Gary Gygax Tribute Campaign

Session 52 (Vault of the Drow, part 4)
Played on 10-23-20

Halfling wizard Jadis Varda awoke with a start as his back was deeply scratched by the whore he was sleeping with. The woman he had lain with transformed into a succubus with fangs, tiny horns, and bat wings. She appeared to be in a state of sexual ecstasy. She voiced that although Jadis was small in stature, he could resist her dark power and he was destined for greatness. As if she read his mind while dreaming, she knew who he looking for, Lareth the Beautiful. On the condition that he agree to do her bidding when summoned, the succubus, Ladrizel, imparted the following information. Lareth had been a repeat customer at this brothel, last visiting only 2 weeks ago, and even had known her once. She knew Lareth’s plans, and he stayed at the noble clan of Everhate’s 3-story guest house not far from the brothel.

Ladrizel gave a history of the Drow noble clans and their dealings with the Temple of Elemental Evil (ToEE). Twelve years ago, the Drow noble clan Eilservs allied with the ToEE and began to worship a god other than Lolth, known as the Elder Elemental God. Clan Eilservs recruited Drow noble clans Tormtor and Noquar to join them in their planned conquest of the Gygaxlands with the ToEE. However, after the ToEE was defeated, only clan Noquar was interested in continuing the fight. Noquar has since gotten Drow clan Everhate to join with them in their plan of conquest of the surface world. Lareth hopes to gain something from clan Noquar that will aid the ToEE in their resurgence, but that something was unknown to Ladrizel. The Drow noble estates lie across the river known as the Pitchy Flow immediately west of the city wall. Only one bridge crosses the rapid running Pitchy Flow, and it is guarded by female Drow warriors. Only those that present a noble clan brooch and state their business are permitted to cross the bridge to the noble estates.

Aguiler and Jadis rejoined Mardak, Torc, and Night Shadow at the tavern and they shared information. The party felt danger all around them, and wanted to find Lareth and be done with their mission. This wicked, decadent city was home to all the dregs of Drow elf society, and the better Drow elves only came here for their evil pleasure. The “Wild West” town lacked much order of any sort. Leaving the tavern, they went a quarter mile further up the crazy twisting main street to the 3-story black stone guest house of clan Everhate marked with the clan’s device of 2 crossed silver daggers. The 3 floors were irregular and set back. The front facade only had 1 great door and 3 narrow windows on the first floor. Peering into the windows, a wide entrance hall with shadowy murals could be seen. A short side alley only led to wooden stable doors. Because the adjacent 2 story buildings were flush against Everhate’s guest house, the party decided to go around the block to locate a back alley. Finding a back alley, they were only pestered by a Drow beggar with a thrice broken nose as they went around the back of Everhate’s guest house. From the rear, they could see a light from a window on the third floor. There was also a back door flanked by 2 narrow windows on either side. Peering through the windows, the party could see a long hall running behind the outer wall. They also could see 2 doors in the hall that had light shining beneath them. The party decided to use stealth to investigate inside while Mardak and Torc guarded the back alley.

Night Shadow picked the lock and entered in with Aguiler and Jadis. They were quiet and invisible with Night Shadow using his Invisibility Ring and Boots of Elvenkind; Aguiler invisible with Jadis’s spell and quiet as an elf thief can be; and Jadis invisible in his Cloak of Elvenkind and quiet as a halfling can creep. They found 3 sleeping female Drow warriors in 1 room and 3 more female Drow warriors relaxing in the kitchen. Without alerting them, the party moved to the front entry hall to seek the stairs up. Off the front hall, Jadis found a mundane side storage room and the dining hall. Night Shadow and Aguiler entered the great hall from the front entry hall and were nearly detected by the Drow guards from the kitchen doing their nightly rounds as Aguiler closed the door behind him. A female Drow warrior opened the door to the great hall that Aguiler and Night Shadow entered through, but seeing no one, closed it and went on. Jadis met up with Aguiler and Night Shadow In the great hall through a door from the dining hall. The great hall was 3 stories tall with 3 long sky lights in the ceiling. A grand stairway across the room led to landings with doors to the second and third floors.

Singular in purpose, the group climbed the stairs directly up to the third floor. The third floor door opened up to a hall that went around in a C-shape with several doors to the right and at the end. Only the farthest door on the right had a light coming from beneath it. Stealthily entering, the party entered a bedroom with a human woman curled up asleep in a comfy chair near a small coal burning fireplace. With a knife to her throat, the woman did not resist when awakened. She identified herself as Jerisha and told the party that Lareth had left 7 to 10 days ago to the estate of clan Noquar across the Pitchy Flow. She also told them that her man, Statinstor, was in the study on the first floor, and they could make a deal with him for her life. The party tied and gagged her, but left her behind. They moved on after one of the whistling Drow guards patrolled down the hall and left, presumably back to the kitchen.

Aguiler led the group back down to the first floor. Outside the lit room they did not investigate before, Aguiler and Night Shadow listened, but could hear nothing. Jadis opened the door next to it and found 3 sleeping slaves/servants (a half-elf, hobgoblin, and a human). They sleepily aroused when the door was opened, but quickly fell back to sleep again when the door closed. As the invisible party waited outside the study door, they heard Statinstor exclaim, “Damn!” and slam a book on a table. They then overheard a magical conversation between Statinstor and Lareth in a coded language that sounded like CB radio slang. The party could gather that Lareth was speaking remotely from the estate manor of Noquar. Lareth stated that he expected that the deal with the Noquar would be done soon, and Statinstor stated that the “Smokeys” had not shown up in “Spider City” yet.

After the conversation ended, Statinstor exited the door of the study, and the invisible Aguiler pounced with deadly precision, skewering Statinstor through his heart from behind in one thrust. Statinstor could only manage a throaty gurgle of a failed spell before his untimely death. The party dragged him back into the study and began looting. They found 3 atrociously evil books on a central study table, including the following titles: Book of Vile Darkness, Necromonicron of Mad Alhazarid; and a Manual of Delightful Atrocities. Laying next to these books was a brick-shaped wooden box with a metal cone above a round dimpled metal plate on the top side of the box and a switch on right side of the box. On a side table was a tall rune stoppered bottle with an ashy liquid sloshing continuously in it. Leaning against the wall was a magic +1 triangular small shield. The party took all these items, including the 3 books by Mardak for later destruction. On Statinstor himself they recovered magical Bracers of Defense (AC 5); a +2 footman’s mace that sparkled between the flanges; a pouch with 4-50 gp gems, 30 gps, and 10 sps; and a brooch of the noble clan Everhate. Last, Aguiler sliced off Statinstor’s head and dropped it in a wineskin filled with pure alcohol to pickle it, secured it tight, and carried it with him.

After looting, the party decided not to try to locate Rannos Davl and obtain the stolen ruby studded chalice from the lesser temple of Lolth. Instead, they carefully made their way out the back door, met with Mardak and Torc, and fled back to reunite with the rest of the group at the stable near the city’s front gate. Mardak insisted in washing each vile book recovered from Statinstor with a cloth soaked in holy water before burning them in the alley. The burning books erupted in thick black smoke and spread an awful stench before they were reduced to ashes. However, smoke and foul stenches were not uncommon in Erelhei-Cinlu, and other than attracting a curious troll or troglodyte, it caused no attention. The party rested 6 hours until the next morning, July 8.

The party’s general treasure is 348,000 cps; 291,310 sps; 40,000 eps; 125,940 gps; 8,985 pps; 34,660 gps in gems (21-10gp + 47-50gp + 23-100gp + 16-500gp + 12-1,000gp + 2-5,000gp diamonds); 6 rings (8,250 gps); 5 jeweled figures (4,680 gps); 10 peridot gems (4-100 gp, 2-500 gps, and 4-1,000 gps – stitched on the ToEE Water cloak); a gold necklace (1,000 gps); a platinum ring with small ruby (2,000 gps); Dracock’s emerald jeweled dagger (5,000 gps); 7 fire beetle glands (4 days of light); 6 flasks of oil; 20 incense sticks (300 gps); +1 studded leather; +1 triangular small shield; +1 halberd; +1 hand axe; 1 cure blindness salve coated cloth; 5 potions: invisibility x 8 uses; unidentified pea green silver flecked potion; unidentified potion of pink color like Drow horsetail mushroom pendant; fearie fire spider blood (4 uses); a loadstone (worth 25 gps); silver helm with 15 blue quartz gems (250 gps); a silver amulet on a blue ribbon (30 gps); Pewter tableware (216 gps); Small golden chest (500 gps); Tapestry (80 gps); Ornamental bottle with moonstone stopper (1,000 gps); 1 wooden neck charm (poison resistance?); a manure soup recipe; 7 bronze Earth temple rings set with jet (350 gps); 2 gold Water temple rings set with peridot gems (1,500 gps); 5 ToEE black cloaks of the fiery eye, 1 ToEE black cloak of the golden skull, 1 brown cloak with 2 black triangles on it (earth temple), 2 red robes with purple lining and embroidered gold skulls (fire temple); 1 Drow elf pink horsetail mushroom brooch; and 1 Drow brooch of the Everhate noble clan. Also 2 riding horses (11, 7 hps).

Night Shadow has the following items: Leather armor +1 (gold thread on interior); +3 buckler; Boots of Elvenkind; Ring of Invisibility; poisoned needle (Zert’s chest); Darion’s dandy shoes (5 gps); Zenopus’s golden neck chain and pendant (300 gps); Zenopus’s +1 dagger; +1 longbow & 6 +3 arrows & 2 +2 fire arrows; 2 longswords; a short sword (giant’s knife); and 2 sugared fruits coated with Ichor of Intoxication.

Torc Ironwolf has the following items: +1 falchion chopper sword (1 failed weapon save); One-handed war hammer +1 (marked with silver glyphs, 1 failed weapon save); +5 small shield with 5 black fire gems; +1 small shield with wolf insignia; Ring of continual light; potions of growth & extra healing; and 2 medium warhorses (Furnok, a rare pure white stallion and excellent for breeding, 15 hps, worth 450 gps).

Mardak Chorster has the following items: footman’s mace + 2; Cloak of Protection (+1 AC & saving throws); +1 Ring of Protection; +2 platemail; +1 small shield with runes; 4 flasks of holy water; Scroll of Protection against undead; Cleric scroll: Death’s Door; 1 healing potion (4-10 hps); 4 ornate gold chalices with gold tray (500 gps); and the abbey’s fire opal (1,000 gps).

Jadis Varda has scroll spells of Enlarge, Sleep, Push, Levitate, Stinking Cloud, Run, and Fly; healing potion; clairvoyance potion; wand of petrification (2 charges); +3 Staff of Striking (8 charges); Staff of the Evoker (13 ch: unseen servant, armor, burning hands, magic missile, detect magic [1 ch]; invisibility, Leomund’s trap, locate object, whip, zephyr [2 ch]); +1 dagger; 2 throwing daggers; a Chime of Opening (22 charges); and a Ring of Shooting Stars. He also has a small-sized magical Cloak of Elvenkind (approx. 95% invisibly when not in combat).

Aguiler has Bracers of Defense (AC 5); Healing potion; Bottle with ashy liquid sloshing in it; Brick-shaped wood & metal magical box; and Statinstor’s pickled head.

Carnage Meter (in war)
Monsters/enemies
Slain: 269 (210)
Wounded: 80
Total casualties: 349
PC’s/Friends
Slain: 14 (80)

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Session 51 (Vault of the Drow, part 3)
Played on 10-9-20

The party of 10 and a mule continued down the road that exited the tunnel into the enormous cavern known as the Vault of the Drow. They walked through the valley of a dark canyon with crystalline, lichen, and fungi growths of every description sprouting in the gorge. Their way was eerily lit by hazy plum colored moon that never moved across this cavern sky. Humans could see without any light source clearly 40 yards ahead of them and 80 yards out dimly. Dwarves, elves, and halflings with infravision could see double that distance. Human vision was limited to blacks and grays with bluish tints. Infravision was also impacted, with the color palette only consisting of black, grey, blue, purple, dull red, and an occasional green.

As they strode down the road, near the exit from the canyon, a band of 16 crested lizard men known as troglodytes approached them. They wore black tabards depicting an adamantite mace and were armed with maces and polearms. To those with infravision, the troglodytes were puce colored (grey colored for human vision). The troglodytes asked the party in halting Drow elven mingled with hisses if they were friendly to the Dessspana clan. The party presented their Lolth medallion from Trysik, and the troglodytes asked if they were of the Eilservssss clan (turning slightly dark purple as they asked), and the party responded that they were not. When pressed about who they were, the party presented the medallion again and said it was from Trysik. After discussion amongst themselves, the troglodytes concluded they were of the Kilsssek clan, and became disinterested and wondered away northward.

Shortly thereafter, the party came to a crossroads. From the foot traffic, they suspected that the black tower they were to go to was the road straight ahead that climbed a mesa. At the top of the mesa about a mile from the entrance to the Vault was a 55 foot high and round black tower, its stone walls smooth as a stalagmite worn with the ages. Atop the battlements were male Drow guards manning heavy crossbows akin to mobile ballistas. The guards seemed unfazed by the party’s approach, and curtly told the party to “Go in” in common tongue. Indeed, the massive bronze gate to the black tower stood open, and the party walked into a short hall with arrow slits to either side and murder holes above that ended in another gate. The gate of 2 massive adamantite metal bound doors was shut, but a smaller door within it to the left side stood open. Walking through the small door, the party entered a round room and met the High Bailiff of the black tower seated at a desk and flanked by male Drow guards. The High Bailiff did his job in a disinterested fashion, asking the party their business and which clan they associated with. The party’s response that they were traders with clan Sobanwych drew mocking laughter from the Drow, but the High Bailiff was not too concerned with their answers. He took their Lolth medallion, tossed it in a box with other such medallions, and issued each of them a neon lime green cloak (neon blue colored to human vision) to be worn at all times in the Vault by foreigners upon pain of death. He then waived them away, and the party exited the tower and returned to the crossroad below the mesa dressed in their issued cloaks.

From the crossroad, they took the north branch that soon turned westward around the mesa and continued straight to the city of Erelhei-Cinlu as they were informed by the High Bailiff. They met no travelers along the 3 mile route to Erelhei-Cinlu. Along the way, they passed by the edge of a large fungi forest with massive mushrooms growing as tall as 9 feet.

The road they traveled ended at the gate of Erelhei-Cinlu, which was circled by a 30 foot tall wall of black stone and patrolled by male Drow elves. Like the gate to the black tower, the city’s gate was open to this ancient and depraved city of the Drow – a city as big as Dyvers on the surface world above. Beyond the gate, the road forked into 2 main streets, north and south. The party chose the street to their left and wandered south. The main street haphazardly snaked through tightly crowded and strangely disturbing stone buildings. The street was dimly illuminated by phosphorescent lichen and fire beetle cages. The thoroughfare was thronged with the most unlikely mixture of underworld creatures imagined, many wearing lime green cloaks: Drow elves, bugbears, troglodytes, Koa-Toan fish men, mollusk men, orcs, goblins, and various miserable Drow slaves (including dwarves, gnomes, surface elves, and humans). Three mean-looking ringlefinch trolls marched through, and the party and other city folk wisely gave way so as to not provoke them.

Dug Rocktoad, Hemdar, and the 3 packbearers with the mule decided they did not wish to venture too far into this evil city, and the adventures decided to split from them as they stabled their mule with pack lizards. The men remaining behind rested themselves in the stable with the mule after a day of travel because there were few options for a place to sleep in this city that never rested. The 5 adventurers went on to hunt for Lareth the Beautiful.

On their way through the winding street, 3 signs scribed in phosphorescent chemicals took the adventurers’ eyes: Two dice; Three alluring elven women; and a Surface elf head with a dagger through its eye. The elven women sign drew them in, and not surprisingly they entered a bordello. The brothel madam was a Drow woman. In common tongue she welcomed them and said that she would match them with suitable female whores. Aguiler got exceptionally lucky, and for 10 pps he slept with a gorgeous surface elf – best night of his life. Jadis slept with a human whore with beautiful long legs for 5 pps. Something was darkly sinister about her look, and he managed to resist kissing her as he curled off to sleep after humping her legs. Night Shadow was presented with an orc whore for 2 pps, and even needing rest, Night Shadow brusquely refused such an indignity. The Drow madam took offense to the rejection, and a hefty bugbear bouncer was ordered to throw him out. The bugbear tried to grab Night Shadow, but the thief swiftly avoided the bugbear. Night Shadow leapt out of the bordello only wishing that he could have landed a cheap shot on the bugbear before he left. Mardak and Torc went out with him.

As Aguiler and Jadis enjoyed their rest, Mardak, Torc, and Night Shadow entered a tavern with the sign of the elf head with a dagger through its eye. A scurvy orc served up fungi gruel and sour wine to them. At a table behind them, Night Shadow heard the name of Rannos Davl mentioned and perked up his ears. He remembered that Rannos Davl was the associate of Gremag who poisoned their army before the battle with the Temple of Elemental Evil. He overheard the male Drow thief named Lymne behind him say to his Drow friend that he had stolen the ruby studded chalice from the lesser temple of Lolth in the “Egg of Lolth”. Lymne sold it to Rannos Davl who was staying at the city guest house of the noble clan Everhate. However, Rannos Davl double crossed him by selling him platinum plated bronze bars. Lymne returned to Rannos Davl to try to talk to him, but he was chased away by a night dragon! This dragon was a pet of a mysterious colleague of his. Lymne wagered his friend that Rannos Davl would ransom the chalice back to the temple before 2 days passed.

(My traditional closing information has been edited out this session).

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Session 50 (Vault of the Drow, part 2)
Played on 9-25-20

Per the agreement with Drow Commander Trysik, Torc and Mardak were about to select Night Shadow to join them to slay the subterranean lizards, but the chaotic evil Trysik nixed it, saying they had to choose between their 2 escaped slave prisoners, Dug Rocktoad the dwarf and Hemdar the human fighter. Begrudgingly, Torc and Mardak chose Hemdar, but Trysik decided to send the gimpy-legged Dug Rocktoad with them anyway, expecting both of them to die fighting the lizards. Mardak and Torc provided Dug and Hemdar with weapons, but both had no armor.

So the lizard hunters went down the narrow side passage with Mardak and Torc’s light rings illuminating the way clearly. After about a mile, near small caves to either side, they found a pile of rubble against the wall that fell from above. After nothing was discovered in the rubble, Torc went onward. About 30 feet beyond, they came to a 3 foot step down in the tunnel with a much deeper crevasse by it. There Torc was surprised by 2 huge blind lizards emerging from the crevasse and below the drop in the floor. Torc was savagely bitten in the leg by the lizard emerging from the crevasse, but managed to avoid being dragged down Into the pit in its vice-like grip. The party was quick to rush in to help, and in a flurry of blows, one of the lizards was slain and the other wounded. Suddenly 3 more subterranean lizards came up the passage in a feeding frenzy. Torc and Hemdar each bravely and skillfully fought the monsters as warriors. With an axe strike, Hemdar prevented 1 of 2 lizards he faced from climbing up the wall next to him and around him to attack from the rear. One lizard stretched across the crevasse to attack Mardak, but his heavy mace struck its skull and it dropped into the 30 foot crevasse. Mardak struck it hard as it climbed up the crevasse again, but Dug was not so lucky – his sweaty hand losing hold of his hand axe and dropping it into the crevasse. However, Dug was able to recover his hand axe after the battle. Lopping off the heads of the 5 slain giant lizards, the party began to trek back to the Drow fortress. But near the lizards’ lair, Dug saw a glint in a side cave that caught his curiosity. Creeping in, he saw the bony remains of a recently eaten giant pack lizard. In the torn packs, he found 40 silver ingots (4,000 sps) and 18 smoky quartz gems worth 50 gps each (900 gps). Collecting the treasure, the party returned to the Drow fortress.

Trysik was pleased with the party’s success (and delighted that all returned bloodied), and per their agreement, the rest of the party was released and free to enter the Drow homeland. Night Shadow, Jadis, and the 3 pack bearers were treated reasonably well as they were held captive by the Drow, except for a hand crossbow bolt “accidentally” shot in Night Shadow’s direction. Mardak was given the black metal medallion that symbolized their evil goddess, Lolth, both female Drow elf and spider. Tyrsik told Mardak to present this medallion at the black tower at the end of the tunnel, and they would be given access to the homeland. Avoiding registering at the black tower would be at their own peril.

The party delved onward in a well worked wide passage with phosphorescent lichen and the encountered no other travelers or dangers that day. Dug and Hemdar went with them. Camping in the passage that night, they learned that Dug and Hemdar joined together to explore the riches of the deep earth. From the dwarf settlement on the Great Ridge, they took rarely traveled tunnels to this place, fighting reptilian troglodytes and Kuo-Toan fish men along the way. Eventually, they joined a Drow merchant caravan as guards. These merchants were allied with the Drow noble house of Godeep. The merchants later betrayed them and sold them into slavery. Dug and Hemdar escaped, but were recently recaptured at the Drow fortress when the party found them.

The next day, not long after the party started on their way again, they ran into a large Drow merchant caravan going in the opposite direction. The caravan consisted of 6 pack lizards (15 foot long with wide backs), 2 small carts, 7 male Drow merchants, 15 male Drow guards, 16 bugbear slavers, and 21 motley slaves (orcs/half-orcs, hobgoblins/goblins, humans, and elves/half-elves mostly) chained together and bearing various loads. The party made way for the caravan, hoping for no interaction, but peace was not to be had. One of the bugbears seen sniffing intoxicating, perhaps hallucinogenic, snuff suddenly ordered Jadis in common to stop waiving his staff at him. The hairy bugbear then flew off the handle and demanded a “blood circle” (apparently a duel) with Jadis, and the caravan stopped and chanted “blood circle” over and over again as the bugbear got a long stick of his own to fight with. Torc attempted to keep Jadis out of the fight by insulting the intoxicated bugbear, but although the bugbear now wanted to fight Torc, it insisted in fighting Jadis first. Torc drew his sword, and a battle was commenced. Six bugbears attacked Torc and Jadis, and another 2 joined in when Night Shadow assisted Torc. Jadis struck first with a spark shower from his magic ring that electrified the 3 bugbears (including the bugbear who initiated this confrontation), but they remained standing. The bugbears pummeled Jadis with morning stars. Jadis was able to time his Magic Missile spell after their initial onslaught and fell one of them. A second pummeling brought Mardak in to defend and heal Jadis twice. From behind Mardak, Jadis fired off 3 more Magic Missiles and took down the leader of the attack. Meanwhile, Torc and Night Shadow slew a third bugbear. Although Torc was a pillar of defense, Night Shadow was wounded in the fray. Aguilar, Dug, and Hemdar drew their weapons but did not engage with the other 8 bugbears that drew their weapons and held back as well. After 3 bugbears died, the Drow merchant leader demanded the combat to stop. He then ordered his men to surrender the offending bugbear’s head to Jadis, and it was hacked off the thrown to Jadis as a triumphant souvenir. The caravan moved onward again, and the party went their way as well, collecting 16 gps from the fallen bugbears.

In another mile, the party of 10 and a mule entered a huge cavern known as the Vault of the Drow. In this enormous space, a hazy plum colored moon eerily glowed far ahead and above them. Humans could see without any light source clearly 40 yards ahead of them and 80 yards out dimly. Dwarves, elves, and halflings with infravision could see double that distance. Human vision was limited to blacks and grays with bluish tints. Infravision was also impacted, with the color palette only consisting of black, grey, blue, purple, dull red, and an occasional green. The road continued down into the cavern between 2 grim, foreboding, steep cliff walls on either side. The road bed was strewn with crushed crystals that faintly glittered, sometimes with a bluish tinge. The gorge was filled with abnormally large lichens, crystalline growths, and fungi of all sizes, shapes, and description (shelf fungi, morels, puffballs, horsetails, and mushrooms, including yeasts, smuts, blights, rusts, and molds that grew upon them). Truly a dark fairyland was before them. If they kept following this road as Trysik told, ahead would be the black tower.

The party’s general treasure is 348,000 cps; 291,300 sps; 40,000 eps; 125,916 gps; 9,000 pps; 34,660 gps in gems (21-10gp + 43-50gp + 23-100gp + 16-500gp + 12-1,000gp + 2-5,000gp diamonds); 6 rings (8,250 gps); 5 jeweled figures (4,680 gps); 10 peridot gems (4-100 gp, 2-500 gps, and 4-1,000 gps – stitched on the ToEE Water cloak); a gold necklace (1,000 gps); a platinum ring with small ruby (2,000 gps); Dracock’s emerald jeweled dagger (5,000 gps); 7 fire beetle glands (4 days of light); 6 flasks of oil; 2 vials of holy water; 20 incense sticks (300 gps); +1 studded leather; +1 halberd; +1 hand axe; 1 cure blindness salve coated cloth; 5 potions: invisibility x 8 uses; unidentified pea green silver flecked potion; unidentified potion of pink color like Drow horsetail mushroom pendant; fearie fire spider blood (4 uses); a loadstone (worth 25 gps); silver helm with 15 blue quartz gems (250 gps); a silver amulet on a blue ribbon (30 gps); Pewter tableware (216 gps); Small golden chest (500 gps); Tapestry (80 gps); Ornamental bottle with moonstone stopper (1,000 gps); 1 wooden neck charm (poison resistance?); a manure soup recipe; 7 bronze Earth temple rings set with jet (350 gps); 2 gold Water temple rings set with peridot gems (1,500 gps); 5 ToEE black cloaks of the fiery eye, 1 ToEE black cloak of the golden skull, 1 brown cloak with 2 black triangles on it (earth temple), 2 red robes with purple lining and embroidered gold skulls (fire temple); and 1 Drow elf pink horsetail mushroom brooch. Also 2 riding horses (11, 7 hps).

Night Shadow has the following items: Leather armor +1 (gold thread on interior); +3 buckler; Boots of Elvenkind; Ring of Invisibility; poisoned needle (Zert’s chest); Darion’s dandy shoes (5 gps); Zenopus’s golden neck chain and pendant (300 gps); Zenopus’s +1 dagger; +1 longbow & 6 +3 arrows & 2 +2 fire arrows; 2 longswords; a short sword (giant’s knife); and 2 sugared fruits coated with Ichor of Intoxication.

Torc Ironwolf has the following items: +1 falchion chopper sword (1 failed weapon save); One-handed war hammer +1 (marked with silver glyphs, 1 failed weapon save); +5 small shield with 5 black fire gems; +1 small shield with wolf insignia; Ring of continual light; potions of growth & extra healing; and 2 medium warhorses (Furnok, a rare pure white stallion and excellent for breeding, 15 hps, worth 450 gps).

Mardak Chorster has the following items: Cloak of Protection (+1 AC & saving throws); +1 Ring of Protection; +2 platemail; +1 small shield with runes; 5 flasks of holy water; Scroll of Protection against undead; Cleric scroll: Death’s Door; 1 healing potion (4-10 hps); 4 ornate gold chalices with gold tray (500 gps); and the abbey’s fire opal (1,000 gps).

Jadis Varda has scroll spells of Enlarge, Sleep, Push, Levitate, Stinking Cloud, Run, and Fly; healing potion; clairvoyance potion; wand of petrification (2 charges); +3 Staff of Striking (8 charges); Staff of the Evoker (13 ch: unseen servant, armor, burning hands, magic missile, detect magic [1 ch]; invisibility, Leomund’s trap, locate object, whip, zephyr [2 ch]); +1 dagger; 2 throwing daggers; a Chime of Opening (22 charges); and a Ring of Shooting Stars. He also has a small-sized magical Cloak of Elvenkind (approx. 95% invisibly when not in combat).

Aguiler has a healing potion.

Carnage Meter (in war)
Monsters/enemies
Slain: 268 (210)
Wounded: 80
Total casualties: 348
PC’s/Friends
Slain: 14 (80)

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Session 49 (Vault of the Drow, part 1)
Played on 9-18-20

Torc and Jadis sent messengers to Mardak, Night Shadow, and Aguiler about the attack on Castle Greyhawk by Lareth the Beautiful, and within 2 weeks the party assembled at Castle Greyhawk. They decided to take up Lareth’s challenge to find him in the Drow city of Erelhei-Cinlu before he could use the Drow’s magic to somehow reinvigorate the Temple of Elemental Evil to battle again. Instead of gathering a small army to accompany them, the party chose to take a low profile, stealthier approach and only brought 3 pack bearers and a mule to carry provisions and useful items with them on the journey.

On July 5, the party set out. Torc and Night Shadow used their Rings of Continual Light to light the way. Opening the secret door in the tunnel beneath Castle Greyhawk toward the Great Ridge, the party headed west down the secret tunnel under the marsh. After a quarter mile, they entered the natural cavern Aguiler had seen before that had abundant bats and small crawling albino insects and centepedes. They followed the cavern wall to their left until they found a 30’ x 20’ wide/high primary tunnel and a 20’ x 15’ secondary tunnel a quarter mile apart, both tunnels headed further westward per the map you obtained in Raven’s Crag.

The party decided to travel down the primary tunnel. Its ceiling height ranged from 20 to 50 feet, but kept a 25 to 35 foot width. The tunnel slowly went deeper into the earth, sometimes slanting down or having 3 foot terraces to clammer down. The limestone ceiling dripped, making the floor slippery and treacherous in places. Not far down the tunnel, phosphorescent lichen sprouted, casting a dim ghostly light in the tunnel that continued to provide dim illumination on their journey through the primary tunnel. Night Shadow, Aguiler, and Jadis scouted ahead of the party. Aguiler and Jadis could see normally with their infravision while Night Shadow could see just well enough to avoid stumbling on rocks in the dim light cast by the glowing lichens. A mile down the passage, Aguiler came across an elf-sized footprint in the rock mud that appeared to be headed in the direction they were following. About 40 feet ahead of the print, they saw a faint red glow behind a pile of stones like firelight. Jadis crept ahead alone to check it out and saw 3 fire beetles. Jadis crept back, and after a whispered report, the party decided to hug the north wall to avoid the creatures. However, the fire beetles were hungry and moved out from behind the stones to attack. But the party was ready, and Torc and Mardak who were in front made short work of the creatures with mighty blows from sword and mace. Night Shadow wildly shot his arrows and managed to snap his bowstring in the process. Luckily, he always carried a couple of replacement bowstrings with him, as necessary. Seven fire beetle glands were harvested for better natural light for this underworld, which the party believed would last them several days.

Going onward, the tunnel showed signs of considerable working and appeared to be frequently traveled by the wear in the limestone floor. After a half day of travel, they encountered a group of 10 male Drow, apparently warriors on patrol. Each were 4.5 to 5 feet tall with coal black skin and dead white hair. All were clad in blackened elven chainmail and dark elven cloaks and mostly armed with hand crossbows and short swords with the faintest detectible lichen-like glow (no gleam in light like normal steel) when drawn. The Drow asked the party in elvish (in a distinctive Drow dialect) to identify themselves and their business. The party respectfully kept their lights low when speaking with them in a mix of elven and common tongues and claimed they were merchants headed to Erelhei-Cinlu. Whether the Drow believed them, they could not say, but the Drow apparently did not consider them as a substantial threat and requested a bribe in common tongue that sounded strange and outdated (e.g. Wouldst ye ply me wi’ gemstones?). Night Shadow offered 6 magic arrows, but these were rejected due to their surface world elven make. Instead, a bribe of 200 gps in gemstones satisfied them and allowed the party to proceed down the tunnel. After another half day of travel, they stopped for the night in the tunnel without incident.

What they believed to be was the next day (it’s hard to tell without sunlight), the party continued deeper down the tunnel, and after a quarter day of travel, they reached a huge cavern, about 120’ square and its 150’ high ceiling dome supported by buttresses and flying arches carved into the living stone itself. Its walls were polished smooth up to 35 feet. Vegetation and minerals in the cavern gave off a dim bluish shadowless light. To the north, south, and southwest were 3 side tunnels, but the primary tunnel the party was following to the northwest was blocked by a 35 foot stone wall lined with battlements and patrolled by 4 male Drow warriors (armed much like their Drow patrol counterparts). Two massive bronze gates studded with spikes that projected outward was the only way through the wall.

After consideration, the party decided to try the same tactics they used with the patrol, but soon found that these guards were not as agreeable. Again, the party Identified themselves as merchants looking to trade in Erelhei-Cinlu, and the Drow allowed them through the gate. After taking 800 gps in gems as a toll, the party was soon surrounded by 16 male Drow fighters and further questioned, asking what merchant clan they were aligned with. When they could not produce credentials and said they were from Sobanwych (which the Drow present never heard of such town), Drow commander Trysik had their baggage searched, that initially uncovered only common tools and provisions. Jadis could tell the commander cast Detect Magic over the party, and looked somewhat impressed. After the party explained they were looking to buy exotic wares in Erelhei-Cinlu to trade to the surface world, the commander took the 2 best armored among them, Mardak and Torc, aside to his office to question them in common tongue. Trysik accused them of being spies, which they denied. Trysik cast another spell (Know Alignment), and said that Mardak reeked of the surface world and would not survive long without a black metal medallion that he showed them which had a spider on one face and a hot female Drow on the other face. Although Trysik appeared to not believe their stated business, he appeared disinclined to potentially engage in a battle to the death against the strong magic he detected on the party. Being chaotic evil without scruples, a suitable bribe would do that would not come back to haunt him. He proposed that Torc and Mardak and 1 other person they chose go kill the subterranean lizards that have been harassing traffic in the area from the north side passage. The others would be held as prisoners until the task was done. He did not know the exact number of lizards, but he estimated a pack of about a half dozen. He would accept 4 lizard heads as proof of completion of their mission, and Mardak would be given the black metal medallion on completion of the task. Of course, they needed to complete their mission and return within 24 hours or the 5 prisoners left behind would be killed (assuming they could not avoid execution by their own prowess).

The party’s general treasure is 348,000 cps; 287,300 sps; 40,000 eps; 125,900 gps; 9,000 pps; 33,760 gps in gems (21-10gp + 25-50p + 23-100gp + 16-500gp + 12-1,000gp + 2-5,000gp diamonds); 6 rings (8,250 gps); 5 jeweled figures (4,680 gps); 10 peridot gems (4-100 gp, 2-500 gps, and 4-1,000 gps – stitched on the ToEE Water cloak); a gold necklace (1,000 gps); a platinum ring with small ruby (2,000 gps); Dracock’s emerald jeweled dagger (5,000 gps); 7 fire beetle glands (4 days of light); 6 flasks of oil; 2 vials of holy water; 20 incense sticks (300 gps); +1 studded leather; +1 halberd; +1 hand axe; 1 cure blindness salve coated cloth; 5 potions: invisibility x 8 uses; unidentified pea green silver flecked potion; unidentified potion of pink color like Drow horsetail mushroom pendant; fearie fire spider blood (4 uses); a loadstone (worth 25 gps); silver helm with 15 blue quartz gems (250 gps); a silver amulet on a blue ribbon (30 gps); Pewter tableware (216 gps); Small golden chest (500 gps); Tapestry (80 gps); Ornamental bottle with moonstone stopper (1,000 gps); 1 wooden neck charm (poison resistance?); a manure soup recipe; 7 bronze Earth temple rings set with jet (350 gps); 2 gold Water temple rings set with peridot gems (1,500 gps); 5 ToEE black cloaks of the fiery eye, 1 ToEE black cloak of the golden skull, 1 brown cloak with 2 black triangles on it (earth temple), 2 red robes with purple lining and embroidered gold skulls (fire temple); and 1 Drow elf pink horsetail mushroom brooch. Also 2 riding horses (11, 7 hps).

Night Shadow has the following items: Leather armor +1 (gold thread on interior); +3 buckler; Boots of Elvenkind; Ring of Invisibility; poisoned needle (Zert’s chest); Darion’s dandy shoes (5 gps); Zenopus’s golden neck chain and pendant (300 gps); Zenopus’s +1 dagger; +1 longbow & 6 +3 arrows & 2 +2 fire arrows; 2 longswords; a short sword (giant’s knife); and 2 sugared fruits coated with Ichor of Intoxication.

Torc Ironwolf has the following items: +1 falchion chopper sword (1 failed weapon save); One-handed war hammer +1 (marked with silver glyphs, 1 failed weapon save); +5 small shield with 5 black fire gems; +1 small shield with wolf insignia; Ring of continual light; potions of growth & extra healing; and 2 medium warhorses (Furnok, a rare pure white stallion and excellent for breeding, 15 hps, worth 450 gps).

Mardak Chorster has the following items: Cloak of Protection (+1 AC & saving throws); +1 Ring of Protection; +2 platemail; +1 small shield with runes; 5 flasks of holy water; Scroll of Protection against undead; Cleric scroll: Death’s Door; 1 healing potion (4-10 hps); 4 ornate gold chalices with gold tray (500 gps); and the abbey’s fire opal (1,000 gps).

Jadis Varda has scroll spells of Enlarge, Sleep, Push, Levitate, Stinking Cloud, Run, and Fly; healing potion; clairvoyance potion; wand of petrification (2 charges); +3 Staff of Striking (8 charges); Staff of the Evoker (13 ch: unseen servant, armor, burning hands, magic missile, detect magic [1 ch]; invisibility, Leomund’s trap, locate object, whip, zephyr [2 ch]); +1 dagger; 2 throwing daggers; a Chime of Opening (22 charges); and a Ring of Shooting Stars. He also has a small-sized magical Cloak of Elvenkind (approx. 95% invisibly when not in combat).

Aguiler has a healing potion.

Carnage Meter (in war)
Monsters/enemies
Slain: 260 (210)
Wounded: 79
Total casualties: 339
PC’s/Friends
Slain: 14 (80)

View
Session 48 (Surprise Attack on Castle Greyhawk)
Played on 8-28-20

Night Shadow settled Into his role as Lord by marrying his lover from Nulb, Hotty, in summer of Year 4. Hotty and Night Shadow outwardly appeared to be “birds of a feather“, and made a good match. However, Night Shadow was not a favorite of Queen Questlonia for marrying a common (although fair faced) wench from Nulb, but was respected for his past heroism nonetheless. In any case, the King-Merchant of Iron (who quickly became the chief among the northland merchants In Waterkeg) did not hold such quibbles and still held Night Shadow in high esteem for saving his daughter nearly 3 years ago.

On June 20 of Year 4, construction was well on its way at several locations along the trade route, including Castle Greyhawk. Torc and Jadis made it their mission to build it up again. Torc considered building a port there to the Inner Sea, but because of the nearly perpetual fog around Castle Greyhawk, a lighthouse would need to be built there as well. Jadis wanted to build a wizard’s tower in the castle with a school of magic. So far, only the outer walls of the castle were rebuilt and some wooden barracks. Shortly after midnight, Torc and Jadis were poring over some blueprints of the planned rebuild when an alarm rang that sounded like a deep tolling bell. Within 3 rounds, the 2 guardian Tzzathogoyles flew over the watchmen on the walls by their watch fires, landed by the southwest tower, and entered the tower. Mindful of the danger of the Tzzathogoyles, the watchmen fled from them. Arming themselves, it did not take long for the Jadis and Torc to enter the courtyard and realize that the trap between the elf statues in the tunnel to the Great Ridge had been activated. They organized their men, ready with bows, in front of the courtyard door into the southwest tower.

Meanwhile, inside the tower, 8 huge hunting spiders emerged from the trapdoor to the cellar below. The Tzzathogoyles fought them, killing 2 and swallowing a third before being overcome by their poison. The Tzzathogoyles retreated, flying feebly to return to their posts by the moat before morphing back to stone again. Three men in the tower rained arrows down on the spiders, and 2 climbed up after them. Two guardsmen were slain by spiders, before the last retreated to the castle wall to join 6 more men. The fight continued on the wall until the huge spiders were slain, but not before 3 more men were slain by poison.

Below 3 huge spiders and 4 hairy hobgoblins (bugbears) burst through the tower door into the courtyard. But Torc, Jadis, and their men were waiting for them. A volley of arrows followed by Jadis’s Fireball spell killed all these strange invaders. However, more invaders were heard behind them, mocking the castle’s defenders with laughter. High whispered incantations from a female voice of weird elven accent and the chants of a deeper male voice came from the tower and magically held several of Torc’s guards. In response, Jadis cast a Sleep spell that was ineffective against theIr enemies. Realizing the danger of holding position, Torc ran into the tower to face the evil inside. Jadis chose a more careful approach, climbing up onto the south castle wall hoping the surprise/flank the invaders.

The inside of the tower was now only dimly lit with the dying flames from the Fireball spell, but Torc could see he was surrounded by 4 opponents. One he recognized was none other than the evil cleric, Lareth the Beautiful! The other 3 were Drow elves – tall and shapely females of human size with glossy coal-black skin and shiny silvery hair. Their eyes were larger than normal elves, being all pupil and amber irises. All 3 Drow battle elves were clad in dark cloaks and blackened chainmail. Their leader wore a vest or jupon emblazoned with an emblem of 2 crossed silver daggers.

Torc attacked with his magic chopper sword, but the weapon’s tang broke through the hilt on a mighty swing repelled by the breastplate of Lareth’s magic armor, and Torc had to drop his sword. He fended off the vicious attacks from the Drow short swords and mace of their leader as he drew out his magic war hammer and struck Lareth on the side of his helm. The vain Lareth bellowed, “Not my face, you bitch!”, but only a short sword and mace of the Drow struck Torc in return. Having slain the spiders, several men on the wall attempted to enter the tower from above, but were driven back by darts shot from 3 undiscovered Drow with hand crossbows. The darts were coated with potent sleep poison, putting 2 of them to sleep. Below, Torc succumbed to Lareth’s Hold Person spell, and the held Torc blocked his men from entering the cramped ground floor of the tower. Perhaps unexpectedly, the Drow elves used the opportunity to withdrawal back into the escape tunnel below instead of pressing the attack. Only Lareth remained behind, giving 2 spiteful blows to the held Torc with his mace before he followed the Drow elves down into the darkness.

Before leaving, Lareth challenged Torc as follows: “Trail me to the great city of Erelhei-Cinlu in the darkness below if you dare. With the wizardry of the Drow, the doors to the Temple of Elemental Evil will open again and the Gygaxlands will be overrun and conquered. All will be lost. Consider this the Temple’s Message of Doom to the Gorgo Gang!”

In the days that followed, messages were sent to alert Mardak and Night Shadow of recent events. Fortunately only the hilt to Torc’s magic sword was damaged and the blade remained intact. Within 10 days, Torc fashioned a sturdy new hilt and repaired the broken sword. It is now June 30.

The party’s general treasure is 348,000 cps; 287,300 sps; 40,000 eps; 125,900 gps; 9,000 pps; 34,760 gps in gems (26-10gp + 28-50p + 26-100gp + 17-500gp + 12-1,000gp + 2-5,000gp diamonds); 6 rings (8,250 gps); 5 jeweled figures (4,680 gps); 10 peridot gems (4-100 gp, 2-500 gps, and 4-1,000 gps – stitched on the ToEE Water cloak); a gold necklace (1,000 gps); a platinum ring with small ruby (2,000 gps); Dracock’s emerald jeweled dagger (5,000 gps); 6 flasks of oil; 2 vials of holy water; 20 incense sticks (300 gps); +1 studded leather; +1 halberd; +1 hand axe; 2 rings with continual light; 1 cure blindness salve coated cloth; 8 potions: Extra-Healing, 2 healing, growth, clairvoyance, invisibility x 8 uses; unidentified pea green silver flecked potion; unidentified potion of pink color like Drow horsetail mushroom pendant; fearie fire spider blood (4 uses); a loadstone (worth 25 gps); silver helm with 15 blue quartz gems (250 gps); a silver amulet on a blue ribbon (30 gps); Pewter tableware (216 gps); Small golden chest (500 gps); Tapestry (80 gps); Ornamental bottle with moonstone stopper (1,000 gps); 1 wooden neck charm (poison resistance?); a manure soup recipe; 7 bronze Earth temple rings set with jet (350 gps); 2 gold Water temple rings set with peridot gems (1,500 gps); 5 ToEE black cloaks of the fiery eye, 1 ToEE black cloak of the golden skull, 1 brown cloak with 2 black triangles on it (earth temple), 2 red robes with purple lining and embroidered gold skulls (fire temple); and 1 Drow elf pink horsetail mushroom brooch. Also 2 riding horses (11, 7 hps).

Night Shadow has the following items: Leather armor +1 (gold thread on interior); +3 buckler; Boots of Elvenkind; Ring of Invisibility; poisoned needle (Zert’s chest); Darion’s dandy shoes (5 gps); Zenopus’s golden neck chain and pendant (300 gps); Zenopus’s +1 dagger; +1 longbow & 6 +3 arrows & 2 +2 fire arrows; 2 longswords; a short sword (giant’s knife); and 2 sugared fruits coated with Ichor of Intoxication.

Torc Ironwolf has the following items: +1 falchion chopper sword (with new hilt); One-handed war hammer +1 (marked with silver glyphs, 1 failed weapon save); +5 small shield with 5 black fire gems; +1 small shield with wolf insignia; and 2 medium warhorses (Furnok, a rare pure white stallion and excellent for breeding, 15 hps, worth 450 gps).

Mardak Chorster has the following items: Cloak of Protection (+1 AC & saving throws); +1 Ring of Protection; +2 platemail; +1 small shield with runes; 5 flasks of holy water; Scroll of Protection against undead; Cleric scroll: Death’s Door; 1 healing potion (4-10 hps); 4 ornate gold chalices with gold tray (500 gps); and the abbey’s fire opal (1,000 gps).

Jadis Varda has scroll spells of Enlarge, Sleep, Push, Levitate, Stinking Cloud, Run, and Fly; a wand of petrification (2 charges); +3 Staff of Striking (8 charges); Staff of the Evoker (13 ch: unseen servant, armor, burning hands, magic missile, detect magic [1 ch]; invisibility, Leomund’s trap, locate object, whip, zephyr [2 ch]); +1 dagger; 2 throwing daggers; a Chime of Opening (22 charges); and a Ring of Shooting Stars. He also has a small-sized magical Cloak of Elvenkind (approx. 95% invisibly when not in combat).

Carnage Meter (in war)
Monsters/enemies
Slain: 257 (210)
Wounded: 79
Total casualties: 336
PC’s/Friends
Slain: 14 (80)

View
Session 47 (The Adventurers Build Strongholds)
Played on 8-14-20

At this time, the main party members of the Gorgo Gang are:
Night Shadow, 9th level thief;
Mardak Chorster, 8th level cleric;
Torc Ironwolf, 8th level fighter; and
Jadis Varda, 9th level halfling magic-user.

During Mardak, Night Shadow, and Torc’s month long stay in Waterkeg, they trained themselves in their professions, attaining higher levels of proficiency. During that time, the thieves, Night Shadow and Aguiler, examined the secret message given to Night Shadow, Mardak, and Freddy by Dox the Charitable, and although they made progress, they were unable to crack it. They previously figured that each symbol represented a letter and that the letters were structured based on a # and x pattern, with and without dots in them. They further found that the first and third lines of the cypher each had a string of 3 letters, which probably was a common word, believed to be can, eat, the, or some other word. It was believed the letters fit the # or x in a regular, not random, structure, but they could not figure where to begin the alphabet. Further research was needed to translate.

Mardak met with the high priest of Waterkeg, Foxor, to discuss his work on behalf of the All-Seeing Eye in the Gygaxlands, including bringing in new converts to their sect in Hommlett and elsewhere. Foxor was known as a cunning cleric, but often distracted by his unchecked greed, and was known to have been humiliated for being a cuckold. Therefore, he was sent away to oversee the church in Waterkeg, farthest away from the main church in Golddust. During his report to Foxor, Mardak told of the overland trade route being built by the party from Waterkeg to the Gygaxlands. Church leaders were excited to hear of the trade route, and encouraged Mardak to send pilgrims from the Gygaxlands to the mighty cathedrals in Waterkeg and Golddust. The greedy Foxor saw financial gain from having the pilgrims come north with their donations, while others, including Mardak’s longtime cleric friend, Zog, saw it as an opportunity to bring reform to heresies in the Gygaxlands through the pilgrims that come. Mardak agreed to establish a church where the pilgrims could seek rest along the trade route in the grassland west of the Tangled Wood. Since Mardak became a patriarch (8th level), he drew 90 fanatic followers (65 men and 25 women), including 25 men-at-arms among them, to help build and keep up to a 2,000 square foot church along the trade route. His friend, Zog (a 1st level cleric from Session 3) and Molt (a 2nd level cleric he met going to Lookout Tower with the +1 magical boomerang from Session 1) agreed to join and assist Mardak in his endeavor.

Night Shadow considered building an inn along the trade route, and Mardak persuaded him to build it in the marshlands where one was badly needed. Castle Greyhawk would also need to be fortified as the lynchpin and halfway point along the route. The north end of the tunnel above the Great Ridge would also need to be defended by a surrounding wall and keep, or perhaps just a gatehouse over the cleared (no longer secret) tunnel at a minimum cost of 3,000 gps.

Eventually, in late July, the party made their trek back to Verbobonc accompanied by a small retinue in 2 wagons with supplies provided by the Merchant of Iron, which included Barr Sweet-Tongue the Axe-Poet, Yura the handmaiden, and 12 able men. At the Great Ridge, the cave entrance was cleared. The party took a wagon down the tunnel to Castle Greyhawk. The pit trap between the elf statues was circumvented with long boards lain across it. From Castle Greyhawk, the party trekked on the ancient causeway, dragging their boat with them to Dry Land. From Dry Land, they rowed south towards the mighty Velverdyva River. At one juncture, they got lost in the marsh for 1 day, wrongly thinking they passed the point where they needed to cut through the saw grass to meet a stream that actually connected with the Velverdyva River. However, in spite the delay, they were able to make their way back to Verbobonc avoiding any danger. Aguiler returned to Dyvers, and he was able to relay a message to Jadis to meet the others in Verbobonc.

In Verbobonc, after 3 months, Barr Sweet-Tongue and Yura (with good references from Viscounts Pike a/k/a Night Shadow and Ironwolf a/k/a Torc) were able entice Queen Questlonia into a marriage union with the Merchant of Iron to unite the 2 countries. The marriage occurred in January of the next year (year 4). As a result of their building of a trade route between the countries, Mardak, Night Shadow, and Torc (and by association, Jadis) were promoted to Lords of the Lands Between (the Nomadic Grasslands and the North Sawgrass Marsh). The lands were to be divided among the 4 adventurers as they saw fit.

Mardak chose a plot west of the Tangled Wood in the Nomadic Grasslands to build his church for a resting point for the pilgrims. The basic cost of constructing the church building was 1,500 gps, and the cost of the altar and holy water font with silver basin (capable of creating 10 vials of holy water each week) was 3,400 gps. Although invasive, Mardak was able to persuade the nomads (including Skoo’s nomadic tribe) to keep peace with the new church by saying that the pilgrims were wanders just like them who shared a common religion with the All-Seeing Eye (or the Eternal Eye, as the Southern Nomads often refer to the god). The nomads agreed to not harass any pilgrims that bore the sign of the All-Seeing Eye.

As for merchants on the trade route, they always traveled in several carts/wagons or in twice as many boats. The groups that traveled the route were well armed and capable of repelling the nomads (and other dangers) without bearing the sign of the All-Seeing Eye. Thankfully, the merchant caravans across the grasslands were few enough not to provoke the nomads into breaking their treaty with Mardak. Over time, the nomads even sought an opportunity to trade with the passing merchants.

Castle Greyhawk took about 25,000 gps to repair. Torc Ironwolf himself spearheaded the rebuilding of Castle Greyhawk and defending the trade route through the marsh from enemies. Night Shadow took charge of building a fortified inn on log stilts/pilings in the marsh, costing about 1,250 gps. Clearing and repairing the ancient causeway to Dry Land and floating buoys in the marshland to guide merchant boats through the marsh cost another 3,000 gps. Reports came that there was a small goblin tribe along the coast several miles south of Castle Greyhawk. Inland from Castle Greyhawk, there were also hostile, but disorganized, lizardman (and savage bullywugs further inland) to contend with. Sometimes lizardmen or bullywugs moved buoys to waylay travelers, causing the need to fight the monsters off and replace the buoys, and Torc led the way leaving smoke and fire in his wake.

During the year at Castle Greyhawk, it was discovered from reports by merchants and castle residents that the 2 frog demon stone statues by the drawbridge and moat were living beings that animated once per month at night or immediately if touched. They acted as guardians of Castle Greyhawk for the Mad Mage Zagyg himself. The 2 Tzzathogoyles will not attack castle residents, but will defend the castle from outside invaders (those climbing over walls or damaging the castle from outside), attack those who touch them, and attack those who sound the magical alarm when the pit trap between the elf statues is triggered below the castle.

Night Shadow’s friend from Tarp Street in Waterkeg, Rulmuth (from Session 3), joined Night Shadow in his efforts to establish the trade route. Night Shadow also recruited 3 others from Hommlett: (1) Chip the man-at-arms who you saved from imprisonment in the Temple of Elemental Evil (0 lvl, 6 hps, from Session 21); (2) Fuffer the dwarf light footman (lvl 0, 6 hps, from Session 7); and (3) Svipul the elf huntress (lvl 0, 4 hps – armed with bow, from Session 7) with 3 other elf archers. Unfortunately, Elmo settled down with Cassandra from the Inn of the Welcome Wench, and will not help unless the need is urgent. Of course, the party still had Vanguard the paladin, Gulsh the fighter, and Beggar Tod the scribe at their disposal. Other able-bodied men were hired as workers and guardsmen as needed.

Aguiler helped supervise the first boats/wagons through the trade route hauling goods from Vathak to Waterkeg. Other shipments followed, and later more trade goods originated from Verbobonc than from Dyvers. In spite the challenges, the trade and pilgrimage route was profitable for the adventurers, but mostly paid for the provisioning and upkeep of their strongholds along the route. The true value of the trade route to the adventurers was in their new lordships that brought influence, respect, land, and power.

The party’s general treasure is 350,200 cps; 288,000 sps; 40,000 eps; 126,000 gps; 9,000 pps; 34,760 gps in gems (26-10gp + 28-50p + 26-100gp + 17-500gp + 12-1,000gp + 2-5,000gp diamonds); 6 rings (8,250 gps); 5 jeweled figures (4,680 gps); 10 peridot gems (4-100 gp, 2-500 gps, and 4-1,000 gps – stitched on the ToEE Water cloak); a gold necklace (1,000 gps); a platinum ring with small ruby (2,000 gps); Dracock’s emerald jeweled dagger (5,000 gps); 6 flasks of oil; 2 vials of holy water; 20 incense sticks (300 gps); +1 studded leather; +1 halberd; +1 hand axe; 2 rings with continual light; 1 cure blindness salve coated cloth; 8 potions: Extra-Healing, 2 healing, growth, clairvoyance, invisibility x 8 uses; unidentified pea green silver flecked potion; unidentified potion of pink color like Drow horsetail mushroom pendant; fearie fire spider blood (4 uses); a loadstone (worth 25 gps); silver helm with 15 blue quartz gems (250 gps); a silver amulet on a blue ribbon (30 gps); Pewter tableware (216 gps); Small golden chest (500 gps); Tapestry (80 gps); Ornamental bottle with moonstone stopper (1,000 gps); 1 wooden neck charm (poison resistance?); a manure soup recipe; 7 bronze Earth temple rings set with jet (350 gps); 2 gold Water temple rings set with peridot gems (1,500 gps); 5 ToEE black cloaks of the fiery eye, 1 ToEE black cloak of the golden skull, 1 brown cloak with 2 black triangles on it (earth temple), 2 red robes with purple lining and embroidered gold skulls (fire temple); and 1 Drow elf pink horsetail mushroom brooch. Also 2 riding horses (11, 7 hps).

Night Shadow has the following items: Leather armor +1 (gold thread on interior); +3 buckler; Boots of Elvenkind; Ring of Invisibility; poisoned needle (Zert’s chest); Darion’s dandy shoes (5 gps); Zenopus’s golden neck chain and pendant (300 gps); Zenopus’s +1 dagger; +1 longbow & 6 +3 arrows & 2 +2 fire arrows; 2 longswords; a short sword (giant’s knife); and 2 sugared fruits coated with Ichor of Intoxication.

Torc Ironwolf has the following items: +1 falchion chopper sword; One-handed war hammer +1 (marked with silver glyphs, 1 failed weapon save); +5 small shield with 5 black fire gems; +1 small shield with wolf insignia; and 2 medium warhorses (Furnok, a rare pure white stallion and excellent for breeding, 15 hps, worth 450 gps).

Mardak Chorster has the following items: Cloak of Protection (+1 AC & saving throws); +1 Ring of Protection; +2 platemail; +1 small shield with runes; 5 flasks of holy water; Scroll of Protection against undead; Cleric scroll: Death’s Door; 1 healing potion (4-10 hps); 4 ornate gold chalices with gold tray (500 gps); and the abbey’s fire opal (1,000 gps).

Jadis Varda has scroll spells of Enlarge, Sleep, Push, Levitate, Stinking Cloud, Run, and Fly; a wand of petrification (2 charges); +3 Staff of Striking (8 charges); Staff of the Evoker (13 ch: unseen servant, armor, burning hands, magic missile, detect magic [1 ch]; invisibility, Leomund’s trap, locate object, whip, zephyr [2 ch]); +1 dagger; 2 throwing daggers; a Chime of Opening (22 charges); and a Ring of Shooting Stars. He also has a small-sized magical Cloak of Elvenkind (approx. 95% invisibly when not in combat).

Carnage Meter (in war)
Monsters/enemies
Slain: 245 (210)
Wounded: 79
Total casualties: 324
PC’s/Friends
Slain: 9 (80)

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Session 46 (Return to Waterkeg)
Played on 7-31-20

On June 15, the third day of travel to Waterkeg, the party came upon 3 grazing wild mustangs atop the hill, A white stallion, a brown mare, and a roan filly. The horses were not startled by the approaching party, and the party, led by Torc, slowly approached the horses. Aguiler provided Torc with a carrot from his rations, and Torc was able to feed the carrot to the stallion and stroke its muzzle. Unlike the 2 female horses, the pure white stallion’s hooves were shod as a domesticated medium warhorse. The female horses did not flee, but followed the stallion. Using a rope, Torc was able to gently lead the stallion west down the hill to a pond beside the Tangled Wood and the party spent the night there.

The next day, Torc was able to mount the stallion bareback for 5 minutes, and decided to call him Furnok in memory of the slain Furnok of Ferd (see Sessions 16 & 17). With only a passing drizzle that day, the party traveled to the western edge of the Tangled Wood and camped for the night. During the early morning hours of twilight, Aguiler and Torc were stirred from their sleep near the last embers of dying fire by a creature darting past them. Torc could not make out the creature in the twilight, but the night vision of Aguiler could see it clearly. It was a scavenging jackel, which snatched a purse of gems that Torc was admiring in the firelight before falling asleep. The jackel fled, but having his bow handy, Aguiler was able to place an arrow through it before it got away, saving them about 500 gps in snatched gemstones. The jackel appeared to be wild with no collar, brands, stains, or other markings on it to show ownership.

At daylight, the party traveled north, and the day was partly cloudy. At late morning the party was approached by 3 southern nomad horse riders. They were characteristically dressed in tan leather with abundant fringe and armed with bows. Two stayed back while one wearing a skunk fur hat approached. In the annoying cooing southern nomadic dialect of the common tongue, the nomad demanded back the white stallion of his leader, Skoo, which he accused Torc of stealing. Through wise diplomacy, Torc was able to persuade the skunk hatted nomad to bring Skoo to them. Skoo arrived with 10 bowmen, all on horseback. They formed a semi-circle around the party, and Skoo demanded return of his white stallion (incidentally he called it Ghost, now renamed Furnok). The stallion did not appear to like its old harsh master and brayed and backed away from Skoo. At one point, the incensed Skoo lassoed the horse, which caused the horse to whinny and rise up on its hind legs in protest. Skoo facing difficulty controlling his runaway horse, became more easily persuaded to negotiate a trade. Torc was able to skillfully persuade Skoo to trade Furnok for his +1 battle axe, and avoid a scuffle. Before departing with his men, Skoo threw a whip to Torc and advised him that the white stallion was wild and he’d need it to discipline it often. Skoo then spat on the ground, said an unkind word about Waterkeggers, and rode off.

The party continued north without further incident. The weather was clear, sunny, and breezy. The horses became more tame under Torc’s supervision. The brown mare and roan filly were still not rideable, but could be led. In 2 days they reached the Rune River, which they followed east toward Lake Rune and the city of Waterkeg. They crossed the river at the first ford, and walked the main road until they returned to Waterkeg on June 20, 15 months after they left to the Gygaxlands.

After briefly visiting their old haunts, friends, and family, the party returned to business. On June 22, Night Shadow and the party met with the Merchant of Iron. At that time, they learned their old companion, Felix, and his wife, Lemunda the Lovely (the Merchant of Iron’s daughter), had their first child. After catching up, the Merchant of Iron sought information on the overland trade route. The party gave him a sobering summary of the challenges about keeping the trade route open, and the dangers faced by Queen Questlonia from the Temple of Elemental Evil, and the sacrifice in blood shed by the party for their achievements to date. In spite this, the Merchant of Iron was excited about the prospect of courting Queen Questlonia and potentially uniting the 2 distant nations, thereby increasing his power and prestige in the northern Merchant oligarchy in the process. He believed that he could provide better quality iron for weapons and armor to defend the Gygaxlands, as well as some military support, which the Queen would likely welcome. The Merchant would send 2 emissaries with the party on their return trip to Verbobonc: Barr Sweet-Tongue and Yura, both fluent in the Gygaxlands’ common tongue. Barr Sweet-Tongue is an Axe Poet (warrior poet) and Yura is a handmaiden, who will both be useful in his long-distance courtship of Queen Questlonia. As promised, the Merchant would give titles of Knighthood to the party for their success, but since Torc and Night Shadow were already viscounts of the Gygaxlands, he was concerned about possible compromised loyalties if he could not secure a marriage between Queen Questlonia and himself. However, if the trade route was completed and the nations united, the party members would likely rise to dukes in the new hierarchy. The party could potentially control the vast territory between Verbobonc and Waterkeg and become semi-autonomous rulers themselves, perhaps placing themselves in line for kingship or even rebellious warlord. To do that, they would need to build forts along the trade route, and these forts in turn would attract settlers to build towns around them. The settlers could be a mix of people from both united nations, Dyverians, southern nomads, Tocharians, dwarves from the Great Ridge, and perhaps elves and halflings too. They will likely also be challenged in their endeavors by the southern nomads, lizardmen, bullywugs, and other creatures of the North Sawgrass Marsh, not to mention a resurgence of the Temple of Elemental Evil. What will be done next depends on each party member’s ambitions.

Among other activities, over the next month until July 22, Mardak, Night Shadow, and Torc had a chance to train in Waterkeg and each officially gain their next level. Mardak is an 8th level Cleric (Patriarch). Night Shadow is a 9th level Thief. Torc is an 8th level Fighter (Superhero). Jadis Varda will be a 9th level Magic-user (Sorcerer) by August 6 (roughly when the party returns to Dyvers). The new guy, Aguiler, still hasn’t gained a level, but is learning Waterkeg common tongue.

The party’s general treasure is 450,000 cps; 360,000 sps; 70,000 eps; 139,915 gps; 10,000 pps; 34,800 gps in gems (30-10gp + 28-50gp + 26-100gp + 17-500gp + 12-1,000gp + 2-5,000gp diamonds); 6 rings (8,250 gps); 7 pins (2,500 gps); 12 pendants (3,600 gps); 5 jeweled figures (4,680 gps); 10 peridot gems (4-100 gp, 2-500 gps, and 4-1,000 gps – stitched on the ToEE Water cloak); a gold necklace (1,000 gps); a platinum ring with small ruby (2,000 gps); Dracock’s emerald jeweled dagger (5,000 gps); 6 flasks of oil; 2 vials of holy water; 20 incense sticks (300 gps); +1 studded leather; +1 halberd; +1 hand axe; 2 rings with continual light; 1 cure blindness salve coated cloth; 8 potions: Extra-Healing, 2 healing, growth, clairvoyance, invisibility x 8 uses; unidentified pea green silver flecked potion; unidentified potion of pink color like Drow horsetail mushroom pendant; fearie fire spider blood (4 uses); a loadstone (worth 25 gps); silver helm with 15 blue quartz gems (250 gps); a silver amulet on a blue ribbon (30 gps); Pewter tableware (216 gps); Small golden chest (500 gps); Tapestry (80 gps); Ornamental bottle with moonstone stopper (1,000 gps); 1 wooden neck charm (poison resistance?); a manure soup recipe; 7 bronze Earth temple rings set with jet (350 gps); 2 gold Water temple rings set with peridot gems (1,500 gps); 5 ToEE black cloaks of the fiery eye, 1 ToEE black cloak of the golden skull, 1 brown cloak with 2 black triangles on it (earth temple), 2 red robes with purple lining and embroidered gold skulls (fire temple); and 1 Drow elf pink horsetail mushroom brooch. Also 2 riding horses (11, 7 hps).

Night Shadow has the following items: Leather armor +1 (gold thread on interior); +3 buckler; Boots of Elvenkind; Ring of Invisibility; poisoned needle (Zert’s chest); Darion’s dandy shoes (5 gps); Zenopus’s golden neck chain and pendant (300 gps); Zenopus’s +1 dagger; +1 longbow & 6 +3 arrows & 2 +2 fire arrows; 2 longswords; a short sword (giant’s knife); and 2 sugared fruits coated with Ichor of Intoxication.

Torc Ironwolf has the following items: +1 falchion chopper sword; One-handed war hammer +1 (marked with silver glyphs, 1 failed weapon save); +5 small shield with 5 black fire gems; +1 small shield with wolf insignia; and 2 medium warhorses (Furnok, a rare pure white stallion and excellent for breeding, 15 hps, worth 450 gps).

Mardak Chorster has the following items: Cloak of Protection (+1 AC & saving throws); +1 Ring of Protection; +2 platemail; +1 small shield with runes; 5 flasks of holy water; Scroll of Protection against undead; Cleric scroll: Death’s Door; 1 healing potion (4-10 hps); 4 ornate gold chalices with gold tray (500 gps); and the abbey’s fire opal (1,000 gps).

Jadis Varda has scroll spells of Enlarge, Sleep, Push, Levitate, Stinking Cloud, Run, and Fly; a wand of petrification (2 charges); +3 Staff of Striking (8 charges); Staff of the Evoker (13 ch: unseen servant, armor, burning hands, magic missile, detect magic [1 ch]; invisibility, Leomund’s trap, locate object, whip, zephyr [2 ch]); +1 dagger; 2 throwing daggers; a Chime of Opening (22 charges); and a Ring of Shooting Stars. He also has a small-sized magical Cloak of Elvenkind (approx. 95% invisibly when not in combat).

Carnage Meter (in war)
Monsters/enemies
Slain: 245 (210)
Wounded: 79
Total casualties: 324
PC’s/Friends
Slain: 9 (80)

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Session 45 (The Tocharians)
Played on 7-17-20

Day became night, and Jimgran was dead, brutally slain by 2 monstrous, bat winged, frog-like demons. Luckily, the batrachian demons were too large to follow the party through the trap door down into the southeast tower cellar of Castle Greyhawk. Not daring to fight their way back into Castle Greyhawk above and considering their options, the party decided to go back down the tunnel to return to Waterkeg. On empty stomachs, they trekked the 12 miles through the tunnel and exited again atop the Great Ridge. They then headed east following the Great Ridge to the sea. The Ridge was still steep and treacherous where it met the sea, but following the coastline north, the land gradually went downhill until they arrived at a small area of beach with a breakwater at the southern edge of the Tangled Wood. They saw a couple of cabins and several tents there. The workmen gathered around these structures were foreigners, having brown, sandy, or auburn hair; pale complexions; and dressed in brightly colored and embroidered tabbards. Anchored near their camp was a sailing ship with white cloth sails. This must be the logging camp of seafaring Tocharians the Merchant of Southtown in Waterkeg told them about!

Haling them, the Tocharians were surprised to see them, but were not unfriendly. A few of their 38 men spoke the common tongue of the Gygaxlands, as they did trade in Dyvers occasionally. The party described themselves as lost wanderers from the Gygaxlands, and the Tocharians did not question this story as it appeared most reasonable to them. They never got visitors at this logging camp. Since the Tocharians never went further inland than Dyvers or this logging camp, they asked mostly general questions about the Gygaxlands and not so much about the party’s own personal business or adventures.

The party met with their captain, Chigrian, who wore clothes made of silk. He told them about the land of Han Chin and the city-state of Tochar where they came from across the sea. The information they heard lined up with what the Merchant of Southtown told them before. Tochar lies across the Inner Sea to the east, south of great desert, and north of the Great Wall built by the Han Chin. The land of Han Chin was once ruled by an emperor also named Han Chin, who built the Great Wall with slaves before his death. The Great Wall was built to keep out the “barbarians” to the north, which included the Tocharians. However, the Han Chin still traded with the Tocharians at a single sea port just south of the Great Wall. Tochar’s chief trade good to the Han Chin is opium, which they grow in the fertile river highlands above Tochar. The Han Chin are interested in little else the Tocharians can sell to them, and many of the Han Chin warriors and people are addicted to opium. The Tocharians most sparingly use opium themselves for medicinal purposes because of its addictive qualities. Opium is more valuable for trade than self use to Tocharians. Han Chin’s empire is now divided between 5 warlords that rule with iron hands over their subjects. These warlords seldom have any open conflict between each other. The oppressed Han Chin people often resort to piracy to sustain themselves. By using cloth sails instead of bamboo sails used on the warlords’ ships, the pirates have the advantage with ship maneuverability when attacking. (And Night Shadow suspects that the “barbaric” Tocharians may also occasionally prey on Han Chin ships themselves given the opportunity). Piracy is dealt with brutally by the warlords. A captured pirate gets his feet nailed to the deck, beaten, and beheaded. The slain pirate’s head will be displayed in buckets on the side of the ship.

Chigrian told the party that the Tocharians have been logging this area sporadically for 40 years, but have never never built permanent structures here other than the cabins, which are shared by various visiting logging crews. The wood is sold and used mostly for ship building in Tochar. Logging crews come mostly in the Spring (May and June), staying for 2 to 3 weeks at a time, but can come any time of year. Chigrian freely sold 4 backpacks filled with 10 days of rations to the party, and the party went on their way to Waterkeg the next day. The party left with the impression that the Tocharians are not a warlike folk, enjoying the freedom of the sea, but they appeared confident in their defensive capabilities, and not at all fearful of the party of adventurers. However, they did not tell you of their defensive power any more than the party told them of the power of their own weapons and armor.

Over the first 2 days of travel, the party traveled westward on foot, skirting the south end of the Tangled Wood. The weather was clear and comfortable. On the third day of travel, June 15, the party started traveling northwest around the Tangled Wood. The weather became cloudy, but stayed dry. About 4:00 p.m., as they begun to climb a low hill, 3 grazing wild mustangs appeared atop the hill about 60 yards away. The horses appeared majestic. A white stallion stood between a brown mare and a roan filly. The horses were not startled by the approaching party when first seen, and the party stood momentarily in awe.

(My traditional closing information has been edited out this session).

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Session 44 (Castle Greyhawk, part 2)
Played virtually on 7-10-20

The cellar’s trapdoor had another iron ladder inside, but it went some 60 feet downward into the darkness. Aguiler climbed down the ladder first, and after the way was found clear using his native infravision (from elvish blood per Aguilar), the other adventurers followed with their Continual Light rings to light their way. At the bottom of the ladder, a gently downward-sloping stonework hall with a Gothic arched ceiling curved north to a stone staircase that descended 20 feet down to a 30 foot long landing. Beyond the landing was another stairway descending another 20 feet down into the bedrock. In the midst of the landing were 2 statutes on 3-foot-tall square pedestals placed against the wall. Both statues were male elf figures holding lyres and girded with swords. The east statue was a wood elf scornfully looking at the elf across from it. The west statue had elf characteristics that you had never seen before. It was 4.5 feet tall with larger eyes and ears than a normal elf, but still comely. It’s scowling expression was directed toward the wood elf across from it. Suspecting traps in the area, Night Shadow skillfully spotted a pit trap between the 2 statues. Night Shadow tried to disarm the trap with a wedge, but was unable to do so. He was able to safely lower the pit cover enough to determine that the pit below was 15 feet deep, and Incidentally, Night Shadow noted 2 hidden portcullises in the ceiling would drop down if the pit trap was triggered. The pit trap would not necessarily activate with the first person walking on it. The party suspected that the 2 statues might fall on the person falling into the pit, but further examination found that this was unlikely based on the statutes’ anchoring. The party chose to jump across, and they were all able to successfully jump across with Mardak and Torc taking off their bulky armor and hurling it across first.

The party continued on their way, and the tunnel curved northwest. After 2 miles of travel, the party decided to rest and spend the night in the tunnel. The tunnel was quiet, and nothing but stray bats and a couple of small harmless albino insects were encountered during the night. The next morning (by their estimation), the party continued following the tunnel northwest toward the direction of the Great Ridge. At first, the tunnel gradually descended, but after 3 miles, the tunnel gradually ascended to eventually lead to an exit. The tunnel was wide enough for a cart or a small wagon and had a smooth, even floor that would permit same to travel the entire length of the tunnel. Toward the north end of the tunnel, there were a few shallow puddles. The party found sunlight shining at the exit to the tunnel. The north exit was partially collapsed with dirt and overgrown with grasses, but the party was able to climb out a narrow opening to find themselves atop the Great Ridge. With some dirt clearing, there was a viable (and profitable) overland trade route from Waterkeg to the Gygaxlands below. Eureka!

Initially the party wanted to continue north to Waterkeg. Waterkeg’s Merchant of Iron was interested in establishing a trade route to Verbobonc. He promised to make the party members knights and give them other considerable rewards for clearing a safe reliable path to Verbobonc. Additionally, Mardak wanted to report to his church about his mission to peacefully reform the heretical teachings of the churches around Verbobonc, particularly the druids who claimed to embrace the raw essence of the All-Seeing Eye (and to a lesser extent, the church of St. Cuthbert since Mardak’s sect did not deify saints). However, Jimgran the Wanderer dissuaded the party from immediately completing their journey to Waterkeg. For 10 gps more, Jimgran would accompany them to Waterkeg, but he insisted returning to his boat left at Castle Greyhawk to resupply with enough food, water, and other provisions for the 1 week trip to Waterkeg. (The party only had enough provisions with them for a day trip. Moreover, Jimgran did not like the party’s plan to blindly wander the plains north following random herds for potential sustenance. He was more confident in the party’s fighting skills versus their hunting skills). The party grudgingly agreed to return to Castle Greyhawk to reprovision.

The trip back was not difficult, and they had Jimgran lead the way. Returning to the landing with the pit trap, Night Shadow and Aguiler were prepared with a solution to temporarily disarm the trap using glue they quickly manufactured during a prior rest break. The glue would safely hold the pit trap shut for 1 person’s weight for a few days. Aguiler further examined the 2 statues and found the hilt of the short scowling elf statue moved backward as a lever, opening a secret door in the western wall north of the elf statues. Aguiler fully opened the secret door and followed a tunnel similar in appearance to the tunnel towards the Great Ridge. This tunnel ran westward for a quarter mile before ending in a large natural cavern with abundant bats and small albino insects. Aguiler returned to the party, and decided to explore it no further.

Jimgran led the party back up the 60-foot ladder to the Castle Greyhawk tower cellar. He then climbed up the 12-foot ladder to the first floor of the tower. As Jimgran reached the top of the ladder, he was ambushed by 2 hideous monsters. It appeared as if the 2 frog-like bat winged demon statues they passed as they entered Castle Greyhawk had come to life! Their skins were glossy green-black, except for their scaly bellies being a putrid yellow color, and bat fur covered their arms, legs, and backs. With belching croaks, their sticky tongues lashed Jimgran, flaying his skin and wrenching his joints out of their sockets as the creatures’ tongues pulled him in opposite directions. With a blood curtling scream Jimgran died.

In horror, none of the adventurers dared follow the ill-fated Jimgran up the ladder to face the monsters and backed away from the base of the ladder. The 9-foot tall demonic beasts were too large to squeeze through the narrow trapdoor to pursue the party in the cellar, and waited above. The sun set into night.

The party only had enough rations on them to last that night. With this in mind, the party considered their options. They could either (1) fight through (or perhaps wait out) the bat-frog demons, (2) go through the secret door and explore the Underdark, which may lead them to the Drow, or (3) go back up the tunnel to return to Waterkeg. Mardak Chorster recalled the Merchant of Southtown in Waterkeg telling them of the seafaring Tocharians (from Tochar, a far eastern land across the Inner Sea), who have a logging camp nestled on the coast south of the Tangled Wood and north of the Great Ridge. Perhaps they would trade for provisions sufficient to travel to Waterkeg? With Jimgran their guide across the marsh dead, the party was still hopeful that they would be able to eventually find their way back to Dyvers based on their shared recollections of landmarks across the marsh.

(My traditional closing information has been edited out this session).

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Session 43 (Castle Greyhawk, part 1)
Played virtually on 5-28-20

Surveying the front of Castle Greyhawk through the clinging mist, the party decided to circle the moat clockwise before attempting to approach the bridge. Before they began their circumspection, they saw a platypus climb up from the murky moat onto the edge of the causeway. The Waterkegers had never seen such a strange creature, but the Dyverians, Aguiler and Jimgran, recognized the rare creature. Although the fur is valuable, none of the party was interested in hunting the platypus for its fur, and the platypus returned to swimming in the moat.

The party found the moat was fed by a barely flowing stream to the north of the causeway. The moat encircled Castle Greyhawk, and behind the castle was the rock strewn sandy shoreline of the Inner Sea. Castle Greyhawk was situated on a steep rock, climbing 30 feet straight up from the far edge of the moat to the base of the castle. Castle Greyhawk was roughly square-shaped, about 50-60 yards wide and 60-75 yards long with towers at each of the 4 corners. However, most of the towers had crumbled, and only the southwest tower remained fully standing after 1,000 years. The thick stone walls between the towers still stood, but had partially crumbled such that sections of wall varied between 10 and 25 feet high.

The history of Castle Greyhawk is mysterious. Built 1,000 years ago by Mad Mage Zagyg in an extremely remote location and constantly hidden by fog/mist on this coast, little is known about what happened at Castle Greyhawk since Zagyg’s passing about 900 years ago. Some say that Zagyg’s Tomb of Terrors lies beneath Castle Greyhawk, but others say he was buried in another land searching for the Hall of Endless Treasure. Who or what resided here since Zagyg’s passing is unknown. Most folk stay away from here, even fearing to say the Mad Mage’s name for fear of drawing his attention from beyond the grave. Thus, Zagyg is known as Gygax in the Gygaxlands. The intelligent creatures that live in the marsh, mostly bullywugs and lizardmen, might prefer to lair deeper in the vast Northern Sawgrass Marsh. In any case, the castle’s state of preservation appears that persons may have lived here as recently as 30 years ago although you wonder if high magic is actually preserving this abandoned castle ruin.

Returning to the front of the castle, the party determined that the best route in was through the front door. The party cautiously walked between the 2 horrific 9-foot tall granite statues of weird amphibian demons with horned bat wings, and crossed the mossy stone bridge to its end midway across the moat. Using the Chime of Opening lent to them by Jadis for this mission, the heavy hickory beam drawbridge was magically lowered to permit them to cross over to the front entrance.

A Gothic arch framed the front entrance. Beneath the arch, a pair of sturdy, locked, iron-bound oaken doors with iron spikes projecting from them prevented entry. An iron door knocker was set in the right door. Below it was a keyhole, and above it was a sigil. The sigil was composed of 4 interlocking circles. The circles had the following pictures in them: An eye (top circle), open hand (right circle), dagger (left circle). The bottom circle was blank. Night Shadow deftly picked the lock to open it, but he received a minor electrical shock while doing so. The sigil’s eye began to blink and a magic mouth appeared in the blank circle and said in each listeners’ native tongue: “Ahem! ‘Tis some visitor tapping at my chamber door, only this and nothing more! Greetings seekers! Come for a bit of hash and slack, trip or track, pot o’ jack? Well look no farther – you’ve come to the right place! Just don’t blame ‘Old Z’ if you go splat. The Butler’s key is under the mat, though please be sure to place it back.” The party observed an old and dirty horsehair mat shoved into the corner away from the door.

Having picked the front door lock, the adventurers entered through the doors and strode through a 12 foot long tunnel under the wall and walked into large courtyard. The courtyard was overgrown with long grasses and had 2 collapsed wooden buildings. Their short investigation of the courtyard and building debris only found two humanoid arm bones and a rusted long sword.

The party decided to investigate the only structure that appeared promising, the still standing 50 foot tall southwest tower. Generally, the round tower had 4 floors and a roof. Each floor had an interior of 12 foot diameter and had a 6 foot thick wall. The first floor only contained scrap pieces of wood and a few broken javelin shafts. Climbing the narrow perimeter stairs inside to the second floor, they came to a stuck door. After 3 attempts, Torc was able to break through the stuck door, but he was immediately attacked by 6 stirges lairing inside the tower. Torc rather quickly slew 5 of the flying creatures with his chopper sword. Only 1 stirge managed to pierce Torc’s armor by landing on his back, but with amazing swordplay, Torc was able slay it with a behind the back sword stroke. Night Shadow slew the remaining stirge with 2 slashes from Zenopus’s magic dagger.

Finding nothing of value on the second floor, they climbed the stairs to the third floor. Through a locked door the party entered a room stocked with racks containing 78 crossbow bolts and 60 arrows – all of elite quality. Two of the arrows were dyed red and the arrow points were warm to the touch. These 2 arrows were believed to be endowed with fire magic, and Night Shadow kept them for later use. From this floor, a side turret attached to the tower had a spiral stairway up to the fourth floor and the roof.

On the fourth floor, the party discovered 2 corpses of undetermined age (but likely 100 or more years old) dressed in rusted scale mail, chainmail coifs, and plain, moth-eaten purple tabards. Their weapons were crossbows and glaive-guisarmes. The antique/ancient glaive-guisarmes were of fine quality and still useable if treated for rust. Close inspection of the bodies found their jaws impossibly agape and their bony hands clutching their necks. Their now hardened skin was pulled taught over their skulls, and their skin had a greenish tinge. The party suspected they died of poisoning, perhaps from poison gas. Nothing else of interest was found here, and the party climbed the turret’s spiral stairs up to the roof.

The entrance from the turret to the roof was blocked by a locked iron door which neither thief was able to pick, but Torc was able to break through it by a combination of shoulder force and battering the lock with his magic hammer. The slate roof was 24 feet in diameter and had 3-foot thick battlements around its perimeter. There were openings under the wall here (machicolations) to pour burning oil or drop stones upon invaders. The turret also had loopholes to fire arrows and quarrels upon invaders from different angles. From the roof, there was a fine view of the precincts below. Nothing unusual was noted anywhere below at that time.

Returning down to the first level, the party first noticed a trapdoor in the floor obscured by the wood debris. Opening it, one-by-one they climbed down an iron ladder to a stuck iron-bound wooden door. Breaking through it, they saw a 12 foot diameter storeroom littered with the remains of wine kegs once stored there. Sifting through the debris, a secret trapdoor was revealed in the middle of the room, but the adventurers could not figure how to open it. Using their Chime of Opening again, they heard a popping sound at the edge of the cellar. Going in the direction of the popping sound, they saw that a small flagstone opened up at the edge of the wall. Inside there was a stone lever that opened the trapdoor when pulled. The trapdoor had another iron ladder inside, but it went some 60 feet downward into the darkness..

The party’s general treasure is 450,000 cps; 360,000 sps; 70,000 eps; 140,095 gps; 10,000 pps; 35,200 gps in gems (40-10gp + 32-50gp + 27-100gp + 17-500gp + 12-1,000gp + 2-5,000gp diamonds); 6 rings (8,250 gps); 7 pins (2,500 gps); 12 pendants (3,600 gps); 5 jeweled figures (4,680 gps); 10 peridot gems (4-100 gp, 2-500 gps, and 4-1,000 gps – stitched on the ToEE Water cloak); a gold necklace (1,000 gps); a platinum ring with small ruby (2,000 gps); Dracock’s emerald jeweled dagger (5,000 gps); 6 flasks of oil; 2 vials of holy water; 20 incense sticks (300 gps); +1 studded leather; +1 halberd; +1 hand axe; 2 rings with continual light; 1 cure blindness salve coated cloth; 8 potions: Extra-Healing, 2 healing, growth, clairvoyance, invisibility x 8 uses; unidentified pea green silver flecked potion; unidentified potion of pink color like Drow horsetail mushroom pendant; fearie fire spider blood (4 uses); a loadstone (worth 25 gps); silver helm with 15 blue quartz gems (250 gps); a silver amulet on a blue ribbon (30 gps); Pewter tableware (216 gps); Small golden chest (500 gps); Tapestry (80 gps); Ornamental bottle with moonstone stopper (1,000 gps); 1 wooden neck charm (poison resistance?); a manure soup recipe; 7 bronze Earth temple rings set with jet (350 gps); 2 gold Water temple rings set with peridot gems (1,500 gps); 5 ToEE black cloaks of the fiery eye, 1 ToEE black cloak of the golden skull, 1 brown cloak with 2 black triangles on it (earth temple), 2 red robes with purple lining and embroidered gold skulls (fire temple); and 1 Drow elf pink horsetail mushroom brooch.

Night Shadow has the following items: Leather armor +1 (gold thread on interior); +3 buckler; Boots of Elvenkind; Ring of Invisibility; poisoned needle (Zert’s chest); Darion’s dandy shoes (5 gps); Zenopus’s golden neck chain and pendant (300 gps); Zenopus’s +1 dagger; +1 longbow & 6 +3 arrows & 2 +2 fire arrows; 2 longswords; a short sword (giant’s knife); and 2 sugared fruits coated with Ichor of Intoxication.

Torc Ironwolf has the following items: +1 falchion chopper sword; +1 battle axe; One-handed war hammer +1 (marked with silver glyphs, 1 failed weapon save); +5 small shield with 5 black fire gems; +1 small shield with wolf insignia; and a medium warhorse.

Mardak Chorster has the following items: Cloak of Protection (+1 AC & saving throws); +1 Ring of Protection; +2 platemail; +1 small shield with runes; 5 flasks of holy water; Scroll of Protection against undead; Cleric scroll: Death’s Door; 1 healing potion (4-10 hps); 4 ornate gold chalices with gold tray (500 gps); and the abbey’s fire opal (1,000 gps).

Jadis Varda has scroll spells of Enlarge, Sleep, Push, Levitate, Stinking Cloud, Run, and Fly; a wand of petrification (2 charges); +3 Staff of Striking (8 charges); Staff of the Evoker (13 ch: unseen servant, armor, burning hands, magic missile, detect magic [1 ch]; invisibility, Leomund’s trap, locate object, whip, zephyr [2 ch]); +1 dagger; 2 throwing daggers; a Chime of Opening (22 charges); and a Ring of Shooting Stars. He also has a small-sized magical Cloak of Elvenkind (approx. 95% invisibly when not in combat).

Carnage Meter (in war)
Monsters/enemies
Slain: 244 (210)
Wounded: 79
Total casualties: 323
PC’s/Friends
Slain: 8 (80)

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