Front row, left to right: Kyle, Edwin, Katherine.
Second row: Joel, Aaron, Al, David Chappell, Zack, Sean, Rhonda.
Back row(s): Andy, Mark, Dean (half hidden), Chris, David Bjorlin (mostly hidden), Ashley, Keith, Scott, Kathryn, Joey, Jeff, Alan.
The Seventh Telvar Open
Summary: The Mountain of Thunder.
21 July 2001 / 8 December 2191 B.Y.
When an artifact is threatened with annihilation, it is said that even the Fates may intervene.
In 2191, deep in the Adventuring Reserve (which lies deep within the Imperial Realm), sits the Mountain of Thunder. It gets its name from the peak, which is a massive volcano that spews acid and gas every thirty seconds, on cue, boiling violently up into the sky. The Mountain is worshipped by troglodytes as a sign of their demonic gods, and they frequently throw sacrifices (and occasionally honored fallen comrades) into the depths from a platform in the interior. They have a huge Temple complex and city surrounding the Mountain.
Group 1: The Adventurers
The Quilting Club was a powerful adventuring party of five female members with five henchmen, adventuring deep in the Reserve these twenty years. Even most of the henchmen have stood through ten years or more of adventuring. They have been very successful in their travels, accumulating wealth and knowledge (a valued commodity in the Reserve!) through the years. Though they endured the disdain of some groups of male adventurers, they turned this scorn on its head with their own humorous take on a party name. And with their confidence, skill, and love of the causes of Good, the Club encountered all manner of evil over their time in the Reserve.
The Quilting Club:
Ferndale Allie, woodsman level 10, female human, played by Kyle MacLea
Bet Kubrik, cleric of Aurora level 4, female human, henchman to Ferndale
Lynn Scee, thief level 12, female human, played by Katherine Anderson
Steve Quince, fighter level 4, male human, henchman to Lynn
Arrisa Black, fighter level 9, female half-orc, played by David Bjorlin
Rich Farrell, fighter level 6, male half-orc and henchman to Arrisa, played by
Kara Lywell, cleric of Kor level 11, female human
Lub'k Razorhide, fighter level 5, male hobgoblin, played by Alan Jones
Maris Oture, mage level 10, female human
Sarah Ford Cooper, fighter level 1 // split mage level 5, female human,
henchman to Maris, played by Zack Hubert
It actually seemed too simple how they came upon the artifact, as if Fate might have delivered it into their hands. The artifact, one of the great evils of Telvar, was recovered by the Quilting Club while exploring an ancient abandoned fortress, in a battle with an imp, guarding the dead body of its once master (and previous possessor of the artifact). Arrisa quickly dispatched the Imp and the object, clearly evil-feeling even to behold, was carefully taken home. This hideously evil object was known as the Ruby Goblet of Fey'ed, which glowed and pulsed with its own blood red light. Research revealed that this relic of the Third Age could be used by its bearer to drain the very life-blood out of surrounding creatures and feed a portion of this life-force to the bearer. Though the power of the artifact was unquestionable, or perhaps because of this, it was determined that the Goblet must be destroyed.
Counard the sage determined that the Goblet could be destroyed by tossing it into the mouth of the Mountain of Thunder. Thus the adventurers set out to battle their way, or better yet, sneak their way, through the troglodyte city to the great temple of the troglodytes at the Mountain. At the center of the Mountain, Counard determined that the troglodytes had some method of delivering sacrifices to the volcano. This ledge was the destination of the Quilting Club in a quick strike to destroy the Ruby Goblet and escape before the troglodytes were any the wiser.
The party traveled to the troglodytes' city and with the aid of Maris's spells infiltrated it and approached the highest temple without detection. When the party reached the Temple entrance, they were set upon by incredibly powerful guardian statues, a quartet of Bodaks, who sounded an alarm. These are statues summoned from the lower plans that kill with a glance, and failing a victim's resistance, remove the its soul completely. Although the party's leaders were so powerful they survived the effect (being of name-level and beyond), one of the party henchmen, Lynn's henchman Steve, was struck dead and became a soulless undead being. Thinking quickly, the party threw up an Anti-Magic Field, which destroyed all the party's potions and scrolls, but saved the remainder of the party from a similar fate. In the ensuing battle, both Fern's cleric henchman Bet and the main party cleric, Kara (an 11th level cleric of Kor!), were killed. Not only the clerics were killed, however. The main party magic-user, Maris, whose spells had been key to the party's access to the great Temple, had also been felled in the battle. And worse still, the rest of the company was beaten and haggard, feeling like Fate had once again turned a hand, this time against them. Without their main spell support, and with the sudden realization that the alarm had sounded behind them, the Quilting Club dragged its fallen members up to the main doors of the Temple, which Ferndale opened with the party's Chime of Opening, and they advanced through it. Lynn, the party thief, dropped her weapons and threw a strange binding magic known as a Warding Seal upon the door. The Seal was capable of holding the door for exactly eight hours. Because the party needed to get its fallen away to be Raised, they knew that they only had eight hours in which to accomplish their task. Useful magic items were removed from the bodies of their comrades and the party Bag of Holding, containing useful equipment and significant treasure, was emptied onto the floor. The bodies were placed in the Bag of Holding and the party lingered to pick up what treasure and equipment it would need from the floor.
The party found itself in a dark cavernous room. To the left was a vast, complex, mural. To the right was a large troglodyte statue holding a pot in each hand. As the party observed three corridors stretching forward into the darkness, a mysterious flight of bats arrived in the room from one of these corridors and roosted about the ceiling. The party decided to press on, not knowing what resistance it might find inside.
The Quilting Club chose the central corridor. Lynn scouted ahead, with her abilities to turn herself Invisible and to Blink. There were several encounters with troglodytes harrying the party with darts and then disappearing. Lynn killed a couple with her stealth abilities and Arrisa as well with her thrown (magically returning) hammer and other weaponry. Finally, Lynn managed to injure one to near-death, which the party managed to save. Though Ferndale's natural prejudice against the trustworthiness of Underdark creatures and trogs in particular was a constant grumble, she restrained herself from killing it. This was fortunate, as the party discovered that it was one of those rare trogs that could actually speak another language (in this case Dwarven). Fern and Sarah could both speak with the critter in Dwarven and the party questioned it, dragging it back along the corridors to the main room. It translated some writings on the walls (the central corridor seemed to mean 'The Living Caves' or something like it. One of the other corridors seemed to indicates 'The Dead Caves.' The other one was a mystery.
The troglodyte was questioned for several minutes by the Quilting Club. The party was particularly interested in finding out where the priests of the Temple took their sacrifices. After many questions, internal debate, some quick translations and a lot of threats and scimitar-poking by Fern, the trog told the party that the wall with the mural on it contained a secret door through which the bodies for sacrifice were dragged after being killed in front of the statue. However, no blood trail led in this direction. Rather, it led into the caves. At this point, the party tied the trog to the statue while the mural wall was checked for secret doorways and levers. However, Lynn and the others managed to find nothing. Though nothing significant resulted, the bats returned to the room and roosted above Lynn while she worked. And while Arrisa and Fern stood guard, a stealthy troglodyte used a quick dart attack to kill off the troglodyte 'turn-coat.' There would be no more help from him.
At this point, when the searching proved fruitless, the party considered its options. It appeared that any of the Quilting Club's possible courses of action had serious weaknesses and the time limit weighed on each of its members heavily. Sarah suggested the use of the Chime of Opening to open the secret door. Though Fern could see that it might be useful, she was concerned that the Chime might be needed later to access the place of sacrifice and was leery of using it for that reason. Also, Sarah pointed out that more than one charge might be needed to open difficult doors, and only a few charges remained. However, Arrisa and Lynn were both in favor of using it, so Fern heeded their counsel and removed the Chime from its protective case. She held the Chime oriented carefully before her, making sure that the mural wall would be the closest doorway. And she loudly beat the Chime.
Though the Chime would have opened the mural wall if a door had been in the wall, the wall failed to open upon the gong of the Chime. Instead, the main doorway to the Temple, where the Warding Seal stood, shook slightly but held. The Quilting Club's eyes were suddenly drawn to this doorway and the party sweated a moment before they realized that the Seal had held.
The party had been had.
The party then turned with one resolve, put away magic items and drew weaponry, and faced the three cave entrances. Eventually through a discussion by Sarah and Lynn, the party chose the left-hand corridor to pursue. Rich and Lub'k concurred. It was thought that the 'Dead Caves' might lead us to the place where the troglodytes cremated or sacrificed their dead to the Mountain. The party stuck to the left wall and neatly dealt with strafing dart fire from occasional troglodytes off the path (largely through the use of Arrisa's and Ferndale's large shields. The party emerged into a round room from which four paths converged and one path exited the far side. At the path out, a bricked-up passageway dominated the bottom of an immense staircase leading up to the left and a passage that continued to the right.
The party advanced, and with a brief examination of a cryptic engraving which seemed appropriate, chose the stairway up. At the top, the party encountered a room full of sand. In the center of the sand, a small pedestal stood with a silver globe hovering above it, with a cloudy pattern moving across its surface. Beside the pedestal, a winding spiral staircase rose, its steps bathed in sunlight from a hole in the mountain far above. The party had found their way out.
But there was no obvious chasm or place of sacrifice here. There were weird ancient carvings in a unknown language and the place had the feel of a ritually constructed locale. But nothing stuck out. Eventually, it appeared that the sand was terribly dusty-looking (perhaps cremated remains?) and might represent a defense of some kind of the exit. The party wasn't really sure if it would only activate if someone tried to ENTER from the stairway, or if the defense would be continuously active. Lacking things to try, Lynn advanced a short way onto the sand, and threw a platinum piece at the globe.
And she missed.
The second time, though, she hit. And the globe flashed red before returning to its usual grey color. At the same time, the defense activated.
A wave of sand rose up near the pedestal and slammed into Lynn with tremendous force, knocking her back. She was vulnerable for a moment and this new development prompted a quick retreat to the stairs. To cover her exit, Ferndale stepped into the gap with her large magical shield and took a glancing blow from the sand creature, before retreating back down the stairs. After some recovery on the stairs, the party felt that it had found the way out and now needed to destroy the artifact and be on their way. Sarah in particular was plotting how to levitate an invisible Lynn to make our escape easier.... but she didn't have long to plot before the party reached the bottom of the stairs.
It was there that the troglodyte resistance had massed. Just as the party reached the bottom, a darkness fell upon the party as chanting was heard from the direction of the round room. Moments later, silence fell over the party as lights were removed from pouches. Fern, charged forward down the passageway (away from the round room)....
And the party had found the chasm.
Above and below, a huge shaft of volcanic rock stretched and smoked. Below, the rumbling which shook the caves every 30 seconds or so was at its loudest. Indeed, debris was momentarily launched upward and the party ducked inward as it flew by. By this time, the party knew it had pursuers, and so set their shields with as much room as possible from the edge of the chasm and prepared for battle. Meanwhile, Lynn opened Fern's dropped backpack and retrieved the case holding the Goblet. She began to test the timing for her throw, by throwing platinum pieces over the edge into the heat and smoke.
Eventually, she felt she had the timing right. Lynn grabbed the case of the vile Goblet of Fey'ed.... and dumped it over the edge into the mountain's heart. The blood-red relic fell a reasonable distance before it suddenly veered away from its course, disappearing into a passage opposite the party's current position but significantly below them. With a sinking heart, the party nearly despaired. Many theories were bandied about, but the party was greatly concerned with whose hands the Goblet might have fallen into. And so, a quick plan was put into action involving a Ring of Jumping and a Ring of Featherfalling. Lynn grabbed her gear, as the most agile and stealthy in the party, and leaped from edge at just the right moment. But she fell short and appeared to be plunging to her death, when suddenly she vanished .
Perhaps it was a net which had grabbed Lynn? The party had a moment to think about it and contemplated using the fire-resistant dragon-turtle shield they possessed, and some of their other skills and items, to get a warrior down to help Lynn in case she was in trouble. Though she was crafty and skilled, she didn't have the sheer fighting skills if dark forces were there to lay claim to the Goblet. And they didn't know how long they'd have before the Goblet might be used against them. But these thoughts were banished from their minds as they suddenly faced a situation of their own. Attackers had arrived en masse, ready to destroy the party. These troglodytes attempted to swarm the party, but Arrisa and Ferndale quickly skewered theirs, while Rich dealt a death blow to another. Even the mage, Sarah, caught off-guard and with no useful spell, swung her Staff of Scorpion Control and struck a troglodyte, holding it at bay. Fern and Arrise simultaneously destroyed the trog held at bay by Sarah as a crazed troglodyte attempted to force Lub'k Razorhide over the edge of the chasm when he missed with his sword. Lub'k managed to evade being forced over the edge but was still in the grip of the troglodyte. With typical hobgoblin ferocity, he used his strength and claws to attempt to turn the tables on his attacker and thrust HIM over the cliff.
In the snarling struggle, both plunged over the edge...
Group 2: The Survivors
Fleag, troglodyte cleric, played by Kathryn Klawiter
Sha'nal, human mage level 8, played by Aaron Schweinsberg
Durit, stone giant, played by Andy
Glim, dwarven fighter, played by Mark Wagoner
Higgack, dwarven thief, played by Dean
Shuffleslip, mongrelman, played by Scott
Fleer, ogrillion, played by Joey Hess
Sellwind, human thief, played by Jeff Andreou
Thur, Realmish shocktrooper, played by Keith Nelson
Bruul, noblink fighter, played by Ashley
Lap, human monk, played by Joel Green
Fleag was a troglodyte who simply didn't fit the mold. (pun intended)
He became a cleric, he gained power, but there was one problem.
He worshipped fungus. Rather than, say, demonspawn.
For this, poor Fleag was branded a heretic, and brought to the ledge to be sacrificed to the angry volcano. Fleag, in a show of martyrdom, broke free of his captors and threw himself into the depths.
Much to his surprise, he landed on a ledge. Being a cleric, he healed himself and moved into the cave beyond, taking refuge from the constant blasts. There was a cave full of fungus! Heaven was upon him!
There was also a cave full of giant ants, but Fleag could beat them back long enough to harvest some fungus.
The next time someone was thrown over the volcano, Fleag had an idea. He made a net out of fungus, and tried to catch them!
They fell through to their death.
He tried again. Splat.
Finally, he caught a human female wizard named Sha'nal, who, by sheer luck, had skill in net fishing! This poor wizard had lost her spellbook, but she kept her spells memorized, and put her more ordinary skills to good use, learning to converse with Fleag effectively.
After this, the nets became much stronger. Together they constructed four nets, and caught falling sacrifices, occasional discarded weapons and dead troglodytes, living a tentative and secret existence inside the volcano!
Over 20 years, 9 additional beings joined the little camp, including: Durit, a teenage stone giant; Glim, a dwarven mining captain, the only survivor of a massive troglodyte raid; Higgack Barbender, a dwarven thief who had been caught trying to steal the troglodytes' treasure; Shuffleslip, a female mongrelman; Fleer, an ogrillion, a primitive ogre; Sellwind, a "porter" for an Adventuring Reserve party that had been wiped out; Thur, a Realmish shocktrooper in training; Bruul, a noblink champion (primitive hobgoblin); and a monk, Lap Tallfellow, on his way to see the Grand Master of Flowers (walking barefoot from the place of his birth).
They formed a strange and not entirely harmonious group, but existence was eked out. Fungal screens of camouflage were set up, and the group survived for 20 years.
Then the bats in the bat-cave acted strangely, flying out of the volcano through little niches. The giant ants looked flustered.
The monk spoke with the remaining bats, and discovered that something evil or undead had agitated them. Eventually, the priests and monk could sense the evil slowly permeating the area.
A troglodyte appeared at the far ledge of sacrifice, scanning the volcano shaft, and vanishing from sight once more. This happened repeatedly over an hour, then stopped.
Suddenly, a group of humans appeared at the ledge. Lap Tallfellow nearly hailed them, but the dwarven thief stopped him. They waited, and one of the humans tossed a few platinum coins into the volcano. They fell into the shaft and vanished. They tossed a few more in. Same result.
Then they tossed a ruby colored thing over the edge. The dwarf's greed took over, and he threw the net out and snaked it inside. Lap and the dwarf stared at the pulsating ruby chalice. Suddenly, one of the humans leaped from the ledge! The monk threw his arms up in disbelief and caught the human in the net. It was some sort of black cloaked female warrior.
Figuring they could bargain for their survival, the survivors bargained with the human, a woman named Lynn. She agreed to help them get out, as long as they destroyed the chalice, as it was greatly evil. And under no circumstances should they touch it.
The chalice was thrown in a box, and plans were set. The stone giant would Fly (with the aid of Sha'nal's spell) over to the sacrifice ledge between blasts, and would throw a fungus rope to the others. They would swing to the wall and be hauled up rapidly, hopefully before being incinerated and flung a few miles away.
Suddenly a darkness cloud appeared at the top of the ledge. There were sounds of fighting, and suddenly a hobgoblin and a troglodyte flew over the edge. Lap, manning the nets, threw one out and caught them, but the net could not hold the combined weight and broke.
The hobgoblin held on to the end of the net, with the troglodyte holding on to him. The troglodyte decided to take both of them down and hampered the hobgoblin's progress. Lap hauled with all his might, but the hobgoblin didn't quite make it when the boiling debris shot up. The hobgoblin survived the initial blast, miraculously, but Lap was unable to pull out of the way and was decapitated instantly as the net dropped into the volcano's fury, carrying the screaming hobgoblin with it.
At this point, Lynn fired an arrow with a message on it up to the ledge above where her comrades remained. This contained the details of the deal and a warning not to jump, because no more nets remained to save anyone who fell. After a moment of contemplation, the party fired its own arrow with a message back. The party would battle the troglodytes in the passage above and make the way clear to the sand-filled room for escape.
And so the two groups, the survivors and the adventurers, struggled to escape together.
The survivors in the fungus caves managed, miraculously, to avoid any casualties in the crossing of the chasm.
Meanwhile, the Quilting Club returned to the round chamber and the base of the staircase, lacking Lynn (who was down below with the survivors) and Lub'k (who was dead). When the party returned to the round chamber, they decided to hold at the safety of the base of the stairs, as it wasn't known precisely which route the survivors would be taking to reach the party, and make sure that the escape was secure. The party gazed from the archway, into the round chamber with several entrances. Suddenly, a dwarf, wearing only a loin cloth, appeared from one of the entrances into the round room and introduced himself as Higgack. He said he was doing some exploring while waiting for the rest of the party to reach the top. They were proceeding in some kind of single file. When the party enquired how it could help, the dwarf led Rich and Sarah towards the main group of survivors in the corridor. Arrisa and Fern stayed behind to guard while this happened.
During this moment, there was a skirmish with a troglodyte trying to sneak up on the party. Arrisa and Fern beat on it, but it was a lot tougher than the others that had been faced. It had the look of a cleric. But the trog realized the futility of its battle against tougher opponents, and retreated. The warriors did not pursue, and returned to the stairs.
Meanwhile, down below, there was a crowd emerging from seclusion, looking weary and bedraggled. Many of the survivors were clothed only in fungus. Some carried flimsy shields made from giant ant carapace, and stone or fungus weaponry. They had managed to survive with so little a remarkably long time - at least so far.
While Ferndale and Arrisa stood guard on this emerging rag-tag group, the clockwork eruptions of the volcano, every thirty seconds for as long as anyone could remember, SKIPPED. That is, for one brief minute, the volcano did not erupt. And then, there were shouts from further down the corridor where the last of the survivors struggled up. Rich and Sarah yelled for help and so the rest of the Club ran down the corridor to their aid. At that moment, a huge primitive-looking ogre (Fleer) emerged from the darkness, growling in a pained manner, bearing the body of Lynn. Lynn was crumpled but appeared unharmed. Though she looked asleep, with only the slightest perplexed crinkle to her brow to betray that anything was wrong, upon examination she was found to be dead. The survivors reported that she had been fine and had remained last in order to dispose of the Ruby Goblet. It was as the evil Goblet was flung out of her hands that she collapsed, a hand to her chest, and died. And the Mountain, for a moment, rested. It digested its vile meal, and then returned to normality.
Rich picked up Lynn, and the whole party retreated towards the stairs. Arrisa led the party to the top while Ferndale remained at the bottom of the stairs as everyone shuffled past. Though everyone else was accounted for, the dwarf Higgack was nowhere to be seen. Ferndale waited a moment at the bottom for him, and then followed the rest up the stairs with a shrug.
At the top of the stairs, the scene was much the same as it had been. Sand covered the space between the sets of stairs. At the base of the stairs, the weird swirling-grey sphere stood sentry. The group milled about a moment as it considered its options. Then, Fern pushed her way to the front and emerged ready to try her hand at the getting to the stairs. The stone giant, seeing a potential confrontation, also emerged, and watched. Fern marched out a few feet onto the sand, though the thick sand did not seem to impede her movement. Though it had taken much longer for the creature to emerge in its last encounter with the party, this time it was waiting.
And it rose up to smash at Ferndale.
She managed to only take minor damage from its attack, but was clearly nearly finished herself. In the meantime, she swung her magical scimitar at the sand creature but failed to affect it. At this moment, the stone giant was convinced that his massive club would make short work of this beast and stepped out onto the sand.
And a second beast appeared. Which Durit the stone giant then pummeled.
At this point, the melee made fine cover for those seeking to escape. And so began the Mad Dash for the Stairs. Sarah began to levitate herself along with the mongrelman, Shuffleslip. Glim, the dwarven mining captain; Bruul, the noblink champion; and the shocktrooper, Thur, along with Fleer the ogrillion, ran out onto the sand. Attempts were made to affect the sand creatures, but little except for Durit's club appeared able to affect them. Ferndale, who had made it to the stairs, attempted to bash the sphere which she supposed controlled the sand creatures. Glim and Thur joined in. Damage was taken by some of the members of the group, but no one was killed. Fleag the fungus-worshipping cleric began a healing spell. Rich lugged Lynn over the sand towards the stairs. Sha'nal considered her options. One of her precious spells was a lightning bolt, which might very well work, but she was unconvinced and didn't want to waste a spell she no longer had the text for. Sellwind the "porter" saw precious few opportunities. Fleer had only his "favorite rock" and so he bolted for the stairs.
Just when Durit was about to pummel one of the sand creatures into dust (ha ha), Fate intervened and he dropped his club, which fell onto the sand and was quickly covered by the flowing of its malevolent tide. He then tried to wrestle Fleer's "favorite rock" away from him but Fleer resisted, yelling for him to "Leave Favorite Rock alone!" Sarah managed to nearly reach the stairs as they spiraled above, with Shuffleslip, when Glim, Thur, and Fern managed to destroy the sphere.
Suddenly, Sarah stopped her movement up, and began to sink to the ground slowly as she drooled and twitched. Shuffleslip, realizing her danger, quickly grabbed the stair's rail and pulled herself up. Sha'nal had shrugged at her options, and along with Sellwind, sprinted for the stairs. Durit grabbed Sarah and brought her over to Fern on the stairs. She appeared alive, but no amount of help would shake her out of the weird state she was in. Fern even slipped one of her rings onto Sarah's hand, but it had no effect.
Suddenly, Fleag realized that he was the only one left by the stairs, with no one around to take advantage of his healing spell. So, he dropped the spell and ran for it.
The party all regrouped on the stairs, and moved quickly to the top, dragging along their dead and wounded. The party did not pause to wait for the dwarf who had had ample opportunity to catch up. The large group of beaten adventurers and others made their way carefully down the mountainside and towards the relative haven of Counard's Lantern, a week away.
When the Quilting Club and the survivors reached Counard's Lantern (without event), the adventurers went inside and stayed there while their next move was contemplated. They paid for the others to camp outside while they made their own decisions, and then the parties went their separate ways. And so ended the saga of many captured by the troglodytes and thrown to their deaths. And the Ruby Goblet of Fey'ed was destroyed despite the fateful events involving these intrepid survivors. In the end, the Quilting Club counted it a success, albeit an expensive one; and the survivors, well, for the most part they survived. And what more could they ask for? Fate had left them alive at the hands of the trogs, and Fate had let them live through the rest. Beyond that, who can say?
Where did they go from here?
Fleag retired to a cave with her fungus, and lived a happy life.
Sha'nal went back to her home town in an attempt to rebuild her spellbook and relearn her craft.
The ogrillion retired to a lonely existence.
The stone giant found some distant cousins and lived out his life with the new tribe.
The dwarven miner returned to his people, looking for adventurers to hunt and kill troglodytes.
The monk, of course, remained dead (with Nevron, presumably).
The Shocktrooper, who had taken a six month leave of absence from duty and turned it into 12 years, was assigned new gear and sent right back out into the field with years of vacation to make up for.
Shuffleslip joined the adventuring party, the Quilting Club, as a camp servant to Lynn.
The noblink champion took over a small tribe of noblink, killed their chief, and ruled his small domain.
The "porter" decided to ply his real trade, that of thievery and stealth, among Adventuring Reserve parties looking for camp flunkies.
The Quilting Club raised its fallen members. Unfortunately, Kara, the high cleric of Kor, did not survive the Raise attempt, and was brought to Rebekar by Maris, the raised mage of the party, for a Resurrection, which was successful.
Sarah turned out to have been possessed by the spirit of an ancient evil mage. It turns out that 12,000 years ago an extremely dangerous and malevolent magic-user was imprisoned by an ancient society of the time in the strange grey sphere at the base of the escape stairs. The sand pit was used to guard the sphere (probably the stairs were added later or there was some other reason for them). Over time, the place was forgotten by all but the troglodytes and so it was left alone. The mage's mind deteriorated as time passed. (In fact, at the end of our adventure, he had only a 3 Int and 2 Wis.) When his magic jar, the sphere, was mistakenly destroyed by the adventurers in a quest to defeat the sand creatures, he instinctively reached out to possess another, and chose Sarah, the 'apprentice' mage of the Quilting Club. She failed to resist the possession and was taken over by the strangely malevolent but ineffectual spirit. When the party reached the safety of Counard's Lantern, Counard was able to remove the spirit and restore Sarah to completely normal health.
Meanwhile, Higgack the dwarven thief had gotten greedy, and gone off to find the treasure he had nearly gotten years before. He failed to find it, however, and ran after the party. He reached the room where the sandworm had battled, and saw bloodstains and sand. The dwarf shrugged and charged across.
The sandworm appeared and tried to block the stairs, but the dwarf veered around and dove for the stairs. He reached the first step, but slipped off. The worm reared up and smashed the dwarf's leg, breaking it. Limping, the dwarf staggered up the stairs (hasted, no less), injuring himself further but desperately pulling himself toward where he hoped the party waited.
But the party had not waited. With his leg crudely splinted, and with no water or possessions, our dwarf staggered across the open plain through scraggly brush, hoping not to be spotted. He nearly made it.
Then three troglodytes spotted him. Thirsty and hurt, he limped desperately behind some bushes in an attempt to lose them, but he could not. They leapt on top of him, bearing him to the ground.
And the Fates smiled, if only a little.
Story for the Quilting Club largely written by Kyle MacLea.
Story for the prisoners written largely by Joel Green.
Overall format and editing by Kyle and Joel.
There was a mysterious third group as well, apart from the Quilting Club and surviving prisoners, but its actions remained clouded in mystery and the twists and turns of Fate. Its presence remained unnoticed by the participants. And so, there is no summary for this group. But you can, if you look carefully enough, see its effects in the actions of the day. This third group was composed of Sean Guarino, David Chappell, and Al.