Scarn 16 After

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A Gorgon Conclusion
Round 2 at our Fort - Ding! Ding!

DMC writeup – Apr 19, 2018 – It’s a Gorgon Conclusion – by Tzar Lenz

- Okay, so we’ve strategically retreated from the rooftop – cat… tin roof… too hot. But suddenly, we realize that two of our party have left 16,000gp-worth of weaponry (Serp’s axe and Shad’s shocker morningstar) lying on the aforementioned thermal roofing. Gwynn suggests that TGRT (the Great Ronn Tellius) lend one of his invisibility poshes to Serp so that she can fly back into the heat to retrieve. He does. She does, right under their freakish lower-gorgon noses. 300gp in potion well spent.
- Wounds need to be properly licked, so we fly back to our rock. It is decided that we use the Shadow carpet to put some distance between ourselves and the keep if we want to get some proper resting done, so the brilliant spawn of the shadows leads us thru the carpet into that LSD realm. We’re kind of getting the hang of this plane – don’t resist the bending, go with the warp, pretend we’ve just been hit in the temple with a board (we all know THAT feeling well enough). Hey ma! Look! No puking!
- We pull out of the shadows on a hilltop crested with large boulders 15 clicks from Fort Tellius. Gwynn pops off so many CLWs from his wand that he’s starting to get callouses, but it’s not enough. Call in the medics. We’re a collective ~150 hurt points down, and so Jann and Serp roll out their portable ER and start to long-term care Tellius and Shad. TGRT and the Spawn won’t lift a finger for the next 8 hours (Ronn: Could I get one of you to wipe my left nose? It’s drippy." Shad: “Any chance someone could brush aside that lock of hair from in front of my eye? My arms ache from lifting all those arrows.”), but Gwynn gets to work, pulling out 2 4X8 tables, 7 bunson burners, 11 Erlenmeyer flasks, 5 stir sticks, a pair of safety goggles, and an apron that says “Cooking with Gas” from his All-Tools Vest to crank out 5 doses of Antitoxin. We sleep, aye, perchance we dream. We heal ferociously, wounds knitting together like they’re on timelapse video. Brave Sam flies above, scouting with the eyes of a hawk and only once chooses to interrupt our orgasm of recovery – a fire drake swoops lazily southeastward between us and Gwynn’s Garden. It’s large. We take mercy on the feeble wyrm and decide to let it be. It owes us one. Sam earns his giblet for a job well done.
- Jann goes to work figuring out what kind of swag she stole from the palid corpse of the Moon Hag we decommissioned. 3 wands: heat metal (28 charges), Summon Swarm (# charges?), and Wandis-unknownicus. It must be good, however, because neither Jann nor the Ronn can figure it out using their wands of Identify to assist. It must have a caster level of over 9. Good news if we ever figure it out. There also happen to be 4 potions: 2x fog-makers (only work with the cauldron), 1x- summon lightning (only works with the cauldron), and 1x – magic fang, which Gwynn takes.
- After some scouting in the shadow realm, SS warps us back to our rock outside of Shadowspawn’s Shanty. No ralfs! It’s frickin’ foggy around our land again. A grimness crosses over each one of our visages as we prep ourselves to head back to the rooftop to continue the purging of our property. Cat’s Grace is cast by Gwynn onto both himself and Serpico, poison is meted out to the weaponry of Serp, Shad, and Gwynn, and Jannella unrolls her scroll of teleportation. Jann is going to lay a spherical, fiery egg into the cauldron as soon as we arrive, and we have a plan to save our potions of true sight as the fog clears the area.
- We teleport. Fuck the plan. Everyone drinks their potions, TGRT being the odd man out. The flaming sphere does go in, but it takes some rounds for the fog to abate. In the meantime, as feared, there’s something there we need to fight – it’s a Gorgon conclusion. Tellius may be blind, but that doesn’t stop the big lug from casting a Haste spell on the lot of us – game changer! He also starts up a rousing version of Rue Got Stoned. Love that song! Gwynn loves it so much that he figures “What the fuck! I’m going to roll right up to that Lower Gorgon while it’s flatfooted and put Keenu deep into his loins!” He does, for 11 dam. Nice. Serp follows that up with 13 dam from her bow. Sweet! Jan gets past its Spell Resistance with her fireball for 32 dam – F’in A!!! The gorgon, noticeably offput, looks down at the overly-confident halfling at its feet, and bites the lad for 15 and critically-claws him for 24! From a full 39hp to 0 hp in one round! Very fortunately for the diminuitive one, he stays conscious and dodges the 2nd claw. Even better is the Inish roll of 29, which allows a staggered Gwynn to acrobatically roll out of the gorgon’s reach without provoking (though it took an epic point to make that happen) to rest his Noah-Matic-sized hand against the Great Ronn’s left buttock – “bit of help here…” The Tellius seriously cures the little guy’s wounds for 18, though the halfling’s ridiculous sense of invulnerability seems to be beyond repair.
- Kid gloves are off. Serp goes to work. So many arrows sprout out of this gorgon that he looks like he’s bedded a dire porcupine. 40+ damage in one round from the ‘Helm is too much for that fella to shrug off, so he shrugs off this mortal coil instead. Jann loots the body and pulls off a pouch of stuff (had no time to check out what was in it – note to future selves).
- Suddenly, we’re back in action – a mounted douchekabob comes charging in on a Nightmare (which is the actual name of this fiery horse from Hell). Serp gets lanced and bitten and smoked like a salmon. She can take it. Gwynn casts Pernicious Poison on Vipet, who scoots in at Hasted speed to deliver the touch spell to the Nightmare, lowering its resistance to poisons.
- Memorable conversational snippet:
DMC: “Ronn, do you have Knowledge Planes?”
Ronn: “Hell ya, I know stuff!”
- Meanwhile, the entire team makes target practice out of the rider. Serp continues her devastating barrage! Shadowspawn lights the rider up for 31 dam in one round on 3 shots! Jannella lays her Flaming Sphere egg in the lap of the rider and mount for 2 singeing rounds! Gwynn Holy Balms Keenu and buries it in the Nightmare’s sirloin. Vipet spring attacks with toothy caress. It’s bedlam!! Too much for the rider – Dead! Too much for the horsey – Fs off to Hell. Doesn’t pass Go. Fortunately, Keenu Reaver is left lying on the deck. Gwynn snatches it up and gives the non-poisoned part of the blade a smooch.

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Keeping our Keep
Serp’s Serendipity, Gwinn’s garden, Ronn’s rock, Jannela’s Joint Shadowspawn’s shanty,

We are in big trouble. We all want to get the hell out of Shadowspawn’s shanty but none of us want to admit we’re yellow. We’re wounded, low on spells, poisoned…Ronn’s Rock better be worth it because the only thing it might end up being good for is a place to bury our sorry corpses. We bear down and try to kill the evil hag witch. She might just be protecting her home or Gwinn’s garden that is. Maybe someone should cast calm animal on her?!!

Gwinn casts long strider then acrobatically retrieves his fallen weapons. Jann’s spell fails. The hag witch’s heat spell is now taking affect. The spell affects anyone wearing or holding anything made of metal-like my scale mail- Yikes (8 damage)!! The hag starts casting again and Gwinn gets her with an attack of opportunity. Gwinn’s poison seems to have no effect. Jann and SS miss their attack of opportunity but I manage to get a shot in.

Thankfully our distractions works and the hag’s spell fails. In frustration she flies straight up into the air above Serpenhelm’s Serendipity.

SS moves away from the area around the cauldron. Ron heals himself while Vipette goes in the hood. I swap my axe for my bow and shoot the hag witch in the ass. Very satisfying. Sam flies away bravely (Ronn showed her how) with one murder sprite on her tail. The remaining sprites attack SS and they all miss except the one that claws him. RT starts singing “home home on the range” and surprisingly we feel heartened and stronger.

The masterworks cauldron is well supported and hung from a strong steel tripod. Jann examines it closely in the hopes of destroying it. Recognizing it’s futile she casts her favorite burning sphere into the cauldron. She figures if she can’t destroy the cauldron perhaps she can burn off its magical contents. The corrosive concoction in the cauldon explodes catastrophically. ☺ Boiling spray hits 2 sprites and Jannela who has innate heat protection. Jannela is ok. One of the sprites dies from the spray.

The hag sends lightening at Gwinn which he and the lucky Vipette evade. Angrily the hag pulls out another wand. In the meantime Gwinn kills another sprite.

An impressive showdown is taking place in the skies above Gwinn’s garden. The sprite just misses Sam in a deadly aerial exhibition. Two sprites go after Shadowspawn. One hit’s and the other misses. Thankfully SS escapes the poison. In retaliation, SS swings his morning star at a sprite and misses with the aplomb of the great Ronn Tellius. I then miss the hag witch as well. Must be well attended RT classes ….or I have really bad dice…

Sam does a loop de loop and manages to bite the sprite chasing her.

Gwinn poisons Keenu and then waits for just the right moment. Thankfully Jann ‘s burning sphere is burning off the fog. We are finally getting a look at Jannela’s joint. Not done, Jann then casts a fireball at the hag. “that had to hurt” Jann thinks but the hag seems to shake off the damage. She cackles evilly. Vipette like her master waits for a better moment to strike. Ronn continues to sing and throws his dwarven hammer at the hag. A great strike for 19 damage. I’m sure we will all hear about that momentous hit in a tale or two.

Sam kills the sprite it injured. RT misses his next throw. SS kills the sprite beside him. I miss.

A sprite tries to get me and misses. One attacks SS and misses. The Hag starts casting with a wand and Gwinn attacks at that opportune moment. The hag sees him attacking and slaps Gwinn for 15 damage. (HP 15 is all he had). He is staggered and disabled but follows through on his attack anyway. Haggy takes 4 damage, constitution damage and is down 2 on initiative and AC. Gwinn is somehow unconscious with -7. Vipette is ok. The hag summons a swarm. Ronn magically and soothingly heals Gwinn up to 11 hp. SS aims for the sprite in front of him and misses. Serp takes a hit from a sprite. Jann jumps up to the hag who gets a shot into her with 13 damage. Jann casts touch of idiocy on the Hag Witch successfully overcoming her resistance to spells (affecting her intelligence, wisdom and charisma (like she has charisma?!)).

My friends are in trouble, I take careful aim and finally and successfully hit her with 3 arrows. Sing about that Ronn!. The hag flees and becomes invisible but focuses a swarm at me. Jann gets an attack of opportunity with her magical claws but doesn’t do enough damage. Sam charges at the remaining sprite and misses. Gwinn casts heal light wounds on himself. Feeling better he uses his detect poison ring to hunt down the invisible witch. She is undetectable but he laces Keenu with poison once again for good measure. I take more damage from the swarm but manage to kill the last sprite.

SS heals and RT heals Gwinn another 17. They come on strong and retarget the new enemy. Two gorgons approach the cauldron. Sam attacks and kills a few in the swarm. She wants to help but their death is meaningless. The gorgon attacks SS and misses. I hit one of the gorgons. Gwinn misses with Keenu and pulls out his crossbow. The hag returns to visibility and Jann throws a fireball at her. RT uses and epic point to re-role and the hag roles a natural 1 resulting in 29 damage to the hag. SS then does an amazing roll away from the gorgon while shooting at the hag. His strike delivers the coup de grace! She falls straight out of the sky and hits the ground with a satisfying splat. Dead.

Gwinn picks up his poisoned Keenu. A gorgon hits me with its tail. The other gorgon scratches and spits at Ronn. Damage from acid spittle-gross. Sam keeps attacking the swarm. Gorgon 2 takes an opportunity to attack RT again when he flies away with Gwinn. I flee as well badly harassed and hurt by the swarm.

Jann, while no one is looking jumps down to the ground and loots the hag. She had 3 wands and a pouch of potions on her. Jann grabs all the wands (including the one used to summon the swarm) and the potions. SS tries flying away from the gorgon The gorgon takes this opportunity to inflect more damage on SS (8). SS shoots it back. The swarm now refocuses its attack on the gorgon but the gorgon is too big and powerful. The swarm looks like a cloud of midges beside it.

We await our next encounter to determine our fate and the fate of our new home.

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Fountain of Fog
Attack by air

It just looked like a book. Not a holy book, or a book from the local school teacher (not that I would know from personal experience); Father has me working the fields anytime the sun is out), but Shep the field help said he saw them in the last village he visited. The old farm hand has been teaching me how to read, while Father isn’t looking. Father thinks that reading and writing has no place on a farm. “Show me a book that feeds a family”, he says when mother questions him.

Shep has shown me the strange power of letters over these last two seasons. And then, while tilling, I found this old battered journal. Pages were burnt, and ripped out, but I managed to make out some of it. Someone either invested fantastic stories, or had gone through a true curse of a life.

The story appears to pick up after a battle in fog………

……….We were standing in the midst of a bubble, carved within the thick mist. Most unsettling, with sound dampened, and no way to look beyond our small space. We immediately start thinking what our next step is, having just ended two threats- creatures that we had never encountered before.

Its about 9 in the morning, and we quiet our labored breathing. Sure enough, we argue over what to do next. Somehow, we agree on the idea that I use my ability to melt into the shadows to do some scouting.

Gwynn says, “yup, just totally go in and out in the carpet”. Sounds good to me.

Serpenthelm offers her batcloak, and Janella ensures that I go through to the shadow realm for about 5 minutes. Eagerly, I enter the shadowrealm by carpet portal, as it has no detrimental effect on my being (I’m still weak from my earlier sojourn in that plane). Fortunately, I’m able to become a bat and fly towards the center of the mist. The proximal guard tower in front of the bridge appears in disarray, but the tower at the far side has been shoddily repaired. There is movement within.

Moving further to the center, I notice a fenced-off area with creatures (?pigs?). I note a large entrance, leading into a large building. In the middle is a tower. Instead of a roof, there is a cauldron that appears to be the source of the mist, with no apparent attendants. Large snake/cat like creatures are playing or fighting outside of the large entrance.

I fly back to the carpet, return to the normal realm, and return the bat cloak (It was fantastic to scout so quickly; should I keep it in the future? Something to discuss with Serpenthelm).

The party agrees to leave the mist, as likely the dispel magic will shortly dissipate. As we hide behind some nearby rocks, I draw out a rough layout for the others. The party begins to make plans how to deal with the cauldron. Any suggestion I make is met with the response – “Don’t destroy the tower!”. Gwynn and Janella seem particular passionate in their answers.

Serpenthelm and myself try to find other solutions, and yet, Ronn persists, `What did I say about wrecking the tower?".

Gwynn takes the initiative, and states he wants to do a ‘chili fisting(?)’ (again, it sounds good to me). He quaffs a seeing potion, and tells us that he can now see about 60 feet in the unnatural fog.(the effect appears to last for about 2.5 hours). We then decide to fly in over the wall; Ron will carry Gwynn via his magical shield; Janella and I will drink fly potions (5 MINUTES), and Janella with use her sorcery to take flight. The hope is that Janella can drop an explosive in the cauldron,

We come in over the wall, carefully, quietly….. except Ronn, who appears to be as good a fool as a bard. I have now idea how he managed to stay aloft. A horn sounds from the guard tower.

As we head to the tower, a dozen small creatures fly in from the west, appearing to head to our destination. Serpenthelm flies effortlessly, like her Hawk companion, and manages to kill one with her bow. Ronn manages to land on a nearby roof, without killing Gwynn. Janella uses her skills, and lights the creatures with an immense fireball, and lands next to the cauldron. The bard manages to identify the creatures. “Murder Sprites”, he exclaims gleefully. “Outstanding!!”.

Only 2 survive, but quickly flee, realizing only more of the same force would greet them.

Things then take a turn for the worse. Janella senses some kind of touching, but is able to brush the effect aside. Then, a tall hag-like creature appears, screeching “Get out of my home”. Now, the battle has truly begun!

Janella manages to drop the fuse bomb into the cauldron; Gwynn uses frigid touch on the hag, but she claws him with horrific effect. A deadly tradeoff, as his strike seems to stagger her. Ronn’s hammer strikes her, while the arrows fired by myself and Serpenthelm both miss. The Hag, although slightly injured, draws a pouch from her rags. Ronn tries to move to another position, avoiding a strike from the horrific creature. Serpenthelm, floating in the air, looses 2 more arrows but fails to strike. The hag then throws her bag into the cauldron, and we see a blue energy glow from the cauldron, which also covers her body. I throw a poison dagger at her, but she seems unnaturally resistant to damage.

The cauldron is rocked with an explosion. All but Serpenthelm are hit with fire, and water that seems to shock rather than burn. However, the fog rising from the blackened pot seems to be at half strength. Gwynn’s next attack misses, but Vipette appears to strike the creature.

I draw some inner strength, and steel myself to directly strike the creature; I land on the platform, drop my bow (PICK UP THE BOW), and strike with my shocking morning star. A truly epic moment….. if it actually connected. Instead, the creature strikes me a serious blow. Serpenthelm, struggling in the air, misses her two shots. The great Ronn Tellius then acts in an epic fashion – landing on his face (again showing his impressive ability to assist from lying on the ground). The sorceress casts fire breath, striking the hag, as well as the prone Ronn, Vipette and myself. The hag retaliates, and calls lightening from the heavens to strike Janella. Vipette and Gwynn both fail in their attacks. At this time, 6 more murder sprites appear. Ronn isn’t as excited this time by their presence.

With new resolve, the team continues to press their attacks. Gwynn applies poison and throws a dagger, which strikes. I continue to fail to damage the hideous creature. Same hears Serpenthelm’s whistle, and able to see in the thinning fog. Sam attacks the sprite, injuring one. Vipette does something, but I cannot make out what. The ‘Great Ronn’ stands, but she strikes him a terrible wound. The bard fails to strike. The gaunt creature then casts heat metal – although the party has a chance to strike her during her casting, but those flanking her fail in their attempt. The spell affects Gwynn and Serpenthelm. Jan attempts to use a touch spell but it fails. Serpenthelm then strikes with her axe. Three murder sprites surround the hawk, but fortunately miss. The remaining three sprites attack Janella, Ronn and myself, but miss.

We catch our breath, and steel our nerve…….

The next few pages are burnt…….

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Legends of the fog

The crowd gathered around the stage in anticipation, hushed so as to hear the commencement of what would surely be another legendary tale from none other than the great Ronn Tellius! A barely contained gasp emerges from the members of the gathered throng as the figure in blue rises to the stage a humble yet serious expression locked on his face. All sound silences as he raises his hands. “Ladies and gentlemen,” the finely mustachioed bard speaks calmly, “I am glad you have returned to hear the continuation of my harrowing tale concerning the reclamation of the magnificent Fort Tellius”. Confused looks pass between some of the crowd at the name of the castle, but any objection is quickly shushed to avoid cutting into the telling from the magnificent and handsome Ronn Tellius. “When I last left this tale, our hero and his companions were lost in the fog, beset by some strange and virtually invisible serpentine beast, Ronn Tellius on the verge of unconsciousness, Serpenthelm absent, Shadowspawn… shading, leaving Gwynn and Janella frantically searching the fog for their foes…”
The great bard continued his tale, anticipation palpable…

It is morning, the fog is deep and Ronn is bravely on his back, carefully planning his next move. Outside the fog, a familiar ranger and her majestic Hawk approach, hopefully not too late. Jan opens up with her fiery breath again, burning the rope fastening her to Shadowspawn, while Gwynn runs off into the fog, the only sound a roar of some great feline.
Serpenthelm sends Sam over the fog with a screaming bolt in her Talons, awaiting an order or a target to drop it onto. Shadowspawn draws a sunrod, and tosses it into the fog. He hooks the throw and the sunrod is lost in the fog, its light lost forever. Ronn coughs slightly and despite his most heroic efforts, loses consciousness. A large hiss emerges from the fog as Gwynn is assaulted by the mysterious monster. Gwynn returns the favour, attacking and grappling the monster in great cat form.
Meanwhile Serpenthelm advances in the fog, axe in hand. Serp perceives rangerly, and suddenly encounters a familiar looking snake. Vipette doesn’t recognize Serpenthelm immediately and lashes out, biting her for minimal damage, thankfully not poisoning the ranger. Serpenthelm hisses a poisonous “snake” at vipette as the snake continues in the fog. Sam circles the fog, unable to see anything in the thick blanket covering the ground and her companions.
Gwynn’s battle with the creature continues, a snake head bites gwynn, fangs pumping poison into the cat-shaped halfling. Gwynn resists epicly and the poison doesn’t take. Janella takes a look at Ronn and shoves a lesser restoration potion into his mustache hole and Ronn coughs awake, now only impaired by the poison. Shadowspawn disappears into the shadows and proceeds to act— shadily. Ronn quaffs another lesser restoration potion, but passes out.
Shadowspawn continues to act shadily. Serp continues in the fog, presumably drawn by Ronn’s snoring, and looks the handsome bard over. She determines he’s poisoned and casts delay poison on the bard with her newly acquired wand. Janella takes a step back and breathes fire again, this time burning the rope tying her to Ronn. Gwynnivere (see what I did there?) moves his clinch to a pin, and starts to rake the snakey monster in his paws. Over the fog, Sam soars majestically, screeches. Vipette hesitates, awaiting something evil to bite.
The monster in Gwynn’s grapple attempts to break free but fails, while Shadowspawn continues to act shadily in the shadow dimension. Vipette continues to hold as Gwynn roars mightily off in the fog. Gwynn resists the poison again and rakes his foe. Jan pulls out her wand of dispel magic and has a go at pointing it at the fog. The fog disappears in an area with a radius measuring approximately (exactly) 150 feet.

NOTE FOR POSTERITY: THE FOG WILL BE LIFTED FOR TEN MINUTES. TEN MINUTES IS THE DURATION OF THE DISPEL. THAT IS ALL, CARRY ON.

Sam finally sees her opportunity and drops the screaming bolt. The screams affect Gwynn, Vipette, and the bad guys. Vipette is shaken, the effect on the bad guys – who now that they are visible are not only horrifying snake creatures, but have also triplicated – is unknown. Serpenthelm drops her axe and shoots at the monster engaged with Gwynn. Vipette attacks the same creature and poisons it. Gwynn flips back, transforming back into halfling shape and draws Keanu Reaver.
The two new bad guys split up one attacking Gwynn and another attacking Vipette. Gwynn and Vipette take some hits while Shadowspawn stands by – you guessed it – shadily. Serpenthelm uses her wand of cure light wounds to heal Ronn. Ronn once again gasps back into consciousness. Shadowspawn emerges from the shadows, prepares to attack, but realizes that emerging from the shadows took more out of him than he thought it might. Janella casts touch of idiocy on the middle monster, and the creature suddenly looks a little bit stupider and uglier. The same dumb and ugly monster casts defensively back at Jan, who resists the curse.

As a beacon of light shines down from the heavens, Ronn kips up to his feet as a sweet guitar riff breaks out. Actually, he quaffs a potion while still on his back and begins singing to the courage of his companions. I believe the song was Prone But Not Forgotten but I digress.
Jan tries to cast another touch of idiocy and the monster sees an opportunity to strike the sorceress. The tail connects but the sorceress is made of hard, fiery stuff and doesn’t lose concentration. Unfortunately the monster doesn’t seem to get any stupider. Shadowspawn strikes with his morningstar and lays a shadowy pile of damage on one of the monsters. Gwynn strikes out with Keanu and slays centre snake-armed asshole. Serpenthelm looses with a multishot and a third, hits with the first two arrows, catching some tiny snakes in their snakey faces.
Ronn stands up, see above for reference to heavenly light and guitar riffs (what’s a guitar anyway?) He throws his hammer, and promptly smashes Janella in the back (ouch). Vipette bites and Sam soars. One of the two remaining enemies attacks Janella, still smarting from the dwarven thrower shaped bruise on her back. The monster connects with two claws and its tail. The other monster attacks Gwynn, its bite connects with acid, taking a huge bite out of the small druid, and the halfling loses consciousness.
Janella takes a step and unleashes a flaming sphere. Ronn moves in as well and tries another toss, missing everything this time around. Vipette misses with her tiny fangs. Shadowspawn shifts in and smacks the monster that dropped Gwynn with his morningstar. Sam swoops in and claws one of the beasts for no damage. Serpenthelp lets loose with another volley of arrows, unleashing a healthy dose of damage with all three arrows. The newly pincushioned enemy charges Serpenthelm, launches into the air, but biffs the landing and falls prone. The other enemy attacks Shadowspawn , hitting with its claws and tail. Gwynn coagulates, stabilizing himself.
Janella moves the flaming sphere over the prone monster, scorching the beast for a pile of damage. Janella also launches a fireball overcomes the targets spell resistance and leaves nothing but a burning carcass behind. Ronn bravely dashes in to Gwynn’s rescue, but misjudges the location of the enemies and his spell fizzles as his attempt to cast defensively fails miserably. Shadowspwan withdraws from the melee, while Serpenthelm gives herself some space and notices that the remaining monster is in pretty bad shape. Shadowspawn draws his bow and unleashes several shots off towards the monster but misses. Vipette tries a bite but fails.
The remaining monster takes a quick inventory of his combat situation, notices how fierce Ronn is looking and decides discretion is the better part of valour and flees into the mists in the direction we think the bridge to the castle should be. We loot the bodies…

LOOT:
4x doses of dex poison
9 potions of something like true seeing only a bit weaker
+1 magic scimitar
3 gems worth 370 gp

On reflection the monsters we faced were creatures of Murmon , gorgons.
The snake monster, a high gorgon, the others low gorgons with their acidy bites and resistance to poison. Moon hags have been known to use Mormo’s creatures…

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Location, location, location
The Keep on the Borderlands

Attendees: Tzar, Duke, Lord, Prince. Missing: the Marquis

“The most critical factor subduing the demand for housing is that home ownership is no longer seen as the great, long-term buildup in equity value it once was.”
- Mortimer Zuckerman

Bollocks!! Mr. Zuckerman doesn’t know shit about the joys of modern castle property ownership nor its potential as an investment portfolio diversifier. Sure, returns in the Post-Apocalyptic Borderlands Real Estate market were soft in the “5-to-10 Year-After” era, but the Adventure Tourism and Hero-training sectors have been bullish since 14-After and are projected to realize above-average returns well into the mid-20-Afters."

We’re sold. That unexpected blossoming of the ego as we’re told about Our Land in the styx [sic] overcomes any niggling doubts about the wisdom of moving into a castle in the fell shadow of the Iron Pass and Keldor Mtns. Sure, a legion of Charduni dwarves were wiped out of existence by fire drakes as the Titanwar came into existence there, and yeah, the Queen’s wizards’ efforts of scrying the castle are being blocked, and granted, all scouts that have been sent to investigate have not been heard from again, but hey – they gave us badges and are putting us on a Hero’s Council!! AND, we’ll get to name the castle anything we want!! Anything! Fort Tellius, the Keep on Keepin’ on, Castle Sunshine Sugarloaf Muffins, … lots of choices on the table.

Anyway, we need to gear up. We liquidate all the swag we’d been hauling around in that chest of holding and sell Tellius’ new Spellguard bracelets and negotiate with the Queen for her to magically augment one item of gear for each of us (a weapon, shield, or suit of armour) in exchange for that orb that we stole from the skin devil.
• Tellius gets a +1 Glamered Chainshirt
• Shadowstones gets a +1 Anarchic shortbow (deadly vs. Lawful creatures)
• Jan gets her mithril chainshirt magified to be +1 and Arrow Deflecting
• Gwynn gets his Darkleaf Lamellar Leather armour +1ed and Slicked, and
• Serpenthelm will have to decide her upgrade with DMC.

We also spend about 1500gp each on additional individual items:
• Gwynn: All Tools Vest
• Shad: Quickrunner’s Shirt and a Book of the Planes
• Tellius: 4 potions (3x Invis and 1x Eagle’s Splendor)
• Jan: Boots of the Cat
• Serpenthelm: has 1500gp to spend on something snazzy (Tzar Lenz would be happy to help with this)

Lastly, we spend some dough on group gear:
• 10 doses of Holy weapon balm (it’s a 30gp alchemical item – look it up). Each of us will be carrying 2 doses. It’s good for fighting against evil creatures, which we tend to do a bit of.
• Wand of Identify. Jannella is carrying it.
• Wand of Detect Evil. Jan is carrying.
• Undead Slayer’s kit. Includes poshe of Lesser Restoration and Cure light wounds, 2 vials of holy water, plus other anti-undead mundane items (garlic bulb necklace, holy symbol, wooden stake and hammer, sunrod). Gwynn is carrying it.
• 4 potions of Lesser Restortion. One each, except for Gwynn (who has one from his Undead Slayer’s Kit).
• Wand of Cure Light Wounds. Gwynn has it.
• Antitoxin – 2 vials. Gwynn has them.
• Antiplague – 5 vials. One per party member.
• Sunrods x 10. Two per party member.
• 1 fuse grenade. Gwynn has it (sounds fun, eh?)
• 4 weeks’ rations for each party member. Mmm… iron rations…

EVERYONE! ADD THESE ITEMS TO YOUR CHARACTER SHEET NOW!!

Okay. NOW we’re ready to head home. Carpe Keepe (seize the keep)!

It’s 100 miles straight east, but walking is for clowns, so we decide to take a magic carpet ride. We have that carpet that we’ve been hauling around and never used – enough of that shit. We unroll it, trace the appropriate lines, and a tunnel into the Shadow Realm opens up. We walk in. Everything is distorted, walls bend it like Beckham, and it feels all wrong! Gwynn, Tellius, and Jannella all take turns painting the landscape with barf as they stumble through several hours of disorientation. Say what you will about Shadowspawn – he can’t out-armwrestle a leaning chopstick, but that boy knows his way around an umbra!
• Gwynn: “Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuuuuuBLAUUUHHH!!!”
• Jann: “Enkili Christ!! Stop the spinning! No more spi… GAAUUGHHH!!!”
• Tellius: “Aren’t we going the wrong way? Shouldn’t we be … HEUUGGHHH!!!”
• Shad: “No, no, this is the right way. Just follow that LSD shadow pattern over there and keep the swirl off your port bow. It’s super clear, actually, if you’d just stop wretching long enough, you’d see … You know what, just follow where I’m walking, k guys? Hey look! I’m making shadow animals with my hands!!”

The suffering is real. However, so is the progress! In four hours’ travel (over 2 days), we cover the 100 miles and find ourselves outside our land! We had to stop to recover a bit in the Material Plane, where Tellius learned how to make Pepto Bismol using Gwynn’s new alchemy set and Gwynn figured out how to change one dose of his Vipet Injury poison to Vipet Inhaled Poison.

We head up to the mist-covered area that is Our Land. Shad checks out the tracks in the soil and figures that several cat-like creatures have used this route toward our castle. Dire Lionish tracks that seem slightly lizardy as well – Dire Li-zards. Can’t see shit because of the fog (even in the Shadow realm, the fog was there and near impenetrable). Tellius suddenly remembers an old ditty that might relate. He regales us with lyrics about a very nasty type of Hag called a Moon Hag that was known to create such mists. He also recalls that they are more powerful at night, so we approach the mists in the morn after a lusty breakfast of iron rations.

A dude comes out of the mists and starts chatting. Didn’t see that coming, actually. He starts spouting shit like we’re not the owners and that we should go and that it’s better to play with the mists than against the mists. Blather, basically. He has NO respect for our deed of ownership, doesn’t use the title “Lord” or “Your Awesomeness” even once, and actually seems somewhat standoffish in the face of his lieges! I know, right?! Clearly, he hasn’t checked his tweets lately.

We treat him like he’s not there (standard landowner behaviour, we figure), tie ourselves together with Shad’s new silk rope, and start walking into the mists.

At first, we think Tellius is singing Metal-covers ("Cobraassss!!! ‘Ttacked by cobrassss!!!), but then we realize it’s for reals! Can’t see our noses in this pea soup, but the Ronn is making all the wrong sounds. Attacked by 7 snakes?!? WTF, man! The poisons course thru his veins, but he swings that big hammer of his , hitting something much bigger than a snake. Hmm… In the fog, Jan calls for slack on the rope, but Shad doesn’t get the message. Gwynn tosses Vipet into the fray (Chok! Chok!) and decides to cut Shad’s new rope (Noooo!!!!). Gwynn tells the others not to attack any cougars that they may see (??), and also shouts, “Don’t look at its face – Medusaaa!!!” Gwynn turns into a cougar. Vipet follows her nose and sinks tooth into ankle, a couple of times. Jan finally gets herself alongside the Ronn and unleashes the WORST case of fiery halitosis upon the enemy that it’s ever seen – 23 damage!! Unfortunately, the Ronn has taken more bites than a chew-toy at a dog park and has fallen down to stage 3 poisoning – Disabled! He manages to cast a Cure Serious Wounds on himself but is far from out of the woods. The enemy is fleeing within the fog, but Gwynn and Vipet have its scent and are not going to let this skank go THAT easily!

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We'll take your Keep and keep it.
RT shits himself again

We return to the city and under the cover of darkness, are let in by a guard. There are Battlemages everywhere and the walls are higher (wall of stone-esq) dotted with seige weaponry. It’s busy and hectic.
With Zanthar in tow, being sapped every so often to maintain a suitable level of unconsciousness, we head towards the castle.
Shadow suggests we “bag” Zanthar.
At the castle, we are surrounded and brought to the court where we were first arrested under heavy guard. Tellius negotiates for 15 minutes before Lady Santha arrives and has us brought into interrogation rooms.
Lady Santha is accompanied by a General.
Gwynn valliantly tries to explain the situation to little avail, but the great RT (who is difficult to silence) is able to finally convince Lady Santha. Gwynn attempts to raise our profile, making good arguments for more swag, but Lady Santha insists that there is too much going on. Gwynn persists and is given an Officer of the Court emblem. Shadow succesfully begs for some healing potions, but gets no help for his underwhelming CON.
An elderly woman enters and whispers to LS. We listen in and hear that that the Diviners are unable to see the approaching army.
We are taken into a back room (doughnut shaped, fancy)
LS asks us to “explain to the head of the military” which Gwynn happily does, continuing to cast us in a favourable light.
We tell them about the white powder and the effects that we were able to determine from our experiments.
The diviner? has questions about how they could see the preparations, but nothing now.
We ask about traditional scouts and are informed that there are titan spawn flanking to the NW.
RT eloquently explains the Skin devil and the associated effects.
The skindevel is eventually brought in and cuffed with manacles of cooperation, it looks like a flayed man, but refuses to talk.
Stones manages to buff up to a whopping 40 intimidate score and the skindeveil starts talking.
when did you infiltrate? – 3 months ago
who directed you? – prince
how is he paying you? – promised prestigious role in South
are there more? – don’t know
Prince’s goal? – power
antimagic? = perfect response to battlemages
- other army from north
-titan spawn coming to attack prince
- stones rerolls a 1 – nice
- magic weapons with white powder kills bearer within months
- titanspawn coming from north to take prince’s land

RT wisely asks how to make signal? – orb in office

The skindevil is removed
A suggestion is made to send the signal early to split the prince’s forces
- we will get teleported to the orb, then flying carpet our way home.

Negotiations ensue, we are promised a “well reward” – the battle mages will suitable outfit us, and we will also get a reward at some later time.

stones takes a horn of fog
serp takes a bag of holding 1
gwynn gets boots of elvenkind
RT gets cloak or resistance
Jan gets braces of armor +1

we detect a secret aea on the north wall, with electrical traps on the cabinet.
Janella grabs a scroll case on her way by using sleight of hand.

The diviners send us to the bottom of the stairs/ladder

Jan casts light, no creatures, but we hear horses upstairs, that weren’t there before. We find the secret door to the study and enter.
Serp watches the hallway while Jan covers the stairs.
Others find and disable the electrical traps, then wisely check for more traps.

in the cabinet, we find:
the ORB, RT takes it
3 potions, which stones grabs – flying, neutralise poison, and something red. pretty red.
Rt also grabs a pair…. of magical bracelets (pair, matched) they are powerful, but we can’t tell what they do,

we hear noises and roll inish. Serp blindly fires down the hallway and we eventually see 4 zombies.
Serp takes a shit kicking, 2 lvl down, and energy drain.
The people upstairs hear the commotion and lock the hatch.
Jan gets mage armor up just as the last zombie secumbs.

Stones jimmies the hatch and we all go upstairs
the place is empty. we consider following the horses, but we’re on a mission (from god) and fire up the carpet and head back to the castle. Jan’s excellent driving skills get us there by 9am

We land right on the keep and are brought to the council hall. The take the carpet back.
RT flourishes the ORB We are tasked with getting the skin devil to send the message.
the devil sends the message.
the orb goes into a bag, then into the BOH

We are given rooms to rest. we go and retrieve our chest of holding, then sleep. Jans sets an alarm, “rumplestiltskin”

We are summoned to the council chamber
Scouts report that the arms has turned to fight the titan spawm

We get our reward. We are given a Keep. RT shits himself with glee.
Pure reward Jan
reward but strings Serp
reward but run down shadow
We are given honourary citizenship in the South
Jan has a crisis of concious re lifting the scroll box and returns it. she will atone.

Some names for the keep were then thrown around on the chat group. nothing decided.

Here endith the lesson.

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Dungeons & Devils

With the unsettling sound of a boulder rolling into place, the wall reforms splitting the party with Shadowspawn, Ronn Tellius (The Great), and Janella on one side and Serpenthelm and Gwynn on the other side of the newly formed wall. Unsure how to proceed, the party begins flailing on the wall to mixed effect. Before we know it, the wall shifts again, revealing Serpenthelm to the majority of the party, but leaving Gwynn locked away with someone else, Xanthar is nowhere to be seen. After brutalizing his compatriots Serpenthelm strikes some Titanic fear into her now isolated foe and the fool starts to run, she gives chase looking to give him the ol’ donkey punch, but instead manages somehow to catch herself in the jaw, launching what might be a tooth into the hallway ahead of her.
Janella does some fancy finger twirling and casts dispel magic on the elemental. With a satisfying woosh, the elemental comes apart and falls to the ground in an untidy earthen pile.
Meanwhile Gwynn is having a blast with Xanthar, Vipette is throwing poison and Gwynn slashing for his life when he falls prone, Xanthar, suddenly monstrous Xanthar is looming over top of him hungry fangs dripping.
Thankfully the party can reach each other now, and they make short work of Xanthar. Ronn searches his memories and remembers tell of Skin Devils, strange monsters that can assume the form of unwilling hosts to feed their devilish hunger.
Xanthar is still unconscious as the group tries to decide what to do with the beast. Do they take it back to Cadar? Or just slay the beast and continue south to find out who he was meeting with?
The group decides to explore that old trapdoor they passed upon first entering this dungeon, Xanthar can wait (or he might be dead, the scribe’s still out).
The trap door opens to a tall ladder surrounded by a cage. A perusal attracts the attention of some all too familiar zombies, the wall crawling kind from fort Jamal. Thankfully these are on the outside of the cage, temporarily not our problem. However, they are in a large chamber, and there seems to be another cage in there so the group must figure out how to deal with the monsters. Then answer is fire. Sweet cleansing fire. [**] After attracting the beasts to the cage, Janella gives them a taste of her fiery personality.

That problem dealt with the group explores the large chamber outside of the ladder cage, and finds a cage housing:… Xanthar. F-ing Xanthar? But if he’s in the cage…The group engages in a session of confused pointing up at the top of the ladder and back at Xanthar in the cage and some deep philosophical mutterings about the chances of the group actually checking this corner of the facility before attempting to communicate with the eerily silent Xanthar. From what we can tell he’s probably not a skin devil, also, the poor devil [sic] has had his tongue cut out.
After some charades, and writing of messages, the group finds out that this is the real Xanthar, who’s been captured for some time, and this complicates the decision of how to deal with Zombie Xanthar even further.
The group decides that not-dead Xanthar should be returned to Cadar to clear up the misunderstanding, though how this information will help the soon to be besieged City of Cadar is another question indeed…

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Adventure calls
Horses, Rock Hudson, and the Shack

DMC writeup – May 28, 2017 by Tzar Lenz

Having chased the treacherous Xanthar and his cronies to a broke-down shack, we huddled in the woods deciding upon our assault. Shad had drifted about the entranceway and around the boarded-up windows earlier and had heard voices, so we figured our quarry was inside. Jan considered poking one of her tiny female digits thru a seam in the window boarding to lob in a fiery pea, but then we all feared that that damned Antimagic powder could be on site, and Jan didn’t want to get all the strength sucked out of her (having one noodle-armed party member who needs to grunt with strain just to lift his gaze is enough).

Gwynn casts a bevy of spells in preparation, and we continue to talk strategy, politics, weaving principles, childhood pets, … “That’s 56 seconds” – the voice of DMC peels from the skies like thunder. “Dammit! 2 of those spells I cast have 4-minute durations!” Gwynn notes with alarm! We burst into action… after talking for another 30 seconds or so.

Jan and T.G.R. Tellius enter the double doors and wait for sounds of carnage. Serp guzzles a Climbing poshe and climbs up onto the roof along with Gwynn and Shad [Note: both Gwynn and Shad JUST made their climbing rolls thanks to a round of Guidance spells that the petit druid had laid on the whole team! Those +1s can make a difference]. Once on top of the roof, Gwynn uses a Warp wood poshe to open a hole in the timbers before deftly leaping the 20’ to the floor below, landing among the three horses present like a muff of cotton candy on a pile of sleeping kittens. Shadowspawn, figuring that anything Gwynn can do he can do better, leaps down as well, landing like a fire cracker amidst a gathering of traumatized, caffeine-laced cats!! His legs collapse under him like a bad simile, and the horses lose their shit!! Like three panicked horses in a cramped room, the horses freak out like four panicked horses in a cramped room! Shad takes a hoof to the neck, Tellius comes crashing thru the door and nearly undoes horse 1 with a warhammer to the jaw; Jan tries to diveroll through the chaos but is only partly successful; Gwynn chills out one of dem horsies with some animal diplomacy, logically spelling out to the beast how it is best not to panic in these sorts of situations; but it’s Serp who casts a Calm Animals spell that is like the God of Horses shouting “Whoa, boys!” All three horses are instantly chewing their cud and lazily swatting flies away with their tails. Even Vipet lets out a languid yawn, gently releasing a small crap into Gwynn’s hood.

With decorum restored, Gwynn hoarsely barks an order to Ronn “Dammit, man! Heal that beast you just walloped! There’ll be no dented horse faces on my watch!” The bard wisely complies. Into the adjoining room the crew flock to find an exposed floor hatch and a pushed-aside carpet. Too easy. We study the walls, and the Ronn’s Dwarf-inspired senses sense that the far wall isn’t natural stonework. Gwynn snaps off a harsh whisper to Janella, “Dammit Jan! Cast Det Mag on that wall, will ya!” Jan wisely complies, and it lights up like a son (see what I did there, DMJers?). Tellius loses his cool for some reason and attacks the wall like it’s an Earth Elemental – two rocky limbs shoot out to clout the bard in the nards. It’s an Earth Elemental!! Rocky Rockerman lurches forward, revealing a passageway behind it. Serp hits true with an arrow or two from between the legs of one of the chill horses, Shadowbrawn pounds it mercilessly for 1 damage with a plain-old morningstar instead of the shockerly one (which would have been wise out of fear for the Antimagic powder if we hadn’t already cast 2 or 3 spells in this room). Gwynn throws in Keenu Reaver – it clunks in for a very moderate 5 damage and falls to the floor, Ronn pummels it mightily with his as-yet-unnamed hammer (what kind of bard doesn’t name his trademark weapon??), and Jan tries to twist Rocky’s insides out with a Stoneshape spell (which would have been wise if it weren’t immune to such spells – oh well, that’s how we learn). In the next round, the Great Ronn Tellius brings a determined tear to all of our eyes as he begins to sing one of his greatest Rock ballads, Rue got Stoned. Jannela tries to help by erecting a stone wall in front of the beast, sealing it off from the rest of us, which would have been wise if Keenu Reaver hadn’t been on the other side of said wall! Gwynn, feeling a bit more bossy and perturbable than usual, takes a full round action to berate Jann [Dammit Mageblood! That was Keenu Reaver on the other side of your wall!! What the BLEEEEEP!! BLEEP!! with your mother and a BLEEP!! BLEEEEEP!! with both feet and BLEEEEP!! BLEEEP!! and the whores you rode in on!!!]. The lady mage responds by calmly ignoring the raving halfling and checks out the trapdoor in the floor, investigating with some singing & dancing lights – she doesn’t see much but does hear some sort of creature shuffling around down there. Gwynn regathers his shit and casts Soften Earth and Stone on the wall, causing it to slump like so much clay – the elemental is gone and so is Keenu! Jannela partially shoulders over the wall, Serpy cleverly grabs a plank from the nearby pile of old furniture and lays it on top like a ramp, and the team head into the tunnel with Jannela’s Foxtrotting lights illuminating the way.

There is a side room with maps and the like, and Ronn, Shad, and Jannela pour in to check it out, leaving Gwynn and Serpenthelm out in the hall… which is when the wall to our left reforms as the elemental and moves to close off the room to the right! Behind it, Gwynn and Serpenthelm are surprised by the sudden appearance of… [sorry, no spoilers!!]. At this point, the party is split into two and unaware of what is befalling the other group. Chances are that it’s not good.

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Cadarian sunshine
Back to the dungeon, our good ol resting place, full of happy memories, cherished loved ones. Okay, well maybe the memories are terrible medusa filled nightmares, and loved ones area single, unfortunately petrified semi-manservant we barely know. Either way, we’re back under Cadar, ready to resume, whatever it was we were doing before we jumped through that interesting portal into the misty labyrinth.

The party reunites themselves with the loot left behind in the box of holding. Janella decides to take a closer look at the enchanted carpet. Turns out it should serve to act as a portal between the two worlds stitched into the carpet. Judging by the shadowy depiction of the ‘other’ world on the carpet, Ronn geniusly infers that it probably represents the shadow realm from which most of Shadowspawn’s and thus the rest of os’ problems come from.
The group puts their heads together to remember the details of Cadar, the past (several) days having muddled their memories. The ruler of the city is the Lady Scentha. The group heads up to street level to see what’s new. The plan is to find a shop or a tavern to get reacquainted with what’s going down in Cadar. The group peaks out into the main square to see what is undoubtedly war preparations. The battle mages are getting ready for a fight. Apparently tensions we left behind have not settled. A quick thinking, ruggedly handsome Ronn Tellius quickly dismisses Shadowstone’s craven suggestion that we flee into the night and disguises himself as an intelligence officer in the Mage army. The group uses this disguise to enter a tavern, a distantly familiar tavern where trouble had been raised before by the pugilistic Shadowspawn. Before heading into the tavern, it should be noted that cooler heads returned the chest to the underground hideout. After some light carousing in the tavern we discover that as we expected the Prince is on the march, and is very close to Cadar.
We make our way into the main square where the command tent is located. After some forceful words, we win ourselves an audience with the Lady Scentha, armed with the knowledge of the anti-magic powder that can only spell certain doom for the magical forces of Cadar. We are presented to the war council, many well dressed folk surround the table, looking quite important indeed.
Ronn tries valiantly (and handsomely) to deliver the message. Shadowspawn tries to add his piece, but is met with classist derision at the gall of this manservant to speak out of turn. Seeing that the jig is up, Ronn drops the disguise spell and tries good old fashioned honesty.
To the dungeon!! Last time we try that angle…
Gwynn quickly defeats the locks on his manacles, and checks out our barren accommodations. After some time in the dungeon deciding whether death during valiant escape, or death by starvation during a siege would be preferable our ears are alerted to the approach of several people toward our cell.
The visitors are none other than the Lady Scentha and her advisor. We try again to convince the lady, and Gwynn suggests that she use some magical influence on us in order to guarantee the truth of our words. They leave and return shortly thereafter with a candle of truthtelling. We pass on all of our experience with the Prince’s forces and the anti-magic powder. Ronn is overcome by a stuck tongue during this exchange, somehow unable to recount just how heroic his contributions to the quest so far were. Convinced by our words, the Lady tells us that she believes that her chief Intelligence officer, Xanthar is a double agent and must keep us imprisoned for the time being as to avoid suspicion. She then gives us a quest. We are to follow and kill Xanthar, and if possible, discover who his contacts in the Prince’s lands might be. Shadowspawn remembers an old contact from Urlisia named Rutger who was talking to someone from the south.
After Xanthar departs the town we are released to follow. Hurried to the exits of the town we are again on our way.

Serpy unelashes Sam who quickly discovers the location of the villainous convoy. With Sam’s help we follow the party to a ruin.
Shadowspawn enters the shadows to scout the location. He returns with a map, and a cough. We begin to formulate a plan, Gwynn gives us a last minute magical inspiration and we prepare for battle.

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