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No Game for a While

Well, I got bad news. My colonoscopy found a big old tumor. I don't yet know quite how bad. I'm waiting for biopsy results.

Monday I have CT scans to see if I have any more tumors in other areas.

I will update you when I know more.

Wish I was in Canada right now.
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Descent into Darkness
Rather than going down the secret stairs the DM led them to, the stubborn party wandered off, into the nearly empty level once occupied by orc slavers.

They meandered from empty cavern to empty cavern until finding a secret door in one, which led them into a small office where a dark dwarf was busy packing up pagers. The fell on him like a pack of homeless junkies on a clean needle.

They trussed him up and found that the ledgers he had were records of slaves being moved from the orcs down into the Underdark. Ariella found that her missing father had been captured and shipped off to something called the Bleak Theater, which was a large gladiatorial and meeting center (like Epcott Center) where slaves were sold, traded, and forced to battle for the amusement of their derro and drow masters (again, like Epcott Center).

The party discarded the derro accountant (yeah, they murdered him), and explored the secret door they found in this room. It led to a chamber with a large shaft in the center and a complicated mechanism of ropes and gears that raised and lowered a pair of gigantic mushroom cap baskets from this level to level 7, currently broken.

Wren cast light on a stone which she popped into her mouth, as well as a fly spell and glided down the shaft. She made her way down 60' before seeing the floor another 40' below her. At this point she saw small, dark creatures scurrying to attack. Acting quickly, Wren spit out the light stone and began flying back towards the surface, but not quickly enough. The creatures fired their crossbow bolts at the witch, and managed to hit her several times. The damage was not the problem, it was the poison on their bolts. Wren was rendered unconscious and began floating gently down towards her attackers.

Banthum saw what happened and acted quickly. He leaped into the pit (wearing a ring of feather falling) and when he got close to the fallen witch, pushed her into one of the mushroom baskets. She was safe, but Banthum was only just able to grasp the side of the basket, and was a tempting target for the creatures and their poisoned bolts.

Marvin took advantage of the situation and peppered the creatures with multiple fireballs, from which they had no protection. And while he was unable to kill any of them, he did succeed at driving them off and buying time for Elriond and Ariella to repair the elevator mechanism and pull the basket with their companions to the surface.

After securing the elevator once again, the party searched the rest of the level and found it empty. They had no choice but to go to the stairs I had put them at several hours earlier.

On the third level the group found and disabled several traps (as well as triggering one, which shattered many of Elriond's ribs).

Heading into the hall, looking for signs of troglodytes (which their noses told them were near), the party heard the sounds of a great number of creatures running down the hall in their direction. The group quickly set up to receive them and waited.

Suddenly a somewhat plain, though nearly nude human woman ran into view, followed by a beautiful elven woman, also nude save for a loin cloth. Hot on their heels were several armored troglodytes, out for blood.

A short battle ensued, and this is where we start next week.
Session: Castle Whiterock - Saturday, Apr 22 2017 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Tags: Recap
Meanwhile on Level Two
Banthum was disappointed. So much for the challenge of Castle Whiterock! So far he had found nothing worthy of battle. It was as if the creatures (if there were any) were hiding from him. And worse yet, he hadn't found a single tin groat. How would he pay for ale back in Cillamar if there were no monsters or treasure in the most infamous dungeon in all of Morrain?

The barbarian kicked a loose stone, which flew like a bullet from a sling and ricocheted off the far wall and smashed the wizard Marvin in the back, between his shoulder blades.

"Gah!" he squeaked as he was knocked to the ground from the force of the blow. "We're under attack!"

"If only." thought the barbarian.

Ariella the hunter studied the tracks in the room.

"These are old, but there was a large battle here and in the halls beyond. It looks as though at least thirty orcs fought with a handful of adventurers." Ariella stood gracefully and glided further into the dark, cold halls, following faint signs only she could see.

She led the group into a crude throne room, dominated by a fire pit, now cold and dark.

"This is where the final battle was fought." She crawled around the edge of the pit. "Bring that torch closer Wren. I think I can see..."

Ariella moved to the far end of the room, behind the large carved throne and touched a spot on the wall. A hidden door sprung open revealing a spiral staircase descending into the depths.

"Hold! How many times have I told you, you don't touch doors, hidden or otherwise until I have a look. I wouldn't want you to walk into some sort of mechanical trap. Who would look after Willow?" said Elriond the rogue, gesturing to the hunter's large white tiger. He was finding himself constantly having to chastise the young hunter for her enthusiasm.

Wren wrinkled her nose. "Can you smell that? It smells of death and blood." The witch peered into the darkness.

"I feel restless spirits below. Be on your guard." This was the sort of mumbo jumbo her adopted mother routinely spouted. Was she turning into her mother?!?

Marvin, who had been reading a treatise on the interplay between light and dark pustules when attempting to summon creatures from the 73rd overplane suddenly slammed down his tome.

"Spirits?!? I cast Magic Missile!" he looked about for a target and saw naught but darkness. A light bulb seemed to go off over his head.

"I shall cast Magic Missile at the DARKNESS!" he solemnly intoned.

Wren smacked him in the ribs before he could complete his spell.

She looked tired as she attempted to explain to Marvin she was speaking metaphorically about spirits.

Banthum pushed to the front of the line and stood at the top of the spiral stairs.

"I tire of this. Come. We find something to kill now. Follow." With that, the barbarian trudged down the stairs.

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Whatever Happened to Zartyr, Ashianna, Thanabo, Tempest and Franklin?
Zartyr woke with a start. Gods! His head was pounding. He could not remember where he was or how he got there. He was in a gigantic cavern. In front of him was a black shaft dropping to who knows where. Beyond that was an immense rough-hewn statue vaguely in the shape of a dragonman.

The paladin tried to move his arms, which were roughly shackled behind him. Both his arms and legs were chained. A heavy metal collar wrapped his neck and was attached to the floor with another heavy black chain, which was spiked into the stone. The length of chain was long enough to allow him to crouch, but not stand upright. A leather gag prevented him from speaking.

He was dressed in a ragged loin cloth and his equipment was missing.

To his left and right were his companions, similarly bound. Thanabo, Ashianna, Franklin and Tempest were also imprisoned. Zartyr could not tell if they were breathing, they were eerily still. Of the party's animal companions, there was no sign.

Zartyr tested the strength of his bonds, using his leg muscles to pull against the spike attaching him to the rocks. Nothing. Zartyr started to twist around in a tight circle, hoping to loosen the spike in that manner, when he noticed figures in the dark. The creatures were dressed in dark robes covering them from head to toe. They kneeled 10' behind each of the captives absolutely motionlessly.

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Rumors Swirling at the Slumbering Drake
* Lady Chauntessa has been in a funk recently. She has been spending all her time in her private chambers with Ilrien of Justicia. She looks drawn and tired. When asked about it, she replies that her champions have fallen and she fears hope dims for all of Cillamar.

* Cookie, the Ogre bouncer, finding himself without proper guidance recently, has taken up a new game. Whenever anyone shows the slightest tendency to get out of line, Cookie sees how far he can hurl them into the street. Thirty-seven feet is the current record (a gnome), and Chauntessa's pseudo dragon Ixnay is cleaning up with the resident bookies.

* Patrons have reported even more odd goings on. Plates and cups moving on their own. Chairs shifting across the floor when no one was thought to be looking. Whispers of ghosts haunting the Inn have begun to spread.
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Recent News from Cillamar
* The Unseeing Regent has proclaimed the month of Erastus as a month of charity and good works. All citizens are encouraged to donate to those less fortunate than themselves.

* The Lantern Watch is recruiting. The guard has been commanded to bring their numbers up 20% to deal with the unrest caused by the current refugee crisis. Interested parties are encouraged to present themselves to the leader of the watch at the Gaol.

* Six more free women are missing without a trace. Rumors of a ghostly figure striking from the night fog are spreading like wildfire. The situation is becoming grim, as it has begun to eat into the night trade. Flyers by the Truemen blame the crimes on refugees from the Warlands.

* Rumors are spreading of dozens of human-sized silver rats cavorting around the Idol to the Rat God in the Warrens on moonless nights. What this portends, none will say.

* A caravan bearing rare furs and exotic creatures travelling from Galaron to Cillamar has vanished. The Unseeing Regent has offered a reward of 3% of the value of the goods to any who can determine its fate.

* Hunters claim to have seen a lone dragon circling the mountain peaks where Castle Whiterock resides.

* Or'dimisas of Kassantia, sage of the Hall of Worms reports a rare and dangerous tome has been stolen. Anyone with any knowledge of the book is encouraged to contact him at once.

* It is now common knowledge that Sophie Ismae is missing. Count Ismae has offered a reward of one thousand pieces of gold and a manse in Cillamar to any who return his daughter.
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What's up with Bill?

Some of you know I've been under the weather lately. I'm dealing with some form of digestive issue. I'm in a bit of pain (cramps, etc) and depending on how bad it is on a given day, it's hard to sit in front of the PC.

No diagnosis yet, but I have blood work and a colonoscopy coming up. Can't wait!

I don't know how dependable I'm going to be until this is fixed. Not sure I can make it tonight. Most of the week wasn't bad, but today has been horrible.

Anyway, I wanted you to know why I've been flakey lately.
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And so it begins
Unbelievable. I've had to deal with weeks of my step mother talking to a rotting head like a lunatic, and now she's determined I spend time with this group of individuals. A party its apparently called. I hate parties. Maybe this is a different kind of party, not the kind with frilly dresses and food that looks pretty but actually tastes awful.

Though I will say, whoever cooked dinner? The food tastes awful. I may need to take more of a hand in that chore.

I'm not thrilled, but if heading into Castle Whiterock with this group of people gets Sukuhn to stop raving like an actual lunatic and back to just acting like one, I’ll be happy.

The first part of our journey together was uneventful, they seem like a decent enough group of people I suppose. I’d really rather be back in the market but so far we seem to work well together. Once in the dungeon we hit a few creepy crawlies, which I *cannot* abide, and I will admit the group did a swift job of killing them.

It’s so embarrassing. I always scream. Why do I always scream?

Hector is adorable as always, he seems to have won over a couple of party members already. I’ve told him quite sternly to keep safe and hidden, I would be devastated if he were to get so much as a scratch! Hector tells me he really likes the big tall man, and the lady with the tiger.

I am happy that even though I’ve had to reveal more of myself and what I can do than I’d prefer, no one seems too upset to have me around. I still need to be careful I think, if I’ve learned anything from the past it’s that people don’t like witches! Arcane casters? No problem it seems. Draw on Nature, same thing. But people like me, we get burned.
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For fun write up your first night sitting around the campfire with your new companions. Do it and get double xp next session.
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Can't game tonight
Things have come up. We'll try next week. Be well.
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Magical Items & Gear
You each have 10,500 GP to use for loot/magical items.
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Introductions IV
The woman was ancient. She looked less like a person and more like a bundle of twigs wrapped in dried leaves. She sat perfectly still in the center of her garishly colored tent among decades of bric-a-brac. Slowly, almost painfully, Sukuhn the Soothsayer packed and lit the bowl of her hookah and took a long draw of the bluish-gray smoke.

Sukuhn was troubled. Signs of disaster abounded. The spirit world and its inhabitants usually whispered bits of knowledge to her. Lately they had been shrieking. Something bad was coming. Something old. Something dark.

She stood slowly and hobbled to her work table. Seating herself once again, the woman pulled an orc's skull carved with mystic glyphs from a box under the table and rested it on its stand, then moved to her mortar and pestle and began mashing powders and herbs together. Once she was satisfied with the mixture, she applied it to the surface of the skull with her finger. She began chanting in an ancient guttural tongue.

As her entreaties reached a crescendo, Sukuhn pulled a flint dagger from her work table and sliced deeply into her left palm, dribbling the droplets of dark blood onto the skull. The rune encrusted cranium began throb with a dark crimson glow. It slowly began to float about the table, its empty sockets filling with unholy green fire.

"Kaernga, you are bound to me by blood and pain. Speak! I command you to tell me what you see. Something stirs. Tell me of the future."

From the pits of hell, the voice of Kaernga filled the tent.

"There comes a day when the ground shifts, the dark wyrm shall threaten the fall of men and a generation of death.

As the foundling comes of age, Sukuhn's daughter shall descend to the Underdark and confront her people's ancient foe.

When the moment comes that legend becomes history, a fallen warrior shall rise and snatch victory from defeat.

The Sleeper will awaken, the darkness will be vanquished, and the spirit of flames put to rest for all time."

As the last word of prophesy faded from the tent, the skull fell to the floor with a crash.

As the old woman tried to make sense of the words, she dwelled on the phrase "Sukuhn's Daughter". That could only mean her adopted daughter Wren.
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Introductions III
He was in a town again, drinking with the rough crowd he'd fallen in with. Strangers always gave him a confused once over. Elves shouldn't carry a sword that big, should dress nicer. Humans don't have those ears or cheekbones. It often ended with discussions, and strangers would would sometimes liked to talk and drink with him which was good. Beer was better then the fermented milk his tribe was so happy about. And the wine of his mother's folk was nice, but it was hard to come by, and he wasn't always welcome among elves. Talking and drinking in taverns was ok, except when they got mean. Though if they got real mean he'd throw tables at them. They'd watch the sword, and be ready for that, but should be watching the table. But only if they got real mean, and it looked like a fight. People were often surprised by how fast and hard tables could fly. It made a neat sound when they connected, which often got the attention of the room. He knew it was wrong to throw tables for no reason, but if someone was wronger, the tables made it right.

"Banthum, you're being quiet tonight, what are you thinking about?"


"You barbarians are an odd sort, you know that?"

He shrugged. He knew this one wasn't looking for a fight. But the night was young...
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Introductions II
This is making me very angry! the wizard thought to himself. Very angry indeed.

"Or'dimisas I must protest! It's vital I have those tomes for my research. You promised me they would be here today!" The small wizard seemed to grow in direct proportion to his annoyance. He thundered across the musty library, shouting his displeasure at the ancient figure at the research desk of the Hall of Worms.

The old man seemed more like a mummified corpse than something still living was unmoved by Marvin's display of emotion. "Blame Chauntessa," he croaked, "if blame someone you must. She has the tomes you seek. Go vent your displeasure on her. If you'd like to calm down and seek other sources of lore, come back at lunchtime with tea cakes and I will have the volumes you need. And make sure you get them from that little shop on Cutpurse Street. I can not state strongly enough, avoid Myric's Bakery at all costs! Myric cuts his flour with things best not discussed before lunch."

Chauntessa. Marvin was familiar with the name, but had never met the owner of the Slumbering Drake. He knew she was very interested in obscure tomes of lore on a variety of subjects. She seemed particularly keen on books having to do with curses, dragons, and Castle Whiterock. Perhaps he would take this up with Chauntessa.
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It was the creak of a soft sole on ancient wood flooring that woke Elriond. He instantly took stock of his situation. He was nude, lying on his stomach on the hard, rumpled bed in his room at the Slumbering Drake. His weapon was sheathed and hung on the post at the bottom of the bunk. He brought up an image of the room in his mind's eye while still feigning sleep. There was a heavy wooden candle holder on the stand somewhat near his left hand. It would do.

He heard the muffled scrape of a thin blade leaving its scabbard and felt a needle-sharp prick at the back of his neck.

"Wake up, you bastard!" The voice was strong, clear, and very familiar. He was well acquainted with this voice. Deanna! How did she get away from the guards?. Elriond relaxed. This he could handle.

Elriond rolled over to face the angry red head. Her rapier followed his every movement. The elf gave the woman his most dazzling smile.

"Deanna my love! I've been so worried about you..."

"Give me one reason why I shouldn't kill you right now, you bastard! You ran off and left me for the guards! You ran off with the loot! Why shouldn't I slit your lying throat right now?"

"Deanna, I can explain..."

Elriond crept from bed, not wanting to disturb the exhausted woman. He noted the contented smile on her face and grinned himself. The elf rummaged through his bedmate's scattered clothing until he found her coin purse. He seemed pleased at its heft. He quickly dressed and left the room.

Time for breakfast! he thought to himself. Maybe I can run over to Auntie's and do a little gambling. I feel lucky! A few hot throws and I can get back in the black before Batrard Ost's goons find me.
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