Five intrepid gamers joined me at the Reaper Game Store this past Saturday to continue the adventures on the island of Nabor. Dallas, playing Anallia (Elf CLC/RGR, whose name I just realized I’ve been misspelling for months) and Barlyn (Dwarf CLC); Steven, playing Alexander (Half-elf FTR/THF-Acrobat) and Cain (Human M-U); Don, playing Barton (Half-elf M-U/THF); Joe playing Polcathir (Elf-Orc RGR); and Matt, playing Izthrail (Elf FTR). This was the first time for Joe and Matt to join us, and as both of them had limited experience with 1e D&D, it was necessary for their characters to begin at first level. (Parenthetically, that sort of thing always provides its own “special challenge” for a DM due to the difference between characters at that level and the average of 6th for the characters that have been in the group all along.)
As the party had just concluded their battle with the unusual lycanthropic barbarians (Terkoz’ band) they returned to Jamsin to check up on the repairs to the Razorwind (which had been attacked offstage by the Red Flag Pirates while they had been away dragon hunting in the last episode.) Repairs were continuing without difficulty, and so they wished to canvass the streets to determine whether anyone knew where the pirates’ nearest base — from which the attack was presumably launched — was located. No one knew that, but they did encounter an elf-orc ranger (Polcathir) who had encountered, and mostly killed, a number of elf-orcs in the lowland forests east of Jamsin. Alex, being determined to give the pirates some payback, eagerly gathered his troops, including Polcathir and an elf fighter from Jamsin named Izthail, and set off to find the base.
Before they could arrive at the location Polcathir had found likely pirates in, however, they ran into a dwarf, alone in the forest, who was badly losing a fight with a komodo lizard. The group slew the lizard handily enough, and used spells and a Neutralize Poison potion to restore the dwarf to health. He told them he had been sent to Jamsin from his village to seek help. It seems his village’s gardens and livestock were being devastated by creatures such as no one in the village had ever seen before. The group didn’t think he could make it to Jamsin alone (and, after all “we’re the ones they would send anyway…..”) and so the band accompanied the dwarf back to his village.
At the village they interviewed the village elder, a dwarf of truly extreme age (he gave it as 127; in this universe dwarves don’t normally live past 125) who reported that no one had ever seen creatures, some human-sized and others truly gigantic, before, but it is also true that in the village’s oldest legends, it was reported that creatures like that were seen during the war that immediately predated the Deluge. In addition, he reported that there was an ancient dwarven temple (abandoned long ago) nearby that might have a clue to Barlyn’s own quest, but that it is extremely dangerous.
Alex, using his gifts for leadership and tactics, began organizing the dwarves, along with Cain, Barlyn, and Izthail, to begin construction of a palisade to surround the village and its gardens and pastures. This project would take at least a little time. In the interim the two rangers (Anallia and Polcathir) accompanied by Barton, would make scouting sweeps through the forest to attempt to determine what they were up against.
[DM Note: Yes, this is every game master’s favorite — the split party!]
On their patrol the group in the forest encountered some human-sized creatures, all right. In fact, these creatures were bipedal, reptilian, and very, very fast. (Hey the name doesn’t include “veloci” for nothing!) After a desperate fight they managed to kill two of the four, and drive off the other two. The third one (already severely injured) fell to arrow fire, but the fourth one escaped cleanly. Of course, now it had two rangers trying to track it…..
Meanwhile, back at the village, the palisade was coming along well until one of the dwarves working on it saw a truly enormous creature emerging from the forest. This creature was also bipedal, although its “arms” were so tiny as to be practically useless. Its teeth and jaws, on the other hand, were not useless to it at all. While the dwarves evacuated the area, Cain cast Strength on Alex (which has become a standard tactic), Barlyn cast Prayer and Izthail maneuvered for a good bow shot at it, while Alex ran forward to meet it. There was a flurry of blows, which ended with the creature (yes, his name was “Rex”) falling over dead, and Alex bleeding heavily from the one bite he took from it. After some healing magic, the party proclaimed, “BARBECUE!” At least the dwarves don’t have a shortage of meat anymore. Tasted like chicken.
Back with the forest patrol, the rangers had no trouble tracking the remaining velociraptor to a deep pool where it was drinking. They killed it without any real difficulty, and then, upon some careful observations, determined that there was something that wasn’t quite right about the pool. It seemed perhaps a bit too dark, perhaps a bit too still. Barton took a sample of the water and they returned to the village.
At the barbecue, the group attempted to Detect Magic on the water, and discovered that it did come up as faintly magical. They tested it on a chicken, which did not show any ill effects. They tested it on Izthail, who showed no ill effects either, and determined that while the dwarves were finishing the palisade they should go investigate the pool further.
The entire group journeyed to the pool the next day. The velociraptor’s corpse had been picked clean, and there were two types of tracks next to it, but first would come the pool itself. Barton volunteered to do the hard part. He had the Ring of Free Action already, so once he borrowed the Helm of Water Breathing and had a 150 foot rope tied around him and the ever-popular Invisibility cast on him, he began walking into the water. Several feet into the pool the bottom fell away, and Barton sank like a stone until he reached the actual bottom of the pool, about 80 feet down. He frightened some fish, and a number of pithy observations about fish, snapping turtles, and Cthulhu were made. After waiting for some time and not seeing anything happen, he pulled out a Continual Light bead and began exploring the bottom. In the center of the pool he found a small metal object, that appeared to be either a badge or a brooch, which had been rusted over too much to see what, if anything, had been engraved on it. He picked it up and held it. A couple of minutes later he startled a snake, which lunged to attack, and he tugged on the rope to insist on a quick pull up. As the party began pulling him up the snake managed one attack, which was successful, and Barton was poisoned! Fortunately A) I had already stated that nitrogen narcosis is a non-issue, so he could surface as quickly as he wanted to and B) Barlyn had another potion of Neutralize Poison. With Barton OK, the group cleaned off the object he had found, and discovered that it was a brooch with a stylized letter “P” below a five-pointed crown. They also determined that it was highly magical, and that now the pool showed no magic, and in fact, no excessive darkness. Cain attempted to Identify the brooch, but was only able to determine that it appeared to be some sort of powerful focus for conjuration/summoning spells.
With that, the group began tracking down the remaining creatures which had been eating on the velociraptor. They found a large group of 12 velociraptors (the things have no taboo against cannibalizing one of their own) and engaged them in a melee which almost turned deadly for Polcathir, who survived but only just barely. A search revealed some 14 eggs, which the group decided to keep to see what they could use or sell them for. They then tracked down the other tracks to a pair of Megalosauruses, which were dispatched without difficulty. Although they knew that a Brontosaurus was still out there (it had come to the village overnight but been driven off without difficulty) they returned to the village to claim their reward.
In addition to some cash and a fair number of gems and three pieces of jewelry (one of which was extremely valuable — they weren’t stinted for cash on this) the group received from the grateful village elder one vial of Oil of Sharpness and one of Oil of Impact. Now all they need is some more coal. Also, the elder provided a map to find the ancient dwarven temple he had mentioned previously; however, they are planning to find and attack the Red Flag Pirate base prior to looking for the temple.