1. Game 1 - 01/12/2013
  2. Game 2 - 01/28/2013
  3. Game 3 - 02/09/2013 
  4. Game 4 - 02/23/2013
  5. Game 5 - 03/09/2013
  6. Game 6 - 03/23/2013
  7. Game 7 - 04/06/2013
  8. Game 8 - 05/18/2013
  9. Game 9 - 06/02/2013
  10. Game 9 - Epilogue


Game 1 (01/13/2013)

PC (player)......................Mentor (player)

Juris (Scott).....................Etrin (Alan)

Aishe (Alan).....................Roseblood (Darren)

Jurm (Darren)..................Ashen (Joe)

Ranshao (Joe).................Khouzam (Jim)

Roatan (Jim)....................Murk (Mark)

Elden (Mark)....................Philuis (Robert)

Sam Spade (Robert)........Valin (Jim)

Randolph Carter (Mark)...Valin (Jim)

Edward (Paul)..................Vernal (NPC/Jeff)


No recap could do some games justice; it would need a tape recorder, if not a video camera.  Alas, I need something for the record, so here it is.



Summoned to Krestible, the players arrive in drips and drops.  We are interviewed often individually, a few times in pairs by a servant of Lord Ordin.  For some reason we are passed on to the next step.  Sent to an inn for the night, we meet each other and drink.


Sam Spade is a gnome with an appetite for alcohol.  In a perpetually inebriated state, he is the life of the party.  However the focus is often pulled by Elden, a human diplomat who spends all his time trying to meet the group and understand everything about our motivations.  Unlike the way our first group at Brightstone Keep were, we all seem to be fairly open, but for one.  The other instigator (of fun) here is Aishe, a female human bard, who tries to dance with anyone willing.


But the stick in the mud is Professor Randolph Carter, who insists on reading while people frolic.  Jurm is a reserved fellow, but by no means a closed book, as a thief who wants to steal the impossible.  Roatan is an everyman, able to fill most roles, and an amiable fellow.  Edward is friendly enough but restrained by his puritanical leanings as a wannabe Paladin of Hieronious.  Ranshao, a girl of asian appearance, has burns over half her face but doesn't recoil or anger at staring or inquiry.


Next day we begin travel 3 days to Marakest, the smaller city closer to Brighstone.  We are entertained on the trip by various bardly pursuits.  Seems Elden is all about building a bond, which is nice (and unprecedented in our D&D groups).  The only bump in the road comes when we’re in a bar in Marakest.  A drunk, fascinated with little Ranshao’s ethnicity proceeds to come over and be a drunken fool.  The team defuses things nicely, however, to prevent a stabbing, Jurm pickpocketed the man’s only weapon (a knife).  Edward was offended that the object was taken, even if to prevent him from potentially stabbing our Wu Jen.  No one else seemed to have a problem.  The Wu Jen appreciated it.  Nothing came to blows and we continued to the Keep.


Randolph Carter relays to us what he knows about the local “Keepers” and tales he told, including that of a giant floaty head (The beholder, “Beauty”, who wears a hat of disguise to look like a floating head).  That night, Ashen crashes the first meal of the newbies and answers a few questions, and even calls the group to meet the floating head that evening when everyone is sleeping.


Next day we get into the serious interviewing.  It turns out that our previous (2) interviews were noted and those notes were passed on.  Some of us failed twice (and yet made it to the castle).  People are brought in one-by-one to interview with the group of Keepers.  I may/may not have the order correct here.  I’m just trying to give some sense of what they gathered:


Below is the  character and the mentor with a brief reason why we decided on the pairing (Keep in mind some mentors just wanted some people so there's more to it).


Now Michele wasn’t there for the interview nor to let us know what her character IS, so we couldn’t have placed her properly anyway.  But I imagine her character will either wind up with: Lief (Joe’s necromancer), Crowfoot (An NPC warrior), Roseblood (who could double-up), or Murk (who could double-up), though I’m open to using Gilda since 10 years at the keep would definitely update her personality.  I actually spent points on literacy so she’s trying to learn things—that was one of the reasons she was sent there.


Next for us was to decide between us who the leader would be.  Three candidates came to the top:


When asked for selections we start with Elden and Aishe wanting themselves as leaders.  Jurm proposes a split leadership—Elden for social situations and then when a fight breaks out, the natural battle strategy combatant, Edward, would take over.  There’s some support for this, though there’s that question of when it’s decided the switch should take place.  Aishe is mildly insulted that no one has chosen her, but Ranshao comes to her side, as no one had really thought of her at that point.


Ultimately I believe we wound up with Elden.


We are given a mission.  There are orcs in the pass who have abducted or killed a party of soldiers.  We are to get them back and deal with the orc threat.  It takes us a while to get things ironed out as to where the orcs are, involving some following tracks and avoiding a section of snow that is “rose” colored and seems to make people on it nauseous.  When we find the orcs, a diplomatic attempt results in the orcs threatening to attack and thus we backtrack.  We set up for an ambush in case they come after us but they don’t.


So we come back and try to make social contact, which Elden does, but while he improves their disposition the orcs will settle for nothing less than weapons and armor in exchange for the captives.  They are alive (proof of life is given).  We end up pulling the guards from the nearby outpost and using them as archery support as we engage the orcs.


Aishe puts herself out front which is a problem in that three of them get to her with time to attack, so she goes down from a hit.  Edward winds up taking on the leader (and anyone else within cleave reach).  Archers and the rest of us take on the little guys, and Ranshao, who won initiative, was able to interrupt their caster.  Several casters in our party use the “Daze” spell to keep their leader from attacking for one round at a time, which is a nice strategy against a guy who can kill with a single swing.  Jurm did ok (I got 4 kills in 7 attacks, mostly mopping up after others).


We wound up with freed captives.  Everyone on our side lived.  We got lots of smelly orc armor (which we destroyed), and a few small things.


This is where I had to leave.


Game 2 (01/26/2013)

Our diplomat did show up for much of the game, which was good since Jeff’s games are all about discussion and diplomacy.  There’s some brief discussion among our Mentors about what we feel of the junior team’s performance.  Generally speaking, it seems that if it’s not broken you don’t fix it.

We have a short side mission to perform.  We are to go to Marakest and pick up some crates and deliver them to another location without opening them or breaking what is inside.  For some reason, what’s inside becomes an obsession of Juris and Ranshao, though ultimately neither actually opens one.  As we’re leaving town with the crates an elemental cuts loose from out of nowhere and plows through a business.  We turn and face it, Edward physically engages it (and it’s painful!), while Ranshao uses some elemental blasts on it and some arrows are fired (mine merely bouncing off of it).  Diplomat Elden even turns the cart around and comes back to assist.  There’s a concentrated effort to get Edward back on his feet through potion and healing spell.  The elemental succumbs from its injuries.

Backtracking the path of destruction, we find a baker druid who accidentally unleashed a calzone golem earth elemental.  He was performing some excavation, summoned the help, and somehow it broke free of his control, which is not a normal occurrence.

We complete our delivery mission and hit second level.  Back at the keep, Ranshao and Juris confer with the blast-em wiz, ‘Zam.  He says there are lots of ways to make an elemental lose control.

We are now deemed experienced enough to set out on our main mission… adventure into Ket through the pass in order to find out why there’s no communication with Ket these days.

We equip-up with stuff.  We also get our mentor-gift.  We travel south with a detachment of troops who will not venture into the mist with us, they’ll just maintain a camp outside.  We go a ways into the mist and find a huge ravine.  Telling the folks at the camp about it, they say they knew about the chasm but it sounds like it’s bigger than they were told.

There once was a rope bridge across, but that is gone now.  My guess:  if the chasm is bigger, then it probably just shredded the bridge as it grew.  We come up with a plan which involves getting the gnome really drunk (But not for the usual reasons, not this is because he’s afraid of heights), dropping a line into the chasm, dropping to the bottom, making camp, then going back up the other side.  It involves a long, slow, methodical trip so as to minimize actual climb rolls.  Given all the safetry precautions, we just take an average, aggregate the damage to the climber, and cross off some heal spells accordingly.

At the bottom we make camp.  During the night we see something moving in the distance (glittering) but we don’t investigate, opting for safety and sleep.  Next day we go check it out and find some wagons (trashed) , people and horse skeletons, and some scattered goods in various states of decay.  As Edward uses “Mend” to fix a cart, an elemental, this time of the AIR variety, descends upon us.  Again, arrows just seem to be blown back by it, but Ranshao’s elemental bursts are working and Edward’s sword blows connect.  There’s something peculiar about this elemental… perhaps the fact that it is… UNDEAD!  We defeat it anyway.

There are some very nice things in the stuff.  4 of them are magic.  (A vial of powder of a level too high for us to deduce; A rapier with some specialness; a dagger with a skeleton key shape to it (that the thief thinks is some kind of thiefly tool), and a fourth thing that I can’t remember.  The rest of the stuff is non-magical but obviously part of a decent sized expedition.

We pile up all the stuff, flip the car over on top of it to protect it from the elements (and make it all less obvious), and climb back up the other side of the chasm.

We eventually find a small town with structures that look like they’ve seen better days.  There is a set of empty clothing on the bank of the shore (we’re at a lake) which, when approached, animates and attacks.  It is defeated.  Inside a small hut is a swarm of zombie rats, who are also defeated (Fire, smackening, etc.).  We try to find a building to rest in since a lot of spells have been used to this point.  We find one with four walls and a roof and inside is a strange, undead little girl who we dispatch with a minimum of injury to ourselves.

During the night, some glowing is seen through the cracks in the doors, but that’s about all, until a ghost walks into the room and takes up his place behind the counter, as if he’s come in to work.  He doesn’t attack, he just stands there.  When asked about what’s going on, he basically just says that like everyone he’s waiting for the next caravan to arrive.  He says nothing else.

Next morning, he fades away, but guess who returns… the little undead girl, whose body we went out of our way to get rid of.

I ask if a remove curse might stop her from recurring, people who know more about this say no.  (Before I continue, I think maybe Remove Curse is the wrong choice.  One of the spells on the same scroll is for blessing areas… Consecrate.  Anyway, that’s what we probably need!  I bet I’m saying this a day late, since you guys were still investigating after I left and may have already solved things.)

It turns out that the entire town resets regularly.  So two ghouls we fought on our way to the building we slept in (forgot to mention those) are back where they were.  Everyone is just hanging out, struck in the limbo of the last day that they were alive.  One of the folks, when all are slowly questioned, reveals to us that something had come from the sky.  We’re not sure what.

As I leave for the night (the game in its last stages), it is arrived at that there is a simple way to fix all this involving a spell, probably used in the right location.  I poke everyone for dismissing the “remove curse” idea, but as I said above, it’s probably Consecrate or some similar spell.   And with that, I exit.

One observation proposed during game:  We had seen an elemental go crazy back in Marakest, and then we saw an undead elemental roaming free in Ket.  Coincidence?  Well, maybe the excavation performed in Ket revealed some element, magic, or ancient arcane being that could cause the elementals to turn on those controlling them.  Not sure how so much undeadistry is going on unless there’s a necromancer involved.  Maybe excavation found a lich.  Someone said “Undead Djinn”.

In any event I suppose we’re eventually going to end up exploring a castle floating on a rock.

Game 3 (2/9/2013)

Before we leave the little village, Edward wants a trip to the smithy. There we find, and defeat, a ghost hound. We travel toward the big city. On the way we encounter a couple Ettercaps (spider people) and defeat them. We find their lair and take out another Ettercap (a cleric), two medium and one large spider, but not before Elden gets to second base with the large spider and Ranshao and the Ettercap team up to nearly kill Jurm with fire, claws, and cause light wounds. Edward stops him from bleeding at exactly negative his CON.

Identify on the rapier from last game shows it's a +3 rapier with other benefits. We picked up a few things from the Ettercap's lair.

When we get closer to town. It appears to have similar undead issues. We get as close as we can. Some close listening reveals that the evil dead are scouring the city for some sort of survivors.

In our clumsy attempt to infiltrate, we end up between two scouring waves of zombies. They surround the building we're in and about then some human soldiers arrive to assist us. A mass cure lite wounds cast by Edward does a bunch of damage to the mob and after that Ranshao hits them with elemental bursts and the rest of us stabby-stabby them remnants. The soldiers usher us to their hidden lair, in the sewers. They tell us that the world went to hell due to their wizards and now there's some sort of Efreet. They wonder why their allies in Perrenland never came to help. They want us to get them out, which we agree to. We'll take them back to Brighstone but it won't be easy with a group this large.

On the way out we encounter... resistance. Quite a bit, in fact. As I was leaving the game, we were set up for the evening's largest battle: The Ket soldiers, plus their adepts, and our guys, against a mass of ghouls accompanied by some of the odd elemental/undead amalgam guys we'd fought before, and their leader, which is some sort of Half-Ram/Half-Man type, a sort fiendish Satyr. I set up a "Consecrate" spell from a scroll, giving undead minuses and those turning undead bonuses, and we staged the fight from that spot. Then I left.

(Fill In Fight Results and XP given Here!) This just in: "[Roatan] killed the two remaining flaming incorporials. [Elden] finally "suggested" that one of the goat man demons leave (and take his undead air companion with him) so he ran away, and [Aishe] and [Edward] defeated the last one of the goat man demon and his companion." (Thank you, Mark)

The dagger I got earlier shaped like a skeleton key is a +1 Dagger of Entry (Knock, Detect Secret Doors, Find Traps, 1x/day each).

Game 4 (02/23/2012)

Aishe (Alan)
Vitamin R (Jim)
Ranshao (Joe)
Elden & Randolph Carter (Mark)
Edward (Paul)
Juris (Scott)
Jurm (Darren)
Sam Spade (Robert, briefly)

Picking up from where we were last game, apparently we’d narrowly averted disaster in the previous fight and now, as our enemies retreated, we decided to pursue them and finish them off.

Eventually we spy a flaming creature and put it down. Not long after that a pair of creatures approach from behind our phalanx of troops and we turn to engage. Now, an interesting feature of these particular creatures, which are kind of lizard-like, is that they have an appendage extending from their head with a sphincter-like orafice on the end of it. Edward engages one of them and as a whole we manage to put it down before it does any lasting damage. The other, gets quickly surrounded by the troops as it engages Roatan. So there’s a small group of PCs who are standing back where the first one went down and there is a ring of troops surrounding Roatan and the second creature, when the creature successfully hits Roatan, grapples him, and forces its “tentacle” down his throat, and proceeds to “taste the difference”. Now this is amusing enough, except that it has a feature that allows it to broadcast its pleasure at the tasting of Roatan’s innards to everyone within 20’. That’s a ring of NPCs, Ranshao, and I think, Edward, who now know just how good Vitamin R is for them.

This set off a night long wave of jokes about the taste of Roatan. Once you have Roatan you never go back. Perhaps he wakes up at night surrounded by the NPCs, sprinkling him with salt. Opening a chain of Roatan flavored restaurants. And so on.

It also occurs to me now, by the way, that Roatan would know too how he tastes. I mean, he was within 20’ of the creature.

The creature is killed shortly thereafter, but the comedy is done.

We head back toward the pass back to Brightstone. This means we go through the town with the repeating ghosts and we get to the chasm. We encounter a group of folks who are from another foreign land who have come here investigating much the way we have. This means there are potential allies out there in the world.

We get to the chasm and do the crossing, and as we do so and our last PC (Edward) is crossing back over, the enemy arrives behind us. It’s a menacing woman, a powerful triskellion, and a small detachment of their nasty, flaming troops. She sends us a warning that this is their land and we should never return. She seems also to know that we are from Brightstone.

We get back to the Keep and deliver information to the bosses. Our mentors mull the information over.

We now sideline for the insanity of Deck of Many Things draws. There’s a discussion among mentors about letting the underlings do card draws. As always, you can have 0 to 4 draws; you have to declare how many draws you want before the first one takes place and then you are held to drawing all of them. There’s some reticense let them draw, mostly because once you let them know that these cards exist then you have to worry about the cat getting out of the bag by various means and someone coming for them. Artifacts are rare and sought after, naturally.

Ultimately, we allow draws and here’s the results to the best of my recollection:

Felonius (Scott, Mentor)
• Um… uh… stuff? I’m having trouble with this one.

Juris (Scott)
• Next encounter, if he defeats it by himself he automatically raises to the next level.

Elden (Mark)
• Gains a great magical weapon generated from the book’s many, many tables.
• Gained experience (10K, I believe)
• Lost ALL magical items he owned (Including the one above)
• I don’t know.

Jurm (Darren)
• Must defeat a wraith (16HD, all kinds of nasty). If he fails to, he dies and cannot be brought back. If anyone helps, they get a wraith of their own to fight. Naturally, it wins with one swat on the lowly 4th level character, taking him to -1 HP. Before it can go further, uber-blaster Zam nukes it with two quickened blasts, and when his own wraith shows up, he kills it with two more. Jurm will live with a little healing. He has a nice big black mark on his chest from the fight.

Aishe (Alan) - Her compulsion to show others up causes her to draw as many as possible.
• A +2 to a single stat (DEX in this case).
• Card does nothing. There’s a card that Jeff inserted that basically just takes up one of your card draws.
• Card does nothing. Drew the same card twice.
• I forget.

In the end the net gain is 2 DEX, two levels of experience, loss of any magic that Elden was carrying, and potential to gain another level.

The mentors figure they need to go to Lord Ordin and ask for assistance. The belief at this point is that the big chunk of rock in the middle of Ket likely has a gate between our world and another and that we will need some way to shatter it. They go to Ordin with the diplomat, Elden, in tow, to do his talkin’ thing. The Baron thinks that he might have to get involved himself if it’s that big of a deal, and also we may end up contacting the other country for a team-up, but for now he just wants us to send our underlings to town so that he can have them undertake a lesser mission.

When we arrive we start off on the wrong foot by asking for a day to go shopping. Then we put pretty much all the AC bonuses on Edward, since he’s the hackenator. We buy a few things for ourselves, and then we get our mission, which involves bandits raiding a mine nearby (6 hours ride).

We enter the mine and hear some kind of buzzing.  Realizing that this means an encounter is coming and that Juris must fight them solo, many folks withdraw from the entrance, Jurm hides, and a few others just hang around to be non-combatant "distractions" for the stirges.  Unfortunately there are too many (15) and Juris is not firing on all cylinders, so the team leaps in to action.  No free level for Juris.  He does however get to live.

At the mine we do a careful descend into the mine with sweeping for traps (Turns out Jurm is great at disabling them, but needs better search skills). Jurm gets stuck by a trap, but lives with minor CON damage. At least he finds the pit trap in front of the door. We find a dusty workshop with a few signs of recent movement, and a corridor blocked with boxes. Backtracking we try a locked door and find a room on the other side. Dust shows someone very recently went through the left door. So we line up, open the door, and Randolph Carter (Pinch-hitting for Elden this adventure) casts. NOTE: Randolph has said before hand that he may be relying on some dark magic. In this case, he summons a large skeleton into the room and it engages the enemy, which is a duo… A half-orc monk and a Yuan-Ti caster. The Yuan-Ti is taken down pretty quickly. However, there’s a minor issue when Edward, a devout worshipper of Hieroneous, sees a skeleton and attacks it instead. Later he apologized to Aishe, who was in the room engaged with the enemy and thus was left as the only target for the enemy, and Randolph apologized for summoning something that upset the delicate sensibilities of the paladin.  (Okay, he didn't put it that way; he was legitimately bothered by having done the wrong thing.)  Things seem fine at the moment as Randolph tries to figure out what he can summon that won’t cause an issue and Edward tries to walk the tightrope between belief and the safety of the party. Oh, and the monk gets killed, but not before he did the classic drop-the-knives in “Come at me bro” fashion and go barehanded.

We rest in that room before continuing our sweep. Next stage involves unblocking that hallway. On the other side we continue a ways, sweeping for traps, and find only a room with two large doors. On the other side are a pair of manticores. The option is to close the doors and set up for the fight or to engage. We engage, naturally. Being the first two, Jurm and Edward catch some spines. Jurm is left with one hitpoint, but since I’m having to leave and I’ve already cast Truestrike, I want to get in my one shot before I’m devoured, so I suicidally strike, and collect my pound of flesh. Someone else gets the kill (I forget who) and the remaining manticore randomly chooses a target and selects Jurm. He’s swatted down to -7. The team dismantles the second manti as I leave.  

Game 5 (03/09/2013)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Picking up from the end of the manticore fight last game, we pull back out of the dungeon and rest then return to continue. The manticorpses are gone, dragged away down a hallway. First door that direction is a bathroom that we opt to NOT investigate. At the far end is a strange globe-like device balancing on a tripod which a very good roll from Carter or Roatan identifies as a sort of spirit warding device, so we leave it alone. At the end of the hall near it is a door. Jurm unlocks the door and steps aside, but in doing so, is blinded by some kind of ward that blinds targets when they step a certain distance down the hall. At this moment, we are rushed by two Yuan-Ti who are casting spells. Fortunately for us they blow both immediate spells (A command and a suggestion). Jurm works his way down the hall away from the chaos he can’t see.

Aishe tumbles past them to flank, but some kind of fear spell causes her to run further down the hall into the room the Yuan-Ti had come from. They try to get Edward to back away to some degree but he will not leave a woman behind. Carter tries to show the blind Jurm out, then comes back to engage. Eventually they are overcome. (Being blind, I lapsed into a game on my iPad and don’t know how we won.)

We find a torture chamber with some dead people. Here’s where I’m likely to forget some things or get them out of order because there were A LOT of fights in this game. We backtrack, rest, and check the other fork in the hall. There’s a shaft that runs up and down. Repelling down, it turns out there’s an opening in the wall near the halfway point. We go down and enter there. Edward detects evil and sees four evil things in the dark that he can’t quite target. We see a snake, who is not evil. Jurm firing an arrow at it causes the fight to begin. The four evil things are “Chokers”, creatures with long arms who cling to the ceiling and attack from range by grappling. And out of the darkness comes a large raptor-like creature. Edward engages the big creature, Aishe moves in and starts smacking the Chokers, and the rest of us spell and arrow from distance. This fight goes considerably better, with all foes dropping except for one that ran away, down the shaft.

There’s a wall of greasy, black gunk that when pushed aside reveals a hidden chamber with a large chest surrounded by a ring of masterwork swords. Jurm disables the trap and inside the chest is a paper and a sword. The paper is addressed to the author’s son and it calls the sword “Throat-cutter”. Turns out to be a Keen Longsword +1. Up the hallway is an enormous constrictor snake, that we defeat. Beyond that are three cylindrical containers with something swirling away inside them. (One detects as evil.) Next room after that is overgrown with vegetation and when we enter it we are assailed by another Yuan-Ti caster and an enormous viper. The caster entangles, slowing many of us down, but Aishe makes it through and engages him. Edward muscles up and smacks the python (so to speak). A summoned weasel gives Aishe flanking with the caster and she takes him down. The python is killed. During the fight, the Yuan-Ti tried to “suggest” that Aishe go down a nearby hallway, so we figure that’s where the next trouble is.

Down said hallway we find a large room with a river running through it. Aishe gets to the far side (barely) and anchors a rope into the rock so we can use a guideline to cross, when a very large Yuan-Ti caster comes in from the water. He too entangles, trapping many, and suggests or commands Aishe into sitting back and watching the fight. Edward meets it at the river’s edge and the group do enough damage to make it flee. How it flees is interesting though: It moves to a pool on the far side of the cavern and reaches into it and does something (pours water somehwere?) and a gate opens to a demi-plane of serpents, to which he flees (taking shots the whole time).

We disable it temporarily by filling the pool up with dirt.

On the way out we check the bottom of the shaft and find that covered in slime and gunk is something emanating magic. It turns out to be an orb with some unbelievable magical energy. When we return to Lord Ordin with it this turns out to be an ORB OF DRAGONKIND. I will repeat that. No, nevermind, I’ll just go back and capitalize it. We have a gen-u-wine artifact.

Lord Ordin has us take to Brightstone, which is the best place to defend it. The MENTORS take over. Our mentors, not the 80’s shock-rock band The Mentors, though Etrin does bare a resemblance to guitarist Sickie Wifebeater. There’s a discussion about who should “possess” the orb for purposes of its use. Now here’s the rub: Anyone who uses its abilities to dominate a dragon will incur the everlasting emnity of dragons. Yup. You are Dragonkind’s most-hated. Still, the idea is that going into Ket we may need a dragon.

The candidates end up being ‘Zam, Murk, and Frist. Frist, for those who do not remember, is the ice mage Robert played in the early days of the Lord Ordin’s Keep campaign. He is resurrected and pumped back up to level. He also is based on a prestige class that has him harvesting his dormant dragon bloodline to do dragon-powers. So when he agrees to use the orb, there’s a good chance he’ll eventually be a dragon-blooded PC who is hated by dragons; a traitor to his ancestors. Kind of cool, actually.

This globe is specifically for White Dragons, which is interesting since there were tails of a white dragon on a distant peak. Guess what… once he possesses the orb, he can sense the dragon moving this way. We start getting set up for a fight but before it arrives, the dragon stops and turns around. It turns out that he stopped off to press a neanderthal into service to bring us a message; he didn’t want to get too close. The message says basically, Turn over the orb in which my mate is enslaved and I will spare your lives and that of all the surrounding villages, keeps, etc. We plan on what to do and realize 1) We can’t enable a chaotic evil creature by giving it this object and 2) We need the firepower to go into Ket. So we send a return message saying basically, “Give us stuff and we’ll turn it over to you.” It tells us to meet it at the neanderthal village. We go there and set up while it goes to retrieve treasure for trade.

After a few configurations of what we’re doing we settle on this plan: Since we’re told to leave it near the entrance and to be nowhere near the orb, Frist will be buried in the ground beneath it and hold onto it. The rest of us will be disguised as Neanderthals and cower in the caves and huts nearby, covered in a fiery spell that protects against cold attacks.

Thing is, turns out that the one thing we didn’t account for is the dragon’s terrifying presence. It just has to do a minor display of power (Roar, attack, etc.) and we are screwed by fear. The save is outrageously high and everyone has to roll a 20 to resist, which we do not. Frist is immune to it because of the orb. The dragon moves in to grab the orb and Frist uses the orb to try and dominate the dragon… The first try is a failure!  This was a surprise round and the dragon, who had an 11 or great chance of failing, managed to save with a 12.  In order to keep the dragon from escaping, Murk pulled out a scroll, cast FLY, and grabbed Frist and Zam, with the instruction to Zam to teleport them onto the back of the Dragon.  Zam does so.  The dragon fear kicked in, causing them to jump off, but Frist, the only one immune to hte fear, got a second chance to dominate:  ONE last shot to beat it. On an 11 or greater on the die, the dragon resists…. Jeff rolls… (drumroll)…. a 1!

And then I had to leave. At least I was there long enough to see the victory by the ONLY means we had of possibly defeating it. Funny thing is, before we realized its presence was screwing over the party, Zam did a couple of attacks that did huge damage. But with the fear, they had to be neutralized and the orb was the only chance of winning.

(Highlighted Changes above are courtesy of clarifications from Mark.)

Game 6 ( )

Dragon captured. The three items the dragon had brought as an offering were a Helm of Underwater Breathing, a necklace of adaptation, and a third thing that wasn’t all that helpful either. This touches off a wave of handing out gear. We have decided to hand out stuff from the treasury to the lesser guys and the three bigger items from the dragon to the mentors, if they want it. Things go according to form, but on the items where several people want them, we roll-off, and Paul’s guys win most of those.

The plan for invading Ket: there are several countries to the south who are sending their heroes in that way, and the baron and his buddies are coming in another way, and we will be going in earlier in order to anticipate taking out “the gate”. We surmise that the gate is in the tower in the middle of the city we’d seen last time. Etrin’s idea is to use the dragon’s digging ability to tunnel all the way there and carve out an area underneath which will undermine the tower and make it collapse. The risk is that if the gate is not anchored to something in the castle, it could remain in place, up in the air. That of course assumes the gate is in the tower (which of course we just know it will be, since this is D&D).

So we tunnel. The dragon fills in the area behind it, since there’s no way to get rid of that dirt, and then when we need rest, Zam uses his disintegration spell to make a pocket for us to relax in. Later there will be a discussion of how we probably shouldn’t have had that easy of a time because of an issue with air, but we handwave that as making trips to the surface.

I should explain the presence of Vernal and Frist. Vernal is the only healer in the campaign so he’s there, but not as a target for enemy fire or to do anything more really than just to heal people. He’s a living HP battery. Robert didn’t feel like playing so Frist is assumed to be controlling the dragon, but it was pretty much played by Alan and anyone who grabbed the dragon’s character sheet from him.

When we get close enough to the tower we send in the spies. Etrin and Murk do some recon. There’s some talk of taking a junior party member (Jurm) with them but wisely they did not. Problem is, a figure with an outrageous spot roll nearly finds them. He’s a bipedal frog-like figure. He calls out to the hiding figures but can’t pinpoint them. Eventually he goes back into his tower. Eventually the duo make it inside and do a little recon. They determine that the gate is in a room upstairs, as expected.

The party makes its tunneling run an hour before sunrise on the seventh day; sunrise being the time when the many parties are synched to do their thing. Our small-guy party is outside preparing to do some kind of decoy tactic. We don’t get to them this game.

As we make our tunneling run for the tower, a large earth-elemental worm-like thing (Black Rock Triskelion) interrupts our progress by ripping a hole in the ground above us and cutting into our path. He and the dragon do battle, but Zam does a crap-ton of damage to it and Guzgern gets in the last licks. All sorts of things have appeared above us in the opening that leads to the surface. We tunnel forward, closing in with dirt behind us. All they had time to do was do a disgusting darkness breath effect, which only lasts one round.

We do the undermining and the tower does indeed tip and fall. As we had hoped WOULDN’T happen, the gate remains open, just up high in the air. We are above ground outside the main building when the enemy engages. There are lots of these little hitpoint absorbing guys who are there to help out by soaking up enemy damage, a bunch of demonic broo-like creatures, the frog-man from earlier, a boar/ape creature, a wizard, and a mummy, and some elementals. The dragon’s breath does a lot of damage to the smaller creatures but they ignore his fear ability. He does cut us a swath to the bigger enemies though.

Here’s where I play some iPad… not because there aren’t things going on (because there’s plenty happening) but because I hit things, but the current plan is to hang onto the dragon and engage anything that comes within reach, which means some of us are just hanging on. The wizard flees and pretty much everything else gets beat up, primarily by the dragon and occasionally a big Zam blast, though those he’s wisely saving for later. One unfortunate thing is that the first wizard we see is not THE wizard, it’s just some sort of simulacrum which was convincing enough that Zam wasted a nice big blast on it. He does however get to do some nice chained lightning strikes, which is always a crowd pleaser.

We get into the tower and face off with three statues. One is crushed almost immediately. The other two take a couple rounds to ruin, but really aren’t a big issue. The dragon can come in through the large doors and his body can easily destroy most interior walls; it’s only the red clay walls that he can’t ruin, which is basically the major structure, the exterior walls. Murk spends some time disabling traps. When we reach the room where we know he is, we find a message which it turns out is request for parlay. We’ll parlay you alright. Seems he’s threatening us with a Disjunct! It would suck to fight him with our magic disjunctededed. Of course that would not work on the dragon orb artifact and trying to do that to it might result in some very nasty things for that wiz.

We have a discussion of what to do and Zam looks at his list of spells and he’s got some silence he can put up, which would be nice and he can form a globe of magical protection which would kill nullify the magic in it. Sounded like a good idea as we break in the door but the door is destroyed by contact with a prismatic wall! This means our foe is probably level 16 or higher? Anywho… it’s one of the few things that globe will not work on. Dang. So Murk convinces a minion of the wizard that it’s okay to let us in and bluffs him well enough that he runs off to check with his boss; of course the boss shows up and tells us no.

Now we’ve had the dragon with us, but to get him through some areas that couldn’t be casually destroyed, he’s been size reduced via spell. Three spells, in fact. I think we’re at a point where we need to get him to a place where he can grow back.

This is where I left. From what I can tell, the game was winding down in preparation for the fight next game with the wizard.

XP is unknown at this point, and probably doesn’t matter since I doubt the mentors are close to next level.

Game 7 (04/06/2013)

After I left last game the team had developed a plan: Go to the roof, use the dragon to burrow downward and enter where we can attack the horrible high-level mage from above. Not a bad plan. We do some back-tracking, a bit of preparing, and then in we go. From the hole made by the dragon we can see some stairs and the same or similar prismatic wall. We mull around a bit deciding our next actions and the wall finally drops.

In the room beyond, we find a portal! It likely leads to whatever abyss/hell/elemental from which our enemy issues. Our mission again is to close the gate. From this side w don’t see a means of closing it and we don’t have any special magics or items to bring that about ourselves. It is decided that someone should go through… someone sneaky. Therefor Etrin and Murk go through to look around. On the other side there is a small army of manes (demons), a frog-demon, the lizard woman with multiple arms, and a host of others. Somehow, the enemy detects that the duo have entered the area, though they can’t pinpoint them. A parlay on their part begins in earnest.

Seems that if we back off and agree to never again come into this realm they will never enter ours. By “this realm” however they include Ket. We know we have a mandate to close the gates, so that’s not likely. About now, time expires on those waiting on the other side and Gilda comes through. Etrin chooses to become visible and signals for everyone to hold. They come to an agreement that Etrin will take back to our leaders elsewhere the written offer. They then show us the way out, which is not the way we came in. There’s a ring of stone with runes carved in it. At its edge is a bowl with a small sphere inside it, and inside that sphere is a swirling darkness. They say a prayer and the gate opens. Gilda, Etrin, and the still invisible (And did I mention giant-sized?) Murk go through.

We start developing a plan to go around Jeff’s fight. It’s determined that it’s all about the bowl and sphere. If we get those we can circumvent the gate at least for a while. Somewhere during all this, Zam digs through his bag and discovers his Staff of the Planes. Seems we can gate in, grab the objects and gate out… or better yet… we can place the gate right next to the objects, have someone fast (Say, a dragon) reach through and grab the object and pull it back. Once on this side, Ashen will put up a wall of force.

This is exactly what we do, with the added touch that the oversized Murk will be trying for it too, just in case the dragon misses. We initiatize, they roll their surprise and only two folks on the other size are not surprised… the serpent woman and, I think, the frog man. Here’s a small wrinkle: The dragon is still harboring a grudge against the lizard woman for killing its mate. So the dragon goes off-plan and grabs her with one hand, the objects with the other, and yanks them both back through. Any attempts to hurt the dragon fail, as does a try to break free by the lizard woman. Ashen’s wall of force keeps anyone else from coming through, and the next round the gate is dropped. Success!

Everyone beats on the lizard woman until she’s putty. Then we beat a hasty retreat from Ket.

Team switch! We go to the underlings. While they are supposed to be distracting some of the forces, the timing of all this is a little suspect as our other group acted too early. In any event, we have come up through the ground into a house. Our job: Cause a distraction, get back out again, overland, because the dragon can’t leave an open tunnel for us.

As we hole up, we look out the windows and see coming through the abandoned town is an entourage of skeletons, four of those burning skeletons, an ugly woman (on a cart… she looks important and is the one who threatened us earlier when we were escaping Ket), a half-orc, a giant centipede and some sort of praying mantis creature. There’s a shuffling of positions within the three story house and then we engage from surprise. Jurm: good with the thrown icy returning javelin, bad with a sword, it turns out—as he can hit both the woman and the half-orc from a distance, but not anything that gets in close. He is downstairs with Elden and Aishe who will be engaging anything that comes in through the ground floor.

Upstairs are Ranshao, Elden, Elden’s Angels™, and Roatan, do ranged attacks from above. Most notably, the horrible fireballs and cones of cold which over the course of a few rounds manage to take out most of the army. Joining the fray are four more spirituous undead who rise up out of the ground. Either Elden or Vernal (Paul was playing both) manages to hurt a bunch of undead with his turning (so it was probably Vernal). The hideous woman, we figure out, was likely a medusa; before she reaches us she’s brought down with ranged attacks.

Frankly, most of these guys are not too bad. The half-orc turns out to be the real problem. First off, he’s a druid who specializes in bugs. We’ve killed his two bug friends with ranged fire (the Centipede and Mantis), and he wants revenge. First off, he has ablative armor in the form of bugs; the more you hit him the more you scrap some off. Next, he has flight. Worst of all, he breaths a torrent of bugs which then proceed to follow targets around in swarms that you can’t really hurt with conventional weapons.

The bugs are a big problem for Elden, who is knocked out and who loses most of his minions (all but the lead girl) and both his dogs. Aishe is having a heck of a time as she is constantly in the wrong place at the wrong time to perform an attack, and rolls a lot of 2’s. Many of us can only run from the bugs. Jurm manages to get in another javelin shot and then finally hits with a longsword on a non-critical 20, but with Aishe there on the other side of the foe, he gets the sneak attack die. It’s just enough to take him down.

The bugs have to be killed with fire, which fortunately several folks are able to manage. We head back over the Ket line. As we go we see our mentors go speeding by. They will send back the dragon to escort us to the line after it drops off the mentors.

The mentors head to the rendezvous in the capital of Perrenland, which is not Krestible, it’s Schwarzenbruin (A city to the Northwest which sits on the edge of the lake that is Perrenland’s north border, Lake Quag). We find that the other groups were successful in killing their gates. We are the only ones who bring back the proceeds.

We are given our experience, and every character (on both teams) gets 2,000 gp.

Zam has a meeting with Lord Ordin… because he wants land. He’s an upwardly mobile guy and wants his own area to be in charge of. This sets up an interesting dynamic… if granted, we could wind up with a rift in the team as there are probably a few “good” characters who would opt to go with Zam. (I know Roseblood, who now is just a name on a character sheet, would go with him. She’s good-aligned and wants the hell out of the keep. The only reason I brought her in was because Gilda wouldn’t make a good mentor).


GAME 8 ( )

A local comes to the Brightstone steward and tells him about how bandits are attacking the farms near Marakhest. We (the lower level PCs) are charged with taking care of it, presumably because the high levels have tee times and hair appointments. We hit Marakhest, talk to the mayor, and then we head to the affected area.

Descriptions of assailants are weak. Seems they may be short, but that’s about all we know. Their mayhem is totally random: One farm will lose chickens, another will lose an ox, another will have its fields set fire, another will have its fishing gear destroyed. The only thing they seem to have in common is the economic impact on the locals.

In most locations we can find a spot that we suspect is the area from which the creatures have emerged into the area: Often it’s a tree with a magical spot in it that shows conjuration magic. On a search of one area we discover a ring which is magical (a skill roll booster). Eventually we get lucky on a stake out and a group of these things show up. The problem is that they are invisible at will. They also create illusions (In this case, a Troll and a glowing figure). We’re expecting illusions but you still have to disbelieve them. Aishe runs through the glowing figure, successfully. Roatan can see invisible and tries to direct traffic.

Aishe tries to communicate with them, first by shaking her booty for them. With no actual successful communication enjoined and with the enemy still invisible so that almost no one can see if they’re active or not, Jurm casts a web spell, ensnaring many but not all. Then comes the pain, as Ran Shao drops a fireball on them. Some survivors run away, back into the nearby lake. Three of them escape, but before their portal closes, Roatan jumps through. Now it’s worth noting that at this moment Ran Shao has elected to dance. Well, okay, not so much chosen to dance as had an Otto’s irresistible dance cast on her. With the enemy gone and Roatan with them, Ran Shao must be gathered up and carried as we head through the portal.

On the other side we discover a demi-plane. It’s a faerie plane that has become corrupted, not unlike what happened to Ket. We use the trees to get a view and our bearing and then head the direction we think the corrupt faerie folk went.

We are eventually attacked by some tiny corrupt dragon like creatures (fire drakes?). Like everything here, they seem to be mutated. We do a number on them without too much issue, mostly due to fireball queen Ran Shao. Jurm finally decided that as a hand-to-hand fighter he makes a better javelin thrower.

We find a tree into which we think the enemy has gone. We go in and have to fight some more invisible fay, some more illusionary enemies, and hack our way through an ensnare spell as the roots and such try to prevent our movement. All PCs survive the fighting with no unconsciousness.

We try some clever questioning of captive foes, though it sort-of fails. Since none of us speak their language and since Ran Shao’s comprehend languages is listening (not speaking), and Elden’s read thoughts requires the ability to understand a language, Jurm uses his spellthief abilities to take the spells and use them. The enemy resists the read thoughts. So Jurm just hears him calling everyone evil and pleading to be let go. Ultimately what we discover is that someone (probably the same guy who screwed up Ket) came here and changed the place. The pixies and such seem to like their new world, since they are as corrupt as it is.

And then the dragon shows up.

While checking things out above the treeline while riding a hippogriff, one of the PCs sees a speck in the distance which changes course and comes our direction. We get to the ground and set up for combat. Yup, a green dragon (mutated), shows up and wants to know what we did with the gatekeeper. When we came into this world through the gate, we found on this side there was a ring of stones with one stone in the middle that was the key to the gate’s operation so we took it. It’s currently carried by one of the few non-goods (Jurm, Neutral) because when Edward tried to carry it he got shocked.

Needless to say, the dragon is not happy that we have the gatekeeper’s stone and this goes to combat, especially since Ran Shao has maximized spells at the ready.

AND that’s when I had to leave. We’d done one round of combat and everyone was still up at that point. 

GAME 9 (06/02/2013)

Trapped in another dimension where the fae have been corrupted by the Dread Emperor (Likely the very same dimension traveling bastage who messed up Ket), we struggle to figure out what to do next. We've got one gatekeeper stone. We don't know necessarily that this will prevent anyone from using that gate, but it is likely.

We spy in the distance a dark mass of something flying inhabiting a tree and we reengineer a direction, ending up running into what is probably an even bigger mess.

What we find is a couple pixies and another target. The pixies immediately take off when we arrive so as we're taking down the other target (troll? I can't remember) the pixies come back with a mass of chaos. We are beset by illusionary targets and a large number of corrupted elementals, malformed pixies, tainted psuedo-dragons, and etc. "Try not to get engulfed" was a nice thought but unless you're going to just flat out run away, it's not possible.

A pair of entangle spells dropped overlapping into the middle of the chaos caused us to have to keep making rolls to move and get free. Foregoing a lot of these rolls, Edward just continues hacking away at anyone who comes in close enough. Roatan unfortunately gets tagged by one of the psuedo-dragons who manages to put him to sleep with a poison. Invisble, Professor Carter summons a few beasts to do his bidding. Jurm, who is in the middle of the entangle, uses the wolf and a transposition spell to swap himself with the freed wolf. The "heat metal" spell is causing more damage to Edward than anything that comes after him. Jurm puts up a cloud of mist to get the group that surrounds him to break off.

Professor Carter turns himself into a Treant! This allows him to run around stomping on faeries and elementals, causing all kinds of damage. One of the pixies manages to dispel the effect briefly, but he's able to repeat the effort. They're taking heavy casualties. Adding to it is the creature pulled from the bag of tricks by Jurm... a Rhino!

Which reminds me of a quote from "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy", an old Saturday Night Live skit back in the 90's. He said: "Contrary to what most people say, the most dangerous animal in the world is not the lion or the tiger or even the elephant... It's a shark riding on an elephant's back, just trampling and eating everything they see." There we were, a Rhino and a Treant, just goring and stomping everything in sight.

The evil fae hold a knife to the throat of the unconscious Roatan and threaten to kill him if we don't stop. Jurm uses his last spell to benign transposition Roatan and the Rhino. So now he's holding a knife to the throat of an angry rhino. Gooood luck.

A few things fled and we took out the rest. The other bit of help we got was from a Pseudo-dragon that had been charmed by Aishe. He was pretty useful for information and for assisting Aishe in combat.

We continue toward the hills, out of the forest. The pseudo-dragon, dubbed "Stanley", tells us about the gatekeeper and how there's one that lives in the hills.

We find an old farm. One building is nearly collapsed. Its only remnant is a specter, who decides to take us all out, especially Jim, who antagonizes it through the window enough that it comes rushing out after him. The specter is defeated through persistence, as it has a 50% roll to be missed due to incorporeality. Inside his place we find an old note which is from a recognized adventurer from Furyondy, long ago missing. Seems he is the specter who adventured to this land and couldn't find his way home. Then the disease came and everything in the land became corrupted. He also hints at the hills holding a cause or something.

We get to the hills and spy a cave. Jurm gives away the team's presence when he shows up and looks for traps only to be "confused" via spell, which just causes him to run away. When the team arrives, they decide against subtlety since the jig is up. We head in, someone collapses the entrance behind us (or maybe does an illusion of it collapsing, Aishe guesses) and we go deep. We find a patch of grass and know it's used for entangles. Edward doesn't care, and not only walks into it, taunting whoever is beyond in the darkness, but actually does so twice after entangles are cast. Each time we let the entangle fade and after the second time we continue across.

The old joke about a 10' x 10' room having a dragon and his entire horde... This room kind of feels like that. It's a chamber with a portal circle, a leprechaun, several trolls, a host of elementals, a gaggle of pixies (that only Jim can see), and various other creatures. They try to cover us in mist, presumably to drive us into the room, but some of us like the cover. Edward and Aishe wade in. Jurm tries to deafen a few with a Thunderstone (only one fails the save), and
Roatan glides in using some sort of ethereal travel trick, uses his Horn of Valhalla to summon 5 viking warriors, and glides back out. Jurm uses the bag again and gets... Another Rhino! The bag of rhinos is awesome. He hurts a few things although ultimately he runs away due to a confusion spell and falls down an illusionary pit in the corridor. Meanwhile, the vikings are stalwart pros who hack through the opposition. All 5 will survive this fight. It's a long fight but one we all stay alive through. We're down one man because Mark had to leave, but we manage.

Ultimately when a few of them escape through the portal we take the opportunity to return home. And we also tested the gate by having a barbarian behind us try to dive through with the stone; it does not work.


(Jeff provided the following via email.)

So here is what happens and what you learned after your characters went thru the gate and ended up back in your own lands….