The party heads back to Fairhill, with the human rescued from the shackles of the evil druid tree. He had been a companion of Sondos II. While they were captives, the young nobleman and the rest of his group had been taken away and killed. The lone survivor's name is Valk, and he agrees to join the party (NPC fighter). The party eventually finds out that among their loot from their last adventure they now have a magic Torc of Free Action, a Scimitar of Speed +2 and Bracers of Defense, AC 5. At Fairhill they also meet and are joined by Harvey Plotter (Eric Bachman's new character). This novice magician has a striped scarf, a non-magical wand and a familiar named Ron the Weasel.
The rest of the party needs to train in order to go up in levels, and the closest place to do that is the town of Badwall. So, except for Fugar the dwarf, they set out on the road to Badwall which is SE of Fairhill. Fugar goes to the Lortmil Mountains to train.
The party crosses the Jewel River on a ferry and encounters some bandits on the road. After a close battle, using their wagon as cover, and with the elves attacking from the woods, the party prevails. They make their way into Badwall, and get Vert Ivy raised from the dead. Everyone trains, and they turn around to head back to Fairhill. They decide to return to Oak Haven to tell the nobleman there that his son is deceased.
After that, a druid higher up in Neth's order talks to the party about the "dark druids" and their various factions. One such faction is near the City of Greyhawk. The elder druid leads the party to a forest clearing with a ring of huge stones like Stonehenge. He says, "Now I will show you a secret of the druids" -- he activates some magic, and the party teleports to a similar structure just outside of Greyhawk, on top of the Four Tors.
Last Edit: Dec 11, 2011 18:22:54 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
The party goes to the Outs Inn where they rent a villa just outside Greyhawk. They are asked to investigate the dark druids, who are rumored to have a camp to the west along the road to Dyvers. The party agrees to this and off they go. Down the road they spot a very large band of orcs and ogres -- Neth as the party leader wisely decides to avoid them. The road veers into the Gnarley Forest, where the party eventually stops to rest. In the night, they are attacked by worgs and one of the dark druids. The party slays them, and decides to track them back to where they came from.
A merchant caravan comes by on the road, and two members of the caravan decide to join the party in their fight against evil druids: Drungal, a gnome fighter/cleric, and a female human cleric (Brian and Kate).
With Fleak the ranger scouting ahead and relaying messages back in the form of bird calls ("ca-CAW! ca-CAW!"), the party finds the camp and dispatches some crossbowmen sentries positioned up in the trees. After taking out a few more guards, The party sets off several fire traps while going through the tents. Most of the camp residents are away, it seems. The party sets up an ambush -- again with Fleak on point.
The residents of the camp eventually return. Fleak and the enemy scout see each other -- the element of surprise is ruined. The dark druids have several ogres with them. It is a very close battle. The ogres kill Valk, and begin to knock people down... The party is barely able to hit anything! Things go from bad to worse. One of the dark druids charms the gnome Drungal. In frustration over not being able to hit, Sparkles the elf takes off his armor and simply walks off into the forest, abandoning the battle! But the last possible moment, the tide turns, and the party gets in a few key hits to win the day, barely.
They capture one of the dark druids alive, and take him back to their contact at the Outs Inn, a bard named Gildon the Glib. Gildon takes custody of the captive dark druid, and then tells the party that there is another nearby location they could go to, which may have more dark druids and their agents: at the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk.
Last Edit: Dec 13, 2011 20:42:55 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
Using the menhir circle on top of the Four Tors as a gate, the party teleports to a grove near the ruins of Castle Zagyg. They approach the ruins and find much of it appears intact, including a gatehouse and bridge over a ravine. The party discusses some deceptive strategies, including approaching the gatehouse and posing as agents from the Dark Druids come to make an inspection! But ultimately they decide to avoid the gatehouse entirely and check out the ravine below the castle. They find several caves, with humanoids in them: hobgoblins and gnolls. The party defeats or chases off these humanoids, and discovers a secret passage between their lairs, with a mysterious cave that puts people to sleep, and a well with iron rungs leading down... The party returns to Greyhawk City, to rest up. Among their loot for this episode: a magic sword and two potions, that turn out to be a "Flametongue" and potions of extra-healing.
Last Edit: Jan 14, 2012 19:42:15 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
Back at the Outs Inn, the party is joined by Gnat, a human cleric of St Cuthbert, an odd person with a high comeliness but who does not like to bathe (Paul). Other than that, he seems like a good sort and the party invites him to join and even offers the use of the magic platemail none of the others are able to use. The party, consisting of Neth, Harvey, Sparkles, Fleak, and Gnat, all return to the well they found in the caves below Castle Zagyg. Fleak transforms into a bat to find out there is a natural cave going in two directions below. Using the iron rungs and rope, the party descends into the natural cave, which is a mostly dried streambed, with a walkway next to it. They follow the walkway down, until the cave opens up into a vast cavern, with the edges of water up ahead. It seems the party has come to an underground lake or reservoir.
The party scouts around the edges of the misty underground lake, taking the path to the south, which curves around east. After encountering giant crabs and some water ghouls, the party finds a set of stairs leading up and away from the vast cavern with the underground lake. They take stairs up to find a chamber that is magically lit, with a statue of a warrior with an axe, shield and lightning bolt emblem. Venturing forth from the chamber into one of the tunnels leading away from it, the party encounters numerous shadows that seem to come up out of the floor or through the walls. Gnat the cleric is unable to turn them. The party defeats the shadows, but just barely, and more seem to emerge as the party retreats to the seemingly safe and well-lit chamber. Magical light in this chamber seems to keep the shadows away. They surmise it is under the protection of a good god, and that the statue may represent Heironeous, a deity of the Oeridians. Fleak the elf ranger, deeming this level of the dungeon to be beyond the current abilities of the party, wants to leave.
The party returns to the cavern of the underground lake, and scouts around the opposite way. Some beautiful girls in the water entice the party to swim! They attempt to charm the members of the party and succeed on Harvey Plotter. The party defeats them, however, preventing Harvey from certain drowning within the seaweed-like true forms of the nereids -- for that is what they were. The party then finds a boat tied up at a pier. The party disputes what to do -- some want to take the boat and explore, but others do not. Fleak, in bat form, scouts across the lake, finding vast columns rising out of the lake in a lozenge-shaped pattern around a central island with a tower on it. Upon the tower, a robed figure (that looks like a wizard to Fleak) talks to gargoyles. The gargoyles then fly off towards the pier, and Fleak flies back to help the party. Gargoyles swoop down out of the fog. Neth nearly allows two of the gargoyles to pick him up! Fortunately, another party member grabs him, and the others slay or drive off the gargoyles. Enough is enough, and Fleak encourages the party to leave. A monstrous underwater monster assists in chasing them out... The party returns to the surface, via the well that they came down through.
Last Edit: Apr 30, 2012 10:35:57 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
Exploration of the caves at the base of the cliff below Zagyg's ruined castle continues, with the party finding a cave elevated above ground level and a rope ladder hanging from it. A swift climb up the ladder accompanied by several well-placed arrows and magic missiles puts an end to the bugbears living in this cave. The party considers the cave to be somewhat defensible, when the ladder is pulled up at night, and so makes this a base of sorts. Further exploration and they discover a cave and worked tunnels with eerie torches and fiery hands as some sort of magical trap. Eventually, they come to a gate guarded by ragged-looking elves. The party is perplexed by this, but the elves turn out to be decent enough fellows who oddly enough simply enjoy living in the dungeon and guarding this gate. The party proceeds from here to begin exploring the first level of the "Upper Works" or castle Zagyg's dungeon, wherein they slay some orcs, fire beetles and some of the rats of a pathetic gypsy were-rat holed up behind some crates and rubbish. Feeling pity for the wererat, and thinking that it might be possible to somehow remove her curse, Fleak spares her and the party leaves the dungeon.
Returning to the elf gate, they discuss a possible lead to their mission of tracking down and finding the dark druids and their allies. The elves tell of some passerby who may fit this description, and came through the gate but took a different route -- not into the dungeon, but by stairs up into the ruined keep itself. In the keep, a large hall has some bandits nearby which the party slays with relative ease. Sparkles in particular wades through them, sweeping with impunity... One bandit is spared, in exchange for some information. He tells of some evil cultists who are based upon a hexagonal tower on the outer wall. The bandits sometimes have conflicts with these cultists, who sometimes send groups of undead against the bandits. The party goes upward, past some dead bodies... one of them rises as a corpse with glowing eyes. The party cuts it down without getting hit, and they have a strong feeling that even one hit would have been very bad! They survey the tower, which is on the other end of a rope bridge over a collapsed part of the keep. A ballista with armed men are on top of the tower.
Last Edit: Sept 7, 2012 13:46:15 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
Fleak turns into a bat and flutters and flaps into the sky around the tower. He circles around to get an idea of what can be seen at each level. On top of the tower he sees a shack with some dirt around it, a sort of rooftop garden with briars and brambles. Fleak returns to the others to discuss what he saw. The consensus is this must be the dark druid they have been hunting! The party's plan is risky. Fleak will attack alone, while the party provides spell support from below. Again in bat form, Fleak flies to the shack, and then turns back into an elf. He looks through the opening, where there indeed sits a druidic-looking fellow inside, wearing dark robes. Fleak hurls several lit oil flasks inside. Several lucky hits prevent the dark druid from getting off a spell. Fleak kills him. The guards manning the ballista are easily dispatched. Fleak then lowers a rope, and the others use it to climb to the top of the tower.
Last Edit: Sept 7, 2012 13:55:27 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
Fleak stays at the Grey Run Inn, outside and SE of the city, in between adventures. A new adventure is planned to "search for the fourth level" by Fleak (a wood elf ranger), Finn (human fighter), Finn's henchman Jolly Torbuck (a halfling fighter/thief), Solindor (human cleric), Solindor's henchman Magrim (human m-u), and Tharendell (gray elf f/m-u). After greeting and passing the elves at the elf-gate, the party descends to the third level that they previously began exploring. While mapping out the winding passages, the party is attacked by some wandering bugbears, which they make short work of. Soon after, the party sees a dim blue light and sends Jolly up ahead to scout. Jolly fails his move silently roll (steps on a rock and cries out), and the figures up ahead say, "We see you. Come forward, adventurers..." Fleak recognizes them as elves, and they turn out to be the guardians of the stairway to the fourth level... Not just guardians, but toll-collectors! The blue light comes from phosphorescent moss in the cavern where the stairway is. The toll going down is modest enough (1 g.p. per head), but the toll coming back up (one magic item which the elves get to choose) is considered too steep. So, the party decides to continue exploring the third level instead, and over a period of time goes up against: berserkers with their nearly 7' tall leader and his huge battle axe, an ochre jelly, giant rats and wererats, a gelatinous cube, and gnolls and their m-u leader. The party made out with some decent treasure, especially in the form of the gold skull-head medallion with gems for eyes. The only real mishap was when the cleric decided to open a chest that did not have any traps detected on it... Of course, it turned out to be poisoned, and Solindor failed his saving throw! The only one in the party with a slow poison spell was down... The party rushed him back to town and his fellow clerics at the Temple of Pelor cast slow poison and neutralize poison, but at a cost! About 2800 g.p. total... Solindor learned his lesson: the cleric should never open chests in the dungeon! Let someone else do it! As an aside, Gavin composes some "bad guy music" on the piano, for added effect in some of the encounters.
Last Edit: Nov 15, 2015 16:48:44 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
Edit: Might as well post them here: Part 1 The Party Fleak Pingle: A 5th level wood elf ranger Finn: A 4th level human fighter Jolly Torbuck: A 1st/1st hobbit fighter/thief (henchman) Solindor: A 4th level human cleric of Pelor Magrim: A 1st level human magic-user (henchman) Tharendell: A 3rd/3rd grey elf fighter/magic-user
The party made the two and a half mile trek from town to the Castle Ruins. Once there they made their way to a cave located in the ravine surrounding the castle. The cave lead to a large cavern the party refers to as The Elf Gate, most likely because of the elves dwelling there. The elves recognized the party and without delay raised a portcullis that was blocking the party’s progress. The party was surprised to see that the elves now seemed to be sharing their cavern with a small group of gnomes. The party did not question this, and the elves gave no explanation. Other exits within the cavern lead to the ruins above and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd dungeon levels. The party informed the elves that they wished to go to the 3rd level. The elves raised another portcullis, and the party made the long descent. The party had been to the 3rd level before, and their goal now as to find steps to lower dungeon levels. At the bottom of the steps the party headed south to continue exploring a maze like area they assumed was the southeast corner of the level. The hallways they explored twisted and turned, but all lead to dead ends. As the party was searching one of these dead ends for secret doors they were attacked from behind by a band of bugbears who hurled hammers at the party as they charged. The party’s formation change was awkward, which resulted in the bugbears closing and inflicting some (minor) damage that could have been avoided. Once settled, the party quickly dispatched the bugbears. The party looted the bodies and moved on. Once the party believed they had exhausted the maze’s possibilities they followed a westward passage they had ignored earlier. It U-turned back east and ended in steps that went up. The party believed they lead to the 2nd level, so they ignored and headed back the way they came. They decided to head north. At an intersection the turned down a southeast passage and after a short distance they could see light ahead, dim with a bluish tint. They could see the passage opened up into a larger cavern. They sent Jolly ahead to scout it out, but two figures stepped into the passage and called out to the party in Common and Elvish. They advanced cautiously into a large cavern lit by some kind of bioluminescent lichen or moss. 20 or so elves were counted. The elves explained that they were the guardians of the Eastern Stairs. If the party wished to descend the party would need to pay their toll: gold now, and a magic item upon their return. After some debate the party politely declined, and turned around to search for other routes to the deeper levels. Continuing north the party came to a Y type intersection. To the right a door was visible. The left passage twisted out of sight. The party went right. Pushing the door open they came face to face with a pair of berserker guards in a short passage. A large chamber with more berserkers could be seen beyond. The guards yelled a warning/war cry and charged the party. The party remembered the Y intersection behind them and fearful of being surrounded, Tharendell cast a web on the berserkers in front of the party. Several of them were trapped. A pair made it through and the party cut them down. The party had guessed correctly and more berserkers came rushing at them from behind. The party was prepared though, and the slogged through the melee. The berserkers were led by a towering barbarian who inflicted some serious damage before the party managed to bring him down. The party lit up the webs and finished off the berserkers that were trapped within. The berserkers carried some minor coinage, but there leader wore a thick platinum chain with a platinum medallion depicting the evil god Nerull. The eyes were large emeralds. Behind a loose stone in the their lair they also found a chest. Jolly found no traps, but Solindor received a harsh reminder that low level thieves weren’t that reliable. There was a poison needle trap on the chest. The party also learned a valuable lesson: never let the only character with a slow poison spell memorized open chests. Moving quickly they could make it back to town to save Solidor before he went from mostly dead to all dead, but it cost a nice chunk of gold. In town the did get the chest opened, it contained 1,500 GPs.
Part 2. After healing and resting in town the party returned to the dungeons, back to the 3rd level and moving north past the berserker barracks. At a 4-way intersection the party turned right (east) into a wall of eye watering stench, feral, garbage, and excrement. Forcing themselves ahead they entered a chamber, 40’ N to S, 20’ E to W. A door to the south, the northern half of the room was piled with garbage and refuse, and they could see the giant rats scurrying in the filth. En masse the rats emerged and rushed the party. Fleak, Finn, and Solindor advanced to try to hold the hoard back from the rest of the party. They hacked and bashed, as the rats reached them, and began climbing up their legs, back, etc. looking for vulnerable spots to bite. After the swarm had reached the party, the south door opened and 4 ratmen rushed out with swords drawn. A chaotic melee ensued. Eventually the party killed all of the attackers. But there was no time to rest. The sounds of the fighting had attracked attention. Into the room from the north oozed an ochre jelly. Nobody in the party was sure whether it was immune to certain spells, or safe to attack with metal weapons, but after some very low rolls on their hurled oil attacks they were forced to melee and killed it quickly. Searching the now human forms of the wererats the party discovered several pieces of jewelry on them and a few valuable knickknacks in their lair: silver candlesticks, etc. After a short rest the continued north. After a while they came to a door on the right side of the passage. As usual it was stuck. Finn rushed it and crashed through, almost rushing right into the gelatinous cube waiting on the other side, but he was able to check his momentum. The cube died quickly. They continued searching northward, occasionally exploring a room or passage east or west with nothing discovered. Eventually they found themselves outside another door. Finn put his shoulder into it, and bounced off with a loud thud. So Fleak gave it a try. The door flew open, and the party was greeted by nine gnolls, ready for action. A volley of arrows flew at the party from straight ahead. The party rushed in to close with the gnolls. A door to the north opened and through it emerged a black robed spell caster. He began spell casting. Magrim and Solindor began spells of their own. The party won initiative and Magrim’s magic missile popped the wizard, not doing much damage, but spoiling the spell. Moments later the wizard was caught by Solindor’s hold person spell. The melee with the gnolls ended. Tharendell lay unconscious on the ground. The Party took the gnolls’ coins, found a magic ring and scroll on the wizard, and his spell book in the small chamber beyond. The party returned to town and we called it a night.