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August 9, 2006

One should not speak ill of the dead

Seren's Journal

After the battle, we took stock of our situation and decided to head back to town for the night. This wasn’t a problem until we left the woods and could see each other clearly in the moonlight - I looked around at my companions and saw: two gnomes, an orc, and a wolf walking upright on its hind legs! It was also talking with the chattergnome’s voice, but I took a shot at it just in case. I seemed to miss - but realized that it was an illusion of a wolf around Rook.

Kor’tac and Rowind also seemed unfazed by the spell, but Roywyn got very upset. We could not convince her that Rook was not a werewolf, and Rook himself wasn’t helping the situation by going on and on about how to kill a werewolf when we met one. I shot another arrow at him and told him, “That’s how!”, while Kor’tac quietly walked him away from ‘Wyn and ‘Wind. Next thing we knew, he’d pulled out his axe and whomped Rook in the head with the flat side!

It took a couple of shots before Rook went out cold, at which point Kor’tac slung him over one shoulder and walked off to the tavern. When we found that the bar was closed, Kor’tac went looking for the temple to find the injured halfling. We argued with ‘Wyn the whole way - she couldn’t understand why we were not upset by Rook’s “transformation”, unconscious or not! At the temple, Kor’tac knocked politely, but the poor acolyte on night watch took one look at the orc and his burden and slammed the door in his face.

We did finally get the acolyte to speak to us through a crack in the door. It turned out that the halfling hadn’t come to them for healing, anyway, so we walked back to the tavern to rest for the night. We went to the gnomes’ room, wrapped Rook in some of the nets we’d taken from the goblins, and Kor’tac hung him from a rafter in the ceiling. ‘Wyn decided to “test” him and pressed a silver coin onto his forehead, and the strangest thing happened - he stopped seeming like an illusion, and became a real lycanthrope. The sight of the coin actually burning his flesh did it for me, and I was flying at him with silvered dagger drawn!

*Poof* and Rook was just Rook again, thank Shaundakul! I couldn’t even be angry when I saw ‘Wyn giving ‘Wind a dirty look and figured out he’d been playing tricks. I just hooked my feet through the mesh of the nets, and went to sleep! Just in case, you know...

The next morning we were woken by shouts from the net - one angry chattergnome, of course! Still being cautious, Kor’tac gagged him and brought him downstairs still bound up. This time he was hung from a rafter in the barroom. We then went back upstairs to talk to the injured halfling, who was in room 3. At least this time the door didn’t get slammed in our faces! (He must not have noticed Kor’tac had his axe out and hidden behind his back).

The halfling and ‘Wind got into a long drawn-out discussion of the “treasure map” he’d talked about the night before. Instead of just paying a thousand gold, ‘Wind suggested a down payment of two-hundred fifty, plus healing in full, plus ten percent of whatever we find. And, just like that, they were talking about having breakfast and going to get a contract drawn up!

I was only half-listening by then, but while we waited for the halfling to get dressed I realized the others were talking about Rook, and thumping on him some more before releasing him from the nets. Now, a little fun is one thing, but my conscience smote me - this was going too far. I quietly flew off downstairs and set to work cutting Rook free and lowering him to the floor. I had barely begun when a loud shout right behind me - in midair - caused me to drop the poor guy instead!

I quickly healed him up, and he started in talking about werewolves again. ‘Wyn gave us both a look of disgust, so I shrugged my shoulders and walked off to order breakfast. Whatever Rook got himself into this time, at least his feet were free to run from it! As we all settled in the corner, ‘Wind reminded us that we had to give 250 gold before we got the map. I handed over a moonstone worth fifty, and the others made contributions, then went back to eating. Except Rook was trying to make up for the hours of being gagged; he ignored me when I put my bow on the table and glared at him, but he settled down when Kor’tac did the same with his axe. In the meantime, ‘Wyn and ‘Wind had left the table, muttering about silence spells.

By the time the halfling was downstairs eating breakfast, they returned - with saps for each of us, and about 400 gold each as well! Dalabrac Merrymar joined us for a walk to the notary, who wrote up a whole contract for the gnomes to check out. They got into an argument about the definition of a “full healing”, but the contract was finally signed and notarized and copied for us all. ‘Wind and I healed the halfling, and he handed us the map. Back to the bar we went to check it out!

The map had strange handwriting on it, which thankfully Kor’tac could read. Apparently, the path to find the treasure is only to be found when the moon is full. Tonight, then - we needed to hurry, and hoped not to be attacked by any real werewolves! Leaving Dalabrac to wait at the inn, and disappointing ‘Wyn’s wish for some horses to ride through the woods, we headed back to the forest. I was sitting on Kor’tac’s shoulder, reading the map and pointing the way, when we heard the sound of many folk coming through the wood.

I put the map away, and Roywyn began to sing for us. We stood in a group and waited... only to see a whole group of drow appear from the trees ahead! I can’t describe my feelings about drow, but my actions did - without hesitation I screamed, drew back, and shot the lead drow dead!! ‘Wyn was next, casting an illusionary portal in between our parties, and Rook shot off some magic missiles at the drow who was obviously beginning to cast a spell on us.

A mass of webbing fell from the sky, entangling us in its sticky strands. I was able to get free, thanks to Shaundakul’s blessings, yet not before several drow arrows hit me. I was badly hurt, but managed to get away and hide myself among the leaves and branches overhead. I drank down a healing potion while watching a ball of fire from Rook burn a swath through the webs. It didn’t reach Kor’tac, unfortunately - he was struggling like mad to get free. He looked like he felt the same way as myself about drow!

Rowind had disappeared from view, although we could hear him screaming at us to run. Kor’tac and Roywyn were still stuck, (Kor’tac swearing volubly) while the drow archers next took aim at Rook. Down he went! ‘Wyn shot another drow, singing all the while, and then a wall appeared between some of the drow and the rest of the party. I aimed my next shots at the two drow spellcasters, and killed them both outright - go, me! Unfortunately, this made me a target for the next volley. Several of the drow aimed at ‘Wyn, too, offended by her song.

Kor’tac was finally breaking free from his bonds, and I had killed another drow or two, when I saw Rook was still bleeding out - but I was unable to help! I’d already been hit by more arrows, almost negating the healing potion’s effects, and the others were fighting for their lives as well. A new spellcaster appeared from nowhere as I hid in the leaves and drank my last healing potion, and then I heard Rowind’s voice, telling me where he was hiding so I could fly down and be healed by him. I was determined to kill the new spellcaster, first, but he drank something and disappeared from view.

Kor’tac went on the rampage, mowing down several drow in front of him. I shot one more archer to death, then flew to ‘Wind, who healed me completely. The wall disappeared, and I saw that Rook had stopped bleeding and lay dead before us. Oh, no... but, first, we had to finish off our enemies. Kor’tac killed two more, Roywyn got one, and the last drow ran as fast as he could off into the woods. The last spellcaster, thankfully, failed to reappear, and we were left with the bodies of the enemy and the body of our friend.

I hope Rook doesn’t mind that I’m now using his amulet of protection.

I hope we desecrated the bodies of his killers in a fashion that will bring peace to his soul! He is well avenged!

Posted by Kate at 01:18 | Seren’s Journal

Mishklo' Bio

Mishklo's Journal XPCs

All my life I’ve lived free in these woods. There are a lot of dangers, but none more so then the visitors we get from the local city. They enter looking for wealth and other things that they really don’t need. Don’t misunderstand, I do visit the city from time to time, in an attempt to understand why these people can’t live in harmony with the world around them. I’ve spoken with elder Druids, and they have explained some of it, but I get the feeling there is more to it then just a lack of understanding of nature. Some don’t even care how their actions affect the natural order of the forest I live in.

My closest friend is Moonlight, an albino wolf. I found him as pup almost two years ago. I believe he was orphaned after some adventures come through. But that’s a story for another time. One of our pasttimes is watching adventuring parties travel through. Sometimes I help them out, other times I let them go their own way undisturbed. It really depends on my mood.

Today was a strange day. I was sitting in a tree as this orc came crashing through my woods. He had the strangest bird on his shoulder. I was curious so I decided to follow. I turned into a bird and kept watch as he and several gnomes appeared to be following some map. After about and hour or so they walked into some drow. The strange bird screamed so loud I thought I was going to go deaf. It then shot two arrows and killed one of the drow. I watched the battle curious to see what was going to happen.

When it was over the orc and his traveling companions appeared sad, and did some very strange things with the bodies of the drow. Apparently one of the orcs friends didn’t survive the encounter. Curiously enough they stripped him of his belongings and started to decide who got what. “Mementos.” I believe that’s what they call it when you take something from a deceased friend. I think I’ll follow them till my wild shape wears off, then I’ll decide if I’ll help them or not.

I can see Moonlight from where I am hiding some distance off. He’ll stay just close enough so I can see him, but he won’t do anything unless I tell him to, so I’m not worried about him. He’ll warn me if anything big is coming.

Mishklo and Moonlight, image (c) Kristin Johnson

Character sheet: Mishklo [Human Druid]
Companion sheet: Moonlight [Wolf Companion of Mishklo]

Cause of death: really big explosion.

Posted by Fred at 02:46 | Mishklo’s Journal | XPCs

Stinking Drow

Kor'tac's Journal

Where did me leave off..... ok back to town. We started back to town when I realized that Ro was up to no good, and to keep the chatty one safe, I knocked him out. Felt good. Anyway, we found that Halfling trying to sell a map since my friends seem not up to the task of hunting werewolves. It took some time to get them moving again, and yet they still don’t seem prepared. I have tried to talk to Ro and Ro about fighting, they just smile at me like I am talking jibberish. Ro says she is fine with her bow, and Ro says his loud stick will do him fine.

The chatty one seemed to take interest in learning, then I realized it was just an excuse to talk. The little one with wings seemed to like to talk about using her bow. Seems I will be the one in front no matter what happens, at least I know where I stand. And they will all be standing behind me, silly little guys anyway. I like them.

We went to find the treasure, with one funny twist. These little people sometimes look at me like I am the stupidest creature in the realms, but today they had to hand me the map to read it. I told them what it said and now we are going north to find the treasure.

On the way we ran into a Drow patrol. Before I could move I was trapped in a magical web. Some of my friends managed to get loose and actually kill most of the Drow before I finally got free. I thank Tempus for the strength to get loose and kill two of those mangy beasts. Me and the little flying one seem to have the same hatred for the Drow. To tell you the truth, I don’t remember much of the fight, I was blinded by hatred. What I do remember is the two of us placing the pieces of the Drow in their proper places, once we marked them proper to let all other Drow know they are not welcome in the north. If they look carefully, they should be able to find all of the heads. The state they are in is of their own doing. Stinking Drow.

It took a while to figure out what was different, me and the little flying one where so busy that we didn’t notice the quiet, seems the chatty one didn’t make it. I kinda feel bad, he should have stayed behind me. My only knowledge of this battle was from what my friends have told me, as I said, I lost focus when I saw the enemey. I will have to work on that, I cannot let that happen again.

Well, Ro Ro seem to be ready to move on again. The group seems to have been hurt a little, me I have to clean the gunk off my armour again. I will have to start teaching them how to duck at least, if they don’t want fighting lessons. This place is not suitable for camping, we will have to move on....

Posted by Jim at 12:34 | Kor’tac’s Journal


Roywyn's Journal

Mirtul 29, Kryptgarden Forest

I think we thwarted some evil drow followers of Vhaeraun on their way to cause problems for Eilistraee’s worshipers. Well, I don’t really know that for sure, but it is the night of a full moon, and I recall seeing those drow dance under a full moon, and even learned a song from them once, years ago.

But, I am getting ahead of myself! Let me go back to last night. We were returning from Kryptgarden Forest, having not found the werewolf we thought we were looking for. Suddenly, I noticed that Rookinoniak looked very much like an upright wolf, though he was still talking surprisingly fast and in his normal gnomish voice. No one was willing to draw his blood to make sure, but Kor’tac did knock him out with his axe at least. The gnome stayed in his wolf-shape, though the quiet was blissful.

We could not get him into the local temple to be “fixed” and the Frost Touched Frog was darkened for the night— we went in to the room Windy and I had acquired earlier, putting the wolf-gnome in a net attached to the ceiling. I wanted to see if he would react badly to silver, so borrowed some coins and placed them on his exposed skin. At that point, I realized Windy’s illusion spells are much better than I thought, and though I know realized he’d cast an illusion of a wolf over the talkative gnome, Seren was now convinced that the silver coins were burning Rookinoniak and wanted to stab him a few times with a silver dagger. Perhaps the warning look I gave Windy tipped her off, or caused him to break his concentration, but the wolf-gnome now just looked like a gnome to everyone. At least he was still quiet.

Now that I think on it, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen a male gnome that I was just getting to know turn into a hideous monster— hmmm... I wonder. Oh well.

In the morning, we found the halfling’s room (he was staying in the same inn). Windy and I found out that he had tried to sell a treasure map to our three traveling companions, who had chosen to go looking for a werewolf rather than fortune. It also turns out that the halfling, one Dalabrac Merrymar, was only bitten by a regular wolf, and hadn’t actually said anything about werewolves— Kor’tac is looking for one and made a leap of logic on that one. However, the wounded halfling wanted 1000 gp for the map— we didn’t have that kind of gold handy. Windy offered him 250 gp, healing, and 10% of whatever we found at the destination of the map. Dalabrac agreed and went to get a contract written up. While he did that, Windy and I went to the market and sold 15 of the nets from the night before. We got a tidy sum— 2400 gp for them. We kept half and split the other half with our three companions. We also bought four of us saps, in case Rookinoniak woke up talking. I tried to buy a few silence spells at first, but the saps were much cheaper and probably more effective anyway.

We met back at the inn, handed out shares of the gold, signed the contract, and paid and healed the halfling. He gave us the map, and we went to find a table to spread it out on. The map showed five circles, four around a larger one, in the northern part of Kryptgarden Forest. Oddly, Kor’tac was the only one that could read the words written at the bottom— something to the effect of: “By the light of the moon at its fullest, the path shall be opened.” Tonight was a full moon! We figured it would take us about ten hours to get to the part of the forest the map depicted, so we departed immediately.

We made pretty good time, and had almost reached our destination, when a dozen dark-skinned elves appeared in front of us. Before we could determine if the drow were friend or foe, Seren went into a fury and started shooting her bow at them, killing one outright.

I tried to slow down the eventual clash of the two parties by creating an illusion of a portal opening between the groups. It caused the drow to walk around it, dividing them into two smaller groups, but they were still bent on attacking us. As my comrades attacked with ranged weapons, I had tentacles come out of the portal, causing some of the drow to act as if they were entangled. Unfortunately, they had magic users among them, one of which cast a web spell that entangled Kor’tac and the talkative gnome. I was in the middle of the spell myself, but managed to keep from getting caught in the stickiness.

I still didn’t know who these drow were, and since we attacked first, had no way of knowing if they were a group of good drow out to perform a moonlight ritual for Eilistraee, or something more sinister. To find out (and provide some encouragement to my friends), I chose to sing that song I overheard during a ritual to the good drow goddess. Wow, did that make these drow angry! Six arrows whizzed past me, but none hit. I decided I’d better start shooting back. Seren and Windy were out of my view, but the orc was providing me with a lot of cover on one side as he struggled to get out of the webbing. I then realized that Rookinoniak had ceased talking. It took me a moment or two to realize that meant that he was unconscious. I turned to see his prone form bleeding a few feet from me, but he was entangled in web and I could not break through it to get to him! I saw him breathe his last, and then I had to turn back to the battle, lest someone else be mortally wounded as well. I was able to kill a few of the drow myself, and once Kor’tac got out of the web, he finished off what we smaller folk had not. All in all, we slew ten of the nasty creatures.

I am not sure what we are to do with the dead gnome. Our only consolation is that at least he didn’t die alone, but we could have been kinder to him (well, we could have tried to listen to his constant prattle, at least). We took some of the weaponry and protective gear he carried, and then set about piling the drow up in what I can only assume would be an embarrassing fashion to them. Perhaps anyone that passes by this place will think the little red-haired gnome finished them off.

Posted by Kristin at 22:24 | Roywyn’s Journal