The Journal of Rook Hargrave

Campaign: Greyhawk Wars

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Last Stand
With the Holy Man dead, I searched the chamber for signs of where the Master might have gone. Every inch of the walls were examined as the others healed up and regrouped, yet I found nothing. Finally, my battle-numbed brain thought of the only likely possibility: the ceiling. With help from the others, I searched the space above us and, sure enough, found a cleverly-hidden trapdoor.

We made our way up to the next floor, only to find a smaller but completely empty room. But above us was yet another trapdoor. Idon judged us to be close to, if not having arrived, at the rooftop. I agreed. Once again, I took the lead, carefully opening the portal and peeking out to see what lay in wait for us. I found myself, as expected, on the roof of the strange hive-shaped building. Nobody was in sight at that moment, but that would change soon enough.

Just as all of us had climbed out onto the tiny platform, the Master came within view, having levitated from somewhere below! He was not alone, either. Coming toward us was none other than the huge metal statue we'd seen before--now in its true form as a Storm Giant. It carried a monstrous whip almost long enough to brush the ground four stories below.

The battle was joined. While the Master lobbed yet more spells at us, the giant ensnared me with his whip. I was thrown off my feet, prone and vulnerable. For someone who depended on movement to be effective in a fight, this was the worst possible scenario. The others did their best to attack the Master, but melee combat was impossible; he continued to float in the air just out of reach.

I managed to get back on my feet, and the others were not idle in the meantime. Idon used his pearl of power to recall a particularly effective spell that he then cast on the Master: silence. With that one action, our cleric all but rendered our enemy powerless.

At the same time, Nessa summoned an air elemental that immediately used its whirlwind ability. It became a huge funnel and engulfed the Master in its wind-choked clutches, pulling him at last within our reach. He still had his stoneskin spell up, as well as other protective enchantments, but at least we could finally lash out at him.

By this time, the giant abandoned its playful activities with its whip and began jabbing at us with its fists. A single slam from it would be enough to kill an ordinary commoner. None of us could withstand more than two or three of its brutal punches. Though the fighter Narellus got in many good strikes with his weapon against the Master, he fell unconscious after several blows from the giant. Idon kept us in the battle with his powerful healing, but none of us could withstand the giant's attacks for long. Perhaps this was why Idon was the next to fall. Without his healing spells, we were all but doomed.

I continued to use my spring attack to duck the giant's fists and get in some tactical strikes against the Master. We could see that we were wearing him down, but the elemental's whirlwind would only last for another few seconds. Meanwhile, Nessa wild-shaped into a Harpy in order to fly away from the giant and took a moment to cast her fearsome call lightning spell. Over the next few minutes, Nessa hurled one lightning bolt after another at the Master while I continued to use my spring attack to wound him with my rapier. I had withstood two more devastating blows from the giant's massive fists, but I knew I could not survive another. Nessa hurled one of her last remaining lightning blasts toward the Master just as I tumbled past the giant to also deliver a solid strike to the enemy leader. The giant's curled fist loomed above me, looking as large as a castle, poised to end my life...

But just when I thought it was all over, the Master staggered back from my most recent attack...and fell lifelessly to the ground. With his death, the giant was then freed from whatever compulsion had imprisoned him there, and simply walked away. Against all odds, we had won. Between Narellus's bravery, Nessa's druid abilities, Idon's healing and the all-important silence spell, as well as my mobile strikes, we emerged victorious.

While we used our spells and potions to heal ourselves and our comrades, the complex below erupted into chaos. The Master is dead, and his followers did not linger for very long.

The Greatest Party Ever has fulfilled its mission.
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A Quiet Night at the Inn
Upon our return from Chathold, we found another inn for the night. The Broken Soothsayer seemed like a nice place to find food and shelter, and we relaxed in the crowded common room. Our respite was brief, to say the least. A grizzled traveler, boisterous with drink, chatted us up, wanting to know all about our exploits. We were careful with what we shared, but it ultimately did not matter. Some time after he left our company, he returned with eight masked warriors--the local law enforcement!

Weaving expertly through the drunken crowd, they were upon us in seconds. More than half of them engaged us in melee while the rest shot missile weapons our way. Three or four of them targeted me. Luckily, I was able to dodge most of their attacks, but the ambush left me bleeding badly before I'd even had a chance to react. Still, it was better that they came after me rather than one of the others; Idon or Azol might not have survived even this initial round of combat.

Once we'd had a chance to assess the situation, we responded in kind. Thurm waded into the enemy warriors, slicing them apart like a reaping farmer with so much wheat. Our two spellcasters targeted our opponents as best they could, but with all the innocent bystanders their most effective ranged spells were impossible. I drew my two weapons and did my best to neutralize the fighters surrounding me. It was not easy, as I had no room to spring attack, but I held my own nevertheless.

Within a few minutes (and mostly thanks to Thurm), we'd turned the tide and slain five of the eight soldiers. The others did not retreat, however, and pressed us to the last. In addition, the haggard traveler who'd set them upon us in the first place was also a concern. Even as the last warrior fell, the old man stepped forward and finished off Azol! I was able to maneuver better by then, and used my spring attack to deliver a punishing blow to the man--leaving him to fall lifelessly to the floor.

We had won the battle, but we were hardly out of danger. These were but eight soldiers in a town that likely housed dozens (if not hundreds) of such men. And our wizard was down. What would we do...?
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Puppet Show Clue; New Comrade; Ambush in the Night
We made it to the town of Magden after burying Havok. We stopped into a few shops and sold off some of our gear. I bought a couple of handy items (eyes of the eagle and greatreach bracers). The charmed fighter that Azol had brought along was starting to become a nuisance, so we gave him the slip. I hope we stay well rid of him.

In the marketplace, we watched a puppet show that seemed to build upon some local lore. A hand puppet crafted to represent a great bronze giant told his story, swearing to guard the temple by the lake. In one fell swoop, we gained several pieces of valuable intelligence.

We searched parts of the town, becoming acquainted with its streets and its customs. An interesting stop on our little tour was a shrine dedicated to some personage who lived about four hundred years ago. Images on the wall depict highlights of his apparently eventful life. We took notes of what we saw, in case the information proved to be needy in the near future. In our travels about the community, we recruited an intimidating looking Orc Paragon named Thurm. Upon hearing our group's humble moniker, Greatest Party Ever, he joined our cause without hesitation.

That evening, a procession came through the town. A priest was searching the suddenly huge crowds, looking for "miracles." We knew better than to draw attention to ourselves in a hostile land, so we kept a low profile and simply watched. A nearby spectator commented that this sort of thing happens regularly.

We turned in for the night, but kept watches. Our cramped second-floor room was barely large enough to hold us all. During Idon's turn on guard, he heard footsteps in the hallway outside. He went to the doorway, ready to block passage to any intruders. The lock was turned (an ominous item all on its own) and the door creaked open. Idon came face to face with a band of Gnolls!

He called out, awakening us. But just as we shot to our feet, one of the humanoids tossed some black powder into the center of our tiny room. The entire chamber went dark. While Thurm readied his weapons and Azol started casting a spell, I went to the window to open the shutters. Azol activated his dimension door spell, grabbed me, and transported us both downstairs. Meanwhile, Thurm decided not to fight within the impenetrable dark and bashed his way into the adjacent room. Unfortunately, that left Idon at the mercy of the Gnolls; they pulled him out of the room and pounced on him.

Azol and I ran back up the stairs. On the way, we saw the innkeeper tiptoeing down the steps. Knowing that the lock hadn't been forced, it seemed obvious that this man was in league with the intruders. I ripped the man almost in two on my way upstairs, not even pausing to watch his corpse hit the floor.

Azol launched a lightning bolt down the hall. It was a great choice of spell and should have wiped the Gnolls out, but it did not. One beast fell, but the electrical burst only singed a couple of the others and didn't seem to harm two more at all. One of the Gnolls threw another handful of black powder and darkened the hallway between them and us. We would have to run through the blackness to reach them. In the meantime, they ripped Idon to shreds. Thurm came out from the neighboring room and chopped two of the Gnolls to bloody slivers in an instant. Meanwhile, I cut another down while Azol continued to launch spells. Finally, only one Gnoll was left, and he retreated into our room (now light again; the unnatural darkness had faded). The Gnoll had turned invisible, enabling him to sneak up on me and deliver a mighty attack. I still stood, however, and the three of us made short work of the monster.

The next morning, we teleported back to the capital. Once there, we sold all of the Gnolls' gear (a princely sum) and used the money to pay the Prelate to cast true resurrection on Idon. Once he was all right, Azol cast teleport again to get us back to Magden.
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A Comrade Falls
We left the Well of the Moon behind and returned to the Valley of the Cyclops. I took the water from the well, contained in a small receptacle, and poured it on the valley soil. The results were dramatic: greenery began growing immediately, bringing fertile life back to this desolate region. We looked around for the one-eyed giants and spotted them in the far distance, leaving the Pass behind.

We continued on and came into a valley filled with eerily lifelike statues. We suspected some sort of creature with a petrifying gaze (A basilisk? A cockatrice? Perhaps even a dreaded Medusa?) dwelt nearby. Two tunnels greeted us, one carved like a sea serpent's mouth and the other surrounded by beckoning hands. We took the mouth-like entrance and soon came face-to-face with the valley's denizens. I had gone up ahead and, moving silently, I was able to surprise a Medusa lurking about. I charged and delivered a punishing two-weapon pounce. Havok came up right behind me and finished off the beast before she could unleash her lethal gaze.

We were not out of the woods yet; a second Medusa stepped out of a hidden alcove and surprised the others. Our warrior friend we'd found in the caves to the west could not overcome the creature's power and instantly turned to stone. Azol was invisible and was luckily not detected by the Medusa. Idon helpfully cast light on a rock and threw it near our enemy; this enabled me to charge and use my skirmish ability to great effect. Once again, Havok also charged and slew the terrible abomination in short order.

After looting the area, we proceeded on and at last came to the Great Gate. It was a huge iron monstrosity secured by an equally formidable metal bar. As we tried to lift it, a human fighter appeared on the other side and came over to us. He demanded a password. I tried to bluff my way through, offering "Victory and Glory to the Master," which seemed consistent with the usual grandiose nonsense these evil organizations indulge in. My attempt was not quite good enough and he ordered us to turn around and go back. We respectfully declined, and when he returned to his hidden post we resumed our attempts to lift the bar.

Not surprisingly, the warrior came back to renew his insistence that we withdraw. Azol cast charm monster on him and he suddenly became a friendly ally. Though he did not help, he at least stood back and did not interfere with our ongoing enterprise. With all of us assisting Havok (his strength buoyed by a couple of spells), we were able to lift the bar and open the gates--only to find the Cloud Giant we'd been warned about emerge from the shadows.

It was either charge ahead or forfeit the mission; given the geas spell on me, I had no choice. I rushed the Giant and delivered a small sting with my rapier. Havok, loyal friend that he was, arrived an instant later and scored a tremendous slash with his blade. As we had planned, Azol flung a hold monster spell at the behemoth, but the Giant resisted. In turn, it bashed Havok twice with its mace, wounding our fighter grievously. Idon bravely ran through the gate and gave Havok a cure critical wounds. It would not be enough. While Havok and I again hit the mark with our attacks, the bloodied but still dangerous Giant swung again and smashed the life out of Havok right before my eyes. Azol tried a lightning bolt, but our opponent dodged the attack, taking only a portion of the electrical effect. I continued to dance in and out with my spring attack, doing modest but valuable damage. The Giant took a swing at Idon and knocked him to the ground. Luckily, our priest was still alive, though unconscious. I scored another hit with my rapier and then Azol was able to finish it off with a scorching ray. We had used good teamwork, some of the best yet, but we'd paid a terrible price. I gave Idon a healing potion and brought him back to consciousness. With the charmed fighter's help, we found the Giant's hoard under a boulder. We buried Havok on a nearby hill and continued toward the city in the distance.
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Cave Dwellers, Curses, and Dragons
We pressed on through the Great Pass, hoping that we would soon find the way out. But we also did not want enemies at our back, so we explored the tunnels to the north. The journey went without incident for a while, until we heard some high-pitched cries and a strange, whirring sound. I took the lead and came upon a single warrior being attacked by a dozen pale humanoids. At my urging, Idon cast detect evil on the group, and none of them showed as such. Still, I didn't like seeing a lone fighter being so outnumbered. Right or wrong, the odds were far too unbalanced for my taste.

I charged the nearest one, eager to try the new trick I'd learned, my two-weapon pounce. I closed the distance quickly and got off a hit with both my rapier and my handaxe. The creature dropped to the ground, dead. Meanwhile, the rest of the party engaged. Azol felled nearly half of them with a fireball while Havok dispatched a few others with his combat maneuvers. Scant seconds later, all the white-skinned attackers were dead. The warrior was grateful for our arrival and asked to accompany us.

We searched the rest of the cave complex, but found nothing. We then moved onto the next valley, a rough-and-tumble area where the entire landscape was cluttered with rubble. At the top of a hill, I spied three giant creatures--Cyclopses! We approached, braced for battle, but no melee took place. The middle giant pointed at me and intoned an imperative command: "You must draw water from the Well of the Moon and pour it upon this soil, or you will never leave the Pass."

The hulking things retreated out of sight and left us to ponder what had just happened. I didn't feel any different, but I could not dismiss the incident. We continued on through the Pass and came to another set of tunnels. Luck was with us, for we came across a merchant caravan traveling the opposite direction. We were able to sell off some of the magic items we'd collected and receive in trade other goods that would benefit us to a greater degree. I finally got rid of my sweltering studded leather armor in exchange for a fine mithril shirt. The others made similar trades and we came out of the meeting much better off. In addition, the merchants gave us some helpful advice about the Pass and what lies beyond it. Most especially, I asked them about the Well of the Moon, and we were told that a red dragon guarded the very place we sought!

We made ready to approach the well the next day, only to find that Idon was no longer being granted his most powerful spells. When he searched his soul for an answer, he realized that slaying the cave dwellers had angered Heironeous. Still, we had to press on.

Azol cast a few strategic preparatory spells, including resist energy and stoneskin, before we moved in. He also had a few more ready to cast at the dragon to lower its spell resistance and get through its fire immunity. Understandably, he was not able to provide the mass darkvision, so we crept into the cave with light spells on rocks. Once we saw how big the cavern was, Idon tossed one of the lit rocks ahead, which illuminated a larger chamber. Havok (now invisible) and I scouted ahead, and soon encountered the well's guardian.

The battle was quick, but intense. Too close for comfort, all around. Havok and I engaged the dragon where it waited in the center of the hall, while the others gathered their spells. Havok hit it hard with his sword while Azol struck it with a lightning bolt. Rather than stay where we were, it flew back and landed near the entrance--right where the spellcasters were. Havok and I raced back to protect our friends, and just in time. The dragon took several mighty swings at Azol, wounding him badly. I used my spring attack to flank the serpent and get in some skirmish damage while Havok performed one of his special tactics to deliver a mortal blow. If the dragon had survived to make just one more of its lethal string of attacks, at least one of us might have fallen. But we vanquished it before it could act again. We found its hoard, modest but still profitable, and inspected the well. The water healed us of our wounds when we drank, and I took some in my skin to pour upon the valley and break the curse...
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