Monday, December 20, 2004

Clean Up

The party collects some choice items from the Aerie, the temple to Duraga, and leaves. Not before having to deal once again with the swarms of birds and a firebird that was unleashed when they disturbed the ruby set into one of the towers.
They returned to Ar-Ensul with a couple of unusual items, including the petrified remains of an arm holding a wand, and a stone chest. They hope that alchemical analysis will reveal how to unpetrify the materials.
However, they do not have long to spend in the keep. A wounded prospector from Diamond City has come begging for help. The town was attacked by strange trolls with crystal shards embedded in their hides.
The party sets off the next day and makes it to Diamond City the next day. It is in bad shape, the ladders and trellises that once connected the many cave-dwellings have been mostly destroyed, and the town looted, although what was taken is unclear. The party resolved to track the beasts to their lair. Praying to his totem LInneaus once again tracked the fell beasts to a ravine where they encountered a severed troll head warning them not to pass. It being late they retreated to some safety outside the ravine and camped. That night they were surprise attacked by strange trollike quadropeds also with the embedded crystal shards in their flesh. These 'trollverines' put up a good attack, but were eventually defeated. The party moved away to rest until morning. They once again returned to the trail and followed it to a strange cave that looked like the rib cage of some monstrous crystaline being. They entered cautiously and were set upon by the guards. Two shard-trolls attacked, and as the party was finishing them off, they sounded an alarm. This brought four more trollverines and three more trolls to the fight. In a pitched battle Graal was nearly slain, but even as he was dying, the bloodsoaked mantle of his family crest gave him the power to fight on. He continued his attack, and the party was able to heal him before he died, and destroy the trolls. This appeared to be the bullk of the menace, searching the small cave complex they saw no more, though perhaps some may have escaped fleeing the area.
The party returned to Ar-Ensul.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Gone to the Birds

The party arrives at the temple bearing the gift of a statuette resembling the Sphinx. Still unsure of how to treat the creature, they send scouts ahead. The scouts spot the sphinx feasting on some large bird. They return to the party to tell them this. The party ponders the possibility that this sphinx is not the protector of the temple, but rather, some kind of intruder.
They approach the next day with caution, and encounter the sphinx in her normal perch. She transforms from stone and treats them with her usual disdain. She seems to anticipate their questions with uncanny ease, and denies any disrespectful behavior towards the birds, or the temple.
The party gives her the gift and leaves.
As they camp for the night nearby they find themselves attacked by the crazed Totem Warrior.
He assaults them from the trees and scores several hits before Malthus manages to entrap him in an Eldrtich Web. The party surround him, and tries to reason with him. But it is clear that he is beyond reason. Malthus drops the web and they prepare to attack. The Totem Warrior transforms into a falcon and tries to escape but is downed by Malthus again, proving his utility once again. Ferrethryn and Linneaus succeed in killing him, albeit with some regret.
Linneaus takes his Totem and vows to find a proper place for it.
The party rests the night and plans an assualt on the Temple.

They make it there but find that the Sphinx has flown to the top of the temple and sent a foul smelling Giant Stork to attack them. It was barely able to attack before the party brought it quickly down. Then fearing an attack by the swarms of birds, the party decided to leave the temple. They were attack by two Giant Vultures, who also were killed quickly.
Returning to the temple they found the Sphinx gone, but the hundreds of birds eyeing them suspiciously. They tried to make it to the temple entrance and had to deal with the swarms. The swarms did serious damage to the party and nearly cost Malthus his life. Both Linneaus and Ferrethryn activated Runes, Linneaus was able to elude the effects, Ferrethryn was magical put to sleep. But they all made it into the temple where the swarms refused to enter.
Inside the temple walls, they quickly healed up a little and proceeded inside. They were immediately attacked by two cockatrices, but neither managed to land more than one blow on the party before being killed. And Graal eaily resisted the petrifying effects.
They proceeded down the stairs, with Graal in the lead. He activated another rune and turned on his comrades. He was able to resist the command to attack his friends, and instead fled the area allowing them to fight it out with the Sphinx. One Hero Point for Graal sometimes descretion is the better part of valor. The party proceeded to fight the sphinx who did serious damage to Ferrethryn before being slain by a combination of attacks from the party.

Looking around they found the room to be tomb to three human bird hybrids. They explored cautiously not wanted to desecrate this place.

From Doushaun the Hawk Totem Warrior they recovered.
Boots of Acrobatics -> Linneaus
38 Arrows of Airy Surging (+1 + 1d6 Air Damage)
18 Arrows of the Ram (+1 + Bull Rush at Attack Value)
Pouch of unidentified transformation powder (14 doses)

In the tomb room are magic auras one two items.
Candle stick and 18inch purple and gold speckled candle. (transformation magic)
Prayer Beads deep red glass (transform)

The statuette in the main lobby is made of platinum and gold (appraise skill anyone?)
There are three items of magic on it.
It holds two magic feathers (transformation)
A tiny magic bow (enchantment)
A golden egg (evocation magic)

There are four towers that can also be explored, as well as the grounds surrounding them.
As to the issue of descration. The temple is probably already descrated by the Sphinx. The creatures encountered there, the cockatrice, stench stork etc.. are perversions of the nromal animals.
Now that doesn't license you to do whatever you want. But it may give you some more freedom.
The bird swarms appear to have dissapated for now.

You might want to consult with someone with Knowledge Religion about what do with a temple.

Everyone advances to 7th Level
Graal gets one Hero Point

Events of 4/4 to 4/14

Negotiations with the Jaren conclude. It buys 500gold worth of ore, and leaves unescorted.
Most of the caravan moves back to Lowenvale, leaving only, Taru the Antiquarian, Falgrod the Tanner, and the various settlers.
Graal busies himself with the adminstration of the keep, aided by Ferrethryn and Vor Tarn
Ferrethryn and Elidia work to unconver any secret doors. They find none using their magics, but eventually discover something odd by the main firepit. Signs of the movement of heavy equipment.
Linneaus spends much of his time, when not scouting the countryside, hangin out with the locals in the village. They begin to trust and open up to him.
A few days into the week a strange quiet traveller arrives carrying a letter from the courts of De Shamod requiring the presence of Vor Tarn to testify in some legal matter. He then produces another letter, was one of introduction and a plea to accept the services of the Magister Malthus from the Sodalicium Arcanus (the council of magisters), a powerful if semi defunct guild of magic users. Graal decided to accept this in hopes to make up for the loss of his trusted friend and confidant. Vor Tarn bade farewell to the party, but hoped to return one day.

Malthus made himself ubiquitous at all major conferences, and demanded access to all rooms in the keep. His insight was matched only by his steady and professional, if detached, manner. Despite his aloofness, the party began to see a valuable ally in the magister.

A brief trip was taken to the Dragon's Gate, to consult with the Ghostwatch, a band of Rangers historically charged with protecting the rich valley of the Ghostwash river from the dangers upstream. A proud group with hundreds of soldiers from distant lands in its hayday in the declining years of the war against the Dramojh, now it housed few more than half a dozen. The party consulted with the aged and grizzled commander Amkaren, who seemed more interested in the trivial issues of the boats that passed than anything else. They learned a little of their area, and of the temple to Duraga.
1. There was no historical record of sentience in the Keep.
2. The Temple was built and managed by the pre-giantish humans who lived there.
3. No giants ever found the Vaults that were alleged to be under the keep. But some evidence was found to support the idea that there was access to the vaults there.

The party made plans to bring the offering to the Sphinx at the Temple

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Dragon's Breath

The group decides to track and hunt down the Dire Boar that was menacing the woodsmen. After Linneaus invoked his Totem, the group was able to track the beast to a dense wood. There, after several turnabouts, it was able to attack the group. It was a short battle though, as the combined might of the party was able to make reasonably short work with the creature. They brought the animal back to the village as the centepiece of the feast.
The day of the party a small caravan approached, bearing traders, settlers, and some more unusual guests:
- The Antiquarian Taru
- A mysterious Jaren with its Earth Elemental bearer.
- A Sibbecai Champion bringing some exiles (Graal agreed to offer two of the exiles a place in the keep)

The festivities were marred by an attack of an Ogre Mage which used its magics to disguise itself as a giant. It then snuck into the keep using its flight and invisibility. It was caught by Linneaus and Vor Tarn. It dealt a devastating blow to Vor Tarn with its Blast of Castigation which for a wheil and nearly killed the Giant.
The rest fo teh party showed up, and after a tight fight managed to subdue the creature. Knowing only fire or acid could destroy it, they put it into the great fire pit where it disintegrated into ash.

There was one more evnet of note that evening. The Jaren was spotted looking into the window of the mirror tower. The party went to investigate, and the Jaren was very forthcoming with an offer to buy whatever the Keep had to sell. The party pondered what to make of this strange turn of events.