Wednesday, 5 December 2012

[AD&D] The village of Hommlet session 13 summary

From the notes of Alric Brethencourt of Veluna 

Night, approaching Freeday, the 21st day of Coldeven, the lower levels of the ruined moathouse east of Hommlet  
And so we emerged victoriously from our battle with the ne'er-do-well Lareth, cannoness priestess of the Temple's Keep, devotee of the spider goddess Lolth, but not without paying a heavy price. Much to our grief we found the body of the Halfling Basil lying on the dirty flagstones, lifeless, a reminder that even while evil can be vanquished, the world is not simply freed of its ill influence, but has forever been changed. Only time can heal these wounds, or perhaps... Chryseis discovered a concoction of tremendous magical power, bottled in an ornate flask, among the remaining possessions of Lareth. Perhaps it holds the power to restore life to our companion? For now, it has restored some small measure of hope to my heart.
We made camp for the night in the ruined altar room, after gathering the valuable spoils of war and stabling our horses. It reminded some of us of our horrible captivity at the hands of Lareth and Silas, but knowing that they will never bother an innocent soul again eases the troubled mind. We made it through the night unmolested, though the noise of the undead denizens of the dungeons was never far off. In the morning Emariel the Elf used his magical ways to safely open the door to Lareth's quarters, which we suspected to be trapped in a fashion similar to the one that surprised Chryseis on our previous foray here. In the room we discovered after careful searching a useful map, carved in the surface of a small table, which we missed on our initial investigation. More disturbingly, Lareth's private shrine to Lolth, which we thoroughly trashed on our previous visit, now seemed to be oozing thick blood. A grim omen of things to come.
As there was still a sense of pervading evil about the place, we decide to clear out the moathouse once and for all before we returned to Hommlet. After dispatching some straggling zombies without too much effort, we found our way to the dark heart of the lower levels. Following a long, dark corridor, in which the very mosaics on the wall seemed to shift and inspire dread, we came to a large room which provided us with the following unsettling sight: in the center stood a monstrous statue of a giant spider with a woman's head and the fangs of a spider, a blasphemous idol to none other than Lolth. Surrounding the room on all sides were small cells, in which there were half a score of zombies feasting on human remains. The walls in this abysmal place were damp, and its ceiling covered with webs, though much of it was obscure by the haze being emitted from a smouldering brazier. While Eeli and Chryseis contemplated our wisest course of action, we were suddenly beset by two shadowy creatures, impervious to the bite of cold steel. Fortunately the magic of Weebrian made them disperse before too long. Immediately after that, a similar creature, but of much greater stature appeared. We held it off for some time, blocking its way with burning oil, but 'ere too long the fire died out in the damp room, and the shadowy menace engaged us in combat. Both Chryseis and I were pierced by its immaterial talons, which sent an unnatural chill coursing through our bodies, and we felt much weakened, a state which endures even while I write, more than a day after the encounter. With much effort we dispatched the being, sending it back to its native realm, perhaps.

Despite the horrid presence of the statue of Lolth, Eeli, Chryseis and I then entered the room, determined to cleanse it of evil. The zombies cowered before my blessed companions, but more dangers lurked about. From out the ceiling giant spiders started pouring down and quickly swarmed us. Chryseis and Eeli succumbed to the paralyzing poison, and it was not much longer before I too fell. Fortunately the heroics of Tuffnell, Emariel and Kazireh saved the day, and our three companions killing the remaining spiders using guile and brute force. The paladin and cleric then set to work, after they recovered, cleansing and subsequently destroying the idol, while the others made short work of the remaining undead.

We saw many other strange things in those ruins, including a ten feet long crayfish that was kept in a small cavernous lair to torment the prisoners of Lareth. I insisted we should put the creature out of its misery, lest it find a way out and terrorize the countryside, but the druid Tuffnell vehemently disagreed. And thus we returned to Hommlet, having finally put an end to the evil in the moathouse. We arrived at the village in the afternoon of Freeday. A watchful quiet lay about the place. The mysterious wall of thorns created by the resident druid Jaroo Ashstaff was gone, but I was glad to note work on the fortifications of the tower had progressed, thanks to the Kronn Hills Gnomes resuming their aid. We made for the Inn of the Welcome Wench, and a hero's welcome indeed.

Monday, 22 October 2012

[AD&D] The village of Hommlet session 12 summary

From the notes of Alric Brethencourt of Veluna

Earthday, 20th day of Coldeven, dusk, the hidden entrance to the ruined moathouse

As we were gathered in the cold, foggy dark of night outside the secret moathouse passage, our ranger Kazireh suddenly became aware that someone was heading our way, at the very least one heavily armoured individual. For a moment we fretted; reinforcements of the evildoers, trying to catch us unaware from the rear? But then an unobtrusive birdcall seemed to put Kazireh at ease: a sign from the rangers of the Gnarley. And indeed, not long after a small company arrived, composed of some welcome familiar faces, and some new ones. None other than the recently vanished Philius Tilm, agent of the Kron Hills Gnomes led their number. At his side walked our companion Basil, who despite his dubious line of work had proved himself a decent sort and a trustworthy fellow. Joining them were an Elf and a Dwarf, both rather sturdy looking for their respective races. The Dwarf was clad all in plate and carried a sharp looking axe with him; while the Elf, wearing the robes of a practitioner of the magical arts, had a bow slung over his shoulder and a sword on his hip. A raven followed him too, which I heard being referred to as Elronny. Let it be noted here that at this point our company began to resemble a traveling menagerie.

 They introduced themselves as Eeli Goldblade, disciple of Clangeddin, one of the Lortmill, and Emariel of the Kingdom of Celene, sent by his superiors to aid us after Ellaria had returned to North Elfguard. Philius bore the glad tidings that, thanks to the influence of the viscount, these two had been sent to assist us on our perilous mission. Basil too vouched for them, and had personally seen lord Burne verifying their credentials. We had little time for proper introductions however: it had now been more than an hour since we had last seen our companion Tuffnell, and time was surely against us. Eeli and Emariel’s fortuitous arrival at this moment was a great relief and convenience - perhaps even suspiciously so. One whose faith in the grand scheme of things wavers in such dark moments could be assumed to harbour suspicions in his heart of hearts. However, I saw the hand of a superior being in this chance encounter, a sign clear for all to see, that good will always triumph, even when the night is at its darkest and the mind, in despair, turns to all but the grimmest thoughts. But we could no longer tarry. Our newfound companions would prove their allegiance and mettle in battle soon, no doubt. Having own matters to tend to, Philius vanished into the night once more, and our company set out, carefully descending into the tunnel, in search of the errant druid. Chose to stay behind, wary of the possibility of an ambush still, to make sure the entrance was guarded and our horses, packed with most of our belongings, remained safe. Writing this now, with the added benefit of hindsight, perhaps it was a tactical mistake; but as things turned out the way they did, I believe it was fated to be, divine providence if you will.

The plan was that Basil would use his professional acumen to approach the door quickly and silently and open it, while the rest of our party followed him from a short distance. Stood watching the approach to the tunnel, when suddenly I heard the echo of a loud bang coming from behind me, reverberating off the stone walls of the passage. Something was clearly amiss; I only hoped it was not too late yet. Immediately mounted my destrier Harros, grabbed my lance, and charged down the darkness of the tunnel towards the faint light in the distance. Mixed shouts now reached me, as well as the wails and cries of ghastly, abominable undead. Harros flew with great speed, but I proved ill prepared for what I would find down there.

A tangled, frantic battle was taking place, with our company hard pressed. As there was little room for a controlled charge I reined in my horse hard, and in that moment I could overlook the carnage from a little to be envied vantage point. Before me in a pool of blood lay the body of the Halfling Basil, savagely bitten by what seemed to be reanimated corpse of Weebrian’s former dog Rotter. The cleric Eeli lay slumped in an unnatural fashion against the wall of tunnel, with a ghoulish gnoll climbing over him. Chryseis was locked in combat with a decaying bugbear, but at that very moment fell to a paralyzing rend of its claws. A few feet ahead of this melee what looked like a large spider’s web barred access to the door just beyond, and two ghouls, entangled in it, were desperately trying to rip free of it, when suddenly it burst into flame as Weebrian, stood right next to me, muttered an arcane incantation. The web burned quickly and brightly, charring one of the ghouls while granting the other the opportunity to free itself. Now the door came back into a view, and what could be seen there sent a chill down my spine. Standing at the entrance of his mistress’s underground lair, flanked by two crossbow wielding Dark Elves was none other than the vile Silas Rac, lieutenant of the Temple’s Keep and the most dangerous of Lareth’s lackeys, brandishing his cruel two-handed sword that had been my undoing on our previous encounter. With some effort we dispatched the remaining ghouls standing between us as the Drow, as Silas stepped into the tunnel to meet our challenge. Despite her skill, Kazireh could not stand her ground against the onslaught of blows that Silas unleashed. Then a series of very peculiar occurrences took place. I noticed, from the corner of my eye, one of the Dark Elf bodyguards suddenly drop to the ground, while Silas advanced in my direction. At the same time, due to a spell courtesy of Emariel, I rapidly began to grow in size, so much so that I thought it best to dismount before the strange magic spooked Harros. Alas I had little time to familiarize myself with my new dimensions; as but moments later Silas brought down his sword upon me. Blackness rushed up to greet me as I too fell, my last waking moment a distorted impressions of hundreds of blue butterflies fluttering all around me.

Then suddenly, with a jolt, I awoke, as an unseen hand poured a healing tonic down my throat. Aching, I tried to get up, but too late. The fiend Silas had turned his malice on our companion Emariel, and inflicted a most grievous wound upon him, with such force that no Elf or Man could have withstood it. Emariel too was slain by the forces of evil, but the tide of battle was about to turn. A gobbing sound could be heard nearby, and a globule of poisonous spit caught the back of Silas’s head. The mighty warrior fell, paralyzed, by the feet of the dead Elf, bested by the most unlikely of opponents; the toad Mr Timmus. Wasted no time in preventing him from rising ever again and with exultant, righteous fury I drove the Song Spear deep in his flesh and that of his fellow Dark Elves. Chryseis meanwhile brought out the precious flask father Lightweather had presented us with when we left Verbobonc. Quite assuredly she administered its contents to Emariel, and lo and behold, the latter suddenly drew breath once again.

There was no time for rejoicing however, as then the Canoness Warden of the Temple’s Keep herself, Lareth the self-styled Beautiful, appeared, with a throng of zombies at her beck and call, and far worse, our friend and companion Tuffnell, wearing but his underclothes, on a leash. I will not tarnish these reminiscences by repeating any of her foul utterances; let it be recorded that Chryseis boldly stepped forward to meet her, paying no heed to her vile and twisted words, while the revived Eeli invoked the name of Clangeddin and sent the zombies staggering back. Then Weebrian, wielding magics the likes of which I did not know he was capable of, sent a bolt of lightning streaming by, cutting short the unlives of Lareth’s reanimated minions and injuring the Canoness. At this point I had caught up with Chryseis and, noticing that something was definitely amiss with Tuffnell, cast him to the ground so he would not turn his mystical powers on his allies in his confusion. This in turn must have angered his faithful companion Timmus, who then used his poison on me, to great effect. I felt my muscles cramp and stiffen, and helplessly I fell to the ground. What passed then I cannot clearly recall, but more lightning was hurled at Lareth by Weebrian, and then a great explosion ensued, a deafening blast that threw Tuffnell against the wall beside me. Some time passed before I was able to stand up and walk. My companions were already gathered around what little remained of Lareth, the once Beautiful. Apart from some enchanted pieces of her equipment, there was no trace remaining of her, not even a stain left to remind the world that once she walked it. Unfortunate victim of our spectacular if unexpected victory was Reggie, Kazireh’s dwarven tunnel hound. Of him too, nothing was left. But his demise is of little import here. We defeated a great evil, but at the cost of the life of one of our valued companions. Rest easy, brave Basil, your friends will remember and honour your sacrifice always.


Thursday, 11 October 2012

[AD&D] The village of Hommlet session 11 summary

From the notes of Alric Brethencourt of Veluna

Moonday, 17th day of Coldeven, the village of Hommlet
With the immediate threat to the village dealt with, our company took the time for some much needed rest, recuperation and training after our triumphant return from the moathouse. Our elvish companion Ellaria left us to return to North Elfguard, to make a new report to her superiors. Likewise Wilstan departed, saying he had business to attend to with his order. We spent a score of days in Hommlet, toward the end of which period a small detachment of squires and men at arms of the Order of the Hart rode into town, bearing an urgent message from Verbobonc for sir Otis. The missive was from none other than alderman Enoch Crowe, chairman of the council of guilds, requesting our presence for a meeting to specially convene the next day. It seemed our repose had come to an end. Basil and Madrak chose to stay in Hommlet for the time being, while the rest of us set off for Verbobonc by way of Etterboek, there to reunite with our companions Weebrian and Chryseis. Joining us would be some new animal additions to our party, Kazireh’s tunnel hound Reggie and a rather odd toad called mr. Timmus, which had become the ward of our druid Tuffnell, or vice versa. We traveled to Verbobonc with all due haste, together with sir Otis and the men from the Order of the Hart. When we reached the city it became clear it was not left untouched by the threat looming to the south either. The number of guards seemed to have increased, and the defenses and fortifications at the gates bolstered.

Once in the city proper, we met up with the rest of our number and made for the council house without further delay. Happy to report that the reception we received was markedly different from the one a month ago. After some light refreshments we were ushered into the council room, where alderman Crowe and the sage Mellium awaited us. It became clear that our assignment was far from over. The Viscount requested our services for another month, to further investigate the rise of evil in the area of Hommlet. Due to the troubles in the north, the alderman could unfortunately not give us much in the way of aid; having no men to spare and few resources at his immediate disposal. He did tell us to return the next morning, as he would make certain arrangements. We showed the letters we found in the ruined moathouse to the scribe Mellium, and he was much intrigued indeed. In return he provided us with a copy of a map and a cryptic poem, both from the village of Nulb, about the rise of the temple of elemental evil. Perhaps these will prove useful in time.

Made my way to the Sword & Board after the meeting was concluded, an inn frequented by members of the Guild of the Guards. Shared a few drinks and struck up a conversation with a certain captain Roads, who seemed a good sort, and discussed the possibility of joining the Guards with him. Still needed to settle my accounts with the Adventurer’s Guild, so retired for the night to the guild house afterwards.

The next day, a rather drab and dreary Godsday, we reconvened at the council house after taking the time for the first chance at proper observance in the last month. Mellium had come through for us, and we were joined by a follower of Roa, father Lightweather, who donated several jugs and jars of healing ointments and other substances to our cause. He also provided us with a powerful healing rod, which unfortunately either did not work anymore or the proper activation method had been forgotten. Confident though that Weebrian or Chryseis will unravel its mysteries sooner or later, perhaps in a time of dire need. Since we had heard no news from Wilstan, the gifts could not have been more appropriate. As we headed out, in order to return to Hommlet as quickly as possible, we were greeted by a very strange teleporting dog. Weebrian however was familiar with the animal, and it became clear the creature belonged to his mentor, the gnomish illusionist Blasphemy Rumtum. We met the master for a quick chat, and he seemed approving of Weebrian’s work so far. Our pressing business in Hommlet left us with little time for further pleasantries, so after signing up at the Guards and becoming a probationary member, my companions and I saddled up and left Verbobonc behind us.

After some miles it became clear we would not be able to reach Hommlet before nightfall. Taking into consideration the ambush we rode into the first time we came to the village, we decided against going further that day. We would have an excellent opportunity to escape the chill when we would pass through Etterboek, as the guest house there, the Golden Cockerel, was quite the pleasant establishment, and renowned for its honey cakes. Would not normally deem it necessary to mention the more insignificant details of our journeys, but in this instance the visit to the inn proved rather out of the ordinary. Several wagons were pulled up near the Golden Cockerel, but paying it no heed, we had our horses stabled and entered the warmth of the common room. As I looked over the assembled patrons around the fireplace, my stomach clenched and a feeling of panic came over me. A company of dwarvish wagoners sat gathered there, drinking and making merry. For most this would be no issue; but immediately my mind turned to what would happen if they discovered a person such as myself in the possession of the Song Spear, a priceless heirloom of the ancient Lortmill kingdom. Tried to leave the common room without being noticed, but before I could reach the stairs I heard one of the Dwarves shout after me. What I feared indeed ensued, as the Dwarves discovered the spear and then demanded to know how it had come in my care. To assuage their anger I found myself in the unpleasant center of attention as I recounted the story of my late grandmother Alyssa, though how even she had eventually come upon the spear I did not know. The story seemed to satisfy the Dwarves however, and soon they returned to their own storytelling and merriment. Before I could slip off, one among their number, the wagonmaster Ranmas, asked me to step outside with him. Agreed to do so, and though I have to admit that my suspicions were aroused again, they proved unwarranted. Apparently the story I told had moved Ranmas so that he wanted to make amends for the initial distrust. He handed me a mithril coin and asked me to put some flowers on grandmother’s grave, a request I intend to honor as soon as our situation permits us.

The grey weather from the previous day had turned into a storm that remained appropriately unabated for the rest of Waterday. Arrived in Hommlet in the evening, and as there were few hours remaining in the day and we were rather weary after the being on the road the entire day, we headed for the Welcome Wench without delay. It proved to be another busy night at the inn, and among the regulars I noticed Fernok of Ferd, who seemed to have taken Basil under his wing, and the mysterious black-skinned fighter and pale, red robed Seol monk which had earned the dislike of my companion Weebrian. Kazireh struck up a conversation with them over the course of the evening and seemed to earn their trust to a certain extent, learning their names: Kobort and brother Moore. Myself I had a chance encounter with Gremag Hox. Surprisingly enough the man turned out to be quite amenable, and delivered the good news that the Seer Foe, purportedly stolen, had once again found its way into their possession. Made arrangements to pick it up the following morning, while the others were to meet with sir Rufus to discuss the latest instructions from the viscount.

After our respective errands the following morning, we set off despite the grey and cold weather towards the ruins of the moathouse. Personally would have preferred to travel to Nulb and see if we could learn more about Lareth’s dealings there, but as I vowed to accompany Chryseis if she were to return to the moathouse to cleanse it of any remaining evil, I had little choice but to comply.

We took shelter from the gathering storm at High Watch, which was deserted in Elmo’s absence. After about an hour the weather cleared up, but as the ranger deemed the sodden old way too treacherous for our horses, we ended up taking the low road around the marshland. This way we only reached the ruined keep late in the evening, safely, but perhaps not unnoticed, as we heard several blasts of a horn off in the distance. We had hoped to surreptitiously enter the moathouse using the hidden passage, through which had left the ruins after our previous incursion, but after fruitlessly searching for it for half an hour, we had to abandon this plan, despite being sure we were in the right area. Instead we made for the moathouse proper and, warily, decided to investigate. Tuffnell, Kazireh and Chryseis would climb over the rubble of the broken curtain wall, while Weebrian and myself would stay behind to guard the horses. Then things started to happen, without my knowledge in quick succession. We suddenly heard cries coming from the moathouse, as Kazireh, scouting ahead, had come upon the giant snake that had harassed us on our previous intrusion as well. Weebrian and I made for the main entrance, but found the portcullis lowered and lost precious time raising it by hand, while Chryseis by then had entered the ruins and discovered Kazireh paralyzed by the snake’s poison. Tuffnell meanwhile had slipped while climbing up and fallen into the filthy moat, together with his pet frog. By the time we had reached Kazireh and Chryseis, the snake lay dead, but when we returned outside, there was no more trace of Tuffnell. My companions found a set of tracks leading off into the woods, no mean feat in the growing darkness, but it seemed to have been made by multiple individuals, much to our alarm, and they followed it with great speed while I took care of Kazireh. Eventually she came to, not much worse for wear, and when Chryseis and Weebrian returned we all set out to find the errant druid. We kept following the tracks, despite them becoming very hard to read after a while, up until a point where they suddenly ended. Then it became clear that some illusory magic was in play, because subsequently we discovered there once again the hidden tunnel leading to the lower levels of the moathouse, hidden from plain view. Encouraged by our luck, we made for the door…

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

[AD&D] The village of Hommlet session 10 summary

From the notes of Alric Brethencourt of Veluna

Earthday, 20th day of the Readying, the woods north and east of the moathouse

Our encounter with the wood goblins - heard them referred to as Xvarts by one of my companions later - in the end only lasted a few minutes, but brutal they were. Despite their diminutive stature they proved quite a challenge, as they had the advantage of surprise and superior position. Things got even more confusing in the thick of the fray as the Xvart shaman unleashed some hex in the form of a bilious cloud of noxious gas. Several were stricken, friend and foe alike, myself included, and we could not help ourselves but fall to ground, coughing and vomiting. Moments before the brave charge of Chryseis that mortally wounded the wererat that led the assault, leaving it to Wilstan to finish the job and lob off his head. The goblinoid shaman had more dirty magic up his sleeves however, as he managed to instill a dreadful fear in Chryseis’ heart that sent her running as fast as her legs could carry her. But instants later, trying to extricate myself from the fumes, a handful of remaining Xvarts up in the trees peppered me with arrows, and all went black…

But my companions and I lived to tell the tale. Thanks to the arcane power wielded by Weebrian and Spugnoir and the fighting skills of Kazireh and Madrak, they killed enough of the Xvarts to make the surviving ones rout. The blast of a horn sounded in the forest at that particular moment, its meaning unknown even to the ranger, but undoubtedly no good can be expected of such signs. Weebrian found the staff the goblin shaman had dropped when he ran, and immediately suspected the item to have magical qualities. Simultaneously Wilstan made the grim discovery that the vicious wererat’s corpse had slowly turned into that of a gnome. What madness or vile influence Lareth had exerted over the creature to bring it to this fate, we can only guess at. The gnome had in his possession an enchanted blade, named Halfman, which seemed to have been forged with the deliberate purpose of slaying gnomes. We took this evil blade, with the firm intention of having it destroyed in the forge of Hommlet’s smithy. After a brief few moments of rest and reprieve from the arduous journey, we hurriedly collected ourselves and proceeded on our way back to Hommlet. Fortunately none of the horses had been hurt or killed during the attack, and the cart containing our plunder likewise was in good shape.

It came as a great relief that we reached the old road to Hommlet without further incident. Before long we were greeted by a familiar face; none other than the ranger Elmo. Admit even I was glad to see him for once. Together with Elmo we returned to High Watch and with dusk approaching, we could look forward to a night spent in safety, and relative comfort, as the ranger had been so kind to provide us with food and ale, a veritable feast after living off of rations for days. As we settled down, a strange sight presented itself however. A huge bear suddenly entered the secluded refuge in the wood, together with a robed man. My initial suspicions proved unwarranted, however, as my companions Kazireh and Tuffnel immediately identified the man as Jaroo Ashstaff, the druid of Hommlet, and his docile bear Basil. Indeed, they rejoiced at his sight and welcomed him heartily. While they went off to talk privately, and Elmo and Madrak were telling tall tales of their adventures, Weebrian, Chryseis and I decided to finish the last leg of our journey, so we may spend the night in the comfort of the Welcome Wench. We had an unusual guide in Basil, who betrayed a greater intelligence than is common in animals, and indeed even than that of some rangers I know. The bear unhurriedly led us back to Hommlet, and as we reached the outskirts of the village, we were left dumbfounded with what we discovered there. A huge, thick hedge had suddenly sprung up and seemed to skirt around the town as far as we could see from our position. There was little doubt in our minds that this was the handiwork of Ashstaff, but the immensity and scale left us quite baffled. How we could gain entry to the town with this barrier blocking the way would have remained a conundrum, if it wasn’t for Basil the bear who simply walked through it. An illusion had been put in place, covering a small gap in the otherwise very real hedge. Mutely the bear seemed to beckon us to follow, and so we complied. During this time we had been observed by a bird or other winged creature from on high, and we feared the enemy might have been tracking our movements; later it would be revealed to be another of lord Burne’s minions, however.

More bracing changes greeted us in the village proper. Work on the tower and its fortifications seemed to have progressed at a quick pace, with a moat having been dug - still dry at that time - and work on the gatehouse to the keep finished. The ballista we salvaged would make an excellent addition to these defences already in place, as I’m sure sir Rufus would soon concur. We stopped by the keep, to inform the lords of our return, and were told a meeting was taking place at the inn, and we could find them there. So for all intents and purposes, the Welcome Wench would be our last stop of this long day. On the way there, we noticed how most of the houses had been boarded up or reinforced in other ways; it seemed the reality of their dire situation had become clear to the inhabitants of Hommlet. Equally the yard of the smithy of Smythe, the blacksmith - if ever a man was fittingly named for his profession - was devoid of the usual jumble of tools and furnishings. Learned also that the man was the disciple of Jaroo Ashstaff, which struck me as odd; could not say why however.

The Inn of the Welcome Wench was abustle. Apart from the usual prominent town members who were part of the council, we spotted a group of gnomes from the Kron Hills. Weebrian, skilled in their tongue as he studied under a gnomish illusionist, entered into a conversation with them and learned their shipments of stone to the village had resumed. Among the crowd in the inn we saw sir Rufus, lord Burne and the viscount’s representative, sir Otis. A strong and amiable man, the ranger Otis turned out to be none other than Elmo’s brother, but higher up in the ranks. It quickly became clear to me which of the siblings was the sharper tool in the shed. Sir Otis had just very recently returned from a mission in the Gnarley and reconnaissance in Nulb, and his accounts seemed to confirm that Lareth and her minions had retreated to this mean place.

We discussed our findings with the three of them, and will the news of our victory at the moathouse was well received, there was also concern and caution for the future. As a special point of interest we showed them the promissory note we found among Lareth’s possessions, signed by the local merchants Davi & Hox, self-styled “messieurs”. Was slightly surprised by their reaction, as they seemed rather tolerant about these men selling arms to the forces of evil. Lord Burne has final say in these matters of course, but we advised that the pair of them be kept an eye on, to make sure their future dealings are beyond reproach.

As the immediate threat to the village had passed, we could take some time to rest and prepare for what was to come. Over the course of the next few weeks Weebrian, Chryseis and Wilstan returned to Verbobonc, to their respective orders, for which purpose they used a magical mirror of lord Burne to teleport them there instantly. Philius Tilm left in the night, leaving only his thanks and a goodbye note. Equally our friend Spugnoir said his farewells, as he planned to return to Greyhawk. It seemed he was embroiled in some sort of criminal case there, being accused of stealing and selling items from his college. This was new to me; if I had known of his problems I would have had to refuse his presence in our company. Our mission is too important for someone with an unsavory reputation to cast the shadow of suspicion on us. Used the available time to follow a rigorous training regimen, together with Madrak and sir Otis, and practiced the lance quite a bit. Used most of the money we had gained from the various hoards in the moathouse to order a new suit of plate armor from Smythe the blacksmith. Also went to check on the progress Rannos Davi had made in identifying the weapon Seer Foe, the flail I had wrested from the dead hands of Blaag Blackhand. Making my inquiries at the Trading Post, it quickly became clear something peculiar was going on. The item had been lost, as well as others, during transport to Verbobonc, so said monsieur Davi. Demanding fair recompense, his brutish associate Gremag Hox nearly accosted me. Had half a mind to show him to mind his betters, but that would have turned the situation in their favor with the authorities. Undoubtedly we will be seeing the flail in the hands of other evil-doers soon, and monsieur Hox will learn a lesson he won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

When peasants attack!

An angry mob is standing outside the abandoned mill, which you repurposed for your ungodly experiments! They're waving torches around and some of them are brandishing a...(1d20):

 Two handed, 1d3 damage
1) Stick, pointy, wooden
2) Hoe
3) Rake, wooden
One handed, 1d3 damage
4) Knife
5) Sickle
6) Badging Hook
7) Billhook
8) Threshing Flail
9) Baling Hook
Two handed, 1d4 damage
10) Spade
11) Shovel
12) Pitchfork, wooden
13) Spading Fork, wooden
14) Hay Fork, wooden
One handed, 1d4 damage
15) Mallet, wooden
Two handed, 1d6 damage
16) Scythe
17) Mattock
One handed, 1d6 damage
18) Hatchet
Two handed, 1d8 damage
19) Splitting Maul
20) Broadaxe

Friday, 17 August 2012

Mazes & Minotaurs

So with the Star Trek campaign on summer hiatus as the players tour the world and Q starts pondering on the next season, my gamer-ADD addled mind started turning to running a campaign set in ancient, mythological Greece, about 1300 BC. A great setting for a RP me thinks, and perhaps a refreshing change from all those pseudo-medieval universes. My earliest efforts are usually directed at making maps, because, well, what's more fun than making maps?

Friday, 10 August 2012

[AD&D] The village of Hommlet session 9 summary

From the notes of Alric Brethencourt of Veluna

Waterday turning Earthday, 20th day of the Readying, the hills north of the ruined moathouse

Heironeous be praised! His divine benevolence lend strength to the arms of my comrades, and evil stood powerless before their wrath, terrible to behold! My only regret, not having been able to do my fair share of the smiting…

We awoke in a small room, deep in the lair of Lareth and her vile servant Silas Rac, the pale-skinned, silver-haired lieutenant of the Temple’s Keep. In the room were three private altars devoted to the dread deities they worshipped. Noted among them one which could only be attributed to Lolth. Bound and in some instances gagged, the situation looked hopeless for Chryseis, Ellaria, Wilstan and myself. But fortune smiled upon us, in the guise of one of our bravest companions. The gnome Philius Tilm, barely recovered from his ordeal with Lubash the executioner, and now ex-ogre, had followed us as we were being dragged deeper into the bowels of the moathouse ruins. Later learned he managed this using a magic ring which turned him invisible. Philius started to free us, but at that moment a gnollish guard entered the room to keep a watch over us. This complicated matters, but the sneaky and dexterous Philius managed nonetheless. Contemplated jumping the guard at this point, so we could make our way back, to our companions and freedom, but this plan was cut short. At that moment Lareth and Silas, together with a few guards, entered the room, making all too clear their nefarious intentions toward us. As a guard came to drag me away and subsequently discovered my bounds were undone, our hastily conceived plans turned sour, and our hope wavered. Tried to knock down the guards, but being unarmed I stood no chance. With a mighty blow of his two-handed sword Silas knocked me to the ground. Before I once again passed out, I heard Wilstan surrendering, and saw Chryseis likewise being subdued. For a moment it looked like Ellaria managed to break free, and Philius had once again disappeared. Then darkness reigned.

Awoke later, minutes or hours, it was impossible to tell. Wilstan and Chryseis had managed to undo their bonds again, and proceeded to do the same for Ellaria and myself. Of Philius no sign. Luckily the gnomish whispering stone had not been taken from me, and I used it to contact Weebrian. Relieved to find out all our companions were still alive, and on their way to our location. Excepting us, the room was empty now, so we decided now was the moment to attempt another breakout. One way leading further into the basements of the moathouse and to Lareth, the other towards the outside and our companions, we chose the latter. We armed ourselves with what was available at an adjacent armory, and then, divines be praised, we came upon our battle-worn companions, who by the looks of them had just fought the skirmish of their lives. Learned that Silas had been defeated, but mysteriously - magically - disappeared in total darkness shortly afterwards. No doubt the evil hand of Lareth was behind this. Though we were all weary, hurt and balking at the idea of getting ourselves entangled into another fight, we could not yet leave. The Song Spear was unaccounted for, and without my most precious heirloom, I would not have left the place, no matter if it killed me. So we pressed on, through a door trapped with magical runes to bar our way, and discovered two rooms, a bedroom, probably belonging to Silas, and another, more opulent room, with luxurious trappings and lecherous, depraved mosaics covering the walls. In a brazier some papers had been hastily burned, though on searching the rooms we managed to extract a few intact documents, including a letter from Lareth to the Lord Patriarch of the Temple, and an account of the battle of Emridy Meadows by Mellium, the sage of Verbobonc. The intended recipient remained unknown, but the wax seal on the scroll had been broken. We grabbed a few valuable possessions as well, but we did not linger long in this godforsaken place. Using an ingeniously locked posterior gate, we could quickly depart the moathouse, and found ourselves near the woods, quite a distance away from the ruins themselves. We made camp there for the night, deciding to return to the moathouse the next morning, to retrieve our gear left behind and then make for Hommlet with the wagon of salvaged gear and the ballista for the town militia.

We did just that. Some argument broke out over whether to take the wagon and risk the old road north, or to leave it behind and cut west through the swamp. A vote decided in favor of the former. Kazireh went to retrieve her belongings down in the cellars, and had some trouble of persuading Chryseis to leave again without removing the infestation of ghouls then and there. Promised to Chryseis we would return at a later time to clear this place of any remaining horrors.

So we started for Hommlet by way of the road north, in the direction of Nulb, to then take a left turn and return south and west by means of the unused road. Fair enough weather and steady progress marked the first leg of the journey, until we, perhaps not surprisingly, ran into an ambush. A whole clan of diminutive, goblinoid creatures, wearing the black cloaks emblazoned with the burning eye of the Temple, started raining down arrows from the trees on both sides of the road, while their leaders, a shaman and a giant ratman, both mounted on riding rats, stood by to watch their minions at work. While my companions deftly dealt with their cronies, I attempted to charge the shaman, but a mortal fear seemed to have gripped my otherwise stalwart steed Harros; a similar dweomer seemed to have gripped Chryseis. Dismounted and attempted to fight the creatures on foot, but again a dread feeling came over me, making me unable to harm them, despite my reason. But the Song Spear is not so easily defeated…

Monday, 25 June 2012

[AD&D] The village of Hommlet session 8 summary

From the notes of Alric Brethencourt of Veluna

Godsday turning Waterday, 19th day of the Readying, inside the ruined moathouse east of Hommlet


Our last night in this evil place. All the preparations have been met; all that remains is one more night. The source of corruption that permeates this place remains unknown, but it will have to wait. Our charges, the Ross brothers, cannot hope to live another day without proper medical aid, and our company too is tired and in need of rest in safe and hospitable surroundings. We made one last round, down in the cellars of the moathouse, as we feared the evil influence might awaken the dead from their eternal slumber. My companions deemed it prudent to decapitate the ogre Lubash, and Weebrian suggested the idea of impaling the head on a spike and displaying it as a warning sign in the courtyard. Let us hope it will be to some avail. We investigated the cells but found them strangely clean and empty, and no sign was found of a hidden passageway which could explain the secretive perambulations of the Blackhand leader Hal.

We took turns keeping the last watch. Not long after midnight strange cries were heard coming from down below, confirming that our enemies still dwelled there unmolested. One more night, and we can depart.

Dawn came, and with it two familiar faces. The elf woman Ellaria returned from Hommlet, accompanied by none other than the ranger Elmo. Ellaria had relayed our findings to lord Burne and sir Rufus during a town meeting, and had hastened back afterwards. Elmo was his usual thick self, but made himself useful by taking the fate of the Ross brothers out of our hands. I fear for their safety in the hands of that oaf, but they need to be returned to Hommlet forthwith, and my companions have made it clear that they wish to investigate the source of the sounds in the cellar, before we set off. With a heavy heart and a sense of foreboding I put on my armor, and make ready to descend one final time.

We found the cellar devoid of bodies. The mystery of their disappearance was soon solved, however. Our intrepid companion Chryseis led us back to the ogre’s room, where she discovered, in the nick of time, a tripwire in the doorway, leading to the larder. The halfling rascal Basil immediately set to work in neutralizing the trap, but the chosen method of doing so - namely pulling the wire - proved more hazardous than at first surmised. The sound of shattering glass could be heard, and a billowing cloud of gas started filling the room. Most of us withdrew at once, but Chryseis and Kazireh succumbed to the expanding cloud. Bravely - and foolishly - Madrak charged in to haul them out, but his attempt proved no more successful. Once we had reached a safe distance, we heard a scraping sound coming from the ogre’s chamber, and I suspected our companions were in peril. I charged in and withstood the ill effects of the gas long enough to discover the source of it in the larder, attempted to douse the flame and look for my companions. Only discovered two of them, before the gas became too overpowering and all I could do was to leave the room before I too collapsed.

Awoke later in the courtyard. Philius Tilm had apparently managed to drag out Kazireh and Madrak on his own - quite the feat for one of such a diminutive stature - but Chryseis had vanished without a trace. Without wasting more time we returned below once again to find our missing comrade. By now the smoke had all but dissipated, and thanks to the keen eye of Ellaria we soon found a secret passageway leading from the ogre’s room. It proved to be the very same passage Hal had used to escape the strong room above, but it also led even further down through yet another secret door. We descended a flight of stairs, evading an obvious trap, as Kazireh followed a trail of yellowish gas residue, to find ourselves in a set of narrow tunnels leading off in two separate directions. It was not long before we were beset from either side by a band of bugbears, but they proved no match for our prowess and the keen edge of the song spear. Soon after we heard the sound of approaching dogmen; they too will fall before us.

[Here the notes end abruptly; in a different handwriting the following is scrawled in the margins of the page]

 A trap! Chryseis taken hostage by foul beasts, and Ellaria, Alric and Wilstan suffered the same fate!

[In a third handwriting, slightly different from the first, the notes continue]

And at that moment, I prayed. Heironeous, hear me now in my time of need. Bestow upon me, your faithful servant, your blessing, infuse me with your living spirit, make me an avatar of your divine will on this mortal coil. Take this sinful flesh and make it strong, so that I may wreak righteous vengeance upon these evildoers. Grant me the power to protect the innocent and the weak, and to punish the guilty and the oppressors. May my bonds become undone and the glorious light of justice illuminate these dark halls and blind the impure. May my spear strike true, may it become a lightning bolt descended from the wrathful heavens, to pierce the black hearts of my captors. May their resolve falter and their numbers scatter like so many leaves before the wind. May law triumph over chaos this day, may justice be brought to those who have none, may the reign of these wicked men end and their wretched corpses be cast down into the bottomless abyss. Hear me now, Heironeous, your faithful servant, in my time of despair.

Friday, 1 June 2012

[AD&D] The Village of Hommlet session 7 summary

From the notes of Alric Brethencourt of Veluna

Godsday, 18th day of the Readying, inside the ruined moathouse

Tired to the bone, after an eventful night of keeping watch. First the walking dead poured forth from the bowels of the moathouse, then the Blackhand leader Hal tried to make his escape, fortunately being ridden down by Madrak before he could get too far. As dawn was nearly upon us, the others woke to the piercing screams of March, our captive. When we checked up on him, we discovered, much to our shock, that the black mark of Lareth had formed on his forehead during the night. The man was rambling uncontrollably. Ventured to say that now might be an opportune moment for returning to the village of Hommlet, but my companions deemed it preferable that we'd investigate the cellars of the moathouse first, to ascertain if more undead might be lying in wait. Had a bad feeling about this decision. Fortunately the elf woman Ellaria saw reason, and she agreed to return on her own through the marsh to report our findings to sir Rufus and lord Burne. While we breakfasted and said our prayers on the holy day, Madrak and Wilstan went to scout the level below. Without a doubt Wilstan is a most curious cleric, am sure there is more to him than meets the eye. Looked for some seclusion to give thanks to Heironeous, and humbly beg for his continued blessing. Around this time none other than the ranger Elmo appeared, with the halfling Basil in tow. My nerves were spared further aggravation as Elmo quickly disappeared again, but his sly cohort stayed behind.

Madrak and Wilstan returned shortly, shouting at the top of their lungs. Seemed that before very long they had encountered green slimes, lurking on the ceiling of the cellar. Grabbed the Song Spear; more killing would have to be done 'ere we would be able to depart this evil place. Descended the narrow staircase, together with Madrak, our other companions in close pursuit, and found ourselves in a small, dark room with only a torch to light our path. Madrak came upon the aforementioned slime and then things took a turn for the worse. Trying to stab the slime, I must have overreached and lost my balance, as before I knew it I tumbled down the stairs, tearing the strap of my shield, rendering it useless. Madrak for his part tried to chop the creature in two with his axe, but miscalculated and the slippery ooze fell upon him and rapidly started to envelop him. Our companions then proceeded to try and wipe the slime off him, believe there were even shouts of setting fire to the creature and dousing it with oil, but its spread went unchecked. As Madrak was in danger of suffocating, it became necessary then to use the power of the Song Spear to lull the slime into a magical trance, which bought the others sufficient time to wipe the slime off of our unfortunate companion; his leather and metal armour, but for his enchanted shield, meanwhile having dissolved completely. Another slime crept by quite near, and was quickly dispatched of.

Two heavily reinforced doors barred our way into the armory, but thanks to the brute force of Madrak and the lockpicking talents of Basil both doors soon ceased to be impediments. Inside we found dozens of sturdy weapons, suits of armours, shields and other implements of war. Quickly the plan formed to haul as much of it as we could carry back to Hommlet, to supply the town's militia. The inquisitiveness of Wilstan caused a temporary interruption, as suddenly a horrendous wail alerted us to the presence of more of the living dead. A fierce skirmish ensued, but the vile claws of the wights proved no match for the keen edge of our arms, and the holy wrath of Wilstan caused the creatures to flee in terror. Relentlessly Chryseis and I drove them out before us, following them into a grisly torture chamber, the results of the Blackhand's handiwork in plentiful evidence. There we finished off the haggard remainder of the group of ghouls and finally had a moment to catch our breaths. Set to repairing my shield while my companions scoured the armory, but the reprieve was short-lived indeed.

As the old proverb goes: curiosity killed the cleric, and Wilstan had got himself into trouble again. Following a door out of the main hallway, which was lined with small cells, our indomitable companion found himself facing a foe much larger than himself, an ogre by the name of Lubash, dressed in a bloody leather apron and an executioner's hood. The ogre wielded a shortened bardiche in one hand, as if it were a cleaver. Madrak had followed Wilstan into the small corridor, but before their cries could reach us the ogre had already dealt a devastating blow to the cleric, who slumped bleeding to the floor. Tuffnell and Weebrian unleashed their mysterious magic on the ogre, resulting in the creature lighting up with an unnatural glow. Madrak had kept Lubash at bay, allowing me to get a clean blow in with the Song Spear, gravely injuring the ogre. Subsequently the ogre dropped his weapon and made clear he wanted to parley, but at that Madrak shouted "No mercy!" and killed the ogre with a final blow of his axe.

Though the ogre was clearly an evil creature and lackey of Lareth, this breach of the sanctity of parley could not be tolerated. Hit Madrak in the face, addressing him in the only way the brute would understand. Guess I should have expected such behaviour from him, the Orcish taint in him is far greater than mine after all. He then made the unwise decision to insult my mother, blessed be her troubled soul. Next time I'll do more than just cuff him. The healing clay quickly restored Wilstan to his former self.

In the ogre's room we made a macabre discovery: a private 'larder', in which we found two humans and a gnome hanging from meathooks. Fortunately all three of them were still alive, the gnome being only lightly beaten, unlike the humans which had been maimed. The gnome, named Philius Tilm, from the Kron Hills, apparently had attempted to investigate all by himself the disappearance of his people and the involvement of the hill giant. The two farmers, the Ross brothers, on the other hand remained unconscious and due to the severity of their injuries could not be moved before they had had sufficient rest. Thus we formed the plan to load the cart and the horses with as much of the gear as could be transported - including the dismantled ballista, though it took me great pains to convince some of my companions of the value of the siege weapon for the defense of Hommlet.

Returning to the courtyard we ran into another, unexpected setback. Spugnoir, whose only responsibility had been guarding our captive March, suddenly discovered that the latter had died in the throes of agony, any unrevealed information dying with him. As some suspected the evil presence in the moathouse might be the source of the living dead, we deemed it prudent to burn March's corpse. Afterwards we set to work, dismantling the ballista and packing the horses, preparing to set out the next morning.

Late in the evening Kazireh and Basil went to investigate some strange sounds coming from the crumbling attic, where they ran afoul of a swarm of rats, including a few specimens as large as a cat or small dog. As the rodents proved quite mettlesome, the druid Tuffnell and Spugnoir had to call upon their powers to disperse and soothe the creatures. Slashing the throats of sleeping rats has perhaps been the happiest we've seen Spugnoir so far.

Friday, 18 May 2012

[AD&D] The Village of Hommlet session 6 summary

Note: only a partial summary this time as I had to leave before the session came to its (no doubt) thrilling conclusion!

From the notes of Alric Brethencourt of Veluna

Moonday turning Godsday, 18th day of the Readying, inside the strongroom of the ruined moathouse

To stay or to depart. Our fellowship cannot make up its mind. Despite the exhortations of our prisoner March to seek safety, I find it unwise to give up the advantage we have gained here today. Leaving these formidable defenses in the hands of the enemy once again would prove foolhardy, no doubt. Next time we might not be so fortunate as to take the ruins without the loss of life on our side. No, we must make camp here for the night; I fear not the wrath of Lareth. But before we make ourselves too comfortable, we must make sure the remainder of the moathouse is cleared of any potential threats. Who knows where the Blackhand agents might be waiting, hidden, hoping for an opportune moment to catch us unaware.

While Ellaria, Weebrian and Spugnoir searched the room where Hal escaped by means of a secret exit, and Madrak, Wilstan and Chryseis guarded the stairs leading deeper down, as from the bowels of the moathouse mysterious noises had been heard, Kazireh and I investigated the rooms on the other end of the landing. The floors here were caked with dirt and some doors were almost inaccessible, due to the large amounts of rubble from the crumbling ceiling which had accumulated over the years. We discovered a room repurposed for skinning game; though none of the pelts lying about were of such fine quality as those we found in the giant's possession. Behind a second door a small bedroom was revealed, which showed signs of faded splendour, as well as those of a more recent habitation. A large set of double doors, locked, barred the entrance to a larger room, but before attempting to break them down, we deemed it wise to be thorough and to explore the last room left unchecked. Here we found a small kitchen, rife with the stench of mildew; but there was some other odour as well, and I had the feeling something here was definitely amiss. Went in to check the cupboards for their contents, and at this point came under attack by a creature, which later I learned was some sort of giant tick. It nimbly jumped from the top of the pantry onto my back, and sunk its mouthparts deep into my neck. Luckily my companions reacted quickly, but alas, not very competently. The druid Tuffnell had joined the fray by then, and together with Kazireh they tried to burn the tick off, but as their attempts failed, I threw myself to the ground, hoping to crush the creature beneath me, but again to no avail. The last thing I remember a burning torch was shoved straight into my neck, slipping between breastplate and gorget, and I blacked out from the excruciating pain. My companions told me later that Tuffnell quickly healed the wounds using his magical clay, but I remember very little of what transpired next that night...

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

[Carcosa] Party in the Transparent Wastes session summary

Call me Stan. Some call me Sly, others call me the Caveman. Call me whatever you like, it really don't matter to Stan the Man, friends. Now, seeing as I've got hold of your attention, let me tell you about a great bender I had a few weeks ago, a really splendid couple of days that were. It started off in some little pissant village in the middle of nowhere, as I strode confidently into the local watering hole. I remember buying the locals quite a few rounds, and admittedly after that things get kind of blurry, and next thing I remember it's three days later, and I wake up in the desert, on the edge of the transparent wastes, wearing nothing but a panther cub pelt (now if you don't know Stan the Man I should point out at this point I'm only 1 foot tall, but big in all the right places boys and girls). The only other item in my possession seemed to be some sort of stick, which I decided to keep with me, as you never know when you'll have to do a bit of clubbing, which in my case, is pretty much all the time. I'd call it a vocational hazard, but really "professional fun" does it more justice. Anyhow, Lizzy had followed me in my drunken stupour, as the good girl always does; Lizzy being my trusty riding lizard, mind you. As I had nothing better to do after I had grown bored of watching the weird swirly things underneath the transparent ground for a few hours, I decided to mount her and take her for a ride. After that little bit of fun was over, I saddled her up and rode off into the sunset, or sunrise, or maybe it was noon. Anyway, off we were in the general direction of the sun, the point where it was hanging in the sky at that precise moment in time is of little consequence to the rest of the story, really, of no consequence at all, just imagine that sun hanging wherever you think it would be the most poetically appropriate for the start of this tale.

It didn't take long before I spotted a queer threesome off in the distance, wandering the wastes just like yours truly. Now it ain't easy seeing very far when you're a foot tall, but keep in mind that everything for miles around was transparent, and that one of the three travellers turned out to be about 20 feet tall, I kid you not. In case you haven't heard, Stan the Man has a few tricks up his sleeve, one of them being I can turn light away from any place I want, which can be used to turn things dark or invisible to the naked eye. I used this little trick to ride up to the strange company and check them out, as is my wont, before I decide to rob them or join them if they seem like a fun crew. Well they were a strange lot I tell you. One of them was an ugly old orange bird, must have been at least 70, though she acted sprightly enough, in a flashy pink jumpsuit with some nice bling around her neck. The tall feller I mentioned before was a lumbering red giant, carrying a giant skull around. I immediately noticed it were a feller, as one could judge from the massive bulging going on in his thong, being the only thing he wore. Really, his nutsack alone was so big I could've hollowed it out and made a nice little vacation home out of it. If you wonder why I spend so much time discussing his balls, it will become hilariously relevant later in the story, so bear with me. The third one, whose name I can't recall now, was an average human looking type, which I learned was the giant's catamite. As I observed them for a while I got the distinct impression they were a decent bunch for the Man to hang out with, they weren't into none of that racially fueled murder and mayhem that's so rampant these days, but just good honest killing to rob a man of his stuff, and sometimes for a bit of fun instead, nothing more, nothing less. That's the way it should be if you ask Stan the Man, and really, you should always ask Stan the Man about everything, friends.

So this wrinkled old tart's name was Fanta, and the red giant was called Latifo, soon-to-be Latifa. They told me they were going to some kind of swamp in the middle of the wastes, for a variety of reasons: namely Latifo wanted to wrestle a dinosaur to the ground and break it in as a mount, and Fanta said there was some kind of space alien bunker thereabouts, to which she had the key. They said it was going to be a really great party, and well, really great parties are a bit of a weakness of Stan. So I decided to tag along and hoped for the best, seeing as there was nothing else to do anyway.

So we walked for a few hours, Latifo being so big and fast I rode on his shoulders for the most part - I should mention here as well he had some weird tentacle thing going on, not something Stan's into all that much but it can be fun if the atmosphere's right, and that old bird was looking more appetizing by the minute - and eventually we saw some kind of river in the distance. Also some dinosaurs were roaring, which is never a good sign, especially as they have some kind of weird fascination with Stan the Man, even more than the boys and girls do. I mention this here as it will once again become relevant later on in this story, and up until now the story's been a bit of a drag I admit, but we're getting to the juicy parts real soon, I promise. So we walk to this river and hereabouts things are starting to become non-transparent again, that is, rather opaque, and not at all see-through. As we came closer we eventually noticed three pillars, with a person tied to each of them: one being a rather bloodied looking purple man - someone really went to town on that one - , a horrid bone woman with green splotches on her skin, and a rather attractive white skinned girl tied to the middle one. She seemed to be in the best condition, so I mosied on over to her on Lizzy, all the while using my invisibility trick, and started chatting her up. Now before it could go anywhere and Stan could put the moves on her, I suddenly hear the sound of some sort of big dinosaur in heat, making a lot of noise and definitely heading this way. Now me being a foot tall and this an-kee-lo-saur beasty undoubtedly taking dumps bigger than yours truly, I split the scene as fast as I could, and after some acrobatics ended up in the river together with Lizzy. The dinosaur did not seem to enjoy that and took out its frustrations on that purple guy I told you about, and he sort of just exploded in gory chunks after getting hit by that big-ass tail the dinosaur had. Then things get a bit confused as I was swimming for my dear life, but this is sort of what went down next: Latifo cautiously approached the an-kee-lo-saur and started some sort of primal bonding/wrestling ritual to subdue the creature, while Fanta went to check on those other prisoners and ran into unexpected company. Some strange looking bird with a gold belly-chain suddenly ran out from behind a wall and started unchaining that nice looking white chick, and Fanta being a bit of a lesbo clearly did not want to share. So she started using this fancy looking chicken roaster she has, which she called tek-no-lo-jay, and gave the other bird an unnatural crisp tan. Then suddenly about four naked fellers joined the roast, as well as some other guys with swords and a nasty looking dude with some sort of sound system hooked up to his face, giving him quite the booming voice I assure you, the kind of internal-organ-rupture boom.

While the giant wrestled the dinosaur and not doing a very excellent job at that, Fanta used her chicken roaster on all these lads who suddenly appeared, determined not to let anyone take our chick before we had our bit of fun. Now the party started to get a bit rough and people were getting crisped left and right, but that rave master guy I told you about started using his boombox on people and the wrinkled old hag suddenly bit the dust, I imagine after some serious internal bleeding or some such. In the meantime I had snuck up on that other woman, making a perfect jump off of Lizzy to clobber her right in the head, but still she persevered. When another dude joined our little private party things got too hot for Stan the Man, despite him being into the boys as much as the girls mind you, but three's a crowd and they didn't look like a chill group to get one's rocks off with. So I flipped invisible for a bit, and noticed Fanta had let her tek-no-lo-jay fall to the ground as the naked guys started dragging her off for a bit of fun, so I went over there and decided to turn the tables on those sports. I crisped that gal I told you about and some of her friends, which enraged sir boombox to no end, and the profanities he shouted proved to be the end of the remainder of his gang. He persevered as well however, and dragged Fanta off around the bend, and if there's one thing the Man don't tolerate it's people stealing his birds. So I rode after them and blasted that freak, stole his fancy stuff and felt pretty good about the whole thing. Fanta however was not feeling so good about the whole thing, what with the internal bleeding and all, so the Man had to work his magic to get her up and running again, that is to say, to practice some sexual healing. Now as it turned out she was as wrinkled and dried up down there as she was in the facial region, making for a not every appetizing sight I assure you, so I thought it was the best thing to do to turn her over and give her the old in-out-in-out through the backdoor so to say. Now despite her claiming to be a lezzer Stan the Man has never seen anyone as invigorated after a bit of rumpypumpy, so by the time the Man had finished the old bird was up and about again as if she were fifty years younger. By that time Latifo had recovered from being trumped by that an-kee-lo-saur, and he walked in on us like nobody's business. Now I'm glad he didn't join in, truth be told, what with his gigantic manhood and all. Anyway together we nicked some more stuff of those dead guys, dumped the bodies in the river and explored the rest of those ruins a bit more. There was a nice cosy little nook where some jale men had been staying, one of them being crushed during the dinosaur-Latifo wrestling match, as I was told later when that red giant decided to roast the guy's corpse, which we all agreed was incredibly foul and disgusting, but he was about to get his come-uppance real soon, you'll see. Anyhow, while Fanta and I got wasted on some wine we found and enjoyed a bit of roast turkey, Latifo went off to fell a tree to use as firewood for his horrid feeding habits. Now I must admit I did not see it happen in person unfortunately, but I can relate to you the hilarious tale of what happened next. Because as we all know trees are mean bastards and should not be screwed with under any circumstance, a well known fact which Latifo-soon-to-be-Latifa ignored, he went up to it and tried to uproot that tree I mentioned a sentence ago. Now this tree being the mean bastard it was, took not kindly to that at all, but suddenly snuck a root into Latifo's tigerprint thong and before you could say "themosthilariousthingtohappenatapartyever", it yanked off Latifo's balls. Now you can imagine how hilarious that must have been, but really, you had to be there to really savour the full extent of hilarity that the situation entailed. Anyway after that Latifa chopped down the tree and stored her nutsack in that skull she kept carrying around, the skull incidentally having belonged to her brother, and I think it's in poor taste to stuff your balls down your brother's mouth, even if it is the stuff good pranks are made of. So Fanta and I partied through the night, while Latifa kept whining and complaining about the bloody gash between her legs, like a woman at that bad time of the month. At a certain point Fanta started smelling real good, and I think the Man converted her because before I knew what was what we were at it again. After that I suddenly developed a strong attachment to my right hand, but for the life of me I couldn't tell you why.

So the next morning we rob the place a bit more, discovering a chest filled with gold, silver, firesticks and some sort of alien poppers and mind-expanding potions among other things. Now there was also a set of stairs leading down, and yes my friends, it proved indeed as promising as it sounds. So this curious bling that Fanta wore around her neck started playing some real classy music as she slid it in the lock of the heavy steel door at the bottom of the stairs, and voila, we were in. We walked through the long, dark corridor, being greeted by a deep, rumbling bass, and eventually emerged in a large dome, filled with some very odd looking space aliens which were dancing around a pulsating pillar in the center of the room. So what was a fun crew like us to do? Well I slipped out of my panther skin and announced the coming of the Man to those funky aliens. Naturally they were all pretty pleased and excited, and us being the good bunch we are, we passed around those poppers and potions and partied for days on end with those excellent spacemen. To be honest I don't really recall much of what happened during that time, but I can assure you there was plenty of probing to mutual satisfaction. So there you have it, the story of how the Man met his crew and they all got a bit of good killy-looty-humpy-party fun. Next time you're in town and looking for some fun, just ask for yours truly, Stan the Man.