One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
I think with Hold Person, the fact it affects fey creatures like nixies threw me as although they have human-like appearance I never really think of them as 'humanoids'
I'll be sure to have a read of your summaries too Ragnar! I've always liked seeing how other parties play things out too. Yeah my players love Nulb but found Hommlett too sedentary for their likings I think and the players who bonded most with the peaceful village aren't playing in the group at the moment.
Yeah, group turnover can be tough to handle. Well, not tough, but it breaks the continuity a bit. Plus, if you start to work out an adventure focusing on a particular character, then that player leaves, you are left holding the bag. I hate that; I don't do the work at personalizing things for the NPCs!
I left this summary as the bare bones and never got around to filling it out a bit. To summarise the PCs overcome the harpies and fight off more ghouls and ghasts as the explore further rooms. After their last ghoulish encounter they retreat to the wine-cellar of the tumbled-down shack in the Temple grounds to rest returning to the lower levels and reaching just outside a chamber filled with stirges. (Sorry for the poor summary for this session!)
As you stepped into the hexagonal chamber the buzzing you heard coming from the shadowy domed ceiling became louder and a swarm of mosquito-like stirges ravenously descended upon you. After a harrowing fight you managed to slay enough of the creatures to cause the rest to retreat and settle down. Confident that the stirges would not pester you for the meantime you set about searching the room and the ruined marble throne. Your thorough examination proved fruitful as Yav discovered both a secret door in the north wall behind the throne and a gold ring [later identified as a ring of shooting stars, the pary's most significant magical find to date I think!].
As the secret door swung open it revealed a short corridor ending in a second secret door. This concealed portal lead to a circular room of polished black stone, the domed ceiling of which was decorated by a phosphorescent pattern depicting a night sky. In the centre of the room was a large yet shallow circular depression surrounded by a low stone bench. Within the bench were carved drawers, one of which contained a selection of augury tokens.
Holding these tokens imparted the knowledge that casting them could provide answers to your questions. However, the answers seemed vague and cryptic at best. By now you were in two minds as to whether you should carry on or return to safety. Yav's curiosity got the better of him and he continued to explore the next chamber. This room was similar to the polished black room you had previously been in and carvings above the doorway identified the previous room as the ďChamber of High AuguryĒ. A search of this ante-chamber revealed little else however.
Following the only exit out of the room you continued down a corridor but finally decided that your wounds were too much and your confidence diminished. Retreating from the Temple, you gathered Elmo and returned to Nulb.
Back at Nulb you were warmly welcomed by Gurtrun and discovered that Thurin had left behind his cloak and boots of elevenkind as a gift. Yav gave his housekeeper some of the ugly, warped usk fruit he had gathered back at the Temple and asked her to bake it into a pie which he and Elmo tucked into. [Some of you may guess what happened next!]
You discussed your next moves. Feeling that you needed to bolster your numbers you decided to head for Verbobonc (by foot as your horses had previously been lost) to sell your loot and seek out willing henchmen to join your cause. Settling down for the night you were glad for the relative comfort of Creekside compared to the bleak environs of the Temple.
That night Yav and Elmo were taken ill with agonising stomach cramps that only got worse through the night. Luckily a dose of Keoghtom's ointment seemed to do the trick but Yav and Elmo were both greatly weakened requiring two days of complete bed rest. Unfortunately nature was not on your side and before Yav could recover foul weather struck. For three days you rode out vicious gale force winds that caused both considerable damage and fatalities within Nulb. When the weather had finally cleared you set off on foot to Verbobonc leaving Nar and Malfern behind. Deciding to take the safer yet longer route you called in at Hommlet.
Lyria visited Berne & Rufus, whilst Yav visited Jaroo in order to inform the village leaders of your discoveries in the Temple. Pan and Fulco rested their feet in the Welcome Wench, uninterested in the pastoral village that the others had spent some time in. Your stay in Hommlet was brief and you were soon back on the road. After an uneventful yet wearying five day hike you finally reached Verbobonc.
Taking rooms at the Silver Lyre you quickly set about recruiting henchmen, selling loot and attending to personal matters. After ten days both Lyria and Fulco had found themselves suitable henchfolk. Cunigund Luitgard, a thief from the Bandit Kingdoms, entered the service of Lady Asterales and put her in touch with a group of influential ladies in the city. Good fortune reunited Fulco with his childhood friend from Celene, the grey elf Syffaryn Cleardawn, who had sought to catch up with Fulco and aid him in his search for the missing Countess Trillahi.
With your new companions in tow you headed back to Nulb (with the exception of Yav who chose to remain a little longer) upon your newly purchased steeds and were back at Creekside in three days. Upon your return there was no sign of Nar or Malfern but you realised there was no point deliberating over there whereabouts for now [the player had to drop out unfortunately].
Wasting no time you returned to the Temple only to find the side-door you had previously smashed down had been repaired. You didn't think twice about demolishing the repair job and slunk back into the vile cathedral. Retracing your footsteps you found your way back to the room you had struggled with the stirges but hearing more buzzing from the shadowy rafters changed your mind and headed down a previously unexplored passage.
The long corridor led you one way then another until you reached a passage way with two doors. Hearing laughter from behind one of them you burst through the door and launched an assault on a group of guardsmen within. The fight seemed to be going well until four men in bronzed plate mail and brown shields bearing a black triangular boss joined the fray. These men seemed much more battle hardened but you felt confident you had the upper hand. The tides of battle changed when the apparent leader of the group hurled his javelin into the fray. As the weapon struck Pan it transformed into a bolt of deadly lightning that caught all of you except Cunigund in its path. Pan and Syf immediately fell to the lightning and Lyria and Fulco were badly injured. Suddenly things looked dire for you.
Fulco, Lyria and Cunigund valiantly fought on whilst saving their injured comrades from death until Lyria also fell to the sword blows of the elite guards. Seeing no other option you retreated whilst Fulco took on the final guardsmen single handedly. Quaffing a potion of speed he struck down the remaining two guards in a flurry of feints and blows only to be greeted by the sound of more guards coming down the corridor.
You fled in earnest, Fulco carrying Syf and Cunigund carrying Lyria leaving behind Pan who desperately crawled his way along the corridors, in an attempt to save your own lives. Using his elven cloak Pan was able to avoid detection as a band of gnolls prowled past searching for the others. Only just daring to breathe he lay as still as possible hoping no-one would discover him. Meanwhile the rest of you made a gamble and fled into the stirge plagued room. Lyria, remembering how to open the secret door that Yav discovered, managed to find the trigger and you bundled yourselves into a hopefully forgotten secret passage, shutting the stone door behind you.
Now you wait in trepidation. Will you have time to rest and regain your strength or will you be discovered and dragged off for torture, sacrifice or worse? What has become of Pan who you abandoned in your desperate flight? And where in the Nine Hells is Yav?!
He was lucky! I rolled percentile dice for each gnoll to see if they detected him (with a bonus for the factors you mentioned). Luckily it was hard to see where Pan's blood stopped and the other's blood continued down the corridor.
Not long after your had sealed yourself into the secret hallway, your hearts still hammering in your chests, you heard the mechanisms of the secret door quietly grating. Poised for one last final stand you were relieved to see an ashen faced Pan stagger into the room bleeding heavily. Shutting the door behind him you extinguished the light and the injured amongst you quickly succumbed to fitful sleep. After a full day of rest you finally had the energy to contemplate your predicament.
Many of you were still badly injured, sore and bloodied. Luckily the well constructed hallway was ventilated like much of the rest of the subterranean level here so you did not suffocate in your sleep. Lighting a lantern with your dwindling supply of oil Lyria began to study her spell book whilst Pan meditated. When ready, Pan used what healing magic he could whilst Lyria refreshed her defensive armour spells on those that needed it. Having done this Pan used a dweomer that manipulated time, forcing himself and Lyria into a deep sleep for an hour but when they awoke they felt revitalised enough to refresh their compliment of spells to full.
Feeling better prepared and ready to continue you tentatively opened the secret door into the augury chamber. You retraced previous steps until you came to a corridor you had not ventured down. Approaching the first door you saw that it was made of bronze and locked but more significant were the strange runes carved across it. The combined arcane knowledge of Lyria, Pan and Syf indicated that whilst these may just be harmless runes some magical wardings could also appear this way.
Cunigund determined that this was indeed a magical warding and in a great display of skill was able to disrupt the magic involved and render the trap harmless. He then picked the lock and the door was swung opened to reveal a rough hewn burial crypt. Nervously you entered the room anticipating undead at any moment. However, none arose. Instead you found a number of shrouded bodies in the burial niches. Fulco investigated two of the bodies to discover what appeared to be the interred remains of priests in now mouldering brown ceremonial robes. The second corpse you examined had a bronze clasped brown cloak that had not deteriorated like the robes but under Pan's urging you chose not to desecrate this place of final rest and left the room.
[A shame, good roleplaying did them out of a cloak of protection +1]
Proceeding down the corridor you then discovered a chamber that must once have been an alchemical store-room but was now littered with all manner of broken vials and pots, the former contents of which spilled all about the place. You all spent nearly half an hour rummaging through the room and your poking about paid off as you turned up a number of vials and containers that had not been damaged, some of which seemed to contain costly spell ingredients.
Pushing on you found the corridor ended at a bold hallway lined with brown marble veined with black. The marble seemed to range from a chocolate brown towards the south but lightened to a beige towards the north where there were also triangles of yellow stone set into the floor. Perhaps feeling apprehensive about the tasteless grandeur of this corridor you took the first turning off it that you could.
Along this normal stone passage was a door leading to a ransacked library. Sat behind one of the burned out stacks you saw a mound of fur and feather and scruffy hair leafing through the burned remains of a tome. Yav! He told you that he had tried to catch up with you but you assumed that whilst you were resting he had overtaken you and found his way here. Once again his luck seemed to have won through as he claimed to have not encountered a single soul on his way. He showed you the book he was reading, apparently a philosophical tome on the principles of chaos and evil. Of note were references to the sacred earth triangle (a symbol you had already seen) and a mention to a ďtrial of earthy terrors awaiting the foolhardyĒ and that this trial was somehow ďbelow or elsewhereĒ. Your numbers bolstered by one you pushed on with renewed confidence and decided it was time for some pay back.
Creeping down the corridor you had not long ago fled up, Fulco peeked around the corner to see a gnoll standing on guard outside the poorly repaired door to the guard chambers. Taking Pan's olven cloak and already wearing the olven boots, Fulco ghosted down the corridor and at the last moment leapt into an attack managing to fell the gnoll before it could cry out or even smell him. Listening at the door you heard the voices of two men who mentioned how someone named ďRomagĒ would be furious with what had happened to the Reavers in the recent fight and also mentioned how they believed that the interlopers must have escaped as they could find no trace of them. Creeping into the room you almost gave yourself away as Pan stepped forward, luckily, back in possession of his olven cloak, a guard down the end of an adjoining corridor had not spotted him and Pan was able to warn you all. Using a similar tactic Fulco crept down the corridor in the magic cloak and quickly dispatched the human guard wearing a brown surcoat bearing a black triangle symbol.
Ready to take out the two men in the side room you had heard chatting you launched your attack and quickly slew them but not before one of them bellowed out a cry of alarm. You had just enough time to take a defensive formation at a strategic location before the first wave of human guards rushed in. Easily defeating them you had similar luck with a following wave of gnolls led by a bugbear. A third and final wave of gnolls this time led by a towering ogre came charging at your. Despite Syf taking a grievous wound that Yav quickly healed you fought well. Fulco and Syf standing at the front hacking down your foes with their blades whilst the rest of you used magic and throwing daggers to great effect. The gnolls fell to to the warriors blades and Pan's fiery magic, Lyria focused her attention on the ogre fearing the damage he would cause should he get into the fray. Luckily you managed to slay the brute before he managed to land a blow on a single one of you. Hearing no more sounds of impending attack you congratulated yourselves on a battle well fought and quickly set to looting the bodies and room whilst you had the chance.
[A shame, good roleplaying did them out of a cloak of protection +1]
I applaud your players! Yes, tis a shame...but reward them for good roleplaying with experience. I love it when players are in character and will hold true even if other rewards are evident...or not.
Also, enjoying trying to ascertain the various spells used from your descriptions. Good, wise use of the Armor spell to provide protection. And I think your cleric enacted a Nap spell from the Tome of Magic book, yes?
Well deduced Lanthorn! Nap is a really good spell to have in these kind of dungeon crawls where long periods of rest are hard to come by.
Lyria is in possession of a suit of olven chain but has wisely chosen to protect her companions, mainly to keep herself better guarded but then she is LE hehe.
I was really pleased with the roleplaying regarding the cloak. Had Yav's player been there I htink he would have defied the others and taken the cloak (although he usually roles a dice [bone sticks] to determine his coarse of action!). I did award the party a roleplaying bonus to their xp - maybe not as much as if they had taken the cloak but it was still a reward!
Continuing in the direction the Temple reinforcements had come you discovered a network of now empty rooms, all appearing to once have housed guards of this place. You diligently searched each room but turned up little of value other than the some coins and the odd piece of jewellery. Finally the network of rooms opened out into a wide hallway. To the north you could see it opened out into a similarly wide passage filled with bones. Possibly the site of a great battle from when the Temple was assaulted by the Forces of Good.
Despite Pan's interest, you settled on opening the door opposite you. Hearing voices on the other side you burst in, surprising two ogres. The large brutes were able to shrug off Lyria's sleep enchantment so Yav, channelling the power of the Unlooked For, turned his baleful gaze upon one of them. The ogre drawn to Yav's gaze collapsed in a deep slumber whilst Fulco and Syf bravely charged the other brute. Nimbly avoiding the ogre's heavy stone-set club you hacked him down with your blades then quickly killed his helpless, slumbering companion.
Your customary search of the room revealed a secret revolving stone door behind a tapestry. Opening it you found another guard room filled with gnolls and two hobgoblins. Although you were not surprised your foes were and a bloody battle ensued. Initially the gnolls provided little threat to you and the threat posed by the second wave countered through Pan's use of the ring of shooting stars you had found in the augury chamber. However, a third wave of gnolls proved more problematic.
Cunigund took a nasty wound as a throwing spear pierced his thigh and Syf, finding herself under pressure from attacks in numerous directions, took a blow from a bastard sword that nearly disembowelled her. Through the use of Pan and Yav's healing you kept everyone on their feet and finally defeated the gnolls.
After catching your breath and patching up any untended wounds you continued investigating. You found many interconnecting rooms and passage ways. Some of these room to the south were old armouries filled with little but cobwebs and rusted debris. You also found a wide passageway gradually leading down to a lower level.
Tentatively following this passage you found it ended in a large sheet of embossed bronze with no obvious way of bypassing it. To either side were rooms, from one came a vile stench and from the other you could see a large reptilian form glinting in your torchlight. You hastily retreated your footsteps. Deciding that you wished to rest again, so that your spellcasters could refresh their minds, you returned to the safety of your secret passage. Without the night and day to see you had lost track of what time it was but it seemed not to matter down in this underground place.
Feeling ready to explore something more intriguing you turned your attentions to the elaborate hallway of brown marble set with yellow arrows in the floor. Following the arrows you found a huge brown curtain that you pushed aside to see a massive chamber with rough sandstone walls and a floor of dark packed earth. In the centre rose a large stepped pyramid, also of packed earth. On the level top of this pyramid was a squared stone column with four sets of bronze manacles hanging from it. Phosphorescent lichen cast a dim eerie glow over the chamber and at the far side you could see massive double bronze doors scrawled with glowing silvery runes, similar to those at the entrance of the cathedral on the surface.
Fulco and Syf walked into the room whilst the rest of you nervously followed at a distance. As Fulco headed towards the pyramid four large humanoid shapes flowed and merged out of the earthen floor. Standing ten feet tall they stood still and silent. Losing your confidence you started to back out of the temple chamber but the earthen figures, which Lyria deduced might by earth elementals (powerful magical creatures from the Plane of Earth), glided through the ground to block your exit and then started to almost patrol in a circular motion.
You made sure to scramble out of their way but Cunigund strayed too close and with a reflex like jerk the elemental smashed his fist out knocking the thief out in a single blow to the head. Starting to panic you all ran for the pyramid and clambered up to the top. The elementals immediately moved to the corners of the pyramid waiting expectantly.
You are now in a seemingly perilous position, trapped at the top of this packed earth pyramid. How will you escape? What does the bronze case at the base of the pyramid contain? Can you get by the earth elementals without being turned to a bloody pulp?
Realising that you were trapped, you saw no other option but to flee from the pyramid and risk the potential casualties this might cause. However, as you ran down the sides of the pyramid in unison the earth elementals did not move but continued staring expectantly at the pyramid. Not wishing to push your luck you left the temple chamber and decided to explore more of the corridors you had yet to reach. [Maybe a bit of an anti-climax to their predicament, I decided the panic they were in was enough drama to make them realise how dangerous this place was plus the rules for the actions of the elementals could at a pinch be leniently interpreted]
It wasn't long before you stumbled across a room filled with guards. Although numerous they were not particularly skilled and you soon over-powered them with your greater skill. Keeping one of the sergeants alive you questioned him about the Temple. He told you that the pyramid was used for the sacrifices (of women). Curate Romag, the leader of the Earth Temple whilst garbed in fine ceremonial robes, would pour the blood of the women from a bronze ewer on to the earth elementals but lesser members of the Earth Cult were only permitted to enter the temple on special occasions. The sergeant also revealed to you that there was a prison area to the north-west and that Curate Romag's chambers were to the east.
He could not tell you much about the lower level as he stated that the other factions dwelt down there and were often hostile so it was not safe for the Earth Cult to wander those halls. In return for his life and freedom the sergeant also told you that Romag had recently gotten his hands on something powerful, an object, that likely was still in his chambers.
Leading you to the entrance to Romag's suite you released the sergeant, who quickly fled, and opened the door. Finding a small guard room on the other side you surprised four guards dressed in the Earth Temple brown, quickly overpowering them then continued to fight your way through a series of interconnected rooms. Finally you encountered a plate-clad man referred to as Commander Bassianus and his lieutenant. The two men put up a fierce fight but through a combination of magic and steel you managed to defeat your foes.
Pausing to catch your breath you have still not encountered Curate Romag. Did the sergeant lie to you or is the leader of the Earth Cult beyond the next door?!
Trying the sturdy door you found it barred from the other side and had little choice but to labriously hack the portal down. After ten noisy tiresome minutes Fulco and Cunigund broke through to find a plushly appointed yet empty chamber. Fulco quickly found an archway concealed behind a wall-hanging but the room beyond was shrouded in an impenetrable darkness and you suspected magic involved.
With no way to counter the magical darkness, Fulco uneducated in the ways of magic threw his burning torch into the darkened chamber. With a 'whoosh' you heard the sound of something igniting quickly followed by smoke wafting out of the dark room. The torch must have set fire to the carpets! [I have to say I was not expecting this turn of events!]
Before long thick acrid smoke poured out choking up the suite of rooms and forcing you to retreat, closing a previous door and blocking it off with rags to prevent the smoke spreading. After half an hour you dared to venture back. Fulco and Syf, covering their faces with their cloaks, cautiously returned to the darkened room, the thick smoke stinging their eyes. They discovered that the magical darkness has disappeared and beyond lied the burnt wreckage of a once plush chamber. Luckily, you had the sense to pull away the carpets from the adjacent room so the fire had not spread too far beyond the first room.
Much of the loot in the room seemed destroyed but miraculously a tome detailing the use of human sacrifice in the summoning of earth elementals had survived. In an alcove, possibly once concealed behind a tapestry you find the body of a man dressed in brown velvet ceremonial garb decorated in gold thread and gems with the sacred earth triangle. You quickly discovered that the man was not dead, strangely unharmed from the heat of the flames even though they hadn't spread into the bare stone alcove. Tying him up you looted what you could from the room and discovered a secret exit from the chamber.
Reviving the unconscious man you set to questioning him. He claimed to be Curate Romag, leader of the Earth Faction who despite his predicament seemed as confident as he did misogynistic. He told you the the Elemental Factions of the Temple were at odds and he seemed particularly hateful of Canon Belsornig, leader of the Water Faction. Romag additionally name Prefect Alrrem and Prefect Kelno, leaders of the Fire and Air Factions respectively. Romag also told you that behind the rune-sealed bronze doors lay the source of the Temple's power but that none of them could even approach the doors to access the full power within. Despite Romag's suggestion that you should work together and he would give you all the information you needed, Fulco and Syf were repulsed by the evil man and knocked him unconscious before his insidious words could be heeded.
Deciding that he could not be allowed to live, Lyria slit your captive's throat ending Romag's service to the power of Elemental Evil.
Leaving Romag's soot-stained body to rot where it lay Pan requested you investigate the corridor filled with bones so that he could ensure no undead were to be found there. Making your way to the skeleton strewn corridor you did indeed encounter the undead skeletons of several gnolls and human but with the aid of Dark-Eyed Wee Jas channelled through Pan you made quick work of the restless dead.
You then decided to investigate the location of the prison you had been informed of that supposedly lay to the north-west. After a quick skirmish with three bugbears dressed in black leather jerkins emblazoned with two brown triangles you discovered a secret portal that lead into a dusty cobweb filled corridor. Only a set of footprints, obvious in the thick dust, revealed that this passage was regularly used. Three iron doors were set into the wall and an alcove on the other side revealed some kind of sleeping chamber. Investigating the iron doors you found all three to have peep-holes revealing cells on the other side. Each cell stank of bodily waste and rotting meat and contained three huddled humanoid figures.
Lyria, sliding back the bar on the first door was shocked to discover that if these fellows had once been prisoners they had died here and now had returned to unlife as zombies. A fight ensued and although you defeated the shuffling dead Pan's suffered a broken arm as he defended himself from the pounding fists of one of the zombies.
Upon the request of the spell-casters you decided that rest was needed and you retreated to your, so-far reliable, bolt-hole by the Chamber of High Augury.
Nice. I see your party likes to slit the throats of captives too. :) My playser role-played this a bit, so the arguement about it was pretty constant. I just gave warnings about possible alignment changes. Of course, that didn't work.....
All is not lost for Romag yet as you'll find out in the next summary!
Yeah I had to explain to the CG player that slitting the throat of a captive was not in alignment. Lyria is LE and she hadn't agreed to free the captive if he spilled the beans so I figured it was acceptable for her to do it.
Lyria is LE . . . so I figured it was acceptable for her to do it.
Bare in mind that Lawful Evil still acts within the Law.
If Verbobonc has a law saying that captured persons should be brought before a Magistrate, then a Lawful Evil person might hesitate to slit their throats. Of course, a Chaotic Evil person wouldn't care.
In such a case, "I" certainly wouldn't advertise the fact that "I" 'took the law into my own hands.' The Governing Body would order your arrest.
Of course, you could have some real fun with that . . . by not mentioning it to your players. Let them talk about it in the local tavern, the wrong person overhears, reports it to the Sheriff and . . . Ta Da!
Writs of Outlawry -- Warrants -- are issued for their arrest . . . for Murder!
Good point Mystic, I had a long think about that but in the end I decided that a LE person, whilst they would adhere to the law would also know how to find loopholes and twist it for their own use.
Technically the Temple and Nulb lies outside of the territory of Verbobonc. Well, Nulb is on the cusp, but it is why people settled there, somewhere just outside the jurisdiction of Verbobonc that they could fester like a boil of dubious morality!
Whilst in the Temple, unless Lyria is under contract to capture the cultists or under some other obligation (which she isn't) she has a fairly free run of how to do things as long as she doesn't compromise any agreements or her own personal code. She also justified the execution by saying that she could not allow a leader of a powerfu Chaotic cult to escape into the world or continue his actions.
In addition, a LE person is very likely to consider it perfectly lawful to act as the highest legal authority in any situation in which it is unreasonable to take a law-breaker into custody to be turned over to a higher authority. Since the party is in the middle of exploring the Temple and it would be disadvantageous to their efforts to take a break to return Romag to Verbobonc to be turned over to the authorities there, the Lawful Evil Lyria is perfectly within her alignment to assume the mantle of judge, jury, and executioner in that situation.
Technically the Temple and Nulb lies outside of the territory of Verbobonc.
Sorry, not true!
No, the LG Triad produced a very detailed map of the Viscounty of Verbobonc and the Viscountcy claims all of the Gnarly Forest east to the Keep of Westguard. (East of Westguard is the territory of Dyvers) The borders then extend south to the Serault River, which runs from the town of Sobanwych to the Velverdyva River, near where it empties into the Nyr Dyv.
Southward, Verbobonc shares a border with Celene. The Gnomes of the Kron Hills are in a semi-state of rebellion, but the territory is still legally claimed by Verbobonc.
Nulb and the Temple are well within the borders of Verbobonc. Being within the Gnarley Forest, "Law" may be a bit "slow" in getting there (think "Wild West") but it exist and "will be waiting" for the party's "return" to more civilized regions to exact punishment.
the Lawful Evil Lyria is perfectly within her alignment to assume the mantle of judge, jury, and executioner in that situation
She may be acting within her alignment but not within "the law." I refer you again to the DMGII page 101, Law and Punishment.
As a side note, the authorities can issue a Writ of Outlawry against Romag after the fact. But you would still need to report the incident and explain your actions.
My .02: Torturing and killing a prisoner is not necessarily a chaotic act...I'd say it falls more within evil. It's a case of "whatever it takes to get what the group needs" or "the ends justifies the means" in this instance--again, in an evil way (though one could make even a case for neutrality...) Torture gathers information the group needs, and killing the prisoner eliminates the need of guarding the prisoner, slowing the group down, and preventing potential interference from the group reaching it's objective.
Now if torturing and killing the prisoner were PURELY for individual pleasure, & decidedly contrary to the group's/society's wishes, that would fall more in line with chaotic evil.
Technically the Temple and Nulb lies outside of the territory of Verbobonc.
Sorry, not true!
I've seen those maps Mystic but I'm afraid I have to disagree. The inclusion of Nulb within the Viscounty is not canon as far as I'm concerned and there is nothing within the adventure to support doing so. I suppose you could argue it equally doesn't say it isn't but Hommlet is specifically noted as within the Viscounty (just).
Also, to me, it makes no sense that a LG viscounty, heavilly under the influence of the Cuthbertines would tolerate a settlement that is described as wicked and evil within their borders and has a history of connection with the Temple of Elemental Evil. It makes much more sense for people of the ilk to settle in Nulb to do so because it lies just outside the jurisdiction of Verbobonc freeing them from the strict laws of the Viscounty but leaving them close enough to benefit from trade routes and the like.
Also, Iuz and Zuggtmoy put a lot of careful planning into the Temple. Why build it within the territory of a LG viscounty, patrolled by that nation's rangers when they've got a large expanse of un-claimed Gnarley to build in?
jtylerk - I definitely agree with you regarding the torture and end justifies the means stance for LE
First, Nulb and the temple are definitely not within the Viscounty's territory, at least in a pre-wars setting as T1-4 was originally set. At that time, there is much more wilderness here, with the Nulb area as well as vast reaches of the Gnarley being unclaimed by any state. It's after the wars when Dyvers, Greyhawk, and Verbobonc lay claim to further stretches.
Second, I handle the alignment stuff different. For one thing, I don't make a big deal about it. It's a gauge to show a person's general philosophical tendencies, not an framework within which he/she must act. So, I give lots of leeway. Further, unless you are a priest or paladin, I do not impose any penalties on alignment changes. So you're fighter went from LG to LN? No big deal; it just shows the gradual shift in his perspective. Now, if your priest of St. Cuthbert shifts to Chaotic, that would be an issue.
Finally, I also deal with evil very differently. Only TRUE evil shows up as evil, and by that I mean undead, demons, etc. If you cast a Detect Evil spell, it wouldn't reveal anything with regards to normal people. I used Hitler as an example, and told the players, "look, even if you cast it on him, it still wouldn't reveal him as evil." I wanted to draw a further line between true evil and a more relativistic evil. For the most part, it has worked out. I do allow know alignment, which reveals auras, by which they can infer alignments. However, they have learned, at least for my campaign, that the alignments are more just indicators. The LE guy they meet isn't evil, he just is more of a "might makes right" kind of guy. I know this discussion probably doesn't really belong here in these threads, but I did sort of start it. Sorry. :)
Anyway, it does become important here, as the players are CONSTANTLY capturing people. They do their best Jack Bauer interrogations, then are left with the conundrum. "What do we do with them?" Well, sometimes they do let people go, but for the most part, at least with humanoids, they don't. As long as it gets role-played, I don't really have a problem with it. I thought it was very cool how they got into arguments a few times over this. First in the Kron Hills, then at the Moathouse, now at the Temple. It never ends. Of course, while they did argue more heatedly last time, nobody interfered with the battlerager Gotrek when he said he was killing the captured gnolls "and anyone else who intervenes!"
You will get 100% support from Argon and me on that statement, Ragnar!
I do NOT wish to derail the thread, so, I'll merely say that I fully agree with your aforementioned comments, and think that there MAY be a thread in the General Forum that address role-playing alignment...somewhere... If I find it, I will hyperlink it in this response. Otherwise, Ragnar, I encourage you to create one and let us debate at length about our own perceptions regarding role-playing alignment! Sounds like a great topic.
Last edited by Lanthorn on Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:37 pm; edited 1 time in total
I agree with your perspective on alignments for the most part, Ragnar. But, this is Wolfling's campagin blog, so it is important for him to explain his take on alignments nly so that we may understand why certain things happen in his campaign. It isn't necessary for us to convince him to change his thinking.
Yes, totally true there. I only mentioned it at all, because we are both posting campaign journals of the same adventure, and our players are doing some of the same things, namely killing captured foes.
Anyway, I'm anxiously awaiting more campaign journals, as it's fascinating to read!
After many hours of rest you felt ready to leave the security of your secret corridor. Hoping to find some bat guano for Lyria to use in her fireball spell in the rundown cathedral above, you headed for the stairs to the surface. However, as you reached the intersection a cry of alarm was raised and you spotted two bandits on guard down the corridor.
Wasting no time you raced down the well-lit corridor to engage them and quickly killed the two men. Unfortunately more guards posted down an adjoining corridor had been alerted and as one of their number fled to, apparently to alert Canon Romag (who you believed dead already) you raced to take out the remaining two. However, the guards were ready for your charge and Fulco was brutally impaled on a set spear as it pierced through his chest and burst out the other side. Pan quickly ran to his aid and using his knowledge of the physician's arts carefully extracted the weapon as the rest of you killed the guards. [I've just started experimenting with using the critical charts from an old Dragon magazine!]
Pushing on you found an adjoining corridor blocked off with stacked up furniture so continued straight ahead. Passing through an ajar door you descended a new corridor (in which Syf sensed a secret door) ending in a door you believed connected to a room previously ransacked. As Syf searched for the mechanism to open the secret portal, the door at the end of the corridor flung open and three guards dressed in the surcoats of the Earth Temple fired their crossbows at you.
Forgetting Lyria's earlier words of caution that there may be a pit trap at the end of the passage, Fulco (his head perhaps clouded by the pain from his injury) and Syf charged at the crossbowmen. They should have listened to Lyria as the floor gave way beneath them and they found themselves at the bottom of a pit.
A skirmish with ranged weapons then began until your daggers and darts were exhausted. By this time Fulco was able to drag himself up into the corridor and look into the room beyond the door. Inside were more guards as well as an elderly man in well-made brown robes. Could this be Romag? Had you not already killed him?
A fight ensued and as you took down the guards with your weapons Lyria managed to fell the elderly leader with her arcane bolts of energy that unerringly struck the spellcaster before he had a chance to cast more than a poorly placed silence dweomer. [I wasn't thinking and cast the Silence spell on the floor and not on Lyria herself - drat]
The remaining two guards quickly surrendered and after a brief bout of questioning revealed that the old man was indeed Canon Romag who had switched his clothes with his assistant, Adept Hartsch. It was the Adept who you had interrogated and then executed. Although you missed the chance to question the real leader of the Earth Faction you were relieved that you had finally killed him.
Releasing the two guards [no executions this time!] you returned to the prison area and discovered a torture-chamber in which a unnerving turnkey was experimenting on a victim. His coldly polite welcome and explanation of his study of pain enraged Fulco and Syf who quickly charged the turnkey and his bugbear assistant. Although a skilled figher the turnkey was outnumbered six to one and stood little chance. The torturers now defeated you examined the room to find two country women; Elyn and Allys, and two orcs; Skumwort and Ratbog, in cells.
Freeing all four of them as well as Torlin, the man being tortured, you escorted the women and Torlin back to your secret corridor after finally agreeing that to release them into the Gnarley to find their way home could be a perilous undertaking for them. [The party were really in favour of just shoving them all out the front door of the Temple until Syf objected and made them feel guilty - right heroes are this group!] The orcs on the other hand agreed to answer to Lyria's orders, despite being an elf, in return for a chance to get revenge at the denizens of the Temple much to Fulco and Syf's displeasure.
You returned to the cells and dispatched six more zombie with ease thanks to Pan's turning. As you explored the remaining cells you were hailed by a gnome prisoner. Somewhat burly for a gnome, you recognised him as one of your henchman candidates who you had turned down in Verbobonc. He admitted that having heard you talk about the Temple he found his own way here to try his luck but had been captured en-route and ended up in a cell. Introducing himself as Wonillon he agreed to accompany you for the meantime as long as he got a share of the loot.
With a somewhat enlarged retinue you continued your exploration of this level of the Temple. Finding a ransacked kitchen the several skeletons lying on the floor (including one of an ogre) did not arouse your suspicions as you searched the room for loot. As Lyria approached a large empty fireplace she was taken by surprise by a massive viper measuring over ten feet in length! Fulco responded to Lyria's cry for defence and as Syf warned you all of the snake's virulent venom the giant ophidian struck at Fulco like lightning, sinking its teeth into him. Perhaps due to the grievous wound Fulco had suffered earlier, the venom wracked his body, ravaging his cardiovascular system. With every second counting Pan tried to tend to the snake-bite but the pressure was too much and Fulco died in front of him from massive hemorrhaging and heart failure.
You managed to kill the snake and then stood in shock around Fulco's still warm body as Syf, grief-stricken, clutched her childhood friend in her arms.
Deciding not to tarry any longer in the Temple you made a quick exit, taking the freed captives, Elyn, Alys and Torlin and the body of Fulco with you. Returning to Nulb to collect your horses you rode to Verbobonc City leaving Yav behind in Creekside. In the city you attended to various personal matters and the business of selling your loot and provisioning yourself for your future journeys.
Fulco's body was taken to the Chapel of Our Lady of the Forest (dedicated to Ehlonna, patroness of the elvenfolk and Syf's goddess) but although the priestess there was sympathetic to Fulco and Syf's cause she was simply not powerful enough to raise Fulco from the dead. Syf had no choice but to turn to the mercy of the more powerful churches in Verbobonc. Choosing to beseech the clergy of Rao (the lunar god of peace and reason and patron of Veluna, the country Fulco hailed from) Syf was able to convince them to raise her friend. Although the fee was steep it was fair and you used your new gained wealth to pay it. Alive but in need of many days' rest you left Fulco to recover at the Silver Lyre Inn whilst you all continued your personal errands. Finally after a fortnight in the city you were ready to return to Nulb.
Returning with the gnome Wonillon you arrived in Nulb on the day before Richfest (the Midsummer festival of the Flanaess). When you arrived at Creekside, Yav told you that whilst you had all been in the Temple an elderly Baklunish man of regal bearing had delivered a scroll. Eagerly opening the parchment you learned that it contained a the following verse;
The Two united, in the past,
a Place to build, and spells to cast.
Their power grew, and took the land
and people round, as they had planned.
A key without a lock they made
of gold and gems, and overlaid
with spells, a tool for men to wield
to force the powers of Good to yield.
But armies came, with weapons bared,
while evil was yet unprepared.
The Hart was followed by the Crowns
and Moon, and people of the towns.
The Two were split; one got away
but She, when came the judgement day,
did break the key, and sent the rocks
to boxes four, with magic locks.
In doing so, She fell behind
as He escaped. She was confined
among Her own; her very lair
became her prison and despair.
The Place was ruined, torn apart
and left with chains around the heart
of evil power Ė but the key
was never found in the debris.
He knows not where She dwells today.
She set the minions' path, the way
To lift Her Temple high again
With tools of flesh, with mortal men.
Many now have gone to die
in water, flame, in earth, or sky.
They did not bear the key of old
that must be found Ė the orb of gold.
Beware, my friend, for you shall fall
unless you have the wherewithall
to find and search the boxes four
and then escape forevermore.
But with the key, you might succeed
in throwing down Her power and greed.
Destroy the key when you are done
and then rejoice, the battle won.
You decided that you thought the rhyme pertained to the Temple of Elemental Evil but did not spend too long trying to decipher its words and came to no final conclusions. [The party show an infuriating lack of interest in engaging with the story - they just want to kill things and find treasure]
Deciding to join the local festivities you remained in the village for Midsummer's Night when the two moons, Celene and Luna, waxed full in the night sky. A night of revelry, fertility and of great magic for all. Done with your celebrating you all returned to Creekside before the moons began to set. Upon returning you found Gurtrun to be most concerned. A silvery glow was coming from Lyria's backpack and it turned out to be the magical box that the wizards in Verbobonc had claimed could well be an artifact.
Tentatively taking out the box Lyria happened to step into the moonlight shining through the window. The box flared brighter and then there was a click. The box had opened! Nervous with anticipation you opened the box to discover it held a pack of mysterious fortune-telling cards. Suddenly it was as if time froze around you and a voice spoke forth in your minds;
ďI am the Deck of Many Things and I offer you great weal or great woe!Ē
This powerful artifact was an object of great magic and great chaos. Its cards could offer you wealth and power or rip them all away your life included. Each stating how many cards you would draw, destiny bound you to that choice and Lyria eagerly went first Ė The Idiot, The Jester, The Comet, The Key and The Flames were drawn. Devastatingly Lyria found her keen intellect diminished and whilst still much brighter than most people, finding herself set with moments of forgetfulness, a treasure map and magical dagger appeared in her hands, the enmity of a powerful planar being and a challenge; to single-handedly defeat the next monster encountered to gain power.
Fulco stepped up next, drawing; The Talons, The Jester and The Throne. All of a sudden his bearing became more regal, his hair and skin bright and lustrous, his scars faded and now exuded an alluring charisma. On top of that, a set of deeds to a place called Gullscry Keep appeared in his hands at the same time all of his magical possessions disappeared.
Syf drew forth The Comet, The Rogue and The Talons. Like Fulco her magical possessions vanished but she was also warned that some powerful person here on the Flanaess now harboured a deep hatred of her. Like Lyria she was also issued the challenge to single-handedly defeat her next foe to gain in power.
Pan went next, despite his goddess's possible disapproval of using an item of such Chaos and drew; The Flames, The Idiot, The Sun and The Star. Like Lyria he gained the enmity of an unknown power and also found himself forgetting things he once knew but whilst his memory worsened he was blessed with greater wisdom and intuitiveness as well as great skill and power. He also received a powerful magical mirror that would allow him to scry and open portals to other places. [Unfortunately Pan now no longer meets the requirements to be a speciality priest of Wee Jas and is undergoing a crisis of Faith. The player is a power-gamer and hates not having special powers so is looking at options for new deities he can be a speciality priest of. His alignment has been shifting rapidly towards Chaotic since he started. Perhaps the entity Pan has incurred the wrath of is Wee Jas herself!]
Cunigund went next and drew; The Knight, The Jester, The Rogue, and The Comet. He immediately gained the loyalty and service of an old man-at-arms named Bartal, the enmity of a powerful person, as of yet unknown to him and and a similar challenge to defeat the next foe he came across to gain in power.
Yav then stepped up and drew; The Kinght, The Vizier, The Fates and The Jester but unable to resist the extra draws then drew Ruin and the Donjon! Luckily his fortuitous blessing from the Fates card allowed him to avoid imprisonment but Creekside and all Yav's wealth were lost.
Finally Wonillon couldn't resist but to draw from the Deck. Fortune did not smile on him. He drew; The Euryales and the Donjon and disappeared without a trace.
As you seemed to phase back into the present, Creekside shuddered and listed and you were all forced to flee outside as the house collapsed and sunk into the bog.
And so Midsummer's Night of the 579th Common Year passed by, leaving you in quiet amazement at the powerful magic that you had just been subjected to and sat, sodden, in a fetid mosquito ridden bog.
Awesome. I have a DoMT episode coming up in my campaign too! Poor Wonillon. That is one hard-luck gnome!
It's too bad about your party not being interested in the story. Mine started that way too, or at least had a few power players that caused many things to get missed. I really had to work on my players to overcome the exact same problem. It gets frustrating as a DM to do a lot of work, then have your players just not notice.
Yeah it is very frustrating - I enjoy DMing because I enjoy weaving the story with my players. When they don't engage in that I feel like some soul is missing from the game. I'm working on them. I have a new player starting who might change the dynamics a bit.
Heheh yeah I was gutted about Wonillon, I was looking forward to roleplaying him - I'd peged him as a burly foul-mouthed gnome (all my gnomes have squeaky voices - the player's seem to love it) and are usually very pleasant so a cussing gnome was great. I've decided he's trappe din one of the Elemental Nodes (Water - I randomized) being used as a slave by the sea hags. It will hopefully add more incentive for them to to delve deeper in the Temple to try and find him if they get some clues from divination.
The ToEE computer game was fun! It won't run on my PC - I was planning on having a re-play myself![/i]
Trudging to the Waterside Hostel, Dala was able to find you a couple of spare rooms which some of you retired to whilst Lyria, Pan, Cunigund and Cunigund's new henchman, Bartal sat in the sweaty crowded bar area and drowned your misfortunes with a bottle of Urnst white. As you sat drinking a mysterious figure in blue robes and scarves concealing all his face except his eyes, approached your table. Introducing himself as X‚kestari of the Plains of the Paynims (a land of desert nomads far far to the West) he exlained that he had travelled to Nulb with the old Baklunish man, a great wizard, who had delivered the rhyme about the Temple to Creekside. [This man is Rary who I've introduced on a minor meddling level giving the PCs a helping hand - partly because I like him and at some point I might send them into the Bright Desert so wanted a bit of foreshadowing]
X‚kestari explained he had a deep interest in the elemental plains being tied to the powers of geniekind, in particular the element and maridans (genies) of water and wished to join your expedition into the Temple of Elemental Evil so he could understand how the elemental powers were being perverted there and to stop it. Begrudgingly you agreed to let him accompany you but let him know he still had to gain your trust. [And so joins a new player!]
After a cramped, uncomfortable night you awoke and discussed your options. Staying in Nulb in the intense summer heat was not an appealing option so you consider three avenues of pursuit; return to the Temple, seek out the treasure on Lyria's map or investigate the deeds to Fulco's keep.
Using Pan's newly acquired mirror of mental prowess [from the Deck of Many Things - lucky roll for the player!] you asked of it a question; "What is the name of the nearest settlement to Gullscry Keep?" The mirror answered with but one word; "Shadel". Yav and his new henchman, the half-orc Gristle, being former residents of the region, recognised the name as a small village on the Wild Coast not far from Safeton but they knew little else about it. Some of you had all travelled up from the Wild Coast when you first arrived at the Hommlet and knew the path through the Gnarley that would take you back there. Fulco and X‚kestari paid a visit to Old Mother Screng's Herb Shop but X‚kestari's fierce Paynim pride did not allow him to humour the old cantankerous woman and the meeting ended on a sour note perhaps ending Hruda as a source of the scraps of information she had provided in the past?
Wasting little time you left Nulb and set off through the Gnarley, following the poorly maintained forest trail for four days until you broke through the eves out onto the rugged Wild Plains. The first major settlement you reached was the town of Narwell where over three months ago Lyria and her previous companions (Zrabbas Mo'Sharba and Axia) had met Thurin and Yav and their adventures had begun. Seeking lodgings for the night Yav was able to find an old dwarf who had heard of Gullscry Keep. He told you that it had been built by dwarves at least a human generation ago for a human lord and was located off the coast road halfway between Pelgaryn and Safeton. Armed with this knowledge you set off the following day, riding through the dry hills and the beating relentless sun with only the sparse copses of olive and cypress trees for shade. Other than a lone goat herd and his flock you saw little life. As dusk began to fall it was two brightly plumaged parrots that caught your eye and caused you to spot the track leading off from the coast beyond a grove of olive trees and over the crest of a hill.
Following the dusty track you reached the crest of the hill and gazing down saw, perched on the rocky coast a limestone & granite keep that had seen better days. A tall round central tower was surrounded by a high curtain wall surrounding three sides (the eastern side along the coast being undefended). Some of the external towers had collapsed and the lichen covered wooden gates lay open. Carefully approaching the keep Fulco tentatively pushed open one of the heavy wooden doors surprising an ogre who although was possibly meant to be on guard was instead slumbering. Lyria, quick to take advantage of the Comet card that she drew from the Deck of Many Things pushed forward calling her mark. Using her sonomancy she caused the waking ogre to fall back into slumber and then promptly dispatched it with her dagger. A poly-chromatic mist rose from the ogre's body entwining itself around Lyria and as she inhaled the essence she found herself imbued with more power.
Pushing on you decided to investigate a large rectangular building built into the north-west wall. Climbing a short flight of stone steps you entered a large dining hall surprising two goblin sentries who were blinking in the light of the setting sun filtering through a breech in the keep's curtain wall. It was Syf's turn to call her mark and set to defeating the two sentries single-handedly in order to gain a similar boon to the one Lyria had received. Within a few minutes Syf was victorious and the benefits of the Comet received. Continuing your explorations of the building you discovered it to be a barracks large enough to house a few score of soldiers. You easily defeated the goblins you found there.
On the lower level you encountered the leader of the goblins torturing a blond-haired man in torn black robes whilst a peculiar man with a large nose watched from the comfort of his chair. Quickly killing the goblin the strange looking man quickly surrendered and Lyria realised that he was wearing a disguise. This wasn't a human at all but a strange eagle headed humanoid you determined was a kenku, a race of cunning tricksters, called Kobu. He begged for his release and told you what he knew but Lyria had no intention of releasing him. Keen to see her henchman Cunigund benefit from the boons of the Comet card he had drawn she gave him a nod and he back-stabbed the defenceless kenku. Although grievously injured, it wasn't enough to kill Kobu. Although the kenku had been quite happy to watch a man being tortured the scene now before you took an unpleasant turn. Hemmed in and surrounded, screaming and begging for mercy and despite some words of protestation from X‚kestari, you all watched Kobu being murdered. Unable to bear it, Syf and then Yav stepped aside and let the kenku flee but no-one stopped Cunigund and the thief chased down the staggering Kobu knifing him in the back one last time. Emotions running tense Yav squared off against Cunigund and everyone felt conflicted about what had just happened and how the felt about it. Unfortunately, by forcing the encounter Cunigund did not benefit from the Comet card. [This scene was great - when I played up the way the kenku was being murdered simmply so Lyria could level up her henchman and everyone just stood and watched the players became really uncomfortable - many of them are not experienced players and I wanted them to consider their alignments. I also wanted them to consider how they had let the evil character drag them to her level and what would they be prepared to compromise on a moral level to 'keep the party peace'].
Deciding it better to move on before any more conflict broke out [Yav took real umbrage at this - more than any of the good characters did!] you turned your attention to the human captive who although annoyingly arrogant was grateful for his release. Introducing himself as Izbahn, an apprentice of the wizard Moncet of Safeton he had come here with some companions to explore the abandoned keep. However, arriving at night they had been ambushed by goblins and killed with the exception of Izbahn himself. He agreed to stay with you, perhaps fearing to be on his own right now but too proud to admit it. Securing the barracks you ascended to the battlements and turned your attention to the central tower.
Rather than risk the rickety wooden bridge you cunningly used the mirror to travel the gap between tower and battlements. Unfortunately the lock of the iron door was too rusted over to pick so Gristle and Cunigund resorted to brute strength to batter it down. On the other side was a dining area with a grand fireplace above which a soot covered painting hung. Leaping out from under the table a muscled humanoid with the head of a wolf attacked you and Cunigund finally had his chance to benefit from the Comet card. The creature was not as tough as it looked and was quickly brought down by the thief's daggers. Inhaling the similar multi-coloured mist Cunigund found himself imbued with more power and the last Comet card was fulfilled.
Choosing to proceed upwards you climbed the stone steps and entered a barracks with eight shuttered arrow slits. Opening them all up to get some air in the stuffy room the final rosy rays of the setting sun spilled into the room. Gazing out at his new home, Fulco could see the distant roof tops of a small hamlet. Gazing out over the dark sea he could make out two small rocky islands with shallow sandy edges, on the largest of which could be seen a small rowing boat. Opening a trapdoor in the ceiling you found it opened up to the tower roof where a giant owl was roosting. Rather than provoke the noble beast on its nest you slowly backed down the ladder and left it in peace.
Descending back down to the entry level you continued on to the floor below. The level appeared to be a living area for the previous lord of the tower and after a fight with two more wolf-folk (one male and one female) you discovered a defiled shrine to Rao, god of peace and reason, in which the body of a dead worshipper of Nerull the evil god of the underworld lay sprawled on the floor. You also discovered a bedroom suite in which the skeleton of a man lay clutching a fine sword and a prayer book to Rao and draped with a purple tapestry emblazoned with a coat of arms. Under the bed you found finished plans of the keep (it appears construction was never finished) and a journal belonging to one Lord Hubert Khest. Fulco recognised that name as the maiden-name of his mother - coincidence or destiny? After a fight from two large spiders hiding under book case you decided to study the journal later and pushed on to the floor below.
The spiral staircase opened out into a foul smelling room littered with bones in the centre of which was an ornate marble basin filled with fouled lavender hued water. Lounging around the basin, seemingly asleep where four large seals with the heads of wolves. It appears the wolf creatures resting in this tower were lycanthropic sea-wolves, nefarious raiders and pirates. Surprising the slumbering were-creatures Pan used his magic to paralyse two of the beasts whilst the rest of you quickly dispatched the other two with your bows and then dispatched the helpless survivors. As you explored the room you heard a faint whispering coming from the basin but chose to investigate this oddity later.
Descending through a trapdoor in the floor you entered a large damp chamber supported by two ornate caryatid columns. Perhaps once a store room the chamber was now empty. The outline of an arched doorway inlaid into the wall with silver caught your attention and although you suspected it might have been a secret door you could learn little more about it other than a guess it might have alternatively been used as a portal. Beyond a stone door in a different part of the room you found a dungeon and freed to sailors, Mick and Brady who had been captured by the sea-wolves. Grateful for their rescue they returned to the surface with Yav and Gristle where Bartal and Izbahn had been waiting with the mirror. Before they left they told you that they had entered through a secret passage that led to this room. Finding the passage behind one of the caryatids you found that it was an escape route leading to one of the islets just off the shore. Deciding to thoroughly search the islet you spent three whole hours sifting through sand and soil until you finally discovered a wooden chest with a magical potion and a sack of gems.
Returning to the main land you explored the rest of the keep complex but other than some small treasures found no other foes. Resting in the barracks you spent your first warm night in Gullscry Keep. Rising early in the morning you set your attentions to the basin of water in the central tower. Pan used his magic to purify the fouled water and as he did so the whispering became a clear voice that thanked you for your help. It transpired that the water contained the soul of a bard named Reginald. Naldi was a close friend of Lord Khest who had died defending the keep from sea-raiders. He was saddened but unsurprised to hear that his dear friend had died and questioned you regarding your intentions. Delighted to hear that a possible descendent of his friend was now the owner of the keep and what's more was planning on repairing it, Naldi offered his services to you but asked he be moved to somewhere with a little light where more people could talk to him as the basement of the tower was a lonely place to be. Lyria quickly asked him about her treasure-map and the name Marteen. He was able to confirm that it sounded like an old Flan word to him and he vaguely remembered a scrap of a tale that might connect it to the Cairn Hills to the north. He recommended that the great Library of Greyhawk might be a good place to research the topic further.
With the keep now under Fulco's command but in need of many repairs you now have many decisions to make. Do you return to the Temple? Do you seek out Lyria's treasure? Do you stay at Gullscry and secure it so more intruders can't take it over? In the summer sun and cool sea breeze of the rugged Wild Coast there are definitely worse places to ponder these decisions.
You spent three days exploring the hills and beaches in the immediate vicinity of Gullscry Keep and found the area to be uninhabited with the exception of the remains of the hamlet of Shadel. The only inhabitant, an old goat-herd told you that pirates raided the settlement a year ago and everyone was taken to be sold in the slave markets to the south. Almost like a ghost town, Shadel serves as a reminder of how life on the Wild Coast can be dangerous. During this time Fulco contacted the Stonefist dwarves and arranged for repairs to begin on the keep. He also persuaded a young half-elf priest of Phaulkon by the name of Brother Fessahr to come and persuade the giant owl to relocate to another tower rather than scare off the majestic bird.
Happy that everything was in order Fulco left Syf in charge of overseeing the Keep affairs and joined you all as you rode the short distance to Safeton. From there you purchased passage aboard The Ewe, a small merchant vessel, north-bound for Greyhawk which was due to depart the very next day. Your hope being to learn as much as you could about Lyria's mysterious treasure map. The Captain, Jurgen Wolffe was a serious business-like man but he seemed to run a tight ship. Leaving Yav behind in Safeton where he planned to spend a little time at the shrine of Ralishaz, you set off on your sea voyage on a clear blisteringly hot day. The Ewe hug the coast to avoid the contrary prevailing current and made stops at lawless Pelgarn, Carnakh and the Hardby before heading inland along the Selintan river.
During this time Syf used the mirror of mental prowess to keep in touch and informed you of your luck at narrowly avoiding a monsoon that had emerged from the other side of the Woolly Bay. Gale force winds and heavy rains wracked Gullscry causing more structural damage and setting back construction work by over a week until the weather became more clement.
Those of you aboard The Ewe however managed to avoid the foul weather and enjoyed a pleasant journey along the busy Selintan as you headed north to Greyhawk City, the supposed Gem of the Flanaess. Arriving at the busy city in the evening you found the place to be almost overwhelming with its cosmopolitan sights and sounds. Taking rooms at the pleasant Black Dragon Inn in the city's Clerksburg district you settled down for the night and readied yourselves for a long day at the Great Library of Greyhawk. The library itself was a grand structure on the outside but more humble within - the real wealth being the thousands of books and tomes housed within its walls.
After three days of research you finally managed to find some clues as to the nature of the map as well as an older parchment wedged between two pages of a book that Lyria's map seemed to be copied from. Although tantalising, these clues still left many questions unanswered and so you looked for further help at the Church of Pelor, The Bardschool and with a sage named Marlin who specialised in the history of the region. Although his services were expensive, Marlin was able to shed much light on the map and the clues you had found yourself.
The map seemed to show the location of the final resting place of Ka-Ryne an ancient Flannish noble-woman of great beauty who had lived in the Cairn Hills some thirteen centuries ago. Her husband, Baron Eichyer was a blood-thirsty warlord and vassal of General Kas who governed the easternmost reaches of the sinister Occluded Empire of Vecna from his fortress of Tycheron located somewhere near modern day Dyvers. Eichyer and Ka-Ryne ruled their domain in the Carin Hills from Castle Ma-Rteen. Ma-Rteen (or Marteen as it became known) fell to ruin centuries ago and of it nothing is said to remain. When Karyne died, Eichyer was said to be overcome with grief and built for her a fine tomb and placed upon her body a funeral shroud bejewelled with countless emeralds. The builders were slain to preserve the secret location of the tomb and Eichyer himself abandoned his domain travelling to the north-west, his destiny lost to time. The map seemed to show two markers - The Great Oak and a standing stone that it was said through Pelor's light would guide the way to the tomb.
Excited at the prospect of the great wealth that lay within the tomb you agreed that you must prepare for a trek into the Cairn Hills and find the Tomb of Karyne the Emerald Queen.
Thanks Mystic! I've been dropping in a few hints at possible future story hooks depending on what the PCs fancy. I've been mentioning pirate raids on the Wild Coast and started to have them make friends in Safeton (near the Keep) ready to run the SLavelords campaign as one option and I wanted to introduce just the name of Vecna in case we ever venture along that route!
I'm fixing to start posting my continuing game with Tiggertom -- he runs two PCs and I run two PCs, along with all NPCs.
I started us in Greyhawk, using two oldie, but goodie modules to bring the characters together. Tigger's two characters are cousins from Ull. My two characters are from Greyhawk, but did not know each other, or Tigger's characters.
Now they're a "group" and are heading west in search of adventure, following clues I provided.
It's all "home-brew" now, borrowing only a few elements from older modules. We're passing through Dyvers, Verbobonc, Veluna City, across the Lorridges, down through Hookhill and into Keoland.
We're hiring Senechals and henchmen to keep and maintain buildings/towers we might encounter and desire to keep along the way. Tigger's wizardly character is now capable of drawing patterns upon the floor for teleportation between our various holdings.
The monsoon still raging along the northern Wild Coast [I love random weather charts], Yav used the mirror to transport to a drier Greyhawk City bringing Gristle with him. Syf remained at Gullscry with Gutrun (now in the employ of Fulco after Creekside was lost), Bartal, Reginald and Brother Fessahr of Phaulkon for company.
With seven nights in total being spent in Greyhawk City so far, you made preparations for a trip into the Cairn Hills; buying trail rations, spell components and seeking out a gnome guide named Niilo whom you found in the Burrow Heights district. Wasting no time, you set off by foot in the blistering summer sun. Following the road to Elmshire, but turning off onto a track long before you reached the halfling town, you spent one night in a road side hostel before reaching the Gorge of the Selintan. Crossing the gorge via the Stone Bridge you followed the track into the Great South Peninsula of the Cairn Hills and passing by the turning for Grossettgrottell you wound your way north. You found the hills to be dry and barren and only Pan's magically conjured water saved you from dying of thirst. You saw little life along the trail except for a curious bear that decided the honey it could smell in Yav's backpack was not worth the confrontation with several humans and demi-humans. A less peaceful encounter was had with a deadly wight that shambled into your camp one evening. Luckily through the use of Pan's ring of shooting stars and Cunigund's magical dagger you were able to defeat the undead terror before it was able to drain your life force. Shaken, your guide Niilo decided to turn back but not before ensuring you were confident where you were headed.
On your fourth day in the hills you reached High Falls Run. Following the water-way north you eventually found the husk of an ancient oak that had died many years ago. From there you were able to find an old trail that unless you were looking for it would have been easy to miss. Ten miles along the track brought you to an ancient obelisk of a black stone. X‚kestari used his magic to levitate to the top of the obelisk and saw that the same runes that could be found on the map were carved into the dark stone. He also saw that where the diamond shape of the key rune was carved was a hole made right through the top of the obelisk. Perhaps fatigued from the heat of the hills you found yourself on a detour and unsure of where you were going. It required the use of divination magic to reveal to you how to use the obelisk to find the next stop on the map and returning to the site waited until noon when the light of the sun (Pelor's Light) shone upon the obelisk. Staring through the eye-hole Lyria (using magic to make her fly) was able to make out a trail made clear by the way the light and shadows were cast upon the hills. Keeping her lofty vantage point she was able to lead you to where the illuminated path seemed to lead.
The destination was a cave, the opening of which was perhaps only five feet wide and would have been easily missed had you not had guidance. Tentatively stepping inside you found a rough cave within, the walls were covered with thick moss and an intense animal smell lingered in the air. You found the skeleton of a gnome at the back of the cave and as Yav pulled the moss away from the walls to investigate the stonework he discovered a crest, similar to the one on the map surrounded by runes engraved into the wall. A vertical crack indicated that the carved sigil was upon a set of stone doors and through the use of divinations you determined the runes had an aura of magic about them.
Studying the map you discovered that only two of the runes on the map also appeared in the carving, those of Earth and Life. You touched the runes in various combinations but nothing you tried seemed to cause the doors to open leaving you confused as to how to proceed.
It can be so frustrating when as the DM you know what they need to do and it seems glaringly obvious but the players are just not seeing it. One of the the clerics has the Idea spell from Tome of Magic. I kind of hate the spells but it does make life easier - still even with that spell I like to make them work a little and use their own brains!
It can be so frustrating when as the DM you know what they need to do and it seems glaringly obvious but the players are just not seeing it.
Ha! You should try my game!
I am the DM, running two PCs. Tiggertom will make NO decisions. As DM, I keep telling him that he needs to "run the group." He needs to decide whether "we" turn left or right. He won't do it.
Since I'm the DM, I alone know what's going to happen if we turn left, or turn right . . . so he wants me to decide. Sometimes I go a month -- or more -- not running the game. He gets mad about that, but his candy-**** style of play pisses me off no end!
That's why there are gaps in our game. He's not a "good" player. And he's an even worse DM. Trust me.
As soon as Lyria's hand grasped the shimmering cloth the clay statue animated into life and attacked the thieves it saw. A furious battle ensued with the seemingly enraged statue, Fulco taking the brunt of the blows whilst the rest of you tried to take down the effigy. Only Yav's magical staff and the arcanists' bolts of magic seemed to have any effect and the clay construct and finally you managed to reduce it to broken shards.
Pan turned his attentions to Fulco's wounds but his healing magics could not seem to mend the savage blows he had received. Too injured to continue Fulco retreated to the entrance cave to rest whilst the rest of you continued your exploration of the tomb. Investigating the room you examined the bass-relief friezes depicting Eichyer and Ka-Ryne.
X‚kestari turned his attention to the depiction of Eichyer upon his steed leading his army and noticed that the crest on his shield was reversed. Suspecting the mirrored wall on the opposite side of the room was something to do with this you set your minds to revealing its meaning. It didn't take you long to unravel the puzzle and tracing the key-glyph in reverse caused a set of double stone doors to be magically revealed. Opening the doors you saw a much larger room in the centre of which was a stepped circular dais topped by a square altar. Nothing appeared to be on the altar but the glimmer of green light could be seen in the shadows behind.
Peturbed by Fulco's injuries you decided to rest in the entrance cave for the rest of the day until Syf was due to check in via the mirror at sunset. When that time finally came Syf was distraught at the state of Fulco and helped him to his quarters at Gullscry Keep. Naldi knew little about what you deduced was a clay golem but remembered a legend in which the wounds from such a creation could only be healed by powerful healing spells; more powerful than you were able to cast. Upon Fulco's behest Syf joined you back in the tomb and you returned to the entrance of the larger tomb.
Entering the shadowy chamber you saw the the glimmer of green light came from a figure draped in a veil like shroud encrusted with emeralds shining in your lantern light. As soon as you saw the figure it raised two skeletal hands and with a guttural moan Yav, Cunigund, Gristle and Ab disappeared without a trace! You immediately responded with an assault and although the skeletal creature seemed resistant to your magic you managed to defeat it with little injury to yourselves. As the creature collapsed into a pile of bones, the shroud drifting down upon it a silvery light suffused the remains. The light gently coalesced into the form of a beautiful human woman bearing a striking resemblance to all the imagery you had already seen of Lady Ka-Ryne. However the sad expression that appeared on every depiction of her was now replaced by one of peace and joy. The ghistly image gazed upon you all with kindness in her eyes and with a gentle sweep of her hand she healed your wounds and then the glowing image drifted upwards and faded away.
Quickly examining the shroud Cunigund determined that each of the one hundred emeralds upon the shroud was flawless and worth a king's ransom! Deciding that it was important to keep your possession of the Shroud of Ka-Ryne a secret you waited until sunrise when Brother Fessahr used the mirror to contact you and all used the portal to return to Gullscry Keep where you stashed the shroud and considered your next move.
After consideration you decided that Greyhawk City would be your best bet as a location to sell the Shroud of Ka-Ryne. Using the mirror you all returned to the cosmopolitan place and took rooms at the pleasant Black Dragon Inn. Spending a week sourcing potential buyers you determined that your best options where the Lord Mayor Nerof Gasgal himself (on account of his desire to increase his standing amongst the nobility) and the Church of Zilchus (on the premise that followers of the god of wealth and prestige would favour possessing such an item). After arranging a meeting with both parties you finally decided to sell to the Lord Mayor for a regal haul of gems, jewels, coins and magical items. Wealth like you had never imagined was now yours! Despite some arguing over the division of this new found wealth you decided to split it five ways, rewarding your henchmen from your own share as you saw fit. Two weeks had passed in Greyhawk City and you now went your separate ways to attend to various personal matters.
Yav remained in Greyhawk City where he served as an understudy to Patriarch Barris Bechetir at the Chapel of Ralishaz in the Slum District dedicating a number of weeks to prayer and study as well as assisting at the chapel. Gristle in the meantime drank, gambled and whored his way through his own share of the haul.
X‚kestari, spending his money on an enchanted marble elephant returned to Gullscry Keep where he sparred with any willing opponents, practised riding his new mount and generally helping out at the Keep.
Fulco and Syf returned to Gullscry Keep as well. Striking up friendships with a few influential people within nearby Safeton and attending to matters about the Keep. Fulco also engaged in sword training with the ageing paladin, Sir Bernaldo Bravos of Rao, an old friend of his great uncle's. Deciding that the Keep needed better protection Fulco also set about hiring a unit of longbowmen to man the walls as well as some extra help for the over-worked Gurtrun.
Lyria spent three weeks using the mirror to travel about on various secret errands as well as sourcing labourers and craftsmen knowledgeable in Suloise architecture and masonry. Setting her sights on the abandoned hamlet of Shadel that lay but half-an-hour's walk from Gullscry she chose to build a tower to serve as her home and to start refurbishing some of the abandoned homes as well as travelling to the hamlet of Bayo to invite her old adventuring companion Zrabbas Mo'Sharba to join her.
Similarly, Pan arranged for the refurbishment of an abandoned chapel in Shadel, dedicating it to Wee Jas. Here he went into seclusion, studying and meditating as he successfully developed a new prayer to his goddess that would allow him to ward his magic mirror and home.
After a further four weeks of pursuing personal goals you re-assembled in Gullscry Keep to discuss your next moves and decided that it was time to return to the Temple of Elemental Evil that had united you in the first place. Using the mirror to open a portal to the secret chamber you had become so well acquainted with in the past you stepped into the subterranean temple, weapons drawn. Heading immediately for the Earth Temple you discovered a number of pulverised red-caped figures strewn about the place and surmised that perhaps the Fire Faction had attempted to investigate the place with the power vacuum left behind by the defeat of Romag and his forces.
Fulco donned Romag's sacred robe and stepped forth into the room where he boldly commanded the emerging earth elementals to smash down the great rune-sealed bronze doors within that chamber. With a terrifying strength the elemental pounded on the doors and just as you started to think this wasn't such a good idea the doors were sundered with a terrible wrenching sound and the silvery runes flared brightly, flickered and then died. A wide staircase descending down into the darkness was revealed beyond. [I was not expecting that turn of events! Zuggtmoy 1 / Players 0 hehe]. Deciding not to go down them you opened the smaller wooden doors either side of the great bronze valves. The small chambers beyond the doors appeared to be a store room and a vestry. Within the storeroom you found a note from Canon Belsornig commanding Romag to submit to the Water Faction and citing water's superiority over earth despite some ranking of the elements he referred to. Romag had appeared to embellish the note with crude and petty insults towards Belsornig. Obviously there was no love between the two.
Fuclo then commanded the earth elementals to dig up all the earth of the floor in the hope of discovering a hidden treasure the gnome Wonillon had mentioned before his disappearance. Sure enough you discovered quite a haul of magical items, gems and coins. Content with this find you decided to investigate the few areas of this level that you had not yet explored but along the way found that some of the passage ways had been barricaded off with furniture. Whilst clearing one of these barricades you discovered some red-caped crossbowmen on guard and an easy fight ensued. Pushing on you quickly dispatched the remainig forces capturing one guard who told you that the Fire Faction had been attempting to expand their territory now that the Earth Faction had been destroyed. He had little other information of use and so X‚kestari, feeling that he could not let an evil servant of fire live, bludgeoned him with his morningstar.
Pushing on you reached a door you had yet to open. On the other side appeared to be the remains of a trophy room that was now home to two ghasts. Although they didn't pose much of a problem as you began to search the room two more ghasts burst through the doors surprising you. This time the fight went much differently. X‚kestari, paralysed by the ghast's venom was torn to pieces and only Yav and Pan's combined efforts kept him from death. With more of you succumbing to paralysis and nausea from the ghast's stench you battled for your lives, finally destroying the two undead beasts. Bloodied and with your healing depleted you began to discuss what to do next when the door tot he chamber burst open revealing at least half a dozen more ghoulish undead! Was this about to be your end at the hands of the ravenous undead?
Luckily the undead that burst through the door were ghouls and not ghasts and you swiftly dealt with them. Continuing your exploration of this unmapped area you discovered a prison containing about a dozen terrified humans. All were filthy and terrified and from the area around Nulb. After some discussion you decided to escort them back to your secret room where you watched over the former captives until Brother Fessahr opened a portal to your location at sundown. Informing the captives that you would return them to Nulb as soon as you could the weary men and women passed through the portal to Gullscry Keep where Gurtrun had been instructed to look after them.
With everyone rested you returned your attentions to the Temple and decided it was time to return to the lower level. Walking down the processional corridor that gently descended downwards you decided to investigate the chamber to the left that had a pungent odour emanating from it. As you crept forward you saw an owlbear, chained to the floor pacing around restlessly. As soon as you entered the triangular chamber the beast charged you with a roaring hooting noise. Although caught off guard initially you managed to defeat the ravenous creature, with Fulco even managing to escape the owlbears deadly embrace, a feat of no small accomplishment. The ease of this defeat was perhaps to do with X‚kestari calling forth the elephant of his figurine. No sooner had you felled the owlbear than his enraged troll keeper came bursting into the room. He and the elephant engaged head on and although the mastodon was sorely wounded the troll came out the worse. Lyria, recalling an old nursery rhyme, advised you to burn the troll's twitching, writhing corpse to stop the foul creature from regenerating its wounds.
After catching your breath you pushed on only to discover another troll armed with a military fork. This troll however, proved resistant to the fire you attempted to burn its body with and its limbs only stopped regrowing after Lyria used acid on them. Discovering a ring on the finger of the troll you suspected magic to be involved in the troll's fire resistance.
Pondering the troll's ring you determined that it was indeed magical and deduced that it protected the wearer against fire, as you had suspected. The extent of the fire resistance was unknown to you however. Carefully continuing along you opened a door to a chamber decorated in a macarbre fashion with bones and excrement. The occupier was a grandly bejewelled troll wearing bone armour. Surprising you he leapt at Yav nearly tearing him to pieces with his claws and a savage bite. Taken off guard Yav looked to his companions for aid and you all rushed in hacking down this large troll with a rain of blows. Grossly outnumbered he had little chance and within minutes you were dousing his twitching body with oil and setting the beast on fire. This time you had stripped him of his ornamentation, one of which being another magical ring that although looked different to the other troll's ring seemed to possess similar properties.
After an hour of searching the filthy chamber you found little else other than what the troll had been wearing and decided to rest and wait until dusk so that you could return to Gullscry and identify the sizeable amount of magical items you had discovered. Your rest was only interrupted once by a small band of bugbears who stood little chance and after a relatively tedious wait you were able to use the portal to return to Fulco's castle at dawn. Whilst Lyria and X‚kestari identified your loot the rest of you either relaxed or tended to some errands and by the end of the day you were ready to return to the Temple.
Stepping back through to the room you had previously rested in you continued beyond the bone and excrement filled room and found the corridors linked up with the dome like chamber the hydra you had seen before had inhabited. Creeping into a tactical position, Lyria, who had previously researched about hydrae, cast her first taste of pyromancy. A small bead of fire shot from her finger, impacting on the wall of the hydra's chamber and blossoming into a great ball of fire. However you rushed calculations were awry and the conflagration burst forth beyond the domed chamber, roaring beyond it and filling the very corridor you stood in. Although some of you were only singed, protected by magic or quick reflexes and the bodies of comrades, some of you suffered more serious burns. The worst of which were endured by watery Ab (the sha'ir's maridan familiar) who was only saved by the quick ministrations of Yav. Cunigund was also badly burnt.
On the other hand the hydra seemed little affected and the chain that once bound it in place was now melted. The five headed beast lumbered towards you, slowed by Lyria's magic and you prepared for a fierce battle that never came. Your numbers coupled with the magics enhancing you and hindering the hydra meant that you quickly defeated it before you sustained any further injuries to yourselves. Breathing a sigh of relief you paused to consider your next move.
Deciding to take the corridor leading south out of the hydra's lair you followed a long winding corridor that opened out into a room guarded by five bugbears wearing short scarlet capes. Although they posed little threat one of the guards managed to land a vicious blow on Yav fracturing his forearm. Pushing on you discovered a small waiting room occupied by a half-orc robed in scarlet emblazoned with a gold skull upon the chest. Although he was prepared for you your greater numbers meant he was quickly subdued allowing you to continue into suite of rooms plushly appointed in fiery hues.
Here you encountered another red robed priest and a martial man in a dark red cloak clutching a fiery sword. The two men were flanked by bugbears. You quickly felled the red-robed man suspecting him to be a priest but his colleague quickly subdued you with a magical rope leaving only Pan and Lyria unbound. The man, who introduced himself as Lupocullo, threatened to crush with his rope if you didn't surrender. Taking a chance Pan used his magic to inflict fear upon the man causing him to drop the rope and flee from the room. The remaining bugbears proved little trouble for you.
Exploring the two doors that led from the chamber you discovered a study with a treatise on the Elemental Plane of Fire to the east and two the west was a chamber containing another red-robed man who without looking up from the letter he was writing mistook you for his minions. Eventually a fight ensued but you found his magic readily able to thwart your attempts to attack him resulting in a magical duel between the man you realised was Prefect Alrrem and Yav. Finally Yav triumphed and you subdued the head of the Fire Temple. Interrogating the man you learned very little other than that in the levels below lay greater threats such as ettins and giants and Alrrem proposed an alliance. Talk of sending to the dungeons in Gullscry caused Fulco to balk at the idea of having the insidious priest in his home and in an act of rashness he slit the throat of the Prefect to the surprise of the whole party.
With your willing source of information silenced you had little option but to search the chambers revealing much wealth. Your looting finished you wandered on to a room draped in tapestries behind which you discovered a passageway and a concealed door. The concealed door opened onto a fast fiery temple of red marble and bronze and brass fittings. X‚kestari, warded by the ring of fire resistance, tentatively entered the oppressively warm room and approached a 20 foot long brass tube hanging in front of a shallow fire pit. Striking the tube with his weapon he caused it to ring out with a loud reverberating chime. Loosing his nerve he returned to the concealed door where the rest of the party lurked behind the tapestries.
With your spells depleted after only a brief time back in the temple but with the hour having gone past midnight you decided more rest was required and you settled down in the fire temple clergy's suite of rooms to recuperate.
You rest in the chambers of the Fire Temple priests was interrupted a number of times by bugbears, ogres led by the officer bearing a flaming sword and finally trolls. Whilst the first two encounters were little to concern yourselves about the trolls proved a different story. A furious fight ensued in which a number of you were savaged by the trolls' claws and fangs and left bleeding to death on the floor. A close call, you finally triumphed and in a very bad state managed to last until Brother Fessahr opened a portal to Gullscry and you quickly returned to the safety of your homes.
Perhaps shaken up by your brush with death you seemed in no hurry to return to the Temple and whilst X‚kestari trained in the ways of the sha'ir the rest of you found personal distractions to while away the time.
Opening a portal to Alrrem's chamber you returned to find the place ransacked and despoiled. Someone or something had obviously been here since your last visit. Deciding to return to the Fire Temple you discovered that it was untouched and so you cautiously entered to investigate further. After some examining of the altar, Fulco used the copper ladle to pour some of the glowing oil over it. A gilded skull on the altar demanded a sacrifice of great value and the flames of the fire pit in front of it began to grow and coalesce into the the forms of a type of fire elemental-kin X‚kestari recognised as salamanders, wicked denizens of the Elemental Plane of Fire. Despite placing a zircon upon the hot coals of the fire pit it did not seem to be a valuable enough sacrifice and the salamanders started to materialise fully. Fearing a confrontation with so many of them you quickly retreated from the Temple. The salamanders did not pursue you.
Investigating in a different direction you found yourself in a processional corridor bearing images of the Fire, Air and Water temples. Priests of each faction were depicted leading ceremonies; some in grey robes with a square symbol, some in green robes with a circular symbol and some in red robes with the symbol of an 8-pointed star. Two large bronze doors faced each other at one end whilst the other opened out into a huge hallway that was filled with the signs of a great battle. A smaller door led into a strange white room in which a crystal panel in the wall glowed and revealed the images of two angelic figures who claimed to be guardians of Good left here after the fall of the Temple to aid any champions fighting against Evil. They told you that if you left your belongings in the room and returned after a count of 77 the possessions you left behind would be infused and enhanced with holy power. Fulco left a couple of mundane items but X‚kestari left all his magical wealth.
Returning to the room after the required pause you found your items gone. Bursting through the door opposite two lupine humanoids attacked you but you easily defeated them. Your possessions were nowhere to be seen. Resigning yourselves to their loss you explored on and discovered a large octagonal chamber of grey stone with an eerie mist creeping about the floor and a crystal alter. A shaft in the ceiling led upwards to, what you believed, might be the cathedral level of the Temple. In the north were double doors of bronze inscribed with the same magical runes of warding you had seen elsewhere. Deciding not to linger in this place too long you explored the large doors to the south.
The doors opened on to a corridor but as Fulco and X‚kestari each tried to enter an icy charnal wind blew them violently backwards. Instead you decided to investigate the doors set in the eastern wall.
These opened out onto a ceremonial corridor similar to the one in the west and ultimately led you to another temple of green marble with aquatic fixtures of verdigrised bronze and motes of blue and green light that made the whole place feel underwater. Suspecting that this must surely be the Water Temple you decided to leave it be for now until you had explored more of the level.
Following a new corridor you found it end in two wooden doors. However you had neglected a side corridor and all of a sudden found yourselves flanked by a group of angry bugbears behind you and the noise of more adversaries coming from behind the doors in front of you. Fearing that you were about to enter into a tricky predicament you readied your weapons and prepared to fight for your lives.
Trapped by bugbears emerging from every direction you had little choice but to fight the attackers, who, garbed in grey kilts and cloaks emblazoned with a black square, you determined were servants of the Air Temple. Despite their numbers the bugbears were not as skilled as yourselves and it was only a matter of time before you defeated them despite taking a number of severe wounds. However, during the fight an unseen assailant had used magic upon you but no trace was found of them after the battle was over.
Questioning two gnolls who had cowered behind the bugbears you learned that Prefect Kelno was in charge of the Air Temple and that his chambers were located near to you. The gnolls knew little else and you let them go. Exploring the rooms that had previously occupied the bugbears you found little of note. Kelno's apparent quarters had little of value in them other than some ceremonial robes. Of the Prefect himself, there was no sign.
Upon the urging of X‚kestari you returned to the room where you had been duped by the werewolves masquerading as angels and after searching the area found a secret door leading to the lycanthropes' lair. Here you found your missing goods as well as other items likely belonging to less fortunate explorers. Many of the items were of silver and you found holy symbols of the lesser gods; Fortubo (smithing & metal), Lydia (daylight, music & knowledge), Atroa (spring, East Wind & renewal) and a symbol of two clasped hands bound with cord that you could not identify.
Returning back to the site of your previous battle you continued to search the area discovering a long corridor that led to a large room containing a statue of a minotaur sat upon a throne in front of a dried up fountain. As you tentatively enterred the room the minotaur sprang to life charging at Fulco but Yav quickly turned his baleful gaze upon the beast and channelling Ralishaz's power caused the minotaur to fall into a deep slumber. After searching the room (finding little of note other than a secret door and a magical scroll) you decided to execute the minotaur before it awoke.
Fulco then opened the secret door and narrowly avoided a spiked log, sharpened at one end that swung down through the doorway quickly followed by cries of alarm from the figures within. Readying yourselves for yet another fight you drew your weapons and prepared to charge.
Thanks mcneilk! I'm afraid my updates are well behind where we are at in the game so I'll try and catch up without bomarding the thread!!
I agree rangnar - I think that ToEE gives the DM lots of scope to make things epic for the party especially when you start working out how the factions would interact and think about the timescale and coming and going of the PCs and what the Factions do in those periods of player downtime!
As you prepared to attack the men in the room behind the secret door you had stumbled upon, Pan opened a portal from Gullscry to join you. As the portal closed a rippling affect occurred and Xakestari was pulled back through but believing him to be safe at the Keep you kept your attemtion focused on your assailants.
The men attacking you all appeared to be human and garbed in black but were no match for your superior skill and strength. However, one of the guards slipped through a secret passageway activated by a sliding torch sconce and alerted reinforcements. A long struggle ensued in which you fought numerous black clad men and half-orcs including a couple who appeared to be their leaders. By the end of the battle a score of dead lay at your feet but one half-orc who had thrown poisoned darts at both you and a stealthy opponent garbed in a black cloak adorned with red skulls escaped along with the human who had activated the secret door earlier.
A search of the adjoining rooms turned up a few items of value but no sign of the escapees. Yav believed that the horned red skull symbol embroidered upon the cloak of one of the men could be the symbol of Iuz, a mortal man who rose to become the demi-god of pain, oppression and deceit and unusual in that he resided within the Flanaess in his grim fortress city of Dorakaa and not within one of the Outer Planes like most gods. As to the connection between this symbol and the Temple you were unsure.
Turning your attention to a chest in one of the smaller bed-chambers, Cunigund overlooked a poison needle trap but Pan's quick attentions saved the poison from taking full affect. Relieved that no harm had come you opened the chest to be surprised by a secondary and more deadly trap. A cloud of poison gas quickly filled the room, instantly killing Fulco, Syf and Gristle. Shocked, you decided you had no other option except to wait until dusk for the portal to Gullscry to be opened.
Returning to the room in which you fought the minotaur, Lyria, Yav, Pan and Cunigund settled down for the four hours of waiting. Half way into their rest they were stumbled upon by a band of ogres which through the use of the magical rope and spells were defeated. Your resources dimished you settled down again but fortune was not on your side as not long after a second band of ogres stumbled across your resting place and you leapt to defend yourselves and the bodies of your fallen comrades. Will you prevail or have you finally met your end in the Temple of Elemental Evil?!
Roused from your rest by a group of ogres that had stumbled upon you by chance you bravely fought them off with little harm to yourselves other than the threat posed by reduced magical resources at your disposal. Once again you settled down nervously awaiting the portal to the safety of Gullscry. However, fortune was still not on your side. A vile insectoid creature nearly 10 feet in size, a pale grub like body and eight twitching tentacles upon its face skittered into the room. Unlike the ogres this creature posed much more of a threat. Climbing up the walls it attacked down at you with its tentacles. One by one you found yourselves paralysed by a sticky ichor left by the tentacles until only Yav, protected by his phylactery of freedom, remained able to fight back. Trusting in his stout cudgel he managed to bludgeon the already weakened vermin to death.
Ten minutes later a confused Xakestari stepped through the portal to find most of his companions either dead or standing frozen like statues. Yav's relief was short lived as yet more noise could be heard coming down the corridor. Frantically, Yav and Xakestari bundled the bodies through the portal as two trolls arrived. Quickly activating his marble elephant, Xakestari was able to block off the entrance to the room with Yezdigerd buying you time to safely transport your comrades to Gullscry Keep.
Just as Yezdigerd looked ready to fall to the savage blows of the remaining troll (the other troll having been felled by the Baklunish elephant's tusks) Xakestari returned him to statuette form and fled through the portal, closing it behind him. Breathing a huge sigh of relief the survivors set about picking up the pieces. After nearly two hours Lyria, Cunigund and Pan were able to move once again and you decided to travel that very evening to the Temple of Rao in Safeton where you negotiated for the raising of Fulco, Syf and Gristle. Leaving the bodies at the temple you returned to Gullscry to gather enough funds to pay for this powerful magic as well as to identify some of the magical items you had discovered. Eventually you all scraped together enough to raise your fellows and escort them back to Gullscry to spend a week in recovery.
During this period of down-time the rest of you pursued various personal goals until you reconvened at Gullscry on the 14th Patchwall. Here you discussed your next steps and Xakestari, the most recent addition to your party, quizzed you about what was actually transpiring at the Temple of Elemental Evil making it clear he was not content to simply wander from room to room. You turned your attentions back to a long and cryptic poem left to you by a mysterious old man in Nulb pondering the references to a broken key of some kind. Fulco was able to recognise references to the lands of Veluna and Furyondy as well as the Order of the Knights of the Hart (associated with both those lands) which made sense as both countries had been involved in providing troops in the Battle of EMridy Meadows ten years ago when the temple was first brought down.
Lyria also remembered that Crown Prince Thrommel, the leader of the Forces of Good had later disappeared and that your former companion Woden, a priest of Trithereon, had believed the Prince connected to a sacred blade of his god named Fragarach "The Answerer". Woden had received a vision which he was convinced led him to the Temple but had unfortunately died before he could enter the great cathedral of Evil.
You finally decided that you would return for a brief sortťe into the Temple to explore beyond the sundered rune-covered doors that you had commanded the earth elementals to destroy in the Earth Temple. Using the portal to return there you nervously approached but found the results anti-climactic. The stairs beyond simply led to the top level of the cathedral! Returning to Gullscry immediately you debated whether you should continue you exploration of the Temple or seek more information on what was actually transpiring beneath the the ruins of that place.
Lyria and X‚kestari decided to undertake an information gathering mission whilst the rest of you continued your down time. Using the mirror they travelled to Hommlet, Nulb, Verbobonc and Greyhawk and discovered a number of interesting facts about the mysterious poem you had received, Prince Thrommel IV and his sword The Answerer. You determined that Iuz was part of a partnership behind the Temple but as to who his partner in crime was no-one could tell you anything other than she was likely a demoness.
A little better armed with knowledge you returned to the Temple and after a brief visit to the Earth Temple level returned to the next level down where you explored a number of empty store-rooms until you stumbled across a refuse room where you encountered a strange spherical creature with three stumpy legs, a wide mouth filled with sharp teeth and two vicious tentacles. Quickly dispatching the beat you pushed on only to encounter a suite of rooms filled with black clad bugbears. After a large fight you defeated the hairy goblinoids allowing the non-aggressive women go.
After searching their chambers you moved on to another unexplored area of the Temple and came across a prison block guarded by an ogre and single bugbear who you swiftly dispatched. Four cells, each marked with a symbol of one of the four elements were found. Within the Fire cell were three naked men and within the Water cell were four naked elves, one of whom was the Countess Tillahi whom Fulco had been questing to save. Immediately freeing Her Noble Grace and her consort Sir Juffer and the two other members of her entourage, the Countess explained how had you been a day or two later they would have been sacrificed and she thanked Ehlenestra for guiding you to her.
Pondering over whether to release the humans or not you also considered your next move regarding your rescued captives.
After briefly questioning the human captives in the Fire cell and learning that they were generally from the Viscounty of Verbobobc you decided to release them for which they were all grateful. As you decided how to see the captives to safety Yav and Gristle appeared through a portal from Gullscry meaning that you had a convenient way to send the four olves and three humans to safety.
The capitves having been dealt with you searched the room and then continued your explorations. Whilst you all searched a small empty chamber, Yav, restless with the waiting, wandered off down a flight of steps to the next level down. Allowing himself to be guided by his bone sticks he encountered no-one on the third level and eventually decided it better to return to his companions.
Once back together you returned to the Fire Temple to test out a theory that Fulco had formulated. Pouring holy water onto the glowing coals you were able to extinguish them, allowing Fulco to rummage about and discover a large iron box. Using Pan's magic to locate a trap within the box, Cunigund was able to disable a nasty scything blade that would clearly have severed any hand withdrawing an object from the box. The box itself contained a magical ring and potions as well as a beautiful longsword that surprised you all by speaking in the Common tongue with a strong Oeridian accent. It introduced itself as Brandbluss, a foe of fire. Despite being somewhat misogynistic and critical you decided to hang onto him for now, having sensed strong magic emanating from the blade.
Moving onto what you deduced to be the Air Temple you spent some time searching the room and trying to unlock its mysteries. Crystal braziers that spewed forth smoke when tampered with and a flash of light that subsequently occurred in the central pit all led to confuse you and in frustration you left the place feeling no closer to unlocking its potential mysteries.
Hahah yeah, my version of the sword is a royal pain the butt. He's constantly brow-beating the party for not being worthy, for being cowardly, I think they secretly love him though although they do give him away in the end to a more worthy home haha, also for some peace and quiet!
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