Campaign of the Month: March 2009

Denizens of the Nentir Vale

Bowling For Zombies

It had been Erik’s idea, and a beauty, one of the Ranger’s best ever. Roll boulders down the ramp, smash the guardian skeletons to bone shards, and flow down afterwards like pirates down a gangplank, steel in hand. An idea this outrageous always got the thumbs-up from this band. After many sensational victories over heinous foes, they had no fear of a few walking ribcages.

Barrick the Twitcher

One among them, though, sheltered some doubts. It wasn’t that the dwarf Barrick was afraid, exactly. True, he had felt some fear months before, and had only gotten past it by concentrating on his Warlord learning, a kind of warrior meditation. But Barrick’s problem these days was more nebulous, a feeling of being ungrounded. This was an unpleasant sensation for one of his kind. Dwarves are normally stolid, dependable, steady. Barrick was instead feeling uncertain, flighty, indecisive, and even vaguely elvish, though he wouldn’t admit that while sober.

And, he was pretty sure he knew the root of his troubles.

Magic. This cursed magic that seemed everywhere, now.

Any adventurer had to face magic, of course, but in Barrick’s experience, if you kept your head down, your shield up, your axe swinging, and your wits about you, you generally came out OK, flying fireballs be damned. Fighting in this band, he knew there were some fancy finger-twitchers, especially the two gals, Rift and Tira, who didn’t always seem to mind whether their spells hit friend or foe. But friendly twitchers could be helpful too – especially the healers like his Dragonborn pal Felsmon and the much-missed Z’alden. No, his compatriots’ magical abilities weren’t the problem.

The problem was that he, Barrick the Stolid, Barrick the Steady, Barrick the Boring, was increasingly being required to – incredible but true – to use magic himself!

It had started slowly, when he received some cleats as plunder. They seemed like plain, sharp cleats to suit any Dwarf in a melee, and he had grown fond of them, but was later told they were actually magical. He had thought this a joke – but then came a suit of armor that protected against heat, a real help with Rift torching everything in sight. Ordinary armor might do the same, he thought, but then came a necklace, a belt, an axe, a helmet, supposedly all magical. From what he could tell, though, each gave him only the same advantage as a tankard of ale – instant confidence, and no more.

Lately the spooky equipment had gotten out of hand. As the only Dwarf in the band, he had been required to try to use an ancient twitchy Dwarven key to open some doors. It had worked, but he felt a fool anyway. Since then, he had been able to use the same key to call up a shower of painful blows onto the heads of distant foes, without ever looking into their faces. What fun was that, and what use? You couldn’t curse the spirit of a conquered foe whose eyes you had never seen. Anyway, he took this whole magical key thing as an extended joke, too. No doubt Rift or Tira would stifle a chuckle as they timed a real magical attack to his clumsy handling of the key, always so far before a battle heated up.

Now, in this latest quest, he had been given even stronger powers, they said. He was told he had the ability to teleport out of danger – he hadn’t tried it yet – and that if he threw his latest axe, it would fly back to his hand like a bird to its nest! He hadn’t tried that yet, either.

It was all getting to be too much. He felt like he was being groomed, manipulated, played, but by whom? And why?

One, Two, Three, Go

While the others meddled with magical potions and such, the Ranger and Barrick whacked the porous boulders into spheres. More like potatoes, really, but they would get the job done. Felsmon and Barrick of course got the nod to set them rolling and follow them down. Prescott, the newest addition to the band, came next. Just how he ended up in front of Erik was a mystery – maybe as a reward for thinking to cover the poison gas outlet with the door curtain.

Barrick wondered whether Prescott had been around long enough that the others would want to bury his corpse after this fight. Sometimes these fly-by-night amateurs were left to rot where they lay, especially if they got in the way too much. Other times a big deal was made of their help, and their passing. Whatever.

So Felsmon and Barrick pushed the two surprisingly light boulders into position, just above the icy ramp. They could see two flaming skeletons at the bottom, and, sure enough, along came two flaming orbs – always magic! – heading right at Barrick. Keep your head down when the fireballs fly, Barrick thought, and sure enough, one hit his boulder, the other flew over harmlessly. He looked at Felsmon, and the two mouthed the usual words together: One, two, three, …

On ”three”, Prescott leapt on top of Barrick’s boulder and threw a dagger, hitting one of the skeletons. Flustered, Barrick stood up and looked around to see why the plan had changed. Enemies from behind? Another cavein? Getting only shrugs from the others, he realized what had happened: Prescott hadn’t been told that this band always went on the fourth beat, not the third, a classic adventuring mixup. Barrick turned back to face the targets – and caught a fireball in the chest as Prescott leapt nimbly off the boulder to safety. His fire-resistant armor had been placed in storage in favor of a newer suit – yet more magical, of course – and THAT ONE HURT! Barrick looked back at Felsmon, who had given up on the timing and sent his boulder down the ramp with his strong shoulder. Barrick immediately did the same, not knowing whom to curse.

Both boulders in full roll, Felsmon leapt after them, sliding on his scaly feet like a Dragonborn youth having fun on a frozen river. Prescott leapt over Barrick, got off a shot from the air, landed on a boulder, and rode it down like an Elven youth rolling a log in a river. Barrick, his beard singed and his timing off, leapt after them both, caught a cleat, and landed on his face like a Dwarven youth on a dancefloor.

Rift, Tira, and Erik had all gotten off shots, but now the boulders were bearing down on the white stacks of bones. The first boulder hit both skeletons, glancing blows only, while the second, with Prescott aboard, hit one of them, Prescott leaping to safety on the other side. Nearing the bottom of the ramp, Barrick managed to get his feet up, willing his cleats to hit any bones still standing, but the boulders had broken into pieces, and he hit only stone. Felsmon, too, had slid into the broken-up rock, hurting himself into the bargain.

Zombies

Shaking his head at the two mighty battlers lying on their backs on the ice, having made a shambles of his plan, Erik used a sword like an ice axe to stop his own slide short of the bottom, switched to his bow in his usual blink-of-an-eye, and got off two quick shots, both hitting home. Tira stayed above the ice, sending a lightning bolt that struck both skeletons and even jumped to one of two zombies coming up from the rear.

Rift, feeling indulgent of the new lad’s bravery, cast a spell to defend Prescott from the skeletal fire. Barely noticing the flames, the confident youngster sauntered up behind the nearest skeleton and casually cut the thing in half at the waist with his dagger! Barrick and Felsmon, struggling to their feet, paused in mid-struggle and both watched, slack-jawed, as he then went after a third skeleton that had come up from behind.

But the undead beasties were closing on Prescott. Both Zombies had staggered onto a raised platform that seemed to boost their power, and Prescott had no defense against their icy blasts. They both laid into the youth, as did the skeleton, and he was soon motionless and in apparent great pain.

Barrick, on his feet now, didn’t particularly like digging graves, which he reckoned Prescott would deserve after such feats. Stepping over the remains of his boulder, he shouted at the pack “Ain’t it good to be alive!” Whether they understood the taunt, or just recognized a more dangerous foe, all three of Prescott’s mindless assailants moved towards the waiting dwarf, who delivered his favorite backhanded sweep of the axe blade, dealing horrific damage to two of them – and smashed his shield into the face of the middle one for good measure.

Felsmon started swinging, Erik kept up his arrows, Tira sent in another blast, and Rift cast a fire shroud, then another, which took down an already-injured injured zombie. Prescott used the opening to teleport to safety next to Tira atop the ramp, and hunkered down to nurse his wounds.

Seeing Prescott teleport his way out of trouble made Barrick think that maybe his new equipment might be magical after all. The fight was going better now – Rift had taken out the other zombie, too, although it had exploded and hurt Felsmon – he thought now would be a good time to try throwing his axe. Erik had just shot a skeleton, and Barrick, 15 feet or so away, tried to take careful aim.

He knew the technique: wind back the throwing arm while peering over the shield, then swing the shield away and use the momentum to whip the axe towards its target, with just enough wrist for exactly one revolution. As he swung the shield to the left, though, a fireball from the other remaining skeleton got through, hitting him in the gut. His arm kept moving, but with no momentum he missed as badly as an axe-wielder could well miss. The axe bounced off a rock at Felsmon’s feet, launched back at Barrick and stuck in his shield. If that was magic, he thought, he could do without it.

After all the creatures had been sent back to the void whence they came, and the magic ice had been melted, and the raised platform had been destroyed, and Barrick had yanked the “magical” axe out of his shield, the group had to decide on what to do about the room next door. Erik, with his Ranger senses, could make out the voice of Lorvas, a human necromancer who deserved the same fate his zombies had just met.

There was no question of whether to venture into that room, only a question of whether to enter fighting, or try to close in first. Many Twitchers who were dangerous from a distance, Barrick and the others knew, were pushovers if you got up in their face.

It was decided to try a bluff, just to gain a few steps before letting the fury flag fly. Funny how often this ruse worked, Barrick thought. Lorvas must have heard the carnage, or rather boneage, that just ended, but a magic-mad fanatic like Lorvas could be counted on to never think he, himself, was in any danger. These types all seemed to believe that their mastery of some mumbo-jumbo or other would protect them against all possible bands of foes – even if it included ones like Rift and Tira who knew some mumbo-jumbo themselves.

Rift teleported through the door, actually a portcullis, and unlocked it from the other side. Erik scoped the room from the top of a grand stairway: a hulking green beastie in the middle; Lorvas lurking among pillars in the background with another twitcher named Nemeia; piles of bones everywhere. Barrick thought it wise to sharpen his axe – and did so with the “special” whetstone he had bought some time ago. Magical, of course, they had said.

When all was ready Tira, whose dagger actually encased a magical ring sought by this Nemeia, began to stroll down the stairs like the Queen of Light herself, flanked by Felsmon and Barrick, playing disinterested bodyguards. Lorvas and Nemeia looked up, the green hulk snarled, and Barrick eyed the distance to Lorvas’ neck. Lots of steps, probably too many.

Lorvas

Eh? What new treachery is this? Three strangers on my stairs?

“Nemeia, it seems our conversation may be interrupted. Some fools seem to have made it past the defenses that protect this chamber. Look, here comes a skinny little girl, creeping down our stairs with two beasts by her side. A Dragonborn and, I think, the other one might actually be a Dwarf! Ridiculous!”

There are more than these three, I sense them, filthy beasts hiding in the shadows above. They too shall die. Something else I sense – some strong magic, an enchanted item perhaps. Yes, they must have a powerful item with them to have gotten this far, and a bit of cleverness, but it will not save them.

“My dear Nemeia, I have something you desire!”

The skinny girl speaks! Could it be the ring that Nemeia has so long desired? Better it comes to my hand first. Slitherall will be most pleased with me for acquiring the ring for Zithruin’s attack on the Kengi.

“See, Nemeia, how she seeks to distract you. Leave us for now, and I will, shall we say, deal with these intruders.”

Obedient as always, my good Nemeia, and she never sensed the new power in the room. But the trio comes closer, and my hulking defender becomes anxious.

“Stop there !!!”

As I thought, the mere sound of my venom has the desired effect. Weak-willed animals. How did they even get past the guards outside? I could destroy them all with a single twitch of my finger.

“Come now Lorvas, you should be able to detect the magic in this ring.”

Her tongue is still loose, and she thinks to seem brave by holding a dagger in the same hand with the ring! Does she think I would cower in fear, I Lorvas, who can summon the hordes of hell to my will? And, she taunts me, which she will soon regret. I detected the magic ring at once, and even now I detect more than her puny brain can comprehend. A very plain-looking ring, but powerful, yes, that is certain.

“Come forwards.”

See how the two brutes eye me, like fowl eye a falcon. Perhaps I will allow my Defender to feast on them. What’s that, some noise coming from outside the door, no surprise, but perhaps I can use it to coax this lass into playing her hand too early.

“What was that?”

Hah, just as I thought, a dagger thrust as I feigned distraction, see her eyes go wide as she misses, and realizes her mistake! As for her bodyguards …

“Schlaraffe !”

There, those two have their hands full now with my Defender, the green giant. And here comes one of their hidden companions, an archer, it seems. He too shall die. As for the girl, I know how to control her.

“Give me the ring or I will destroy you all !!!”

See, the frightened child already hands over the ring. So easy, so pitifully easy. Now the ring is mine, and I shall … but wait, a trick! This ring is dead metal, the magic stayed in her hand! And the dwarf approaches! Now they shall feel my wrath!

“ENFERMANIUM !!!”

Ha! That blast hurt the cretins, though it seems they all still live. Not for long, once I engage my preset blasts. The magic spot on this pillar is right … there! Amusing, the archer flies like a bird when a blast goes off behind him! So pitifully easy. My Defender is struggling, though. Perhaps I will need another. And the skinny girl is still on her feet. She stares at this worthless ring in my hand, as though she wishes to snatch it back. She will again find me too fast for her.

“Aaahhh!”

Impossible! Her snatch was a feint, and left a dagger in my side, aflame with powerful magic. She comes close to gaining my respect, this one, but she too shall die. Turn off the pain now, as I have practiced, must be able to think clearly. Just in time, I have let the archer and the cursed dwarf in too close, they are harming me, and two more are coming down the stairs – the last two, I sense, and I have just the preset blast for them. As for these foolish enough to have struck at me …

“ENCREPORIUM !!!”

Now they feel proper fear of me! They all lie on their backs like doomed beetles, all but the Dragonborn, he comes towards me, as my Defender swings to crush him – but he still stands, and swings, even hits me, and breathes fire too! This one will be worth a remark to Nemeia, but he too shall die. When they are all dead, I will be healed even before Nemeia returns, I know just the spells.

<whump> “Hey there, I’m Prescott! How do you like me so far?”

Blackness enveloping me …

Coming back to the light, I see – my foes standing around me, my limbs bound. Can’t turn off the pain, must fight to clear my head. Maybe this fight was not pitifully easy after all, but soon they will all die.

SlitheralToLorvas

“So you’re Lorvas, well I ain’t impressed. I’ve known dwarven women who were tougher. Hey, do I have your attention? Want another kick in the head? No? Then listen, we found a message from Slitherall in your pockets, and we want to know all about it. Spill your guts to us now, or we’ll spill your guts for you, like we did your big green buddy over there, may the maggots enjoy their feast.”

So they killed my Defender? Well, it will not save them. I, Lorvas, can summon the hordes of hell to my wishes, and I so wish.

“Schlaraffe !!!”

See, another Defender, and he swings already! These poor fools will all rue the day they entered my chamber! They will all die!

“Told you all, I did, should have killed him first time. I, Felsmon, show you how to deal with necromancers!”

Blackness envelops me.

Comments

Great job taking out the Necromancer and his pals. total XP: outside the entrances to Laarn’s and Nemeia’s tombs: Lacertil 900, 3 Troglodytes 2100, Cave-in 800 = 3800. In the first chamber of Nemeia’s tomb: 3 Tiefling Boneshard Skeletons 1200, 2 Tiefling Wight Life-Eaters 700 = 1900. Bowling for Zombies: 2 Chillborn Zombies 800, 3 Tiefling Blazing Skeletons 1500, ice trap 200 = 2500. Nemeia’s Antechamber: Tal Lorvas Necromancer 1400, Zombie Hulk of Lovas 1400, 4 skeletons 700, 2 exploding braziers trap 1000 = 4500 for a total of 12,700 or 2117 per player. You previously had 20,509XP, so now each player has 22,626 XP.

Also, details on the Belt that Erik obtained in Laarn’s Tomb –
Tiefling Healer’s Belt
With this chain of bone links, you can keep your allies going long after they have exhausted their healing resources.

Level: 11
Price: 9,000 gp
Item Slot: Waist
*Power (Encounter * Healing): * Minor Action. You or an ally within 5 squares spends a healing surge but regains no hit points. You or one ally within 5 squares then regains hit points as though he or she had spent a healing surge.
*Special: * The 15 chain links seem fragile. You are not sure how long the belt will last.

Bowling For Zombies
 

The adventurers wait in the ghastly-smelling small Troglodyte barracks. Rotten eggs and spoiled cabbage would be perfume compared to the stench.

Despite only four hours having passed since the Dwarven spirit granted them a magical extended rest, the heroes are already spent from their recent victories.

DM: You have 8 hours before you can start your next extended rest. During this time, what are you doing?

DM: Is Rift making any potions with the recently acquired components? She can now brew potions up to level 10.

DM: How many arrows does Erik think he recovered in Nemeia’s antechamber? Where are they stored?

Bowling For Zombies
 

Map of your current location, one staircase and hallway down from the Temple entrance. You are in the room marked A for Adventurers:

trog_lacertil_rooms2

Bowling For Zombies
 

Erik sits down on the floor with his back against the barrack’s closed door. He think this would help in sensing any approaching visitor. He then lays out the spoils of the recent battles. Alas, there are too many arrows to count for he has only ten fingers and his toes are in his boots. He looks around the room for help.

[DM, Erik will ask Rift to examine the arrows for magical properties. He’s hoping that some are able to curve in mid-flight, with a greater chance of striking the intended target. He’s also wary of these arrows for their evil origin. They are not proper hunter’s arrows, but rather that of war and cruelty. Perhaps they radiate something which would allow their creators to track a wounded enemy.]

Bowling For Zombies
 

After 4 hours, nothing has happened. Erik and Rift have determined that he snagged about 30 non-magical arrows in the quick departure.

With his back against the door the entire time, as he leans back disappointed at the ordinary nature of the arrows, Erik can hear voices speaking somewhere beyond the door in a language he recognizes vaguely as Draconic from his time in Kengistan. He is surprised though, that not only does he not know the language, but that the hissing and guttural nature is even more alien than what he heard in the Kengi Clan’s capital. with his perception, he notices that the sounds are distinctly different in character from what he heard from the Troglodytes and Lacertil in their last battle or the party’s previous encounters with the Troglodytes.

Bowling For Zombies
 

Meanwhile, if Rift had the chance earlier when she wasn’t counting arrows, she would like to brew up two potions of healing, and one potion of regeneration.

Is there a keyhole in the door that Erik could peek through?

Bowling For Zombies
 

Since the counting took Rift just a matter of seconds, she has had plenty of time to brew all three potions. The smells of the brews are quite pleasing and help to relieve some of the considerable pain of the room’s stench.

At Rift’s prompting, Erik is able to find a small keyhole in the wooden door. Looking out it, he can see 4 medium humanoid figures clustered near the southern single door to the room that Lorvas and Lacertil previously shared. The humanoid wear thick black cloaks that obscure their faces and bodies.

Seeing the door, Erik remembers the room fondly as the location where he found his current cloak. Rift remembers the cache of ritual components and the ritual book she found there.

Bowling For Zombies
 

felsmon goes to the door and listens.

Bowling For Zombies
 

Felsmon relates what he hears.

One voice said, “The Necromancer is not in his chambers.” Another said, “Of course not, you shellhead. He is supposed to be finding the Diabolic ring that the Master wants to present to the Lord General just before the invasion.”
A third voice said, “Strike Leader, if he is not here then why are we looking for him here?”
The second voice said, “You eggshard. We had to make certain! We will descend to the Tiefling witch’s tomb and take the ring from him, if the shedding magician has found it. What glory we will have with the Master! Then, when we return with him subdued, we will witness the glory of his being sacrificed to the Beast tonight with the new moon. He will make a fitting trio with the virgin Xeriope and that failure Baltasar Slitheral. We have 2 hours to find the Necromancer, subdue him, and return him to the Master. Don’t forget that we lose hours in the Dwarven hole! Remember, if we fail, it would have been better if our eggs had cracked! I, for one, do not want to be sacrificed to become part of the Beast that will slay the Kengi. I want to be using my sword to gut those spineless bastards of dragonwenches.”

A fourth voice said something unintelligible.

The second voice said, “Probably finding those adventurers with Master Lacertil like they are supposed to be. Sacrificing all of them to join the Beast will be most welcome. No more discussion. We are off to the Dwarven Pit.”

Felsmon can hear footsteps moving towards the entrance to the Dwarven tunnel.

It immediately dawns on Rift that the new moon should be several days away. At least 5. If the new moon is “tonight”, then the adventurers have lost nearly a week of time, much longer than the amount of time that they were in the Hammerfell stronghold and tombs. Perhaps time passed differently with the Anvil and Warbella. Perhaps it passes differently in the Hammerfell itself. Regardless, there are only 5 days until the Kengi eggs hatch. Without the gold dragon Aurumendor present to bless the hatching, Rift recalls the Kengi mentioning that horrific creatures, Dracomen (like Lacertil and Trieste the Hag), could result.

Bowling For Zombies
 

Tira opens her eyes, not realizing she had fallen asleep whilst resting. Seeing the eyes of her friends on her, she sits up grogily, “Sorry about that, I guess that last battle took more out of me than I thought. I feel like I have been asleep for weeks. And what a curious dream I had.” She gives a long look at each of her companions. “You were all there, in my dream, except for you, Rift. We were different, but similar enough to know who was whom. I was blonde, but still fetching I must add.” Seeing Rift rolling her eyes, Tira hastily adds, “Hey, it was a dream, nothing I could control!” “Anyway, the magic there was very different, and we kept changing before and after every battle. It was kind of fun, but in a weird sort of way. The bad guy was this big rabbit thing that loved carrots, …, at least I think, my memory of the dream is already fading.”

“But enough of my otherworld musings, did I miss anything whilst I was out?” Tira listens to Felsmon repeat what he just heard.

“Only 5 days! We need to move! Slitheral has the key to Aurumendor, right? We need to follow those guys to get what we want. Or am I remembering incorrectly?”

Bowling For Zombies
 

DM’s Time Note: 1.5 hours remain until you can start your next extended rest.
DM’s draconic hearing note: Felsmon is fairly certain that the voices said that they were going to get Lorvas and take him to the Master. The strike leader called Baltasar Slitheral a ‘failure’.

DM’s items note: did anyone take possession of the symbols of Zehir that were on Lorvas and Lacertil? If so, where are they stored? Where are Lorvas’s robes and mask? In the magical haversack?

Bowling For Zombies
 

Rift whispers, “Do we know where Slitheral is located? Do you think they know where he is? I suggest we wait here until they return from below, and then follow them to the sacrifice. Hopefully we will find Slitheral there, and we can take the key from him.”

“What say you all?”

DM: Yes, we took the symbols, the robe, and the mask. They are all within the haversack.

Bowling For Zombies
 

“Yes, follow them; good idea Rift.” Tira leans slightly and whispers to Erik, “Didn’t I just mention following them? And by the way, I like you better as a guy.”

Bowling For Zombies
 

Rift beams at Tira’s praise of her idea. “Thanks Tira!” she says modestly. “And don’t forget guys, Slitheral has the key to Aurumendor!”

Bowling For Zombies
 

Erik looks Tira up and down, wondering just what took place in her curious dream, with strange magics and evil rabbits. In a brief moment of insecurity he adjusts himself just to make sure that no strange magics have crept into this world. There are devils and dracomen to slay, and a dragon to rescue, quite surprisingly. No time for foolish dreams of strange magics and alternate worlds.

Bowling For Zombies
 

Erik then turns his attention back to the keyhole. He sees the party of four turn to leave. Just then, Felsmon hears the Strike Leader say, “Wait. Where is Nathis?” At that very moment, a 7 foot tall creature with a snake-like but humanoid upper body and a snake-like lower body emerges from the Troglodyte kitchen carrying a medium-sized, recently butchered animal.

Erik sees two grotesquely-green bolts of magical energy leap at the monstrosity. From the keyhole, he cannot tell where they came from beyond one of the party of four, as his attention quickly shifts back to them. But, he can see one speaking with hands raised. Felsmon hears the Strike Leader’s voice, “Nathis, you shellhead. Put that back! That is for the trogloscum.”

Felsmon hears a fifth voice. Deeper and slower than any before. “But, Strike Leader, they have mutton! Master Noomar never lets me have mutton. All is for the Troll guard and these troglostinks. I want some!”

Another pair of magical green bolts. This time Erik sees them fly from the finger tips of the figure whom he had assumed was the Strike Leader based on the demeanor of the other three. They seem to cower as the energy flies forth and strikes Nathis. Even Erik knows the word that the Strike Leader utters in Draconic, “NO!” Then, the words are too complicated for the Ranger, but Felsmon translates, “But the mutton back and get over here now you thin-egg. What are you? A smooth skin? Surely not a Scale. Scales follow orders. We leave now!”

With clear body language showing his displeasure, the snake creature goes back into the kitchen and returns carrying a greatsword in his hands. He is visibly sulking. The five then move off towards the doors to the dwarven halls.

DM: does the party follow at a distance or remain in the Troglodyte quarters and rest, waiting to follow until the five return from their trip to capture Lorvas?

Bowling For Zombies
 

OOC:I think the best otion to us is to wait here and take and extended rest.
In character: Lets go charge out and kill them all!

Bowling For Zombies
 

Tira yawns, “Geez, that brief nap I just took really makes realize how tired I really am. I say we wait for the troglosnakes to return and follow them then. With only 5 days left we really need to know where to look next.” Without waiting for any objections, Tira lays back down, wraps her cloak around herself, covering her head, and becomes deathly still.

Bowling For Zombies
 

Tira stirs and uncovers her head, “I take it we are still waiting for those slime-odytes to head back out?”

Bowling For Zombies
 

“Tira, remember the most likely place slitheral is is the other door that snorbog was guarding.” says felsmon

Bowling For Zombies
 

DM: Do you set a watch? Rift needs to rest for only 4 hours, so the entire rest can be accomplished in 7 hours if she watches the last 2. What is the order of the watch? Do they stay in the room and listen at the door and watch through the keyhole, or do they leave the room?

Bowling For Zombies
 

We set a watch – Rift will watch for the first two hours – then wake Felsmon. Hopefully by that point the creatures will return from below and Felsmon can translate what they say as they pass by. If they don’t pass by then we will take turns resting in some random order that completes the rest in 7 hours.

We are especially on the lookout for large fat humanoids in red robes, bearing stolen goods. Rift whispers to Tira – “Tira! We’ve been good girls this year, right? We deserve presents.”

Bowling For Zombies
 

The 7 hours almost pass with nothing happening. Tira sleeps fitfully. Her dreams return over and over the image of Ichyrot the chain devil. Her dagger and amulet grow warm with each dream. When she wakes she knows that the amulet expects her to pursue the devil in the message sphere immediately.

During the last hour of the watch, Barrick is surprised to see a stout dwarf appear with him in the room! This dwarven spirit smiles brightly at the often dour fighter. He is bundled in scarlet and forest green furs trimmed in a white ermine. He has the thickest snow white beard that Barrick has ever seen. He carries a pack on his back. Sweet sounding bells ring as he moves his finger to his lips and says “Sshh” to the fighter. Seeing the twinkle in his eyes, Barrick knows he has nothing to fear from this jolly old spirit. Barrick realizes that this must be Nick Jingle, the dwarven spirit of gift giving! The spirit nods at the fighter, opens his pack, and five items fly out, one to each adventurer. The spirit lays his finger aside of his nose, showing that he too can smell the Troglodyte stench, and a warm aroma of pine fills the room. He then smiles again at the stunned fighter and is gone.

At Barrick’s feet, he finds a clear glass vial. He smells it. Its smell reminds him of an oak tree. Studying it for a few minutes, he finds that it is a

Potion of Vitality
This potent curative heals wounds and can even fix other ailments.
Potion
Power (Consumable Healing): Minor Action. Drink the potion and spend a healing surge. Instead of the hit points you would normally regain, you regain 25 hit points and make one saving throw against an effect that a save can end.

At Erik’s feet is a dark black vial. Upon awakening from his rest, he finds it is a

Potion of Poison Resistance
The smell of this potion is like fresh oranges.
Potion
Power (Consumable): Minor Action. Drink this potion and spend a healing surge. You do not gain hit points as normal. Instead, gain resist 10 to poison damage until the end of the encounter. Only one potion of resistance can be in effect on you at once.

Felsmon finds a dark blue, rough stone. After examining it, he realizes it is an

Augmenting Whetstone
This rough sharpening stone temporarily grants your weapon a magical enhancement.
Whetstone
Power (Consumable): Minor Action. Touch this whetstone to a melee or ranged weapon you hold. The weapon gains a +4 enhancement bonus on attack rolls and damage rolls until the end of the encounter. This has no effect on the extra damage dice or other special effect applied when the weapon scores a critical hit.

Rift, in her Eladrin trance, witnessed the entire encounter. She, too, realized that nothing was concerning about the jolly dwarf. She is most pleased to find tucked in her armor a

Desert Rose
Growing only in remote desert oases, this yellow flower helps to maintain arcane and divine powers.
Reagent
Power (Consumable): Free Action. Expend this reagent when you use an arcane or divine power of up to 15th level. You do not need to use an action on the following round to sustain that power (sustaining it for subsequent rounds does require the appropriate action).

Tira, shaking off the strong effects of her vivid dream, finds next to her a crystal vial containing an

Elixir of Invisibility
With a sip of this ivory, scentless liquid, you fade from view.
Potion
Power (Consumable): Minor Action. You drink the elixir and become invisible until the end of the encounter or for 5 minutes, whichever comes first. The effect ends if you make an attack.
Special: Consuming this elixir counts as a use of a magic item daily power.

DM: With the extended rest now completed, and their gifts safely stowed, what do the adventurers do?
DM: Rift needs to choose her spells for the day. Tira needs to discern what damage type she is resisting.

Bowling For Zombies
 

Tira tucks her invisibility elixir in her pouch and smiles, thinking of the mischief she could have caused as a child, sneaking around the Count’s personal chambers, or, she stifles a giggle, remembering the summer of her 13th year, she could have spied on the stable hand Larston when he disappeared with the milkmaid into the hayloft.

But back to the present time; “Did no one hear the return of those bandy-snakes? We cannot wait here forever, we have at least one closed door to open, and I feel the need to keep moving. With any luck we will find the trogs on our way.” Tira slowly caresses her amulet as she speaks to her friends, telling them of her dreams.

Tira now has resist 5 lightning and can ignore 5 of a foe’s resistance to lightning

Bowling For Zombies
 

Rift breathes a sigh of relief. “Whew! No deadly deer of doom appeared. Hmmm. What to memorize? I’ll take fireball, levitate, ice storm, and blur.”

She stands and stretches, twirling her staff over her head, at her side, around her back, and then to the front again.

“Let’s be off to slay Slitheral!”

Assuming Erik listens and hears nothing at the door, we move quietly into the chamber beyond. Quickly, Rift gathers up the discarded mutton to give to Snorbog. If there isn’t enough, she peeks into the kitchen area and retrieves more. Then we head back towards the entrance and the other door that Snorbog was guarding. We move as fast as possible without making undue noise.

Bowling For Zombies
 

Prescott is disappointed that Nick Jingle appears to have left nothing for him. As the party prepares to leave, he is surprised to hear a tinkling sound as he moves his bag. Just underneath his bag, he finds


Frozen Whetstone

A weapon honed with this blue-white crystalline whetstone becomes icy cold to the touch.

Whetstone
Power (Consumable • Cold): Minor Action. Touch this whetstone to a melee or ranged weapon you hold. Until the end of the encounter, any successful attack with the weapon deals an extra 4 cold damage.
-——

Erik hears nothing at the door and can see nothing through the keyhole. Proceeding quietly to the kitchen, Rift finds that Nathis dropped one mutton almost completely whole. Another slaughtered mutton hangs on a rack on the far side of the kitchen. Rift can carry one but another will have to carry the second if the party wishes to take both.

With some mutton in tow, the group serpentine weaves through the hallway bypassing the 3 traps. At the last second, Rift remembers the trapped stone and all are able to jump over it successfully.

The large wooden door at the end of the hallway is easily opened. A set of stairs leads upwards to the temple entrance that Snorbaugh guards. A mumbling voice can be heard. It is not clear what is being said.

DM: Who, if anyone, is carrying the second mutton?
DM: What does the party do?

Bowling For Zombies
 

Smelling the orange scent of the resist poison potion, Erik remembers to the time when he still believed in Nick Jingle. He was but a young boy, soon to have a long harsh winter, of sorts, set upon his village. Though the memories have faded with many years gone, his heart is cheered enough by what is left of those carefree days.

Erik will lead with his bow and carry the second mutton (assuming it’s a free action to drop the mutton, leaving time to draw and release an arrow should the need arise).

Bowling For Zombies
 

Prescott uses his best feint to slip the mutton from Rift’s fingers. Then, sliding up to Erik, he lifts the other mutton effortlessly from the surprised ranger’s arms. “Friends, it has been quite an adventure. But now, I think, it is time for me to play my part. As they say in Elvish, Tenn’ omentielva enta. Namárië!

So saying, Prescott bounds up the stairs two at a time. You hear him calling “Oh, Snorbaugh! Yoo hoo!” And then, silence.

Bowling For Zombies
 

Prescott knows that with many more days having elapsed than he realized since he followed the party down the outdoor temple steps, his pay from the Elven King will be getting smaller by the hour. While he has enjoyed the company of these interesting and daring adventurers, especially the Eladrin wizard, a smaller reward is not exactly what he had in mind. The King only pays for timely information and that time would be now.

During their many rests together, Prescott had learned of the temple guardian Snorbaugh the Troll’s fondness for the group, particularly Tira. Bounding up the steps with the two mutton, upon reaching the temple level, he immediately sees the shadow-encased Troll at the Dwarven font, washing a large axe that is covered with a golden-colored ichor. A 3 foot wide trail of the blood extends from the path, up the exterior temple steps, around the rubble, to the large double door that presumably leads to the interior temple. Something heavy and bleeding was dragged.

“Snorbaugh! Tira that flaming red-head has sent these to mutton you!” says the elvish rogue with his most convincing gift-bearing grin.

The Troll looks up at the elf. “Mutton! Red girl sends Snorbaugh mutton! Even Master Lacertil not bring mutton anymore. He just hit Snorbaugh for letting Red girl and friends go by. Snorbaugh knew Red girl want to eat and swim. Where is Red girl? Where is good play dwarf?”

Prescott is able to approach Snorbaugh and draw his attention away from the interior temple door while he prepares his next convincing lie.

DM: What does the party do?
DM: How does Prescott respond?

Bowling For Zombies
 

Erik is indeed surprised, perhaps less that the skill thief could snatch the mutton, but more that Prescott would leave them now, in such a manner. It would have been nice to say goodbye.

After the moment of reflection, Erik is scared by the silence. He bounds up the stairs in the elf’s footsteps, stopping at the doors to stealthily peer out, hoping to not have the silence explained.

Bowling For Zombies
 

Prescott pats his hand on Snorbaugh’s back. “It’s tough being a troll, eh?” He surreptitiously does a pick pockets to see what he can find.

“So, Snorbaugh, I see you cleaning your axe. What manner of foul creature did you kill? Surely it must have been a great beast to be worthy of fighting you!”

As Prescott talks, he gently but firmly leads Snorbaugh away from the stairs, towards the woods.

“Come, you can tell me your tale as we enjoy this mutton around a fire. You do not need to worry about Red girl or the good play dwarf. They are playing down in the dungeon. They will be out in a few hours, and then you can have more fun!”

Assuming he can lead Snorbaugh away, Prescott proceeds to make a fire in the woods, close enough to the temple so Snorbaugh does not feel uncomfortable, but out of direct sight of the doors. He and the troll then enjoy some mutton together. “Snorbaugh, you may prefer your mutton raw, yes?”

Bowling For Zombies
 

Prescott finds nothing of value on the large Troll.

The Troll moves along with the Elf, clearly delighted to see the mutton. “Raw is good enough but cooked even better! Snorbaugh likes to cook and eat. Elf cook and eat Elf, too?” Prescott is close enough to smell the Troll’s terrible breath. He nearly gags.

Playing along, and unsure if “eat Elf” is meant that he should eat or, if Snorbaugh is planning on eating him, Prescott gets a cooking fire going, easily finding sticks to use for roasting.

Snorbaugh looks at the ax. “Snorbaugh no kill anything with ax. Snorbaugh just chop a tail. Dragon’s tail!” The Troll laughs, “Ha! Lord Noomar and him Yanti cannot go into the Lake. Only Snorbaugh strong enough, big enough to walk in Lake and chop tail of dumb dragon.”

“Lord Noomar not happy with Snorbaugh that Red girl, dwarf, and others go past, but Snorbaugh do good by chop Gold tail off. Dragon howled!” Snorbaugh laughs again, “then fall back into Lake. Dragon too weak for Lake swim.”

“And, dragon blood stink mighty,” Snorbaugh says with a scowl and a spit. The Troll is drooling over the cooking meat.

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Snorbaugh and Prescott swapping tales by the fire:

Snorbaugh_and_bloodtrail

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DM: Where does the party go?

Bowling For Zombies
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