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!