Recap

Property of Ungus Kinglygauntlet.

Eleint, day unknown.  1369DR.
I find myself with a new journal, as my previous was lost along with all my other possessions.  As such I shall lead into this one with some brief notes of our adventures thus far.

Primary concerns:
– The Purple Dragons of Cormyr are on a self-proclaimed ‘crusade’ against Sembia, and they are carving a path through the Dalelands.  This is evidenced by Highmoon being razed to the ground and Alusair herself arresting me, during which she accused me of being a Sembian spy.  I cannot allow this to continue, so am sending out a proclamation in an attempt to warn the Dalelands and potential allies.
– My father could be in danger.  I dropped his name during interrogation, and as I find myself an escaped fugitive I would not be surprised if she has sent people there to either coax me out or interrogate him.  I am hoping my proclamation will convince them my father had nothing to do with this, however I intend on going to Thunderstone myself to be certain.
– Thus far, no news has come from Sembia.  If Cormyr are on the move I have no doubt that Sembia are too, but where Cormyr are happy to bring swathes of destruction with an army, Sembia are more likely to be manipulating things from the shadows.  We should be on our guard.

Secondary concerns:
– The Naga’s Fang.  A thieves guild I angered in Highmoon.  If I’d let them be then they would have been wiped out by Cormyr’s attack, however my own actions may have sent them fleeing to neighbouring towns which may cause more problems.  In a time of war we cannot afford for there to be threats inside the cities as well as out.
– My companions.  I am very grateful for their help, though I am increasingly worried that I may be bringing them too much trouble and attention.  Jessie was a simple happy-go-lucky traveller when I met him, and although he’s proved to be competent enough in battle it is by sheer luck that he wasn’t murdered when we were arrested; an arrest only made possible by my inability to hide myself.  Arosea clearly has skill and talent, but also a clear desire to remain inconspicuous, which is not something I excel at.  She has a tendency to fumble her words as well; not a desirable trait when being accused as a spy.  I understand my reasons for travelling to Thunderstone are selfish and quite possibly futile.  I will be leading them straight into a Purple Dragon encampment, but I can’t abandon my father… Perhaps they would be better off if I went alone.
The new girl, Lasslyn, seems a more than competent fighter.  She lacks my restraint in battle, but I have to remind myself that we’re dealing with the Steel Regent.  Alusair lacks mercy, and so should we.  But I am not yet strong enough for that.


Eleint, day unknown. 1369DR.
When we left Highmoon the forest had been set ablaze.  We do not know why.  We set up camp near a passing caravan, who accused us of being bandits.  In my frustration I asked what if we were, to which the accuser was left speechless.  We encountered bandits further down the road.  I had hoped to intimidate them to leave us alone, but a fight was unavoidable.  Lasslyn ensured at least a couple of them won’t be bothering anyone again.

 

(Players note: don’t worry, I’m not leaving- Ungus is just having a bit of a crisis as his world’s been turned somewhat upside down.  He’s not used to having people to look after, and the people he once idolised have been revealed to be dishonourable murderers which is causing him to wonder if he’s perhaps too soft.  Ironically this could very well bring more trouble, but that remains to be seen…)
(Pretentious author’s note: Ungus’ old armour was a rookie handout from the militia, and his disillusion caused him to not take an awful lot of care of it but he still wore it as a symbol of hope.  Now those same people are scum where he’s concerned, he’s ditched that armour all together in favour of full plate- a symbol of how he’s withdrawing into himself even further)

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A Message

Scribbled on a note, left in the hideout as if a draft for publication, is the following message.


This is a proclamation to all who will listen, be they Cormyran, Sembian, Dalefolk, Elves of Cormanthor, or the dwarves of Earthfast.  I am Ungus Kinglygauntlet, the dwarf who gained a reputation as vigilante of Highmoon and son of Unthar Kinglygauntlet, who served in the Purple Dragons.  Previously I would describe myself as proud citizen of Cormyr, however I cannot condone their recent actions.

After dealing with the Naga’s Fang, I was confident that Highmoon was free from any threat and therefore left for a couple of tenday.  On my return, I discovered that Highmoon is no more.  The town was attacked by outside forces, and has now been razed to the ground.  The perpetrators were none other than those so-called warriors of justice, the Purple Dragons of Cormyr.  How do I know they weren’t in disguise? Because I had the ‘honour’ of meeting the steel regent herself, Alusair Obarskyr.  I was captured and accused of being a spy of Sembia, leading me to believe that tensions have reached breaking point between those two nations and Cormyr are willing to destroy anything in their way, namely the Dalelands.  I would wager that Sembia are willing to do the same.

To the people of the Dales; I know you have had your differences and internal conflicts, but together you are known as a proud people.  The Dalelands are some of the most beautiful, untouched parts of the Realms.  Some of you may be tempted to make those treaties that Cormyr and Sembia have long sought, but as a resident of Thunderstone I know that that will mean an end to your peaceful lives as your towns will become yet another military outpost under martial law.

To Cormanthor; I know elves have little concern for the affairs of men, but if you should stand idly by then you will face an incredible threat on your southern border.  Conquerors are seldom satisfied with the land they have and will be seeking to expand, and I imagine their sights will be set on the abundance of resources your forest could provide.

To my kin at Earthfast; I know this news will be most shocking to you.  You placed deep trust in the Mithril Princess, and indeed she gave you hope for non-dwarf kind, so I accept that my words may fall on deaf ears.  All I can ask is that you investigate this report, and cease trade with Cormyr should my words prove true.  By Clangeddin’s Silver beard, you cannot support such dirty, dishonourable warfare.

Finally to both Cormyr and Sembia, I have the same message.  Do not underestimate those you think of as ‘little people’.  Should your war escalate, I will personally see to it that the world will turn against you.  And should I fail, I guarantee another will take my place.

Taking Refuge in Tegal’s Mark

Eleint 19, 1369DR

We have found a travelling merchant whose destination is Tegal’s Mark, a town that’s not too far a detour from the road to Highmoon.  We have offered our services as escorts, as it never hurts to gain some coin, especially when he’s offering the princely sum of 500gp.  He’s a little eccentric, constantly complains and sleeps a lot, but as long as he honours his offer then it’s a small price to pay.  The journey is progressing swiftly, as there is little to worry about in these lands.  True, we passed a possible bandit camp, but I’m too concerned about Highmoon to stop and investigate.  If our worries are for naught then I may return to clear them out.

Eleint 23, 1369DR

We have arrived in Tegal’s Mark, and it seems the situation in Highmoon is worse than we had feared.  There are refugees everywhere, many suffering burns and other injuries.  Our employer took some convincing to hand over our pay, but after a gentle ‘reminder’ of his promise, we managed to get some of his healing supplies as well.  Poor Arosea has had her hands full tending to the wounded, whilst Jessie and I have been looking for information on what happened.  Unfortunately we’ve been getting all sorts of conflicting reports, from a drow raid to gang violence, to one person even claiming a dragon attacked.  The only consistent information is that the attack was sudden, and the whole town was set ablaze.  I found a soldier who informed me of a scout party that would be grateful for our assistance.  They should be being sent out in… actually they should be ready to go now.  It’s curious, something about this room we’re staying in has taken away all sense of urgency.  It was a fairly steep price, but we’ve been treated to a Heroes Feast, beds fit for a king, the biggest bathtub I’ve ever seen, and even a couple of rather odd serving staff.  I don’t trust it one bit.  There’s no way such a small building should be able to house such a huge room, but I’ve checked everything and it all seems structurally sound.  I’d heard that magic could do amazing things, but nothing like this.  In my experience magic is granted by the gods, used for curing wounds and blessing weapons.  To think it’s being used for something as trivial as making a room comfortable seems almost blasphemous… And apparently you can potentially access other cities from this room, which seems far too dangerous if this knowledge were to fall in the wrong hands.

I think we have exhausted all the benefits this room can provide, and I’m sure we’re already running late, so I’m not sure why I continue to write… Perhaps I’m just apprehensive at what awaits in Highmoon…

A New Life

After many long years, this blog has been revived!  Now begins the story of Ungus Kinglygauntlet, Dwarf Fighter, with this blog being a transcription of his journal.  A sealed envelope is tucked inside the front cover, the contents to be revealed should curious minds investigate.


Eleint 17, 1369DR

I am writing this journal as strange things have been happening to me recently, I believe in no small part due to my companions.  It started back in Highmoon, where I was looking for some work.  After deciding to chase a petty criminal, I have now become entangled in a plot involving an organised crime syndicate known as the Naga’s Fang, and an unknown third party that also appear to be at odds with them. A human, Jessie, who describes himself as a joke-teller accompanied me, for which I am grateful as I am still unaccustomed as to how to deal with humans and elves.  He has an unnatural gift for making people like him, despite his terrible jokes and tendency to overdrink.  During our investigations we encountered a druid, Ash, and a halfling, Arosea, who had their own encounter that led to them investigating the Naga’s Fang.  We decided to work together in pursuit of a common goal, however the halfling particularly piqued my interest as I’d had a dream a couple of nights before involving demonic sheep that she was a part of.  Curiously she appears to have had the same dream.  It is possible we spotted each other previously and incorporated each other into our dreams, as dwarfs and halflings in these parts are not a common sight, and it is mere coincidence they both involved sheep, however for reasons that will soon become clear I believe there may be a deeper connection.

Events led us to Blackfeather Bridge, but the most curious thing of all happened on the way.  I have little memory of the journey.  What I believed to be a tenday journey seems to have been over in half the time, and I swear we were supposed to pass through a village between here and White Ford but no such place appears on any map.  On arriving here I had another strange dream.  This time involving a fight with a demon obsessed with doors, of all things.  Arosea and Jessie were both involved, and upon awaking Arosea seemed distraught over having exactly the same dream, yet Jessie had no recollection.  I feigned ignorance so as not to alarm Arosea further, but having two shared dreams in as many tendays must be more than coincidence.  What could be the significance of mundane things made demonic?  And with Arosea’s message about communications from Highmoon ceasing, I fear the worst.  We will make haste there tomorrow, and hopefully soon I will discover what any of this means.  By Clangeddin’s beard I hope the Naga’s Fang haven’t taken advantage of our absence.

Captain’s Log: Ithmong-Urbeth

Third-day, Second week of Elesias 1372 DR
We set sail for Waterdeep tomorrow.  It will be a long journey that I shall not be looking forward to, especially after being informed we’ll be taking on a couple of passengers, making the ship a bit cramped as we already have to accommodate the useless cleric of Umberlee and our Rundeen representative for diplomacy.  On top of that, I’m told our passengers are a young medusa, and a half-elf cleric to Corellon.  It’s good to have a medusa for an ally, if a bit suspicious, but I foresee problems between the cleric and my boatswain.  The Rundeen have given me some advice of what to expect; the cleric seems quite sensible but I’m told the medusa tends to be a bit lacking in civilised society, feeling more comfortable when surrounded with animals.
Tonight I plan to enjoy what the city’s finest establishments have to offer, I won’t have the chance for more for many nights to come.

Fourth-day, Second week of Elesias 1372 DR
The first day of the voyage has gone well, with a fair wind speed to keep us at a good pace.  The cargo was loaded easily, mostly consisting of ‘exotic’ food and drink for the Lake of Steam, though I’ll be glad to get rid of the stuff- fish tends to stink up the cargo hold.  The passengers stayed out of the way, and seemed a bit unsure around Bernard- they obviously aren’t used to sailing, Hadozee are a common sight on ships.  I hope they don’t start calling him ‘monkey’ though it may provide some entertainment.  First Mate Ygrette seems to have taken a liking to the cleric, I suspect it’s due to the horns.  I must admit, I was taken aback slightly upon seeing her- I was told she had some alterations, and whilst horns are common features amongst tieflings, the eye is slightly disturbing.  I get the distinct impression it is watching me, though she often stays out of my way so I do not suspect she is acting as a spy.  As expected, she took an immediate disliking to the boatswain, a feeling which I am sure is mutual though I have instructed the orc to leave her unharmed as we are under specific orders that the passengers arrive at their destination safely.  The medusa is proving to be slightly more of an annoyance, getting excited at the mere sight of an Icthyosaur preying on an unfortunate Albatross, and her accursed parrot constantly squawking about ‘useless half breeds’ being ‘good for loving’ and telling Bernard not to eat it.  Since then I have seen little of her as she has retired to the cargo hold, playing with her pet dog.  I hope the cat has the presence of mind to stay away from it, the last thing we want is a ship infested with rats.

Fifth-day, Second week of Elesias 1372 DR
We got some good distance covered last night, thanks to favourable wind conditions, as predicted by the medusa who seems to have some uses.  Our cleric of Umberlee is obviously performing well, though I’ve seen decidedly little of him, as he seems to prefer to stay confined to his room.  During the night there were reports of growls from below decks, and a couple of rat corpses were found in the cargo hold.  When investigating, the medusa claimed to have discovered an unusual stowaway in the form of a leopard.  The boatswain confirmed this, adding that it appeared to be talking in Common to the medusa, but as the orc approached it seemed to revert to being an ordinary feline.  The medusa thought it best to inform me of this creature by summoning it onto deck in front of me, and my crew who were somewhat understandably apprehensive of the cat’s sudden appearance.  I suspect the medusa summoned the creature on board in the first place, though I am mostly unconcerned.  It will do a better job at killing rats than our previous resident feline ever did, and may also deter some of the crew from stealing our cargo.  The medusa tarred the leopard before dismissing it in the hopes it would be easier to find, if indeed it remained on the ship, and I sent a couple of crewmen to look for the creature, with the boatswain’s help.  I am told that after some searching it was discovered, and the medusa attempted to restrain it in a Bag of Holding as it was tied up.  After some persuasion it seemed to be tamed by the medusa, who took it on deck to be cleaned up in the ship’s emergency lifeboat, which I hope will not have to be used any time soon as it’s now full of tar.  I shall ensure it is cleaned out before long.  There is still no indication that this leopard can talk in human tongue, so unless the orc has developed some divine power of talking to animals I am suspecting that he is merely suffering some form of hallucination.
Other than that bit of excitement this morning, the day has been peaceful, the only other noteworthy event being a man-sized crab that was nearly fished up by one of the crew.  I’m sure there will be many more where that came from.

Sixth-day, Second week of Elesias 1372 DR
I am surrounded by imbeciles!  All night I have been piloting this ship, thanks to my first mate and boatswain’s inabilities to handle a moderate increase in wind speed.  I hope we have not strayed too far off course, but that is Ygrette’s responsibility today.  I need more sleep…

…We have now docked in Urbeth.  I have decided to withhold punishment for now, as it would not do to show weakness in the crew’s immediate superiors.  Instead I have docked their pay slightly, the Boatswain receiving 75gp and 90gp for the first mate.  Apparently we had a brief encounter with Kumbhakarna, the feared Rakshasa pirate easily identified by his ship shrouded with a never-ending rain.  The medusa thought she was doing us a favour by illuminating his ship with lightning and faerie fire, I just hope that hasn’t given us unwanted attention.  I am sure we shall soon find out.  Where I am sure we could have set sail tonight, I would like to put some distance between him and us, so we have stayed in Urbeth for the night.  The facilities leave a little to be desired, but our passengers and officers seemed to enjoy themselves by having a small picnic on the beach after buying some precious stones from the natives, and with the first mate presenting wildflowers to the half-elf.  I hope she doesn’t fall for her too much, especially if this cleric does have traitorous intent.  I am sure a mutiny led by her would be unpleasant, especially on her part.
Our cargo has been reloaded with books and dyes, as tomorrow we set sail for Calimport, where hopefully the weather will become a little cooler.

~from the journal of Legendary Captain Theodore Tutor, of the Queen Alassa’s Revenge.

Some Time Later…

Hey guys, so I’ve had people tell me to come back to the blog… my intention was to put the blog on hold as I concentrated more on my novel, especially as we started playing every week rather than every fortnight- but due to popular demand, I’m back.  This post will be an abridged update on what has happened between the Roc’s Fall and now, and the action will resume probably tomorrow, as I continue my commenting- but with a twist.

The Arcane Archer

After clearing the wreckage of the ship that was destroyed by the Roc, the Dread Pirate… Daniel… (no it’s not self-insertion, he is an established NPC from Complete Adventurer) didn’t seem particularly distraught.  In fact he was quite excited at the prospect of the gold this Roc corpse would fetch, and as the party were at a slight loss as to what to do, the Rundeen Consortium decided to hire them to act as caravan guards as they delivered the Roc to Ithmong, where it would await a prospective buyer.  Meanwhile, an Arcane Archer who happened to be passing by noticed the unusual combination of a medusa and… whatever the cleric is.  In the spirit of investigation, she decided to tag along with them where she could analyse their behaviour and perhaps get cheap passage to centres of magic for her to conduct her research.  After doing yet more shopping (seriously, all female parties always seem to end up like this :p) the group were slightly seperated as the cleric had wandered off, but in her place came a centaur paladin who claimed to be looking for her sister.  Deciding they couldn’t waste any more time, the group met up with the caravan guarded by lizardmen and a human who didn’t particularly want to be there.
The first obstacle on the journey was a Basilisk that had taken residence in a coastal cave, with the party wary after seeing the various statues scattered around the landscape.  Sure enough the prty’s curiosity got the better of them and they investigated the cave, stirring the basilisk from its’ sleep, where it managed to catch a lizardman who acted as a decoy as the rest bravely ran away.  Further down the road they encountered a group of aquatic elves who were headed to the market to sell their harvest from the sea.  On reaching Sammaresh, the group did yet more shopping, mostly for the rare green pearls that were farmed there.  Spending the night, the paladin received a strange visitation from a ghostly Couatl that acted as royal advisor, and in the morning the paladin had gone as quickly as she came.
The next leg of the journey took them to Malaxer, a little further inland and bordering the jungle.  The cleric managed to catch up with the group, and the medusa realised she was heading into an area where snakes were outlawed, so made sure to disguise herself- though she knew another group of medusas claimed this territory as their own.  They arrived in Malaxer to find a small commotion going on in the centre of town as someone had apparently been turned to stone, and as the village cleric turned him back he was evidently traumatised, only able to babble incoherently about snakes.  The medusa quickly decided to enhance her disguise by wild shaping, and the party stayed for another night.  Unfortunately, a guard spotted something rustling amongst the remains of the Roc, and then was brought to the attention of the elf’s snake familiar leading the party to be quickly exiled.  Deciding they didn’t want to hang around anyway, the group continued on, remaining cautious of medusas, to the next village of Abreon.  They left the jungle and headed through fields littered with ancient barrows, before being ambushed by a pair of hippogriffs with unusual riders- two gnomes, a halfling, and a subrace of dwarf.  When the group led by the halfling quickly found themselves on the losing side, the two parties decided to call parley and in fact decided to travel together as the female gnome was sick and they were just trying to get some coin from passing travellers.  They soon arrived at the small farming community where they stopped for the next night, after hearing tales of undead that arose from the barrows every couple of months, and sure enough they arose on this night providing some small arrow fodder for both adventuring parties.  The villagers were grateful, though a reward was lacking, and so the groups continued to their next destination, Uzurr.  The large numbers proved a deterrant to any wandering monsters, and on arrival in Uzurr the elf immediately headed to the priest’s libraries for research, and the gnomes attempted to get the clerics to heal their ill companion.  Unfortunately it was found to be incurable, and probably related to a cursed item, which the medusa generously decided to take off her hands.  There was no way of telling which item was cursed, so she took all four possibilities and the gnomes parted company, leaving the medusa, elf and cleric to finish their journey to Ithmong, passing through Lhazanthal, a gnomish community.  Once out on the open road, the party encountered an Athach that was singing about being a ‘bad troll’ as he was polishing some gems.  Naturally a fight broke out, resulting in the Athach’s death, and the party’s journey was nearly complete.
Upon finally arriving in Ithmong, the group travelled through a series of underground caves before eventually reaching the Rundeen Consortium’s warehouse, where they dropped off the Roc and claimed their reward.  They were told that as part of their reward, they could have free passage on either of the Rundeen’s trade voyages- a short trip to the Lake of Steam, a slightly more dangerous trip to Calimport, or a long haul trip that could take several months to Waterdeep.  Naturally, the party (well, the medusa) chose Waterdeep.  But first, they would have to go to the temple of Umberlee in Ilyaport to pay their respects in the hopes of bribing her for a safe trip across her domain.  Deciding it could wait till morning, the party temporarily split up to explore the city and do various duties.  The elf headed for the library for more research, the medusa attempted to find information on the cursed item as well as get her bow upgraded, and the cleric decided to brush up on her knowledge of the local area and Umberlee.  As the medusa searched for a wizard, she came across a shady looking sorcerer who said he could help.  As a demonstration of his magic, he produced a small flame which hardly impressed the medusa, as she produced a somewhat larger flame of her own.  The sorcerer quickly ran off as the city guard came to investigate the now burning building, only to find the medusa.  They gave her a warning as they set to extinguishing the building as the medusa put on her cute little girl act and found a stray pug dog to accompany her which she promptly named Little Jimmy.  Continuing on to the higher class area of the city, she found the only wizard that could help the medusa was busy, and his assistant (identifying himself (itself?) as Igor) arranged an appointment for the next day.  Bored, the medusa headed to the library to meet up with the others and idly started playing with the small fish tank there.  Experimenting with summoning sea creatures, she quickly managed to break the fish tank, mend it, then break it again, eventually finding herself wild shaped in the form of a fish inside the tank, forgetting she couldn’t shrink to a size smaller than a halfling.  She was chased out the library, and found a room for the night in the posh area of town, and before long the cleric and elf found a somewhat cheaper inn of their own.

I'm not sure where the cat found the cigar...

As morning came, the medusa decided to send a message to the others to let them know where she was, first by donating a large sum of money to a street urchin to find them.  Wondering if that would be enough, she also decided to send an animal messenger to the Rundeen Consortium in case they knew where the others were.  Wondering if THAT would be enough, she proceeded to use most of her spells on animal messengers, all with messages to the Rundeen Consortium causing them to create a small totem pole of animals of various sizes.  As it happened, the urchin managed to find the elf-and-a-half easily, and told them the medusa was looking for them and she would be in the rich area.  The elf still had research to do, but the cleric decided to go with the medusa and they met up at the wizard’s tower.  They were let in by Igor, who told the cleric to wait in the waiting room as the medusa had her appointment, which it turned out to be with a Kobold called Tim.  He claimed he’d been experimenting with a polymorph, which the medusa was happy with, and he used a spell to determine which items were cursed.  It was discovered to be the pair of Bracers, and whilst they would give the bonus they were intended, they would also continuously deal constitution damage.  The medusa hurriedly left, donning the cloak of charisma she was given, and found someone to donate the bracers to- a monk that was browsing the market.  Eventually the bow was ready, and the elf had finished her research, so they were ready to go to the temple of Umberlee a couple of hours away, where they would meet up with a rogue that had advertised his services as a dungeon delver in the tavern.
On approaching the temple, it was starting to get dark but they investigated regardless, finding a large room with a few statues and a large religious symbol inside.  The temple was largely overgrown with ivy and looked like it hadn’t been used in some time.  There was a makeshift bed in one of the rooms, and across a destroyed bridge out in the sea was a statue to Umberlee, exposed to the elements.  As they started to leave, they encountered two men who were chatting to each other, a druid and a rogue- presumably the rogue they were going to adventure with.  The party decided to get a good nights rest before heading into the depths of the temple, and the night passed without event, apart from the medusa playing with Jimmy and giving him a Magic Fang to terrorise the local populace.  The rogue, who introduced himself as Al, joined them and the medusa left Little Jimmy with the druid as they started their investigation.  First they discovered there was a small invisible gutter leading from Umberlee to the main temple, so the medusa attempted to make an offering of an eel using the gutter, which the eel happily slid out of, though the water from the pot it was in trickled into the temple, and it became clear the water was inside the large symbol on the ground.  Investigating the statues, they decided they represented Talos, Malar, and Auriel- the deities of Fury, of which Umberlee was a part.  Checking the completely destroyed one first, which was deduced to be Malar, they found a small hole.  It was decided this hole would need an offering of blood, as Malar was the god of rage and blood, and sure enough the symbol was now tinged red with blood.  Next was Auriel, goddess of ice, and sure enough she had a small hole leading down the shaft of her spear, down which the medusa fired an arrow form her new Icy Burst bow, which froze the bloody water.  Finally was Talos, god of the storm and pointing his sword straight down at the symbol.  The medusa knew what to do without hesitation, and used a Call Lightning spell, firing all bolts simultaneously upon the statue, practically destroying it and shattering the symbol, causing a deep rumbling sound below.
As the group headed downstairs, they saw a staircase had opened up in the middle of the room, which they promptly headed down, ready to face the dungeon…

…As this blog’s getting a little long, I’ll just sum up the dungeon without going in too much detail.  First floor the group encountered a rust monster which was fried with a classy Combust from the elf; a destrachan which was fried by the medusa (and harvested for food); a room with no floor and an inaccessible chest, which Al managed to access but was discovered to be empty; several grimlocks collecting shinies for their medusa mistress; a hellwasp swarm which came close to killing the whole party twice; and a pack of cloakers that inadvertently caused the cleric to cut off the elf’s leg.  During this time, the group experimented with Al’s magic bag, a bag which pulled out completely random items including a Portal Sword which would come into play later.  They also encountered a strange hybrid of dwarf and dragon and female, who stuck around long enough to see the elf’s leg get chopped off but soon got bored.
The group returned to town to regenerate the elf’s leg, and the medusa decided to play with the bag some more- this time pulling out some greyish ointment which she tried rubbing on a passed out patron, who started decaying slightly.  She then experimented on a rat, who also decayed but then became animated with un-life, draining the medusa’s blood and causing severe strength loss before finally being decapitated and thrown on the fire where it erupted with unholy green fire.  The ointment was quickly given to the cleric that was found to help the elf, and the bag wasn’t touched by the medusa again.
The next morning the party took a drunk dwarf with them, and covered a bit more of the dungeon, bypaassing the arcane ooze that was sapping the elf’s power and headed down to the next level.  Here, they encountered a gargantuan monstrous spider which guarded several scrolls, one of which caused the elf to become extremely vulnerable to the cold conditions; a swarm of shadows that were quickly turned; hundreds of traps, including one which drained some of the dwarf’s power but unaffected Al, causing some dilemma as how they would reunite with the party until Al remembered he had a sword that could create doors (blue and orange ones that led to each other); and eventually a Frost Salamander which didn’t pose too much trouble apart from the help it received from the Greater Shadow that had been turned earlier, which struck those too close to the walls managing to kill the drunk dwarf and the arcane archer, more greater shadows emerging from their bodies and giving chase to the medusa, Al, and the cleric, who ran as fast as they could out of the dungeon.  Unfortunately, one of the shadows got Al who fell to the floor, injured but not dead, and so the cleric attempted a prayer for help to her god for some divine intervention.  Sure enough, her prayer was granted as one of his devoted arcane archers had fallen, firing an empowered ray of light at the shadow, killing it outright allowing the others to escape.

On arriving back in town, the group noticed it was unusually quiet, and when heading to the pub they heard voices inside but the door was locked.  When announcing themselves, all went quiet and a rather unintelligent voice claimed there was noone in.  After a bit of convincing they were eventually let in though with the door hastily locked behind them, and told that security was tight because there were reports of all manner of undead infesting the town- reports of vampires, and werewolves, and zombies, and flying rats- though only the rat had actually been seen, the rest was speculation due to mysterious bites on some commoners.  After conducting some tests involving mirrors and holy symbols, it was determined they were merely confused villagers and after setting up some feline patrols in case of undead rats, the remainder of the gorup rested for the night.  When morning came, they met up with a tiefling and water-borne orc who had come to collect them on behalf of the Rundeen Consortium, who intended on leaving soon.  The party decided to not venture further in the dungeon, instead paying quick lip service to Umberlee at her statue as they sacrificed a stingray, then hastily leaving the undead village, back to Ithmong.

The scene shortly after the party left

And that is where I shall leave things for now, next time I shall resume the more accurate account of our games, as the party sets sail on the high seas.

Roc’s Fall

An unfortunate delay in posts, thanks to various factors meaning we couldn’t play for close to a month.  As a result of this, a lot of the last session was off-topic rambling but we got some decent stuff out of it, though this post will be shorter than most.

Having angered one of the wealthiest and highest ranking members of society in Sigil, the centaur considered it wise to buy a few things and collect her money from items she sold before hastily finding a way to return to the place that is emphatically not Narnia (honest) to lay low for a while.  She knew the problems with time that affect going to and from the once-snowy plane, but even if no real time has passed then she could at least get a lifetime’s worth of training whilst she’s there.  The medusa also did some urgent shopping after her run-in (or swim-through) with the Black Pudding, and on returning to the pub she decided to think of a way to better defend herself, and after a moment’s reflection decided Fire solves everything.  She played around a bit with the fireplace, discovering a hitherto unnoticed talent for setting fires by tapping into some primal nature energy.  Also at the pub, a bard had arrived, unaffiliated with the guild the group had consulted to spread popularity.  The bard had heard about ‘The A-Team’ but was largely uninterested in their exploits, she had just happened to find her way into their headquarters as she was pub crawling, looking for gigs after a day of shopping.  She had lived in Sigil for some time, getting adjusted to this strange and alien world having come from a much different place when she accidentally spilt a drop of blood into her belt buckle.

The belt buckle was also her holy symbol

As the group relaxed, and noticed the minotaur and Steve were nowhere to be seen, the Cleric’s Ring of Communication began to ring (metaphorically, and no pun intended).  It was a worker of the Rundeen Consortium, who had been given a ring for informing the group of any potential business.  In this case, he informed the cleric that they were due to intercept a shipment of weapons but were expecting enough resistance to warrant the services of the A-Team, and if they weren’t interested then the Rundeen would unfortunately have to ignore the shipment.  The cleric inquired as to what the shipment contained, and was told that it was various rare weapons but the main prize was a collection of experimental weapons known as Calimshite Fire Spears.  The medusa suddenly sprang to attention on hearing the word ‘fire’, almost setting fire to the pub were it not for the bard’s intervention with her fascinating music, and it was discovered that these spears main function was to shoot a jet of deadly flame from their tips, not unlike dragon’s breath.  The cleric and medusa were happy to fulfil the quest, it at least letting them get away from Sigil temporarily, and when they asked how they would get there they were told that there was an active portal in the Yuan-Ti town they had helped recently, and that the intercepting party would be leaving in two days time.
The bard decided she would travel with them, hungering for more fans especially on a plane such as Faerun, and decided to set up a grand performance this night before they left.  She performed well enough, getting some interest from the locals who, being mostly unsavoury races and demons, soon set up a mosh pit, and so they rested for the night.  The night was uneventful, though there was still no sign of the minotaur, and so the trio set off to find Kylie the tiefling, knowing she would know where to find this portal.  Approaching her house it was clear that she wasn’t in, which wasn’t entirely unexpected, so the medusa tried to communicate with some pigeons to keep watch in case she came back.  The first pigeon just blinked in lack of understanding, concentrating solely on the food the druid was offering, so the medusa moved on.  The second was arguably worse at understanding, as when told that if it could ‘see the person’ it could then ‘eat the food’ it instead interpreted it as ‘see the food, eat the person’.  The medusa didn’t bother correcting the instructions, thinking it could be quite entertaining, and instead moved on to a third pigeon who thankfully did understand the instructions fully and completely.
Deciding the best place to find Kylie would probably be at the Lady’s Palace, touting her services, the group headed straight there and immediately noticed her leaning against a wall looking bored as the area was surprisingly quiet for this time of day.  Calling her name, the tiefling’s first instinct was to run but soon realised it was the medusa and cleric she had dealt with before, and asked how she could help.  The party stated their intent, and Kylie was happy to oblige, leading them through the city to the portal.  En route, she told them about how there was a contract out on their heads, specifically the minotaur’s, and asked what they had been doing.  They recounted the story of what happened with the pimp, and Kylie quickened her pace once she found out who they were dealing with- it turns out that he had a reputation for paying off the authorities and employing plenty of lackies to do his dirty work, all the while he would be socialising with the city’s cultural elite.  She would attempt to pull a few strings whilst the group were gone, but couldn’t guarantee anything.  Sure enough, they arrived at the portal guarded by two men who asked for identification.  On hearing the statement, one of them passed through the portal to check on the other side, and indeed there was a Rundeen trade caravan waiting on the other side, so they were allowed through.
Wasting no time in the yuan-ti village, the trio made quick introductions with the Rundeen worker and his lizardmen bodyguards before setting on their way, the bard summoning her Phantom Steed which appeared in the form of a strange mechanical device that billowed smoke and flames.  The bard added to the effect by using Ghost Sound to activate what she called a ‘radio’ that played music for them as they rode.  Of course, the noise attracted some unwanted companions, specifically in the form of a strange glowing orb by the side of the road in the marsh.  The group were unfamiliar with it though it was clearly some sort of creature, and it rose from the marsh ready to attack.  One of the lizardmen was first to charge in with his battle cry of ‘Rar Rar OohRarara!’, and didn’t appear to do much damage but got nastily lashed by the creature’s tentacles in return, so the Cleric decided to fire from afar with her wand of Magic Missile.  Unfortunately this did even less damage as the creature seemed to literally absorb the magical energy before firing it back at the other lizardmen who had run to engage it.  The bard quickly summoned a strange creature which she referred to as a ‘ground urchin’, an animal that has dangerous quills and some volatile contents in its stomach, and proceeded to dropkick it at the orb where it exploded on impact, landing just off target.  Thinking she would do better to enhance her allies strength instead, she concentrated her efforts on strumming out a battle theme on her guitar to Inspire Courage in her friends, as the medusa fired a barrage of arrows at the creature, making sure there were no magical bonuses for the creature to absorb.  The cleric tried a different spell, one which she knew would not harm her companions- Holy Smite- but again she couldn’t overcome the creature’s Spell Resistance and so the creature fired it back but to little effect.  Using brute force, the party eventually managed to fell the creature thanks to one of the lizardmen who scored a powerful blow, cleaving the creature in two, proclaiming his victory with a continuation of his clan’s cry that very loosely translates to ‘he can’t <Decipher Script> my <Bluff> face!’

it tore apart its opponents flesh to wear in future battles

The bard quickly mounted her mechanical phantom steed to escape the lizardmen’s awful singing, with the others in quick pursuit as a bolt of lightning struck a nearby tree, momentarily deafening everyone around.  Luckily the group arrived in the town before the storm could become too unbearable, and the bard immediately set to work finding a suitable tavern to perform for the night as the medusa and cleric did some more shopping and attempting to sell their healing services, though the medusa got caught by one of the fighting pit workers for selling her services without a license.  Finding the same tavern as the bard, mostly thanks to overhearing some of the slaves spreading word around the city, the group once again settled down for a night of music and rest before embarking on their pirate mission the next day, the medusa reflecting on how she would be glad to get away from towns or cities or urban environments in general.
During the night, the medusa was woken by a disturbance in the street- looking outside she noticed a mugging in process as two men in black were beating up a drunk.  The bard also witnessed this, and they both went outside to set things right.  The medusa wasting no time, she tried to intimidate them with threats of petrification.  This was enough for one of them to run, but the other thought that if the medusa was capable of turning to stone then he would be stone already.  Though the bard proved slightly more intimidating after the attacker noticed the size of her axe, and as he turned to run the medusa hit him with a well-aimed shot that was enough to make him fall unconscious.  Needing some healing for the drunk, they tried to get the attention of the cleric by throwing a stone at her window, which apparently failed so the medusa threw a bigger stone, not caring about smashing the window as it could be fixed with a couple of Mending spells later.  This was enough to wake the cleric, and turn her ethereal temporarily as well as her new Blink reflex kicked in, and she immediately set to work healing and sobering up the drunk as the others dragged the unconscious attacker into the pub and tied him up, hamstringing him for good measure.  He regained consciousness and immediately recognised the cleric, and became increasingly worried about where the minotaur was as he was the same would-be thief that targetted the honeymoon suite the last time the group were in town.  The medusa delighted in torturing him for a while, taking his license and burning it before returning him naked to the street, still with his hands tied behind his back.  Taking pride in a good deed done (in a somewhat morally grey way) the trio went back to bed for the rest of the night, before being woken by the general daytime traffic of the busy port town.
After their usual morning prayers, the group set off for the docks which proved to be by far the busiest part of town.  They easily identified the Rundeen ship, thanks to its conspicuous black sails, and went to meet the captain.  In true dashing pirate style, the captain swung down from the rigging with the wind blowing through his hair as he struck a pose in front of the party and introduced himself as the notorious Daniel Simone, and he would be their captain for the day.  He went through the compulsory safety procedure, informing the group that the sound of seven bells means the ship is in trouble and in that case they should follow the green paint on deck to the lifeboats, and they were also shown where the buoyancy aids were.  With formalities over, they set sail for adventure on the high seas with the horizon as the limit, getting to act as swashbuckling pirates in the name of good.

The Captain soon realised he shouldn't have eaten that egg for breakfast

Still within sight of the formidable coastal defences, the lookout on the crow’s nest sounded a warning of a Roc that was heading in their direction- an enormous bird spoken of in legend, said to be capable of lifting huge creatures for their dinner, sometimes even as big as elephants or dinosaurs on the nearby plains.  Sure enough it seemed to have the ship as it’s next target, despite the coastal ballistas trying to deter it from it’s course.  The ship itself fired a volley of ballista bolts at it, but it had a grace that defied it’s size that allowed it to weave through the bolts.  The cleric fired a barrage of Magic Missiles at it from her wand, which did decent damage but not enough to disrupt it’s flight, and hoping to get in a good shot before it came close enough for the medusa to use her spells the druid fired her new bow at it, enhanced by the bard’s music and the captain’s rallying cry, hopefully using the Dislocating power of the bow to either lower the roc into the water or confuse it enough to lose it’s balance.  Loosing the shot, the arrow flew through the air, striking the enormous bird right between the eyes, stunning it in mid-flight.  Unfortunately, being fifty feet above the water and flying at approximately nine miles per hour, the momentum was enough for the Roc to fall directly on top of the ship- a fact that the cleric’s Blink reflex quickly took into account as she turned ethereal, proving it’s worth for the very purpose she wished- getting her out of danger when large objects are falling towards her.  By a stroke of luck, the medusa was standing in just the right place for her to use her new tail to swing to the safety of the sea as the Roc fell onto the ship.  Unfortunately, the Bard did not have the benefit of the Lady’s wishes and suffered a fate true to most bards dedicated to her particular style of music- that of Living Fast, and Dying Young.  The captain had managed to use his experience to swing from the rigging onto the back of the bird as it crashed, and although many of the crew were crushed there were still many survivors with the presence of mind to jump to the sea.  The roc itself, though it had only been stunned, the fall was enough to get it entangled in the ships rigging and impaled on the various jagged bits of wood, causing it to eventually drown as it couldn’t break free.  Everyone helped to drag the bird ashore, annoyed that they had lost their chance at intercepting the weapons shipment but also hopeful that their acquisition of a full-size intact Roc should fetch a tidy sum from a museum or for scientific research.  Sure enough, the Rundeen Consortium offered 9000 gold to those involved in it’s capture, which was distributed evenly- the medusa getting 3000, the cleric getting 3000 (though offering more to the druid for it was entirely due to her that it was acquired), and the pirate captain getting 3000 which he distributed amongst the crew and donated to the families of the poor unfortunate souls that perished.
Interestingly, as they counted what they could of the dead, the bard’s body was unfound- all that remained was a small smattering of blood that was later rumoured to have been in the shape of the mysterious deity the bard worshipped, and brandished on her belt buckle.

Notable events:
Roc falls, one person dies.
Em’s centaur leaves the party to train with possibility of returning later, bard introduced instead.
Bard definitely not based on a certain videogame character, but proves that she would have made an accurate videogame character as she couldn’t swim.  Bard dies.
Players live up to stereotype, as when all the characters are female then a great deal of time was spent shopping.
By strange coincidence, when one of the last bards devoted to the music of the universe which she believed was connected to rocks and metal dies, another genre of music gains popularity in the form of the lizardmen’s battle cry that has begun to spread due to it’s success in battle.
It is revealed that the A-Team have a contract on their heads in Sigil, put out by the angered pimp.

 

Analysis of an epic moment:
Some clarification may be required regarding how a CR9 creature can almost TPK a fully healed party of level 9 adventurers, and a ship full of lower level NPCs.  Here is what happened in game terms.
Medusa fires bow at Roc, not expecting to do much but enough to not waste a turn doing nothing.  Natural 20.  Crit is confirmed, thanks to the Roc’s relatively low armour class due to it being so huge.  To determine the result of crits, we consult a crit table- percentile is rolled, 60-something% is the result.  This is a powerful hit, resulting in the target being stunned for one round on top of crit damage.  A Roc is a bird, and therefore in the sky when it gets stunned.  The Roc was travelling at 80ft per 6 seconds (1 round), which is roughly equivalent to 9mph.  As the Monster Manual text states, a Roc weighs 8000lbs and is easily big enough to cover the length of the ship with its wings spread, as when flying.  I decide to roll percentile to see where the Roc lands- low it’s in the sea, high it’s on the ship- with a small allowance for the displacement on the arrow.  The result was 97%, emphatically meaning the ship.  The cleric has the ability to Blink when large objects fall towards her, so she’s fine- that activates as you can’t say a gargantuan animal following towards you isn’t a large object.  The other two characters get reflex saves to see if they can jump out of the way- they both fail.  But then the medusa’s player remembers their wish, which resulted in being able to take a luck reroll on any dexterity based skill- so she took it, and succeeded- barely.  The bard, having not had any wishes, was unfortunately crushed by the Roc, which meant finding out how this sort of damage works.  For every 200lbs of an objects weight, the damage is 1d6.  A falling object also does additional damage based on how much momentum it has- 1d6 for every 10ft it moves before impact.  This made a total of 48d6 damage, on every creature that was on the ship, from a CR9 creature that could usually only do about 2d6 damage per round on a single target.

 

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