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.
Wednesday, April 10, 2002
Temple of Elemental Evil, Part Seven [Melissa]
Continuing on from my last journal entry, I would like to add another reason for our trip to Arabel. The death of Kerrick had left our party incomplete. We had our stealth and cunning, we had our artillery and diplomacy, we even had the favors of a god, but we now lacked brute strength and a frontal attack. Our good friend [Martin's Paladin] had to leave us early on in our adventures due to some pressing business in Arabel. We were hoping to find him now and find him available to continue on with us. Unfortunately his business had led him elsewhere and the road found only the three of us heading back to the Temple.
Luck was with us on our travels; probably Roondar's god recognizing our need and sending some good luck our way. After a few days on the road, we saw a large figure digging a ditch on the side of the road. A quick look showed us this man was burying another, presumably his comrade. Based on the amount of dirt leaving the grave with each heave of his shoulders, it seemed like we had found our brawn. A short conversation later, we had learned that this man and his companion had been ambushed in some nearby hills. They had fought off their attackers, but his companion did not live through the fight. He had carried his friend this far and found a spot to bury him and was finishing this process when we had approached. We offered him the chance for battle and wealth and he quickly accepted our proposition. Over the next couple of days, we related all that had happened to us since we began investigating this region.
I will move quickly through our return to the Temple. Upon returning to the entrance cave, we quickly learned that reinforcements had arrived to replace the guards we had killed. Since we had been gone about 3 weeks, this was only to be expected. We used a new tactic to quickly eliminate the first 4 guard rooms. Stryker would sneak into the room and be prepared to strike. I would cast sleep on the guards, usually putting all but one unconscious, and Stryker would quickly kill the one standing. Roondar would then run into the room for the final coup de grace on the sleeping guards. This left one final guardroom, the dining hall where we had our largest battle to date. Once again, this make-shift barracks was the site of a large battle with zombies, gnolls, humans and one tough barbarian/rogue. Another tough battle, but another victory for us.
With the guards eliminated, we moved on to the mines and started making our way south to the dragon's lair, the cave where Kerrick was killed. About halfway down to the dragon's lair, we encountered two strange creatures. They appeared to be heads suspended amid a ball of moving limbs; arms and legs were flailing to attack us and to move these creatures around this cave. And such foul language was shouted from these creatures. I had not heard the like since I was a child and my mother took me along with her to a warehouse to retrieve some of her belongings. She never took me back to that warehouse. But I digress. The creatures were quickly dealt with and we moved on.
We followed the caverns beyond the dragon's lair. The twisting tunnels continued on and on until we finally entered another cave. One side of this cave was filled with a large pool. Stryker noticed some sort of aquatic humanoid swimming in the pool. As we approached, the humanoid dove underwater and was attempting to flee. I did not want an alarm raised and quickly read one of my new scrolls. A second aquatic humanoid appeared, a triton, and tried to stop the first from fleeing. Unfortunately, the triton was not as strong a swimmer as the pool's inhabitant and the creature escaped through a underwater tunnel. We will have to see if an alarm is raised.
The next cavern we entered appeared to be the end of mine. The center of the chamber held a large wooden platform with a conveyor system to load minerals into the mine carts the platform appeared to be built so the minerals could be mined from the roof of the cavern. These are, of course, my own conjecture and we may never know the exact story of this machinery.
We returned to a side passage that we passed while we were following the cart tracks. We traveled west for a time and emerged in a north/south tunnel that contained some stagnant water running along one wall. We headed north. Stryker's keen eyesight once again provided us relief from a nasty surprise. Some of the nasty, stagnant water was some type of ooze that began to slither toward us. We moved away from it as I tried to burn it with a flaming sphere. Two direct hits by the sphere didn't even make the creature flinch. We continued to back away as I launched fireball after fireball onto the creature. It was still moving toward us when we arrived back at the side hallway from which we had emerged minutes earlier. Stryker headed south down the passage. I did not look forward to having an enemy in front of me and not knowing what was at my back. I moved west back down the hallway toward where we had left the mining cart tracks. Fortunately, one more fireball stopped the ooze and we quickly joined back together as a party. We went back north to where we first encountered the ooze and continued north beyond. The passageway ended in an underground lake that extended under the wall in front of us. A side passage lead away from the lake to the northwest so we continued on.
As the passageway began to turn north, side passageways broke off to either side. Stryker volunteered to do a quick scout in either direction and report back. He first headed southeast. About 30 seconds after he had left, the hallway started trembling and a rumbling could be heard from the southeast. We were about to make our way down the passage to look for Stryker when he suddenly emerged, dusty and shaken, but unharmed. The unsteady room to the southeast had collapsed as he had entered. His quick reflexes had saved him from being crushed under tons of rock. Even with his close call, he still volunteered to scout the northwest passage.
The small, two part cave that he entered appeared to be empty. Just before leaving to report back to us, he noticed a creature hiding on a ledge about 15 feet off the floor. He reported back to us and we decided that Stryker would sneak into the room, I would fireball the ledge, hopefully to bring the creature out of hiding, and Stryker and Magnus could finish it off. As Stryker entered the room, however, the creature noticed him and let loose a stream of acid. Stryker, not used to being spotted while sneaking, did not notice the danger until after he was doused with the acid. He let out a terrific scream as I loosed a fireball.
The second part of our plan worked to perfection. The creature, singed on its ledge, jumped to the floor and charged Stryker. Magnus charged the creature. A few moments later, the creature lay dead on the floor and we looked to healing Stryker's wounds.
The day has grown long as I write this. We have decided to rest here, in the creature's lair, and recover from our wounds and replenish our magical energies. With no exits but the one we came in, this cave seems safe enough. I will write more of our adventures as they occur.
posted by Jon Grantham 5:20 PM
Monday, April 01, 2002
Temple of Elemental Evil, Part Six [Melissa]
Looking back at my previous entry to my journal, I see that I mentioned the confidence I felt in my companions to handle the perils of this Temple. All that I felt from the previous few days has been reversed this day. For the first time in years, I am writing in my journal with a very heavy heart. My confidence is shattered. I must put the following down on paper to try to clear my head. I hope that years from now I will look at these events and just shake my head. Live and learn.
With our supplies replenished, we returned to the caves that marked the entrance to the Temple. According to the maps we had created, we figured that the entrance guardrooms had been cleared out. The two areas that still needed to be explored were the mines in the south and the Earth mines in the north. We decided to start by clearing out the southern mines. We traveled the most direct route to the entrance to the mines. Two paths exited the room, both with tracks upon which the mining cars can travel. We decided to take the westernmost of the two exits. A long walk to the south finally opened into a large cavern. As we searched through some rubble and barrels, two large worms suddenly burst out of wall, both careening into a startled Kerrick. Between the heat from their bodies and the force of the impact, Kerrick looked stunned. Seeing that these worms were creatures of fire, I used my snowball swarm on them. The effect was astounding. Both creatures became completely frozen and shattered. I will have to remember this in the future.
We continued to follow the tracks out of the cavern, to the south. Once again, we had a long walk through cavernous tunnels before we finally emerged in another large cavern. The tracks led through this chamber and over a bridge to the south. The bridge spanned a pit, which appeared to drop down to a second level of the mines. We could see more mine tracks on the level below. There was still too much work to be done on this level so we continued on beyond the pit.
The passage beyond started turning to the southeast. The next, smaller chamber we entered was empty like the last. The tracks ran along the outside wall of this chamber, curving along the wall and sloping upward. We continued along.
I guess I should explain our typical exploration process at this point. Stryker, using his uncanny abilities at sneaking and hiding among the darkened passageways, scouts ahead of the rest of our group. He remains about 50 feet ahead and reports back to us often. We are usually warned prior to any encounters due to his skills. The rest of us follow, more or less, in a tight group behind him. As we continued along the rough-hewn passage, we were using these tactics. Stryker entered the next chamber alone, about 50 feet ahead of us. His skills were not enough on this day. He and the occupant of this chamber, both saw each other at the same time. And the dragon immediately cast a spell.
As soon as he spotted the dragon, he yelled back to the rest of us. We all rushed forward in time to see Stryker advancing on the beast. In our haste to help our comrade, we put ourselves into perfect position for the dragon to use its breath weapon. I was able to dodge the worst of the blast and my aasimar blood helped counter some of the effects of the acid, but I was still injured. Roondar caught the worst of the breath weapon and was down before he could act. I blasted the beast with a fireball while Poe used his wand to deliver some damage. Kerrick and Stryker moved up and were standing toe to toe with the dragon. Spells were blasted, weapons flashed, and the dragon emerged victorious. First Stryker went down and then Kerrick. Then the dragon turned its gaze on me.
My background is based in magic. I have learned about these beasts and their power from an early age. I have even faced one, to disastrous ends, earlier in my career. But, staring deep into the eyes of this magical beast was all I could bear. If this dragon could take the damage we had inflicted on it and still manage to drop my three comrades, what chance did I have? I summoned a dire wolverine, hoping to at least distract the dragon and maybe buy me a few precious seconds. To my surprise, the wolverine scored a nasty bite on the dragon and raked it with its two front paws. The dragon appeared to not even notice. It looked me straight in the eye and spoke. "Take your friends and leave here, never to return, and I will let you live. I see what you are and the noble blood that flows through your veins. I will trust you to your word if you accept this deal." I looked around at my dying friends and only paused briefly before accepting its offer.
I cautiously approached Kerrick who was sprawled at the dragon's feet. Kerrick was savagely mauled, but was still breathing. I poured a healing draught down his throat, stabilizing his condition, but he was far from consciousness. Poe, meanwhile, was busy tending to Roondar. He also was terribly wounded and it would be a little while before he could stand. I did my best to hug the walls around the dragon to where Stryker was lying. Never have I been so afraid as I was in easy reach of the dragon's mighty talons. One potion brought Stryker back to consciousness. As soon as he opened is eyes, I told him to leave the dragon alone. I then went back to helping Kerrick. I had just finished pouring a second potion into Kerrick's mouth when I saw a sudden motion out of the corner of my eye. Stryker had thrown something.
A large explosion occurred just behind the dragon and knocked me from my feet. I stood up and immediately noticed that Kerrick and the dragon were dead. Dead beyond any help I could provide. What the hell was Stryker thinking?!? Did I not give him a direct order not to attack the dragon? Who the hell does he think he is dealing with? Kerrick is dead by his hand. Honorable, loyal, and one of my closest comrades, dead, all because Stryker felt he knew best what to do, and disobeyed my order. I looked over and saw that Stryker was unconscious again. I strode over to him quickly and kicked his whips into the corner of the room. I readied my spear at his throat and woke him with more healing potions. I needed some answers. He disobeyed me and to the peril of us all. My trust in Stryker died with Kerrick.
His eyes fluttered opened. My eyes were burning bright orbs of light, as happens when my aasimar blood is boiling. "Why did you disobey my orders!!! Kerrick lies dead because of you!" Stryker seemed surprised at the fire in my eyes and the spear at his throat. He struggled upward and knocked the spear away. Before I could tell him no, two magic missiles flew from Poe's wand in response to what he saw as an attack aimed at me. Fortunately for us all, the missiles fizzled out, defeated by the innate magical energies of the drow. I looked over at Poe and saw that Roondar was on his feet. "Help me Roondar. The drow has killed Kerrick." I knew this was an unfair card to play, relying on the distrust inherent in deep gnomes to the drow race. But I didn't know where this was leading and I had to have Roondar on my side. And nothing I said was a lie.
Stryker had cleared the cobwebs from his head and responded. "What has come over you? Have I ever done anything to earn your mistrust? I have time and again put my life on the line for this group and this is the way you repay me?" His response cut through the anger I was feeling. Could I have overreacted? Was I letting my emotions over Kerrick's death cloud my judgment? I needed time to think. With Roondar watching my back, I backed off from Stryker.
I thought about what had occurred. Stryker's final conscious memories were of Roondar down and dying, Kerrick badly injured, and the dragon still fighting back strong. Maybe he thought I was under the dragon's control. Too many possibilities. Stryker has been a loyal companion. I have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Wait a second. Stryker was also caught in the blast of the Bead of Force. He obviously did not know how that magic worked. He would not have used it if he did, still very injured as he was. He obviously did not mean to kill Kerrick. Maybe I did overreact. I must remember that I am no longer in Silverymoon where I am a princess and my commands are unquestioned and obeyed. Down in these dungeons, we must all trust each other and be
equals. I should not have automatically assumed Stryker would obey my order.
Several tense moments ensued as I did my best to explain my actions to Stryker. He listened, but would not respond to me. I am afraid that a chasm has opened between us, one that may never be sealed. I received a silent nod when I suggested we take care of Kerrick and leave these dungeons for a while. We quickly gathered up the dragon's possessions and used a mine car to transport Kerrick's body. We brought him out onto the hillside and searched for a proper burial site. A short distance from the cave mouth sat a small glade overlooking the surrounding hills and valleys. Kerrick would like this place. We spent the rest of the day burying our friend. Roondar knows much about the gods of the world and did his best to honor Tyr, Kerrick's god, to send Kerrick on his final journey. We were all silent as we rode away.
We had decided to travel to the nearest city. We needed more supplies than could be acquired in the nearby settlements. We also needed to look for a new companion, a fighter to replace our fallen friend. I didn't feel like we could replace Kerrick easily, but I knew we had to try. I was determined on our long ride to do what I could to mend the damage to Stryker and my friendship. He would not look at me as I approached him, but I was persistent. I would approach and talk soothingly about our past, hoping I would get through to him, and then back off. After many hours of this tactic, he finally looked at me. I told him all about my past about how I was a princess in Silverymoon, how I came to learn about my Aasimar heritage and latent magical abilities. I shared with him more knowledge of myself than I had ever done before. I couldn't stem the flood of words that flowed from my mouth. After what seemed like hours, Styker said his first words to me in days.
He told me of his heritage and how he escaped the evils of his drow past. He told me of his escape to the surface world and how he had been mistreated and mistrusted for many years. He talked for hours as well and much of the tension was eased around our campfire that evening. Roondar had sensed that Stryker and I needed time to work some things out and had left us alone throughout the day.
We have reached our destination now. We are now in the city of Arabel and we each have our chores to run. I have left my companions for the day to take care of my own needs. I am confidant that we will meet again later this evening and that we will be stronger as friends and companions than before.
posted by Jon Grantham 6:29 PM
Temple of Elemental Evil, Part Six [Stryker]
We have done what little we can to prepare. But this little town offers nothing to speak of in supplies or armaments. We are healed. I have fastened a steel gorget around my neck: dreams of blinding light and the whisper of a garrote have plagued me. And now we return to the Temple…
[Here the parchments are badly damaged and scarred as if burned - or perhaps eaten by acid…The text survives in fragments.]
…it’s blazing eyes captured me, despite my best efforts to hide! It reared back its foul green head, and blasted a blazing stream of acid at us. By some miracle of luck and speed, I was able to dodge most of the caustic liquid and keep my footing. Some of my possessions, like this parchment, were not so fortunate. And neither were my allies.
…acid inflicted terrible damage on my companions. Roondar collapsed, and did not move again throughout the battle. And Kerrick bore the brunt of the blast, with jets of acid pelting him fully in the face. But somehow, he battled on. He stepped forward, acid dripping from his guisarme, and struck the dragon a massive blow. I could do no less, and joined him in the fray. To my surprise, Melissa ran in the other direction, concealing herself and her bird in the back of the chamber. I was shocked that she would turn away…
We silently pledged to battle on, but this wyrm was too much, even for a mighty warrior like Kerrick. Who would imagine that a beast could have so many weapons…so much intellect…such an impregnable hide?
…Huge bites. Rending claws. Slashing wing strikes. A tail like a battering ram. The dragon was too much. Kerrick was knocked senseless, falling to earth with a howl. And I was soon to follow. I tried to fight on…the rage was in me, and I longed for the blood of the beast. But it was not to be. Another mighty blow to my ribs, and all was darkness.
I awoke to find Melissa standing next to the dragon. All around us was carnage…Kerrick on his face in a pool of blood, Roondar’s garments smoking from the acid that had nearly killed him. Melissa had given me a potion to restore me to health. I was awake – so it seemed – but everything was surreal, like a dream. Or a nightmare. Melissa looked me in the eye, and said, “Do not harm the Dragon.” I looked from her to the wyrm. It was alive…squinting at me through enormous cat’s eyes as deep as death. What could this mean? Was Melissa under its spell? Had she betrayed us? Or was this my chance – was she giving me the opening that I needed?
Instinct answered for me. The dragon was exposed. Melissa’s strange behavior provided me with a distraction. My heart spoke – never miss an opportunity to kill the enemy: it could be the only chance you get. I would deliver the hideous creature to the darkness, or die trying. As I stood to retrieve my possessions, I reached into a belt pouch and pulled out my Bead of Force. It was cool and heavy in my hand, but my body began to vibrate with its energy. Once again, life and death danced in the palm of my hand. I did not know what the Bead would do, but I longed for it to destroy the dragon. To bring the darkness. I decided to bet my life on it.
I hurled the bead at the dragon. It struck true, as Melissa’s eyes widened in disbelief. The bead exploded with a staggering concussion – far more power than I dreamed it could contain. Too powerful…too beautiful. I was euphoric as the shock waves slammed into me. The rapture of darkness…and death. The dragon’s? Mine? Who could say? And did it really matter which?
But I awoke once again from the bliss of darkness. This time, my surprise was even greater. Melissa was standing over me, her spear to my neck. I locked her eyes with mine, my hand creeping toward my whips…But they were gone! I lowered my eyes, and saw my weapons at Melissa’s feet. My whips! Those extensions of my arms…my mind…and my heart. My life and my death lay curled at her feet.
My blood boiled, and I snatched the spear from her hand. Immediately, her winged familiar loosed its wand upon me, as magic missiles streamed toward my chest. But to my shock, and I am glad to say to Melissa’s as well, the missiles dissolved harmlessly. My mind screamed. What has she done? Is she in league with the Wyrm? Have we been betrayed? But then she motioned to Roondar, and said words that sent my thoughts into a spin. “I knew that we couldn’t trust him,” she said. “I told him not to attack. He killed Kerrick.”
I was enraged. She, who hid in the rear of battles while Kerrick and I sacrificed our bodies in the front. She, who ran to the back of the room as Kerrick and I strode into the Dragon’s jaws. She, who professed the virtues of goodness and morality while judging me as a Drow, not as an individual. I glared at her. “When have I ever given you reason to doubt me?”
For a moment, she had no answer. But the ferocity of her stare showed the strength hidden behind her beauty. “I told you not to attack,” she said. “I am no mere woman. When I tell you to do something, you must obey. You have cost Kerrick his life.”
I believed nothing of the sort. Kerrick was doomed already. I knew not what the Bead would do, but I knew that death was in the air. We would not have left that chamber alive – the Wyrm would not have allowed it. This was not about me. It was not about Kerrick. It was about the death hanging heavy in that room…once it begins to darken, it must complete the cycle. Shadows always lengthen before the sun burns them away.
I believe that Melissa saw the truth in my eyes. She conferred with Roondar, and conceded that I had not acted on my own behalf. It suddenly occurred to her that I was hurt as badly by the blast as the Wyrm was…as Kerrick was. Roondar acceded to her authority – the choice was hers. And she slid my weapons across to my feet.
“Take them,” she said, “But obey me when I give an order. I am no mere woman.”
I do not know what to make of this, or of Melissa. I no longer doubted her loyalty – and there is no question that her power is great…and growing every day. But I dispute her beliefs. How can she hide behind us, yet profess to lead? How can she issue commands while retreating? How can she profess to worship goodness and purity, yet judge me not on my action, but on my heritage. I escaped the Drow to find my own way, but my path runs at sharp angles - and into dark corners - that Melissa will never understand. She is not wrong. I am not wrong. She simply is. And I am. And this is my way…
[Several pages torn out here.]
My anger has subsided. It is now replaced by grim purpose. I will not allow these recent travails to hold me back. I will use them to drive me further. While we are in this city, I will use this time and the money we have gained to improve myself. To learn more. To grow smarter, stronger, faster, more stealthy. More deadly.
I will find the path, and it will be slick with blood. Whether I am loved or hated, the destination does not change. Melissa and I have spoken, and we can work together. I now recognize that some compromises are acceptable – in fact, they are simply irrelevant - because the end is the same. I am free to make any choices, and even concessions, I may choose to make. It simply doesn’t matter. Because in the end, the darkness will come. It will come for us all.
posted by Jon Grantham 5:32 PM
Temple of Elemental Evil, Part Five [Melissa]
We are back on the road. After the ambush that nearly cost us our lives, we returned to Hommlet, rested, re-supplied and are once again back on the adventuring path. We have just passed the original Temple, newly cleansed of evil by our small group, and are approaching the dry well that appears to be a back door to a nearby tower. The well we learned from about from the map we found. Once at the well, a quick rope made the descent easy. As usual, Stryker has already disappeared into the depths, scouting ahead for us.
I am now at the bottom of the well. It appears to have been dry for quite some time. A narrow tunnel is the only exit from here. Here we go…lots of twists and turns but running more or less straight to the west according to Roondar who is more at home in these depths. Here comes Stryker now. He has just informed us that the passage opens into a cave ahead. We will follow him. Nothing to see in the cave; just a similar exit on the opposite side, like the one we emerged from. On we go.
We just encountered Stryker again, at a door to a room. Inside is a table with two chests. There are rungs hanging from the ceiling, a means of ascent to what appears to be a small shaft leading to a trap door in the ceiling. I am examining the room as Styker uses his skills to open the chests. Alright!!! We are now a little wealthier and Roondar is now the owner of a few Priest spells. All this without a fight. Unusual in this world. And up the rungs we go.
We emerge in the main room of the tower. There is a stairway leading up to nowhere since the 2nd level is collapsed. Some beds and broken furniture and a couple of tables. And, a bunch of hobgoblins and goblins. No difficulty here. We make short work of our foes. An inspection of the room after the battle leads me to believe that we surprised these humanoids. That, if we had not found the secret entrance to the tower, a frontal assault would have been much more difficult. But that is all conjecture and the battle has already been won. Two more doors lead out of this chamber. Through the first door. Ugghh!!! Lots of rats. I hate those disgusting creatures. Luckily, looks like Kerrick, Stryker and Roondar have taken care of the infestation. One left, lets see how it likes my short spear. Not too much I would guess. One less rat to spread disease. The final door in the tower leads outside. I guess our job here is done. Time to check out the last area of the map. The new Temple awaits.
Wow. It is many hours later and there is much to tell. We are currently resting and recovering from the biggest battle we have ever faced. Or, should I say several of the biggest battles we have ever faced. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me start from where I just left off.
We followed the map to where the new Temple was supposed to be. A small hamlet sat at the base of this mountainous region which we promptly entered to see what the local populace knew. Obviously these people were not used to dealing with one such as myself. A few smiles and batted lashes and I gained enough information to find the Temple with my eyes shut. We followed the paths into the mountains and quickly found the cave as it was described. Stryker scouted ahead and returned to tell us what he found. A set of double doors lay directly ahead. On either side of the doors, there were arrow slits. He was able to sneak up to the slits and peer in and found two guard chambers with guards paying little attention to the cave. One of the double doors was open so all we had to do was quickly sneak across the small cave and enter the Temple. We did this without a hitch. We were inside the Temple!!!
Once again our valuable ally scouted ahead and reported back to us. The large entry hallway headed East with side passages leading to the North and South. The Southern passage was a guard chamber with 4 gnolls standing around an alarm bell. We had to take out these guards before the alarm sounded. Our strategy worked to perfection. Roondar used his magic on the alarm bell. The chain used to sound the bell suddenly slithered its way out of reach and secured itself to the ceiling. As the gnolls stood around and tried to figure out what to do, we swept into the room and dropped them where they stood.
We knew from the arrow slits that we had at least two other guard rooms to take care of. The closest one was just to our west down a short hallway that ended in a door. We burst into the room expecting a short fight with the 4 humans within. To our surprise, they turned and ran from us, probably to go get reinforcements. We were able to overcome these foes, however, before they could spread an alarm. And, they helped us out some by revealing two secret doors in their flight. After two eventful fights in our first two rooms, we welcomed the chance to rest as we explored the next few rooms. These rooms were all part of some mining system. We first found a room full of bins of different types of ores. A second room had a bellows and what appeared to be shafts where the ore could cool after being smelted. One item of interest in this room was a Dwarven book telling of how these mines were originally dwarven, but these new owners of the Temple had chased them out. The next room had a large mechanism for crushing the ore. A spider was hiding among the equipment, which we quickly dispatched.
Kerrick decided to try his muscles on this machinery and we are all quite impressed as he managed to crank the enormous wheel that worked the machinery. The final chamber we entered led out into the mines. Mining carts and tracks led deeper into the mines. We decided to explore more of the Temple before heading down into the mine.
North of the original entrance hall was a second guardroom with a bell. Stryker snuck into the room and disabled the bell without alerting the guards. His abilities are amazing and, sometimes, quite disconcerting. Without their alarm, the guards proved little difficulty for us. Even when four gnolls followed the sounds of fighting and engaged us, the battle was quickly won. We continued along the passage, beyond the guardroom and entered another chamber. A quick battle and there were two more dead monsters. Our victims were two troglodytes this time. We traveled a considerable distance north out of this chamber and entered a cavernous room with a huge symbol on the floor. Our best guess is that this is the Earth symbol and that these caverns were the first part of the Temple dedicated to the Elementals. We had left some of the original guard area unexplored so we decided to leave this area until later. Just outside of the troglodyte layer was a side hallway. It was there that we now traveled.
The first door we entered led into a strange room with purplish lighting and lots of smoke. And some mystical troglodyte who was not looking very happy. Poe and I began blasting away with magic missiles trying to keep this mystic injured and unable to cast spells. This strategy seemed to work wonders and I am glad that I continued to blast away. The fighters in our party were having trouble finding chinks in the armor of our foe and he tried to rush to me to stop the pain I was causing him. He couldn't get by the blockade that Kerrick, Stryker, and Roondar made and I was able to drop him with spells.
Our injuries were beginning to slow us down and we had many battles that day. It was time for a rest and the troglodyte shaman's room was relatively comfortable. We decided a watch order and went to bed. We were awoken once during the night when an enormous centipede entered the room, but it was a mostly uneventful night. The following day, healed and with magical energies recovered, we were ready to move on.
The next room we entered was swarming with undead. 12 zombies filled this room. They are rather weak undead and not much of a match for our party. On we went…on to the biggest battle of our lives.
The entrance hallway of the Temple ended at a set of double doors. Through the doors was what appeared to be a dining hall with four doors leading out. In one corner, a doglike creature with huge quills on its back, was chained to a wall. Before we could stop him, Kerrick ran into the room and attacked the creature. As soon as it was attacked, the beast began a very loud howling. But its "bark" was not nearly as bad as its bite. The first bite on Kerrick left him reeling. The second bite knocked Roondar to the ground, bleeding badly. Between the strong jaws and the barbs from its back poking like spears into exposed skin, this beast was rough. And, if the dog wasn't bad enough, a strange, shaved ogre wearing goggles came bursting out of one of the doors. I guess the rest had done more good for me than I thought. Seeing Kerrick being dealt such grievous blows and Roondar lying unconscious on the floor, I unleashed my magical energies in a new form. A large ball of flame suddenly exploded between the ogre and dog dealing large damage right back against our foes. But, the fight had just begun.
The dog was now dead, but the ogre was only enraged. And a second door opened and a swarm of human guards was pouring out. Stryker was engaged with the ogre and pulled a bag of gummy substance from his pouch. He threw this bag with perfect accuracy onto the chest of the ogre. Not sensing that this bag could harm it, the ogre didn't even bother to dodge the bag. In seconds, it was glued to the floor. The humans, seeing their commander in trouble, raced forward to try to free the stuck ogre. One of the humans charged me, but Poe let loose with his wand and dropped the guard before I could be injured. The fires welled within me again and the human guards realized too late their mistake of bunching up near the ogre. The flames engulfed the entire group and, when the smoke cleared, only one man was left standing. We were still not in the clear. Another door opened and a fighter came walking confidently out.
As the fighter emerged from his room, Stryker and Kerrick ran over to engage him. I moved from my position just outside the doorway to the room into a position where I could cast more directly at this new fighter. That was when the fourth and final door opened and a group of gnolls emerged. I decided that Kerrick and Stryker could handle themselves and that I should attack the gnolls who were still grouped in one corner of the room. Another fiery blast lit up the room and, once again, our foes were toast before they could become a threat. I looked over just as whip-dagger and guisarme connected to sit down the fighter. I quickly communicated with Poe, wanting all my senses honed, but Poe seemed content that the battle was finally over.
And, now we are resting. We are resigned to a long day of being barricaded in this room, the room which had been the ranger's. We will be returning to the nearby settlement in the morning to replenish our supplies. Healing potions are desperately needed. This Temple is dangerous. Far more so than I suspected when we first entered. But, I am confident that, with this crew, we can succeed at vanquishing this evil.
posted by Jon Grantham 5:10 PM