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November 14, 2004

Three Different Poisons

Roscoe's Journal

Okay, something very strange is going on here. We divvied up some new found wealth and I did some shopping, ate and got some sleep. In the morning Charzth wasn’t here anymore. The really strange thing is Nosila is. She obviously didn’t want to talk, and was very upset, so when she picked me up I just went along with it, it seemed to make her feel better to carry me. Besides I still feel a little stiff from that centipede bite. Bryrgar hasn’t been arguing as readily with me as he has been. I hope he doesn’t think those arrows I accidentally hit Charzth with were on purpose. By Brandobaris I hope that’s not why Charzth left. Now I really feel bad, and no, it’s not the three different poisons going through me right now.

Anyway, we decided to go after the rod to contain the lich, and bumped into this forest gnome, I forget his name, who was nice enough to take us directly to the place we wanted to go. Unfortunately I couldn’t persuade him to join us even though it would help keep his woods safe from undead and stuff.

Bryrgar didn’t say much about me looking for traps, and had nothing to say when I got caught in a spider web, of course at the time I chalked it up to us having to fight giant spiders. I got bit and was unable to even wear my armor. Still feeling the centipede venom in my limbs I now had lost most of my strength, not that I was all that strong to begin with. The others made easy work of the spiders though. So we followed some tracks in the dust to where the path Ts off. I saw the perfect spot for a secret passage, but was dragged away because someone notice Bryrgar had wandered off on his own. I tell you for as old as the boy is you’d think he’d have learned some patience.

Anyway we found him fighting four giant spiders and there was this strange looking spider thing sitting way back kinda watching. So I grab one of my poisoned arrows and accidentally poison myself with it. I tell you it isn’t easy functioning with the effects of three poisons working at once, but I kept going, and together we were able to put down the spider beast.

That was when I noticed the unusual silence from Bryrgar. He muttered and mumbled a lot, but didn’t direct anything at me, at least not as openly as he was.

To be honest the only one who isn’t acting any differently right now is Sprocket. I’m afraid they think I did the arrow thing to Charzth on purpose and I didn’t. I don’t want them to think I’d do that. Oh man, now what am I going to do, not only do they not trust my skills, but they think I’ll do some kind of retribution on them if they won’ let me work. I got it. I gotta prove myself to them. That’s it— I’ll show them I’m a good guy. I don’t quite know how yet, but I’ll think of something. I swear it.

Posted by Fred at 00:49 | Roscoe’s Journal

A lass and A lack!

Nosila's Journal

We shared out the loot, reserving the magic items for our “party” to take to a larger town. I have more gold and silver than I’ve ever seen, before! I wonder what I will buy with it?

After that, we went to bed.

Except, Charzth said to me, “We need to talk”. He said that he “needed some space!” He said that he needed “time off” to think! He said that being married wasn’t turning out like he thought it would, that it was “his problem, not mine.” And he’ll maybe be back sometime, and he still thinks I smell good. Then he was gone. What did I do wrong?

I’m too embarrassed to go home. What would my father think?

The next morning, I met with the rest of the group, who decided to go shopping. I tried to pay attention to what one buys with 800-plus gold, but I found myself looking all around, just in case Charzth had done enough thinking already and come back. By the third time I tripped over a little person, they realized I was the only tall one around today.

(OK, it came out because I finally realized Roscoe was loading me down with his purchases like a pack animal and I picked him up by one ankle to discuss the matter, which got everyone’s attention...)

I sat down and cried a little, which really did help some, and explained to them the best I could that my husband wasn’t going to be around for a while, but I didn’t want to go home without him. They seemed glad that I wanted to stay with them for now. They even tried to make me feel better but I’m not up for jokes just yet.

Back at the tavern, we talked about whether the magical stuff we’d found was cursed, and, if it was, how to remove any curses? I told them I was willing to try anything on as a test, even the plain gold band that looks just like the wedding rings they wear in some parts of the realm...

The gold ring didn’t do anything. Roscoe tried it on and decided to keep it, since it matched his pendant. The silver ring made me stop feeling chilly - I was happy to keep that one, for now! The mace didn’t do anything, but it felt wonderfully well-made. I gave a couple of swings with it and liked it a lot. I thought that perhaps Bryrgar would want it, but he seems happy with the axe his deity honors, so I ended up with the mace, too, for now.

Finally, we set off east, after the cleric Giles and his band, and hopefully, the bishop’s rod for the lich! Bryrgar still had his warbarrow and braziers, thumping his way around the trees and rocks of the forest floor. Sprocket ended up sitting on my shoulders and using my head as a prop for the lich’s journal. Sometimes she read parts out loud for us. She and Roscoe talked about a bunch of things. They lie a lot! I told them about our winter Lying Contest and thought they’d do very well in it, especially Sprocket! At least the walk wasn’t boring...

Suddenly, a bear loomed out of the darkness of the woods! We all stopped right away. When it didn’t immediately attack, we began to slowly back away. Then, a gnome with a spear stepped out from behind the bear! He didn’t attack, either. In fact, he tried to warn us that the woods were not safe. After some confusing conversation, Sprocket finally got us all introduced, and asked the wild gnome about the last party of travelers to come through. And, thank Ubtao, he had seen them!

Colmarr was interested in our story of the lich and the zombie attacks on the village. He knew which set of ruins Giles and his party went to some days ago, and was willing to lead us there. We hid Bryrgar’s warbarrow, and set off with the wild gnome. After he made the mistake of pointing out owlbear tracks (we had to dissuade Roscoe from chasing after them, instead), we kept everyone on-topic by talking about the other group. Colmarr said there were two human, one half-elf, and one “almost-human” - with all black eyes. Wonder what that is? We reached the edge of the ruins as night fell.

Expecting the other group to be long-gone anyway, we camped outside. The night passed quietly, once we got used to the strange shadows that flitted about inside the ruins.. Roscoe’s watch passed with him occasionally muttering, “There goes one! Whoops! There’s another!” but he didn’t try to chase them. Restless spirits of the forest, said Colmarr, former inhabitants of a kingdom cursed and lost to monsters. It made me wonder what Giles wanted to do here... set off more trouble?

We found a circular stair into the ground inside the ruins. Colmarr would not go any further, saying the forest only was his realm. We thanked him, and, praying he hadn’t led us to a trap, set off into the deeps.

The hallway at the base of the steps was full of cobwebs, but we could see tracks through the dust. Roscoe got tangled in a web, which woke up the giant spiders! He was bitten several times, even as I shot arrows and Bryrgar went swinging with his axe and Sprocket pulled out a weird tube thing and BOOM, I found out the source of the strange noise in our fights! It did take a big chunk out of a spider, though. Poor Roscoe was poisoned, losing his strength to the point that he couldn’t even carry his own pack... or his armor. So I’m his pack mule after all, but I don’t mind.

Bryrgar used a torch to burn away the webs, following the footprints. We met with more spiders, and these ones shot webbing to tangle us. Roscoe managed to shoot me - what is his problem? Breaking free, I found that the mace works very well in close fighting. With all the spiders dead and Bryrgar healing himself up, Roscoe checked the hallway. He got obsessed with the dead-end, certain that a secret door must be there. When I noticed that Bryrgar was long-gone, I had to pick up the halfling by the ankle again to follow.

He’s going to start watching me for that trick. I’ll have to be careful.

Since Roscoe and Sprocket were pretty much eye-to-eye, they kept right on with their talk about “tall people” while I tried to listen for Bryrgar. Roscoe was arguing the benefits of taking some poison glands from the spiders (probably get himself in more trouble that way), when I heard a scuffle up ahead! We ran to help Bryrgar.

He’d found the main spider den - and a very big spider! Roscoe promptly poisoned himself with an arrow (see what I mean?), and got hit by spider webbing. He kept shooting arrows. I ended up fighting with the smaller spiders, while the others shot at the big one (BOOM) and we all got entangled but pulled loose.. and Roscoe poisoned himself, again.. and then the little ones were all dead but the big one came racing across the room!

As it got closer, we saw that the wounds on it were already healing. When I hit it with the new mace, it didn’t heal. I found myself raging into battle, then! I ignored everything, including the “potato fire” from Sprocket that engulfed the thing, and smashed it to bits with the mace. Sprocket is still trying to figure out how to let us know when she’s faking an image.. what a contestant in the Lying Contest she would be! If I were going home any time soon, that is...

Tired and sad, I watched as the others tore open the cocoons in the spider’s web. Everyone in them was dead - we found the other party, and some animals. Searching their stuff, we found armor, torches (I took them), packs, and a silver rod which I pray is for the lich’s lair! The cleric - Giles? - turned out to have a symbol of Helm with him. So, he wasn’t evil after all. I wonder why he did this, then?

We must head back to the village, and soon. I fear that one last passageway in these ruins has caught our curiosity, though. After some more rest, we’ll decide what to do.

Posted by Kate at 10:24 | Nosila’s Journal

A Strange Turn

Sprocket's Journal

Eleasis 5, 1373 DR, Um....

We took a quick peek into the last hallway we’d left unexplored. Burning away a few dozen webs revealed some cocoons, but no more recognizable bodies, just a few old bones.

We went back up the steps out of the ruins, and Colmarr and his bear were waiting for us. I was glad, as Bryrgar had no healing left to provide and I was hoping the druid could patch up Roscoe a bit. However, the forest gnome was more interested in what we’d done to the inhabitants of the ruins. When we told him we’d killed a large spider with red eyes, he seemed a bit put out and said, “Why did you go and do that? Now I’ll have to breed another one.”

We stared at him for a few moments more, too stunned to really react. He reacted though— saying, “Well, I can feed you to one of my other pets!” and began waving his hands for a spell. As his bear reared up in front of us, we found vines beginning to curl up around us, trying to hold us in place. Having no offensive spells left, I tried shooting the druid with my pistol. I missed, and became entwined in his spell of entanglement. To make matters worse, another large bear appeared by the druid’s companion, and both of the ursine creatures began to attack the taller members of our group (Bryrgar was doing his best to keep between me and Bear at all times).

All the while, Bryrgar and Roscoe yelled bear recipes back and forth to each other.

I managed to have enough strength to rip the vines away from myself, but before I could get another shot at the druid, he ran away. His bear followed almost immediately. The second bear was slain, but moments later, its body disappeared.

We knew we had to get out of the woods as quickly as possible, but since we no longer had a guide (and hadn’t kept track of how we’d gotten here), getting out was going to be tricky. Nosila, who hunted in the jungles of Chult up until quite recently, figured she could get us headed in the right direction without being able to see the sun, so we went in what she thought was a generally west direction.

After a while, we heard the howling of wolves, and soon five of the creatures appeared, first nipping at Bryrgar (who again tried to keep me safe) and then eventually attacking all of us. I was bit by one and went down hard, and had to shoot it in the jaw to drive it off. It circled around and came back for another attack a few seconds later— another bullet drove it off, and two of its pack mates ran off as well; two lay where they fell to my companions’ weapons. We were looking nearly as bad ourselves. Nosila was unconscious— we dumped all of our healing potions into her just to bring her back to consciousness. We decided to rest until Bryrgar could provide some proper healing, which meant a long rest in a not-too-protected area. While we rested, I checked the magic items we’d found again. The silver rod appeared to be abjuration magic, so I figured whoever was on watch should hold it on the off-chance it could provide some protection. The potion, now that I’d looked at it, was obviously radiating illusion magic— perhaps an invisibility potion. Widget even tried to help, but most of what he knows of magic he learned from me. That, thankfully, was the most excitement we had for the next few hours— I didn’t feel up to sharing any more gnomish lore with my friends, even though Roscoe seems to genuinely enjoy them. The shadows came out again at sundown, but, like the night before, we didn’t bother them and they ignored us.

We felt a bit better in the morning, and Bryrgar provided what healing he could to us. We started off again in what we thought was the general direction of west.

About an hour later, we heard strange music— pipes and fiddles. It didn’t sound threatening, so we continued towards it, and eventually came to a clearing where several satyrs and some tiny grasshopper centaurs (I believe they go by the name “grig,” though I’ve never seen them before) were playing instruments and drinking. They offered us some mushroom wine— Bryrgar was willing to drink some, but I was having trouble getting over the strangeness of the situation and was glad when we were on our way again. About an hour later, I wish we’d stayed and chatted with them, for perhaps they could have prepared us for what we saw.

We had arrived in another clearing. We found that we were in a valley, surrounded by the forest, fog and mountains on all sides. To the north and south of us were rivers— but no Lake of Steam. And to the west, a crystal palace. For lack of anything specific to walk towards, it looks like we’ll head to the palace. I know we didn’t walk through a portal (I’m sure I would have noticed that!), so how did we end up so far away from our destination?

Posted by Kristin at 23:42 | Sprocket’s Journal