Jon's 3E D&D Campaign
Key to Entries
Butt Kicking for Goodness
This is the original party, which is going through the "Adventure Path" series of modules.
(We Ain't Afraid of No Goats -- formerly Takin' Care of Business.)
This is the second party, which is going through a collection of adventures from Dungeon
and other places.
This is the party which is going through Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil in the Forgotten Realms setting.
This is a party which involves Ben and George (or Ben and Steve) each playing two brothers. It takes place in the Forgotten Realms.
Here's a cast of characters.
Sunday, August 26, 2001
The Heart of Amun Khonshu, Part Two/A Giant Ransom, Part One [Rannos]
I woke up stiff and more eager than ever to get out of this dungeon. Still shaken by our guide being turned to stone, not to mention the huge statue and the evil shades, I made the mistake of lighting a torch in the room dedicated to the element of Fire and nearly cost us our lives. Although it's difficult to operate in the dark when everyone else can see clearly, I'll have to learn to trust my new companions to warn me of danger.
The others must have been eager to depart as well, because we quickly moved through the Water room and found a secret door to a crypt in the center of the dungeon. Unfortunately it was a ruse, and after a brief struggle with a bottle imp (and a moment to fill our pockets with gemstones) we were off seeking the Heart again. Zook correctly surmised that the pit we found might be hiding a secret tunnel, and it ultimately led to a room full of ghosts. I was profoundly affected by the site of them and ran back down the tunnel (and through the pond we'd taken care to avoid on the way in), but eventually came to my senses right about the time my companions cleared away the threat.
Once I collected myself it was only a short walk to the end of our quest, a golden sarcophagus guarded by four mummified dogs and containing what I surmise was a lich. Determined to make up for my earlier weakness, I steeled my nerve and closed to melee with the lich, Blackjack on his other side demanding attention as well. If asked about our adventure, this is the battle I'll recount as I consider my strikes well-timed indeed, disrupting several spells and dealing significant damage. Zook's spells were ineffective for the first time in my memory, but Blackjack's axe was not to be ignored and we gained the Heart we sought.
Returning to Greyhawk, we found a mage to turn our guide back to flesh and one to put the Heart in his needy friend. No further reward forthcoming, we set out for Larushka to check on some lands granted my companions and were presented with another quest - ransoming a golden lion from the thieving Frost Giants to the west of Larushka, with gold as our reward and a title for Blackjack to go with his lands.
Before we could make the exchange, a White Dragon stole the lion from the cowardly Frost Giants and we were forced to kill the survivors when they wouldn't believe we had no hand in the theft. Following the Dragon west we were set upon by landsharks and I fell in a sinkhole, but we eventually reached the canyons we knew were its home. We fought two worms in the canyons, one purple that caused some trouble and one white that sent us to camp for the night when it exploded and nearly killed Blackjack and myself. If I've ever been closer to death I don't remember it, and don't care to.
In the morning we found the peak the Dragon entered, but met some very unusual wolves who spoke to us in the common tongue, although not politely. Hopefully we didn't rouse the entire mountain while teaching them manners, and we'll find the Dragon sleeping around the next corner.
posted by Jon Grantham 12:01 PM
The Heart of Amun Khonshu, Part One
The next adventure was AEG's d20 mini-module, The Heart of Amun Khonshu.
The party met a man, Allyn, in a tavern. He said he knew of a tomb of a long-ago emperor. He needed a magical ruby from that tomb, but he and his companions were unable to retrieve it. Would the party be willing to accompany him to the tomb? They could have all the treasure, except for the ruby, which was needed to heal his friend.
After several days' travel, they made it to the tomb. The first room, or the "Guardian Chamber" saw them face to face with the clay golem. As weapon after weapon failed to vanquish the menacing construct, some of the party began to retreat. But finally Zook's rod of the serpent began to constrict and destroy it.
That challenge faced, the party head to the Antechamber, where one of the pillars turned out to be a disguised gelatinous cube. The party destroyed that fairly quickly.
The party then broke through to the main part of the tomb. The first room they came to was the Earth Portal. All of the adventurers managed to resist its ill effects -- except for Allyn, who was turned to stone. The second room was the Air Portal. There, Blackjack, unawares, was infected by spores. Their next stop was the Water Portal, which required bridging a pit. Therein, they found themselves in a battle with four deadly shadows, which drained Blackjack and Rannos of their strength.
Blackjack, teetering on the edge of collapse, needed to rest. Unfortunately for him, resting allowed time for the vile spores to turn to disgusting beetles (what strange spores!) which begain to crawl their way out of his lung. Only the application of Zook's heartstone preserved his life. The party, spent, settled in for the night.
posted by Jon Grantham 10:55 AM
The Horror of Lannock Hill
The next adventure was the Cliffhanger The Horror of Lannock Hill.
The party, with new addition Rannos, was scouting out the area around their newly claimed castle, when they came to the small town of Lannock Hill. One of the monks from the local monastery had staggered into town, severely wounded and feverish. The party was able to determine that "blue-skinned demons" had attacked the monastery, but nothing more, despite healing the monk.
Upon entering the monastery, the party was immediately drawn into combat with five carrion crawlers, which were dispatched with alacrity. Then, on their way up the stairs, they came face to face with Xisstvan and Yurgl, two blue slaadi. A furious battle ensued, and then the party was ready to ascend the next staircase. Before they could make it to the top, however, Z'xor, the gray slaad leader, cast power word, blind on them. He then used animate objects to vex them with flying furniture. Finally, however, they were able to dispatch him and his summoned slaad allies, thus avenging the dead monks.
posted by Jon Grantham 10:11 AM
Thursday, August 23, 2001
Raiders of Galath's Roost, Part Two/Temple of Elemental Evil, Part One [Melissa]
After our last encounter with some enormous bees, we were all feeling weary from a long day of constant battles. Stryker was in the worst shape, after being wounded several times by the bees and feeling the effects of their poisoned stings. I, for one, was very eager to rest for the evening. My magical energies were rather low and I was certain now that I would be able to unerringly strike my foes with magical bolts after another morning spent in concentration. Our first encounter the following day proved my assumption correct as I unleashed these missiles upon some more bees that we encountered. This time, we mopped up these foes taking very
little damage ourselves.
We continued our search of these underground lairs and eventually found a door leading into a crypt of some sort. As we stepped through the doorway leading into this chamber we all felt a strange energy surge, but emerged on the other side of the portal unscathed. That is, we all did except Roondar. As the gnome attempted to follow us into the room, he was blasted back by the energy and left on the other side of the doorway from the crypt. He decided prudently to stay where he was as we searched the crypt.
After a brief examination, a ghost suddenly appeared before us. As we readied our weapons and spells, the ghost spoke to us and quickly we realized that combat was unnecessary. After a few minutes of conversation, we told the ghost of the drow raiders. He told us of a treasure stash in one of the previous chambers, deep within one of the underground pools, which contained items that we might find useful in the fight against the drow. We thanked him for the information and headed back to the pool. A quick search and the treasure was found. Having searched this entire dungeon, we took our loot and headed back to find a city to reequip for future adventures.
While re-supplying, we discussed going through the portal after the drow raiders. We decided against this course of action. First of all, we weren't sure that the portal would work for us. We also had no idea where it would take us. Finally, we had been told that the portal went to the raiders' hideout. Being close to their hideout, the other end of the portal is quite possibly under guard and we could exit the portal into an overwhelming ambush. Having too many unknowns, we decided on a safer course of action and got back onto the road looking for more adventure.
During our travel, I discussed with Stumpwater the benefits of having animal companions. I had been contemplating using one of my magical powers and calling into the wilds for an intelligent animal to serve as my familiar. Stumpwater quickly assured me that the benefits far outweighed any possible negatives. Being a smooth-talker myself and a person very interested in languages, I quickly decided I would call forth a Raven, an intelligent bird that can also speak. The rest of the day I spent in deep concentration as I called forth to my companion. At nightfall, my summons was answered as an unusually large Raven flew forth and landed on my shoulder. He told me that his name was Poe and that he would be honored to be my familiar. We quickly became fast friends during the next couple of days of travel.
The next town we came to was named Hommlet. We quickly found a mystery to unravel when Kerrick went looking for someone who could supply him with healing draughts. The man's daughter answered his call and he was told that her father had disappeared days ago when he was exploring an old moathouse outside of the city. Following this lead, we got back into our saddles and rode off toward the moathouse.
On the way there, we encountered a man walking toward us, who warned us of a dragon that he had seen flying around the area recently. We thought this man was either crazy or misinterpreting what he had seen and we continued on confidently. We came upon a ruin not much later and entered the courtyard. There were obviously signs of a struggle with someone losing badly. Bloodstains covered the cobblestones and lead a trail of gore up some steps into another part of the ruins. We followed the trail and entered what appeared to be an old interior room of the ruin, but no longer having a roof overhead. As soon as we entered, we heard an angry, hungry roar as a dragon swooped down on us. Our overconfidence had lead us into a deadly situation.
As the dragon swooped in to attack, we blasted it with every offensive weapon at our disposal. Kerrick let his muscles and his enormous polearm lead the way, I threw every magic missile I could summon into the beast while Poe repeatedly uttered the command word for the wand of magic missiles in his grasp, Stryker hacked into the monster with his swords, Stumpwater called upon his nature's allies to attack the dragon, and Roondar fired his crossbow. The powerful beast had injured some of us, but had taken much damage itself when it suddenly reared back and blasted Kerrick and Stumpwater with its breath weapon. My first and most trusted friend fell before this onslaught. Stumpwater lay still on the floor as we continued on with our battle. A few more hit from Kerrick's pole arm and a few more magic missiles ended the creature's life. The creature was vanquished but with a large cost to our party.
We picked up Stumpwater's body as carefully as we could and returned to our horses. We wanted to get him to a cleric as quickly as possible to see if his soul could be returned to his body. Being a young party, we did not have the funds to pay for this type of healing. We were instead referred to a less expensive means of restoring a lost life, through a spell called reincarnation. This spell, however, costs less for a reason: it is a risk as to what form the reincarnated person will take. They could be restored as a different race or even as an animal. We had no other choice and the ritual was performed. To our amazement, Stumpwater returned to us, but no longer as a dwarf. He was returned as a vicious wolverine who took one look at us and fled out of the city and into the forest. Being a creature of nature, I can only hope his new form is not too uncomfortable and that he lives a happy life as a wolverine. I will miss Stumpwater, but my life must go on.
The following day, the remaining members of the party returned to the ruins. This time, though, we prudently were much more careful. We sent Stryker to scout ahead, using his uncanny abilities to blend in with the shadows and move silently. He entered the dragon's lair to find that new inhabitants had already moved in. A band of gnolls now occupied this room. A quick fight ensued and we quickly vanquished these monsters. We will be moving on shortly after a brief respite from this battle. I will write more of our battles as we probe farther into these ruins in search of the potion maker. That is all…for now.
posted by Jon Grantham 7:56 AM
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, Part One [Stryker]
From the Parchments of Stryker:
Out of the proverbial frying pan.
No sooner had we escaped from the keep in which I had nearly perished, than we fought a dragon. A dragon! May the wonders of the surface world never cease. The massive blue beast hinted at power beyond compare, but it was no match for the slowly-meshing skills of our young party.
But the battle was not without cost. Our brave comrade Stumpwater Jack was felled by the reptile, and it was beyond our skills to revive him. We brought him to a holy man in an attempt to bring him back from beyond, but to no avail. He came back in the body of a wolverine - a powerful creature to be sure, and one to be respected, but certainly not an adequate replacement for his dwarven form. He left our midst soon thereafter, and hasn't been seen since. He will be missed. I felt that I had much to learn from the dwarf - a race that once lived only below the earth like my foul brethren, but has now made a comfortable home under the sun. I will have to seek out other such opportunities.
After the loss of our companion, we returned to our quest for the Temple, and were immediately confronted by a band of gnolls. The dog-beasts are beginning to seem more like a nuisance than a true threat; but I must guard against over-confidence. The surface still has much to teach me about my own strengths.and weaknesses.
I have come to one decision. As hard as I have tried to leave behind the weapons of my past and to adopt the standard weapons of the surface dwellers, I cannot continue to deceive myself. I fight unnaturally with them, and it risks my life and the lives of my companions. Therefore, when we returned to the city in an attempt to revive Stumpwater, I sold most of my surface-dweller weapons and retrieved my own - which I had given over for safekeeping to a priestess of Eilistraee. The weapons of my youth, of my training, of the past I have tried to leave behind.
I take them back with mixed emotions. Silent, vicious Bladed Gauntlets. Cruel, far-reaching Whip Dagger. They conjure up horrible memories of my days with my hideous brethren. But they feel so right in my hands. The balance. The speed. The control of them. I must always remember: it is not the weapons, it is the weapon master. It is up to me how to use them. The choice is my own.
I know that some of my companions do not fully trust me. They judge me by my skin, by centuries of evil done to them by my race. And I cannot fault them for this. There are those in this world that I hate as well. But I do not need to accept it either. I can reveal to them my true nature, and be willing to sacrifice even my very life to prove myself worthy of respect. I may be different, even a bit harsher and crueler in my methods than their standards may accept. But am I to be hated?
Trust can be earned, as can damnation. Once again, the choice is my own.
posted by Jon Grantham 7:44 AM
Tuesday, August 21, 2001
The Dying of the Light, Part Three
All that was left was a little bit of tidying up the rest of the castle to make it the party's own. Little did the members of W.A.A.N.G. realize that this was the last task the group would take on in its present form.
With Blackjack delayed in rejoining them, the first combat went poorly. Artemis, Biggen and Zook triumphed, but not before the last breath escaped the brave halfling's lips. Returning the body to Greyhawk, the adventurers pondered their options. Sure, they could provide Biggen with the same true resurrection spell needed to bring back Zook. But would Biggen want them spending so much of his money. They pondered more affordable options -- resurrection, raise dead -- before finally settling on the reincarnation option. So Biggen re-entered the world, not as the halfling he once was, but as the elf he had become.
The newly reconstituted group headed back to Caer Morrow for the last of the battles. The fights were relatively uneventful -- the gargoyles proving no match for the full-strength, prepared party. But as the foursome settled in to their new estate, more trouble was brewing. The party had only begun to guess at the depth of blackness that lay within Artemis' heart. An argument ensued over proper distribution of the vampires' treasure. Artemis -- who the others suspected of already helping himself to more than his fair share -- became enraged. The adventurers eventually retired to their respected quarters to cool off.
When Biggen, Blackjack and Zook awoke the next morning, the three of them found Artemis departed. In the end, it appears he could not bring himself to come to blows with his adventuring companions. So he took to the road and left the remaining party with both a sadness and a feeling of a score not yet settled.
posted by Jon Grantham 6:42 PM
Monday, August 20, 2001
The Dying of the Light, Part Two [Zook]
After submitting myself to the vampires, I joined them in the keep. I set up my quarters in the metal tower in the basement. I was enjoying life with my new friends. They treated me well, but as the newest resident I was also the flunky.
I was doing my best to sleep through the day one morning when I had a visitor. Apparently my old pals Blackjack and Biggen had not forgotten me. This morning in particular, Blackjack found a way into my tower and like the uninvited guest that he tends to be woke me up. I was in the middle of a good dream too.
Anyway, he rather rudely opened the lid to my bed and let sunlight shine on me. Thankfully I was able to fix the light problem, but I still had the problem of this unwanted guest.
I don't remember if there were any words between us. There might not even have been an exchange of the usual pleasantries. I also can't determine anymore who fired the first shot. What is known though is that the room instantly became very hot. More fireballs blasted inside my home then I dare say anybody's unfortunate home had ever had to endure before.
After several rounds of blasting that must have given brave Biggen a feeling of dread I watched as my uninvited guest retreated through my walls. Immediately, I tended to some of my wounds as I was sure that Blackjack would come calling again. Sure enough, after a very short amount of time he was back.
This time he had the advantage. His wounds had healed better then mine because he had a hired hand waiting outside with Biggen. As I said he got the better of me in this engagement and I vaporized in an attempt to retreat to a safer place.
This brings us to the grim portion of the story. I can usually get the jump on other people, but this was not my day. This hired hand got the jump and me and had daylight on my long enough to end my vampiric days.
Sometime later I awoke in the city of Greyhawk.
I'm told that they had to use the divine spell true resurrection to bring me back from the land of the dead. Due to being in vapor form when I died there was nothing left of me. All of my possessions were recovered, but this spell is the only one that could be used to restore life and body to my soul.
My old pals had rescued me. Such a noble group that I had been adventuring with.
We then spent the next few days preparing for another assault upon the remaining vampires in the keep. My memory of this attack is somewhat foggy, but my attempt will be to present the actions as completely as I can.
The party consisted of Blackjack, Biggen, Artimus, and myself. We approched the keep and began a search for the remaining vampires. The plan was to go room by room and terminate all undead creatures.
We started by clearing out the stable area. Here we started with a runt. Just a mere lad when he lived with the living, but his current association with the vampires brought about his demise. Unfortunate lad. Anyway, in the same area we came across a true vampire. After a brief fight we brought her down.
We then entered the main living area of the keep. We found a vampire girl. Chased her through the house. She led us to an old man that kept Artimus occupied for a few rounds. Blackjack kept up with her though and was led into a hallway where he called for help. The girl had led them to another vampire. This was the vampire that I had surrendered to in the woods. We battled him to vapor and then followed him to another chamber. Here we met another vampire. Battle again and follow the vapor. This went on until all vampires were beaten. Starting out we knew there were 7 to kill and now all 7 were accounted for.
We were now at liberty to conduct a full search of the house for any remaining undead creatures and treasure. Artimus and Biggen had other business in town so Blackjack and myself undertook the search.
Several more lesser vampire types were found and killed as well as animated armor and scarecrows were slain. We found a fair amount of treasure including the deed to the property. Kind of nice to clear out some property for a town and find that you now own it.
Unfortunately, we were born with a bit too much adventure in our blood. We came close to our final moments of life. We climbed some steps to a observation platform on the roof and found more animated suits of armor. They were easily defeated, but as soon as we completed this we were ruthlessly attacked by some gargoyles. In an appallingly short amount of time my only defense was to turn myself invisible and move to safety. Blackjack was knocked unconscious, but before he bled to death I managed to turn him invisible too. The beasts retreated upon finding themselves robbed of their glory and I hauled Blackjack back into the safety of the keep. I then used his own potions to heal him.
After this embarassing defeat we came to the realization that our best option was to get help before dispatching these rascals to their version of hell.
posted by Jon Grantham 9:07 PM