A trip through the Temple of Elemental Evil module set, leading to the Scourge of the Slave Lords and Queen of the Spiders mega-campaign.

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Attack of the Darkness
While the group of adventurers are recovering from their latest expedition to the moathouse, Brandis volunteers to help train the militia. Unfortunately, a freak training accident results in Brandis being killed. Word is sent to his family and his older brother, Branis, comes to Hommlet. Branis sends Brandis' body back home but decides to continue Brandis' work by staying in Hommlet with the rest of the party.

Coming into town at the same time as Branis is Artemis, a traveling illusionist-mage who makes his living as an entertainer. Upon learning about the copious amounts of money the adventurers have retrieved from the moathouse, Artemis volunteers to provide his magical abilities to the group.

Once everyone is brought up to speed with the situation, the group heads out to the moathouse and enters the dungeon through the secret door in the black room. At the top of the stairs to the second dungeon level, Zhanna volunteers to scout ahead, using her cloak of elvenkind. At an intersection near the bottom of the stairs, she first heads south and finds a large room with three doors on the southern wall. There is also the scent of cooking food coming from somewhere nearby, possibly from the corridor to the west.

Rather than get too far away by herself, Zhanna heads back to the group and reports what she finds. Tundin asks about the other direction from the intersection and Zhanna heads that way. At the end of the eastern corridor, she finds another room similar to the other room: on the far wall are three doors and a corridor leading to the north.

While Zhanna is scouting the dungeon, the secret door to the ogre's room opens up and a small (7 foot) ogre is standing there. He is at first surprised, but when he sees the black robes with the flaming eyes worn by the party, he is enthusiastically friendly, as he believes they are members of the cult. Not thinking to check their "bona-fides", the ogre starts talking to them in ogrish. Unfortunately, no one speaks ogre, but Dire, thinking quickly, tries the orcish tongue.

The ogre responds even better than before, happy that he is able to converse with the new-comers. Dire explains that they have just arrived at the moathouse and have a captive (Artemis). The ogre asks if they are taking the captive to the Master, to which Dire agrees. The ogre offers to take them to the Master, since they are new there and probably don't know the way. Realizing that it may be the easiest way to get through the dungeon, Dire accepts the offer and informs the rest of the group what is going on. As they walk, Dire pumps the ogre for information about the dungeon. The ogre tries to be helpful but, since he's not very bright and doesn't get out much, he is unable to supply a lot of information.

The ogre leads the way to the southern room with three doors. When they get there, Branis tries to get the battle axe from the ogre by having Dire ask about it. The ogre agrees to let Branis try out his axe if Branis will let the ogre try his axe (they are nearly the same size, though the ogre is slightly stronger). The two spend a few minutes swinging the axes around and trying them out. The ogre offers to trade his axe for Branis', but after looking at the inferior quality of the ogre's axe, Branis declines. The ogre keep the offer open, though.

Moving on, the ogre leads the group further south and down a side passage to a door. The ogre stops and indicates that on the other side is the Master's room. The ogre then leaves and heads back to this lair. After he is gone, the group decides to investigate the rest of the dungeon before approaching the Master so they don't get attacked from behind and to hopefully find some additional information and supplies before they proceed.

Heading back down the passageway, they take the southern corridor and, at an intersection, they proceed west. The torches in this area are burnt out, if not outright missing, so the only light is from Tundin's lantern. At the end of the corridor, the group comes upon a desecrated crypt. The coffins and skeletons are smashed and debris is scattered about. Dire investigates one of the alcoves to see if there is anything of value placed with the remains. He finds nothing, but he does notice that the bones have been smashed apart. Further investigation reveals that the marrow has been removed and teeth marks indicate that something has been chewing on the bones.

While they are looking around, a thumping noise is heard coming from further in the crypt. Cautiously moving further into the crypt, the group turns a corner and sees four individuals crouched down near a burial alcove. The thumping is louder here; after a short debate, the group thinks that maybe someone is trapped in a coffin and the four people are either trying to get to the trapped person or are otherwise involved. Thus, the group decides that they should attack the four and help the trapped person.

Tundin closes the hood on his lantern to a tiny slit as the group prepares to attack. At that moment, the thumping noise stops. Everyone freezes, considering whether to run or stand their ground. A creature appears suddenly at the corner; seeing the light of Tundin's lantern, the creature makes a hissing noise and darts forward to attack Tundin.

Branis and Tundin both attack the creature. Branis cuts off one of the "zombie's" arms but not before it hits Branis. Branis is paralyzed and falls to the ground.

Two more creatures come around the corner and attack. Dire makes a sneak attack and smashes the head of both "zombies" but Tundin is paralyzed and falls to the ground. He is able to tell the others that these creatures are ghouls, not zombies, before he loses the power to speak. When Tundin falls, his lantern goes out.

Artemis, who had ran back down the hall, hears yelling and comes back to the entrance of the crypt. When the lantern goes out, he casts dancing lights and makes them float around the head of the last ghoul. The ghoul is distracted enough for Zhanna and Dire to attack, eventually killing it. Unfortunately, Dire is paralyzed as well.

Not having anything else to do, Zhanna lights her lantern and patiently waits for the paralysis to wear off, if it will. Artemis, being bored, takes Tundin's lantern and relights it. He moves to the area where the ghouls were first seen and, crouching down, sees that the alcove they were near actually leads to a tunnel. At the edge of his lantern's light, he can make out that the tunnel opens up into a possible room. Rather than investigate, he takes some of the debris nearby and plugs up the tunnel.

After that, Artemis leaves Zhanna and tries to head back outside. In the room with three doors, he opens the middle door and hears a loud noise in the distance, as of something heavy falling or closing. He moves to the next door and opens it, finding a small room. An investigation reveals nothing.

Moving on, Artemis goes to the western corridor, where the scent of cooking food grows stronger. The corridor opens into a large room. In the center is a fire with a large cooking pot atop it. Circled around the fire are nine hyena-headed men. They don't notice Artemis, so he backs quietly out of the room.

The the door room, Artemis heads north to the entrance of the dungeon. At the intersection, he finds a heavy portcullis has fallen, blocking the way out. Suspecting there might be another way, Artemis heads east and finds the other room with three doors. Ignoring the doors, he goes to the northern corridor.

Entering the room, he sees that it is dimly lit with just a few torches. He doesn't see anything from the doorway so he moves further into the room. Suddenly, he is knocked unconscious from a blow from behind. Having never told anyone where he was going, no one knows where to look for him and he is never heard from again.

Zhanna waits for more than hour until Branis is finally able to move again. Tundin and Dire recover from their paralysis shortly thereafter. Their damage from the fight with the ghouls prevents them from moving on their own. They are barely conscious when their paralysis wears off, but when they are picked up by Branis and Zhanna, the motion causes them to pass out again.

The pair carry the others through the "door room". As they are passing through to the northern passage, two hyena-men come out of the western room. Seeing the black cloaks on Branis and Zhanna, and that they are carrying bodies, the hyena-men allow the pair to pass on unmolested.

Reaching the portcullis, Branis tries to open it but can't. Zhanna tries as well but is equally stymied. While Branis keeps trying, Zhanna stumbles upon the secret door leading to the release lever. Activating the lever, Branis throws the gate into the ceiling; Zhanna allows him to think his own badassness is what opened the gate.

Heading back upstairs, no further encounters occur and the two are able to put Tundin and Dire on their horses and head back to town. They arrive at the mayor's house in just a few hours and Tundin and Dire are put to bed to rest. Zhanna explains what happened to the mayor, making the mayor inquire as to what the group plans on doing next. Everyone knows that the Temple is becoming active again, or at least the remnants of the cult are causing problems. The mayor suggests that the group continue their investigation of the moathouse, head to the Temple itself, or investigate the surrounding countryside to find other holdouts of the cult. Zhanna isn't prepared to answer for the entire group, so she defers until the others recover.

The next day, Dire and Tundin have recovered enough to at least get out of bed. Tundin casts his cure light wounds spells on both of them, allowing them to move around town. The group decides to investigate around town and see if there is any additional information they can glean about the cult.

While they are moving around town, they find that Artemis is still alive. Branis is highly upset with him, thinking that he skipped out when they needed him the most. When they confront him, he indicates that his "stunt man"for his performances, Geoff, was the person who actually accompanied them.

Branis goes to the tavern and spends the next 12 hours drinking and talking to as many people as he can. He "learns" that the cult has a secret handshake and someone demonstrates it for him. He also finds out that a man in dark clothes has been seen traveling the roads on a weekly basis; the last time he was seen was four days ago.

The rest of the group heads to the castle where Rufus and Burne live. They ask to use Burne's library to see if they can glean any information from his books. He allows them to look through his collection for 2gp each.

Artemis tries to get a hook-up, one spell-caster to another, and asks if Burne has anything they can use. Burne offers a stick that has had continual light cast on it for 500gp. Obviously that is too much for the group, so Artemis offers 10gp and a free illusionist show. Burne accepts the offer and gives Artemis the stick.

While looking through the books, no information about the cult is found. However, Dire manages to find a potion of healing stuffed behind some books; he secrets it on his person and tells no one else.

After spending the day looking for info, everyone heads to the tavern to meet with Branis and find out what he has learned. Over dinner, Branis informs them about the secret handshake and the runner that has been seen. He also asks for 12sp to pay for his bar tab.

Artemis casts an illusion of 12sp, which Branis gives to the barkeep. Being distracted, the barkeep doesn't notice that the coins don't make any noise when he puts them in the coin box. Once the coins are "safely" put away, Artemis drops the spell.

After some discussion, the party decides that best thing to do is wait for the messenger near the moathouse and ambush him to find out what he knows. The group stocks up on gear the next morning, including buying three guard dogs, and heads out to the intersection of the Low Road and High Road that is beyond the moathouse. The guard dogs are very vicious and continually struggle to escape. Whenever someone tries to touch them, the dogs try to bite them.

While they are making camp near the crossroads, a group of 15 nomads comes from the High Road and stops when they see the camp. A short discussion reveals that their main camp is in the Gnarley Forest and this group is heading to Hommlet to trade. When Artemis reveals he is an entertainer, the nomads suggest that he travel to their main camp in the Forest and put on a show for the rest of the group. Artemis suggests he will think about it; the group indicates they can "pick him up" when they come back, if the group is still camped out.

The night passes uneventfully. The next day, the group spends time hunting to supplement their rations. Between them, 14 pounds of food is found, and they share it with their guard dogs.

On the third day, the nomads come back through on their way "home". They see Artemis hanging out in a tree and inquire if he is willing to join them on their way to their encampment. Artemis panics, not wanting to give an answer, so he casts darkness over the encampment. The darkness causes the nomad's horses to panic, as well as the nomads themselves, and the horses trample through the camp on their way out of the darkness. In the confusion, the campfire is kicked, causing several small fires to be set on the surrounding brush and Zhanna's bedroll to catch fire. In addition, Branis picks up his dog and tries to get away from the stampede, but his dog is frightened and bites him on the neck.

When the darkness spell ends, Artemis is no where to be seen. He has run away from the camp and cast an illusion around him, making it appear that he is now a bush. While the rest of the group picks up the remains of their campsite, Artemis remains hidden, as he hears the others grumbling about what had just occurred.

While trying to fix their campsite, two riders, coming from the Low Road, happen by. The riders are both wearing red/orange colors, similar to the color scheme found on the flaming-eye cloaks. Seeing the devastation of the camp, they ask if everything is alright. They are told that a group of bandits came through, trashing the camp on their way to the High Road. This makes the younger rider nervous and he is constantly looking around during the rest of the conversation.

The riders indicate that they are heading to Hommlet to ask for help with river pirates near Nulb and ask where the group is heading. Suspecting that these two might be the messengers spoken of, the party states they are heading to Hommlet as well. The riders ask if the party would like to join them as they continue their journey, as there is safety in numbers, which is good to have if bandits are about. The party agrees and gathers their gear. Artemis finally drops his phantasmal force spell and returns to camp after Branis promises not to hurt him.

Everyone heads back to the village, with the party eyeing the two riders the whole way to see if they act suspicious. As they near the moathouse, the riders inquire if the party knows anything about the ruins, receiving an abbreviated history in return. The party notes nothing suspicious so far.

Upon arrival in Hommlet, the party heads to the mayor's house while the two riders head to the inn. Tundin tells the mayor about the riders and his suspicion that they are the messengers who visit the moathouse. The mayor is asked whether he believes the story about the river pirates. While he hasn't heard of pirates themselves, the fact that their are bandits about means the likelihood of pirates is high.

When asked about the nomads, the mayor indicates that they regularly visit Hommlet, though infrequently. They seem to be a group that travels around the region between the Kron Hills and the Nyr Dyv lake and haven't acted suspicious before.

Everyone except Dire and Zhanna go to bed. Dire heads to the inn to keep an eye out for the riders while Zhanna goes to the edge of town to see if anything suspicious transpires.

At midnight, Dire sees someone dressed in black come down from the rooms upstairs and leave the inn. Dire follows and sees one of the rider's horses has been taken from the stable, so he goes to the mayor's house to tell the others.

Everyone gears up and heads out, running into Zhanna, who tells them that someone went riding past her in the dark. The group heads towards the moathouse, with Zhanna attempting to track the horse. The trail leads to the moathouse drawbridge, but then appears to come back to the main road and continue on past the ruins. Eventually, Zhanna finds a side trail that has fresh markings on it. Following the trail through the swamp, the group comes upon a clearing, slightly drier than the rest of the swamp. The muddy horse-prints lead to a large hedge-like bush. On the other side of the bush can be seen a horse's head.

Getting off their horses, the group spreads out and comes around the bush. They find an opening in the ground, much like a cave. The horse is tied to the bush near the entrance. Waiting for the rider to come out, the group sets up an ambush.

Coming out, the rider manages to avoid the illusionary snare set by Artemis, but when he climbs on his horse, the cut saddle falls off, dropping the man to the ground. Dire, Tundin, and Branis jump on top of the man while the horse panics and gets mired in the swap. Zhanna goes to retrieve the horse.

Branis puts the man in a headlock while Tundin holds the man's legs. Dire pulls out his dagger and uses the pommel to knock the man out. As Branis and Tundin get up and get some rope to tie the man up, Dire searches him for useful items. A scroll case is found; inside is a message written in code. Dire looks at it with the lantern light and is able to decipher most of it.

The message indicates that the Master of the moathouse dungeon feels that the mission is on track but there are some problems being caused by a small group of interlopers. The interlopers have been killing a number of hirelings and taking valuable items. The Master requests more men and money to continue the work before the timeline is affected.

In addition to the scroll, Dire also finds 2sp and 12cp on the man. When Tundin takes the man's boots off to ensure he doesn't run away if he wakes up too soon, a small dagger falls out, which the party puts away.

The group ties the man up and puts him on a horse, then everyone heads back to town around 5am. Dire and Artemis go to the inn, intending to capture and interrogate the other rider. Dire bribes the barkeep to get the room that the two men were staying in. Casting phantasmal force on himself to appear like the captured man, Artemis enters the room but finds it empty. Dire waits for the man to return while Artemis goes back to the mayor's house to sleep.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group has gone to the mayor's house and is interrogating their captive. Upon removing his cape and cowl, they realize they have captured the younger rider, the "squire". During the interrogation, the squire states he doesn't know anything about the message, that we was hired by someone in Nulb to come to Hommlet and retrieve a letter. He doesn't know exactly who his traveling companion is; just the "village idiot" that the kid paid a few copper coins to accompany him to Hommlet. They don't know each other, and the kid doesn't know why the man insists on calling the kid his "squire".

While Dire hangs out outside the inn, he sees the man coming from the northern road and go inside. Dire follows and heads to a shadowy corner. The man sits down after conversing with the barkeep and starts to eat breakfast, keeping an eye out on the door. Dire bribes a barmaid to send a messenger to the mayor's house to alert the others.

Upon receiving the message from Dire, Tundin and Branis stop their interrogation and leave for the inn. When they get there, the man recognizes them from before and calls out to them, asking if they have seen his squire. Upon receiving a negative response, the man asks if they could help him find him, as the boy wasn't in his bed when the man woke up and he is worried that something happened to him.

Tundin, Branis, and Dire convince the man to accompany them to the mayor's house, as there might be some information available there. When they arrive, the mayor is eating breakfast and the squire is with him; an armed guard is nearby.

When they enter the room, the mayor is angry and yells at them, asking who the kid is and why he was left tied up in the house. He also explains that, not knowing what was going on and hearing the boy crying, the mayor untied the boy and gave him breakfast. He has the guard nearby in case there is a problem.

When he sees the man accompanying Tundin, Branis, and Dire, the mayor asks for an explanation and seems to be getting pretty irate over how the investigation is unfolding, as well as the imposition on his hospitality. Tundin gives a brief explanation and finally requests that the mayor conduct an interrogation of the man and boy.
Session: 1st Ed. AD&D - Friday, Apr 05 2013 from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM
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Epic!
Investigation
During the evening, Tundin has a dream that indicates his god is not happy with him and his actions during the fight with the ogre. When he awakens, he finds that he did not receive the cure light wounds spells he prayed for, as punishment for his transactions. Until he repents, he will not receive his requested spells.

Upon returning to Hommlet in the morning, the group looks to cash out on their loot. Before doing that, Tundin casts detect magic on everything and identifies Brandis' shield and the four arrows they found as being magical. Holding onto those items, nearly everything else is sold to the traders. The only things not sold is the ivory box holding five feet of spider silk and one of the kegs of brandy.

When first negotiating with the traders, the traders try to cheat the party by offering them silver pieces instead of gold pieces. However, after telling the traders they will think about it, Brandis offers to tap one of the kegs of brandy and allow the traders to partake in a little. After nearly emptying the keg through lunchtime, the traders are sufficiently sloshed that Brandis is able to renegotiate and get the offer changed to gold pieces. While the party still doesn't get the true market value for their items, at least they have enough money to do something with.

With their new-found wealth, the NPCs are paid off. Kobort and Turuko decide to abandon the group and find their fortune elsewhere. Furnok, however, decides to stay with the group, as it has been a rewarding experience.

With the remaining money, the party seeks out the local magic-user, Burne, to see if he can identify their magic items. Burne happens to have a scroll with the spell identify on it, so he offers to cast the spell for 200gp. The party accepts and Burne is able to determine that the shield and arrows have minimal dweomer<meta>suggesting they are +1 items</meta>.

While there, the party asks Burne if he knows anything about the cloaks with the flaming eyes. Burne informs the party that it is the symbol for members of the Temple of Elemental Evil; if the party found the cloaks and weapons, it is indicative that the Temple's members may be trying to reactivate the order.

Having spent nearly all their money, the group retires to the inn and forms a plan of action. Deciding that the town mayor needs to know, the group receives directions to the mayor's home and heads there. After having to bribe a gate guard to gain entry, the group is taken to the mayor's house.

While waiting for the butler to speak to the mayor, Dire finds a sterling silver pen holder in the foyer and it accidentally falls into his pocket. When asked what happened, Dire says he was cleaning up a mess left by Brandis, who hadn't even been near the table the holder was on. However, Brandis believes he still has crumbs from breakfast on his face and, when the butler returns, asks to use the washroom. While in the washroom, Brandis notices the potpourri bowl and commences to eat the potpourri.

The butler eventually leads the party to the mayor's library, where the party tells the mayor what they have found, especially the cloaks with the burning eyes. The mayor will send word to the Viscount of Verbronc, informing him of the party's findings but suspects more evidence of direct action by the Temple's order will be needed, thus requesting the party to continue investigating the ruins for more proof.

As payment for their investigation, the party requests free room and board, as well as stables for their horses. The mayor agrees to house the group in a guest house on his property. Additionally, the group requests assistance in their investigation, to which the mayor states he will have some members of the local militia accompany the group.

The party moves their items from the inn to the mayor's house; in the meantime, the militia captain is called for and finds two militia members who are immediately available to join the group. In addition, the party also hires a teamster and his cart, several bodyguards for the teamster, as well as three teenagers to help cut through the underbrush on the road to the moathouse. This will allow the group to take their horses and cart to the moathouse, rather than continuing on foot as in the past.

When the group finally heads to the moathouse, they leave the cart with the teamster, bodyguards, and kids outside since the horses and cart won't be able to navigate the drawbridge. Heading inside, the group heads down the stairs they found and immediately proceed down the southern, columned corridor.

As soon as Brandis moves past the first column to investigate the first cell door they can see, he is attacked by two zombies. Tundin attempts to turn the zombies and succeeds. However, while fighting those zombies, two more come out of the first cell and join the fight. While fighting those zombies, two more come out of the next cell and also fight the party.

Realizing that their blades do little good against the zombies, the party retreats back up the stairs. Realizing that a different tactic needs to be employed, the group decides to fill a waterskin with oil and, in conjunction with a torch, squirt flaming oil on the zombies. Tundin and Brandis proceed with this plan and set two zombies on fire. Unfortunately, Brandis accidentally sets his feet on fire as well, nearly succumbing to the flames.

While they are burning the zombies, Dire attempts to sneak around the backside of the staircase but runs into a zombie, which knocks him unconscious. The two militamen rescue Dire and take him back upstairs.

Next, Tundin and Furnok decide to make Molotov cocktails and throw them at the zombies. They succeed in burning all the zombies and the group continues down the columned hall. Suspecting that the rest of the cells also contain zombies, the group spikes the remaining doors while keeping the zombies from attacking by holding their shields up to the door.

Once the cells are spiked, the group decides to try burning the zombies by gathering wood from upstairs and making a fire at the cell doors. Once the fires are lit, they continue their investigation with the room to the east.

This room turns out to be a torture chamber. Careful investigation reveals that some of the skeletons aren't very old and several of the items have been recently used.

Intending to continue their investigation, the group heads to the ogre's room, since Zhanna reveals that she knows about a secret door in there. When the door is opened, the secret staircase to the Black Room is revealed. While milling around deciding what to do, Zhanna happens to locate the mechanism to open a second secret door.

Investigation of the secret door reveals a stairway leading down. Though torch brackets are on the walls, the torches aren't currently lit, though there is evidence that they have been used recently.

Heading through the door, the group moves down the stairs. Furnok pokes his head around a corner and sees a shadow in the distance, highlighted by a torch behind it. Not knowing what it is, Zhanna is asked to see if she can identify it. With a quick look, she suspects it to be a bugbear that is moving towards them.

Running back up the stairs, the party plan an ambush for the bugbear on the stairs leading to the Black Room. Unfortunately, the bugbear never shows up. When the second secret door is reopened, the group finds that the bugbear had merely been placing new, lit torches in the brackets.

Tundin suspects that the bugbear may have been lighting the torches in anticipation of someone arriving to the dungeon or someone leaving. Deciding that they have enough evidence to provide the mayor, the party moves back upstairs. Luckily, they find the cart and the others are still there.

Spending an hour, they move the rest of the weapons from the two storage rooms into the cart and head back to the village. In the mayor's house, Dire is healed by the mayor's friend, a druid. The mayor tells the story of how the Temple was defeated in a great war and the druid inquires about the zombies.

Deciding that there must be an evil magician or someone in the rest of the dungeon, the party agrees to continue investigating the moathouse. Meanwhile, they donate the equipment they found and some fighting training to the militia.
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A Night in the Dungeon
After resting at the inn for a few weeks, the hardy band of adventurers decide to head back to the ruined moathouse. However, they feel a few more "helpers" are in order.

As they are finishing up a hardy breakfast of cheap beer, two men-of-the-world types come downstairs. Catching them before they leave the inn, the group persuades the two men to accompany them to the fort. Turuk and Kobort agree to come along for an equal share of the treasure that may be found.

Heading out shortly thereafter, the group arrives at the moathouse late in the morning. Remembering the issues they had before, they decide it best to scout the building before moving inside. Splitting up, Furnok and Dire plan on climbing the ruined sections of the walls and taking a peek inside while the rest go through the main gate.

Furnok and Dire return, indicating that they didn't notice anything different inside from when they last left. There is no evidence of the bandits that scared the group away and no other creatures, besides scavengers, appear to have made the place home.

Before proceeding further into the ruins, the group wants to investigate the southwestern tower that has yet to be investigated. Peering through the arrow slits, several shiny objects can be seen on the ground inside. When the door is opened, the shining objects appear to be coins of some sort. While no creatures or traps can be seen, it is decided that Dire will go in first to ensure the room is clear. Upon reaching the position of the coins, a huge spider falls on Dire, knocking him to the ground and immediately being wrapped in silk.

Tundin and Brandis charge inside, attacking the spider, while Zhanna stays in the entryway and shoots her crossbow. Furnok, Kobort, and Turuk also stay near the door so as to avoid getting in the way.

Brandis barely misses in his attack, only shaving some hairs off the spider's leg. Tundin, on the other hand, lands a solid blow, shattering two of the creature's legs. Meanwhile, the huge spider is continuing to wrap Dire in silk, reaching his neck before being attacked.

Furnok, seeing that it is already damaged, charges in himself and, using a broken support beam has a step, launches himself into the air. He lands on the spiders back, burying his short sword into its thorax and killing it instantly. The spider's body lands on Dire but luckily doesn't crush him.

Dire is pulled out from under the body and has the webbing cut from him. Brandis is able to salvage several feet of the silk, with the intention of making a silk rope. The spider body is moved away and the coins on the ground are gathered. It isn't a lot but it is something; adequate enough for the effort expended in gaining it.

Moving into the fort, the remains of their last battle with the bandits are found, including a cut rope, a staff, and some other minor items. The group hesitantly enters the black room where the bandits hid out but find evidence that the bandits haven't returned.

Investigating the room, Furnok notices something in the rubble near the southeast corner. A half hour of digging reveals a large footlocker-style trunk. Inside, the group finds a good stash of goods: a crystal decanter and four goblets, two bolts of cloth, several bags of copper pieces, an inlaid wooden box with ivory handles, and four high-quality arrows.

The trunk is left in the room while the group heads further into the fortress. Noticing an alcove that had been bypassed before, Tundin uses his lantern to peek around the corner after hearing squeaking and rustling. He sees a number of giant rats in a storage area, climbing on the shelves and containers. At the end of the room there appears to be another doorway leading deeper into the fort.

While plans are being made on how to best deal with the rats, a suggestion is made to Kobort to attack the rats. He readily agrees and starts to head into the room while his friend Turuk tries to dissuade him. Kobort doesn't heed the warnings and charges in, scaring the rats.

The rats attack as Kobort starts swinging. Kobort's sword skills are much better than his intelligence and he easily defeats several rats immediately. The rats swarm over Kobort but fail to do much besides cling to his armour.

As Kobort kills rat after rat, one jumps on his shoulder from a shelf and manages to get its head underneath Kobort's helmet, biting him on the cheek. Kobort screams and throws off his helmet, dropping his sword in the process. The rat is torn free, along with a good portion of Kobort's cheek.

Tundin and Brandis, having observed the fight from the safety of the doorway, see the predicament Kobort is in. Brandis raises his shield and moves into the storeroom while Tundin moves to assist Kobort.

While this is happening, another rat reaches Kobort's face and latches onto his other cheek, biting off a large chunk. Kobort covers both his cheeks with his hands and alternates between screaming in pain and swearing at the rats. Brandis moves in and helps defend Kobort and Tundin while Tundin applies a cure light wounds spell.

A wild swing by Brandis at a rat on a shelf causes the sword to knock the shelf off the wall. The shelf swings down and hits Brandis on his head. His helmet absorbs most of the blow, leaving just a slight bruise.

The rest of the rats run off; though they know no fear, their survival instincts are strong. Kobort is healed to nearly full strength, so Tundin moves to assist Brandis. Applying a poultice and bandages, as well as some pain relievers, helps Brandis recover from his inadequate sword-smith skills.

The storeroom is investigated. Not much of value is found beyond a jug of olive oil and some desiccated spices. Brandis, constantly thinking of his stomach, skins the rats and plans to use the oil and spices for rat stew.

Meanwhile, the doorway at the other end of the storeroom opens onto a stairway leading down. It is decided that Dire and Brandis will head down the stairs to do a quick recon. Brandis lights his lantern and leads the way.


At the bottom of the stairs, the lantern reveals a wall across the way and that a room appears to open up to the sides of the stairs, like the stairs are in the middle of a room. Dampness in the stairs in the past has lead to a collection of mold and slime on the ceiling, with a large patch of greenish algae clinging to the edge of the stair's archway.

Moving into the room, Brandis seems to disturb the slime, causing it to fall on Dire as he passes underneath. Dire notices that the slime appears to be acidic, eating its way through his armour relatively quickly.

Dire pulls off his armour and dumps it on the ground. The green slime continues to eat the leather material, growing in size at it absorbs the mass. The pair retreats back up the stairs, careful to keep to the sides away from the slime. Brandis offers Dire his cloak for a modicum of protection, primarily for modesty.

After reporting what occurred, Zhanna and Dire recognize the slime from stories in their childhood. Knowing that the slime can be defeated with fire, the party comes up with a plan to deal with the slime: Tundin will gather burnable material from the bandit's room and the discarded rope while Brandis will use a staff to make a torch, having soaked the rags in the olive oil.

Zhanna and Brandis move back down the stairs and see that only about half the slime fell from the archway. While Brandis wants to stick his staff-torch up to the slime and burn it off, Zhanna suggests just shooting a flaming bolt at it to ensure it doesn't fall on Brandis as he attempts to burn it.

Zhanna shoots the bolt and the green slime starts to burn. As it burns away, Zhanna shoots at the pile of slime that was recently Dire's leather armour. The pool of slime easily catches fire, leaving a greasy, discolored spot.

After spending a few minutes ensuring there is no more slime, the group cautiously moves down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, the group sees that, indeed, the stairs are essentially in the middle of a large room, opening near the southern end. From the looks of the room, it was once a general storeroom/armoury, with a variety of broken and unusable weapons and weapon racks visible, as well as a number of broken crates and boxes.

On the western wall is a large pile of garbage, apparently a conglomeration of most of the material that once filled the room. Thinking that something usable for Dire, either discarded armour or at least some sort of clothing, might be in the pile of trash, the group starts rummaging through it.

Suddenly, the top of the trash piles moves and starts to topple on the party as a number of giant rats jump from their nest and get ready to defend it. Not wanting to deal with rats again, Brandis decides to dump a quantity of oil on the garbage while Zhanna moves back to light a torch.

As Dire is climbing down from the trash pile, a giant rat leaps down and bites his butt, latching onto the cloak with its feet. Dire attempts to sit on the rat and squish it but it jumps off just before he hits the floor.

The rest of the rats are scrambling around, fending off the rest of the group. Brandis finishes dumping the oil on the pile just as Zhanna throws her lighted torch into the center of it. The oil catches fire and the trash pile is quickly engulfed in flames.

The rats run screaming from the conflagration, some of them on fire. The party drops to the ground to avoid succumbing to the smoke, which quickly fills the room and leaks up the stairs. After many minutes, the fire slowly dies down enough for the party members to see that the trash pile covered two doors on the wall behind it.

Once the smoke clears enough for the group to stand up, the doors are investigated. The locks on the doors are new and the doors appear to be well maintained. Dire attempts to pick one of the locks but fails. However, Furnock is able to open it; Dire does manage to open the other door, however.

Opening the door to the northern room, it is revealed to be an armoury. A large assortment of polearms are stacked around the room, as well crates of arrows and crossbow quarrels. Additionally, there are several containers of rations and a large pile of black cloaks. The cloaks have an eye surrounded by flames embroidered on them.

The other room is opened up, revealing an assortment of shields and leather armour. There are also several barrels of salted meat and two kegs of fine brandy.

The party debates the significance of these rooms. Are they related to the bandits upstairs or is there something else going on? What is the meaning of the flaming eye?

The party decides to rest up here, using the pile of cloaks to sleep on. Brandis makes a stew out of the rat meat, salted meat, and some of the rations that were found. Kobort dumped out a barrel and fills it up with a variety of weapons to take back to the village.

After resting for 8-9 hours, the group eats again and moves further into the dungeon. They ignore the columned corridor heading south and choose to investigate the northeastern door. They notice that the door opens silently and the hinges appear to have been oiled recently. Inside the room is a large amount of junk and trash, plus another door to the northeast.

Looking through the keyhole, they see that it is well lit by torches and it has a number of columns in it. To the north, a large pile of furs and cloth, possibly blankets, can barely be seen.

Dire sneaks in to investigate. Moving around the nearest column, he accidently bumps a low-hanging torch mount, knocking the torch off. The noise echoes through the room and noises from the northern end indicate that something was woken up.

Dire hides behind the column, hoping that whatever it is doesn’t see him. The rest of the party closes the door and looks through the keyhole. They can see a large creature, his head nearly reaching the ceiling, moving through the room, looking for the cause of the noise.

The monster, an ogre, moves through the room towards the column Dire is hiding behind. Luckily, Dire is nimble enough to keep on the other side of the column from the ogre and is not seen. The ogre, deciding that there was nothing in the room (he didn’t notice the extinguished torch on the ground) moves towards the western door, the one the party is behind.

The party steps back from the door and all but Zhanna quickly don the black cloaks that were found. The ogre opens the door and is startled by the PCs. He raises his bardiche but hesitates upon seeing the cloaks. He says something to the party they party don’t understand.
The ogre again says something, growing impatient. Tundin points to the flaming eye emblem on his cloak but he ogre shrugs, not comprehending the gesture. Brandis attempts to bribe the ogre


The ogre eventually tires of waiting for the password and moves to attack the group. Tundis, being in front of it, bears the brunt of the attacks. The rest of the group surrounds the creature and attacks.

The ogre is knocked to his knees by mighty blows from Kobort. He raises his hands in supplication, but Tundis, believing an evil creature deserves no mercy, strikes the ogre upon his head and kills it.


With the ogre defeated, the body is looked over for anything useful but nothing is found. His bed is rummaged through but the vast majority of items are of no use. A footlocker is found under a small end-table. Inside are a number of worthless glass beads, brass candlesticks, and other trash. However, a number of coins are scattered inside, which the party gathers up.

Dire, looking through the bedding more closely, finds a small cloak. Though it is too small to fit most of the party, it just barely fits Zhanna. Though hesitant to put it on at first, she reluctantly agrees and immediately turns invisible. She decides to keep the cloak.

Moving to the southern door of the room, the PCs find that it is shut with a stout wooden bar. Dire is able to open the bar and cracks open the door. Some voices are heard inside but little can be seen. Opening the door further, an awful stench comes pouring out, smelling much like meat past its prime. Several voices are heard, crying out for mercy.

When the door is fully opened and lantern brought forth, the room is revealed to be a meat locker; the majority of the meat appears to be from demi-humans. Chained to the walls are two humans and one gnome. The gnome appears to have been badly beaten.

The humans cry out, expecting to be next on the menu. When the party states that they will rescue them, the humans are excited. They reveal that they are merchants who were traveling through the area as part of a caravan. The caravan was attacked and they were brought here to the ogre’s pantry. They promise large rewards if they are released and taken back to the village; they must reach Dyvers (home of their businesses) in order to secure the reward. The gnome is very hurt and not able to answer many questions, simply saying that he was to be next on the ogre’s snack list.

Dire attempts to pick the locks on chains but fails. Brandis asks if there is a key or something to open the locks. The merchants suspect the key may be located above the door on the door frame. Kobort picks up Dire and nearly shoves his head into the ceiling. Dire locates the key and quickly unlocks the captives.

While he is doing this, a loud knocking his heard coming from the junk room next door. A voice yells out, sounding much like the ogre’s voice. Quickly, the party makes a plan: Zhanna will lock the group inside the pantry and use her cloak to turn invisible. Dire will climb a pillar and hope he isn’t seen. Depending on what happens, they will either attack whatever is bashing its way into the room or leave it alone.

Just as the party is locked inside and Zhanna and Dire make their "escape", the outer door to the trash room is bashed in. A hoarse cry is heard as whatever it is finds the ogre’s body. Suddenly, a smaller ogre runs into the room, apparently looking for the killers.

Realizing that the killers would not be able to lock themselves in the meat locker from the inside, the small ogre rushes to the southeast corner of the room. It quickly opens a secret door and moves through, apparently thinking that the attackers might have found it and used it to escape. Though Dire was unable to see how the opening mechanism worked from his position, Zhanna was able to get close enough to see.

Once the ogre leaves, Zhanna and Dire release the rest of the party from the meat locker. A quick discussion is held as to whether to continue on in the search of the dungeon or to head back to the village. The merchants convince the group to return so everyone gathers up what they can and head back upstairs.

Being the middle of the night, and not relishing to walk back to the village in the dark, the group decides to bed down in the spider’s tower, after a thorough search to ensure there are no other surprises. In the morning, they will return to the village and divy up the loot they have found so far.
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The adventure so far...
Zhanna Bogomolov, Tundin Mar, Brandis, and Dire McCann rode to the Village of Hommlet from the Wooly Coast, having heard of the potential for fame and riches to be had in the land. They arrived at the village at mid-morning and paid the stable boy to care for their horses while they inquired at the inn for sustenance and leads.

While enjoying a pre-lunch repast, the party encountered a treasure finder, Furnok of Fend, who offered his services to the group for a share of the find. Having been in the area several days, his knowledge had the potential of helping the party, as did his unknown skills. The party agreed and, after a short trip to the trade post for supplies, the group headed toward the moathouse on foot.

After many hours, they finally arrived at the moathouse. Being late afternoon, the group felt it apt to make a quick assessment of the area and the fort itself. As they approached closer, they heard splashing and noticed several pairs of eyes looking at them from a small pond. While discussing what to do, six giant frogs crawled from the water onto the edge of the pond. Tundin attempted to intimidate them while Brandis and Zhanna provided support. Dire and Furnock attempted to flank the frogs, in case the situation turned for the worse.

The situation took a turn for the worse. The frogs jumped from the pond towards the group; three of the smaller frogs attacked Tundin while one of the larger ones was able to capture Zhanna with its tongue. The second larger frog attempted to grab Brandis with its tongue but failed to get purchase on Brandis' shield.

Zhanna dropped her bow and attacked the tongue with her dagger, causing only minor damage. Brandis was more successful, cleaving the tongue in half. Tundin stepped forward to attack but stumbled when he stepped in a hole; he was subsequently knocked to the ground by two of the smaller frogs, one chewing on his head while the other clung to his back. Dire and Furnock approached quietly and made attacks from the rear.

Dire was able to land an attack on the back of one frog, splitting its back apart and killing it instantly. Furnock wasn't as successful. While Zhanna recovered from being attacked, Brandis had problems of his own as the other large frog was able to stick its tongue onto Brandis' back, dragging him towards its mouth.

Brandis was able to turn around and grab the tongue, preventing the frog from eating him. Meanwhile, Tundin lost his chainmail cowl to the frog biting his head, but Dire was able to kill the one on his back.

Zhanna pierced the skull of a smaller frog with her dagger, then the other small frog lost its leg to Dire. As Dire chased the three-legged frog back to the pond, the rest of the group ganged up on the last, larger frog and killed it.

Once everyone caught their breath, Brandis decided he wanted the frog meat for later so he started cutting them up. While cleaning out the innards, he found a small amethyst gem.

The group moved back to the main road to recover, spending nearly 12 hours encamped while Tundin recovered enough cure light wounds spells to heal those who needed it, particularly himself.

The next morning, the group finally made it inside the moathouse and proceeded immediately up the courtyard stairs. Upon entering the great hall, they proceeded down the southern corridor, entering the rooms as they came to them. They were able to locate a concealed broadsword in one room but nothing else was found.

In the southern wing's main room, a giant snake approached the party as they were preparing to leave. Thinking quickly, Dire moved back into the hallway to hide in shadows, as Tundin's lantern was in the room. However, Tundin decided to drop the hood on the lantern, plunging the room into virtual darkness (there was still some light coming in via the arrow slits and broken wall).

Having lost most of his lighting, Tundin failed in his attack on the snake and nailed Brandis in the back of his shoulder, causing severe damage and resulting in Brandis being ineffective in his attack. The snake was bloodied but still strong.

Dire was able to successfully backstab the snake, achieving a perfect hit and neatly severing the snake's head. Furnock didn't have a chance to move around the room and flank the snake, and Zhanna was only able to use her crossbow once.

Moving to back to the great hall, the party went down the western corridor, again opening doors as they came to them. When they entered the kitchen, Brandis saw a cask on the far wall and headed straight for it. As he approached, a giant tick attacked him from a nearby fireplace and was able to bite him on his neck.

Tundin tried to pull it off but was unsuccessful. Dire pushed Tundin aside, grasped the tick, and ripped it off Brandis' neck, throwing it against the wall. As it lay there, Dire approached it, ready to stomp on it, but it recovered and ran straight for Brandis again.

This time, it climbed up his leg and was able to find an unarmoured area in his crotch, whereupon it proceeded to pierce his skin. As he screamed in pain, the rest of the group tried desperately to remove the tick. At one point, he had three hands groping under his armour for the creature.

Dire, being more forthright, decided to forego man-handling Brandis and aimed to kick the insect off Brandis' leg. Unfortunately for Brandis, Dire missed. The full-force kick lifted Brandis off the ground several inches, followed by him landing heavily on the ground, clutching his groin.

Realizing it might be easier to get at the tick with Brandis on the ground, the others again proceeded to try to remove the tick, aided by the fact the Brandis had finally passed out. The tick couldn't be removed by prying it off, so Tundin placed his lantern on the tick's back, attempting to burn it off.

Within a minute, the tick fell off and ran towards the fireplace. Dire chased it, trying to kill it but it escaped up the chimney. Brandis was still unconcious, so the group decided to remain in the kitchen until Tundin was able to heal Brandis sufficiently to proceed.


After Brandis recovered, the party went through the western doors into the barracks, where they were immediately attacked by a giant lizard. The lizard took a large chunk out of Dire's side, but then slipped on the pool of blood as it lunged for Brandis. Brandis easily defeated it, leaving Tundin able to attend to Dire.

While Dire recovered, the others found a chest in the room. Fearing for traps, the group waited until Dire was well enough to inspect it. In the meantime, Brandis cut open the lizard for more meat and found a metal shield in its stomach. Intending to ascertain its worth later, Brandis placed the shield on his back.

When Dire was able to look at the chest, he didn't find any traps or locks, so he opened it. Inside he found a crossbow, a suit of scale male, and a box of crossbow bolts.


After recovering this loot, the party proceeded back to the great hall and went to the northeast door. Finding it locked, Dire attempted to pick it but was unsuccessful. Not having any other suitable weapons, Brandis used Tundin's mace to smash through the door. After ten minutes, he was able to make a hole large enough to fit an arm through to unlock the door.

Before unlocking the door, the group could see what appeared to be the remains of a recent fire in the room's fire place and possibly a bedroll in a corner. Carefully, they opened the door and entered the room.

Unfortunately, nine men were waiting in ambush, hiding behind various furniture and in the corners. The men surprised the party, nearly killing Dire with a javelin and Tundin with a polearm.

Brandis gallantly provided a strong defense, allowing Zhanna and Furnock to retrieve the others' bodies and take them back into the great hall. Brandis followed, then closed the door, holding it closed against the attempts of the men to open it.

While holding it closed, Brandis heard one of the men inside yelling, "Run to the front! Run to the front!". Realizing that at least some of the men in the room would be using a broken wall to exit the room and attack the party from behind, Brandis wisely thought to use the rope in his backpack to tie off the door, preventing it from being opened.

Zhanna and Furnock tied off the rope while Brandis held it closed. Once it was secured, the three started poking their weapons through the hole in the door, mortally wounding one of the men.

Again thinking fast, Brandis took his shield and propped it against the door with his staff, preventing the men in the room from attacking or seeing them. Once that was done, the three remaining characters grabbed the two unconscious ones and ran for the snake room. The intention was to escape out of the fort via the room's crumbled wall while the men attempting to flank them ran to the drawbridge.

Luckily, the group was able to make their escape and successfully returned to Hommlet. When attempting to have their compatriots healed at the Church, they found the cost to be too great so they decided to pawn some of their treasure and simply rest up at the Inn for a week.
Session: Game Session - Friday, Nov 09 2012 from 9:00 PM to 5:00 AM
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Greyhawk (1st)
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