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Session 35, Played 03-Feb-2019

What’s that? We’re headed north, not south?! Well, if you wouldn’t give all your directions such similar-soundin’ names it wouldn’t be such a bother! If I had to choose between “North” and “Fderkyanokalindunk”, it’d be no trouble at all! But “North” and “South”? They have the same number o’ syllables! They even end with the same sound! And don’t even get me started on “East” ’n’ “West”!

Anyhoo, while I grumbled Llew, Forth, ’n’ Alembic headed “North”, ’n’ I followed ‘em ‘cause I figured they’d need me, ’n’ Llew said the trail was really obvious, ’n’ I trusted her ‘cause she knew that kind o’ thing, ’n’ we rode for a while. I figured we’d probably have to be stealthy, so I made my armor look like the kind one o’ the bandits was wearin’, ’n’ Forth ’n’ Alembic gave me some grief about it ‘cause I didn’t look anythin’ like a bandit, but I figured lookin’ like a local was a lot better’n lookin’ like a dwarven paladin with shiny new armor. Unless we were plannin’ on fightin’ first ’n’ talkin’ later, in which case I really ought to know before we go in.
Llew started showin’ off by spottin’ the fort first before any o’ the rest of us while starin’ at the ground to track. But as soon as she pointed it out I had no trouble at all spottin’ it: A big ol’ wooden palisade like humans like, ‘round a farmhouse, some tents, and a few other buildings, nested in a valley so it’d have good defenses on all sides.

It’s like humans never have to deal with gnomes. Or fire.

Anyhoo, once we got close enough for Forth ’n’ Alembic to see (I figure dwarves’ve got those beady eyes and they’re used to the dark, but I don’t know what Alembic’s excuse is), we started lookin’ over the place ’n’ tryin’ to figure out just what it was. Forth ’n’ LLew pointed out that bandits don’t usually set up forts; when things get bad they just up ’n’ leave. And the watchtowers were in the wrong place, all in the middle o’ the town instead of around the edges where they belonged. I figured they were bein’ sensible and protecting ‘em from gnomes like me, but Llew ’n’ Forth said they looked more like they were protectin’ the big grain silo in the middle. So probably lots o’ greedy bandits, ’n’ they liked to help themselves to the food, ’n’ the guy in charge was all Lawful and didn’t want them takin’ more than their fair share, so he was keepin’ ‘em out. That’s what you get for makin’ your ruler Lawful! Give me King Heddy any day!

Forth said it looked like someone with military trainin’d set the whole place up, and we needed more information, so I went all sneaky and tip-toed up as close as I could, bein’ extra-careful to watch for surprises in the woods. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any so I got to just go up as close as I could. Once I was closer I saw that they’d dealt with fire or gnomes before, ‘cause they’d cleared out the last 50 feet of everythin’, even short grass or little rocks, so I’d be totally in the open if I got any closer. There were a bunch o’ platforms along the walls (two along the long walls, one along each short wall) with four guys with bows on each one. They were pretty well-trained, it looked like, ‘cause they weren’t goofin’ off or playin’ pranks on each other, ’n’ I saw one group signal to another group ’n’ so forth, ’n’ I stuck around for a few minutes just to see whether they’d do anythin’ stupid, but they didn’t, ’n’ I didn’t want to burn a potion this early into the exploration, so I decided to go back ’n’ report my findin’s.
On my way back I ran into another patrol circumnavigatin’ the perimeter, ‘cause I can talk all military-like when I need to, but I was better’n them so I saw them but they didn’t see me and we went our separate ways.

I told the group ‘bout what I’d seen, and I figured they’d just send me back at nighttime to see whether I could get closer ’n’ get some better ideas, but Forth just wanted to walk on up to the front gates ’n’ knock! He figured they were bein’ run efficiently, they’d killed a bunch o’ undead, ’n’ their only real crime so far was shakin’ down the locals for loot.

So yeah, I just don’t understand Lawful at all.

Llew said that she wasn’t goin’ to let Forth go it alone, so she’d go with ‘im, and they should get spotted by the circumnavigatin’ group, ‘cause that way there’d be a lot fewer arrows if things went bad. I still didn’t like it, but I told ‘em I’d break ‘em out when the time came. There was nothin’ in that fort that I saw that could keep me out, ’n’ I figured once I got in, Alembic could teleport to me, grab the other two, ’n’ teleport back out again. It doesn’t work that way? What good are you, then?

Since my escape plan had a serious flaw named Alembic in it, I started arguin’ harder ‘gainst Llew ’n’ Forth surrenderin’ themselves. Forth kept sayin’ he just wanted to talk, not surrender, but I figured it was probably the same thing. Alembic was on my side, which probably wasn’t the best o’ things, but it couldn’t be avoided. We at least agreed to wait to see the place at night, which was a plus in my book, and right around sunset a bunch o’ outrider groups carryin’ stuff in came in. There was our ticket! We could wait ’til mornin’, ambush one o’ the groups on their way out, talk to them, and get all the information we needed to know without the risk o’ capture!
‘Cept I used the “ambush” word ’n’ that kind o’ ended the argument with Forth right there. He came up with some excuse that even if we just got in their way to talk to them, their orders’d be somethin’ different from the orders o’ the nearby guys, like, “Kill anyone who gets in your way,” so we’d be more likely to have a fight with the outriders. I was OK with that, ‘cause that kind o’ order’s enough for me to figure some people ought to get taken down, but Forth wouldn’t hear of it, so that was that.

A bit after nightfall, some guys came out and set some traps. Apparently not very many, ‘cause I hadn’t run into ‘em before, but maybe they were just careless. I finally convinced everyone to let Llew fly over the camp invisibly at night to see whether she could learn any more about ‘em. I’d’ve suggested myself, but I think Forth was a little sore with me for arguin’ so hard against just talkin’ to ‘em, but sometimes, you just know talking isn’t going to end up well. So we waited a couple o’hours ’til it was good ’n’ dark ’n’ we could hear music ’n’ merry-makin’ in the camp, then we sent Llew off like a giant invisible badass balloon.
She didn’t have any trouble, ’n’ when she got back she reported that they were slavers, auctionin’ off women ’n’ men they’d captured in the farmlands to the amusement o’ the bandits. So… death sentence from me right off the bat, ’n’ this time Forth didn’t argue much, ‘cept to argue that maybe bein’ a slaver didn’t merit the death penalty in all parts o’ the world.

It does in the parts I’m in.

Anyhoo, Llew described a lot o’ other stuff she saw; some weird animal totems, ’n’ some weird religious stuff, but she didn’t recognize it, ’n’ I figured we could figure it out once the slavers were all dead. Forth kind o’ rolled his eyes at me in that way he does when he’s bein’ Lawful, but he finally agreed that we needed to go in swingin’.

While we were waitin’ for it to be late enough for everyone in the camp to be asleep, I searched through my lunches to find some candy, which isn’t easy when you’ve got a bunch o’ well-packed gnome lunches and you’re in a hurry and you need to make sure you aren’t all covered with honey and bees, or on fire, or tryin’ to pull little cactus burrs out o’ your nether regions, but I finally found some and once we were ready to go I concentrated real hard so I’d be able to talk to animals. It’s somethin’ I can do, but I don’t, ‘cause I always forget. And I figure Yellow probably didn’t have much to say anyway, bein’ a coward ’n’ all. Llew did somethin’ to my eyes to help me see better, which I appreciated, but I really thought it’d be better on Alembic, since he seems half-blind all the time. She said it’d be better on me, so I didn’t argue.

Alembic teleported us in right next to the stables (and he called it somethin’ different, like Division Door, but a teleport’s a teleport in my book, and we were in one place and then another, so it was a teleport). Forth let the charge up an alley between two buildings to the front door o’ the barracks, as we figured we’d catch ‘em off-guard, but o’ course the door was locked ’n’ Forth’s shakin’ o’ the doorknob woke someone up. So I ran up and put my handy-dandy Portable Door on top o’ the real door, ‘cause it’s the kind o’ thing I buy, and Alembic cast Open on it, ’n’ Llew ran in and started whackin’ people. ’N’ that’s what I like ‘bout Llew. When people need a good whackin’, she doesn’t hesitate.
So Forth went in, too, ’n’ Alembic ’n’ I heard bodies droppin’ left and right, ’n’ Forth wasn’t bleedin’, so I figured my job was to make sure we didn’t get any unexpected company. Alembic first sped us up, ’n’ then cast somethin’ out towards the courtyard ’n’ said no one’d be comin’ from that direction, ’n’ I got to work on the door across the way to make sure no one’d be able to open it by surprise. It was one o’ the doors into the farmhouse, so I figured we might be needin’ it later, so I just did a bit o’ jammin’ with my any-tool to make sure I’d be able to get back in when I needed to.

And just as soon as I was satisfied with job, Llew ’n’ Forth said they were done ’n’ I need to open the door again! I was pretty pleased ‘cause it meant they weren’t stoppin’ to stabilize the slavin’ bastards, and there’s a little bit o’ satisfaction in knowin’ that a slavin’ rapist is bleedin’ out in the next room. But maybe that’s just me. So I pulled my stuff back off o’ the door, and o’ course the other guys’d locked it too, so I had to open THAT lock up and let everyone in, and they all ran into the dark room like it was nothin’. Alembic was at least polite enough to say, “Oh, I have a spell that lets me see in the dark,” and then cast it and went on in, but there I was, lookin’ in at the pitch blackness, as Llew was describin’ some kind o’ knick-knack room full o’ bone carvings. Forth opened a door and called out that he’d found some kids, ’n’ I figured that was gonna be MY job ‘cause I’m good with kids ’n’ I didn’t want ‘em gettin’ hurt by bein’ in the way, while Llew opened another door and said she’d found more art.

So Llew, Forth, ’n’ Alembic ran off ahead while I activated my ioun stone o’ seein’ stuff ’n’ went in to talk to the kids. So I told ‘em they had to stay in the room and keep real quiet, ‘cause bad stuff was happenin’ and I wanted ‘em to be safe. So, they didn’t know me from a goblin raider, but I’m charmin’ with kids, ’n’ they said they’d be good ’n’ stay in the room, ‘specially when I promised ‘em candy if they were good. (I hadn’t fed it to the horses, so why not?) I went over to lock the door across the way and they got kind o’ scared sayin’ that their mean ol’ teacher would be mad if she found the door locked, but I figured I’d be stabbin’ mean ol’ teacher a bunch o’ times anyway, so I could deal with her bein’ mad at me. ‘Cept I didn’t say that out loud, ‘cause I’m a clever girl that way.

Once I was sure the kids were safe, I chased after the rest o’ the group, ‘cause they were fightin’ somethin’, and I got there and Forth was bleedin’ pretty well already, so I figured things were goin’ fine, ‘cept once I saw the way the guys were wieldin’ their weapons I knew they had some rogue-y trainin’ so I needed to get in there to protect Forth. But no sooner was I finally in there and safely between them ’n’ Forth (’n’ they stepped around me to stab him some more, ‘cause they know a better rogue when they see one) than Forth dropped one ’n’ Llew dropped the other. Llew said she heard castin’ behind us, and sure enough Alembic (who I’d run past) hollered that a bunch o’ caster types were after him, ’n’ he closed the door to hide from them. They burned on through the door, but saw me ’n’ sent a whole bunch o’ burnin’ Fireballs my way. It was just like my childhood games, dodgin’ dancin’ bouncin’ burnin’ balls o’ death, and I was kind o’ gigglin’ at the memories, but one o’ the balls came after Alembic (who’d run all the way back to where I was) and he didn’t seem to be havin’ nearly as much fun as I was. I threw my thunderstone at ‘em, ‘cause the vendor said it would really mess up casters, but it didn’t seem to do much of anythin’. I’d be mad, but if you believe every wondrous thing every vendor says about every item you buy, then you really deserve to get ripped off. It was a stone. It made a loud bang when I threw it. Money well-spent. But wasted. At least it was one thing I didn’t have to re-stock next time I was in town!

Then I went blind. Or I should say, the stupid wizard guys did somethin’ else ’n’ there was a bright flash ’n’ suddenly I couldn’t see anythin’. The fiery orbs kept tryin’ to hit me, but even blind I’d had to dodge better than them as a wee little twenty-year-old, so I wasn’t particularly bothered. But I didn’t get to see much o’ the fight. Just a lot o’ boomin’ ’n’ zappin’ ’n’ clankin’ and Forth sayin’, “Ow,” like he always does, which is kind o’ reassurin’ ‘cause it means he’s still with us, ’n’ Alembic sayin’ funny stuff to cast spells that sounds really hilarious when you’re blind and you and pretend he’s speakin’ in a foreign language ’n’ summonin’ goblins in drag to be his love slaves ’n’ all, but all in all I wasn’t bein’ particularly useful.

Once I could see again I could see that I was all glowy, which was kind o’ nice ‘cause I didn’t need my light any more, but kind of a pain ‘cause it’d make hidin’ from anyone almost impossible, unless they were blind. In which case it would be pretty easy. So I was pretty mad ‘bout bein’ blinded then glowy, so I ran in and stabbed one and he just dropped like I was a great big troll or somethin’, ’n’ Llew yelled at me again ‘bout stealin’ her kills, so apparently I’d stabbed the wrong one. I was going to have to find some way for her to mark ‘em so I’d know which ones not to stab. Alembic cast somethin’ at the guy next to us and suddenly all the ghosty doubles that were around him went away entirely. I didn’t think it did much good, but then I realized that these were like the Mirror Images that Alembic used all the time, ‘cept I could tell which person was real ‘cause o’ the stuff Llew put in my eyes! So Llew got to kill that guy, and that made her happy. And it made me happy, ‘cause slaver.

The rest o’ the guys all pulled out shocky wands ’n’ started tryin’ to fry Forth, but he didn’t want to be fried so he dodged better than I’d ever seen him dodge before, and since I didn’t have any help with the guy next to me I just poked at the misty ghosty images and popped a couple, ‘cause I figured it’d be helpful. It was, ‘cause it let Llew ’n’ Forth drop the rest of ‘em just as we heard another group comin’ in from the way we’d just come! Busy beavers!

Forth drank a potion, which meant he was hurtin’ pretty bad, so I pulled out Ornery but Ornery wasn’t feelin’ very cooperative so he only healed Forth a tiny bit. As we ran to meet the new guys, I gave Ornery a few choice words in Goblin and suddenly he was a LOT more willin’ to heal Forth, ’n’ I felt better ‘cause I think there was a little less blood comin’ out o’ him.

And what should come into the room but a great big bear! I was overjoyed! I yelled, “Hi, bear! We’re your friends! We’ll feed you the horses if you calm down and don’t fight us!”
But the bear just said it wanted to kill us all and then eat the horses anyway. Stupid bear.

And this is why I don’t talk to animals.

So Llew ’n’ Forth killed it, ‘cause it was just an ordinary bear and didn’t have much of a chance against people with weapons ’n’ armor, ’n’ then this guy in the next room started wailin’ ‘bout how mean we were to have killed his bear! And it’s like, WE’RE mean? WE’RE not the ones who sent a poor stupid bear against a bunch o’ seasoned adventurers in armor. What did the idiot THINK would happen? We’d see the bear ’n’ panic ’n’ surrender?

Llew headed for the sound o’ the voice through a trophy room full o’ stuffed animals ’n’ even some stuffed undead (wouldn’t want to know who had to do that job), and a big guy with a bigger hammer popped out of a doorway and smacked Llew pretty hard. I heard crackin’, and she didn’t seem too happy.
I tried to run in and around him to get Forth a flank, but he just reached out his weapon, gentle-like, ’n’ blocked my path and stopped me right in front o’ him! Like a big ol’ papa gnome, ‘cept three times too tall! He told me that I shouldn’t be there (and he called me “boy”), ‘cause I was a kid and this was a grownup fight. I decided to roll with it and started actin’ like a kid and stabbin’ at him and callin’ him a “bad man”, figurin’ if things went south I could hang out with the kids for a bit before breakin’ everyone else out. ‘Cept he chose to pound on Forth, and Forth’s used to that kind o’ thing, so after a bit he ’n’ Llew dropped the guy, ’n’ I helped not one whit. Llew was so mad at him that she left her sword in him for a bit, but once he was dead she grabbed it out, and Alembic told us even more guys were comin’ soon. Ah, well, attack a camp, get a campful o’ guards!

We kept pressin’ deeper into the buildin’, first through the guys’ bedroom (with a nice rug for the now-dead bear to sleep on), and into another room with a lady who tried to whack Forth with a club. I moved on past her to try to calm her down with my sap, figurin’ she was a prisoner, but when she cast a lightning bolt that hit Llew I figured that (a) she wasn’t a prisoner, and (b) she was going to die very soon. So I dropped my sap and pulled my dagger and did very little ‘cause Forth ’n’ Llew dropped her, too. I figured I wasn’t doin’ anyone any good so I offered to finish off the last couple o’ rooms in the house while Forth ’n’ Llew went back to help Alembic with whoever was comin’ in the front door.

I found the classroom ’n’ the door to the kids’ room I’d locked, so I knew I’d been around the entire buildin’, but my gnome sense was tinglin’; somethin’ ‘bout the buildin’ just didn’t add up. So I put my seein’ gloves ‘gainst the wall I suspected, ’n’ sure enough there was all kinds of treasure through it! All I had to do was find the door. ‘Cept there was a fight goin’ on and I really needed to go check it out.
I got to the fight just in time to see the last of four guys fall in one of Alembic’s pits, so I figured the fight was probably going pretty OK, ‘cept the guys were tryin’ to climb out. I hid for a bit waitin’ for ‘em to come up in the hopes o’ puttin’ a nice arrow into one of ‘em, but after a bit it got borin’ so I went back to find the secret door I knew had to be there. I eventually found it in the boss guys’ bedroom (of course), so I called out to Llew in Elven that it was there, just in case anythin’ happened to me. While I was alone and safe in an empty buildin’ and the rest o’ the party were fightin’ for their lives.

Yeah, I’m the conscientious sort.

The rest o’ the group finished moppin’ up everyone stupid enough to have come in, and now it was time to go outside and deal with the forty or fifty guys standing outside the buildin’, bows ready, waitin’ for us to open the door.

Sounds fun!

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Session 36, Played 10-Feb-2019

It’s kind o’ scary just how long you can stand around discussin’ how to kill the people that are waitin’ to kill you and have ‘em patiently wait outside ’til you’re good ’n’ ready to kill ‘em. The problem was, we had to figure out a plan, ’n’ we couldn’t agree on one. I figured we’d have Alembic teleport us into the night sky so we could swoop down on ‘em from above, and it’d be really cool, and bards would write epic stories ‘bout our descent from on high to smite our foes, but Llew didn’t like it ‘cause they had all those towers built specifically to repel flyin’ critters, so we’d probably be facin’ a stiff barrage. Llew was thinkin’ it would be a lot more sensible to go out the side door ‘cause there couldn’t be that many of ‘em there waitin’ for us, and Forth was cute as ever and just wanted to knock a hole in the wall on the other side ‘cause that’d surprise ‘em for sure! ‘Cept maybe all the noise from POUNDIN’ A HOLE IN THE WALL, but that’s Forth for you; personally I think all dwarves are a bit deaf, ‘cause they move around so noisily it deafens their kids. Alembic really really REALLY wanted to use fog, ‘cause… OK, I really DON’T know why Alembic wanted to use fog, but we finally agreed on a plan: I’d get ready to dodge arrows ’n’ open the door, and as I was dodgin’ Alembic’d put up a fog to hide us all, ’n’ Llew ’n’ Forth’d go out and deal with the ruffians. ‘Cause I like the word “ruffians”.

We got all situated, and I was wonderin’ ‘bout the rest o’ the group bein’ all ‘round me, ‘cause what if an archer was thinkin’, “I’m going to shoot the person next to the person that opens the door?” But I knew my job, so I limbered up, started dancin’ a bit before I opened the door, ‘cause most rogues make the mistake o’ doin’ it afterwards, and if you’re all full o’ arrows that fancy dancin’ won’t do you a lick of good, and opened the door.

I’d like to say we faced an army of hardened veteran ruffians and we had to fight for our lives.
Instead, all the arrows flew right over my head and clattered against the back wall, ‘cause every single archer had assumed a human-sized person’d be openin’ the door. Of the dozen-odd arrows that came my way, ONE of ‘em was low enough to hit me, and it bounced off Alembic’s Stoneskin spell nice ’n’ proper. Alembic threw up his fog (well, he cast it; it would’ve been cooler if he’d actually vomited it out. I gotta see whether he can do that), ’n’ Forth ’n’ Llew ran out ’n’ turned left. I followed ‘em, and figured they’d probably need me to open up the cages, so I got up over the fog ’n’ got all dodgy again, and the guys shot at me again, but they were pretty bad shots ’n’ only one guy hit me (I think it was the same guy) ’n’ Alembic’s Stoneskin protected me again, so it didn’t much matter. I didn’t know why Llew ’n' Forth weren’t flyin’ yet, but I figured they were waitin’ for me to be a distraction, ‘cause I’m good at that, so I flew over to the cage and… a rope?!?!?! Who ties a cage shut with a stupid rope!?!? It was goin’ to take forever to untie that knot, ’n’ it’s not like my dagger’d be all that much faster, bein’ small ’n’ all. I started complainin’ really loudly, so Forth ’n’ Llew came up ’n’ cut open the rope ’n’ the guys inside, ’n’ they dropped really fast. So since they didn’t need me to open the cages, ’n’ I couldn’t fit in the cage with them ’n’ the guys, I figured I’d settle down on Alembic’s fog to see how comfy it was.

It was nice.

Trouble was, once I was sittin’ there, on top o’ the fog but a little bit in it, I heard a bunch more guys down in the fog proper, lookin’ for people to hit. Llew told the people topside to surrender, ’n’ a few of ‘em did, but none o’ the guys in the fog did so I figured we’d have to start dealin’ with ‘em. I’m no good in the fog so I went over to a roof to get a good view o’ one side o’ the fog. Since I couldn’t see any of ‘em, I started callin’ over to the horses to see whether they could see anythin’, but they could only see the guys who fed ‘em hidin’ over with them, so they weren’t much use. So o’ course while I was waitin’ for somethin’ to happen Llew went to the other side o’ the fog to go in and start lookin’ around, so they all ganged up on her as Forth was dealin’ with the last guys in the cages (and I don’t know what they said while I was nappin’ in the fog, but wow Forth was carvin’ ‘em up like they’d said wood houses were better’n stone or something). I flew over to start shootin’ at the ones on Llew’s side, but she yelled at me to come on down and give her some help flankin’, so I did that instead. Didn’t hit any of ‘em, but apparently I was helpin’ by just standin’ there and bein’ a distraction.

It’s a livin’.

At the end of it all, once it didn’t matter much, I got in a couple o’ good stabs on a couple o’ the guys too dim to surrender, but it didn’t feel like a heck of a lot. Once they were all dead ’n’ defeated I set about freein’ all the slaves. I found the cookin’ slaves, ’n’ the smithin’ slaves, ’n’ the sex slaves, ’n’ the horse feedin’ slaves, ’n’ I freed ‘em all and lined ‘em all up ‘gainst a wall so we could keep track of ‘em. Didn’t need any slaves wanderin’ out at night and gettin’ themselves killed! We started talkin’ ‘bout takin’ ‘em back to Eledir, but they were all locals and they just wanted to go home. But we had a bunch o’ farm kids to deal with, too, so someone came up with the brilliant idea o’ pairin’ up the orphaned kids with the kidless farmers ’n’ had me do the sales pitch and… it worked! Every last one o’ the kids got adopted by a needy home! I figured I’d done all right that night. ‘Cept I don’t know that Calistria’s the goddess o’ findin’ everybody a home or whatnot, but I figured she wouldn’t be mad ‘bout it. ‘Cause we all know how kids’re made, right?

Once the human “treasure” was rescued (yeah, call me sentimental, but I figured they were the most important), I started in on the loot while Llew did her thing to get information out o’ the guards. The loot was more’n any of us could carry, ’n’ the horses weren’t willin’ to let me load ‘em up as Alembic cast Ant Haul on ‘em ’n’ teleported ‘em to Eledir, even when I tried explainin’ to them all nicely, but Llew just started yankin’ on their reins and kickin’ ‘em and they started behavin’. Maybe they’re all worshippers o’ Calistria. Anyhoo, we had artwork ’n’ furs ’n’ horses ’n’ totems ’n’ weapons ’n’ armor ’n’ all sorts o’ stuff that looked like more loot’n we’d ever had before. I grabbed a few o’ the choice scrolls and a wand for myself ‘cause I knew it’d help the party, then started sortin’ the rest by value so Alembic’d be able to teleport the most important stuff first.

While I was doin’ all that (and Alembic helpin’, ‘cause I can’t lift much), Llew ’n’ Forth learned that the leader o’ this fort was actually scared o’ the leader o’ the southern fort, ’n’ paid him a tithe ’n’ everything. We didn’t get much more out of ‘em, so we set to work.

All in all, it took ‘bout 3 days to get all the loot back to Eledir. By then all the slaves ’n’ kids’d gone back to their farms, Forth ’n’ Llew’d reported to the people they felt needed to know (I had money so I was kind o’ distracted in the stalls ’n’ all), we sold all our stuff, ’n’ we started shoppin’. Alembic’s a really good shopper ‘cause any time we wanted somethin’ we couldn’t find in Eledir, he’d teleport us to Logas so we could get it, ’n’ if I happened to need a trip to the temple o’ Calistria, he’d come with me and wait in the lobby all patient-like. (Well, I assume he just waited in the lobby. Never know when an acolyte with an obeisance’ll come along.)

I got myself a nice cloak that’d protect my mind better, ‘cause I always need such things, and I got Jocelyn to give me a scroll of Heal, ‘cause I figured I’d eventually need to use one on Forth. Llew made a present of a wand o’ Cure Moderate Wounds to me, and I figured that was very kind of her, since Forth’d need it, too. I paid her back the money I owed her, then gave Alembic some money for the Stoneskins he was always castin’ on me ‘cause I really liked it, and realized I was gettin’ pretty low, so I stopped shoppin’ ’n’ spent a little more time at the temple. Llew got herself a cloak just like mine (only bigger, ‘cause she’s a little taller ’n’ me), Alembic got a staff to make up for the one he’d given back to Heddy, ’n’ Forth got a better shield, which I figure was money well-spent.

Once we were ready, we went back to find the first set o’ bandits we’d encountered. It took us quite a while, ‘cause they’d gone back to farmin’. I was pretty happy ‘bout that. We asked them ‘bout the southern fort, but they didn’t know any more than the bandits from the fort had. It was still 3-4 days from when the southern fort’d send their next set o’ guys to pick up their tithe, so we learned the route, and that it was always 2 guys, and we set up an ambush for ‘em.

Waitin’ for two guys while hidin’ on the side of the road is borin’. There. I’ve said it. I’ll say no more ‘bout it.

They rode right past me but spotted Forth standin’ waist-deep in the weeds. So they stopped ’n’ started talkin’ to him. They knew who he was, ’n’ didn’t balk from admittin’ that they were bandits, and it seemed like it might o’ been a bit of a sociable event except right there in the open Alembic started castin’ some kind o’ spell! I was in the middle o’ sneakin’ under the back guy’s horse with the intent o’ disablin’ it, when both of ‘em rode off to attack Alembic! Stupid sorcerer! I managed to dodge the horses’ hooves all right, but what kind o’ “ambush” were we pullin’ here? Standin’ out in the open, talkin’ at ‘em, and then castin’ spells at ‘em seems a lot more like “open and fair combat” with ‘em. And I don’t like that kind o’ combat nearly as much.

Unfortunately, I have short little legs so I didn’t do much o’ anythin’. I shot one with an arrow. That might o’ cut him a little. And that’s about it. They cut up Llew ’n’ Alembic pretty bad, but Llew ’n’ Forth cut them up worse, but not before one of ‘em sent off some kind o’ message ‘bout how he’d “failed his lord” ’n’ all. ‘Course, I don’t see how gettin’ ambushed ’n’ beat up is “failin’”, but I’m not Lawful, so there’s that.
Alembic said the spell he’d cast was short-ranged, so we secured the non-dead guy so he wouldn’t bleed to death or ride off, ’n’ Alembic teleported us up to the top of a hill so we could see better. In the distance I spotted a rider makin’ like hay for the hills, so I told Alembic to teleport us as far as he could in that direction. We were really close this time, so Alembic did it one more time ’n’ we were in front of him!

Forth hit the horse but it didn’t drop, so Llew did some kind o’ giant column o’ flame on the guy ’n’ the horse ’n’ that killed it all right. I dropped a tanglefoot bag on the guy ’n’ he rewarded me by steppin’ up and beatin’ on me hard. Where’s that Stoneskin, Alembic? Owwwwww!
Alembic wasn’t anywhere to be seen, ‘cause I guess he’d seen what the guy did to me and didn’t want any part of it, but then Forth just walked up and chopped the guy clean in half! Awww! He does care! I hugged his leg and thanked him, but he was all gruff ’n’ surly ‘cause he has to be ‘cause he’s a paladin.

We dragged corpse guy (not horse corpse) back to tied-up guy ’n’ Llew did her magic on tied-up guy. He knew a bit: The leader was some kind o’ dragon, but he didn’t know which kind, ‘cause the second-in-command is a barbarian who takes the orders from the dragon ’n’ issues ‘em to the men, so the men just have to trust that there’s a dragon back there. I searched the guy for scales, but no luck. We asked Alembic ‘bout dragons, but no luck. I swear, what does that man spend all that time in his room studyin’? The whole group is in a cave that’s a former mine, with around 16 guys and the dragon. Llew figured the ol’ hermit we’d heard ‘bout would probably know a lot ‘bout both mines ’n’ dragons, so she wanted to track him down to see what we could learn. We figured we’d first make the dead guy talk, ’n’ if he didn’t know anythin’ we’d find the hermit. Llew was good with that.

The rest o’ the gang was the former Thieves’ Guild o’ Wolfpoint, explainin’ the number of ‘em who know just where to stab to make it hurt the most. They originally volunteered to kill undead, ‘cause they wanted to be heroes, but they were kind o’ disorganized ’til they were recruited by the barbarian guy. So they worked for him for a while out o’ the fort in the caves, but then their orders changed ’n’ they started havin’ to bring in gold ’n’ silver. The guy figures that’s probably when the dragon took over.
He insisted that they were heroes, still protectin’ Eledir and just takin’ gold ’n’ silver from dead farmers who’d never miss it, and they wouldn’t’ve even fought us ‘cept Alembic’d shot first. I couldn’t argue with him there. They also knew that there were four of us, and Forth was “the weak guy”. Forth didn’t like that description much at all.

Since the guy didn’t seem to be all that bad, we let him go with a warnin’, and he rode off on one o’ the horses we didn’t kill. We teleported back to Eledir with dead guy, ’n’ I wanted to make him talk to Jocelyn ‘cause it would’ve been mean ’n’ funny, but Llew said we should try her guy first, ’n’ that was OK with me. We knew we’d get 5 questions, so we set up 4 ’n’ left the last open in case somethin’ new came up.
The dragon is black. That didn’t ring any bells with Alembic.
The dragon’s 3-4 horses long. That’s a big dragon!
The mine has only one way in and out of it.
The mine doesn’t have any formal defenses beyond havin’ a dragon in it.
Death smells like rot and decay
Yeah, I got in the fifth question ‘cause the rest o’ the group couldn’t think of any more. I was happy!

Well, we had a little bit more loot to sell, and a LOT to learn about dragons! Time to get to work!

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What does death smell like. Hee! =^-^=

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Session 37, Played 24-Feb-2019

So nobody even kidded around and said, “Hey, Trig! Why don’t you help us research dragons?”, which could’ve been a bit hurtful ‘cept we all knew it was the truth and I wasn’t ‘bout to argue with bein’ sent sellin’ ’n’ shoppin’ while they did their work. So I sold the gear off the latest guys we’d killed, and I gotta say, whoever’s equippin’ ‘em’s doin’ a right nice job of it, ‘cause their gear is worth a BUNDLE!

O’course, research is slower’n hagglin’, so I asked a stray dog what it had done that day, and it just wanted to play, so I ran around with it for a while, and rolled around in the mud a bit, and chased some kids and got chased, and then figured it was time to find Alembic’n’Llew (and notice I don’t mention Forth, ‘cause I have no idea where he went once I rode away on the dog).

So… black dragons. They spit acid. So much it’ll make a pool deep enough to drown a gnome. Hey! So don’t be on the ground, and be protected from acid. Alembic had those covered. Check. It liked to use cold-based spells, ‘cause chaotic. I found it kind o’ refreshin’ that it wasn’t goin’ to be a one-trick wonder, but Alembic said he could protect us from cold as well. Check. It had nasty teeth and claws. I’d already donated to the Stoneskin pool, and Llew put in some more. Check. And Alembic was hoggin’ all the glory! Oooh, but they liked swimmin’ around in the water, so Alembic could let us breathe, but he couldn’t make us move! So I got to buy some scrolls o’ movin’ in the water (spitstream? Sounds kind o’ nasty, but whatever). Plus, the dragon could land its fat ol’ butt on all of us and pin us down at once, so scrolls to keep that from happenin’ (Freedom o’ Movement, ‘cause it’s got “Freedom” right in the name!). I could cast ‘em, but I couldn’t afford ‘em, so people bought ‘em for themselves and I’d cast it when the time came. Useful again! Woo hoo!

I took care o’ the additional shoppin’, plus I had enough left over to get one o’ those amulets o’ bein’ safe from the Mother o’ Wights, but I figured I’d just keep it safe in my handy haversack ’til the time came, ‘cause I liked my amulet o’ armor and I didn’t hear anythin’ ‘bout the dragon bein’ diseased. We talked a bit about goin’ after the dragon that evening so it wouldn’t know we were comin’, but Alembic’d used a lot o’ Dimension Doors to catch up with that barbarian, and the last thing I wanted was to get trapped in a cave with a dragon ’n’ no way out. Llew wasn’t all that happy about it, but she figured I was right ‘bout Alembic needin’ all his spells, so we settled down to rest for the night. I halfway thought of askin’ Alembic for a quick teleport to Logas so I could stay at the temple, but then I’d owe him a favor and I didn’t think I’d be able to bear that for as long as I remembered it.

In the mornin’ we had a nice breakfast, Alembic put on some kind of air-breathin’ spell on us, ’n’ we teleported to the location of our fight. And there, right over our head, was a big ol’ black dragon, lookin’ down at us. I figured we were ‘bout to be in for the fight of our lives, but it probably didn’t know that Forth doesn’t use a bow so it flew off back towards its cave, darin’ us to follow.

We did. ‘Cause we’re not very bright that way.

‘Course we weren’t stupid. We searched around for ambushes, checked for traps, ’n’ so forth, but it looked like the dragon was takin’ us seriously and had pulled in all his troops to defend his cave. (His? I mean, I don’t know anythin’ ‘bout dragons, but I didn’t see any giant testicles or anythin’ hangin’ down when he was flyin’ over us, but maybe they’re inside or somethin’. I’d’ve asked Alembic ‘bout it, but he probably wouldn’t’ve given me a polite answer.)
After a while, the track we were followin’ turned into a path. And that turned into a road. Llew sent me over to a copse o’ trees, so I dutifully went over and tinkled in it, but I didn’t know that it was doin’ any good, ‘cause if I’d’ve really had to go I’d’ve told her.

Anyhoo, as we were gettin’ pretty close to where we figured the cave’d be, I made sure Llew could see invisible things, in case the dragon was waitin’ to surprise us. Alembic made it so he could see too, just to show off. We found a sign that the Blackguard mines were right ahead, but there was a bend in the road so Forth told me to peek ‘round the corner. So I did, and it was a big cleared-out valley with a mine entrance at the other end, and a couple o’ guys with a wagon. And OF COURSE FORTH WANTED TO TALK TO THEM!!!

I swear, that dwarf could meet Rovagug himself and he’d want to talk to him first.

So we put up all our long-lastin’ spells, ’n’ I cast all the Freedom spells so no one’d get stuck under a dragon butt (but apparently not dragon testicles), Llew put up a Magic Circle, ’n’ Alembic made everyone ‘cept me fly. I used a scroll ‘cause I didn’t want to be the only one not flyin’.
Once we were ready, we went back ‘round the corner and the wagon guys were gone, of course! We went on into the entrance o’ the cave (did I mention not so bright?), it was an old Jeggare gold mine (o’ course), and Forth warned us against hurtin’ people willy-nilly ‘cause just ‘cause they were in a dragon’s cave didn’t mean they weren’t innocent.


We moved into the cave, ’n’ there were the guys, unloadin’ the wagons. Turned out they were just payin’ their tithe, but they yelled out a warnin’ to everyone in the cave that we were there. Instead o’ gettin’ mad, Forth just recommended that they go. And they unhitched their horse and took him with them (I could tell on the horse that it was a boy) ’n’ Llew said they were evil but Forth didn’t care much ‘cause he was here to slay dragons. So… I’m not much of an expert on paladins ’n’ such, but always lettin’ evil guys go ‘cause they aren’t bein’ evil at the moment doesn’t seem like any code I’ve ever heard. ‘Course I haven’t heard many codes, bein’ Calistrian ’n’ all, and the Asmodeans only taught us ways to make paladins dance to our puppeteering based on those codes. Which I thought was borin’ so I didn’t pay attention and now I wished I had.

Anyhoo, we kept goin’ carefully into the cave for another forty or fifty feet when Llew suddenly said that there weren’t any dragon tracks in the cave.

Uh oh.

Llew suggested maybe ‘cause the dragon liked water so much there might be a nearby lake that it was usin’ as an entrance, ’n’ Alembic said he remembered readin’ somethin’ about one around here. (I think he just makes it up and gets lucky often enough for us not to notice.) We skedaddled out o’ the cave ’n’ Alembic sealed it up so the dragon couldn’t get out the front side ’n’ then we flew to where Alembic said the lake was, and sure enough, there it was, as if he were right or somethin’!
Llew spotted dragon tracks all ‘round the lake, ’n’ the lake was all brackish ’n’ nasty, just like black dragons like, apparently. So I put Slipstream on people ’n’ we went down. Into pitch blackness. The water was so filthy you couldn’t see 5 feet in front of you! Llew ’n’ I could feel a current, but I was dead blind. Alembic did somethin’ ‘bout that, too, ‘cause he was just feelin’ all show-offy today. We were pretty worried ‘bout fightin’ a dragon (’n’ losin’) in this open opaque water, but eventually we found a cave entrance and felt our way in. Alembic sealed it behind us with a spell, ’n’ I used a scroll o’ Control Water (thanks, Jocelyn!) to clear out the passageway so we could see. We walked up it a bit and saw a big room up ahead.

So of course Forth flew on up into it, and I knew we were in trouble ‘cause suddenly without seein’ anythin’ my knees started knockin’ ’n’ my tummy started churnin’ ’n’ I did what any sensible gnome would do: I flew up and challenged the dragon!

‘Course, it was a little less dramatic than that. ‘Cause there wasn’t any dragon I could see in the cave. Just the fear. And I didn’t know draconic, so I tried yellin’ at it in Elven, ‘cause why not?

The rest o’ my part o’ the fight was ‘bout like that. The dragon appeared out o’ nowhere (Llew ’n’ Alembic said it’d been invisible) and bit ’n’ clawed ’n’ beat the crap out o’ me. Once again, Alembic’s Stoneskin probably saved my life, so I figured he was just extra-blessed today and I’d have to be nice to him for the rest o’ the day. A bunch o’ guys came runnin’ out o’ the darkness ’n’ cast a bunch o’ spells at us, one of which broke my flyin’ so I fell back down into the cave with Llew ’n’ Alembic. ’N’ first Alembic flew up and threw a fireball in the direction o’ the casters ’n’ I heard a lot o’ screams ’n’ then silence so I figured Alembic’d hit them (told you he was lucky today!) ’n’ Llew did somethin’ to Forth, then Forth did somethin’ to everyone ‘cept me ‘cause I was too far below it all ’n’ he ran off to fight the dragon, out o’ my sight.

I could pretty much hear the rest ‘cause Alembic was givin’ a blow-by-blow. “He put up a Force Wall between you! I just Disintegrated it! Go get him! Holy crap, Llew!”
‘Cause ‘parently Llew flew up ’n’ just started carvin’ the livin’ daylights out o’ the dragon, ’n’ it started rippin’ the livin’ daylights out o’ her, ’n’ Forth joined in and flanked it with her, and it must’ve been awfully spectacular ‘cept I was IN A HOLE! Alembic shot it with some magic but ‘parently it was immune. Well, can’t win ‘em all, Alembic.

Since I couldn’t fly, I started walkin’ up the side o’ the hole (thanks, Spidey!) and drinkin’ healin’ potions, but from the sound o’ things Llew was goin’ to need help before the dragon went down so first I used Alembic’s wand o’ Fly to make myself fly again and then I pulled out the scroll o’ Heal I’d gotten from Jocelyn.

And it didn’t work. Just kind o’ my entire day.

So I reached Llew just as she killed it, but she was lookin’ pretty awful. A bunch o’ swordsmen showed up ’n’ of course Forth had to go run into the middle of ‘em ’n’ get carved up, ‘cause why wouldn’t he, so I flew over to help him out while Llew got herself all patched up. Fortunately, Alembic’d managed to get a Fireball in on these guys before Forth got in the way, so they dropped pretty fast, though they did make Forth bleed a lot, as usual. At the end, there was one guy standin’ and I remembered to ask Llew’s permission to drop him, ’n’ she said to go ahead, but I missed by a mile so she finished him off. I think Alembic stole all my luck for the day!

Once the dragon ’n’ his(?) men were dead, we started searchin’ the mines. At the other end o’ the giant room was a giant pile o’ loot! Thousands and thousands of gold coins and gold cups and gold plates and all kinds of other proof that if you ooze acid everywhere you can’t own much o’ anything that isn’t gold. But we made a note of it and searched the rest o’ the mines, ’n’ managed to free a bunch more locals-turned-slaves (always feels good) ’n’ Forth knocked a hole in Alembic’s wall to let ‘em all out, ‘cause Forth lets everyone go. We put Ant Haul on Forth ’n’ Llew, loaded ‘em up with loot, ’n’ teleported back to Eledir to report.

Great, great, we killed a dragon. But what about the Mother of Wights?
Oh, whoops. Was that what we were doin’?

So we divvied up the loot, again, and I was pretty flush so I refilled all my scrolls (‘cause if you use ‘em once you’re bound to need ‘em again), but I still had a ton o’ gold in my pockets and quite the itchin’ to get back to the temple in Logas. So I convinced Alembic I needed to go there for their markets ’n’ he teleported me there.

I dutifully searched ‘round the markets first, and found a nifty little pink stone that’d make me harder to hit, so I bought it. Then I headed over to the temple to find Greenbrow ’n’ pay my obeisances ’n’ such, but once the acolytes in the entryway saw me they started whisperin’ ’n’ pointin’ at me and one of ‘em ran off. I figured I’d done somethin’ else wrong when the head priestess came out with some yellow-n-black nonsense in my size ’n’ told me to put it on, but I changed my armor to make it look like the teensy little bit she was holding up ’n’ asked whether it’d do ’n’ she smiled ’n’ said sure.

She led me in to the central shrine ’n’ we prayed, and then she had me take off my armor, so now I knew why the thing she’d offered me had so little fabric in it, ‘cause it was a little embarrassin’ to take so long to get nekkid, ‘specially ‘cause I had to get all the lockpicks ’n’ daggers out o’ my hair. She seemed to find the whole thing pretty amusin’, ’n’ then we got in the baths ’n’ washed each other. So, I’ll admit it, I don’t tend in that particular direction, but soapin’ up a large woman’s breasts is all kinds o’ fun ‘cause you keep slippin’ ’n’ fallin’ in the pool ’n’ such, ’n’ she didn’t seem to mind all my tomfoolery. So we coupled, ’n’ I was disappointed Greenbrow didn’t show up, but heck if I’d admit that to the priestess, ’n’ then he had me put my holy symbol on ’n’ pray some more.

And there, in the temple of Calistria, drippin’ ’n’ naked ’n’ a bit flushed ’n’ shivery from all our activity, I heard her! “Serve me well, Trig!’

I guess she wasn’t one for long speeches ’n’ such.

So the priestess ’n’ I got dressed, ’n’ she sent me to some acolytes to show me the proper prayers ’n’ such, ’n’ they told me I had to choose a particular time o’ day to pray, ‘cause Calistria was whimsical, but the gods’ rules were strict ’n’ they could only intervene if I followed their laws, like it or not. So I thought ‘bout when I could do it in secret, and since I usually did the watch just before dawn I chose two hours before dawn. The acolytes were pretty appalled, ‘cause ‘parently most people aren’t awake at that hour, but that was kind o’ my idea; I didn’t exactly want everyone to know I was suddenly an ordained cleric o’ Calistria, though the acolytes told me I’d glow to anyone who knew to look.

Oh, good. That was goin’ to make sneakin’ SO much easier!

Well, now I knew what I was shoppin’ for. I changed my armor back to be normal-lookin’ so Alembic wouldn’t suspect anythin’, then found a new headband to give me better wisdom, ‘cause I know clerics need it and I know I don’t have it. I met up with the rest o’ the group ’n’ we decided to rest for the night. I asked to stay at the temple, ’n’ I tracked down Greenbrow ’n’ gave him a goin’ over, then at two hours before dawn I started the prayers…
…and I immediately knew why it took clerics an hour! I don’t know how they do it!

Imagine bein’ at a restaurant, and none o’ the food has names. You just know what it looks like, ’n’ what it smells like, ’n’ what it’ll taste like, ’n’ the chef says, “Pick any two dishes you want!”
Yeah, that’s what bein’ a cleric’s like. ‘Cept there was one table o’ appetizers and I got to choose four, ’n’ one table o’ dishes ’n’ I got to choose two, ’n’ one table o’ house specials ’n’ I got to choose one, and I figure if I get any more powerful as a cleric my brain’s liable to pop from havin’ to make all these choices every day!

Yeah, the little voice said I could just ask for the same thing every day, but where’s the fun in that?

Side Note: In keeping with Trig's personality, once she took a level of cleric I had her randomly roll her spells each day.

Yes. She took a level of cleric and then chose spells at random.

It was hilarious.

And rather frightening how often one of those random spells came in handy.

Eventually, as Trig is Trig, she learned which spells were used more often and settled in on a handful of "standard" ones, but always saved 2-3 slots for "random" ones.

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I guess even Trif finally realized that Rogue is so underpowered that taking even a single level of Cleric improved her narrative capabilities . . . .

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UnArcaneElection wrote:

I guess even Trif finally realized that Rogue is so underpowered that taking even a single level of Cleric improved her narrative capabilities . . . .

Yeah, the narrative became, "And I did nothing useful in this combat," for so long that I had to try something different.

Sadly the Core Rules Rogue is fairly useless. The Unchained Rogue is a lot better, to the point some folk felt it was TOO useful, but I'll see seeing my current PC is an Unchained Rogue (with the Counterfeit Mage and Scout archetypes), and also went with the Firearms Training and Minor and Major Magic; next level I'll also toss Grit in there for a Rogue Trait). That's assuming she survives being introduced to the group of course.

It's funny how even just one level of Cleric or Wizard can help. I mean, you can use ANY Wand with spells usable by that class at that point without rolling Use Magic Device.

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Session 38, Played 03-Mar-2019

So the one problem with not thinkin’ things through is that they sometimes come back and bite you on your pert little ass. I was up two hours before dawn, spent an hour prayin’, got my spells, and then…?


I couldn’t exactly go out an’ play with the dogs or the badgers or whatever else I could find, ‘cause we were ‘bout to go out on the road in the wilderness, and I was pretty sure there were animals there, and I wanted to be able to talk to them. So I explored Logas before dawn for a while, and thought ‘bout vandalizin’ the temple o’ Asmodeus, ‘cept Blackburn’d been right friendly to us, as had Jocelyn, so I really didn’t have it in me. I thought ‘bout breakin’ into the wizards’ library and vandalizin’ it a bit, ‘cept that would’ve taken my knocker, ’n’ we might need that today. Bein’ up early is boooooooooooring!
I finally found a tavern with a few people who hadn’t gone to bed yet and spent the last o’ my time before Alembic got up dancin’ ’n’ singin’ ’n’ flirtin’ ’n’ generally having a good time.

Alembic didn’t say anything ‘bout me “glowin’”, so I guess he wasn’t lookin’, or he just didn’t see such things. You never can tell with Alembic. But we gathered up Forth ’n’ Llew, ’n’ they didn’t talk ‘bout me “glowin’” either, so I figured it was something they’d have to look for, which was a bit of a relief. We had breakfast and decided to teleport out to the place in the road where we’d branched off to take out the fortress ’n’ the dragon. Once we were there, Alembic summoned Phantom Steeds for us, ’n’ I asked for one that was yellow ’n’ black ‘cause it seemed appropriate to ride in Calistria’s colors, ’n’ he told me he could make the horse taste like honey and I licked it and it did! Alembic’s the best! Sometimes. So I started lickin’ the horse all over, ’n’ sometimes it was sweet ’n’ sometimes it was sour ’n’ sometimes it tasted like vomit or somethin’ even nastier ’n’ it made me gag.
Best. Horse. Ever!

When I started gettin’ lower on the horse Llew decided that was enough ’n’ we should start ridin’, and I’d’ve argued that magic horses don’t have those parts so it doesn’t matter where I lick ‘em, but I figured that was a debate for another day. We rode along and the horses flew! I was on a FLYING HORSE!!! That tasted like honey and vomit! It was my best day ever!
So as usual the group let me take point, and after about 30 seconds Llew told me I was off the road already, but I was on a tasty flying horse! How could I concentrate with that goin’ on?

Once Llew was showin’ us the proper way to go it didn’t take long to get to Phil’s cabin, and you could tell he was a hermit ‘cause of all the “Go Away” signs in all kinds o’ languages. There was even a sign in Gnomish warnin’ that he was “very serious”, but I figured that was OK; no one in the party laughs at my jokes, either. ‘Cept when Alembic steals my candy, but that’s another story entirely. So at least I knew he liked gnomes, ‘cause how could I resist ALL those signs tellin’ me to go away? His cabin was a bunch o’ logs stacked up together nice ’n’ flammable-like, so I went up to the door and knocked and called out that we were there to visit. He called out through the door askin’ why he should talk to us, ’n’ I told ‘im it was ‘cause we were cute (which was true for 2 of the 4 of us, at least. And maybe my horse, if he was into those kinds o’ things). That was enough to get him to tell us to wait while he got dressed ’n’ came out.

Once he was done he came on out to look us over. He was a plain-lookin’ middle-aged human(?) man in plain-lookin’ clothes, kind o’ ‘xactly what I ‘spected, but he looked at me and asked whether I was a real gnome. That’s my favorite question ‘cause I get asked all the time and I never remember what I said the last time, so I told him I thought I was, but I couldn’t really remember, so he should ask Llew. Llew gave me that kind o’ half-glower, half-smile that said she thought it was good answer too. But he looked us over ’n’ asked what we wanted ’n’ we told him we were goin’ to kill the Mother o’ Wights ’n’ he said we weren’t good enough ’n’ we were goin’ to die, so we told him we killed a dragon, ’n’ Forth even remembered what color it was and everything. (It was dark and I was in a pit. What do you want?) I turned on the big eyes ’n’ told him we really needed the information. He gave me the eye and said he’d need payment from us.

What is it about these horny damned humans and their gnome fetishes? Aren’t human women good enough for ‘em? And gods, they have elven women at the Calistrian temples! Why do you have to be so obsessed with gnomes? But I was an ordained cleric now, and there was no weaselin’ out of it this time, so I shuddered and figured I could at least Prestidigitate him clean a bit, and went over ’n’ grabbed his hand and said, “OK, let’s go.”

Apparently I was bein’ a bit presumptuous.

Once he got a word in edgewise, he wasn’t lookin’ to sleep with me at all! He just wanted to know my full name! That was easy! Trigonomopherianogglepatrix Belmafoodleptock, ‘cause I’d come from a quiet family. He asked Alembic for a scroll of a spell he didn’t know, so I tried to hand Alembic a scroll of Atonement ‘cause it wasn’t doin’ me any good ’n’ it would’ve been funny, but instead he gave him a scroll of Wall of Stone ’n’ the guy seemed pretty happy, since it’d let him make his cabin out o’ stone instead o’ wood. Maybe he’s part dwarf, too. Speakin’ o’ dwarves, he just made Forth chop a bunch o’ wood. ‘Cause I guess he didn’t want to learn ‘bout rocks or some such. But he did want to learn ‘bout undead, ’n’ Llew started goin’ off ‘bout all the undead commonly found in the area, and how to kill ‘em (‘cause she’s good at that), ’n’ how many of ‘em she’d killed, ’n’ how she’d killed ‘em, ’n’ I sat down ’n’ started listenin’ ‘cause it was really interestin’ and I never remember any o’ that stuff anyway, but eventually she was done and he was happy. He said that the thing that impressed him the most ‘bout us was that we hadn’t even mentioned the diamond mine; we were goin’ after the cause o’ the problems, not tryin’ to go ‘round her. I told him I figured we weren’t s’posed to take any diamonds anyway ’til she was dead, so why worry ‘bout that ’til she was over ’n’ done with. He said we might have what it takes to deal with her. He told Forth he could chop the wood later ’n’ he’d answer our questions first and he invited us inside.

Well, “inside” was like nothin’ I’d ever seen before! We stepped through the doorway and suddenly we were in some kind o’ magnificent mansion, with high ceilings, lush furnishings, all kinds o’ stuff to get into, and even gnome-sized furniture! Speakin’ o’ gnome-sized furniture, once he was across the portal he transformed into a gnome, and not a bad-lookin’ one at that! Now this was an obeisance I could get into! All he needed to do was give us useful information, and I figured he was plannin’ on doin’ that anyway, but I figured Calistria wouldn’t mind if I bent the rules a little, bein’ Calistria ’n’ all.

Trouble was, he had a LOT to tell us. His name was Philosopher Drendle, so o’ course ‘cause humans can remember less ’n even me, they shortened it to Phil Dren. He’d been a spy for the Cheliaxians back when Isger was doin’ OK, but when the goblin wars came that’d kind of all come tumblin’ down. But he was a wizard, so he set up shop here and kept track o’ Logas ’n’ Eledir ’n’ everythin’ else since then. He knew all ‘bout Finder’s Gulch, both before and after it fell to the Mother o’ Wights. He started off with stuff we already knew, ‘bout how the diamond mines funded all the royal families and how they didn’t trust each other. But then he pointed out that that meant they didn’t trust any o’ the diamond transporters to use magic. There was no teleportin’, nor flyin’, nor magical tasty steeds; all the diamonds were hauled out with nothin’ but horses, carts, ’n’ an equal number o’ guards from each house. The workers in the mines were mostly undead ’n’ golems, ‘cause they don’t steal, ’n’ the mine was sealed with an adamantine door that you needed 5 whatzits just to open (one from each family). He said it was self-closin’, but I had an Immovable Rod that’d debate that. The problem was, each family’d hidden its whatzit in one o’ the golems in the wilderness, and there was no tellin’ which one ‘less you said the proper command word ’n’ got into it. Or just destroyed it. Plus, the moment you picked up one of the whatzits, a timer started ’n’ you had 48 hours to use it or the hounds’d wake up ’n’ make adamantine dog chow outta you. I suggested we just leave the whatzits in the wilderness, ’n’ he figured that’d work, or I might be able to turn it off. I appreciated the compliment!

Just to make things more fun, each golem was made by a particular family ’n’ would only respond to its command word, ’n’ there was no tellin’ which golem was from which family. So we’d be spendin’ a while searchin’ golems for whatzits. On the bright side, the whatzits were all made o’ platinum so they should be pretty obvious once we find ‘em. Finally, once we get past all the golems, the mountains’re swarmin’ with mischievous redcaps who’ll cause trouble, ’n’ the Mother of Wights is livin’ in the mine, ‘cause ‘parently incorporeal creatures can go on through. So it’s a door wide enough for one person, ’n’ once you open it it’s likely a whole host o’ incorporeal undead’ll come bubblin’ up around you. Not soundin’ like the most fun game in the world!

Well, once he’d wrapped up ’n’ had his invisible servants serve us tea ’n’ such I asked Forth whether the information we’d received was valuable, ’n’ he said it was, so that was enough for me ’n’ I grabbed Phil and headed for the first room that looked somethin’ akin to a bedroom. Llew looked pretty aghast, but gnomes’re few ’n’ far between ‘round here, and it was now my religious duty! Or at least I figured it was close enough. Phil couldn’t figure out what I was doin’ for a moment but then I pointed at my holy symbol ’n’ he caught on right quick ’n’ he found us a bedroom with a proper gnome-sized bed ’n’ everything.

OK. Elves’re nice. Really nice. But there’s nothin’ like bein’ spooned by someone your own size in a bed your own size ’n’ everythin’. I could’ve lain there all day, ‘cept the rest o’ the party was waitin’, ’n’ my religious duty was done ’n’ all, so I had no more excuses ’n’ had to get up ’n’ go search for golems.

We said goodbye to Phil ’n’ set off.

Unfortunately, my ministrations’d taken too long ’n’ Alembic had to summon new horses, ’n’ this one didn’t taste like anythin’; not even horse! So we set about followin’ the road (which even I could do, ‘cause it was pretty obvious) ’n’ lookin’ for golems. It wasn’t all that surprisin’ that it took us a while to get up a ways above Phil’s cabin into the foothills proper without findin’ one, but the longer we searched the more I began to wonder whether we actually knew what a golem looked like. Fortunately, just before dusk, Llew spotted one (like she always does) ’n’ it looked pretty much like what we’d been lookin’ for: A big iron guy standin’ there all covered with vines, a bit off the road so he wasn’t easy to spot unless you were really lookin’ for him.
I was askin’ whether we should kill it ’n’ Llew said you destroy golems, not kill ‘em, so that was one more thing for me not to remember. But Alembic made us all fly ’n’ we all flew over ’n’ I yelled out the Jeggare command word ‘cause I thought it’d be funny and the golem woke up and threw a javelin at me and I figured that meant it had good taste, but everyone else tried all the other family words and none of ‘em worked (I got to try Blackburn, ‘cause I got two), so we decided we needed to “destroy” it. Alembic did somethin’ that made it stand still, which was pretty nice, ’n’ Llew ’n’ Forth chopped it up with their adamantine weapons, which was all in all pretty impressive ‘cause I’d never seen adamantine cut into iron before ’n’ it was pretty nasty ’n’ Llew ’n’ Forth weren’t kiddin’ around. Since there were 20 golems total, I decided to call this one Number 8, because it seemed like an 8 kind of day. So we searched Number 8 and he (it?) didn’t have anything on him (it? I don’t care), which meant we had 19 more golems to go.

Even though the fight’d been easy, it was gettin’ dark. I helpfully suggested goin’ back to Phil’s to spend the night, but the rest o’ the group wanted to camp, in case we learned anythin’ useful at night. I wanted a fire and toasted marshmallows, ’n’ Forth said it was OK, so I lit up my campfire bead ’n’ pulled out my gnome rations, but these were some kind o’ delicious soup in a paper bag. With no silverware. So I didn’t get to toast marshmallows, and it took a bit o’ work to eat all the soup without eatin’ too much o’ the soggy bag, and it was kind o’ weird bein’ the only one at the campfire eatin’, but all the rest of ‘em had that ring that meant they didn’t have to eat. I can’t imagine livin’ without eatin’. It’s too fun! Or sleepin’! Speakin’ of which, I volunteered for third watch, but since everyone else stayed up I couldn’t exactly pray discreetly so I told Llew I had to tinkle, and not to worry if it took me an hour or so, and she just rolled her eyes in that way that told me she knew I was lyin’ but she was lettin’ me get away with it ‘cause I was obviously doin’ somethin’ useful.

I like Llew. She and I, we understand each other.

So I slipped off, and just ‘cause I don’t like to lie to Llew I tinkled, and then I prayed and got my spells. I was in a hurry so I just chose that funny, “Pick the ones you picked yesterday” choice, but it didn’t take any less time. Stupid gods and their stupid rules! I supposed the next day I’d take the “choose somethin’ at random” option. I’m sure Calistria likes that one. ‘Specially for gnomes.

In the morning we searched around again and found our second golem. This one never moved at all, even when we called out all the command words, so I called it Number 19, which seemed like a good number for not movin’. Llew ’n’ Forth started talkin’ ‘bout whether or not to destroy it. Llew felt like it was probably a threat to anyone who’d come by, and it might have one of those platinum things in it, but Forth figured it was probably still protectin’ the town. Llew pointed out that if it was protectin’ Eledir from undead it was doin’ a pretty crappy job, and I gave the win to her for that one, but we didn’t destroy it anyway. We just marked where it was on a map and figured if we needed to we’d come back to it. So I ate lunch while everyone else stared at me (keep at it folks; never gonna bother me. A gnome’s gotta eat!) and we searched in the afternoon. Llew spotted another one, but it didn’t move either, so I called it Number 16 because that’s like a 19 except the 9 got flipped over. Alembic told us that it was “active” (not “alive"), but we hadn’t done whatever it was that triggered it. Everyone decided that one night o’ campin’ with me was enough, so Alembic teleported us back to Eledir and we spent the night there. I couldn’t figure out a good way to get us to Logas or Phil’s, so I just made sure I got a big human-sized room with a human-sized bath and had a luxurious evenin’, and even got to pray in my room in private in the mornin’! And Eledir was startin’ to look better. Just more alive. More people, more activity, more food, more wares. Made me feel good to know I’d been a part of it.

Once everyone else was up Alembic teleported us back to the last golem we’d been to, ‘cept immediately Llew said we were in the wrong place and on the Logas trail and this was the wrong golem. And I believed her ‘cause Llew. Plus, not only were we at one of ‘em (Number 14, ‘cause a 4 looks kind of like a 9 if your writin’s bad), but there was another one right across the road (Number 9, ‘cause now I can just drop the 1. See? Namin’ golems is a good game, even if they just get numbers). Once we saw two at once, we could see they weren’t all the same; each golem had some differences on ‘em, so someone knowin’ what to look for would know which golem was which.

While Llew was tellin’ Alembic what he’d done wrong (a conversation I always enjoy), Alembic started backin’ way from the golem we were next to, ‘cause he’s a coward that way. And the golem came alive and whacked him! And the other golem came alive and hit him with a big old javelin, ‘cept it was attached to a chain so it looked like it was tryin’ to spearfish Alembic back to it. I’m not used to seein’ Alembic bleed that much, and he’s a pretty scrawny guy, so I was actually worried for him.
Well, Forth started carvin’ into Number 14 and it didn’t like that so it started poundin’ him, and Llew started helpin’ Forth, so it started poundin’ her, too. Number 9 was busy throwin’ javelins at Alembic ’n’ he took control of it for a moment, but then lost it again. What about me? Well, the golems didn’t care ‘bout me. Nothin’ I could do could get their attention! So I called on Calistria to grant me the touch o’ luck ’n’ I started touchin’ Llew ’n’ Forth to make ‘em lucky, hopin’ that would help ‘em hit more. It worked, ’n’ they started hittin’ much better (at least Forth did; Llew didn’t seem to be havin’ any trouble in any case), but one o’ the golems spit a poison cloud on us and I got poisoned, ‘cause me.

Not too much of a price to pay to feel like I was helpin’.

Anyhoo, Llew ’n’ Forth chopped up the two golems with only a bit o’ help from me ’n’ without Alembic dyin’, so I figured it was a win, ’n’ Forth started healin’ us all up. I’d eventually managed to get Number 9 to swing at me once, but it wasn’t like he hit me, so I kind o’ stood ‘round in Forth’s channelin’ appreciatin’ that I didn’t need it. Once Alembic was feelin’ better ’n’ he’d seen two golems at once, he could tell us a few things: First, there were two types of golems (duh!). The ones with chained poles were for ranged troops, especially casters. The ones without chained poles were just fighters. The worse news was that he knew why none of ‘em were responding to the command words: Once you used one, if it was the wrong one, they’d ignore the rest! Just like those stupid paranoid families! Fortunately, we’d been usin’ the Jeggare command word first on ALL of ‘em, so at least we knew we hadn’t hit a Jeggare golem yet. The command for the ones on the Logas road seemed to be, “Attack anyone who shows fear,” which was really kind of a mean command to have around Alembic.

Llew wanted to figure out where we were, so I pulled out my wayfinder ’n’ handed it to her to use. ’N’ she gave me one o’ those looks that said, “Is there anything that you don’t keep in your pack, Trig?”, to which I gave her the little hands-behind-my-back shrug-n-grin that said, “Nope.” We weren’t that far north of Logas, but Llew wanted to make sure there were no golems between us ’n’ there, so we rode south to Logas, made sure we hadn’t missed any, then rode north again to find the next pair.

I looked these two over and decided they were Numbers 5 and 7. And Number 5 bowed to the Jeggare command word! Woo hoo! Trouble was, Number 7 didn’t, ’n’ got all grumpy at us. Forth flew in before Alembic could try to control it and got whacked for his troubles, ’n’ Alembic got control but lost it after only a round, so Llew got whacked on and poisoned. I slipped in behind her and touched her with the wand she bought me and it flashed all bright ’n’ healed her a LOT! Good wand! So I don’t know what Forth was thinkin’, but maybe he thought we were done cause he started spinnin’ round with his hammer and sayin’ that he felt sick, but Llew finished off Number 7. We went over to Number 5 and found one of those whatzits in it, so me ’n’ Alembic looked it over ’n’ agreed it’d be better for me to try to take it out. It took me a little while, and Llew was helpin’ with some spell that made me a wee bit better, but eventually I pulled it out without settin’ off any Sendin’ or anythin’, then I popped it in my handy haversack, ‘cause that’s where all interestin’ things go.

We decided to go back to Logas to heal up ’n’ rest for the night, but I was actually tired so I took advantage of bein’ a bona-fide cleric to get myself a nice little room in the temple and sleep. Alone.

Yeah, I know. It’s not like me. But I was tired.

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And for the record, Trig's infamous Handy Haversack eventually contained 216 items weighing in at 107 pounds.

She was a well-prepared young gnome!

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Now we need to see Trig occasionally pull out signs that just happen to say something appropriate for the moment . . . .

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Session 39, Played 10-Mar-2019

In the mornin’ I chose “give me somethin’ random”, and ended up bein’ able to summon small critters ’n’ take fear off o’ people. I didn’t think the fear one would be of any use with Forth or Llew, and I didn’t think I could cast spells powerful ‘nough to cure Alembic of his fear yet. Ah, well! Maybe I’d get a chance to try it! Worst case I’d get to summon a celestial dolphin to flop around in the forest a bit, ‘cept it seemed kind o’ mean to do that to a dolphin. And what the heck’s “celestial” about dolphins?

Anyhoo, dolphins aside, I came out o’ the temple ’n’ met up with the rest o’ the group, ’n’ Alembic gave me the stink eye like he always does when I come out o’ the temple (or really anywhere else for that matter), ’n’ as we were havin’ breakfast; well, *I* was havin’ breakfast, and ‘cause it was so tasty with bacon ’n’ sausages ’n’ eggs ’n’ toast ’n’ fruits ’n’ berries ’n’ nuts ’n’ such most o’ the rest o’ the group ate even though they didn’t have to. I figured I could save some money by skippin’ lunch, so I ate a TON! Where was I again? Oh, yeah! Alembic wanted to take a look-see at the whatzit. Llew suggested that we shouldn’t be lookin’ at it in the open, so we went up to our (well, their) room ’n’ Alembic gave it a good goin’ over.

He was impressed. It didn’t have to be magical ‘cause it was just really well designed to be part o’ some big machine, and lots o’ the parts had to flex just so ’n’ fit just so at the same time so it HAD to be made o’ platinum. I’d bet my butt dimples a gnome designed it! Since it was pretty hefty and made o’ platinum, Alembic said it’d be worth around ten thousand gold if we wanted to sell it. ‘Cause Alembic’s always thinkin’ ‘bout stuff like that.

Once Alembic was done with his snoopin’, Forth started discussin’ whether we should go back to the Eledir path or stay on the Logas one. But I thought Drendle’d said all the whatzits’d be on the Logas side! So I asked whether we had a good reason to bother with Eledir any more, ’n’ the rest o’ the group couldn’t think o’ one, so north from Logas we rode! (At least I assume it was north; Llew was leadin’ ’n’ I don’t question her.) I asked Alembic for a blue steed with a white mane that tasted like blueberries, ’n’ he obliged! He’s always good when he’s showin’ off his magicky side. After a couple o’ hours I was watchin’ a squirrel chase a butterfly when the squirrel started runnin’ all over a golem. I pointed it out to the rest o’ the group as if I’d been payin’ attention ’n’ actually lookin’ for it. Once again, there was a bashy guy ’n’ a throwy guy. This time Alembic made us all fly, ’n’ put Stoneskin on Llew ’n’ Forth. I took an antitoxin pill in case I had to go in to help ’n’ offered one to Alembic, but he’s gettin’ wise to me and didn’t take it. Then Llew ’n’ Forth took their positions while Alembic and I took to the air, then Alembic cast up and invisible wall between the two golems. That woke ‘em up and they started attackin’, but only the bashy guy could attack anyone, and he just hit Forth, which we’re kind of used to. I yelled the command word for the Blackburns, and o’ course it didn’t work ‘cause it (almost) never does. The throwy guy kept throwin’ stuff at me, ‘cause I’m charmin’ that way, but Llew ’n’ Forth carved up bashy guy, then went around the wall and carved up throwy guy. I’d say I didn’t do anythin’, ‘cept I did yell the command word ’n’ I let bashy guy swing at me once so Llew could get at ‘im, but otherwise I just kind o’ looked for more squirrels, and then once bashy guy was down I checked him for whatzits. Alembic tried that command spell o’ his, but I’m not sure it does what he thinks it does, ‘cause once again they didn’t pay much attention to him.

Bashy guy (we’ll call him Number One, since I don’t think I’ve used that yet) had a whatzit! I did my usual due diligence ’n’ then disarmed ’n’ pulled out the whatzit ’n’ popped it in my Handy Haversack quick as I could. ‘Cept Alembic was worried so I had to pull it out again so he could cast Detect Magic on it. He said he saw faint traces that said a spell’d gone off when the golems activated, not when I’d pulled out the whatzit. I didn’t argue. As long as he wasn’t claimin’ I’d botched the job, he could say whatever he wanted to about the whatzit. Back into the haversack it went. We went over to Number Three (the other one, since Two would’ve been boring) ’n’ he had one too! Good for you, squirrel! Got us two whatzits in one morning, and we were over halfway to bein’ done!

Llew was still a bit beat up from gettin’ hit by the golem so I used Ornery to heal her up. Forth said I’d been very brave to fly in and let the golem take swings at me, ’n’ I just blushed a little and didn’t point out how I hadn’t needed healin’ for the golems yet, so it’s not like runnin’ around their big slow feet was causin’ me any grief. Their poison, on the other hand…

We rode on and in the afternoon Llew spotted two more golems, ‘cause she pays attention so she’s better’n me at such things, but these two were different: One had both its arms ripped off, ’n’ the other was missin’ its head. Alembic said it probably wasn’t “special battle tactics” as I was thinkin’, ’n’ Llew ’n’ Forth agreed with him and told me to go touch ‘em. And because I like Forth and didn’t want to see how badly I could make him blush, I made no comment ‘bout the number o’ times some surly man’s told me to touch somethin’ I didn’t want to. But I didn’t. I just snuck over and…

…creepy!!!! The unmistakable tang of evil fey filled the air, makin’ my skin crawl ’n’ the hairs on the back o’ my neck itch. This wasn’t one o’ those powerful female fey who’ll eat you as soon as look at you, but who’ll make bargains if you’re nice to ‘em. These were fey who were just plain mean. I didn’t like it. I called out in Sylvan but nobody answered, so I stuck to my job ’n’ touched the armless one. It didn’t move, but it didn’t make me feel any better. So I named it Number Two because it deserved it. Forth made me go over and poke the other one. It didn’t move either, so I named it Number 17 and skedaddled back to the group. Once I was in Llew’s circle o’ protection the evil aura lessened a bit, so I decided to stick close to her for a while.

Now that I’d gone and done all the dangerous stuff, we all went in. I figured Llew ’n’ Forth were doin’ it to make Alembic feel better ‘bout bein’ a coward, and I wouldn’t’ve minded ‘cept for that queasy, greasy, bad fey feelin’. With Llew next to me I went over old Number Two and found that he’d had a whatzit, but it’d been removed. And not just some stupid “rip it out and reap the rewards” idiot, either. Someone who knew what they were doin’ tripped all the right springs to get it out without springin’ the trap, so I was up against some competition.

I’d win.

Llew started lookin’ over the damage and the ground, ’n’ I stuck close to her but stayed out of her way ‘cause she gets all intent-like, and I suspect that when she’s lookin’ at the ground like that there are little bitty ants bein’ burned to death and dyin’ by the intensity of her gaze, and I’m not much bigger’n an ant to her, so why take risks? She first said the golems were destroyed by somethin’ usin’ blunt weapons (read: stupid), but she finally realized they were usin’ pickaxes and just weren’t gettin’ through the golem’s hide all that often. Lookin’ at the tracks and the damage and such, Llew concluded that the golems’d been swarmed by redcaps. Which also explained the greasy evil fey feeling I was feelin’. The whole thing hadn’t happened more’n a few days ago, so the redcaps knew what we were doin’, came in, took out a couple o’ golems, ’n’ got their hands on a whatzit. Probably just to mess with us.
Sick bastards. If it’d’ve been me I’d’ve left a note leadin’ to some kind o’ trap-filled maze, ‘cause that’d’ve been funnier. Llew said their trail led deeper into the forest, ’n’ it was gettin’ pretty dark, so we decided to “camp” back in town.

I didn’t mind the good food, the luxury, the baths, or the plentiful berries that were startin’ to pour into town, but if we didn’t start hard campin’ soon I’d feel awfully silly ‘bout all the gear I’d been carryin’ around all this time in anticipation o’ campin’ in the mountains in the snow.

Guess Alembic just isn’t built for that kind o’ stuff, so he keeps a couple o’ teleports handy to sleep in the lap o’ luxury. I’d mock him, but I’d do the same thing in his shoes, so I won’t. He piled up a bunch o’ rocks ’n’ stared at ‘em for a while, loudly tellin’ us he was memorizin’ the rocks so we could teleport back to ‘em, and I figured that was pretty stupid of him to yell it like that ‘cause the redcaps might hear, but I didn’t say anythin’ ‘cause Llew didn’t ’n’ I figured she’d’ve yelled if it were really dumb. Since we were doin’ stuff, I carved, “Your hat looks more pink than red to me,” in Sylvan in a tree. ‘Cause it seemed kind o’ twisted.

Once we were back in town, Llew ’n’ Alembic wanted to know more about redcaps and why they might be stealin’ whatzits ’n’ such, but they didn’t know ‘bout any libraries in town that would know anythin’ ‘bout fey or the natural world or whatnot. So they turned to me. And I headed over to the temple and asked the priestess real nice-like ‘bout libraries ‘bout nature, ’n’ she said the people of Logas didn’t really care much ‘bout nature so I wouldn’t find any libraries, but there were plenty o’ bards in town, and maybe I could ask one o’ them. I checked the waitin’ area for bards, but o’ course there weren’t any ‘cause they’re ALL cute ’n’ charmin’ ’n’ such, so they don’t have to pay to play, or if they do then they’re not any good and I don’t want to talk to them anyway.
I met up with Llew ’n’ Forth ’n’ Alembic ’n’ told ‘em I had to go find a bard, ’n’ Alembic ’n’ Forth didn’t want to come along, but Llew did, ’n’ that made me feel better.

So I asked the horses in the stable whether they knew where a bard was, ’n’ they didn’t know what a bard was. So I asked the dog I always wrestle with, but he just wanted to play. And his kid didn’t know what a bard was either. Llew had that look on her face that said that I was doin’ somethin’ wrong again, and she suggested that maybe I should start askin’ humans. Adult humans. I figured that was a great idea so I asked the stablemaster, ’n’ he at least said that maybe I should start checkin’ in taverns.

And oh, what a night! First tavern I go into, a couple o’ guys say, “Hey, isn’t that a couple o’ those adventurers who took out the Jeggares?” ’n’ they insisted on buyin’ us drinks, then o’ course I had to dance for ‘em ‘cause I like showin’ off, then we got to talkin’ for a while, then Llew eventually rolled her eyes and reminded me we were lookin’ for a bard who knew ‘bout nature. So I asked, but there wasn’t one in this particular tavern, but maybe the one down the road…
…and on and on it went, ’n’ Llew was good company ‘cause she never once lost her temper when she was sayin’, “Trig, get off the chandelier,” or, “Trig, get out from under her dress,” or, “Trig, stop bartending!” and it wasn’t ’til around midnight that I finally found the bard we were lookin’ for ’n’ got him good ’n’ tipsy ’n’ feelin’ awfully friendly ’n’ talky, but not friendly in that kind o’ way (‘cause that’s distractin’), ’n’ Llew grabbed Alembic ’n’ Forth ’n’ started askin’ him ‘bout redcaps.
We learned a lot of stuff we already knew: Their caps made ‘em heal magically, and they liked runnin’ in, kickin’ people with their iron shoes, ’n’ runnin’ away again. And cold iron works against ‘em. But we also learned that they use big people’s weapons, particularly scythes, ‘cause they want to cause as much pain as possible. On the other hand, listenin’ to us describe what we’d fought ’n’ conquered, he figured we’d be able to slaughter ‘em in droves, so they probably wouldn’t be much of a threat to us. And they deserved to be slaughtered, ‘cause they were all natural-born sadists and delighted in causin’ as much pain (both physical and emotional) as possible.

Listenin’ to all this, Llew was sure we were headed for a trap. The golems hadn’t moved when they’d been attacked, so a high-level caster (better’n Alembic) had to be involved to freeze ‘em like that. Or someone already had control of ‘em, like the Mother of Wights. Redcaps weren’t good with traps, so they had to have another ally who could disarm the whatzit before they took it. She figured our best course was to find the redcaps ’n’ either reason with ‘em or put the fear of us into them so deep they were more afraid of us than their master. I figured Llew’d choose the latter course, ‘cause she’s good at that kind of thing.

We got a good night’s sleep in a nice inn (well, I know *I* did ‘cause I’m payin’ a gold piece a night for a human-sized room with a human-sized bath and the best food they’ve got, ‘cause they know to give me different stuff every day and I like ‘em for it), then buffed up (‘cause we were expectin’ an ambush) and teleported back to the spot with Number Two.
Llew’d put a circle on me ‘cause she’s nice that way so it didn’t feel as creepy as before, but I still felt the fey. Alembic’s rocks were all knocked over but there were no tracks near ‘em, but I kind o’ started feelin’ sorry for the dirty little redcaps when Llew just looked ‘round, figured out that they’d been throwin’ rocks to knock over the pile, then found where they’d been throwin’ ‘em and found their tracks.
Hide from THAT, stupid dirty little redcaps. (Well, OK, they’re probably bigger’n me, but the rest o’ my party makes up for it.)

Llew started followin’ the tracks with Forth at her side, ’n’ I took to the bushes to provide a nasty surprise for any redcaps that tried to ambush them, ’n’ Alembic stayed even farther behind ‘cause Alembic.

As we moved deeper into redcap territory, we started seein’ animals hung from trees. They were mutilated somethin’ awful, ’n’ Llew confirmed that they weren’t just slaughtered; they’d been tortured. “Creatively” tortured, and then hung up and left to die. A few of ‘em were left alive so I put ‘em out of their misery, ’n’ Llew thought it was a cruel thing to do but we couldn’t exactly burn all our resources healin’ every injured bunny or raccoon that we came across, but heck if I was goin’ to let ‘em stay sufferin’. There’s a time to let your critters go, and this was one o’ those times. Didn’t mean I wasn’t goin’ to take it out o’ the redcaps’ hides. Slowly and painfully. Sometimes bein’ Calistrian feels good. As we moved on, the saplings gave way to young trees, and there were humans strung up in those. First kids on the smaller trees, then women on the larger trees, and finally men on the trees big enough to support ‘em. For all the sentient beings, the redcaps’d put wooden bowls under ‘em to catch all their blood for their caps. I asked Forth whether this was enough so I could just kill ‘em on sight, ’n’ Forth said, “Yes,” so it was redcap huntin’ season.

Once we were in among the biggest trees the redcaps’d stopped tryin’ to hide their tracks, figurin’ they were safe. I aimed to dispel that notion. Llew said she saw a light a bit off the trail, so we followed her ‘cause sometimes she just knows things and we know enough not to argue with her. She pointed the lights out to me and I could finally see ‘em, but she and I agreed that they weren’t gettin’ any closer, so it was obviously some kind o’ trap tryin’ to lure us off the trail. We got back to the trail ’n’ followed it ’til it wasn’t a trail any more, just a whole bunch o’ redcap footsteps all ‘round, as if they lived here but didn’t have any houses or anythin’. Alembic asked me whether fey used illusions, ’n’ I felt like sayin’ somethin’ smart but killin’ the redcaps was more important at the moment so I just said, “Yes,” so he put up a spell that let Llew see through illusions, made himself able to see invisible things, ’n’ turned himself invisible. Or somethin’ like that. It was pretty confusin’ all in all ’cause Alembic flew up to look around while Llew was lookin’ at stuff from ground level ’n’ suddenly there was all kinds o’ buzzin’ ’n’ zappin’ ’n’ the smell o’ roastin’ Alembic up above us, ’n’ I looked up and there were all these glowy balls floatin’ ‘round an empty space ’n’ zappin’ it with lightning, so I figured I knew where Alembic was. The screams helped too.
I flew up to try to hit one (oh, yeah, Alembic’d made us fly at some point. Sometimes I’m so mad I just don’t pay a lot of attention to things), but I didn’t hurt it much at all. Forth did somethin’ so that he ’n’ Alembic switched places (neat trick!) ’n’ Llew put herself between Alembic and the nasties. He protected himself ’n’ Llew from electricity and the nasties tried zapping him once more then ran off. Whatever they were, they were smart, ’n’ they were annoying!

They didn’t come back ‘cause we were on to ‘em now, so we moved into the “lair” and Llew spotted a cottage. It was built for a small person, but there was a human-sized axe out front. Smoke was comin’ out o’ the chimney. Alembic ’n’ I suggested a fireball down the chimney would be a nice touch, but Forth’s gotta talk to EVERYBODY (gotta be a paladin thing). So he called out, and the guy called back that he hated all of us, hated ME the most, ’n’ hated Llew the least. I took it as a badge of honor and was hopin’ to draw first blood. But I knew I had to just stand there for a while while Forth talked, ‘cause it’s a paladin thing. He knew ‘bout the gear, ’n’ Forth ’n’ Llew were willin’ to negotiate with him, ’n’ he said he’d give us information if we went to the Eledir trail ’n’ slaughtered all the redcaps there in very painful ways. I was kind o’ leery; what if they were nice redcaps? But Llew ’n’ Forth said all the waffle words that made it so we weren’t promisin’ anythin’, ’n’ he told us where to look for ‘em. He made untoward comments ‘bout me, but I didn’t kill him ‘cause I’m good that way. Llew wanted to know why he needed the other redcaps dead, ’n’ he said it was ‘cause they were in a competition and his side was losin’. So they’re dirty little cheats on top of everything else! She made him promise that if she brought back all the redcaps’ blood that he’d use that ’n’ not harm any more innocents ’til that blood ran out, ’n’ he agreed to that, but I figured a good fireball or two would stop innocent bloodshed just as well ’n’ be far more satisfyin’, but I’m not in charge, ‘cause… hey, why am I NOT in charge?…

Anyhoo, we said goodbye to Gristle (his name) and his “will o’ wisps” (the glowy things; apparently his pets) and teleported back to Eledir, then got our phantom steeds ’n’ rode up to where the redcaps were supposed to be. This time I got a dark orange horse with a blood red mane and iron hooves. Alembic called it a redcap horse. I was not amused, but I didn’t want to upset him and lose my color privileges so I kept my mouth shut. We found a broken golem with its head cut off right ‘bout where we were ‘sposed to, but somethin’ was funny; the golem’d been killed 6-12 months ago; not recently. Llew looked it over ’n’ figured it out, ‘cause she does that kind o’ thing: The pass here was too narrow for the undead to go ‘round it, so as they’d started makin’ their forays into Isger lands, they’d had to kill this one to get it out o’ the way. No redcaps involved. But we DID see a dark wood ahead, so we buffed up and went in.

There were no tracks in these woods, but we saw the eerie glow that said will o’ wisps were near, so Alembic protected us and they left us alone. There were a bunch o’ redcap huts, but they seemed abandoned. Comin’ closer, we saw all the little smashed redcap corpses lyin’ dessicated in the middle o’ their little village, ’n’ I managed not to giggle. ‘Specially when a swarm o’ ghosts came pourin’ out o’ the bodies ’n’ attacked us! They tried to use some moanin’ ’n’ shriekin’ at me, but Calistria was in my brain now, protectin’ me, so I didn’t feel afraid. Thanks, Calistria! I knew my dagger wouldn’t do much good, so I pulled out Shocky ’n’ tried to use her, but the ghosts were dodgy little things ’n’ I didn’t want to stop dodgin’ myself for fear o’ gettin’ wasted away, or whatever they do. Alembic hit them with lightning that DID hit, Forth channeled, ’n’ Llew used her ghost killin’ sword to kill ghosts (who knew?), so while I didn’t do much of anythin’, everyone else did. Towards the end I finally DID touch one with Shocky, but it wasn’t particularly satisfyin’; it didn’t seem to bother the ghost much at all. I guess Shocky’s for people, not ghosts. Now I know.

Llew said we had to lay ‘em to rest properly, so I let her do her thing ’n’ helped as I could, ‘cause even I could drag around little desiccated redcap corpses. Once they were laid to rest, we decided to check their houses. And I got what I deserved when I tried to just walk in: Poison on the doorknob caused me all kinds o’ agony for a bit, ’n’ Alembic got hit with a spear. Good reminder to check all your doors before openin’ ‘em, Trig! Llew found more corpses, ’n’ all of ‘em had been electrified. There was some writin’ in Sylvan on the wall, so I told ‘em it said, “Undead are here,” ’n’ Llew put it together from there: The redcaps had to hide from the undead, but they got scared, and their will o’ wisp “pets” smelled that fear ’n’ came in ’n’ ate ‘em. Nothing less than they deserved. But we put ‘em to rest anyway.

We went back to Logas and I got restored at the temple (MY temple, though they still charged me for it. Hey!), stayed at a nice in, and in the morning went back to meet with Gristle. In the meantime Llew ’n’ Alembic learned that will o’ wisps are aberrations that feed on fear, which was exactly what we’d already figured out, so it made us feel smarter. Gristle admitted he knew that the other redcaps were ghosts, but figured we’d be powerful enough to put ‘em to rest, and we were. But there was no blood, so he was goin’ to keep hunting innocents. I figured Llew’d let us kill him right there, but she didn’t.
He passed us a note under the door from Archibishop Blackburn instructing Gristle to fetch the gear, and including the Blackburn password. Gristle said he and Blackburn got along really well, and went WAY back. What a surprise! So the redcaps had handed the gear over to a half-elven bard named Calistria (really, lady? That takes some guts!), who was supposedly working for Blackburn. They handed over the gear in a clearing not far down the road, and it was probably in Blackburn’s hands by now.

So, it looked like our “beloved” cleric of Asmodeus was another one of Mother of Wight’s thralls.

Who would’ve thunk?

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Trig the Gnome wrote:
{. . .} I figured a good fireball or two would stop innocent bloodshed just as well ’n’ be far more satisfyin’, but I’m not in charge, ‘cause… hey, why am I NOT in charge?I figured a good fireball or two would stop innocent bloodshed just as well ’n’ be far more satisfyin’, but I’m not in charge, ‘cause… hey, why am I NOT in charge? {. . .}


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Session 40, Played 17-Mar-2019

Well, it was time to go back to Logas and start investigatin’, so we teleported back, an’ I was beginnin’ to think that teleportin’ was overrated ‘cause you’re always wonderin’ where you are, what day it is, and whether Alembic really got you where you were goin’, and so forth, but it looked enough like Logas that *I* couldn’t tell the difference, so I set forth my proposal to the team: First, I needed to go to the temple o’ Calistria, and I couldn’t tell ‘em why, but if I didn’t come out they needed to come get me. They agreed to that a little TOO quickly, like Forth was waitin’ for an excuse to burn down the temple or somethin’, but at least they agreed to it. Forth even got clever and they took a couple o’ little cuts from the papers in case they got destroyed so they could re-make ‘em. Llew was sweet ’n’ all and offered to come with me, but my parents’d taught me well not to get outsiders involved in Calistrian dealings, so I figured we’d all be safer if I went in alone.

So I went in and asked to see the priestess, and I offered “valuable information in exchange for valuable information” like I was s’posed to when I was bein’ serious ’n’ all, but she still thought I might be jokin’ around and said my “valuable information” might not be all that valuable. So I went ahead ’n’ showed her the papers, ’n’ she gave me a clueless look like she didn’t know what they meant. So I told her. And she still stared at me with big blank eyes. No big evil Calistrian grin. No wheels within wheels. Just big, blonde, blank elven eyes waiting for me to get to the point. Either she was better’n I’d ever hope to be, or she wasn’t the brightest firefly in the Calistrian forest. So I came right out with it: “Is this your work?”
“What? No.”
It was all I really needed, so I thanked her, told her that knowin’ that Blackburn was either guilty o’ stealin’ the gear or bein’ framed was indeed valuable, ’n’ figured the reason she was still alive under a control freak like Blackburn was ‘cause she wasn’t a threat to him.
Ah, well, live and learn! At least she’d made me a cleric!

I went back to the group ’n’ told ‘em that I hadn’t learned anythin’ new, so I asked to teleport to Eledir ’n’ talk to Jocelyn. I know, I know, I’d just been complainin’ ‘bout teleportin’, but it’s a lot faster’n walkin’ or ridin’ (even on flyin’ horses), ’n’ it seemed like now we were in a hurry. This time Llew ’n’ Alembic wanted to come along ’n’ I told ‘em they were welcome. There were more hellknights ’n’ impaled people outside the temple this time, ’n’ I really didn’t mind ‘cause I thought ‘bout all those villagers who’d been raped, enslaved, or murdered on account o’ them and I figured bein’ impaled was kind o’ gettin’ off light, and I said, “Hi,” to the hellknight and he wasn’t grumpy or anythin’ so I guess he was used to me ’n’ we went on in. So I tried to be all clever ’n’ told her I was askin’ her for a favor ’n’ then showed her the papers ’n’ her eyes didn’t light up either. So it turned out she was just thinkin’ real hard ‘bout what to do, ‘cause the Asmodeans in Logas are way more powerful than the Asmodeans in Eledir, so she didn’t dare go directly against Blackburn, so she had to be slow ’n’ methodical. She asked whether I’d talked to Blackburn, ’n’ of course I hadn’t ‘cause that’d be a Forth thing to do, ‘cept Forth wouldn’t talk to Blackburn anyway ‘cause he hates Asmodeans, so it seemed like a silly question but she just gave me that look that told me I wasn’t thinkin’ Lawful. So I guess I was s’posed to just go ask Blackburn whether or not he was a fink. Whatever.

Anyhoo, Llew ’n’ Alembic thought talkin’ to Blackburn was a good idea, so back to Eledir we teleported. I kind o’ wanted to eat a vomit capsule just to throw up on Alembic, but I was savin’ up for some armor and while throwin’ up is fun, good armor is better. For now. Sooner or later, though…
Alembic started talkin’ ‘bout how since he was a noble he knew a bit about how to approach this whole thing, so since I don’t get the whole, “Talk to the person you’re accusin’,” thing, I decided to let Alembic do all the talkin’. And the very first thing that happened was that he asked an acolyte to see Blackburn ’n’ the acolyte asked whether we had an appointment. ‘Cause Alembic isn’t an annoyin’ gnome, or an albino inquisitor, or a grumpy dwarf, he’s just another human wannabe noble caster, so nobody recognizes him. Alembic convinced him to go tell Blackburn anyway, ’n’ he came back all terrified and apologetic, ’n’ I figured he was in for a bad evenin’, so I asked for an indulgence to stab him, ‘cause I thought it’d hurt less than whatever’d happen to him under Blackburn, but he said they’d take care of it, and he didn’t seem too happy about it. Guess he knew Blackburn, too.

We went in to his office, ’n’ Blackburn looked pleased as pie to see us. There was one o’ those ‘accuser devils’ like the one that’d been followin’ me (and as far as I knew still was) sittin’ in front of his desk, out of his sight, so I waited to see whether he knew about it. He welcomed us in, told us to pay no mind to the devil (though I poked it a couple o’ times, just to make sure it was real, ’n’ it slapped at me and acted all angry ’n’ scared, so I figured it was real), and told us he had a business proposition for us. So, he got all legal on us ’n’ told us that since the gear was legally the property o’ the Blackburn family, he had every right to retrieve it, and even more, he trusted the redcap more’n he trusted me. Well, NOW he was right to!

Anyhoo, he rambled on and on a bit ‘bout how many Asmodeans had been seduced by the Jeggares into workin’ for the Mother of Wights, ’n’ how he’d spent time in his own temple testin’ everyone he could, but he finally concluded that the corruption in Logas wasn’t from his own temple, but he had a strong suspicion who it was but he couldn’t act against ‘em. I couldn’t figure THAT little bit out, but then he gave us the gear willingly and with no strings attached, verified that now we had 4 gears, ’n’ told us we wouldn’t be findin’ the Farrington gear on the trail. He said that he believed Farrington had turned.

Yep. Father Farrington. The Pharasman. I kind o’ ‘spected LLew to ‘splode right there. But as he leaned back with that big grin on his face and I looked ‘round at everybody else, I realized he thought he’d pulled some kind o’ coup on Llew ‘cause now she HAD to investigate Farrington. I dunno; I figure if someone tells you someone else is up to no good they’re doin’ you a favor, but ‘parently the way you do it matters, and Blackburn’d done it all wrong just to trap Llew into helpin’ him no matter what. He admitted that he didn’t think he’d be around for long, ‘cause the accuser devil meant that someone was investigatin’ him and they always put things in the worst light. I figured I owed him a solid, so I reassured him that MY accuser demon’d done all right by me, showin’ how much I hated the law and loved to break it just to make lawful sorts cranky, an’ I thought it did a bang-up job of representin’, me, but he didn’t seem all that reassured. Since Llew was mad at him I didn’t bother tellin’ him that the devil was Jocelyn’s. I figured they’d work that out between themselves; no point in gettin’ involved in church business, after all!

Once we were out I told Llew I figured him thinkin’ he’d trapped her was pretty funny. She disagreed, and still seemed pretty pissed. Most o’ the time I just think ‘bout Llew as this badass death machine who I just follow ‘round and cause mischief for, but I forget she takes her job really seriously, ’n’ Blackburn’d just really messed with her. Ooooh, it was going to take me a LOOOOOOOOONG time to figure out what to get Blackburn for his next nameday…

Anyhoo, once she was over bein’ peeved, Llew got pretty excited, ‘cause she really was goin’ to get to inquisit a high cleric of her own church for high treason ’n’ whatnot, so it was kind o’ what she was born to do (or whatever. I kind o’ doubt she was born, a wee little baby, and her parents looked at her and said, “Oooh, who’s going to go hunt down corrupt clergy of Pharasma now? You are!” And if they did, they were really, really sick folk and I don’t want to meet them). So Llew wanted to inquisit some acolytes as a warm-up act, ’n’ I thought it’d be pretty funny, but I was also sure I’d get in the way ‘cause I don’t do things right most o’ the time. OK, ever. If there’s a process, I’ll do it wrong, so I figured I’d just watch Llew’s back ’n’ get her out of any mischief. So she went to the church o’ Pharasma to check the records, ’n’ I went to the church o’ Asmodeus to buy myself an indulgence to break in in case Llew wasn’t successful. And I couldn’t! The slimy Asmodeans wouldn’t sell me indulgences to break into other people’s churches! What kind of law is THAT? It made no sense at all to me, but at least Llew got on better’n I did so it wasn’t needed. Stupid law! Told you that devil was right about me!

Llew’d learned that Father Ferrington had been a dedicated, zealous, undead fighter ’n’ had moved up in the ranks o’ Pharasma pretty quickly. He was an acolyte durin’ the times o’ the Goblin Wars, presided over Freya ’n’ Blackburn’s son’s wedding, ’n’ led an ill-thought-out assault force on Finder’s Gulch. He came back claimin’ victory, but had no proof, and changed from an undead-huntin’ zealot to an administrative paper-pushin’ politician. Things were already smellin’ fishy: Why hadn’t Blackburn presided over his own son’s weddin’? Who else was on that mission? That list was even more damning than anything we’d heard so far: Calum and Algeron Jeggare. The guys whose heads were adornin’ pikes ‘round the Asmodean church in Eledir. Basically, no one on the list who came back didn’t become important, and every one of ‘em whose name we recognized had become a scumbag. The list o’ dead included many o’ their direct superiors; in other words, men and woman with the spines to resist temptation. So the Mother o’ Wights had used the Goblin Wars as cover to sow discord ’n’ plant agents, ’n’ now, years later, we were the first ones to be unravelin’ it.

This was gonna get really, really ugly. Lots of clergy’s heads were gonna roll. ’N’ Llew was eatin’ it up. She was gonna purge her own church! I’ve never seen her with such fire in her eyes. Glad it wasn’t directed my way.

First things first, Blackburn seemed like he really wanted this purge to happen, ‘cause it’d make him more powerful, AND avenge his son, so at least his motivations were there on the table. We went back durin’ evenin’ services and saw the hapless acolyte gettin’ beaten, and it sure looked worse ’n’ a stabbin’ from me would’ve been, but his choice. Once he was done whimperin’ ’n’ such ’n’ the services were over we went on in and met with Blackburn ’n’ asked him why he hadn’t presided over his own son’s weddin’. Freya’d asked for it, o’ course, so he hadn’t gone to the wedding in protest. All very sensible and logical and useless.

We headed back for the inn, and some hopeless clods were tryin’ to follow us unseen. I tried to signal Llew quiet-like to let her know, but considerin’ she was practically quiverin’ with glee I figured she knew. I asked her whether she needed him delayed and she said, “Yes, please.”
Happy to oblige.
I vanished into the shadows the way a proper rogue does ’n’ waited for the man who was givin’ my profession a bad name to pass, then dropped a tanglefoot bag on him, just ‘cause it was funny and harmless and I figured I could afford the indulgence for that one. He tried to run away anyway, but Alembic put up an invisible wall behind him that he ran into, which was kind of funny, ’n’ Forth not knowin’ what was goin’ on ‘cause he’d missed it all was funniest of all. But Llew inquisited him ’n’ he said that “Delilah” had ordered him to follow us ’n’ “make sure we were safe”, which was a load o’ horse pucky ’n’ we all knew it. Llew let him go, ‘cause she wanted the church to know she was onto them, which must be an inquisitor thing. I offered to follow him, but she said she didn’t want me to put myself at risk, which was kind o’ insultin’ but kind o’ sweet at the same time so I didn’t. She said that “Delilah” wasn’t a good Pharasman name, but I wouldn’t know.

Everyone wanted to stay somewhere different for the night, but since they didn’t sleep ’n’ I did I figured I’d pay for the Inn & Outsider ’n’ let some unspeakable abominations guard me, ‘cause they’re Lawful ’n’ they like hurtin’ people ’n’ as a payin’ customer I figured that was what I needed. But when I asked for extra protection they wanted me to sign somethin’ so I just said, “No thanks,” and got one o’ the usual ultra-steep rooms with no demonic or diabolic or any other kind o’ company, ‘cause when someone’s tryin’ to kill you it’s no time for that kind o’ thing. The rest o’ the group stayed somewhere else, but nothin’ happened ’n’ I found ‘em in the morning well enough, other than that prayin’ in the devilish rooms was kind o’ weird, but I figured Calistria wouldn’t mind, ’n’ might even find it humorous to be prayin’ to a chaotic goddess in a lawful room ’n’ all.

Once I’d replaced my tanglefoot bag (right handy things) we Dimension Doored to Calum’s to avoid bein’ followed ’n’ he saw us right away and was friendly ’n’ all hosting goodness, ‘cept his story was just as bad as everyone else’s: He remembered leavin’ on the mornin’ o’ the journey, and then nothin’ else ’til his resurrection. I didn’t ask ‘bout Alembic shakin’ his jar ‘cause it was awfully funny but probably not all that important at the moment. All he remembered was that Sasskiya suggested the journey in the first place, and it was a big list o’ important people. And he was pretty sure he’d been killed on the journey to Finder’s Gulch, ’n’ had never made it there. Must be creepy, bein’ dead that long. Kind o’ makes me want to try it, but I might get fast tracked by Pharasma or someone might forget to bring me back, so probably not a good idea.

Anyhoo, everythin’ was pretty clear-cut at this point: We had the 3 gears from the families that didn’t go on the journey. Blackburn’d given us the 4th gear, ’n’ his son hadn’t gone on account o’ bein’ dead. Llew let loose.

And I mean let LOOSE. She declared the church o’ Pharasma in Logas a den o’ corruption that needed to be taken DOWN. Forth agreed to follow her lead, which was kind o’ impressive ’n’ terrifyin’ at the same time. We buffed ourselves as if we were goin’ to be takin’ on dragons ’n’ stormed into the church. Llew didn’t even let the acolyte try to delay her; she just said she was goin’ to see Farrington ’n’ the acolyte could barely keep ahead o’ her. Once she ’n’ her swirlin’ cloak was facin’ Farrington himself, she inquisited him but good, accusin’ him of consortin’ with the Mother o’ Wights, thereby committing high treason to his faith, ’n’ all kinds o’ other good stuff.

If I ever have to take down a temple of Calistria, I’m gonna let Llew do the talkin’.

She finished up askin’ him for a plea, ’n’ he just said, “Lock the doors and kill them all.”

So, I figured that meant I could kill anyone I could reach, but I was good ’n’ asked anyway. Llew ’n’ Forth told me I had free rein against anyone doin’ anythin’ but cowerin’. Fun!

You had to kind o’ feel sorry for ol’ Farrington. He thought he had the drop on us, ’n’ put up a stone wall between him ’n’ us ’n’ started tryin’ to slip away, but Alembic just made the wall go away ’n’ Llew stepped in with him and gashed him somethin’ awful. Forth could read the writin’ on the wall and just headed out to prevent any reinforcements from comin’ in. So there I was, useless again. Lookin’ at Llew and the soon-to-be-dead Father Farrington and Alembic right there to help her if he tried another getaway spell, I figured Forth was more likely to need help so I followed him into the hallway.
Farrington suddenly came out of another door ’n’ started runnin’ past us (how many doors are in this place, anyway?), but Forth was ready ’n’ cut him down ’n’ he turned into icy goo. Another simulacrum. What a surprise! I yelled it out, and Llew called back from somewhere that she knew. Some woman was tryin’ to cast somethin’ at us so Alembic dropped her in a pit, which was pretty funny ’til she spent a while screamin’ before goin’ quiet.

I do not like those pits on livin’ things. It’s just not right, no matter how evil they are. Just give ‘em a clean death ’n’ be done with it.

It was too crowded in the hall, so I ran through a bunch o’ legs into the room Ferrington’d come out of ’n’ found Llew comin’ in the other side. Imagine the luck!
So Llew ’n’ Forth started poundin’ on the acolytes in the hall, Alembic kept addin’ pits, and when I heard a woman down the hall castin’ somethin’ that singed Llew ’n’ Forth a bit I made Llew fly ‘cause I figured it’d be funny to see the caster meet the angry flyin’ Llew.
It was.

And no acid or screamin’.

She did hit us a bit with somethin’ stingy, but it wasn’t too bad, but then another door opened and more acolytes were murderin’ innocents right there, just to get at Forth. The monsters! Alembic had to drop the invisible wall he’d put up ’n’ I had to make Forth fly so he could get there on time, but just as he got there one o’ the acolytes tried to throw one o’ the innocents into one o’ the pits! Forth did some magic that saved him, but I was ready to stab ‘em all and throw ‘em into the pit myself, acid or no acid!
Casty lady got cut into little pieces and dropped into the acid pit by Llew, ‘cause avenging inquisitor is avenging, ’n’ she didn’t scream or anythin’, ‘cause pieces.

So Forth healed all the innocents, but one o’ the bad guys channeled negative energy to try to kill ‘em all. I did my best, callin’ on Calistria to heal their wounds, but she wasn’t all that enthusiastic. Forth ’n’ Llew just killed the priests. Llew cut the last one clean in half just for good measure. Forth channeled again and healed us up, ’n’ Llew gave me that look that said, “Keep Forth distracted,” so I started singin’ ’n’ dancin’ ’n’ askin’ stupid questions ’n’ talkin’ to the people we’d just saved ’n’ Forth figured it was totally normal for me so he didn’t hear the screamin’ in the next hall ‘cause ‘parently Llew or Forth’d left at least one guy alive back there ’n’ now he was regrettin’ it.

Llew’s good at what she does, so I wasn’t even out o’ one-eyed chicken jokes before she was comin’ back, cleanin’ off her mithral dagger. She told us that the real Farrinton was still in the mine, going on 5-6 years now. Everyone who came back from the raid was a simulacrum, including Farrington and the 2 Jeggares. The living originals were kept trapped in the mine in case the Mother of Wights needed to make new simulacra, ’n’ she kept ‘em constantly tortured to keep ‘em from gettin’ any ideas o’ escapin’. Some people, like Calum, fought to the death, which made me think better of him. But it sounded like I’d need a few scrolls o’ Heal before I went to the mines! The Farrington simulacrum blackmailed people into doin’ evil acts, then used those for more blackmail, ’n’ so forth, kind o’ like the tower. It was like the Mother o’ Wights was one big evil-makin’ machine.
We tore the place apart and learned a bit more: The gear was with a “trusted team” that had been sent to take it to the Mother o’ Wights the moment we caught the guy followin’ us the night before.

So of course Llew ’n’ Forth had to do everything Lawful-like. She sent her silver raven with a note to Jeremiah in Eledir ‘bout what she’d done to the temple here. Then she went to see Mayor Muskgrove. I’m not one to trust the law too much, so I made myself scarce ’n’ kept an eye on things from outside. They talked inside for a while, then a team of ‘em went over to the temple ’n’ looked around, talked to the survivors, ’n’ seemed to believe Llew’s story. But of course Llew ’n’ Forth weren’t done, so Llew went to see Blackburn ’n’ I hid again, ‘cause cautious, but ‘parently that went well too so I did no jailbreakin’ that night.

Blackburn was one step ahead of us. He told us we’d be facin’ 2 people and the Farrington golem, and he had a team following ‘em and could give us the approximate location. I kind o’ felt sorry for them. Then I thought o’ the innocent parishioners ’n’ figured I could stand the sound of one or two more acid pits.

We teleported out ’n’ waited in ambush. Eventually we heard ‘em coming, but Forth can’t hide for beans, so we barely had time to buff before they saw us. Forth rushed in headlong, o’ course, ‘cause Forth, and… hit himself?!?!? That’s a new one, Forth!
The clerics were just there to dispel whatever Alembic tried to do, so I figured that was smart if they didn’t like pits but stupid if they didn’t like gettin’ cut to ribbons by an angry inquisitor. But it turned out that only one of ‘em was doin’ that ‘cause the other one hit the golem with fire and it sped up and hit Forth somethin’ stupid. He bled more than I’ve seen in ages. Alembic dropped that one in a pit, and I wasn’t goin’ to argue, ‘cause Forth was lookin’ bad, even with Stoneskin ’n’ everythin’.

I flew in ’n’ did my job ’n’ got the golem to swing at me so Llew could get in clean, and she got a nice cut on it, but I was worried ‘bout Forth ‘cause I couldn’t help him quite yet ’n’ I needed him to last a few more seconds. The golem pounded Forth some more ’n’ his emergency “don’t die yet” spell went off so I knew he was in trouble. I pulled out my only scroll of Heal, prayed to Calistria… and it WORKED!!! The scroll actually WORKED!!! I called out to Forth that I could save him as soon as I could get to him…
…and Forth took the chance and flew to me, leavin’ Llew alone against the golem.
I heard all the crackin’ bones and winced, but at the end o’ the poundin’ she was still standin’ proud, badass heretic-slayer that she was, and as I Healed Forth she turned ‘round and out-and-out single-handed KILLED the golem.

I think the priest was demoralized at that point.

I’ll never know, ‘cause Alembic was mad ‘bout being Dispelled and just Disintegrated him right there. Guess no questionin’ for that one, then. Nor the acid pit one. We healed up Llew as best as we could and I clambered up the golem to get the gear, checked the trap, and…
…it had already been set off.

Uh oh.

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Considerin’ that we’d just heard that some unkillable giant adamantine death golem-hound-thingy was goin’ to be comin’ after us in a bit over 24 hours, the rest o’ the group was remarkably calm, kind o’ like they’d either figured somethin’ out, or they’d resigned themselves to spendin’ the rest o’ their lives airborne. I figured it’d have some plus sides; we could fly over the Mother o’ Wight’s place ’n’ let the golem wreak some havoc for us risk-free, but I figured there were some things I didn’t want to spend my life doin’ airborne (though others could be funnier; where’s Blackburn’s personal chimney, anyhoo?), but I trusted Forth ’n’ Llew, ’n’ yeah, even Alembic, ‘cause he’s a coward ’n’ he’d do the worst o’ the lot of us airborne all his life, so if he wasn’t panicking, neither would I.
So when they said, “Let’s head back to town ’n’ rest for the night,” I figured it was ‘cause they didn’t think the giant death machine was worth worryin’ ‘bout yet, so I wouldn’t worry ‘bout it either.

We first teleported back to Logas, and since we had all five gears now, I set about tryin’ to get myself some more scrolls to defend from arrows. Neither the temple o’ Calistria nor Blackburn had any more scrolls o’ Fickle Winds (I almost told Blackburn that Jocelyn was better ‘cause she’d had one the last time I’d asked her, but I figured since it was almost certainly her accuser devil sittin’ there in Blackburn’s office I shouldn’t draw attention to her at the moment. Subtle, that’s me!), so I had to make do with four scrolls o’ Wind Wall. Not as effective nor as fast, but easier for me to use in a pinch and a lot cheaper, so there was that. And hopefully there were few enough o’ the arrow guys that one’d be enough, but with undead they typically come in hordes, or so I’m told. While I was shoppin’, Llew had Alembic teleport her to Eledir a couple o’ times to bring back some non-evil Pharasmans to re-populate the temple she’d inquisited, ‘cause she’s responsible that way. Me? I would’ve completely forgotten ‘bout that by now, ‘cause it’d been almost a day.

Even though we had some time before Ouchy showed up (well, it needed a name, didn’t it?), I figured it wasn’t smart to take risks so I stayed in the inn with the others, but I made sure to get a full-sized room ’n’ bath ’n’ everythin’, ‘cause baths are good.

In the morning (after my stupid prayers that I’m already hatin’ havin’ to get up for, but Calistria was obviously feelin’ sorry for me ‘cause she gave me a bonus spell in the mornin’, so I chose one that’d deflect arrows, ‘cause it seemed like a smart thing to do), we went downstairs to breakfast ’n’ there was a gift basket full o’ breads ’n’ sweets for us. It was from Blackburn, thankin’ us for takin’ care o’ Farrington, ’n’ I figured that was right neighborly of him, ‘specially considerin’ he had a special dark brown muffin labeled as just for me. I bit into it all excited-like wonderin’ whether I was goin’ to turn into a bug or throw up or have rhinoceroses come outta my butt or somethin’, but it was just… chocolate. A brown muffin that tasted like chocolate? What kind o’ special surprise was that?

Blackburn’s a sadist, he is.

Once we were ready to go, Alembic teleported us to Griswold’s hut. Someone threw a rock at it, but I didn’t even get to deny it ‘cause nobody cared, not even Griswold. Then Alembic gave us Phantom Steeds so we could ride on up. I was too distracted by the chocolate muffin fiasco to say what I wanted, so Llew made Alembic give me a horse that looked like a fluffy white cloud or a poodle, and I thought it was pretty cool, though it wasn’t floofy ‘nough, so I thanked Llew ’n’ we rode on up into the hills.

By around noon, we found ourselves pretty high up in the hills, ’n’ we came over a crest ’n’ we were overlookin’ a huge basin. Lookin’ down into it, we saw abandoned farms along the outskirts, so it looked like we were on the edge o’ the civilization ‘round Finder’s Gulch, which meant we had to be on our guard to look out for both guards ’n’ undead. We started ridin’ in, ’n’ right there while we were ridin’ past the first set o’ fields somethin’ spoke in our heads ’n’ said, “Come no further, humans, or you die!”
I figured I didn’t want to go on without Alembic, ’n’ maybe the disembodied voice was talkin’ ‘bout Llew, too, Llew asked it whether it was guardin’ the place or ‘fraid o’ the place or what, ’n’ it offered that if they let it eat me they could go. Llew drew her sword at that point, ‘cause she’s sweet that way.

I looked ‘round for it so I could point it out to Forth ’n’ Alembic ‘cause they’re not very observe-y, ’n’ I saw it hidin’ in the grass about 60 feet off the road, so I rode my FLYING HORSE THAT LOOKED LIKE A CLOUD right up over it, ‘bout 20 feet up, ’n’ I could see a big ol’ snake thing coiled up in the grass below me.

Then I learned a lot o’ things.

First, I learned that snakes can jump up pretty high; at least 20’. Second, I learned that snakes bite really really hard. Third, I learned that snakes are really really dry. I felt all the water bein’ ripped out o’ my system, and all those beautiful baths that kept my skin nice ’n’ moist were all done away with. On the bright side, I didn’t need to pee any more. Fourth, though I kind o’ already knew this, snakes are grabby. Fifth, Forth has some kind o’ spell that makes snakes let you go, which is a really specialized kind o’ spell for a paladin to be wanderin’ around with, but I was happy he had it ‘cause I popped right out o’ the snake’s coils and landed safely on the ground. Sixth, Llew called out that we were facing a “Hollow Serpent”, some legendary undead thing that could only be created by gods, and that was really, really, really dangerous, ’n’ did all kinds o’ water-drainin’ stuff to people. I could confirm that for her.

So, not bein’ a complete idiot, I went all dodgy ’n’ ran away, and the snake nearly nicked me again anyway. That is one dangerous snake! An’ my little legs weren’t long enough so it looked like I was gonna be snake chow. Ah, well, at least I could probably find somethin’ interestin’ in my bag to do from the inside. Alembic ’n’ Llew started buffin’, probably figurin’ I’d be able to get away and I was sorry I’d be disappointin’ ‘em, but then Forth did somethin’ else ’n’ I was standin’ next to Llew ’n’ Alembic and Forth was the one ‘bout to get eaten! Stupid dwarf! Gettin’ out o’ scrapes like that is MY job; at least let me take a chance at it, or die tryin’! Oh, and thanks. Appreciate you savin’ my life.

So o’ course it grabbed Forth ’n’ started eatin’ him, ‘cause it’s what snakes do, ’n’ what Forth does, ’n’ Llew ran up but slipped on some o’ my blood ’n’ missed it pretty badly. Sorry, Llew! I’ll try to bleed less next time! Forth did his smitey thing and hit the snake somethin’ awful, so bad it started runnin’ away with him, but Alembic was havin’ none o’ that and put up a stone wall in front of it to try to make it stop ’n’ fight like a real snake. Do real snakes stop ’n’ fight? I dunno. I’ll have to visit Greenbrow ’n’ find out, ‘cause information is important to the soul. That’s a good enough reason, I bet.

Since I was in the clear now, I pulled out a scroll o’ Freedom of Movement ’n’ put it on Llew to try to give her a helpin’ hand, ‘cause she really really really wanted to kill this snake, ‘cause Pharasma ’n’ legendary snake ’n’ all. Llew ran up and missed again (I blame Forth’s blood this time), ’n’ Forth cut loose like his life depended on it (which it probably did) ’n’ managed to kill the snake, at which point Llew kind o’ lost her temper ‘cause she didn’t even get to hit the legendary snake thing that was an enemy of her goddess ’n’ all, so I figured she needed a good ventin’. So when she cut off its head ’n’ mounted it on a pike I figured I’d try to help, but I was still all beat up ’n’ bloody ’n’ I couldn’t lift much normally and whatever the snake’d done’d made me even weaker, so I just cheered her on while Forth ’n’ I started healin’ up. And it took a LOT o’ healin’ for the two of us! That was one mean snake!

Once we were all done, ’n’ Llew was all done, Llew chastised me ’n’ Forth for runnin’ on ahead all the time ’n’ gettin’ all beat up, ’n’ I’d’ve objected ‘cept I’d just done it, ’n’ I’m always teasin’ Forth for doin’ it, so lesson learned. For a minute I thought I’d lost my horse, ‘cause I had no idea how to go up ’n’ get it, but Alembic just flew on up ’n’ led it down for me ’n’ didn’t even tease me or anythin’. Things must be gettin’ serious. We moved on ’til we reached the farmhouse, and of COURSE it had a burnin’ pit with manacles on spikes in the middle, ‘cause why not? So I greased myself up (everyone started lookin’ at me funny, but heck if I’m goin’ anywhere near magic manacles without some handy grease on me), ’n’ Llew put a Magic Circle on us an’ we approached as a group, ’n’ this time I smelt the fires gettin’ hotter ’n’ smellin’ o’ burnin’ flesh ’n’ knew I was lookin’ at a haunt (see, I learned somethin’ in school!) so I yelled out, “Haunt! Get clear!” ’n’ dove for cover, but Llew’d spotted somethin’ in the dead center that’d caught her attention, ’n’ Forth ’n’ Alembic are Forth ’n’ Alembic, so they all got singed a bit when the haunt exploded.
Once the fire cleared, we looked at the pit ’n’ there were all kinds o’ silver holy symbols o’ all kinds o’ gods, Calistria ’n’ Pharasma included, ’n’ the one from Pharasma was platinum, meanin’ it was from someone important. Fortunately, it didn’t have any initials carved into it, which meant it wasn’t Farrington’s.

But Llew figured out the haunt: They’d been capturin’ good- and neutral-aligned clerics ’n’ others who were tryin’ to clean out Finder’s Gulch ’n’ they’d been ritually burnin’ ‘em in this pit. So Llew cut all the manacles ’n’ said words over their remains ’n’ took all the holy symbols to return to their respective temples ’n’ apparently that was enough to dispel the haunt. Nice job, Llew!
I tried to heal everybody o’ their haunt damage by channelin’ 3 times, but my power’s still pretty weak, so Forth had to wrap it up with a “real” channel.

Some day…

We rode on through the fields, ’n’ it wasn’t even an hour before somethin’ flew up ’n’ hit Alembic in the side. I would’ve teased him ‘bout it, ‘cept when I looked over there was a flyin’ guy with an evil-lookin’ holy symbol (Llew said it was Urgathoa) ’n’ a ranseur stuck in Alembic’s side. Llew jumped off her horse ’n’ ran around him to get in position ’n’ he hit her ’n’ made her bleed a bit, so I hopped off my horse ’n’ tried to move in to help, but he hit me when he shouldn’t’ve been able to, ’n’ did the same to Forth. Alembic backed off ’n’ put up a bunch o’ Mirror Images, ‘cause Alembic. But this time I really couldn’t blame him, ‘cause this guy hit hard.

Speakin’ o’ hittin’ hard, he decided he didn’t like gnomes ’n’ stepped back ’n’ laid into me. I felt a lot o’ important things get ripped up, ’n’ the world got all black ’n’ woozy, but I was still standin’ when he was done, so I created an extra image of myself ’n’ spit out, “Blessin’s o’ Calistria on you, Llew, now kick his ass!” and granted her Calistria’s luck. I think a couple o’ pieces o’ lung came with it. Or maybe liver. But it definitely tasted like lung. In any case, Llew had my luck, which she used to tear apart Mr. I Hate Gnomes while yellin’, “Lay off my gnome, you bastard!”
Sometimes, I love Llew.

Unfortunately, Forth decided to be all tactical, which doesn’t seem to be dwarves’ strong point, so instead o’ just steppin’ up and finishin’ the job, he walked around the guy to his back to get in a flank with Llew ’n’ give the guy a solid whack. Seein’ the guy raise his ranseur again, I figured I was done for ’n’ told Calistria I was comin’ up for another visit. ‘Cept instead o’ comin’ after me he declared Llew a “worthy foe” and tore into her instead. But she stayed standin’, so I gave her more luck ‘cause I was pissed ’n’ she was even more pissed ’n’ she killed him.

Then the two Fireballs hit us. I managed to dodge ‘em both, which was lucky, ‘cause I figure either one would’ve killed me in my condition, but it was really time to start gettin’ healthy again so I got out the wand Llew’d given me ’n’ started healin’ myself while Llew ’n’ Forth went to deal with the new guy. He was an obvious necromancer through-’n’-through, ’n’ so he started ramblin’ on ‘bout how we’d killed his obviously-deficient disciple ’n’ now he had to sully his hand by dealin’ with us himself ’n’ whatnot; all the standard evil megalomaniac schtick. I think they teach it in necromancer school, or it’s part o’ their spellcastin’ or somethin’.

Anyhoo, Llew ran ‘round behind him ‘cause at some point Alembic’d Hasted everybody but me, so he went ’n’ sucked a bunch of life out of Forth, who waited ’til Alembic’d dispelled the bad guy’s Mirror Images before goin’ in and givin’ Llew a flank. Llew tore him up somethin’ awful but he managed to get off a spell ’n’ teleported back near me, all healed up as if he’d never been hit, ’n’ he ’n’ Alembic traded some spells so I didn’t know what the heck was goin’ on. Since I was still half-dead and didn’t have any other tricks up my sleeve, I pulled out a tanglefoot bag ’n’ started runnin’ towards him. If you can’t kill him, at least mess up his sense of style!
Forth ’n’ Llew were comin’ huffin’ ’n’ puffin’ back our way (well, OK, Forth was huffin’ ’n’ puffin’ ’n’ Llew was just runnin’), so the guy got this weird look on his face and screamed and…

…oh, the agony o’ that scream! It was like everyone I’d ever loved who’d died was despairin’ all at once o’ ever seein’ the light o’ day again, and the blackness was overwhelmin’, and I was sinkin’, and…
…I was in line. A long, interminable line o’ countless creatures of all types, an’ I was thinkin’ I’d die of boredom before the line got through three people, and…
…I was in Calistria’s bedroom again, and I was lookin’ into those deep eyes, and thinkin’ that maybe I should be tellin’ her ‘bout her cleric in Logas who just might not be the deepest of depths, or even a puddle on a rainy day…

…and I was in Llew’s arms, with Blackburn smilin’ that evil smile o’ his behind her, and everything hurt, ’n’ suddenly she was kissin’ me square on the lips ’n’ tellin’ me that I was her good luck charm and I made everythin’ have meanin’ or something so I had to double check: Was it my corpse that was the good luck charm, or me?
She just hugged me tight ’n’ I tried to hug her back but I couldn’t reach ‘round her and I was still sore from bein’ dead, but she’d said a right pretty speech ’n’ I was cryin’ a bit, ’n’ I wasn’t into that kind o’ thing but if Llew needed it I’d be there for her, and not just ‘cause I was a Calistrian.
So I looked around, and Forth was there, and Blackburn was there, and Llew was there, and Alembic was there, and I was kind o’ expecting three farmer guys and an old auntie and a young human girl in blue with a stupid yappy dog, but I don’t know why I was thinkin’ that.

But we’d made it! We were all still alive! Relatively speakin’!

It turned out that the guy’d killed both me ’n’ Alembic with that scream o’ his (Alembic called it a Wail o’ the Banshee), but Forth’d sacrificed himself to save Alembic. ‘Cause Forth seems to like bein’ dead, ’n’ was probably happy to have me to keep him company in line, even though I hadn’t seen him there. I would’ve found him, ‘cause I wouldn’t’ve stayed in line anyway. Llew carved up the necromancer some more ’n’ Alembic finished him off with some Magic Missiles, ’n’ that let ‘em teleport straight back here, where they’d used their gathered cash (includin’ some o’ mine, which I didn’t mind) to bring me ’n’ Forth back.
By the time they were done explainin’ all that to me Blackburn had the Restoration ready ’n’ suddenly my strength was back so I could give Llew a proper hug, ’n’ then I hugged Forth ’n’ Alembic too, ‘cause I love ‘em all.

But I’m not doin’ very well any more. I asked ‘em outright: I could probably write the temple in Kyonin ’n’ get ‘em a proper cleric o’ Calistria to help ‘em out. She might be bristly, or snarky, or mean, but she’d be a proper undead-killin’ cleric o’ Calistria. ’N’ they all said they’d rather have me.

I don’t think I’ve blushed so much since…
…well, NEVER! I don’t get ‘shamed, so this is the next best thing!

But we were out o’ time. The golem was comin’. I got dressed, thanked Blackburn (‘cause you can insult ‘em all you want, but you gotta thank ‘em and pay ‘em proper for services rendered or it’s bad), ’n’ got to my contacts to sell our loot right quick. Seein’ that we’d gotten a wand o’ Invisibility, I got an idea in my little pea brain and bought a wand o’ Silence, too.

If I was gonna be doin’ nothin’ in every combat, I might as well be doin’ it while followin’ a caster around…

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Session 42, played 31-Mar-2019

Even though Forth ’n’ I were all healed up from bein’ dead ’n’ such, Llew ’n’ Alembic were still pretty banged up so Forth did some healin’ on ‘em, and we started takin’ stock of our resources, such as it were. I was fine, of course, ‘cause I don’t do much but throw things, and I’d already done my shoppin’, but Alembic was almost tapped out, ’n’ so was Forth, so they wanted to rest up ’n’ recharge before we went back up. Trouble was, by my reckoning, the adamantine golem was just wakin’ up and would be on its way any time now, so we couldn’t exactly spend the night in town or anythin’. It took a few minutes of explanin’, but eventually Alembic let Llew tell me that golems are slow. We were travelin’ to and from Finder’s Gulch in only an hour or two ‘cause we were teleportin’ and usin’ flyin’ steeds, but the golem wasn’t goin’ to take hours to get here, it was goin’ to take closer to a week! So I figured that meant it was bath time, so I got another big ol’ human-sized room with a human-sized bed an’ a human-sized bath ’n’ did some swimmin’ ’n’ divin’ ’n’ playin’ ‘round like an otter, but eventually I decided I needed to get some rest, ‘cause bein’ dead probably isn’t all that good for you, even though I felt fine.

In the mornin’… well, no. AT NIGHT TWO HOURS BEFORE DAWN I got that pokin’ in my head that told me it was time to do my prayin’, so I wanted to get back to sleep so I just said, “Gimme whatever I had yesterday,” ’n’ tried to curl up again, but the goddess in my brain told me it didn’t work that way ’n’ I had to get up anyway ’n’ do my prayin’ right ’n’ proper to get my spells, ’n’ I’d’ve cursed her but I was sure Calistria didn’t like the rules any more’n I did, ’n’ she’d probably rather be in bed herself with a couple dozen elves ‘stead o’ listenin’ to me stammer through my prayers. But I got through ‘em (can’t pray in bed, either. Stupid rules!) ’n’ got another hour o’ sleep, then got up and went downstairs. Seein’ Forth, I realized I’d never had dwarven food, so I ordered a “hearty dwarven breakfast”. And got mush. A lot like the stuff I got at the orphanage, except this stuff was thicker ’n’ browner, ’n’ you could stand a spoon in it. And are those… mushrooms? No wonder dwarves are always so grumpy!

As I was busy chokin’ down breakfast, blessin’ Calistria that I had a small stomach so I wouldn’t have to suffer much longer, Llew ’n’ Alembic came down and all three of ‘em had eggs ’n’ bacon ’n’ sausages ’n’ muffins ’n’ fresh fruit, ’n’ Forth said he was eatin’ exotic food. I’d have to be sure to stab him in the shins later.

Once we’d “eaten”, Alembic teleported us back to the edge o’ the farmlands just outside o’ Finder’s Gulch, ’n’ summoned us some Phantom Steeds. I wasn’t feelin’ particularly adventurous after my dwarven meal, so I just asked for a horse that was the same color as the road, since that was the same color as my breakfast so if I threw up on it nobody would notice. ‘Cept maybe the mushrooms’d stand out a bit. We got to the first farmhouse with the fire pit, ’n’ the pit wasn’t burnin’ any more, meanin’ that Llew’d done her job right. As if I ever doubted. We kept on ridin’ ’til we got into a big ol’ orchard full o’ what used to be cherries ’n’ apples, ‘cept now Llew ’n’ Alembic said they were corrupted ’n’ they’d be poisonous. I asked what’d happen if I fed one to a steed, ’n’ Llew told me not to, ’n’ Alembic said they weren’t hungry ’n’ they ate only gnomes, ‘cause they feed on magic. I didn’t care whether or not he was lyin’, ‘cause it was a good story and it was more fun to think ‘bout my horse tryin’ to eat me. I kept a dagger at its ear, just in case.

‘Cept I probably shouldn’t’ve been musin’ ‘bout stabbin’ my horse in the middle o’ hostile territory, ‘cause suddenly this giant green ram with vines ’n’ thorns instead o’ wool came chargin’ out o’ the woods ’n’ rammed right into me. ‘Cause ram. ’N’ it was the weirdest thing! It hit me dead-on, ’n’ I saw its horns tryin’ to rip into me ’n’ tear out my guts, but it didn’t hurt at all. ‘Cept Forth was makin’ noises ’n’ blood was spurtin’ out from him all over so it was kind of obvious he’d done that thing to save me! How sweet! I’d have to hug him… once he wasn’t spillin’ his guts all over the ground o’ course. Lookin’ at how bad he looked, I had to admit, I was glad it wasn’t me!

I started tryin’ to move around it to give Llew ’n’ Forth a flank (can you even flank a plant? ‘Cept it looked like a ram. ‘Cept it was a plant. Anyhoo…). It started buckin’ ’n’ rompin’ about, jumpin’ ‘round ’n’ tryin’ to stomp on us. And yeah, I got stomped on. I blame the oatmeal. And the early wake-up. It hurt a lot, but Forth channeled ’n’ that made it hurt less, ’n’ Alembic put up an invisible wall to keep it away from us long enough for us to buff up, which Llew was doin’ already. Not wantin’ to get trampled again, I pulled out Thorn’s last tree ’n’ threw it right in front o’ the ram, which slowed it down a bit more so it only stomped on me this time, but again the oatmeal ’n’ the lack o’ sleep did me in and I got a hoof in the gut for my troubles. While I was lyin’ there sufferin’ I noticed that it’d trampled all our wonderful steeds as well. Will this day never end?

Llew came ‘round ’n’ started stabbin’ it, ’n’ I went up the tree, so it got bored o’ tramplin’ on me ’n’ started beatin’ on Forth. Didn’t look fun. And I’d been there. Llew yelled at Alembic to do somethin’, so he sped us all up, which was nice ‘cause it got me up the tree ’n’ away from the ram faster, ’n’ hopefully Llew ’n’ Forth’d kill it before it killed Forth (again). I figured the only way I was going to hurt a giant ram-plant-thing was to try to hit somethin’ vital inside of all those weeds, so I went up a little higher ’n’ hid from it, but then Alembic hit it with a big ol’ Fireball ’n’ that was enough to let Forth see an opening and he killed it.

We didn’t want it re-sprouting or anythin’, so I dropped my Campfire Bead on it to start it burnin’, ’n’ we started healin’ each other up, ‘cept we didn’t get much time to do so ‘cause I heard another couple o’ casters comin’. Probably the owners o’ the ornery ram plant shrubbery. Now that I knew what I was s’posed to do with casters, I turned myself invisible, ’n’ they summoned a big poofy air thingy to fight us. Alembic called it an air elemental, but I think big poofy air thingy is funner to say. ‘Cept it takes too long. So now it’s George. Another “earth elemental” named Fred came crawlin’ up out o’ the ground, so Alembic Fireballed ‘em both to test the waters, as it were. I started Silencin’ myself so I could do some good, but they could see me and cast some kind o’ spell that bounced off me ’n’ Alembic. Alembic said it was some kind o’ pollywog spell, which I figure meant they were tryin’ to turn me into a frog, which is kind o’ cliché if you ask me.

Once my Silence was up I ran up near Fred ’n’ I figured he’d just run away ’n’ cast more spells at me, but Llew ’n’ Forth took the cue ’n’ ran up ’n’ started poundin’ on him. George summoned in some bitey bugs that were really annoyin’ ‘cause they could see invisible things too, so I got stung a bit, but Fred was all out o’ luck ‘cause he could either run away ’n’ get hit by Llew ’n’ Forth, or he could try to fight ‘em. He tried to fight ‘em. It ended pretty much as you’d expect, ‘cept when I went around to give Llew ’n’ Forth a flank the bugs didn’t follow me ’n’ started eatin’ Alembic instead. I’d’ve laughed, but I was silenced and invisible, so Alembic wouldn’t’ve heard it anyway. Alembic doesn’t like bugs, so he blew most of ‘em up with another Fireball. George was runnin’ out o’ stuff to throw at us, but I couldn’t get near enough to him to silence him, so Llew ’n’ Alembic just killed him from afar. Not very bright to protect yourself from melee fighters in an arrow-and-casting fight.

Once the elementals were dead, they turned into elves with Urgathoan symbols all over ‘em. I figured it was some kind o’ mind control or torture, but Llew ’n’ Alembic told me they were “Creeping Death Druids”, which sounds more like somethin’ they’d be comin’ to the temple o’ Calistria to get cured discreetly than somethin’ they’d be braggin’ ‘bout.

We healed up, I stopped the rambush from burnin’ down the forest (yes, I made that up myself, and I’m proud. Sort of), we burned the elves ‘cause why not, Alembic summoned more steeds, ’n’ we moved on. And we got to Finder’s Gulch!

And there, sittin’ right atop the entrance to the mine we were s’posed to go into to get at the Mother o’ Wights, actin’ like the reignin’ construct king o’ the world, was one o’ the hounds.
It was big ’n’ mean-lookin’, ’n’ we knew we couldn’t kill it, so we had to figure out what to do instead. I suggested flyin’ over it ’n’ lurin’ it ‘round Finder’s Gulch ’n’ havin’ it trample all the buildings to flush out any undead that were hidin’ in the city. But since we didn’t know how high it could jump or what it’d react to, we decided to try goin’ in all sneaky-like, ’n’ checkin’ to make sure it didn’t sense us.

We looked around at the nearby buildings, ’n’ sure enough there were wights all huddled in the shadows waitin’ to ambush us. First Alembic did a bunch o’ stuff ‘cause we knew we’d need it, like makin’ us fly ’n’ makin’ us resistant to cold ’n’ givin’ us Life Bubbles. Once we were ready Llew put up her protective field ’n’ Forth Death Warded himself ’n’ Alembic made him fly and he flew on over to the first building full of ‘em ’n’ channeled at ‘em. They shot a bunch o’ arrows at us, but without the ability to drain us they didn’t do much at all. Alembic cast some spell I’d never seen before that killed a bunch of ‘em, ’n’ Llew Death Warded me so I could go in. She’s generous that way, ‘cause I know how much she likes killin’ undead.
Once we were all protected it was pretty much of a slaughter, ‘cept Llew said these were like flies hangin’ ‘round a cow, and the big ol’ cow was probably in the big domed building off to our south(?) a bit. Didn’t matter which direction. It was a ways away.
‘Cept when we killed the last o’ the little guys some icy guy appeared ’n’ started attackin’ Llew ’n’ Alembic, ’n’ Llew said it was him. ‘Cept we were Death Warded ’n’ protected from cold, so all he could do was try to hack us to pieces. ’N’ we’re really good at that. So Llew got hacked up a lot, I tried to get my scroll o’ Heal to work ’n’ it didn’t, ’n’ Alembic failed to hurt it with a spell as Forth moved in. It hit all three of ‘em pretty hard! Nasty bugger! So I figured I was next on the menu ’n’ flew in ’n’ made Llew lucky.

Undead don’t like Llew when she’s lucky.

She carved him up like a misbehavin’ halflin’ at an Asmodean feast ’n’ big chunks o’ icy flesh started droppin’ all over the ground. Llew likes bein’ lucky. With all the pieces off of it, Forth managed to kill it, but both Llew ’n’ Forth were burnin’ with some kind o’ flame they said’d kill ‘em if they didn’t put it out. I started up one o’ my big scrolls o’ Restoration and by the time I cast it Llew’d put out the fire, but it healed up the rest o’ her (except her wounds) right quick. Forth cast a Restoration on himself.

I wanted to keep movin’, but Llew said she was gettin’ pretty low. I suggested one more fight, ’n’ she agreed. What could possibly go wrong?

We healed up ’n’ went over to the big building. I examined the door and removed the trap, then told Alembic to open it, then giggled ‘cause it was still locked. So I undid the lock as well, Alembic opened it, ’n’ fog came pourin’ out. We couldn’t see anythin’ in there! I tried to use my Feather Fan token to clear it out, but it wouldn’t work ’n’ Alembic finally told me to read the instructions (who does that?) ’n’ it has to be ON WATER? What kind o’ useless magic device is that?!?!!? So I started cussin’ in goblin ‘cause it’s a good cussin’ language ’n’ Llew got tired o’ my antics ’n’ just walked on into the fog. She said she heard 3 things in there, so I gave myself some light ’n’ rummaged around in my bag for a scroll o’ Wind Wall. Not the best way to clear fog, but at least we’d get a single 2’ wide path o’ clarity. Alembic opened a wall a ways away from us and send Forth in, and suddenly we had a two-front battle. I put up the Wind Wall right along the wall where I heard Alembic open it, ’n’ apparently that helped ‘cause Llew ’n’ Forth said they were in a big fight with some undead ladies. The ladies kept makin’ Llew bleed, so I kept channelin’ to stop her bleedin’, ’n’ that made the ladies mad, which made me happy. ‘Cept I couldn’t see anythin’. Just Llew startin’ bleedin’, then stoppin’, then startin’, then stoppin’. Was probably really irritatin’ for her.

Once the three ladies were dead, we found one survivor: A guy covered with Urgathoan tattoos who wasn’t a Creepin’ Crud Doodad, but an Urgathoan sacrifice all full o’ diseases. Forth, Llew, ’n’ I were all immune, but we all looked worriedly at Alembic. So Forth cured the guy ’n’ we decided to teleport him back to town.

We found 9 more people in the buildin’ once the fog cleared, but they were all dead, so we gave ‘em rites ’n’ teleported back just outside of town. Llew took the guy in ’n’ turned him over to the Pharasmans, then got a Periapt of Health for Alembic ’n’ gave it to him.

Since we were now all disease-free, we headed into town ’n’ spent the night.

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Session 43, Played 14-Apr-2019

If there’s one thing you can say ‘bout me, it’s that I’m pretty good ‘bout learnin’ things NOT to do. So I got up ’n’ prayed ’n’ chose a couple o’ spells that sounded like they’d come in handy, then went downstairs ’n’ told the innkeep I wanted a proper gnome breakfast. So he gave me this whole platter that covered the whole table, ‘cept all the dishes were covered with bowls so I couldn’t see ‘em or smell ‘em, and of the twenty or thirty bowls he told me I could only choose five.

It was a good thing I came down an hour before sunrise, ‘cause it took me ’til the rest o’ the party was up and about before I chose my bowls. I got some muffins, some cold eggs (I was gonna complain, but I figured they were probably hot when I started), some old stew ’n’ stale bread from the night before, some dried little fruits that I didn’t recognize, and some sticks and a bug. I figured the bug was a bonus, and the innkeep’d only meant to put the stick on the plate, but I figured fair’s fair so I ate the bug.

It was bitter.

Once Llew, Forth, ’n’ Alembic’d joined me ’n’ ate, we decided we’d buff up and teleport right to the edge o’ town ’n’ try to catch anyone waitin’ for us by surprise. ‘Cept I needed to do a little shopping first ‘cause I’d used up some of my disposables, and Thorn’s tree’d done well by me so I needed another one. Once I had my scrolls ’n’ such I used Spidey on myself, but that’s all I could think to do, and nobody else cast anythin’ on me ‘cept some communal cold protection from Alembic so I figured I was on “trouble duty”..

I like “trouble duty”.

We teleported in, ’n’ the adamantine golem was still standin’ there over the entrance to the caves, but nobody attacked us and we couldn’t see anyone lookin’ at us, so I walked up the nearest buildin’ to the roof ’n’ looked around but I still didn’t see anyone. So since everyone else had buffs-a-burnin’ we started movin’ towards the next set o’ buildings over by the shore of the river. On our right were some ramshackle houses ’n’ such, but Forth wanted to search the town in some particular order, ‘cause paladin or dwarf or just plain ol’ Forth but I didn’t see any reason to question it; it seemed random enough to me ‘cause I didn’t know the rules and that made it fun.

It didn’t take more than a hundred feet towards the river before we saw some guy just standin’ there over among the ramshackle buildings. He was lookin’ at us, and didn’t look particularly friendly. Llew said he was a lich, and I think I heard a cat make that noise once when it was coughin’ up a hairball, but she said it meant he was a really nasty caster who’d hit us with all kinds o’ death ’n’ cold spells, ’n’ we needed to bash him with blunt magic weapons to kill him. Since I didn’t have any of those, I pulled out Mr. Quiet ’n’ started usin’ him as Forth ’n’ Alembic moved away, ’n’ I told Alembic he’d need to speed me up ’n’ Llew she’d need to move away from me. Alembic sped us up and moved up into the air, then a big stinky yellow cloud o’ nasty landed on us ‘cause lich boy was done waitin’ for us to be ready. I coughed a bit, but kept focusin’ on Mr. Quiet, ’n’ Llew, bein’ sweet ’n’ knowin’ I was ‘bout to do somethin’ immensely clever (though she never calls it that) protected me from lich stuff. Mr. Quiet went off an’ I went sprintin’ into the open, lookin’ for the lich, and with Alembic’s Haste at work I got far enough to see him tryin’ to hide behind a building. Bein’ dead ’n’ all, he wasn’t very hide-y.

He didn’t like the way I was runnin’ straight at him, ’n’ that was kind o’ my plan ‘cause I was Silenced so he couldn’t scream at me, ’n’ I was Death Warded ’n’ I was protected from cold, so I didn’t think there was much he could do to me. He looked at me all evil-like and let out a maniacal cackle ‘cause I think they sign a contract that they have to do that when they’re bein’ evil, ’n’ he threw a Fireball at me and I kind o’ laughed back at him ‘cause throwin’ a Fireball at a gnome’s kind o’ like throwin’ poisoned candy at a goblin… whatever that means. ‘Cept the Fireball didn’t mean anythin’ to me ’til I spun away from one particularly ornery lick o’ flame ’n’ saw Forth standin’ right behind me burnin’ like a dwarf at an Asmodean roast. He had the big bloodshot eyes, ’n’ the look o’ dumbfounded surprise, ’n’ the perfectly-shaped ‘O’ mouth in the middle of a smoulderin’ beard that smelled like burnin’ dog…

What the friggin’ heck, Forth! What are you doin’ behind me?!?!?!

I tried to gesture to Forth to get the heck away from me, ‘cause bein’ ‘round me’s dangerous ’n’ all, but that’s when the second Fireball hit. Bein’ as I’d had a decent breakfast and a nice night’s sleep I didn’t have any trouble dancing aside from this one either, but Forth roasted some more and I was startin’ to think that one more o’ those things’d do him in.

Darn it, Forth! Don’t follow gnomes! You know better!

Lich boy started makin’ some kind o’ speech, but while it was easy to recognize the maniacal cacklin’, tryin’ to read those raspy dry lips was just beyond me, so I signaled to him that I couldn’t hear him ’n’ he’d have to wait on his soliloquy, and he gestured somethin’ rude at me, and I figured we’d just have to hate each other ‘cause we couldn’t even insult each other properly. At least I didn’t have to listen to his stupid soliloquy.

Since he’d been dumb enough to come out from behind the buildin’ to cast his second Fireball (I thought casters we’re s’posed to be smart. ‘Cept Alembic. He gets by by bein’ annoyin’, so maybe the lich was from his school), I ran up next to him, gave him my best big gnomish girly grin, heaved up my chest at him, and decided to follow him as his bestest friend wherever he went. Then Forth ran up and whacked him a good one, ‘cause he deserved it. I giggled, but I don’t think he heard it.

That’s when the other two liches popped out. Outside of my Silence field. That wasn’t good…
…then I caught sight of Alembic who flew up and cast a pit that didn’t do anythin’. That wasn’t good again…
…then Llew popped out from between some buildings, ran up, and whacked another of ‘em but good. That was good.

My bestest friend reached over and poked Forth with his finger. Yeah. It was about as effective as it sounds. I don’t know what he was expectin’, but Forth ’n’ I just standin’ there lookin’ at him all confused probably wasn’t it. We were kind o’ busy, so I’m sure the other liches (lichi? Lychees?) were doin’ things, but I distracted my friend a bit, ran up the side o’ the buildin’ and around behind him, ’n’ he tried to touch me too but he’s not my type so I didn’t let him, ’n’ I gave Forth the flank. So Forth killed him for me. Good Forth!

The other two liches weren’t amused by my antics, which is kind o’ what I do, so they Dispelled Spidey ’n’ I fell into Alembic’s pit, but I made my fall gentle so it was just a little stingy acid ’n’ I could deal with it, ’n’ the other dropped another o’ those clouds on me so I couldn’t see a thing. Which was all right by me, ‘cause I needed to be busy down there ’n’ didn’t need them droppin’ anythin’ else on me. By that time Mr. Quiet’d worn off ’n’ I heard Llew ’n’ Forth beatin’ the livin’ tar out o’ the liches who were too busy tryin’ to kill me to defend themselves. I pulled out my last scroll o’ Fly, figurin’ it would be faster’n usin’ Spidey, ’n’ by the time I flew up the liches were all dead. Nice job, gang!
I started usin’ my wand o’ not bein’ sick any more to heal myself up from the clouds (Sicky? Welly? Wally!), ’n’ Forth made me come near so he could channel ’n’ heal me. Which was sweet ’n’ all, but I was pretty much fine ‘cept for a few acid burns. Forth, not so much…

While we were healin’ up, Llew said we had to find their prophylactics ’n’ destroy them to make ‘em stay dead forever. I gave her a quizzical look so she drew me a picture. That was even more confusin’.
But I was not about to ask my priestess ‘bout the matin’ habits o’ liches, ‘cause lookin’ at what they used to prevent themselves from havin’ little lichlings, I just didn’t want to know. We grabbed their loot (a few thousand gold worth o’ boots ’n’ headbands ’n’ such), ’n’ Llew said we were all stinky (‘specially me) so I tried usin’ my gnomish Prestidigitation to clean up ’n’ it worked. Who knew? That’s not what the temple taught me it was for, but that’s enough o’ that.

Since they’d apparently said they were the town council or somethin’ durin’ the first guy’s soliloquy, we decided to check the city hall for anythin’ interestin’. There were three daises in there, and the first two didn’t have anythin’ interestin’, but the third had a secret stash with some kind o’ book in it. The first bit o’ the book was town records, but the rest was apparently spells ’n’ such. There was a silly little explosive glyph protectin’ the book, but tryin’ to make a gnome explode’s after she’s had a decent non-dwarven breakfast just isn’t goin’ to work. I cleared out that one ’n’ we threw the book in my pack, ’n’ the others said I’d just been careless with the other podiums ’n’ it turned out they were right ’n’ we got two more o’ the books, all protected with glyphs ’n’ such, but they weren’t much use against me since I wasn’t weighted down by mushrooms ’n’ grain ’n’ sadness.

We moved on pretty quickly after that, ‘cause we were all warded ’n’ such ’n’ the spells wouldn’t last that long. We checked down by the river, but it looked like some kind o’ barracks-y place that wasn’t interestin, ’n’ the next house was a big rich person’s house with about half an alchemical lab in it, which didn’t make much sense but I guess rich people do weird things too. Alembic said it was all equipment for extractin’ diamonds from other things, but as usual, I didn’t want to know. The rest o’ the street were more rich people’s houses, and all we learned was that the rich people had MUCH bigger houses than the poor people, but they were just as dead, ’n’ their houses got looted much worse’n the poor people’s. So yeah, bein’ rich. Overrated. Leave me in the streets playin’ with the dogs ’n’ the urchins, thanks!

Once we’d figured out we were pretty much done with the town, we went back and searched it more throughly, since the only thing left was the golem. I suggested to Alembic that he hold up the Farbridge gear ’n’ call out the Farbridge password, ‘cause he was a Farbridge ’n’ I figured it’d work. But Alembic, so he didn’t want to do it. So we went a while arguin’ about all the other possible things to do, like lurin’ the golem out somewhere in the wilderness or whatnot, but finally sense prevailed and in went Alembic, lookin’ white as a sheet, holdin’ up the gear ’n’ hopin’ not to die. The golem woke up ’n’ told him to speak the password. So he did. And it didn’t eat him! So I winced ’n’ held up the Blackburn gear, figurin’ if anyone was goin’ to get eaten or beaten it’d be me, ‘cause I don’t even look like a human, but I called out the Blackburn password ’n’ I was OK. Llew used the Farrington password, ‘cause Pharasma, ’n’ Forth used the Muskgrove password, ‘cause mayor, and ‘cause the only one left was mine again! Jeggare! I giggled at gettin’ the worst families, but it worked! The golem sat back down on its haunches ’n’ looked like it was goin’ to let us in.

So I started tryin’ to gather up all the gears from everyone to put ‘em away for safekeepin’, but one o’ the bodies chained to the door (yeah, they’ve been chainin’ bodies so many places I hardly even notice ‘em any more) came alive, charged forward, and ripped Llew nearly to pieces! To add insult to injury, it wrapped all its chains around her so she was bleedin’, chained, and pissed off! Through gritted teeth, she said it was a “gallows dead”, created by hangin’ people to be tortured to death (like these guys), but we could just beat ‘em to death. Figurin’ that wasn’t my department, I gave Llew a bit o’ luck to try to help her get out of her chains, ‘cause they looked pretty nasty. But instead of usin’ it, she put up her aura to protect us from death, ‘cause that’s what’d hurt her so badly. Forth beat on the critter to try to make it let go, so it did and started beating on him. But even though Forth bleeds a lot he’s not as grabby, so the chains couldn’t get a grip. Llew moved around to give Forth a flank so she was way out of reach, so I gave Forth luck instead. And he killed the thing. Not a bad use o’ luck.

‘Cept then the other two popped off the wall and attacked. It was a veritable chain of fools! Alembic tried another spell that didn’t work (he’s doin’ that more and more these days. May have to ask him about it), but I kept pourin’ luck into Forth ’n’ Llew kept bein’ Llew so the other two died much faster’n the first one. I even tried channelin’ at ‘em, but it was about as good at hurtin’ monsters as it was at healin’ friends. We healed Llew ’n’ Forth up, ‘cause they both needed a LOT of healing, and I walked over to the door with all the gears.

And almost fell over! The gears were suddenly really, really heavy! As was my haversack! All my magic was gone! Stupid door! Do you KNOW how much stuff I carry? So I put everythin’ down so I could move, ’n’ started liftin’ the heavy gears into place (and why is the GNOME doin’ this?). Each time I put one in it clicked into place and there was all kinds of whirrin’ and bangin’ and whatnot, and when I put the fifth one in the whole door sunk into the floor! I winced, figurin’ a horde o’ undead were gonna pounce on me, but… nothin’!

The other side o’ the door was a deep room with some kind of altar at the back, so I dragged all my stuff in and found out the magic came back about 5 feet into the room, then I looked down at the gears and watched ‘em whirrin’ and listened to ‘em clickin’ and figured we had ‘bout an hour before the door went back up again. Or had I heard that somewhere? Didn’t matter! Sounded right! The others were kind o’ leery ‘bout comin’ cross the no-magic zone, but eventually they all did ’n’ we looked around the room. The altar was to Urgathoa (no surprise) and had been added later (no surprise), and there were carts for carryin’ diamond dust (no surprise), and they even had some diamond dust in ‘em (no surprise, considerin’ the curse). At the other end o’ the room were tracks leadin’ deeper into the mines (please, someone! Surprise me!), ’n’ there were some papers lyin’ on the floor. I looked at ‘em and they looked like gobbledygook, but I’d prepared Comprehend Languages that mornin’ ‘cause Calistria loves me when I pick random stuff so I cast it… and it was still gobbledygook. Or at least nothin’ interestin’. Just mining ledgers and whatnot that nobody but Forth or Alembic’d be interested in.

I finally got surprised when Llew said the altar hadn’t been used in a while. Why build it if you aren’t going to use it? We didn’t see anythin’ else, and we didn’t know whether or not we were goin’ to go down into the mines yet, so Forth started lookin’ around and he found a secret door! In proof positive that gnomes should NEVER eat dwarven food, I had no trouble at all seein’ more explosive glyphs and disarming them, then unlocking the door. Take that, mushroom oatmeal!

Inside the room was a little 20’ x 20’ room, all dark. I activated my ioun torch and there was a guy in a cage in the middle of it. Because Calistria thinks I’m her extra-special girl I cast Deathwatch and I could tell everybody that he was alive! Probably another plague victim or somethin’. The rest o’ the room made it obvious what it was for: There were torture devices all over the wall, ’n’ the guys’ cage was all barbed and nasty. Forth said he wasn’t evil, so I went over to open the locks but there weren’t any, so I just glared at Forth. Llew suddenly gasped. The man in the cage was Father Farrington! The real one! And he was all messed up!

So I pulled out my scroll of Heal and I prayed to Calistria that since I was her favorite most-special gnome today could the scroll please work for once and IT DID!!! And I Healed Father Farrington right up and got rid of all his diseases and wounds and madness and all that and I felt extra special and I told him he owed me a scroll of Heal because those things are expensive.

He was confused.

Then Llew started talkin’ to him and we got some good information: The Mother of Wights had found an artifact that would help her raise an army of undead, but she needed living beings to raise. So she’d gone deeper and deeper into the mines ’til she’d found a breech into the Darklands, where she’s buildin’ her own undead empire.

This is bad.

He said he was tortured every few days, so we probably had a little while. He figured they’d been waitin’ for him to starve to death, but he had on a Ring of Sustenance so he hadn’t. Llew asked him about the liches and he said the Mother of Wights’d called them unworthy so their prophylactics were disguised as spellbooks. In my pack. Eeeeeeeeew! Now I have to clean it! With fire and death!
Once we had Father Farrington out of the room, I locked it up again. Then jammed the lock. Then glued the whole door. It might not hold ‘em out for very long, but at least they weren’t going to get through the lock!

We headed outside and I made a nice little campfire out o’ my bead and the prophylactics, ’n’ they burned just fine ’n’ Llew ’n’ Forth ’n’ Father Farrington ’n’ Alembic all made sure they were good and destroyed, and I was happy ‘cause I didn’t want to think about baby liches, much less see any, and nothin’ came out so after an hour the door closed and I went back and got the gears, ‘cause I don’t mind being in no-magic fields.

Then Father Farrington told us it’d be a week before we could open the door again. Oops.

Alembic teleported us back to town, ’n’ we sold the liches’ gear (after I’d cleaned it as best as I could) ’n’ distributed the loot. I restocked all the scrolls I’d used in town, then decided that Comprehend Languages’d been so useful I ought to learn what the underground elves speak. So I headed on over to the temple, ’n’ my priestess looked at me with her big pretty green eyes and asked, “Underground Elves?”, so I went ’n’ found Greenbrow ’n’ gave him the big eyes and he wouldn’t talk ‘bout underground elves, but he said most o’ the underground fey learn a language called Undercommon to be able to talk to each other ’n’ all the other underground critters. Kind o’ like Common for bein’ underground. Hey!

So I wandered a few taverns askin’ ‘bout learnin’ Undercommon ’n’ they said I should talk to Forth but I figured it should be a surprise, so I started pokin’ round the libraries in town ’n’ most of ‘em shooed me away ‘cause gnome, but eventually I found an old guy who seemed like he spoke a lot of languages ‘cause he told me to go away in a lot of ‘em so I turned the big eyes in full force on him and he succumbed to my will and let me borrow a couple o’ books on Undercommon.

Bein’ a gnome, I didn’t study ‘em. I just put ‘em under my pillow and prayed extra hard to Calistria to grant me yet another boon, ‘cause I was greedy and fickle. I did my obeisances and went to sleep, and I guess I prayed right ‘cause in the mornin’ durin’ my prayers I realized I spoke Undercommon!

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*** And a GM aside: Shiro didn't like how the game played out once we'd opened the portal to the mine, so he rewrote it and we retconned it. Trig wrote up a retcon in character, and that'll be next week's post, labeled 43A ***

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Lich prophylactics, eh?

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NobodysHome wrote:

And for the record, Trig's infamous Handy Haversack eventually contained 216 items weighing in at 107 pounds.

She was a well-prepared young gnome!

Hee! Ariam's Haversack has 60 items weighing in at 110 lbs., but part of that is because I have Ariam liking baths, so she's got a portable bathtub, and I bought her a portable alchemical lab because yeah, the gunslinger kit can make gunpowder but honestly that feels like it's cheating so I indulged and took a rank of Craft (Alchemy) and the lab so to give her a better reason how she can make gunpowder.

I'm actually considering picking up a Minor Bag of Holding for the alchemical lab and bathtub (and probably a tent and cot and other stuff) because some things she doesn't need to worry about quickly getting. Though her cooking gear (enough to make Samwise Gamgee nod in approval) would remain in the Haversack. That way you can get whatever cooking utensil or tool needed rather than searching for it when in the middle of something... ;)

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Session 43A, Played 28-Apr-2019

I sat up from my nap and my head was achin’ somethin’ awful and my bed’d turned into hard, hard ground with lots o’ dirt, ’n’ Llew ’n’ Forth ’n’ Alembic were all starin’ at me like I’d grown a second head or somethin’, ’n’ I looked around and we were all sittin’ there in front o’ the adamantine door to the caves, as if we’d never opened ‘em or found Father Ferrington or anything.

So, if Llew ’n’ Forth are to be believed (and I think they are, unlike other, unnamed members o’ the party), once we were all done with the chain guys I’d pulled out the first gear and stretched as far as I could and reached up on tippy-toes and tried to put the gear into its receptacle… and dropped it smack on my head, fell down, and lay there twitchin’ for a bit. They figured I seemed to be havin’ a good dream ’n’ I didn’t seem all that hurt, so they just let me lie there ’til I woke up on my own.

Droppin’ the gear didn’t sound like me. Layin’ there twitchin’ for a bit did, so I let it go.

Anyhoo, I went back up to the door and this time there wasn’t any “no magic” field around it, so I knew my memory from last time was probably all made up, an’ I put the gears in more careful-like, protectin’ my fragile little head, ’n’ the door started openin’ (again?). But this time it opened all slow-like, so we had plenty o’ time to get ready.

Except all we heard was screamin’ and moanin’ and sufferin’, ’n’ I was the last one to see ‘cause o’ my improved and excellent height, but from everyone else’s reactions I wasn’t gonna see anythin’ good. Sure enough, as soon as I could see over the lip o’ the door, I saw a totally different room from the one I remembered: There was still an altar to Urgathoa in it, but this time it was in the center o’ the room, and Father Ferrington (and why did I recognize him?) was chained to it, bein’ stretched out, while all around the room there were around a dozen other people in various torture devices, and they were the source o’ the screamin’. There didn’t seem to be any exits from the room other than the big opening right across from us, maybe sixty or seventy feet away. For a moment I was worried I’d started ‘em dyin’ by openin’ the door, but the two events didn’t seem related. They seemed to be in really bad shape, like, “So bad you shouldn’t be able to scream so much,” but they were still screamin’, and they looked like they only had a few seconds before they all died.

Well, that was more than I could take care of in that amount of time, so I decided to make myself useful and called on Calistria to let me cast Deathwatch. An’ it worked! So the previous experience MUST have been a dream, ‘cause Calistria may like me ’n’ all, but even she said she’s got to follow the stupid ‘god rules’ ‘bout how many spells I get a day. Anyhoo, yep, all the people were people, not undead, and all of ‘em were as near as death as I could make out with the spell, so I called it out to everybody else ‘cause I figured maybe Forth could go in and channel or somethin’ to give me some time to get ‘em all out of all those contraptions.

Forth started movin’ in, but as he passed through the entrance there was some kind o’ shimmerin’ or shudderin’ or somethin’, and he stumbled a bit and got confused, so I could tell it would take him a moment to get the channel off. Alembic said it was magic, but he couldn’t tell what it was. I’m gettin’ kind o’ bored with that refrain, so I shot Alembic a dirty look, but I didn’t think he could tell, ‘cause he was busy lookin’ at the magic. Llew moved up to join me just at the threshold, waitin’ to see what happened to Forth, ‘cause that’s what we do.

I decided to make sure we weren’t gettin’ in over our heads, so since there wasn’t any anti-magic around the door, I pulled out my Immovable Rod an’ set it to prop the door open. ‘Cept it just fell to the ground uselessly.

I want my money back.

Forth moved in to the center o’ the room to best channel for everyone, but just as he was grabbin’ at his holy symbol an image of a woman appeared. We all knew it was the Mother of Wights, ’n’ we all knew it was an illusion so we didn’t attack it, ’n’ she said, “Those who are strong enough to open the door have succeeded. My minions are on their way.”
Didn’t seem like a very useful or interestin’ monologue; I guess she was too busy diggin’ around underground to take megalomaniacal undead monologuing trainin’, but I have to say I was pretty disappointed. Forth was, too, and channeled anyway, but it didn’t help any o’ the people. Somethin’ was stiflin’ him! And as he did that, we heard the sounds o’ battle approachin’, like hundreds o’ people were fightin’ ’n’ screamin’ ’n’ dyin’ ’n’ headed our way, ’n’ it didn’t sound like the kind o’ thing you wanted joinin’ you in a small-ish room, helpless victims or no helpless victims!
Alembic twiddled his fingers and did some magic ’n’ nothin’ happened… again. I was beginnin’ to think I was goin’ to have to take him to the temple and have one of our acolytes straighten him out, ‘cause he sure as heck needed straightenin’, an’ cleric or no, I wasn’t gonna do it! A girl’s gotta have SOME standards!

Anyhoo, that was neither here nor there at the moment, ‘cause we had to get busy (and not in THAT way), so Llew and I moved in, and Forth moved to the entrance at the opposite end of the room to try to head off whatever-it-was that was approachin’. Movin’ into the room made my stomach lurch, but so does the image of Alembic naked so it wasn’t so bad. Alembic came in and finally did somethin’ useful by wallin’ off the opposite entrance. It made it so we couldn’t hear the approachin’ army any more, but it also made it so the approachin’ army would have to burrow through some stone walls to get at us, givin’ us time to get the prisoners free. I scrambled up to Father Ferrington, but he had a lock on every limb, so I sighed an’ asked Forth ’n’ Llew for help. Llew took over guardin’ the door while Forth started cuttin’ Ferrington free. I asked him whether he wanted any help, an’ he told me I shouldn’t bother. I would’ve been offended, ‘cept I know he can cut chains faster’n I can unlock locks, so I wasn’t.

At that point all the walls came crashin’ down and we saw somethin’ awful. And it’s easy to say, “Somethin’ awful”, ‘cause describin’ the thing isn’t easy. In front of it were a bunch o’ floatin’ swords on ghostly, distorted limbs you could barely see they were so see-through. Guess that’s why they call it “see-through”, huh? Maybe ten feet back from the swords in the darkness of the hall was a mass o’ dead bodies, ‘cept they were all movin’ ’n’ groanin’ ’n’ screamin’ ’n’ wavin’ their swords about like they were goin’ to cut us all to ribbons. It unnerved me, but that was nothin’ new. I’m gettin’ kind o’ used to it. Well, I decided I wasn’t particularly in the mood to share a room with whatever IT was, so I kissed goodbye to 3000 gold and tossed my Bead of Force in its way. Not only did it block up the hall so the thing couldn’t get through, but it trapped four of the swords as well! Now THAT was money well-spent, unlike a certain rod I could think of!

Llew told us it was a “warsworn”, an undead formed from large grisly battles, the bloodier for both sides, the better. Its “big thing” was absorbin’ the dyin’, ’n’ we had plenty in the room, meanin’ I’d done well to keep it out. Woo hoo! On top of absorbin’ more bodies, which is nasty enough, it was usin’ telekinesis to wield those 7 swords, makin’ it really mean. At least when its swords weren’t trapped in a ball. Or if you had up Protection from Evil. Apparently the swords couldn’t handle that. Other than that, it could beat on you real hard, hurl suits of armor like catapults, you needed magical bashing weapons to hurt it, it was intelligent, but not too intelligent, and it was another “beat it to death before it eats you” critter. Which is kind of like most of what we face.

Forth cut Ferrington free and told me to heal him, Alembic did something to one o’ the swords and it clattered to the ground (THAT one, Alembic! Do more of those!), and Llew knocked another o’ the swords to the ground, but it gave her a deep cut for her troubles. The big blob… I mean, the warsworn smashed against my sphere, but my sphere held, makin’ me feel even better ‘bout the purchase, and the last free sword went around Llew to kill one o’ the trapped guys. Now that’s just petty!

I used Llew’s wand on Ferrington to wake him up and told him to get out of there, but there was no Ferrington in the mad, terrified eyes that opened up and looked at me. *sigh* That’s right. In my dream I had to Heal him, so I started kissin’ more gold goodbye as I pulled out another scroll of Heal. Forth chased down the last sword and cut it down. Alembic cast some spell on one o’ the other guys, but I have no idea what it did. Llew kept waitin’ for the beastie. I told her the sphere’d last ten minutes, but she didn’t seem to have a lot of faith in it.

Sure enough, the beastie started crawlin’ up the wall and over the sphere. You didn’t say it could climb, Llew! I prayed to Calistria, feelin’ awfully familiar, but she answered my prayers again and the scroll of Heal went off, so I Healed Father Ferrington an’ he seemed much better, an’ I told him to run again, an’ this time it looked like he’d listen. Forth moved in to help Llew, an’ Llew started cutting the living daylights out o’ the thing. Body parts were flyin’ everywhere. That’ll teach you to climb over my sphere, beastie! Alembic started draggin’ one o’ the guys to safety, which I thought was right nice of him, but another wall would’ve been nicer.

It didn’t particularly like what Llew was doin’ to it, so it smacked her back a long way. Forth was still engaged with it, but I wanted to make sure it couldn’t get at the people so I tried to use a scroll o’ Force Wall to cage it in but it didn’t work. Llew got up and ran back in, then Alembic walled her ’n’ Forth in with the creature. Not nice to them, but a lot better for the victims. Alembic has his good days. Just to show how much it hated us, it made a bunch o’ swords start attackin’ Llew ’n’ Forth, ’n’ they got cut up real bad. I couldn’t help them, so I used Spidey on myself to start freein’ other victims. I really didn’t have to hurry. Llew’d already cut up the critter somethin’ awful, so smitey Forth smashed it to bits and we were done.

Forth noted that a lot o’ the bodies in the pile were from the Darklands, ’n’ Father Ferrington started confirming everything I’d dreamed: This room was for torturin’ people (OK, I hadn’t dreamed that, but it was kind of obvious), ’n’ Ferrington’d been in here for years, so he’d heard a lot of things. The miners had unearthed a “moaning diamond” (OK, didn’t know that) that the Mother of Wights’d really wanted, which is why she came here in the first place. She used it to burrow all the way to the Darklands, ‘cause apparently noisy diamonds help you dig. Who knew? Once she was there, she waged war on the denizens, building her army as she depleted theirs, and she was plannin’ on eventually comin’ back up and takin’ over the surface world as well.

Once Ferrington was done, and started talkin’ ‘bout how the families would owe us somethin’, Alembic admitted he was a Farbridge, ’n’ Ferrinton formally thanked him. So I told him I was a Belmafoodleptock, ’n’ he told me I was obviously an employee of Alembic. The real Ferrington’s a much bigger jerk than the dream Ferrington was. Llew didn’t get any thanks, either; he said she ’n’ Forth were just doin’ their jobs. I was kind o’ regrettin’ usin’ the scroll on him by then, but it was too late; I had no idea how to “take backsies” that kind o’ thing. ’N’ it would probably irritate Forth ’n’ Llew if I did. Just like the dream, Llew gave Ferrington his holy symbol back, an’ he was all astonished. Didn’t make him any nicer.

We talked about teleporting back to Logas, but Alembic was tapped out, so we decided we’d camp for the night. Ferrington reminded us o’ the liches, so just like before we had to pull out the spellbooks ’n’ burn ‘em. Once we were camped, we had eight madmen with us, so I did some dancin’ ’n’ jugglin’ to keep ‘em entertained. My dancin’ didn’t go so well, ‘cause it’s hard to keep track of your feet when your hands are busy, but my jugglin’ was top-notch. At sunset Ferrington did his prayin’ and Healed three of ‘em, but they kept watchin’ me, ‘cause there was nothin’ else to do. Once they got bored and fell asleep (which everyone watchin’ me eventually does), I went to sleep, too.

In the mornin’, Alembic teleported us all back to Logas in shifts, ’n’ we went to the temple o’ Pharasma ’n’ reported. I started tryin’ to help, ’n’ Llew told me I should probably report to the temple o’ Calistria, but I told her they probably didn’t miss me, ’n’ the head priestess wasn’t all that bright ’n’ probably wouldn’t care all that much one way or the other, but then she gave me that look that said I really ought to be going, so I went to the temple o’ Calistra ’n’ reported anyway, ’n’ the priestess was more interested than I thought she’d be, but she just thanked me for takin’ care of it for her. So I spent an appropriate amount o’ time at the temple, then went over and got my usual inn room and had a good meal.

Just like in my dream, we had a week before the door’d open again, so we spent a day takin’ care o’ the crazies (Llew ’n’ Forth preferred “victims”, but it’s not as fun to say) ’n’ doin’ minor replenishment shoppin’ ’n’ sellin’. I figured followin’ the dream couldn’t hurt, so I got myself another book o’ Undercommon ’n’ tried again, and sure enough in the morning I spoke Undercommon! If only all languages came so easy!
Speaking of coming easy, we got an invitation from Father Ferrington to visit his mansion that evening. It was all scripted and on nice parchment and everythin’, so I figured I should look nice, so I put on my Calistrian formals (at least I made my armor look like ‘em) and joined the group to head on over. Llew kind o’ looked at me with that, “Oh, Trig, what are you doing?” look she gets, but I figured no one’d be interested in a gnome anyway, and makin’ untoward advances towards a Calistrian is well-known to get you a dagger in the crotch, so I’d be fine.

Turns out all five families where there. Callum was there, Blackburn was there. Ferrington was unfortunately there, but I figured it was his house. And Captain Farbridge and Mayor Muskgrove were there. And they said they’d all agreed to reward us for our hard work. There were five chests in the room! I ran over and hugged Blackburn around the knees and thanked him, ‘cause I know it embarrasses him, ’n’ Callum wanted to talk to me but didn’t want to in front o’ the whole group so I have that to look forward to, an’ I could ignore the rest of ‘em with the best of ‘em.

I dutifully checked all the chests for traps, but none of ‘em were, which just goes to show none of the families really know me. But I could tell the tiniest chest was for me, ’n’ inside, buried among the gold, was the most beautiful armor I’ve ever seen! I was glamoured, just like my armor, and sized just like my armor, and shadowy just like my armor, but it just felt more magical. Blackburn told me it’d provide better protection ’n’ had some built-in protection from death, too.

I knew he liked me!

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Session 44, Played 12-May-2019

We gathered up the rest o’ the cash from the five families and headed out to do some well-deserved shoppin’. I figured the new armor was a hint that I was gettin’ hit a little too often, so I splurged and traded in my old ring o’ protection for a much better one, at quite a steep price! After that I was pretty tapped out, so knowin’ we had a week to burn I made sure to rent my inn room in Logas for the week, ‘cause some people think gnomes don’t like stayin’ the same place two nights in a row, but when they’ve got swimmin’ pool-sized baths ’n’ all the food I can eat ’n’ he’ll special order any food so I’ve had orc food ’n’ elf food ’n’ dwarf food ’n’ all kinds o’ other foods, it’s a good place to stay.

I was probably payin’ him too much, but he never complained, and neither did I.

So I rode with the dogs a bit, an’ played with the kids around town, ’n’ showed up at the temple o’ Calistria a bit to due my clericly duties ’n’ such, but most o’ the work available to me was either stabbin’ jilted lovers or servicin’ halflings, neither o’ which appealed to me at all, but I did what I had to. I did get to track down a merc who’d come into town and beat up one o’ the acolytes while she was freelancin’, but the other Calistrians were downright mean; I mean, he deserved a bit o’ beatin’ ’n’ stabbin’ ’n’ such, but they cut off parts that ought not be cut off, so I decided that work wasn’t so good for me either. Honestly, I’d’ve just handed him over to Blackburn ’n’ given Mr. Blackburn a huge grin and told him to treat the merc as a “special guest”, an’ Blackburn would’ve believed me ’n’ it would’ve been all lawful-like, but the Calistrians started callin’ me “lawful” ’n’ “Blackburn’s toadie”, so I left before I hurt ‘em.

Worst cleric of Calistria, ever.

Since the temple was getting kind o’ mean ’n’ the parents were startin’ to hide their kids from me (what’s a few burns? I healed ‘em! ‘Cause I can channel now!), I decided to start followin’ Llew ’n’ Alembic ’n’ Forth around. ‘Cept Llew likes me as company ’til she’s doin’ somethin’ serious, ’n’ then she makes me wait outside, ‘cause she doesn’t think I can be serious. I mean, she’s right ’n’ all, but it hurts to have her be so right all the time. I can hang out with Forth all I want. And he’s a dwarven paladin. So that’s pretty much not much at all. ’N’ Alembic and I tolerate each other all right for at least 15 minutes a day, but after that we kind o’ go our separate ways.

The first thing Alembic asked everyone was whether we needed any potions, and I asked him what kind he could make, ’n’ he told me a lot o’ things I didn’t understand, but I did understand Ant Haul, and I figured if Llew or Forth were ever in real trouble ’n’ needed to get dragged out o’ somewhere, that’d be handy. So I asked for one o’ those, ’n’ Alembic wandered off for a couple of hours ’n’ came back with one. Heck, if it was that easy for him, why did I keep payin’ full price for potions at the apothecary! Alembic gave me a half price deal, ’n’ it didn’t take him any time at all!

Once he was back, Llew ’n’ Forth said we ought to investigate the Darklands, seein’ as we were goin’ there ’n’ all. ‘Cept… I already knew a lot! ‘Cause when I slept on that book ’n’ learned Undercommon, seems like I learned more’n that. ‘Cause maybe Calistria likes little gnomes who’re trying to save the world from bein’ overwhelmed by disease-spewin’ undead horrors more than haughty-taughty elves who’ve got nothin’ better to do than stick a needle in some deservin’ jerk’s backside ’n’ watch ‘im twich ’til he stops twitchin’ ’n’ needs a healer or apologizes for bein’ a jerk. OK, yeah, it’s kind o’ funny the first time. And the second. But by time 3 or 4 you start thinkin’ that your fellow acolytes are kind o’ sadists.

Anyhoo, I was ‘bout to start tellin’ everyone ‘bout the Darklands ‘cept Forth’d found a book about it ’n’ started readin’ important stuff out to us, ’n’ he enjoys that kind o’ stuff so I shut up and let him talk. The top level of the Darklands is called Narvoth, ’n’ it’s mostly caves ’n’ such where the only requirement to be part of Narvoth is that you’ve got to be able to get to the next layer down from there. So not a particularly excitin’ place, and the creatures there are mostly either surface races that’ve gone down (dark elves, dark dwarves, dark gnomes, ’n’ all kinds o’ other dark critters, I’m sure), or underground races that’ve come up (OK, didn’t know any o’ those). But there are only 4-5 entrances to Narvoth in the world, ’n’ we’d found one. Or at least the Mother of Wights had, ’n’ we were followin’ her. Lucky us.
Below Narvoth was Sekamina, which is a HUGE place that connects to ALL the Narvoth regions (‘cause not all Narvoth regions connect). Sekamina is the way you get around underground, and on occasion there’ve been paths directly from Sekamina to the surface and that’s always been bad, ‘cause the creatures livin’ underground are almost always evil, ‘cause apparently bein’ in the dark all the time makes you mean. But Sekamina’s mainly a way to get around the Darklands, ‘cause under Sekamina is Orv, and none of us knew much ‘bout it. My book said there were underground oceans ’n’ even suns down there. Forth said there were gugs, which is a fun word to say, but the way he said it made ‘em sound no fun at all.

Once we were oriented, or at least knew what to call the places when we were hopelessly lost in ‘em, we started discussin’ what we knew ‘bout what was down there. I knew that durin’ Earthfall a bunch o’ elves’d run underground to hide, ‘cause elves do weird stuff like that, ’n’ they’d turned into dark elves ’n’ turned evil. Which made me wonder whether turnin’ my armor dark for long enough’d turn me evil, but I didn’t want to try ‘cause I liked bein’ nice. Anyhoo, Forth knew ‘bout dark dwarves, ‘cept he called ‘em duergars, ’n’ dark gnomes (svirfneblins), and of ‘em all only the svirfneblins’d be anythin’ close to polite. ‘Cause gnomes. Other’n that we’d be runnin’ into troglodytes (another fun word) ’n’ derros, which sound more like a cinnamony desert than a creature. ‘Cept their name rang a bell.
Once we’d gotten past all that fun, we’d be hittin’ grimslakes ’n’ serpentfolk ’n’ dark elves ’n’ ghasts ’n’ ghouls in Sekamina. I had no idea what grimslakes or serptentfolk were, but I figured the grimslakes were probably pretty serious ’n’ the serpentfolk had somethin’ to do with snakes. But I could be wrong. Frequently am.

Then Forth started listin’ off the “environmental hazards”, which is just a nice way of sayin’, “Stuff that’s gonna kill you without intendin’ to.”
Apparently everythin’ down there’s poisonous or good at hiding, and food and water’s hard to come by. There are invisible gases that kill you the moment you walk into ‘em, ’n’ slimes ’n’ molds ’n’ other funguses (fungi?) that form huge colonies, some of which can even create people! Forth read about a russet mold (that was probably red) that’d eat your brain ’n’ turn you into a mold zombie under its control. Creepy!

It was kind o’ like gnome bedtime stories!

Forth went on, ’n’ said there were even undead mold, which got Llew’s attention. He said that we didn’t know anythin’ ‘bout Orv, so I told him all ‘bout the etherfrogs down there, slimy big ol’ blisters with nostrils ’n’ mouths ’n’ not much else ‘cept big ol’ eyes on their backs. ‘Cause I knew ‘bout them for no reason. Forth ’n’ Llew just kind o’ looked at me like I’d grown a second head, ’n’ Alembic looked like he had a headache.

Once we were done talkin’, I figured I’d better stock up on gnome rations, ‘cause it sounded like we might be there for a long time, ’n’ Alembic came with me ‘cause he likes to watch me shop in case I buy somethin’ interestin’, and when I ordered 100 gnome rations ’n’ the storekeep looked at me as if I’d grown a second head (a lot of that goin’ around; I should probably check my heads), Alembic asked why didn’t I just get a Ring o’ Sustenance like a normal person? I pointed out that I couldn’t afford one, but he pointed out that if I’d just sell my Ring o’ Swimmin’ I’d be able to, but then what would I do in the bathtub? Alembic was willin’ to bet I’d be able to swim in the bathtub without the ring, so if a sobbin’ Llew ’n’ Forth ever find me lyin’ naked and lifeless at the bottom of a tub they’ll know it was all Alembic’s fault.

And they will avenge me.

Anyhoo, I traded in my swimmin’ ring and some cash for a Ring o’ Sustenance, ’n’ I put it on and still felt hungry, ’n’ Alembic said it wouldn’t work for a week, so what the heck good was it? But I figured I had enough rations ’n’ such to last me at least a week, so I’d be OK. Especially in town, where I could buy extra food when I felt like it. Once we were done shoppin’, we met back up at the inn and right there was King Heddy, come all this way to see us! I ran up and hugged him for real, not like the hugs I give Blackburn, ’n’ he patted me on the head. He told us he considered the whole Mother o’ Wights thing closed, so we shouldn’t be riskin’ ourselves to stir up trouble when none was needed.

It was as if he’d forgotten I was a gnome or somethin’.

But I forgave him, ’n’ he went off, ’n’ Llew wanted to see how Father Farrington was doin’ with the temple, ’n’ he was doin’ a right fine job, but she gave him some weird back-handed, “You can come with us if you want to but we don’t really need you if you don’t want to come,” kind o’ speech, ’n’ he said that the families were all uppity ‘cause Lawful stuff I didn’t understand, ’n’ Heddy was involved, too, so all I knew was that we were s’posed to take members of every family to go kill the Mother o’ Wights. Okay. Whatever. I told the group I could talk the families into anything, so they just had to tell me what they wanted the families to do, ’n’ Llew said I was turnin’ evil for wantin’ to manipulate people’s heads that way, but I was already confused ‘cause o’ the whole people wantin’ to come along thing, so I figured I was just sharin’ the confusion. Which is evil somehow. But whatever. I didn’t feel any more evil, ’n’ Calistria wouldn’t care one way or the other, as her acolytes’d already demonstrated, so I’d just keep bein’ me and hope that confusin’ people wasn’t evil. ‘Cause it’s fun.

Then someone said Heddy had to be involved, an’ I offered to make him do whatever we wanted, ‘cause he likes me, ’n’ Llew called me evil again, and I think it’s her new word for “cute” so I don’t mind. Then everyone started talkin’ more politics an’ Lawfulness and such ’n’ I didn’t pay any attention so I’m sure it was important but Llew ’n’ Forth’d tell me what to do ‘cause they were good about that, and they didn’t want me to charm anyone into doin’ anythin’ at the moment so I figured I was good. And I hate to say it, but listenin’ to the politics was at least better’n runnin’ with the kids ’n’ the dogs ‘cause it was different.

Exactly one week later, I got up two hours before dawn, cursed my stupidity again, prepared my spells ’n’ did Comprehend Languages ’n’ Deathwatch again ‘cause they kept comin’ in handy, even if they were borin’ to cast over ’n’ over again, ’n’ waited for the cook to wake up so I could have breakfast. ‘CAUSE I WAS HUNGRY! Stupid ring! Lost ol’ Swimmy for a ring that doesn’t even work right! And Alembic told me to be patient, but that’s not somethin’ I’m good at.
Once the cook and everyone else was awake ’n’ we were eatin’ breakfast, the whole world shook. It was pretty fun! But everyone else was all worried ‘bout it, ‘cause it probably meant the Mother o’ Wights was burrowin’ around down under the city ’n’ we needed to get down there ’n’ stop her. A couple o’ Sendings between the two cities later, ’n’ we knew the earthquake’d been stronger in Eledir, so Heddy was orderin’ us to go take care o’ things. He’s so cute, thinkin’ he can order me to do anythin’!

We finished breakfast, everyone else buffed up ‘cause you never know what the undead are gonna do, and Alembic teleported us back to the village. Our friendly neighborhood hound was still guardin’ the door, but I figured it was a good day to run like crazy from a rampaging adamantine golem, so I walked up ’n’ used the Blackburn word ’n’ I was kind o’ disappointed ‘cause it worked ’n’ the golem didn’t attack me. But we went up and opened the door ’n’ such, ’n’ stepped in, ’n’ felt all that queasiness, ’n’ then Alembic sighed ’n’ told us to go out again. I figured it was a game so I hopped out on one foot, but he looked back in the door ’n’ cast somethin’ an’ the inside changed, ’n’ he said the fake dimension was gone ’n’ we could go in again. So we did.

And it was time for another long discussion, ‘cause it was just one o’ those days that’d never end. I was kind o’ hopin’ somethin’ would attack us to interrupt us, an’ I thought o’ throwin’ somethin’ at the golem to make it mad, but at least this discussion kind o’ made sense. ‘Cause we were about to walk all the way down to the Darklands, ’n’ it was far enough that Alembic didn’t think 100 days of gnome rations were enough, ’n’ he made me get that stupid ring that didn’t work ’n’ I was glad I’d had a big breakfast ‘cause this was boring! But the door was gonna close, and the gears would be on the outside ’n’ we would be on the inside. Would they be safe? They were valuable, ’n’ they were important, ’n’ all the “great” families knew we had ‘em ’n’ were about to use ‘em, so any one of ‘em could try to come up ’n’ get ‘em. And the hound’d probably let ‘em, ‘cause golems aren’t that bright. On the other hand, we were riskin’ our lives to get their diamond mine back, or at least kill the Mother o’ Wights so they could get their OWN darned diamond mine back, so stabbin’ us in the back wouldn’t be very bright. ’N’ the Mother o’ Wights didn’t need the gears any more, and anyone else in the area who could take on an adamantine golem one-on-one probably didn’t need the cash from the gears. So they were probably safe. We waited for the doors to close, ’n’ Alembic gave me Darkvision so I wouldn’t run into things, which wasn’t as fun but was probably faster, ’n’ since I was bored I started scourin’ the walls for secret doors ’n’ found one ’n’ opened it, but it was nothin’ but a tinker’s workshop. Without even a tinker to pass the time with! I cast Detect Magic because I could, ’n’ a lot o’ the tools were magical. So I told everyone to take some ’n’ carry them ‘cause they’d be worth money. But nobody wanted to! I couldn’t really figure it out, but ‘parently everyone thinks everything in here is the rightful property o’ the families in Logas, so we need to leave it alone. I figure everyone who ever owned this stuff is already dead, but there was too much for me to carry so I wasn’t going to argue.

We started heading down, and as we went underground Forth got more and more cheerful. I was worried that by the time we reached the Darklands he’d be giggling like a schoolgirl. We heard the sounds o’ mining, so we snuck up but it was just old automatons still diggin’ away. Most of ‘em had broken down, but a few of ‘em were still hard at it, doin’… whatever it was that minin’ automatons do, which is pretty noisy ’n’ dusty ’n’ boring. So far, the “Darklands” weren’t much of an adventure, and I was gettin’ hungry. Stupid ring!

It was past lunchtime (which I defiantly ate in front o’ everyone, cursin’ at my ring in Undercommon) when we finally found somethin’ different: A perfectly cubical room that had been constructed by magic. Alembic figured this was where they’d found the moanin’ diamond, ’n’ the first person who’d picked it up had tried to use its powers ’n’ done somethin’ boring, indicating that he or she wasn’t a gnome, and then they’d tunneled all around lookin’ for more moanin’ diamonds, ‘cause greedy. Alembic commented that this must’ve made the minin’ much easier, but Forth pointed out that the diamond’d be good for tunnelin’, but not for minin’, ‘cause it doesn’t actually separate out anythin’. It just makes and closes tunnels.

A couple of hours further in we found our first signs of an ancient battle: A bunch of old automatons were smashed up ’n’ broken, plus a bunch o’ dead mummified bodies Forth identified as “duergar”, which is apparently a fancy name for dark dwarves. Everyone nodded sagely like it made sense for a bunch o’ dark dwarves to attack a bunch of automatons, but there wasn’t much for us to do ’til Llew found the body of a gnome. I tried to rush over and give him(?) some Calistrian last rights, but Llew was already on it, and I figured he was dead so he wouldn’t mind. I wondered who he was? But his belt ’n’ gear indicated he was probably the tinker from up above, ’n’ he came down to help his automatons fight the duegar and gave up his life for it. I understood. Rest well, friend. You did your best. If they turn out to be mean, I’ll stab a duegar in the eye for you, just for old time’s sake.

We kept followin’ the main passage down, and whoever’d been makin’ it was gettin’ better ’n’ better, ’n’ it was gettin’ nice ’n’ fancy ’n’ decorated… ’til we came to a room with an archway with some writin’ over it ’n’ some symbols o’ Urgathoa, at least accordin’ to Llew. It was the usual: Curses and temple markings and, “If you go in here, you’ll die ‘cause we’re mean,’” ’n’ all that. So Alembic put Life Bubble on us, just in case, ’n’ we kept going.

Our next mystery was a door on the right side o’ the hall, and a locked gate on the left side. Through the gate was a nice bedroom, with a huuuuuuuge bed and a glowin’ chandelier. It wasn’t magical, so Llew ’n’ Alembic were curious. I didn’t want to go into a room with a gate on it without investigatin’ the closed door first, so I opened it ’n’ we went in ’n’ it was a bunch o’ dead people chained to the wall. LLew confirmed they weren’t undead, ’n’ lookin’ them over they were all Darklands critters who’d been tortured, then abandoned in here like someone was keepin’ ‘em for somethin’ and then skedaddled. Hope it wasn’t us that made ‘em skedaddle. But no, they’d been here quite a while. Strange. We did our job: I unlocked ‘em and Llew laid ‘em out and said words over ‘em, ‘cause Pharasma even deals with Darklanders. They had all their gear on ‘em, so they weren’t captured for loot; it was just the usual Urgathoan/undead cruelty. Reminded me o’ the Jeggares. It was time to jump on the bed! I turned around, raced into the gated room (which I’d already unlocked), took a huge leap onto the bed, intendin’ to try to reach the canopy, and…

…it ate me.

Yep. The bed was another stupid mimic, ‘cause they love eatin’ gnomes ‘cause we can’t resist shiny things. But I was prepared, so I pulled out my alchemical solvent ’n’ started meltin’ myself free, but Llew doesn’t like seein’ her gnome get eaten so she came runnin’ into the room to kill the mimic (which I appreciated) and the chandelier popped down and tried to eat her! Another mimic?!?!? Then Forth cast somethin’ to teleport me free (I wasn’t done yet, Forth!) and the barrels attacked him, and we realized the whole great big room was a mimic! So it grabbed me again ‘cause Forth made it know I was gettin’ loose, an’ Llew lost her temper ’n’ just started hackin’ off huge chunks o’ mimic ’n’ I think it would’ve thrown her up if it could’ve but instead it just had to sit there with pain stuck to the roof of its mouth like some kind o’ honey-and-molasses-and-bees mixture it couldn’t get rid of, ’n’ Forth tried to join in but his weapon got stuck, ’n’ I didn’t hear what Alembic did ‘cause the mimic was chewin’ on me some more, but Llew got fed up and killed it and the whole room melted.

Best. Room. Ever!!!!

‘Cept Llew was still pretty mad so I channeled ’n’ Forth channeled ’n’ I even used Prestidigitation to clean the two of ‘em up ‘cause I figured I owed them ‘cause only gnomes like that kind o’ stuff. But it was SOOOOO fun! I almost died!

Thanks, Llew!

We kept on goin’ down ’n’ down ’n’ Forth started goin’ round a corner ’n’ he said he’d spotted a big room with a big undead dragon in it. Before it could react to bein’ called a big undead dragon Llew’d put up her protective field ‘round us ’n’ Alembic sped us up, then it breathed fire all over all of us but Llew was in front o’ me so I kind o’ missed the whole show. It was s’posed to be all scary-like, too, but I didn’t see that, either. I guess it was from hangin’ out with Llew ’n’ Forth too much. Anyway, the whole room was smellin’ like burnt dwarf, as it does, so Forth took exception ’n’ smote the dragon ’n’ killed it, ‘cause that’s what smitin’ does, ’n’ Llew was unhappy ‘cause Forth’d killed it too fast so she hadn’t gotten to hit it, ‘cause that’s what Llew does, ’n’ then Forth channeled to heal everybody from the burns, ’n’ I tried to help by channelin’ a couple o’ times but I don’t know as how anyone noticed.

We went into the room ’n’ there was no dragon hoard or anythin’, so I joined Llew in grumblin’, but there was an archway with some strange writin’ on it, ’n’ I looked at it and I could tell it was in Aklo, ‘cause I’m smart that way, but I hadn’t learned Aklo, I’d learned Undercommon, ‘cause I was dumb that way. So I cast Comprehend Languages ‘cause I’m smart that way ’n’ read the sign ’n’ it said, “Entrance to Narvoth,” ’n’ whoever’d written it’d taken a LOT of pride in their work; it was a fancy archway. But it screamed, “Trap!” so I looked it over but couldn’t see one, but Alembic looked it over ’n’ said there was some kind o’ polymorph spell on it. I’d’ve volunteered to go through, but Alembic admitted he wouldn’t be able to undo whatever happened to me, ’n’ my bead’d protect me anyway, and I didn’t want to waste money for no reason, at least unless it was funny, and I didn’t know whether or not polymorphin’ would be funny. I heard more voices talkin’ in Aklo past the archway. They clearly hadn’t heard us yet, ’n’ were just talkin’ ‘bout normal stuff like what to eat ’n’ who to kill ’n’ so forth.

Alembic Dimension Doored us past the archway, ’n’ the guys in back heard us ’n’ started comin’, ’n’ a goblin-lookin’ guy came walkin’ up the corridor towards us. For some reason I knew he was a “derro”, and that he and his kind were all psychotic and sadistic and ought to be wiped off the face of Golarion, plus its Darklands just to be sure. Llew felt the same way. So when the guy welcomed us in Aklo an’ then told his friends to eat us, I greeted him politely in Undercommon ’n’ apologized that we were going to kill ‘em all. He cackled and liked that!

At least I hadn’t learned Undercommon for nothin’ after all!

So, derro are mean and psychotic and vicious and vile, but they’re also fragile little buggers. Alembic dropped some in a pit and hit some with chain lightning. Llew ’n’ Forth stabbed a few, ’n’ even I stabbed one. And they died right quick. The rest decided they didn’t like this and asked us to please go away and stop killin’ them and let them wait for tastier, less ouchy people to kill ’n’ eat. Forth didn’t think this was a good idea, so he started tryin’ to go down a passage to kill more of ‘em, but it caved in ‘cause Forth weighs as much as a horse and wagon loaded with rocks ’n’ garbage, so we were at a bit of a stalemate. Yeah, I could’ve gone in and killed a few more of ‘em, but it didn’t seem all that purposeful to just go in to their house ’n’ slaughter ‘em all for bein’ mean. More goblin-like than gnome-like.

We tried to parlay, but all we learned was that their leader’s name was Schism, ’n’ Llew was pretty sure that was the name o’ the guy who’d come out at first ’n’ been hit in the face with Alembic’s lightnin’. Forth tried to feed ‘em some dwarf rations ’n’ they hated ‘em, so at least they had some taste. Never again.

We moved forward and came into a square room that had charcoal drawin’s that looked like some kind o’ historical account o’ the derros battle with the Mother o’ Wights. She’d come down, fought ‘em for “more meals than we can count”, which probably meant at least three, killed a few hundred derro, put up the archway with the spell on it to keep ‘em from goin’ upwards (’n’ they said the spell just killed you outright, which isn’t funny at all), Anyhoo, it was kind o’ interestin’, but nothin’ new. She’d used spells ’n’ poison gases ’n’ undead to kill all the derro, then blocked ‘em from goin’ upwards ’n’ spent the night restin’ here, then moved on and downwards.

So that’s what we needed to do…

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What happened next Trigsy? What happened next?

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Sorry! Had a cold last weekend! It'll get up tomorrow!

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Session 45, Played 19-May-2019

Seein’ as how the last door/archway had had that weird spell on it that I couldn’t sense, I asked Alembic to check out the door. He didn’t sense anythin’, and I didn’t see any traps, so he went ahead and tried to cast a spell to open it. Which always makes me giggle ‘cause it was locked ’n’ had a pretty fancy little lock on it. The kind o’ lock where you look at it and you think, “Wow, if that lock was a gnome, I’d date him!”
‘Cause he was worth a lotta lotta money.

Trouble was, he wasn’t a gnome, he was a lock, so I just opened him. No hard feelings, Mr. Lock, but I just don’t swing that way. The door did. Or at least it swung open once I unlocked it. Beyond the door was the nicest bit o’ underground I’ve ever seen; all tiled and marble ’n’ nice-like, with torches makin’ it nice ’n’ dimly lit, which was really nice after all that time in the dark. A really pleasant, polite male voice that just oozed Lawful Evilness (I can tell those things, ‘cause I was raised by Asmodeans) didn’t even take the time to greet us, ‘cause he was too surprised that I’d just opened his lock that easily. Well, if you want a lock, you hire a dwarf. If you want an unlock, you hire a gnome. It’s really that easy. But I didn’t think that was the explanation he wanted, so I let him ask more questions ’til he got to more interestin’ ones. While he was talkin’, we could finally make him out at the end o’ the hall, and he looked like nothin’ so much as a butler.

Finally, he asked how we’d gotten into the derro pens, which was a fun story, so I told him we’d come through an archway ’n’ gotten there, ’n’ he cursed ‘cause the derros’d dug their way out again, but asked how we got through the arch. Since I knew Forth wouldn’t lie about it, I figured I’d do him a solid so I told the guy we’d walked right through. I don’t know whether or not he believed me, but Alembic reassured him that the spell that kept ‘em in was still there, so he got a little less rankled ’til I told him we’d had to kill a few on our way in, and that made him kind o’ mad. But I’ve dealt with Lawful Evil types all my life; if you walk through their rice silo they’re going to go in an’ count the grains to make sure you aren’t robbing ‘em blind by walkin’ out with grains o’ rice stuck to the bottom o’ your shoes, so I figured we might as well get the accountin’ and the possible-but-necessary killin’ out o’ the way, which was kind o’ sad, ‘cause he seemed like a decent sort, other than bein’ obviously evil and all that. ‘Cause underground butlers who’re unduly polite when you walk into their pantries are always evil. Everyone knows that!

Then he pointed to the other doors and I realized my comparison to pantries was for more apt than I’d been hopin’ for: There were doors labeled “mushrooms”, which was OK, ‘cept it make me think o’ dwarven breakfasts ’n’ I nearly threw up, which probably would’ve been funny right then ’n’ there, but then one labeled “shriekers”, which I hoped was just extra-noisy food, ‘cept other doors were labeled “derro pens” so it was kind o’ obvious that we were standin’ in the worst-ever pettin’ zoo or somethin’ fishy was up.

Lawful Evil butler, anyone?

Anyhoo, dealin’ with angry Lawful Evil people is what I do, so I stepped up and apologized so nicely ’n’ he said he’d consult the master ’n’ I figured we could either run or talk but we hadn’t killed THAT many derros ’n’ I’d heard plenty more so I could probably talk us out of it with some hard labor or somethin’ similarly borin’ but non-fatal. So we stood ‘round for a few minutes ’n’ I didn’t vandalize anythin’ ‘cause I didn’t want to pay for it ’n’ I was tryin’ to be charmin’. The butler finally got back ’n’ asked us real nice-like to follow him, so we did, ’n’ he led us into a big room with a bunch o’ huntin’ trophies on the wall, most o’ which I didn’t recognize, but I didn’t think much of it ‘cause I don’t recognize a lot o’ things. As the butler was leadin’ us in, Llew whispered back to us that we had to be really careful, but I wasn’t worried. I figured we’d apologize, we’d pay some stupid fine or do some stupid job, ’n’ we’d be free to go. Lawful Evil people’re easy to figure out; you just gotta know the rules, and occasionally follow ‘em. Just not often enough to let ‘em get used to it.

In the big room with all the big dead critters was a big ol’ table with three people at the end: A man with a quill, a woman with a quill, an’ a shriveled up desiccated dead guy. Oops! He moved! Not dead! Just really really really old! I was thinkin’ o’ castin’ Deathwatch just to be sure, but I figured that’d probably be considered rude, ’n’ I was tryin’ to be polite. The old guy did the usual Lawful Evil stuff: He wanted to know why we were in his house, ’n’ what we were plannin’ on doin’, ’n’ so forth, so Forth told him about us chasin’ the Mother o’ Wights ’n’ after a bit o’ remindin’ he remembered her ’n’ how she’d invaded his home ’n’ he’d had to chase her out. Note to self: Do not piss off old guy.

So, the old guy admitted that the derro were their food and we were goin’ to have to pay for them, so he wanted to know how many we killed ’n’ all that, so I turned on Calistria’s eyes ’n’ tried to charm him into lettin’ us off with a warnin’ or a slap on the wrist, ‘cause we were chasin’ the Mother o’ Wights ’n’ all ’n’ we could exact revenge for him on his behalf for her rudeness, but he was either too old or too Lawful for that, so he wanted to know how many adults ’n’ kids we’d killed, ’n’ I knew I hadn’t killed any kids but Alembic’s kind o’ free with his acid pits ’n’ all, ’n’ I hadn’t really checked, so all I could say was I thought we’d killed 6, and the one I’d killed hadn’t looked much like a kid.

So his little quill-keepers started doin’ their thing, pretendin’ they were workin’ out how much a derro was worth, ’n’ I know that game ‘cause I was raised by Asmodeans ’n’ he was already thinkin’ of a price so they were just puttin’ on a show to make us nervous, but I didn’t really care ‘cause it was either pay or kill him or do a job, ’n’ other than not feelin’ much like killin’ him ‘cause he’d been awfully polite ’til now I really didn’t have a preference. So, he looked at Alembic ’n’ wanted his Ring of Sustenance. I KNEW IT! I knew mine didn’t work! I’d’ve offered it to him but he’d’ve known, ‘cause he was old and old people know things like that. Then he started complimentin’ us, ‘cause it’s part o’ the Lawful Evil ritual, ’n’ he said that Forth was a paladin ’n’ Llew was an undead hunter ’n’ Alembic was a sorcerer, ’n’ I was a diplomat, ‘cause he couldn’t figure anythin’ else out ‘cause I had a clerical aura, but not enough of one to notice.

I’d better pray some more. Or not. I don’t know that Calistria cares about that kind o’ stuff.

Anyhoo, he finally got around to the job: Their water supply’d been cut off, kind of explainin’ their desire for Rings o’ Sustenance. I felt kind o’ bad ‘cause I knew that Calistria’d offered to have me be able to make water that mornin’, but I hadn’t understood the exact nature o’ that spell ’til now. Guess I’d better take it. Anyway, anythin’ that happens underground is bad, so they figured it’d be dangerous to go find out what blocked it, hence they were sendin’ us. Seemed like a typical Lawful Evil thing to me. ‘Cept he said that if the job was tougher than he expected he’d reimburse us, which was awfully non-Asmodean of him. I mentioned that, ’n’ he got all interested and asked whether I was Asmodean, ’n’ I was truthful ’n’ told him I was just raised by ‘em and tend to irritate them just by bein’ around. He could understand that. Most Lawful Evil types can.

Finally, he warned us ‘bout the arches: They turned people into farm animals. And for Lawful Evil, they really didn’t come off as all that evil. They had the derro go through the arches before they ate ‘em, so it was kind o’ like eatin’ steak, ‘cept you were destroyin’ the mind of a sentient creature to do it. ‘Cept it was derro minds, so are you really destroyin’ anything? Since Forth wasn’t all up in arms ‘bout it, I figured killin’ derro wasn’t all that bad of a thing. Though I still felt bad ‘bout whoever killed the kid. Hoped it wasn’t me. I was pretty sure it wasn’t, but still, you worry ‘bout that stuff.

Llew asked ‘bout the arches, ’n’ old guy gave us an amulet that supposedly’d protect us. I wasn’t 100% sure, and I didn’t want to test it out. Then the butler started leadin’ us to the problem. He had to lead us through the house, and it was right fine mansion, even if it was deep underground. If I had to live down here, this is the kind o’ house I’d want to live in. Lots o’ furniture to climb on, and artwork to deface, and chandeliers to swing from, ’n’ doors I didn’t know where they went, ’n’ so forth. Llew wanted to know the butler’s name, but he didn’t have one, so I decided to call him “Mitch”. Mitch wasn’t particularly thrilled, but he didn’t stop me. Llew asked about the master’s name, and I figured that had to be the old guy, so I suggested “Flubbadoo”, but Mitch nixed that one. Mitch is a good name for a butler. So Llew tried to make conversation with Mitch, ’n’ we learned that he was almost 100 years old ’n’ had been doin’ this his entire life. Heck, I’m 52 and I’d been doin’ it for under 15 minutes ’n’ I was bored, so Mitch had my respect for that. Not Flubbadoo was even older, ’n’ he’d been exiled here before Mitch was born. But Not Flubbadoo takes longer to say than Old Guy, so for now he’ll be Old Guy.

We finally got to the water supply ’n’ it was kind o’ smart, but kind o’ dumb. A stream was s’posed to pass over a grating, filling a cistern in the floor. So when the water was runnin’ you could drink from the stream, ’n’ when the water wasn’t you could drink from the cistern. But the stream’d been cut off for ‘bout a week or so, ’n’ they were already almost out o’ water. I’d’ve made the cistern a lot bigger just in case stuff like this happened. So our choices were to go upstream or go downstream, ’n’ everyone else was sensible ’n’ wanted to go upstream. No sense of curiosity!

We headed up the passage, which was plenty wide; at least 5’, so I could’ve had friends, but everyone else was feelin’ cramped so they had me go in front, since I could still move ‘round. Once we were out o’ Mitch’s earshot, Forth ’n’ Llew started worryin’ that the water cut-off ’n’ the tremors that accompanied it happened ‘bout a week ago, right when we opened the door the first time, but I figured I would’ve sensed any earthquakes my meddlin’ had ‘caused, ‘cause it’s the kind o’ thing I appreciate. Llew wanted Alembic to look at the magic o’ the amulet ’n’ wanted me to read it, so Alembic said it was an Arcane Mark, which sounds pretty cool but was apparently pretty borin’, ’n’ the amulet said, “Exiles from the Thrice-Damned House of Thrune”, which made me like ‘em even more, ‘cause anyone who could tick off the Asmodeans that much ’n’ not be dead must be pretty clever.

Anyhoo, I got to the end o’ the passage ’n’ it looked like a cave-in all right, and for a gnome to know that means it was pretty obvious. I used Spidey on myself ’n’ walked up the wall, ‘cause gnomes and sudden floods don’t mix, especially without a Ring of Swimmin’, ’n’ Llew thought that was a good idea so she drank a potion (I guess she felt bad that I complained when she asked to use Spidey, but watchin’ her waste a potion while I had Spidey in my hands made me feel bad) ’n’ she walked up the wall, too. ‘Cept (and I know I’m not supposed to say this ‘bout a woman, but I’ll dare) Llew’s heavier ’n me ’n’ she started a cave-in. Since I was already on the ceilin’ it wasn’t much of a cave-in for me; I just stepped on a few fallin’ rocks ’n’ was out of it, but as all the rocks were fallin’ I saw open space above me. Llew ’n’ Forth ’n’ Alembic all avoided gettin’ buried ’n’ Alembic put up a stone wall that stopped the rocks from fallin’, so we regrouped ’n’ decided what to do. I leaned over ’n’ put my hands down on the ceiling ’n’ activated my peeky gloves. It took a little bit o’ repositionin’, durin’ which Alembic might’ve said a couple things ‘bout my posterior ‘cause he’s a pervert, but I could pinpoint where he needed to blow a hole so we could get up into the cavern above, and then I skedaddled because I didn’t want to get washed away, and ‘cause skedaddle is fun to say. I did also mention that I saw a couple o’ boulders movin’ in the room above, as if there was a giant critter up there just waitin’ for us.

So we buffed up (at least those as had buffs), and once everyone was braced, Alembic Disintegrated the ceiling. Forth headed on up to see what was goin’ to eat him today, ’n’ apparently there were 3 giant purple worms with huge toothy mouths ’n’ big stingers ’n’ even Forth sounded a little worried so I figured they must be really big. Llew moved in and cast a spell that made me feel better, ’n’ Alembic moved in ’n’ sped up Forth ’n’ Llew, but it didn’t reach me. I used Shieldy on myself, ‘cause gettin’ eaten by giant purple worms didn’t sound like a fun thing today, And a worm just CAME THROUGH THE GROUND AND TRIED TO EAT ME!!

Ok. Worms. Burrowin’ in the ground. I guess that’s what they do. I rescind my objection.

Anyhoo, Forth saw that I was feelin’ kind o’ oppressed, so he decided to try to cheer me up by wavin’ his weapon around and runnin’ at one o’ the worms I couldn’t see, ’n’ I could hear the worm bitin’ him ’n’ pickin’ him up ’n’ I could see it in my head ’n’ I heard him thwack the worm ’n’ I figured Forth gettin’ eaten ’n’ thwackin’ on things meant that all was right in the world. Llew moved out o’ sight too, right towards the one Forth was busy chokin’, ’n’ I heard her thwack at it, but then I didn’t hear much o’ anythin’ any more ‘cause Alembic filled the upstairs room with lightning, not once but TWICE! The worms got all sizzly, and the smell! Oh, the smell! Now I know what cooked worm tastes like ‘cause it’s all my nostrils would let me smell ’n’ I never have to taste THAT again!

Speakin’ o’ tastin’ good, Forth suddenly went quiet ’n’ Llew called out that he’d been swallowed whole! OK, that’s a new one! He hasn’t done that before! I started dancin’ ’n’ ran away from the worm next to me ’n’ it tried to bite me but got a rock in its teeth for its troubles. But then I learned they weren’t payin’ attention to me; they were all mad at Alembic ‘cause of all his lightnin’ ’n’ stuff ’n’ bit at him somethin’ awful. I think he’d’ve been torn into three or four pieces if it weren’t for his mirror images. As it was, he was floatin’ up there lookin’ terrified with only a couple o’ images left, but still safe ’n’ sound. The worm that’d swallowed Forth suddenly started twitchin’ somethin’ awful ’n’ out of its middle popped Forth in a horrible, tragic parody o’ childbirth. I hope never to see it again.

But the worm was dead, ’n’ Forth, other than bein’ covered with slime ’n’ smellin’ like worm guts, seemed OK. I guess that’s one way to kill ‘em. Llew killed the one next to her, so I ran by the last one to help Alembic get away. Even though I was doin’ my best dancin’ I could feel its teeth rake across my Shield spell, meanin’ these guys were mean. Just ‘cause it couldn’t possibly smell any worse in there Alembic decided to add a Fireball to his repertoire, but even though it made the last worm stink even more, it didn’t drop it. It tried to eat Alembic ’n’ got his last images, so Forth ran over to help but missed it, ’n’ Llew ran over ’n’ it grabbed her, makin’ her curse somethin’ awful at Alembic so I was wondering what he’d done, but she took even more exception to bein’ grabbed ’n’ killed it. Us: 3, Worms: 0, unless you counted eatin’ Forth, which is just kind o’ par for the course so I don’t.

We started cleanin’ up, ’n’ Forth said he’d been poisoned so I used my wand o’ Lesser Restoration on him ‘cause I haven’t named it yet. Forth channeled to heal everyone who’d been bitten by worms, ’n’ I was kind o’ sheepish ‘cause I’d barely even been nipped at, but considerin’ they’d been able to swallow Forth that was probably for the better anyway. Llew took notes on poison purple bitey worms while Alembic fixed the aqueduct ’n’ I looked around for treasure. There wasn’t any, which wasn’t surprisin’, them bein’ worms ’n’ all. But I did get to dig around in giant piles o’ worm poop, ’n’ that was fun, ’n’ didn’t smell nearly as bad as they did when they were cookin’. But since they were half-cooked anyway, we figured we’d offer ‘em to Not Flubbadoo ‘cause they’d probably taste as least as good as derros and had a heck of a lot more meat on ‘em.

Alembic put up a Force Wall so we could walk down the passage without gettin’ washed away, but I ran on the roof anyway, just in case. The butler was about to say that we hadn’t fixed the aqueduct when the Force Wall came down and all the water started flowin’. I could tell that he was impressed. He decided to take us back to the Old Guy, but first he Prestidigitated us ‘cause I’d kind of forgotten to, and apparently I’d used it earlier in the day for somethinorother, but heck if I could remember. It’s a fun spell! Anyway, once we weren’t covered with worm stomach acid or worm poop or whatnot, we got to go back to the Old Guy ’n’ everyone let me tell the story o’ fightin’ the worms. Well, charmin’ people’s my forte, but I did my best, ’n’ he smiled at me ’n’ told me I’d done a good job tellin’ the story so I was happy. ‘Cause makin’ Lawful people lie is fun.

Once we were done, he showed his Lawful side by sayin’ what we’d done was worth more ’n’ a few derro so he wanted to pay us so that we were even. He offered us cash, information, or companionship.

Companionship!?!?!? I guess he really didn’t know who I worshipped. We don’t take that as payment, buddy! We give it! Anyway, I wasn’t gonna argue with him, so Forth ’n’ I immediately asked for information. Alembic wanted the cash, of course, but Llew wanted the information as well. All the people ‘round the table seemed kind o’ disappointed that none of us’d chosen companionship, but I sure as heck wasn’t going to pay for it, ’n’ Llew ’n’ Forth didn’t do that kind o’ thing (or were at least discreet enough that I didn’t notice), ’n’ Alembic’d rather have cash any day o’ the week.

For information, he told us ‘bout his “battle” with the Mother o’ Wights. Apparently she’d shown up all rude-like, ’n’ he’d kicked her butt ’n’ sealed her away down deeper in the Darklands. Past the wall where he’d sealed her were many, many driders who tended to attack ten or twenty at a time. I’d’ve asked what driders were, but he was on a roll. His war with the driders went on so long that their siege engines came alive ’n’ started guardin’ the area on their own. Man, does everything come back from the dead when the Mother o’ Wights is around? So we’d be facin’ many raidin’ parties of 10-20 driders until we could arrange a truce with ‘em (why was he lookin’ at ME when he said that? Oh, yeah…), ’n’ we should just avoid the siege engines. The driders weren’t dependable, though, so we shouldn’t trust ‘em to stick with any agreement if they thought they could get the upper hand on us.
As for the Mother o’ Wights, she suffered from the same thing every caster does: If you get close enough ’n’ hit her when she tries to cast, she’s kind of hosed. It’s how he defeated her.

So he gave us permission to travel through his mansion and past the seal as long as we didn’t kill anythin’, ’n’ he invited us to stay for dinner and an evenin’ of rest. I didn’t particularly want dinner, ‘cause I figured purple worm was on the menu (he’d told the butler to go carve it up ’n’ hang it up to dry), but I wouldn’t’ve minded a full-sized bed. But the rest o’ the party didn’t trust him enough so we left. Llew gave him his amulet back ’n’ asked him for his name. I was waitin’ for him to say, “Flubbadoo,” but he just told us to call him “Master Thrune”, which wasn’t nearly as fun to say. So we left. The butler led us through the seal, then went back and closed it up.
No sooner than he was gone than Alembic said he was tired and needed to rest. What the heck, Alembic? But he said he had a spell for that, ’n’ he created a door. And through it was a GIANT MANSION!!!!! All was forgiven, Alembic! There was more food than I could eat, ’n’ a whole bunch of semi-corporeal servants who’d do whatever I told ‘em to do, an’ my room was at the end of a maze, ’n’ I could make the servants do whatever I told ‘em to do, and what a wonderful place!
I even had a human-sized bed, so I jumped myself to sleep. Because.

In the mornin’, I took Comprehend Languages ‘cause we keep usin’ it, but otherwise I told Calistria to surprise me. Once we were out o’ the mansion we could see signs of an ancient battle, or at least one that was a few years ago, ’n’ we started headin’ down. My legs started gettin’ tired so I climbed onto Forth an’ rode for a while. Then it started gettin’ cold so I changed into my Boots o’ the Winterlands. FINALLY! Unlike the Immovable Rod, they were finally goin’ to pay for themselves! We went a bit further an’ started to see ice on the walls. Finally, we came to a HUUUUUGE room, so far across we couldn’t see the other side. The walls were solid ice, with frozen bodies visible inside of ‘em, and there were stalactites ’n’ stalagmites through the whole room. ’N’ there was a weird gurglin’ from the middle. Alembic, bein’ the cautious sort, protected us from cold.

I had a spell for this! I summoned a little fire beetle ’n’ quickly named him Bright Butt ‘cause I knew he’d only be around for a few seconds ’n’ sent him to go look at the gurglin’. He barely made it there before he winked out, but we could see it was some kind o’ hole or spring. But water was flowin’ into it, not out, so I figured it wasn’t a spring. It was a… drain? Good job, Bright Butt! Since nothin’ had attacked him, we headed in to see what it was all about. There were bodies inside o’ the stalactites ’n’ stalagmites as well. What the heck? We were gettin’ close enough to see what the drain was doin’. It looked like some kind o’ hot spring that was meltin’ all the ice in the room ’n’ makin’ it flow into the drain. We were still tryin’ to figure it out when it erupted! And we’re talkin’ boilin’ steam fillin’ the entire room ’n’ cookin’ all of us. I was sure I’d managed to avoid all the water, but I still got singed a bit. Everyone else was in bad shape, ’n’ I needed to get ‘em out of there!
That’s when all the ice came crashin’ down from the ceiling ’n’ sendin’ ice cold air through the room. My boots ’n’ Alembic’s spell protected me, but Llew was beginnin’ to ice up so I decided to hold off on leavin’ ’til she could get out ’n’ I started rummagin’ around for my scroll o’ Freedom o’ Movement to get her out o’ there. Forth, bein’ Forth, was like an ox in a blizzard: He just kept goin’. ’N’ Alembic could fly, so I wasn’t all that worried ‘bout him. But I needed to stay with Llew ’n’ make sure she got out.

Llew looked terrible. She was all burned ’n’ frostbitten ’n’ miserable ’n’ cursin’, but she was Llew. She didn’t need my help. She got out o’ the room on her own two legs without me doin’ anythin’, ‘cause she never wants to show any weakness. But she did curse a lot. ‘Cause Llew. So I followed her out and quietly started usin’ the wand that isn’t Ornery on her (can I help if it I can’t remember all my wands’ names?) ’n’ Forth channeled ’n’ after a while we were all healed up.

Llew was cursin’ ’n’ tellin’ Alembic to just use Dimension Door to get us across the room, but he couldn’t see the other side to do it. Wait a minute! I thought I had somethin’! Sure ‘nough, I remembered that I could make Dancin’ Lights, which we usually use to entertain kids or expose secret trysts, but this seemed like a good enough use for ‘em so I made a few lights ’n’ sent ‘em off lightin’ up the room ’til Llew spotted the exit. I stopped ‘em there so Alembic could see, ’n’ he Dimension Doored us across the room.

We quickly moved on into the next passage, wonderin’ what horrific thing was awaitin’ us next…

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NobodysHome wrote:
Sorry! Had a cold last weekend! It'll get up tomorrow!

I hope you're feeling better! :)

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Tangent101 wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
Sorry! Had a cold last weekend! It'll get up tomorrow!
I hope you're feeling better! :)

Yes, thanks. Just of those stupid 2-day colds that make you wonder, "If I'm being so careful about COVID, how the **** did I catch a cold?"

But I'm fine now.

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Trig the Gnome wrote:

{. . .}

Companionship!?!?!? I guess he really didn’t know who I worshipped. We don’t take that as payment, buddy! We give it! {. . .}

Seems that in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting (at least the 1st Edition version of it), prostitution and the like are more Lawful things than Chaotic . . . . which sort of makes sense in a way. But then again, Calistria has official prostitutes . . . .

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Session 46, Played 26-May-2019

It didn’t take us long to figure out what came “next”. We wandered down the passage for about 10 minutes, then Forth told us it was openin’ up into another big room, ’n’ all of us could hear the creakin’ ’n’ grindin’ that told us we’d found the livin’ siege engines. Sure enough, as we got closer to the entrance, we spotted one of ‘em moseying about, happy as, er, an undead animated siege engine could be?

We talked for a bit ‘bout what to do, since Old Guy’d told us not to fight the siege engines if we didn’t have to, so I figured the best thing to do was see whether they could sense me if I was hidin’. Alembic thought that was a great idea! I could go out, sneak past ‘em all, put up a light, ’n’ Alembic could teleport to the light ’n’ get away from the things. Sounded like a typical Alembic, “I hope I don’t get huuuuuuuuuurt!” plan, which made it sound hilarious, ‘cause it always leads to him gettin’ beaten up ’n’ bloody ’n’ sad, ’n’ that makes me giggle. ‘Cause I’m a bad person.

Anyhoo, Alembic wanted to help me with his “plan”, so he turned me invisible, an’ I figured the least I could do was go along with it ’til it went horribly horribly wrong, so I snuck out ’n’ much to my surprise, the siege engines couldn’t sense me. So I kept on going ‘round the outside o’ the room ’til I saw a biiiiiig opening, ‘cept it looked like a dead end back ‘bout thirty feet in, ’n’ I figured Alembic wouldn’t see the humor in makin’ him teleport in there. So I kept going ’til I found a real exit, then I found a good spot where I was sure it’d be lit up for Alembic, then I cracked a sunrod, dropped it, ’n’ ran for all I was worth.

Sure ‘nough, the constructs got all uppity ’n’ smashed my sunrod ’n’ that thing cost money, ya big ingrates! But I’d been carryin’ it for months ’n’ not usin’ it, so I figured I should let ‘em have their fun. Alembic timed it just about right ’n’ popped in right after they were done smashin’, ’n’ Llew ran up the passage. Forth stuck around ‘cause Forth, ’n’ he knew that if he didn’t Alembic was gonna get smashed somethin’ awful, which was kind o’ what I was lookin’ forward to see, but he did his job ’n’ they smashed him instead so Alembic could get away, then he got away.

Leaving me… in the middle o’ the giant room full o’ constructs with a bunch of ‘em all riled up ’n’ blocking the passage out? This was your “plan”, Alembic? I had to admit, it was pretty funny, ’n’ he’d gotten me good, so I was kind o’ proud o’ him. He’s learnin’.

Anyhoo, since I had the whole room to myself anyway ’n’ the constructs were busy bein’ all smashy somewhere else, I tippy-toed over to the dead-end cave to see whether there were any secret doors there. But as I got close a feelin’ in my head told me it’d be nice to go even farther in and I knew it wasn’t me thinkin’ that, so I skedaddled away before it got a chance to do anythin’ to my tiny little brain, ’n’ I blessed Calistria again for givin’ me a better brain as one o’ her priestesses, then I decided that fun time was over so I drank my potion o’ Spider Climb ’n’ went over the constructs to catch up with the others.

Forth was a little worried ‘bout me, ‘cause he’s sweet that way, but everyone else kind o’ expected that I’d show up when I was good ’n’ ready, ’n’ I did. We walked on a bit, ’n’ we started seein’ decorations like hangin’ skulls ’n’ piled up bones that said, “We’re not very bright, ’n’ we’re going to attack you and get whupped,” but I figured I ought to be polite so I looked at their bones for ‘em. Sure enough, they’d put on an Alarm spell, ‘cause they didn’t have much imagination, so I asked Llew ’n’ Forth whether they wanted me to set it off or disarm it or leave it. They wanted me to disarm it, so I did.

I figured if the denizens were decoratin’ with bones they couldn’t be too bright, so I got out some parchment ’n’ twine ’n’ chalk ’n’ labeled myself “Not Food” in Undercommon. Couldn’t hurt. Might help. And who knows what kind o’ nasty bitey things live down here that might be just bright ‘nough to read ’n’ see the sign ’n’ think, “Oh, that’s not food. I’ll eat that tasty dwarf over there!”
An’ that’s what Forth’s for, after all!

Once we were past the Alarm spell it didn’t take long ’til we spotted a curtain on one side o’ the wall that was disguised to look like rock. I had to admit, for stupid people it was pretty well done. But even Forth saw it, so there’s that. I snuck up and checked it out, ’n’ it wasn’t trapped or anythin’, so I went back ’n’ Forth felt the need to announce himself. I figure it’s some kind o’ paladin thing. Sometimes I gotta relieve myself. Sometimes Forth’s gotta announce himself. It’s just nature’s call.

So Forth announced himself in Common, as he does, ‘cause Undercommon would’ve made sense, but much to my surprise a polite, whispery, evil-soundin’ voice answered ’n’ asked what Forth wanted. So Forth, bein’ Forth, offered not to kill ‘em all if they’d just stay out of our way ’n’ let us through. ‘Cause Forth’s truthful, ’n’ that was pretty much his god’s honest truth right there. But it’s not the kind o’ thing you actually say to other people, ‘cause they get uppity ‘bout it.
So yeah, Evil Whispery Person Who Will Now Be Named Ptango didn’t like that, ’n’ he (she? It? Congratulations, Ptango! You’re a girl!). So she got uppity, ‘cause it’s what they do, ’n’ I started doin’ the charmin’ dance, tellin’ her ‘bout how great ’n’ powerful she ’n’ her “people” were, ’n’ not callin’ ‘em mud-dwellin’ bone-chewin’ morons or anythin’ like that, ’n’ how we wanted to properly honor ‘em with a tithe ’n’ such, ’n’ she got all happy ’n’ said we could leave a gem worth at least 100 gold pieces on the floor ’n’ she’d let us through all peaceful-like.

And then it was Llew’s turn, ’n’ she told us that Ptango was lyin’ right then ’n’ there, so that was useful information ’n’ I appreciated it, but I was going to have to work with the two of ‘em on at least some kind o’ tact, ‘cause now we were goin’ to have to kill Ptango and all her friends, and I’d been hopin’ to get through ONE group o’ people without killin’ ‘em all. ‘Cept we’d gotten through Flubbadoo’s place without killin’ any o’ his people, so I guess askin’ to do it twice was just too much.

I figured I’d at least try to make things funny so I put down a vomit capsule on the floor, hopin’ one o’ Ptango’s friends would get curious ’n’ try it out, but the threats started ’n’ I knew we were ‘bout to fight so I picked it up, then Alembic said he’d put down a gem and could we please not fight?

Sounded just like Alembic, so I totally fell for it… right until he put Stoneskin on all of us ’n’ started the fight in earnest. Ah, well. At least I tried to keep Ptango’s people alive. She couldn’t take me to task on that one. So I used Shieldy to protect myself.

In concrete proof we were fightin’ the stupidest critters capable o’ communication, they cast some spells that lit us up so we could see better. Er, “ow”? Then Ptango shot me with some Magic Missiles that bounced off o’ my Shield spell. Forth said that that was it, he was gonna kill ‘em all, ’n’ Ptango argued that she’d heard me cast a spell and figured I’d be safe. Forth wasn’t buyin’ it, but it at least showed they weren’t quite as stupid as I was thinkin’. Alembic decided it was killin’ time so he sped us up, ’n’ since I wasn’t doin’ much useful I used my magic to open the curtain for Forth. Behind it was definitely a lady, ‘cept she was all purple-skinned ’n’ had the bottom half of a spider. Then the curtain fell back closed ‘cause I really hadn’t thought that one through all that well ’n’ I figured it was just goin’ to be one o’ those fights where I ran around and didn’t do a heck of a lot.

Llew was gettin’ tired of all of us not killin’ things that needed killin’, so she walked up ’n’ cut down the curtain. At which point the spidery lady (which Llew called a “drider”, which gets really fun when you say, “Spidery Dridery Lady”) blurted out, “Oh my goodness! Thank you! You have freed me!”

I wouldn’t’ve thought much of it ‘cept Forth BELIEVED HER!!!! I almost fell over laughin’. Llew’s eyes bugged out from behind her spectacles and I was wonderin’ whether she was gonna kill Forth or the drider, ‘cause they both pretty much deserved it for that little farce. But the drider tried to run away so Llew gave it a good whack ’n’ once it was in the clear it turned around and hit her with some kind o’ spell that didn’t do anythin’ cause Llew ’n’ we were finally havin’ a real fight ‘stead of a “who can tell the worst lie?” fight. Which was good for the driders ‘cause I’d’ve won the lying one hands-down. So I ran on in and zapped it with Sparky, ’n’ Llew came on in and killed it, ’n’ we were still waitin’ to see what Forth was gonna do ‘bout all this, when Alembic started firin’ lightning all up ’n’ down the halls ’n’ tellin’ us there were more of ‘em in the main hall ’n’ why weren’t we in there helpin’ him instead of up a little side hall chasin’ a lone drider?

So I went back into the hall ’n’ started tryin’ to head for Ms. “I started it all” Ptango, but I found another curtain ’n’ Forth came along to cut it down for me. Behind it was another drider. But Ptango called out to all her sisters that we’d declared war on ‘em or some such ’n’ we heard a LOT more comin’. I was hopin’ Llew ’n’ Alembic would follow us, but they were busy buffin’ up to deal with all the reinforcements. So it looked like no one felt like leavin’ ’til this was dealt with.

Yep. That’s us. Diplomatic ’til it fails. Then genocide. Sorry, driders! We tried!

The driders started comin’ in bigger numbers, ’n’ I learned they could cast lightning too ‘cause they lightninged Llew ’n’ Alembic, ’n’ I figured that was pretty much all she wrote for their chances; beatin’ on Forth’s all well ’n’ good, ’n’ I don’t take bein’ hit all that personally, but if you’re gonna hit Llew and Alembic you’re just askin’ to die in some awful way. That usually involves acid ’n’ hitting. Alembic decided to show off ’n’ prove he was better’n them by walling off the ones that were comin’ up behind us from the way we came ’n’ then lightninging all the ones that were gatherin’ in front of us, in a massive, “Eew it smells like burnt spider!” moment. The driders didn’t seem to enjoy it much, either. Since they were all sizzly now, Forth walked up ’n’ killed one. But the ones behind us still wanted to die, so they broke a hole in Alembic’s wall ’n’ started lightninging him even more. Now the hall smelled like burning Alembic. And if I have to be honest, I think I liked the burning spider smell better. I sighed. I was gonna have to decide between my scroll o’ Heal ’n’ my scroll o’ Breath of Life. Please don’t make me use Breath o’ Life on Alembic, Calistria! PLEASE!!!

Alembic threw lightning back at them ‘cause I guess that was the spell o’ the day and I totally missed the notice, but that was OK ‘cause I don’t think I can cast lightning anyway. I don’t know; I never really paid attention. Then he ran over to Forth ’n’ started begging for healing, ’n’ did somethin’ else. Since he touched Llew ’n’ Forth while he was doin’ it, I figured he was probably protectin’ them from lightning. ‘Cause it was that kind o’ day.

Llew ran up to the last two we could see in front of us ’n’ I ran up to help ’n’ provide her a flank, and they totally ignored me ’n’ attacked Llew. So yep, didn’t look like I’d be doin’ much today. Llew killed the one I was helpin’ her flank ’n’ the other one, so I started healing her, ’n’ Forth healed Alembic ’n’ Alembic threw more lightnin’ to kill all but one ’n’ Forth ran down ’n’ got the last one ’n’ it seemed like we were finally out o’ driders to kill when we heard somethin’ really huge squeezin’ down the passage from whence we’d come. What now?

There was a giant wave of sickly green slimy stuff that covered Forth ’n’ Alembic, ’n’ from the sizzlin’ ’n’ the smell I was pretty sure it was acid. I couldn’t see what’d spit it, but Forth ’n’ Alembic said it was a huge worm, ‘cept it talked in their heads ’n’ told ‘em it was gonna kill ‘em for killing its driders. Yeah, that’s the trouble with the Darklands: Everything’s nasty ’n’ bitey ’n’ tries to kill you, then you kill ‘em ’n’ you learn they were someone else’s pet. Alembic put up a Force Wall to try to keep it away, ’n’ Llew told me to start up my wand o’ Lesser Restoration ‘cause Forth needed it, then ran down the hall to join Forth ’n’ Alembic. I didn’t see any reason to follow ‘em, so I stood there at the end of the hall, well out o’ danger, got out my wand, and set to work tryin’ to Restore Forth.

‘Cept then I decided it would be better to go even farther down the hall ’n’ hide ‘round the corner, ‘cause that’s the way my brain works. So I stopped castin’ ’n’ went around the corner ’n’ walked RIGHT INTO THE WORM!!!! Stupid thing was the thing that’d tried to talk in my head before, but this time it’d worked!!! I barely had time to start dancin’ before Forth… yes, FORTH!!!… came runnin’ up the hall faster’n any dwarf I’ve ever seen, got whacked by the worm for his troubles (did I mention it had tentacles?), ’n’ tried to save me! It was SOOOOOOO sweet! If he’d been a gnome, or even a little more shaven… OK, a LOT more shaven, I might’ve rewarded him with a kiss. ‘Cept we were both about to be eaten by a giant tentacly worm ’n’ my lips aren’t goin’ anywhere near that beard, so I didn’t. All my dancin’ and Forth’s nobility didn’t mean diddly ’n’ the worm pounded on me ’til I was sure my ears were bleedin’, ’n’ I think the only reason I was alive was ‘cause of Alembic’s Stoneskin, but I’d never admit it to him. The tentacles tried to grab me, too, but if there’s one thing they teach you at the temple, it’s how NOT to be grabbed by giant animated tentacles, because apparently it’s a “thing”, so it didn’t get a hold of me.

I danced some more and ran away ’n’ it couldn’t hit me ‘cause I was too dodgy so I heard it tell me in my head to die, ’n’ I didn’t want to so I didn’t but it still hurt a lot more ’n’ I was pretty surprised I was still on my feet, but at least I was pissing it off ’n’ keeping everyone else safe. That part made me feel pretty good. So all my dancin’ and orneriness let Llew ’n’ Forth get at it ’n’ they started beating it up somethin’ awful, ’n’ Alembic kept casting spells that didn’t work ‘cause that’s what he does against big monsters, ’n’ I ran ’n’ hid ‘cause I figured its next spell’d probably kill me but then I heard Forth kill it ’n’ I felt better. Llew came runnin’ round the corner to check on me ’n’ make sure I was OK, ’n’ it was really sweet ’n’ she doesn’t have a beard, but she’s a girl, so…
…anyhoo, she ruffled my hair ’n’ I didn’t mention she’d probably just ripped open half a dozen holes from the beatin’ ’n’ Forth healed us up ’n’ I used Llew’s wand to heal myself up the rest o’ the way, then Alembic summoned his mansion so we could rest ’n’ I ate like a pig ‘cause I was really hungry ’n’ tired.

Stupid ring!

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Trig the Gnome wrote:

{. . .}

I figured if the denizens were decoratin’ with bones they couldn’t be too bright, so I got out some parchment ’n’ twine ’n’ chalk ’n’ labeled myself “Not Food” in Undercommon. {. . .}

I want to see a picture of this.

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Session 47, played 02-June-2019

While I was busy stuffin’ my face, Llew mentioned that maybe there’d been some loot on the driders, so I sighed, ’n’ pushed my food away for a few, ’n’ we went out ’n’ searched the driders ’n’ found some decent money ’n’ some scrolls ’n’ wands Alembic ’n’ I split. I’d’ve been more mad ‘bout missin’ my dinner ‘cept I got a wand that’d make my eyes hot so anything I looked at caught on fire, and if that isn’t the best gift a gnome could have I don’t know what is!
So I was OK missin’ my dinner, even when we had to go through the slimy worm’s slimy den ’n’ dig ‘round for stuff in his mess, ’n’ that was nasty but had more scrolls ’n’ wands. Which is kind o’ funny if you think ‘bout it, ‘cause you have to be able to see to use a scroll, ’n’ it’s always dark around here, so why have ‘em, but I guess everythin’ ‘round here can see in the dark, so it doesn’t much matter to ‘em.

So I went through my maze ’n’ found my bed ’n’ slept as long as I wanted to, but once I was up I could tell I didn’t even need to pray yet so I asked the servants ’n’ I’d only slept ‘bout 3 hours, so I had my servants carry me ‘round like a queen for a while, then I had them blindfold me ’n’ hide me in the maze, then I started wonderin’ why anyone would want to not sleep ‘cause it’s BORING!!!!! It finally came time to pray so I got some spells ’n’ then it was breakfast time ’n’ I wasn’t hungry, either. But I ate anyway ‘cause I love eatin’ ’n’ I think now that the ring’s started workin’ I’m going to hate it even more.

We traveled for most o’ the day with Llew leadin’ the way, but ‘parently there were lots ’n’ lots o’ undead tracks goin’ every which way, so every time it was time to choose a new passage Llew was hard-pressed to pick one, ’n’ it seemed like they’d been searchin’ for somethin’, but who knows what ‘cause undead. Eventually Llew had to admit she really didn’t know which passage to choose, so I suggested we choose one randomly ’n’ they DID!!! Now I knew that times were desperate! But this one led pretty quickly back to Alembic’s mansion. Something fishy was going on here! Forth started tryin’ to draw a map (note to self: Get better paper for signs ’n’ maps), but it happened again: We went in the right-hand passage and came out the middle passage right by the mansion. We started thinkin’ there might be some kind o’ illusion here, so Llew put True Seein’ on herself ’n’ she said that sure enough, we’d been walkin’ ‘round all day in one big giant room with a bunch o’ illusory walls to keep us goin’ in circles forever.

What a fun idea!

So Llew pointed to the wall that she said was an illusion ’n’ Forth ’n’ Alembic walked through it easily ’n’ I bumped my head on it. I thought gnomes were s’posed to be good with illusions?!?! I guess it’s “good at gettin’ fooled by ‘em”, which is kind o’ my life anyway. Since I was stuck ’n’ couldn’t get through the wall myself (good illusion!), Forth made me cover my eyes ’n’ he started carryin’ me. (Note to self: Buy spurs and a riding crop.) Llew started bein’ a good tour guide ’n’ all ’n’ described the room to me as the three o’ them carried me in: It was a giant room, too far across to see all the way, ’n’ the floor was all rocky, ’n’ now the rocks in the floor were attackin’ us, ’n’.. what now?

So there was a lot o’ yellin’ ’n’ I opened my eyes ’n’ dropped off o’ Forth just in time for a pair o’ big earthy fists to come out o’ the wall ’n’ punch me in the head and it hurt. Then Alembic did his Dimension Door thingy but somethin’ went wrong ’n’ it was stingy ’n’ I ended up bein’ next to Llew ’n’ one o’ the giant rocky guys ’n’ Forth ’n’ Alembic were nowhere in sight. What the heck, Alembic? So I used Shieldy on myself just so I wouldn’t get pounded on so much but the big guy hit me some more and I figured it was time to start doin’ some real dancin’. Llew said they were earth elementals ’n’ I wouldn’t be able to hurt ‘em, ’n’ I figured as much, but at least now I had an excuse to defend myself. Llew started hittin’ the big guy, ’n’ then Alembic came tumblin’ through all the walls ’n’ got beaten on by the big guy, and that image was enough to totally break my brain ’n’ suddenly the walls turned see-through ’n’ I could see ‘bout a dozen more earth elementals headin’ our way. ’N’ it was my job to stop ‘em, ‘cause otherwise Llew was goin’ to get pounded into jelly! Alembic put some kind o’ spell on her, but I didn’t think it was goin’ to help against that many.

I went full-on dance mode, dodged big guy’s attack, strode up in front o’ the line o’ elementals, ’n’ told ‘em in Celestial that if they were goin’ to try to hurt Llew, they’d have to get through me first! It was a great speech. ‘Cept I don’t think anyone in the room understood a word I was sayin’. ’N’ cursin’ in Celestial’s no fun at all. Who wants to yell out, “Sweet-cheeked cherub poots?”
That’s not a curse! That’s an embarrassment! Give me Goblin for cursin’ any day!

Anyhoo, Llew killed the big guy, ‘cause it’s what Llew does, ’n’ it was lookin’ good for us ‘cause all I had to do was keep these guys swingin’ at ’n’ missin’ me. ‘Cept they didn’t read the script ’n’ they just burrowed right through me, knockin’ me to the ground! That’s not fair! Just ‘cause you weigh ten tons and I’m a bit under one doesn’t mean you can knock me ‘round like that!

‘Cept it does. They knew I wasn’t a threat, so those as could just went right past me, and those as couldn’t just haphazardly swung around hopin’ they’d accidentally hit me when I dodged the wrong way. Alembic, havin’ been hit, went Invisible on us but at least I could hear him up in the air still castin’. I got up ’n’ headed over to help Llew, pullin’ out Llew’s wand on the way, ’n’ Llew managed to kill another one, but both of us got hit some more ’n’ it was lookin’ pretty grim. ‘Cept Alembic managed to Stoneskin both of us ’n’ that helped a LOT, ’n’ then Forth showed up ’n’ started poundin’ ’n’ that helped even more, ’n’ finally Alembic started Fireballing ‘em all ’n’ that let Llew ’n’ Forth kill ‘em even faster. I moved out to keep ‘em away from Llew, makin’ sure they were all swingin’ at me (’n’ missin’), ’n’ that let Llew ’n’ Forth reposition as Alembic Lightninged them. One more trip through the bunch for me to keep ‘em swingin’ ’n’ the rest o’ the party brought ‘em down.

I don’t think I chipped a single pebble off a single elemental, but I was still feelin’ pretty good ‘bout my performance. Forth started channeling to heal us up, but we noticed one elemental still standin’ at the other door. I cast Comprehend Languages ’n’ I could finally understand him, but all he was sayin’ was, “You’re not allowed through the door,” which wasn’t all that useful. I finally had to pull out my old scroll o’ Tongues, ’n’ we learned they’d all been summoned ’n’ bound here to keep people from gettin’ through the room, ’n’ they kind o’ liked the work, ‘cept all of them ‘cept this guy were now dead so I s’posed they probably didn’t like it as much. After discussin’ it a bit with the elemental, we Dimension Doored past him ’n’ he thanked us for not makin’ him fight us, ’n’ I decided I liked him. But I wasn’t gonna name him, ‘cause I was thinkin’ things I name have a tendency of dyin’, ’n’ I wanted him to have a long ’n’ happy life guardin’ his door.

We started walkin’ onwards ’n’ Alembic mentioned that I could speak in any gibberish I wanted, ’n’ as long as Tongues was up everyone would understand me anyway, so I tried it ’n’ it was all kinds o’ fun! So after ‘bout an hour I think people might’ve been gettin’ tired of my constant stream of yammerin’ just to see whether I could come up with a whole new language before the spell wore off, but they were polite enough not to throttle me ’n’ they said they heard Undercommon up ahead. Like I’d know! I could suddenly understand everything! I’m gonna need another one o’ these scrolls!

Anyhoo, since someone else was tryin’ to talk I decided to be quiet for a bit ’n’ listen in, ’n’ it was two people talkin’ to a “drider scum”. From what I could tell, they’d caught the drider tryin’ to sneak into their camp ’n’ they were goin’ to torture her for information then kill her. So, I didn’t particularly love driders, but really, if you don’t like someone, just give ‘em a quick, clean death; don’t torture ‘em or soak ‘em in acid ’til they die a screaming, miserable death of agony or anythin’ like that. Just kill ‘em ’n’ be done with it. So me ’n’ Forth went forward, ‘cause o’ course Forth wants to talk to everybody, ’n’ I think he’d try to negotiate with Rovagug himself before tryin’ to kill him, but I love him for it ’n’ it meant I wouldn’t be alone.

So we stepped forward so we could see the talkers ’n’ they could see us, ’n’ it was a pair o’ dirty dwarves, ’n’ that’s not an expletive or anythin’, it’s just that their skin was darker’n anythin’ I’d seen before in a dwarf, so I just kind o’ assumed. They recognized Forth as kin, and so as not to be distracted just put the drider out of its misery. I appreciated the thought, though I don’t know how Forth felt about that kind o’ thing.

Anyhoo, it was the same old, same old. Forth said he was happy to meet ‘em ’n’ hoped he didn’t have to kill ‘em ’n’ such, ‘cause no matter how charmin’ he’s tryin’ to be he always has to add that, “Hope I don’t have to kill you,” bit that tends to put people off. So they liked me more’n they liked Forth, but that was OK, ‘cause it didn’t look like we’d have to kill ‘em anyway. They were worshippers o’ Mogrim, which Forth said was kind o’ like a dwarven Pharasma ‘cept Lawful instead o’ Neutral ‘cause dwarves. You’d think that with all their Lawfulness ’n’ such you’d see more dwarven worshippers o’ Asmodeus, but I don’t recall seein’ a one in my time at the orphanage.

We started off with polite chit-chat ‘bout other creatures passin’ through ’n’ the earth elementals ’n’ such, but they weren’t all that concerned ’n’ they’d deal with the elementals now that they knew they were there. We asked about the Mother o’ Wights ’n’ her undead army, ’n’ they said she’d been through ’n’ they’d kicked her butt ’n’ sent her on her way, but I’ve learned to look for Llew’s little, “This bugger is lyin’” signal, ’n’ there it was, so I knew they’d gotten THEIR butts kicked. Sure enough, the whole gateway to go deeper into the Darklands had its towers destroyed, ’n’ it looked like there’d been a huge battle ’n’ a lotta dead dwarves.

So they didn’t mind us passin’ through to take on the Mother o’ Wights, but we’d have to pay a “tithe” just to make it right ’n’ proper, ’n’ apparently the “tithe” was to buy a drink at the bar. Hey, a tithe even I could handle! So we went to the tavern, ’n’ I ordered somethin’ on fire so he gave me a drink that burned my eyebrows off so I was happy, ’n’ we got some food that wasn’t quite as bad as the dwarven food on the surface, but that was probably ‘cause they had less of a choice of dirt-flavored ingredients they could mix together ’n’ call “food”.
One I wasn’t burnin’ I turned on Calistria’s eyes ’n’ started tryin’ to charm the barkeep to get more information ‘bout the fight, ’n’ it worked a bit. The barkeep told us that it’d been an ugly, ugly fight, ’n’ the Mother o’ Wights’d been there, along with a handful o’ liches ’n’ a few vampires. Just ugliness all around, all right.

Once we were done payin’ our tithe, we rented a cabin for the night ’n’ then went over to the temple o’ Mogrim ’n’ met the cleric there. Llew said somethin’ weird ‘bout it remindin’ her o’ the temple o’ Pharasma in Logas before we’d rescued Father Farrington, but the place didn’t make me feel homesick at all. We were polite, but it was a really short visit, ’n’ the cleric said we’d really ought to talk to the king, so we bid our farewells. Once we were out o’ earshot, Llew said that the temple wasn’t sanctified and that wasn’t a real cleric ’n’ maybe he was a simulacrum ’n’ oooooooh… THAT’S what she meant!

So now we were on our guard ’n’ we decided to go see the king to see whether HE was a simulacrum, ‘cause that’d be BAD. ‘Cept we didn’t really have a way to prove whether or not he was a simulacrum other than killin’ him, ’n’ I think offhand regicide isn’t on the paladin’s “I can do that” list.

We wandered over to the king’s palace ’n’ knocked on the door ’n’ met the king ’n’ he wasn’t very king-like. In fact, he reminded me a lot o’ Heddy: He didn’t know what was goin’ on, he got all worried when we mentioned the temple, ’n’ he assured us everythin’ was fine, then admitted he needed some help cleanin’ out the sewers ‘cause they were full o’ undead. He believed Llew right out when she said that she thought the priest wasn’t a priest, ’n’ he admitted they’d been hurt worse’n some’d like to let on, so some people weren’t fully “qualified” for the jobs they were doin’. He showed us over to the sewers, ’n’ I was most impressed with the ease with which I could’ve picked the lock ’n’ let the undead out. Good thing I didn’t think it’d be a funny joke. But Llew looked down there ’n’ got that look on her face that meant she was thinkin’, ’n’ she told us the undead down there were “mohrgs”, guys who used their intestines like tentacly tongues ’n’ grabbed you ’n’ paralyzed you ’n’ killed you ’n’ raised you as zombies under the mohrg’s control. ‘Cause an undead not bein’ right disgustin’ isn’t a real undead at all. ’N’ ‘cause Llew likes tellin’ us this kind o’ stuff, I learned that they were serial murderers who were publicly executed before gettin’ a chance to atone, so they went back to killin’ after they were dead.

So, considerin’ all the ways bad people become undead, it really seems like the safest thing to do with ‘em all is just keep a gateway to the plane o’ positive energy open all the time ’n’ just chuck ‘em in there, like an undead garbage dump!

I traded Heddy II a vomit capsule in exchange for the keys to the sewers, ’n’ I pretended I’d need ‘em ‘cause I’m polite like that, ’n’ Llew scanned him as he walked away ’n’ sensed that he was Chaotic Evil.

I wanted my vomit capsule back!

We decided we’d better tour the rest o’ the city, ’n’ pretty soon knew we weren’t in such a nice place when we found a temple to Rovagug himself there. ‘Cept just like the temple to Mogrim, it wasn’t sanctified (unsanctified?), wasn’t bein’ used, ’n’ the cleric was a fake. I first looked at ‘im with my gloves, then Forth confronted him ’n’ he admitted that the king’d told him to do it to “keep up appearances”, which is kind o’ stupid if “appearances” is “worship the god that wants to bring about the end of all life in the universe”.

Somethin’ in this town is really weird, and for once it isn’t me!

The rest o’ the town was a lot more normal: A work area with lots o’ smithin’ areas, a cistern, ’n’ then I realized: Where were all the women?!?!?! Forth looked kind o’ aghast, ’n’ Llew told me I’d already talked to a few, ’n’ I had NO IDEA! While I was gettin’ giggled at for that, Llew spotted Not Heddy II headin’ over to talk to the cleric, so I tried to sneak over ’n’ listen in, but they stopped talkin’ when I got near, which was pretty suspicious in ’n’ of itself ‘cause when I don’t want to be seen, nobody sees me, so they had some kind o’ mystical sense that dwarves shouldn’t have. I left.

We went back to the cabin to discuss our options: The town was fishy as all get-out, but I wasn’t quite ready to just kill everyone in town ‘cause they confused me. That’s Alembic’s job. ’N’ undead are undead, so killin’ ‘em’s Llew’s job. ‘Cept if we went down there with the townsfolk still alive, we could pretty much expect the grating to get locked down ’n’ maybe sealed over once we were inside, ‘cause the townsfolk just seemed that evil. ’N’ considerin’ what’d happened the last time Alembic’d tried to teleport us somewhere, I didn’t want to have to rely on teleportation to get out of anywhere in the Darklands unless Alembic could see it.

Before we decided anythin’ else, includin’ tactics, Alembic decided we needed more privacy so he made one o’ his mansion things right there in the middle o’ the cabin, ’n’ I think it was probably ‘cause he’n’ Llew are the only really tall ones ’n’ he didn’t want to sleep in the dwarven bunkbeds ’n’ didn’t want her to have to, either, but it also gave us some privacy. So we sat down in the mansion ’n’ kept talkin’. Llew didn’t think the dwarves were simulacrums, but they sure as heck weren’t actin’ like dwarves, either. ’N’ we couldn’t just kill ‘em all for being weird ’n’ evil, ‘cause that’d open up a whole new can o’ worms. Like Old Guy. He was weird ’n’ evil. Should we go back ’n’ kill him? ‘Cause I liked him.

Anyhoo, we decided we’d go ahead ’n’ clear the sewers first, ‘cause that’d give the fake dirty dwarves a chance to double-cross us so we could kill ‘em all justified-like, ’n’ we started castin’ buffs ’n’ then I noticed a little dwarven girl with big eyes wavin’ at me. See? I can tell! ‘Cept I could see through her! So I first made sure everyone else could see her and I wasn’t bein’ illusioned again, ‘cause I’m bad at that, ’n’ then I asked her who she was ’n’ what she needed ’n’ why she was hauntin’ Alembic’s mansion (which I honestly thought was pretty funny, actually) ’n’ all that.

Her name was Melissa, which is a really sweet name for a ghost, ’n’ she wanted vengeance for her death. Well, considerin’ I’d been itchin’ for a reason to kill all the fake dwarves ’n’ undead ’n’ just be done with it, I told her I’d be eager to help. ’N’ she said I was nice, which was kind o’ funny considerin’ I’d just agreed to kill a bunch o’ people for her. The Mother of Wights had shown up with a powerful army of undead ’n’ murdered her entire family, herself included, ’n’ she’d been turned into a ghost until her murder could be avenged.

Can do, Melissa! Can do!

Trouble was, Melissa went on to tell us that the Mother o’ Wights had killed ALL the dwarves; there were none left. Little creepy crawlies that Alembic identified as “intellect devourers” had come along, found all the corpses, turned ‘em into their puppets, ’n’ were now pretendin’ to be a dwarven town with an inn, just so they could take over people’s brains ’n’ eat ‘em (the brains, not the people) once everyone was asleep.

For once, I was happy ‘bout my ring.

And now, it was time to kill everythin’ in town.

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Of course, first it would be good to see if this Ghost is telling the truth . . . .

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Session 48, played 16-Jun-2019

So, it’s all well ’n’ good to say, “OK, let’s kill everythin’ in town,” but even I didn’t really mean it, ‘cause maybe some o’ the dark dwarves really were dark dwarves ’n’ not brain-eatin’ abominations. So we asked Alembic how we could recognize the brain-eaters ’n’ he didn’t know, which is kind o’ his go-to answer, ’n’ I suggested usin’ Detect Evil, but Forth admitted that the dark dwarves were by and large evil so that wouldn’t work, so how ‘bout Detect Chaos, but they were chaotic, too. So, I’m all for withholdin’ stabbin’ things that don’t deserve it, but these dead dark dwarves were makin’ things awfully hard on us. Alembic suggested that normally the bodies the brain guys are in usually decay after a week or so, so these bodies were doin’ right well by ‘em and maybe they didn’t want to leave, but much as I’m a live ’n’ let live kind o’ girl, I really have to draw the line at brain-eatin’ abominations. They really had to die. I suggested stabbin’ ‘em to see whether they bleed, ‘cause that’s my normal suggestion when we’re stumped, but as usual everyone pooh-poohed that idea, ‘cause ‘parently everyone ‘cept gnomes get offended when you stab ‘em to try to find out whether they’re really who they say they are.

Llew suggested that we do it all careful ’n’ quiet-like, goin’ buildin’-to-buildin’ ’n’ takin’ ‘em out a few at a time. I had a wand o’ Silence that said that that was a great idea, but Forth didn’t like it ‘cause it seemed too much like an ambush. We went back ’n’ forth a bit, ‘cause knockin’ on someone’s door ’n’ sayin’, “Hi! We’re here to kill you!” seems pretty forthright to me, but ‘parently Llew’s plan didn’t sit well with Forth so we were goin’ round in circles gettin’ nowhere.

I finally got fed up and suggested just killin’ the cleric o’ Rovagug, ‘cause whether or not he was a brain-eater Forth wouldn’t get in trouble for killin’ him. I was half-jokin’, but Forth said that that sounded like a good plan. So…when the paladin says the gnome’s plan is good, you know you’re in trouble. So everyone buffed on up, Llew put up a Magic Circle ‘cause we knew the brain-eaters couldn’t get through ‘em, ’n’ the idea was that I’d lure the cleric out into the circle ’n’ we’d see whether he could enter it. Easy as pie!

I strode up confidently ’n’ banged on the door. The cleric wanted to know what I wanted before he’d open the door. So I told ‘im the paladin was here to burn his place to the ground ’n’ kill him unless he came out and talked to us.

And he screamed for help!

What kind o’ evil cleric IS he? I know Llew said they weren’t really very good clerics, but if I’d said that to any o’ the clerics at the orphanage he’d be all bluster ’n’ anger ’n’ come stormin’ out to give me what for ’n’ tell me that was no kind o’ choice ’n’ the paladin had to have it wrong ’n’ all that, ’n’ he’d have 37 reasons the paladin couldn’t lawfully kill him right there. But I guess that’s ‘cause Asmodeans are more Lawful than Evil, so instead o’ gettin’ all indignant this guy started screamin’ like we were gonna kill him. OK, so we were, but he didn’t have to be such a baby about it.

He’d locked the door, which was kind o’ sad, so I unlocked it but he held the bar in place with all his strength, but I was just as strong as him, which meant he couldn’t possibly be a real human, ’n’ then Forth just walked up ’n’ lifted the bar out o’ the way ‘cause Forth. Llew ’n’ Alembic kept back to watch for company as Forth ’n’ I went in to start interrogatin’ the guy. Well, not really. I just stabbed him. I couldn’t really tell whether it was real blood or not, so I was waitin’ to see whether Llew or Forth could tell me, but then Forth took a big ol’ swing with his hammer ’n’ smashed in the guy’s rib cage ’n’ said that yep, he wasn’t human.

I’ll never understand paladins.

Anyhoo, the guy started gettin’ up so I stabbed him ’n’ he dropped, but Alembic warned us that a little bitty brain’d be comin’ out ’n’ we’d have to kill it too, so we waited. Llew ’n’ Alembic said we’d attracted company with all our noise. I’d’ve argued that it was the cowardly cleric’s screamin’ that was attractin’ company, but she’d made her point ’n’ I didn’t want to irritate her when she was lookin’ for stuff to kill. I figured it was a good time to protect my brain ’n’ pull out Shieldy while we were waitin’, ’n’ Alembic ’n’ Llew were castin’ some stuff outside so we knew company was gettin’ nearer. The little brain thingy finally crawled out ’n’ huddled in a corner so I couldn’t flank it. Pesky little bugger! Alembic Magic Missiled it but that didn’t hurt it, ’n’ he said it had some kind o’ globe up that protected it from spells. I tried to trip it, but that didn’t work, either. Fortunately, whatever was protectin’ it didn’t protect it from Forth’s hammer so he set to work. It decided this wasn’t fun ’n’ turned invisible, which was inconvenient.

I heard a big boom outside that said that Alembic was throwin’ Fireballs ’n’ he quickly told us that ALL of the dwarves were brain guys, so we didn’t have to worry ‘bout killin’ ‘em. Right after that Llew’s bow started goin’ like mad so I knew she was teachin’ ‘em that she was deadly even at a distance. Hearin’ ‘em scream kind o’ made up for the missin’ guy, but I was feelin’ pretty stupid ‘bout losin’ my one foe in a 10’x10’ room. Kind o’ like stealin’ a watermelon from the high cleric’s personal table ’n’ then forgettin’ where you put it ’til it rotted ’n’ made the whole latrine smell even worse’n usual, ’n’ then bein’ forced to eat it ‘cause we were naughty. But that’s neither here nor there.

Anyhoo, since I couldn’t fight the invisible guy I just left ’n’ used Shieldy, ’n’ Forth followed me ’n’ we figured the invisible guy would eventually do somethin’ other than hide ’n’ we’d see him then. Alembic tried lightning but it didn’t have any effect, either, so ‘parently Alembic was goin’ to do very little again this fight. Llew stopped shooting just long enough to make all the invisible guys visible so I could finally spot the little guy who’d gotten away, ’n’ he was tryin’ to do somethin’ to Alembic so I went around ’n’ stabbed him, ‘cept Alembic can’t flank worth a darn so I couldn’t get in a stab at a vital brainy bit ’n’ my dagger just slid off. Alembic! Get with the program!

Alembic, bein’ Alembic, ran away. Fortunately the brainy thing wasn’t as smart as it looked ’n’ tried to eat me, so it ended up just pawin’ at me uselessly as well. Now you know how it feels, brain boy! ‘Course, I have friends, so Forth came up ’n’ smashed it. Which was really even more disgusting than it sounds. I was kind o’ glad at the moment to be tiny and weak ’n’ not smashing brains with a big ol’ hammer, ‘cause ew.
Llew went back to killing ‘em with a bow, ’n’ Alembic finally got fed up ’n’ dropped most of ‘em into an Acid Pit. Most o’ the time I give him grief for that ‘cause I don’t like the screams. This time, I just didn’t mind. ’N’ the rest of ‘em… ran away!

What kind o’ overwhelmin’ bad guys are these?!?!?

Everyone else was runnin’ right to try to catch ‘em, so I ran left ‘cause it looked shorter ’n’ I figured I could slow ‘em down. ‘Cept WHAM! I ran face-first into an invisible wall! Alembic called out, “Sorry ‘bout that!” but I knew he wasn’t, ‘specially when he then made everyone else go fast so they left me all behind.

So ‘bout all I know ‘bout the rest o’ the fight is that one of ‘em tried to open up the grate leadin’ to all the mohrgs, but Forth killed it before it could finish, Alembic got almost all the rest of ‘em with another pit, ’n’ Llew killed the king herself ’n’ pushed him into a pit ‘cause Llew. ’N’ I caught up just after it was all done ’n’ they were sayin’ that ‘cause they had Prayer up (what? Why didn’t I get that?) ’n’ Haste (which I didn’t get) ’n’ some other things (which I probably didn’t get), we should race down the hole ’n’ kill all the mohrg, too.

As I was runnin’ over Alembic was puttin’ Fly on Forth ’n’ Llew, so I refreshed Shieldy ’n’ used a wand o’ Fly on myself, ‘cause it seemed the thing to do, ’n’ I managed to get there just in time to watch Forth go down ’n’ hear a loud clang ’n’ hear Forth yell that there were traps, so I flew down just enough to see that Forth had completely missed the disarm lever ‘cause Forth ’n’ just walked into a spiked wall trap.

I’d’ve tried to lead the way to help ‘em out but there were a bunch o’ spiky devils peekin’ ‘round the corner ’n’ Forth couldn’t resist goin’ after ‘em ’n’ Llew wanted to keep Forth from getting himself killed so she followed after him. We could hear all kinds o’ stuff goin’ on as well; the devils were summoned ’n’ Llew ’n’ Forth could tell that, ’n’ the casters who were doin’ the summonin’ were farther down the hall, with the devils providin’ a bottleneck to keep us back. Fortunately, since we were all flyin’ we could stack up a bit ‘cause the ceilings were nice and high. Unfortunately, Forth said not to hit the devils ‘cause they were spiky ’n’ you’d get hurt doin’ it, but I figured it was worth a stab to try to make one pop. It didn’t, ’n’ it hurt to stab him, so there was that. Llew ’n’ Forth started mopping ‘em up so I tried to get farther down the hall past ‘em to start lookin’ for more traps, but they didn’t want me to ’n’ kept stopping me so it took me a bit, and one even tried to grab me but the grease I’d put on kept me loose, but eventually I got ahead and got to look at the next junction.

Sure enough, there was a big ol’ trap there, with what looked like a giant stone foot (Rovagug’s foot) ready to come down behind anyone who went through, meanin’ one party member’d be stuck with all the casters on one side, ’n’ the rest’d be stuck behind the foot. I asked Alembic whether he’d be able to teleport us through, but he said he didn’t know ‘cause the place was Unhallowed ’n’ that might block teleportation, but I was gettin’ used to Alembic sayin’ he didn’t know things or that his magic wouldn’t work, so I figured it was fine. Durin’ the whole fight with the devils he kept castin’ stuff ’n’ it kept not workin’ ’n’ I’m beginnin’ to think he has some kind o’ performance anxiety ’n’ can’t cast when he’s around devils or some such.

Anyhoo, I warned everyone that I could stop the leg from comin’ down but it’d be a while, ’n’ they should check the door at the end o’ the hall, ’n’ got to work. Forth guarded me while Llew ’n’ Alembic went to look. While I was workin’, the mohrg showed its ugly face at the end o’ the hall, but it wasn’t a regular skeleton with intestines ’n’ whatnot like Llew’d described; this one had bat wings ’n’ everything ’n’ cast somethin’ that made me feel like I’d been in the desert for the last 3 weeks. Without my boots or my ring! My lips were parched, my fingers were cracked ’n’ bleeding, ’n’ it was really pretty awful. Forth got it, too, so it was some kind o’ spell, ’n’ he channeled to heal us ‘cause it hurt so much. Llew called back that there was some kind o’ room full o’ knobs ’n’ whatnot, ’n’ I figured that was an invitation ’n’ asked her whether I should go over ’n’ look, ’n’ she said I should finish what I started, ’n’ I told her that she sounded a lot like an Asmodean sayin’ stuff like that.

Hoo, boy! Sometimes the wrong thing just comes out o’ your mouth an’ you don’t even know it ’til you’re strung up by your ankles in your bedclothes bein’ whipped for disrespect. ‘Cept Llew isn’t like that, but she was LIVID. I’ve never seen her so mad, even at the bad guys! She gave me what for, ’n’ asked me whether that’s what I really thought o’ her, and ‘bout how Asmodeans were EVIL, ’n’ she was a cleric o’ Pharasma, ’n’ she wasn’t evil, ’n’ I tried to explain that it was just the Lawfulness of it all that got me ’n’ that just made it worse ’n’ I should’ve just apologized ’n’ shut up. Even worse, Alembic was in the fun room gettin’ zapped with electricity ’n’ screamin’ his head off, so now I really wanted to go, just to watch if nothin’ else.

Fortunately, the bat guy hit us with another o’ those dry spells ’n’ nearly killed me. Sometimes, even a painful distraction’s a good one. Llew came over ’n’ healed me so I figured we were good, ’n’ she said it was a demonic mohrg ’n’ on top o’ everything else it could steal your soul ’n’ cast all kinds o’ nasty spells like we were noticin’, so I figured since she wasn’t yellin’ we were good ’n’ I hurried over to the room where Alembic was gettin’ barbecued. All the knobs ’n’ levers were clearly labeled with gobbledygook, so it was easy to see which one did what, ‘specially lookin’ at all the wires ’n’ such, but ‘parently Alembic can’t read gobbledygook, either. I could’ve turned off the electricity, but that wouldn’t have been any fun, so I turned off the stompy foot instead ’n’ let Llew ’n’ Forth know they could go. Alembic ran off to follow them ‘cause he’s no fun, ’n’ I got to dance ‘round with the lightning. It was tickly, but didn’t hurt at all.

Everyone else ran down the hall to fight the bat guy, ’n’ they yelled back that there were four of ‘em. I wanted to go help, but I had to make sure they weren’t going to get into any more trouble so there was one more trap switch I didn’t recognize so I turned that one off, let the lightning dance around me one more time, got out a handy scroll, ’n’ finally decided to head over to try to help out my friends…

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Player Note: At this point we were level 16, so Trig's Disable Device was +35 and her Use Magic Device was +23.

She rarely knew what she was disabling/enabling/activating, but most of the time she was succeeding at it...

EDIT: And when she was "dancing", she was using Combat Expertise (+3) while fighting defensively (+3) with Shield for a total AC of 43, or 49 when using Mobility and Underfoot to run through a crowd of monsters, or an even 50 when Hasted.

Which is why there are so many comments about her "dancin' through the monsters tryin' to distract them." She was useless on offense, but would take a stab at someone for the huge AC boost then run through the crowd to take as many AoOs as possible, hoping none of the bad guys had Combat Reflexes.

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Session 49, Part I, played 23-Jun-2019

When you hear, “Soul-stealin’ paralyzin’ magic-slingin’ bat-winged undead demon-y mohrg-y things,” the first thing in your teeny little brain ought to be, “Protect me! I’m just a teeny little brain!” I figured gettin’ close to Llew would take care o’ that one for me. But the second thing is, “Protect me! I’m just a fleshy, pulpy, bleedy little body!”, so as I started flyin’ towards the fight I tried to activate the scroll that’d turn my body into iron, at least as far as Alembic’s description of it told me. I didn’t know whether I’d still be able to move once I was made of iron, but I figured if I couldn’t maybe Llew’d figure somethin’ out to catapult me at the bad guys or somethin’ and I’d still be useful. Trouble was, it was a lot more squirrely than any scroll I’d tried to activate before, so when I pulled it out and tried to read it again, my eyes went all cross-eyed ’n’ I got a bit of a headache ’n’ nothin’ else happened, so I figured Iron Trig wasn’t gonna happen any time soon.

As I came ‘round the corner to see what was happening, Alembic was in the way (as always), Llew was in the doorway fightin’ somethin’ (one o’ the mohrgs, I figured), and Forth was callin’ out from inside the room that he’d downed one, and they weren’t as tough when they were dead. Or something like that. But I figured it was pretty obvious, ’n’ you could say that ‘bout just about anythin’. “It’s not as tough when it’s dead.”
But I guess with undead it’s a thing or somethin’. What do I know?

So with Llew ’n’ Forth in a room right next to a bunch o’ undead casters, I figured I wasn’t goin’ to need to be made o’ iron or anythin’ like that any time soon. ‘Cept Llew was swingin’ at the one right in the doorway and her sword bumped the doorway a couple o’ times ’n’ she was gettin’ downright unlucky. I could fix that! Alembic tried to cast somethin’ at ‘em that didn’t work (as always), but at least he didn’t move so I was able to sneak in ’n’ rub a little bit o’ Calistria’s luck on her backside. I figured maybe helpin’ her kill a bunch o’ undead would make her feel better ‘bout the whole Asmodean thing, ’n’ wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all, plus now that I was next to her my teeny little brain was protected. Win-win-win! And then Forth had to go ’n’ spin ‘round with that great big axe-thing o’ his ’n’ started cuttin’ down all the demon-mohrgs like ripened wheat in a field (’n’ Trig gets a simile right! Don’t get used to it! EVER!), ’n’ Llew cried out, “Save one for me!” ‘cause she likes to record those things in her book an’ I know ‘cause I’ve been yelled at for killin’ things so I know not to do it, but Forth’s a paladin ’n’ so he doesn’t mind gettin’ yelled at so he cut ‘em all down ’n’ my luck didn’t do anythin’ ’n’ neither did Llew. ‘Cept she started yellin’ at Forth for bein’ greedy ’n’ suddenly all the demon-spirits tried to steal our souls like they do ‘cept Llew’s Circle protected us like it does ’n’ I kept my little mouth shut ‘cause I know Llew can be mad at more than one person at once ’n’ my luck not goin’ off wasn’t goin’ to help her mood at all.

Anyhoo, I suggested to Forth that maybe he should channel to get us all healed up ‘cause everyone ‘cept Alembic was a bit bloody, ’n’ he did ’n’ maybe it made Llew feel better but I’m not good at readin’ people like she is so I just decided to search the room for traps. There was one, but it was a big ol’ Fireball that I’d disabled with the switch back in the fun fun lightnin’ room, so there was no joy to be had in Dead Mohrgville. But there was tons o’ loot. Like an army’s worth o’ weapons ’n’ armor ’n’ magic. I got a handful o’ oils that were designed to hide things, which seemed like all kinds o’ fun, ’n’ a bunch o’ scrolls o’ Fireball ’n’ Lightning that I was sure I needed somewhere, ’n’ nobody stopped me from takin’ ‘em, not even Llew or Forth or Alembic, ’n’ they were the only ones there. So I figured there were big booms in my future, and that made me happy.

Trouble was, yet again we couldn’t carry all of it, so I knew I was going to be expected to figure that out, so I’d ask ‘bout it once we got back to town. We gathered up what Alembic said was the most valuable stuff, ’n’ Llew asked me whether I’d be willin’ to turn all the traps back on, just in case people started snoopin’ ‘round before we got back, so I did, but as I was goin’ in Melissa showed up again ’n’ gave me a big smile ’n’ thanked me ’n’ told me she could rest now, ’n’ that made killin’ all those guys worth it. Or at least bein’ in the general vicinity while Llew ’n’ Forth killed ‘em all worth it.

We went back up to Crawly Brain Town ’n’ I locked the sewers as well, ’n’ Alembic teleported us back to Eledir just long enough for me to ask around, sell some o’ the valuables we had, ’n’ get myself a Portable Hole, which is kind o’ like one o’ Alembic’s pits ‘cept it’s not full of acid, which is a good thing. And it doesn’t go away, which is another good thing. But that let Alembic teleport us back to Brainville, I unlocked the gate, disarmed all the traps, we filled up the Hole, I re-armed the traps, I re-locked the gates, ’n’ we teleported back to Eledir for some good old-fashioned loot-selling.

As usual, the group let me do the sellin’ ’n’ the divvyin’ up, ‘cause I’m both charmin’ and honest, and I think they like to watch my little pink head bobbin’ ’n’ weavin’ among all the taller folks. The town guard was more’n happy to take all the military-type stuff off of us, like the plate mail ’n’ so forth, ’n’ Eledir was recoverin’ enough that we sold the rest of it without a lot o’ bother. I found that I was awfully close to gettin’ a top-notch belt o’ health ’n’ quickness, which is the kind o’ thing I like to buy, but they didn’t have any in town, so I asked Alembic to teleport me back to old Phil’s place, ‘cause I knew he was a crafter ’n’ a gnome ’n’ he had a secret craftin’ dimension ’n’ all that, but Alembic said he was too tired to teleport me any more that day so I’d have to ask him tomorrow. ’N’ I knew he was tellin’ the truth ‘cause he’ll take any excuse to get me out of his hair for a while.

It was gettin’ pretty late by the time we’d finished our shoppin’, so I stopped by the temple ’n’ paid my respects (Elves. Yum!) ’n’ then went back to our old inn ‘cause I like the way they treat me there, ’n’ they don’t feed me any dwarf food or anythin’ like that, ’n’ I did somersaults on the bed ‘cause it seemed different, then went to bed, thinkin’ ‘bout what it must be like to spend your lifetime in darkness.

And I had the weirdest dream.

I was in Calistria’s bedroom again, ‘cept this time she was all purple-skinned ’n’ white-haired ’n’ looked kind o’ like Llew would if she had a terrible accident in a wine press, ’n’ she was with a bunch o’ purple elves ’n’ bald gnomes ’n’ so forth, ’n’ she started tellin’ me ‘bout the fey o’ the darkness, ’n’ did I really want to be like them ‘cause they were all twisted ’n’ evil ’n’ such by bein’ closer to Rovagug. And I told her I didn’t want that, but I at least didn’t want to keep bangin’ my head against the rocks every time Alembic forgot to cast Darkvision on me, ’n’ she laughed at me (like she always does), ’n’ said I should probably embrace the shadows, not the darkness. Well, that made ‘bout as much sense to me as embracin’ the water but not the liquid, but everybody there was nekkid ’n’ it was elves ’n’ such even if they were purple ’n’ evil so I started tryin’ embracin’ things. And the thing I embraced wasn’t an elf or a gnome or Calistria. It was a shadow. But not one o’ those evil, undead, suck-your-strength-’til-you-wither-’n’-die shadows. This shadow wanted to be my friend. Which probably sounds kind o’ awkward in a big ol’ pile o’ heavin’ naked bodies, but I understood.

I slipped my right hand inside of its hand, kind o’ like a glove ‘stead of a handshake. Then I put it on, kind o’ like a coat. And you’d expect a coat made o’ shadow to be cold or creepy or scary, but it was kind o’ warm an’ welcomin’. And I saw the eyes o’ the others and I could tell that they couldn’t see me, even though they could see in the dark, ‘cause I’d embraced the shadow, not the darkness.

Good one, Calistria!

Once I woke up in the mornin’ I just had to try it out! So I said, “Good mornin’!” to the innkeep ’n’ tried to put on my shadow but it was all bright ’n’ sunny in the inn so I just flapped my arms at him a bit ’n’ he just figured it was me bein’ me ’n’ brought me some kind o’ fruit I didn’t think I’d ever seen before, or maybe he’d just carved an apple to look all fancy, but I appreciated it and took it and ate it and moved over to a corner to start figurin’ it out. ’N’ once I was out o’ the sun ’n’ in the corner, I felt my shadow with me so I put him on again ’n’ the innkeep gasped ’n’ I could see his eyes lookin’ right through me ’n’ this was goin’ to be the most fun thing EVER!!!

I wasted most o’ the mornin’ hidin’ in shadows from things: Dogs. Kids. People who weren’t payin’ attention to me anyway. But it didn’t take long to get the hang of it, ’n’ I learned that as long as there was a place for my shadow to be hidin’ near me, I could call him over ’n’ put him on ’n’ no one could see me, even people who could see in the dark. ‘Cause ‘parently “dark” ’n’ “shadow” are two different things. Who knew?

Once I was good ’n’ ready I snuck up on Alembic ’n’ asked him to teleport me to old Phil, ’n’ he’s so used to me poppin’ out o’ nowhere he wasn’t even surprised one bit, but he was more’n happy to get me out of his hair ’n’ popped me over there. I walked up to his fake log cabin ’n’ once Alembic’d teleported away made myself all nice ’n’ presentable. But as he opened the door bits o’ my outfit kept poppin’ open, ‘specially ‘round the cleavage, ’n’ my lips were all dry ’n’ I had to keep lickin’ ‘em, so I gave Phil Calistria’s eyes ’n’ told him I needed him to do somethin’ for me.

I think I’m lucky I didn’t give Phil a heart attack.

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Is Trig taking levels in Shadowdancer?

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Tangent101 wrote:
Is Trig taking levels in Shadowdancer?

Bingo. Rogue/cleric/shadowdancer.

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Session 49, Part II, Played 23-Jun-2019

So, once I explained what I was lookin' for to Phil, he said that it'd cost me, 'n' I figured as much, but then he told me how much, 'n' I figured I could probably scrape it together so we'd best get to work. I offered to go with him to Eledir to get all the ingredients he needed, but he said somethin' 'bout goin' incognito 'r some such so he went out 'n' got what he needed 'n' took the stuff I was tradin' in as payment 'n' we went into his craftin' dimension.

And it was very very borin'. He was one o' those gnomes who just does stuff for hours or days on end, so focused he barely notices anythin' else. The first few days were pretty fun, 'cause I was givin' him all kinds o' distractions he hadn't thought of 'n' he was really enjoyin' 'em, but then as gnomes o' two different types'll do, we started drivin' each other crazy. He lit me on fire right out o' the bath so I lost some hair in places I don't like losin' my hair (it itches), 'n' I thought I glued his slippers to the floor 'cept he wasn't wearin' slippers, 'n' stuff like that. After about three weeks o' carnal gnome craftin' he figured he was right sick o' me 'n' told me I should go wait outside his dimension, 'n' I didn't mind 'cause we gnomes understand each other 'n' know it's nothin' personal, 'n' I was out o' the dimension for all of two minutes before he came back out 'n' said he needed me again 'n' it was 'cause he'd been alone in there for another 4 weeks 'n' was missin' my company, if you get my drift. An' I'm sure you do so I won't go there any more.

Anyhoo, we had our on-again, off-again whirlwind fling for all of an hour in the "real" world, but it was probably a couple o' months o' gnome time, but neither of us'd done anythin' like it before so I doubt either of us aged at all. Nice thing 'bout bein' a gnome! At the end of it all he handed me a belt that was beautiful! It was all worked leather, 'n' fit me perfectly as if he knew the size 'n' curve o' my waist rather intimately, 'n' was all worked with vines 'n' thorns 'n' wasps flying among 'em, 'n' I figured he'd done me right proper so I paid him, put on the belt, took off everything else, and gave him his tip. Then I went out o' the house to wait for Alembic to come back. 'Cept I forgot Phil was a wizard, too, so he was nice enough to pop me back to Eledir as a favor, 'n' I got to surprise Alembic tryin' to pick up on two cute human girls.

There's nothin' like ruinin' Alembic's fun.

Anyhoo, I had no idea what day it was, nor what month, nor what year, even, but I figured that was so normal for me that nobody even noticed that I'd been gone for a couple o' months. 'Cause to them I hadn't been. But I gave Llew 'n' Forth big hugs 'cause I'd missed 'em, 'n' I was even a little bit nice to Alembic 'cause he's really not a bad guy… sometimes. They asked whether I'd done all my shoppin' 'n' I was ready to go, 'n' I said I was, so Llew 'n' Alembic buffed us up 'cause they're smart that way 'n' then we teleported back to our cabin.

And it was really, really obvious that we'd been gone for a couple o' months. Everything was all run-down 'n' covered with dust, 'n' the wood was lookin' saggy 'n' rotten, 'n' I figured things decayed a lot faster underground, 'cept Llew reminded me that we'd only been gone two days 'n' things didn't decay this fast in 2 days, even underground. So we figured somehin' bad was up 'n' we let Forth 'n' Llew guard the door while Alembic cast Open on it. 'N' it was all dusty outside, too! 'Cept Forth said it wasn't dust, it was the russet mold that ate your brain 'n' turned you into a vegetable person. Which is what was attackin' us at the moment.

So, we learned that vegetable people aren't that tough, which is probably why they call 'em "vegepygmies" instead o' "vegepeople", but maybe "vegepansies" would've been better, 'cept a bit redundant. Alembic assured us that the Life Bubbles he put on us'd keep us safe from the mold, but considerin' the efficacy of his spells recently I was still pretty leery o' the stuff. Checkin' over the corpses, it was the corpses o' all the dwarves we'd killed, which was pretty sad, in my mind. First the undead'd killed 'em 'n' their corpses'd been taken over by brain critters. Then we'd killed 'em 'n' the brain critters 'n' they'd been taken over by russet mold. Then we killed 'em again, 'n' this time Forth 'n' Llew had us burn the whole city to the ground to get rid o' all the mold. Well, they had Alembic burn the city, 'cause when I burn stuff it costs money, so I appreciated the thought.

Once the city was good 'n' proper toasted we took the exit we'd been meanin' to take so many months ago, or maybe just a couple o' days, 'n' it was a long, smooth, steep passage goin' down, down, 'n' down some more. Alembic didn't want us to get tired so he made us all fly, which was right nice o' him, 'cause that way I could keep up with all the tall people without havin' to hurry. 'Cause Forth flies like a lead balloon covered with hedgehog spikes and dipped in molasses. Which sounds both tasty and ouchy at the same time. As we went down, the passage was gettin' wider 'n' wider. Forth said it looked like it'd been bored by some kind o' acid-spittin' creature like a trained worm or somethin'.

We eventually hit a junction, where our passage met what could only be called a major highway goin' east-west. Kind o' like the road from Logas to Eledir, 'cept deep, deep, DEEP underground. Before goin' on we listened for traffic, 'n' sure enough Llew heard some kind o' cart or sled with bells on it comin'. I figured it was as good a time as any to try on Mr. Shadow. A merchant from down here was bound to be good at seein' in the dark, so it'd be a good test, 'n' if he could see me I'd know Mr. Shadow was no good down here. So I called out to Mr. Shadow 'n' he was right next to me like he'd been waitin' for me to call to him in all this darkness, 'n' I put him on and he was comfy 'n' fit just right 'n' I settled in to see whether the merchant'd be able to see me.

It was a good thing I'd just taken a few month's trainin' in bein' bored. 'Cause that merchant was slooooooooooow. Once he finally came into view I was almost nappin', 'n' it turned out he was some big fat guy in robes that hid what he was, which I'm beginnin' to think is pretty typical down here. He was ridin' a giant slug that was pullin' a cart full o' wares, 'n' it looked just like a normal surface world merchant 'cept for the slug 'n' the evil aura o' otherness he was exudin'.

Forth greeted him, as Forth does in ALL situations, appropriate or not, 'n' he greeted us back, 'n' seemed right keen on sellin' us stuff. 'Cept he didn't seem to notice me. Llew 'n' Forth had some pleasant conversation with him. East of us was Eledir Below, which sounded like it was just below Eledir, go figure, 'n' he figured if we wanted to we could travel with him 'n' he'd help us get into the city. West of us was the great war with the undead, that'd been goin' on for years with no end in sight. The dark dwarves 'n' the drow'd put aside their differences to fight the common enemy, 'n' they were now bolstering their ranks with vegepygmies created from their fallen and the russet mold. So it didn't matter where you died in this battle; your body'd be up again before you could say, "Fnoggle fig ptoh flag persnoggle," and you'd be fightin' again, maybe for the same side, 'n' maybe for a different one. Sounded like the most depressin' war I'd ever heard of. And I find war in general pretty depressin'. The last thing he could tell us was that the Mother o' Wights was leadin' her undead army, and it was known that she was usin' the Moanin' Diamond to make fortifications to bolster her troops, 'cause everyone knew they couldn't stand up to the combined might o' the dark dwarves 'n the drow otherwise.

I asked a question 'n' he started 'n' asked whether there was another one o' us, meanin' he hadn't seen me so Mr. Shadow was workin'. That made me happy, so I figured he'd been nice and I ought to buy somethin', but after my adventure with the devil I wasn't goin' to give any old stranger any coin o' mine. So I offered him my heavy woolen blanket 'cause I really didn't need it 'cause o' my boots, 'n' my fantasies o' helpin' out some poor freezin' people'd been dashed when I actually tried to use it to help one o' the victims in the tower 'n' she thought I was givin' her a hand towel. So I pretty much didn't need it any more, 'n' it was well-woven 'n' such 'n' I doubted they got any nice wool out o' their slugs, so maybe he'd want it. The guy told me I could take anythin' off the side o' the slug, so I looked around and got this weird stretchy thing that looked either like somethin' you'd throw a rock with, kind o' like a sling, or a Calistrian sex toy. 'N' bein' a Calistrian priestess 'n' all, I was pretty sure it wasn't a sex toy. 'Cept I'm not a very good priestess.

Anyhoo, I guess this guy wasn't a devil 'cause Llew asked to buy a hat o' disguise from him 'n' he sold it to her. Then we decided we needed to go kill the Mother o' Wights 'n' stop the war, so we bade our farewells to the vendor 'n' moved on. Once we were out o' earshot I cast Detect Magic on my weaponized sex toy to find out whether it was cursed or anythin', but it wasn't. (Maybe some kind o' undies?) Forth said the guy'd probably been evil, but he'd been civil so he didn't need killin'. Kind o' like Asmodeans. 'Cept I didn't say that part out loud 'cause I didn't want to get Llew mad at me all over again. It'd been months 'n' she was still givin' me the leery eye like it'd just been a day or two. Forth was also pretty sure that goin' to the city was a sure death sentence, 'cause they didn't like dwarves there, and dwarven paladins even less. So, to the battle front!

As we were walkin' along the big highway, we heard someone comin' the other way. We stepped to the side o' the road again, but this time I didn't use Mr. Shadow 'cause I wanted him to be a surprise in case we got in any real trouble. 'N' it was a small group o' dark dwarves, battered 'n' bloody, 'n' two of 'em were draggin' a litter with a third. I ran over and yelled, "Hi!", and channeled energy at 'em, 'cause it seemed like a friendly thing to do and I figured Forth'd start talkin' at 'em anyway, so why not start things off right, 'n' they got downright confused, but at least I saw that I'd healed 'em a little so they weren't undead. Do plants heal from channeled energy? I have no idea! So maybe they were vegedwarves, but they didn't seem all that hostile.
Sure enough, before I could even say, "You're welcome!" before they could thank me, Forth was talkin' to 'em. They were from the front lines, 'n' when Forth told 'em we were goin' to fight undead they said that their commander, Commander Talon, could really use folk like us 'n' we ought to go to her 'n' enlist.

They did their dwarf grunty thing back 'n' forth for a while, so you could hardly tell one of 'em was a light dwarf 'n' the rest were dark, but we didn't get much more information out of 'em, so just as Forth was ready to let 'em go I channeled again, turned on Calistria's eyes (would they even work on dwarves if I wasn't bearded 'n' flat-chested?), 'n' started askin' their leader to please tell me more about Commander Talon.

Well, whatever magic I've got in my big purple eyes, it was too much for the dwarf to resist. He let us know that Commander Talon was a rakshasa, which is some kind o' evil outsider 'n' the gang told me later I needed good-aligned pointy things to hurt her (check!), she'd have lots of magic to control my teeny little brain (check!), 'n' she'd epitomize one o' the classic sins (please don't be Lust! Please don't be Lust!). But Commander Talon was both brilliant 'n' ruthless: She'd send just enough troops to fight the undead to the death so that both sides all died, then she'd bring in the russet mold to bring back her troops. Didn't seem all that brilliant to me, since the Mother o' Wights could just bring back her troops as well, but I'm not a brilliant military commander who epitomizes sin. Well, OK. Maybe you can argue that last one a bit. But not a commander!

Anyhoo, I said my goodbyes 'n' toodled off, 'n' they were downright friendly towards me, though not towards the rest o' the group, so again I was wonderin' what Calistria's grand plan was with me after all, or whether she had one or I was just another amusin' distraction she occasionally granted weird powers to. Probably the latter. Seems more like her.
As we continued down the road, we started seein' more 'n' more wounded comin' back the other way, 'n' even some corpses that were turnin' into vegethings. They were gettin' more organized 'bout the vegethings now, 'n' put 'em in cages to grow so they could be wheeled back to the front, 'n' there were gettin' to be more 'n' more cages.

Eventually, the first guard tried to stop us. He said we were on the King's Road, 'n' violence was forbidden on it by the king, but we weren't allowed to go any farther. I asked him whether he meant King Heddy, 'cause I figured I could go up 'n' talk to Heddy 'n' get permission to perform violence whenever I felt like it, 'cause Heddy's a nice guy that way, but he said that no, it wasn't Heddy. I finally figured out that they were orcs, but they seemed pretty civilized for everything I'd heard 'bout orcs. But they were the first ones I'd met, so maybe they just had a bad reputation 'cause they're ugly 'n' they live underground. But then why not dwarves?

Anyhoo, the nice orcs said that if we wanted to meet Commander Talon we should go off the road and onto a side passage, but the main battle was in Logas Below, so the party decided we should just go deal with the undead first 'n' see whether Talon came to us. The orc didn't mind us goin' on to fight undead, which was again right civil of him. He got some weird look in his eye 'n' said, "I am loyal!" 'n' let us go on. 20 minutes later we hit the next road block, 'n' they even had a big ballista that they pointed at us. We got the same song 'n' dance 'bout it bein' the King's Road 'n' we weren't s'posed to go any farther, but we mentioned Commander Talon again 'n' they responded with, "I am loyal!" like that was some kind o' weird password, 'n' I figured it was a pretty stupid password 'cause they were tellin' it to us 'stead of askin' us for it, but I don't live underground so what do I know?

These guys pointed us off the main road again, again tellin' us to go see Talon, so for whatever reason I didn't understand Forth decided that this group was more convincin' than the last one so off to see Talon we went. We came up to a big ol' gate 'n' I could've let us in but I figured they'd probably take that as rude, 'cause I hadn't yet seen a gnome down here 'n' they probably wouldn't understand me anyway. Since we were gettin' close, we buffed a bit, 'n' then I knocked 'n' they asked who it was 'n' I told 'em 'n' they told me to drop my disguise so I cleverly said, "What?" 'n' they explained that I must be one of Talon's spies on the surface world which was hilariously stupid of 'em but I didn't even bother lyin' 'n' just tried to take off my disguise.
Which wasn't there, so it didn't work.
But they spotted Llew's hat o' disguise that she'd purchased from Slug Guy 'n' that was enough for them so they let us in.

It's a wonder Talon hasn't been assassinated yet.

We got led over to a big ol' tent that led into one o' Alembic's Magnificent Mansions, 'cept I figured it was probably Talon's 'n' not Alembic's, but who really worries 'bout whose mansion is whose any more? They put us in a waitin' room with a bunch o' other muckety-mucks, but the ones that interested me were the drow: There were two really pretty female elves, 'cept they looked really mean, like from the Mistress of Pain area o' the temple, 'n' they had white hair 'n' purple skin 'n' looked like they wanted to kill us. So I figured I owed 'em a courtesy, fey-to-fey 'n' whatnot, but typically that ends up in violence 'n' bloodshed 'n' dead fey all over the place, but it's what you do. So the only thing I knew 'bout drow was that you shouldn't call 'em elves 'n' they like poison. So I walked up to the first one 'n' asked whether she was a drow. She was! She asked whether I was a g-nome, 'n' I figured that was a nice way o' pronouncin' it so I said that yes, I was, 'n' I was secretly pretty happy 'cause if she'd heard o' gnomes, I could probably get away with more. I told her I'd heard her kind liked poison, so since I wasn't here to fight her I'd like her to have a vomit capsule as an offering, just out of fey-to-fey civility. She asked what it did, 'n' I told her, 'n' she ate it anyway, 'n' she threw up all over herself 'n' me anyway 'n' it was hilarious 'n' I'd had my mouth closed so it was just all awesomeness!

As I Prestidigitated myself 'n' her clean, she asked me whether I had another one. I said I sure did and I gave it to her. She gave me a wicked smile that said it'd go well-used, 'n' I suggested that Alembic didn't care for 'em, but I think he understood me 'cause I was talkin' to 'em in Elven so I don't think he's going to drink anything she offers him.
Too bad.
Ah, well, I did my courtesy and figured it'd do diddly-squat if they decided they wanted to kill us, but at least it meant waitin' in the room with 'em was more pleasant, 'cause I had the anticipation o' getting to see who vomited next, 'n' the buffs were tickin' down 'n' so was my Prestidigitation, but we got called in real quick. The drow were unhappy, but someone said somethin' 'bout us bein' spies or whatnot 'n' they quieted down. I think it was the vomit capsule that relaxed 'em.

Since only Forth 'n' I spoke Undercommon, Forth asked me to do the talkin'. Which should've warned me that somethin' was fishy. But we went in 'n' met Commander Talon, 'n' she started askin' all kinds o' weird questions like, "What did you tell people, exactly?", and, "Who knows that you're here?", and, "Do you really think you can kill the Mother of Wights?"
So I was doin' my best to be pleasant 'n' polite 'n' answer all her questions honestly, 'cause I figured that's what Forth'd do, then Forth suddenly blurted out, "Did you make a deal with the Mother of Wights?" 'n' it all went to heck.

I will never understand paladins.

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Before everything went to heck, did Commander Talon say anything about making the underground great again?

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Session 50, Played 04-Aug-2019

So, when I say, "It all went to heck," I mean, "Talon told the guards to kill us all 'n' then sat down to watch the entertainment."
I figured that was kind o' rude, but then the guards started ragin' 'n' attackin' Llew 'n' Forth 'n' hittin' 'em somethin' awful 'n' from all the blood 'n' screamin' 'n' foamin' at the mouths 'n' such I figured we were dealin' with barbarians again, which meant they wouldn't much care at all 'bout anythin' I was gonna do so I'd have to be creative. On the bright side, from just outside the tent we heard another fight break out 'n' the dark elves called out that since we were takin' care o' their business anyway they'd hold off the guards outside 'til they decided they were done helpin' us.

Sounded fair enough. I was feelin' better 'bout givin' them the vomit capsules already. 'Cause sharin' is carin'.

As the orcs in the room were closin' in on Llew 'n' Forth one of 'em couldn't quite reach so he jumped up on the map table 'n' Talon smacked him 'n' told him to get down, so I figured I could probably use that. 'Cept because Alembic doesn't like it when we aren't nearly dyin', he decided to try to open a pit up under Talon, 'n' she was floatin' (of course) but her nice chair wasn't, so she lost her chair 'n' I'm sure that made her mad at us. With a bunch o' barbarian orcs beatin' on Llew 'n' Forth 'n' Talon about to join in (and she even said as much) I figured I should confuse things a bit so I pulled out a smokestick 'n' threw it in the middle of the orcs around Forth, figurin' it might slow down Talon as well. Then I started tryin' to sidle over to the wall but one o' the orcs suddenly reached over 'n' smacked me! Hey! That's not fair! And even worse'n not fair, it HURT! A lot!!

Llew, bein' Llew, didn't appreciate me gettin' beat on, which I appreciate in her, so she killed one o' the orcs for me. Not the one that hit me, mind you, but I was a bit away from her. I couldn't see what Forth was doin' in the smoke, but it sounded all bangy 'n' bloody so I figured he was doin' all right, 'n' I told Alembic I needed to fly. He went ahead 'n' made all of us fly, so I started up to try to shadow out 'n' stab Talon 'cept as soon as I started movin' one o' the orcs hit me again an' I was beginnin' to think that I wasn't goin' to survive long enough to do anythin' more than smoke up the place, but I managed to wink out 'n' fly over to Talon 'n' stab her, but just as I came up to her she sensed me 'n' moved a little so instead of her kidney I just stabbed her ribs, which didn't do a heck of a lot o' good considerin' my knife probably wasn't as long as her rib was thick. She looked at me 'n' kind o' rolled her eyes like she was wonderin' what I was doin', then she actually said, "What are you doing? Can't you see that your friends over there need help?"
'Cept they really didn't. Llew 'n' Forth started cuttin' down the orcs, 'n' Alembic lightninged 'em. I figured I couldn't think o' much that Talon could've done to see me; I wasn't touchin' the ground so it wasn't tremorsense, 'n' Alembic didn't say anythin' 'bout her havin' lifesense or anythin' like that, so I figured if she was some kind o' animal critter (as apparently rakshasa are), she could probably smell me. I could take care o' that!

So I flew away from her 'n' winked out, 'n' she didn't bother with me 'cause she probably figured I wasn't all that useful, 'n' I pulled out a potion that'd remove my smell (at least that's what the vendor told me it'd do, 'n' he hasn't steered me wrong yet) 'n' drank it down. 'Cept Llew 'n' Forth were finishin' off the last o' the orcs right at that moment 'n' Talon decided to skedaddle. Just as she was runnin' away, the tent wall on the other side burned down 'n' we saw a lot o' archers, who started shootin' at us. Annoying!

Forth channeled to heal all of us 'n' he included the dark elves, since we could finally see 'em 'n' they were fightin' some more o' the orcs for us, but that just made 'em mad. I'd say I could've warned Forth, but it's not like I know all the fey in the world 'n' what they prefer or not, 'n' maybe they worshipped Zon Kuthon or somethin', but Forth made 'em mad at us, which is kind of his job. Since they were mad anyway, Alembic walled 'em off along with the rangers 'n' the other orcs, which is one o' the more useful things he does, 'n' I put up Fickle Winds to protect anyone in case they ever got through. It was an expensive scroll, but I was pretty tired of bleeding so I figured better safe than sorry. The dark elves disengaged 'n' wandered off, 'n' the orcs started bangin' on the wall, 'n' Forth healed us some more, which I really appreciated, 'n' Llew said that Talon was hidin' just outside o' the tent, on the other side from the side that burnt down. So I ran out 'n' stabbed at her again. 'Cept this time I was so eager to try to hit her that I just kind o' bumped into her right breast with my head 'n' bounced off, 'n' my dagger never even got near her, 'n' she gave me a look. I'm glad rakshasas don't have gaze attacks, 'cause I figured she would've killed me then 'n' there with her disdain. Forth 'n' Llew caught up 'n' actually started hurting her, so o' course she ignored me 'n' tried to beat up on Forth. But that was just kind o' suicide by paladin.
'Cept Llew was there, so Llew killed her first.

And then she decomposed into a bunch o' vines 'n' then withered 'n' melted away into nothin'.

So, I'm no "expert" on rakshasas, but that wasn't one o' the things Alembic'd mentioned them doing on a regular basis. Llew figured she was just a plant for the Mother o' Wights, which really was pretty clever so I figured I owed her some jumping beans in her socks or a feather in her nether garments as a reward. 'Cept it'd have to wait 'til we got back to town, 'cause if I did it now it would be kind of obvious who did it an' that takes away a lot o' the fun. 'Cept by the time we're back in town I'll probably have forgotten. Ah, well. It's the thought that counts!

Then we had one o' those weird conversations that I seem to be gettin' into more and more 'round this crew, where Forth 'n' Alembic were thinkin' we ought to be killin' off that army that was just outside of Alembic's Force Wall, and Llew was sayin' that maybe we should leave 'em alive since they were basically the only thing between the Mother o' Wight's army and the surface now. She had a point, but Forth 'n' Alembic wanted to kill stuff, 'cause it's kind o' what they do, so we decided to take on an army. I got out one o' those scrolls o' Fireball we'd found 'n' we all got ready 'n' when Alembic said the word I figured he'd dropped the wall 'n' I used the scroll 'n'...
...nothin' happened!

Stupid, cheap, undead-made piece o' cow dung scrolls! So o' course since I'd kept on doin' nothin' through the whole fight everyone kind o' ignored me, 'cept one o' the bowmen took a shot 'n' when they realized my Fickle Winds was workin' they decided they'd come up close 'n' personal with Llew 'n' Forth. Which was kind o' sad, but kind o' gratifyin', and at least I'd done somethin' during the entire fight! But there were the archers, 'n' there were the orc barbarians, 'n' there were a couple o' dark dwarves who seemed to be in charge o' the whole mess, 'n' there were the dark elves doin' a runnin' commentary wondering what the heck I was up to, 'cause they figured I couldn't really be that useless, but I guess they didn't know me all that well after all. They all ignored me 'n' went after Llew 'n' Forth, 'cept for the dark dwarves, who made for Alembic, so he turned the whole floor into tar! It was a neat trick, but hoo, boy did it stink! I asked him whether he was OK and he said he was, so I moved in to try to help Llew 'n' Forth.

It turned out the archers weren't nearly as good as the barbarians at protectin' their vitals, so I got in quite a few good stabs, 'n' the dark elves were startin' to think I wasn't totally useless. While we were moppin' up the orcs 'n' archers (who were still orcs, but just not as good orcs), Alembic decided he needed my help after all, 'cause the dwarves disappeared 'n' he Glitterdusted 'em 'n' they didn't like that so they started beatin' on him, which is kind of how everyone feels 'bout Alembic, but we just don't act it out. Llew did some fancy little move that let me get in an extra stab on a guy, then I flew over to start helpin' out Alembic. I told him to stop bein' a coward 'n' give me a flank, 'n' he did, so I stabbed the living daylights out of one of 'em. But they couldn't be distracted from killin' Alembic, 'cause they had taste, so we had to wait for Llew 'n' Forth to show up to mop up the rest of 'em. Alembic was lookin' a little peaked, 'cause I figure he's not as used to bleedin' as Forth is.

A handful more guys showed up, so I tried the scroll again and this time it worked and dropped a nice fireball on the lot of 'em (and I was even polite enough to tell the dark elves to avert their eyes), and then Llew, me, 'n' Forth closed while Alembic hit 'em with lightning so they didn't last long.

As we were recoverin' from that little bit, we heard a bang and two more dwarf guys showed up. These two were obvious mage types, 'n' the dark elves said, "Now the real fight begins."

Oh, good.

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Session 51, Played 18-Aug-2019

Sometimes, Forth confuses me. Other times, he confuses me. This time, I was downright confused.

The two dwarf mage guys were obvious casters, so I hid and pulled out Silencey. They told us to disarm and talk to them, and Forth said we were gonna talk but we weren't gonna disarm, and the dwarf guys were gettin' uppity, and I figured thing's start 'splodin' pretty soon so I went 'round a corner to hide better 'n' I heard hittin' 'n' castin' 'n' such, so I asked Forth whether we were still talkin', 'n' he said, "Yes," so I didn't do anythin', but one o' the dwarves said that Forth'd swung at him 'n' Forth didn't deny it so who knows?

Alembic decided that my brain wasn't hurtin' 'nough 'n' started talkin' 'bout how they weren't pod people, but they were disguised as pod people, but they were disguised in such a way as to not LOOK like pod people, 'n' my head hurt even more so Alembic did me a favor 'n' wrapped 'em up in a stone wall and asked 'em to talk. I was lookin' forward to it, 'cause whatever they were goin' to say wasn't goin' to make less sense than Forth 'n' Alembic were right now. I was pretty grateful to Llew; she was just keepin' quiet and waitin' to kill 'em once Forth messed this one up. 'Cept it kept right on goin'. They spewed some kind o' fog or steam out o' the top o' the stone wall, makin' this pretty nifty volcano effect that made me like 'em more, 'n' Alembic said they'd Dimension Doored out 'n' Llew pointed back where I'd been around the corner. This was gettin' downright silly. So yeah, I gotta admit it. I was beginnin' to enjoy it, and was wonderin' how I could make things even more confusin' without anyone blowin' up.

I flew over to the dark elves 'n' gifted 'em my extra tree token, figurin' their enemies wouldn't know what hit 'em, but that just confused the elves, but that was fine with me 'cause it meant they could join the club. I'm helpful that way. I figured as long as Forth 'n' Alembic were fightin' the non-fightin' foggy dwarf menace I could learn more 'bout dark elves, so I got ready to chat 'em up 'n' figure out more 'bout where they lived, 'cept Alembic said it was time to go so I flew over to him and he Dimension Doored us all outta there.

Told you it was confusing!

'Cept it got worse. I asked 'bout all of Talon's stuff, 'n' wouldn't the dwarves take it all 'n' we wouldn't learn 'bout what she was really doin', 'n' what 'bout the loot from all the dead orcs? Since I've turned just about undetectable, everybody sent me on in to get the stuff from Talon's tent. (Not before I emptied my Handy Haversack in front of 'em in protest. I didn't know Llew's eyes could roll that far. But no manure in there… this time...) The dwarves were talkin' to the dark elves 'n' they were talkin' me up like I'd killed half o' everyone in there, and I was this demonic fighter who'd kill 'em all, 'n' they were totally innocent bystanders and witnesses to my power.

I knew I liked dark elves!

So I went into Talon's tent 'n' grabbed what I could, which was some papers 'n' a journal, 'n' I drew a sketch o' the map, though my drawin's not all that good, 'n' I went back to the party. They read through the journal 'n' learned that Talon'd been really careful to funnel no more than 20 soldiers at a time to go in 'n' get killed. Llew knew that real armies don't work that way; you can't keep sendin' people to the same death trap to die over and over again, so the people must be gettin' replaced. Talon's journal kind o' confirmed that, 'cause she kept talking 'bout the "Perfect World" she was goin' to create with the Mother o' Wights, but it sounded awfully Lawful to me. Anyhoo, as usual the Mother o' Wights'd lied 'n' said she'd submit to Talon's rule once it was all done (why does anybody believe her?!?!?!), but by Llew's count most o' the army was probably plant people by now, and we'd probably killed a good portion of who was left when we came in askin' questions.


There were some nice cleric scrolls among the loot, so I asked if I could have 'em, seein' as to how I was a cleric 'n' all, 'n' much to my surprise the party said OK! Who knew? Once we'd read the journal 'n' I'd prepared the scrolls 'n' such, we decided we needed to put the evidence back so the dwarves could find it. It'd been 'round an hour or so since we'd left, so we figured the dwarves'd be gone, 'n' Alembic popped us back into Talon's tent. And a huge swarm o' dwarf soldiers 'n' mages 'n' investigators 'n' whatnot. Honestly, it was surprisin' there was enough room where we were to get in, but Alembic'd chosen a corner 'n' apparently dwarves don't like to stand in corners. As they all looked up in awestruck wonder at us…
...I started dancin'! 'Cause why not? 'N' it might keep 'em confused long enough for Alembic to get us out of there.

And it did!

Forth held out the journal 'n' said it was important 'n' all, then dropped it, 'n' then Alembic got us out o' there while all the mages 'n' soldiers 'n' stuff were marvelin' at my talent, wonderin', "Who is that marvelous creature, and how might I marry her?"

Sorry, boys! I'm married to the free life!

Since that was a loss, Alembic teleported us back to Logas, just 'cause he knew I didn't like it as well as Eledir 'cause it didn't have King Heddy or Jocelyn or my favorite dog to play with, but it did have the temple of Calistria, 'n' I figured I probably owed some obeisance or whatnot. Elves! Llew 'n' Alembic went to the library to try to learn anything they could 'bout the plant-that-eats-people-'n'-spits-out-pod-people thing, 'n' I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask Greenbrow 'bout it. 'Specially since it meant takin' him into a back room. 'Cept he was busy at the moment, 'n' by the time I got to see him I'd had to do my obeisance 'n' no I don't wanna talk 'bout it 'n' he didn't know anythin' 'bout plant-pod-people so it was just an unpleasant trip all 'round.

Llew 'n' Alembic had more luck. We were facin' somethin' called a "body thief" -- a giant bit o' greenery that ate people 'n' spit out plant-controlled duplicates of 'em. They want to replace everyone with a Lawful version o' themself to create a "perfect world". I had found my natural enemy! And of course, bein' my natural enemy, they had lots o' tentacles they used to grab you 'n' swallow you, then once you were in 'em they'd drain you 'til you were dead, 'n' instead o' comin' back undead you'd come back Lawful plant, which seems even worse somehow. Once you were back, you were under their control, but you could wander off 'n' do your own thing, so you didn't have to hang out with them.

At least that's nice.

Anyhoo, spits acid, grabs you with tentacles, drains your life energy, check, check, check, got it. Move on. We spent the night in Logas, so I took a looooong hot bath 'cause I figured I'd be in some plant's belly in the mornin', 'n' then slept in my giant human bed! I even ate a big dinner 'cause why not 'n' it tasted good. Llew shelled out to buy me a couple scrolls o' Sending, 'n' I clearly remembered the face o' the dwarf mage I kept askin' whether I was s'posed to stab, so I spent a bit o' time writin' up a message all formal-like 'n' havin' Llew 'n' Forth 'n' Alembic check it for content to make sure it made sense, then I activated one o' the scrolls 'n' told the dwarf we needed to meet. He told me we could meet behind the tent in 3 cycles. Since he was a guy, I didn't figure he meant 3 months, but I checked with Forth, just to be sure, 'n' Forth figured it was 3 days, too. *Phew!* He also said the usual: Dwarven council compromised, trust no one, yadda yadda yadda. My life in short.

With nothin' to do in Logas, we teleported up to Eledir 'n' met with Heddy. Turned out there'd been earthquakes like somethin' was diggin' under 'em, 'n' reports o' driders attackin' the farms outside o' town, but no trouble in town. Well, we liked those farmers so we spent a couple o' days trackin' down 'n' killin' every drider Llew could find, 'n' sealin' up the hole they'd dug themselves out of. Kind o' like killin' ants, but bigger, meaner, 'n' uglier.

After 3 "cycles", Alembic teleported us back beside the tent, I winked out 'n' went in, found the dwarf with company, waited politely, 'n' once we were alone I winked in again. He didn't even start! Good man! So I pointed to where the rest o' the party was 'n' winked out again, 'n' he gestured that I should be quiet. I was bettin' that on a bad day with a 3-elf hangover 'n' a head wound I'd be quieter'n Forth mouth breathin' 'n' squeakin' 'n' gruntin' just outside the tent, but I didn't say it. Dwarf boy came out 'n' Dimension Doored us to some strange cavern. But it wasn't an ambush!

So, he was still sore 'bout all the people we'd killed, 'n' I was 'bout to explain that they were just too Lawful to live but Forth put it more politely 'n' I just agreed that if they hadn't attacked us even after we'd told 'em that Talon was a plant, they wouldn't've died. We told him 'bout the plant, 'n' he was hemmin' and hawin' 'bout what to do as if he didn't know darned well we were gonna go kill it for him. 'Cause Lawful. Then he didn't trust us 'cause we were bein' helpful, which kind o' summarizes why I don't want to live in the Darklands in a nutshell. That, and the total lack o' light. 'N' comfy beds.

Anyhoo, Llew told him 'bout her bein' an inquisitor o' Pharasma 'n' all, 'n' how she was huntin' the Mother o' Wights, 'n' anythin' that allied itself with her or got in the way had to die, 'n' that was somethin' he could understand. Forth talked 'bout bein' a paladin o' Torag 'n' needin' to protect the city. I told him I just wanted to kill plants. He accepted it. He didn't ask Alembic. 'Cause Alembic's shifty. He finally agreed he'd keep his people away from the area on the map where we figured the plants were, since it was the place Talon'd been sendin' the troops, 'n' 20 people at a time meant we were probably dealin' with 4 or 5 plants. He showed us where Eledir Below was, 'n' where the undead army was, 'n' where we all thought the plants were, 'n' we headed out.

The plan was pretty simple: I'd put Freedom of Movement on Llew, then she 'n' Forth'd go in 'n' kill 'em all (he had a ring), 'n' Alembic 'n' I'd stay back 'n' provide fire support. We buffed up, I greased up, 'n' I even had Alembic put Resist Fire on us so we could use a bunch o' Fireballs without worryin' 'bout it. 'Cept there was somethin' itchin' in my brain, like we were forgettin' somethin' important...

We got to a bend in the passage beyond which the plants probably were, so I stopped to use Shieldy as Forth, Llew, and Alembic went ahead. Acid! Tons and tons and barrels and barrels and gallons and gallons of acid! THAT'S what we forgot! Oops!

So Forth, Llew, 'n' Alembic were sizzlin' 'n' burnin' 'n' lookin' none too pleased with their massive acid baths, but Llew 'n' Forth, bein' Llew 'n' Forth, went in and started choppin' anyway. 'Cept I also heard Forth doin' lots of healin' 'n' saw him channel. I moved into position but their tentacles were really long so I got hit a couple o' times 'n' only both Forth and my combined efforts usin' Liberating Command kept me from getting' grabbed, 'n' even worse, my scroll didn't go off again. Alembic tried to protect us all from acid but he got eaten for his troubles. And I mean eaten. One moment he was movin' along, slappin' protection on me 'n' Llew, 'n' next moment he was in a plant's mouth, 'n' the next moment he was swallowed. I figured he was probably pretty happy he'd protected himself from acid 'n' Llew'd Death Warded him before he went down. Two of 'em spewed more acid on us, which wasn't good at all for Forth 'cause he still wasn't protected, 'n' even nicked me a bit 'cause I was too fascinated watchin' Alembic go down a plant's gullet to manage to dodge all the acid. Forth kept right on healin' himself 'n' beatin' on one o' the plants, 'n' it shuddered 'n' stopped movin', 'n' that let Llew kill the one that had Alembic in it. He didn't look happy. With all those tentacles grabbin' everyone effortlessly, I needed a change o' plans, so I protected myself 'n' backed out just as Alembic rewarded the remainin' plants with a REALLY big Fireball. I think he was kind o' mad.

So I got to listen to the rest o' the fight, as the plants changed tactics after watchin' Llew 'n' Forth chop their friends into salad 'n' started stealin' their weapons 'n' Alembic's wands, but I pulled out the wand o' Invisibility we'd found 'n' turned myself invisible so I could get back in there 'n' start helpin', then pulled out Llew's wand so I could start healin' everybody on the sly. 'Cept Alembic was still mad so I heard a bunch o' lightning go off, then Llew 'n' Forth choppin' things, then silence. I flew back in 'n' all the plants were dead. So I started invisibly pokin' Forth with Llew's wand to heal him. 'Cept I'm sure he knew it was me 'cause I was gigglin'.

As Forth did some real healin' to get everyone back up to snuff, I ran around among the plants 'n' didn't find any loot, 'n' the rest o' the party went over to look at some statue at the end o' the room. It was a statue o' the Mother o' Wights, beckoning towards the entrance to the room, as if to say, "Come on in and get massacred."

Now that's just cold.

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Now I need to see Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 or 1978) . . . .

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The 1956 movie is better. It's way creepy!

Donald Sutherland in 1978 is just annoying.

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Session 52, played 01-Sep-2019

We spent a little time punchin' the Mother o' Wights in the face (at least I did), but since it was an illusion 'n' my hand passed right through it I got pretty bored pretty quick, so I asked Llew 'n' Forth what we were going to do. Forth wanted to talk to the dwarves again, 'cause Forth likes talkin' to everybody, even if they're beatin' on him, so we talked for a minute 'n' agreed on the kinds o' things I might say (or not say), 'n' I pulled out my other scroll o' Sending 'n' tried to cast it. 'Cept I was still all covered with grease, 'n' grease 'n' scrolls don't mix all that well so I ended up flappin' my arms 'round 'n' chantin' 'n' such for no reason 'cause it didn't work. But the scroll didn't explode, so that was a plus. I tried wipin' off my hands on the plants, but that didn't work, so finally Alembic had to Prestidigitate my hands clean enough to do all the weird gestures 'n' such, 'n' then the scroll finally worked.

After TWENTY MINUTES of work!!!

Stupid scrolls!

So, I asked the guy how he was doing on his end, 'n' told him that the plants were dead, 'n[' that we wanted to meet, 'n' when could we meet, 'n' where could we meet, but I managed to get it into 25 words or less, which I think I just failed on this time 'round. But he was just like Forth 'n' didn't want to tell me anythin' useful so all he told me was that things were "good" 'n' he wanted to meet "soon" at the same place we'd met him before. 'Cause soon must be some kind o' dwarven technical term or somethin',

Anyhoo, we weren't doin' anything important, so Alembic teleported us back to the spot behind the tent, 'n' it took a little while but the dwarf finally showed up with two merchant types. I knew they were gonna be friendly so I rubbed my hand all over my chest while they weren't lookin' then offered one a shake! Squip! My tiny hand popped right out of his! It was hilarious! At least to me. I don't think anyone else appreciated the finer aspects of the humor, so they all just kind of ignored it. But I enjoyed it.
So, the main dwarf started talkin', 'n' it was no wonder Forth liked him so much 'cause he liked to talk almost as much as Forth did, but it was pretty much, "The plant people are all shut down. You're still wanted criminals for murderin' a bunch o' us, so don't go to town until I get that bit sorted out for you. These here are a weaponsmith 'n' an armorsmith to make you somethin' nice as a reward for savin' us all."
But he used a lot more words. And they were dwarven merchants, so they had dwarf-sized stuff, which meant they probably wouldn't be able to do much for me.

So I asked 'em about makin' my dagger Holy. Nope! How 'bout some kind o' Daylight spell on it? Nope! So yeah, I was sittin' there feelin' pretty ripped off, 'cept the main dwarf said that if they didn't have anythin' I wanted he'd give me a little bag o' black diamonds, which were like regular diamonds 'cept they sparkled in darkness 'stead of light. Llew was instantly in luuuurv. So I took a bag o' those, 'n' figured they'd be worth somethin' on the surface since they were probably hard to come by up there. He was also an "information broker" 'n' figured he'd give us some information that was worth somethin'. As if he didn't need us to run off 'n' kill the Mother o' Wights or anythin'.

So, it turned out the Mother o' Wights is still diggin' down down down to reach the "Land of Black Blood" in Orv. Which, considerin' how literal everyone seemed to be in the Darklands, was probably some place full o' black blood. 'N' it was. Figures. Anyhoo, he did tell us a lot o' useful information. "Orv" is apparently just a bunch o' separate chambers deep underground, each one so big that it's like its own world. I seem to recall hearin' that some of 'em even have little miniature suns 'n' such. 'Cept I doubted a place called the "Land o' Black Blood" would have one, 'cause black. Each world'd been created by some guy named "The Vaultkeeper", which I figured was some god or other I'd never heard of, which wasn't that uncommon, seein' as how the Asmodeans didn't educate me all that well at all. You'd've thunk they could've figured out a way to get me to pay better attention, but they were too lazy.

Anyhoo, each land o' Orv is like its own separate plane, 'cept it's on our plane. The dwarves'd explored a few 'n' he rattled off a lot of 'em 'cause he was tryin' to impress Forth (or maybe it was a she 'n' it was some kind o' matin' yammerin' ritual), but I heard somethin' 'bout a Black Desert, a Midnight Mountain, 'n' a bunch o' other stuff that all just meant "place too dark to see in". They'd been to the Land o' Black Blood, but they considered it suicide: The blood was like distilled necromantic energy, 'n' would kill you if you so much as looked at it funny. Abraxus the demon lord ruled over it or guarded it or somethin', 'n' he's a keeper o' secrets, includin' a ritual to wipe out all magic in the world. Which seems like kind of a jerk thing to do, but he hadn't done it yet. So, the Mother o' Wights needs black blood, 'n' she's goin' there to get it. The land's been taken over thousands o' times over the aeons, 'cause o' course give someone somethin' that'll kill a bunch of other people 'n' they'll go nuts killin' each other to get their hands on it. But no one's ever managed to hold the land, so there's that. Probably 'cause there IS A DEMON LORD IN YOUR LAKE!!!

Our dwarf finished his loooooong tale by tellin' us that the dark elves had a footfold in the lake, 'n' he could direct us to them, even though he didn't like 'em. I figured I got along with 'em just fine last time we'd met, 'cause I'm a fellow fae 'n' I'm clueless 'n' not as edible as I look, and that usually satisfies most fae to sit around 'n' talk a bit. Either kill you 'n' eat you 'n' swallow your soul 'n' dessicate your body 'n' use it for decorations, or sit around 'n' have some tea.

We're easy.

After givin' us directions to the elves, our dwarf friend went on ('cause she really had the hots for Forth) that the Mother o' Wights was diggin' a HUGE chamber under Eledir, which kind o' implied she was makin' her own land or somethin'. Stealin' the lake? Tryin' to attain godhood? Who knew? We finally thanked the dwarf 'n' got out o' there 'n' teleported to town. Shopping!

And hoo, what a shoppin' trip it was! The black diamonds turned out to be worth a LOT more than any of us'd figured, so we started gettin' to work on stockin' up on all the highest-end gear we could get. I replaced all my scrolls 'n' alchemicals, then got a ring o' not bein' grabbed, since it seemed like we were stayin' in an inn or a mansion every night anyway, so I didn't really need to not eat or sleep, 'n' I was getting sick o' not eatin' 'cause it's BORING! Besides, now that I can make my own water (not THAT kind o' water), I don't even have to carry much to be able to feed myself. So I got the ring, then I got a wand o' not dyin' o' negative energy 'cause that's bad, 'n' then I swapped out my dagger for one that was holy to boot, 'cause I figured that'd help. I even got one that'll hit ghosts just as well as regular critters, just because. 'N' I named it Thorn, 'cause I'll never forget the freaky little guy. I swung by the temple 'n' got myself a couple o' scrolls o' Consecrate, mainly for laughs 'cause I figured it'd tick off both the Mother o' Wights AND Urgathoa, so that's a win-win. I also got myself a magic bow, just 'cause I had some extra money, 'n' I decided to keep the rest in case anyone else needed some money, 'cause I was feelin' flush.

While I was gettin' my stuff, Alembic went to the library 'cause he's unloved (well, *he* said he was gonna do "research"), 'n' Llew took pity on him 'n' went with him, 'n' Forth went over to the temple o' Torag to ask them. 'N' of course FORTH had to learn everythin', so I went ahead 'n' got pretty tipsy 'n' ordered an orc-sized meal (which wasn't bad -- orcs don't have as bad taste as you'd think, 'parently) 'n' sat there pickin' at it as Forth rambled on.
First things first, black blood is powerful. You can just pick up a handful o' the stuff 'n' if you're a necromancer it makes all your spells much more powerful. So it's popular stuff among the undead crowd. Go figure. Needless to say, usin' it twists you somehow, but I doubt the Mother o' Wights was all that concerned 'bout that part of it. Abraxis gets peeved if you do too much there, so you gotta move quiet-like unless you want to get killed by a demon lord. So, I'm the quietest person I know, but even *I* wouldn't take that bet, so I'm guessin' the Mother o' Wights was either hopin' to charm him or make a deal with him or be really sneaky 'n' quiet.

Turns out Alembic wasn't as useless as I thought, or Llew just figured it all out 'n' decided to tell it all to him so he'd sound smart. He's a handy guy to have around, Llew, but he doesn't deserve your pity knowlege. Anyhoo, "Alembic" started tellin' us 'bout Orv: It takes a lot o' magic to make a new realm; even more than it takes to make an artifact. So usually creatin' a new one involves hundreds 'n' hundreds o' people, not just one crazy undead witch 'n' her passel o' skeletonized courtiers. So she didn't seem to have the "firepower" to make a new realm on her own. Maybe the moanin' diamond 'n' the black blood together'd be enough, but it was doubtful.

Llew wanted to learn more 'bout black blood, so she went over to HER temple (I didn't go to the temple o' Calistria, 'cause I was busy shoppin' 'n' listenin' to other people's stories 'n' I knew MY priestess would think black blood was some kind o' newfangled puddin' cooked up by the Asmodean chefs in town). So SHE learned that undead 'n' aberrations are immune to the effects o' black blood, 'cause it makes sense, 'n' the stuff is unbelievably cold, so we'd need Alembic to protect us from that. (See? He can be useful! As long as he's not pretendin' he has friends other'n us or anythin'.)
Llew's priest is pretty useful 'cause he always comes up with the funny 'n' stupid stuff people do when they encounter somethin' unbelievably powerful 'n' evil. Yes, it has a source, 'cause we had to know that, 'n' that's the walls o' the cavern itself. Yes, if you drink it it's "bad". You either become a powerful necromancer or you die. Lose-lose. If you take black blood out o' the cavern it degrades into unholy water, which meant the Mother o' Wights'd have to preserve it somehow, most likely by castin' Gentle Repose on it. Critters that touch it accidentally become stupider, angrier, 'n' more beastly, 'n' their claws get ice cold 'n' they can breath black blood. Which is just kind o' scary. What if you have your mouth open when they breathe on you? Either you're a necromancer or you're dead! Sucks to be you!

Oh, yeah, and it makes undead more powerful. Big surprise.

We spent the night at the inn. I'd like to say it was a normal night, but it wasn't. I was goin' to bed thinkin' 'bout the black diamonds, 'n' how they were s'posed to sparkle in the dark, but how I could only see it when Alembic cast his spell on me, when I woke up in Calistria's bedroom again. I was kind o' gettin' used to it, 'cept this time she had purple elves with her instead o' regular elves. Now, I'm not usually a color-prejudice girl, but those purple guys were hot. 'N' Calistria smiled at me 'n' told me she'd heard that I was goin' to see Abraxis, 'n' that was all dangerous 'n' whatnot 'n' I'd need to be prepared, 'n' she 'n' her brood were gonna do just that.

So, I don't blush easy, but talkin' 'bout what came next isn't comin' outta me. But at the end of it, when I woke up in the morning it was still before dawn ('cause stupid prayin'), yet I could see perfectly! I had Darkvision! And as I thought about that, I realized that I could speak Abyssal!

As far as I could tell, that at least meant I'd be able to see Abraxis 'n' beg him for my life when he ate me. Thanks, Calistria?

Once I'd prayed 'n' we'd had breakfast, we teleported back to the dwarves underground to get some gear Forth'd ordered, since he was the right size 'n' all, 'n' they gave us a map to the Land o' Black Blood, which I'm gonna start calling Abraxusville 'cause it's catchier. Or maybe Cheery Honeyville, 'cause that'd be funny.

Speakin' of our soon-to-be-not-so-good-buddy Abraxis. Abraxus. A brachia. Abram. That guy. He was the demon lord o' forbidden lore 'n' magic, 'cause everybody's got to have a hobby, 'n' apparently drow, sorcerers, 'n' spirit naga worship him. I asked what drow were, 'n' it turns out the purple elves have their own name 'n' everythin'. I should color myself blue 'n' call myself a "red". He's one o' the oldest demons o' the Abyss, which is pretty funny since he isn't even THERE, but he supervised the aboleths when they called the big rock that came down 'n' hit 'n' made Earthfall. So I kind of owed him for that one, 'cause that one really messed up the fae more than most people realize, but I figured I probably wasn't goin' to be doin' any demon lord slayin' any time soon. He can strip artifacts or creatures of all their magic, or even wipe the knowledge o' spells off the face of Golarion. Nasty guy indeed.

Bein' dumb, we teleported to the spot on the map the dwarves pointed us to. In other words, his front door. I decided I'd show off 'n' cast Detect Magic on the door, 'cause everyone keeps forgettin' that I'm a cleric o' Calistria 'n' all, but you could've knocked me over with a feather when the door really was magic. Then I had to go through the embarrassment o' asking Alembic to tell me what it was, 'cause I never learned any o' that stuff 'cause my priestess isn't exactly the scholarly type, 'n' he said it was an Alarm spell. That made it even more embarrassin', 'cause I could've just walked up to it 'n' sniffed at it 'n' figured that out. Since we were supposedly goin' in to see the dark elves or drow or whatever they wanted to be called, I suggested we just set it off. Llew 'n' Forth thought that was a pretty bad idea, since if it was a loud alarm who knew who it would bring, 'n' Alembic agreed with them. So I did my job 'n' turned it off, but I first called out in Undercommon that I was going to do it, since removin' it was probably costin' someone a pretty penny 'cause it seemed like a pretty nice one. At least until I made it go away. Nobody objected when I did, so I did, 'n' we went down the passage.

It was steep, and long, and I decided right from the get-go to use Spidey so I wouldn't slip too much, then I started walkin' on the ceiling so I wouldn't get trampled by the others, 'n' 'cause bein' upside-down for a long time makes my head feel all fuzzy 'n' weird 'n' I like it. And it took us about 20 minutes, so by the time we were near the bottom I was gettin' good and dizzy. Unfortunately, as we were goin', we all started feelin' this dismal feelin', like each one o' us was the survivor of a massive battle in which all our friends had died, 'cept we could all see each other, so we knew it hadn't happened, but it was still depressing.

As we came near Cheery Honeyville, it started reeking of death. Once we got to the entrance, we could see that it was vast. Hugely big. FAR beyond anything our eyes could see, 'n' an occasional flare-up in the distance told us this place was miles across. It was like an underground sea, 'cept the water was black blood. We still had the feelin' 'bout our friends dyin', 'n' I think it hit Alembic harder'n the rest of us 'cause he has so few friends but he started feelin' really bad so Llew had to cast somethin' on him and that perked him right up. Ahead of us was a rickety wooden bridge that was really made of fungus (now how did I know that? Darn it, Calistria! What did you do to my brain now?), leading to a small island in the sea that we could barely make out. There were bones scattered on the shore near the water.

I offered to go across the bridge 'n' test whether it was strong enough for everyone else, so Alembic put a Fly spell on all of us. Before I could head across, we all (well, almost all of us 'cause I don't think Alembic pays attention) heard some roarin' in the distance. Llew, bein' Llew, said it was some kind o' undead dragon castin' spells, but it was a LONG way away. We waited for a minute to see whether it was going to come over 'n' get itself killed, but it didn't so I stomped across the bridge. Seemed solid enough to me, but nobody else trusted my judgement so they all flew 'cross. Can't say as I blamed 'em, but it still hurt a little bit.

On the other side o' the bridge was a cistern o' black blood with a ladle. Didn't even have a sign that said, "Do not drink," which was givin' the residents far too much credit for bein' smart, in my opinion. A path led up to a stone building, but we'd have to walk through a whole lot o' dead zombies, dead skeletons, 'n' dead dark elves to get there. Some of 'em had been ripped limb from limb. Even though Llew said it looked like the battle'd been 4 days ago, in a land o' strong necromancy, dead doesn't mean dead so I decided to cast Deathwatch to be sure.

And oooooh, was I sorry! Even though none o' the dead were undead, some o' the stone around our feet was, mainly comin' out o' the well. Then all 'round us, all the walls of Cheery Honeyville were ALL undead; it was like we were in the bleedin' stomach o' some undead giant, 'n' everythin' its blood touched turned undead, whether it had been alive before or not. I nearly threw up, even without the help of a vomit casule. I don't think I've ever regretted castin' a spell that much, but I've been alive for quite a while now, so I'm not sayin' it's not possible I might've done worse in the past. I didn't particularly feel like touchin' the ground any more, so I started floatin' along like a little gnome balloon.

Anyhoo, we walked up to the buildin' 'n' the door'd been bashed down 'n' ripped off, which pretty much meant undead 'cause they seem to like bein' destructive that way, 'n' I was still tryin' to be polite 'n' all so I called out that if there were any dark elves inside we were comin' to rescue them, but if there were any undead we were here to kill 'em, 'cause sometimes honesty is the best policy, especially with undead. Llew 'n' I heard a really weak voice callin' out, "Kill me", so we figured either the undead we're bein' amenable to their own destruction, which would be odd, or there was a survivor who needed our help. We went on in. Inside the buildin' were a bunch o' arcane writings all over the walls that I figured were Alembic's job, some smashed alchemical stuff that I figured was Alembic's job, one dark elf strapped down to a table that was half dead, half undead (OK, Deathwatch came in handy on that one), and one dark elf who'd been completely disassembled a la Calum Jeggare. So he was still alive, but all his body parts were in different jars 'n' wired together so he didn't die. Unlike Calum, Alembic didn't shake his jar. Which was right nice of him. His head kept askin' us to kill him, but we needed answers. There were dead dark elves all over the place, 'n' we wanted to know what happened.

So I started followin' wires 'n' unentanglin' this 'n' movin' that 'n' pretty much doin' what gnomes're best at, 'n' while I was at it Llew told me she needed some holy water to kill the other undead so I gave her some, 'n' then I mentioned to Llew that she'd have to put a Heal on him right quick once he was fully disconnected, 'n' the head got all upset 'n' started tellin' us that no, no, we couldn't use Heal 'cause it'd attract Abraxis. Which would be a Bad Thing. So we brought in Alembic on the whole dealy, 'n' I pulled the plug, Alembic teleported us back up to the archway way out o' reach o' Cheery Honeyville's influence, 'n' Llew hit all the body parts with Heal.

'N' they turned back into a dark elf. 'N' he was nekkid. 'N' he was cute. 'N' life was good. 'Til Forth handed him a cape 'cause Forth can't let me have any fun.

Anyhoo, turned out his name was Sarin 'n' he was more than willin' to tell us what happened: The dark elves thought they were pretty tough, but the Mother o' Wights showed up 'n' crushed 'em like bugs. She took all their research notes about the black blood, tortured a few of 'em just for fun, took Sarin apart to extract information from him, 'n' then just left him to die, but not before castin' a spell to help him live longer, 'cause she's that kind o' person. The worse news was that she had somethin' called a "vault seed", which is what the Vaultkeeper used to create all the vaults in the first place, 'n' she bathed her little seed in the black blood, which was probably Not a Good Thing. She was still cartin' around her moanin' diamond, 'cause who wouldn't want to carry 'round a sad moanin' diamond for eternity, 'n' a bunch o' liches to keep her company 'cause she doesn't like the living 'n' they don't like her. The liches were usin' cold magic enhanced by black blood, so they'd be a nasty thing when we finally had to kill 'em.

Forth, bein' Forth, wanted to know what the dark elves'd been doin' with their blood research, 'n' he was forthright 'n' said they used it to control undead, create more powerful undead, 'n' research how to fight undead created usin' the blood. All very sensible if you're a dark elf I'd imagine.

We went back to the important stuff 'bout the Mother o' Wights. She sacrificed a few of her own to "activate" the seed, 'n' now all she needed was a location 'n' time, 'n' we pretty much knew the location (right under Eledir), but time was what neither he nor we knew. Llew asked him 'bout the undead dragon 'n' he didn't know anythin' 'bout it, so we figured it was probably another o' the Mother o' Wight's illusions 'cause it would make sense: Create an illusion of a big nasty undead dragon to make Llew 'n' Forth run in 'n' fight it with positive energy, then have that attract Abraxis 'n' have him get rid o' her problems for her. Sounded a little too convenient, so Llew 'n' Forth agreed there was no reason to go 'n' fight the dragon.
Finally, Forth asked 'bout how to fight the Mother o' Wights 'n' he said there wasn't much to tell; his entire group'd lasted less'n a minute against her. He was done 'n' he was gettin' the heck away from Cheery Honeyville, 'n' none of us could blame him.

Once he was on his way we went back to the house to search it. Alembic salvaged a bit o' alchemical gear, Llew 'n' I found some rubbings of arcane formulas, 'n' Llew 'n' Alembic started workin' on figuring 'em out. I found some research notes hidden poorly in a desk, so I handed 'em over to Llew 'n' Alembic 'n' they worked on those too. We left Cheery Honeyville back to the gateway 'n' Alembic cast a Magnificent Mansion so we could BATHE. Or at least Llew 'n' I could; Alembic didn't mind bein' stinky as long as he was doin' research, 'n' Forth's a dwarf, so there's that.

Once we were bathed 'n' fed 'n' I'd chased some invisible servants 'round the maze a couple o' times, Alembic briefed us: The place the dark elves were workin' was called "The Bloodforge", which is a pretty cool name, I'll admit. The rubbings were all taken from some ancient cube scribed with thousands 'n' thousands o' spells by an ancient necromancer who'd been studyin' the black blood as well. Supposedly the cube holds all the secrets o' the black blood, if you can just read it all. Which seems like an awfully inconvenient way to store knowledge. What's wrong with books?

But apparently studying the glyphs can break your brain 'n' make you go mad, so I was just as happy to let Alembic do it.

Trig the Gnome wrote:
{. . .} Alembic didn't mind bein' stinky as long as he was doin' research {. . .}

I know the type . . . (strangely, doesn't seem to be anywhere near as common today as in the 1980s).

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Session 53, played 08-Sep-2019

I figured Alembic'd figured out everything we needed, but he didn't, so back to Eledir we went for more time at the library. I'd've complained, but the town was startin' to really get lively again, so I could get into all kinds o' trouble without too many people noticin' so Heddy wouldn't have to pardon me or anythin'. We spent another night at the inn, 'n' I had another weird dream, this one 'bout the whole buildin' shakin' like crazy 'n' makin' all the lights swing, so I did what any sensible gnome would do 'n' swung from the lights 'n' climbed the walls 'n' then when nobody cried out 'bout an undead army rushing in I went back to bed 'n' got a little more sleep.

'Cause… prayin'! Errg. WHY did I choose such a STUPID time to pray? Guess it just proves to Calistria that no matter how much I complain, I've gotta be devoted 'cause what other idiot would wake up at that time o' the morning?

Anyhoo, once we were all gathered for breakfast we learned that the earthquakes were happenin' every few days now, which made Eledir seem like a really great place to live, 'cept for the whole tumblin' into the Mother o' Wight's vault 'n' all. Alembic was all worked up 'bout somethin', 'n' once we could talk to him in private he said there was a teleport trap over the whole darned city. Now, I didn't know what the heck a teleport trap was, but I didn't let on so as to let him have the fun of 'splainin' it to me, 'n' we overheard that there was some kind o' eerie spire in the middle o' the merchant district. Duty called!

We went over 'n' I did very little. Alembic hummed and hawed 'n' scratched his head 'n' such, 'n' the spire was about eight feet tall 'n' maybe a couple o' feet across, 'n' they'd roped it off 'cause some poor soul'd been near it when it came up 'n' was now lyin' there dead like a shriveled up little prune, but no one'd had the guts to go get him for fear of whatever shriveled him. Personally, he reminded me of dwarvish breakfasts, so I didn't want to go through that again 'n' I figured someone else'd clean him up 'n' take care of him. I examined the spire 'n' figured it looked more like an "obelisk" than a "spire". It was a sickly green with black veins, 'n' Alembic pointed out that the black veins spelled out some kind o' writin', 'n' Llew pointed out that the veins were black blood 'n' that since the black blood wasn't dissolvin' into unholy water somethin' was wrong here, like maybe the spire was part o' the Mother o' Wight's domain in Orv or somethin'. That would be a mighty long obelisk!

I didn't cast Deathwatch 'cause I didn't want to know, and I didn't cast Comprehend Languages 'cause I didn't want to know. Sometimes I'm a smart girl.

Anyhoo, we couldn't leave the poor soul all shriveled up out there, so Llew started headin' over to get him 'n' I stopped her for a moment to put Death Ward on her with MY NEW WAND, 'n' she went over 'n' dragged him out 'n' said a few words over him, 'cause she's nice that way. Lookin' over his corpse, she said near as she could figure his life essence'd been used to power the teleport trap, which is a pretty rotten way to die, I've got to admit. Alembic said that the runes said somethin' along the lines of, "Gods're odd, but if you're stupid enough to touch this here black-and-green phallic symbol o' death-n-drainin' you'll be GREAT!"
I was thinkin' someone'd scratched out "dead" 'n' written in "great", but Alembic said it didn't look that way. 'N' he said that it wasn't touchin' the obelisk that made you "great", but usin' the teleport trap, but to me it seemed like both things were just a way to get stupid greedy people to die. So I couldn't really knock 'em all that much, 'cept it was the Mother o' Wights 'n' all, 'n' I didn't know 'bout the guy who'd powered the spell. I doubted he'd been stupid or greedy; just unlucky.

Alembic, bein' Alembic, wanted to do more research, but it's not like we can get anywhere without him anyway, 'n' he does lots o' useful stuff like make sure we don't have to breathe the air down there, 'n' now that my Ring o' Sustenance was gone I was havin' to eat 'n' use the bathroom 'n' such 'n' it was takin' some gettin' used to. So I figured we'd humor him, 'specially since he wanted to go see King Heddy's mages, 'n' I wanted to see how Heddy was doin' with all the earthquakes 'n' such.

This time they showed us right in, 'cause I think somethin' bad'd happened to the guard who hadn't recognized us, 'n' Alembic went right over to the mages. They asked what they could do for us, so I asked for a couple o' scrolls o' Antimagic Field, but apparently that's another thing that gnomes can't have (as if they don't have a single Necklace o' Fireballs in this whole gosh-darned infernal town), so they said they didn't have any. Alembic whispered that if I'd shut up 'n' be good he'd get 'em for me, 'n' I pondered it for a minute, 'n' decided bein' annoying later was better'n being annoying now. But not by much.
The mages'd been studyin' the spire/obelisk/phallus from afar, 'n' said it looked like it operated on the same principle as the Emerald Spire, 'n' THAT was somethin' they had a lot' o' literature on. It was another result of another wizard tryin' to make another domain of Orv, but failin' pretty catastrophically 'n' creatin' the tower, which stretched all the way from the surface down to Orv. This thing looked similar, 'cept it looked intentional instead of accidental. 'N' they mentioned that the teleport trap was already catchin' merchants on their way in to Eledir; there was a whole line o' people waitin' to talk to King Heddy 'bout their missin' friends.

Alembic came up with a plan for us, 'cause he seemed to know the most 'bout what was goin' on, which was a first, but I figured he needed to win occasionally. He could dispel the teleport trap, but it'd only last around 20 minutes 'n' then come back again, so he'd dispel it, we'd teleport down to where we'd been before, he'd cast a spell to locate one o' the missin' merchants, 'n' that'd lead us to the Mother o' Wight's domain without us havin' to set off the trap. Trouble was, he'd need a belonging o' one o' the missing merchants. So he assigned me to find one! Yay! A mission!

I went to the line o' people waitin' to talk to King Heddy 'n' tried to get one of 'em to give me the name of a missing local merchant, but for some reason they didn't trust a wild-haired gnome askin' crazy questions. Llew suggested that maybe Alex 'n' Marilyn could help me, so I tracked 'em down 'n' sure 'nough, with a bit of walkin' 'round 'n' talkin' to people we got a couple o' names. So, bein' in a hurry 'n' not wantin' to bother with knockin' on doors 'n' dealin' with gnome-mistrustin' servants 'n' such, I ran straight over to Jocelyn's… and ran into the rest of the party! Fancy meeting them here! I didn't even think Forth was willin' to go near a temple o' Asmodeus, much less ask one for help. My favorite Hellknight was there, 'n' he told me that he was gettin' used to me so I wasn't annoyin' him any more, 'n' I told him that was insultin', 'n' he promised that my very existence annoyed him which was right cordial of him, since bein' lawful 'n' all he had to be tellin' the truth, so I was happy, he was Lawfully annoyed, 'n' we walked in.

'Cept I was in a hurry, so I just blurted out that I wanted a couple o' indulgences 'n' Llew rolled her eyes 'n' Alembic looked worried 'n' Forth pretended he hadn't heard me, 'n' they made me wait with everyone else, which was kind o' nice 'cause I kind o' missed them.
A couple o' high-up muckety muck Asmodeans came stormin' out of Jocelyn's office, 'n' they looked like they were in a hurry so I gave 'em a formal greetin' 'n' all, 'n' they had to stop 'n' greet me back 'n' I could tell it made 'em really mad. I really enjoy temples o' Asmodeus.
Once Jocelyn showed up I asked her for permission to steal underwear from a couple o' houses 'n' Alembic insisted that it didn't have to be underwear 'n' combs or such would be OK, but you can never be sure it's actually somebody's unless it's clearly been used by them, right? Alembic paled a little bit 'n' Jocelyn smiled 'n' offered the indulgences for free, but she's still an Asmodean so I can't trust her so I paid her a gold piece. I'm sure Llew was proud o' my underwear-stealin' self.

I'd love to say why Llew 'n' Forth 'n' Alembic were visitin' Jocelyn in the first place, but I forgot to ask.

I'd also love to say that stealin' underwear from rich merchants was excitin' 'n' dangerous 'n' involved a real test o' my skills. As it was, I pretty much wasted the gold piece. Nothin' but a few Alarm spells, some 'spensive door locks, and not even a lock on their laundry hampers. I got the smelliest laundry I could find, 'cause I figured that'd be best for Alembic, then wrapped it up all nice-like so he'd appreciate the thought. By the time I found the party, they were at the main square waitin' for me.

It turned out that there were spires like this in every town in Isger. That was bad. But Alembic'd dispelled the teleport trap on this one 'n' it'd stayed dispelled. That was good. But there were teleport traps on every other city in the country. That was bad. But Llew was worried 'cause Jocelyn had told her that the amount o' power needed to do that was nearly godlike, so she decided to create lunch for us. That was good. On our way over, I gave Alembic the underwear. He did not seem pleased. That was good. But as Llew was summonin' lunch Alembic was castin' his find person spell on the underwear, 'n' at the very same moment he asked, "How can he be right here in the town square?" 'n' we heard screams from the town square, interruptin' lunch. That was bad.

Not wantin' to risk more people gettin' hurt, Alembic Dimension Doored us over. There, standin' right next to the obelisk, was our missin' dwarf merchant. 'Cept his scalp'd been peeled back 'n' something'd been done to his brains, his eyes'd been replaced by jewels, his teeth by rocks, 'n' he was killin' everyone within reach. That was bad. The people on the ground around him'd been torn apart, as if by some horrific force, 'n' he was goin' on 'bout how great he was, 'n' on seein' us he decided he was gonna kill the Heros of Eledir to make a name for himself. We would've killed him anyway, but at this made it Lawful. At least I think so.
So, he didn't look so alive any more so I went ahead 'n' put Death Ward on Forth 'cause wand, 'n' Forth did somethin' that filled me with the power o' goodness (which was just fine) 'n' Torag (which was awkward, to say the least), told me to go ahead 'n' smite the guy (whatever you say, Forth), 'n' then ran in and swang at the guy 'n' missed. 'N' I figured it was probably 'cause his god was a bit confused at him tellin' a gnome to go 'round smitin' evil in Torag's name. Since the guy was comin' our way anyway, Llew spent a bit o' time gettin' herself buffed up for some undead whoopin' 'n' she Smote Evil on the guy! So we could ALL do it! What fun! Alembic Smote the guy 'n' sped us all up, I put Death Ward on Llew 'cause wand, 'n' the guy swung at Forth a bunch o' times 'n' was almost as bad at hittin' Forth as Forth was at hittin' him. I mean, he hit Forth a couple o' times, but if Forth doesn't bleed a bit, it's not a real fight.

Llew was done with Forth's nonsense, walked up, 'n' hit the guy once with a blow that nearly chopped him in half! Even all of us were kind o' surprised, but he was an undead abomination runnin' around in her town, killin' her townsfolk, so I figured she was pretty pissed. Forth hit him a couple o' times, but it wasn't a heck of a lot compared to what Llew'd done. Since I didn't have anything better to do, I Smote the guy 'n' ran up 'n' stabbed at him. And it HIT! And it stuck into him really deep! I gotta get Forth to do this Smite thing more often! I don't think I've ever stabbed anything that hard! The guy wasn't stupid, so he tried to take out Llew. Might as well've tried to take out the moon. She bled a little, spat a gobbet on the ground, 'n' said, "Is that the best you can do?", then finished him off in a gruesome, oh-my-goodness-he-won't-be-comin'-back-any-time-soon manner. I started goin' through my Handy Haversack, askin' Llew what we needed to kill him permanent-like, but Llew said he was a "deific guardian", 'n' other than bein' tough as nails wasn't much of anythin' else. 'N' bein' tough apparently isn't all that useful when three people're smiting you.

Trouble was, the damage'd been done. He'd channeled a bunch o' negative energy 'n' killed a bunch o' townsfolk, 'n' Forth tried to channel to heal some of 'em but those as had been caught in the blast were all beyond his help. As Llew 'n' Forth healed up, Alembic identified his weapon for us (a gold and silver Unholy batleaxe. Yuck!), 'n' I looked him over for more valuables 'n' noticed that his clothes were kind o' worn. Like, really worn. I called Llew over 'n' she estimated he'd been in those same clothes for 10-12 years now.

Thinkin' back 'bout my time in Phil's craftin' dimension, I started gettin' worried. Really, really worried. 'Cause if the Mother o' Wights was havin' that kind o' time, it meant we didn't have any to lose. It took everyone else a few more seconds to think o' the same thing I did, 'cause they probably hadn't had three or four marriages and/or divorces in the course of a few months in a pocket crafting dimension, but they got the idea.
The other idea was even more sickening: There was one o' these bad guys in every town in Isger right now, 'n' every town had a teleport trap on it, so help wasn't comin'. Those towns and villages had to fend for themselves, which for the most part meant fleein' for the hills 'cause they couldn't fight back.

A cold, hard anger started burnin' inside o' me. What the Mother of Wights had done was beyond evil. It was cruel, and destructive, 'n' tearin' families apart. I decided right then 'n' there that I'd be visitin' the temple library some time soon to find out the most powerful vengeance azata there was (if there was such a thing) and have a looooong talk with one 'bout what the Mother of Wights was doin'. Until then, I'd work on killin' her myself.

We got our stuff, told Alex and Marilyn to enjoy the feast Llew'd summoned ('n' neither Llew nor I were happy 'bout that), 'n' Alembic teleported us to the gate to Happy Funland, or whatever it was I named it before. I was too mad to remember. 'N' Llew cast some spell to find out how to get to the Mother o' Wights' lair. 'N' got the response, "You can't get there from here."

Crap. We had to go straight into the trap.

We buffed up as best as we could, an' I even used a wand o' Invisibility on myself just in case. As we were buffin' up, Alembic handed me the scrolls o' Antimagic Field 'n' Plane Shift I'd wanted, 'cause I guess sellin' powerful scrolls to hunchbacked sorcerers isn't as bad as sellin' 'em to gnomes. But I'll 'fess up, it was really sweet of him, and I started thinkin' I should stop givin' him such a hard time. 'Cept I'll probably forget 'cause gnome brain. But at least I'd be nice to him for the next few minutes. Hey. What'd he just cast? What was I sayin'?

Anyhoo, once we were as ready as we'd ever be (minus lunch, which was still sittin' there coolin' 'n' bein' enjoyed by Alex, Marilyn, 'n' a bunch o' their friends), Alembic went ahead 'n' tried to teleport us to Logas, 'n' told us we'd feel a pull in the "wrong" direction 'n' we should just go with it 'n' allow it to happen. I kept my mouth shut 'bout how I'd heard very similar instructions in the temple o' Calistria on more'n one occasion, 'n' figured it'd probably be different. It was. We appeared right next to the bottom of a spire in the square of a torchlit city. Llew whispered it looked like the city was 10-20 years old, but there was no fight to be seen; just a dark city lit by torches. Before we could so much as get our bearings, a human-lookin' guy dressed in beggar-lookin' rags called us "new recruits" 'n' said we should pick up a bag 'n' head over to the "barracks" for "orientation".

And that was all kinds o' worrisome. Who spends millions o' gold pieces buildin' teleport traps to a plain ol' ordinary underground town? I mean, there were people walkin' in the streets, beggars, shopkeeps; if it weren't for the pitch black sky you'd think we were in any ol' town in Golarion. We could see humans, o' course, but also elves, dwarves, gnomes, 'n' even half-orcs, but no dark elves nor dark dwarves. Maybe they were in disguise? Or maybe they didn't teleport around the underground willy-nilly like we do topside?
I kept floatin' around like an invisible silent balloon, figurin' that with Forth around things were likely to go to pot any time now, but the conversation just kept right on goin'. The beggar said we could do anythin' here we could do topside, 'cept the pay was better down here. The bags he was pointin' at turned out to be just ordinary adventurer's kits; the kind you pick up when you're first headin' out into the world. Plus medium-sized leather armor 'n' simple weapons. Seemed like enough to make some fool feel brave enough to go out and get killed. Maybe that was the Mother o' Wight's plan? Attract thousands o' idiots 'n' have 'em all wander off 'n' get themselves killed to feed her undead army? Seemed awfully elaborate.

We learned that the dark elves 'n' dark dwarves each have their own towns, 'cause I guess they're special or somethin', 'n' Llew said she heard the sounds o' battle over the walls; as far as she could tell people were fightin' those giant undead war machines we'd evaded. Sometimes her ears scare me, 'specially when it comes to hearin' undead. Forth stared at the beggar real hard 'n' reported he was evil, which didn't surprise us much, 'n' he didn't deny it nor get uppity, which didn't surprise us, either. Seemed like everything underground was evil 'n' didn't care if you knew 'bout it. Kind o' like carrots.

Llew muttered so low only we could hear her that she wanted to purge everythin' in this town. Alembic was examinin' everythin' 'n' pointed out two important facts: Every backpack had a Ring o' Sustenance in it 'n' just enough food to survive 'til it started workin', 'n' the whole town was engulfed in an Unhallow effect that also had the effect o' castin' Remove Fear on everyone. So, everyone in town's happy because no one's afraid o' dyin'?
Stranger and stranger.

We decided not to kill the beggar ('n' when I say, "We," I really mean, "Forth 'n' Llew," 'cause with all their rules 'bout what to kill 'n' what not to, I never really worry 'bout it. They've never tried to make me let a slaver or a rapist stay alive, nor kill someone I thought was innocent o' any wrongdoin', so as far as I figured they were doin' right by me 'n' they could tell me who to stab. 'N' with Forth, it was always a surprisin' mystery who he'd talk to 'n' who he'd stab, so he was always all kinds o' fun to follow around), so we headed over to the barracks for orientation. There were about half a dozen other people there as well, 'n' our two camp counselors orienters were named Wes 'n' Liff. Wes looked human enough, but Liff just kind o' sat in a corner, starin' at everyone 'n' takin' notes.

Orientation was pretty weird. Wes said that our job was to go kill the Mother o' Wights, which was kind o' what we were plannin' on anyway, but he went ahead 'n' showed us a map o' what they knew 'bout the region. There were the dark dwarf 'n' dark elf camps alongside ours, all as a sort o' startin' point. Then there were Plains o' Peril or whatnot where you had to fight your way across some open plains for a week. Then an area where a bunch o' necromancers tried to kill you 'n' you had to fight your way through. Then some divine guardians. Then a sea of acid or poison or some other nastiness (black blood?) you had to get across. Then the Mother o' Wights herself, on a place not-so-cleverly called Wight Island. Reminded us a lot o' the tower we'd had to go up that'd been designed to generate powerful evil people through a gauntlet o' death, except on a much larger scale.

And we had to go through it.

The weird part was, in the tower, you had to go up or starve to death. In town, you had rings o' sustenance so it didn't much matter how long you stayed in town, 'n' Wes emphasized that they needed artisans 'n' crafters 'n' innkeeps 'n' merchants 'n' the like to keep the town goin', so if you had some skill and you didn't want to fight, you didn't have to. In fact, with a free ring, if all you wanted to do was lie around in the gutters all day, you could. Explainin' the beggars, who now seemed like they were makin' better life choices than most.

The charts were kind o' fun, too. The dark elves were in the Hopeless Haunt. The dark dwarves were in the Mountains o' Despair. The Plains o' Peril were actually called the Provin' Grounds, which I think didn't sound as good. I would've changed it, but even though I didn't think Liff could see me, his creepy demeanor told me that vandalism would probably end us up in a fight.

Anyhoo, vandalism aside, Wes did all the talkin', Liff did all the watchin', 'n' Wes mentioned that every year or so the whole place grew, like a giant wart on a witch's nose, 'n' there were a lot o' quakes 'n' uproar 'n' whatnot, 'n' the next one was do in about 6 months. This didn't correspond with the "real" world all that well, 'cause the quakes were only once every few days, not once every hour, but maybe every so often the Mother o' Wights did a big one that made Eledir shake. Even though the Mother o' Wights set the whole thing up, she didn't seem to be really involved in the day-to-day runnin' of anythin', so the people were left to fend for themselves, 'n' they didn't have a government or anythin' 'n' just did what they felt like, 'n' they felt like killin' the Mother o' Wights. Seemed reasonable to me. 'Cept just to go across the plains they needed parties o' 30-40 people, 'cause that's how tough the monsters were. Lookin' over the other new recruits, I figured we'd be able to make do with less.

Llew started askin' pointed questions, such as where was Wes from anyway? Wes said he was from Logas Below, but he didn't look like a dark dwarf or dark elf. Also, nowadays only around 1/3 of the people who arrived were there by accident; the other 2/3 were adventurin' parties lookin' to grow more powerful 'n' richer by jumpin' into the trap. Kind o' like us, but less focused on endin' all this nonsense. People who came seekin' power usually did pretty well, but those tryin' to do good were always thwarted. Well, there's a first for everythin'. Movin' around was a pain; the whole place was one big teleport trap, which was awfully convenient if you wanted to get to the town, but not so much anywhere else. Flyin' wasn't much of an option if you went over 100' high 'cause there were huge winged things that killed anyone or anythin' flyin' that high. 'N' no one knew what was up there, but everyone agreed they were way more powerful'n anythin' on the ground, but they didn't bother you as long as you didn't fly too high. The town itself was pretty much what we'd seen: There were inns, stores, houses, 'n' so forth, 'n' if we wanted to settle down we could probably find a house that'd been left behind when the previous owner'd failed to return from a trip to the plains.

Llew started gettin' interested in Liff, so I snuck up with her as she looked at what he was writin' down. He had Llew, Forth, an' Alembic's real names 'n' classes, 'n' he even suspected there was a gnome really good at hidin' somewhere in the room. Snoopy guy!

Once we were out of hearin' of those in the orientation (at least we hoped), Llew said that Wes seemed mercenary, but honest, even though he was probably evil. Just like everything else underground. I was beginnin' to understand the dwarves' flight from the underworld more 'n' more. Seemed like an awfully nasty place, all in all. I decided I didn't want to stand out so I changed my armor to look like rags, but everyone else kind o' smirked at it so I guess it wasn't that good of a disguise, but I couldn't figure out why it wasn't so I let it go. Llew asked me how I was at findin' underground contacts, an' I had to admit I was probably pretty crappy at it; usually I just wandered around towns, playin' with kids 'n' dogs, shopping, chattin' people up, 'n' tellin' 'em what I was lookin' for 'n' they'd point me the right way, but if I actually wanted to find shady people I figured I'd have to start in a shady bar, 'n' I didn't know where any o' those were, 'n' you can't exactly walk up to a shopkeep 'n' say, "Excuse me, sir, can you tell me where the shadiest bar in town, with possible connections to the criminal underground is?"
Shopkeeps don't answer questions like that, even if they know the answers.

We went back to talk to the beggar at the spire 'n' asked him about an inn for adventurers, 'n' he recommended one, so Llew asked him about Liff. He told us that Liff was creepy, 'n' shakin' his hand'd make you feel all creepy. Rumor had it that he killed people on the sly, watchin' those who came in to town, markin' 'em in his book, 'n' killin' the ones he deemed rich or interestin' enough to kill, then takin' their gear. Seemed like a nice way to spend the night settin' up an ambush for him, so I suggested it. The rest o' the party said they'd take it under consideration. Llew gave him a gold piece for his trouble. I did, too, 'cause I liked the information about Liff.

Next was the tavern. It had a new-ish sign with an image of a hole in the ground painted all black, so we went in 'n' I called out, "Hi," to everyone to try to get some criminal masterminds to say, "Hi," back, but they didn't. Sorry, Llew! One group even started arguin' 'bout whether I was a gnome or a tiefling, which pretty much told me everythin' I needed to know 'bout how many gnomes I'd find down here. Llew looked around 'n' said that if I wanted to talk anyone up to try to get some leads, I should try either the bartender, a group o' surly-lookin' soldier types in a dark corner, or a group o' rowdy barbarians gettin' roarin' drunk 'n' throwin' axes at some poor tied-up guy. They looked like fun!

I ran over to 'em and jumped up and down and told the guy who was throwin' to throw ME! He didn't understand for a moment, but he caught on really quickly (as barbarians do when it comes to throwin' things) 'n' picked me up 'n' hurled me… straight up into the rafters! Guess he was drunker'n he thought! I figured I'd go with the gag 'n' winked out. They started lookin' 'round, tryin' to figure out where I'd gone, while I snuck over to where Alembic was talkin' to the soldier types. On the way I noticed Llew talkin' to the bartender, but I figured she wouldn't be nearly as entertainin' as Alembic tryin' to be charmin'. Sure enough, Alembic was just offerin' the guy a drink 'n' the guy said he didn't drink anythin' but water, 'n' I could make water today! Not THAT kind! So I filled up his cup 'n' he looked at me askance, but he thanked me anyway 'n' drank the water, which meant he hadn't met many gnomes 'n' was way too trustin' of us. I hadn't even thought to poison him!

Anyhoo, soldier guy was buildin' his own army to defeat the Mother o' Wights, 'n' his "only" rule was that he'd be the one to kill her, 'cept army, general, and all that nonsense means all kinds o' rules I wouldn't be able to follow anyway. Alembic asked him where he was from, 'n' he said he was a Farbridge from Logas, meanin' him 'n' Alembic were related, which made me even sorrier I hadn't put anythin' in his drink. I let slip that we were the ones who'd taken down the Jeggares just as Llew 'n' Forth arrived, 'n' Llew didn't yell at me so I figured I hadn't messed up for once. Since they were all talkin' nonsense with Mr. Lawful Soldier, I popped back up into the rafters, fell down among the barbarians, 'n' scolded the guy who threw me for throwin' me too high. It took 'em all a minute to get the joke, 'cause barbarians, but after a few moments they all started laughin' 'n' I figured I'd made a few new friends. Or at least non-enemies, which is always useful in parts like this.

I got back to our table 'n' Soldier Guy was tellin' us 'bout the town. Even though there was no government, it was so organized it seemed to be bein' run by devils. Everyone was doin' what was expected of them, and those that didn't disappeared at night. He thought Liff was behind all the disappearances, too, but he figured Liff was the wrong guy to move against; someone more powerful 'n' smarter was probably pullin' Liff's strings just to make him the obvious target. Wheels within wheels. I wanted to learn more 'bout the devils 'n' whether we'd be able to find the Asmodeans who'd accidentally teleported down before us (on their way to Jocelyn's), so I made some secret gestures at Elden (soldier guy turned out to have a name! Who knew?), but he didn't know what I was up to. The bartender did 'n' called me over, 'n' he said there's a temple of Asmodeus right in town 'n' they're not hidden at all; they just call themselves the "underground temple" 'cause they're underground (and Asmodean. Stupid Lawfuls). He gave me directions, but told me if I visited 'em I'd have to speak clearly, 'n' be forthright 'n' honest with 'em. I couldn't agree to that.

He asked us whether we'd want a room, 'n' Forth said we would 'n' paid 10 platinum pieces for it 'cause dwarves don't understand money or somethin', 'n' he sent us on back, 'cept we ended up in a Silenced hallway, 'n' out the other side was another tavern. 'Cept this one was for adventurin' parties, 'n' there were groups o' adventurers at all but a few o' the tables, 'n' they all welcomed us cheerily 'n' the barkeeps name on this side was Terese an' I liked her a lot more than the other guy. We got pointed to a table 'n' someone mentioned it was unlucky so I rubbed some o' Calistria's luck on it, 'cause it's what I do, 'n' we started plannin'. The other groups were more than willin' to share their information with us, which I thought was right neighborly of 'em, 'n' they told us we could just fight our way 'cross the plains 'n' the area o' the necromancers, but we'd want to use stealth to get past the divine guards. After that, no one'd figured out how to get past the vile sea… yet. But across the sea is a huge spire, and on top o' the spire is the grim reaper himself.

We all looked over at Llew, 'n' she said yeah, she knew what it was, 'n' it was really nasty, but we could probably kill it.

I felt better.

Until she started offerin' up information 'bout undead in exchange for information 'bout the terrain, 'n' the other groups eagerly started lookin' through her book to see how to kill some o' the things they'd encountered. 'N' they talked about the sky things.

'N' Llew recognized 'em. 'N' said they destroy entire worlds.

Then I felt worse.

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Let me guess:

Sounds like we're up against Nightwings or some other kind of Nightshade.

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UnArcaneElection wrote:

Let me guess:

** spoiler omitted **


Nightwings are CR14. Lew is saying they can take "the Grim Reaper" himself, CR22 Grim Reaper from Beastiary 5, and you think they're worried about nightwings?

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Yeah; we were either 17th or 18th level, and in the monster description it specifically said, "These creatures are known to destroy entire worlds."

I'm sure it'll show up in the writeup, since Llew knew what everything was.

Even the frigging bhole. How I learned to hate bholes!

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OK. Trig called it a "Zit Middle", which was enough for me to track it down.

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