Defenders Summaries 73-79

Summaries: 73, 74, 75, 76, 77 (where's 77?), 78, 79

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Summary #73: Miss us?

Party Roster:

Felix, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Alex
Balinor, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Joel
Cassian, 7th level cleric, 45 hp, played by Katherine
Kain, 6th level cleric, 43 hp, played by Jeff
Morgan, 7th level fighter, 38 hp, played by Alan
Quentin, 8th level druid, 37 hp, played by Jeremy
Donald, 7th level mage, 37 hp, NPC
Albee, 5th level monk, 31 hp, NPC
Bogomel, 3rd level fighter, 31 hp, henchman
Nakumanu, 4th level fighter, 30 hp, henchman

The Defenders reorganized slightly and rejoined in Barnacus in January 2183.  Quentin, the original party druid, decided to rejoin the party once again, while the fatigued Chiaro took a well needed rest.  Balinor found himself with a new intolerance for bad weather.

It didn't take long for something to go wrong on Lendore Isle.  On the section of road between Restenford and Garroten that travels through the Dead Wood (our old favorite place, with the undead infestation) was being taken over by a group of giant spiders.  Evil and intelligent giant spiders.  We were supposed to get rid of them one way or the other.

The party traveled to the site of the attack and promptly stuff went wrong.  Albee, Felix and Morgan got tangled in the web spread across the road, while another web dropped from overhead on Balinor and Nakumanu, snuffing out Nakumanu's torch.

Two spiders the size of a large sofa descended on the middle of the party, one successfully biting Donald and the other being held back by Bogomel's spear.  Balinor slammed the one on Donald, while Felix tried to cut his way out and have Morgan light a torch.  Nakumanu lit a torch and brought the web around him and Balinor up in flames, injuring both of them.  A third spider descended from above and grabbed the hapless Albee and began hoisting him up.

Quentin attempted to speak with the spiders, but we discovered that they were too intelligent for the Speak with Animals spell.  Cassian dropped a Slow Poison on Donald and drew out her bow, as did the other fighters, hoping to save Albee.  Suddenly the spider holding Albee was caught in the wire ball and crashed to the ground, immobilized.

With infravision Morgan was able to spot several others and we pelted them with missile fire while Bogomel finished off his and Morgan and Felix freed themselves.

In the end, there were half a dozen dead spiders and one tangled in a ball.  We dragged the spider back to Restenford where Donald Charmed it.  We then chatted with the spider via Tongues.

We learned that the spiders had moved over the road simply for food reasons.  Apparently the old ruler of Garroten, the late "Lady" Arness, had had soldiers burn the vegetation near the road to prevent easy web stringing and keep the spiders away.  This solution, while not loved by the druids, was implemented when no alternative could be concocted.  However, we decided to search the area where the spiders kept the bodies (and loot).  We discovered an entire three mule frame packs worth of merchandise, and, oh, 2 chaotic evil scroll tubes.

After easily determining that the scroll tubes were hideously trapped with incredibly powerful magic, we threw Dispel Magics at them until the traps went away.  This lasted only a minute, as the traps were permanent effects (details forthcoming).  Inside one was a scroll with Dispel Good, Slay Living, Blade Barrier, Unholy Word, Animate Object, Implore, and Harm.


Yes, that's SEVEN spells ranging from 5th to 7th level.  Hmm.

The other tube contained a nonmagical scroll that said something to the effect of: "This should help you take care of the trouble makers."

Inside the tube was a vial, made out of a aluminum, a weird metal only found when magically extracted from ores at extreme expense that serves no useful purpose.

Just for that, we were worried.

We chatted with the Nevronians in Barnacus.  They revealed that the scroll was made by Orcus, the demon prince.  They destroyed it and gave us a scroll of Raise Dead in return.

The vial we took to Koralgesh at the start of the dry season.  But first, Quentin picked up the "pet rock" from our earlier mission.  It liked him.

It was named Ziggy.

Suddenly, there was another Quentin, thinking exactly the same thing, assuming that our Quentin was a pet rock.  Quentin has theorized, as has the other one, that there is an alternate dimension with an half-elven druid who has a pet rock named Quentin.  Hmm.

The abilities of the rock are as expected.  It detects traps in a five foot radius and warns Quentin sometimes if danger is near (if he holds in his hand).  Quentin can give it away freely, but then it is lost.  If it is destroyed there is a small chance of Quentin being totally messed up as a result.  Otherwise, it will save him once, leave a big diamond in his pocket, and appear somewhere else in Telvar.

Weirded out, we split the party.  Quentin traveled to Koralgesh (as an albatross) and had the vial identified by Rotor Jones.  We discovered that the stuff in the vial caused all good characters and neutral characters to be massively screwed up in all senses, etc. and slightly benefit evil characters in the vicinity.

The alchemist destroyed the stuff but did pay us for the vial itself.  Augman also paid the Defenders for the magically trapped scroll tubes.  We also found out the contents of the Smallsville Diary (to be released at some later point by Edwin).

Meanwhile, the rest of the party was in Barnacus and was approached by Dunstill and Illic.  They revealed that although the mission was a success, the orcs had discovered that we killed the vampire and were exploring the ruins.  Dunstill didn't want the orcs to get their smelly hands on whatever goodies were down there and wanted us to get them first.  We would have a month on the island, and would be picked up again by the Belle Venture, Captain Malmir's cloaked ship.

While not as important a mission, it was still cool and we accepted, leaving Quentin to find us in Carse (our only stop).  In Carse we picked up, well, odds and ends at Herman's Odds and Ends.  Our goodies (costing a total of 100 gp) included a tube with wheels that made strange noises when you blew into it; a set of tinker toys for Bogomel; and heavier than air flying dish for Morgan and Felix to play with.  Oh, and a dozen strait-jackets.

We took our goodies and departed for the Orcish Island.  We landed uneventfully near the southern ruin (where we landed last time) and walked up the stairs, first sending Quentin to scout as an albatross.  Well, things didn't go all that well.

We tripped a Paralyze glyph at the top of the stairs, and although Felix avoided its effects, a loud bang followed, and then a horn was heard.  We ducked into the spire, with Kain in the lead wearing the Passwall cloak.  When Kain touched the door, he avoided the worst of a blast of cold from another glyph, and then when he opened the door he was caught in the grip of exploding radiance bricks, barely surviving and receiving a good tan in the process.

The party staggered inside and shut the door.  Quentin pretended to be an albatross caught in the paralysis trap.  A patrol of forty orcs appeared and spotted the "albatross," who flew off, looking flustered.  They took a shot, and it hit and bounced off Quentin, who pretended to be injured and spiraled out of the sky into the water.  Meanwhile, the orcs approached the door, and then left (we learned this from Cassian's hawk on watch at the top of the tower).  Worried, we spellshifted for Waterwalks, assumed a Divination would follow, and walked invisibly to the other side of the island.  Hopefully that would confuse them, and we wanted to check out those ruins anyway.

Well, we were pretty surprised to find a relatively new structure sitting there amongst the ruins with a Welcome mat (in Common).  Felix discovered that the place radiated Chaotic Neutral.

Oh wonderful, we found Bob's spring home.


Quentin overflew the island and discovered about forty orcs in a permanent camp at the edge of the ruins, though not near the spire.

The party camped and spellshifted for more Waterwalks.  During this time, despite being invisible, a number of fliers appeared above us (some floating) proclaiming the existence of the nearby casino.  Smells from the door floated toward us and tantalized hungry party members.  A tray of appetizers appeared with crackers and cheese and other items.  Morgan and Felix ate them despite being refused Slow Poison spells from the clerics.  We bodily held Morgan down from going into the casino.  Eventually, we left and made it back to the spire once again.

The bottom double doors to the spire were glyphed, so we used the top, which was clear.  We decided to do some excavating of the rubble piles on the lower floor.  There were three areas.  Two of them were quickly determined to be at least eleven feet of rock and probably dead ends.

The last involved walking by the bone statue.  Augman had informed us that the statues were only a threat if you picked them up.  If you did so, you couldn't get rid of it, and a weird spirit would attack continuously until you died.  If you killed the spirit, it would reform and attack before you could heal.

Ugly.  Well, we walked by it and nothing happened, so hopefully we're fine.  We began excavating and discovered that there was indeed a passageway ahead, though it would take awhile to reach it.

Joel/Balinor (top)

Summary #74: Thank You For Not Killing Us

Party Roster:

Felix, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Alex

Balinor, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Joel

Cassian, 7th level cleric, 45 hp, played by Katherine

Kain, 6th level cleric, 43 hp, played by Jeff

Morgan, 7th level fighter, 38 hp, played by Alan

Quentin, 8th level druid, 37 hp, played by Jeremy

Donald, 7th level mage, 37 hp, NPC

Albee, 5th level monk, 31 hp, NPC

Bogomel, 3rd level fighter, 31 hp, henchman

Nakumanu, 4th level fighter, 30 hp, henchman

Chiaro, 4th level illusionist, 8 hp, played by Aaron

(Chiaro was reinserted into the adventure.)


The party had discovered an open space behind a lava flow past the cursed bone statue.  First we Stoneshaped through the hole, and found a second lava flow, broke through that, and then found ourselves in a long corridor.  We quickly discovered a large complex.


Strangely, in the corridor there was a jet of poisonous gas coming out of the wall, which everyone in the front saved against.  We avoided it for the moment.


We found a number of rooms, including one that detected as entirely magical.  There was a high magic book in a corner, a statue in another corner, several "drill bits" (large twisty bits of metal) hanging from the ceiling, near a black section of the ceiling.  The drill bits were also highly magical.  The floor was made up of connected lizard things.  There were also two high magic frescoes on the wall, both of a sandy beach.  In one it was day, the other night.


There were also three rooms with doors with runes of "names" on them.  One was cracked open while the other two were sealed shut.  We checked out the open one and found a number of niches with bones in them.  After a brief argument, Felix picked up three gems from the bones.  Nothing detected as magical or evil or anything.


The next door was picked by Felix, revealing a weird sight.  In the room sat a balance on a slab.  On the balance was a beating heart and a flame, keeping the scale in balance.


We shut the door.


Felix picked the last door, and then a hideous undead monster attacked the party, right on schedule.


Chiaro, Nakumanu, Bogomel, and Morgan instantaneously aged 3 or 4 years (Morgan aged 25).  In addition Nakumanu and Bogomel went screaming down the hallway.  Chiaro decided that wasn't such a bad idea anyway and went to stop Nakumanu and Bogomel.


Felix stabbed the ghost while Morgan fumbled and Balinor hit it once, clearly inflicting some damage.  Donald threw a Magic Missile at it, hammering it.  Kain began a Flame Blade while Quentin pulled the bug helm over his head to avoid a potential sonic attack.  It was rapidly discovered that Quentin, Kain, and Cassian were immune to the aging attack, but everyone else shut their eyes.


The partly insubstantial creature then swept at Morgan and disappeared into him.  Morgan dropped Thunderstruck and tried to touch Felix.  Kain shouted a warning, and Felix opened his eyes and punched Morgan in the face, sending him reeling.  Balinor swung a meaty fist and missed though not before pumping his strength with Wrath.  Quentin tried to Dispel it while Cassian tried Hold Morgan.   Morgan drew a dagger and tried to slit his own throat, badly injuring himself.  Finally Balinor jumped on top of Morgan and held down his arms.  The Hold went off, freezing Morgan in his tracks, and Quentin Dispelled.  The creature emerged from Morgan and hovered in the air for a moment.  Felix stabbed it and Morgan used the Ring of Health to save himself.  Balinor activated the Ring of Protection from Evil.  It swung toward Albee, who moved to evade, then changed its mind and headed for Donald.  We yelled a warning and Donald swung at it, stabbing it with Mindwaster.  Then it was in him.  Balinor leaped him, but not quickly enough as Donald shot six magic missiles at Balinor.  The fighter charged and knocked Donald down, pinning him.  This time Cassian Turned the creature out of Donald, and Quentin dropped a Faerie Fire on it when it emerged.  Donald began crawling away, unable to look at the creature to target it with a spell, while Balinor and Felix faced off with it in the corridor.  The creature swung back at Felix and Balinor who both hit it and it turned back after missing Felix.  It came for another pass, and Kain hit it with his Flame Blade, as did Balinor and Felix.  The creature exploded.  Somehow only Balinor failed his saving throw and system shock, aging 3 years instantly.


That completely sucked.


No one had actually changed brackets, but the fight left Bogomel at 39 years old and Chiaro at 55, which is uglier.


Behind the door lay a slab with a skeleton on it.  The room itself had a magic bookshelf, chest, and urn.  We moved the stone slab aside and discovered a magic circlet.  All four were trapped.


We Dispelled the trap on the chest and opened it, finding a few dozen gems.  We also Dispelled the urn and moved it into the hallway.  The circlet was Dispelled but the trap was permanent and returned in a minute.  Even though we had moved the circlet, the trap remained, and the area around the circlet detected as magical within a few feet.


We were worried enough by the type 5 magic of the bookshelf to hold off on investigating it immediately.  Donald cast a Comprehend Languages on the door and discovered the name of the tomb's occupant.  It was apparent that the body had been robbed earlier in time.


A spellshift allowed us to use a Stoneshape to seal up the poison gas hole in the wall.  Donald cast Identify on the urn, and we think it is an Urn of Holding.  It certainly contains an extra-dimensional space.


We walked past the poison jet and found another weird room with a fountain full of mercury and another fresco on the wall, this time of a large tower with two suns (one red) in the background.  There was also an archway in the picture.  The floor was tiled with blue and white, and the walls were made of some smoky rock.


The fountain and the archway detected as highly magical.  Again, nothing was evil.


Beyond we found more passages and discovered a connection to the vampire's tomb where we found it last adventure.  We also found another corridor that led to one of the transporter rooms like the ones on the original Orc Isle.  The black dot was on the wall.  We touched it with the Cloak of Passwall and found ourselves looking from a hill at the temple complex village.  We coming out of the side of an obelisk.  We filed that fact away for later.


This left mostly risky options.  First we decided to Dispel the bookshelf despite detecting all schools of magic except Necromancy and one other I've forgotten.


Kain attempted to Dispel it from the hallway with the rest of the party a significant distance away.  Kain failed, but we nonetheless heard a hissing sound.  A blue beam shot out of the room and into Kain's forehead.


Kain was being contacted telepathically.  "As long as you don't want to steal the books on the shelf, we can chat from the hallway came a surprisingly not hostile voice."


Kain agreed and Quentin joined the conversation as well by moving with him.  Inside the room were two, well, beholders.  Or something.  They had about a dozen eyestalks and a central eye and floated in the air.


It turns out that they are spectators, really powerful beings set to guard the place for the last 11,000 years.  They only pop into the Prime Material plane infrequently and so haven't discharged their duties, and don't really mind anyway.  They were generally good natured.  They had been set by "dark skin toned" slight beings like Morgan.  Take a wild guess what we think those might be.


11,000 years is just about the end of the era of the Kraken.  Still, we couldn't get much information out of them.  They were fascinated by the room we described… but only by the décor.  This didn't really help.  Still, they didn't mind chatting, and eventually they asked the last question were expecting.  "By the way, do you guys want any treasure?"


They didn't want it, so they just gave it to us.  A magic dagger, magic bracers, and some other jewelry.  We wanted to offer them something in return, but they weren't interested.  We informed them that the island's current inhabitants might be down here within a few years and they thanked us.  We explained that our mission was to make sure that the books didn't fall into their hands.


"Are they godlike beings?"


"Uh, no."


"Then I wouldn't worry about it."


Reassured, we thanked them, explained that we rarely get this sort of warning from guardian monsters, and agreed to conclude our business in the room and seal it our first convenience.


A surreal experience, perhaps.


Finally, we checked out the fountain.  Quentin decided to use it, and found himself talking with a being.  It was humanoid with a fu-manchu mustache, named Shabrikar.  It explained that the world would eventually end and warned Quentin, "Beware the beast around the corner, oh wait, that's already happened."


Quentin asked, "What does this fountain do?"


"It allows you to ask me a question once every ten years."




Boy was that embarrassing.  Oh well.  At least we ruined it for the orcs.  Before cutting off the contact, the creature warned Quentin, "When seven rivers run from a rock in June, if the Four Brothers meet catastrophe may result."  Or something cryptic like that.  We wrote it down, and I don't have the exact words with me.  Someone may send out a supplement to the summary later.


That ends our gaming for the semester.  We'll resume sometime in late January!


Joel/Balinor (top)

Summary #75: Wheel of Death

Party Roster:

Felix, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Alex

Balinor, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Joel

Cassian, 7th level cleric, 45 hp, played by Katherine

Kain, 6th level cleric, 43 hp, played by Jeff

Morgan, 7th level fighter, 38 hp, played by Alan

Quentin, 8th level druid, 37 hp, played by Jeremy

Donald, 7th level mage, 37 hp, NPC

Albee, 5th level monk, 31 hp, NPC

Bogomel, 3rd level fighter, 31 hp, henchman

Nakumanu, 4th level fighter, 30 hp, henchman

Chiaro, 4th level illusionist, 8 hp, played by Aaron


This may have been our most disturbing game ever.


When we last left the party, we had explored the overwhelming majority of the lower compound under the lighthouse on the orcish island.  We had been sent to the island by Dunstill and Illic to clear out the treasure and keep everything out of orcish hands.  Well, we did that, and had some of the more bizarre experiences in our adventuring career in the process.


The first of the remaining rooms that we checked out was the one with the high magic balance with a beating heart on one side and a flame on the other.  Behind them were two sarcophagi, one evil and one good.  The scale was lawful neutral.  The ceiling of the room consisted of stars marking the location as at least approximately here, though something seemed "wrong."  There were cricket sounds in the room.


We were unwilling to fool with the scale, but Balinor and Felix did try to pry open the good sarcophagus in the hope of gaining information.  All efforts failed.  We have since assumed that the sarcophagi are directly tied to the scale by some powerful magic.


Next we checked out the really bizarre room.  There were lizardlike Escher figures on the floor, weird twisty bits of metal on the ceiling, two golems against the wall, and a large book open on the table with weird swirling script.  There were many mirrors high up toward the ceiling.  Finally, there were a pair of frescoes of a beach, one in day and one in night.


We still hadn't entirely given up on strongarming our way through, so we decided to pre-emptively kill the golems.  We came up with a clever plan where Donald cast a Wall of Ice that prevented the golems from using their huge swords and merely pitted Balinor and Felix one on one vs. the golems' fists.  We would back up the fighters with healing and other fighters ready to jump in.


Felix and Balinor opened the attack by slamming their respective golems.  Some sort of Stoneskin type shield effect dropped from the golems.  In the same instant, ALL magic ceased in the entire room.  All spells collapsed, including two Prayers, the Wall of Ice, Aids, Protections, etc.


The golems then swung their weapons at Felix and Balinor, each inflicting massive damage and wounds and holding the fighters at bay.


With few options, Kain yelled, "Break the mirrors!"  Indeed, although the doors and the book had vanished with the first attack, the mirrors remained.  It was unclear whether anything we had could now affect the golems, and so Albee threw a spear at the mirror, which developed a small crack.  Balinor pulled his double shot crossbow and, ignoring the golem, fired into the mirror, and between those shots and the sling bullets of Kain and Donald's Magic Missile, the mirror shattered.


The room was instantly restored to its original state and everything was magical again.


We fled the room and healed.  With few other options, we decided to have Donald look at the book.  Donald walked into the room (using Cassian's idea of stepping on alternating color lizards) and reached the book.  The flowing script was probably an illusion, we suspected, and this was confirmed when Donald picked up the book and began reading it intently.  When he didn't even respond to yelling at him, an ESP from Felix revealed that he was very interested in the book, but nothing more.  We waited, checking Donald's alignment every ten minutes, and let him finish the book.


Seven hours later, Donald put down the book.  The statues raised their swords high, and a bolt of "lightning" shot at Donald and struck him. Donald looked disoriented.  He was wearing a molten gold robe, which detected as abjuration magic.


Donald explained that he had passed a test and absorbed the leadership skills passed on by the people of the temple.  He had learned from the beings and survived.  In fact, Donald had gained 20,000 XP and a point of charisma!


And the robe, though we had no idea what it does.


Finally, we decided to check out the frescoes.  Cassian went through the first one (after getting bounced out when we tried to attach a rope).  She was gone for about twenty minutes.


Cassian found a man on the beach, with a deck of cards.  He offered her a choice of picking one, two, three, or four cards.  Cassian chose two, and first drew a card with a symbol of gems on it, and then a symbol of a skull.  A nasty looking skeleton with a scythe approached Cassian out of the mists that had appeared.  Realizing that she faced a minor death!


With few options, Cassian called on the power of Phaulkon to drive the creature back, and amazingly, it worked!


She popped out of the portal, gems and jewelry spilling onto the floor in front of the party.  She also gained a large number of XP!


Next, we decided to further push our luck by checking out the night fresco.  Felix ventured inside, and found himself facing a man.  He asked Felix to what god he intended to swear either kinship, fealty, or leave the area..  When Felix, who has no religious inclination, didn't know what to say, he was chosen for.  Clangeddin, the dwarven god of battle, judged Felix… unworthy.


Felix was given the diamond from Orc Isle I (the big baseball sized diamond that we didn't touch way back at the time of Kaal Na Ka).  Since the diamond was what Felix coveted most, he got it, but suffered a weakness to stone thereafter.  He would be really hosed by attacks from stone, or petrification.


Kain ventured in, and found that he was not in a position to need testing.  He was deemed "earnest, but foolish," by Silban.  As Kain was not seeking kinship, he was told to leave.


We abandoned that portal further.  It should be noted that originally all the frescoes had moving waves of water in them, but the daylight fresco had now frozen as a normal picture.  The night one had not.


Finally, we checked out the fresco in the room with the fountain in it.  In the fountain had been a being that had answered Quentin's one question, and Quentin chose to venture through this portal as well.  The picture was that of a world entirely of water except for the top of a large disk, with a huge castle sitting on the top.  The sky was reddish, and their were TWO suns.


Quentin ventured through and discovered himself near the ruins of the castle on the disk.  He saw a being of skeletal appearance, who was deemed likely to be the same being who answered Quentin's questions in the fountain.


Quentin was in the CENTER of multiverse.


The world, the being said, was lost.  The Kraken had all but destroyed it.  There was a small amount of resistance, but it was losing rapidly.  Quentin learned several things:


First, the Kraken that attacked Telvar were merely foot soldiers on a side trip, effectively.  They were totally insignificant compared to the might of the Kraken.


Second, the longer Quentin stayed in the world, the likelihood that he would discovered by a Kraken and followed increased, so the conversation had an edge to it.


Third, long before, the drow (black elves) had come through the portal to confer with this world about tactics used to fight the Kraken.


Fourth, the portal opens VERY rarely, perhaps on a timescale of hundreds of years.


Quentin returned, disturbed.  He carried with him, wrapped up carefully, a green object.  It would, Quentin said, light up when a Kraken approached, and represented perhaps the only early warning system in the multiverse that could prepare defenders against the Kraken.


Obviously this was of some importance.


Quentin immediately changed into an albatross and set off to deliver the object to the Grand Druid at the court.


Well, so much for the druid in the mission.  We searched for secret doors and discovered one set and found a magical good circular object of low magic, as well as a number of rooms that may once have served as living quarters.


We plan to attack the orcish temple through the two-way portal we discovered.  This would allow us to inflict additional damage and perhaps capture the orcish spell library, while we wait for the Belle Venture to arrive.


The plan is to capture and charm a low level orc cleric and use him to learn about the traps and layout of the compound.


As I said, bizarre.  We played with a nasty wheel of death, and in general, we won.


Joel/Balinor (top)

Summary #76: Hit 'Em When They're Down

Party Roster:

Felix, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Alex

Balinor, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Joel

Cassian, 7th level cleric, 45 hp, played by Katherine

Kain, 6th level cleric, 43 hp, played by Jeff

Donald, 8th level mage, 43 hp, NPC

Morgan, 7th level fighter, 38 hp, played by Alan

Quentin, 8th level druid, 37 hp, played by Jeremy

Albee, 5th level monk, 31 hp, NPC

Bogomel, 3rd level fighter, 31 hp, henchman

Nakumanu, 4th level fighter, 30 hp, henchman

Chiaro, 4th level illusionist, 8 hp, played by Aaron


The party was bored, and that meant we had to kill something.


We settled for kidnapping an orcish "priest" or so we hoped.  After waiting for a few days, our crack strike team of Morgan, Kain, and Donald spotted a large group burying two orcs that had been executed in front of the gravesite earlier in the day.  Kain and Donald were hiding, and Morgan was invisible as he snuck up on the orcs.  He spotted a holy symbol on the leader orc, and gave the ok by turning visible.  The orcs turned and promptly all but the leader fell asleep, thanks to Donald.  Before Morgan could have any fun (he had a Silence spell with him to ruin any screams or warnings), Kain Held the leader, and the battle was over without beginning.  We Levitated the orcs and dragged them back to the party.


On the second Charm Monster we managed to "persuade" the orc that we were hired by the orcs to ferret out a traitor in the temple complex.  We then discovered that we had badly underestimated the power of the complex.  It apparently contains the high priests of all four major orcish religions and would likely have servants of the deities, even though many of the high level priests had been slaughtered by Dunstill and Illic at the harbor during the previous mission.


We decided that this was far too much, and set our eyes on another target.  We found out from our orcish friend that the palace, our designated target, had drained most of its coffers replacing the water that had been lost when we destroyed the dams.  The water was stored in gigantic barrels (8 feet tall) in two rows in a huge storeroom near the palace.  We decided to make their lives miserable by destroying it.


The plan was masterful, if we do say so ourselves.  It didn't work out quite as well as we hoped, do to some bad luck, but in the end…


Kain and Cassian Flew to the storeroom while Balinor, Felix, and Morgan were blown there while Levitating using Cassian's summoning of winds ability (as a cleric of Phaulkon).  This cool method of travel allowed us to have five people present and VERY far above the roof of the storeroom.


Cassian landed on the roof under cover of a Darkness spell and cast a Dust Devil.  Amazingly there were no guards outside or anywhere within 500 yards.  The Dust Devil was used to correct the trajectory of our missiles: 200 pound rocks dropped from great heights by the fighters and Kain.


The smashes were not as good as we'd hoped (due to grossly incompetent d20 rolling) but nonetheless eight of twelve boulders crashed through the roof and nailed the major portion of the barrels on one side, leaving about 20 out of 110 barrels.  Cassian dropped into the warehouse, discovering that there were a number of dead guards under the rubble, and apparently they were all completely drunk, or had been.  No alarm had even been raised.  We took advantage of this and cast a Control Temperature to freeze 18 of the 20 barrels to the point of explosion from ice, opened the spiggots on the remaining two barrels, and blew up the other half with a Wall of Fire from the Belt, thus totally annihilating the water supply!


The mission was a success, and the Belle Venture arrived and took us back to Carse.  Quentin had meanwhile reached the Druidic Court with the Kraken warning system item, and had only needed to dodge an eagle once on the six week trip.  Quentin's fate is as yet unknown.


The party reached Carse and we avoided salvage tax there by chartering a passenger boat to Restenford.  The Baron was happy to accept the tax, and discounted us a bit, especially considering that Felix had a baseball-sized diamond, which is virtually unsellable, though priceless.


We Identified our items, finding that we had an amulet that allowed any character to Turn Undead as a 1st level cleric with a -2 penalty.  We also had a dagger +1, a scroll of Prot. Plants, Magic Mirror, (I may have forgotten an item here) and a circlet that connects the wearer to a Book of Infinite Spells!  (You get spells of any type, and can use them a number of times)


The first spell in the book is Transmute Stone to Flesh (6th level wizard spell).  This means Donald can use it once per day at a significant (~20%) chance of the page flipping when it is used.


The other we got was an urn which contained weird creature.  The urn was sent to Zalk for identification and was discovered to be, you guessed it, a permanent gate to the Elemental Plane of Air.


We haven't decided whether to sell it to the School of Wizardry.  The offers are 15,000 gp or some really weird magic items including such lovely things as:


Arma-armadillo-Wearer looks like an armadillo, gains heightened smell from elongated nose, long jumping ability, and gets -1 AC bonus.


Staff of the Gnat-1 charge, kill all bugs in the area, or Finger of Death a giant bug of any kind (even insectoid), 2 charges, raise all dead bugs in the area, and 3 charges was really weird, though I can't remember what it was.  Someone remind me!


Hammer, +6 vs. dogs-no explanation necessary


…and so on…


We really didn't decide this.  Thoughts also include Donald picking up Wall of Fire/ and or Fireball in this trade.


Finally, Kain and Chiaro gained levels and somehow BOTH managed to roll 1s on their hit dice, Kain rising to 45 hp, and Chiaro rising to the "kill-me-now" "total" of… 9 hp, at 5th level.


XP for the mission ranged from 7,000 for Chiaro to 18,000 for Cassian (with most party members between 9-10k) and the henchman with 1,000.


The general party concensus, minus Chiaro, is a mission to the Khargish ruins to begin clearing them out.


Joel/Balinor (top)

Summary #78: Gee, It's a Good Thing Chiaro Didn't Make it Back for This

Party Roster:

Felix, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Alex

Balinor, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Joel

Cassian, 7th level cleric, 45 hp, played by Katherine

Kain, 7th level cleric, 45 hp, played by Jeff

Donald, 8th level mage, 43 hp, NPC

Alduin, 8th level thief, 39 hp, played by Vic

Morgan, 7th level fighter, 38 hp, played by Alan

Quentin, 8th level druid, 37 hp, played by Jeremy

Albee, 5th level monk, 31 hp, NPC

Bogomel, 3rd level fighter, 31 hp, henchman

Nakumanu, 4th level fighter, 30 hp, henchman

Chiaro, 5th level illusionist, 9 hp, played by Aaron


When we last left the Defenders, they had just defeated one old enemy, the will'o'wisp.  Almost immediately, the means arrived to defeat another.  The Baron had ordered a one-shot item that removed all scents from the user for about 24 hours.  It could be used on up to 8 people.


This gave us the opportunity to destroy the gnolls.


Our interest in the Khargish ruins had once again attracted our most successful thief, Alduin, back to the party.  Alduin had gained 7th level and then read the Manual of Stealthy Pilfering in the meantime, gaining 8th level and a total of 39 hp.


[Out of character: The triumphant return of Vic!]


The plan was hammered out after Quentin and Kain scouted in crow form.  We found that there were in total about 40 gnolls, an ogre in chainmail, 10 worgs, and 20 wolves.  The worgs and wolves were in their forest, a significant distance from the gnoll camp where the gnolls and ogre resided.  This was achieved party by having an invisible, silent, odorless Alduin scout the whole place out.


So we decided to split into two groups to deal with the wolves and gnolls.  The timing of two groups attack would be done through the massive explosion of a Call Lightning.


(The trick here was that we couldn't let any number escape without endangering the farmers in the area, so we had to make sure we hit them hard instead of piecemeal.)


The first group was the gnoll assault force, consisting of Kain, Quentin, Felix, Balinor, Alduin, and Albee.  The party was in position and watched the camp until dusk, which is when most of the gnolls are in camp.  There were 23 gnolls clustered around the campfire, picking bugs out of the air and throwing them into the fire.  One of them picked up a really large bug, and threw it in.


Much to his surprise, the fire blew up.


Quentin's Lightning streaked down and blasted the fire, instantly killing all 23 gnolls and sending the other fifteen or so into instant panic, running for the ogre cave (all the gnolls took 48 points of damage).  Felix and Balinor invisibly followed them into the cave and surrounded the unknowing ogre.  The ogre took massive damage and died.


The gnolls, wide-eyed with terror, somehow held their ground and faced off with Felix and Balinor, who proceeded to bash two of them into the ground, despite being scratched by the gnolls.


Several had broken and ran from the cave into the waiting arms of the ranged people.  Two gnolls exploded in a gory flash as a second Call Lightning from Quentin hit them.  The others were shot at by Alduin with his magnificent short bow, Kain with his sling, and Balinor with his crossbow.


Kain Held two gnolls, leaving only a few for the bloodthirsty ranged people.  To add insult to injury, Quentin and Kain patrolled the immediate forest for more gnolls and found six of them eating pidgeon-on-a-stick.


They blew up.


Meanwhile, the Call Lightning from Quentin had prompted the other attack, which consisted of a heavily prepared Cassian, Donald, and Morgan.  Cassian and Donald were Levitating at the upper tree level, and Morgan was Flying.  There were seven worgs and 22 wolves near the den.


At the sound of the other explosion, Cassian slammed five of the worgs with her own Call Lightning (doing an absolutely sad 34 damage-don't blame Katherine, I rolled it) and only killing two.  Still, it looked bad for the wolves, and thing got considerably worse when Donald Slowed all the remaining worgs and a few wolves.  The wolf pack took off for the gnoll village, but the Slowed worgs were in trouble.  Cassian's hawk was Silenced by Cassian and was flying over the worgs, rendering their spells useless.  Morgan, a Flying and Silenced elf, descended upon each one and killed them one by one with his nasty longsword.


The wolves were headed toward the gnolls camp, and Donald polymorphed into a crow (the world needs another one) and warned the people at the gnoll camp.  The wolves reached the gnolls… and began dragging them into the woods and eating them.  We waited until they were finished and collected treasure.


There was actually more than the will'o'wisp had.  We found about 5000 gp in cash and gems, potions of extra-healing, climbing and three healing.  There was also a Wand of Magic Missiles (9 charges), a Brooch of Shielding (35 charges), scale mail+1, a large shield +1, and a Ring of Invisibility.  We gave up the shield, the scale mail, and upgraded Donald's 17 charge Brooch of Shielding.  The Magic Missile is eventually headed to Chiaro.  The Ring of Invisibility is on Alduin, and the potions were distributed.


About a week later, the Baron informed us that some bandits had settled in and had killed a caravan east of Restenford.  Quentin and Kain found them camped about 2 miles east of Restenford, eight orcs around a campfire with the boxes of goods stacked nearby.


The party decided simply to sneak up on them and take them out.


Leaving behind Nakumanu and Bogomel, we took Balinor, Felix, Cassian, Donald, and Albee in an Invisibility 10', and Morgan, and Alduin were Invisible due to rings on the far side of the camp.  The attack would be triggered by Donald casting a Sleep spell.  Kain and Quentin were crows overhead.


Donald appeared and cast a Sleep, but we never found out what happened.


Huge explosions went off everywhere, slamming every party member except Kain and Quentin with flames from the ground around us.  Although no one dropped (35 damage, two saves for half of half), Balinor managed to incur five fire wounds and was unable to move without extreme damage.


All of the orcs were instantly incinerated.


In the next instant, things went from bad to worse.  Apparently the Invisibility hadn't fazed our adversaries, as they started chucking bad things our way.  A halfling popped out of thin air and shot his short bow, nailing Donald and almost dropping him.  A camouflage cloaked man appeared and shot a lightning bolt into the air, which WOULDN'T HAVE HIT ANYONE, but came down and slammed Morgan.


Then things became intolerable as someone used a Potion of Half-Orc Control to takeover Felix, despite a valiant attempt from Peacemaker.  The sword screamed out to everyone that Felix was going to kill them, but it was too late for the unfortunate Donald.  Without giving him a chance to react, Felix swung about and skewered Donald, killing him instantly.


Horrified, Cassian dropped Felix with a timely Command, dropping him in a neat pile on top of Donald's body.  Kain landed on a rock as a crow.  Both Quentin and Morgan noticed a mysterious blind that had appeared nearby (and within the last 48 hours, as this area is regularly patrolled).  Morgan advanced that way, drinking an Extra-Healing potion as he went, and Quentin landed in that area and began to change back into a half-elf.


Cassian and Kain whirled on the reloading halfling and Commanded him.  At the same time, a gnome appeared from thin air and Commanded Cassian.  The halfling fell and Cassian stayed up.


Albee appeared and began to finish off the dropped halfling.  Kain spun around and dropped the gnome with another Command (thus earning Kain the nickname "Fastest Mouth in the West").  Cassian and Albee were suddenly frozen in place by a Hold Person.


Alduin had snuck around toward the blind, when he narrowly failed to notice the jaw trap he stepped on.  He took only minor damage, but black stuff squirted all over his boot, making that part of him visible.  It was enough for another unseen opponent to drop Alduin with a Command.  A fighter came out of the blind and began to finish off Alduin.


Quentin dropped a Faerie Fire, illuminating the combatants and thankfully finding no additional invisible people outside of the blind (which was now glowing with Faerie Fires as there were FOUR people in there).


Morgan moved onto the roof of the blind and slammed the man killing Alduin, dropping him with his Thunderstruck power.  Balinor knocked Felix senseless and downed an Extra-Healing potion, then pulled the Ring of Health off of Felix.


Kain was turning back into a half-elf when another nasty guy in full plate attacked with a staff.  There was a flash, and Kain was blasted.  Worse still, the guy appeared to be Hasted and disrupted Kain's Command, smashing him a second time and leaving Kain in bad shape.  Desperate, Kain waited for him to miss.


The camouflaged mage came out of the blind and shot Magic Missiles at Morgan, who whirled and stabbed the mage, wounding him as he retreated back inside.


Miraculously, the staff guy missed Kain, who dropped him with his final Command.  Kain whirled and dropped three Cure Lights on Balinor off scroll, who had just come up with the Ring of Health.  Between everything, Balinor had been restored to 53 hp.  Kain was planning to kill the fallen gnome and Balinor was going to mash the staff guy.


Alas, this was not to be as another Hold Person caught both of them.


At this point, the only active people on our side were Quentin and Morgan.  Quentin realized that the situation had gone to dire and used his staff that he had received from the Druidic Court as a reward for the Kraken item.  He jammed the staff into the ground and began an Entangle as the staff slowly turned into a tree.


Morgan had dropped off the roof and faced off with a longsword-wielding fighter in full plate.  The odds didn't look good, but Morgan made a good showing, whacking the man twice without being hit in return.  Alduin finally woke up and tried to hand-off the "juice of goodness a.k.a. healing potion) to Morgan.


Quentin's Entangle was disrupted by the halfling.  Quentin turned and told the treant that had formed to smash the blind to bits and kill everyone inside.  The tree moved quickly and began bashing the roof.


The guy with the staff had just woken up, as had the gnome.  They both began to get up, when Quentin lobbed a second Entangle, this one successful.  It caught the halfling completely, rendering him immobile, and messed up the staff guy in one bizarre way.  He had to get up straight, putting him right in line with the Held Kain, his arm pointing at the staff man.


Although he couldn't move, Kain had one weapon left in his arsenal.  The man disappeared and turned into a small fox!


The roof of the blind began to buckle and rubble injured some of the people inside.  The mage was throwing darts at Morgan, but missing as the squirmy Morgan had dropped a second man inside.  But the longsword man was pressing the elf.  Their sparring combat was at the entrance to the blind.


Quentin began a Dispel Magic.  Suddenly, it was apparent that our Invisible cleric enemy was IN the Entangle!  The cleric downed a potion of some sort and began ripping through it like paper.


Morgan was dropped by the longsword man.  In the same instant, the roof of the blind collapsed, killing everyone inside except the longsword man.  Morgan muttered, "Held just long enough…" and collapsed.


The treant turned to face the stricken longsword man (who had taken severe crushing damage in the collapse).  Alduin backstabbed him from behind!  The man was reeling and was pummeled into the ground by the treant, Alduin escaping.


Quentin directed the treant at the cleric in the Entangle, hoping to disrupt his spells.  The cleric panicked and tried to use up his items, burning off what turned out to be a scroll of Heal.  Quentin disrupted one of his spells with a timely spear thrust.


The treant bashed the cleric into the ground, leaving him bleeding but not dead.  The gnome had long ago surrendered loudly and insistently, and the halfling was immobile.  Quentin healed Kain and Morgan, bringing them up, and Morgan shot a humming bulb arrow into the air to signal Restenford.  When Cassian was freed, she insisted that we save the cleric for questioning.


Well, we got the bandits.


In the end, we had done alright.  Only Donald was dead, and he was Raised successfully in Barnacus.  From our attackers we got Bracers AC 4/10 (!), a ring+1, a dagger of acid dripping, a scroll of Raise Dead, a longsword +2/+3 and some other items.


We discovered that the halfling and gnome were henchman of this evil party.  They were chaotic neutral; in fact, the gnome was a cleric of Dionysus (god of mob rule and parties).  But the other two clerics were of the Queen of Grottoes, our old nemesis.


Clearly the encounter had been heavily planned, as many of the items were specially designed for use against us.  The lightning bolt, the blind, the half-orc control potion…


In the end, the cleric, the halfling, and the gnome were kept alive.  They were questioned, and claimed to have been hired by these adventurers (who they knew were brutal) to kill pirates and bandits.  The gnome said they told us that we were brutal, evil adventurers who had mercilessly slaughtered priests of the Queen of Grottoes and Hindus.


In a light note, after the halfling told us nothing useful, Balinor knocked him out with his hammer.  Before we ungagged the gnome, Kain told him that he would tell us everything he knew in seven sentences or less, or the treant would bash his head in.


"Greetings, Defenders!" the gnome began.

"That's one." Kain grunted.  The gnome blanched.


We haven't fully settled this yet, and I suspect much information will be forthcoming next time.


Joel/Balinor (Cassian this time) (top)

Summary #79: Well, We Eventually Made it There

Party Roster:

Felix, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Alex

Balinor, 7th level fighter, 70 hp, played by Joel

Cassian, 7th level cleric, 45 hp, played by Katherine

Kain, 7th level cleric, 45 hp, played by Jeff

Donald, 8th level mage, 43 hp, NPC

Alduin, 8th level thief, 39 hp, played by Vic

Morgan, 7th level fighter, 38 hp, played by Alan

Quentin, 8th level druid, 37 hp, played by Jeremy

Albee, 5th level monk, 31 hp, NPC

Bogomel, 3rd level fighter, 31 hp, henchman

Nakumanu, 4th level fighter, 30 hp, henchman

Chiaro, 5th level illusionist, 9 hp, played by Aaron


The high point: Treasure division and money collection.


The low point: Too numerous to count.


Perhaps you recall the Tharizdun game prior to the big one?  You may remember that the word for that game was… "frustration…"


The Defenders regrouped in Restenford after having been nearly annihilated by the Queen of Grottoes party.  The prisoners were interrogated and eventually the two agents of the Queen of Grottoes were executed.  The halfling fighter was impressed into the Garroten army, and the gnome was sent back to the Church of Dionysus with a full pardon and a request that they maybe keep an eye on the "doofus" and avoid this mistake in the future (indicating that he was very lucky to be alive).


Several other QoG agents were rounded up in Poseidonus, Barnacus, and a few other places.  The Church has been decimated.  Still, the only Church of any size is now the High Church (which is underwater).


The party settled magic item division and keep the Dagger of Acid, Longsword +2/+3 vs. giants (which has the disadvantage that gnomes and halflings are +4 against you!), the Bracers AC 4/10, the scroll of Raise Dead, the scroll of Erase (for Donald) and the Potions of Invisibility and Levitation.


We waited for Chiaro to return while checking at Barnacus for the results of our sage research on the Khargish ruins.  We learned a significant amount about ghost ships, the giant skeletons, and the Khargish city history.  Most important to note (besides the fact that some ghost ships are captained by liches) was the statement that there were four primary churches in the Khargish city: Kor, Thim, Xerbo, and the God of Death (Thim is the N God of the Herd, Xerbo is the CN god of sea creatures).  We presently believe that the Grey Philosopher was in the Temple to Thim (who was the most important in the city).


We decided to head to the ruins, but took forever discussing preparations, and being unsure about the status of certain characters, etc.  All in all, it was clear that little else would happen.


We set off and avoided the bugbears who had once nabbed Alduin and ransomed him back to the party, taking our AC 7/7 Bracers in the process.  We passed Rog and went through the Argo Forest, reaching the swamp.  In the swamp we had brief and slightly dangerous encounters with a gigantic lizard and killer frogs.  Eventually, we reached the dry spot of high ground, where the same ravens waited for us as per last time.


Unfortunately, we could accomplish nothing more.  Furthermore, I have no idea if there is any game this coming week, as it is spring break.  At this point, I'll stay the extra day just to have one!  There certainly won't be one the week after…


Clearly no one was into the game tonight.  That's ok, as everyone was obviously tired.  I just hope we can play before the semester ends.

Joel/Balinor (top)

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All pages copyright Kyle Scott MacLea, 1994-2004, excepting works cited by others and artwork, which are copyright of the respective individual.