Dear Diary….a new giant experience

Nothing of interest in the dracolisk…or in his cave. He looks kinda undernourished, but the others didn’t want to wait for me to skin it.

[detailed, sprawling map that runs over several pages]

*Raven found a claw. Elmo thinks it’s a lizard claw.

**Well, now I’ve seen it all most of it something. We were coming up on a tee in one of the passages, when these two lumps of rock peeled themselves off the wall and swiped at us with their claws.

Heiron and Mikael took them out – and it’s true, when you see them in a different context, they look like big lizards…but they’re still the exact color of the stone, and it’s kinda disorienting.

They must have used the grotto just beyond as a lair, because there was a big pile of money there. Elmo pointed out the claw probably came from one of them…maybe they shed them like people shed excess fingernail?

[more map]

#Magic portal rune for Fire Node

**

Well, new experience for me…

We were exploring a side-room when we heard heavy footsteps approaching. Ezekiel went up to investigate, and discovered a huge figure – the exact color of stone! – filling up the entire passageway…a stone giant! Continue reading

Dear Diary….Ezekiel can scry now; and earth-creatures are ugly

I understand now why Sir Rufus and Master Bern built a tower and fort with their dragon treasure. Dragons collect a lot of treasure!

Maybe these black dragons had more than we expected because there were two of them…or maybe the Earth Node has received more treasure in general, so they had more to capture.

Either way. Lydia came out of the portal to check out the situation – then went back to her room. Ezekiel and Raven cradled the two dragon eggs (where are they going to keep those, I wonder!), and in a few minutes the pile of coins started flowing down through the floor! Apparently Lydia had to get Keom and Ronhass to hold the mirror facing the floor, so the treasure would fall to the ground…but obviously it worked. It got plugged up once or twice with a larger item – there was a suit of scale mail, especially, that tried to go through while turned the wrong way – but we got it unstuck and shoved the whole hoard onto Lydia’s floor. Continue reading

Dear Diary….ok dragons are actually dangerous

While we finished cleaning up the dragon remains, and piled its treasure into our various receptacles (including the little chest that shrinks and grows, which Heiron is carrying and I had completely forgotten about), Ezekiel got a hold of Lydia and jumped through the portal to “just ask Father Yra one thing.”

Heiron killed a dun pudding while we waited, and when Ezekiel finally came back, he and Mikael decided we should go confront the giants to see if they had any slaves we should rescue (Tressarian said something about “stab stab extinguish” but we told him to shush so we could be sneaky…er). Also, Ezekiel said he thought he could send them “home” using his mace or something (it sounded kinda technical, and also like he wasn’t sure what he was doing, so I kinda only half-listened).

According to the map, Mikael and Ezekiel figured the northern corridor probably hooked up with where we wanted to be, so we took that route. On the way, we passed a magic portal rune in the shape of an O (Water, maybe? I’m so bad at this game) – and a room with a row of fire pits.

Tres and I went down the row, putting out the fires, until the last one in the line… There, as we stuck Tressarian into the flames, a big red, horned, fiery figure appeared, growling something about “watch where you put that”! (Ez tells me it was an “efreet”.) Continue reading

Dear Diary….dragon disappointment

This morning we patched ourselves up and headed back into the Fire Node…no playing with demons this time.

[sketch of map]

We started exploring the southern corridors, not finding much of anything…until Tressarian and I were scanning an empty room for magic and stuff, and a loud scraping noise came down the corridor from the main hallway.

Ezekiel and Mikael took Heiron with them to investigate, and we heard a huge, vibrating voice talking with them.

The rest of us gathered around the doorway, in preparation, and sure enough moments later a blast of hot air (and flickers of flame) shot out past us.

Raven flashed forward with his daggers out, and by the time Tressarian and I got up there, he and Heiron (with his sword Scather) had finished the job.

A red, spiky dragon head lay mangled and blocking the hallway. I thought they were supposed to be the scariest ones, but thanks to our rings of fire protection, it was still a pretty lame dragon fight. Continue reading

Dear Diary….demon drama

Well…it has been a stressful day.

After we found the magic key-stone, we kept exploring the corridors and found three fire-giants holed up in a room. Tressarian was very excited, and we killed one while Heiron and Elmo killed another one…and then the third giant threw down his sword, so Ezekiel held up his hand and told us to stand down.

Stand down? From a fire giant? Tressarian didn’t think so, and he started yelling at the giant in a language we couldn’t understand, and pulling my arm.

But…I didn’t feel like having Ezekiel yell at me today…and besides, it’s true that killing people who have surrendered is bad mojo.

Tressarian wouldn’t stop jumping around and shouting, so he and I went to guard the corridor while Ezekiel did whatever talking he felt like doing.

(We almost forgot about this part, but I’d better put it here: he says the giant said everybody here is a prisoner, and he and his cousins can’t go home; Ez told him to gather his cousins in that room, because if we ran into them somewhere else in the node, we couldn’t make any promises about their safety. I’m not sure leaving them to suffer when the node collapses around them is better than just killing them quick, but Ez says we don’t know what will happen to the nodes for sure, and it’s true we can’t fit them through the portal anyway. Irony there…)

(Oh, also, Mikael and Ezekiel took the giant’s treasure hoard. Insult, injury…but it’s not like I was there to say anything.)

No, I was out in the hallway, “guarding” – and what should stick her face around the corner but what appeared to be a young…woman…wearing not much at all and carrying a staff and bundle (I should have been more suspicious of the bundle…). Continue reading

Dear Diary….well that was anti-climactic…

Alert: Contains spoilers for the adventure “Temple of Elemental Evil”

So we can invade the Fire Node next, Ezekiel gave us a short lecture about the enemies one of the clerics we rescued told us about.

A Bodac is apparently some kind of demon, and can kill you if you just look at it…so he says the plan is for us all to stand back while he tries to hit it with the mace (while protected from evil). There are supposedly efrete there, too, which he says are relatives of the geni…they won’t be necessarily Evil, but it’s safer to be careful around them.

Everybody should be protected from heat, either with a ring, Tressarian, or one of the clerics’ spells – so we head in tomorrow.

****

We made sure Lydia was ready, then gathered around Ezekiel while he touched the gem we assume is the key-stone of fire. Sure enough, we found ourselves in an eight-sided room – four corners and four points like a star. Even with our magic, the heat was sweltering.

Firelight peeked through chinks in the walls, and eight heavy stone doors with brass handles lined the corners of the room. Ezekiel always says to take the right turn, and since north is front on the map, the east is the right (and I drew the map, so I got to pick which way was north). Continue reading

Dear Diary….there are water things, and there are water things

Safe and sound in Hommlet. Master Ostler was very impressed by our new badges. Heiron and I both decided to keep them in our locked chest at the inn, so they don’t get lost or messed up while we’re traveling in the nodes.

We asked Master Elmo up to our rooms for a “drink,” and we discussed our upcoming strategy. The last guy we rescued told us about the sea-hags in the Water Node, but none of us sounded really excited to fight them (not even Ezekiel, for once — he just thought that maybe they could tell us where the grus and water-demons were, but we weren’t sure we wanted to do business with them).

Bottom line, Lydia’s going to try to scry us back to our raft in the Water Node, and we’ll continue searching along the wall in a counter-clockwise direction – like we were before fighting the dragons. Continue reading

Dear Diary….first ever dragon fight—impressive??

Digging through my pack (and the bag of holding) I realized I have a potion of heroism (it might be from the sticky cloth that makes a storage hole, but I’m not sure…). According to Ezekiel and Lydia, it makes you stronger and tougher, and “unlocks” something-something-lets you attack more efficiently, or something.

Bottom line, I gave it to Elmo, in case he judges it would be useful. (I mean after all, he chopped a giant in half last battle, and I barely did anything. Besides, Heiron and I are planning to go in with our bows, and more muscle wouldn’t really help us there – except maybe break the bowstring by accident (which would not be helping).) Continue reading

Dear Diary….die, learn, win, repeat

13 Wheelsun

Nice party last night. Raven made the most extraordinary cookies. (He made up a box to leave with Lydia, I guess to keep her company while we’re busy.)

Wonillon found a caravan traveling in his direction, so he’s joining up with them this afternoon. (He did let me buy the necklace of adaptation.)

We’re going over to Lydia’s at the tower so he can say good-bye (and so we can do some planning…meaning Ezekiel and Lydia do planning, and the rest of us look pretty).

**

Lydia has adjusted her face! She looks more-or-less the same, just without the burn scars. I thought it was funny that she had her veil loose in the tavern last night, but I couldn’t put my finger on why it didn’t bother anybody (especially her). I guess she’s forgiven us and consented to wear the hat. Continue reading

Dear Diary….Wonillon’s grand finale

We had just sent the bandits off through the mirror, and Ezekiel had just spotted what might be a raft on the coast-line, when Raven reappeared – right about the spot where the bandits disappeared. He says he got our last two rescued prisoners safely on their way home…and, of course, picked up some cheese (which he passed around).

We talked a bit about how we could get the Dragon-Turtles out of the node and into the Near Div. It might be possible with a couple potions of Diminution, a spell of Mikael’s, and the river near Nulb…but we should definitely check with them first. And anyway it should be a while before we’re ready to collapse the nodes.

We also talked about ways to fight the Demon-Rays (or Ixixaktl). Ezekiel says it’s going to be harder, because some of them have the abilities of clerics (like casting spells and stuff) and others of them even have the ability to suck your life-force (he says it’s like vampires, but none of us have ever met those, either – thank goodness!).

Demon-rays are water-breathers, so Wonillon suggested casting “Airy Water” on them, making them at least sink – and maybe suffocate. Ezekiel isn’t sure he can use the spell on something other than himself, though.

Naturally, shooting my bow underwater would be basically useless – even inside the Airy Water.

****

We investigated the raft – and sure enough, it floats. Looks like it was cobbled together from bits and pieces of everything, with a couple rough paddles that might have been carved with a battle-ax. It looks rickety and uneven…but it does float, even with all of us on it.

We paddled toward what we’re calling south until we hit a new island (small and uninhabited), where Mikael tried to “Commune with Nature” or something (it’s supposed to make him one with the environment and tell him useful things about the surrounding countryside or something). He’s been sitting with his eyes closed and humming a little for almost ten minutes.

Ezekiel took the time to look for any hidden caves near the shoreline. He didn’t find any, but he did find a pretty shell.

****

Mikael didn’t learn anything…I guess this place isn’t much like the “natural” outside. (He doesn’t seem to like Ezekiel’s new shell.)

We continued south until we reached the wall of the node. I assume that’s what it is…it’s a wet, glinting wall of rock that rises up and arcs toward the fake stars overhead. We took care not to get too close with our raft.

Something attacked us shortly after we turned east. I just know it had wings and dove out of the water very suddenly. Wonillon and Ezekiel killed it (with Mikael’s help).

**

Well. It’s been an afternoon.

We were following the rock wall “east” a rocky formation rose up ahead of us. There must be an underwater cave entrance, because next thing we knew, humanoid things with fins and gills started swarming us.

We were a bit taken aback when Ezekiel hit one and his mace didn’t light up or anything (though it was also amazing that he’d hit two things today), so Mikael called out to ask them if they were Evil…though they never stopped attacking us long enough to answer.

Then I hit a couple with Tressarian (he was in my hand since we were sniffing for magic and Evil) and I could tell by the way their skeletal structure came apart – they’re related to hob-goblins somehow. I’m not sure exactly how the fins and gills came into it, but at least I didn’t have to guess where the major arteries and organs would relate to each other.

Not like it mattered a great deal – the others were chewing through them, even without my know-how. Heiron was shooting down two or three of them every minute or so…and they noticed. They gabbered in their own ugly language, and charged through the water to get at him (by the way, the raft is sturdier than I gave it credit for, and I’m very grateful that it didn’t tip us all out during the battle).

Things were going peachy…Mikael and Raven both used magic ropes to catch prey, and Ezekiel kept touching Heiron with healing whenever a weapon caught him. We were stacking up the bodies in the water all around us. And then the giant sting-ray things showed up.

Ezekiel tells me they’re “demon-rays,” but of course we never saw them real clearly while fighting them. They just jumped out of the water, took a bite out of something, and dove back down. Most of them seemed most interested in the dead marine-hobs (koalinths, I guess) and would take off an arm or foot as they passed a body. So I guess they’re not all that bright.

Others were more effective. One of them charged up and took a bite out of Wonillon – and he staggered back, looking pale and green.

A couple water-hobs knocked Heiron’s bow away and struck him to his knees. Although that made me see red, switching to my bow would take too long (even though I could kill more of them that way). Besides, Tressarian was having such a good time.

Ezekiel stepped over to Heiron and put his hands on him, and I tried to look dangerous by killing even more of them.

The stars disappeared for a few moments, and the fog around us seemed to intensify…Ez tells us that was a darkness spell, but I guess the continual light on our two shields was too much for it (thanks Elohnna!).

I slashed a ray in two, and realized the water-hobs had fled back to their cave (those who were still alive, obviously).

Ezekiel waved his sheep-symbol around, and I guess a few bubbles floated to the surface or something (of course in all that chaos it’s hard to tell)…he says there were some water-ghouls that noticed the power of the lamb.

I’m just wondering how many other things feel the need for a water-gimmick. What’s next, water-squirrels?

We were finishing off the last of the moving ixixaklt when I saw Raven holding his hand in front of his eyes and throwing a dagger.

At first I thought he was just trying to make it look more impressive…then I saw his dagger imbed into a…

[partial sketch]

Floating eye thing. So that’s a thing, too.

It bubbled and dropped into the water, and Heiron and Wonillon shook their heads and rubbed their eyes a little. (Heiron asked me, “How could a giant eye just float like that, Master?” and I told him to ask Lydia.)

Wonillon still looked kinda shriveled and green (and he’s just naturally small anyway) so Ezekiel said we had to get him back to the world to find a healer.

Not fancying the idea of sitting right outside the koalalynths’ front door, we paddled for about ten minutes until we found another bare island that would fit the fortress. We had time to bandage Heiron before Lydia waved us through.

He seems in a bad way. Even with the dodging and push-ups he’s been practicing, there’re only so many bites and stabs a man’s body can take. It’s not fair that just because I’m not as tall as he is I somehow seem less intimidating. Ezekiel says I shouldn’t tempt fate.

Ezekiel has also been talking with Father Yra and some other people at the tower…and the news isn’t good for Wonillon. As Ez said at first, it looks like the demon-ray sucked a bit of his life away. Not sure how that works, but I guess it means Wonillon forgot a few things…and isn’t as healthy as he used to be.

There is a spell that could help him…but it would take someone in Verbobanc to cast it, that they’d probably want a lot of money for the trouble (according to Father Yra). Like, a lot of money – even more than Mikael has (and he doesn’t have to pay Master Geru to share the “secret druid knowledge!”).

Wonillon’s done some thinking, and he thinks he’ll “quit while he’s ahead”…he got his revenge on the temple, and he says he’s richer than anyone in his hometown could ever dream. So he might as well retire while he’s still a young gnome in his prime, and enjoy his earnings.

Ez made a big speech that basically meant, “Good to know you; stay in touch.” We’re going to hang out for a few days (Heiron has to rest up anyway) and throw a farewell party. (Lydia will be happy…she says it’s super boring just watching us flex through the mirror.)

I want to ask Wonillon if he’ll sell me the Necklace of Adaptation. After all…he probably won’t need it…and it would come it super handy in the water node (and possibly in some of the other ones, too). Lydia and Ezekiel tell us that the elemental grus can’t cancel the effects of magical items, so having that would make me much more confident about being able to breath.

Tressarian says it was a worthy fight, but would have been even better if they were Evil fire creatures. He’ll just have to wait until the fire node.

(Lydia skeptical that Ezekiel turned some water-ghouls…she says the Demon Prince that the demon-rays serve is usually bitter enemies with the Undead King. Then again, maybe they weren’t working together? They just happened to be hanging out in the same area? The demon-rays sure weren’t “working with” the sea-hobs in any sense that we would recognize…)


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