CY 541, The Party begins Dark Tower from Judge’s Guild

The next module chosen was Dark Tower, a classic module from Paul Jaquays (now Jennell Jaquays) and Judge’s Guild back in 1979. It was one of the best of that period, and I ported it from the world of the City State over to Greyhawk, northeast of the Shield lands. I should mention that Judge’s Guild put out the similar titled Duck Tower for Runequest the next year, again with Jaquays art. Again, it was a fun module, though it had nothing to do with the plot of Dark Tower. Only the covers were similar.

There’s going to be a lot of spoilers in these session summaries, so if you want to play in it, stop reading now. It was a long set-up. It took me about 40 hours of work to make all the minis, populate the dungeon in Roll20, and completely understand the dungeon. I ran it poorly back in 1979, and I wanted to get it right this time. It looks like it will be at least as much fun as White Plume Mountain, City State of the Invincible Overlord, and the Halls of Tirian Teyzuren. I also realized that Lisri (our elf mage who had been reconstructed as human while in the Dying Earth) had survived all three of those modules. It would be interesting to see if he could make it through this one. Frankly, I doubt it!

The party had 17 days before they would reach Mitra’s Fist, so they stopped at Hallorn and bought more healing potions and other supplies. Then they headed on, catching up a large caravan the night before reaching Mitra’s Fist. They chatted with the caravaneers. The monk Virdonitii was exasperated by Ban’s behavior, while Vashalla (Cleric of Ishtar) and Eric (Cleric of Pelor) argued long into the night on the relative strengths of their two gods.

The next morning the party arrived in town, and the caravan made camp on the northern edge. The party met Cornelius, the ancient priest, and arranged to chat with him in the morning. Lisri casually snooped around the shrine and spotted a secret trap door, which he told the party about that evening at the Overlord’s Inn. They tried to talk to Beldar, but Alfonse took the drunk mage home, and Rufo seemed too nervous to chat and ran into the kitchen. They met Avvakris and were unimpressed by the fat greasy merchant. Ban went upstairs with Malicia seeking “jerky” and did not return. The rest of the party figured he was having too good a time and went to their rooms. Eric talked them out of searching the temple in the early morning.

The next day, Ban returned, but two levels lower and very tired. The party went to talk to Cornelius, who gave Eric the ring known as Mitra’s Favor. Cornelius also revealed the presence of the secret trap door to the party so Lisri went over and opened it up. The three acolytes were amazed — they had no idea it was there. Hors went down first and encountered Holomir Goldheart. The rest of the party came down and chatted with him. Eric finally put on the ring and was recognized as a friend of Mitra by Holomir, who was going to let the party into the Tower of Mitra when Ban mentioned they wanted to sell its holy relics. That stopped Holomir in his tracks. Meanwhile, Hors heard hammering from the tunnel and when he investigated, he found the tunnel caved in though he still heard pounding in the distance. They were trapped.

The party headed south and met ghouls, which Eric Turned but not before Raylene was paralyzed. Eric considered summoning George but ultimately just cast a heal, which did nothing. Raylene came out of it twenty minutes later. The party then grabbed 7,000 cp and took the lifesize silver statue of Mitra to Holomir, who had a squad of eight gnomes take it into the tower. Lisri opened the scroll they found and discovered a map, though they did not yet recognize where it might be. They did, however, discover a secret door and were able to continue southward.

The party then advanced down a tunnel sloping down to the next level and were jumped by four gargoyles, who did a good deal of damage to Lisri and enough damage to Beatrice that Wave could take her over. Beatrice then used the Cube of Force to push everyone out of the way and charged forward, attacking the gargoyles. Once they were down, she continued to charge forward, looking for glory. Eric cast Command but then said “Let go” (two words) and the spell failed. He then cast Hold Person and stopped Beatrice in her tracks. Ban tried to knock Wave out of Beatrice’s hands but failed, so Eric in desperation grabbed it away, taking 40 hp of damage from alignment shock in two rounds before dropping the weapon.

We ended there, with Beatrice planning to shape stone around the trident and bury it forever, and with others counseling patience.

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Discworld Stamp Catalogue

I stumbled across this while searching for images of golems, and spent the better part of an hour wandering through this silly and magnificent site. Have you ever wondered what stamps from Ankh Mor-Pork and its sister cities might look like? Wonder no longer, for here are stamps nearly without number, produced from 2004 to the present by the Cunning Artificer. Stop a while at the Discworld Stamp Catalogue. It is worth your time, particularly if you are one of those oldsters who remember collecting stamps of Ancient America and Antediluvian England.

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Navah, The Failure of the Glorious Guard

Belinda and Charlotte were left alone wandering through the dungeon. After encountering a Weeping Angel they fled as quickly as possible, though quite desperate. Luckily they found a small door in the wall that led to a Wee Folk home into which the Angel could not follow. Inside they met Margaretha and Franco, who fed them and showed them the tunnel out. Meanwhile, the others were having tea with the ancient gold dragon, which was brought by a giant Minotaur servant. Clamdor talked his way out of the situation and saved them with his conversational skills. Eventually the Minotaur showed them out when the Wee Folk told Clamdor they had to wee.

They re-examined the brass lock and chose to re-enter the dungeon. This time Erika was eaten by the dragon, and two of the Wee Folk (Belinda and Frieda) were killed by another Weeping Angel. Again all escaped, and this time Clamdor noticed that that the brass section of the steel circle lock was loose. Removing it, he found a slot behind it and used the brass section as a key, opening another door, this one leading down. They entered. The first creature they met was Sir Didymus, a fox terrier pouka mounted on a sheep dog named Allen. No one recognized Sir Didymus. Apparently Ambrosius had been replaced by Allen. They could not leave (a steel door had descended over the entrance) so they travelled on.

They found some treasure but then encountered a Kakerlak (giant cockroach). Clamdor and Sir Didymus attacked and then six more of the monsters emerged from various doors and joined the fight. Sir Didymus soon went unconscious and Allen retreated to where Alice cared for his master. Catalantes entered combat with great arrogance, and tried to squash one of the Kakerlak’s with a foot. He missed. Dorothy originally fired arrows at the creatures but their carapaces repelled her attacks, so she and Charlotte ran forward and grabbed the legs of the creatures in the front line, reducing their defenses against Clamdor and Catalantes. Clamdor received multiple minor wounds but received a major wound in his left arm, rendering his shield useless. Catalantes squished three of the foes before receiving a major wound to his hindquarters. A second wound to his head knocked him unconscious and the bugs proceeded to tear him to bits. Clamdor fought on until rendered useless by a critical hit to his abdomen. He also was killed and then Dorothy and Charlotte as they tried to flee. Allen grabbed Sir Didymus by the collar and dragged him away, followed by Alice. The Kakerlaks proceeded to eat their victims.

The players are now rolling new characters. They will probably take a more combat-oriented crew.

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541 CY, Rotting Willow

The players, having escaped from White Plume Mountain, returned to Critwall to purchase a Restoration for Raylene’s levels. Having done so, they recruited a new member, a monk named Ban Moondo who claimed that the ghost of Sir Quackers had directed him to join them at White Plume Mountain. After escaping, he journied to Critwall and joined them there. The party then engaged in shopping. Lisri purchased a scroll with several lower level spells. Others purchased mounts and rations. In the market, they ran into the ranger Faula Sha, who told them of a place they might be interested in.

“You may have heard of St. Mitra, a saint of Pelor with a temple in Sarresh in Reyhu. Well, Sarresh is where he is said to have died, but what few know is his birthplace, Mitra’s Rest, a small village on the edge of the Tangles in the Bandit Kingdoms. The Forest Edge Trail on which it lays was once a popular trade route, but few take it these days. Apparently, there was a great deal of unpleasantness out that way and few caravans are so desperate to take that route now. But Tarnora of Spring Hollow, a fellow ranger, was on a long patrol recently out that way and decided to explore. The rest of the hamlets on that route have long since shriveled away, but in Mitra’s Rest she found a small but flourishing community. There is even a Shrine to St. Mitra there. Well, she didn’t stay long but she did some digging around in the Critwall Archives afterwards, and apparently there was once a temple to St. Mitra there. In fact, it was the primary temple to him in the early days, but thought destroyed in some great cataclysm. If those ruins could be located, I’m sure the Church of Pelor would pay handsomely for any recovered artifacts. And that’s where you come in. Your party is one of the few who might brave that region, as it is deep in the Bandit Kingdoms. Certainly no other Knights of the Shielding would venture there. What do you think?”

The party assented and set off on the road to Bolarn, and then journeying north by the path around the Great Effluvial Swamp, where they stopped for a night at Rotting Willow, a dilapitated town that boasted a curiously upscale tavern. Jebiah, the owner, explained that he was an ex-adventurer who had made his fortune exploring the swamp, and that he and his henchmen had now settled here and invested in an inn. He felt this would be a success because it was on a shorter route to Grasen than going through Jissim. This had not yet come to pass, and the inn was conspicuously underused. For this reason he was very glad to see the party, though his wife Nancy was just about fed-up with his idiocy. She always had a thing for adventurers, and went all out to entice Lisri.

In their turn the party was very suspicious of too good a thing at the edge of a notorious swamp. Lisri would eat nothing at the inn. Eric was the only one who made friends there, and for 100 gp. bought a map to a Lizardman base from which Jebiah took the monolith whose broken parts now made the inn’s front stairs. Some of the party investigated the boardinghouse next door, thinking to stay there instead. The owner Gnormon was ecstatic and showed them his crappy rooms and even introduced them to their potential neighbors, Abigail Snodgrass (an elderly cat lady) and Jerack Caggle (a morbidly fat man unable to leave his bed).

Beatrice was not bothered by this but when she tried to sleep on the rooms in the common room as a bear, Jebiah’s Ma set into her with a rolling pin and proved to be a formidable character. Things got heated and Jebiah slammed a glowing longsword on the counter and ordered the players to back down. Some players went to the boarding house to sleep (most of whom gained lice for their efforts) and the others went to the stable where Jebiah indignantly charged them a gold piece each (he was pretty angry by then).

The next day the players ate at the inn, agreeing to put their arms in a corner behind their dining table. And that’s when a small child grabbed Raylene’s +2 Battleaxe and raced out of the inn. Raylene, Ban, and Eric ran in pursuit. Lisri and the others went to the stable where the mage cast Haste on all nearby. Lisri, Hors, and Beatrice then mounted and joined the pursuit.

Ban quickly took the lead and was catching up to the kid when the child vanished behind a tree and then was seen much further ahead. The party repeatedly caught up to the brat, who proved to be very slippery. Eric used his Wings of Flying and caught him several times, but failed to grab him each time. Eventually the mounted members caught up to the runners and they all pursued mounted. All were convinced this was no child, so they began trying to run him down with their war mounts. Again, they failed, and the child headed into the swamp, where they could not follow on horseback. They dismounted and Eric watched the horses while the rest pursued.

The child proved very elusive but the party got in a few good hits with either magic missiles or natural 20s. Eric was surprised when two more brats came flying by on the remaining horses of the party, still hasted. Fortunately the horses got mired in the swamp without injury and the children went flying. The horses returned to Eric, and the kids went running into the swamp.

Reaching a large tree, Ban was Confused by the lead child but Lisri finally put the kid down. The other two kids arrived and a battle royale was joined, during which Beatrice decided to leave and go back to the horses. Lisri went down under an electrical assault but Raylene grabbed him and dumped a health potion down him, bringing him back to 0 hit points. She gave him into the care of Hors, who administered another potion, and then all those still at the front attacked en masse. Beatrice began to return to help. In the end, the final “child” disappeared and the party searched the creature’s treefort, where they found treasure that included +1 leather armor and a scroll with three spells higher than Lisri could cast.

The party returned to inn very angry. They were sure Jebiah and the others were complicit in the theft and some harsh words were spoken. Lisri cast Identify just outside the inn and then tried to walk into the inn and see what was magical in there. Jebiah was an old hand though, and ordered the mage to leave but not before Lisri noted the magic sword at Jakaro’s side. The party stayed at the boarding house across the street another night so they could Bless the ground where they had buried the bones of the children’s previous victims. They insulted Ma by Creating Food and Drink and eating it in the inn, and Beatrice started casting a spell in the corner and only stopped when surrounded by Jebiah and his followers. The druid changed to a Swift and flew out. Jakaro took a swing at the bird, but missed. The party then headed out on the trail for Grasen.

This adventure, by the way, is from Dungeon magazine #5.

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Demographics of Critwall, Greyhawk

Whenever the players reach a new town, I generate the population of that town using a program written by my wife. There are few high level people in the Shield Lands, even in the cities. There are a good number of warriors (mostly employed as knights, town guards, and the like), a few rangers, mages, and clerics. The civilian population also have levels, so there are more high level farmers and woodsmen than mage. And the players, now 8th & 9th level, are usually the highest levels around. I’ve told them that several times, but they finally got it tonight when Eric sought out Kladath the Wise, Priest of Pelor in Critwall. He had hoped to gain some aid from the church for their next adventure and was appalled to find that not only was Kladath only 3rd level, but also the church of Pelor had no money. “We have followed your example, oh lord,” explained Kladath. “Everything we have goes to the poor.” And indeed, Eric is a truly glowing example of clericdom and gave freely to everyone. The burden of leadership fell heavily on his shoulders that day as he instructed Kladath to save 10% of the church’s take for the creation of a temple of Pelor. “20%,” whispered Ban. “30% whispered Beatrice. He ignored his friends but went away with an understanding of his situation.

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541 CY, Farewell to White Plume Mountain

Starting in a kayak room, Lisri examined the fish in the water and Kelly tested its temperature. Then Lisri put a kayak in the river and timed its return (1.5 minutes). The party decided to rest (despite the DMs hints that this was a bad idea). On the other end of the river, the eight fighters waited for the rest of the kayaks to show up. And waited, and waited.

As the rested, Lisri and Hors took the first watch. Twenty minutes later, an Invisible Stalker tore into Bearatrice, doing massive damage. Lisri cast Otto’s Soothing Vibrations (his old standby) but the stalker’s magic resistance nullified its effect. In the meantime, the party was disabled for one round while the creature again tore into Bearatrice. After Lisri stopped, the party attacked. Eric tried grappling first (fail, and grappling is always painful when using the grappling rules in the DMG), then tried to hit it with a kayak (fail, nonproficient weapon). When it was Bearatrice’s turn, she went berserk and tore the stalker to bits.

The party returned to sleep and were attacked by two Bugbears, which they easily defeated. They decided to return to the stairwell to sleep, and made a variety of rolls to make it through the slippery room.

When they crossed the pit, they noted that the Sphinx was gone. They put on their armor and advanced, to be met by Nix and Nox. The Efreeti killed Kelly and sorely wounded the others before being put down. Keraptis ordered Bix and Box, Dox and Dix, and Kix and Kox to attack, but the party fled, carrying Kelly’s body.

Once outside, they headed for the Dead Gnoll’s Eyesocket. Before reaching there, they met a warband of 32 Wood Elves with a Giant Lynx. When the party mentioned the giant owl in the area, the elves identified it as “Fuzzy,” a great friend of the elves. The Elves agreed to escort the heroes to Reyneld, stopping first at the Socket. In the morning, Nelerion questioned Lisri and ultimately identified him as his old friend from the woods, now horribly maimed by the loss of his ears and his human appearance. They chatted for a time, and Nelerion left crying bitter tears for his lost friend.

The party continued until nearly at Reyneld, where they encountered a Flan nomadic encampment. The elves stayed and joined the celebration but ordered the party off, as Kelly’s body was bloating despite the Purify Food and Drink that Eric had cast on it.

Eric cast Speak with the Dead, asking Kelly, “Did you ever steal anything from us?”

“Hmm,” replied Kelly. “Let me think. No, no, I didn’t.”

“Do you wish to return to your mortal coil?”

“Hmm. That’s a lot of money. Whatever you want to do.”

They planned to bury Kelly (it was a lot of money, 8000 gp to Restore). But first, Eric cast Speak with the Dead one last time.

“What the hell do you guys want?” asked Kelly. “Goddamit I was resting!”

“Do you wish to be restored?”

“Yes, bury me!”

“Do you have a last will?”

“No, take whatever the hell you want,” replied the corpse.

So they buried him and went to Critwall to Restore Raylene’s lost levels.

This brought to an end the adventure of White Plume Mountain, so the DM shared the Jason Thompson cartoon of the adventure, and asked if they wished to continue at this level or start over at 1st level. The party chose to continue, so a new rule was added that characters who died could take a new character who would be no higher than 7th level from now on. The party was also asked to suggest the next module or campaign to be played. It is yet to be resolved, though “To Find a King” and “Mordenkainen’s Fantastic Adventure” have been suggested.

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CY 541, More Fun at White Plume Mountain

The party recoiled to the rear of the room and the black pudding advanced. It attacked Kelly, but Beatrice threw herself in its path and took the hit instead. The rest of the party did an end-run around the pudding and fled. Eric and Raylene went one way, the rest of the party headed out. Eric then leapt the pudding and followed them. Raylene used her Ring of Flying to soar over the pudding, pick up Eric and fly with him to the exit. Herdeveer (Hors D’Oeuvres), a bold knight who had come to join them, was a bit bemused, but followed. Once past the Sphinx, they all rested and healed at the stairs.

Out of oil to fight the puddings, they decided to journey to Reyneld and do some shopping. They went to the Socket and recovered their mounts, and then journeyed to the town without incident. They purchased oil and other items, but were unable to hire any new porters. The party had acquired an unhealthy reputation regarding their employees. They returned to the Socket and left their teamsters and mounts and travelled on. As they approached the mountain, they were jumped by six Yeti. Most of the party was stunned for three rounds by the Yeti’s burning glances, but Lisri made his save and cast Otto’s Soothing Vibrations. As he gently sang a rendition of “Hey Jude,” he gained some time for the party to recover. A few Yeti were not affected and they tore into the party, killing Sarionlyn and wounding Raylene. The one attacking Lisri thankfully missed. Beatrice recovered and turned into a bear. Bearatrice then did battle with the one attacking Raylene while Eric slammed Whelm on the ground and stunned several of the Yeti. As the party recovered, they began to gain the upper hand, and eventually slew all of their attackers. They returned to the stairwell and healed.

Once healed, they returned to the Sphinx, who asked them,

“The first letter a question eternally pending.
The second forms a line never ending.
The third: What I am called, but never me.
The fourth: Upon which a ball percheth for thee.
The fifth: What heaven & hell in common hold.
But, alas, the rub: This riddling grows old.”

“Youth!” cried out Raylene, and they passed once more into the dungeon. They crawled through the flooded pit trap, then stuffed their armor into the Handy Haversack and passed the heated corridor. They then began plotting what to do in the slippery room. Kelly was recruited to surf a door through the room, but the door was too small and fell into the pit. Eric and Raylene had a rope around the thief but failed their strength roll and were pulled to the edge of room by the thief’s weight and were forced to let him go lest they be pulled in as well. After his fall, Kelly was pulled from the pit but was diseased. Eric began the spell Cure Disease, but that took ten minutes to cast and Kelly only had four rounds to live. The party kept him alive by pouring one healing potion into him after another. It took three, but they kept him alive long enough for the Cure Disease spell to take effect. It would take him another week to fully recover, however.

Talking through their plans, they were assaulted by two gargoyles. Bearatrice tried to attack but could do nothing, and the gargoyles foolishly boasted that the party could not harm them because of their stony skin. Raylene’s +2 Axe, Kelly’s +3 Shortsword, Hors D’Oeuvres +1 Sword, and Lisri’s Magic Missiles soon proved them wrong. The party tossed the broken bits into the slippery room as a beginning effort to fill the pits.

They decided to rest in the ghoul’s secret room, though I can’t imagine why. They had already been attacked there by multiple black puddings, but this time they posted guards outside the room. Hors D’Oeuvres and Lisri went first, and made short work of Reginald and Alfredo, the two surprised Ogres who stumbled upon them. Their bodies were piled in a corner for the pits.

Next an invisible foe attacked, knocking Lisri unconscious. Hors grabbed the mage and retreated into the secret room, followed by the monster, which began to wreak havoc in there. Hors tossed the mage into the far corner near Beatrice, giving him six more points of damage. They poured a healing potion down him at -9 and then Beatrice healed him as well. They did little against the invisible stalker until Beatrice cast Fairie Fire, and then they went to town. Lisri Hasted the party and the stalker fumbled, giving Kelly an opportunity to backstab. It went down fast. Kelly cut off what he believes to be an invisible tentacle and put it into his haversack.

Raylene and Beatrice then went on guard, and were attacked by two more gargoyles, which they defeated. They decided to hide in the secret room with the rest, and that was when the wight attacked, dropping Raylene a level before Eric was able to turn it. It was forced into a corner and Raylene attacked it with silver arrows. Trapped, it clawed her again and dropped her another level. Eric continued his Turn and it retreated once more. This time it fled through the door.

The party had had enough, and returned to the stairwell to heal. The next day, they returned to the Sphinx, who asked:

“Cloth’d in yellow, red, and green,
I prate before the King and Queen;
Of neither house nor land possess’d,
By lords and knights I am caress’d.
What am I?”

This was a toughy, and after several tries the players were forced to resort to INT rolls. “A parrot!” shouted Lisri, and they passed within once more.

They followed what was by now standard procedure to reach the slippery room. The party now built a dock into the room by removing the door and nailing it down in the corridor and extending it into the room. From the dock, Beatrice used Wave’s Cube of Force to walk through the room in reconnaissance. The Cube was just a little short to go easily over the pit, so Beatrice attacked it at an angle. It was delicate work and more than once Beatrice found the Cube spinning with the two tips on either side of the pit. He got it moving again both times, and learned that the door on the other side was wood and that the whole room was slippery. He barely made it back.

Next Lisri cast Otto’s Sure-footed Shuffle and then tore the twenty-foot ladder from his Robe of Useful Items. Tying it to the dock, Hors and Kelly climbed aboard and began building a raft from three doors from other locations in the dungeon. Many DEX rolls were needed to stay on the gyrating ladder, though the Shuffle helped. Several STR rolls were needed for Hors and Kelly to grab each other and stop from falling, but eventually the raft was built and Kelly and Hors lay prone on it and set sail, with Eric and Raylene paying out rope as they went. The raft bounced around the room but went over both pits and reach the door. It then went past the door and through the illusory wall at the other end, but bounced back and Hors successfully jumped into the far hallway and secured the other end of the raft with another rope. The party now had a ferry across the room and after Kelly disembarked, they pulled it back to the other side and the rest of the party, with a great sigh of relief, finally made it past the slippery room.

They then looked through two doors. The first was the tiered room, which they immediately shut. The second was the kayak room, and there they ended the evening. Lisri looked forward to a thrilling kayak ride next week.

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Navah: The Missing Dryad

We began a new campaign, this one based in Faerie. The Glorious Guard, a knightly order led by the Wee Folk, called for volunteers to help at Weikdeor, a pouka village. The local squad of the Guard there is led by Belinda the Healer and consists of Alice (Seer), Charlotte (Acrobat), Dorothy (Ranger), Erika (Burglar), and Frieda (Fisher). They follow the three tenets of the Guard, which are:

1. Struggle for the Greatest Good
2. Rely on Wisdom before Strength of Arms
3. Respect all.

A Map of Faerie (built with map assets purchased from https://fantasymapsymbols.com/)

From the Jeweled Caverns came Clamdor the Gnome, always willing to help, and from the Draco Mountains came a bemused Gryphon calling himself Catlantes. There was some initial give and take between Catlantes and Belinda, resulting in the gryphon receiving a few demerits, but ultimately he allowed that he would follow them, for now. As the evening progressed, he continued to insist that he had not given his word to do anything and was therefore not bound by the Gryphon code of honor, but the others increasingly did not believe him.

Belinda explained that Zumi, the Dryad of the Silver Forest, had gone missing and that the forest was turning dark and dismal as a result. The evil things stirring there could well stop the trade between the Jeweled Caverns and Kragsted and the Golden Valley. The Guard was resolved to find her and return her safely to the Forest.

Clamdor began by questioning the locals, earning several merits from the Guard. He first spoke with Melinda the Butterfly Pouka, who told them she last saw Zumi in the Glade of Flowers. Melinda was of little help beyond that, and her silly head began to hurt from Clamdor’s explanation of mental illness and the possibility that Zumi might be depressed about something. She explained that Zumi’s enemies were the usual — goblins, ghasts, ghouls, gnoles, giants, and ghosts. Clamdor speculated on the possibility that the letter G was the mastermind behind the abduction. Catlantes spoke to Barry the Bear, who had to be woken from sleep and was even less help than Melinda. Setting off for the glade, they found a group of Pixies too terrified to pull their normal pranks, from whom they learned that goblins and giant spiders were moving into the forest.

With Catlantes in the lead, they looked for goblins and found three giant spiders who attacked with surprise. Fortunately they attacked the largest targets, so one attacked Clamdor and two went after Catlantes. Catlantes was not a great fighter and was bitten twice, but fortunately his mass and endurance helped him resist the poison. Clamdor was also bitten though he was a better fighter, but his gleaming Gnomish armor and shield (+2) easily repelled the assault. Clamdor could do little in return to the spiders, giving them only minor wounds. Dorothy shot arrows to even less effect, usually not even penetrating their skin. Catlantes did better, especially after Belinda put one of the spiders to sleep. When he hit, he did enormous damage, smashing limbs and heads, and the party soon defeated all three spiders.

After searching and finding nothing, they moved on, this time taking a group of twelve goblins by surprise. The goblins were led by a mage, so Catlantes swooped down and splattered the mage’s brains over the neighboring countryside. The rest of the goblins fled, except for the one put to sleep by Belinda. Erika and Frieda almost got run over but managed to dodge aside. Catlantes pinned the legs of the sleeping goblin, breaking them as he did so. The goblin (named Fartwallow) awoke in great fear, but Clamdor spoke to him in Goblin and Belinda healed him. Catlantes kept him in place with a solitary claw pinning his foot to the ground. They learned that Cosmic SpaceBrain (the Goblin mage) had led them to the forest, telling them that the great leader, Lord Makkon, had told him it was safe.

They let the goblin go and flew on Catlantes’s back to Makkon’s Keep. The Guard undertook to open the castle gate using one of the Wee Folk’s many tunnels, but the bar was far too heavy for them. Catlantes flew over the walls and lifted the bar for them, and then flew back outside, waiting for them to open the gate. Again, it was too heavy, so the rest of the Wee Folk used the tunnel and Clamdor pulled open the gate.

Inside they found the keep empty and apparently long abandoned. They searched and found only a dead mage, so old that his body turned to powder when touched. A steel ring rolled away and Clamdor grabbed it. Belinda found that it was magic, though she could not determine what type. Moving outside again, they discovered a enormous stone giant leaning against one of the walls and sleeping. They moved around him to the great hall and explored, eventually finding a curious steel wall that when approached with the ring, revealed the following sight.

“Before you is a patterned steel wall, otherwise featureless. But as the ring comes within ten feet of it, a brass design becomes visible about four feet off the floor. Five holes are around it, and a circular slot around the object indicates it is meant to be turned. The five holes fit the thumb and fingers of a human hand.”

Clamdor and Erika determined that there was some sort of mechanism in the holes, probably designed to chop objects inserted in them. Clamdor probed it with the pencil he had found. Returning to the dining hall, Clamdoor used the forks, knives, and spoons there to fashion a hand of silver. When he inserted it into the holes, there was a clang of the mechanism, but he could then turn it. He turned it to the right and a secret door opened in the steel wall to the right. The party entered and after they had gone a short ways, a wall slammed shut behind them. Continuing, Clamdor fell down a pit trap and would have received a major wound except that gnomes tended to bounce when they fall. He only got a minor wound, but they then had to figure out how to get him out, since Catlantes had no hands and the Guard were so small. The guard let down a thread, to which the gnome attached his rope, and they pulled up the rope until Catlantes could grab it in his beak and pull up Clamdor.

They continued on and Erika identified a pressure plate setting off another trap. Clamdor rendered it safe with the pencil and he and Erika advanced. Another wall slammed down behind them and they were dumped unceremoniously down a long chute. Clamdor’s lantern was broken and they were greeted by very aged voice speaking in Ault Wyrmish (Dragon), which asked if they were lunch. Clamdor explained in his broken Wyrmish that no, he was a Luck Dragon and was just visiting.

Above the party tried to get through the wall unsuccessfully, and Catlantes tore up the pressure plate to look beneath it. He set off the arrow trap and was hit by three of them, but they were merely minor wounds. After resting eight hours, they moved on, encountered more traps and more walls. Eventually, Catlantes, Dorothy, and Frieda were dumped down a similar chute near Clamdor and Erika. Hearing the enormous growl of the dragon, Catlantes was understandably upset and desperately tried to claw his way back up the chute.

Meanwhile, Belinda and Charlotte continued to wander the tunnels, finding more traps and bedevilments, including a giant rotating turntable making navigation even more difficult.

And there we ended for the night.

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CY 541, The Death of Nathal

The party spent nine days in Critwall while the sage they hired researched ways to kill a vampire. 900 gp later, they had their advice. During that time, Lisri cast a Detect Magic on Kumia’s necklace (not magic).

Lisri and Nathal had also copied their spell books. The ink for the Write spell is 200 gp per bottle, and we set the rule that spells take 1 page per level of spell to write, and 1 bottle of ink can write 10 pages. The duplicate spellbooks went into Kelly’s Handy Haversack, along with Snarla’s spellbook, Jengie’s spellbook, and Schizzel’s spellbook, all captured from various foes.

The party sold some dragon claws, which according to a D&D reddit were worth 50 gp each.

They sought an audience with Sir Gerald of Critwall, Knight Commander of the Shield Lands, who assured them that they had no responsibility to return Wave and Whelm to their previous owners, though of course they could do so if they wished. Eric and Raylene were made Knights of the Realm, Beatrice and Nathal were made Honorary Knights of the Realm, and Kelly and Lisri were named as Honored Heroes.

The party then hired three new porters and two new teamsters and travelled back to White Plume Mountain, a forty-day journey.

The porters were Glesim Normanton (a braggart but a very trusting soul), Canrick Mellenke (a braggart and conniving man, who often shifted his load to Glesim), and Sarionlyn Lua (a woman and the strongest of the three). The two teamsters were Rhyddeas Vigye and Nerthnydd Beilleres. Rhyddeas and Nerthnydd were left with the animals at the Dead Gnoll’s Eyesocket, while the others went on to the Mountain. It should be noted that for a change, all five of the hirelings are courageous.

Canrick was the first to die, eaten by a Black Pudding that attacked the party from the rear. Glesim took fright and ran down the fiery corridor, but sustained no damage. Eric called for him to return, but he delayed until he heard something ominous behind him (the ghouls) and then ran back. Eric cast Resist Fire on everyone but the porters and the party advanced forward. Eric then Turned the ghouls to dust, but not before several party members recognized their old colleague Havic among the undead. Lisri summoned a pack of hunting dogs, but they were of little help. They found 1,000 cp, 1,000 sp, and two scroll cases, which they left unopened but put in Lisri’s pack.

Raylene entered the next room, fell on her butt, slid across the floor, and bounced back to the door (2/6 chance). Nathal then cast Levitation and Kelly climbed on his back. They floated off the floor and into the room, but the spell then failed and they slid into the pit (failed the 2/6 roll). Nathal had a rope tied around him and they pulled him back. Kelly made his DEX/2 roll to keep ahold of Nathal and was also retrieved. But Nathal had caught a virulent disease and died 4 rounds later, as no one had a cure.

The party pulled his body into a secret room and tried to rest and regain spells. Another black pudding slipped under the door but Raylene spotted it in time. Kelly tossed Nathal’s body into the pudding to slow it down (a sad fate for an honorary Knight of the Realm!). Then Raylene and Kelly chopped at it, creating two more puddings. Lisri used Magic Missile while Eric stunned it with Whelm, then Lisri cast Magic Mirror and Rope Trick. Lisri, Kelly, and Sarionlyn scuttled up. Down below, Eric threw oil which in the very small room gave splash damage to everyone but did kill one of the puddings. Lisri dropped antoher two flasks from above, which killed a second but also immolated Glesim. Beatrice and Raylene climbed the rope, and Lisri aimed two more flasks at the center of the room, as the pudding was now fighting Eric. The pudding died and Eric took a bit more damage, but as his armor class was the best in the party, the pudding never touched him.

Unfortunately, our next game will begin with the party drained of oil and most of their spells, and with another black pudding seeping under the door.

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Navah: The Bust of Lady Livia

The party returned to Taybor and went to sleep. In the middle of the night Kjarik and Strassvy went missing. Finnoula spent the next six days trying to find her comrades.

Kjarik went to the Elvish palace of the land of Saricia, where he was met by Hartalbus, Sardon, and Dirk. Dirk took him to Queen Latillidia’s private chamber, where the Queen marvelled at his “arm bumps” and wondered how he got that way. After a false start where Kjarik insulted the queen and risked death, he revealed he was a bit of an outlaw, which the Queen found most attractive. She showed him a series of her secret rooms in the palace, ending in the stunning garden, where Dirk shuffled the visitor off to see the missing bust of Lady Livia, which they believed stolen by either the gnomes or the beastmen.

Strassvy found himself in the center of Redtown, a village of Poukas. Mayor Sean recruited him to seek the bust of Lady Livia, stolen by either the Gnomes or the Elves.

As the story of the missing mages spread across town, Finnoula was eventually approached by an old woman who claimed they had been stolen away to the Golden Valley, which she had visited as a youth. She named Therrean Dream Powder as a path that Valley, and Finnoula purchased and partook of it. Finnoula found herself in a huge cave illumined by sparkling gems and pale luminescent roses that clung to the walls. A squad of ugly little men armed with crossbows with wicked jagged bolts surrounded her but the gnomish knight Clamdor escorted her to the Gnome King. His majesty recruited her to seek their missing bust of Lady Livia, and Clamdor accompanied her.

On the road, the companions met again and discussed their various adventures. They spotted a sneaky man in the woods, but failed to catch or follow him, and so set off down the road. At a bridge crossing rapids, they were challenged by Fifi de la Feces, a talking pile of poodle poo. Clamdor addressed her with respect but Kjarik refused to put up with this silliness and was thrown three times on his backside. At last his insults inflamed the poo and she caused him to slip over the edge of the bridge. He fell forty feet onto the rocks below, taking a major wound that incapacitated him. Repenting of her anger, Fifi flung herself off the bridge and onto the downed foe, whom she attempted to heal. She failed her roll and had to wait until Kjarik’s friends helped pull him up again. She rode the senseless Kjarik’s head up, resulting in various comments for Kjarik to “take a bath” for the rest of the evening.

Moving on, they encountered an Elvish prince named Glimwerik and his wolf comrade Mooncaller. They failed to impress Glimwerik, so he did not join them. Instead, they went on and found an old woman churning in front of her cottage. She told them she had seen the shady man and indicated the path he had taken. Before they left, she offered them some of the ice cream she had been making. Kjarik assented and was quickly swallowed by the Ice-Cream Angler as it surfaced from the ground. The earth elemental followed, and then Strassvy sent Farticus into the beast to surround Kjarik’s head and provide him with air. Finnoula was then swallowed and rendered incapable from shock, but her flameblade met the air elemental around Kjarik’s head and exploded. Kjarik was knocked unconscious, and the Ice-Cream Angler howled in pain. Kjarik and the earth elemental were expelled from its mouth and Finnoula from its other end, and the great beast tunnelled back under the earth.

The party rested and healed again, then followed the path the old woman had indicated, only to find that it led nowhere. They changed direction and encountered a small strange headless beast. Clamdor addressed it with diplomacy at first but a slip of the tongue caused it to split into an enormous slobbering mouth and attacked. It went for Kjarik first of course, but Finnoula put it down with two mighty blows.

They healed and rested, and were joined by Trevetal the Bard. He began to sing a song but the shady man appeared and stopped him. The shady man identified himself as Feryin the Demonhunter and explained that Trevetal had turned a demon-summoning scroll into his latest song, which had brought the cat-demon (a Sevrak) to Faerie. Once dead, the Sevrak’s spells were undone and the gnomes and poukas realized that they had never had a bust of Lady Livia and no desire to have one. The party returned the bust to Queen Latillidia who was consoling herself with a hot fudge sundae. Then they returned to their beds and awoke the next morning. It had all been just a dream! “A dream of extraordinary magnitude,” agreed the mole named Clamdor.

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