Surd, an orc Shaman. Alive and rescued.
Ritnik, a goblin scout who had a tendency to forget to keep his mouth shut at appropriate moments. Was thought to have died in the Tower as a result of a fireball trap, but was later revealed to have lived. Alive but turned half-fiend and has betrayed his comrades.
Ranubi, stranded from his homeland of the Holy Domain of the Light, practicing both Theurgy and Sympathism and specialising in the destruction of undead. Now deceased.
Thais 'Tawny' Akakios, a cleric of Elona and master healer. Alive and rescued.
Theopholous, a Tiefling Hoplite warrior of Dimrost, eager to prove himself. Alive and rescued (though insane and incapable).
Maximus 'The Badger King', A Thelemitist with a habit of getting himself in a lot of trouble. Now deceased (?).
Mad Angus, a Shyen warrior with a sword taller than he is, and a grudge against demons of all kinds. He joined the party (conveniently) after Ritnik's death. Now deceased.
(Note: This text may contain errors or miss relevant information, please assist if you see anything missing or incorrect)
After Garreth sent out heralds calling for adventurers for an unspecified quest, a group of six answered his summons. Gathered together in the halls of his residence, the six adventurers spent a short time eating and drinking, with awkward conversation and silence abounding (while the goblin pilfered the silverware) before the Caesar arrived. Tired and harassed-looking, Garreth greeted the group and regaled them with the tale of his fateful expedition with his fellow adventurers to the Sunken Tower of Onagal (though he never mentioned the foul god by its name). After explaining his own part in the tale, Garreth charged those who had answered his summons with a quest: to travel to the tower and to rid it of the evil festering taint. Providing the group with horses (and a war dog for the goblin), a rudimentary map, and advice not to set foot on the seventh level of the tower, he wished the party luck and sent them on their way. With this, the group gathered their belongings, said goodbye to any acquaintances they had, and set out on the road south to Myronmet, the town before the sunken dungeon.
On the road they were beset by beetles with strange three-circled markings on their carapaces - the group, though not particularly good conversationalists, found battle dynamics quickly, and the beetles were swiftly dispatched. While Tawny and Theopholous discussed how best to bury the beetles’ victim so that it would not rise as one of the undead, Surd ordered Ritnik to follow drag marks into the forest, to try to learn why the beetles were ‘collecting’ human corpses. The goblin found a cache of bodies, mostly skeletonised, looted a magical sword, a medallion and gold pieces from where they lay, then brought back a head on a stick as a means of showing what he had found. While the party fought with nausea and revulsion, Ritnik shared that he had found bodies and gold, but nothing else. After some gentle questioning by Tawny and some not-so-gentle interrogation by Theo, Ritnik revealed he had also found a sword, which he gave to Theo as a ‘gift’.
That night, while resting, the party was ambushed by small party of Orcs. Surd, who had been standing guard, summoned a trio of Elementals to stall them as he woke the group. After a scuffle in the dark, the three marauding Orcs were slain, and their belongings reappropriated. One of the attackers’ horses approached Surd after the battle, seeking comfort and a friendly face, but fled at the smell of blood and the sight of the humans.
As the party approached Myronmet, the group passed by a stretch of the river by a muddy bank. They were caught unawares by two strange winged mud-beasts that rose from the river, covering the party in acidic mud. Ritnik, speaking to the creatures in the Spirit tongue, asked, “What youse wants?” The reply was: “To make all things ooze.” As the battle was joined, the mud-creatures summoned two more allies, as well as clouds of filthy air that left those affected by it retching and unable to fight. Despite the mud-creatures’ ability to fly, regenerate, and vomit up foul ooze on those who came near it, the party triumphed. Upon their defeat, the mud-creatures disintegrated, leaving behind river mud and strange black stones. Three of the four stones from the creatures were taken by the party. Travelling on, the group were startled by the scream of a woman - which Surd knew to only be the call of a marsh bird. After this, they didn’t expect to be startled again… until a group of rangers appeared on both sides of the road, bows readied. Negotiations started, with the party proclaiming they’d been sent by Garreth Caesar on a quest. Such an announcement didn’t earn them the warm welcome they were expecting. If anything, the welcome got a little colder, and the rangers’ grips on their bows tightened. Regardless, the head ranger and mayor (is he a mayor? Also, NAME HERE PLZ KTHX) escorted the party into town of Myronmet. Once within the town, they were led to the great tree in the centre of the town. The Dryad spirit of the tree, who vouched for the party’s good intention, also beseeched the group to cleanse the taint of the Tower, which was poisoning the Tree’s roots. Given the reaction to Garreth’s name within the town, the party decided that from then on, they would claim that they were clearing out the Tower on the behest of the Tree, which, admittedly, wasn’t an untruth.
Given permission to remain, the group stayed in the inn, with the exception of Surd who preferred to sleep outside and watch for the werewolf that Garreth had mentioned lived in the area. The party spent the next day gathering supplies, visiting one of the alchemists whom Garreth and his comrades had freed from the tower in their visit. When the alchemist heard that the Tower was the party’s destination, he was obviously scared; however, after assurances that he would not be made to be a guide, he supplied the party with an amulet to guide the way. The party then bought potions and spells, and handed over one of the strange black stones picked up from the remains of the mud-monsters for examination; the alchemist accepted the gift carefully, locking it tightly away in a lead box. During the rest of the day, the party occupied themselves: Surd and Theo scouted the swamp around town to familiarise themselves with the area and to look for the werewolf; Ritnik tried to hawk the silverware he’d stolen from Garreth, with Tawny following to make sure the goblin didn’t get into any mischief; and Ranubi spent the day copying the spells he had learned. When night fell, Maximus decided to explore some of the larger households within the town, just out of curiosity. Under a veil of invisibility, he approached the largest house, but a black cat sensed his presence in the dark. In order to distract the animal, Maximus pulled a badger from his bag of tricks; the two animals faced off, preparing to brawl. The noise, however, attracted the attention of the house’s owner, who stepped out from the darkness and dispatched the badger with two flaming arrows, much to the distress of Maximus, who proceeded to lament the death of the beast with a loud wail. The owner of the house then fired at the source of the noise, severely wounding and rendering the witless Thelemitist unconscious.
When morning came, Tawny and Ritnik - the only two members of the party within the city walls who were not busy with any task - noticed that Maximus was missing. They also heard news of a convicted criminal going to be hanged. Tawny put two-and-two together; Ritnik thought it would be worth going to see the execution. Pushing through the crowds before the hanging, they heard the charges read, and Tawny leapt quickly to Maximus’ defence, with Ritnik close behind. The pair was somewhat dismayed though to find out that if Maximus was found guilty, they would share in Maximus’ fate. The pair was then imprisoned along with Maximus for one hour to prepare their defence. Tawny spent that time in earnest and desperate prayer to Elona. When it came time for the trial, Surd and Theo had returned to town and joined the crowd. Tawny found herself a conduit for Elona’s divine power, and the goddess convinced the jury that Maximus was innocent of any crime. (NAME HERE KTHX) passed the not-guilty verdict, though as a punishment, Maximus and his two defenders would be banished from the town for a year.
After gathering themselves together, the group followed the pendant, which guided them through the moor until they found a hill with a ring of seven standing stones, a large stone slab in the middle. As night approached, the group heard the howls of wolves, but these were no wolves that even Surd with his knowledge knew; the horses fled, one of them falling victim to some unseen predator which tore the animal apart. With strange manes of spiny quills, and savage mouths filled with vicious teeth, the pack circled and set upon the group. It was a dire situation until the Theopholus managed to slay two, and courage of the remaining wolves finally broke and they scattered, demoralised and defeated. The party scarce had time to draw their breath and gather themselves than a gigantic winged wolf-like creature (carrying a haunch of recently-slain horse) who demanded to know the reason that the party were at the temple. Intimidated and afraid, only Ranubi was able to find his voice: “We were just leaving?” This reply did not amuse the creature, who set upon the group with a roar. Theopholous replied in kind, leaping forward with both his shield and his sword; he dealt a mortal blow on the creature, which fled in alarm. As it fled, it left behind an amulet, which turned out to be the key to opening the temple’s hidden door. However, before they could enter the Tower, the party needed to rest and recuperate, as they were worn out by the battle with the wolves and the long day’s ride, and needed to be prepared for the descent into the evil below. Maximus decided to rest out in the darkness, away from the stone circle and the rest of the party. This decision could have cost him his life - the winged wolf-demon returned, picking up the Thelemitist in its talons and flying off, shouting a taunt to the rest of the party as it did about how ‘succulent’ Maximus would be. Surd set off to chase the foul creature in his speediest form of a wolf, but, acknowledging the need for assistance in searching, allowed Ritnik to ride upon him; it was a blow to his Orky pride, but a necessary one given the circumstance. Meanwhile, Maximus managed to wriggle free from the creature’s grip, cast Invisibility on himself as he fell, and land safely thanks to his Ring of Featherfall. As the beast searched for its escaped prey, Surd and Ritnik came across Maximus’ location. As Ritnik dived for cover in a pond, hiding from sight of the circling wolf-demon, Maximus cried out to his companions, and the beast was alerted to their presence. Surd distracted the creature with a loud howl and sped off as quickly as he could, leading the flying beast away. He received a blow for his troubles, yet managed to reach the safety of the standing stones; the beast dared not approach the battle-ready Theopholous a second time. As the beast wheeled back to look for Ritnik, Maximus returned to the stones unharmed; Surd vented his rage and frustration on the erstwhile sorcerer. Ritnik avoided capture and detection by sneaking through the puddles and mud of the moor, leaving a scent trail which confused and frustrated the wolf-demon; the goblin also returned to safety. The rest of the night passed uneventfully, save for the angry cries of the wolf-demon echoing across the moors.
After resting, the party finally descended into the sunken tower, and were greeted by the mossy, dank and dark interior of the first floor. The group explored and battled a pair of strange, oozing creatures who managed to destroy Theo’s sword and shield. Theo cursed in all the languages he knew at the loss, and the walls and roof rippled in response to his Infernal words. Strange creatures made of stalks and eyes, as well as more of the oozes, peered down at them. The group attempted to communicate with the creatures, who proved to be too stupid to even talk to, let alone reason with. However, they did notice one of the strange eyestalk creatures spraying a patch of ground - cleared of moss by the battle and the opening of the door - with spores, causing the moss to regrow in an unnaturally rapid rate. Somehow, Ritnik then decided he would hide even better if he was camouflaged in this same moss, and thus provoked one of the creatures into spraying him with the spores. There was little else on the floor and so the group descended to level two.
Despite most of the party’s rather undignified slide down the stairs to level two, they decided to explore the second level of the dungeon with a greater degree of care than the first. After Theo opened all the doors, Ritnik scouted ahead on his own (though Ranubi followed at a distance with a lantern to help the goblin’s low-light vision); the rest of the party waited in the main hall, sitting on an overturned trough with only the dim light of a lantern and the water dripping off the walls while they waited for the goblin’s return and report. Ritnik’s explorations came in handy, as the party was able to be prepared for most of what lay ahead. Following the rogue’s lead, the party moved through the dungeon; a gigantic mushroom creature attacked from one of the doorways, spraying Ritnik in a strange spore, though it seemed to have no effect. The rest of the party attacked from a distance, with arrows and spells and one of Maximus’s summoned badgers, until Tawny decided to try her luck at melee combat. Her approach made Ritnik turn and flee in horror, through the mushroom creature and into the dark room beyond, though no-one knew why. The mushroom attacked the badger with a spore, causing it to fall to the ground and writhe; Maximus ran to his badger’s aid, dragging the creature out of harm’s way, and spent the rest of the battle cradling the frightened creature in his arms. Theo was also attacked by spores, though Tawny’s Remove Fear spell helped clear his head - he believed he was covered in spiders - and leap at the mushroom for revenge. With the death of the mushroom, the effects of its hallucinogenic spores also faded - Ritnik no longer believed everyone else in the party were suffering horrible contagious diseases and the badger no longer thought its flesh was melting off. Within the kitchens, a skeletal corpse was discovered, with a gigantic enchanted shield emblazoned with a hydra, which Theo claimed for himself. Recovering, the party continued through the dungeon, and found a room with a trapdoor. Theo heaved it open - the door making a horrible shrieking noise as it rose - though nothing could be discerned in the darkness. Even when the goblin was lowered down the hole by the ankle, nothing was seen, but it was deduced that the trapdoor lead to a room the next level down. The party also discovered a room full of alchemical equipment, which Ranubi and Ritnik claimed and cleared out. The party continued to explore, moving all into one room while Tawny stood in the doorway with a lantern. Something slithered up behind her, and as she turned, she was almost killed by the reflected glare of the light from the lantern - the light has reflected off the translucent eyes of a giant slimy snake creature. While she struggled to recover and her friends rushed to her aid, the snake creature coiled around her (covering her in yet more slime, to the healer’s disgust). Tawny was able to wriggle free of the slug-bat’s grip, and she and her friends made short work of it. Further explorations lead to the discovery of the slug-bat’s lair, made in an abandoned torture chamber. By way of revenge for the attack and consequent sliming, Tawny attacked the slug-creature’s nest, and treasure came out. No-one found this particularly disagreeable.
Another room contained thousands and thousands of flies, and no-one in the party was willing to enter into the room. Theo, however, decided to brave the insects and find out what the room contained. Yet as he entered, not a single fly landed on him. Unperturbed by this, the warrior went to the table in the middle of the room, collected the clay flasks that were there, and exited, with no harm having come to him. The containers held spices and inks, useful to the Theurgist Ranubi. There was little else on the second level, so, the party took the time to take a breather while Surd prayed and recovered his strength. After Surd had finished his prayer, the group continued on and descended to the third floor, only to be met on the way down by a mass of vines and tendrils. A plant creature that had been lurking by the stairs attacked, firing seed pods - which infected and caused painful thorny plants to grow in the flesh of those wounded by them - and flailing with woody tendrils. Maximus managed to flee from the group, running past the plant creature into the dark corridor beyond, where he remained, casting spells from a safe distance away. Eventually, the monster was defeated, and the party moved to the next room.
They were greeted by a warrior, fully armed and in a battle pose. When this figure did not move after a long stretch of time, the group discovered it was a statue, made of human skin stretched over a wooden manikin. While Tawny was ill in the corner, Surd ordered Ritnik to cut the statue open in case it contained anything. The manikin was solid wood, but when the skin was cut it mysteriously and chillingly began to bleed. After trying to figure out this macabre mystery unsuccessfully, Surd ordered the statue burnt - if the statue was foul magic, it was best it was burnt, and if it was some poor victim, then at least they would be freed from their torment. The statue emitted a piercing wail as it burned; Surd and Tawny prayed for the unknown warrior, then they and the rest of the group moved on. Further down the corridor, they encountered a large iron portcullis, which gave way to the combined strength of the mighty Theo and the less mighty Ritnik. The group encountered the decayed corpse of some human figure, who held in its hand a black wand with silver glyphs. Wisely putting the evil-tainted wand away the group waited while Ritnik stealthily scouted ahead. He found in the room ahead a gigantic figure that smelt foul (he failed Spot Check AFTER the GM told us what was there, so technically he didn’t see anything (it's stench was as large as it's size!)). After relaying the information to the group, they decided to ambush the creature. The ambush did not quite go as planned - as Ritnik hid in position, Surd stubbed a toe in the dark and let out a loud curse, alerting the creature to their presence. The festering mass of flesh and organs dashed out to the corridor where the party could finally see what it was - a plague-bearing demon. As it passed into sight, it saw Ritnik hidden in the doorway, and dealt him a terrible blow with its glaive. As the party fought the foul demon, it spat up pustulant blobs, which turned into six lesser demons. The plague demon dealt Surd a blow with the glaive, though the Orc fared far better than Ritnik, who was bleeding to death and cut off from the rest of the party. Despite the monsters being resistant to attacks and spells, the party wore down the lead creature. Facing its own destruction, it leapt into close combat with Theo, abandoning its weapon in favour of its long black talons. It dealt the tiefling warrior a near-fatal blow, then, as it roared in triumph, was ironically felled by a blast of Magic Missiles from Maximus' hands. The emaciated creatures were then quickly dispatched.
In bad shape, the party could go no further. They decided to regroup and recover above ground, and to take the chance to gather supplies and to alert Garreth of their progress (through some magical tokens recovered from the bodies of the ambushing orcs earlier in the week). They trekked back in Myronmet without incident, and while the three exiled members of the group stayed outside the town's boundaries, the others went into town and bartered on their behalf. After a few days of resting and resupplying, most of the group was camping outside of the walls. At this point Maximus, in his infinite capacity for the unthinkable and unintelligible bespelled the poor Theo into believing the two to be the closest of friends. After tricking his new "friend" into embarrassing antics the sorcerer gave him the Elixir of Love he'd kept aside, causing the poor Tiefling to believe he was very close to the next person he saw which was, unfortunately, Surd. The Orc was most unamused by the whole charade but all of this was cast aside when Tawny, who had wandered away from the group when the shenanigans started, let out a shriek of terror. Surd instantly shape-shifted into a wolf and dashed off to track the imperiled Cleric. Tawny had become unpleasantly reacquainted with the demonic wolf creature they had encountered at the tower, that and later kidnapped Maximus. Tawny screamed her lungs out as she was picked into the air by the creature's talons, until the creature clamped a toe over her mouth, and pinched two claws around her neck to stop her from struggling free. Even though the party were following as fast as they could, the beast was sure to escape. But Tawny wasn't about to give up without a fight. With her free arm, she pulled a magical Thunderstone from her belt, and threw it up at the creature's head. The stone exploded with a sonicboom, deafening both the monster and the cleric. The beast crashed to the ground, and Tawny tumbled free as they hit the ground and started running. The wolf that was Surd managed to catch up to them, and as the beast rose to recapture it's prey, Surd let out a mighty roar, which combined with one of his spells blasted both the Cleric and the beast with a tremendous gust of wind. The monster got up warily again, and watched as the wolf started prancing and howling oddly. After a tense moment, it roared some strange message which the Orc could not understand (or Tawny either, but she was deaf at the time from the blast of the Thunderstone), then flew away into the darkness. Apparently, the creature only attacks those it judges are unable to defend themselves, the coward.
After some fighting and an unwelcome prank by Ranubi, Surd eventually sent everyone to bed to get some rest. Theo woke up the next morning hungover, unaware that he'd been bespelled and tricked by the capricious Maximus, instead believing the whole event to be the fault of a bit too much drinking. After a last minute purchase (Tawny thought it would be worth it to have a couple more of those Thunderstones handy), the group set out to return back to the tower. However, just as they had spent the week preparing, so had the nefarious fiends who dwelt in the tower. As Tawny descended the stairs, she was struck by a mighty arrow made out of bone. The party had walked into the demon's trap, and was forced to battle fiercely against zombies and summoned demons before they even managed to enter the first level. The arrow had been launched from a ballista, which seemed to move on its own by some strange unlife. There was another of the plague demons, an unpleasant collection of organs and flesh which summoned another cabal of smaller demons. Ritnik and Theo rushed down the stairs to engage in the battle, which was made slightly easier by the holy powers of Ranubi. Unfortunately despite the success of Ranubi in causing many of the zombies to flee, Ritnik and Theo were soon surrounded and separated from the rest of the group, who were forced to remain at the top of the stairs. Ritnik and Theo both nearly perished, but were saved through the timely intervention of Ranubi whose magical hand could heal the Goblin in spite of the distance between them. Surd summoned a mighty wolf and Maximus pulled a boar from his bag of tricks, both of which provided desperately needed support and numbers to the group; Theo managed to cut the bowstring of the living ballista, which vanished in a fount of ooze. Eventually the party prevailed, and, once again weakened, the group decided to rest for the night, despite the dangers involved.
After resting within one of the secure rooms, the party moved on, with Ritnik scouting ahead. Unfortunately, the goblin was scouitng for the zombies, and not looking for traps. A hole opened up in the floor, and Theo and Ranubi dropped fifty feet. After hauling the warrior and the priest out, the party decided to take the long way around. Ritnik went to check for traps, and found a fireball trap within the only path through. After failing to disarm the trap - and being wounded in the process - the goblin opted to disable the previous trap and (real-life physics and whatnot be damned) the party crossed over the now-closed hole in the floor. As they headed for the stairs, the party enountered an iron door where there had been none before. Ritnik found and disabled a masonry trap, then discovered that the door handle itself was poisoned. Ritnik was not affected by the poison, and neither was Surd, who used his Orky strength to open the heavy door. Now fully on-guard for traps, Ritnik found a fireball trap on the wall in the middle of the stairs. Unfortunately, in the process of going to disarm it, he triggered one that was directly beneathe it. The room filled with fire as both traps went off, and only Tawny was out of harm's way (she was just outside the door). The party left the room while Ritnik struggled to disable the traps. He managed to disable the first, then set about the second one.
The room exploded in light and fire. This time, when the party called the goblin's name, there was no answer. Ritnik was dead.
While the party struggled to come to terms with this - Surd and Tawny in particular mourning the goblin - there was the sound of a voice from behind. Someone was coming through the Tower. Surd drew his bow and prepared to meet the attacker head-on. The human introduced himself as Angus, though his introduction was strained given Surd's short temper and suspicion. While Tawny attempted a bit of tact, coming between the Shyen and the Orc, Theo went up to introduce himself personally. Angus asked to join the party, to help them clear out the Temple, given that was his purpose in the first place. Tawny put the matter to a vote: she was willing to give the Shyen warrior the benefit of the doubt, Theo was fine with having another warrior in the party, Maximus burst into maniacal laughter, Ranubi agreed (though intended to cast Detect Evil when he was able to prepare the spell, just in case), and Surd flatly refused to welcome the warrior. There wasn't much time to debate this addition to the party, however, as a sudden foul stench and about five feet of steel glaive punched through Maximus' stomach heralded the return of one of the plague demons. With most of the capable warriors out of the room, it looked grim for the priest and the sorcerer (Tawny's defence and healing notwithstanding). The plague demon spewed forth a multitude of wasted spawn yet again, some of which got in Angus' path. His claymore - which stood taller than he was - made surprisingly short work of two of the demons at once. Using defencive magic, the two spellcasters were able to keep themselves comparatively out of harm's way. Surd summoned two fire elementals, and, after the spellcasters and the cleric were safely out of the room, used one of the elementals to trigger the fire trap. Half of the remaining demons were destroyed in the blast, while the rest were quickly despatched by Theo (who took on the spawn) and Angus (who was enlarged via spell, and took out the plague bearer). Battle-weary once more, the group have decided to take a moment to catch their breath before pushing on further into the dungeon, unwilling to give the demons more time to prepare defences. Ranubi used his Hand of Light to collect what they could find of Ritnik's ashes, as Surd requested. Whether they will be able to raise the goblin is another matter, and one to be thought about only after the Temple is cleared.
The party took care to avoid the now painfully obvious trap and made their way through the next level. Surd decided to send his companion, a bat, to scout ahead and see if anyone was on the level and when the bat failed to return it became obvious they were not alone. The group moved cautiously onwards with Angus in the lead, until Angus stuck his head around a corner and was blasted in the face by a beam of foul energy. As the Shyen tried to gather his bearings a strange head was thrown, which released a sickening wave of stench and odour. At the same time at the rear of the group another figure attempted to sneak an attack on the hapless Maximus, who to the group's fortune somehow dodged the attack. The group was thus split into two, with the melee ahead occupying Angus, Theo and Tawny while Maximus, Ranubi and Surd dealt with the attacker from the rear. The three figures attacked the party with spells and strange curses, demoralising the fighters with both sadness, curses and stench. One of these figures was downed quickly by a chance strike by Angus with Theo later decapitating the dying person. The robed figure at the rear continued to blast the party with his strange beams of foul energy until he retreated out of view, leaving his last compatriot to battle the two Humans and the Tiefling on his own. Meanwhile Surd pulled forth a scroll and bespelled the room crawling with flies to be covered in spiky growths, which injured the attacker as he left the room. He limped away and after chugging a potion, sped down the corridor away from the group. After casting spells to make him quicker and more resistant to damage, the Orc followed the attacker with Ranubi following. As Maximus went to assist the others with the human left behind, Surd was ambushed by the now once again hidden figure. However the Orc endured the attack and stepped back, pulling his bow and downing the man in a single strike. As the others continued to struggle with the robed figure, finally downing the attacker despite their cursed sadness. Surd was unpleasantly acquainted with the warlock, who blasted him with his ooze. Surd got off one good shot until finally resorting to calling Lightning, when finally defeated the final figure.
Despite the fight, the group felt stronger somehow as if they'd finally grown after all the awful trekking and fighting they'd done. For Surd, this was perhaps a more literal growth as the party could have sworn he now looked a little larger as well. However the group looted the attackers and tied up the three that were still alive with the thought of interrogating them later. The party slept in alternating watches, to regain their strength for what lay ahead. Tawny and Angus took the first, keeping watch over the captives, and nothing happened. Ranubi and Surd took the next watch, and the unconscious warrior (Spongebob, for lack of a better name) woke, and started cursing at Surd. A backhand from the Orc sent the evil warrior back into sleep. An hour later, this process repeated. Ranubi decided it would be best to gag the three captives as a preventative measure. When Spongebob woke a third time, he muttered dark and evilly behind his gag, and Surd not only found himself wanting to hit the warrior to shut him up, but to hit him until he stopped breathing. He also found himself wanting to hit Ranubi, for the priest’s earlier actions - nay, betrayal! - in healing the wounded rogue in the battle just past. Ranubi, fearing for his life, called for assistance and woke most of the party. Surd, however, was immediately focused on the captive warrior, and was ready to strike him down with his chopper. Tawny stepped into the way, deflecting his strike only to find herself the focus of his Orky anger. The party now had civil war on its hands: Surd thought them all traitors, while the rest of the party did their bewildered best to subdue the Orc. While Theo grappled Surd, Tawny cast a spell, which Surd’s senses told him was a spell designed to cause harm to evil creatures. That was, until the spell took its effect on the Orc - a spell to cause harm to evil creatures? That was a lie. It was a protection spell the ‘uman had cast, not a harmful spell! Surd had been lied to! His own mind was betraying him! Ranubi and Tawny understood immediately: the Orc had been possessed.
While still possessing his senses, Surd agreed to be bound and gagged, to prevent any more violent outbursts until the priest and the healer were able to come up with a solution to this pressing problem. The party attempted to rest again when the corpulent figure of a bloated undead creature entered the room. Ranubi was on his feet in seconds, and with a spell, made the undead creature his servant. But the battle wasn’t over. A ghost materialised in the centre of the room, sending forth a wave of horror that affected Maximus, as well as the captive warlock and rogue, crippling them with fear to the point where the very hairs on their heads turned stark white. Though immune to physical damage, the ghost was quickly vanquished by Maximus, whose Magic Missiles were, once again, the reason for the attacker’s defeat. Once again, the party tried to regain its strength, and Ranubi started to pray as was his custom, but two of the plague demons appeared in clouds of foul stench, and once more a fierce battle was joined. Angus’ rage made him a powerful fighter, though wounds sustained during the battle almost killed him once the rage wore off. After being healed, once again the party tried to rest, and Ranubi prayed and regained his spells, and also, in preparation to aid Surd, prepared Exorcism spells. Tawny prepared to set up a holy circle that would aid in the exorcism, and spent 3 hours laying out the silver in the proper manner. Surd, however, was still struggling with the possession. It was no longer trying to influence his thoughts or force him to break free of his bonds. Now the demonic creature was speaking directly to Surd, offering him power and strength and, as well, the chance to fulfil the prophecy to rise to become the Once and Future Git, as the demon assured Surd that the necessary requirements to become the Git seemed to fit well with the Orc’s characteristics. Though the demon surprised Surd by saying that Ritnik the goblin was alive and well, and offered to take Surd to him, Surd was strong, and dismissed, ignored, or countered the demon’s insinuations and promises.
Tawny finished her circles, but required time to pray and gain the necessary spells to complete the exorcism. But with eight hours remaining until dusk, it would be a long wait. Angus asked Tawny if she could sing, and the healer turned out to have an excellent voice. While she sang a popular drinking song, Angus attempted to join in (with less than admirable results), the voice in Surd’s head mocked the foolish singing mortals for wasting their final hours with such frivolity, and chastised Surd for remaining as a slave in their company. The demonic presence, after delivering a smug warning about his approaching comrades, seemed to leave Surd for a time. After Surd attracted Tawny’s attention, the healer came over and his gag, and Surd was able to warn the party about the impending danger. Moments later, there was a sound from above, and a man-sized, bat-winged lizard appeared - a dragon! It let loose a fiery barrage towards the prisoners, killing them both instantly, before turning its attention on the adventurers. It’s thick, scaly hide made it difficult to wound, and its fierce breath did much damage on those it attacked. Surd called for Tawny to free him, and after a moment of indecision, she did so. The muddy-green dragon breathed foully, then swooped out of reach further down the room. Leaping from table-to-table, Theo chased after it and sliced through its hide; Maximus, while dithering at the door whether to flee or fight ultimately decided to fire one more round of Magic Missile before making a hasty retreat. His magic felled the dragon from the air, leaving it easy for Angus to lop the creature’s head off. But the foul beast was, even posthumously, able to have his revenge. A swirling vapour burst from the creature’s corpse, and filled the room. Though those further way were able to withstand any harmful effects, Angus, Theo and Maximus were all affected. Maximus’ spine curled, giving him the posture of an elderly man (to match his white hair); Angus’ skin shrank, giving him the emaciated appearance of a mummy; and Theo suffered the most, with his eyes falling completely out of his skull. Thus crippled, the party realised that the longer they stayed in one spot, the more trouble they would be in, so they had no choice but to press on. Tawny wished to re-bind Surd and attempt the exorcism, but the Orc seemed in control enough, and the party were against her; she gathered up the silver from her holy circle and obliged, though not without a brief flare of temper on her behalf.
The group pressed on down the stairs, and came to the room where they had battled the first plague bearer. As they entered the room, some fingers grasping the grating from underneath quickly slid away. Spotting this, Tawny held her latern over the grating, and was able to discern through the shadows a single figure. Angus opened the trapdoor, and peered through, seeing doors and corridors on the lower level, as well as a strange pod-like structure. Tawny recognised this pod, but kept the knowledge of what it was to herself, sharing with the party only that it would be very dangerous to enter. Theo responded with a wry "What part of this place isn't dangerous?", but the group moved on regardless. They found a bunkroom, with various weapons scattered about (in unusually good repair) as well as a pile of unidentifiable - but clearly not human or Orc - bones. The lab and private quarters of a priest of some sort were the next rooms. Angus, while crossing the room to examine a crack in the floor, felt oddly cold, and discovered a gigantic carved circle in the floor, with dried blood encrusted within. The next room contained a gigantic altar to Onagal, piled high with artifacts and riches. Two statues, worn down to unidentifiability by the flowing water, lay toppled on either side of the altar. The temptation of the riches battled with the danger of the altar. Maximus wanted to risk taking the treasure, while Tawny, who felt increasingly uneasy, suggested they err on the side of caution. Maximus cast a spell of Detect Magic, and the treasure, the altar, and the whole damn room pulsed with it. The party left the room, and, using Ranubi's Hand of Oseres, collected the trophies from a safe distance away. The treasure included gold, silver, potions, a few spell cases, gemstones, an unmarked wand, and a straw hat which was obviously magical, though no-one knew how. Maximus and Angus quarrelled over who would be the owner of the straw hat, until Tawny intervened, taking it and putting it in her bag to prevent any more disagreements.
The only way on was blocked by a significant rockfall, one which would take days to clear even with the proper tools, so the party had no choice but to go back to the room with the grating and climb down to the next level from there. With her knowledge, Tawny prepared to enter first to drive the creature back, but Maximus threw down one of his creatures from his Bag of Tricks. There was a flash of a figure - one with either a cloak or a pair of wings on its back - then a pained animal scream, and the slavering sound of flesh being devoured. Tawny leapt down into the pit, though not nearly as gracefully as she would have hoped, and the monster immediately set upon her, held at bay only by the buckler she'd appropriated from the captives. Angus leapt down to aid her, and landed on top of her. The healer pushed herself quickly to her feet and Turned the creature, causing it to flee and cringe in the corner in fear. Most of the party climbed down into the pit - with Theo unfortunately stranded above due to his blindness - and they attacked the creature which was revealed to be - from Tawny's prior knowledge and Ranubi's extensive study of undead creatures - a demonic ghoul, one with spellcasting abilities, tattered wings, and devious intelligence. After the ghoul was destroyed, the group moved on through the northern door, finding a corridor. A room with a rotted tapestry was closest, with a large depression in the centre of the room filled with water lay under a crack in the ceiling - the same crack which had been in the priest's room the floor above. The party continued down the corridor, and, to the left, another corridor led to a different room. Tawny took her lantern and examined it on her own, finding a set of stairs that led down and a table covered in mould. The whole room smelled acrid, like chlorine. As she turned to leave, she heard splashing behind her, and a handful of wasted spawn converged on her. She shouted for Angus, and readied herself for battle, enchanting her staff in readiness. Surd and Angus came running, Angus swinging his greatsword with glee. Surd, however, had barely stepped into the room when an arrow thudded into his chest, felling him to the ground in agony. The last thing he heard as he fell into unconciousness was a goblin spitting at him: "That was for abandoning me."
Hanging spider-like from the ceiling, with batlike wings sprouting from his shoulders and runes carved into his face, was Ritnik.
The goblin drew his bow again, ready to strike at Surd once more, then with a savage grin he swung around and fired at a horrified Tawny instead. While Angus sliced at the demons, Tawny shouted and tried to reason with Ritnik, stepping between the goblin and the Orc and healing Surd while she did so. But her words had no effect on the now-tainted rogue. Ritnik was intent on seeing Surd die. The party were forced to attack, but the rogue was well-protected. In addition to his inherent thief skills, he was protected by an amulet of protection that negated Maximus' magic missiles, as well as a shimmering aura that blurred his image. Angus did his best to attack the rogue, but the Shyen's attack only earned him the ire of the rogue. After one successful hit which left the Shyen bleeding, Ritnik lined up his blade and stabbed the barbarian through the throat, killing him instantly. Devastated by this, Tawny swung her staff again and again at Ritnik, her strikes inneffective not just due to the rogue's evasion but from the healer's own tears and screams. The rogue cast Unholy Blight, which affected everyone in the room, particularly Tawny, and then a spell of darkness which gave him cover enough to sneak attack at will. Tawny countered this with a spell of light, and Maximus and Ranubi managed to hurt Ritnik with various spells of electricity. Ranubi himself took up Angus' greatsword, and, thanks to some scrolls Maximus had prepared, was able to fight with the unfamiliar weapon. Faced with this, the goblin rogue turned and fled downstairs. After a moment's hesitation about what the course of action should be, the group decided to follow after Ritnik. The room downstairs was flooded with water, and Tawny could just see a figure swimming underwater some distance away. She sat down on the stairs and sliced the straps of her armour, ready to dive after and follow the goblin, while Ranubi, still buffed from the battle, struggled downstairs, putting Tawny's armour in his bag of holding as he passed.
One of his feet touched the water, and sizzled immediately. Panicking but unable to stop himself, Ranubi vaulted into the water, dropping the sword on the stairs as he fell. His whole body sizzled and melted, and he died with horrible pained screams. The water was not water at all, but acid. That was what the chlorine smell was. Ritnik was able to swim through it due to his new allegience with the demonic forces of the Tower. Faced with this impossibility, what remained of the party had no choice but to turn back. Ritnik had escaped them, what treasure they'd been able to gather was destroyed, and they'd lost both a spellcaster and a great fighter in this battle. Demoralised and faced with a now insurmountable task the survivors regrouped, giving Angus a makeshift burial by covering him with oil and burning him in what appeared to be a kiln. After this the group fled upstairs and reached the door leading out only to discover a terrible irony.
Ritnik had been the one carrying the key to the tower. They were now trapped inside seemingly with no way to leave the infernal place.
Maximus, Surd, Tawny and Theo quickly moved into the side room and Tawny prayed desperately to Elona for assistance. Tawny asked: "What is the fastest way to escape this place alive?" Elona's reply was somewhat cryptic: "Be like the mountain, not like the tree". After Tawny finished her communion with the goddess, the room was suddenly cleared of the moss that covered the wall and the dripping water which usually dripped constantly from the walls. Even the air became fresh and breathable, something which the group thought they had forgotten completely in the chaotic swirls of stench and diseased fog. After a couple of hours it seemed as though the group might have a safe-haven: nothing had teleported into attack them, and the ground itself seemed consecrated. This prompted Tawny to risk an exorcism on Surd, which was successful. The demon within Surd vanished with a surprised and pained expression. The next day, however, there was a pounding at the door. Risking a brief opening, they were greeted by the sight of demons of all kinds filling the room beyond. After a desperate fight to push them back and to shut the door, the survivors realised what Elona's message was: they were to be like a mountain and remain where they were, enduring in their safe haven.
After a week in the safe room, hearing the taunting voices of the demons (including Ritnik) outside, Maximus snapped and stormed out of the room blasting spells in a delusional fury. Although he managed to clear a great number of the demons there was always an unceasingly tide of reinforcements to replace those that fell and sadly, eventually Maximus ran out of spells and was swarmed by the gibbering horde. The survivors had no option but to shut the door.
Theo began to dissolve into a deep depression. His blindness as well as the voices of the demons wore him down. After some time had passed after Maximus' death, Theo finally gave in and tried to stumble to the door. Ritnik's voice promised the restoration of his sight and strength, and Surd and Tawny were regrettably forced to tie the tiefling up. Theo descended further into himself, becoming catatonic and unresponsive to any external stimulus, although he ate and drank the food presented to him by Tawny. Though she tried to engage him in conversation, trying to revive his mind, he would seldom respond.
With Tawny's ability to create water and food, and with Surd's magic ring, the party could survive indefinately. Despite being alone with only themselves and the terrible forces outside the door for company, Tawny and Surd's faith in Elona and in the spirits of nature keep them relatively sane until rescue. Tawny sometimes checks with Elona to see if they are being rescued, but is always told cryptically to wait and endure. Although the pair don't know if anyone will make it to the tower and rescue them, they will never be the same if and when they are freed.
Update: Surd, Tawny and Theo have been freed from the Tower. Theo was taken back to Epiach for treatment, while Surd and Tawny have been sent to Myronment.
One morning after the group had just left Epiach Tawny made a terrible mess of breakfast, an embarrassment she would like to forget, and has tried to make up for.
Maximus gained the title "The Badger King" after the fateful and absurd encounter he had in Myronmet which involved a badger he had pulled from his bag of tricks. This became even more ironic when he pulled a second (non-intentioned!) badger out while they fought a strange fungal monster in the Tower of Onagal, leading to the bag of tricks to magically become a Bag of Badgers. Maximus' Magic Missles are also now striped like the animals.
Players and GM alike also seem to delight in teasing about pairing Surd and Tawny together, which has no actual basis from the actual game.
Once the players returned to Myronmet to recover and restock, Maximus took possession of the Elixir of Love that they had found in the slug-bat's nest. There is speculation as to what, exactly, a slug-bat needed a love potion for in the first place… though, there was the fact it grappled Tawny when it first attacked…
After leaving the Tower for a brief respite, Maximus seemingly randomly cast a spell which Charmed Theo. Theo, now believing himself to be the best of friends with the sorcerer was convinced into taking off his armour and clothes, and then dancing naked around the fire. Although Ritnik thought this was amusing, and even the sensible Surd thought it was worth seeing the strange humans and Tiefling behave so strangely, Tawny did not share this view. For reasons of her own, she walked away from the group. Surd's amusement came to an end when Maximus tricked Theo into chugging the Elixir of Love, causing him to become similarly charmed with the first person he saw which was - much to Surd's dismay - the Orc. Despite valiant efforts by the Goblin to knock the Tiefling out (possibly a futile attempt given the Tiefling's stature and the Goblin's lack of it), Theo continued to make advances on the now unfriendly shaman until Surd morphed into a wolf. Needless to say Surd was secretly a little glad when Tawny needed to be rescued, but the Goblin was very disappointed when Surd dashed away without letting him ride him.
The party then proceeded to collapse into a fight upon their return from the Cleric's rescue. Given that she wasn't able to hear anything, she wasn't able to mediate any disagreements. Surd, who was extremely angry and disgusted at the mayhem the sorcerer had caused, punched the unsuspecting Maximus in the gut. He was further unimpressed when Maximus and Theo attempted to sing a love ballad to him in his tent. Though the fighter was unsurprisingly an awful singer, the so called "Badger King" actually managed a respectable ballad, one perhaps Simon Cowell might not have frowned at. This skill was wasted on the Orc, who, aside from not having an appreciation for human love songs, was still in a foul mood. He then attempted to dump the sorcerer in the nearest pond and after being stopped by the charmed Theo, stormed off from camp. At this point Ranubi decided to disguise himself as Maximus and attempted to confuse the party. A quick test with a badger, ironically, revealed the real Maximus and the bespelled Theo was about the fight Ranubi. After a yell from Ritnik, Surd proceeded to storm back into camp where he yelled at everyone one to return to their tents without supper. The group - surprisingly - did so, and the rest of the night passed as peacefully as a night like this could.
Ritnik addressed Surd as "Boss" and even seemed to follow orders to some degree, although this was more often a way to furthering the means of the Goblin as opposed to actually obedience and deference to the Orc. As such, Ritnik commonly tried to pocket extra items on the side and keep it a secret from the group, with varying degrees of success. Ritnik also possessed several other items unknown to the group, although now that he and his bag of holding are destroyed, such secrets will never be discovered.
The little eyeball stalk that Maximus took from the tower, placing into an air-tight container is probably now dead having been deprived of both food and air for the week the group spent in town. The demons probably freed it when they killed Maximus.
Surd appears to be the unofficial leader of the party, something reinforced by his command for everyone to go to their tents, and the party's subsequent compliance with the order.
|Drawn by Amy during the sessions. For great justice!|
|The Badger King's first appearance; Tawny as a vessel for Elona; heading for the Tower and getting attacked by wolves. (The wolf drawn there is not what attacked us. I was just guessing. Turned out they were a lot worse.)|
|The wolves attacking were made smaller than what they were so they'd fit on paper. Also, the latter half of the paper is devoted to stuff that I wasn't able to see, what with the session I missed. Huzzah?|
|Maximus' AI is just as insane as he is. (See next for more proof). Theo gets Tawny's help in dealing with halucinogenic mushroom spores. Anjar decided what colour he wants to be on the map based on the bottle of soda he brought. (… maybe you had to be there…)|
|Even on AI, the Badger King wears his crown proudly.|
|The attack of the slug bat thing! Dun dun!|
|Tawny has fun dungeon-crawling, yes she does. ^^;;|
|Theo makes monster-slaying look easy.|
|Ranubi/Ash manipulates game physics while Surd kicks the fallen tree monster.|
|I make no apologies for the blatant VGCats ripoff. It was funny :D The potion of love and its owner leaves a disturbing image in the mind. Lookie! There's Garreth! And finally, because the bastard scanner ate part of the text bubble: "I may or may not have spiked your drink, Tawny!"|
|I call this page the 'Adventures of Tawny' page. Also, look! Elona! I'm nt going to get jihad'd because I drew her, right?|
|Here we reenter the dungeon, lose Ritnik, gain Angus, and meet the evils Bishie-boy and SpongeDrob.|
|I like drawing Tawny looking horrified for some reason. Scanner cuts off Maximus' words again. Suffice to say, he just says "Ow." Apparently the room with bugs in it actually is filled with bugs. Who knew? And we all level up, JOY! Well, Angus doesn't, but he's happy because we are happy!|
|The ghost, the undead, angus's raging-fainting, and the effects of the dragon.|
|This is where the comics kinda stop being funny. Read Japanese-style (ie right to left) for these ones, because I decided to be different.|
|The finale of the game…|
|This was a triumph. I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS…|
(That's the last of them. Enjoy them forever.)