Rick's Hold

August 5

After a brief rest, the party decided to attempt to arm itself with a new weapon, one they didn’t use very often: knowledge! So they went to a library they has discovered the previous excursion.

Spending an hour or so in the library revealed some new information to the Wizard and Bard regarding the nature of Aboleths (basically they suck). The Bard then wanted to research Drow, while the Dwarves left, claiming to need to relieve themselves. They actually wanted to steal the loot that the Paladins had prevented them from stealing earlier.

The Wizard and Cleric headed back down to the lower level they had ‘cleared’ of monsters the previous visit. They advanced carefully, on the lookout for monsters and ambush, though they saw neither. This of course only means they just didn’t see it.

They reached the trophy room safely and quickly took the valuables that remained and hadn’t been destroyed by the rampaging Gibbering Mouthers, now that the Paladins no longer watched over the greedy Dwarves like the annoying law-abiding, law-enforcing hawks that they are sworn to be. With all the devastation and wreckage caused by the Mouthers, who’s to miss the last random items? It’s always best to rationalise one’s wrong-doings. Also, it should be noted that the Bard had discovered a talking, mummified Human head, which he had already “rescued” from the trophy room. Though capable of speech, it only states words in common at seemingly complete random. Perhaps it was driven insane by the constant babbling of the Mouthers. Won’t someone think of the head!)

While the Dwarves stole what they could (NOT the tapestry, as it was too long to be properly shrunk down to size via the shrink item spell), the unseen enemy prepared in advance. Once they had finished, the Dwarves left, heading for their companions. They ran into a Human caster, with a Hell Hound at his side, before even turning a corner. During their brief discussion, the Human, who would eventually turn out not to be Human at all, recognised the Wizard as the owner of a specific magical item. The Wizard in turn recognised the insignia worn by the “Human”, marking him as an arcane magic user for certain and probably a Sorcerer, a follower of the Cult of the Minotaur Mage.

Preferring to die rather than part with his hard earned gear, the Wizard sighed and resigned himself to combat. The Cleric , for his part, wondered WHY had he come, as usual.

The fight started poorly for the brothers, as two previously unseen Xill guards popped up out of thin air (actually they had stepped out of the Ethereal plane, as their species tend to do) and attacked. The Wizard immediately cast a spell along with his brother, then the Wizard found himself grappled by one Xill while the Cleric traded blows with them both. Once the Xill grappling the Wizard was beaten to death (or technically banishment?) he sent a magical message to Gil, who he hoped remained in the library upstairs, asking for help and warning of the monsters they faced.

While the Wizard cast several powerful spells, he was unable to affect any of his enemies with his magic, as he simply could not penetrate their magical defences and resistances. This was especially true of the “Sorcerer”, who cast his own spells down upon the area he was within, confident he would simply naturally resist them. And he did, proving so with a fireball just as Gil arrived, nearly killing both Gil and the Cleric, but leaving the Wizard unscathed. The combat progressed slowly, with the Cleric defeating the second Xill and the Sorcerer dispelling the Cleric’s magic circle against evil (it took him 3 turns!), while the Hell Hound was sent back to the plane from whence he came, as the spell that summoned it had run out of time.

Soon after, the rest of the party arrived via dimension door spells courtesy of Thomas and Moira. With their assistance, the party defeated the enemy, though it required the Paladin to physically restrain him and the Bard to shackle him, as the time and effort to render him unconscious would have been ridiculous. But despite his powers and resistances, the party had captured what turned out to be a Rakshasa. A quick interrogation followed, wherein the Wizard tried to detect the creatures thoughts. Not being able to discern anything from the wily Rakshasa, the Dwarf Wizard turned his attentions to the Wizard Thomas, who he knew held the password to activate the scrying chamber within the guild. Tricking Thomas into thinking of the password so he could read it from his thoughts, the Wizard learned the password (“DEFECIT”). This however, provoked the ire of their wizard allies, who no longer appreciate the presence of the Dwarven Wizard and possibly the Cleric and the rest of the party.

The group went to the scrying chamber and used the newly learned password. It worked and activated the chamber’s scrying pool. The group then attempted to verify what they could of the Rakshasa’s information. They found the location of the Grey Render but not the Drow.

The Wizard then attempted to find Neil, the cunning Rogue who took his bone dagger so long ago. However his attempts were unsuccessful, so he vowed to try again later.

They then travelled to the Rakshasa’s chamber, where they took everything they could, including gold, valuables, and a library of approximately 200 books. After searching the place, the party rested there to recuperate and regain their spells.

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August 3

The party continued to slay their way through the wizards guild, passing through rooms splattered with blood and gore and various wreckage and debris. They fought a couple of gibbering mouthers while looting a trophy room, though the paladins prevented and real looting from the wizards guild. Then they were attacked by Xill again. This time it was a successful ambush and the difference in combat was notable.
Though the fight was trying, the group both survived and won. Phew. They made their way back to the guarded room, where Thomas and Moira still stayed hiddenish. There they rested while deciding what to do. During their wandering, the group has discovered a passage to the deeper reaches, where they saw Skum and learned of an aboleth lurking beneath.

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July 24

Upon entering the wizards guild anew, the party ran into a Xill guard pretty quickly. Also pretty quickly they took them down. This ease was probably because Sigifrid cast see invisibility and saw approaching Xill hiding in the ethereal plane. So, seeing the enemy sneaking up, the party was able to defeat their attempt at an ambush rather handily.

Following the attack with the Xill, the party ran afoul of a Barghest — multiple Barghest actually. Two of them. Greater Barghests. (They’re Grrrreat!)

Anyways, they were also defeated summarily, though this combat proved to be slightly more challenging. Despite the fury of the extraplanar creatures and all of their abilities and spells and tricks, the group won out and nobody died. This time. So far.

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July a week later
The Deadenising

So. Bad time. Gil died again. Fighting gridlock (“grimlock”) barbarians. And the wizard. Everybody else very much hurt. Mostly.

The group entered the wizards guild and immediately ran into a armoured guard. A Shield guardian to be exact. Nearly deciding to fight it, the group instead made allies with its owner and comander, a wizard hiding in the room behind it. So far the only survivor are two scared wizards: Thomas the enchanter and Moira the evoked, she’s an elf.

The group took some minor assistance from the duo and the wizard cast an arcane eye to scout ahead. Upon finding a room of grimlocks, the group formed up around the door and attacked them with a starting fireball.

However, the group was not prepared for the massive damage the grimlocks were capable of dealing. In the very first few seconds of combat, they schtupped Gil. Why always Gil?! Because he suuuucks!!!

Anyways, without a knight standing in front, the grimlocks flowed through the gap and waltzed up to the wizard and, without a pause, chopped him nearly in half, slaying him instantly. The rest of the party withered before the onslaught but held out, just barely. Several members fell unconscious but eventually the group, or what was left of the group, won out over the monsters.

Gathering their dead, the wounded party limped away. They scavenged the gold they needed to raise their companions. Dimitri coughed up a bunch of gold for Gil, as neither Gil nor Morgwais could afford it.

The group later found out the thief was loaded, like the dwarves. Like seriously loaded. Enough to shame a dwarven goldsmith. But still didn’t pitch in. Just saying.

After being brought back from the dead, the wizard and Gil needed to rest, but after a day were ready to go again.

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June 26th
Take THAT, Bembridge Scholars!

Bad man in cave, go find, hit hit hit! Take home but trolls come! Hit hit hit! Bard suck.

Treasure. Give man sword, why not, because!! What means words? Go away!

Ice tower. Wizards not good. Amnesty, please? Yes?

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June 19
Jail

Today began with the Halfling and the Dwarf Cleric in jail.

Naturally, they tried to instigate a prison break. No one knows why!

A riot ensued. The murderers murdered some guards. Halfdan the mass-murderer potter, who the rogue had met, traded pleasantries with and then freed, disguised himself as a guard and managed to escape after stabbing a guard repeatedly with a shiv.

In the morning, the Bard and Krotchlikmieoff went to the prison to pick up their “friends”, since they would be released in the morning if nothing went wrong. The Dwarf Cleric was released fairly quickly, but the Halfling was held for further questioning. A 500 gp bribe was required to get the Halfling released, but the guard who returned the Halfling’s equipment took a lot of his money, too. (2000 gold+ worth!). [I said a lot!!]

Because he was released through bribery, the Halfling is still wanted.

The party set out to find Halfdan the mass-murderer. They split up: The Bard and the two Paladins went to the prison to get a possession of the bad guy, then took it to a Wizard to scry with; while the Rogue and the Cleric went cruising bars trying to Gather Information (something at which they suuuuuck). The scrying showed Halfdan asleep in a cave.

The party needs to find the cave now.

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June 14th

Shopping!

Dwarf Cleric bought some masterwork boots. So did the Elven Bard. The Dwarf wants to make boots of expeditious retreat, and the Elf wants to make boots of elvinkind.

Gil got his full plate magicked, so now he’s got +1 full plate.

The Halfling went into town, met a Dwarf, knocked him out, and turned him over to the guards for some reason. The guards also arrested the Halfling, but he tricked his way out of custody eventually.

The Halfling and the Dwarf Cleric went back to town the next day, and encountered a Gambole. The Gambole killed a lot of guards. The Halfling failed a save vs. Fear and ran away for a while. The Cleric cast air walk and tried to get out of reach while more guards came and died.

Once it was dead, the Gambole’s “owner” showed up and argued with the Dwarf over its body. The menagerie owner is Zephorus, who led them back to his menagerie to show them the Gambole’s cell. He also had a raptor dinosaur, a zombie manticore, and a dark cage with a hidden monster inside. It was a doppelgänger. A really fuckin’ insane doppelgänger who appeared to Nuati as Nuati himself.

A trip to the magistrate later, Zephorus was rewarded the body of his slain Gambole. Unfortunately, the Dwarves wanted the body, so they took the Halfling to get it. The Wizard escaped with the body in shrink item form, but the Cleric and the Rogue got themselves arrested for behaving suspiciously. The Bard spoke to the magistrate and was reassured the two would be released in the morning as long as they didn’t do anything stupid.

Meanwhile, they both did something stupid….

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June something or other
Dwarfless

While the dwarf brothers were engaged in a staring contest, the rest of the party went out to investigate the disappearance of some goats. Goats. Not guests or ghosts or anything else of great interest, but goats.

Four ankhegs were slain. Sigifrid died in the battle.

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May 22
The hagenation

The paladin threw his party. During the event, an intrusion was discovered. Further investigation led the paladin to track down the intruder using a hired scryer, whose magic revealed the location of the thief named “Bad Guy And Friend” (that’s what the DM says).

Being a paladin, he took his prisoner to the local guards for some reason. They refused to believe the paladin had the authority to hold a captive, so Bad Guy And Friend had to be left there until the paladin came back home for the rest of the party.

Once reinforced with the might of the full group, the paladin et al returned. The guards recognized the party immediately and gave up their prisoner gladly, whereupon the party returned to the keep to interrogate the thief.

After a little talk, the bard charmed the thief and convinced him we were his friends. He told us where he was going to go to receive his expected pay. The party went there to meet their mystery opponent, hiding themselves behind invisibility spells and waiting in strategic spots.

Eventually, a group of hooded figures arrived and engaged Bad Guy And Friend in conspiratorial conversation. But instead of being paid in the coins he was expecting, the bad guys tried to kill him!

In the ensuing fight, the enemies were revealed to be hobgoblins led by our old enemy, the green hag from the evil coven we had previously encountered. After a mighty battle, the party emerged victorious and the hag emerged decapitated.

Also captured was the evil horse trainer who had betrayed us to the hag in the first place.

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May 20

After the party returned to their home at their keep in Rick’s Hold, they revived their fallen comrades and rested. However, it was not a time of sadness at all, no. In fact quite the opposite. Well, maybe a little sadness. Okay fine, a lot of sadness! But at the keep it was also time for the monthly festival. And even more exciting, along with the festival comes the time of taxes, upkeep and wages! Yes. Whee indeed.

In addition, the trading expedition that had been sent to seek various items and sundry from the elves had returned. Great joy was had by those involved in counting their purchases.

The great day of bureaucracy continued with various shopping done, selling the parts of the felled dragon (the one who crisped Gil), and dividing up the loot from the dungeon (so far!).
Officials from the wizards guild, however, trumped all that with their arrival whereupon they demanded fees for earned experience and rank within the guild (out of which the rogue partially sneaked his heathen way). In addition, they concocted a method to extract funds from the keep for the fabrication of magical wares on our land. The bard Nuati was clever, talking them down from 300 gp per month to a more workable 100 gp per month and formalisation of the agreement with a written contract which included rights to create any magic items not only within our own building, but anywhere upon our own lands. The party now plans to manipulate this to our benefit by building a section of homes and housing units surrounding a laboratory for wizards to come and rent/use for a small monthly fee (less than what the guild charges to make items or use their equipment). Hopefully this new income will offset the fees of the guild, or maybe even turn a profit! Perhaps the bard’s recent experience being dead has compelled him to seek more earthly rewards now that he is once more amongst the living?

Regardless, the paperwork continued as a head count was made of the keep and surrounding farmlands (and a small family of farmers was discovered to be in fact elves! who knew? the bard knew!) and a great feast was held because Dimitri the paladin really wanted a big meal with everybody around him as a group (he had just died and been raised for the first time, so was still reeling from the experience).

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