The North Journey - A Greyhawk Campaign

Book Three, Chapter Two - The Quest To Destroy The Book Of Eibon
The Abbor-Alz and the Bright Desert

Chapter Two – Abbor-Alz and The Bright Desert

Toughest Foe – Two Greater Displacer Beasts that can apparently paralyze with their tentacles

Most Spectacular Kill – a Jackalwere levitated to 70’ and dropped

Biggest Waste of Magic – using two charges from a Wand of Fireballs to dispatch a small camp of gnolls

Camped upon one of the hillocks, the watch noticed movement and woke everyone as three silent men, reeking of age and in decrepit, mouldy clothing entered the firelight. Darmok immediately detected evil and Chees called upon Idun, Rebamac upon Nepthys, to turn undead; their efforts were successful and the wights reversed direction, at which point the characters attacked with missile weapons, swords and axes, felling the creatures outside the camp.

In the morning the rain stopped, camp was taken down, the wagon and horses mounted and the track followed into the Abbor-Alz. All was quiet, though dark and gloomy, until near day’s end, when orcs and worgs ambushed the party. After decimating the raiders, characters discovered elven goods and hands among the orcs’ loot. After another couple hours they made camp and were again attacked by four undead, who were turned by the clerics and dispatched.

The gloomy, brooding storm clouds still darkened the skies the next morning as the group continued on the trail through the hills, and in a narrow pass heard the falling of rocks behind them. Paddy and the barbarian climbed the steep canyon wall to the top and were confronted with a huge, gangly warty humanoid creature with bristly hair. Assuming it to be a troll, Paddy prepared a flask of oil as Garath went one-on-one with the beast and the archers peppered it with arrows and magic missiles. With all attention focused on the troll up top, a second troll leapt over the fallen boulders behind the party and attacked – Darmok and Allynfred pushed through the spellcasters to stand between them and this second troll. As each troll fell, oil was splashed on it and lit, so the bodies burned to regenerate no more.

As the sun was low in the west the party rounded a bend only to come face-to-face with a huge black cat, which promptly leapt at them – that’s when they saw two tentacles and six legs! The beast roared as it attacked, and with all their attacks focused on the slightly-hazy beast they stopped it in short order, just as two more of the monsters appeared and attacked from the side and rear. The smaller beast jumped into the back of the wagon, where Allynfred and one of the spellcasters defended themselves. When these other two tentacle cats were dead, Trathonax and Garath tracked their prints for twenty minutes to a rock overhang. A haze seemed to permeate the lair, for when Paddy would try to take hold of an item of treasure in the nest his reach would be off by a foot or so, but he persisted and eventually collected all the treasure he could see. There were many shiny, glittering gems and jewelry and a couple crystal vials, and a short (6”) bluish-white metal rod, oddly grooved at one end and with three gold prongs at the other; it had several runes inscribed on one side. It went into the loot bags with everything else.

Into The Bright Desert

They trouped on in the morning, as the desert began intruding between the lower and more scattered hills, and then elected to follow the border westward in order to stop at the town of Al-Bakkar, a walled enclave on the eastern shore of Woolly Bay. Knowing this was their final stop before entering the Bright Desert, they stocked up on water and rations and bought garb ideal for the desert – long white robes, bandanas and scarves, and extra footwear. Locals knew nothing of Pazar save for the old stories, but suggested the desert nomads near the Brass Hills, due east, could tell them more – they would have to skirt the north slopes of the hills.

Before too long trekking due east the party chanced upon a camp of eight nomads in white turbans and robes who parlayed to join the party, as the desert can be a dangerous place. Our group declined, yet the nomads persisted, and the characters became suspicious; weapons were drawn, and the nomads gave intense stares, at which point someone dropped off to Sleep. A battle ensued, and the nomads shape-shifted into jackal-men, slicing with scimitars and biting with gnashing jackal teeth. The party came out victorious on the other side, they had collected 12 gp and 8 waterskins.

The party rested until nightfall, and moved under the moonlight for the next three nights; on the second night they saw another group dressed in desert garb far ahead and chose to trail them, not getting too close. The next night they came upon the group again, who appeared to be on foot. When daylight came and camp was made, Paddy and Garath tracked the travellers to their camp, then returned with news that the nomads were tall, canine-looking humanoids with a huge lizard beast of burden. Paddy convinced Exex and Bobill to cast Invisibility on him and his pony and loan him the Wand of Fireballs. Paddy then approached the gnoll camp, snuck up within 100’ or so, and let loose with a Fireball that left three of the creatures burning and attempting to crawl from the site. Paddy would have none of it and shot off a second Fireball, putting an end to the poor creatures. Once Paddy returned to camp, the others snatched the wand from him, chastising him for wasting a valuable charge.

Also encountered: giant starfish-like creatures hiding in the sand, and a sandstorm that blasted the party for forty minutes, leaving two large tentacle cats that attacked them.

The last night our group encountered a camp of dervishes, very nearly getting into a fight with the scimitar-weilding zealots, though cooler heads eventually prevailed and Rebamac approached the dervishes’ cleric for information. She was told that the dead city of their quest was nearby, following a straight route between the twin mesas known as the Two Sisters, and was also informed not to steal anything from any tombs in the dead city, for the dervishes are sworn protectors of such sites. With that, the two groups went their separate ways, though presumably to the same destination.

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Book Three, Chapter One - The Quest Begins
In which the Gang of Nine begins their quest to destroy an evil artifact...

Book Three, Chapter One – The Quest

Most Valuable Item Recovered+1 Bastard Sword, +3 vs. Regenerating Creatures

Toughest Foe – Sir Rathis, Knight Errant

Luckiest Move – Allynfred the Dwarf picking up an ogre spear and throwing it back at a non-profiency penalty of -4 and still rolling a high “To Hit” score, pricking an ogre

Upon returning to Pennyth the characters were counseled about the evil book – The Book of Eibon (“Black Book” in ancient Suloise). This was an evil artifact that must be destroyed “in the Spring of Athis, Dead in the Bright Desert;” which was all the Heironeous would tell him. Attempts to burn the book or chop it were futile, as the evil tome resisted all attacks. It was clear the party would have to find this Spring of Athis, and would have to consult a sage to get more exact information. It was back to Niole-dra…

And here, in the great capitol of Keoland, a learned sage by the name of Jarg Grendall in the Royal Archives told them everything they wanted to know about the object of their quest – the Spring of Athis, Dead in the Bright Desert, was a magical spring that once flowed in the Bright Desert, in a long-abandoned city known as Pazar, somewhere north of the Brass Hills. It’s last ruler was a Pharos known as Athanasus, who had descended into evil and called a curse down upon the land and it’s source of life. And that’s all that’s really known about the last of the Itar dynasty. But the players got a map, for a mere 100 gold pieces, drawn up to the most exacting detail the sage and his geographer could determine.

Well, Darmok took this information and Exex (whose Neutral alignment buffers the Book’s evil from the paladin and clerics) to the Temple of Saturnus for them to utilize. And they handed it right back to Darmok, saying, “and now you’ve got a quest to prove your worth to the Knights of the Law.”

In the meantime, characters paid for training and leveled up. Everyone was packed and on their way the next day, using the sage’s map to head east through the Uleks and into Tringlee, at the base of the Lortmils…

In Tringlee everyone traded in their cart for horses and mountaineering equipment to cross the Lortmil mountains through the Hidden Road. In the mountain pass they were attacked by hobgoblins and by orcs, and reported these events to an elven patrol they met there. At the bottom of the pass, entering the Elven realm of Celene, a contingent of elves interrogated them and provided two escorts to accompany the troupe to Entstad, the capitol. The party found lodging at an inn outside the great white curving marble walls of Entstad, encountering bandits after leaving in the morning. That night they camped just outside the Gnarley forest and were attacked by shadows which Chees turned and the fighters slew. Within the Gnarley the party were ambushed by harpies; after the bird-women were dispatched, Exex and Paddy located their nests and climbed up to them, discovering some trinkets such as buttons and jewelry. That night, camped within the forlorn forest, Shadow Mastiffs disrupted their camp and had to be killed; a couple characters succumbed to the panic caused by the Mastiff’s baying and had to be chased down and brought back.

The next day the party fought a pitched battle on a small wooden bridge manned by ogres and their Verbeeg leader, who wielded a bastard sword of exceptional quality. The creatures hurled spears and were answered by a combination of missiles and Sleep and Stinking Cloud spells. Darmok, true to form, set his lance and charged the Verbeeg commander. When the melee was over bodies were searched, tracks were found and followed to the nearby lair where the ogre’s treasure was stashed, and the sword was examined and found to have two symbols on it: the Regeneration symbol on the blade and the “Light” symbol on the pommel. Identify revealed it to be a +1 bastard sword, +3 vs. regenerating creatures, which will shed Light on command; in addition, it was found to be able to cast Dispel Magic once per day. Another great find!

 1  3 Bastard Sword

Crossing the bridge, the intrepid questers soon found themselves under darkening skies outside the Gnarley and passing by Narwell across the plains of the Wild Coast. During their ride they were surrounded by a force of bandits led by a rogue cavalier, the Knight Errant Sir Rathis, and his retinue of bodyguards and spellcasters. This turned into a fierce battle in which he challenged Darmok to a one-on-one joust, recognizing the cavalier standing of the paladin. A general melee ensued around them as the rest of the party picked off the bandit archers and escape a Stinking Cloud; during the combat, Bobill decided to Levitate Sir Rathis as Paddy fired arrows at the defenseless cavalier. An attack on Bobill broke the Levitate spell and Sir Rathis landed, taking some damage but still able to continue engaging Darmok. Before too much longer all the bandits were dead and the party were healing themselves, ready to press on to Woolly Bay through the rain.

They encountered a hobgoblin raiding party, passed a fortified motte-and-bailey estate known as the Halfway Inn near Safeton, and spied a group of Verbeeg with a prisoner. Challenging the five short giants, the characters freed the captive, an aspiring adventurer named Rollon Ferndis whose group was waylaid on their first expedition to Nulb to explore the ruins of an evil temple. He promised the group reward should they ever stop at his family’s estate in Narwell.

The rain never relented as the party reached a ferry across the wide Selintan river, where the free city of Hardby awaited a couple hours away on the other side. In Hardby much loot was sold, many supplies were stocked up on, and a wagon was bought to haul everything in. Rather than stay the night in Hardby, the adventurers proceeded east to the Abbor-Alz, finally camping for the night among low hillocks with the Abbor-Alz visible in the distance.

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Book Two, Chapter Six
A toadally-awesome adventure!

Chapter Six – The Toad Temple

Best Architecture – The Temple

Toughest Foe – The Minion of Wastri

Best Magic Item – Rod of Smiting

The party elected to follow Jarrod’s map to the edge of the Rushmmors, where they located a track into the swamp and followed it, being attacked by a Shambling Mound en route. The track ended at a strange structure built of saplings and sod in the shape of a gigantic toad; a flagstone path led into its “mouth”. Figuring it was an evil temple, Paddy and a couple others tried to set fire to the structure, only to witness a cloud suddenly form and rain down on the sputtering flames.

Temple of Wastri

Suddenly the party was ambushed by soldiers and bandits, including John Fletcher, and a cleric in banded mail who emerged from the mouth of the temple, glaive in hand. The fight was on!

Darmok spurred his warhorse, set his lance and charged the evil priest, while the rest of the party attempted to hold the attackers at bay via missile fire. The cleric, unable to get off a spell in time or dodge, was skewered for significant damage, but then Summoned several giant toads to attack the paladin, who had wheeled back to dismount. Bobill used this opportunity to grab his Wand of Fireballs and let one loose, centered on the cleric; this obliterated him and the front of the temple. The rest of the party finished off their opponents and set about exploring the interior of the temple.

Inside the temple were wells, one for offerings and one holding giant poisonous toads, a hideous altar and pit obviously used for sacrifices, badges, weapons and musical instruments used by worshippers, cleric’s chamber and slick stone steps spiraling down into darkness. Some characters went down tied together, a couple of the weakened stayed above. The steps descended into an ovoid chamber, the north half of which was a pool of water, while another altar and an idol were in the south half. This idol was a carved ivory human on one side, a carved jade toad-like humanoid on the other, fastened back-to-back. Once someone grabbed the idol, of course, the waters roiled and an ogre-sized, toadlike humanoid leapt forth from the water, soaking the characters and extinguishing their torches, croaked a Confusion spell, and proceeded to wreak havoc. The fighters responded admirably, dispatching the beast in but a few rounds, once a character up above lowered a lit torch into the chamber through the pit above.

The characters smashed the effigy and left the temple with what little loot they found, and left on the track back towards Kingsedge.

Minion of Wastri

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Book Two, Chapter Five
A little bit of filler...

Chapter Five – Kingsedge

Fluff

After meeting with Pennyth, the party set out for some food at the only inn, the Staggering Hind, where they met John Fletcher, a fletcher, hunter and real man’s man. He told them stories of some of his hunting exploits, including a giant snake, and offered to guide them on a hunt if they wished. The party also learned of attacks from a giant boar, which destroyed fences, small structures and livestock. Inquiring with Cooper the Wainwright, who is also the local druid of Demeter, they were told only that he has been looking into it. Across the street from the Staggering Hind they notice a man watching them, who tells them his name is Oran Woodman, the woodcarver. He was just keeping an eye on new arrivals and asked some questions about their business and plans.

The party elected to follow Jarrod’s map, adventured, and on the way back Trathonax and the barbarian Garath noticed a hidden trail, which brought them to an empty cabin, apparently a hunting lodge. Beneath the porch was hidden a sack containing loot, including a silver tea set with the image of a jester inscribed on the bottom of the platter. After the party re-entered Kingsedge, Oran approached to ask questions, especially about treasure. He eventually revealed that his tea set had been stolen by brigands and it was very dear to him – he admitted being a wereboar and it was given to him by a mentor as a means to control his lycanthropy. Paddy returned the tea set to Oran, who reciprocated by giving Paddy a wooden boar figurine, which will turn into a full-size boar and fight for him one time only. Cooper the Wainwright and Pennyth were briefed on the goings-on, including the evil bent of John Fletcher, some of the garrison soldiers and some of the villagers.

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Book Two, Chapter Four
Gee, that's a mighty tiny tome you've got there!

Chapter Four – The Wild Hunt

Worst Magic ItemThe Book of Eibon

Wildest Encounter – The Hunt, of course!

Trickiest Foe – Onnine Eilservs, Drow Cleric/Assassin

The lure of adventure tugged once again on our hapless adventurers. Through the Knights of the Law in the Temple of Saturnus, Darmok the Paladin was hired to escort a cleric, Ollyn Goodthane, on his trip back to Kingsedge; the same locale indicated on Jarrod’s map. The party, now equipped mostly with light horses and ponies, accompanied Ollyn and the architect and skilled laborers he hired to help build a church for his superior in Kingsedge.

On the second night headed west the group heard wolves baying in the distance, but saw nothing. The next night they stayed in the village of Goating, roughly 40 miles northwest, and were told about a pack of wolves the villagers heard the night before there, as well. That night howling and baying are heard again, much nearer and moving towards the village. Seeing tiny green lights flickering from the wolves’ direction, the watch roused all members of the party, but they stayed their ground and the commotion passed on. The villagers, fearing the Old Antlered One is on the hunt, ask the characters to stay and help, if necessary, and the party agreed.

The fourth night the wolves are heard and seen again, and this time everyone set off for the commotion, a mile or so to the south. As the party got close they observed a huge, black humanoid with a crown of stag antlers, spear in hand, pursuing great green-eyed wolves – actually, wolfhounds, his hounds. The figure motioned to the characters, who approached and discovered themselves running after the hounds at an unearthly fast pace, over streams and gullys and through thickets without a scratch, their feet seemingly above the ground. The Master of the Hunt never spoke, only ran behind the pack, spear in hand, until the Hunt veered northward, over a knoll, and into a bramble where dancing lights could be seen. The Master hurled his spear into the bramble, the hounds circled and snapped, and the party was compelled to enter and fight the prey.

The Wild Hunt

They found themselves facing a huge, shadowy mastiff, a dark-skinned elf woman, her warhorse and her bat familiar. The Drow cast many spells, so that several party members were frozen with a Fear spell, other were ensnared in a Web , one stopped by a Command. All the while, the Master and his hounds circled, mysterious, menacing, in constant motion. The Mastiff and the warhorse fell first, while the bat attacked the spellcasters, changing into it’s true Quasit form and ripping at them in an attempt to disrupt their spells. Onnine suffered damage when the Quasit died, and the party finally finished her off. The Master and his Hounds made one last circle and bound off into the night sky, not to be seen again.

Drow Symbol They discovered a little treasure, a large black-and-silver medallion bearing the device of a crescent, circle and upside-down star within a larger circle, and also a strange little handkerchief. Folded within was a miniature book bound in black leather, trimmed and clasped in an odd metal. Darmok immediately felt an evil sensation from the book, which they brought back to Ollyn, who suggested that his superior, Pennyth, should examine it when they reach Kingsedge.

The remaining day-and-a-half were uneventful, and when they met Pennyth he immediately had them bury the book while he Communed with Heironeous. The party adventured elsewhere, and upon returning to Pennyth were informed of their task. Pennyth identified it as The Book of Eibon (“Black Book” in ancient Suloise), an evil tome that must be destroyed “in the Spring of Athis, Dead in the Bright Desert;” this was all the deity would tell him. Attempts to burn the book or chop it were futile, as the evil tome resisted all attacks. It was clear the party would have to find this Spring of Athis.

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Book Two, Chapter Three
A Dwarf and his axe...are soon warped

Chapter Three – The Return of Vlandril

Most Stunning Move – Paddy backstabs an Illusionist, nearly killing him…

Bestest Magic Item – Bag of Beans

In Niole-dra, moving through a crowd, Exex is pickpocketed of her +1 dagger and gives chase; the perp moves through a crowd, hides by a corner and drinks a potion and disappears. More people obliterate the tracks, but Exex finds a scrap of paper indicating a meeting in the Axewood. It reads, “Jarlee – meet me and Vlandril in the Axewood, east of the Druid’s Grove. We will find you.”

The party headed north to the Axewood and met Erlincecht, the Druidess, who informed them that Vlandril is a dwarf wanted for poaching unicorns and other creatures of the ‘Wood, and that the king’s cousin, Kimbertos Solon, Thane of Axewood, is offering a bounty for Vlandril and cohorts, dead or alive. Erlincecht guided the party to the last known appearance of the dwarf, and the rangers tracked him from there.

Upon spotting Vlandril, a human spellcaster, and the woman pickpocket, Jarlee, Garath the Barbarian and Paddy attempted to flank and sneak up to the clearing where the three scoundrels were seated. Garath failed his attempt and stepped on a twig, but Paddy succeeded and got behind the spellcaster, a human Illusionist who was preparing a spell (Invisibility 10’ Radius). Paddy rolled for backstab and killed the man on the spot. The rest of the party rushed in and engaged Jarlee and the dwarf, who pulled a bean out of a pouch, spit on it and threw it at the characters; this caused tall, wild grass to grow and entangle the characters, in a 10’ radius. The party fought until Vlandril and Jarlee surrendered; they found giant weasel and bear pelts and a unicorn horn stashed in the dwarf’s cart, and recovered Exex’s dagger from Jarlee, who turned out to be Hilda, the maiden they rescued from the Caves of Chaos. Turns out Jarlee’s a thief and the dagger was originally hers, snatched by the hobgolins when they took her prisoner at the Caves.

The two poachers were secured and taken back to the town of Axewood, where the characters received a monetary reward. Allynfred claimed Vlandril’s axe, which the Magic-Users determined was a +1 Battle-Axe, but it wasn’t functional because of it’s warped handle (it had succumbed to Erlincecht’s Warp Wood spell in her encounter with him). Back in Niole-dra, Allynfred had to fork over some serious gold to get a new handle on the axe and make it useable.

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Book Two, Chapter Two
Sorry about your provisions...I got hungry

Chapter Two – the Ravelos Adventure

Biggest Upset – defeating a camp of ogres via Sleep and fireballs (I f^@ked-up this one; the band was led by an Ogre Magi that shouldn’t have succumbed to the Sleep spell)

Most Innovative Party Move – tying a rope to the Halfling Thief as he examined the Black Willow

Best Magic – a +1 Keoish infantry medium shield

The party decided to return the belongings found on the gnome’s corpse to the site indicated on it’s map, a location on the other side of the Good Hills near Kryllor. The characters travelled west toward the Good Hills, following the Tavish River until the morning of the third day when they came upon a road that continued on in the westerly direction near the riverbank. As they crested a low hillock they spotted a group of humanoids on the next hill to the north, moving away from the road and towards the river. The Barbarian Garath scouted the group and reported back a band of ogres was setting up camp by a rock face in the hill. The party closed in on the ogres, just out of sight of the monsters, and the Thieves and Mages snuck up top of the ogre camp and began casting spells. The rest of the party immediately came down the ogres’ flank, attacking with the Wand of Fireballs and charging the group. When the battle was finished, it was apparent that they had slaughtered the marauders after a succesful raid, for they were laden with loot. The characters later discovered a mossy pile in the Tavish River just offshore from a willow tree in a barren patch of land. After attacking and probing the mossy pile, thinking it might be a trap or monster, the tree turned out to be a Black Willow which nearly got Paddy the Tallfellow. They recovered a +1 Shield painted with the Keoish Army crest from the Willow’s mossy refuse pile.

After killing the tree the party continued into the hills, turned south, and met Craggslyn, a Criosphinx guarding the pass south; answering it’s riddle, they promised it gems in return for it guarding their oxcart. Higher in the hills they encountered a pair of wandering minstrels that turned out to be Wolfweres, and they defeated the shapeshifters and their wolf allies. By the end of the day the characters reached the Gnomehold and the compound of the Ravelos clan, one of many mining families. Papa and Mama Ravelos were very sad but grateful that the party saw fit to return Giorgias’ belongings; the gnomes related how the “black sheep” of the family had been prone to “lifting things” and left to find adventure. They did not recognize the magic Short Sword of Quickness, and assumed he “acquired” it from someone on his travels. The party received a gemstone to give to Craggslyn, who guards the pass for the Gnomehold. They thanked the Criosphinx for his duty and started back to Niole-dra.

“What happened to our provisions?” Craggslyn had gotten hungry, so he ate some of their foodstuffs.

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A Chronicle of the North Journey, beginning 579 CY
The hills are alive with the sound of sobbing halflings...

Book Two – Niole-dra

Chapter One – The Old City Wall

Worst Antogonist – Jarrod Vonn, a demi-human hating, xenophobic cleric of the Hopping Prophet Wastri; he would take “hunting trips” to his cabin several days away in northwest Kingsedge.

Best Treasure – a +1 Luckstone

After reaching the metropolis of Niole-dra, the oldest major city in the Flannaess, the party sought out places to train: the temple of Nephthys, the Mercenaries’ Guild, the Temple of Saturnus, while Exex and Paddy made contact with the Thieve’s Guild. Most of their hard-won treasure was spent improving their ranks and titles.

While Bobill was studying in the Magician’s Guild’s library he finds a scrap of paper in tome; its note and riddle leads to a secret cache in the old city wall behind the Thieve’s Guild. Here the thieves discover an exquisite sword, stein and brooch, along with a little coin. The party inquire with a sage and learns the sword is a missing family heirloom that belonged to the grandfather of Arleth Bertholos, the Captain of the Guard. They elected to have Darmok the Paladin return it to the Captain, “Courtesy of the Guild,” and Arleth was very grateful to have his grandfather’s sword/shield/dagger set back together. He gave Darmok the brooch, which is a Luckstone, and they made a valuable contact in the Niole-dra government.

The thieves were contacted by Marlonn, a sentry with the Watch, to investigate a kidnapping of a family friend, one Jarrod Vonn, wealthy merchant and owner of the Ripevine Winery. Paddy, Exex and Allynfred went to the Vonn Estate and discovered it rigged with plenty of crude traps. After discovering and disabling over a dozen tripwires, powder packets, sleeping poison vials, and other traps, the trio turned the evidence over to Marlonn and then tracked down the kidnapper. The poor fellow, not native to the city and operating outside of the Guild’s authority, was coerced into leading the whole party to the Ripevine Winery where Jarrod was being detained. The party learned that the Ripevine was the subject of some intrigue between Jarrod and a halfing, Kestro Greendirks, implicated and later acqitted of his cousin Harrinol’s murder; the murder and set-up were all committed by Jarrod, who turned out to be more than just a wealthy businessman. The party gained a map from among the damning evidence in his secret office below the winery.

And Kestro? He had hired the kidnapper, and was arrested by Marlonn and the Watch; Rebamac acted as his attorney before the magistrate, he received a year’s jail sentence, and the Winery was taken over by the City.

In Niole-dra the party’s fighters also participated in the Tournament Meleé at the Festival Grounds. After completing training our bunch was eager to adventure more, and elected to return the gnome’s belongings.

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Book One, Chapter Two - Kerryl
The Little Bug Hunt

Kerryl – The Little Bug Hunt

Baddest Antagonists – six Ankheghs of varying sizes

Worst Casualty – Darmok the Paladin. The Mother Ankhegh’s acid destroyed his plate mail and killed him; Cheas and Garath ministered to his wounds and prevented further damage. He was raised to fight another day.

Best Treasure Recovered – the gnome had a map (leading to his home) and a +2 Short Sword of Quickness, now in Paddy’s possession.

Best Character Action – the Magic-User, Bobill, upon being entreated to assist in the Ankhegh fight: “No way, I’m not going down there!”

The party is commended by Tylanis “Lance” Johnnson for their success in clearing out the Caves of Chaos and bringing bandit and hobgoblin prisoners to the Keep. Most of the party were close to leveling up, but would need to go to Niole-dra for training, which worked out great since the great celebration of Richfest being their original draw anyway.

Along the way they encountered a discouraged family leaving their farm in Kerryl, due to the predations of giant bugs. After speaking with the “village” elder and the latest farmer whose cattle were attacked, the party found a small burrow and traced it to it’s point of origin. Here, smashed-out stone blocks at the bottom of an old well indicated something was amiss. Paddy the Halfling Thief agreed to be lowered first, followed by most of the others. He discovered a mostly-consumed gnome corpse and a large chambe dug from the soil, clay and loose rock. Droppings, carcasses, rotting vegetation and long white soft eggs left no doubt that this was an Ankhegh nest, and the residents soon appeared to prove the adventurers’ hunch correct.

In the ensuing battle, which Bobill stayed out of by posting watch up at the well, Darmok took a full acid bath from the mother Ankhegh and was reduced to 0 hp, his plate mail destroyed. Garath and Chees’s quick actions saved his life, though he was unconscious the remaining rounds of the fight. Paddy called up for Bobill to help, but his request was denied, which probably saved the 1st-level mage’s life.

In the end, three juvenile, two small and the mother Ankhegh were slain, their eggs dispatched, and a little treasure recovered from the gnome’s body, including a Ring of Feather Falling (later discovered to be a cursed Ring of Clumsiness), a map to someplace noted as “Ravelos,” and a magical short sword, identified later as a Short Sword of Quickness.

Short Sword of Quickness

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Book One - The Keep On The Borderlands
Their first adventure

Book One – The Keep On The Borderlands

Toughest Foes – Almay, a 4th-level cleric of Ralishaz with the ability to cause Sleep by gaze, once/day; – Loreal, 3rd-level gnome illusionist

Scariest Battle – Almay’s forces in the Temple of Ralishaz

Best Magic ItemWand of Fireballs disguised as an unlit torch

The fledgeling adventurers, newly brought to life, discover themselves in the common room of the Keep, where they are staying the night before journeying northward for the Richfest celebrations at Niole-dra. Informed of bandit activity nearby, the Castellan, Tylanis Johnsson, offers them the chance to investigate, rather than thinning his meager troop numbers. The freshly-formed party indeed encounters bandits, kills some and captures some, and learns of their hideout in the Caves of Chaos.

The Caves are explored, bandits, goblins, and hobgoblins fought; an ogre is vanquished, and an evil temple to Ralishaz is discovered. As the party explores, the dischordant cacophony of crude instruments and bells reverberates down the great hallway, calling the chaotic cult to service. The thieves sneak up to spy, but are seen and a tremendous battle ensues; the party fights for their lives against bandits, clerical acolytes and adepts, a powerful Curate and a gnome illusionist and his bodyguards. Exex is unconscious, reduced to 0 hit points, and the cleric and paladin use up all their healing powers during the fray. In the end, the party prevailed thanks to a Sleep spell that beat the chaotic Curate at his own game.

Further exploration of the complex led the adventurers to free a local maiden named Hilda and clear out the remaining hobgoblins, who had relocated after the party’s incursions into their southern complex. This was another hairy, dangerous battle.

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