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    The Soul Gem
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    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
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    Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:10 am  
    The Soul Gem


    Casts of Characters
    Sir Berenn Silverwood: Half-elven Cleric-Ranger
    Elrae: Human Bard
    Hepla: Human magicuser (1/2 witch)
    Isilme: Elven Bladesigner(Battledancer)/Song Mage
    Noot: Half-elf Thief
    Emyn Frel: Paladin (Avenger of Trithereon)
    Thorgrim Duerkas: Dwarven Fighter/Priest (Crusader)
    Rakk: Half-Giant Fighter
    Vaddarra: Half-Snowelf Priest (Peakwarden)/Mage(Anagokok)

    Part 1 - Still alive?

    You come to your senses in a place unlike any you have ever seen before. The surface beneath you is a sheet of red glass or crystal which glows with a diffuse, rippling light. It stretches out of sight in all directions with no visible edge or border. Above you, a black sky devoid of stars, clouds, or other features spreads from horizon to horizon. Vast arcs of crimson lightning periodically lance across this void, followed swiftly by tremendous claps of thunder.

    These mighty reports cause the ground beneath your feet to tremble, yet no echo is ever heard in their wake. The air here feels neither cold nor warm and is without scent or motion. This condition creates a stifling effect that makes this vast, openness seem somehow close and confining.

    All of the party is here. You all have everything you had before, all your magic, items, wounds, etc. Everyone appeared here, in turn. However, time was different. What took about 10 minutes to happen in the chamber of the Soul Gem took more than an hour here. Time clearly moves differently in this place.

    The sky makes Rakk think of home, just a different color. It is like you are in a land made of shimmering ruby crystal. The featureless crimson crystal plane extends to the horizon in all directions. After a few minutes of looking around, Berenn appeared.

    Rakk comes walking over, after making a short and seemingly pointless walk around. "It apparently is the inside of the Gem. Any ideas how to get out?"

    "Well, this is a cheery place!" says Berenn sarcastically. He scans for any landmarks but sees nothing. Together, he and Rakk decide to wait. Soon another, and another, and another party member appeared until ultimately the entire party was there. How long this took is anyone's guess, but it was CERTAINLY longer than the ten minutes that elapsed in the "real world."

    Vaddara still has the dagger, so she tells Thorgrim, "Maybe we should put it in your Portable Hole for safe keeping."

    When Thorgrim attempts to open it, it doesn't work. Nor does Rakk's Bag of Holding or Isilme's LLL.

    "I'll just tuck the dagger in my boot," then says Vaddara, doing so. "It's evil and I would not feel right asking someone else to carry it. I may hold it and see if it has anything to communicate during periods of rest." She looks around, the adds, "So anyone read anything about our location? If we have no better suggestion, I would suggest we have a close look the items collected from the lab. There might be some clues among the items."

    Thorgrim looks pale, even in the red light, clearly shaken by his experience. "I thought we were goners. The thing that distressed me the most was the thought that I'd failed my friends through lack of thinking. Noot, I'm sorry about your Rod of Smiting...I didn't know what else to do." He then takes stock of the party. "Emyn and Noot are in dire need of healing. And Rakk, too, of course, but perhaps he could do without as usual. Berenn, Vaddarra, Hepla, could you please assist?" Thorgrim asks Berenn and Hepla to each Cure Serious Wounds, and perhaps Berenn might use his Rod, as well (although that IS handy for emergencies, and doesn't require a Concentration check when used during combat). Thorgrim will cast CLW twice, and see how that looks. Perhaps it's time to drink a few potions, as well.

    When it becomes clear that some items don't seem to be functioning, Thorgrim adds. "I suspect it's the extra-dimensional nature of them. This place, like the Ghost Tower, seems out of time, out of place. It's as if we're...inside the Soul Gem itself!"

    [DM OOC: Sorry, the extra-dimensional items DO work. I was wrong about that. So, you can use portable holes, bags, etc. However, Isilme can't summon the LLL. All other magic items seem to work. Detect Traps and such all work, at least until they expire, which isn't long. There aren't any traps and such to detect here though. As far as scrying goes, no, that doesn't work. Also, Emyn's pursuit of vengeance is working. However, it seems to him that the source of it is everywhere. All around him, in every direction. It's as if his enemy is everywhere. It actually is quite disconcerting to him, and it causes him to suffer a -1 to all rolls while this lasts.]

    Isilme flies off, never getting out of sight of the party and mindful of the strange lightning. She sees nothing as far as the eye can see, just the featureless plain. After a while she returns, finding the party healed up with as much healing as could be spared, mostly by Berenn and Vaddara.

    The passing of minutes seems to have no change on this place. It grows neither hotter nor colder, and no sign of life or other visitors becomes apparent. There is no respite from the endless cascade of lightning and no reprieve from the cacophony of thunder. Still, not everything remains the same. As you linger in this place, you become aware of a distinct feeling of lethargy and weakness. Is this the result of some outside force or only the lingering effects of your arrival in this strange land? At the moment, it is impossible to tell.

    "Since the Gem is said to power things, it makes sense that that power comes from those it swallowed," says Rakk. "I fear it will slowly drain us of life-force til we get out."

    "Aye, that's wisdom," Thorgrim says. "We'd best make haste. But which direction? This featureless terrain could go on forever."

    Thorgrim opens his Portable Hole and extracts Souldrinker from atop the highest chest, replacing it with his lesser pick. "Isilme, your bundle should go in here. Although I have a feeling those books may hold clues to dealing with our adversary. Have you given thought to how we should defeat him? The Dagger seems like it should do the trick. I propose Noot handle that."

    "Aye," agrees Rakk. "Good Thorgrim, might I borrow that pick for a moment? I wish to try this surface. Since it seems but a blank land, mayhap the land below hides our way."

    "Just be careful you don't shatter the pick," warns Berenn.

    Emyn shouts, "Galap Driedel or Chardath Dardell...whatever your name. Show yourself and be judged!" There is no answer but the thunder.

    Rakk takes Thorgrim's pick and slams it into the ground. As the blow lands, the light radiating from this strange crystalline landscape ripples like a pond hit by a pebble. For a second, you see nothing more, but then a face appears below the surface. It seems to be the haunting, beautiful image of Marinessa. You cannot tell whether this is merely an image or whether the woman can see you as clearly as you see her. For several seconds she presses at the ruby barrier that separates you. Her eyes show panic and fear contorts her features below the apparently unbreakable sheet of crimson.

    She reminds Rakk of another young boy of his clan who one day fell through a frozen lake and suddenly found himself trapped beneath a sheet of ice. [It evokes in him a sliver of superstitious fear [based on his character superstitions]. Then without ever having made a sound, this strange image fades away. Less than a minute after your blow fell, all is as it was before.

    In shaky tones Rakk says,"Seems we are not the only folk trapped here. The lady must be saved as well as ourselves."

    Emyn takes the dagger from Vaddara and stabs it into the floor where Rakk used Thorgrim's pick.

    "I'm thinking that divination of some sort may be in order," says Rakk.

    Hepla wonders, "We are holding the gem that we are trapped inside." She giggles nervously, "I'm confused?" She then waits to see what the dagger does.

    [DM OOC: No, you do not have the gem. The gem sucked everyone inside itself. Yes, you have the dagger, but not the gem. The real soul gem is presumably still sitting on the pedestal in the Ghost Tower.]

    Emyn's stab doesn't have any effect.

    [DM OOC: I'm just going to tell you now, to save fruitless actions. The dagger is a sort of Dagger of Life-Stealing. I was pretty sure this was described, but that may have been lost in all the posts. It was created by Chardath. In addition to being a simple Dagger of Life-Stealing, he set it up to use the gem to do something more. You learned from his journals that he went insane, and whatever his plan was, it didn't work. After being used to kill Marinessa, she infused a bit of her essence into it, at least her desire for revenge. So, it has unique ability to harm Chardath (even as a Golem) or Galap-Dreidel.]

    [Rakk OOC: I actually had figured that. Amazing! I was right. (Gotta tell the wife!)]

    "Let's get moving," Thorgrim says, in a tone that approaches exasperation.

    "I do believe that anywhere we go will be the same," says Rakk.

    Elrae attempts to use his wand to cast Passwall on the crystal floor. Nothing happens.

    "It is a world inside of the gem," says Rakk. "An alternate plane, if you will. It's like trying to dig your way off the earth."

    "Hopefully this means there are boundaries," adds Berenn, "And this isn't some sort of infinite plane or we are as good as dead."

    "Well let's start by flying and scouting and moving," says Thorgrim. "Then we'll see."

    Everyone agrees, and the party starts walking. It is difficult to say how long you have been walking, as one place appears to be the same as another in this strange land. Always there is the crimson glow beneath your feet, the black expanse above you, and the eternal cascade of thunder and lightning around you. After a few hundred yards, or what looks like that far, you begin to hear a voice in the air. At first, you mistake the faint whispers as nothing more than the fading rumble of thunder. With each passing second, however, it becomes clear that this murmuring holds something more. Someone - or something - is trying to talk to you.

    As the party stops and quiets down, Emyn calls out. "Helllooooo?"

    "Quite!" snaps Isilme.

    Emyn looks at her, but stays silent. The voice is then heard more clearly, though still only faintly: a faint woman's voice. "We are all prisoners of this place," it whispers eerily. "You shall be consumed by the land itself if you do not get free. Seek the stones of the land; they are the key to salvation. I must go before he notices."

    Then the voice ends.[/u]
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 09, 2001
    Posts: 655

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    Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:04 am  
    Part 2 - Something feels terribly wrong here

    "'Seek the stones of the land?" asks Elrae. "They are the key to salvation? What in the Nine Hells do you think that means?" Elrae looks for interesting geological formations.

    "Look," says Rakk with frustration. "We are on a featureless plane with no clue where to go. If ever there was a clear-cut reason for a divination spell, this is it. The last place I was in that was like that took us days to find a way out. We may not have that luxury here."

    Hepla takes out her crystal ball to see if that works. She begins to use her crystal ball, seeking out the "stones of the land." Suddenly, a great stroke of lightning flashes down from the sky and strikes the ruby ground not fifty feet from her! The deafening thunder that accompanies it hurls you to the ground and leaves your ears ringing. In rapid succession, four more crimson bolts zap the ground around you, tossing you to and fro like a toy boat in a ferocious gale. Where each bolt struck the ground, the crystal glows hotly like molten glass. Gradually, these rise up to form pointed crystalline monoliths some fifteen feet tall and five feet thick. These stand at equal points around you, forming a loose pentagonal rampart. They appear to be mere outgrowths of the floor with no visible seam or demarcation.

    Emyn says, "Well, that was convenient. These must be the stones we are looking for. I wonder if it is linked to that circle we saw in the lab? Can those with magical abilities check these out, please?"

    Thorgrim looks at the ruby monoliths which rose up out of the crystalline ground. Each rose up about 50' away, and together they form a pentagram around you. With a scowl on his face, he calls to Rakk. "Well there's your landmark, Rakk. And it looks like an invitation straight to Galap-Dreidel's sitting room. Let us leave the vicinity immediately." He shoulders his pack and makes to go.

    "Emyn! Don't enter the area!" Thorgrim halts his departure, and strides back over. "Look, these are obviously not stone. They're made of the same material as the ground about us. I believe the wizard has noticed our presence."

    "I was not planning to, Thorgrim," replies Emyn. "That would be unwise. It is best we understand what this is before we enter it, assuming we wish to do so."

    Hepla continues to concentrate on the stones to see if the ball gives her anything more. For a moment she sees an image that looks like the soul gem, then it's gone. "Sorry guys, its only showing the soul gem, and that only for a few seconds. She looks for Marinessa, then Markessa. Lightning flashes overhead, but she sees nothing else in the ball.

    "Perhaps Marinessa meant this outcropping as the stone we need to escape," offers Berenn.

    Elrae will stand in the middle of the pentagram. "Hopefully I'll be summoned away from this trap," he mutters. "Since lightning summoned them, maybe it's lightning that makes them work, whatever they are." He then casts Lighning Bolt, sending a fork streaking into one of the 5 monoliths. The red crystal begins to glow warmly, taking on a strangely fluid appearance.

    Meanwhile, Emyn had moved over to touch them. The first couple were quite solid. He tried scratching them with a dagger, but it didn't do anything. These things are solid! However, when he touches the one that Elrae hit with the lightning bolt, his hand goes right through the side. It tingles, and he pulls it back out.

    Isilme holds her breath and tries to enter the liquid monolith, seeing if there is a opening inside and stepping back out. She goes through the side of the monolith and disappears.

    Emyn steps up to go through as well. "This might be a doorway," he says. He takes a breath, just as Isilme reappears, stepping out of the monolith again. She bumps into Emyn, just as he is about to enter.

    "There's a strange corridor beyond leading to a shimmering wall. I believe I have found a gate, or the shimmering wall of doom!" she says. "Shall we enter and see where this road takes us?"

    "Let's see," says Hepla. She then uses her staff to send a lightning bolt into another monolith, the next one to the right. You notice something that you didn't notice the first time, though you now think did happen. There really wasn't an impact; rather, the bolt seemed to be absorbed by the monolith. It then transforms exactly as did the first one.

    "Excellent thinking Hepla," replies a surprised Isilme. "Perhaps behind each gate lies each of the five stones we seek, assuming they are the same." Isilme enters the new liquid monolith as she did the other one.

    "We should only zap a few monoliths at a time," says Elrae, waiting for Isilme to return. "We don't know if these gates are two-way and something bad could come out of one when we weren't expecting it."

    "It seems we need lightning to enter," says Hepla. "As long as I have my staff we will have enough lightning to enter these 5 monoliths."

    Isilme then returns. "Beyond is another corridor, exactly like the first."

    "Let us enter one of the monoliths and see what we find," says Rakk. "It can be no worse than staying here and slowly dying away."

    Isilme agrees with Rakk. "Lets not delay; our life force is draining away as we speak. Let us enter the first monolith, and check the first gate."

    Everyone nods in agreement. "Better a quick death than a lingering one," says Rakk, stepping forward.

    The party enters, one-by-one. Beyond the surface of the ruby monolith is a gleaming corridor that bums brightly with all the colors of the rainbow. Unimaginable energies crackle through the air, raising the hair on your arms and down the back of your neck. The bitter smell of electricity tickles your nostrils and burns your eyes. Some twenty yards away, the corridor ends in a shimmering wall of white light. It looks incorporeal, but you can see nothing beyond it.

    "Let's go," says Rakk, striding through the wall of light. The party lingers a bit, and when Rakk doesn't return they decide to quickly follow.

    Coming through the light, you find yourselves in a magnificent temple. Laid out as an oval, it stretches beneath an alabaster ceiling from which half a dozen glowing chandeliers are suspected. Two rows of thick marble pillars, each inlaid with delicate etchings of angelic men and women, rise from the brightly polished floor. Stained glass windows depicting various religious figures line the walls, spilling multihued light into the cavernous chapel.

    One end of this elliptical room hosts an ornate altar and shrine. Two large braziers stand on either side, trailing coils of sweet-smelling smoke into the air. An assortment of oils, scrolls, and other priestly paraphernalia rests atop the altar. Rows of hard wooden benches, pews for the faithful, fill the cathedral and face the altar.

    An odd feeling of peace and tranquility fills this place. Yet you cannot escape the feeling that some looming presence is watching - and judging - your every move.

    [DM OOC: Obviously, this is NOT the temple. This is a Greek orthodox church. I just wanted to give everyone a visual representation of what it sort of looks like!]

    "Hm....I didn't think it was a good idea to come this way," says Thorgrim, looking around. "Perhaps I was wrong."

    "I doubt there is a 'right' way to go," replies Rakk. "Only choices. Mostly with bad things in all of them. This one included."

    [Isilme OOC: Do we still fell the slight drain on us we felt before? Isilme is trying to gauge if we have been transported outside the gem, or at least it does not drain in this place and we could rest.]

    [DM OOC: Actually, you feel MORE drained. Elrae, Hepla, Isilme, Emyn, Thorgrim, Noot, and Rakk all suffered a level drain. That's one each for them, but two for Rakk since he was already suffering one. Remember, however, that it's not really a level drain. It's the accumulation of Negative Levels, more like 3rd ed.]

    "The temple is dedicated to all the Flan deities," says Emyn. Everyone looks around and sees that there are symbols of them all around. Stained glass windows are dedicated to some aspect of one or another, etc. and there are other writings, images, etc. all indicating the Flan pantheon.

    She casts Detect Magic and starts looking for the stone as Berenn cautions, "Be careful not to disturb anything."

    "That feeling of being watched is Chardath laughing at us," say Rakk as he starts looking. "Search for the red color of the Soul Gem. If it's here, it should show as the color it has outside." He looks around, then adds, "Keep an eye on those pillars. Remember those other ones that attacked us."

    Everything about this chapel makes you feel small and insignificant. Especially the more pius should have the impression that they stand in the presence of the gods, and that their every action is being seen by those powers they hold sacred. Well, at least to the Flan.

    [DM OOC: Perhaps a short note on the Flan deities is needed:

    The Flan religion is the most uncertain of the human mythologies, shrouded as it is by the history of a nomadic and scattered people; there seem to be two disjointed threads to the pantheon. One thread recognizes Beory as the mother of all and original creator of five other gods (Nerull, Pelor, Obad-Hai, Berei, and Zodal). This thread seems to be matriarchal and focussed on distinctions between good and evil (considering none of these gods have a law/chaos element in their alignment; contrast this to the point of view of the Oeridians, for example). The other thread is dominated by the great god of peace, Rao, and his henchman Allitur. Both are male and promote lawfulness and goodness exclusively. (At least one mythology portrays Rao as directing a council of the "Souls of Existence" among whom are Beory and Boccob, possibly Corellan Larethian.)

    The Flan are the most likely to honor the "Old Faith", druidism. Druids may be dedicated either to the archaic Obad-Hai or Beory herself; they certainly recognize all the ancient Flan deities and will mention them in services (Pelor, Nerull, Berei, Zodal). Note the rivalry/ antipathy that exists between such followers and those of Ehlonna of the Forests.]

    "Tread warily, gods not your own are dangerous," says Rakk. "Even those are hazardous." As the party looks around, they discover that this place has no apparent entrances or exits. "No exits," he adds. "Whatever trap or item we will find must be here, then. Or a hidden way. And, likely, anything we move or touch will set off a trap."

    The structure features twenty stained glass windows in all, ten on either side of the cathedral. Each of them depicts some important aspect of the faith, pretty much a different Flan deity or something connected to one. One curious note, however, is the fact that each of the windows appears to have the rays of the sun falling on it directly. Neither side of the church seems to lie in shadow.

    The structure holds six pillars in all: two rows of three down the center of the cathedral that split the pews into left, center, and right sections. Like the stained glass windows, the pillars are masterpieces. Each is sculpted in such fine detail that it seems impossible for a human hand to have crafted it. The pillars depict great heroes of the faith, though not the gods themselves or their avatars. The figures might be famous warriors and martyrs, saints and messiahs, or even highly respected theologians. All are recognizable by the party's priests and paladins. One of them is St. Cuthbert himself, who was supposedly brought to Oerth by Rao, Flan god of Reason.

    The altar is a massive and ornate affair, with all the standard types of things one would expect to find. There is a large book atop the altar, as well as candles and snuffer, sprigs of mistletoe, and a couple of scrolls, rolled up to the side.

    Vaddara verbally thanks Obad-Hai for allowing us to view the beauty of this place. "We seek only to return the soul gem to the ruler of the Drowned Ones so he will in turn give back Emyn's soul. Any guidance you can offer will be appreciated." A distinct sensation of peace and holiness fills her, as she is bathed in the light coming through the window. [DM OOC: All of her remaining wounds suddenly heal!]

    "WOW", Hepla whispers as she stands at the altar looking at the books and scrolls, still.

    After searching everything, Isilme tells the party that the only things that are revealed as magical are the party's own items. She wanders around until her spell ends, having scanned the entire place and found nothing magical. Nobody also saw the gem either. There is plenty of red, in things like paint, stained glass, ribbons/banners hanging on walls, drapes, etc.

    Rakk moves to look at the stained glass windows. In looking at them, he finds one with it's face turned to the side, and one crimson eye. [think a one-eyed jack] The eye seems to be in the form of a jewel that looks just like the Soul Gem.

    Rakk calls the others, and Vaddara and Isilme approach. Nobody really knows who the image is supposed to be. It looks like something to do with Zodal, as it shows a man dressed in the robes of that priesthood and holding a rod like Berenn's.

    "Clearly this is a holy place, where the gods can hear our voice," says Isilme, noting Vaddara's healing. "I would ask their permission or assistance in removing something from here and show proper respect."

    "I don't know, Isilme," says Emyn. "Something in here feels terribly wrong."
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Dec 19, 2014 11:45 am  
    Part 3 - Wrath of the Gods

    While they continue to look at the window, Hepla finishes checking out the altar. Finding nothing, and not wanting to touch the books, she walks to the St Cuthbert piller. "You look better in person, St. Cuthbert. Thanks for the help when last we met."

    She is joined shortly by Berenn, who kneels before the image of St. Cuthbert asking forgiveness for past transgressions and for aid in ending the torment of Galad. Berenn receives the blessings of St. Cuthbert. Just as Vaddara before him, he has been restored as well.

    Hepla watches Berenn, then has a sudden insight. She snaps her fingers, thanks St. Cuthbert for inspiration, goes back to the altar, opens the big book.

    "I thought we were seeking stones, not pieces of glass," Thorgrim says, who then suddenly hears something. "Did anybody hear that? That whisper?"

    Berenn and Vaddara look at him. "Yes, a female voice?" They look around, "anyone else?" Nobody else heard anything.

    "Everyone stop what you are doing and be silent!" snaps Isilme. "All of us focus on hearing her voice."

    "I've replayed the words in my mind," says Vaddara. "It said 'Many of your kind', then something I couldn't make out. 'Count yourselves lucky my lord fancies himself a pious man. It is his own impurity that torments him. Do not make the same mistakes he has.'"

    Isilme borrows a magic dagger from Noot, then levitates up to the eye. "Our cause is just," she prays aloud. "It is for the good of all Oerth we have taken this quest; please forgive that I must take this from the temple." She then uses the knife to carefully removes the gem.

    The voice, which was only speaking to the three priests: Berenn, Thorgrim, and Vaddara, goes suddenly silent. As Isilme digs into the lead to pry out the gem, there is a cacophonous (damn, can't believe I spelled that right!) sound all around, a crashing of breaking glass! A brilliant, many-colored light flashes out of the stained glass windows. Not all of them, but from five; however, it's enough to surprise everyone! The figures from those five stained glass windows come crashing into the cathedral, while a grinding sound comes from the columns. The characters from each column step out, weapons out menacingly.

    Isilme is hit by one of the beams of light, an orange one, and takes [40] damage. Rakk is hit by a violet ray, but it doesn't seem to have any effect on him. Noot is also hit by a ray, a green one. He feels instantly sick, as some kind of poison seems to spread through his body. He takes [20]. "Baaarrrrfffff!!!" and cries as he doubles over and throws up!

    Emyn rushes up, leaps over the altar, and grabs Hepla, which shocks her out of her stupor. She will be able to act next round. He holds her back, while defending against any threats. Isilme flies up and away. Rakk flips the candle table over, and pushes it into the golem, holding it back and shielding himself from any further attacks. Berenn draws Bonefire and attacks the Caryatid Column in front of him, hitting for [13]. He doesn't like the sound it makes when it clangs off the stone.

    The caryatid columns all move up and attack, two on Thorgrim, one on Berenn, one on Elrae, one on Emyn, and one on Hepla. Only Elrae is hit for [6].

    Elrae draws Snowfang and hits the column [12]. Thorgrim steps back and casts Spirtual Hammer. He slams the CC to his left for [5]. Vaddara then casts Stone Shape on the CC that is fighting Elrae, and the thing blasts apart into little pieces!

    Noot moves back behind a pillar and hides, wondering what he can do....

    The glass golems all move up. The one to the bottom-right moves towards Elrae. The one to the top-right moves towards Berenn and attacks, missing. The one to the top moves towards Emyn and attacks, missing. The one by Noot moves down toward Rakk, while the one stuck behind the table struggles against it, but Rakk keeps it pinned.

    It looks like Rakk can keep it pinned, unless he tries to do something else. He's definitely got it pretty much stuck right now.

    This is actually a map of St. Paul's Cathedral, which I used as the base for this battlemap. The party is spread around it pretty badly, with serious enemies. There are 5 glass golems (a la Ravenloft!) and 5 Caryatid Columns. Not good!

    Here's a couple zoomed in views of the map, which is hard to see since it's so large:
    North Map
    South map

    The caryatid columns attack. One hits Hepla [4] and one misses Emyn. Berenn is missed, but Thorgrim is hit by both collumns [6 and 5: 11 total.]

    Isilme uses her movement to stay out of golem weapon range and flies over to look into the area the "one eyed jack" golem came out of....anything back there? She will also lay hands on herself and heal some of the damage caused by the ray. (15 Points) She flies over where the golem came from. There is just blank wall there. She sees no sign of the "gem" because it's still the glass golem's eye!

    Noot moves up behind the column fighting Thorgrim and stabs it with two daggers. Black Knife does [7] while his regular +1 dagger does [3], and the +1 dagger snaps! Thorgrim continues to attack with Spiritual Hammer, hitting the one to the left for [5] more as he steps back 5'. Berenn also steps back and casts Stone Shape on the CC next to him, destroying it.

    Emyn throws Hepla over the altar, but he's still there, basically surrounded. The distraction makes Hepla lose her Grease spell that she was about cast.

    Elrae points Snowfang at the glass golem advancing up the aisle. "Cryo!" he yells, sending a cone of cold into it. The golem freezes in place, taking [35].

    The glass golems then continue to advance. One attacks Emyn, but misses. One attacks Berenn, hitting his a wicked slash [21]. The frozen one continues forward towards Elrae, glass crackling and breaking off as it does, and slashes him with a half-broken glass sword [9]. The other one pushes the table out of the way [because Rakk said he's going to try and strike with his spetum. Otherwise, he could have held it back.] It slashes at Rakk, hitting him for [7]. The other one moves up, attacking Rakk and hitting for [10].

    Rakk hits with his Spetum, swinging it like a staff. He shatters the one, which falls in a cascade of glass. "Isilme, go help Hepla", shouts Rakk,"I'll finish this one."

    Hepla, still kneeling down so the other things don't see her, notices the golem advancing on Elrae. She casts Magic Missile, and sends a half-dozen bolts racing down the aisle. They swerve around Elrae to his right and left, and slam into the glass golem, shattering it in a shower of glass. Elrae looks around, sees Hepla, and gives her a thumb's up!

    Noot attacks the caryatid column in front of him, his daggers bounces harmlessly off it [he just missed, don't read into that!] Berenn hits the glass golem in front of him, but his blow bounces harmless off it. [That's because Bonefire cannot hurt it. As a player, you can assume that's because it is either not a blunt weapon, doesn't have enough magic bonus, or both. Obviously, your characters have not faced these, so they don't really know either! ]

    Isilme flies down to the floor where she begins to search for the gem. She eventually finds it, a small version of the Soul Gem. She turns and speaks to the golems, but nothing happens. However, she DOES notices that the windows from which the golems sprang are now open to what seems daylight.

    Meanwhile, Thorgrim backs up into the center aisle and continues with his spiritual hammer, hitting the CC for another [6]. Vaddara casts Spiritual Hammer, and hits the glass golem attacking Rakk [4]. Rakk then misses with his improvised Spetum-club. Emyn leaps atop the altar, and there he takes his Defensive Stance.

    Two CCs and the glass golem attack Emyn, now standing atop the altar. They all miss as the paladin weaves an impenetrable web of defensive parries. Berenn is his by the glass golem again, taking another bad cut to the leg [18]. The CC attacks Noot, while the other one moves threw the pews and attacks Thorgrim. Elrae hits it with Snowfang [6] as it goes by, but he really doesn't like the clanging sound his precious blade makes on contact. The CC then hits Thorgrim [5]. Finally, Rakk is hit by the glass golem in front of him [15].

    Isilme puts the stone in her pouch, and hearing Rakk and looking over, sees Emyn and Hepla surrounded quickly flies over along the ceiling. "Stand strong paladin, I will assist you!" She yells, flying over to the altar area. She stops by the column, 25' in the air.

    Noot strikes the CC again, striking with Black Knife [6]. He also draws his Dagger of Parrying, but uses it for defense only.

    Every glass golem lets loose a burst of scintillating colors in a 25'radius. These rays hit everything, friend and foe:

    Rakk is again hit by a violet ray, which has no effect on him. Berenn is hit by a yellow ray, and takes [40]! Thorgrim is hit by a violet ray which does nothing. Elrae is hit by a green ray. He makes his poison save, so only takes [20]. The CC fighting Thorgrim is hit by an indigo ray which does nothing. Finally, the one fighting Emyn lets off a burst of light as well. Emyn is hit with a violet ray which does nothing. Hepla is protected by the altar, and Isilme is just out of range. One of the CCs is hit by two rays, and blown into bits!

    After the flash, Hepla stands and casts Magic Missile at the glass golem, hitting it for [12]. "Take that!" she says.

    "Damn I wish I had my stoneskin on right now," says Elrae, as he steps back and hits the CC in front of him with Magic Missiles, blasting it apart!

    Vaddara continues to use her Spiritual Hammer, slamming the glass golem fighting Rakk [5], while Rakk hits with his spetum-club, cracking off a chunk of glass [15].

    The last CC continues to attack Emyn, but cannot get passed his defenses.

    Isilme casts Grease on the floor beneath the golems. Neither of them fall. Noot crawls over to Berenn, staying hidden from the golem. He does so, but Berenn's nearly dead. Elrae casts a lightning bolt at the golem by Berenn, hitting it for [27]. The bolt rebounds off the column behind it, bouncing harmlessly away. Thorgrim follows quickly with another blow with his Spiritual Hammer for [6].

    The last CC fails again to hit Emyn, who continues to fend it off expertly. Rakk also fails to hit the glass golem near him, and the three golems all attack. Emyn is slashed [11]. Rakk is missed, and the last one charges over to Elrae, hitting him [8]. Hepla casts another Magic Missile at the one attacking Emyn, hitting it for [17]. Finally, Vaddara casts Snilloc's Snowball, hitting the golem [11].

    Isilme flies down and hits the glass golem attacking Emyn [12], knocking a large part of glass from it. Vaddara and Hepla both combine simultaneously to hit the golem fighting Elrae, their spells destroying it in a violent shatter! Elrae tumbles away, shaking pieces of glass from himself. Noot uses his potion on Berenn, healing [16]. Berenn slowly opens his eyes, wondering what happened.

    The glass golem swings up at Isilme, slashing her across the chest [20]. The CC continues to attack Emyn and misses. It slips on the greased floor and rolls down the stairs to the bottom of the dais. Rakk is also hit by the other glass golem [15].

    Rakk attacks back, banging it for for [20]. Thorgrim then uses his spiritual hammer to hit the fallen CC, doing another [5].

    Isilme and Rakk destroy the last two glass golems [Good thing, because they would use Prismatic Sprays next round!] Thorgrim moves up and uses his Spiritual Hammer against the CC that fell down the steps, doing [5]. Elrae hits it with a Melf's Acid Arrow and Hepla a Magic Missile, destroying it.

    "WHooff! This was a dangerous place, indeed," says Rakk, getting some much needed healing. "If all the areas are this bad, we will be in trouble." With that, Rakk will rejoin the main group and see if we can find anything worth salvaging in the area.

    [DM OOC: I should add, there were some potential benefits. Berenn and Vaddara found one, complete healing of any and all maladies except for the negative levels caused by the Soul Gem. There were others, but unfortunately, once the "Wrath of the Gods" scenario starts, all potential benefits of the place are gone.]

    [Rakk OOC: Which is damn good, cause he was down to -8 with it! As it stands, Vaddara and Noot are unwounded. Isilme and Hepla are lightly wounded (less than 10 hp damage). Berenn and Elrae are sorely wounded (less than 1/10th HP left), and Rakk, Thorgrim, Emyn are pretty wounded (about 1/3 to 1/2 total hp lost). If Emyn still had an extrahealing left, he should be up to lightly wounded. Berenn and Elrae shouldn't be going anywhere til they are a good chunk healed.]

    Isilme will drink a potion of EXTRA-healing as she flies down to the altar. "Impressive swordwork Emyn!" she says.

    "Thank you Isilme," he replies. "Your aid against the golem was very timely. They were fearsome opponents, and I doubt my weapon would have done anything to harm it. Now, let's see about healing those of us who are worst wounded." Emyn will drink a healing or extra healing potion if he still has any.

    Isilme then flies over to the windows that now seem to let light through and looks out. It's strange. It still lets in sunlight, but it now seems exactly the same as the monoliths she saw before in the other place. Clearly, these 5 windows are more conduits, but to where?

    "With no indicators, I suggest we move through the gate/window we found the one eyed jack in," she says.

    "After some healing and a chance to regroup, I second the idea," adds Rakk.

    "I suppose we're not making it through in one punch," Thorgrim says. "Clanggedin help us if the wizard chooses to attack us in our weakened state."

    Emyn says, "I fear that my potions are no more. I may need some healing as well, please. Do you have any potions stored in the portable hole, Thorgrim, that the party may be able to use?"

    "Aye, just the one, and these," Thorgrim replies, patting his Utility Belt. "I'm afraid Lyseios' last batch went to the rest of you, leaving none for me. Stand guard while I dig it out, if you please," he says. Thorgrim digs out his Potion of Extra-Healing and offers that up, as well. He also grabs his Ointment of Regeneration while he's at it, and keeps it on his person. "This could come in handy, when the time comes," he mutters to himself.
    He leaves the potions in his utility belt as they are, for emergencies. "I am now regretting leaving my Fortress behind, just to protect some damned beasts," he says. "We will be hard-pressed to find a good spot to rest, here."

    After some serious healing, the party then took stock of the situation. There are FIVE exits, just like there were in the crystal plane area. Those monoliths needed to have a spell cast upon them to activate them. These were activated by doing what the ghost said, "find the gems!" So, they found the gem here, and the five exits appeared. Now they just have to pick which way to go.....
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    Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:22 am  
    Part 4 - The Enchanted Forest

    We take up the party now in the cathedral, after a difficult fight with its golem defenders. The exits have appeared, and they must consider their next course of action.

    "Can we rest or shall we push onward?" asks Elrae.

    "I am for resting," says Vaddara, who doesn't seem to be suffering the effects of this place.

    "The evil in this place feels like it is draining my very essence," Thorgrim says. "I believe we should press on now."

    "That's the question," says Rakk. "Do we press on? Since we all feel this draining, waiting and resting may make it harder to get out. On the other hand, pushing on with too much magic drained may leave us in danger at the wrong time. I vote we try one more passage and then hole up if we need to."

    Isilme says, "I am sorry I am not more helpful, I am song mage that deals in strong enchantments, these opponents we have faced have no mind to effect! Who knows what the next room may bring," says Isilme. "This may be the safest to hole up and rest. I am inclined to push forward one more room, but not knowing what's ahead we may never get this chance again."

    Emyn says, "The problem is, the longer we wait here, the weaker we become. I'd rather move forward and face these challenges with what strength we have."

    "Oh, aye," agrees Rakk. "The Gem is sapping our vitality. The longer we are in it, the more we will lose. But we have had our fighting ability severely depleted as well. We will need rest before attempting to fight the master of this place, lich or no. But rest may cost us dearly, as well."

    "I recommend leaving," says Vaddara. "Let us go through the gate where Isilme found the gem, if all other aspects are equal," says Vaddara.

    "One eyed jack portal it is," says Emyn. "I will lead the way."

    "I want to finish reading the book," says Hepla.

    Emyn decides to take matters into his own hands, picks up Hepla, and carreis her through the one eyed Jack portal.

    Moving through the window brings the party to another hallway of crackling electrical energy. It is another conduit to...somewhere else. Emyn waits there while the rest appear.

    "But what if it goes nowhere?" asks Noot.

    "Then is your big chance to get away from it all," says Thorgrim dryly.

    Traveling through the conduit, the party has found their way into the heart of a garden teeming with flowers, shrubs, and vines of every description. A variety of sweet odors perfume the air, some so delicate that they pass almost unnoticed, others cloying and overwhelming. Tiny insects and bumming bees move about, apparently uninterested in you as they go about their labors. One could easily believe that you had found your way home again, except for the fact that this garden stretches languidly out beneath a blood red sky. You also feel the unnerving sense of your gradual weakening as the Soul Gem drains away a little more of your life's energy.

    [DM OOC: Everyone except Vaddara is drained of a level. i.e. all but her get another negative level! You guys should just feel lucky that I don't use REAL level drains!!! Of course, being such a good and benevolent DM, I wouldn't do that to you.]

    "I am not happy to be here, this garden is unnatural," says Elrae. "Now why is it that Vaddara is immune to the effects of the level draining Soul Gem? If it makes me younger I wouldn't mind so much, but I hate being so weak that a butterfly could knock me down."

    [DM OOC: She's not immune. It's a saving throw thing. First time you went through a conduit, Berenn and Vaddara both resisted the effects. However, only Vaddara resisted this time. The Soul Gem is gradually draining your life, there there's no way around it except to get out. Eventually, everyone will perish otherwise.]

    "We should start looking for the gem in this place," says Berenn.

    Isilme looks back, but there's no gate behind you anymore. That gem also doesn't seem to do anything here.

    Emyn says, "We should not bring harm to any of these plants or the creatures in here lest we trigger yet another trap. Let us find this gem."

    "Beware of toxic plants, and malevolent ones," Thorgrim says. He switches weapons to Slasher, his Battleaxe+2, to prepare for such threats. "The portals themselves seem to be the source of the energy-drain. It's likely we'll be as weak as babies before facing Galap-Dreidel himself. This does not bode well."

    Rakk pulls the cover off the Spetum. He starts looking for the color of the Gem. "For some reason the Gem is always the same color so far. Hopefully, it is unable to alter that."

    Berenn sits down and tries to Commune with Nature; however, he senses nothing. After a while, he stops. "It's as if there is no nature here at all," he says.

    "As I suspected," says Rakk. "All this is just a construct of the Gem."

    "Well the gods seemed real enough in the last room," says Isilme. "I thought perhaps the spirit of true nature might be here as well. Like I suspected, resting here is probably unlikely without grievous harm. Be on your guard."

    "If this place is not real, then it may be the whole environment is false as well," says Emyn. "It could be that we are not wounded at all."

    Islme sits down cross-legged, calm herself and empties her mind, peering intently into the fire node ruby. "Goddess grant me a vision to guide our path here." (She cast clerical "augury")

    She snaps out of suddenly, and seems in a daze for a few moments. "I did not ascertain the location of the gem here, but what I can tell you is each one of these places is a representation of some event or place from Galap's twisted mind, each like a facet in a gem. To escape we must find each "soul gem" copy, then ultimately defeat the Galap clone within, taking the key he holds and using it to escape."

    Isilme casts invisibility, flies up, and surveys the land for any geographical or structural features that stand out. She is specifically looking for something that resembles the color of the soul gem. As far as she can see, it's a vast forest, very similar to the forests of Celene. She sees no distinguishing features at all.

    Returning to the party, Isilme reports. "The aerial view looks like a vast forest in Celene, nothing stand out, just a bunch of trees. Perhaps Berenn is best suited to determine our path?"

    "I just saw a woman in the trees!" cries Emyn, pointing into the forest. "She slipped into the shadows after revealing herself. I fear she is looking to lead us into a trap, given the infernal nature of this place. We must remain wary."

    "Emyn, did you say there was a woman in the trees?" asks Isilme. "Where?"

    "Let's go talk to the lady by the tree," says Elrae. "She could be a dryad, though more likely to be some vampiric blood sucking tree demon. And keep an eye out for those stones. I want to get out of here as soon as possible."

    "If it is, you best let us female elves handle it," says Isilme. "Their charm powers are legendary!" She starts to fly off and calls back, "But if it's a demon, then Rakk can deal with her!"

    Vaddara calls out using the language of the woodland fey, but there is no response.

    "Perhaps I can have her come out when I sing this song I learned back in Woodstock," says Elrae, taking out his cittern and starting to play:

    Down in the woods my friend did walk,
    and he did sing and he did talk.
    To every leaf and every stone,
    every branch and every bone.
    He and his flute piping all the day,
    whirling up and down in boisterous play.
    The wind did back his every song,
    as he danced and played all summer long.

    His feet took him every day to sit,
    and rest beneath the shade of it.
    'It' you see was the trailing wings,
    willow leaves as feathered things.
    Leaves that kept the sun at bay,
    to halt the burning in heat of day.
    My friend loved to sit and sing,
    'neath the shade of willow's wing.

    By coolth of pond and in golden time,
    my friend spent hours in that gentle clime.
    The branches rustled with delight,
    when in her shade he'd find respite.
    Lad and tree did become so linked,
    his music never sounded half so sweet;
    as when beneath its leafy sway,
    he would sit, and his flute play.

    Birds would chorus from the top
    of willow branch and cattail crop,
    and oh what magic, oh what bliss,
    during that time of summer's kiss.
    My friend plays on, and still you see,
    in his favorite spot, beneath that tree.
    Bard and willow, no room to weep.
    Music there to joyful keep.

    The Singing Willow, she's been named,
    and long as she's green, she'll be the same.
    The place is fill'd with magic of the heart,
    and nothing finer, in any art;
    will ever in my life I see,
    as the Singing Willow, the Bard's Tree.

    The party hears laughter echoing through the trees, and no, it's not Berenn.

    "I still think only we olven females should push forward," says Isilme, drawing Maerthorlear. "To avoid the usual charm powers of the forest denizens."

    Vaddara tries to Call Woodland Beings, but nothing happens. She tries a couple types, but there is no response.

    "They are probably golems like everything else we seem to encounter here," says Emyn. "This mage was nothing if not predictable."

    Isilme attempts to Summon Elemental Kin, but that spell also fails. Frustrated, she asks Thorgrim, "Thorgrim can you summon your earth elemental here? If it's going to work, here is the place."

    He takes out his stone, but fails to summon an elemental. "It is as I feared," he says. "This place is likely a unique space, like my portable hole."

    "I don't think anything in this place other than us is natural," adds Berenn. "I believe you can forget about the normal laws of nature applying here."

    "I figgered that," agrees Rakk. "Things that move leave a trail, even unnatural things. If we find no trace, we move that direction anyway. They lay no trap for no reason."

    Nodding, Berenn searches the ground in the area. He sees the faintest trail of light elven footprints heading away through the forest.

    "Let's follow," says Thorgrim.

    We have little us to go on, we may as well follow her cautiously," agrees Isilme.

    "Well, let's follow," says Rakk grimly. "Watch for any type of plant monsters you know, and Berenn and Noot watch for traps. Let's see what this area has to offer."

    You walk quite a ways, before you finally break out into a clearing. This place is even more beautiful than the rest of the forest if that is possible. I could describe it, but a picture is worth a thousand words....

    It all looks vaguely familiar.....

    A beautiful elf maiden stands in the rotunda atop the near stairs. Another elf girl waves to the one in the rotunda from the far archway, walking in this direction. The unicorns bolt away, scared by your appearance.

    "This looks a little like that elven city in Celene,"says Emyn.

    "Great! Now, I'm worried," says Rakk.
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    Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:26 pm  
    Part 5 - Ahjana

    We pick up the action after the party has found the sylvan maidens. Isilme realizes that the scene nearly exactly resembles the tapestry they had found in the castle.

    [Isilme OOC: If you want to get this over with I can appear here as a drow. Just get to the golems and get it over with already!]

    Hepla trys in sylvan elf, "Peace, my we approach in peace. You have a beautiful garden."

    She calls out, "Oh yes, certainly, "she answers. "Please, come."

    "Thank you" Hepla says, as she walks up the stairs to the rotunda. She stops just before stepping onto the rotunda, bows in a very formal elf way and says, "If it is not to presumptious to do this now, I will give my name as those who have known me most of my life. My mom calls me Hepla. May I have the honor to know your name?"

    "My name is Moréarna," she answers, smiling warmly. "I am sorry that I ran off," says the young lady in a musical voice, "but you frightened me. I thought, perhaps, that you were servants of Ahjani. I feared that you had come to kill me and harm the sleeping princess."

    "We are not from Ahjani, who is he?" asks Hepla. "Who and where is this sleeping princess, and have you seen a red stone? I am sorry that we can not spend time with pleasantries but if I am too save the man I love and restore an ancient love, I fear we must hurry."

    Rakk whispers to Hepla,"Never ask these folks for the red Gem or stone. Their job is to prevent you finding it, by misdirection or conflict, not help us find it. As creations of the Gem, they will defend it."

    "I understand," she answers, "but I think love is the answer or at least a way into the emotions of the master of this gem. His love for Marinessa caused him to defy the laws of magic. Maybe he will respond to a tragic love like Emyn and mine."

    "We're tragic? " Emyn suddenly looks worried.

    "It is if you die within the year," replies Rakk dryly.

    Hepla ignores the conversation behind her. "My fiancée is doomed to have to serve some foul creature in a year for all eternity if we cannot lift his curse. You know love, can you not help us?"

    A couple more elf girls appear out of the woods, and they see the others all come down to the glade to meet you. The see your injuries, and they offer to tend to you. They are very sweet and tender, and want to hear all about Hepla's love story. A couple make eyes at Elrae, obviously interested in the handsome bard.

    "Hepla tells of their love story, appealing to the female part of this place. She says also, "it looks like if we fail that we will get less then a tear together and mom always said that a good man is good for at least 50 years, with some help 100." She laughs in a naughty way. "But I don't know yet if that is true. But mom would know. Would any of you know? Ohh, tea leaves, may I examine them, I am an herbologist and would like to see what you are using." She whispers to Rakk, "Remember, nothing is quite what we think it is here."

    There are four maidens now. One comes over to Rakk. She rubs his arm, cooing over his huge muscles. When she sees his wounds, she almost cries. "Oh, but you injured. Please, let me help you. My name is Iselwen, and I am an accomplished healer." She calls to one of her sisters, "Nilaiiel, please bring some tea, they have wounds that need tending." One of the other girls nods and leaves.

    [Berenn OOC: This is bad ... it is just a different type of bad!] Berenn's guard is way up and he is going to keep an eye out for anything amiss.

    Nilaiiel returns, and then the girls lead the party (except for Isilme who is off scouting around) to a serene glade. Some blankets have been laid out, and tea and ungents have been set out to help you. In the center of the glade stands a large canopy bed, covered by silky, lacy sheets which hang down around it.

    The elves are named Nilaiiel, Erethstra, Erdiliel, Moréarna, and Iselwen. Iselwen speaks, "We shall tend to your wounds and make you comfortable. But you must be careful: If Ahjani learns that you are here, she will come for you."

    The other girls get a somewhat worried look when she mentions Ahjani.

    "What a restful place," says Hepla, "But please, who is Ahjani?"

    The maidens provide healing droughts to anyone who wishes one. They also have some kind of balm for Rakk's wounds. Erdiliel sees Thorgrim's missing eye and almost starts crying. Thorgrim turns a bit red from the attention, as she gives him some herbal tea which heals the rest of his wounds. About this time, Isilme returns. Of course, being invisible and flying, nobody notices!

    "Thank ye, lass," says Thorgrim. "Not to worry, 'tis just a scratch..."

    Elrae smiles at the elvish lasses and gives them a wink. "You know there could be a lot worse ways to meet one's fate. It seems that we are getting a tour of the different outer planes or their equivalent pocket dimensions withing the Soul Gem. You know I will take them up on their offer for a place to rest and regain spells."

    Erethstra whispers in Elrae's ear, and by his reddening cheeks, it's clear she just offered more than that!

    "Dearest Erethstra, as much as I would gladly partake in such an offer, see this" He holds up his left hand with the ring of warmth on it. "That means I'm married and unfortunately I am off the market. My other comrades are not so attached but I am a husband and father and sworn vows to the old gods and the new to uphold those duties. This may be the most difficult conversation I've ever had."

    Of course, that just makes Elrae even more desirable, but they respect him and tend his meager wounds just the same.

    Isilme flies high in the air so she can see clearly. She spots the unicorns, lying down near a canopy bed in the center of the glade. She will look the girls over for anything that might be the soul gem, in any form, button, earring, etc. When she sees nothing, she flies above the canopy bed area and takes a closer look.

    [DM OOC: Everyone who drinks the tea has all of their wounds healed. ]

    [Berenn OOC: I cast Neutralize Poison on it anyway!]

    "Ladies," says Emyn, "I fear we need to know who Ahjani is and why you fear the person if we are going to be able to get back to those we love. Elrae mgiht never see his wife and child again if we do not escape this place. it seems to seep teh very strength from our bones. Please, aid us and tell us about this person."

    Emyn gets two different versions of who Ahjani is from the girls next to him. One says she is a half-woman, half-spider. One says she's a hag. Both seem to at least agree that she's a monster, and they are both afraid of her. "Bad things happen when she appears," they say.

    After everyone else has had their rest and been cured, Hepla will lie down near Emyn, ask him to guard her, and take a nap. She asks him to not allow anyone to give her anything to eat or drink. "Thank you ladies, now that the party is rested and healed, I will take a short rest."

    "I feel comfortable here for some strange reason," says Elrae. "I wonder if I can catch a few Zzzzz's."

    Elrae and Hepla fall asleep almost instantly. Emyn sits watch over Hepla.

    Isilme cannot see inside the drapes of the canopy, and she flies down just as Rakk takes an interest as well. A couple of the girls are only too happy to show him. They pull the drapes away, revealing the familiar form of Marinessa, sleeping comfortably on the bed. She wears the gown you all saw her in as a ghost. She also wears a golden circlet with a red gem in the center, which is a small but exact copy of the Soul Gem!

    "Why does she sleep?" asks Rakk. "And for how long has she slept?"

    They look at Rakk questioningly. "She's the Sleeping Princess," they say, as if that says it all.

    Rakk then walks back to inform the rest of the part. Isilme casts "message" and tells Rakk and anyone in the party awake to give her time to try and wake the princess
    or gain the gem.

    "How does one wake her?"asks Emyn.

    "Here?" they ask, confused.

    "How does one wake her?" echoes Rakk. "Is she like ours here or is there something else required?" And nudges Elrae to wake him up.

    They look at each other, confused.

    [DM OOC: Basically, this is the scene they are in:]

    "Only true love can awaken her," says Moréarna.

    "He one true love must come and kiss her," says Erdiliel.

    "But Ahjana will never let her go," says Iselwen. "She will kill any who so much as touch her."

    Rakk nudges Hepla next. "Things may get exciting shortly. Twould be better if you were ready, first." They both wake up easily.

    [Isilme OOC: why do I get the feeling when this is all done rags will say the "big benefit" of this level was healing and restful sleep - we just don't trust anyone!]

    [Thorgrim OOC: Possibly true. But their niceness is mighty suspicious...]

    Emyn asks, "Who is the princess' true love?"

    "Why, Galap-Dreidel, of course!" they answer almost in unison.

    "I feared as much," says Emyn.

    Isilme messages the party members, "Be ready! I'm trying to get us the gem now!" She then removes the soul gem studded circlet from marinessa and stuffs it in her pouch, flying away.

    [Rakk OOC: One S#@t storm coming up!]

    Hepla grabs whomever is near her, probably Emyn and casts Minor Globe of Invunerability. She should be out in the meadow with good view of what is happening. "We are protected from 1st to 3ed level spells right here. Lets see what happens."

    Rakk will quietly check his ballista, make sure it's ready and loaded. Then let it hang casually at his side. "Would we know this Ahjana when we see her?"

    Everyone else readies weapons, as the invisible hand of Isilme takes the diadem from her head. All the maidens turn and yell at the same time. "No!!!!!!" They look really scared..... They rush over to the bed, pulling the covers away as the invisible Isilme flies straight up.

    They basically seem to almost fall apart, crying "Oh no, oh no, oh no!" Moréarna turns around, "What have you done?"

    Vaddara casts Mirror Image as Isilme messages everyone again, "If you see a gate open run for it."

    Elrae talks to the elf nearest to him, "I regret ladies these events happened while I was asleep. Please let me know what bad things we might expect now that the gem has been stolen."

    "Ahjana is coming," says one of them, crying.

    "She'll kill you all," sobs another.

    The look around in every direction, terrified of whatever is coming.

    Elrae plants a kiss on the elf maiden closest to him, Nilailel. "That's for luck."

    Nilailel clings tight to Elrae, while the other girls look in the bed. They see the gem is gone and they turn back.

    "You must put it back," cries Iselwen.

    "It's too late," says Moréarna. "She's coming." She turns and looks back in the direction of the party. "Ahjana is here."

    With that, there is a great breaking of branches, as something large comes through the forest.

    It looks like this! A 6-armed woman with the lower body of a giant snake. She has a shield in one hand, and 5 weapons in the others. The elf girls all scream in terror.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:58 am  
    Part 6 - Silly Girl

    [Sorry it's taken so long to do another update. So, the party has spent some time in this "seemingly" idyllic place. The elf maidens have helped to heal those who accepted their aid, while others have stayed alert, knowing something bad would eventually happen, as usual. They were not wrong, for the dreaded Ahjani has appeared, now that Isilme has taken the gemstone. As you saw above, she is a Marilith.]

    Hepla casts Mirror Image.

    "Great," says Rakk. "Watch the girls. They may help her." Rakk fires the ballista. After that, draw swords. Since the one probably won't hurt her, use it to parry. He then thinks better of that and plans to take out his magical spetum instead.

    Rakk fires his ballista shot, but it flies wide. Ahjani moves forward, slithering back and forth up the path. Before she reaches the party, a billowing cloud of yellow-green vapors starts to pour forth from the trees to their left. Hepla instantly recognizes it as a Cloudkill.

    It rolls up the path towards everyone, stretching nearly all the way between the trees to the left and right. Nobody can see Ahjani through the vapors.

    Isilme says to everyone (using Message spell), "If you see a gate open run for it; we don't need to defeat every area, just get the gem!" She then reaches into her pouch and touches the soul gem like she did in the church "area." Maerthorlear is on full defense.

    Thorgrim avoids the vapors while keeping an eye out for Arjhana...if he sees her he will cast Holy Orb immediately (bonus combat spell).

    "Everyone, spread out, and avoid that mist!" he says.

    Elrae tells the elf maiden "Run!" as he casts fly on himself and heads west.

    "Emyn, ward Hepla!" shouts Rakk. "Five blades will turn her to paste quickly." Rakk will stay just out of the cloud, using Blindfighting skills to locate the enemy if needed.

    Vaddara casts Wind Wall, which stops the Cloudkill in its tracks. However, it's Hepla's Control Vapor that ends the spell. At first she tries to push it back, but when that doesn't work, she simply tears it apart and disperses it.

    Meanwhile, Emyn takes up a position directly in front of Hepla, while Rakk flanks out to his left. Elrae goes to his right, pulling Nialiel along. They go off around a small tree and some shrubs. Noot runs off and hides there as well. Berenn and Thorgrim spread out, and Thorgrim casts Holy Orb just as the cloud disappears [10]. Ahjani cries out, then her eyes lock fiercely on Thorgrim as she charges.

    Berenn fires a shot with his bow, but it is deflected by Ahjani's shield. She ignores Berenn, and moves ahead, right for Thorgrim! She reaches out with a strange hooked weapon, grabs Emyn's leg, and trips him, while bringing her morning star down on the prone paladin [14]. She stabs at Thorgrim with a spear, hitting him for [12], while also taking out two of Vaddara's mirror images with a couple of strange-looking swords.

    Berenn fires another shot with his bow, again missing. [DM OOC: He just missed, it's not like he can't hit. There's not much you can do when you roll poorly!]

    Hepla and Vaddara notice a necklace hanging around Ahjani's neck, with a gem that look just like the Soul Gem.

    Vaddara quickly casts Cone of Cold. Blasts of freezing air from the north plow into Ahjani, who laughs at the ice particles that gather upon her. With a shiver, she shrugs them off [she did take 5 damage!], and then moves forward. She moves over Emyn, wrapping his prone form up in her coils and squeezing him tightly [10]. He fails to break free.

    Vaddara is then hit with three swords, removing all her Mirror Images. Hepla is hit by the morning star [14] and knocked back and to the ground. She drops her staff, but she was going to take off her pack anyway. She quickly goes through it, taking out her Wand of Whips. Finally, Thorgrim is hit by the spear [15].

    Rakk moves up and strikes at Ahjani's hooked weapon, knocking it from her grasp with an expert disarm move. It flies back behind her about 5'.

    Berenn backs away while Thorgrim swaps out to Souldrinker. Elrae casts Melf's Acid Arrow, but it just fizzles when it strikes her. Finally, Isilme casts Stoneskin upon herself.

    "Damn that demon." Elrae will fire as many magic missiles as he can until exhausted.

    Elrae casts Magic Missiles, all of which scream across towards Ahjani, only to simply dissipate when they reach her [Magic Resistance!]

    Vaddara backs off. She then looks up to see the elf maiden Isilwen riding one of the unicorns. She extends her hand to Vaddara, "Hurry, we must flee!" Erdiliel rides up to Elrae and Nilaliel, saying the same thing to them and offering a hand.

    Berenn fires another shot, but this one misses as well. [Good shooting Tex!]

    Ahjani constricts Emyn [15] but Emyn then breaks free, rolling away from the coils. Ahjani then bashes Thorgrim with her shield [7], knocking him to the ground. She stabs at Hepla with her spear, taking out a MI. On the right she swings twice at Rakk, first tripping him with her Khopesh, then smashing at him with her morningstar, which misses. Rakk ends up prone. He attempts to knock the sword from her hand, but fails, though he does manage to stand.

    Hepla snags her with her Wand of Whips, but Ahjani just shrugs off the effect.

    Isilme then flies directly over the demon and drops her Itemed piano. It enlarges about 50' above Ahjani and plummets into her with a tremendous crash, smashing her to the ground!

    [DM OOC: I just had to post this:

    Emyn also shouts, "This things own weapons are probably magical and might hurt it!"

    Elrae bravely sets Nilaliel upon the unicorn and sets her and her sister riding off towards the forest. Vaddara takes the offered hand and climbs up behind Iselwen, and the two ride off around the tree to their left. Everyone gets up, and grabs a couple weapons. Rakk kicks away the Khopesh sword, while Emyn grabs the Morningstar and rips it from the demon's grasp. Berenn moves up beside Elrae, using the brush for cover. Moreanna stands there, disbelieving what just happened!

    Ahjani emits a bit of a muffled moan, and Thorgrim gets up, takes a step forward, and buries Souldrinker in the thing's shoulder [18]. It screams in great pain, rears up, and throws the broken pieces of piano from it, knocking Emyn and Rakk backwards.

    Isilme drops down and takes a swing at Ahjani with Maerthorlear. "Send this foul thing back to the Abyss," she says. The sword sings a song of grim fury in her mind, and she knows there is something almost personal to this fight. She slashes across Ahjani's head [20], then flies away and up another 20'.

    Ahjani takes a stab at her as she flies off [DM OOC: there's no good rules about this, but I think a "fly by" is much more realistic than flying, stopping to melee back and forth, then flying on. So, I'll let you do the flyby, but opponents will get an AoO as you do so.]. Of course, the Stoneskin protects her!

    Noot slips up behind Ahjani and stabs her in the back with Black Knife [16]. The demoness cries in pain and stabs Noot with her spear [16]. She then moves over Rakk, wrapping him in her coils [20]. Rakk fails to break out, and is being constricted.

    Thorgrim misses. Emyn moves around the busted piano, and is hit by a sword stroke as he does [14]. He then misses with his attack.

    Elrae casts another Magic Missile which again does nothing. Vaddara and Iselwen ride around, while Hepla crawls away 5' and casts Spiritform. Finally, Berenn casts Sunblade, while Thorgrim hits with his extra attack [10].

    Elrae casts Melf's Acid Arrow, but it also fails. He mutters a curse as the melee continues.

    Vaddara uses her spear from the back of the unicorn, and they charge Ahjani. The unicorn misses with the charge as Ahjani swerves at the last second. Vaddara misses as well. Noot runs away again, as Isilme swoops back in, taking another swing with Maerthorlear. Her attack is blocked by Ahjani's shield, and Ahjani takes out another stoneskin as Isilme flies by. Isilme flies up to 40' and ends about 20' north.

    Rakk fails to break free and takes another [12]. Emyn attacks with the morningstar but misses. [DM OOC: You all should know, she has a VERY good AC!]

    Hepla tries to enter the demon in spiritform, and is forced out. [MR keeps you from entering in spirit form!]

    Ahjani ignores Hepla, knowing she cannot hurt or be hurt by her, and she turns on Thorgrim and Emyn, he lower body shifting around to the northeast and dragging Rakk along in its coils.

    [DM OOC: I believe she only has her spear and two sword weapons. Emyn's got the morningstar, and the hook is beneath her somewhere. From this angle now, she can use the spear and a weird sword on Emyn while only using a Khopesh on Thorgrim. However, she will try and grab at Souldrinker with her other two arms. I know it's hard dealing with creatures with multiple arms/attacks, especially when odd tactics are taken. Just roll with it, as I do.]

    She uses the strange sword on Emyn, and it somehow hooks the morningstar, ripping it from his grasp. She misses with the spear. Against Thorgrim, she grabs him with two hands, holding his arm with Souldrinker, while missing with her other sword (that's the khopesh which she picked up.)

    Berenn moves up and attacks her in the rear flank, but misses. Thorgrim can't attack, but he somehow manages to break free of her incredibly strong grasp. "Release my friend, foul beast!" he cries.

    Elrae, totally frustrated that his spells can't penetrate the demon's immunity, pulls out Sweetness and loads one of his +3 bolts he's been saving for a situation like this. He will use all three magic bolts and prays to St Cuthbert to let his aim be true.

    [Berenn OOC: That's fine. Just don't sing to him or I have a feeling I will end up with 3 crossbow bolts in my back!]

    Vaddara casts Sunbow as Iselwen backs the unicorn up. Isilme casts Haste upon herself. Noot hides in the bushes now that the demon has turned around. Hepla tries again to enter the demon, cannot, and so she starts to wind her rope around it in spirit form. [DM OOC: Yeah, WTF?]

    "What are you doing, silly girl?" says Ahjani while she continues to fight.

    "Nothing you need worry about...giggle." Hepla says. She thinks, "Good, I have her distracted and paying attention to me."

    Berenn misses while Emyn grabs the morningstar and rolls away, crawling behind the broken piano.

    Rakk takes another [13] from constriction. Ahjani turns around, giving her full attention to Thorgrim and Berenn. She switches her sword to one of her right hands and attacks. She now has two swords in her right hands, and a spear and shield in the left. She stabs Thorgrim in the gut [14] with the spear, while she takes two sword strokes at Berenn. She hits him twice, for [14 and 11: total 25].

    Thorgrim misses. Rakk finally breaks free. He also comes out from beneath her, wielding her dropped Ankus (the hooked weapon) and his +2 bastard sword, having dropped his MW one.

    Thorgrim and Berenn both miss with their extra attacks.

    [Berenn OOC: Isilme needs to find another piano to item and perform another Wile E Coyote maneuver!]

    [DM OOC: That actually didn't do any real damage. Just knocked her down for a round, and it also allowed you to get her morningstar. Actually, a sword too, but she got that back!]

    [Berenn OOC: So she just needs to find a +2 piano or maybe Heward's Mystical Organ.]

    Noot moves over to Elrae who fires his crossbow, hitting for [11].

    "Huzzah! I finally got a hit." Elrae reloads and fires again.

    Ahjani attacks again, stabbing at Thorgrim. He dodges, and somehow manages to knock away Ahjani's spear. [DM OOC: See? Fumbles happen to your enemies too!] She curses, but continues her attacks, trying to grab Souldrinker, but missing. She also attacks Berenn with her two swords. He takes one slash [15]. She tries again to wrap up Rakk, but fails.

    Vaddara fires her first shot, hitting Ahjani for [10] with an arrow from her Sunbow. Isilme flies down right above her, missing with Maerthorlear. Emyn drinks his last potion, healing [10]. Rakk misses with his attacks. Hepla, still in spiritform, casts Fly.

    Isilmes strikes at the demon's head with Morlaether with all four of her hasted attacks (all points to offense). "Return back to the hell that spawned you!"

    Hepla flies upward, spiraling the same way as she ran around the first time.

    [Hepla OOC: One of two things should happen. The spirit rope should be pulled against the demon and go into her, 30% chance, if so Hepla will stop, letting the rope continue to remain in her and then Hepla will cancel the Spiritform and then fly away at full speed as the rope, in the body of the demon causes massive internal damage. The pain should distract it greatly depending on where it enters her body. Ideally her head and it messes with her ability to think. Then everyone should get a lot of unanswered attacks.

    The other result is that the rope will not go into her body, 70% chance, but will continue to wrap around her magic resistance body. In this case she will fly until this rope 50' long is all over and around the body of the demoness, then return from Spiritform and entangle her in the rope. She should easily break the rope but hopefully it will tie up some of her arms and mess with her attacks for a turn or two. Hepla will fly far enough to be out of her reach. Everyone attacks hopefully when she does this.

    The deamoness should not be able to touch her or her rope until she comes back or the demoness uses a spell on her. But then she should not be able to fight or move. Hepla is ready in case the demoness grabs the rope somehow and is prepared to let go and fly away in Spiritform.]

    Hepla finishes by saying, "Silly girl, I don't think so," and then hope this works.

    Thorgrim attacks twice more, yelling at Hepla, "Hepla! What on Oerth are you on about?"

    Berenn withdraws from combat, backing up to the bed. Elrae loads up and fires again, but he hits Thorgrim by accident [firing into melee....] and does [12], as his bolt sticks him square in the back!

    [Berenn OOC: I withdrew from combat just in time ... that bolt had my name written all over it!]

    Ahjani turns on Isilme, making a full attack on her. She takes out a few Stoneskins, but doesn't hurt her. She also wraps up Thorgrim with her tail.

    Hepla flies up, but the rope doesn't enter the demon's body. Cursing, Hepla ends her spell.
    The rope wraps around Ahjani, and Hepla flies straight up, pulling it tightly.

    Thorgrim breaks free, while Isilme scores one hit with Maerthorlear, doing [20]. The demoness cries in pain as Rakk follows that up with another hit, this one from the Ankus [13].

    Emyn gets up and wanders off, looking for some more of the healing tea..... Noot stays next to Elrae, while Vaddara misses with her sunbow.

    [Isilme OOC: How was I beaten to the attack by the demon when I am hasted? Well, I wont survive six attacks per round, - looks like you guys are on your own.]

    [DM OOC: You still have to roll a die, so it happens.]

    "Whoops, sorry about that Thorgrim," calls Elrae as he reloads Sweetness with his last magic bolt. He takes careful aim this time and awaits his chance to strike down the demon. He will fire when there is an opening. "St. Cuthbert, you guided my first shot, once again I pray for your guidance and deliver this final bolt into the black heart of Ahjani and cast her back into the Abyss."

    [Hepla OOC: Rope idea didn't work then?]

    [DM OOC: Yes it did, sort of. She IS tangled in it now. It's just she went first, so she acted BEFORE you pulled the rope move. Obviously, it won't have a HUGE impact, but there will be some impact this coming round!]

    [Thorgrim OOC: Why is this thing taking so much damage?]

    [DM OOC: My dragons and demons are all far tougher than the original Monster Manual stats, esp in hit points!]

    [Berenn OOC: Bad enough this thing has a -9 AC (or did you mess with that too?), you had to jack around with its hit points! Bad DM! Very bad DM!]

    [DM OOC: well, it has a shied.....]

    Elrae takes another shot, hitting for [13]. Vaddara fires, hitting Rakk [7], while Noot drinks his last potion of ex-healing. He heals all his damage.

    Ahjani breaks the rope as her immensely strong body of coils simply expands out, snapping it in a couple spots and ripping it from Hepla's hands. She then continues her attacks, focusing upon Isilme and Thorgrim. All attacks miss, but the last of Isilme's Stoneskin is taken out.

    Thorgrim backs off and drinks a potion, heailing [9]. Rakk misses. Vaddara takes another shot, missing.

    [Isilme OOC: Yeah, I think the whole AC thing is odd, when I have a -9 AC
    I get nailed every time I engage in combat. When the opponent has a -9 AC
    They only get hit 1 of 4, IF we are lucky.]

    [DM OOC: don't forget, you guys are suffering NEGATIVE LEVELS too. Lots of them!]

    Isilme continues to attack, missing her first one. [yes, she has more...] Vaddara fires her bow, missing [has one more shot]. Berenn casts Prayer (+1 for everyone, -1 for enemies).

    Noot just looks at Elrae and asks, "What can we do against such a beast?"

    Ahjani hits Isilme with the spear [16] both swords, doing [17 and 14] for a total of 47! Isilme is nearly dead in one round!

    Rakk attacks, but misses. Hepla fires her lightning bolt, but it has no effect. She then flies back to the bed, next to Berenn. Ahjani glances at her, smiling. Thorgrim casts his Holy Orb, and is able to only include Ahjani, but it has no effect! Elrae takes out his Wand of Earth and Stone. Isilme misses again.

    Rakk hits with his bastard sword [19]. Vaddara misses [Her Sunbow disappears], and Isilme misses with her last attacks [DM OOC: Don't start with me again!]

    Finally, Berenn drinks his Potion, healing [19].

    Berenn casts Bless, as Thorgrim starts to Chant. Vaddara gets Isilwen to lead the unicorn up, and she strikes with her spear, missing, as they ride by.

    Ahjani hits the unicorn with her spear (AoO) as they ride by for [15].

    Emyn charges. Ahjani plants her spear before him, and he impales himself upon it [22]. He resolutely just pulls himself closer, and smashes Ahjani in the face with her own morningstar [13]. Her faces bursts open with black smoky ichor as she collapses. Rakk finishes her off, and Isilme backs off, flying up and away.

    [DM OOC: Also, those last two spells by Berenn and Thorgrim are what made Emyn hit, so there you go! Otherwise, he'd have missed. And Ahjani was going to go BEFORE Isilme, so it wasn't looking good for her; she only had 12 hit points left!]

    The ladies gradually come back, astounded that you defeated the undefeatable! Emyn grabs the gem from around the dead demon's neck, and five gates open up around bed in the same pentagram shape. They are in the ground, flagstones that you didn't even notice before. They glow the same as other gates. You can put your hand down through them, like the other gates too, so you probably have to just take a "leap of faith" so to speak.

    [Rakk OOC: She was carrying a spear, shield, morningstar, the ankus, and two swords? I'm assuming they are all magical.]

    Elrae uses Snowfang to Detect Magic, and yes, they are all magical.

    [Hepla OOC: Well, I'm going to point out the obvious. We cant fight another battle like the first two. Regardless of the negative affects on the group, we pretty much have to rest on this plane before we travel through the gates. Otherwise me might as well stay here and spend the rest of our days here with our elvish friends till we fade away to nothingness. It really wont make any difference if we don't spend the rest of our spell points healing everyone and then resting for 8 hours.]

    Elrae talks to the maidens. "See ladies, your help with the tea really turned the tides in defeating the evil demon. For that I am forever in your debt. Now where can I find a place to rest comfortably for a few hours?"

    The girls tell you that you are certainly safe to rest now, for you have defeated Ahjani, something they still simply can't believe.

    The party then burns up all their remaining spells to heal themselves as best they can. They find that they can also rest here.

    [DM OOC: Good thing I made the last-minute call and reduced the difficulty of this one! Had I done this "by the book" the girls were supposed to also turn into vampires and the unicorns into nightmares. I thought that was too much for you guys.]

    [Rakk OOC: At least we could hit those easier!]

    [DM OOC: Yeah, but what about taking more level drains?]

    [Isilme OOC: You act like you are doing us a favor!]

    "Mm, that was a tough one," says Thorgrim. "Don't know if we can continue at this breakneck pace. Wisdom dictates that we slow our roll, but necessity dictates that we hasten it..." Thorgrim drifts off in thought.

    Isilme casts invisibility and stoneskin on herself. She will carry the sleeping "young" Marinessa out when they leave.

    "Thank you beautiful elf maidens for your hospitality," says Elrae. "We must go to find a way to escape this crimson prison, though spending an eternity amongst the likes of you would not be so bad."

    "Escape?" they ask? They look totally confused.

    "Yeah it's time to say goodbye." With that Elrae steps through the portal and vanishes.

    You step down into the gate find yourself tumbling weightlessly for a moment before finding yourself in the electrically charged corridor leading to one of the familar by now walls of light. Soon everyone's in there, and you can head into the light.....
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    Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:07 am  

    Weird how sometimes it doesn't seem to update that I posted. I think it's just when the post is too long.
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:30 am  
    Part 7 - The Library

    Passing through the light, you stand on the floor of what appears to be unusual library. The room itself is no more than a wide, curving hallway that stretches out of sight in both directions. Shelves of leather-bound books line both walls, all the way to the ceiling. From where you stand, there seems to be no end to this collection of unusual volumes. The ceiling of this library is some ten feet above the floor. It appears to be nothing more than a brilliant white light which throws its harsh glare across everything below. Looking at this light, even indirectly, proves painful.

    [DM OOC: The following people suffer another negative level: Elrae, Emyn, Hepla, Isilme, Noot, Rakk, and Vaddara.]

    Also, Isilme carried Marinessa's body as she left, and it just faded away when she entered the light.

    "Gads, I have never seen so many books in one place," Thorgrim remarks. "Girls, I'm afraid we won't have time to check all these out...time is too pressing."

    When she sees the books Hepla will actually not get excited, "Too many and no time to read even one completely. Look for the gem and look to see if any of these seem to have something to do with this adventure." She calls out to the party. "There are more books here then in mom's library, if there is time maybe one or two can come home with me."

    "I am feeling weaker each time we go through these portals," says Elrae. "But man there are a lot of books here, what do you think Snowfang, any of them radiate magic? We are looking for a clue to get out of here." Snowfang does not detect any magic other than a general sense of magic everywhere, but nothing specific.

    The aisle extends as far as you can see in each direction. Also, I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but no book has any titles on the spines. No writing whatsoever is visible. However, the binding of each book is a masterpiece of the bookbinding craft. The soft, fine leather covers are perfectly rich and elegant.

    [Berenn OOC: Yeah ... don't touch the books!]

    Hepla moves down about 50', and everything looks the same. Isilme flies down passed her, continuing until she can barely see Hepla. It seems the aisle just goes on forever.

    "Look for a pattern here," says Elrae. "Something like 5 books, bookshelves, pillars that look alike."

    Isilme returns to the group, checking again for a "soul gem" book. She looks for a similar color, gem studded, whatever, but finds nothing. They just seem like an endless number of books.

    Vaddara casts her Augury, and she senses that their destination lies following the hallway in a clockwise manner. Remember, it is slightly curved, going in both directions. There also is no way to go over the shelves; they extend to the ceiling.

    The party starts to walk that way, and as they do a familar voice speaks to them. "Be careful where you tread, my friends. Your journey has brought you to a place of subtle perils. There are answers all around you, if only you have the keys to unlock them. But take care: the perils of the past are everywhere in this place. Do not ask questions unless you are willing to learn the answers."

    Also, they've gone about 10 minutes, and have noticed the books getting newer as they go.

    [Isilme OOC: I don't even know why we try, just wreck the place until the next battle occurs and move on!]

    Vaddara looks carefully at the books, then reaches out and removes one from a shelf. This volume is a masterpiece of the bookbinding craft. The soft, fine leather cover is rich and elegant. The pages are neat, even, and gilded, giving the book something of a glow. Subtle traces of Celtic knotwork run along the edges and down the spine, forming an intricate, almost hypnotic patterm. And yet, there is something amiss. Nowhere on the cover or spine of this weighty tome can she find a title or author's name. Indeed, none of the books in this library have writing on their spines. There are all outwardly identical to this one. Finding a specific book would be nothing short of impossible.

    When Vaddara opens the book, she discovers that the pages inside are utterly devoid of writing. The entire book contains only blank, creamy-white pages.

    Isilme concentrates on information and history about the demon they just faced. She reaches out and grabs a book, and continues concentrating on the same thing while she opens and attempts to read the book. It has the exact same empty pages as the one Vaddara took.

    Vaddara then casts Read Magic. The writing on the book immediately becomes apparent. In fact, it is more magical than a normal spellbook. She doesn't have to read the whole thing; she instantly KNOWS exactly what it says. In fact, she learn that it is, in essence, a memory of Galap Dreidel's. It gives her absolute knowledge of something that happened to him. In this case, it is of his journey to Celene and falling in love with Marinessa, a young elven woman of exquisite charm and beauty. It's a beautiful memory, and the strength of Galap Dreidel's love is startling to Vaddara. Tears flow down her face as she gains the knowledge.

    [DM OOC: I do not have hundreds, thousands of memories, nor do I want to really write them out so I just give you a synopsis. You can ask anything you want about this memory, and I will give you an absolutely truthful answer. However, just understand that it is "specifically" about the very early meeting and time spent with Marinessa. It has nothing to do with the Suel City, Pyaray, or anything else. It's just about how he fell in love with her. Further, the knowledge comes with a price. Vaddara must make a Ravenloft Madness check. She makes it, so she's fine. Clearly, it is dangerous to have the memories of another imprinted upon your mind.]

    "This must be his memory," says Hepla. "If we destroy his memory I wonder how it will affect him? No that would not be good."

    "Excellent idea" says Isilme, while she considers just setting fire to the place.

    "Let's head to the newest tomes and see what we find there," Thorgrim says.

    [DM OOC: I want to explain what happens with the memory. When a hero experiences one of Galap-Dreidell's memories, it becomes a permanent part of his own history. He remembers the events exactly as if they had happened to him. This memory is disjointed, however, for many aspects of it are not complete... For example, the hero may see faces he cannot identify, but that feel familiar (because they are known to Galap-Dreidel). The whole effect is rather like walking into a play after it has started. With no knowledge of what has come before it, the experience is confusing at best.

    The sudden insertion of a memory into the character's mind results in extreme disorientation. For ten minutes (one turn), the character is utterly helpless and almost catatonic. At the end of that time, he must roll a madness check.

    So, it's a weird thing, but presents a strange opportunity to learn just about anything. Also, since there's no telling what's in a book before opening it, you don't know what you'll get. Finally, the more memories of the mad wizard/lich/clone/etc the more dangerous it is.]

    After giving Vadarra a TURN to recover, We start moving clockwise again. Isilme looks down at the very old book she pulled earlier, and wonders what memory it might hold.

    "Screw it," she thinks. She hands Thorgrim her potion of health saying, "this will cure madness. Make me drink it if it takes hold." She then takes off the Gauntlets of ogre power, and asks Rakk to prepare to hold her down until the effects are known. She sets Maerthorlear singing in her mind to brace against mind effects, casts Read Magic, and reads the book she pulled from the older tomes of the library.

    She gets a specific memory about Galap-Dreidel, before he went to study with the elves. He is learning magic from another man; you know him as a great wizard, but as with other memory "snapshots" you don't actually know him. However, he's learning a spell from him. Isilme ends up learning an ancient Flan spell from a few thousand years ago, long forgotten by man.

    [DM OOC: This particular memory is Galap Dreidel learning a spell from a contemporary Ur-Flan sorceror, Vecna. The spell is Vecna's Dark Fury. I know it's a necromancy spell, one which Isilme would normally be unable to learn. However, this is a unique occasion, so she suddenly knows this spell, regardless. I have added it to the New and Unique Spells thread. You may add it to her sheet, though it's not actually in her spellbook. To put it in there, you will have to do the requisite spell research, as usual. However, you already KNOW the spell for yourself, regardless.

    Vecna's Dark Fury (Necromancy)
    Level: 5
    Range: 60 feet + 10 feet per level
    Components: V
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Casting Time: 2
    Area of Effect: Special
    Saving Throw: None
    Author: Robert Johan Enters <>

    This spell brings into being one globe of negative material for every three levels of the caster. These globes can be targeted at one or multiple targets (as many as there are globes). Each globe strikes the target unerringly, like a magic missile, but is unhindered by any defensive spells. It roars straight through walls of force, shields, etc.

    Only magic resistance (if successful) or an anti-magic shell or similar magic stops such a bolt. Each bolt does damage for 3d6+3 points.]

    [Elrae OOC: Ooohh that's a cool spell.]

    I should add, Isilme screams in horror, drops the book, and collapses to the ground where she lies unmoving. You quickly check her, and she seems barely alive, her body seemingly growing weaker with every passing moment.

    Hepla finds Isilme 's hands cold and clammy and almost not breathing Hepla casts Cure Serious Wounds on her. "Thorgrim, where is that potion she had to restore her?"

    He waits, as Isilme opens her eyes after the Cure Serious Wounds spell. She regains consciousness and seems a bit shaken as she rises. She then turns and casts Burning Hands on the bookshelves, but they don't burn. Everything is completely resistant to her spell.

    "Let's move on," says Isilme. "And don't touch the books."

    The party continues to move "forward". They travel for a while (time's hard to tell here) and then they notice that the books are starting to become warped and twisted. At first it is just a slight change, but soon you really notice that the shapes are becoming...irregular. Eventually, you can't even tell they are books. The volumes are almost amorphous blobs.

    "Get ready for trouble," says Isilme, gripping Maerthorlear tightly.

    You see no gem, ever. There are also many various colors of books, perhaps some of which may kinda match the gem's color. Anyway, you see no gem, and nothing "obvious" as far as the "obvious" book you need. Eventually, all of the order found earlier in the library has been lost. Soon after this point, the hallway ends in a curtain of wildly scintillating light. This swirl of patterns and colors may remind wizards of the hypnotic pattern spell.

    Vaddara will move close to the curtain of light then cast another augury spell using also her skill omen reading and her hand carved whale bones to determine the safest path the group should take to move to the most beneficial facet of the gem. She understands that beyond this barrier is the future. There is NO WAY through that curtain. She clearly sees that they should go back the way they came. She also knows that somehow the way out is through the books.

    [Rakk OOC: The original augury said to go this way. The second said to go back. Somewhere between the two is the spot we seek. Great. Needle in a haystack.]

    [Isilme OOC: Great. So we HAVE to risk insanity to get out AND hope we happen to pick the right book out of a library of thousands. As you said - needle in a haystack. If I remember right, madness save was like 15 even for higher level characters in Ravenloft.]

    "How does one find the right book with nothing to differentiate hundreds of thousands of books?" asks Vaddara.

    "Indeed," Thorgrim says, musing. "It seems we must start reading until we find what we seek, or until we're a mob of gibbering idiots. The idea does not appeal."

    "Perhaps some of these books are more magical than others? Perhaps there is an exit hidden in one, like your standard bookcase secret door." Thorgrim casts Detect Magic to see what he can find, sensing for differences in the strength of the magical field as they walk back the way they came. Eventually, as you walk back, a book glows under Thorgrim's Detect Magic.

    Isilme takes the book, sets it on the floor, and opens it. As soon as she does, everyone in the hallway is instantly transported into another one of the electrically charged corridors with the familiar light at the end. There's no going back to the hallway now. Isilme sees that the book is gone, but in her hand is another gem.

    "We have three gems, and two to go," says Thorgrim. "Do you suppose we can obtain the next two in one swipe? I would hate to face Galap-Dreidel at anything less than full strength. Perhaps we can get the other two and rest before facing him."

    [Rakk OOC: The good news is we are still reasonably intact, with most spellpower available. The bad news is we will be fighting at a severe disadvantage of like -5 negative levels or more when we face him.]

    [Berenn OOC: I am not liking the losing level thing either, but we seem to have no choice. We should head through the next portal.]

    Isilme puts away the gem, and the party then steps through the next portal.....
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    Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:00 am  
    Part 8 - You Know My Name!

    A great plain of ruby-red crystal spread out beneath your feet, seeming to stretch toinfinity. Overhead, the dome of an empty black sky looms from horizon to horizon. Scarlet lightning rips its way across the blackless continually, filling the air with a deafening cacophony of thunder. A veritable forest of crystal monoliths rises from the ground around you. Each of these stands high as a man, spans roughly a yard across, and is perhaps a foot thick. They appear to have emerged from the ruby surface itself, for no seams mark where the two meet. Trapped inside each monolith is the ghostly image of a man or woman. The figures' clothing ranges from an armor of a knight to the robes of a monk, and from the proper dress of the gentry to the filthy rags of beggars. The only thing these people appear to have in common is the look of undiluted terror frozen on their faces.

    Is this your fate as well?

    [DM OOC: Also, these are the characters who lose another level: Berenn, Hepla, Noot, Rakk, Thorgrim, and Vaddara.]

    [Hepla OOC: Hepla is turning into a real wimp!]

    Hepla starts looking for the stone; she guesses one of these trapped beings has it or is wearing it. [OOC: Are they all human?]

    As you take a look at a few of them, you see they are all human. However, there are many. Are they ALL human? Who knows? That would take some time to determine, if it's even possible to wander this place and keep them all straight. Anyway, the first few you see nearby are human, at least.

    "Egads, what a horror," Thorgrim says. "I believe these are the poor souls who've been sucked into the Gem over the us."

    "I suspect these are not the crystals we are seeking." Nevertheless, Thorgrim inspects a few to see what he can see.

    Thorgrim is shocked to find somebody that he recognizes. The scarred elf, Jevon, Markessa's bodyguard. He stands imprisoned in one of the monoliths nearby!

    "Good riddance to him," says Hepla. "This gives us an idea of how powerful an enemy we face though."

    "This does not bode well," says Thorgrim, "though it seems Galap has stolen our vengeance from us. I wonder if all these souls will be released if we accomplish our goal? I notice the absence of Slippery Ketta, and of Markessa as well. Do you suppose he had some other purpose for her?"

    Thorgrim looks around to see if he can find Markessa or any other of her compatriots.

    Emyn says, "Perhaps if we free Jevon or one of the others, they may aid us in return."

    "If Markessa is here, I can't think of a better prison for all eternity for her crimes," says Isilme. "Considering how long the soul gem has existed, and the powerful evils and unworldly creatures Galap or Pyaray may have trapped here, I pray not everyone is released upon our world."

    Isilme ends the song of Maerthorlear, and stands in awe of the sight before her. She inspects the closest person trapped in crystal, then she flies up seeing if there anything of note off In the distance. Detect Invis and Read Magic should still be running, perhaps they will reveal a clue before they end.

    [DM OOC: Yes, your spells are running, though perhaps not for long. They don't reveal anything here though.]

    This facet looks almost identical to the first you entered, except for these many monoliths. Inspecting the closest person, you note their style of dress is quite old, at least 1000 years or so. Isilme flies up to look around, but sees nothing in the distance of note. This plane seems to extends forever.....

    Isilme settles down and sits cross legged on the ground, clearing her mind and peering into the fire node Ruby casting "augury" and hoping to clear a way for Marinessa or her goddess to give guidance.

    Suddenly, you become aware that you are not alone in this place. A dark shape stands silhouetted against the glow of the red crystal landscape. At first, the image looks like a woman in a flowing black hooded robe. A second glance, however, reveals that this is not the case. The dark shape before you appears to have no physical substance at all. It looks almost as if a man-shaped hole has been punched in the air itself. All the light around it seems to flow into this darkness, distorting the edges of the image and making it seems indistinct.

    Isilme then hears the familiar voice of Marinessa in her mind. "Welcome. You have reached what amounts to the center of this realm. Here, where the lines of force focus, we can at last converse."

    Isilme moves closer to the apparition, looking for these "lines of force." She sees nothing, as it is nothing you can see or sense.

    "You are imprisoned in a pocket universe that exists within the Soul Gem," says Marinessa. "Nothing that you know of the outside world can be counted on in this domain."

    Hepla moves up to the apparition. "Hi," she says. "Mom always said it was polite to introduce yourself. I am Hepla, and who are you?"

    Emyn asks the shade, "Who are you and why are you here?"

    "You know who I am," it says. "Now, say my name."

    [DM OOC: Sorry, couldn't resist that one! BTW, I didn't realize that you could meet this "apparition" here. Actually, it's designed to give you a lot of the information which I just gave you earlier. I must have missed this when pre-reading the material. That said, I think we can maybe skip some of the role-playing, and I can just give you the bullet points.

    Stuff the party learns from Marinessa's apparition:

    1) The party is imprisoned in a pocket universe that exists within the Soul Gem. Nothing that they know of the outside world can be counted on in this domain.

    2) This domain saps the life of the living. If you remain inside this gemstone universe for too long, you will be consumed like those whose spirits adorn the monoliths around you

    3) The master of this place is Galap-Dreidel, a man both insane and incredibly powerful. He can only be slain by Aggarath (that's the Dagger of Life Stealing).

    4) There is a way to escape this place. You must gather magical gems, copies of the Soul Gem, in the various facets. Once you have these stones, you must travel to the Gateway-another region like this one and the first one you encountered.

    5) To open the gateway, you also need a key carried by Galap-Dreidel himself. When you track down the demilord and confront him, I will join you. Only together can we overcome him.]

    "Can we release any of these souls to aid us?" asks Isilme, having found an ancient elf trapped nearby.

    "No, they are utterly lost," she replies. "You cannot affect the monoliths at all. These are the remains of those whose souls have been utterly devoured by the Soul Gem (i.e. have been drained of all levels). There is NO SAVING them, nor you if you do not get out.]

    "How many gems do we need?" asks Isilme.

    "You need 5," she says. [DM OOC: You have 3.]

    "Is there one here," asks Emyn.

    "There is one in every facet," she replies.

    [DM OOC: So, I believe I have given you all the information you need. Oh, one other tidbit. If you spend too much time in any particular facet, you will be drained. Basically, except if noted, you can't rest. Only in certain places and at certain times may you do that, like BEFORE the cathedral went bad, or after defeating Ahjani. So, that's not an option either. Anyway, there's nothing you can accomplish here now. The monoliths cannot be harmed/affected in any way. The apparition then fades away with the usual, "gotta go before he notices" remarks. Then it's gone. When it disappears, a Soul Gem is left sitting on the ground where it was.]

    "Thorgrim," asks Isilme, "would you be willing to try and stoneshape an opening to remove the old elf?"

    "It seems a waste," Thorgrim replies. "She's given us the knowledge we need to defeat Galap-Dreidel."

    "We need the gems and the key," says Vaddara. "We also need to figure out the shortest path to that end. Otherwise, we may be trapped here for eternity, but also if we are too weak to defeat Galap-Dreidel, we may die."

    Hepla picks up the gem, which makes 5 more monoliths rise up, identical to those from the first facet.

    She looks at the monoliths to see if there is any way to distinguish one from another, but sees nothing. However, these are already glowing with white light, so they are ready to use. You do not have to cast a spell to activate them.

    "I hope we don't have to go through this all over again," says Hepla. [Hepla OOC: I can't afford another five level drains.] She gives the gem to Isilme. "Maybe you should carry this."

    Isilme takes the gem from Hepla, and asks Rakk for the other gem, so she now has all of them together.
    One to go.

    Isilme steps through a portal with the group. You find yourselves traveling through the familiar electric conduits to another white light gate. The following characters get hit with another energy drain: Berenn, Noot, Rakk, Thorgrim, Vaddara.

    [Berenn OOC: Another portal and another level drained! Lets get on with it.]
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    Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:11 am  
    Part 9 - Bloody Mary(nessa)

    You have found your way into a large chamber with a low ceiling. The room is made of crude bricks that have shifted with the passage of countless years, giving the place an uneven, unsafe appearance. At the far end of the room sits a stone altar. Ancient and gray, it seems held together by an endless net of cobwebs. On it, the body of a beautiful woman lies motionless. Her throat has been cut; a torrent of blood flows from the wound. A heavy-looking stone sarcophagus, devoid of markings or inscription, lies beyond the altar. The top of the casket lies ajar, and the blood streaming from the table pours directly into it.

    The room seems reminiscent of Galap-Dreidel's tomb, though the layout is a bit off.

    "Oh this looks all too familiar," says Elrae. "Didn't we see this already back in the Ghost Tower. Let's search for the gem and find the next portal. Though this place sickens me, I already miss Ponyville with the Unicorns and Elves."

    "You were asking earlier if a plane reflected his guilt," says Rakk. "I'd say we found it."

    Elrae surveys the gruesome scene and looks for a gem. "Maybe it's in the hilt of the dagger that cut this poor girl's throat, like when we saw the apparition in the basement of the Ghost Tower. This evil horror must be avenged."

    Hepla asks Rakk, "You are a mighty fighter. If we get into another mighty battle, would you object being aided by spells such as Stoneskin, Mirror Image, Haste or other spells? I do not wish to offend you but you looks quite weak [suffering 7 level drains!] and I can help you. I will just stay out of battle except for throwing spells. You will have to do without my dagger attacks."

    "Anything that aids the party is good," replies the half-giant. "That is my part, to protect the spellcasters so they can do their part. We both benefit."

    [DM OOC: Before moving on, I want to note, The ONLY active spells now are Isilme's Stoneskin and Invisibility. Everything else has expired. Take a look at your available spells too. I think it's correct, but you may want to double-check to make sure. Also, please take a peek at the Combat Notes so you understand the state of your character, especially as far as Negative Levels is concerned. They are adding up greatly, and if you are drained completely, you are dead, permanently drained by the Soul Gem. I just want to reiterate this. Not that there's anything you can do about it, but I want you to be aware.]

    Hepla asks, "I wonder what would happen if one of you cast Cure Light Wounds on her? And I would hid a red gem in the blood." She walks over and looks in the blood.

    It's pouring out into the sarcophagus. You can't see anything in there, as it's half-full of blood.

    Isilme recasts Fly, then flies over and looks at the body. She frowns sadly, seeing that it is Marinessa.

    Without warning, the body on the table bolts upright. The frail woman clutches at the wound in her throat. Her efforts to stop the torrent of blood prove futile, however. As her eyes catch sight of you, she staggers off the stone slab and stretches an arm toward Isilme. Her mouth opens as if to speak, but utters no sound. Instead, another stream of blood runs through her lips and down her chin.

    Isilme attempts to cast a healing spell, but it doesn't work. The blood continues to flow. Marinessa takes a step forward, staggers, and falls. As her body hits the floor you cannot help but notice that blood is running from her nose and ears as well.

    "This place surely represents his revulsion at what he did, and his guilt," says Rakk. "I suspect we will not find a way to stop the bloodflow by our skills and spells. There must be something in the room that may help." Rakk starts looking for anything unusual in the room.

    Meanwhile, Rakk finds a dagger on the floor behind the altar. It is identical to Aggarath, the one he already carries. It has a place for a gem in the hilt as well, but it is empty.

    Elrae casts Stoneskin before anymore craziness happens.

    Amid the confusion, Isilme feels something splash on her cheek. A moment later, the sensation returns. It's almost as if the first drops of rain were falling to announce a looming storm. She glances up and sees blood dripping between the bricks in the ceiling. Within seconds, the scattered droplets become a steady drizzle that coats everything in a slick layer of crimson. Soon enough, everyone can see Isilme as she is coated in blood like everyone else.

    As blood continues to pour from the tormented elf woman, she ought to lose consciousness and die-but this does not happen. Marinessa continues to bleed and bleed, never passing out and never dying. Isilme is not the only one covered in blood; soon, so is everyone else. In fact, the party is soon ankle deep in blood.

    "Nothing is real here," shouts Elrae. "We are in the tormented soul of Galdap-Dreidel. Yet there are dangers in this gem, if you die here your soul is trapped forever like that disturbing crystal graveyard we were just at."

    "Not real, so no real solutions," says Isilme. "Otherwise my healing would have staunched the wound and we would not be covered in blood. Not much to do here but let it all happen it seems."

    "I am seeing this as some sort of nightmare of Galap-Dreidel," says Elrae, as he looks for higher ground as so much blood is flooding this chamber.

    Hepla, now covered in blood, says ,"Yuk" and reaches into the sarcophagus and feels around for a gem. She has noted that blood flows into it but does not seem to fill it so she ready for some terrible blood monster and will pull back if she finds anything else. She feels something inside, and grabs it, as the blood shoots out, engulfing her. She holds something in her hand which feels like the gem you seek. Isilme sees that the bottom of the sarcophagus is now glowing white, like the other gates.

    The blood seems to now keep shape, almost like a water elemental. It has completely engulfed Hepla. Nobody can see her at all, and all you hear is muffled choking sounds.

    "Pull her out while I'll freeze that blood monster with Snowfang!" Elrae draws his trusted Frostband and points it at the glob of blood.

    Isilme cries "Quickly, into the sarcophagus; its a gate!" while she casts "enlarge" on Hepla to help bring her out of the blood.

    [DM OOC: You actually, cannot "see" Hepla at all. She's engulfed by the blood, which is, like I said, more like a water elemental. You're right about the gate though! Further, everyone is currently at least ankle deep in blood. You're all sloshing through it, except Isilme who's flying, though still covered in blood.]

    Isilme casts Destroy Water, but it doesn't seem to do anything. Thorgrim wades into the blood, grabbing hold of Hepla as Emyn comes flying in from the far side of the room, tackling them both, and propelling them out of the blood. They all land in a heap on the floor, Hepla taking [4] and Thorgrim and Emyn each taking [2].

    Elrae then points Snowfang at the blood elemental thing, summoning up the Cone of Cold power. [20].

    The elemental attacks, hitting Rakk [12].

    Rakk and Berenn both hit it, with Rakk's sword stroke seeming to hurt it, though Berenn's does not.

    Vaddara then casts her Control Temperature, and lowers the temp around the thing to under freezing. The blood starts to congeal, and though it doesn't freeze it, even with the Cone of Cold, it does seem to move more slowly.

    Hepla is left coughing up blood from the engulfing attack as she tries to thank Emyn and Thorgrim. She holds up the gem!

    Noot moves around the edge of the room, diving into the sarcophagus where he just disappears through the gate.

    With the blood elemental slowed, everyone else can move quickly and dive into the sarcophagus, one after another, making their way into another of the electrically charged corridors! At the far end, you see another wall of light, as expected.

    [OOC: Well, that was actually rather close!]
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    Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:12 am  
    Part 9 - Bloody Mary(nessa)

    You have found your way into a large chamber with a low ceiling. The room is made of crude bricks that have shifted with the passage of countless years, giving the place an uneven, unsafe appearance. At the far end of the room sits a stone altar. Ancient and gray, it seems held together by an endless net of cobwebs. On it, the body of a beautiful woman lies motionless. Her throat has been cut; a torrent of blood flows from the wound. A heavy-looking stone sarcophagus, devoid of markings or inscription, lies beyond the altar. The top of the casket lies ajar, and the blood streaming from the table pours directly into it.

    The room seems reminiscent of Galap-Dreidel's tomb, though the layout is a bit off.

    "Oh this looks all too familiar," says Elrae. "Didn't we see this already back in the Ghost Tower. Let's search for the gem and find the next portal. Though this place sickens me, I already miss Ponyville with the Unicorns and Elves."

    "You were asking earlier if a plane reflected his guilt," says Rakk. "I'd say we found it."

    Elrae surveys the gruesome scene and looks for a gem. "Maybe it's in the hilt of the dagger that cut this poor girl's throat, like when we saw the apparition in the basement of the Ghost Tower. This evil horror must be avenged."

    Hepla asks Rakk, "You are a mighty fighter. If we get into another mighty battle, would you object being aided by spells such as Stoneskin, Mirror Image, Haste or other spells? I do not wish to offend you but you looks quite weak [suffering 7 level drains!] and I can help you. I will just stay out of battle except for throwing spells. You will have to do without my dagger attacks."

    "Anything that aids the party is good," replies the half-giant. "That is my part, to protect the spellcasters so they can do their part. We both benefit."

    [DM OOC: Before moving on, I want to note, The ONLY active spells now are Isilme's Stoneskin and Invisibility. Everything else has expired. Take a look at your available spells too. I think it's correct, but you may want to double-check to make sure. Also, please take a peek at the Combat Notes so you understand the state of your character, especially as far as Negative Levels is concerned. They are adding up greatly, and if you are drained completely, you are dead, permanently drained by the Soul Gem. I just want to reiterate this. Not that there's anything you can do about it, but I want you to be aware.]

    Hepla asks, "I wonder what would happen if one of you cast Cure Light Wounds on her? And I would hid a red gem in the blood." She walks over and looks in the blood.

    It's pouring out into the sarcophagus. You can't see anything in there, as it's half-full of blood.

    Isilme recasts Fly, then flies over and looks at the body. She frowns sadly, seeing that it is Marinessa.

    Without warning, the body on the table bolts upright. The frail woman clutches at the wound in her throat. Her efforts to stop the torrent of blood prove futile, however. As her eyes catch sight of you, she staggers off the stone slab and stretches an arm toward Isilme. Her mouth opens as if to speak, but utters no sound. Instead, another stream of blood runs through her lips and down her chin.

    Isilme attempts to cast a healing spell, but it doesn't work. The blood continues to flow. Marinessa takes a step forward, staggers, and falls. As her body hits the floor you cannot help but notice that blood is running from her nose and ears as well.

    "This place surely represents his revulsion at what he did, and his guilt," says Rakk. "I suspect we will not find a way to stop the bloodflow by our skills and spells. There must be something in the room that may help." Rakk starts looking for anything unusual in the room.

    Meanwhile, Rakk finds a dagger on the floor behind the altar. It is identical to Aggarath, the one he already carries. It has a place for a gem in the hilt as well, but it is empty.

    Elrae casts Stoneskin before anymore craziness happens.

    Amid the confusion, Isilme feels something splash on her cheek. A moment later, the sensation returns. It's almost as if the first drops of rain were falling to announce a looming storm. She glances up and sees blood dripping between the bricks in the ceiling. Within seconds, the scattered droplets become a steady drizzle that coats everything in a slick layer of crimson. Soon enough, everyone can see Isilme as she is coated in blood like everyone else.

    As blood continues to pour from the tormented elf woman, she ought to lose consciousness and die-but this does not happen. Marinessa continues to bleed and bleed, never passing out and never dying. Isilme is not the only one covered in blood; soon, so is everyone else. In fact, the party is soon ankle deep in blood.

    "Nothing is real here," shouts Elrae. "We are in the tormented soul of Galdap-Dreidel. Yet there are dangers in this gem, if you die here your soul is trapped forever like that disturbing crystal graveyard we were just at."

    "Not real, so no real solutions," says Isilme. "Otherwise my healing would have staunched the wound and we would not be covered in blood. Not much to do here but let it all happen it seems."

    "I am seeing this as some sort of nightmare of Galap-Dreidel," says Elrae, as he looks for higher ground as so much blood is flooding this chamber.

    Hepla, now covered in blood, says ,"Yuk" and reaches into the sarcophagus and feels around for a gem. She has noted that blood flows into it but does not seem to fill it so she ready for some terrible blood monster and will pull back if she finds anything else. She feels something inside, and grabs it, as the blood shoots out, engulfing her. She holds something in her hand which feels like the gem you seek. Isilme sees that the bottom of the sarcophagus is now glowing white, like the other gates.

    The blood seems to now keep shape, almost like a water elemental. It has completely engulfed Hepla. Nobody can see her at all, and all you hear is muffled choking sounds.

    "Pull her out while I'll freeze that blood monster with Snowfang!" Elrae draws his trusted Frostband and points it at the glob of blood.

    Isilme cries "Quickly, into the sarcophagus; its a gate!" while she casts "enlarge" on Hepla to help bring her out of the blood.

    [DM OOC: You actually, cannot "see" Hepla at all. She's engulfed by the blood, which is, like I said, more like a water elemental. You're right about the gate though! Further, everyone is currently at least ankle deep in blood. You're all sloshing through it, except Isilme who's flying, though still covered in blood.]

    Isilme casts Destroy Water, but it doesn't seem to do anything. Thorgrim wades into the blood, grabbing hold of Hepla as Emyn comes flying in from the far side of the room, tackling them both, and propelling them out of the blood. They all land in a heap on the floor, Hepla taking [4] and Thorgrim and Emyn each taking [2].

    Elrae then points Snowfang at the blood elemental thing, summoning up the Cone of Cold power. [20].

    The elemental attacks, hitting Rakk [12].

    Rakk and Berenn both hit it, with Rakk's sword stroke seeming to hurt it, though Berenn's does not.

    Vaddara then casts her Control Temperature, and lowers the temp around the thing to under freezing. The blood starts to congeal, and though it doesn't freeze it, even with the Cone of Cold, it does seem to move more slowly.

    Hepla is left coughing up blood from the engulfing attack as she tries to thank Emyn and Thorgrim. She holds up the gem!

    Noot moves around the edge of the room, diving into the sarcophagus where he just disappears through the gate.

    With the blood elemental slowed, everyone else can move quickly and dive into the sarcophagus, one after another, making their way into another of the electrically charged corridors! At the far end, you see another wall of light, as expected.

    [OOC: Well, that was actually rather close!]
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    Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:27 am  
    Part 10 - Galap-Dreidel

    "Well that was disgusting," says Elrae.

    Isilme gets the last gem from Hepla, and holds them together. "We should heal and prepare combat spells before we enter, for we meet what is left of Galap next"

    Hepla thanks everyone with a kiss, gladly giving Isilme the gem. She the casts a Cantrip to clean herself. However, there is an electrical discharge that blasts her for [10].

    Emyn says, "Maybe someone can use their healing skill here safely for those who are wounded."

    Hepla, covered in blood and hurting, says," I would be careful, a little cantrip blasted me. Maybe your magic will do good, but I fear it will not."

    "Whoever has the dagger, be ready," says Isilme. Let's us end this once and for all." She places the gems in her pouch, and heads through the portal. She steps through the portal, blade set to full defense. Hepla follows, dripping blood.

    "I sure as hell won't stay in a grisly room filling up with an unnatural amount of blood, damn the level drain." Elrae leaps through the portal.

    Everyone else follows, and all travel through the conduit. The following characters gain a negative level: Emyn, Hepla, Isilme, Noot, Rakk, Vaddara.

    You stand upon a cold surface of red crystal. A quick look reveals that you are at one edge of a vast pentagon some one hundred feet each side. Pentagonal walls, also made of the same red crystal, rise up from the edges of this floor, sloping away at an angle. Perhaps thirty-five yards above, they buckle back and rise in another set of pentagons to meet a roof of similar design. The overall effect is humbling, for you stand at the bottom of an immense dodecahedron which cannot possibly support itself. You are unable to escape the impression that, in any moment, this vast chamber could fold in upon itself.

    A circular column stands in the center of the floor, reaching a height of about twenty-five feet. The top of this spire is shaped like an ornate throne. There are no steps or other visible ways by which one might reach this impressive seat. A slender shaft of brilliant white light rains down from the center of the ceiling, washing the pillar in an almost blinding radiance. Lounging casually upon this seat rests a haggard-looking figure. His face is narrow and feral, making him look like a weasel or ferret. His clothes, although regal in the extreme, are wrinkled and disheveled. It is the familiar face of Chardath, or Kartak, or Galap-Dreidel, whatever name by which he has been known. Kneeling before him is a woman, her head down in defeat, whom you assume must be Marinessa. She looks up when you arrive, and though you see hope cross her features, for just a moment, it is mixed with pure hatred for it is not Marinessa at all. It is Markessa!

    [Hepla OOC: We are hope for Markessa? She must really be desperate to need our help.]

    [DM OOC: Well, she doesn't want to be stuck her forever, and slip into the world of Ravenloft either!]

    [Isilme OOC: Dread should have crossed Markessa's face. I would see her dead more than Galap.]

    Isilme immediately casts Invisibility, then flies away from the party in a random direction! Hepla and Vaddara casts Mirror Image on themselves, while Berenn takes out his bow. "Everyone spread out," he says, moving off to his right and slowly closing in on the pedestal.

    Elrae casts Fly on himself. "Should we try to talk to these tortured souls?"

    "Galap Driedel!" shouts Emyn. "Your hour of reckoning has come! Submit to Trithereon's will and seek redemption. It is not too late for you to set things right and allow Marinessa her peace."

    He looks up, glancing around the room at you. It seems he didn't even realize you were here until Emyn shouted.

    "Thanks, Emyn," mumbles Thorgrim as he casts Godly Protection.

    "Repent!" shouts Emyn, undeterred. "Seek absolution for your sins and your love Marinessa may yet rest in peace as she deserves! You may yet be redeemed and restored to your former glory!"

    Galap-Dreidel seems very morose. He looks down up you, then at Markessa. "You led them here," he says, and slaps her in the face. A bit of blood trickles down from the corner of her mouth, and she glares back, but says nothing. "Well, no matter. "I'll take my vengeance out on them first."

    "This can end only one way," responds Emyn, "through Trithereon's vengeance!"

    Rakk will hand Emyn the dagger. "Good luck," he says. If he has time, Rakk raises and fires the crossbow.

    The next round begins with Galap-Dreidel laughing at you. "Your puny magiks are no match for mine," he taunts. He raises a hand and mutters something, and suddenly all your magical spells are dispelled! Luckily, nobody was more than a few feet from the ground, and everyone drops back to their feet without injury. Isilme still has her Boots of Levitation, so she continues up another 20'. She looks at the stone they've collect, but they look normal.

    Rakk fires his ballista, which flies wide by quite a bit. Emyn throws his javelin, which also misses. It lands on the far side of the chamber, with a flash of lightning! Berenn fires his bow, hitting Galap-Dreidel with his second shot [3].

    The tiny nick to his arm seem to shock the ancient wizard, and he glares down at Berenn.

    Hepla casts Fly on Emyn, while Thorgrim casts Holy Orb. Galap-Dreidel takes [10] and Markessa takes [12].

    Berenn fires another shot, but it misses. Noot moves up to the base of the tower, while Vaddara casts Wings of God. Emyn moves up to the base of the tower as well, slipping around to the rear.

    Galap-Dreidel laughs. "How can you hope to defeat me?" he says. "Here in this place, I choose what is and what is not." He nonchalantly waves a hand your way. "And I choose to sow a bit of dissention in your ranks," he says.

    Suddenly, everyone in the party group except Noot and Rakk are affected by a spell, similar in effect to Isilme's Wand of Highfolk. Isilme turns and casts her Feeblemind on Thorgrim, making a comment about him being a stupid dwarf, but it doesn't seem to have any effect.

    Elrae turns to cast Lightning Bolt at Rakk, Noot, Hepla, and Berenn, but he is hit in the back by Thorgrim [10]. He is knocked to the ground, and his spell if foiled. "Never liked his singing anyway," says Thorgrim.

    Hepla casts Fly. Noot backs off away from Thorgrim. As he passes by her, Hepla swings at him with her staff, missing her AoO.

    Berenn turns around and fires his second arrow into Hepla's back, taking out one of her mirror images.

    Knowing that something bad just happened, Rakk sheaths his blades, steps up to Thorgrim, and grapples him. At least he can keep him from hurting anyone.

    [DM OOC: There are now three characters with Flying: Isilme, Vaddara, and Emyn. Emyn's moved around the NE side of the column. Everyone else is to the "south" though directions are somewhat meaningless. Of that group of characters, all but Noot and Rakk are affected by this spell. That means Thorgrim, Isilme, Elrae, Hepla, and Berenn will all attack each other and/or Noot and Rakk. They all view everyone else in the area even Rakk and Noot, as hated foes, and they must attack them. You guys can post your own actions in this regard; however, if I deem them to "easy" on your fellows, I reserve the right to change what you choose. Isilme will have repeated attempts to break free of this effect.]

    [Berenn OOC: LOL! Way to go Thorgrim!]

    Berenn will fire his bow at Elrae ... "Lets see if I can get you to sing a different tune! Sing for me you lousy bard!"

    Sing with me, sing for the year
    Sing for the laughter and sing for the tear
    Sing with me, It's just for today
    Maybe tomorrow the good St. Cuthbert take you away

    Sing with me, sing for the year
    Sing for the laughter and sing for the tear
    Sing with me, It's just for today
    Maybe tomorrow the good St. Cuthbert take you away

    Listen, dream on, dream on, dream on
    Dream until the dream come true
    Yea, dream on, dream on, dream on
    Dream until your body getting blue

    Dream on, dream on
    Dream on, dream on
    Dream on, dream on
    Dream on, oh

    [Berenn OOC: If it appears I am enjoying this ... you bet I am! Only thing to would have been more fun is if Emyn was around to shoot!]

    [Thorgrim OOC: Eh, he had it coming.]

    Thorgrim struggles to escape Rakk's crushing weight. "Get off! You cave-slinking, beardless troll-spawn! I'll see you dead!" If he can escape the grapple, he will immediately draw Souldrinker and attack Rakk.

    [Emyn OOC: You know what sucks? The only people who can save you right now are Markessa and Emyn.]

    Isilme casts Invisibility. She then "wriggles free" of the mind-affecting magic.

    Vaddara flies up another 5' (10' total now) and casts her snowball, which does nothing.

    Galap-Dreidel starts to laugh, really really hard. "A snowball?" he asks. "Really? hahaha! I haven't been so amused in years!" he says. "Oh my, good show!"

    Meanwhile, Berenn fires a shot at Elrae, hitting him [6]. However, Elrae still gets his spell off. Rakk and Thorgrim are both blinded by Glitterdust! Rakk loses his hold on Thorgrim, and the two are separated.

    Hepla flies up 10' and uses her staff to fire a lightning bolt. It hits Elrae for [30] and he is blasted back to the ground. The lightning bolt rebounds off the crystal wall, hitting Rakk and Thorgrim as well. Rakk takes [39] and Thorgrim takes [15].

    Finally, Emyn flies up to the edge of the column. He sees Galap Dreidel on his throne, sitting there laughing. Markessa is looking at Galap-Dreidel, but she sees Emyn peek over the lip. She moves over to Galap-Dreidel and puts a hand on his leg, speaking to him as a lover, distracting him.

    Emyn can feel something in the dagger, a pull or force, something that pulls him towards Galap-Dreidel. It's as if the dagger 'wants' to attack the distracted arch-mage. Emyn moves up and stabs Galap-Dreidel in the neck with the dagger. Galap-Dreidel screams, an unearthly scream beyond anything you've ever heard. You also hear a woman scream at the same time, it is the scream of joy, Marinessa's scream, and it seems to come from the dagger. Emyn holds it into Galap-Dreidel's neck for some time, as the daggers draws his life force into itself, eventually leaving the man a dead, soulless husk.

    With his death, all his spells end, freeing everyone.

    Markessa leaps up and grabs the key from around Galap-Dreidel's neck. "I have the way out," she says, triumphantly, laughing at Galap-Dreidel . "And you thought to keep me here forever. Hah!" She then spits on the dead arch-mage.

    Also, the base of the column starts to glow with the white glow of a conduit.

    Hepla looks at her companions."I am so sorry, I thought you were the enemy. I thought all of you were the enemy." She then flies toward the pillar to help deal with Markessa.

    "I wonder where the exit will lead us?" mumbles Elrae.

    Isilme immediately flies up to Markessa, who is looking at Emyn. She holds up the key. "I have the key," she says. "You have the gems. Together we can leave this place." She looks down, there isn't time, Galap-Dreidel cannot be killed here. He will return. We must go, NOW!"

    Isilme becomes visible, removes her mask, and glares into Markessa's eyes. She then sings her signature Hold Monster upon Markessa, which to her amazement actually works for a change! Markessa stands there, looking at Isilme with eyes burning with hatred. But she can't move.

    Emyn leaves the dagger stuck in Galap-Dreidel's neck, steps around the throne, and takes the key away from Markessa. She would sneer at him, but she cannot move.

    "Emyn," says Isilme, "take Galap-Dreidel through the gate with us. I will take Markessa.
    Perhaps we can end this once and for all."

    "No," says Emyn resolutely. "Leave them here," he says. "He's dead, and she is not going anywhere. If they are stuck here forever, good. Let's go."

    "For your numerous crimes against the elvish people, I sentence you to an eternity within the stone," says Isilme coldly.

    She would cry "Noooooooo.......!" except she is held and can't move.

    Isilme and Emyn then fly back down, and everyone leaves through the conduit at the bottom of the pillar.

    [DM OOC: Lost levels still occur, this time to the following people: Berenn, Elrae, Emyn, Noot, and Vaddara.]

    You are now in another chamber. It is perfectly circular, with plain white walls that almost don't seem walls at all, but just nothing. In the floor is a pentagram, with small holes in each point, one for each gem. A keyhole in the center matches the key Emyn had taken from Galap-Dreidel.

    Isilme places all the gems we collected in the holes, and then turns to Emyn. "Use that key and do the honors. Release us noble paladin!"

    He does so, and the pentagram turns into a blood red gate. You step through and find yourselves back in the tower, standing before the Soul Gem. Emyn reaches out and takes it, and the entire tower disappears, along with the castle. You are all standing on the ground where it once stood. Even the garden is gone. Every trace of the place is gone, leaving just the empty hills. Emyn stands there, holding the gem. "Now what?" he asks.

    [DM OOC: You still have all your lost levels, so the party is very weak.]
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Apr 04, 2015 9:36 pm  
    Part 11 - Shadows

    The ghosts of all the dead, including Marinessa, meet you there at the sight of the ghost tower. Well, all the dead who weren't evil are there; they went with the castle to their new Ravenloft! But the rest all appear, smiling, and thank you for freeing them.

    "At last the dead have found peace," says Isilme. "If we make our way back home, I can use the mirror to deliver the gem and honor our promise. I am sad I could not return Marinessa's body to the Celene, but her soul finding peace is a great solace."

    Thorgrim releases the horses from his Fortress, and then collapses it. He is unusually quiet.

    Emyn wonders if anyone stripped Galap or Markessa of magic before leaving, but says nothing. He tells the ghosts, "Do not thank me but rather thank Trithereon, for I am but his instrument. May you have a blessed final rest for you have been avenged."

    Emyn immediately begins to perform devotions to give thanks to Trithereon for his guidance and protection during this time of trials and renew his faith.

    "Fair well," adds Hepla, leaning into Emyn. "If you are in the area I am getting married soon, giggle. You are welcome to come."

    Once Emyn's devotions are complete, he says to those present (he will talk with Rakk shortly), "Thank you all for risking your lives to save mine. I only hope I can repay your bravery and kindness some day. If you ever need my aid, you have but to ask. Elrae, you lost much. If I can do anything, please let me know."

    He then finds Rakk and says, "Rakk, you lost much this day in this quest to save my soul. Know that I am indebted to you. If there is some way I can repay that debt, I will do so or die trying. I am proud to stand by your side in battle and you have brought great honour to your name. The Churches of Trithereon will learn of your deeds and your aid to me as a small start on repaying your kindness."

    "I am proud to have been one of your party," replies Rakk. "The little I did is not worth any great honor, but I thank you for the kind words."

    [DM OOC: Well, you were about to set the record in the Dwarf Toss!]

    Star appears, and when Hepla goes to pet her, Star bristles and hisses at her.

    "What's wrong Star?" asks Hepla. "Are you ok? I am sorry that there is no cream but I can probably get a fish from the captain. Would You like that? I have missed you.". She offers to carry her as they look for the captain to get Star a fish. Hepla looks Star over to see if she is hurt.

    She hisses, but she won't let Hepla touch her. When Hepla persists, Star runs away.

    The party makes their way back, eventually finding a ship to return them home. As the ship crosses the Woolly Bay, Thorgrim looks back across the waves and gives an involuntary shudder. "That was one strange Adventure...I felt sure it would be the death of me. Do you suppose Markessa will be trapped in that strange realm forever? We've been chasing her so long, I can hardly remember any other quest."

    Again, Noot throws himself into the normal work of a seaman, while Isilme spends her time with Rakk, continuing her training with him in QuickDraw, and Learning the rudiments of giantish.

    Hepla uses her Cloak of the Manta Ray to dive overboard and catch a fish for Star. Once Hepla has the fish she sits down near Star and says, in cat, "All right, I see we need to talk, tell me what's happening, how are you, what have I done or not done because I see I have somehow hurt you and I am sorry. Remember I am human and I make mistakes."

    Star hisses, and won't go anywhere near Hepla. Star doesn't say anything to Emyn. She just disappears.

    Hepla looks at Emyn, "Wonder what's up with Star? I guess I will have to get home to find out. Want a fish?"

    "Maybe it's the way you smell," says Elrae. "Felines are sensitive to scent. Also they hold grudges when their owners leave them for any amount of time."

    "She left me, but that may not be the reason. But I will consider it." Hepla says to Elrae,

    Suffering terribly from the ill effects of the Soul Gem, the party feels the need to just lick their wounds and go home to rest. Soon they are back in Hardby, getting another ship to head to Dyvers.

    Earthday, 27 of Ready'read (581CY)
    A light rain falls all day, but you have a strong southerly wind of 30MPH, which carries you north along the Selintan. You pass the Free City of Greyhawk, and continue on, making the Free City of Greyhawk before nightfall. The ship needs to load and unload cargo, then it will continue on its way in the morning.

    With only have about 4 hours, maybe less, before the ship sets sail again, Hepla heads off to a nearby tavern for a drink. She pays double for the drinks and says, "Keep the cream here as long as you can, and if a small black cat somes by tell her its hers." After Hepla gets her drinks, it's pretty much time to get back on board. The ship sails north, making good time for a spell.

    Freeday, 28th Ready'reat (581)
    After about 4 hours, dawn finally breaks. It's a rather clear day, with winds continuing from the south. Again, the ship makes good time, reaching the tip of the Great South Penninsula and making the often difficult turn to the west. At first the going is slow, but luckily the wind shifts during the night, and you catch a fresh and strong Easterly, sending you again on your way towards Dyvers.

    Emyn spends the time performing his devotions and resting when he can. He will also spend time with Hepla to see what he can do to brighten her mood. After a little kissing, etc. (she is still a virgin) Hepla says, "I am just kind of wiped out from all the drains we took and now Star's attatude just has me needing rest. Go before we get into another problem, but thank you for asking." She shoes him off.

    Emyn looks a little surprised but he lets her have her space, knowing she will come back to him when she is ready. He does ask her to ponder on why he and some others feel as weak as they do. He knows that it has nothing to do with what they experienced in the gem, as he felt it before the tower. It seems many are feeling a similar drain on their...constitution.

    She smiles a bit and says, "Here I thought I was the only one to cause a knee weakening reaction on you guys. I have not felt any weakness apart from that caused by the gem. I will contemplate the problem." She casts Dispel Curse and Cure Serious Wounds, though nothing seems to help.

    Sunday, 2nd of Sunsebb (581)
    Well, if there is nothing else. You continue on to Verbobonc, reaching there without a problem. You thank the ship's captain, and Hepla gives him the obligatory kiss. Then you can proceed into town. You make your way to the Spruce Goose, where everyone can get rooms for the night. Of course, they are expensive, but that's how it goes. Emyn is going to stay at the Cathedral, so he will be gone. Everyone else can just get a room. Let me know if there's anything else to do this night. If not, we can take this up in the morning. Remember, take off 25gp each for your rooms.

    Isilme goes to the cathedral as well. She wants to see if the clerics there can detect anything wrong with her that might determine the strange retroactive loss in constitution.

    [DM OOC: By now the players have noticed that many have lost points of constitution, though they do not know why. I secretly altered their sheets without their knowledge, and it has taken a LONG time for them to finally notice.]

    The priests will be happy to check Isilme out, which they do, but find no issues with her. It's late, so nobody can go to the Silver Consortium. You can go in the morning if you'd like. Everyone will likely crash, as you are all tired and weak from your ordeal.

    Moonday, 3rd of Sunsebb (581)
    The weather gets nasty this day, and a severe thunderstorm strikes Verbobonc. It's cold and wet, and nobody has a lot of inclination to go out in the storm. You probably cannot travel home today, though you may do other things. So, you have one day in the big city to do whatever you may need to do.

    Hepla then has a hot bath, good meal with any of the party who wish it, then hires a courier to take a note to the court letting them know she is back, then gets a good night's sleep. She would have left a standing order for cream and a fish, in case Star shows up. The people at this inn have seen her often and they get paid well to remember.

    Emyn seeks guidance from the clerics of his order regarding this mysterious ailment he and the others seem to have contracted that affects their constitution. He will also ask Hepla and Isilme to inquire at the Silver Conosrtium about a sage who might also have sucj knowledge.

    Vaddara returns to the inn they have stayed at before. She will head to the Silver Consortium as soon as she can to check up on getting more charges loaded in her staff. While there she also asks the seers there if they know of any reason that some of the party are losing their stamina.

    Isilme visits Betham the sage, regales him with tales of our last two adventures on this cold and rainy day, and seeks guidance from him regarding this strange retroactive constitution loss. She will have him research what may be the cause. She also wants to find out if he had any new discoveries on the spider silk armor research while they were gone.

    Nobody at any of the places they go have any knowledge of why anyone may be getting weaker. Everyone thinks it sounds like some kind of disease or curse. However, they don't seem to be afflicted by either. Of course, nobody is surprised, considering how terribly weak everyone is right now. Unfortunately, there isn't anything anyone can do.

    [DM OOC: At some point after returning, somebody could use the mirror to return the gem to Pyaray. That will complete this adventure. Meanwhile, everything seems to have fallen by the wayside, as the players are totally distracted by their now-discovered Constitution losses.]

    [Hepla OOC: Maybe this is why Star had a problem with her. There could be something possessing us and carryed by us from out of the gem.]

    [DM OOC: These losses started way before you even reached Inverness. Emyn thought they were related to him losing his soul, but then others started being affected. So, the fact that it started BEFORE you reached the Ghost Tower should mean that it has NOTHING to do with it or anything related to it.]

    [Emyn OOC: I am convinced that the taint of Pyaray has touched us all and can only be removed when he and his fleet are gone from this plane. It is not a disease nor is it a curse, that leave the paranormal/divine.]

    "Perhaps we picked up a disease from the miasma of that foul swamp," Thorgrim says.

    [Thorgrim OOC: Have we tried Cure Disease? Let's try that.]

    [Emyn OOC: Been there don that bought the T shirt 47 times already. Same as with Remove Curse.]

    [Hepla OOC:The last time I remember Star acting normally was in the elvin court when the elves made a big deal about her. Then she left and would not come to Hepla untill just now and she acted very strange now. This may be a clue to whatever happened to us.
    Is it everyone or just some that are being affected. Hepla has gone from 13 to 10.]

    [Emyn OOC: I went from 18 to 15...and lost 27 HP!]

    [Thorgrim OOC: Perhaps it's the diamond scorpion? Thorgrim suggests we leave it with the mages at the Silver Consortium to see what they can discover about it, such as its powers and command word. That doesn't explain why it's affecting some but not others, unless it's a saving throw issue. So Isilme, Emyn, and Hepla have been affected, is that correct? And when did this change happen, exactly? During Lost City of the Suel?]

    [DM OOC: after looking back at the backup character sheets, the party finds the following results for the total Con losses amongst their members:

    I assume you have your original sheets, so you can do a simple check to see the difference. I'll tell you who has been affected, now that you are all seriously taking stock of it.

    Berenn: lost 1 point (regained in the Cathedral though!)
    Emyn: lost 4 points
    Hepla: lost 3 points
    Isilme: lost 2 points
    Vaddara: lost 2 points]

    [Berenn OOC: I guess everyone should have grabbed some pillars while we were in the Cathedral. LOL! I have no idea what the common thread is here, you guys might want to go back through the old posts and figure out what happened.]

    [Hepla OOC: I honestly never look at the stats because usually something monumental enough to alter a stat gets mentioned. This is a good mystery. Right now I have no idea, it could be that scorpion for all I know. If we guess right will you tell us?]

    [DM OOC: NO!]

    [Thorgrim OOC: Based on what's been said, it seems something affected us during the Lost City episode. Ragnar said it wasn't the "current adventure." Unless by that he means the Soul Gem and not the Ghost Tower (which seem like the same adventure in my opinion).]

    [DM OOC: I would close this thread, but I want to do it AFTER Isilme finishes with Pyaray. She needs to return to Hommlet to use her mirror, so you need to return there first. Nobody is going to meet the Viscount or anyone else important right now, so unless you have other business in the city, you can leave whenever.

    As far as this "curse of the lost Con" thing, you need to tell ME what you do next. If you do nothing in the city, then we can move on towards home.

    Elrae is going to stay here to be with his wife. Remember, they moved to the city. He is also suffering from negative levels, so he will rest and recover them here. Rakk can stay with him, as he has some things to do here too, namely find some weapons and get another crossbow made. Elrae can take him to the weaponsmith who made the Quad crossbow. So, that removes Rakk from the group temporarily. Noot is suffering LOTS of lost levels, and he will return to Nulb, where he can oversee work on the hotel there and rest. He needs a LOT of rest.

    That effectively removes those party members from the larger group for now. What do the rest of you do?]

    Hepla wanders the cathedral until she gets to the section for the gods that she saw in the gem's cathedral. They seemed to be related to St. Cuthbert. If nothing she will go to the Cat Lord's shrine, if they have made it yet and pray for help. They have not made a shrine to the Cat Lord yet. Also, she notes that the gods depicted in the cathedral facet of the Soul Gem were just all the Flan deities. It's just that they were from the 2000 year old mind of a crazy guy.

    Berenn tries to see the Viscount, but finds that he is too busy. In fact, he catches a rumor about the Viscount being unhappy with his new "absentee Lord." Berenn catches the hint, and he heads for home.

    Meanwhile, the party continues to cast various divinations and healings, but with no success. They cannot find the cause of the strange Con losses. Finally, Emyn finds Star rubbing against this feet and he has an idea. He uses his ring to Speak with Animals and simply asks Star, "What is wrong with Hepla? I want to help her and the rest of us, since it seems whatever the problem with her is, it has also affected us."

    Star only says "Darkness, " then leaves, disappearing again.

    Emyn quickly heads off to find the others. "Star tells me Hepla is carrying a darkness within her that may be the cause of these problems," he relates. "Is there maybe another spirit within her? Something that may cause this?"

    Again, they try various protection and divination spells, but find nothing. Eventually, after many, many nights and noticing another lost Con affecting Emyn, Thorgrim casts the following spells on Hepla: Detect Charm, Detect Spirits, Detect Enemy, and Detect Life.

    [Thorgrim OOC: That's all the detection spells he's got that haven't already been tried!]

    Thorgrim is shocked when Detect Life detects the presence of a life form. It is Hepla's shadow, and it is definitely alive!

    Elrae is sulking away in his theater, still frustrated that he lost so much, but of anyone wishes to consult him he can relay this tale about Shadows was told to him as a young lad in Woodstock.

    It is the toxic plane of darkness and power.
    It is the hidden place that hates the light.
    It is the frontier of worlds unknown.

    [Hepla OOC: Nice twist, normal shadows steal strength, this one steals con.]

    Hepla says, "I may need help here. I plan to try to trap this thing in light." She casts Light on her rope and begins to encircle the shadow.

    Vaddara casts negative plane protection on herself and Hepla. She then casts Nystul's Lightburst a couple of times to try and kill or drive away the constitution draining shadow.

    The Starburst flashes, and everyone notices that Hepla's shadows seems a bit smaller. Looking around, you see a shadow moving quickly along the edge of the room, disappearing outside and into the night.

    "Follow it!" cries Hepla, as she casts Light on the end of her Staff. Does it have any shape?

    Unfortunately, when they head outside, they cannot find it. It fled out into the darkness, and following it will be impossible.

    Don't know if the persuit is doing anywhere once the shadow makes it to the night.

    Hepla again thanks everyone and apologizes. "I am sorry, I don't know where I picked that nasty up. I was in many dark places and one of them must have had shadows."

    She goes to Vaddara and kisses her on the cheek. She then goes to Emyn and says, "Dear, once back in Hommlet I need to go see Baroness Elinor Asbury. I know you do not like me running off on my own so would you go there with me? Of course any of our friends can come. In fact having a chaperone would be a good idea."

    She then goes to the bar and orders drinks for everyone and a bowl of cream, mouse and fish and calls for Star to come back. She does, and she actually leaps into Hepla arms!

    I had a bunch of PMs with Isilme returning the Soul Gem to Pyaray. I can't find them. Anyway, everything with Pyaray worked out as planned. Actually, everyone though He was going to double-cross them, but He didn't. Once Isilme returned the Soul Gem, he instantly disappeared to his own dimension. Emyn knew right away that his soul was saved. Isilme went back to Hommlet, and the party joined her there after tidying up loose ends in Verbobonc.

    Thus ended the Ghost Tower of Inverness. The entire tower, Galap-Dreidel, and the party's long-time foe Markessa all were swallowed up by the Mists of Ravenloft. They felt it was a fitting end to her! This also ended what started at the Lost City of the Suel, where Emyn's soul was "stolen" by Pyaray. With many in the party suffering heavily from Negative Levels, they decided to spend the time healing and learning new spells and skills. It would be many months before they again took to the road.

    But that, of course, is another tale.....
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Apr 18, 2015 1:06 pm  
    Part 12 - The Road to Recovery

    The party has successfully returned home. In Verbobonc they finally found out that Hepla had been affected by a strange creature which had been responsible for all their Constitution losses. Meanwhile, Isilme reports back to the group that the soul gem has been returned, Pyaray has left the dimension, and Emyn's soul has been returned to his ownership.

    [Emyn OOC: I think all we needed was to come into contact with Hepla...thus why Emyn lost of teh most Con, since he's around her the most. Hepla's kisses were, for all intents and purposes, dangerous.]

    [DM OOC: Hepla picked it up. Then it drained CON points from those whom she touched. If she didn't touch anyone throughout a day, it drained a point from her. You all are just lucky I kept draining points from NPCs, animals, etc.. Otherwise, the whole party would have been sucked dry eventually!]

    Emyn says, "My dear, I fear that foul creature has rendered me impotent. I am a broken warrior. Only by refocusing my efforts to build the Church in Nulb may I be of any service to the Church. I am no longer worthy of you. I hope you can forgive me."

    Hepla is stunned, tears form in her eyes, thunder booms in the distance. "I am sure you are wrong; you just need some time to rest. I love you though and if that is your wish I will respect it."

    She gives him back his ring, the three gifts that he had given her for safe keeping and the coins she was holding for him. He will find one extra coin covered in pink wax that says on one side "Remember Me" and on the other "I love you'' under the first side is the small word "cat" under the other "tower."

    She also says, "I still hold you to your oath to defend members of the order of the cat if it should be needed and called for." She gives him a kiss to help him remember her, and maybe to remind him he is still a man.

    With that, Emyn mounts his horse and starts to ride to Nulb, intending to spend the rest of his days in service to the Church.

    Thorgrim is stunned by Emyn's abandonment of Hepla and the party, who sacrificed so much to save him. "Bah!" he says, and spits on the ground. He gives Hepla a little hug. "I suppose it is okay to touch you now. Don't worry about Emyn...he'll come around."

    "Ungrateful paladin," mutters Isilme. "I should have just kept the gem and been the most powerful wizard of this age!" She says this last jokingly, though nobody laughs.

    Eventually Star returns and nuzzles up to Hepla. However, she seems sad for some reason. After watching Emyn go, she leaves herself. She will then reappear near Emyn, and stay by him.

    Emyn stops Mortadella and activates his ring and says to Star, "I have failed, Startle. I am unworthy. So many sacrificed so much to save me and now I am helpless to help them in return. I am manure on feet."

    Star leaps up to his stirrup and vaults to the top of the saddle. She sits there, staring into Emyn's sad face, then curls up there on his lap, purring contentedly. Emyn looks at the cat confused but takes off his riding gauntlets and slowly starts to pet the cat. He doesn't realize that tears are falling from his eyes or that he's shaking. Those behind him get the impression that he is quietly sobbing though they cannot see his face.

    Hepla thanks Thorgrim for the hug. "Yes I'm as safe as I have ever been to hug." She stands there waiting for Emyn to return. Every so often she takes a step toward him.

    Hepla sees he is crying and casts Shadow Blink and is suddenly in Mortadela's shadow. "Come back Emyn, I need you."

    [Hepla OOC: I was going to do the come back Shane line but decided against it.]

    Emyn looks at her in shock, not having realized she was even there so lost was he in his melancholy. "I...why...?" he asks with a hint of annoyance and frustration in his voice as tears continue to stream down his face. "I cannot protect you...I am not worthy of your love...if you die because of me I'd never forgive myself..."

    "Living without you is worse then death," replies Hepla. "I am the one not worthy of your love, I came back with the shadow and did not realise it. You fought to protect me even with your loses. Now you would rip the heart from me. If you think I am not worthy of you,,, I will understand but You are most worthy of me. Besides, I want to see your reaction to my wedding dress...giggle...blush,..that should prove most uplifting." She kisses him again.

    Emyn's face cracks with a shy smile through the tears, his love for Hepla beginning to over come his sadness. Hepla can still see doubt in his eyes but she also sees hope. Then she sees resolve as though a question in his mind has somehow been settled. He looks to the other assembled as though trying to gauge their acceptance of him. He says, "Friends, I am greatly weakened. I fear if I stay, it would bring you to harm. But I owe you a debt. You all worked to save my soul from eternal torment. I see now that this is a debt that I must repay, regardless of the price exacted. This by Trithereon I do swear if you will allow me to continue at your side."

    He looks down at Hepla again and sees the sincerity in her eyes as he continues to scratch Star's ears. "I cannot wed you soon enough, Hepla. Let's use this convalescence to finalize our plans."

    They then retire to the trees, as Hepla seems to have convinced Emyn to stay.

    Waterday, 5 Sunsebb (581)
    Everyone left Verbobonc for Hommlet, even Elrae. His wife wanted to visit her parents! Anyway, you all meet up in the Trader's Post, and there do the treasure splits. You can also store all your stuff there. I am also assuming that the above-mentioned episode happened at Verbobonc, before you all left. So, Hepla and Emyn have worked things out.

    You are now back in Hommlet. Like I said, assume the treasure splits are done. Tomorrow is Noot's birthday! Actually Elrae's is a couple days after that, followed by Hepla on the 21st. So, lots of aging to do! I'll adjust your sheets as needed. And of course, that will be Hepla's 18th birthday!

    Berenn will check in on Black Jay while in Hommlet, but will only stay the day to sort out the treasure. He will move on to Warden's Station and Nulb tomorrow. Jay's fine, and the three boys have been hanging out with him, helping him around his place and he is continuing their archery lessons. Berenn then returns to Warden's Station to handle his own affairs. Noot is going to definitely go with him, as he wants to see to the Waterside Hotel's reconstruction while also resting.

    Berenn, before he leaves, sees Hepla walking up to him. She is busy with wedding plans, and starts with him. She is repeating something to herself until she gets to him and courtsies, Now it will sound like she has memorized what comes nexr. "My lord Berenn, I trust you are well, might I deliver to you an invitation to my wedding (Star did not deliver this one). It would honor my family and Emyn and I if you would attend. In addition it would give us great pleasure if you would escourt my mother down the isle, and, if Emyn does not ask you to be a groomsman, sit with her during the ceremony. It would give her great pleasure for you to sit with her. I await the pleasure of your answer and hope it will all be in the affirmative. Thank you for your time mi lord." she now looks up at him and says," Did I get the right Berenn, OOps... giggle... Almost forgot." She curtsies again.

    She then goes to Thorgrim and asks him to take her dad's place and walk her down the isle. "I need someone I know can walk steady after the parties the night before."

    "I would be honored," Thorgrim replies. He strokes her hair. "Alas, child, grown so quickly!"

    She will go to Noot and ask him to oversee the security of the parties and wedding, "Some of mom's friends are a little less then honest and with your knowledge and abilities I think we can keep pick pocketing down."

    She goes to Rakk and says, "Mom still has some enemies, will you help with the security detail. I know grandma will raise some forces but I will feel better knowing you are there to protect us."

    "I must return home and report my fai... the results of our expedition and deal with the consequences. But I thank you for the kind words." Rakk then promises to return for the wedding.

    Vaddara and Isilme begin studying spells. Thorgrim returns to his Trading Post home. He stops first across the road at his shrine to Clanggedin, kneels and says a prayer of thanks for allowing his escape from the Soul Gem, and the restoration of Emyn's soul.

    Outside, he inspects the handiwork for the new stained-glass windows for the east wall. The circular one is five feet wide and shows the entire pantheon of Dwarven deities, with Moradin at the top. Clanggedin, Abbathor, Dugmaren and Dumathoin, even Berronar Truesilver...all are represented. The other window is an even more spectacular work. Just three feet wide but nearly 20 feet tall, it depicts horrific scenes of battle. Near the top, an army of Orcs lays siege to a Dwarven fortress. When they take hold of the city, women and children are butchered while others is the fall of Dorob Kilthduum. Near the bottom, an army of Dwarven warriors clad in chainmail and armed with picks, axes and swords reclaims the lost fortress, and slaughters the Euroz without mercy. Above it all, Clanggedin smiles grimly.

    Thorgrim runs his fingers over the glass and grunts in approval. He is removed from his reverie with a shout. "Ho there, Thorgrim! Is this a trading post, or is it now a church? Should I change into my robes?"

    "Hail, Elmo! I am returned." Thorgrim chuckles. "I just wanted people to know who dwells here."

    "Well that you've achieved," says Elmo. "Can't say as I like the battle-scene. It's a bit gory."

    "As is life," Thorgrim replies. "So Elmo, what news?" Thorgrim takes the time to regale him with the tale of our latest adventure. He visits Smythe, and loans him the Blacksmith's Hammer to help him in his trade. "Take care with this...Gotrek and I have special use for it, when the time comes."

    Later, he settles on his porch and helps himself to a mug of Gutshaker. He looks at the empty chair next to him and wonders how Gotrek is faring. He has a smoke, and falls asleep in his chair watching the sun go down.

    Since Rakk found the MW weapons and we have split up the gains, Rakk will head home for training. And hopefully a bow. Before he leaves, he seeks out Emyn. Drawing him off to one side where no one else is present. He gets down on one knee and presents him with his +2 bastard sword and sheath. "For the honor of the blade, take it. For you are a greater fighter than I. The only thing you lack is the ability to strike some enemies. This will grant you that."

    Emyn replies to Rakk, "This is a great honour Rakk änd I accept it but you should know that you are indeed a great warrior, worthy of song and praise. I do not profess to know the inner workings of your clan but in the eyes of the Church of Trithereon and myself, you carry great honour with yourself. If it were not for your aid, I would ahve been doomed forever. If you can wait until after the wedding, I would be most proud to accompany you and give testimony to your great deeds and stout heart. I owe you my very existence and will do what I can to repay that debt."

    "Thank you for the kind words," replies Rakk. "Keep it well. I may no more delay my report than you would delay telling your order. If my clan and father release me for your wedding I will try to attend. Hepla offered transport. We will see."

    "I do hope you can attend then and I wish you and your clan well," says Emyn, shaking Rakk's hand in farewell. "The blessings of Trithereon be upon you. May he grant you strength and courage during any trials you may face."

    "Courtesies need not be observed among friends.", Berenn replies. "I would be honored to attend your wedding and help out in anyway you should see fit. I assume I would allowed to bring a guest if I so desire."

    "Of course, your friend or friends are most welcome," says Hepla. "As for the courtesies, mom insisted that I do it all formal and proper. I am glad you are coming." She hugs him and goes skipping off.

    Berenn will take his leave in the morning and head for Warden's Station with Noot in tow. After stopping at the station for a day, we will continue onto Nulb.

    Isilme has business to conduct in Vervebonc, she will personally request cornelius arx the high priest. Normally, he would not do it. However, you have done such incredible things for the Viscounty, and for the church of Trithereon, that he cannot refuse. In fact, he offers to conduct the ceremony in the Cathedral of Tritheron itself, usually reserved for only the nobles.

    "The Cathedral, for the wedding?" says Hepla when she hears the news. "WOW! And then back to the hut for the reception. A dream come true. Please Emyn, lets do it. Please, please, please." Hepla will say when Emyn tells her. "Star will not mind delivering all new invitations."

    Emyn agrees enthusiastically and says, "It will also mean we will be wed under the eyes of all the gods who favour our friends like Elistraee, Cat Lord, St. Cuthbert, Clangeddin and others."

    Emyn realizes that he has to look his best and has taken to polishing everything he owns to a fine shine. He seesm excessively nervous. When asked why he tells you, "I have to impress the two most important people in my life. Hepla and the head of my order. The granting of the cathedral for a wedding of an Avenger is unheard of. I suppose Hepla's nobility is a good justification but I have to ensure that I show the peoper respect in all ways."

    The Verbobonc thread has an updated map, which I'll post here just for ease of checking.

    The area of the Watchlands, Berenn's new fief centered on Nulb and the Moathouse, is outlined in black dots. It shows the location of Asbury Meadow. It's in the valley NW of Canyonford. I just want you to see where it is located.

    First thing in the morning Hepla studies her maps and, casting Invisibility and then morphing into a black dragon, she flys off to Asbury Meadow. She flys for a long as she can lands, eats and does it again. It looks to be about a days flight, maybe a little less.
    She lands about a half mile from the castle, casts Mount and rides the horse to the gates of the castle/manor. She will knock and ask to see the Barroness. She will introduce herself a Dame Hepala.
    Given the chnce to meet with the Baroness she will say. "Mi lady, I hope you got the invitation to my wedding. What Ii want to talk to you about is of another subject. I have recently been awarded land in the Crone Hills. I am still adventuring so I have no ability to govern or guard this land. That is not good and the Viscount could take it back. I wish to offer you a deal. If you were to send some of your troops there on a regular patroll I would pay a fair price for that service. Since it is a distence Barrecks and a small manor house could be built, at my expense. You I would name Marshall of the land and if you could farm it you would be great. A believe this would be a benefite to you and would help me greatly. What think you and if you have any ideas for improving my thoughts, I would be greatful to hear them."

    Anyway, when you get there you find that House Asbury is now rather small. There really are no soldiers, certainly none they could send. This house lost everything when the ToEE rose a while back, and it now left with only this one small valley. Even Canyonford has pretty much run its own affairs. The party passed through there [I think before you joined the game] and there was no noble help when beset by orcs. Plus, you are talking about a small parcel of land which is on the furthest side of the Viscounty from here, over 100 miles away. Sorry, your offer, though kindly, will be politely refused. It simply is not practical. Hepla gets the idea that she has a lot to learn about the ways of nobles.

    Then Hepla will ask, "Then who would be an honorable noble that I could approach for this task. You know the noble families much better then I. In fact most laugh at me when they think I am not looking. I just want to do my duty to the viscount."

    The land you speak of borders that of Lord Farkaesh, Farkaesh the Grim. [You've actually met him, if you recall. He was the old noble in the castle you met on the way to the Temple of the Elder Elemental God. You may need some refreshers, but you can probably do a search in that thread and see how things went.] Anyway, you probably would start there.

    [Berenn OOC: You might want to drop Berenn's name when you go since Berenn cured him of his condition.]

    Hepla remembers him well, nice old guy but did not seem to have much in the way of troops, or anything. He is the one who sold the tower to Hepla. She will ask, "When last I saw him, he seemed feeble. Do you know if he has regained strength enough to take on this job?"

    "No. Nobody ever really hears much from them."

    Hepla then sets to work trying to hire some folk to go clean up the area of Cat's Claw Tower and keep the place from becoming some bandit's stronghold. Noot has been hanging out in Nulb all this time. He's pretty beat up from Negative Levels. Emyn continues his work on the church of Trithereon in Nulb.

    OK, I'm moving us OFFICIALLY ahead a few days, though not bothering too much with exact days right now. However, we're now about a week from the wedding. Everything is being attended to fine. Emyn and Hepla may want to spend some money for the wedding, maybe a total of 5K for everything. It is going to be a big affair! Please finish up little details, and then we will do it.

    Everyone is going to have to retire to Verbobonc for the wedding. It's a two-day trip. The ceremony will be in the Cathedral, while the wedding ball will be at the Viscount's Great Hall. After that, Hepla and Emyn can go do whatever Thorgrim has explained to them! As for the actual event, as I said, with work I'll be hard-pressed to really get into the role-playing. Sorry. However, you guys may feel free to get into it as much as you want. It is a very cool event, kind of unique in my gaming experience. I've never had characters of two players get married! So, it does deserve special treatment.

    Hepla says to Emyn, "Mom reminded me to ask you to ask the archbishop fo permission to enter the cathedral. Apparentoy there was a time when a witch could not enter without permission. Now, I have no problem, but mom is old fashioned in some ways and seeks permission."

    Emyn replies, "She is my guest and has therefore guest right to enter. The Archbishop will not object. Will your grandmother also be in attendance? I did buy her a gift, after all."

    Hepla laughs, "My grandmother will be there but she will be uncomfortable. She loves me and will honor my request to come but I bet she beets us out the door. Mom is a different mater, she needs to know that she will be permitted by the archbishop to enter.
    The funny thing is that she has met him. I thought his name sounded familiar so I looked in some of mom's adventure journals and indeed 35 years ago she was through here and mentioned his name. He was a young cleric but very nice to her. She felt he was trying to save her from her ways but always nice. In fact he is probably the example of a nice cleric that she said occasionally I might find. She also has a priestess friend named Traeorae, and now the clerics of our party. She specially likes Thorgrim and is thrilled that he is walking me down the isle. Of course she finds Berenn tops of all but she has always been attracted to power and titles."

    The next week is taken with last minute details, wedding prep, etc. Eventually, everyone heads to Verbobonc in anticipation of the big event.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Apr 18, 2015 2:33 pm  

    These are actually just some intermediary sessions where we didn't actually adventure. It was nearly 100% role-playing. It's actually a bit tricky to do via bulletin board, but it's also so important to the game, that you just have to make it work. Here we had various players who wanted to do important stuff, so we did our best. Setting up the long-awaited wedding between the young 1/2 witch Hepla and Emyn, our Paladin of Trithereon, was also a key moment which deserved attention.

    Of course, I needed more time to plan the next adventure anyway! :)
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    Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:58 am  
    Part 13 - Wedding Bells

    And now for the Wedding.... I basically sat back and just let Hepla and Emyn run this whole thing.

    Hepla runs through thhe area, "It's the day of the wedding, why is everyone so calm?" Hopefully everyone has arrived and a neutralize poison has been cast on last night's partiers to remove their hangovers. The ladies all gather to get dressed while everyone else does whatever they do. The tall lady in blue enters the cathedral and goes to where the archbishop is and thanks him for allowing her to be there with him. Her robes indicate she is a high priestess.

    Noot asks for a small room and joins up with the others. He's also watching for shadowy figures. Emyn is readying himself for what is to come, praying to Trithereon for his blessing on the marriage and upon those who have come to witness the event.

    Elrae stumbles in and sees Emyn. "Oh good you made it. I wasn't sure, you old dog you."

    Emyn responds, "Nothing happened. And don't worry, I won't tell your wife about the dwarven prostitute you left with. Was the dwarf male or female? Hard to tell with all that hair."

    "Perfect height to rest my beer on," replies Elrae with a laugh. "But that's nothing after you started smoking Thorgrim's stash of pipe weed."

    Isilme arrives in a golden spider silk dress of great beauty, offset by her only piece of Jewlery a gold circlet with the fire node ruby glistening, holding back her long flowing silver hair. She is not hiding her drow nature at all this day, and is quite stunning. She still has morlather at her side, in a carved dragon bone sheath, as a deterrent to any who might make trouble for the future newlyweds. She stays by Helpa's side, trying to keep brideszilla calm, and handing any details or issues as they come up.

    You also happen to notice that the guest isilme arrives with is Lareth the beautiful, high priest of Ellistrae. Decked out in highly polished armour and ceremonial longsword.
    They walk arm in arm, greeting all the leaders in official capacity, until islme takes her place in the wedding.

    As the guests arrive Emyn sees about a dozen he does not recognize. An elf in a cloth of silver suit whose face he cannot quite see. A hobbit, Noot gets a feeling that he could be trouble, in a plaid suit with a button that reads, 'I like Odin'. A bird man who walks right to his place. A formal looking oriental man, dressed in full court robes, and a few others.

    Rakk is wearing his dragonscale armor, with just the bastard swords. The rest of his armory is put away for now. he's shined it up, and it glints in the light but no one would mistake he's a warrior. Rakk's mother, Kess, is wearing a beautiful reptile-skin dress that appears green-gray but it creates iridescent patterns as she moves. She wears Rakk's dragonskin cloak over it, and a beautiful purple gem in her forehead. Once she is seated, Rakk goes and makes sure Emyn is OK and tries to steady him thru the pre-wedding jitters.

    Berenn arrives escorting Lady Elysia. He is in his finest tunic and clothes, but he is also carrying Bonfire, his Khopesh sword and is wearing his bracers and rings. He makes the rounds, greets his friend and mingles with the guests.

    Kess is seated near the bird man who stands and bows deeply to her ,"An honor to my people that our paths have crossed great shaman, please let your son know that I will give my life to protect you but I see no threats entering this place. Unless you count that hobbit who picks pocket, looks at the stuff then returns it with an extra gold coin, him I do not understand. I do not believe he is dangerous to you. You are a beautiful being. Let us be seated." With his wings he is about 8 feet tall.

    Rakk will formally introduce his mother, Kess, leader of the stone giant's clan. She will ask to talk to you later about an item of mutual interest. He will also try to introduce her to any other leaders he can find at the event, for the same purpose. Rakk tends to stand out in a crowd. His mother, at 12 feet tall, even more so.

    Since she originally convinced the stone giants to aid us in the earlier adventure, Islme will pay her respects to the stone giant leaders.

    Emyn says to Elrae, "Well, at least we will have some memories to chuckle about once we are both married men. Now, can you give me a hand with my armour, please? And here's teh ring, please don't lose it. It belonged to my mother and is the only thing I have left of her."

    Berenn looks forward to the conversation and says Rakk has distinguished himself since he has arrived and Berenn has the utmost respect for her son.

    The bird man introduces himself as Echfata Sut, High Flyer of the bird men. Hepala sees Berenn with Lady Elysia, a small frown crosses her lips but no one sees it as her new vail hides her face.

    She walks over to them,"My Lord Berenn, and you must be the Lady Elysia, I am Lady Hepala. Will you do me the honor of sitting with me for the wedding. I do not know if Lord Berenn gets to sit with us or has other duties but mother and I would welcome your company."

    "I am expected to be in the wedding party," he replies, "but I would be honored if you would keep my lady company while I attend to my duties." With that Berenn bows and joins the groom at the front.

    Emyn welcomes Berenn to the front and says, "Thank you for standing with me. Both you and Elrae have been true friends to both of us."

    "It is my honor," Berenn replies.

    "We've been through a lot together," says Elrae. "It warms my heart to see two young kids in love. Remember what the ladies showed you last night, and you'll do fine this evening."

    Emyn blushes a little and responds, "It was watch."

    [DM OOC: I think the bachelor party all happened "off screen" so to speak. Probably a good thing!]

    After all the nobility is seated it is Grandma's turn. A beautiful 35 ish womann steps forth dressed in yellow and in the height of current court fashion. Grandma grabs the arm of her escourt and seems scared as she walks down the isle to be next to Lady Elysia. She bows to her and takes her place. She leans over to the Lady and says, "You will not let them get me will you? These holy types are always after me. Want a drink." and she pulls out a small crystal bottle that is marked with a lightening bolt. "Don't worry it holds more then it seems to," she takes a drink after the lady does. It holds a potent liquer.

    Hepala, with Star wearing a yellow ribbon, enters in a new dress but of the same 20 year old style and a hat with a vail that covers her face. She walks down the isle but seeems also to be uncomfortabe. Before Berenn leaves she says, "I hope to see you later."

    Berenn nods and quietly walks away.

    Noot is moving up and down the aisles, greeting those he knows and doesn't know, all the while keeping an eye out for anything suspicious. He really keeps his eyes on the hobbit and goes so far as to greet him. "Greetings and welcome. I am Noot."

    "Hexagput, nice to meet you," he replies. "Some beautiful stuff here, and you seem to want it to remain with the ones it came with. I am a guest of Hepala and am off duty tonight. I even offer my services to help you. I bet she brought a few of her invisible servants to help also. You know, I once met Odin, fine chap, he asked me to wear this I LIKE ODIN button. Well why not if it makes him happy."

    Hepala enters dressed all is fine yellow silk. Except for the layer wrapped skin tight around her body the silk is so light it floats when she walks and only covers her when she stands still at the alter. It is a cloud like appearance that does not reveal too much but suggests a lot. She wears Emyn's ring and bacellet, her cat pin and has her five star saphires somehow affexed to her forehead. She kisses Thorgrim on the cheek so that there is a lipestick mark on the vail that covers her face. Her cat pin is worn on her left wrist, again how it stays there is magic.

    Once in place she whispers to Emyn, "There are 7." She will pay attention to the service, say "I do" at the proper time, bow for the blessings of both clerics and when it is time for Emyn to lift the veil from her face and kiss her, the veil, after being lifted, dissolves to nothing. "That's one" she whispers.


    Once they are all ready, Emyn makes his way down to the Cathedral, with Elrae at his side.

    "Are you ready, Avenger?" asks the Archbishop.

    Emyn replies pensively, "I have been coming to this moment all of my life, guided by Trithereon's hand, your Grace. I have faith that this will end well for all of us. I have tried to prove myself worthy of our god's favour. I pray he grants it this day for I am ready."

    The old man nods solemnly and intones in a serious voice, "His favour is upon you, Emyn Frel and upon that of your bride. I know through communion with him that he is indeed pleased with the work you have wrought in his name and the manner in which you have lived your life. Be thankful and steadfast."

    "I am, your Grace. I am dogged in all my pursuits and my desire to have this marriage succeed will be no less fervent."

    "Then let us begin. May the blessings of all the gods be upon us this day."

    The Archbishop leads Emyn and Elrae out from the nave behind the altar and into the main Cathedral, where they await the rest of the wedding party.

    The Archbishop is resplendent in his purple robes trimmed with gold and the special crimson sash used only in important ceremonies is draped across his chest, the symbols of pursuit shimmering in gold upon it. In his hands he holds a replica of Trithereon's Rod of Retribution. The blue lady is striking as she stands next to him.

    Emyn stands in his dragonscale armour but is armed with only his bastard sword, which is draped across his back, and he wear no helmet. He wears a cloak of purple also lined with gold with Trithereon's symbol upon it. The scales of the armour have been polished to a sheen so well that it seems as though his armour shifts from black to green and back again depending on how the light strikes it.

    He looks out upon the gathered friends and is glad to see that all of the important people in his and Hepla's lives are there. He smile outshines even his armour and tears of happiness stand bright in his eyes, though they do not flow down his cheeks.

    All of the empty seats are taken by Avengers and clergy of Trithereon, who have come to witness this great day.

    The Archbishop motions and all the assembled rise. "Hepla, The Great Summoner calls you forth,' he announces in a forceful voice.

    The Archbishop and the priestess join hands and step forward, saying in unison, “Lady Hepla of the Order of the Cat and Avenger Emyn Frel, you have come here to see marriage before the gods. Do you both come faithfully and of your own accord for this purpose?”

    “I do,” both respond.

    “Then let us begin.”

    The two part hands and the priestess takes up a silver chalice. “The goddess calls you forth. Will you submit to her cleansing? Will you purify your souls so that your love in turn may be pure and enduring?”

    “We do.”

    The priestess pours a drop of water on the crown of both their heads. “Then come pure into this marriage with the blessings of the goddess.”

    The Archbishop then moves forward as the woman steps aside. “It is time for the vows. Join hands, please.”

    He brings forward a double sided silver blade as the priestess holds a smaller golden chalice below their hands, and slips it between their palms. He draws the blade gently downward and Emyn’s and Hepla’s blood mingle with one another’s as it drops into the cup.

    “Blood is life and blood is death. Vengeance calls to blood and blood to vengeance. The pursuit of what your blood seeks and the seeking of blood is core to what we believe. Each man and woman should be free to seek that which is good and to have it seek them in turn. Do you seek one another? Do you wish to be sought for?”

    “We do.”

    “Then let the vows be spoken.” He turns and looks at Emyn.

    “Hepla, I declare before Trithereon and all the gods that I come freely and honestly to you, in love. My heart, body and soul are yours and I give everything to you willingly. I promise to care for you when you are ill or injured, cry with you when you are sad, laugh when you are happy. Seek vengeance when you are wronged. I am yours as totally as one can be. As a token of this, I give you this ring. It was once my mother’s wedding ring and the only thing that I have that remains of her apart from my memories. I know that she wants you to have this as a sign of my love, and hers, for you.”

    Elrae hands over a ring to Emyn who slips it on her finger as tears burn bright in both of their eyes. Half the crowd are weeping at the beauty of the gesture. The other half begin to weep as well as Hepla speaks her words.

    She draws herself up and giggles nervously through her tears of happiness for she had not expected this gift.

    “Emyn, I accept your love and give you mine in turn. We are one, our blood and hearts and purpose are one. Our families are joined. You are my life and I am yours, from this day onward we are one in the eyes of those who see us now and in the eyes of all who will see us in the future. We are husband and wife.”

    She slips a ring on his finger in turn seeming woven of living wood.

    Star leaps walks nonchalantly down Hepla’s arm and presses her palm into the wrist of both Emyn and Hepla, leaving a curious cat’s paw tattoo on both of them as though giving some sign of approval and then she leaps down and pads over to Hepala and curls up on her lap.

    Both Emyn and Hepla turn to the assembled guests and the Archbishop and the priestess declare aloud, “They are joined forever. Let none part them in this world or the next.”

    The crowd begins to cheer wildly as Emyn lift her veil, which dissipates by magic, and they kiss. The pair then accept healing from the Archbishop for the minor wound and they make their way down the dais to the assembled guests. The clerics and Avengers draw their weapons and raise a might cheer, crossing swords ceremonially in an almost musical sound.

    Hepala hugs her mom and her mom hugs her back, then says, "You have waited over twenty years for this. Congratulations. And I think she choose a good man. Want a drink." They both take a nip. Then Grandma says, "Nature calls, see you outside." Casts Invisibility and goes out reappearing outside the cathedral looking much calmer.

    When they get to the door of the cathedral Hepla and Emyn stop, kiss and Hepla unties the ties for her silk cloak and lets it fall to the ground, where it stays until someone picks it up. She says, "That's two."

    They head to the party as fast as their friends congratulating them allows them to go. Hepla, invites Lareth to do the blessing. A few people hear Hepla say, "The ring is not magical but is special and was grown for you bt the elves of mom's forest." She calls out, "Rakk, if you would, clear a path for us to get to the ballroom, gently. Thank you."

    The celebration is held in a large tent that has a temporary dancefloor inside. The tent is large enough to hold 300 people and has a kitchen attached. Inside it clearly has touches of Elrae and Hepla among others. Emyn is agog with the incredible job that was done.

    Thorgrim whispers to Elrae, "We forgot to cast Cause Drunkenness on Emyn. I fear I am becoming forgetful in my maturity. Nevertheless, the ceremony was entertaining enough without it." Thorgrim then sits down to some serious drinking.

    [Berenn OOC: Rags took away all the fun I was going to have when he banned Nilrem's Overflowing Kidneys and Lactation. Just imagine Emyn pissing and lactating at the altar. LOL!]

    Berenn hears Thorgrim lamenting and adds, "I could cast Nausea on Emyn right before they depart for the evening, that should get the wedding night off you a wretching start!"

    Apparently Thorgrim forgot who suggested it, as well. "That would be unbearably cruel," he says with a chuckle.

    "So, when does the party start?" asks Rakk.

    "Right now!" Elrae lights up a pipe of dank Woodstock herb and begins guzzling beer.

    "Aren't you supposed to be playing some palatable music Elrae?" Berenn inquires.

    "NOW it's time to eat!" says Noot to the other halfing. "But first Ale." He looks carefully at each guest as he heads for the keg.

    Elrae stands to recite a poem for the happy couple...

    "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
    Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
    Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
    And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
    Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
    And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
    And every fair from fair sometime declines,
    By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
    But thy eternal summer shall not fade
    Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
    Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
    When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
    So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
    So long lives this and this gives life to thee."

    Grandma is among the first to the bar and is ready an willing to talk beer, wine or whyskies with anyone who will talk with her. And its all free. She even goes over and asks to share a hit on the pipe. "You would not deny an old lady a little joy would you?" Remember she looks like a great looking 35 year old female human.

    Hepla says to Emyn, "I had those three packages you wanted kept safe put on your chair."

    You notice that now Hepala seems nervous. Special large sized dishes and mugs and glassed are there for Rakk and his mom, although the hobbit seems to think he needs some too. He finally settles for a giant sized mug of beer. He seems quit content.

    Emyn says, "Thank you my lovely wife. Two are for your mother and grandmother but the other is perhaps best opened in our bedchamber later tonight."

    He makes his way over to Hepala and grandma and says, "I know that this isn't much but I hope you would accept these small tokens of gratitude for accepting me into your family."

    He hands over the wrapped gifts, which when opened, reveal several of the newest patterns for ladies clothing currently in fashion for each of them.

    Grandma starts looking at them like a starving wolf looking at a piece of meat. Hepala holds her eagerness long enough to say, "You dear boy, thank you. Now how did you know that this is sooo much better then looking through the crystal ball at them, thank you. Mom will thank you properly after she has examined them all. I approve of your gift to you wife, WHAT you did not think I would peek into her gift? Of course I did but I did not look into mine or mom's. Just look at mom, she is so totally happy as I will be when I allow myself time to study these drawings."

    "OOHHH, something for later," says Hepla. "Maybe something to go with my smile." She unties some ties around her left wrist and pulls off a veil and says, "That's 3."

    Hepla giggles and then gets serious and says, "Now for my gift to you." A couple of men carry out something that is 6 feet tall, 4 feet wide but very thin. It is drapped. She says, "Being an orphan must be tough, I know mom had to be both mom and dad to me. I had mom and grandma help me with this but we used a crystal ball to look back in time and found the moment we wanted, then got an elf painter to make a life size picture." She pulls off the drape. You see a lovely woman standing next to a handsome man who looks much like Emyn, both are smiling. "My dear husband, this is your parents when they got married. They must have loved each other very much, look how happy they are."

    They then dance the first dance to a song played by Elrae. Then a toast, then Hepla will dance the father dance with Thorgrim. Hepala will come to Emyn and say, "We are now family, may I have this dance, I cannot replace you mother but I can offer you a chance to dance in her memory." Emyn finds her a skilled dancer and at the end she has to take is hand off her shoulder ahd hip because he can't seem to do so. He blushes a little as she says, "You are my daughter's."

    Then the dancing gets wilder with each of the party getting to show off dances from their own lands.

    The elf all in grey comes to Isilme and complements her outfit and says, in passable drow, "Would you at some point tell me how you came to be here? I have long hoped that some of your people would come back to the light, and now you have." You now recognize that he is a half elf.

    The blue priestess walks up to Vaddara. She is surprised that she is now the same hight as Vaddara. "Just a little magic so we see eye to eye. I am Traeora, your skin, it is a lovely shade of blue, and your ivory, it is so wonderfully carved. Might I one day visit your people?"

    Ralph bounds onto the dance floor and starts making friends with everyone. Star laps cream, trying to look innocent, but clearly she is the one who released him.

    However, he was prepared for the encounter by a friend. You hear a beautiful female voice singing a song in elvish. The crowd of elves parts, and there you see Nirifel, lounging on a chair and singing one of the new songs she learned in Celene.

    When she finishes Hepla runs up and hugs her and says, "You came, wonderful. I was afraid you might not get the invitation since Star got a little confused in the elven kingdom. Something to do with your magics, and they do have to be strong to affect her. Please, enjoy."

    Hepala goes by Berenn and Lady Elysia and says, "You are lucky to be together, but I hope that Mi lord will let me have at least one dance tonight."

    "With my Lady's permission, I believe I can spare a dance this evening," he replies gratiously.

    "You will need to spare a few," says Nirifel, coming up behind Berenn and giving him a kiss on the cheek. As he begins to dance with Hepala, Nirifel whispers to Lady Elysia, who starts to laugh as the two watch Berenn dance.

    Hepla goes to Vaddara and Traeora and says, "Since you both are tall enough, perhaps one or both will dance with Rakk, I think he is too shy to ask." The party continues with

    Hepala looking more and more uneasy any time she is not dancing. She dances most of the time with lots of handsome men but always looks at Berenn while she is in another man's arms.

    Emyn is taken aback by the painting and all he can do is give Hepla a fierce, wordless hug and whisper in her ear, "Wife, I think it is time we said goodnight to our guests and disense of the remaining veils."

    "Not quite yet dear, I know you are impatient but there are still some gifts to be given."

    Just then Lady Elysia walks by and looks at the picture very closely and says, "A great gift but why did the artist paint Prince Thrommel's insignia on the back wall? See next to the person with a mug of ale in the background. Your family must have known him, or his family somehow."

    [DM OOC: Letting you guys just run with things, but there are some points I want to make.

    1) Prince Thrommel is NOT here. He is still sleeping due to the Wine of Eternity. That is not something for you guys to tamper with in any way at this time.

    2) The temporal crystal ball stuff is just Protector making up stuff. Please, don't get any ideas.

    3) Pictures of Emyn's parents is cool, and makes a nice hook for possible future adventures. HOWEVER, when you guys have free run to just do stuff, like this wedding, please don't add too much without consultation.]

    Hepla and Emyn go to be everyone a good evening when Hepala stand, "We all owe a debt of gratatude to his grace the archbishop and his grace the viscount." Applause. "But there are many others who want to party also. I promised the viscount a "moving experience', and so." (Thing a seen in Harry Potter) She brings her hands togeter over her head, while casting a Dispell Magic spell. Suddenly many places around the room burst into fire as the Time Stasis spell dispell and the spells hidden undeer them take effect. Magic fire envelops everyone for a second then it is dark. When you can see again you are standing in a wooded glen, there is a simple hut in the center and tables and chairs all grown out of trees all around.

    "Do not fear, if anyone wants to leave just walk into any of the woods more then 10 feet and you will be back on the dance floor. Enjoy, but the hut is off limits to anyone not family. Now for a woodland party with those Hepla grew up with." Hundreds of elves, dwarves and gnomes burrst from the forest and soon round two of the parties has begun.
    Hepla giggles and takes off a vail from her right wrist and says "Thats 4, see it is worth waiting for."

    Every one has a good time for about a half an hour and meny good contacks are made between races. The elven headman is a bit scarred by Isilme at first but warms up to her real quick. He had never met a drow before and only knew them by legend.

    A dwarf stands on a table and declairs that it is time to drink to thee couple. This drink lasts till everyone's mugs are empty. "Now that's how we dwarves toast." Everyone appaulds. Hepla takes off a vail from around her waist and says, "that's 5."

    Hepla goes to Emyn and says, "Now that you are family I can take you into the hut and show you my, I mean, our room. I think you will enjoy what you find there." She waits till he stops blushing.

    Emyn scoops her off her feet and says, "Where to?"

    "The hut over there." She says, nodding to a door in the hut that the silver elf is standing by. She releases a veil from around her neck and says ."that's 6." The veil floats up and disappears into the sky. Emyn now realizes she is only wearing a thin veil of silk wrapped skin tight around her fantastic body. Hepala whispers to those around her, "I helped design her outfit. The rest is up to her."

    Emyn carries Hepla into the hut. And that's the end of that!

    Every time someone walks toward the door, they find themselves walking somewhere else. The mages see a rune light up above the door, it is the rune of distraction. They also see 4 more runes above the door.

    Just as the last notes of Kess' horn is heard another sound is heard. It is first thought to be thunder until they realize it is a lady 20 feet tall clapping. She has a beauty beyond any words and is wearing a simple toga. Those who are lawful and or good, feel a desire to kneel. Most wonder where she came from. No one saw her enter.

    "Congratulations Hepala," booms her voice. "Your first condition has been met, Your child is truly married and no magic was used to make the lad marry her. It only took 23 years to do this. Now you may choose, the veil or the vow, which do you wish to be freed from?"

    "The vow," Hepala says.

    "Then let it be so, and as a wedding gift I will allow you to now wear whatever fashion you wish, so long as the veil is included."

    She looks around and smiles, "Thank you all for helping her. You are all good people."
    She looks down at the hobbit with the button,' I like Odin' and says, "That is my husband under his northern aspect. I like the southern aspect, still I will tell him you wear his button."

    Then to Noot, "You have the second hardest job here."

    Then to Brerenn, "You have the hardest." She stops for a moment and then laughs.

    To Kess, "Your giant people are special to me, keep up the good work shaman. And you have a good son."

    She picks up a keg of beer, downs it in one swallow, burps mightily, looks at the dwarves and says, "I trust I drink according to your custom. It is dusty work lifting an old curse."
    Smiling again she says, "As they will say in the future, Party On." And then she is gone but no one sees her leave.

    [Hepla OOC: That pretty well finishes the wedding, I will still play out the other characters, who are some of my old characters, if anyone still wants to comment. Thank you for the use of this forum for some fun. Thank you all who participated. Thank you Goldie for the great ceramony and the many other parts that you took. Thank you Rags for your patience in allowing some things that simply cannot work in a campaign. If anyone needs a reason they worked it was the goddess who wanted to help end part of an old curse, adding extra power to some spells. That power is now gone and they are back to themselves. Hepla and Emyn are married and we will see where that goes.]
    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:36 pm  
    Part 14 - epilogue

    I assume there will be two weeks of honeymoon, and that will bring us officially to the 1st of Fireseek 582. Wow, another year in the books!

    Actually, the new year starts with the Feast of Neefest.

    Needfest: The festival week of Needfest marks the beginning of a new year. In the Domain of Greyhawk, this is a period to celebrate life during the most frigid and miserable of seasons, a time of merrymaking and overindulgence. Among those who can afford such luxuries, yellow candles, evergreen branches, and magical lights are used as decorations. Specific holidays observed during Needfest include Midwinter Night (Needfest 4) and the Feast of Fools (Freeday, Needfest 7). Olidammara's Feast of the Doubling Dare also takes place during Needfest. In Hardby, the Gynarch appears on Needfest 7 to walk about town, talking with the townsfolk and granting petitions. Unlike the leaders of Greyhawk City during of the Feast of Fools, she does not tolerate being mocked. In Narwell, Needfest is celebrated without pomp or glamor, and food is not shared. On Freeday of that week, Frostbite Run is a local event involving contestants dressed only in boots and loincloths running around the city walls - the winner gets a small kettle of gold coins.

    The party may deal with this festival as they see fit; however it will be assumed that Berenn will do something in his lands. A grand festival will cost a few hundred gold, at least. However, then we will officially be to the 1st of Fireseek, 582 CY. So, unless there are any more details to handle, perhaps we can jump forward to that date?

    Going along with the title of this thread, there are also some healings in order. The following characters heal a Negative Level on 1st of Fireseek:

    Berenn, Hepla, and Isilme. Berenn's are now totally healed. Hepla still has -2 Negative Levels, and Isilme has only -1.

    1st of Fireseek (582 CY)
    It starts to snow rather heavily, with temperatures ranging from lows of about 20 to highs about 40. Snow now coats everything, and travel is mostly paralyzed. Good thing you all are resting!

    Elrae learns Sunfire [He had a 60% chance to learn a spell, and I rolled a 59!]
    Vaddara learns Stoneskin.
    Isilme reads her books and relaxes, resting from her ordeals.
    Hepla is busy with Emyn.

    While Nirifel is around, and since you're all pretty well snowed in, Elrae will learn some spells from her. Sound Bubble and Otto's Soothing Vibrations. Vaddara also learns Alpha's Icebolt from Elrae. Isilme learns Dispel Silence.

    Rakk's mother is arranging for the stone giants to stay here and help rebuilding. She only wants a few in town at any one time. Rakk was thinking Isilme is building something as well, and as long as they aren't in town some of the giants could help. In town means Hommlet or Nulb. Kess wants exposure but trying to keep it slow so as to limit negatives. She's drawing flak for this move at home already, she doesn't need unnecessary complications.

    There will be 5 stone giants coming to town shortly. Two will stay in Hommlet, answering to Lord Rufus. The other three will work where Lord Berenn requires. They will stay until their debt is paid. That's the plan.

    Kess is officially there to make arrangements with Lord Rufus and Lord Berenn so no one is shocked when the giants arrive. And with Lady Hepla for a place for them to live without undue clashing with the 'small folk'. This is delicate work and giants aren't known for delicate. Once she's talked with everyone she needs to, she will return home to send the giants on their way. Rakk accompanies her as her guard. After that, Rakk will be training with his dad and helping the giants settle in. And help with human-giant interactions. He's gonna be busy for a while.

    Berenn will direct the stone giants to Warden's Station to start, with Guhk there, the garrison is already used to giants. They can finish the repairs to and fortify the walls. After that, Berenn will take them to Nulb.

    [DM OOC: OK, we are now two weeks AFTER the wedding. Wizards are studying spells. Everyone else is resting. I believe Berenn is now the only one healed completely.]

    Berenn has been spending all his time between Nulb and Warden's Station. When at Warden's Station he concentrates on the finishing the repairs to the station and he works hard at Nulb to help restore the village. He also spends as much time as possible with the griffons as possible. He puts the stuffed chimera in the Great Hall and the dragon's head with be hung above his chair there. He makes sure he remains extremely busy. He will also hold regular services in Nulb and Warden's Station.

    In a couple of weeks, he will fly to Verbobonc to find a surveyor to get an accounting of the resources in and around Nulb.

    Isilme will notice Lareth's depression, and will be spending some of her off time not studying to be with him. She's trying to raise his spirits.

    [Isilme OOC: I have to say, I am totally confused why a guy who has personally met his god, in their realm, and been selected by them to be the leader of the church is depressed....but he is only human.]

    [DM OOC: Why do stars kill themselves? Yeah, I know, drugs for lots of them. Still, having everything seeming to go your way is sometimes more of a cause for depression than diversity. Strange how the human psyche works. Anyway, taking Lareth in such a direction certainly makes him unique, as if he wasn't already. I can see him now, looking in the mirror and wondering when his REAL scars will heal....]

    [Rakk OOC: It's one of those, "But I don't DESERVE this! I'm scum. Why do they give me this? If they only knew what I'm really like, or what I did! How can they forgive me? I can't! Look what I did!" Etc. People have interesting reactions.]

    [Isilme OOC: I would like to think if GOD took his personal time to physically take me to heaven, talk to me, tell me I am OK, and then place me back on this earth to kick ****....I wouldn't have such a lame **** reaction. Just saying. It does not even seem potentially possible to me. But then again, there are stories of people talking to god personally and still lacking faith to do what is asked. Which is probably what I would work with if I played him.]

    [Rakk OOC: HEH. Yeah, I agree. But look at the story of Jonah. At this point, Lareth would be an interesting character to play. He has faith in his goddess and none in himself. All his earlier choices were wrong, how can he trust his future ones? The goddess trusts him, but he feels he is a broken vessel. Would be fun!]

    [Isilme OOC: of course...... within 10 minutes of taking over Lareth, I could just have him walk over to Isilme and have her remove all memory of his past evil actions from the point of his turn to evil and just before meeting the goddess. Boom! Instant badass!]

    A week after the wedding, Berenn travels to Nulb on Ra and gathers the town's people for some announcements. Once the town's gathered, he addresses the crowd:

    "Times have been tough since the battle with the temple left your town in ruins. Since this time you have worked hard to restore this town and have made significant progress toward this end. Restoration is only part of what needs to be done, the other part is making sure a tragedy such of this never occurs again. I am responsible for protecting this town and the surrounding area, but I can't do it alone. Therefore, every able male will be required to join a militia I am instituting and train with Icar twice a month. He will teach you to defend yourselves and your town. One man defending his home is worth ten hired men trying to take it! Together we will see this town to new glory and it will never again be reduced to ashes. I will be also holding regular church sessions for those who are followers of St. Cuthbert and those who wish to convert."

    Berenn starts taking a consensus of all the able bodied men in Nulb and working out training schedules with Icar.

    Two griffons come flying into Warden's Station, bearing the sergeant from Storm Keep along with the tailor who makes their equipment. They came to inspect Berenn's site, check on his griffons, and give him a hand with getting set up. Berenn spends time learning everything he can from the riders. Elmo and nine other men also listen to everything they can show us. The blacksmith he hired will pay attention to the techniques regarding making equipment as well.

    At this time the players have decided to start a NEW group, using previous characters, henchmen, etc., all tied to the main party somehow. This will give the main party time for more spell learning, handling rebuilding of Nulb/Moathouse, etc. This "officially" ends the Soul Gem adventure, as it wraps up the wedding, the recovery, and the rest. Stay tuned for the next installments from Ragnar's Greyhawk Campaign, the stories of...

    The Wild Bunch!

    Link to the Wild Bunch aventures:
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