Ground Zero

Death of a God
End of an Era

First and foremost. WOW. I had some massive expectations and you people did NOT disappoint. I still get goosebumps thinking about it. One by one you go into the GodTrap to face an unknown foe only to be picked off one by one. Maximus challenges Maxx show his true allegiances and he chooses the IuzBane. Maxx meets his unavoidable end. Anatoli pledges himself in the service of Boccob and soon thereafter releases all the occupants of the GodTrap. Epic battle ensures in which many of us fall, Sym for the final time. A desperate battle with a desperate god. IuzBane triumphant. But at what cost? Sym slain by a vengeful god…Maxx’s soul forever lost..But much was gained: Robilar restored. The Iuzbane cursed removed. Iggwilv thwarted.

Oh yeah, and just so you know. I was fairly sure that the game was going to end with everybody being dead except for the Druid. But thanks to Anatoli’s quick thinking, the group managed to survive certain death. And we all live to do this for another 21 years :-)

And now, THE AFTERMATH!!!!

The backwash of energy from the deactivation of the GodTrap completely nullifies the magic of the templated ioun stones and anything created from the focus. All those items lose their dweomer and turn to dust about an hour after we make our way from the area of Castle Greyhawk.

Additionally, the World Serpent Inn has closed off most of its doors from the eyes of casual mortals. You can only enter through consecrated temples to Greater Gods. Certain lesser powers may allow transport but is is unknown how to ascertain which ones can do so.

Zuggtumouy is distraught and blames the IuzBane for Iuz’s death. However, she has limited ability to affect the prime material plane. At least in theory…

Mordenkainen “leaks” knowledge of our encounter with minions of Iuz beneath Castle Greyhawk. He explains it simply as “on his behalf”. The ruling oligarchy of the City of Greyhawk hails us as heroes for our part in thwarting the invasion via the Underdark. There are no public accolades though as they do not wish to upset the general public with knowledge of a threat that they did not see coming. It would cause unnecessary panic. Each of us is awarded the title of Lord and is given a small 2 bedroom bungalow in the High Quarter. The title is meaningless outside of the city but grants some respect and some small amount of political clout inside the city. We still have to pay taxesto the city for the land of course….

Robilar gives each of you a gift from his cache of treasures:
Maximus: You are given a strange piece of leather like material with a beautiful tattoo of a bullseye on it. If worn for one month against your skin, the tatoo will transfer to you. It will allow you once a day to get a bonus of +6 on a hand held missile weapon either thrown, hurled or mechanically shot. When the ability is activated, the tattoo becomes indistinct. Over the next 24 hours, it becomes more and more clear as it recharges.

Tarl: You are given a_Phylactery of Divine Power_ . This small gem is attached by a silk cloth piece and allows you to recall any one curing or healing spell you have already cast, once a day. the spell must still be cast normally once it is back in your mind. It must be worn to be activated.

Eljay: you are contacted by Mordenkainen. He says that in thanks for helping him, he will help your “sword enchantment problem”. I’ll get with you one-on-one for more details.

Aldebaron: Robilar gives you a wand of polymorphing with 36 charges left in it.

Jet: Robilar gives you a Gauntlet of the Gladiator. 1/week grants the wearer the THACO of a warrior of equal level for 1 turn. However, you also lose 5 points each in intelligence, wisdom, and charisma for the duration.

Anatoli: Robilar gives you a Cloak of Protection +2.

Tenser gives you access his following spells:
Tenser’s Deadly Strike 3rd
Tenser’s Giant Strength 4th
Given your levels in fighter, he thinks these might help you.

Beodar’s gift is revealed at a later date. :-)

Sym’s Fate:
A hero’s funeral is given for Sym. He is declared The Forever Arena Champion and the title is retired. The new title for those that compete is Grand Gladiator. Sym is laid in state in Five Oaks Quarter for one week. He wears the cape of the Champion and his sword is atop his body.

After a week of such ceremony, his body is transferred to the Shield Lands. Prince Stephen makes him an Honorary Knight of Holy Shielding (which pisses off most of the existing Knights of Holy Shielding. Sym is laid in state in the current capital city of the Shield Lands for one week. To hide his face for the more delicate members of the elite, a carved wooden mask of his facial likeness is used to cover his withered/shriveled head. Sym is buried in the ancestral graveyard of the noble houses of the Shield Lands. His statue has one foot atop a bloody skull. He wears chaimail with no helm, his sword and a club in his off hand. It is an amazing likeness in the statue.

Afterwards, the campaign to retake the shield lands begins full tilt. Prince Stephen calls for an all out war to take back the Shield Lands. All the exiled Knighs of Holy Shielding jubilantly answer his call to arms. There is a large exodus from Greyhawk City as the drums of war start there steady pace. It is rumored that Sym’s will leaves all of his fortune to pay for mercenaries and such to fund the war.

Kymballa’s Nuptials:
Kymballa and Melf have been given leave to reschedule heir wedding at their own convenience. Out of respect for their dead comrades, they have scheduled for 2 months hence. Kymballa openly grieves for Maxx’s passing.

Tahlia’s Plans:
Decides to spend stay in Greyhawk for Kymballa’s wedding before heading back to Urnst. She says she will drop in from time to time but wants to spend sometime with her kids, Winkin, Blinkin and Chuck.

Eljay:
Mordenkainen gives you the ring permanently. Ring of the Faithful Companion. Summon’s a Mordenkainen’s Faithful Hound. Visible and audible only to the ring wearer. Can exist 4 hours a day in any increments. If the hound is dispelled, then the ring is inert for a week. The dog has memory between summoning and can be named. It cannot talk but there is a 75% chance that it is able to get its point across even if the information is more complicated than yes/no.

Mordenkainen also gives you access to his following spells:
Mordenkainen’s Emcompassing Vision 2nd
Mordenkainen’s Electric Arc 4th
Mordenkainen’s Faithful Phantom Shield-Maidens 4th
Mordenkainen’s Faithful Phantom Defenders 5th

The spies in the Lands of Iuz report that there is a major happening in the capital city of Dorakaa. No one knows exactly what is going on. It is rumored that a female has stepped up to assume leadership there. But no one can give an accurate description other than to say her skin is unusual in texture and color….

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Ruins of Castle Greyhawk Part 3

Hello, everyone.

We are playing dnd this weekend (where? who knows!) and so I am trying to post a quick summary of our last run.

We joined our intrepid adventurers camped out in the waiting room for the chamber of summoning. This is the room that gave us instructions for the safe phrase “I am a guest of Zagyg and I am allowed on the Promenade”, to be used before using gaseous form in the Chamber of Summoning.

We had decided to camp in this room. That night, we got attacked by
some oddly strong and oddly organized goblines, equipped (like the Kamikaze Kobold Korps of yesteryear) 1HD fireball beads. We kill them and collect the barrels of explosives they were planning on using on us.

We explore west and find a ?natural? cave covered with mold and fungus. A yellow musk zombie (a bullette in life) attacks, but Maximus kills it. He then kills the yellow musk creeper controlling it (in the bullette’s brain) with his bare hands.

Through the next door, we see what appears to be a picnic scene in Akbar in Tusmit. Anatoli’s Reveal Truth shows a pool of water, a banquet table, a bird cage, and many doors. The banquet table is covered with
rotten meat. One door leads to a room with a portal covered in blue mist. We do NOT go through the portal. Another door leads to a room that smelled of rotting meat and vinegar. We do NOT go through that one either. We do go into a hall lined with cells filled with components for illusionist spells. We loot whatever Anatoli wants, and destroy the rest.

In another room we find Loris Racnian, reigning champion of gladiators in Greyhawk. He was rumored to have made a deal with Nerull, to sacrifice his foes to the god of death. We kill him and his two arumvorax pets.

Mazier starts throwing up and teleports away. Sym shows up. We head back toward the Chamber of Divination. Beodar asks the name of the Iuz’ prist who died under Maximus’ questions – Renar. Beodar also asks for Vayne’s current location – the Chamber of Summoning.

We head for the Teleport Room, and go to Zagyg’s Prison. Anatoli uses the Obsidian Key to get in. 4 Type 2 demons (Hezrou) attack us, and we kill them.

In another room, we find what we think is Shindra’s gear.

In a desecrated temple of Boccob, we see an undead Ravel about to sacrifice a blond priestess. Anatoli uses Reveal Truth, to find that the priestess is the demoness Levashti. Sym dies when he attacks her, only to discover that she is protected by ice shield. Eljay uses giant growth and Tensor’s Transformation, and strikes her down using a desecrated statue of Boccob as a weapon.

In the next room, we find 9 cells, and a work bench with materials to repeat a simulacracum, and 2 books on making Zagyg’s prison and using a Force Cage (like the one Eljay has). The 9 cells contain materials for spells for the nine schools of magic. We loot them.

We find doors of strange purple metal engraved with pictures of Castle Greyhawk. Inside 2 crystalline statues of warriors attack us. Beodar destroys them using Shatter.

We find a pool of “blessed water” in the next room. We use it to clean the desecrated temple, purify Ravel’s body, and restore Sym. We create a sarcophagus for the body of Ravel in the temple, and Beodar blesses the temple in Boccob’s name. Boccob’s statue smiles

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Ruins of Castle Greyhawk Part 2

Here is a quick summary of our last run.

In the previous run, Ground Zero had spent some time in a room where divination spells were apparently cast for free. We agreed to leave there and go to the room where we had rested the previous night.

When we got to the rest and recreation room, it did not respond to Aldebaran’s commands as before. Anatoli used Reveal Truth to show a beautiful sea-elf lady in fine garments. She murmured something about her mistress summoning her, and used a spell to take the energy of the spell casters present. (All mages and clerics except Jet lost memorized spells of level 5 and above. Anybody recognize that spell? Anybody got any ideas about why Jet was not affected?) Then she disappeared.

We spent the night. All the mages spent at least some time researching information in the library in the back of the rest and recreation room. On the table were several books on the creation of life.

The next day, we headed back down to the treasure rooms. We tried a passageway, which had two alcoves – each filled with amazingly detailed miniatures. The miniatures included two groupings of Ground Zero. The first included the people and equipment from the first time Ground Zero came to Castle Greyhawk. The second was the people and their equipment from this time. The mages took their figurines. The rest of us did not.

Continuing down the hallway (ignoring the graffiti which warned us to not go on), we ended up teleporting naked into a tree-lined avenue. Apparently, we shrank as we teleported, and the miniatures remained the same size. Tarl arrived behind an amazingly convenient boulder. Jet came through with her dragon scale armor, and the appearance of her torc worked into the armor (but nothing else).

The people who brought their miniatures quickly dressed and armed themselves from the miniatures. Since Anatoli had brought his miniature, he had access to his gnomish pouch, and brought out robes of Hieronymus for all the naked people. Beodar and Anatoli armed all the naked people.

Jet used the torc on her armor to summon birds. They told her of the castle ahead, and that in the castle there was a black shard that we could use to leave.

We apparently were in Wonderland. Some people with the bodies of playing cards saw Maximus and ran away. (Possibly that was because he was naked!) We followed them to a red and white striped palace with heart motifs.

Inside we heard a shrill female voice. “You burst into my palace! You start talking! When will you learn — knock, then supplicate! Knock! Supplicate!”

We followed the voice to find the queen of the card men. Upon seeing us, the red queen screams “Off with their heads!” The fight begins. The seven red guards are armed with vorpal weapons. The queen is a magic user, casting through projected image. Also, concealed in the room is the alterkin of Murlynd (Dnylrum?)

The fighting was very intense, but the puns were even worse. Maximus got depressed because with only one sword, he’s not doing as much damage as usual. Anatoli told him to “deal” with it. When a card guard got damaged, Anatoli said “he folded”. I forget the rest, though. Jet used the claws built into her dragon armor and turned into a Celestial cloud dragon. When she hit Dnylrum with both claws (being Jet, that took her five rounds), she unexpectedly got a bite attack. She also got a breath weapon attack greater than normal on the next round (killing Dnylrum – Anatoli took a Kodagnome picture) and a constriction attack on a guard on the round after that. Weird. Aldebaran Itemizes Dnylrum.

Anatoli who is holding the Obsidian Key, feels a tugging toward a black shard. When he gets close, the shard merges with his Key. Anatoli uses the Key to draw a door, and we walk through that, back to the passageway. We are naked again, but we find our stuff on the floor where we teleported away. Oddly, we have the loot from Wonderland, but it is all miniature sized, except for the picture that Anatoli took which is normal size, and inside his bag. Tarl Raises Dead on Dnylrum, and we use the Orb to send Dnylrum away.

Finally, we go to the last unexplored door, which has a picture of an ape on it. Inside we are apparently at the beach, with a small, empty boat on the shore. A bank of mist hangs off shore. A few people get in the boat and the boat heads for the mist, but another boat comes out for the rest of us.

Through the mist, we come to a lush, volcanic island. The jungle heat and insects are oppressive until Jet uses Control Temperature and Repel Insects.

On the shore, a 20 foot tall ape is feeding on a dinosaur carcass. Following Maximus’ advice we act non-aggressive. The ape acts suspicious, but then ignores us. He walks into a cave, and we follow into a long natural tunnel.

The tunnel opens out unto a natural savanna, surrounded by volcanoes, some of which appear to be active. Browsing dinosaurs and pterodactyls are visible in the distance. We also can see a purple ziggurat in the distance.

Anatoli feels drawn to the ziggurat, so we head that direction. As we draw near to the ziggurat, we see it is covered with arcane runes of binding. From the top of the ziggurat charges a huge dinosaur – something like a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Anatoli distracts him with an illusion and lures him into an area where Jet has cast Rock to Mud. Maximus goes around to the top of the ziggurat, sees a cloudy pool, and dives in.

The rest of us follow (“Ground Zero doesn’t split the party.”) and we end floating in a dark space with moving spheres. Aldebaran touches one and is sucked in. He confronts himself, and immediately engages in combat (a bit Freudian, now that I think about it). The victor (we assume the original Aldebaran?) emerges from the sphere, holding another black shard.

Anatoli touches the shard with his key, and the key absorbs the shard. Anatoli has a vision of three shards merging to form a pyramid headed key – the form of the Obsidian Key artifact, held by Boccob. Anatoli’s key now looks a little more like the key in the vision, but not entirely.

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Jet's Musings

Jet has been troubled for quite a while by the sense that powerful, unseen forces have been manipulating us. The attack by what appeared to be Shaitan and Shalimar (but were really strangers under illusion) has confirmed her suspicions: somebody/somebodies wants/want to aim us at the Lands of Iuz and at the forces of Greater Aerdy.

However, the last run has really confused her, in that a different “style” manipulation suddenly appears to be going on as well. We seem to be getting clues that we are being sponsored/used/positioned by Boccob too. The confusing part is that Boccob is called the Uncaring for a reason.

Jet is working on two hypotheses.
1) One of the unseen forces has changed tactics. Since pushing didn’t work, they are trying to lure.
2) Jet got involved in the recent ordination of Boccob’s high priest, agreed to carry a focus object for Boccob before that, got involved in a quest of Kelanen (an associate of Zagig, associated with Boccob) before that, and was friends with Ravel Desander (high priest of Boccob) before that. Maybe, just maybe, we really are being positioned by Boccob or his emissary Zagig.

What does this mean? With the addition of a patron force (or even just the illusion of a patron force), Jet is willing to go into Zagig’s tower (which is where the game seems to be leading us.

Assuming we survive that, she is also ready to more directly confront the forces of Iuz. (Anybody willing to head over to the Shield Lands to reinforce Sym?) Of course, she still is unwilling at this point to lead the Druid Council when she goes to fight in the Shield Lands. So this probably means Jet stepping down from Grand Druid. (Bye, bye, 1 MILLION, 4 HUNDRED 54 THOUSAND experience points.) (Of course, she may learn something in the Tower that makes her willing to lead the Druid Council to war. Scary thought!)

Also, Jet sees the Iuz Bane being reassembled to go into the Tower. That makes her wonder about asking Sym to come with us. (Vernard may have some objections. At this point, the NPC load is getting really, really heavy. Also, which Sym would we bring? His spirit has been split into several parts.)

More later,
Jeanette

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Ruins of Castle Greyhawk Part 1

Okay, quick summary.

Ground Zero decides to go to the location near Castle Greyhawk indicated during Beodar’s divination. Beodar divines again, and learns that the information came from Boccob. Beodar also learns “The Circle is broken. It must be restored.” and “Your other half holds answers.”

Anatoli casts Dream, and dreams of Castle Greyhawk. He sees someone who looks like a younger, darker Ravel Desander, playing with a Ruby Skull, and wanting the key to open it. The dream character asks Anatoli if he will find the key. Anatoli dreams of a pyramid-headed headed key with 8 bits. (Hey, I looked it on Google. That style key is called a skeleton key, and the protruding parts are called teeth or bits.)

When Anatoli relates the dream to the rest of us, Jet is reminded of an artifact known as the Obsidian Key. Created by the God of Portals (whose name is Dor, go figure), the Obsidian Key reputedly can open any lock. Boccob is supposed to hold the Obsidian Key himself, and is rumored to be able to create minor copies of the key (called Shards) which last for a limited amount of time.

Then Anatoli wanders off into the druid’s grove (leaving his clothes and dignity — what dignity? — behind) where he meets a gnome playing Dragon Chess. The fellow introduces himself as Uncle Grezayne. Grezayne says the “Dream” was blocked, and he was asked to deliver a message. Anatoli needs to learn to play Dragon Chess. (Brief summary: the board has 3 levels, different pieces have different powers, there are multiple winning conditions, and different rules hold for players with different skill levels.) He gives Anatoli a Beginner’s Guide to Dragon Chess. He tells Anatoli that the person who holds the key plays Dragon Chess although he doesn’t know it. Anatoli’s answers are in the forgotten part of his life (Anatoli thinks of the Focus, and of the explosion at Dorakaa that sent us to the Abyss, where we made a deal with Dispater tp return.) Grezayne says not to forget those who brought him where he is.

Anatoli turns away and when he looks back, Grezayne is gone and the Dragon Chess set is packed to go. He brings the book and chess set back to Caer Laforce. There he reads the book. It is written in gnomish by Zagyg, and describes the history of dragon chess. It is signed “to my newest student of dragon chess.” In the book are references to other volumes in the set.

(Note: Zagyg is the name of the god of magic, and the insane archmage who founded Greyhawk and build Castle Greyhawk. It is rumored that even though Zagyg the god is older than Zagyg the mage, they are the same person because the mage mastered time travel.)

We travel to a spot near Castle Greyhawk. A party of clerics of Boccob guard the entrance to the main tower of Castle Greyhawk – Tower of Zagyg. The other two towers are called Tower of War and Tower of Magic. The leader of the clerics wears both the symbol of Boccob and of Zagyg. He is called “Grandfather Magic” and he looks like the guy in Anatoli’s dream, and he is looney. He says he was told to guard the tower until he was brought the key to open the Ruby Skull. He brings us to his tent, where he offers us tea. Anatoli notices that his collection of tea pots is arranged in a formation resembling a dragon chess game. Grandfather Magic mentions a dragon chess player at the adventurers hall in Greyhawk who he thought had information about the key. The guy would not talk to him because he did not play dragon chess.

We decide to go to Greyhawk to talk to the chess player. When we get there, we are given a hero’s welcome by the owner of the club, Ricard Demaris. We laugh and drink and tell stories of our adventurers. We talk to Captain Galanz. We learn that the Circle of Eight was broken when Rary was caught trying to booby trap the hall where the treaty to end the Iuz War was to be signed. Ottiluke, Bigby, and Tenser were killed. (Otiluke was killed permanently, because Robilar had made arrangement to destroy any clones of his that were set to be created.)

Anatoli discovers that Captain Galanz is really Robilar under an illusion.

Anatoli engages the dragon chess player, Kalek, in a series of games and conversation. Kalek is in town in order to try to get access to the books of Zagyg on Dragon Chess. Anatoli shows the “chess” position from the teapots in Grandfather Magic’s Tent. Kalek identifies it as the Twin Bishop strategy, where a doppelganger clones a bishop and goes to hell taking the clone with him. The original bishop on earth summons a celestial to earth, and the bishop in hell then summons it to hell, clearing the hell level. The gambit is rarely played, because it is massively destructive, so only desperate people who expect to lose play it, but it has to be set up almost from the beginning of the game.

Eljay shows up and joins the party.

Maximus get hit on by a Rhenne woman, Amalia Mezaros, who is being watched by three Rhenne guards. They leave for some privacy, but are followed by the three guards. Amalia asks him to help her lose the guards, so they duck and run. The guards keep up, so Maximus tells Amalia he does not need the drama, and returns to the bar.

After several hours, Shaitan, Shalimar, and several other show up. Maximus grapples with Shaitan after his weapons have no effect. Eljay, Jet, and Anatoli are all killed by Energy Bolts (Shalimar seems to be under the effect of Tempus Fugit). Anatoli’s last act, Reveal Truth, shows that the villains were actually under an illusion, and we see there real faces. Beodar Waypoints us back to Caer Laforce. Jet and Eljay are brought back by Death’s Door, followed by Heals. Anatoli is being regenerated by his ring. We scry the Adventurer’s hall, and see the villains interrogating Ricard. We use Kodagnome to get pictures of their faces. We buff and go back, but the villains are already gone. We heal the bleeding Ricard.

Eljay, Aldebaran, and Anatoli go to the Magic Users Guild to research the Obsidian Key. Zagyg supposedly had a Shard of the Obsidian Key in his study at the top of the Magic Users Guild. Only archmages are allowed to attempt entry (there is some kind of test). Aldebaran drops a note to Tensor, who comes and gives them authorization to attempt entry.

Maximus stays at the bar, and the Rhenne woman, Amalia comes back. He shows her the pictures of the villains, and she recognizes them as people who do business with her husband, Janos Mezaros, Rhenne lord of 11 barges. He encourages her to spy on them the next time they visit her husband, under the pretext of playing music. He gives her some money.

Jet visits Adreanna at the Temple of Boccob. Adreanna is distraught, so Jet takes her for a drink at the World Serpent’s Inn. Adreanna becomes more distraught, as she apparently sees the patrons as they really are. Jet then looks for Boccob’s table and takes Adreanna over there. Adreanna apparently can’t recognize Boccob though. After food and drink, Adreanna calms down. Adreanna asks Jet why she cares. Jet explains her philosophy of balance, her need to preserve the circle, and that love is one of the powers that holds everything together. Then Boccob asks Adreanna why she cares, and she says learning is the point of life. Reinvigorated, Adreanna goes back to the temple, and Jet goes to settle her bill with Mitchifer. Mitchifer says he will take care of it for her, since we had done him a favor recently.

Maximus does some reconnaissance near the docks. A lady elven thief named Tirra offers him knowledge of the Obsidian Key’s location in Zagyg’s study, in exchange for a brass monkey in Zagyg’s study. He says he will relay the offer to us. She gives him a marked arrow. He can attach his answer to it, and leave the arrow at any of the shops in Grayhawk.

Anatoli goes over to the chess player, Kalek.

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Unified Theory of Evil

“The Unified Theory of Evil” — that was a phrase that really captured my attention.

Jet also believes that many of the recent events are connected. Many of the out-of-game things Jet has been up to, have been directed at trying to find out who/what is behind all of this. To Jerry’s list, let me add
1) “the fight between the Boneheart and Iuz Bane”. None of us were planning that, and none of them (boneheart) seemed to be planning it — but someone sure tried hard to make it happen.
2) “the divination of Boccob’s priestess” which suggested a connection between Shaitan (connection to Hextor), and Mindbender (connection to Boneheart and Iuz)
3) “possessed people”, possessed by MEDIUM level priests of Iuz whose bodies were stored in a city historically controlled by the Scarlet Brotherhood – who were devil worshippers. (Although the city recently came under the political control of the Lands of Iuz, Jet thinks the influence of the Scarlet Brotherhood is probably strongest there.)
4) “the treaty banning the Iuz Bane from the lands ceeded therein to Iuz” – this weird treaty provision makes no sense. Why would the “good lands” (Furyondy, Geoff, etc.) agree to go to war if we went in? Why would the “bad lands” care? After all, at that point when the treaty was signed, we were theoretically dead from the attempted destruction of the Codex of Infinite Planes and the number of retributive strikes from mages breaking staves.

Anyway, Jet suspects a conspiracy. Here are the players she suspects.

1) She thinks Orcus himself is behind the whole weird-stuff-happens-when-we-die. (Orcus is aggravated because we have poked into his “turn all the leveled people in Aerdy into undead” plot – notice I did not say stop his plan or disrupt his plan or even slow his plan down).
2) She thinks the Horned Society is directly behind goad-Iuz-Bane-into-a-fight-with-the-Boneheart. (She thinks the Horned Society wants to weaken the Lands of Iuz, to regain their control over their own lands.)
3) She thinks Shaitan (patron diety Hextor) and Mindbender (patron diety Iuz) are conspiring to get us killed (Shaitan wants revenge for his brother, Mindbender is making a power play). She thinks these two are the focal points in the stew (sewer?) of plots swirling around us. She thinks these two connected when Mindbender noticed somebody high-level and unencumbered with other plans our guts. These two then seeded/fomented/abetted the rest of the stuff. This is Jet’s Unified Theory of Evil.

At this point, Jet wants to follow the lead from Lyra Nevasere. When a deity who is positively inclined towards us takes control of a divination and tells us “Go here”, Jet thinks going there is a good idea. Seriously.

So, I have used my allotment of punctuation for the rest of the month. Until I get another shipment of quotation marks and dashes, this will be all. Later,
jeanette

Well, since Jordy sent me some !’s and some -, I will say a few more things.

THIS IS WHAT JET THINKS IS GOING ON. (this is all supposition, based on inference and indirect evidence.)

Jet believes that several gods are truly pissed at us. On that list is Orcus, Iuz, Hextor, and Lolth. (well, okay, Lolth primarily hates Aldebaran, and probably is indifferent to the rest of us.) Hextor and Orcus are connected through a pact they made four generations ago with Ivid the First’s father to give Aerdy domination over the continent of Greyhawk.

Although these gods would gleefully subject us to unending agony, they mostly can’t interfere directly. However, they can encourage their followers to work against us.

So, assume for a minute that Mindbender (an ambitious genius, with skillz in plotting, skullduggery, deceit and manipulation) sees damaging us as a way to gain favor with his god and temporal power in the Lands of Iuz. However, for maximum benefit, we have to be actively doing something against the Lands of Iuz. As a side benefit, we could be manipulated into taking out some of Mindbender’s competition for power and prestige in the Lands.

So, Mindbender arranges for our inclusion in the treaty, as “persons banned from the ceded lands”. He assumes we will get mad, go rushing in, kill off some of his competition, but be ultimately defeated by Mindbender.

However, the Archdruid does NOT want to get pulled into a political struggle. In her mind, it would be like the Pope leading the Swiss Guard into the fighting in East Timor. (Actually, there are multiple points of similarity in this analogy.) Political struggles are NOT what the Archdruid is willing to do, because she is the leader of the Druid Council. As a 14th level druid or as a 1st level hierophant, Jet would be willing. But not while she heads the council. She would voluntarily step down to 14th level (yes, losing the million and a half experience points) before she would lead the Council to war on a non-druidic issue. (Umm, Vernard, turning the Kingdom of Aerdy into a land ruled by undead with no druids allowed in came VERY close to being a druidic issue that Jet would lead the Council to war over. She is still debating.)

Okay, back to Mindbender. So, Mindbender’s plot does not work out as he originally planned. Too bad, but he has hundreds of plots going on at any point in time. So what?

A year or so later, Mindbender (who keeps surveillance on all his enemies) notices that we made a permanent enemy out of Shaitan by permanently killing his brother (a priest of Hextor). At this point, Shaitan is leading (an? the?) army of Ivid IV. His failure to track us down and kill us leads to him being stripped of his command. Now, he and his high-level companions have NOTHING better to do than dedicate their lives to our destruction.

Mindbender starts talking to Shaitan. Consider the plot about Kym’s death, rebirth as psychic siamese twins with Althea and the clear evidence of Orcus, Iuz, and Hextor working together. This plot was way too complicated, subtle, and indirect to have originated in the mind of the hack-and-slash (thanks, Jordy for the dashes) general who had relied for twenty years on his priest brother for strategy.

Having developed a working relationship with Shaitan, Mindbender then reactivates his old plan of luring us into an attack on the Lands of Iuz. (See my previous email.) Iuz, Orcus, and Hextor reach out to Lolth, for a little more support, given her well-known hatred of Aldebaran. The gods just want us destroyed, but don’t see a direct path to it. Mindbender wants to use our destruction to also enhance his plans in the lands – which is why we are not already dead.

So, that is the connection that Jet suspects — a high-level coalition between evil gods, and a lower-level coalition between evil npcs.

See you guys tomorrow for the run on Castle Greyhawk.
Jeanette

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Possession

Hey, Jordy.

< Anyone care to explain…or did the druid just happen to walk into an
< especially potent patch of catnip?! :}

Short version. We tracked down Xavendra’s body in Rockroost (the homebase city for Maskalyne, vampire MagicUser for the Boneheart). It was being held in a morgue.

When Aldebaran got close to the body, the soul apparently transferred back to the body. The body reanimated and we held a brief conference with her. She hinted that the scheme was masterminded by Mindbender and Vayne, but Maskalyne was not involved.

In the morgue were 3 other bodies, which we took with us. Beodar used Commune to identify who they were possessing (a hairdresser to the royals in Celene, a cousin to the Prince of Sterich, a monster in Castle Greyhawk, and Nystul — a member of the Circle of Eight).

We depossessed the hair dresser lady and left the reanimated body of the possessor with the royal guards in Celene.

Aldebaran got an invitation to tea with Tenser. There, he received an invitation to join a secret society to resist evil. (he agreed to join it and keep it secret – no, he hasn’t told the party) He mentioned Nystul’s possible possession to Tenser. Tenser said he didn’t talk to Nystul any more. (I – the player – thinks that it is strange that a high level MU, planning a campaign against evil, is not worried about another high level MU who has been his friend for a long time is possessed by an evil cleric.)

We discussed dispossessing the other two. Beodar said he thought this possession plot was just a red herring. (I – the player – went to sleep. I am told nothing else happened.)

At the end, the players talked about the website – which might end up with some artwork on it. I asked Rick about doing a portrait of Jet, professionally. That made me think about how I visualize the other players. There may or may not have been catnip involved — I invoke the fifth amendment.

Later,
Jeanette

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Enter Beodar
We were busy.....

Hey guys.

Here is the long version of our current story arc. The short version is we freed Kym from possession by a priestess of Iuz. And if we are speculating on what has been going on, Jet has a hypothesis. She thinks the force which has been trying to reignite the war between the lands of Iuz and the lands to the south of Iuz is (ta! da!) the hierarchs of the Horned Society. They were deposed/defeated by the Boneheart, and are trying to start something to cover their own bid for autonomy. So Jet suggests investigating up there. Since the lands of the Horned Society are not “lands ceded to Iuz” by the treaty (am I right, Vernard?), then we can go mess around up there without breaking the treaty. Well, actually, Jet wants us to go figure out what is wrong with IVID IV. (crickets? do I hear crickets?) Doesn’t anyone want to figure out what has been going on over in Aerdy? Anyone? Sigh.

Anyway, enjoy the arc. Its worth noting that the Druid is not present for much of this arc.


Summary of what we have been up to in the last month:

Max invites up to the Elven Ambassador’s compound. While there, Anatoly discovers Dharma Coppervein weeping over Tarl’s dead body. Max tried to raise dead (with three priests (himself, Raythogel, Ariok), but the spirit wouldn’t return. We are attacked by a Silver Predator from the Metal Discordant Plane of Acheron (identified by Ravel). Ravel gives Jet an amethyst chip — possibly from the Eye of Boccob.

We visit Zariya, who summons a spirit (possibly Tarl’s mentor). The spirit says Tarl’s spirit is being held by Imperagon in the Iron Fortress of Imperagon. The spirit says Tarl’s spirit is being used to forge the Blade of … but will tell us nothing further.

Zariya tells us we can go through the World Serpent’s Inn to get to Rigus, a city on the edge of the Disk of Concord and Opposition. Once there, we can talk to a merchant named Varachus. Varachus turns out to be an Efritti with a fire giant bodyguard and a beehir steed. Varachus directs us to a portal to the Metal Discordant Plane of Acheron.

We travel to the Cube of Battle. Maximus and Max banter, and Max says he needs an animal sacrifice for divination. Maximus goes hunting alone for a rabbit, and finds a family of Metal Predators. The rest of us followed him (YOU NEVER SPLIT THE PARTY) and we are almost all taken out by a clever trap set by the Metal Predators. Max uses divinations and see Kal Yural (The Lost Fortress). Garven the barbarian triangulates to find the location. Aldebaran Identifies the magic items found in the Metal Predator lair. The Staff of Archon possesses Aldebaran and he attacks us. We subdue him, and Garven breaks the Staff.

We Cube Hop to Kal Yural, and meet a hobgoblin ranger, Manroot, and his pack of hellhounds.

We see some humanoids fighting some Fomorian ants, and try to help the humanoids. Unfortunately, the humanoids are actually slaad, and they turn on us. Anatoli loses 3 levels, and Max dies in a delayed blast fireball. Anatoli goes to Tenser to get the levels back and asks for help for Max. Tenser restores the levels but says there is nothing more he can do for Max. Aldebaran reincarnates Max, as a half-elven cleric/magic user (deity – Lyra Nevasere, the wife of Max’s original deityi, Erevan Ilasere)

We find the fortress. Anatoli scouts, and sees Imperagon, talking to a fallen deva and a pit fiend. In another room, Anatoli sees a female duergar monk. We sneak in using Find The Path to find Tarl. We find Tarl and other spirits toiling away in a room with Azer guards, a fire elemental dragon, and a forge which is a gate to the elemental plane of fire. Imperagon shows up with his deva, a pitfiend, and a succubus. Anatoli uses Tempus Fugit and we take out everybody except the deva. We Plane Shift out, but Max tells us we have to go back to rescue the deva.

We go back, and the deva is restoring his friends. We try to persuade the deva that he can be redeemed. Imperagon says “Zelatian Starfire, I know your sin.” Anatoli does a Reveal Truth and the deva’s glory is revealed. Zelatian realizes that he can be forgiven by the deity that he serves. In thanks for helping him, he cuts off a lock of hair and hands it to each of us. He said that each one represents a wish that he will grant.


The reincarnated Max appears to be a mixture of our Max and a fighter-cleric named Derron (Derron’s patron diety was Hextor). When we stop by Rigus again (to pick up a strength bow for Maximus), we run into Derron’s former commander and the man who killed Derron for abandoning a lost battlefield. Derron kills the former commander.


We get back and learn that Kymbala is marrying Melf. Uncle Awen of House Oakthorn is appointed as Elven Ambassador to Greyhawk. Maximus’ crazy ex-wife, Marissa, shows up with a 7 year old story of courtship, a night of passion, and a dawn wedding — and a seven year old boy. (Maximus can’t remember a thing.) Jet visits the university at Rel Astra and Lo Rel Tarma to see what the chair she endowed to investigate the animuses found. She discovers an animus (Dirk Broga) in charge of the project, and assists in his early retirement. Along the way, Dirk Broga says King Ivid IV wields the Mace of Orcus.

The reincarnated Max has a crisis of conscience over his evil past. Maximus persuades him that we all get by with a little help from our friends.

We all travel to the Vesve Forest to attend Kymbala’s wedding shower.

Maximus, Max, and Anatoli, and Aldebaran (Mama’s Boys) get bored waiting for 6 hours for the shower, so they go bandit hunting. The bandit in question, Blackhand, is an orc fighter. They track him to his lair, and set up an ambush. Using scrying, they see Null bringing orcs through the lair tunnels, and polymorphing the orcs into deer. They track the “deer” to a main camp where 3 helf orc clerics of Iuz complain about their boring support role, healing the raiding parties of Blackhand – who had been “disowned” by the leaders of the lands of Iuz.

Maximus comes up with a plan to backtrack Blackhand and ambush him. They discover Blackhand talking to Antarcus, a legendary fallen ranger anti-hero. Guided by Anatoli and using arrows enchanted by Max, Maximus fires two arrows. He kills Blackhand, and wounds Antarcus (who gets away). The boys return to the bar to brag, and collect the reward. (Aramath is informed that the boys were observed in the Lands of Iuz – a clear treaty violation.)

During the shower, Melf, Prince BrightFlame, second son of Queen Yolande of Celene, is proclaimed the heir to Queen Yolande’s throne, pending his marriage to Kymbala. (The announcement comes from Francella, priestess of Correllon, who attended the party in Queen Yolande’s stead, under the protection of Scintullus, Vizier and member of the House LaMajier.) The original heir, the first son, has been missing for many years.

The shower is attacked by Max (the original, hereafter refered to as Max 1.0), who shoots Aramath and Melf with arrows. Scintullus and Francella rush indoors where they are attacked by Antarcus (fallen ranger), Jolie (gnome thief), Celeste (elven cleric Magic user), and Kruger (human fighter). The “elven guards” protecting Francella and Scintillus turn out to be polymorphed orcs.

After a brief fight, we kill Kruger and Jolie, and drive the rest off. We go looking for Lazarus Lordivar, whose illusion had been in charge of the illusionary elven guards. We find him using scrying. He is riding furiously toward the Vesve. When we meet up with him, he tells us he was attacked by people we identify as Jumper and Null, and left for dead.


Jet thinks this bizarre seaquence of people dying (Kym, Tarl, Max) and having weird things happen when we try to bring them back, is related to our fight with Ivid IV, whose patron is apparently Orcus.


Anatoli thinks Max 1.0 may be a clone created by Tensor’s contingency spell. He visits Tensor, who confirms this. We speculate that somehow a “good” Max and a “bad” Max (or maybe just a lawful Max and a chaotic Max) were created by the combination of the reincarnate and the contingency.

However, investigation shows that Max 1.0 visited Sym trying to get him to join the new Fear Masters. He visited Gideon trying to get him to do “something” and they had a big fight and Gideon declared that Max was dead.


In light of the revelation of Max 1.0’s existence, Max 2.0 decides to call himself Beodar. He spends all of Max 1.0’s money in training. Max 1.0 shows up while Anatoli is training Beodar. Max 1.0 knocks Beodar out. Anatoli leaves the unconscious Beodar on the floor and they head to a bar. Max 1.0 thinks we abandoned him on the Metal Discordant Plane. He runs away. Anatoli trashes the bar with a decanter of endless water, leaving it running to put out a curtain set afire by Max, while he chases (but eventually loses) Max 1.0.
-——————————————————————————————————

The group meets with Beodar, who assures us that Max will find him tonight for their showdown. We decide to wait in the World Serpent’s Inn.

Maximus finds a pretty girl, Struva, handmaiden of Odin, and spends the evening doing the wild thing with her. Repeatedly.

Zilchus is taking bets on the outcome of the fight between Iuz Bane and the Boneheart (HUH?).

Somebody who looks like Max gets into a poker game. He wins 25 coins of the World Serpent’s Inn and gives them to us. Then Lyra Nevasere storms in and slaps “Max”, who is then revealed as Erevan. Erevan drops the key to Max’s room at the World Serpent’s Inn (which Anatoli picks up).

Anatoli asks Boccob who was behind the trouble in Aerdy. Boccob says Orcus. Jet asks Mitchifer who in the bar would tell her about the problems of Ivid IV. Mitchifer says to use a coin of Orcus and ask the guy in a specific room in the bar. It turns out to be a room with Orcus, Nerull, Kali, and some minion of Tharzidun. Jet gives Orcus a coin and asks who is giving power to Ivid IV. Orcus demands the other gods leave, but Nerull refuses. Orcus admits he is Ivid IV’s patron. Nerull smiles, slips Jet another coin, and leaves. Jet uses the other coin to ask Ivid IV’s weakness. Orcus tries to refuse to answer, and Mitchifer enforces the rules. Orcus says sunlight.

Ground Zero gathers in Max’s room. Anatoli converts one room to a replica of Dorakaa with the crater in the middle. Jumper shows up as a little girl. The rest of the Boneheart is also there (except for MindBender, whose real name is apparently Herman Kowalski). We run for the doors which are apparently bricked up. Anatoli opens the doors in Mitchifer’s name and takes us to the lower level of Castle Greyhawk. Jet wonders why she follows Anatoli. Mitchifer shows up and brings us back to the World Serpent’s Inn. We talk Althea out of the fight.

Max shows up and starts to fight with Beodar. Anatoli breaks the vial he got from Tensorr. Beodar and Max die. Anatoli tries to use Beodar’s wish from Zelation Starfire to get Beodar back. However, Zelation says the Primordial Magic (Oerth’s blood) used prevents the restoration. Anatoli uses the liquid ’ from the vial to wash the markings from Beodar’s and Max’s bodies. Anatoli uses the wish again, and this time the wish works, restoring both Max and Beodar.


Max and Beodar decide they still can’t work together, so they flip a coin to see who goes and who stays. Beodar wins the choice, and decides to go help General Sym. Max then gets jealous and demands that Beodar stay with us while he goes to help Sym.


Jet uses her wish from Zelation Starfire to restore the 6 druids from Aerdy who had been entombed in the pit and who were catatonic. Zelation warns her that there will be consequences, but she goes ahead. The druids, lead by Rasputin rush back to Aerdy and raise a circle of stone. Jet calls a Druidic Council, and the Grand Druids of the other octants show up. Rasputin brings a scroll which he left to explain his sacrifice and the sacrifice of the others — to imprison Tharzidun and continue his slumber.

Jet recognizes Rasputin’s place on the council, and suggests that the other druids consider and research the problem and return in a week. She goes back to her chamber and meets Anita the Red, a hierophant who dealt with Tharzidun. She did nothing and the evil gods united to imprison him. Anita also says that the way to contact a hierophant is to find a place special to him/her on his/her home plane and call.


Boccob told Anatoli that we needed to visit Ravel to help him choose a successor. Jet goes by to return the chip of amethyst he gave her. He asks her to walk down the line of his priests with his brooch. The brooch lights up for Adrianna, from Rel Astra, a 9th level priestess (much to the disgust of the 14th level priest who had been running the temple in Ravel’s infirmity). Ravel dies. Jet is devastated.

Adrianna is confirmed as Patriarch of Boccob, and prophesies that dark times are coming and we need to stand together.


We head to Celene for Awen’s confirmation as ambassador. Anatoli uses a Dream to discover what is wrong with Kymbala. The city guard arrested a mirror maker who sold a “cursed mirror” to Melf. Melf gave the mirror to Kym, who saw an old hag when she looked in it.


We meet at the Elven Ambassador’s house in Greyhawk. A note from Adrianna arrives “They are coming.” We scramble outside to see Tyroc Banebuster, 5 mages and 40 crossbowmen. 2 rounds later, everyone except Tyroc (and one magic user pinned to the wall) is dead. Tyroc has Word-of-Recalled away. Maximus interrogates the one magic user and learns he was a member of the circle of Five. His contact was named Lime. We decide to cast Forget on the prisoner so he won’t recall the interrogation and to track him. A day later, the guy is dead.

We visit Adrianna and she says she had a vision of 6 people discussing our death. Priest of Hextor (?Shaitan), elf woman with an engagedment ring priestess of Iuz (?Kymballa), vampire (?Maskylene) blond guy (?Jumper), ogre magi (?), man in shadows (?Max).

We check the treaty that ended the war with the lands of Iuz. “If the governments signing the treaty allow Jet, Sym, Tarl, Eljay, Malachi, Flame, Aldebaran, and Anatoli to cross the borders into the lands ceded to Iuz, then they are declaring war.”


Beodar Communes to learn that Kymballa’s body holds her spirit as well as another spirit/soul. Kym is influenced by Iuz and Hextor, but not Orcus. Preempt Possession on Kym would be in the best interests of Celene, and an outside power is seeding Celene with monsters.

Aldebaran uses Contact Other Plane to determine the people in Adrianna’s vision. (Jumper, Orcus or his representative, the ogre magi is Kym’s guard, Kym, Shaitan, Mascaline) He learns Xavendra (priestess of Iuz) is possessing Kym. He learns that The Hierarchs of the Horned Society are seeding Celene with monsters, and that Rasputin was really trying to keep Tharzidun asleep.


Beodar sets up a meeting in the Royal Garden with Kymbala. We hide there ahead of time using Anatoli’s Veil. Aldebaran casts Vocalize, then Preempt Possesion. Kym collapses into Beodar’s arms. Anatoly Reveals Truth, on a guard who attacks Beodar and is revealed as an ogre magi. Beodar finds a phylactery on Kym and a geas. Beodar removes the phylactery, and Jet removes the geas. Melf is pissed off, at us as well as at the lands of Iuz.


The next day Queen Yolande invites us for an audience. She wants to know why we did it. We answer “Friendship.” She says she wants to cancel the wedding. We warn her that we think the Horned Society is behind the monster seeding.


Jet talks to Kym. Kym assures her that she truly loves Melf. Jet points out that she would be welcome to hold her wedding at Caer Laforce. Anatoli (the lich pocket picker, the maker of kissy faces at Orcus, the plotter of the kidnapping of Prince BrightFlame, the butt-stabbing bad little gnome) thinks that was reckless.


We try to interrogate Xavendra (Beodar magic jars himself and we preempt her into Beodar’s now empty body). She says Shaitan is behind the attacks on us.

View
08-12-2007

Hey everyone.

I just got off the phone with Vernard. We were talking about the last email I sent out. He told me to pass on the things we said.

===
Rasputin said that the reason he sacrificed himself and the other druids was that the Horned Society had been trying to Awaken Tharzidun.

Awen is going to gather information using his new diplomatic post, and the briefings he is going to get as a new diplomat, to try to shed some light on the “attempt to destablish Celene through monster seeding, and Kymbala (either under the influence of some power, or not really herself)” theory. He will also look for credible sources of plots to reignite the conflict between the Boneheart and Iuz Bane — but that is understandably not a real high priority for him.

The druidic archives don’t contain ?ANY! information about Rasputin. That is so weird. Right now I have my assistants looking for any references to Tharzidun.

Jet thanked the new high priestess of Boccob for her help, assured her of our support, and told her everything she/Jet knows about the World Serpent’s Inn, and gave her a coin for the Inn.

We also went to visit Jebediah. He told us that there is a council of secret societies, called by some the Illuminati. One item on their agenda is making sure that Tharzidun does not reawaken. The Druids are not represented any more in the Illumnati. Jet asked him to ask for information about that.

Jet had one idea. If there is an ultimate evil, maybe there is an ultimate good. What if we were to lock the two of them in a closet (aka pocket dimension)?

View
Think harder

Things to think about

First a brief summary of the discussion so far. My actual new contribution is
at the bottom.

Brief summary
=====
Jet says: Melf/Kym/wedding shower attack, Iuz Bane/Boneheart almost fight, and Tyroc Banebuster attack at Elven Embassy in Greyhawk is a red herring to distract us from something not connected to Iuz (lands or deity)

Vernard says: There are legitimate forces at work here. Think harder.

JD says: Furyondy (or some other hidden power) could be trying to provoke Iuz lands into starting some trouble to provide an excuse for Furyondy/hidden power to act aggressively. Or to get Iuz/Celene to exhaust its resources so that Furyondy/hidden power can get an advantage
over Iuz or Celene.

Jordy says: Iuz and Celene are just too far apart for this to make sense.

Jordy says: Maybe somebody is trying to destabilize Celene.

Jordy says: We need to find out more.

====
Jet’s new contribution:

I absolutely agree that the Yuan-ti nest and the attack on the Wedding shower could be parts of a larger plot (or plots) to destabilize Celene.
However, the people with the resources, access, political will to investigate this are ALL IN CELENE. We could, and should, tell our suspicions to Awen. However, but the elves of Celene closed their borders for a reason. They don’t like or trust non-elves, and they are not even really friendly with non-Celene elves. Let’s tell the one guy who might listen to us (Awen), and wait to get invited in before we poke any further in that area. Otherwise, one of those 20th level Elven Thieves may just come out from behind the molecules in the air and eliminate us.

However, the World Serpent Inn encounter and the Greyhawk encounter have no impact on anybody but us. They are intended to get us back fighting with the Boneheart. That does not benefit anyone obvious. If the Boneheart really wanted us dead, we are incredibly easy to kill. Assassination (as Maximus recently proved) is very effective. And we wander around alone and unguarded, and in many cases, drunk all the time. So, again, I argue the recent seeming flurry of Boneheart related activity is a diversion.

Now, Jordy’s idea about finding out about who is behind the diversion is excellent. His connections with the Merchant’s Guild, and with the Rough Riders should certainly be exploited.

I also think that when we tell our suspicions to Awen, we should ask him to consider the intelligence reports his predecessor (The elven ambassador lady to Greyhawk) collected, and if there is information there to suggest who might be behind the diversion/destabilization. If he would like us to investigate further, he needs to give us something.

Talking further to the new high priestess of Boccob is an excellent idea as well. She seems very accessible.

As for talking to Maskalyne, that seems like a scary tactic. Anything we do could be interpreted as setting a trap for him. Or he might take the opportunity to set a trap for us. Or a third party, trying to stir up trouble, could interfere and make it look like a trap. I would need a really careful plan before I did that one.

I shall be hitting the records that the druid’s council has been keeping. I will let you know if I find anything there.

Jebediah Archangel is also a relentless acquirer of information. Let’s go talk to him and see what he has.

Finally, Aldebaran — You were trying to create some political good will with that diplomatic mission you were on. Cash in some credit and see if anybody has any intelligence to share.

Talk to you guys later.
Jeanette

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