Heroes of Istal

Crypt Crawlers

It was clear that this was an ordinary shrine, but with less than ordinary inhabitants. Four tombstones were present, each roughly five feet high. Being the tall Eladrin that I am, I easily spotted a bunch of undead bad guys. The ones nearest to me were skinwalker skeletals which basically are a skeleton with piles of skin stuck to it. Other than that, I spotted a Wight, and not one, but two skeletal archers. Needless to say this was to be an equal fight when speaking of numbers. As I fey-stepped into the room to strike at one of the skinwalkers, which I barely did hit, it began moving to the group only to have his flesh chopped away by, who else, tiny Jackie. It left the poor guy very vulnerable for Jimmy to smash with his hammer.

This moment of thrilled victory didn’t last very long though, as the skeletal archers appeared to be quite skilled ones. Both used a double shot, and had remarkable aim, having almost no effect from the tombstones being in the way. Luckily we used said environment wisely, and didn’t die. Jackie, all mad, went to rip of some more skin of the second skinwalker. At this point we were feeling pretty confident, having the archers that we could hide from, and the Wight that didn’t do a.. Oh wait, it reanimated one of the skinwalkers. Using a skillfully placed hit, I was able to push it to the centre of the room, for the rest to bash in on. After some more fighting, it was Jackie once again, to deliver the final hit on the Wight, ending combat.

Smart as we were, we took some bone dust when Nick wasn’t looking because, well, it’s Avandra’s shrine, he might not have agreed. We found a stone staff, but sadly Skyph wasn’t able to wield it, due to it being too heavy. Jimmy and me decided to carry it, seeing how it, since being there, could have a purpose we didn’t yet know of. We found.. Statues. Stone statues. There was an obvious ranger one, a mage without a staff. We also saw one statue with chainmail and an empty hand, and a warrior with a holy symbol. The one in platemail wielded an implement. We gave the staff to the mage statue, and we gave the holy symbol from the warrior to the guy wearing chainmail. A sword was found, which was given to the Warrior. I’m not sure why, it was all Jimmy’s idea, but I’m glad we did because it made a door open. In the new, small room we found stairs going down.

This may be of no surprise to you, but downstairs we found a room with loads of piles of bones, and a symbol of Avandra floating in mid-air. I planned to grab it, but Nick pulled me back by my shoulder and grabbed it himself. The room darkened. A lot of us got hit, mainly back-stabbed. It weren’t skilled baddies as none of us died of our wounds. Skyph used a sunrod, and we saw a grand total of eleven evil things going at us, mainly skeletons and one swarm of rats. The only really powerful appearing being was a paladin’s ghost. Nick weakened six of the baddies by Avandra’s might, which is what happens in her shrine, I suppose. Quickly taking advantage of Nick’s power was Jimmy, who somehow caused the paladin’s ghost to dissolve in thin air. His roar of victory was soon over voiced by Nick’s cry for pain as he got bloodied by the rat swarm.
All this battle emotions were a little too much for our immortal friend Skyph, as he exploded into tiny pieces, to re-appear in a totally different place. In said movement he managed to hit a skeleton in exactly the right spot, as it fell back to the piles of bones it once was. Jackie came to aid Nick, as the girl (Yes, the girl) slaughtered the rats that survived Skyph’s earlier psychic onslaught with her famous strike. Sadly she was a little too late, as Nick was knocked unconscious. I got him back up quickly before anything else could hit the poor cleric. Nick was back alive just in time to see Jimmy point at the final skeleton, as it trembled in fear, causing all its bones to tremble apart.
As we were done fighting, we took a short rest to get everyone back to feeling alright. I spotted a door, but before I could even gaze aside it, someone informed me the walls next to it seemed rather shattered. What we noticed on getting closer was that there was a giant leap down. Luckily, a rubbled path went down, alongside the wall. Almost down the path a room was in sight. In it, a humongous yellow ooze, and a small green one. Once again, against common girlish instincts, Jackie hits the biggest ooze and slides it into the center of the room. Jimmy is as usual ready to profit from someone’s action and uses his hammer to slice the ooze in two smaller oozes. How a hammer slices, I don’t understand. But it DID. Skyph was also hoping to take advantage from the previous actions, but his psychic powers were beyond what he thought they were. Not only did it hit both halves of yellow ooze, but also the smaller green ooze, and by accident Jimmy as well.

Who am I to not continue this beneficial actions? I took aim and splattered one of the halves with my greataxe. (Yes, it seems Jimmy and my weapon have swapped functions). Sadly however, oozes seem rather vengeful, as the green slime grabbed me only shortly after which did actually hurt. Somehow I managed to escape, and get in my sneaky stance. It’s called silver shadow, Sparkly! The remaining yellow halve had gotten a grab on Jimmy, which says something about its size. Clever as Jimmy is, he stripped from his armor, AGAIN, to escape the grab. I, being severely dazzled in amazement by that was grabbed again. Thank Corellon we have Nick there, who aided me in escaping. A shame the ooze didn’t die yet, making it able to grab me once again.. Whilst I was being grabbed someone had bashed the second halve into drops, so when Jackie killed the green one that was grabbing me, battle was once again over. Plenty of ooze jelly was obtained for our friend the old wizard.

Much expected, we entered a new room upon walking through the door. I noticed there were no more doors, so we figured it had to be the final room, and the location on where to find the source of all the moving undead. Turned out we were right. A human wizard was present. My hope for an easy round of combat was soon spoiled, as not only 4 minions arose, but the guy also summoned a new Blazing Rider. I was unpleased by this, and not only fey-stepped, but also charged. I headed for the minion closest to me, and shattered it into tiny pieces of bone. Jimmy followed my example, taking a second skeleton down. He pointed at a third one, once again causing it to tremble apart in fear. It seems his subtle touch is subtle enough to not even have to actually touch.

The Blazing Rider, like it had done before, launched a fireball at Jimmy. Its skeleton steeds took the opportunity to kick me pretty good. The sorcerer took his chance and allowed some powerful thunder to dance around the room. It hit not only Jimmy, but also me, and bounced to a wall having missed Skyph by a few inches. Jackie, short-tempered and ill patiently eager to fight, was so pumped to be able to do something that she instant-killed the skeleton horse, leaving the Blazing Rider as, to quote Nick, nothing less than a “Blazing Pedestrian”. To not spend too much time on telling what Jackie killed, let’s get back to Skyph. You see, as the skeleton horse fell, the sorcerer summoned four more minions surrounding me. Skyph, as smart as his 241 years made him, saw that and nuked the area they were in. It slightly damaged me, but all the skeletons fell apart easily.

Once I was free to move I took my chance to charge at the sorcerer, hit him, fly over his head, and hit him in the back. Jimmy pointed the final standing skeleton to pieces. Sadly, the sorcerer was able to take quite some hits, as he launched a thunder burst at Nick and Skyph. Somehow, Nick got on fire and fell unconscious, but I have missed most of what happened in that area of the room. Due to that, I decided to strike him in such a way that, using Corellon’s might (Yes, in Avandra’s shrine) to teleport him to the center of the room. As I was on a roll with being granted great divine powers for a while, I used them to make sure Jackie did hit the target. Next up in line, Jimmy was once again ready to splatter an enemy to tiny bits using his hammer. It was the end of the sorcerer. Nick in the mean time got up and shot a lance of faith at the Blazing Pedestrian. The lucky cleric had some help from Avandra, I hope. Well, if not, he better teach me how he did that some day.

We got an impressive 25 gold pieces of loot, a skull cup with not one, but two jade gems in the eye sockets. Needless to say we took it, and aided Nick in magically “cleaning” the shrine back to a somewhat more representative state for Avandra’s following.

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Loot Loot Loot

As we entered the door after having killed the dragon, we were given a secret passage back to the entrance. Sad with not finding any loot, tiny little Jackie pointed out that we had another door left unopened. Upon entering we immediately noticed a human in a cage, dressed in somewhat of a mage-type outfit. Nick aided Geziah who was making sure the guy got back to the world, as Jackie and Jimmy searched for loot. The mage who, after having given some water, was more stable told he was named Kurt Tepez and he told how the dragon took the remainder of the cart with him in it. It was the same cart that was missing in the caravan we saw earlier.
Jimmy was smashing some crates to find a heck of a lot of cheese, and five barrels of beer. Jackie found a bracelet, an onyx gemstone, a thousand silver pieces, and an odd coin which I called dibs on. Also a climbers kit and a treasure chest were found. Amongst high likely sellable items we also found ten pounds of iron, and some darkwood, rotten. By further questioning Kurt provided the intel that he didn’t know what the caravan was carrying, or who it belonged to. He suspected the merchant guild, as they own most carts. He also told that the caravan did seem to have some kind of powerful magical aura, but that it wasn’t in the cave.

Jimmy obtained a piece of summonable set of armor. He removed his old armor, at which Nick peeked, and then summoned the new armor. Shiny! Suddenly, Skyph appeared in the air, and fell on Jimmy. He told us he went missing during one of our major rests in the ant cave, and had been looking for us all the time. We decided to leave the cave and take Kurt with us. In order to take all the loot we found, we claimed a complete cart and drove it outside. Kurt got lucky. He got to sit on it as we went onwards. Touchy Feely heard noise created by the cart’s wheels and peeked from behind some bushes. He came flying towards Nick, with a bunny dead in his snout. After that short delay we headed for the road back to Sannich. Halfway there, a swamp bunny blocked our path. Touchy Feely tried grabbing it, but it punched him right on the snout, and then ran like a chicken.

Sannich at last! We planned to race for the gate, when a Paladin came running for us on a warhorse. On closer view it was obvious that he was a follower of Pelor, which meant he at least was a good guy. Or so we thought, until he started blabbing about us ‘Untouchables’ being liars, how he himself singlehandedly killed the Blazing Rider(Which we did long before we killed the dragon and stuff, just saying). He dared call us liars, tricksters, illusionists and everything else that makes up fake things. As we tried to convince him that we did actually slay the Blazing Rider ourselves, Nick got challenged to prove his devotion to Avandra, which he did with ease. On his turn, the paladin, Joshua, did the same for Pelor. He then told us we were on wanted posters in Sannich, and that the curfew had been reinstated. Easy to say the people didn’t like us that much anymore. But Joshua did know we’re the Untouchables!
As we continued to the gate, Hul’Thar the dragonborn, our great friend, was waiting. Joshua said to Hully that he had been right and the dragonborn confirmed with an ‘I know’. I really dislike that guy. Kurt told us we can go visit the mage tower in town for a reward for saving his life. Accompanied by Joshua we walk to the guard outpost and tell our story. They want their reward back, but as we did what we were asked to do, we’re not giving it. Jimmy smoothly took a wanted poster off the wall, as he considered us now famous.

Having dealt with all of the “We don’t like you anymore” babbling by the guards, we headed for the mage tower to claim our goodies. Surprisingly the door wasn’t locked, so we entered. A rather old guy was browsing some books. Nick coughed. No reply. Nick coughed again, slightly louder. Still no reply. Nick coughed as loud as he could. “Hm?”. Finally, some reply. I figured Nick would want some water now, but he began trying to explain how we saved his son’s life and wanted a reward. The old mage however was not listening. He was still browsing books. Kurt tried explaining the story, and we finally got another reply from the old dude. He wanted Ooze Jelly and Bone Dust.

It was at this point Skyph made his first actual action since coming back. He magically whispered in the old man’s ear; “I am God. These adventurers saved your son. They deserve a reward.” As a result, the old dude said. “I am God!”, and carried on browsing through his books. Kurt suggested we leave the place for now to come back later, as I opted the idea of selling our hopefully valuable loot. The others considered my idea a worthy waste of time, so we headed for the merchant guild. As we could’ve expected they were as greedy as kobolds, and probably even worse. We got a stunning 82 gold pieces for all our furs, cheese and darkwood. Jimmy made sure we kept the beer to later trade for some sleeping places at the local inn. Next stop, the jewelry. Here we hoped to get some more funds for our items. Turns out we were right. Being lucky we got a grand total of 500 gold for a long sword, the bracelet, the moon stone and the onyx. I myself kept the odd coin. Last but most certainly not least, a pair of horses was obtained. Seeing we still have the cart, that proves rather useful.
As we were done with our shopping, we went for the only thing we had left to do. Visiting the Raven Queen’s shrine to check for the bones of the Blazing Rider. Obviously, we took our cart and horses so we didn’t have to walk. As soon as we arrived Jimmy dashed for the priest for a little ‘talk’. Surprisingly, the bones were still there, so we had in fact been right all along. The only logical explanation the priest had was that something was summoning a Blazing Rider every time. Furthermore Jimmy expected to see a ‘new’ one tonight, since the previous one was now slain by Joshua. Upon asking the priest if there was another shrine he told us there was a shrine of Avandra, but that him and the priest there have been in a long lasting feud. All he knew was that ‘heroes’ were to be buried at the shrine there.

Needless to say, we wanted to go there. But, first things first. We arranged for a plan. We let Hully and Joshua defend the town gate of Sannich as we went to explore the shrine. Joshua didn’t originally agree, but it appears Hully can be quite convincing. The follower of Bahamut probably preferred hanging out in town over fighting whatever could be at the shrine, if anything at all. As we arrived at the shrine we were welcomed by a metal fence as creepy as a fence surrounding dead people should be. As I opened the door..

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Kobolds. Many Kobolds.

The wait was long and boring, though I can’t really describe the tension I could feel while the sun was slowly going under on the horizon. Soon, only the fires of the archers on the wall were our only source of light.
Until the blazing rider showed up, of course.
The archers on the wall saw him coming first. From my elevated position, I was probably the second.
Geziah was stationed next to the gate, hidden by a wall, with a simple rope to spring up the anti-cavalry stakes and the wires were at the right height and place. Jimmy was standing right in the middle of the line of fire and Jackie was standing opposite of Geziah, at the other side of the gate.
Somehow, I seemed to remember a certain entity that would have been very handy in this situation… Skyph. Hadn’t seen that guy in a while…
But those thoughts were short-lived when the Blazing Rider galloped through the gate, hitting every wire on the way. Geziah pulled the trap up, further impaling the horse with it…
It didn’t look like it had even noticed the hampering. With a fierce shriek, the fiery steed reared, giving the Rider cover as it threw a fireball right at Jimmy. The man hadn’t been expecting that and, though his shield and armour managed to take a lot of the blast, he didn’t come out unwounded.
Even if he had, he would have been trampled when the rider charged him, smacked him aside almost effortlessly, and tried to jump the barricade at the end of the street.
Somehow, the rider didn’t seem as immense anymore when it apparently miscalculated the jump and landed smack-dab on top of the spikes lining it, still on our side. The barricade caught fire and the soldiers standing atop of it got knocked off their feet, but it was still within our range and immobilized for the time being.
Immediately, we went to action. While the archers were sending arrow after arrow at the form, I gave Jimmy some Healing Word after which he rushed in with Geziah and Jackie.
I have to admit, those three didn’t hold back. One after another, they released their strongest powers at the steed, quickly reducing it to nothing more then a pile of smouldering bones. The Rider, who, without a ride, was more like the Blazing Pedestrian, didn’t manage to stay standing for very long under the constant torrent of assaults.
Of course, the archers had stopped when the Rider was no longer in his immensely elevated position. It was for the better, I don’t think I could’ve kept up with six arrows striking my newfound friends in the back.

When the Blazing Rider, the terror of Sannich for three full days and nights, had been reduced to nothing more then a heap of bones, the people of the city rejoiced. Even those we had evicted for the time being, to keep them out of danger, were happy that they had given us the space. The town was in an uproar, but it was a very positive uproar.
Of course, we got an immense party. We got pushed to the nearest tavern, where we could drink all we wanted – on the house. Geziah and Jackie told whoever would listen how The Untouchables had valiantly fought for their peace and safety. Even in the drunken haze everybody was falling into, the name actually appeared to stick, ending up with people chanting our team name and our individual nicknames. Heh, I’m surprised I even remember that…
We got a free night in the Five Boars, which was very welcome, though I’m surprised they didn’t just push us into The Golden Crown to make us feel like the actual royalty we were turning out to be. Well, we did reduce their terror to nothing in the span of about a minute and a half, so… Well, it felt kinda cheap.
The next day, hangover or no hangover, we knew would be filled with more adventure. At the first light, we went out to harass the magician about my Morning Star before we went out to return to the swamp. We still had the mystery of the missing cargo, the destroyed cart and the disappeared wizard to solve, so we didn’t waste time marching back.
It was still a trip of two days. Five days after we first saw the wreckage and disaster, we returned to see it pretty much untouched. The wood had started rotting and the local wildlife had been using it, I admit, but there was no new sign of human hands.
We knew which way to go, up another rickety road that didn’t look like it was designed for human travel. That said, over half of The Untouchables isn’t even human, so that might have been the whole idea…

We didn’t expect to hit a cave. Well, okay, we were walking towards a mountain, so we did expect to find a cave, but this cave was too… Symmetrical. Too perfect. There was no doubt about the fact that this cave was artificial. Hand made. In other words: dangerous.
And it was guarded by kobolds and traps. When Jackie ventured in, she managed to set off a pair of automated crossbows that aimed dangerously at the little shape.
Heh, like they’d ever hit anything that small.
And out came the kobolds. They were about as small as Jackie, so when Jimmy’s immense form walked in to negotiate with them, they were understandably holding back. The large man almost managed to buy us in – not with any money we actually had, mind – but in the end, his bargaining cost him the patience of the kobolds. One stormed him and the first fight of the day started.
I hate first fights of the day. I missed a lot that fight, with almost all of my spells, but what was the worst was when I walked in to assist the battle. I hadn’t expected two kobolds with freaking slingshots to come out of hiding in the passages to my left and right and start pelting me with burning rocks. I managed to evade the first one, but the other one hit me square in the ear and almost set my hair alight. No fun.
Geziah’s teleporting abilities set him to the other side of a hole and he had especially much trouble with kicking the kobold at that side into the hole he was balancing on. So much trouble, actually, that I was starting to think even the Eladrin had some kind of morning mood.
Of course, the crossbows were automated and immediately started pelting us with arrows as well, though they could aim about as well as I predicted. I don’t think I’ve seen any crossbow actually hit anyone of our party.
In the end, I had barely managed to survive the torrent, while we had killed three of the kobolds and made one faint. We deactivated the crossbows again before marching on, into the artificial cave.

The first room we stumbled upon was a maze of floors and holes, making it possible to see the other side of the maze, but making it very difficult to actually decide on a way to travel.
As we neared the maze to see if we could make any sense of it, we quickly found out that the actual traversing would not really be our main problem. Our first hint was the horrible buzzing that suddenly started to fill our ears. The second hint was the sudden appearance of Stirges, flying up out of the holes. I could only hope that weren’t nests down there.
Had I mentioned me missing Skyph already? That man’s psychic attacks could have been an immense aid against all those flying opponents.
Those Stirges were mean little bastards. They didn’t come close enough to touch me, but two managed to sink their teeth into tiny little Jackie, while the others were – mostly unsuccessfully – trying to do the same with Geziah. Jimmy and I got mostly left alone, come to think of it.
Only one of the darned beasts managed to escape once it started to notice that we were slaughtering its friends. Afterwards – and ONLY afterwards – we noticed the ten foot pole that had been lying in the corner, which we could have used to whack those critters out of the air with a bit of good aim and a lot of luck.
Now, Geziah thought it was a good thing to use to push a dead Stirge over the floor to test it for traps, smearing the floor with blood that didn’t stop him from effortlessly jumping over the one gap that we actually had to jump to reach the other side of the maze safely.
Somehow, we all managed to jump the hole, despite me almost tripping over on the slippery floor, which left us in front of a door, with a stairway heading up to our left. Geziah, despite our urges not to split the party, went up alone, just to test the door and nearly come crashing down again.
It was pretty clear that the doors were trapped, we didn’t need to check.
At times like that, having a person like Jackie in your party really helps. She managed to disable both door traps, making some impressive acrobatics while at it. I’m telling you, that girl is pret-ty dextrous.
Geziah urged us that, now we had both doors safely open, we’d have to develop some kind of ‘higher ground’ strategy. I wasn’t too keen on it, but I figured that I could heal over longer ranges anyway, and most of my spells can hit from quite far, so I joined the guy upstairs.
… Let’s all repress the thoughts that came with those words, now.

As it turned out, the room we entered was connected to the one below us, with Geziah and me being left on a kind of balcony while Jimmy and Jackie carefully tried not to get speared while entering from their door.
We were once again assaulted by Kobolds, forcing us to go into the offensive. I’m not too proud of my fighting during this battle, I missed more then I actually hit. I was lucky that my friends were more of the brawling type and managed to make up for my ineffectiveness. One of the Kobolds actually thought I was so little a threat that it tried to jump down with his spear pointing downwards, straight to Jimmy.
But he missed by about half a mile, leaving him to fall to the ground and unpleasantly shatter so many of its fragile Kobold bones that it practically died on the spot.
The weirdest thing happened, too. I mean, I knew it was possible, but I had never seen it used against us. The Kobold leader – or, what I ASSUME was their leader – managed to restore one of his fallen comrades to life with a spell I recognised pretty well.
Of course, I’m not blind. Immediately, I raised my voice and shouted five words at my colleagues:
“He’s a healer, GET HIM!”
As if he’d been waiting all day for those words, Geziah Fey Stepped over to the Kobold and just started wailing on him. Even I managed to hit him from the distance and empower Geziah’s assaults. It didn’t take long for the guy to fall, but he had done at least a little damage to Jimmy and Jackie, who were still fighting off the Kobolds on the lower level.
Not that it really mattered. In the end, my Healing Word was actually only needed once, for Jimmy of course, before the two had rampaged through the Kobolds and made the floor free for me to calmly come down and for all of us to make it safely to what was – as it would turn out to be – the last leg of this journey.

We were first greeted by a pull-up bridge, but two well-aimed shuriken from Jackie and Geziah made so short work of it that it isn’t really worth mentioning.
However, after that was an immense room that was the house to an enormous acid lake. As soon as Jimmy walked in, a heavy voice started filling the room.
It taunted us, it asked us who we were to even dare to enter this sanctuary, it threatened us while it was at it.
Jimmy wasn’t impressed.
When the voice finally got tired of our taunting back, its source revealed itself.
Try to imagine this: you’re calmly walking into a huge – and I’m saying huge here – room, filled with an acid lake. You’ve just fought yourself through a small army’s worth of Kobolds and think you’re ready for anything.
And then a black dragon rises up out of the acid.
Yeah, I was about this close to actually crapping myself as it lumbered out and engaged us.
It immediately used some kind of spell, which turned the room completely dark. It wasn’t actually an absence of light, it was more like pure, concentrated darkness had flooded the room and didn’t actually allow us to look in.
I couldn’t make out much, standing safely outside – or so I thought. I could hear Jimmy get thrown around, making sounds of pain, until I actually heard the scariest sound I could’ve heard.
The dragon was inhaling.
Loudly.
Even before I could get out of the doorway, it scuttled me with whatever it was spitting at me, leaving me with pain all over my body as I tried to get my focus back.
The darkness lifted, and left us with the view of the dragon slowly retreating back to its acid lake. We were understandably hesitant to follow it, for there was no doubt that we’d get pulled into the acid the moment we were within clawing range.
But we had to. Even I approached to a less-then-safe distance as I tried to assist my friends, who were all unleashing everything they had on the dragon. It retaliated in fell swoops and wide attacks that actually left even me with acid burning through my skin at one point. I’m pretty sure I could’ve died then and there, but I had to try and use both of my Healing Words at once, just to make sure Jackie and Geziah would stay on their feet.
Thankfully, as you can see, I survived. It was a close call, but I survived.
When I looked back at the battle, I could just see little Jackie jumping up. She jumped high enough to actually reach the head of the dragon, basically impaling her dagger into it and finally getting the damn beast down.
By Avandra, that was the toughest monster I had ever seen. I’m no storyteller, so I can’t properly tell you the damage we tried to deal to it, the damage we had to deal to it…
You’re just going to have to trust me that it was, indeed, a lot.
I could basically collapse right then and there. We just had to rest before we would search the rooms that were now open for us to enter…

You know what? I’ve been talking for long enough now. I’m going to give my companions the chance to tell something, before my throat turns completely sore.

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The Waiting Game

After dispatching the Bullywugs, we made haste to move on. They were wounded, and even a stupid guy could add up the facts to conclude who had wounded these beasts. Though the creatures had apparently retreated, the fact that they were still alive couldn’t spell much good for our caravan.
And indeed, the caravan was pretty much wrecked. It didn’t take us long to realize that, though the fact that a wheel had apparently carted right off into the distance was only helping us.
It was a disaster. Dead bodies everywhere, the cart was unsalvageable, and even my healing probably couldn’t do much to help those still alive anymore… If they even had the strength in them to actually accept it.
There was one poor soul who had survived and was, understandably, very unconscious. Jimmy and I found him, and I was worried we’d lose him. He didn’t have any reserves that I could make his body call upon, but thankfully Jimmy possesses some skills that I don’t. The transfer of his energy made the poor man wake up again – though I think he’d be happier to just stay passed out until he had died. When he realized he was the last survivor, he more or less went into hysterics.
While Geziah and Jackie were doing something in the background – looting, I guess, there’s no stopping these two – Jimmy and I managed to calm the man down and pull a story out of him. It’s true that I’ve stopped caring that much about stories, I’m just about ready to believe anything by now… But it was still pretty darn hard to believe this story.
He told about an attack, from all sides. About his friends falling to unknown hands, and how, mere moments before he went down himself to an unknown attacker, a giant beast had descended upon the cart to add more chaos to the battle.
I can tell you, it wasn’t the beast that confused me. This man was a professional, he couldn’t be attacked in his back if he knew to keep that back to his allies or a wall. Jimmy could easily lift this surprise, though.
“Well, mate, I got bad news for you,” he said, almost casually “You prolly had a traitor in yer group.”
As Geziah returned, wielding a giant axe I didn’t recall him actually having, I realized that we’d be put up to the rather horrifying task of making this poor man identify all of his fallen brothers. What sickened me was the almost methodical way we did this, we just picked up the bodies, showed them to the man one by one, and then handed them over to Jimmy for ‘proper rituals’. Sometimes it’s good to have a disciple of the Raven Queen with you, even if he’s an oaf at times.
Well, as it turned out, the guy could easily identify the missing person: a wizard. My first impression was that taking a wizard with you during your travels is simply asking for trouble, but I’m not the one to judge, here. The guy also panicked slightly at the fact that their cargo was missing, which was apparently pretty important for a certain Baron Crimson of Althea.
Yeah, I’d panic if I lost something that belonged to someone named ‘Crimson’, too. A lot, actually. That’s one name to run away from really fast.

Long story short, we couldn’t let the poor survivor alone in the woods, so we took him with us on our road to Sannich, during which we left the guy in the first village with a priest we found. He was grateful for our help, but was not much more then dead weight in our travels, so it was probably for the best.
We had a long trip in front of us, a solid two days of walking with little rest. No, that is not fun in chain mail. Believe me.

Already at the entrance of Sannich, our problems began. Apparently, the city was bordering on the edge of martial law and had a curfew because of some… Thing they called ‘The Blazing Rider’. I was just calling about names to run away from really fast, right? That’s another one. Apparently, this apparition had tried to enter the town to cause chaos and destruction of the burning kind. One could argue there’s not much fun in that, so they somehow managed to keep the thing out by simply keeping the gates shut tightly.
But we got in just in time and managed to make our way to ‘The Five Boars’, one of the three inns where we could sleep for a reasonable price. Of course, Jackie, the little – even for Halfling standards – woman thought she could get that cheaper and went off for an inn called ‘Knife in Your Back’.
That’s three names already.
The next day, she came to tell us about the adventure she had that night. I had given her fifty gold pieces to make sure she’d be settled for the night, but she had squandered TWENTY of those trying to get her way to a magical dagger. Of course, the illegal routes demanded way more then the thirty gold she was still carrying and she wanted to get our help in raiding this black market warehouse to get those daggers.
Don’t mind the fact that she had almost been a dead Halfling. A Halfling soufflé, if you’d like. Roasted Halfling on a stick. No, that’s details. Little ma’am HAD to get a knife with an enchantment on it.
I have to admit, she did manage to put her stealing fingers on a pretty big crime rig, so we decided that, with help of the local law enforcement, we could try to assault the storage, but we decided to first hit the market to get some things done.
You see, I think I’m a rather sensible person. I decided to head for an enchanter and ask him to get my Morning Star enchanted with a spell I had read about long ago. I’m a professional healer, and I just couldn’t wait until the man would be done with it. He claimed he’d be ready by the end of the day, so I just went out unarmed as I didn’t really think I’d need it until the night, when the scum of the city – and that Blazing Rider – would come out.
The shopkeeper slash wizard was a fine man to talk to. He didn’t like it when we tried to talk his price down, but we managed to get some information about the area out of him. Apparently, the man had a colleague who had lost his son… Which was a rather sad tale. After offering our understanding, he offered to help us with reaching the local guards… By pulling a rope.
We were jumped by the guards. The man gets robbed so often he has a direct link to the nearest guard tower in case of emergency, and our heavily armoured party was – understandably – seen as a threat.
After limbs were untangled and things were explained, we got escorted to the Guard Captain, with whom we had a long talk. For one reason or another, Jackie couldn’t be there, But I guess she’d have had her knife in the man’s neck about halfway through, so I’m not the one complaining here. Jimmy valiantly tried to pry a reward out of the captain, but as soon as the person keeping the books came in those rewards were played down and down until it was practically not even worth the trouble.
We eventually made appointments. First, we’d check out the warehouse.
After that, we’d put up a plan of action to help the city with its blazing rider problem.
Let me tell you, it was not MY idea to confront that blazing creep. But that’s for a tick later. Right now, we had been given a grand total of three guardsmen to ‘raid’ this warehouse. Three. And they looked pretty expendable, as well. Geziah had cheerfully dubbed our plan of getting the guards to help us ‘Operation Meat Shield’, which would have ended up as a disaster if these three had to play our ‘shields’.
Thank goodness they didn’t have to. Despite Jackie insisting we were at the right place, the warehouse was just… A warehouse. The few crates we could open without getting into trouble didn’t contain anything of the magical weapon kind and we just earned weary and annoyed looks of the local workers. We decided that, should the guard ever find something in this warehouse, it’d be because of our tip and that we’d get the reward money for it.
… Excuse me? I’m not going to believe that. We’re talking about guards here, the ranks that are most susceptible to corruption. That’s money we’re NEVER going to see.
But hey, we still had that Blazing Rider thing to take care of, so we went back to the captain to arrange that. He had drawn out a rather simple map of the area we’d been given to work with, and with Jimmy, Geziah and my intellect we built a trap that would PROBABLY make the fight easy.
It consisted of some pretty basic stuff. Three tripwires at varying heights at the open gate itself, shortly followed by the anti-cavalry spikes we know and love from several different castle sieges. Fun, fun.
We blocked off the street and the side passages with spikes and walls. We placed crossbowmen and archers at every available wall, ready to strike and, most importantly, not hit us. I tried to climb a ladder to get on a roof – of course the wizard hadn’t kept his word and left me without a weapon – and fell off twice. Some clowns had greased the bars, I swear!
In the end, all we could do was wait until sunset, when the Blazing Rider would come for the now open gate…

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That freaking Drake

Ugh, just a couple of days ago we left the ant caves and went back to the tavern for some well deserved rest, and I just knew that it would be better if I stayed in bed the next day.
Of course, the hangover I was suffering probably had something to do with that. To celebrate our rewarding quest into the cave and the retrieval of the gems, we had quite the private party that night and we went down on that beer like there would be no tomorrow.
By Avandra, how I wished there wasn’t a next day that morning. And what was worse, was the way Jimmy tried to combat his hangover: more drinking. He actually had Jackie and Geziah try to steal a mug for the road, and we almost got kicked out when Geziah got caught. No, the morning didn’t start all that well.
Well, after that little outing, we decided that we could try to see if farmer Joseph had some fresh apple pie today, and we had our first score for the day. I have to admit, I’m no fan of apple pie, but Joseph’s pie could very well turn even the most sour-mouthed adventurer to enjoy it.
But what was more important, was what happened during the visit. We had some small talk with Joseph over the deliciously sweet pie, and we noticed that he was still being pestered by the ants. We killed quite a lot of them the day before, but obviously not all of them. Seeing how we still had a day to spare before the caravan we wanted to catch would arrive, we opted to go back into the cave and see if we could help the good man along a little more. He warned us that the ant queen probably wouldn’t really enjoy us taking out her brood, but we decided that, being adventurers and all, the Untouchables would just take her out along with the brood.
Big. Mistake.

Most of the ant cave was just like we left it, but of course, with the still half-drunk leading of Jimmy we stumbled through a couple of wrong passages back to the room where we met the bandit leader. And his little friend somehow decided that my shoulder was an excellent landing spot… I mean, look at me, I’m not exactly the strongest guy around here, the damn drake nearly toppled me while it started gobbling up my rations.
Geziah couldn’t be happier to see the creature, though, and insisted that I just let it eat. I told him that he could start by taking it off of my shoulder before I introduced it to my Morning Star. The beast was heavy for its size.
Luckily, after a while, we managed to head back through a couple of tunnels we had explored, and we stumbled upon the room where dozens of ants were working and digging, just like they had been doing the day before. As we tried to carefully make our way through without aggravating the creatures, I could only wonder if they had actually taken a break or anything…
But those thoughts didn’t last for long. When I was through, Jimmy was the last one to head through, and the big oaf managed to almost kick an ant over. Of course it got pissed at him and started chasing him…
And then Jackie threw a shuriken at the chasing ant. I don’t know what she did with it, but the ant just about exploded when it struck and, in turn, turned the whole damn cave against us. Let me spoil you this: that was a boatload of ants that would prove to be quite the trouble. Not as big a trouble as their soldier cousins, but… Well…
Of course, Jimmy scoffed at the ants digging into the walls, thinking they were fleeing from the slaughter.
Of course, I wanted to smack him one when the damn critters came out of the walls behind us. The battle was both needless and much heavier then my heavily armoured friends had claimed it would be. We killed twenty-one ants just because Jimmy had to trip up.

Afterwards, after I had to do my magic and get everyone back into peak condition, we moved on to the one area we hadn’t explored yet. We immediately ran into something I can only describe as an ant throne room, complete with huge ant queen, guards and piles of ant dung. Everyone immediately entered the room, but they hadn’t anticipated the queen releasing some kind of acid cloud while we were busy hacking into her. It didn’t take long for the combined assault of the queen and her minions to wear us and me down. I mean, I’m a good healer, but even I have my limits, and when Bootstraps signalled the retreat and immediately sprinted out of the room, I knew why we chose him as our leader again.
I hope the sarcasm is clear.
With Bootstraps on the front of the retreat, we all suddenly had to rush to get out of the room and hope the ants would lose their interest in us.
No luck there, of course. We lost the queen, which was a start, but all the minions we hadn’t taken down yet were hell bent on killing us and would follow us no matter how much we ran. Eventually we turned around to take them on, and actually managed to take out the highly annoying flying ant that was constantly dropping acid on anyone stupid enough to stand in its way. After that, its minion friends were – thankfully – easy to take out.
I told the others that we should retreat. The queen could come later, we were in no condition to keep fighting.
Not that anyone ever listens to what I’ve got to say. We waited until I had managed to administer my Healing Word to everyone in the party and then rushed right back in again, where we just had the queen waiting for us.
I don’t know how we did it, but eventually, we managed to kill the bitch. Jimmy and Jackie actually managed to hit the last surviving minions from distances way longer then one should be able to, and the lone queen was apparently easy picking after that.
And when the queen was down, THAT was the moment that drake decided to come down and start eating the ant eggs. Now, I couldn’t really mind that, it was eating for survival, or so Jimmy claimed. I eat meat, too, so… Well, I’m not that big a hypocrite.
Anyway, Geziah’s bright idea of digging through the dung did manage to get us some gold and a Potion of Healing, which would come to help us later, so the whole fight wasn’t without its rewards.
Oh, wait, did I mention who killed the ant queen? The humongous, three meter high queen?
Widdle Jackie, that’s who. Can you imagine that? She’s barely as long as one of the queen’s feet was high, but she managed to deal the devastating last hit. And Jimmy insisted on taking the head of the queen, like he had killed it.

We just had to take a rest after that battle, or I was sure I could collapse right then and there. We were covered in dirt and ant acid, but we just dropped and took a power nap of a couple of hours. After waking up, we went back to Joseph to tell him the good news.
And to get rid of that head, before it would start rotting.
Apparently, Joseph’s family isn’t all too bright. I agreed with him when he said that he probably had no use for a ritual book, and happily accepted his offer of taking it off his hands in the form of a reward. Turns out, if he had been able to perform the actual ritual, it would help him immensely.
But he couldn’t, and I can, so… Well, it was an easy decision.
We had to make a quick exit when we realized that time was running short if we wanted to catch the caravan before it had passed through Biontola, but even with Geziah running ahead we missed the caravan. It was a spot of luck that Jackie stumbled over the Dragonborn we had met the day before.
… That sounds wrong. The Dragonborn probably stumbled over HER. I just know that the guy did manage to tell us how long ago the caravan had passed through and that we could make it if we went to pursue it immediately.
So, without taking even the slightest bit of a rest after the brisk march we had been keeping up, we went moving again to try and catch up with our missed appointment. While in the company of our Dragonborn ‘friend’. The guy is cocky, not funny.
Oh, and here’s a hint to every caravan driver who decides that the swamps are perfectly fine to travel through with their heavy carts: they’re NOT. We ran into a sabotaged bridge that had forced the carts, and thus us, to follow an even more rickety road, on which we were ambushed by freaking Bullywugs and giant frogs. Bullywugs, I’m telling you. Thank goodness these guys are about as hardy as a big rat and half as smart. Jackie alone managed to kill one off, right off the bat.

I’m telling you, this is starting to feel like an and then and then and then story. What, you think I’m done already? Think again, buddy.

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No Apple Pie

It was a grim morning when our heroes woke up after a restless sleep. Geziah kicked the remaining guard one last time, then shouted the name of the great savior: Jackie Dandelion and spoke the epic words:
“Blimey, isn’t that a metal pipe?” The heroes shrugged their shoulders as they tried to continue their interrupted sleep, but Geziah stood up and reached for the pipe and, after taking a closer look at the object, he grabbed it with both hands. With one fearsome blow he then smashed it against the guard’s head. And then again, because it was quite funny to hear the banging sounds… over and over.
“We’re trying to sleep over here,” mumbled Jackie as the Guard screamed out in agony. Geziah didn’t answer, as a second pipe was stuck between the door to release an interesting green cloud. A moment our hero reconsidered the situation. Then he kicked the brave adventures to wake them up, for a second time.

“What is it now?” Nick said as he was kicked, but suddenly stopped and turned white as he saw the guard’s head, which was… well… pretty much fractured in all possible ways.
“Look at that.” Geziah pointed towards the pipe and then to the guard, who was obviously holding his breath inside. Poisonous gas. Without a doubt.
“Stick a robe in it,” Jimmy suggested, but the robe was immediately thrown back in the chamber cause of the pressure in the pipe. Jackie looked at the heroes as they figured out how to solve this problem. Meanwhile, she stuck her foot in the Guard’s face and kicked another tooth out of his mouth.
“Okay, that didn’t work,” concluded Bootstraps and positioned in front of the door. “What do you guys think of simply smashing this door into oblivion?”
“Sounds good,” Jackie replied and smiled. The guard fainted as he saw her demonic smile.

The group continued their journey through the corridors and opened the magical door with no key holes, by forging the two keys together and turning those two in empty air. The second door, behind it, was not that hard to open. It had two door handles. It could also open if an extremely heavy weight hero with full body armor forged himself into the chamber behind the doors, while he simply neglected the fragile resistance the two doors provided. It was but in the chamber itself when this bull rush came to an end, as he was attacked by nearly everyone inside.

An Halfling and an Human charged from both sides, while another Halfling with a slingshot tried very hard to hit the enormous adventure with three single stones. The human struck Jimmy in the chest. The Halfling aimed on his knees and the three stones… well… they didn’t even made it out of the slingshot. They kind of just fell out of it, I guess. They missed, all three of time. A second attack at Jimmy was enough however to force him on the ground. Our adventurers, had to act fast now.

Jackie jumped over the body of Jimmy, dodged two attacks from his attackers and got behind of his first victim. A critical hit was done, but no Sneak Attack could be used, as the lying body of Bootstrap couldn’t perform a decent flanking maneuver. Geziah as well stepped into the fight and did a devastating blow on the Halfling, but again, the Halfling survived. Finally Nick saved the day, or at least Jimmy by casting an Healing Word.

The fight continued, but even the interference of an irritating Gnome Scientist couldn’t stop the heroes from doing what they are best at: killing bad guys. A last curse filled the room:
“Aargh, you meddling adventurers!”, but then even his spells couldn’t save him. As their leader fell down, the rest of the enemies fled. The battle was over, but many more would follow.

It was a lab. A table with vials on them filled most of it. A quick look at the book shelves, that were placed against the wall, revealed nothing of interest, and the remainder: a table with some pints of beer on it, was, although it was beer, quickly ignored as well. The heroes studied the substances in the vials and discovered there were actually five of them, each labeled with a color. A lonely worker ant in a cage was an easy test subject and was shortly after the investigation sprayed with all kinds of fluids. The red one made him angry. The blue one made him content. The green one was smelly. The transparent one was nothing more than water, or so the adventurers suspected. Finally, the yellow one: ant acid. The same kind farmer Joseph was harassed with.

Again, the heroes continued their journey, only to find a single corridor with a chest at the far end. An Halfling was desperately searching in it, or at least trying to, but he couldn’t open it. Knowing that this was an extraordinary easy target, Jackie rushed into the room, only to fall into the first trap that was in her way. A ten foot pitfall, which she had to crawl out off. And no, with her length, that wasn’t really an easy task. Jimmy then jumped over the pitfall, screaming:
“I will locate the next trap!” and immediately stepped on the next crumbling floor, which revealed a, you guess it, ten foot pit fall. Nick, overconfident that he found the pattern the traps where made in, dodged the first two and ran towards the Halfling, only to be struck by multiple spears that jumped out of the ground. Now, only Geziah remained. He simply used his teleport to skip the corridor and appear next to the Halfling…

The Halfling, knowing that he could never face such a teleporting beast, used all of his strength to force the pillars, that were keeping the ceiling in one place, down. After doing that, he decided the wisest thing he could do was to jump over the edge (there was a small gap between the chest and the rest of the corridor, that contained a depth of 30 feet) and plummet towards death. Now, the ceiling was collapsing and the enemy was dead. Geziah immediately knew what to do. He turned to the chest, carefully opened it, while multiple rocks were falling on his body and head, and graphed the 196 silver coins that were inside. He then also took a look at the various gems that were on the bottom, filled his pockets with it and placed his hand on the hammer which the chest also contained. Encumbered with everything he found, he jumped back over the gap towards safety. Or at least, he tried to. In fact, the jump ended mid air, right in the middle of the two edges, and a seemingly endless scream filled the air.

Jackie got out of the trap first, disabled the trap that was keeping Nick busy and helped Nick as he climbed down with the robe Jackie still had in her pocket. Geziah turned out to be safe, or at least, for the moment. The ceiling was still collapsing. Knowing what is really important, Nick turned towards the dead gnome, searched him for any valuables, then hided for the stones in a nearby cave and climbed back into the corridor. The gems were secured. Know it was time to kill some bandit leader.

The bandit leader sat in the chamber next to the corridor. He stood up from his throne as we walked in and said:
“I knew you were coming!” Well, that was quite obvious, seeing as THE WHOLE BUILDING COLLAPSED NEXT TO HIM.
“Well, that is just great,” Jackie sneered.
“You won’t kill me, you know,” The bandit leader continued.
“We won’t have to,” Jimmy replied, “We could just walk away. For the correct amount of gold. You know the drill.”
“Bribery?” The bandit laughed. “Very well then, how about twenty golden pieces?”
“How about 400. And we get the drake,” Geziah answered. He took a quick look at the leader. “Oh, and your boots are nice too.”
“Four hundred golden pieces?! ” he screamed. He graphed behind his throne and showed three bags filled with something that sounded much like gold. “This is all I have. Take it. And leave.”
“This is all very nice, but we still want your drake. As well. And your boots.”
“Drop dead! Guards! Kill them!” As the leader threw a small dagger, some of the bandits started to walk into position, but Jackie quickly reacted and performed a blinding barrage on one of them, and two of the trained worker ants. Only the bandit remained after the assault. Jimmy and Geziah also did their charge and ignored the other bandit that was trying to flank them, as they immediately rushed towards the bandit leader.
The battle ended in a couple of seconds. It was quite unfair actually. The drake purred when Jackie stroke his scaled head, while she cleaned her dagger with the pillow the drake was sleeping on. Meanwhile, Jimmy shouted at the only yet living bandit in the room until he fell down into tears and told the adventurers everything he knew.
“Look guys, the drake likes me,” said Jackie a couple of moments later. The guy was still crying, even when Geziah tried to knock him unconscious with the metal pipe.
“Nobody likes you,” replied Nick, sick of the horrible things Jackie was actually planning to do with the drake.
“He does. He gave me a little piece of paper!” As the group investigated the letter Jackie showed, they discovered that there was a raid planned on one of the cars that entered the nearby village. The reward: 1000 gold. Very nice indeed.

With the bandit leader dead and the gems recovered, the party returned to farmer Joseph to tell him the good news. But the apple pie that was promised, couldn’t be eaten that very day. Farmer Joseph didn’t have a fresh one. The baked pie had gone stale. Old. Disgusting. It was just terrible. Jackie pulled one of her daggers:
“Shall I kill him? Maybe that his inheritance could compensate for the broken promise he had made. That will teach him.”
“Oh, just shut up,” the rest replied.

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Problems in Biontola
The village is being robbed with a novel method

The group of adventurers are waylayed by bandits on their way to Biontola village. After easily disposing of the bandits, they enter the village and find that much of it has been robbed by bandits. Thanks to a new method of theft, they have managed to break apart doors with a type of acid. The sheriff, Jack can’t handle these problems alone, and asks the adventurers if they can end the problems created by these bandits. As a reward, the sheriff mentions that the group can keep all the money that they find in the bandit’s lair. He warns the group that the bandits have already taken care of two of their three guards, though.

The group questions a woman wounded in a bandit attack, a prisoner, the local guard and a rich merchant that lives in the area. The merchant mentions that he owned a collection of gems, but these were stolen bij the bandits. He offers 100 gold pieces for each part of the collection.

By putting all hints together, the group concludes that the bandits are north of the village, ad that they use “ant acid” as a weapon. While they explore the north, they meet Farmer Joseph. This farmer is troubled by giant ants, and points the adventurers to the nearest ant tunnels, promising them applepie for exterminating the pests.

The group finds a long network of tunnels. While exploring, they find

  • A resting chamber for bandits, including a bandit they manage to catch off-guard. The bandit points them towards:
  • A tunnel containing a pair of vicious Ankhegs.
  • They find a talking door, behind which there are several Fel Taints; an incursion into reality from the Far Realm. The group manages to restore the local reality and stop the incursion by killing the Fel Taints and reactivating the guarding runes.
  • They find a tunnel with a weird device that drops a Brooch of Shielding.

The last thing they find are two guards guarding a door. The guards are dressed in the armor of the local guard. Both guards carry a key, but the door has no visible locks…

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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