Useplanb's RotRL Game - Player Journals Included

Rise of the Runelords

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One hour to show time. First we eat. Then off to the basement to storm the castle. Hazah

We look forward to learning your fates. ^^;;

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Indeed! Tis that time of day! Thanks to all for your time and attention! Always nice to meet new people! Now I must away to help my new found friends and cover dear Frederich! (Smile, Curtsy, Wave!)

@ Noble Harm...HA HA! Made you post!

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From the diary of Kori'el Shalani, 2 Abadius:

Dear Diary,
The day has finally come to meet the group of heroes that Calypso has been nagging me to join. As you know, I've been following this mercenary group called the Storm Guard who've been cutting a swath through Varisia for the last couple of months. Calypso has so far refused to enlighten me as to why he wants us to join them, and while his counsel sometimes seems strange, he always turns out to have a good reason in the end. What more can you expect from a sword?

The group had vanished again, just as the company I was traveling with was nearing the Storval Stairs, and Calypso said that we had to return to Magnimar right away. Once there, I met an old scholar at the Stone of the Seer, who needed someone to carry a message for him to a certain Feiderich B., a member of the Storm Guard who had been researching the Rimeskull mountain just yesterday. He gave me his letter along with detailed directions to reach the mountain and cast a spell on me that I'm not familiar with. Long story short (too late), I arrived at a circle of standing stones below a grim spike of mountain with a skull carved into its face, the mouth a gaping cave entrance. There were copious blood spatters on the ground about, and the only clear path (with the occasional crimson splatter to lead the way) led up a giant-sized staircase to the cave entrance.

The stairs were guarded by two large elementals, but they were easy to evade. Inside was a long tunnel, and an icy fog followed by a long slide to a precipitous drop. It was a good thing that I had elected to fly the tunnel (I'm not terribly quiet walking, and Calypso warned me to try and be stealthy), and so avoided the trap. Along a winding ramp, I heard an ominous flapping, and far below me a white dragon (!) emerged from a tunnel and lay on the floor of the cavern.

There was some sort of strange portal magic going on down there, and this dragon didn't seem to like it one bit, as it kept directing its breath weapon into the portal opening. Before long it seemed to come to a decision, and entered the portal. While tempted by the dragon horde on the cavern floor, I resisted as I waited what seemed to be a prudent interval, and followed the dragon in.

No sooner had I gotten through than the magic keeping the portal open failed, and it snapped shut. I found myself in a corridor with a disgruntled dragon ahead of me; it was squeezing and scraping along, but didn't seem aware of my presence. Eventually it emerged into a large circular chamber with seven large statues; the dragon smashed one, apparently out of spite, then chose a different corridor and crawled away.

As I was taking in the awesome chamber in which I found myself, a spearhead laid itself gently on my shoulder, and the bearer asked me to identify myself. I did so, and indicated that I had come a long way to deliver a message to Freiderich B. of the Storm Guard; but that we should give some thought to leaving this chamber in case the dragon decided to return. The fellow introduced himself as Sheldor, also of the Storm Guard, and we went to find his companions, thankfully in a direction other than the dragon had taken...

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I did what? To who? Where's Simon....what happened!!!? A weight hung heavy in my heart, and a force squeezed the breath from my lungs! I had no ability to control my sorrow at the news of our loss, and the depth of the troupes sacrifice! The tears flowed uncontrollably. My shame was no longer a matter of vanity. There would be no respite by way of an emotional shut down, ONLY PAIN!! There would be no closure, no caring or final moment and no way to commemorate their memory...WHERE ARE THEY???

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We were on the verge of TPK. Our small plan fell apart at its start. Xanadu couldn't get close enough to Moxie so he started talking. Rikert also started talking. Not knowing who were allies or foes Xandu decided to explain that they were here to make weapons to fight Karzog.

The short version so you can rest well is that we regained Moxie and Friedrich but lost Lynn as he agreed to spend some "alone" time with De. She wanted Xandu but he just couldn't soil himself especially with Moxie present he would have died fighting first. That's when Lynn volunterred his services. The Palidan is still pissed.

The write ups should be interesting to say the least.

Ah, the Diplomatic approach! Well-played, players! I hadn't even thought of that angle.

Players never cease to amaze me with their ingenious solutions to seemingly-intractable problems!

Sorry for your losses, noble team, but you fight on to deliver the final blow to Karzoug!


For what it's worth, up until that point in our campaign we had one party death and the only near-TPK was the ridiculous goblin dog fight at Thistletop. That tent caused a second party death and a near-TPK for my group as well; the bard teleported them out just as the sorcerer went down so it was a "nick of time near-TPK" for us as well.

Grand Lodge

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So we began last evening with the group pulling back from directly entering into H7. From there they began preparations to enter.

For my part Delvahine could sense the party coming with her Detect Good that is constantly up. With that she could sense the Angel which she could do nothing to. The angel being Rikert with Greater Angelic Aspect up. This is a curious spell as it makes Magic Circle vs Evil and Protection from Evil a 20' radius spell with all those within that aura immune to everything Delvahine could do. As a GM I had to make a call that until she was forced into the bubble of that spell range she could do nothing in terms of Dominate or attack. Same with her only remaining daughter and the Shining Children. Granted they could do ranged attacks but really their hands were tied. As the Dominated members eventually entered into this Aura they were given new saves to resist the Dominate but both failed to beat her DC.

A little trickery and spells had most of the group using Invisibility and Greater Invisibility to choose when they were going to attack. At this point I was having Delvahine trying to buy time by talking with the group hoping the spell would end and she could attack. I essentially had her talking about how they could just put down their weapons and they could talk in private and feel her "love" because in the end, thats all anybody wants is to be loved.

It was around this time that Xandu made the comment about trying to make weapons in the runeforge to defeat Karzoug that made Delvahine see her way out. She remembered that Sorsha opposed Karzoug and if Karzoug was alive then Sorsha might also be alive. If she returned and Delvahine hadn't assisted in destroying Karzoug she might be punished.

Im not going to type up everything said, mostly because I cant remember it all and Im lazy, but the gist of giving the party some of her "toys" would get them to leave. In the end she wanted to "love someone up" which was refused so as she was musing the idea of the jewelry and magic they said "we also want our dominated friends back." So she said that for the "toys" she wanted 8k in jewelry or magic as she was a refined lady. For their friends she wanted Xandu to go with her into her chambers. Xandu refused but Lynn offered himself in his stead. Charisma wise he has a low stat, but he played that as a pretty boy who was tactless and blunt. So Delvahine thought about it and made the comment that he was like a pretty piece of wood that had never been sanded smooth, but agreed.

So she took off with Lynn and I rolled the 2d4 minutes they were going to play in front of the group and rolled an 8, which guaranteed that Lynn was dead. That being said it worked out because the player in question was needing a break from gaming and wanted out. Hes been enjoying the game but real life was pulling him in multiple directions and he needed some time away.

With the deed done, Delvahine gave the group some of the toys (which I initially thought was the Shining Child, until I found the stupid sentence this morning telling me I had my head stuck up my rear) and let them leave. She kept Lynns body and wouldn't let them have him back as she wanted to savor his face until rot set in. She released Moxie and Friedrich giving each in turn a mirthful goodbye which was equally creepy and sad all at once. (Lot of fun RP there.) The group then left the tent and found Sheldor, who was absent from the evening because of real life issues, and a young woman running back into the chamber.

The new person was the new character replacing Simon. She had been trying to catch up to the group and had arrived after they had already entered into the portal. She found the blood near the head stones on the plateau, followed the stairs up into the cave mouth, bypassed the earth elementals and descended into the cave. From there she witnessed the dragon emerging from one of the side passages healed up from all the potions he had drank up and watched it lay on its gold looking into the portal. Occasionally it would breathe into the portal before curiosity got the better of him and he moved through the portal. Waiting for a while she followed down and entered into the portal herself. No sooner had she entered than the portal closed. From here she followed the sounds of the dragon as he moved down the hall into the runeforge itself where she saw the dragon knock over and destroy (random roll) the statue of Zutha and wander into that passage looking for the party. So using Sheldor as a narrative NPC he found her when he came to investigate the sounds coming from the runeforge central chamber and the fact that his "snow sense" was kicking off. Since Sheldor is an elf from the snowy north, I decided he could sense the dragon as it entered into the runeforge and went to investigate. This then introduced the new character to the party and worked out okay as there is some small history between the new character and Friedrich.

In the end there is a lot of internal reflection and mental scarring on the party and it should add to the roleplay throughout the runeforge and possible beyond. We will have to see how that all plays out. The player journals should reflect this. :)

Awesomely done! Yeah, the Shining Children are a LOT deadlier than they sound -- if both of them focus their 10d6 ranged touch on a PC that 20d6 drops people fast, and they can spam their other special ability as a free action every single round, rendering most groups helpless very quickly. They were the reason I feared a TPK; the two of them alone wreaked havoc on my 4-person party, so them plus Delvahine plus two alu demons sounded overwhelming.

I love the way you played it, though. While the Shining Children would have likely torn the party to shreds, Delvahine would have fallen. So in pure self-interest she negotiated. Makes absolute sense. She was more generous with your group -- with my group they negotiated first, got only ONE toy (but didn't sacrifice a PC to her), and that (plus the prisoner) made them leave, regroup, and attack after they thought they knew the full landscape. And they still nearly lost!

Wow. Epic roleplaying moments all around! Good job, troupe!

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The Day of Dreams

…The half-blood orc stumbled back around the corner oozing a trail. This is when Frederich downed one his elixirs and resigned from sight. With no target in the entry and unable to account for Frederich I left him to his devices and decided it was time to relocate. Doubting I had been spotted, I knew my position would be discerned by the half- blood orc as he did not advance down the hall enough to be able to take in the fullness of the boudoir thereby limiting the potential concealment options for his assailant...ME! In an attempt to mislead the attackers I took my spear and placed it in my location with the blunt end barely exposed. I collected my gear and scampered to my secondary redoubt. I masterfully and comfortably positioned myself among the mussed bedding, pillows, on the bed with the corpse of my ladies daughter and awaited the next attack. I heard my Lady speaking an arcane incantation and was amazed at the arrival of two brilliantly illuminated creatures. They were difficult to behold for an extended period and I heard my Lady whisper to me form the world of the unseen, “Little one, you should avert your eyes if they start to speak.” “Yes m’Lady!” I replied with a smile. The room was filled with an arcane charge unlike any I had yet to experience. The intensity sparked from the glittering incense smoke, across the metallic bed frames and made the pillows and bedding ripple on occasion. The power coalescing in this pavilion gave me the tingles and a profound case of goose bumps with every surge.

Then came the interlopers. First into the chamber was a brightly dressed Varisian, half-blood elf, presumably a wizardly type of some fashion. I let him pass to see what other opportunities I would be given. Just them a conflagration erupted in the unseen near the entrance of the room only visible from the vermillion spray covering the corner and dripping in our direction…but who was it? Frederich…or not? Then came a winged, armored, angel and the formerly stupefied half-blood orc. I steadied on the wizard as pleasantries began to exchange. Then the wizard called out my name. PFPFPT! I wasn’t falling for that!! As the wizard advanced I noticed the bright one closest to me begin to move and closed my eyes. A bright flash was apparent and when I opened them the wizard was gone…(Giggle-snicker!) I thought to myself, that was impressive, DO IT AGAIN! As the banter became increasingly tense, I slowly pulled my goggles over my eyes when a more worse for wear version of the same wizard appeared and took a pillowed seat painfully close to my perch. The tenor of the conversation quickly changed as I placed Annie’s sight on the magnified right eye of the wizard. As I began to depress Annie’s hammer into the locked position I felt my ladies hand on my shoulder and the whisper in my mind “Wait Just a moment Little One.” I relaxed and waited for hostility to resume. I quickly grew impatient with the blah-blah “WEAPONS”, and blah-blah “KARZOG” and decided to accelerate the negotiations. I quietly whispered the words of making and manipulated the ”poorly hidden” butt of my spear so that it appeared to take aim at the angel. Shortly thereafter I pushed a pillow from the same bed.

The discussion continued and a disagreement of payment seemed to derail the point so I once again took control of my wind, calmed my emotions and targeted the wizards brow at the eye line. Frederich appeared and sowed much confusion amongst them…OUTSTANDING!! I began to apply pressure to the trigger when my Lady cried foul and pressed the issue of compliance. At which yet another entity appeared and offered to make good on her deal. Suddenly all tensions were diffused and the Lady escorted the tall elf to her private chamber with her barbed whip coiled about his neck. She bad Frederich and I guard the entrance to her sanctum while she was busy. Much pleasure was heard, albeit for a short amount of time. The tryst ended with a painful grunt and a muffled yet audible grinding pop. The silk curtain pulled open and I felt the caress of my Ladies hand along my shoulder and in my hair. I closed my eyes and leaned my head into her loving touch. She spoke kindly to me saying “Thank you Little One. You are free.”…


….(Blink, Blink) Before me stood…. the wizzz-Xandu, bathed in a corona of white light. Behind him and to the right was the harlot I had thumped in the forehead…strangely uninterested in exacting revenge? And to my immediate right I saw the back side of a vaguely familiar naked woman, dewy and sublime, seductively fondling Frederich from behind and whispering in his ear…disturbing, yet fetching, she turned from him and smiled, warming my heart as she walked by on her way to her “throne.” Her front was a freshly bloodied mess, which frightened me, but she was still smiling and non-combative!?! Where are we? What is going on?? As we began to move about the room it became obvious the light filling the room was not coming from Xandu but some creepy looking, other worldly being that “naturally” emitted extremely bright light. I felt uneasy, disoriented…PUKEY! Frederich and Xandu escorted me quickly from the room with a careful eye to our Hosts. (!?!?)We past a scorched area in a short hall on our way out…the scorch was of a familiar type, the hall started to look familiar. As we entered a room filled with giant’s corpses I began to recall the silk pavilion, and the enormous ornately columned room. We were leaving…were we successful? As we left more of the troupe were found holding the way out open. We were making quick time in our exit but Lynn, Rikert, Brisket and Sheldor were absent. I began to search for them as we left the chamber and asked Frederich what had happened and where the others were? He looked nearly as confused as me! As we exited to the Rune Forge we gained a dour Rikert, and Sheldor with an unknown woman who impressed upon the troupe that the dragon we had followed had entered the Forge. It was quickly agreed upon to rest and hide from the dragon in a safe place as our portal had closed. Well isn’t she just full of good news! First the dragon and now we are left to find our own way out…SHINY!! Who is she!?!

Once securely ensconced in our safe room, I demanded to know what was going on and what had happened. As the events unfolded I found myself squeezed by the walls, and everyone’s averted eyes. The loss was profound and worsened by the fact that Lynn could not be reclaimed for peaceful repose and that the remains of Simon would be unfit for viewing. I would likely have no remembrances of them. For this and many other reasons I crawled my way to solitude and released the pain from the loss of a proven leader and another of the original members of our troupe. My heart was as if clutched in someone’s mailed fist. My stummy was foul and sour. I struggled to breathe in anything but short gasps. Much too much had been lost. I struggled to find my faith. That too became a point of shame. When settled from the mournful release I attempted an old hymn to Shelyn, taught by my Grandmother. I sat staring at the floor, tears rolling from my eyes quietly singing to myself as best as my jerked breaths would allow. Then I rolled into my blanket and slept so that I might find my lost friends in my dreams.

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OK. I am *very* loathe to post technical notes in another GM's journal, but Useplanb gave me the OK because this is one that our group had great fits about.

There are two types of extraplanar creatures: "Summoned" as from Summon Monster spells, and "Called" as from Planar Binding spells.
The threads are awash with discussions of the differences: When killed summoned creatures return to their planes; called creatures are permanently dead. Etc. Etc. Etc.

According to our research, "Called" creatures are not under the same restrictions from a Protection from Evil spell -- they can enter a Magic Circle Against Evil, and they can use natural weapons against Protected characters. So neither Delvahine nor the Shining Children should have been held at bay by the circle.

But it added magnificent flavor and it doesn't have lasting repercussions, since Delvahine would almost certainly have negotiated in the described situation no matter what. Paladins kill demons. Fast.

So the only reason I'm posting is that (*gasp*) Delvahine isn't the last demon or devil you'll encounter in the campaign, so the power of the Magic Circle is something that should be at least discussed. (Honestly, we had to make the decision for our Carrion Crown campaign, where it was far more significant.)

Thanks for letting me ramble, as always!

Scarab Sages

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From the Diary of Kori’el Shalani, 3 Abadius (?)

Dear Diary-

Can this be the same company that I’ve followed from Turtleback Ferry? The fearless, flamboyant group that all the witnesses I’ve spoken with said would face any challenge, any odds with a backhanded joke and a sardonic grin? The people that I see here, holed up in this dreary tunnel protected by a nothing but a damaged Rod of Cancellation seem almost completely broken. The little gnome woman, Moxie, speaks seldom and although her voice has not a quiver, the tears have not stopped rolling down her cheeks. Freiderich, the alchemist, seems lost in his concoctions, but his eyes are haunted. Davok, the half-orc ranger and Sheldor the druid seem stoic, but their lips are set in grim lines that no one has described to me as being there before. The paladin, Rikert, kneels facing a corner and refuses speak at all while Xandu, the irrepressible Varisian priest, whose smile and banter everyone in Sandpoint and Turtleback Ferry recalled to me, mumbles his prayers to Desna with an expression so full of pain that I have never seen its like. Their loss is palpable, and Calypso warns me not to judge them.

I study my spell book and try to prepare for what lies ahead, while Calypso looks over my metaphorical shoulder and makes suggestions. I’m trying not to speak to him aloud, but I can tell from Freiderich’s curious glances that I’m mostly failing. There will be no getaway spells tomorrow; I must be brave, and face whatever enemies await us alongside the paladin in his shining armor, and try to fill the shoes that I find myself in.

Do they know the ritual of my homeland for fallen companions? Perhaps I should teach it to them, for though there is nothing of Lynn to remember, we have all that Simon had still with us. They will be sorting through his gear soon, and that would be the proper time. I will pick up his silver dagger and proclaim, “I was a friend of Simon Roque. Though I never met him, I heard of how he stood alone against the dragon in Sandpoint. I hope that when my time comes, I have the courage to do the same.” Maybe they’ll take the hint. I hope so.


Kori'el wrote:

From the Diary of Kori’el Shalani, 3 Abadius (?)

Dear Diary-

Can this be the same company that I’ve followed from Turtleback Ferry? The fearless, flamboyant group that all the witnesses I’ve spoken with said would face any challenge, any odds with a backhanded joke and a sardonic grin? The people that I see here, holed up in this dreary tunnel protected by a nothing but a damaged Rod of Cancellation seem almost completely broken. The little gnome woman, Moxie, speaks seldom and although her voice has not a quiver, the tears have not stopped rolling down her cheeks. Freiderich, the alchemist, seems lost in his concoctions, but his eyes are haunted. Davok, the half-orc ranger and Sheldor the druid seem stoic, but their lips are set in grim lines that no one has described to me as being there before. The paladin, Rikert, kneels facing a corner and refuses speak at all while Xandu, the irrepressible Varisian priest, whose smile and banter everyone in Sandpoint and Turtleback Ferry recalled to me, mumbles his prayers to Desna with an expression so full of pain that I have never seen its like. Their loss is palpable, and Calypso warns me not to judge them.

I study my spell book and try to prepare for what lies ahead, while Calypso looks over my metaphorical shoulder and makes suggestions. I’m trying not to speak to him aloud, but I can tell from Freiderich’s curious glances that I’m mostly failing. There will be no getaway spells tomorrow; I must be brave, and face whatever enemies await us alongside the paladin in his shining armor, and try to fill the shoes that I find myself in.

Do they know the ritual of my homeland for fallen companions? Perhaps I should teach it to them, for though there is nothing of Lynn to remember, we have all that Simon had still with us. They will be sorting through his gear soon, and that would be the proper time. I will pick up his silver dagger and proclaim, “I was a friend of Simon Roque. Though I never met him, I heard of how he stood alone against the dragon in Sandpoint. I hope that when my time comes, I have the courage to do the same.” Maybe they’ll take the hint. I hope so.

Direct quote to my wife: "OK. Wow. Just... wow." Then sent her the link.

It will be most... interesting to see how my group eventually deals with this. They're powerhouses with (rolled) stats that are high enough that I'm just blanket-giving everyone the Advanced Template to compete. And I gave them Mythic Tiers to boot! (Though I'm not giving them the stat increases for the even Tiers.)

I'm not quite sure what to do with the crew in the Runeforge. While it seems obvious just to give a lot of the boss-encounters Mythic ranks/tiers, I don't know if it would make sense for these people to still be trapped in the Runeforge in that case. I could always just do several class levels instead (and Advanced Template)...

Still I must admit I was surprised by how lethal this was. Two down already. And there is worse to come. Significantly worse.

(By the way, Moxie, I think you have new competition for awesome post-writing...)

P.S. - What are the levels and classes of the survivors, might I ask?

Xandu 13 Cleric
Sheldor 13 Druid
Rikert 13 Paladin
Davok 13 Ranger
Gr-Annie 13 Witch
Frederich 13 Alchemist
Moxie 7GunSlinger/6Rogue
Kori'el 13 Magus-Alternate

...I think

Scarab Sages

Kori'el, Bladebound Magus, 13th, though she's not technically a survivor yet. In case it wasn't obvious, Calypso is her black blade.

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Rikert Krupt – Paladin of Iomedae

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


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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Incapable of sleep and wrapped in my bedroll, with the wound still open screaming in pain, I knelt at Simon’s side. For what it was worth I did my best to prepare him for his final journey as every fallen troupe member had been afforded prior with a minor affect and quietly sang the hymn of passing. I prayed to Shelyn for his safe passage to the mead halls of paradise that he espoused. Pausing to collect my bearing I also prayed for the salvation and safe passage of Lynn and for a peaceful arrival to his final destination. I asked for an increased measure of love, grace and tranquility for each of them for their selfless sacrifice and devotion. Finally I reached into Simon’s haversack, removed his bar of soap, and perpetual torch. I stood beside his form, raised the torch and said…”I too was a friend of Simon Roque. I am honored to have called him my troupe mate and proudly testify to the valor of his actions in our noble cause.”……” Be at peace my Brother….my Brisket!”

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Xandu’s Journal Entry:

Wow, where to start? I went back to Magnimar and retrieved Friedrich but there was no sign of the woman that Desna had told me about so reluctantly I returned with only Friedrich. We spent a while in the Jorgunfist Library studying. Then back to Magnimar to sell our goods and buy new ones. From there we traveled back to Sandpoint. It was good to see that the giants we had left there remained. Unfortunately there was a sink hole that had appeared and we found more clues to the Thessalonian connection we were investigating. From Sandpoint we traveled to a place we believed would lead us to the Rune Forge so that we could make or forge weapons to fight the Rune Lords in particular Karzoug. We needed to travel to a mountain with a face on it and Simon had a map that seamed to show just the spot. No one wanted me to just teleport us there so I gave them the option of Wind walking, a spell Hanna had introduced me to in one of my dream visitations. The troupe all agreed and away we went. Hanna’s instruction has been very useful. My nightly prayers and meetings with her have become necessary in my growth in Desna’s power.

My bond with her is making me feel closer to Desna and farther from my troupe. Even though she says it is just the opposite. I often have found myself getting through the night just so I can meet with Hanna early in the morning. Our time together has stretched on ‘til dawn on occasion. That is very rare but it did happen once when I was in Sandpoint. Even Hanna was a bit surprised at the length of time that had past. There are many people that I know that I love and trust but there are some that also confuse the dickens out of me.

Hanna is one but not the first. If I was to be honest Ameiko is the first. She makes me feel so welcome and uncomfortable at the same time. I think she was my first crush of Sandpoint. That being said, the next is the little gnome, Moxie, who joined forces with a group of misfits that I found myself apart of. Both continue to muddle my brain when ever I’m around them. Strangely enough when in the Rusty Dragon performing I forget all about Ameiko and my focus is strictly on Moxie and the crowd. Okay Moxie first the crowd is secondary. When I perform well and Moxie dances and sings I have never felt that kind of connectedness with anyone. It reminds me of my caravan days but stronger. Funny, those days were not that long ago.

And no, I’m not without experience, I’ve had female friends, girl friends even intimate ones, lovers. I thought I might try and establish one with Ameiko when I was then distracted by my feelings for Moxie. But although she shows interest she is also aloof and standoffish. Ameiko seems content with staying in Sandpoint. That is so appealing to me because I’d love a place to call “Home”, raise kids. I want so much to be part of a real family. I think that maybe Moxie would like to settle down some time and maybe even in Sandpoint. The thing with Moxie is how she shines when she’s part of the “our” troupe. I could never deny her of that joy. There are so many facets to her that I doubt my ability to facilitate them all. Though I’d love the opportunity to try. So I find myself thus…..

I enjoy the warm friendliness of Ameiko and leave it at that. I absolutely enjoy the radiance of Moxie both when she’s performing before a crowd and when she’s just being the Moxie that lets kept bunnies free in the dead of the night. She melts my heart by smiling at me. From the twinkle in her eye the dimple of her chin. She captivates me. Just to be in her presence, I am happy.

This brings me to where I find myself now. A third wonderful woman has entered my thoughts. I haven’t even acted on the first one and now I have a third woman invading my conciseness. Yeah, I know it is way out there and believe you me it caught me totally off guard. I truly find Desna’s guide for me, her tutor for training me in using her power, has totally taken over my world. I want to please her, I want her to like me. I want to do well when I try the new spells that she teaches me in my morning prayers. I’ve even prayed to Desna about all of this and she just laughs and gives me no advice at all. It’s like she doesn’t care that I find Hanna attractive to the point of distraction. She doesn’t seam to care that I my love someone here where I live on the material plain and someone that might just be an illusion in my dreams. Desna is absolutely no help in this matter at all. She’s the one that is supposed to be on my side. I blame my human side for all these feelings. The sensible elf side would have no trouble at all just picking one and moving on with that choice. So I blame this on my humanity.

So by now you can figure out where my head has been. Not at all with the task at hand.

It’s winter and it’s cold and we made our way north of Sandpoint and into the mountains. Simon had a map that showed a face in the mountain region and Friedrich had told us of a mountain with a face carved into it that would lead us into the Rune Forge. We found a flat hill with seven standing stones in a circle at the base of the mountain with a face. Stairs went up from the plateau up to the mouth of the face, an entrance into the mountain. Each with an open mouth. We guessed that by casting the apropos spell at a stone it would produce a key. The unfortunate part of this is that the stone let out a scream each time it was made to produce a key. We no sooner collected most of the key if not all of them, than a dragon attacked the party. Yours truly was part of it’s first breathe and pass. My endure elements did nothing to stop the cold that came from the dragons mouth. And I took damage.

Without thought I raced to my troupe mates to heal them, move them, help them in any way I could. Then I thought, it would be wise to just make a run for the entrance since we had all the keys so I yelled at the troupe to fly above the stairs to the mouth of the mountain. The face had been carved and its mouth was the entrance. Away I flew deep into the cave until I could no longer see and even a little past that. I waited, it shouldn’t take the troupe long to catch up because we all can travel at the same speed when flying. It wasn’t until I heard something very large suddenly appear some distance beyond me in the dark. Meaning I heard something “blip” in and continue farther into the cave. The troupe arrived shortly after and said that the dragon had blipped OUT and I said that he had blipped In shortly before so lets be careful.

Down and down we went. Simon tried sliding to his death but stopped just shy of it. He wasn’t even worried, woo hooing all the way, because he had a plan. Yeah, well, he could of told us that instead of us worrying about him. At the edge, Lynn and Rikert helped Simon over to the walking path and we took the long way around and to the bottom. There were seven standing stones around an eighth . There was also a pile of treasure. Probably the dragons that was here some where mending his wounds. With Friedrich’s assistance we used our keys to activate the center stone. It turned into a gate or portal to the Rune Forge we hoped.

We came out in a huge chamber with twenty foot statures of the seven Rune Lords and in the center was what Friedrich said was the Rune Well, the place we’d make the weapons. I am not sure how that can be possible. I know how to craft arms and armor and a glowing pool isn’t usually part of the process. Friedrich assures me that this is in fact where we will need to place the ingredients to form our new weapons. He just hasn’t figured out what ingredients we need or where we will find them. He says he has an idea but is not sure yet he’ll think about it and get back with me. Okay?!!?

We chose a corridor to be the first and a plan as to which one was next in line, in case of trouble we would not move randomly about this place should we get separated. The first passage seamed short enough but as we stepped in, a loud voice sounded saying to us, we weren’t worthy and would parish. Simon actually said he felt unwelcome but he was the only one to mention an effect from what ever that warning was. The passage opened into a partially collapsed chamber, a battle took place here and even though every place these Thessalonians build has a lasting and preserving power I don’t think this battle happened thousands of years ago I think it was much more recent. In the middle of the room crackled a rod stuck into the ground. Electricity arced off of it. Most went around it but I wanted to touch it so I did and nothing, the hair stood up on my arms but that was about it. I tied to move the rod but it was stuck solid so I moved on passed.

Friedrich wanted a closer look at the rod and about that time Lynn said “Watch out!” and the rod pulsed. I felt an energy pass through me. I was aglow with Desna’s power feeding several spells I had going They all continued so I paid it no attention. Others started cursing (Simon), he was sure that it was us that set off the rod but Friedrich and Lynn said it would continue it’s pulse for some time if not forever. They were quite amazed at it. That was nothing compared to what we found next. A silvery pool. Friedrich couldn’t get his flasks out fast enough, filling them with the silvery substance, he explained that it was an ingredient we would need and he wanted to get as much as he could because he wasn’t sure how much was needed. Great! I think he’s making this up as he goes. Actually it’s good to see him so excited about something. He is much more animated now that he’s here in this place. Like a kid in a candy shop. And he wants it all. We all waited while our happy alchemist gathered the stuff of wonder.

After he had collected it all, we went back to cross the main chamber, we waited for the pulse then ran to the other side to explore another corridor. All we really found was a kind of ooze. It attacked Davok and Simon. I tried helping with fighting it with little or no result. I think Simon rolled his eyes as I attempted to stick it with my spear. He called me an idiot for trying but who was the one all gooey and stuck so really, who’s the idiot? Davok had found a hidden panel and that is why they had entered into the goo in the first place. After Friedrich killed the ooze the Davok opened the panel and through a lever as far as we know nothing happened. We then moved back to the main chamber. The next chamber we entered, Friedrich said belonged to the Rune Lord Sorshen “Lust” is the sin she was tied to.

Her chamber was immense and colorful and vibrant. The scenes on the ceiling were questionable and provocative. Naked statues, of Sorshen I guess, held up the ceiling. There were cages along it’s outer walls and a huge pavilion in the middle that was made of silk. I hate to admit it but as I looked at the ceiling I couldn’t help but think of Ameiko, Moxie and Hanna. Simon had an approving look as he looked at them and then there were four naked flying female creatures taunting us and making lewd gestures, pouting when we refused them. They were demonic in appearance but still quite lovely. Except Rikert, no one paid them much attention. They were flying out of reach and weren’t really bothering us but Rikert flew up to engage one in a fight. The rest came to the aid of the one Rikert was fighting. Everything happened so fast it is going to be hard to tell the tale without leaving something out so bare with me. Simon, Davok, Friedrich and Rikert maybe Moxie and Lynn as well. Were just ripping the flying ladies apart. All that they had done was to taunt us, Simon has done worse to any multitude of people including us. So I tried to hop up to one and keep her safe but she refused and dimension doored away.

I found out that they really didn’t like the paladin, Rikert was torn up by them, all attacking at the same time like they did. I took out a wand and was healing him when Lynn yelled out that there were giants. Davok braced himself and smiled, notching an arrow to his bow. Lynn was at the huge pavilion and through the door (a curtain not really a door) I saw Lynn being splattered to the floor by giants with huge clubs so I ran. Simon was screaming at me not to get in front but that is where Lynn lie dieing so I dimensional hopped to him and back out allowing Desna’s power to flow out of me to all the troupe and especially Lynn. Then I concentrated Desna’s power to revive just Lynn. I’m going to take just a moment here to explain all I saw in the first room of this pavilion. Colorful silks and soft pillows were every where. Had it not been for the giants and all that followed I would have loved to stay here a while.

It seems that every time I stop to heal one of our troupe, bad things happen elsewhere. Here I am healing Lynn when Simon, Davok and Rikert go racing off into the next room. Not one to be left behind Friedrich disappears, I have no idea where he went. Now Rikert and Simon are arguing about tactics and the like, the same banter as in all our battles. Who did more, who pissed their pants, etc, etc. It just stopped Simon was in the middle of calling Rikert a long line of names when he just went silent. Davok, who is at least usually laughing at them, was also missing from the banter and Rikert’s voice goes from normal horse play to something different it had been replaced by awe or dismay. He called for a halt and as I came running to them I could only see Davok, hands covered in blood holding his stomach together. He was saying that Friedrich had exploded Simon to dust and ash and that he thought the little one (Moxie) had gutted him (Davok) after he had shot Friedrich with an arrow. Davok is difficult to understand at times, his speech is, let’s say, rudimentary at best. I think I know what he said but did I really? I was looking for Simon as I reached Davok. Davok said stinky not right, Simon dead, lit’l sneaky bad, stinky blowed up Simon with sparks, lit’l sneaky shot me, is all I got from my big green friend. Rikert told me not to enter the hall as I ran past him to reach Davok. It was all I could do to get to Davok, I couldn’t have gone any farther if I wanted. There was no sign of Simon, not even yelling or rather cursing. Davok had to be wrong, Simon was just around the corner waiting for me to heal him. Rikert was furious he wanted to regroup but Lynn couldn’t make it to us. GrAnnie for some reason, only known to her, stayed behind and then cut of the path for Lynn to follow us. Everyone is acting strange here. Rikert told Davok and I to stay close to him as we moved down the hall and into the next room. He said he had an aura that would protect us.

I think I healed Davok afterwards I cast mislead, something new that Hanna had showed me, it created an illusion of myself and I turned invisible. Both my illusion and I moved down the hall but in different spots. I was staying within the protective aura of Rikert. Rikert, Davok and I moved in the hall towards a large bed chamber, as we did I searched the room for Friedrich and/or Moxie. Rikert and I had a feeling that they were under some spell that would make them attack their own troupe. Moxie has fallen under such spells before, come to think of it we all have at one time or another, even Rikert. Now I know there is no blame for them but I have to get her and Friedrich out of here before someone is killed. I moved down the hall and pain like a punch to the gut hit me. It was a sword slice from another invisible adversary. I stumbled forward. I couldn’t see who had just sliced me open but I could see the lady I had tried to save in the Great Room, she was standing against the far wall on my left. My illusion continued into the room. As Rikert and Davok came into the room a creature of light or flame emerged at the far wall and it opened its mouth and a blinding flash or ray of light struck my illusion and I let it go. That would have hurt if it hit me. Then a voice from somewhere in the room spoke to us. I still hadn’t found Moxie or Friedrich so I engaged it in conversation.

It (She) complained about how we had come in fighting and all she wanted for us was “Love” yeah, right. I became visible and grabbed a pillow from the nearest bed and moved to the middle of the room and sat down on the pillow. I said “Ask her (pointing to the naked flying lady that had been in the great room) I tried to save her from harm but she refused and fled here.” The voice still had no body and a pillow flew from yet another bed. I was sitting in front of a throne but facing now two shining creatures plus the lady I tried to help. The voice was calling the flying lady her “Daughter” so that’s what I’ll refer to her as. The “Daughter” didn’t look as happy as she did in the great room, she looked scared. I wanted to get out of here but I hadn’t found Moxie or Friedrich. I panicked and said we had come here to make weapons to fight the Rune Lord Karzoug and not to fight with her (the voice). Rikert joined in on the negotiations. Then Friedrich became visible and the voice became angry but she some tense moments ( of which I didn’t know what was happening. Later found out that GrAnnie had claimed Friedrich’s body much like what Delvahine did.) Eventually all parties agreed to help thus we would learn how to make the weapons. A female with wings (probably a demon if I read Rikert’s face right) became visible sitting on the throne with Moxie and her daughter flanking her along with the two shining children. A price was agreed on and we would get our weapons. I then asked for the renewal of our friends, Moxie and Friedrich. That’s where the story goes south.

Delvahine whole heartily agreed to let Moxie and Friedrich go as long as I would bed her. I was at a loss. (Where is Simon when you need him, he would have jumped at the chance to bang some demon in order to free Moxie. Just so he could tease Moxie about it. I could hear it now. Hey Moxie remember the time I had to do that demon to save your sorry a$$ and what do I get in return not even a thank you. I could hear him as if he was right there in the room.) I couldn’t bed Delvahine. Moxie was right there. I had no intension of soiling myself not even if it meant Moxie’s freedom. She would never forgive me, not for that. I told Delvahine that the one that could have sated her had been killed already. I was ready for a fight, Moxie was in view, Friedrich close at hand, and I knew for sure that GrAnnie could fix them if I couldn’t.

I readied myself for a fight. Then Lynn spoke up. “I’ll do it” I’ll sleep with you to free our mates. Delvahine reluctantly agreed. I was in shock, Lynn?, the elf that never said boo or anything. Of the troupe Lynn had been with us from the beginning and I knew almost nothing about him. He kept to himself for the most part. Kind of like Davok. Not partaking in the festivities of the troupe. Why would Lynn do this? There was a lot of commotion, then Lynn said aloud “Are we going to do this or not?” Delvahine showed him to her boudoir. Moxie and Friedrich stood guard just outside the door. We could hear….well we heard. Delvahine came out moments later, blood everywhere, with a smile on her face. She released Moxie first then Friedrich. She went to her throne and sat. I asked for the remains of Lynn and was refused. (That’s not going to go over well) She waved us out and we left Rikert had already left by the time Davok and I had collected Simons remains. We headed out passed the dead giants, passed the cages and when we got to the corridor Sheldor and Rikert were talking to a woman. Friedrich vouched for her and we all headed to the chamber passed the rod for some needed rest and regroup. It seams that the dragon had followed us here and is lose.

It was a funeral precession as we entered the main chamber (a statue had been destroyed just moments ago, Zutha) Friedrich and Kori’el talked as we walked, heads together and in hushed tones. We all waited for the rod to pulse then moved into the chamber beyond to rest. Rikert hadn’t said a single thing not even when introduced to Kori’el. Sheldor kept a vigilant eye on the entrance along with Davok. Moxie fussed over Simon’s body. GrAnnie cackled in a corner. I set myself up to find out what all the rod may have ruined of my stuff and said prayers to Desna. I always find reason not to look at Moxie, she was a few feet from me fixing Simon the best she could, tears streaming down her face, snot running out of her nose, she was a mess and I felt helpless to do anything. Kori’el walked over to the pile of stuff that was Simons. Picked up a dagger and held it high. “ I was a friend of Simon Rogue. Though I never met him, I heard of how he stood alone against the dragon in Sandpoint. I hope that when my time comes, I have the courage to do the same.” She looked hopefully at Friedrich but it was Moxie who stood next. Moxie walked over to Simons stuff and produced a ever burning torch, raising it above her head she said “I too was a friend or Simon Rogue. I am honored to have called him my troupe mate and proudly testify to the valor of his actions in our noble cause.”

What was I going to do? I stood up and walked over to Friedrich and punched him in the arm. “That’s for probably killing Simon” I slapped his face. “That’s for probably stabbing me” Then I gave him a big 'ol bear hug. “That’s for coming back.” I released him gently and winked, I turned towards Moxie. The torch was at her side she no longer held it up. I walked over to her and she shied just a little as I got close, she closed her eyes I could see her body tense as she must of thought I’d hit her. I leaned into her holding her tightly in my arms and kissed her, then whispered that’s in case you ever shoot me you’ll know I already forgive you. Her eyes opened and I kissed her again. I gave her a giant bear hug too. I reached for Simons sword and held it high. “I was a friend and troupe mate of Simon Rogue and he not only believed in me but he believed in us. So I say we go back to that pleasure place and do what he never got a chance to, and Fark that b@$$@let.”

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Xandu’s Journal Entry:

After I said that, Rikert turned towards me with a smile and said “Not just yet but I agree with you she must and will be dealt with”. To that I said we need to retrieve Lynn’s body and remember he had “The” Scroll tube”. Everyone’s eyes widened. I was needing to rest and so I went to Moxie and asked her if she would watch over me while I prayed. Her tears had stopped and she made herself comfortable and I lay beside her with my head in her lap. She sang softly and stroked my hair.

The white tree, the stream…….Hanna.

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Xandu’s Journal Entry:

The void came quickly. The tree and the world around it came into view like a blinding light, then I blinked and I was there on the hill. I could hear the stream bubbling behind me. The soft white grass felt cool and a warm breeze blew my scarf and it smelled like summer. The stars shone brightly over head. Hanna was sitting against the tree reading. She closed the book and looked over to me. “A bit early aren’t you? Or is this just a visit because you missed me to much.” That accent, she could have said I have mud on my face and I’d just smile and nod cause I loved to hear her talk. She went on, “I’m teasing of course. I was watching you. I don’t always, you know, but today some things were all coming together. A pattern that has been weaving around the Storm Guard and it is coalescing.” Hanna put the book away, I don’t know where it went, it was there, then it wasn’t.

She stretched her arms out and above her head and arched her back. Then she planted her palms on the grass and her body rose up, palms and bare feet still on the grass, then she stretched up to the sky. Hands on her hips she slowly turned right then left, occasionally looking in my direction. She didn’t have the armor on that I’d seen before and was dressed like the first time I had met her. Fine white robes that still had patterns but the colors were muted now that she was touching the ground. I looked at my clothes, a bit battle worn, I should have fixed them first. I let out a sigh. “You were watching me? Can you do that? Can you see the others?” She laughed but it wasn’t a big laugh more of a giggle. “No.” she said “It doesn’t work quite like that but I do know that you were in trouble. I was even ready to come to your aid if you asked.”

“What? Oh, that” I knew what she meant. There was a way for me now to call upon Desna to send Hanna to my aid. I didn’t want to say that that might make me uncomfortable. Moxie and all. I let it be. “Hanna, do you know how to fight with a sword?” I asked. I had just come up with an idea and I wanted Hanna to teach me how to fight, like Simon. I told her my idea and she listened with a caring look and even approval it seemed but when I finished my explanation. She took me by my hands and explained that while that would be a most honorable reason to learn how to fight with a sword, that that wasn’t why I was placed into the Storm Guard. She said to me “A foot doesn’t become a hand when the hand is lost. Or a thumb become an eye when the eye is lost. It’s the same with the Storm Guard. When one of you falls you can’t replace them you have to just move on without them. Some one may fill in but never replace them. And then that person becomes a part. And that part is irreplaceable but you didn’t even realize it until they’ve shown up. Take Kori’el for instance Desna had her in mind a while back and even sent you to get her from Magnimar. You missed her then but still here she is and just when she’s needed. As for you, you are an irreplaceable part too. Now get back to your friends and figure out a way to get through this. I’m always here for you but so are your friends. So go but don’t forget to come back this morning. I will have missed you even more by then. Be yourself Xandu, always the humble servant that Desna loves, that we all love.“ She reached out and pulled off my hat and tousled my hair.

Moxie was still lightly singing and playing with my hair. Her eyes were shut. I closed mine again and gave my most humble thanks to Desna for all the beautiful parts she surrounded me with called The Storm Guard.

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Freidrich's Journal:

Second, and longest, day of the month Abidius

My consciousness snapped back into being, leaving me dazed. My surroundings were unnervingly familiar, and next to me stood a dark, naked woman covered in blood and, other fluids. She was thanking me for something as one hand raked down my back leaving the coldest shiver I have ever felt in my spine. Confused I looked at my companions considering me with looks of horror, sadness, and despair. Moxie stood next to me, her face looked much how mine felt. The smell of potent magic hung in the air and, reading the faint tendrils left told me of what had happened to Moxie and me.

In shock I started to simply leave the tent, but the remnants of Simon’s person stopped me cold once again. The scorch marks surrounding his remains were all too familiar to me, and I understood better the looks I was getting from my companions. Xandu’s wounds and the blood on my sword matched as well, and a quick inventory of my remaining formulae stated I gone after them with the best of what I had left. I know from the enchantment that I am not at fault for the destruction my vessel caused; thought I can not lift the blanket of doubt that smothers my confidence.

Our solemn departure from the pavilion was met by Sheldor, harboring more bad news as well as introducing someone who has apparently been searching for us quite some time now. She introduced herself as Kori’el, and from the look of her she would have had much to discus with Lynn, she was sent here by one of my contacts at the mage’s college in Magnimar to warn us of the dragon. Speaking of which he has entered the Rune Forge, that gets to be the bad news.

We decided to hold up behind the room with the pulsing rod of cancellation and regain our strength. Shortly after we retreated to our proverbial corners Xandu come over and punched than smacked me explaining that was to be my punishment, I was then bestowed a hug. I am not dreadfully familiar with Varisian customs, however I feel this is his own way of grieving and finding peace, I envy its ease to come to him. After he went back I noticed Kori’el go to Simon’s remains and honor his memory as to her custom, Xandu and Moxie followed her example. I went and knelt by his body, no words came to my lips at first. I remembered a ceremony my gnoll friends would practice when a friend had died. Though I do not believe the group would appreciate it in its entirety or original language at this time, it would be fitting for Simon; a primal celebration of life, lust and laughter. I shall perform it for him when we are free of this accursed place. As I stood from his corpse I attempted to tell a joke of how Simon lived how we all wish we could. Openly displaying interests and intents and acting to the fullest, never holding back, and never fearing the judgment of others.

I then returned to my place preparing for the storm we continue push through with a newfound conviction.

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All I'm going to say is that ALL of you are doing an INCREDIBLE job of posting the post-fight emotions and repercussions. Freidrich's journal brought a tear to my eye (yes, literally. A grown man can afford to cry now and then).

I'm *REALLY* looking forward to seeing what happens in tonight's session. I'm afraid my party's experience pales in comparison: They lost, they regrouped, they buffed, they returned, they kicked butt. Nowhere near the angst I'm feeling here. Makes me wish it hadn't been such a close thing in my campaign.

To use McDonald's catch phrase: I'm lovin' it!

EDIT: And just so's everyone knows, I was running angelic dream sequences long before Xandu started posting about Hannah. But I haven't posted many of them yet, so he (or Useplanb) definitely get "original but separate" credit!

Grand Lodge

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Thankfully for me the group is doing each wing in a clockwise rotation so I can be prepared. So last night we started the Shimmering Veil wing.

The night started with the group resting in the Abjurant halls and in the morning dining on a Heroes Feast before they started their day. Xandu swapped around his spell list and detailed his plan for sneaking into Delvahine's pavilion and "rescuing" Lynns body, who also happens to be holding the scroll originally carried by the Black Monk. The group shot down the idea and Xandu finally relented.

At this point we went into the Shimmering veils and for the Mirrors of Opposition encounter I decided to have some fun. Since the fratricide game of the previous week was so memorable I had each player also play one of the mirrored PCs. Which was great for me, I didn't have to roll any dice last night, it was all on the players, I just directed the show.

Round 1 was a mirrored Moxie and Freidrich. I had each player in the front rank when they rounded the corner make Perception checks to look into the mirror and create their opposite. When this happened I had a Moxie/Freidrich appear at the left and right mirrors. Kori'el missed her Perception test.

A round or so later and we added Sheldors and finally Xandus, which in the end had to be one of the more interesting encounters. No descriptions are made as to how the mirrored creatures act other than to attempt to kill the original player. So as a player they can meta-game out who is a mirrored PC which I don't think is correct. With constant movement in a hall of mirrors, knowing who is who when they get close is impossible. For the most part I had players make Perception checks to gain clues, ie., this Xandu is stabbing at the other Xandu who appears to be running around trying to heal individuals. Since they know that Xandu doesn't really fight, they know who is the right one. I generally set the DCs to 20 unless the PC did something to tip off the party, in which case the DC would decrease.

The fight took the whole night sadly, so we didn't get to far into the Shimmering Veils but Freidrich almost died to his mirrored opposite on one end, thankfully the other failed a save and became a legless white mouse from baleful polymorph on round 1. We ended the night with everyone finishing off the last mirrored opposite and moving into the cathedral with the giant peacock.

The players seemed to have a good time and it allowed all the players to roll a metric crap ton of dice. So even if it wasn't their turn they were invested in the action at the table. I don't think anyone meta gamed the mirrored PCs or didn't give it their best, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

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Friedrich's Journal:

Third Day of the Month Abidius (finally)

Today is a good day.

The second hour of my morning(?) was spent around a large feast Xandu conjured up, discussing how the day should progress. Xandu had concocted some grand scheme to retrieve Lynn’s body; there were lots of holes and possibilities for failure, especially since he planned on going alone. We were lucky to talk him out of it, for truly, if he attempted this fool’s plan I don’t believe we would be able to stop him. Kori’el and I discussed tactics and how she would best aid and fit in the group. Perhaps the nicest attribute of the conversation was it took place in Kelish, my native tongue, and it had been too long since I was able to converse in such a fashion. It was decided we would make for Xanderghul’s wing to obtain the pieces required to make the Dominant/Commanding weapons to oppose Karzaug. I had no doubt that Xanderghul, rune lord of Pride and master of illusion magic, would surely have some nasty tricks for us.

The entry hall could be described as nothing short of opulent. Massive chandeliers illuminated the blinding hallway, the floor and ceiling consisted of polished marble and the walls were lined with mirrors, making it difficult to perceive distance. We found the going to be easiest if we strictly observed the ground as we went. We came to a fork and as we began to take the left path it appeared to me that Moxie and I actually stepped forth from the mirrored surface at the end of the hall. I heard mother-not cry out “Imposters” from behind me, confirming my fears. I watched as mirror-Moxie shot original-Moxie and had a pretty good idea of what was happening.

My focus turned to my mirrored self just as he vanished, recognizing the vial “I” chugged I immediately thought of how to counter it and as the delayed formulae from this morning kicked in “I” was once more visible; to myself at least. I threw a couple of confusion bombs at “me” and mirror-Moxie followed by a standard bomb back at “me”. All three struck true and I hoped that would give us some time at least. Kori’el sent forth a massive bolt of lightning at mirror-Moxie (I knew I liked this one), unfortunately mirror-Moxie dodged out of the bolt’s path avoiding any contact.

What happened next can only be described as poetic justice, humorous poetic justice. I saw the confused “me” snap into a moment of clarity and lob three targeted electrical bombs strait towards me. I laughed at the coincidence. Well Simon, this makes us truly even. The electricity surged through my body, and unconsciousness enveloped me. In my time with the group I have become well acquainted with death; its cold embrace once more graced me; however my body was not yet ready to give up, it’s natural healing kicked in and kept me stable. Then the familiar pulse of Xandu’s healing brought me back to the real world. I rolled over and threw a few more bombs at “me”, unfortunately not finishing the job as one missed it’s mark. I was thankful as “I” simply punched “myself” a couple of times before Rikert finally cut “me” down. I would be laughing about the whole ordeal only it still hurt to do so. I got up and heard Kori’el yell about the four mirrors at the end of the hall being magical. I lobbed a bomb that direction, shattering the mirrors and followed after Sheldor who had continued alone around the next corner.

Sheldor and I stood beside one another, the familiar sound of a bear coming our way. Xandu was able to get some more healing in and Kori’el joined us just before the bear pounced on Sheldor. With the numbers we had the bear fell before dealing too much damage to our druid. A few more shots were heard behind us and then all was quiet once again. Before us stood a massive room of polished marble and mirrors, a monstrous peacock statue with its colorful plumage proudly pronounced against the white background demanded attention with wise and cunning eyes.

I feel the worst is yet to come, however none fell to our mirrored selves and we yet stand strong.

As I said, today is a good day.

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Grr... you guys have to start playing more often! I can't believe we have to wait an entire WEEK to see you wandering through my personal favorite wing!

Scarab Sages

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From the diary of Kori’el Shalani, 3 Abadius:

After resting, Xandu prepared a magical feast for the whole group; I expected it to taste like ashes after the events of yesterday, but it was very good. Nonetheless, we could only pick at the dishes as no one seemed the least bit hungry. Over the meal, Xandu outlined an outrageous plan to “rescue” Lynn’s body from the succubus they had dealt with just before I arrived. I spoke softly to Friederich in Kelish, “Is he always like this?” His response was, “pretty much. Simon did a pretty good job of keeping him in check.” At length we were able to convince Xandu that his “plan” was… ill advised at best, and that we should concern ourselves with constructing the Dominant weapons that will be required to defeat Karzoug and then work on escaping this giant trap.

To that end, we geared up and headed to the corridor behind the statue of Xanderghul, lord of pride and illusion. The entrance hall was brilliantly lit and lined with mirrors, and I wondered whether vanity should have been on his list of titles. We came to an intersection and set off a magical trap. Duplicates of Friederich and Moxie stepped from the mirrors at either end of the intersection, shortly followed by duplicates of Sheldor and Xandu. The duplicates seemed intent on destroying their counterparts, and it required the efforts of all of us to destroy them. I fear that I did not acquit myself in the most flattering fashion; the duplicate Moxie simply stepped out of the way of my first lightning bolt, and Friederich fell because I was ill-equipped to deal with an invisible double of him. I used too many spells to too little effect, and won’t be surprised if the group derides my performance. Calypso held up his end, and we got solid strikes in on both Sheldor duplicates (the last one was in the form of a Dire Bear by the time we engaged). I was also able to determine the general nature of the enchantment we were facing, and Mother Not was able to obscure one set of the mirrors while a revitalized Friederich beat me to the punch and destroyed the other set with a bomb; so all may not yet be lost.

We next entered an enormous chamber with a gargantuan peacock on a raised dais…

I'm really going off the deep end in praise here, but watching your group going through the same trials and travails as my group and coming up with different solutions is downright delightful!

For Useplanb's group: My group includes a drow paladin (created based on the many, "Do paladins kill evil babies?" threads) who's been taking drow nobility feats and then roleplaying her shame at being a powerful member of an evil race. (Yes, it's epic fun for both me as their GM and them as players in trying to reassure her that it's her actions, not her race, that determine her worth.) So my group used Deeper Darkness to stumble past the mirrors. All kinds of fun reading how each group deals with them.

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Mirror, Mirror on the wall…

In the floating dream state of in-between-ness, I could hear muffled conversation and could smell wonderful food. I thought of climbing from bed and dressing to go down to claim some breakfast when I came to the realization I wasn’t in Sandpoint in my comfy bed….UGH! I sat up and greeted my troupe with a smiling stretch and crawled to the hearty meal provided by Xandu’s goddess. This was a real treat! Tasty yumminess to revive the spirit instead of dreary day’s old packed staples! Some were speaking of retrieving Lynn…EGADS…Me thinks one such as me should decline said adventure so as not to succumb yet again! I do not see any favorable fortune in such an endeavor, at least not yet. Further conversation was taking place between Frederich and the new arrival whom we found was the woman Xandu had left to retrieve on his last trip to Magnimar. They were speaking in Frederich’s native tongue. It was fascinating to listen to them speak. Even though I understood not a single word I imagined I was in a foreign land sipping an expensive concoction at a bizarre in warmer waters. Unfortunately that would have to wait; there were more important things to accomplish.

Packing and preparing for our next foray into the extreme assault on all reason and sensibility we traversed the circle of Runelords to Xanderdrools expanse. Entering a finely lit hall with audacious chandeliers and walls lined with mirrors. At first they were fun and novel but quickly became a nuisance and to some mildly nauseating. So we marched with our heads down floorward to avoid their affect as much as possible. We came to a “T” intersection and wheeled to port to face more mirrored walls and then the chaos ensued! EGADS!! I was astonished as I saw my twin step from a mirror? I twitched a hand to deduce whether I was looking at a manifestation of a reflection and I was disappointed when it didn’t mirror my movement! To further demoralize my current state I found a twin of Frederich had also advanced from the mirrors…EEK! A call came from the back ranks…”IMPOSTERS!”

Before I could bring Annie to bear I found myself shot front and rear! This would not do…Not at all! I shot the Faux Moxie to my front with Annie and retired the musket from service. Frederich engaged with a cascade of bombs to the front as well, on his twin and mine. As I advance on my twin I unleashed Uther . My twin was under Frederich’s elixir’s affect I recognized, as I had experienced it myself. I admit moments of glee as “she” turned on her faux troupe who now included Xandu and Sheldor, and dealt self-inflicted wounds in a manner most disturbing! The full fury of Uther was unleashed and then I drew my blade. Two slices and one deep thrust later I had slain my doppelganger. Quite an unnerving experience to behold and accomplish. That is when I was shot yet again by my triplet from the rear. LUMPY-RUMPLEMINTZ-BRAGIDOSIOUS-FARTSAX!.... OOOWY! Now in a good and solid state of frustration, having just killed “myself” once, I found another nasty, well-armed, soulless image of myself attempting to take my life from the stern. Undaunted, from half the length of the hall I shot the imposter Moxie down and put my bloodied back to the wall. The only doppelganger left was a Xandu. But which one to shoot?? Both were engaged, one with Rikert using a scarf…what the..? The other trying to stab a “Xandu” with a spear…hmm? Remembering the previous night’s affections and advanced forgiveness I shot the spear wielding Xandu. Thankfully no forgiveness was required!

Thinking all our doppelgangers laid low the troupe continued the tack to port towards another large open room. But I only glimpsed it when Sheldor was set upon by an enormous bear…exactly like the ones that nearly devoured him in Sandpoint! I am questioning the stories told over the years of the elvs affinity to nature. I think it is a one way affair because all my experience has shown that nature simply does not like elves! At any rate the troupe pounced upon the bear with all manner of arcane craft and did not require my assistance. Now if these bruisers would just get out of my way so I can see what’s in here….OOOOH MY!!!

Hee hee hee! "Xanderdrool!" Hee hee hee!

Nature doesn't like elves! =^-^=

I'm so tempted to integrate that into my campaign world...

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Xandu’s Journal Entry:

The afternoon went smooth and the troupe received much needed rest or at least down time. Moxie and I talked about Simon and Lynn. We talked about Sandpoint and the people we missed. The troupe had to hush us several times because we were laughing to loud. It felt good to laugh. Moxie stopped and gave me a look at one point and asked what she was going to do with me, half to herself I think. I told her not to worry about me, that we need to get our troupe out of this alive and that was our main focus for now. I apologized for kissing her earlier and told her I was caught up in the moment. I don’t think I should have used the word apologize because she looked hurt and I started back pedaling saying that I was sorry for kissing her. She gave me such a look, her hands went to her hips her head went all sideways and …. (That’s when it got weird)

I said “No, I’m not sorry I kissed you, I was sorry for the way I kissed you…..Agh” I through up my arms and tried to get up and she pounced on me and kissed me. Then she said “Yep you’re right, it was a sorry kiss. Maybe some day if you’re lucky I’ll teach you how to kiss.“ I started to ask what was wrong with the way I kissed and she gave me that look and I knew we were done with the kissing conversation. We both started laughing and we promptly got hushed by the rest. We talked with the troupe and we tried to figure out how best to help Kori’el get caught up on our findings and ways to keep us all alive. We told her about the beings we had fought and the things we’d seen. She’s a bit odd, she talks to herself a lot, she doesn’t keep her appearance up like most girls or most people for that matter. She’s a mess but endearing at the same time and smart too. Girls!!!! I need a rest.

Fighting demons is going to be rough. My morning prayers went well. Hannah taught me many new spells I could use to help my friends. One of them was a feast and it was so impressive I wanted to show the troupe so I started the day with it. It was a great feast and everyone liked it but no one was hungry. I told the troupe of my great plan to retrieve Lynn’s body but no one liked it. Hannah didn’t think I should try either but she told me to ask the troupe maybe they would help me make a better one, they didn’t. Friedrich called it a “Fools Errand.” Jeez I just wanted to get Lynn back. Rikert said that Lynn was gone from his body and that we didn’t really need his body in order for us to wake him from his sleep (if he chose to come back). I left my daring rescue plan at the table. I guess I was still trying to be like “Simon” like Hannah had said.

We left the “safety” of our hiding place and slowly made our way across the open chamber ready to run from the dragon but it wasn’t there. We entered into Xanderghul’s wing, the walls were mirrored and there were chandeliers lighting our way. I could look into the mirrors and I counted passed forty some images of myself. It looked like it went on forever. While awesome at first it really started to be annoying when trying to keep a vigilant eye. As soon as we turned left (hard to tell the corridor even went right and left) we were attacked by doubles of Moxie and Friedrich. Followed by Sheldor’s and my doubles. At first I was stunned as to how well I looked. I was trying to heal people (Friedrich had just been blown up by his double. He died just like Simon. Well he mostly died…anyway) and trying to help Rikert fight an invisible Friedrich Double (luckily the doubles only tried to “kill” their original) when I noticed my double running towards me. I would have loved to see me dance and swing the totem spear that I use to use…my scarf looks great when I run and my hat is so cool, maybe I should get some different pants. Back to the fight. Davok and Moxie expertly picked out my imposters and shot them full of holes. Why did they look so surprised when they figured out that they had dispatched the right ones?

One final blow to a bear and more healing for Friedrich, would you look at that “Do you see the size of that Peacock?”

Grand Lodge

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The "nature doesn't like elves" stems from all of our elves having issues with the wildlife randomly attacking them and generally getting the better end of the deal until the full weight of the group comes to bear (no pun intended . . . well . . . maybe.)

It started with Lynn and any manner of dog, be it goblin or yeth hound. Sheldor had a few issues with the tick boars as did Lynn, now that I think of it. And capping off with Sheldor being "almost" devoured by dire bears.

Xandu/Zandu/Zanadoo/whatever he is metamorphosing into this week (its like Cheryl/Carol/Chantal from Archer) is always a hit or miss with wildlife being that he is a half elf. But the elves of the group do get nibbled on a bit.

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.

SPIT!...Is that glitter?!? Ugh!! Violated twice in as many posts! SPIT!(sparkle!)

Scarab Sages

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Honey, just go with it, he's on a roll. Next thing you know he'll be claiming I'm his girlfriend too.

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I do recall Xandu approaching me and telling me that he needed to learn "MUCH more" about angels...

To the rest of you, do you see what I mean. They are incorrigible, girls. I was trying to be Good!!! Smile

Because USEPLANB asked me to post how Xandu dresses (items found in the AP, I will add) I gladly, boldly say....He is wearing at times

1. Pink gloves (spider climb)
2. Green boots (of swamp walking)
3. Red scarf (haunted mansion, which tried to strangle Uther)
4. My normal variation clothing
5. Hat ( of disguise)
So tonight while in the shimmering halls there is a cloak with peacock feathers that we found. Of course everyone starts laughing that I get to wear it to round out my outfit. You can guess where the jokes tend To go when it comes to my character's character. Just saying. :^)

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So you're playing Elton John. Cool. =^-^=

Scarab Sages

Tangent101 wrote:
So you're playing Elton John. Cool. =^-^=

Exactly! And that's how all the characters know he's gay.

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Elton John, that's pretty good, I can accept that.

He's just an orphaned half-blood elf who happens to be flamboyant...color happy...musically (?)inclined(?)...and fashion challenged. All the earmarks of a well adjusted Varisian Gypsy.....WAIT?!?!?

Scarab Sages

Yup, gayer than Liberace.

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I wouldn't have known how to spell his name but I am old enough to know who he is. I still like Tangent 101’s reference to Elton John, that was fast and awesome.

Personally I find Elton John cooler than Liberace, and he's still around. ;)

And to be honest, my games include an asexual female half-elf, a goblin who thinks he's a gnome suffering from a skin condition, lesbian lovers, (as well as a black human paladin and a half-elf cleric who tries for the "mysterious stranger" shtick) and in the other game a half-orc who is more interested in books than girls, a sylph who's interested in said half-orc but won't act on it, a halfling with a vow of chastity, an Irrisen ice sorceress with her ninjamaid, and a whore-happy human who wants to create a brothenovern - part brothel, part casino, and part tavern. (And has considered creating flesh golem hookers for poor customers.)

So the colorfully-flamboyant Xandu wouldn't even result in raised eyebrows in my games. ^^;;

Grand Lodge

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Okay, sorry for the late post. I was home with a massive migraine and defunct from doing anything other than sleeping.

The group entered into the grand hall which was still double sized from the map because of the party size. Thank god I bought that 4 ft. by 8 ft. chessex double sided mat years ago. I mistakingly erred on Friedrich not realizing that he had see invisibility up so I allowed him to act in the same round as the False Vraxerises who were three rounds into their Invisibility Field. A couple of Fireballs, Shadow Evocation fireballs and a couple Feeblemind attempts later the group scattered and the real fun began.

Let me just say that running six mages (Illusionists) is interesting and time consuming. A point of note for future DMs (if any are actually reading these which I highly doubt) would be to highlight spells on printouts of the characters in a color code for distance. So Yellow highlighter could be Long range spells, orange medium range, etc. I spent more time flipping back and forth finding spells that would reach the players at times. Although I should preface that by saying that enlarging the room to account for the large party is why I was having difficulty. If I hadn't done that only a few spells wouldn't reach because of short range, empowered Scorching Ray for example. In that case, highlighting the short range would be a smart thing to do.

Because of their invisibility only Friedrich and Xandu were able to see them and Xandu spent forever trying to catch up to Davok to give him True Seeing. The problem the Vraxerises had was once again the Greater Angelic Aspect going up on the Paladin. The 20 ft. radius of that spell shuts down mid level casters, especially Illusionists. No Feeblemind, Confusion, Phantasmal Killer and every 3rd level or lower spell. My only error on my part is that I kept forgetting about using Dispel Magic on it. I used it several times from two of them on Friedrich but forgot about trying it on Rikert. Not that I have much chance, d20+9 vs. DC 24.

I tried to speed things along this night as a whole as we started with five of the players present. So all the Vraxerises were at max health but as is otherwise. When the group reached eight players they became "advanced" and essentially just added 2 to their DCs. Their bonus to AC didn't ever come into play. If they were seen they were hit. In the end, I technically killed 3 party members with Phantasmal Killer. Friedrich fell, but got a Fort save reroll from Rikert and made it. Grrrrrannie fell dead while on her broom floating in the room (ironically on a pile of glass created by Moxie to help locate the invisible Vraxerises) and Davok fell when the paladin moved far enough away that they could target him again with spells. Grrrrannie was saved with a Breath of Life spell from Xandu but Davok had to be Raised.

The whole fight took forever because they kept scattering and the players had limited visibility options. In the end I told them that they killed the remaining 3 Vraxerises because I had exhausted their real offensive spells and they were tracking down 1 and killing them in two turns. Night was late and I wanted them to loot and move on into Vraxerises study to get that loot and discuss who got what over the week before we played again to help speed things along.

Next week should be fun considering what they will find. Cue evil laughter.

The fight dragged on for a while and I kept having them run 30 ft. away from anyone getting close and trying to use anything in their spell list.

Scarab Sages

From the diary of Kori’el Shalani, 3 Abadius:

We moved into a great cathedral lit by four huge candelabra. It was lined with mirrors, and a low wooden dais near the center held a peacock statue the size of a wyvern. As we stepped in, I mumbled something about the Lord of Illusion, and asked if we might want to loosen up our formation; the others apparently thought that a good idea, but no one seemed inclined to wander off.

As we stepped forward Friederich said, “there are people back there,” just as multiple voices boomed that “the master is sleeping, keep the screaming to a minimum as you die;” multiple spells came at us, and we were engulfed in the flames of several fireballs. Some of them seemed a little strange, and a little of the damaged leaked through my protective spells. Xandu was hurt the worst by far, and the group scattered to minimize the overlap damage. Davok charged forward drawing his sword, and Rikert did the angel thing and followed. Xandu seemed to be wandering aimlessly about, but Freiderich peeled off to the right and seemed to have some goal in mind, so I followed at a discreet distance; heading more toward the dais for a lack of targets. No use calling on Calypso yet, there was no telling where or when I might find an enemy. Why, why, do I not have any spells or potions that allow me to see invisible things? This sort of thing seems to happen so often it makes me feel so useless I could spit, and Calypso is no help; his senses are no better than mine.

I could feel spells crackling around me, but was still untouched; was Mother Not’s ward really that good? I felt I was completely outclassed by these people. Friederich was throwing bombs and methodically moving toward a corner of the temple, and the peacock statue didn’t seem to be providing me any real cover, so I moved out of its shadow angling for Friederich’s target. He suddenly swung his falchion, and the small spray of blood from nowhere gave me something to aim for; I Dimension Doored to Friederich’s side, and then called Calypso to battle. Then, something extraordinary happened. Across the temple Davok suddenly dropped his sword, drew his bow and started shooting arrows at nothing. But where he had shot, a human wizard appeared and dropped to the ground, looking like a pin cushion. I felt the focus of the enemies change, and suddenly spells were directed at Davok and fizzling against Rikert’s protective barriers. Davok then fired three more arrows at different points of the room, and more spatters of blood appeared; the tables had turned! Friederich and I continued the fight against our opponent. My first thrust missed the mark (will I ever really get the hang of spell combat?), when Rikert suddenly left Davok and rushed to our aid! What was he thinking? I couldn’t believe that he would put a teammate at such risk, when that mate was about to win the battle for us! I adjusted slightly and riposted, and struck the indistinct figure before me; the surge of life energy was gratifying as my spell took hold (Vampiric Touch ftw!). As Rikert reached us in his angelic form, our opponent fell, nearly simultaneously with both Mother Not and Davok, devoid of protection and hit with some kind of killing spells.

It took a couple of minutes for the rest of us to hunt the enemy wizards down, and Xandu was fortunately able to bring both Davok and Mother Not back to us. I finally managed to beat one of the wizards in single combat with a well placed Force Punch just before Davok sat up (looking decidedly greener than usual). Xandu indicated a secret door in the rear wall of the cathedral, and we entered the wizard’s sanctum…

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Ah, another epic fight! And I see you chose NOT to use NobodysHome's patented, "All the identical wizards cast the same spell at the same person" technique that my players oh-so-loathed. I believe it was a good call with such a large party.

Doubling the room probably hindered you a bit, but not as much as you'd think. After 6 fireballs hit the party, I had my party's bard dead to rights with a horde of Scorching Rays, but he was far enough across the room they couldn't reach and had to be satisfied with hitting him with 25 magic missiles, only nearly killing him instead of killing him outright. (Though rolling 25d4 was hilarious in and of itself.)

It's really fun to read the similarities and differences in tactics between the two groups. There are still a few spoilers your group has to get through, and then I'll post links to the same battles on my thread, as at least one of your players has indicated he enjoys reading them.

And just so Useplanb's group knows, you've fallen behind again -- my group should be going toe-to-toe with the final encounter this month. I think you need to update your gaming to once a day to catch up!

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