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Raistlin

MordeanGrey's page

58 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

We moved from the practice room into the passage to the left from where we initially entered. We found another set of teleportation circles in the room, and divided into two group to enter like we had done with the previous circles.

This time, we found ourselves stepping out into a roughly circular room with elaborate carvings and runes covering the walls and ceiling. In front of us was a wall of dark smoke. We moved off of the circle to make room for the second group to teleport in, and then formed up and moved toward the wall of smoke. When we passed through the smoke, we found an enormous room with tall columns and a roof high above, covered in fire. In the center of the room was a large seven-pointed star laid out in glowing runes on the floor.

We were immediately confronted and attacked by a woman, who magically flew up to us and blasted our party with two freezing waves of cold that damaged everyone to some degree, and actually dropped Mother Not to the floor. Luckily for me, Xandu had previously cast a protective spell on me that shielded me from the cold.

Just as the woman attacked, two enormous demons on either side of the entrance also moved to attack. As I stepped up to fight the closest one, it spoke some horrid word in the twisted, demon tongue, that left me frozen in place, unaware of what was happening. Evidently, I was in this state for some time, as I became aware and able to move later, but found myself alone in a different location with one of the demons preparing to strike me. I called on Iomedae's power and launched several furious attacks that destroyed the demon almost instantly. I was still somewhat confused as to my location, so I moved our from behind the pillar and saw that I was near the opposite end of the room from where we had entered.

My comrades were still engaged in combat with the flying woman, and the other demon was threatening Moxie and others close to her. I moved quickly to engage the woman, recognizing her as the real threat, but was intercepted by the other demon who teleported directly into my path. I focused my attack on him, and once again called upon Iomedae to smite the demon. This one was protected by false images of itself, and it took several rounds to destroy it with the help of Freidrich and some of the others.

As I moved again toward the woman, I saw Freidrich turn and launch several of the deadly bombs he carried at the woman. She seemed to take the full impact from these, and crashed to the ground as she died. We soon noted that the mark on her forehead and disappeared from her, and now was visible on Freidrich's head.

At this point, we helped our wounded companions, and then went back through the teleport circles to clear the rest of the area. In the opposite chamber, we found a few more of the magus that we had fought previously, but they proved to be ineffective foes. We quickly cut them down, and then gathered everyone together to take stock of our situation while we rested.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

Xandu grabbed me and magically moved us to the top of the platform so I could engage the iron golem. The creature struck with its heavy fists and it succeeded in injuring several of us before we were able to defeat its armored body and knock it to the ground.

In the next room, we found two magical circles marked on the floor. One had red runes and the other had blue runes. As we were attempting to determine their purpose, Moxie hopped first on one with no effect, and then moved to the other one where she promptly disappeared. We immediately moved toward the symbol where she vanished, and stepped onto the runes. "POOF!"

We found ourselves standing on an identical platform in a new area, facing a line of armored sinspawn creatures. Xandu once again grabbed us and we magically moved farther into the next room where we instantly came into combat with a group of fighters who used magic in a similar fashion to our own magus. Kori'el called out that they were using magic to enhance their abilities, so I called upon Iomedae's power to gain the aspect of one of her angels and the magical defenses that are innate to those creatures. The radius of protective magic surrounded us, and turned off the enemies spells, which greatly weakened their martial prowess. As the rest of the party arrived back on the teleport rune and engaged the sinspawn, we began to cut down the fighters surrounding us. Without their magical augmentation, it was only a matter of time until Kori'el and myself, supported by Sheldor and Xandu, finished off the last of the foes.

For once, it seemed that we had managed to win a fight without extreme injury to ourselves.


You're all just jealous! :)

Yes, it's powerful, but it's only once per day, so picking when to use it is important. It does a great job against low-level riffraff, but higher spells still blow right through it.

Also, sooner or later we'll hit a mage who shuts it off with a dispel. (We'll see how high up I am flying when that happens!)


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Lint wrote:
The only torch that would be carried for Xandu would be accompanied by pitch forks if they knew I had healed the dragon. Bwahaha Bad Xandu! :^)

Ain't that the truth! lol

Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

The dragon moved to attack us immediately. There would be no dealing with this one.

The small room and the huge dragon put us at a tactical disadvantage that Kori'el was quick to notice. She reached out and touched Freidrich and me and we found ourselves instantly transported into the large hall near the giant peacock statue.

Within seconds, others from the party arrived with Xandu's help. We began to move toward each other to regroup, but our motive was interrupted by the appearance of the dragon close to our location. Another freezing breath from the dragon enveloped us, and I saw Kori'el falter and nearly fall. I grabbed her to move her to safety, but only carried her a short distance before the dragon moved in on me. I pushed Kori'el farther out of reach and bestowed Iomedae's healing touch on her as I turned to the dragon. The great beast's head snapped out with a suddenness that I did not expect, and nearly swallowed me into its fanged mouth. The bite from the creature rent through my armor and felt as if it would crush me completely.

The dragon shook its head and spit me back out onto the floor where I somehow managed to keep my feet. I swung around to face the creature, only to be transported away once again by Kori'el who had stayed close to help. She took us out into the entrance area with the large statues of the Runelords.

I tended my wounds and made sure we were both somewhat whole before we began moving back down the mirrored corridor to find our friends who were still fighting the dragon.

As we neared the end of the corridor we found Mother Not trying to find a way through a wall of thick ice that completely blocked the passage. Kori'el and I both tried to hack through it, but it was taking too long. I asked her if she could take us all back to the other side, and she said she could do it. We discussed where to go, and decided on the original location where we had last seen the rest of the group. Kori'el touched us both again and we transported back into the area near where the fight still continued. Upon arriving, the dragon's cold aura and another blast of his icy breath knocked Kori'el and Mother Not both to the floor. I turned to engage the dragon, just as Davok struck the killing blow and it crashed to the ground.

After the fight ended, Xandu once again revived our fallen friends and healed their wounds. We rested for several hours to recharge our health and our spells.

We then moved into the next area of the Runeforge. Here, we found a large room guarded by a giant, metal statue that walked through the air toward us, firing bolts of energy from a large bow it carried in its hands. The party spread out and began to advance on the statue, casting spells and firing ranged weapons as we moved...


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Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

It seems that my prayers for a chance at retribution have been partially answered!

Moxie and I led the way through the next doorway, her checking for traps, and me opening the door. We found a ruined library where most of the contents had been damaged or burned. Three doors led from the library, and we checked the closest two and found that they opened into small rooms with many cloned bodies of the dead man seated at the table in the previous area. The bodies were stacked in piles and it was impossible to count the total number in each room.

The final door was at the far end of the room from the entrance, and after Moxie examined it for traps, I opened it and looked into the next area.

Inside, I saw multiple creatures that all looked like the she-demon, Delvahine! Some of them quickly vanished from my sight, but the one closest moved to attack me with her claws. I immediately called on Iomedae's blessing to smite the foul demon, and swung my sword with great strength, as my own enmity for these creatures combined with Iomedae's power and dropped the first one quickly in front of me. I spun around and saw that the other demons had passed through the walls and were attacking my companions.

I moved quickly from demon to demon as they became visible, lost in a blur of vengeance as my frustration at the loss of Simon and Lynn strengthened my blows. This time I was in control, and didn't have to bow to the will of the demoness. During the later stages of the fight, I was struck by a shot from Moxie's rifle that penetrated my armor. I instantly knew that my little friend was once again under the control of one of the demons. I fought with renewed strength after seeing this, and the battle was over in a minute as I finally met our foes on my terms, ending their wretched lives and their corrupting influence over my friends.

Following the fight, we checked on Moxie and found that she was herself again. I assured her that I held no ill feelings toward her and her actions while under the control of the demon. We gathered back in the room with the large table, and began to treat our wounds and rest. It was here that Moxie came up to me and presented me with a great tome she had found beneath other burned books in the library. She told me she thought it would benefit me to read from its pages, but when I tried, I found the words were written in Thassilonion, and I could not understand them. It seems I have a new goal now whenever we have time to rest.

It was soon after this that the hidden doorway from the great room outside opened and a man with white hair and bright blue eyes entered. His sudden appearance brought all of our attention to him, and we watched as he smiled at us with a wicked, toothy grin, and then began to change into the white dragon, Arkhryst!

It seems that Iomedae has once again provided us with a chance to even the score with another of our foes...


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Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

Our entry into the large room was followed by a verbal warning (for those who understood it) and then a deluge of incoming magical attacks. Fiery explosions and worse blossomed amongst the party despite our attempt at spreading out to make us less of a target.

We immediately broke into smaller groups to pursue the unseen attackers farther back in the room. As I followed Davok into the fray, I quickly found myself unable to see any sign of our enemies. His half-orc senses seemed to find the invisible attackers, so I followed him closely. Iomedae's angelic aspect provided me and those close to me with protection from many of the offensive spells. I spent the majority of the fight trying to find someone in combat and using clues from their positioning to launch my own attacks.

I moved to help Kori'el and Freidrich with an enemy they had pinned against a wall, but this allowed one of the spells to affect Davok and he fell behind me. We eventually hunted down all of the attackers, and dispatched them.

At the end of the battle, I learned that several of the party had fallen during the combat, but were able to be revived by Xandu.

Additional searching led us to discover a hidden door in the back of the room that concealed a library of some type with a corpse wearing a gaudy cloak of peacock feathers. The body was seated in a chair at a table in the room. Those who could read the writing in the tomes began to investigate their contents while the rest of us kept watch or searched the rest of the area and the body.


Rikert Krupt: Paladin of Iomedae

Well, after an evening of prayers, and a night of rest, my mood has improved slightly. I'm far from being ok with the events in the pavilion, but we need to move on now. It is my intention to even the score with the demon after we have dealt with Karzoug.

Xandu surprised us all the next morning with a huge feast that he claimed was a gift from his goddess. No matter the source, it was a welcomed and needed meal that seemed to improve everyone's moods.

We moved off into the next Runelord's wing, and walked down a long corridor filled with mirrors and lighted candelabras. The mirrored walls were distracting, and we were forced to concentrate on the floor to avoid being sick.

We reached a corner and turned left, only to have those in the front yell a warning that there were impostors dressed as our group members rushing to attack us. It turns out there was a trap using mirrors that caused a reflection of the person to come alive and rush to attack its source.

We scrambled to identify the real threats and avoid attacking our own friends. It was a confusing melee that eventually went in our favor, but not before several members were injured, and Freidrich was nearly killed by a bomb from his reflection. (How ironic!)

I killed the last of the reflections by splitting a copy of Xandu nearly in half with a blow from my sword.

As I moved up to join the others who were entering the room ahead, I saw what appeared to be a huge bird or realistic statue of a giant peacock looming above my friends.


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Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

Hollow ... like a vessel drained of its contents.

Empty.

That is what I fear I have become.

Through all of the battles and foes and difficulties we have faced on this journey, none have left me (us?) questioning the true costs of our losses, and forced me to confront the unimaginable results of what will come to pass if we fail. For the first time, we are defeated. For the first time, we are not the victors.

We have suffered together along the way, and paid the toll of the reaper, but never before have we been shaken to the core of our beliefs. Never before have we been forced to choose which of our friends to save, and which to sacrifice.

The events in the silk pavilion will haunt me forever. Being forced to negotiate the terms required to release my companions from the demon, only to find that one of us would be left behind, has made me question my worthiness in Iomedae's eyes. The fact that Lynn volunteered to trade his life for the release of Moxie and Friedrich only complicates my feelings. A truly noble sacrifice was made, but I wonder if he would still be alive if I had found a way to defeat the demon.

We entered the pavilion as the conquering heroes, self assured by our record of success. But in the end, it was the fiend who emerged victorious. She controlled the events and negotiated her desires from a position of power. To continue our attack against her would likely have led to the failure of our mission. At the very least, several more of us would likely have fallen.

Instead, we were forced to choose the lesser evil. This demon would not have had her place and her power were it not for the Runelords. They are the true enemies here. If Karzoug is allowed to return, the entire world will suffer the consequences. Our mission must come first, but it remains to be seen whether our decision and Lynn's sacrifice have saved us, or damned us all for allowing it to happen.

But for now, I turn my judgment inward, and force myself to confront my own failures and flaws. Never before have my feelings and beliefs been laid open so brutally. I strive to be the example of virtue and strength of will to my companions, but my greatest fear is that I am not worthy to carry the fate of the world on my shoulders.

And so, on bended knee, with my helmet and sword lying before me, I pray to Iomedae...

for mercy for my fallen friends...

for guidance in the coming days...

for judgment on those who have caused this...

and for strength to finish the task set before us.


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Lint is so fired up about this he's changed the spelling of his character's name yet again! :)

I think he has been Xandu, Xando, Zandu, and now Xanadu! lol

From what we know of the character (colorful silks and other questionable male clothing choices...), we're guessing that the Xanadu he is using refers to the campy, 80s nightclub disco roller-skating movie with Olivia Newton-John, and not the summer capital of Kublai Khan's Yuan Dynasty in China!


If we stay together and QUIT SPLITTING UP, I think we should be ok. :)

Xandu has a high will save, and Rikert is immune and grants everyone around him an additional +4 to saves against mind-affecting stuff.

We need to kill the leader who dominated Moxie and Friedrich, and that should release them.

The other good news is that Friedrich IS actually out of bombs now!

Party conflict that pits the various characters against each other is always bad and potentially lethal.

Friedrich probably has the capability to do the most damage against about any target. Having him dominated and fully armed with bombs is BAD!

Davok destroys giants because of his ranger feats.

Rikert is the one to send after undead and demons.

Lynn's spells can push a solid amount of damage as well.

If Xandu can keep the rest of us alive, the six of us can hopefully end this.


Actually, Lynn is alive. He was one point from being dead and Xandu saved him with a healing burst.

Lynn, GrAnnie, Sheldor, Davok, Xandu, and Rikert are all still up and going. Most of us are pretty healthy except possibly for Davok who took the uber-bullet from Moxie. I'm not sure if he had taken much damage before that. Xandu has been healing Lynn.

GrAnnie's (Mother Not/Naught?) player was gone last night for his wife's birthday!


Tangent101 wrote:

Damn. I really liked Simon. But I know his player was interested in branching out with other characters so...

Good luck with your next venture. (I just wonder how you'll recruit a new character from within the Runeforge...)

Maybe we will find another withered survivor trapped in one of the cages in this area? Sounds like a good excuse to justify Thessalonian knowledge and some other background skills. Otherwise, who knows how we will find him.


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Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

As I leapt into the air to engage the flying demons, I saw that others in the party were also beginning to move into combat or firing from range at the flying enemies. I closed with the first demon and struck her with a powerful blow. The holy power of my sword sliced through her demonic defenses and left severe wounds. She altered her attack and discarded her pole arm and turned to her natural claws that bypassed Iomedae's holy aura around me. We traded blows with me getting the best of the results. Friedrich also began to use his bombs against the other demons as they turned from the other party members to focus on me.

I was quickly surrounded and fought a whirling battle against multiple foes as my friends rushed to my aid. I called upon Iomedae's powers to heal the damage from the creatures as the combat continued. Our combined efforts killed two of the creatures outright, and caused the other two to retreat using magic to gate themselves away.

I landed near Xandu, who proceeded to treat my wounds since I was scarred and bleeding from multiple cuts caused by the demon's claws. During this time, it seems that the other party members split up into smaller groups and began to investigate the cages and the large pavilion at the center of the chamber. (Simon will not be amused by this breakdown in tactics!)

After resting briefly while my wounds were tended, Xandu and I moved quickly toward the large pavilion, following several of the other party members who had gone on ahead. Davok had waited in between the two groups to keep watch in case another threat surfaced.

It didn't take long until it happened. Lynn and Moxie had already entered the pavilion as the rest of us moved up to join them. Suddenly, the sounds of combat rose from the tent and Lynn's voice was heard calling out, "Davok! Giants!"

As we arrived piecemeal at the opening to the pavilion, I pulled aside the curtained entrance and paused to look inside before charging in as the others arrived. (Player note: One round by the way. Not exactly being a "wuss" taking six seconds to assess the situation and enter as a group. I actually like my current character and don't have a death wish for him...or another character designed that I'm itching to play!)

Inside, we saw several giants and the fallen form of Lynn just beyond the entrance. His body lay unmoving in a pool of blood. There was no sign of Moxie.

Davok fired a volley of arrows into the first giant, and Friedrich followed this quickly with multiple bombs. Xandu had disappeared from outside, and I assumed he had once again used his powers to enter the tent by other means. Sheldor and I moved in the next round, along with Davok and Friedrich, as the giants engaged us in combat. We were able to kill some of the giants and create more space at the entrance. Simon arrived soon after and pushed inside the opening, making a brief attack before charging past the combat as he went in search of the missing party members. We dropped the last of the five giants and I followed Simon, who was just leaving the area through another doorway.

I warned him not to get too far ahead of the group, but his cursed reply was the last thing I heard him say as he ran around the corner into the next hallway. Seconds later, several bright flashes and the roar of multiple explosions burst from the corridor. The whirling electrical energy matched the bombs that I had seen Friedrich throw on multiple occasions. What was happening?

Davok had also followed Simon to the corner, and I saw him pause, a confused look on his face for split second, before he raised his bow and fired arrows down the corridor. Immediately after firing, he was struck by the meaty "thwack" of a bullet impact that staggered him backward away from the hallway.

I grabbed a potion bottle from my pack and drank it as I moved toward the corridor.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

We met up with Xandu farther back in the cave, after traveling in cloud form to avoid the stone guardians near the cave entrance. Xandu told us that he had heard the sound of huge wings, and that he believed the dragon had moved farther on into the cave after leaving the battle. We proceeded cautiously through cold fog that obscured our senses until we suddenly stepped out onto an icy slope that disappeared down into the darkness. Several of the party members lost their footing, and began to slide down the slope away from the rest of us. While we managed to grab most of them, Simon was out of reach and we couldn't stop his descent. He slid away into the darkness, his yell echoing off the walls.

We moved slowly along a narrow path above the icy surface until we came to an enormous pit that was located at the bottom of the slope. It was here that someone noticed two hands, grasping onto the edge of the cliff. Simon had somehow managed to save himself from a long drop into the darkness below. I was still in angelic form, and was able to fly over to him and, with help from the others, pull him up and carry him to the safety of the ledge.

After insuring that he was in good health, we reformed and began to walk down the sloping path which circled the pit. It took us some time, but we eventually made it to the bottom of the enormous cavern. The bottom opened up into a huge area, filled with seven stone columns in a circle around the edges, and a large, central pillar made of, or covered in, thick ice.

We also discovered a hoard of treasure that the dragon had gathered and left in this area. The party spread out and searched through the pillars, until they found keyholes in each of the seven pillars that matched the keys we carried. I grabbed a couple of items that looked useful from the treasure pile, as those with keys activated the columns. The columns began to vibrate and hum, and then a glowing portal appeared in the middle of the circle. We moved through the portal, wary of what we would find on the other side.

It turned out to be another large chamber filled with seven statues of the rune lords themselves with seven passages leading from the room. We identified those we knew, and then chose a passage behind one of the female statues. It led to a room still glowing with dim fires from what appeared to be huge explosion of some type. Burned corpses littered the room, and a crackling metal staff still sparked in the middle of the floor where it had been stabbed into the stone. We investigated the bodies and the rod for a short time until Lynn warned us that the power level of the staff was surging. Too late!

A silent explosion of energy washed over all of us in the room. The energy did no physical harm, but seemed to shut down many of our enchanted items. These results were largely temporary, but I lost a couple of personal items permanently that will be expensive to replace. After the explosion, we vacated that chamber quickly to avoid further damage. Friedrich and some of the others found a pool of silvery liquid in a short passage just outside of the room. They deemed it important enough to begin filling any empty vials or bottles with the substance.

We then checked the opposite passage, and found a room that contained an enormous slimy creature that used long tentacles to drag the first party members to enter the room into its body. The "thing" proved to be a tough foe as it seemed impervious to some of our attacks. Eventually, I was able to strike it with my sword as Friedrich and others hit it with magic that finally killed it and freed our friends. In the back of the room, we found a hidden panel with a large lever. Simon was eventually able to push the lever to a new position, but there was no obvious effect. We retreated back through the room with the staff, timing our exit to avoid another blast of its power.

We went back to the main chamber with the statues and picked the next tunnel, and once again moved forward. This passage led to an enormous chamber that contained many metal cages hanging from chains or placed on stone blocks around the edges of the area. We were immediately challenged by a vile group of naked, female, winged demons who descended toward our group, calling out all manner of obscenities as they moved toward us. I wasted no time in calling on Iomedae's power and once again changed into one of her avenging angels and flew to engage the demons.


NobodysHome wrote:

Wow! A party that actually read the journal and followed the directions?!?!?

Where you you find these players, UsePlanB?

:-P

Actually, we found him!

The majority of our players have known each other for 20+ years now. Several of us worked together during college and started gaming together then. A couple of them played together in high school before that.

UsePlanB has been "one of us" for a long time. We met in college, and he joined our group then. Although, he was already a gamer when we found him.

:)


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Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

After we gathered all of the information available about the location of the Runeforge, we again used Xandu's divine powers to travel a great distance in little time. He called upon the goddess and turned us all into misty, ghostlike creatures that could travel through the skies at an incredible rate of speed. We traveled this way for several hours, until we located the plateau where the seven stone heads were located. High above the plateau, a long stairway led to a gaping cavern set into the side of the mountain.

We landed in the midst of the stone heads, and divided up to examine the various heads to determine the type of magic that would grant us access to the individual keys to the Runeforge. Perhaps we all were too relaxed, or too focused on obtaining the keys, because the huge, white dragon that appeared and attacked caught us all by surprise. The immense creature repeatedly dove on our group, breathing its icy breath across us all, and sweeping through our lines, attacking several with its claws. Wherever it went, one of us suffered.

Simon bore the brunt of the attack (what is it with him and dragons?) as the creature targeted him first with its physical fury. We all hurried to join in the fight, except for Lynn who I hadn't seen since we landed. Xandu moved quickly in the early stages of the battle, healing Simon and some others, before turning back into the misty form and disappearing from my sight.

The battle was intense, and I thought that several of us may not survive, as this foe was devastating in both power and ferocity. Luckily, Iomedae once again protected us, and through a combined effort we were able to drive the beast away. The dragon called upon its ancient arcane powers after being seriously wounded, and gated away from us to an unknown location.

We regrouped, healed the injured to the best of our abilities without Xandu who was still missing, and acquired the rest of the keys to the Runeforge. We then turned toward the stairway and the cave that loomed about us.

It seems we will find our next clues there.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

After assembling our entire group, we once again moved into the damaged tunnels under Sandpoint that had been exposed by the earthquake.

We located a tunnel that went down deeper into the earth. I led the way, using the flames of my sword to burn away the thick cobwebs that filled the stairway.

We soon came into a room where all of the walls and floors were covered in a strange script as though written by a madman. Some of the others recognized it as Thassolonian. We spent some time looking at the writing, and then someone located a small passage off to the side that narrowed down so that Simon and myself could barely squeeze through the opening. I didn't see anything on the other side, but Moxie or Xandu found a hidden opening concealed by some type of spell. Through this doorway was a room that contained a magical pool on the floor. I could sense the evil emanations from the pool and the surrounding room. It was the unmistakable foulness of Lamashtu.

Back in the main area, Lynn seemed to be speaking with a ghostly voice in the Thassolonian tongue. Those of us who couldn't understand the voice, moved up to investigate a fog-filled passage on the opposite wall. There seemed to be some magic in the fog which caused some of the party to be unable to enter. Moxie, Simon, and I moved forward around 20 feet into the fog, passing some stone pillars, until we entered a large chamber that was a temple or shrine to Lamashtu. All thoughts of exploring farther were interrupted by the presence of a huge, grossly deformed demon that loomed over us and immediately attacked. Its large crab-like pincers both grabbed on to me and twisted, doing great damage. I yelled for Xandu and the others to join us as we needed their help against this unholy foe.

I quickly chose to call upon Iomedae's power to smite the evil creature and used an extra boon from the goddess to include my companions in the room. However, the foul demon's actions interrupted our attack as it somehow reversed the gravity where we stood and sent us flying toward the high ceiling. Moxie and Simon each used magic to break their fall, but I didn't have time and took the hit from impacting the ceiling.

I immediately called upon Iomedae again to become the angelic form which allows flight and shields me from various other evil effects. At this time, we all engaged the demon and the fight was on. Davok arrived around this time and joined our attack. It took several rounds for us to kill the demon, during which none of the other party members arrived.

As the demon fell and the temple became quiet, we heard the sound of combat from back in the first room behind the fog. We rushed back into the fog to find a bestial, savage man and several smaller demons attacking the others. With our strength added to the combat, we quickly finished off the remaining foes.

After tending the wounded, we moved farther into the ruined tunnels, eventually finding and solving the clues that led to the location of the rune forge, and a possible way to enter the forge.


Tangent, you're probably better off that way!


Quote:

Uther Eld Yesterday, 02:45 PM

Wait, people (or characters) have to be FORCED to have sex? What planet were you guys on when this happened?

I thought maybe Tangent also used to play with Crawford! :-)


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Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

Several weeks have now passed since the battle(s) with Mokmurian, where we successfully ended his life and his influence over the giant clans gathering for battle at his fortress. It seems that once again, he was just another pawn being played by Karzoug. Throughout the bloody path that we have followed, the one thing consistent has been the overall leadership of Karzoug and his behind-the-scenes direction of all of the pawns and players from Sandpoint to our current location in the ancient library. It is now clear that Karzoug is the real threat, and that the Sihedron runes and sacrifices are a vital part in bringing him back to life and power. It is to this end that we now gather our strength for the final push to the lost city of Xin-Shalast which is rumored to lie even farther north in the Kodar Mountains.

While the others searched the library for more clues about Karzoug and his former empire, I returned to Magnimar with Xandu to inform the Lord Mayor of our success in stopping the army of giants, and our plan to venture farther North in search of Karzoug. While there I stopped briefly by the Church of Iomedae and informed the priestess of our success and future plans. I then rejoined Xandu and Freiderich who wanted to return with us to use the library, as his knowledge of Thassilonian history would help us learn more of Karzoug.

Friederich once again proved to be invaluable as he quickly found details most relevant to our pursuit of Karzoug.

After we left the library, we searched the towers of the fortress for any additional threats or information that might be of assistance. We came across an icy "tomb" of sorts that held a foul undead creature which nearly proved to be our undoing. The dark necromancy of the thing left many of our party helpless and stunned. Iomedae's holy power shielded me from the sorcery, but the creature was still a formidable foe that struck with unnatural power. It took the combined efforts of Xandu, myself, Lynn, and several others to destroy this abomination.

The creature held a magically-sealed scroll tube that we will have to open.

From there, we explored the abandoned dragon hoard and claimed it for ourselves. It will be useful for equipping us in our next step on the path to Karzoug. Now, we will return to Magnimar for supplies before venturing farther north in search of Xin-Shalast.


You're welcome!!! Simon makes a great punching bag!

;-)


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Rikert Krupt - Paladin of Iomedae

Our next challenge was soon exposed as a frightful creature that seemed made out of metal and fire appeared from the wall of the passage ahead of my position. I had lagged somewhat behind the group as a result of inspecting my sword for damage following the fight against the stone golem. (player was at a work-related activity and missed the first 30-45 minutes of the game)

Simon bore the brunt of the creature's focus and it damaged his new armor with its relentless, grinding attack.

I called upon Iomedae's blessing to empower my sword and charged down the hall, just in time to see the creature disappear back into the wall. By the time it reappeared farther up the hall, I was once again out of position and could only watch as my companions finally managed to end the threat.

Xandu had summoned a pillar of energy that healed everyone who stood in it or touched it. While Simon and the others who had been injured stood in the healing pillar, myself and several uninjured allies moved up to a large chamber that formed a "T" with our current path. As our light sources illuminated the chamber, we found it to be a colossal hallway with high ceilings that led both directions as far as we could see with the light available. The walls were filled with more Thassalonian writings. Lynn began translating and reading while I moved to the left and found an enormous, mirrored door with the Sihedron symbol etched on its surface. There were no obvious handles, and only a small, Sihedron-shaped opening appeared to be a way to open it. Lacking anything that would work as a key for the unusual lock, I moved back down the hallway to the other end, passing Lynn who was still deciphering the runes on the wall.

Here, we found a doorway that led into a strangely carved chamber that had no obvious corners or sharp edges in its walls. Upon entering, three ghostly hounds appeared in the air in front of us and charged to attack. The hounds unnatural appearance contributed to their horrifying aura, and I whispered a quick prayer to Iomedae to grant us her strength in the face of these supernatural enemies. A quick battle ensued, and we were able to kill one or two of them, and drive the other(s) away. They seemed to disappear into the air, so it was hard to tell what had happened to them.

When the rest of the party joined us, we moved through the chamber and opened a doorway into the next room. This area was filled with a heavy fog that completely blocked our vision past five feet. Flak and I moved forward into the fog, using my sword as a light source, although the fog never thinned until Haytham created a magical wind which blew it away in seconds. As the large room filled with pillars was revealed, we saw a large giant high up on a platform above a set of stairs on the far wall. Mokmurian!

Mokmurian held a blue crystal in one hand, and immediately began casting magic throughout the room. His first attack created a toxic mist back near the entrance of the room that enveloped everyone except for Flak and myself. Luckily, Haytham's windstorm was still blowing, and the toxic gas dissapated soon after it appeared. Its brief existence sickened several of our allies, and I fear it would have been much worse if not for the fortuitous wind. As we formed our combat line near the center of the room, Mokmurian continued to cast spells at our spell casters and other who were firing ranged weapons at him. Our attacks hit him, but most seemed to barely affect him at all.

At this point, he stepped off of the platform and walked out into the air above us, using magic to carry him high above the floor. I braced myself for the coming attack and began another prayer to Iomedae, calling upon her power in a new way that she only recently revealed to me...


I followed quietly behind Simon as he led me on a path that seemed to wind deeper into the earth. In the total darkness, I had to focus on the sounds and instructions from others as they guided us to our unseen goal.

After a time, the floor of the passage seemed smoother, and the others who could see noted that we were entering an area where the stone had been worked.

Not long after the change in our surroundings, we heard the sound of battle ahead of us and light was once again visible as we used our magical torches and stones so all of us could see.

Just ahead of me, a doorway led into a room where the sounds of battle could be heard. I moved to join my friends, just in time to see several of them shrink to a size near that of Moxie. I don't know what magic caused this, but I knew I had to help them regardless of the risk to myself. I whispered a quick prayer for Iomedae to protect me and moved forward into the room.

A brief, tingling chill swept over me as I entered the doorway, but Iomedae's power kept me safe from the enemy's magic and I moved unhindered into the room. The walls seemed to shift and make it hard to focus, but the immediate concern was two large, bloated giants that we're engaged with the party. I moved to help in the combat, and we quickly cut them down. We found that they both had the Sihedron rune carved into their flesh.

It seems that most of the party were affected by the spell, and I found myself one of the few who had not been shrunk upon entering the doorway. Lynn assured everyone that the effect would pass with time, so we moved into the next room.

Here, we found a colossal iron cauldron that was taller than a man. From behind it came a stone creature brought to life by magic. This guardian moved to attack the party, shrugging off many of the attacks against it like a man would ignore bugs. I knew that I needed to close quickly with the creature and strike hard and sure to destroy it. After a few rounds of combat, the creature lay broken in a pile of rubble, its supernatural life essence gone.

We continued on to the next area in search of Mokmurian, healing our wounds as we moved.

The next room was unnaturally cold, and held the frozen corpses of several giants. We soon learned that several of these were in fact, enormous undead creatures led by a headless body that carried two glowing axes. The creatures were slow, and proved little challenge as we cut them down. The only one that was a problem was the headless lord. It took several of us working together to drop it into multiple pieces on the floor.

Once again, we bandaged the wounds of those who needed it, and prepared to move on through this path that will hopefully lead us to Mokmurian.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

The next step of our journey into the caves began again in the dark. I followed closely behind Simon with my hand on his shoulder so I knew when to stop, and was close enough for him to whisper instructions if we came across something unusual.

We moved as quietly as possible, passing several areas, including one where giants were sleeping. My plate armor is good at keeping me safe, but creates a challenge for me when trying to move quietly. I managed to take my time and passed through the area without alarming the giants.

As I exited the room with the giants, the party seemed to move forward quickly and I heard the sounds of battle beginning in the hallway ahead. I had to move carefully for a little longer before I could charge ahead and join them. I didn't want to be responsible for waking the sleepers and trapping us between two groups of enemies.

I reached the spot illuminated by dim torchlight in the hallway ahead, and heard the sounds of battle that were somewhat muffled by thick animal pelts hanging on the walls. The battle was taking place in rooms to either side, hidden by the pelts. I chose the room on my left, and entered to find several allies engaged with a large, armored troll. I pushed my way forward, and joined the attack. Within a short time, we dropped the creature and applied the necessary fire to keep it from regenerating and coming back to life.

We rested briefly and bandaged the wounded before preparing to move farther into the caves. We've reached the end of our map provided by Conna, so now we have to proceed even more cautiously than before. Mokmurian lies somewhere ahead!


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

After the long planning session, where we considered our means of entering the underground caves without being seen, the druids and Xandu made contact with the female giant elder.

Using magical scrying as a way to communicate with her, Xandu (and Haytham in crow form) told her of our plan to kill Mokmurian which should lead to the dissolution of the giant army and their plans to march on the human kingdoms.

Conna (the elder giantess) was receptive to the idea, and has no love or loyalty to Mokmurian because he killed her husband and has taken power over all of the tribes who have lived peacefully in the past.

Following their conversation, we made plans to teleport into the shrine in the caverns where Conna would give us more information. The group teleported in two groups, and both successfully reached the target area. Conna then drew a map showing the best path to Mokmurian, and warned us of some potential dangers along the way.

We set off as quietly as possible. We used no obvious lighting to guide our way, so myself and a few of the others had to rely on our friends who could see to lead us through the dark. We encountered a small group of giants in a kitchen-type area, and were able to sneak past them using magical misdirection provided by Moxie to keep the giant's attention while we moved down the next corridor.

The room at the end of the corridor held a small, crazed, lizard-like creature that immediately attacked the first members of our party to enter the area. Despite its tiny size, the creature proved to be a greater threat than we thought possible as it dropped Flak in a few rounds of combat, and then delivered brutal wounds to several others, including myself.

Iomedae's healing kept me in the fight, and I was finally able to force my way to the front of the combat and help kill the crazed foe.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

Our mission to strike Mokmurian began with the druids flying most of the party to the Storval Plateau. The rest of us, which consisted of myself, Davok, and Flak would teleport with Xandu after the flyers arrived and we contacted them with magical scrying.

We filled the days spent waiting with getting some much needed rest and down time following the past weeks of action. When the time arrived, Xandu gathered us together and cast the teleport spell.

However, the spell went awry and we found ourselves at Ft. Rannick. We explained to the surprised rangers that we would be leaving as soon as Xandu could cast the spell again.

The second time, Xandu succeded and we found ourselves on stony mountain top overlooking the enormous camp of the giant tribes. Their individual camps were circled around an ominous, walled fortress with a large black tower jutting up from its center.

The surrounding area was filled with activity as all manner of giants and other large creatures prepared for the coming battle. We spent the first few days observing their movements and sending the druids in bird form to scout the fortress and search for a way in that would avoid the army of giants camped outside. The druids found a couple of caves that seemed to lead inside, but were filled with creatures that would prevent easy or quiet access. Across the valley, they also located an empty cave that seems to be the former lair of the dragon we killed in Sandpoint.

We have found the location of several of the leaders, and one of the few giant elders that exists in the camp.

Our plans continue to develop as we work to find a way inside to kill Mokmurian.


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Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

Following our decision to contact the Lord Mayor of Magnimar, I traveled magically with Xandu back to the city.

We arrived with no problems, and I quickly made contact with my family, the priestess at the church of Iomedae, and the captain of the guard in Magnimar to arrange for a meeting with the Lord Governor.

I told the story of the events in Sandpoint, and the information we had gathered in the aftermath to each of the three audiences.

The meeting with the Lord Governor included the guard captain, and two military officers in addition to myself. The news of the army of giants assembling at the Storval Plateau was a shock to all of them. They all showed concern about what would happen if a host of giants were to descend on Magnimar. Even the entire military forces of Magnimar would not be able to handle such a powerful opposing force.

While we looked at maps of the surrounding areas and they drew up battle plans to mount a defense, I explained to them that our plan was to travel as a small group and try to kill Mokmurian. We would travel quietly and quickly, and arrive unnoticed to make a surprise attack that cuts the head off of the snake.

My announcement seemed to catch all of them by surprise, and there was a moment of silence and shared glances between them before they gave their response. They discussed the plan and the possible alternatives, but came to the same conclusion we had already reached. There is no hope in attacking the giants head on. The cost would be too high, and the results far from certain. If they committed the entire army of Magnimar to the battle, they risked leaving the city unguarded against possible attack from rivals (i.e. Korvosa) who might seize the moment to try and capture Magnimar for themselves.

It was decided that the Storm Guard (as we have been labeled) should strike against Mokmurian and the leadership of the giant army, while the military marched to set up a defensive position near the base of the Storval Plateau in case we should fail. The city guard, and some reserve troops would be kept in Magnimar to guard against an opportunistic attack from Korvosa, or as a final line of defense if the other plans all failed to stop the giants.

After the meeting, I left with the guard captain and we discussed some small issues before I headed back to meet the rest of our group to finalize our plans and buy the supplies that will be needed for the journey.

May Iomedae bless this mission, as the future of this area depends nearly entirely on our success.


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Quote:
My brain hurts at the concept of a Monk/Barbarian.

Hey Tangent, what would you expect from the former ninja/witch! ;-)

He seems to wear metal gauntlets and fight hand-to-hand from what we have observed. (No obvious weapons carried, etc.)

Flak, the giant-puncher!


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

After saddling my horse, Sheldor and I hurried up the road to the Scarnetti mansion, only to find that the battle really was over. It was here that we heard of Annie's demise at the hands of one of the giants in the woods. She and several of the other party members had hurried to stop several giants from leaving Sandpoint with live captives and other stolen items. During the course of the skirmish, Annie got too close to one of the giants and paid the ultimate price.

She was a quiet and odd girl, but her stealthy abilities and hedge magic aided us many times against our foes. She deserves a place of honor along with the other fallen heroes.

Following the immediate cleanup and healing of the most seriously injured, we turned our attention to the two giants who had been captured alive. Threats proved to be ineffective in persuading them, so Moxie and I were charged with questioning them over the period of several days to gain information about the reason for the giants' attack on Sandpoint.

During this time, troops from Magnimar arrived to provide security, along with several other traveling paladins of Iomedae who immediately began to help the wounded townspeople. This freed up my fellow party members to focus on gathering information and prepare for our next action.

The information we gathered wasn't what we wanted to hear. It seems that this attack was only a small raiding party sent to scout the surrounding areas while an army of giants and creatures was being raised by Mokmurian, a name we had heard before.

The army is gathering north of us at the Storval Plateau, so we now have to warn the Lord Mayor of Magnimar, and then prepare ourselves for the inevitable conflict with Mokmurian. We hope to strike the head of the snake, so to speak, and avoid a drawn-out confrontation against a host of giants.


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Quote:

And I ran, I ran so far away.

I just ran, I ran all night and day.

I wouldn't get to play.

*With apologies to A Flock of Seagulls

------------------------------

Rikert Krupt – (tired) Paladin of Iomedae

After pushing my warhorse to his limits on the sprint from Magnimar to Sandpoint, I now know what he felt like.

The morning started with me running from the Rusty Dragon all the way to the north wall, just in time to heal Davok and return him to the fight. I then made my way (running) back through the streets to try and locate the next location where the giants had invaded. Along the way, I encountered Simon and the dragon locked in combat. As Simon fell to the dragon, I charged the beast, only to have it fly away after a final breath of fire that washed over both of us. I healed Simon, and he and I ran to the sounds of battle from the center of town.

We reached the area and saw Davok and Xandu killing the last of several giants with help from Haytham and his Roc. (I still haven't encountered a living giant yet during the whole siege!)

Following the directions of Haytham who had a good view of the town, we once again ran (ironically back toward the Rusty Dragon where I started) toward the sounds of combat. Even with a haste potion, I could not keep pace with my companions who use flight and magical travel to cover the distances quickly.

When I arrived back in the southern section of town, I was exhausted and felt of little use other than healing during the entire battle. I decided it was time to saddle my horse in the stable and stop running in plate armor. So, with a little help from Sheldor who arrived at the stables after me, I am mounted and ready to ride along the road to the upper areas outside the town where the giants have attacked the Scarnetti mansion and other homes of the wealthy residents of Sandpoint.

------------------------------

Seriously! I have not swung my sword once during this battle, and running in plate armor sucks! ;-)

I joked that I should have finished my breakfast at the Rusty Dragon, taken my time to saddle my horse, and waited for combat to reach me!


Uther is correct. My next entry should be fun.

I'm just waiting on Useplanb to update his official version before posting!

As for my previous post, only the middle part about finding the trapped mother and her child in the burning building and their resulting rescue were made up.

I did heal Davok at the wall at the previous game, and then I was gone for the first half of the second night of the battle, and arrived at the game just in time to see Simon get munched by the dragon. The rare smile on Rikert's face was the first thing Simon saw when he woke up in the street.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

The siege by the giants, bears, and a dragon has us running from location to location to stop their advance and protect the innocent people of Sandpoint. The local militia and garrison are trying to help, but are sorely out of their league, and paying a terrible price in blood and lives. Thus, it falls upon us, the heroes of Sandpoint, to once again save the town.

As the alarm bells began to ring, I ran from the inn to the far wall to find Davok already engaging the advancing giants at range with his bow. The half-orc in his element with a bow is a sight to behold. He rained arrow after arrow into the giants, nearly every shaft finding its mark and burrowing deep into a foe. With a grim smile upon his face, he brought down a handful of giants before they even reached the wall. His actions didn't go unnoticed by the giants, and they responded with a hail of boulders that crumbled the walls and dropped Davok on the battlements just as I arrived.

I ran up the stairs, passing Simon on his way down to the gate. He yelled that Davok needed help, and I assured him that I would handle it. I reached Davok, and called upon Iomedae to heal his wounds so that he might return to the battle. His injuries were severe, but the continued healing from Iomedae flowed from my hands into his bruised body and he was able to rise and grab his bow. I knew that others needed my help, so I ran back down the stairs to find Simon and help him at the gate.

At this time, a red dragon of some size made a flying pass just over the wall, roaring and belching forth a gout of flame that froze us all in place, and made even some of our bravest friends cower and run. Steeled by Iomedae's presence, I shrugged off the fear, and hurried down the closest street in search of Simon.

As I ran through the ruined streets littered with stones from destroyed homes and businesses, I heard screams and yells for help from a nearby building that was partially collapsed and on fire from the dragon's breath. I forced open a door that was jammed by the building's collapse, and found myself in a room filled with heat and fire that blurred my vision and nearly drove me back out of the door. Instead, I called upon Iomedae to shield me from the fire, and advanced unharmed into the inferno. As I entered the next room, I found a small area that was clear of the flames. It was here that the source of the screams emanated. A young woman was trapped under rubble from the home. Next to her was a crying infant, wrapped tightly in a blanket, but laying on the floor just out of the woman's reach. The young mother begged me to take the child to safety, but I told her to remain calm while I began to clear the rocks and wood that pinned her lower body. The heat was intense, but I knew that these innocents would die if I didn't finish the job. With a final push, I moved the last timber and pulled her up from the floor. She quickly grabbed her child and held it close as I threw my weight against an already damaged wall. It took a few tries, but eventually I was able to force my way through into the street, creating a hole for them to escape the flames. The woman seemed to be in shock, so I pulled her across the way to an undamaged building and she and the child entered through an unlocked door. I told them to remain here where it was safe, and made my exit.

The confusion in the streets had increased, and I could here roars and the sounds of battle from around the block. I ran to the corner and rounded it just in time to see the dragon rear back and lunge at Simon, who was standing bravely against it by himself. Now I know from experience that Simon is as tough as they come, but the dragon was a foe beyond most men's capabilities, and its snapping jaws rent holes through his shield and armor and dropped him in front of me.

I charged the beast, powering my sword, intent on driving it away or slaying it and saving Simon if he still lived. The creature saw my charge and jumped back, crushing another building with its bulk, and drawing in a great breath of air. Just as I neared Simon, another gout of flame blew forth and washed over us both. The potions purchased in Magnimar did their job, and the fire had little effect. The dragon then launched itself back into the sky, and headed for the center of town.

I knelt beside Simon's battered form, and found him still breathing despite the gouges and burns covering his body. I knew he had a hard head, but I guess the rest of him is equally as thick! I called again upon the healing power of Iomedae and felt the energy flow from her through me and into Simon. As his eyes fluttered open, I extended my hand and smiled at him and said, "C'mon my stubborn friend. This battle isn't done with you yet!" He took my hand and I pulled him unsteadily to his feet, bracing him against me while he regained his balance. I continued the flow of healing energy until he was stable and strong enough to stand unaided.

Together, we turned to the closest sounds of battle and ran to help the townspeople.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

The past few days have been a whirlwind since our defeat of the enemy at Hook Mountain, and finding the information about the upcoming attack on Sandpoint by the giants and a rumored dragon.

We gathered ourselves as quickly as possible, and sketched a quick plan to return to Sandpoint by the use of Xandu's magic, and the powers of the druids. I remained behind in Turtleback Ferry to travel with the second wave to Magnimar to resupply, and alert the Lord Mayor and the Church of Iomedae about the imminent attack on Sandpoint.

Xandu returned the next day to take us quickly to Magnimar, but said there had been a problem with his initial attempt to teleport to Magnimar that ended with Simon and the others in Sandpoint instead. Luckily, we are all headed there shortly, so we changed our plans about who would carry information and gather new supplies.

Upon our magical arrival in Magnimar, we immediately set off in different directions. I stopped first at my parent's estate to gather my horse and gear, before heading to the church to let the priestess know of our progress and the developing plot against Sandpoint. I asked for any aid the church could render to be sent to Sandpoint as quickly as possible. I then left to make arrangements to speak with the Lord Mayor to apprise him of our progress and once again request aid for Sandpoint. I was forced to speak with the captain of the guard at the prison in order to reach the Lord Mayor without waiting in line for too long while time was escaping us.

It was agreed that the city guard would meet us at the front gate where we awaited the others traveling by wagon from Sandpoint that evening. Then, I would accompany them to visit with the Lord Mayor. However, things changed quickly, and it was decided that I should help obtain the much needed supplies. Moxie would meet with the Lord Mayor in my place, and we would then all meet to return as soon as possible to Sandpoint. Xandu had experienced a holy vision from Desna that warned the attack was nearly underway, and that we should all return to Sandpoint with great haste.

Our hurried dealings in the great bazaar were successful, and we all met once again near the city gate. It was decided that Xandu would take everyone except for myself and Moxie who would ride to Sandpoint overnight in order to ensure that we would all be there when needed. I gathered Moxie up in the saddle behind me and drove my steed as far and as hard as possible that night. We took a brief break early in the morning, and then pushed on through to Sandpoint, arriving early the next day before the battle was expected to begin.


Some thoughts on Rikert's background:

When I decided to play a Chelaxian paladin, I looked at where he was from, and decided he wasn't going to be the typical shining knight.

Rikert tends to be quiet. When he first joined the party, he sat in the bar and observed them from a distance to see how they interacted in a casual setting. He comes across as being a little unapproachable, and certainly isn't overly outgoing. (Lucien, my first character, was outgoing and gregarious. He liked to talk and tried to be everyone's friend.)

Rikert is different. His outlook is much more serious, and he doesn't smile often. He understands that he isn't one of the light-hearted members of the party like Moxie and Xandu. He may secretly enjoy their happier approach to life, although he would never admit it. He believes Iomedae sent him to the group to provide her blessings and strength to a worthy cause.

Rikert remains focused on the mission. He doesn't care about fame or wealth, or even making a name for himself. He sees himself as Iomedae's hand in this war. He follows the tenets of Iomedae regarding the destruction of evil in the world, and won't tolerate letting organized evil foes survive, as he believes they are truly corrupted and cannot be redeemed. As far as he is concerned, they have made their choice and will pay the price for it now.

That being said, he still provides aid to the weak, and compassion when needed. Following the ghoul activity and the deaths of the farmers near Sandpoint, he carried the dead bodies back to their homes, dug graves, and gave money to them and the local church to support the refugees that fled their farms for the better chance of safety in Sandpoint. However, seeing the suffering brought onto the local citizens by the enemy forces, has only strengthened his resolve to punish the ones responsible. Every foe he cuts down helps to even the score he keeps in his head.

Rikert IS a "good" guy, he's just not always a "nice" guy.


(Another little conversation between party members. This time the two head-strong fighters are having a little disagreement over how to deal with foes, especially those who offer information in exchange for their lives. This takes place after the combat during some down time.)

Simon:

Ok folks, I have a question: Whaddaya think is going on?

It seems to me that what we have is a very small group of dedicated individuals who’re manipulatin’ others to bring about some calamity. Judgin’ from the guys callin’ the shots (whatshername Nualia, them snake biatches, “Mocmurian”, maybe this giant dude), the pawns they’re choosin’ and what they’re havin’ ‘em do, I think we can all agree that whatever they are tryin’ ta bring about is undesirable from a whaddayacallit, civilized standpoint. I’m all for monkey-wrenchin’ their plans and bustin’ their heads. But it might be helpful ta have some idea of just what those plans are, don’tcha think?

Now in a way, Rikert’s on the money. As far as the plotters go, we can’t let ‘em go and we can’t let ‘em live if we have the opportunity ta kill ‘em. For one thing, I think that they’re dedicated enough ta their goal that even if we was to capture one and torture ‘em, they just won’t talk. They know about Rikert’s “Zone of Truth” as well as we do. But they have a lodge symbol that lets us know who they are—these Sihedron amulets, and I think that their henchmen are another matter.

Think about it: yer a guy who’s been hired ta do a particular job (say, make it rain) and some gang of do-gooders come in and kick yer arse for it. They have ya at sword point, they had ta have slaughtered a bunch of heavies ta get ta ya, and the boss ain’t around. Sure, ya try to sell yer miserable life; ya really don’t have much of a dog in this fight. Ya make a bargain ta tell what ya little ya know, and since yer an evil bastich at heart, ya figure on double-crossing these ‘heroes’ and ambushin’ them first chance ya get.

See, we can probably have it both ways. We can let ‘em live, we can get what they know (and Rikert can make sure it’s the truth), we can let ‘em walk and when they ambush us we get ta kill ‘em without breaking our word. We know they’re gonna break theirs, so everybody’s happy.

What if they show themselves ta be true cowards and high-tail it ta greener pastures? So what? Maybe the folks they’ll be preying on are arse-holes and deserve all they get. Sooner or later, these low-level bad guys (who face it, weren’t smart enough ta come up with these schemes on their own) will get up ta enough mischief ta attract the attention of some other hero, and they’ll end up dead anyway. Hell, they’ve just been through a fight, they’re wounded, they might be killed by the first critter they come across. Right now, we have bigger fish to fry; we’re busy chewing our way up the chain to whoever is passing out these Sihedron runes.

And don’t pull that, ‘but we’re puttin’ innocent lives at risk by lettin’ ‘em go’ crap; if ya really believed that, ya’d still be trying ta track down that Krav Magga thing. Innocent lives are sure at stake with that loose, too. Ya do have a choice in the matter.

So fair warning: the next time this situation comes up, ya can bet that I’ll be sitting on Rikert first and foremost. Do ya think ya can take me without being able to work yer ‘smite evil’ trick, pretty boy? ‘Cause I happen ta think that the intelligence we can get from these low-lives just might be important enough ta see ya try.

*****

Rikert:

All right, Simon. Since you asked…

Let’s address the tactical end of the equation first, since that is your normal focus and you insist on the others following along. For what it’s worth, I completely agree with you about the group not separating during combat.

To that end, perhaps you should examine your own actions from our last combat against the hags.

Letting the enemy go when you have them beaten down is bad tactics.

Having a tantrum and withdrawing from an active combat is bad tactics.

Your moment of anger could have proved costly to any or all of us if the hags had any surprises left to use as a last ditch effort to survive or escape. Abandoning the fight before it was finished diminished our group, which functions better as a whole.

How would you feel if your leaving resulted in the death of another who chose to support the party and finish the fight?

There is a time and a place for questioning foes and gathering information. In the midst of a blinding fog during the confusion of combat is not that time.

Chasing after Black Magga is far different than our current situation. We were never in a position to “let Magga go.” While I agree that Magga will continue to be a problem in a limited location, our priority at this time remains in dealing with the organized evil that is a far greater threat to all of us.

In regard to the hags specifically, there are few creatures that I would trust less. When given a chance to save themselves, these truly twisted and evil creatures would use any advantage to misdirect us with false information to save themselves. If you truly want to question foes effectively, we can subdue one and force the truth with the power of Iomedae.

Letting these creatures escape to continue to prey on anyone, be they arse-holes or saints, will never be an option with me. Some evil in the world is too great to be allowed to continue. On this matter, I rely on Iomedae’s guidance, even if that requires me to be judge, jury, and executioner at the same time.

You may come from a mercenary world, with shades of gray, where coin buys your loyalty, but that is not my way. Iomedae holds forth righteous valor, justice, and honor. On these issues, I will not compromise.

Simon, I value your strength and skills as an ally, and consider you a boon to our mission. I have no reason to cross swords with you, nor do I anticipate any in the future. As far as being able to “take” you in a fight, I hope it never comes to that. (looks Simon right in the eye) But … if you ever attempt to keep me from my divine mission, we’ll most certainly find out!

*****

Back to Simon:

Lettin’ the enemy go when ya have ‘em beaten down and they beg for quarter is called “mercy,” ya might want to look that one up, “good guy.”

As far as withdrawin’ from the fight before it was finished goes; ta my recollection the fight was over. Yer the one who kept it going, deprivin’ us of possibly valuable information. My point is, we didn’t have to trust ‘em; ya can do yer “Zone of Truth” thing (which ya’ve been happy ta yank out in less ugly circumstances) and know whether they was lying or not. If they agreed ta tell the truth and didn’t, I’d have been right there with ya.

If yer continuing the fight after it was effectively over had resulted in one of us dying, sure I’d feel bad; but that was yer decision, Rikert, not mine. Ta my mind, I was supportin’ the party, and ya and Haytham were out of line. I might have expected the Orc ta be that bloodthirsty, but ya were a surprise.

Look Rikert, you’re a good guy to fight alongside. One a the best I’ve had, truth be told, but if allowin’ a lesser evil ta survive in order ta more effectively fight a greater one “will never be an option” with you, then this argument ain’t over. I suggest ya pray to Iomedae for guidance, ‘cause the big picture might surprise you.

If yer really gonna take that line though, then ya really can’t make a distinction between an evil critter ya think ya can take, and one ya don’t think ya can. They call folks as does that “hypocrits.”

*****

Rikert again:

(Rikert looks expressionlessly at Simon for a long moment, and then replies)

“Mercy?”

I’m guessing you have had little training in religion, but perhaps you have me confused with the followers of Shelyn?

I openly wear the symbols of my faith … I make no apologies for my actions against evil … it is clear where I stand. I protect the weak and innocent by destroying sources of oppression, rather than the symptoms.

Iomedae suffers no evil to openly exist. It is my duty and the mission of the church to right wrongs and eliminate evil at its root.

If this troubles you, then perhaps you should reflect on your own soul for the motive that keeps you with us in this war. Our group has come together as volunteers to right the wrongs against Sandpoint, and stop the spread of evil that is awakening in the lands around us.

If ever there was a time to put aside petty differences and stand together, this is it!


Hey Kori'el:

I've heard of it. Just didn't have it available at the time. :)

Besides, they needed to die!


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

The small staircase, just past the room of our fight with the giant and ogres, led up to another room where Moxie encountered three hideous hags. These creatures were twisted and deformed, but still towered over all of us.

Combat started with a gunshot from Moxie, and turned into a hand-to-hand battle through thick, magical fog that was summoned by the hags. It took a while for the group to establish a good push against the hags as we were greatly hindered by the fog. I was one of the last to enter the room, and had to find a path to the enemy while being effectively blinded.

Our numbers eventually proved enough as we wore down the hags and pushed them back against the far wall. It was at this time that one of them begged for mercy and offered to give us information if we would spare them. For me, this wasn't an option. These creatures have spread misery and death through the area with their foul magics, and letting them leave to start tormenting others was something that we could prevent. It is also my belief that they would have told us anything in hope of buying their lives and freedom. Information given under threat of death is unreliable at best.

The party was divided equally about this issue. Simon and a few others grumbled about not letting them go, but we will get to the true cause of these problems with or without their (the hags) questionable assistance. There is no denying that these creatures would have continued to prey upon others given the chance. Furthermore, in a war like this one, failing to eliminate foes when the chance arises only gives them reason to seek revenge and rejoin their leaders at a later time. I've seen no sign that any of our past foes would give up their fight. Instead, they have all shown to be totally committed to their cause. To that end, they can expect no mercy from me.

The next room in the caverns held another shrine to foul Lamashtu! It is more proof that my choice to join this group was correct. The former captain of the black arrows was also here, but in the guise of an undead specter. He had lost all of his humanity with the exception of his skill with the bow. After painful and damaging rounds of arrow fire, we cornered him and I called again upon the power of Iomedae to fill my sword so that I could end his unnatural life.

After treating our wounds, we moved on into the caverns. We found a huge chamber that was partially open to the outside world through a rift in the ceiling. The room is filled with statues of giants, and at the end of the chamber there is a throne occupied by a living giant, and two others with him as guards.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

Our journey to Hook Mountain continued through the heavy snow and poor visibility. We eventually reached a large cave mouth that had black smoke pouring from inside.

Our scouts were quickly seen by ogres standing guard just inside the cave mouth. The resulting combat was over quickly and we moved forward into the cave. Inside, we found what appeared to be rib bones of a gigantic dragon spaced along the edges of the cave like columns or supports. Farther in, we found ourselves face to shin with a giant, armored statue. The towering statue proved to be an enormous corpse that was magically preserved by the power of a large, Sihedron amulet on a chain around its neck. Simon and I guarded the stairs leading farther up into the cave while Davok climbed the creature and removed the amulet, releasing the preservation spell and causing the entire thing to collapse in a cloud of dried ash.

We continued farther into the cavern until we were stopped by a force of ogres and a giant in a room blocking our path. Using improved tactics (thank you Simon!), we pressed our way up the stairs and killed the enemies. Our victory was short-lived, as a shout was heard that there were more on the way to the room.

We regrouped and reformed with the fighters to the front to stop their advance, while the casters blasted them from a distance with fire and lightning. The magical onslaught released by the party was impressive, and resulted in the instant deaths of several ogres, and severe wounding of several others. The fighters pushed our advantage given by the magic, and rushed the survivors at the top of the stairs.

Once again, our combined efforts quickly overwhelmed the remaining ogres. One or two were left incapacitated in hope of being questioned about what lies before us in the cave.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

In the upper chambers of the dam, we found some additional damage and signs of disrepair, but there were no additional threats.

We found a doorway leading down a long flight of stairs, more than one hundred feet into the lower section of the dam. Davok kept ahead of us as he scouted the way to the pool below. As he entered the chamber with the pool, a fierce commotion broke out as some unseen creature leapt from the water and speared the ranger. Davok fought the creature by himself as the rest of us ran down the remaining stair to help. The first of us arrived just in time to see Davok laid low by a brutal attack.

As Xandu moved in to the room along side of Simon and I, he ventured out too far in a desperate attempt to save Davok, and it nearly cost him his own life as the enormous troll once again used his spear to drop another party member. I was torn between trying to save Xandu and Davok, or stand with Simon against the foe. After a moment's pause, I called on Iomedae's power to rejuvenate my injured comrades and was rewarded by Xandu becoming conscious enough to begin healing the others while I joined the fight.

With our combined efforts and some well-timed fire spells used by Lynn, we were able to kill the troll.

We spent some time to rest and heal before clearing the rest of the dam. We found a control room guarded by a strange scorpion-like construct that left us alone since we did not proceed farther into the control room.

Nearby, we found two rooms filled with ancient binding magic that held the remains of one diabolical creature, and another of the creatures who was barely alive. Using Iomedae's gift, it was obvious that the creature was an unholy abomination. The creature, evil as it appeared, was no threat to us because it was trapped in a powerful binding circle that prevented it from escaping or using its magical powers.

Lynn eventually was able to read and understand the runes that bound the creatures and learned how to operate the power source of the dam by stepping into the unoccupied circle. When he did this, the circles both flared to life and the systems of the dam activated to release the emergency gates and lower the water level. The surge of power from the circles drained some of Lynn's life force, and killed the devil outright.

Following the securing of the dam, and the activation of the flood gates, we had time to plan our future moves. It was decided that Xandu would magically travel by himself to Magnimar to obtain the components for a ritual that could restore life to Davok. (Player's note: Maybe we should send someone with Xandu next time to make sure he doesn't forget why he is there!)

The party rested while Xandu was gone. When he returned, he was able to summon the power of his goddess in a mighty miracle that brought Davok back to the land of the living.

We stopped in town to equip ourselves for the journey to Hook Mountain to hunt down the remaining ogres and the lamia creature that had escaped from us earlier. Once equipped, we started the long trek up the mountain.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

[coughing, wandering almost blind through the caves filled with aptly named "bitter bark" smoke]

Gahh, this infernal smoke has burned my eyes and taken my breath for far too long. It seemed to be a good idea to light a fire in the caves to drive out the lizards, but now I'm not so sure.

As the smoke thickened, I followed Simon and the others down one of the twisting corridors of the caves behind the fort. Well, at least I thought I was following them! It seems I took a wrong turn and headed back into the caves instead of arriving at the hidden door as planned.

The smoke actually worsened until I could barely see more than a few feet in front of me, even with the ioun stone supplying its magical light. I stumbled along for a few minutes, calling out to the group, and doubling back on my route several times until I was hopelessly disoriented.

Finally, I realized that I wasn't making any progress, and was likely getting myself good and lost in the caves. At that point, I sat down on the floor, wrapping a cloak around my face to keep out some of the bitter smoke, and waited a while for it to clear enough that I could find my bearings.

After what seemed to be far too much time, the smoke lightened enough that I could finally see again. I searched briefly for a landmark I recognized, and then found the right tunnel leading to the hidden door. I readied my gear, and then grabbed a hold on the door and forced it open.

Now, to see what has happened to my friends during the time I was lost and suffering from the smoke in the caves.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

The fight with the bloated "mother" continued with her casting spells and floating mostly out of reach from our physical attacks. As I closed to attack her, she magically gated herself out of the room.

We immediately spread out through the house to find her to make sure she didn't escape. I ran for the basement stairs that we had passed earlier, with the half-orc archer right behind me. As I moved down the stairs, I didn't see that the archer had turned and went through the back door that led outside.

I continued on down the stairs and found a short hallway and several closed doors. I opened the doors and checked each room quickly, using the light emanating from my empowered sword to shred the darkness of the basement. I soon found myself in combat with another of the hideous freaks and two giant rats. The brute possessed great strength, and managed to breach my defenses to wound me during the fight. Annie and the archer both arrived behind me in the hallway and joined the fight. With their help, we were able to kill our enemies and move on to the next area in search of the "mother."

In the last room, we encountered the worst of the mutated creatures. It appeared as a large, plant-like creature with long tentacles and a gaping mouth filled with teeth. I pulled the half-orc back out of the doorway as soon as I saw the creature, and spared him from being snared. However, in my rush to shield him, I left an opening that was quickly taken by the plant to grab me with its mouth and tentacles. I struggled to break the hold of the creature, while my friends continued to attack it. Annie also moved too close and was grabbed by a tentacle.

The strength and leverage of the creature was immense, and it gradually began to swallow me deeper into its body. I was forced to draw a dagger and attempt to cut myself free from the inside. The burning, acid bile of the creature and its relentless embrace were pushing me to my limits to stay conscious and continue to fight.

At the last possible minute, my dagger found a weak spot and I slashed a long cut through its thick skin and tumbled back out onto the floor of the room. It took a few minutes to recover, and I allowed Xandu and the others to help me in my weakened state.

I then learned that the "mother" had been killed, and the house and area are clear of the mutants. We chose to rest there for a day to heal our wounds and plan our assault on the fort.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

The cat led us farther into the woods along the road. After traveling a fair distance, we came upon a ramshackle farmstead complete with a poorly tended field of corn. I guess the "farmers" at Sandpoint must have spread. Someone needs to teach these people about how to properly grow crops or they are likely to starve to death.

We were immediately attacked by more of the ogrekin as soon as we approached the house and barn. These flawed, inbred, mutants don't seem to be much of a threat, at least not to our group which has been showing improved combat tactics with the addition of Simon.

We killed the three outside the barn and then made quick work of another group within the barn. We found the prisoners in a cage in the back area of the barn, along with a huge spider web that nearly filled the room. The enormous spider appeared, but didn't catch us by surprise as we had kept a close eye on the web. The alchemist and the new archer made short work of the spider, and we were able to release the prisoners. We spoke briefly with them and healed their wounds before they left and we moved to the house.

Opening the door of the house set off a trap that caught Simon by surprise. The wicked blade and the resulting injury made us more cautious as we entered the house. Inside, we found the gory remains of the ogrekin's food which seemed to consist of humans who had been captured and killed. We searched through the house, finding a few more ogrekin, and evidence of a brutal system of selection practiced upon the ogrekin children. It seems that all of the female young were killed soon after birth.

We reached a large room at the back of the house that held the bloated and disgusting "mother" of the ogrekin and more of her twisted children. In addition, it appears she is a necromancer of some skill as we faced undead zombies and dark spells that she cast at various members of the party. I once again summoned the holy power of Iomedae and commenced to cut down these evil abominations.

(Player's note: I'm pretty sure that whoever wrote this portion of the adventure has seen (and possibly has an unnatural attraction to) the X-files episode titled "Home" about the inbred family that had an old farmhouse full of traps and three mutant brothers who kept their quadriplegic mother under the bed for breeding purposes!) see link here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_(The_X-Files)


Rikert Krupt- Paladin of Iomedae

Following the fight with the giants and the death of Ramad, we tended the wounded amongst the party and the crew, and then continued on up the river. We passed through a small town that appeared to be largely populated by gnomes. We stopped here briefly, and then once again boarded the boat to complete our journey to Turtleback Ferry.

When we arrived at Turtleback Ferry, we made arrangements with the captain to return Ramad's body back to Magnimar and then on to Sandpoint. Following this somber business, we found lodging at a local inn and I took advantage of the opportunity to get a hot bath and relax before heading down to the common room to eat and find my friends. During the time I was getting cleaned up, the party had made themselves at home, eating and drinking while Xandu sang and played to entertain everyone.

I was surprised to see a large, half-orc talking with Simon. Evidently, he had talked his way into joining us as we continued our search for Xanesha's "sister." It seems his interest in finding the missing Black Arrows coincides with our plans to travel to Fort Rannick.

We heard rumors of a "pleasure" boat that had been operating in the local area. The boat held various temptations and sinful activities that drew many of the locals to sample the opportunities presented therein. Many of the people who frequented the boat received sihedron tattoos that matched the amulet and clues we have found during our investigation. The boat disappeared within the past weeks and the rumors say it sank. This sounds like a good place to spend some time investigating the real facts about the boat and the mysterious woman who seemed to be in charge.

It was decided that we should continue on to Fort Rannick in the morning, and investigate the boat later.

We left early the next day and walked along the road that led to the fort. After we crossed a small bridge, the half-orc motioned that he heard something in the woods just off of the road. He immediately moved into the woods along with the druid. I told the others to "hold" here and not run off into the woods. Simon echoed my instructions and cautioned the others to stay together and advance as a group. As we moved into the woods, we heard dogs barking and what sounded like singing. We found a small clearing just ahead, and located the druid and the half-orc working quickly to free a large feline stuck in a leg trap. As they released the creature, a pack of dogs burst into the clearing, followed closely by a pair of grotesque twins with deformed features and arms. We made quick work of the dogs, and the half-orc fired long arrows that struck the first humanoid with furious force. As we engaged the other creature, they both turned to flee back in the direction from which they had first appeared. The druid called forth the power of nature and slowed their retreat with grasping weeds and vines which tangled around their legs. At the same time, Xandu and Simon both appeared directly in front of the creatures and Simon quickly cut them down.

Following the fight, the druid told us that the feline belonged to another druid that was nearby and needed help. We fell back into our traveling formation and began to walk in the direction indicated by the druid.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

Following our victory over Xanesha at the clock tower, we were invited to attend a meal at the Lord-Mayor's house and given his thanks and a monetary reward. He spoke to us about another job in a place called Turtleback Ferry, and Simon, the new guy, jumped right in and said we would do it and agreed to the terms with no discussion from the rest of us. Perhaps I should speak with him about the art of diplomacy and negotiating conditions.

We had a few days in the city before we were scheduled to leave. We took advantage of this time to buy new supplies and work on our equipment. Lynn once again was able to help me increase the effectiveness of my gear, and I owe him something in the future.

We left on a boat down the river later that week. The first few days passed uneventfully, and we all found some time to relax after the chaos of the past few weeks. However, our trip was interrupted on the third day by an attack from two grayish giants that waded out into the river under the cover of a heavy fog bank to attack our boat. At the time of our attack, I was below deck, and heard the battle break out above me and the shouts of the men mixed with the thudding crashes of rocks hitting the deck. It took me a few moments to don the rest of my armor, and then I hurried up the stairs to the deck.

"CRASH!!!" Without warning as I rounded the corner to see what was happening, I was struck a solid blow by a rock that must have weighed more than 70 lbs. My newly repaired armor took most of the force of the missile, but it spun me around and I fell onto my knees, gasping to catch my breath and clear my head. As I arose, I grabbed a large crossbow that was sitting near the rail and looked for signs of the threat through the fog. Following the shouts and sounds through the fog, I fired several bolts into the mist that managed to strike one of the giants.

As the boat continued forward, the outlines of the giants became visible as they waded toward us, swinging great, spear-like weapons similar to a boat hook. The giants used the long poles and their great strength to their advantage. The pendulous swings swept crewmen from the deck like wheat before a scythe. It was during this time that Ramad fell to the giant on the opposite side of the boat from my location. I was fighting the closest giant and didn't actually see him fall. Eventually, the firepower from our magus and bombs from the alchemist dropped one of the giants, and caused the other to flee.

We rushed to the fallen halfling wizard, but it was too late. The blow from the giant had nearly split him in two pieces. He was an asset to the party, but seemed to often find himself in dangerous locations during battle. This time, it cost him his life.


RIkert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

Following the battle with the shambling guardian at the base of the tower, we began our cautious ascent up the rickety staircase that wound its way up through the tower. Only minutes into our climb, we stopped and paused to see a large human in quality armor make his way into the entrance below. He was armed with a sword and shield, and carried a torch that revealed his heraldry to match that of the guards in the city. We questioned him and found his name to be Simon, and that he had been told by the captain of the guard that we may need his assistance. After a brief introduction, considering the circumstances of our meeting, we allowed him to accompany us into the heights of the tower.

Our climb was continually interrupted by unsafe or missing areas of the stairs, and at one point, one of the huge bells broke free and fell down amongst us, breaking more of the stairs, and carrying Simon and Annie's fox to the floor 50 feet below. Simon proved to be tough and lucky, and landed in some of the loose rubble which helped break his fall. The fox, however, was not so lucky and was crushed by the enormous, brass bell.

Xandu rushed back down to attend to Simon, and then called upon some new magic that allowed himself and a couple of the others to fly or otherwise "walk" in the air. At this point, the flying members were able to carry the rest of us up through the tower to the top, thus avoiding more problems with the stairs. (Or so we thought!)

The top of the stairs were occupied by more of the faceless stalkers similar to the ones that had attacked us in the local Foxglove estate. We engaged and dispatched these quickly, while keeping the groaning staircase in the backs of our minds. Sheldor found a weak spot in the stairs and fell to the level of stairs just below us. He was lucky indeed, as a fall to the bottom of the tower from this height would likely have been fatal.

As we passed through the doorway that led to a more physically solid area of the tower, we found additional messenger ravens and another door that led to more steps on the outside of the tower that led to the very top. We formed up into a marching order with myself and Simon near the front, and climbed to the upper rooftop area.

At this point, a flying, demonic figure appeared, hovering of to the edge of the tower. This immediately drew fire from our spellcasters and those with the ability to reach the creature. Meanwhile, Friedrich and couple of others walked out onto the roof. Ahead of us there was a covered structure on the roof that seemed to contain several large chests and a variety of pillows and cushions that gave the appearance of a huge bed or lounge.

Our attention was drawn away by the scream of Friedrich as he was attacked by a large, snake-like creature with a human upper body. Xanesha! She had appeared suddenly behind Friedrich and ran him through with a large spear that was now protruding from his chest.

I immediately called upon the power of Iomedae to fill my sword with holy energy, and ran to destroy this abomination that was responsible for so many of the problems we have faced. Simon also charged with his shield to the front, and crashed into the bulk of Xanesha. As others joined the fight, Xanesha fought back with the spear, and blasts of magic from the mask she wore. She surrounded herself with false images that confused our strikes and led us to miss the target.

As the fight progressed, she slithered quickly through our ranks to avoid being surrounded, and we were forced to once again charge to engage her in the new location. Eventually, our combined attacks wore her down and we were able to literally strike the head from our immediate problem.

Following the battle, we tended to the wounded, and searched the chests to find a rich treasure of coins, jewelry, and other items. We spent some time to carry all of these down to the ground using magic and patience. Among the chests, we also found a letter written to Xanesha by someone who referred to her as "sister." Whether this is a true, blood-relative, or just someone who shared a close bond with her remains to be seen.

We then reported our victory to the Lord Mayor, and received additional rewards from him as well. We now have a little time to repair and replace our equipment, and make arrangements to return Uther's body to Sandpoint.

Where our path leads after that remains to be seen.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

The party decided it would be in our best interest to take advantage of the time needed to translate the journals and papers by preparing ourselves for our next encounter. This included selling items to raise money for new equipment and repairing and enhancing our current gear. For me, this meant hiring Lynn to put a magically keen edge on my greatsword. I continue to be impressed with the elf's arcane abilities, and this new talent used to enhance our weapons is a great boon to the party.

The clues from the encounter at the sawmill led us to the Shadow Clock in hopes of tracking down the leaders responsible for all of the murders in Sandpoint and Magnimar. The tower is a menacing structure, partially hidden in the shadow of the ancient bridge ruins that rise over a large part of Miramar. Upon entering the building, we found the inside to be a dark place, filled with ruined offices, broken wood, and general signs of decay. The party noticed large, humanoid(?) footprints in the dirt and dust on the floor that seemed to indicate that the tower was still in use by someone or something.

As we spread out through the large structure, Sheldor and Xandu shouted a warning that they had found the creature responsible for the footprints. Rising up from where it had crouched in the shadows of a dark corner behind a wooden staircase, a huge creature that seemed to be an amalgam of various animals and assorted parts towered over the party. It held a great scythe in one of its enormous hands as it moved to engage the druid. I ran forward to lend my blade to battle in an attempt to draw the creature's attention away from the others. As I advanced, I noticed several attempts by my companions to harm the creature fail as arcane energies simply washed over it with no effect, or arrows and blades bounced off of its thick hide.

I knew this would be a true test of my newly enhanced blade, and I jumped into combat swinging great strokes that would carve most men in half. Even with all of my strength driving the enhanced blade, my sword seemed to meet great resistance with every stroke. My attacks, limited as they were, drew the creature's attention fully to me and I had to fight harder to avoid being dismembered by its incredible strength and the vicious scythe.

Eventually, with the assistance of my companions, and the vision of Iomedae guiding my blade, I struck two telling blows which crippled the creature and dropped it to the floor.

I then checked on my friends to help with any who were injured before we began the ascent up the long wooden staircase that disappeared up into the darkness of the tower high over our heads. Maybe now we will finally find the source of the murders and evil deeds lurking somewhere above. Maybe now we can avenge Uther and the others who have died for our cause.


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Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

Under the cover of darkness, we made our way forward to the mill's lower level. Using Uther's pistol to shatter the lock on the door under the cover of magical silence provided our entrance. As we worked our way through the lower levels of the mill, we found only churning gears and pulleys endlessly turning and grinding as the water wheels used the river's current to power the mill.

Our search of the lower levels proved fruitless, and led us to try again at the main entrance farther up. Here we struggled with the doors, but eventually forced them open and found ourselves in a large room with wagons and equipment for moving and loading the cut timber. Once again, this area was empty, so we continued up to the next level using a set of stairs along the wall near the entrance. This level also was unoccupied, so we spread out to search the workshop area where the large saws were located. As the druid and I led the way into the workshop, some of the others moved to another set of stairs leading to the top level. At this time, a shriek of pain from somewhere above us started a headlong charge to the upper level. Unfortunately, myself and some of the others who were more suited to lead the charge into combat were located farthest from the stairs. This created a poor tactical situation where we found ourselves entering combat in a reverse order, with the spell casters and the other lightly armored members leading while the rest of us ran to catch up.

Upon reaching the stairs, I could tell from the sounds above that the battle was already well under way. As I started up the stairs I immediately ran into a pair of cultists and moved to engage them in combat. They proved to be only a minor hindrance to my progress, but during the time I fought though them, a foul demonic creature was magically summoned in the room above. The aberration oozed corruption and a terrible smell emanated from it. The smell was so strong that many of my allies found themselves sickened and struggling to function within the cloud near the creature.

Steeling myself against the overwhelming stench and calling on the divine power of Iomedae, I charged the creature and struck it down in a single great blow from my sword. Upon the creature's death, the smell seemed to instantly fade, and my stricken comrades were able to quickly shake off the nausea that had affected them. At this point, the tide of the battle seemed to turn in our favor as more of us reached the top of the stairs and engaged the enemy.

The carnage in the upper room was terrible to behold. Cultists and party members fought and bled in a wild melee. The leader of the cultists was trapped between Lynn and Xandu, and being attacked mercilessly by both of them. He responded by channeling multiple bursts of dark magic which washed over us like cold, prickly waves that sucked the life from you. It was here, near the end of the fight that Uther went down. As we despatched the remaining cultists, we found the victim whose screams had brought us to the battle. He was still alive, and suffering from cuts to his chest where the cultists had begun to carve their symbol into his flesh.

I checked on the survivors and then spent several moments attending to Uther. Alas, he was beyond our abilities and had passed on to whatever reward or fate awaited him. He was a good man who had chosen to fight for what is right, and I know that we will miss his steady presence and the deadly blasts of his pistols in future battles.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

Following the unpleasantness in Sandpoint, the trip to Magnimar felt like a refreshing change. It was good to finally visit the city where my family had established their new home and lives.

Magnimar itself is a grandiose place filled with ancient ruins and statues. Upon our arrival, we spoke briefly with some town guards who recommended an inn farther along near the docks. At this time, I told the party that I needed to stop by my family's estate since I had not visited them here previously, and in fact, it had been nearly two years since I had seen them.

My parents were surprised and pleased by my unannounced arrival, and I spent the night with them after introducing them to my friends before they left for the inn. I explained to my parents that we were in town following up on the events and murders in Sandpoint. My parents told me that there had been a recent string of murders in Magnimar, all of which involved wealthy families and nobles. They told me how most nobles refused to travel alone now at night in fear for their lives.

These murders seemed to me to be a strange coincidence considering their timing. I have a feeling that our investigation here may uncover a link between the murders in Sandpoint and the killings of nobles in Magnimar.

The following morning, the party traveled with me and my father to present the letter from the sheriff to the local authorities. We ate lunch with my father and then headed on to the market to sell some items before investigating the local Foxglove manor. We were surprised to find the local manor recently boarded up and apparently empty.

I took a break from the party and visited the Church of Iomedae, where I introduced myself to the high priestess. I told her of our investigation into the murders and she provided me with additional information about the local killings. After a brief conversation, I gave her a gift of gold for the local church, and made my way back to join the party.

Early that evening, we went back to the Foxglove manor and entered it with the key we recovered from Aldern. We were shocked to find it occupied by an apparently healthy Aldern and two of his servants who were just sitting down to dinner. We were immediately distrustful of this obvious impostor since we had recently killed his undead form back in Sandpoint.

It didn't take long for the hoax to unwind as the trap was quickly sprung. Aldern and his men were in fact some foul creatures that used magic to impersonate others. The fight was over quickly, but Lynn and a few of the others were wounded in the melee. I helped heal those in need, and we then proceeded to search the manor. It wasn't long until our attention was drawn by a loud pounding on the front door that marked the arrival of the local authorities.

Following a terse encounter we eventually allowed ourselves to be detained rather than risk spilling the blood of the locals in a clash with the city guard. We were separated into smaller groups and led to wagons for transport to the local prison, a place charmingly named The Hells. Within the wagon, we found a robed figure who questioned us about our purpose in Magnimar, and then revealed himself to be the Lord-Mayor of Magnimar himself. We discussed the events that had led us here, and he told us he would allow our investigation to continue in hope that we would end the string of murders that were terrorizing the local nobles. We agreed to his terms, and he offered us what help he had available should we need it.

We continued on to the prison to complete the ruse of our arrest, and were eventually freed after a few hours and allowed to leave under the cover of darkness. We retired to our beds for some well deserved rest, and then met again the next morning to sell more goods at the bazaar. We then followed up on the additional leads we had yet to pursue, and set up watch on the Seven Sawmill which was the next location in our investigation.


Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

As we continued exploring the ruins of the Misgivings, I began to feel that the only way to rid this cursed place of the haunts and evil that was so pervasive was to burn it to the ground. In my years of training as a holy warrior I have never come across a place that seemed to harbor as much residual evil lingering from the deeds of its former residents.

Our search through the upstairs rooms led us to discover the twisted history of the Foxglove family through its recent generations. It was also here that I succumbed to an overwhelming hatred caused by the lingering haunts, and struck one of our own from behind. I was briefly overcome with rage and swung my sword wildly against the closest female. My attack on Moxie shamed me more than any event in my life. I strive to be strong and set an example for others to follow in the spirit of Iomedae, and I am deeply concerned about the weakness I showed here.

As I regained my senses, I fell to my knees, barely aware that Moxie had stabbed me in well-deserved retribution. I begged for her forgiveness. The hurt from my betrayal that showed in her eyes was the worst feeling I have had. It took me a minute to calm and assure her that I would never choose to do such a thing. Eventually, she allowed me to heal her wounds, although she is still rightfully uncomfortable in my presence.

This incident only fueled my resolve to level this place after our investigation.

Farther on in the house, we discovered another foul undead creature. Xandu convinced me to allow it to pass unharmed as it was a revenant set on destroying Foxglove himself. We followed the female aberration downstairs and then on into the basement as it tore its way through the wooden floor to gain access to the lower levels. The hole in the floor was deep enough that it required us to use a rope to descend. This slowed our progress and allowed the revenant to gain a large lead as we straggled along in pursuit, spread out in a long line behind the creature.

Xandu and Ramad were the first in line ahead of us, and ran into problems with more ghouls and a patch of poisonous mold that sickened Xandu. As I ran to engage the ghouls in combat, I heard a scream and the sound of battle from behind me. I turned quickly and headed back after dropping the last ghoul, only to find the stragglers fighting a vile winged creature that seemed to be a mixture of bat and demon. With the help of the others, we killed the giant bat and paused briefly to assess our situation.


Rikert Krupt, Paladin of Iomedae

Following the battle at the Hambley farm, we regrouped and then set out to destroy any additional ghouls in the fields, being careful not to accidentally kill any surviving humans in the process. We also burned the filth that was left in the barn to avoid the spread of disease or worse from the rotting remnants of the bodies.

During our efforts to cleanse the fields, we found one survivor who turned out to be the husband of the woman who was inadvertently killed by Moxie. We cut him down, healed him as best as possible, and then told him the truth about what had happened to his wife. We offered our services to help return her body to their farm, and bury her properly.

We then brought him with us back to Sandpoint so he would be safe while he healed and recovered from the wounds and traumatic experience.

On the way back to town, we discussed current events and I brought up the topic of the local Sheriff. I am concerned that we have been letting him in on too many aspects of our investigation, without knowing much about him or his allegiances. Although he has not shown any outward signs of being involved directly with the events in town, we have decided to use more caution before telling him everything about our plans in the future.

After finding the farmer a room in town and making sure he was comfortable and his expenses were covered, we headed out on the road to the Foxglove manor. The house is referred to as the "Misgivings" for a reason. It is a crumbling ruin set on the edge of a cliff overlooking the water far below.

We entered through one of the main sets of doors at the front of the house and proceeded to investigate the first floor. The entrance area was filled with hunting trophies and the stuffed bodies of several creatures, including a large, foul-looking winged creature with mismatched body parts. Several members of our party were frightened by the erie feeling of the house, and most of them seemed to be jumping from perceived threats in the shadows. Other than a report of a diseased rat in one of the rooms, I saw little evidence of any real threats. However, Xandu and Moxie both ventured briefly from the house, and returned quickly with a warning that there were thousands of (undead) crows perched everywhere outside of the manor.

We found stairs leading up and moved to investigate the second floor.

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