The Eighth Telvar Open Tournament: The Edge of Memory
4 October 2003 in Charlotte, N.C. / 10 June 2192 B.Y. at the Monument to the Forgotten
"It's a hint," the Sphinx said. "It just won't make any sense until you already know the answer."
On April 1st, 2188, on the island of Race Rock [during the Sixth Telvar open], events were set in motion that once again drew the attention of the Kraken back to Telvar. The Kraken, aircraft carrier-sized squid creatures, the great evil of ages past, had once enslaved most of the world with their mind-affecting powers.
With their baleful eye upon Telvar, only terror and evil could possibly result…
But there remained many forces arrayed against the return of the Kraken. Some known, some unknown.
"History became legend and legend became myth, and things which should not have been forgotten … were lost." –The Fellowship of the Ring (the film version)
The adventure begins on the 10th of June, 2192 (according to the Bardic reckoning), in the region of the Realm known as The Royal Monster Reserve and Adventuring Preserve. It is a vast, dangerous area of exotic locales and fell beasts, bordered by the tightest security in the world, all designed to keep the nasties in, while allowing 'adventurers' to come and go as they please with little interference. This has the added benefit of keeping the adventurer-types away from civilization, where they might cause trouble. And it is a wonderful place to train Shocktroopers, the elite servants of the Realm and some of the most powerful individuals in the world.
All in all, the Reserve is a scary place, but one which continues to attract the attention of those who seek power and those who have it. In the Reserve, ancient rivalries, forgotten mysteries, and sleeping evils all wait, some awaiting release and others, waiting simply to be forgotten. Sometimes, all of these are found in one place….
In the Reserve there exists a vast natural canyon without an apparent bottom. This canyon is known simply as the Mountain's Scar. Its sides encrusted with caves, stairways, and even a fine restaurant and piano bar ("The Next Step Is a Doosey"), the Scar is a dangerous place, but one known to possess much riches. Indeed, powerful adventurers and Shocktroops are often drawn to the place.
On the edge of the Scar, there is a large, unmarked, stone monolith, in the midst of a vast ruin. Though its purpose has been lost, it is known to many simply as the "Monument to the Forgotten." The Monument is surrounded by a region of unnatural darkness and attracts people and creatures of every description who have traveled far to "pay their respects." In the area live the Dark Ones, a race of professional guides and amateur thieves whose sensitive eyes are at home in the darkness, and a race of wolf-like creatures who dislike the presence of strangers but allow them to enter as long as they do not disturb the Monument.
Group One: "Unlimited Power, but Nothing to Do With It"
A few days journey from the Monument, Shocktroopers on holiday come upon a group of Fire Giants who have been ritually sacrificed along with their entire slave mine. It appears that some of the Fire Giants have gone ahead in search of the perpetrators….
Summary from the Shocktroopers perspective, as written by their leader, Nause:
The day begins for our travelling type II shocktroopers as they are on their way to a lunch date at their favorite Adventuring Reserve culinary choice...The Next Step Is a Doosy! It proved not to be a totally normal day however... well... maybe it's more typical in the Adventuring Reserve than elsewhere, but hey... a couple hundred ritualistically sacrificed humanoids is still a big deal!
Running into the slaughtered mess of people and fire giants, the shocktroopers (as bastions of all that is Good and honorable), decide to send a raincheck to their illusionist friend for lunch and investigate what happened (think Cops). Curiously, on the scene was a two foot tall Darkling-critter which offered to lead us to the group that did this travesty. How nice...I'm sure he has no ulterior motive...no way! :)
So we decide to follow the strange little critter. Knowing that we were way faster than those we were pursuing, we decided to speed ahead of them and get to their possible destination first (the Monument). Hours pass...
I believe the next event was breaching the darkness. Apparently a huge pall of natural darkness covers the monument at all times, so our super powerful group of shocktroopers became impotent blind shocktroopers as they stumbled through the supernatural night. Whee. Eventually we got within a short distance of the monument and noticed some critters ahead of us. As it looked to us like ogres and their pets, we decided to scout a bit to see if we could ambush them. Somewhat humorously, our adversary could see us "sneaking around" and just watched us with curiousity.
Whatever...we're shocktroopers, we eventually found that bravado for which we're known and decided to just walk up to them. The casual approach was a bit dampened by our previous cowardice.
Instead of ogres, in fact, it was a group of Minotaurs with their phase spider seer. After some time spent determining what side they were on, we decided to defend the Monument together. Unfortunately, after some bad recon on our part, various theories came together to give the impression that the best course of action was to intercept the Land Dragon which we thought was heading this way, and initiate a fight there with the bad guys so that the Land Dragon's breath weapon wouldn't knock over the Monument. Boy were we silly. :)
So… just as we were about to head off in that direction, a Fire Giant and some Dwarves (with a big fire mastiff) run across our field of vision chasing yet another one of those darkling critters. After calming down the rather intense discussion (good parties never work with fire giants), we decide to band together and go kill what had now been identified as the chief threat... some sort of demonic dude and his minions who were heading this way. The idea was that there was some sort of ritual to take place (demonic guy had a big book on him after all)... and given the state of astrology, we figured midnight would be a safe bet.
So we darted off in the direction we were told the demon guy was coming from (leaving the slower minotaurs to remain a couple of hundred yards behind us at the monument clearing). We lost track of time amid the rocks (appparently it was almost midnight, not early evening like we thought).
Bounding off into the darkness, we came across... nothing. We scrambled around on rocks, we cast all sorts of prep spells... but we had no target. At least not until the crazy demon guy showed up for a split segment (literally) and we nuked him with a maxed out fireball. Unfortunately, he was unphased and just bounded off into the rocks.
Then, there was a horn blow and an enormous crash behind us as the Monument tumbled over. It was over.
Massive cosmic power... and nothing to do with it...
Group Two: "We Know Something's Going to Happen, We're Just Not Sure What It Is"
A phase spider…. Somewhere…. Realizes that on the 10th of June, 2192, at midnight, many different insignificant strands will come together to create a very significant event with cosmic repurcussions. Realizing that something important is about to happen, he travels to see some minotaurs of a lawful and good persuasion. Within moments, the fierce minotaurs have prepared themselves for battle and have been brought by the Spider to stand near the Monument, and wait to see what happens. Possibly they will affect the outcome of events…
Summary from the Minotaurs Perspective, as written by the Chelsean Cleric Lueln:
I pray that Szyn's sacrifice is not for naught. We had so little to go on and we are still not certain whether we helped or hindered matters. It is all so unclear. I am having trouble seeing the meadow for the grasses. Then again perhaps I should chart a clearer path through the maze for you.
I am Lueln, Chelsean Cleric. My mage mate, Xellic, and I work with two other minotauran couples. Our leader, Toburn, is a Paladin and his mate, Moika, is a skilled fighter as well. The rest of our herd is Nascel and Iona. They, too, are combat toughened warriors.
Our good friend, Szyn, the phase spider, has called on us to help him. He says that his people are not as confident that his premonition is worth pursuing, but we trust Szyn completely. Szyn thinks that something very, very bad will happen in the next eight hours. It is something that seems inconsequential cosmically, but it will draw swarms of flies as it rots in the fields of time. The actual event could be good or bad, but the effect will definitely be bad.
We have a little time to prepare for our trip to the Reserve. Xellic can cast Zane's luck twice to help us out, so we have him cast it on Szyn and Toburn. It will last for 24 hours, which will be long after the "little" event has come and gone. Hopefully this will tip the balance in our favor.
We will be taken to the Adventuring Reserve and dropped somewhere near the Mountain's Scar. The Mountain's Scar is a bottomless chasm ripped through the flesh of the Reserve. Stories of the caverns that wind through the walls of The Scar abound, including a piano bar, strange winds, noxious gases and stranger beasts.
At the edge of The Scar is an insanely old obelisk. It is known as the Monument to the Forgotten. It is now just blank, black stone. It is said that once there was writing on it, but now it seems to have just gone away. It is a place of continual night twenty miles across. It is not magical darkness, just magically always night. Many of the travelers roaming through the Reserve come to the Monument and pay their respects to those who have died or to those for whom the Monument was created.
Szyn's people are not willing to take action on an apparently trivial matter, but they are willing to transport us to the Reserve. Suddenly, we find ourselves standing on the ground in the middle of night, though it feels like it should be day. We cannot see the moons. Finding north is not hard, but knowing which way the Mountain's Scar lies is another matter. We are able to find the scents of humans, dwarves and hobgoblins and it seems that we are in a heavily traveled area. We think there is a pathway that runs northwest and southeast from here.
Unfortunately we do not know which way to go. Toburn guesses that we should head southeast, so we do, all the while hoping that Zane's luck is Toburn's as well. Xellic's bat familiar is flying close above us to try to spot anything before it spots us. This leads us downhill into a more heavily traveled area. It also is more open. Before too long we start hearing a sound off toward the east, which would be correct if we are on the same side of the Scar as the Monument.
We have been traveling a little while when Xellic's bat hears a couple of other flying creatures using echolocation. The bat thinks there are two incoming. We decide to make back-to-back pairs of bovines with Szyn staying close to Toburn so we can fight more effectively. The creatures turn out to be three big bats. The bats ping us a couple more times and then seem to decide we are too big to mess with and fly off.
Before too much longer we see a 250 foot-high obelisk. It is twenty feet wide on each side. There are hundreds and hundreds of feet of clear space around it. It is all black. It definitely had writing in a Runic alphabet on it, but we don't know much more. The Runic writings are not magic runes, but the bottom two feet of tracery were repeated magic runes not decoration. The tracery looks like it might have been done with metal, but the metal is all gone now. It does not really appear as if the writing has worn away, nor has the stone been weathered in spite of the winds. We check more of the uphill side, where the wind is less. Two of the sides of the obelisk are parallel to the edge of the Scar and there are no caves in the face of the Scar for about 150' around the Monument.
Xellic casts read magic and is able to make out that the magic runes say something like, "These people and what they have done will not be forgotten." The people seem to be seen as heroic not villainous, but there is no complete, direct translation possible for magic runes. If you want to inscribe something that will be readable forever, magical script is good, since comprehend languages fails after a language becomes too obscure and current languages have evolved as far from the original as we have above our distant cousins.
Szyn climbs up the obelisk to check it out. The first time he falls off without getting hurt or falling far. On his second attempt, he makes it three-fourths of the way up and checks around. There is a second rim at the top which looks very similar to the bottom. When he tries to climb up to the top, a wind catches him and blows him off away from the Mountain's Scar, but he lands without injury.
Szyn then decides to phase and check below the Monument. When he goes down he sees that there are ten feet of rock between the obelisk and a black stone sphere. It is 150' in diameter with pyramidal bumps on it. The obelisk and the sphere are not made of the same substance. The obelisk seems like it still may hold the names in the ethereal plane. But Szyn cannot read the language. The sphere and the obelisk are completely real in the ethereal plane, so Szyn cannot pass through them. The sphere seems to exert a repulsive effect.
While Szyn is gone, Iona spots some movement off to the southwest as a light appears to the east at the edge of the scar. We briefly debate what to do when the movement resolves into three robed figures. Toburn starts speaking to them in Dwarvish and the leader, Nause, introduces herself. Gee Whiz! We quickly figure out that they are Realmish Shock Troopers. Gee Whiz! They tell us of (Gee Whiz!) a land dragon further to the south heading this way. They have been tracking something that attacked a slave camp and ritually killed all the slaves and the Fire Giants who were guarding them. Gee Whiz!
We immediately start racking our brains, but we still have no real information as to what to do. Szyn stays hidden while we speak to the Shock Troopers. Toburn and I tell the Troopers what we know, but we do not know much. All we can do is guess that perhaps a stray blast from the land dragon's breath weapon might be able to affect the rock formation upslope from the Monument. This could create a landslide which could disturb the obelisk and allow it to strike the sphere starting a butterfly effect.
We decide that we need to intercept the land dragon before it gets to the Monument and lure it to intercept the killers away from the nexus of activity. Before we get too far toward the land dragon, we hear a group raging their way toward the monument. We decide that we need to draw them away from the Scar and toward the land dragon. Xellic is able to speak to them and starts by trying to convince them to parley, but they are interested only in revenge. Xellic tells us that they are speaking in Fire Giant. Gee Whiz!
The giants are chasing a little fellow who is hiding in the Scar. They tell us that they are tracking him because he was with the ritual killers. Gee Whiz! The Shock Troopers decide that the killers must be up in the rock formations, so they head off that way. The giants go with us trying to circle up to the top of the rocks. We do not seem to be able to cover much ground, though.
We see a light flashing on over a figure in the rocks so then we head directly that way. Before too long we see a fireball and a figure flying up and out of the rocks. Xellic fires a second fireball and the giants lob boulders at him. We think he was hit by some of the artillery.
We eventually hear two horn blasts and head back to find Szyn. He is quite confused and it turns out that the horn blasts released a very powerful being which erased Szyn's memory. Whether we helped matters or not is still uncertain. I just hope that the herd will be safe. Chelsean blessings on us all!
Group Three: "We Will Avenge"
About a week before the Minotaurs and Shocktroopers arrived at the Monument, a trio of human-like warriors sprung suddenly upon a hidden Fire Giant slave mine far to the southeast. There, the trio were able to dispatch a couple of Fire Giants from surprise and then ritually sacrifice all of the remaining ten Fire Giants as well as the slave Dwarves, Noblink, and humans. The total number sacrificed was just about 130 souls, a vast number.
Then, a couple of patrolling Fire Giants returned to the mine with one of their Dwarven slaves and a Fire Mastiff tracking dog, only to find all of their comrades and slaves sacrificed. With great anger, they set off to track these butchers, meaning to exact a terrible and gruesome price when they finally found their opponents.
For almost a week, they tracked the trio of humans, who appeared to have been joined by a Dark One guide. This Dark One made them extremely easy to track, since they stink to high heaven, and the Fire Mastiff could find their trail with relative ease. They hurried on down the trail, and found soon that they entered the eerie area of darkness surrounding the mysterious Monument to the Forgotten. The Giants didn't know what the Monument was for, but they figured that their adversaries had some business there. More important, perhaps they could be intercepted before they reached it… They drew closer to the Monument and sharpened their swords!
Eventually, the Giants found the carcasses of some slain giant lizards, apparently killed by the butchers. Once they continued tracking, they found that the trio had spent some time in a cave amid the rocks, and eventually they found the Dark One guide.
However, the Dark One guide was alone and didn't appear to be interested in dealing with them or their righteous anger…. He took off running. The Giants gave chase, but when they cornered the little fellow, they found that there were others in the area as well, who prevented them from squashing the Dark One too quickly. These newcomers were some Minotaurs and shocktroopers who were concerned about these demon-sacrificing people as well. Though working with such inferior races as Minotaurs and humans is not the usual path for superior Fire Giants, they decided that maybe they could get some assistance from these others in finding the three, and they headed off into the rocks looking for the trio – ready to exact revenge.
After a little while, they spotted a demonic-looking human with bright yellow eyes and a cackling laugh, who leapt out of the enormous shattered rocks. For a brief moment, the Fire Giants lobbed a couple of boulders at him (that hit, but did not kill him) as the shocktroops blasted it with a devastating fireball. However, moments later the demon-man jumped back into the rocks and was gone. They set off in pursuit….
Before they caught up to the demonic one, however, they heard a couple of short horn blasts from behind, towards the Monument. As the enormous Monument crashed over, the Fire Giants rushed towards it, only to find the demonic warrior dead at the foot of the Monument and a half-dozen humans gathered around. It didn't appear that there was anyone left to vent their anger on…. But maybe there was….
--Kyle, on behalf of the group
Group Four: The Group That Was Not
This group was the Dark One guides. The "Greebly Guys." They wanted to get paid by these disparate groups, survive their contracts, and get home to where it's nice and dark and comfortable. These guys all saw different parts of the events as they unfolded… and weren't really a group as such. And maybe they all wished they hadn't taken these jobs after all….
--Kyle, on behalf of the group
Group Five: "Knowledge Is Power," or, "A Little Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing"
A cleric of the god of secrets has a dream which shows him a secret he covets to know beyond all others. This knowledge, though unknown to him in his dream, seems within easy reach. He only needs to arrive at midnight at the Monument to the Forgotten, follow a Grim Reaper down a set of stairs that appear when a horn blows, and kill him to collect the secret. Gathering his followers together, he sets off. Of course, he doesn't tell his associates any of this, only that they must follow his instructions to the letter….
"Don't worry about WHAT we're doing. It'll all work out."
Summary from the perspective of the Party of Secrets, written by their leader, the cleric Krasse:
Sleep didn't come easily to Krasse, a cleric of the god of wealth, power, and secrets, an evil deity. It came even less easily when it was disturbed by strong visions of weird places.
Bright, sparkling stars in the midst of a moonless sky shine upon a strange monument. Krasse knows it is in the Mountain Scar, deep in the Adventuring Reserve. The monument is a tribute to a hero of ages long past and forgotten, and it is eternally night. He sees himself standing in front of the monument at midnight.
A figure appears in front of the cleric -- the Grim Reaper, shrouded in a dark cloak with a large scythe. The Reaper blows a great horn, and a stairwell appears out mist, spiraling down into the ground. The Reaper descends, and Krasse follows.
At the bottom of the stairs is a statue or figure of some kind. Krasse knows that what he seeks is there, and he kills the Grim Reaper. Stepping over him, the cleric approaches the figure and senses great power. He reaches for the belt of the figure, and is wracked with pain, but he pulls a key off the belt.
This key is to great power… and it will save the world!
Krasse knew he had received a vision, a dream of what could be. He had sufficient trust in his fellow party members, and they in him, such that he could lead them to this key without giving them ALL the essential details.
Like, say, where they were going, why, what they would find there, any difficulties that might occur, and what would happen when they arrived.
Krasse was the leader of a party dedicated to the god of secrets, Kahzak, a deity that favored power and wealth and personal advancement, and the keeping of secrets for all time. What your enemy didn't know, you could use against him; your allies were on a need-to-know basis.
Still, Krasse was a bit suspicious of his party, and cast a Commune.
Do any of my party members intend to sabotage my mission?
No. (Spying on them could be avoided, then)
Is it important that we get to the monument as soon as possible?
No. (It would seem midnight was the crucial moment)
Questions about other parties and opposition to the quest were unanswerable—likely due to the massive suppression of divination in this area.
So it would seem that Krasse could trust his allies not to betray him, and lead them to the monument without giving too much away. He told them merely that they were seeking a key to great power.
The party consisted of veteran adventurers: Trellis, a Realmish human fighter (with a bit of the rogue in him) wielding short sword and dagger; Lorka, a dwarven battleaxe specialist; Grelp, a fire giant and his faithful fire mastiff Igneous; Mankt, a Realmish human wizard (and his frequently invisible imp familiar Fneezil); and Krasse himself. Leading them was a hired guide, an extremely short darkling creature hooded and cloaked, taking them to a place that only Krasse knew, and even the darkling didn't know why. Though the imp had a tendency to go invisible and hang around interesting conversations, often at his master's behest…
As the party passed the border into the area in the Mountain Scar near this hero's tribute, the sky went from afternoon daytime instantly to night. It was natural enough looking starlight, except for the speed with which it had appeared. Krasse assured the party that this was to be expected and everything was going according to plan.
The darkling pulled Krasse aside, and asked him which path they would take. There was an open path that would get them to the monument quickly, or a longer but better covered path that would still get them near the monument by about 11 PM. Krasse decided on the covered route. If there WERE in fact other groups out there, the party needed to get into position unnoticed.
Hours passed, and the party did finally arrive at the last bit of cover, about 500 feet out from the monument. It was surrounded by cleared, flat ground on three sides, with a cliff face dropping off behind it on the other side. The party settled in to wait until the time got closer to midnight.
The darkling requested his fee of 1500 gold pieces, which Krasse had the wizard pay (assuring him he would be reimbursed). It occurred to Krasse that the party should determine who else might be lurking around, and so he was about to pay the darkling extra money to look around (with the imp keeping an eye on him, to kill him with a quick sting if he was captured and forced to reveal our presence)., when it became apparent that someone HAD noticed the party.
There was a blinding flash of light as a demonic looking figure dropped into the center of the party from above! The flash totally blinded the darkling, who took off like a shot and vanished into the brush. Krasse called out to the demonic figure in the language of Devils, but it ignored him, and brought its heavy sword down on the wizard, Mankt. The wizard was still standing, but in shaky condition, and the party struck back, short sword, dagger, battleaxe, club, and hammer all sinking into the strange humanoid figure. It grinned and took the damage without noticeable effect, and struck down the wizard, who collapsed in a heap. Then he turned to face the dwarf. He slashed viciously into the dwarf, but he was made of tough stuff and withstood the attack easily. Then the creature leaped high into the air and bounded away after the darkling, before the party could stop it.
The party knew that their wizard could regenerate thanks to Fneezil, so they knew that he was not dead. However, it would take him a half hour to recover, and the party didn't really have time. Krasse dropped Cure Light spells on the wizard, who stood up, and then the party hatched a plan to get to the monument.
The party turned Invisible using an area-of-effect spell, and began to walk toward the last rocky cover, fully several hundred feet from the monument. As they walked, though, Fneezil reported various other beings in the area. Then everything got quite strange.
The party was walking toward the promontory when they saw the demonic figure come running TOWARD that same promontory FROM the monument. The party halted, and then a large group of fire giants and minotaurs came running into view, and the demon made a sharp turn to chase down these newcomers!
The party gave a collective shrug. "Well, that's not our problem!" they agreed, and continued walking, but circled carefully AROUND the promontory, while still invisible. No one seemed to notice or care.
The party reached the monument with 10 minutes to spare. They heard some explosions coming from somewhere, perhaps the fire giants. A battle was raging somewhere, but amazingly, there was NO ONE AT THE MONUMENT. Krasse smiled—the scene looked as it had in the dream. The party waited anxiously to see what would happen in the next five minutes, still hidden from view.
There were more explosions and the battle intensified, but the party continued waiting.
With about a minute remaining, two figures suddenly crested the cliff face. One was clearly a warrior of some kind, but the other was hooded and carrying a nasty scythe-looking weapon. He was horribly scarred in his face, but it was recognizably human… and perfectly resembled the Grim Reaper from the dream.
The deformed man stopped short of the monument, and pulled out a horn.
The party tensed and was about to shoot him down, but Krasse raised a hand. "Let him blow the horn. He is our entry to this place. A stairwell will appear enshrouded in mist—I will follow him down. Defend this monument and keep the top clear for me to return, and kill anyone other than me who emerges from the stairs."
The party held its shots, and the horn blew.
A wave of force struck everyone in the immediate vicinity. Krasse felt his mind being invaded, but he threw back the force, and charged forward.
The stairwell appeared in front of the deformed figure. He immediately moved to run down the stairs, but the other human charged after. Then out of thin air, a massive spider appeared, and dropped down the stairwell. Krasse ran down, and the whole menagerie descended the spiral.
Krasse reached the bottom, and he could see the Reaper standing there, the figurine with the belt ahead of him. The other figure swung its sword at the Reaper, but missed. The spider and Krasse reached the bottom of the stairs, but then the Reaper blew the horn a second time and Krasse had one instant to wonder if his vision had betrayed him, and then knew no more….
Group Six: "Ignorance Is Bliss,"
or, When You Finally Begin to Understand What Was Going On
This group of adventurers was composed of three humans -- a cleric and two fighters. The cleric had big plans, so he and one of the fighters duped the other into a devil's bargain. In this case, though, it was a demon's bargain. And so began the mayhem…
Summary for the Trio, written from the perspective of "Hood," the party cleric:
Where to begin? It seems like so long ago now, it must be about ten years. I was a just another neutrally-aligned fighter, who traveled the edges of the Reserve with a bunch of friends from home, adventuring for fun and profit. My life was good and though we occasionally ran into trouble, nothing seemed too big for us.
Then, one day the party found and fought a pack of displacer beasts, and after careful tracking, found their lair. In the lair, we found a treasure map for a "device of ultimate power." While we didn't exactly believe that what was hidden was THAT powerful, we did have the hope something seriously beneficial to the party could be found. Heck, we could always sell it, and maybe live like kings for awhile, even in that inflated economy surrounding the Reserve.
The party followed the map to a strange ruin, where the buildings had been made of a dark, purple stone, intricately carved. Though we couldn't read the carvings (something always seemed just out of reach of our brains when ever we tried), we did find the spot designated on the map, and we dug out a weird metal box from beneath five feet of loose shale. Since detection spells failed uniformly, the party leader (one of my good friends) suggested that we not touch it until we could bring it to a sage. However, in the long dark of the night watch, I thought he was being a bit over-cautious, and so I popped the catches, and opened the box. Just to get a glimpse of what was inside…
And I was hit by a blast of unbelievable, disorienting cold. I felt like I was dying as I buckled under the supernatural cold…. And awoke to find that I had pitched forward into the box itself and was leaning against a strange long, black horn. Although I was burned from the cold air rushing out of the box, the part of me contacting the horn was completely unscathed (the left part of my face and my hands). However, looking around now, I discovered that all of my friends had been killed. In fact, it was worse than that: their bodies were all strangely shriveled and dried husks of their former selves, clearly impossible to bring back to life and preserved in poses of tortured agony.
I couldn't believe what had happened. I was devastated, I was wracked with unbelievable grief, and the guilt that I felt at having DESTROYED all of my friends through my stupid curiosity, was simply too much to bear. After having built a cairn for my friends, I gathered their gear, headed home, and sought some way to forget…
It was then, between long bouts of drinking, that the horn first seemed to speak to me.
When it was close, things began to become a little clearer. I realized that if I died right then, I would be tormented forever in the afterworld by the memories of my grave mistake. I needed to forget – and the horn provided visions of a deity-like being whose power was the healing balm of forgetfulness. Though it surprised me greatly, being only a middling-ability fighter with no great convictions, I became a cleric of this being of forgetfulness and ignorance. I learned the ways quickly, even though all spells above the second level were inaccessible because my deity and his minions were all imprisoned and could not grant them. I spent what was left of my treasure and the treasure of my friends alternately drinking myself into oblivion and learning more and more about the ways of this being of forgetfulness… It was at this point that I came to refer to myself as "Hood." In my old life, I had been Pete Harans, adventurer and regular guy. But now, with my cold-scarred face and body swathed in a black cloak all the time, I couldn't identify with Pete anymore. I felt more like ignorance personified, a mission to forget everything. So, I forgot even my name. And when others called out, "Hey, Hood," I took to responding to it. I didn't care, anything to forget my old life.
And I learned more and more in the strange, dark ways of my god… But after these long five years, I had learned little about the horn itself beyond its name: The Wailer for Lost Delnan. But I continued to wonder.
I fell into a party with a powerful scimitar specialist named Lien, a male human middle-aged fighter, and a young and naïve long-sword specialist named Myzon. Myzon had few ambitions (other than not being a latrine-digger any longer), but Lien was clearly a smart guy who was easy to work with, and needed a cleric since his last one had been consumed by a Land Dragon. Since the three of us were all very interested in treasure, the group never grew beyond three, and we learned that there were things in the Reserve that we were well suited to do.
During the course of our adventures, I had found a powerful tome containing an ancient ritual: The Rite of the Dark Pact. This Pact allowed the reader to set up a contract with an evil deity-like being, most likely some sort of demon. In exchange for a set of vast powers granted to the reader to slay enemies of the dark being, the Pact demanded that it be read for an hour per day and that, more importantly, a pyramiding series of sentient beings needed to be sacrificed to that being each week. If the reader ever failed to meet the requirement, his soul would be devoured. (To be fair, the reader could demand judgement at any point that he had made quota for a week, and if the evil wrought had been significant enough, the reader could hope to enjoy the fruits of his labor by becoming an important underworld being.) However, all in all the Pact seemed fairly suicidal, and so I kept it hidden away against a day that I might need it…
About five months ago, I had a vision. In the vision, I blew the Wailer for Lost Delnan at midnight during the New Moon, and a staircase opened beneath a tall, black monument in front of me. Descending the stairs, I blew the horn again, releasing a dark being. Thousands would die, and I would finally find forgetfulness. (And somehow, it seemed to me, I would also be saving the world. This seemed contradictory, and yet, right.) Coming out of the vision, I looked at the horn by my side. Since I had been a horn player since my youth, this seemed natural. However, since the catastrophic events of the horn's discovery, I had never played it.
Now, I reached for it, and blew a long, sad note. As the ground shifted slightly underfoot, I suddenly knew the rough location of the monolith, this forgotten Monument, in the far reaches of the Reserve. I figured out that it must be near the Mountain's Scar, and I suddenly had an idea, which I shared with Lien. It seemed maybe there was an easy way to get our small party that far into the Reserve after all.
We approached Myzon and explained that the Rite of the Dark Pact would grant him vast powers in exchange for sacrifices and if you were judged worthy when you decided to quit (just a little lie, really….). I explained the plan to release an ancient deity-like being to Myzon, and that his use of the Dark Pact to assist would certainly give him vast credit with that being when he was freed…
Of course, in actuality, we only planned to use Myzon as a killing machine to get close enough to the Monument to free Lost Delnan. Then, we would steal the book, and Myzon would be judged. Lien seemed like a slave to currency, so he could certainly be bought off for his role in the whole thing, and if not, Delnan would deal appropriately with him. The plan seemed pretty solid.
During the last five months, we fought our way through the Reserve towards the Scar. Myzon, lacking the slightest shred of common sense, had readily agreed to my plan, and had sealed the Dark Pact. Without Myzon's incredible combat abilities to get us through this dangerous place, it didn't seem likely we could have survived. At first, small tribes of humanoids had been sufficient for sacrifices, but a week ago, it had finally reached 128. Before that it had been 64, and it didn't seem likely that we could have even managed that number, but 128 seemed downright impossible. However, luck was with us and we came upon a Fire Giant slave mine amid that desolate region of the Reserve. There, through clever use of my spells, some luck, and our combat abilities, we were able to meet the quota. We sacrificed Giants, Dwarves, Noblink, and humans. It was a slaughter.
With the New Moon now nearly upon us, I knew that there was no way we would survive to get 256 souls next week, let alone the ever escalating number necessary to survive till the next moon. It was this week or not at all. It was at this moment that we needed to find the Monument – and fast!
Fortunately, our experience in the Reserve had taught us about the Dark Ones – a curious little (2' tall) race of neutral critters who fear the light but who have excellent noses and make some of the best and most trustworthy guides in the Reserve. Of course, I didn't trust anyone, but I figured if we could find a Dark One, we would be much more likely to find our way to the Monument in three day's time. If the thing wasn't trustworthy, we would be closer and maybe I'd have to blow the horn again to figure out which way to go. I didn't want to do that, though, and fortunately, we found a Dark One.
The Dark One offered to lead us to a Monument in a zone of eternal night – this had to be the monolith I had envisioned -- for a price. I readily agreed. As the New Moon approached, we were anxious to get there. The weak, little creature, obviously didn't understand the import of getting there with all speed, and so over the next two days I berated him a couple of times, and he led us on quickly. We picked a path through the rocks that would be sheltered and keep us from being spotted.
We encountered three giant lizards in the rocks, which were quickly dispatched.
Later, the Dark One told us of wolf-like creatures which lived in the rocks and who would oppose us if he did not talk to them. They didn't want anyone to disturb them or the Monument. I was nervous with this arrangement, but he we hid in a small cave for about an hour while he talked to the wolves, and then he returned and we continued on our way.
It was at this point that the Dark One determined that we were being followed. We heard Fire Giants in the near distance and quickly moved to put some distance between us and them and camouflage our trail. Moments later, it sounded like there was some kind of scuffle between the Fire Giants and another group of people, so we took advantuage of the time, to lay some false clues as to our travel, and then to get out of there.
At this point, we paid off the Dark One (with false magical gear) and ditched him. I didn't trust the little thing, and we could see the monument. He had already described the layout to us, so we had a pretty good idea what we would face. After regrouping for a moment, we listened and heard voices (different voices) coming up the same route we had just been walking along, and they appeared to be a mixed group of humans and demihumans and even a Fire Giant. Figuring they were following us, Myzon used his amazing ability to jump huge distances, and placed us up safely on a rock some distance away to observe what occurred (and to break our trail).
At this point a party emerged from the rocks [The Party of Secrets]. While Myzon, Lien, and myself, hatched a plan to stay out of sight, Myzon began to get edgy. He wanted to attack. Lien and I didn't want him to draw attention to us, but thought that it might be useful to have him out of the picture, and maybe he could distract our enemies. So, we agreed that his idea was good, and we convinced him to leave the book [The Rite of the Dark Pact] with us. Lien took the tome, and we warned Myzon not to bring the enemy back to us. We would find him again, we assured him, but were short on details (conveniently). Myzon jumped, with a blinding flash of light, and landed in the midst of the tracking party, which was completely stunned for a moment. And we saw with satisfaction that he set quickly to delivering some damage.
Meanwhile, Lien and I came up with a plan for getting to the Monument using our resources. We were getting ready to leave when another Dark One climbed the rock we were sitting on. He stared with his long nose over the rock for a moment.
I spoke, "This is none of your concern."
He quickly fled down the rock and away, and Lien whispered (in a very satisfied way) that he thought my voice had dripped with malice. Well, we certainly couldn't have another one of those sketchy little fellows following us around…
Using various preparatory spells and items that Lien and I had, we moved invisibly and protected in other ways from detection, and crept down through the rocks and out to the edge of the cliff face to the left and beyond the monument. There, we used our considerable camouflage skills to hide ourselves and the Rite of the Dark Pact, which we planned to leave there. (It was too big to bring with us, and might slow us down. Likewise, I didn't really think we'd be needing it once I had freed Delnan.) We waited until shortly before midnight, and then cast some more preparatory spells, drank from a potion of climbing, and climbed down over the cliff face, within a radius of unnatural darkness beneath the New Moon. Silently, we climbed along the cliff face, well below the edge, and emerged directly behind the monument. With layers of subterfuge, we planned for opposition, but saw none at the monument. We approached the monument within the cloak of darkness and again invisible, and at the moment of midnight, I drank the last of our invisibility potion and blew the Wailer for Lost Delnan.
The Monument, directly in front of us, was pushed over with the force of horn's blow, and spectral stairs emerged at my feet as I once again became invisible in the darkness. Grasping the Wailer in one hand and my Wand of Wonder in the other (for emergencies), the two of us headed down the stairs at top speed. We were immediately struck by the incredible cold of the staircase, but because I had cast protection spells upon us ahead of time, neither Lien nor myself were affected by this. At the bottom of the stairwell, I advised Lien to guard the way down, and he turned to guard the way up. I put the Wailer to my lips, and began to blow once again, as the Darkness in front of me stirred.
But at this point, I realized something was wrong. When Lien had drawn his scimitar to guard the entry, he hadn't turned away completely, and so at this point, I saw out of the corner of my eye that he had turned to strike me with his sword at the last moment. However, feeling the numbing balm of oblivion so close, which gave the slightest edge of hope to my hopeless heart – I couldn't stop myself, and I continued to bellow the long and mournful dirge of the Wailer for Lost Delnan.
And Lien, my comrade for many years, swung his magical scimitar in a powerful stroke…. And missed.
And then… nothing.
[Editor's note: The dark being known as Delnan, the Dark Planetar of Tram, was free.]
--Kyle (with great debt to Edwin, who provided a character history with significant depth, herein plagiarized with impunity)
Additional Perspective on the events by Lien, the experienced fighter among the Trio:
Why did Lien decide to try to stop "Hood"?
In brief, I intended to kill you [Hood] and loot the room you opened by blowing the horn the first time instead of releasing the long-slumbering whatever-it-was you were releasing by blowing the horn the second time. Your obsession with the horn was beginning to unnerve me, and I was thinking of getting a new set of party members, starting with another low-level fighter to read the book [the Rite of the Dark Pact].
(One consequence of the release of Delnan was that those who were present in the Black Cyst at the bottom of the stairs lost their memories. What might have happened to Lien afterwards (after he had forgotten everything…)?)
As for having my brain wiped, I assume that I was immediately killed by the Lawful Evil party [The Party of Secrets] the moment I came back above ground, looking stunned and possibly sagging from the weight of everything I was carrying as a zero-level nobody. I assume that the book and all my belongings would be looted by their group, but quickly, before the other groups re-appeared. It's hard to say what might have happened to me then -- possibly the Good guys would have tried a Speak with Dead to see what I knew, which was nothing, and hopefully they would have given me a proper burial, not that I would have cared.
Additional Perspective on the events by Myzon, the duped fighter who had drawn the Dark Pact:
Myzon, the mid-level warrior, wasn't known for much before he teemed up with "Hood" and Lien, except perhaps a middling intelligence and an obvious deficit of common sense. Hence, it was relatively easy to convince him that the Dark Pact was a good idea. For "Hood" and Lien, it served their purposes perfectly. After all, Myzon was then a regular killing machine.
Myzon had been a 5th level fighter, age 25, with a long sword specialization. His secondary skill was drinking, and he had no reading, writing, or extra languages, and he was basically a small time hood to start with. His original stats before the pact were all unremarkable except for the low wisdom.
But AFTER the Rite of the Dark Pact, Myzon's physical stats (with the exception of Comeliness, which was decided below normal – yellow eyes and all), were all of super-human level. That is, he had stats that were all at least 18/90 and most were about 20. His hit points were originally approximately 50, but were raised to 240 (!) by the Pact. Similarly, though his armor class was not great originally (leather armor), it was lowered to the negatives by the Dark Pact.
He gained many special abilities, including (as a non-comprehensive list):
- fight as a 12th level barbarian
- jump 20 feet at will
- immune to normal weapons
- no need to sleep, eat, or drink
- save as 12th level fighter
- immune to sleep, charm, etc
- slightly improved hearing
- slightly improved vision, though he only noticed this once we entered the zone of darkness
- blinding flash of light when attacking, only discovered when he attacked Joel's party
- understand fell languages, again only discovered later
- regeneration (only discovered when he started getting hurt late in the day)
It's clear that abilities began being added as they were necessary. So, he started the day comparatively less powerful than at the end…
He had some minor magic items, including a ring, two potions of speed, and a "magical bandage." No other possessions of note aside from the sacrificial dagger and the book containing the Rite of the Dark Pact (which weighed several HUNDRED coin weights).
You know most of the rest because you [Hood and Lien] set him up so well :-) , but from his perspective, the plans "Hood" and Lien were making seemed cowardly and inneffectual and strangely lacking in detail about the end, when he [Myzon] would become vastly powerful and respected. Lien had too much part in the planning, and Lien was just some old guy, what would he know? Each time another party joined the group at the obelisk, Myzon became more impatient with the sitting and waiting and less confident that the plan would work at all. Surely sowing confusion and charging in at the end to kick ass was a better plan! So, with yet another group showing up, he lost all patience and went off to do that.
The fight with the Party of Secrets started out amusing, as Myzon learned that he could stun people with a flash of light as he jumped down on them to attack, and then when he finally got to slaughter someone, and learned that he could speak some kind of demonic language. But he was disappointed that the group seemed too strong, they even managed to hurt him a little bit, and though he was confident he could slay them all, there were so many more groups to deal with that night that Myzon abruptly took off.
Then disaster struck, the rest of the party and the book were gone from where he'd left them. At this point Myzon kind of wished he had paid more attention to the planning, but surely if he created enough of a ruckus, "Hood" would find him.
He noticed that the two groups by the monument were leaving for some reason, and went down there for a while, but then they came back! Glad to notice that he had started to quickly heal from the earlier fight,
Myzon was not ready to take the whole lot on, so he headed back to the rock field. Then things really became annoying, when a glowing magical marker appeared over his head following him around, and he turned the corner to find some of the White Robes [the Shocktroopers], who fireballed him.
Still not badly hurt (about 65 hitpoints down), Myzon got out of there, getting winged by another fireball and dodging some boulders from the giants enroute. Time was running out.. He was ready to find "Hood" now; surely this was enough confusion and attention, and turning invisible was maybe not such a bad idea after all. But before he could find "Hood," he heard the horn blow, and knew no more.
The Aftermath: Telvar's Fate
One might think that the freeing of Delnan, the planetar servant of Tram (the neutral-evil god of ignorance and night) during the events of the Eighth Telvar Open, would be largely bad for the denizens of Telvar. That is, that this would result in a net win for the forces of Evil. However, all is not as it seems.
When, untold eons ago, Tram's plan to overthrow the gods and knock the sun from the heavens of Telvar was revealed, the gods gathered together and banished him to a forgotten plane of existence and stripped him of his power. During this process, the senior minions of Tram were hunted down as well. Tram's chief confidant had been a fell Solar, known as the Dark Servant, named Tharizdun. Tharizdun refused to surrender to the servants of the various (mostly Good) gods arrayed against him. Eventually, deep in the mountains bordering Cromwell, this coalition confronted Tharizdun and imprisoned him a Black Cyst. Deep under the earth, the Dark Servant was hidden in an undivinable place where he could do little to harm Telvar. [More about Tharizdun can be learned through reading the adventures of the Stone Soules, Alegra Falconer's Quest to restore the Fane of the Winds, and recent happenings in the lives of Warwick and Cassian.]
However, the lesser minions of Tram did not all arrive at the same fate as Tharizdun. One such minion crept into the secret base of the army formed to capture Tharizdun, and slayed all who stayed behind when he was finally imprisoned. He was forgotten…. [And later rediscovered, by Cassian and Warwick. Through their work with Phaulkon's Servant, Grien, he was finally slain.]
Another of Tram's servants who was imprisoned was Delnan. But there was a critical difference with Tharizdun. Delnan surrendered. He knew that he could not escape, and so he willingly imprisoned himself. However, Delnan had one bargaining piece. Being a senior servant of the god of ignorance, over the vast stretches of time that had elapsed since the fall of the Kraken in Telvar, he had come into sole possession of a small piece of knowledge that might one day be critical once again to the survival of the people of Telvar. That is, he knew how to activate the eleven Inviolate Realms.
As Warwick had discovered through enormous effort, the Inviolate Realms were one of the "many tiny safeguards against the return of the Kraken." These ancient kingdoms, led by the ancient mages who had defeated the Kraken, were now populated by armies of undead. The ancient mages had become liches, and slept in their Inviolate Realms against such a time as their power and knowledge were needed to oppose the Kraken once again. Though these Realms were separate and self-controlled, in the distant past it had been known how they could be collectively, and suddenly, awakened. That was the knowledge that Delnan had kept for himself.
And so, when he surrendered to the coalition, Delnan agreed to his surrender on the condition that should he be freed, he would then no longer be subject to imprisonment and in return we would activate the Inviolate Realms. And so, when Delnan emerged from his own Black Cyst at the call of Pete Harans, he fled into the heavens. But at that moment he looked back upon Telvar and activated the eleven Inviolate Realms.
Why, then, is this important? For years, various forces for and against the return of Telvar's once-masters, the Kraken, have fought battle after battle. Most recently, at Race Rock [the events of the Sixth Telvar Open], the attention of the Kraken was attracted to Telvar by one of their greater Sahaugin servants. Because the Kraken are always looking for worlds to conquer and it has been millennia since the people of Telvar had fought a war with the Kraken (and therefore have fallen into ignorance and false security), the Kraken's interest might certainly have been piqued. The wise servant of the Kraken had shown a world ripe for the picking.
However, the activation of the Inviolate Realms will certainly give the Kraken pause. EACH of these realms is peopled by thousands of undead creatures. They cannot be dominated by the Kraken's mental or magical powers. Perhaps, more important still, they have ancient knowledge of the methods necessary to defeat the Kraken and magical items designed to do so. Though the Realms' activation may also be dangerous to the local, unaware inhabitants of regions of Telvar which now border these mysterious places – indeed, for some time to come – more importantly, the Realms will prevent the arrival of the powerful martial-law-loving, malignant, and lawful-evil Kraken, who are eager to subjugate both Good and Evil beneath their tentacled heels.
Delnan's freedom does undoubtedly mean one bad thing for the Good peoples of Telvar, however. It signals the rise of the servants of Ignorance once again. With Delnan free, those rare clerics of Tram will gain significantly in power, and be of a place to once again oppose the forces of light, knowledge, and truth. That, certainly, cannot be ideal. But the forces of Good will now have time to oppose them, rather than the brutal reality of a fight for simple survival and freedom against the Kraken.
In the face of the Kraken, many who were once enemies are forced to allegiance. So it is now, and will be should the Kraken once more come to Telvar. For now, it appears that is averted.
The Aftermath: What Comes of the Principle Figures at the "Edge of Memory"?
The Dark Ones, the guides working on several sides during the Open, had as their goals survival, the preservation of the 'zone of night' surrounding the Monument to the Forgotten, and to be paid for their services as guides. Except for Ieebee, who worked with the Shocktroopers, the other Dark Ones were cheated by their evil employers. Lien and Hood paid Satral in a faux-magical dagger and the servants of Kahzak certainly didn't pay well given the dangerous circumstances... However, all of the Dark Ones did survive. Only to see that their zone of natural darkness was removed, however… When Delnan left, so did the night.
It is unclear what might happen to the principle combatants at the site of the Monument's fall when Delnan was freed.
"Hood," who freed the Dark Planetar, died and was given the oblivion he so desperately sought. His crumpled form remained at the bottom of the stairs in the Black Cyst.
Lien, the confidant and adventuring companion of "Hood," who moments before had tried to kill him, lost his memory. For a moment, he didn't know what to do with his sword, so he kept holding it. There, he is standing next to Krasse, the cleric of the god of secrets, and Szyn, the phase spider, who have likewise been paralyzed into inaction by the realization that they have no idea where they are, what they are doing, how they got there, or what to do next. Certainly this is a watershed moment for these characters.
Myzon, the human who made a pact with demons, was standing somewhere near the Monument at the stroke of midnight, when Hood blew the horn and knocked it down. Whether he was killed by the fall of the Monument is not known. However, what is known is that he didn't survive. He was probably consumed by the power of the Rite of the Dark Pact. When he failed to read from the vast Tome containing the Pact (as he was bound to do for one hour each day, and because Lien and Hood had carried it off, he could not), he was judged by his demon sponsor, and found wanting.
The Shocktroopers presumably made it to the Piano Bar safely.
It is supposed that the Minotaurs took their friend Szyn, who had lost his memory, and tried to find their way home. Of course, unless Szyn could remember how to get them home, this might take them some time….
The Fire Giants fail to gain vengeance for their sacrificed comrades. It is expected that they are greatly grieved by this, but that they depart and return to their home.
The rest of Krasse's group was evidently under orders to kill anyone who emerged from the stairway, so it is unclear whether a mass melee would occur there, perhaps engulfing the now-zero level folks who fought in the Cyst, the shocktroopers, the Minotaurs, and even the avenging Fire Giants.
The only certainty is that Delnan is freed, the Inviolate Realms activated, and the Dark One guides run like hell. Hood, who blew the Wailer for Lost Delnan and bought the freedom of his patron with his own death, had been under the dual conviction that the release of Delnan would both result in the deaths of thousands of innocents, but also that by freeing the Dark Planetar he would be saving Telvar. It seems he was right on both counts.
Group: "Ignorance Is Bliss"
Satral, a Dark One guide, played by Alan Turnquist
"Hood" (Pete Harans), a 7th level human fighter, split to 8th level cleric of Tram, the banished god of ignorance, played by Kyle MacLea
Lien, a 10th level human fighter, played by Kathryn Klawiter
Myzon, a 5th level human fighter with demonic powers of a barbarian of 12th level, played by Joey Hess
Group: "We Will Avenge"
Blerg, a Fire Giant warrior, played by Michael Chermside
Vorox, a Fire Giant warrior with his Fire Mastiff, played by Jack McKechnie
Dornig, a 7th level Dwarven fighter, played by Sean Guarino
Group: "Knowledge Is Power"
Krasse, a 9th level human cleric of Kazhak, the god of secrets, played by Joel Green
Trellis, a 2nd level human female thief, split to 9th level fighter, played by Chris Allen
Lorka, a 9th level Dwarven fighter, played by Rachel Smith
Grelp, a Fire Giant warrior and Igneous, his Fire Mastiff, played by Rhonda Jones
Mankt, a 1st level human fighter, split to 9th level human magic user, played by Alan Jones
Fneezil, an Imp familiar to Mankt, granting him the powers of 10th level, played by Alex Hubbard
Rhebun, a Dark One guide, played by Jeff
Group: "Unlimited Power, but Nothing to Do With It"
Nause, a human female shocktrooper type IIc, 4th level monk split to 10th level mage, played by Zack Hubert
Bi-Rena, a human female shocktrooper type II, 6th level thief split to 7th level cleric of Nevron, god of wisdom, played by Dean
Re-Ra, a human shocktrooper type II, 7th level fighter split to 8th level thief, played by Andy Moorhead
Ieebee, a Dark One guide, played by Scott Tillman
Group: "We Know Something's Going to Happen, We're Just Not Sure What It Is"
Szyn, a phase spider Prophet, played by Keith Nelson
Xellic, a 6th level Minotaur mage and his giant bat familiar, played by Andrew Anderson
Lueln, a 6th level female Minotaur cleric of Chelsea, god of civilization, mate of Xellic, played by Jay Bates
Toburn, an 8th level Minotaur Paladin of Chelsea, played by David Bjorlin
Moika, a 7th level female Minotaur fighter, mate of Toburn, played by Katherine Anderson
Iona, a female Minotaur fighter, henchcow to Toburn, played by Rodger Henson
Nascel, a Minotaur fighter, henchcow to Moika, mate of Iona, played by David Ahn
Other Information of Note
Also of note in relation to the Kraken:
Other related adventures (chronologically, in Telvar order):
The Stone Soules in the Temple of Tharizdun (here are several and here is the rest)
The Restinford Defenders: their Summary #75
Cassian and Warwick 2002 adventure summary "Rage Against Ignorance."
And, a previous reference to the "Greebly guys" (Dark Ones):
the Restinford Defenders Summary #30 (?)
--Kyle, with assistance from Joel, Zack, Kathryn, Joey, and Jay, and of course, Edwin