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January 1, 2004

House Rules

~PC Creation & House Rules~

This campaign will be strictly Forgotten Realms (no spells, feats, deities, Prestige classes, etc. from other “worlds”), and with only races found in that setting. No psionics, please. All characters will be based on “3.5” rules.

Characters can be made with 40 points using the Point Buy method. All characters begin with full hit points and starting money at 1st level. You may also choose from Regional Feats and Equipment from pages 30-32 of the FRCS. Everyone starts at 1st level, and unless cleared with the DM, begins in Silverymoon in the Silver Marches. Your character may be originally from another region, but moved to Silverymoon, as long as this is mentioned in your bio. Multiclass and favored class rules are in effect (they had been dropped for our Greyhawk campaign).

Any Evil or Chaotic Neutral characters are not allowed (any characters that behave with these alignments will become NPCs). This is intended to be a “heroic” campaign and the past has shown that these alignments are not conducive to teamwork or heroic adventure.

There will be no more than 5 or 6 PCs at any time. We’ve tried playing with more in the past and it decreases the enjoyment for the DM and players.

Character sheets will be in PCGen format (give your changes to Kristin so she can add them to the DM’s roster).

Occasionally, Hugh will give out something called “Fate Points” for working as a team. A single Fate Point can be used to reroll one die that affects that character only— whether it is a roll made by the player or a roll by an opponent against the character. The new roll counts even if it is worse than the first— that’s the fickleness of Fate after all.

In addition to experience points for game play and attendance, Hugh is also basing experience awards on timely-written journal entries, bios and other things character-related that help evolve the game world and make it easier for him to spend what time he has working on the campaign. A good background will lend itself to plot hooks for the characters.

Players unable to attend a session must make arrangements with Hugh to run your character for that session. A missed session will usually yield 75% experience.

No character or inventory item, etc. is in play unless it has been approved by the DM. This includes characters who have gone up a level since the last time Hugh has okayed a character sheet. Things discussed between characters that effect game play do not happen if the DM is not made aware of them.

Main books/sources used for character creation

PHB 3.5
DMG 3.5
Complete Warrior (3.5)
Minitures Handbook (3.5; check with Hugh first!)
Draconomicon (3.5; check with Hugh first!)
Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting
Magic of Faerūn
Faiths & Pantheons
Races of Faerūn
Silver Marches
Unapproachable East
Player’s Guide to Faerūn (3.5; check with Hugh if it contradicts something in your character added prior to March 2004)
Complete Divine (May 2004)

Some materials from FRCS Official Home Page, approved on a case-by-case basis.

Some Dragon Magazine articles, approved on a case-by-case basis.

Character Death & New Characters

Character deaths happen, and resurrection isn’t always an option. If a character dies heroically, the player may create a new character at the level the old character would have been at had they been resurrected, with the addition of that session’s experience points. Fate points do not carry over from an old character— it’s the player’s fault if they aren’t used to prevent the character’s death! Characters coming into the game in this fashion have to make sense for the story line.

The new character’s starting funds are half of what is shown in the DM Guide on table 5-1. All magic items must be approved by the DM.

Posted by Hugh at 12:15 | ~PC Creation & House Rules~

Monster Roster

Adventures, DM's Notes & Maps

Greycastle Mine:
3 small monstrous spiders
32 kobolds: War3, Adp1, War1 (30)

Sewers of Silverymoon:
1 ghoul
3 human thugs

Cave in Nether Mountains:
14 orc zombies
3 orc skeletons
12 orcs: War2, Adp3, War1 (10)
7 wolves
4 human zombies
Grom and his orcish troops (ran away)

Outside of White Haven
1 troll

The Ruined Tower
12 wolves
6 stirges
4 dread guards
12 skeletons
1 imp

Avernus, Nine Hells
1 spinagon, Hixtali
1 planar half-elf sorceress, Hexla
3 bloodworms
1 cambion

Hive Ward, Sigil Catacombs
18 human zombies
2 ghouls

4 vargouilles
2 shadows
1 wight

35 orcs
3 ogres
1 cleric of Gruumsh
1 choker
2 rust monsters
1 large earth elemental
3 large monstrous spiders
9 drow: War1 (8), Sor1 (1)
1 gauth (lesser beholder)
4 gnolls
1 Thayan wizard
1 hell hound (summoned)

Spine of the World
18 orcs: Bbn4(4), Adp1, War1 (13)
2 dire boars
3 ogres (avoided)
2 dire wolves

North of the Moonwood, Lair of the Illithid
2 ettins
1 mimic
15 goblins: War1 (14), War1/Sor1(1)
4 dire rats
3 gnolls
1 gnome
1 minotaur
3 hobgoblins
2 bugbears
2 ogres
1 mind flayer (got away!)

Northeast of the Moonwood
1 yrthak (drove it off)
1 ogre

South of the Night Trees
1 large red dragon

North of Silverymoon
2 wights

10 trolls

North of Evermoor Way
16 orcs
1 orc shaman

1 dire boar

Giants’ Fortress
1 huge white dragon (avoided)
3 ogres
20 hobgoblins
1 ogre mage
3 hill giants

2 displacer beasts
1 seven-headed hydra
1 vampiric hill giant

Graypeak Mountains
1 barghest
6 goblins
6 worgs

Lonely Moors
1 bulette

Anauroch Desert
6 ghouls
4 hell hounds
1 nyth

        Creature Types:
        • aberration
        • animal and beast
        • construct
        • dragon
        • elemental
        • fey
        • giant
        • humanoid
        • magical beast
        • monstrous humanoid
        • ooze
        • outsider
        • plant
        • undead
        • vermin


Adventures, DM's Notes & Maps

Greycastle Mine:
272 gold pieces
2777 copper pieces

Greatsword, masterwork, Areon
Gnome Hooked Hammer, masterwork (320 gp)
Silver Necklace with Alexandrite Pendant (222 gp), Deitricha
Engraved Gold Ring with Deep Green Spinel (Chultan) (1623 gp)

Cave in Nether Mountains:
+1 Light Crossbow, Theona

Ruined Tower
Large Steel Shield, masterwork, Tassar
16 Arrows, masterwork, Areon
Mighty Composite Longbow, masterwork, Areon
Thieves’ Tools of Knock, Theona
Rapier, masterwork, Theona
Mighty Composite Shortbow, masterwork, Tassar
Bastard Sword, masterwork (335 gp)
2 Potions of Cure Light Wounds
Potion of Darkvision, Deitricha
Potion of Neutralize Poison, Deitricha
Light Steel Shield, masterwork, William
3 Light Steel Shields, masterwork (159 gp each)
2 Potions of Lesser Restoration
50 platinum pieces
213 gold pieces
550 silver pieces

2 Potions of Cure Moderate Wounds
Potion of Bear’s Endurance, Deitricha
Potion of Invisibility
Scroll of Fly (375 gp)
Scroll of Dispel Magic (375 gp)
spellbook (2000gp)

Wand of Ray of Enfeeblement, Theona

Avernus, Nine Hells
Baatorian Green Steel Warfork, masterwork, Tassar

Hive Ward, Sigil Catacombs
53 gold pieces
32 silver pieces

Silver Dagger, masterwork, Tassar

252 gold pieces
101 silver pieces
8 copper pieces

Green Everburning Torch, Deitricha
Green Everburning Torch, Areon
Green Everburning Torch, Theona
Green Everburning Torch, Tassar
Waraxe of Barransar, Rosorc
Adamantine Dagger, Tassar
Adamantine Long Sword, Tassar
Large Steel Shield, masterwork
+1 Throwing Axe, Rosorc
6 +1 Crossbow Bolts of Wounding, Theona

Spine of the World
Crown of Silver (gem) (10 gp)
Mermaid Ring of Swimming, Rosorc
8571 silver pieces

North of the Moonwood, Lair of the Illithid
3851 gold pieces
Masterwork Nunchaku
Arcane Scroll of Summon Monster II and Animate Rope, Theona
+1 Shock Quarterstaff, Deitricha
2 Potions of Cure Moderate Wounds, Rosorc

Northeast of the Moonwood
175 gold pieces

4800 gold pieces
Arcane Scroll of Burning Hands and Claws of Darkness, Tyan
Divine Scroll of Moonblade and Eagle’s Splendor, Theona
Crystal Wand of Shatter, Tyan
+2 Greatsword, Areon
Ring of Fire Resistance, Areon

Sharpstone (14 gp)
Jasmal (1200 gp)
Violane (11 gp)
Sunstone (5 gp)
2 Peridot (600 gp each)
Blue Orbaline (700 gp)
Geen Spinel (600 gp)
Jasmal (900 gp)
Banded Agate (10 gp)
Raindrop 400 gp

Giants’ Fortress
6 5 Arrows of Biting, Areon
Arcane Scroll of Scatterspray, Tyan
Arcane Scroll of Fireball, Tyan
Potion of Owl’s Wisdom, Tyan

Potion of Bull’s Strength, Ebin
4110 gold pieces
Rhodochrosite (7 gp)
Hyaline (13 gp)
Peridot (700 gp)
Chrysoprase (30 gp)
Sphene (300 gp)
Zendalure (900 gp)
Raindrop (700 gp)
Lynx Eye (8 gp)
Phenalope (50 gp)

Potion of Mage Armor, Tyan
+1 Scimitar
Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds
Potion of Blur
Divine Scroll of Gembomb, Helping Hand, Animal Messenger
Arcane Scroll of Aganazzar’s Scorcher, Tyan
Silver Pendant set with 100 gp Pearl (300 gp), Deitricha
Carved Darkwood Statuette of a Leaping Lion (200 gp)
Silver Tiger Statue, Areon
2 Giant Vampire Fangs

*stuff in this color has already been used or divided up for funds
**stuff in italics hasn’t quite been identified....

January 2, 2004

Antonio's Bio

Antonio's Journal XPCs

Antonio, image (c) Kristin Johnson

Born in Silverymoon, Antonio is the youngest of three. The oldest, Markus left several years ago to join a band of adventurers. The family receives letters from him every now and then letting them know how he’s doing. The second born, Lylian was an amazing minstrel. She just vanished one day after arguing with her parents, and hasn’t been heard from since.

Antonio was very adept at learning and loved going to school, he was known to be a spell caster from a young age, and was encouraged to learn how to control his talents. As the years passed, his father, who worked for the town guard, was eventually promoted, and now has a small squad under his command. Antonio is a fairly easygoing young man, with a lot of ideas and plans. He too wants to explore the world, see everything, and help rid the world of evil. It was a small shock to his family when the found him paying homage to Bahamut, but considering his natural talents and the fact that Bahamut is a good deity, they decided not to make a big deal about it.

Now with schooling being done and his life ahead of him Antonio is anxious to get out on his own.

Character sheet: Antonio Ysthine [Human Sorceror]

Cause of death: finding out just how angry fire makes trolls.

Posted by Fred at 12:25 | Antonio’s Journal | XPCs

Theona's Bio

Theona's Journal ~PC Bios~

Theona, image (c) Kristin Johnson

Theona Galanodel is a moon elf of 131 years, who has spent most of her life in Silverymoon.

Theona does not consider herself a thief, but more of an equalizing force. To her mind, it’s not stealing if you are taking items from someone or something undeserving and giving the object to the people to which it belongs. Theona keeps her ears open for news of elven artifacts in particular, and will often join up with a group of like-minded individuals heading into local ruins if there is any mention of such items. Her sense of justice makes sense, in a way, as her own family at one time possessed a magical sword that had been passed through many generations (and elven generations— quite a long time indeed!) and lost or stolen somewhere between the fall of Ascalhorn (Hellgate Keep) and her ancestors’ arrival in Silverymoon; she has hopes of one day finding and claiming it, as it will only show its full potential when in the hands of one of her family, of which she is the last. Her biggest concern at the moment is the large amount of “retired” Zhents moving into the area.

She enjoys living in Silverymoon in spite of her lack of magical or musical aptitude, and so many interesting things have been happening in the past few years that she stops actively searching for her ancestral blade for years at a time. Hopefully though, she’ll have many more years to continue her search.

Character sheet: Theona Galanodel [Moon Elf Rogue]

Posted by Kristin at 17:50 | Theona’s Journal | ~PC Bios~

Areon's Bio

Areon's Journal ~PC Bios~

Areon, image (c) Kristin Johnson

Areon was born in the Moonwood, though none of his memories actually take place there. His parents moved north to the Cold Wood very shortly after he was born.

Not long after settling in the Wood, the Elauwit family was attacked by a large band of orc raiders. Though both of Areon’s parents fought valiantly, killing dozens of orcs between them, the orcs were too many. If not for the Uthgardt hunting party that heard the commotion and intervened, the Elauwit line surely would have ended.

The Elauwit family and the Uthgardt tribes have been very cooperative with each other since that day. Dimore has helped to train rangers and scouts for the Uthgardts and the Uthgardts have helped to train Areon to fight orcs. Though the Elauwits are followers of Solonor Thelanria, Areon’s time with the Uthgardts has taught him much of their religion. He has adapted many of the Uthgardts teachings to supplement his religion.

While Areon was being trained, a raiding party of orcs overran a small hunting party of Uthgardts, slaughtering them. Areon disappeared into the woods when he heard the news. No one saw him for two weeks, and the worst had been assumed. When he returned, he carried over his shoulder a sack filled with the heads of seven orcs, one for each member of the hunting party killed.

The Uthgardts promised to create for him a weapon of his choice. Areon asked for a greatsword, which drew much amusement from the Uthgardts. They wondered, “How could the small elf, only a little over five feet tall, wield a sword longer than he was tall?” Areon quietly accepted the sword and returned home.

A few weeks later an orc raiding party attacked the camp during the night. Though the orcs were driven away, they managed to loot much of the camp during the battle. The next morning the Chief found that the tribe’s lineage records, which were carved into a large silver sculpture of a tiger, had been stolen.

Areon volunteered immediately to go and find them, knowing that the Uthgardt rangers were needed to stay to help hunt for food and track Orcs. The Uthgardts accepted his offer gratefully, presenting him with a holy symbol that would help protect him in his quest.

Areon’s mother gave him a blank spell book before he left and asked that he
keep a log of his travels in it. She explained that should the unthinkable happen to him, the book would teleport itself back to her.

For 3 months now Areon has been searching for the totem. He has hunted down many orcs, interrogating each victim before they die. His search has led him to Silverymoon, where he believes the totem is going to be sold, or worse. He hopes to find it before to long so he can return home.

Character sheet: Areon Elauwit [Wood Elf Ranger]

Posted by Tim at 17:54 | Areon’s Journal | ~PC Bios~

Deitricha's Bio

Deitricha's Journal ~PC Bios~

Deitricha, image (c) Kristin Johnson

Born in Silverymoon, Deitricha’s parents are scholars. Her father is a tutor, her mother, a librarian. Of nine children, she is lucky number seven, and therefore encouraged to think of the church. She has been a cleric of Tymora for a few years, and helped defend the Silver Marches, but now Deitricha is growing curious about other parts of the world. She is book-learned, but only just beginning much practical experience.

Character sheet: Deitricha Gerhardt [Human Cleric]

Posted by Kate at 17:59 | Deitricha’s Journal | ~PC Bios~

Tassar's Bio

Tassar's Journal XPCs

Tassar, image (c) Kristin Johnson

Tassar is a spoiled rotten kid who has driven his parents to the point of kicking him out. The family took nearly every one of his possessions and kicked him out. His father told him not to return until he has grown up.

Furious at what he considered a betrayal, Tassar set out to make a name for himself. He hopes to return one day and rub his fame in his family’s faces.

Slowly he began wandering, looking for a place to give him a chance to prove himself a great fighter. He has joined many a party, just to find himself getting kicked out after a short amount of time. Once, he had the first watch, just to wake up and find the party moved out without him in the morning.

Tassar is trying to change, but it may take a great deal of time.

Character sheet: Tassar Dardragon [Strongheart Halfling Fighter]

Cause of death: Okay, not really dead, just hiding from us. His riding dog is dead though.

Posted by Jim at 18:08 | Tassar’s Journal | XPCs

January 5, 2004

Starting Off

Antonio's Journal

Whether it was coincidence or not here we are. It started off as a normal day. I went to the Bright Blade Brandished to get a drink and maybe something to eat. I saw Tassar there and he looked like he could use a drink so I bought him one, a large one; he’s nicer when he’s drunk. Looking around I noticed Areon had stepped in. Theona and Deitricha was there also apparently looking for work. I thought a job might be a nice break to the monotony of daily life, so I asked also and we were told who to see.

The job sounded simple. There was a copper mine outside of town and the owner wanted it cleared out. Apparently kobolds had taken residence there. I admit I don’t know these people all too well, but I’ve seen them around and they seem ok. So we left town to take care of this little problem.

Finding the mine was easy, but took all day so we camped outside and entered in the morning. We were shocked to see human sized statues of frightened people but moved on anyway. After a little walking we came to a room filled with webs. Tassar wanted to see if I could catch them on fire, but before I could Areon asked me not to, so I didn’t. I was going to walk back to Areon to ask why, but before I could, Tassar threw a stone in the webbing and I was attacked by giant spiders. Before I knew it the battle was over, but not before I got bit three times and had an arrow in my back side. Deitricha was nice enough to heal me and we went off again searching the mine for these kobolds.

Eventually we did find some as they shot at us from a ledge, three died; the fourth ran. We chased it for a bit till Tassar fell into a pit. That slowed us down but we were still able to trail it. We came to an opening and the battle resumed, it was hard to see everything. Kobolds were everywhere and many died, but soon Theona fell, followed by Deitricha. Tassar and Areon seem to be ok, I’m currently out of spells, and I feel like I’m going to collapse. We killed most of the kobolds, and some ran away, but from the sound of things others are coming to aid in the fight. I hope Areon and Tassar can keep them at bay long enough to keep us alive.

Posted by Fred at 15:10 | Antonio’s Journal

January 6, 2004

A new party?

Tassar's Journal

As I sit in the comfort of my favorite barstool, still pondering how to approach the woman of my dreams I am disrupted by the barkeep asking if I want another ale. “Of course” I quickly reply for it easier to sink myself into a drunken stupor than to face Portia. She is the sweetest and most fair woman I have ever had the blessings to view with these eyes. Oh sure to most she is just another halfling rogue, but I see her in a different light. One of these days I will have the courage to ask for her hand, but for now I will have to settle for our current relationship, which is to say she doesn’t acknowledge my existence.

Ah, my acquaintance the firebug is here. Damned if I won’t be forced to listen to more of his tales of glory and greatness, it makes it hard to drink while someone is lying to me. I would not go as far as to call this tall and lanky human a friend; no Antonio is more a drinking partner who tolerates me and my lies of glory and greatness. Well at least his pockets are usually deep.

As the night progresses a few more people come in for some ale or stew. I see Deitricha the cleric, she seems to tolerate me the most. I have decided to try to take care of her if something happens, obviously she is touched. I don’t know what I would do if she stumbled into some trouble that I could save her from. Tempus rewards the brave and strong, but I believe he sometimes also protects those who do not have all their faculties. Theona and Areon are sharing a table, elves always stick together. I believe that Theona not only tolerates me but enjoys arguing with me more than she would ever admit. Areon, he is a strange one. While I truly understand the wanderlust and desire to move about, rangers have always been an enigma to me.

Though some strange form of luck, these three have taken to not minding me. I don’t know what I have done different to gain this manner of friendliness, but it brings me some comfort.

Antonio is asking about work again, I had asked him before if I might join in his next adventure and despite knowing me he said yes. To my surprise that day is today. It seems that some Lord of Greycastle is seeking a group of adventurers and Antonio thinks this is for us. Theona, Areon and Deitricha have decided to go along as well. This will be ok as long as they understand I am in it for the glory and they don’t get in the way. We head off to meet this fellow and see what he has to offer.

We meet and accept this fellow’s quest, a small mine that needs cleared of some disturbance. I think the meeting would have gone smoother if I was not so drunk, never the less we gather our belongings and head off on the one day march to the mine.

By nightfall we find the entrance and decide to camp the night rather that go any further without rest. Areon finds a small spot out of the wind for us to make a nice camp in, then the trouble starts. I ask firebug to start a little fire with the wood I collected and the group starts complaining about the light. I do my best to explain that we, ok I, need to eat and want to eat warm food. This argument has confronted me before and brought about some bad endings that I would prefer to forget. Luckily Antonio had an answer, this magic user may prove himself quite useful yet indeed. And all troubles pass for the evening.

We found the entrance and worked our way in to find some statues. Statues that seem to be carved a little too well, except the damage each of them shows. It is as if something has tried to gnaw on them. We follow some footprints that the ranger found to cobwebs. Here we find ourselves fighting a group of large spiders. The battle was quick and easy, well except for Antonio who while dodging the fierce advances of the spiders, had to avoid three arrows from behind while we tried to save him. I fired two arrows sinking both deep into flesh. Antonio was angry that one of my arrows now protruded from his back end. I tried to explain that he moved in front of my shot, but he still seems pissed.

After a bit three large spiders lay dead on the floor and I am proud to say I felled one of the beasts. The thief and I, oops, she doesn’t like being called a thief. Ok the “seeker of lost artifacts” and I looked through the room for any treasure just to find some dried husks of what Theona called Kobolds.

We press on into the mine and run into a small ambush. Four of the not-so-dead Kobolds who sat up on a ledge waiting for us. My companions took cover and returned fire while I rushed to tear into their flank. While two of the creatures turned and prepared to engage me my comrades stuck from a distance killing two of them, including one of the ones in front of me. The farthest one broke for help. I quickly cut the remaining one in half when he turned to run. These little devils will learn to fear the name of Tassar Dardragon.

We followed its path to a spot on the floor that dropped me into a pit. I did my best to blame my fellow party members, I just hope it was enough that they didn’t see the embarrassment on my face.

Off we went again into the twist and turns of the mine until we reached a spot where we found two more of the creatures setting up another ambush. I rushed out and fired my bow at them, followed by Theona. Although I don’t know which one did it, there was apparently four more Kobolds hiding behind me and her that we didn’t notice. I have never walked into the ambush to get ambushed from behind; quick minds these little fellow have. After that it became a little of a blur, Areon and me stood shoulder to shoulder against a couple of the creatures, trading shot for shot. Eventually we finished our foes to find we were the only members of the party standing. I believe I got two of them in this room, a small bit is still blurry to me.

The ranger and I dragged our friends to a safe alcove and set up a basic defense for one of the red-skinned creatures got away and called for help. I don’t know how this will end, but by Tempus’s eye I will not go down without taking a fare number more of these beasts with me. And my ranger buddy has proven himself handy with that huge thing he calls a sword as well.

Posted by Jim at 18:39 | Tassar’s Journal

Stabbed in the Back

Theona's Journal

Kythorn 2, 1373, Greycastle Mine

Every now and then, especially when I am short on funds or leads on objects needing rescued, I get the urge to broaden my horizons outside of Silverymoon. Yesterday was such a day, so I headed over to the Bright Blade Brandished to see if there were any jobs for a quick bit of cash within a day’s walk of the city. I saw that human Antonio that often buys everyone drinks, and the halfling Tassar, who always seems to be around when someone is buying a round. Deitricha from Tymora’s temple was there, which I found curious, and Areon— the grim-looking wood elf that gives me the impression that he’s waiting for a fight to break out.

It just so happened that we had all come to the tavern with similar ideas— a quick job that involved getting away from the city for a few days and would pay well. We quickly decided we could work together, and headed to Lord Evendor Greycastle’s home to seal the deal.

A minor human noble, Greycastle had recently inherited a copper mine in the foothills of the Nether Mountains southeast of Silverymoon. The mines, apparently, are infested with kobolds or other similar critters. For 100 gold a piece (and anything not nailed down in the mines), we agreed to rid the place of any squatters so it could be reopened. Sounded easy enough, so we singed on the dotted line and were off.

It was a nice walk, weather-wise, though a bit chillier than in the city. The halfling managed to keep up with the taller members of the party, though he complained about our “tallness” the entire way. I noticed he eats more than the four of us “tall” people combined, and he must have grown up in a port town because he swears like a sailor. He is definitely not shy about sharing intimate details with anyone willing to listen (or can’t avoid listening).

We got to the mine right as it was growing dark out, so we figured setting up a camp outside would be better than stumbling around inside. Tassar wanted to have a campfire to cook his food on, while Areon feared it would be a beacon to whatever was occupying the mines. I suggested that Antonio just use a cantrip to heat the halfling’s meal. Antonio looked surprised at the idea— I guess he must have fire issues— but agreed to do it. The night passed uneventfully.

We are slowly learning to work together. This requires figuring out who is best at doing what. For example, I felt it natural to let Areon range ahead when we were out in the open, scouting, but when we hit the inside of the mines, I wanted to go through first to look for traps. Tassar insisted that he walk with me in case of an attack, leaving our sorcerer Antonio and cleric Deitricha in the middle. The trick is sticking to a “marching order”— as soon as there is room to spread out, we seem to do that. The first large area we came to was filled with very realistic-looking “statues” of what looked like a band of adventurers, though only one was intact with a head— the look on the face was one of pure horror.

They are too heavy to carry and I doubt that they would fetch anything in the open market.

We had the option of moving on straight ahead, or to the left or right in relation to the entrance to the mines. The majority of footprints went straight ahead, so naturally, we avoided that way and turned right, where footprints only lead away in one direction. Tassar wanted to go left, insisting that there were “elven artifacts” in that direction (he must actually listen to me when he’s drunk, since I am interested in unearthing such treasures and had mentioned it in the Bright Blade yesterday), but Deitricha suggested he was just toying with me.

So we went right, towards a large cavern festooned with webs. As Tassar and Antonio (why was he in front of me?) stood in the entrance and argued about how best to clear the area, Antonio was attacked and apparently bitten by one of the three large spiders hanging in the webs. I managed to drop one with a crossbow bolt before they could react, and we finished off the other two while Antonio crawled weakly over to be healed by our cleric, an arrow sticking from his backside.

I found two cocoons and sliced them open— two desiccated reptilian humanoids slid out— kobolds. No swag whatsoever.

I managed to stay in front of the party long enough to find and disable a tripwire. Following the wire, I came to a thunderstone— that certainly would have alerted anything in the mines to our presence! I carefully removed it and handed it to Antonio.

I lead the party over to a ladder (this place has a lot of ladders) and climbed up to peer over the top— only to be hit by a sling stone. I picked off one kobold standing on a ledge above me while my companions clambered up the ladder— they managed to finish off two more before the last routed. Darn kobolds only had their slings and stones— nothing valuable. In fact, this place doesn’t seem to have anything worth taking.

We tried to chase the kobold, but he was too fast. Unfortunately, Tassar was running ahead of me and fell into a pit. Lucky it was only a pit trap! The fact that the kobold didn’t set the trap off makes me think our halfling is carrying a lot more in his pack than I would have though him capable of carrying. Probably all food.

Once Tassar was out we followed the fleeing kobold into a long, narrow tunnel. More kobolds were pelting us with rocks from a ledge higher up, I took out one, and then slowly inched into the room to allow my friends in to help fight. I felt a sudden pain in my back, and all went dark....

Posted by Kristin at 18:59 | Theona’s Journal

January 10, 2004

Waist Deep in Trouble

Areon's Journal

Kythorn 2, 1373, Greycastle Mine

I had been in Silverymoon for almost a month and had very little luck in finding any clues about the Uthgardt Tiger. Though I had more than enough money to continue searching, I felt a need to get out of the cramped (but most certainly beautiful) city. I had been visiting a tavern called the Bright Blade Brandished and heard of many contracts being given to the more adventurous customers of the bar.

I had been considering getting one for myself, but had not really found a reason to, other than to get out of the city, but several of the people I had met over the time I had spent in the inn were very interested in getting a contract, so I decided that I would help them with their adventure.

Our little group is composed of very different personalities and lifestyles; it should be interesting to see how well we get along in the future. Antonio is a sorcerer of some sort, and it appears that he has quite an affinity for fire. He has a loud-mouthed Halfling companion named Tassar whose body seems to consist of a mouth, stomach and stein. A cleric of Tymora’s temple named Deitricha has joined us, ironically, so it appears that luck may indeed be on our side, and an Elven girl, Theona, who claims to be “looking for lost Elven artifacts.” Unfortunately she had not stumbled across the Uthgardt Tiger in her searches.

We found very quickly that Lord Evendor Greycastle was interested in hiring a band of adventurers to quell a “disturbance” in a mine that he had recently gained possession of. He offered us 500 gold pieces and rights to whatever we could remove from the mine on our own.

So our party of five set off. We traveled for about a day to the mine that we had been told of. It was approaching dark when we arrived, so I suggested that we rest outside and out of site. I found a small protected area that we could all fit in comfortably, and Tassar immediately suggested that Antonio light a fire. I immediately told Antonio not to start a fire, because a fire would be a beacon to anything that could be out in the woods. Theona suggested that Antonio warm Tassar’s food with a spell, and it seemed to alleviate the tension. I know that they are not used to living in the Cold Wood like I am, but I thought that they would realize how bright a fire is when it is the only light source for miles.

The next morning we made our way into the mine, finding very realistically proportioned statues, which were all smashed in various places. The only statue that still had a head wore an expression of horror.

I had followed tracks into the mine, and found that they separated. A few sets wandered off to the right, but never returned, while the majority went straight ahead. Tassar wandered into a passage to the left and yelled something about Elven artifacts, but then came wandering back and insisted that we followed the footprints of no return....

We followed the footprints into a room filled with webs and Halfling-sized spiders, which attacked us. Theona killed one with her crossbow while Tassar buried an arrow in Antonio and Antonio tried to kill the spiders with spells. We managed to kill off the spiders pretty quickly and searched the room for treasure, finding nothing but dead kobolds, we moved on.

Theona climbed a ladder and was immediately pelted with sling stones, announcing the presence of several kobolds. I killed one that Antonio had injured and Theona had killed another. Tassar scrambled up the ledge they were on and cut down another as they were trying to flee. We collected a few short spears that the kobolds were using, and then continued to give chase to the single kobold that managed to flee from the failed ambush. Tassar found a pit trap by falling through it in a loud clatter, and we quickly helped him out of the ten-foot deep pit so we could continue chase together.

The kobolds had already set up another ambush, however. We were attacked at range by several kobolds, while a few had hidden in alcoves in the mine walls. Theona didn’t see one and was stabbed in the back; she crumpled to the ground unconscious. I killed the kobold that had attacked her and stepped into the fighting, trying to keep them away from her. The kobolds across the way knocked Deitricha unconscious and wounded Antonio so he cannot fight. Tassar and I managed to fight off the rest of the kobolds, and we have dragged everyone to a short dead-end hallway that we can easily defend standing side by side. It occurred to me that I have not checked to make sure that Theona is alright, though I did remember to check Deitricha and bandage her wounds as quickly as I could. I can hear more kobolds coming; I just hope that there are not too many. Tassar is looking worse for wear, and though I am not badly wounded, I do not think I can last to long before I will be unable to fight....

Posted by Tim at 13:31 | Areon’s Journal

January 11, 2004

Be careful what you wish for..

Deitricha's Journal

..you just might get it!

I’ve worked with the knights and rangers of Silverymoon before, travelling with parties of fighters to clear the surrounding regions of dangerous folk, and I dearly love the city. I have a good life, friends, family (I’d be dumb not to understand how many people wish to be here; I’m lucky to have been born and raised in the place!), but I’d grown curious about the rest of the world. Reading about it, no matter how clever the author, was not the same as seeing new places, myself.

Tymora encourages folk to do more than read and dream - you have to go out and DO! Yet, I’d been wasting time, hanging out with friends, and going to the taverns to hear others talk about their adventurous lives. I knew I had to change, and one morning at the Bright Blade Brandished, I got my chance. Lucky for me, several of my aquaintance from about town were bored at the same time, and someone decided to quiz the barkeeper about what “jobs” might be out there for a party of five. (Perhaps we’d had a bit too much to drink, all things considered, but it got things started!).

He took us seriously enough to point the way to Lord Greycastle’s, a minor noble of Silverymoon. The Lord offered us 100gp each to clear a small copper mine he’d inherited, which his surveyors had reported was overrun with some kind of critter. This sounded like a challenge we could handle, although I think the mage needs to stop buying our fighter ale. And who bought a full-sized mug for a halfling? No wonder he forgot his manners!

Of course, Tassar had a full day of hard travel to sober up. It didn’t put him in a good mood, for which I can’t blame him, but he lost his sense of humor, too! Areon, the ranger, found a hollow in the side of the mountain that made a great place to rest until dawn, so long as we didn’t make a fire to light a beacon in the wilderness. This was barbaric to poor Tassar, I fear, who wanted to cook his trail rations and didn’t think sitting on them to warm them up was at all funny. Thank heavens Antonio was willing to use some fire magic on them instead!

The morning found us rested and prepared for anything, we hoped! Areon ranged the area, deciding that there were a ton of kobold tracks in and out of the mine, so we had a pretty good idea of what to expect. Theona, our artifact hunter, used her sharp eyes to check for traps, instead. Once inside, we found a mystery. Statues of people, so good they appeared to be frozen in stone! And then battered, I fear, but kobolds couldn’t do such a thing.. could they? We debated whether to follow the most-used trails, or to clear the less-used ones first. Despite Tassar’s encouragement to head into unused spaces (imaginary and undescribable elven artifacts), we decided that following the main path might not be the best idea, and headed down a slightly-used passage.

Being a mine, of course, there are few straight roads. The whole place is tunnels and ladders, leading up, down, and around. Theona was hard-put to watch for traps! One of the first rooms with anything in it, unfortunately, was infested with giant spiders who’ve been enjoying a ready source of food. Daring the fire mage to light the webbing was bad, but chucking rocks into it was worse. Theona and Tassar are good shots with their bows, although poor Antonio got in the way of a few. I healed him up and reminded him that, while he IS the tallest in the party by a long shot, he need not be first into battle. Theona found kobold bodies in the cocoons, giving Tassar his first glimpse of what we were here to fight.

A little more travel and we found some living specimens, as well. The odd levels and corners came in handy for both sides as everyone found a niche and began shooting arrows or slinging rocks. I cast a most useful spell to make myself harder to be hit by such things, which did double duty when I found Theona dashing behind me! We were able to see where the kobolds were; up on a ledge above us, and Tassar hollering at the top of his lungs about dragons while clambering up the ladder and wading into a hand-to-hand fight. Several of the kobolds were killed, and the last ran away. I took a sling and bullets from one body, and we set off in pursuit!

Theona was a little embarrassed - right after she said out loud that the way should be clear if a panicky kobold hadn’t set off any traps, Tassar fell right into one! Guess it pays to know the area, even if you’re in full flight from an angry halfing and crew. We followed its footsteps, a little more carefully, but not carefully enough. We were attacked by many kobolds in the next open space, and although I killed one myself, I saw Theona was down, but decided I’d better keep fighting. I usually fight well enough, but my shots went wild - poor Tymora probably trying to remind me that I’m a healer, first! Even Antonio had figured out to stay out of the way by then!

Areon has a very big sword, and was mowing through the kobolds with glee. Tassar can’t seem to fight without a lot of screaming and swearing and talk of dragons. Antonio, I presume, was the cause of several firey spells flying into the battle, but I was hit by one too many sling bullets, and found myself slumping to the floor next to Theona...

Posted by Kate at 10:05 | Deitricha’s Journal

January 12, 2004

Well, when I was awake..

Deitricha's Journal

I woke to the sight of a rather worried party; apparently, I’d been knocked out for the better part of a day. They were starting to wonder if I’d ever wake up at all! I was quickly able to heal myself and the worst-looking wounds of the others, at least.

It turned out that Areon and Tassar had managed to drag the rest of us into a dead-end tunnel, and ably defended us from the attacking kobolds until “smoked out”, whatever that meant. They had then dragged us all to a ledge that was defensible, and fought off any attackers that came near. Now they were tired, so we gave them a rest. I found myself wondering what the kobolds were thinking of our behavior!

Tassar decided to sneak off into the darkness in the direction we wished to go, and see how many kobolds were lying in wait. I offered him my everburning torch just in case he needed light, and sure enough, Areon soon heard an “oof”. Light appeared at the end of the tunnel as the halfling pulled my torch out from under his shirt, and kobolds attacked from both directions!

As we moved into position to either defend or attack, poor Antonio collapsed next to me. He hadn’t been healed enough from the last battle, I fear! I dragged him into what I hoped was an out-of-the-way corner, and, out of healing spells, decided to try the sling again. Tassar wasn’t shouting about dragons so much this time (still need to ask him about that), but he had decided to keep count of his kills. At least, I think that’s what he was counting.

We began to get the upper hand in both directions as Tassar’s count reached nine; the few remaining creatures broke and fled. Because we’d all been wounded, and Antonio was unconscious again, we decided to yet again rest in our defensible spot! The kobolds must have thought we’d decided to take up residence.

Finally, our fourth day out of Silverymoon began. I got to pray properly, and healed us all as best I could. We set off for the second time, dragging a ladder that the halfling thought might come in handy. Theona listened as best she could, and soon turned us down a corridor from which yipping could be discerned. Of course, we tripped a trap. *BANG* went a thunderstone, leaving me, at least, totally deaf, and letting the world know we were on the way!

With little to lose, we ran into a room full of kobolds. Antonio then set off a thunderstone of his own, to judge from the creatures’ reactions. Areon was getting hit pretty hard, so I ran into the room (mostly trying to find space to fight in), and healed him as I went by. This may have been a mistake; I suddenly found myself face-to-face with a big kobold, wearing chain mail and heaving a big axe. He had a scar over one eye, but my healing had gotten his attention - with one hard swing he knocked me out, once again.

I woke up back in Silverymoon, in my own blessed Temple. Theona says there’s quite a party down at the bar. Apparently, we did quite well after all. The kobolds were defeated, and their women and children offered a chest full of treasure in return for leaving the place safely. I’m glad that my friends let them go.

I think, overall, that was fun! I’d like to try again; I hope the rest of the group wants me to come along again. I can’t always be getting knocked out, can I?

Posted by Kate at 23:15 | Deitricha’s Journal

January 13, 2004

At journey's end

Tassar's Journal

After a night of playing a hunting game with the kobolds, the party was starting to stir. During the night the ranger and I had killed another handful of the beasts and wounded a few more. Areon and I had been up for near 24 hours and were in need of rest. Theona and Antonio took a turn at watch while we rested. To our luck, the kobolds too needed a break from battle; they have also been around the clock. I myself was in the most need of sleep, to give true measure of my condition; I was near falling unconscious anyway.

When I awoke I immediately checked on the condition of our healer Deitricha, she was still unconscious. I gave myself a moment to curse my failure to protect her, then set about to check out our predicament further.

Some time passed with little action, although old fire-bug did have another chance to get knocked unconscious as we took two more of the kobolds that attempted to sneak up on us in the darkness. The party was looking worse for wear and I pondered to myself if anyone other than I and the ranger had a chance to get out of this mine alive. I look at my friends and see a look of defeat on their faces.

Finally it was a stirring from Deitricha that gave us hope. She was weak; apparently she had been wounded far worse than any of us expected. She used her powers to heal herself and us a little. It would be a while before she could help us with that again, I was just happy to have her to help fight. Moments later Antonio woke again, for the first time in nearly two days the entire party was awake and moving.

As I sized up the situation, the kobolds have been coming in smaller and smaller numbers and were too familiar with our surroundings for us to sneak up on them. This led me to believe we needed to take the attack to them to use our skills and strengths, if we continued to just sling arrows at each other the kobolds will kill us. If they had charged us during the last 12 hours with their full numbers, we would be dead.

I told the party I needed a chance to go and scout our surroundings, to get a better understanding of their positions and numbers. Truth be told that was partially true, but we needed to weed a few more from the enemy’s numbers to stand a chance. The party is clearly without a leader and the only two that didn’t want me to scout ahead had proven to me they do not understand battle as well as I, nor do they see the power of our enemy. I was handed an ever-burning torch which I hid under my cloak as I slid along the walls of the mine. Eventually I got far enough ahead to sense both the presence of others and the fact that I was a fool for walking blindly into the dark. The final clue that it was time to take the torch out was the stone bouncing inches from my face with enough force that it took a bit of the wall with it.

Quickly I pulled the light out and tossed it on the floor and prepared to fight. Truth be told in hand to hand I could stand against them for a long time, and that was my hope in going out alone. I shouted to the party to let them know I found a group worth fighting as three kobolds rushed me with spears from a lower ledge and three more attacked with slings from a higher one. Quickly I sank an arrow into one on the ledge and dropped the bow to pull my sword for hand to hand. To my amazement my arrow had found the mark of the one kobold, sinking to the feathers into his chest, and the kobold didn’t seem to flinch at all.

I turned my attention to the three rushing me, cutting them down with more ease than I expected. Between the inability of the three on the ledge and now the four that charged to their death on my sword, I began to wonder if all their experienced fighters may have fallen to us already. As the last of the four fell I switched back to my bow to help Theona who had rushed to my aid fight off the three on the ledge. I sunk another arrow into the one I hit earlier and he turned and ran. As quickly as this tougher one began to run, his two remaining companions’ faces turned to horror; I think we have found the kobold leader. Before the other two could turn and run I released two more arrows, felling another of the kobolds.

Sounds of battle from behind sent Theona and me running back to check on the party. While I had fought in the front the kobolds launched a counter attack in the back. They had some success for Antonio was again slumped on the floor with the look of anguish on his face. I turned the corner to find the last of the kobolds running, apparently the ranger and cleric had given them enough to cut down half of the raiding party and scare the other half away. I am impressed with this ranger; he would make a fine fighter if he could just learn to sit still long enough to learn better tactics.

Again we found ourselves camping to regain strength and bind wounds. I do not think anyone got more than up to 50% of normal, but we had to continue our task, so after about a day of hiding on the shelf and playing the defensive sparring game we set out to finish our enemy.

We went down the passage that I had found earlier to find it unguarded. This further proved to me that we had the enemy on their heels so we continued down the ladder which the four kobolds had used earlier. We had formed up for scouting and Theona had taken point, followed by Antonio, Deitricha and Areon. We had not gone far when disaster struck in the form of a trap.
Although we had found and disarmed an earlier devise, this one escaped Theona’s eyes. As we passed a corner she stepped on a trip wire releasing a thunderstone from the ceiling. Theona and I both tried to catch it once it started to fall, but it was too late and the thunderstone hit the ground with a mighty explosion. Clenching our ears in anguish we realized they now new we were coming.

Quickly I jumped to my feet and took the front position, trying in vain to get the party to turn around and go back. As it turns out only Areon could hear and didn’t want to go back. Realizing our party was stuck deaf in a small hallway I decided to forge ahead and try to find a larger room or the enemy, whichever came first.

After traveling 30 or 40 feet in the twists and turns of the mine, I came to a large room. I was not the first one there though as I was greeted by a group of seven kobolds. The battle ensued; Areon and I tried to form up a front line to let the others attack from a distance. As the fight began it was obvious that this would be the last battle, but it was not obvious which way it would go. Our enemy had us right were they wanted us. To our front we were confronted by two normal kobolds and one larger one which wore armor. Behind him stood another who seemed to be chanting some spell, a cleric to my guess. Then behind us, and up a ten foot rise, stood three kobolds with slings.

The battle was short but devastating. Deitricha, Theona and Antonio took on the three on the ledge. Areon attacked the larger fighter who appeared to be their leader. I took out the two normal fighters in front of us while Antonio took out the cleric. Then seeing his cleric downed, the armored one launched a furry of blows against Areon that he could not defend. Areon dropped and I feared him dead with a nasty gash in his chest.

Seeing Areon drop inspired us; with a couple spells from Antonio and swings of my sword the kobold leader went down. It was then I noticed that Deitricha had also fallen so I moved with Theona to bandage and try to stop their bleeding. This left Antonio with the three ineffective kobolds and their slings. Antonio killed one which left the other two to run for their lives.

Tempus was looking on us this day, for if the kobolds above us had any skill they would have easily defeated us. I can not tell a kobold’s age, but I would guess they were the last of the adult males and they had no experience in battle. This was definitely a blessing.

I walked over to an edge of another drop off to look for more to fight. What I found was a huddled mass of scared women and children kobolds. I told the party of this and Antonio came over to help. Never ceasing to amaze me, old fire-bug could talk to them. He told them that they had to go and never return to this place. In return they offered what treasure they had to thank us for not killing them. Though I doubt any of the party would have stomached the slaughtering of any children, we gratefully accepted their treasure. We may be kind but we are not stupid.

Deciding that we needed to get Deitricha back to town for help soon, we made a skid from one of the ladders and immediately headed off to find her temple. When we got there they were glad to see her, though not too glad for her condition. I think the clerics there seemed to blame me for this. Maybe they were right.

As I began to feel worse for seeing her so torn up it appears that Antonio read my eyes and dragged me and the rest of the party off to celebrate our success. As promised he bought the first round and I bought the next. I did my best to brag and tell of my kills, which numbered either 10 and ½ or 11 and ½, I will need time to sort that out. But I found not much heart in it after a more experienced fighter came over and told me “It is not a measure of my skill to kill the enemy, it is better measured in how the party comes back.” It took another ale to sink in,; I had never like that dwarf, but his words rang true.

The party was in full force now that Antonio was standing on the bar telling our tale. That man can tell a tale, and seems more at peace being the life of the party than crawling through a mine. Never the less I have decided to call it a night. I have much to think about. I said my goodbyes and headed out into the evening air.

It was a quite night in Silverymoon, a nice spring night with only a touch of a chill. As I walked back to my room I was reminded of the tale of woe that kept me here. When I first arrived here a good year ago, I had stopped in a store to get some supplies, intent on traveling on when I met the sweet human that I now call Lady Brenin. Lady Brenin is short for humans, maybe five feet in all, and has long hair as white as silk. I have never asked her age but I would place it around 65. I watched her place a note on the community board in the front of the store and then wonder off, muttering something to herself.

Intrigued by her I went over and read the note. It was for a room. I was soon joined by one of the town guards. He had seen my reaction to the lady and told me her tale. Lady Brenin was young and in love with a sergeant of the town guard nearly 50 years ago. They had just married and bought a home of their own when he had been killed. Krin, her husband had gone out on the city with a patrol to check on a story of trouble in the woods. Krin and his men found no thieves though, it was a band of orcs. The patrol was not prepared for such and encounter but did their best. It was said that when the bodies were found that the five-man patrol had cut down 14 orcs before dying. Her husband’s body was never found.

In all the years since, Lady Brenin has kept a candle lit in her window in hopes of his return. She even opened her house up to boarders in hopes of hearing a new traveler tell her of seeing her husband alive. The local barracks had taken turns renting from her whenever the room was empty for a while, in duty to both her and her husband. It seemed that her last tenant moved out the week prior and she was putting a notice up again. The soldier was about to take the notice down and go there himself but something inside me wouldn’t let him. I told him I would take the room for now.

Startled by my action he invited me to a local bar for a meal and to talk. He wanted to make sure that I was the right sort I guess. Lady Brenin had become like an adopted mother to the men of the barracks and he wasn’t going to let someone move in and take advantage of her. In our conversation, he explained that the men of the barracks would do severe things to anyone who brought an ounce of pain or misery to her life.

After the meal and feeling good enough about me to let me rent from her, he sent me on my way. I do not know exactly what I did in that conversation, but for the first time in my life someone seemed to think me ok. This fact amazed me. For some unknown reason this guard decided that a grumpy, spoiled and arrogant halfling may be good company for someone. Yet for all of my efforts I couldn’t see how I had been different from my usual self. Nor could I figure out why this woman and her life took so quickly to my heart.

I met with Lady Brenin that day and bartered for the room. She wanted two gold per day for the place and it was easily worth it. Not setting out to argue, but only to make less obvious that I wanted the room. After some tea and couple of cookies we agreed on a price. Seventy-five gold a month and not a penny less was the deal. It was only a couple of days later when I realized she had taken me on that one. I could have gone and argued it at any time, but the truth is she doesn’t care for the money, to me she just wants the company. And it was also about this time when I figured that her cooking alone was worth the price difference.

In the past year we have developed a real close relationship. Her sight is starting to fade so I have been trying to help her around the house more and more. We even go for a walk together every once and a while. She tells me of the changes the city has had in her years and stories of great heroes that have passed through. I have come to relish these walks with my white-haired beauty. In all my life I have never had such a bond with anyone.

Posted by Jim at 22:26 | Tassar’s Journal

Alive and well

Antonio's Journal

We pulled back into a more easily defensible position and I had Tassar dump some oil on one space and when I went to light it I fell unconscious. When I came to, I was informed that it didn’t work, but Tassar lit the oil for me and that kept the kobolds at bay for a while from that end. Looking around I noticed they had moved however, the smoke was too much.

I was up for a bit and we were waiting for Deitricha and Theona to come around. I tried to help Tassar and Areon defend the area, but was knocked unconscious again.

I came to a little while later and shortly after as did Theona and Deitricha. We spent the rest of the day there and Areon and Tassar got some much needed and deserved rest.

After a bit of healing we set off, more because Tassar was anxious to be going more than anything else. We didn’t go far before we were attacked and I was almost immediately knocked out of the fight. I was conscious this time though. I saw everyone fight there best and when it was over Deitricha healed me a little and off we went again. We came to what looked a lot like a living space. Theona heard some noise down a small passage way, but forgot to look for traps. There was a loud explosion and I couldn’t hear for a while. Following the passage we came upon more kobolds. It was a battle and we were victorious.

All that was left was defenseless women and children. Someone mentioned slaughtering them, but I couldn’t allow that. The kobolds said they would give us a chest of treasure if we let them live. That sounded fair but I told them they had to leave the mine. They did and so we went home to collect our earnings. I’m springing for the first round of drinks and the best food at the Bright Blade Brandished.

Posted by Fred at 23:48 | Antonio’s Journal

January 16, 2004

Mine! Mine! Mine!

Theona's Journal

Kythorn 5, 1373, Silverymoon

I became conscious several hours later, very sore, but obviously alive. I was surprised at how my wounds were bandaged, until I looked over and saw that Deitricha was also wounded and tended to in a similar fashion. Apparently, Tassar and Areon had pulled us (including Antonio) to safety after fighting through the swarm of kobolds, and attempted to dress our wounds. It is a comfort to know how dependable they are— I’ve never adventured with a group that worked together so well. Upon first impression, Areon appears reserved, while Tassar comes off as downright rude. I now see that it is more like determination in Areon, and in Tassar, a misguided attempt to be social (I like him anyway).

We were now up on the ledge where the snipers had been standing. Deitricha was unconscious— no doubt as a result of the ambush I failed to see. I was a bit too dizzy to stand up, but I crawled over to the edge of the outcropping we were resting on, resolved to keep watch. Areon and Tassar were in need of rest, and Antonio kept getting knocked out. We fended off one surprise attack; I sunk an arrow into one kobold while a stone flew over my head and hit my tall human companion— poor Antonio is just not good at laying low!

Another half day passed before Deitricha finally roused— thankfully she could heal her self up well enough at that point, with some to spare for us. Apparently my halfling friend felt we had rested long enough, as he insisted on moving on— though he offered to do the scouting ahead personally. As he started to clank up the nearest passage, I reminded him that halflings can’t see in the dark as well as elves, but Deitricha offered him her everburning torch and off he went. I should have insisted on going ahead first— he walked right into another ambush. I quickly caught up with him and managed to shoot a few kobolds with my crossbow. As we dealt with them, I heard the sound of fighting behind us— Areon was taking care of those and Deitricha was tending to Antonio, who should have remained resting. Still, we got through it and the end result was less kobolds for the next attack. We climbed back up on the ledge and decided to try and get some proper rest. Tassar wanted his trail rations heated up again— I offered to help this time and he handed them to me. That is trust.

They weren’t half bad— I’m getting used to eating halfling rations, I guess!

After resting for what we guessed was about 24 hours, we decided we’d better get on with our task before the kobolds came looking for us again. In spite of my paranoia, as soon as I heard the yipping of kobolds off down a narrow passage, I moved forward to take point, and hit a tripwire. Tassar and I both tried to catch the thunderstone that inevitably fell from the sprung trap, but neither of us managed to catch it before it hit. Boom! I assume that the yipping stopped, though of course I had been deafened by the sound of the thunderstone, so I couldn’t verify it. Any chance of surprise gone, Tassar moved ahead of me and rushed down the passage. We all quickly followed.

The battle was bloody but brief. We found ourselves in a small room with sling bullets hailing down on us from a ledge, while other kobolds engaged Tassar in melee. One kobold stood back and began to cast spells, while our own Antonio (also standing back) took him out with a well-timed fire spell. Areon found himself in combat with a chainmailed, axe-toting and rather large kobold. Somehow Deitricha got to Areon just as he would have gone down from a swing of the big kobold’s axe, but she went down instead, just as she delivered a life-saving spell to the wood elf. A concerted effort by those still standing finished off the armored kobold, causing the few remaining kobolds to flee, and Tassar and I ran to Deitricha— luckily she was still alive and we managed to get her patched up. With the exception of Areon, we all still had ringing ears from the thunderstone when we rounded the next corner, hoping that we had just survived the final battle.

We found ourselves in a cavern filled with kobolds— but they were all females and their young— not a weapon among them. While I realize they often grow up to be nasty creatures, I have met one or two nice ones over the years, so was more than happy to leave them go so long as the promised to never come back to these mines. Better still, they gave us a nice pile of loot! I did a quick estimate of the coin, but we decided we’d better get Deitricha home sooner rather than later, so we fashioned a litter out of one of the mine’s many ladders and carted her, and the loot, back to Silverymoon. Thankfully, the trip back was uneventful. We got Deitricha to her own temple where they promised to patch her up, and then the rest of us went to the Bright Blade Brandished for a few rounds of house ale. We divided up our loot: 300gp in coin, two very nice weapons (one a great sword which Areon wanted, and the other, some gnomish weapon worth selling), a beautifully-engraved gold ring of Chultan design with a green spinel (I would love to keep it, but it is worth more than all the other loot combined), and a silver necklace with an alexandrite— I have heard that alexandrite is considered lucky in local lore, so I’ve tucked that into Deitricha’s share of the spoils. Other than selling off what we can’t use and splitting the remainder of the coin, we still have the 500gp to retrieve from Lord Greycastle. The night is young— I’ll go “convert” our loot into coin and, divvy it up, and then take Deitricha her share. That is, after I get done listening to my new friends share the tale of our heroics at the bar— it gets better with each telling!

Posted by Kristin at 22:39 | Theona’s Journal

January 18, 2004

Home and Alive

Areon's Journal

…We managed to drag all the wounded to a dead-ended hallway and prepared for a fight, but Antonio had other ideas.

He dumped oil all over the ground in the 5-foot wide passage that we were in and when the fist Kobold appeared, he tried to light the oil on fire. He passed out, so I dragged him out of the way, but the oil caught fire, torching the kobold and blocking off the tunnel for a short time.

The tunnel quickly filled with smoke, and we were forced to find a new place to hide. Tassar and I carried everyone to the ledge that we had been ambushed from last. We pulled up the ladder, giving us a safe spot to stay at for a while. Tassar and I kept watch for about 16 hours while kobold would sneak up, attack and flee. Of course, we were often able to notice them coming before they realized that we had and would manage to surprise the ambushers. Finally the attacks stopped for a while, and Tassar and I were able to get some rest.

Deitricha came to; enough at least to cast a healing spell on herself and on a few of us. Tassar decided that he should wander off alone in the dark to attack the kobolds. Deitricha gave him her everburning torch, which Tassar promptly hid under his clothing. He then wandered off.

Shortly after we heard a rain of sling stones, and Tassar tossed Deitricha’s torch on the ground, providing some illumination of the ambush he had blundered into. Theona rushed ahead to help Tassar, but I spotted a group coming to attack us from the rear, so I did my best to keep them from over running us. The battle was quite taxing, as Antonio went into unconsciousness again. But after we had driven off the attack we were un-harassed for a whole day. We decided that we should tread deeper into the cave, since we seemed to be in better shape than the past couple days. Theona led the party into a very narrow tunnel, and I heard a curse, and then a loud bang, and it appeared that the party had become deafened. I guessed it was the work of a thunderstone, but I didn’t see it, so I was not sure.

Tassar rushed into yet another ambush, this one led by a bigger kobold who was in armor and carrying a battleaxe. Deitrcha healed the wound I had accumulated, but the kobold hit her with his axe and she went down with a nasty gash in her side. I knew I couldn’t help her, so I tried my hardest to take out the axe-wielding kobold, but his armor just deflected all my attacks. He managed to make me see stars with that axe, and I knew I was out of the fight. The rest of the party managed to kill him, and fortunately all the kobolds scattered when he went down. Theona found the rest of the tribe, and “bargained” terms for them to leave in peace.

We rigged up a stretcher for Deitrcha, and headed home with our treasure. We must have been quite a sight, four bloody warriors traveling with a fifth unconscious comrade…

We took Deitrcha to her temple where a cleric healed her wounds. Then we headed to celebrate.

There was a greatsword in the treasure, which had been obviously made by a master weaponsmith, so I asked that I could take it as part of my treasure. We split up the rest, selling the other jewelry and weapons. Over all I think we all managed to collect about 600 gold worth of items (and reward) each…that should keep us well off for a little while…

Posted by Tim at 13:25 | Areon’s Journal

Long Day

Antonio's Journal

Got up this morning still at the bar. I think I celebrated a little too much that night, but I was just so overjoyed to be alive. The others showed up and I bought breakfast, coffee, and juice all around. We then went to get our pay and see if he had any other jobs available. He hired us on the spot to do some caravan guarding. It paid 100 gp up front and 100 gp when we get back. I convinced everyone it would be a good idea to get a wagon and 2 horses. I then went to do some shopping. I’m surprised at how many people I know and they always seem happy to see me. I got stuff for our trip: healing kits, food for the horses, and all kinds of stuff. I also placed an order at this smith who is extremely good at what he does. I’m getting 5 silver mugs made real nice. Each one is going to have a name nicely engraved on it. One mug per person in the group. I think they’ll like them. I should be back before it’s done, but I already paid and left instruction on where to send it when they’re done. After a bit I caught up with Theona and Areon. I never told them of the mugs; I want it to be a surprise.

Theona told me that Tassar and Deitricha walked off alone and drunk and she seemed disturbed by it. They’re both adults and can make there own decisions. She also told me of people coming up missing so I decided we should check it out. It would keep her mind off of the couple.

After some walking along the docks for a bit we heard a scream and went to the rescue. Theona and Areon followed down into the sewers; I waited up top for the guards to arrive since Areon had signaled them with a whistle.

The guards and I caught up with Theona and Areon after they killed a ghoul, but because the kidnapped person wasn’t there we continued looking. We came across a hidden door and found what later turned out to be a slave ring. We had to run for our lives, but I think we helped a little. I hope the guards find them before too many more people come up missing.

The next day was rather quiet and I think that was good. Now its time to go on duty ourselves and I only hope everyone is on time.

Posted by Fred at 21:22 | Antonio’s Journal

January 19, 2004

It Was a Good Day

Tassar's Journal

I awoke early that morning, earlier than normal, I can’t say exactly why. I had some aches and pains from the fight in the mine, but they were not the cause. In fact I actually felt a little better than normal. As I sat on the edge of my bed pondering this feeling, I began to feel that maybe I have been blessed by Tempus for the skill I showed in battle. This indeed will be a good day I decided, yes I shall get around and have a nice breakfast and then head off to the tavern to see on my companions.

Not to my surprise Lady Brenin was up and around and had started breakfast already. Oh can that lady cook. I often lie awake at night wondering what could ever cause one of her tenants to move out. This sweet lady may be the best cook in the Realms. Beside that she is honest and sweet; it’s almost like being a child and having a loving mother dote over your every move. I can’t tell you how many times she has sewed my items for me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about the love I got growing up. In fact I still believe my mother to be one of the greatest women to ever live. Maybe it’s all in a matter of perspective, I expected my mother to love me and take care of me, she is my mother after all. But Lady Brenin has no such claim on me, and I can only believe her affection for me comes from her true love of people. No other explanation is possible; she is simply a loving and kind person. Never would she admit to it though. She has a different sense of humor, maybe dryer, often it will take me a while to figure out the joke she has played on me.

Well after a fine meal I gathered some things and headed off to find my companions to see if we can check on Deitricha and collect our money. As I walk along the winding streets I get nods and friendly waves from every town guard I pass. Sometimes I think they all know me a little too well, and to think I probably have only talked to three of them in all the time I have been here. I think they all keep an eye on me, to make sure that Lady Brenin is safe. I do not take offense by it, it didn’t take me long at all to realize the effect that Lady Brenin has on people. I tell you if I ever find out that someone ever hurt her, well, that person wouldn’t have to worry about much any more, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I get to the tavern at a decent time and find the lanky Antonio already there. After a few words of welcome he informs me that our cleric friend should be around today, in fact she is supposed to have been healing at a remarkable speed. That is a good bit of news, worthy of celebration if I don’t say. I order an ale only to find that a meal came with it, courtesy of Antonio. That fellow should run for a government position, never have I seen anyone in this town do as much as raise their voice to him. And no one should let a fine meal go to waste, especially when someone else paid for it, so sat down by him and had my second fine breakfast of the day. Wow, truly a great day this is.

A bit of a while later all of my companions arrived, wanting to get over to Lord Greycastle’s and collect out fees. Now mind you, I am not one to want to go and work all the time, not that I am unable to, just... a man needs to relax once in a while. But, I cannot deny how well we had worked together, and I have enjoyed more and more each time Theona takes the time to argue with me. I can’t think of us ever having a good reason, but the joy I feel each time I get her flustered has become one of the highlights of my day.

The group headed off together and was a bit jovial on the way. The feeling of collecting money always puts people in a good mood. We were once again greeted by the butler, who again refused to fill my ale-mug. This Lord Greycastle is not the most hospitable man, he never even offers us a meal.

As I was not drunk enough to help in the negotiations, I resolved myself to looking at my friends. I quickly hid the smirk from my face, Theona was listening and talking about the business at hand, yet her eyes continued to dart about the room. Ha!, not a thief she always tells me. Antonio, while also talking business, keeps his eyes focused in a small hearth near by. Fire-bug I call him, fire-bug he is. Deitricha, unconcerned with the art of negotiating completely, has resolved herself to drawing her holy symbol on the floor with her toes. Areon, while I get the sense he does not like this entire business end of it all, he seems more determined to make sure we get a fair deal than the worth of the deal.

After a few moments of blissful thoughts of the statue they will assuredly build me in Luiren, I am brought back to reality by the poke in the ribs by Antonio. “Yes” I answer, not really sure of the question. The answer made him happy; it must have been the right one. As we all depart and walk back to the tavern Antonio hands me my share of the money and tells me we will be leaving in two days. Friggen Ey!, I have got to learn to pay attention to them. I got no clue to what in the Nine Hells we have agreed to do.

Well, back at the bar Areon explains to me that we agreed to be caravan guards on a short trip to the south and back. Unable to consider this bad news, again I am convinced this is a blessed day for me. I order another ale, then it starts. Deitricha sits down next to me and begins to tell me the evils of my ways. “Drinking will kill you,” she says. After a few minutes of this, and remembering that I have seen her drink, I put out an offer, “Sit down here and tell me about your god all you want,” I say to her, “But, you will have to drink the entire time.” Thinking she wouldn’t drink while telling me I shouldn’t drink, my face suddenly contorted from my jaw dropping to the table as she accepted my offer.

Still trying to figure out if my good fortunes have turned or not, I bought us drink after drink. Let me tell you, for a woman that says she can’t drink much, she can really drink. As our mood turned more to the silly we were joined by Theona. Wow was she not in a fun mood. We tried to get her to drink and have a good time but all she could talk about was work, work, and work. This lasted for what seemed forever when suddenly she got up and said she had to ask someone a question. Deitricha and I quickly gave each other a wink and ducked out the door to go and find a less somber place to continue our fun.

In the next two hours we went to two more bars, unable to find the right place to drink. It seems that noon was not the time anyone wanted to see two drunken people laughing at the top of their lungs. Then I realized, no problem, we can go back to my place and drink without all these people bothering us. Now I know what you are thinking and I will swear on my left eye that my plans were not really what happened next. Yes... I did mention that halflings are taller when they lay down. Yes, maybe a few more similar things may have been mentioned, but I swear those are things I usually end up saying when I am drunk.

What happened was an epiphany, a time of total rapture and happiness. It seems one way or the other we ended up not wearing any of our clothes. And that glorious moment was only the beginning. Now this was not the first time I have ever been with a woman, although it was the first time with a human woman, yet that was not where the experience of grandeur really came from. I cannot name the feeling or the reason for such a moment. Not that over twelve hours has ever been called a moment before.

The time passed with unbridled passion to the likes that I could never have dreamed. I won’t be a cad and go details of that time, just know that it was a glorious day indeed. That time would be enough for any man, but that is not the key to the time that I cannot forget. The thing that will never leave me was the time we spent talking and just being ourselves. I absolutely will not pretend I did not enjoy the touch of her silky skin against mine, which the memory of I shall also always carry. What was amazing was the way she made me feel. Never was I so alive or filled with as much joy.

We talked until near dawn, and for the life of me, I can’t really tell you about what. After she fell asleep I spent some time just watching her sleep. It was in that time that I realized that this was just a fleeting moment. The most meaningful time in my life was just a romantic moment to her. My eyes were then drawn to her holy symbol, and I could not hold back the sigh. Never would a cleric of Tymora fall in love with someone like me. Never could a cleric of Tymora dedicate themselves to one man either. That is not a bad thing for them, simply the way they are, and for all my efforts I could never hold it against her.

Needing to clear my head I went out to get some air. Not knowing my direction I found myself buying Deitricha flowers. Apparently I decided to try to woo her, subconsciously I decided to try this mad course even knowing the chance for it to work. A little while later I arrived back at the house, and slipped back into the room, to wait for her to awake. I think the moment was a bit awkward for me when she awoke, more so for me than her. She slowly got out of bed, kissed me on the forehead and then got dressed.

Neither of us said a word for a while, then she decided we should go to the inn to get some breakfast. As we left the room we became frozen in our tracks, a voice from another room chilled us to the bone. “Breakfast is ready for the two of you!” came the call from Lady Brenin in her kitchen. Quickly Deitricha glared at me and whispered, “You said she wouldn’t be up yet!” and, “I hope for your sake we didn’t offend her.” To Deitricha’s disappointment all I could do is shrug my shoulders and lead her into the kitchen. “She knows we are here, we should eat.” was all that I could come up with.

Then began the quietest meal of my life, Lady Brenin wasn’t eating with us, but she still hovered around the room straightening things and humming to herself. Deitricha never looked up from her plate. I felt knee high to a pixie at that moment. Finally we were done as we both got up and thanked our gracious host for the meal. Slowly we made our way to the tavern to see the group already there. There was a couple of subtle jokes made, and a lot of smiles from our friends, but we endured.

Still my subconscious was in control, trying to be nice and sweet. Eventually reality set in and I ordered some ale. Ah blessed ale, nectar of the gods. How often this liquid came to my rescue. After a little dry and typical conversation Theona broke into the adventure of the night before for her, Antonio and Areon. They had gone to the docks to investigate some disappearances and ended up in a battle in the sewers. It was an exciting story, it got better with each ale. We stayed there for a while waiting and relaxing, knowing the next day would bring adventure.

Eventually Deitricha got up and mentioned it was time to get some rest. I tried one last time to invite her back to my room, she politely declined, citing the need to get some sleep before the trip. And as the last sliver of hope I had was completely crushed, I finished another ale and headed off to get some sleep myself.

Walking though the streets I noticed that I was not going the direct route, in fact I was meandering all over the place. Eventually I came near the docks and saw Portia at work, removing the heavy load of coin from unsuspecting sailors. I wonder is she my future, a woman that doesn’t see me. A woman that thinks me a foolish man without the cash or power to command her respect. With a firm hand on my coin pouch, I left the docks and headed back to my room.

And as the day before had been so splendid, today refused to release me from torment. Calron, one of the town’s more elite guards pulled me into an alley and held a dagger to my throat. As I try my best to hold my bladder, Calron presses the dagger tighter against my throat. “Calron, how are you today?” was the bravest thing I could muster, convinced he was going to kill me for breaking Lady Brenin’s trust, or worse yet her heart. “You would do best to keep the sanctity of the Lady’s house, or …” Calron had said his piece and stared into my eyes. The longer he looked, it seemed the more he realized that his threat was meaningless to me, but the thought that I had hurt her feelings was the truest fear in me. Eventually he let me go and walked off to towards the docks. As I watched him leave, seven other guards came out of nowhere and followed him, more to set in the point of their leader’s threat than anything. One of them mumbled something about killing me now to save Lady Brenin’s feelings. Another said, “Not again.”

About a minute later I realized I wasn’t breathing and had to force myself to take a deep breath. Then again I headed off toward my room. It was only a little past sundown when I arrived, Lady Brenin was sitting on the porch. I tried to make a slight hand wave and sneak past her when I heard, “She was very lovely Tassar.” Frozen for what felt like the tenth time that day, I quietly answered, “Pardon me Lady Brenin,” trying to pretend I didn’t hear.
“Tassar, I am not that old to forget the desire of men and women to spend time together.” This time I saw a bit of a smile on her lips.

“I apologize…” I began to say only to be cut off by the raising of her hand. “You owe me no apology Tassar. I have seen this lady about town before, she is very pretty. Perhaps you notice she is a cleric of Tymora. She will only break your heart, they almost never have marry.” she began to tell me.

“And who said we were …” again she cut me off. “Tassar I have come to think highly of you. You know you have lived with me longer than anyone not related to me. Perhaps you could learn to call me Trisha.” she stated as she pointed her thin finger at me.

Then we began to laugh, me at this kind woman scolding me like a mother, and her at my fears of what she would think. She invited me to sit on the front porch swing with her for a while, and I accepted gleefully. Several hours passed as she told me of her childhood, I listened until a chill wind came along and convinced her it was time to go in.

“Good night Lady Br…” a tried to get out, only to be cut off again by her hand.

“Trisha.” she said.

I gently took her hand and kissed it as I said, “Goodnight Lady Brenin.” Then off I went to get some much needed and deserved rest. It is funny how things turn out for me, whenever I think I am doomed, I end up having a great time. And when I feel nothing can go wrong, I end up eating crow. Three years have passed since I was sent from my home, and in all that time I have tried to figure out the way to become so famous and powerful that my family could not refuse to take me back. For the first time I began to wonder if I ever wanted to go back. And then I fell asleep.

Posted by Jim at 20:59 | Tassar’s Journal

January 21, 2004

A Short Adventure

Theona's Journal

Kythorn 7, 1373, Silverymoon

I stumbled home after our celebration, to rest— I noticed that Tassar lives close by, in that house Lady Brenin occupies. I wonder if he knows about the… well, I suppose it doesn’t matter, it was a long time ago and no one ever was caught. Still, the town guard keeps an eye on things, so he’s undoubtedly safe. Of course, who’s protecting town guards?

Anyway, the night passed uneventfully and I left my small home in the old oak tree to head back to the Bright Blade Brandished, where we had all decided to meet before collecting our pay. Antonio was already there (he’s a human— don’t they need sleep?) and had ordered a huge breakfast for us all. I haven’t bought a meal since hooking up with this group! But, if it makes them happy to feed me, who am I to argue? We finished breakfast and headed off to visit Lord Greycastle.

He seemed pleased at our quick success clearing out his mines and paid us straight away. I mentioned the strange humanoid statues that we’d found in the mines, and explained that we didn’t ever come across any clues as to how they got there. I could see my friends had no idea why I was telling him all of this, until I offered our services to periodically go back through and clean out any new threats that may arise— for a fee, of course. After all, we know the mines now better than anyone, Greycastle included. I am pretty sure he will keep that in mind, but for now, the only work he had available was as caravan guards to Everlund. He had a merchant caravan leaving Silverymoon in two days’ time, and needed resourceful people such as ourselves. Already finding us trustworthy, he offered us each 100 gp right away, and 100 more to be provided when we return from Everlund. We readily accepted, and took our coin. Antonio disappeared into the nearest marketplace after we agreed to let him handle provisions for our trip. The rest of us headed back to the tavern. Areon and I sat down where we had a good view of the other patrons, while Deitricha and Tassar sat at another table, closer to where a steady supply of alcohol could be acquired. I wasn’t surprised to see Tassar drinking so early in the day, but I was astonished to see Deitricha throwing back drinks with equal enthusiasm.

Areon was quiet, studying the other people in the bar, no doubt looking for clues to whatever it is he searches for. I kept my ears open, hoping to hear something interesting, and get caught up on the local rumors. Two piqued my curiosity:

1: A ruined tower two days’ ride west in Upper Rauvin Vale is haunted. Ghostly lights have been seen, and moans have been heard at night. Travelers on the road won’t camp near it.

2: People are disappearing around the dock area here at night— so far it’s been the types that have “business” in the dock areas that go missing. The last one was two night’s ago, two blocks from this very tavern.

I heard both of these bits of conversation in the early afternoon, and though I realized that we couldn’t drop our caravan guarding job to check out the ruined tower (as exciting as it sounds!), we were free for the evening and could provide a few extra pairs of eyes for the town guard patrolling the dock areas. At least, that’s what I thought. Areon was more than willing to check it out, but we had to wait until Antonio came back from making purchases for our trip, so I made my way over to Tassar and Deitricha to let them know what I’d overheard.

I was surprised to discover that drunkenness is transmissible, or at least, somehow, Tassar had managed to get Deitricha drunk very quickly. Really drunk. I’m not sure how she was staying conscious. At any rate, I suggested that we plan to go to the docks later in the evening, and they both looked at me like I’d turned into a rock wyrm. Just then I saw Antonio stride past, obviously excited about something, and went to catch him before he wandered off to do more shopping. Apparently, Deitricha and Tassar left the tavern while I was talking to our sorcerer friend. I was a bit perplexed that they weren’t excited about the prospect of fighting off whatever it was that was causing citizens to disappear, but Antonio and Areon were up to the task, so we let Antonio finish up his shopping so we could head over at dusk. I was a little confused as to why a human and a halfling would even be doing what I suspected Deitricha and Tassar were doing, but Antonio pointed out that they are adults. I just hope when they sober up they are still willing to work together!

Later, Areon, Antonio and I walked down to the docks to check things out. I had already bumped into a town guard earlier and let him know we’d be helping them keep an eye out for anything suspicious. Our diligence was rewarded when I saw a shadowy humanoid form, carrying another person, duck into an a sewer entrance. Areon blew his signal whistle as we gave chase, and Antonio, knowing his most potent spells would not work within the mythal that protects Silverymoon, handed me his lantern and stayed above to wait for the town guard while Areon and I continued down into the sewers.

Areon is not used to tracking below ground, but we caught a blur of motion and followed it. I marked the sewer walls with chalk so that Antonio and the guards could catch up with us. I sensed something behind us and turned, crossbow ready, as the claws of a ghoul raked my side. I hit it with a crossbow bolt that embedded in the undead creature right up to the fletching, and Areon finished it off with one blow. I was lucky that elves aren’t susceptible to a ghoul’s attack, and luckier still that Areon had purchased a wand to provide curing—I needed it! Within moments, Antonio appeared with guards. Three continued to search for the victim with us and the other went back to their station after we gave them a description of what we were following.

Areon had no more luck tracking the figure we had been following before the ghoul attacked, but I noticed a few drops of blood near the wall further along, which we followed. Something else seemed wrong to me after we’d gone a few yards. I studied my surroundings then, and saw that we were standing beside what looked like the outline of a concealed door. After checking it for traps, I found the hidden catch and released it— we walked down a set of steps and found ourselves in a room filled with wooden crates and barrels. Sadly, we had no time to look through them. Another door was visible on the other side of the room and, seeing it was not trapped, we kicked it open and I was nearly hit with an arrow— I sent a retaliatory shot in the direction the attack came from and skewered a human thug. I must learn to watch my own back, as I suddenly felt a blade slice into me right about where the kobold spear had earlier in the week. This time I managed to stay up and fighting. My friends and the guards made it into the room, and though two guards fell during the ensuing battle, my assailant was killed. A third thug in the room was hiding behind a set of bunk beds (this was apparently makeshift barracks of a sort)— he went out another door and ran off while we grabbed the wounded guards and headed back to the street above. As much as we wanted to give chase, we felt undermanned— we’re not stupid!

We were fortunate that none of the guards were dead, and that there were healers available at the guards’ headquarters. We offered to go back out with more guards, but by the time we could, the hidden storage room had been cleared. I’ve found out since that it was a slaver ring, and though we didn’t get back the person we saw being carted into the sewers, we’ve at least ended their operations in this port. We called it a night.

This morning, we met again at the tavern for another generous meal paid for by Antonio. Everyone managed to be there, though it wasn’t too hard to tell that Tassar and Deitricha had spent the evening doing more than drinking. Antonio gave a rundown of his purchases for everyone, which included some horses, a wagon, barrels— we may need caravan guards of our own! We also related our adventures of the night before for Tassar and Deitricha, though they were rather quiet concerning their own activities. Deitricha eventually excused herself to go get some rest, and, almost as an afterthought, mentioned “at home.” We all wandered out then, agreeing that we could use the extra rest, rather than revelry, before embarking on tomorrow morning’s journey to Everlund.

Posted by Kristin at 23:33 | Theona’s Journal

January 24, 2004

Finding a Disgusting Trade

Areon's Journal

Kythorn 7, 1373, Silverymoon

I returned to the Bright Blade Brandished the next morning, having left the rest of the group to their revelry the night before. I am sure that they missed me, but I had no desire to drink at the tavern, and I felt a need to be away from everything. I wandered through the streets for a few hours, admiring the beauty of Silverymoon, and watching the people who were about.

Once I met up again with everyone, we shared a breakfast that Antonio had bought for all of us. While we were eating, I tried to listen to the conversations going on around me, but had trouble with it because of an argument that Tassar and Theona were having. After we had finished Theona insisted that we return to the Greycastle estate to collect the rest of our payment.

Lord Greycastle was more than happy to give us the payment he had promised, and Theona asked if he would want us to do any work as a security force, checking to make sure that no other undesirables moved into the mine. Greycastle did not seem very concerned, however. He did offer us a job, however guarding a small caravan going to Everlund. He offered us a total of two hundred gold pieces to do the job, one hundred of which was in advance. I know that he probably trusts us, especially with the efficiency (he thinks) that we cleared the mines with. But if he is offering half the payment in advance, I would think that there is something important in that caravan.

Antonio took responsibility for getting some provisions for us, while the rest of us returned to the tavern. Tassar and Deitricha took a table close to the bar for themselves, while Theona and I picked a table that was a good vantage point to the rest of the tavern. I know that I have to be around people if I have any hope of finding the Tiger, but it still unnerves me. I feel much more at home under the trees or out in the open than in a crowded room. Theona seems most comfortable in the city though, which make me wonder if she feels the same way about the outdoors as I feel about the indoors.

We listened to the conversations going on around us, and though I was only listening for rumors about a certain statuette, I am sure she was listing for something else to explore. She told me that she had heard about people disappearing down by the docks, and asked me if I wanted to check it out. I of course was ready to find just about any excuse to move about, so we waited for Antonio to return.

Theona caught Antonio as he was passing by and told him about her find, and he agreed to go check it out with us. When she went to talk to the (heavily inebriated) Tassar and Deitricha, she found that they had wandered off together.

We decided that we would go without them then, and we decide to meet after Antonio had finished his shopping. I wandered the streets for a bit again, this time by the light of day. The city bears much resemblance to a forest, though the huge numbers of houses and buildings built among the trees belies that illusion. I long to head north again, to the land where everything is untouched by civilization, but I know that I will not until my missions here are over.

We met again at dusk and headed to the docks. We did not see anything out of the ordinary at first, but then Theona spotted a suspicious figure ducking into the sewers, carrying something human shaped. I immediately gave chase, blowing my signal whistle so the town guard would know something was up. Antonio gave Theona his lantern and waited above ground, knowing that his magical powers were not a potent within the city.

I tried my best to track within the sewers, but they do not hold tracks like the ground under the sun, and the extreme closeness of the tunnel did nothing to help me concentrate. I began to wonder if it was such a wise decision, chasing the kidnapper, but I continued on, hoping that we could find something.

We saw a blur of motion and headed to follow it, but Theona felt like something was behind her. She spun and the ghoul behind her only managed to get her side, rather than her back. She fired her crossbow, nearly putting the bolt the full way through the creature, and I put it down with a solid hit from my sword. I then used a wand I had purchased in case there was no cleric with us, or if she was incapable of helping us, to heal Theona.

Antonio then caught up to us with four other guards. One got a description of what we were chasing and the other three stayed with us to help in any way they could. I tried to find the signs of passing that our quarry had surely left, but had no luck. Theona found some blood on the wall and started to head down the tunnel, but almost immediately stopped and examined the wall. After a few seconds, she found a hidden catch and the wall opened.

It opened to a staircase which led to a small room filled with Crate and barrels. There was a door opposite us, and after Theona checked it for traps, we kicked it in. Almost as if there had been a trap connected to the door on the other side, an arrow flew from across the room, narrowly missing us. Theona returned the shot, dropping the man. We fought with another thug, who had managed to stab Theona in the back, and a third, who had been opposite a set of bunk beds from us fled out through another door.

We would have given chase, but two guards had been badly wounded and needed treatment. We got them back to their headquarters, where a couple healers were stationed, and waited until there were a few more guards to spare to return and investigate.

When we did return we found that the storage room had been cleared, a sure sign of the little kidnapping group moving on. We called it a night and headed to get some rest.

The next morning we met up and Antonio told us what he had purchased for our trip. We also relayed the story of out late-night adventure to Deitricha and Tassar. Not long after Deitricha left, saying she needed to get some rest, adding a sheepish “at home” on as an afterthought. We agreed that we should get some rest, and we each went our different directions.

I traveled outside the city so I could be more comfortably alone. I found a tree that had branches that I could fashion some arrows from, and spent the day making a few. I could almost hear my father guiding me as I made them, though we both know that he has taught me enough that I could probably even make my own bow by now, though I think I will wait for a while before I try that venture.

I returned to the inn shortly before dusk, and made sure I was ready to head out tomorrow….

Posted by Tim at 23:56 | Areon’s Journal

January 25, 2004

Full mug, foul mouth.

Deitricha's Journal

I still blame Antonio. Just kidding!

Then again, I have flowers pressed into my journal.

Guess I have to elaborate; maybe it’ll help me figure out what to do!

We started the day by going over the treasure from the kobolds’ lair. Among the coins and other things, there was a beautiful alexandrite pendant. I loved it! And, to my joy, everyone agreed that I could have it. The rest of the treasure was divided, and folk left to shop. Tassar came back with a new dog — to ride! Of course, he was soon drinking again, even before we left for Lord Greycastle’s to get paid.

Theona mentioned the strange statues to the lord, and offered our “services” to make sure the mine stayed free of vermin. He wasn’t interested in that, but did mention a caravan in need of guards — a quick trip, to Everlund and back. It seemed like a good deal to us, especially as he was willing to pay half up front this time. Nice to know others find us trustworthy! There’s always the possibility of orc attack, or worse, but that’s the chance you take in this part of the world!

We headed back to the tavern to talk over what we’d need for the trip, and found out that Antonio LOVES to shop. We all donated towards a horse and wagon, and then he began to think of other things we could carry IN the wagon besides our gear! He was soon off all over town, buying stuff. And then Tassar arrived with a barrel of ale for the trip.

Seriously, this worried me. We need to be on our toes at all times when we’re not safe in Silverymoon! Drinking and fun have their place, I’ll be the last to say otherwise, but I decided to try to explain to the halfling that drinking had no place on a journey in which one could be attacked at any time.

It didn’t turn out quite like I expected! Tassar was insulted, of course, and it occurred to me that he IS a fighter, he must know these things already. I’ll have to trust that he does know better than to drink enough to be incapacitated in the wild. So, when he offered to listen to me talk about Tymora, IF I would drink with him, I decided to take him up on it. (The look on his face was worth it, right there!)

I was glad we had another day before the caravan left. I drank a lot. I spoke of Tymora. I think I worried Theona a little; she sat down ON our table and tried to tell us about some rumors she’d heard about a ruined tower and the town docks. At least, I think that’s what she said — it was so obvious she was trying to get me away from Tassar and the bottomless mug of ale that we got the giggles. When she left for a minute to “talk to the town guard”, we thought it would be funny to take off before she got back!

Well, my train of thought about Tymora was lost for the day, but we had a lot of fun hitting a bunch of bars, “hiding from Theona”, and talking about whatever came into our heads. Tassar is a lot of fun to be around. So much fun, apparently, that I ended up going home with him.

Well, I woke up a bit confused about the room I was in.. and why I was naked. About the time I remembered that it was Tassar’s place, he arrived with a big grin and a bigger bunch of flowers! I was rather embarrassed, although not entirely for the reasons he may think. Still, I got dressed and we headed downstairs quietly, only to discover that his landlady had made us breakfast! Here I was hoping my family wouldn’t tease me too much about letting loose outside of Midsummer, and instead had to respond to the good manners of the lady of the house. She is a sweetheart, but I’d rather have been introduced under different circumstances.

We headed off to the bar, late enough that everyone else was already there. I wondered what they’d say but everyone seems to think it’s a joke or no big deal. Theona gave me a look — it turns out they could have used our help last night! They checked out the rumors of people disappearing from the docks, and ran into a ghoul and slavers down in the sewers! I felt like a hypocrite; worrying about the halfling drinking on the trail and not being ready for a fight, we’d ended up doing exactly that when our friends needed us. Theona told Tassar that a halfling named Portia had been asking about him before we got there, and I’m not sure she was joking.

I realized that I really needed to sit down and think about my actions. Despite Tassar’s invitation, I decided to spend the night in my room at the Temple, sorting myself out. I’ve been acting without thinking things through beforehand, that’s not what blessed Tymora expects from her worshipers.

Mostly, however, I need to explain myself to Tassar before he thinks worse of me. I think I’ll write him a note and give it to him before we start out with the caravan tomorrow.

Dear Tassar,

I’m sorry if I acted funny yesterday. I needed to get away and think, and didn’t get a chance to until last night. I owe you an explanation and this is the best I can do.

I like you. You can be impulsive and rude but even when we’re not drunk you’re really funny and brave. I wasn’t embarrassed yesterday morning by waking up with a halfling, I was embarrassed because I don’t usually do things like that unless it’s a religious festival. Having a big family in town to tease me tends to make me more careful about my behavior than some of my fellow clerics.

Your landlady is a sweetheart. I’m glad she wasn’t upset, but I’d just gotten over that worry when we found out that our friends got into trouble last night and could have used our help. I was worried that drinking on the trail would make for a dangerous situation, but instead, drinking right in town did it for our friends! And, when Theona asked about Portia, whomever she is, I wondered if you had a friend elsewhere, and I’d hate to be in the middle of that.

Hope this explains things a little. Hope we’re still friends!

Blessed Be,

Posted by Kate at 14:43 | Deitricha’s Journal

January 26, 2004

I Hate the Cold

Antonio's Journal

We gathered together and left town early in the morning. The day was cold and uneventful traveling, all we saw was fog and some town guards patrolling the area. Come nightfall we pulled over to the side of the road and that’s when the storm hit, after a bit we decided to get some shelter. Someone found a cave and we got all the wagons and horses to it, we searched the area and found a smaller cave inside, while Tassar searched that I had Theona look around the rest of the cave with me. She said something under her breath sounded like “about time” or something like that. I have no clue what she was talking about, but she said the rest of the cave was clear of anything unusual. We tethered the horses securely in the smaller cave and arranged the wagons in the larger one to provide us with some cover in case anyone else decides they need out of the weather and want us out of this cave. I soon fell asleep.

My sleep was cut short by Otto, Tassar’s dog, barking, things were a little blurry for a moment then I realized the horses were agitated. I was up and over there as fast as I could, and what I saw astonished me for a minute. Undead orcs had entered the smaller cave by a concealed door and they were attacking the horses. Everyone was fighting and I was able to set 3 on fire before Deitricha sent them running. I got my lantern and followed Tassar and Areon down the tunnel and was attacked by living orcs. It was a battle and when all was said and done Areon was down. Tassar gave him a healing potion and I took him back to Deitricha for healing. All of us then returned to where Tassar was waiting and we followed the passage down to its end finding smoldering corpses along the way. I just smiled and followed at the back of the group. The passage led to a large room filled with undead. Tassar and Areon made the front line as Deitricha attempted to turn them and Theona shot at them. I cast some spells, then made 2 Molotov cocktails with my belt pouches and set several on fire. That’s when Areon fell Deitricha picked him up and carried him away, the Tassar fell, and Theona got him, I cast burning hands then ran myself then it gets a bit crazy. Tassar revived and wanted to fight some more and the only thing between him and the zombies was me so I turned back, cast burning hands again, and broke my lantern over one. At this point it looked as if everything was alive in flame. Areon came to after Tassar was knocked unconscious again, but he was convinced to run. We got back to the cave and Theona made the door stay closed as I went to get some sleep.

I was roused from my slumber again too soon and I asked if we were leaving or not. I was told it’s too bad to go so I slept some more. I woke in early afternoon to find my companions had followed my example and made 5 of those cocktails. They did a good job too, I smiled proudly and we got ready to open the door while Deitricha was preaching that we shouldn’t do this. One undead orc came through and I hit it with one of the cocktails the party made. It exploded nicely and I promptly went unconscious. Deitricha healed me and I saw that there was only one zombie dead at our feet so we continued looking for the others as Deitricha continued to preach behind me. I had to smile seeing all the smoldering corpses lying around. That’s what you call residual damage; I did that. We returned to the large room we found all the zombies in and there was a tapestry on the wall of a very evil orc pantheon. After some begging the party allowed me to burn it. I took great pleasure in doing that. After a bit Tassar came up to us and said he found more orcs and they were talking, so much to Deitricha displeasure, we are off to kill them all.

Posted by Fred at 12:34 | Antonio’s Journal

Oh, For Tymora's Sake..

Deitricha's Journal

Well, I gave Tassar my note. He took it and rode off on his dog, Otto, and hasn’t said a word about it since. I guess that means things are OK.

We met with the caravan and its master, Mr. Drake. There are two wagons (ours makes it three), and each wagon has a driver and a crossbow-wielding passenger, so we’re not the only defenders. I think Mr. Drake was relieved by that fact - some of my friends don’t think before they speak, at all! There are even extra horses for us to ride; I’m glad I have had some practice. We set off into the fog, with Theona watching the mountains, me watching the river, Tassar pacing the length of the caravan, Antonio driving, and Areon ranging ahead. It seemed to work out well.

A couple of hours into our journey, we met a patrol heading back into town and were pleased to hear that the road was clear ahead. The rest of the day passed quietly, although unusually foggy, cold, and windy. Toward evening, as we set up camp, it turned to snow. Antonio lit a fire but the blizzardlike conditions made it a poor one! The wagons were rocking in the wind, so Areon and Tassar went searching for better shelter and soon returned with word of a cave that we could get the wagons to. It wasn’t easy, but we had incentive!

When we got to the cave, Areon and I waited with the caravan while the others searched for signs of life. Antonio soon called out that the place was clear, so we led everyone in and settled down. It was a tight fit, but once some old ogre bones were piled into a corner and a fire lit (again) it wasn’t uncomfortable. There was a side cave to tether the horses in, and it didn’t take long for us to set watches and relax for the night.

I had a nap, and then second watch. Theona was up with me, and pretty nosy, too! I told her that it wasn’t polite to tell tales, but her curiosity about Tassar is kind of funny. I wonder just how curious she’ll get? I wonder what he would think? In the middle of asking me something quite rude, however, she suddenly cocked her head and whispered, “What’s that?”, while looking off to the horses’ cave. I got up to look, and so did Areon, but the horses’ agitation quickly turned to panic, and suddenly several bolted as one of their mates screamed in pain!

I could see an orc in the far corner, seemingly come from out of nowhere, attacking the horse closest to it. Areon charged in and killed the orc, which showed us that there was a secret door in the wall and several figures moving within. I hollered to the others (no doubt they were awake by now), telling them what was in the cave, and the next orc that shambled through the opening was rapidly met by Tassar and shot by Theona. Even as the other orcs tried to get through the doorway, we realized they were all undead; I raised my holy symbol and shouted, and they all retreated! Tassar killed the closest as it fled, and we were left with an open door.

I wondered out loud whether it would be better to simply block the door. The mountains are riddled with such foul creations, and we have a responsibility to stay with and protect the caravan. I don’t think anyone listened; Antonio flung something down the tunnel and set them all on fire, and he, Areon, and Tassar dashed through the doorway while Theona and I turned to check on the caravan. Poor Theona was terribly upset with herself for missing that secret door and gave the rest of the place another search, while I peered into the snowstorm in hopes that the caravaners would return with the escaped horses.

Even as the guards came back with the horses, including one poor beast that I had to heal, Tassar and Antonio arrived from the other direction (with Areon over his shoulder) and tales of live orcs as well as undead to fight. Areon used a wand of healing on himself while I healed Tassar, and we all walked down to make sure that nothing else would disturb us. I waited at a T junction of two tunnels to make sure nothing snuck up as the others searched in one direction, and then we set off together in the other. We found smoldering bodies from Antonio’s fires, which pleased him to no end. We also found a temple to an evil god, full of undead orcs!

We were rapidly engaged in battle - Tassar and Areon fightng hand-to-hand, Theona shooting arrows, Antonio flinging flaming flasks of oil into the crowd, and I, turning every one possible. It wasn’t enough. Both Tassar and Areon went down, so we pulled them out of danger and went running back up the tunnel. Tassar was only stunned; I was praying I’d be able to heal him, but next thing I knew, he was very much alive and kicking, wanting to be set down so he could go back and fight! We stopped to argue over this, letting the orcs catch up, which I found out when Antonio stopped next to us and suddenly cast some firey spell fifteen feet down the hallway into the ranks of our pursuers!

I saw Theona use Areon’s wand on him, but he still wasn’t moving, so I let Tassar go and began to drag the unconscious elf up the hallway instead. I didn’t get far before I saw Tassar go down again - whatever he took must not have healed him much. Leaving Areon to Theona, I dashed back down to grab him, earning myself a blow from one of the orcs even as Antonio got ahold of his friend and headed up the tunnel. I quickly turned and ran, and we all finally got away from our pursuers. We ran, in fact, all the way back to the cave, where I begged Theona to block the secret doorway so that we could rest in some sort of peace! Theona did so, and despite a muffled thumping from the other side, we left the elves watching, and napped the rest of the night away.

I woke the next morning to the sight of Mr. Drake scowling at the cave entrance; the weather had not let up all night. We talked it over, and decided to stay another day. Everyone was glad to rest up, pray, and memorize spells. Unfortunately, it also made for time to get bored. Areon and Tassar, especially, wanted to go fight undead! I tried my best to talk them out of it. I pointed out that we were being paid to guard the caravan, and not be distracted. If they go running off after every undead we find in the frozen North, we’ll never get anywhere! They were too busy making firebombs out of oil flasks and rags to listen. Soon, they cracked open the door, and the orc that had been thumping all night hacked its way into the room.

I swear, Tymora was trying to tell them something! My turning failed. Areon shot Antonio by mistake. Antonio set the thing on fire, but also got shot by Theona, and slumped to the floor. Areon finally killed the thing, only to find an empty tunnel behind. I made the mistake of waking Antonio up - the whole crazy lot of them immediately ran off down the tunnel! We made it to the temple without incident; it, too, was now empty. Disappointed, Antonio set a tapestry on fire, while Tassar wandered up yet another passage, and came dashing back to tell us he could hear live voices ahead. Itching for a fight we don’t need, I watched my cohorts disappear into the darkness. I’ll have to follow; I don’t want anyone to get killed. I just pray that the caravan is still safe when we return!

Posted by Kate at 22:27 | Deitricha’s Journal

January 27, 2004

Nether Region

Theona's Journal

Kythorn 9, 1373, Nether Mountains

I hate just sitting around, doing nothing. At least if I’m sitting in Silverymoon, I can listen to the constant murmurings of the townsfolk as they discuss the minutiae of their lives— much of the time here I just get to listen to the wind howl, and occasionally, one of my companions howl.

Yesterday was exciting enough— our group met (Antonio with two horses and a huge wagon filled with our stuff) and Tassar riding a dog. I had heard rumor that the temperature had been steadily dropping outside of Silverymoon, so I used my earnings to purchase winter clothing for us all, tents, and extra rations for our trek. Areon of course, had spent his money on a wand of healing, and Deitricha, well, she brought a note. But she didn’t share it with us— she gave it to Tassar! I’ll have to remember to read that later.

We met up with the Caravan Captain, Morn Drake, next, and discovered that in addition to two caravan wagons, there were four humans (counting Drake)— two drivers and two crossbowmen. They also had nine horses in addition to Antonio’s, four to pull their wagons, and 5 for us to ride! Of course, Tassar was on Otto already, and Antonio needed to drive our wagon, which left three for us to ride and two horses to change out as needed. Areon took point, which was fine with me since we were leaving the city limits, Deitricha kept an eye on the river to our right while I watched the mountains to our left. It was quite foggy, and of course, cold. Two hours out we passed some Silver Knights returning to the city; they had no news of any hazards ahead of us.

We made good time and were about halfway to Everlund when the snow began to fall heavily, and the winds became gale force. We attempted to form a camp a little ways off the road, but there just wasn’t enough shelter to keep a fire going, and the temperature was dropping now that the sky had darkened. We had seen lots of little holes dotting the sides of the Nether Mountains. We quickly found a cave that just had two caverns in it; Tassar called Antonio and I up to check it out, and, other than finding some frozen blood near the crushed skeleton of an ogre, it seemed like it would work. We put the horses in the “side” cave and the three wagons around the edge of the main cave, with a new fire in the center. We split up watches; I took the second watch with Deitricha in the middle of the night.

Though I had read her and Tassar’s little diaries (I always keep tabs on N’Tel’Quess companions, lest they get subverted by Zhents or otherwise fall under an evil enchantment, as I hear happens fairly easily and often), but I didn’t really have a clear enough picture of why they had been drinking so heavily of their own volition. I can understand why humans fall for Tel’Quessir so often, but I am genuinely confused about a human and a halfling (and vice versa). Deitricha must have been too sober to discuss it though, as she didn’t offer me much information, despite my repeated attempts at friendly cross-questioning. Suddenly, I heard a decidedly odd noise from the direction of the horses— the sound of rock scraping on rock. By the time I leapt to my feet, and started to run over to them, the first panicky whinny erupted, followed by the screams of at least one of the horses. Areon managed to get there and kill the orc coming through a concealed door before I did, but I managed to shoot the one following it! I noticed as I did so the lifeless glaze of its eyes— the only thing worse than orcs are undead orcs! Fortunately, Deitricha was able to turn them, and as they shambled back the way they’d come, Antonio hurled one of his “cocktails” at them and they lit up like torches.

Areon, Tassar and Antonio followed the zombies, while Deitricha went back to the main cavern— two of the horses had fled the orcs and were injured— as Drake’s men brought them back out of the storm, she was able to heal them. I resigned myself to rechecking the entire cave for another secret door— I usually can easily see the crude doors made by N’Tel’Quess and feel terrible that I missed that one.

Our male party members returned shortly, indicating that they had found several live orcs, each with one eye socket scarred over, in the tunnels beyond the secret door. I had considered blocking the secret entrance, as Deitricha wished, but the thought that there were more orcs, one-eyed orcs, no less, was too much— I had to go and see if we could clear them out.

We found two tunnels— one ended abruptly with a cave-in, and the other (now strewn with charred zombies) led to a larger chamber. The chamber held four blazing sconces, a tapestry depicting the one-eyed orc deity Gruumsh on the far wall, and— twenty undead orcs. They turned, as one, to attack us. We fought with everything we had— bolts and flame, sword, and divine wrath, but there were too many for us. Areon went down, and then Tassar. Deitricha urged us to fall back, so I grabbed Areon and she, Tassar. As we dragged them down the hall, Antonio hit the pursuing zombies with a fiery spell. As Deitricha was busy fussing over Tassar, I remembered that Areon has that healing wand on him, I found it quickly and attempted to use it on him. It must have worked, as his wounds seemed to stop bleeding, but he was still unconscious. I figured it would be quicker to use something I was more sure of and dumped my only healing potion down his throat. That worked!

We managed to get ourselves back to our relatively safe cavern and I used my copper coins to wedge the stone door closed. Areon and I sat and watched it while the N’Tel’Quess got some sleep. I could see he was as impatient as I to be away from this place. To make matters more unbearable, we could hear the steady thumping of a zombie on the other side of the door—clumsily attempting to gain entry.

Morning brought more bad news— the blizzard was still raging and Captain Drake wasn’t willing to risk continuing on to Everlund until the storm broke, especially with 18” of new snow since we’d taken shelter in the cave. So, with protests from Deitricha, we gathered at the concealed door and removed the coins. A single zombie lurched out. Areon and I had been standing back to get clear shots at whatever emerged. Unfortunately, somehow Antonio had jumped right in front of the opening to light the zombie, and in his enthusiasm lit himself and Tassar, who of course was then unable to effectively hit the zombie. Deitricha’s attempt to turn it must have failed as well. Areon and I struck true, but as I said, Antonio suddenly appeared in front of us. Antonio’s arrow hit him square in the back, and my bolt split the arrow neatly down the middle. Antonio dropped. Ironically, the zombie then did fall, having finally caught fire from Antonio’s little concoction.

Deitricha revived Antonio, and we went charging back down to the room where Gruumsh’s worshippers (or thralls) had been. They were gone! I appraised the tapestry, and finding it wasn’t all that well made, allowed Antonio the satisfaction of setting it to blaze. I then examined a spot below it that looked like a bowl was meant to be placed under the tapestry beside rectangular, blood-stained grooves in the floor, but before we could figure out what, Tassar remarked that he heard guttural voices of what was likely live orcs down another passage, and with that, we all had to run to keep up with Areon as he started out towards the sound....

Posted by Kristin at 19:42 | Theona’s Journal

January 31, 2004

The Storm Approaches

Tassar's Journal

Up early for the day’s trip, I found myself with a few extra minutes to think about things. We have a trip to the south, but something feels … off today. I can’t put my finger on it, maybe we are traveling too soon. Maybe we are being paid too much for this work. More than that, definitely more than that, but for the life of me I can’t think of why. I begin gathering my gear and getting dressed when I notice my boots, still covered in the dirt from the mines.

I thought about my boots for a bit; they are getting a little worn. Maybe if we have a little layover in Everlund I will have time to visit a cobbler. If I ever find myself in Waterdeep again, I shall have to buy two more pairs of these from that shop on the docks. By far these are the best boots I have ever owned. Indeed, this pair of boots has been with me longer than anything I own, guess that makes them my oldest friends.

After realizing I wasted half an hour looking at my feet, I got up and headed to our pre-determined meeting place. Upon arrival I notice that I am the last one to get there, but I am also the only one who already owned his own mount and I had to stop at the stables.
I ride up to our group as they are talking to some of the men from the caravan. First things first, I point out that the ale is mine and I don’t expect to see them in it. Then I rode around the wagons we are to protect. Strange, we are guarding two wagons…. I have rarely seen such a small caravan.

Inspecting our new comrades I continue to be discouraged. I can see that I will have to keep my opinions to myself on this trip, not one of the party has seemed alarmed about the oddity of this trip. The caravan group is four men of an unsavory appearance. One driver and one guard to stay with each wagon, yet they still pay us a handsome wage to travel with them. One of the two men armed with crossbows seems a bit familiar, yet I can not place him. I have a couple hairs raising on my neck and we haven’t even left yet.

Finally the party gathers to plan where who rides and what we may do in specific situations. It is a normal conversation for such a trip, yet the heavy fog that surrounds us is putting us in a bit of a foul mood. Even the normally quiet but good spirited Areon nearly backhanded me when I called him a “tree hugger”; all three times. Eventually though we get started, Areon in front and me to the rear, Theona and Deitricha in the center, all of us moving in preset patterns to maximize our protection of the caravan. Antonio is driving our wagon, no one wanted to tell him, but his large profile would stick-out more to the possible thieves than if we had set one of the wagons on fire.

On we travel into the fog, and as we advance into the morning it never lifts. Eventually the weather breaks, nearly breaking our backs that is. From nowhere a fierce storm attacks us with unrelenting snow and wind. We tried to keep moving but within a short time the snow is over a foot tall and we are forced to find shelter.

Areon quickly finds a cave large enough for us to put the entire caravan in. Not that I will ever doubt his skills, at least to his face, but it seemed a little too convenient. Three of us scouted the cave to find it secure, yet disgustingly filled with bones. We quickly get the caravan in and put the horses in an alcove where they are tethered and fed. We split up watches and begin to try to get some rest in hopes of setting out the next morning.

After me and Areon finish our watch, we wake up the women for second watch. Then I find a comfortable spot by the fire and close my eyes. That’s when it began I guess, the noise from near the horses. I notice the party trying to work there way into the cove with the horses and tried to yell warnings to them as I got under the nearest wagon. Now don’t even think I was hiding, I was just using my head. As the group of scared horses began flailing out in every direction and started to tear their tethers loose I tried to warn them of the potential stampede.

Being a little fellow I have long been aware of situations like this, if I tried to release the horses I would be killed by them. Horses are notorious for not paying attention to little people when they get scared. Many a halfling and gnome have fallen for the attempt, and I was not about to be one.

Finally the horses broke free and were cut free by someone leaving free the view of the doorway that opened in the back of the cave. The party had put down the first of the intruders, an undead orc. This is so wrong, this cave must be their trapping spot. As I go to help defend the opening we are faced with several more of these creatures, each one seems to be missing one eye. This is a bad sign, a sign of evil that must be driven from this land.

We fight our way into the tunnel and find the undead running, and we almost fell into the trick as several not-so-undead orcs attack us from a side tunnel. We fight off the ambush and set off to track down the source of this evil. Areon is nearly in a barbaric rage, he seems to be frothing at the mouth at the chance to fight these monsters. I feel driven to do it as well, but his fury is almost scarier than the thought of what is ahead.

Running down twisting paths we come out suddenly to a large cavern with our prey gathered together. Ok, in hindsight this was a bad idea, but you had to be there. We engaged the undead orcs, all twenty some of them with their falchions. Areon and I took the front while the others attacked with ranged weapons around and over us. For a second or two we seemed to make progress, then the reality of the situation took hold. Areon collapsed when a flurry of blades bore him to the ground unconscious. I tried to hold the front myself with everything I had, seconds later as the party began dragging Areon to safety, I was hit for the fourth time with their deadly blades and fell to the floor.

Before I could do anything, Deitricha picked me up and began running down the hall leaving Antonio to guard our rear, since Theona already was running with Areon on her shoulder. I took one of my potions and broke free from Deitricha, insisting that I should guard the rear, never should a mage be left to slow the onrush of these monsters. A part of me did notice that Antonio has done more damage with fire than the rest of the party, but there are certain principle that any fighting man needs to hold to. One is the matter of honor, and to be honorable I have to protect the party’s retreat. For the gods, never should a mage be left against such odds while men of blade are around.

As I got free and ran to guard the retreat I yelled at Antonio to run, to which he finally did the part of a true mage, he ran. He got no more than five steps before my attempt at saving face found me looking at two blades imbedded in my chest. I didn’t even see the move, I guess I was so concerned with being in their way I wasn’t paying attention to their skill. As the creatures glared at me with their undead eye, or eyes as each creature only had one, I felt a smile come across my face, then everything went black.

Maybe an hour later I awoke in the cave that we had been protecting, the entire party made it here and had blocked the door from the enemy. The creatures had apparently followed us there and were pounding on the door. As my senses began to clear I realized that once again Deitricha had come to my rescue. Now this wasn’t just a casual observation, no I gathered these facts from the screaming that Deitricha continued to yell at the party. While she had a good point, and maybe we should have listened, we found ourselves as a group determined to put an end to these monsters.

We didn’t just ignore our cleric, we camped for a while and thought about taking the caravan out to continue the trip, only to be trumped by the weather which continued to rage with a fury, as if the gods had suddenly declared a weather war on this part of the realm. And I think as the decision to stay in from the storm came from the caravan men, several of us began to believe that we will never get out of here without the destruction of whatever cleric of Gruumsh is causing this weather. Yet, none of us spoke of it, as if it was such a obvious thing in our way that speaking of it would only be an insult to each other.

Later that day after the fire-bug had rested and prepared his spells, we decided to open the still pounded door and finish our enemy. With continued the comments of Deitricha ringing in our ears, we opened the door and killed the only undead orc there. As we continued back to the large room that we had found earlier, we passed burned after burned undead. Even the great Tempus would have a hard time getting the smile off of Antonio’s face at that moment. He before us realized that he had set enough of them on fire that their unthinking attack on us would prevent them from putting themselves out. As they had apparently tried to rush the door to the cave, they spread their fire to each other, and killed themselves.

We found the large cavern empty, save for the tapestry to the one eyed god of evil, Gruumsh. The party argued over burning it or not, only to give in to Antonio’s begging and let him put his torch to it. As the party discussed options and talked among themselves I walked away to check out the two other tunnels out of this room. A short distance up the first one, I heard voices. Easily figuring out that the undead don’t talk, maybe this is the where the evil cleric will be found, I went back to the large room to inform the party.

Then in an unspoken agreement Areon and I started up the tunnel. We were followed by our companions, but I think we would have gone on without them. Areon for his hated blood enemy, and me to mainly clear my conscious to Tempus for the way I had failed in battle the day before.

Posted by Jim at 14:33 | Tassar’s Journal