Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Time Flies When You're Having Kingdoms

A'chiad 23-Cheathramh 23, 6639 (yes, that's month 4; we skipped right past Dragonning and King's Day); next holiday, Summerfest, 6/1.

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • Noona, the Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
  • Quetgar, Thrassian Assassin
    • Zarc, Thrassian Gladiator
  • Sorvald, Thief
  • Mor Gibs, the Wonderworker
  • Craydos Silverskin, the Gold Skinscribe

Last week, we left Gróin and crew three days out from the yet-unnamed city founded by Caranthir, which I've decided to call Caranthopolis to save on typing. As it happens, they had just encountered three chimera, and said chimera were very, very hungry.

Gróin quickly made a stone structure as the chimera closed, then tossed some dust of disappearance onto himself, and laid out some heavy justice. Two chimera managed to roast some targets, but the battle was over before they could land more than a blow or two.

A single wyvern slowed them down not a whit, and soon they made it back to Caranthiropolis. After reorganizing some treasure, the group left Caranthir to his city-building, and set off to clear out another hex: that of Gróin! Unfortunately... Gróin's hex was much, much more difficult to deal with. Unlike Caranthir's "Oh, gosh, some moose, whatever shall we do," Gróin had to deal with a huge group of remorhaz (16, plus another enormous one!) and 310 kobolds (including both a high-level shaman and a witch doctor), two hunting dogs, and four giant ferrets. Which, after the shaman did some casting, became three giant ferrets and one frickin' enormous ferret.

Gróin attempted to talk to the leader; when things went badly, Quetgar attempted to assassinate him... only to find that he was an illusion! The throne dropped into a pit, leaving Quetgar to dive to the side, and battle was joined. As everyone else rushed in from the sidelines, Quetgar started cleaving through ten kobolds at a time. Gróin managed to nuke quite a few, and even Sorvald was shooting arrows into their midst, even managing to kill the witch doctor. Another kill after that, and the shaman had had enough; he dispelled the area around the magic carpet, causing Sorvald to reappear and the carpet to plummet out of the sky. Then, of course, forty kobolds crowded around to get their boots in, including one that suck-punched him between the legs and knocked him down. The shaman, expending the last of his tricks (he managed to cast Protection from Good on himself early on, which saved his life), cast Poison on his hands, then turned himself into a (non-fire-breathing) chimera. One of his poison-ladened claws slashed into Sorvald, instantly dropping him.

Meanwhile, Craydos' hydra was cleaving through any creatures who got close. Gróin blasted a line of kobolds with a horn; Quetgar managed to take out most of the back piece of the map. Gróin, seeing his friend fall, dashed to his side; the flames wreathing his body flared, scorching the 40 kobolds clustered around his body, burning them to death! Within moments, the remaining kobolds were dead. The few that tried to flee were run down and slaughtered. Gróin quickly cast Neutralize Poison on Sorvald, bringing him to life; unfortunately, he didn't have time to cut out his flames, and Sorvald, at a single hit point, was killed once again. Gróin stepped back, allowing others to heal him; this time, he woke unburnt.

The third encounter, fortunately, was the same caravan of nomads; they had passed the forest, and decided to keep going, to shelter in some caves in the mountains, as their shaman predicted some nasty winter weather. Gróin invited them in for a meal, and was able to feed most of them with a spell. A little smooth talking later, and he made some new friends who would be willing to trade - 14 wagons with ten times that many fighters, not to mention all the civilians.

The six mile hex around the entrance to the Plane of Earth cleared, Gróin and friends headed north to the dwarven cities of Dundrende Klippe, and the capital Stromsloja. They spent a month selling treasure, gathering knowledge, and in Gróin's case, speaking with the clerics of Thor. He desired a miracle, in two parts: first, that the effects of Vigor be cast upon him permanently, and second, that he be granted an Orb of Voice Transference - that is, a linked pair of orbs that allow one person to speak to another, even at vast distances. The clerics, after conferring amongst themselves, concluded that the time and effort to ask for a miracle may be better used in speaking with the wizards of Mareten, as they had created similar orbs before.

Gróin lead the party south and east, through the pass, and eventually made it to Mareten (I rolled encounters, and apart from a few animals, there weren't any problems!); Craydos, eager to set eyes on the Book of Holding Llarm has been using, uses it to research a new spell, which I forgot to write down, somehow. However, his attempt is a success! While he was studying, Gróin continued selling treasure, eventually pawning it all off.

The magical treasure gained from the remorhaz and kobolds is as follows: 4 Crossbow Bolts, 4 Potions, 7 Scrolls (2 detect as evil), 3 Rings, 1 Rod, 1 Staff, 2 Wands, 5 Swords, 2 Shields, 1 Spear, 1 Cloak, and 3 Treasure Maps.

But that's not all! Long ago, Faufe, Llarm, and Clench were left in Slowhaven. Llarm has been researching spells, but Faufe rounded up some treasure and left to make a lot of money. Only three days into his trip, he's already met a hydra and a group of sea dragons; the hydra was killed, and the dragons (luckily!) were freaked out by what they thought was a trap, and fled. Hopefully, the rest of his trip will be more serene!

Meanwhile, Caranthir continued to work on his land, improving it and attracting more people. The XP below doesn't include Caranthir, nor does it list the XP he earned from taxes. Additionally, Caranthir's kingdom is ahead; it's at 6/1, aka Summerfest, aka Siathamh 1st.

Gróin's new kingdom has begun, as well, at least the exterior area. New dwarves are showing up to build forts and homes, even in the dead of winter.

  • XP from Encounters:
    • 3 Chimera (3900)
    • 1 wyvern (1140)
    • 16 remorhaz (36000)
    • 1 huge remorhaz (4800)
    • 272 kobolds (1360)
    • 28 leaders (196)
    • 8 sub-chieftains (80)
    • 1 very over-powerful witch (440)
    • 1 also too-powerful shaman (440)
    • 4 weasels (860)
    • 2 hunting dogs (30)
  • XP from treasure (which was all sold, and I'm not going to bother listing it all)
    • 326,217gp, weighing 328 5/6 stone
  • Total experience: 375,463 XP
  • XP per PC (Gróin, Quetgar, Sorvald, Craydos): 68,266
  • XP per Hench (Rhea, Gimli, Laurita): 34133
  • Cash per PC: 81554 gp and 25 copper
  • Additionally, the other items sold, which means:
    • Additional XP for Gróin, Sorvald, and Craydos: 22,022
    • Additional CP for Laurita, Rhea, and Gimli: 11,011
    • Additional cash for Gróin, Sorvald, and Craydos: 37533 and 33 copper (plus one more copper up for grabs)

Time is a little screwy right now. Rig, Llarm, and Clench are currently sitting at 12/24 of 6638, right after everyone got back from the Pointless Tower; Caranthir's kingdom just hit 6/1 of 6639, while Caranthir, Elenora, Luce, and his troops are waiting at 5/1 to start clearing some more land. Gróin and Laurita, Rhea and Gimli, Quetgar (and Zarc, though he's holding the fort elsewhere), Sorvald, and Craydos are parked in Slowhaven at 4/23, and Faufe is nearly a year behind, at 8/20 of 6638! Hopefully, everyone can synchronize in the next week or so.

To help with that, I'm going to start putting together an online kingdom-tracker, because there are a lot of numbers to crunch, and sometimes things like natural events play a part, but it's a huge pain to do all the kingdom stuff every week and ask everyone else to wait around. Automating it should make things go a lot faster.

Friday, February 23, 2018

You Got Worms

Dara 24 - A'chiad 23; next holiday, Dragonning, 3/25.

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • Noona, the Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
  • Quetgar, Thrassian Assassin
    • Zarc, Thrassian Gladiator
  • Sorvald, Thief
  • Mor Gibs, the Wonderworker
  • Craydos Silverskin, the Gold Skinscribe

Elenora and Luce each had a birthday (1/14 and 1/18, respectively)

Meanwhile, Caranthir and Quetgar headed south, hoping to find some lizardmen to join their ranks. They moved from village to village, putting out the call, and managed to get a good few creatures to join up. Their trek back was uneventful as well, as they took a boat up the river. Luckily, the river is deep enough and flows well enough that there is little ice build-up. The final leg of their journey, they ran into a group of six dwarves and humans: a woman named Whispering Mouse, who seemed to have a pet tiger beetle that followed her around; Dolmen Rockharvest and Ori Barrelgut, both dwarves, and the only males in the party; and Ingeborg Månsson, Anna Patterson, and Berit Eriksson, who appear to be priestesses. Whispering Mouse told Caranthir that they were a party of emissaries from the dwarven realm, hoping to make peaceful contact with the new kingdom starting nearby. The group tagged along with Caranthir until they reached the base. Three days later, the second party with Gróin arrived, which gave Caranthir time to plan the first festival for his kingdom.

The journey for Gróin, Laurita, Gimli, and Sorvald was rather more eventful than Caranthir's trip. First, they ran into a caravan of 40 wagons - a group of traveling nomads, heading for the shelter of the arboreal forest to the east. They were interrupted one night by a remorhaz attack; they scared one, but the rest left when they realized their food had wings. Just outside the City of the Northern People, they waylaid a group of 9 thogrin, and nuked the lot of them, as is custom. They looted the corpses, and continued on.

In the city, Sorvald met with the leader of the local Thieves' Guild, who surprised him with his joviality. "So ya want to start a guild of your own, eh? Shoor! I got a few henchmen I could loan out, yah. How many do you want - aboot 10 do ya fine, eh?" Sorvald declined, as he was only information gathering, but left on good terms.

Gimli, meanwhile, looked for various troops to fill the new castle with. After a few weeks of looking, he managed to piece together quite the army; finally, it was time to return. They blasted through a msall group of skeletons without a problem, and waltzed on... and that's when disaster struck, in the form of not one, not two, but three purple worms. Luckily, they saw the worms from a good distance. Gróin immediately took to the air... and suddenly realized that the swordsmen and crossbowmen behind him were, unfortunately, land-bound, and soon to be worm food! He flew forward, and carpet-bombed the worms. Well, earth-bombed from his carpet, anyway. When the worms were in range, the crossbowmen took turns firing through the holes in the wall Gróin built. Just as the fight was concluding, a skinscribe stepped out of the swirling snow, lobbed a fireball at the worms, and introduced himself.

Gróin took an immediate liking to Craydos Silverskin; as Gold Skinscribe, he was lawful, and there were scant few lawful beings for the poor dwarf to talk with. Craydos, meanwhile, carefully wrote down all the information Gróin shared. As it turns out, Craydos is a Seeker! Until recently, he helped lead a small group of hermits in the northern mountains, scribing scrolls and gathering information from the heights of a mountain. He had heard about a group of adventurers who had come across some items of great knowledge and importance, and hoped to get a good look at them. Unfortunately, the Book of Holding was with Llarm.

Speaking of Llarm, he was holed up in Slowhaven, researching spells. His first spell, Dragonform, was an unmitigated disaster, but the second spell, Blue Dragon Breath, succeeds, and likely blows out a window. Luckily, the inn he was staying at has good insurance. You have to, with wizards around!

Meanwhile (well, I say meanwhile; this actually is a bit behind time), Faufe purchased a small troop transport, named the "Total Bullship," a retired military vessel (it used to be the "HMS BS"). He loaded it with merchandise (and got a pretty good deal), sailors, and the troops he hired, and headed south the 3rd week of Ochdamh, around day 23, hoping to reach Cliffport by the end of the week.

As we closed last time, Gróin's team (only 3 days from the new city) ran into a trio of chimeras...

The magical items discovered include: a Potion of Plant Control (on the thoghrin), plus 3 potions, 5 swords, 1 war hammer, 3 crossbow bolts, and two scrolls.

  • 1,000 Copper
  • 1,000 Silver
  • 1,000 Gold
  • 2,000 Platinum
  • 3,577 gp from selling:
    • 1 Glass trinkets (120 gp - sold)
    • 1 hematite (10 gp - sold)
    • 1 obsidian (10 gp - sold)
    • 1 porcelain trinkets (500 gp - sold)
    • 1 turquoise (25 gp - sold)
    • 1 wrought copper trinkets (90 gp - sold)
    • 1 crystal geode (2,000 gp - sold)
    • 1 ruby (1,000 gp - sold)
  • 112,600 gp yet to sell, to be split between Gróin, Laurita, Gimli, Sorvald, and Craydos:
    • 1 topaz (500 gp)
    • 1 crystal geode (2,000 gp)
    • 1 flawless diamond (4,000 gp)
    • 1 roll of silk (400 gp, 4 stone)
    • 20 ingots of precious metals (6,000 gp, 40 stone)
    • 34 typical fur capes (3,400gp, 34 stone)
    • 3 amethyst cylinder seals depicting religious scenes (3,600 gp)
    • 3 opal cameo portraits and intaglio erotic tableaux (2,400 gp)
    • 11 alabaster and jet game pieces with jeweled eyes (7,700 gp)
    • 103 jade carvings of heroes, monsters, and gods (20,600 gp)
    • 3 platinum reliquaries with crystal panes (3,000 gp)
    • 4 platinum reliquaries with crystal panes (28,000 gp)
    • 1 Platinum studded with diamond regalia (3,000 gp)
    • 1 ruby regalia (5,000 gp)
    • 1 Gold studded with topaz regalia (6,000 gp)
    • 1 jacinth regalia (6,000 gp)
    • 1 jacinth regalia (11,000 gp)
  • Experience from Encounters:
    • 40-wagon caravan (peaceful)
    • 8 remorhaz (1 was panicked, 7 escaped: 2250)
    • 9 thogrin (720)
    • 10 skeletons (130)
    • 3 purple worms (12,600)
  • Experience for Gróin, Laurita, Gimli, Sorvald: 6,787
  • Experience for Gróin, Laurita, Gimli, Sorvald, Craydos (not counting unsold treasure): 12,600
  • Total experience for Caranthir and Quetgar: 0
  • Total experience for Gróin and Sorvald: 5412
  • Total experience for Laurita and Gimli: 2706
  • Total experience for Craydos: 3150

Additional experience: once a stronghold is complete, the builder receives 1 XP per 2 gp spent on it. This XP is lost if the stronghold is ever lost. Spell research also gains XP, if the research succeeds: the cost of the spell and extra components, divided by the number of months of research (min. 1), minus your gp threshold, multiplied by the number of months of research (again, min. 1). What, you expected magic to be straightforward?

As a final additional note: as of this adventure, the starting XP (for a new character) is 131,000 XP and 16,000gp. Retired characters and starting a new one will net you 20,000 XP, plus whatever gold you've "wasted", and whatever gold and stuff you're willing to dole out.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Settling Down

Dara 15-24; next holiday, Darkest Day, Dara 35.

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • Noona, the Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
  • Quetgar, Thrassian Assassin
    • Zarc, Thrassian Gladiator
  • Sorvald, Thief
  • Mor Gibs, the Wonderworker

Sorvald, meanwhile, was back at the tower. While everyone else was leaning of dead gods and fighting various creatures, he was whiling away his time lifting items from low-level mages as they wandered past. He managed to swipe 18 +1 arrows, 1500 silver pieces, and 3 sardonyx worth 225. After two days of boredom, he received a rather garbled message from Quetgar - the party was in Mareten! Sighing, he went upstairs to talk with the mages, and managed to find someone who was willing to teleport him, his friendly lizardman, and the carts to Mareten. Luckily, he made it in one piece - and where he was supposed to be, too! On his way inside, he met a strange fellow who called him by name, and handed him a coin - silver on one side, electrum on the other (as it turned out, that man was Loki, keeping an eye on the party; the coin would grant Sorvald either +5 or -5 to all his actions for the rest of the day).

While Quetgar sent a message, the others worked on finding what items they had gathered. Apart from a ring and a staff, the items were:

  • Potion of Gaseous Form
  • Oil of Slipperiness (Sorvald grabbed it)
  • Potion of Undead Control
  • Potion of Water Breathing
  • 2 Potions of ESP
  • Potion of Extra-Healing (Caranthir took it)
  • Potion of Flying (Caranthir took it)
  • Potion of Healing
  • Potion of Healing (Caranthir took it)
  • Scroll of Ward against Elementals
  • Scroll of Ward against Lycanthropes
  • Scroll of Ward against Undead
  • Scroll of Divine Spells (Written in Elven): Protection from Evil* (1st lvl), Create Water (4th lvl)
  • Scroll of Divine Spells (Written in Elven): Purify Food and Water (1st lvl), Augury (2nd lvl)
  • Scroll of Arcane Spells (Written in Dwarven): Confusion (4th lvl), Ventriloquism (1st lvl)
  • Scroll of Arcane Spells (Written in Elven): Charm Monster (4th lvl)
  • Scroll of Divine Spells (Written in Common): Hold Person (2nd lvl), Protection from Evil* (1st lvl), Bless* (2nd lvl)
  • Scroll of Divine Spells (Written in Elven): Resist Cold (1st lvl), Delay Poison (2nd lvl), Cure Light Wounds* (1st lvl)
  • Three treasure maps
  • Ring of Invisibility
  • Ring of Invisibility
  • Ring of Protection +2
  • Ring of Command Human
  • Rod of Cancellation
  • Staff of Healing
  • Wand of Fear
  • Wand of Device Negation
  • Wand of Illusion
  • Boots of Levitation
  • Cube of Frost Resistance
  • Elven Cloak
  • Helm of Teleportation
  • Apparatus of the Crab
  • Necklace of Adaptation
  • Sword +1
  • Sword +1, +3 versus undead
  • Sword +2
  • Sword +3
  • Sling +1
  • Spear +1
  • Axe +2
  • Leather Armor +3
  • Plate Armor +2
  • Plate Armor +3
  • Shield +1
  • Shield +3
  • Arrows +2 (Quantity: 6)
  • Crossbow Bolts +1 (Quantity: 7)
  • Crossbow Bolts +3 (Quantity: 4)

Additionally, they tested the god's shoes, which appear to be boots of speed, yet cause no tiredness from walking; they also seem to prevent missteps. The staff, when Elenora tested it, caused a great glowing angel to appear in the sky; she could control it, but it didn't seem to do any healing. They decided to wait until they were out of town to do any more testing. Caranthir ordered room service, then started working on getting some funds together, by selling swords and so forth.

The group split up, one (with Caranthir) to look for treasure, and one (with Quetgar) to check on his hideout. Quetgar had no trouble getting there, and found his base cleared and clean. He paid his henchman, and named his golem Zud.

Caranthir caused a little consternation by transforming into a dragon, but managed to make it to a pirate treasure: a set of +4 bracers, and a cube of force. Flying on, they came to the Airwalker Tower; deciding to forgo a show of force, Caranthir, Rhea, Elanora, Luce, Gróin, Laurita, and Mor Gibs met with Brother Bartimaeus, leader of the Airwalkers.

He seemed to know why they were there, and did not stop them when they attempted to destroy the stone. They found the stone was light as a feather, but unaffected by gravity. Gróin Communed with Thor; busy as he was, it took a while, but eventually, Gróin was able to ask, "Will the airwalkers lose their powers if the stone is destroyed?"

The answer came back: No. Luce, holding the stone, attempted to leave, and the stone shattered into dust, and vanished. The first scale was destroyed!

Caranthir wondered aloud if perhaps the good Brother was more than he seemed. With a wink, Bartimaeus shapeshifted into that of a bronze dragon, and back again. He bid them farewell, as the team flew to meet the others. They passed a few creatures, but nothing that gave them so much as a fight.

Caranthir chose a plot of ground north of the Winter Fae for his domain, and began at once planning and clearing ground. The party cleared out a small team of bugbears, as well as a barrow full of three wights; however, Caranthir found a small cave, home to four gold dragons who were not terribly pleased to have him nearby. Eventually, a diplomatic solution was reached, and the dragons agreed to leave Caranthir alone.

The team also found a few more magical items and treasure, among them a Scroll of Ward against Lycanthropes, some +1 Ring Mail armor, a potion, a ring, a sword, a Scroll of Ward against Magic, and a Scroll of Ward against Undead.

Finally, the land was surveyed to be worth 7gp per family; the entire 24 mile hex was claimed as Caranthir's land (6 6-mile hexes), and as such requires a fortress worth 480,000 gp to protect the area. 50 mercenaries, a level 1 fighter, and a level 3 fighter volunteered to join them.

  • XP from Encounters:
    • 307 brigands (passed)
    • 6 pegasus (passed)
    • 13 Hippogriphs (fled)
    • 1 Wyvern (fled)
    • 4 purple worms (ran away)
    • 4 Gold Dragons (peaceful... so far)
    • 7 bugbears (455)
    • 3 wights (240)
  • XP from Treasure:
    • 2,000 Electrum (1,000 gp)
    • 2 barrels of fine spirits or liquor (400gp, 32 stone)
    • 8 crates of armor and weapons, (1800gp, 80 stone)
    • 6 crates of glassware (1200gp, 30 stone)
    • 9 crates of monster parts (2700gp, 45 stone)
    • 2 sets of engraved teeth (140gp)
    • 6 glass eyes (360gp)
    • 13 bone fetishes and figurines (247gp)
    • 1 bronze trinket (30 gp)
    • 1 Glass trinket (130 gp)
  • Total XP: 1695
  • Additional XP once items are sold: 7007 (187 stone)
  • XP per PC: 161
  • XP per Henchthing: 81

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Pointless Tower: Death of a God

Dara 13-15; next holiday, Darkest Day, Dara 35.

The Party:

  • Rig Bigny, Gnomish Beastmaster
    • Flit, the bat familiar
    • Clench, the Wardog War-Badger
    • Midnight, the Panther
    • Noona, the Lion
    • Faufe Yitaw, Dogwere (Badgerwere?)
      • Rawf, Wardog familiar
      • Aroof, Wardog familiar
    • Llarm Paphyra, Elvish Polydoctorate
      • The Metal Man, construct
  • Caranthir, Human Leader of Men
    • Rhea Trueheart, Elvish Nightblade
    • Lucille "Luce" Burwood, Fighter
    • Elenora Garrard, White Mage
    • Gimli Trollriver, Dwarven Fury
  • Gróin of Norston, Dwarven Sapper
    • Laurita Gomez, Priestess
  • Quetgar, Thrassian Assassin
    • Zarc, Thrassian Gladiator
  • Sorvald, Thief
  • Mor Gibs, the Wonderworker

Last we left them, the party was on the third level - a swampland. They explored a bit, and dealt with a Kelpie (a horse-like water creature). Then, they ran into nine lizardmen, camped on one of the larger islands. Quetgar was welcomed with open arms, and the rest of the party by association. Quetgar (and the others that spoke Thrassian) knew one thing for certain: these lizardmen were redneck! Their accent had such a twang in it, banjos were unnecessary. They spat into the swamp, had a boat up on blocks in their front yard, drank gray liquid-analogue they called "Swampshine" from a jug, and called each other the Thrassian equivalent of Jimmy-Bob, Mary-Beth, and Bubba. They even brought out instruments and gave a rousing performance of "Mama done raised me good" and "Muh Boat Sank When I Ran Over Muh Pet Gator," which Quetgar was kind enough not to translate. Quetgar thought it was real down home, while everyone else just tried not to lose their lunch when Mama grinned. Mama... was not a looker.

In friendly territory, the group decided to rest; Gróin built a wooden hut, and they slept in relative peace. The next... well, morning is a strong word; the light never really changed much from "darkish" to "grayish". After some friendly warnings, they left the lizardmen to continue on.

Past the lizardmen camp was the old lizardmen camp, complete with sunken boats, followed by a marshy dam. A few of the group picked up leeches, and had to smash the ugly things. A cloud of Stirge ("Skeeters") on the following island were dealt with handily by Caranthir's freezing breath. However, the black pudding that slithered out of the water was much harder to deal with. Caranthir ferried everyone to the next island as Gróin and his priestess burned the slimy thing to dust.

The next island had a large hut on it, and inside the hut were six Greater Thrassians and a Hag. After some negotiations, they began a pitched battle, which (of course) resulted in the deaths of the lizardmen and hag. The building cleared, they continued across a flat bridge to the final island. As the last of them crossed, the bridge was pulled back, and sank into the swamp...

A man leaned against a boat, smoking a long pipe; an elf, in fact. As he applauded, Caranthir (in Draconic) addressed him. The elf responded with a formal greeting, and greeted each of the party in turn, in their own native language. "You fight well! And hardly a smudge on the lot of you - well, at least the dwarf. The rest of you may need a bit of a shower!"

And with those words, a breeze kicked up, and tepid water rained down from the nearby trees, drenching them. The elf nearly fell over laughing. Finally, wiping a tear from his eye, he sighed. "Ah, but you've come to hear my story, no doubt. I am Manannán, Trickster God of the Elves and Gnomes," he said with a bow. "Loki, a rapscallion if ever I know one, hurled an uncouth creature into my realm. It seemed to keep to itself, but finally, I realized the Fair Folk had all but vanished from the swamps. I cursed the day I let the creature live, but in the time I lay idle, it grew stronger. I doubted I could best it in single combat, so I offered it a deal. It had eaten or driven off most of my followers here, so I suggested it find a greater host, and sent it east, to the towns of men. They like killing things over there, I'm sure it all worked out just fine."

For a moment, the trickster looked almost sad. "I know it spread wrath and ruin, for that is what it spread here, but I was not strong enough, and though I raised an army of the fallen, something tells me it would have turned them against me. Oh, which reminds me, there was supposed to be some sort of battle! Hold on a moment."

Green mists flowed across the bog, as a form stepped out of the swampy water... it was draped in kelp and swamp-weeds, though its form was familiar - a Mummy! A... swamp mummy? Laurita Gomez stepped forward, brandishing her holy item, and yelled, "Begone!" as holy light flowed from her grasp. The mummy raised its arms to shield itself from the light, and slowly sank back into the mire from which it came.

Manannán cheered. "Thank goodness that's over with. Well, I'm off!" He flipped his boat over, climbed into it, and sailed into the mists, leaving behind a small stoppered vial of faintly-glowing red liquid. One of the trees bent into a staircase, and so the party climbed...

The top of the stair was stone; after exiting some sort of entry area, the party came upon the withered husk of a great copper dragon, pressed against a wall, its head covered by its decaying claws. Its hide was covered in crude, cruel, and inflammatory words of a very anti-dragon nature. Even non-dragons found the words offensive, and Caranthir was incensed. Gróin, at Caranthir's insistence, Spoke with Dead. The dragon's voice issued forth immediately, groaning and crying out. Caranthir asked, "What happened to you?" and the creature answered, "Killed, by the great darkness!" Caranthir asked, "Do you want to be resurrected?" and the dragon's corpse actually shuddered. The party could hear the bones shaking and the creature's voicebox tearing as it screamed, "NO NO NO NO NO NO!!" over and over again. Finally, Caranthir asked if the creature that killed it could be defeated, and it answered, "No, flee, FLEE!"

A little unsettled by what could make a venerable dragon terrified, even after death, the party continued on. The passage to the right seemed to be blocked off with towering green crystals that ran ceiling to floor; a small alcove contained a few copper coins, and a single lightning-bolt shaped wand. In the passage to the left, a few heard a dripping sound, but couldn't place the source. They found a blocked door in a chamber, and Caranthir immediately removed the board blocked it. Then, realizing how that could go terribly wrong, he quickly replaced it. Looking through the wood, he saw only stone behind it. Whew.

Next was a stairwell; the Fury, Gimli, was sent to explore, but came back in a moment - it was blocked at the bottom. Then came a room, with a stone golem with green eyes inside... and a forcefield of some kind, blocking the path. The golem was quickly dealt with, and the forcefield dropped as the golem's eyes shattered. Then, a fighter, who was quickly killed; the shield he was holding broke into dust, and the next forcefield dropped. However, a few seconds later, the man's body rose again as a zombie!

Finishing off the creature a second time, the party continued on. In the third room was... darkness. After contemplating how to find what was in the room, Gróin cast Continual Light... which cancelled out the Continual Darkness spell. The room was otherwise empty. The fourth room contained nothing but a single, small cube - a cube of force! Quetgar happily picked it up, but as soon as the cube reached the doorway, it shattered. The fifth room contained a staff, and as soon as the party entered the room, they felt themselves become the target of a Bane curse. Oddly, there was no more forcefield; the party looked at the next room, which contained great gears behind thick glass, and a single steel pole, with wires running to the wall. The last room's door was filled with a dazzling disintegration field. It was impassable, even with a protection spell, as there was a stone wall just behind it.

Gibs fired the wand at the metal pole, and lightning arced to the tip. Lights flickered, and the gears began to move.

Just beyond the seven rooms was another stairway, blocked again; another set of massive doors, and leading into (presumably) the inner room, a pair of doors with seven runes. Yet another blocked stairway, then several rooms that were empty, or filled with... strange things. One held a man, eating the rotting corpses from a pile of bodies; another held four men, who stared at the group with empty eyes, then attacked. The four men, once slain, rose again as zombies. The eating man, Caranthir slew, and he rasped, "Thank you..." as he died.

Finally, they returned to the last two puzzles. Gróin, remarking that perhaps the room was a puzzle like the light/dark room, cast Bless; the staff cracked in two, and the Bane curse was lifted. And, with that, the final puzzle finished itself; the disintegration field vanished, and the stone door behind it slid into the wall, leaving only some musty old books of little value. Likewise, the final two runes on the door went out, and it was easily pushed open.

Looking into the main room, the party finally realized what this building was - a cathedral! The main chapel was filled with broken things - broken pews, broken glass, and broken people. Bones are strew across the floor. At the center of the floor, a sunken depression was filled with dark blood. At the end of the room was a large altar, and a man, slumped over it, his hands hanging down as blood dripped off his fingers. His eyes were wide and unblinking. As the party entered, he suddenly jerked upright like a marionette on a string, burst into an impossibly loud laugh, and began to babble, "He told me... He promised me... power! Wealth! Wine, women, and song! HAHAHA! But he lied Lied LIED! TRICKERY! Foolish mortal, FOOLISH MORTAL! Death, death, and blood on my hands," as he looked down at them. "I lead them, I brought them, I called them and they came, and death, DEATH is what they have now! And I have naught but ETERNAL TORMENT! Power, oh yes, wealth, certainly, but CURSED I am to live here! ETERNAL SUFFERING! And you," he cried, pointing at the party, each member in turn, "You come here, for power, for wealth, but at what COST!"

He looked towards the sky, pointing up, and screamed, "I bring no more sacrifices!" then at the party, "FLEE, OR FACE ETERNAL TORMENT!"

And with that, he fired a lightning bolt from his hand. The others attacked, quickly killing him, as he slapped ineffectually against their armor. He dropped a fireball, then was brought down. He body quickly burst into flame, and was burned to ash... then rose again, stepping out of the blood in the middle of the floor! The others quickly fired all they had at him, as he fired fireballs at them (even after he had been hit!). Gróin cast Bless on the altar as Rig tossed Holy Water onto it. The man suddenly dropped to his knees, sobbing, as the power of the altar lessened its hold on him. "I'm sorry... I'm sorry... please... I'm so sorry," he cried, his tears mixing with the blood pooling around him. Gróin, realizing what that may mean, nodded toward him, and Laurita stepped forward. She prayed, and with her hand on his head, asked if he was truly repentant; the man nodded, miserably. She intoned a spell of forgiveness - Atonement - and immediately, the blood from the pool flowed away from him. He stood, a new light in his eyes... and then immediately flash-burned to ash.

The other explored, finding two rooms filled with gold , gems, and magical treasure. Gróin and the others scooped up the magical stuff, and sent Gimli to see what was in the third room. He returned, nonplussed, and mentioned that it was wet, and there was some scroll hanging on the wall.

Rig, Caranthir, Rhea, Elenora, Gróin, Laurita, and Quetgar crowded into the small room. Quetgar felt a drip of something cold hit his cheek (and, oddly, felt himself heal slightly). He looked up... and froze. Above them was a man, a young man, dressed in simple garb, wearing winged shoes, with an oak staff strapped to his arm. Hooks embedded in his flesh held him to the ceiling, as pinkish blood dripped from the hole in his chest where his heart used to be. It was his blood that was feeding the altar. And not just any blood. The blood of a god. This, then, was the Neutral god of Mareten, Viatoremus, the god of tricks, travelling, and treasure. What's more... that meant that the party was, at that moment, standing where someone had killed a god. This was once the neutral god of what is arguably the most powerful trio of gods in Mor-Thir, and he is dead. Not temporarily vanquished, not banished, not returned to the eternal plane, but DEAD. The party made a collective fear check at -20 and, of course, failed horribly.

Once they collected themselves, Caranthir realized what the vials contained - blood, from each of the gods (yes, Loki claimed it was his tears, but he's a trickster, what do you expect?). He had the party dump the vials into the flowing blood, and a moment later, they heard a CRACK as the altar split in two. Suddenly, the oppressive atmosphere was gone.

Caranthir saw the scroll Gimli had mentioned, and looked over it... and with that, he felt the compulsion to read it:

The Prophecy is Read, and woe to he, whose lips its foul words cross
But harken still, despite evil chill, for these words may stem your loss.
The Spirit of Doom to Mor-Thir comes, full power does it possess
In the scales of lore, it's power restored, no end in sight... unless...

The Protector of Hills defeated must fall, the Shield's bearer must die
The Revoker of Darkness must be bathed in light, and down the Weightless must fly
The Bringer of Undeath need be Blessed,
    and the Gatherer meet equal force
'Til alone at the end, the Cleanser will fail,
    and our warriors return to the Source

He continued reading, but the dark words that followed, no one understood. His lips began to blacked, and suddenly, he found himself, and the party, standing in the Street of the Gods.

Meanwhile... Midnight, Noona, Gimli, and Gibs were left staring at the treasure. Gimli and Gibs grabbed a bunch of gems and jewelry, then headed into the third room. As Gibs realized, and dealt with, the fact that he was standing in a room where a god had been killed... Gimli stole the god's shoes. And, in attempting to grab his staff, pulled the god from his hooks, and onto the floor. Placing his foot in the god's armpit, Gimli gave a good yank on the staff, and released it from its bindings. Gibs stared, open-mouthed. Gimli then pulled the scroll from the wall, and in turning it over, started to read it, with the same effect. Soon, Midnight, Noona, Gibs, and the confused Gimli were standing on the Street of the Gods as well. They turned to see the building behind them - the final building on the Chaotic end of the Street. It fell inward on itself, falling to dust, and leaving naught but a blackened slab.

Realizing this could be a bad place to stay, the party quickly left the Street, and found an expensive (and secure) inn to rest at. Along the way, they kept catching glances of red, black, and blue faces staring at them out of lampposts, or an elf with a long pipe winking at them, or a man dressed in a green-and-gold suit doffing his hat to them. Finally, they were able to rest. Quetgar stacked all the room's contents against the door, and slept fully dressed; Caranthir dumped all his treasure out on the floor, and slept on top of it.

Unfortunately, the treasure (at least half a million in gold, even platinum) was gone; scrying on it only showed foul creatures and horrible landscapes. Luckily, Gimli and Gibs managed to rescue a fair amount of stuff...

  • XP from Encounters: 22,686
    • 1 Kelpie (65)
    • 4 Leech, Giant (2280)
    • 8 Stirge (104)
    • 1 Black pudding (1,550)
    • 6 Lizardman, Greater (840)
    • 1 Hag (3100)
    • 1 Mummy Lord (4200)
    • 1 stone golem (3900)
    • 1 lvl 14 fighter (3800)
    • 5 zombies (133)
    • 4 cursed fighters (104)
    • 1 cursed eater (10)
    • 1 cursed, powered man (2600)
  • XP from Treasure (once sold): 85,550
    • 36 jade carvings gods (7,200 gp)
    • 3 amethyst cylinder seals depicting religious scenes (3,600 gp)
    • 2 alexandrite (1,000 gp)
    • 1 sunset amethyst (750 gp)
    • 1 opal regalia (1,000 gp)
    • 1 diamond (1,000 gp)
    • 1 baroque pearl (2,000 gp)
    • 1 Black pearl (2,000 gp)
    • 1 amber regalia (2,000 gp)
    • 1 opal regalia (4,000 gp)
    • 2 flawless diamond (8,000 gp)
    • 1 amber regalia (7,000 gp)
    • 1 ruby regalia (7,000 gp)
    • 1 emerald (8,000 gp)
    • 5 platinum reliquaries with crystal panes (22,000gp)
    • 1 Gold studded with topaz regalia (9,000 gp)
  • Total XP: 108236
  • XP per PC: 13530
  • XP per Henchbeing: 6765

Oh right, magical treasure! The party collected: 10 Potions, a Scroll of Ward against Elementals, a Scroll of Ward against Lycanthropes, a Scroll of Ward against Undead, 6 other scrolls, 3 Treasure Maps, 5 Rings, 1 Rod, 2 Staffs, 3 Wands, a Cube, a pair of Boots, a Cloak, a Helm, a Barrel, a Necklace, 4 Swords, 1 Sling, 1 Spear, 1 Axe, 1 Leather Armor, 2 Plate Armor, 2 Shields, 6 Arrows, 7 Crossbow Bolts, and a second set of 4 Crossbow Bolts. Oh, and a staff and a set of shoes from a god. You know, the usual.