Drow Wars: Episode 12 Warriors of Winter

From the journal of Brottor

We go to see the council in the centre of the city. Lady Azbeth accompanies us. The council building is a big dome in the middle of the city under which there is a large silver tree. Gelnix also senses a resurect point nearby. There are 9 benches beneath the shade of the tree on which sit 9 regal looking elves. This place feels familar, even though we have never been here before.

The elves bid us welcome, tell us to make ourselves comfortable as no doubt we have many questions. There is a human standing to one side, he is introduced as Kethos, we sense he is also a Starborne. We explain to the council the events that have occured so far. They tell us that we are indeed heros.

When asked they think that the Kraken is still sitting on the Jeharnum gate.

I ask, how were the drow defeated last time.
They give us the history of the starborne. The conflict is the most recent stage in a war millenia old. There is a terrible power known as the dark that has been banished from creation. It works through agents and proxy - such as the drow. Throughout the ages the workings of the cosmos cause equinoxes and balence points that allow the dark to manefest its powers on the world.

The fist war we could prepare for was 3000 years ago, the dark had avatars that could not be slain by mortal man so the people prayed to thye goddess Newith who took the souls of the stars and put them into mortal form to become the starborne - the avatars of light. Last time the armies clashed, and Starborn clashed with Host and when the dust settled both sides had obliterated each other. The Starborne carried the day - with the drow all slain the light won by default and life was allowed to exist.

I ask: how long until the drow attack here, and are you ready for them?
This place will be the last to fall, it is a magical nexus and will not be taken easily.

Alfric asks: Can you influence the negatations with the mortal races?
We no longer have influence with the world. It is enough that we caused you to be created.

We leave the elves to their meditations and go see Azbeth's friends - the conclave. They meet in the top floor of an inn. It had 4 members, now has 3 with nimens death. Azbeth, Cadrivien and Cadfanen, they are all ponce (elf) wizards. Their purpose is to oppose the drow, gather inteligence and sabotage the drow. They believe that the councils lesse faire policy is wrong and that the elves should intervine and help forge the younger races. They have been doing research that may provide useful information - like how the drow sink whole cities into darkness and raze big spires in their midst. They think that the darkness is caused by Crystals made of Traneberium that immet darkness - as hard as iron but with non of the brittleness of crystal, and certainly extraplanar.

The wizard known as Bastirak of the cold wastes is rumoured to be working with a sample. We should also be looking out for info on the Abyssmal Alter. A piece of black stone kept in continual darkness and is a focus of workship for the Enniad. They perform dark rituals around it. It dates from 3000 years ago when a giant titan attacked a city. The titan was destroyed but the drow were able to steal its heart and get it to darkness. While not certain about it, fragments of it are carried by the host and can be used to corrupt the nodes.

Leaving them we head to the halls of concord. We head as advisors to Kaldrazen deligation, Sir Cavallen, a quiet retired warrior.

The opening positions that we discover, admisd the debates and yelling:

  • Kaldzara is firmly against the drow and in favour of anti-drow acrion
  • Chillhame: is anti-drow, the only problem being that Kaldraza and Chillhame don't get on, as chillhame used to be a colony.
  • The Jaharnum representative was recalled after the invasion and a new representative appointed. Brexal who speaks for the "lawful rulers" of the nation. Jahariums offical position is this was stricty between the Drow and Jeharnum, there was never a formal end of the previous war. The Drow are taking back lands taken from them by the humans.
  • Kahoor: a hot nation on the far east of the Eastern continent ruled by a 14th year old boy. They have taken no sides, they are strong and have defended themselves for years.
  • Kangdang: on the far south of the continent, a marshy place of river deltas and rice fields, ruled by a heredetary line of sorcerers. They support the Drow. The drow took by fair conquest thus rule it legally.
  • Murdock-Ram: in the centre of the continent, close to Jeharum is a land of montains and monestaries. Murdock ram are techncially neutral: They will offer sanctuary to any refgugees from every side and set up soup kitchens etc for the refugees to give some humanity. Politically their position is a load of philosphical nonsense.
  • Shumil: on the eastern side of the Western continent. As they are nowhere near the events of the war, are neutral and expect others to respect that.
  • Svarth: is a dwarven nation north of Jeharnum and will not abandon their allies . They fully support kicking the living shit out of the drow and drviing them right back under whatever rock they crawled from.
  • The Topaz Dominions: a large nation on the west of the Eastern continents. The "Sun Kings" see the drow as nothing less than demons who must be wiped out altogether.
  • Valgin: A large nation on the south east of the E. Continent. Are neutral believing it an internal conflict.
  • Vella: The gnome/halfling island. Are protesting neutrality.
  • Visk: A Large nation North East of Jeharnum, a land of barbarians. They offer the hand of brotherhood to the drow as mighty warriors.

That gives us 4 Countries against the drow, 2 in favour of the drow (+Jeharnum) and 5 neutrals.

To recapture CromCalimar will need at least 100,000 troops as a rough estimate (twice the number of drow) not accounting weapons of mass destruction (e.g DRAGON!)

Topaz would offer 25,000 trooops, Svarth and Kaldraza would give 10,00 each and Chillhame could field 2000.

Lorenna attempts to find out where else was previously owned by the drow, but meets little success.

From the journal of Ter'Ri

We decide to go drinking with the Barbarian ambassador from Visk, but he is too busy. Brottor decides to speak to the Svarthian ambassador. He seems to have a few missing limbs with gnomish replacements. He doesn't give us much more info than the dwarves would form an alliance. The Topiaz will form an alliance.

We decide that there should be a coalition council with representatives from all those opposed to the Drow. Chillhame is decided to be the location for the council, which will consist of representative generals.

Ossius will sneak onto the ship where a pro-Drow meeting will be going on. Unfortunately the ship is on the sorcerer's ship, which may have a number of magic spells on it. Ossius goes over the wall (invisible). He sneaks past the guards onto the ship. As he steps onto the ship a big symbal appears. There is a shout and the guards start to move. Ossius teleports out.

Gelnix remembers that Kangdang used to occupy Valgin. We decide to speak to Valgin's ambassador. He doesn't seem moved by our pleas. From some research in a library we find that the Kangdang peaceful sorcerers were overthrown by a black dragon (one we've seen before). The same black dragon that the Drow have killed all the gold dragons that used to advise the peaceful Kangdang 1000 years ago.

We decide to head to the waste lands to try and find the castle settlement of doom where some wizard had been experimenting with the dark stuff that the Drow are using. We get some cold weather clothing and equipment. We then teleport off to the wastes. The wizard who take us there is shocked. The town is devastated. There seems to have been a recent battle. Ossius finds some tracks human tracks leading south. There are some child tracks. From the north are some larger tracks (mammoth?) and giant tracks (frost?).

We search the town. We can't find a mammoth corpse. We set off after the giant tracks heading out of the town. Ter'Ri hears a mournful sound to the northwest - we were heading northeast. We stay with the tracks. A day passes. We spot some figures in the distance trailing us. We veer towards them. Ter'Ri runs towards them and spots that they are skeleton type creatures. Ter'Ri runs back to the party and we carry on following the tracks. Another day. The tracks end at a crevase. Ter'Ri can hear something eating noisily in the crevase. Looking over the crevase Ter'Ri sees a giant eating a bowl of soup. There is also a cave in the background where there could be other giants.

Ter'Ri slow falls down and Brottor spider climbs down. We attack and hit the giant by surprise. After two attacks it goes down with a lot of spells and hits. Ter'Ri gave the final blow. But before it fell it let out a huge roar and two other giants start coming out. One seems to be half giant half mammoth.

Gelnix does a maximise fireball. We go into combat. One giant eventually goes down. We fight the other. Brottor is nearly killed and withdraws.

From the journal of Lorenna

Lorenna takes on the diary job again (so this time it may be readable).

Gelnix teleports Kethos and Alfric down into the melee behind the giant. Terr'i tumbles towards the giant and strikes the giant with his nunchuks. Gelnix unfortunately forgot that Alfric was holding the rope that Jessalt was going down on... so he falls great planning strikes again. Lorenna summons a Unicorn which touches its horn to Reyus and heals him a little, the aura given off by the Unicorn bolsters Reyus's flagging spirits as well. Reyus is downed by the giant as it hits him twice with his club, luckily he is still alive just unconscious (Unicorn saves the day...). Kethos tries to ambush and kill the giant (wonder where he learned that...). Brottor increased in size and strode towards the giant, he is large now. Various other people attack the giant and Ossius flys down. Lorenna summons a dire lion and the Unicorn heals Reyus so he no longer bleeds. The giant hits Brottor with his club several times, he is effectively a walking corpse... (that many hit points left would make a commoner ashamed), unfortunately he gores Brottor as well Brottor falls!!!!! Things are looking desperate. Kethos backed out of combat and commences shooting arrows at the giant, they appear to do nothing. Reyus stands up only to be hit by the giant again, he is dead, and not only slightly dead but dead beyond any kind of death we have ever seen. Not sure if we can raise him when he is in that many pieces. Gelnix breathes fire on it again and at last he falls!

We retreat away from the cliff edge and retreat into the extradimensional spaces conjured by Lorenna (rope trick). In the morning we climb down and approach the cliff edge. Ossius approaches the cliff edge quietly and hidden (well he thinks so). They climb down and enter the caves, one of the caves has a collection of barrels and boxes which are broken and smashed, beams of wood (from the village) litter the cave as well. A blanket! of chain mail covers on the of the cavern floors 15' of it! It turns out to be the giants armour, luckily he wasnt wearing it otherwise he would have been even more difficult to defeat than he was. The second cave has unwashed skins and sodden furs in the corner, the smell is quite horrid. Buried amongst the piles of furs is a torc that is all they find, the caverns appear to have been hastily abandoned.

We follow the giants with Ossius tracking. Eventually when we realise that we are not catching them Lorenna flys ahead, she casts a flame strike to intimidate the females and questions them. The giants used to live in a fortress to the north and fled when strange creatures started appearing from the north west. Grommem's fortress may still have some of the objects that he retrieved when he came back from the north west half mad. We veer to the north to try and find the fortress.

Gelnix, Ossius and Lorenna fly and scout ahead of the party searching for the fortress. We eventually find it, it looks like a giant sandcastle built from uneven rocks and stone. A single doorway lead into the ramshackle castle. Kethos enters the castle, and overhears 3 voices conversing. They discuss a white ladies, a many legged creature, a white wizard and voices in the dark, and last but not least sneaking past a big dumb one. And they wanted a big bag of shinies. Kethos approaches a doorway quietly and hidden, he sees small 3 creatures, bipedal canine creatures with small pearl coloured horns and large ears. They spot Kethos and they flee as does he.

We enter again with spells active and go left (always go left it is a better direction than right). We find a chamber which appears to have been some sort of sacrifice chamber, a large mammoth skull is near a bowl which contains a lot of rust coloured stuff (might be blood). Brottor casts detect magic on the room but nothing shows as being magical. Alfric disturbs the tusks on the floor while searching and an incorporeal bony arm appears through the floor, it is a giant ghost with a missing jaw! Lorenna fails to hold her nerve in front of the ghostly visage and feels weakened, everyone else throws off the effects.

The fight commences! Lorenna opens proceedings with a flame strike and Alfric and Kethos retreat out of the room to fire ranged weapons. Ossius charges with sword drawn and strikes his ghost touch undead bane sword might be useful here. Terr'i strikes several times as does Reyus, seems we do better against ghost giants than were giants.

From the journal of Brottor

I cast death ward upon myself and move into melee range. Lorenna casts a fire orb spell that injures it, ossyus attacks again with his ghosttouch blade and wounds it badly. Ter'Ri, Reyus and myself attack it and though some of our blows flow through the ghost we cuse it enough grief that it breaks apart and vanishes.

We continue past the room, and follow the corridor to when it is blocked by a wall of ice. Alfric and Kethos spot a woman, seemingly incased in the ice about 10 feet back. Suspecting undead we decide to tunnel through quickly with a flaming sphere whilst my death ward is active. The figure moves back away so gelnix keeps tunneling, the stairs lead down into a celler room incased in ice. Looking around gelnix thinks that the roof is looking quite fragile - could be only the ice that is still holding it up!

We search the room - alfric spots more people in the ice - oh dear ice people, J's detect undead doesn't find anything. We decide we don't need an unecessary fight and leave ot explore other areas of the castle. Going back to the original junction we take the other turn and it leads to another cellar entrace, this one partially collapsed. The humans can squeeze through but the dwarves in our plate and ossyus are too large, we wait whilst the slimmer people continue onwards.

It leads to a smooth passage though the ice around the original celar room. The party decide not to explore further until the dwarves can tunnel through the rubble, which will take us an hour to stop the ceiling falling in on our heads. It appears to be some form of ice laberith, I cast resist energy cold on us and we advance through the maze with alfric and Kethos scouting ahead. We come through the maze to a room, the female shapes in the ice seem to be mirroring our progress. The room is obviously the heart of the laberynth, with steps leading down it it from all directions and freezing fog obscuring whats inside.

We are deeply suspicious of the freezing mist. Gelnix summons a celestial polar bear and orders it into the mist. We wait for the screams of pain. We hear the sound of combat and ossyus rushes in, Reyus and I follow. The rest of the party are coming in behind us more cautiously. I narrowly miss a hole in the floor as we advance. Terri gets into melee range with whatever it is and it attacks him, it looks like a giant eyeless orge and it splats the bear, the force of its mighty blow swinging on to strike Ter'ri again.

Gelnix decides that /now/ is a good time to throw his fireball - when we are all close to it. Ouch! that singed my beard! Go resist energy fire! Useless wizard, I think he waited till we were all in range for that! I hear alfric charging in bravely and the greatclub swinging to strike him, Reyus charges from the other direction and strikes at it. I charge in and smite it mightily with my hammer. We notice that what we thought was white fur where its eyes should be is a mass of worms with eyes on their tips, it can probably see all around itself and has backed into a corner so the rogues can't flank it. Ter'ri unleashes kungfoo and sends it down, but as it falls it explodes in a hail of ice shards that impale us. I pluck the ice out of my shoudler as I hear Reyus next to me screaming, "is that all you got!"

As the fog fades and we turn to gelnix and ask why he waited to cvast the fireball we are told he didn't want to hit the polar bear - "a polar bear is for life not just for Christmas." We decide to lower Kethos down the hole I found (he volunteers!). He finds an egg chamber with a grotesque thing in it. Woman from the waist up, centepede from the waist down. K is back up that rope so fast I swear there is a plume of smoke behind him. We also become very aware of the many female human shapes around us. Gelnix flies down the hole with a torch, sees the monster and lets rip with a maximized fireball then flies up to us sharpish. The shapes come out fromt he wall and have us surrounded around the hole. IT'S HAMMERTIME!

K tumbles out past Reyus and out of the battle - useless rogue he should be more like Alfric! Lorenna summons a fire elemental and Gelnix lets rips with a dozen explosions. I cast Rightous might upon myself and J raises a column of Holy fire against the ones nearest him. Not all ahve been effected by him or Gelnix - these things have spell resistance - strong too. Reyus attacks, but his enemy is not taking all the damage he is dealing - though hide too boot! Ossyus attacks Reyus target but fails to drop it. Alfric and terri join the battle

A chilling scream echos though the room, around me the party break and run like cowards! Only Lorenna, Ter'ri and myself have the bravery to stand against it, everyone else panics and drops their weapons. These things attack us, their attacks do not cause much damage, but are laced with cold and sap the life of what they touch. Kithos starts the rout, fleeing back into the maze. Lorenna shapeshifts to an eagle and flies away, Gelnix uses his spell to lfy. I lash out with my hammer to cover the retreat, slaying the creature that was by the doorway. "EVERYONE FALL BACK, I'll cover you!" Everyone has run or fallen back leaving me near the entrance to hold the creatures off. I slay another one, they attack, but Vendyss power protects me from them. Even with the 2 I have slain I am still outnumbered 9 to 1, I make a fighting retreat through the corridor, grabbing Reyus fallen axe as I pass it and battle with the creatures as I go back through the maze and they attack me from the ice. They do not persue me higher than the celler and I meet the rest of the party when the fear effect runs out and they regroup outside the castle.

We need a quick plan, K offers to sneak back in if he is paid. I offer to take the helm of teleportation since I have a limited amount of death ward left. Ossyus offers to go as well, Lorenna gives Ossyus the helm, Gelnix shrugs and gives him an invisibility spell before he teleprots back in. I curse - stupid half orc - if they have stayed in the cellar then they are just going to drain him to nothing... Never the less he reappears with the weapons - they had abandoned the room. With so many of the party drained of life tomorrow there will be many prayers to Vendyss for her healing strength.

Lo and behold my morning prayers are even better attended than usual. Jessault and I channel Her power to restore everyone. Now we have to come up with a new plan - attacking the room again today will be folly - the power for the restoration means we are unable to ward against the negative energy attacks until tomorrow. We wait for another day so we can recharge spells then gelnix teleports in with every form of protection we can cast. His fireball obliterated the monster and her eggs in the lower chamber all that is left is a giant sized sack that he grabs and teleports back.

Jessault and I start churning out the protection from evil spells and we put it in a magic circle against evil - we are wary from the last time! I step into the circle and go looking through the sack, I find a load of giant generic crap and:

  • A platinum idol of a woman with the head of a beetle - magical.
  • A fist size chunk of glowing green crystal - magical
  • An admantine key - for a large door but not necessarily giant sized.

The crystal is green - we wanted black. Bugger! It is however not showing up as evil, good start.
The idol speaks:

The fox hunts
The chicken scratches
But only the pig seeks truffles with it's nose

Reyus wonders if the statue will help us find truffles, Ossyus wonders what is a truffle. We stick the idol and the crystal in K's bag of holding and head North West in the direction of the wizard. We sleep for the night in Lorenna's rope tricks, the comment is made that you have to earn status to sleep in Lorenna's room so K is bunking with the dwarves. We snore, but we have beer.

Next day we draw another magic circle against evil and take the items out - no chances here, Gelnix gets protected from evil and casts identify.

The idol has some form of divination magic - it seems empowered to relay pieces of inofrmation. "Talk crap at will" as alfric says it. "The world of magic is a mirror, where he who sees muck, is muck." it relays to us.

Gelnix thinks it's planar and peroidically we'll get information out of it. The Crystal is a Khemidian Dream Cluster - the purpsoe of a dream cluster is to aid in planar navigation. Sleeping near it causes strange dreams about flying through the planes that while they will leave you still tired aid in planar teleportation.

K thinks we should use the helm to teleport home every night for soft beds and luxaries, I call him a panzy. We head towards the wizard and I keep the idol out to see if it teaches us anything usefull "The wise need not ask, the fool asks in vein" It dispenses such "wisdom" to me roughly once an hour. It goes back in the bag of holding.

After about 3 days travel we come to a mountain range with a massive door in the side of the mountains. There is only a tiny keyhole to let us know that these are even meant to open, high on the mountains are massive figures carved into stone - crude humanoids carved as if they are supporting the sky. I get out the adamantine key and we brace ourselves for what lies within....

From the journal of Ter'Ri

Alfric checks for traps and doesn't see any. He tries the key the door opens. There is a tunnel going into the mountain. It's dark. We head down the passage. Eight hours pass.We camp over night with rope trick. Next day we carry on suddenly a huge and tall bright spectral figure emerges and lunges for us, well Alfric in particularly.Then four more smaller versions appear around us. Kethos gets hit and seems to loose lots of strength. Ter'Ri dim doors behind the big monster and Alfric now flanking hits it. Rogrog smacks the big figure, but is then paralysed with fear. The creature cast cone of fear and everyone except Ter'Ri takes damage. Then Ter'Ri is hit with finger of death and drops dead..............

Finally he is killed. However, Rogrog comes out of his frenzy and lunges at the nearest creature at Alfric, but is put to sleep.

The party continues on. And finds another door and go through to the other mountain side. We can see the citadel whicf fades in and out of existance. Next day Ter'Ri is resurrected.

Gelnix thinks we're at some plannar junction. There are frozen figures around the citadel. We approach the citadel and a giant monster statue asks us our business. Those wearing armour feel drawn to the citadel. We are asked to leave our weapons and we enter the citadel.

In the centre there are large 12 ft tall creatures surrounding it. An ice devil asks why we shouldn't be killed. One sateps forward towards Lorrena and challenges Lorenna to challenge to allow her to pass. Lorenna turns to a bat with mirrror images. Then Loreena realises the creature can fly so she transforms back. Adarkness surrounds Lorenna, Lorenna screws up her first attack. The creature then lands the first blow and all the mirror images disappear. The fight continues. They grapple then Lorenna is plane shifted away.

We decide to talk nicely to the other creature who lets us through. There are steps up the central pillar there are rooms high up in the dome. We go up the stairs. There are two arches to rooms on either side and stairs going up to the next level.

The Fate Of Lorenna Fireeye

Lorenna gets teleported several miles underwater and beaten up. She uses the helm of teleportation to escape before the demon can rip her to shreds. Teleporting too the original stone circle to heal.

From the journal of Brottor

Notes that were not included on the previous log:

  • We are weaponless
  • Jessalt and Reyus stayed behind with the weapons.

We continue onwards deciding to clear out this level before we move on. We enter a long gallery, frozen into the wall are corpses of what must be adventurers. This room is a trophy cabinet where the wizard displays the bodies of adventurers that broke in. There is plenty more room for additions should we fall here. There are another 2 ice devils here. RogRog has a chat with them.

Ossius wanders down gallery for a bit, Kethos wanders down to see if Lorenna is back, at the same time she appears. She hides immediately before the demons spot her, and decides to change to the bird. She rolls a ball of afire past the demons and uses the distraction to fly past. The demons turn on Kethos who yells “he's behind you” and runs off before they can rip him to shreds.

We decide that given we are weaponless to head up and try to negotiate with the wizard. When we reach the top of the column there is a wide bridge out and a narrow bridge out. We decide to take the wide bridge which leads to a corridor.

A translucent block appears in front and behind us blocking the corridor and moving together to squash us. I am about to summon a wall of stone to stop them from crushing us, but Lorenna beats me to it and summons a pair of Thoqua to melt though the stone.

The corridor opens out a large beehive shaped room. Far up above is a sphere of ice containing a man trapped within. Beneath the sphere is a huge reptilian creature with many heads that lurches about watching the sphere – it is a guard of some form. RogRog goes into the room and asks “what's goin' on where then?” The thing attacks him. Gelnix recognizes it as a Cryohydra

Lorenna hits it with scintillating sphere, which also sends RogRog frenzying. My spiritual weapon fails to penetrate SR. RogRog smashes it with his shield. Gelnix rolls up his sleeves and lets rip, maximized fireball. The hydra breaths on RogRog and Ossius and RogRog and tears into RogRog with its other heads.

Kethos goes invisible whilst I cast searing light on the hydra but miss, Ossius casts poison on it, but it fails. RogRog smashes it in the face with his shield and it dies. RogRog is still frenzying. I summon a wall of stone in the doorway in front of Ossius RogRog rips the hydras head off and attacks the wall for a bit. The rest of us wait 5 minutes then I stone shape a hole through the wall, we find RogRog dozing, cuddling a hydra's head.

Lorenna tries to dispel the sphere, but it fails, Lorenna thinks it's a binding spell. Alfric and Kethos climb up but there is some form of mental warding that makes Kethos back away, Alfric is made of sterner stuff and keeps on going. Within the sphere is a humanoid figure contorted with agony and pain with shackles on his hands. He calls “free me”, his name is Aserak, if he gets free he will kill Besterak (the wizard who we need to see). He is besterak's half brother who hates him, this place was used by titans till Besterak took over, he lives somewhere on the lower levels. They are both half dragon, as apparently is their sister. His sister is half silver dragon, he is half red and Besterak is half white. (Same father – a human king, human mothers. His sister is called Zemilac.

We rest for the night, then go back to the pillar and balance around to the narrow bridge. Even RogRog manages it.

A shrill scream followed by maniacal laughter, then a little girls singsong voice with quartz crystals strung from string. Kethos “stumbles” into alfric almost pushing him into the room. Someone tried to cover the room with hangings, there is a bed and a doll. A white haired woman, clearly half dragon is talking to the doll “and then the sun kind of elfland came and melted the stone all away into steam.” He spots us, “come in and play… have you brought tea?”

The dolls name is Dorothy. When she finds out that we have no tea she breathes a cone of cold on us. My resist energy cold protects us. She starts crying, “I'm sorry I'm sorry!” Given that we weren't harmed we keep talking. Her father, the king is dead of old age, she says everyone thinks her mother is dead by she knows that he is imprisoned in the mountains north east of Svarth. Aserak was naughty and so is being punished. Lorenna says she looks beautiful and gets a big hug, we leave and let lorenna talk to her. She believes that Aserak would kill both her and Asterak and Basterak. She thinks Basterak is quite mad, he angered the dead by sending the devils out to dig up the dead. Dead chieftains out in the snow wait for what was taken from them.

When Lorenna goes to leave she gets emotional and casts a blade barrier in front of the door. Lorenna tries to convince her to come but she won't go. Lorenna says that she will tell her a story, and throws the doll into the blade barrier. The girl shrieks and casts a spell at lorenna, Lorenna puts herself in a resilient sphere just in time to block the disintegrate spell, which cancels it – any slower and she would have been toast. The rest of us are stuck behind the blade barrier, Lorenna is doing a running jump through it.

The girl comes after us, canceling the blade barrier as she does so. The girl casts a spell at me, I can feel powerful, lethal magic around me but the scarab protects me, disintegrating as it does so. SH**, SH**, SH**! That was nasty! I conjure a wall of stone in between me and her, it shunts me and RogRog but blocks her away from us. RogRog berates Lorenna for destroying the poor girls doll.

We go down, into a cellar, it is a large round room with 6 huge mirrors. There are images in them. The first mirror is the hydra we killed. The next is the entrance chamber. The third looks to a dark rocky plane with an immense worm like creature. The 4 th is blank. 5 th is blank, the 6 th is vague and chaotic, its surface ripples and shoots out to Kethos attempting to engulf him. We keep away from the big scary mirror and continue onwards.

The next room contains marble desks, chairs and shelves. Someone's library. Alfric searches for traps, so does Kethos, Kethos finds a magical trap and fails to disarm it it, he takes a very nasty spell, we can see negative energy draining his strength. Funnily enough he is immediately trying to tell me how much he thinks are Vendyss, but I am not sensing much sincerity. I tell him that morning prayers start 2 hours before dawn, she should probably attend. We find a powerful spell book that Gelnix sticks in his bag, Kethos wants to sell it.

More stuff detects as magical, I cast death ward on Alfric and he and Kethos get to work. They get some scrolls from more shelves. We get a total of 7 scrolls, alfric also spots a piece of parchment. It writes that someone has discovered a hard to get to shadow plane that has rich deposits of the shadow metal that he is mining and selling to the Drow. Getting there requires a cold iron tuning fork with precise dimensions. The rogues go working to get more book cases open, we stick the books into the bag of holding – they will be worth some stuff later.

From the journal of Brottor

In the cellar we meet Basterak.

RogRog says “'ello, my name's RogRog, who are you?”

Basterak gestures and a wall of ice forms across the corridor. Lorenna and I cast spells and I inflame everyone with a rousing speech. RogRog smashes through the ice. Gelnix, RogRog and Ossius enter, the chamber is empty but a big floating symbol appears.

Ossius and RogRog are driven insane by the symbol, Basterak is obviously there under some form of invisibility as he casts a fireball on the room. RogRog frenzies and in his insane rage attacks Ossius.

Gelnix casts forcecage on RogRog. Lorenna summons a dire lion which goes hunting for our invisible wizard. I remember that I have a restoration scroll and dash back to our assassin. Ossius turns and attacks Alfric, possibly because he's insane, possibly not.

Gelnix tries detect magic, Lorenna summons some big bats. I cast Restoration on Kethos. Suddenly the wizard complete with 2 ice devils appears next to us – with the party scattered. It is me, Lorenna and Kethos to fight 2 ice demons and the wizard who has at least mirror image cast upon himself.

The ice demons attack Lorenna and Kethos, not doing much damage. Kethos tumbles past and asks the wizard “are you hiring?” I hope that assassin is bluffing or I swear I will personally ask Vendyss for liberal amounts of holy smiting on him. Terri goes flying back at top speed to engage the ice demons. Alfric and Ossius are brawling each other. Lorenna summons dire wolves and calls the lion to help us.

I summon a column of holy power on the demons, one resists it altogether, the other is damaged, Kethos tumbles away from it safely. Basterak answers Kethos, with a finger of death, our assassin drops, his life extinquished.

Gelnix comes flying down the corridor and lets rip with explosive cascade, damaging the demons and destroying the images. Ter'ri dimension doors behind Basterak and grapples him with a cry of “whose your daddy” Alfric dropkicks Ossius in the balls, making a very satisfying thunk and groan as the half-orc topples over. Out for the count.

I use a gold dragons breath on the ice demons, they take damage but both survive. Gelnix dispels the forcecage on RogRog, I swear that wizard is mad, he then flies above our fight. Alfric runs here to help us. Lorenna heals herself. I attack with my club, my spiritual weapon is being useless and missing. Gelnix attacks the demons with magic missile. Alfric attacks but misses.

I unleash a bolt of seering light that burns the devil badly, it slashes me in return. Terri has Basterak firmly in a pin. Lorenna is healing herself, Gelnix fails to penetrate the devils spell resistance with his scorching ray.

RogRog attacks one of the bats and splats it across the room. Terri holds Basterak and the wolves tear him to pieces. The devil fighting me hurts me badly, my divine power does it minimal damage.

Gelnix unleashes scorching rays against the devil attacking me, it goes down in a screaming burning hulk. Terri attacks the remaining devil and Lorenna hits it with an orb of fire. RogRog splats one of the bats and I heal myself. Gelnix hits the remaining devil with more fire. Alfric whacks it with a bone and it dies. The rest of us blink in shock, “Alfric the Demonslayer.”

The main battle is over. All that is left is RogRog and Ossius fighting each other in their insanity. Gelnix tells us that we don't have the spells to heal them so I seal the corridor with a stone shape. Gelnix will teleport back to the city to get scrolls for us.

Meanwhile the insane pair fight it out as different sides of the madness take hold. In the end RogRog throws Ossius through a portal that he finds.

We loot Basteraks body, taking the items and sticking them in the bag of holding. The necklace lashes out with dark power on Lorenna, I am looking at a very badly scorched young lady, nasty thing that. We use tools to move them into the haversack, they are problems for later. I use the wand of cure light wounds to heal her up. Useful thing that, still got charges.

We rest in a rope trick. Next morning we go to heal the other 2, we find RogRog gibbering, I use the scroll to heal him. He confesses to me that he threw Ossius through a portal. We tell him it was the right thing to do as otherwise they would have fought to the death.

Now we have to go find Ossius….

From the journal of Brottor

Alfric opens the coffer that was with Basterak. It contains a human skull.

Lorenna teleports to pick up J and Reyus, grab our weapons and then take the dark crystals to the conclave on Zoth Zerandi. Whilst there she meets Jarek, he's another starborne. Looks like a spellslinger with a big sword.

Rogrog picks up the skull alfric notices it has a name on it, Venderesk. Venderesk was a powerful lich, from long ago. OH CRAP! Alfric puts the skull back in the box and locks it.

We step through the portal…

We find ourselves in a tunnel, somewhere underground, it's chilly and looks natural. Thankfully the portal is still here on this side though we can't see it. Alfric drops a coin to mark its location, which rogog picks up going “ohh shiny!” Given that our portal is in a featureless wall in the corridor, I etch into the rock.

A geyser of fire shots across the corridor, the hot air threatening to scorch us, infront comes a geyser of cold. Lorenna and I work quickly with the resist energy spells. We go down a distance narrowly missing several geysers then Lorenna suggests we head back – we don't know which way Ossyus has gone – we need to plan our search. We are unable to see what is causing the firy/cold geysers so continue down the corridor.

We reach a large cavern with glistening stalagtile and stalagmites, chained to one of them is Ossyus. From behind Rogog Alfric calls out “greetings!”, the thing gestures and a giant unholy fireball erupts in the party. “Kill the hellspawn!” I am most definite about that, Gelnix begins with a fireball, but my seering light fails to damage it. Rogog charges forward and smashes it with his greatsword. Alfric and Terri move in.

Everyone that is in the area finds their shadow rising and attacking them – Alfric, Rogog, Terri and Jarek. Lorenna attacks with scorching ray, Gelnix tries lightning but fails to penetrate it. Jessalt strikes 2 of the shadows with holy fire and I heal gelnix. Rogog attacks with his sword. Jarek channels a spell through his sword and attacks his shadow whilst Alfric goes at the creatures flanks with his sword. Terri whacks it with his staff and it drops.

This leaves us to fight our shadows, Jessalt fails to turn them with holy power, I summon a spiritual weapon to attack them. Rogog slices his in 2 then destroyes Jereks. Jerek scorches Alfric's, it is still standing but not for long as Alfric slices it into pieces. Between the remainder of the party we take down the last shadow.

The party is withdrawing hastily except for Jerek. OH CRAP! We forgot to tell him about Rogog! This might be our shortest lived ally yet and through none of his own making! Rogog roars and cleaves Jerek in 2 from head to crotch. I wall off the corridor. Lorenna and Alfric manage to stop him killing Ossius.

Now what do we do with the half ogre…. Rogrog you are the weakest link, goodbye! Fired from the party for scaring us more than our enemies.

We go back to the room where we met Basterak and explore the rest of the corridors. Most lead to more portals, one leads to a lab. We search the lab, Gelnix thinks it could be used for a clone spell. OH SHIT! Wizards resurrection. This means Besterak may well be back soon, and extremely pissed. We search the lab but don't find anything, Lorenna sends it to hell with a scintilating sphere.

We teleport away to Zol Zerandi and I raise Jerek. Next, a dragon horde.

From the journal of Brottor

Off to fight a dragon!

First we teleport to the Halfling isle, then to Jeharnum, then Caldraza, then to the dwarves place with the big supporting pillar.

We buff up and prepare – lots of buff spells.

Lorenna, myself, Terri and Rubina teleport in first. Except Lorenna misses the teleport and we end up…. Somewhere completely different.

Lorenna teleports us back out. Bugger.

We try the next day

We end up somewhere very painful, Lorenna teleports us again and we appear somewhere very wet! 3 rd teleport gets us back. The group looks at us, dripping wet, “so didn't make it then?”

Take 3. Third time lucky. We arrive in pitch darkness, but this time with none of the painful effects of a teleport miss. The dragon is sleeping at one end of the room. As quietly as I can I intone the words of the wall of stone spell. Unfortunately the dragon wakes up.

I throw a daylight'ed coin, there is a mass of shadows down the end. Jerek lobs a fireball, but it doesn't work. The mass of shadows at end suddenly becomes less dense. Ribinas low light vision can see right to the end – dragon is not there any more.

I cast detect magic and we start shovelling.

Lorenna is trying to teleport in with reinforcements. She ends up somewhere odd, in the middle of a Drow City, which somewhat surprises the occupants and then manages to arrive on the other side of the lake. So no help from them then… bugger.

We keep shovelling, the dragon appears and breaths on us, we act hurt as it flies off in a strafing run. Sooner or later its going to work out that we aren't being hurt by its breath and going come back. It tries its breath one more time, with us still shovelling. Finally it charges straight at us, I see a giant open mouth as Jerek teleports us out. It takes 3 goes to get back to Underhill, but we make it.

We go identifying stuff. We all blame Lorenna for the lack of value in the stuff…

We get flogging. Between the stuff we looted from Basterak and the dragon we have some new armour for me, boots of speed for Terri and Ribina, a Periat of wisdom for Lorenna and Jessault, an ioun stone for me and potions for ossius as well as replacement scrolls. We also have some spare funds.

An alliance has been formed between Caldraza, Svarth and the Topaz kingdom Chillhame to stand against the drow (10,000, 25,000, 10,000, 2000) . They are trying to get the neutrals to join us. The king of Kawhore is willing to help an attack to drive out the drow but requires 1/5 th of the land as a dependency along with the city of Bondel.

Murdock ram are still sat on the fence bullshitting generally. We need to present our case directly to the king. They would be worth 3000 monks, which would be a formidable force.

Shammel is a dependency of Kawhore, so if they are joining Kawhore wants 2 fifths.

Kawhore has 40,000 troops, Shammel has 10,000 and has enough ships to transport them.

Valgin firmly believes that the conflict can be contained so remain neutral, they are worth 20,000.

The gnomes want protection – we must swear to come to their defence if called. Their army is tiny, but their fleets are vast.

We teleport to Murdock Ram, to speak to King Kalamon, given our status we are granted an audience within a few days.