Ground Zero

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.

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,

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.


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.


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.


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)?

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.

Treasure picks from Hellgate Keep

Off of “Ardric” Body
Robe of Blending
Wand of Illumination (30)
Bracers of Regeneration (as per ring)
Dagger +1, +4 vs. enchanted creatures
Traveller’s spellbook (15th level)
Medallion of Life Trapping

Necklace of prayer beads: 1 karma bead (eyes, fingers)
Scroll of (Blade Barrier, Slay Living, Spike Growth) 14th level
Canbion’s Bracers (cursed)

Crown of Tizantharium. Gain +1 level/5 levels you have already gained)
You must speak the chant. Be one with yourself and your frailties. Have belief in something greater than oneself

2 glyps of level drain – 16th level. drains 1d4 levels
girdle of stone giant strength (ranking 20)
ring of protection from turning
ring of spell turning
wand of fireballs
hat of difference
Dagger of venom (full of poison)

Morningfire – Elven BattleAxe +2, desire to destroy humanoids
detect good/evil in radius
3xday double damage for 2 handed hit
for Chaotic Good wielder, 2d8 weapon for 2handed strikes
special power: 1/month disintegrate (fight for truty and justice)

dagger, thief blade – cuts anything but leather ignores magical armor
2 black & silver blowpipes (+1 protective magic)
pouch w/ 5 marbles. Save vs spells or be plane shifted randomly
obsidian ring – protection from chaos/good/teleport
bone wand – undead creation (skeletons)
club – wall shatterer, +3 on hit, opponent save or be stunned 1d4 rounds

scarab – protection from non-standard golems such as rope/straw
20 charges. 1 charge to be immune to golem special attacks
wearer does not need magic weapons to hit golem

brooch of platinum rose petals – perfumed
leather armor +2

Brooch of Elestria (good drow elven goddes of moon/night). wearer increases figher level by +5 for one turn

Kubrick’s Dwarven Ring Mail +1. protection from all normal missles in an AoE, Shield as per spell in 360 degrees

Dwarven dagger +1
3 +1 shorbow
2 +1 long sword
1 +1 bardiche
1 +1 khopesh

Maxar’s headband – see invisible at night
4x Maxar’s dagger 2/3 vs. large creatures.
Maxar’s phylactary of long years
Maxar boots – striding and springing
Maxar bracers – AC 4, protection from non-magical missles
Maxar leather armor, +3
Maxar ring – does not detect magic, ruby with wizard mark. Can be set to amputate fingers.
Maxar wand of gem detection – detect gems < 1000 gp in 10 ft radius
Marsenna – crown of Wisdom and Memory – for Marsenna onlly allows her to remember anything that she has experienced
Marco and Marcenna Volo’s travel guides
Earth’s Blood – rock from lowest level of Castle Greyhawk
Working Quadruple Crossbow
Twin Blades Alight – Battle Axe
Marsenna’s pendant – detect planar anomalies/entry to other planes and pulses warmly
Boneclub +1
Bone wand – undead animation (10 charges) create 1d10 skeletons per charge
Bone spear +1
Scroll of flesh to silver
Tome/scrolls to create silver golems
Crest of a Knight of Holy Shielding
Silver amulet – brooch of shield ( 10 charges )

huge spool of bloodsilver; poisonous, normally malleable, becomes hard when
dunked in water.

hundreds of hardened blood silver needles (i.e. Taemavril)
book – “Construction and Machinery” by Augustus
Kubrik’s Medallion – “I believe, therefore death is defeated”
Recipe for the best tasting Strawberry Tart ever
Kubrik’s plate/arrowhead/spearhead/hammerhead


Dharm Coppervein of Clan Coppervein has gotten her father, Stoneheart Coppervein, the patriarch of Clan Coppervein, to agree to fundTarl Ironrock’s expedition to found another Dwarven city in the lands controlled by Greyhawk near the Bright Dessert.

Current Global Rumors

[General] -—————————————————————————————————-

Broken Circle?

The Circle of Eight is divided. The more Lawful and good aligned members
think tha the vast amount of evil and chaotic forces that have taken over
several kingdoms must be pushed back at all cost, even though things are
currently balanced in power. Most notably Tenser is leading the LG faction
along with Bibgy,

Mordenkainen is noticeably absent from this and refuses to take sides on
this matter, preferring to instead focus on issues that both groups already
agree on.

None of the members of the Circle of Eight can find Bigby. Since his
resurrection, He has become a total recluse and bordering on paranoia. He
trusts no one, not even his close friends in the Circle and refuses to see
anyone. Even his most favored henchman has not heard from him in quite some
time. Supposedly, Bigby has a hidden retreat that no one else knows about
and that is where he is hiding.

Dark Storm Rising!

To the south of Greyhawk, an Orc claiming to be the brother of S’ym the
Slayer has succeeded in conquering the neighboring states to the Pomarj.
Current reports state that the humanoids of that region have rallied and
are nearly unstoppable. The area is seeking help from any and all that will
provide it. The orc’s name is Turrosh Mak, son of Golgoth Mak.

The Wild Coast is in great danger due to the rising from the Pomarj from
the South. It is the only buffer for Greyhawk and the Directorate has
authorized the formation of a southern army to control that area and keep
it fortified. They have asked Tigran Gellner to lead these troops and he
has accepted.

Rumor has it that the Scarlet Brotherhood is amassing an army and will be
attacking soon. It would be most advantageous if a group of adventurers
would scout into their lands and bring back information on their plans.

Axis and Allies
Rumor has it that a high ranking priest of the Theocracy of the Pale is
currently in the Tenh. There are differing opions as to why the priest is
there. Some say it is standard missionary work. Other say that it is a
final chance at redemption for a fallen priest. Others say that he is seeking
new recurits and helping organize a rebellion against the yoke of Iuz.

The Great Kingdom seems to be stabilzing itself. Since the reports of the undead ruling it have come through, no futher reports of unrest have occurred. Furthermore, the Great Kingdom has issued an edict offering amnesty to all of its former provinces if they swear allegiance to Ivid the Undying. This is basically any kingdom in the Flanaess.

Rumors of an underground liberation movement in Bissel have been circulating. Supposedly some local adventurers want to retake Bissel but this time to be a vassal state to no one. There is no local support from at the grass roots level but the upper nobility agree. it is thought that they think they would be new rulers and that is why the go along.

Iuz has sent an Ambassador to Greyhawk as a sign of good faith. And has offered to reciprocate by allowing Ambassadors to their lands from Any Kingdom that so chooses to send them.

The end of Narcissus

Here’s a summary of what happened. We learned from the ring that Jax wore that Narcissus was somewhere in the Howling Hills which is a sort of Bermuda Triangle kinda place in the lands now occupied by Iuz. We went there with another NPC called Grunt. Grunt is a Half-orc fighter who is Firasa’s 2nd in command. Very tought fighter. 10th level. 112 hit points. and 18/00 strength and 19 constitution. Max donated us the use of Grunt since he and Firasa couldn’t go with us to handle Narciuss. Grunt took front line without a question.

First thing we ran into was an area that appeared to the druid that the life had been drained out of it. We investiaged the area because the ring indicated that Narcissus was in there somewhere and we were surprised by some undead-type creatures that rose from the ground. It appears that they were not undead or special undead because turning them had no affect at all and they appeared to attack just like they did in their previous lives. The gropu turned out to be a high level guard to an entrance in the Hills. Something had attacked and killed them all. The group was very formidable and took some time for us to wipe out. You ended up using some of your giant strenght in the combat. When we finished we located a chasm that the ring indicated led to Black Narcissu (I’m going to abbreviate that Narc from now on). Using your boots, you scouted out and found a tunnedl leading off underground aout 30 yard down into the cavern, using ropes and such we lowered everybody in there. We discovered that Grunt was wearing extremely heavy platemal then. 5 times the normal weight. It gave him incredible protection against missle weapons as well as better AC in melee. However, he had practically no dex. Down in the tunnels we discovered some crystals that seemed similar to the crysmalite but radiated magic of necromantic type. You and Aldebaron deduced that the life energy from the area above was stored in these crystals but you didn’t know how it got there or how to get it back out. We then heard a scream and we investigaed. We came upon A Really Big Mezzodaemon that was completely ripping a drow party apart. It appeared that he had already slain about 7 drow and was killing a female priest when we ran onto him. Tarl decided that he had to help and engaged. We all then engaged and the daemon died fairly quickly. (I had forgotten how damaging you could be to large sized monsters. I also forgot that Grunt got 4 attacks a round. It wasn’t pretty) We discoverd that the drow party was looking for Narcissus and was led by a noble that had been kidnapped. We healed the drow mildly and was going to leave her there but she heard us talk about killing Narcissus and she joined us. She even helped us out.

Anyway, we found made entirely out of crystal. A faint aura of magic was here but that’s all we could tell. We also found about crystals that were bout 6 feel tall that seemed to have shriveled up humanoid shapes inside of them. We couldn’t tell exactly what but Tarl did a detect alignment and found that they did have some type of live essense attached to them. We tried to shatter them but they were indestructible. In the meanwhile, Jax had discovered a section of the wall had been collapsed and a tunnel that led ` off ofit. Just as we prepared to follow, a mist started emanating from the crystal wall. We left in haste and it did not follow.

The tunnel led into large room (100 feet in diameter) with the perimeter being an inscribed pentagram. In addition we saw a smalled thaumaturgic circle. Narcissus and 3 other forms were also present in the room. From the distance we couldn’t see much else except that there was another man sized chunk of crystal with a dark light coming from the ceiling that entered the crstal. We engaged. The first two enemies died swiftly with one hit however at the same time, the drow Priestess betrayed us and cast a spell that instantly killed Grunt in a very dramatic and disgusting way: She caused all of the blood in his body to explode outwards through his various bodily orifices. IT wasn’t pretty. We were lucky that we was covered head to toe in plate mail or it really would have been bad. The drow priestess died under a hail of blows. Turns out that one of the folks that was with Narcissus in the room was the drow noble that the drow priestess served. In addition, she was still apparently in love with Narcissus and was aiding him. While allof this was going on, people were trying to get to Narcissus himself but he apparently had an anti-magic field up as any spell cast at him fizzled about 5 feel from him. We discovered when we had time that it was a wall of force. At the same time, Narcissus finished doing the soul drain it appeared and summoned two normal Mezzodaemons to fight us. In our weakened condition it would have been a losing fight: someone would have died. About this time, you realized this that you could teleport through the wall of force (I didn’t have you down as having memorized a t-port spell and I had forgotten that your sword could teleport). You teleported you and everybody else in the room into the wall of force so that they would be safe from the daemons. Unfortunately, we discovered that the actual wall of force was much smaller than we thought and we were all within melee distance of Narcissus. In addition, he was surrounded. When he realized this, we spit at you and told you to rot in the Abyss and then you (and a few others) cut him down. He died practically instantly. And there was no explosion this time. A few minutes later the wall of force expired and went away. We were making preparations to leave when a mist came through the tunnel and coagulated into a person, obviously a vampire. He complimented us on our victory and warned us that some members of the Bonehard were on their way here with a dozen or so of their finest warriors. Max then showed up as well and warned us that we had better leave quickly. You teleported us away. Seems he was a member of the lesser Bonehart that was allied with Maxx. Anyway, we telported back to Jeb’s place in Greyhawk. Layed low for a few hours and then went back to Briarthorn’s Retreat. There we awakened the last Narcissus to see what had happened to him. Seems that he was not alright and seemed to have some memory of what the other Narciuss clones had done. He had been in suspeneded animation for so long that his body was in very poor shape. He couldn’t even stand without help. He claimed to be innocent but said he could offer no proof and seemed to be calm about the fact that we would most likely kill him. The druid decided that he was not a threat and relinquish claim on his life. As did you. The monk on however decided that he was responsible for anything that his clones did since he created them an killed him before anyone could do anything. [DM’s note:I didn’t know what LJ would do at that point so I didn’t do anything.] Tarl and the druid were both angry with Flame but didn’t do anything at that time. They plan on going back and resurrecting him. [DM’s note, I already made the roll. The lucky bastard came back as a half-elf :-)]


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