Who let the gnome out?!?

The Darkness (Part Deux)
"I'll Stumble For Ya"

The Darkness (part deux)

The Darkness again shifts to ethereal form and passes through us. As it does so, we feel our souls ripped from our bodies. Still dizzied from the effects, Avanta falls prey to the Darkness as the little gnome gets sucked into it. Peleous releases an Eldritch Blast, but misses. Noname continues to struggle within the Darkness, and continues to cause it minor pain. Kerric misses his mark but summons his elven dexterity to take another swing before the Darkness could react. He lands his second attack upon the Darkness. Erich, newly healed by the waters of the Khyber pool pounces upon the Darkness. For the first time, we feel the Darkness shudder <bloodied>.

The Darkness retaliates against its new pain and slams Erich. Erich is thrown across the cavern and is smashed against the walls <critical>. Erich falls unconscious once again. Peleous throws a Flickering Venom, but misses. Noname finally understands his position and realizes that he serves his party best by fighting from within. He hits again with his Sure Strike attack. And with each successful cleave, the Darkness’s claim is negated by Noname’s will to survive. Kerric again rushes to the aid of his comrade, and administers another swig of the healing waters to Erich. Erich’s eyes flutter as he approaches consciousness. Avanta struggles and worms his way out of the Darkness’s clutches. He rolls away, drinks his potion, and runs back to the Khyber Pool for another refill. Erich takes a swig of his potion, and again pounces the Darkness. His attack is wide.

The Darkness turns its attention to Peleous. Despite his attempts to duck and weave from its clutches, Peleous becomes its next victim. Peleous fights his imprisonment but is unsuccessful. Noname continues to chip away at the Darkness from within. Kerric finds his rhythm and successfully slices into the Darkness. Avanta drinks the rest of his water, refills his waterskin, and rushes back into the fray. Erich attempts another pounce and misses. Fearing the wrath of the Darkness, he swallows the rest of his potion.

Both Kerric and Erich feel more of their life force drain from them as the Darkness Cloud Drifts across their battered bodies. Like Avanta before him, Kerric is slammed by Darkness who takes advantage of the elf’s quivering form. Kerric is nearly impaled upon the rocks. He is barely able to pick up his bloody form as he stands to return to battle. He swings as severs a wisp of the Darkness away from its gaseous body. Peleous continues to wrestle his way out of the darkness, but is still unable to budge. Avanta and Erich’s attacks miss the Darkness.

This time, the Darkness marks Kerric as the most dangerous foe and attempts to slam him again. Kerric is able to avoid its bludgeoning force. Noname finally invokes his challenge to the Darkness, and is able to attack the Darkness as it attacks Kerric instead of him. He continues to do minimal damage, but damage nonetheless. Kerric, Avanta, and Erich all miss their attempt to cause the Darkness pain. Peleous finally frees himself from its grasp.

The battle begins to turn tide again. Erich becomes absorbed by the Darkness and fails to escape its inky cloak. Despite all he has done to rejuvenate his strength, Erich is rendered unconscious again. The Darkness laughingly voids him from its bowels. All the rest of the heroes miss their attacks, especially Kerric, who nearly imbeds his sword in rock. The momentum of his swing is so violent that he falls to the ground thus raising the age old question of, “if an elf falls to the ground, does anyone hear it?” <fumbles>Noname comes closer to death. The Darkness takes advantage of Kerric’s position and attempts to Slam him. Kerric’s luck still holds as he is able to roll away.

Peleous casts a Shared Agony and is able to affect the Darkness. He follows with an Eldritch blast, but misses. Avanta continues his Warsong attacks upon the Darkness, hitting sporadically. Kerric springs to his feet and redeems himself with an effectual slice to the Darkness. Then, he races to Erich’s side (again) and binds his wounds. A quick slap to the face awakens the druid.

The Darkness attempts to engulf Avanta, but misses. The gnome mockingly breaks out into a rendition of the, “The Reflex,” sung by the new age minstrel group, Doo-ran Doo-ran. The musings of Avanta inspire us further. Noname hits the creature twice from within his cocoon. Kerric and Avanta also draw the creature’s blood. Erich attempts to move into a flanking position, and takes a whopping hit from the darkness to the side of his head. Erich misses his attack, and falls down yet again from his wounds. This time, there is no one to heal him, and he comes ever closer to death.

The creature shifts into cloud form and blows through Kerric and Peleous. Deathly chills eat away at them. Kerric is able to sidestep the Darkness, but Peleous becomes the next victim of the Darkness’s grasp. Peleous is unable to extract himself from within the Darkness. With its attention turned to everyone else but him, Noname freely hacks away from the center of the monster’s being, occasionally hitting it.

We sense the Darkness panicking the nearer it comes to death. However, the Darkness will not relent. Again it shifts into cloud form and seeps through Kerric and Avanta. They each feel its deathly chill. The Darkness successfully slams Kerric, and nearly kills the elf. The elf can barely hold his sword from all the blood. He swings again, but the pool of elven blood amassing at his feet causes him to lose his footing and he slips and falls again <fumble>. Meanwhile, Avanta continues to chip away at the creature. Peleous is rendered unconscious. Meanwhile, Erich is fighting death’s door.

The Darkness attempts a last slam against the prone Kerric to once and for all do away with the pesky elf. It misses. Noname takes the opportunity to stab at the monster with its attention diverted, but Noname hits the cavern wall <fumbles>. The impact causes Noname to lose his sword. Enraged, the fighter screams with frustration. Calling forth his strength, the noble fighter cocks his fist and punches into the darkness. And, as he retracts his fist, the Darkness dissipates…the Darkness is dead.

TOTALS:
XP: 500 (100/ea)
Treasure:
- Residuum: 90 GP (18 /ea)

We have little time to rest. So, we do our best to patch our wounds, and continue our search to find Daria and her family. We walk down another hallway. As we proceed forward, we notice that both the walls and the floor feel…fleshy. We turn the corner and come face to face with a Dolgrim and a Dolgaunt.

Kerric runs forward and attacks the Dolgrim first with his nimble strike. The arrow finds its mark and imbeds itself into the Dolgrims shoulder. To Kerric’s surprise, the floor just beyond him opens, revealing a giant maw! Kerric shouts a warning to his comrades. The warning gets cut short as three crossbow bolts hit the over exuberant elf. In seconds, the elf is down and bleeding out.

Avanta casts a Vicious Mockery to Dolgrim 1 (DG1) but it is impervious to his musings. Erich and Noname charge the monsters, but cannot navigate the terrain. They lose their footing and fall. Erich attempts to cast a Chill Wind, but he loses his foces during the fall, and the spell comes up short. Peleous casts a Spiteful Glamour spell at D1 and the Dolgrim is visibly repulsed by Peleous’ gyrations. The Dolgaunt casts a Warped Flesh spell to Kerric and deals more damaged to the already beaten Kerric. The spell not only causes Kerric’s flesh to sizzle, but he is immobilized and slid into the jaws of the maw.

The future for Kerric looks grim. Kerric drops prone to make him less of a target from the Dolgrim’s bolts, and he is able to shake off the immobilization effect of the Warped Flesh spell. The Dolgrims load another bolt into their crossbows and fire. The party, wary from the dying elf’s warnings, take cover as the bolts sail over their heads. One of the Dolgrims (DG2) mis-fires his crossbow and ends up cutting his own ear. Meanwhile, Avanta heals Kerric and pulls him out of the maw. The gnome attempts a Vicious Mockery to DG1, but misses. Erich hits DG3 with his Chill Wind spell. DG1 suffers another of Peleous’ psychic “ vogue-ing, and begins to violently bleed from its nose. The Dolgaunt (DGN) turns its attention to the fallen Noname, but Noname’s armor is able to shake off the effect of the Warped Flesh spell. Noname gets up, and is able to leap over the maw on his charge, but slips and falls again.

Seeing DGR1 in pain, Kerric takes advantage and buries an arrow into the DG1’s thigh. The Dolgrims focus their fire upon the nearby Noname. Both DGR2 and DGR3 hit. DGR2’s bolt sinks deep into Noname’s chest. <crit> The pain dazes Noname. DGR2 laughs eerily and loads and fires another bolt. Fortune is with the fighter for DGR2’s arrogance forces him to mis-fire his crossbow. DGR2 loses proficiency with his crossbow <fumble>. Both Avanta and Erich cast spell and the arcane magic fails to foil the monsters. Erich takes another attempt <burns> but the second spell is no more effective than the first. Peleous Spiteful Glamour explodes DGR1’s brain as the monster eyes burn from the Tiefling’s pelvic thrusts. DGN casts another Warped Flesh against Noname. This time the spell hits and Noname is slid into the maw. Noname shifts into full defense mode as he falls into the jaws.

The melee continues to be an oddly beautiful ballet. Blades and arrows flash through the air, but few hit their intended targets. Of the remaining Dolgrims, only DGR2 is able to find a mark. Avanta squeals as an arrow catches him in the side. His voice draws the attention of the DGN, who casts a Warped Flesh towards Avanta. The spell hits Avanta, and the gnome flesh burns. Additionally, he is temporarily immobilized and is pushed into the maw. Of our party, only Erich is able to hit. DGR2 suffers under the deluge of the Grasping Tide.

Kerric unleashes a Twin Strike to DGR3, and only a single shaft is able to penetrate the beast’s hide. Kerric leaps to find more favorable ground and releases a second volley of arrows. This time, both arrows find their target, yet DGR3’s hide is so tough that the damage is minimal <two>. DGR3 returns the volley, except this time it focuses its attention to Avanta. Both of DGR3’s bolts pierce Avanta. The maw takes another bite and Avanta falls unconscious from his wounds. Erich summons another Grasping Tide and the wave hits DG3, bloodying it. Peleous performs another Spiteful Glamour spell. This time, it is DGR2 that is affected and it, too, bloodies. The DGN sets its sight upon Erich and casts its Warped Flesh towards him. The DGN’s assay is to powerful <crit> for Erich to avoid, and our Druid is the next to petrify and be pushed into a maw. Noname, who has yet to be an effective combatant, attempts a reaping strike upon DGR2. The cavern has shaken Noname’s focus as the mighty warrior not only misses his opponent, but becomes weakened from his missed efforts <fumble>.

Peleous and Kerric rush to the immediate aid of Avanta and Erich, who are trapped in Maws. Kerric extracts the unconscious gnome from its impending tomb. Peleous, however, doesn’t reach Erich in time, and the Maw’s razor sharp teeth bite into Erich wrist and bleeds him unconscious <crit>. (Thus the Maw bit the paw). DGR2 and DGR3 move to flank Noname. As DGR2 moves into position, it takes a cut from Noname. DGR2 returns the favor with a club to Noname’s head. DGR3 buries a bolt into Noname’s back. Hoping to finally put the warrior down, the DGN casts another warped flesh against Noname, but misses. Noname pulls back to full defense against the trio’s onslaught.

As Kerric is healing Avanta, DGR2 delivers a club to the pre-disposed elf. The elf is knocked over, but he was succeeded in patching up Avanta prior to taking the hit. DGR3 follows suit with its brother and sticks a bolt into Kerric as well. Avanta looks over and mutters a healing word to Erich, who regains consciousness. As Kerric is bowled over by DGR2, Avanta unleashes a stinging chastisement, “Only a lover-of-a-troll’s-buttocks would strike an elf when he is not looking.” The Vicious Mockery visibly rocked DGR2’s feelings <crit> as it lowered its guard to truly consider its mating preferences. “Wow, I must have struck a nerve. Well, can’t ask…can’t tell, if you are DEAD!” And, with that final Mockery <burns>, DGR2 falls dead.

Still feeling the effects of the earlier Warped Flesh spell, Erich cannot move. However, he is still able to cast a Frost Flash spell and hits DGR3. Peleous tries to follow up with a Spiteful Glamour, but misses DGR3. DGN sees the elf in excruciating pain and finishes him with a Warped Flesh. The elf falls over unconscious. Noname finally gets into the action and successfully Cleaves into DGR3. His blade then nicks DGN on the follow through. DGR3 exchanges blows with Noname and brings its club across his head. The blow dislodges Noname’s helm <crit>. DG3 attempts to shift to a more advantageous position, but Noname catches DG3 with a backswing, and severs it head. <opp>

With all the Dolgrims dead, the party turns its attention to the Dolgaunt. Avanta hits the Dolgaunt with the discordant vibrations of the Dissonant Strain spell. And, what sounds like the wailing of a beholder being dropped into a vat of lemon juice to the DGN, sounds like the din of beautiful women enticing her lover to bed to Erich, as the melody assists Erich from freeing himself from his paralytic state. Now freed, A Chill Wind is cast and the DGN’s skin turns excruciatingly icy. Peleous runs for a better vector, but cannot keep his footing. He falls. Despite the Warlock’s clumsiness, he successfully casts an Eldritch Blast from his prone position. The mixture of hellfire with the Druid’s former chill breaks chunks of hide from the DGN. The DGN utters a Maddening Whisper in retaliation to his tormentors and hits both Peleous and Noname. The psychic blast pushes Peleous back into a maw. Noname recovers quickly recovers his wits and delivers an eviscerating Reaping Strike upon the DGN <crit>, causing a severe abdominal laceration. The DGN is visibly seen holding its innards as it tries to continue to fight. It is stunned and severely weakened.

Erich runs toward the DGN for a killing blow…and falls. “I’ll stumble for ya,” mockingly sings Avanta, but he too misses the DGN. Peleous moves towards the DGN in preparation to release his Dark Spatial Aura. Meanwhile, Kerric is on the floor unconscious. Noname strikes again, and this time, his sword runs the DGN through. The Dolgaunt falls to the floor lifeless and bloody.

TOTALS:
XP: 875 (175/ea)
Treasure:
- Coercive Gauntlet of the Unblinking Eye (symbiotic glove)

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Darkness Falls Across the Land...
It's all fun and games until somebody pokes an 'Eye' out

We lay in witness to an evil rite. At the end of the room is a monstrous Eye. Around the eye, we see a foul creature (Demon) leading both orcs and humans in a daemonic rite.

“I’m your best pupil…get it?” whispers Avanta <snicker>. “Now is not the time,” Kerric mutters.

We maneuver into position and execute our surprise attack.

Kerric lets loose with a Twin strike and drops two humans (H7 and H5) with an incapacitating arrow through the kneecaps. Because we knew that they were “innocent” we aimed to merely render them unconscious or unable to fight.

The movement attracts the attention of the Golden Eye. It gazes upon Kerric and casts a bolt of energy. Kerric is blasted by the eye and gets dazed [critical hit for 9 damage + dazed.]

Noname charges the Orc Warden (OW1) and swings his greataxe into it. The axe takes a chunk off of the orc, but its armor absorbs the initial swipe. [Hit for 6 dam + and additional 6 from the horned helm attributes.]

Peleous unleashes his daily power and infects the demon (D1) with Contagion.

Erich casts his grasping tide against three of the humans. H3 and H4 are knocked unconscious, but H2 is quick enough to avoid the tide. Unfortunately, the tide herded H2 into Avanta’s kill zone. “You pose as a bad-ass cultist, but you’re afraid of water…how sad” H2, feeling really bad about himself, collapses upon his haunches and cries. His self esteem is shot.

Our surprise attack, however, is not enough to escape the gaze of the Eye. It evil orb intuits that Noname is the greatest threat and so zaps him. Noname takes minimal damage, but the dazzling energy spray dazes our fighter.

Our adversaries do not remain surprised for long. The demon casts a “Warped Flesh” spell to Noname and hits him. Fortunately for Noname, the magical enchantment of his armor dispels the impact of the spell so we are saved from the ghastly site of rotting flesh. However, the spell unfortunately immobilizes our warrior in addition to his already dazed state. The contagion spell cast by Peleous continues to wreak havoc. H1 and H6 succumb to debilitating sickness, and the Orc can be heard hacking up a lung. Capitalizing on the opportunity, Kerric looses a Twin Strike against the Orc. One of the arrows imbeds itself into the Orc’s side, yet the Orc still stands defiant. Noname attempts a brute strike against the Orc, but because of his condition, misses. Summoning his warrior’s focus, Noname finally shakes off his immobility and in no longer dazed. Peleous attempts to continue his warlock’s onslaught and casts the Shared Agony against the Dolgaunt. Unfortunately, Peleous botches his ministrations. He attempts the spell again, but the spell has fizzled. The Dolgaunt suffers collateral damage from the shear force of the spell, however. The Orc trades blows with Noname. It is too slow with its greataxe as Noname easily sidesteps the swings. The Orc unleashes an heretofore unseen attack as, what initially seemed to be a horribly disfigured growth upon the Orc’s shoulder, suddenly comes alive and lashes out at Noname. Thanks to his dexterity, Noname is able to avoid this entangling attack as well. The Orc attempts to shift to a more superior position. In doing so, Noname takes his opportunity attack, but misses the free swing. Erich successfully casts his wind prison against the Dolgaunt. He takes another attack and aims his frost flash against the Orc. However, the Orc is able to avoid the chill. Avanta garners his strength and invokes a Stirring Shout against the Dolgaunt. The Dolgaunt, despite taking his beating from Erich is able to shake off Avanta’s battle mew.

The Eye is drawn by the energy unleashed by Erich and unleashes its unholy gaze. Erich takes the entire blunt of the force. [Critical hit]. In addition to getting pulverized, Erich is subdued by the hypnotic gaze and is now dominated by the Eye’s will. The Dolgaunt casts a Maddening Whisper blast against the heroes. Erich, reeling from the Eye’s blast, takes additional punishment from the blast as he is unable to dodge. Erich is pushed back. Avanta, Peleous, Noname, and Kerric are all successful in sidestepping the Dolgaunt’s spell. The Dolgaunt attempts to move to gain better ground. However, the effects of the wind prison take effect, and the adjacent Orc is thrown to the ground. The Orc flips back to its feet and delivers a cut to Noname. Kerric deftly maneuvers around the battlefield and looses another two arrows into the Dolgaunt. One arrow buries itself into the creature. Swords and fists swing, yet Kerric evasively avoids all oncoming attacks. While in motion, he knocks another arrow and sights the Dolgaunt. The arrow is loosed and finds its mortal mark between the eyes. The Dolgaunt falls lifeless. Noname and Erich attack the Orc, but the creature is able to parry their blows. Not realizing that their ally is not the Eye’s minion, Erich casts a grasping tide against Peleous, Avanta, and Kerric. Only Peleous is swept by the tide. Seeing his companions in a world of hurt, Avanta casts his healing word to Peleous and magically we see his wounds knit themselves together. To the Eye, Avanta yells, “It’s all fun and games until someone looses…an eye!” We guffaw in disgust at both the awful jest as well as the Avanta’s ineffectiveness at goading the creature.

Having just felled the Dolgaunt, Kerric identifies himself as the new threat. The Eye sees this and launches a bolt at him. The deft elf ducks, weaves, and maneuvers around the bolts. The Orc continues his “dance” with Noname but keeps missing. Kerric remains a mobile killing machine and buries another arrow into the Orc. Kerric strategically moves into flanking position behind the Orc. Despite his flanking advantage, Noname continues to miss the Orc. Peleous finds his footing amidst the deluge of Erich’s tide, and casts the Shared Agony against the Orc. His spell finds its mark and the Orc falls dead to the ground screaming in absolute, excruciating pain. Erich regains his composure and girds himself for the next attack. Little Avanta, seizing the opportunity for the obvious quip, shouts, “Hey, did you know that Visine gets the ‘red’ out?”…and spits into the Eye.

The Eye attempts to zap Peleous and misses. Kerric unleashes another Twin Strike. One of the arrows buries itself deep into the Eye (critical hit). “Hey, watch it,” shouts Avanta, “you’ll poke an eye out with one of those things.” Noname successfully hits the Eye as well. (Apparently, he has better luck with enemies who cannot move.) Peleous realizes that brute strength alone cannot destroy the Eye, so he attempts to discern the true nature of the creature <arcana>. Avanta also performs an Arcana check and successfully discerns that since he is wearing the amulet, that he won’t be attacked. Knowing this, Kerric runs to the Orc and steals his amulet. Kerric then attacks the eye but misses.

The warriors race around and don each the amulets worn by the fallen creatures. They, in turn, attack the Eye and eventually crush its vile jelly. As it implodes, a trap door opens.

We comb each of the creatures for spoils. A slimy creature wrenches itself free of the Orc. Disgusted by its vile appearance, Kerric steps on it and kills it. Little did we realize that it was a symbiote, an entangler.

TOTALS: XP: 773 (154/ea) Treasure: - Amulets (1 for each) - Glass daggers - Platinum Bracelet with inlaid eyes: 110 GP (22/each) - We are all wearing amulets. - Gold: 60 GP (12/ea)

After composing ourselves, we gather up our gear, recover arrows, sharpen our swords and head into the trap door. We look down a narrow passage and notice that the walls are inlaid with glowing gemstones. The walls and floors feel “spongy”, almost organic. We are forced to march single file. Having learned from our mistakes, we proceed more cautiously and quietly. Avanta peered around the corner and signaled to us that there were two Goblin-looking creatures guarding a pool. Each goblin had two mouths and four arms. Avanta successfully identified them as Dolgrims.

We rushed into the room shouting and tried to intimidate them, but failed. The Dolgrims strike first and unleashed a volley of crossbow bolts at us. The first catches Peleous in the forearm as he attempts to protect his face.

Peleous casts his Shared Agony spell and shares his pain with the Dolgrim 2 (D2). Noname focus his attention to D2, who is reeling from Peleous psychic attack and thrusts his sword into it. His mighty swing cleaves into Dolgrim 1 (D1) for minimal damage. Two additional Dolgrims join the fray. D1 fires another bolt at Peleous and misses. D3 rushes Noname but swings wide with its club. D4 fires a bolt at Noname, but he easily avoids being shot. Kerric launches a twin strike at D2. Despite his successes against the Eye cultist, his luck has finally run out. This time, he missed his target. And, he missteps while knocking his second arrow, slips, falls prone, and is stunned <fumble>. Avanta mocks D2’s ungainly appearance and adds more psychic damage to the creature. Finally, Erich casts his grasping tide against the cadre of Dolgrims. D2 Dies from the combined assault . D1 fires its second crossbow against Erich, but misses. Both D3 and D4 fire their crossbows against Noname, but his shield deflects both of the bolts.

Peleous strikes a pose with his Spiteful Glamour spell and causes both D1 and D4 to endure the psychic pain of his dirty dancing. Noname swings his mighty axe at D1, but misses. He winds up for another cleave <burns> and hits D1 with this second attempt. He swings with such force that his axe cleaves into D4. D1 tries to club Noname, but the abominations two brains must have been at ends with themselves; and it ends up clubbing his teammate. D3 isn’t as clumsy and comes down upon Noname’s shield. The blunt force causes him to wince in pain. D4 follows the attack with a club to Noname’s exposed side. Avanta, having seen D1’s previous mishap, mockingly says to D3, “Two mouths, four arms, but all thumbs!” The Vicious Mockery spell really hurt D3’s feelings. The pressure from its anger caused an artery in its leg to burst. (CRIT and +1 bleed from thigh/round). In the same motion, Avanta utters a song of healing toward Noname to soothe our warrior’s tired and clubbed soul. Erich shifts into his badger form and claws D3. Kerric stands but is still stunned from his fall.

The Dolgrims close ranks upon us and successfully flank Noname. There is a flurry of arms as D3 and D4 land blows to both Avanta and Noname. D1 misses altogether. Peleous tries to distract the Dolgrims with another Spiteful Glamour spell, but their focus is not shaken. Noname scores a critical hit against D3. D1 feels the passing slash of his blow as well. D3 attempts a riposte, but cannot hit the fighter. It attempts to shift away to prevent further damage to itself, but Noname takes the opportunity to strike again. The fighter’s axe continues to hew off large chunks of Dolgrim flesh. And, unbeknownst to the creature, the effects of Erich’s previous tidal spell causes the Dolgrim to lose its footing and come crashing down. D4 and D1 each attack Noname and cut into the fighter. Kerric, now unstunned, looses another two arrows into the Dolgrims. Both arrows missed and one of the arrows sailed off into a direction opposite of the melee (another FUMBLE).

The Dolgrims press their attack. Avanta suffers a club to his leg. Kerric takes a crossbow bolt to his shoulder. Peleous invokes his questionable battle cry of, “Touch me, touch me,” as he passes by D3. D3, not to miss the obvious opportunity, bludgeons Peleous. The blow knocked Peleous back, but not before his Dark Spatial Aura zapped and fried D3 [DEAD]. Peleous attempts another Spiteful Glamour to D4, and misses. “You are lady Gaga,” quips Avanta. Noname moves into position and incurs an opportunity attack from D1, who catches Noname in the back of the head. Noname attempts a cleave against D4, but misses. D1 continues its assault to Noname’s flank and strikes him across his back. It attempts to shifts its position, but falls prey to the unstable ground caused by Erich’s previous Grasping Tide spell. Kerric positions himself for a Thundertusk Boar Strike. The first arrow misses, but the second imbeds itself into D4. D4 is pushed back. Avanta sees an opening an follows Kerric’s attack with a Warsong Strike, and causes further damage to D4. “Hey, do you guys go ‘clubbing’ much,” asks Avanta mockingly. Erich rips D4 apart after pouncing upon it in badger form. D4 lays eviscerated and dead upon the floor.

D1 whips around and clubs Kerric. Peleous runs around the Dolgrims, hoping to be touched by them. They are onto him and do not fall prey to his seductions. Peleous Spiteful Glamour spell to D1 has no affect either. Not to be outdone by his comrade, Noname performs his Dance of Steel, and runs D1 through with his blade. D1 is immobilized. Kerric weaves in and out of the battlefield and releases an arrow to D1. The arrow misses, but Kerric is not to be disheartened. In one swift motion, another arrow is knocked and loosed. This second one finds its mark through D1’s eye socket. The dolgrim falls over…DEAD.

TOTALS: XP: 700 (140/ea) Treasure: - Gold: 60 GP (12/ea) - Khyber Shards @ 100 GP (20/ea

We discern that the pool is known as the Blood of Khyber. We drink of the pool and are refreshed by its coolness. We fill our flasks with its waters. After nursing our wounds, we press on.

We approach a very dark cavern. The light is faint and continues to grow darker the further we go. We continue to creep forward, with Noname at point. All of a sudden, Noname and Kerric are attacked. Noname is swept away, but Kerric’s reflexes save him. “It a living darkness,” screamed Avanta.

The cavern is so dark that we can barely see 5 feet ahead of us. Kerric runs forward and plants his torch into the ground. Nothing is seen. However, we can hear Noname’s futile attempt at freeing himself. The darkness attacks and attempts to engulf Peleous and Avanta. Both dodge the attack. Peleous ripostes with a Shared Agony spell. Though successful, the Darkness appears to ward off the major affects of the spell. Its insubstantial nature renders our weapons nearly useless <1 />. Avanta attempts a Stirring Shout, but his voice is lost in the void. He tries a second time <burn>, but his second attempt also results in failure. Erich casts a Grasping Tide into the darkness thinking that nothing can escape the deluge. Indeed, very few things can, as the Darkness is pummeled by the force of the tide.

His elven eyes rendered useless by the absolute darkness ahead of him, Kerric drops his bow and draws his blades. He stabs into the Darkness and rips away part of its inky cloud. Noname struggles against his living prison, but again to no avail. The Darkness strikes! Avanta avoids the nefarious cloud, but Erich gets engulfed. Peleous summons his Infernal Wrath and recalls his Flickering Venom Spell. He spits his venom into the creature and misses. He attempts a Spiteful Glamour. The absolute darkness causes the spell to backfire <fumble>, and Peleous gets slammed from the failures recoil. Avanta thrusts with a Warsong Strike and hits the Darkness. From within the Darkness, Erich fails to free himself.

Kerric tries a Thundertusk Boar Strike. His first strike is clumsy and he almost loses his weapon <fumble>. The second strike misses. Kerric follows his attack with an Evasive Strike, which does hit the Darkness. Noname stops trying to free himself and fights from the inside, causing the Darkness some pain. The Darkness changes its tactic, becomes ethereal and moves through us. We feel as if parts of our soul are ripped away. Our flesh begins to sizzle. Again, Peleous summons his Infernal Wrath and flick venom into the Darkness. This time, his loogie finds its mark and we can feel that the Darkness is threatened. Avanta tries another Warsong Strike. Avanta slips on a rock and falls down <fumble>. Erich shifts into badger form and pounces within the Darkness. But, like any creature pouncing in nothingness, Erich misses.

Kerric lost track of the Darkness when it passed through him. He is using his elven skills to reacquire his quarry. Noname continues his feeble attempts. The Darkness slams Noname as if trying to subdue his meal. Noname is tumbled. Peleous, too, looks for the Darkness. Having not found it, he takes a moment to catch his breath <healing>. Avanta stands up. Erich, can be heard engaging the creature. We continue to hear him pounce, but we discern that the attack is for naught.

Kerric once again engages the Darkness. He drops his bow and swings his longsword. He only swings at air. Noname, not to be digested easily, stabs at the Darkness from within, causing it much indigestion. Peleous uses his daily Spell <contagion>. He misses, but the after effect of the spell still causes the Darkness to suffer. Avanta, never giving up, uses strikes again and hews another wispy tendril from the Darkness. Seeing his comrade suffering, Avanta casts a Majestic Word to Peleous. Erich attempts to freeze the Darkness from within with his Frost Flash…but misses.

Kerric continues to hew into the darkness, and hits the Darkness. Noname summons his fighter’s strength for a Brute Strike attack. The Darkness reels in pain from the not-too-easily-digested human. The Darkness sees Avanta and slams the gnome. The gnome is visibly shaken, but is able to compose himself quickly. Peleous tries another Spiteful Glamour, but misses again. Avanta lands another successful blow with his Warsong Strike. Erich exhausted from his bout from within the Darkness dies and is spit out.

Kerric elven ears no longer can hear his friend. Fearing him dead, Kerric moves toward his last known location. Kerric stumbles upon the lifeless form of his friend and administers the healing potion. Noname continues to fight from within and cleaves into the Darkness. The Darkness attempts to slam Avanta, but the clever gnome is able to feign his position. The Darkness is stunned after slamming into the cavern wall <fumble>. Peleous Spiteful Glamour spell is successfully casts and bores into whatever psyche the Darkness may have. Avanta’s retaliation after the Darkness’s fumble misses. Erich, having been brought forth from the brink, takes a swig from Kerric’s waterskin. The refreshing liquid from the Blood of Khyber pool renews Erich’s spirit.

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Quid Pro Quo
I may be small, but I am mighty!

Upon our exit from the mining site, we intrepid warriors held a council to determine our next course. Some argued that we should return to Fallcrest to reap the rewards of our vanquished foes from Lord Markelhay. Erich explained that though he would welcome the bounty, he still needed to return to Blackroot to investigate the strange occurrences there. He also reminded us that his adventuring with us was done on the premise that we would return the favor.

“So be it,” squeaked Avanta. We decided to aid Erich and headed north through the Winterbole Forest to the frontier town of Blackroot.

Upon our arrival, we notice that there was a strong sense of xenophobia. Most of the townsfolk walked around us. Few would look at us, and if we caught their glance, they would look down and quickly walk away. “These independent territories are all alike,” Peleous muttered. They don’t know what to make of ‘strangers.’ Surely we three need to ‘blend in’, eh Avanta…Kerric?

“We need to find my friend, Doria Veladar. She was the one who summoned me,” said Erich.

“Let’s get something to drink first,” commanded Noname.

We walked into the local tavern where we learned that the town is governed by Torash, of the Ruling House of Thrashk. After a few mugs of ale, we thanked the innkeeper and made our way out. Someone in the bar must have overheard our conversation because as soon as we had exited, Torash himself approached us. “I am Torash, the town Reave.”

Torash’s demeanor could best be described as “aggressive.” “The Veladar family moved to another town. You can use their house tonight, but you had best be on in the morning. We are a simple folk and we don’t want any trouble.”

“Thank you for your troubles. We shall be on in the morning as you ask,” said Erich. But, as soon as Torash was away, Erich turned to us and said, “He’s lying! Let’s go to Doria’s and check the place out. Something doesn’t seem quite right.”

We arrived at the house. Avanta senses a strong arcane presence. We cautiously enter, weapons not drawn, but at the ready. Once inside, we notice that there was a struggle at the house. We noticed some blood on the floor. What was unusual was that there was no forced entry. We inspect the area more carefully and found a necklace with the leather strap broken. Avanta recognizes that the necklace bore the holy symbol of “the dragon below.”

We continued our investigation, but found nothing else. Soon, our weariness soon took over. We decided to rest for the night. “We need to be wary. I got a bad vibe from the town,” said Kerric. “And this apparent scuffle doesn’t sit with me either,” said Erich. As always, we set up our watch. Fortunately for us, it was uneventful…and we were finally proffered a well earned respite.

We woke the next morning and decided to walk the town and see if we could glean any more information on what may have happened. There is a open air market in the town center which looked promising.

Kerric looks around, and doesn’t see much. Avanta and Erich search for the Reave, but are unable to find him.

Peleous and Noname were approached by an Orc. “If you know what’s good for you, you will go away.” Peleous quickly grabbed Noname’s hand, and explained to the Orc that they didn’t want any trouble…that they were just looking around. [The Orc was fortunate, for had not Peleous stayed Noname’s hand, the Orc would have lost his head.] Peleous intuited that the Orc seemed more shifty and…afraid, more than he seemed to be a threat. Knowing the inherent nature of Orcs, Peleous is able to question the Orc more in particular…Reaching for his satchel and drawing forth a small bag of gold, Peleous stated, “We are looking for someone…someone by the name of Veladar. Perhaps you may have some information for us?” Peleous seductively shakes the bag of gold…the jingling of the coins apparently capturing the Orc’s attention.

“I know nothing.”

“Are you sure?”

“Maybe. But give me the bag first, and I’ll tell you what little I do know.”

“Fair enough.” Peleous hands the bag over to the Orc. After looking inside to verify that there really was gold in the bag, the Orc said, “All I know is that there is something going on to the northwest of here. There is a ceremony that takes place. That’s where all the townsfolk go. That’s all I know.”

“THAT’S IT!” grumbled Noname. He began to draw his sword when Peleous again stopped him.

“As you can see, my associate doesn’t like being lied to or taken advantage of.”

“I swear, that’s all I know!”

“We believe you, but if you are lying, then you will have to answer to the both of us!”

“I am not afraid of either of you!”

“Oh…but you will be!”

“Hmmmph…” and with that, the Orc turned his back and walked away.

We found the rest of our band, relayed the story and headed to the northwest.

Skill challenge: 545 XP (125/ea)

Heading northwest, we came upon a cave guarded by two heavily armed orcs.

“Let’s skin them,” claimed Noname.

“No,” said Erich. “We don’t want to raise an alarm. Remember, we want to find Doria. If they get suspicious, they may harm her.”

“I hope she is worth it. I don’t like this sneaking around stuff,” said Noname.

Avanta has an idea and leads the group toward the guards. He donned the amulet that we found at Doria’s and claimed that we were part of the ‘ceremony’. Our intimidating ploy must have worked because the guards didn’t know what to think of this little gnomic bard having absolute control over our party. The fact that Avanta could command the obeisance of Noname had the guards thinking twice about question, much less crossing, the little guy. Therefore, they let us in without further trouble.

Skill challenge: 650 XP (135/ea)

We walk inside the cave and see bloodlines and glyphs eerily lining the walls. Erich touches the wall and tries to understand what it all means. He is visibly shaken and thrown back by psychic backlash. Avanta, however, succeeds in interpreting them and determines that the glyphs morph into the names of the people that are missing, presumably those that are taken against their will and are part of this ceremony to which the orc in town was alluding. “It the Hall of Living Words,” Avanta announces.

We round the corner and we come upon pulsing lines of crimson light. The light covers the floor and appears to “slither.” This column of light is a swirling, undulating mass that fills the area with a dim aura.

“Wait guys,” Avanta warns. “This doesn’t seem right.” Avanta examines the light and gets the feeling that it would let him pass. He successfully goes in, and the eerie light is extinguished.

Skill challenge: 500 XP (100/ea)

Pelous goes in and notices three defaced shrines. Reaching back into his memory, he realizes that these were the shrines for Arawai, Balinor, and Oladria. <successful>

Erich hears an low guttural chanting coming from deeper inside. Peleous heard it too and is able to decipher the chant. “He who watches behind each eye.”

We move on, following the source of the chants. They get louder the further we go in. We see dim lights as we round the corner.

Erich raises his hands in silence, signaling us to hold our position. He then shifts into a spider, and uses his Skittering Sneak ability to blend in without being noticed. [Aside: given the laws of the conservation of mass, which must hold true in any universe, I am often at a loss to explain how a 6 foot spider is anything but unnoticeable!] Erich reports that he has witnessed an evil rite!!!

TOTALS: XP: 1695 (339/ea) Treasure: Necklace with Holy Symbol (the Dragon Below)…worn by Avanta.

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Mad call I it for to define true madness, what ist but to be mad!
Hey guys...look at my crown!!!

After our battle with the Dwarven Ghosts and their skeletal minions, we exited the hall to inspect the area just outside. This barren area seems devoid of any natural formations. We sense an aura but the lot of us failed to identify the arcane “pull” of our surroundings. Avanta, still feeling elated from our last battle affixes the crown more snugly to his head.

We decide to descend the staircase into the submerged caverns.  Erich transforms into a fish and swims in first to reconnoiter the area.  Erich comes back and reports that there are rooms below to check out.  We all jump in to swim.  Thulland stays back to guard the gear.

We spend the next few seconds exploring the rooms below. We are not natural swimmers. For instance, on his first try, Kerric stubs his toe on falls in. In a panic, the elf gulps in water before composing himself. Even more comical is that Erich cannot seem to get back into the water despite 1) his fishy form, and 2) the fact that he just emerged from the depths. After a minute (8 rounds), whatever phobia momentarily affected him passed, and he was able to jump in again.

We all spread out to investigate the many submerged rooms. During the swim, Kerric again misses a stroke and impales himself against an underwater stalagmite. He cuts himself and is stunned for a few seconds (2 rounds). Avanta discovers a miner’s quarters and Noname opens the door to Thelad’s quarters. Inside Thelad’s quarters, Noname and Erich find a chest. Erich opens the chest and finds some coins.

Money / Treasure: SP: 2 CP: 17

Our oxygen begins to deplete and we all swim back to the caverns. Kerric misses another stroke and is dazed. Peleous and Noname begin to drown, and lose some of their vitality. Despite our apparent lack of aquatic skill, we all ended up safely back on shore.

We compare notes and decide that there was nothing of value in the rooms. We decide to make for the other side of the pool.

The water begins to shallow and we emerge into an underground cavern. The ground is covered with stalagmites. There are several pools along the way. We warily make our way further into the caverns, noticing a slight downward descent.

We follow the caverns around a bend and come to what looks like the end of the cavern. The ground is very difficult to tread (difficult terrain). Against one side of the cavern is what looks like a pit with no discernable bottom. Against the other side was a yellow pool. We recognize that the pool to be the same as the one we saw in the picture in the Dwarven Hall, which depicted two dwarves taking a red stone from the pool.

As Avanta neared the pool, we hear two blood curdling screams from behind us. We turn and find 2 wraiths materialize and 3 dark creepers which apparently crawled from out of the pit.

The Mad Wraith screams and causes 10 damage to Kerric, Erich, Peleous, and Noname. Avanta was lucky to be out the reach of the Wraith’s scream. Dark Creeper #1 (DC1) attacks Peleous. In doing so, it incurs an opportunity attack from Erich, but Erich misses. DC1 hits Peleous for 11 damage. DC2 moves in to attack Noname. Noname takes an opportunity attack against DC2 but fumbles. Noname loses his focus and is weakened. DC3 strikes and hits Avanta for 11 damage. Avanta fades into the darkness. Erich begins the counter attack and casts a chill wind against DC2 and DC3. DC2 takes a hit from the chill wind and gets pushed back into the pit. We hear it screech as it falls to its death. Noname attacks a Brute Strike against the Wraith and connects with his blow. However, due to their ethereal nature, the wraith only takes half damage. The wraith hits Noname for 9 damage and weakens him further. Peleous runs to a more advantageous ground, and DC1 misses his opportunity attack against him. Peleous casts his Shared Agony spell and critically blasts the Mad Wraith for 28 damage. Much to our dismay, the inflicted agony is only half. However, the MW is dazed for one round. Kerric looses his Twin strike and both arrows find their mark against the MW. With the half damage, only 8 damage is incurred. Kerric takes another action and looses an additional two arrows. Both miss. Avanta, now invisible, runs away.

And so the battle continues. The valiant warriors are facing their fiercest battle yet. The range of the Mad Wraith’s scream affects our party to its core. We feel life force draining with every second. We try to move away, but the difficult terrain makes it difficult to get distance on the wraith. Our ranged warriors are held in place and cannot employ their most effective attacks. Noname performs his role to attract our foes and absorb their attacks. However, the effect of being weakened coupled with the wraith wispy natures diminishes his attacks by 75%. Meanwhile, the madness and panic seem to grip the other members of our band. Peleous misses with his flickering venom. He attacks again and misses a second time. Both arrows from Kerric’s twin strike sail wide. Luckily, Avanta has moved out of the Wraith’s mad circle. The little gnome utters healing words to keep Noname healthy for battle. Then, Avanta summons forth his small but mighty courage. His Stirring Shout shakes the foundations of the cavern and the echoes of it bores deep into the Mad Wraith. The damage is slight, but the Mad Wraith is visibly altered. It glows with an eerie aura, and every hit we score seems to add vitality to our souls. Avanta, basking in the glory of his strike, viciously mocks the wraith. Despite its undead visage, the rage exemplified by the wraith seems to steal away some of its form.

Spells are cast, arrows are loosed, venom is spat, and swords are swung. The damage we are doing is slight. However, the creepers, wraith and mad wraith seem to have no problem hitting us. The Mad Wraith scores a critical hit against Noname. Again, Noname is weakened, and now is bleeding out. DC3 goes to the pool and picks up the jeweled crown that Avanta discarded. Avanta casts his last word of healing to Noname to keep him in battle. DC1 attempts to move to more advantageous ground. As it tries to move, Erich scores a critical hit against DC1. The creeper is dazed by the attack. Noname is bloodied beyond belief. He takes a second wind and takes a defensive stance against his foe. Unfortunately, it is not enough because the wraith’s next attack knocks Noname unconscious. Peleous snorts up some massive tiefling mucos and hucks a venomous loogie at the Mad Wraith. This time the venom does its work and dissipates the Mad Wraith. With the mad wraith gone, and its zone of madness lifted, Kerric is able to maneuver to Noname and stabilizes him. With the Mad Wraith down, DC1 tries to move away. Its shifty movement allow it to weave between Kerric’s and Peleous opportunity attacks. But, once again the littlest of us, Avanta, leaps upon the creeper and takes a slice from its side. The creeper screams and is visibly bloodied. DC3 sees Kerric tending to his fallen comrade. Kerric doesn’t see the vile blade that is driven into his back. Kerric falls and is dying.

Both sides continue to exchange blows. Erich casts another Chill Wind and attempts to blow DC1 over into the pit as was done to its vile brethren. The raging wind blows through the creeper, but DC1 was able to hang on. Avanta moves to Kerric and tries to stabilize him. The gnome’s little hands are insufficient to stop the bleeding. The call of our desperation is heard as the remaining wraith and the creepers flee into the pit. The cause is unknown, but some divine providence must have been at work. Erich successfully resuscitates Kerric, and the elf awakes.

As the party mends their wounds, Erich investigates the pool of water and notices that there is a hole at the bottom of it. He comes to realize that we probably needed to take the jewel out of the crown and place it back into the hole. It’s too bad that the dark creeper made off with the crown. Meanwhile, Noname looks into the pit. The pit seems to go on forever, and Noname sees nothing. Erich notices red veins begin to emanate from the oculus and Avanta notices that the ground begins to shake. The quakes intensify. The party exchanges looks and all come to the same conclusion…RUN AWAY!!!

As the party makes their way out, Erich notices a pit where a pool of water used to be. He sees a warrior’s accouterments at the bottom. “Hey, that’s mine,” announces Noname. Erich jumps into the pit to assist Noname recover his once-lost armor. Meanwhile, Peleous, Kerric, and Avanta (not to be distracted by shiny objects rush past. The violent shaking of the room has begun to shake the stalactites loose as they begin to crash down around our heroes. We all release that we have seconds before the caverns collapse around us.

Erich and Noname realize the dire nature of their situation and begin to climb out of the pit. During the first few seconds, Erich and Noname are about halfway out of the pit when the stalactites crash into the pit and pummel Noname [he can’t hit a monster but easily crits against himself <rolls>].

The other heroes are making their way to the exit. The underground lake has vanished as the tremors must have opened a crack in the earth. The ground is solid, but the remaining puddles and mud do little to speed the band of heroes’ exuent. Little Avanta, spry though he is, is bludgeoned by falling debris. Noname gets out of the pit before Erich [“Duuuude…a little help?”] But, his selfishness is rewarded as he get clobbered by another rock [rolls another “1” on the DC check].

The caverns begin to shake much more violently. Everyone’s footing is shaky, and the volume of rocks and stalactites that are coming down has doubled! Peleous, Avanta and Kerric, having had some good sense not to worry about the shiny objects were the first to clear the caverns. However, a huge boulder clips Avanta as the little one exits the caves.

Erich gets clipped by a rock. And, as he stumbles to the side, another rock finds its mark against the druid’s skull. Noname and Erich skillfully dodge the falling debris as they make their way back to safety. Peleous, Kerric, and Avanta continue to cheer their comrades on with the intensity such as that seen at the “The Fool’s Olympiad” [<special>]. The last two make it out, collapsing upon the earth as the roof of the cavern collapses.

The group takes a moment to dust off and gather our breath. Kerric and Noname spy a crack that had newly opened…most likely from the violent tremors of the quake. They peer in and find a treasure chest with the following: - 1 small vial (grants healing surge) - 2 sapphires worth 50 GP - 1 magical helmet. This was part of Noname’s missing armament, so we gave it back to him.

TOTALS: XP: 425 (85) / GP: 10 / CP: 7

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wwefs
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In the heat of battle, Kerric fires 4 arrows into DG2. Although three find their mark, the ethereal nature of the ghosts, compounded by the low light, of our battleground wrecks havoc with Kerric’s aim, and he is only able to nick the ghost . Erich casts his Grasping Tide spell and kills SK11. DG1 avoids this diluvian attack by levitating above the deluge. DG2 sizzles when Peleous’ venom lands upon its ghostly flesh. Peleous continues his onslaught against the ghosts and performs his spiteful, “Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?” gyration for DG1. Fortunately for DG1, he was preoccupied with Noname. Those of us who weren’t so fortunate took psychic damage from the hope-to-never-see-again-in-this-lifetime performance. And to make matters infinitely worse, an additional four skeletons appear. Our resident “meat shield,” Noname, musters the strength for another Brute Strike against DG2, but again misses. The ghosts move into position against Noname. As the ghosts try to slip past, Noname takes wild swings at the wraiths. Confused by the swirling mists around him, Noname mis-handles his blade and takes a chunk of his thigh while trying to stab DG2. He fares better against DG1 as the ghost feels the sting of Noname’s sword. Once in position, the ghosts unleash their ghoulish attack upon Noname, causing him severe pain. Meanwhile, Thulland shatters another skeleton warrior (SK16). Avanta sings Noname another healing lullaby, and the warrior rises up in renewed spirit. Shouting profanities too vile for our virgin ears to comprehend, Avanta Stirs the rest of us into action with his well timed spell against DG1. The evil lurking in the room had obviously shaken the Elven Archer, for he still cannot hit with his arrow volleys. Erich, however, is making up for the archer’s misses and is able to fell SK10 and SK14 with his Chill Wind spell. Peleous unleashes a blast of Eldritch Energy and blasts DG2 for some damage. Noname and Erich deftly dodge the skeleton’s counterattack, but Kerric takes a critical hit from SK13. The elf is stunned. Noname attempts to cleave into DG1. The ghosts ethereal state is proving to be a great challenge for the fighter as he misses again. However, the ghosts aren’t as unskilled, as they continue to pummel Noname with their attacks. Thulland, de-bones another skeleton (SK13). Avanta tries taunting another skeleton to death. His cunningly crafted words are lost. Donning his new crown, Avanta attempts to mind control the skeletons. Other than feeling “really good” about himself, there is no noticeable effect as the skeleton warriors press their attack.

The stunning effects of the SK18’s hit robbed Kerric of his focus. He maneuvers away to regain his battle face. Erich Pounces against SK17 and crushes him underfoot. Peleous drops his guard and brazenly walks up to SK15, and dares him to take a swing. SK15, being a brainless, undead monster, sees only “meat” and takes a swipe at Pel. Pel’s Dark Spatial Aura fries SK15 to a crisp. Turning his attention to DG2, Peleous tries to cast an Eldritch Blast, but misses. Changing his tactic, Noname uses a Sure Strike attack against DG1. The strike surely hits, but only results in a mere scratch. Both DG1 and DG2 continue to use Noname as their tackling dummy as the land hits against the brawny fighter. Thulland, having skillfully dispatched the skeletons around him, rushes to DG2 and strikes at him. This time, however, Thulland misses. Avanta, Triumphantly Shouts at DG1, hits the ghost, and pushes him into a flanked position. The Shout missed DG2.

Kerric regains his composure and burns his Daily Power and attempts to Split the Tree. One arrow finds its target and dissolves the last skeleton SK18. The other arrow sails wide of DG2, misses him, and gets stuck in the wall. Kerric attempts another shot, calling forth his Elven Accuracy. Unfortunately, Kerric’s vision was still blurred due to the beating the elf took at the hands of SK18, and he missed DG2 again. Erich Pounced upon DG1…and missed. Peleous hit DG2 with his Reaper’s Touch. Noname tries smash the ghosts with another Brute Strike attempt and misses again. The ghosts guffaw at the ineffectiveness of the meat shield, and pound him again for moderate damage. Thulland swings at DG2, and misses. “Hey ghost! I inhaled your mother…she feels reeeeeealllll good inside me!” mocks Avanta. DG2 raises a brow at Avanta’s comment and seems somewhat pained by the offense.

Kerric, having been, and still remaining very ineffective during this whole battle, is finally able to hit DG2 for a whopping 5 HP! (Wow…I guess we need to bake a cake…). Erich leaps in the air to Pounce upon the ghosts. He misses DG1 again. Peleous runs past DG2 and irritates the ghost with his bug zapper shock. Noname, changing tactics, calls forth a Sure Strike attack and hits DG1. The ghosts retaliate and skewer Noname. Thulland, less effective against the ghosts than he was with the skeletons, misses DG2. “I have farted more effective gas than you ghosts,” mocks Avanta. DG2 howls at the insult and dissipates in pain as Avanta’s comment sends the ghost to his eternal rest.

Kerric tries an Evasive Strike maneuver and misses DG1. Erich, crouches, and Pounces onto DG1, causing minimal damage. Peleous, showing us the effect of not hugging your children when they are young, rushes past DG1. The ghost reaches forth and touches the fine young warlock, and gets his fingers shocked. The ghost attempts to retaliate, but the tease scurries away unharmed. Noname finally connects with his Brute Strike. Unfortunately, the damage is very light. DG1 moves toward Avanta to exact revenge for his ghostly brother-in-arms. As he moves past Noname, he is hit by the fighter’s sword. The ghost whips around to counter Noname’s attack, but misses. Thulland connects with the ghosts skull doing him even further damage. Avanta utters a very loud and grating, “Nyah, Nyah” towards DG1. The mockery proves too much as the ghost’s eyes blaze with fury. The intensity of its anger causes ghostly blood vessels to hemorrhage.

It took the entirety of the battle, but Kerric finally finds his Elven mojo and buries two arrows into DG1. Erich coils to strike, and this time crushes DG1 under his Pounce attack. As the ghost begins to dissipate into the night, it utters its last words, “Return the stone to the resting place. Save our souls….”

Ear Total: Skeletons: 18 Ghosts: 2

Experience: 800 XP (160 XP / each) Money / Treasure: Satchel: 18 GP Journel / Ink / Quill: Contains the last entries of the dwarves Amulet: Protective Qualities Crown: (Worn by Avanta)

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Auglath's Last Stand (Part 2)
Weh all da white dragons at?

We went down the spiral staircase and descended further into the mines. We found ourselves in a cavernous area with stalactites and stalagmites. Erich looks into a pool of water that glows with phosphorescent glow. He notices a bucket beside the pool…proof that other had been here before us. We search along a “suspicious” wall, and find a faux wall. We successfully opened the secret door, and discovered the two men the Lord Markelhay had sent ahead on reconnaissance. The first was Thulland, a dwarf. He had been working for Cavalar. The second was a human fighter called Noname. Noname decides to join our band.

Further investigation of the caverns reveals a submerged staircase. It appeared as if it leads to lower rooms, but had since been flooded by forces yet unknown. We happen upon a large stone door adorned with dwarven runes. It didn’t appear as if there was any way to open the door. Thulland translates the runes, and the door magically opened.

The door opened to a large corridor. Along both sides of the corridor’s walls were murals of the history of the Thalland clan. At the end of the corridor was another set of large wooden doors. We opened this second set of very large, very stout doors and a great hall is revealed before us. This hall was once used for merriment and the telling of heroic tales. Mead flowed like water and dwarves spun tales of their exploits. But now, it reeked of death. A great battle was fought here, and the skeletal remains of dwarves littered the floor. The hairs upon our necks were raised as we took in the eeriness of the environ.

We fanned out and approached the head of the room from three vectors…left, right and center. As we neared, a brief hint of wind coursed into the room and caused the overhead chandelier to swing. We continued to creep forward, and as we neared, two dwarven ghosts appeared.

Both ghosts were clad in armor and were horrific remains of the proud warriors they once were. They slightly hovered above ground in ethereal spookiness. One of the two (DG1) floated forward began to speak. He accused us of being robbers and stealing a “crown.” Luckily, we were able to somewhat convince it of our worthy intentions. DG1 offered us to leave, and threatened us with imminent and almost certain death should we choose to stay. We began to back away, not so much in retreat, but to gain a better vantage point for an upcoming battle (should we choose). However, our new comrade, Noname, having just joined our merry band, and having not been debriefed on our hereto forth battle “tactics’” rushed DG 1 with intent to slice and dice. The conditions of his internment had obviously caused his fragile psyche to snap. DG1 gave out a blood curdling scream at the affront from the human. In an instant, a huge gust of unearthly wind blew across the room and slammed the doors shut. With no way out, and with the dwarven ghosts very put out, we had no option but to fight…(Thanks a lot, Noname!)

The scream awakened six skeletons.

Kerric begins the attack by shooting two arrows. The eeriness of our confines unnerved the elf, causing him not only to miss with one arrow, but to mis-nock another. Luckily for the team, however, there was nobody teetering on the edge of a mesa to be shot off. The wayward arrow sails wide. Erich burns his Frost Flash encounter power and quickly dispatches SK1 and SK2. Peleous unleashes his wild-side, performs a “flash dance” and dazzles SK6 to death. Riding the adulation of the cheering masses (in his head), Peleous attempts to take his Spiteful Glamour to the next level and perform a table dance. However, he misses his attempt to jump onto a dwarven table. Let’s repeat that again…a D-W-A-R-V-E-N table (you know, as in only 2 foot high <dc5>). The only consolation for the vertically-leap challenged Warlock is that his patented bug-zapper took out SK5 as the skeleton tried to capitalize on an opportunity attack as Pel rushed by him. In their attack during the melee, SK3 missed Noname, but SK4 clobbered Thulland. To further add misery to our already dire state, an additional four skeletons appear and join the fray. Noname hefts his mighty blade but cleaves at nothing but air in his attempt to shatter SK3 and SK4. Not to be outdone in the halls of his kin, Thulland brandishes his weapon and dispatches SK10 with dwarven alacrity. Avanta, cries out to his oppressor, “Your women like men with chests…you are nothing but bones!!!” Ashamed of his looks, SK7 dissolves.

Kerric continues to let loose with the arrow swarm and this time is able to kill SK8. Erich casts his Chill Wind spell against our enemy. The winds harmlessly pass through SK3 but do hit the Dwarven Ghosts (DG) with the ferocity of a fart in a tornado. The spell does shift the ghosts temporarily apart. Hoping to take advantage of this situation, Erich takes another action and attempts to imprison DG2 with his Wind Prison spell. Not only does Erich miss, but Erich realizes the folly of trying to trap something ethereal in the wind. At least the gales affected DG2 for half damage. Peleous tries a Reaper’s Touch against SK10. SK10 parries Pel’s attack and ripostes to inflict a wound on him. SK9 moves to gain superior ground upon us. Noname senses the skeleton’s movements, whirls around, and explodes the skeleton with his sword. With his focus briefly on SK9, SK3 gashes Noname. And, to add to the seemingly hopelessness of our situation, an additional four more skeletons appear. Noname roars with rage shatters SK3 to bits. Noname, enraged, takes another action and Brutally Strikes DG1, but misses. DG2 moves to position, and both he and DG1 inflict serious wounds to Noname. However, the Wind Prison took its secondary effect and knocks our enemies prone as DG2 moved to position. Thulland took advantage of the opportunity and crushed the skull of SK4 beneath his boot. Avanta, seeing his new friend suffering at the hands of the ghosts, quietly sings a healing lullaby towards Noname, assuaging his damaged spirit and healing his ravaged body. Sensing some magic in the crown on the throne, Avanta rushes towards the front of the room. He merrily leaps and sashays to the throne, dispatching SK12 along the way.

In the heat of battle, Kerric fires 4 arrows into DG2. Although three find their mark, the ethereal nature of the ghosts, compounded by the low light, of our battleground wrecks havoc with Kerric’s aim, and he is only able to nick the ghost . Erich casts his Grasping Tide spell and kills SK11. DG1 avoids this diluvian attack by levitating above the deluge. DG2 sizzles when Peleous’ venom lands upon its ghostly flesh. Peleous continues his onslaught against the ghosts and performs his spiteful, “Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me?” gyration for DG1. Fortunately for DG1, he was preoccupied with Noname. Those of us who weren’t so fortunate took psychic damage from the hope-to-never-see-again-in-this-lifetime performance. And to make matters infinitely worse, an additional four skeletons appear. Our resident “meat shield,” Noname, musters the strength for another Brute Strike against DG2, but again misses. The ghosts move into position against Noname. As the ghosts try to slip past, Noname takes wild swings at the wraiths. Confused by the swirling mists around him, Noname mis-handles his blade and takes a chunk of his thigh while trying to stab DG2. He fares better against DG1 as the ghost feels the sting of Noname’s sword. Once in position, the ghosts unleash their ghoulish attack upon Noname, causing him severe pain. Meanwhile, Thulland shatters another skeleton warrior (SK16). Avanta sings Noname another healing lullaby, and the warrior rises up in renewed spirit. Shouting profanities too vile for our virgin ears to comprehend, Avanta Stirs the rest of us into action with his well timed spell against DG1. The evil lurking in the room had obviously shaken the Elven Archer, for he still cannot hit with his arrow volleys. Erich, however, is making up for the archer’s misses and is able to fell SK10 and SK14 with his Chill Wind spell. Peleous unleashes a blast of Eldritch Energy and blasts DG2 for some damage. Noname and Erich deftly dodge the skeleton’s counterattack, but Kerric takes a critical hit from SK13. The elf is stunned. Noname attempts to cleave into DG1. The ghosts ethereal state is proving to be a great challenge for the fighter as he misses again. However, the ghosts aren’t as unskilled, as they continue to pummel Noname with their attacks. Thulland, de-bones another skeleton (SK13). Avanta tries taunting another skeleton to death. His cunningly crafted words are lost. Donning his new crown, Avanta attempts to mind control the skeletons. Other than feeling “really good” about himself, there is no noticeable effect as the skeleton warriors press their attack.

The stunning effects of the SK18’s hit robbed Kerric of his focus. He maneuvers away to regain his battle face. Erich Pounces against SK17 and crushes him underfoot. Peleous drops his guard and brazenly walks up to SK15, and dares him to take a swing. SK15, being a brainless, undead monster, sees only “meat” and takes a swipe at Pel. Pel’s Dark Spatial Aura fries SK15 to a crisp. Turning his attention to DG2, Peleous tries to cast an Eldritch Blast, but misses. Changing his tactic, Noname uses a Sure Strike attack against DG1. The strike surely hits, but only results in a mere scratch. Both DG1 and DG2 continue to use Noname as their tackling dummy as the land hits against the brawny fighter. Thulland, having skillfully dispatched the skeletons around him, rushes to DG2 and strikes at him. This time, however, Thulland misses. Avanta, Triumphantly Shouts at DG1, hits the ghost, and pushes him into a flanked position. The Shout missed DG2.

Kerric regains his composure and burns his Daily Power and attempts to Split the Tree. One arrow finds its target and dissolves the last skeleton SK18. The other arrow sails wide of DG2, misses him, and gets stuck in the wall. Kerric attempts another shot, calling forth his Elven Accuracy. Unfortunately, Kerric’s vision was still blurred due to the beating the elf took at the hands of SK18, and he missed DG2 again. Erich Pounced upon DG1…and missed. Peleous hit DG2 with his Reaper’s Touch. Noname tries smash the ghosts with another Brute Strike attempt and misses again. The ghosts guffaw at the ineffectiveness of the meat shield, and pound him again for moderate damage. Thulland swings at DG2, and misses. “Hey ghost! I inhaled your mother…she feels reeeeeealllll good inside me!” mocks Avanta. DG2 raises a brow at Avanta’s comment and seems somewhat pained by the offense.

Kerric, having been, and still remaining very ineffective during this whole battle, is finally able to hit DG2 for a whopping 5 HP! (Wow…I guess we need to bake a cake…). Erich leaps in the air to Pounce upon the ghosts. He misses DG1 again. Peleous runs past DG2 and irritates the ghost with his bug zapper shock. Noname, changing tactics, calls forth a Sure Strike attack and hits DG1. The ghosts retaliate and skewer Noname. Thulland, less effective against the ghosts than he was with the skeletons, misses DG2. “I have farted more effective gas than you ghosts,” mocks Avanta. DG2 howls at the insult and dissipates in pain as Avanta’s comment sends the ghost to his eternal rest.

Kerric tries an Evasive Strike maneuver and misses DG1. Erich, crouches, and Pounces onto DG1, causing minimal damage. Peleous, showing us the effect of not hugging your children when they are young, rushes past DG1. The ghost reaches forth and touches the fine young warlock, and gets his fingers shocked. The ghost attempts to retaliate, but the tease scurries away unharmed. Noname finally connects with his Brute Strike. Unfortunately, the damage is very light. DG1 moves toward Avanta to exact revenge for his ghostly brother-in-arms. As he moves past Noname, he is hit by the fighter’s sword. The ghost whips around to counter Noname’s attack, but misses. Thulland connects with the ghosts skull doing him even further damage. Avanta utters a very loud and grating, “Nyah, Nyah” towards DG1. The mockery proves too much as the ghost’s eyes blaze with fury. The intensity of its anger causes ghostly blood vessels to hemorrhage.

It took the entirety of the battle, but Kerric finally finds his Elven mojo and buries two arrows into DG1. Erich coils to strike, and this time crushes DG1 under his Pounce attack. As the ghost begins to dissipate into the night, it utters its last words, “Return the stone to the resting place. Save our souls….”

Ear Total: Skeletons: 18 Ghosts: 2

Experience: 800 XP (160 XP / each) Money / Treasure: Satchel: 18 GP Journel / Ink / Quill: Contains the last entries of the dwarves Amulet: Protective Qualities Crown: (Worn by Avanta)

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Auglath's Last Stand
Weh all da white dragons at?

We barely take a moment to rest before we press on. The Kobold Skirmisher that earlier escaped death at our hands in the corridor has surely alerted his murder that intruders are upon them. As we round the corridor, we notice a large double door at the far end. Avanta listens at the door and hears murmurs from the other side. Death waits… Our plan is simple…Avanta will open one of the doors while hiding behind the other door. Upon its opening, Peleous, Erich, and Kerric are going to unleash their ranged spells (Eldritch Blast, Grasping Tide, and Twin Strike.) Auglath is positioned by the door and is readying his Strength of Stone smash against the first thing he sees. One of these days, we would love to see our battle plans executed with military precision. But, true to form, our entry could best be likened to that of a carriage of fools, rather than a war party. To begin, Avanta failed his stealth approach, opening the door before checking the hinges for rust. The resulting creak would have woken the dead with its nails-on-chalkboard effect. As the door opens, three armed and battle-ready Kobolds eyed us angrily. Okay…so we need to work on our stealth. Regardless, the pieces are in play… Auglath bursts through the door and instantly kills a Kobold minion with his greataxe. Avanta dazzles his draconic foe with his bladed “swing” dancing and runs another minion through. We continue to make our way into the dwarven chamber and are met by more Kobolds and a young white dragon sitting upon a throne. Peleous begins the attack by blasting a Kobold with Eldritch energy. The Kobold smokes but doesn’t fall. To our surprise, we realize that we have come to battle with a new class of Kobolds…Slyblades! The surprise doesn’t faze us too long, as Erich follows Peleous’s attack with a Grasping Tide. The wave hits three of the murderous beasties, killing another minion. Kerric focuses fire on the Slyblade previously affected by Peleous attack, hitting the creature. The creature still stands, and yes, he is bloodied! The sure footed Kobolds avoid the after effects of Erich’s spell and move in to attack. The result is that we meet the Kobolds head on. Our positioning is reminiscent of a Revolutionary War face off with the Kobolds forming a line on one side and our party forming an opposing line across from them. The concentration to quick-step over the watery floor must have inadvertently affected the Kobolds’ concentration, because, despite their sure-footedness, each of the 5 Kobolds who engaged us MISSED!!! During the exchange of blades, we were able to identify yet another new class of Kobolds…minion cleavers. Avanta, maneuvers to upstage our audience. His deft maneuvering was for naught as Avanta missed with his Vicious Mockery, but incurred an opportunity attack from Kobold #5 (K5), who took a slice out of him. The answer to the [Dark]Age-old question of, “hey, weh all da white dragons at?” came in the form Syxfia, who flew in behind her army. The ice-cold, overgrown lizard wasted no time and, with absolutely no regard for her minions, B-slapped the entire lot of us with her breath. Peleous, Kerric, Avanta, and K6 all took an icy back hand to the skull, while K2, K3, and K4 literally froze their tails off and perished. Avanta tried to hold on, but there wasn’t enough meat on our gnomic compatriot to keep save him from Hypothermic death. In a tribute to our previous fallen comrade, we hear Avanta’s final death dirge of “F-F-F-f-f-f-frost k-k-k-k-kills litt-t-t-t-le people…..AAAAAAaaaaarrrghhh” Peleous and Kerric barely hold on, and are weakend from the blast. Auglath, who fortunately was able to avoid the arctic blast, rushes to challenge Syxfia. He weaves his way around an opportunity attack from K1, and thunderously rams into the young dragoness, inflicting some damage to her. More importantly, however, she is surprised and overwhelmed at the vicious attack and retreats back 20 feet away from the party. The dragoness had obviously identified herself as the obvious threat, and the party knew that another blast like the last one would certainly spell our doom. We all knew that we had to focus our attention upon her, to the exclusion of all other immediate threats. Peleous starts the assault, and flicks venom upon her. We are amazed at how dexterous the dragoness is, for she is able to dodge the death spittle. Peleous recasts the Flickering Venom spell again, and she evades once again. The Slyblade (K1) engaged against Peleous, however, doesn’t miss his opportunity to strike against Pel, and hits him. Erich and Kerric realize that they need to gather up Avanta’s seemingly lifeless body and fall back to a more defensive position. Kerric shifts to the side thus opening a kill zone for Erich’s Grasping Tide. The extraction is flawless, as the deluge crashes upon K1, K7, and the Skirmisher with enough force to flatten them. Only K1 gets up. Meanwhile, Kerric applies his elven skills to bring Avanta from the brink. “Stay away from the spotlight, little one. You’ll get to play your death scene someday…but not today!” Avanta eyes flicker, and the gnome begins to come around. Avanta sits up, and noticing the bloody auras around his friends, casts a Majestic Word to Peleous, the most damaged of us all. Alas, had Avanta waited for just a few moments more, he would have seen events transpire which may have altered his decision because the dragon, having been stunned by Auglath’s vicious attack, ferociously lunges at Auglath. She gouges Aug with both of her claws, and takes a chomp at his side. Aug reels back in absolute pain. Syxfia does not waste a moment’s opportunity and swipes and bites again. The attack is horrifying as one of Syxfia’s claws nearly takes Aug head off. The giant warden falls…a heap of flesh at the dragon’s feet. The Slyblade attempts an attack against Erich, but slices at air. Seeing the opportunity present itself, Erich morphs into his bear form and Pounces upon the Slyblade, crushing the life out of him. Having been rejuvenated by Avanta’s Majestic Word, Peleous casts a Flickering Venom spell at Syxfia and is successful. The dragon’s hide begins to sizzle. Another two of Kerric’s arrows find their mark against Syxfia. However, in his weakened state, the arrows can barely stick and do about half the damage that was originally intended. Kerric closes his eyes, goes into half-second long trance, and wards off the weakening effects of the dragon’s previous ice attack. Avanta casts his majestic word upon Auglath in an effort to revive our fallen brother. Unfortunately, Syxfia’s superior draconic senses notices Aug’s warm life glow, and ravages Aug again. Both of her claws rip into Aug and her bite takes another chunk out of his other side. The valiant Warden falls dead at Syxfia’s feet…again. Peleous runs by Syxfia and shouts his new, albeit somewhat inappropriate, battle cry…”Touch Me! Touch Me!” (Twas a adage he learned from his mentor’s son, Mai Koljak.) He incurs an opportunity attack from her, and is fortunate that she misses. She, however, is snapped by the shock of Peleous’s Dark Spatial Aura charge. Peleous attempts a riposte with an Eldritch Blast, but he misses. Erich unleashes his Frost Flash encounter spell and hits the dragon. The damage is slight, but, more importantly, she is immobilized. Kerric lets another two arrows fly, but they both miss. Fearing for his life, Kerric rushes to hide behind the open door. Avanta unleashes his Stirring Shout daily power, but he too misses. Curious to see what Kerric is doing behind the door, Avanta decides to “investigate.” The dragon, being immobilized, and not having any foes within range, ravages Aug’s lifeless body. Her claws rip into Aug’s body and her bite rends him in half. It is obvious to us that there is no way to save Aug from final death. A barely audible, and impish sounding “sucks to be him” can be heard from behind the door. Syxfia angrily peers around and notices the carnage around her, and realizes her fatal mistake in killing off her minions in her attempt to blast the lot of us. Peleous begins our coordinated attack with an Eldritch Blast, but misses. Erich also misses with his Pounce attack. Kerric pokes his head from around the door and lands two arrows into the dragon. He takes another attack and lands another arrow. Avanta, seeing his chance against the very bloody dragon, invokes his War Song Strike, stabs Syxfia, and cheers as the dragoness falls dead. “Look guys, I killed me a dragon. “ Avanta then begins some heretoforth unseen ritual as he thrust and pumps his wee hips into Syxfia’s lifeless face. “Can you feel it, HUH? That’s right, take it all, bee-yatch!“ Our battle weary looks are matched only by our amazement, as the three of us remaining look at each other. Kerric smilingly says, “Aug gives his life in battle, and Av is credited with the death. Who knew that being reamed by a toothpick would spell instant death to an Ice Dragon?” “Duuuuudes, it looks like an ant trying to violate and Oliphant.” Erich exclaims. Ear Total: Minions (Cleavers): 8 Slyblades: 2 Skirmisher

Dragon’s head (Syxfia)

Experience: 800 XP (200 XP / each) Money / Treasure: - Dwarven Bear Rug: +1 to defenses when standing on it (+2 when dwarves use it) - 200 SP - 100 GP - Staff of Warmage (with real gemstone): +1 to attack/damage, extra 1d8 on crit, Increase blast/burst by 1 (Daily)

The battle at the mining site entrance, the battle with the Wyrm priest in the hallway, and this last battle with Syxfia had taken its toll upon us, and we decided to take a much needed rest. We first gathered what was left of Aug, and prepared him for burial for when we returned from further exploration of the mine. We patched our wounds, barricaded the entrances, established a watch order, and settled in for the night. Several hours later, we awoke to a beastly roar and the sound of claws skittering across the stone floor. We sprung ready for action. “What happened?” we asked Erich. “A Kobold infiltrated our area. I saw him as he tried to sneak by, but when he noticed me, he made a break for the other door. And got away.” “He got away? You mean, you saw him as he was HALFWAY into our room, and charged. The other door was barricaded, but still he was able to force the lock, open the door and let himself out???” “I sort of slipped <fumbled>” Erich responded. “Forget this,” grumbled Peleous. “I’ll start my watch early since, OBVIOUSLY, Erich isn’t much of a sentinel.” The party tried to go back to sleep. Luckily, slumber would come quite naturally to all, as everyone was quite exhausted from the day’s previous encounters. During Peleous’ watch, he notices the door to the yet unexplored room crack slightly open. Drawing his sword and preparing a spell under his breath, Peleous readies himself to do battle. Peleous catches a glimpse of an additional three Kobolds. But, they see him too, and quickly re-close the door. The resulting “THUD” once again awakens the stalwart crew. “What now?” Kerric asks. “We’ve a few guests just on the other side of the door. It would seem as they are more interested in avoiding a conflict with us, however. Still, we are in no real condition for another fray,” Peleous reported. We discovered that the door behind which the Kobolds barricaded themselves opens out. Peleous and Kerric moved the throne in front of the door, and tied a rope from the door to the chair. This was to serve as a makeshift “alarm” should the Kobolds attempt another retreat. The remainder of the night was uneventful for Peleous. “Have you had quiet guard,” Kerric inquired. “Not a Kobold stirring,” said Peleous. We, ourselves, are barely able to stand; and, the Kobolds seem to be unaware of our condition. Best to leave them be, for now. The battle will come soon enough. Rest, friend Peleous. I will take the watch,” Kerric responded. Nothing else happened on Kerric’s watch, but while on patrol, he notices that the rope to the chair has been cut. “Sneaky little nuggets, aren’t they,” he thinks to himself. Avanta is next on the watch. Kerric briefs him of the evening’s trials before taking his respite. Fueled by his victory over the dragoness, the gnome posts himself by the door, vowing that nothing shall escape the sentinel and true avouch of his gnomic eyes. Indeed, an attempt was made to disarm the “alarm,” and Avanta crashes down upon the draconic arms and breaks the errant weapon. The din of the episode was too much. “I will be surprised if we live to see another day,” exclaimed Erich. “How you dudes survive your battles with such little rest is beyond me.” “We might as well arm ourselves,” said Peleous. “It is now daybreak, and I have little faith that the Kobolds will allow us to rest much more.” “Yes,” agreed Kerric. “Okay, here’s the plan…Avanta will stay to one side of the double door. Upon our signal, he will open the other side of the door. Kerric, Erich and I will prepare our range weapons, and…” “Wait,” exclaimed Avanta. “This sounds exactly like our previous plan.” “Yes. Except this time, it’s going to work,” said Peleous.

AND SO THE PLAN WORKED!!!!...(sort of). Avanta opened the door to the Kobold sleeping quarters. Apparently, with the death of their mistress, the remaining Kobolds were frightened, for they knew that they were no match for whatever could kill Syxfia and their draconic brethren. Escape was their only way to live. But, having barred them from that option, the remaining Kobolds lay in wait for their deaths at our swords. They would not go without a fight, however. When Avanta opened the door, he was instantly met by three Kobold cleaver minions. Two of the cleavers scored minor hits against Avanta. Two Kobold slingers beat us at our own game and the first slinger was able to hit Kerric with a glue pot, while a second glue pot, slung by the a second slinger, hit Erich. A Slyblade attacks but misses Peleous. Peleous tries to counter the Slyblade’s attack as the Slyblade maneuvers around him, but Peleous misses the scurrilous creature. Erich recovers from the surprise and summons a chill wind. Two of the three cleavers adjacent to Avanta fall dead upon the icy blast, but Avanta also takes damage from the blast. Peleous, our touchy-feely comrade, attempts a Reapers Touch on the slyblade and misses. Kerric unleashes two arrows upon the slyblade. Both find their mark and do excruciating damage. Kerric remains immobile. He is still unable to loose his footing from the effects of the glue. Avanta gloriously hums the show tune from “Leave it to Beaver” as his warsong strike lands upon the final Kobold at the door. The death dirge of the remaining cleaver is now one with the “Beaver.” Avanta casts a Majestic Word upon himself, and infused with new life, charges the nearest slinger. The Slinger (S1), aware of the little one’s impending melee, hurls a glue pot at Avanta and hits him. Avanta is stuck in mid stride. S2 likewise hurls a glue pot at Erich and scores a critical hit upon Erich, immobilizing him as well. Erich, not to be outdone by the scaly creatures, casts a Frost Flash against S2, and hits and immobilizes him. The Slyblade and Peleous continue their “homon”-erotic dance and the slyblade scratches Pel. In the ensuing struggle, the slyblade was able to patch his bleeding wound suffered earlier from Kerric’s arrow. Pel responds to the slyblade’s attack by flicking his tongue at him and spitting venom. The love loogi misses. Kerric sends an additional two arrows against the Slyblade. Both hit and one of the arrows finds the slyblade’s eye socket. The Slyblade falls dead at Erich’s feet. Erich gives Kerric a “thumbs up, dude.” Smilingly, Kerric frees himself from the glue. Avanta mockingly says to S1, “hey, is that a sling, or did your mother lose one of her bras?” S1 pays no attention to Avanta and loads another missile. S2 hurls a pot towards Kerric, but the pot sails wide of the elf. S1, unfazed by Avanta’s taunting, hits Peleous with a pot. Peleous, now unencumbered by his previous melee with the now dead Slyblade, flicks venom at S2. Not only does he miss, but attempting to expectorate at such close quarters incurred an attack from the slinger. S2 hits, and we are surprised as Eldritch energy leaps from Peleous to the slinger. “Gotcha!” snickers Peleous as his Dark Spatial Aura zaps S2. Kerric, too, is in close quarters and is forced to attack with his blades. Though not as proficient as with his bow, the elf still manages to hit and cause S2 some pain. Avanta, merrily sings of impending victory as his Warsong Strike strikes S1. Two additional Kobold minions pour out from the sides of the room, and attempt to surround us. The first minion scores a hit against Kerric. The second hits Erich. Meanwhile, S2 winds up and pegs Kerric with a bullet to the head. S1 attempts to do the same, but Kerric is lucky to avoid a second pelting. Erich responds with a chill wind against K1 and S2. The minion dies instantly, and S2 is shifted into a flanked position. Peleous finally perfects his “touch” and kills S2. Kerric exchanges a volley with S1, and kills the last slinger with two mortally placed arrows. Avanta ends the melee with Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” as he runs the last minion through. After wiping our swords clean of Kobold blood (and after Kerric retrieved the arrows that he could), we search the rooms. Bursting through the east door, we entered into a library. We didn’t find any magical tomes, but we did happen upon two barrels of ale. It wasn’t terribly satisfying, but it did quench our thirst. Kerric discovers and picks the lock to a west door. It revealed a staircase descending further into the mines. We finally meander into the Kobolds’ sleeping quarters. We deduced that this was where the Wyrm Priest’s slept. We found and successfully opened the medium chest in his room.

Ear Total: Minions (Cleavers): 3 Slyblades: 1 Slingers: 2 Minions: 2

Experience: 536 XP (144 XP / each) Money / Treasure: Two Barrels of Ale: 35 GP Gold Pieces: 5 (1 GP each) Silver Pieces: 15 (6 SP each) Copper Pieces: 20 (7 CP each) Vial

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Continuing the adventures of Kobold extermination...
Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude....

After celebrating our victory against Szarthax, and raising our glasses to our fallen comrade, Roscoe, the night before, we all awoke the next day with what felt like hot steel behind our eyes, and the heaviness of head akin to having been bludgeoned by the foulness of a mountain giant’s left bollock. Twould serve us right after having imbibed that awful ale that tasted like (what we could only imagine as) hot goat urine. Had one of us had the precognition to chip off pieces of Roscoe to chill our tankards ‘ere we drank, we could have added yet another praise to the long list of our fallen brother’s heroic sacrifices…Roscoe Rocks! (or perhaps Roscoe-on-the-rocks). At least we may have enjoyed our carousing with a cold one in hand, and been spared the indignity of this morn. Yet, our natures won over our indiscretions, and we eventually sought to continue our mission to exterminate Kobolds, and unravel the riddles which beckon at our backs.

When we met with Lord Markelhay, he was overcome with joy at the sound of our dominion over the dragon. Yet, his joy was tinged with sadness as he reported bands of Kobolds still continuing to pirate the travelers to his city. There was rumor that there was some excavation happening at the old dwarven mines. He had sent two men to reconnoiter the area ahead, but they had not returned. Lord Markelhay commissioned us with the task to discover what became of his two men, and to exterminate any Kobolds we may encounter along the way.

When set off on foot to the east towards Thuderspike. We saw nary a traveler along the way. Approximately 15 miles into our journey, at the crossroad heading north, both Avanta and Peleous notice a humanoid creature carelessly attempting to hide himself from our battle hardened eyes. When beckoned to reveal himself lest we show him the business end of our swords, an earthy man with a sandy blond, dreadlocked coif steps out from behind his cover. His appearance evokes laughter from the gnome, which is quite sad, especially coming from the gnome.

The stranger introduces himself as Erich, the Druid. Upon further prodding, we learn that Erich is very prone to “visions,” and that the latest he has seen involved “cults.” His visions of late have been less pronounced as he has since run out of his vision implement, Bis. “Do any of you know where I can purchase a Can of Bis?” We questioned him more in particular regarding the “cults,” but he could not recall much. Erich did mention seeing “something” along the road from which he just came. As it was getting late in the day, we decided to set camp for the night, and wait for morning before heading north to backtrack over Erich’s path to see if we could pick up a missed clue.

The night was uneventful.

Morning came and we headed north. We picked up some tracks a few miles down the path which looked like Kobold. They headed east into the woods. We followed the tracks into the forest. If ever there was a cue for ominous music…

We did not encounter anything as we made our way through the woods. Our going was slow through the dense underbrush. Night soon fell upon us. We strayed from the path to set up a camp in relative hiding. Being in the forest at night made us nervous…the cover made it both difficult to see us, but also made it easier for any transgressors to sneak up on us. So, Avanta set and armed a trap to alert us of anyone lurking about. Avanta heard what sounded like “scurrying” noises during his watch. “Hey guys,” he excitedly squealed, “I think I hear something!” (Thus breaking the silence, and alerting anything with ears within range…you dolt!) Several humanoid creatures traveling westward along the path stopped to assess the present danger they sensed. They stopped and recognized the trap set in the path. They began to back away. We slowly attempted to gain position on them. We were able to verify four Kobolds. Three of them were able to recognize our camp, cried out, and ran back the way they came. We quickly gathered our gear and gave chase.

We tracked them to their lair. To our left was a high stone wall. We heard noises emanating from the other side of the wall. Auglath, behemoth that he is, peers over the wall and sees Kobolds scurrying about an excavation site. Naturally, when they see his giant head floating on the rocks peering at them, they begin to scream (more out of shock than of alarm.) The battle commences…

Our party vies for position. Kerric makes a run for the eastern wall in an attempt to create a crossfire. Avanta gains the first initiative and viciously mocks a Slinger (S1), saying that his “pink sling looks good with his lipstick.” Peleous takes his first attack and attempts to cast his powerful Contagion spell, but gets tongue-tied! Pel reels from his botched utterance and is dazed. The slingers rally and hit Avanta with both a stinkpot and a gluepot. Not only is our bard immobilized but his now fouler stench is hindering his ability to fight. Erich tries to climb the southern wall in an attempt to join the fray, but his spindly arms can barely haul his weight [fumbles]. “Duuuude, too tall” we hear him complaining over the clashing of swords. (it’s only five feet!!!)

Kerric hops onto the eastern wall and looses two arrows that hit their mark. Two of the Kobolds lay dead with arrows through their eye sockets. Avanta’s Stirring Shout worms its way into the mind of one of the nearby slingers (S2). Peleous flicks venom at the slinger initially mocked by Avanta and kills it. Aug attempts a Thunder Ram Assault and misses. Unfortunately, he took some hits as he was positioning himself against his target. One of the remaining slingers successfully hurls a stinkpot at Kerric, causing his heightened elvish senses to run amok. Erich begins to snap out of his perpetual haze, and forces another attempt at climbing the otherwise-cigarette-paper-thin high wall…and SUCCEEDS! He immediately casts his Grasping Tide spell and kills the three Kobold minions that are engaging Auglath. Unfortunately, Erich also hurt Aug with his spell. Slinger (S2) cannot save against the stabbing in his mind from Avanta’s shout and takes ongoing damage.

Kerric lets fly with two more arrows. The stench of the glue pot makes Kerric’s eyes burn and he misses one of the minions. The second is not as lucky, and it falls dead. Aug summons his Strength of Stone and attempts to smash his foe…and misses. Seeing his gigantic friend all bloodied, Avanta sings a song of healing and pushes Aug off the wall and into the battle zone (need some fighting room!). Avanta then turns to viciously mock one of the slingers, but fails as his voice chokes on the stink fumes. Peleous fires an eldritch blast at one of the slingers and causes heaping amounts of damage. The slinger begins to sizzle and explodes from the eldritch energy within him. The minions press their attack against Auglath and continue to pummel the giant. A slinger hurls and immobilizes Kerric with a gluepot. Erich summons his Chill Wind and gives a minion a lethal dose of hypothermia. The stench around Kerric intensifies. He misaligns the first arrow, and, when loosed, ends up piercing his own ears. He bleeds profusely, but at least doesn’t hit and ally – alas, poor Roscoe! By this time, Kerric is getting quite frustrated. He knocks a second arrow, gets all asian-focused-like and despite the handicaps incurred by both the stink [-2 to hit] and his now pierced ear [the left one is pierced because a piercing on the right would imply that he is a member of the “fairy” class <wink-wink-nudge-nudge>”] ….kills the last of the slingers. Auglath, too, tired of being poked at by the minions, slaughters the remaining vile creature with his Strength of Stone attack.

Ear Total: Minions: 8 Slingers: 3 Elf: 1

Experience: 500 XP (100 XP / each) Money / Treasure: 0

After cursory investigation of the excavation site, we found a rope leading into the earth. We each climbed down the rope and assumed defensive positions while waiting for the others. Peering into the darkness, Kerric sees shadows dancing from the very dimly lit walls. We spread out and readied ourselves for anything. Unfortunately as we rounded the corner, a murder of Kobolds, led by a wyrm priest, surprised us. The battle ensues in a corridor flanked on both sides by beautiful tapestry, and a statue in the middle.

Both the priest and a slinger hit Kerric, instantly bloodying him. Avanta viciously mocks the priest, but is surprised to see that the priest has his hands over his ears and is countering with “Nyah, Nyah” taunts. Kerric turns his bow against the priest. He shoots five arrows at the priest, only two of which find their mark. [1. Twin Strike 2. Action Point 3. Elven Reroll]. Three Kobold Dragon Shields surround and strike at Auglath. Aug was able to weave around two of their attacks, but the third was able to critically hurt Auglath. Erich surprises us by shifting to his bear form and Pounces on one of the Dragon Shields (DS2), doing some damage. Peleous focuses on DS 2 and hurts it with an Eldritch Blast. Auglath, seeing the pattern, attempts a Thunder Ram against DS 2, but misses. He takes another action and smashes DS2 with a Strength of Stone attack. A Kobold Skirmisher reveals himself from the shadows and makes his presence known by hurling a spear that hits Erich for minimal damage.

The fray heats up and the Wyrm Priest casts an energy orb at Aug that just misses him and splashes into an array of fiery colors…by his head. We notice that the priest also seemed to cast a spell which seemed to bolster the Dragon Shields. Target that he is, Aug endures more damage from a bullet hurled by the slinger. Avanta gives a Shout of Triumph against the Dragon Shields and only hits DS 1. Kerric lets fly another two arrows which both find their mark against DS2. DS 2 and DS3 gash Erich with their swords and begin their retreat. DS1 follows suit and also hits Erich as he retreats. Seeing their retreat, Erich casts a Grasping Tide at the murder of Dragon Shields and is able to overwhelm DS2 in the deluge. The Dragon Shield is unable resist the tide and is killed by the waves. Erich re-casts his Grasping Tide again in order to sweep away the evading Dragon Shields, and is able to douse both DS 1 and the skirmisher. Peleous spat a venomous loogi at the priest, and misses. [But, the viscous nature of said loogi allows it to stick to the wall by the priest’s head]. Frustrated, Pel invokes his Sacrifice to Caiphon and regains his spell. Like the Druid, Aug fairs no better with his Strength of Stone attack, for he too misses. Continuing the trend, the skirmisher tries to attack, but fumbles. He is weakened. His failure to hit demoralizes him, and he attempts to flee. Forgetting about Erich’s spell, whose aura still affects the ground upon which he stands, the skirmisher nearly falls. Fortunately, the spell fails and the skirmisher is able to keep his footing.

Avanta becomes the next target of the Wyrm Priest as he takes some damage. In a reprise of his false bravado of old, Avanta charges the Priest, but misses horribly as the priest merely sidesteps Avanta’s rush. As a consolation, Avanta casts some healing onto Erich. Kerric finally gets his head into the fray and scores a critical hit upon DS3, causing the dragon shield to really focus when it attacks [-2 due to Crushing Blow]. Erich re-casts the Grasping Tide and overwhelms DS1, DS 3, and the slinger. The torrents are too much for the slinger as they drown the life out of him. As the party fights their way through the corridor, the Wyrm priest springs his trap and drops the tapestry upon them. However, the priest’s clumsy attempt is sensed by the party and they easily avoid getting smothered by the wall-carpet. One of the Dragon Shields (DS3) isn’t as fortunate and gets enveloped by the tapestry. Auglath, not missing a golden opportunity, attacks the Kobold dragon shield entangled by the tapestry with his Strength of Stone attack. What the party did not realize is, like pieces on a chessboard, they had been manipulated into a precarious position. Upon command, the Kobold skirmisher pushes the statue in the middle of the room in an attempt to crush or pin us underneath its weight. The Skirmisher miscalculates the necessary strength to fell the statue, and misses the opportunity to cripple the party.

The Wyrm Priest and Avanta trade blows – the priest using his spear and Avanta singing merrily and striking with uncanny choreographic precision.

“When you’re a Bard you’re a Bard all the way <slash> from your first War Song Strike to your last dying day! <pow>. When you’re a bard better do what you can, <kick> you’ve got heroes around, you’re a manly-man’s man! < STABBITY -STAB>”

Kerric’s arrows sail wide of the priest as Avanta’s display affects not only the priest’s ability to do battle but also wreaks havoc with Elven focus. DS1 attempts to pick up where the skirmisher failed and tries to topple the statue, but DS1 is also unable to move the statue off its moorings. The Wyrm priest springs his last trick and drops the tapestry on the opposite wall. The party, now alert to the trickster natures of the Kobolds, once again avoids this sad display of cunning. However, the Kobolds, lacking battlefield synchronicity, get foiled by their own designs. This time, it is DS 3 that becomes enveloped by the tapestry. Erich, seeing Fortune cast a favorable eye towards the party, casts a Chill Wind spell. It becomes quite apparent that our new friend has been too reliant upon his “medication,” because he fumbled the spell. The effect is that Erich’s tongue is stuck to a proverbial metal pole, and he is unable to cast, much less utter a sound, until the effects wear off [one round]. Auglath summons his Strength of Stone attack, demolishes DS3, and utterly leaves the now dead dragon shield as nothing more than a stain upon the stone floor. Peleous deftly moves around the room, and as he does so, is unaware of an opportunity attack from DS1. The Dragon Shield misses, and Peleous attempts to counter with an Eldritch Blast, but he too, misses. Finally, the Skirmisher, seeing the battle turning against him and his murder, moves away from Auglath. Aug tries to stab at the retreating Kobold, but misses the shifty lizard. The skirmisher sees Avanta engaged in a dance with the Wyrm priest and stabs Avanta from behind.

The Wyrm priest is bloodied and casts a final Energy Orb against Peleous…but misses. The Orb splashes against the wall…in a brilliant array of lights and color…right beside Peleous’s head. Kerric’s arrows find their mark and kill DS1. Erich charges the skirmisher and Pounces upon it. The skirmisher is taking a beating but still stands fast. Peleous taunts the skirmisher and lures it into taking a slice at him. But as the Skirmisher connects with Peleous, its mind is blasted as a result of Pelous’s Darkspiral Aura, AKA “bug zapper.” [Note to Party: Be more discriminate when inviting soldiers to join our band. “Touch me…Touch me” is a poor choice of a battle cry] While the DS 1 remains momentarily shocked, Peleous turns his attention to the Wyrm Priest and blasts him with Eldritch energy. The wyrm priest makes his best (and last) impression of an egg in “ye olde microwave” and explodes. Aug unloads yet another Strength of Stone attack upon the skirmisher. The skirmisher, brave though he thought he was, collapses in death.

Ear Total: Dragon Shield: 3 Slingers: 1 Wyrm Priest: 1 Skirmisher: 1

Experience: 625 XP (125 XP / each) Money / Treasure: 0

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Battle against Szarthrax
Alas, poor Roscoe...

Took a short rest in boulder room. Used key found on Wyrm Priest to open secret door. Went down into caverns. Faced Ice Dragon – Szarthrax. Very Bad. We weren’t taken by surprise and we rolled good initiative. Kerric hit with 1 javelin for 6d. Thrug unleased daily for 40+d. Roscoe unleashed for an additional 30+d. Dragon unleashed ice breath followed by Fearful presence. F’ed us up! From that point on, we couldn’t hit! Peleous hit with daily acid type weapon delivering 1d every round until save. Worked for 3 rounds. Avantra unleashed Healing song which allowed us to heal 4HP whenever we hit. That kept us alive for awhile. Roscoe DIED. We eventually killed the Dragon.

Received a chest and GP plus 750 XP. We couldn’t open chest so we went back to town. Fixed armor and bought supplies. Opened chest. Read scroll. There is a “Big” leader who spoke of a ritual to bring Tiamat. Killing Szarthax prevented mating with lesser dragon. We decided to go take out female dragon.

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The Story Thus far...
Comedy of FUMBLES

Auglath, Avanta, and Thrug joined campaign. Krash and Milton “went to go check on prisoner” but deserted. Aug, Ava, and Thrug had a minor skirmish against two Kobolds who led them to statue. Discovered letter to Oglath regarding mating of Green Dragon.

1st Encounter – Playground. Kobolds would swing stone to bowl over skulls. 6 Kobolds and 2 Drakes. Thrug kept getting bowled backward and taking mass damage (almost died) Treasure: (1) Ruby worth 50 gp, and (2) Garnets worth 25 each.

2nd Adventure: Indiana Jones Adventure. Roscoe boosted by Auglath to high ledge. Discovers (2) Slingers. Rock trap is loosed. Kerric ran around and uncovered (2) Dragon shields, Flying Drake, Goblin, and Wyrm Priest. Kerric almost died and spent most of game with less than 5 hp. Found high point and loosed arrows. Lots of fumbles, including mulitple fumbles per person and creatures. Avanta and Roscoe very lucky as Drake, Slingers, and Dragonshields fail to connect. Wyrm Priest fumbled and broke magical staff (Possible treasure item). Peleous had hard time hitting. Thrug died, and was left for dead on stairs. Avanta, was able to come around to stablilize Thrug after 3 rounds. Avanta finally understood healing aspect of character and revived Thrug after an additional 2 rounds passed. Kerric ran out of arrows. On second to last arrow, fumbled and hit Roscoe. Roscoe died, and fell off ledge. Luckily, Roscoe was revived by bard. Hard fought but we won in the end. Treasure: Small key that unlocks secret door, broken staff.

Total GP: 102 / Total XP: 269

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