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After SSOULES was created:  9 August 2173 - 15 June 2185


Summary XXVIII: The Attack on the Grey Philosopher

In brief: Versus the Philosopher

We entered the area with some _Dust Devils_ (2 from support group, 1 from
Alegra) and advanced.  9 thoughts attacked per wave.  Some got through on
each wave, and they all went for Konrad in the center who had Gram's
sun-coin and his own Prot. from Evil.  Konrad took damage from the thoughts
like everyone else.  Eventually, we were closer to the main gate and decided
it would be better to advance and go through than retreat (i.e. it was closer).

The gate was to our right and a tower structure to our left.  From the tower
a black cloud began to creep towards us.  This killed the _Dust Devil_
Alegra had with her (draining it of a HD, before it died).  The wall of
black cloud slowly approached us from behind.  Zombie Bugbears appeared in
front of us.  Weird telescope things sprayed lightning at us.  A (later
identified as a) humanoid (with a staff) fired magic missiles into us (from
the staff).  As it came closer, the wall was filled with skeletons, many
many of them.  This matches the description of a Sacrawl (sp).  Then it
basically became a race to escape.  Lightning was thrown around blasted
zombies.  Alegra _Called Lightning_ and dis damage to the wall of black
cloud, but the skeletons simply reformed 2 segments later, slowing it down
(it was moving 3" anyway).  We then hit the gate, opened it with the Chime
and escaped.  The Sacrawl (and its haze) attempted to follow us out of the
city but stopped not far from it. (weird ghoul-like more intelligent undead
followed at this point)

Note: the thoughts seemed to stop pretty close to the gate house.

1. Thoughts
2. Zombie Bugbears
3. Sacrawl wall
4. Humanoid with staff
5. Ghoul-like undead


In very brief:

We came along the wall to the gatehouse to attack the GP.
The lightning spray devices were mounted onto the top of the gatehouse and
manned by zombies pushing levers.

We busted a door down and went down into the lair of the GP, a black-robed
figure sitting on a throne of bones, holding a gnarled black staff.
Thoughts formed right in front of what would be a head.  Eli blasted the GP
and took a shot from the staff (a gray beam which did damage and could have
withered his arm).  In short order, the GP was destroyed but a point of evil
remained.  When Konrad kicked the staff away the evil followed, so the staff
was then destroyed.  A retreat was then initiated, since the 3" moving
Sacrol was then drawing close.

Only treasure: a wand of magic missiles which zombies were using.


In More complete detail:
-----------------------in character

Because scaling the wall where the GP defenses were was a dangerously
risky strategy, I suggested that we scale the wall north of the gatehouse
outside of the GP sphere of influence. The first time we tried
this we discovered that the vegetation on the walls inhibited visibility
so that as we approached the gatehouse the first wave of thoughts hit us
before we were able to bring our defenses to bear. Konrad took about
seven wounds at once, and we decided to withdraw.

I then realized that the vegetation should decrease as the closer we get
to the gatehouse, for when we approached by the road, we the vegetation
became very sparse near the gatehouse and tower. So we tried the next
day on the wall, rushing to get to clearer ground.

After three or four waves of nine thoughts and being hit by that
lightning device and magic missles, we made it to the battlement on top
of the gatehouse. This elevated battlement did impede our progress to the
center of the gatehouse roof, but a door was below the battlement
assessible to us on the wall. There were over a dozen zombie creatures on
the battlement- one using a wand and another moving mechanical controls for
the lightning device. These creatures were pretty tough (30-40 hp) A
series of arrows and lightning bolts destroyed most of them, and Memphis
backstabed the zombie with the wand and destroyed it.

Ceydric succeeded in breaking down the door, but he was immediately hit
by seven thoughts inflicting massive damage and seven wounds. Konrad
layed hands on him and Alegra D-Doored him and cured him. Then Konrad,
Theo, Eli, Claude and myself went down into the center of the gatehouse.
Konrad lead us to the evil focal point of the GP.

The Grey Philosopher was a large cloaked figure holding a long staff in
its right hand. Under the hood of the cloak we could see, instead of a
face, writhing thoughts being formed. I immediately fired a lightning
bolt at its head, destroying all the thoughts before they could attack.
Konrad and Theo rushed forward to engage it while Eli fired his last
lightning bolt at it and I started my prayer. The GP send a bolt from his
staff hitting Eli, inflicting damage but not withering Eli's arm. Then
the GP collapses after Konrad and Theo's successful attackes. Konrad
still detects a significant evil presence and kicks the staff. It is then
apparant that the staff is the focal point as the evil source moved with
it. After I sprinkled holy water on it it was seriously damaged. Claude
and Theo both hit the staff with their axes and destroyed it, although
Claude's axe was disintegrated and Theo's battleaxe +3 resisted this effect.

Meanwhile, Jerem Janthro and later Ceydric went to the top of the
battlement to help Memphis out, who was fighting two of the zombie
creatures and in serious trouble. Although Memphis later went down, the
remaining zombies were destroyed.

Then the retreat was on- we wanted to avoid the oncoming sacral. Eli
created a wall of ice inhibiting the sacral's movement for a few
segments. This bought enought time for all of us to escape along the wall
and reach base camp without further incident.

I believe the GP is destroyed permantly (we will find out soon if he is
not, however). Although numerous sources indicate that sacrals reform, we
have nothing to indicate whether the GP will.

Next: incinerating the Sacral...


(For reference:
Konrad arrived Middle 28 August 2177.
Others (Gilthanus, etc.) arrived 8 September.
12 September, Great Ones (GO) were defeated.
It is 28 September when Grey Philosopher GP was defeated.)


Summary XXIX:  Turning to the Sacrol

What we did:


We then attacked the Sacral. It was affected by fire, magic missles,
LIMMs, spiritual hammers, dust devils and Alegra's crossbow bolts. (not
goblins though) Because of its slow movement rate, we were able to
outmaneuver it and eventually disperse it.

Alegra exorcised it while Xavier and Star chanted. It reformed during the
Exoricism and attacked Canstin and Alegra. It missed Alegra, and Canstin
made his saving throw. Konrad, Ceydric, Aria, and Canstin were able to
quickly inflict enough damage to destroy it. Alegra finished the exorcism.

We received alot of treasure from the Sacral's pile of bones over which
it formed and from the gatehouse.

 Total: Jewelry  8,000
  Gems 11,250
  Coins ~1,000

Konrad and Memphis got ~2,500 gp and a wand of magic missles.

The stone soules got a token of 'door'

We threw a huge party to thank Konrad and wish them farewell. (top)

Summary XXX:  Loose Ends All Around

Jerem is returning with his brother to Sark, specifically the
stonelands.  He will be helping to keep the peace and keep the Far World
Empire out of his homeland.  If it turned out that there was a more
urgent need for his (or his and his brother's) skills elsewhere, there
would be interest on his part to do so.  But so far no one has expressed
a need for him.


Please correct me if I'm mistaken.

I thought Jerem and Janthro left for Sark after the GP was defeated
around Sept 28.
Konrad & Co; Gil; and presumably Gram will leave after the super party
following the sacral's exoricism which was around Oct 27. Note that it is
probably too late for Gram to sail to Koralgesh because of weather.

If appears that the Stone Soules will soon take a small down time to
train Canstin and Deirdre and repair Ceydric's armour. Xavier would like
to go to Tulan so that we might find a suitable trade for the battleaxe
+3/ potion vitality/ morning star +1/+3. (I doubt it, but it never hurts
to try). If Gram wouldn't mind waiting for a trivial mite expedition to
get Deirdre the 100xp or so she needs for 3rd, several people might want
to go with him during the downtime. (Eli might want to go to Jonalom to
trade spells).

(out of character) the downtime would be a good way to quickly introduce
Joel's character into the party.


News (in brief) from the latest game (ask for more elaboration if you'd like
to hear it).

Basic story:
1.  Attack mites
2.  Brief down-time: train Canstin, pick up [Joel's character] Rangorn and
Canstin's henchwoman Runt.
3.  Theo, Xavier, Sahrak, Eli, Claude, Deirdre (and Gram, Meriel, and
Memphis) go to Jonhalom, stay a few days.
4.  Deirdre trains in Jonhalom, Eli trades, Sahrak trades.
5.  Gram, Xavier, M&M, Theo, Sahrak go on Carse.
6.  Explore Carse.  Trade.
7.  Gram and M&M go on to Tulan while we head back to Jonhalom.
8.  Pick up Eli and Deirdre and Claude in Jonhalom; go to Middle.
9.  Behir sign results are gained.

1.  Mites took longer than we expected (had to fight some spiders and giant
ants on the way).  Mites had bronze/brass doors, which the augury hinted
were not good to go poking around behind (probably related to confined LE
force also presumed to be behind bronze doors upstairs).
2,3  No comments.
4.  Both Eli and Sahrak get useful spells.  Sahrak trades for _Color Spray_.
5.  No comments.
6.  Carse is COOL!  Gram picked up some useful info.  Trade Battle Axe +3
and Morning star +1/+3 versus ogres for a magical two-handed sword at an
establishment of questionable character.  [If you must know, the sword is
+2/+4 on unspecified conditions; of course, your characters have no idea
since this point is specifically considered a party secret, in fact only
known to a few part members: there's more to it than that, suffice to say].
7.  Tulan was not dealt with.  If you're in this group, talk to Edwin.
8.  The way to Jonhalom involved our acquisition of the TH sword [again,
party secret]
9.  The Behir says "I will strongly consider leaving if the mithril key is
returned to the city and me."

That's about it!
Kyle/Alegra (top)
Summary XXXI:  The Future

As far as has been apparent to me, the Party has made it its once-and-future
goal to do the following:

1)  Clear Tan-El of evil, threats, mobile treasure able to benefit the
Party, and knowledge plundered from within.
2)  Allow a gradual occupation of the city limits of Tan-El by the Stone
Soules and extended party.
3)  Settle the city as an independent city-state in some way associated
with, run by, set up by, or otherwise related to the SS, but not a part of
nearby Dunador.
4)  Figure out the technology (golems, electricity, etc.) in such a way as
to provide it for its citizens and government in a safe manner.

There are several stepping stones in this process:
1)  Observatory/Base Camp construction.  This is for closer access to Tan-El
than we already have and for slowly securing a path of access to the city.
It is between Middle and Tan-El.
2)  Removal of the Behir.  Despite the fact that this might otherwise be
just considered a "threat" to be taken care of, the Behir is of such power
that its removal is considered imperative for future expeditions.
3)  Occupation of a section of the city (say, the Gate House, or the old
Ogre territory, or the Castle), with total "scrubbing" of every square inch,
4)  Clearing of farm-land and setting of guarded lands about the city.

"Threats of Tan-El   by The Sphinx"
1)  Ghouls, the Undead  everywhere, loosely aligned.
Comment:  With GP and Sacrol gone, other undead must be removed slowly,
after other threats are dealt with, and as we sweep the city.
2)  Ants        NE in city.  Must come up with ways to kill off colony.
3)  Demonspawn  Castle          They have been removed, at least to a great
degree.  If they return, we kill them, until they don't return anymore.
4)  Bugbears    more than we would guess.  Need to be removed, but we can
probably scare off a lot of them.  some have already left.
5)  Golems      gotta watch for "large city-disrupting force"
6)  Mites       many tribes.  must be removed.  2 tribes down, some more to
go, not a huge challenge.
7)  Hidden, dormant things (lots)

The major threat remaining is the Ants. We hope to bend the Golems to our
will ultimately.

Forces of Supernatural/Pure Evil in Tan-El
1)  Tellah.  Librarian of the Tan-El Library.  His powers are greatly
addled, but his immortality/invincibility appears to still be in effect.  He
is sponsored by an Unnamed evil deity, and during his life he killed good
deities Devas [and Edwin claims it says he defeated "two planetars," though
he didn't kill THEM and make headresses out of their feathers, but this is
speculation and hear-say] and thousands of other people.  He admits that the
story is true, but maintains that his motivations are different from the
story that is contained in the library.  The sponsorship by the evil deity
appears still to be current, since the binding magic we do not think
actually prolonged his life, but was just to limit his powers.
Doesn't like us, but has to put up with us.  He can use his powers to
protect the library, and there is some thought that arousing his ire could
cause him to be released.
Divination:  Very powerful creature.
"To shatter the retardation of the powers there is beyond your reach"
Some winner auguries about doing various things to Tellah:
"Partial success would result in the deaths of thousands of innocents."
"Vast disappointment will surround any unlikely survivors."
"Only vast disaster will result."
"Wounds will be nursed with the small comfort of disturbing answers."
Even worse is that all of this, especially the first two, would occur in 30
minutes or less....

2)  Evil ooze of Tyner's tower.
Behind a heavily hybrid-trapped door is a being of pure evil in some kind of
black, highly magical tar (The Alchemist didn't like the sample of the
"essence of pure evil" we brought him; we still have it, in a nice lead
box).  Whether the being is confined, free, alive, dead, happy or unhappy to
see us is unknown.  The essence has leaked down from the uppermost level(s)
of the pagoda-like tower into a lower level.  It does not appear to have had
ill effects on the lower level, other than a big stain on a carpet.  Despite
everything else being maintained in glorious condition by magic and golems,
this stain has not been cleaned.  The doors that lead upward are the trapped
ones, as is another door we have not been in.  I just noticed the Alchemist
specifically said "the essence of a being of hideous evil, encased in tar."
3500 years or so has passed since anyone other than us visited the tower.

3)  The Castle's Lawful Evil force.
It does not consist of Undead, Kobolds, Behir, or Mites, was not released by
the destruction of the GO.  It IS supernatural evil.  It is clear that
several combo portcullises and bronze (not brass) doors in the castle are
either holding back the LE force or are in some way involved with holding
it/them back.  Auguries of opening them:
"Many would be mourned."
"Much grief would result."
Not quite Tellah-level, I know, but they were "vastly dominant" in the
Castle, and there was a much larger chance of disturbing them.  The
creatures as a whole (including dead GO) are "vastly powerful."  This could
actually imply a level of power above Tellah's.  Khahoatep, whose coins we
have recovered quite a number now, greatly altered the Castle. The
alterations are unknown (probably secret) though strange holding cells were
built, involving distilled water and great panes of glass.  It is not clear
whether the water system connects to the castle or not, but the main prisons
for Tan-El were under the castle.  These bits of information may be relevant
or not... :)

4)  GP/Sacrol.  Destroyed.

Now the important question: Why are there so many forces of supernatural
evil in the area?  The GP/Sacrol was probably "neutral evil," in the force
of its control, anyway.  The Castle's force is lawful evil.  We don't know
about Tyner or Tellah, but the creatures are clearly evil of some kind.

So, now we march on, hoping that the efforts are not fruitless, and that all
of these forces of evil may be neutralized (and hopefully/or) destroyed and
our plans for colonization may continue.

Also of note: Tan-El is the "Tunn-el" city which leads to another city, the
capital of its civilization, high in the mountains.  A tunnel leads there.
We have not been there, but it is commonly called the City of the Gods, or
the City of Gold, etc.
Kyle/Alegra (top)

Summary XXXII:  Some Things We Always Meant to Get Around to but Never Did

1.  Castle enclosed courtyard:  killed a couple of mobile tentacle-using
trees (that looked dead): by lightning bolts and having Henry fly over them,
dousing them with standard oil and then lighting them on fire with arrows.

2.  Explored other rooms within the castle tower:
        More alchemy rooms, and a room with a research library on
Lightning-related magics, in Runic I.  Within this room was a _Wizard
Locked_ cabinet which contained a RUNE for DANGER and a large locked book,
and a key.  The book, which radiated Type 5 magic of ABJURATION/NECROMANCY,
was labelled "The Tale of Years."  Before this, we had been told that in
opening the cabinet "No benefit could result." The _Augury_ for opening the
book and reading it was more ambiguous (and yet not):  Would it be
beneficial for the party to unlock, open the book, and look inside? "Yes,
but vast disaster is the more likely result."  "The Tale of Years" is an
often-used title for chronologies, but what this book does is up for grabs.
Here are some theories:

        A.  It's a lich-maker.  If you read it, you become a lich or
have a better chance of becoming a lich.

        B.  It's ABJURATION side is linked in some way to the methods
used to contain the LE force.

        C.  In general, it could be a mini-codex of sorts.

        D.  There are many other possibilities, but it appears that it
SHOULD have some kind of link to the Lightning fetish of Tan-El         and
this research library, but it is not clear that it does,         since
NECROMANCY at the least has little to do with Lightning.

3.  Puzzle box ID and "cantoulope rind"  Though it appears that the Puzzle
box needs to be taken to a better sage (we believe it to be the
alchemy-kit-in-a-box), the "cantoulope rind" is a magical eye-protection visor.

4.  Divination on L-shaped building within the Castle which is thought to
enclose the LE force (very interesting!):  5000 or so g.p.

        "Forces of XXXXXXX have been left beyond the reach of
otherworldly forces.  Mandred once held sway here.  There is an overwhelming
chance of provoking the minor ire of many deities of good. There is a tiny
chance of enraging the forces of Lawful Evil."

        XXXXXXX is a major archdevil of the underworld, and though his name
does not likely have the same effect as the last infernal power's name, it
is not wise to speak it.

Oh, and more inkling that going in the L-shaped building without a plan is
bad:  Benefit from going through brass door?  "Not by ANY measure."

Why colonize an ORDINARY ruined city, when you can have forces of vast evil,
death, destruction, decay, unknown dangers, all built by the
Sphinx-described "ambitious but lazy" golem-crazed former inhabitants of


Alegra/Kyle (top)

Summary XXXIII:  The Tale of Years and Other Things of Interest in the Castle


Game-results-in-brief (this means that the major attack force of Auguries
will be summarized into the important ones):

I.  The Falchion Sword of unknown mind-affecting but no bonuses to hit, etc.
and not intelligent, recovered from the body of Gen. Quarath along with the
magical plate of protection from Magic Missiles.

It appears to provide a charisma and confidence boost that makes anyone who
carries it look cooler.  It has been evidenced that everyone experiences
"withdrawal" symptoms if the sword has to be taken off, even to go to bed.

II.  The Scroll in the Bah Nareth Sage Library (the Castle)

Would it be beneficial to the party to have Alegra (combined) cast Dispel
Magic on the Scroll's case by touching it?  It is likely.

So, Alegra did so.  The dispel on the trap worked.  The Scroll was carefully
removed from its case and placed on a table.  Alegra found no traps on it.
When she glanced at the scroll, a shadow of some kind rose up from the
scroll and enveloped her.  The other people in the room felt their senses go
numb for a moment, and Alegra hair stood on end.  Then, nothing obvious had
happened.  It was promptly discovered that Alegra's shadow was magical, and
alive, and had an alignment like Alegra.  Alegra's research on shadows
showed that all mentions were bad, but the shadow was able to follow her
onto Holy Ground.

Would dispelling the shadow by beneficial?  Under no circumstances would it
be beneficial.

And BTW, the scroll disintegrated at this point.

So, we let it be.

III.  The Box in Gen Quarath's room, hidden in a panel, that had an
_Antipathy_ effect that still keeps Claude from being able to enter the
entire tower it is in.  It has an effect on it that Eli considers to be
area-of-effect as well as possible a _Death Spell_ or similar effect.

Would it beneficial to _Dispel_ the trap on the box and open it?  An
answered question is not always pleasant.
Again?  Rash action _will_ result in deaths.

We decided to leave the box alone.

IV.  Sage Research

Tale of Years -- about Tellah, original attempt to write his life, person
who wrote it died.

Mithril Key -- he's sending for info., a Great Mithril Key was recovered
long ago from Tan-El and was ID'd in the Near Realm/Cromwell.

LE Force -- Found in older records about the area, esp. by Adventuring
Reserve parties come to kill the Behir who sold the sage of the time info on
the LE force in return for Behir info.  (They did Divinations and Legend
Lores, because there was a lot of cash inside the L-shaped building in the
Castle of Bah Nareth, behind the brass doors).

The LE force is a small number (3 or so) Deathstealers.  They are able to
steal a soul from a body from a significant distance and transform your soul
into a twisted, evil creature, and then install in your husk of a body an
evil spirit from nearby, thereby turning you into 2 enemies to continue to
fight your friends.  They were intentionally summoned by the Council in some
way to destroy the Lightning creatures that were on the verge of consuming
Tan-El.  They are probably imprisoned due to the careful contract with the
founders, but are just waiting to be released by someone.  (On a hunch, I'd
say Tyner was probably involved).

V.  The Book -- The Tale of Years.

Let us say that many, many auguries were done on the book.  The eventual
result was that "Only true wisdom can be trusted to discern good and evil"
so Alegra prepared to read the book, by praying and fasting, and casting
ceremonies.  She had the benefit of several party magical items and chants
that turned out to be irrelevant, as only really her wisdom came to bear.

It was exactly as we thought, imparting the life of Zardos in amazing
detail.  Alegra had the opportunity to "cheer for the underdogs" or "follow
the path of power that Z learned towards vast power and evil." She chose the
former.  Later, she had a decision towards whether to reatin the memories or
forget them, and she chose to remember them.  Her wisdom saved her any
permanent damage, and she gained 15K experience.  She then had to rest for
some time.

The Book fell apart and disintegrated at this time.

She can think about the story, but thinking for too long tends to give her a
headache and make her ill.  The sheer repulsion of his evil deeds would
offend any good person.

Basic story:
Zardos is bored, expanding the frontier, kills the Grey people (probably
original inhabitants of the New World).  People try to stop him, he wastes
them.  Makes pipes out of the bones of the High Priests he slays (he goes
from being a great warrior to a great wizard as well at some point) that he
uses to whip his evil hordes into a frenzy.  Makes a coat out of the
feathers of Devas and the Planetar he kills which gives him amazing
immunities and powers (appears to steal their powers in some ways).  Makes
deals with LOTS of infernal Evil forces.  More or less violates the ancient
rules about deity non-interference in worldy affairs (in spirit anyway).
When the good powers react by summoning a host, Evil takes it that this is a
violation in letter as well as spirit, and so helps Zardos more.  Then,
turns on his own empire after more or less destroying the Grey People
empire, and begins to take over the Kepta empire (probably in the indicara
30 heroes of all his opposition (Kepta, Grey, others, about 1/3 Korian, 1/3
druidic and Grey people religions, and 1/3 other good religions) come up
with a plan to stop him, eventually setting on the plan to intentionally
lose, and allow him to take a "beneficial" magic item (the Great Warrior's
Ring of Prot +6) and put it on.  He is stunned and shocked and falls down.
The Evil powers desert him and take his soul with them, but he still lives.
One of the three remaining heroes (not the strongest, but the ones that
Zardos wouldn't have considered to have been as much of a threat) tries to
remove the coat and the pipes, but contacting such evil destroyed his soul
and transforms him into a twisted wreck, which his comrades slay out of
mercy.  The two people left are approached by Tyner, from Tan-El, who has
lived a long time and served on the Council, esp. as its leader, many times.
He convinces them to chain Zardos to the Library rather than kill him.  It
is clear that Tyner is following the same road as Zardos once did, and the
writer of the book is greatly saddened by this.  [A Life of Infamy, the more
accessible version of this book, indicates that he could NOT be killed,
which seems to contradict this book.  It is my opinion that probably Tyner
had A Life of Infamy written anyway, and so he probably edited out the parts
about himself being on the road to evil].

VI.  A question -- Yes, Tellah can understand Common now.

VII.  The Auroran Treasure Map

It leads to the Witches Ziggurat (WZ), west of Miles High, and is clearly
ancient (contemporary to a thriving Tan-El and other ruins).
We go there and investigate.  It is populated by a huge bugbear village.
Demon worship at the WZ has been reinstated in some way.  We look at options
to destroy the entire village and the WZ.

Kyle/Alegra (top)

Summary XXXIV:  For Some Reason, There Is No Summary XXXIV, or, Watch Kyle Make Numbering Errors

Summary XXXV:  Xavier, Sahrak, and Recent SS Adventures

For those perceptive, Xavier has become less intolerant of Sahrak after
the 2H sword incident in which Sahrak used color spray to good effect.

After the recent Banshee beatle incident, Xavier became much more
accepting of Sahrak and his role in the party.

Also for those perceptive, mid way through the gatehouse illusion (which
I will describe shortly) Xavier started weeping heavily.

After his death and resurrection (by raise dead), Xavier became
slightly more serious, melancholic, and resolute.

Finally, after Carse, he mentions that he believes that the party doesn't
have to worry about the owner trying to track down the 2H sword. When
asked how he knows this- he shows a rather sorrowful look and says that
he doesn't want to talk about it. He obviously feels pretty bad about the

The sum total of all the events that happened pretty much in 2178 is that
Xavier has this look in his eyes of fierce determination but also great
sorrow (the kind one would get after seeing thousands die in front of
him and also being responsible of the death of innocents even though he
was ignorant at the time.)

Jack/Xavier (top)

Summary XXXVI: Castle Exploration and the Revelation of the Death of Tan-El

Castle walls:

We completed the mapping of the Castle area by searching the walls for
trapdoors. We found two things of interest:

- some sort of spectre, haunt, or ghost that was rather easily destroyed
but reformed fairly quickly. It did NOT detect as evil. I suppose that a
rest eternal might put the spirit to rest before it reforms. Abjure and
Exorcism might also work.

- the entrance to the Castle Gatehouse complex. Many automata there. One
recent steel door. Castle defenses strong here.

Clearing blocks:

We cleared two whole blocks and searched the previously Sacrol controlled
area of two other blocks. Multiple small encounters. We fight a Banshee
beatle which was stunned by Sahrak's colorspray and quickly killed by
Ceydric, Claude, Xavier, Aria, and Eli.

Gatehouse: we spent the night in the Gatehouse. During the night we
noticed an illusion that lasted several hours and covered a huge area:

Thousands of people rushed the Gatehouse. They couldn't get through.
Hundreds were being stampeded and crushed by the huge mass of panicked
townspeople desperately attempting to escape. Occassionally a small
cluster of people would just die- their bodies horribly twisted and
burnt. Piles of dead bodies began to build up near the Gatehouse entrance.

Next a group of soldiers began driving for the gate- they pressed
furiously and started swinging weapons and killing the townspeople in
their path. Townspeope fought back by bashing the soldiers with their
bundles of possessions. Horrible death toll was building. Soon the
soldiers lost their unity in formation- broken by the sheer mass of
hundreds of panicked and dying townspeople.

Then we saw a group of clerics and priest coming from the direction of
the Temple district. There appears to be multiple small groups and one
big group of priest- In the center of the big group is one distinct
priest which appears to be the focal point. Amidst the mass panic and
confusion of the carnage, there is a remarkable calm in this group which
slowly makes its way towards the Gatehouse.

After a while, however, the main focal priest falls dead. The calm is
broken and the group of priests break up. Yet after alittle while the
different groups of priests join together to form another, smaller group.
This group makes it a good ways to the gatehouse before a cluster of
priests in the center die and the groups breaks up.

For the next hour, pure carnage is seen. The pile of bodies in front of
the gatehouse reaches six feet. Hundreds perish and the masses appear to
be growing more depleted.

Finally, only individuals are left running in multiple directions,
tripping over the thousands dead. They all would run around until
eventually they died, limbs blown apart by some unseen force.

After 5 hours or so the illusion stopped.

Downtime- Ceydric, Xavier, Sahrak, and Claude trained. Eli got spells,
Alegra found out about the shadow. Items were identified. Ceydric was the
first knight to be knighted in the reign of the new king.

On the way to Teft, Xavier was killed by a Wyvern. Luckly the Wyvern was
killed and his body recovered. He was raised, although things looked
pretty bad for awhile.

The end result is that the group should be reassembled in Middle by mid
November in order to conduct the bugbear attacks.


Other information:

Puzzle box:  Will improve INT if you succeed, otherwise drive you mad

"Summit" Falchion Sword:  Sword of Command.  Allows you to lead troops
 better.  Raises Charisma.  Has addictive side effects.  If
 someone had it for "more than a month or two" the sage wouldn't want to
 take it away from them.

2H-Sword:  Affects outer-planar creatures, good and bad and indifferent.
Appears to be a "devastating" weapon to outer planar creatures, and
probably can retain its powers and maybe even grow stronger on some other
planes, though the outer planes themselves would likely destroy it.
Whether "devastate" is +4, or includes other powers is unknown.

Shadow:  "Deathservant"  Basically, it is my soul, in reserve.  Provides
a "backup" soul, in case you die, ahve your soul destroyed, etc.  If this
happens, it immediately pops back into your body and you are at full health.
Only works once.  All found on scroll, and all come from the reserve, at
least to his experience.

Oh, yeah, and the "Fencing Gauntlet" which we found in the Castle wall.
It gives +1 to all one handed melee weapons held in the right hand.


An incident occured some time during the time Alegra was reading _The Tale
of Years_.  Ceydric's men-at-arms (in the Tan-El Library with Tellah) had a
story to tell us about it.

Normally their duties were to remain in the Library and wait for a knock,
look who it was, and let us in.  They had lots of food and could remain a
long time.  Though we were the only people who ever came to the Library (it
being in the middle of Tan-El), we still wanted them to check who it was,
for obvious reasons.  Luckily, the men-at-arms decided to look who it was
before opening the door when a knock came [They made their intelligence
checks].  Outside, a man in plate armor, carrying a mace, knocked on the
door (with his mace).  In a reasonable imitation of Ceydric, he spoke, "Men,
I'm here with the food."  They did not let him in.


We have spoken before about the possibility of [insane] anarchists getting
into the Library and trying to free Tellah/Zardos.  This is one more nail in
the coffin of the anarchists, in my opinion.  "Bruce," the anarchist (with
magical Retaliatory Plate Armor), attempted to stall the starting of Middle
by sabotaging supply caravans years ago.  We have had evidence of his
activity over time, causing monetary loss here and there to the Colony, only
indirectly to us.  This fits his description.  We can think of no one else
who would be interested in getting into the Library.  Note also that we
didn't exactly try to spread the news about Tellah, but when you have
men-at-arms stationed inside, word will undoubtedly be spread
unintentionally.  So, interested parties might have an open ear for such things.

Alegra's opinion on the anarchists, which might appear inconsistent at
first, is that they must be dealt with harshly.  She is all for personal
freedoms, but she doesn't believe that ANY action resulting in the "death of
thousands of innocents" can be properly justified for defending liberties.
She is all in favor of locating, confronting, and destroying the anarchists.
(Call her Neutral Good if you want,) but the potential action by the
anarchists is nothing but evil, in her mind.

Does anyone agree?

(Provisional) Government of Tan-El  (top)

Summary XXXVII: Returning to Middle and Research Results

Hey all!

Here's what happened (in brief):

1.  Raven turned down his potential druid henchman who was a total weirdo
(and probably fanatical).

2.  Alegra picked up a henchman bowyer-fletcher named Frank and a
Phaulkonian Ranger henchman named Sean, who happens to have both an 18/33
strength and an 18 intelligence.  He's really cool.  Frank specializes in
crossbows.  Frank will soon be Phaulkonian. :)

3.  Info on Deathstealers is BAD.  Basically, they ARE major devils.  Powers
include: deathstealing, fast regeneration, level, hit point, and power drain
(i.e. ability to drain the ability to cast spells and then use the spells
against you).  They also paralyze in a large radius and are very hard to
hit.  They are usually served by vassal minor devils and semi devils and
hordling creatures.  They have VAST treasure, but it's usually on the outer
planes.  Prot. from Evil doesn't work.  Prot. for Paralyzation did work
against the paralyze effect.  Deathstealing may take as long as 1 minute to
recover from.  The one party recorded to have fought ONE managed to kill it
through highly magical weapons striking it repetitively.  They lost 75% of
the party in the battle.  They also generally have "armies" of ghouls and
ghasts to fight.  Lorm offered to "take care of the problem for us" for all
(almost) of the money, but we would have to stand for 10 segments while he
abjured them back to the outer planes (he has an artifact).

4.  Way back from teft, two major encounters:
a.  Ship is attacked by a Roc, loses main mast.  We are becalmed basically.
b.  A ghost ship attacks us while we are becalmed.  Several beings are
killed by Eli, then they try to attack him (an insubstantial captain figure)
and us (a ghastly figure).  Eventually both creatures remaining are
destroyed, but not before they drain Eli of two levels and Alegra of one
level.  Later, we discover that though Alegra made her save by a good bit,
Eli only BARELY made his.  The levels later returned.  The captain figure
was a spectre, the other a wight.  Eli recovered treasure from the ship
before it capsized.  How much money was recovered:  a lot, but I don't
remember the total.  The ship was a sight of carnage and destruction,
probably a mutiny or somesuch action.
Without us, our ship would have suffered the same fate.
We finally reached shore just south of Carse.  The Captain stayed to salvage
his ship when we reached a nearby village, but we headed north and over to

5.  Rangorn was accepted as a full party member.

6.  Key info. was gained though Edwin did not yet get it to us.

7.  Bugbear numbers were estimated in reconn (using Sean-the-Ranger's
mathematics X3 statistical sampling techniques, as applied by Deirdre the
mathematics X2 mage):
500-600 bugbears
200-300 fighting males
100 slaves: elves, humans, other
12 or so ogres
1 giant in Battle Armor
1 witchdoctor
probably more we are not aware of.

8.  First owlbear attack: pretty interesting but not a whole lot of damage.

9.  Second owlbear/Call Lightning attack not very successful.  We fell back
and the bugbears pursued.  We are now at the border of Elven lands with a
war party of about 50 bugbears in pursuit, pondering the best ambush options.
That is where we left our party...

Kyle  (top)

Summary XXXVIII: Miscellaneous Party Equipment of the Stone Soules

Updated 14 Nov 2178 / 11 Nov 1996

(*) denotes an unusual item
All items are held in Tower stores unless otherwise stated.
Necessary other storage space is immediately needed, as can be seen
from the list.


3 canteen w/ leather cover
1 inked waterskin (*)

1 giantish pouch (*)
46 large belt pouches
1 small belt pouch
2 leather backpacks
1 giant frame pack (*)
41 frame packs
12 large sacks
5 small sacks
35 bandoliers

1 heavy cedar chest
4 metal goods crates
3 large metal boxes
1 large wooden box
2 medium wooden boxes
1 small wooden box
1 small wooden box, damaged
1 large box of white tiles (*)
1 potion box (*)

1 pavillion (ex) in a box (*)


5 iron spikes
1 hammer
1 pulley and hook
1 2-person saw
1 sharpening stone
5000 nails

Rope and Wire-----------------------------------------------------

150' wire
barbed wire w/ iron spikes (*)
70' double weight rope (*)
650' of rope

Weapons and Armor-------------------------------------------------

4 large shields, Knaves, Andevar, Realm, Sark
7 large shields
1 small shield
2 bucklers

1 set plate mail
3 sets banded mail
1 set leather armor, Cassana
1 set studded leather, Canstin-as-an-elf

1 crested helmet, Old world (*)
4 small helmets

Melee weapons:
1 heavy lance
2 medium lances
4 pikes
6 barbed spear heads
18 polearm heads
3 two-handed swords
44 bastard swords
1 horseman's flail
1 footman's flail
1 ogre sword (*)
34 battle axes
47 short swords
17 handaxes
4 hammers
88 daggers
1 silver dagger (*)
9 knives

Ranged weapons - crossbows (all assigned to Frank):
35 heavy crossbows
426 heavy bolts
4 20 capacity light bolt cases
21 light bolts
3 light crossbows
2 light crossbow internal assemblies (*)
1 hand crossbow (*)
12 hand-crossbow bolts (*)

Ranged weapons - bows (also assigned to Frank):
1 large composite bow, broken
20 uses resin
1 large arrow string
3 small arrow strings

Ranged weapons - other:
9 darts

Scrap for Weber:
2 complete sets of fire giantish battle armor (*)
1 bugbear plate mail (*)
2 bugbear banded mail (*)
32 bugbear chainmail (*)
35 bugbear helmets (*)
1 set weird pseudo plate mail (*)

Building Materials------------------------------------------------

122 shingles
2 window frames
4 large squares sheet metal (*)
2 doors
30 g.p. worth of Teak wood (*)
4000 g.p. lumber credit in End

Horse Stuff-------------------------------------------------------

2 sets bit & bridle
2 large saddle bags
tack for riding 4 horses
4 picks and brushes
7 harnesses

Fire and Light Equipment------------------------------------------

36 tinderboxes
6 torches
1 hooded lantern
2 bullseye lanterns
27 standard (non-lamp) oil
25 lamp oil

Cooking and Food--------------------------------------------------

1 giant pewter dishware set (*)
20 person pewter eating ware set
4 pewter eating sets
1 fire giant cook kit (*)
1 cook kit


1 large metal
9 small silver
1 large copper
30 small copper

Souvenirs, Jewelry, Oddities--------------------------------------

1 Stone Soules wood carving (*)
1 thin silver necklace w/ giantish characters (*)
3 troll skulls (*)
12 keys from molehill (*)
1 ivory horn from molehill (*)
Molehill's giant bow (*)
Several Demonspawn musical works, including a choral work for
     Bugbear voices (**)

Miscellaneous Useful Gear-----------------------------------------

1 heavy padlock
17 moderate weather bedrolls
4 wooden dice
1 set cool Eli clothes (*)
4 10'x10' oilskins
1 wax board (*)
2 hammocks
2 hats
45 vials of ink
1 small tent (ex)
1 lg. container paralyzation poison (*)

I will not list them in the public forum, but not counting spell books and
personally owned scrolls and items, the Party's total number of magic items is:


Of those 83, there are 10-12 items of +2 or equivalent level magic or higher
(using my own special criteria).

Kyle/Alegra  (top)

Summary XXXIX:  The Bugbear War Party and the Ziggurat of the Witches

It's late.  This will be brief, to say the least.

50 Bugbear War party:
a couple escape, rest die painfully.
1 man-at-arms (Mo) dies.  Men-at-arms plus Gauss (standard bearer) and Mo's
body go to elven lands (these creatures will just kill them).

Head back towards Ziggurat.  Feeling of being watched (scrying).  Try not to
give any landmarks and stop the scrying.  Every once in awhile it happens
again.  We decide to attack rather than have them ambush us.

We ford the river north of the Z and head for it.  We detect a sizeable
force (say 75) bugbears behind us.  We make straight for the Z.  There are
fortifications.  Bugbears and ogres die.  Ceydric (flying, prot. from
missiles) opens the gate, gets hit by ballista, fights deformed Cloud Giant.
Cloud Giant hammers Ceydric, but no wound.  Eli and Deirdre unload scroll
magic missiles at it, doing about 90 some-odd points of damage, a couple of
bow shots, it flees into the air and out of range too soon --darn it!

We press forward, through the gate, the bugbears behind charge.  We close
the gate and get through.  Lightning bolts (from the earrings) are being
thrown left and right.  A thin "moat" of oil is trying to be lit, but the
bugbears trying to light it are killed.  Fortifications to either side we
hammer with bolts and they start to burn.  We go through another gate.
Various shots at various bugbears, shouts, disorientation.  Out of the Z
comes a phalanx of bugbears with large shield, Ceydric is about to attack


Ludo, realizing the situation (it looks quite bad) loads the Token of
Boulder into his sling and takes a shot at the entrance of the Ziggurat
(tunnel leading in).  Ludo grossly fumbles his shot (yes, the true Joey roll
of a ... 1!), the token fires, flies through the air, turns into a 7-foot
diameter boulder, hits the Z high, getting a good bit of momentum, rolls
back and ... FALLS INTO THE TUNNEL, right on top of the 3 bugbear guards and
the bugbear witchdoctor.  Massive damage is dealt, the boulder rolls back
INTO the Z, causing screams and rumbling.

Moments later, flames shoot out of both sides of the tunnel (they enter from
both sides of the Z -- our side and the opposite side), instantly consuming
one bugbear and panicking the rest, even as chaos reigns in the camp.  Yes,
Ludo could not have fumbled better!

[The bugbears yell, "The demon is unhappy -- we are doomed!"  Ouch.  Though
we joke about it, hope it isn't a REAL demon, or a very strong one.]

Other good things:  Ceydric pastes many people.  Missile shots are quite
good at pasting pre-lightning-toasted bugbears, and the weak bugbears trying
to light the "moat."

Despite the ambush, stopping at this point (real world) left us in a
position which while an extremely tough battle still lies ahead, much has
been gained.  Several of their leaders are dead.


Joey's Response:
>Hehee.. well, I tried to save the 1's for thief skill checks, but I'm
>glad we've finally found another use for this curse of rolling low. >:-)

Well, it didn't help Ludo in the first encounter with the Bugbear War Party,
in which he attempted to backstab the Leader and missed.  Of course, it
appears (to the party anyway) that Thurmond then bit the Leader and caused
him to fall thrashing on the ground.  Later, when Deirdre webbed the entire
section of the field, with Ludo in it (knowing of the Ring of Free Action),
Ludo six-segment killed the leader and others.

Other appearances at the Ziggurat:

It appears that either the Cloud Giant was a real leader, or the Witchdoctor
thought he was the leader, and the Cloud Giant thought he was powerful
enough to waste us (anybody but Ceydric, probably).

The armored "human?" leaders (2 of them) on the Z called out orders as such
when things looked bad:
#1:  Defend the Ziggurat!  Protect the Witchdoctor!
#2:  Fall back to the Fortress!  Leave the Witchdoctor to fight his own battle!
(Sean:  Fall on your swords!  It is hopeless!)

The Fortress:  "A tower, a fortress, an elaborate pile of rocks, who can say?" --Edwin

An armored Giant was seen near the Slave Pens.  It is presumed that this is
probably a different giant:  either a Mountain Giant or a Fire Giant, I
might guess, though FG seems unlikely and Hill Giant is even a slight
possibility.  I think it was too small to be a cloud giant or comparable size.

Kyle/Alegra  (top)

Summary XL: More Fighting at the Ziggurat and the Slave Pens

When we last left our intrepid adventurers, they had just taken the
Ziggurat.  Ceydric was battling one of the bugbear commanders on one of
the upper levels and the party was picking off the other fleeing
commander and nameless retreating bugbears while trying to catch up to

Combat with the bugbear commander ended rather quickly and Ceydric then
moved to get the other commander.  He, however, tried to retreat into the
Ziggurat when his comrades collapsed the entranceway, killing him and
almost squishing Ceydric.  This unfortunately prevented the party from
gaining immediate access to the Zig so we then seized our advantage and
moved to take the slave pens before the bugbears could react too quickly.
Many more scrub bugbears die...

Aerial scouting from the parties favorite familiar revealed several
bugbears manning a catapult on one of the stone towers surrounding the
pen.  Ceydric then flew ahead to distract the bugbears so the rest of the
party could close the distance.  This made him the target of the catapult
shot at point blank distance but fortunately it was loaded with flaming
shot and inflicted only minor damage to the protected Ceydric (Pro
Normal Missiles).  Bugbear morale was significantly lowered by this, and
two of the bugbears tried to flee from the flying demon that appeared
invulnerable to their actions (throughout the game Ceydric was referred
to as some sort of demon, one time a cambion, as the bugbears were
obviously frightened by him).  Ceydric cleaned up the top of the tower
while some of the party scaled the wall and opened the gate.  The party
was then split into Ludo and Ceydric entering the tower from above and
everyone else entering the adjoining room from the field inside the walls.

The party immediately faced two hill giants in armor surrounded by
numerous slaves and a handful of bugbears just milling about.  A stinking
cloud took down one of the giants and a massive assault from the party
took down the other.  They didn't really stand much of a chance although
their hurled boulders almost pounded the spell casters.  Meanwhile, up
some stairs and behind a set of heavy doors, Ceydric and Ludo had their
own little challenge.  The bugbear that tried to flee down the trap door
was quickly killed, as were several of his comrades, but the Greater Ogre
that then stepped in Ceydric's way proved to be a little more difficult.
The situation looked kind of bad there for a second (since Ceydric had
already sustained lots of damage from the cloud giant and others) but
with Ceydric continually hitting and Ludo backing him up with some sling
shots, the Greater Ogre fell about the time Theo managed to get the door
open.  We then left Sahrak to free the prisoners (a tactical mistake on
the party's behalf) and pressed on to the next tower.

A fire had been set in this tower but the party worked to free some of
the slaves.  Xavier and Raven were left to continue this action while the
party moved to the next tower.  Ceydric got their ahead of the party and
killed the bugbears, killed the funky grey slaves with big fangs that
were trying to eat other slaves, and put out the fire by the time the
party caught up with him.  Things then got a little confusing, so my
details might not be accurate here.  I am not sure if there was another
tower that we went to and left this one unprotected or what the deal was
but here are the results.

Sahrak, trying to better his thieving hobby, set to work picking all the
locks of the prisoners.  Unfortunately, this took alot longer than just
using the keys the party had, but even that probably wouldn't have helped
him.  A couple rounds after he began his work, one of the slaves alerted
him that a band of bugbears were approaching.  Sahrak then (eventually)
gave a weapon to a slave that could use it and tried to bar the door.
The bugbears broke open the door and open fired on the slaves inside.
Mass carnage resulted and Sahrak was not able to escape with his life.
The party returned to find his broken body laying on the ground and all
the slaves killed.

Immediately distressed by this, the party broke in half, one group to
assist Xavier if he had been similarly attacked and the other to protect
the slaves that had been left without a guard.  Xavier and Raven had been
very successful and fought off the bugbears that tried to attack them
with ease.  A couple of _Commands_ and well placed arrow shots quickly
routed the small band of bugbears.  The unprotected tower was a more
interesting sight.  As sure as the other towers, a band of bugbears had
gained entry to the still chained prisoners but when we found them, they
had not made it past the doors.  Their bodies were hideously damaged,
rotted, diseased, and wounded.  In some cases, the bugbears chose to
kill themselves rather than fight the guardian of these slaves.  It
appears that the black owl that had been following the party intervened
and prevented the bugbears from killing any of the prisoners.  The nature
of the bugbears' deaths led the party to believe that the owl is actually
a Grim, a supernatural force of good that prevents great evils from
occurring.  More than likely, its charge was something in Tan-El (or
perhaps keeping tabs on the supernaturally evil Eli), but regardless, it
assisted the party in keeping the slaves alive.  The rest of the slaves
were recovered and brought by the party to the nearby elven lands.
Ceydric's standard bearer and religious guide took Sahrak's body to be

After a brief period of healing, the party headed back to the bugbear
village to crush the rest of the bugbears still inhabiting the fortress.
As we were climbing the hill to the fortress, a large number of bugbears
fired crossbows at the party and a smaller number charged the front
ranks.  Simultaneously, the cloud giant attacked the back part of the
party.  Ceydric flew and intercepted the cloud giant after Sean scored a
successful hit with his set for charge spear.  Eli hammered the cloud giant
with a LIMM which broke his morale (he had a Spell Immunity to Magic
Missiles hoping to foil our quick kill of last time) but Ceydric pursued
the giant and defeated him in the tree tops.  There was assistance from
Raven and Rangorn as well.  The charge at the front of the party was met
entirely by Xavier and Alegra.  Blasting away with lightning bolts
Alegra roasted the bugbears while Xavier was tackled and pinned.  Not
surprisingly, the bugbears on Xavier began to go unconscious at a rate
of one per segment, and they were killed without much harm to Xavier.
With this force routed, the party then reduced the bugbear numbers on
top of the fortress with a couple well placed and coordinated
_Call Lightnings_.  The party then advanced to the gate, Ludo disrupted a
trap, Ceydric, Aria, and Ludo took out the shaman and his two shield
bearers, and short work was made of the rest of the bugbears.  Treasure
was recovered and the bugbears scattered to the four winds.

Essentially it was a fun game for everyone that brought about the end of
an enemy, the attainment of a goal, and renewed confidence in the party's

-Zack Hubert-

henchmen in parentheses:

Alegra and Eli to 8th
Theo and Ludo to 7th
(Aria and Star to 5th)
Rangorn to 2nd to 3rd
Raven to 6th
(Sean to 2nd)
(Henry to 4th)
Kyle  (top)

Summary XLI: Beyond the Ziggurat: Witchdoctor on the Offensive

Beginning with the party located at the Ziggurat, we setup camp for a
little while and cast some _Speak with Deads_ to try and find an entrance
to the Ziggurat.  We found that there was a star shaped pendant
(pentagram) on the witchdoctor that supposedly opened the blocks.  So we
spent a good deal of time finding all the real magic items on the loser
(he had some aura altering spell cast on virtually all of his posessions
so they appeared to be type 5 magic) so many dispels later we had his
holy symbol and the "key".  Around this time, Alegra felt that we were
being scryed upon and almost immediately after that feeling the blocks to
the Zig opened.  We took that as the cue to pack up and leave.  We
figured that if the witchdoctor was going to fight us, we would rather do
it in the forest instead of his Zig.

So, later that night some distance away, the witchdoctor attacked by
drinking potions of firebreathing, spell immuning himself, and throwing a
silence over the area.  It looked dangerous for a second (after Ceydric
had taken 60 points of fire damage) but our consistent damage won out.
He had lots of cash for a bugbear (probably just looted the Zig).
Anyway, we made it back to Middle and the downtime began.

When everyone got back in September, we headed out to the Zig once again
to see if we could finish the place (after the atonement, Lorm told Eli
and Xavier that he thought the treasure was easily recoverable).  Upon
returning after 8 months, the place was still pretty deserted so we went
in and found that it was a really wacky place.  First off, it wasn't very
big, most of the space was taken up by the large domed areas one on top
of the other (connected by a hole in the floor) with ramps connecting the
levels and hallways going to adjoining rooms.  On the bottom level, there
was lots of soot and also an altar of some sort with a door beyond.  Oh,
and I guess I should mention the Hell Hole in the center of that floor
where the "ancient one" sleeps.  Something having to do with the Prince
of Fury and the bugbear god, but that is another story.  On a mid level,
there were a series of seemingly glass boxes that had a couple of
skeletons in them.  One of the neat items we had recovered from the
bugbear witchdoctor was a circlet of golem control, keyed to two golems
in the Zig.  We did all our recon through their eyes and since they see
all spectrums, we soon realized that the glass boxes were actually walls
of force (permanent) that the golems could put things in and retreive.
The golems themselves were quite impressive.  Initially they were melded
into the stone in one of the walls of a lower floor.  They look like huge
gargoyles with beaks, spikes, four legs coming out of the corners of
their midsection, wings (I believe), glowing eyes, and rather deadly
looking hands.  We tried to use the golem to open the door behind the
altar but I guess we hadn't perfected the control; the golem missed the
doorknob and instead twisted the door open, inflicting massive structural
damage and just obliterating it.  Kinda neat :)

Anyway, so we recovered the gold and left, hoping to return to destroy
the ancient one in the pit at a slightly later date.  I personally like
the Zig so hopefully we decide to wipe out the creature, clean up the
place, and set up residence :)

>and I guess I should mention the Hell Hole in the center of that floor
>where the "ancient one" sleeps.  Something having to do with the >Prince
>of Fury and the bugbear god, but that is another story.

The Ancient One was "not to be angered" according to our speak with dead on
the first shaman.  It appears that Ludo's token of boulder was probably
directly responsible for the "angering" of the Ancient One in the Dark Pit.
Hee hee!

Zack (and Kyle) (top)

Summary XLII:  Tyner's Tower:  Disturbing and Other Answers

So next was Tyner's last.  As usual, "questions were met with
disturbing answers." (an augury we got once).  We got in through the
usual method and started experimenting with what turned out to be the
bedroom door.  As was guessed by other players, Tyner was well prepared
to protect his place from other mages (although with all the magic here,
I don't see how Tyner could have made the place within a human
lifespan).  The knock spell on the door caused a memory moss to hit Eli
and eat all of his spells in memory.  Kinda delayed the expedition :)

So we used the Chime instead and found beyond a plush arch-mage bedroom.
Everything was magical to some extent, from the carpet that is always
clean to the warm sheets etc.  We found four cool magic items which we
still need to identify amongst the other standard Tan-El know,
twisted bits of metal and, a Chaotic Evil (malignant) force in a bunch of
jars.  Appeared to be some sort of ooze.  Xavier tried to sprinkle holy
water on it but was attacked by some insubstantial mist that temporarily
drained two levels and enticed him to open the jars (Hmm...I wonder what
would happen if we dropped the jars into the hell hole, let the two bad
boys fight each other first :) ).  So anyway, we moved on to the door
that led to the next upper level.

Double doors, the chime caused them to disappear (danger!) so we went
in.  Some party members were down in the sitting room, another in a
circle of protection from evil, so this is just a fraction of the party
wandering around.  Immediately to the right, we find a room filled with
books, all intact, hundreds of them.  Some magic, some trapped, some
evil...should be interested to look through.  We then went upstairs to
the complete alchemical lab, with the Tan-El twist, however.  Underneath
a bunch of tubes and metal rods and bubbling flasks was a coffin with the
tubes etc. sticking out of it.  Sticking out of one side is a red clawed
hand, rather shriveled etc.  One force here was CE (the bubbling black
tar) and the coffin/hand was LE...both tormented and angry/malignant. Neat.

Upstairs was a metal sphere with other cylinders etc. connected to it.
We knew that a being of the positive material plane was around here
somewhere, apparently this was it (big danger runes everywhere), so we
went down to the main floor to continue onwards.  Unfortunately, the
doors reappeared, closed, and when we touch the handles of the door, they
disappear and it becomes a wall.  Essentially, we are trapped.

We might be able to use the last charges of the chime to get ourselves
out, but then all of this area would be forfeit.  I think we are going to
try and get a message to the other people and then spend time reading
books, drawing sketches, etc.

That is all for this semester, unless people are around to play after the


-Zack Hubert-

Edwin has qualified that the CE force was the coffin and the LE force was in
some cylinders nearby with a shriveled, clawed hand sticking out into a
glass box.

And let no one say that Tan-El doesn't have MUCH MORE than its fair share of
supernatural evil!


We finished the last game with Eli reading the personal journals of Tyner
in his pogoda-like building.  After reading for a little bit, Eli waged a
one man war against the vampire upstairs, which, on the third week of the
confrontation, was trapped in elemental earth through Eli's efforts.
That very same day, Theo sliced the devil in half, vanquishing another
great evil that was an enemy of the party.  Picking up the pieces of the
devil and the container holding the vampire, the party escaped their
prison with all of Tyner's texts intact.  We then stopped in Tyner's
bedchamber and picked up 5 more vampires that were defeated earlier and
left Tan-El.

Zack (top)

Summary XLIII:  Against the Ancient One in the Dark Pit and More Tan-El Stuff

Our next expedition was to eliminiate the "ancient one" so we went to the
Ziggurat and performed a ceremony that destroyed the evil altar there, as
well as dispelling the hell hole.  Eventually some of us might call the
Ziggurat home, now that it is rid of all dangerous evil.  I am sure if we
scraped off the soot and featured what remains of the hell hole (by
building some sort of dais around it) it might look like a neat place.

Forces of Evil: 0, Stone Soules: 8

Since we were in the mood to finish up some loose ends, we headed back to
Tan-El to check out some of the rooms that we hadn't been to before.
Eli's henchman sage Elendwhen recovered 4 good potions from the tower
wizard's alchemy lab.  We also recovered some personal belongings of the
tower wizard.  After that, we went to the "Golem Building Workshop" and
decided that the 4 Iron golems just kind of hanging around in the corners
of the room were REALLY bad news and decided to permanently leave that
place alone.  So then we went to the "electrical zoo", a kind of creepy
room with a watertank in the back corner of one of the walls and several
other "exhibits" with various creatures that discharged lightning.  We
had everything from Will-o-the-wisps to electric eels, trapped spirits to
a plant that zaps things.  And then there was the cage filled with sand
(flecked with blue) that was broken out of.  I have to credit the
original idea to Kyle but it is totally obvious now...this cage is where
the Behir originated.  Flecks of blue, it will be really easy to do a
test if those are behir scales, broken out of because the little baby
behir grew up after the city was destroyed.  Oh, and that high magic
Mithril lock...aren't we trying to find a mithril key for the behir?  I
think all the pieces to the puzzle are there.

When the zoo was created, the mages made it so the Behir couldn't wander
a certain distance from the lock, but as the Behir got bigger, that
hold on him weakened so he was able to travel further and further
distances, but he is still tied here.  These are all guesses, but I
am pretty sure they are on the right track.

Wandering around the courtyard so Eli could show the new party members
the wonders of the "whispering courtyard" caused quite a show.  The stone
golems said "The Gate is closed." when we approached, and when Eli tried
to roll a continual light ball past them, one of them stepped on it and
then used a breath weapon which double-slowed the whole party.  The other
golem went to the other side of us, and said that we would wait for
the proper authorities to arrive.  No one did, and the golems eventually
went back to their posts.  Scared us there for a second though, these are
obviously very powerful golems.  We have good reason to believe that they
are the guardians of where we want to eventually go, so I guess we will
have to figure something out...they do move 6" after all :)

After that, we killed a bunch of ogres that decided to try and live in
the castle and then headed back to Middle.  We have learned alot from
Tyner and have recovered a bunch of REALLY cool things.  Although only a
couple of characters know about some of the stuff for safety reasons.

Although I may have been disappointed that we were seemingly getting
nowhere, these last couple of game sessions have made huge progress in
some of the party's goals.  It is expected that the beginning of the next
semester the party will be travelling to the School of Wizardry and then
to the Academy, where we will identify a few things and get information on
the key, respectively.  After that...who knows what, but it will
definitely be interesting and fun.

Merry Christmas everyone and have a good break!

PS- Can you tell that I get in a better mood after finals as opposed to
right before them :)

-Zack Hubert- (top)

Summary XLIV: How to Destroy the Vampires Stored at the Ziggurat?

seven vampires in gaseous form incased in tar- how to destroy/ get rid of
them? There is also a devil in trapped in a jar.

method #10- throw them all into the pool of at the Shrine of
Nevron. " Hey, I know where a pool of holy water is..."

Player # 1: "Sheesh.  We'd need an awful lot of holy water, and at the price
of about 3000 gold per gallon, we could run up a little bit of a bill..."
Player # 2: "Hey I know where we could find a huge pool of holy water, and it's
Okay, we have to confess that Player #2 was ZACK!  Hee hee!

method #9 - Sell them to Wilbur's Fish and Critter's - 3000 gp a vampire!
(with proper documentation)

The documentation is the real problem.

"Hello, Wilbar's?  I have an offer for you.  You see I've got 7 vampires in
gaseous form that I've imbedded in elemental earth.  Yeah, do you think you
could take them off my hands?  They're a real drag and they keep telling me
to let them out.  How much?  Ooh, 3000 gp EACH!  What a price! [Yeah, right]
Oh, you mean I have to provide verification that they're actually vampires.
How do propose I do that??  How but if you just let your customers upgrade
from Spectre 3.1?  Maybe they can make do with documentation from that?"

method #8 - Sell them to Xothan's Enterprises. "we sell 7 vampires and a
devil for this really cool magic item. The item is delivered by 7 vampires
and devil."

Xavier:"Yes, we really do want the Hand of Vecna.  Do you think you could
manage the Wand of Orcus if we threw in the Token of Wooden Bridge?"
Xothan:"It would be made easier if Sir Faranyn were dead."
Xavier:"WHAT?  How do you figure?"

[on a side note, note the similarity of "Xavier" and "Xothan"  Coincidence?
I think not.]

method #7 - Go to the Negative Material Plane and destroy them on their
home plane.

"Yeah, we had to fight 1d6 vampires per round we were on the Neg Mat Plane,
but we took 'em.  Look, it was kind of a bummer that we ended up with Sahrak
as a Juju Zombie, but at least he's a Juju Zombie with a sense of humor!"

method #6 - Use the vampire tar for shipbuilding- novel way to introduce
the vampire to running water. "I constructed a ship with the tar, It
sails tomorrow ha ha ha."

method #5 - Use the vampire tar for constructing a roof- should get
plenty of sunshine...

"We usually found that our zero-level workers didn't last too long on this
job.  But since we let Malthazanus the Evil Cleric join our crew, we found
that Juju Zombies can tar a roof better than you'd think!  Of course,
Malthazanus also mumbled something about substituting the vampires with his
"special formula," too..."

method #4 - Release the gas from the tar and blow the vampires into a
kobold ventilization system- they have good ventilation...

method #3 - Drip them over the oceans of Telvar- one drip at a time...

"If take the total amount of water in the world, and consider it to be
roughly infinite, and we add..."

method #2 - Put them with the deathstealers and quickly shut the door.
Maybe they won't like each other.

Vampires: "Let us out.  We are loyal servants of evil."
Deathstealers: "Ooh, Kickball!!"

method #1 - Go to the adventuring reserve to destroy them- put the
vampires in a cart and carry big signs while traveling through the ambush
areas warning that any attack on the party will provoke the party to
release the vampires for the detriment of everyone in the area.

Signs read:  "Don't mind us!  We're just carrying 7 vampires."
"Vampires on board."  "Make a saving throw versus fear or flee in panic."
Raven can protest in the back:  "Hey!  Let that elemental earth out of
there!  I don't think it likes to be in confined spaces with those vampires.
Do you think if we used the Protection from Earth Elementals scroll we could
make them more comfortable?"

Finally method #0- The Tan-El solution- release the vampires near the
Behir so that the Behir is destroyed (Vampiric Behir!) Then release the
Deathstealers to deal with the vampires and whatever happened to the
Behir- Finally release Tellah to deal with the deathstealers or the
vampires depending on who won.

"Why have just one evil?  Summon bigger and better evils!  Spoil the
environment for millenia to come!"

"High traffic areas?  Keep 'em clean by summoning DeathStealers(tm).  These
guys will have your families running for their lives -- if they don't have
their souls removed and their bodies inhabited by a passing evil spirit first!"

"Why settle for just one DeathStealer(tm)?  If you have a small job, triple
the fiendish fun by summoning Three.  That way, there's no way just one
Abjure (registered trademark of another company, which we won't mention)
will work!  If you act now, we'll throw in a small army of Undead (featuring
Skeleton(tm), Ghoul(tm), Ghast(tm), and 1-6 Spectre overlords -- regularly a
value of over twelve souls!) and a handful of vassal lesser devils, all if
you just sign on the dotted line..."

Jack (methods) / Kyle (comments)  (top)

Summary XLV:  After Some Tan-El Answers

And don't forget the 40 or so new party magic items!  ;)
Yes, there are about that many, but only about 10 would you count as actual
items, the rest are "assets."

I think the semester has come to a successful and fulfilling conclusion.  If
you like closure, and you had the full scope of what was going on in Tan-El,
you would see that things are starting to wind together, though there will
always be mysteries...

More foes fall to the Stone Soules! :)

Alegra/Kyle (top)

Summary XLVI:  The Quest to Recover the Great Mithril Key


Here is a brief summary of the games on the 15th and 17th.  Note that much
of this informations is "Class 2 Classified" in Cromwell and that, as
always, publishing on the list should not be construed that we are being
loose with our lips...

Mission:  Recover the Great Mithril Key requested by the Behir before he
will leave the city.  We believe that the GMK is the key to the box in the
"Electrical Zoo" of the Castle from which the Behir escaped, presumably some
time after Tan-El fell.  Probably the Behir is still tied to the box and
cannot be gone for too long from the vacinity.  Once we have the key we will
explore what the results of two actions would be :  1.  Unlocking the box;
2.  Destroying the lock and key together.  We have not committed to
releasing the Behir, because we are aware that he is an evil creature, but
we will have to gauge the risks when we come to that.  So, for now we must
find the Key.

Information on the Key was in the possession of the Regency of Cromwell.  In
order to request the Classified information, we arranged to travel to the

Paduka, a good thief who recovered the GMK long ago, was killed by cultists
who worshipped the dark God of Ignorance.  Since Paduka knew the key to be a
"Key to free a great evil,"  the Cultists assumed it was THE Great Evil.  At
a Temple in the Mountains of Cromwell (actually in Shabrund territory), the
evil solar-like creature who was the main servant of the God of Ignorance
and Darkness, is imprisoned.  The Cultists travelled there, but were killed
by the Mountain Giant Graruug the Cunning, who had made the Temple the HQ of
his "empire."

Goals:  Kill Graruug (allows us to avoid salvage from Dwarves)
        Recover the GMK (duh)
        Recover the treasure of the evil ones (thought to be 333 5000-50000
GP gems, which would allow Cromwell to make the announcement that they had
been recovered and thereby avoid some powerful Reserve party from
discovering the slight hints of the Treasure's whereabouts and accidentally
freeing the Dark Servant -- the chances of our power being sufficient to
free the DS is very slight -- but significant;  as a boon, we would receive
25-50% of this amount based on whether we killed Graruug or otherwise
achieved goals).
        Recover a book of Rituals of the Dark One, which Orimaxes is very
interested in for his own reasons (to do with the Cult of the Black Flame
who took one of his children, and who were able to harness the Dark One's
powers);  As a boon, it is possible that Zardos/Tellah used a Ritual of the
Dark One to make the evil gods he made deals with ignorant of the deals he
had made with other.  If the Ritual can be undone, then probably Zardos
would be entirely destroyed by the wrath of the gods who had been duped by him.

What we did:  Travelled to the Academy
Went to Hook Hill, where we met up with our guide, Warwick.  We then
travelled to the Dwarven Settlement at the Dwarven Vale, which had
information on Graruug and gave a us a peaceful place to stop.
(We talked to Laird Gwalar).  The Vale is 20-30 mi. to the Temple.
As far as everyone except Warwick is concerned, we are there solely to kill

Things we fought:
Some zombies in the Dim Forest
A clan of Noblink
Some gnolls

A disturbing note:
A day before reaching the Dwarven settlement, Ceydric was scryed on.  It
could have been from a Cromwellian official, but it could also have been an
enemy.  We do not know at the moment.

So:  we would like to hear questions from Warwick if applicable;  Edwin will
also fill you in as necessary.


Kyle (Alegra)  (top)

Summary XLVII:  The Bird Men, or, Rangorn Learns to Fly

My first attempt at this, so please be kind:

Using the directions given by the dwarves, the party traveled along the
roads, choosing the path at each fork that led more toward the indicated
direction.  After several days of travel, we came across the path of several
giants but decided to stick to the road rather than move at the astounding
speed of 1 mile per day.  We later encountered a "totem," or post of skulls
(identified by Warwick to be hobgoblin primitives).  Deciding to follow the
path rather than skirt the territory (ownership unknown at the time), we
traveled until we spotted a high plateau less than a mile off.

Ceydric scouted the top of the plateau via -Fly- and -Invisibility- spells
and discovered a large building.  A large bird, (wingspan 25') flew out of
the building.  Ceydric peered through the "doorway" and spotted several
other bird-things (they were red and blue- striking colors, not dull).  One
of the birds circled in his general direction, and he turned around and
headed back toward the remainder of the party. The bird was carrying a
spearlike object in its claws.  Ominously, the bird followed for a distance,
gaining altitude but staying directly over Ceydric.  Suspecting the bird
would dive-bomb him, he called out in Human, "Hello!"  The bird turned
around and headed back toward the plateau.  A few hours later Eli and Alegra
flew up to the top of the plateau in what they hoped was a non-threatening
manner.  One of birds spoke hesitant Human, but Alegra cast -Speak with
Birds- which greatly aided communication.  (This was done repeatedly after
this point)

We had heard about this particular tribe of birdmen from the Cromwellians,
who have been trying to establish greater relations with them.  The birdmen
were willing to help us, but only if we helped them first.  About six months
earlier, a family of four large birdlike things moved into a nearby valley
and began destroying the local wildlife.  When the birdmen retaliated with a
summoned air elemental, the elemental was banished by the two larger ones
(parents, we assume) and the smaller two defeated the birdmen who had
summoned the elemental.  Our job was to take them out.  Being generally
bloodthirsty (and perhaps hopelessly lost, or at least unable to find Groorg
without help) Alegra and Eli quickly agreed.  Air elementals are a pushover
in Telvar, right?  But party confidence was high (and still is).

We decided to travel quickly and not pay all that much attention to stealth,
as we WERE trying to instigate an encounter.  When Nathan reported that the
bird-like things (identified by Eli as griffons, in the Telvar Bestiary),
the party began defensive preparations (prayers, aids, held spells, fly,
etc.).  The birds popped into view.  They had split into pairs, one large
and one small in each, and were coming from opposite sides.

Note: The next actions took place within 15 segments!

Warwick and Raven (Rangorn whiffed as usual) fired and hit them repeatedly--
rather impressive damage actually.  But the griffons were much tougher than
that, and quickly closed, moving from short range to point-blank in a
fraction of a segment.

The first large one (40' wingspan) was simultaneously blinded by Alegra and
polymorphed by Eli, (incredibly) failing both its saving throws completely,
turning into a blind pig, and crashing into the ground suffering 70 points
of damage and a 7 times wound. Yuck. Ceydric dove out of the way just in
time to avoid being smacked in the face by the airborne pig moving at 60
mph. An ignominous end.

One of the small ones (merely 25' wingspan) went for Alegra and hit with
only one claw, and was unable to pick her off the ground, though she was
knocked down.

The other pair emerged and discovered 4 possible targets: Ceydric, Theo,
Rangorn, and Xavier (Sahrak had already hit the dirt).  They apparently
chose based on size.

The small one went for unlucky Xavier, and smashed him with both claws,
scooping him up into the sky.  The large one hit the far less fortunate
Rangorn, despite being instantly blinded by a -Continual Light-.  He missed
with the mauling beak hit (which would have killed him instantly), but
scooped him up before he could fire (miss) a second time.  Rangorn dropped
his bow safely an instant before being given a ride.  He had just enough
time to see Raven fire at the griffon from behind before speeding off with

Ceydric (flying) took off after Rangorn, and Eli after Xavier.  Xavier hung
on until the bird tried to rend him, knocking him to a single hit point and
dropping him from a height of 70 feet (or more).  At the same instant, the
other griffon unexpectedly dropped Rangorn, who rapidly but unsuccessfully
tried to learn how to fly, and use air currents (20 on the check).  Now Eli
had a big problem.  Rangorn would go splat in 2 segments, Xavier in one.
Who to cast -Feather Fall- on?  Well, the cleric can heal, and maybe Ceydric
can do something... bye Rangorn.

Xavier floated down safely, though it took him awhile to rejoin the party.
But the greatest series of rolls was yet to come.

Rangorn shot through the air "about 150 feet" from Ceydric.  Ceydric was
covering about 75 feet a segment.  He BARELY made it in time to "catch" the
falling Rangorn.  First there impact damage:  35 points, leaving Rangorn
unconscious and battered, Ceydric with smashed armor.  Then Ceydric managed
to catch the 240 lb Rangorn and stop his power dive. But Rangorn was at -2
hp with a triple wound (the first a Stone Soules member has ever received)
and that only because of the aid spell beforehand, and hundreds of yards
from the party's healers.  Ceydric attempted to skim the ground but for once
failed and dragged Rangorn across some rocks, knocking him to -6 hp.  Uh oh.

Meanwhile, Deirdre had successfully webbed the remaining griffon, and he
Theo exchanged blows before Theo finally beat it into the ground huge damage
and a triple wound.

Alegra, Star, and Raven all converged on Rangorn, who was at -9 due to the
wound.  With seconds to go, Star dropped a -Death's Door- on him, and Raven
forced a potion of extra-healing down his throat.  Finally, Alegra, Ceydric
and Star helped to heal him.  Although Ceydric had made his healing check,
Rangorn fell almost to 1D.  But due to the potion, healing, aid spell, and
quick reactions by Ceydric, he managed to reach 3 real hp at the end of the
battle.  He did suffer permanent damage, but quite mild as that goes: a loss
of 2 hp.

Finally, Eli chased down the griffon that had dropped Xavier and shot it to
death with LIMM.  Eli was quite pleased at having thrashed two out of three
(with some timely help from Alegra and theoretically Xavier), and collected
claws, beaks and feathers from the bodies.

Fortunately Rangorn had not dropped to 1D and needed only two days of
bedrest to recover.  The party surprised and thrashed a group of four ogres
while he snoozed soundly the second night.  We were unable to extract any
information from them, as we had NO languages in common with the surviving
ogre.  Raven and Warwick promptly shot him.

The ogre was confused for an instant, then died from the 72 points of damage.

The party then decided to hunt the one escaping griffon (that had taken
Rangorn).  After several fruitless conversations with some woodland animals,
we learned that sparrows are arrogant but generally useless, squirrels have
no clue, there was some other uninformed gray ground bird, and finally that
ravens although untrustworthy are the way to go.  Following the raven's
directions, we discovered a camouflaged cave and hacked our way in.  There
we discovered four bodies of Realmish soldiers.  One of the scimitars was
still quite shiny, and Rangorn picked it up to replace his damaged bastard
sword (damaged when he slammed into Ceydric at high velocity).  There was
also a belt with several obviously valuable jewels on it.  We later found
exact number values from the dwarves. I don't recall what they were right now.

Ceydric decided to scout the hole at the top, where we suspected the
griffons traditionally entered the cave.  Ceydric turned around and hidden a
large "niche" in the wall was the final griffon cowering there.  Ceydric
yelled "Griffon!" and charged.  No one else could get up there except
Sahrak, who climbed, and the flying Eli.

Ceydric fought a close fight, both of them taking tremendous damage.
Sahrak's -Color Spray- proved ineffective, so he charged and actually HIT
the griffon with his short sword, doing ACTUAL DAMAGE.  Ludo (my roll of
course) meanwhile FAILED a climb walls check and fell on his behind
suffering 2 points of damage.  Finally Eli ended the contest by polymorphing
it into a pig again.  Realizing it would expand and kill Ceydric in such a
closed niche, Ceydric (eventually) pushed the pig off the cliff to its
death.  After Eli picked the body clean, an enraged Rangorn tore it to
shreds as best he could.

The party returned to the birdmen village, who were at first sort of distant
until Ceydric announced that he represented the Cromwellian government.
Then they broke out into smiles and were warm and appreciative.  They also
gave us 12 gems, one of which they badly underestimated the value.  We paid
salvage tax to the dwarves and managed to properly store the griffon parts.
We discovered that the scimitar Rangorn picked up was a weapon of quality,
+1 to hit and damage.  We repaired Ceydric's armor, Rangorn's armor, and the
scimitar.  The dwarves, by the way, took only 16 DAYS to repair Ceydric's
armor from the point of totally demolished (half the minimum time it takes
Weber back home).

Now we have two weeks, and we have more options to discuss.

What did we learn from this?  Rangorn learned that he doesn't like big birds
that scoop people up in their claws.  But more importantly, we learned from
the birdmen the exact location of Groorg's campsite, and a back entrance to
it (it is six miles north-northwest of the birdmen encampment).

(That was the first entry.  Hope it was interesting, not TOO long,
relatively complete and informative!  Maybe even funny?)

Joel/Rangorn (the restored)

"Uh, Ceydric, is this bad?"
-The Ludo Line (top)

Summary XLVIII:  Groorg the Cunning Is Taken Down a Notch

The Final Score:

Groorg:  0
Stone Soules:  1

News at 11.

Kyle (top)

Summary XLIX:  The Empire of Groorg Falls

That's right!  Coming up at eleven...


"I laughed.  I cried.  I whimpered.  I ducked.  I realized I was getting too
involved and stopped."


This week we played two games (Friday and Saturday nights) on our quest to
kill Groorg, recover the cash, and find the mithril key.  Game time is 21
Sept 2180 - 11 Oct 2180.

We returned from the Dwarven Vale and went to the Aarokokra lair where
Alegra was met by the shaman and our guide, Tchoh-meh, was assigned to us,
to bring us to a hidden valley very close to Groorg's lair (On the way to
the bird-man lair, we ran into Onyx the artisan stone giant and her child,
who knew little of Groorg that we didn't already know)

Tchoh-meh led us onward.  We were dressed in dark robes as dark cultist
clerics.  A couple of hill giants tried to join us against Groorg, because
they wanted to join the returning evil clerics.  Ludo spotted an invisible
large figure behind us.  The hill giants were killed and the invisible hill
giant as well.  We attempted to track the giants and a couple of noblink
tipped a rock slide on us which miraculously ended in no one getting
permanently damaged, though some equipment was scuffed.  Ceydric pursued the
noblink and their witchdoctor, flying, and killed them trivially.  We then
pushed on through the night to make it as far as possible through their line
of ambushes as possible.  We ran into a couple of hill giants who spoke to
us, as if expecting we were replacement, "Hey guys!"  Then we killed them
and moved on as well, covering our trail and laying a false one as we headed
up an old goat trail over a hill and down into the hidden valley.

Aerial scouting revealed the temple, a road leading down to the forest where
many humanoids and giants were camped, a blind canyon behind the temple, and
a grassy meadow adjoining the canyon.  More surveillance determined that
there were many caves in the blind canyon which might form a back door to
the temple, since no one believed that evil clerics would have no escape
route.  So, we hitched up and climbed over a mountain at night into the
blind canyon and caves.  We camped and prepared to enter a particular cave.
We climbed down into that cave and eventually came to a passageway.  Then,
we could go no further because a stone golem barred the way.  We tried
several methods for tricking the stone golem, including various sneak plans
and dispels, but a wall beyond the golem (who jumped out of the side wall)
invisibly barred our way.  Finally, we prepared and Theo used his short
sword with Oil of Sharpness +5, killed the stone golem and we advanced
onward.  We found a couple of unholy water fonts, and some side passages.
Exploring revealed noise upstairs.  Ludo determined gonging and scraping and
metal sounds upstairs.  We thought that the golem killing might have
resulted in an alarm upstairs, but we expected they would expect an attack
from above.  We sent Ludo to investigate.

Ludo sneaked past the gnoll formation at the top of the stairs, as well as
the various noblink.  There were not that many creatures on that level, but
it was quite large.  He wandered around (invisibly) and almost walked into
the largest troll he'd ever seen (about 10X normal size, wearing an armored
jacket and looking kind of mean) who smelled him and he retreated.
Eventually, the troll became uninterested and went back into his garbage
heap.  Ludo went around and saw 2 hill giants and 2 dogs, so he avoided that
room.  He went to the top level, which was filled with folks at the main
doors ready to deliver death to anyone who got through.  The room was filled
(a huge room!) with gnolls and noblink, many noblink carrying explosives and
fuses.  Groorg was not here.  Ludo continued to explore downstair.  At this
point, he found Groorg, who after a few moments knew he was there, and
through a bag of white goo at him, so he was visible.  Ludo used the
dimension door token to get back to the stairs down (though he had also had
the giant token ready but he was unable to use it in time).  He was shot at
and then fell down the stairs and ran back to the party.

The alarm was raised upstairs.  The party decided it was time to attack,
since they were clearly not ready for an attack downstairs yet. Some of the
gnolls thought it was the "glowy things" coming out of the basement but when
some shaman magic missiled Ceydric's sword it became obvious that it was
"invaders."  We tried to get to the top.  A couple of rocks were dropped on
us, even an explosive on Ceydric.  Then, Eli used his immobile ring Wall of
Fire.  The Noblink standing with explosives and acid ready were immediately
consumed and delivered damage in a huge radius.  Then, two hill giants were
trapped inside the ring and Groorg out but most everything else was dead.
Some ogres were seen dimly through the flames.  While trying to get clear of
the stairs, Rangorn ran into more of his bad luck and was hit by a cask of
highly corrosive acid from Groorg and went down.  Groorg then used his
domination ability on us, but only Xavier was turned.  He used a command on
Ceydric and Theo, until the domination was stopped.  We healed him, the hill
giants were felled, and everyone broke upstairs.  Groorg came charging
through the wall of fire*.  After an amazing targetted shot from Warwick,
several Lightning bolts from Alegra, several Magic missiles (and the all
important Slow) from Eli, and several other bowshots and hits from Raven,
Ceydric, Theo, etc. Groorg was in BAD shape.  He even missed Ceydric both
times with his maul.  (Groorg was in full (magical?) plate as well and
obviously had something that absorbed the first couple of magic missiles
that hit him).  He tried to run out through the flames and then Alegra
Bolted him again and he fell.  The Wall was dispelled and we made sure
Groorg was dead.  We killed the group of trolls that attacked us, but the
noblink and gnolls all ran away from us.  We secured the main doors after
they had run away and mopped up the main rooms.  Then, we regrouped at
Groorg's body and considered our options, our secondary objective complete.

*There is some suspicion that since Groorg's actions were not completely
consistent with one known as the Cunning, that the giant we killed could be
an impostor.  Certainly not a hill giant, the possibility remains that it is
actually some other kind of giant in the armor.  Circumstantially, we have
evidence against this, but it is possible Groorg might have fled rather than
fight us.

**Unfortunately, the inability to use divination spells of any kind on this
area (detect anything, find anything, etc.) makes the searching difficult.
This could be due to the HUGE symbol on the roof of the temple, perhaps
designed for just that purpose.  The temple is also still consecrated evil
ground and must be desecrated.

Kyle/Alegra  (top)

Summary L:  Fallout from the Death of Groorg

Here's a very brief summary.  Since we didn't do a whole lot that requires
much description, it will be pretty easy:

1.  Searched the areas of the temple where Groorg's men went.  Found lots of
interesting items and most importantly the Mithril Key.  Rangorn would
probably want us to detail his daring escapades fighting wolves here, but we

2.  Rescued an adventurer dwarf, recently captured.  Later we found his
chain mail of weightlessness (along with another suit that we found).  Lots
of other cool treasure.

3.  Rescued two Realmish privates who had been tortured.  We healed them.
They were from the anti-Drake, anti-Cromwell side, but we didn't really care.

4.  Explored the catacombs below the temple where the "glowy things" were.
The halfling-size prints clued us in that they may be will-o-wisps, and we
later encountered two of them.  We tried to track their treasure down, since
two will-o-wisps could very well be hiding over the gems.  With that much
cash, perhaps even will-o-wisps could share.

The catacombs contained lots of burial niches and sarcophagi.  Some had been
cleaned out by Groorg's men.  Some had been left alone.  A gelatinous cube
tried to eat Ceydric.  We killed it.  A tentacled monster from a pool tried
to grab Ceydric.  We got him loose.

Later, we went back to where a sarcophagus had been pried open and fought a
weak mummy.  It was destroyed but nothing interesting was found in its
sarcophagus (though we should check out his mace for magic since it still
looked in good shape).

A room full of six sarcophagi was left intact, along with other burial
niches.  Another potential place for the gems.  Last place we want to look
but might have to:  Under/around the Altar.  Could "suck."



One of the prisoners we just rescued was Teldral the Dwarf, a fighter of
low level that was interested in watching the workings of our party.
During the encounter with the mummy, he did relatively little, passing
a couple of items between members and not much more.  The following email
is entirely related to a discussion between Eli (the only person able to
speak dwarven) and Teldral.

<In Character>

After speaking with Teldral for around an hour or so, Eli returns to the
party with Teldral close behind and shares the following information.

" to best present this material.  It seems that Teldral would
like to help us, the Stone Soules, but the degree to which he helps is
dependent upon our reaction to him.  He is not comfortable with the
current arrangement, that is, following the party around and getting into
dangerous situations without sharing reward or motivation.  If it is
decided by the party that we do not wish Teldral to assist us, he would
prefer to be left behind with the other prisoners as opposed to
endangering himself needlessly.  He would leave with no hard feelings
towards the party, and would have only lost 4 magic items and 12k gold."

"Teldral is intelligent enough to pick out that we are searching for
something, based no doubt on our careful scrutinization of every stone
and block we have come upon since our arrival here.  Therefore, he
presents option 2 as a means of benefitting all those concerned.  He has
some skill as a thief, combining this with his dwarven knowledge and
proficiency in engineering, he is a very capable person for finding
secret compartments in this complex(more so than Ludo in dealing with
stonework secrets).  He could agree to a short term contract of
assisting the party in locating 'the treasure' for the fee of the return
of all his equipment and a pre-arranged sum of gold.  His equipment
includes that which we have already returned to him AND 3 potions
(healing, heroism, invulnerability) and a ring of protection.  The amount
of money would have to at least match the amount lost but with the
perceived danger he would prefer something on the order of 20k."

"Teldral has also made it clear that he is interested in joining the
Stone Soules for the duration which they plan to adventure (somewhere
around 10 years), if several terms could be agreed to.  He would ask that
all his equipment be returned to him, however, if he were to join he
would use the potions to the party's benefit whenever possible.  He would
also like a decently large personal allotment of wealth, as he is used to
living well.  He is aware of the 6-month core membership system and the
triumverate of leaders, but has made it clear that any suicidal mission
he will abort before forcing himself to die just because the vote was
against him.  I would like to take the moment to point out that Teldral
is not fully aware of our adventuring style (very cautious) and thus I
think this final note irrelevant, but for completeness it is mentioned
here.  It was at this point, that Teldral confided in me the truth of his
background and which I think the party will consider him to be a very
useful addition indeed."

"His name is not Teldral.  It is X (Edwin has it at home and couldn't
remember it at the time of this writing).  He has been adventuring for 60
years and is an influential member of the dwarven political community,
serving as arbiter and dignitary between the clans.  He is a warrior of
prestige among the dwarven peoples, an honor that is equivalent to that
bestowed upon a human warrior when they have earned their name (7-9th
level).  He is also skilled as a master thief, enabling him to adventure
alone, succesfully clearing many ruins in these dwarven hills and through
his ingenuity single-handedly defeating a tribe of hill giants.  Were
he to be accepted among our ranks, he could easily learn more of our
common language to communicate with us all.  It is his mixture of
talents that he would bring to the Stone Soules but he requires a few
things of us."

"The individual allotment is an important thing for him, and I believe,
an important thing for each of us.  Xavier and Alegra have plans for the
telescope, which, although the party's initial outlay of tremendous
amounts of money grants each member partial ownership, the workings of
the telescope will be entirely left to those two in retirement.  Thus,
they will need a personal share to build the structures to house the
scope and to start the community there.  Theo has shown interest in
building a structure and joining Faranyn in Middle with some position of
leadership among the barony guard.  I would like to build a residence at
the Ziggurat; Raven seek his original form.  We all have personal goals
that shouldn't be funded by the party, thus it seems that Teldral's
request for a personal allotment is something each of us desires anyway."

"The second request from Teldral is perhaps more difficult.  In order to
help locate what we are looking for, he requires some details on the form
of the treasure.  We all know this is Type-2 classified information by
the Cromwellian government and thus the decision for its disbursement is
partially in the hands of Warwick, as the official representative of said
government.  To what extent Teldral may be informed is still a party
decision however, we are in the field and not within the political reins
of Cromwell.  The success of our mission could depend on the assistance
of this dwarf and what detail we give to him.  I would ask that the party
invest some trust within the dwarf, a hero among his peoples, so that our
own quest does not fail.  He has offered to place his life in line with
what we know to be very hideous traps, I believe he deserves to know for
what reason his life is at risk and to what he stands to gain.  It would
be nice to also give him the details for why we are pressed for time, and
why, if a Realmish Shock Troop appears, that they aren't necessarily a
friend.  Teldral has assured me his only allegiance is to the dwarven
people, and thus has no ties to Cromwell or the Realm, but confusion at a
moment of crisis could endanger the success of our mission.  This is
something we should perhaps discuss more without the presence of Teldral
(he is standing by Eli at the moment)."

"What are people's feelings towards the offers he has made?"

</In Character>

More detail was presented at dinner last night (as well as several
questions I haven't addressed here answered), but this is all I have time
for at the moment.  Mark and Joey's input through email is very important
here as we do not wish to waste the first hour of the mega-game session
discussing party politics.  I have been told Kyle might be at dinner
tonight so he can present his ideas then.  At the moment, the polling is
as follows:

Eli-Greatest proponent of Teldral's admission, seeks all Type-2
information revealed to T

Ceydric-Agrees that Teldral should be allowed to join, but that only VERY
basic information be revealed (enough that the treasure can be found, but
nothing more)

Raven-Believes Teldral to be what he claims to be, and thus would like to
see him join the party.  Says he will keep an eye on his activities for

Rangorn-Agrees with Raven, "He is a dwarf..."

Xavier-More of a hardliner like Ceydric, believing in the control of
government in this situation (yes, he is a worshipper of a CG religion :) )

Theo-"Yeah, sure, whatever."  Edwin can extrapolate here.

That is the initial opinions, correct me if you are represented incorrectly.

-Zack Hubert-  (top)

Summary LI:  What Comes of Being in Possession of a Dark Temple at the End of the Day

Joel will probably be writing the summary soon, but here are some brief
"teasers" for the game:

1.  It's amazing how little can be accomplished from about 9 hours of effort.
2.  Non-divinable areas are no fun.
3.  Shocktroopers are no fun.
4.  Cold environments, that even the most powerful of clerics of the weather
God couldn't deal with, are no fun.
5.  Puzzles that make no sense to an outside observer are no fun.
6.  I think it all boils down to the fact that evil isn't really any fun.

The game featured:
1.  Fun with Numerology!  The mathematics!  The supposition!
2.  Fun with Astrology!  The terror!  The suspense!
3.  Fun with Speak with Dead!  The humor!  The cunning!

fun fun fun fun fun...

This game was sponsored by the word FRUSTRATION...

Kyle (top)


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