Scarn 16 After

Sharks and hatches and elements, oh my!
Nope, sounds good to me

DMC writeup for Mar 8, 2016 – Sharks and hatches and elements, oh my!

The meeting started off with more than the usual number of memorable quotes:
• Tellius: “Hey, can Janella just dangle Gwynn into the water from a rope like a tea bag?”
• Serp: “We could just try to drain this tub.”
Gwynn: “Where will we find something to blow it up with?”
Jan: “In Shadowstone’s chest!!”
• Serp: “Does anyone have a cylindrical thing?” (Nothing wrong there)
• Jan: “How about Shad’s shadow ability in water?”
Shad: “I don’t know. I could just go in and out real quick…“ (Nope, sounds good to me)
• Jan: “Let’s take this Elemental Body II for a ride!”

Anyway, after we topped out our day’s quote-o-meter in the first 9 minutes, we decided to employ our various methods to breathe water and just get through this waterfall to check out the one side of the water circuit that we hadn’t explored yet. Shad went shadowy, Jan went watery, Serp and Ronn chugged poshes, and Gwynn shoved his snake into a bag (Nope, sounds fine) and relied on his ring. Once again into the fray…

The team burst thru the waterfall to re-engage with the swimming cartilaginous tooth machine on the other side. Shad, in the shadows, surely did something or tried to and either succeeded or didn’t; Gwynn released some of the shark’s blood with a bit o’ axework; Tellius critically rapiered it; Serpenthelm vital struck it in the vitals. The shark hit and ran… right into Water Jan’s slam attack!!! Which missed. But not the second time!!! Shark steaks.

“Okay, team. Let’s try not to set off those summoning wards, all right?”

Tellius and Serpenthelm quickly flubbed swim rolls and set off two more shark-spawning sigils. Yet again into the fray… Tellius and Serp took on Sharkille O’Neal and Janella-mental was somewhere above the waterline in the middle; Shadowstones was no doubt doing something important with some level of effectiveness, which left Gwynn to take on Frankie the Fin in watery melee. The two bards were a symphony of rapiers, falling into a rhythm of pokery; Sharkille eventually succumbed to all those pricks. Meanwhile, Gwynn and Frankie the Fin squared off toe-to-tooth and proceeded to embarrass themselves in one of the worst collective displays of combat ineptitude ever seen above or below the waves. To onlookers, it must have looked like the two bodies flailing and flapping against each other uselessly were marionettes wielded by the gouted fingers of a brie-tart.

Fortunately, wet Jan managed to stop her laughing long enough to come in, lick her palms, and give Frankie some powerful wet slaps. And then, from out of nowhere, the shark suddenly died. Either the fighting gods could bear no more mockery, or Shadowspawn was actually doing some good wherever he was.
Tzar Lenz piped up: “Hey, nobody has taken any damage yet, have they?”
Lord Fowlie: “Uhh… I’ve taken 16.”
The author begins to question his own attention to detail, and decides to insert a disclaimer that the information contained in this write-up may contain errors, omissions, and even outright misrepresentations of the truth. This prose was inspired by a true make-believe story.

Okay, enough of sharks for a bit. Water Jan located a cylinder with a submarine-type hatch sporting runes around its edge, no doubt ready to flood the waters with more targets for slaps, pokes, slices, and shadowy caresses. Gwynn took care not to set them off, unscrewed the lid, and the crew swam down the hatch. Which soon turned into “up the hatch” as the gravity flipped orientation once again. At this point, 3 minutes 45 seconds had passed since entering the shark den. It was nearly pitch dark, but Gwynn felt a presence all around them. Tellius popped off some flare spells, which mostly just blinded us, but they also helped us realize that we were 40’ beneath the surface. Janella, still in her elemental form, cupped our bottoms in her watery hands (Whoa! Was that a finger?!) and propelled us to the air above.

Quick unscrewing. “Huuuuuhhhh….” Gwynn recapped his waterskin. Jan, always having the exact dress for the occasion, put her bat cloak to work and was soon exploring this airy zone. In another mind-feck, the gravity flipped once again 10’ up with 30 more feet “down” till solid ground. Janella’s shuttle service carried Gwynn and Serp up and then “down” to the ground, Tellius used his winged shield, and Shat floated around like a fart. Felt good to be back on Terra firma, loose soil beneath our feet. Gwynn put Vipet back into her hood, and all started to move around the new enviro.

Suddenly, a large earth elemental rose up from the ground and gave the Ronn a rocky swipe that left dirt on his face and dust in his eye. This stoned fellow could be a bit of a problem…

Rise above the hole in the
deepest of your depths (check)
for the path will steal
even the most iron will (probably those blood-sucking stirges)
and leave you barren. (don’t care about having kids anyway)

But when you pass this and
only Scarn’s elements remain (water – check; air – check; earth – underway; fire – ??)
as you wish, it will be free (do we really want to free that thing?!?!?)

Note: I’ve copied the loot haul from “Chest grab” just so that we don’t forget some of the resources we have access to. For instance, Janella, do you still have that staff? Shadowstones, did you figure out what that potion did?

We find:
• a +1 winged shield – this could come in handy. Tellius snaps it up as the only shield-bearer of our lot.
• a +2 compound longbow of distance. Though Serpy is close, she can’t quite pull it back to full draw yet. She vows to bulk up enough to be able to pull this mother properly – then the world had better be ready!
• a +2 dwarven thrower warhammer. This one is special, and Tellius takes it for the nonce. He knows how to throw his voice but not so much hammers, but that’ll come with practice, too. Gwynn is eying it up, though, and is trying to assess whether this dwarven wrecking ball would complement his sneaky “cut and burn” image. The jury is still out.
• We grab the scrollcase and crack the seal like an Inuit hunter. Janella can’t believe the powerful arcane spells she finds on the scroll: teleport, mass reduce person, elemental body III, stoneshape, and reverse gravity.
• a pearl of power level 2 – spell storage for an arcane caster. [editor’s note: I wrote down that Tellius took it, but I seem to remember hearing that it went to Janella. Clarification required].
• a candle of truth, which Serpenthelm pockets.
• a container of dust of disappearance. Jan disappears it into her sachel.
• a very powerfully-magicked dagger first goes to Gwynn, but Shad is looking at it lustfully – probably because it looks almost liftable – and Gwynn throws him a bone in exchange for the next item on this list. It manages to resist Tellius’ best efforts at detection; it is perhaps an artifact.
• a blue metal ring of water breathing now on the person of wee Pipet
• a staff of unknown abilities – Janella takes that, too. She’s making out like a bandit here!
• Shad takes the unknown multi-hued potion – it’s transmutative in family and a trial sip might possibly have just turned Shadowspawn gay.
• Finally, an extremely-powerful magic rug resists identification. All we can figure out is that it’s some sort of transportational tool, but none of us are quite ready to throw ourselves blindly onto that magic carpet ride. It goes into the chest.
3 full sets of the armour/shield/spear combo go into the chest, too, along with the stone body of some short dude named Rube or something, and to quickly celebrate our haul and still-fleshy flesh, we all take swigs of Gwynn’s fine port; nothing puts a stamp of approval on good times like a bit o’ licquor. Gwynn borrows Shad’s new blade to etch each member’s name onto the wooden cups he procured in Cadar and repockets the drinking equipment.

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Are we headed up?
"That is future us's problem" - RT

We start the session with a brief review of our situation… We are near an alcove. no wall, back is grey mist. There is also a brief ceremony where Hero Points are awarded. Everyone gets one, cause we are all so awesome.

Play starts with Gwynn tossing a giblet. RT detects magic and finds strong alteration. Stones finds runes which are different from the previously found trigger runes. Janella tries to decipher “these are Barrier Runes, not Trigger Runes”. Serp ties a rope to her arrow and fires through the mist. The Rope slows but doesn’t fall to the ground. We pull the rope back and get 1/2 a broken arrow.

“Canary Stones” is volunteered to go into the mist with a rope around his chest in a cross your heart bra style. Upon returning 3 seconds later, said it felt like 1 second. He is pushed back into the mist for 10 seconds, but didn’t even have time to gather his wits before he was pulled out.
We formalise a test and send him in for 90 seconds. He gets to a count of 8, so we’re looking at a 11:1 time ratio. In his 8 seconds, Canary Stones is able to discern a large corridor with a lectern about 50ft (17m) “There may be a book there”

RT heals the team. Thanks Ron, and then we all head into the mist. The mist is 4ft(1.3m) thick at the door then no mist. It seems to be magical night and sure enough there is a lectern on a dias. Additionally there is a large runic circle in the middle of the floor, 1/2 way down the corridor. Janella is able to read “STASIS” “TIME” “SUMMON?” or maybe “CONJURE?” Here the water sounds "faster’ kind of higher pitched.

Jan bats it up and flys to the lectern and in doing so, triggers the floor runes.

There is indeed a book. “good eyes Canary Stones” Black, leather, attache style. She can read "power word "STUN""

Jan tries to remove the book and a blue cage appears. Canary Stones slashes at the cage and makes a small wound, but triggers the runes and 2 Beetles appear.
Serp and Gwynn valiantly hit for 21. RT casts “Haste”
Gwynn hits for another 4 and Vipet spring attacks for 3 plus poison, giving 2CON damage.

Jan tries dispel magic – Nope
Stones attacks the cage again.
Serp attacks and takes out Beetle #1 but provokes an attack of opportunity from #2 and all of a sudden, her bracers and rusted away – GONE.
Serp attacks #2 for 7
End of Round
Monster attacks Serp’s breast plate… GONE.
Canary Stones misses
Gwynn backstabs for 17
Jan attacks the cage for 7
Serp hits for 15 but loses axe to rust – GONE
Vipet hits for 1
RT valiantly hides in a corner and sings to courage, giving +2’s to all
EOR
Gwynn Saps the monster into submission

notes get a little disjointed here….

Jan and RT go back through the mist to study the book
CS takes robe and checks for traps
Gwynn makes breast plate of Blue Energy (+4) for Serp

Spell book has 3 spells CL15
Power word “STUN” 8th level wiz
Mislead 6th level
Elemental Body 2

can use like a scroll or sell them

The group heals and sleeps – sleep, funny that. Over to you Gwynn…

We go do some exploring. Tie a rope to Gwynn and a rung and send him out 90 seconds. 2 tugs for return. Gwynn can’t see much, murky. 40ft for 90. get 2 tugs and pull him back.
“Fucking Shark”, new gills.

Serp’s new armor is stable in water.

Jan checks the area as a bat and sees the shark, but nothing else in the murky water.

We call it a night.

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I'm a Ranger Not a Mushroom
Shark!

First of all, this is a messed up labyrinth with a wacky gravitational problem. Second of all, these water works are getting on my nerves!! Where are the hills and mountains and forests!!?? I’m a ranger for titan’s sake not a mushroom! Lastly these sharks, skeletons and giant mosquitoes are really pissing me off!! They have clearly been brainwashed into protecting this dung infested dusty, moldy, poor excuse for so called superior Charduni craftsmanship, ruins. HRUMPHHH!

I digress.

Lest we forget, our current purpose, other then to save these titan ravaged people from all the hooligans, ruffians and monsters roaming about, is to find whatever the hell dark sinister wants us to find in these god forsaken labyrinths (assuming these are the correct labyrinths), return it to her (so she can rule the world) in order to have whatever the hell is in Shadowspawn’s chest, threatening to snuff him out at the blink of an eye, removed. Then we still have to return to the north and save Scarn from the scary army that is being amassed and armored with an even scarier arsenal of mass destruction, capable of sucking all magic from anything that could possibly oppose them.

Sooooo, to continue the tale of our trek through these absolutely irritating tunnels and sewers….Gwinn upon further exploration of the area on the other side of the waterfall sees a metal cable. He climbs along it for a while before returning. Not exiting enough in that direction he yawns. Since that direction doesn’t seem very promising, we reverse and climb up the ladder. At the top, the water flows horizontally – see what I mean about messed up gravity?? When we fell through the hole, we went through our first reverse gravitational area. There are many such areas around here. The water is only 5’ deep here and a cable goes along the floor/roof/whatever! Gwinn goes through the water using the ring to breathe since his tiny frame is completely submerged. Janella goes next after feeling two jerks on the rope from Gwinn (we are all still roped together). Moments after she starts off the rope goes slack because she meets Gwinn who is scrabbling back and looking like he’s seen a shark. SHARK!

Naturally we have a burning desire to get in there and tame the shark but first we need to figure out how best to keep Vipette from drowning. An empty water skin does the trick. Girls first, Jann and I go back into the water. How bad can one shark be? The others follow.

Well there are 3 sharks damnit and one bites my leg the fucker. On his next pass it bites my leg again! I hit the poor excuse for cartilage with one of my 2 arrows. Small satisfaction. I kill it with another arrow. Better! Ronn stabs one of them. Jann claws another. Gwinn misses but then hits it on his next try. SS hits it with his draconic dagger. He is still not sure of its powers yet but making the little minnow bleed sure felt good! Jann grapples one of them, kills it and lifts it out of the water. We try to kill the third, Gwinn stumbles, I miss and finally RT stabs it right in the gills through to the heart just as it was nibbling on SS. Triumphantly I skin one, hopefully I can sell the leather for more masterworks arrows if we ever see the light of day again!

After Gwinn airs out Vipette, we carry on. Four large submerged charduni runic symbols (10×10) are on the ground. One is glowing. We suggest that SS should touch the glowing one with his draconic dagger. That bonehead move summons a 11 ‘ shark weighing 774lb. Gwinn hits it for a max of 4. I hit for 4. SS hits for 1. Jann takes a potion of greater strength. RT hits for 8. The shark monster misses Jann. Ronn now flanking the shark hits for another 8. Jann now stronger, misses anyway. Gwinn hits for 4 again right in the nether region. I give the final coup de grace with my bow. See ya mf!

Gwinn, always thinking sums it up; 4 runes = 4 sharks!! DOH!

We continue in the water up to the tube (reddish alloy metal). There are a bunch of other runes about which we don’t understand. Four runes are glowing ahead. Wisely we go around them. I think we’re done with sharks for a while. The current along here is quite strong and with the limited light we cannot even see the edges of this torrent. There is a waterfall ahead and behind us. It is easily 200’ across, forward and behind. We approach the waterfall. Protecting the waterfall like a dam is a line of rocks. Likely another trap. Small runic writings are inscribed on the rocks. Probably summons more freakin sharks to attack us. Jannela bat cloaks us all over the rocks. The current is more of a violent flow here. Gwinn and Jannela lose their footing and start tumbling down the waterfall. Miraculously, SS and I manage to hold them and pull them back up. Winded however, we can’t pull them out of the falls. After many, many attempts we pull the two waterlogged Wu’Jen out of the water and back to our side.

We still want to cross however and finally Gwinn gets to the other side, finds a ladder and ties himself off. Jann tries next but falls. Thankfully, we have tied both ends of the rope tied off but we are all stuck in the falls for what seems like forever!!!!. Ronn cuts the rope and RT and SS slam against the stairs. I’m stuck in the deluge and get my fill of shark water for awhile. We all climb up the ladder and get to the room where we hope there will be more treasure, no sharks and perhaps some answers!

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Into the metal web - part 2

Into the metal web – 2.0
Weapons collected, and strays gathered, the party gathers their wits and takes in their surroundings. They’ve fallen into a veritable web of metal cables. The air feel s damp and cold, and it is eerily dark. From the distance rushing water can be heard.
Gwynn takes a look around the base of the pole, but finds nothing. The group departs to explore,, deciding to follow a right hand rule in order to avoid getting lost. Gwynn is recounting his amazing skills of perception when the group is suddenly assailed by small flying monsters. Serpenthelm enters the fray with her bow; while Janella uses her magical skills to burn some of the tiny blood suckers with a flaming sphere. The beasts suck the lifeblood from our party to great effect, and the flyers are identified as stirges.
Gwynn chops one to death, and two of the beasts latch onto Serpenthelm and Shadowspawn, causing some serious damage to their constitution. The brave Ronn Tellius starts singing and soon the party is done with their assailants, licking their wounds, and desperately wishing they had more of their life blood intact.
The party decides that some rest is in their best interest. Serpenthelm provides some long term care while the group struggles to stay comfortable suspended in the iron web. Upon waking, Gwynn uses some duidic magic to restore some constitution to Ronn and Serpenhtelm.
Gwynn discovers small runes on the cabling that seems to be related to the arrival of the stirges. The group decides to construct a rope bridge to bypass the runes. Unfortunately Shad triggers the runes, which results in a new batch of stirges arriving to drain our brave heroes once again.
Serpenthelm is left barely standing after this encounter with the Stirges, leading the party to rest once again, regaining some of the lost lifeblood.
Janella suggests at this time, that we stop with all the careful crawling, and does some bat-suit exploration. Janella discovers that there is a waterfall on one end of the massive chamber, though this waterfall is rather unusual in that the water flows up… Janella discovers a chain line that leads into the waterfall, she then bat-suits the team one by one to safety just outside waterfall. They follow the line into the waterfall, and are shocked when the world flips on them, and down suddenly becomes up, resulting in them falling to the ceiling. They discover a ladder, that they climb leading to a chamber with a chest sitting at the back of it.
The group takes their time with the strange chest, and after some carful cutting and application of grease, they manage to open the chest, and save the runes inscribed on top, safely stowing them in case they come up with a use for them in the future.
The chest in filled with several potions of restoration and water breathing. Under the potions, a false bottom reveals a scroll of interposing hand.
The group climbs a ladder from the chamber, and find themselves at a similar chain line leading in to the waterfall, which is now falling in the correct direction. It proves quite difficult to battle through the waterfall, but Gwynn is successful, and discovers that the other end is under water, underneath the web the party was previously exploring.

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Deep in the Lab, part one
Janella's Pennance Report

We gaze out into the mist. “Looks misty”… thanks Ron
We are behind a 3ft stone wall with mist beyond. We immediately get down to what we’re good at:
Gwynn checks for traps, Serp casts resist cold, Gwynn casts know direction, Serp detects magic, its all over the place. Stones jambs the door open with one of his knives.

All 5 of us are tied together with Stones’ rope of many knots. The mist feels thick, like water. 3 feet high and forces us to walk at 1/2 speed. The path feels like stone, although we cant see it at all.

As we leave the platform, the door closes and the knife snaps. The door disappears.

Detect magic – we are in a tunnel of magic, but it feels like we are very exposed. We start to hear voices of to the sides. First one, right, in Ancient Charduni, “they’re here” second to left in Common.

Gwynn throws a giblet that just disappears.

To the right, a face in the mist, incorporeal. FEAR Janella and RT OK, Stones and Gwynn re-roll success, Serp re-roll fail. The fear is palpable. RT starts an inspire courage oratory and then throws his hammer for 15, which seemed to piss the face off a bit.

Jan lights up her hands and hits for 8, Gwynn slashes with Reaver for 5 and Stones fires a masterwork arrow for maybe 6.

Face 1 turns and meets gaze of Janella who takes 18 damage. (it feels like it can hurt just by looking at you) Serp re-rolls vs Fear due to RT’s rousing song and makes it.

Stones Critical hit for 3 with bow and Janella uses Fire Breath to hit for 21. The being recedes into the mist with a scream just out of audible range. Jan fires her remaining breaths blindly into the abyss to the left.

All is quiet for a moment and we see a blue glow in the mist to the distant South.

We hear a whisper from the left “You don’t want to leave me”

The blue glow looks less like a blob and more like a pole. Ron touches it and screams like scolded child. You soiled my armor. Pole is cold. (4.37C)

Face 2 shows itself again and Jan and Stones (even with a hero point) fail with 7 and 4. Jan bails and shad drops bow and tries to bail into the shadows.

RT throws the hammer for 17. Face2 attacks Gwynn without success. Gwynn replies with KR and hits for 4. Serp joins with a mighty swing of her axe and hits.

Janella is gone down the hole like a rabbit. Stones heads down the pole. Gwynn makes reflex, but fails strength and is dragged down the hole. Serp fails reflex and strength and also goes down the hole.

RT “Tuck My Hammer” and jumps. Gwynn quoffs a po of bull strength and holds on.

Those coherent, hear a frustrated wail from Face2

Serp is in free-fall and attempts a reflex save but continues in free fall. Gwynn tries to hold on, but his grip fails when people start reaching the end of the rope.

The crew reaches the bottom. Jan 1d6 and all else 5d6 damage.
Vipet takes 3. “What the fuck with all the falling?”

Gwynn puts away lens and grapples with Stones.
Jan still panicked, runs west to a junction.
Tellius throws a hypnosis at Jan and stops her.
Stones tries to get away from Gwynn and succeeds
Serp looks for something to hit.

We take a small breather. The above foe was a (stronger than) Ghost Wraith. Can take Health and Strength permanently.

Gwynn borrows Jan’s bat cloak and an invisibility potion and turns into a bat and heads up to search for our dropped bows. He returns after 6 minutes with both bows and returns the cloak.

Here endeth Part 1. LF continues logging.

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Could this be the labyrinth we've heard so much about?

Scene:
Wet and hangy with lots of greenery.

Well it seems like we’ve just met a Clay Golem. I really had no idea they were so big and clayey.

Janella starts the battle with a fireball. Gwynn brings forth some fog, but not before the Golem spys him and hits for 20. Ouch. Stones, in a near perfect Tellius imitation, runs up the vines on the wall out of harms way. Serp tries a fancy rope trick she saw in a rodeo one time to no avail.

We hear the high pitched, frightened voice of Tellius from beyond a door at the far end of the room.

Serp tries a swipe at the Golem, again to no avail. Stones tries to take Janella into Shadowland, but can’t seem to make it work, but valiantly leaves her behind. Janella casts “reverse gravity” on the Golem to great effect and watches as it crashes into the ceiling.

Gwynn asks the party if he should keep the mist, then does what he wants anyway, which is keep the mist in place. Janella grabs hold to the wee man so they don’t get separated. Stones is able to whisper a message to Jan and Gwynn from the shadows about Tellius being just ahead. Not that we needed it, we can hear RT shouting warnings about a Golem. No shit Ron!

God’s Balls, I second Golem! OK Thanks for the warning Ron. The Second Golem charges at Serp who is able to escape. The First one comes crashing back to the ground. I think Janella underutilised that spell.

Tellius opens a door at the far end and everyone heads for it. Golem#2 hits Serp for 20 as she retreats.

Everyone makes it through the Door and we bar it to further incursions. RT casts Ghost sounds to distract the Golems. Stones returns from the shadows.

We explore the level, but soon realise that we’re tired and set a watch and catch some zzz’s. There are reports of some noises upstairs, but we do not investigate too far. We need the rest.

Upon waking, Janella graciously offers RT her Dwarven belt and he gains mad skills with the throwing hammer. RT finds a room to practice. We identify Stones’ dagger as super ancient and Draconic.

We continue our explorations and head upstairs to find 2 sets of 6 skeletons. We are contemplating battle when a “voice from everywhere” stops us in our tracks. We negotiate magic items in exchange for safe (safer) passage. Janella loses her Staff of ? and her pearl of power.
We go downstairs, multi floors
through doors guarded by giant dwarves, undead.

YOU ARE THE CHOSEN
PAY ATTENTION
WALK STRAIGHT AND TRUE
DO NOT STRAY FROM PATH
THE SOULS OF YOUR PREDECESSORS ABOUND

This is the start of the labyrinth?

We see illuminated mist beyond.

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Chest grab
Hey! It's magic!

DMC writeup for May 27, 2015 – Post-medusa looting & wanderings (only 5 months since last play!!)

Still can’t believe we all fell for that meduso’s schtick… Mind you, there were a ton of statues of others in that room who had apparently fallen for it, too, and many of them looked like pretty smart folk. Mind you again, they all currently have rocks for brains, so how smart could they really have been…

Well, we made short work of the trapped double doors at the back end of the chamber and entered the clean & tidy trophy room of the dude with the snaken perm. Now this deserves a photo! (whatever that is). A dozen fine suits of scalemail, spears, and shields adorned with Charduni runes stand propped around the room like we’d just walked into the Charduni section of the Louvre (whatever that is) with a chest at the end just begging to be pilfered. But we know better than to just start flipping switches. We just send in Shadowspawn! He may wince with strain loading forkfuls of salad to his lips, but that boy can find a trap! Yep, the pad on which the chest sits is just weighting to blow us to smithereens. Janella and Gwynn park on Shad’s shoulders and whisper confounding and conflicting advice, weaving strands of doubt and bullshit into willknots of confusion as the shadowy rogue attempts to jam a spanner into the works. In spite of it all, he holds steady on his second go and puts the chest test to rest with zest.

Step one completed, we all lean in again as Shadowstones slides his masterwork tool into the slot and does some wiggling. All hold their breath as he runs thru locksmithing theory in his mind, “Okay, it looks like a Peterson Mark IV latch with a 12-tumbler… , Noooo! it’s got a “12-proud-2-shy” 14-tumbler codswipe mechanism… ooooh, that’s cunning! … Gonna have to do the double-round t-clicker left entry to the keyhole with the Kronenburg whippet and a top-down tapskip… now just a weeee butterfly fart with the Macklemore depressor… titan’s testes but those Charduni knew how to craft a lock! Okay… easing it in now… keep it reeeeeaaaallll steady… stones of stone here….“
“Hey guys, I have a key from that meduso, you know.”
Thanks Gwynn.

Insert, turn, click. We pop the cap and find it to be a chesty version of a bag of holding! Tellius turns the velvet liner into an outy and its contents spill onto the floor of the room. Oh, but it’s a fine pile! The Ronn puts his spellcraft skills to the test identifying the loot, getting a helping hand from Jan’s wand of identifying when he hits his own limits. He nudges and caresses, casts and taps, pinches and prods and most of the items spill their secrets. Bards seem to have a way of making that happen.

We find:
• a +1 winged shield – this could come in handy. Tellius snaps it up as the only shield-bearer of our lot.
• a +2 compound longbow of distance. Though Serpy is close, she can’t quite pull it back to full draw yet. She vows to bulk up enough to be able to pull this mother properly – then the world had better be ready!
• a +2 dwarven thrower warhammer. This one is special, and Tellius takes it for the nonce. He knows how to throw his voice but not so much hammers, but that’ll come with practice, too. Gwynn is eyeing it up, though, and is trying to assess whether this dwarven wrecking ball would complement his sneaky “cut and burn” image. The jury is still out.
• We grab the scrollcase and crack the seal like an Inuit hunter. Janella can’t believe the powerful arcane spells she finds on the scroll: teleport, mass reduce person, elemental body III, stoneshape, and reverse gravity.
• a pearl of power level 2 – spell storage for an arcane caster. [editor’s note: I wrote down that Tellius took it, but I seem to remember hearing that it went to Janella. Clarification required].
• a candle of truth, which Serpenthelm pockets.
• a container of dust of disappearance. Jan disappears it into her sachel.
• a very powerfully-magicked dagger first goes to Gwynn, but Shad is looking at it lustfully – probably because it looks almost liftable – and Gwynn throws him a bone in exchange for the next item on this list. It manages to resist Tellius’ best efforts at detection; it is perhaps an artifact.
• a blue metal ring of water breathing now on the person of wee Pipet
• a staff of unknown abilities – Janella takes that, too. She’s making out like a bandit here!
• Shad takes the unknown multi-hued potion – it’s transmutative in family and a trial sip might possibly have just turned Shadowspawn gay.
• Finally, an extremely-powerful magic rug resists identification. All we can figure out is that it’s some sort of transportational tool, but none of us are quite ready to throw ourselves blindly onto that magic carpet ride. It goes into the chest.
3 full sets of the armour/shield/spear combo go into the chest, too, along with the stone body of some short dude named Rube or something, and to quickly celebrate our haul and still-fleshy flesh, we all take swigs of Gwynn’s fine port; nothing puts a stamp of approval on good times like a bit o’ licquor. Gwynn borrows Shad’s new blade to etch each member’s name onto the wooden cups he procured in Cadar and repockets the drinking equipment.

Well, let’s get out of this room then. There’s clearly nothing more here. Couldn’t possibly be anything more. We looked with our eyes, so I’m sure this secret treasure room has nothing else to offer up.

Then something filtered thru the ether, an echo from the millenia of games and gamers past, floating breathily down the halls to whisper its RPG wisdom into the departing ear of the diminutive druid/rogue. Barely audible, the soul of the eternal Dungeon Crawler gasps… “checcckkkk fooooor seeeeecret doooooooorrrrssss”. The ghostly incantation just cracks through the door to the consciousness of one Tzar Lenz, deep in thought about whether he should use a regular lime or key lime in his next G&T. “Oh! Hey DMC, uh, I’m going to go back in there and check for secret doors. Uhhh… (roll) … Natch! +14… 34!”
DMC: “Yep, there’s a door at the back. I was wondering if any of you were going to think of that.”

Tzar Lenz goes with the real lime this time.
Duke Punshon leans in knowingly, “Quite different than the key limes, eh?”
Tzar: “Can’t really say – too many variables floating around: PJ’s fancy tonic, different gins, ….”
Duke: “Good point.”
The search for ultimate G&T knowledge goes on, saved from a fate of strongly-held unfounded conclusions by these logic-driven, highly-discerning seekers of the truth.

So, the secret door opens into a hall with a slightly sunken circular room at the end, separated by a line that says, “Do not cross” in Charduni. We immediately plan how to cross. There are also two giant clay statues in the circular area on either side of a glowing pillar of multihued light. Gwynn tosses a giblet over the line – nothing. He tosses another into the column – it momentarily shows a pastoral scene. Interesting. We are super certain that things are going to get ugly as soon as we set foot over that line, so we exhaust our other options, going back into the meduso room, rummaging through his bedroom (finding another key, which actually works on the entrance door to this complex that we couldn’t budge before). I guess we could leave the way we came in now. But seriously, what kind of adventures would we be if we obeyed a “Do not cross” line?

Back at the line. Echoes of a poem we recently rediscovered in our packs make us take this jump over the line very seriously:

Prophesy of the Chosen One.

Step through and despair,
for you are Chosen
and may not return.

Have your leap of faith.
Drain your resolve if not
the whole crimson of your life.

Rise above the hole in the
deepest of your depths
for the path will steal
even the most iron will
and leave you barren.

But when you pass this and
only Scarn’s elements remain
as you wish, it will be free.

The strange thing about poetry is you never know when it’s being literal, but lines like “step through and despair” and “have your leap of faith” seem too likely to be meaningful in this situation to be ignored. A plan is hatched: Tellius is to take the brave lead, disguised as Charduni and garbed in one of the splintmail suits, he quaffs Gwynn’s potion of jumping and vaults off the chest, over the line, and into the column, the clay statues animating too slowly to impede his progress. For the rest of us, the plan is for Jan to batcloak-up and fly Gwynn high into the column, creating a distraction for Shad and Serpy to use the ring of jumping and winged shield to cross the gap. Great plan! But you know how people like Shadowspawn are with plans…

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Search for the Ruins (proper place)
Prince John Dictates again

Night is about to fall on Cadar. The Wujen learn that the Deity of the Town is Hedrade, a Lawful Neutral God, known as the Law giver.

That night, the group chooses to sleep 4 hours, just after Serpenthelm and Gwyn return to the tavern. The ranger has arranged to meet a contact, known as Dwindle, in the morning.
After a short rest of four hours, the group heads down to the square. There are a few people out on the roads and pathways. Janella flares up, likely casting her mage armor. The majority of the taverns are on the far side of the square, opposite where the Wujen are planning to explore.

Gwynn first goes on a minor engagement, by picking something up at a fine winehouse. A fair elvish maid serves Gwyn, and offers a fine port. Gwynn purchases the drink, a fine four year old vintage. It appears to be a fine wine from the west. “For when we have done something epic – fortified wine”, Gwynn states. He wraps it carefully, and stores it away.

As the group returns to the streets, they note that the night is overcast. The adventurers reach a tunnel entrance on the street, that Gwynn had earlier found. The grate covering the entrance is well maintained. IT opens easily, revealing a narrow descending staircase, making a 180 degree turn along the tunnel. The group initially argue over the order of the march, with brave Telius at the rear carrying the torch.

After about 30 feet, the tunnel levels out, with a cobblestone floor. All but Telius hears a click from above and behind. Ahead, some alcoves are seen, filled with some statues. The group steps into the side areas.

The adventurers then hear someone humming. The steps halt, after Serpenthelm calls out to the creature. The rest silently look on in horror, at such a breach of common dungeon etiquette. Serpenthelm, now emboldened by such brazen behavior, follows up with asking for directions in the underground.

A head pops around the corner. “What are you doing here?”

Serpenthelm continues her strategy of trying to engage the stranger. “Where is the party?” At this time, Ronn Tellius joins in. Acting curious, he introduces himself. The creature reveals himself to be a small dwarf, dirty and could be confused for a slave. He mentions that he is responsible for meals for the Artist Guardian. The Artist likes salted meat and cheese, and apparently makes statues. Serpenthelm asks further questions about the Artist Guardian. The small creature introduces himself as ‘Rue’, and fails to notice the rest of the party hiding in the tunnels.

Rue continues further into the tunnels, followed by Tellius and Serpenthelm, with the rest of the party hiding in the shadows.

The small creature leads the two brazen adventurers to a set of double wooden doors. Inside, a large chamber is dimly lit by magical light. Huge columns are in place, extending up to the 12 foot ceiling. Scattered around the chamber are various intricate columns with various statues. They include humans, dwarfs, and elves, some appearing as soldiers.
Jan, Gwynn and Shadowspawn are hiding outside the doors, as Gwynn listens through the open door.

Ru walks in approximately 4 to 5 pillars, and a tall humanoid approaches him. Ron Tellius and Serpenthelm follow the little creature. The tall being has its face and hands covered with bandages. He says, “What have you brought me, Rue?”

At this point, Tellius tries to engage with the mysterious individual. The Bard asks about an ancient temple. The disguised one states that he could help, but wants a fair trade, and wishes to be freed of a curse. He is allowed to live in the place, to be a guardian, but not by choice. He is forced to be here by the Charduni. He states it happened after he made an unflattering statue. He is held in place by runes, for approximately 40 years. Rue agrees. At this point, Janella enters the room, and asks the hidden beings’ name. The tall being does not answer.

He points out a large, central pillar that has a number of pictures and runes on it. Janella, Serpenthelm and Ronn Tellius examine the runes. The Bard, digging deep into his bardic knowledge, figures out three of the five runes. He deciphers the 1, 3 and 5th runes as “Ugly, Protect, and Anger”.

Gwynn and Shadowspawn enter at this point. Shadownspawn poorly attempts to connect with Rue, with an offer of food. Rue takes offence at this innocent gesture, stating that his job is to feed the Guardian.

Rue then reveals that he has 3 tattoo Runes on his back. Some of the runes are the same as on the pillar. With continued research, the group understand the symbol for wind; and start to realize that they could create a variant of one of the runes. These include porcelain, wind, and swim.

Janella and Gwynn start planning, and then Gwynn takes a nap. Janella, Serpenthelm and Tellius are taken to a wall covered by runes some distance away by Rue. The group of magic users study and copy the runes, for about 4 hours. In the meantime, Gwynn sleeps, trusting Shadowspawn to keep watch.

After the magic users return, and Gwynn awakes refreshed, the group plans to modify a single rune, in an effort to free the bandaged being. The effort is known as a Rune Hack, in an effort to change the rune for Anchor to Wind.

The bard, with help by Serpenthelm, starts playing a singing portion of the ritual. Some metal is used with a portable chem lab to try to prepare magical ink, and Gwynn prepares a soften metal spell. There is adequate paint to attempt to alter the rune. Shadowspawn uses his finesse of fingers to alter the rune.

Once this is completed, an audible crack is heard, and a breeze eminates from the pillar. The party hear the covered creature exclaim “Free!! He will free us!!” He removes his bandages, and reveals himself as a medusa. The adventurures manage to avoid his direct gaze, except poor Rue. The little creature is turned to stone.

Combat is initiated, but the Wujen are at a hideous disadvantage, as they cannot gaze upon the vile creature. Janella attempts to cast flame breath, but misses. Tellius bravely walks behind it, drawing his sword and hiding behind his shield. Gwynn bounces past, and connects. Serpenthelm tries to strike at it’s shadow, but misses. Shadowspawn melts into the shadows, and gazes upon the visage of the creature. It’s living anke hair hisses, and writhes. The eyes are blood red, with no pupils. The evil that emanates from them would curdle the soul of any brave creature unlucky enough to be caught in its view. Shadowspawn realizes that he is in a unique position, to actually give aide with vision for his clan. He decides to head towards Janella, and whispers, “I’ll be your eyes”.

Ron does what he does best, not by actually engaging his sword arm, but rather begins singing. His ditty, “Getting Caught in Hedrade’s Basement” stirs the souls of the Wujen. Serpenthelm manages to grasp her mirror, and strikes the creature with a mighty blow. In one strike, she beheads the creature.

Shadowspawn leaves the shadows, slightly weaker, but throws a bag over the decapitated head. Tellius bravely loots the body, finding a silver chain and key, which Gwynn quickly graps. The group realizes that there is still one last dose of Rune Juice, and a shirt. Rue is still stone, and possibly picked up.

It is now approximately 6 in the morning, and the main double doors seem to be locked. The room is explored, and another set of doors are found. They are covered with runes that are apparently “explosive”. After a second attempt, the doors are opened, reveals a neat and stacked group of various expensive items……

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Cadar, jewel of the Empire
Dazing Scrolls, Magic Pikes, Shovels, and Rats

On the road to Cadar…

Battle! Terrible Furious Battle!

We rejoin the party as they are in the midst of a disagreement with a group of Rangers from the Prince’s northern armies. They apparently don’t take kindly to groups of murderous border jumpers running through their forests and shooting arrows at them. But hey, at least THEY swung first. Let it not be said the Venerable Ronn Tellius ever revised his histories.

The bitter melee is intense, one of the rangers is fleeing, and Sam is going on the offence and swooping in harassing the ranger. Janella shares Sam’s concern and with a flourish of her bat-cloak, takes flight after the fleeing ranger. Sam continues her pursuit and Janella quickly overtakes and swoops in for a charge. The ranger, however, side steps at the last minute and avoids the swooping charge. Janella, ever graceful still manages to stick the landing, rolling in front of the fleeing ranger.

Meanwhile the battle between the other ranger and the party comes to a close as the remaining ranger sees the error in his ways and surrenders to the Wu’jen. Shadowspawn and Serpenthelm run off to give chase to the other fleeing ranger. Serpenthelm launches magnificent looking long shots at the fleeing ranger.
[Author’s note, at this point the brave and wise Ronn Tellius was busy ignoring the merchant Gladys’ orders to slay the captive ranger, and so did not record the conclusion of the chase with the other ranger. Knowing Janella and Serpenthelm, it was suitably bloody and fiery.]

The group decides now is not the time to hang out and wait for more of the rangers. The team resumes their course towards Cadar to the south. Janella activates her cloak’s bat-form and takes off, scouting for any approaching reinforcements. After quite some time, Janella will insist she was being thorough, the author however, has reason to believe her delay was due being lost in a dark forest and an unfamiliarity with echo-location.

As we travel down the trail, Serpenthelm covers some of our tracks, hopefully making our trail harder to track for any of the Prince’s forces pursuing from the north.
After several hours of travel, the party figures they must have made their way far enough south to be across the border into the southern Empire. The group finds the main trail, which, leading south eventually takes them to a great walled city in the distance.

Dave stops about 1.5km from the wall. Gladys informs the party that Dave will be waiting with the prisoner while the business is conducted within the city. The guards at the city gate prove to be refreshingly friendly, apparently they have not received as much merchant traffic of late. Most likely due to the borders with the princedom being closed, apparently unbeknownst to the Imperial forces.

The guard tells the group his commander’s name is Capt. O’Meilly, who will still be sleeping off a hangover, as it is only 6 AM or so.

Gladys is anxious to get inside and doesn’t seem particularly appreciative that the party is making these overt inquiries as to the commander’s identity and that the party is considering telling the local forces about the increased presence at the border.

Once inside, Gladys reinforces his stance, by telling the group that the reason he doesn’t want them to know about the Prince’s aggression is that it may spark the Emperor into launching an invasion which would only result in the deaths of many citizens of Antwala and the princedom, including Gladys’ family.

Gladys leads the party to a grand indoor market. The party experiences some major culture shock, as this is the most cleaned up and impressive market they’ve laid eyes on. Everything in the northern princedom is as of yet still destroyed and beyond comparison to the sight before them in Cadar.

Gwynn starts making inquiries as to the locations of any temples in Cadar. This is, as the reader may recall, the city housing the temple where we will find the wondrous sphere that will save Shadowspawn, while potentially dooming everyone else by giving more power to the ruinous titan wench that granted him her ‘blessing’.

Janella finds a nice scroll merchant, who has plenty of nice loot that he’s found from underground temples, and underground resistance fighters from around the realm. Janella wisely shoos away the rest of the party, as Ronn Tellius’ aura of glory would only undermine her efforts to establish herself as the poor, road weary traveler in need of favourable pricing. Serpenthelm, not to be pushed around, and in an effort to gain the upper hand in the negotiations, casts Daze on the shopkeeper. As Janella looks on in abject horror, the shopkeeper sits down, clutching his head. The merchant turns hostile, demanding to know what happened to him. Janella manages to defuse the situation, using her womanly wiles, and the careful and time tested negotiation style of not casting hostile spells at the other party.

Janella buys an ancient scroll which may shed light on the runic magic the group has been studying from the tome acquired from the priestess in Urlisia. The rest of the party also buys several scrolls of various magical effects from the shopkeeper, who’s daze-induced headache seems to be mostly cured by the injection of gold into his coffers.

The group learns that today there will be a grand parade for the graduation of the latest class of battle mages from the college. The group retires to the Silver Serpent, a tavern the gate guard told them about. The plan is for the group to nap for a few hours as they’d been travelling all night, then wake up in time to see what all the fuss surrounding the graduation was all about.

Before retiring, Shadowspawn takes offence to some grand earth shattering comment that Ronn Tellius made in the bar, and takes a swing at him. Unfortunately for him the Enkili was feeling a bit cheeky, and guided his hand toward the glass of a nearby noble, spilling his drink and creating quite a situation. Shadowspawn talks his way out of it and buys the man a drink, apologizing quite profusely for the alcohol abuse.

The parade proves to be just as impressive as anything the party might have expected. Brightly flashing arrows, some travelling unnaturally far striking true on distant targets. Others travelling shorter ranges, but glowing with undoubtedly deadly magics. Soon after the parade commander calls for pikes, and forward steps broken lines of pike men and battle mages. But just as soon as the lines halt in front, they shimmer with power and the gaps in the lines fill with illusory pike men, though if one had not just seen them appear from nothing, they wouldn’t be able to identify them as illusions. Next a great wall of flame erupts in front of the line of pikes, sending waves of heat out to the gasping crowds.

The parade continues for some time with equally impressive displays continuing from the new graduates of the Magic College. At the end after the figurative caps have been tossed into the air, Janella finds one of the recent grads and starts asking him questions. It would seem that they draw their power from each other, somehow building their power based on the number of battle mages channeling the power. She makes a date to meet up with the new graduate later at the Silver Serpent.

Serpenthelm chats up a Charduni, asking about architecture, trying to gleam some information about where the temple they are seeking might be found. It turns out many of the grand old Charduni temples were dismantled After. There were several impressive temples in the Southern areas of the city.

The group revisits the scroll vendor, attempting to find a map of the old city. The merchant Philmoar does indeed have an old map of the city Before. Janella offers to copy the map for a lower up front price, as the merchant wants a small fortune for the relic.

It should be noted that somewhere around this point, Shadowspawn purchases himself a shovel. For excavating the temple. Ronn Tellius barely avoids the swinging shovel as he rolls on the proverbial floor laughing his ass off.

Serpenthelm visited a stable hand not long afterward to question about where the group might find an appropriate tunnel. Dwindle the stable hand tells her that there are underground tunnels everywhere.

Gwynn contacts the local rodents’ guild, and meets with their representatives, several rats. Gwynn inquires after the tunnels. The rats are full of useful information about where to access the tunnels. One leads him to an underground carriage house.

That is all for this chapter, will the party find the temple before Shadowspawn starts digging holes? Or before he explodes? Read on gentle reader, as the great and eloquent Ronn Tellius will reveal all as we continue this epic tale…

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Just like crossing at Willow Creek
Anwalik by Marquis de Marcoux

It just so happens that the titan war, the enormously destructive demonstration of titan wickedness and evil occurred mostly in the northern lands of Venir. While the northern lands are so badly ruined as to be unrecognizable, the south is still beautiful, productive and even pastoral in character. Few Wu’jen hang out in the south. They have difficulty with words like pastoral. Southern Venir is where one might find cities who form their own government and who are run independently from the emperor’s will. The emperor’s power and influence isn’t what it was. Venir was a large united kingdom until the Charduni dwarves took over and enslaved most of the populace. If anything good can be said of the titan war, it would be that its occurrence smothered most traces of Charduni power.
Emperor Denzen, of true royal lineage now rules the south…sort of. When the self declared prince Alphonse of the north came calling, the emperor chose not to do battle. Perhaps Denzen was afraid to engage the prince for return of the northern lands? Perhaps the emperor knew something of the magical weapons forged with white powder? Perhaps he is not emperor material. A so-called recent truce saw the emperor and the prince divvy up the lands. The prince has not wanted to engage the emperor’s powerful battle mages and indeed seemed more intent on the northern territory…until now perhaps. The consequence of the divided lands sixteen years after the titan war is minimal trade between the north and the south, especially when the prince’s men patrol the border…like now!

On our way to the south to look for the orb and the old temple, we investigate the border town of ANWALIK. We decide to check out the most unpleasant bar in town. Here Ronn decides to spin a yarn or two in the hopes of gaining the confidence of the local drunks and picking up some good tips about the area. None of this would have been possible without the hypnotic humming and fluting of Serpenthelm and Gwinn. Shadowspawn meanwhile is keeping an eye out for anyone who looks scary. He finds however that everyone looks scary and in fact some look really, really scary. A small roguish man approaches Shadowspawn and Jannella and nonchalantly starts questioning their/our modus operandi. The rogue informs Shad and Jann that despite the fact that the prince doesn’t want anyone trading with the south, some take the risk. The rogue tells them of a warehouse at the end of town where merchants are hiring scouts. The warehouse opens at sundown. There is valuable cargo waiting to be shipped to the south and nothing has crossed the border since the prince’s 800 soldiers arrived 3 days ago. This order to not trade is tough on business.

Ronn makes a few coins for his troubles at the bar and throws Gwinn and me a crumb of his crumb for our fine performance. We will die of thirst at this rate.

Later in the evening, Clip clop takes us to the warehouse. Gwinn and Shad climb to the roof and keep watch while the rest of us head for the front door. Security is tight and the bouncers insist we check our weapons in a locker before going in. The warehouse is by far the nicest place we have seen in this flea bitten town. The smell of money and ale is in the air and there are a few tables set up with a bar. There are many merchants around and quite a few Wu’jen as well. People are milling around and the atmosphere is serious in a festive kind of way. Merchants want to move their wares and they are willing to pay for the risk it will take to move their cargo across the border. Someone approaches us and suggests we talk to Gladys, so we do. Gladys wants to hire a crew to move some smallish items, the likes of which can be carried in a backpack. He (yes Gladys is a he!) wants his valuables taken across to the first town on the other side called CADAR. We barter with him and agree on 27GP/each. We sign on the doted line and so does Gladys.

Leaving the warehouse, we retrieve our weapons from the locker and gear from the inn. Returning to rendezvous once more with Gladys, he introduces us to his cargo (masterworks silver-high quality stuff),
and his associate Silent Dave. SILENT DAVE is a big beefy guy, well armed with finely crafted and deadly looking weapons. Nice scimitar Dave. Together, we sneak over the perimeter wall and start our journey to Cadar.

The prince has men roaming around the lands whose job it is to find smugglers like us stupid enough to think we will succeed where no one else has. Not far from ANWALIK, Gladys falls into a trap pit and swears discreetly, loud enough to catch the attention of every creature within a 5-mile radius. The prince’s men head our way. Despite our desire for silence and caution, and contrary to everyone’s opinion, Jann elects to try to split their party up by sending lights into the sky away from us. Begrudgingly Serp and Gwinn mutter “good idea”.

We charge the approaching soldiers because I happened to say “let me at em”!!! …and… everyone took me seriously??!!!. We all take aim at the big boss but he is as tough as he is big! Enormous actually! Jann is hurt which pisses her off enough to take out her claws. She rakes her claws across the boss’s flesh but it’s just a scratch. Gwinn rings his axe off the boss’s kneecap and Jann’s burning hands singe his whiskers. Vipette manages to get a deadly fang into his thigh and Sam, the wanna be eagle, dishes out the coup de grace to the boss with a bite and claw to the face!!!

Gwinn wards off the effect of a spell and then hits one of the boss’s men. Silent Dave is no help when his mighty simitar swing only manages to separate a molecule of oxygen! Suddenly we notice that one of the guards has a snake and Vipette goes berserk and attacks the other snake! Distracted by the reptilian battle, Jann is clobbered and thrown into a tree.
Ronn gets in an awesome hit on one of the soldiers! ARGH!! I keep missing!!! I think I’ll make some tea. Gladys attacks and badly wounds another soldier. One guard takes a moment to blow a horn. After his second blast the coward runs away. Unfortunately, we hear an answering blare. Two dead at our hands and we have the remaining guard and his animal snake companion surrounded.

Tea is ready!

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