Ground Zero

Who killed Anatoli Bridgewrecker?
The Jokes on You!

Sven (Anatoli’s second in command of the Rough Riders) summoned Ground Zero to the center of Grossetgrotel. There in the shadow of Tahlia Terrorkin’s clock tower, (the famous clock which counts down the seconds to the end of the Year of the Practical Joke), lies the mangled body of Anatoli Bridgewrecker. His corpse, blasted by electricity and pierced by darts, is not regenerating even though his famous Ring of Regeneration is still on his finger. His Amulet of Life Preserving is still around his neck, but does not hold his soul. Murder most foul has been committed.

The chief investigator for the Rough Riders is Reginald. He comes to examine the body. Samshee investigates the inside of the clock tower, avoiding the many traps and collecting the gruesome bits and pieces of bodies and clothing (presumably from those less successful in trap avoidance) that horrifically decorate the interior. Tarl casts True Sight to assure us that the body truly is Anatoli. Tarl also determines that the many doors into the tower have Glyphs of Warding of the type that appear to have killed Anatoli. Samshee investigates the tower roof, and sees a huge spider image that reminds us of Tahlia’s spider “golem”, Gurg.

Reginald notices that Anatoli’s body is dressed in his current clothing choice – the pantaloons and vest of the Year of the Practical Joke. However, his hat is the older Rough Rider hat, not the current gold turban.

Shamshee carefully pries up some of the roofing material to investigate the inside top of the tower. She sees what appears to be a massive booby trap against investigation, a binary explosive (two sets of liquids) inside a mass of nails. Tarl puts up a stone berm around the tower so that if we accidentally set off the explosion, the town will be protected against the shrapnel. Shamshee investigates the leaderboard display on the tower (which shows the current top three point holders in the Year of the Practical Joke contest) an gets a list of all the participants in the game. Unusually, one gnome, Reginald Goodbody, has zero points.

Reginald interviews bystanders and find that there were no witnesses to the death. A watchman heard the explosion just before 7 am, and found the body, and called Sven. Maxximus determines that Anatoli was leaving the tower when he died.

Reginald casts Magic Mirror to try to scry for Anatoli’s missing turban. It appears to be in a root cellar. Al casts Locate Object to
find the turban. Eventually, he tracks it to a clothing store. With the store owner’s permission, we check out the root cellar, and
eventually find a secret entrance to a small room. Inside the room is a miscellaneous collection of items: hats, scrolls, daggers… One of the scrolls is the Gnomish Rules of Acquisition. The other is research about ghosts.

Inside the secret room, there is a secret compartment. The trap to the secret compartment is a tiny binary explosive, seemingly the same liquids as the clock tower. Inside is a sketch of Tahlia’s three kids (Winken, Blinken, and Chuck) and a pipe for smoking tobacco.

Reginald takes the binary explosive vials outside and throws them down on the street. The resulting explosion creates a 7 ft crater and breaks windows for 30 feet. The only person who is moved by the force of the explosion is Jet. She suspects that there is a psionic component to the explosion.

We head to the bar where Tahlia hangs out. We tell Tahlia about Anatoli’s death. We show her the picture and the pipe. She says she gave them to her husband, the scoundrel who abandoned her and the kids 48 years ago. She says her husband was Tiniekin, nickname Tiny.

Tahlia asks for the items from the secret room and gives them to Gurg to track. He leads us to the market area, and the clockwork show where Tahlia had bought several components for her tower. According to the shop clerk, the owner of the shop (Terrell) has sent word that he was sick. We head to Terrell’s house.

Terrell is not home, but Maxximus says the most recent tracks lead down into the root cellar. Inside it, we see a laboratory, and in one corner, a rune-inscribed sarcophagus. The runes are gnomish and Dwarvish and deal with rejuvenation and regneration and death. There are also vats of the the binary explosive liquids. The lab notebooks deal with experiments that reverse the effects of aging caused by a ghost.

Inside the sarcophagus, we find Anatoli’s body. The death wound appears to be a stab to the heart. Inside Anatoli’s mouth is a parchment with runes of regeneration and transfer of energy. We suspect ritual magic. Al Itemizes Anatoli’s body to take with us.

Maxximus thinks that a set of tracks from an old gnome goes down into the basement and a set of tracks from a young gnome comes up from the basement. We begin to suspect that Anatoli’s death was used to rejuvenate Terrell, who then posed as the shop clerk. We read the lab notebooks. We think that Anatoli was killed to provide the inital energy for the ritual. The clock tower explosion will provide additional energy to make the rejuvenation permanent.

Maxximus searches the house. He finds a box of Tahlia’s love letters to her missing husband. Tahlia is enraged.

Maxximus and Gurg track young Terrell back to the Clock Tower. Reginald uses Fear on the tower. A whole bunch of gnome sightseers run screaming from the tower. Reginal then casts Rainbow Pattern to get these innocent bystanders out of the way. The tower starts to expand, adding another floor with glass observatory windows. The tower now looks like an airport control tower with 4 spider like legs.

Reginald casts Hopelessness on the tower. Then he casts Suggestion, “Come out now”. Young Terrell comes into view, screaming “You are ruining everything”. Reginald then casts Maze to get Terrell out of the way which is successful. Maxximus throws Samshee up into the control room ala Fastball Special. Tarl casts Dispels Magic on the binary explosive liquids which causes them to change color.

Reginald pulls what appears to be a ceremonial dagger from the control panel. Al Disintegrates one of the two liquids. The remaining liquid starts to glow. Jet asks an air elemental to take the other liquids to an unpopulated spot.

Terrell returns from the Maze. Reginald stabs Terrell in the heart with the ceremonial dagger. A light comes out of Terrell’s mouth and into the dagger. The tower explodes, but the damage is limited by the stone berm that Tarl put up earlier.

Anatoli’s soul is now in his Amulet of Life Protection.

Terrell’s body is now that of an old gnome. He has a holy symbol of Urdln, the Crawler Below. Reginal uses Hypnotism on Terrell to find the locations of other caches. We neutralize the remaining 7 caches of explosives with Jet’s Purify Water. Tarl Removes Curse from the catalyst rocks being used to make the explosive.

Tarl goes back to his temple and performs Raise Dead to bring Anatoli back to life.

Player Note: Anatoli was a ghost during this run. He was setting up a prank with his own “dead body” and all his gear… and he got killed. He became a revenant, possessing Reginald and then Tahlia, and then Reginald, in the quest to find his murderer.


Anatoli did some research and investigation on Alter Reality. He has noticed that the ones coming from the Book have suddenly been coming easier. Also, the ones cast from his head, considering the consequences from the alternate prime, seemed like there could be some more he could learn about how to cast the spell.

Anatoli reached out to the senior illusionist in the Camera Guild, the female Amazonian caster from the Amedio Jungle (please insert name here). She’s the one who originally sold Anatoli the spell.
Over dinner in Greyhawk she gave Anatoli some insight into the spell, the different portions of the mind that can cast it, and the dangers of letting the more cautious area of the mind take the easy way out with the spell. She also showed him a way to focus the mind for the spell using a powder mix of ginger and nightshade from the Amedio which she says the druid should be able to help obtain).

At the mention of Jumper she talked to Anatoli in private, revealing the existence of a group of illusionists operating independently from the Circle of Eight. They have only four members, and they call themselves The Order.

The Order rather than worrying about all of the world is only focused on keeping in check those who can unravel the world.‎ Currently that is only 2 people, both other illusionists (no, not yours truly). The first is Jumper. Anatoli learned a few things about him. Basically without Iuz to give him a purpose he’s gotten very dangerous. The Order is monitoring him.

The more dangerous th‎reat is another unnamed illusionist in Theocracy of the Pale (lawful neutral land). They’re not sure that he even has a name. He’s been brainwashed since birth by the Theocracy. The Order says that he’s known to be powerful enough to have changed the history of the Theocracy several times when things didn’t go well for them. He appears to be acting only within the Theocracy so far.

Anatoli offered to help the Order if needed, and he thanked her for the Alter Reality tutoring.

Samshee and Al did a bit of adventuring. After presenting her a finely created club, Backbreaker, it seemed it wasn’t quite right for the half-orc. Didn’t feel right and wasn’t something she could use. Al thought about selling it, it would bring a hefty price, well over 150,000 gps. Al also worked on commissioning a Shrine for the Fist of Corellon (the Armor and Swords of the 3 Brothers).

Still wanting to create a club for Samshee, Al began asking around about creating a club. After getting strange looks from humans and dwarves, they finally went to the peg-legged Orc Shaman whose name escapes me and asked him about creating a club. He mentions a wailing tree, where you beat the club against it to bring out its essence, along with using it in combat. Getting the femur bone of one of the giants we slayed in the monster preserve, he gives it to Samshee. Samshee goes back over to him and began challenging other orcs. Al, realizing this was going to take a while, went back to work on his shrine. The story of the shrine and Backbreaker’s fate is in the Obsidian Portal Forum.

I’ll let Samshee talk about her “seasoning” of the club.

The Garden of Graves Part 3
The Elven Resting Place is Restored

Okay, I thought I would go ahead and write up the last of “The Garden of Graves.”.

When last we left our intrepid adventurers, Tar, used an Augury. “Does it benefit us to solve this mystery to investigate the remaining buildings?” The answer was “Yes” so we went upstairs from the catacombs and out to tackle the next building.

On the way, we pass a raised circular area. Tarl uses Move Earth to reveal a summoning circle with runes for planar travel and gems set in a pentacle. Perhaps it is a gate. It appears to be keyed to a demiplane of Shadow. Aldeberon thinks this reminds him of something related to Vecna.

While Aldeberon researches the circle, Maximus looks for tracks. He sees a group of tracks for 5 small bipeds. Samshee climbs a building to scout. She sees a group of 4 spriggans eating, and a 5th spriggan slightly further away apparently keeping watch.

Samshee grabs the sentry spriggan while Anatoli uses an illusion to take the sentry’s place. Maxximus interrogates the sentry, and tells him he won’t kill the sentry if the sentry servees Maxximus. The spriggan agrees. His name is Gutteral and he is warm but has no pulse.

Anatoli tells the other four spriggans a “Killing Joke.” It is so funny, the four spriggans die laughing. Samshee loots their bodies of
daggers and jagged crossbow quarrels. Aldeberon finds that the energy from this plan was being funneled somewhere else. He thinks the summoning circle was an experiment that is now abandoned. Al, Maximus, and Anatoli fly over the area. Al thinks the chaotic shape of the buildings breaks the natural energy into components. Maximus thinks the energy is natural but perverted.
Anatoli uses a spell to show what the Western Lands were like originally.

Tarl uses Augury to determine if it is safe to pry the gems from the summoning circle. The answer is yes, so we grab the gems from the circle. After the last gem is removed, a cold winds rushes across and dies. Now the circle is no longer magical.

Al does an Identify on the staff from the Infernal Device. It is a metamagic staff, usable only by clerics and magic users but not by
illusionists or druids. It can affect, range, duration, area of affect, casting time, need for components, saving throws or spell level of a spell. The four gems around it were used to charge the staff.

We go to the entrance of the next building. It appears to be made of the bones of the elves. We leave Gutteral outside to guard our backs. Going through the door sends us to a different plane. The walls are marble. Screams of pain ring through our ears. Each of us experiences a painful event from our past about someone dear to us dying. There is a pervading sense of despair.

In the room is anothr robed statue with a crown and the face chiseled off. Footsteps are ?carved? into the floor, similar to the room we saw previously. Jet tries to follow in the steps carved into the floor.

Down the hallway is another, similar statue. Another weeping angel of death comes towards us. We kill it (Al’s Lightning bolt, bounced, and Jet’s Staff of Storms lightning bolt). The bubble dimension appears to quiver and we run for the door. The bubble dimension pops and Gutteral collapses. He is now breathing though.

Aldeberon now has a sense of a curse on something in the building we just exited. We look back in that door and see a different room. There are five burial biers with clothes but no bodies and the name plaques broken off. Some black substance is exuding from the walls. We follow the hallway past four more similarly empty and desecrated biers. Past that, we see a cavern with the bodies and plaques from the nine biers. This area appears to be the source of the curse feeling.

We all work together to restore the bodies and plaques to their rightful place. Using clues in the clothing and the size and sex of
the bodies, we are able eventually to restore them all. While doing so, undead appear every 10 rounds or so — such as a wight, a bone monster, and a vampire.

Once the bodies and plaques are all on the right biers, a glow appears over Lordovar’s bier (the king of the elves). His visage appears and a light emanates from him, repairing many of the holes and cracks. Where the pile of bodies used to be, a temple of Corellon appears.

The area still feels a bit wrong. Anatoli uses his Kodagnome map and his memory of how the Western Lands used to be (from earlier in the day) to put up an illusion of how the area should look. Then he uses Alter Reality to make it look that way.

Maxximus wakes up Gutteral and releases him from service. We head out. Al glances back and sees a half-elf waving goodbye. We know it can’t be Beodar because the method of Beodar’s death killed everything elven about him. We walk out the Gate from the Western Lands to Awen’s back yard.

Al goes to the High Priest Corellon with the armor, shields, and swords of the Fists of Corellon (the three sons of King Lordovar)
that we had found in the room with the Poisoned Ivy Heart. I think he intended to give them back, but he learns that the high priest already knew about the blight of the Western Lands, which had been ongoing for 100 years. Al asks for an audience with the queen of Selene. He learns that the queen’s predecessor had contained the blight with Druidic magic and had a plan in place to figure out who had been doing the desecration. The intervention of Ground Zero disrupted that plan. Al was upset that the blight had been going on for that long without being fixed.

Al decides to give the armor, shields, and swords to the House Lordovar. Then he asked for one of the three sets back. They
thought about it and then offered Al all three sets, so that the brothers’ stuff could stay together. Al accepted.

Maxximus asked the High Priest Correllon for help with removing the curse on his Cheetah fetish. The high priest removed the curse, but at the same time damaged the enchantment on the fetish. The high priest suggested that Maximus go back to the Tiger Nomads to see about re-enchanting it.

The Garden of Graves Part 2
A devious plot uncovered

When last we left our intrepid adventurers….

We leave the building with the sundial in it. Outside it, we notice the several hundred gravestone cairns. Many stones have been
plundered to make up the buildings around us. We pass over the bridge (of human manufacture, not elven) toward the next building. When Maximus checks out the river below, he feels a subtle compulsion to fall into the water. Maximus also see some weapons practice dummies out among the cairns.

In the next building, the door is trapped with a self-repairing ballista, that looks like an Infernal Device, similar to the “Loom of
Fate” in the World Serpent’s Inn. We destroy the ballista. (? Warp Wood?) Samshee discovers a bucket of green slime, that Jet terminates with extreme prejudice. (Jet uses three different fire spells. She really hates green slime, and she makes sure every destructible piece of the ballista is taken out while she is at it.)

Before investigating the building further, Maximus kills three Formorian giants hiding in the woods. The bodies reanimate and Tarl
joins the fight. They kill the giants again.

This building is made from the cairn stones from the elven graves. From the information in the Kodagnome picture that we took of the original map, we speculate that the cairns were part of the ritual that binds the elves to the Western Lands. Disturbing these cairns probably broke the ritual binding.

Returning to the building with the Infernal Device, we explore the back room which is filled with extraordinarily beautiful tapestries.
Aldeberon casts Detect Magic and as before experiences the sense of being in a different place, this time with broken statues and a feeling of desolation. One tapestry has an unusual picture of a pair of double doors with a thief being blasted back while the cleric holds up a key. Tarl touches the silver key he took from the previous building to the lock on this tapestry and we hear a click.

The tapestries are really valuable and Samshee collects them.

In the next room, a staff stands upright with a flame on top. On the opposite wall is a row of numbers, 1-12 in bright script and 1-12 in dark script. Maximus sees that tracks come into the room. One set of tracks stands in front of the 2 and then chaos occurs according to the tracks. Tarl and Anatoli go back to the previous building to get the current time from the sundial. There, it is 4 pm, so Aldeberon stands so that his shadow from the staff flame falls on the dark 4. We hear another click and a secret door unlocks to reveal a long passage way.

Down the passage and to the right is a room with 5 tables, each with games with expensive pieces on the table. We hear people playing but do not see anything. Maximus sits and becomes involved in an illusory game. Then Samshee is also ensnared while trying to rescue Maximus. The compulsion to play the game is apparently contagious. Aldeberon walks up and is also compelled. Anatoli decides to play. Each one seems to be playing with someone from their past. All four win their games and get some thing from it (Maximus 10 pp, Samshee 5 gems, Al a Wizard-marked coin from Mordenkainen, Anatoli a belt with a pouch, dagger, snuff (1000gp), 2 gems @25 gp and a dagger that Anatoli remembers as belonging to one of his childhood friends). Samshee also loots the tables’ expensive game pieces.

In the next room Aldeberon feels elven magic. There are runs on the ceiling, walls, and floor. The lights go out and we are moved
(Teleported, or Dimension Doored perhaps) to different positions in the room. When the lights come back up, we and our exact duplicates appear to be randomly placed in the room.

Over our link, Jet says “Pull out a sash” and everyone pulls out a sash. So we are on the same link. We talk for a while and it seems
that we really are us. In unison, both Anatolis pull out a Scepter of Beguiling and tell people to all down. Jet asks Anatoli to get
rid of the runes in the room, and they both attempt to do so. Sneaking around, Samshee found a crystal device hidden around a corner in the room and breaks it. Our duplicates turn into spriggans. Anatoli uses the Rod to interrogate the spriggans. They say they work for a ghost who told them to run the trap.

One spriggan starts throwing up, and is perhaps dying. We think that the one they work for might reanimate the dead spriggan, as the Formorian giants were reanimated. Maximus pins the dying one to the floor with his sword. Anatoli casts Boom Tube and tells the spriggans to escape to it. They do – but the other end of the tube is at the bottom of the Nyr Div. Perhaps Anatoli will get “Practical Joke” points for them.

The pinned spriggan does die and is reanimated. Aldeberon destroys him.

In the next room, the thieves and magic user read the runes. “The Ace of Spaces will finally have his revenge. All things of light and dark dead, I summon them and take their energy to give new purpose.” In the next room, Anatoli finds a trapdoor to the catacombs below, but we save that until we have finished exploring this level.

In another room the runes tell the story of a young boy who was mistreated and swore he would become a god to those who mistreated him.

Backtracking to the room of tapestries, we find a secret door. Through it we find a semicircular room. On a dais is a 15 foot cairn.
On the floor are 3 8 ft cairns. The runes in this room talk of summoning and moving the green and ivy and using the power for a
greater purpose. Tarl casts an Augury, “Would is be beneficial to the party to destroy all these runes?” The answer is yes. Jet uses the gloves of stone shaping to erase the runes. It takes quite a while, and after an hour she feels “energy” building in her gloves. She touches some ivy growing in the next room, and it grows to 4 times its original volume immediately.

Al borrows Jet’s gloves, and removes a few runes, but within a few minutes he too feels “energy” building.He channels that energy into his Rod of Magista to charge it. (NOTE: this rod normally charges in the presence of elves. While Al has been on this plane, the rod has been discharging.)

Al discovers the double doors which match the ones in the tapestry. A few minutes later, elven knights arise from the smaller cairns and a hollow firbolg from the large cairn. Maxximus and Tarl defeat them with a little help from the rest of us. A Poison Ivy Heart monster emerges from the ivy. Anatoli gets pulled into the ivy and tendrils penetrate every orifice of his body. (Ouch!) Anatoli Dimension Doors away. Samshee uses a wand of fireballs, and Al uses three spell stones with a fireball on the monster. Anatoli limps out and finishes the ivy off with Death Fog.

We go throw the double doors and see another Infernal Device. There are gems at some joints and a large central emerald. Samshee snags one gem and the whole device comes clattering down. We take out the staff which appears to be powering the device.

We are tired so we spend the night in Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion. Al has a nightmare of a child terribly abused. Eventually, he grows up and snaps. He kills one of his abusers, and goes on a lifelong quest of gaining power to get revenge. He realizes that he must live forever to get total revenge.

The next day we go back to the entrance to the underground catacombs. Al’s Wizard Eye reveals a number of looted cairns and desecrated tombs. The stones with names are those of famous elves of long ago.

Eventually the Wizard Eye gets to a room with a statue in the center. The statues is a figure with a crown and robes, but the face is
chiseled away. Bones jut out from the chamber walls, seemingly all pointing at the statue. Footsteps are CARVED into the ground, leading from one entrance to the statue and then leading into another wall.

We decide to physically go to this room. When the first three party members ( Maxximus, Tarl and Samshee) get inside the room, a stone angel with a scythe appears and charges them. The scythe elongates and appears to do an area-of-effect attack against all three in addition to damage against the one struck. “Death is in the room. Death is coming for you.” Also, the bones in the wall seem to have an effect of putting people with 5 ft of them asleep. We beat that angel up, but when it dies a wave of necrotic energy strikes the people who were “marked for death”. A second angel shows up and we run away.

Tarl tries another Augury. “Does it benefit us to solve this mystery to investigate the three remaining buildings?” The answer is yes.

Death of a God - Anatoli's Addendum

Ok all, I just have to say…


Had an awesome time yesterday.

For Jeanette, here’s my version of the writeup (sorry for the length):

So we prepped quickly before landing the ship. Most of your standard protections. The GM was a little surprised however when Anatoli used Alter Reality as a prep spell. The intention was to make one simulacrum who could cast spells, and have the real Anatoli walk away with the thief abilities. Instead, one Anatoli stepped to one side, and another stepped the other way…and the one in the middle faded. Through the rest of the adventure we referred to these two individuals as Anatoli/Caster and Anatoli/Thief.

Anatoli takes hair samples from each person and Shadow Moles these to Aramath…which elicits a questioning response. He organizes sending us back-up, but we decide to proceed while it is incoming.

Anatoli/Caster then uses the Eye of Thera crystal ball to call in a favor. He contacts Robilar and tells him “Get here now”. Robilar groans, says something about darn gnomes…and says he will be there soon.

To finish the prep, Jet cast the group Protection from Fire on everyone, and we were off.

(NOTE: all of the following was done at pace as typed…basically running from one to the other…with no stopping…elapsed time in dungeon was probably an hour or less I think)

Fight 1

We hit the ground. Anatoli/Thief went into rear far recon/non-detect mode. The gates burst open, and out come several trolls (Oerth’s Blood gauntlets) being driven by 2 Flinds with magic whips. Maximus wades in. Trolls all go down 1st round. Anatoli caster uses the Sceptre of Beguiling and has the Flinds throw down their whips. Flinds are cacked the same round.

Huge numbers of archers pop up on the walls and fire Oerth’s Blood Crossbow Quarrels down on us. A few strike, but not for very much damage. Aramath calls incoming and to clear the area of the kill zone. We rush inside the gates and close them behind us.
Aramath activates the Silver Dragon form of the Silver Eagle. Anatoli/Thief witnesses it from outside. It screams upward, then comes piledriving straight down. When it impacts in the center of the outside resistance, it effectively creates an Earthquake. We’re knocked off our feet, and the gates are broken. Silver Dragon has to pull out, having spent all of it’s energy in the maneuver.

Fight 2
The team presses onward beyond the gate area. Inside it is a large marshalling area with another barred gate on other side. While the team is reviewing the gate, Anatoli/Thief on rear orbit recon spies a team of 5 emerging from a hidey hole and approaching the gates from the rear. The team includes 4 assassins and 1 very evil looking dwarf. Anatoli/Caster throws up an illusion of the team focused on the gate ahead, and we all hide off to the side. Tarl (coordinating via comm link with Anatoli/Thief) drops Blade Barrier on the external gate just as the enemy is sneaking in on the illusions. Blade Barrier takes care of the assassins, and Maximus engages the dwarf with a mighty blow. However, the dwarf has a huge hammer. His counterstrike is a massive shot on Maximus, which blows him back against a wall…then unleashes a lightning bolt against him. I believe the druid then uses dragon breath to blow the dwarf back through the Blade Barrier to the outside. Anatoli/Thief then does a backstab and finishes him off well into negative territory. On trying to put the hammer in the bag, Faerie Protection warns Anatoli before the hammer tries to shift him to another plane. Pop, off it goes. Anatoli slips a ring of weakness onto the dwarf body, just in case. Anatoli/Thief then enters the hidey hole tunnel the ambushers used, effectively splitting the party.

Fight 3
The team have the illusions stand in front of the inner gate. The gates are ripped open, and the gathering of hobgoblins inside all fire their heavy crossbows at the illusions. Various spells such as ingot storm and possibly fire seeds get fired in, and the hobgoblins are down in less than a round. At this point we are using Augury by Beodar to quickly just point us to which door takes us to Hexxus. In we press, both our team plus the illusions (minus Anatoli/Thief). We head down our first set of stairs.

Fight 4 (Retreat)
On the way down the stairs, a good sized DBF goes off on the party. The group Protection From Fire keeps all damage from everyone, but it is virtually used up in the process. Maximus charges the door into a huge circular chamber. He notices before he charges that spikes or spike growth have been cast on the floor, so he uses the wall to run around them. Tarl moves in as well. (I’m a little fuzzy here, but I believe there was about one round of clearing the immediate enemies in the obvious room as well as clearing the spikes).

Anatoli/Thief has snuck up the hidey hole tunnel to a grate. Inside the room above he notes 2 displacer beasts. He uses the Bag to Minor Create a large amount of fresh meat, distracting the cats into the corner. He slips through the door out of the room. He hears voices in the other room and slips into the doorway. Inside he spies on a cleric of Iuz and a cleric of Hexxus talking. The Hexxus cleric says ‘We are being invaded. We shall deal with these. Tell Sindol and (can’t remember the other name) it is time to earn their keep" The Iuz cleric leaves. Anatoli relays these via comm to the party.
Segway back

Anatoli/Caster detects the use of a Ventriloquism spell, and a voice tells the party “This is your last and only warning to leave this fortress or be destroyed”. (key point here discovering there is an illusionist around) Out of the three doorways into this room, the party hears chanting. Maximus and Tarl quickly retreat back up the stairs with the party and shut the door. A massive blast goes off which takes down the door, but otherwise misses the party. Group determines they are in kill zone, and this is not a good place to be. Tarl and Anatoli coordinate distances via link. Beodar uses Dig down to reach the chamber with the clerics where Anatoli/Thief is.

Fight 5
The party drops in via the Dig straight on the Cleric of Hexxus, who tries to flee. Backstab by Anatoli/Thief takes him down in a heap (think there might have been another shot here too). Party gets indications that somebody is above the Dig hole and about to come down. Anatoli/Caster uses Nolzur’s Pigments to seal up the hole, making the bottom mithril and lined with spikes. We’re now on level 3.

Anatoli/Caster then casts Wraithform on Anatoli/Thief (which should only be useable on self), and Anatoli goes off on forward recon.
GM NOTE: Self is not the same as “caster only”

Fight 6
Anatoli/Thief passes 7 doors, hearing chanting behind each. He relays the words to Tarl, who confirms it is a group chanting summoning spell. Anatoli drops a couple of illusion darts under a couple of doors as distraction and keeps moving. He arrives at the end of the hallway where he sees a temple, bubbling black vats arranged in a 7 pointed star, and a central pool starting to bubble. About then the team arrives at the 7 doors. Tarl says ‘No quarter, everyone take a door’. Everyone rips them open and each person takes out a low level cleric in 1 round who was chanting to aid the summoning. Anatoli/Thief moves on down the hall past the temple. As the group arrives at the temple door, they are seeing something emerge from the central pool. Als uses disintegrate to blow one of the cauldrons…breaking either the circle of summoning or protection (we’re not sure). Anatoli/Caster again takes the Nolzur’s and quickly walls up the temple doorway with a wall of lead. We turn and head down the hallway (Anatoli/Thief on advance recon and Anatoli/Caster watching rear guard).

Fight 7 (aka the Death of Maximus)
As the party advances, Anatoli/Caster notes he is getting pushed forward into the others via possibly a Repulsion force (possibly to group everyone closely for another fireball). He turns and fires the Wand of Wonderment behind him on Defensive mode. Rolling an 01, this creates the purple image of Bob Kneeknocker (Anatoli’s level 5 Fighter Roughrider who we had freed earlier in this arc). The shadow of the image creates a break in the repulsion force, which Anatoli crouches in. Al fires a Wall of Force behind us, stopping the Repulsion force, but also cutting off any retreat. Then, from behind, comes walking up a kitty cat with a gem around its neck. It paws at the wall and meows. Maximus whispers to it and tells it to go away. It meows and runs off.
GM Note: Never underestimate the power of a ranger talking to an actual animal

At about this time, up ahead on recon, Anatoli/Thief’s Faerie Protection goes blaring off in immediate danger all directions. He takes an immediate leap of faith, and uses the Amulet of Dim Door to jump blindly ahead down the corridor. Bamph. He arrives (invis, non-detection, wrathform) in between several beings in a room. (I can’t recall all of them) A human female, an elf, an obvious fighter, possibly a couple of other humans/elves, a hunchback (none of which notice him)…and…turning…the large demon prince who then turns, looks straight at him…and starts drawing his rune-emblazoned sword. The others turn to the demon and just kind of say “Sindol, why are you looking that way?” Anatoli instantly feels the enemy empathy with the demon and realizes that’s why he can see him. Eep. Picking a direction 90 degrees sideways (having resisted the urge to try up or down)…Bamf. Anatoli/Thief arrives in a 1 foot wide passageway. Basically it appears to be a sneak-way between walls (he never would have found it otherwise). He climbs up to an eyeslot, opens it..and discovers that rather than going 36" he has only been teleported a few feet…as he sees the demon in the next room (the walls of the temple prevented him from going further..quite fortunately). Down the sneak-way he finds a trap door in the floor. He lays out one of Max’s carpets, contacts the team, and asks Beodar to transport the team to the carpet.

Meanwhile in the hallway, Beodar asks the team to give him cover while he forces swapping out of the spell in his head. Continual lights appear around us, highlighting us in the hallway. A lone grissled fighter appears ahead of us charging down the hallway, carrying a massive tower shield. Spells sent his direction (both 1st lvl MM and 7th level) get completely absorbed/dissipated.
What follows is possibly the most titanic exchange of blows we have ever seen.

Maximus charges forward at Cheetah Speed, blows Dispel Exhaustion and Tsunami Wave (think that was the name) and Tensers Deadly Strike. He unleashes 12 blows at once. About 7 or 8 hit…and deal about 140 hps damage, using Oerth’s Blood weapons (which it turns out is the only way through that tower shield). The fighter still stands. His turn.

His strength turns out to be titanic (litterally big T). First strike, the sword of sharpness takes off Maximus offhand arm. Total for the 3 strikes he deals about 70 hps. Plus the fighter heals some from the damage he deals.

Second round. Initiative. Simultaneous. Maximus weilds the Oerth’s Blood weapon in his main hand, only getting 2 strikes off. (I might get this order incorrect, but here goes). The fighter’s strikes do another 60 to Maximus. This takes Maximus down to over -10. Bamf…Maximus’ star as a Guardsman takes him to "the bucket’. Uh oh. Uh oh. Uh oh.

The fighter does not survive the round. I can’t recall, but others step forward and finish his last little bit off. He drops, but a glow such as a stasis field plus wyvern watch comes over him.

During the same round, chanting is heard in the darkness down the hall. Anatoli/Caster drops Prismatic Wall down where he estimates the casters are at. Three Prayers go off against us, putting us at a disadvantage. Then Sindol walks through the Prismatic Wall, which flickers against his magic resistance. The demon prince advances down the hall. Al sends his very special sword Dancing to hit Sindol, who promptly Disintegrates it (there is a very startled whimper out of Al at that point).

Beodar meanwhile is furiously using something to power through switching out the transport spell in his head. Anatoli/Caster somehow mind-links with Anatoli/Thief and gives him targeting on Sindol. Anatoli/Thief then Dim Doors in and backstabs General Syndall (but only for 40). Sindol’s return blow isn’t too bad…to which he growls as he discovers that Anatoli doesn’t have a G in his alignment.

Jet summons a 24 HD elemental to use as tank, but as summoned, it cannot connect. Anatoli/Caster yells down the hallway and forces all of the casters to sit on their hands using the Sceptre of Beguiling. Everyone jumps next to Beodar…Jet has the earth elemental fill the hall with earth…Bamf…he pops us to the rug within the wall hidey-way. However, the empathy between Sindol and Anatoli is still too close. Syndall can still feel him. He starts piercing the walls, setting areas ablaze with black flame screaming for the gnome.

Holy cow. We’re without Maximus. We have no tank. What are we to do? CHARGE! Down the hole through the trap door. Anatoli/Caster uses the crystall ball. Oh Robilar…where are you? “Busy” was the response. Followed by “Oi, demon boy, I’ve got a sword too. Bring it….Oh bloody hell, you’ve got clerics…followed by the sound of beating feet.” (This turns out to be key later)

Fight 8 (Down the Hole)
Down the hole is a much different area. We’ve left the castle. Think large underdark-like cavern hallway. It’s also extremely cold (Control Temperature used by the druid to counteract)

We find the walls lined as far as we can see with dessicated corpses (some human, some demon/devil) with all of them jammed into crags in the walls. Each has an incision. Inside the incission is a small gem which we discover were used to preserve the corpse and sometime in the past to draw energy from each. Jet does a Commune. Only 1 undead in range. A crypt thing type creature, 300 yards ahead (which we never encountered). We move on. We find 3 large puddings ahead. Jet summons a fire elemental, and has it wade forward to take care of the puddings, which it does…. …however, the nasty trap was when the elemental then wandered into the brown mold (I think) that feeds off fire on the other side…which then consumed the elemental and instantly used it to grow exponentially around us. The cold threatened to overwhelm us (The GM described the mold as rivaling the size of the ooze we encountered in the cavern in Ket). Anatoli/Thief (who had shifted to far back rear guard) sprang forward with his Ultravision lantern. The ultraviolet combined with one other spell (might have been a dispel) took out the mold.

Fight 9
On we move with Tarl and Beodar in the lead as our tanks. Twang, twang. Saving throw vs poison Tarl = 1; Saving throw vs poison Beodar = 1. Both tanks drop in the darkness as drow sleep poison takes them down (and John thwacks himself for forgetting Slow Poison, which he had intentionally memorized). Ruh roh. Anatoli/Caster blazes a Sunray from the Wand of Illumination, taking the 2 drow by surprise. Al engages. Jet casts Neutralize Poison on Tarl. We take down both drown within the next round. Luckily they were only scouts. Anatoli/Thief on rear guard finds their camp, including a teleportation obelisk, which he destroys with his knife. Our search of their camp finds that they were hired as guards. They were to teleport somewhere else to warn of intruders.

Encounter 10
Before we move forward, we decide that possibly a wizard eye might be a better way of reconning vs drow. This finds a lone figure standing far down the passage, a hunchback leaning on a staff. The group identifies this person as a twisted, deformed version of Patch, the former high priest of Iuz. Al and Beodar are determining the best way of laying waste to him at distance with spells..
..but Anatoli/Caster walks forward with the Sceptre of Beguiling and engages in parlay. It turns out, he bears us no ill will. He only seeks release from Iuz’s final remnant. Iuz brought him back in this deformed form as a curse. He just wants freedom. He’s been waiting for us, because just around the bend is the source of Iuz’s power and the only thing keeping Iuz’s remnant powered. At about this time Robilar catches up to us, limping heavily. “A little warning on the clerics would have been appreciated. Demon prince, really.” We heal him up, and together all of us advance.

Final encounter
Robilar is none too pleased to find out where we are. At Iuz’s name he turns white and wants to leave (turns out Robilar is the only person Iuz hates more than us…mainly because Robilar has been responsible for imprisoning him). Patch points us to 5 crystal tubes, capped with copper and inscribed with runes. Investigation determines that 1 holds the body of a deva, 2 demi-heroes, 1 demon prince, and the final one a sleeping god. However, as Patch explains, these are all long dead. Iuz drained them (and the bodies in the wall) as part of his rise to power. The bodies are the only thing sustaining Iuz’s link over those that serve him. (Patch warns us that Hexxus approaches). We organize, each take a tube, and at the same time we smash them while standing on Al’s disks. The bodies tumble to the floor and immediately turn to dust. Unnoticed by most of us, 5 small motes also fall among the debris. Patch fades away, released away as a now re-formed ghost in his old non-hunchback form. In his place stands a shriveled old man. Iuz the Cambion (not the god) stands among us. (Jet off to the side gathers each of the motes and combines them with Sym’s bone carrapace…it begins to glow)

A flash flood of black liquid pours down the tunnel and forms a wall at the entrance. Out steps Hexxus. Hexxus states that all he wants is his father. He pledges that he will never harm us or interfere with mortals. He is now a god, and the non-interference directive is in force. Iuz at this point is actually cowering behind us (us of all people) for protection. Anatoli shifts the Bag to a prison cell, and tells Iuz to get in…which he does. Hexxus does not like all. He unleashes the black water (which unknown to us has been coming up through the floor) to envelope us. Al unleashes a full wish to restore all of our team, including items, and transport us to Silver Mansion. Hexxus actually interferes with the wish with his god power and holds us. We can feel the tug.
Then out of nowhere, Sym steps forward and with a swing takes off Hexxus’ head (although only temporarily disrupting his form). This releases us. Bamf, we are ALL (including Robilar) at Silver Mansion

Epilogue (The End of Iuz)
When we arrive, we note that each of us that was in the final encounter with Hexxus felt like something of us was missing. It’s a passing feeling, but we are each healed.

Beodar finds that he is holding a small pool of black. We’re reminded that it looks like the small tattoo he used to have connecting him with Max. Anatoli uses Speak With Dead off scroll, and we discuss with the creature. It appears to be Max, or at least the portion of Max that Iuz consumed. We are briefly considering how to revive him. However, Tarl looks with True Sight and determines that it is the Chaotic Evil portion of Max that willingly swore himself to Iuz. Our thoughts of raising him are put to the side. We all realize we said goodbye to Max long ago, and our one remaining thing is to finally get rid of Iuz. (turns out this was simply a horcrux of Iuz trying to fool us)

Maximus bows out. He doesn’t want to have being a godkiller on his hands. The rest of us step forward, but Beodar volunteers that he and he alone should do it. Anatoli dumps Iuz out of the bag in the midst of us. Al throws Anatoli (singular now after the wish) the Scroll with all our enemies on it. Anatoli looks at Iuz, and scratches his name off. Beodar takes the artifact spear he’s been using and with one strike it’s done. Iuz the cambion is dead…finally dead.

With a flash of light, Iuz disappears. So does Beodar and his spear.

We determine that, with the balance of the gods restored, this was Hexxus’ desire all along. To finally get rid of Iuz. We believe that’s why he did everything he did (or mostly), to get us to get rid of Iuz. With the threat to the elven nation removed, her aspect of her cavalier disappeared. The only thing we know:


That’s where I exited. Again, all in about an hour elapsed in-game time. Only 6 hours real time. Wow.

There are some minor corrections worth noting. After Maximums fell, EVERYBODY jumped on the warrior to take him down. It was a party effort for sure. It was amusing to note that Maximus made it clear that anyone that uses a sword of sharpness knows that everybody on the planet is going to pile on the minute they recognize that its being wielded. He has a point for sure ;)

We aren’t quite sure if the essence of Max that was left behind was a horcrux or not. (For Jeanette, a horcrux is a fragment of a soul object that can be used to resurrect someone). Tarl seemed to get the impression that it was the part of Max that had been dedicated to the service of Iuz and that had been consumed by Iuz during the combat at the Godtrap. In any event, it was NOT a nice thing and we weren’t going to try and bring Max back with it. The Max that we knew was gone. Beodar agreed.

The comment that Beodar made before slaying Iuz was “No one else should have to pay for my transgressions.” Iuz was surprisingly weak and helpless during this entire situation. He did not attempt to defend himself and had a look of dread as his sentence was announced and executed.

After you left Jordy, the team actually ended up going back to the World Serpent Inn. At the moment, you can’t get there unless you go through a properly consecrated temple/area to the god that you are claiming protection from when you enter. Turns out also that you can’t claim protection from just any god either, it must be one that is either your clerical patron, you pay routine homage to or you are serving at their behest.

Maximus seemed exceptional bummed about the way things turned out. Gods are gods and despite their ethos, need to be respected. The walls of the Inn are adorned with pictures of gods and adventurers. Depending on where a god lies in the hierarchy, their pictures get larger and more prominent. Iuz’s picture was much smaller but lower to eye level than usual. And various flowers had been laid below it in some way honoring his death. Maximus made a quiet, small, personal speech to Iuz and then went to find Odin who was in the Burlesque Club.

Jet also journyed to the World Serpent Inn. While she was there she encountered what she believes to be an avatar of Sym. He wore a plate helm with a thin veil over the front. Through the veil, you could see a vaguely half-orcish face. The bottom of his face was unobscured and he was most definitely a half orc as evidenced by his huge underbite and fangs. He said that the threat of Iuz was over for good now and the Shield Lands would soon be whole again. he was going to investigate this new life he seemed to have before him and that odds are he would bump into us from time to time. That seemed to be the fate of those he met early in his life.

While the rest of us were at a table toasting our lost comrade, we ran into a tall red-headed barbarian barmaid. In the past, we had realized that this was an avatar of Lira Nevesere. She didn’t seem aware of Beodar’s passing or if so, didn’t let us onto it. she did however buy us a round of drinks in honor of him. The drink for the night was a new Porter that was quite tasty and popular among the patrons there.

As we were nearing the end of our celebrations, we were told that someone was wanting to see us in room 214. Mitchifer was confused as he still had the key to that location and it wasn’t rented out. He gave us the key and we went to visit it. Upon going through the door, we found ourselves in the upstairs room that Mithchifer’s mother used to occupy. Sitting there was a beautiful brunette women in a green dress with slightly scaley skin. She introduced herself as Iggwilv. She offered to help us recover our lost comrade Beodar in exchange for something that belonged to her. She said that on one of the maps/rugs that was in the groups possession was an item that was used as an embellishment or decoration. When Maximus inquired as to how she could do this, she said that she could case a Wish without any undue side effects. The group declined her offer. Maximum was of the mind that we shouldn’t deal with her and additionally, if a wish was all it took then Aldebaron could do it.

Iggwilv said that if we changed our mind, then to go tell Mitchifer and he could get in touch with her. She told us to tell Mitchifier that “Wilva sent us.”.

We exited the Inn and went our separate ways for the evening.

This is a VERY good time for players to schedule some downtime events that they need to do. Additionally, I’ll calculate XP and have it ready for us the next time we start. If Jeanette would be so kind as to give me the list of events that you are still owed XP for, I’ll have it ready the next time we play. Speaking of that, the next time we play should be scheduled as well. I’ll send a separate email out about that for ease of tracking.

The Garden of Graves
A mystery to solve

Hey, everyone. This early edition of the Adventurer Gazette is sponsored by the letter F and the number 3. (Three Fates. Get it?)

Anyway, when last we left our intrepid adventurers….

Aldebaran asks Vijay to look into the Eye of Thera. It should not work for him, because it needs a cleric/magic user dual class to access its ability to see the past. However, after he has it for a while, it suddenly starts working for him. Vijay suggests creating a fetish item to confuse the Eye of Thera into thinking the user is a cleric/Magic User. Aldeberan thinks that is a great idea, and takes it to Dyvers to get an item made.

Anatoli studies the Carpets he got from Max to find a clue to Fate’s location. After trying many things, Anatoli uses a Dream. After that, one particullar spot on the Dyvers carpet glows blue. This spot apparently contains a primary temple of Istus as well as being he home of a large bardic college. It may be at an intersection of ley lines. Also, Max spent a lot of time in Dyvers.

The group decides to go to the World Serpent’s Inn to use the Eye of Thera in Fate’s room. Samshee investigates inside the large loom machine. Anatoli tries to authenticate the loom machine as the Loom of Fate, using Max’s True Sight. Anatoli says the loom is an Infernal Device which takes bits of people’s lives. He tells Samshee to get out, but she can’t. He casts Tempus Fugit, and it affects the machine. The loom machine starts to break. Anatoli breaks out his elephant figurine of wondrous power which rampages through the machine breakup large chunks. Anatoli heroically pushes Samshee behind the elephant as the loom explodes, saving her from a lot of damage. Anatoli gets pincushioned, but Tarl Heals him up. In the explosion, we see what appears to be the power source, a staff. As we watch, the loom “heals” itself.

Al uses the Eye of Thera with the new fetish item. He goes back to before her assassination. In his vision, Mitchifer and Fate have an argument and Mitchifer leaves. Later a cloaked woman with black and green armor comes in (black and green are colors associated with Iggwilv/Tasha). Fate says she can’t help her. The cloaked woman says you leave me no choice and fires a crossbow bolt at Fate. Fate says you never had a choice and dies. The cloaked woman leaves. Iggwilv comes in and see the dead Fate. She casts a spell on the loom, which causes it to glow briefly. She leaves, and Mitchifer and Ground Zero rush in. Later, the loom reforms as the loom machine.

After that, Al scries for the current incarnation of Fate. He finds her frolicking at a party where Awen is playing a fiddle. Samshee
suggests we crash the party, with party favors. Maximus puts together a tray of margaritas, beads and candy. We walk through a
door to Awen’s house. After he sees the party favors, he invites us in. We mingle for a while. Tarl sees Fate, and asks to speak with
her at her convenience. A little while later, he sees her slip out the back door. We follow her into the garden.

Fate congratulates Al and Tarl on their new levels. She tells Anatoli, “You are borrowing things. Be careful.” (A reference to the
items Anatoli stole from our Alternate Universe selves for Maximus that brought them to our dimension?) Fate tells us she is visiting her children. (Delight, Destiny, Death, Dream,, Destruction, Desire, and Despair – The Endless). At this party, she is visiting Delight.

We tell her that Mitchifer has left the Inn. She says that is a problem. Outside the Inn, his aspect (Destiny) will overcome him.
We ask what it would take to make the Inn safe again. She says it would take a wedding to make the Inn safe. Fate grants a boon at a wedding.

Maximus tells Fate that we can get to the World Serpent Inn from any door. Fate says that is the curse of the Endless, and that we were all exposed to an aspect of chaos and entropy. She says Mitchifer can fix it. While we are talking, Fate keeps looking toward the graveyard. She says she can hear a muted yell, as of someone trapped in a corridor. Jet tries a Commune with Nature and find a gate to the Western Lands behind a crypt near where Beodar was buried. The gate appears to be somehow corrupted by negative material energy. Maximus checks for tracks and sees one set of tracks going in to the gate. He backtracks from there. The tracks start at Beodar’s grave.

We walk through the gate into the Western Lands. We follow the tracks down a path into the woods and then into a tunnel to a cavern. The cavern walls are covered with poetry in an old dialect in Elven. (Strangely, the poetry rhymes when converted to Common.

Count you the shadows, watch the sun,
The wise know where they stand;
While knwin not the time to shun,
the fools must find themselves undone.

Like lustful swain or panicked child
Who beg another’s gentle hand,
The fool delves heedless through the wild.
The wise are not soon beguiled.

When darkness falls and dreams portend
The rising of a fearsome foe;
The fool, swit-striking, meets his end,
The wise know foe from friend.

Let art and image point the way,
Abandon all you think you know,
For common sense leads fool astray,
The key is simply this: Obey.

The wise must ever strategize;
They never play, unless to win.
They see the harm in comfort’s lies,
And seek to open weary eyes.

You’ve found your way, you’ve risked demise,
To view the ivy heart within.
Now as the soul within you dies,
This knowledge is your only prize:
You’d never have come, were you truly wise.

We follow the tracks to the right into a tunnel blocked by three statues with hands outstretched. They are three aspects of Fate -
Maid, Mother, and Crone. Jet puts a gem into the Mother’s hand, and the crone animates. One crone emerges from the statue and attacks. Samshee sneaks past the three statues and another crone emerges from the crone statue and attacks her. Jet tries making a simultaneous offering to all three. Two more crones emerge and attack. We destroy all three crones. Jet takes the crone’s hand, and the statues disappear. Maximus then dispatches the crone attacking Samshee.

We follow the tunnel to emerge in a moutain caldera with woods and buildings. We investigate a clearing set up like a campsite. There is a rusty iron obelisk in the middle of the clearing. The obelisk has an iron ball on the top. The elven runes dedicate the obelisk to the great eye that watches over all. A sleep effect takes out three of us. The camp site animates, with tents and hatchets and fire wood attacking us. Anatoli uses Alter Reality to wake us up. Another sleep effect takes out two of us. Jet WindWalks to the top of the obelisk. The iron ball is an eye with a hinged lid over it. A will of the wisp comes out of one tent. Jet opens the eye of the Obelisk and the sleep effect stops. Anatoli uses a Chromatic Orb to turn the wisp to stone. Jet asks for the stone, but Anatoli instead takes out the Codex Killer (cuts anything except leather) and shaves the will of the wisp
to bits.

We investigate a nearby building. It has an entrance from a bridge. On a table in the courtyard, there appears to be a map of cairns -
places where elves were buried.. Anatoli takes a Kodagnome of the maps. Anatoli and Al think the map of cairns corresponded to this area before the buildings were built.

We check out another building. We hear muffled screams. When we investigate, we find a shackled gagged elven woman. Anatoli detects illusion and sees that she is a lamia. He backstabs and kills her.

In that same room, we see a sundial with an automated revolving light source. Based on the speed of the light source, a day passes for every 25 minutes. A suggestion that time is passing differently here than on other planes?

In another room, Tarl and Jet see a well/fountain with channels guiding the overflowing water to holes near the walls. There is a
water weird in the well. Tarl and Jet Purity Water. Tarl pulls a silver key from the fountain.

[run ends here for the moment]

Researching Fate's Absence

Well, here is info that you would find out in the “downtime” between runs:

GM After the incident in the World Serpent Inn where Maximus bested Hilda of the Valkyrie, whenever you go back to the Inn, it is mostly empty except for wait staff and a few other adventuring parties (10 to 12 at best) . If you ask the staff what is going on, the staff just say that business is tough right now. Folks don’t feel safe with the rules not enforced and therefore they are taking their business elsewhere. Only mortals come here now and only the very competent ones.

The only real exception is that Seymour still is there reading his book. And occasionally you see a few other figures. Most of them wear full cloaks with deep hoods on them so as to make it hard to see their face.

I recommend that you hire a sage to give you some info on Fate and see if that can give you any leads.

AL I do believe that Al knows a sage or two, including one who interviewed him. I’d like to have Al talk to him and see what he can find out

GM The sage that Al knows is based near Questor in Geoff. His name is “Alisarn” and he specializes in regional area politics and magics. He knows very little about the concept of Fate but will share what he knows.

In the western lands, she is called Istus and her domains are Fate, Destiny. She is most associated with fortune tellers. Towards the north in the desert lands, she also adds in the concept of Honesty. She is called "The Lady of our Fate and sometimes the “Colorless and All-Colored”. Her symbol is a golden spindle and 3 strands. She is a Baklunish deity but her worship has spread across the entire Flaness (which is the word used for the lands in the Octant that we live in).

She is seen as very aloof and never deals with mortals or immortals directly. Its rare for anyone to truly encounter her at all, even as an avatar. She only is concerned with the Fate of the Universe (i.e. the big picture). She is usually depicted in three different ways:The first as an old crone, the second as a mture and haughty noble dame and the third as a cold and unfeeling young maiden.

Istus dwells within the Web of Fate, which is thought by some to be a realm in the Outer plans and by some to be a pocket unierse beyond our known cosmology or perhaps a demi-plane within the Astral of Ethereal plane. All times and places are opent o Istus as long as she holds her spindle. If she loses it, she must return home immediately. The followers of Rudd do not get along with Isus as their patron, Rudd, has a BIG program with the idea of predestination.

In the strange metaphysics of the worshippers of Istus, the multiverse is conceived of as an intricate mesh of interconnected threads, with everything connected to everything else. They are believers in predestination, although the threads of fate are sometimes slack enough that destiny can be altered in some small way. Because the future is for the most part foreordained, it can be permitted by those with the skills to perceive how the threads are linked. Clerics of Istus teach that acceptance of one’s fate is the only honest approach; those who strive too hard against Fate will only meet their own foreordained ruins.

Because Fate is callous and often unkind, only cynical and unfeeling people tend to make Istus their patron. Centers of Istus’ worship are in Dyvers, the Free City of Greyhawk,Rauxes, Rel Mord, and Stoink. She is also worshipped in Bissel, the Bright Lands, Ekbir, Ket, the Plains of the Paynims, the Tiger Nomads, Tusmit, the Wolf Nomads, and Zeif.

Istus has few true followers and her clerics tend to be stoic and cynical, having seen all the extremes of mortal destinies. They use divinations to discern what fate will bring, and are called upon by nobles and other important people to make predictions about the future. They hold honesty as a virtue, and teach the importance of accepting one’s destiny and role in the world. Eighty percent of them are female.

Clerics of Istus wear gray or black robes. Higher ranking clerics have formal vestments with weblike patterns. They must wear their holy symbols openly and allow their hair to grow at least six inches in length.

Al A temple in greyhakw, seem’s Al’s found the next leg of the investigation. Al will go to the Greyhawk temple, tell them the truth of what we know and see if they can help any_

Maximus Since I was at the library in Greyhawk, can I look up any information on Fate?_

The Greyhawk Library is magnificent and one of the top 10 libraries in the Flaness. For the low low fee of 10gp you can bcome a
Cornerstone member and have better access to resources there. For the not so low fee of 1000 gp you will be assigned an assistant to help you find things there. Maximus has already paid these fees for other things he was investigating so I’m assuming that is what you are using.

The Greyhawk Library talks about Istus being a force for change as well as stability. She weaves the lives of all living things and makes sure things happen they way they should. She is a patron to Diviners as she is able to see how things will go and then make sure that she weaves enough slack into the pattern that things do go that way but with a bit of room for deviation. But even Fate must follow fate. As the different ages of the world go through cycles, so does Fate. And since Fate is a living thing, there is some slack in her pattern as well.

Periodically, Istus will for lack of a better word, regenerate her form to better suit the new age she is operating in. Traditionally, she will pick one of her three forms to be her “base” form for that age.

Anatoli: And is one of those base forms ever a gnome?

GM: Istus always appears to be the either the sex of the observer or a human. So technically, yes.

Maximus : When last we saw her, it qualifies as young & maiden. The cold could be associated with the re-fit of the loom into a machine. This is a match for her M.O.

I say we give Samshee a coin and she use her “womanly wilds” to ask Boocob (the God who knows everything) where she’s gone and why did she leave?

GM Samshee didn’t have much success with Boccob the last time. But who knows what a second try might do.

Maxiumus Perhaps we could use the Eye of Thera to wind back time and see what happened just before she left. Normally this would be impossible or a really bad idea… But…

GM The Eye of Thera only works for someone that is both a cleric and a magic-user. But its from a different Celestial Sphere. Perhaps you need to get it looked at by another magic-user or a bard to see if they can figure out how to get around that requirement.

Anatoli Oh, so you want info from Boccob, eh. Well why didn’t you say so. Anatoli’s on semi-close terms with the ever-livin, ever-lovin, ever-knowin Ja don’t ya know! :}

More to the point, he knows from practicing the religion that getting secrets back out of the guy is extremely difficult. But there is a famous disciple who was more successful than most, the Z-man. But finding the guy who can get the answers out of Boccob can be an interesting chore…

On a hunch (and I may or may not be way off here) Anatoli is going to pull out Maxx’s rack of carpets for some study. If anyone had some sort of secret information or location on either Fate/Istus from the World Serpent Inn, Boccob, or Zagyg, it would have been Maxx.
Coincidence is that several of those countries/city states that you named as centers of Istus worship were places Maxx was known to frequent. Dyvers in particular we already know Maxx had at least one carpet to.

Put them up on looms all around the room so they can be rotated, etc. Look for symbols associated with either Zagyg, Boccob, Fate, or Uncle Grizzain

GM You find some symbols for Fate. But they seem to be standard ones that cartographers use to ask for good luck when making and using maps. Nothing for the others.

Examine them in moonlight (which of Oerth’s moons are up, by the way)
GM Luna

Examine them in infravision
GM Nothing unusual

Examine them in ultravision (if I can borrow Tarl’s helmet lens)
GM Nothing unusual

Examine them using Pattern Designate to learn more about patterns associated with them

GM You can tell that the maps were all created by someone that understood the same pattern. Specifically these maps are meant to form a larger map at some point. There are still some missing maps based on the coordinate system used but they are definitely intended to be part of a much larger picture.

And lastly, gulp, examine them using Maxx’s True Sight
GM And this is where things get interesting. Apparently there is definitely a weird set of symbols that are woven into the maps. And the symbols deal with astral and ethereal travel. As best you can tell, the maps change when they are taking to different planes. You just can’t figure out HOW they change. You also see a LOT of glowing spots on the maps but there is no legend. Since you have a high Intelligence, you can eventually figure out that the brightest glowing spots seem to be locations that were extremely significant to Maxx or were the locations of suspected extremely powerful magical le lines.

If all else fails, Anatoli will call it a night, cast Dream, and come back to look at the carpets in the morning with a fresh mind (specifically thinking of finding the gnomish incarnation of Fate he last met in the World Serpent Inn)…

GM With a fresh dreamy set of eyes, you see that the primary temple of Istus overlaps a location that Maxx has on his maps in Dyvers that glows a lot. One of the larger bardic colleges also also has its main guildhall there.

Anatoli Huh, I wonder if there’s any kind of legend in Max’s Diary? I seem to have that written down on my sheet that Beodar gave that over to us sometime around the adventure in the Aboleth tunnels.

GM Why yes, that is exactly where Max kept the legend. Apparently only a Thief can read it as well. with the legend you can decode most of the maps symbols. What specifically are you looking for? There is a plethora of information on these maps.

Maximus A question for Aldeberon: Is the Stone of Teleportation that you gave me (by the way, I’m going to need another one) able to work across planes?

Aldeberon : Yes, the stone will work across planes; however, it only works as a normal teleport. So there’s a chance of coming in low and dying even if you know the place well.

You’ll have to give Al a little time to make one. Have to use Enchant an Item since I’m throwing a 7th level spell in there, can’t use Spell Stone.

Alderberon We do know a bard/librarian in Ravens Bluff who’d help us. And he’s already familiar with the situation ;-)

GM If you go visit Vijay in the library he is downstairs in his office. Its HUGE, like 40×60. Near the entrance door way are a few coat racks. One has the weapons harness and swords that you saw him most recently carrying hanging from them. There is also a satchel and camping equipment/adventuring gear. Its all well worn but still appear to be functional. Apparently he has a 40×60 room that is dedicated to him and his research. Every square inch of his walls is covered by booshelves. He has a huge conference table covered in maps. His maps are of a quality that you have rarely seen. He has dozens of knick knacks and other trinkets hanging on the wall. and sitting on shelves and such.

He is quite excited to see you. After his little “jaunt” with you he has been doing tons of research into the World Serpent Inn as well as who GroundZero are. He had no idea that your members consisted of the famous (or the infamous) Iuzbane. Before Iuz’s departure from his lands (Vijay doesn’t appear to know that Iuz is dead), Vijay has been doing a lot of research into Iuz’s parentage and some of the possible ancient Oerdian artifacts that he might have been using. One reason he accepted the position here is that he knew of New Critwall’s connection to the Iuzbane (apparently LJ was fairly tight lipped about the Iuzbane/Groundzero connection). Vijay had tried to get a position in Greyhawk but none were available. Critwall is looking for new blood and was more accommodating.

If you show the Eye of Thera to him, he will immediately be amazed and want to examine it further. He scrambles around for various looking glasses and cloths that he uses to polish and examine the Eye. After a while, he tests it with various liquids from a small potion case. After about 20 minutes, he says that its definitely a variation of a crystal ball but he isn’t quite sure that he can get around the requirements of a cleric/mage classes. As he is explaining how the class components work together to activate the device, the device suddenly starts working for him! It startles him so much that he drops the Eye. Luckily, a feather fall from Aldebaron saves it. Vijay is more shocked than you and assures you that he is not multi-classed and has no idea why the thing works. He is more than happy to examine it in more detail to find out at your discretion. He does confess that he has a lot of dubious items in his office of ancient origin and one of them might be interacting with the Eye to make it work.

Al Of course, while Al is waiting for his initial analysis, he can’t help but admire the bookshelves and even rifle through a few of the books on the shelf – professional curiosity. Al let’s him know to examine to his heart’s content, but do make it a priority since were trying to find Fate before things get worse. Al let’s him know he’ll be back in a couple of days, after checking out some other leads, and will even help him rifle through books and do some research if he needs.

GM Wow. Either Vijay is a sage himself or he collects books the way you collect parts for making potions and scroll inks. A few books present you have in your own library. You retrieved them during the Ravenloft adventurer. A few other books are easily hundreds of years old. Over 50% of the books present deal with extremely old topics such as the creation of Oerth, the great schism between the Drow and Other elves, etc. What does seem odd is that he doesn’t seem to have any books that he has written himself. Perhaps he just doesn’t take the time to sit down and write books. Another odd thing is that you do find a few sets of low level magic-user spell books there as well. They are quite dusty and apparently aren’t used. They are each bound with a small band of cloth stating the level of the spells inside and the name of the Magic-User they belonged too. A few names stick out. “Math” (there are only 3 spell books here and they are 1st/2nd/3rd spels) and Zagig (1st and 2nd level spell books). There is a single travelling spellbook that is labelled “CMUT”.

Vijay is happy to look at the Eye for longer but admits he would feel uncomfortable with such a valuable item being left alone with just him. He would prefer to work with a member of your group since it belongs to you.

Aldeberon Al laugh’s a bit and heaves a sigh when he sees CMUT. “Fine, you’ve convinced me,” Al says, “I’ll stick around for a couple of days and help. I doubt the church of Fate is going anywhere anyway and figuring this thing out is important to our mission. After that, we’ll see how things have progressed and figure out what to do then.”

Maximus While I am researching Fate in the Greyhawk library I’d like to have the assistant help me with some specifics:

Does Fate have a destiny?
GM Not one that is mentioned in any references that you can find.

Has there ever been a circumstance (past or future) that would take Fate away?
GM Fate is Mother to the Endless, a series of entities that embody powerful forces or aspects of the universe: They are Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Despair, Desire and Delirum. It is known that Mitchifer is the current incarnation of Destiny.

Do clerics of Fate get spells from her?
GM Clerics of Istus get spells in general. But her clerics are fairly close-lipped and we don’t know of any personally to verify that. Istus is called, Our Lady of Fate.

What type of spells are they?
GM Same as any other cleric. Their primary sphere of influence is Divination of course. They rarely memorize attack or defense spells but then again they rarely are adventurers and therefore rarely get high level.

Are there any clerics of Fate near by?
GM There is a temple to Istus in pretty much all of those cities I listed before. They may be hard to locate though or be more of a layman’s temple.

Are they able to get spells?
GM At the moment, we don’t know. We will have to travel there to verify. And they might not be forthcoming. No cleric in their right mind would ever confirm that they can’t get spells from their god. Its inviting trouble.

Why would Fate go away?
GM There is no reason for Fate to state in the World Serpent Inn. The Inn may not be functioning as before but the rest of the world seems just fine.

How would her departure affect the Gods & mortals connected to her?
GM Jet has often theorized that Istus/Fate is what helps adventurers find adventures that match their level. If she were gone, then really bad things would happen to the lower level folks.

Does Fate have any children?
GM Yes, The Endless. See above.

Does Fate have any enemies?
GM Rudd, a fellow god, hates her. Rudd is the goddess of Luck and doesn’t like the idea of predestination. Also, just about anyone that has had something bad happen to them might blame it on Fate in some way.

Are clerics of Fate currently conducting any special ceremonies?
GM Not that we know of. But again, her clerics are rare and rarely advertise their status.

Anatoli Hey Maxximus, there’s one thing we may have forgotten. Not too long ago we made a deal with Iggwylv (Iuz’s mother) to give her the Doormat to the World Serpent Inn which had evidently been hidden and masquerading in Max’s stack of Carpets. Iggwylv had also shown a lot of interest in the Inn and specifically Fate during the adventures directly before that. Just after giving her the carpet is when Fate changed to the gnomish personna.

So for your question whether Fate has any enemies, it might be worthwhile looking at Iggwylv very carefully.

You’re right I completely forgot about that….
Let’s scry for that Bitch!!!
Or look for a patten in the maps that matches the floor mat we gave her.

Let’s ask some Fate clerics if they are still getting spells and set a course for the God Trap!!


Maximus-to-Anatoli Is there a way to verify the authenticity of Fate’s Loom at the World Serpent Inn??

Anatoli-to-Maximus To Maximus:
Not really sure. One way to verify may be to check what it “isn’t”. In the past every time we’ve been able to view the Loom, it’s been extremely difficult to make out. It’s a very complex pattern with an infinite amount you can zoom down to. So one thought would be take a look at it and see if it has that same level of detail. Otherwise, I have no idea how you tell if it’s authentic or not.

Maximus I am jumping to conclusions, but..
Iggwylv has God-napped Fate and Mitcheford and her Loom and has Fate weaving her and her grandson into Gods.

I’m basing this conclusion on pure paranoia…


Anatoli Here’s the Adventure Log that summarizes the adventure where we gave her the doormat Aftermath of Iuz’ Death

Maximus Iggwylv has God-napped Fate and Mitcheford and her Loom and has Fate weaving her and her grandson into Gods.
GM Istus herself doesn’t control fate. She just weaves what will happen. She does have a little leeway into HOW some things will happen but she can’t change the outcome completely. Istus can’t make Iggwilv and Hexus into gods unless they were already destined to be gods at some point. The best she could do would be to clarify that it would happen. At that point, letting Fate go would be in their best interest.

This might be something you can ask the bard and sage you are both employing. Is there anything in their research that talks about the doormat to the World Serpent Inn or even the origins of the Inn itself. It seems possibly that what we are dealing with may be a problem with the Inn itself.

GM The World Serpent Inn exists primarily in the Northern parts of the continent near barbarian cultures. Its actually quite rare for most individuals to be able to visit there there. You also find out that it is 100% unheard of for individuals to be able to use any doorway to visit the location. Traditionally, there are only a few doorways that will work and even then, they aren’t consistent. Something is HIGHLY unusual that the Iuzbane seem to be able to go there at will.

Anatoli One thing to note. Way back during one or more of our adventures we made our way inside the Inn to an observation deck to look down outside the Inn. It’s a gigantic tree house sitting in the World Tree, Yggdrassil. I don’t know if we’ve ever asked this question, but why is there an incarnation of Yggdrassil as such a prominent place for Oerth? Yggdrassil is part of Norse mythology (aka Odin’s pantheon). There ain’t a huge Norse following on Oerth outside of the Barbarians.

GM The World Serpent Inn obviously touches many planes and locations. Other documented encounters show that its possible that it takes on different forms at different times. It is often described as an Mansion/Inn with an infinite number of rooms and hallways.

Samshee Which makes one wonder how Samshee got in the world serpent inn the first time and how she can duo the invoke Sim’s name trick to return despite not having had all the past weird mojo run ins that y’all of Iuzbane have had….

But even then, Samshee didn’t even know about the world serpent inn before ending up there.

Maximus O.o
I thought anybody who knew about the World Serpent Inn and had been there before could use any doorway…
Maximus isn’t Iuzbane…
:-( my head hurts.. :-(

Aldeberon My brains have already started oozing thru my ears on that! There is WAY more here than we thought… mmm gray matter…mushy

Tarl I believe it was stated that the inn takes on characteristics that are expected. Both dwarfs and elves have contact with the Norse view and we know that a certain ranger is becoming quite involved, also I can’t imagine any druid not using a tree for symbolism. I imagine that if we had a centaur and a priest of the Greek pantheon we would be on a river bank.

Istus of greyhawk, 3 fates of greece, norns of nordic pantheon, … We are worried about a portfolio and answers might be forthcoming from other sources besides Istus.

As I recall Iggwilv wanted the rug and offered to fix Beodar, We were all suspicious and went and found out that it was a rug of welcome from the world serpent inn. Someone detected Iggwilv’s aura on it and Jet used the pristine power from her cleaning harnes on it and the extra stuff “went away”. Whether Iggwilv used the rug for tracking who was in the inn or used it to crack
the security, she wanted what ever personal item was on the rug. Remember the godtrap and the simulacrum of her in there, she probably did not want a repeat of that situation. I may be mistaken but the rug was left with Mitch.

Aldeberon Wonder in having one of our party members having the Welcome rug has anything to do with our being able to get in all the time.

anatoli Between that and the trouble with the Nordic pantheon you guys got into last time (which after reading still doesn’t seem to be fully settled) it points to upheaval in the Nordic pantheon. Also, do we really trust this Veejay guy? According to the log we weren’t able to learn anything about him on True Sight. Seems a little too convenient.

GM If I recall, once Vijay relized that you couldn’t read his alignment, he confessed he was wearing an ancient oerdian artifact that acts as an amulet of proof against protection/location/dectection. He took it off and you were able to see that his alignment was True Neutral.

Anatoli-to-GM You said:
“Because Fate is callous and often unkind, only cynical and unfeeling people tend to make Istus their patron. Centers of Istus’ worship are in Dyvers, the Free City of Greyhawk,Rauxes, Rel Mord, and Stoink. She is also worshipped in Bissel, the Bright Lands, Ekbir, Ket, the Plains of the Paynims, the Tiger Nomads, Tusmit, the Wolf Nomads, and Zeif.”

Are any of those perhaps centers of Nordic pantheon worship as well? Tiger or Wolf Nomads maybe?
GM The Nomads have some worship of some aspects of the Nordic pantheon. Zeif, Ket, and Ekbir are known locations of Istus worshippers.

Do any of those cities also have temples to Odin? (Rudd sure does sound a lot like Loki)
GM Not that you can find documentation for.

Do any of the places shown on Maxx’s maps show symbols of the Nordic Pantheon?
GM Nope.

Anger Management

After the week of celebration of Beodar’s life, everyone splits up for some downtime. Aldeberon makes a Limited Wish scroll. Tarl train for his 16th level as cleric. (Go, High Priest Tarl!) Approximately 6 weeks of time passes in total.

Jet goes to Dr. Derro to get Shui repaired (she was damaged in Atlantis, breaking free of the docks), but he wants to have her for one day a week in perpetuity. Jet doesn’t like that idea. She believes Shui is psionically connected to her (Jet), and Dr. Derro is a psionic and a crystal savant. There is no way Jet is going to give an evil jerk (who by the way wants “his” crystal back and has a reason to specifically dislike Jet) regular access to her mind. Nope. So she heads to the psionicist guild (Guild of the Mind) and spends 5 weeks there trying to repaid Shui. Some of the damage is apparently fixed but not all of it.

Maximus keeps an eye on Jet while she is at the Guild of the Mind. After that he heads to to the World Serpent Inn to frolic with Struva in her suite. After 18 hours or so, Maximus takes a nap, and wakes up to the sound of someone pounding on the door. The bed is bloody and one of his swords – the left side one – is missing. He grabs the other sword, and puts on his pants and boots (editorial note – I love an experienced adventurer) and goes to answer the door. On the way, he sees Struva dead on the floor, impaled on his missing sword. He checks and she appears to have been dead for a little while.

He goes to the door and opens it. There are two Valkyrie there and he implores them to help Struva. They are shocked. The senior one says “How could we not know our sister is dead?” and sends the junior one for Brunehilde, the leader of the Valkyrie. Maximus’ Detect Magic suggests that Struva was outlined with Fairie Fire. He also thinks there is something odd about the moose head on the wall. He notices with his Detect Magic that his cheetah fetish has some new, necromantic enchantment one it. He takes it off to examine it further and the remaining Valkyrie yells “Blasphemer. You are in league with Hel” and attacks him. He knocks her unconscious, and puts on the necklace from Struva, and starts calling for Odin.

There is a noise in the hall? and he sees Fred, one of the gnomes running the bar, and pulls him into the room. Fred is horrified/terrified. No one is supposed to be able to be killed inside the World Serpent Inn. Maximus demands that the gnome get a list of all the people in the bar. Fred runs away.

A squad of Valkyrie show up. The lieutenant, Hilga, says the cheetah fetish is a symbol of Hel. She send the rest of the squad outside and asks him to allow himself to be taken into custody. He refuses. She offers to share his fate – whatever that might be – if he will go quietly with them. He refuses again and they fight. He takes her down to 2 hit points in a single round, and she gets one hit on him. His small wound burns, and she says that only happens when she wounds a minion of Hel. Maximus then uses a Teleport Stone (from Aldeberon) to take him and Struva’s body to his bungalow in Greyhawk. He calls Aldeberon, and Aldeberon calls the rest of us. Al itemizes Struva’s body.

Jet Shape Changes into a Nordic looking woman (like the rest of the Valkyrie) and Anatoli makes the rest of the group also look like Valkyrie. The sky is beginning to look stormy so we hurry up and leave. We go back to The World Serpent Inn to do more investigating. Jet goes to the front bar and sees Fred. She demands the key to Struva’s room and Fred passes it over. She also demands the list of names. He says he is workiing on it. We all head for Struva’s room.

The door is locked but the key works. We see that Hilga is now dead – with six wounds instead of the five that Maximus gave her. Jet tries Sensitivity to Psychic Impression, and sees (from Struva’s perspective) Maximus kill Struva, then Maximus wake up and see Struva’s body, and Maximus fight Hilga, and the unconscious woman wake up to see the dead body of Hilga and run away, and some psychic event when the cheetah fetish activates.

Fred brings us a list of people who had rooms and a list of people who various waiters remembered seeing. The room next to Struva’s was rented to Barry Bintawanty, even though it looked like Fandrel – a guy that Maximus knows.

We head to Celene to ask our old friend Thyvar to use the Eye of Thera to see what happened in the past. Normally, you can’t scry in the World Serpent Inn, but then normally you can’t kill people either. Tarl uses the Eye to find the correct room (and we see that the room is now filled with Valkyrie), and then Thyvar uses the Eye to go back into the past and see Maximus kill Struva, fight Hilga and leave, and come back – fully dressed and clean – and kill Hilga.

Al Identifies the cheetah fetish item. It was created by at least a 9th level cleric of Hel. We look over the names of people who entered the World Serpent Inn under the protection of Hel / Hela. There are three names – Marquesas, Claveron, and Janaea. The skies are getting stormy again, so we head to the University of New Critwall to find a sage who can tell us something about the Nordic pantheon and Hel. There is a librarian, Veejay (sound of theme music from Indianna Jones), who specializes in old Oeridian Artifacts. He suggests that Hela might be collecting Valkyries, since she is bitter about only getting the dregs that don’t go to Valhalla. Tarl also picks up some cold iron, since that is effective against some members of that pantheon. Storm clouds are gathering here too, so we leave for the World Serpent’s Inn.

In the front room, we run into Marquesas, who apparently just got badly beaten by some Valkyrie – another thing that is not supposed to happen here. They are also looking for information about Struva’s death. We hear the Valkyries calling, so we head to the main bar. The room is empty! which we have never seen before. The squad of Valkyrie come in, lead by Strega. Strega says Maximus must go into custody. Maximus refuses. Tarl asks if he could assume a bond for Maximus, assuring that he would return. He offers a World Serpent’s Inn coin of his own god – Moradin – as surety and gives his word as a High Priest of Moradin that Maximus will show up. Strega accepts the coin and Tarl’s word.

Maximus speaks up. He says he did not kill Struva. He has always taken responsibility for his kills so if he says he didn’t kill Struva, then he didn’t kill Struva. He picks a fight with Strega, saying he will prove he did not kill Struva. He attacks with the maces of Cold Obsidian, intending to hurt but not kill Strega. He gets in one round of combat. Tarl uses a symbol of Persuasion to prevent the combat but it does not affect Maximus or Strega. Aldeberon uses a Wall of Force to separate Maximus and Ground Zero from Strega and the rest of the Valkyries (That 21 Intelligence really came through there!) and succeeds. However, Maximus is enraged and uses the maces of Cold Obsidian to take down the Wall of Force and attack Strega again. This time, Strega dies, even though Maximus did not intend to kill her. The rest of the squad back off, chanting.

Maximus is devastated. He has killed a Valkyrie – one of Struva’s sisters. How can this be?

Aldeberon uses an Elixir of Life, which just barely restores Strega to life, but not consciousness. Maximus picks up Strega’s body and takes it to the Big O – Odin’s nudie bar. The Big O is empty. Baldur comes in. He says that Odin is away, looking for his missing grandson. He suggests that Maximus’ anger fueld the maces of Cold Obsidian and that the maces are eating Maximus’ soul. Perhaps Loki is behind this, trying to change Loki’s fate? We put Strega in one of the chairs, and then bring out Struva and put her in another chair. Baldur frowns and says that body is not Struva. Tarl’s True Sight on the body reveal a normal person.

We head back to Struva’s room. Tarl now says, this room is now in Niffelheim, Hel’s realm. We go in and exame the moose head. Tarl taps it with cold iron. It turns into a dark elf – of the race of Svartelfar – named Malkeith. Malkeith says Struva was kidnapped and a human substitute killed. Anatoli notices that Veejay is listening outside in the hallway. Apparently, he followed us from the University Library. Tarl’s True Sight (which was not enought to penetrate Malkeith’s moosehead disguise) also can’t see anything about Veejay.

We decide to follow the trail of the kidnappers from the door of the kitchen which leads on the grounds of Niffelheim. Veejay decides to go too. We ride on Aldeberon’s Disks, except for Maximus who is on the ground tracking the four sets of prints (three smaller and one much larger and heavier). His tracking skills avoid a huge pit trap (antlion?) and later another trap (mechanical spike trap) and eventually the tracks split up. 2 of them (one very large and one smaller) lead us to a set of small camps (3 camps of firbolg, 2 camps of verbeeg, one camp of Fomorians) and a central encampment of Norse giants. Anatoli scouts (invisible, wraith form) and sees two women who look like Struva and Hilga walking around free, but in armor with Hel’s insignia.

We decide to backtrack and find where the other tracks lead. There is a good sized walled keep, manned by many Svartalfar guards. We go in (Invisibility 10 ft radius, Aldeberon’s Discs, Aldeberon’s Force Sculpture (protecting us from above and from the side, but resting on one disc, so that we can jump off the disc and go to the ground if we need to get off/out/away) over the walls and find a quiet corner. Jet Summons Stonedar, to take us to the basement of the castle, guessing that is where they would keep the prisoners.

Stonedar takes us to the basement, but is sent away when he reaches it, due to protections on the keep against elemental incursions. We examine the dungeon to find xorn, black dragon, shadow dragon, various other creatures, a blond guy hung in mid air, a brunette woman chained to kneel on the floor, with her hands bound inside a metal block, and Struva.

All the cells are protected by three glyphs (Paralysis, Death, and something else). Tarl uses ? to see them and Nolzur’s pigments to obscure them on Struva’s cell. Anatoli uses Nolzur’s Pigments to get through the locks, because they are solid and not pickable. Maximus comes into Struva’s cell, revives her with a potion of healing and says, “My name is Maximus and I am here to rescue you.”

Jet thinks that is funny, so she persuades Tarl (after a lot of arguing – she finally has to remind him that Odin was looking for someone) to use a Detect Alignment on the other humans in the cell blocks. The guy is chaotic good and the woman is chaotic evil. We free the chaotic good guy, and Jet gets to say. “My name is Jet and I am here to rescue you.” Nobody else thought it was funny, though. His name is Magni and he is Odin’s grandson. Jet persuades him to help us find the missing Valkyrie Hilga. Score one for Jet!

Veejay gives Struva a sword and she rides a disc with him. Maximus and Magni sneak up and kill the guards to the Dungeon. Anatoli disguises us as Svartafar guards escorting prisoners. Struva thinks she can feel Hilda in a particular direction, so we head up there and kill some torturers mutilating Hilda.

Magni thinks he has done his job helping us and it is now time to go berserk and find/destroy Malkeith – whose castle this apparently is. He starts beating his way down through the floor. We can’t teleport or plane shift away from this room, so we decide to fight out way out of the castle. Passwall and Stone Shape do not create openings in the outer wall. Jet tries Animate Rock to make a hole in the wall. It does not pierce the thickness of the wall, but does give Jet a 12 ft tall stone golem to lead our charge out the front door. Tarl uses ? to animate a statue of Malkeith to also draw fire, and our two stone critters lead the way.

We fight out way out (druid spells are great for taking down castles) and hide underneath a Hemisphere of Force until the castle stops falling on our heads. Magni comes and clears the rubble off of us. Magni is too big to take with us, so Jet decides to stay with him until his berserker rage goes away and his normal intelligence returns. Tarl takes the rest of Ground Zero and Veejay and Struva and Hilga back to Bloodhaven. A squad of Valkyries riding pegasi show up and take their sisters back.

When Magni is back to normal, Jet asks him how he got kidnapped. He says he took a drink that a pretty lady handed him. She asks him if he can get home from here. He says yes. She knows he would be embarassed if he actually did get rescured by a girl, so she says goodbye and moves to the Elemental Plane of Earth, and then back to Caer LaForce.

Maximus goes to the Shrine of Ehlanna and meditates for a while.

48 Hours
Beodar's Quest Fulfilled

48 Hours (The increasingly misnamed length of time in which Beodar is checked out of jail by Aldeberon to track down the miscreants plaguing Ground Zero)

When last we left our intrepid adventurers, Al had requested that the Queen would grant Beodar’s parole to investigate the problems besetting us. Al pledged to the Queen of Celene that he would make sure Beodar returned to jail in time for his trial for the crime of high treason, i.e. laying hands on the Queen.

We starting by asking the priest named Corellon (who is also the high priest of Corellon, and who had been charged with defending Beodar in the upcoming trial) to help us discover why Beodar’s Waypoint spell did not bring them to Celene, but instead sent him and the queen to Atlantis. We also point out to the priest that Beodar is a priest of Lira Nevasere, which indicates that Celene itself is in danger.

Priest Corellon asks us to participate in an elven ritual spell, Life Story. It starts with the life of Maximilien B. Thornblade from birth
to his death on Acheron. Then it switches to the life of Derron, priest of Hextor, on Acheron. Then it switches to the reincarnation
of the two spirits as Beodar, being summoned into being by Lira Nevasere, elven goddess of protection and stability, to protect the
elven people. The ritual continues through Beodar’s life.

Next we ask priest Corellon to perform a divination, to determine more about the problem with the Waypoint. We learn that Beodar interfered with Beodar’s Waypoint, that Beodar has a counterpart (as do all of Ground Zero – excluding Samshee who is a very recent addition to our party). When we try to find out the location of our counterparts, the priest starts to bleed from the eyes and ears. The Commune confirms that Beodar is the Champion of Lira Nevasere. Beodar staying in Celene is not a threat to the elves, but it is unknown if Beodar leaving Celene is a threat.

Maxximus spars with Beodar and Beodar mirrors Maxximus’ style and apparent fighter level (based on a True Seeing by Anatoli). The same mirroring happens when Samshee spars with Beodar.

The priest Corellon tells us that some memory of Beodar’s, shared during the Life Story, is being blocked. We invite a half-elven
psychic surgeon (Mina) to find the blocked memory in Al’s mind. Mina plunges her psychic spear into Al’s brain and pulls out something. She shoves it into Beodar, and he now remembers what happened when he was re-routed to Atlantis. The counterpart Beodar met him there and fought him. Only by doing the unexpected (Poison Touch) did our Beodar survive and cause his counterpart to flee.

Mina tells us (I have no idea why) that when the berserker lost his battleharness and Anatoli used Alter Reality to pull in a copy from
another reality, that Maxximus’ hunger sent out a ping that connected to another berserker.

We decide to go to Atlantis to investigate our counterparts. We take Shui through the waterways of the aboleth tunnels. (Samshee is invisible.) When we arrive at the location we decide first to go to the floating city that we did not investigate before. Shui connects
with the city network and identifies herself as a garbage ship.

While she is docked and being loaded, Jet asks Shui for a dongle so she can continue to communicate with Shui while we are outside the ship. Jet gets a spinal implant. We disembark to “go get our orders”. We are directed by Shui to command central where a whole bunch of people are dressed in white uniforms, sitting at computer terminals in an ampitheater. The guy in the middle has arcane magic user symbols on his robes, and is referred to as the Weatherman

We log in (Shui is connected to the network and guides Jet through entering the commands). The system does not recognize some of our classes, but identifies Al as a Weatherman.

The head guy berates us for being “slow” and “still in native garb” and tells us to report. Jet apologizes for being slow, and asks if we
can go clean up first. He says yes.

Since we are all logged in, Jet asks Shui to download the logs and reports on the network. Maxximus creates a distraction to give Shui time to get the data. He casts “Uncontrollable Laughter” on a guy in a different tier. When that guy touches another guy, the spell appears contagious. Many people are laughing in terror, when the Weatherman calls for them to be isolated and sanitized. Partitions come down, and then go back up, with cleaning bots fills with liquid leaving. We think the bots liquified the people.

We leave to get cleaned up. Shui processes the download and says that Atlantis was hidden to protect itself from the effects of magic. A magic user named Lord Arian cast some spell that killed all the mages. The bones of all the other magic-using people (such as clerics) began to liquefy. They put most of the population into cryogenic stasis. The few left awake periodically send out spies to find ut what is happening in other parts of the world. We (in our Greyhawk garb) were taken for some of those spies.

Spells being cast in Atlantis cause “white events” that damage Atlantis. White events occurred when Beodar and the queen arrived and when the queen Succored away.

We head for Shui. There are workers clustered around her. The invisible Samshee pickpockets one of their
guns/tricorders/wands/whatever. Jet has Shui fake an announcement that they need to leave the area, but they discover that one of their guns/tricorders/wands/whatever is missing and sound an alarm. We bum rush them and board Shui, but she is prevented from undocking. She rips herself loose and we run for the beach where we showed up last time. Shui can’t disconnect from the network, and they are tracking her, so she turns back into a hairpin.

We ride Aldeberon’s Disks (land speeders in this place) to the hotel. We check the guest book – Opel, Sirius, Maximus, Totenkanz, Krunk and Giovanni have signed in. These are the names of the twisted version of ourselves that we thought were created by Hexus when he tried to prevent us from leaving after we killed his father.

Soon, black helicopters show up. Anatoli throws out a programmed illusion of a red dragon, that becomes a real and huge red dragon. The helicopters take it out with one missile. Anatoli Purple People Patternizers us back to the tunnels. Jet summons a water elemental to keep the party from drowning. Beodar Waypoints us back to Oakthorn Manor.

The counterparts follow us to Oakthorn Manor. Counterpart Maximus (monk) tells Maxximus (our ranger) that Totenkanz died. Sirius (Al’s counterpart) reincarnated him as Beodar. Beodar tells the priest of Correllon that he has been brought back as a priest of Lyra Nevasere because of the threat to the elven nation. The priest of Corellon laughs at him, so he kills the priest, seizes the elven throne, destroys the armies of Iuz besetting the elven nation, conquers the lands of Iuz, intimidates the other nearby nations such as Furyondy by slaughtering their ambassadors, and creates a dead zone (via his druid Opal) around Celene to prevent other attacks. (NOTE: their group was called the Boneheart.)

For no apparent reason, their Beodar thought our Beodar was a threat so he brought his party here to kill him. They tried to kidnap our Beodar in Atlantis but he got away.

Maxximus (ours) tries to convince Maximus (theirs) that we are not a threat to them. He says that “what the druid protects is the greater threat.” On that enigmatic note, he leaves.

We ask Beodar (ours) why the Queen went to the Hold of the Sea Princes. He thinks she was looking for the man she was betrothed to just before she was selected to become queen. One night, he just disappeared. Not even the Eye of Thera can reveal what happened to him.

Beodar goes back to jail. The rest of us head to the World Serpent Inn to talk to the red-headed human barbarian barmaid who goes by the name of Lilly, but who we think is an avatar of Lyra Nevasere. Mitchifer is still away from the bar, looking for his mother Fate, who left the bar some time before.

Samshee asks Lilly if she is ever called Lyra Nevasere. Lilly snorts and says she doesn’t have time for this. Samshee decides to go
pester, seduce, and/or interrogate Boccob, the blindfolded guy sitting in a corner reading a book with blank pages. He is called “See-more” in the bar. He tells her that everything interesting is written down in books. He seems entertained to share his fries and gravy with her. She asks him about her lineage, and he says her lineage is interesting because of her parets, and grandparents and greatgrandparents, but the most important thing is who she thinks she is. He invites her to come back for more French fries and gravy later.

The rest of us talk to Lilly for a while. We ask her if there are ways to help Beodar. She tells us we could challenge the queen, ask
her why she did not defend herself when Beodar touched her. If we win, we could end up in charge of the elven kingdom. The challenge can only come from one of the 12 noble houses, so Aldeberon would have to do it. Lilly says that the elves are a danger to themselves, they have lost passion and love, and they are in danger of extinction.

We go back to Beodar and tell him what Lilly said. He sends Jet and Al away with a transparent request for chili cheese fries and wheat beer from the Tombs. We recognize that we are being sent away to keep us from interfering in the trial. We get it, and give it to the guards, since Beodar has already gone to his trial. We take pictures of them throwing up to take back to the Tombs.

We head toward the courtroom. Beodar left a message with Samshee that we should not interfere “don’t stop the bleeding. it isn’t as bad as it looks.” Beodar has dismissed the priest Corellon, and is defending himself. He looks regal in his Cavalier garb. He pleads innocent to the charges (kidnapping, assault, treason), on the basis that he never intended harm. He calls on the woman who laid down her crown to testify. The prosecuting attorney (Thyvar) tells her she must testify. She takes off her crown. He asks her if she wants his death. She says she does. He asks her if she wants anything else. She looks confused. He says no further questions and hands her back her crown.

He calls for an expedited sentence. He is found guilty within minutes. The queen sentences him to execution and a permanent death. His last request is for the queen to kill him herself, immediately.

They bring in the Moonlight Blade. She asks for his wrist. He lays aside his armor and opens his shirt for her to strike his heart. Then
he takes her hand and gently guides the point into his chest. As he dies, he wraps his arms around her and kisses her cheek.

Everyone is crying. Even though he is a criminal and a traitor, all the heads of the 12 noble houses bring the symbols of their house and lay them at Beodar’s feet. His guard wrap Beodar in his flags and carry him away. Thyvar asks if she is still the queen without a
consort. She says, “In honor of our fallen comrade, I am still Queen.”

Only Beodar’s elven guard and Ground Zero attend the body. Jet sits with the body and fasts (water only) for 7 days. His body stays warm and looks regal.

House Oakthorn declares a week of remembering Max and Beodar. For 7 days, the elves celebrate his life. It seems that the elves have declared Beodar to be a king posthumously – an elven custom with great generals who died in battle. Kymbala comes to pay her respects.

On the 7th night, the queen comes in. “How could he love me and do that?” A tall red-headed woman comes in and says, “Oh, my daughters, it is so hard for you. He answered a call he did not have to. He did what he was born to do. He redeemed everything and saved the elven race. He rests well and he is not lonely, there is still one part of his story left to tell. Fear not, everything happens in threes.”

Jet perhaps hallucinating, she has been fasting for 7 days thinks the red head reaches out to the body and Beodar rises and goes with her – but when she looks, the body is still on the bier. However, the body is now cold.

The funeral procession goes by all 12 noble houses. Outside each, a single guard holds a flag at half mast. Only Awen and Ground Zero attend the interment of the body. The graveyard is the only elven graveyard, and it is the courtyard of Lyra Nevasere’s temple. Beodar is the 19th of her cavaliers to be buried there. His monument has the symbol of the House LaMagier, which Awen says shows that LaMagier recognizes Beodar as a king.

After the Ceremony, Gideon shows up. He claims his son always surprised him and there are surprises left.

Experience Point Awards

The Search for Briarthorne (3200 each)
People were fish. turned to stone, offered a job to Ford at Questor

I regret nothing (6600)
Samshee meets the group while being chased through the World Serpent Inn
Coreon lifts curse and Geas’s Aldebaran
Jumper shows up and challenges Anatoli to a wish war.
Bounties on us
Aldebaran’s Lack of Forethought +1,000

3 Lese Majeste (Al’s Quest) (4000)
Bring Back Queen of Selene

3.5 Spying in the Pomarj (5,000)
Samshee and Maximus alone

4 Festival of Lights (9170 each)
Sculpting contest
Desaad kills Eljay
Demon Prince is slain
Anatoli +2,000 bonus for creating mecha
Maximum +2,000 for becoming a mecha

5 Love Conquers All (24,000)
Rescue of XanYi, the Wind Goddess
Samshee +2,000 for setting off the volcano to stop the Titan


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