Trials & Trails

Episode #16: Untying the Knot
While rocking new threads...

And so the party manages to avoid prosecution by the Full because the Full decides not to pursue it. This doesn’t keep Full Priest Marka Pilvod from directly threatening Shadow & Co with retribution (in a “when you least expect it, expect it” kind of way).

In any case, the adventure takes a turn toward investigation, the highlight of which is Vicic resurrecting a plague victim and sending her to question Full fanatics about their faith. This ends up being a Full escort of said dead maiden toward the keep, where Vicic dispels his hold and the corpse drops dead afresh, only to be gathered up by the acolytes with the cryptic comment, “Hey it’s all meat, right?” Then the idiots carry a plague-riddled corpse into the Temple. Of course, they’ve been preaching in the plague quarter for awhile now, and no Full member has yet contracted anything (hmmmmm, one says or thinks, or mutters).

So, not much found out there, relatively speaking (except that Vicic’s chest casting is pretty awesomely powerful). Other stuff we find out:

*El Star Charts: Pritt discovers that one of the charts, when held at a certain location and a certain time, changes to reveal an eclipse. She and Tiskus head to Mageswell, where the facilities and such are better, and discover that a celestial event, “The Week of No Sun” is to occur this coming October. Couple that with all that “cleansing” talk from the Full ("a new day will dawn, and yaddayaddayadda), and them thinks maybe sumpin’ not so good is afoot in a few months? They also find out that the Mageswell council has clamped down on all information about Kyume’s staff. Foscoe Borgia thinks the silence is bad news. He’s probably right. Or very, very high.

*Swiftsteel makes an appearance, this time clean-shaven, wearing the latest in Mageswellian fashion—which is strange, because there are no Mageswell boutiques in Felston. He appears to know a LOT about the group’s machinations of eventual town takerage. One wonders how. He also appears to applaud their efforts. Of course, he appears to be a lot of things, but know one knows exactly what.

*Telvas is warned by Jaeel Deerclan to leave Felston. She tells him it’s going to be a bad place to be pretty soon (of course, pretty soon in medieval terms could be 3 years—but he thinks it’s probably sooner than that).

*Shadow delves into Komersisto’s affairs, but Komie will have none of it. But that’s business, I suppose. The thief astutely cases Sisto’s lodgings anyway, though, and notes a pair of rough looking halfling adventuring types, armed to the teeth, showing up under cover of darkness, meeting with the merchant, then leaving a few hours later, heading south east (-erly).

In the end, everything sort of comes back to Vici’s original guidance spell that pointed the party SE, before the murders at the Full Temple took place. The shady characters consorting with Sisto, the letter from the full mentioning Dormorians, and the info in Foscoe’s original letter all point toward Lac Drune, and Grantham, the Foeblade Estate, and the swamps beyond, where a mud sorcerer obelisk rests (they think).

Meanwhile, Tiskus purchases a used suit from local tailor Garack—bright red with a green medusa head on the back. His thoughts turn to trend-setting. (oh, and he also finds out about a former Mageswellian wizard who was heavily into old world magic, one Eve Zvunpesson, who was booted out of Mageswell some 12 years before—word has it, she’s still around somewhere).

P.S. Due to murders and stuff, the Full cancels its monthly initiation ceremony to plot revenge against the party (well, maybe…I mean, that’s what *I’d do).

Adventure start: 05 JUL END: 08 JUL, evening

Episode #15: The Iron Circle
Breaking, entering, and exiting, hastily

And so, with Shadow emphatically barking, “Temple, Temple, Temple,” the group decides to see whazzup wid The Temple of the Full, an order that proselytizes during the day, but seems to stay away from Felston at night. So, they scout yon place, see little activity, discern where the secret entrances are (thanks to some scouting off a convenient hillside by El Shadow) and decide to go at night, en masse, minus Telvas, who orders out a bunch of Ale and such in order to provide their alibi.

Of course, the Full keeps the guards out at night, a pair of them on the hill. And, of course, the party semi-sort tips them off. Shadow guts one of them, thanks to stealthy backstabbage. The other, obviously, notices, then attempts to sprint away, only to find himself held by Vicic’s spell. Unfortunately, the hold spell does not preclude screaming bloody murder. By the time Shadow murders the guard from afar, with a smack down bow shot, the Temple has been alerted.

Eight iron-collared initiates stream out from the entrances, all taking aim at the halfling. Taking the prudent way out, Shadow opts for an exit strategy, wriggling his way through grasping guards who’ve already heaved their chakram in vain at him. He beats feet right back to town, bringing them in tow (but leaving behind his telltale skull necklace).

Meanwhile, Vicic remains hidden, behind a convenient bush, and Tiskus remains hidden behind a convenient Invisibility spell. Eventually, the former attempts to run, while the latter tiptoes his way into the Temple, as additional initiates come streaming out. Eventually, Vicic gets away, losing an ear in the process, while Tisk walks right into the temple via the subterranean conduit.

Then begins the tale of two near disasters: while Telvas and Shadow try hard to convince the pursuing Full that both he and the halfling have been partying it up all night (and Vicic makes his bloody headed way back to the same location). Tiskus lives a comedy of errors involving mud, tree climbing, roof-breaking and ration-tossing. In the end, the Full are on “Full Alert” (har-har), knowing they have a mage in their midst, but only having several bags of adventuring rations to prove anything. Meanwhile, Tiskus’ tiptoeing reveals a letter written by the “Gran Sacerdote” of the temple to his superiors. He pilfers it and walks out of the temple, just as the Full seals the doors. (I wonder how long it will be before that letter is missed?).

Meanwhile, back in town, a pair of low level Full banter about “vice” and “weakness” with Telvas, while Shadow puts on the fastest drunk in history, downing ale and pipe weed. Vicic makes his way in the house, slides his way into Tiskus room to gather a healing cloak, and stumbles on Pritt LIll in the mage’s room. Seems the initiate has passed out after studying star charts.

And so, we leave off with:

*Constable Walker showing up at the group’s house, asking questions.

*One, possible two clues as to who murdered the Full’s guards (a necklace and an ear, if found).

*A letter in a vaguely discernible langauge, mentioning Dormorians and the God of Pestilence, Breddiith.

*A discovery beneath the Temple of a stone cylinder, which Tiskus believes is accessible from the floor above, beneath the Full Chakram symbol.

Other stuff:
*Both Pritt Lill and Tiskus experienced old world backlash, using new world spells. What up wid dat?

*Telvas meets with Jaeel Deeclan, who is now in the employ of someone other than Foeblade. She asks about Summer Thorne, specifically where to find him, and invites her former colleague to go looking with her, in a week (or was is 3 days? who can remember?). The Elven Spinmaster has become a local hero among his people, and the voice of occasional reason in the party. He also cuts things.

*Vicic is earless, which is bad enough in and of itself. But it also marks him as present at the murder site. It also makes all music he hears sound like the White Album, backwards.:-)

*Shadow’s nekclace implicates him in the murders. He’ll have to pull an even faster one to wriggle out of this pickle. Oh, and he hurled right on the Constable.

*Pritt Lill mentions something to Vicic about the star charts, but the looming threat of trouble with the law tables that conversation.

*A very muddy, albeit invisible, Tiskus is on his way back to town.

Start 02 JUL….End 04 July, late at night

Episode 14: Darker Paths
Sometimes when you win, you lose...

Our story begins with Telvas falling into a pile of money. His own. Arch-assassin Swiftsteel shows up, looking very different than his previous incarnation. He tosses a sack of coins at Telvas and say, “I don’t take money if I don’t finish a job.” So, someone else offed Mercor Foeblade. But whom?

Not much time to think on that, though, as our Elven Spinmeister is arrested for threatening Drunkseeker in his throne room. Did he? Welllllll….sorta did, a little bit, sorta. In any case, Constable Jerith Walker shows up with 12 members of the guard, and off we go to the newly refurbished Keep Dungeon, where he awaits execution at daybreak, tomorrow.

Naturally, the warrior’s compatriots can’t have that. Tiskus exercises old world magic, turning into a swirling dust thing to get past 3 sets of guards and into the Throne Room, where Tallman Pravduum is working over a passel of papers. Once again charging in planless, he soon finds himself in the sights of one Serem, a stooge of the crown who is tough with the bow.

But, we’re here to parley, yes? Of COURSE, we are. So after an initial, angry exchange (most of that coming from Tisk), Tallman lays out the deal — the party must renounce its claim to the mines in exchange for Telvas’ life. He also informs them that Gruntorm, whom Tiskus initially wanted to see, has left for parts unknown (ostensibly to arrange a marriage). In any case, the herd agrees to the deal, because, well, why get Telvas killed?

Of course, the proud Elf doesn’t make it easy. He refuses to sign the paper. Until Tallman informs him that harsher measures toward all Elves in Felston would follow. For the good of his people, Telvas acquiesces.

So, the now-freed Kalinyas Agalon (“Master of the Spin technique”) and his friends head out to plot and semi-scheme. Clearly, this Gruntorm fellow is a thing. They bat theories back and forth about whether he has gone to arrange marriage with Delia Xorsbottom or one of the daighters of Onall Onaii. They also must consider a letter sent from Foscoe to Tiskus concerning Csonka’s return to Felston, some few days before the party got back to their town. In addition, you have a fire that’s burned up Newman Longbottom’s doobage, and the busted business-halfling’s sudden alliance with Komersisto, a very successful halfling entrepreneur.

A brief foray to the Temple of the Full results in a great deal of aggressive posturing, which, along with the presence of mud sorceror’s symbols, solidifies the idea that Csonka may be held somewhere in the great, adobe temple.

And so, the party ends up with the following issues to deal with:

*Who had Foeblade killed? And why?

*Is Csonka being held in the Temple of the Full? If so, where? If they know where, how will they get to him? And are those chakram as nasty as they appear?

*What is Sisto’s role? He’s purchased the brothel near the Hair of the Dog. He’s resistant to work with Shadow unless he is given “information he can use.”

*What about Shadow’s weed trade? With Newman’s stock destroyed, doesn’t that put Shadow’s stash in danger?

*What is up with Drunkseeker? Telvas has a spy on his tale, but information is sketchy. And, he still needs to pay the dude.

*Pritt Lill, court mage, is being sent to study with Tiskus. Will they find love, or bullets? (j/k—what will become of this sudden arrangement).

Start: 29 JUN

Episode 13: Mines, Mines, MINES!
The Anticlimactic Ushering of a New Era

The party’s “battle” with the demon ends swiftly. A single magic missile, followed by a slaying stroke from Telvas’ reforged Foeblade sends the demon down and out, where it melts into an acidic mass. The party doesn’t dilly dally, however, because, well, they can’t. The place is still ghoul-infested, as the appearance by a large contingent shows, AND…there is a silver summoning circle on the mound where the Demon sat.

So, they make their way to a chamber containing a magical silver stream, running around 3 small ziggurats, the tops of which, as it turns out (if you climb the chaos-ensorcelled rune-cubes), contain stones of great worth. Tiskus climbs, sets off the magical trap, and sprays everyone, save Shadow, with hot silver.

In the end, the party survives. Gets rid of the summoning circle. Returns to the Gnolls, celebrates, then goes back home to report mission success. While there:

Drunkseeker throws down a tax on the party profits, but insists they need not worry about running it. The group believes it has a third of everything that comes out going to them.

Telvas threatens the Lord in his own keep and is escorted out.

Shadow purchases a tavern, and renames it “Hair of the Dog,” which he intends to run behind the scenes. He starts sending out feelers for petty criminality, intent on running the underworld.

TnT (Telvas and Tiskus) discuss the eventual overthrow of Drunkseeker.

Vicic sets up a small temple, and begins bringing in priests.

All in all, the party seems very Felston-focused, and thoughts of Csonka fade, as they believe he may well be dead by now.

Ended: 29 JUN

Episode #12: Big Demons Give NO Love
Ouch...and yet again, Ouch. And dare I say, Ouch?

The party’s foray into the Mines continues, beginning with yet another ghoul encounter. A very short encounter. A fiery encounter. Vicic’s radiant chest holds a horde of dwarf ghouls at bay through the narrow threshold onward, as Tiskus lets fly with a fireball, torching every single one of the beasties. A celebration? Kinda. Why kinda? Here’s why?

As the ghouls mass beyond the next threshold, the dwarf collective dead in ooze form slither down from their wall toward the door to their empty room, which Shadow closes and holds. But ooze don’t stop when cracks are apparent. The stuff begins slithering beneath the door. Shadow deftly leaps backward, allowing Telvas to step forward. He HITS the ooze, and promptly gets mind-fried. Like, REALLY mind-fried. Like, “I think I’ll stop doing that now and stand over here” mind-fried.

So, while the ghouls are dead, save one (which Vicic does the radiant chest dance with), the rest of the group plays slap an ooze with the collective psychic thing, which proceeds to mind fry anyone who stands in its way.

And therein lies the rub…for when Shadow rushes into the next room, and slays a ghoul with a well-aimed bow shot, the ooze goes back to its lair. Evidently, it was trying to get to the ghouls, and the party unknowingly thought it was being attacked.


Later on, the party follows a plaintive moaning sound to a buried astronomy chamber, ostensibly the one belonging to Vorsord, the Dwarf who “did this to us” (as graffiti later showed). After walking right into a nasty gas trap, they retreat to lick their wounds (if only there were a tongue big enough, for there is lots of woundage). Somehow, TELVAS shakes off the effect, and, in fact feels invigorated by dwarvish poisoned gas. So, naturally, he just walks through the gas-filled corridor, leaving his friends to continue licking themselves (as it were).

Telvas locates a YUUUUUGE chamber, complete with burnt shelving and pages and pages of ashened books, as well as a YUUUUUGE dais where the metal remains of a telescope sit. He also finds, some leathery-backed Hook Divers. These divers have been coming from a hole 60’ up, where, evidently, the telescope could be raised to look out.

As the don’t hook divers don’t like intruders, they swoop at Telvas, who promptly gets into trouble. Gets proned, actually. His buddies, hearing his cries, stop licking and charge through the gas (those bastards are BRAVE). A big ol’ fight commences, which divers whose skin is hard as mail, spreading their 8’ wings, taking aim at the stalwarts. The party fights it out, with the help of Big Tree, the Gnoll in service to Telvas. It’s a TOUGH fight, but they win the battle (highlight film: Tiskus uses his dagger to flash teleport away from a beast carrying him skyward—cool stuff, except the TP puts him in the metal mess, where his foot gets stuck).

All divers are dead (save the few who flew away). The moaning keeps on keeping on. The party finds ancient star charts, and some spells. They also find some coins. But the moaning goes on.

Realizing the source of the mines woes are somewhere else, the party trudges onward. They bypass a chamber full of beasties, thanks to Shadows keen scouting, and end up in a small, dwarf-hewn chamber leading to a much bigger natural cavern, where a winged, demonic beast, outlined in dark purple, gnaws on ghoul bones. Of course, it senses them, sniffing the air with its foul nose.

Shadow stealthily sneaks into the chamber, hides well, whips out a backstab, while his friends hide in darkness. Alas! The creature is immune to non-magical weapons. It slams Shadow across the boon-riddled floor, turning its attention to the poor thief.

Meanwhile, the party girds its loins, its arms, its legs, and everything else, as it prepares for its ultimate test—the Soul Eater of Soseth Errat!


Episode #11: Crossing the Streams
Gnoll-A (Gee En Oh EL-EL, GNOLLLLL-LA)

The party’s next foray leans toward frontier diplomacy, as they head toward the Craggiset, and a northern pass into the wilds beyond. Before that, a stop at an Inwahe Gnoll village, and a meeting with their chief. Along the way:

*A big, scary, ashen beast thing catches sight of the group and dive bombs Vicik, tossing him down a cliffside into a set of bushes. The rest of the party takes the beast on, Shadow firing arrows into the mist, Tiskus attempting some spellage, and Telvas attacking from out of hiding. After some bumps and bruises and semi-broken bones, Telvas brings the beast down, both to the ground and upon him as he lops off its head.

*Nearby Inwahe Gnoll “greet” the party, and things immediately go south, as Tiskus’ attempt to say “HI, we’re cool, right?” comes out to “I shit on your mother” in Gnoll tongue. He finds himself in hand to hand combat, an encounter made more difficult when Vicic’s attempt to scare Tiskus’ opponent backfires, and creates strange illusions now intent on scaring Tiskus. No matter. After a lengthy slap fight, the two decide they are eventy matched, then take the vow of brotherhood through combat. Off to the chief we go.

*The party meets with the Gnoll chieftan, Wenreji, who informs them he’s already been asked about passing through the sacred lands by “other stinky people” (i.e., humans). However, Telvas’ gift of the huge ashen beast head, plus the party’s promise to go through the cleansing prep ritual AND clear the howling caves of the spirits tormenting the Inwahe dead, allow them a guide through the platforms to the mines, where they are immediately greeted with the ghostly howlings of the dead.

*Once in, via a secret passage, the party is confronted by a strange kelly-like beast that evidently contains the spirits of dead dwarves. The spirits howl “GET OUT!” The group stays. Ghould show up. A fight commences. There’s some wounding. The group wins the first battle, but there is more to follow.

Episode #10: No Place Like Home (or Felston)
An uneasy alliance with a douche bag

The party spends a couple of days convalescing in the burgeoning basetown, as rumors fly about the intrepid trio of coin-laden adventurers. It isn’t long before Tiskus’ nagging conscience (and a need to bank some coin), force them into preparing for their next trial and travail. They eventually end up in Mageswell, where they receive key information about Csonka’s obsession with the Mud Sorcerors. Other stuff happened, too, as follows:

*Gruntorm Drunkseeker, rumored in YUUUUUGE debt, arranges a meeting with the party. The suddenly friendly lord proves to be both an oblivious racist and something of a pervert. In any case, he has the claim, and promises the characters from prime real estate, as well as 50% of the mine proceeds if they can get the Gnoll to release the claim to their ancestral lands. (can you say, “forced relocation”). As this is sorta on the way (plus they like money), the party signs a binding contract, allowing them to negotiate in Drunkseeker’s name. The Mine itself is non-operational, having caved in a long time ago. There are rumors of creatures bubbling up from below beyond the boulder-crammed corridors.

*Telvas seems to have dealt with his Foeblade problem by getting rid of the Foeblade. With Tiskus’ help, plus a rented forge, he merges a magical shortsword from the Khalhatan loot and creates a brand, spankin’ new blade, after which. the ever-present Swiftsteel, whom Telvas has been suspicious of since he met him, reveals himself as a bounty hunter and assassin. Since his task was to bring back the Foeblade, however, and it is gone, he informs the spinning elven swordmaster he won’t pursue the matter anymore. Further, he can make Telvas’ problem “go away” for fifteen hundred coin. Telvas pays it, not realizing until later he’s basically put out a hit on Lord Foeblade himself. Whoopee! (we hope).

*Shadow runs into a rival pipeweed dealer, one Newman Longbottom, who has managed to wheedle his way into Felston as the only dealer in town. Hard up for pipeweed, he negotiates a price, to no avail. It’s a bad price. Thankfully, a haggard and poor looking cleric nearby, one Vicic of Epid Sal, functions as a go between, procuring the precious substance at a decent price. On top of that, Vicic is seeking to join a party of successful adventurers in order to gain coin for his home temple, which has been combating Ningothrastian slavery on the coastline, and needs the dough. HIs services are put into use near immediately as:

*Tiskus downs red-lotus infused wine and drops to the ground, frothing, right there in the middle of the supply store. Thanks to his own innate constitution, and a bit of help from Vicic, he recovers. Management forgives him breaking the “no dying in my shop” rule, the party buys some stuff, and then saddles up for Mageswell.

*In Mageswell, Foscoe informs them the bad news about the Staff of Kyume. Seems there’s an entity in it. A bad one. A chaos scourge whose name he cannot tell them. It’s not good. They’re not getting that staff back. He also tells them Csonka has been fervently researching the Mud Sorcerers, and has gone north, to Kor Xolod, the Cold Lake, which Csonka evidently believed was a great sinkhole created by cataclysmic Mud magic, much like the Khalhatan sinkhole—on steroids. The party has an idea where to go, but needs a few more supplies, in particular, cold weather gear. Thankfully, and olf friend/flame of Tiskus’s is in charge of these things. He girds his loinage for the meeting, likely a tense one, with Cosma, whose friendship he may have lost by initiating drunken intimacies during their graduation week, then leaving like a little bitch to go adventuring.

And so, the episode ends with the party banking their dough, then prepping to go. The life of an adventurer is an exciting one, albeit fraught with peril of various levels of severity. Questions remain, such as:

*Will Shadow actually kill Foeblade? Or did he just scam the shite out of Telvas?
*Will Cosma actually help Tiskus? Has she moved on? And what about their love child (wait, LOVE CHILD?)
*Will Shadow take over the pipeweed trade? Or will Newman triumph? Will they become fast friends? And why is everyone calling him “Jerry?”
*Will Vicic ever buy any decent clothes?

This and more, next episode.:-)


Episode 9: Yurith's Tomb, part 2
Play that mummy music, dark thing

After recuperating from their battle with Veluta, the party investigates the passage away behind the fake sarcophagus across from “Bentbroke Stakefoot,” the dead guardian. The danger is the entrance itself, an area caked with a charnel dust pressure trap, which Shadow finds and avoid. Beyond the door, a pair of locked trunks in an obscene mural room depicting a necromancer raising skeletons beneath a grisly, muddy sky. Long story short: Telvas ends up wolfing down some charnel dust (and passing some along via unwanted mouth-to-mouth with Tiskus). But the rearming trap is down, leaving shadow to take care of a dart trap, as well as am explosive, wax rune trap (which he “takes care of” by springing it, and blowing up the chest.

It all turns out to be semi-worth it, as the group finds a LOT of loot, including a Life Stealing Mace and a scroll of protection versus undead (fancy that!). After an entirely too long discussion about which coins to carry and which to leave behind (2 hours), the party finally sets out for the tomb proper.

Initially skittish when they find a set of strange symbols emblazoned on the magical doors (which, somehow, open with non-magical keys), the party eventually simply puts the keys in and unlocks the door (an act that is greeted by a tremendous MOAAAAAAAAANING from beyond the threshold). Beyond the heavy, steel doors, green light cascades from arcane braziers, casting light on a wide set of stairs. The stairs lead to the tomb of Yurith himself, who had arisen, and girded himself with a potion of damage resistance (though, of course, nobody knows that initially). After a brief trade of villainous “I-shall-destroy-you” versus heroic “no-you-won’t, vato” remarks, the battle royale is joined. It quickly turns DEADLY!

As Rafos swings the life stealing mace, augmented by Telvas’ sword, Shadow and Tiskus draw the attention of the semi-mummified Yurith. The mummy thing delivers a fear-causing keen that sends the mage running out of the tomb, leading Telvas, who has already dispatched a group of skeletons with a deft seep attack. to (eventually) square off against him, near solo.

Things get bad quickly. Rafos’ mace keeps stealing life from him instead of his enemies, pushing him close to dropping. Telvas, meanwhile, is subject to the slash and rot attacks of Yurith, who drains blood and life from him. Shadow gets raked by a band of skeletons and beats feet out of there. When Yurith reveals a formerly hidden surprise (a minotaur skeleton emerging through brick wall), the group takes it upon themselves to beat feet out —except for Tiskus.

The mage stands fast, covering his allies’ retreat, delivering a massive fireball that singes the minotaur and takes out the remaining skellies. The mage suffers a confusing maze effect from the minotaur that sends him INTO the room with Yurith, who does his best to take the mage out with a rotting claw. But Tiskus winks out of existence before his eyes, going invisible.

Meanwhile, the singed minotaur races after the retreating party members, running into Telvas, who has turned around to help the mage. With a cleaving, upward slice, he turns the bill-thing into a pile of charred bones, then flies into the room to come face-to-face with Yurith. The spinning swordmaster puts up a good fight, but the mummy lord’s powers prove to much for him. As his teammates watch in horror, he shrivels up before their eyes. Yurith hurls his dessicated body to the ground, then turns his attention on Shadow and Rafos.

Meanwhile Tiskus checks out Yurith’s sarcophogus. Is the battle still going on? Sure, it is. But, hey—maybe the bad guy left behind some sort of secret weapon that might kill him. Maybe he left it in plain sight. Maybe he’s really that dumb.

But, no…

And so, the battle continues. Shadow takes up the fallen Foeblade, and faces down Yurith. The creature lifts the halfing by the throat, threatening to drain him of life…

But Shadow runs the creature through, piercing his heart with the Foeblade. With a groan and a strange smile of victory, Yurith falls.

The reason for the grin becomes clear. As Yurith was passing from this not so mortal coil, his essence, a combination of magic and sand, flowed out into a pile of bones in the minotaur chamber of bones. Clearly, his plan is to enter the bones there and reanimate—as a DRAGON!

The fateful transformation never occurs. Tiskus continuesto burn the bones with mage fire, while Rafos enters and swings the life stealer at the pile. Unfortunately, the mace draws the last of Rafos’ life, and he plops over, just as the last bit of fire destroys the bones.

VICTORY! Albeit at a cost. For, while Telvas pulls through from his injuries, Rafos does not, joining poor Corg in the afterlife.

In the end, the group finds in excess of 16,000 coins value of treasure, which they cart on an 8-day journey back to civilization (passing up investigation of a mysterious megalith). As they mend their broken bodies, they contemplate their next move, likely an excursion north, to find Csonka!

Adventure start:
16 MAY


Episode 8: Yurith's Tomb, part I
Deadfalls and dead things

The somewhat battered party meets up with new arrival “Shadow,” a well-dressed, unruly-haired halfling from Wellspring (which happens to be near Mageswell). Shadow has lost his entire adventuring party, and is stuck in the ruins of Khalhatan, where, he informs the group, the lizards do not prey. In need to additional manpower (even a half-man, at that), the party welcomes him and his thieving skills to the expedition.

Their first priority is figuring out the obelisk puzzle, when they do through a combination of wizardly knowledge, knowledgeable discussion, and some bit of dodging various trappy things. Tiskus activates a bit of lightning, a bit of darkness, and a bit of trepidation as he places the figurines — each a representative of the godly pantheon — in the cup-like settings that fit the opposite of their aspect. VOILA! The obelisk opens!

Once inside, the party discovers the bodies of dead monks in worn, ratty robes — except for that one pristine robe worn by a tome-clutching skeleton. After a bit of checking here and there, the group discovers the mechanism to open and close the Obelisk, giving them a perfect place to rest and recover before venturing onward. They also discover a good bit of treasure behind a hidden panel, to include some coinage, a magical dagger and a magical whetstone.

After some perusal of said tome, which relates the history of Khalhatan under the reign of Yurith, the party sets forth on the second leg of their journey in this pit-city, the tomb of the dead ruler himself. The book warns that Yurith’s obsession with immortality, as well as the legend of the Mud Sorcerers brought about the doom of the city. Created the pit actually. Oh, and it summoned the lizard things, which are called linnorms. Why the lizards don’t enter the ruins is another matter — and a happy discovery. This means they only have to worry about the tomb (the entrance to which Shadow has already located, as noted by the great, big, stone that read, “DO NOT ENTER THE TOMB ON PAIN OF DEATH”).

This tomb actually does turn out to be a pretty big worry, as the expedition quickly finds out. Upon entry, Shadow skulks about, and locates a nasty deadfall trap. Tiskus divines a magical door to the west, as well as a magical sarcophagus. The nature of the magic becomes obvious when the mage gets within a few feet of the sarc, when a slew of Darkmist Zombies and Skeletons materialize!

It’s a hardy battle, which features a zombie tripping a trap, Rafos getting piledriven into a column, and Tiskus being shoved into a makeshift drowning pool of nasty, black water. The party adapts and overcomes, however, thanks to the martial displays of Telvas and Rafos, as well as some nice maneuvering by the thief and some spell slinging by the wizard. No one dies, which is a nice change from what’s been happening lately to our intrepid semi-studs.

Not that they don’t try to keep the death toll rising. As they explore one of the three exits from the area, they find yet another pit trap, which nearly claims the life of Shadow, who loses his bow in the evidently bottomless hole. After a battle with a pair of life-sucking Dark Wraiths, the party obtains a wax dragon, inside of which is brass skeleton key (or rather, a brass key with a skeleton head. But no tomb, as of yet.

More cautious, and rather more creative now, the party finds another innocuous room with a suit of armor just standing there…hangin’ out…doing nothing…Telvas knows better, however, and decides to hammer the armors’ feet to the floor with a pair of spikes. Good thing. A magical trap activates the suit (just as Telvas is finishing his work). Since it can’t move, however, the group has a good laugh at the guardian’s expense. They add insult to injury later on, when, after the suit has pulled its own feet off, Telvas tosses a sarcophagus lid on top of it, crushing it completely. A narrow passageway leads off into the darkness behind the false sarc. But, as there are more obvious ways to leave the room — including a wide set of steps with a huge, blood-red skeleton in it, the party leaves that for another day.

Which leads to the battle with Veluta, the guardian wraith of the tomb. After dealing with yet ANOTHER pit trap (with various levels of success and danger), the party takes on the skeletal warrior. It attempts to hit a summoning gong, but Tiskus, always on the border of foolhardiness, snatches the thing out of its way. He pays for his move by getting his bell rung, but survives the blow (and moemntarily prevents the gong from being sounded). Of course, the thing does sound anyway, and POOF! a pair of shadow hounds materializes.

At this point, the combat turns into “whack a halfling,” as Shadow darts in and out of the battle, getting in a few good licks, sundering Veluta’s armor. The enraged guardian turns his attention to the “shrimp,” and chases him about the chamber, to little avail.

Meanwhile, Rafos, Telvas and Corg take advantage of the misdirection, handling the Shadow hounds, sending them out of existence. When the group finally gets its full attention on the (at one time) well-armored foe, they take it down for good.

As the session comes to a close, we find our stalwarts a bit beat up, by now in possession of yet a second key — an Iron Skeleton key found inside a magical, glowing brazier. They assume the two keys will work on the magical door they saw in the entry chamber. Before heading that way, though, they take some time to heal up and gather their resources. The one question on their mind at this point is likely, if this was the guardian, what in the world is the nature of what it guards?

Adventure start: May 15th.
Time spent adventuring: 1 full day
End date/time: May 16th, evening

Rafos has two weeks to kill an innocent.
Shadow lost his ranged weapon, but has done well without it.
Tiskus is either the bravest or the most foolhardy mage ever.
Telvas just keeps on spinnin’, man.

Episode 7: "Serpentine Fire"
Death comes in twos

The party’s plan to raid the Goblin encampment mixes victory with defeat, as, after botching the approach, they slay 30 needle goblins, but lose a party member to a poison dart. Here’s how it goes down:

The raid
(1) “Learning the ropes”: Nightfall. Finbar and Rafos shimmy along the ledge of The Rock, well below the goblin overlook, keeping completely out of sight (and catching sight of a single goblin worg rider entering the lair from the [they believe] well-guarded stream entrance). The shapechanging druid turns stone-fisted squirrel, and scampers his way up to the ledge in front of the lax goblin guard-point, where he manages to stealthily screen his efforts to tie off a rope for his compatriots. As he waits, Rafos gathers the party, below, sending Tiskus up first. Unfortunately, the mage is less than stealthy, and causes the just-fixed rope to come off, sending it tumbling back down. Rafos fires an arrow with a second rope attached, which Finbar grabs and ties off. While Finbar and Tiskus wait, above, Telvas begins his climb.

(2) “Rolling an ill-timed fatty”: While Telvas makes his way up, Finbar, who’s been keeping tabs on the goblin watch inside via an unused porthole, shapechanges back into the little vermin—except this time, it’s not so damned little (fickle Gods and their stupid, mercurial power-granting). Having turned into a slightly fatter than normal rat, the Druid nevertheless tries to squeeze through the hole, where he gets stuck, then pushes through, then takes out part of the wooden hole, falls through, makes a lot of noise, and ends up alerting the one non-sleeping goblin guard. The bone-gnawing minion of the Needle tribe jabs his snoozing friend awake, and, despite Finbar’s heroic leap to silence them, they sound the alarm.

(3) “Fire GOOD! (and bad):” As Finbar grapples with the goblin guards, Tiskus manages to open the barred door from the outside, wrenching his shoulder in the process. But it’s just in time for Telvas to come spinning in, doing what he does best. One goblin head flies off. He then charges through the inept weaponeering of the mage and druid (who end up attacking each other), and handles the last Needle guard. Two slices. Two heads.

Unfortunately, the alarm has sounded, and a horde of screaming Needlers is charging down the central passageway. Meanwhile, there are indications that even more are coming from a second direction. Yum! More heads!

But, one problem at a time. Tiskus lights a fire, over, under, around, between, and generally all over the first goblin mob, scorching them all into ashes. Scratch 15 gobbies. Luckily, there’s 15 more coming from the south, where Telvas mightily takes up a defensive position…which the second group promptly ignores, streaming around him like he’s a rock in a fast moving stream. All too quickly, Fin, Tiskus and Telvas are in it to their necks.

By this time, hireling Jaeel Deerclan has made it to the top, and has entered the fray. The fighter bares her blade. Meanwhile, Telvas does his spinning swordplay, and Finbar, swings his shillelagh. The gruesome twosome are both wounded by the needles, Worse, some of the wounds come from those pesky poisoned darts Needle goblins are so fond of. Telvas shakes his off like a boss. Finbar? Not so bosslike. For the second time in a 10 days, the druid has a face-to-face with death. This time, the reaper takes his due. The druid falls limp and stiff as the stone of his left hand.

Meanwhile, Tiskus decides, “Fire=good. More fire=better!” and sends a fireball into the melee. scorching every single goblin, while wounding both Telvas and Jaeel. The warriors survive, but Finbar’s remains are scorched beyond recognition.

Still, victory is victory, sooty or otherwise. As the only remaining foe, a dwarven lieutenant, rushes out in fear, the party licks their wounds and prepares to check out the caves.

Oh…and Rafos and the remaining hirelings finally make it to the top, only to witness the results of wizard’s bar-b-q.

(4) “Stuff regained!:” The party locates most of the missing items (though not the Flask of Breaths). They also find a hidden treasure sack containing a map, some wooden figurines and some thieve’s tools. Judging from the map (and Tiskus’ studies), someone was seeking a monastery called Kalhatan, located a few days northwest of the rock. The party decides this is worth a look.


…after spending two days in the rock due to bad weather (during which time FInbar’s remains are buried in the valley below the Rock, and many goblin heads are mounted on poles on the ledge overlooking the valley), the party regroups, sans the hirelings, who decide hanging around with these guys is dangerous. They are augmented by one Ed the Barbarian, a former prisoner of the goblins nabbed while guarding (ineptly one supposes) a caravan. Having nothing better to do (evidently), Ed joins the group on its quest to find Kalhatan, which goes like this:

Finding Khaltan
(1) “Why climb, when you can fall?”: A 3-day journey into the wilderness takes 5 days, as scout Tiskus becomes distracted by flora (or something of that sort). The party locates the HUGE sinkhole (let’s say valley), inside of which a thick canopy stands, obscuring said ruins they are trying to locate. From their vantage point, they see evidence of recently shed snake skin, something big…really big….much bigger than average, actually. Faced with another climbing situation, each hero enters according to his desires. For Tiskus, this means crashing through the canopy to a spot halfway down, on a limb. For Ed, it’s a hardy climb down (and a fall from halfway). For some strange (yet logical) reason, Telvas and Rafos use a rope, though Rafos is left carting his dog down, and also has some difficulties finding the floor. Nevertheless, there they are…somehow all alive.

(2) “Hello and goodbye:” Once down, the group is immediately aware (thanks to Tiskus), that there are multiple beasts in the area (the so-called, “Dweller in the Wood,” which the mage remembers from the Kalhatan legend). It isn’t long before said Dweller appears. As Tiskus holds tight in the canopy, eagle-eyed Ed spots the camouflaged lizard making its way toward the spell-slinging leaper-mage. Rather than attacking, however, the creature slinks away when Telvas draws his shimmering sword. As Ed watches, the creature disappears into the canopy. The party moves ahead slowly, on their guard.

(3) “Hello again…from both of us…”: As Ed and Telvas and Rafos’ dog, Corg (who is not a Corgie), come forward, Ed catches sight of a second lizardy-thing obscured in a thick bramble of growth and vines. Even as the barbarian reacts to this new foe, the original beastie initially spotted drops to the ground near Telvas (yum! a head to sever!). The battle is joined, but soon turns deadly for our intrepid crew.

First off, Telvas, who is delivering deadliness in spades, is grabbed by the creature, which has clamped down on his sword arm. In danger of being dragged off and eaten, he wisely lets go of his sword, then faces off against the beast mano-a-jawso, with Rafos and Corg giving support. Eventually, the combination of swings and arrows (in particular that last throat shot by the bow-wielding ranger), sends the creature down. Lizard #1 is out. Telvas, who really values his sword, begins slitting the beast open to find it. He’s pretty sure the stuff’s going down nearby, with lizard #2, Ed, and Tiskus, but hey—he wants that sword, so, slice, slice, slice.

As for those other folks:

Ed and Tiskus deliver a series of blows and magic at the creature, but find its ancient scales nigh impenetrable. Worse, Ed is deeply wounded by the creature’s long teeth, and is bleeding out. Even so, at one point, it appears they have the thing beaten, though at a price. The wounded lizard snatches Corg in its jaws and turns tail to eat somewhere far away, in silence.

But Ed can’t have that. He grabs the lizard’s tale, putting its attention back on him. The creature whirls around and delivers a crushing bite to his midsection. Near death, the barbarian yowls in pain. Thankfully, Tiskus, who has once again faceplanted on a leap from a high place, manages to throw yet another magic missile, putting the beast’s attention on HIM now. He, too, is wounded by the enraged creature. Worse, his attacks don’t seem to be harming it.

Bleeding Barbarian Ed attempts one more swing at the lizard-thing. But he is wounded and weak, drained of too much blood. His blow misses horribly, and the lizard puts him out of his misery. It turns back to do the same to Tiskus…only to be throat-shot by Rafos.
Evidently sitting out of the goblin brouhaha has improved his aim

Scratch lizard #2. And new party member Ed, whom death decides to take into his sweet embrace.

And so, beaten up twice in the last week, the group makes camp, resting, searching the area. They soon find the “old stones” located in the map, the remnants of a city, to include a strange obelisk situated in the center of a fallen temple. The obelisk has weird symbols on each of its 8 facets, and 8 round stands below each facet. The adventurers know the four figurines they found in the sack they located at The Rock must be placed in the Obelisk stands, but they do not yet know in which spot.

It is here we leave them, contemplating their next move…while divvying up Ed’s stuff.

New questions, concerns, etc.:
Jaeel gave a masked Telvas a really hard look before she departed. Did she recognize him? And if she did, why didn’t she act right then and there?

Finbar’s stone hand is buried along with its body, despite the brief consideration by Telvas to turn it into part of a weapon. There are thoughts within the party that somehow, said hand might have magical properties. But what kind would they have been (or might they still be)?

Csonka’s disappearance looms large in the mind of Tiskus, as does his plan to create magical items via ritual. For now, though, the riddle of the obelisk remains. Could this somehow tie in to Csonka’s pursuit of the mysterious “Plem/Demurgos” relics?

Rafos has about two weeks to locate and kill another innocent, lest death claim him as his own. Normally, no big deal. But the group is one week deep into the woods. It’s going to be a close call.

Poor Ed, we hardly knew ye. But the party gets a two-handed axe out of it (and some rations). Ed smash!

Adventure Start: May 5th
3 days to Rock
2 days at rock
5 days to Khalhatan

Current date/time: May 15th, Late afternoon


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