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!