Adventure Date: May 6, 2006
Last Updated: January 6, 2009
The brave heroes collected themselves after their fierce struggle with evil cultists in the secret subbasement of Nerullís Church. Ebreckís life had been saved, but the cultists had their victory too, sacrificing themselves to summon a demon that then left to do some unknown, unspeakable evil. It was unclear, if the worshipers of Nerull were part of the cult or not. They may have been unaware of the secret sub-basement beneath their temple. Although Nerullís symbol is a skull, Agrona did not think that the chamber of skulls found by the heroes were typical of Nerullís rituals.
The heroes needed to leave and get out to warn the city council that the cult was indeed active and that their plans had already begun. It was decided that Pennyweight and HHH would leave through the sewers. The two of them brought some of the evidence of the cultís existence with them in case Nerullís worshippers in the main temple chamber captured their companions. They also stashed some of the arms and armor taken from the cult, and left it in the smaller sewer tunnels to be retrieved later on. HHH also took some alchemy books he found, eager to try out the new recipes with his fellow tinker, Frizzle.
Exhausted and out of spells, Nuria donned one of the chainshirts from one of the cultists guardís so as to provide some level of protection. The four remaining heroes (Nuria, Agrona, Xanaphia and Ebreck) donned the robes of Nerullís worshippers that they had used to sneak into the temple earlier. They exited the sub-basement and made their way to the staircase in the basement leading up to the main chamber in the temple. Listening, they heard that the ceremony was still going on. They silently made their way up the stairs. Suddenly as they reached the top, the ceremony ended. They managed to mingle with the crowd as it dispersed. Outside, they met up with Pennyweight and HHH at the rendezvous point.
Fearing pursuit, the heroes sought sanctuary at the enclave of the Order of the Phoenix. They were met by Frizzle, who directed them to a safe house where they could rest and collect their thoughts before meeting the city council the next day.
Exhausted from the previous nightís adventures, it wasnít until noon before the heroes awoke. They quickly went to the Magesí Guild and alerted Joshua the Sage and Belgarath the White that they had a report to make to the city council. The two mages sent messengers to summon the council. They told the heroes to report to the council chambers in 2 hours.
During that time, Nuria returned to her wizard training. Xanaphia went to report what had happened to the elders of the Druidís Grove. The druids listened and reported that the visions they were having were getting worse, and that in those visions, more and more demons were appearing. HHH and Agrona went to their temples to pray, while Ebreck decided to wander about.
Pennyweight announced that he too had to wander around for a bit. In truth, he was looking for a teacher to teach him how to be a fighter. His guild told him to contact the barkeep at the House of Cards. Which is what he did. The barkeep told him that a teacher would contact him soon. As he was about to leave, a strange funny man shuffling a deck of cards at a corner table called his name. He offered Pennyweight a game of chance where the rewards were great, but equally so, were the many perils to be brought about by fate. Pennyweight, a gambler and rogue at heart, chose to tempt fate twice, and drew two cards from the deck. The GEM card appeared, and Pennyweight was showered in riches. But the next card was the FOOL. It showed that Pennyweight was doomed to repeat his mistakes and not learn from his experiences. The strange funny man then drew a third card, from the deck. It was the VIZIER. "Fear not", said the strange funny man to Pennyweight, "in time you will have learned your lessons, and when the time is right, you will know the answer to your next dilemma". Retreating with his riches, Pennyweight quickly left, nay, almost ran from the establishment. After he had calmed down, he realized that to minimize the effects of the FOOL, he would have to minimize the effects of the GEM. Thus he decided to share his newfound riches with his fellow heroes. Now with a sense of purpose, Pennyweight hurried down the street to meet his friends at the city council chambers.
In front of the city council, Nuria reported on what they had found in the secret sub-basement and presented the notes and unholy symbols taken from the cultists. The heroes could not say for certain if the church of Nerull was aware of the nefarious activities going on beneath their very temple. The council said that they would speak to the High Priest, Trevor Goodchild and find out for sure. Nuria then reported the demon that had been summoned. The council told them that they had detected this demon, a Bloodfiend, and only upon much effort by Belgarath the White and Benedict the Elder, were they able to repel the foul creature beyond the cityís borders. The city council announced that they would have to investigate things further. Nuria proclaimed that should they have need of their services, the city council had but to ask.
As promised, the city council presented the heroes with the remainder of their promised reward (900 gp each). Realizing that their Wand of Cure Light Wounds was almost depleted, and that it was a most useful item, the companions once again pooled their resources to purchase a second Wand of Cure Light Wounds. Xanaphia took the new wand into her hands and passed the old wand to Agrona. Nuria took the Potion of Cure Light Wounds and Pennyweight took the Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds in order to spread out the partyís healing capability. Pennyweight also announced that the vile poison potion had been "taken care of and was no longer a concern".
They also decided that it would be useful to also identify some of the magic items. Nuria obtained from the Magesí Guild the 100 gp pearls that are an essential material component required to complete each casting of the spell that would unlock the secrets of each item. At the insistence of Xanaphia, Nuria started with the armband and determined that it was an Armband of Healing. She then began work on the Magic Rod, but suddenly, she fell to the ground unconscious. Her companions rushed to her aid, but nothing they did could awaken her. Fortunately, after a half hour and just before they were about to summon the aid of Belgarath or Joshua, Nuria stirred and woke up. She said she had experienced some type of power surge, and that this item was not about to let go of its secrets just yet. Determined, she continued to focus on the remaining items. Next came the two rings. These, she quickly determined to be a Ring of Protection and a Ring of Sustenance. Drained, Nuria announced that she would have to continue identifying the remaining items the following day.
For the rest of the day, the companions set out to restock their equipment and place orders for some specialized items that should be ready in a week or two.
The next day the heroes assembled while Nuria began to determine the properties of the remaining four items. The piece of glass was found to be a Lens of Speed Reading. The boots revealed themselves to be Boots of Concealment and much to Pennyweightís delight, instantly shrink to fit his feet. The lion statue was a Lionheart Figure. Ebreck, looking for courageous inspiration, pocketed this item. Finally the lucky rabbitís foot was found to be indeed a Lucky Rabbitís Foot that will aid its owner ever so slightly at saving himself by the seat of his pants.
The party decided not to identify the magic shield, magic chainshirt, magic shortsword, magic longsword or magic dagger at this time.
Once the distribution of magic is complete, Pennyweight announces that it is time for the distribution of wealth and hands each of his companions a sack of 500 gp! HHH cautiously asks how Pennyweight obtained such vast sums. "It was just dumb luck!" Pennyweight explains, "I went to talk to the barkeep at the House of Cards, and I met this strange funny man who offered me to play a game of cards, and this is what I won! Cool, huh?"
"And why were you talking to the barkeep at the House of Cards?" someone inquired. "Well" said Pennyweight sheepishly, "I was looking for a teacher."
"A Teacher? For what?"
"To learn how to be a better fighter so that we stop getting our butts almost kicked in by every evil cultist between here and over there! Thatís what!" shouted Pennyweight. "Now is someone going to help me reclaim that equipment we stashed, so I can find an honest merchant, looking for arms and armor?" Agrona lifts his hand and says that he would help. HHH announces that he has some tinkering to do and heads off to his friend Frizzleís alchemy lab. Xanaphia decides to return to the druidís grove to spend some precious time with her wolf. Ebreck went off looking for a drink and Nuria returned to her studies.
Nuria found herself poring over her books, studying secrets from ages past, when a thought occurred. The strange funny man that Pennyweight described getting all that money from the card game may still be at the House of Cards. Deciding to try her luck, Nuria leaves her books and ventures out to see what fortune fate has in store for her.
The House of Cards was seedier then Pennyweight described. Scanning the room, Nuria spotted the strange funny man in the corner, shuffling a deck of cards. As she approached, the strange funny man called out to her by name ("Odd that he would know it, ah, of course, Pennyweight must have told him", she told herself, again with the low wisdom), and asked if she will tempt her fate for the risks are many, but the rewards are great. She decides to view three cards. The strange funny man finishes shuffling the deck, places it on the table, and overturns the top card. The RUIN card is staring at Nuria. Suddenly she realizes just how seedy the House of Cards really is; she can feel the cutthroats and purse-snatchers hovering around her and knows she will be lucky to leave here with her life. No doubt, they will loot her room before she can escape and find some members of the city watch to protect her. "There are still two cards to go", says the strange funny man, as he turns over the next card. The VIZIER. Perhaps she will be able to leave with her life, but she will no doubt have to give up her recently acquired wealth. The strange funny man turns over the last card. IDIOT, Nuria says as she sees the final card, she will never be a powerful wizard if she keeps letting herself get distracted and sidetracked by these pointless games of chance. Everything is going wrong. Sheís about to get mugged, her room looted and she will no doubt be the only apprentice (other then her mother) to be kicked out of the Mageís Guild. No, this canít be her destiny. Realizing now what she must do to resolve this dilemma, Nuria reaches out for the deck and grabs the top card. In her hand are THE FATES, those who know the past, present and future paths of all mortals. THE FATES, of course, can alter the thread of ones past or present to bring about a new and different future...
Nuria found herself poring over her books, studying secrets from ages past, when a thought occurred. The strange funny man that Pennyweight described getting all that money from the card game, may still be at the House of Cards. Unfortunately, she was already behind in her lessons, and quickly putting such distractions from her mind, she buried her nose back in her books and continued on with her studies.
Ebreck, by chance, now found himself in front of the House of Cards. Entering in hopes of quenching his insatiable thirst, he noticed the strange funny man that Pennyweight described. The strange funny man called him over and asked him if he would like to play. Ebreck chose to test his luck and reveal two cards. The strange funny man turned over the top card to reveal THE FATES. "Fortune smiles on you this day, for now, nothing bad can happen to you, should you so choose", exclaimed the strange funny man, "but now we must see if your luck will hold." With that, he revealed the next card, and there before Ebreck was the IDIOT. "I am not an IDIOT", growled Ebreck dangerously, brandishing his axe. "Very well then", said the strange funny man, "you have avoided this fate. Now you must follow your own path." And with that, the strange funny man vanishes. Muttering about mystics and their silly games, Ebreck calls to the barkeep and orders another round.
Meanwhile, Pennyweight has just parted ways with Agrona after selling the arms and armor for 1000 gp. Happily heading back to his guild, he notices a tall shadow standing before him. It was Gregory the Black from the Flesh and Blood Society. Thinking quickly, he tried to remember if he had broken some rule he was told not too. Then Gregory spoke, "I hear you are looking for a teacher".
Summoning his courage, Pennyweight says, "I am. Are the terms to be what was told to me by the barkeep, no other obligations?"
"Of course", said Gregory with a smile, "Your gold is more then adequate compensation. Sleep well, for your training begins at first light."
Over the next two weeks, the companions pray, study and learn new skills. They also acquire the masterwork and special items that they had purchased or made themselves. At the end of two weeks, they receive a summons to appear before the city council.
That morning, Nuria receives a summons to meet with her instructor Belgarath. He tells her that a few weeks ago, he sensed some sort of great mystical power inside her, but that it appears to have faded away, and that he can no longer sense it in her. He asks her if perhaps she had some sort of item that may no longer be in her possession. At this point, Nuria confesses and tells Belgarath about the rod she tried and failed to identify and about the effect it had had on her. Belgarath asks her to bring the rod to him secretly so that he can examine it and hopefully discover its purpose.
Nuria goes to meet with her companions, as the rod is being kept safe by the noble and heroic, although short, HHH. Knowing full well that great power can corrupt absolutely, as it did with her mother, she asks for her companionsí advice. Should they give the rod to Belgarath secretly as he asked? Or should they present it to him openly at the city council, so that other powers that be know he has the rod, and watch that it doesnít corrupt him? The danger of the second course is that other powers that be will know Belgarath has the rod, and there next adventure may very well be solving a theft and a murder. The group decides that for now, it would be better if they give Belgarath the rod secretly, in the hope that he can figure out what it does. HHH hands the rod to Nuria who then delivers it to Belgarath at the Magesí Guild.
(Fools, says Nuria as she pockets the rod for herself...oops...wait...thatís not right...sorry...another alternate timeline was trying to assert itself for a moment there :-)
At the city council meeting, the councillors tell them that the cultís focus is to summon as many demons and undead into the world as they can. They warn the heroes that the first demon to be summoned, the Bloodfiend, is too powerful for them to face at this time. They also tell them that Trevor Goodchild flew into a rage when he learned that the evil cult had been hiding beneath his very temple, and that they had threatened all of the "good" work that he has been doing. All traces of the cult have now been purged from the secret sub-basement.
The mayor then nods toward Cyrano, the Duke of Urnst. The Duke turns to address the heroes and grimly says that he has need of their services, as he fears that the cult has kidnapped his beautiful daughter. He would be in their debt if they could return her to him alive and unharmed.
He received word last night that she had been snatched from the main market in Leukish, the capital of the Duchy of Urnst, and all of her servants and guards had been slain. No witnesses had come forth save for the Lady Aurellia, a noble woman. Nuria noticed that Pennyweight seemed surprised to hear her name, but Pennyweight kept silent.
The Duke implored them to leave with haste, as this cult was known for their ritual sacrifices.
Swearing to retrieve the Dukeís daughter, the heroes left the council chambers. They parted ways to gather their supplies, and to find out what they could of the kidnappings from other sources.
Xanaphia returned to the Druidís grove. The high priestess tells her that the circle of power drawn before the altar in the cultís secret headquarters was a summoning circle. It was composed of three symbols, the "arrow pointing towards the left" is the symbol for demons, the "plus" symbol is used for protection and the "thicker plus" symbol was the symbol for dimensions.
Ebreck decides to visit the clan of dwarves residing in Greyhawk. They tell him that reports are coming in from the surrounding area that demons are being sighted, and other strange creatures as well.
Pennyweight contacts his Thievesí Guild and learns that the guildís contact in Urnst has not been heard from for three days.
Benedict the Elder tells Agrona that he should look for symbols of dead goats and horns to spot the activities of the cult.
Agrona also decides to visit the Church of Nerull to see if they have anything to add about the cult. Trevor assures Agrona that the cult has been eradicated from within the walls of Greyhawk and that no more ceremonies will be conducted inside the secret chamber from now on. Trevor then focuses on Agrona and tries to convince him to leave Heironeous and become a servant of Nerull, as it will be the only way for him to obtain the power he needs to defeat this enemy. As Trevor continues his recruitment tirade, Agrona graciously thanks him for his time and quickly makes a strategic withdrawal.
Nuria goes to see if she can learn anything new from Belgarath. Belgarath tells her that he has discovered that the rod is a powerful artifact. He hands the rod back to her, explaining how to operate some of the magic that he has been able to discover. Belgarath tells her to take the rod as he senses that it will prove useful on her journey, but that she must keep secret the fact that she has the rod. Meanwhile, he will continue his research and will hopefully know more about the rod upon her return to Greyhawk.
As the heroes left the city of Greyhawk on their horses and other mounts, a large dog starts to follow Ebreck. Ebreck encourages this by tossing the dog some food, thereby obtaining its undying loyalty. He decides to call her Haela.
Later, as the road winds its way along the shore of a lake, Agrona spots a frog that is roughly the size of a human. Agrona and Ebreck approach within twenty feet to see what it does. The frog, realizing that the small morsels arenít going to be allowed to approach within reach of its whip-like tongue, dives into the water to hunt down prey elsewhere.
As night falls, the heroes set up camp and settle down for an uneventful nights sleep.
Around noon, the heroes encounter a merchant caravan travelling towards Greyhawk from Urnst. Most of the cargo was composed of spices and fresh vegetables.
Just as the sun was about to set, two giant caterpillar-like creatures with writhing tentacles surrounding their maw emerged from the forest and attacked the heroes. Xanaphia evoked the power of nature and caused the underbrush to grab and entangle the creatures. This gave them time to slay one of the foul worms with ranged missiles and spells before the other broke free and came within striking distance. Fortunately, the heroes were able to surround and dispatch the creature after considerable effort. Agrona sought to search their bellies to see if there was evidence of any previous victims but found nothing but green goo. Ebreck tracked the creatures back to their nest, but found no evidence that there were more of them. Meanwhile Xanaphia examined what was left of the goo and recalled that the creatures were likely "carrion crawlers", viscous hunter that will relentlessly attack anything that moves. Thankfully, this part of the road was once again safe.
The dayís journey was uneventful as they continued their journey to the Duchy of Urnst.
Soon after the heroes packed up their camp and continued their journey down the road, terror struck. Two giant trolls walked across the road, but stopped when they detected their scent. Detecting new prey, the trolls charged the party of adventurers. Their attack was swift and deadly. Haela was quite literally torn in half and ripped to shreds in the initial onslaught. Ebreck, seeking revenge, laid blow upon blow against the trolls, but the wounds inflicted upon the foul creatures sealed themselves almost as fast as they were created. One of the trolls managed to lay its claws against Ebreck and ripped open his belly, knocking him out of the fight. HHH valiantly continued the fight against the trolls at close quarters with the aid of Wolfgang and black bears that had been summoned by Xanaphia. Nuria, Agrona, and Pennyweight provided support using missile weapons and spells to weaken the trolls. Suddenly, tragedy struck again, as one of the trolls, in its dying deathblow, rendered Xanaphiaís beloved Wolfgang, slaying him instantly. Enraged, Xanaphia summoned lightning bolts to strike at the last troll. The troll, enraged by its own pain, lifted its claws in the air to strike a deathblow at the wounded HHH. Agrona rushed at the troll, placing himself between the troll and HHH. The trollís fury could only be sated by blood and his claws ripped open Agrona, eviscerating him. The troll flung Agronaís lifeless body into the ditch. HHH, now with the precious seconds needed to recover, made a quick prayer to his deity and prepared to smite this foul evil from this earth. HHH landed a final blow on the troll, knocking it unconscious. The companions were then able to administer a coup-de-grace and burn the trollsí bodies to ensure that they were well and truly dead.
The heroes gathered up the corpse of their fallen comrade and preserved the body as best they could. The scent of roses, not death, gave comfort to the heroes in their grief. The companions also built a small graveside marker to commemorate the valiant sacrifices of Wolfgang and Haela. Grim-faced, the heroes turned back down the road towards Greyhawk, determined to recover from this tragedy.
Arriving back in the city of Greyhawk, the heroes brought Agronaís corpse to the temple of Heironeous. Benedict the Elder grieved at the sight of his fellow priest. Their quest incomplete, the heroes wondered if it was possible to restore their fallen comrade to them, as they felt that his role would be crucial later if they were to stop the evil cult and its plans.
To petition the gods for Agronaís return, the heroes provided 2000 gp plus some of the miscellaneous magical items they had found, including the Everclean Towel, the Frying Pan of Cooking, a second Magical Frying Pan, a Magic Can, a Magic Apron, and the dreaded "Log of Dragon Breath".
Benedict the Elder commenced the ritual that would return Agronaís soul to his body, so that he could fulfil his destiny.
When Agrona opened his eyes, all he could see was a bright light. Once his vision adjusted to the glare, Agrona found himself standing before Heironeous himself. "Your journey is not yet complete, my avatar. You must assemble the Rod of Seven Parts if you and your companions are to counteract the coming of a great evil. Go now, with justice, valour, chivalry and honour in your heart, for the trials ahead will test your resolve and your faith."
When Agrona opened his eyes, there was the frail and wrinkled face of his mentor, Benedict the Elder. Looking around, he saw his companions rushing toward him, astonished at the miracle they had just witnessed and glad to see him alive. Benedict the Elder told them to return the next day, as Agrona needed much rest after his ordeal.
That morning, Xanaphia went into the forest where she met Deus, the bother of her lost wolf, Wolfgang. She sensed that Deus wanted to continue his brotherís journey and join her in her fight to preserve natureís balance.
Ebreck meanwhile, was moping around outside a bar when a pack of dogs ran by. One of them, a Rhodesian ridgeback, stopped and looked at him quizzically. Tossing her some food, he gains her undying loyalty. He decides to call her Rhodesia.
Later that day, the heroes gather around Agrona, where he tells them of his vision. HHH and Agrona begin discussing who was the rod. Nuria pipes up and says, "Do you mean this rod?" while holding the magic rod in her hand.
"Actually we meant the Wand of Cure Light Wounds, but since you mentioned it, yes that rod."
"You mean you werenít wondering about ... oops ... I was supposed to keep that secret", stammered Nuria (low wisdom, easily tricked into revealing things she shouldnít, yah, thatís it). She tells them that Belgarath entrusted the rod to her and showed her how to use it. He claimed that it might aid the heroes on their journey.
The rest of the day is spent packing and preparing to go on their journey back to Urnst to rescue the Dukeís daughter.
The heroes have once again hit the trail towards Leukish, the seat of power in the Duchy of Urnst, leaving the gates of Greyhawk behind them.
The heroes reach the roadside marker for Haela and Wolfgang. The heroes stop and pay their respects, then continue on their journey.
The past few days were uneventful, but as night began to fall, a thick fog rolled down from the hills, surrounding the heroes as they were beginning to set up their campsite.
Suddenly, two decaying corpses, covered in tattered clothes and armor, emerged from the mist, their eyes glowing with a hatred for all things living.
HHH and Agrona attempt to turn the cursed creatures, but the creatures evil is too strong to overcome. The remaining heroes concentrate their missile fire on one of the creatures and Nuria unleashes an onslaught of scorching rays and magic missiles. In a final gasp of hatred for the living, one of the creatures slams into Nuria, infecting her with its rotting curse. Agrona creates a magic circle to ward away the creatures and the companions enter its divine protection. Eventually, they are able to wear down and destroy these mockeries of life, who must have been touched by some unknown evil force, for they were far more resistant then would be expected.
After the battle, Agrona casts "remove curse" to stop the spread of the rotting infecting her, but not before the rot is able to sap her strength and leave large lesions on her body. With further curing, Agrona manages to remove the disfiguring lesions but must pray and rest before he can restore her lost strength.
Realizing that the front lines are perhaps in better need of protection, Nuria hands the Ring of Protection to HHH to better aid him in the next battle. The journey to fame, fortune and victory continues...
Additional Note: Lady Katie of the city cavalry was once a paladin serving the Order of the Phoenix.
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