The Hidden Hand

Session 31
Beholder Cocktales by Gregg

While Delamor and Athon used there arcane knowledge to deactivate the red floor tiles, Gregg was more interested in the spectral bindings holding whatever

was behind the portal inside since delamor sensed great danger and undead power.
Once Athon finished the last tile he pulled out bit a scroll and began piecing them together to make some kinda of ritual “insert ritual” and the doors swung open.

With the larger red tile still glowing gregg took a run and jump and cleared it with ease. in the room was a glass cabinet which contained a sword and on top was a glass disc which gregg picked up and it reveled a puzzle “insert puzzle” to which he read out and delamor shouted back its map the answers map no sooner did gregg say this colours swirled to create some form of locater map for the 3 weapons which are need to kill diker thane. next on greggs agender was the glass cabinet he rose his fist in the air and with a heavy trying to smash the glass, he struck the glass and the force knocked him back and another clue appeared looks like brute force can only work on some things to greggs disappointment.
the new puzzle read “insert puzzle” Athon knew this “Sword” he spoke and the case opened releasing the sword and Athon placed his hand into the case to grab the weapon and as soon as he grasped the hilt the stone open began to shut we were trapped if we didn’t act fast. Gregg and garad jump for the door weights and Athon and Belgrath tried to assist the to but Garad being nimble was not enough to stop his door from closing.

The door seem to begin to rest at there point and Delamor had the idea to tie a rope to the weight and return to the other room to take the strain and it seemed more weight was needed. Gregg had the idea that since he couldn’t break the glass maybe it was strong enough to take the brunt of the weight. it was placed in the gap between the door and seemed to take the strain as athon and Gregg dashed out you could hear the strain before it shattered and the door shut Gregg mighty impressed with his quick thinking.

For the next hour we waited for athon to attune himself to his new sword. We used the portal to get back into the tower with athon watching the rear.
for a moment the sword resisted the portal like it wanted to stay like it was guarding something, Athon forced the sword through the portal and gasly scream that could screeched through our minds but it was happy and a beholder appeared on the other side of the portal before it shutdown.

We moved for the exit because we knew it was coming down from its chamber once we hit the bottom floor construct guards at the doors and surrounding walls and bookshelves. Delamor first to act ran in and planted the purple eclipse standard. And the Anvil priest returned with a flame burst in his direction hitting everyone in the room. Garad second into the room struck out with a fury of talons striking his enemy’s. the constructs charge in to attack the rest of the party on the stairs. As Gregg charged in but to over eager missed but with a backswing catching the enemy offguard as shards of metal and sparks fly.
Quickly in pursuit of Gregg, Delamor followed up with a secondary blow.
the other constructs fired red orbs towards Delamor and belgrath but they fizzle out before damaging them and Belgrath returns with some magic of his own and fires two bolts while cursing there existence.
the anvil priest opens his mouth and his head flips back and a purple wave bursts from his open head.
the constructs turn to face Gregg and unleash another blast of energy knocking him and Delamor to the floor. With one of the constructs prone garad finds its weakness and forges a hole tearing out its insides.
Gregg stands and charges the anvil priest cutting him down and leaving him in a wreak and then before his crumpled mechanical corpse hits the floor he charges again and delivers a crushing blow to another foe.
Belgrath sun illumination beams in and blinding light strikes the constructs but unaffected they lash out at Gregg and Garad knocking him unconscious but Gregg relatiates back and drops the target. Belgrath steps back only to get hit again by the constructs as he attempts to cast a chaotic bolt.
Athon hits the construct and rips its powercore out of its chest with it still ticking Gregg knowing what happened previously tears of the head and kicks it across the room and smashes across the floor.

they step out side of a breath of relief forgetting the horror which still follows them.

The top of the tower pulses green and the pulse grows strong and slowly fills the next floor and then another and another. A bloodkiss beholder heads onto the lower floor and is hit by a dagger and a lightening orb. it floats forward and opens its mouth and screams at all in its way but Athon managed to cover his ears to stop the sound. Then proceeded to turn his new blade striking the beholder and once it return flame cyclone hits and scorching the beholder.

Gregg charges in hitting the beast and then flanking behind before it could relatiate. Delamor orb glows and a beam of radiant light sears the undead forcing it back 25ft.
Athon charges in to hit the beholder and once he steps in range it attempts to bite him and as he bites Gregg follows up but the beholder swiftly dodges the barbarians attacks.Delamor following Gregg with his orb again but this time stunning the beholder.Gregg and Athon press the advantage and double team delivering devastating blows and cutting deep through the beholders flesh doing this caused another scream from the beast dazing the two with half the party deafened by the scream and the beholder gushing out blood it looks dazed weakened and prone from the last attack Gregg with a finishing blow carving the beholder into small chunks and snapping up some hide for his collection.

As the party return through the portal to the city they are Greeted by Needles and his welcome party.

until next time: Season 3 of the Adventures of the Purple eclipse.

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Session 31.5
Marauding out of town gang terrorizes baldur's gate!

Chad Weaverson, reporting for the ’gate gazette.

Late yesterday, one of the many groups of out of town gangs assaulted and greviously injured a group of civic minded Baldurs gate citizens. The gang subsuquwntly made off with whatever artifacts they’d pilfered and are still at large.

The gang was found exiting a sealed tomb, presumably after desecrating and looting it, and was attempting to flee the scene when they were stopped by a group of civic minded inividuals. Organised by respected local community leader ‘Fingers’ Johnson, the Baldur’s gate inhabitants almost managed to detain the thieves, but were ultimately unsucesful, due mainly to the extreme brutality employed by the maurauding gang.

“It was horrible”, one of the few surviving citizens said. “The big guy especially just kept hacking and hacking away with that massive meat cleaver of his, laughing all the time. They just didn’t want to stop till we were all dead, it was like a sport to them”

Reports have also placed a local citizen with the gang, and speculation is rife as to the significance of this.

When interviewed later, captain Drogue of the Flaming Fists attempted to downplay the seriousness of the incident, claiming that “incidents like this happen all the time across Baldur’s gate, and are a legacy of the state of affairs from before the Flaming fists took over policing duties”. He went on to add that his organisation could in no way condone this kind of vigilante action, and instead citizens witnissing a gang committing such a crime should “inform your local Flaming Fists officer, whereupon we will bring the full force of our organization against such law breakers”.

While one of the few reported survivors of the masacre, Mr Johnson, is unavailable for interview, it is reported that he is deep in consultation with another local civic leader, the enegmatic woman known only as Cat. Reports indicate that Johnson is preparing to leave Baldurs Gate at the earliest opportunity, and our source indicates that he will be “seeking new opportunities elsewhere….permenantly”

the current location of the pillaging gand is unknown, but sightings have placed them at the air ship docking platforms. Presumably the dastardly brigands are attempting to flee the law and this reported can only hope that the forces of Law catch them before they do.

for editor’s comment, turn overleaf and read column 2

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Session 32
Ship's Log Dale Reckoning 1474.28.09.10

Entry 1 – After a short layover in Balder’s Gate the Captain has finally picked up new cargo, crew replacements for those not strong enough to serve, and some passengers.

The crew is as healthy as I can make them and the Captain is confident in their skills. The cargo is due to make us a reasonable profit and the passengers although, shifty appear well enough off to temporarily buy the Captain’s trust.

Entry 2 – The passengers are not as trustworthy as first thought. They have been sneaking around below decks. Possibly in an attempt to recoup the cost of their travel via theft. As the Captain has put me in charge of them I have taken certain precautions against further interference.

Entry 3 – Well, what do you know some of these passengers are useful afterall. We were set upon by Wyverns and Stirge-like creatures this evening and as would be expected a battle commenced. Between the passengers Gregg and Athorn and myself we managed to fight them off with minimum damage to the ship. Unfortunately, much of that damage was called by the woman passenger. Somesort of wizard she set the dang ship on fire and I had to spend a considerable amount of time out of the battle ensuring that she didn’t burn the ship down. Kind of attractive for a human though.

Entry 4 – Kord giveth and Kord taketh away. The passengers after nearly burning to ship to the ground while pitching in against the Wyverns have somehow set off a piece of the Cargo. Some automatonic dragon that the Captain claims to know nothing about set-out to destroy the ship and eat as many of the crew as possible. The Captain has asked that I go ashore with these passengers and keep an eye on them. If they are responsible for this creature or the extra danger on this voyage I am to let him know so that he can put a black mark against them in the Seaman’s Guild books.

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Session 33
Robo Dragon

Ducking and waving around the dragon, boltagar dashed over to give aid to polgara but the dragon stikes him accross the back it seemed a risky move it impressed gregg because he put himself in danger to protect someone he hardly knows.
The Dragon rose up and jets appeared from the mechanical beast and it pour acid over Boltagar polgara and garad all burnt quite badly by the acid.
Gregg took this oppertunity to charge in and in doing so found an exposed area of the dragons underside hitting vital parts of it core, it splutered and shundered to a halt as the gear stoped we waited for something else but nothing else came the metallica dragon fell.

The rest of the journey was uneventful for gregg the only entertainment he got was training the deck hands to fight but all but one survived ending up in the sickbay. This kept Boltagar busy, Gregg spent alot of time waiting in the sickbay for boltagar to fix them up so they can train again.

As we were lowered down in a large boat into the sea a few miles from the shore, the airship cast of the lines and began to float off towards another one of the islands to try and round up some business, hopefully they will be more carefull of taking cargo of an unknown nature.
We rowed through a wreakage what appeared to be quite recent but there were no signs of anything around that could of caused this mess.Untill a large shadow under the water came to the surface and was gaining speed.

4 tentacles appeared out of the water and shuke the ship back and forth Garad being quick and nimble pressed his advantage to cut one of the tips of which the tenticale slumped back into the water.the 3 remaining tenticales surrounded polgara and wrapped themselves around her and began to contrist her movement this played into her plan with a stike of the sword cutting deep into the stem releasing its grip Boltagar pulled her free.

One tentacle tryed to sneak around the ship to grab garad but he was waiting with his dagger to cut another one down. Athon Distracted by another tenicale and he got caught and grabed and gregg freed him with a mighty blow cuting it down and charging off to help Boltagar kill another.
Gregg kills the final two tenticales and they return to the ocean swiftly. We got a short rest before we felt the boat begining to turn back towards where the tenticales were then we began to pick up speed and we entered a large whirlpool controlled by the tenticaled beast below.

Grabbing the oars Gregg and Boltagar and polgara heaved but were out of rthem and their efforts are not working. Garad scaled the rigging to turn the mast and athon took to the steering trying to guide us away. in their last efforts they pulled it together and pull out of the force controling us. Before they manage to get away fro the beast its large tentacles smashed onto the ship causing it to tip up and its mouth clamped down onto the back of the ship behind.

Two tentacles swiped across the ship and managed to grab Garad and started to drag him down the ship but they were ineffective. The tentacles fell in quick succession and the mouth began to tip the boat move causing everyone to slide further toward it. Boltagar jumped towards the mouth and began walking on water out flanking the beast after a short battle it was beat and the ship rocked back to it right postion.

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Session 34
Not a polar bear in sight...

From the Chronicles of Athon Bewick

There was an eerie calm as the remains of the Kraken slid squelshily off the small boat. The four of us (as unbeknownst to us Gerrard was unconscious on the floor) looked for a few moments before realising our situation and we started to make for the coast again. We had seen some activity on the beach but as we got closer we could see what we presumed were more survivors from a shipwreck. Ever the more cautious, we kept our hands on our swords as we disembarked and moved to greet them.

Our worries were unfounded though (at least for the moment), they indeed were survivors, and there had been more but they had been carried off by the giants that seemed to inhabit the middle part of the island. Consulting the tablet, it was indeed pointing in direction, our hopes of an easier part to this quest were quickly dashed.

With the advice of the survivors ringing in our heads we sailed the boat a little further down the coast and then brought it up and hid it as best we could with rushes and leaves, I offered to take the survivors with us when the skyship came back for us, their relief was palpable. I still didn’t trust Boltagar at that stage, he seemed to be eyeing us all, would he stand with us or against us when the time came?

A peaceful nights sleep was had by all as we then ventured into the jungle along a path that Polgara and her new friend had found for us. We were making good progress when we came into a clearing with a pool, we spotted some movement ahead and dived into the long grass. What we saw was of a concern, a basilisk being “walked” by an Ettin accompanied by several Baal’Gara’s. Creeping up in the long grass, I saw Boltagar to the right of me stand up, one of the Baal’Garas spotted him and began to move towards him, at that moment Gregg stood up, the Ettin then let the Basilisk go. I admit I was concerned about this fight, I thought we might have taken on more than we were able to handle, even more so as Gerrard was still an unconscious heap back in the long grass where he had been dumped by Boltagar. I needn’t have worried though, the party might have it’s philosophical differences, but in a fight, we all become much more singular of purpose and all our opponents were soon laying in a pool of their own blood.

Moving onwards we left the jungle behind and encountered a rocky valley, we thought we could see nests at towards the top but we quickly made our way through. Polgara was on point for the party, using her familiar as a scout when suddenly a Galeb uncurled itself from the rock and several ogres moved from their concealed positions, an ambush! This was then further complicated when a Manticore landed behind us cutting off our escape, as if we had even considered escape when the likes of Gregg relish nothing more than a chance to prove their mettal, and so he did when he virtually cut one of the ogres in two, covered in blood and guts, could Gregg be even happier? Polgara was being hemmed in by the Galeb and the Manticore’s flying attacks but Boltagar moved to help her whilst me and Gregg took care of the remaining Ogres.

Soon, all were dispatched and the heavily wounded Manticore took to the skies and did not return. However, we had to run as some of the Ogres friends took to throwing rocks and trying to cause rockslides at us. Running on we came to a large open area with what seemed to be a door, consulting the tablet, it was indeed pointing us towards it. With vaguely shamanistic affectations surrounding it, we cautiously moved through the door to the sounds of battle. Drawing our weapons we moved cautiously letting our eyes adapt to the darkness, we saw fragments of gearing, cogs, and suchlike scattered on the ground. What we saw next, we did not expect.

A group of ogres were fighting a larger group of clockwork men, some ogres were laying dead, other clockwork men were laying, a now worthless heap of scrap metal. We watched for a few minutes fascinated but the clockwork men soon ovwewhelmed the ogres through force of numbers and the ogres were vanquished. The clockwork men then proceeded down a corridor leaving the cavern. We entered and saw the usual affactation of ogre existence, a large cooking pot and a cage of prisoners. We freed the prisoners and told them we would get them out. Turning we then followed the clockwork men down the long path, deeper, ever deeper…

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Session 36 - Into the Darkness..

This week’s episode from Polgara’s point of view started bizarrely with the Dungeonmaster forgetting the all important action points to help our intrepid heroes.

Nevertheless after the last episode of following the clockwork like figures into the passageways of the cave, our intrepid heroes came across a two path junction amongst the dark, dank setting where Garrad who had now fully recovered scouted ahead with the aid of Polgara’s Falcon.
Unfortunately for the party, Garrad the Rogue proved to move rather without thinking making noise upon entering a cavern laden with gold coins and two strange hanging balls.
Just at this moment Gregg the Barbarian stumbled into the cavern as his eyes lit up with excitement at seeing all the gold coins, his brain excited by what he saw he was about to pick up some coins but was stopped by Garrad who explained it was an illusion. At that moment 3 large cumbersome Trolls appeared from nowhere (2 Ice Trolls and 1 Blade Rager Troll)and the balls changed into 2 Willo the Wisps. Battle commenced.

One of the Ice Trolls started the mayhem by attacking Gregg while the willo the wisps attacked Polgara’s falcon unsuccessfully, hearing the noise of battle Athon the Swordmage suddenly changed places with Gregg in the heat of combat to aid his friend and attacks the troll before teleporting and attacking one of the Wisps. Enraged by what he sees, the Blade Rager Troll attacks Garrad as the Ice Trolls team up against Athon and Garrad, unfortunately Garrad is pushed into the pit falling 10 feet by the strength of one of the Trolls, Garrad takes damage but seems alive and well.
At this point the party all enter the melee, Athon is struck and dazed as Polgara fires a missile of energy which hits the wall and not the intended target, she looks very angry at this moment Boltagar enters the fray and breathes a cone of dragon breath hitting two of the trolls and healing party members simultaneously.
The battle is now in full flow with Athon and Gregg attacking the Blade Rager Troll, the Trolls seem to team up and attack Athon, Gregg is also knocked into the pit joining Garrad 10 feet below the combat scene. Meanwhile Athon and Polgara attack the Trolls with lightning attacks as Garrad climbs from the pit and kills one of the Wisps, before looking to hit something else in the combat, at this point Polgara is dazed by the remaining Wisp. Garrad can be heard whinging about getting his combat advantage by positioning in combat, the Blade Rager Troll is furious and attacks Polgara but she teleports away from damage just as one of the Ice Trolls collpases to the ground under the weight of the party onslaught. Athon moves in with a fire based attack to finish the life of the Two Ice Trolls, Athon is fighting well in battle and hits a critical for the 3rd time in the combat as he sees Garrad finish the remaining Wisp. Polgara, Boltagar and Gregg all strike out at the Blade Rager Troll as its dies and leaves a nasty surprise by exploding into shards of metal which fly across the cavern. The Battle is over.

The party search the cavern, Garrad finds sword carvings engraved on the cavern walls as Gregg decides to have a sleep and lays down and falls into sleep. Polgara has other ideas and walks off down the passageway along the other path with her falcon flying on ahead to scout , meanwhile Garrad follows with Boltagar as Athon kicks Gregg awake with Gregg reacting poorly to shove Athon away. The party advance into a new chamber with Garrad leading the way and they discover some lifeless bodies who have had their insides sucked out of them, this alerts the senses of the party to a potential bad situation.
Polgara moves forward and accidently steps on a trap which closes two iron doors each end of the chamber, she walks forward and examines an hourglass which seems to control the door mechanism at the sametime Garrad and Gregg discover plates in the floor meaning more traps. Boltagar decides to check the water for a way out as Gregg examines one door and Garrad decides to break the hourglass, gas enters the chamber as the doors open and we are not alone as spiders enter the chamber. The party find themselves being attack by Faze Spiders and Spider Swarms, immediately Gregg, Athon, Polgara and Boltagar are all immobilized as Garrad strikes out, Athon manages to free himself and critical hits and kills a Faze Spider. Polgara is still struggling to be free as Gregg critical hits and then follows up with another critical hit on a Faze Spider, Gregg seems in his element striking away as Polgara casts a mass protection spell to aid the party in the battle. At this point Garrad is hit and falls unconscious seeing this Gregg strikes out again and critical hits a spider swarm which is then followed up by Boltagar hitting the swarm, Polgara casts a spell of energy and hits the spider swarm before being hit herself and poisoned again along with Gregg.

The Battle is looking to draw to a close, as Boltagar strikes and forces a spider into the water meanwhile Athon strikes out and kills his target, with Gregg striking out and finsishing the last of the spiders. The chamber is now filled with much death, the human bodies with their insides sucked away, the mass of dead spiders, the weary party look around to see what may happen next? Will the party have time to rest? Are there hidden clues or treasures?

This is Polgara’s story from the inside the caverns.

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Session 37 - I think

The Secret Diary of a Barbarian.

Our Adventurers found themselves in a long coridor leading up to a room.
Werely they moved into the room to fine piles of bones and corpses stack up around the side of the room.
Once they reached the centre the iron portcullis slamed down and on the other side of the room an hourglass spun and began to filter the sand through the count down was on.
We managed to turn the hour glass so that it wouldnt run out thinking we had solved the trap, unfortunatly we were still traped inside the room.
I started to look around the room and found a shifting plate the must of actived the doors. Garad took a look but determined that the plate was only the trigger not a way to reopen the doors.
A few minutes past and balthagor walked over to the door and turn the hourglass again.
“what the worst that could happen”
We waited for it to run out, Then the door slid up maybe the cleric was right about something we has traped ourselves in here.
Balthagor turned round with a grin on his face. “See Kord will guide..”
Before he finished a large spider pounced down the ramp as the door finshed opening, the spider pushing him out the way as more spiders entered the chamber.
Smaller spider filled the room and started to layout a large pattern of sticky web. This started to cause us problems as the spider were more nimble around the web then we were.
The thought dawned that the amount of bone here was because of their trap hidden behind this one.
The little spider were no problem for Gregg as he swung his axe in a sweeping motion clearing away spiders and web.
Athon’s Flame attack caused the spider to shrivel and burst and Polgara lightening zaped the large critters.
While Boltagar and Garad stood by the door keeping the largest of all the spiders we had every seen busy.
Once the swarms had been dealt with the large spider taken down swiftly.
It seemed the sandtimer was a delay for when the people caught were exhausted and lost hope of getting out the spiders would clear up what remained for there meal.

After the spiders were defeated we decided to press on into the next room where we greeted by a foul stench.
“For Kord” Balthagor charged with Gregg in quick purcuit into the room filled with the foul smelling trogs.
Gregg made quick work of one of them while Garad and Athon took to the rest polgara release a huge arc of lightening shocking one of the troglodytes as it was Stunned Gregg pressed his advantage
cleaving a large gash into the side of the creature as its guts spilled out the side the smell only got worse.
“Keep them in one piece if you can Gregg and dont get any of that on me” Athon yell to Gregg
With Garad quick knife play slashing and cutting his way through the troglodytes opening up wounds which Athon sealed with a large flame burst from his sword scorching the earth and everything in its
path.
After the last trog fell the smell remained.
“Its a dead end where now?” Garad questioned.
Gregg pointed to a hole in the ground.
“What What it is?”
“It seems to be their toliet” Replied Athon
“The Tablet Still points North this must be the way” Said Gregg
“Garad go investigate, your the more nimble of us”
Garad Swam down the hole through the sewage after holding his breath all the way only managing to swallow a little bit of it.
It opened up into another cavern, taking another deep breath he swam back and gave us the all clear.
But the foul smell that came off him was awful.
We all swam through Baltagar bring up the rear with his fresh air sack and manging to purify the water before he got in.
On the Other side the natural caveran lead to a opening in the wall ahead of the adventurers, Creeping around the twist and turns of the passage they heard sounds of Grimlocks.
Garad took it apon himself to scout out ahead only to be followed by Polgara who was stealth enough so he didnt notice her untill she unleashed a barrage of lightening bolt from over his head.
Shocked Garad quick sensed what had happened and a large rubbling found him on the end of a mighty charge of an Iron Gorgon.
Polgara tried to retreat back to saftey only to get herself traped by her miss placed teleport to only to find that she was surrounded by the 3 grimlocks and a strange creature the grell.
The grimlock swipped out with there club all 3 catching her badly beaten and screaming for help the rest of the party quick followed up only to find an Iron giant in the way as the Gorgon swung Gregg
duck around the arm with quick footwork and scraping off some of the metal.
Gregg throw a potion to Polgara and knocked all the grimlocks back cuting one in half.
As Polgara got to her feet the Grell lashed out with it tenticale but she managed to dodge back and fired off another lightening bolt shocking the grell and Gregg followed up with a nasty swing cutting
one of the tenticales clean off.

The Iron Gorgon still causing trouble for Garad, It kept pounding him into the ground repeatedly untill he fell uncounious but with Boltagar close by he wasnt in any danger of dying.
Athon managed to slay the Iron Gorgon with some teleporting and Lightening quick slashes it fell back as Gregg and Polgara finished the last Grimlock the only thing left was the Grell only a few tenticales
left it lashed out again only to lose more as Gregg and Athon cut it down to size, as it tryed to flee Polgara summoned up the power to cast a mighty bolt which finished of the Grell.

“That wasnt so hard” She said to Garad.
He Scowled back as Boltagar tended to his wounds
“Leave it to me next time and warn a guy before you do that kinda shit”

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Session 38
"How many more times can we be lucky in battle?"

From the Chronicles of Athon Bewick

Carrying on down the dark cavernous paths, I began to wonder if we would ever see daylight again, my thought were broken when we came to a large mound of rubble, we could hear something on the other side but couldn’t be sure what it was. Gerrard volunteered to scout up, he scurried up and vanished into the gloominess. He came back a few minutes and told us of a large room, with some kind of idol at the mouth of the room, something larger in the middle, but what concerned us was the Hydra and the what sounded like Hellguards accompanying it.

Realising we were still too tired from our previous encounter, we retired to lick our wounds. Later on, we returned galvanised and ready for the forthcoming battle. Gerrard volunteered to scout back into the room, once again he vanished into the gloom. However, instead of his fleet footed return, we heard a crashing sound, followed by some expletive, followed by a rushing of feet, followed by a slightly mournful voice “I’m glad I found, I’ve been looking for you”, the roar that followed did not inspire confidence.

We rushed into battle (running over the first idol, slowed us down slightly but not enoughP) and found Gerrard already battered and bleeding from almost all over his body. The Hellguards did not seem to pose a problem initially, I dispatched one with a cyclone of flame before turning my attention to the Hydra, Polgara had found herself next to one and Gregg went to help. What followed seemed to be the longest time I recalled at that time when Gregg seemed to have lost the skill of hitting anything. The fight with the Hydra was slightly more protracted but in the end we were victorious (even with Gerrard running away at one stage). Boltagar de-consecrated the idols in the room and then we were left with a glowing sigil on the floor barring our exit. Boltagar put his faith before him and was able to cross. Polgara increased her resistance to fire and crossed (albeit singing her dress) but it has to said Gerrard was able to disarm the trap and we then carried on.

Another long corridor then ended in a spiral staircase which led down, taking me further from the daylight I had started to crave, I wasn’t even sure what day of the week it was..

Leading down the stairs, Boltagar suddenly stopped and was seemingly dragged forward, looking round the bottom of the stairs I saw to large hulking creatures, once again battle was joined.

These hulks had the power to daze and confuse us which made the opening stages of the battle quite difficult to marshall, Polgara was pushed to the far side of the room where she then made the acquaintaince of two Drow that we hadn’t seen but we all had our own problems in that fight. Boltagar let the fury of his God against the hulks and threw them to the ground but once again it seemed like our fighting skills had deserted us. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Polgara fall to a Drow blade and then they started to advance on us as well as we were fighting the hulks.

This battle was continuing when one of the Drow tried to move past Gregg, and in a show of violence of a level I’ve rarely seen from Gregg, he cleaved the Drow in half in one blow. Boltagar, who had been standing close by was suddenly covered in blood. The other Drow looked visibly shaken but continues to fight. Polgara had been healed by this stage and was trying to maneuver into position as she started to blast away at the opposition. Gerrard, once again started to retreat from the action as Gregg delivered another pounding blow to the other Drow. Polgara, gaining confidence delivered a lightning attack to a group of creatures, her exuberance was slightly dented when she proceeded to hitself with the attack.

Ultimately we prevailed once again, but nearly everyone had suffered severe injuries as we looked round the room.

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Session 39

The splintered plank of wood serving as the bartop creaked as the newcomers leaned on it, gesturing to the barkeep at the other end, idly smearing some grease around the patch of plank in front of him. Garrad, in the centre of the group, looks round at their surroundings as they wait, thinking back to the last time he was here. He ’d been just another street runner then, running with his gang, staying one step ahead of the law and trying not to attract the attentions of the Thieves Guild leaders too much.

It was kind of strange that, despite how many things had changed since then, that was basically what they were doing now as well.

The Rusty Bucket was a dive in a district of dives. Garrad knew that Fat Ron, him of the exposed girth and beligerant attitude, took great pains in maintain ing his bar’s rundown and unwelcoming appearance. Rumor had it that he even imported some of the more exotic stains and piles specifically, though he always strenuously denied it. In any case, a place as disreputable and overtly dangerous as the Bucket was a place only those willing to take their life into their own hands with every step or drink, and who never expected or wanted to see a member of the Watch ever, would even set foot in.

“In other words” Garrad thought whimsically, “perfect”

“so, anyway” Clubber Liang said, waving his mug of beer vaguely towards Garrad "you’s was tellin’ us about ’dis cave you found on ’dis island, right?

“ohh yah” Garrad said, thinking back. The evening was well advanced; his plan to drag all his old cronies round their old dives no he was back in Baldur’s gate had taken then through many of his old haunts, and things were becoming fuzzy, recollecting specifics was becoming harder and harder.

Still, in Garads experience, the truth had a nasty habit of getting in the way of a good story, especially one you’re busy telling to the Watchman who’s just interrupted you mid job.

“Where’d I get up to last time?” Garrad said, taking a swig of beer to add a moments extra thinking time.

“Some big guys and cave elves!” Ron shouted from the back, obviously paying too much attention to the stories and not enough to drinking.

“Right, those big bastards and their Drow mates. So, we kill them all an..”

“A lot of your stories involve you killing everything Garrad, normally in caves” Ron interjects “I thought you left us to go steal treasure”

“Lotsa things in caves needing stabbing Ron” Garrad replies sagely, “and they’re normally there ‘cos they’re guarding some ancient treasure or somesuch.”

“Stands to reason” Ol’ Bill, the groups resident old man and normal purveyor or tall stories says “Why else would all them monsters live down there otherwise?”

That being settled, Garrad continued “Anyway, past that cave was a big ol’ hall, walls covered in fancy looking decorations, obviously constructed. There was some bedding and tents dotted round, obviously from the Drow we had just bumped into. We were about to go see if their tents had any assets that could stand to be redistributed when some more of them showed up from outta the gloom. I guess we were to eager to put the boot in as we got dragged into a kinda ambush by even more of them, as well as a gods damned vampire”

Ohhs and Ahhs from the gathered group, and Garrad continues

“This vampire’s got some kind of animated suits of armor with him as well, tough bastards that took a lotta stabbing to take down, and all them Drow running about didn’t help matters either. So, we’re all hacking away at them, me stabbing what I can, Gregg treating them suits like a big tree and trying to chop ’em in two with his axe, and Polgara, Athon and Boltagar trying to keep the Drow at arms length while we deal with the suits. Eventually, the suits are lying in parts on the floor, the Drow are all dead or running, and the vampire is backing towards that cauldron of blood of hers….”

“Wait” Ron says “this vampire had a Cauldron of blood as well?”

“Whadday mean as well?” Garrad says, thrown off his stride by Ron and desperately trying to recollect what happened where. “I haven’t told you about another vampire with a cauldron of blood……have I?”

“Sure you have Garrad” Bill says, nodding sagely “that lady vampire down below the local crypts”

Hazy images of the crypts, and the many, many stairs surface hazily in Garrad’s mind, and he grimaces, trying to separate all the different things he’d run into since leaving Baldurs Gate.

“There was definitely some Drow” he says “I remember there being far too many tents for the group we killed in the cave, and I’m sure there was some kind of vampire, but you’re right, I don’t think he had a cauldron of blood…..he did have a hidden sarcophagus though!” Garrad continues, latching onto a brief flash of the ornate tomb with all the desperation of a drowning man finding a floating log. “That’s right, we finished off the Drow and his animated bodygards, and were making quick work of him, but he ran away into what turned out to be his chambers.”

Everybody in the group perked up at this. They all knew that posh guys, and vampires were always posh, kept their best stuff in their personal chambers. traipsing round dank dungeons, stabbing innumerable creatures and enemies was all well and good, but there had to be a [i]point[/i] to it all, and as far as this group was concerned, that point should at the very least be 24 carat gold, preferably with inlaid diamonds.

“We didn’t actually find much of anything though, other than some musty old scrolls and whatnot. But, you all know what that means…”

“Secret door” Ol’ Bill states sagely.

“Secret….TRAPdoor!” Ron says, jumping in, seeing Garrad’s smile.

“Under the carpet” the rest chime in, joining in the game. They’d all seen far too many “hidden” safe rooms to be fooled by a simple trapdoor-under-rug trick.

“Secret trapdoor” Garrad says, nodding “hidden under the carpet. At the bottom of the stairs is an ornamental baisen with, it turned out, one of those magical swords I was telling you about earlier. Polgara pulls it out and decides to keep it for herself, but most of the rest of the party are more interested in what’s down the next set of stairs, as we still haven’t found that damned vampire. Lo and behold, bottom of teh next flight; big ol’ ornate sarcophagus, and obvious signs of the entrance being used recently. Gregg does his strongman impressing, tears toe door off, and we find the Vampire, comatose inside. We weren’t sure what the best way to kill a vampire was, so we set fire to the place”

Noting the winces of his listeners, he quickly adds “[i]after[/i] ensuring anything valuable was already claimed, then headed back up.”

“Mission accomplished, we headed back thet way we came, through that gods awful troll piss-pool, and the” shudder “massive death spider room. We got to the entrance to the cave when….”Garrad trails off, noticing the gleam of metal and the red flash of a Watch tunic through the partly opened door

“And I think that’s out cue to depart” Fat Ron, looking suddenly more alert, kicks a solid looking barrel behind the bar aside, revealing a cunningly concealed door, and gestures to the group.

“Come on then you lot, git yer arses outta me place a’for thems watch finds yous. I’ll be damned if I let thems use you as an excuse to try and shuts me down again”.

Grinning, slapping coins on the counter as they file past, Garrad and party head out the back door of the Rusty Bucket, heading towards their next stop and making sure to stay one step ahead of the watch.

“Hey, Garrad” Ron calls, “how’d that Boltagar fellow work out? I don’t remember you mentioning him much”

“Heh” Garrad replies, “not [i]that’s[/i] an interesting tale. Buy me a pint in the Scarlet Wench and I’ll tell it to you”…

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Blessed Be Kord
Or.. oops.. should have prayed harder

sitting upon a celestrial mountain top is the disembodied soul of a dragonborn warrior

“Damn it.. I totally cocked that up… still in every battle of every war there must be a victor and it appears I taught that barbarian a little too well of the ways of Kord. Having helped them get all the way to the Narselkin and intentionally forfeiting the coward Devlin’s way of killing them all in their sleep I led them into his “trap”. I can’t believe I let my hatred and tribal feuds convince me that this Devlin was in anyway honourable. We entered the room with another of his clockwork monstrousities and a few of his henchmen and he immediately set about monologuing. Wanting only to see my companions squirm. I must admit if I had not already given my word I would have tried to strike him down then and there with the sacred lightning of Kord. As it panned out our wizard cast sleep upon the lot of the enemy and the battle was commenced. I waited for each of my companions in turn to enter the fray before moving in and somewhat amateurishly basking in my moment of glory. Felling all my companions but, spreading them out too much for my much practiced and recently improved dragon’s breath to reach any of them. I again let hatred overcome common sense and charged the now prone barbarian. Should have simply forced him to rebuke violence but, I had to show off. Needless to say he stood up and bloodied me in one fell chop. Garad the thief deciding it was now safe to approach me then snuck one of his daggers into the arm joint of my scale mail and put me into so much pain that I passed out. Next thing I know I’m watching the entire rest of the battle play out from up here, Gregg having beheaded me as soon as he was given the chance. Needless to say the battle did not go their way and they struggled some without their favourite healer amoung them. They were nearly all bloodied and exhausted and Garad seemed more intent with stabbing things than we did with saving the lovely Polgara from losing the last of her lifesblood out upon the floor. Athon though being the leader he is orderred Garad to feed the young lady a healing potion and the battle wound to a closure. The group made their way to the shore line and the last I cared to watch was on it’s way back to Baldur’s Gate. I hope they catch up with that coward Devlin and straggle him with his own teleportation torc."

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