1840: The Pursuit of Springheel Jack

Things went poorly in the hunt for Springheel Jack from the very start. The first team was stopped and questioned by policeman John Bourne as they walked through Hampstead. Rango turned aggressive and tried to get away, but was knocked down with a billy club to the chest. The others picked him up and all were marched to the jail. Tavish suddenly decided to put away his Claidheamh Mòr (his player heard about team 1, though he did not). After this happened, the second team heard a scream at the north side of town and ran to it. They found one of the matrons in the snow so Charles went to aid her. She transformed into Springheel Jack and ripped his guts open with razor sharp claws. Charlotte was quick enough to get off a shot before Jack jumped away, but the others were too slow and Tavish was still trying to catch up.

They took Charles to the police station where James went to work on him. Charles died of blood loss in mid-surgery. A second policeman, Jason Wick, also showed up. While the police were distracted, Tavish slipped away. Peterson had already made himself scarce. Tavish then encountered Jack by himself, and received wounds to the chest and leg. Jack fumbled during his last jump and injured himself in his fall, giving Tavish time to crawl away. Tavish managed to stay with one of the other matrons that night. He left early in the morning and crawled through town looking for the carriage, but got lost and ended up on the moors. There he found his magic worked again, but fumbled and turned himself into a duck. Peterson followed his bloody trail and recovered his equipment, with which he went to Donald’s house. He was pursued by a limping duck, which he tried to drive away. Peterson decided to pocket Tavish’s money, since he would not need it now.

In the morning, Donald got everyone released. Most returned to his mansion, but Charlotte and Tadhg went to the Eumenides Club while Rango and James went to a library to research the case. Tavish lurked outside Donald’s mansion, trying to get in.

The next day, Rango and James returned to the library, while Charlotte and Tadhg went to Hampstead. When they returned to London, a desperate duck flew after them and managed to land on top of the coach. Tavish suddenly returned to human form and, now naked, managed to get the attention of his friends and get into the coach.

On the third night, the club members returned to Donald and took him and Raguhbir out to the moors where they hoped to prove the efficacy of their magic. Rango healed Tavish and at that same time, Jack ambushed them, injured Rango, and then jumped away. Tavish healed Rango and both mages were forced to wait 15 minutes to heal while Donald led the party in pursuit. Donald and Raguhbir were in the lead but went the wrong way, so after the rest had loaded their weapons, Donald and his servant were forced to catch up. Together they went through the town where the two policemen again connected with them.

Jack attacked again and gutted Jason Wick, then leapt away after taking a few more wounds. Most reloaded but Donald and Raguhbir ran after him. In the woods, he attacked and tore Donald’s left foot off, but the others had by then caught up and again drove him off. After James gave attention to Donald, Raguhbir gathered up the injured man and took him away.

Tavish and Rango had by this time reached the town, but stayed there rather than following the rest of the group. They were eventually joined by Donald and his servant.

Jack attacked one final time. This time Tadhg went down with a leg wound and could not pursue. That left only John, James, and Charlotte to pursue.

They followed Jack to an abandoned boathouse where they were forced to climb onto the roof and descend through the hole in the roof. They were not skilled climbers and both John and James fell on their heads, bringing the unsecured rope down with them. Charlotte looked around with her light and found Jack in a hole in the ground, apparently resting. They discussed arresting him, but the policeman urged them to kill the thing so they fired into the hole. Jack then stirred, giggled, and began to crawl towards them. They shot again, this time both scoring critical hits. Jack stopped moving, though they were still wary until John poked him with his billy club. Charlotte picked the lock to the lake and they took the body and its effects to the nearest house, where the policeman gained entrance so they could warm themselves. Eventually all found themselves back at Donald’s house, where he declared the end to the Phantom Club and left its effects to the Eumenides Club to continue the fight.

The team returned to London and recovered, with several going to the library and doing research on Grahamthorpe. They discovered it was called Grimthorpe in the Domesday Book, and that the Lamb was originally the Sign of the Sacrificial Lamb. They pondered on their new information.

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1840: Driven from Grahamthorpe

The party was joined by Archie and Rango, who had walked in from Brighton. Together they went to the Lamb, which was dark and closed up tight. Charlotte picked the lock and they entered, but found no one there. They searched for a basement and found a trapdoor behind the bar that led down to a wine cellar and beer storage. Nothing else was found.

From there they roamed the town looking for Bob, but found no one up anywhere in town. They went down to the beach, and then west to the cliffs of Beachy Head, where they again found nothing.

In the morning they returned to the Graham Arms and questioned the barman, Bill Forax, who knew nothing. They got about three hours sleep and returned to the Lamb, where they questioned Connor Breathnach, the tavern keeper. Connor kept mum until Rango started using Control Person, at which point he started to talk about the Old Oak as where Bob was taken. At this, the five locals in the bar jumped up and yelled at Connor what he was about. A bar fight erupted. Rango cast Fatigue at the two men on the right, but with his Shakti of 17, he would need to roll a 1 to overcome their combined Shakti of 16. He failed, both men jumped him. A punch to his head laid Rango out for the rest of the fight.

Archie proved a better man, drawing his sword cane and stabbing the leftmost man through the heart. James and Charlotte exchanged blows with the other two. Tavish came up the middle and stood over Rango in defense. He fought three men in the next round but escaped serious injury. Archie put down a second foe, and then Tavish was joined by the others. With two locals down and two dead, the fifth man retreated and surrendered. He was the biggest and Tavish made the mistake of grabbing his lapel and letting his great claymore drop its tip on the ground. The big man tried to run, but the investigators put him down, hard.

With that, they began to question Connor more thoroughly. James went to work on Rango’s head, and Rango regained consciousness, though he was still woozy. Tavish did not use Sorcery to heal him, and in fact forgot to do so until they were back in London. Fortunately, Rango’s magic was holding, and Connor still trusted them. That was unfortunate for Connor, for when he started to talk about the Oak again, great roots burst through the inn’s dirt floor and ripped him apart.

The party fled, making for the beach and the lifeboat they had seen there the night before. Roots and tendrils pursued them, and several times they had to stop and rescue an investigator being pulled under by the roots. They avoided serious injury until Archie was pulled down and pulled apart. The body was pulled down so violently that the head remained on the surface, blinking once at his former comrades before the end.

Archie’s decapitation was admirably concocted by his player. I thought it added a lot of drama to the moment.

Then they made the beach and launched the boat, heading to sea and then rowing west to Brighton, where they took a coach back to London. They debriefed with their employer but could not learn more about him before he slipped from the club.

When Tavish realized his Sorcery wouldn’t work in London, he and Rango convinced the others to return to Brighton, and then heading east towards Grahamthorpe. Tavish tested his powers using Detect Life, and was rewarded by sensing the tree reaching towards him. The party ran again, unable to stop for Sorcery. “Why did we do this?” asked James, “This was really stupid!”

A brutish man named Tadhg joined them in Brighton, investigating Archie’s death. Ultimately he resolved to join them for a time. Back to London they went, and Rango recovered after two more weeks. They then received a letter from the Phantom Club at Harrow on the Hill, a request for aid in finding a supernatural villain known as Spring-Heeled Jack. They accepted, and a day later joined the five members of that club near Hampstead Heath for the hunt. The groups divided into two teams:

  1. Rango, James, Donald, William, and Raghubir.
  2. Charlotte, Tavish, Peterson, Tadhg, and Dr. Godfrey

And there we paused for the night.

To my mind, the players are having a problem understanding the nature of the game they are in now. For quite a while they’ve been playing sword and sorcery style games where they are very skilled and have little to fear from most foes. I had hoped that their encounters with the Thunder Lizards and other creatures of the Jungle of Kimmhay would make them more cautious, but they are still in hack and slash mode, despite being in 1840, when weaponry is extremely limited. Part of it may also be a lack of practice in Call of Cthulhu campaigns. At no time did they engage in the sort of investigation those types of campaigns demanded. Library research, review of newspaper accounts and parish records, and the like were completely ignored, despite their orders to investigate (not eliminate) the threat. Library research is key to COC style campaigns. Of course, in real life, such clues are rarely forthcoming, but it is the way that COC type games level the playing field a bit, rather like magic items in D&D style games. Some of the players even commented that the Oak was too powerful, which of course was the whole point to the adventure. The heroes in these games not expected to eliminate the horrors they face, but only to slow or temporarily halt their atrocities. The horrors always return. Cthulhu may sleep a bit longer, but that is the best to be hoped for. Bulling ahead rendered several scenes and maps I had prepared as pointless and shortened the adventure substantially, which was regrettable.

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Navah: The End of the Quest

Kang clutched Brennit to his chest, along with the knife on Brennit’s throat. The other four adventurers — Kenshin, Lizbetta, Even, and Tanaya — walked into the pool and disappeared.

They reappeared in a cloudy pastel nowhere, with no sign of where they had come from. For a timeless time, they wandered and wondered what they would do. Eventually a very tall bird with blue hood and even bluer wings appeared from the mist and tilted its head at them.

“Um…” started Even, and the bird focussed in on him. Suddenly Even got a bit nervous and wondered, “What would Mama Murphy think of this?” And from the mist, emerged ten Mama Murphys, each four meters tall.

“Uh…” started Kenshin, just as the Mamas attacked. “Hey!” And then all four of them were down with major wounds to arms, legs, and in one case, two abdomenal strikes. They were helpless. The Mamas retreated into the mists and the bird drew closer. It sensed something… something very old… something that should not be there.

Khas-luhs-sis the Tchok-Tchok pried open Lizbetta’s backpack and teased out a large egg swirling with radiant colors. It was the artifact of the Malanga family, the sign of the treaty between the Tchok-Tchok and the Paoren, the last remnant of Shakeel Malanga. “Well,” he sighed, “that’s unexpected… and inconvenient.” He moved among the bleeding and unconscious adventurers, healing their wounds.

When they revived, Kenshin, Even, and Tanaya made an effort to pull some information from the bird. They only succeeded in annoying it.

“I taught you magic, so many years ago,” he sighed. “You made me a god, but gave me an ibis head and human arms. At least you made me the god of magic.” He started to become angry. “But your nature ended the magic, and closed the Earth to us, as you built your successors, the machines.”

“Why did you pick smoke and stink, rather than the green of the green green Earth?” he shouted, “Why did you destroy a planet, kill so many creatures, and create a hellish life for yourselves? We could see it coming, but we could not stop it, and eventually we could do nothing for you, or for our mother planet. Now enslaved by your machines, you have found magic again, and US!”

“You killed as many as you could,” he snarled, “or your machine masters did, which is the same thing. And I see you will do this time and time again, seeking our homes and destroying them. I deserve my solitude, my exile. I empowered you, our eternal foe. But I will teach you no more. I only hope that someday you tame yourselves, and make you something worthy. Maybe your machines will make you do that, but I doubt it.”

Even spoke up, “Uh… could you please repeat that? I missed about half of that.”

With a sudden fury, the bird pecked a rather large hole in Even’s head. The rest of the party became much more polite as Even hit the ground.

Lizbetta spoke up. “We came seeking you because of the sea dragons. The sea dragons of Deybadon. They are dying and we don’t know why. Can you help?”

Khas-luhs-sis took a deep breath and shrunk to half his original size. “You came seeking knowledge of the Sea Dragons, and I can at least give you that. You are killing them, your kind. Their gentle minds suffer under the continual assault of your brutality. If you care for them, set them free. Otherwise, they are dead.”

“But how are we getting back to Deybadon?” asked Kenshin. “And we still have to rescue Brennit.”

“You only have a short time to rescue your friend. The machines have him, and once you emerge, they will know you have brought them nothing and the machine high in the sky will destroy the pool and you as well. You have once chance to save your friend and then I suggest you come back here immediately.”

Even was the healer of the party, and as such no one could help him until Lizbetta poured a Witchwood Tea down his throat. As he stood, he mumbled, “I still have questions.” But the others dragged him along back through the pool.

Outside, they charged Kang, who hurled Brennit down the marble steps onto his head. Lizbetta and Kenshin both stabbed Kang in the feet, and Even knocked him with a strike to his arm. “Modor!” cried out Kang, “Save me!”

At that, the area got suddenly a lot hotter. A large ray of flame descended from the sky and moved slowly towards Kang. Kenshin grabbed Brennit’s body and leapt into the pool, following Lizbetta and Even. Tanaya went the opposite direction, trying to apply a coup de grace to Kang. She did not make it back. Augeise’s gear went with her.

Kenshin, Brennit, Lizbetta, and Even were once again in the clouds, and Even poured another tea down Brennit.

“The pool is gone,” said the bird. “Typical. Remember what I told you.”

With that the party found themselves in the New City of Deybadon. “Huh,” said Even. “He could do that all along?”

After they told Strnad the tale of their adventures, Lizbetta managed to convince him that he needed to release the Sea Dragons, not an easy thing to do. Their reward was 50 Florins each.

Even retired from the adventuring game and bought a nice carrot farm, which he also practiced a bit of magic.

Kenshin journeyed back to Pao to his love, Sucheta Kikuju. Brennit went with him, and eventually Rock joined them as well.

Lizbetta spent her time in the taverns, trying to figure out what to do next.

It tooks weeks for the vizier to convince the Emperor, but as the dragons had not responded to the Haddik Flowers that the Vlore expedition had obtained, eventually they did free the dragons.

And Augeise? Naked he wandered Faerie, meeting first some Wee Folk, and then some Goblins. He turned into a skunk and sprayed the goblins, but unfortunately they loved it. He made his escape and then, again naked, he was captured by Red Elves. They began to torture him and desperately he again turned to a skunk. Somehow he made it away (after rolling a 1 on 1d10). But his story? It’s not done yet. More on that later!

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June 1, 1840: The Eumenides Club

It is June 1, 1840, and the members of the Eumenides Club are gathered in the sitting room to discuss the week’s events. They are:

  • Bob Polkinghorne, Bookseller
  • Charlotte Davidson, Inquiry Agent
  • Regan William MacLeod, recently Heavy Cavalry Officer of the 2nd Royal Dragoons
  • James L. Fletcher, Surgeon
  • Archie Putnam, Fop

Regan brings up the case of a recent visitor to London, a fellow Scot, who has been imprisoned at St. Lukes as a madman. Apparently he was dressed outlandishly and wearing a skull on his head, all the time saying he was a magician. The members agree that this is a worthy cause for their investigation and have Alfred call a coach. Charlotte also has Alfred call a Bobby over to ask if there is further information about the incident, but he knows nothing more.

At St. Luke’s they find Tavish McNancy cast into the open public area for the mad. Calling him over to the window, they first have to contend with the King of England, but after Tavish explains he is shaman from Scotland, the rest of the mad folk leave him in boredom. James has Tavish remanded to his custody after a conversation with the superintendent, Sir Harris Roger, and some slurs against the Scots that enrage Regan. The members then equip him with clothing more suitable to London. Tavish attempts to prove his magic. Bob stabs himself, though not too deep, and Tavish tries to heal him, but fails. Obviously, Bob is unimpressed.

The next day, they are visited by an unnamed military man, recently from the Orient, who explains he works for a brilliant man who engages in investigations but does not wish to be connected with the supernatural. He asks that the Eumenides Club conduct some initial investigations at Grahamthorpe in Sussex, seeking information on a series of disappearances there. His unnamed employer will pay for transport, food, and lodging. Through all of this Tavish is continuing unsuccessfully to try his magic, and growing ever more confused and frustrated.

On June 3, the members (save Archie, who is staying home) embark by flying coach for Brighton, arriving at the end of the day. They find that Grahamthorpe is east along the coast, but that no coach aside from the post coach will go there. The post coach visits weekly and just left, so they will have to wait a full week in Brighton. They could walk to Grahamthorpe in a day or two, but two of the members are carrying a large amount of their belongings and cannot bear to leave them. They stay at the Happy Mermaid and Bob repeatedly visits the pub at the Sheep’s Entrails to gather information. He gets little, but on one of the nights when James accompanies him, they are followed by two malingerers who have taken offense at his questions. They bash the two attackers handily and send them on their way.

Finally June 10 rolls around and the group arrive in Grahamthorpe in the afternoon. The post coach leaves immediately thereafter. The group investigates a bit and then settles into three rooms at the Graham Arms.

On June 11, Bob, James, and Tavish visit the local minister, Jervis Jackemsprat. Tavish continues to try his magic throughout the visit and is overjoyed that suddenly it is working again. He runs over to Bob, pulls up his sleeve, and heals the wound. Then he realizes he is a church and the minister is looking on astonished, and decides to flee outside. James manages to talk the minister down from talk of miracles by explaining that the two men love their japes, and that Tavish “healed” Bob by wiping some strawberry preserve from his arm. Jervis buys it, and they all leave.

Meanwhile, Charlotte & Regan look for a policeman but find none. They discover that the local lord — Harris Golden Graham IV — is also the Lord High Sheriff, so they visit him. He invites them to stay with him, and the two agree to think about it. When they return to the inn, Tavish has healed Bob of the nasty cough he acquired sleeping on the Chain Pier in Brighton. Tavish has also put Bob to sleep by Domination, but Bob won’t believe it.

The group decides to take the lord up on his offer, but leaves Bob at the inn, claiming he is sick. When they go to dinner with the lord, they learn much about the village but are appalled by the lasciviousness displayed by his family. Guenevere, age 15, approaches both Tavish and James, while Abram, age 10, tries to fondle Charlotte. Flustered, Charlotte goes to powder her nose and is propositioned by Lady Hester. Meanwhile, Tavish is telling Sir Graham how he can do magic, while Regan tries to get him to shut up.

The group decides to decamp for the inn, giving their apologies. Sir Graham is disappointed; he had wanted to show Tavish his library after their discussion about spirits and ghosts, but they all leave quite quickly.

In the meantime, Bob has gone to the other inn, the Lamb, which is significantly older than the Arms. He makes inquiries, even about disappearances, and detects the room growing ugly. He decides to leave but is jumped by five men and coshed on the head with a club.

When the others reach the Arms, they discover that Bob is not back. Regan gathers the others and they arm themselves and head for the Lamb. As they do, Tavish casts Detect Life and is appalled to find the land beneath them filled with a dreadfully powerful life, seething under them. He has never seen its like.

And there we ended for the night.

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544 CY, The Campaign Concludes

The party returned to the Halls of Tirian Teyzuren, but Lisri’s aged hobbit mind had forgotten the command phrase to get past the iron golem Zlonn. Fortunately, he had told the story many times around the campfire, and Beatrice was able to speak the words that gained them entrance.

They exterminated the Nandis that had returned and closed the tunnels down to the Troglydytes. They kept the Blood Hawks and Giant Frogs, which Beatrice hoped to befriend. Lisri claimed Tirian’s tower as his home, while Beatrice took the gardens and the back porch that overlooked the water. Eric took the Shadowdancer’s dome and the area around it, consecrating their use to Pelor. He also claimed the Nandi lair as the future location of his acolytes. Maevdelle claimed but a small room in the halls, but took over command of the Mithral Mines that lay two weeks to the west. Whisper went to Reyneld to continue his profession and perhaps build a guild hall one day.

Back at Mitra’s Fist, the denizens of the White Tower gained control of much of the tunnels under the town. But the lich’s influence continued to be felt, and evil continued to creep into town. Undoubtedly the area would again fall to Set, unless some mighty priest of Mitra (or Pelor?) someday visited.

And so the party rested for a time. Someday the players would return to Greyhawk, but for now they were headed for London in 1840. More about that later.

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Navah: The mages solve the mystery, kind of

The remaining party members explored the cave more deeply. Kenshin spotted a rabbit in the next room and trying talking with it, but it had nothing to say but kept hopping about. Even wsa more cautious, as he seemed to detect something behind it, but Kang stepped up and was going to prepare them a rabbit dinner. Kenshin and Evin stopped him, but to his disgust could do nothing else with the bunny.

They explored further, with Kenshin in the lead, and he got himself stuck in a tight squeeze. Plate mail is not flexible in such situations. After some time, they pulled him free, and called upon Augeise to change to a cat and go through to explore it. Augeise was wiling, but his magic still wasn’t working. It was at that point that Augeise and Brennet started a series of experiments to find out what was happening. Separating the party into two parts, one mage would go outside with one or more companions, and try to cast a spell. On their first foray outside, ten short, naked and furry humanoids shouted at them to go away, that this was not their place. The furry ones did not approach, but they did wave clubs in a threatening manner. They ran away before Kenshin could punish them for their temerity.

Augeise was elated when he could finally change into a tiger. Evin, in his turn, could not Detect Life, nor could Brennit cast Telepathy. Eventually, however, they eliminated Evin’s tattoos and several other potential sources as the responsible parties for the failure of magic. One time they encountered four Guard Lizards and one followed a naked Augeise inside (Transformation into another creature does not include one’s clothes or equipment). Thankfully Kenshin stepped in between them and was able to stop the beast just as it launched a vicious spinning kick with its saber-like foot claw. The experiments continued.

After some time, Brennet, Kang, and Kenshin went outside. Brennet suddenly realized that Kang was the common factor. He sent Kenshin inside to test his theory, whereupon the armored warrior bonked the tiny mage on the head and carried him away. When the others came outside to check on them, they could find no trace of what had happened, for Kang was a masterful scout. They suspected some wild animal had taken them, and mourned for some time. Augeise decided to explore the pool of the Lorefish as a bullshark. He stripped down and plunged in. He spotted the Lorefish in one of the side caves and greeted him but he would not come out. After an initial dive, he returned to the party and this time took a long rope in his mouth and pulled it out to full length so that the party could pull him back if need be. He then swam on and suddenly found himself in an open sea. He turned around but could not see any rock, let alone a tunnel. He tried several times to find the way back, but could not. Surfacing, he found himself in twilight, and became frightened. A skilled mage, he recognized that he had swum into Faerie and did not know the way back. He searched for land, avoiding the large dark shapes that sometimes passed beneath him. Arriving at a beach, he changed back to human and stepped ashore. Naked and shivering, he began to explore his new home.

Shorts added to keep our PG rating

After Augeise’s disappearance, the party left the cave and tried to head on to the Lost City using the map they had built. Augeise’s player was given the NPC Tanaya to run. They continued on for several weeks, using Evin’s Ring of Fortress to create a very tiny stone hut for their nightly protection. They soon grew tired of their stone coffin, as they were jammed in like sardines, but it kept them safe. One day, they encountered a drunken Wee Folk curled up with eight drunken Glips. They picked him up and took him with them to their stone coffin. After sobering up, he was terrified to be in a tomb with several big people. They could not speak his language; only the mages could have done that and Evin was just an apprentice in such matters. But in the morning, they pointed to the Lost City on the map and the little man got excited. He signaled to follow him, and immediately disappeared into a previously hidden tunnel into which only a mouse could have entered. Knowing that the tunnels of the Wee Folk could cover long distances in a very short time, they hoped that the direction of the tunnel gave them the direction of the Lost City. Taking notes, they again began the walk for the city.

Most of their encounters over the next week were mild, aside from Evin being lured away by an alluring plant posing as Mama Murphy, and Ketaki being swallowed whole by the largest snake anyone had ever seen. Down to four members from their original nineteen, they were understandably depressed, but then they came across ruins with relief carvings of the Tchok-Tchok in the walls.

NOTE: I should mention here that this whole campaign was difficult for me in that it forced me to challenge elements of my world from forty years ago that no longer made sense. This adventure was one I had done back around 1980 as a beginning DM, and its revision caused me some sleepless nights. One of the results was the transition of the lizardmen the Sehv-aysas into the sentient bird race of the Tchok-Tchok. Along the way I completely updated the Sehv-aysas, and then rejected them even though they were the central element in the campaign. I had no idea how I was going to end the adventure. There were several sleepless nights as I worried away at this. So now the players were entering the lost city of the Tchok-Tchok, not that of the Sehv-aysas. And I’ll tell you, it is much harder to find sentient bird minis than it is to find lizard men, particularly as the Tchok-Tchok do not have hands!

They found the city well, and standing next to it was Kang, with a knife to Brennit’s throat. The party was confused and angry. Kang threatened to kill Brennit unless they went into the pool and then reported back to him what they found. And so, they did. What they found we will learn next game.

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Navah: The Cave

The party hunkered down in their stone for two weeks to let the team heal. Brennit’s first idea was to add a parapet, but the two Aykrian Tigers who climbed over attacked Lizbetta and Asyika, who managed to retreat down the stairs into the shelter. The next night, the building was sealed, including the chimney, and a tunnel to a nearby tree was established as the way out. This proved more successful when the two Thunderlizards attacked Lizbetta and Kenshin while out hunting. Lizbetta saw them first and took off running; the lizard nearer her missed its first chomp. Kenshin then found himself between both Thunderlizards, about to be ripped in two. He took out a flash powder and threw it down (only 4 left), which gave him time to run. Horrifyingly, the Thunderlizards seemed to talk to each other for a moment before pursuing. Kenshin then used his Run skill to pass Lizbetta and make it into the tunnel. One Thunderlizard looked disappointed and the other stumbled and fell as it pursued Lizbetta, who scampered into the tunnel. Augeise was dismayed as he heard the two creatures obviously talking and planning outside, but ultimately they could do nothing. The walls of the shelter were by now over two meters thick.

No more hunting parties were sent out, but the next day everyone did their business outside, and all at separate times. Brennit, his leg injured, was riding Rock (the earth elemental) and relieving himself to one side when two Carrion Dogs and a Crested Lizard approached. He heard nothing, being somewhat deaf, and continued all unknowing as the dogs attacked the lizard. Finishing, he returned to the shelter none the wiser. From then on, the party used latrines dug inside the shelter. They spent the remaining days huddled in the darkness of the shelter, illuminated only by a flaming sword. By the time they left, they were sweaty, dirty, and hated each other.

In the following days, they were attacked by a single Thunderlizard. Kang noticed it and headed into the jungle to the left. It then ate Asyika, and the rest of the party headed to the right. It followed the crowd, which had kept together and ate Fateh, Sara, and Shalini. As it swallowed each of the thieves, the adventurers decided to split up, and eventually, it lost track of the survivors. After hiding in terror, they snuck away.

They next encountered three very large Spinners, but they made short work of them. Despite the armor rash they were developing in the jungle, they were very thankful to have their plate. They gathered some Spinner legs to extend their food supply, which was running short. Augeise even drank some of the ichor from one and pronounced it not a good idea.

That night, as Rock dug out the next fortress, he broke into a cave. The party explored and found a deep, clear pool of water, in which a golden fish with a human face surfaced, regarded them for a few seconds and then submerged once more. Augeise tied a rope to himself, gave the end to Evin, and jumped in. He descended fifty meters and reached the end of the rope, but was in utter darkness, as he had no light source. Realizing this, Kenshin tied himself off, gave the end to Lizbetta, and followed with his flaming sword. They hung together for a time, but still could not see the bottom. The golden fish approached within sight and for a time Kenshin spoke to him, his Air Helm allowing him that privilege. Kenshin spoke politely to the fish and it responded with a series of unintelligible burbles. Eventually Kenshin and Augeise began to run out of air, and yanked on the ropes. Augeise ascended fairly quickly but Kenshin was a big man in full plate, and Lizbetta could not pull him up, even with Sudarshin’s help. Once Augeise was up, the entire party helped and got him up just before he ran out of air.

The fish resurfaced and began a long conversation with Kenshin. Evin recognized it as a Lorefish, a wise Faerie creature who might impart knowledge to those who were kind or polite. The party talked with the fish for a long time. Kang almost drove it away with his remarks, such “What the hell is that?” and “It is grotesque.” The party shoved him aside and apologized and the discussion continued.

Now all during the last weeks, Augeise and Brennit had been trying their spells and found they didn’t work in the Valley. Augeise learned that the Lorefish was a magician as well, and asked why his magic worked. The Lorefish didn’t know, but when he tried to prove it, he failed as well. “What is wrong with you people?!” he burbled. The party then began to try to figure out why the magic wasn’t working. Something they purchased? The purple demon horn that Brennit carried? Evin’s mystical tattoos? They will have to test that in the future. They thought the pool might be the gate to Dream mentioned on the obelisk in the Wizard’s Guild, and indeed the Lorefish explained that it was a gate to Faerie, and that Faerie and Dream were much the same thing, both names for the Otherworld of his origin. But, he explained, it was very deep and they would be dead before they reached it. The party explained they sought the Sehv-aysas, a race of humanoid lizards, but the Lorefish was confused for a time until he realized they were talking about the race of Bluebirds who had inhabited the world before humanity arrived. He was about to say more when an old naked man peered around a corner at the party. The Lorefish dove instantly, and the man attacked, along with two other naked old men. All had blades instead of hands, and Evin noted that they were Slinderjard, a type of demon, as they chopped into his friends. Plate mail saved them again, as the demons were only scoring minor wounds, and the party slew them quickly while the referee grumbled.

Moving on, Kenshin spotted a secret door, but couldn’t figure out how to open it. Evin showed him and at the urging of the party, Kenshin opened it while party stood back in safety. Or did they? Suddenly a ten ton block of stone juiced Sudarshin (who was standing just behind Kenshin) and more importantly (at least in the party’s eyes), the rations he was carrying.

What lay beyond the door? Stay tuned for the next exciting episode!

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544 CY: The Tower Cleared, and the Death of Avvakris

Beatrice finally finished conjuring a large fire elemental (16HD), which proved less helpful in the combat than expected. It was destructive but slow. Beatrice then cast Faerie Fire, which revealed the outlines of the invisible enemies, showing they were skeletal. Charlamack then turned them. Konah the Dissenter tried to summon them back with the power of Set, but only two attacked again. A third returned to the battle after Maevdelle shot it by mistake. The warriors of the Horn were eliminated quickly and Konah injured both Charlamack and Jamala with Lightning. Lisri decided to cast a Rope Trick out in the hallway, just in case. The square in the center of the room had begun to glow red when Konah was injured, but Maevdelle and Eric ran forward anyways when the remaining skeletons went down and attacked him. They injured him badly, and Lisri finished him with a magic missile and then cast a Fireball into the cowering skeletal warriors, who responded by attacking en masse. Eventually the party eliminated them all. Searching, they found only a single magic halberd. They returned to the room outside the White Tower and healed for a few days then they returned.

They found a trapdoor in the ceiling, with an empty room above and at the top of that, a thick but small window. Beatrice turned the stone around it to mud, turned to owl form, and then brought the rest of the party up. Opening a door that had been plastered on the other side, they found themselves back on the first floor of the dungeon. They then opened a secret door next to it, found a box and were teleported back down to a cell on the third level. They dropped down to the fourth level and investigated one of the rooms that had mysterious magical properties. Lisri fireballed the room, but there was a 20′ blowback. Eric, standing 20′ from the door took it full force, but survived. Beatrice healed the angry cleric, and then Maevdelle went in. She received a large electrical shock and was then charmed and remained in the room as other spells began to go off. Eric went in wearing the belt of Mitra to retrieve her, but the door Wizard Locked behind him. Beatrice turned the wall around the door to mud, and they escaped, but the room they were in now began to share those mysterious powers and all had to flee further to escape them. They returned to the Dark Tower, this time investigating the trapped door in Konah’s room. Whisper opened it safely and Maevdelle went in and activated a Cube of Force, discovering something invisible that prevented her from reaching the south wall. She left, and Whisper entered, searching for traps. He found none, though the hairs on the back of his neck twitched the entire time. He then left the room and Maevdelle suggested using a crystal ball to track the mayor, Avvakris.

Lisri saw the mayor in the Shrine of Mitra, in the robes of a priest, leading a ceremony. The party raced up to the surface, summoned the Warriors of the Horn and Jamala, and confronted Avvakris, now posing as Roger Whiteheart, lay priest of Mitra. Avvakris called a Flame Strike down on Lisri, whose Ring of Spell-Turning thankfully worked. The Flame Strike, which would have incinerated Lisri, instead damaged the mayor. Maevdelle and Whisper rushed forward to attack him, but he leapt for the hidden passage downwards into the dungeon, which he had cleaned out in the two years the party was away. Whisper and Maevdelle killed him as he dove down. The party then had a town meeting to explain to the terrified settlers that Roger had been evil. Thankfully they found evidence of this in the hut where he was staying (Cornelius’s old place). Eric then reinforced their words with 100 gp to each villager. Whisper joined the line of villagers for the payout, but Eric did not reward the thief. Still fearful of the adventurers, the villagers calmed down and went back to work.

Maevdelle was ready to leave the area for good and a few agreed with her. Lisri extolled the virtues of the Halls of Tirian Teyzuren as a base, and several were ready to go, though some wanted to rebuild the town of Mitra’s Fist. Talking with Holomir, the paladin pointed out that the evil of Set and the Dark Tower was not yet defeated, as shown by the various traps still active in the Dark Tower. The party then considered their alternatives. What was the invisible thing? What about Omphalous? What sections of the dungeon remained to be searched? Should they destroy the rest of the statues of Set?

All this to be resolved next time. Once this dungeon is done (after over 1,600 days of game time!), we will pause the Greyhawk campaign and move to a Cthulhoid campaign set in London in 1840 using the Journeyman system. The campaign will be entitled, “It was the best of times…”

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Navah: The Safari begins

The party has now reached the Valley of Kimmhay and begun the 40 day journey to the location identified as the lost city of the Sehv-aysas. The player characters are accompanied by their guide, Kang, and Shakeel of the Malanga Clan and twelve thieves of the clan.

The party’s refusal to listen to Kang’s advice proved fatal. A thunderlizard attacked that night. Hansa and Surajana are eaten, then Shakeel, Margar and Peizhi. Peizhi is killed right next to where Kenshin’s team is hiding, but they keep their cool, stay hidden, and survive. Kang misses a hide roll, but manages to get under cover again just in time. Augeise and Brennit ride it out in their stone fortress, created by Rocky. That fortress will become a party staple from here on out, with Evin adding to it with his Ring of Fortress making it large enough for the whole party to hide in. An open doorway is its vulnerability, but they can have a fire in the center of the hut, which leaves through a hole in the stone ceiling. They will also camp in the jungle and not on the animal trails from now on.

The party breaks camp and pursues the Thunderlizard after searching Shakeel’s things. The artifact that was to provide safe-passage at the Lost City is not there, so it is assumed (rightfully) that it is in the Thunderlizard’s stomach along with Shakeel. At the end of the next day, they find the scat and Rocky searches through it. Evin washes the items with water from the nearby swamp, and nearly loses a hand as a Kisikeh bursts up at him from the mud. A swirling egg is found and assumed to be Shakeel’s relic. No one knows how it works, but Evin puts it in his pack.

On the 4th night, two Threehorns stampede through camp, damaging on corner of the fort. The falling rocks inflict a major wound on Kang’s left leg.

On the 5th day, the party encounters a mad Greb and kills it easily. Three hours later they stumble into venomous insects and Evin takes a major wound to his right eye, which Kang treats successfully. He will recover full use in 2 weeks. Just 24 minutes later, the party notices that Saras has not returned from a bathroom break. Backtracking, they follow the muffled screams to find Saras glued into the center of a Sweetness plant. Lizbetta also falls prey to its scent lure, but is restrained by Kenshin. Saras is rescued successfully.

On the 6th day, two Akryian Tigers attack, but are slain easily. Kenshin again feels eyes on them but can see nothing. During the night, they find they are camped near an ancient stone statue, covered with vines. Uncovering it in the morning, they find it is a 4 m. tall representation of an angry Carrion Dog. They search around it, but find nothing else.

On the 8th day, Augeise drives away a lurking Aykrian Tiger with a rock, but Kuyil panics and runs into the woods. The party does not realize this until they hear her screams. The tiger has circled back for her once the party passed.

On the 9th night, a Big Eater passes dangerously close to the hut, and Kenshin moves everyone out and to a new location.

On the 12th night, four Giant Carrion Dogs attack. They tear Shalini to bits, but Kenshin uses a flash powder bomb to distract the beasts long enough for Kang and himself to get back to the hut. Kenshin then holds the doorway successfully until Lizbetta can seal it with her Earth Shield.

On the 14th night, a gang of four young male Shoveltuskers attack. Ketaki runs into the hut while Lizbetta tries to lure them away. Lizbetta exscapes but two Shoveltuskers follow Ketaki and demolish the hut in anger. Saras receives a broken arm, Tanaya an injured pelvis, Augeise a crushed ribcage and Brennet a broken right leg. Evin and Kang conduct surgery after the creatures have left, and it is determined to camp here for another two weeks while the party heals. Over that time, Rocky will create a much stronger bunker. The Valley has claimed seven people so far.

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544 CY, Greyhawk: Fooled by the Medusa

The party continues its exploration of the Dark Tower, the 1980 version of the Judge’s Guild module by Jennell Jacquays.

After Lisri conducted an unsuccessful search for the mayor Avvakris via a crystal ball, the party ascended higher into the Dark Tower, suffering a loss of armor from magic gas. Lisri teleported Maevdelle back to town, where she bought several suits of armor. Lisri followed, teleported her back and then returned himself.

Next they took light damage from a crossbow trap. They advanced and entered a room but greatly worried when they heard it reset with Beatrice and Lisri still on the other side. Using the opened doors for cover, they made it out of the corridor. Opening the next door, a stone warrior attacked them, but went down quickly. Beatrice and Maevdelle were sent into the room to rescue the naked female prisoner as the men averted their eyes outside. It was a trap, however, and the prisoner was a medusa. Maevdelle saved, averted her eyes and began to fight blind. Beatrice was turned to stone. Lisri came to the door to cast a spell but was also petrified. Eric entered and keeping his eyes down, joined Maevdelle, but the dwarf died from the Medusa’s poison and Eric was left alone. After stunning her with Whelm, he managed to kill her. He then tried to heal Maevdelle but it was too late.

Leaving Lisri and Beatrice, Eric took Maevdelle’s corpse to town, four weeks away, where he had her resurrected. They then sought for a scroll of Stone to Flesh, which only a magician or thief would be able to read. After two years of searching, they finally found one, and returned to Dark Tower, where Whisper was able to return the two to flesh and life. It was then they found the bag with a scroll of Stone to Flesh in the room. Eric had not searched for treasure before he took Maevdelle for resurrection.

While they sought the scroll, the town had fallen into disrepair. Two of the huts of the bandits have burned down, and the others are filled with vermin. Several are overgrown with vine. The inn has been claimed by a family of 6 from the east and 10 other people who came from the north. Together they have cleaned it up as their residences, with the family trying to make a go of selling to the infrequent caravans once more. The villagers have established a large farm where the mayor’s house was, and supplement their food by hunting. Inchana moved into the Grain Emporium and began a bakery and seemed happy enough, but disappeared over a year ago in midwinter. The building is now considered haunted and the locals are considering dismantling it. The blacksmithy stands vacant but they constantly try to recruit people when the caravans pass through. Roger Whiteheart, a laypriest of Mitra, holds services in Mitra’s Shrine. All in all, Mitra’s Fist is a smaller but much more peaceful town than before.

After resting and rejoicing, the party again advanced another level into the Dark Tower. After encountering a new set of doors, Lisri was about to touch them but remembered in time the words of passage for the Glyphs of Warding. The Glyphs would have killed most of the party. “Heffaflump” was the word, which gave the party some trouble in pronunciation. Lisri identified the door and then cast Knock, entering. Here they began the fight against Konah the Dissenter (a nine-foot tall Son of Set) and his minions. Lisri cast Haste and then Mirror Image but only got one copy. Maevdelle entered activating Wave’s Force Cube but found herself stopped and under attack. Eric activated the Girding of Mitra and summoned both Jamala and Charlamack. Beatrice began summoning a Fire Elemental (a new spell, as she had just reached 11th level before being turned to stone). Konah sent a Cloudkill towards the party but Lisri replied with a Gust of Wind that dissipated it in 4 rounds. He then summoned the warriors of Horn of Valhalla. Konah sent a Lightning Bolt against Eric but the cleric was protected by Mitra and Konah only killed two of the warriors of Valhalla. Another warrior died from Konah’s minions. Then Lisri hit Konah with a Magic Missile. Konah replied with his own, but only hit Lisri’s copy. Konah then advanced to the center of the room and Hasted his minions.

And there we ended for the night, with Beatrice’s spell about to go off. The date is now Flocktime 17, 544 CY. The party has now spent two and a half years in Mitra’s Fist.

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