The Weaver of Tapestries

The First Session

June 11, 2013

Andy, the DM, brought everyone together at his house in Western North Carolina to start a retro game that would be utilizing a hybrid version of AD&D 1st Edition, AD&D 2nd Edition, a couple of items borrowed from the Skills & Powers (2.5 Edition) stuff and more than a few house rules.

He decided to start by running a classic module, the B1/B2 modules, with most time being spent using the B2 Keep on the Borderlands module. It is merely a baseline, though, since Andy, as long as I have known him, has always changed things and prefers to adlib and fly by the seat of his pants as often as not. It was decided that we would be in Forgotten Realms, around the same timeframe that Drizzt had arrived on the surface of the realm, but before the rediscovery of Mithrall Hall.

The party was employed as security for a convoy moving northwest out of Scornubel. The convoy, a large caravan of more than 100 wagons, was to travel up to Boareskyr Bridge. At that point, the merchant caravan to which we were attached was going to break away from the main caravan and travel northeast, eventually arriving at Kendall Keep. The main caravan would turn southwest and head to Baldur’s Gate.

There were no encounters of note on our way to Boareskyr Bridge. However, on arriving at the bridge, Mendel, the merchant in charge of the section of the caravan to which we were attached, offered the party some gold to go into the nearby plains and search for anything of value he might be able to sell. Off to the immediate southwest, there was a plot of land called the “Fields of the Dead” where a large battle had been fought years ago. Mendel was curious if anything of value might have been left behind. The party set off to their task.

6 hours of exploration revealed no items of value, although Koyten, the “civil engineer” in our group managed to pilfer a gemstone of some value and pocket it quietly. The party did manage to get stung by a bunch of angry bees and then both accidentally summon and purposefully defeat half a dozen skeletons through the copious use of fire and more than a few missed swings. This would become a recurring theme with this party.

The caravan to which we were attached turned northeast as planned and traveled up the river, eventually arriving at a fishing village. Among the inhabitants was a gnome merchant named Rocknose Hammerstaff. Rocknose is an old character of the DM’s that will certainly make more appearances in the future. Rocknose was a good source for some new supplies and information. The party learned from the fishing village chieftain, that people were missing from the area; specifically the chieftain’s daughter, Tywilla and some children. The priest and ranger seemed especially interested in this development. Tharsis, the priest also made it a point to seek out a number of villagers that had been struck ill recently, and brought all of his skills to bear to attempt to aid them; an act that was much appreciated by the fishing village chieftain.

Koyten managed to start two more fires, but not before noticing what appeared to be orcish encampments off in the distance in the very direction we needed to travel to get to our final destination of Kendall Keep. Moreover, Rocknose paid Mendel to escort a caged leucrotta with the caravan, a move that made most people nervous, but the ranger assisted in keeping the leucrotta calm…as calm as can be expected.

The ranger and Ingrid spent some time hunting with the intent of procuring food for the party as well as possibly some hides to sell. They were successful, so I guess everyone was so happy they didn’t mind overlooking that Ingrid now had a pet wild boar with her. None of us were exactly sure why she got a pet pig, but since she is bigger and stronger than anyone else in the party, we didn’t bother commenting on it. I remember thinking that she needs to keep it away from Koyten and his baffling need to set everything on fire. A pig that ends up on fire also ends up delicious!

So we left the fishing village and a few small encounters later, the party is almost to Kendall Keep. The night before our arrival, the caravan is encamped with it’s back against a sheer, vertical cliff face and the wagons arranged in the traditional semicircle for security. In the middle of the night, we got attacked by waves of orcs and goblins.

Zaphael cooked up the idea to dump the contents of the wagons out on the ground in between the wagons to form a makeshift wall, leaving only two avenues of approach into the camp. The party then lined themselves by those two points of entry. This nullified the numbers advantage the orcs had and tips things in our favor. The first few waves were dismantled and disemboweled easily. It was then that the “civil engineer”, as he insisted he was, for reasons known only to himself and the gods of chaos, set a horse on fire and sent it towards the gathered orcs. The horse was greatly offended by this, and how the orcs felt about it, we could only guess. I am betting they just thought of it as dinner, albeit still moving and certainly pissed off. Much debate was had over whether or not to release the leucrotta as a kind of WMD. We eventually decided against it. We…excluding Koyten, who was content to just try to find something else to set on fire.

The orcs began to break through the crate barriers in between the wagons, so Zaphael ran over and used a Burning Hands spell to set the orcs and the supplies on fire, further discouraging their attempts to enter and very likely to the pleasure of Koyten. However, another barrier was broken down, and the mage was easily overwhelmed, as 1st level mages often are, and was being dragged off into the dark by three orcs when Mendel threw out a very much appreciated Sleep spell that dropped the orcs. A few cut throats later and we were back in control of the fight. Koyten took the time to point out that a level 1 housecat has more attacks available than a level 1 mage to Zaphael.

Finally, the orcs sent in their own WMD, and rather than a flaming horse, they sent in an angry ogre (I think). It started off swinging hard and nearly taking the female warrior out, but it was felled with some good rolls and the remaining orcs and goblins retreated. It should be noted that Ingrid did happen to have a massive wound to herself that looked a lot like it was caused by her own sword. She didn’t explain and we didn’t push the issue. The priest just healed her up and we minded our own business. The next day, we arrived at the keep.

That was the end of the first session. No magic items, no one leveled and the mage/alchemist had managed to create a mighty Potion of Fish Control, which will almost certainly never even remotely be of any use in his life (wait….is Cthulhu a fish…?). Anyway, it felt great to be back in the saddle, but we were all very rusty. It is coming back quickly, though.

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The Second Session

June 25, 2013

We were less than a day out from our destination, Kendall Keep.

The caravan we were in, which was owned by Mendel, consisted of a number of wagons of goods, a caged leucrotta, and several cages of humans. We were told that these humans were convicted criminals who were sold into slavery. Three of them came down with fever after we left the fishing village and died. There were buried at the last crossroad east of Kendall Keep. Mendel had his people fix placards on the graves that read “Plague”. Surely not an ominous sign or anything. The priest, Tharsis of Easting, starting feeling bad as well. We naturally assumed the two issues were unrelated and without any thought or care for the possibility of bringing the plague into Kendall Keep, we arrived there merrily shortly thereafter.

As we approached the keep, we were startled by a cry in the woods to the north. We were not able to identify it, but it freaked the leucrotta out. The ranger, who had been engaged in a lengthy conversation with us trying to explain why his name was spelled “Imohar” but pronounced something like “Gary”…even though it looks like it should sound more like “I am her”. Whatever. He was able to calm the leucrotta down enough to get us to the keep.

Once there, we made our way around, exploring the shops and services, acquiring quarters and healing up. Tharsis, the priest, however, came down with the most unbelievable case of an illness related to Montezuma’s Revenge; now known by the upset chambermaids at the Inn as “Explosive Lava-butt Disorder”. While he stayed in the Inn attached semi-permanently to a chamber pot, we explored the town.

Much wheeling and dealing was done in the town. Koyten disappeared for a while under some guise or ruse, that predicatably ended up with him setting the portcullis on fire. A little later and Koyten had managed to set the roof of the Merchant’s Guild on fire, presumably in an attempt to assassinate Mendel. A minor exchange with some angry keep guards and a cloud of sentient bees shaped like a man, which we believe was sent by a disgruntled druid, and we were back on track. Koyten, just for good measure, tried to stab the bee-man thing. It didn’t work, in case you were wondering. Anyway, we gathered all the intel we could in the keep (after a little drinking and gambling) and prepared to do some exploring.

The first night, possibly brought about by the fumes from Tharsis, Imohar the ranger, had a dream about a large cat stuck in a trap in the woods nearby. We broke with our established tradition of ignoring the DM’s hints and set out for the woods to see what was what. A nasty fight with some spiders and we later find a dead man hiding in a hollowed out tree, and the ranger, sure enough, was able to rescue a puma….or mountain lion….or whatever it was, from a trap. (Andy says it was a cougar.) They became fast friends. Koyten found an unusual and evil looking box of black wood that he quickly tucked away and refused to open. A magical dagger and a few other pieces of loot were found.

We also explored a bit of area to the northeast, finding it filled with giant spiders and even more giant-y spider webs. It took a while to clear the area out, but the ranger, the new fighter Robert and Ingrid proved their worth yet again, taking down the lion’s share of the angry spiders. Koyten conveniently hid in the shadows and did….more hiding in shadows. Zaphael took down a couple of spiders before taking a shot of spider venom to the face and spent much of the time facedown in the mud hallucinating, a description I am certain the DM drew from his own real world personal experiences. Once everyone had recovered sufficiently, we burned the webs out and looted several corpses we found. By “loot”, I mean we decently and humanely buried them with all the ceremony and care possible.

But not before looting them dry!

The big winner was the big woman. Ingrid got a magical shield, that really, is a minor artifact. It is also intelligent and will likely prove to be a pain later. The male fighter, Robert, found a funky bastard sword that has changing bonuses based on how sharp it is. Most everyone had leveled to some degree, so we headed back to the keep to do some shopping, restocking and copying of spells from some of the inhabitants of the keep.

We recruited an NPC priest from the temple to act as our pocket healer. We went to check out the graves at the crossroads and found that the three we had left there were now empty. Nothing odd about that. We poked around the other 40 or so graves present and could not help but notice that various skeletons and zombies began to rise from them. We assumed their intention was malice and decided to run away screaming. The tactic proved effective…except for the pyromaniac Koyten. He found a shadow and hid in it, and dragged the shadow to the forest nearby. While in the shadow, he found some kobolds in a nearby shadow and obtained some valuable intelligence about some nearby caves that need explored. Naturally, he hid this information from the party.

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The Third Session; Caves of Chaos

July 9, 2013

After returning to the Keep screaming like scared little school girls, being chased viciously, yet slowly, but an army of undead, against their better judgment, the Keep guards let us in. We spent another few days in the Keep while trying to hatch a new plan of attack. The good news is that we returned to find our previously incapacitated healer to be healthy enough again to go adventuring with us. Once the room in the inn was cleaned up and allowed to air out from the repressive fecal odors, we were on our way.

Zaphael and Koyten, being among the more morally compromised members of the party, discussed the information the kobolds shared with Koyten while he was hiding in shadows from the undead. Turns out the kobolds used to live in the Caves of Chaos, but were run out by “humans”. They also claim they had lost their beloved dragon egg. Makes sense; who doesn’t love dragon eggs?

Zaphael knew the dragon egg was in the shop of the local Keep mage and teacher, so he and Koyten come up with a plan that had zero chances of working, but was too amusing not to try. Koyten donned a disguise of a drunken, wealthy merchant in the hopes of luring a thief out. The goal was to catch the thief and hire them to help steal the dragon egg from the mage, DaBoochie…or whatever his name was. The ruse works and a lovely female thief attempts to rob Koyten (who vomited on her for some reason definitely not a part of the plan) and Zaphael hit her with a Color Spray spell that dropped her unconscious. She was whisked away to a private room.

In the private room, for reasons yet again known only to Koyten, he changes disguises into a vampire and the woman is brought out of her unconscious state. A very confused Zaphael just lets Koyten do the talking. Koyten convinced the girl she is now a vampire-ling…or something…and must do his bidding. She has to agree to wear makeup that makes her look like a plague victim.

Here’s where their needlessly complicated plot grows to the point of outright lunacy. Zaphael goes into the shop to strike up a conversation with the shop owner. After a few minutes, the girl is supposed to stumble in like a panicked plague victim looking for help. Between Zaphael and the girl, the shop keeper is supposed to be so distracted that he won’t notice Koyten slipping in and hiding in shadows. Then, so the plan goes, the shop keeper is supposed to be convinced by Zaphael to help take the girl to a priest and look for help. While they are gone, Koyten will be alone in the shop to steal the egg and slip out unnoticed.

Implausible? Yes. Excessively elaborate? Yes. Did it work? Yes!

…did everything go horribly wrong anyway? Yes.

Koyten, again, for reasons known only to himself, decided to steal the shop keeper’s precious family grimoire and the dragon egg. He then proceeded to set the building on fire with himself still inside of it…and Wizard Locked in. He eventually gets out and everyone comes running to help put the fire out. All the screaming and yelling also brings Zaphael and the shop keeper back, where the shop keeper stands very horrified and Zaphael stands very confused.

The fire gets put out and the shop keeper is given quarters to stay in, paid for by the party, until they can figure out what to do about his shop. They do have the dragon egg, though, and that gives them powerful leverage against the kobolds to ensure they will not attack the party and may even offer assistance or information as to the layout and defenses of the caves.

The party also opts to explore a concealed door located in the fountain of the Keep. It is explored and cleared without incident as it merely went to an exit on the side of the southern cliff face under the Keep, however, after surfacing back through the fountain, an argument breaks out among the members of the party. While they are arguing, a Halfling steals a pouch from one of the party members and all hell breaks loose.

Koyten gives chase and tries to backstab the Halfling…

Ingrid tries to trip the Halfling….

Iomhar tries to stop Koyten…

Zaphael tries to blind the Halfling with a Light spell…

Tharsis tries to yell for the Halfling to stop and talk this over…

Richard takes a swing at the Halfling….

The results?

Koyten stabs the Halfling in the throat (but he survives and keeps running).

Ingrid succeeds in stopping further attacks against the Halfling.

Iomhar missed his attempt to trip the Halfling.

Zaphael blinds Koyten, but not the Halfling with the Light spell, failing to slow him down (as if the dagger in the neck wasn’t already doing that).

Tharsis catches the Halfling.

Richard grabs the blinded Koyten and choke-slams him into the fountain.

Easy enough! The Halfling gets away (after being healed by Tharsis), Koyten is arrested by the town guard for being drunk and defiling the Keep fountain, the dragon egg is hidden in the inn, the pouch the Halfling stole is returned and we map out a plan of what to do next, since all of our other plans have worked out so well.

Ingrid’s shield, by the way, is possessed…kinda. It is talking to her and making her do weird, but good things. Since she is a half-orc, and fairly dimwitted even for an orc, she is easy prey for the shield. This is very likely to be an issue later…just like the arsonist rogue in the party, the assault and theft and other crimes committed against the mage, the abduction of the thief girl…and so on.

I’ll be back later to finish this….I haven’t told you about the zombie mushroom lady yet.

Alright; I’m back. Calm down.

So the party decided to head back out, yet again, to make it the Caves of Chaos. The plan this time was to find a place near the caves that we could use as a staging area and fallback point in case we were overrun and needed to retreat. As we traveled along the road going east, we run into a small party of clergy and make contact with them. It turns out the party was escorting a valuable relic back to the Keep and it was stolen. The thief had taken the relic and headed north into the tree line which was our path anyway. We agreed to take the job to hunt down the thief and bring back the relic.

We headed off north, Iomhar the Ranger tracking the thief. We get through the woods a moderate distance and see what appears to be a humanoid laying prone and unmoving on the ground. We fan out and proceed with caution. By “we” I mean everyone except the thief, who charged in headlong and trigged the ambush. Two giant trapdoor spiders leapt out and attacked. The thief was quickly overcome and being dragged back to the spider’s lair. Two more giant spiders appeared and engaged.

Zaphael and Ingrid went after one spider. The ranger and his cat engaged the spider the furthest out. Richard and Tharsis attacked the other closest spider. They were overcome not without some scraps and bruises. The party went to the trapdoor lair where the last spider retreated with the thief, where the spider was overcome and the thief rescued, much to no one’s relief.

Oh yeah, there was a cave. I forgot about that.

The human (our thief) had been running towards a cave that had giant trapdoor spiders waiting out in front in ambush. Try to keep up.

We decided to explore the cave since we were here, and found it to be large and magnificent. Largificent! It was also full of every kind of fungi imaginable. Some of them were moving. The moving ones, it turns out, were Myconids. In fact, a whole slew of Myconids were living here. They got the Ranger stoned and held his hand for a while, after which the Ranger swore to us that he had been “communing” with the mushroom people. After much laughter, we reassured him we totally, ya know, believed his story. He proceeded to tell us that the Myconids were being oppressed by some wicked evil half mushroom, half undead lady in the back of the cave. It was an opportunity for more mayhem, so we agreed to take care of her and her guards for the Myconids.

We circled around and found the mushroom zombie lady in a separate area with her guards. The thief started a fire in the only escape route (for her and us) and the party engaged the guards from the opposite side. The guards were cut through after a decent struggle, but the mushroom zombie lady jumped the makeshift fire and attempted to thoroughly murder the thief. The mage was closer, though, and was able to stun her with a spell. He then cut her throat (you’ll see this again, class) and the place was searched for loot. Much goodies were found and the mushrooms were so happy they spent a lot of time holding hands with the Ranger again. The Myconids were so happy, they agreed to let the party stay there anytime they wanted. The ideal, secure staging area procured, the party went back to the Keep again…because that is what they always do.

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The Fourth Session; Caves of Chaos

July 23, 2013

The party returned to the Keep for the Investiture, as the DM kept calling it, even though none of us knew what the word meant. It sounded important, so we attended. There was a big ceremony at the temple in which the cleric gave the relic helm to the church in a dedication ceremony. The helm had belonged to some heroic figure named Finn Strongarm that was much admired locally. The party was celebrated as the heroes because they saved the helm from the thief and returned it to the clergy. Meanwhile, a resident of the Keep named Tarlach reported some bizarre traps appearing near the swamp marsh nearby. Also, there was a family named Lum that appeared out of nowhere that appeared to be extensive, in need of a dental plan AND was populated by kids who were expert marksmen with spitballs.

All was not well in Denmark, however. Ominous, massive storms were rolling around the keep with the very atypical accents of green lightning and whirlwinds. There were occasional flashes of light, some witnesses seeing what appeared to be a tower that would then disappear, and some witnesses saying they saw a cloaked figure appear and disappear as it approached the Keep. The party, deciding there was nothing suspicious about that, went on about their business.

The party paid a quick visit to the caves of the Myconids where they discovered a trap door under what would have been the Myconid ruler’s throne. The trap door was opened and the party stepped inside. Once inside, they found a large cavern filled with spider webs. On the opposite end of the cavern was a spider roughly the size of a house. Just to make sure, the Ranger fired a couple of friendly arrows at the spider, but they failed to find their mark. In fact, they failed to find anything. They just hung there in mid-air. Webs? Protection from Normal Missiles? Gelatinous Cube for a bodyguard? We didn’t know. We did know where the exit was, and promptly took it. After all, the spider was massive, black with a red symbol on its abdomen (which we think meant “peace”) and Ingrid invoked her shield of stunliness….and we were standing on a pile of pulverized skeletons, and the ground started turning into liquid sand…..and the shield caused a shockwave that started to collapse the ceiling….anyway. We split.

The party attempted to return to the Keep were they were met with more stormly storminess. More whirlwinds, green lightning and general ominousness. A larger vortex appeared and the cloaked figure was seen again. Turns out, the cloaked figure was a mage of some considerable ability who was here to check up on his relative, Dubricus. You may recall the lunatic pyromaniac thief and the mage robbed and then burnt his shop to the ground. Well; the thief did that part, anyway. He also stole the priceless family grimoire that belongs to the D’Amberville family, which prompted the visit from the mage.

The party was approached by people in the Keep and it was noted that there were strange occurrences in the swamps to the south.

The party opted to go back to the Caves of Chaos and launch an assault on the southwestern cave at the highest point of elevation (to maintain the high ground in case of an ambush during the exit). The idea sounded great, but proved to be a bad idea. A quick exploration inside the caves led to a door on the right, down a hallway. Figuring that doors = loot, the party peered in and saw a seated figure in black armor sharpening and oiling a large sword. Now, as anyone knows, a figure wearing black armor in a cave, sharpening a sword is obviously a good guy, so the Ranger and Priest decided to try to talk to the man through a window slot in the door. The man, in a decidedly non-good manner, kicked the door off of its hinges, flattening the priest in the act. He then stood on the door, pinning the priest down and attacked the party.

Ingrid rolled yet another 1 on her magical d20 that rolls only 1s and managed to bend her sword, thanks to the DM’s ever-present chart of ways to screw Ingrid over. Iomhar or however the hell he spells it and Robert, son of Paul were doing their best to keep the warrior at bay. The priest chewed viciously on his boot. The psychotic pyromaniac thief popped a bottle of Greek fire and threw it in the narrow corridor, catching the bad guy, Richard, and Tharsis, the boot-chewing priest all on fire. The mage, Zaphael, who had rolled a 1 on initiative and went dead last. He readied a Color Spray spell, hoping it would drop the warrior, but after seeing the thief set the rest of the party on fire, turned the spell on him instead. Up until now, the mage reasoned, the thief had only almost gotten the party killed several times. This time they were certainly going to die, so enough was enough. The thief dropped to the ground unconscious.

Another Color Spray later and a severe beating from Robert, Tharsis and Iomhar and the warrior was down and tied up. No one had any questions about how the thief ended up unconscious on the ground and managed to accidentally cut his own throat in the process. the mage just shrugged and swore it was an accident (told you that you would see this material again). It was all so tragic, but the party consoled itself over the loss of the beloved, but dead, teammate that they searched him and split his loot up amongst themselves, with the exception of his Dagger +1 and he very cool black, magical box. More on that later.

The mage (being the only member left in the party capable of making morally challenging decisions, now that the thief is dead) was left alone with the warrior inside of his room and tied up for a little “advanced interrogation techniques”. The room contained, among other things, a full-scale stone horse statue in the room. Odd; you say? The mage thought the same thing and cast Identify on it, to discover it was a kind of Figurine of Wondrous Power, but one that was in no way a figurine, even by the loosest interpretation. This was a Massive As Hell Statue of Wondrous Power. Turns out that the use of the command word brings the statue to life and it can be ridden by one person, who can turn ethereal or astral while on the mount. Neat. This will come in handy in about 90 seconds.

Ingrid stood outside the door guarding it (and trying to bend her sword back straight)with Tharsis, while Robert and Iomhar stood further towards the end. A woman in leather came around the corner and startled the group. She turned and ran, with Iomhar and Richard in hot pursuit. Tharsis and Ingrid fell back into the room and locked the door. Since there was no time left for interrogation, the warrior found his throat accidentally cut as well and was looted.

The woman in leather was running all through the caves, beating on the doors she encountered along the way. Lots and lots of footsteps were heard scrambling around. Taking this as a proverbial “bad sign”, Iomhar and Richard performed a well-practiced about face and hauled ass towards the surface. All of the loot was loaded onto the stone horse with the mage, who used the command word to turn ethereal and made his way outside with the loot like a ghostly Santa Claus. Tharsis and Ingrid were close to the exit, and slipped outside where everyone met up.

The party was running back to the Keep (something they were getting good at) when they encountered a large cat with snake-like appendages coming out of its back. A displacer beast; you say? The party thought so too, but you are all wrong. It was a kamadan. I know, I had to look it up too. Neat thing about the kamadan is that it has a breath weapon that is a cone of sleep. Want to know how the party found that out? The hard way.

A few bad saving throws later and Ingrid and Iomhar are the only two left standing. They managed to single-handedly (double-handedly) drop the beast and revive everyone else that was face-planted in the dirt. A hop and a skip later, and they are back in the Keep, dividing all of the loot while they mourn the loss of their pyromaniac thief.

The mage encounters a drunken gnome in the tavern who looked inexplicably like he would be really good at roguery activities, so he was promptly hired to work for the party.

Naturally, he was given the magical box and dagger that had belonged to the previous thief. Only after being hired did the party find out that the new thief apparently has Tourette’s Syndrome, something that is bound to complicate future negotiations. What can I say? D&D is awesome.

So remember the mage from the ominous storms? Now the party catches a glimpse of him in the burned-out shell of Dubricus’ old shop armed with a crystal ball and casting some scrying spells. Sounds like trouble brewing.

Zaphael find Dubricus in the room for rent the party loaned him and returned the grimoire he had looted from Koyten’s corpse. He made up a story about finding it in the sewers, but Dubricus did not care. He was just happy. Off he scampered where he told the powerful cousin mage that the book had been “found” and returned.

Not that it mattered. The ominous mage, who, it turns out, was the Marquis D’Amberville, had already divined what happened and was presently looking for Koyten’s ass to plant a few feet into it. Zaphael discussed the matter with the vengeance-minded mage and explained that Koyten was very dead and very sorry for what happened. 300 gold was then donated to Dubricus to replace his Olde Shoppe with a Newe Shoppe. Everyone was placated, despite his very obvious Aura of Fear and his penchant for chastising Dubricus.

Don’t ask about the dragon egg. That is none of their business.

The party, still thirsting for some mayhem, heads back to the Caves of Chaos, this time attacking from a different angle. They run into a cave system that is populated by 20+ bandits. Having refined their tactics over the last few fights, the party basically plows through them. Tharsis was thoughtful enough to charm one of the brigands and used him to great effectiveness to extract information from him. Another brigand was used for extracting information the old fashioned way – ye olde torture. Once the party was satisfied with the data they had, they left him rolled up in a large rug and tied it.

Trouble is not had until they run into the boss, who is disguised as a hot chick hanging on a wall. Assuming that is a normal decoration in these parts, the party totally ignored her until the thief under the Charm Person spell points out that the hot half-naked chick chained to the wall is actually the boss. She proceeds to drop down and start whooping some ass and then makes a mad dash for the door. With only a glimpse of her cloak as she departed, Zaphael cast Darkness 15’ Radius on her cloak as she tried to flee. The remaining occupants of the room were dispatched and the party went out in the hallway and found the boss bouncing off the walls, blinded in the magical darkness. A quick death later, and the party was off and running, back to the Keep.

On the way back, the newest member of the party, the gnome rogue with Tourette’s syndrome explained that he had taken the time to drop an anvil on the head of the brigand in the rug we left tied up before we departed.

Yes; an anvil. Turns out he has a Heward’s Handy Haversack and had an anvil in it, which he used to effect his first kill….totally Wiley Coyote style.

Oh yeah; D&D is awesome!

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The Fifth Session; Caves of Chaos

August 6, 2013

Did I ever tell you about the time the party used suicide bombers that were zombies strapped with explosives and holy water and sent them into an evil temple? No? Well…

The party picked up where they left off, cowering in the Myconid cave. They knew they had three potential leads: the mysterious traps in the swamps to the south, the Hidden Temple in the Caves, and going after the spider buried in the Myconid cave. A quick look at the entrance to the hidey-hole in the Myconid cave proved that Ingrid’s shield had collapsed the tunnel completely, so that was ruled out. Zaphael, who is both a mage and an alchemist, along with Richter, the new thief, wanted to go to the swamps to collect some sulfur anyway. They had a plan to develop some gunpowder for some makeshift dynamite….cause….ya never know. Everyone reasoned that dynamite might come in handy in the Caves, so off to the swamp we went.

Or tried.

On the way, the party got ambushed by two leucrotta. One directly ahead and one directly behind. Robert, son of Paul and Tharsis turned to engage the leucrotta at the rear. Zaphael cast Levitate and promptly sent the front leucrotta skyward. After a brief pause to consider that, everyone else engaged the leucrotta to the rear. It was laid waste in short order. Once the levitating leucrotta drifted up to 100 feet, it was released and made a very big splat. Graceful? No. But let that be a lesson to all the other leucrotta!

Upon exploring the swamps to the south, a boulder fall-trap is discovered. The party hastily creates a fake corpse and hides and sets off the trap. The plan was to ambush the ambush site. We set off the trap, wait for whatever made the trap to come by and then ambush them. However, we got ambushed while ambushing the ambush site. The kobolds (by the way, it was kobolds) ended up behind our ambush position and basically walked right up to us. Figuring that plan very quickly went to crap, the Tharsis the priest and Iomhar the ranger engage the kobolds with some hasty negotiations.

A deal was struck in which Tharsis, Robert and Iomhar would go back to the Keep, get a mule and a wagon, load it down with alcoholic goodies and bring it back to bribe the kobolds to behave, to leave the humans in the area alone, and to consider the swamps to be their cozy little reservation until such time as we could clear the Caves out. Meanwhile, Zaphael and Richter went about collecting their sulfur. After all was said and done, back to the Keep it was in order to inform the Castellan of the Keep of the deal we had struck and the obligations of the truce.


Tharsis, feeling wicked good about his negotiation skills, runs into two of Mendel’s gaurds and Mouse, the Halfling thief we almost killed last week, in the tavern. Mendel, you might recall, is the merchant in charge of the caravan that got us here in the first place, and the secret evil slave trader behind the slave trading going on in and around the Caves of Chaos. Well, unfortunately, he was accompanied by Richter, our thief, who suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome. Zaphael was upstairs trying to prepare the gunpowder, while Ingrid, Robert and Iomhar were coming back from securing the wagon and mule and passing on the relevant information to the Keep. Things turned south really fast.

Richter’s Tourette’s kicked into high gear, and sure enough, a fight broke out. Mendel’s guards started to attack, so Tharsis tried to stop them with a Hold Person spell. Mouse stole Tharsis’ holy symbol and slips out the door. The Hold Person spell worked nicely, too…except for the fact that Mendel and about a dozen more bodyguards showed up at exactly that moment. Mouse was out there with them.

Tharsis cast Charm Person on one of the guards being held, a female. She failed her save and Tharsis tried to send her out to negotiate with Mendel, who was demanding the release of his guards. Otar (the charmed female) failed terribly at negotiations, but excelled at her use of a bola. Thus, the fight breaks out, OK Corral-style.

Most of the party retreats to the tavern and tries to barricade it. Mendel and Mouse, the Halfling thief are about 40 yards away. Iomhar darts upstairs and alerts Zaphael to the situation. Iomhar and Zap take positions by second floor windows looking down on the fracas. The guards in front start trying to break down the door. The guards in the rear pull out their crossbows. Mendel starts casting a spell.

Roll for initiative, baby!

Zap comes up with a 6 and leads off with Glitterdust and centers it on Mendel. It works and Mendel, who was casting invisible, managed to turn invisible, but was still covered with gold dust…and blinded. Iomhar started firing off arrows. Tharsis’ charmed guard started laying waste with her bolas. Mendel’s guards with the crossbows start firing at Zap and Iomhar.

The guards at the door break in and go after Tharsis, Ingrid, Robert and Richter. It is a mistake. The party gets the upper hand quickly and tears them a new ass. Ingrid in particular rolls a critical hit and massive damage. The DM decides that she basically severed the guy’s head and all limbs in a single, mighty blow. Morale checks are failed miserably by 5 or 6 guards, who run away, peeing their pants. The party spills out into the street.

Iomhar gets some good hits on Mendel, and Tharsis’ charmed guard drops him with yet another awesome bola shot. Several more guards are dropped and Mendel is killed as well. Mouse is finally laid waste and suddenly the Keep Watch shows up. Tharsis against puts those negotiation (and lying) skills to the test and gets us out of trouble and gets the remaining guards arrested and held for questioning. We also get the keys to Mouse’s shop and Mendel’s caravan. We loot our little hearts out.

During the looting, Richter, OUR thief, finds Tharsis’ holy symbol on the corpse of Mouse, and for reasons no one quite gets, refuses to give it back to the priest. Negotiations quickly collapse into a brawl until finally Richter gives the holy symbol back after taking a beating. I’ll never understand rogues.

So the truce meeting with the kobolds was so well received that the kobolds rewarded the party with a surprisingly well drawn map of the Caves, where they had previously resided, and where the party was determined to go. A study of the map leads to a bizarre plan to assault the Hidden Temple at the heart of this whole mess. Rather than grind it out, an insane guerilla tactic is settled on. Zombie suicide bombers!

Iomhar and Richter cook up a plan on how to assault the caves. It involves a lot of explosions and mayhem, which suits the party fine. The chances of success are slim, which also suits the party fine. However, Tharsis chimes in with “Why don’t we have Zap use his Amulet of Undead Control to control some zombies, strap them down with the explosives Richter and Zap made, load them down with all of my holy water, and march them into the temple and set them off?”

We all sat there silently for a few minutes. Could it work? Would it work?


So, we approach the Caves and find a fresh batch of rotting zombies. A quickly roll on the attempt to control undead and we get them all; six of them. We hold 4 back as bodyguards and set 2 up as suicide holy bombers and march them in, using the map as a guide. We also load them down with as much fragmentation as we can in the form of copper, silver and electrum pieces along with the holy water. They march in and explode…after a few moments of calculating and dice rolling and ponderous looks from the DM, it is decided that the explosion as a catastrophic success. The suicide zombie bombers wiped out 62 undead in the temple! That’s the good news.

The bad news? The flesh golem, owlbear, remaining dozen zombies and the Necromancer coming from behind.

A massive fight was had. Zap cast Darkness 15’ radius on the flesh golem’s two heads…one of which was the head of our former party member, Koyten. Iomhar, Robert and Ingrid set to work on the zombies. The Necromancer and the owlbear were at the rear, so we had a moment or two. The flesh golem threw a flask of flaming oil at the priest, who, it turns out, is flammable. A stop, drop and roll took care of that. Richter lands a backstab and runs off to disappear again. Zap hits the flesh golem with a Chromatic Orb, blinding it again. Richter lands another backstab. The Necromancer and owlbear close in.

On the other side, Ingrid and Robert land some of their best rolls in the adventure yet. Ingrid rolled like….a dozen 20s during the night, most of them in this fight. Zombie parts flew everywhere…and then she rolled two 1s in a row, yet again mangling herself.

Iomhar and his pet cat cleaned up the last few zombies, while everyone else focused on the flesh golem. Robert landed some good rolls and dropped the flesh golem, including decapitating Koyten’s head…again. The owlbear came in fast and the Necromancer cast a Fireball that nearly dusted us. The priest ended up unconscious from the damage he sustained, Richter, Iomhar and Zaphael were all at less than 50%. Ingrid acted quickly and poured a Potion of Healing down Tharsis’ throat to keep him from dying.

Robert and Richter kept hitting hard while Zap cast invisibility and back away since he lost about 50% of his hit points with that facefull of Fireball, and sent the zombies under his control to attack. An ugly and bloody fight soon ends with the owlbear, golem, Necromancer and zombies all dead.

Knowing that there is still a lot of undead and other unsavory types around, the party grabs Koyten’s head and the corpse of the Necromancer and run away back to the Keep to search them and split the loot.

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The Sixth Session; Caves of Chaos

August 20, 2013

The sixth session of the party’s adventures in and around the Caves of Chaos were the most combat intensive yet.

The party picked up back at Kendall Keep healing up after the last session. While there, healing up and restocking, they found that the merchant caravan of Rocknose Hammerstaff had arrived and offered an opportunity to do some wheelin’ and dealin’. The party also learned that in three days, the Keep population will be celebrating the Autumn Festival. That gave the party 3 days to kill until the festival started. And what does our beloved party do with 3 days to kill? Why, kill, of course!

The party heads back to the cave entrance where we had previously assaulted the Hidden Temple, taking a real beating in the process. We get back to the cave entrance and find that it has now been partially barricaded by a makeshift stone wall with maybe a half dozen goblin archers behind it. Iomhar and Richter move into tactical positions on the flanks, while Robert and Ingrid close in for a frontal assault. Zaphael and Tharsis move up behind them.

A conversation is had on which is the best approach to take in dismantling this defense, which is quickly trumped by Richter, who felt a stick of dynamite would probably do the trick. He was right. A quick move through the rocks bits and goblin goo and we were back in the caves.

We moved down the hallway where it comes to a T-section. A quick look down both ends reveals identical barricades in both directions, creating a deadly killzone for the party to step into. Iomhar picked up a rock and Zaphael cast Darkness 15’ Radius on it. Iomhar tossed it down the hall in front of one of the barricades, blinding the goblin archers on that end. Robert, Ingrid and Tharsis headed down the opposite end to engage the goblins there. Iomhar and his pet mountain lion headed towards the barricade that was blinded by the Darkness spell to engage them. Richter remained outside, and using his magical snake, worked it’s way past the barricade by Iomhar to scout out what lay beyond.

Turns out, what lay beyond both barricades was a second string of zombies and a priest on each end. The first few rounds of combat pass with the party rolling very well and slicing through most of the goblins. One particularly stout goblin (later revealed to be a goblin king….who looked nothing like David Bowie….and also was not a level 20 Illusionist) ran into Robert “The Meatgrinder”. Robert in two swings dropped the goblin king to 1 hit point, who retreated back to the priest for a quick heal.

Zaphael, who remained in the first hallway, hears the sounds of something trying to sneak up behind the party by slipping in the entrance they had used. The DM also mentioned that is sounded “big”! Deducing that sneaky + big + behind us is bad, cast Dark Mirror on himself and slipped down the hallway to stand in the middle of the Darkness 15’ Radius spell area and wait to see what was coming up behind them.

Iomhar and his cat easily held their own against the first barricade, and Tharsis with Ingrid began to move back his way after cleaning the goblin and zombie goo off of themselves. They ran face-first into the big, sneaky thing…which happened to be a 9’ troll. They engage the troll, but after a single round (in which the troll got a pretty good hit on both Ingrid and Tharsis), Zaphael cast Lubricity under the troll, putting all three squarely on their butts. The priest popped out and cast Hold Person on Ingrid…to which Tharsis replied by casting Charm Person on the priest. Failed saving throws all around (except for the troll) and a very different situation was presenting itself. The troll would be free in one round and the party not free for two rounds. Also, the Lubricity spell separated everyone from everyone else. Zaphael cast Slow on the troll to flip the odds, and the troll failed his saving throw.

Tharsis and his new best buddy priest swung the undead to our side while Ingrid, Zaphael and Robert finished off the troll. Richter slipped by everyone and ducked into a secret door that led to the treasury for the temple. While Richter very quietly looted his heart out, Zaphael literally cut the heart out of the troll and saved it for future alchemical experiments. Iomhar, the cat, Ingrid and our new zombie and priest allies pressed the attack against the second waves of skeletons and zombies on that side of the hallway. Richter came screaming and yelling out of the hidden treasury with some sort of shiny slime on himself. He makes it halfway down the hallway before he drops to the ground, paralyzed.

Tharsis tries to scrape the slime off of Richter, only to find out that it is not a slime, but more of an amoeba-like monster (Invisible Tracker or something) which attaches itself to him, attacking him now. Zaphael cast Levitate on the slime and lifted it above everyone and out of range for it to fight back. A few oils, Magic Missiles from the wand and a few friendly zombie attacks and the slime is dead…and quickly scraped into a bottle for future use.

The other end of the hallway is finally subdued, due in large part to good rolls and creative shield bashing from Robert, Iomhar and Ingrid and the halls are quelled. Tharsis learns from the charmed priest that there are two high priests who are not here at the moment and few zombies left cleaning the place up from the previous session’s explosive mayhem. Tharsis cleverly manipulates the priest while the party stealthily cleans out the temple’s treasury. The party, with all of their goodies and a priest in tow, head back to the myconid cave to rest and heal up. A debate is had over what to do with the charmed priest. Kill him? Let him go? Give him wedgies? Tharsis decides to hoodwink the poor guy a little more and sends him far away on a geas-like quest to do battle with neutrality…or something. The priest was named Wer. Remember that. If this party has proven anything, it has proven that anytime we leave a foe, they ALWAYS show up later.

The party rests for a day and decides to head out back to the Keep to attend the Autumn Festival. However, as they attempt to exit the myconid caves, they are confronted with what appears to be the two missing high priests, 5 minotaur bodyguards and a contingent of hobgoblins behind them, very OK Corral-style.

So what happened…..? Tune in for our next session!

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Session 7; Chaos of Chaos; conclusion?

September 10, 2013

As you recall, our intrepid adventurers were attempting to exit the myconid cavern to return to Kendall Keep to participate in the Autumn Festival. However, the party is greeted instead by two very angry priests, 6 minotaurs, half a dozen zombies and a challenge to the death!

Hell yeah!

The party falls back just inside the mouth of the cavern, which is 20 feet wide. Richter and Iomhar are on the west side of the entrance, and everyone else in on the east. The minotaur throw large leather satchels into the cave entrance while a voice from outside, presumably one of the evil priests, works an incantation. The satchels burst open and 8 skeletons rise up. 4 of the skeletons were green-ish and wrapped in barbed wire, and 4 were red with glowing red balls of magical energy inside of their ribcages. Iomhar, his cat and Richter were surprised from behind by a hidden female and a mummy-like cat who had set up an ambush. Game on!

Zaphael dropped a Lubricity spell under the skeletons, which put them flat on their boney butts. The rest of the party drink Potions of Speed and set in to attack. Some of the skeletons start crawling west, and some go east. Iomhar engage the female with arrows, Richter hides and moves into position for a backstab. Iomhar’s pet cat moved to attack the mummy cat thing.

Robert and Ingrid are able to make quick work of the first wave of skeletons, only to find a nasty surprise. When the red skeletons die, they explode like a fireball! This is particularly brutal for Robert, who takes a bunch of damage, so he gives a bunch of damage right back. Attempts to turn the undead by Tharsis prove futile.

Seeing the slippery entrance, one of the minotaurs is thrown into the cavern to get past the entrance, only to get obliterated by Robert. Iomhar and Richter take out the female fighter quickly, thanks to some 20s and a good backstab by Richter. Attacking the mummy undead cat thing proves difficult as we learn (ye olde hard way) that it can only be hit by magic items.

Outside of the cave, where the rest of the minotaur, zombies, more skeletons and the priests are waiting is far from quiet. The kobolds the party had befriended earlier showed up from the treeline to the west and engaged a priest with slings, using nuggets of poop containing rot grubs.


To the east, a nasty storm brews up rather quickly, heralding the arrival of the druid that our previous thief had been so determined to offend. He drops a nasty lightning bolt on the second priest, actually the high priestess of the cult. Once the remaining undead inside the cave are destroyed (with a few more explosions), the fight spilled outside.

More exceptional rolls and wave after wave of heavy damage dealt by the party and the undead as well as the minotaurs drop fast. One minotaur, due to a freakish 20 rolled by the kobolds, caught a rot grub filled poop ball practically in his mouth. The party put him out of his misery. The male priest, also distracted by rot grubs, was quickly laid waste. Tharsis nailed a turn undead that sent the remaining zombies running to the hills (someone will get the Iron Maiden reference there). The high priestess, now all alone, uses a magic item to slip into the ethereal plane.

It was a massive, lengthy battle, but one the party won in a very one-sided fashion.

After weighing the options, the party decided to rest a couple of days and return to the Caves of Chaos to finish cleaning them out and to make a last ditch effort to look for Tywilla. The party stumbled upon some very confused undead caretakers and researchers. Believe it or not, it was the ranger and the cleric who decided the undead should get to “live” and we left them alone.

We continued on exploring and were able to free several more prisoners hidden in the caves. Eventually the party finally finds and frees Tywilla, who appears to be some form of undead that we have not quite figured out yet. Although the ranger and cleric really want to kill her, just to be on the safe side (which is the exact opposite stance they took on the skeletons), they are talked out of it by the evil mage (go figure). We decide to eventually take her back to the Keep when the time comes to see if she can be saved or possibly resurrected once the caves are done. We clear one last area, and get hit with multiple spells that nearly disorient the party completely, threatening to trap them deeply in the caves. However, they manage to make their way to a single room at the end of a long, winding corridor.

The room is very well and richly decorated with only a single female asleep on a couch and covered with sheets. She is awakened and oddly, is wearing a hood. We first think she might be the priestess, but that idea is quickly dismissed when it occurred to use she actually might be a medusa! The mage doesn’t feel like taking chances, and drops a Darkness 15’ radius on himself before warning the party. Everyone is engulfed in darkness, while the woman scurries off.

Ingrid peeks out of the darkness and sees with her infravision, heated footsteps that went to a wall and disappeared. Richter finds the secret door and Zaphael moves to stand in front of it, engulfing it with his darkness spell. The door is opened and the party carefully peers inside. The room is a treasure room framed by suits of armor around the perimeter of the room. Zaphael drops a Lubricity spell in the room and Tharsis summoned a Dust Devil to knock over the suits of armor, eventually revealing which contained the hidden woman. The woman produces a bow and nails Zaphael with a shot coated with poison. Zaphael was dropped to 2 hit points, saved only by the quick reaction of Tharsis, the priest. The woman is killed quickly thereafter, revealing that she was, in fact, a medusa!

The party returned to Kendall Keep with their mighty loot in tow, to get cleaned up in time for the Autumn Festival.

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Caves of Chaos; Session 8

September 24, 2013

I can’t tell this story chronologically, because it would lose impact. Therefore I’ll tell it chromatically! The most colorful parts first: We were fresh out of the frying pan and straight into the zombie apocalypse.

We were living high on the hog after beating most of the bosses, with one running away into the ethereal plane. We did a little searching around the caves to clean up any loot, but the boss that ran away had enough to loot whatever she wanted. We did find a few prisoners that were survivors, or so we thought.

Turns out their were biological time bombs.

The necromancer had developed a spell that infected these people with an undead contagion not unlike what you see in zombie movies these days. They turn fast, move fast and infect people hard. We didn’t know this at the time, but there was much debate yet again over what to do with the very dead, but very much moving anyway. Throughout the arguing, she bit someone (clue?) so Robert killed her. Turns out she wasn’t the only one feeling bitey. Another of the survivors bit another survivor and people started running away screaming.

Iomhar tried to chase one down. Tharsis, Robert and Ingrid stayed and tried to help the remaining survivors get back to the Keep. Zap and Richter took off to warn the Keep in case the people who ran away went that way. Along the way to the Keep, a wagon was spotted with dead people in it that had clearly been feasted on. Like I said, these things move really fast.

Zap and Richter ended up at the Keep and things were already getting out of control. Iomhar got to the Keep and ended up being arrested when he was trying to warn everyone. The population of the Keep had swollen by another 400 people who had arrived for an Autumn Festival. People in the Keep were already infected and things were getting out of hand. Zap and Richter ducked down into the sewers and tried to escape. Turns out the sewers already had undead in them (I said they were fast). Zap and Richter had to use a number of tricks to work their way out of the drainage grate and tumbled down the hillside, where they ducked into the woods and hid.

Iomhar managed to talk his way out of trouble and met up with Tharsis, Robert and Ingrid.

I’ll finish writing this thing tomorrow.

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Caves of Chaos, Session 9

Ok, so that’s a lie. It isn’t exactly the “Caves of Chaos” so much as it is the transition into the exploration and inevitable total domination of Quasqueton!

I know what you are thinking: what the flying French hell does that mean? I am not really sure. It is a name that has kept popping up at various points in our adventures thus far. So far we think it is a place, that it can be accessed from the Caves of Chaos, and that it is spooky.

That’s about it.

Tharis, with a few well placed spells relating to stone movement and management, has managed to burrow us a lovely tunnel into the entrance of Quasqueton. Other than a few Magic Mouths telling us to get bent, the coast seems clear. We traveled down a hallway that tapered off the right, with Richter leading the way, checking for traps, and Iomvar close behind as his overwatch, and Ingrid guarding. Tharsis and Zaphael were in the middle, and a very oddly acting Robert was rear security.

We came to an intersection that went off in three directions. A few more checked and disarmed traps and a few picked locks later, and we find a chest with a key inside, guarded by nothing more than another magic mouth. It turns out the opposing hallway back at the intersection contained someth


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