. After a well deserved rest at the Nether Mountains Monastery, the party sets out again. With a reincarnated Grenco at the front of the party, our group of adventurers heads back into the heart of Firestorm Peak,. They intend to honor their agreement with the Myconid king. Will this journey be any less dangerous than their previous forays into that accursed mountain? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

“Leaving the Mountain behind”

Note From DM: Recently (during our 23 Aug meeting), the in-game dates for our campaign became confused, and some incorrect dates were posted in the journal entries for our session on the 23rd of August. With these journal entries (6 Sep meeting), the dates are correct. The dates are still wrong in the previous journal entries. At this point, I have no plans to modify the entries or 'correct' the dates. It's a small error, with minimal impact on the game. As such, readers should (at a minimum) note that the journal entries posted here (the 6 Sep session) are correct. - Robert

01 Septev 1003
Newday

[Dynnera] The pit of hell [portable hole] opens up, and we appear near the old lava tube we had previously used to approach the mountain entrance. Once I recover from the trip, I’m surprised Ysoac didn’t take us straight into the mountain as I had anticipated. Grenco enters the lava tube in advance of the party, then quickly returns indicating an unconscious and wounded Kenku is lying inside it. Thalidimar revives the Kenku and we find out that the Kenku traders have been wiped out by Duergar in the mountain. We release the Kenku and continue traveling into the mountain via the pit of hell. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] As we approached entry point into Firestorm Peak, encountered several dead Kenku. One still alive. Healed and questioned. Attacked by Duergar from inside mountain. 640's plans likely compromised. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Ysoac opens up the pit of hell just outside of the Gibberling passages. I step in front of the party in my immolation suit, and as expected the Gibberling quickly succumb to the flames. We continue on, and a swarm of undead rats attack us as we exit the flaming chasm room. The creatures are surprisingly tough since they are incorporeal undead. Additionally, their attacks drain strength from those in their path. Ultimately this Ephemeral Swarm is defeated through a combination of physical confrontation and spells. Ysoac casting an effective wall of air spell to restrict the creatures ability to harm us. (Grenco used the staff of striking to great effect!) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] No other creatures block our return to the Myconid encampment and we arrive there safely. We have an audience with the Myconid King who accepts our fertile soil with much appreciation (depositing in some special leafy bag of their own making). The party agrees there is no reason to delay our return to the Monastery so we leave, with Ysoac carrying the rod of sanctity, word of recall stone, and shrine amulet along with the pit of hell. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Entered Firestorm Peak and traveled to myconid. Killed more gibberling, and attacked by a large pack of rats. Undead, flying rats. Quickly dispatched. Delivered soil to myconid. They are preparing to leave current habitation and migrate to former quarters. With Vast Gate closed, myconids' present habitation free of taint. Influence of taint in area should diminish significantly now, if not disappear completely. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Ysoac returns us to the foot of the Monastery safely; indicating that he had deposited the rod and word of recall stone in the shrine. As none of us are tainted, we can safely stand on the stone platform without triggering the stone guardians. Solmar transfers its magical items to Thalidimar as a precaution, prior to facing the glyphed door. Suddenly we hear the glyph triggered! Solmar returns to the party calmly stating that it misspoke the words. Grenco laughs and says he’s vindicated from his past mistake. Solmar returns to the door and we hear the glyph trigger again! Grenco falls to the ground in a fit of uncontrollable laughter! To be honest I almost join him. I observe Solmar closely on its return but don’t see any frustration – expression must not have been programmed into it. I ask Khurshel to cast his ghost voice spell, to shout for assistance, but before he does so Solmar speaks the phrase a third time and successfully opens the door without triggering the glyph! [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Ysoac used recall stone to return to shrine, deposited stone and Rod of Sanctity, and then flew us back to monastery. I misspoke entry phrase; Talaruk's holy symbol lost magical properties. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] At the monastery, those drained of the strength return to the sacred pool for restoration. Meanwhile, we convince Vorick to cast a speak with dead spell on Nigel to confirm whether he was a willing apprentice to Madreus. We ask three questions of the body:

* Are you Nigel? Yes.
* Were you the willing apprentice to Madreus? Yes.
* Any final messages to loved ones? I regret my actions, I wish you all the best, and do not grieve for me.
(Give it up. You have regrets because you were stopped prior to succeeding in your plan! If you wanted any forgiveness, you should have assisted in closing the gate. The rogue is always regretful when caught by the authority.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Thalidimar performed ritual allowing interrogation of Nigel's corpse. Confirmed his identity, verified he worked for Madreus willingly, and recorded last message for any loved ones we might be able to find. Original mission objective completed. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We spent the evening preparing to leave the Monastery. Now that we are no longer time constrained, we agree to travel normally around the bog and down the mountain to Longbridge. (I could have kissed Solmar when it agreed to that! Perhaps next time I will - just to see the reaction of the other party members.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] (Dynnera represents conundrum. Since she can suppress evil energies in her aura, possibility exists that she could be evil. I am not allowed to associate with any agent of evil. Innocence by ignorance not a viable defense when simply unresolved ambiguity.) Held private counsel with Thalidimar to discuss. Must verify Dynnera is not evil herself, but by what method? Eventually, we decide to ask her to remove all magic items and other protections, and Thalidimar would use his spell that allows him to see magic energies to verify while I examined her aura for evil. We then discussed best method to approach her on the subject. Forcing her not appropriate. Must not offend her, else she won't even agree to submit to the examination. Besides, if she is not evil, do not want to generate unnecessary animosity. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] Also confided to Thalidimar my disturbing new weakness bestowed by the door at the Vast Gate. I am compelled to keep a certain distance between myself and others if their numbers are more than just a few. Detrimental to combat effectiveness. Indicated I might be forced to resign the S.C.R.E.W.O.F.F.S. if compulsion cannot be removed. Thalidimar attempted consolation and argued against my leaving, but I remain unconvinced. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] Dynnera acquiesced to examination. Claimed right to refuse answering any questions about her past at her discretion. She suggested conducting examination in monastery's sacred pool since it is a zone of truth. We indicated that no interrogation necessary; simply examination described. Examination location suggested still a good idea, so that she can have some measure of reassurance about our intentions. She also demanded that, in exchange for her cooperation, we would not oppose her claim to the robe as part of her share of the spoils from this mission, nor petition for its destruction. We agreed, and examination proved she is not evil herself. (So why would she need the ability to suppress evil energies in her aura? Difficult to trust someone who keeps so many secrets, but has proven to be a valuable ally so far.) [/Solmar]

02 Septev 1003
Nexsta'

[Dynnera] We travel all day around the mountain without issue. Camp is set. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Left monastery to return to Whillip. Opted to take longer route around Firestorm Peak to avoid charnel bog, and to take in more of the local scenery before we evac. from the area. Now that mission is complete, need for expediency is over, and a little R+R is in order. [/Solmar]

03 Septev 1003
Onward

[Dynnera] We are attacked during Solmar and Thalidimar’s last watch. A Rot Giant approaches our camp. Grenco recalls the Colossus spell within his sword and summons it. The Colossus is 100ft tall with an arm span of 80ft. We watch as it essentially pulverizes the Rot Giant with four swings of its arm. I wish we could cast that spell repeatedly! As we were all up already, we started our second day of hiking down the mountain. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Attacked by rot giant shortly before breaking camp this morning. Grenco used spell from sword to create even larger stone creature, which quickly drove rot giant away. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We are attacked by Bluespawn Ambushers while traveling a path adjacent to a running mountain river. These creatures are part dragon part badger and descendants of Tiamat. Their tactic was an attempt to either electrify us with their natural abilities, bull-rush us into the water, or a combination of both. Once again, the party quickly dispatches most of the creatures although at least one burrowed into the ground to escape. A number of us fell into the mountain river but without too much distress. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Ambushed by pack of creatures. Size of large wolverines, blue, burrowing, attack with shocking bursts. Repelled with minimal damage to ourselves. [/Solmar]

To be continued…

DM's note:
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father, but things have changed along the way. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father was found assisting Madreus the Alienest. (An evil mage responsible for infecting this region of the Realms with a contagious stream of taint). In the climactic battle, the party defeated Madreus, his minions and Nigel the apprentice. After defeating Madreus, all those under his control were released from his corrupting influence. Despite the fact that party members were highly infected with corruption, they took the time to complete the most crucial task. They refocused the Vast Gate - an interdimensional portal which acted as a conduit to the Far Realm. It is this Vast Gate which gave taint access to our Realms. While Madreus labored towards some unknown nefarious goal, the party took heroic measure in stopping him and his mad plans. Staunched is the flow of taint, restored is the balance of good and evil, and here ends the damnable story of Madreus the alienest. The inhabitants gathered about Firestorm Peak can now live in relative safety. Surely some pockets of corruption remain, but the Disciples at the Nether Mountains Monastery will have little problem dealing with that which remains. Thanks to our brave adventurers, Firestorm Peak no longer represents evil, corruption and malignant growth to the people's of the Nether Mountains. After a well deserved rest at the Nether Mountains Monastery, the party returned to Firestorm Peak in order to honor their agreement with the Myconid king. After depositing their promised 'Fertile Earth', the party struck out again. This time their journey takes them away from Firestorm Peak, out of the valley, and back to Whillip. Will this journey be any less dangerous than their previous forays into the accursed mountain?
Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 23 Aug 2008
Game-world date: 28 Aug - 01 Sep 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Solmar

Where we left off last session
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father, but things have changed along the way. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father was found assisting Madreus the Alienest. (An evil mage responsible for infecting this region of the Realms with a contagious stream of taint). In the climactic battle, the party defeated Madreus, his minions and Nigel the apprentice. After defeating Madreus, all those under his control were released from his corrupting influence. Despite the fact that party members were highly infected with corruption, they took the time to complete the most crucial task. They refocused the Vast Gate - an interdimensional portal which acted as a conduit to the Far Realm. It is this Vast Gate which gave taint access to our Realms. While Madreus labored towards his nefarious goal, the party took heroic measure in stopping him and his mad plans. Staunched is the flow of taint, restored is the balance of good and evil, and here ends the damnable story of Madreus the alienest. The inhabitants gathered about Firestorm Peak can now live in relative safety. Surely some pockets of corruption remain, but the Disciples at the Nether Mountains Monastery will have little problem dealing with that which remains. Thanks to our brave adventurers, Firestorm Peak no longer represents evil, corruption and malignant growth to the people's of the Nether Mountains. With the party safely resting within the walls of the Nether Mountains Monastery, they contemplate the final chapter to this story. Will they journey back into the heart of Firestorm Peak, will they honor their agreement with the Myconid king? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

“Celebrations at the Monastery”

28 Augot 1003
Longday

[Dynnera] The Monastery does in fact provide lounge chairs for our group to use while wading in the sacred pool. Unfortunately, hypothermia was a potential issue due to the icy pool water and outdoor temperatures ranging near 15 degrees.  Fortunately, Grenco’s old sword still had Leomund’s Tiny Hut within its casting abilities.  I centered myself amongst the party and cast it around us.  At least in our area the water and air temperature remained comfortable and provided some privacy. We spend the entire day and evening in the pool – much of time I fall in and out of consciousness.  Solmar occasionally performs its Detect Evil or Detect Taint abilities on the group to confirm whether to stay in the pool.  It does cause Solmar some pause when I don’t Detect Evil like the other party members because of the taint.  At that time it doesn’t pursue any additional questions and I choose not to volunteer any answers to its unasked questions.  [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Monitored comrades and allies during cleansing in pool.  Tried keeping track of fading evil auras, since taint gives off evil energies.  However, Dynnera did not register.  Used Rod of Sanctity to see taint directly, and Dynnera registered.  She must have ability to suppress any evil auras on herself.  Disturbing. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] It is about 11pm when the full taint is removed; Solmar heads off to the smithy to await the smith’s attentions in the morning, while the rest of us grab some leftover food and head to bed in one of the guest quarters.  [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Spent rest of day cleansing in sacred pool.  Left at night.  Awaiting Talaruk in his smithy. [/Solmar]

29 Augot 1003
Endsnear

[Solmar] Talaruk unsure who might be able to help me remove strange compulsion for open spaces.  Deferred to Darius. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera]  We are awakened at dawn by Solmar stomping into the guest quarters, its visit at the smithy completed.  As we are not adventuring, I choose to ignore it, muttering “Get that golem a time piece”, roll on my side, and fall asleep again.  At a more leisurely hour, the party awakens to find out a banquet will be held in our honor, and afterwards a final debriefing meeting with Darius.  In the meantime, Solmar offers to guard the dead bodies (our companions as well as Madreus and Nigel) until relieved of duty by one of the Monastery guards.  The rest of us look to assist Thalidimar in airing out the portable hole as four decaying bodies have been in it for three days or more. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Removed bodies of Madreus, Nigel, Zeddishous, and Grenco from portable hole.  Zeddishous and Grenco laid in state.  I stood watch over corpses to prevent repeat of Wellfast's disappearance. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] Summoned to Meeting with Darius at noon.  Tried to bring corpses of Madreus and Nigel for direct examination by Hallowed Doctrine.  Acolyte directed to place them in adjacent room instead.  Indicated they would cause discomfort.  Confusing. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] As we proceed to the feast hall, the courtyard is lined with Monastery members, local town folk, and village representatives.  All are clapping and shouting our praise!  At the forefront is Darius, who kneels in deference to our group. He then raises his arms and speaking out a benediction, concluding with “...shall forever hail you as the greatest heroes of the Hallowed Doctrine.”  Solmar proves itself as the perfect spokes-thing for the group at this moment, as it praises Darius and those in the Monastery as the greater heroes due to their daily efforts against taint  (I’m impressed with its diplomacy skills and will vote for it as spokes-thing at the next officer election.). [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The feast lasts for two hours with the highlight being Darius’ toast, “To the SCREWOFFS, the greatest group of misfits this side of the realms.”  (My thoughts run a jumble (1) Not the best of party names for such accolades, (2) seems to accurately peg our group as misfits; how much does he know of us, and (3) Grenco would have enjoyed himself immensely at the party and I’m sure caused the party embarrassment in some fashion.)  During the feast I locate Vankian Malano, the human mage with the ability to cast frequent and fast identify spells, and ask for his skills.  He indicates he’s too far into his cups, but agrees to meet in the morning.  In our conversations, he confirms he is only an associate of the Monastery, and isn’t from Whillip but has visited there. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Darius and Hallowed Doctrine held ceremony honoring our victory.  Feast and reverie followed.  Debriefed with Darius afterward.  Provided maps and intel about mountain's interior.  Presented with a box of gems as reward for redirecting Vast Gate.  Inquired about facilities for bringing Zeddishous and Grenco back to life.  Informed that only reincarnation currently available from monastery personnel. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera]  While inquiring about the mage, Thalidimar cast his Speak with Dead spells on Grenco and Zeddishous.  Both wish to return to this life with Grenco agreeing to reincarnation.  It is agreed to have Ysoac reincarnate Grenco this day; Zeddishous desires to be raised (either by Darius or at Whillip).  Solmar informs the party that Darius frowns upon returning people from the afterlife (although didn’t he perform this duty for us for the cowardly Duracell?).  It’s decided at least for this visit that we won’t test Darius’ sensibilities and will wait for Whillip to return Zeddishous to life.  Thalidimar casts Gentle Repose to extend the timeframe (and cease the decaying process) for which the raise dead spell can be cast.  [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Thalidimar performed speak with dead ritual on bodies of Grenco and Zeddishous.  Both wished to be returned to life.  Reincarnation acceptable to Grenco; not to Zeddishous. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] Met privately with Vorick.  Indicated Darius unlikely to be able to help remove my compulsion.  However, Jockus Madweh, Lizardman shaman, might be capable.  Evil, however, so unacceptable option.  Jockus also who would perform reincarnation.  Darius capable of returning comrades to life, but morally objects.  Will not press him. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] The debrief meeting involved Darius, Palindar the remaining 640 emissary, Vorick, and two acolytes as door sentries.  Darius’ resources had confirmed our success, although he was surprised that the gate was realigned to somewhere on this plane instead of closed.  He and his colleagues will seek out Leygen the troll to eliminate any continued threats from the gate.  He was pleased that the controlling mechanisms were destroyed.  A captain of the guard (A Duergar from the group living in the mountain) has taken control of the Duergar in Firestorm Peak.  The 640 Fortress duergar expect a peaceful take over, but are preparing for battle and have an agreement with the Kenku traders to screen their approach.  The takeover should occur within the week. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] We agreed to share our maps of the complex and I indicated an appropriate diplomatic measure for treaty with the Myconid would be fertile soil.  (Solmar later indicated concern for the Myconid safety, but if the Duergar want to exterminate them there’s little to stop a concerted effort.  I think there’s likely enough on the 640 Duergar plate establishing themselves that there is little immediate threat of that happening.]  Darius is willing to permit our use of one Word of Recall amulet and the continued use of the rod of sanctity should we return to the Myconid (per the fertile soil agreement we made with their King).  We are only to leave the items in the Shrine prior to leaving the area. Darius, as a reward for our endeavors, provided us with a small chest of gems worth appropriately 50,000gp. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Informed Thalidimar that reincarnation service not an acceptable option after all.  Ysoac informed group that he is capable of performing the ritual.  [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Within our guest quarters, we debate whether to return to Firestorm Peak.  I suggest having the 640 Duergar or Darius' acolytes return the soil for us. However, Solmar and Thalidimar seem to fear either their reliability or the ability to be successful in the endeavor.  I defer to the wishes of the party as it is practically unanimous that we return the soil ourselves, but also leave the rest of Firestorm Peak unexplored and return to Whillip thereafter.  I request of some acolytes that a basic wooden coffin (~5 x 2 x 2) be built and cloth lined, with fertile soil placed in it for ease of transport.  Thalidimar looks strangely at me for a moment, but I was sure the Monastery provided frequent burial services and would have the materials at hand. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera]  Ysoac spent most of the day communing with nature or mediating, but as evening approached he was ready to cast the reincarnation spell.  The expensive spell components are fortunately available at the Monastery.  We debate what Grenco might return as, many of us suggesting a Kobold, Lizardman, or even bugbear.  On casting, Grenco in fact returned as a…. Half-Orc!  He seemed disoriented as well as disconcerted based on the significant innate differences between a Whisper Gnome and Half-Orc.  We returned his equipment to him or offered party items for temporary use, but otherwise provided him some solitude for the rest of the evening.  (Watching the casting of that spell was quite impressive.  It makes my ability to temporarily summon creature’s equivalent in scale to that of a pebble to a boulder!  Of course I don’t believe I’d make the same choice as either Grenco or Zeddishous.  Ilmater teaches perseverance in the face of suffering. However, given the ability to move to the next level of existence, my choice would be to continue on that adventure.  Hmm, perhaps only imminent revenge against Glan Sarin and my original slavers might call me back to suffer more.) [Dynnera] 

[Solmar] Ysoac spent remainder of day in preparation, and then returned Grenco to life.  Grenco Altered to be a Half-Orc by the process.  His clothes, equipment, etc. no longer sized properly, and must be replaced. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] Discussed plans for tomorrow.  Dynnera argued against returning to myconids ourselves to deliver promised fertile soil.  Felt passing on the responsibility to Duergar allies from 640 sufficient, despite possibility that 640 Duergar might not successfully integrate with or conquer Duergar in mountain.  Majority of other SCREWOFFS felt stronger sense of duty toward keeping our word.  Will return to myconids with fertile soil tomorrow.  Also discussed possibility of further exploring area near vast gate.  General consensus was that would be unnecessarily risky. [/Solmar]

30 Augot 1003
Godsday

[Dynnera]  In the morning, I once again reach Vankian’s room, only to be put off again to meet later at some fountain (bird bath).  His actions are suspicious, and I wish I had kept my ESP spell.  I return to the group and indicate I will watch him and will meet the rest of the group at the fountain.   (Instead, I look for some privacy to cast my own identify spell on the ring I had procured.)  Having completed that effort, I go to the fountain to find us waiting for Vankian once more.  [Dynnera] 

[Dynnera]  We agree to have Khurshel cast three identify spells, on staff, robe, and dagger, while the remaining items will be presented to Vankian.  Vankian confirms we have a wand of lightning, helm of spell reflection (turning), and eye lenses of ‘Utter Domination’.  I sense palatable fear exuding from him, and he quickly departs after indicating his magical reserves have been used.  In fact the eye lenses seem to raise anxiety especially amongst Thalidimar and Solmar; (an anxiety pointedly directed at my potential use of the items!) [Dynnera] 

[Dynnera]  Khurshel begins casting his identify spells.  The unicorn dagger is a perverted magical dagger (+2) that causes taint to both user and victim.  We agree to leave it in Darius’ care, although Thalidimar did suggest testing its powers against that of the sacred pool.  We agreed to not take that risk and potentially lose our hero mantle after only one day!  The staff turns out to be a staff of striking.  We loan it to Grenco as we fear his new body will prevent full use of the smaller sized short sword.  Finally, the robe turns out to be a robe of the Arch-Magi! After both Khurshel and my amazement, he and the party are disappointed in the fact that it’s black color indicates an evil aligned item.  [Dynnera] 

[Dynnera]  I then mention my ability to use the item without harm.  Thalidimar immediately raises alarm and says I should explain myself to Solmar.  As if Solmar is not already there and capable of speaking for himself? (He’s the Tymora be-damned spokes-thing for our group and just yesterday proved itself worthy of the position! Is Thalidimar such a coward as to hide his own anxiety behind Solmar!)  Solmar itself doesn’t ask any questions of me.  (I assume it is evaluating its observations of my actions and what it knows of me, including its inability to detect evil when I had received taint.  While Solmar has become increasingly suspicious of my nature, at least its likely based on the moral compass programmed into it by its mage creators and/or Helm’s paladin training.)  As I place the robe on my shoulders, I relent slightly, and inform Thalidimar that another magical item protects me from the harm I’d normally take for wearing the robe.  I ask him if the party requires an inventory of every magical item owned by individuals.  Thalidimar backs down from the conversation (likely because he has the most to acknowledge in that circumstance). [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Khurshel and monastery wizard identified several found magical objects.  One was a powerful robe that is detrimental if worn by someone not evil.  Dynnera indicated she wished to use the robe.  Claims to have a magic item that prevents detrimental effects.  (Or is it simply her ability to mask evil auras?  Is she really evil?) [/Solmar]

[Dynnera]  (Oh Ilmater, once again I am reminded of the prejudices of humankind and all races against my own race!  It proves once again I should never reveal my true nature to anyone if possible.  I had hopes based on the cosmopolitan nature of the SCREWOFFS (Gnome, Aasimar, Golem, Painted Elf, Illumian) that eventual acceptance of my true nature could occur.  I should forever burn that false hope from my heart! How quickly thoughts can turn against me, even now when they think my abilities of disguise are strictly from a magical item.  From my slave master to now, everyone willingly uses me to their advantage (e.g. the Wellfast disguise), but then questions my worth and integrity once they’ve had their use!  At least now I say when and how I use my abilities!  Do they even remember that just two days ago I could have let all but the golem die in the portable hole had I chosen that route?  I must prepare myself for the eventuality, once again, of striking off alone.) [Dynnera] 

[Dynnera]  (I am glad of Grenco’s return on multiple fronts.  Firstly, because of all the SCREWOFFs I find him most approachable and accepting of individuals (well except for his first interactions with Belt).  Secondly, in his absence any concerns or suspicions by Solmar and Thalidimar are now seemingly squarely on me; with Grenco around, their attentions seemed to first go towards corralling Grenco.) [Dynnera] 

[Dynnera]  The party once more, and hopefully for the last time, seek transport back to Firestorm Peak to complete our pact with the Myconid.  We all jump into the portable hole to allow Ysoac in bird form to transport us near or into the mountain.  I desperately perch to the rungs of the ladder waiting for the opening to appear again. [Dynnera] 

[Solmar] Ysoac flew us back across charnel bog. [/Solmar]

To be continued…

DM's note:
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father, but things have changed along the way. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father was found assisting Madreus the Alienest. (An evil mage responsible for infecting this region of the Realms with a contagious stream of taint). In the climactic battle, the party defeated Madreus, his minions and Nigel the apprentice. After defeating Madreus, all those under his control were released from his corrupting influence. Despite the fact that party members were highly infected with corruption, they took the time to complete the most crucial task. They refocused the Vast Gate - an interdimensional portal which acted as a conduit to the Far Realm. It is this Vast Gate which gave taint access to our Realms. While Madreus labored towards some unknown nefarious goal, the party took heroic measure in stopping him and his mad plans. Staunched is the flow of taint, restored is the balance of good and evil, and here ends the damnable story of Madreus the alienest. The inhabitants gathered about Firestorm Peak can now live in relative safety. Surely some pockets of corruption remain, but the Disciples at the Nether Mountains Monastery will have little problem dealing with that which remains. Thanks to our brave adventurers, Firestorm Peak no longer represents evil, corruption and malignant growth to the people's of the Nether Mountains. After a well deserved rest at the Nether Mountains Monastery, the party sets out again. With a reincarnated Grenco at the front of the party, our group of adventurers heads back into the heart of Firestorm Peak,. They intend to honor their agreement with the Myconid king. Will this journey be any less dangerous than their previous forays into that accursed mountain?
Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 09 Aug 2008
Game-world date: 28 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Thalidimar

Where we left off last session
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father was found assisting Madreus the Alienest. (An evil mage responsible for infecting this region of the Realms with a contagious stream of taint). In the climactic battle, the party defeated Madreus, his minions and Nigel the apprentice. After defeating Madreus, all those under his control were released from his corrupting influence. Despite the fact that party members were highly infected with corruption, they took the time to complete the most crucial task. They refocused the Vast Gate - an interdimensional portal which acted as a conduit to the Far Realm. It is this Vast Gate which gave taint access to our Realms. While Madreus labored towards some unknown nefarious goal, the party took heroic measure in stopping him and his mad plans. Staunched is the flow of taint, restored is the balance of good and evil, and here ends the damnable story of Madreus the alienest. The inhabitants gathered about Firestorm Peak can now live in relative safety. Surely some pockets of corruption remain, but the Disciples at the Nether Mountains Monastery will have little problem dealing with that which remains. Thanks to our brave adventurers, Firestorm Peak no longer represents evil, corruption and malignant growth to the people's of the Nether Mountains. All that remains is a cleansing trip to the pools of purity - a consecrated holy font which removes the corruption of taint. If the party delays their trip for too long, the taint may become permanent - A condition that none should suffer. Godspeed good warriors - Here's to the journey! Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

“Zeddishous - Permanently Grounded”

28 Augot 1003
Longday

[Dynnera] We debate the fastest and safest way through the caverns.  Ysoac somehow senses we are ~1,000ft down in the mountain, our understood upper limit of the cloak of earth striding.  I recommend we travel as we already have in these caverns, namely through the passages but using the cloak to avoid areas of conflict, such as the Living Wall, the pool of acid room, and the Duergar fortifications.  (I also believe the others are cavalier regarding the risks of using the cloak.  The wearer is unable to see or breathe while in the earth; safe to use in small doses as Grenco used, but too risky for attempting to create your own path.  The others may think my position is due to the fear I have of enclosure in the portable hole, but in either alternative I will be forced to enter its confines again.)  We all agree to this plan.  Once out of the mountain Zeddishous will fly the party to the Monastery while Ysoac provides backup in flying animal form.  By the time we complete our plans, we notice that all remaining trolls (including Leygen) and Duergar have departed the Gate room.  [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Ysoac scouts ahead of the party to evaluate the effect of the Vast Gate realignment on the Silver Tongue creature.  On arrival, he indicates it is in an agitated state (somewhat obvious by its undulating grasses) and that a wolverine he sent through it was attacked.  We’re also not sure of its reaction to the troll and Duergar passing, assuming they came this way.  Seeking to test the theory of causing no harm to it will allow us safe passage; I summon a celestial owl to fly through the room to the other side.  The Silver Tongue creature seems to leave it unmolested, and I dismiss it.   Solmar steps forward to test the creature’s reaction.  Although the creature provides some resistance to Solmar’s movement, no attacks occur.  As a party we safely pass through the Silver Tongue territory. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] We run through the Elder Elves corridors backtracking our previous steps, when suddenly we are simultaneously ambushed by three creatures.  A Neh-Thalggu blocks our way, one larger than the one we previously killed, and seemingly have feasted on at least two Duergar as their heads were decapitated from their bodies.  As we prepare to attack the Neh-Thalggu, two separate Mage Ripper Swarms drop from the corridor ceiling!  (By Ilmater, it’s harder to exit this mountain that to venture within it!  I should know by now that there is no end to suffering in the world that we live in.  Ilmater continue to teach me endurance and perseverance)  [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The battle is deadly to both sides.  I am fortunate to avoid the Mage Ripper Swarm attacks, although almost all the other spellcasters are targeted.  Zeddishous succumbs to nausea generated by the swarms.  Meanwhile, the Neh-Thalggu casts a fireball spell in our midst!  I and Belt seemingly are the only ones able to avoid the fire, all others are engulfed.  Enola attacks the Neh-Thalggu with her arrows. Thalidimar, Ysoac, and  Solmar attack one of the swarms, and Khurshel casts a spell at the Neh-Thalggu without effect.  Belt casts a gust of wind spell that moves one of the swarms away from the main party and towards the Neh-Thalggu.  I look over to Zeddishous and see he’s slumped to the ground unconscious!  (What the Hell!  One fireball spell should not have injured him to that degree?) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Before anyone can act, the Neh-Thalggu casts an ice storm spell in the same location as the fireball!  (I’m really concerned now, as I suspect one more spell like that might finish off much of the party!)  I see Thalidimar look over to Zeddishous and shake his head in anger; then he summons celestial dogs to surround the Neh-Thalggu while swinging his mace again at one of the swarmsEnola drinks a potion and gains visible health and vitality.  Belt heals Khurshel as it looks as the second spell had momentarily knocked him unconscious as well. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Ultimately, I kill one of the mage ripper swarms with a timely fiery burst spell, while Thalidimar and Solmar finish the other.  Enola and Ysoac pepper the Neh-Thalggu with arrows, and Solmar finishes it off with some attacks.  Nevertheless, we’ve lost another party member as Zeddishous is well beyond any healing we can perform. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] As we still desperately need to leave, I start striping his body of magical items for distribution to the party or Thalidimar’s portable hole.  Belt takes temporary ownership of the cloak, Solmar his great axe, Enola the ring of healing, and I the bracers of archery; the remainder is a blur to me.  In examining Zeddishous’ body, I notice unhealed wounds from the battle with Madreus.  This must have caused him to fall prematurely!  (Why would he hide his wounds from us?  Was he too cocksure of his abilities in any battle to worry about the injuries, or to secure in our safe passage back to the surface, or did a suicidal streak develop in his dissatisfaction with being here in the mountain? Did the taint at the Gate affect him more than the rest of us knew? He is in the hands of Ilmater as surely he suffered mentally as much as he did physically.)  Zeddishous’ body is placed in the portable hole along with Grenco’s (and Madreus and Nigel). [/Dynnera] 

[Dynnera] We agree to follow the cavern paths, but we'll have Belt run through them and with the cloak of earth striding in full effect and the rest of us in the portable hole.   I shiver in the portable hole, ready to bolt out from this unholy means of travel.  Peripherally I notice a change in the party; the jokes and laughter at my expense are gone, and Solmar appears to be jockeying with me for position on the ladder, although nothing will prevent my leaving first!   The bag opens and I make my escape, running through woods.  All I can hear is the pounding of my heart and the need to flee!  Eventually I can stop to catch my breath and see Ysoac, in bird form, had followed me.  It turns out Solmar must have been afflicted with a similar irrational fear as it also bolted from the portable hole. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Belt has gotten us into the woods, just past the Firestorm Peak Gates.  The only way to reach the Monastery now is for Ysoac, in bird form, to carry the portable hole to the outer entry.  Not however on the stone platform, as we are all tainted and the stone guardians would attack us!  Once again, I must face my fears as the party jumps back into the portable hole.  [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I tire of repeating my frightened state as anyone reading my journal knows what happens when the portable hole opens again.  Ysoac has safely flown through the bog to the Monastery and deposited the party within ready sight of the entrance.  Now we need to attract the Monastery attention.  I summon a hippogriff and ride it 300ft upwards attempting to attract attention.  I quickly come down when Khurshel casts a spell able to duplicate the sounds of 20 Humans.  (How stupid of me to chance this?  I must be tired.  I realize my precarious position when the hippogriff turns into some change of wind direction and I feel myself slightly slip from its back!  I have no more teleports to avert calamity.  I return to earth quickly.)  I suggest to Khurshel that instead of yelling “Open Up”, he tell it to yell something like “We’ve succeeded in closing the Gate.  Need your help opening the entry.” (Khurshel is extremely cautious in displaying his abilities, even when they could be must effective.  He has an amazing array of spells at his disposal, I must make sure to ask what he could do before risking my own reserves or self.  I would never have attempted the summoning spell if I’d known of his plan to cast the spell he did.)  The doors open up, and Monastery attendees appear.  One or two cast divination spells (apparently ESP) and confirms our identity and thoughts on completion of the mission.  The stone guardians are disabled and we are lead in the Monastery. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] As a group, we wade into the sacred pool to cleanse ourselves of the taint.  It appears we may have reached the Monastery in time, although we are told we may spend ½ day or more wading in the pool as no additional curative will be provided to us.  We all wait our next audience with Darius. In the meantime, I hope the attendees bring us some flotation devices, as I’m weary enough to fall asleep in this pool.  At least two of the party seems at ease, Solmar sinks to the bottom in whatever contemplation a construct can achieve, and Ysoac turns into an octopus and submerges into the pool depths. [/Dynnera]

[Thalidimar] Weary and water logged - My vision sways rhythmically, slowly up and down, closer, farther, closer, farther; of the trees hanging across a partial moon overhead. My arms extended, out away from me, helping to keep my nose out of the water. My feet are spread apart; my head is back so that water is covering my ears. I can occasionally hear the murmur of someone talking. I am thoroughly drained. Either I was too tired or just didn’t give a hoot, but I waded into the pool, leathers and all. I suppose it was a good thing - I’m not sure I would have cared if I drowned by now, if not for the buoyancy. My whole body is water logged after I don’t know how many hours. [/Thalidimar]

[Thalidimar] (I am floating between salvation and desolation, between relief and depression. Part of me wants to celebrate the death of evil and sickness of the taint. Part of me wants to sink to the bottom of the pool and keep company with Ash, Tanar, Grenco… and now Zed.) [/Thalidimar]

[Thalidimar] (I am surrounded by the floating faces of strangers. I can’t tell if I’m still crying or if my face is just wet from the pool. If this is what being a leader is all about, being torn apart by anguish, having to bury everyone you know… I don’t want any part of it.) [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] My remaining thoughts revolve around our next steps.  With the mission complete, I am ready to quit Firestorm Peak, even if additional magical riches could be located.  As evident from our retreat, even without the taint of the Vast Gate, the creatures inside have the potential to overwhelm us.  I also suspect Darius will no longer loan the rod of sanctity to the party with the closure of the Vast Gate.  I say let the 640 Duergar and Darius arrange the rest of the mop-up activities! I’m sure we can get promises from both to supply the Myconid with our agreed fertile soil.  The agreement never indicated we had to personally deliver the soil.  I will vigorously argue against a return, although I suspect Solmar, Khurshel and Thalidimar will want to return (Solmar because of the agreement, Khurshel and Thalidimar for the riches).  If I should lose that argument, I will seek to sway the party to wait for the word of recall amulets to be recharged, before entering again (although again, I could see Darius forbidding their use.) [/Dynnera]

[Thalidimar] (From the corner of my mind a tiny voice chimes in that the world is a better place now, that the sacrifice was worth it, that given the chance we would choose to do it all over again. Wasn’t it me that told the party I'd give my life for the chance to fight evil or die trying? Wasn’t it me that talked Zed into staying, to keep trying even after getting our butts beaten soundly by the Spawn? Is it my fault then he’s dead? Tymora, why not me instead?) [/Thalidimar]

[Thalidimar] Suddenly ripples in the pool roll over my face as someone gets out of the pool. I sputter and cough out water through my nose as I stand up straight and look around. (Has it been that long? Time to get out of the pool already? Is it time to contemplate a new fight yet? To champion our Gods and root out more evil?) The Paladin offers me his hand and lifts me out of the pond. Is that emotion that I see in his face? He says, “We are victorious.” Maybe all is not lost. Maybe the construct has got the gist of it. (A faint thought tickles my mind, that Grenco will come back as a smelly Orc. A slight smile creases my face. I think he would actually like that.) Solmar nods his head as if he heard my thoughts and agrees. [/Thalidimar]

To be continued…

DM's note:
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father, but things have changed along the way. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father was found assisting Madreus the Alienest. (An evil mage responsible for infecting this region of the Realms with a contagious stream of taint). In the climactic battle, the party defeated Madreus, his minions and Nigel the apprentice. After defeating Madreus, all those under his control were released from his corrupting influence. Despite the fact that party members were highly infected with corruption, they took the time to complete the most crucial task. They refocused the Vast Gate - an interdimensional portal which acted as a conduit to the Far Realm. It is this Vast Gate which gave taint access to our Realms. While Madreus labored towards some unknown nefarious goal, the party took heroic measure in stopping him and his mad plans. Staunched is the flow of taint, restored is the balance of good and evil, and here ends the damnable story of Madreus the alienest. The inhabitants gathered about Firestorm Peak can now live in relative safety. Surely some pockets of corruption remain, but the Disciples at the Nether Mountains Monastery will have little problem dealing with that which remains. Thanks to our brave adventurers, Firestorm Peak no longer represents evil, corruption and malignant growth to the people's of the Nether Mountains. With the party safely resting within the walls of the Nether Mountains Monastery, they contemplate the final chapter to this story. Will they journey back into the heart of Firestorm Peak, will they honor their agreement with the Myconid king?
Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 26 Jul 2008
Game-world date: 28 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera, Thalidimar, Solmar and Khurshel

Where we left off last session
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father is likely some agent of evil. Why do these SCREWOFFS continue? It is the threat that propels them forward, the ever growing, spreading threat of taint. Of an evil which grows daily, an unstoppable evil that subjugates, corrupts and defiles all that it touches. Madreus, the alienst is attempting to bring forth an otherworldly presence into our world. Something that mortals dare not confront, something that will surely destroy all that is good.…If, if the party relents, if they fail, if they falter — This is the reason, this is why they continue. To surrender now would spell certain destruction and corruption for all that they hold dear. Their quest has taken them into the accursed Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence, and now it takes them deeper still, into the twisted caverns beneath the mountain. Into the very heart of darkness. Many battles have been fought, many brave allies dispatched. The ground is wet with the blood of the innocent, but all that will seem as nothing should Madreus achieve his nefarious goals. Deep within the twisted confines of Firestorm Peak, a battle rages for the survival of the realms. Having returned to the heart of this rotting mountain, the party has fought many powerful creatures and wrested two of the crystal keys (required to refocus the Vast Gate) from the clutches of evil guardians. Suddenly, the party has discovered what appears to be the Vast Gate and the entourage of Madreus. Could this be the final battle necessary to cleanse the taint of Firestorm Peak? What of the remaining crystal shard? The party still needs that vital component in order to refocus the Vast Gate. Is the Alienist Madreus truly within range of the party's blade? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

“So much for Madreus”

28 Augot 1003
Longday

[Dynnera] We ready ourselves to attack Madreus (finally!) Belt hands Solmar a salve the will temporarily provide it significant spell resistance, casts Fly on me, and casts Bulls Strength on Thalidimar, Solmar, and himselfThalidimar casts Mass Aid on the group as well as a Protection from Evil spell.  I cast a Scorching Ray spell into Thalidimar’s mace.  Ysoac casts Bark Skin on Solmar and all jump into the portable hole.  Prior to closing, Khurshel casts his Invisibility spell on me.  I close up the portable hole, glad for once not having to be in it, approach the mysterious black door, skim the ceiling as best I can with the fly spell, and teleport 10 ft past it. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] There are indeed 10 Duergar in the room.  They obviously hear the noise from the displacement of air in my transit, and immediately grab their weapons.  Some of the Duergar begin to expand to their giant height creating a phalanx line of defense within the room while looking for an intruder.  I’m glad for the fly spell, as I easily pass the phalanx line and the Duergar are not focusing their search at the ceiling.  I don’t delay in this room, and teleport 10ft again into the Vast Gate room! [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The room is shaped in a four leaf clover (or heart) pattern with high ceilings.  In its center is a large globe of dazzling light (the Vast Gate) with hazy shapes floating within it.  The globe floats above the floor at a height greater than a normal human, with a magical light shining on it from above.  There are three crystal columns adjacent and equidistant from it. Additionally, there are at least two tables with laboratory equipment and a pedestal near the Vast Gate with a massive book on it. I appear amidst the enemy, but fortunately act before they do.  There are two Duergar at the entry (behind me), two robed figures (one with an extra set of arms and a horned helmet – Madreus?), two additional Duergar, two brood gibberling, two myconid, and at least two trolls.  My first action is to swoop down to five feet and roll out the portable hole carpet (fortunately I appeared in a location with 10x10 floor clearance)!  The battle can now truly begin! [/Dynnera]

[Thalidimar] Just before the carpet opened up, I realized that my mace was alight and I couldn't climb the ladder. I quickly told the mace to extinguish the flames, and I stowed the mace in my shield. A few seconds later the portal opened up and everyone but Solmar and I vaulted out of the carpet. We heard one of the mages say something about "silent", but it was a little hard to understand. I looked over at Solmar, and didn’t see any comprehension either. His face held an expression I hadn’t seen before, like he was constipated, but I know that constructs don’t make waste. I’ll have to ask him what he was thinking at that moment, when we get back to the monastery. [/Thalidimar]

[Solmar] When the portable hole opened, we quickly assaulted and defeated the two mages (later identified as Madreus and Nigel).  Remaining combatants immediately halted hostilities (except gibberling - quickly dispatched).  Claimed to have been controlled by Madreus. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] The battle itself was anticlimactic compared to our earlier battles at the Duergar fortified entry, or with the deepspawn or dharculus.  (In hindsight, Solmar’s conclusions are accurate, with ‘intel’, proper preparation, and coordinated efforts, our party can be quite efficient! (Of course it mixes some praise to Helm as well…))  By the time we’ve taken two actions, the main threats (the two mages) have been disposed of.  In Summary:

Round One
* Dynnera: I roll out the carpet to allow my companions out from the portable hole prison.
* Belt: He appears with the instant wall in hand. He seals the only visible door behind the wall to prevent reinforcements from entering.
* Enola: She does something she hasn’t done before!  She reaches out to an empty dagger scabbard at her waist, steps toward the non-helmed robed figured, swings her empty hands without approaching in close, and a massive bloody slash appears across his chest!  It looks like she might have some invisible weapon in hand!
* Ysoac: He casts a Splinter Wood spell at the non-helmed robed figure.  Wooden splinters (spear-like) strike him.
* Scorch:  The wolf bites and successfully trips one of the Duergar.
* Zeddishous: He strikes out with his axe at one of the mages.
* Khurshel:  He casts Silence at the feet of the mages to hopefully prevent them from casting spells.
* Thalidimar: He strikes with his mace at a Duergar that had fallen across the portable hole.  He moves out of the portable hole to strike at the mages.
* Solmar: It attacks with a battle axe against one of the mages. [/Dynnera]

[Thalidimar] As I started up the ladder, I saw the crotch of a big hairy creature, where there was just enough room on the right side of his fuzzy leg to squeeze by. I walked in between our favorite female archer and some kind of podium and took a swing at the first nasty I could find. Black eyes were all I saw before the mace crunched down on his forehead. I commanded Ravek to release the spell into the inhuman face, but nothing happened at first. Lady luck must have intervened and a quarter second later a fiery ray burned into its skull. A moment later another ray scorched the front of its chest as I pulled back the mace for a second swing. [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] The enemies moved into position and some of the Duergar grew in size.  The Myconid extended their spores at Enola and Solmar but to no effect.  The gibberling spat at Ysoac or Thalidimar but fortunately either missed completely, or the spit slugs landed without gaining access to their skin.  The non-helmed mage stared intently at Enola, and she felt a spell pass over her but again to no effect.  The helmed mage pointed a wand at Ysoac and lightning struck him.

Round Two
* Dynnera: I rise up to 15 feet above Enola and Thalidimar and activate the Belt of Darkness (our party will be able to see in the dark but hopefully not the enemy).
* Belt:  He attacks the nearest duergar as two are adjacent to him.
* Scorch:  The wolf continues its attack against the duergar.
* Ysoac:  He casts Arc Lightning between the two mages.  The non-helmed mage falls to the ground defeated, but the lightning actually rebounds from the helmed mage and strikes Ysoac!
* Zeddishous: He attacks with his axe the helmed mage.
* Solmar: It attacks with his axe the helmed mage, and his & Zeddishous’ combined attacks fell the mage.  Both mages are down! [/Dynnera]

[Thalidimar] Lightning zapped from the druid to the two enemy mages and then it reflected back at him! Before I could bring Ravek around, the mage made a dash towards the gate and was summarily cut down. With the podium in the way, I couldn’t see who attacked him. When I lined back up, someone had already cut down the mage with the horned helm, and a Duergar ran past me on the right. I helped him on his way with a friendly pat on his shoulder blade from Ravek. He barely even seemed to notice. A dark dwarf and a Troll said something as the two mushroom guys ran to the back of the room. A few seconds later, Dynnera said that they were surrendering and the battle was over. [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] Once the mages are defeated, only the gibberling continue their attacks.  We quickly dispatch them, meanwhile the Duergar surrender, the Myconid retreat to the back of the room, and the trolls discontinue fighting. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Unfortunately, being so close to the Vast Gate has the detrimental effect of causing significant taint just by being in the same room with it!  We needed to leave immediately.  We tell the Duergar and trolls we need to depart and to wait for our return.  The party jump into the portable hole and I teleport beyond the door (and Belt’s wall) again. [/Dynnera]

[Thalidimar] The room seemed a blistering cesspool, not unlike the swamp of taint we passed through to get here. There was no time to waste; when Dynnera said that she was searching the other mage, I vengefully reached down and grabbed the black eyed mage and violently threw him down into the rug. I jumped after him and yelled, “Let’s go boys, let’s get outta here!” I didn’t hear so much as I felt, the bag of bones gratifyingly crack under my clawed boots as I landed on the chest of what I assumed was Madreus. I grabbed the front of his robes and pulled his lifeless body a foot off the floor. Spitting in his face, I said, “If I had time, I’d rip your ugly head off and spit down your neck, you twisted evil freak.” As vengeful visions of bringing him back to life and pulling off his limbs danced in my head, I rifled through his robes. I left the offal on the floor as I waited with the rest of the party for the rug to open up. [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] We begin discussing our options, concerned that only these mysterious doors actually prevent the taint from spreading throughout the complex.   While debating, we hear the Duergar and trolls breaking through the wall and door!  Without other alternatives, Thalidimar uses the Rod of Sanctity to remove my taint, Ysoac passes the last taint protection stones to me, and I teleport back in to save the creatures and prevent them from breaking through the door. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I have little time to convince them.  I tell them to jump into the portable hole so I can get them out of the room, but they ignore me. Feeling the taint already oozing into my skin, I attempt to intimate them by flaming Tanar’s shroud.  With no luck, I attempt to bluff them by telling them I will kill them all unless they do as I say. Note to DM: damn, I should have had you roll my Bluff skill! They prepare to attack me.  Unable to do anything further, I grab the portable hole and use my last teleport to get beyond the door. [/Dynnera]

[Thalidimar] So consumed was I with anger, the next thing I remember is the door breaking down and Duergar and trolls filing past. Solmar said to let them go except the two still standing at the podium. I got Ravek back out and stood to one side of the door. The Dwarf was holding a yellow shard. The last shard! This was it! This is what we were searching for. Our mission was finally complete. The source of taint had shifted away. [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] I tell the party I’ve failed, and to prepare for a potential attack as the door is broken down.  The door is broken down but as we do not attack those leaving the room, they run past us.  What we do see is a single Duergar and troll holding the last crystal shard, and rifling through the book on the pedestal.  We approach, and the troll, named “Leygen” says he is trying to realign the Gate.  Solmar and Thalidimar step up with the other shards and agree to assist. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Khurshel and I hover over Leygen as he reads the tome – It appears to be instructions on how to manipulate this Gate.  Meanwhile, Solmar, Thalidimar, and the Duergar insert the crystal shards into the adjacent columns; each column turns the color of the inserted shard.  Once completed, Leygen suggests aligning the Gate to our own Prime Material Plane, as he believes that aligning it elsewhere may be dangerous.  It is done, and the shards are pulled from columns (and the continued pressure of receiving taint is eliminated).  (My only concern is the new location of the Gate.  Is it somewhere the Duergar in this mountain could take unfair advantage?  I’m uncomfortable assuming we could pass to/from it without hindrance and without other means to validate I keep my misgivings to myself.  Perhaps Darius at the Monastery will have means to confirm its new location.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] We were quickly being tainted due to proximity to vast gate, so we retreated to adjoining room to regroup.  Vast gate room occupants bashed their way out of room, except one Duergar and one trollDuergar holding yellow shard, standing next to troll at podium.  Troll examining book on podium.  Explained that it contained instructions for operating far gate.  Together, we redirected far gate using crystals and book so that it focused back to this plane.  Flow of taint immediately subsided.  We destroyed crystals to prevent vast gate from being directed back to an evil plane again.  Mission accomplished. [/Solmar]

[Thalidimar] Later, while I was cataloguing the items we found, I asked Dynnera if she found anything else. When she said no, I asked, “And no other magic items?” (I felt it strange that neither of the mages had any gold; the only items they had were what we saw in their hands. Stranger yet was Dynnera’s reaction. She seemed pretty upset that I would question her about Tanar’s father. I know I’m no diplomat; maybe I said it in a mean way. I was after all still mad about my dead comrades. Maybe she was upset that she had to touch a dead body. Or is she too good for that? I do remember something about her not liking dead things. Or maybe she had changed her mind about the crystals needing to be destroyed.) [/Thalidimar]

[Solmar] Thalidimar examined one mage's body for possessions to add to those we have claimed, and Dynnera examined the other.  Thalidimar asked her if she had divulged all items found, and she immediately became unwarrantedly defensive.  (My talk with him after our foray into the Duergar complex was warranted, concerning her willingness and skill at deception while impersonating Wellfast.  She must be watched closely.) Or perhaps we were just all showing symptoms of our intense exposure to taint in proximity to the vast gate.  For example, Thalidimar has become incresingly withdrawn ever since Fang's death.  Return to the monastery for cleansing imperative. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We elect to destroy the crystal shards to prevent this Gate from being aligned once again.  Khurshel is reluctant, and in fact tries to retain pieces of the shards, but the firm voices of his peers, and perhaps the strong hand of Solmar on his shoulder, returns him to reason.  The shard pieces are destroyed in acid. [/Dynnera]

[Khurshel] I grieve over the mishandling of the Vast Gate. (While the spellcaster responsible for attuning the gate to the far realm has been slain, I feel that the greater evil was we, who demolished a treasured artifact. The three crystalline shards that served as keys to the Vast Gate were smashed and dissolved in acid. Foremost a barbaric act, but also a wasteful one; the disabling of a powerful magical item is akin to murder of one with a great destiny.) [/Khurshel]

[Thalidimar] The Illumian sure seemed pissed about destroying the crystal shards. (But isn’t it my duty as the leader to find out what treasure we divide? Did Dynnera want me to give her the paper so she could write it down secretly? Maybe she’s mad at me because she wants the job of keeping track. By all means, she can have it. I’m not very good at it anyways. I always forget an item or two. Maybe she’s jealous because I have the most magic things. Now that I think about it, she has mentioned it several times how I have more than anyone else. Or she’s mad because of the way I lead. She looks at me funny when I ask what everyone thinks before I make a decision. Heck, she can be the party leader for all I care. I never wanted the position in the first place. Ugh… I have no idea what her problem is. I shook my head and just chalked it up to being a woman thing. Besides, we still have to find a way to get rid of all this taint. Wait! That’s it! She’s being affected by all the taint! Her otherwise fragile faculties have been twisted. Now, she’s even more nervous and paranoid than before. Oh, that poor, poor lady… her brains are all scrambled and there I am barking commands at her. Give me this, give me that! What do you mean there’s no gold!? Gods, I’m such a jerk. Well, I still have three healing spells that will take away some of that taint. Maybe it will help to make her feel better. Still… I’d better keep an eye on her. Tymora only knows what she might do while she’s under the influence.) [/Thalidimar]

[Khurshel] (Regret is a terrible thing, and I wholly feel anguish that I was unable to retrieve anything of use from the Vast Gate.) The awful corruption that poured from the far realms was a terrible pressure in a moment where forethought was deeply required. Too late was I to attempt to save a small bit of the crystal; and my plot to save a sliver was undone by the chance glance of a troll! (These events have led me to reflect upon my abilities and I will be most certainly prepared to prevent such hasty action in the foreseeable future. I’ve lost an asset to the library for now it seems.) [/Khurshel]

[Dynnera]  We destroyed the additional arms that were attached to one of the mages (looks to have been Nigel instead of Madreus!)  They were still mobile when I fiery burst them.  (Those arms were too like undead accoutrements for I to want them to survive, even if they were magical and of value.)  Nigel’s helm and wand (of lightning) was collected, and the non-helmed mage (Madreus), had a magical cloak, dagger, apparently made from a unicorn horn, and magical contact lenses.  We also destroyed the instructional gate book. (In hindsight I hope it was not Nigel’s or Madreus’ spellbook.  Khurshel and I had looked at it so I don’t think it was a spellbook, but I hope in our haste we didn’t make a mistake.  Even if it was a spellbook, it was only one, and another should be somewhere.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] (I also liberated a ring from Nigel.  Of course I turned over all the other items that were obvious or used (e.g. helm, wand).  In detecting magic and turning the items over, Thalidimar asked if I had found and detected all the magical items… I thought it a strange question to ask, but I said “yes”.  Thalidimar and I have exhibited similar avarice (money and magic leads to protection and power), so I was somewhat taken aback by the question, but perhaps it was innocent.  On my return to Whillip, I’m going to have to talk to Arach-nid.  My interactions with the Thieves Guild have always been as Clydeera, not Dynnera!  I paid handsomely on guild admission to keep my nature and other personas unknown to all.  I will seek confirmation that my secrets remain my own except to those I must report to as my superiors.  Grenco had hinted of knowing a rogue nature to Dynnera but that should not have been known unless someone had spoken what they shouldn’t have!). [/Dynnera]

[Khurshel] I would, however, report the prowess of my comrades. It brings me joy to see a plan well-established and well-played, and I was ecstatic at the surprising ease that Madreus was defeated. Our swift attack was abundantly successful, a plan made possible by a well-cast spell by myself. However, I shall cast praise on our arms men; they gave an impressive display of might. [/Khurshel]

[Khurshel] (Dynnera seems like someone of interest to me, she seems to have many secrets worth knowing and perhaps someone whom I might approach with projects. However, her goals are unknown to me as I’ve yet to come more into the group to gain a sense of their journey and perhaps more opportunities in allies will present themselves.) [/Khurshel]

[Dynnera] Now we are faced with a rushed journey to the Monastery, and no choice but to go back into the portable hole (URGGHHHH!) The taint we’ve received cannot be healed by the rod of sanctity and if not cleansed from us within 24 hours will become permanent.  I shiver, but know what to expect… [/Dynnera]

To be continued…

DM's note:
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father was found assisting Madreus the Alienest. (An evil mage responsible for infecting this region of the Realms with a contagious stream of taint). In the climactic battle, the party defeated Madreus, his minions and Nigel the apprentice. After defeating Madreus, all those under his control were released from his corrupting influence. Despite the fact that party members were highly infected with corruption, they took the time to complete the most crucial task. They refocused the Vast Gate - an interdimensional portal which acted as a conduit to the Far Realm. It is this Vast Gate which gave taint access to our Realms. While Madreus labored towards some unknown nefarious goal, the party took heroic measure in stopping him and his mad plans. Staunched is the flow of taint, restored is the balance of good and evil, and here ends the damnable story of Madreus the alienest. The inhabitants gathered about Firestorm Peak can now live in relative safety. Surely some pockets of corruption remain, but the Disciples at the Nether Mountains Monastery will have little problem dealing with that which remains. Thanks to our brave adventurers, Firestorm Peak no longer represents evil, corruption and malignant growth to the people's of the Nether Mountains. All that remains is a cleansing trip to the pools of purity - a consecrated holy font which removes the corruption of taint. If the party delays their trip for too long, the taint may become permanent - A condition that none should suffer. Godspeed good warriors - Here's to the journey!
Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 12 Jul 2008
Game-world date: 28 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera, Belt and Thalidimar

Where we left off last session
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father is likely some agent of evil. Why do these SCREWOFFS continue? It is the threat that propels them forward, the ever growing, spreading threat of taint. Of an evil which grows daily, an unstoppable evil that subjugates, corrupts and defiles all that it touches. Madreus, the alienst is attempting to bring forth an otherworldly presence into our world. Something that mortals dare not confront, something that will surely destroy all that is good.…If, if the party relents, if they fail, if they falter — This is the reason, this is why they continue. To surrender now would spell certain destruction and corruption for all that they hold dear. Their quest has taken them into the accursed Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence, and now it takes them deeper still, into the twisted caverns beneath the mountain. Into the very heart of darkness. Many battles have been fought, many brave allies dispatched. The ground is wet with the blood of the innocent, but all that will seem as nothing should Madreus achieve his nefarious goals. Deep within the twisted confines of Firestorm Peak, a battle rages for the survival of the realms. Having returned to the heart of this rotting mountain, the party has fought many powerful creatures and wrested two of the crystal keys (required to refocus the Vast Gate) from the clutches of evil guardians. Nearing the end of their quest, all that stands between them and the taint of Firestorm Peak is a single crystal shard and the Alienist Madreus. Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

“Grenco's Finale”

28 Augot 1003
Longday

[Dynnera] Advancing down these nephelim halls, we suddenly hear an outcry from Grenco.  Another aberration has appeared from some portal rift mid-air, sweeping its moray eel like tentacles at Grenco. Enola shouts out that it’s a Dharculus, some dual plane creature that is prone to pull its grappled victim back to its ethereal lair!  Grenco is quickly wrapped up amongst all six of its tentacles, while Belt yells out a caution that even approaching close to the creature forces taint upon yourself.  My fiery burst spell causes it no damage so I suspect it’s fire resistant and later cast Melf’s acid arrow on it.  Khurshel casts a prismatic mist spell which does fire damage; it must have some form of spell resistance!  Belt, Thalidimar, Solmar, Enola, and Zeddishous all apply their usual melee prowess and Khurshel casts another orb of lesser electricity spell that always causes me envy!  Ysoac casts a spray of thorns at it but seems disappointed at its effectiveness.  [/Dynnera]

[Thalidimar] I heard a faint squeak, that reminded me of the noise Grenco makes when he belly flops onto his bed roll and knocks the wind out of himself. Zed made a Ranger noise; I suspect it was a signal for “halt” or “enemy” but couldn’t make it out. Half the party turned the corner and made a B-line down the hall, a few calling out spells. I turned the corner with my mace held high, the flames flickering brightly to light my way. Grenco was being hugged by two huge tentacles coming out of a tear in space. He was down, but struggling, so I called a Celestial Bison behind the rip into some kind of fog, while making ready to lay a healing hand on him as soon as I neared. [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] Meanwhile Grenco slips out of the creature’s six tentacled grasp, only to be knocked down and grasped again by a single tentacle.  The creature continues to focus on Grenco, and all six tentacles once again wrap him up!  This time, we can see his extreme distress and he eventually goes limp within its grasp (we hope it’s a trick on his part).  The creature succumbs to our attack and disappears, dropping Grenco in the hall. Thalidimar administers his usually quite effective healing powers, but in this case to no avail.  Grenco has passed on to whatever Gnomish greater plane exists for him. [/Dynnera]

[Thalidimar] The 6 tentacles let go as Grenco violently twisted free. He stood up and was just as violently smacked back down. I was close enough to see the ground soak up his blood as the arms crushed his now still form. I straddled his body and brought the flaming mace down on one of the arms waving in front of me and in the same motion let the positive energy go as contact was made with our little scout. With a glance at the lifeless body near my feet, my heart sank into my stomach, and the creature dissipated back to its own plane. [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] (Once again the party is stunned by the loss of another member dying in the midst of battle - Brock (who I never met), Tanar, and now Grenco, and perhaps mourn Duracell’s departure (although I feel she abandoned the party in fear of her own inadequacies)).  Belt says a prayer over Grenco’s body and I suggest we temporarily divide Grenco’s magical protections, and ceremonially wrap his body and deposit within the portable hole for transport.  (Perhaps it was a bad omen when Grenco indicated just earlier today that if he ever died he’d prefer reincarnation over resurrection?) [/Dynnera]

[Thalidimar] I learned from Ash that to deliver a high level healing spell to an unconscious humanoid can be wasteful. So instead I cast my lowest level spell with a powerful prayer to Tymora, enough so that he should have been brought back to consciousness. The fourth of our friends... [/Thalidimar]

[Thalidimar] I didn’t need to check his pulse, or pry his eyelids open to know that he’d already passed on, but to keep from screaming or falling down crying, I fell instead into the routine of the cleric. Maybe it was just to show the rest of the group that indeed another had been taken by the taint. Or maybe it was to calmly remove a tiny sliver of hope that my spell had not been enough to revive him… that he was just playing another of his inane jokes, and would jump up and say, “ha ha, fooled you!” [/Thalidimar]

[Belt] (I placed a blessing of Fharlanghn over Grenco’s body as he has undertaken his longest journey now.  I know I had my differences regarding his improper despoiling of crypts, but he had also shown consistent valor in fighting the taint within this mountain.  From what little I know of his past, he seems to have traveled a lot and indirectly respected the tenets of Fharlanghn.) [/Belt]

[Thalidimar] As it was, we were silent as we opened up the rug and laid him on one of the shelves. As Dynnera was climbing back out, I said a silent prayer to Tymora, that she welcome the Gnome’s hardy soul into her kingdom, but to nail everything down if she wanted to keep it. I half chuckled, half sobbed as a single tear splashed onto his leather vest, instantly clouding to red as it mixed with the still, wet blood. [/Thalidimar]

[Thalidimar] I imagined the drop was my sorrow, the blood my anger; mixing together, my gut wrenched into a tight knot that burned. It seeped up into my chest, and formed a tiny sun. I’m holding onto that now, saving it for the source of the taint when we finally meet it. That’s when I will mourn my friend fully. Right after my mace crunches through his skull, I can cough phlegm into what’s left of his ripped face and sticky innards… scream and curse at the creator of this madness, the orchestrator of my friends’ death, Madreus. [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] Grenco’s rings of force armor go into the portable hole, while the cloak of earth striding is now in Zeddishous’ possession, as he will take over scouting duties.  I take possession of his sentient short sword, confident I will not be possessed by it.  [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] (The sword and I exchange mental ripostes. In winning this contest of wills, I command it to not withhold any abilities from me, and to serve me better than it did Grenco,  I also suggest its own self-interest is involved since Tanar’s cursed shroud will cause myself and all my possessions to incinerate upon death.  The sword retorts that it is indestructible and unconcerned.  I believe I’ve won any controlling battle with it, but again, it may not have tried to assert itself yet… I feel normal, if slightly uncomfortable with keeping a sentient item in my possession. I suspect my feeling of discomfort will ease, for truly how different is this sentient sword from Solmar, the sentient golem in the party?  Both were created by powerful mages and instilled with sentient capabilities, although of course Solmar is much more advanced than this sword.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] We begin investigating the halls again, and shortly Zeddishous calls a halt when he observes shimmering, silvery grass through the halls we are heading towards.  Ysoac steps forward and identifies it as Silver Tongue grass.  Ysoac presents his druidic symbols and commands the plant to allow our safe passage through it.  He indicates the ability to cast a spell to speak with plants, and I suggest doing so for information regarding recent passage and any information regarding the Vast GateYsoac learns:

  • The silver tongue came through the gate and indicates a certain hall down which it traveled from the gate to its current location.  Other branches lead to a caved in area, some locked doors, and the passage back in which we came.
  • It will allow safe passage to any that cause no harm to it.
  • It acknowledges having seen Duergar travel this area, but not Wellfast or Illithid’s (I used my ring of disguise to change into each form as a visual cue to this creature).
  • We ask the creature if it has digested any nonperishable items that we could remove from its presence.  Ultimately we ‘discover’ some coins, jewelry, and a magical ring.
    • Thalidimar, of the seemingly endless bounty of magical items, recalls he possesses an anklet of curse protection and tries on the ring.  It turns out to provide him darkvision!  We ultimately suggest that Solmar wear the ring while in the mountain(Hmm, I wonder if I were to wear the anklet would it allow the removal of Tanar’s shroud?) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] For some reason Thalidimar and Khurshel want to debate the direction we go?!  (I guess it’s fortunate that Thalidimar is adverse to making any decisions unless forced, as certainly his first inclination was absolutely wrong!)  He wanted to explore areas of the hall other than the one identified as leading to the gate!  I argue that we have to locate the gate, and it’s a good chance Madreus will be near it to direct desired creatures to/from it!  Ultimately, the party agrees to continue towards the gate.  (I think the ‘greed’ factor for both Thalidimar and Khurshel overshadowed the need to stop the Gate before all else!  I’m more than open to continued exploring once the the Gate is closed or rerouted.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The Silver Tongue lawn ends in front of a metal door.  We suggest to Zeddishous that he meld through the door with the cloak, as the hall is now made of purer nephelim and prevents his passage. Upon touching the door, Zeddishous recoils saying its evil and seemingly mentally possessive.  We discuss and agree that Solmar should use the cloak as it is most resistant to a wide variety of attack (…being a golem…), with the addition of a protection from evil spell to prevent any mental possession.  The others agree to go back into the portable hole, while I indicate that I will teleport into the next area past the door once Solmar yells it is safe (or teleport to assist him as needed). [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Solmar steps forward - into the strata of the stone door - but within a matter of 12 seconds steps back.  It indicates a guard room with at least 10 armed & armored Duergar stationed throughout the room, and three additional doorways leading from the room beside the one we are adjacent to.  It also seems Solmar wasn’t as immune to the doors effects as we thought, although it only indicates “no impact to efficiency regarding party speaker role or my martial prowess”.  We decide to get the rest of party out of the portable hole prison to discuss the situation. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] We finally agree to have the party in the portable hole, Khurshel casts invisibility on me (something we didn’t know he could do), and I teleport into the guard room and look for a suitable location to open the carpet.  I hope to avoid a battle with the 10 Duergar, although Thalidimar seems eager to do so (I think he wants to fight something that won’t automatically give him taint).  In discussing which of the three passages to explore from the room, Khurshel ‘volunteers’ to cast clairvoyance on one of the passages to see where it leads.  (Yes I have an urge to punch him right now; I certainly understand secrecy but that suggestion could have been helpful earlier today or in past days in the mountain!) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Khurshel casts the spell on the passage directly across from our position, and we’ve found the Vast Gate!  He observes for over five minutes, and describes a room with a floating sphere of light containing images of creatures floating within, and three vertical crystal columns of Red, Green, and Honey Gold (the shards we possess match the red and green colors).  His vision doesn’t include the whole room, but shows him tables with apparently arcane materials on them, and the presence of 5 Duergar, 2 gibberling, 1 myconid, 3 trolls, 1 wizard with Human aspects except for the additional set of arms and a set of horns (Madreus perhaps?), and the sense of at least one other person.  [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I propose an immediate surprise attack, although the personnel in the room is daunting,  as I believe additional delay will give Madreus more advantages than ourselves.  The party seems to agree, and we ready to have the party jump in the portable hole, I invisibly enter the room via teleports and quickly slap the carpet open for our attack.  Belt or Ysoac will insure that the 10 Duergar in the antechamber can’t enter the room at least through the door we are aware of.  (My immediate concern is that the Myconid is under Madreus’ control and perhaps has granted telepathy to all in the room.  If its spores pervade the antechamber, the group may be on notice of my invisible presence unless my cloak affords me some protections.) [/Dynnera]

To be continued…

DM's note:
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father is likely some agent of evil. Why do these SCREWOFFS continue? It is the threat that propels them forward, the ever growing, spreading threat of taint. Of an evil which grows daily, an unstoppable evil that subjugates, corrupts and defiles all that it touches. Madreus, the alienst is attempting to bring forth an otherworldly presence into our world. Something that mortals dare not confront, something that will surely destroy all that is good.…If, if the party relents, if they fail, if they falter — This is the reason, this is why they continue. To surrender now would spell certain destruction and corruption for all that they hold dear. Their quest has taken them into the accursed Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence, and now it takes them deeper still, into the twisted caverns beneath the mountain. Into the very heart of darkness. Many battles have been fought, many brave allies dispatched. The ground is wet with the blood of the innocent, but all that will seem as nothing should Madreus achieve his nefarious goals. Deep within the twisted confines of Firestorm Peak, a battle rages for the survival of the realms. Having returned to the heart of this rotting mountain, the party has fought many powerful creatures and wrested two of the crystal keys (required to refocus the Vast Gate) from the clutches of evil guardians. Suddenly, the party has discovered what appears to be the Vast Gate and the entourage of Madreus. Could this be the final battle necessary to cleanse the
taint of Firestorm Peak? What of the remaining crystal shard? The party still needs that vital component in order to refocus the Vast Gate. Is the Alienist Madreus truly within range of the party's blade? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 14 Jun 2008
Game-world date: 27 - 28 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera, Solmar and Belt

Where we left off last session
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father is likely some agent of evil. Why do these SCREWOFFS continue? It is the threat that propels them forward, the ever growing, spreading threat of taint. Of an evil which grows daily, an unstoppable evil that subjugates, corrupts and defiles all that it touches. Madreus, the alienst is attempting to bring forth an otherworldly presence into our world. Something that mortals dare not confront, something that will surely destroy all that is good.…If, if the party relents, if they fail, if they falter — This is the reason, this is why they continue. To surrender now would spell certain destruction and corruption for all that they hold dear. Their quest has taken them into the accursed Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence, and now it takes them deeper still, into the twisted caverns beneath the mountain. Into the very heart of darkness. Many battles have been fought, many brave allies dispatched. The ground is wet with the blood of the innocent, but all that will seem as nothing should Madreus achieve his nefarious goals. Deep within the twisted confines of Firestorm Peak, a battle rages for the survival of the realms. Having returned to the heart of this rotting mountain, the party has once again located and engaged the Deepspawn; A powerful adversary, a known ally of Madreus, a deadly beast from the far realms and holder of a crystal shard. Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

“Deepspawn Demise / Delving Deeper”

27 Augot 1003
Aprochen

[Dynnera] Fortunately, the battle with the Deepspawn ended sooner than expected; with Solmar fittingly striking the last blow.  Highlights of the battle:

  • Khurshel’s multiple Orbs of Lesser Electricity had great effect due to the ability to bypass its defenses.  Two of his strikes were empowered, and the remainder were normal strikes.  (I can’t wait to get back to Whillip to learn some new spells!)
  • Enola’s arrow strikes were as impressive as usual.  (I’ve seen more accurate archers, but never one who makes the most of the strikes that do hit.  I’m sure the Deepspawn never anticipated taking such damage from a simple arrow.)
  • Grenco played more of a decoy in the battle, although his spring attacks did damage the beast.  He looked to be seriously injured early in the battle but Belt was able to heal Grenco at close range instead of by touch!
  • Thalidimar – Cast a celestial bison spell and struck with his bonded mace.  The mace issues out the stored Melf’s Acid Arrow to further impact the beast.  Unfortunately, Thalidimar actually dropped during the battle in a most disturbing fashion – no graceful fall but an immediate collapse. 
  • Ysoac – He and his wolf pulled Thalidimar from the fray, and Ysoac cast a rebounding arc lightning spell between the Deepspawn and one of the celestial bison.
  • Belt – after taking a mighty initial strike from the Deepspawn, and remotely striking with his blood wind spell to minimal effect, Belt helped sustain the party.  He somehow healed Grenco from a distance, and stepped to Ysoac’s side to heal Thalidimar when pulled from the battle.
  • Zeddishous – acted primarily as a decoy for attacks; struck out with magical arrows but to an unknown effect.
  • Myself – During the battle, I cast 2 successive celestial bison spells to distract and attack the Deepspawn.  My prepared acid spells were unnecessary, based on the successful attacks of my party members.
  • Solmar – An inauspicious initial start, as it charged the Deepspawn only to fall prone from the creature’s first attack.  Solmar certainly also took tremendous damage (nearly similar to Thalidimar) but its strikes with Zeddishous’ axe and its shield ultimately brought down the Deepspawn!  [/Dynnera]

[Belt] After that first rush into the room, and taking tremendous damage for the Deepspawn, I knew I shouldn’t stand toe to tentacle with it.  I cast my blood wind spell to extend my usual attacks, but even with the preparatory spells on me, I had limited effect due to the creature’s damage resistance abilities.  By that time I could see Grenco was staggered, so I cast cure serious wounds on him from afar (Bless you Fharlanghn for your gifts).  Immediately thereafter, it was obvious Thalidimar was in trouble – no one’s head should bounce off the floor like his did.  Ysoac pulled him away from the battle and I cast cure serious wounds on him as well.  I wish I could have struck the death blow to this creature, but Solmar is a worthy alternate.  One less tainted creature in this world! [/Belt]

[Dynnera] Not that the Deepspawn didn’t dish out its own mighty strikes, almost killing Thalidimar and Grenco, and disabling Solmar. With each strike it sickened the target with taint.  (Thank Illmater for our taint stones and ultimately the rod of sanctity!)  It disarmed Thalidimar’s shield, and took Grenco’s sword from him.  It even cast Leomund’s Tiny Hut from Grenco’s sword!  The most fortunate aspect is the Deepspawn did not heal itself during the battle.  I think it became overconfident in either how it routed our group in the first battle, or it felt our scattered positioning could allow it to focus on individuals (to a some degree a correct assumption). [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Preparation and planning paid off.  Battle over quickly, although not easy.  Close battle, but we prevailed.  Deepspawn slain, no party casualties.  As Helm teaches, careful planning always defeats rushed actions in the end. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] At the end of the battle we locate the second crystal shard – a green emerald.  Unfortunately, the lair of the Deepspawn is underwater and in an unknown location, so no additional treasure is located.  We retreat to the Myconid lair informing them of our success.  The rest of the day is spent removing taint, distributing additional taint stones to all, healing, and preparing tomorrow’s spells.  [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Green shard procured. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] I requested that Grenco attempt to bypass the Living Wall with his cloak of earth striding now, before he makes further plans.  He returns after scouting for 10 minutes or so, indicating he can bypass that strange creature and has found a room to open the portable hole.  Tomorrow’s strategy is set!  (I almost ask Grenco for his darkscape mushroom wine.  Intellectually I know traveling in the portable hole is our best option, but I still can’t stop the shakes from just suggesting or thinking of it.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Retreated to myconid haven to recuperate and plan our next course of action.  Grenco sent to scout past living wall using the cloak that allows movement through stone to bypass wall.  When he returned, he reported that he located a room beyond the wall that is clear and large enough to open the portable hole.  Will carry us inside the portable hole tomorrow. [/Solmar]

28 Augot 1003
Longday

[Dynnera] In the morning I cast my Illmater tattoo protection on myself, and melee competency tattoo on Solmar.  It can put the benefits to greater effect than can I.  I delay casting my mage armor spell until necessary.  The group is ready to travel, and as usual, I am the last to enter.  Belt is prepared to cast his Calm Emotion spell should it be required.  [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] (I try to curb the rising anxiety even as I take the first step on the ladder down the portable hole.  However, when I see the hole close, and Grenco's grinning mischievous face on closure, I just can’t help but cry out to forget the plan and open this prison again.  Through my cloud of fear, I hear laughter from the others. The worse offenders being Ysoac and Thalidimar  (n-i-c-e example from our leader).  When the hole opens, Belt’s spell is cast and I immediately return to normal.  I ignore the lingering laughter, knowing minimally that Grenco (this time although at least he’s like that with everything and everyone), Solmar, and Belt were not party to this gaiety at my expense.  Of course no one spoke to my defense or attempted to stop this childish, humiliating behavior.  I would like to see others consistently face their own fears with the same degree of willingness and fortitude that I do!  I will not respond in kind, but then again, I will also not forget those that seem to revel in others discomfort.  I do look forward to getting out of this mountain, and hopefully never traveling in this manner again!) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Creatures in caverns beyond living wall became stranger and stranger; must be nearing vast gate. We avoided some, forced to kill others. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We arrive into an empty room except for some gray fungus / pustules on sections of the floor.  We avoid as best we can.  Grenco indicates that behind us is the Living Wall creature, and a room with a slanted floor contains collected blue acidic puss from similar pustules hanging on the walls and ceilings.  We choose to avoid that room!  We continue until we encounter a divided room with a Neh-Thalggu in it.  Grenco seems rattled by the green acidic ooze it excretes, backs up, and asks the party, “What should we do?”  Belt says “Kill it” and steps forward to strike at the creature using his bare hands.  Meanwhile Zeddishous yells out "It’s a Brain Eater”, and Grenco yells, “I told you guys to back up”.   The creature is quickly killed through our joint efforts (its great to have my full-strength fiery burst spell back!) and with no brain loss.  Strategically, I had suggested Solmar be in the front line since the creature’s special attack would have no affect on it. [/Dynnera]

[Belt] I tire of this mountain and wish to quickly end this taint threat.  Let’s make haste, keep our courage, and get to our main objective! [/Belt]

[Dynnera] Grenco truly must be rattled, because he slips in conversation and mentions that a woman was trapped in the Living Wall and requested his help when he observed it last night.  I and Solmar glare at him (If only Solmar had emotions, it would have been interesting to see its reaction…) for keeping information from the party.  Grenco says it wasn’t important as we didn’t want to fight the Living Wall(I always thought scouts were to report back what they observed and not make their own conclusions/opinions in their report.  Perhaps 300 years ago scouts were trained differently.  Grenco is likeable and quite dependable in a fight, but in areas of observation and reporting seems unreliable.  I’m sure our impressive leader will address the issue – Ha!) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I thought Solmar would immediately demand we return to the Living Wall, so I quickly stated that there is no way the woman would still be alive after a night and morning.  Not sure what Solmar was ‘thinking’ but it let us continue.   (I actually agree with Grenco’s decision, since we didn’t observe any trapped woman when we first saw the Living Wall, and I can’t imagine any women roaming around here.  Since leaving the Duergar city, all the creatures have been aberrations or the Myconid.  My suspicion is perhaps the Living Wall somehow noticed or sensed Grenco (or like the Myconid have some telepathy range) and can manipulate its flesh/bones to mimic a woman needing rescue.  It’s a good thing Solmar didn’t see that type of trap when we first observed the Living Wall. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Grenco mentioned that there is a woman attached to the living wall.  Failed to mention before.  (Once again, unreliable as a scout.  Puts his own agenda ahead of group, and makes decisions best left to leaders.)  Operating in a squad so much less disciplined than I am accustomed to is increasingly frustrating.  I said that we should rescue her on our way back out, but Dynnera claimed that she is actually beyond rescue once attached to the wall.  Absorbtion is inevitable.  Dissatisfying situation, but apparently nothing can be done.  Must continue with mission. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] Entered caverns and passages constructed of worked nephelim.  More evidence we are approaching vast gate chamber. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We no longer are in caverns, but in crafted large corridors or rooms lined with, or entirely made of, nephelim.  We must be in the Elder Elves city and I imagine getting close to our goal of facing Madreus.  I hope we are close, as I don’t wish to stay a night outside of the Myconid lair, and I don’t think we would want to backtrack at this point past the Living Wall(Now that I think of it, if we have to go back, I will suggest battling the Living Wall over traveling in that damn prison again!  Perhaps I can convince the party that a surprise strike from ‘behind’ would make for a quick battle.) [/Dynnera]

To be continued…

DM's note:
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father is likely some agent of evil. Why do these SCREWOFFS continue? It is the threat that propels them forward, the ever growing, spreading threat of taint. Of an evil which grows daily, an unstoppable evil that subjugates, corrupts and defiles all that it touches. Madreus, the alienst is attempting to bring forth an otherworldly presence into our world. Something that mortals dare not confront, something that will surely destroy all that is good.…If, if the party relents, if they fail, if they falter — This is the reason, this is why they continue. To surrender now would spell certain destruction and corruption for all that they hold dear. Their quest has taken them into the accursed Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence, and now it takes them deeper still, into the twisted caverns beneath the mountain. Into the very heart of darkness. Many battles have been fought, many brave allies dispatched. The ground is wet with the blood of the innocent, but all that will seem as nothing should Madreus achieve his nefarious goals. Deep within the twisted confines of Firestorm Peak, a battle rages for the survival of the realms. Having returned to the heart of this rotting mountain, the party has fought many powerful creatures and wrested two of the crystal keys (required to refocus the Vast Gate) from the clutches of evil guardians. Nearing the end of their quest, all that stands between them and the taint of Firestorm Peak is a single crystal shard and the Alienist Madreus.
Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 03 May 2008
Game-world date: 26 - 27 Aug 1003
Written by: Thalidimar, Solmar and Dynnera

Where we left off last session
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father is likely some agent of evil. Why do these SCREWOFFS continue? It is the threat that propels them forward, the ever growing, spreading threat of taint. Of an evil which grows daily, an unstoppable evil that subjugates, corrupts and defiles all that it touches. Madreus, the alienst is attempting to bring forth an otherworldly presence into our world. Something that mortals dare not confront, something that will surely destroy all that is good… If, if the party relents, if they fail, if they falter — This is the reason, this is why they continue. To surrender now would spell certain destruction and corruption for all that they hold dear. Their quest has taken them into the accursed Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence, and now it takes them deeper still, into the twisted caverns beneath the mountain. Into the very heart of darkness. Many battles have been fought, many brave allies dispatched. The ground is wet with the blood of the innocent, but all that will seem as nothing should Madreus achieve his nefarious goals. With allies in a community of exiled Duergar, and refuge in the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', our group of brave adventurers continues the fight. After resting at Grayven's Shrine, the party has once again returned to the twisted confines of Firestorm Peak. Returned to the heart of this rotting mountain, this festering encroachment from the Far Realm. Despite the increasing level of taint, the party continues it's hunt for the Deepspawn in order to recover a second crystal key. Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

“Fungus amongus”

26 Augot 1003
Hafn'mor

[Solmar] Next cavern large, with large cleft in floor and matching chimney in ceiling.  Intense heat from cleft.  Zeddishous flew over and reported lava visible far down chasm. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We encounter the fiery crevasse room.  Ysoac for once seems comfortable with the temperature.  Zeddishous spots the ‘giant spider’ and it turns out to be a Black Spawn Stalker.  We decide to avoid this creature.  The original party members indicate they had encountered a similar creature outside and near 640 Fortress.  We suspect it to be the same creature and that another avenue of exit exists, although through the Black Spawn Stalker lair. [/Dynnera]

[Thalidimar] So off to the left we went… traps and pitfalls all the way through. Most of them were traps with natural hazards. Inside the pits it looked like some growth of mildew, poisonous none the less. Someone hit the first patch with magic. The second patch, Dynnera tried acid, but there was just too much fungus among us. It didn’t make sense that the Spawn would set these kind of traps… seemed too “natural” and orderly. [/Thalidimar]

[Solmar] Adjoining passages contained several covered pit traps lined with molds which can be debilitating to softskins.  Led to room guarded by animated corpses - NOT undead.  Animating force appeared to be fungal growth covering corpses.  Quickly dispatched. [/Solmar]

[/Thalidimar] Anyways, we jumped into the carpet carried by Dynnera who was carried by a flying Solmar. The Paladin didn’t make any comments; if he enjoyed it, he kept it to himself (of course golems aren’t known for their frivolity, are they?). I haven’t had the chance to fly by a spell yet. I’ll bet it’s quite a thrill. If I remember, I’ll ask Belt to cast the spell on me when we get back to town. That shouldn’t interfere with training. I can heal just as well in the air as I can on the ground (I think). [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] We continue exploring this level of the Twisted Caverns, heading in the general direction Ysoac believes lead either to the large body of water or the room in which he surfaced in as a porpoise.  Grenco calls a halt to our march, noting a hidden pit tramp covered with some mold growth.  Zeddishous and Ysoac quickly identify it as a Russet Mold.  After identifying the threat, the party was able to kill the mold with the proper application of magic. We bypass the pit and continue on. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Once again Grenco halts the party for a similar trap (we are amazed at his continued success!), but this time the pit is larger and deeper with running water underneath it.  More russet mold lays below, waiting for the party to miss its step.  Khurshel throws a acid splash spell on it and I throw an acid arrow at it. We are only successful in killing a portion of the mold.  Ultimately Belt casts fly on Solmar, and the party enters the carpet with Solmar flying it and myself, I have a fireman’s carry hold around his neck, across the blocking pit. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Solmar and I look for a room to unfold the carpet and come upon fungal zombies.  Turns out these zombies aren’t necromantic in nature, but a natural byproduct of some fungus integrated into corporeal bodies!  Through a combination of Solmar's martial skills and my judicious use of fiery burst abilities, we are able to kill the zombies and rid the room of fungus spore remnants.  We open the carpet to release the remaining party members from that confining prison! [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Traps and fungal zombies were protecting a colony of large, sentient mushrooms - Myconid.  Pacifists.  Resistant to taint permeating area.  Successfully negotiated an audience with their King.  Willing to ally with us to a limited degree.  Can create a potion which prevents receiving taint from remaining in tainted area for extended period of time.  Willing to provide us safe haven to rest as long as we do not bring any conflicts into their territory.  Overall, alliance is an extremely valuable asset.  In return, we agreed to bring to them a large quantity of fertile soil.  Should be easy to obtain from forest on surface. [/Solmar]

[Thalidimar] My intuition about the traps was correct; they weren’t set by the Spawn, but by some very cool mushroom characters. Totally non-violent, and exceptionally helpful, if a little creepy with their strange purplish color and the way they wobble when they walk. We were introduced to King… can’t remember his name. We’ll call him Gus. So King Gus, got in our heads by blowing some sweet scented air up our noses. That was kind of creepy too. Darn good thing that Solmar was doing the talking, cuz all those voices echoing in my head made me dizzy. Either I was already hungry, or it was the stuff we inhaled, but had this picture cross my mind of a piece of the shroom guys on a grilled steak. Whoa… Where in the nine hells did that come from?!? That would not be good to eat your only allies at the heart of a tainted mountain. Tymora please tell me the shroom guys didn’t hear that thought. Well, if they did, they didn’t seem to react. Actually, I couldn’t hear or see evidence of emotion at all. I suppose if I reproduced asexually, I’d probably not be very happy either. [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] Grenco continues his exploration and quickly returns noting he’s found some “toadstool-like” humanoids quietly facing the passage.  Ysoac and Zeddishous take a look and identify them as Myconid, an intelligent race of fungus creatures.  Believing we might have encountered the before-mentioned “allies” Darius and others have recommended we seek out, Solmar and Ysoac will attempt contact.  The rest of us remain in this antechamber and ready to assist as needed.  About two minutes goes by when Khurshel announces his intent to face the creatures and cast detect thoughts.  (Is he a fool, or incapable of sitting still, or inflicted with the need to show off his magical prowess in all occasions, or some combination of all three?)  I angrily shout him down, suggesting not enough time has passed, we’ve received no duress signal, and his casting a spell could be construed offensive to potential allies.  He says “…well they could use spellcraft to know what I was casting…”, but fortunately backs down from any impetus actions.  (I think he must be one of those mages with lots of book learning but little real-life experience.  I suspect he’s been in a library or a mages guild most of his life.  As if you should expect everyone to have the spellcraft skill, or even if they did, they’d choose a passive detection of intent and allow the spell to be cast?) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Solmar and Ysoac soon return, confirming that the Myconid are indeed potential allies.  They are non-aggressive creatures which have endured Madreus’ incursions into their area and are willing to listen to our story and perhaps extend their help.  Solmar indicates that the entire party can approach, and an audience with their King and Elders will occur shortly.  Finally, communication is telepathic in nature based on the breathing/absorption into the body of a specialized spore they create.  I really need to understand more regarding Solmar’s creation since his golem-like nature appears not to have inhibited him in any way here. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Myconid King also provided valuable intel about surrounding area:

  • Powerful spider-like creature lives in lava chasm - description matches blackspawn stalker.
  • Deepspawn returns to the cave where we encountered it on a frequent basis. May be able to set an ambush for it.
  • Madreus and vast gate nearby.  Protected by a living wall - has absorbed all creature types encountered in these caverns, plus who-knows what unknown creatures summoned through the vast gate?

Resting in myconid haven.  Planned deepspawn assault. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] The party is brought before the Myconid King and Elders and Solmar briefly summarizes the party's activities to date and our intent to stop Madreus and shut down or change the planar focus of the Vast Gate.  He requests whatever assistance the Myconid are willing to provide.  The Myconid King agrees to assist but under certain pacifist constraints maintained by the Myconid.  We learn:

  • Confirmation that the Vast Gate is the source of the taint.  It is located in the “Old Walls” (areas first built by Elder Elves).
  • Confirmation that three shards are needed to affect the Vast Gate.
  • The Myconid have seen the Deepspawn carrying a “Green” shard, which in guards closely and always carries.
  • Madreus is “human” and has claimed rulership over all the denizens of the Twisted Caverns.
  • Madreus is located in the inner sanctum which is nearby.  A Myconid will show us the path to it.
  • The way into the inner sanctum is blocked by a Living Wall.
  • The Deepspawn primarily resides underwater; only surfacing to birth additional gibberling hordes.
  • The trolls of the Twisted Caverns have been greatly twisted by taint.  While they oppose Madreus, they also are friend to no one.  They make their home in the southwest section of these caverns.
  • Madreus controls the Deepspawn.
  • Myconid have the ability to turn darkscape mushrooms into an elixir which wards off taint.  It takes them an hour per dose to prepare and requires a mixture of their ‘pacification’ spores.  It will protect us twice within a given day.  They agree to make enough for all of us.
  • The Myconid are immune to taint and their aegis within their premises will protect us from the usual taint from prolonged exposure.  They agree to allow us to rest with them provided we don’t draw Madreus or his compatriots to them.  We also must discontinue disrupting their fungus traps.
  • That a giant spider lives in a nearby room heated by a large fiery crevasse.
  • The only item they ask in return is "fertile soil" returned to them.
We spent the night with the Myconid and for once the nightmares do not reach out to each of us. [/Dynnera]

[Thalidimar] Well, he may not be that fun, but he sure was helpful. I think I made a funny… get it? King Fun Gus, fungus? Whew, I think I’m still a little dizzy. My thoughts should be safe now though, there’s certainly no chance they could know what I’m thinking this far away from camp. Oh, I should just shut my brain down, say my prayers and get some sleep. Soon… I just need to finish this journal entry. Hey! Wait a minute. Those pictures weren’t my thoughts! They couldn’t have been, right? I mean, no ones ever called me twisted or demented. On the other hand, who do we know that’s got a thing for mushrooms? Yeah, those images must have been Grenco’s thoughts we were seeing. Oh Goddess above… that would mean that everyone else saw them too. Well then, why didn’t they say something about it? Maybe they were embarrassed too? Or maybe we all had a different images of Grenco trying to bite the King. Luck bringer, you are obviously very tired… go to sleep. [/Thalidimar]

27 Augot 1003
Aprochen

“Deepspawn ahoy!”

[/Solmar] Myconid potion protected squad from taint as promised. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] While preparing to leave, Khurshel excitedly announces that something has triggered the alarm spell he left over the pool.  Grenco immediately fades into the floor and returns quickly to indicate the enemy is in sight.  We enter the portable hole (my mind understands but my heart tells me to choice otherwise).  Fortunately we exit outside the creature’s chamber before my fear gets the better of me. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Returned to deepspawn cavern.  Grenco scouted ahead and reported that deepspawn had returned.  Casters cast buffing spells.  We stormed the cavern and Ysoac froze lake surface to prevent deepspawn retreat. [/Solmar]

[Thalidimar] So, knee biter swims through the rock and spies the Spawn. Right where King FunGus said it’d be. This time we’re ready. You’re so gonna get your butt whooped Mr. Spawn. You shoulda run when you had the chance. The only thing you’re gonna spawn is a death rattle. We jump in and out of the rug, hocus pocus for the right buffs, line up 20 feet away to jump the trap and… [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] Thalidimar casts his mass aid and prayer spells, Belt uses his wand of bulls strength on the melee combatants, and I cast haste on those same melee combatants.  Grenco indicates a rustling noise and in fear of the Deepspawn leaving, Ysoac rushes in.  Upon seeing the pool of water, he casts his frigid ice spell, freezing the pool with a 1ft thick layer of ice preventing the Deepspawn from escape.  (Two things flash through my mind; (1) I would think anything frigid would be anathema to Ysoac based on his aversion to even cold weather, and (2) by the time we’re in battle with the Deepspawn, we may wish it had a convenient way out of the room!)

Belt rushes past Ysoac into the room and receives a mighty blow by one of the Deepspawn’s tentacles – he is staggered but upright.  Scorch follows Belt into the room and attacks.  Grenco attacks the Deepspawn with little effect.  Khurshel casts an illusion of Grenco which the Deepspawn attacks.  Solmar and Thalidimar approach the creature, and the rest of us follow into the room in anticipation of a heated battle! [Dynnera]

To be continued…

DM's note:
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father is likely some agent of evil. Why do these SCREWOFFS continue? It is the threat that propels them forward, the ever growing, spreading threat of taint. Of an evil which grows daily, an unstoppable evil that subjugates, corrupts and defiles all that it touches. Madreus, the alienst is attempting to bring forth an otherworldly presence into our world. Something that mortals dare not confront, something that will surely destroy all that is good.…If, if the party relents, if they fail, if they falter — This is the reason, this is why they continue. To surrender now would spell certain destruction and corruption for all that they hold dear. Their quest has taken them into the accursed Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence, and now it takes them deeper still, into the twisted caverns beneath the mountain. Into the very heart of darkness. Many battles have been fought, many brave allies dispatched. The ground is wet with the blood of the innocent, but all that will seem as nothing should Madreus achieve his nefarious goals. Deep within the twisted confines of Firestorm Peak, a battle rages for the survival of the realms. Having returned to the heart of this rotting mountain, the party has once again located and engaged the Deepspawn; A powerful adversary, a known ally of Madreus, a deadly beast from the far realms and holder of a crystal shard.
Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 19 Apr 2008
Game-world date: 26 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera, Belt and Thalidimar

Where we left off last session
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father is likely some agent of evil. Why do these SCREWOFFS continue? It is the threat that propels them forward, the ever growing, spreading threat of taint. Of an evil which grows daily, an unstoppable evil that subjugates, corrupts and defiles all that it touches. Madreus, the alienst is attempting to bring forth an otherworldly presence into our world. Something that mortals dare not confront, something that will surely destroy all that is good.…If, if the party relents, if they fail, if they falter — This is the reason, this is why they continue. To surrender now would spell certain destruction and corruption for all that they hold dear. Their quest has taken them into the accursed Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence, and now it takes them deeper still, into the twisted caverns beneath the mountain. Into the very heart of darkness. Many battles have been fought, many brave allies dispatched. The ground is wet with the blood of the innocent, but all that will seem as nothing should Madreus achieve his nefarious goals. With allies in a community of exiled Duergar, and refuge in the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', our group of brave adventurers continues the fight. After resting at Grayven's Shrine, the party has once again returned to the twisted confines of Firestorm Peak. Returned to the heart of this rotting mountain, the party prepares itself for confrontation with the tainted evil forces of the Far Realm. Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

“Where oh where is the deepspawn?”

26 Augot 1003
Hafn'mor

[Thalidimar] The holder of the second shard was not there when Grenco spied the cavern. We all agreed, however, that the Spawn’s minions needed to be vanquished. The thought crossed my mind that it was too bad that we had to kill the small creatures (for about two seconds, maybe), after all they are kind of cute and fuzzy like a rabbit. Then I remembered the last attack, when 4 or 5 of them dragged me to the ground and tried to make hors d'oeuvres of my eyes (among other things). The plan was to take out the giant spiders, while Khurshel cast lights to distract them and Dynnera activated the shroud to roast them. [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] We agree to have Khurshel cast his dancing lights spell across the room to consolidate the gibberling to that area.  The plan – I will focus on the gibberling, while the remainder of the party focuses on the steederKhurshel casts his spell and we start to run in as planned (Scorch, Belt, and myself being the first ones into the room).  Many of the gibberling do in fact swarm around the lights, although others seems deterred by the lights being out of reach (hovering about 10 ft in the air).  I run into the obstructed terrain in the room to allow myself to use the shroud and/or to hinder movements toward me. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] It turns out there are 3 steeder, 3 brood gibberling (spitting slugs), and 21 normal gibberling.  As expected, no serious issues arise in this battle and through the combined efforts of all, these creatures are quickly dispatched.  A search of the room discovers 10,000 gold pieces but no forgotten magical shards.  During the search, Khurshel used some magical gloves to create some force hands (mage hand?) to conduct the searching for him. [/Dynnera]

[Thalidimar] Well, it didn’t go quite like we had hoped. The balls of light were too high for the little biters to get at, so as dumb as they are, they went for the next light, which was Solmar’s torch. Then Dynnera ran into a corner and stood there, while Khurshel blasted the gibberling. Why she didn’t turn her flame on, I still don’t understand. I may never. Perhaps it’s to supply the males in the group with something to sustain her mystery and intrigue, or maybe it’s just to remind us that it’s her right as a female to change her mind every five minutes. Hmmm…now that I think about it, maybe that really is the case. Maybe she’s just trying to prove a point. First she was arguing about exploring the water as a more direct path to the Spawn, rather than making our way through the caverns by walking. Then she was adamant about not exploring the water and stomped off in the opposite direction. I have no doubt that she is at the core a woman, despite the great skill to disguise herself as a man. Well, whatever her problems are, let us pray that we are not depending on her when our lives are in the balance next, and she decides to change her mind during another battle. Tymora, please watch that one. [/Thalidimar]

[Thalidimar] Solmar, on the other hand was his usual battle tank, making puffs of fur with every swing. Unfortunately, I was unable to aid in destroying the spiders because too many rabbits were in the way. I did manage however, to crack on the side of the head, what Zed said was a Brooder, but I wasn’t able to tell any difference between them and the regular rabbits, except they were a lot tougher. The fight itself didn’t take all that long, but we did spend several spells meant to be saved for the spawn. It’s a very good possibility that we will need to spend yet another nightmare filled evening resting in these plague infested caverns. [/Thalidimar]

[Thalidimar] Why in Tymora’s name, cannot the evil denizens all gather together and keep each other company? That way the do-gooders will know where to go when we want to wipe them out. Well, no one said that evil wasn’t going to be trouble. Here I am rambling again, even if it is only in my own thoughts in my own journal. Guess it’s better to get out all of the nonsense and negative stuff here rather than out loud. I still wonder why the party elected me leader. If they saw this scribbling, they’d at least have second thoughts. Hmmm… maybe I should let them read this? I didn’t really want to lead in the first place. But then you know what your elders in the church would say. 'Better for a congregation to be led by the spiritual than the secular politician or depraved war monger'. Of course, Solmar is a paladin; and he is the next most likely leader. He certainly is a better speaker, if not as good looking. Of course, the average construct would probably say the same about humans. Well, I can only do my best and pray that Tymora will lend us her favor. Hasn’t she countless times already? [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] I advocate someone (Ysoac) or something (Solmar) investigate the waterways before we continue searching land routes.  I am concerned about time wasted, since we now know lingering overnight in the caverns causes taint.  The party discusses whether any information possibly found warrants the risk of separation from the party. Ultimately Ysoac volunteers to scout the waterways and turns himself into a porpoise. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Ysoac returns with an impressive leap out of water changing form in mid-leap (wish I could do that).  He has a bleeding shoulder, but otherwise seems fine.  He did momentarily find the deepspawn trail leading towards two passages but was unable determine which passage was taken.  One led to another open air cavern, with bones strewn about, the other continued underwater but this way was blocked by a swarm of piranha.  We all agree an underwater excursion would be difficult if not impossible for us. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I can already see Thalidimar and Solmar turning to the portable hole travel option (i.e. Ysoac carries it while in porpoise form), since Thalidimar had just finished depositing the coins into it.  In hope of forestalling the suggestion I march towards one of the exits saying, “Ok everyone why don’t we take this one!..." — at least until I triggered a trap and the ceiling started to collapse!  I was fortunate to jump out of the debris field and escape without harm.  Fortunately that passage lead back towards caverns already explored.  The party elects not to travel by portable hole (Thank Illmater!) but to select above ground passages that seem to head in the direction in which Ysoac believes the Deepspawn may be presiding. Before leaving, Khurshel casts alarm over portions of the pool of water to be mentally alerted if something, hopefully the Deepspawn, exits from it.  (Good planning on his part if we don’t receive false alarms; hopefully the Deepspawn would have scared other inhabitants away. Hmm, he does have a lot of spells… I’m jealous.) [/Dynnera]

[Belt] Dynnera’s triggering of the ceiling traps do not elicit the same comedic response from the party as when I triggered them in the past; of course I triggered two in a row and was caught in both of them. [/Belt]

[Thalidimar] Actually I shouldn’t be here, writing this at all. Tymora knows half the party should still be buried under those forsaken rocks. I wonder why Grenco didn’t see the trap? Was it another trap laid by the Spawn? Most likely. Does that mean then, we’re on the right trail? Should we have knocked out Dynnera and had Ysoac swim us to the spawn’s new lair? Of course we should have, because her first argument was correct; that the most direct path is the watercourse. But then we’d miss the chance to see all the sights and rid the world of more furry rabbits. [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] Grenco discovers that the next room contains a huge gibbering mouther.  We believe we can strike with ranged attacks from the adjoining passage; limited effectiveness due to its damage resistance but safer than in melee.  We begin, but after a few arrows and a lesser orb of electricity strike by Khurshel (I really can’t wait to get back to Whillip to learn that spell), it retreats.  Scorch, Belt, and I all follow after it, but on Solmar’s attempt to approach, the ceiling suddenly collapses!  The party behind us is either completely buried under rumble or separated from us (although it looks like a gap above the rubble exists).  Belt, Scorch and I finish off the gibbering mouther, then turn to the passage in efforts to assist those trapped. [/Dynnera]

[Belt] I attempt to dispatch this tainted creature more quickly by augmenting my normal melee strikes with an empowered blade of blood spell.  It is eventually dispatched and I can return to the ceiling collapse to assist my party brethren. [/Belt]

[Thalidimar] So now that the mouth of dirt has left us (via care packaged from Belt), do we continue to the left or follow the path that the mouther was taking? Would it go back to the spawn or is it afraid of the spawn? Most likely the spawn is the momma. But would the mouther lead us away from the spawn, or would it limp back to protection? Probably away. So, it’s to the left, as we had originally planned. I bet if we asked Dynnera, she’d say to the right. [/Thalidimar]

[Dynnera] Everyone is eventually out of the collapsed area and within the gibbering mouther room (Khurshel casting a battering ram spell to assist party members in their escape).  We begin healing the injured and discuss our next steps. [/Dynnera]

To be continued…

DM's note:
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father is likely some agent of evil. Why do these SCREWOFFS continue? It is the threat that propels them forward, the ever growing, spreading threat of taint. Of an evil which grows daily, an unstoppable evil that subjugates, corrupts and defiles all that it touches. Madreus, the alienst is attempting to bring forth an otherworldly presence into our world. Something that mortals dare not confront, something that will surely destroy all that is good.…If, if the party relents, if they fail, if they falter — This is the reason, this is why they continue. To surrender now would spell certain destruction and corruption for all that they hold dear. Their quest has taken them into the accursed Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence, and now it takes them deeper still, into the twisted caverns beneath the mountain. Into the very heart of darkness. Many battles have been fought, many brave allies dispatched. The ground is wet with the blood of the innocent, but all that will seem as nothing should Madreus achieve his nefarious goals. With allies in a community of exiled Duergar, and refuge in the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', our group of brave adventurers continues the fight. After resting at Grayven's Shrine, the party has once again returned to the twisted confines of Firestorm Peak. Returned to the heart of this rotting mountain, this festering encroachment from the Far Realm. Despite the increasing level of taint, the party continues it's hunt for the Deepspawn in order to recover a second crystal key. Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 05 Apr 2008
Game-world date: 25 - 26 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera, Solmar and Belt

Where we left off last session
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father is likely some agent of evil. Why do these SCREWOFFS continue? It is the threat that propels them forward, the ever growing, spreading threat of taint. Of an evil which grows daily, an unstoppable evil that subjugates, corrupts and defiles all that it touches. Madreus, the alienst is attempting to bring forth an otherworldly presence into our world. Something that mortals dare not confront, something that will surely destroy all that is good.…If, if the party relents, if they fail, if they falter — This is the reason, this is why they continue. To surrender now would spell certain destruction and corruption for all that they hold dear. Their quest has taken them into the accursed Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence, and now it takes them deeper still, into the twisted caverns beneath the mountain. Into the very heart of darkness. Many battles have been fought, many brave allies dispatched. The ground is wet with the blood of the innocent, but all that will seem as nothing should Madreus achieve his nefarious goals. With allies in a community of exiled Duergar, and refuge in the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', our group of brave adventurers continues the fight. After resting at Grayven's Shrine, the party has once again returned to the twisted confines of Firestorm Peak. Returned to the heart of this rotting mountain, the party prepares itself for confrontation with the tainted evil forces of the Far Realm. Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

“Like Moths to the Flame”

25 Augot 1003
Freeday

[Dynnera] We heal up after the battle and discuss our next steps.  We want to balance removing any obstacles in our way towards the Deepspawn with not over extending ourselves or alerting it of our presence.  We decide to seek a defensive position of rest and in the meantime continue to clear out these caverns of monstrous creatures.  Grenco scouts in advance with the party extending out in line by 30 ft increments (at least those that can see in the dark – Zeddishous, myself, and Scorch, then the rest of the lighted party). [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I resolve to limit use of this fiery shroud if at all possible, and make known to the party of that intention; however its granted power to see in the dark is very useful.  I can already see doubt in my resolution in Solmar’s constructed eyes, and it organizes our walking order to accommodate my immolation in any event.  It was prescient, as soon after I was almost constantly using it.[/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Grenco discovers multiple cavern passages many of which containing Gibberling.  I quickly recall how invaluable Tanar’s shroud would be in the upcoming battle (yes, I refuse to call it my own – yet).  The Gibberling quest to destroy light, their generally weak health, and their lack of intelligence regarding the shroud’s flames danger, would have them acting not unlike moths to a open flame!  I suggest to the party that I go forth ablaze akin to Tanar and that Gibberling are essentially time obstacles, although we want to make sure the Deepspawn can’t use them as cannon fodder in our upcoming battle.  (Damn it Solmar, I can recognize that I’m already on the slippery slope of reliance on Tanar’s shroud.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Encountered small group of gibberling further down passage.  Dynnera engulfed herself in fire as Tanar used to - seems to have inherited his ability.  Gibberling converged on her and burned themselves to death.  Stupid creatures, like moths. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] The Gibberling encounters hold true to expectations; they swarm around me and the hardest exercise was to maximize the impact of my approaching them (heat aura of the shroud and damage if they actually touched me).  In fact it seemed such an unusual and comedic situation, that I dramatized by yelling out “Come to the light my children…”  It should be exceedingly rare that I act the war mage or militant type; while momentarily exhilarating, the realities of the Deepspawn will certainly have me quickly back in my place (in the background). [/Dynnera]

[Belt] During the Gibberling battle, Dynnera showed an unhealthy exuberance in destroying these creatures.  These are spawn of a taint creature and should be killed, but she seemed to enjoy the fiery carnage.  It is our duty to remove them, not to revel in the actions of our duty. [/Belt]

[Dynnera] A few coordinated fiery burst placements with the shroud’s abilities, and the fiery combination essentially decimated the Gibberling.  The others keeping in practice waded into battle (I think they would have been bored otherwise.)   I was surprised to see Khurshel cast spells at the Gibberling, silent image and orb of electricity, as it was obvious they would be shortly defeated.  He expresses confidence in the vast extent of his spell repertoire; it is very contrary to my training to seemingly waste spells when they could be reserved for later.  It will be interesting to see how extensive his spell casting abilities are within any given day.  [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Spellcasters indicated that they had used up too much spell energy to confront deepspawn.  Senseless waste of resources against such light opposition.  Must find resting place so spellcasters can recharge to full capacity.  Explored side caverns, and discovered more gibberling.  Cleared them out and will rest for remainder of day and tonight. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Grenco finds rooms with apparent sink holes to longer levels within this mountain, with evidence of running water underneath.  He also finds a room of silly spore, some mild euphoric mushroom that slightly impairs all your normal functions.  His mercantile interests are once again piqued (seemingly a compliment to the effects of the darkscape mushrooms).  We ultimately decide to rest the night.  Before falling asleep, I cast create tattoo on Solmar (sign of Helm to increase his battle skills), and a protective Illmater sign on myself for protection from harm. [/Dynnera]

26 Augot 1003
Hafn'mor

[Dynnera] On awakening, we find out that each of us have had a taint stone drained (hmm, I wonder if Scorch and Khurshel’s bat is protected, otherwise it now has taint).  I don’t recall experiencing taint on awakening in the 1st level (Fire-Chested Giant Skeleton room), so I suspect as we near the source of taint, we will increasingly face the potential of exposure to taint just by our extended presence here. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Grenco begins scouting again with the same extended party march based on ability to see in the dark.  He quickly discovers the large cavern where we last encountered the Twisted Caverns through the teleportation by the Crypt Thing.  The cavern is filled with Gibberling again, but as per other encounters, they are quickly dispatched.  We now know how to get to the Deepspawn chamber!  The party waits while Grenco uses his cloak of earth striding, to confirm the presence of the Deepspawn.  We provide Grenco with the taint detection ring, in case it’s needed to confirm the Deepspawn presence. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Returned to primary passage leading to twisted caverns.  Led to large cavern we were originally transported to by crypt thing in Duergar temple.  Ambushed by gibberling again - quickly dispatched again, primarily by Dynnera's fire. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Grenco returns, indicating the room is filled with Gibberling and some Steeder, and that the Deepspawn is gone!  He checked out the pool of water in the room nearest where the Deepspawn was last, and it appears to connect to larger flowing water (perhaps the lower levels?).  Residual taint is detected in the water, but no strong concentration of taint, expected to be sensed if the Deepspawn was present.  Disappointed, we determine to clean out this room of Gibberling and Steeder, then determine how best to hunt for the Deepspawn.

[Solmar] Grenco scouted ahead to deepspawn cavern and (uncharacteristically) returned to report that deepspawn vacated.  Occupied now by many gibberling and a few steeder.  Small pool at back of cavern leads to much larger system of underwater caverns and passages.  Deepspawn will be very difficult to track down. [/Solmar]

[Belt] The hunt for the Deepspawn continues!  I hope it remains overconfident, and didn’t leave due to our last encounter to better prepare itself.  Regardless, I and the party will move forward to defeat it. [/Belt]

To be continued….

DM's note:
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father is likely some agent of evil. Why do these SCREWOFFS continue? It is the threat that propels them forward, the ever growing, spreading threat of taint. Of an evil which grows daily, an unstoppable evil that subjugates, corrupts and defiles all that it touches. Madreus, the alienst is attempting to bring forth an otherworldly presence into our world. Something that mortals dare not confront, something that will surely destroy all that is good.…If, if the party relents, if they fail, if they falter — This is the reason, this is why they continue. To surrender now would spell certain destruction and corruption for all that they hold dear. Their quest has taken them into the accursed Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence, and now it takes them deeper still, into the twisted caverns beneath the mountain. Into the very heart of darkness. Many battles have been fought, many brave allies dispatched. The ground is wet with the blood of the innocent, but all that will seem as nothing should Madreus achieve his nefarious goals. With allies in a community of exiled Duergar, and refuge in the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', our group of brave adventurers continues the fight. After resting at Grayven's Shrine, the party has once again returned to the twisted confines of Firestorm Peak. Returned to the heart of this rotting mountain, this festering encroachment from the Far Realm. Despite the increasing level of taint, the party continues it's hunt for the Deepspawn in order to recover a second crystal key. Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 22 Mar 2008
Game-world date: 25 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera, Solmar and Belt

Where we left off last session
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father is likely some agent of evil. Why do these SCREWOFFS continue? It is the threat that propels them forward, the ever growing, spreading threat of taint. Of an evil which grows daily, an unstoppable evil that subjugates, corrupts and defiles all that it touches. Madreus, the alienst is attempting to bring forth an otherworldly presence into our world. Something that mortals dare not confront, something that will surely destroy all that is good.…If, if the party relents, if they fail, if they falter — This is the reason, this is why they continue. To surrender now would spell certain destruction and corruption for all that they hold dear. Their quest has taken them into the accursed Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence, and now it takes them deeper still, into the twisted caverns beneath the mountain. Into the very heart of darkness. Many battles have been fought, many brave allies dispatched. The ground is wet with the blood of the innocent, but all that will seem as nothing should Madreus achieve his nefarious goals. With allies in a community of exiled Duergar, and refuge in the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', our group of brave adventurers continues the fight. With this latest retreat to Grayven's Shrine, the party is once again forced to recuperate, recover, and rethink their approach to this steadily advancing threat. With the conclusion of this session, the party finds themselves committed to the Gates of Firestorm Peak. Along the way, they struggle with inner doubts, questions, concerns, and a certain lack of confidence. While their thoughts are turned inward, the outward threat continues — Battle erupts along the trail! The party is engaged in a furtive struggle against the forces of taint…Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

“Just Mounds of Dirt, I Promise”

25 Augot 1003
Freeday

[Dynnera] Our battle with the Tainted Ravers continued until all but one were killed.  I cast a few Magical Missiles and Fiery Bursts killing some that had been injured beforehand by my compatriots.  Observations during the battle:

  • Enola ended up throwing her bow into the woods again!  I don’t understand someone so skilled making such elementary mistakes.  Perhaps the strain of her usual attacks causes her bow damage or to attack this way?
  • Khurshel used an Orb of Electricity that caused significant damage (damn, I’d like to have that spell!).  Even over the battle I could hear Grenco yell out what sounded like, “He’s a keeper!”.
  • Solmar in battling the Tainted Ravers apparently attempt to jump a body of water.  Fortunately on his failed attempt he found it only to be 4-5ft deep – he attacked after wading through it.
  • Grenco tried his first use of the Cloak of Earth Striding, positioning himself into a flanking attack by going through some standing rock instead of around it!
  • Ysoac and his celestial wolf Scorch seem formidable opponents in battle, with Ysoac’s quarterstaff turning into a bow when required.
  • Zeddishous may have gotten some of his old confidence back.  His missile attacks were deadly and when one of the Tainted Ravers ran, he flew after - giving chase until it hid itself in the nearby woods.
  • Belt ran after another escaping Tainted Raver but before he could finish it off, arrow attacks from Ysoac or Enola killed it. [/Dynnera]

[Belt] During the battle, I try to end the life of one foul tainted creature by using Blade of Blood.  I willingly take additional damage to rid the world of these creatures.  Two attempt to escape, so I run after one, but before I can strike it down an arrow from behind kills it.  The other escapes in the nearby forest.  I have no qualms with the party stripping these foul creatures of possessions; they were defeated in battle. [/Belt]

[Solmar] Quickly defeated.  Enola once again lost control of her bow, flinging it into the woods. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Grenco and I went searching for the Tainted Raver's campsite (since this was an obvious ambush), while Thalidimar and Belt healed the party.  We returned with various coinage, to find Thalidimar storing the equipment from the Tainted Ravers in the portable hole, while Solmar collected the bodies and started a pyre.  We continue on towards the gates of Firestorm Peak. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Grenco calls a halt to the advance.  He has discovered an old lava tube that he wants to explore.  On his return, he indicates it’ll get him within 200 feet or so of the Gates.  The disadvantage being the party can’t easily travel within the tube and the portable hole can’t be opened at the other end.  Our trip within the portable hole must begin from here. (Damn it, can I ever escape it?)   Belt assures me that he will be able to cast his Calm Emotion spell to stop any distraught behavior of mine once this ‘prison’ is opened again!  We direct Grenco to go past the Duergar defenses, find the collapsed hallway and go through it, and find a safe spot to open this ‘prison’ past the guard post Nallond told us about.   We all jump in, and our lives are in Grenco’s hands! [/Dynnera]

[Belt] I am prepared to cast my spell on Dynnera, but I think her faith in Illmater must be weak.  If she put more faith in Illmater, perhaps she could control her fears.  Better yet, the rigors and techniques from my monastery training would succor her during times of trial, if only she was sufficiently dedicated. [/Belt]

[Dynnera] (I have to get out of this hole, why do I keep subjecting myself to this? When will it open…Open…OPen…OPEn…OPEN!) The entry opens, and I start to rush out when my fear is gone (to be myself again!)  Unfortunately, Grenco seems to follow directions as readily as the blink dog before him!  He’s opened the portable hole in the Duergar complex instead of past it.  So we return to the portable hole. [/Dynnera]

[Belt] Due to Grenco’s mistake, I need cast Calm Emotion on Dynnera again. [/Belt]

[Solmar] Sent Grenco ahead to scout stealthy route to Firestorm Peak entrance.  He discovered an old lava tube that exits just below the gates.  Everyone entered portable hole, and he carried us into Firestorm Peak.  Used new cloak to travel inside rock once he reached gates.  Released us after reaching tunnel into twisted caverns that 640 had shown us. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] (Damn it, it’s getting worse in here.  The walls seem closer!)  The entry opens, and I start to rush out only to once again have my fear taken away from me.  Darkness surrounds us except for the light from Grenco’s ever lit torch.  The guard post is somewhere behind us but Grenco is prepared to lead us forward.  He walks past some large mounds of dirt but assures us nothing is present.  When Zeddishous comes into line of sight he yells they are Gibbering Mouthers!  Of course they rise up and immediately attack the party. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] An extended battle occurs, but ultimately all the Gibbering Mouthers succumb to our attacks.   I suspect we’ll need to find some safe haven to rest if possible, since we are no longer prepared to face the Deepspawn in this state (of course what place will be safe).  Some of the battle details include:

  • I cast Haste on the party members to increase their battle efficiency.
  • Solmar, Grenco, Enola:  Over the course of the battle, they become affected by the insane speech of the gibbering mouthers, either freezing in place or, in Enola’s case, firing arrows on Ysoac.
  • Grenco was blinded by the spittle attacks of the creature although we think temporary.
  • Thalidimar seemed to be a magnet for spittle attacks, although none having a blinding effect.  I believe the creatures must have sensed his powerful divine connection and perhaps their tainted nature caused them to target him.
  • Khurshel cast a Rainbow Burst spell on the creatures as part of the battle.
  • Ysoac cast Bite of the WereRat on himself in preparations for the battle, as well as cast some spell causing a stalagmite to pierce one of the mounds.
  • Belt casts Blood Wind to allow his unarmed hand strikes to span across the softening ground, another power of these creatures, to strike at one at some distance. [/Dynnera

[Belt] I attempt the Blood Wind spell for the first time as my way is blocked by softened ground.  It works as I expected without complication.  I look forward to personally ending the life of the Deepspawn since it’s the progenitor of so many tainted creatures. Meanwhile, I look to further attend the wounds of my party. [/Belt]

[Solmar] Attacked along way to twisted caverns.  Zeddishous called them gibbering mouthers.  Amorphous blob with numerous eyes and mouths covering entire body.  Made noises that are very disconcerting, and turned stone floor into quicksand.  Favored Thalidimar with acidic mucous attacks.  Still easily dispatched. [/Solmar]

To be continued….

DM's note:
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father is likely some agent of evil. Why do these SCREWOFFS continue? It is the threat that propels them forward, the ever growing, spreading threat of taint. Of an evil which grows daily, an unstoppable evil that subjugates, corrupts and defiles all that it touches. Madreus, the alienst is attempting to bring forth an otherworldly presence into our world. Something that mortals dare not confront, something that will surely destroy all that is good.…If, if the party relents, if they fail, if they falter — This is the reason, this is why they continue. To surrender now would spell certain destruction and corruption for all that they hold dear. Their quest has taken them into the accursed Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence, and now it takes them deeper still, into the twisted caverns beneath the mountain. Into the very heart of darkness. Many battles have been fought, many brave allies dispatched. The ground is wet with the blood of the innocent, but all that will seem as nothing should Madreus achieve his nefarious goals. With allies in a community of exiled Duergar, and refuge in the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', our group of brave adventurers continues the fight. After resting at Grayven's Shrine, the party has once again returned to the twisted confines of Firestorm Peak. Returned to the heart of this rotting mountain, the party prepares itself for confrontation with the tainted evil forces of the Far Realm. Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 200: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007:
[ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct | 20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ]
Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep | 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ]

Real-world date: 08 Mar 2008
Game-world date: 24 - 25 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Solmar

Where we left off last session
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. Their quest has taken them into a cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bids farewell to Duracell and teleports to Grayven's Shrine. After a short jaunt through the dark, and dank corridors, the party made it's way to a Duergar town within the mountain. They went there seeking information and supplies. Unfortunately, their stay in that town was cut very short when they were recognized from their fierce assault at the entrance to Firestorm Peak, and they were asked to leave. Escorted out of the inhabited section of the caverns, the party returned by having the Blink Dog carried them directly into the Duergar town. Once inside they located, engaged and defeated Wellfast. Afterwards, they obtained one of three crystal shards. The party then entered a new section of the mountain - The Twisted Caverns. Once again, the party finds itself outside Firestorm Peak. In search of healing, a respite, information, some help?! When we last left the party, they were on their way to 640; the Duergar community on the surface. Refugees from the taint within Firestorm Peak, these Dwarves, like the party, battles the forces of evil and corruption in the shadow of the mountain. Will the party find succor, favor, allies and information? Or will they find betrayal, deception, and danger? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

24 Augot 1003
Forens

"Two loose screws"

[Dynnera] At the shrine we mourn for our fallen comrades; Zeddishous taking it especially hard, in the loss of a potential second animal companion in a matter of days.  Tactically we decide to continue to 640, and I offer the casting of regal procession to haste the trip (instead of 8 hours, it will take ~ 6.75 hours).  We all agree to rest the remainder of the night, and leave in the morning. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Zeddishous immediately began campaigning again to abandon current mission.  Thalidimar argued against (rare moment of actual leadership), supported by Dynnera, Belt, Grenco, and myself.  Acquiesced, but reluctantly. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] While our camp settles, Solmar requests an audience with me.  It raised the issue of my usurping its role as representative (I can’t say spokesperson) for the party.  I told it any usurpation was unrelated to my likes or dislikes, and more related to my own opinions being vocalized, or my nature of acting independently.  I also mentioned that Thalidimar’s leadership style is very laissez faire, allowing for Solmar and myself to inject direction more vocally.  Regardless, I agree to defer to Solmar, when appropriate, and to position myself as advisory to it and Thalidimar. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Held private counsel with Dynnera during her watch.  Requested that she allow me to perform my duties as party spokesman, and asked if she would be willing to act as interpreter when needed.  She acknowledged usurping my elected role, and indicated she would attempt to curb such impulses in the future.  Accustomed to operating independently. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Upon waking, we discover the Word of Recall stones no longer function as expected.  The used stones can not be taken out of shrineKabeckum informs us that she has the last remaining active stone. Used stones need to be recharged for 10 full days before they can leave the shrine.  Fortunately, one stone can take up to 10 creatures within 10ft of it, but who is transferred is completed arbitrarily.  (We’re lucky the creatures we’ve fought haven’t come with us!)  Once out of the vicinity of the shrine guardians, we continue once again to 640.  I summon seven mounts with equipment and banners emblazoned with Ilmater’s open hand symbol. Kabeckum rides with me, the rest of the party rides individual horses. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Fortunately, the only daylight encounter is a group of Lizardmen with a cart of supplies.  We announce ourselves and they push to the side of the path to allow us free passage.  We arrive at 640 without further conflict.  After introductions from Kabeckum, we are greeted throughout 640 with much fanfare and celebration over the demise of Wellfast!  We are given full access to the fortress, and await an audience with Nallond, the Duergar elder leader.  Fallick, a uniformed Duergar guardsman, will take us to the audience chamber when we are ready. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Trip to 640 in the morning uneventful.  Security at stronghold noticeably strengthened, and extended farther out than during our last visit.  640 Duergar noticeably joyful at learning of Wellfast's demise.  Indicated we must meet with Nallond, 640 leader. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Two things of note:

  1. On this occasion, we are permitted to see Duergar children.  They are at play with a macabre game called “Kick the Kitten”, involving an angry cat tied by rope to a stake, with children coming within its claws range to kick it.  We choose not to interfere in a ‘time honored’ game?  I hesitate to think what they might use when the cat population is diminished.
  2. Grenco heads to the nearest tavern (and I accompany him).  The barkeep provides us free drink in celebration to our success against Wellfast.  The drink is something concocted from darkscape mushrooms, which almost immediately intoxicates Grenco as well as provides him so-called visions.  The only other customers were two adventurers – Ysoac and Khurshel.  They each profess a desire to join our party in ending the Taint threat as they are the last survivors of their own adventuring party.  They have been living with the 640 residents performing odd jobs (perhaps locating cats?) since the SCREWOFFS last appeared here.
    1. Ysoac is a Painted Elve druid.  He has a celestial wolf companion named “Scorch”.  He indicates he’s from a desert climate, and finds the temperature here very inhospitable.  He seems to use staff and shield, and has an ion stone floating around his head.  He displays his ability to transform into an eagle when he momentarily perches on Grenco’s shoulder.
    2. Khurshel is an Illumian wizard.  As with all Illumians, he has magical sigils floating around his head.  He wears a strange black suit and top hat that is large enough to hold a swing for his bat (I assume familiar).  He openly proclaims himself a wizard/beguiler/ultimate magus studying magical fortifications.  He mentions something about being in the ‘script keeper cabal’.  I mention to him my specialty lies in conjuration and find necromancy, illusion, and enchantments as anathema. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Grenco and I invite them to meet the SCREWOFFS so that the party can decide whether to include them in our adventure (obviously both Grenco and I feel these reinforcements would be useful).  Introductions are made again, and the party decides to include Ysoac and Khurshel as provisional members of the SCREWOFFS.  Once all together, we direct Fallick to take us to Nallond. [/Dynnera]

[/Solmar] While we waited for meeting with Nallond, Grenco decided to gather intel at 640 tavern.  Dynnera thought it best to keep an eye on him.  They returned with two other adventurers.  Last survivors of another party killed by NightwalkerKhurshel, illumian mage, dressed very formally, extremely quiet.  Ysoac, Painted Elf druid, completely covered in thick furs and still complained about cold.  Ysoac indicated desire to halt spread of taint and its corruption of life in the area.  Since their goals appear to align with SCREWOFF's, formed alliance for remainder of mission. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We meet Nallond and the elder council in the Duergar temple area, the elders sitting on a raised dais. Nallond welcomes us to 640, records our names for posterity sake, and  most importantly, has a chest of gems delivered to us as payment of the bounty earned for Wellfast’s demise.  (I must remember to thank Kabeckum since she was uncertain the elders would believe our tale.)  Solmar then recounts our adventure, and will meet later to outline all locations and defenses we’ve noted at Firestorm Peak.  What we learn during the audience includes:

  • They are aware of the gibberling entrance but have yet to locate it.  It is on the north east face of the mountain, but gibberling inhabit almost every rocky niche there.  They are assembling a group of rangers to find the entry, but suspect it’ll take upwards of 10 days to locate if they have to search the entire area.
  • In the meantime, a combat task force is assembling to confront the Duergar entrance and take over the complex once again.  This will take time to assemble and approximately 6 days of travel to avoid the bog region.  They are confident they can bypass the Firestorm Peak Gates should they close before they are ready.
  • Twisted Caverns are inhabited by intelligent fungus (like large mushrooms), gibberling, brood gibberling, and a race of mutated trolls.  The trolls were opposed to Wellfast’s rule but any mutations must have occurred from the taint as they were not mutated prior to the 640 residents exile.
  • Other entrances to the Twisted Caverns (known by Nallond) have been blocked or collapsed.  One possible access point is off the main corridor approaching the Duergar city market place.  The stonework will appear newer (different stone), and approximately 20ft of blocked passage exists before the cleared connecting passage to the Twisted Caverns is accessible again.  Nallond thought a guard post is near this cleared area.
  • Nallond confirmed what we already knew about Madreus, but also suggested that to completely remove the taint we’d have to 1) kill Madreus, and 2) close or reprogram the vast gate.  Once closed, most of the taint in this area would dissipate over time; except for the taint inherent to the Charnel Bog itself.
  • Jatani, the gem merchant, has been told to sell us taint stones at a discounted rate. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Met with Nallond and 640 Duergar council.  Given 50,000 gp reward for deposing Wellfast.  Also given valuable intel:

  • General area known where gibberling exit Firestorm Peak, but exact location still unknown.  Duergar party will locate, but likely to require at least a week of reconnoitering (6 days just to march to area).  We decided traveling directly into Firestorm Peak (utilizing one of the magic items identified while at monastery) more appropriate use of our time.
  • 640 Duergar planning to oust remaining Wellfast regime from Duergar Firestorm complex.
  • Gibberling (including brood gibberling) produced by deepspawn.
  • Trolls in twisted caverns opposed to Wellfast regime.  Definitely possible allies.  Probably tainted, however, so must be assessed and watched.
  • Large, intelligent fungus also inhabit twisted caverns.  Allies? Foes?
  • Mapped alternate route into twisted caverns without passing through Duergar complex.  Must still get past two Duergar checkpoints, and partially collapsed tunnel.
  • Madreus first sighted in Firestorm Peak 640 years ago, the same year Wellfast took control of the Firestorm Peak Duergar complex. Reinforces Madreus-Wellfast connection. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] With the audience ended, and the gem chest safely in the portable hole, we regroup to discuss next steps.  The party, even I, with a shudder down my spine, believe the most effective means of re-entry would be Grenco’s use of the Cloak of Earth Striding to bypass the main entry and the Duergar checkpoints (…yes, multiple portable hole imprisonments again…)Zeddishous then speaks up; suggesting that he work with the Duergar rangers to find the gibberling entry.  The rest of us are dumbfounded, ultimately questioning what good that would do us, and that he was needed with the party.  He storms out of the room. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Zeddishous wished to join Duergar scouts hunting for gibberling entrance into Firestorm Peak.  Became angry when we suggested he would be more valuable accompanying us directly into mountain.  Zeddishous left meeting angry and disappeared for a while. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] I immediately call for a party vote to excommunicate him, since he’s unwilling to proceed according to party decisions.  Enola encourages his departure in less than subtle ways (insulting Zeddishous regarding her being the only true ranger in the party).  Solmar’s cool logic prevails; he and Thalidimar suggest waiting to see if Zeddishous returns.  Since we are discussing party politics, I confirm some concordium rules not explicitly stated in the document.  Departed party members (e.g. Tanar and Duracell) forego their share of party treasure; new members are eligible for treasures found as of the time they join the party unless a party decision is made otherwise. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] After meeting, visited Jatani and purchased all taint magnets in his stock.  Then, SCREWOFFS went to guest quarters.  Dynnera proposed revoking Zeddishous's membership.  I argued that the proposal was hasty and should be tabled pending further developments.  Zeddishous eventually returned.  Agreed to continue with us when I assured him that his skills and company are both valued.  Remainder of evening spent acquainting ourselves with new allies, and then strategizing assault on deepspawn. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] What are my thoughts on Zeddishous, and our party rules?  I think Zeddishous has lost “it” and will do something crazy in the near future.  Not as a threat to the party (although Enola’s persistent badgering could trigger the exception), but in regards to either abandoning us at a critical juncture, or perhaps going suicidal again (with Solmar and Thalidimar committed to saving him).  I would rather he leave now, before risking the above.  I also recognize my selfish nature – if he’s going to leave us anyway, which seems obvious to me, I’d much rather he do so now before we account for the division of party treasure!  Regarding party treasure, the one item that I would practically kill to assure my obtaining is the Tome.  I needed to make sure Khurshel wasn’t eligible for it, since I believe he’d want it as desperately as I do.  There are plenty of other interesting items, including hopefully a spellbook or two in the near future, but that is the item I covet most. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] We locate Jatani and purchase his remaining stock of taint stones at a higher rate that previously purchased (inflation due to the situation).  Otherwise we stay in the guest quarters for the night. [/Dynnera]  

[Solmar] While remaining SCREWOFFS rested, met with 640 Duergar and provided intel concerning Firestorm Duergar fortifications, guard strength, etc. [/Solmar]

25 Augot 1003
Freeday

[Dynnera] In the morning, Zeddishous returns and agrees to accompany the party (damn).  (I also hope someone remembered to ‘borrow’ Kabeckum’s word of recall stone, otherwise we’re committed to staying in the mountain for the duration.)  I cast mage armor on myself (normal morning ritual), but decide to cast my magical tattoo spells on Solmar and myself.  In fact, in the heat of leaving 640 I neglect to cast the tattoo spells (an inopportune time for Lee the player to leave the playing room since my normal morning ritual was disrupted and not confirmed with Robert – damn it!). [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Our approach to Firestorm Peak is disrupted by an ambush attack of Tainted Ravers, twelve in all, which coordinate their strikes around us and each wielding spiked chains!  (Way too well equipped to be independent to this area – another Madreus welcoming crew?)  A number of them are wounded, and Belt and Grenco successfully kill one.  I mistakenly move into strike range of three (only one hits), not disrupting my fiery burst ability, but injuring me more than I’d care to admit to.   Our preparations have been made for the Deepspawn, so I’m unsure if our spell casting capacity will be as great as usual.  I look forward to seeing the melee might of my compatriots against these creatures (but perhaps there won’t be a need to reserve spells if we are severely injured enough to warrant a day’s worth of healing). [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Departed 640 for Firestorm Peak entrance.  Attacked by Duergar party.  Appeared to be deranged. [/Solmar]

To be continued….

DM's note:
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father is likely some agent of evil. Why do these SCREWOFFS continue? It is the threat that propels them forward, the ever growing, spreading threat of taint. Of an evil which grows daily, an unstoppable evil that subjugates, corrupts and defiles all that it touches. Madreus, the alienst is attempting to bring forth an otherworldly presence into our world. Something that mortals dare not confront, something that will surely destroy all that is good.…If, if the party relents, if they fail, if they falter — This is the reason, this is why they continue. To surrender now would spell certain destruction and corruption for all that they hold dear. Their quest has taken them into the accursed Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence, and now it takes them deeper still, into the twisted caverns beneath the mountain. Into the very heart of darkness. Many battles have been fought, many brave allies dispatched. The ground is wet with the blood of the innocent, but all that will seem as nothing should Madreus achieve his nefarious goals. With allies in a community of exiled Duergar, and refuge in the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', our group of brave adventurers continues the fight. With this latest retreat to Grayven's Shrine, the party is once again forced to recuperate, recover, and rethink their approach to this steadily advancing threat. With the conclusion of this session, the party finds themselves committed to the Gates of Firestorm Peak. Along the way, they struggle with inner doubts, questions, concerns, and a certain lack of confidence. While their thoughts are turned inward, the outward threat continues — Battle erupts along the trail! The party is engaged in a furtive struggle against the forces of taint…Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 23 Feb 2008
Game-world date: 22 - 24 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Solmar

Where we left off last session
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. Their quest has taken them into a cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bids farewell to Duracell and teleports to Grayven's Shrine. After a short jaunt through the dark, and dank corridors, the party made it's way to a Duergar town within the mountain. They went there seeking information and supplies. Unfortunately, their stay in that town was cut very short when they were recognized from their fierce assault at the entrance to Firestorm Peak, and they were asked to leave. Escorted out of the inhabited section of the caverns, the party returned by having the Blink Dog carried them directly into the Duergar town. Once inside they located, engaged and defeated Wellfast. Afterwards, they obtained one of three crystal shards. The party then entered a new section of the mountain - The Twisted Caverns. Soon after entering the Twisted Caverns, the party encountered the Deepspawn, an extremely powerful, intelligent, evil denizen. With some luck, the party was able to escape the crushing grasp of it's taint infected tentacles. Teleporting back to Grayven's shrine, the party is once again on it's way back to the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine' Will the party have enough time to find and vanquish the source of evil within this mountain? What of Nigel, Tanar's father? Where is Grenco? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

22 Augot 1003
Nexsta'

"The untimely demise of Tanar and Flash"

[Solmar] Wellfast's and Naentoth's bodies given to monastery priests to be prep'ed for speaking ritual tomorrow. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] While waiting at the Monastery for our audience with Darius, Solmar finds a Duergar blacksmith apparently of Helm’s faith willing to craft and weld an ornamental holy symbol of Helm onto Solmar’s chest.  If a golem could express excitement I just saw it; perhaps it was just a gleam of magical light in its eyes.  Solmar indicates that the item would be completed approximately mid-day (2pm) so we intend to relax before setting off again.  Additionally, Solmar asks that I detail it's shield with Helm’s symbol.  I’m honored to do so.  I sketch a couple stylized variants until Solmar selects the version it prefers, then borrow some supplies from Monastery craftsmen to supplement my own, and begin drawing on the shield.  I’m privileged to have performed the work for Solmar.  I tell Solmar I will cast arcane mark on the shield in the morning, to have the outline more permanently set.  I can always touch up the art work as we continue adventuring. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Asked Dynnera to repaint Helm's symbol onto my shield.  She agreed - seemed almost eager.  Still acts very wary toward me, but apparently wishes to prove valuable to SCREWOFFS.  Painted symbol of good quality. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Meanwhile, Zeddishous is campaigning for the abandonment of the mission.  I think the loss of his wolf Fang has mentally unhinged him, or at least caused him to lose his nerve.  The remaining party members wish to continue the effort and Zeddishous quickly acquiesces to the group decision. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Zeddishous spends the remainder of his day burying Fang on Monastery grounds.  Solmar bathes in the sacred pool, and then spends the remainder of its evening and night with the Duergar blacksmith.  The rest of us attend the audience with Darius and Vorick.  [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] We learn of the following during our audience with Darius:

+ According to the Dread Witch, an otherworldly dark cloud hangs over the swamp.  This cloud has been unaffected by any weather magic she can cast.  It carries taint on its winds and is spreading.
+ Kenku traders, raven looking humanoids, have camped at a ledge near the gates of Firestorm peak.  These Kenku are trading silks, game, and wool for worked metals by the Duergar.
+ The Duergar have establish glyphs of warding at the gate entry (specific glyphs are unknown).
+ Vorick, upon my confronting him about spies, acknowledges the likelihood of Duergar spies being present in between now and our last visit.  These Duergar were at the Monastery for one night, then seen entering the gates of Firestorm peakVorick has asked that all Duergar representing themselves as from 640 be verified by two in-place 640 representatives. (I think they are too lax in security; relying on their physical and magical defenses at point of entry, without additional background checking!)
+
The Monastery receives financial support and backing from 640.
+ Two Duergar emissaries are usually present at the MonasteryPalindar is a male weapons expert and tactician that assist the Monastery defenses.  Kabeckum is a female banker that assists in procuring funding for the Monastery.
+ Vorick mentions that the sacred pool acts as a Zone of Truth for anyone touching it.  I immediately tell him to use it!  Every person entering the Monastery should first stand within the pool and proclaim their allegiance against the taint and Firestorm peak current residents.  He says “He’ll consider it…”  (I think he’s an imbecile if he doesn’t – use all means to protect yourself, and any bruised egos can be dealt with later!)
+
Kabeckum is then brought into the audience, and we inform her of Wellfast’s demise.  She is overjoyed, and starts to make immediate plans for departure to 640 with the news (and the body).  She tells us that a bounty of 50,000 gold pieces in gems would be awarded to us for removing Wellfast from power! [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Debriefed with Darius again.  Met with ambassador from 640 named Kabeckum.  Unable to provide any intel of note for use inside Firestorm Peak, but indicated that additional intel might be obtained at 640.  Pleased to learn of Wellfast's demise.  Indicated that 50,000 gp bounty available from 640 upon proof of Wellfast's permanent removal from power. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Unfortunately, our audience is interrupted by the appearance of an acolyte named Malakiam.  Wellfast’s body is gone!  Malakiam goes on to describe the body as, “It had no facial characteristics. The face was without typical humanoid features." In other words, it didn't have eyes, lips, nose, mouth, or hair. It was featureless. In addition, "the skin was an odd mottled color, not a single uniform skin tone." The body was approximately 5' 9" tall, sexless, and weighed approximately 160#.”  (As I already said, lax security.  If Palindar is in charge of security he should be executed! Yeah, harsh, but damn it that body was worth 50,000 gp to us!) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Taking Kabeckum to view Wellfast's body, but intercepted en route by one of the monastery priests.  Wellfast's body is now missing.  Kabeckum was still willing to award us bounty if, while standing within monastery's sacred pool, I would swear to witnessing Wellfast's demise.  However, since I had refused to observe my companions slaughtering Wellfast, I could not provide needed testimony.  Not important anyway, since only needed for monetary gain.  Will escort Kabeckum to 640 tomorrow to obtain additional intel. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] The audience continues:

+ Kabeckum indicates she believes our story and still plans to return to 640.  She is unsure what the Duergar leadership will think.  We show her Wellfast’s prized possessions (axe, ring, armor) and Solmar attests as best he can, to Wellfast’s demise. Unfortunately he saw Wellfast incapacitated, but left the room for the coup de grâce. Later, he saw a what appeared to be a body wrapped in a bear-skin rug, but he doesn't know for certain who's body it was. (p.s. Damn it, if Kabeckum believes in the sacred pool’s zone of truth abilities, the remainder of us should have stood in it and attested to the death of Wellfast.)
+ Tanar describes Wellfast’s slug spitting abilities, and Kabeckum recognizes it as a sign of a Brood Gibberling victim.  It would have turned him insane and also allowed mental control over him by the Brood Gibberling.
+ We convince Kabeckum to go with us to 640 using the Word of Recall stones and have the relative safety of our party to protect her.
+ Darius offers another alias, this time a Dwarven trader from the city of Mentacost named Terek Gafindi.  Terek is an ore trader with the distinctive feature of missing both pinkie fingers.
+ Kabeckum indicates 640 agents are present at the Duergar checkpoint and have been notified of adventurers in the area.  Unfortunately the checkpoint password is changed frequently and unknown.
+ Darius provides two one-use teleportation anchors (a focus shaped as a pyramid (2 inches on a side)).  Anyone with the ability to teleport (cast or otherwise) can set a trigger condition to reroute the teleport to this location.  The anchor must be within 1,000 ft when the teleport is triggered (the energies of the cast spell are stored in the anchor).  Swift action to activate, the command word “Sel-Pe-ock”.  Everything touching the user and his/her carrying capacity is also teleported.  I currently hold these focus items.
+ Darius ends the meeting indicating the speak with dead ceremony will occur tomorrow morning after breakfast, and that he will allow us six questions to ask of the dead Duergar priest.

The rest of the evening is spent debating which questions to ask, and then to our own devices (I try to continue having Sylvan language lessons from Zeddishous.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Discussed Monastery's poor security with VorickNaentoth had intel about all individuals presently accompanying SCREWOFFSDynnera, Belt, and Enola joined us at monastery, but still mentioned in Naentoth's intel.  Indicates intel extremely recent, and likely obtained at monastery.  Now Wellfast's body has been stolen.  Inadequate vigilance.  Discussions with Vorick reveal that monastery too focused on combating taint.  Will even form alliances with groups known to be evil.  Has forgotten that combating taint also means opposing evil. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] I also inquired of monastery personnel where I could obtain a proper Helm Holy Symbol.  A guard directed me to Talaruk, the monastery blacksmith.  He offered to construct holy symbol and attach directly to me.  I informed him that all my money had been destroyed at the same time as my previous holy symbol, but he indicated new one would be a gift.  Humbling.  Will be ready shortly after midday tomorrow. [/Solmar]

23 Augot 1003
Onward

[Dynnera] In the morning, I find Solmar still at the blacksmith shop.  I borrow its shield and cast arcane mark on the shield to provide a degree of permanency to the Helm holy symbol I’ve painted on it.  Thereafter, I eat with the party and await Darius’ speak with dead ceremony. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Dynnera cast spell on my shield to make her painting more difficult to remove.  Am I gaining acceptance with her? Spent morning assisting Talaruk.  [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] These are the questions we ultimately had Darius ask of the dead priest, and the answers received:

Q: How do we get into Firestorm peak without going through the front gates?
A: Four options – (1) use the Underdark entrance, (2) use the Gibberling entrance, (3) Teleport past the gates, or (4) use pass wall or earth capabilities

Q: How do we bypass the Duergar checkpoint to get into the Duergar city?
A: Two options – (1) The Gibberling entry proceeds directly to the Twisted Caverns, (2) The 1ft tall guard entry off the initial room.

Q: How would you describe the guardians of the other shards?
A: The Deepspawn guards the 2nd shard; the 3rd shard is unknown to him.

Q: How are the shards used to control the Vast Gate?
A: He did not know how to use the shards.

Q: How would you describe Madreus?
A: High level alienist magic user, human, yet does not age.  Has the ability to dominant anyone looking at him.  Is Wellfast’s master.

Q: What creatures are present in the Twisted Caverns?
A: A prolific amount of gibberling, some fungus creatures, and a group of mutated trolls that are not Duergar allies. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Remaining SCREWOFFS performed corpse speaking ritual with Darius on Naentoth body.  Obtained useful intel: tiny passage Duergar retreated into during first assault at gates leads into Duergar complex without requiring passage through inner checkpoint; teleport into/out of Firestorm Peak not possible when gates are closed, so recall stones probably will not work after the gates close; passage exists from gibberling cave in twisted caverns to surface which could be used to bypass gates and Duergar complex entirely (if found); deepspawn guards one of the shards; there is a group of mutated trolls in the twisted caverns that opposes Duergar (potential allies?). [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We wait until Solmar’s holy symbol is affixed to it.  The symbol itself is a beautiful nickel and silver embossed piece of art.  Solmar indicates it has the additional property of providing some acid resistance to its entire body.  (I momentarily think this should be accrued against our party magical items found, but now is not the time to discuss that negotiation..)  Otherwise everyone, including Kabeckum, enters the portable hole and I trigger the Word of Recall stone to return to Grayven’s Shrine.  We collect the recharged stones awaiting us (there aren't many left, and this could prove troublesome later), leaving this one to recharge, and begin the march towards 640. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Talaruk finished holy symbol as promised.  Attached to my chest.  Fastened mechanically - not a true warforged component.  Itches, but might remind me of my duties.  He also included magic that would give me minor protection from acids.  Since this is a gift, and I did not wish to cause hurt feelings, I did not tell him that my composite plating already carries another enchantment that gives me greater protection against acids, so his extra effort was wasted.  Fine craftsmanship of the holy symbol itself is greatly appreciated. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Our first encounter is with seven incorporeal undead called Allip.  They seem to mesmerize the weak-willed with their incessant babbling, then strike to inflict not physical harm but permanent loss of wisdom.  These creatures were readily but not quickly defeated, due to their incessant babbling and especially Tanar’s susceptibility to it.  Fortunately, through magic missiles and magical weapon attacks by all (and once again Enola’s amazing arrow shooting), these creatures were felled.  Grenco, Belt, Solmar, and Zeddishous each felt their will weakened by attacks.  Thalidimar restored Belt’s will, and the remainder must wait for additional days to pass. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Used recall stone to return to Grayven's Shrine, and began march escorting Kabeckum back to 640.  Attacked by allips, but quickly dispatched.  Reconnoitered immediate area, and discovered old gallows with remains on ground below.  Buried remains and dismantled gallows to create small memorial at grave. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] The next encounter was with a Centaur scout.  He indicated we could pass safely, but any untoward move would cause him and his ‘20’ companions to attack.  Grenco chose to be belligerent and insult the Centaur, but Thalidimar and Solmar quickly shouted him down.  We safely passed this potential ambush.  (Hmm, I suspect Grenco’s loss of common sense is more impacting than we realize.  I hope we needn’t rely too much on his scouting abilities until he is restored to normal.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Later, encountered Centaurs.  Grenco attempted to initiate conflict.  Mental damage from allips has made him even less trustworthy.  Zeddishous flew above us to augment Grenco's scouting. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] Due to late start, cannot reach 640 today.  Will camp overnight and arrive tomorrow. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] At 11:30pm we decide to camp for the night and set our normal watches.  Grenco’s sword has Leomund’s Tiny Hut prepared in it for the week, so we can sleep with significant comfort within the opaque dome it creates. [/Dynnera]

24 Augot 1003 (~3 am)
Forens

[Dynnera] I quickly fall asleep…only to find myself awakened in intense pain!  A greasy dark feeling pervades my skin, and I feel as if I’ve been kicked all over.  I look around and hear Solmar yell “Nightwalker, go to the Shrine now!”  What the hell kind of monster is it that we don’t even attempt to fight? All I can do is look around. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I see a towering 20’ tall humanoid shape of darkness.  I notice it more from the absence of starlight around it, than its features.  The opaque dome is gone, so Grenco has gone off somewhere.  Solmar seems to be heading towards the creature.  Tanar is engulfed in flames, and I see him cast a fireball at the creature only for it to affect the surroundings but not the creature!  Kabeckum already has her recall stone in hand.  It doesn’t look like anyone else has moved yet, and all of us are injured! [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The greasy dark feeling overcomes me again, even before I can get up!  I’m hurt further and looking around I see that Zeddishous and Flash seem to be unconscious.  The others are in various stages of standing up.  I see the creature point its finger at Tanar and suddenly he turns into a pile of ash!  My eyes are burning! I can feel the presence of Tanar’s shroud on my eyes and I’m certain now that he is dead.  I use my teleport ability to stand and I put maximum distance between myself and this creature.  Thalidimar moves toward Zeddishous and quicken casts a healing spell.  Enola, Belt, and Kabeckum all use their recall stones.  Solmar seems to reach for someone (an unmoving Grenco) and activates his stone.  Thalidimar sees Zeddishous is stirring and Flash is down, makes a choice, and departs with his stone and Zeddishous.  I am the last to leave, and when I activate the stone the most I can say is “Goodbye Flash”. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] We are at the shrine, in disarray at the sudden loss of our companions.  Zeddishous is once again campaigning to end this mission.  The rest of us quickly shout him down (at least all but Enola, who remains quiet). [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Attacked last night during Tanar's watch.  Nightwalker 4 times as tall as a man.  Retreat or death only possible outcomes.  I instructed SCREWOFFS to use recall stones to return to Grayven's Shrine, and helped Tanar delay nightwalker to allow retreat.  Nightwalker shot a ray of magic energy at Tanar, causing Tanar's normally protective fire to flare and immolate him.  Flash also killed before waking, but remaining SCREWOFFS and Kabeckum arrived at shrine. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] I would love to quit this mission, but I think our group is best positioned to counter the enemy before they can build additional strongholds or have the taint increase in area.  I am no longer concerned about the gates closing, because the gibberling entrance has been verified – it only need be found!  What we need to do as a group is better preparation for travel and battle – how stupid it was to travel during the night! [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] (Thoughts on Tanar: We had very different temperaments and magical approaches, but I definitely appreciated his evocation abilities!  They will be missed. Perhaps without his magical prowess, our group will be forced to be more cautious, as he won’t be there to bail us out.  Finally, I now carry this shroud and the threat of instant destruction.  Will I get use to this sense of heat emanating within me?  My eyes feel like they will be permanently dry – how long did it take for him to get used to this feeling?  What will it feel like when I actually activate the shroud, and should I?) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] (Thoughts on Flash:  He certainly was a valuable companion in getting us to and from the Duergar complex.  Otherwise, I usually disregarded its presence in the group.  From a selfish perspective, I can’t help but realize that without Flash, it is less likely that I’ll be forced into the portable hell hole again as a means of instant transport.  Illmater forgive me for seeing a silver lining in the death of a companion.) [/Dynnera]

To be continued…

DM's note:
The party started this quest as a search for Tanar's father; but things have changed. Oh, how they have changed! Tanar was incinerated in battle with an unholy minion of the dark, and his father is likely some agent of evil. Why do these SCREWOFFS continue? It is the threat that propels them forward, the ever growing, spreading threat of taint. Of an evil which grows daily, an unstoppable evil that subjugates, corrupts and defiles all that it touches. Madreus, the alienst is attempting to bring forth an otherworldly presence into our world. Something that mortals dare not confront, something that will surely destroy all that is good.…If, if the party relents, if they fail, if they falter — This is the reason, this is why they continue. To surrender now would spell certain destruction and corruption for all that they hold dear. Their quest has taken them into the accursed Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence, and now it takes them deeper still, into the twisted caverns beneath the mountain. Into the very heart of darkness. Many battles have been fought, many brave allies dispatched. The ground is wet with the blood of the innocent, but all that will seem as nothing should Madreus achieve his nefarious goals. With allies in a community of exiled Duergar, and refuge in the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', our group of brave adventurers continues the fight. With this latest retreat to Grayven's Shrine, the party is once again forced to recuperate, recover, and rethink their approach to this steadily advancing threat. Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 09 Feb 2008
Game-world date: 21 - 22 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Solmar

Where we left off last session
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. Their quest has taken them into a cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bids farewell to Duracell and teleports to Grayven's Shrine. After a short jaunt through the dark, and dank corridors, the party made it's way to a Duergar town within the mountain. They went there seeking information and supplies. Unfortunately, their stay in that town was cut very short when they were recognized from their fierce assault at the entrance to Firestorm Peak, and they were asked to leave. Escorted out of the inhabited section of the caverns, the party returned by having the Blink Dog carried them directly into the Duergar town. Once inside they located, engaged and defeated Wellfast. Afterwards, they obtained one of three crystal shards. The party then entered a new section of the mountain - The Twisted Caverns. Soon after entering the Twisted Caverns, the party encountered the Deepspawn, an extremely powerful, intelligent, evil denizen. With some luck, the party was able to escape the crushing grasp of it's taint infected tentacles. Teleporting back to Grayven's shrine, the party is once again on it's way back to the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine' Will the party have enough time to find and vanquish the source of evil within this mountain? What of Nigel, Tanar's father? Where is Grenco? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

21 Augot 1003
Newday

"Crossing the Charnel bog in a Flash?"

[Dynnera] At the shrine, Thalidimar is quickly returned to consciousness through Belt’s administrations.  Anticipating immersion in the healing powers of the Monastery’s sanctified pool, only minimal healing or taint removal is performed on the rest of the group.  The plan is to have Flash (the blink dog) travel to the Monastery with the party in the portable hole.  After a period of time the portable hole is opened but instead of the Monastery we remain somewhere in the Charnel Bog (the shrine is like an island of sanctuary within the midst of the horrible bog).  Flash has gotten lost and is unable to pinpoint a return to either the Shrine or the Monastery(Are we becoming too reliant on this creature? If we only had Duracell’s transportation services again; albeit a reluctant service she provided.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] As soon as we returned to Grayven's shrine, Zeddishous immediately suggested we consider abandoning current mission.  He believes we may be inadequate.  We have been forced to retreat back to monastery twice, and intel indicates that further progress will be increasingly difficult.  I opposed this suggestion.  We must oppose this evil at all costs, even if we are only able to slow its advancement.  Zeddishous said that he will accompany us to the monastery before deciding whether or not to continue with us. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Belt and Thalidimar then removed taint from Zeddishous as he will attempt to determine the direction of the Monastery and fly the group to it and past its protections (Stone Golems and magical entry).  Belt also attempts some healing on Zeddishous but the evil aura from the Charnel Bog prevented some of his healing efforts (the Shrine is the only safe location in the Bog for healing.).  The weather is very poor for flying (cloudy, overcast, cold, and windy), but Zeddishous believes he can climb above the cloud cover to determine direction and safely fly us to our destination.  We are back in the portable hole for this next attempt. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] How am I coping?  I’m not!  I’m in constant terror once the portable hole entry closes. I can feel the immediate staleness of the air and the walls clinging to me, trying to stop me from being free. I clutch to the upper end of the ladder rung, rocking back and forth, mouthing prayers to Illmater or just repeating ‘Open, please open, open, open the portable hole, damn it….”.  I know the others look askance at me, but I can’t control my fear! [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] It’s quite unsettling as I know my fear is irrational.  When not trapped, I can even agree this mode of travel is the most efficient and safe manner to pass the Charnel Bog and save travel time.  This fear has only grown over time – I don’t know how I could have escaped the slavers or Glan Sarin if I had these same fears in the past.  Damn them for creating these fears in me!  Perhaps if I appease Illmater by punishing them these fears will ultimately dissipate. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The portable hole opens with Zeddishous yelling down something (I was too busy cowering to hear what) and somehow Tanar and Enola jump out before me!  When I free myself, I see Tanar in his immolation attire, Enola with bow at the ready, and Zeddishous paralyzed at the portable hole entrance.  All I can think about is getting away!  I first scramble onto some rocks, but then make a run through a clearing.  Out of the corner of my eye I see some swirling wind shape with Tanar’s magic missiles and Enola arrows striking it. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] We used Grayven's Rod of Sanctity to remove taint caused by deepspawn.  Heavily damaged and low on resources (spells, etc.).  Entered portable hole and instructed Flash to carry us to monastery.  Flash became lost in charnel bog.  Weather cold, windy, cloudy, and heavy fog.  Zeddishous volunteered to fly to monastery carrying us in portable hole.  Forced to land shortly after initial take-off.  Attacked by breathdrinker.  We quickly dispatched.  Dynnera used recall stone to return us to Grayven's shrine.  Will bivouac here for the night and attempt travel to monastery tomorrow. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] A part of me knows this isn’t the right thing to do, I’m running away from combat where my assistance might be needed.  I’m also running farther into the Charnel Bog alone (why aren’t we at the Monastery?)  Doesn’t matter, the rest of my mind and body don’t listen, and I run away as fast and as far as possible.  In moments Grenco catches up to me, at first trying to stop me, then just keeping me company, and trying to calm me down.  Eventually I gain control of myself, and we return to the group.  I thank him (and owe him a lot of appreciation for watching over me.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Turns out that Zeddishous was attacked in flight by a Breath Drinker.  In attempting to escape, he dropped down to the Bog and opened the portable hole just before being paralyzed.  Tanar and Enola were able to overcome the Breath Drinker with the help of others (Solmar was disabled and turned into a proverbial statue until healed.)  [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Determining further attempts to the Monastery would be futile, the party all jump back into the portable hole, and I use the last active 'Recall Stone' to return the party to the Shrine for the evening.  Thalidimar, Belt, and Solmar expend any remaining reserve spells on healing and taint removal, and everyone else rests. [/Dynnera]

22 Augot 1003
Nexsta'

"Return to the Monastery - Again!"

[/Dynnera] At morning we heal, remove taint, and prepare once again to make the trip to the Monastery.  We leave the Word of Recall stones to recharge.  Zeddishous indicates flight shouldn’t be an issue as the weather has cleared.  We all jump into the portable hole (DAMN, DAMN!). [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] After a couple of brief stops, and a seemingly endless wait, the portable hole entry opens at the Monastery entrance!  Zeddishous had no issues getting here this time.  (If only Duracell was still flying the group, as the prior four hour trip took 12 hours this time, due to flight speed differences.) As I prepare to bolt up the ladder, I can hear Belt casting a spell.  It’s directed at me, and suddenly I no longer feel the terror and panic I had throughout the trip!  I walk up the ladder normally.  I profusely thank him (and need to consider how I can craft or purchase a magical item that performs the same effect – essentially a self-medicating tool)! [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Weather much better today.  Warmer, clear, and almost no wind.  Zeddishous flew us to monastery without incident. [/Solmar]

[/Dynnera] Thalidimar and I seek out Vorick to schedule an audience with Darius while the remainder of the party seeks the sanctified pool for healing.  Vorick takes Wellfast’s and the priest’s bodies for speak with dead preparations, and informs us that Darius will be available in the afternoon to see us.  There are also representatives from 640 here, so we consider informing the upper world Duergar that now is the time to return to their homeland. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] While waiting for our audience with Darius we discover a wizard is on-site.  This wizard has the ability to identify magic items at an apparently unlimited rate (although unfortunately at an exorbitant cost as well).  We agree to have identified the majority of magic items we’ve uncovered.  (He doesn’t cast a spell and I don’t see a magical item being activated so perhaps he has some innate ability.)  Some of the items included (not an exhaustive list):

  • Warhammer +3
  • Battleaxe +3
  • Cloak of Earth Striding – gives wear ability to pass earth and rock for up to 1,000 ft/day although no sight or breathing benefits (Grenco temporarily carrying)
  • Ring of Protection +2 (Solmar temporarily carrying)
  • Tome of Clear Thought (written in Illithid braille) ranging in +2 to +5 inherent ability bonus (in portable hole). (Yes I actually started drooling for about 3 seconds – I think the wizard identifying the book did as well.)
  • Iron Flask with some sort of powerful elemental trapped inside (in portable hole)
  • Brooch of Shielding (I will temporarily carry)
  • Shield of Magic Eating (if affected by a targeted spell, carrier heals 1hp/lvl of spell, but still impacted by spell) – (in portable hole)
  • Chest with magical poisonous lock (always resets/reapplies poison) – (in portable hole)
  • Chainmail shirt +2 (isn’t factored into carrying weight measurement) – (in portable hole)
  • Gloves of Fire Resistance (5) – (Enola temporarily carrying)
  • Gloves of Striking – re-roll a poor melee strike (prior to knowing the result) - (Solmar temporarily carrying)

[Solmar] Back at monastery, cleansed in sacred pool.  Found a visiting mage who could identify magic items we have found for use in our mission. [/Solmar]

To be continued…

DM's note:
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. Their quest has taken them into a cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bids farewell to Duracell and teleports to Grayven's Shrine. After a short jaunt through the dark, and dank corridors, the party made it's way to a Duergar town within the mountain. They went there seeking information and supplies. Unfortunately, their stay in that town was cut very short when they were recognized from their fierce assault at the entrance to Firestorm Peak, and they were asked to leave.
Escorted out of the inhabited section of the caverns, the party returned by having the Blink Dog carried them directly into the Duergar town. Once inside they located, engaged and defeated Wellfast. Afterwards, they obtained one of three crystal shards. The party then entered a new section of the mountain - The Twisted Caverns. Soon after entering the Twisted Caverns, the party encountered the Deepspawn, an extremely powerful, intelligent, evil denizen. With some luck, the party was able to escape the crushing grasp of it's taint infected tentacles. Teleporting back to Grayven's shrine, the party once again made their way back to the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine' Will the party have enough time to find and vanquish the source of evil within this mountain? What of Nigel, Tanar's father? Where is Grenco? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 26 Jan 2008
Game-world date: 21 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera

Where we left off last session
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. Their quest has taken them into a cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bids farewell to Duracell and teleports to Grayven's Shrine. After a short jaunt through the dark, and dank corridors, the party made it's way to a Duergar town within the mountain. They went there seeking information and supplies. Unfortunately, their stay in that town was cut very short when they were recognized from their fierce assault at the entrance to Firestorm Peak, and they were asked to leave. Escorted out of the inhabited section of the caverns, the party returned by having the Blink Dog carried them directly into the Duergar town. Once inside they located, engaged and defeated Wellfast. Afterwards, they obtained one of three crystal shards. The party then entered a new section of the mountain - The Twisted Caverns. Who know's what dangers await them here? The pall of taint hangs thick in the air, and the caverns seem infested with twisted aberrations. Thankfully, the party has recovered one of the three crystal shards, but the clock is still ticking. The gates wait for no one, and the party still needs to find two more crystal rods. Do Tanar's former adventuring companions hold the other rods? Will the party have enough time to find and vanquish the source of evil within this mountain? What of Nigel, Tanar's father? Where is Grenco? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

21 Augot 1003
Newday

"When to Contemplate Retreat?"

We seem momentarily stunned at the appearance of the Deepspawn but with no time to even speak I find the party leaping into battle – Solmar, Thalidimar, Grenco, and Tanar leading the charge.   (Damn I didn’t want that to happen!  I wanted to retreat immediately, but was unable to speak in time.  Of course the others don’t have the knowledge I have regarding what this thing can do!)

It seems to me as if we and the creature attack almost simultaneously.  Grenco’s attacks are ineffective (not sure if he missed, or if his strike did not have effect (damage resistance)); Grenco on the other hand is staggered by two tentacle strikes, and I can see already that he's taken massive damage and been grappled. Tanar runs up to engage it, casting ring of blades around himself and his flaming shroud remaining active.  The creature entangles Tanar ignoring any fire damage from the shroud, and seemingly shrugging off the majority of the blade attacks.  (Tanar’s usual battle scowl is more predominant when he notices the little damage the blades are doing to the creature.) Zeddishous and Enola fire arrows into the fray.   Zeddishous’ arrows have no effect, while Enola’s arrows cause some damage.  (After she dropped her bow in that disastrous first encounter, Enola has since proven to be the better archer.)  Solmar and Belt make melee attacks with mixed success, and Belt is grappled as well.  Thalidimar casts mass aid on all of us, so some health returns to those struck by the creature.  I confirm the creatures spell resistance, by having a scorching ray strike dissipate before our eyes!  The creature strikes at me, and I take damage.  It momentarily grapples me; I can feel my panic rising before the tentacle slips off due to my cloak’s magical properties.

It seems like the creature’s strategy is to squeeze the life out of anyone it touches (and by the way, every strike causes taint, a problem as the battle proceeds, and our taint protections are quickly expended).  Belt and Tanar try to escape the grapple without success (its tentacles are so well wrapped around them it’s practically impossible to break free once grappled).  I use my teleport ability to remove myself from tentacle reach; the main body of the creature has not moved, and I hope its fairly immobile (wrong!). In a futile attempt at bluffing the creature and conveying information to the party, I (as Wellfast) yell “We’re all working for Madreus so why are we fighting? Especially a creature with damage and spell resistance, spell abilities, and the combat reflexes!” The creature ignores me and continues it attacks (did I mention I know that it also has the ability to detect thoughts?).  I begin summoning a celestial bison.  Solmar, Enola, and Zeddishous continue their attacks, while Thalidimar cast free action on Solmar (nice move!).  Suddenly, we all hear another teleportation boom; Grenco is gone, having used his stone of recall to retreat (Retreat will be a reoccurring word through this journal!  It is an excellent word.)

I place the celestial bison in a flanking position to benefit Solmar.  It’s the fastest bison I’ve ever summoned (regarding combat reflexes), but the worst in combat, since it missed with every attack.  Suffice to say, its best attribute was to take tentacle attention away from the rest of the party, and survive for longer than expected.  By this time I was consistently yelling “We need to RETREAT!” but it is difficult when half the party couldn’t break out of tentacle grasps.

Thalidimar quicken casts a celestial lion spell for additional attacks/distraction to the creature, and then casts a healing spell on Tanar who looked like he was close to death.  Thalidimar is also able to fend off some tentacle attacks. Belt continues to try to break the grasp of his tentacle, while Solmar, Zeddishous, and Enola continue with melee or missile attacks.  Tanar is able to release some ‘pieces of flame’ even while in the creature’s grasp, so his blades continue to damage it, along with these magical fire items (he can’t cast spells while in its grasp).  I start throwing explosive rune beads in the area of the creature, and since I’m not targeting the creature, it's spell resistance doesn’t apply.  It does however take reduced damage with each bead (I end up throwing all five beads).  When it finally appears that we're succeeding, and it is more wounded than whole, the damn thing heals itself to practically full health!  (As a reminder, I’m screaming RETREAT throughout…)

So what happened you ask?  We RETREATED the only way possible, through the Word of Recall stones back to the Hallowed Doctrine shrine in this manner:

  • Grenco went first as described above.
  • Tanar, ready to succumb to his wounds for a second time, was able to pull his Word of Recall stone and teleported his tainted, wounded body away.
  • Belt actually broke the grasp of the tentacle, but in moving away from it, triggered not one but two separate ceiling traps!  (In my mind I hear echoes of laughter; perhaps the creature is projecting its thoughts?  I would laugh if not for the circumstances we are still under.)  He ends up disabled and adjacent to me.  I give him a potion of healing to use, while I continue throwing explosive rune beads.  He activates his Word of Recall stone and attempts to take Solmar and me with him, but we each defer until the others have left.
  • Solmar left next, being as damaged as I’ve ever seen it. (It does leak some liquid if dented/gouged sufficiently.)  Before leaving, I told it I would make sure that either Thalidimar or at least the recovered shard would be with me.
  • Zeddishous and Thalidimar were next with Zeddishous’ Word of Recall Stone.  Thalidimar in healing Solmar (or was it Zeddishous?) during battle was also grappled.  Eventually he yelled out “I want everyone to retreat now!” then quickly goes unconscious. (A fine time for his first decisive command. Of course it's a little late and impossible as well, but perhaps with practice he will become more proficient.) The issue for me is he has the portable hole with the shard, Wellfast’s dead body, and most of our supplies!  As a pragmatist, I see only one solution.  We can’t break the grapple but if I or Zeddishous can cut away his backpack, we can recover the shard and perhaps return for his dead body.  I yell to Zeddishous, “You or I have to cut his backpack, we can’t leave the shard!”  I use my last teleport option to get adjacent to Thalidimar and the creature.

Tymora and Illmater must have looked down upon us in favor twice!  First, the creature dropped Thalidimar when Zeddishous’ stepped up to him.  Unable to break the grapple, Zeddishous and I would have been forced to leave Thalidimar and only secure the backpack.  Secondly both Zeddishous and I acted before the creature.  Zeddishous having previously held his Word of Recall stone, touched Thalidimar and teleported away!

  • I was next to teleport – before doing so I looked to Enola, as the last remaining party member and said “Get the hell out of here because I’m gone.”
  • Enola arrives at the Shrine a few seconds later.

To be continued…

Dynnera’s journal thoughts – We need to return to the Monastery even with the loss in time!

  1. We need to bathe in the holy pool to quickly be healed, as most of our spells are expended, and it would take most of our next day’s spells to get the party whole.
  2. We need lots of removal of taint (pool again?) – Have to remember to have someone without taint speak the secret words otherwise those stone statues will attack.
  3. Speak with dead opportunities – Darius and his acolytes could potentially cast on Wellfast & the Priest and perhaps get more questions answered
    1. I don’t want to face the Deepspawn again, unless we have a degree of certainty that it holds a second shard!
    2. Plenty of clues to be gotten from Wellfast and perhaps validated with the Priest (describe guardians of the other shards; describe gate location; describe Madreus, describe what’s after the Twisted Caverns, Tell us how to activate or  use your magical items etc.)
    3. Is there a spy in Darius’ organization? Wellfast had a dossier about the SCREWOFFS (ask Wellfast who provided the information…)
  4. More taint stones/sticks if possible to replenish the supply.  Especially since this needs to be the last trip back here.
  5. Any additional information Darius has found in our absence.

DM's note:
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. Their quest has taken them into a cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bids farewell to Duracell and teleports to Grayven's Shrine. After a short jaunt through the dark, and dank corridors, the party made it's way to a Duergar town within the mountain. They went there seeking information and supplies. Unfortunately, their stay in that town was cut very short when they were recognized from their fierce assault at the entrance to Firestorm Peak, and they were asked to leave.
Escorted out of the inhabited section of the caverns, the party returned by having the Blink Dog carried them directly into the Duergar town. Once inside they located, engaged and defeated Wellfast. Afterwards, they obtained one of three crystal shards. The party then entered a new section of the mountain - The Twisted Caverns. Soon after entering the Twisted Caverns, the party encountered the Deepspawn, an extremely powerful, intelligent, evil denizen. With some luck, the party was able to escape the crushing grasp of it's taint infected tentacles. Teleporting back to Grayven's shrine, the party is once again on it's way back to the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine' Will the party have enough time to find and vanquish the source of evil within this mountain? What of Nigel, Tanar's father? Where is Grenco? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 12 Jan 2008
Game-world date: 21 Aug 1003
Written by: Solmar and Dynnera

Where we left off last session
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. Their quest has taken them into a cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bids farewell to Duracell and teleports to Grayven's Shrine. After a short jaunt through the dark, and dank corridors, the party made it's way to a Duergar town within the mountain. They went there seeking information and supplies. Unfortunately, their stay in that town was cut very short when they were recognized from their fierce assault at the entrance to Firestorm Peak, and they were asked to leave. Escorted out of the inhabited section of the caverns, the party has returned through trickery (the Blink Dog carried them directly into the Duergar town). Bypassing guards and wards, the party engaged and defeated Wellfast (leader of the Duergar of Firestorm Peak). Afterwards, they lost Grenco. He was teleported away by a guardian. As all seasoned adventurers know, being separated from the rest of your group is usually a bad thing, and crypt things tend to send defilers to a place where they can be 'dealt with'. Thankfully, the party has recovered one of the three crystal shards, but the clock is still ticking. The gates wait for no one, and the party still needs to find two more crystal rods. Do Tanar's former adventuring companions hold the other rods? Will the party have enough time to find and vanquish the source of evil within this mountain? What of Nigel, Tanar's father? Where is Grenco? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

21 Augot 1003
Newday

"Shortcut to the Twisted Caverns"

[Dynnera] Damn, my best laid plan to riches is foiled because of temple acolytes! So much for exploiting the Wellfast persona to its fullest potential. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Grenco has disappeared due to the crypt thing’s teleportation attack, and we consider how to reach the Twisted Caverns.  I suggest we have the blink dog return to the wraith room in the hopes Grenco might have been teleported there.  Alas, no luck, the blink dog confirms he is not there.  We agree to continue on, and hope for the best regarding finding our missing companion.  Belt opens the antechamber where the crypt thing came from, only to be teleported himself!  [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Belt entered room that crypt thing had come from, and was also transported somewhere.  Thalidimar immediately followed.  After discussion, Tanar also followed.  Zeddishous, Dynnera (as Wellfast), Enola and I remained behind with Flash and Scroggis to continue exploring route past Duergar complex - rendezvous later if possible.  Our presence discovered soon afterward, however, and entire complex alerted, so we followed through transport anyway. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] In a quick decision, we agree that Thalidimar and Tanar should follow into the room, hopefully teleporting to the same location as Belt, and possibly Grenco as well.  The rest of us would further explore here, and meet up with the others.  Plans changed however when I, as Wellfast, enter a hallway filled with acolyte chambers.  Multiple acolytes appear out of their rooms but I sufficiently cowed them back into prayer.  One however begins to investigate the temple, and lets out a warning to the others about the invaders! [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] For a time, the acolytes attempt to protect me (Wellfast) from the invaders.  One in fact appears to be running for assistance through a back hall and door.  I suspect the doorway leads to the marketplace balcony as stairs lead up to the door.  I ‘fiery burst’ the escaping acolyte, but although hurt, he yells a warning out the door, then uses a ‘Meld into Stone’ spell to escape.  The remaining acolytes eventually do the same. I bar the doors in the hallway and return to Solmar and the others still present.  Solmar and I agree we need to follow the others through the teleportation room (our options are limited and Thalidimar holds 1 of the 3 keys to close the portal – we must find him)!  We all march in, hands on each other’s left shoulder and teleport… [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Delivered to top of large cavern and fell to floor.  Scroggis killed on impact.  Damage to everyone else otherwise minimal.  Rejoined with Belt, Thalidimar, Tanar, and Grenco.  Large quantity of gibberling corpses around cavern, but remaining gibberling driven off before my arrival.  Obvious road through cavern dead-ended where east exit from cavern has collapsed.  We have assumed that this is the same road shown on Wellfast’s map leading to “twisted caverns”.  Travel west on road likely to lead back to Duergar complex.  Instead, we left road and followed passages leading south out of cavern. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] ...into some larger cavern. Unfortunately, we arrive at ceiling height (~60 feet high)!  Through the rush of the air as we fall, we see Belt floating in the air, burnt gibberling bodies are everywhere, and Grenco, Thalidimar, and Tanar (in his complete immolation costume) stand nearby.  Solmar and Enola each fall to the ground and incur injuries.  Zeddishous flies to the ground, unable to help anyone due to the suddenness of the fall.  Scroggis is permanently freed from slavery as her landing was less than graceful, with her head and neck obviously broken.  I was able to stop the free fall with an advantageous use of my instant teleporting abilities prior to hitting the ground (phew!). [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Thalidimar and Tanar address the party injuries as Belt and Grenco fill us in on what happened here.  Each of them fell from the ceiling, Grenco into the darkened cavern.  Grenco, realizing he would quickly be surrounded by gibberling, left his continual flame torch on the ground to attract them, while sprinting to safety in a nearby nook or cranny.  The gibberling approached the lit torch, just in time to partially cushion the falls on Thalidimar and BeltThalidimar quickly became surrounded and faced the gibberling grappling attacks, while Belt cast a spell to levitate himself.  Tanar fell from the ceiling shortly thereafter, once again falling on the gibberling. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Tanar turns out to be the perfect nemesis for these gibberling!  He activated his flaming shroud, immolating himself for protection and as a light source attraction. Not smart enough to avoid approaching him, the gibberling were so weak that they succumbed to the touch of the shroud’s flames or even the aura of heat surrounding it!  The judicious use of burning hand spells (and Grenco’s thrown blast disc), and the gibberling were defeated with the remaining ones running away.  Shortly after the gibberling departure, the rest of us fell through the teleportation trap. [/Dynnera]

[/Dynnera] Reviewing the cavern, we suspect these are some portion of the Twisted Caverns, in fact a ~20 foot wide “road” seems to run into this cavern; we suspect the Duergar city is on the other end of the road.  Some of the party wants to return up the road, to confirm that it leads to the city; I and others want to continue exploring the un-worked areas.  Belt attempts to cast locate object on some item in Wellfast’s apartment, but no bearings are provided.  Eventually Thalidimar decides to continue with the Twisted Cavern exploration (…again, Thalidimar is not a decisive leader but lets Solmar or I lead or debate issues.  Only when we can’t reach accord, or when we request his decision, does he step in.  If Solmar wasn’t a golem, or if I had some meanings of understanding any instructions it may ‘live’ by, it’d be the most effective leader.  Then again, Solmar is a paladin with the usual misguided moral qualms that seems built into their character, so Thalidimar is the ‘best’ leader for us after-all.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] In a smaller cavern only a short distance from the large one, we were attacked by a very large deepspawn. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] In one of the caves we call the ‘fungus room’, it looks like someone has been harvesting mushrooms and other fungus.  I/Thalidimar stop to harvest some ‘dark-scape mushroom’, known to have powerful narcotic and poisonous qualities (Solmar and Belt frown upon us; hmm, I wonder what experiences Thalidimar has had to be interested in these items?).We walk down some passage ways when suddenly out of a pool of water at an adjacent cavern opening, rises a monstrosity; it’s round in body sprouting several flailing tentacles reaching out farther than the height of a normal man, the tentacles are tipped with eyes and mouths.  I’ve read about this creature; it’s called a Deepspawn! [/Dynnera]

To be continued…

DM's note:
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. Their quest has taken them into a cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bids farewell to Duracell and teleports to Grayven's Shrine. After a short jaunt through the dark, and dank corridors, the party made it's way to a Duergar town within the mountain. They went there seeking information and supplies. Unfortunately, their stay in that town was cut very short when they were recognized from their fierce assault at the entrance to Firestorm Peak, and they were asked to leave. Escorted out of the inhabited section of the caverns, the party has returned through trickery (the Blink Dog carried them directly into the Duergar town). Bypassing guards and wards, the party engaged and defeated Wellfast (leader of the Duergar of Firestorm Peak) in order to obtain one of three crystals shards needed to complete their quest. Afterwards, they were forced to flee the Duergar town when their presence was discovered by guards. Their departure led them (via crypt thing teleport) to a new section of the mountain - The Twisted Caverns. Who know's what dangers await them here? The pall of taint hangs thick in the air, and the caverns seem infested with twisted aberrations. Hopefully, they can avoid most combat with the inhabitants.
The clock is still ticking. The gates wait for no one, and the party still needs to find two more crystal rods. Do Tanar's former adventuring companions hold the other rods? Will the party have enough time to find and vanquish the source of evil within this mountain? What of Nigel, Tanar's father? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 15 Dec 2007
Game-world date: 21 Aug 1003
Written by: Solmar and Dynnera

Where we left off last session
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. Their quest has taken them into a cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bid farewell to Duracell and teleported to Grayven's Shrine. After a short jaunt through the dark, and dank corridors, the party made it's way to a Duergar town within the mountain. They went there seeking information and supplies. Unfortunately, their stay in that town was cut very short when they were recognized from their fierce assault at the entrance to Firestorm Peak, and they were asked to leave. Escorted out of the inhabited section of the caverns, the party has returned through trickery (the Blink Dog carried them directly into the Duergar town). Bypassing guards and wards, the party has engaged Wellfast (leader of the Duergar of Firestorm Peak) in heated battle. As the clock ticks forward, the gates wait for no one, and the party has yet to find any of the crystal rods. Does the leader of the Duergar hold one of the rods? Will the party have enough time to find and vanquish the source of evil within this mountain? What of Nigel, Tanar's father? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

21 Augot 1003
Newday

"The Red Shard discovered"

[Solmar] Wellfast vanished as soon as he realized that we would quickly overwhelm him.  Wellfast’s secretary also assaulted and incapacitated during scuffle.  Likely an innocent bystander.  Softskins damaged this severely continue leaking, which can eventually cause them to cease functioning, so I bound his wounds. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Wellfast looked to become a quick victim to our attacks, but suddenly Grenco yelled that he disappeared!  No tell-tale audio sign of teleportation, and Grenco is certain his latest attack would have struck an invisible person. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] We jammed shut the door to the Duergar marketplace.  Then the other SCREWOFFS began exploring and looting immediate area.  I attempted to limit looting to Wellfast’s belongings - mostly successfully.  Discovered room with many paintings signed by Wellfast.  Mostly landscapes.  Paper wedged in frame behind one painting read... [/Solmar]

“Nigel betrayed me - betrayed Quaren for knowledge.  His master is also mine.  It cannot be otherwise, for I am now of two minds.  Only
while
painting can I push the writhing nightmares and oozing daydreams away - although I find that I am beginning to like them.”

[Dynnera] With no certainty regarding Wellfast’s whereabouts, the party splits into separate groups to search the vicinity. 

  • Thalidimar finishes spiking the main door shut, then uses his ongoing comprehend languages spell to assist in reviewing what’s found in the room.
  • Tanar moves the portable hole from the table and discovers a map of the Duergar complex inlaid on the table, including a noted direct passage to the ‘Twisted Caverns’
  • Solmar stations itself near the second door in Wellfast’s apartment which leads to a staircase heading down.  Otherwise it assists in searching by breaking into furniture, and begins considering tactics to pursue the Twisted Caverns.
  • I quickly open the second hallway door that leads to a macabre trophy room.  The floor has wooden inlays, but Grenco confirms no traps are present.  All the trophies are of creatures in some final state of agony.  In the back of the room is a door which leads into Wellfast’s landscape painting room.  Surprisingly some of the painting (10 in all which I take down) show real artistic talent.  A single door appears to lead out to main hall from this room, so I ask Grenco to spike this door shut.
    • Behind one the painting is a note written in Dwarven (presumably by Wellfast.
      • In learning of the note, Tanar displays his pent-up frustration and anger that his father had left him (I have difficulty understanding why Tanar was interested in finding his father in the first place.)
  • Belt begins searching Wellfast’s apartment, specifically the desk, nightstand and armoire.  In each we find magical items, but more importantly the armoire had a secret door in its back with led to a 5ft hiding hole in which a healed Wellfast was hiding! [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] While searching Wellfast’s bedroom for a shard and more intel, Belt discovered a small safe-room behind wardrobe.  Wellfast hiding inside - quickly subdued before he could escape again.  I rendered him unconscious for questioning later.  Other SCREWOFFS concerned that Wellfast would simply disappear again upon regaining consciousness.  To gain intel, decided to kill him and later use ritual that allows corpse to speak.  Tactically sound, but I raised moral objection to killing helpless/defenseless foe.  Overruled by Thalidimar, and deferred to his senior rank.  Surprisingly, Belt did not raise similar objections.  Removed myself while Wellfast was slaughtered.  Red crystal and additional valuables found inside safe-room. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] This time the battle with Wellfast ends quickly.  Belt is able to cast his frigid cold spell to severely limit Wellfast’s movement, and physically throws him into the middle of the room.  Between party attacks and a truly devastating blow by Solmar, Wellfast is critically injured and knocked unconscious.  We debate whether to kill him, but with his unknown escape ability, the party (except for Solmar) agrees that his life should end.  Thalidimar performs the coup de grâce on Wellfast. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Completing our search of Wellfast’s apartment rewards us with the first of the three shards (a red colored, gem-like rod).  I decide to disguise myself as Wellfast going forward, and end up wearing Wellfast’s magical chainmail (which doesn’t seem to inhibit my spell casting ability!), a magical ring with a lion's head on it (no immediate effect noticed), and carrying his magical battle axe.  The plan is for the party to stay out of line of vision and allow me to be Wellfast while exploring further areas.  Meanwhile, we bundle Wellfast’s body in a carpet (touching him causes corruptive taint by the way) and deposit him in the portable hole, along with some nephelim furniture.  (The lack of a second Wellfast body should also help my disguise should anyone walk into his administrative area.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Something about Wellfast’s situation does not add up.  Duergar at 640 indicated that he usurped power in main Duergar complex 640 years ago.  Why did he leave to adventure with Nigel approximately 50 years ago?  Once gaining power, most usurpers too paranoid to leave command for extended periods of time.  Risk too great that they would return to find their position overthrown.  Perhaps Wellfast only a figurehead?  Sent to infiltrate Nigel’s party?  Note behind painting contradicts this theory.  Implies Nigel first to succumb to another’s (Madreus?) power.  We have assumed that Wellfast was insane when he took control of Duergar, but note seems to indicate that insanity occurred more recently.  Also, Derek Warcaller was unaware that Wellfast was leader of Duergar complex.  Why would he refer to the Duergar complex as an obstacle if he knew that his comrade was the leader?  What other secrets did Nigel’s party keep from each other?  What exactly were their relationships to each other?  What of the same issues in the SCREWOFFS? [/Solmar]

[Solmar] One clear possibility does emerge from new intel.  Nigel’s party originally consisted of four members.  One (Derek Warcaller) confirmed dead; Three (Nigel, Wellfast, Quaren) remaining.  Of those three, one (Wellfast) confirmed to hold a shard, and hints that someone commands at least two (Nigel and Wellfast).  Dread witch at monastery indicated that three shards protected by three guardians.  Strong probability that Nigel and Quaren possess remaining two shards.  Tanar indicated that he had no issues with possibly having to confront Nigel. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] Map inlaid on table in one room displayed “Shortcut to twisted caverns.”  We assumed that this would lead us deeper into mountain and toward our goal.  Unfortunately, must traverse marketplace to reach entrance to shortcut.  Even then, shortcut leads through areas inhabited by Duergar.  We decided to explore further down passage leading from Wellfast’s bedroom before attempting to access shortcut.  Dynnera/Clydeera used her ring to look like Wellfast.  She seems quite practiced at deception.  She may need to be watched even more closely than Grenco. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Since the direct path towards the Twisted Caverns is through the open merchant area, we defer approaching it until we further searched the stairway leading away from Wellfast’s apartment.  I head down first, with the party hidden behind.  I find a lever in the wall that seems to control a raised portcullis at the door; Grenco confirms neither is trapped.  I open the door and enter the chamber, finding what appears to be a study (desk, bookcases filled with books regarding Duergar lore, and another door).  While investigating the room, a Duergar priest comes out of the other room speaking Duergar (of  course)!  (Damn it, I need to increase my extensive language list  to include Duergar!) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I (as Wellfast) quickly shout out, “Enough with the Duergar language, I need to practice my native Dwarven tongue to interrogate the intruders. What have you found out about the intruders?”  My bluff seems to work, as the Duergar provides me an assembled dossier about the SCREWOFFs. (I hoped by shouting that the party would recognize my situation and/or understand at least my portion of the conversation.)  The priest and I head towards his inner sanctum, but before he does he removes some magical wards from the entry.  The priest’s room contained another door, and a large bed with some creature squirming underneath the sheets.  Before I could inquire further, a clanking of armor is heard from the stairs.  The priest yells who goes there, and Grenco rushes forward.  Maintaining my disguise, I yell out to the Duergar, “Intruders are here, protect me” and step further into the room. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The Duergar priest resets his wards and prepares to battle the party.  I covertly assist with my usual fiery burst spells against him, and I think Belt finishes him off, but not before triggering all the reactivated wards.  The creature underneath the sheets turned out to be Scroggis the Goblin, recaptured in her attempt to return to the Underdark.  We ransack this location, tell Scroggis to follow us, and find that the door from this chamber leads to a church or temple of some sort.  The body of the Duergar priest ends up joining Wellfast at the bottom of the portable hole.  (Collecting bodies for an eventual speak with dead spell opportunity.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Stairs led to an office.  Bedroom off office occupied by a Ladugueran priest.  Thuldor quickly dispatched.  Bedroom also occupied by Scroggis - Goblin sex slave freed by Dynnera yesterday.  Will accompany us until next chance for freedom. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] The temple is a quite large chamber, with smoky colored nephelim doors at the end of one nave that leads to the open merchant space.  Thalidimar, Belt and Solmar determine its dedicated to an evil Duergar god and are anxious to desecrate it.  Otherwise we debate how to cross the open merchant area to the passageway leading to the Twisted Caverns.  During our search of the temple, Grenco and I approach a side chamber that has a crypt thing in it!  It immediately teleports Grenco out of the room, but I resist its attack.  The remainder of the party is near enough that Zeddishous, Enola, Tanar, and I quickly overcome the crypt thing. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] At the end of this battle we look to each other wondering where Grenco may have been teleported to (he has been gone for two rounds), and how to approach the Twisted Caverns…. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Office also led to large Ladugueran temple.  Belt and Thalidimar wished to defile immediately, but I advised against since large doors opened from it directly to marketplace.  A large commotion here would surely attract attention and we could quickly find ourselves facing insurmountable forces.  While investigating rooms beyond temple, encountered another crypt thing.  Quickly dispatched, but not before it teleported Grenco somewhere. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Solmar and I had some tactical discussions before the appearance of the crypt thing.  It had a really good suggestion.  I had considered an entry into the merchant area, calling an ‘all available bodies’ meeting within the temple itself.  My hope was to lower the portcullis and arcane lock the other doors to allow our party easier access to the merchant area.  Its suggestion was to route all the guards to the mines.  A great idea!  My thoughts run to the following:

  • I call out to the guardsmen that the priest has divined that the intruders have returned and hidden themselves in the nephelim mines.  I need all available guardsmen (especially those with steeder) to split between guarding the mines and searching for the intruders within the mines before they know they are uncovered.
  • I will ask for the attendance of a guardsmen or administrator with the latest information from traveling to/from the Twisted Caverns (walking through their information with me in earshot of the party (or at least Thalidimar while his comprehend languages is still in effect)).  Perhaps we can get some advance knowledge of what’s in the Twisted Caverns.
  • I have a third more personal action for at least one remaining guardsmen as a surprise… [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Some final thought, questions on my mind...

* What/Who is “Quaren” that Nigel betrayed?  Another of his party members, some party sponsor, or perhaps a city/town?
* It seems that Wellfast was possessed in a fashion (two minds) with slug-like things coming out of him?  Any possible relationship to the SCREWOFF ’s last adventure where some Elves were possessed and had slug like creatures in them?
* What knowledge could have turned Nigel?  Anything I might be interested in?
[/Dynnera]

To be continued...

DM's note:
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. Their quest has taken them into a cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bids farewell to Duracell and teleports to Grayven's Shrine. After a short jaunt through the dark, and dank corridors, the party made it's way to a Duergar town within the mountain. They went there seeking information and supplies. Unfortunately, their stay in that town was cut very short when they were recognized from their fierce assault at the entrance to Firestorm Peak, and they were asked to leave. Escorted out of the inhabited section of the caverns, the party has returned through trickery (the Blink Dog carried them directly into the Duergar town). Bypassing guards and wards, the party engaged and defeated Wellfast (leader of the Duergar of Firestorm Peak). Afterwards, they lost Grenco. He was teleported away by a guardian. As all seasoned adventurers know, being separated from the rest of your group is usually a bad thing, and crypt things tend to send defilers to a place where they can be 'dealt with'. Thankfully, the party has recovered one of the three crystal shards, but the clock is still ticking. The gates wait for no one, and the party still needs to find two more crystal rods. Do Tanar's former adventuring companions hold the other rods? Will the party have enough time to find and vanquish the source of evil within this mountain? What of Nigel, Tanar's father? Where is Grenco? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 01 Dec 2007
Game-world date: 20 - 21 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera, Solmar and Flash

Where we left off last session
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. Their quest has taken them into Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. The party picked up some additional information, and a new traveling companion at the the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine'. Afterwards, they set out for the mountain entrance. They managed to avoid trouble in the Charnel Bog, and made their way to the entrance of Firestorm Peak. With a winter storm (in Augot?!) raging just outside, the party entered the mountain. Once inside, they've witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Duracell decided to return to Whillip. teleporting to Grayven's Shrine the party said it's farewells and split up. Duracell headed back to Whillip and the party headed back into the mountain. After a short jaunt through the dark, and dank corridors, the party made it's way to a Duergar town within the mountain. They went there seeking information and supplies. Unfortunately, their stay in that town was cut very short when they were recognized from their fierce assault at the entrance to Firestorm Peak, and they were asked to leave. Escorted out of the inhabited section of the caverns, the party found itself back in the catacombs amidst mindless creatures and evil denizens. Seeking a new route, they looked for passages down into the heart of the mountain. What they found was a quick trip into a pit of corrosive acid! As the clock ticks forward, the gates wait for no one, and the party has yet to find any of the crystal rods. Did the leader of the Duergar hold one of the rods? Will the party have enough time to find and vanquish the source of evil within this mountain? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

20 Augot 1003
Godsday

"Flash in/Flash out"

[Dynnera] We spent time catching our breath from the acid trap room.  Thalidimar and Belt distribute some necessary healing, while Solmar borrows clothes, weapons, and equipment from party members or the stores in the portable hole.  We decide to check out the remaining rooms, hopefully we'll bypass the Duergar complex completely.  (At the time, I try to maintain hope this is possible, but the Duergar appear too organized to allow such an easy out-maneuvering.  Perhaps they will prove overconfident…) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The two downward chutes we previously located are dead ends for our purposes.  One returns to the scorpion ranch room; the other connects with previous searched passages on this same level.  The ‘mud’ room doesn’t detect as magical or evil presence, and Zeddishous does a brief flyby, to confirm it has no obvious points of entry/exit. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The rancid smelling room with the pool detects as magical (my spell), evil (Solmar’s innate ability), and tainted (rod of sanctity).   Belt, upon hearing of taint, boldly walks into the room shouting a challenge to any tainted creature there.  His challenge is accepted, with the appearance of a Taint Elemental and Blood Rot.  The original SCREWOFFS (everyone but Belt, Enola, and I) begin to shout out their experience with said creatures; fortunately the Charnel Bog versions seem to be thrice as large as these smaller versions.  Our various melee attacks and spell efforts (Spiritual Shuriken coin by Thalidimar, Deific Vengeance by Belt, Rainbow Ray by Tanar, and my usual Fiery Burst) quickly dispatch each creature. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] We decided to search for passage deeper into mountain.  Encountered a taint elemental and a blood rot.  Quickly dispatched.  All remaining passages either circled back to known areas, or ended in dead-ends.  Only possible paths deeper into mountain either through Underdark, or past Duergar complex as indicated in Derek Warcaller's note. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Solmar, in dredging through the pool afterwards, discovers a wand, in addition to some monetary treasure.  (My detect magic spell remaining active, I decided to look over the new party members (in past castings, I had already had the chance to check out the other SCREWOFFS).  Belt has extensive abjuration protections around him, especially his boots, ring, and bag.  Enola has a mixture of transmutation and abjuration auras, specifically surrounding her tiara, cape, bow, and arrow sheath.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] We retreat once again, for rest at the vanquished giant fire-chested skeleton room, and begin considering how next to re-enter the Duergar complex.  At camp:

  • I offer the casting of two identify scroll spells, on the ring and wand (party to reimburse the cost of the scrolls).  The ring is a paired ‘force ring’ that apparently provides force armor protection on a constant basis.  After some discussions, we agree that Grenco should wear the rings.
  • The second identify spell confirms the wand is divine in nature, and casts Bulls Strength.  Once again, after discussion we agree that Thalidimar should hold the wand.  (He holds almost all the magical items anyway…I am practically blinded by the auras, every time I cast detect magic and look his way.)
  • We discuss then ultimately reject (see why below) the need to continue the Clydeera as nephelim trader ruse.  To have done so, we would have made a show of exiting Firestorm Peak, then my returning alone after a short period of time for hopeful permitted reentry.
  • The Blink Dog starts to bark and nibble at Zeddishous’ leg.  Somehow this exchange triggers a suggestion that we actually use the Blink Dog to gain entry into the Duergar complex.  The plan ends up being - We all jump into the portable hole, with the Blink Dog carrying it in its mouth (I really hate the reliance on that; there has to be another magical means for quick travel.)  The Blink Dog is familiar with the complex layout, it’ll transport into the complex - behind the door identified as Wellfast’s administrative offices.  If the room isn’t occupied, and allows for opening of the carpet (10 x 10 clearance needed) it’ll do so, otherwise it’ll return to our ‘safe’ location.  Belt and Thalidimar will have Sanctuary and Comprehend Language spells available to coordinate with the Blink Dog.
    • Solmar and I begin a tactical argument regarding what to do when the carpet opens (other than my bolting out of it). It (Solmar) recommends we all jump out at the ready, while I argue for a possible stealth approach, using a Gaseous Form spell from a scroll I own.  Ultimately I defer to Solmar and Thalidimar, although it surprises me that the others don’t chime in earlier, or that Thalidimar take charge of the discussion as leader once the initial positions are laid out.
    • I hate leaving my life in the hands of the Blink Dog!  I hope it won’t get distracted by an attractive scent, and forget about the party in the portable hole…shudder.  I have difficulty getting to sleep and ultimately have bad dreams throughout the night regarding being trapped once again.
  • During our meal discussions, Tanar suddenly starts to curse. (I know it can’t be my cooking.) He recalls where he’s heard of Wellfast the DwarfWellfast is one of his father’s previous adventuring companions!  (It’s unclear to me whether the rest of the original SCREWOFFS knew and forgot the name; Tanar pulls some note out, represented as a page from his father’s diary.)
  • Otherwise mundane activities of preparing additional spells for the next day, cooking, sketching, writing these journals, and learning sylvan from Zeddishous. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] We decided to camp and devise a plan to infiltrate Duergar complex.  Tanar recalled that Wellfast was once part of Nigel's party.  Dread Witch at monastery indicated that three crystals held by three powerful guardians.  Wellfast originally helped Nigel collect crystals.  Also, Wellfast is considered insane by Duergar at 640 - likely tainted to depravity.  All signs indicate Wellfast likely holds one of the shards.  Gaining access to Wellfast while we pass through Duergar complex a definite priority. [/Solmar]

21 Augot 1003
Newday

[Solmar] Details of the plan: Everybody will enter portable hole.  Flash will fold hole and carry it as he teleports into Duergar complex.  A single dog is not likely to raise much of an alarm.  Should be able to get behind door where Wellfast was indicated to be within just a few teleports.  Once there, if not alone, Flash will teleport back out of complex.  Otherwise, will unfold the hole and allow us out.  Dynnera held a long discussion about possibly exiting the hole immediately, folding it back up, and carrying it as she transformed herself to just vapors to penetrate deeper into complex.  Unable to determine validity of this course of action without any intel about what we might be facing, but she forced debate to continue at length.  Strongly suspect she really wanted to ensure rapid exit from the hole for herself.  Eventually able to convince her to wait until inside complex before evaluating options. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We prepare ourselves and the Blink Dog (Sanctuary cast on it), and jump into the portable hole (I being the last to enter, and with my usual reservations, and lack of decorum - once inside).  After a horrendous amount of time (~less than 1 minute), the opening appears and we jump out – False alarm.  Thalidimar casts Comprehend Languages, and determines that the Blink Dog got scared and confused with our plan, and appeared where guards would obviously see it!  I mutter curses under my breath.  Oh, my confidence in this creature and the plan just grows by leaps and bounds!  Thalidimar reassures the Blink Dog and us after some discussion, a recast of Sanctuary by Belt, and we try again. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Surely we’ve spent too much time in this portable hole, as I start coughing from the depleted air supply.   I want to curse Belt and Grenco, for speaking and playing silly games, not to mention Tanar and his flatulence jokes, but that would hasten the air depletion!  The opening appears, and I rush up the ladder (~ less than 1 minute elapsed). [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The Blink Dog and I are in a room dominated by a large table on which it opened the portable hole.  A Duergar guard is yelling from a hallway, and I can see doors leading out from both this room and the hallway. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Infiltration plan worked.  Flash had to attempt entry twice, but was successful. [/Solmar]

[Flash] Arrff! arf, ruf ruff, arf ruff arf! [/Flash]

[Dynnera] Tanar jumps out and attempts to bluff the guard into thinking we are Wellfast’s invited dinner guests.  Even if successful in confusing the guard, our appearance from out of nowhere, and the fact that the rest of the party begins to surround him won’t keep him still for long.  In fact he attempts to get the ‘dinner service staff’ when he is struck down by the party. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Meanwhile, I open the adjacent door, only to find myself facing what must be Wellfast himself.  It’s an old deformed Dwarf; scales evident on its face, undulating flesh on its neck and face, visage of someone constantly racked in pain.  I yell out “Nigel’s son has a message for you”, but the bluff doesn’t work and Wellfast yells “You all must die.”  He moves towards me and prepares to swing his great-axe, but I teleport beyond his reach.  Solmar steps up to block the door and confront Wellfast. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Wellfast in room neighboring the one Flash had brought us to.  Physically deformed, presumably by taint.  Attacked us on sight. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] At first Solmar tries to sap Wellfast, but the fight has turned deadly now.  Enola has struck Wellfast with her arrows, Tanar and I with magic missiles, Solmar his sword, and Belt with a devastating frigid cold spell that has sapped his ability to move.  Wellfast spits some slug-like creature at Tanar, but Tanar is able to shrug it away.  I turn away from this battle and yell to Thalidimar to bar the other door which appears to lead to the market place – in the event he is unable, I run over to possibly cast an arcane lock spell on it. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] My immediate thoughts race before me: 

  1. I am confident we will shortly overcome Wellfast, but should we turn our deadly blows to non-lethal strikes before he dies?  What information could we collect if we captured him? Perhaps the rod of sanctity can be used to alleviate his pain or tainted condition?  If dead, how much information from a speak with dead will we collect?
  2. Can we barricade the entry sufficiently to investigate these rooms
  3. Can I mimic Wellfast sufficiently in his deranged state to confuse the Duergar?
  4. What was that slug creature that Wellfast spit out at the party?
  5. Has Tanar considered the implications regarding his father Nigel?  Two of his companions have been found either dead or converted to a tainted existence.  I suspect Nigel will have been lucky to have died like Derek, but the closer to the Far Realms gate I believe the more likely the greater perversions will exist. [/Dynnera]
The battle continues…

DM's note:
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. Their quest has taken them into a cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bids farewell to Duracell and teleports to Grayven's Shrine. After a short jaunt through the dark, and dank corridors, the party made it's way to a Duergar town within the mountain. They went there seeking information and supplies. Unfortunately, their stay in that town was cut very short when they were recognized from their fierce assault at the entrance to Firestorm Peak, and they were asked to leave. Escorted out of the inhabited section of the caverns, the party has returned through trickery (the Blink Dog carried them directly into the Duergar town). Bypassing guards and wards, the party has engaged Wellfast (leader of the Duergar of Firestorm Peak) in heated battle.
As the clock ticks forward, the gates wait for no one, and the party has yet to find any of the crystal rods. Does the leader of the Duergar hold one of the rods? Will the party have enough time to find and vanquish the source of evil within this mountain? What of Nigel, Tanar's father? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 17 Nov 2007
Game-world date: 20 Aug 1003
Written by: Solmar and Clydeera/Dynnera

Where we left off last session
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. Their quest has taken them into Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. The party picked up some additional information, and a new traveling companion at the the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine'. Afterwards, they set out for the mountain entrance. They managed to avoid trouble in the Charnel Bog, and made their way to the entrance of Firestorm Peak. With a winter storm (in Augot?!) raging just outside, the party entered the mountain. Once inside, they've witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Duracell decided to return to Whillip. teleporting to Grayven's Shrine the party said it's farewells and split up. Duracell headed back to Whillip and the party headed back into the mountain, and once again find themselves occupying the dark, dank corridors within the heart of Firestorm Peak. T
he party finally discovered an entrance into the Duergar complex. They bluffed their way into an underground town, this entry finds the party on the look-out for clues and supplies. Hopefully, they'll find some valuable information - something that will advance them in their quest. As the clock ticks forward, the gates wait for no one, and making up time is now a priority. Will the party have enough time to find and vanquish the source of evil within this mountain? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

20 Augot 1003
Godsday

(Note from DM: For part of this session, Dynnera assumed an alternate personality - that of Clydeera. Physically transformed into a male Dwarf, outward appearances aren't the only ones evident to the rest of the party. With this physical transformation came a glimpse into Dynnera's psychological makeup.)

"Quick Exit from the Duergar Complex"

[Clydeera] We head down the available corridor between the merchant tents toward Paqwamie’s Upper World Cordials booth.  Enola, Zeddishous and others of the party indicate that there is increased activity by the Duergar guard and steeder mounts, but none seem to present an immediate threat. [/Clydeera]

[Clydeera] Inside the bar, Paqwamie himself serves Thalidimar and I beer, and Belt an expensive bottle of wine.  We are unique in regards to being upperworld visitors to this area.  Before we can exchange much beyond pleasantries, a lead guardsman named Showmak enters the bar.  He approaches me, speaking dwarven, and indicates that we need to return to the stairway for an audience with an administrator. [/Clydeera]

[Clydeera] We have little options, and a battle would ultimately lead to our death (upwards of 20 Duergar guards and 10 steeder in the immediate vicinity).  Even Tanar refrains from attack, although not before offering some juvenile resistance regarding where we were waiting or requesting to visit nearby merchant stalls (…He obviously has never been a merchant guard or bodyguard as none would ever stray from their charge in order to shop). [/Clydeera]

[Clydeera] I am confronted by the Duergar administrator, who tells me that our group is being escorted out of the complex and charged with leaving the Firestorm Peak mountain.  He is aware that our group had confronted the gate entry guards.  They are uncertain of my (Clydeera) involvement, as well as how the group entered the complex with me.  I don’t volunteer information, and attempt to keep the cover story viable by indicating they were hired help, who had experience within the peak.  I indicate that I would return without them, and hopefully this wouldn't negatively influence a nephelim trade agreement.  The administrator is non-committal. [/Clydeera]

[Clydeera] In hindsight, perhaps I should have kept the party within the portable hole longer, and attempted to quickly approach the Duergar leadership.  Yet to have done so was perhaps risking their suffocation, and regardless I could not have ‘caged’ them for any longer than I already did. [/Clydeera]

[Clydeera] Fortunately, the party agrees to the escort past the clear nephelim door, with us planning to explore the lower levels of the Peak dungeon areas.  If necessary, we plan to ambush the escort in the narrow corridors.  It turns out to be unnecessary, as the escort departs once we are past the nephelim door.  Once our escort leaves, I tell Scroggis (a Goblin sex slave) that she is free – She shows the spirit needed to survive by thanking me and quickly leaving towards the Underdark and a slim chance at freedom. [/Clydeera]

[Solmar] Surrounded by Duergar guards a few minutes after entering settlement.  Duergar official arrived and informed us that we were being evicted.  Recognized from assault at mountain entranceDuergar force overwhelming, so complied peacefully.  May return later with better intel, more allies, etc. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Thalidimar decides between the entries to the lower floors (chutes and one stairway) that we should attempt the stairway.  (I argue for the chutes, expecting greater preparations at the stairway…unfortunately my intuition proves more right than I had anticipated.)  We begin heading down the stairway, double metal doors can be seen at the end, when Grenco yells he’s found a trapped step.  We mark it (since Grenco can’t disable traps himself) with chalk, and proceed. Before we can proceed much further, we here Grenco yell.  He’s triggered a subsequent trapped step, and all the steps flatten into a 75 degree slope with the metal doors opening up automatically.  (In hindsight, after the first trapped step, we should have all stepped off the stairs and depended on Grenco’s trap finding skills.) Everyone scrambles for handholds, as we slide down the slope, those behind knocking others from safety towards the door. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The trap leads us to a pit 15 ft down from the chute containing no exits and a pool of purple worm stomach acid! Grenco, Solmar, Zeddishous, Enola and Tanar all fall into the acid.  Belt’s magnetic nature finally helps him and the party, as he is attached to the metal doors, instead of falling into the acid.  Thalidimar and I both grab him and the door to prevent our own fall! [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The acid is eating away at those fallen and their equipment, with their ability to climb out of the pool limited due to slick walls.  Enola somehow turns into a giant viper! and crawls out of the pit into the hall.  Zeddishous flies out of the acid, and onto the edge of the stairwell. Unfortunately, he can’t fly up the corridor due to the sharp angle.  The rest of us either cling to our perch on the door or attempt to climb onto the walls away from the acid.  Within a short period of time, the iron doors suddenly slam shut.  Thalidimar jumping into the corridor, I use my instant teleport to land on the corridor side, and Belt somehow avoids amputation of any limbs (since he’s still attached to the door).  Solmar, Grenco, and Tanar remain on the acid pit side. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] When the doors shut, the stairs return. Unfortunately, none of us know which steps triggered the trap, and we need to rescue our remaining party members.  Enola and her snake continue to climb using the walls instead of the stairs.  I cast Web in the corridor as protection from another fall.  (Surprisingly Belt is able to walk through the webs without restriction.)  I yell out twice to Enola regarding rope she can send down; she’s either non responsive or finally yells “Hold your horses…”  (Ilmater forgive me, but what the hell type of response is that when you have people in danger?  Any reservations I have for the others are overshadowed by this displayed lack of concern.)  In frustration, I cast Unseen Servant and using Belt’s rope send it up towards Enola.  It doesn’t trigger any traps, and Thalidimar begins to piton our end of the rope into the wall.  On returning to us, the unseen servant (with Enola’s snake returning a second rope on the wall) seemingly triggers the trap again! [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Meanwhile, Tanar confronts being trapped in his usual direct manner.  He first sends a Lightning Bolt against one of the doors, followed by multiple Orb of Lesser Acid spells.  All of this while clinging one handed to the wall above the acid.  He successfully destroys one of the doors so that when it closes again the others do not remain trapped.  Belt begins to lower a rope to the others, although the web slows the process down, it provides safety to the group. Tanar however vehemently disagrees and wants it dispelled (once again showing his opinion that, if it doesn’t cause something to explode it’s not worth doing). [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] We slowly begin the climb up the corridor, using the ropes as leverage. When I reach the top step, I acquiesce to Solmar, Zeddishous, and Tanar’s request to dismiss the web spell.  Unfortunately, traps are triggered again, including my own step, causing me to fall towards the pit.  It was only through Tanar’s strength of arm, and risking his own hold on the rope, that I find myself still in the corridor and not in the pit of acid!  As a group, we finally reach the safe room, and breathe a sigh of relief.  [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] We decided to travel deeper into mountain.  Several routes known - chose stairway rather than several known manholes.  Grenco discovered one trap trigger on stair, but then missed a second one.  Stairs folded into smooth ramp.  Everybody slid into acid-filled chamber at bottom.  Everybody eventually able to climb back out with little injury by working together. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] I curse these Duergar and their dead-end traps, and pledge not to explore obvious pathways over the less convenient again!  Tanar and Solmar are in the worst condition, due to this trap.  Tanar having taken damage you expect from said trap; Solmar essentially uninjured, but stripped of all his equipment and gear, except for his shield!  [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I will need to thank Tanar for saving me, and I need to adjust my expectations of him.  He’s the heroic type, and has focused his training and life on evocation skills developed in his war college.  I need to recognize that he has made choices similar to my own arcane skills and sacrifices, and that I need to accept both his strengths and limitations.  Ilmater guide me away from acts of frustration. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Unfortunately, I lost all of my possessions excluding my shield.  Loss of holy symbol distressing.  Loss of sword most painful, as I was only borrowing it in Helm's service, and now cannot return it.  Perhaps this was a sign from Helm.  I did not notice when Bulwark's horseshoe fell into disrepair.  I did not monitor Grenco closely enough when he began raiding the tombs.  There have been several other recent lapses in my vigilance.  Helm could be displeased with me, and may have taken the Sword of the Faithful from me as punishment.  Must strive for greater level of diligence.  Will attempt more earnest prayers during daily supplications.  Will also seek atonement at earliest opportunity. [/Solmar]

DM's note:
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. They believe that their quest takes them into this cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While they searched for a way into the mountain, they've witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bids farewell to Duracell and teleports to Grayven's Shrine. After a short jaunt through the dark, and dank corridors, the party made it's way to a Duergar town within the mountain. They went there seeking information and supplies. Unfortunately, their stay in that town was cut very short when they were recognized from their fierce assault at the entrance to Firestorm Peak, and they were asked to leave. Escorted out of the inhabited section of the caverns, the party found itself back in the catacombs amidst mindless creatures and evil denizens. Seeking a new route, they looked for passages down into the heart of the mountain. What they found was a quick trip into a pit of corrosive acid! After an initial dip in the vat, everyone except Solmar escaped with little damage. Solmar, on the other hand, suffered greatly. Everything he was carrying - except his shield, was dissolved in the pit of acid.
As the clock ticks forward, the gates wait for no one, and the party has yet to find any of the crystal rods. Did the leader of the Duergar hold one of the rods? Will the party have enough time to find and vanquish the source of evil within this mountain? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 03 Nov 2007
Game-world date: 20 Aug 1003
Written by: Clydeera, Solmar and Belt

Where we left off last session
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. Their quest has taken them into Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. The party picked up some additional information, and a new traveling companion at the the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine'. Afterwards, they set out for the mountain entrance. They managed to avoid trouble in the Charnel Bog, and made their way to the entrance of Firestorm Peak. With a winter storm (in Augot?!) raging just outside, the party entered the mountain. Once inside, they've witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Duracell decided to return to Whillip. teleporting to Grayven's Shrine the party said it's farewells and split up. Duracell headed back to Whillip and the party headed back into the mountain, and once again find themselves occupying the dark, dank corridors within the heart of Firestorm Peak. After a few brief battles, the party finds itself struggling to adapt and adjust to the new members in it's ranks. The struggles within their own ranks are becoming more dangerous than those with the occupants of this cursed mountain. Is the taint within Firestorm Peak starting to affect their mental state? The gates wait for no one, and making up time is now a priority. Will the party have enough time to find and seal off the source of evil within the mountain? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

20 Augot 1003
Godsday

(Note from DM: For most of this session, Dynnera assumed an alternate personality. Physically transformed into a male Dwarf, outward appearances aren't the only ones evident to the rest of the party. With this physical transformation comes a marked change to Dynnera's demeanor. In addition to her transformation into a Dwarf, Dynnera also spent some time disguised as one of the Duergar.)

"Reaching the Duergar Complex"

[Belt] After looting the tombs of the priests of Bane, for which I still stand opposed, the party decided to hunt down the remaining open passages on this level before venturing to another level in this mighty Firestorm Peak. As we moved forward, I could sense the eyes of my new compatriots boring into my soul. I understand the way of the open road, and the spoils of a fallen enemy...but the teaching the monks provided me is leaving me with a moral dilemma. What is to be done about looting? I must bring this to the attention of the monk's and their wisdom shall enlighten us all. Is it wrong to loot for selfish ambition? Doesn't the law dictate that we not steal from one another and give the dead the respect they are due, if they uphold those tenets across Faerun? [/Belt]

[Dynnera] Discussions surrounding the found treasure subsided for the moment while we consider what areas to further explore (I offer to cast Identify from a scroll of mine on the magical wand during the next time we camp.)  We decide to complete the review of the remaining corridors and caverns on this level.  Our tactic becomes having Grenco scout ahead; especially in the 3ft or smaller corridors, with occasional help from Enola’s viper FangEnola seems to have the ability to verbally communicate with it!  We focus on areas either likely to contain clues towards the shard whereabouts (…or Tanar’s father), or areas with access to further areas of this level.  Grenco would return to the group with information and we would decide whether to pursue what he found, including:

  • On at least two occasions, corridors lead to downward shafts (~5x5x40ft down) to lower levels for exploration.  We deferred exploration for the moment.
  • A cavernous room bifurcated in a ‘V’ shape by debris and an interior wall, with mud on the floor.  After initial steps into the mud, Grenco determined that the mud was deeper than his height and discontinued investigations.  (The extent of the room is unknown.)
    • In a unique cleaning method, both Thalidimar and Belt dumped ‘created’ water over Grenco’s head to expedite his cleanliness.  (Both seemed to have a chuckle over this, Belt more so I suspect.)
  • A darkened room with a ‘charnel’ smell; rumble within it and a pool of still liquid towards the back of the room, but with no additional visible exits.
  • A cavern containing greater than 20 scorpions of various sizes (including at least 4 of the huge variety we had previously found).  One ‘wall’ of the cavern comprised of iron/nephelim composite stalagmites/stalactites that kept us safe from the scorpions and prevented their leaving the room.  The room appeared to have an abandoned cottage; and an iron circle with chains and manacles for apparently feeding the scorpions.  We debate the merits of defeating these creatures when Zeddishous convinces the Blink Dog to reconnoiter for us.  Through a series of questions and head shakes, the Blink Dog indicates the cottage is abandoned but for some skeleton remains.  The group, but for Tanar, agrees we should continue our investigations elsewhere (Tanar concerned that some clue related to his father might be in the cottage.)
    • Belt had issues passing these iron/nephelim composite stalagmites/stalactites.  While the nephelim is not attracted to him, he was unable to pass within 3ft of the iron composite.  At one point he needed to be in the portable hole to facilitate travel. Belt agreed provided Grenco did not hold the portable hole (I do think I saw a momentary gleam in Grenco’s eye.)
  • The large cavern with multiple passages and the ledge where ghouls were last seen is still smoldering from the guano fire Tanar started two days ago.   The smell nauseates Grenco so that Zeddishous ends up scouting (with his magical bag of air) the ‘ghoul’ ledge.  No sign of ghouls, and at the back of the ledge has a ceiling opening (~5ft wide) that seems to have fresh air coming from it!  Perhaps a way out should we need one besides the word of recall stones.
  • One of the passages curved and continued past a wooden sign with Duergar runes on it.  I could make out the word ‘Underdark’ on it.  We suspect this leads to the Underdark, and another far less pleasant way of leaving this mountain if we get trapped.
  • The passage we ultimately choose to pursue is one that leads to a finely crafted entry and door.  In fact a door made of pure nephelim with drawn curtains on the opposite side.  Enola confirmed that multiple tracks, including wheelbarrow markings, lead from the Underdark passage to this doorway.  We believe we’ve discovered the entry to the Duergar complex!  Feeling we’ve explored this level sufficiently, we decide to attempt this entry. [/Dynnera]

[Belt] Thalidimar brings me back to attention. I understand that Enola has sent her familiar, Fang, down a small corridor with Dynnera. Their report is surprising that there is a Giant Scorpion in the midst of this tiny passageway, but it's held behind some sort of stalagmite and stalactite formation. We are told to go in and investigate, but it is not long through this short space that I realize that this protective barrier must have a high portion of iron concentration to it, because I feel my body inching toward it with every step I take. The best idea is for me to wait along the back wall until we come to some sort of consensus. [/Belt]

[Belt] The group heads down another small passageway in which we find another vein of this ore called Nephelim. It would seem that this ore they tell me about is not magnetic but is quite a heavy-duty substance. I watch cautiously as the party comes back, including Grenco, who seems to be keeping his distance from me. I wonder what that lawbreaker has done now? Lifted a money purse from an old woman would be my guess. And he seems quite bitter about me trying to save myself from the iron spikes earlier. Doesn’t he understand that I was fearful of being stuck to that spike? I would have been free in two seconds if he would have just stood still until I could have regained my balance! Now I greatly question his commitment to this group or to the Monasteries wishes to rid the mountain of this great taint. I will have to keep my eye on him; perhaps he has been subject to taint and is weakening to its charms, as did the people of Five Corners. Or perhaps they have not seen the horrors of taint yet! [/Belt]

[Belt] After a good deal of questioning and bickering between Thalidimar, Dynnera, Grenco, and Solmar, it seems that we will not be venturing into this massive room to battle the Giant Scorpions. I sense no taint or lawlessness, so the creatures do not bother me in the least. They are vermin after all. [/Belt]

[Solmar] Reconnoitered rest of present level before descending lower into mountain.  Discovered giant scorpion ranch.  Proprietor deceased. [/Solmar]

[Belt] The party then ventures toward another portion of this first level, which they commonly refer to as the ‘Guano Room.’ It is certainly what it seems. After a quick search around the area, we find that the top ledge of the area, where there was once a group of ghouls is now empty. As many of us wretch and heave from the toxic fumes, Zedd comes back to inform us of a vertical shaft in that area which has no handholds but from where the bats are coming from. [/Belt]

[Belt] Having cleaned our mouths from the retching, Grenco decides to go snooping down a tunnel alone. He reports back (I only pray that it is the truth) that there are two rooms down a certain passage way that empty into a room with sparkling water and a room adjacent that has incredibly deep mud, a rock wall and a portion of the room behind the wall, he could not make out. I assume that is the truth as he comes back covered head to foot in mud and complains about wanting to bathe. What kind of adventuring group is this? Bathing? Grabbing everything they can get their filthy paws on? This certainly is far different than what the monks told me to expect from this party of adventures set on saving the world. [/Belt]

[Solmar] Fire in bat aerie reduced to smolders.  Ghouls gone.  Zed reported finding vertical crevice with fresh air flowing down - possible exit if entrance doors close while we are still inside mountain. [/Solmar]

[Belt] Having solved Grenco’s bathing problem with the assistance of Fharlanghn and Tymora. We find there are but two remaining passageways on this level yet to explore. The left passage way is a tight fit, but there is a sign as we depart saying “This way to the Underdark.” The middle passageway in the Guano room seems to lead up to a door. Odd to have a door in the midst of dungeon, is it not? [/Belt]

[Solmar] Discovered large tunnel leading deeper into mountain.  Sign indicated route into UnderdarkEnola reported heavily traveled.  Followed trail to door - entrance to Duergar settlement. [/Solmar]

[Belt] This leads the party to another dilemma. Dynnera, who is now a Duerger, has papers that were obtained to state he was a Nephelim trader. However, there seems to be some issue with Solmar (Nice to see a Paladin, caring for the law, finally) about lying to gain entrance. Perhaps he knows something about Dynnera I do not yet know. Is she too a lying, lawless person? He seems quite hung up on the concept of being Nephelim traders. Isn’t that what we are there to do and purchase? I understand we have taint to worry about, but it seems we have an option, given to us from the monks to be Nephelim traders. Regardless, we are all agreed that we are there to purchase Nephelim and Dynnera goes to speak to the guards of the door. [/Belt]

[Dynnera] We spent some time planning how to gain entry.  Ultimately we agree to proceed with my pretending to be a Dwarven trader seeking a new nephelim trade contract.  Belt and Solmar seem pacified by this charade after Thalidimar and I discuss the possibility of actually trading some of our found treasure for nephelim.  (It never surprises me how people can rationalize their ‘moral’ positions when needed.)  The remaining party will act as my bodyguards.  I don’t think I can pull off the Tanek Okutif trader disguise since I don’t speak Duergar! [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Straight, clear tunnel before door, shooting holes on either side of door, Duergar sentries behind door.  Withdrew to discuss options for gaining entrance.  Dynnera asked if I was still against impersonating Tanek Okutif.  (First indication of some measure of respect, or just an effort to avoid possible confrontation?  Hopefully former.)  Belt also indicated opposition to deception.  Eventually reached compromise. [/Solmar]

[Clydeera] I knock on the door and announce, in undercommon, that I’m Clydeera of Tanarian seeking a new nephelim trade contract, ultimately to trade in the above ground city of Whillip.  I indicate that Tanek Okutif, an established nephelim trader, had provided me directions to this location.  The guards at the door are suspicious but will allow the dog (Blink Dog) and I to pass the door. My body guards must stay behind.  I tell them I will settle camp with the bodyguards and return. [/Clydeera]

[Clydeera] We regroup and determine that everyone will once again jump into the portable hole, finally with me out of it!  Belt beforehand casts two spells on me.  One enhancing my physical prowess (Str, Dex, Con), the other requiring my wearing a platinum ring, that will supposedly split any damage I take equally between us (Shield Other spell). (Damn, outside of his prickly attitude, magnetic physical attributes, and denigrating ‘it’s the law’ comments, he’s actually a useful party member.)  Once everyone is in the portable hole, I return to the door and gain entry (for a fleeting moment the same thoughts I had about what Belt could’ve done with the party in the portable hole flying past the gates come to my mind, but I shake them off.) [/Clydeera]

[Clydeera] The entry itself is a highly guarded corridor with four guards, and balconies protected by iron grills, essentially I’m walking into a large iron cage (shiver).  The guard extorts a passage fee (bribe) to pass – I over pay in the hopes for any additional information:

  • No check-in points are required once past this entry (The Duergar are highly confident.  At least this should allow me to quickly release the other party members.)
  • Past this entry, the mines are towards the left and the city towards the right.
  • “Katarek the Bright Red Beard” is a Svirfneblin miner that could be a contact for nephelim ore.
  • “Paqwamie” is a seller of Orcish ale at the merchant bazaar.  He’s Human (we later find out his booth is called “Upper world Cordials”). [/Clydeera]

[Belt] The conversation at the door does not go well to start. It would seem Duergar do not care for overworlders. So, we are all put back in the portable hole to be transported through the area. When we reappear on the other side of the guard post, Dynnera informs us that the guard area was made of Nephelim (which when crafted is transparent). [/Belt]

[Clydeera] A portcullis is raised and I continue past an administrator on one side of the passage, and an apparent barracks on the other (at least there were 12 bunk beds in the small room).  I reach the second door and close it behind me. [/Clydeera]

[Solmar] Dynnera used ring to alter appearance to that of surface Dwarf.  Claimed to be “Clydeera”, Whillip merchant wishing to establish new nephelim trade.  (She would have fit in well with changelings back on Eberron.  Possibly jealous of their natural shape-change ability, though.)  Mentioned Tanek Okutif as reference.  Duergar would only allow her passage - she snuck the rest of us in by carrying us inside portable hole. [/Solmar]

[Clydeera] The passage to the left does in fact lead to mine entrances.  Finding that we aren’t followed or observed, I open the portable hole to the party for air and discussion.  We decide to go towards the city, and everyone jumps back into the whole at least for the small portion it takes to pass the entry doors again.  Once past, I quickly open the portable hole and all are out now acting as bodyguards once again. [/Clydeera]

[Belt] We continue down a long passageway until we find ourselves in outside of a small area with a pond and some brightly colored gems. No one approaches the gems thankfully as we are here with a purpose. However, Tanar starts commenting about needing a clear gemstone or something. What would a War Mage need with a trinket? Isn’t Fireball and Lightning Bolt *Shudders* enough? [/Belt]

[Belt] On the other side of the hall from the pool area, we find what are called Steeder. These large beasts are spiders but are trained as mounts for the Duerger and seem to be quite vicious. Hoping that we can just walk past, we continue heading down the passage way to the city. Simply following the railroad on the ground. Luckily we are able to move through without any difficulty. [/Belt]

[Clydeera] We continue down the corridor, noting nephelim mining rails and hooks on the walls for various nephelim chains and manacles.  One of the rooms contains four Steeder and their associated Duergar riders.  They don’t react to our appearance, and direct us towards the city. We pass a side room containing a caged room, exterior door, and goblin bodies in disarray on the floor, moaning, and at least one saying ‘…please don’t rape me again…’ [/Clydeera]

[Clydeera] My body involuntarily stops in front of the cage and I begin to shake slightly.  The party wishes to continue on to the city, but all I can think of are the years I spent as a slave in and out of cages, faced with the same demoralizing hope that the abuse would stop; it never did). [/Clydeera]

[Belt] At one point, it seems that Solmar, Enola and I lost the party along the way. Upon stopping and turning around to make sure the Taint Lord himself has not taken them away, we see a large party of Goblins, in chains heading toward us. I glance at Solmar to see what its response is, but it appears to have no problem with this large group of Goblins joining us. I overhear very little, except for one Goblin asking to pleasure Dynnera/Clydeera or anyone else that approaches her/him. [/Belt]

[Clydeera] I speak to the Goblins which frighten them into a quiet state, immediately drawing attention of the slaver overseer.  He thinks I’m interested in purchasing the slaves; I decide to carry through with his suggestion.  There are 19 manual labor Goblins and 1 personal (sex) slave Goblin named ‘Scroggis’.  He gives me nephelim chains/manacles to take my slave string with me.  Additionally, I find out that this Duergar overseer name is ‘Fractis’, and he works for someone named ’Feksha’.  Feksha is currently in the Underdark collecting more slaves. [/Clydeera]

[Clydeera] What was I thinking? For the most part I wasn’t; any release from slavery is better than slavery itself.  I rationalize that either these Goblins can make their way back to the Underdark, or provide us valuable information about the city.  Upon our departure, they quickly confirm the contrary – they have lost any remaining will to live free, and have no means to seek out the Underdark or awareness of the city ahead of us.  The only Goblin with any spirit is Scroggis and even she seems to have accepted her slavery lot. [/Clydeera]

[Clydeera] I have little sympathy for those in slavery who don’t take advantage of what slim opportunities to free life might be provided them.  My choice now lies between continuing as their mock slave owner and having them follow me, or free them all by simply killing them.  I would prefer the latter but the party situation would be worse than if they stay with us. [/Clydeera]

[Clydeera] I’m surprised the party was as docile about my actions as they have been.  I know they didn’t want to ‘rescue’ the Goblins especially with the mission at hand.  I suspect slavery is anathema to them as well (I certainly hope that’s the case) and perhaps similar rationalizations have come to mind.  Or perhaps they are used to the strange whims of other individuals in the party and notch this up as my first strange act.  In any event, there isn’t much time for them to question my actions. [/Clydeera]

[Belt] We continue down this long passageway until we run into the smelting room and find that the way to town is just a bit further away from the tracks. However, it would seem that this material could be formed into almost anything. [/Belt]

[Solmar] Duergar settlement actually some distance from sentry door.  While in transit, Dynnera/Clydeera discovered Goblin slave pen.  She stole slaves hoping to free them later. [/Solmar]

[Belt] Dynnera/Clydeera brings us up to the door for entrance into this city but is told that she/he may not bring his Goblin Slaves in with him, except for the pleasure slave. Does this chaos know no end? Now we have slaves and a sex slave with us! Fharlanghn how I long for the open road, to run along side you and sit to hear your teachings. [/Belt]

[Clydeera] We finally reach a guarded door to the city proper, when the guard informs us I may not enter with any of the slaves but Scroggis.  Waiver permission would need to be sought by Wellfast, the leader of this city.  I end up manacling the 19 Goblins to the wall about 50ft away from the door, but not before leaving the key behind with the farthest Goblin from the door, with the comment, “…Do with your life what you will…”  I urge the party to continue as quickly as possible into the city.  I fully expect the Goblins to be recaptured into slavery, but they have a slim chance at freedom if they find the will to attempt something.  I keep Scroggis with us as potentially she at least can be left in a better position for freedom. [/Clydeera]

[Clydeera] I must remember that to combat slavery, unless the slaves show some remaining spirit of defiance, they are essentially a lost cause (better if they were dead).  Only those possibly ready for rescue will I rescue.  I must refocus to striking at the head of the vile slavery trade, and any minions that work for it! [/Clydeera]

[Belt] We are granted entrance to the city and find a large bazaar that is happening below the entry level to the area. There are Drow, Duergar, and from what we hear, even a Human down here selling all sorts of goods, many made from Nephelim. The party begins to split up here, but seems to be asking all sorts of personal questions. Dynnera especially seems to be asking a good number of questions about the Lord of this town. Perhaps silence is the better part of valor right now. [/Belt]

[Clydeera] Entering the city proper, we find ourselves at a spiral staircase looking down into a large cavern, filled with an open air merchant bazaar.  Booths line up each side of walking areas, with some doors on the walls which must lead to more permanent sites of the city.  This cavern has a surrounding balcony on which are steeder and their Duergar riders guarding the bazaar.  We head down into the bazaar. [/Clydeera]

[Clydeera] The first merchant we talk to sells nephelim sheets and rods.  He also indicates he can trade nephelim ingots with me.  We defer purchases for the moment, but do find out:

  • The location of a gem merchant (Tanar’s actions have been very erratic today.  Desperately seeking out a ‘clear prism’ (why now?); blurting out in Common and worse Orcish questions that clearly a nephelim merchant would not be asking, i.e. “Why don’t you just ask about the shards?” 
    • Tanar forces me into the shameful position of acting as a slave master; I have to tell Scroggis not to answer any questions from anyone but me.  Every time she says “Master” to me I feel a piece of my soul has been corrupted.   I won’t forgive Tanar for forcing me to strengthen this charade.  Subtlety must be a banned topic at the War Colleges.
  • ‘Gorzba’ – is a Drow who maintains Goblin slaves for sale
  • Wellfast and his underlings (who are clerics and priests) are in a noted chamber off the merchant bazaar. [/Clydeera]

[Clydeera] The gem merchant does indeed have prisms; Tanar purchases the prism with the loan of some money from Belt (all Tanar’s money is based on bank notes from Whillip).  After the gem merchant stop, we begin to head towards Paqwamie’s Upper World Cordials booth. [/Clydeera]

[Solmar] Arrived at Duergar settlement.  Goblins not allowed to enter - left them chained at holding area just outside.  First area in Duergar settlement was an open market.  Replenished on some supplies. [/Solmar]

DM's note:
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. They believe that their quest takes them into this cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While they searched for a way into the mountain, they've witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bids farewell to Duracell and teleports to Grayven's Shrine. They head back through the gauntlet like entrance to Firestorm Peak, and once again find themselves occupying the dark, dank corridors within the heart of Firestorm Peak. Having spent themselves on futile battles with mindless creatures and evil denizens, the party has finally discovered an entrance into the Duergar complex. Bluffing their way into an underground town, the party seeks out clues and supplies. This course of action seems to be buying them some time, and that's one thing they've very little of. As the clock ticks forward, the gates wait for no one, and making up time is now a priority. Will the party have enough time to find and vanquish the source of evil within this mountain? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 20 Oct 2007
Game-world date: 19-20 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Solmar

Where we left off last session
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. Their quest has taken them into Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. The party picked up some additional information, and a new traveling companion at the the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine'. Afterwards, they set out for the mountain entrance. They managed to avoid trouble in the Charnel Bog, and made their way to the entrance of Firestorm Peak. With a winter storm (in Augot?!) raging just outside, the party entered the mountain. Once inside, they've witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bids farewell to Duracell and teleports to Grayven's Shrine. After a brief battle with a giant, and a harrowing flight through the gauntlet like entrance to Firestorm Peak, our adventurers once again find themselves occupying the dark, dank corridors within the heart of Firestorm Peak. The gates wait for no one, making up time is now a priority. Will the party have enough time to find and seal off this source of evil within the mountain? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

20 Augot 1003
Godsday

[Dynnera] While in the trap floor corridor, the party discusses how to approach our return to this level.  Thalidimar decides (after debate by the group) that we would first defeat the wraiths to recover Fang’s body (the wolf).  Grenco will lead to confirm no additional traps have been placed in our way, with the plan being Solmar to incite attack by the wraiths, while the remainder of us use ranged attacks against the wraiths.  While crossing the first large natural cavern antechamber we are ourselves ambushed by a huge mage ripper swarm! [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I was fortunate to have reacted quickly to their appearance, returning to the corridor entry behind Thalidimar.  Immediately after I moved, the swarm surrounded all but Thalidimar and myself.  I heard Tanar curse them as some of his spells were sucked from his mind as well as disrupted upon casting.  Zeddishous fell sick after being attacked and was limited to moving away from the combat, and even the Blink Dog was attacked and prevented from teleporting away (I finally saw a Blink Dog actually walk!  Its gait is similar to any other canine species.)Grenco quickly removed himself from the swarm then approached its edge to attack with his sword.  Enola began to exhibit some bow-woman prowess (although I’m still suspicious since how hard is it to hit a swarm with an arrow?), and Solmar and Belt stayed within the swarm to attack.  The melee attacks apparently had minimal success especially when using edged weapons. Belt did cast some divine spells (I heard the name of his deity mentioned) and ultimately struck out with his unarmed, and glowing blue, fist (not sure what caused his fist to glow). [/Dynnera]

[/Dynnera] I performed my usual fiery burst efforts, and Tanar made his way to the edge of the swarm (unfortunately it was towards my own position!)  He then yelled “I’m sorry but you’re going to die!” then cast an amazingly effective fireball! (I’m not sure who that was directed to?  I find it an interesting way to warn party members of a spell being cast.  Myself, I think ‘Dive for cover’ or ‘Get to the walls quickly!’ might be more effective.) Fortunately, besides the swarm only Zeddishous and Belt were in harms way, and Zeddishous took moderate injury (Belt avoiding it completely).  The swarm was thereafter quickly dispatched through spells and melee attacks.  (I had read of such creatures but am grateful I was not in the midst of the swarm.  Much of my defensive spells cast could have been lost.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Immediately went to wraith room to retrieve (wolf) Fang's body.  Attacked by mage ripper swarm, but dispersed it quickly, mostly because of fire spells by spell casters.  Zed caught in conflagration and nearly dropped, but then healed by Tanar as apology and truce offering. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] After general healing for the injured, since the swarm was so large that significant damage was taken for those in its midst, we continue with our plan to defeat the wraiths.  We head towards the corridor unprotected by the crypt thing, with both Belt and Solmar out front.  Unfortunately, the wraiths are intelligent and had their own plans – guerrilla attacks at the party ranks by leaving the walls/floors, attacking, then gliding back into the safety of the walls. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Formed plan before assaulting wraith room.  I volunteered to be bait target.  To attack me, wraiths must come out of wall at least partially, and would be exposed to attacks from my allies.  Belt volunteered to be second bait target.  Wraiths then quickly driven from area. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We were forced to continuously ready our actions, including turn undead attempts, spells, and melee or range attacks for the nearest wraith that exited a wall.  It appears as if four wraiths existed, 2-3 were turned by Belt, Thalidimar, and Solmar efforts, and one was destroyed ultimately by a searing light spell cast by Thalidimar.  Surprisingly little injury occurred during this battle, and none of us succumbed to the draining vitality effects of a successful wraith attack (or did Belt?)! Other items of note:

  • Grenco at one point out of patience with the guerilla attacks, ran down the corridor to the wraith room (remember it’s a false floor room with a 20ft drop and filled with spikes).  He negotiated through the trap and found Fang’s body, returning it to Zeddishous by the time the battle ended.
  • Grenco and Belt seem to have had some falling out.  It appears Belt attempted to negotiate the false floor room but instead fell into the room onto Grenco.  In fact they were both further immobilized due to Belt’s magnetic skin and the fact that the spikes were made of metal.  Belt ultimately needed the assistance of Tanar and Solmar to separate himself from the spikes.
  • I’m curious about Tanar’s war college experiences; perhaps he failed or left college before graduating?  He certainly has all the evocation abilities, but his ability to coordinate magical attacks is limited (perhaps the school specialized in single combatant activities).  First, he and I had discussed coordinating magic missile attacks on the nearest appearing wraith, only to find that he quickly moves out of position and attempts some other spell.  Secondly I suggest the party close ranks as the wraith attacks had caused us to separate.  Instead Tanar fires up his magical shroud in a 5ft corridor, and prevents any of us from passing without taking damage!  I don’t think it’s just me; I’m confident he’d acted similarly if Solmar or Thalidimar had made the same recommendation.  Perhaps the sizzling sound of the magical shroud has impacted his mind? [/Dynnera]
[Solmar] Worrisome event near end of engagement.  Floor of rooms containing (wolf) Fang's body actually a sunken pit with iron spikes covering floor.  Grenco advanced to retrieve (wolf) Fang's body, followed closely by Belt, and then me.  When I reached room, Belt was attempting to hold Grenco and force him into spikes.  Grenco escaped (or did Belt release him when he saw I could see what was going on?).  Belt's magnetic body held fast to iron spikes.  Must watch Belt more closely from now on. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] With the wraiths either destroyed or temporarily banished, Thalidimar, Grenco, Tanar, and I are interested in attacking the crypt thing while the rest of the party is surprisingly indifferent.  Solmar decides to position himself adjacent to the wraith room if another teleport should occur; Zeddishous is too involved in preparing Fang’s body to even notice what’s happening around him; Belt and Enola appear to be looking towards Solmar for direction. [/Dynnera]

[/Solmar] Grenco retrieved (wolf) Fang's body and delivered it to Zed - immediately consumed by grief.  Tanar and I helped Belt detach from iron spikes.  Thalidimar, Tanar, Dynnera, and Grenco assaulted nearby crypt thing.  I remained at wraith room to help allies climb out if teleported there again. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] As we approach, the crypt thing does in fact use its teleport attack and Grenco disappears.  Thalidimar, Tanar, and I continue, with Tanar casting a flaming sphere into the hole the crypt thing occupied.  He notices the underground water and a splash; the crypt thing has retreated.  I teleport into the hole to investigate the room, while Thalidimar and Tanar observe from the edge.  The water is too deep and dark to see the bottom, and this little sunken room has a throne and mirror system in it.  Neither detects magical, and the mirrors appear to show a view of each corridor leading to this very room.  In the event something should return to this room, I smashed the mirror system.  On my exiting the sunken room, Thalidimar and Tanar further discuss exploration of the waters.  I begin to return to the group, especially after hearing from Solmar that Grenco is near him and has found some treasure!  (Afterwards I’m told that Thalidimar had summoned a celestial porpoise to explore the waters, and when it didn’t return Tanar began to throw 2-3 lightning bolt spells indiscriminately into the water (I find Tanar quite cavalier with the use of his spells; its only early to mid day and he’s wasting them.) Eventually they return to the party and discontinue pursuit of the crypt thing. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Grenco was teleported, and shouted that he had discovered treasure cache.  He began looting it upon my approval (lapse in protocol on my part).  Belt expressed concern that Grenco possibly looting crypt, an unlawful act.  I asked Grenco to check for indications of treasure's owner.  Grenco replied there was none.  Belt convinced Grenco was lying.  I joined Grenco to ascertain situation directly.  Belt correct, Grenco was looting sarcophagi.  Luckily, sarcophagi held remains of priests of Bane, so I would have defiled anyway.  However, confirmation necessary BEFORE allowing Grenco to loot.  Must remember limits of trust in relation to Grenco in the future.  I finished defiling sarcophagi and scattered priests' remains before rejoining party.  Such a site fuels Bane's holy powers, and destroying it weakens them (even if just infinitesimally) , aiding Helm's efforts to oppose. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] It becomes apparent that another dispute has risen with Belt and the party.  It looks like the crypt thing actually teleported Grenco into the wraiths sarcophagi room, and he’s discovered four sarcophagi with treasure in them.  He’s in the process of dumping it down into the spike covered pit room when I return.  Belt indicates that Grenco is desecrating a tomb and should be stopped; Solmar is in the ‘tomb’ now investigating.  On its return, Solmar indicates the tomb was dedicated to Bane, and that it in fact purposely desecrated it prior to returning to the group.  Solmar proclaims it has no issue with taking the treasure as the wraiths were defeated in battle and were of evil persuasion.  Belt pontificates that it was a tomb and that “by law” it should remain unsullied.  He doesn’t have much to say when I ask whose “law” is it?; certainly not any law that I or most of us follow.  Grenco, Thalidimar, and I are quickly in agreement that regardless of Belt’s opinion, we are taking the treasure (… otherwise known as ‘adventurer’s law’ of finding treasure abandoned or upon defeat of a monster.  Besides, treasures should not be buried unused; if no longer needed, it should serve Ilmater’s flock and be donated to their service.)   Belt chooses not to participate or gain from this treasure; I hope he chooses to do that for all the treasure we might find!

As an aside, the celestial porpoise was in fact also teleported to the sarcophagi room.  In its discomfort Solmar elected to return the porpoise to its own world (via a sword strike).  (Hmm, I wonder when Thalidimar or I will have to reciprocate for our summoning spells, and possibly be summoned by some otherworldly creature as part of its own castings.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Odd side note concerning crypt: some kind of large fish was flopping on crypt floor.  No idea how it got there, and no significant body of water nearby to transport it to.  I killed it to prevent slow, painful death, and it immediately disappeared, indicative of summoned creature. [/Solmar]

[/Dynnera] The treasure is finally placed into the portable hole (fortunately the surviving wraiths never returned), and we look to Thalidimar regarding what to explore in the next phase of this adventure…. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Belt maintained opinion that looting was unlawful, even when I countered that we gained the right by defeating tomb's guardians.  He attacked an ally when he thought nobody was looking, and then tries to lecture others about when actions are lawful or not? [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Belt – My first impressions, in the course of about one day, are poor.  Although apparently trustworthy (we risked our lives in the portable hole with him) his personality has ranged from surly to righteous.  I would rather he be surly.  I thought a paladin’s mentality would be difficult to handle, but if Belt is going to abide by strict law interpretation (and I’m sure its only “his” law, since laws very by region, race, custom, etc.), I will be glad to see him gone once Darius’ quest has ended. I hope he doesn’t ask to join the group if he’s going to be a roadblock to everything we might do, even if he turns out to be a resourceful party member.  I’m also concerned about this magnetic disability he has.  It protects him like armor, but seems too detrimental to the party to have to constantly assist him. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Spell casters. reported that assault on crypt thing was inconclusive.  Crypt thing escaped to bottom of small water pool.  It had occupied a monitoring station with mirror system providing site lines everywhere in immediate area.  They destroyed mirror system. [/Solmar]

DM's note:
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. They believe that their quest takes them into this cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While they searched for a way into the mountain, they've witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bids farewell to Duracell and teleports to Grayven's Shrine. They head back through the gauntlet like entrance to Firestorm Peak, and once again find themselves occupying the dark, dank corridors within the heart of Firestorm Peak. After a few brief battles, the party finds itself struggling to adapt and adjust to the new members in it's ranks. The struggles within their own ranks are becoming more dangerous than those with the occupants of this cursed mountin. Is the taint within Firestorm Peak starting to affect their mental state? The gates wait for no one, and making up time is now a priority. Will the party have enough time to find and seal off the source of evil within the mountain? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 06 Oct 2007
Game-world date: 19-20 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Solmar

Where we left off last session
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. Their quest has taken them into Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. The party picked up some additional information, and a new traveling companion at the the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine'. Afterwards, they set out for the mountain entrance. They managed to avoid trouble in the Charnel Bog, and made their way to the entrance of Firestorm Peak. With a winter storm (in Augot?!) raging just outside, the party entered the mountain. Once inside, they encountered the gates defenders. A fierce battle was fought at the entrance, but the party made its way through that gauntlet. While exploring a series of trap riddled natural caverns, the party encountered a huge cavernous complex where they fought a protracted and costly battle. Afterwards, the party spent the better part of a day resting, healing, and memorizing spells. Upon their return to the large cave they encountered, and fought a large abomination from the Far Realms. The Black Beast of Bedlam didn't go down easily. It forced Grenco to flee in a panic, and its poisonous breath weapon killed Duracell! The party regrouped at Grayven's Shrine, and they were on their way to the Monastery in order to regroup and assess their options. This battle cost them more than a party member, it's put them two days out of Firestorm Peak, and the gates wait for no one. Will they have enough time to find the source of evil within the mountain? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

19 Augot 1003
Endsnear

“Duracell’s Departure”

[Dynnera] With heavy heart we collect ourselves at the Shrine, Grenco having returned to his normal half-baked mentality.  Many in the party recall that Duracell’s belt of flying command word is “Tro-Mo-Fantazik” and we confirm that Solmar could wear and activate the belt.  The party once again resorts to entering the portable hole with Duracell’s remains (shiver down my spine even writing this) to minimize travel time, while Solmar carries Zeddishous towards the Monastery.  The 12 hour trip between Shrine and Monastery is reduced to 4 hours.

(I’ll never get used to this mode of travel!  I tried to convince the group that I should fly and carry the party, but I didn’t have the strength to carry Zeddishous, and they didn’t agree to my suggestion of using the diminution potion (damn!).  At least I have the confidence in Solmar and Zeddishous to release us from this prison as early as possible!  Once again, I curl into the corner and attempt to deal with my uncontrollable shakes.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Found Grenco at shrine.  Return to monastery similar to trip from monastery to shrine two days ago, except I wore Duracell's magic flying belt.  Debriefed with Darius. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Once at the Monastery, Solmar successfully states the password phrase, and an acolyte greets us in the secure tunnel.  We ask for Vorick’s assistance (troll cleric/paladin we had previously interacted with) and an audience with Darius.  Ultimately, Solmar and Thalidimar ask Darius for a ‘Speak with Dead’ to confirm Duracell’s wishes.  Duracell indicates a desire to be ‘Resurrected’, and Darius agrees to perform the ceremony provided the party pays for the material costs of the spell.  Duracell is returned to life! [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The celebration quickly turns to resignation as shortly before dinner that night, Duracell announces her abdication from SCREWOFF party membership.  Her arguments resolve around feeling inadequate in her weakened state (she has died once before in the service of this group).  Her intent is to return to Whillip and join another adventuring group at a similar level of competency.   The SCREWOFFS only minimally attempt to dissuade Duracell, and wish her well.

(I’m surprised about the lack of vigor in the SCREWOFFS persuasions to retain Duracell.  I end up arguing the most to retain her services – even if limited to a flying courier service.  While I haven’t seen her to be a very proficient leader, she has been a valuable party member.  She’s leaving the party in the lurch regarding continuing the mission with one less person and less magical ability.  And her use of the belt is very similar to Solmar’s use of its sword and shield – take away its equipment and it is less valuable to all, but I’d still want it to remain with the party.  I’m disappointed that the SCREWOFFS acquiesced to her departure so quickly – perhaps its members are more dissatisfied with her, or have other reasons to encourage her departure, than I might be aware of.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Reviewed Duracell's will, then enlisted Darius's aid for speak with dead ritual.  Indicated she wished resurrection or true resurrection.  Party funds too low, so Zeddishous paid – to be reimbursed after return to Whillip.  After resurrection, Duracell immediately called a group meeting to renounce her membership in SCREWOFFS.  Recent death/resurrection weakened her abilities, but I suspect she really lost her nerve. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] With Duracell’s departure, the SCREWOFFS decide to offer me a position within the party.  All agree, with Solmar’s comment being, “You certainly have proven useful.” (I imagine high praise from a golem!(I’d have preferred more time to evaluate the SCREWOFFS before deciding, but ultimately I agree to join).  I see no immediate disadvantage, and based on how readily Duracell could abandon the group in mid-adventure, I could walk-away at my earliest convenience.)  Solmar as party spokesman (spokes-thing) explains portions of the party charter and initiates voting for leadership positions.

* Party LeaderSolmar and Thalidimar nominated by Zeddishous and myself respectively. Thalidimar is elected leader 4:2.  (I still have reservations regarding Solmar.  It is a very unique golem and has displayed leadership qualities over the course of my adventure with it.  However my concerns are (a) the occasional fanaticism represented by paladins (Thalidimar has been much more balanced in my opinion.); (b) I’m concerned about hidden commands lurking within its design by its maker.  I realize real-live creatures also have hidden motives or agendas, but Solmar likely won’t give off any indicators prior to triggering the command.  Perhaps when next in Whillip, I’ll further research the intricacies of creating this type of warforged golem.)
*
Treasurer/SecretaryGrenco and Zeddishous nominated by myself and Tanar respectively.  Zeddishous elected treasurer in 2nd round voting 2:1.
* ChroniclerMyself and Solmar (Tanar rejecting nomination) nominated by Tanar and Zeddishous.  I am elected chronicler 4:2  (I accepted since I feel party members should only accept one leadership position.) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] We invited Dynnera to join SCREWOFFS officially, and she accepted.  Thalidimar elected as replacement Party Leader.  He resigned as Treasurer and Chronicler.  Zeddishous and Dynnera elected to those positions (respectively). [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] With SCREWOFF business completed, we all have dinner with Darius and his disciples, including Vorick.  Two additional outsiders were at the table, individuals working for Darius to control or eliminate the tainted creatures released into the area.

* Belt – a Human in nondescript hat and cloak.  Distinctive appearance in that he appears to be made of metal and with a magnetic attraction, such that ferrous metals will attach themselves to him (at dinner, a fork utensil did so).  Indicated he was a worshipper of Fharlanghn (God of Roads, Travel, and Distance).  Seem to have a fairly surly personality.  He described his metallic nature as a gift of his God (somewhat sarcastically).  (I suspect that perhaps this is the first physical manifestation of taint we’ve encountered.  Perhaps Darius could heal him of the taint but not the physical condition.)
*
Enola – Elven archer with serpentine bow, pet viper, and mithral breastplate and diamond tiara on forehead.  Annoyed throughout the evening via the fawning attention of Grenco (and to lesser extents Thalidimar and Zeddishous). [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Met two other adventurers during lunch.  Belt, male Human(?), but skin appears to be metal, and hands are magnetic.  Casts spells as a cleric, but fights as a monk.  Enola, female Elf, ranger, large snake animal companion.  Zeddishous visibly shaken when told snake's name is FangBelt and Enola have been fighting spread of taint in area for monastery. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] After dinner we adjourn to Darius’ sitting room, where the party, Belt, and Enola learn or discuss the following:

* Darius will permit Belt and Enola to accompany the party to attack the source of the taint.  Both agree to participate under similar arrangement as my own had been (conditional members).
* A Dread Witch informant living near the Charnel Bog related that the three crystal shards were actively guarded (known) by three powerful entities in separate locations within Firestorm Peak.
* The shards should be used to ‘rekey’ the vast gate to a different plane.
* Each of the shards is a different color (but the colors are unknown).
* Vorick has has obtained forged trade paperwork for a Duergar named “Tanek Okutif” that identifies the bearer and provides safe passage for the Nephelim trader.  (Unfortunately no additional information was provided about the trader.)
* Darius reiterated that the party should seek allies within the caverns as not all creatures there will be happy with Madreus’ rule (so far we’ve mainly seen undead or outsider creature)
* He provided the party six applications of magical ointment to coat weapons (one weapon per application).  It will make the weapon good aligned for one full day.
* He provided the party with four additional potions of healing (cure light wounds)
* He could not offer a base camp near the gates of Firestorm Peak, as the tainted creatures make the area unsafe for his acolytes or disciples.
* His disciples identified a potion we found as a healing potion (cure light wounds), and the stone (Izzy's stone) as a stone of neutralize poison (up to five applications)
* He provided three blast discs for party use.
* Zeddishous suggested that Darius or the party leave messages at the Shrine should either group gain additional information valuable to the other.  (I hope we don’t have to return until the mission is completed.)
*
Zeddishous provided copies of all maps we had made to date within Firestorm Peak. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Summoned to evening meeting with Darius.  Briefed on more intel obtained from a Dread Witch.  Three crystals necessary to “re-key” the vast gate are all at different locations within Firestorm Peak, and are each possessed by separate and powerful guardians.  Darius offered Belt's and Enola's aid in Firestorm PeakDarius also offered forged “traveler's pass” identifying bearer as Duergar nephelim trader named Tanuk Okutif.  Also offered additional healing potions, and six ointments of consecrate weapon (good-aligns a weapon for 24 hours). [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We elect to leave in the morning to return to Firestorm Peak.  Prior to resting for the evening, I do the following:

* Attempt to learn everything I can about Nephelim (typical trade prices, characteristics, etc.)
* I ask Zeddishous if he’d like some sketches of Fang as a memorial – he agrees.  That night I prepare three and will present to him in the morning.
* Fang howling in front of the Duergar fortifications with frightened looks on the Duergar faces.
* Fang and Zeddishous together facing an unseen enemy, bite and long axe prepared for action.
* Fang and Zeddishous at rest in camp; Zeddishous sitting with Fang’s curved body present against him. [/Dynnera]

20 Augot 1003
Godsday

[Dynnera] As we prepare for the trip back to Firestorm Peak, I have some discussions with Solmar.  First, we discuss its position on summoned creatures.  It indicates (after prayer) that bringing evil into the world is wrong and upsets the natural balance, even if temporary.  It won’t prevent me from casting said spells, but would prefer I did not.  I told it I understood.  (Where possible I will defer to it wishes, but in the appropriate encounter, I won’t hesitant to summon the best type of creature, regardless of balance issues.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Secondly, in conversations with Thalidimar and myself, Solmar indicated it could not be a party to any deception on my part, while playing the Nephelim trader to bypass the Duergar fortification stations.  (Unbelievable arrogance of a paladin! In battle it has no issues with surprise attacks, hidden maneuvers, or even Grenco’s spring-attack measures, but something outside its accepted conventions can’t be tolerated.)  Fortunately, what comes to my mind is a protective spell I’ve seen priests cast to walk amongst battles unharmed – Thalidimar says its ‘Sanctuary’ and quickly coordinates with Belt and Solmar on how best to use it. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Party discussed plan for gaining passage past Duergar gauntlet at entrance into mountainDynnera seemed excited at prospect of assuming Duergar appearance and using forged papers to deceive her way through.  Acted offended when I would not participate in such a dishonest plan.  She assumed I desired only direct conflict, but further discussions revealed another plan that did not require combat or dishonesty.  Belt can cast a flying spell on himself.  He will carry us in portable hole and quickly fly through gauntlet.  He will also cast sanctuary spell on himself to further minimize attacks.  Higher success probability anyway. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] We use a single 'Word of Recall' stone to return to the Shrine, and distribute individual stones to all the party (leaving the used stone(s) behind to recharge).  From this point forward I tell the party I’m changing into Duergar form (using my ring of course), and will remain in that form, with the trading papers on my person for possible future use. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] In walking towards the gates of Firestorm Peak, we encounter a ‘Dusk Giant’ – fortunately it is quickly dispatched through our joint efforts although not before weakening Solmar for a short period of time (ray of enfeeblement).  We observed the reactions of our two new companions:

  • Belt – Very quick reaction to danger, he also moved in extraordinary distances and used unarmed attacks to strike the creature (similar to Duracell it appears).
  • Enola – Very quick reaction to danger but with the opposite effect!  She drew her bow to strike the giant but instead shot her bow out of her hands and into the woods! (My suspicions are raised that the mithral armor and bow are only cover for her wizardly skills, and that the snake is actually her familiar.  Otherwise I’m concerned that an archer could actually miss a target that badly!) [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Used recall stone to return to shrine.  Too windy for Zeddishous to fly us to mountain entrance – forced to march.  Ambushed by dusk giant, but quickly dispatched.  Grenco inflicted the most damage. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Once near the gates, the party trusts Belt to fly into the caverns past the Duergar fortifications, after casting 'Sanctuary' and 'Fly' on himself.  After an intolerable amount of time (ok, 2 minutes max, but I hate this portable hole!), Belt opens the portable hole and we are in the corridor immediately after the Duergar fortifications.  Our group has returned for more adventuring...

To Be Continued…[/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Duergar had expanded guard outside of entrance.  Plan from last night worked as designed anyway. [/Solmar]

DM's note:
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. They believe that their quest takes them into this cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While they search for a way into the mountain, they've witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. After one particularly dangerous battle, Duracell was slain. The party returned to 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine', where Duracell was resurrected. While there, the party picked up more supplies, and a couple of new traveling companions. Unfortunately, Duracell has decided to return to Whillip. The party bids farewell to Duracell and teleports to Grayven's Shrine. After a brief battle with a giant, and a harrowing flight through the gauntlet like entrance to Firestorm Peak, our adventurers once again find themselves occupying the dark, dank corridors within the heart of Firestorm Peak. The gates wait for no one, making up time is now a priority. Will the party have enough time to find and seal off this source of evil within the mountain? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 22 Sep 2007
Game-world date: 18-19 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera

Where we left off last session
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. Their quest has taken them into Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. The party picked up some additional information, and a new traveling companion at the the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine'. Afterwards, they set out for the mountain entrance. They managed to avoid trouble in the Charnel Bog, and made their way to
the entrance of Firestorm Peak. With a winter storm (in Augot?!) raging just outside, the party entered the mountain. Once inside they encountered the gates defenders. A fierce battle was fought at the entrance, but the party made its way through that gauntlet. Currently exploring a series of natural caverns, the parties quest continues, but traps abound, and the party can't afford to let its guard down. After a protracted and costly battle, Zeddishous expressed (through a fit of rage) his conviction to destroy the undead creatures responsible for Fang's demise. The party is exhausted, injured and nearly out of spells. With Zedd on the War Path, we left the party in a very dangerous situation.

18 Augot 1003
Longday

“Duracell’s Demise”

… Chasing after Zeddishous, Thalidimar expeditiously resolves Zeddishous’ idiotic charge towards the crypt thing with an old-fashioned wallop to the head!  Solmar and Thalidimar carry Zeddishous back to the party, with Flash (Grenco’s (?) blink dog) threatening Thalidimar.  The party is split between resting in the fiery-chested skeleton room again, and exploring the large cavernDuracell ultimately decides the party should rest, and we all head to the room (Perhaps she prefers to build party consensus, but I think leadership was thrust upon her – I’m curious what type of monastery order she is from; I suspect she usually followed the orders of her superiors.)

As we head towards our safe room, Flash attacks Thalidimar (to no effect).  Thalidimar ignores the attack while Grenco reprimands Flash.  We all arrive at the room and begin building the boulder wall to block the entry.  I cast ‘alarm’ for additional safety.  Thalidimar continues to heal wounds from the battle, and Grenco, Thalidimar, and I debate whether to tie up Zeddishous for his own safety.  Grenco is suddenly reserved, to the point where - exasperated, I tell him to give me his magical rope and I’ll tie Zeddishous.  I loosely tie his arms but try to secure his legs as best as I can.  Thalidimar indicates Zeddishous will awake naturally in the morning, and the remaining wounds and taint of the party can be dealt with at that time.  (It’s unfortunate that Zeddishous is incapacitated; I had hoped to continue our sylvan language lessons.  Once he regains his composure, I will offer to sketch a portrait of Fang and/or the two of them so that he can have a memento if he so desires.)

Before resting, I speak to Thalidimar and Solmar.  I inquire about summoning creatures other than celestial (i.e. fiend). Thalidimar is indifferent as they are under complete control; Solmar indicates it must pray to Helm before deciding (player absence).  I also apologize to Solmar for the errant shot during the last combat.  It responds thus: "Do not trouble yourself. It was not intentional, and no harm was done." (Why did I feel compelled to apologize to the golem? Ok, I know Ilmater would want me to do the right thing.)  It’s been a long day.

19 Augot 1003
Endsnear

Zeddishous awakes and demands to be untied.  Although agitated, he seems to have regained his senses – he agrees to follow the party so long as it commits to avenging Fang and reclaiming its body.  We readily agree.  I spent the morning memorizing new spells and reapplying my protective tattoo (‘create magic tattoo’ spell).  Thalidimar and Solmar finished healing and removing taint from the party, including returning Tanar to full vitality.  After discussing whether to attack the crypt thing, or the wraiths, we decide to finish the exploration of the large cavern where we defeated the urquirsh.

I was quite disturbed with Grenco for one moment (troubling since I have felt most comfortable with him of all the SCREWOFFS).  He had a conversation with Zeddishous about how the ranger should bond with Flash based on the blink dog’s latest protectiveness towards him.  He seemed to use the words “You should have him, I’ll give him to you.”  I quickly asked Grenco whether he felt Flash was his property, but Grenco as quickly said "No".  I’d hate to end any budding friendship we have over such despicable possessiveness of another creature.  I think I believe Grenco, but it will bear watching; he is intelligent enough to recognize the reaction I had and the ‘right’ answer to have given me.

On reaching the antechamber to the cavern, we discover all the dead bodies (urquirsh, scorpions, carrion crawlers) had been stacked in front of the entryway.  While I counseled caution, Tanar and Solmar chose the direct route of pushing the bodies into the great cavern pool below us (War Mage mentality strikes again).  While Grenco tied off the rope for the party, Tanar threw his torch into the room, and saw an abomination!  He recognized it as a Black Beast of Bedlam (BBB).  He says it’s an outsider, with significant resistance to damage and spells, immunity to most effects (e.g. fire), and significant magical effect upon a successful strike.  The party decides to face this creature (I certainly agree – I don’t’ want something like this finding us on its own, and we have to face these ‘Far Realm’ creatures at some point).

With short preparation time, Thalidimar casts ‘mass aid’ and I summon a celestial hippogriff to assist in the battle.  Solmar and Thalidimar take the lead shimming down the rope, and the party quickly assembles near the creature (except Tanar who attacks from the antechamber entry). To our increasing horror, this creature was able to breathe out the effect of a ‘cloud kill’, while simultaneously attacking, and was immune to its own breathe!  Almost all of us were inside its effect.

Duracell, having been hit by the BBB, was transformed into a maddened semi-corporeal amoebic-like creature that struck out at anyone near it.  Fortunately at the time, only the BBB was near.  Meanwhile:

  • Grenco succumbed to some verbal magical effect inducing panic.  He at first ran around the cavern room, but then we all heard the unmistakably sound of collapsed air; he had used his Word of Recall to return to the Holy Shrine!
  • Zeddishous was flying in the air, shooting arrows at the BBB, however none of his arrows had any effect!
  • Tanar’s spells were having minimal effect; even his enhanced ‘Melf's Acid Arrow’ attack was barely impacting the BBB!
  • My initial ‘fiery burst’ at the BBB caused no damage, and even my maximum impacting ‘Melf's Acid Arrow’ was shrugged off by it.  I finally summoned another celestial hippogriff and rode it in preparation for distraction or escape (as none of my attacks seemed effective).

Our party survives today, due to the brawn and might of Solmar and Thalidimar.  The BBB damage resistance was bypassed by the good aligned weapons of Solmar’s sword and Thalidimar’s rod of sanctity.  Each faced the BBB without hesitation, although the creature mimicked their voice to attempt to persuade the party to turn and run.  Through multiple strikes by each, the BBB was finally killed!

In what I suspect is the party’s moment of greatest success, tragedy struck!  In Thalidimar’s haste to return Duracell to normality, he cast ‘restoration’ to return her to her natural form and to stop her madness.  Unfortunately, he neglected to consider the ‘cloudkill’ vapors, and when Duracell returned to normal, she succumbed to the vapors!  She must have been weaker than rest of the party. Health was being drained from others in the party, but she was slain outright.  If only we had waited until Tanar’s ‘gust of wind’ had dispersed the cloud!  Tymora, Helm, & Ilmater can not always protect us from ourselves.

The party was dazed for a few minutes.  With two party members lost to us (one live, one dead), we agreed that the best course of action is to return to the shrine as a party (using one 'Word of Recall' stone) and seek out further assistance from the Monastery of Hallowed Doctrine.  The portal doors will remain open for approximately 2+ weeks (10 days in a week), and we feel the loss of up to half a week can be afforded.  After a search of the great cavern for mundane and magical items, we transport ourselves to the Shrine and meet up with Grenco (no longer panicked).  (My own panic of being trapped in the portable hole was limited since we were trapped there for less than 1 minute.  I do not look forward to additional lengthy trips in it; although unlike last time, the past two days have shown that I can trust the SCREWOFFS with my life.)

The party’s goal for a return to the Monastery is to get Grenco, and bring Duracell back to life.  (The SCREWOFFS are worthy of trust as a group – no one positioned themselves for permanent ownership of her magical equipment, and it was never a consideration to do anything but seek out a ‘raise dead’ opportunity – something they indicate is part of their party charter – I think I might eventually trust them with more than just my life (i.e. my history).  Or At least I will be less worried once more of it becomes revealed.

My own goals for the Monastery are as follows (no particular order):

  1. See if additional good aligned weapons can be provided to us (or temporarily bless our own weapons for a sufficient duration).  I imagine even more ‘outsider’ creatures will be encountered.
  2. Possible additional assistance with the confrontation – Either participation with the party, or perhaps at least some force to secure the Duergar entry and to have reinforcements nearby.
  3. Whether anyone at the Monastery can identify the found magical items so that the party can put them into immediate use if beneficial to the group.
  4. Provide the additional information we have about the nature of the crystal shards (the note we found), and see if someone could ‘commune’ or otherwise provide more information.  I’m hoping the number of shards can be determined and anything else about their appearance or locations.
  5. Describe what we’ve encountered to date (especially the BBB), and see if the additional information can be elicited regarding what to expect..
  6. Additional assistance outside of weapons if possible.  For the mission to be successful, the party likely can’t afford to use the Word of Recall stones again.  Hopefully on our return and descriptions, the Monastery will see us as true to our word and provide any and all assistance.

DM's note:
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. They believe that their quest takes them into this cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While they search for a way into the mountain, they've witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. The party picked up some additional information, and a new traveling companion at the the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine'. Afterwards, they set out for the mountain entrance. They managed to avoid trouble in the Charnel Bog, and made their way to the entrance of Firestorm Peak. With a winter storm (in Augot?!) raging just outside, the party entered the mountain. Once inside they encountered the gates defenders. A fierce battle was fought at the entrance, but the party made its way through that gauntlet. Currently exploring a series of natural caverns, the parties quest continues, but traps abound, and the party can't afford to let its guard down. After completing a protracted and costly battle, the party spent the better part of a day resting, healing, and rememorizing spells. Upon their return to the large cave they encountered, and fought a large abomination from the Far Realms. The Black Beast of Bedlam didn't go down easily. It forced Grenco to flee in a panic, and its poisonous breath weapon killed Duracell! The party has regrouped at Grayven's Shrine, and now they're on their way to the Monastery to regroup. This battle cost them more than a party member, it's put them two days out of Firestorm Peak, and the gates wait for no one. Will they have enough time to find the source of evil within the mountain? Stay tuned for danger, stay tuned for mystery, stay tuned for adventure!

Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 08 Sep 2007
Game-world date: 18 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Solmar

Where we left off last session
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. Their quest has taken them into Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. The party picked up some additional information, and a new traveling companion at the the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine'. Afterwards, they set out for the mountain entrance. They managed to avoid trouble in the Charnel Bog, and made their way to
the entrance of Firestorm Peak. With a winter storm (in Augot?!) raging just outside, the party entered the mountain. Once inside they encountered the gates defenders. A fierce battle was fought at the entrance, but the party made its way through that gauntlet. Currently exploring a series of natural caverns, the parties quest continues, but traps abound, and the party can't afford to let its guard down. Just recently, the party discovered a very large cave. A living cave, containing a stream, a small pond, and several hostile and hungry inhabitants. Crossing this immense cavern is proving to be very difficult, as the party is engaged in a mass melee with creatures large and small. Just recently, two of the party members have been knocked unconscious by the attacking urquirsh.

18 Augot 1003
Longday

[Continuation of the previous battle]

[Dynnera] As I expected, the urquirsh quickly dispatched my hippogriff and owl.  The distraction allowed me to provide Tanar a potion of healing to regain his consciousness. This quickly became a trend, as Tanar would gain consciousness, cast scorching ray or magic missile, then quickly succumb to a distant urquirsh’s thrown acid orb or some other injury.  Tanar was even casting spells from an unhidden prone position!  I think his War College drummed normal survival instincts right out of his head! I imagine the life expectancy for graduates is quite low - unless befriended by a nearby healing priest.  Perhaps Tanar is overconfident, based on his own ability to usually heal himself of injury – one bit of foresight he did have in the past.  Fortunately for him, Thalidimar had placed himself in a nearby melee, and must have cast at least three separate healing spells to bring Tanar from unconsciousness and sure death. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I attempted to place myself in a clear area, but those urquirsh are so fast that I had little respite.  By this time, Duracell had in fact flown over to Zeddishous and pulled him to relative safety near me.  I cast my fireball spell at an opportune time when multiple urquirsh and carrion crawlers were within range – none of the urquirsh dropped but all were significantly singed & hurt. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The battle slowly turned to our advantage, through the melee might of Solmar, Thalidimar, and Grenco (using a dagger as he had dropped his other weapons), the occasional thrown shuriken by Duracell, and Tanar (when conscious) and my magic.  Zeddishous having been tended by Solmar, finished those urquirsh clinging to walls or shelves and out of our reach with his magical archery bracers. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] Grenco administered healing potion to Zeddishous.  I directed Duracell to move Zeddishous out of harm's way and Thalidimar to tend to Tanar.  I then concentrated on eliminating remaining urquishThalidimar had to revive Tanar several times, but the warmage kept fighting during his periods of consciousness.  Thalidimar was also eventually able to revive Zeddishous, who helped finish off urquish up on a ledge and otherwise out of reach.  To finish off the remaining wounded urquish, I would kill one at a time while the remaining party readied ranged attacks and spells to kill the urquish summoned in the death burst. [/Solmar]

[Solmar] SCREWOFFS developing combat teamwork skills rapidly now.  Follow direction more often than not.  Perhaps they just have not had a true leader before?  Probable, if Duracell's passiveness and lack of initiative, decisiveness, leadership, etc. is typical of past group leaders.  SCREWOFFS certainly capable of following directives when given. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] During the battle, I attempted to shoot an arrow at an urquirsh fighting Solmar.  Unfortunately the combatants twisted at the wrong time and what would have been a perfect shot went astray.  Solmar blocked the arrow with his shield, so ultimately no harm was suffered.  Perhaps I should offer an apology.  I’m conflicted regarding how to feel about Solmar.  On one hand, it is merely a magical construct.  A glorified golem; although one having required arcane skill and power significantly greater than my own to create.  Such creations are different enough from foul undead creations that I recognize it as a valuable tool for mages.  On the other hand, Solmar provides not only the expected battle brawn, but exhibits strong leadership traits, and has pledged itself to Helm and has received obvious divine grace.  Even though I am a devotee of Ilmater, I certainly respect the duty it displays to Helm.  These ruminations must be reserved for another time; certainly 1.5 days of interaction isn’t sufficient time to settle my thoughts. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The toll of this battle has been great.  If not for the purchased taint protections from the Monastery, I would have experienced taint.  Most of the party was less fortunate, as only Thalidimar and I remain absent of taint.  While no physical or mental symptoms are currently present, those touched with taint indicate they feel unclean.  Thalidimar informs the party that the taint must be removed within 24 hours or it essentially becomes permanent (certainly more difficult to remove).  Thalidimar and Solmar discuss how best to eliminate the taint from the party; fortunately the holy rod provided by the Monastery will allow the majority; if not all the taint to be removed, but at the cost of Thalidimar and Solmar’s abilities to repel or destroy undead. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] While these discussions occur, Thalidimar is healing the party with his remaining spells, and the combination of Solmar, Grenco, and I are knocking the urquirsh resin off anyone coated with it.  Unfortunately, all hell breaks loose before Thalidimar can complete the healing, or pass out additional taint protections from the party’s portable hole. [/Dynnera]  

[Dynnera] Zeddishous asked Duracell about Fang, his companion wolf, and Duracell burst into tears, saying she couldn’t do anything, and he was left in the wraith room.  Ilmater protect those suffering from insanity (and his party members) because certainly Zeddishous has gone berserk!  He immediately flies towards the passageway to the wraiths, delayed only by the residual webs from my web spell.  By the time we realize what he is doing, he’s burned the webs free, and started down the passageway.  Solmar and I asked Duracell to stop him as she is the only other party member that can fly.  The rest of us follow as quickly as possible. [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] As we began usual post-battle cleanup, repairs, etc., Zeddishous asked Duracell where Fang was.  Duracell immediately displayed females' tendency for hysteria.  Between sobs, she said something about being forced to leave Fang behind in a room with wraithsZeddishous immediately took flight, and headed straight for the room where wraiths had attacked us.  Duracell followed.  The rest of us followed as quickly as we could.  We found Duracell had managed to stop Zeddishous before the wraith room and convinced him to wait for us. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Duracell ends up stopping Zeddishous just past the boulder trap near the entry to the wraith room (damn I wished she had stopped him in a more convenient and distant location).  He allows himself to be surrounded with Solmar, Thalidimar, and myself in front of him (nearest the wraith room), and Tanar, Grenco, and Duracell behind him.  I ask Solmar to continually detect for the undead, as the last time we were here the wraiths were near the surface walls.  Meanwhile, I try a number of arguments to dissuade Zeddishous from this rash act:

  1. I appealed to his affinity to nature, by reminding him that significant time had passed, and that if Fang was alive, but injured, he would have found himself a safe and secure den to recover in.  I had little hope this was true, but wanted something Zeddishous might cling to.
  2. I appealed to the party and his own condition (he is barely upright), and our general ability to confront the wraiths.

Neither seemed particularly effective, but at least he hadn’t continued his course of action.  Grenco suggested that Flash could teleport in and out of the wraith room and report whether he saw FangI suspected this would be a bad idea, but it was something Zeddishous did cling on to.  Flash returned, and through a combination of questions and barks, indicated that Fang had been killed.  Zeddishous was barely holding it together when Grenco said “Well you can always get another dog…”  Zeddishous lost it!  He took a step towards the wraith room but saw his way blocked by Solmar, Thalidimar, and I.  He then said “The Crypt Thing is the First to Die”, and stepped in the opposite direction.  Duracell attempted to stop him but was unsuccessful, while both Grenco and Tanar actually stepped aside to let him pass.  In fact, Tanar actually agreed with him about taking on the crypt thing! Ilmater save me from fools! [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] The party is now split – Zeddishous heading down the lower passageway leading to the suspected crypt thing room, with Thalidimar chasing after him.  Solmar took the more direct route past the crypt thing room, in an attempt to prevent him from reaching it.  The rest of us remain together as a group, deciding what our next action will be… [/Dynnera]

[Solmar] He demanded that we assault the wraith room immediately.  Dynnera, Thalidimar, and Duracell attempted to convince him to wait until we had rested and had restored abilities.  Grenco angered Zeddishous greatly by suggesting that Zeddishous simply find another "dog".  (Grenco's callous disregard of his companions' values concerns me.  Also, why does Flash follow him around when he obviously cares so little about animals?  Would Grenco be so casual about Flash's death?)  Grenco eventually convinced Flash to scout wraith room using teleport ability.  Flash returned and was able to communicate that Fang was in the room, and was dead.  Zeddishous announced that "The crypt thing is the first to die", bullied his way past Duracell and Tanar, and charged down tunnel pulling his axe.  Thalidimar followed.  Zeddishous took back way around, so I took direct route to head him off. [/Solmar]

[Dynnera] Damn these ScrewoffsZeddishous for being stupid – he’s in no condition to attack these creatures, especially alone.  Even in my own desire for revenge against Glan Sarin, I wouldn’t attempt my revenge without a significant chance of success!  Tanar’s thirst for a fight – acting once again on his human lower brain instead of the brain in his head!  Grenco for his insensitive and poor timed comment. While I agree Zeddishous should just get another animal companion, certain comments should be kept to yourself or at least timed appropriately.  While I will do my best for the group as a whole, I refuse to join a suicidal attack if Solmar can’t forestall Zeddishous.  I hope it takes the fight out of him with a swift strike to the head! [/Dynnera]

DM's note:
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. So far, the party has discovered two very large gates in the side of the mountain. They believe that their quest takes them into this cursed mountain during a period of celestial confluence. While they search for a way into the mountain, they've witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. The party picked up some additional information, and a new traveling companion at the the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine'. Afterwards, they set out for the mountain entrance. They managed to avoid trouble in the Charnel Bog, and made their way to
the entrance of Firestorm Peak. With a winter storm (in Augot?!) raging just outside, the party entered the mountain. Once inside they encountered the gates defenders. A fierce battle was fought at the entrance, but the party made its way through that gauntlet. Currently exploring a series of natural caverns, the parties quest continues, but traps abound, and the party can't afford to let its guard down. Just recently, the party discovered a very large cave. A living cave, containing a stream, a small pond, and several hostile and hungry inhabitants. After defeating all of the cave's occupants, Zedd learned of Fang's demise. He immediately took off towards the wraith room. The party is nearly exhausted, low on hit points, carrying taint, and completely out of 'turn undead'. If Zedd attacks the wraiths now, it'll be a very dangerous encounter. Here is a map marking the current location of the party members. As midnight brought an end to our gaming session, the party is left in the midst of a very dangerous situation. Don't miss our next meeting. It could prove very deadly.
Real-World game date index
This adventure began in 2006: [ 16 Dec ] Ran through 2007: [ 13 Jan | 27 Jan | 10 Feb | 24 Feb | 10 Mar | 24 Mar | 07 Apr | 21 Apr | 05 May| 19 May | 16 Jun | 14 Jul | 28 Jul | 11 Aug | 25 Aug | 08 Sep | 22 Sep | 06 Oct ]
[20 Oct | 03 Nov | 17 Nov | 01 Dec | 15 Dec ] Continued through 2008: [ 12 Jan | 26 Jan | 09 Feb | 23 Feb | 08 Mar | 22 Mar | 05 Apr | 19 Apr | 03 May | 14 Jun | 12 Jul | 26 Jul | 09 Aug | 23 Aug | 06 Sep | 20 Sep ]
[ 04 Oct | 18 Oct | 01 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 27 Dec ] Finally ending in 2009 [ 10 Jan | 24 Jan | 07 Feb | 21 Feb | 07 Mar | 21 Mar | 04 Apr ]

Real-world date: 25 Aug 2007
Game-world date: 18 Aug 1003
Written by: Dynnera and Tanar

Where we left off last session
The party has begun a new adventure. In search of Tanar's father. Their quest has taken them into Firestorm Peak during a period of celestial confluence. While searching for a way into the mountain, they witnessed some strange sights, met unlikely allies, and fought some terrible monsters. The party picked up some additional information, and a new traveling companion at the the 'Monastery of the Hallowed Doctrine'. Afterwards, they set out for the mountain entrance. They managed to avoid trouble in the Charnel Bog, and made their way to
the entrance of Firestorm Peak. With a winter storm (in Augot?!) raging just outside, the party entered the mountain. Once inside they encountered the gates defenders. A fierce battle was fought at the entrance, but the party made its way through that gauntlet. Currently exploring a series of natural caverns, the parties quest continues, but traps abound, and the party can't afford to let its guard down. Just recently, the party discovered a very large cave. A living cave, containing a stream, a small pond, and several hostile and hungry inhabitants. Crossing this immense cavern is proving to be very difficult, as the party is engaged in a mass melee with creatures large and small.

18 Augot 1003
Longday

“Urquirsh Last Stand or Ours? – Part Deux”

[Dynnera] Duracell and I are quickly surrounded, but she has the means of flight allowing for quick escape.  I choose to dash for the rope and climb down, risking attack from the urquirsh as I move through them.  While the taint protection from the Monastery continues to protect me from the worse nature of their attacks, some of their attacks do harm me.  Unfortunately, climbing the rope is taking longer than I’d expected, and in addition to urquirsh the huge scorpions in the main room find me easy prey!  After taking some additional injury, I hope to surprise them by teleporting from the rope and landing gracefully from a 20ft fall near Tanar and Thalidimar.  It only works partially, as the scorpions are not surprised enough to falter in their attacks; the minimal benefit is that now they have more choice of targets beyond myself.  [/Dynnera]

[Tanar] As the battle against the urquish and the Giant Scorpions continued, we took a brief moment to regain our wits about us.  The urquish are tossing around their acid bombs toward the middle of the group.  Their filth and stench permeate the cavern. [/Tanar]

[Dynnera] I must remember to thank Thalidimar regarding the celestial porpoise in the pool.  I was sure another of those scorpions was going to attack me while climbing, but the “Eeeek” of the porpoise attracted the scorpion’s attention.  Hmm… I’ll have to talk to Thalidimar (and I suspect Solmar) regarding summoned creatures.  To date I’ve only seen Thalidimar summon celestial creatures. While I have no such reservations in summoning celestial, fiend, or other appropriate creature.  I will limit my conjurations to celestial for the time being until I can further gauge these SCREWOFFS. [/Dynnera]

[Tanar] My wounds began to close as I quaffed a potion only to look up and see Grenco’s arrow splitting into a Giant Scorpion and Dynnera blinks in and out of sight, just as the Scorpion’s stinger impales Dynnera.  With the stinger firmly lodged in Dynnera, Solmar’s sword swings true into the beast, ripping through its underbelly. [/Tanar]

[Dynnera] Duracell continues to battle the urquirsh in the antechamber, but after taking injury, and more importantly, losing the temporary protections offered by the Monastery she flies into the large cavern to join the battle from above (and feeling taint course through her body). [/Dynnera]

[Tanar] The SCREWOFFS sensing a new sense of heroism and healing thanks to Thalidimar, turn their full attention to their enemies at hand.  Fire erupts from several places, while our fearless leader decides to join the rest of us in the midst of the giant cave. [/Tanar]

[Dynnera] It seems similar strategies are developing in the large cavern.  The urquirsh are remaining above the fray, allowing the scorpions to take the brunt of the attacks by Solmar, Zeddishous, Thalidimar, and Grenco.  The carrion crawlers are attacking as per their nature, staying out of the way unless a carcass or unthreatened party member is nearby.  Meanwhile those named party members being in melee, are focused on defeating the scorpions.  The party begins to make headway by taking out at least two of the scorpions! [/Dynnera]

[Tanar] As fire flashes, arrows pierce their targets and steel rings true throughout the cavern…the thought began to cross my mind that perhaps their numbers are too great.  [/Tanar]

[Dynnera] Tanar is exhibiting his penchant towards the element of fire, expanding upon his earlier flaming sphere, with castings of fireball and fireburst.  His fireball was surprisingly potent, more than normal.  My first experience with a war mage is proving I should never provoke a evocation competition with one! [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] An amusing tangent in what little seconds of time I have between actions.  I’m not sure which is the worse look for Zeddishous - a helmet peaked with two foot long antennae (how does he prevent himself from hitting into things when he walks?), or a chainmail bag fitted over his head.  I have to admit, the bag is a better look for him.  I appreciate the magical benefits the bag offers in avoiding the nausea and sickness of the urquirsh, but I think my vanity would prevent my imitation of either look.  I have to look closer at him when we next camp to see what lies underneath the helm or bag. [/Dynnera]

[Tanar] Just then, Solmar shouted out something that sounded quite important, but was just some empty babbling about “care for me as I car for your weapon.”  Sometimes I wonder what mage created him.  His random exhortation did draw my attention to a large pillar where Zeddishous has landed, only to taunt and draw a great number of urquish.  With the large collection of enemies, I figured an Ice Storm was in order, just as Zeddishous fell unconscious.  Grenco goes charging into the midst of the urquish to attempt to save Zed. [/Tanar]

[Tanar] Solmar stands ready and waiting, for the next enemy to enter his reach.  Duracell remains hovering over the ground.  My mind began to wonder about some teaching I had while at the War College…something about elemental type monsters, however the thoughts could not come to me as a Giant Scorpion knocked me unconscious. [/Tanar]

[Dynnera] Things have turned worse, as both Zeddishous and Tanar have dropped unconscious (we hope)!  I don’t understand Zeddishous’ change in strategy?  He chose to land on an open platform and switch to his long axe (I guess arrows just didn’t have sufficient martial effect for him).  While dealing more damage, he was quickly surrounded by five or more urquirsh and was knocked unconscious without nearby support (plus taint)!   Grenco drops his bow (and previously had dropped his sword in exchange for the bow), and evaded urquirsh to stand before (or on) Zeddishous to hopefully stabilize or revive him. [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] Tanar meanwhile, got to close to a scorpion and urquirsh, and even with his fiery spells was felled by a scorpion attack.  Solmar and Thalidimar are still fighting urquirsh, I’ve been summoning a celestial hippogriff and owl for additional assistance.  I expected Duracell to swoop down and assist Tanar or Zeddishous, but instead she swooped down to pick up her missing batarang. (I’m surprised by the lack of priority the group leader showed, especially with Grenco's example of having dropped both of his weapons to get to Zeddishous.) [/Dynnera]

[Dynnera] I have the hippogriff (who is severely wounded due to a scorpion attack) and the owl attack the urquirsh nearest me, and I rush over to stand adjacent to Tanar, pulling one of the Monastery healing potions out in preparation of assisting Tanar. [/Dynnera]

Side Note 1:  The urquirsh have stopped their guerilla tactics, and in fact one of the urquirsh picked up and used Duracell’s batarang against the party.  I suspect that we are in their ‘lair away from home’, and they are perhaps the vermin of the