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Doing the Rat Thing

Sprocket’s Journal

Uktar 15, 1373 DR, Pommeville?

The walk to Pommeville was uneventful. I spent most of the time trying to confirm the season, and then the year. I decided, based on the farms full of rotting produce, that it must still be 1373 DR, and at least four weeks after the harvests should have been brought in. When we got to Pommeville, we were better able to see why the harvest never took place.

Large hyena-headed humanoids were directing enslaved people and zombies to reconstruct the ruined temple to Tiamat, while the town’s shrine to Ilmater was now gone! Roscoe wanted to sneak off and investigate quietly on his own. I was sure the gnolls would see him, but we remembered the ring we’d taken from the once-invisible fiend. Roscoe tried it on and managed to zap himself— a whiff of ozone and a flash— leaving a still-visible, if singed, halfling. I tried it on and finished the incantation for an invisibility spell and vanished from view. After showing Roscoe how it worked, he disappeared, and was off to see what he could see.

He was sneaking past a few gnoll taskmasters, zombies, and enslaved townsfolk when the spell wore off. Ooops! I didn’t think to tell him that it might wear off after 24 seconds. Four gnolls and a hyena attempted to attack him, but he was, for the most part, too quick to be hit. I used a few shadow spray spells to confuse and weaken the gnolls, while Nosila attacked outright and Bryrgar created a magic weapon and summoned celestial badgers to aid us. Roscoe kept the hyena occupied. Suddenly, one of the gnolls ran straight at me, as if to attack. I ran to hide behind our dwarven cleric, who had seen the gnoll and was in turn running after it! He got it!

Next we decided to find a way into the temple unseen, hoping to return the silver rod, though we were unsure how to handle the lich, who had undoubtedly regained his full strength while we were gone. I suggested the path from the mausoleum that passed underground to the temple’s altar room, and Roscoe more than readily agreed. Bryrgar was sure it would be packed with undead.

Bryrgar was, of course, right about the undead. Apparently not all of them were involved in construction— our cleric had to send four of them shambling in the opposite direction while we found our way to the small tomb, and then we had two shadows to deal with in there. It was so dark that I had to cast dancing lights just to provide illumination while my comrades found torches to light, and then we descended the steps in the mausoleum and headed to the temple.

Either Nedrezzar and his minions didn’t know about this entrance, or simply didn’t care, as it was unguarded save for the two shadows. Roscoe snuck into the altar room, invisibility ring in use, and attacked two kneeling petitioners at the altar. He forgot that the altar had four skeletal warriors that would pop out— which they did! I suspect we need to carry something, perhaps like a symbol of Tiamat, to pass unharmed by that trap. We all ran in and attacked the acolytes and skeletons. I didn’t do much damage with my pistol, but in the end I was able to destroy a skeleton just charging it with my staff! I am not used to relying on my own physical strength, so that was quite astonishing to me!

We hurried down the stairs beneath the altar and to the room containing Nedrezzar’s crypt. This time is was quite dark— that’s what we get for removing the braziers from each corner. We saw movement in the far corners of the dark room. Someone produced a light, which revealed a dozen mindless undead and one lich! I cast the illusion of a portcullis between us and the undead (I made sure my friends could tell from our side of the gate that it wasn’t real), which kept them from overwhelming us right in the doorway. Unfortunately, Nedrezzar was quite able to handle us on his own, and began casting spells on my friends! Skeletons were reaching through the illusory bars to claw Bryrgar, who attempted to charge them and tripped. He was knocked out, and bleeding to death! I dragged him out of harm’s way while my dear little Widget was again able to save a companion’s life by covering the most severe wound with his own body to stop the bleeding.

Things were not going well though— one by one, my friends appeared to be held in place, no doubt through some evil spell of the lich’s. I eventually lost consciousness myself.

I became conscious some time later, shackled in a dungeon. I quick looked around and saw all of my friends in chains as well. Even poor Widget was in some rat-sized handcuffs! All of our equipment was gone. Before we could take stock of the situation, the lich appeared and gave us an ultimatum— our freedom could be purchased by ridding a neighboring kingdom of a fiend that had taken it over. His reasoning was that his enslavement of the population of Pommeville wasn’t nearly as “evil” as what the demon was doing, and the silver rod that would imprison the lich could be used to banish the demon.

Now, I would be quite willing to banish the demon, but I also want to help the town of Pommeville, and prevent the rebuilding of the temple to Tiamat. However, I feel a strong compulsion (and what I suspect is an enchantment or geas) to help Nedrezzar. Perhaps we can take care of the demon and come back and save the town from the lich when we are stronger? Bryrgar feels strongly that it is better to die here or remain imprisoned rather than do anything the lich asks. Nosila and Roscoe (and Widget!) feel as I do. Widget took this opportunity to point out (with me translating) that he’d just saved the dwarf’s life and it would be a shame to waste that life when some good could come from ridding the region of one evil overlord, and be alive to possibly finish off the other as well. Hopefully Widget can budge the dwarf for us, for I have no doubt that we will fail the quest without his strength and healing abilities!

Posted by Kristin on December 28, 2004, 14:52 | Sprocket’s Journal