The Hidden Hand

Session 21
Dishonesty at Baldur's Gate

Entry in Aradon’s Journal;

‘Well one could not say that a trip to Baldur’s Gate be a boring one, as ours has been packed with antics from the moment we stepped foot in this huge city. Minus two of our usual order i might add, seem that our two loyal wizards are having trouble setting up base back in Cormyr. Athon and Zyanne decided to use the teleport stone to make sure the wizards are doing right by Delamor’s orders. They left this morning.

Which lead us to continue our trek towards Baldur’s Gate, and soon arrived at its outskirts. Eager to find a temple of Amunator i decided to make haste and lead the party assertively through the shanty towns and into the more bustling parts of the city. After a brief discussion with a member of the Flaming Fists, Baldur’s Gate’’ law-keepers, we headed towards old town. During our travels we came upon a small Necropolis which we had to travel through, and that was about the time i started to realise we seem able to get into trouble easily!

After hearing some shouting we found a group of half-orcs and humans attacking someone amongst the tombs. They were not keen to halt their actions and so a fight ensued, where we were encouraged by the victim to be on his side. We obliged and this is where we first met Garad Ellerton who told us he was working with the Flaming Fist to oust some thieves guilds in the city. Unfortunately he name was about where his honesty ended, and we were quickly escorted towards a guard station when we discovered he was lying! Delamor seemed to take particular offence at our new companion, however i was more concerned with Gregg’s new trophy that hung from his belt. One of the hands of the humans we had just fought. I must remember to speak to him about being tactful in a new place.

The guards seemed suspicions about our intentions and i tried my best to ensure they understood we had good intentions. Delamor became extremely frustrated at the guard on a power trip and earned a stay in the cells, i explained to him that it would all be sorted out shortly and he begrudgingly agreed to be led away clutching his precious orb. The guards seemed to be a little be more lenient after Delamours departure and myself and the remaining members of the party were lead to a suitable inn, the Silver Star.

Once the guards had left, i make it perfectly clear to our new ‘friend’ that he had caused a lot of trouble for our party and that he was not to leave until i felt his debt had been repaid. He said he was part of a guild (he was vague on purpose) and could help with Delamor’s predicament provided her could speak with some if its members, i let him go but took Garad’s dagger for insurance. At that point Belgarath indicated he had some things to do around the merchant district, so i took the opportunity to go to the temple of Amunator with Gregg in tow.

Although I’m not yet certain what has happened to me recently the monks in the temple were able to give me a great deal of information about Amunator. I will write more about my experiences later as right now i feel i just don’t understand enough about my new god. I plucked Gregg from the temple of Kord, apparently some of the younger worshippers were getting disturbed by his new trinket, which has started to smell a little by now. I suggested we tried to find his contact Menhir to see about what he wanted. The trip was pretty short and after speaking to Menhir we were soon on our way back to the Silver Star. Gregg was told to wait upon some possible bodyguard work that might come his way.

Upon returning to the Silver Star, we caught up with Belgarath who had been trying to find components of something or other. He has started collecting a mass of objects that he is intending to play, and Amunator only knows what he wants to end up with. To my surprise Garad returned and Delamor was not far behind him. Seem’s Garad is keen to gain our trust s what ever he sorted out for Delamor must have worked. Delamor informed us he had time to take a trip to the Water Deep Embassy and deliver the letter’s he had from Zyanne.

By that time i was too emotionally tired to be listening to anyone, so right now i’m sat in the Silver Star with a small jug of ale. There is word of a travelling circus setting up outside, i might go and have a look around to take my mind of things.’

- Aradon Thrall

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Session 22
Circus Circus

Dear Father,

Here we are in Balder’s Gate. I really don’t know what I can say. It has undergone so many changes over the years that it is hardly recognisable from when we visited when I was a child. The four dukes have been replaced by a single ruler after some sort of werewolf attack 10 years gone. The once courteous town guard have been replaced by a mercenary company called the Flaming Fist many of whom appear more bent than a halfpenny nail.

I had a bit of a layover in the cells thanks to that and visited an Inn known as the Silverstar which seems quite nicely laid out. Delivered some messages for Zyanne, you remember the lady I wrote to you about previously and discovered that the Waterdeep Embassy isn’t really having any decent luck these days. I’m reasonably certain much of it boils down to a murderous little traitor called Devlin who appears to have gotten himself recognised as some kind of hero around here. No one seems at all suspicious that of the many adventuring parties he has been a part of he is almost always the only survivor of his expeditions.

Anyway there I was just resting in the Inn and entertaining the crowd with a truer version of the “Ballad of Devlin” than the one I have encountered so far among my travels when I heard one of my companions yell about monsters on the loose. I went out of the Inn and saw that a Circus had set up outside the Inn and true enough a bunch of monsters had been let loose from their cages.

Being the heroes that we are we of course stepped in to subdue them. A menagerie like one could not imagine had been assembled and we found ourselves battling not only an Ogre but, also two different types of Kruthik, a hellhound and a drake. Truth be told though our new “addition” Garad makes a reasonable replacement for Zyanne in battle we missed the swordmage Athon, whom we had sent back to Marsember to assist Zyanne in setting up the headquarters for the Company.

Thankfully, we managed to best the beasts just as some of the Flaming Fists showed up. I left Aradon and his newfound respect for Amaunator to play the diplomat this time and went back to the Inn where I played my heart out and poured as much of the Goddess into my performance as possible to try and help these poor people see the truth of this Devlin.

We all had a good nights rest and in the morning after summoning Athon through the portal stones visited the Cormyr and Waterdeep Embassies.

On the way back through town we engaged in a little shopping trading out things that were of little real value for items of interest or which were likely to assist us in our travels. I believe next time we engage in such a shopping trip I will insist that we visit appropriate places to by Healing Potions and Poultices though as healing is not really my forte and Aradon is only slowly growing into his abilities.

After this we decided that it was time to get on with the business of locating the Nazelkin and headed to see a gentle sage known as Gilthan in the Old District.

The man and his house were both deceptively dilapidated but, exquisitely outfitted inside. He holds more knowledge in his brain than I have in my entire body. I can only pray to Sehanine that I grow to his age and his understanding.

Anyway, he spoke at length to us of Diker Thane and informed us of possible starting points for finding the Nazelkin. I think we are off to find the 3rd one first in something called the Wizard’s Tower.

He was also very forthcoming with information about Devlin’s known exploits and the fact that it is believed that he is currently working for Count Brass (a being which Gregg insists is going to be more than he appears). I swear ever since we encountered a Brain in a Jar all those months ago that Gregg has a fear of losing his Will to another (though considering how hard he hit me that day I’m quite surprised I don’t have that same fear.

Information was also given to us about Menhir and his lost gnome, Irsel; about Bogental, the Waterdeep Ambassador who has had dealings with Devlin and whom I will need to arrange a meeting with and a little bit about Needles and “The Cat”.

Anyway, I must be off to help investigate the home of someone named Mandorka who is said to have been researching the Wizard’s Tower when he disappeared.

Until then may the Lady watch over you and keep you safe, warm, and well fed.

Give mother my love if she returns.

Delamor

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Session 23
A Well Oiled Machine

Presto Mcspark: And welcome back to Dungeon Tonight, I’m your regular host, Presto McSpark and with me as always, noted Dwarven Fighter, Slab Bulkhead. Joining us tonight as guest host is head of the Thieves Guild from the city of thieves, so give him a big hand whilst keeping your gold close, it’s Silk Darkheart. So then the Company of the Purple Eclipse, we left them after mopping up the first floor of Mandorcai’s mansion, supposedly haunted and from where few people had recently come back from. Having been sent there by Gilthan to retrieve said Mordorcai’s Journal plus some other books. We joined the action as they opened the door to the first floor and i think it’s safe to say somebody was happy when they saw their opponents.

Slab Bulkhead: Absolutely Presto, Delamor is a typical Paladin, they think it’s their god given right to kill undead, and of course they’re right but I’ve seen Paladin’s get tunnel vision in this kind of scenario, they focus on the biggest baddest undead in the room, charge with a yell to their god and fail to notice the sly character in the darkness with the blowdart, hey, no offence Silk.

Silk Darkheart: None taken, but of course Delamor wasn’t the first one into action, that honour fell to Athon.

PM: Yes indeed, and a surprising maneuver, almost tactically unsound you might say.

SB: I don’t know what the bl**dy fool was thinking, he charges into battle, and then does his appear in two places thing and ends up with the three biggest nasties, two of which were on fire I might add, between him and the rest of the party, what happened, did Gregg and Athon switch bodies or something?

SD: Definitely tactically unsound, but then I have never really understood Swordmages, are they fighters or are they mages, they just seem confused wannabe’s to me.

PM: Belgarath then moves in and starts to dish out the pain.

SB: Certainly coming into his own more as a Sorceror, but still I am concerned by his lack of health, he has tendency to rush in get smacked around and then wonder where his health has gone.

SD: Indeed, he enters the room, attacks some Witherlings and then wonders why they then surround him and start to strike him down.

PM: At this point the Boneshard crosses the room and promptly blocks the door preventing the rest of the party entering effectively leaving the two of them to fend for themselves.

SB: How Athon survived that corner encounter I just don’t know, he was damned lucky to get out of that with all of his fingers intact, between the wraith and two burning skeletons and all. I’m also curious to know how Aradon has lasted so long with his reflexes being so slow, I’ve seen statues react faster than him and they don’t move. Well not typically anyway. I acctually thought Athon made a good use of tactics and he’s finally starting to learn how to use his abilities as a swordmage and not as a, what was it, wannabe..

SD: I didn’t really mean anything by that, I’ve always had a lot of respect for Swordmages…

PM: The Boneshard is dispatched, thus covering everyone in bone fragments and finally the party moves into the room and the battle really begins, although it’s not looking good for Belgarath at this stage. Having backed himself into a corner, it’s really Gregg that comes to his rescue. The Wraith then moves for Belgarath, Gregg moves in and starts to attack the burning skeletons with Athon with the others taking down the rest of the Witherlings and the Wraith.

SD: I have to say, I was impressed by the speed the rest were dispatched, for once, this was a well oiled machine that I don’t think was ever in any danger.

PM: After the fighting is over, the room is examined, there’s some bookshelves, a table and a chest, Delamor moves to the bookshelves and in a surprising move Athon takes to the chest.

SB: Surprising to you maybe but I’ve seen this coming for a while. We’ve seen Athon not be happy at the apparent lack of distribution of items before, it has seemed he only got an item when either he disturbed someone else looting (how he got his armour) or he was the only person who could ideally use it, such as his longswords.

SD: He did what he thought he should do and he got a reward, how long has Delamor been crowing over his orb? What he found will undoubtedly benefit him and all the power to him I say.

PM: Do you think Delamor’s comment about not being “one of the founders” is still affecting him?

SB: Possibly, don’t forget Athon or someone else would be taking his sword out of a beast and Zyanne would already be picking his pockets.

SD: She was a thief, it’s what we do..

SB: Yeah, hang on pal, there is such a thing as honour for some people and Athon’s one of them, he’s principled, maybe too principled for this game I think this could be the start of a change in him.

PM: Trying to move on, the glance that Delamor threw at Athon.

SD: Delamor thinks he saw something but can’t be sure, what’s he going to do accuse Athon of stealing?

SB: Yeah, I’m potentially seeing problems in the future for those two.

PM: The next floor was more of a challenge but even so they still came through it with relative ease.

SB: Agreed, even with the massive dog, and that was one hell of a beastie, it still didn’t pose much of a problem. This is the best I think we’ve seen the Purple Eclipse working for a long time, playing to their strengths and covering their weaknesses.

SD: I would be tempted to agree, they divided but they still covered each other, eliminating the archers early on was definitely the right move and Aradon’s power on the Wraith took it out of the battle for so long that when it came back it had virtually no chance even with the darkness it threw up.

PM: Glad you mentioned, bit of a risk from Greg wasn’t it, diving into the darkness and attacking the first thing he came to?

SD: Sometimes you have take risks to get the treasure.

PM: So all enemies dispatche, books found, clock in pieces on the floor and the mysterious key.

SD: Ah the clock, it took them so long to realise what it probably was then the key, if they’d had a rogue with them, they would have put that together in seconds.

SB: Doesn’t look much like a key to me…

PM: Meeting with Gilthan, they resolve to head to Candlekeep as at least they know they can get there whilst they try and figure the key out. On that note, I’d like to thank my hosts, Slab Bulkhead and Silk Darkheart and stay with us for our next item, Lich’s, are they just misunderstood?

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Session 24
Candlekeep

Cat, here’s the next of the updates you asked for. Hopefully one of the runners picked it up from whatever drop site I end up using. If you remember, this group decided to head out to that haunted mansion on Baker street, in search of a rare book they needed to gain entry to Candlekeep, where a book they needed was.

First thing the group decided to to after leaving the house was to split up and visit the merchants districts. The Paladin and the wildman headed off to the Waterdeep embassy, and I followed after the two mages. Aparently, they’d been bandying quite the collection of rare scales around previously, and one of the rare item factors (not one of ours) had managed to secure the services of the local artificiers in making a suit of armour outta them. They wanted to speak to the smith himself though, who turned out to be one of the more influential members of the Dwarven smithing guild. Somehow Athon, the mage with the swords, managed to rankle the dwarf so much he all but threw her our of his shop. I wasn’t gonna get involved in anything like this, so I waited outside with her while the other mage, Belgarath had a go at bargining with the smith. I’d guess he did well though, as he looked fairly pleased when he came out a few minutes later.

From what I can gather, the other two managed to get a meeting with that old sot of an ambasador in the Waterdeep embassy, where he spun his usual tales of conspiracies. Not sure where that lead, but Delamor seemed impressed at least. I know they managed to shift a quite conciderably valuble magic item though, and used it to barter their way to a different one and some extra coin.

While this was happening, I was checking in with the local guildhouse, where I picked up some more healing potions (following this gorup around seems to be hazardous) and updated instructions. After that, the group saddled up and headed out to candlekeep.

The journey was uneventful and, once there, they used the book they’d aquired with my help from that haunted mansion on Baker street to parlay an entry. We’d barely entered the courtyard when a group of what I’m told were troglodytes burst from the ground and attacked us (hazzard, you see? I better be being compensated for all this). All I know is they were ugly as all hells, and their stench was even worse.

We made short work of them, but I’d guess they were just a diversion, as it turns out that someone was murdered while it was happening, and the book that had brought us here had been stolen. Obviously, the fact we were up to our eyeballs in foul smelling tunnel lurkers ruled us out of the assasination of the monk, so Delamor, the groups leader, offered to investigate for the abbot.

A quick glance at the body made me think this wasn’t a professional job, at least I hope it wasn’t one of ours, very messy work. Interviewing the monks revealed that someone in a dark hooded robe was seen leaving the room but nothing much else. Aeron decided to make use of one of Candlekeep’s rituals to actually talk to the dead body. Freaked me out, but we didn’t learn much past the fact that the dead monk didn’t see his attacker. We then decided to bring the three other visitors to the keep, a traveling halfling, a priest of Amauntor and an old scholar to the sight of the murder and interview them one at a time.The priest seemed on the level to me, but Delamor didn’t seem to believe him, and was suspicious of the fact the priest was all interested in Kord and the other less socially acceptable gods. Some kinda religious third eye I guess. None of us could pin anything substantial though, so we sent him back to his room.

I’d been meaning to scope out their rooms anyway, so I acompinaied him back and had a quick look round. Didn’t see anything noteworthy, but it was a different story in the Hhalfling’s room. He was still absent, so I could have a more thorough look round. Where I actually found 2 expensive looking books hidden in a leather bacg under the mattrass. He hadn’t made any of the normal guild signs when I met him, so I didn’t have any real problems turnting the two books over to the monk with me, who ran off with them looking ofr the abbot. That was fine by me as it left me alone to make a more thorough search of the room, where I turned up a couple of nice items.

I missed the next bit, but aparently the halfling was in the room with Denethor and Belgarath when the monk arived at the Abbot. By all accounts thte thief took off like a jackrabbit and was only stopped when Gregg ran after him, through any monks and tables in the way, and bodyslammed the poor sod into the door to the courtyard.

More updates later, assuming this damnfool mission you’ve got me on doesn’t get me strung up, gutted or eaten, Garad.

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Session 25
Another Dragon

Chronicales of Gregg

After tackling that rather nimble half-ling which for me was no trouble at all had it been anyone else he would of got away with him crimes.

We went in search for Balthzar but his quarters were empty and a quick search of the room gave us a few clue to what had gone on. The real Balthzar had been strangled and stuff into a wardrobe this was a surprise to the monks since he had been so helpful but this was all a plan.
Athon sensed some form of arcane power had been used not to long ago and deducted that a teleportation ritual had been used one he was sure only allowed to move no more then 10ft but that was enough to elude us.

Pretty much soon after we had been summoned to the eatery to see to brother odgood who was acting strange in the middle of a arcane carving on the floor, he then collapsed and 6 daemons appeared and they intended on killing us.

They could only be described by the lashing tongues of a creature called a canoloth which tried to strangle their prey. There were also pain daemons which caused damage whenever you entered their proximity and finally a bladling firing sharp spikes and attacking with his longsword. They were no match for the company of the purple eclipse. I picked up some spiked bracers from the bladling i’m sure theses will come in useful.

With the Key puzzle still unsolved we decided to use the books of candlekeep to our advantage,
firstly by looking up information on Netherall and also the swords which we shall use to kill Diker thane they were described as 2 swords and one implement which is shaped in the form of a sword.
Belgrath found the blueprints of candlekeep none of which showed any secret tunnels which someone could use to their advantage, on closer inspection the attic looked the place to hide so off we headed.

With the investigation still ongoing we got all the monks and Pilgrims to assemble in one room so we could search the keep with the intent to kill anyone who got in our way. Our search lead to the a trap door in the roof and in quick pursuit we caught up with the cloaked figure.
Garad rushed out to grab him because he noticed the book with his keen eye and as he grappled onto the figure it turned into what can all be a black ooze which then split into 4 and the book skidded to the side of the roof.

A golden dragon landed upon the roof and belgrath countered his landing with a rays of pure sunlight illuminating the roof destroying the ooze where it well oozed. Seeing my opportunity charging with my axe held above my head to which it delivered a heavy blow to the dragon causing it to retaliate with a firey breath and within it frightful presence knocking myslef and athon off balance but delamor pure devotion to sehianeene she protected him. Garad with tumbles and rolls allowed him to grasp the book from beneath the dragons claw and then with a flurry and stabbing and high and low slashes blood poured from the dragon. It clawed out at Athon raking across his chest being him close to death but Delamor inspiration spurred him on.
I came back with a thundering blow toppling the dragon and with its final attack scraping athon once again with his claws but Garad plunged his dagger deep In the heart of the fiery beast.

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Session 26
Robot Wars

Belgarath takes a resting view…..

After the excitement at Candlekeep recently I think the “Party of the Purple Eclipse” felt they could do with a break and return to Baldur’s Gate, oh how wrong we were, trouble follows us everywhere!!!

With the Golden Dragon defeated, Gregg decides to start slicing & dicing the dragon ala “Gordon Ramsay style”, meanwhile Delamor examines the book we have been seeking and learns that DRAVEN the Dragon whom we seek can be found at Thunderpeaks, North of Cormyr. Belgarath and Delamor agreed that visiting the Moonshae Islands home of the Giants should be our next port of call but after returning to Baldur’s Gate.

Before leaving Candlekeep the party felt they should be rewarded somewhat for our heroics, whereby Gregg decides to intimidate the monks into paying us does surprisingly well, meanwhile through research Athon discovers the Ritual to Enchant Magic Item which excites Delamor somewhat. So after agreement on returning to Baldur’s Keep our intrepid party make there way back the Silver Star within the city for rest and make plans for their next moves. Once in the city Gregg and Belgarath go off to visit the Dwarven smith to trade dragon scales which does not go overly well and they asked to return in several weeks.
Meanwhile Athon and Delamor are working through the ritual, and stocking up with needed magical items to benefit the party, Garrad makes his usual disappearance into the Baldur’s Gate underworld.
While the partying are rejoining each other and discussing their day’s pursuits, Belgarath suggests setting our own Ebay in the city called D&D Bay, to trade the many things we keep killing.
In the late afternoon Garrad returns and relays a message he received about a possible robbery at the warehouse of Baron Coverant, Garrad and Belgarath agree this could be important and worth checking out so with this news Delamor suggests that the party reports to the one Sergeant of the Flaming Fist who we trust.

The party then proceed to seek the Sergeant whereby Delamor explains our news and that we are happy to help, we then hatch a plan whereby Garrad will wait in the sewers and the rest of us will break-in and hide within the warehouse. Great plan or what!!!!
As we head of down the dank, slimey sewers underneath Baldur’s Gate, Garrad follows us and covers our tracks, at this moment with great surprise Gregg cracks the puzzle which has given us so many problems, our joy is shortlived………..

We round a corner of the sewers to be confronted by 5 robed figures in the dark of the sewers, as we knew they would not surrender the battle commences with Athon and Garrad striking out first against our enemies with Garrad decimating one enemy with a flurry. Belgarath decides to stay back and cast Sun’s Illumination which lights up the combat zone and strikes at several enemies. Gregg seems to be the target of their anger as he hit with several scimitar attacks. Delamor finds himself tangled in a whip attack which surprises everyone, not a very sporting move!!!! As the battle progresses Garrad continues to wade into fighting with his flurries of speed, Gregg critical hits another enemy as Belgarath gets comfortable at the back as his Sun’s Illumination moves from enemy to enemy dealing damage.
The strikes on Gregg take their toll as he becomes bloodied and angry i might say, Garrad continues his flurries and critical hits and kills an enemy, while the zone of illumination from Belgarath continues to move through the enemies as he gets comfortable in the background. Delamor critically hits another enemy and bloodies the target as the enemies seem to be going down, in return Delamor is also critically hit hard but he can handle the pressure being the paladin. Athon’s sword bursts into flames and strikes out fast and hard at multiple targets, unfortunately suffering many effects he keeps failing to help himself, at this point the leader smashes several boxes and these mechanical figures come out and start fighting for the enemy, damn warforged who brought the meccano!!!!

The leader of the enemy throws out pyschic energy which hits hard against Gregg, Garrad and Athon causing them many restrictions within their fighting, again Gregg and Garrad are hit hard and forced backwards away from combat, are the enemies rejuvenating their attacks?

Delamor is kept very busy healing the bloodied members of the party as the battle progresses the leader sends out shooting flames which hits everyone except Belgarath who is busy admiring the walls and the sewage, causing much disruption to our party and their attacks.
The warforged now move into battle our party, Athon strikes out in a flurry scoring one critical hit and killing one of these cursed enemies, Belgarath again has much fun moving his zone of illumination around and scoring a critical hit too. Gregg strikes out with his Bloodhunt Rage scoring a critical and slicing one warforged to nothing but bolts and metal, then Gregg and Garrad chase down the last leader with Gregg knocking him prone and Garrad finishing him off. Their are now pieces of metal and bolts around the dead bodies of the enemy a tough battle with Gregg and Delamor using the most healing on themselves as it seems they were the brunt of the enemy frustration.

Finally with the battle over, Belgarath moves and joins his companions as the party loot the bodies and take some of these strange, mysterious metal parts and bolts. The party finds a list of instructions for these mechanical destructors, a list of metal components needed, and a small insignia on one of them which links with a disappearing gnome we have come across in the past.
Delamor suggests we take the bodies to the Sergeant of the Flaming Fist, the Sergeant states that one of the dead was a wanted criminal and seems pleased with our work, the party is rewarded with 100gps for our efforts. We decided to return to the Silver Star for rest and to plan our next moves, but I feel somewhere in the distance Diker Thain and his cohorts are watching our progress with interest…….

That’s Belgarath’s view, although i must say next time a chair and a mug of ale would not go a miss for myself whenwe are fighting, just a thought!!

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Session 27
World of Darkness

Dear Father,

Here we are ever so slightly further through our line of enquiries than we were last time I wrote. Most recently we have returned to Balder’s Gate from Castlekeep and discovered even more of the inherent evilness of “humanity”. It was while combating a vile splinter cell of the local guild when Gregg, my barbarian travelling companion and friend managed to solve the puzzle key that has been causing Athon and myself so much trouble over the last few weeks. I suppose sometimes these things are just a matter of strength, endurance, and the appreciative smile of the Goddess. Anyway, we dispatched the traitors and decided after a long restful night we would go looking for the fabled Wizard’s Tower which lies beneath the city somewhere.

During the night my rest was disturbed by a most intriguing creature and through discussion and charm a number of facts/rumours were shared by both sides. My campaign to discredit the sneak Devlin continues and I’ve asked this creature to help in that regard as it is believed that he and the traitorous guild are in league. It is possible though not proven that the metal man is more leader than dupe in these endeavours but, until we have more information it is hard to undertake a proper investigation. We are doing what we can but, as Aradon was the only one with any previous knowledge of this type of work it has been hard. I will speak to him upon our return from this tower and see if he has any strategies he can suggest to us.

Anyway, the sun reared its bright and ugly head and we set off to the Necropolis to find the Tomb of Doctor Talos and the entrance to the Wizard’s Tower.

When we arrived it appeared that others had already investigated the Tomb and the door had been jammed shut to keep out further intrusions. Garad was busy inspecting the door to figure out the best way of opening it when Gregg decided that with all doors the best way to open this one was to bash it with his head at top speed and charged in. Unfortunately, he tripped over the edge of my cloak on the way past and did not get as solid a strike against the door as he normally would have. Eventually, though he and Garad managed to open the door into the darkness.

Revealed within was a set of stairs which we duly descended and descended. Between the stairs and the sloping corridors between we quickly realised that we were far deeper underground than any normal crypt and had gone outside the above ground boundaries of the Necropolis. Eventually, we came upon a another closed door. Gregg again took up the initiative and screaming out “There it is” charged at the door. After bouncing off yet another door Gregg got a look in his eye which suggested that he had happened upon an idea. He casually reached into his backpack and pulled out the puzzle key he had recently solved in the sewers. He touched the key against the door and it opened to reveal… yet more stairs.

We descended these stairs as well and began to feel a faint breeze blowing which suggested that we had now entered an area that had an unsealed exit somewhere else.

Not feeling particularly stealthy Gregg, Athon, and myself quickly formed a front rank and marched on into the dark.

When we reached the bottom of the stairs my heart sank as the first thing I saw in my field of vision was a swarm of Rot Scarabs, the very same beasts that had killed Aradon. The swarm was accompanied by two vampires, which immediately made me look askew at Gregg, just in case we were going to have to guard against our friend as well as the enemies in the room. Thankfully, Athon’s arcane knowledge and my knowledge of religion revealed these vampires did not have the power to subsume our Barbarian friends will. Garad immediately led a charge into the room to confront one of the vampires and we all gasped as it was also revealed that two Zombie hulks were within. Garad was able to circle the predators about the vampire and hit it with a dagger. I immediately blessed my weapon and the rest of us joined the fray.

After a hard fought battle in which we all expended far more energy than we could probably have afforded we decided it was probably a good idea to take a short rest. Gregg set about making a helmet/hood thing from one of the Zombie Hulk heads and I did my best to tend to the wounded. Garad found an item of power, a belt I believe it was which will hopefully provide him with extra standing power in any similar battles and make him slightly less reliant on my limited healing abilities.

We set off even further downhill and with Garad and myself in front came across a rather small room with tubes in the opposite corners. Obviously, a trap and based on the scorch marks around the tubes on associated with fire. While Garad and I discussed the best way to disarm the traps Gregg decided that he was bored and the best way to get through this 20 foot room was to just take a running start and jump. Unfortunately, Belgarath’s staff was this time responsible for the barbarian’s stumble and he landed just enough weight on the last stone to set off the trap and scorch himself something fierce.

Gregg extricated himself from the room having given Garad and I a better idea of how the trap worked.

The two of us rushed in and disarmed the traps.. well Garad disarmed his and I set mine off. I think it may be time to start practicing my skills again as I seem to have gotten very rusty since leaving Loudwater. Anyway, Garad was just about to disarm mine as well when a half hearted comment by myself inspired Belgarath to rush into the room and attempt to clog the tube with bits of metal. Unfortunately, this foray simply served to set the trap off and the room filled with fire yet again. Long story short Garad eventually disarmed the second trap and after we’d all taken a deep breath we set out down the corridor. A corridor which very quickly led us to a room occupied by a Vampire Muse and her lackeys. Gregg slowly turned towards us with a gleam in his eye and his hands ever tightening around the handle of his axe…

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Session 28
Down, Down, Deeper and Down

Presto McSpark: And welcome back to Dungeon Tonight, as ever I’m your host, Presto McSpark and my co-pilot, noted dwarven fighter, Slab Bulkhead. Joining us tonight we are fortunate to have the famed Barbarian Chad Hardchest and the Deva, Slyren. So Slab, moving on to the Company of the Purple Eclipse, good week for them this week do you think?

Slab Bulkhead: Actually pretty much, we left them squaring up for a battle and we rejoined them just as it kicked off.

PM: For the benefit of our viewers, they were facing one Vampire, two Eladrin Knights plus some minions, looking at it, it seems relatively straight forward.

SB: Certainly seemed that, way, some good initial maneouvering and it seemed to be going to plan, but then the Vampire’s Domination came into play. Picking what was probably the highest damage dealing member of the party who also happens to have the weakest will, let’s be honest the Barbarian was always going to be a first choice.

Chad Hardchest: You saying Bararians stupid?

SB: Not at all but I’ll wager a barrel of Dwarven Ale that Athon needed to change his pants when he turned round and saw the Barbarian swinging the Axe of doom towards him!

PM: Absolutely, they were fortunate that the Barbarian was able to snap out of it so early on.

Slyren: I feel your pain!

PM: Thank you for that. We should probably spend some time talking about the Rogue and the wretched time he had.

SB: It happens to all of us, like that time I was in the Tower of Heinous Death, sometimes you can’t hit for toffee, it seems to happen to Athon all the time it seems.

PM: Unless of course he’s dominated.

SB: Absolutely, dominate him and suddenly he’s a killing machine, bloodying the Sorceror can’t have gone down well, and how long was he dominated for, can’t help but think there may have been a little payback going on?

S: I feel his sorrow!

CH: Barbarian should have smashed little pretend wizard.

PM: Getting back to the main battle, the two Eladrin certainly caused more problems than I bet the party thought they would.

SB: Certainly that grab attack caused the rogue a few issues adding to the issues he was already having and occupied Delamor for longer than it probably should have. And Athon should have broken that domination sooner than he did.

PM: Well bearing in mind what happened next perhaps he shouldn’t have.

SB: Well Garard was just in the wrong place in the wrong time, Gregg gets dominated and then proceeds to cut him in two.

PM: Can’t be easy the last thing you see is a Barbarian swinging his axe towards you..

SB: And then when you wake up, you see the same axe sticking out of you!

CH: Barbarian have mighty weapons, do mighty blows!

S: I feel your agony!

PM: Well thank you for your comments there…

SB: Once the Knights were down it was only a matter of time for the Vampire and she probably knew it, dominated Athon again and sent him after Belgarath again.

PM: Belgarath did get in a retort…

SB: And Athon gets a repair bill..

PM: But ultimately the Vampire merges back into her cauldron of blood that is subsequently tipped over ending her reign for ever.

SB: A tough fight, tougher than it initially looked I’m sure, as usual Delamor first to hunt the room down..

PM: But both Belgarath and especially Gregg benefitting.

CH: Shiny Axe!

SB: Very much so in this new age of spirit of co-operation.

PM: So after an extended rest they are back on the trail and walk almost entirely into a party of Doergar.

SB:

PM: After the Rogue engages the enemy, the party are left almost too far behind to do anything effective.

SB: Aye, I thought the Rogue should have waited until the party had moved up as close as it could but oh well, tactics and all that..

S: I feel your misery..

SB:

PM: Battle seems to be going well initially until two things happen, two Dark Mantle’s lower themselves from the ceiling and start screaming and after a particularly nasty blow, one of the Doerger’s suddenly swells up in size and becomes a Doerger Hulk! Add in that one of them is a caster and suddenly it’s fight on for the Purple Eclipse..

SB: You say that, all enemies were despatched fairly quickly, even the one that ran, Gregg soon caught him up and sent him to the next world.

PM: Yep, can’t say much more than that, certainly a more straight forward battle than their previous one. Moving on they get to the causeway that leads to the tower with some more Doerger and a couple of Xorn in their way.

SB: I tell you I wouldn’t be happy fighting on that narrow causesay.

PM: Not at all, it’s what, 150 feet long, just wide enough for two at a time? Not fun to fight on, but it looks like Delamor is going for the ole Diplomatic schtick again, certainly with the Xorn but with the Doerger pulling out Crossbow’s it doesn’t look brilliant.

SB: Not forgetting the ‘undead’ presence in the tower..

PM: Well I think that about wraps it up, so thank you to all my guests and catch us next time.

CH: Barbarian SMASH!

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Session 29
Monty Hall's Flying Paladin

Dear Father,

Did you ever find it amazing how easy some creatures are to bribe and how hard some others are no matter how greedy they seem to have been in the past and in the stories. I told you before about the Wizard’s Tower and the guards there seemed to exemplify both of the above in one go. One the one hand the Duergar there who we never really believed that trustworthy stuck to their duty despite offering to give them 50% of all the treasure within the dang tower whereas one of their Xorn slaves gave up and left for two rather trivial diamonds. Anyway, after the partially successful bribery attempt we were forced into combat with the Duergar and one remaining Xorn. Being on a stone bridge which was only 10 feet across it was impossible for the group to manoeuvre into any sort of effective fighting pattern so I took upon myself to change this and to ensure that our Battle Standard was suitably planted where the sight of it would give the group the biggest morale boost possible. With that in mind I signalled to Gregg for a boost and with a running start leapt over him and the Duergar Fleshreaper he has battling. Unfortunately for me the fleshreaper chose that moment to poke Gregg in the chest just hard enough to be a distraction and instead of the planned acrobatic display I found myself bumping back and forth around them until I finally came facedown behind the fleshreaper. At least it put me within 5 feet of where I’d intended to be and I could plant the standard for all to see. The battle after that was hard fought but, one in which I think everyone managed to excel although it was a bit of a shock to see some of the Duergar grow to large proportions upon being bloodied I think it was handled very well indeed even when they managed to get behind us and attack Belgarath.

Having gained entrance to the tower I was rather mistaken in hoping for a unoccupied entry hall and instead we came across a spell-throwing gnoll who having heard the ruckus out-front had managed to summon up two cambion hellswords and nearly a dozen undead minions. Another fight where we spent sometime pinned in, this time by the witherings. Gregg used the magic of his Berzerker badge to charge the Gnoll Wizard and the rest of us tried to dispose of the minions before the hellswords could do us in. The Company of the Purple Eclipse has its ups and downs tactically and if I’m honest I’m not sure this was one of our best outings but, we did manage to get through it mostly unscathed and bravely set off for the next level of the tower. Knowing that there was a great source of undead power at the top we were surprised to find not undead in the next room but, trolls and thunder lizard type creatures called destrachors. Tactically we were much more sound in this battle and worked well to ensure that the trolls were taking as much fire damage as we could dish out and harming the destrachors anyway we could. We managed to concentrate enough fire power on single targets that we made relatively short work of them and decided despite our weariness to press on ahead.

Oh we also found some things in the Gnolls’ library books for conjuring demons and undead and a scrap of paper with perhaps part of a ritual written on it. I of course destroyed the books and am hoping the other things we found will prove to be useful.

Give my love to Mother.

Sincerely,

Delamor

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Session 30
Drunken tales of stabbing one's way to the top of a tower.

“whoa, back up there” the scared man holds up a hand to his neighbour at the bar and squints at him through the thick tobaco haze “You just skipped a bit there”.

“Huh?” the younger man pauses for a second and conciders “how’d you meen? We’ve got to the tower…”

“yah, and suddenly you’re fighting this big bone monster without you explainin’ how you got there. Garrad m’lad, these tales of yours are fanciful enough without you jumping all over the place.”

“OK, so, we’d got over the bridge, right?” Garrad looks expectantly at the older man

“Right, the bridge over the bottomless chasm”

“Can’t have a bridge leading to a wizards tower without a bottomless chasm Lurt” a voice in the crowd pipes up “it’s tradition. Probably written down in one of them wizard rulebooks Dale said he stole one time”

The old man, Lurt, shifts over slightly to make room for the newcomer at the bar and gestures to garrad to continue.

“So, evil looking dwarves and gem eating rock monsters outside the tower’s main gate, yes?” Lurt nods agreement. “OK, Stabbed and dealt with. No real treasure though, rock monsters seem to eat gems and precious stones” the three men wince at this. “So, through the doors, Gnoll mage, some deamons and the Raven Queen’s own load of zombies…” another nod from the old man “also stabbed, also dealt with”

garad pauses a moment to finish his ale, order a new flaggon and gather his thoughts, Since meeting up with these out of towners, his life had become a jumble of crazy danger, and he’d found himself having trouble keeping everything in order. “OK, erm, stone gargoyles? Have I mentioned those yet?” Lurt conciders for a moment, then shakes his head. “Right, next floor up, buncha ugly critters, a big, mean Barlguar, something I’m told is a carrion crawler…”

“and some stone gargoyles?” the newcomer pipes up.

“Yes Ang, and two stone gargoyles. They had the habit of swooping down and knocking whoever they tried over, though they mostly went after the Sorcerer. Belgarath spent most of the time on his arse during that. Anyway, same story, more stabbing, more killing, still no treasure, so up the next flight of stairs we go.”

“more floors?” Ang interupts again “how many are there”

“It’s a tower Ang, it’s kinda in the nature of towers to have a lot of floors. Anyway, I’m sneaking up to have a look at what we got there, when Gregg”

“Gregg?” Ang again.

“Gregg, massive chap, even bigger axe, strange looking helmet and with lots of trophies hanging offa him. Brought him in here last week. Got bared after half an hour for starting too many fights”

Lurt and Ang nod sagely to each other. Bar fights are part and parcel of a dive like this, but too many tend to disrupt the business that also went on in here. You had to be sensible about these things after all. At least if you wanted to leave in the same number of pieces as you arrived.

“Anyway, Gregg, I assume he’s getting bored at this point, decided to charge past me and thwack whatever he can see. We all kinda have to pile in after him and we run smack into a bunch of honest to gods massive iron snakes and a couple of gods damned harpies. My ears are still ringing from them I tell you. Anyway, stabbing and hacking and the odd fireball, and a couple of the snakes are scattered round the floor in pieces, and one of th eharpies looks all but dead, then Gregg does the biggest gods damned swing of that axe I’ve ever seen anyone do, chopping the harpy so hard it basically explodes in gore, covering us all. He’s not even finished as he somehow manages to use the momentum of thte swing to lurch himself over to the other harpy and land a backstroke upside it’s head and fairly snapping it’s neck. Now, I ain’t no one to shrink from a bit of blood”

Nods all round from the three, they’ve all seen, and had to cause, a fair ammount of spilt blood in their line of work

“but I ain’t seen nothing like that before. Guy’s an animal. Anyway, we finish up with them and the snakes and the big mouthy thing”

“wait, big mouthy thing?”

“Ohh yah, Foulest looking thing, all covered in mouths with needle sharp teeth, came lurching round a corner. Got stabbed though. no sweat. Anyway, at this point, we’re all fairly knackered, and there’s some beds tucked away in a corner, so we decide to rest up before heading up the next flight. Still no treasure see?”

Nods of sympathy from his two drinking companions. He’s about to continue when the barkeep leans over and whispers to them “Owl-eyed Pete just gave the sign the Flaming Fist are on the way. Probably best to make yourself scarce.”

Drinks are finished, flaggons collected and Ang’s wrist released from the bar keep’s massive meaty paw after he pays the coin he “forgot” to earlier, and the three head out the concealed cellar entrance.

“You’ll have to give us the rest of the story sometime” Lurt says as they jog down disused alleys.

“Next time” garrad says as he disapears into a shaddowy doorwway.

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