Category PotA

Who gets to keep the CDs?

Much fighting continued.  I penned the grey dwarves in with a wall of fire, and was then attacked by the cultists who had come in through the door next to me, but used my gnomish magic to disappear from their eyes when the first one hit me, so the rest missed.  I saw Thorg finish off the bulette rider, and then go and wait for the grey dwarves to come through my wall of fire.  Invisible, I then moved around the back of the cultists and killed one with a sneak crossbow bolt, while Arielle finished off the rest.  Arielle, Sorrel and Feyabelle then vanished through that door, while I went over to help Thorg against the grey dwarves, who had still not emerged.  Thorg went through the northern stone doors, and was hit by a crossbow bolt from a concealed arrowslit so some of them were still alive.  I conjured some smoke mephits from my pipe, and sent them through the wall of fire to attack any living grey dwarves, but they soon returned, so I dropped the wall of fire.  We found the charred remains of three grey dwarves, but no sign of the other two, so assumed that they had turned invisible and sneaked past us – hopefully to flee into their deep diggings.

I guess we had better go and find out what has happened to the other three – they have been gone for quite a long time.

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Strange choice of pets

Having dealt with the excitement at Red Larch (and tried to persude them that we have saved them from a horrible fate and that a small amount of collateral damage from lightning bolts was a small price to pay – difficult without actually setting off the sphere of destruction to let them see the impact), we thought about our next steps. Obviously the earth temple was the next target, but given we had come in through the front door on each of the previous two occasions, I reasoned that we should try the back door this time, in case they spotted a pattern. Accordingly, we returned to the water temple and went through the passageway to the north.
We emerged after a short trek into a large columned hall. Unfortunately we got very little time to appreciate it before we were attacked by a bulette. It was chained up to a column, but the chain wasn’t really up to the task and broke. We pulled back down the corridor to fight it, and killed it reasonably rapidly, but its bite gave Thorg a couple of quite nasty nips.
Emerging back into the chamber, we spotted another bullette sleeping and chained to one of a pair of columns further into the hall. We decided to avoid another fight, so Arielle cast Pass Without Trace and we snuck past. We found a chasm splitting the room with the noise of hammering echoing up it, but were able to cross easily with the aid of some rope. On the far side we found yet another bulette, which we sneaked past again. On the far side of the hall we found another corridor. Off to the right we found a chamber lined with giant statues of dwarves with maces for hands, set up as some sort of alchemical laboratory. There was a man in there with his back to us, wearing a cloak of small stone tiles. This alone was enough to persuade us not to give him the benefit of the doubt, so we piled in on him. His reactions were pretty slow, and he went down before he could even turn around. A quick perusal of his paperwork showed that we had been right to let him have it with both barrels – he was the #2 in the earth cult and could command the statues to attack us.
Leaving his room, we proceeded north. The next chamber was another large columned hall. Near us in the corner was a group of hobgoblins around a fire, and in the far corner another bulette, this time with a rider.
I zagged to the left and lightning bolted the bullette, while the others took care of the hobgoblins. Next turn they moved towards the bulette, Feyabelle taking cover behind Thorg, while I lightning bolted the bulette again. The bullette surprised us though by leaping on top of Thorg and Feyabelle, almost crushing both of them. Thorg’s counter-attack finished it off though, although not the rider. At this moment, both doors into the chamber opened. On the right side were three grey-skinned dwarves, and on the left a bunch of cultists.

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Cut the blue wire

Our recuperation at Red Larch was as vigourous as normal, and it was with a heavy head that I was woken up on the second morning by shouts of surprise from outside.
We all hastened out in varying stages of undress (except Thorg – does he sleep in that armour), although not enough undress in some cases unfortunately… In the centre of Red Larch was a group of water cultists – some warriors, a priest, another shivver and an elemental in plate armour (you had to be there to understand). In centre of their circle they had a chest from which they were pulling out a sphere while chanting. The sphere was exactly as Theorgorm had described at Womford, which had caused a flood that had washed away the village. Concerned about the effect this Sphere of Destruction would have on Red Larch, we put our efforts into stopping them doing the same here.
Thorg waded forward to assault the water elemental. Feyabelle starting shooting people before getting attacked by the water elemental. Sorrel turned into a bear and starting clawing at people. Arielle ran up a house (new trick that one) and started throwing things at the priest from the chimney. I lightning bolted the elemental and the shivver and then ran behind a house and turned invisible. The shivver vanished in a puff of mist (obviously not expecting proper resistance), and the priest went down to Feyabelle’s shooting and Sorrel’s claws. I ran round the back of the house to the unattended sphere, popped it back in its box and ran out of town. I had noticed that the box had fire runes on it, and guessed that the fire runes somehow neutralised the water bomb. I was shown to be right when I subsequently had the time to cast identify on it – it turned out the bomb was only 6 seconds from exploding, but that timer was suspended while it was on the box. I made sure the box was really properly latched shut at that point.

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Efficiency of effort

Seeing the reinforcements arrive, and concerned that my ball-bearings would only hold them up briefly, I quickly found a pile of fabrics and cask of brandy that looked suitable for starting a blaze, so used one of the smoke mephits to set light to that pile. Before the lizardmen could spot it, I scurried, still invisible, across to the south side of the market hall and started another one.
Seeing that the lizardmen had spotted the blaze, I then prowled south from the market hall, still concealed by my invisibility. To the south was another square with a central statue. I checked the rooms, and found the lizardmen quarters, now deserted, and some other rooms. My scouting was interrupted though by the arrival of more reinforcements – another one of the one-eyed cultists and some more warriors. The leader was muttering something about the stupidity of the hideous woman who was already in the market hall, so I resolved to follow them.
I found them in the market hall, facing off against each other and trading insults. It looked pretty het up, and so I decided to see if I could get them to actually start fighting each other. Hidden in the southern doorway, I cast an illusion over one of the warriors of him throwing his javelin at one of the ogres. It missed (even ogres can probably spot an illusionary javelin hitting them), but that was enough to get the ogre to lunge forward and attack. The rest of the warriors leapt to his support and I followed up with a magic missile on the other ogre to get him riled up as well.
The hideous woman transformed before our eyes into an even more hideous hag – so terrifying that one of the warriors dropped dead of fright on the spot. The one-eyed cultist started fiddling with the strange water tank on his back and a water-snake emerged from it and attacked the hag. At the same time, he muttered an incantation, and an ogre and two of the lizardmen fled into the pool to the west.
The fight after that was fairly brief – the hag was quickly throttled by the water snake and the rest of her minions (the ones that were still alive) fled when she died. The cultist told them to run and keep going – and that he would kill them if they didn’t leave immediately. He then muttered something about stupid lizardmen setting off glyphs by mistake and disappeared back to the south – I had hidden in one of the side rooms to avoid being spotted.
When he had gone, I ventured back into the temple, but it was empty (although there were signs of a fight having taken place). There was a door on the far side, but when I went through it, there were just some unoccupied rooms. I was low on spells and tired, so decided to hide under a bed and get some sleep.
The next morning (possibly – I have lost track of time), I returned to the temple to start trying to find my colleagues. Imagine my surprise when they emerged from out of the pool of water in the temple – it turns out there was an underwater passage to a secret chamber where they had spent the night. They had also found a trove of old tomes belonging to Brulthenar, and had a defecting (and defective) priest of the water cult tagging along with them.
We decided to finish off the one-eyed cultist before we left, so headed south. We found a room with many great barrels of water, which we didn’t investigate. After that, we found him in his laboratory. Barging through the door, we achieved surprise and Thorg was able to hack him to pieces before he could even reach for his deadly water-snake backpack. A bunch of bugbears then burst in through the south door, but we fairly rapidly dealt with them to.
We returned to our original boat (our water priest cultist persuaded the troll waiting under one of the bridges that we were trusted guests) and returned to Riverguard Keep and then to Red Larch to replenish and recuperate.

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DM Catch Up

Following the battle on the beach, the party may or may not have taken a long rest. Let’s assume they did.
They then row up the underground river and discover a cavern. A battle on a quayside ensues. A Dark Tide Knight riding a shark manages to knock Erky into the water while another baddy discovers that the short, hairy armoured thing can’t be pushed into the water. Erky uses Fly to escape the water and then goes for a tour of the complex. He meets some aquatic ghouls who are very pleased to see him, and nearly persuade him to join them.
The party take a short rest and then continue their exploration. North of the quay they are ambushed by a fairly concerted force of cultists, roused by the Dark Tide Knight who escaped the previous battle. Predictably, our heroes outwit and out-think their opposition. Further exploration suggests that they have now cleared the eastern portion of the temple and they can now move into the central part.
Stealthy exploration finds them a smelly door with crude carvings scratched on it. Passing by, they discover a large hall and kitchen/canteen. Much planning ensues and the death of water cultists follows. One is kept alive and pumped for information. The party learn the following:
– Gar Shatterkeel has gone down below to a place called ‘The Fane of the Eye’
– His deputies are Thuluna (thought to be a hag) and Morbeoth (One Eyed Shiver)
– Cultists identify each other with a hand signal
– The Water Cult serve Olhydra, the elemental Prince of Water. Without him they are nothing, and they seek to bring him from the Elemental Plane of Water to cleanse the world of the weak and unworthy.

Following the ‘interview’, the cultist was put to sleep and placed under the other dead bodies in a disused storeroom.
The party decide to head north to check out the Water Shrine which is just across a bridge. To either side of the bridge are culverts pouring water out into the canal. Erky sends Blinky the owl up one of the culverts to see what’s what.
Blinky telepathically communicates to Erky that the Water Shrine is here and that 5 Lizardfolk are on guard. Then communication ceases – Blinky is spotted by the guards and a hail of javelins sees him return to his own plane of existence…
Erky is cross and leads the party through the double doors….
BOOOOOMMMMM!!!!
A huge explosion is triggered by the doors and everyone is injured. With the noise of the explosion echoing through the halls, the party surge forward to engage with the lizardfolk, concerned that the noise will have alerted others in the complex.
A large, fearsome creature emerges from the water behind the lizardfolk, and suddenly the battle doesn’t look so simple.
Erky hangs back to attempt to distract any backup…
Spike Growth stalls the lizard folk for a moment, but they improvise by using a dead comrade as a stepping stone to leap out.
Meanwhile, Arielle and Thorg engage with the mighty beast – mighty blows are traded and in the end, Thorg’s persistence and powerful sword thrusts prove to be too much.
Feyabelle gets a shock mid-battle – she is hanging back on the bridge, firing arrows into combat. Suddenly a HUGE terrapin surfaces and attacks. HOLY SHIT!! IT’S A DRAGON TURTLE!!! Nursing her battered shoulder, she dived into the room and shuts the double doors.
Meanwhile, Erky sees a hideous female humanoid, a couple of ogres and more lizardfolk hurrying towards the market hall from the south. He scatters ball bearings and preps his pipe of Smoke Mephits..
Those in the shrine are now feeling bruised and scared. The party is separated and the temple is on full alert!

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Return to Riverguard

At Feathergale Spire, we had a dream in which Therek and Theogorm were in trouble, so decided to rush to Womford (by hippogriff) to see if this was a true premonition. We found Womford in considerable disarray, as it had been attacked by some cultists who had brought a globe into the centre of town that had caused a terrible rainstorm that had washed away part of the town. Therek told us that they had tried to establish a base at Riverguard keep, which the water cult had abandoned, but they had been driven out by returning cultists, including some riding crocodiles. They also told us that they had found a hidden dock under the keep, and a tunnel leading down into the earth. This was not unexpected to me, as each of the other cults had had such a tunnel. We decided therefore to return to Riverguard Keep and drive out the cult again, and establish a garrison there, and then descend into the depths of the earth.
The trip to Riverguard was uneventful. In order to give us the element of surprise, we decided to attack from the hidden dock, approaching it underwater. Aerisi Kalinoth’s spellbook had contained a spell that allow up to ten men to breathe underwater for up to 8 hours that I had recently learned, so I used that on all of us.
We proceeded into the dock and up the underwater stream. Where it opened out into a covern with a beach, we saw a group of half a dozen men sitting around a fire. We decided to attack while also blocking off the stairs up so they could not warn the rest of the keep. I prepared a web spell for the occasion, but in the event, Arielle shadow-jumped into the entrance-way to the stairs. We surged towards the men around the fire, but in turn were surprised ourselves by two men riding crocodiles who surfed down the stream and attacked us. The fight was hard, and the crocodiles attempted to swallow both Storm and Thorg at various points. A snake made of water also joined the cultists, but fortunately at one point, was lined up with a crocodile rider so I was able to unleash a lightning bolt that struck both of them. Spells and arrows flew through the air, and Thorg absorbed many mighty blows that would have slain a lesser dwarf, but in the end we were victorious.

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Not-so-skinny dipping

Leaving the ziggurat, we decided to have a quick look at the moat and see what was around the corners of the ziggurat in case we were missing something interesting. In retrospect, this was possibly a mistake because the chap on the wyvern perched on top of the ziggurat, who we has completely forgotten about, decided to come and check us out. He landed on one of the pillars on the bridge, which in retrospect was a mistake for him. Our attempts to talk our way out of trouble failed miserably (as normal), so we attacked him before he could attack up. I think the illusion of Windvane as a flagpole was particularly suspicious. Thorg used his Ring of the Ram to shove the wyvern off the pillar, which meant it was busy frantically flapping to maintain its balance as we started hacking at it. I almost came a cropper forgetting that the tail end of a wyvern is more dangerous than the teeth end, but had a lucky escape. The dying wyvern and rider toppled into the moat, so I used my Driftglobe to illuminate the depths. There was not much on their bodies, but quite a bit of stuff littering the bottom of the moat, which I started scooping out with a Mage Hand. We saw why this was when a giant dwarf golem came trundling around the corner, but fortunately it ignored our magical delvings. The real coup came on the far side, where we found a well preserved set of Dwarven plate mail, which Thorg immediately grabbed and started cleaning up. The clanking has gotten worse.
That finished, we returned to the courtyard with the fountain looking for Windharrow, but he was out. Proceeding around the temple compound, we found one room with several initiates whipping cultists into turning some huge shafts running from floor to ceiling. In a room next door, we found a group of prisoners being guarded by some Kenku, so we killed them (the Kenku) and released the prisoners. We didn’t try it the other way round – I don’t think it would have worked as well.
We now crossed back to the northern side of the moat, to find a plaza and some dwarven shops – long abandoned. One proved not to be abandoned though whne Thorg was attacked by a cloaker that dropped on him from the ceiling. We were now feeling pretty beaten up, so camped down for a long rest to recover in one of the cleared out shops. When we continued, we found a large dwarven tavern that showed signs of having been recently occupied by cultists, and swiftly and recently abandoned. We assume that unfortunately the rest of the air cultists have fled. We did find some more Kenku though, who tried to run away. I stopped the exit with a Web spell, and we killed them, although the fight proved to be a particularly long one, and we took a fair bit of damage. We explored the deserted ruins further, finding a temple of Moradin whose doors had been spiked shut from this side. Suspecting undead, we didn’t open them. Just beyond this, though, we encountered an Umber Hulk, which managed to bemuse all of us apart from Storm. We though we were goners, but managed to pull it back and play tag-team with it to avoid its gaze.
By now we were once again bruised and battered and our supplies were running low, so we decided to pull back to Feathergale Spire, and possibly enter the dwarven city from one of the other cult temples.

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All in a day’s work

We descended the stairs from the throne room into the main entrance hall, intending to ambush the unaware cultists who were levitating around the hole in the floor through which the wind was rushing.  We split up so that some of us came down one stair and some down the other.  As subtlety and stealth were called for, Alleria and I took the lead.  She jumped from shadow to shadow until she was behind a pillar near the hole in the ground, and then cast silence over the group centred on the high grade cultist of the grade that had lightning bolted us a the week before.  I then dashed forward and cast a web spell than trapped the same cultist and his nearest companions in a mess of sticky strands.  Feyabelle started up her normal hail of arrows, targetting the highest grade cultist first and working downwards.  Thorg rushed forwards and decapitated a low grade cultist with a single blow, and then proved unable to hit anything for the rest of the combat; so focused on the power of his blows that he forgot about accuracy.  The fight was mercifully relatively brief – the high level cultist never got free of the web and was killed by Feyabelle’s arrows before he could do any harm.  One cultist made a bolt for the far door, but Alleria caught him before he could escape.  My frost rays finished off a few of the cultists.  As usual for cultists though, they had no treasure on them at all.

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A message from our sponsor

Hej, Blinky here, filling in because Erky seems too busy to keep you all updated on his exploits. Not that he even mentions his exploits, just those of others that he attributes to himself. Just like that Theseus guy that I know. Very similar in many ways. Wouldn’t really call what either of them got up to exploits either. Degenerate is a word that springs to mind.
Anyway, not sure why he isn’t communicating because his friends do seem to be doing something quite impressive really, in killing Aerisi Kallinoth, who they will at some point found out is the prophet of Yan Cee Bin, the evil prince of elemental air.  Alleria takes her spear, which seems to be very powerful, but also quite evil we suspect. I can certainly see a dangerous aura around it. Actually she will take it soon, when Feyabelle has killed Aerisi with a volley of arrows, but this is the first chance she has to really examine it. As I said Feyabelle killed Aerisi with a volley of arrows, before poor old Thorg even has time to reach her across the room and attack her with his sword, although he does reach and destroy the magical horn, which releases the djinn from his bondage to her. Then Aerisi runs to the horn to try and blow it to summon her enslaved djinn.  After this Arielle teleports into the shadow behind her throne and seizes her spear off her, succeeding in wrestling it from her grasp. That is the point at which Feyabelle hits Aerisi with another volley of arrows. Erky casts a spell to try and entrap her in a grasping earthen hand he has summoned from the floor, but she escapes its grasp. Thorg now starts his run across the room, while Feyabelle shoots her first volley of arrows, surprising Aerisi. To cap the fight, Arielle teleports into the shadows at the sides of the chamber, behind the pillars (discovering a pile of drugged cultists in the process) and casts a silence spell centred on the throne that Aerisi sits on it order to stop her casting any spells. In order that we can all sneak into the throne room, Arielle uses her mental powers to hide our presence. And then we sneak back into the pyramid in order to try and take out Aerisi.
Talking to Windharrow, we start to question our resolve to kill Aerisi here and now, as he stresses how unpredictable she is and how angy if she sees us in her presence again. Leaving the djinn we return past the ziggurat to the court where Windoharrow prepares his minstrels. The djinn is disappointed that we have not killed Aerisi and released him, and questions our resolve, and wonders why we are going to deal with another faction instead, especially since we will disocover that Aerisi does not expect us to survive the attack. We leave the ziggurat and cross to the blue plaza where we will meet the djinn.
Waiting on the stairs of the ziggurat, I can hear what Aerisi and Windharrow are saying. She is castigating him for not having recognised us as her enemies, but thinks this is typical of Windharrow and shows her superiority to him. She is also pleased that she has managed to spot us and given us the mission to attack the earth cult, as she thinks they will easily wipe us out. As they are leaving, Erky summons me and asks me to listen on the stairs to see what Aerisi says to Windharrow.
The audience with Aerisi is obviously over so they leave.  They agree to Aerisi’s demand that they attack the Earth cult.  Aerisi says that in order to atone for their behaviour in attacking Feathergale Spire, the party need to attack the evil earth cultists, whose lair can be found at the bottom of the stairs leading down from the Sacred Stone monastery.   They attempt to bluster their way out, but this is seemingly making her more angry, so Erky admits their role in this.  However she then accuses them of being themselves, i.e. a band of ruffians out of Red Larch who attacked Feathergale Spire.  As they end their playing Aerisi congratulates them on the quality of their playing, which obviously makes Windharrow very relieved.  Somehow they manage to use repeated castings of minor illusion to keep up the pretense of excellent playing for long enough to exhaust Aerisi’s patience.  They start playing, using minor illusion cast by both Erky and Alleria to simulate decent flute playing, with the rest of the minstrels as a backing track (and a bad one at that).

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Towering effectiveness

Surveying the scene of carnage, we brushed ourselves down, checked that none of us were still on fire, and then decided to investigate the tower.  The main doors looked completely blocked by rubble, and it was obvious that the main point in ingress was a window on the first floor, accessed via the scaffolding.  Heroically, despite my heavy wounds and missing eyebrows, I sneaked up onto the scaffolding and peered in through the window, which had been enhanced with a set of wooden steps leading up to it, proving that the cultists were using this as their primary access route.  Within was a chamber lit by eight torches and filling the entire floor of the tower.  Although, actually there wasn’t much in the way of a floor – most of it was missing, leaving a large hole into the rubble cluttered interior of the tower.  There were three occupants – two more of the guards we had seen and a strange, red-haired dwarf.  There were also some stairs going up to the floor above.

I dispatched Blinky to go and look in at the windows of the two floors above.  The one immediately above us was a dormitory, with a number more sleeping guards.  Above that was a study, with a wizardy type studying tomes up there.  I returned to my companions and relayed this information to them, which lead to a particularly long, and sotto voce debate on the best thing to do.  Various options were examined and discarded – fighting everyone at the same time; climbing the tower and fighting the wizard first, then working our way down floor by floor, all sorts of crazy ideas.  In the end we decided to attack the three on the first floor, while I cast Fog Cloud on the floor above so that anyone who woke up hearing the fight below would find it difficult to find the stairs and come down to help their friends.

We executed the plan and dashed in.  The fight was fairly short – one of the guards tried to escape by jumping through the hole in the floor, but the strange dwarf and the other guard rapidly fell to our swords, and even the escaping guard was dispatched with arrows by Feyabelle.  There were some strange creatures clearing rubble in the foundations of the tower that ignored us, so we decided to ignore them in return.  That saw them, it did.

We ascended the stairs and I cleared my Fog Cloud, and Arielle and I then started dispatching the sleeping guards above.  This didn’t go entirely according to plan, and they started waking up, but we still finished them off, but not before alerting the wizard on the floor above.  The wizard, who turned out to be some sort of Archdruid (the beard made it obvious), came storming down the stairs and started casting spells at us, starting with Sorrel’s favourite – Spike Growth.  I slipped under the stairs and hid so that I could make a sneak attack as he came past, using my Dagger of Venom.  Next round he gave a puff on his pipe and the smoke that came out transformed into smoky imps that attacked Arielle.  I prepared myself to attack him, but the others came piling up the stairs though and ruined everything by killing him before I got a change.  I did nick his pipe though.

We are now having a ruffle through the papers on his desk in his study above, and looting the place.  Hey, its what we do best.

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