The Family

Andacanavar's Journal #6
Is that all you've got??

With barely a moment to rest another enemy patrol showed up. Several trolls and one-eyes. It sucked, we had to dig down deep but finally they fell. The acid potions that Kutok had given me came in real handy!

We hadn’t really finished with them when the next wave started beneath our feet. I guess the manticore rider earlier had “spread his seed” around. It sprouted. Nuts, ugly half plant critters sprouted up all over. They were able to teleport around, moving thru their vines was a real pain in the ass. In the end it was more annoying than deadly. We were able to catch our breath and regain some strength for the next assault.

Around the corner came the big wizard troll and his pet cave bear. I got struck dumb and couldn’t proceed for a bit but the monk lept in along with Illikan. I got there soon enough and stood in the middle and weathered the assault as the enemy was cut down.

The battle was won, but at what cost? The city was in shambles. I need a beer. Make that two beers ….

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Andacanavar's Journal #5
I'll have plenty of time to rest when I'm dead

So, we’re trying to get back to town. Came across a small farm shack with a screaming woman inside. Before we could figure out what was going on a bunch of worgs and a troll showed up across the burning fields.

I picked a good spot with the building to our side and a small fire in front of us. The fields slowed the approach on our other side which more or less forced them all to come straight on at us. One adventuresome worg went around the building only to be pacified by Kutok. The worgs didn’t pose much of a threat, after we waded thru them, the troll wasn’t hard to finish off. He was a heavy bastard and it took a bit to heave him into the fire.

After a short rest we headed back to town. It was easy to see that it was undergoing a pretty large attack, probably from the trolls. As we found out, they had recruited some allies we weren’t aware of. We headed for the main gate to ensure that it’s defense would hold.

The gate was being strafed by a manticore ridden by a trog and several wyverns. It was somewhat troublesome dealing with all the flyers. Mostly I tried to keep Gurdis safe. He repeatedly blasted them until they all came done. The manticore kept spraying us with spikes but they weren’t too damaging. The wyverns had no ranged weapons, so they had to descend to fight us. Illikan, DD and I tried to get them when they came in. It wasn’t great, but we gave as good as we got. That was all the help that Gurdis and Kutok needed.

Unfortunately we can see more enemies approaching, the gate is breached. No time to rest…

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Andacanavar's Journal #3
You don't have to kill everything.

Hoo boy, we didn’t get much searching in. We heard noises coming back the way we came. Not good! The monk checked it out, she said that there were twice as many at the entrance to the warrens as before. Ugh.

We had a choice between a smoke room, back the way we came, and unknown door and a passageway to the troll shaman who had already kicked our butt once. And when we peeked in on him, he was talking to a troll overlord!

We took the smoke room and camped out as best we could. About 4 hours later a trog boy came to get some fish from the smoke room. Capturing him, we got an introduction to the trog leader, who agreed to be vaguely friendly with us.

Exploring past the trog lair we found several trolls guarding a few slaves. We took out the trolls and their one eyed friends. That room had no roof and was our way out! Taking that, we made our way back to town and celebrated.

The next day we hiked back to the warrens to find the place largely empty. The trogs were there, but no trolls. Taking this opportunity, we took out the skull pile the troll shaman used as backup. As we were prepared, this was not too difficult. Hopefully, the shaman has no way to replenish his little flaming skull pile.

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Andacanavar's Journal #2

We went back out to the Trolls having exchanged the seeker for a monk. At least we won’t have to worry about the seeker engaging unwisely at range anymore!

On the way we were ambushed by some swamp critters and 3 will-o-the-wisps. Damn things were pushing and pulling us all over the place. It was hell to keep in formation, but we prevailed.

Of note, I had assigned the monk to guard our rear. After that encounter she decided that a rear guard was not needed. Ummm…I don’t know what tactical genius she learned from, but that ain’t gonna fly. We really don’t need something chomping on our Invoker, Gurdis without warning. He needs a little range to do his killing, and he does it better than the rest of us. Rather than argue about it, I took rearguard.

So we got back to the entrance to the troll warrens and the monk went screaming off at high speed into the thick of things, thru the door and off to the left. Illikan went after her, but I was much too slow coming up from the rear and watched a large troll seal the door. I heard some screams and a sickening thud. “She’s down!” Illikan hollered. Engaging the troll at the troll, I knocked him aside and pinned him against the river to allow Kutok room to heal the monk. It was rough, but we managed to slaughter them all. Perhaps she said thanks, but I didn’t hear it.

This time we went right, hopped over the river and engaged some trogs. A horribly frustrating battle as I spent most of it with my mind in a fog. I was fighting at half strength at best. Eventually we prevailed and started searching the area. There was a lot to go thru, we probably won’t get all of it before reinforcements arrive.

We need a plan.

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Andacanavar's Journal #1
Don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes!

Trolls.

Big ugly critters, kill them with fire, or acid maybe…I ferget. I don’t really care, I’ll knock ‘em down and Kord will provide someone else to burn ‘em.

With no more plan than that we set off into the troll warrens. There was a big dumb one behind a gate. He wasn’t that dumb though as Kutok and the Seeker couldn’t convince him to open the door. Eventually Illikan and I axed the door a question and got the appropriate answer.

By then, Kutok and the Shaman were trying to go around the gate through the stream. The Seeker made it through but Kutok got stuck humping the hedgerow and came back. Illikan and I made short work of the two big trolls and 3 little guys running around.

There was a maze of twisty passages, all alike, going deeper into the warrens. We picked a direction and went. A bigger troll, a bear and a big skull pile were in the room. The troll looked at us and them ignored us. Kord, but he was an arrogant one. At least we would be able to close without problems. Unfortunately the Seeker saw things differently. She fired away at 20 paces. Illikan and I were outside of Charge range. He got caught by a spell while I engaged the bear. 4 skull fuckers came out of the pile and fireballed the rest of ‘em. They were all hurt and in big trouble. I went back to assist them and we all high tailed it back to down.

Ignominious, but we were still alive to fight another day.

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Kutok's Journal

The next morning, I’m rudely awakened by the sound of battle from outside the Inn. Bulwark is already up, as usual, and I run outside pulling on the last of my armor just as he punches a d’orc in the face. Looking around the entire Ho7P is in chaos, there are dozens of bronze warders wreaking havoc and destruction, backed up by some of the warped clerics of vecna.

We quickly assess that Paldimar has somehow crafted this assault, so we arrange with Brugg that we’ll go after the source as he tries to contain the damage here. We rush to the tower to find that it’s mostly empty. But the strange construct machine that Gurdis found yesterday appears to be doing something… oh, no, my mistake, it’s broken.

Upstairs in the cess pit of vecna those monks and hurlers and axe guys are still there, the statue is as annoying as ever, and yep, the door opens so that the bronze warder is flanking us again.

This time Paldimar is right_there... ungh, can’t quite reach him as the bronze warder has all but gotten stuck in the doorway. I stand where the warder can’t reach the rest of our casters, but he just pushes me through the teleportal. I should have remembered Bulwark’s experiments with the warders and the teleportals, because I find myself crawling back through a few seconds later to see Illikan looking around desperately for me.

Kanaibi and Sugar are taking shots through both doorways, and even Bulwark is moving back to take up a stance in front of the warder. That works, so Kanaibi shuts the front door and we concentrate on Paldimar and the warder in the side room.

Unexpectedly, the bad guys all line up behind Paldimar so we only have one front to deal with, and the battle starts to turn. Bulwark pushes through to Paldimar (ooh, the mage really doesn’t like that), and the others from the main temple try to come to Paldimar’s side.

I throw a heal on Bulwark when he needs it, and then I open the door into the temple again. Bulwark has pushed the battle all the way into that room, and we’re now able to attack on two flanks. Sugar keeps the bronze warder stuck to the floor in the next room with some trick of hers, so we are able to concentrate on taking out Paldimar and then the others.

Victorious, we return to the Hall of Seven Pillars to find the battle winding down and Brugg is apprehensively appreciative of our success. There’s also a note from the Family that Grimmerzhul negotiations are completed and that we’ll get details later. We were about to enjoy a pint when Murkleroy decides to announce his candidacy for governor of Ho7P by killing all the denizens. He asks where we stand and Brugg seems to be getting a little antsy. Well, we aren’t going to be standing with the double crossing duergar, so we happily engage. Murkleroy takes the brunt of our first surge and he goes down seconds later. His friends, not to be deterred, decide to keep fighting but we manage to pound them into submission.

Once it is all clear Bundt from the family finds us in the Inn and announces our elevation to Agent status with the Family and that we are to kill the Grimmerzhul. “Done!”

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Ilikan's Journal (3/3/2010)
We continue up in the tower. I think it’s up, who the hell can tell with teleporters? Bulwark mentions that we don’t really know how to get out. That seems bad, but I got over it. Wherever we are, there be some more beasties to stick:
Battle assessment: Two of the bronze constructs, but they are in a limited space due to pillars. Their reach will make that less useful. Looks like there are two rooms of reinforcements. All of them are little orc thingies, but some have real teeth. I try to get access to one of those and I am able to charge it (yay hat!). I got some new gloves that are pretty cool when I’m all pissed off.

You should focus more training into your rage.

I can train to be pissed off? Awesome!

Yes, but it isn’t what you think it is. Now focus!

The mage orc thingy runs away. I’m not able to follow, so I start working my way back to the melee. Looks like Bulwark figured out how to get out of here, that’s good to know. Every time he comes back he looks angrier. I’ll tell him he can train it later.

He cannot, he does not commune with the spirits as you do.

Too bad, ‘cause right now he is really pissed off. Any way, while I’m working my way back I smack on the bronze construct. Those things can take a beating, can’t they? Some of the other orc thingies have gotten behind Bulwark while he was testing the ‘porter. Again. Have to get there to help. Make it back, get them cleaned up and then return to the constructs. Die. Die. Die.

We find a whole bunch of rooms filled with boredom. People who care play with the lab and books, I don’t. We also find the next portal. It goes to a small room with 3 doors. When we open the front door…
Battle assessment: 2 brusiers, 2 mages, & 2 slingers. We engage the brusiers while the mages and slingers pelt us with crap. They aren’t very good. Bulwark forces his way through the door so I can get through to use my sword. We start the beat down, but a statue has started shooting some kind of stun ray at us. We aren’t moving a lot, so it isn’t a big deal.

There is a lesson here for you to learn; include the environment in your battle assessment. Sometimes it is your true enemy.

Right. Reinforcements come from one of the side rooms, another mage and 2 of the constructs. One of the constructs attacks us from a side door in the entrance room. I was afraid of that, its beating on Kutok & Gurdis. Between the stuns and my current position it will take awhile to get back there. The new mage is shooting lightning, and, um, it hurts. Alot. I go down, but a heal from Kutok gets me back in the fight. Owe him another beer. Gurdis is about done, so he takes off. Kutok has to follow. One of the constructs chases. Before we can follow everybody else, Bulwark goes down. I grab him and start dragging. In the next room Kutok is able to heal Bulwark and we finish off the construct, eventually, and escape.

Bah! I still hate it when we run…

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Kutok's Journal

We step on the teleportal that the d’orcs were coming through and find ourselves in a strangly twisting hallway. There are rooms to either side, one of which contains a strange set of devices which Gurdis says likely control the bronze warders. We have unfriendlies in the next room, and at the end of the corridor another teleportal.

That teleportal takes us to a room with three doors. One door is obviously the way so Bulwark opens that onto a temple of Vecna. A couple of casters, shieldy guys, and throwers are standing in the way of our loot. A statue of vecna near the door prevents Bulwark and Illikan from moving very much which is a problem when a bronze warder opens one of the other doors and starts wailing on Gurdis and me. Just then Palidorc shows up and starts in with the lightning. We’re all pretty much beat down at this point so we make a hasty retreat through the teleportal.

At least we know where Palidorc was, but he’ll have a whole day to respond as we must go back to the Hall and heal up.

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Ilikan's Journal (2/24/2010)
As we get our bearings and search the remains I see what the primal warned; a dead druid. I was just getting to like that druid. The door that was previously locked had opened to show a foggy room. We push through the room and find a whole set of bad guys…
Battle assessment: 4 demons, large undead minotaur, another rockfist construct, and a gnoll with wings and a tail. There are also two non-combatants that need saving. Bulwark shields our front, I provide support by blocking the rockfist and helping to cut down the flanks on bulwark. Battle bogs down for me, no place to charge w/o exposing the fleshies.

Whoa! Where did that come from. Somebody snuck in a new fleshy! This one seems to be helpful, and isn’t purple. But she isn’t part of the Family… She is helpful now so treat her as the other fleshies for this battle, worry about affiliations later.

The new fleshy has thrown my sword play off. Takes me awhile to get some good swings in. The gnoll-bat is killing his hostages – bet nothin’ good is comin’ from that. He keeps givin’ me some kind of cursed eye that makes chargin’ him difficult, but while I’m stuck here it really ain’t important.

The new fleshy has a friend among the captives. As she gets between him and the gnoll-bat it finishes its spell and kills him. A little later the kettles start boiling over and tentacles come out to play. There’s a new minotaur to fight as well. They don’t turn out to be too much for us though the tentacles try to drag the new fleshy into the pots. I’ll just keep outta range of them thingies. The minotaur keeps backing up to charge, just makin’ him easier to kill.

Looks like a good battle, maybe the new fleshy, her name is Sugar, can be of use. She was here. There is an idol of baphomet here in the room. We swipe it and Kutok’s new buddies come in useful to unload the merchandise. Think I’m gonna by me a new chargin’ hat!

Next day we follow the map we got off the gnoll-bat. Kutok has a key that kinda jumps into its keyhole. If they can make a key that finds its own hole, why can’t they make a key that fins me when I can’t find it? Anyway, very spooky lookin’ guy behind the door. Except that all he wants to do is talk, which is really boring. It definitely ruins the spooky. Everybody talks back, it lets us through, though it makes me a little queasy. On the other side is some action…
Battle assessment: puny lookin’ ‘oids. They are backed up by the pillars in this place. What the hell is it with the pillars in this joint?

Focus, idiot

Charge! Like the new charging hat. I hear from that drow guy in 7 pillars that there is a charging weapon too. Gonna get me one of those next.

I said focus!

Right. The little orc thingies die pretty easy, but the pillars hurt if you get next to them. It appears that there are three more of the orc thingies in one of the rooms off the main one. They go down easy as well. But they’ve opened another teleporter. Lots of orc thingies incoming! These are even easier to kill than the first ones though. As we finish them off we get to the other room off the main hall. It has mages in it. They were controlling the pillars, so down they go.

To be continued…

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Kutok's Journal

We step through the newly opened portal, even though there is obscuring mist hanging eerily just inside the door. A few feet further in is another door. Beyond this is a ritual ongoing in a room full of deep spiritual meaning—to followers of Baphomet.

Several creatures are defending a priest who is chanting some ritual. In the deep recesses of the room are two apparent sacrifices, struggling as some magical barrier saps them of their life essence.

The defenses are tough, skeletons just out of reach of my turn undead, and in front of them several other creatures including a rock smasher which we encountered with the gnoll yesterday. We form a defensive line and start trying to work through them, one slips past momentarily but Bulwark smacks him and puts him in his place.

Suddenly from behind me a shrill cry and arrows!!! ... aimed at our enemies??? Someone is taking advantage of the confusion to snipe some of our enemies. It’s some kind of elf, but it doesn’t look anything like our druid whose body we left in the other room. As long as the arrows don’t hit me on the way by, any extra damage to these guys is welcome.

The enemy defenders are too strong to just push past. When Bulwark finally makes a hole he thinks he can squeeze through to get to the caster he realizes the terrain is suddenly precarious, too difficult to move through. Something the archer has done has made it nearly impossible to get through to attack the cleric. Meanwhile the cleric has killed one of the sacrifices. I’m beginning to wonder what side this archer is on again. At the very least her help is a mixed blessing.

After a time with Illikan, Bulwark, Gurdis and I pounding on the defenses we finally get through. But not soon enough because as soon as Illikan engages the cleric he finishes his ritual, and the last of the squishy sacrifices dies… the strange archer cries out and tries to hold the old man, calling him something like dunce. If she calls me dunce I’ll punch her in the mouth, but this old man is too busy dying to care..

The cleric finally goes down, as does a minotaur he manages to summon to annoy us. It turns out the ranger’s name is sugar tits, it’s not clear if skulking around in dungeons is her day job or something she does to take her mind off being groped in the kinds of establishments she must work at night. Either way we look around and find a valuable statue of a minotaur that Illikan and Bulwark pry free of the altar.

On the way back to town we sell the statue to the Duergar but then continue into the Hall of Seven Pillars to rest and get ready for the next day.

The cleric yesterday had a magic key, a map, and a note from our buddy Paldimar. Apparently this guy is getting in all kinds of everybody’s business. I’m sure the family will want him out of the way to ensure the safety of trade relations with the locals, so we head out to follow the map. The map says there’s a turn where their ain’t one (and it’s disturbingly close to the Ho7p). The key, however, tries to jump out of my pocket so I take it out and see if it will lead us somewhere…. yeah, a wall, how interesting… but wait, it moves my hand around until it finds a completely hidden keyhole, it slides into the hole and a part of the wall moves away to reveal a cooridor.

We travel down the corridor a bit and find a dead end with some kind of scribble in the stone floor. As we investigate an apparition appears, he’s missing his left hand and eye, but otherwise looks like a ghost of a ghoul. It appears he’s a follower of Vecna, and he demands stories and lore to let us pass. I tell him of our great deeds thus far, including living through the hall of demons and the temple of Baphomet, and that seems to entertain him for a moment. Bulwark tells him of the crocodiles we found a few days ago, and when the strange ranger speaks up about crocodiles the apparition is obviously bored out of his one-eyed skull. Gurdis recovers nicely with some Baphomet lore we discovered in the Temple. Unfortunately our best storytelling and digging deep into our travels for stories of our daring and might aren’t enough to assuage this spectre’s hunger, but he agrees to let us pass for a price.

The circle of runes is a teleportation circle, it will cost us part of our life essence to cross through. We go ahead and pop out somewhere else, in a room with some d’orcs, they’re ugly like orcs but smallish and pinkish, and squishyish. There are quite a few of them, however, and the strange pillars in this room alternately smack us with necrotic and shoot something out to make us forget stuff. In a little side room are two casters who also like to make us forget stuff, we thought momentarily that taking them out would turn off the columns, then we forgot about it and just sent their spirits to face Kord.

There’s another teleportal that these d’orcs are coming through, we’ll have to investigate where that goes soon…

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