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June 7, 2006

A Pretty Predicament

Sanura's Journal

Murtul 2, 1374, Undermountain, continued again

And, we ran straight into a huge black dragon. I barely had time to say “run” before Shoshiro grabbed me and pulled me out through another door. And closed it! I immediately opened it and grabbed the first person I could reach— Kanelyth. I was going to try to grab Flic as well, but before I could, the horrid beast turned its baleful gaze on him— and a huge spray of acid shot from its mouth.

Panicked, I scooped up as much of the damaged Flic as I could with my skirts, and dragged him through the door. Shoshiro was gone, and with him our light source. Could things get any worse? Kanelyth was struggling with someone or something in the door, all the while telling me that Flic was alive; I attempted in vain to provide healing to and awaken what was left of the unconscious half-drow I’d collected in my lap. I was somewhat glad that I could not see what he looked like, but he felt... burnt. I was surprised that I wasn’t burning myself with the residual acid, when I felt a pain in my thigh. It felt more like a bite. I tried scraping whatever it was off of my leg when the door opened far enough for me to see that I was being attacked by a dire rat, and worse, there was a humanoid ratperson standing in the doorway, and Kanelyth was lying on the floor at its feet!

I did the only thing I could think to do— I cast a charm on the wererat. It looked me in the eye briefly, and then brought the filthy rapier it carried straight down— killing the rat that was attacking me. Grateful, I asked if it could help me and my two fallen comrades. The creature agreed, so I set about stabilizing the hawk woman, and waking up the half-drow. Slapping him in the face and saying his name didn’t work, but I knew a tried-and-true method priestesses of my order use— that worked quite well. The burned Flic was alert and on his feet again in seconds, and helped me drag Kanelyth towards the wererat’s lair— a 15’ dark area that was a “bubble” of protection provided by some faint glyphs of magic. I asked the creature (Amis, he calls himself) if he had any healing potions, as I was out of magic. He produced a vial of orange liquid. Having nothing to lose, I poured it down the hawk woman’s throat, and thankfully, it revived her. I asked Amis if I could buy any more of these from him; he rummaged around in his piles of treasure until he found three more. I was hoping that drinking one would somehow restore Flic’s now-misshapen features, but Kanelyth was now assuring me that Flic was completely uninjured, and that the black dragon was an illusion! I looked closer at him and, by Sharess, he looked fine! I’m sure he was almost as relieved as I was. Of course, he has no idea that I’ve decided to allow him to spend some quality time with me when we get out of this dungeon, but it simply would have been awkward if he’d come out of this horribly mutilated or dead.

But, back to the task at hand. While we were allied with this Amis, I figured we may be able to do business with him; judging by the sheer amount of stuff he had accumulated, I guessed correctly that he is a trader. Flic was able to detect magic on a few of the wererat’s wares; we bartered away some of my gold jewelry for a pair of magic boots, a 1’ ash stick, and some (nonmagical) rope. At some point during our trading with Amis, Flic decided to try on the silver circlet we’d found on the wight. It highlights his silver hair very nicely. Yes, I am quite certain I will spend some time alone with this half-drow when our treasure hunt is over, assuming something more interesting doesn’t come along.

Now, we decided it was probably time to find our other companions. Eleioni, of course, was still in the crevasse, so we went there next. There were some dead dire rats and goblins littering the area between us; I’m glad they fought each other instead of us! We tossed our newly-acquired rope down to him and he clambered up. When he got up to the top, he was wearing the bronze pendant that had been on the skeleton below. We asked him if he’d found anything else on the skeleton, to which he replied, “What skeleton?” He’d not bothered to check in all the time he’d been down there! Flic and I climbed down the rope to investigate, and we found an obviously-magical 3’ staff. I’m keeping hold of that for now.

We climbed back out of the crevasse and decided to investigate the area in and around the dragon illusion (which was still there), hoping to find our wayward ninja; in time we could hear some yelling in an obviously-Shou accent. We are off to investigate that....

Posted by Kristin at 21:07 | Sanura’s Journal

June 13, 2006

A Dark and Stormy Dungeon

Sanura's Journal

Murtul 3, 1374, Temple of Sharess, Waterdeep

We followed, each at our own pace, the yelling Shou until we came upon him in the entranceway to that gold and marble throne room. There were at least a dozen goblins there intending to do him harm. He shouted at us to run to the back of the room and through a door— he had a plan. Kanelyth and I went back immediately, while Flic, for reasons that were never clear to me, stayed in the hallway. Eleioni, of course, could only walk at a ooze’s pace, and would not be arriving for some time (though we could hear his full plate armor clanking methodically through the hall as he “raced” to catch up).

So, the hawk woman and I were in this little room off from where the throne sat, and I could hear something going on, but we had shut the door, preventing us from seeing anything interesting. I got her to open the door (hawk women are apparently ticklish) just a crack, as there was light out there but not in our hiding spot. Just enough light fell on us that I was able to make out a word on the rod I’d just found— “Arathog.” I have no idea what it means, but saying it aloud didn’t seem to do anything. So, I pointed it through the opening to the throne room and repeated “Arathog.”

It started to rain. It only rained for a few seconds, but it was definitely rain. How useful this rod would be back in Mulhorand! Unfortunately, it rained on us, rather than my intended target, so I concentrated and carefully “aimed” the rod again: Arathog.

Pretty colors began to swirl around the throne room. Kanelyth must have been bored too, as I felt her reach over me to touch the rod and murmur “Arathog” herself. More pretty colors! It was clearly making the goblins worried, so I added one more word to the incantation: Arathog.

The middle of the throne room was filled with a huge impenetrable darkness! We had to work to keep from laughing as the goblins began to scream in terror. I began to make what I thought would be ghostly sounds, warning the goblins of impending doom if they did not flee immediately. Of course, being in total magical darkness, they all ran in different directions. One ran right for Kanelyth and I, but one more “Arathog!” and its armor turned invisible— and stayed hanging in midair long after the goblin who’d been wearing it was long gone.

I could hear clanking still a few hundred feet from where we stood, as Eleioni tried to arrive during some of the goblin encounter, and Flic was out in the hall casting on the few goblins that had already fled. There was a second globe of darkness where the throne was, and soon a soggy ninja stumbled out of it, clearly damaged—turns out the throne “bit” him and he’d been poisoned. Kanelyth took our last remaining healing potion to him as I went to see what Flic was up to (there was another globe of darkness in the passageway— pretty sure that one wasn’t mine). I aimed at the doorway, planning to hit the next goblin that came or went through— but Eleioni arrived at the scene (finally), and I “Arathog’d” him. He turned completely purple! I explained as quickly as I could that the rod (I was guessing that this was a famed “Rod of Wonder” that I’d actually read about) had made a goblin’s armor go entirely ethereal— Eleioni wished to see if we could removed his cursed duck armor that way. So, I tried it again. In addition to making pretty colors and rain, it can also cast lightning bolts! He leaned quickly to the side as one just clipped him. I did not wish to kill him outright, so I was going to refrain from any more attempts, but Kanelyth came back over and Arathog’d him two more times—once causing him to grow leaves (also purple) and then in turn blinding him and causing butterflies to appear. Thankfully the blindness (and butterflies) wore off.

Other than what sounds were caused by the rod, and a few spasms from Shoshiro as he worked the poison out of his system, we noticed suddenly that it was otherwise quiet in the passage; all the goblins were gone. But where was Flic? We got our answer moments later, when the darkness spell in the hallway ended— he was right there, beside one of those stone statues we’d been pulling over the day before. Except now he was one— apparently the victim of a trapped statue he had pulled over by himself. He hadn’t even turned to stone in a very interesting position, but at least he was easy enough to drag along. We decided it was time to go back to the Yawning Portal and end our part in the contest. Luckily, we’d never really gone more than a few dozen yards from the entrance, so dragging Statue Flic and marching Purple Leafy Duck Eleioni there was not too difficult.

It turned out that we weren’t the first group out of the contest (which was not yet over). We quickly headed off to the local Temple of Sharess, hoping to be able to have our half-drow turned back to flesh, and possibly fix Eleioni as well. Unfortunately, it was going to cost over 40,000 gold, and we had about 200 on us (most of the valuable stuff had been on Flic when he was petrified, and we couldn’t pry it off). As Fate would have it, a man called Quentin Morden of the “Merchant’s Consortium” had followed us to the temple, intrigued at our, well, survival. He offered to pay for all the healing and curse removing if we’d agree to escort him north to a meet with a Northern Uthgardt tribe. Now, I couldn’t really agree on behalf of the statue, but then, we had been in the contest originally to gain such a position and only 10,000 gold pieces, so it seemed like a good deal! Only Shoshiro seemed hesitant, but then, I’ve never been able to understand what exactly his goals are.

I played with a few of the temple cats while the uncursing was done, as I didn’t need any healing myself, and then we met with Mr. Quentin again to go over details. Flic was very upset that we didn’t leave him in statue form! He’s very pretty when he’s angry. He stormed off in one direction to get some of our finds identified (I followed him with the unidentified boots we’d purchased from the wererat), while Eleioni wandered off with the enchanted sword and had it identified elsewhere (and then tried to sell it— thankfully he didn’t manage and we were able to make an even trade for it for another weapon). Flic went someplace that didn’t allow cats in or something, but luckily came back out before I got too bored. The boots were useful to the ninja, the wand wasn’t worth keeping (so we sold it) and the ring Flic wore provides some protection (though not, apparently, against turning to stone). I think there is something wrong with him still— in spite of him propositioning me several times while in that awful dungeon, he now is quite catty, which, while appealing, makes it difficult to progress in any meaningful fashion. It must be a characteristic of his drow half. Quite maddening!

Posted by Kristin at 20:30 | Sanura’s Journal

June 15, 2006

Out of Undermountain

Eleioni's Journal

I stretch as I get out of bed this morning. It feels good to have that cursed armor off, and a job to boot. Getting out of Undermountain really turned things around. The thought makes me shudder. As if cursed armor wasn’t enough I was turned purple and had leaves growing off me. Thanks to the clerics at this temple to Sharess I’m back to normal, and our mage Flic is no longer stone. It didn’t cost us a copper either. Quentin Morden, a very nice merchant, offered to pay it for us if we’d guard him to some tribe up north, protect him while he’s there and bring him back. Hells, works for me. Flic seemed to have a problem with it, once he was flesh again. I just don’t understand him, we drag his stone body out of Undermountain, manage to get him flesh again and he’s upset because we got a job. Shoshiro is coming along; why, I’m not sure. He didn’t receive anything for the merchant, and has complained about it adamantly, but he’s still joining us, Lathander knows why. The extra hand will be appreciated. Kanelyth and Sanura both think this is a good thing, as do I. Well, time to get up and start our journey. I just want to put Undermountain behind me for now.

Posted by Fred at 03:03 | Eleioni’s Journal

June 19, 2006

Tragic Waste

Sanura's Journal

Murtul 6, 1374, North of Waterdeep

Poor, dear Flic— if he’d only known how much he had to live for, maybe he would have tried harder.

We left Waterdeep two mornings ago— our employer provided us each with a horse, tent and provisions. Camping the first night was uneventful, though Quentin Morden had some magical device that erected a house for him to sleep in. I tried knocking on the door once to see how he was, but I’m not sure he can hear what’s going on outside the house. At least, if he can, he must know his limitations, as he does not emerge until morning, regardless of screaming and explosions all about the structure.

Though the two days of traveling was quite peaceful (even boring), the second night was not. During Shoshiro’s watch that we had a problem, but he quickly alerted us all before the attack hit. Even so, I came out of my tent and was attacked so viciously by the goblins and their worg mounts that I lost my first spell and had to step back into my tent to heal myself from multiple wounds. As I did so, the tent itself was rent open from a non-entrance side— I held the Rod of Wonder to the opening and spoke the command word— and was momentarily blinded (and butterflied). Luckily, most of the assailants were as well. Even when my vision cleared, I could not see beyond the slavering jaws trying to fight their way in to attack me— I am told that my next use of the wand produced 4’ tall grass throughout our entire campsite. I tried one more time, and got something useful! A rhinoceros appeared and systematically went through the camp squishing our foes (and Eleioni’s tent, which contained much in the way of weapons and burdensome armor and equipment), but it routed the remaining attackers without damaging any of us.

I am somewhat unclear as to how Owl died, but apparently Flic had him attack the rhino, perhaps not realizing it was something we summoned, and perhaps not remembering how owl had fared against a manticore a few days earlier. I attempted to tell him this, but it was difficult with all the commotion from our friends, a ball of fire that was rolling around and burning up the dead enemies, and I fear I was not heard. Shoshiro must have heard me, actually, or at least had the right idea, as he attempted to lead the rhino away from our camp so it could ransack something elsewhere. Flic, I’m assuming, thought the ninja was in need of assistance. I don’t know, however, because I had used the rod again, blanketing the middle of the camp in darkness. At least the rhino couldn’t see Eleioni as Kanelyth was attempting to treat his wounds quickly and quietly. We did hear a horrible squelching noise as the rhino made another attempt to defend it self— and sadly, that is the last sound I’ll ever hear from my almost-but-never-quite-dearly-beloved. To make his wasteful death even more tragic, he was wearing some very valuable jewelry that was also destroyed by the rampaging rhino.

Our patron slept through it all, or at least, did not open the door to his portable house. I have half a mind to leave.

Posted by Kristin at 14:43 | Sanura’s Journal

June 21, 2006

A Fool's Death

Shoshiro's Journal

This week was a little strange for me. We have begun the journey to take this man whose intentions are unclear to me to the north. We have found the journey thus far like any other time with us as a group difficult. I personally have found a reason to be here, a woman in the body of a goddess. I will protect Kanelyth with my life. However this was not the greatest day for us. We were attacked by a group of goblins riding wargs. They were worthy opponents and we may not have defeated them. However a giant monster appeared out of nowhere and began to kill everything in sight. It needed to be drawn off and I knew that I was the only one to do this and survive and this fact was unfortunately proven to me later.

I began to lead it away from the group. I was going to get it far enough away and then disappear. I got away from it just in time to see that little owl attack it. The monster seemed to be just an animal and its death seemed to serve no greater good. I don’t know why the owl attacked, but its resulting death was karmic. I could understand the sorcerer being upset and wanting to avenge his pet, but I had to try my best to keep him alive. However in this I failed. The beast also killed him as well. His death was nothing more than a waste and if he was responsible for the owl attacking than it was deserved as well. Ultimately he was a fool and got the fool’s death, which he deserved.

Posted by Bryon at 09:21 | Shoshiro’s Journal

June 25, 2006

Kor'tac's Bio

Kor'tac's Journal XPCs

Where to begin....

I could tell you of my youth ....... but that was so long ago. I was born in the North, I can almost even remember my parents’ names. I must have been about 3 or 4 when my tribe was slaughtered. Drow poured down on my people without warning from every direction, with spell and sword. My people where unprepared, but fought to the end. My mother was one of the first to fall, with her last efforts she tried to hide me underneath her body to escape the horror.

Pinned as I was I was forced to watch the brutality. To this day I can see no reason for the attack. I swear I heard laughter in their cruel voices as they destroyed my people. Yes it had to be that, for there was a evil smirk on the face of the one who picked me up; with a wave of her hand I was unconscious.

Some time later I awoke in a dark and horrible land. I was a prisoner, along with many others of different races; all where about my age. On occasion they gave us food, but mostly they kicked and abused us. After a few weeks, I and some of the others that survived where taken through a portal of some kind, and the darkness we had become so used to was vanquished by brilliant light. Before I could adjust to the quick change, I found I was in chains. A Halfling had purchased me in a slave market. I soon learned his name was Philian, and I also learned he was the cruelest creature to ever walk the world.

Philian purchased me to join his troupe of fighters for pit fights in Calimsport. I was taken to his home and placed in the ‘training room’ with 4 others that he purchased. It was a large octagon with 20’ walls and cages above. Philian ordered us to fight, and that only one will be allowed to live. I was nearly knocked off my feet before I responded; it was a quick and violent battle. The elf girl killed the dwarf and human boy in seconds, then turned on me as I came out of the stunned feeling from the shot she gave me to the back of my head to start the whole thing off. She was strong and nimble, and to this day I can only wonder if I was better off for winning this fight or not. Time will tell.

Soon after I was put into a underground complex that was the housing for Philian’s fighters. There were about 30 of us, ages and races varied, but they where hardened fighters. One thing will never leave my mind, the look of sadness they had when I arrived, for they knew the path my life would follow.

Most of them had no time for me, not expecting me to survive, why should they bother getting to know me? One man did, a nearly-blind Dwarf by the name of Dorin. The two of us soon became the closest of friends, and often fought together in the arena. In truth there was an alliance of four; we stuck together and kept each other alive. Gauset was a male Human, and Liace, a female Moon Elf, completed our group. But Dorin was my closest friend, he taught me to fight as his people did, he taught me the tactics of the arena and how to survive the politics of the battles too.

One day, many years later, we had traveled to a large place to take part in a festival of battles. This large complex held hundreds of warriors of every size and shape. It was here that Liace found our way to freedom. She found what must have been a forgotten trap door in the practice arena, and she also had the plan. One day when there was about 100 of us in this arena getting ready for the day’s fights, She opened the door, and we all made a break for our freedom. Liace said with so many escaping we had a better chance, and besides we had our weapons and armor and it could be our only chance for freedom.

This door was not forgotten by the slave owners, they kept creatures there to make sure no one would escape. They didn’t plan on our numbers though. Into the tunnels we went, fighting at every corner, I kept Dorin by my side. Liace and Gauset where ahead of us. We must have been in part of the sewer systems for the tunnels led us out into many areas of a market. It was the market that seperated us, it was a new chaos that I had never imagined. Gauset took advantage of the confusion and led us out of the town, along with a few pouches of gold that he liberated on the way too.

After reaching the edge of town, we decided to seperate and try to return to our homes. We all took Dorin to his people in the Great Rift first, then headed out on our own. It has been nearly two months and I still am not sure if I am going the right way. I miss Dorin and my friends. I wonder if I will ever see them again.

Kortac image (c) Kristin Johnson

Character sheet: Kor’tac [Mountain Orc Fighter]

Cause of death: really big explosion.

Posted by Jim at 00:43 | Kor’tac’s Journal | XPCs

June 26, 2006

I guess we could be a team after all

Shoshiro's Journal

We seem to be making some progress as a team. It was unfortunate with the loss of Flic, but those of us who remain are getting to be quite effective as a team. I have found myself able to use my abilities to aid the others with theirs as well. This was well illustrated when I used my scouting skills to give up the positions of the skeletons so they could be dispatched with ease.

We seemed to have added another member to our little groups as well and he is of course an oddity to be added to this group of oddities. He is an orc, full-blooded, and yet he seems to be relatively good. He was an aid to me while we tracked down and killed the necromancer who led the attack against us. As we advanced on him the necromancer was using a spell to become invisible. It was too bad for him that he did not have ability to use the invisablity to his avantage. The lighting bolt he cast hurt us both but gave his position away. So I did my best to show him the proper way to use invisablity as I thrust my sword into his heart. So he will be more effective at it…. in his next life.

But I am starting to feel that we belong together. I have found someone that I want to protect. And I will protect her with my life. However as we progress as a team, I worry that what we are protecting is the wrong thing. I worry that this man has evil intentions and will use us to do evil. If this is the case, then he will find himself a lot closer with my blade.

Posted by Bryon at 01:02 | Shoshiro’s Journal

June 29, 2006

Big Deal

Sanura's Journal

Murtul 8, 1374, Redlarch

Our patron knows we don’t have the money to raise Flic, but offered to let us stop in Redlarch if we wanted to try and find a way to get him brought back. I didn’t know any of these people a week ago, and based on how Flic acted when we had him restored from stone, I would not risk it anyway. We cleaned up what was left of him as best we could, sat a few rocks on a “burial” spot and said some prayers to take him into the afterlife.

Then we moved on.

We soon passed a caravan heading south. Shield dwarves made up most of the lot, all but the last person who was trailing well behind them. It looked to be an orc, but several feet taller than any I’d ever seen! And, either Eleioni was hit in the head too hard last night, or he’s very na´ve, because the first thing he said was, “Hey, that looks like an orc— let’s invite him to join us!” A few of the dwarves paused their wagons and assured us that they were well aware of the mountain orc following them, saying he’d been tagging along for some time and seemed quite harmless. That piqued the curiosity of Quentin, who apparently wanted a replacement for Flic as soon as possible.

And indeed, the orc is very friendly! As he caught up to us on the road, he announced that he was called Kor’tac and that he was headed north to find his “people.” When we pointed out that he’d been traveling south, he admitted to being lost. Quentin swooped in at this point and offered the orc 5 gold pieces a day to travel with us, and the orc readily agreed. He’s dressed to stop an army— huge weapons, half plate armor, and what looks to be a large wooden door strapped to his arm. I felt bad for the horse Quentin offered him, until I realized Kor’tac was distributing his weight fairly well; the orc’s booted feet were still touching the ground as he road.

That night passed uneventfully in our little camp— perhaps no one will attack us with such a large bodyguard on duty.

The second day was a different matter. We finally started to see trees after a few days of mostly barren plains, and within those trees, we saw the ruins of a tower. I really wanted to stop and look, but we had a schedule to keep to (apparently), so we made as if to go on, when Shoshiro thought he heard something in the trees. Moments later he confirmed this by letting us know he’d found a half dozen undead archers ready to attack! I got to attack them first, and I must say that Sharess’s divine will made quick work of them, turning them all to dust instantly.

Unfortunately, that was not all that was waiting for us, and I soon felt the pain of a gargoyle’s stony claws as it swooped down and attacked me! I had to get down from my horse to fight back, eventually resorting to handing the Rod of Wonder to Kanelyth when we discovered that nonmagical weapons did no harm to the creature. I was able to use my new crossbow to sink a bolt into it (making it attack me again), while the hawk woman produced another (or perhaps the same) rhino, a stream of gems, green magical “fire” and finally, an elephant from the rod. The elephant flattened the gargoyle, and I used a spell to calm the elephant afterwards so it wouldn’t accidentally stomp us. It wandered off, as did the rhino and most of our horses.

While all this took place, Eleioni appeared to have been “protecting” his mount for the brief battle, and I suspect that Quentin was doing something similar. Shoshiro and Kor’tac had made their way to the ruins to fight a necromancer and some creature that it had summoned. Apparently they did not put up much of a fight as Shoshiro was soon walking back to us carrying some interesting items he’d pulled of the wizard’s cooling body: a wand, some magical bracers, a spellbook, and an amulet depicting the (dead, I thought) god Moander.

Quentin was rather upset by the entire battle and insisted that we immediately make our way to Redlarch— and since there were only two horses now, we had to force march to get there by sundown. We are currently staying in the Butternut Inn, though of course we still have to keep watch at Quentin’s door. I wonder who he thinks would attack him in an inn?

Posted by Kristin at 18:44 | Sanura’s Journal