Telok: Elf cleric of Obad-hai level 8 CG
Jimwise Welby: Halfling Paladin Level 9 LG
Jerry Springwater: Human Fighter-Paladin Level 8 LG
Jestyn: High Elf Wizard Level 8 CN
Verrof: Earth Genasi Ranger Level 6 LN
Sithdar Darkblade: Human Rogue-Assassin 8 ?
ADVENTURE 12: MONKEY BUSINESS: On the road back to the great city, Jeb said his farewells to the party, finally leaving for his own clan, though Jerry suggested that if he should ever come to town, he could get a job fixing up Jackos tavern. Back in Nenkal, all the characters rested at their favorite Inn, The Filthy Harlot. Verrof got into an arm wrestling match with the hulking Gorbash, and promptly lost. Afterwards, he took the ogre up on his offer of a drink, trying You Drink it, it good, the legendary ogre mixed beverage. One mug of it and he was passed out, though a quicksober spell from Telok quickly changed that. Soon, a prim and nerdy government official walked into the tavern. Speaking to Jacko and Jerry, he said that he was here to investigate the place for possible problems. As he took them into the back room, he revealed that he thought they might know something about the cult of Orcus. Though they both denied having any dealings with that evil cult, Jerry said that he was now hunting them down for their crimes. The government official suggested they speak with a man named Sithdar, who had similar interests. He said that Sithdar was waiting at The Golden Hen, an expensive local inn. Later that night, Jerry got his party together and everyone went over, except for Jestyn, who was busy purchasing spells. At the Golden Hen, they paid a cover charge and went in to a private room. A man opened the doordressed in black, a human with dark hair and otherwise ordinary features, he said his name was Sithdar, the same Sithdar who had reputedly gone into Rappan Athuk and lived to tell about it. Verrof knew him as a man who had journeyed with his mentor, and Jimwises cousin had known Sithdar as well. Still, all were very suspicious of him. Jerry in particular waited outside, as he didnt trust the roguish character who wanted them to leave their weapons at the door. Sithdar whispered to Jerry as he was closing the door, that he would kill them all quickly. It was a joke, but Jerry wasnt sure about this and called the guards. By the time the guards got there, however, Jerry realized that Sithdar wasnt planning on killing the party yet, so he dismissed the guards, who fined him 50 gold. Meanwhile, Sithdar spoke with the others, telling of his hatred of the priests of Orcus, and his goal of discovering their presence on the main isle. After a lot of discussion, where Verrof also did not trust him, the group decided to allow him in, mostly at the behest of Telok, who seemed to like this fellow. As they all went to bed at the Golden Hen (all the suites paid for by their new friend) Telok found that two lovely girls were waiting in his bed, certified prostitutes, also paid for by Sithdar. As a joke, Sithdar had two male prostitutes sent to Jerrys room at the temple, which greatly infuriated the paladin. Telok, however, had a good night.
The next day was spent repairing broken weapons and getting a few new ones made, along with rest and a bit of socializing at the bar. A stirring sermon by Sartorious was greeted with applause from his growing congregation, as he spoke of defending the homeland against the growing menace of Orcus. Most of the characters just shopped or played darts this day.
Afterwards, another journey to the tombs was in order. A quiet trip there took them into the burial halls and down to the first floor. Jestyn received another mental message from Balcoth, this time more irritated and urgent, again requesting the shard. Jestyn offered to meet him on Gobashs old lair, and the party made their way there. As they waited, they were greeted by five apes, who lumbered up over the protective walls. Another figureBalcothwas seen by Jestyn and Jerry, coming through the central pillar. A frenzied parley ensued, with the wizard trying to convince Balcoth that the party was still willing to bargain, though the shard was with the Temple of All Gods. The bargaining did not go well, however, especially when Telok openly stated that they should kill him. Balcoth attacked, using his apes as aid. Yet it was not a tough battle for the heroes. The monkies were all easily taken care of, and though they stunned Verrof for the whole battle, they all fell to a fire-ball and a sound-burst. One was charmed by Jestyn, though it was of little use in the fight. Balcoth, meanwhile, attemped to get a good distance from the party, half-way down the hall to Draeligors tomb. He then tried hurling a fireball, which was countered by Jestyn. During this time he was blasted twice by Teloks Searing Light, greatly hurting his undead frame. Jerry and Sithdar quickly surrounded the undead mage and slew him with their blades, before he could escape.
After the battle, the PCs discovered a Broach of Shielding on Balcoths body, but nothing more. They stopped for a moment to celebrate, and Sithdar offered the others some opium he had found long ago in the lair of Scramge the Rakshasa. The others refused his offer for now, wanting to be clear headed in this dangerous place. Verrof rudely took Sithdars expensive pipe and stomped on it, crushing it beneath his feet. This angered Sithdar, who demanded that Verrof pay him back the thousand gold it was worth. Verrof refused, and Sithdar subtly threatened to pay him back in some other, more unpleasant way. By this time, Jerry was off towards Balcoths lair on his own, not caring one bit for their silly argument. He made the trip to level 2, then spent some time trying to climb the ledge to Balcoths floor. There, he went west and ran past the rust monster before it could fully see him, dropping some coins for it. He then spent a long time stumbling through the maze of darkness, bumping into walls and changing direction numerous times before finding Balcoths lab.
After the argument, Verrof went off to track down Jerry, and Sithdar silently followed behind, stalking him. The two ran afoul of Rusty as they got up to Balcoths area, and Verrof ran around the creature, also distracting it with coins, and making his way easily through the lair. Sithdar decided to go back to the ledge and wait for the others. As he got there, eight stirges flew up from below and swarmed around him. As they attacked, the other PCs arrived, at battle began. Many of them were soon covering Sithdar, sucking away his blood and almost killing him outright. (Down to 2 Constitution!) Telok was also drained badly, but the group soon beat the bugs, and went on their way. They too ran into Rusty, and when Sithdar tried taking his collar off, the monster reached into his pack and ate a gold bar. Jestyn charmed the rust monster and took off his collar, hoping to make him into a familiar. They took him along to Balcoths lair.
In the lair, Jerry read a strange book; a sort of motivational text, it made him more skilled at sensing peoples motives. Verrof read a similar book, this one teaching him the art of cooking. As all arrived in the lair, they found many magical texts, which Jestyn began copying into his spellbook. A few tracts of rune spells were destroyed as a fire trap went off, and Jestyn then nearly died from contact poison on another book. A final book was The Tome of Understanding, Vol. 1, which raised the wizards mental capacity. In a back room full light balls dangling on chains, they found a treasure chest, containing much money and two magical potions. The group rested, taking some time to scribe spells and regain their health. During their rest, Jimwise heard a noise from the dark tunnels, and figured it must be one of the apes, the one that Jestyn had charmed and sent back to its lair.
In the morning, Rustys charm wore off, and while Jestyn tried charming him again, it failed. The monster went up to the sleeping Jerry and rusted away his magical armor. As he woke up he was shocked to see the thing grasping at him, and began angrily punching it in the face. It retaliated, rusting away his magic bracers also. As Jerry hit the thing, Jestyn yelled at him to stop, since he wanted it as a familiar. Jestyn then tried charming the paladin, to no avail, before turning invisible, hoping Jerry wouldnt attack him. As Jerry smacked the rust monster hard, it ran off back into the darkness of the northern maze. Not long after, they all heard a squeal from it, then a crunch. Jerry and Jestyn stood there for a while, angry at one another, almost ready to fight, but stopping before anything violent could happen. Then, from out of the darkness came Rustys killer: the final monkey, who immediately stunned Verrof with its psychic blast. It too was charmed by Jestyn, who seeing that his rust monster was dead, wanted a new pet. Afterwards, Verrof went into the apes lair and found Rustys body, mostly eaten. He brought it back and tossed it to Jerry, who tossed it back, not wanting it. It ended up hitting Verrofs mace, destroying it with rust. Angry, Verrof threw it at Jerry, this time aiming for his sword, but failing to hit it. This continued for some time, with a few more items destroyed before the characters calmed down. Realizing that they had a whole lot of item fixing to do, the party members all relaxed, forgiving each others transgressions and going back to town, intent on fixing their gear, which they did. Jestyn decided to take the monkey (Later identified as a Su Monster) along, intent on taming it. A few charm spells and it was back in the city. He took it to Mistress Allison, the slightly insane tutor at the wizards academy who specialized in monsters. She told him of some possible methods of controlling it, though Balcoths collar was likely something of extra-planar origin. Jerry went back to the temple and confessed his sins to Sartorious, who said that Jerry had been a bit impatient and temperamental with the others. For penitence, he donated a thousand gold, and had to bathe in holy water. All got their items repaired, though for more hefty fees, and Verrof decided to try making a glove with a rust monster scale on it, though also for a hefty fee.
DM’S COMMENTS: A lot of role-playing going on, since a new character was introduced this game. Sithdar was actually a PC from my Rappan Athuk campaign (see that board for details). He was the only survivor of the Upper Temple, and now joins this group. Him and the paladin instantly hated each other, and it was a fun time. The whole rust-monster stuff at the end was just hilarious, with metal being destroyed left and right, as the wizard and paladin almost came to blows over it. Verrof and Sithdar almost kill each other too, though that seems to have worked itself out. This session also saw the end of Balcoth, who wasn’t so tough outside of his lair. (The PCs got less experience from him this way, but it prevented any deaths.) The big battle was basically a joke, since Balcoth can’t use magic while ethereal, and it takes him a full action to swithc back and forth. The Su monsters were really wimpy, since they got last initiative, and died before they could really act. Despite the conflict, this was a fun adventure.