The World of Urth - known to some as the Known Realms or Mystara

To Smite the Giants

To Smite the Giants

After equipping themselves for the journey and the weather, the party, now augmented by a cadre of dwarves and a young paladin in service to Mendek, began the long trek north to Castellan Keep. The river was still at flood stage and travel by water was impossible. Ponies and horses were purchased with only enough supplies to reach the next town, rather than encumbering themselves with supplies for a fortnight’s sojourn. With the weather favorable, the group set forth for Kelvin.

Such a large company kept most beasts away, and nightly watches were much less onerous than when there were only four in the party. Travel to Kelvin was quick and uneventful. Likewise, the next leg of the journey to Penhaligon was delayed only by some inclement weather. After resupplying, the party left the road and set forth for Castellan Keep overland following a rough trade track. This stage was longer and harder going, and an autumn snowstorm made it longer than expected, but the party arrived safely at the Keep.

After a brief respite, and an intelligence meeting with the Castellan and his staff which secured them the use of a guide to point them in the right direction (as well as a visit to the monument to their fallen comrade, Storvik Storvikson), the party set out in search of the giants’ lair. Backtracking the giants into the hills north of the Keep was not overly difficult – there were only so many paths such large creatures could take – the weather again proved an obstacle and shelter was sought for the night. A large cave was found that could accommodate them all, but they found a crudely erected wooden door that blocked further entry into the depths of the cave. A sign lettered in Orcish was translated to read, “Constant Vigilance! Beware Murder Hobos! What happened at the Chaos Caves could happen to you!”. Realization that they were the feared Murder Hobos caused the party to preen and earned respect from their dwarven allies. Orc guards were scared away from the door by a shout of “Chakka Shok! Chakka Cor!”, the door was spiked shut, and the night passed uneventfully.

The next day finally found the party looking at a huge timber stronghold in a mountain valley – the hill giants’ Steading had been found. The group came to realize that such organization and behavior was unheard of among the dwarves who, being mortal enemies of giantkind, were familiar with the usual patterns of hill giants. Apparently Duchess Olivia was correct in deducing the giants were receiving help and information from an outside source. But from whom, and to what purpose, was not immediately apparent. The number of giants living in the Steading was daunting, and they were keeping a pack of dire wolves, all of which made a frontal assault an unfavorable tactic. A base of operations was sought and another cave was found near enough to observe the giants, but secure enough to not be readily detected.

A couple of days of observation revealed the dire wolves and their keeper made twice daily patrols around the Steading, and other giants were involved in gathering wood and water. Guards were posted, but did not appear to have the security of the Steading foremost in their minds. Narcissa and Belladonna ventured into the Steading on a reconnaissance mission one evening, since they were the stealthiest of the group. They were accompanied by Beks, the dwarves’ troubleshooter, and Mordin, their wayfinder. Drunken giants at the entrance of the Steading made for easy access and the mission was able to get an estimate of the number and kinds of foes they faced, the layout of a large amount of the interior, and some of the security measures in place. Their foray was cut short by an encounter with a cave bear in one of the rooms which attacked the dwarves while the two ladies hid out in the null space of a Rope Trick. The dead bear, and fear of discovery, caused them to abort the mission. They met up with the rest of the party, who were hiding behind a nearby ridge in case they should be needed, and repaired to their cave base for debriefing. The next morning the giants were observed to make some search for the interlopers and bear-killers, and Clairaudience revealed the bear was the pet of the Chief’s wife, Estrith.

A plan was made to ambush the giants on their way to their next raid, assumed to be the following day (based on the expected time of the next supply caravan to the Keep). The morning found the party searching the likeliest route the giants would take for the best site from which to rain magical death upon the giants with the best cover and protection from retaliation. A site was decided upon and a plan was made to prevent the raid, decimate the foe, and, hopefully, mitigate casualties. The plan went almost without incident, except for one lucky giant, and one unlucky dwarf: Grogan, assigned as Narcissa’s bodyguard, was killed by a giant’s club, and his funeral pyre was built over the slain giants and ogres. But none of the foe escaped alive. A questing paladin joined the group when, attracted by all the commotion of the ambush, he set aside his search for the necromancer who had destroyed his village to aid the citizenry of the Duchy from the depredations of the evil giants.

Careful watching of the Steading revealed the Chief sent out a party to search for the missing raiders. Hopeful for another ambush, the party hastily set up at a different, and less ideal site, but the plan was thwarted when they realized the Keeper and his wolves were on the hunt as well. Hastily scrambling over hill and dale to avoid the searchers and their wolves, the party made an out-of-the-way approach back to the Steading. Afraid their base cave may have been discovered, the party sheltered in a different area on the perimeter of the Steading’s valley and settled in to watch and plan. Suggestions were made and discarded, ideas promoted and shot down; the party couldn’t reach a consensus on their course of action. Some wanted to annihilate the giants, while others wanted to gather the information the Duchess sought.

The deliberations were suspended when a group of about a score of giants, presumably reinforcements from another clan, arrived at the Steading. This little wrinkle appeared to be a game changer as far as the party was concerned. But, as even wilder propositions were bandied about, an event occurred which proved to be an opportunity for our heroes. They noticed that, while a celebration was underway inside, three giants wandered away from the Steading. Two of them teamed up on the third and murdered him, then drug his body away toward the north. Narcissa, Belladonna, Beks, and Mordin followed to see what would happen. While they were away, Mendek, Slydra and the paladin snuck into the open gate of the Steading and up to the watch tower. Wanting to alert the giants to the murder, and hoping to set them against each other, the plan was to ring the alarm in the tower. The presence of giants on watch caused a change of plans, and Mendek cast Heat Metal on the alarm hoop, which eventually burnt through its supporting rope and fell onto the tower floor. Running out of the Steading, and expecting the watchers to raise the alarm, the guys were disappointed and exasperated to see nothing happen at all!

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the ladies and their escorts, they realized the gate was open and ideal conditions to continue their reconnaissance mission existed. They snuck into the Steading and went right back to scouting the place out. They searched the room of the Chief’s wife and found a pouch of gems, which Belladonna substituted for some sling stones. They found a map of the area and some planned raids which they copied. When they found a way out into the courtyard, they realized the wolves were still not back, but didn’t explore that area because a giant couple were out there. Finally, while exploring a meeting room, they discovered a door hidden behind a manticore hide. Beyond that door was a conspicuous pile of wood which, when searched, revealed several scroll tubes containing a plan of the Steading and some other documents. Stairs led downward from there, and our intrepid explorers followed them down until they were certain they had found an area worthy of further exploration by the entire group. Hastily, they fled the Steading when they realized the celebration was breaking up.

Back with the others, they all took stock of their situation: surrounded by dozens of giants and their allies, low on food, but with new areas to explore and mysteries to solve. What will they decide to do next?

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In Service to the Grand Duke
Oh, and those undead guys

Travel Down the River

Illusionist and Familiar try to swindle us

Make it to town

It’s a party.

Some jerks disrupt the party.

We are like, “So not cool dude”

Jerks are unsettled by my swagger.

Men of famous baron are like, “Why do this?”

I like, cause we in a city.

They like, cool.

We all head to court of Grand Duke.

Come back later. Okay.

We do business in town.

I report to Head of Church (he is a fan of me)

Lets me train there

Meet with Duke, he tells us to help with some ruffians in the distance [Sounds like a test.]

Ladies get invited to tea with the Duchess [sexist]

Belladona finds Rainbow Dude [or was it street?]

Wizards find out there is a wizards guild

MENZER

we eventually get out to settling things with the ruffians

We head back to trail between a coastal cliff and a forest. We thought the bad guys were in the forest.

Belladona goes in with the ring of sneaking, Narcissa gets invisible and follows. The boys are left on the path.

They go a ways and see three ruffians sitting in what appears to be a scouting area. They come back and report.

Brilliant idea: Slydra poses as a travelling merchant and Mendek is his body protection. Start arguing about who was supposed to be able to navigate [it was supposed to be Slydra]. We yell, and sure enough someone we gain their attention. One of the ruffians goes to the a camp and invisibles follow. They come to a camp FILLED with ruffians. From rumors and listening to ruffians, get the vibe that crazy stuff has been happening and they are not fans.

Oh dear.

Mendek then plays it as if he was once a ruffian. Charisma don’t fail me now.

Slydra and Mendek make it to the trail again, and suddenly ruffians everywhere around us. We are like, “woah, we don’t wanna fight, we wanna help”

It works!

They are friendly and show us where crazy bloodsuckers are. Also tell us of some book that signalled things changing.

It’s getting late. Head to the village, everyone scared of something. Lots of garlic and avoiding the dark. [Sounds like a vampire to me] [Also sounds like the Baron over this village is a vampire]. Next day, talk to priest. Says it can’t be vampires: that’s crazy. However, if they are what he thinks they are, put some holy wafers in their mounts and stake em to their coffin.

Then refuses to sell us wafers. Mendek lies and we get wafers anyway.

Head to where the ruffians led us. None want to tag along. Over the coastal cliff is a path to a cave. Hear some wolves from the forest: surely nothing, right?

Enter cave. At first, a whole lot of nothing. Damp walls, rocks, more rocks. It is getting on in the day. Then near the evening, we enter a huge cave room.

And these freaking vulture giant demon things attack. Two of em. They can’t penetrate my armor easily, but they got this crazy telekenesis thing and throw belladona around. The wizards web and shoot and I try my best do defend (but they are like 2.5 times taller. whatever).

We finally kill one and it erupts in ichor. Then these two pale humanish thing start attacking! One flings spells and the other flings javelins. We shortly finish off the second one, and turn our attention to the humanish things, when some ruffians who haven’t turned to the light side fight us too!

Mendek, trying to be a human wall, closes the distance to the javalin thrower after dispatching a couple of the smaller ruffians. Then Wizards are flinging spells everywhere, and Belladona decides to go toe to toe with a better equipped ruffian.

Things then go south.

Right when I am gonna smack this woman with my mace, her voice gets all smooth and I don’t feel like it anymore. The pale wizard jumps out of range of the right, and the supreme ruffian gave Belladona some solid whacks.

Mendek doesn’t feel like fighting the pale female, but the ruffian was banging up his other friends (why can’t we all just get along?) Mendek puts the remaining ruffians down while magic missles pound into the female. She fizzles into smoke and wafts out of the room. The pale wizard escapes too, but the ruffians are gone.

At this point, we are all beaten up pretty bad.

Then we hear wolves (or at least something that sounds like wolves)

And… we panic a little. A lot. We panic alot. We all bolt out of what we expect to be the exit of the cave. I don’t feel like being a were-creature today. (or ever).

We come out of the caves onto the beach and run toward the big town. Then when we are almost back to the road, a thought occurs… what if they just summon more of those vulture things? And we can’t return as failures (we’re too good for that)

So we decide to spin it as a false retreat. We hike back to the cave. Sure enough, we don’t find anyone. We go back to the room where they fighting was. One, two, three… there are some bodies missing. This isn’t good.

We search the only room we haven’t been to. There is a large pile of rocks blocking the way, but there is a gap at the top. Only logical option? Mendek, stick your head in there.

Okay, sure.

And blamo. Pale wizard hits me in the face and I tumble down.

Slydra doesn’t skip a beat, jumps to the top, and fires a magic missle back. Pale wizard dissolves and goes to one of a pair of coffins.

We clear enough rubble to get in. We remove the coffin lids, and find our pale foes resting. We synchronize stakes, and stab them into the coffins. They wake up and his and then we drown them in holy wafers.

Swallow you creatures!

Then they dissolve. Detect Evil to look for book and see mondo evil underneath the rubble. Dig down and find a chest that Belladona unlocks.

On top is a book that is locked. It isn’t evil, so I give it to the mages, who think its a spellbook. The mondo evil is from a book, the Necromincon (or something like that). Stick it in the nasty sack. Also there is a lot of gold!

Go back to town as heros. Duke is pleased, and we get invited to back room. Learns that the giant attack from earlier is most concerning, and next we are supposed to investigate. Then we meet a team of dwarves that are giant fighters and our new companions.

Also, the church has assigned me a Paladin to show the ways of being great.

Also, Belladona stole a necklace from two people doing the horizontal tango.

Also, the wizards got the book open, and it was booby trapped with flames!… Did I mention Menzer was coming with us?

This should be fun.

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The Party of Arik's Destruction

After spending a day in town getting better, the party returned to the monastery. The group could feel a sense of finality approaching. Deciding to be daring and knowing that the only unexplored cavern was in this direction, the party decided to enter through the dragon’s lair. Thankfully, no dragon was observed, so the party ventured into the unexplored passage. It appeared normal for a cave passage, so they continued on. Around the corner, the party discovered a large cavern covered in stalactites and stalagmites.

When they reached the far edge, they discovered a rock slide that looked to connect with one of the cliffs that was unclimbable. Being a daunting sight, the party decided not to continue. But as they turned around to return the way they came, they discovered the illusionist! Slydra, holding a bit of a grudge at being almost killed by her, immediately unleashed a fury of magic missiles at her, but instead of damage, her broach glowed instead. Fearing a second attack, the illusionist cast a spell and everything went bright. COLORS EVERYWHERE. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFULBEAUTIFULLY BLINDING!

The party began stumbling around in the colors, looking for the edge of the cave. Time seemed to drag on as the colors continued. Eventually, all but Dimitri, who kept stumbling into stalagmites, found their way to the walls and out of the colors. When the colors had finally cleared, the party found the illusionist waiting, apparently trying to find a chance to apprehend Narcissa again. Now Mendek, who like Slydra had a grudge, charged ferociously at the mage. The illusionist, not desiring a conflict with this behemoth, began to fidget with a ring on her finger. But while she was distracted with the fighter, Narcissa, who also had a grudge, unleashed a paralysis spell and it hit! But, as Mendek continued to approach, she disappeared! Or so he thought, for he reappeared ten feet away. He went to pursue her, but she disappeared again! And the entire time, she was paralyzed. Eventually, the disappearing act ended, and the party promptly confiscated all her belongings and, not having the heart to kill her, bound her.

The party, unable to go forward, decided to go back. As they were returning down the boring passage, a voice called out to them and out of the rock wall in front of them, a man appeared in plate mail. This was the dark cleric Kathrandamus. He asked for Narcissa, which the party refused. Then, with a slight motion towards his armor, a supreme sensation of fear flowed over the party. Mendek, Belladona, and Dimitri bolted like greased lightning away from Kathrandamus, leaving Narcissa and Slydra alone. Both being very capable mages, it seemed they would be okay. Narcissa unleashed a magic missile at him, but it went right through and he disappeared. It was an illusion! Then, with a chuckle, the real Kathrandamus appeared through the fake wall. But with a sound of armor, another figure appeared on the other end of the passage. It was a gladiatrix, which blocked in the two magic users between an evil cleric and a gladiatrix.

With determination worthy of legend, the mages, without word to each other, knew what to do. Slydra immediately cast his mirror image spell and faced the gladiatrix while Narcissa turned to Kathrandumus and, using the wand of cold, unleashed a giant sheet of ice above him, which crush him beneath its weight. The gladiatrix, with an evil red glow in her eye, closed the distance with beastly fury unleashing three attacks against Slydra. If it weren’t for his mirror images, he knew he would be dead. With only one mirror edge, Slydra unleashed another magic missile, knowing it is the only close range ability left to him. It was then that a pillar of flame erupted from beneath the sheet of ice, flowing from Kathrandamus’s hand. But instead of joining the fight, he turned down the illusioned side passage. Knowing that pursuit by herself was unwise, Narcissa turned her attention to the gladiatrix which was bearing down upon Slydra. Trying her best to miss Slydra, she aimed her wand of paralysis and paralyzed the gladiatrix.

It was at this time that the rest of finally returned, only to find that the mages he done their due. Narcissa informed them of Kathrandamus’s escape, and it was now when they noticed that the illusionist, probably freed by her familiar, had escaped as well. The party pursued down the illusioned passage and came upon a dark shrine, upon which rested the Eye of Arik: the gem housing his spirit. The did not find Kathrandamus here, but they did see a secret door which was slightly open. The party continued down this secret passage and found a door at the end. As they were discussing how to burst through the door, a deafening dragon’s roar was heard and seemed to originate from the shrine room. Knowing that the fight was coming eventually, the party returned to the shrine and found… nothing. Weird. So, they decided to secretly enter the room.

Well, it didn’t end up being a secret. Instead, it was a trap! The passage ended in the dragon’s lair, and this time the dragon was there, as well as Kathrandamus. Then the dragon spoke, and informed the party of HIS plans to release Arik into the world. Knowing that stuff was about to go down, Slydra secretly rebuilt Arik’s Bane’s statue. Knowing this was the grand fight between good and evil, the mages used a fire shield spell to protect themselves, and the fight began. Mendek charged to the front of the fray, knowing that the mages would not be able to survive an onslaught from a dragon. As he closed the distance, he saw a cone of cold from Narcissa blast the dragon and severely damage him. But it didn’t stop him, because the dragon managed to get two swipes at Mendek, which was manageable. But the damage came with the bite, which practically crushed him. Still, Mendek managed to fight and dealt a decent blow to the beast. While this was going on, Dimitri and Belladona fought with Kathrandamus. It was about this time that Belladona notice some of her metal belonging heating up. But, by using their bows, Dimitri and Belladona kept him occupied with hit after hit. Once again, not wanting to be outdone, Slydra unleashed a mighty bolt of lightning through the dragon’s chest, once again dealing tremendous damage. Yet the dragon raged upon Mendek performing another three attacks upon him. Mendek withstood the attacks, but felt his health waning: he knew he couldn’t survive another attack like that. Mendek, desperate to end the attack, lashed out with his sword, but to no avail. The dragon still stood. It was at this moment that, after an attack from Belladona, Dimitri was able to end Kathrandamus with his skill with the bow. Belladona, with no other target, turned to the dragon which was less than ten feet away. Drawing her bow with an arrow (which, in the light, looked black), she attacked the beast as it hovered over Mendek for the kill. And with a shot that would have missed at any other distance, Belladona landed the hit, and with a spasm of twitches the dragon died.

It was finally done. The leaders of this evil plot had finally perished. The party returned to the shrine and found Arik’s Bane waiting for them. He was about to join the fight, but the party had dispatched of the evil quickly enough to avoid that. Wanting to finally end the long battle, he asked for us to release Arik so he could finish him. Dimitri, being the only one able to wield Arik’s sword, took it from its place by the shrine and struck the gem. As the gem exploded, an image of a demon with a fly’s head began to emerge. Arik’s Bane, grinning from ear to ear, transformed into his dragon form and use his dragon’s breath to destroy Arik for good. Finally finished with his quest, Arik’s Bane left back to his order. The party, knowing that the sword was too powerful, threw it into the lava pit and watched as it melted. The party gathered the plunder of their enemies, returned to the riverbank to signal a boat, and presented the dragon’s head to the lord of the keep. Dimitri, grateful for the adventure, bid them farewell and left to create the tale of their adventure, which would enter the things of legend. And how convenient, their boat bound for Specularum was ready. So the party continued on their way to fight, to save, and to adventure.

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Sight Beyond Sight
How having 19 intelligence can come in handy.

Still brimming with joy from of meeting a dragon, the party once again descended down the dungeon through the trap door. Before going past the octagons to the true dungeon, Dimitri asked if he could visit Mefixitmanders. Seeing no reason not to, the party traipsed to the secret room where he resided. Here, the saddest of occurrances occured. The room had originally housed zombies, but the party had vanquished them. But now, they returned to find more zombies. However, these zombies were familiar: there were goblins and hobgoblins that the party had slain. Then, a short but stout zombie approached, whose sight crushed the souls of the adventuring party: Borin Blackforge.

Mendek, unsure how to properly proceed, decided to turn the zombies, and was successful. However, none of the original adventuring party was willing to slay their comrade. Finally, Dimitri agreed to be the one to send Borin back to the beyond. After mourning the loss of Borin again, the party took the time to perform as best a burial ceremony as could be affored in enemy territory.

The second secret door was located once again, but inside the second secret room was nothing! No Mefixitmanders, no chests, and no Sword of Arik! The party searched for footprints to follow, but found none. Deciding that time was of the essence, the party traversed the octagons toward the true dungeon. Once again, steam forms gaurded the entrance, but were of no contest to the might of the party.
All this time, Slydra was trying to come to terms with his enhanced person. Since drinking from the enchanted fountain, he had felt more flexible, wise, strong, and intelligent. But after the fighting members of the party dispatched the steam forms, Slydra thought he must have eaten something rotten, because the wall looked… wrong. He got close and inspected it, and realized that the wall was fake! He called everyone over with the news. It took Mendek quite a while to comprehend fake walls, but after Slydra seemed to walk straight into stone, he was sold!

Beyond the fake wall was a passage covered in a thick layer of dust on the floor. What was interesting, was that there were no tracks in the passage. They party creeped forward into a larger cave which was still covered in dust, but now there were corpses in the dirt of goblins. Yet there were still no tracks to the corpses! A feeling of dread and danger started filling the party, but as any good adventuring party would, they continued none the less.
As they started into a far passage, they saw the outline of some further chambers, but more importantly, they saw a floating orb with a giant eye, a giant, toothed mouth, and eye stalks on top.

In a completely sophisticated manner, the party retreated to the previous, larger cave while the magic uses sealed in the beast with a web. But the Beholder, being stronger than most, was quickly tearing through the webs. The party could only try to fight. Even before the Beholder had broken free, Mendek felt searing pain through his armor! Soon, the beast broke free and the party readied itself. But, apparently, Dimitri readied before the rest of us and let loose an arrow whose trajectory a wood elf would have been envious of! It zipped right into the giant eye of the Beholder and caused it to close! However, the party did not have time to congratulate him for the shot, because eyes around the Beholder began to open. The party fought as fierce as possible, but the Beholder’s body was extremely tough to damage. Spells were flung with a gusto, and the Beholder began to turn. Another round of searing pain like talons across his flesh passed through Mendek, while others felt the occasional charm spell narrowly miss over coming them. Quickly, the party’s health dwindled, but eventually, this beast was too slain! With a thump it collapsed on the dust covered floor and moved no more.

The magic users decided to keep some of the eye stalks and the party continued on. Beyond the passage the Beholder emerged from was a cliff that looked impassable. Trying another passage, they party found another cliff. This cliff seemed climbable, so the party entrusted Belladona to climb up and find some way to secure a rope. At the top, she found another passage continuing on and caught the glimpse of a little creature darting into the shadows. She started to work on securing a line for the others when suddenly she was surrounded by lights! Blinding and colorful lights filled her eyes to where she could see nothing. She vainly struck at the air around her, but found no target. Dimitri, also being quite limber, saw the light and heard her shrieks and ascended up the cliff. When he reached the top, he saw a small creature which he charged. The creature then retreated to the darkness. Dimitri helped and guarded Belladona until she could see and they secured a rope.

The rest of the party quickly darted up the cliff to join Belladona and Dimitri. They then entered the dark corridor which led to a hallway. Blindly deciding, the party went to the left. Once again, as Slydra was coming down the passage with the party, he saw that a wall looked like it was a wall, but this time there was a woman with a wand in her hand and a small creature at her feet. Just as he started to warn the party, the released a spell and Mendek, Slydra, and Narcissa felt overpowering fear and ran the other direction! Before Dimitri and Belladona could even react, the rest of the party had retreated in the opposite direction and were out of sight. Not sure what to do on their own, they decided to follow their friends. Being encumbered by armor, Mendek quickly fell behind the two mages who zipped out of sight. But before too long, the all realized that they had been enchanted with fear! Mendek, at that point alone, had made it to the narrow passage before the dragon’s sky entry chamber. He waited there, unsure if he should go back for Dimitri and Belladona or go protect the mages. So to compromise, he stayed still and waited. Soon enough, everyone met him in the chamber where they discussed what had happened.

Deciding that the day’s adventure were not quite finished, the party returned to the passage again. But as they turned the corner to approach the passage, a starting familiar sight of a Beholder approached them. But with the knowledge that the mage was probably a master of illusion, they decided to disbelieve and fight! After successfully landing a blow, the image disappeared and they crept on. As they crept forward, they stumbled upon a wizard! The mage, not nearly as startled as the party was at the encounter, was quick to start an a spell, and before the party could react, the walls of the passage erupted in tentacles! The tentacles quickly entrapped the entire party and began to squeeze the life out of the unfortunate adventurers. However, Belladona, Dimitri, and Mendek were able to free themselves by either their weapons or strength. But by the time they had escaped, Slydra was woefully close to his demise. Without waiting to vanquish the tentacles entrapping him, Mendek used Frostbrand’s special power to heal on Slydra. But when Mendek turned to help Narcissa out of the snare, the party only caught a glimpse of the small creature touch Narcissa, and then they both disappeared.

The creature, Narcissa, the illusionist, and even the tentacles all disappeared at the same time. Fearing that the enemy had managed to teleport with the sacrifice required satisfied by Narcissa, the party began to run down to the hidden hallway. But as they passed by where Narcissa had disappeared, Frostbrand alerted Mendek to a strong feeling of chaotic evil still there! Going for the long shot, Mendek stopped running and began to check around the floor for their missing comrade. Sure enough, he felt the shape of Narcissa: not teleported but made invisible! But at the same time, he felt the two bites from the small creature, who became visible when it attacked. Sadly, both bites were laden with poison. Fearing the retaliation of Mendek, the creature scamped away and the mage appeared! The creature climbed to her shoulder, then they transformed into a cloud of smoke. Slydra quickly fired magic missiles into the cloud, which appeared to hit, but the cloud continued unphased and disappeared further down the hallway.

Narcissa, noting Mendek’s dire case, started tending to Mendek. He was too weak to move, so the party dragged him to the closes safe place they could find: the outcropping before the cliff. Narcissa was able to stabilized Mendek, but it would be a few minutes before he would be able to move on his own. While they waited, a voice erupted as if out of thin air over the cliff. “Give us the elf maiden, or you will all perish.” A dire ultimatum. If they party tried to retreat out of the dungeon now, then Mendek would have to be sacrificed. But they couldn’t give up Narcissa either. While the party deliberated, Mendek used what little strength he had to cast detect magic upon himself. When he did, he could see a bat-like magic shape hovering above the cliff! Without any projectiles of his own, he whispered a plan to Narcissa. Mendek discreetly guided her hand that was holding a wand of paralysis. Mendek aimed as best he could, but when the blue light shot out, it missed the evil form.

However, the attempted must have startled it, because it then flew out of sight. Without any options left, Mendek gathered what strength he could muster and, with the help of Dimitri, the party started leaving the cave. They successfully made it to the dragon’s sky entrance when the mysterious old man appeared. The old man knew of their weak state, and offered to take them into town. And before their eyes, he transformed into a silver dragon! Without a doubt, this was Arik’s Bane. He permitted the party to ride upon his back across the river. During the flight, he informed them on how elf maidens were useful for many magical rituals and that even dragons have sought them before. But who will need that kind of information?

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The Tales of the Party and the Bard

Now that they were back in town, the party decided to chat up the bard, Dimitri. After a relatively short conversation, it was evident that the Dimitri had dreamed of one day learning the secrets of such a legendary event as the monastery catastrophe. Thus, Dimitri joined the party and they decided to look for clues around the town. Dimitri wanted to speak to Alexi, so, he asked Mendek for some funds to “convince” Alexis’ keeper to let him speak. Slydra, not wanting to be outdone, joined in the charming. The sight of both of them putting on their slickest charm was no match for the sound of them serenading the poor townsfolk… but it work! Through Alexi’s ramblings, the party relearned of the three things to possibly Destroy the Eye of Arik: the Crystal Harp, the Sword of Arik, and the Breath of Arik’s Bane. Furthermore, when asked of Kathrandamus, Alexi warned not to trust him.

Through Dimitri’s bard abilities, he knew that the Crystal Harp was lost to time. He was also able to tell Mendek that his staff could turn into a snake!.. If only Mendek knew the command word. After more gallivanting around the bar and GIVING DRINKS AWAY AT THE PARTY’S EXPENSE (Mendek wasn’t bitter or anything), the party learned of a mysterious old man whom no one knew about… curious. Mendek, Narcissa, and Belladona returned to Lord Gramorn to ask if he knew anything and to update him. Gramorn was alarmed with the threat of dragons, and he also recollected a mysterious old man… curious. With no more information, the party rested and departed for the island.

Midway across the river, the party saw a mysterious old man at the place where they traditionally waited for the boat. As soon he acknowledged they could see him, he swiftly ascended up the hillside toward the monastery. The second the boat was to shore, the party followed in hot pursuit! Around every corner, they would catch a glimpse of the old man disappearing into the distance toward the monastery. As they entered the monastery (with an ever wider glow of evil), they saw the man enter the main temple, but when the entered as well, they saw no one. Still in bewilderment as to who this man was, he shows himself from behind a pillar.

Mendek asked who the man was, to which he replied that he had gone by many names for many years. But when Mendek asked what nicknames he might have had, Arik’s Bane was among the list, and he informed them that he had been summoned with the the statue and had been traveling to us since. He warned us that the final battle was nigh. If we ever needed him, we had only to put the statue together and he would come to our aid. Right before he left, he warned that were were in danger, but Narcissa was in the most danger. And with that, he gave her a wand. A wand of cold! And with that last ominous warning, he left the monastery.

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A Slight Detour

After awakening in the King Hob-Goblins sleeping chambers, the party had a sudden yearning to return to the hold and see the bard. However, just as they decided to set out, Frostbrand’s thirst for the blood of evil overpowered Mendek’s will. As he traipsed down to the dungeon, the rest of the party felt pity on his poor soul and followed after. They traveled directly toward the final dungeon. But when they reached the second octagon, two lava forms appeared. Finally, a chance to vanquish evil! Charging forward, the party was able to quickly vanquish these lesser demons.

The party descended deeper into the dungeon, they followed the stream to the second entrance where Belladona was able to sneak and discover two steam forms guarding the entrance. Mendek tried his best to sneak around the corner while Narcissa stood across the stream just in case. Then, Mendek and Frostbrand charged!… and they weren’t surprised… Oh well! Frostbrand make quick work of the first with a freezing death, and quickly dismissed the second. Finally, Frostbrand’s daily lust for battle was quenched, but not before encountering another lava form on the way out. Sadly, the battle was not as quick as before, allowing the lava form to summon two smoke forms which were more annoying than formidable.

After this battle, the party decided to inspect the rooms they did not remember exploring and discovered a secret door. Behind the door, they found three kobolds inside. But instead of attacking, they simply cowered in fear. The party stared at them, wondering what to do. Eventually, they decided to try and communicate. Sadly, language also failed them. Even worse, the party could do charades even more poorly than they could speak to kobolds! Finally, after drawing pictures in the ground the party agreed to escort the defenseless kobolds out of the dungeon.

Gladly, nothing attacked them after that! The party was able to make it back to town and meet the bard in the tavern.

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The Tides have Changed

After resting in the town and learning nothing new from the bard except some legend of a crystal harp, the party decided to go to the temple complex again. Looking at their map, they realized there was a mysterious gap of undiscovered space in the complex! After combing for secret doors, they found an entrance with a praying statue. Mendek, feeling like they needed all the help they could get to survive, decided to kneel in front of the statue in a similar pose. Suddenly, a wall shifted, revealing a sword. As Mendek reached for the sword, a voice emerged!

Yep. The sword was talking. He introduced himself as FrostBrand, whose sole duty was to fight chaotic evil. After explaining that Mendek was the only fighter in the party and also hated chaotic evil, FrostBrand allowed Mendek to wield him… but in actuality, it was FrostBrand who now wields Mendek, for his influence was greater than Mendek could control! But, that’s okay, because it’s a sweet sword!

So after finding nothing else of value, the party returned to the second level. Making care not to fall into the trap again, they discovered the rooms (and monsters), they missed before. Finally, they found a large set of double doors, which they could only assume was the lair of the hobgoblins they fought before. The party decided for a dynamic entry and busted through the doors! With magic flinging, arrows flying, and Mendek being controlled by FrostBrand, the onslaught was brutal and relatively quick! Here, they discovered how to activate and deactive the trap door and found more secret rooms and treasure!

But finding nothing else exciting, they went back to the dragon’s lair. Thankfully, the dragon was gone. Entering deeper, they returned to the cave with the popping monsters. It was bleak because the more the party fought, the more monsters that appeared to appear! But, eventually, the inflow of evil subsided and they defeated them all.

EDIT: I believe they decided to return to town, but not before insisting that MENDEK return and retrieve the magical daggers the rest of the party had forgotten to collect after the fight. Thanks guys.

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Into the Light

EDIT: I forgot when our party discovered the beholder who was under contract to attack anyone who tried to touch the treasures of the baddies (which we are pretty sure is the eye of Arik).

Losing hope, the adventurers explored the open cavern off of the second Octagon. While at the stream, they found that they could travel down the stream. So wet and miserable, they followed the stream until… they found a door with a sleeping guard! We sent our theif to quietly assasinate him: MISTAKE #1! She missed, thus waking the guard. But, a short battle later, he was dispatched without alerting our position. We decided to let Narcissa and Beladona scout ahead a bit. But while entering a cave, they found these strange glowing beings that popped up out of nowhere, and the longer they were there, the more that popped up. So, they returned to the party and we decided to go any way but that.

So, as they strolled down the hallway, they heard a commotion suggesting that the enemy knew where! As they turned a corner, they saw not 1, not 2, but over 6 steam elementals walking in their direction! So, as any fearless party would do, they turned tail and ran in the opposite direction! When they came upon a fork in the hallway, the party heard loud howling that encouraged the party to run down the hallway with no such howling. The passage led to a room with an open roof. Curious, but it was wonderful since it was real SUNLIGHT! But, no time to enjoy, because there was a hot pursuit! So they ran down the only new passage available. Huh… this passage is huge! But no time to admire, so they ran and ran until they came to a cave. And in the cave was an adult red dragon.

Nope. That wasn’t going to happen! Whilst paniking, they discovered one final passage to follow. It was too small for the dragon, so they ran and ran and finally discovered daylight. As soon as they escaped, the heard a roar and saw the dragon circling ahead with what appeared to be a rider! Scared witless, the party hid near the water in case any fire attacks launched. Thankfully, after minutes of flying, the dragon and its rider flew into the distance. The party lit the signal fire and the ferryman came and saved them!

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What's worse than an Octagon? TWO OCTAGONS

Faced with ANOTHER octagon, they party labeled the doors and chose one to explore. After a short walk, they encountered a cavern with a steam vent. Suddenly, they noticed a steam form arising from the vent! Unsure about how to handle these monsters, they tried to talk to it. No response… except the summoning of another steam form and a lava form. At this point, Belladona and the mages attacked from a distance and were able to dissipate one steam form. But the other two forms continued forward. Then out of thin air, boiling rain descended upon the entire party, doing massive damage! Both Gareth and Cullen were knocked unconscious and mages were feeling woozy. Realizing a retreat would not be easy, Mendek tried to attack and landed a blow. But then the steam enemy blew hot air and almost paralyzed him. But with the help of a magic missile, the second steam form fell. The only one left was the lava form. It, however, was busy MELTING Gareth and Cullen. Using this opportunity, the party ran away all the way back to the first octagon.

Fearing that an escape may have been missed around the first octagon, the remaining four members of the party attempted to defeat some of the creatures they encountered before. The first of which was the fisher. After being badly damaged from a magic missile, when Mendek was playing tug of war with the beast, he managed to cut its sticker. Afterwards, killing the beast was relatively easy. But still no exit.

In the guano room, they accidentally stumbled upon some paralyzing worm thing that paralyzed the two fighters, leaving the mages to finish the job, which they did. The party explored some guano, but when a circle of poop started to move, they decided to mosey along.

Next they looked in the spider cave. They killed the spiders, but not until a spider almost killed Slydra! But with the help of Narcissa’s first aid, he lived to be poisoned another day.

Finally, they decided to kill the whining mushrooms. The mushrooms were so slow, that the battle wasn’t that bad. But the female mushrooms kept on whining and whining. Finally they were killed, but then a glowing appeared in the entryway… and in walks the lava form! Completely terrified, the party unleashes everything they can upon it. With the combined power of a cloud burst, some magic missiles, and an error, the lava form is defeated! Woot!

Unwilling to fight anything else they know about and knowing the lava form is defeated, the party went on to explore the second octagon. And, aside from secret doors to already explored areas, nothing exciting was found. A lot of loops. They did discover a pit. And past the pit was an fake door that attacked us, so nothing exciting. Finally they found a larger cavern with a river. Very tired, they returned to the second octagon room, barricaded themselves, and rested.

EDIT: Did I forget to mention that, whilst sleeping in Octagon 1, the rat man fell through the trap door and landed on the adventurers! Mendek was able to hold him down… that is, until he changed into a rat. But Slydra, a bit tired and cranky from a full day of adventuring, cast a web which fill a good portion of the Octagon and trapped him! However… after being stuck in the web for many hours, we found him suffocated. All of importance that was on him was a skin with invisibility potion and a book describing the Legend of Arik.

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The Scariest Shape: An Octagon

Trapped in this new lower level, the party quickly marked the doors to avoid getting lost in case they ever returned. With nowhere to go, the team blindly chose a door to explore. They were greeted with winding tunnels and ancient caverns. Occasionally a shadow of some creature could be seen, but in their damaged state the party refused to engage.

After wandering around, the party found one cavern with four creatures bowing before a large creature sitting upon a throne. Since the party was damaged and the creatures, which are called gremlocks, appeared humanoid, the party attempted to talk themselves out of the fight, but it failed. Through some miracle, they were able to defeat the gremlocks and their lord. But even after obtaining treasure behind the throne, the party was downtrodden since no escape from the cave was seen in this room. After more exploring for that day, the party decided to barricade themselves in the octagon room to rest.

The next day, they continued to adventure and explore the caves. One room, hidden behind a secret door, contained the now familiar enemy of a few ghouls and a ghast. But still no exit was found. Finally they discovered that all but one doorway had been explored. Going through this final doorway, hope was high that an exit would be found! Along the way they discovered a room with mushrooms that screeched, but ain’t nobody got time for that! So they continued on. They discovered a door at the end of the hallway… they entered it… and were back in a room with 8 doors. Interesting… surely there was no way they could have traveled back to the octagon room… and then they noticed the more horrifying thing… the doors were unmarked. This was a new octagon. There was more to this level than expected with no sign of an exit.

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