Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Playing catch-up after months of adventuring

((There is a lot that happened in the D&D game since I last typed up one of these entries. It's frankly daunting, so I'm going to just have Cyn summarize to save me some sanity. Bullet points are your friend, dude. As much as you hate not being able to be verbose, run with it for now.))

-We found intricate daggers (“secari”) on all of the derro; according to Clarence, they each make their own and all are different.

-We traveled through the derro lair in the search for the beholder, meeting more derro, kobolds, etc, as well as the “stuck guys” Chip had mentioned. These seemed to be a mix of slaves and guards which Chip described as “stuck in their heads” and we sent them off with a lie to meet other dwarves to the north.

-Along the way we came across grates in the floor which held another Sirilas (the elf we freed earlier), some orcs, and an elven woman. We set those free and left the first Sirilas in one of the cells for now.

-Continuing on, we finally found the real beholder. Using the shields that Vordb had fashioned, we approached this carefully and began to attack. After much work, we destroyed it with Tonk getting the final hit by ripping out its giant eye, which he took with him.

-On our way out we retrieved the orcs and elves we had left behind and made our way out of the beholder's lair. Traveling through the forest we met two centaurs who were standing guard on the trail who let us past (they were concerned about people heading in, not out), and made it back to the abandoned town of Wood's Edge where we rested before heading to Greenhill. There we found out that the elf woman we rescued was the cousin of Zyquis's wife and the extra Sirilas we found was a doppelganger.

-While we were in Greenhill, Ghost called for The Master who gave her the bit of advice that the abbot in Walled Valley would know who could help get the statue-people in the beholder's lair turned back.

-Next we stopped by the gnome village of Treehome, telling the mayor of our recent adventures and paying our respects for our fallen companion Caleb. On the way from there to the Walled Valley, we met up with Tonk's tribe. He told us that he would let the ogres know that we did what we promised, then he left to continue on with them.

-At the Walled Valley, Ghost and I met with Abbot Sol who answered our questions about how to change back the people who were turned into statues by the beholder. He said that the person who might be able to help would be an old wizard named Kellar who lives outside one of the port town on the north coast (Sunset).

-It was in the Walled Valley that we discovered that the ivory skull that Vordb had been carrying around could talk. For some reason Vordb decided to name it Murray.

-We Gated back to Woodland where we reported back to Micah at the guild hall. Here we learned that Khrom-Vel had gone to the northern continent to look for a dragon he knows who lives there and that Rooks had been arrested so someone else had gone west to the elven lands.

-We also learned that the gnolls had moved to the barony of Riverwest (they had been up in Joven), so we decided that this would be our next course of action. I prayed to Hermes for advice and received “the shaman leads the gnolls, the shaman is not what he seems, the shaman is seeking something”.

-As we traveled to Riverwest, we learned that Murray the talking skull doesn't remember anything prior to Vordb picking it up and putting it in his bag. Since Vordb was understandably curious about this skull, I sent a bird along with a letter from Vordb to Ayman to see if our wizard friend could help.

-Along the way we met with a treant who had been mistaken for a downed tree across the road; he told us that he had been pushed over by the dragon Goro Sabaht two days previously.

-Our group was attacked by a group of werewolves and Vordb was bitten. This did not have a result right away, but soon enough we realized that he was turning into one of them. Sten dealt with this as best he could, but the high priest at the temple of Apollo in Port Volta told us that we would need the high priest in Westwatch to cure Vordb's problem, but this would only work during a certain phase of the moon.

-Traveling again we were attacked by several aquatic trolls; we destroyed these and Chip learned a new word to repeat (“Scrag scrag scrag”), adding it to his wordy repertoire of “food food food” and “shut up shut up shut up”. Then we took care of some gnolls, finding that they were branded with a crescent moon shape in their fur. Finally we met with something that wasn't a monster: Sir Kennard of Westwatch and his men out on patrol escorted us to Westwatch.

-In Westwatch we learned that tales of our adventures had traveled far and wide. Sigh. (Apparently part of the rumor is that I can turn into a giant badger, which would be pretty great if only it was true...) We also found out more information about the gnolls including that they may be the same ones we had dealt with in Joven months ago, and that a caravan had been attacked with only one member still alive (paralyzed at first but still unable to speak). The other tidbit of knowledge was particularly appealing to myself: that there was something magical going on in the woods to the south that made the animals there talk. We met with the baron and let him know that we would help with the gnoll problem. He told us that there was an abandoned town (Stoneham), which could be where the gnolls were coming from, and that the remaining man from the caravan was in the town of Barrier Hill.

-We were nearing Barrier Hill when the group stopped me with an intervention, making me promise that I wouldn't pick up any more stray animals. (Sheesh, I only have my fox and raven. It's not like I'm traveling with a circus. Just because I like talking to animals doesn't mean I want to adopt all of them.) In town we heard yet more about the gnolls (and found one scrounging around for food in town), then I went to the house of healing to see if I could talk with the now-mute man from the caravan, figuring (or at least hoping) I had a chance to succeed where others had failed because I have communication magic that does not require speaking (the perks of following the god of messages). Thankfully my telepathy spell worked and the man (Wilson), though surprised, was able to respond back to me that way. He told me that dead things, not gnolls, had attacked them by the ruins of Old Stoneham and left him paralyzed for a time; they dragged everyone else away, but there weren't enough to take Wilson, as well. His friends were taken back to the ruins and all the guards were killed. I promised the man that I would do my best to help and try to locate his friends.

-We headed out to Old Stoneham and during watch one night Chip told me that there were “mees” nearby. It turned out that having a kobold along was helpful because he was able to get the group of kobolds to leave after first learning from them that there were “hyena-men” (gnolls) in the direction we were heading.

-We traveled until we saw the ruins on the other side of the stream, but we were stuck as to how to get across the water. For this Vordb and I worked together. He knows quite a bit about engineering and building things, so I used magic to create a semi- illusionary saw for him and Oakskin to use to build the wooden parts of a bridge. To fill in the rest of the gap I used my stone-manipulating spell to create the rest of the bridge; between the wood and the stone, it was wide enough for us and our horses to get across.

-Ghost scouted ahead to see what was going on in Old Stoneham, then the next morning we made our way across the bridge and over to the destroyed town. We charged in and eliminated the gnolls that were on guard near the old inn and discovered a secret door in the basement. We went through this and followed tunnels that had tapestries hanging from the walls that looked like they belonged in a church. After taking out more gnolls, we discovered that the church thing was accurate when we found what appeared to be a temple's defiled embalming room and rooms with old remains of what appeared to have been warriors. This was disturbing in and of itself (I just can't get used to coming across dead things and defiled temples. It's disconcerting and, frankly, gross) but we came across more gnolls and a few flinds in the process of trashing a similar burial chamber. We eliminated these, then came across dozens more in a larger chamber.

-With the help of two of Ghost's illusion plaques (a beholder and a troll- fortunately Ghost's random pick grabbed two really good ones), we got rid of all but one of these. That one was a gnoll who appeared to be the leader we thought we had killed back in Joven- while the others took care of the rest, this was the one I focused on. Knowing that he would be a spellcaster, I immediately cast a spell that dispelled whatever magic he had been trying to work. Before he could do much in the way to react, I then threw my Mental Domination spell at him, amazingly being strong enough to get him to sit down and shut up while the rest of my group took out the rest. Once the battle was over, Shocko tied up that big gnoll to keep him from escaping while I worked another telepathic-style spell to read his mind while we questioned him. He resisted, of course, but if there's a word I can use to describe myself, it's stubborn. I eventually learned the answers to quite a few questions:
-Who sent him: he thinks it's a dark god who goes by “Interloper”, “The Displacer”, “Giant Killer” and looks like a shadow of a big gaunt gnoll. (Eventually I was able to get the name “Yeenoghu” out of him.)
-Why was he here: he wants Vordb's amulet in order to bring his master here (the amulet is both the gate and the key to get to his master).
-What is he: he was convinced that he was a gnoll and the shaman leader (which was strange considering the advice I got from my god, but okay).
-Why was he not dead: his master brought him back; he may be imprisoned, but his power is strong. (It was at this point that I began to hear another voice speaking along with him.)
-How many of his people are there: 200 gnolls combing the countryside but at least 500 more over the border. (Here I finally heard the other voice in a language I could understand. It was saying “They are coming, they will be here soon”.)

-Oakskin, ever glad to kill gnolls, did so to this one when I got all the information out of him that I could, but I have my doubts that this will be the last time we see him. I mean, just look at how many times (and incarnations) we had to deal with the Brotherhood of Dread and I'm still not entirely certain that those won't come back some day.

-We soon learned that we were too late to rescue the other men from the caravan; they had all been killed before we had even arrived. We gathered up their belongings to take back to their families, as well as the what they had been transporting, and gave the men a burial.

-We traveled through New Stoneham and then back to Westwatch to speak with the baron again. We told him what we had done and learned and we handed over the belongings of the men from the caravan. The baron asked for Vordb's amulet because it had proved to be useful in turning the group of ghouls we had met (and by “turning” I mean “made fifteen poof into dust”), but Vordb was unwilling to hand it over.

-Speaking of Vordb, it was now the correct phase of the moon to get his onset of lycanthropy cured. He returned to the abbot in Westwatch and the priest was able to remove this curse just as he was beginning to change again.

-We headed back south to Barrier Hill and arrived there just in time for the end of year festival. This was a rare event for us in that it was finally a festival where no monsters attacked; I wonder if that will ever happen again. My reason for returning, however, was to check on Wilson and give him news in person about what had happened to his friends. I learned that he was doing well and was talking again, but he was understandably upset when I told him what had happened to the rest of his caravan.

-We had a few days to rest while Ghost went out on patrol, then the group begrudgingly went south with me to try to investigate these talking animals about which we were still hearing rumors. We set off towards the town of Spence and along the way we came across a wild pig in the road. The rest of the group wanted to kill it, but I did what I always do and tried talking to it; my instincts turned out to be right- this was one of the talking animals. Granted not a particularly intelligent one, but it told us that there were other talking animals around and that “Carro” was the smartest. He led us for several hours until we reached a hollow log, from which a rabbit popped out and began talking to us- this was Carro. The rabbit told us that a sword had fallen on his home and that's why he can talk, then went and retrieved the local druid, who agreed with the rabbit's story. The druid led us to a clearing where there was in fact a sword sticking out of a stump. Vordb discovered that the sword and the area around it radiated magic, which was pretty much obvious considering the talking animals. It wasn't just the animals that were talking, though, because at this point the sword began to talk. And talk and talk. It told us that its name was Ignus Ixium (the “almighty sword of almighty justice” or something like that) and that it had fallen from the sky through a portal in the elemental plane of air, a few days after which the animals in the forest began to speak. It seemed as though the animals affected were just the ones in the glade and within one hundred feet past that, equaling about twenty of them. When it started talking to Murray the skull we figured out that the two of them knew each other.

-This is getting long-winded again, so I'll summarize more. The sword is broken (something to do with the gem in its hilt... pommel, whatever) and has some sort of amnesia which means huge gaps in its memory. Ghost ended up with this and we made our way back to Barrier Hill and then Westwatch, meeting the usual kinds of monsters (giant beetles this time). Ghost tried to get the sword fixed in Westwatch, but to no avail; she needs a skilled dwarven smith.

-Back in Woodland Ghost met up with Homer the halfling because the sword had mentioned being carried by someone named “Slewfoot”, but it turned out that the sword had meant his grandfather.

I am sure I am missing much, but this will have to do until next time.

~Cyneric Conroy, Order of the Fleet Fox

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