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The Dragon of Life

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[Nov. 21st, 2011|09:38 pm]
The Dragon of Life
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Last time, the heroes had smacked down two elementals and three dwarven crossbowmen. They now stand on the lowest terrace of the mountain, looking upwards at the farmland. The DM bids them place their minis, noting that their battle was not quiet.

DM: As behind you your comrades haul the poor battlemage up, you keep a close eye and ear out for any sign that your battle has attracted unwanted attention. You see nothing, though. Despite the chaos that these bridges underwent and the fact that they still have no flipping support, they still seem to be holding quite sturdily. In fact, perhaps more sturdily than ordinary stone should.

The group elects to be assholes to the transcriber. Alandris bemoans his fate against saving throws. As they move forward, the group spies two circles of turned earth and arcane markings which they move forward to investigate. Tyrgol elects not to fool with the symbols, contrasting his behavior with low-Wisdom Hendlar.

DM: These are almost certainly evidence of the summoning rituals which were used to conjure and bind the earth elementals. Traditionally in a ritual such as the one you’re seeing here, substantial wealth in minerals or gold will be buried into the ground, and a rune carved around them, the proper ceremonies performed.
Tyrgol: “There’s money underneath here.”
Damien: What happens to the money after they perform the ritual?
Alandris: Money?
Tyrgol: Gems. They were probably consumed.
Niobhe: They were a tribute.
DM: If the earth elemental is slain or dismissed, it is usually not effective. The elemental will usually take it back to the plain of earth when its time runs out.
Tyrgol: (immediately miming digging)
Alandris: But since they were slain AND dismissed…
DM: You don’t have a shovel.
Tyrgol: There’s money there. I will FIND something
DM: You scrabble through the earth, desperate for the sight of treasure and gold!
Tyrgol: I’m not that desperate!
DM: That’s how you’ve been coming off!
Tyrgol: It was all out of character.
DM: You find a total of 3500 gold…
Tyrgol: Good god!
DM: 3000 silver…
Alandris: Haaaa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Sorry. It’s out of my system.
DM: Seven different gems.
Alandris: Chaos Emeralds.
Tyrgol: That’s outrageous.
DM: Also, wrapped up down there, are several items which you can only assume have some potency to them.

Their haul is in fact a wand of beech, a mithril chain shirt, a scroll, a masterwork chain shirt, and boots. Tyrgol proposes they abandon their mission to go back to town for identification. The group then begins investigating their surroundings, finding that any food that might have been here for storage has been carried off.

Damien: I know I’m not a tracker, but I’m pretty sure I can see, like, large wheels. Have there been any large carts running from here, as if they took supplies on a large vehicle?
DM: Yes, absolutely.
Damien: Okay. I guess I can’t tell where the tracks were because there are probably locks of tracks.
DM: The vast majority of tracks right now are heading for that ramp.
Damien: “The voice in the sky is telling us to go to the ramp.”

Somehow it turns into discussion of the D&D cartoon. The DM calls for a Spot check.

Alandris: You really need to attract a cohort like Dirk that we can just send out. Or we need a thrallherd. I’ll take a level in thrallherd next level so I can be master of magne— er, minions.
Tyrgol: 21.
DM: Those flying shapes that you’ve noticed off in the distance seem to be circling.

The group heads to the ramp, expecting bombardment by boulders, but are not! They spy several low-to-the-ground barracks where the caretakers of the fields generally lived.

DM: Up at the top here, hanging from a pair of sticks, you see what appear to be scarecrows.
Tyrgol: Ha ha yeah right.
Damien: He puts those down. “Scarecrows!” Mummies. Rats?
DM: No, no, these actually look like scarecrows, for all intents and purposes looking at them, that is what you think. Straw puffing out, hanging up there on sticks, hats low…
Alandris: Here’s the quandary that’s before us. Do I try destroying one, or maybe that;s the only thing keeping the…
Damien: Are these man-sized crows?
DM: Scarecrows. Not crows.
Alandris: Keeping the birds up above us away, or are they in fact sentries? Let’s see, what should I cast… or should I in fact cast anything? It’s up to you guys. I can blast one from here… while he cackles with glee. “You guys are attacking scarecrows, that’s how paranoid I’ve made you!”
DM: They’re Schroedinger’s scarecrows, they’re only enemies if you don’t attack them.
Tyrgol: I roll a 28 to throw a rock at one.
Damien: “Me no like little man rock!”
Alandris: I could throw a magic missile or five. How about hail of stones, since a rock didn’t get their attention.
Tyrgol: Don’t waste any spells until we…
Damien: Don’t burn away decent spells.
Alandris: It’s NOT a decent spell, it’s first level.
Tyrgol: No no, might come in handy later.
Alandris: I could do ray of frost, it’s a 0th level spell, it’s meant to be wasted.
Damien: Do you have a light fire spell? Set them on fire.
Alandris: Set them on fire, sure!
Damien: You find out later there’s a couple kids hiding inside.
DM: “The monsters’ll never find us in here!”
Alandris: They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Alandris finally settles on Gust of Wind, blasting the clothing and straw off of it to reveal a body composed of stitched-together flesh. Rolling Knowledge(arcane), they identify it as a flesh golem, as well as picking up its weaknesses and strengths. The group eyes these golems with paranoia, convinced they will attack as soon as the PCs are in range.

Tyrgol: So… these fields, go further down here…. Why don’t we climb up the fucking wall past them and keep going?
Damien: (bursts into laughter)
Alandris: Because he wants us to fight them. That means it will happen.
Damien: No! You don’t have to do anything he says! We’ll climb up there, they’ll be another… twelve! Pity there wasn’t another 30! You’ve hit the flesh golem warehouse where they store and manufacture them!

Tyrgol checks his magic items, discovers a ring of adamantite touch</i>, and congratulates himself. The others ponder what tactics would serve them best against golems, since they have so many immunities.</i>

Damien: Just use your crossbow.
Tyrgol: And try to roll above a 5.
Damien: Unless they happen to all be carrying adamantite bolts. No.
DM: No.
Damien: That’d be the most– we’d probably have several thousand gold worth of fucking boxes if they had adamantite bolts. “We’re fucking rich, forget this adventure!”
DM: The flying creatures in the air have grown much larger as you’ve paused to debate. You lose them momentarily over the tops of the cliffs – nope! (begins choking)
Damien: You okay, buddy?
DM: Worst timing! Damn peanuts. However, they begin to slowly drift down. Looking upon the pair of them, you realize that there is, in fact, three heads on each of these!
Niobhe: Oh Christ.
DM: Their body a horrible a patchwork of many beasts and beings.
Tyrgol: Manticores… or chimera.
DM: (pointing at a mini, which has another mini on its back) The guy on this one’s back pokes his head over the three.
Alandris: Ha! He’s like, “Hey, how’s it going guys!”
Damien: “And it’s THIS big!”
DM: “So! I see you’ve passed the first guardians! Now is the time you might want to consider surrendering, lest your very SOULS be riven from you!”
Tyrgol: “What’s ‘riven’ mean?”
Alandris: “WHO?” Like I didn’t hear him. “Eh! What’s that you say?”
Tyrgol: “You’ll have to speak LOUDER, lad!”
DM: “Understand THIS then! RISE TO SERVICE!” As he speaks the invocation, the two golems rip themselves free of their wooden crosses and fall to the ground.
Damien: “Wait wait! You’re yelling at us… are you golems deaf too?!”
DM: ….roll for initiative. Your smartassery has no effect.
Damien: Except if we had rolled well enough on our Smartass check, we would’ve caused him to fumble slightly!
DM: Maybe a little.

Initiative is rolled. The wizard on the chimera goes first!

DM: He speaks several magical words and points at you all.
Alandris: Vile chain lightning.
DM: No, Will saving throws all around.
Tyrgol: Yay!
Damien: That’s like my highest…
DM: The difficulty is 17.
Damien: I can’t fail! Do I have to roll?!
DM: A one is still a failure… how do you have a +16 on your Will save?!
Damien: I have a plus 17!
DM: How?!
Damien: I have a base save of 8, an ability modifier of 6, and I have another thing for three.

Everyone passes except Alandris, who is confused. Damien uses a maneuver to hurl fire at a golem, forcing it to slow due to its vulnerabilities. A chimera takes to the air, swooping down over the terrain to perfectly aim a bolt of lightning through Tyrgol, Alandris, and Niobhe, who all pass their saves and take a measly seven. Tyrgol plans to grapple Alandris and put him out of his misery. The other chimera blasts the golem with lightning, giving them health and removing the slow effect.

DM: Alandris, let’s see what’s in your cards. Roll percentile dice.
Alandris: 40.
DM: You do nothing but babble incoherently this round.

Alandris obligingly does this. Tyrgol eyes the chimera with a thought to grapple. Believing himself to be an equal match, he goes for it!

Damien: I can imagine him hooking his leg around the one head –
Tyrgol: Arms around the other heads, AAAAARGH!
Alandris: Luchadwarf.
Tyrgol: That would be a… 30? No--
DM: You’re fine. Roll your opposed grapple checks. It’s whoever rolls highest on a d20 because its grapple is also +17.
Tyrgol: That’s great! Oh please, I rolled a 15…
DM: You have succeeded! You grab its hind legs, move yourself into its square please… It slams into the ground as you arrest its forward momentum!

Niobhe buffs herself. The two flesh golems step forward to start smacking Damien with their slam attacks. One hits Damien for 10.

DM: My d8s are getting a workout over here, it’s great.
Damien: What, are they losing their edges?

Tyrgol vows to choke the chimera to death. Niobhe rolls a Fort save against the wizard’s spell. Alandris attempts to indentify the spell, but fails because he is babbling helplessly. The chimera attempts to break free of Tyrgol’s pin but the dwarf dismisses it handily by rolling a 19 on his check. Damien pops the golem with Elder Mountain Hammer for 34.

DM: You hammer it directly in the middle of its scrawny torso! You see several of its stitches pop and goo begins to ooze out.
Alandris: Ewww.

Alandris rolls “flee from caster at top possible speed” on his confusion check and bolts. Damien curses about a failed fear save from three years and several campaigns ago. Tyrgol pins the chimera effortlessly (it rolls a 3).

Tyrgol: Come on baby, go to sleep.
Alandris: You’re only putting one head to sleep, that’s not going to do much.
Tyrgol: I told you, I’ve got my legs around one head and my arms around the other two…

Niobhe spears one of the golems, which respond by attacking Damien for a total of 48 all told.

Tyrgol: Like being hit with sides of ham.
Alandris: Talk about your hamfists.
DM: The wizard hops down from the chimera’s back—
Damien: The chimera turns on him.
Tyrgol: “I’m free! I’m freeee!”
DM: He points at the golems and utters a spell, I’m not even going to make you roll Spellcraft to know what it is, for a powerful bolt of lightning shoots out from his hand and strikes both of the golems, energizing them.

Damien begins gearing up to attack. Alandris mutters a little about his situation.

DM: Damn you people and your saving throws. If only you’d all been confused!
Damien: That would have been over QUICK!
DM: Babble! Attack each other! Babble!
Alandris: Run away!
Damien: You know what I would’ve liked? We get confused, all our first rolls are “act normal.”
DM: Attack caster?! Ffffffffff—

Damien fires off a maneuver that will prevent a golem from acting next round, DC 22. Amazingly, the golem saves despite only having a Fort modifier of +3 by rolling a 19. The attack still does 52 points of damage, though. The chimera attempts to escape the pin and fails.

Damien: All I know is it’s keeping the damn caster busy! He’s too busy healing them to keep casting on us!

The chimera is not put to sleep by Tyrgol’s sleeper hold. Alandris gains enough lucidity to launch a volley of magic missiles at the chimera. Tyrgol headbutts the chimera brutally but his forehead bounces off the armored dragon head to no effect. Niobhe stabs a chimera repeatedly with a spear. Damien punches the golem once more.

Damien: 33 points. Is it dead?
DM: You punch it and its pieces fly apart in all directions as its stitches rip.
Alandris: (performing the Megaman victory theme) You got… Flesh Punch!
Damien: Wait a minute, I can already DO that!
DM: You got… Item 2.
Alandris: Message from Doctor Light.
Tyrgol: ”That’s a good question.”
DM: “I didn’t ASK a question!”

Damien takes 19 from the other golem’s slam attack. The wizard casts a spell on Damien and Niobhe, both of whom laugh off the Will save effortlessly. Damien deals some blows to the other golem, while the grappled chimera fails once again to escape. The other chimera turns on Niobhe with 5 attacks, and four hit.

DM: Let’s see here, the first bite dealt – THAT’S A SHITTY ROLL! – 7 points of damage, the gore from the goat head dealt nine points of “ow” damage, and the two claws dealt a total of nine damage to you.
Tyrgol: It’s nickel-and-diming you to death!
DM: It doesn’t hit hard, but it hits often.
Damien: I’m looking over and he’s holding 5 d20s, I’m like “how many attacks does this thing get?!”
DM: Three heads and two claws, that’s how many. Alandris, roll your percentile dice if you would be so kind.
Alandris: 92.
DM: Attack nearest creature, again.

Since the nearest creature is either the chimera or Tyrgol, they’re in the same square, the DM rolls a 1d4, assigning 1 to Tyrgol. He rolls a 1. He then rolls a 1d6, assigning only 1 to Tyrgol, and still rolls a 1. Sucks to be Tyrgol.

Alandris: 25.
Tyrgol: 25? That’s not terrible. Ow!
DM: Why did you use the spell of Tyrgol-Slaying? Oh no! Several magic missiles hurl from the outside of your combat awareness and strike you. You can only assume Alandris has gone rogue.
Tyrgol: Well he WAS babbling incoherently for a while there. I think something’s wrong with him.

Once again, the chimera passes its Fort save to not be unconscious from the grapple. Tyrgol punches it for 9 points as he maintains the pin.

Tyrgol: While one of my arms is hooked around its neck.
Damien: He slams its one head into the other! “Why ya hittin’ yourself? Why ya hittin’ yourself?”

Niobhe returns fire on the chimera. The golem attempts to slap Damien around.

DM: However both attacks miss, that was pretty pathetic. And on the two orange dice, no less. I’ve broken them forever, oh god.
Tyrgol: I’ve got the third one, that’s been rolling pretty well for me.
DM: THAT’S WHY YOU’RE DOING SO WELL! The mystery is answered!

The wizard hurls another lightning bolt, striking Niobhe and Damien for 15. Damien uses Searing Charge to cross the vertical and horizontal distance between the pair of them.

DM: You punch the wizard, leaping up in a blast of flames like a rocket and soaring across! He stares at you in outright horror as your fist gets closer and closer – actually, I technically should make you roll an attack roll for the sake of form, because you might roll a 1.
Damien: 23
DM: You hit. If you rolled a one you would have gone past him, shoot over the building and land on the other side. That’s when you find out what’s on the other side.
Damien: I land on the giant demon. “Oh man, good thing I landed on this floor.”
DM: “Somethin’ itchy.”

The chimera fails to escape… barely. Tyrgol rolls a 15 to its 14.

DM: Niobhe, get ready to do some writing, as the chimera is savaging the hell out of you again. The first bite does – 13 points of damage to you.
Niobhe: Jesus/
DM: The second bite – no, the second bite missed, my mistake. The gore does 6 points of damage to you.
Damien: I don’t think you should call it a gore any more, it really does not describe the damage.
DM: The first claw attack deals 6 points of damage.
Tyrgol: The nipple!
DM: The second claw attack deals… I forgot what I rolled. The final claw attack was a crit, which deals 16 points of damage to you. Alandris, percentile dice please, let’s see what comedy ensues.
Alandris: 31.
DM: You babble incoherently. Tyrgol: First, against sleep, then, against death. (rolls) First, it falls asleep. Then… it never wakes up.

The group erupts into cheers and high-fiving. Niobhe frantically heals herself, but the golem slaps the crap out of her to almost entirely undo her work. The wizard casts Shocking Grasp on Damien for 20 points of damage.

DM: It is your turn, I assume you are reciprocating painfully.,
Damien: Oh my god, you electrocuted me, now I rolled a 16 to him.
DM: That is enough.
Damien: I don’t even need to tell you the bonuses I get on top of that.
DM: He did not anticipate you being able to fart fire to get forty feet of movement.

Damien smacks him with a no-movement maneuver, but the damage from the maneuver takes out the wizard violently.

DM: You have effectively prevented him from moving for all rounds in the future as well. You slam him--
Alandris: So much for interrogating him.
DM: You can feel his jaw and teeth shatter, shards of bones fly up through his soft palate and into his brain, and he collapses.
Damien: …aww, I probably should’ve told him to stop using the flesh golems. I lift his head up. “Rrr golems stop! … it’s not working, guys!”
DM: You’ve killed the wizard, but it will be at the price of your comrade?
Alandris: Way to go, Damien.

The three heads hit, though the claws miss; the damage is 6, 9, and 10 in turn. Niobhe drops to negative 3 hit points.

DM: And the healer has fallen. Abandoned on the field of battle by her comrade. Oh how tragic.
Damien: He coulda lightning-bolted us too, so…

Alandris is forced to run from the caster, despite him being a corpse. Tyrgol uses Charging Minotaur to bull-rush the remaining chimera into the wall, knocking it down.

Tyrgol: He gets 14 points of damage to him, too…
DM: That didn’t kill him!
Tyrgol: I know, but you didn’t ask for the damage!
DM: I was waiting for you to tell me!
Tyrgol: I felt like you were just continuing on!
DM: The golem moves forward to slap the crap out of you.
Damien: Oh good, now I can do the heal check without interruption, as I jump down..

The golem misses as Damien hops off the building, then the cliff, to get to Niobhe. He passes his first jump-down check, botches the second, and smacks into the ground for 3 and general mockery. Despite this he still manages to stabilize Niobhe.

DM: You can make a grapple as an attack of opportunity.
Tyrgol: I can?!
DM: Yes, it is treated as a normal attack for the purpose of what you can do.
Tyrgol: Well it’s getting fucking grappled. That’s 11 plus—
DM: You hit your touch attack! …uh-oh, Tyrgol could be in trouble!
Damien: It probably rolled a 19.
Tyrgol: Good old orange dice, 17.
DM: It rolled a 19.
Tyrgol: Awwwwwwww.
DM: Damien, you get ten experience for guessing. Unless you looked over my screen.

Tyrgol hopefully looks up a feat, but it only applies to freeing himself. The chimera attacks him. Alandris curses his confusion as he is charged to attack Tyrgol again, but the minis were out of line and a quick adjustment later finds the flesh golem his target. Forgetting his earlier Knowledge roll, Alandris fires a magic missile. Tyrgol endures a strike from a golem for 17 and some minor damage from the chimera.

DM: Alandris!
Alandris: How am I coming around so quickly?
Damien: ‘Cuz there’s only like four people going!
DM: There’s only two monsters left and less of you, too!

Tyrgol realizes he got skipped and takes a quick pop at the chimera. Alandris runs at top speed from the caster’s corpse again. Tyrgol steps up to smash the chimera for 32.

DM: You grab each of the two side heads and slam them together, crushing the middle one. The entire creature crashes bonelessly to the ground. Meanwhile, the flesh golem, oblivious to anything that’s going on, just keeps slapping the crap out of ya. “Brains…” I mean… “Liiife.”
Tyrgol: “Rrrr! Consent BAD!” Ah, it’s Rapenstein.
DM: You take a total of 31 points of damage as it simply slams its two hands together, catching you in the midst.
Tyrgol: And that puts me down to -4.

Damien punches the golem in the back, but it remains standing.

DM: Alandris! …sanity returns to your mind.
Damien: OH MY GOD THANK YOU! Get back in the – hit him with someth—you’re at range with the most powerful spell!
Alandris: And it does nothing. If I roll really well I can scratch past its DR.
Damien: Slow it down.
DM: Yes, even if fire and cold damage do no damage, it will still slow it down.
Alandris: So it can slowly walk two steps to attack the person that is still up.
DM: It doesn’t even need to walk the two steps, it can just keep slappin’.
Alandris: Then what good would slowing it down be?
DM: It’d only get one attack instead of two.
Damien: There you go!
Tyrgol: Ray of Frost.
Alandris: Just for that, lightning bolt!
DM: “Have fun! Fuck you guys, that’s what you get for not packing dispel!”

Alandris fires a scorching ray, slowing the golem down. It misses its attack. Damien’s maneuver strips him of his next standard attack, and Alandris repeats the spell next round to keep it slowed. The golem can neither move nor act at this point. Damien finishes it off with Overwhelming Mountain Hammer, claiming the battlefield for the party after a grueling battle. Damien swiftly stabilizes Tyrgol.

Damien: I immediately start dragging away from battle. I don’t know what’s on top of the hill! I’m gonna pick them up, I have the strength to do that.
DM: You hurl them both over your shoulders.
Damien: Carefull! So as not to jostle the wound!
DM: Oh, you reopened the wounds, you’re bleeding out again!
Alandris: Don’t throw them into… into… your soldiers!
Damien: “Did you finally wake up?!”
Alandris: “Where are you going?”
Damien: “AWAY.”

The party seeks shelter frantically, briefly taking it in a pentagram.

Damien: …that was fucking CLOSE.
Tyrgol: That was a good battle. I’m just glad I killed something with my hands! I’m thoroughly pleased.

Damien uncorks a heal potion for Tyrgol. The DM subtly hints he should use it on the cleric instead.

Damien: I’m like flipping him over. “Aaah, let’s see what you got on you. Aaah, potions!”
Tyrgol: Then throw them over the side of the mountain. “Ah, there’s the beer!”
Alandris: “I’ve been dying for a sip of this!”
Damien: That’d be great.
Alandris: “Tyrgol, it was the most tragic thing. The flesh golem apparently had a thirst for divine ale. It drank everything.” I have to make Concentration checks not to slur my speech as I explain this to him.
Tyrgol: You fail. “Crashing Mountain Hammer!”

This scenario turns into a double-Divine Wrath Dragon Ball Z parody. Niobhe rises and begins triage, while Alandris rolls a Listen check. He hears a faint rustle, but nothing more. Damien creeps on ahead to explore, but sees nothing no matter how much he stops and peers around. The group starts scrabbling for loot, certain they have a crapton coming after that fight.

Damien: Do the flesh golems have anything?
DM: No. They are merely wearing pants. And the one that you blasted wasn’t even wearing that much of that.

Clambering up, Damien searches the wizard, and finds the encounter treasure! 3300 gold, 8 gems, magic gloves, a tin of some substance, a pair of wands, a pair of magical stones, a magic headband, and a magic spool of rope!

Damien: This would’ve been useful 20 minutes ago!

Damien, still apart from the group, makes a Spot and Listen check, and hears noise coming from the next terrace up. He begins gesticulating wildly.

Tyrgol: “What? WHAT?!”
Damien: (still gesturing madly)
Tyrgol: “What are you SAYIN’, lad?!”
DM: “He’s SAYING we’re up HERE!”
Tyrgol: “You shut up!”
DM: “Make me!”

Because there are buildings on the terrace Damien is on, the group wonders if they should search them.

Alandris: If they’re foes, why would they be hiding while we had that big battle just now?
Tyrgol: They’re afraid!
Alandris: Well if they’re afraid, it doesn‘t matter if they’re friend or foes.
DM: They’re women and children. 15th level women and children.
Alandris: Cloudkill, into each building.
DM: You’ve just cast that into the innocent, cute kitty building, I’m afraid.
Alandris: Like Bob Barker, Alandris believes in having his pets spayed or neutered.

Tyrgol slowly advances to the next building in line, hears nothing, opens the door, finds nothing. As they continue upwards, they all hear more clearly – there is a large crowd up this mountain!

DM: You approach the ramp. You see no signs of ramp, but looking at it you see –
Damien: Five scarecrows. And we immediately turn around!
Alandris: Instead of scarecrows, we see garden gnomes. That’s gonna be ten times worse.
DM: You see two completely innocuous statues.

The next ramp has been set up with boxes and crates. Recognizing the trap, Tyrgol cautiously climbs up the cliff face to find that the upper terrace has been fortified, the spaces between the buildings crudely walled off. Sneaking forward, Tyrgol peers between a crack in the walls – and spies figures! They have the advantage of stealth at the moment, and so propose to retreat to a building and set up a fortified encampment.

Alandris: It’s gonna be like frickin’ Night of the Living Dead.

Tyrgol sneaks up and peers around the gatehouse to spy several dwarves standing there. Their standards have all been removed.

Tyrgol: “They hold no allegiance. At least not to any dwarven kingdom.”
DM: “Oh well that’s not QUITE true.”
Tyrgol: I guess I have to move silently around them.
DM: That WAS a voice saying that, by the way.
Tyrgol: “And… who are you?”
DM: “Let’s just say I hold a certain interest in your actions.”
Tyrgol: “And… who are you?”
DM: “That would be telling.”
Tyrgol: “Exactly. I’m asking.”
DM: “I’m not in favor of telling, that would be telling!”
Tyrgol: “Give me a hint!”
DM: “B.”
Damien: Barack’s game!
Tyrgol: “Bee, the wee little insects that buzz around—“
DM: “No no, the letter, the letter.”
Tyrgol: “Your name is B.”
DM: “Sure, that works. Why not.”
Tyrgol: “Or does it begin with a B?”
DM: “Perhaps a B is but an alias.”
Alandris: “Boppelganger?”
Tyrgol: “Are you Bea Arthur, your voice definitely sounds like her.”
DM: “You know they can almost hear you.”
Tyrgol: “I thought I was speakin’ in me head, not out loud!”
DM: “No no, you’re speaking out loud.”
Tyrgol: “Aww crap.”

The mysterious voice explains that the dwarves hail from the nemesis realm of Mur-kilad, now apparently wayward since the Gorgon, their leader, has fallen. The voice advises them of a place they could rest, not entirely reassuringly.

Damien: It’s obvious who the voice is now. It’s the fucking DM. He’s written himself into the game.
DM: You’re hit by a lightning bolt.
Damien: Aaah! See, I’m right, he’s trying to shut me up!
Alandris: B is obviously short for bastard! B is for Blade Mage, just for you, Damien!
Tyrgol: (pointing at the DM, who is dying) You broke him!

The voice’s advice lead them to a large, quieter area on the far side of the terrace, where they seem less likely to attract notice. The voice has an accent, but Tyrgol cannot place it from his known languages. He guesses Khinasi, and is correct.

Tyrgol: “It’s Saikon!”
Damien: He’s gotten all stealthy.
Tyrgol: “Are you… Baikon?”
DM: “Brandfather?”
Tyrgol: “Not to pry any further, but what DO you have an interest in us?”
DM: “Well let’s just say you’ve proven quite efficacious in getting this far.”

There’s a pause as the players struggle with the word.

Tyrgol: “Are you testing us or somethin’?”
DM: “No, there’s no aspect of testing in here, you’ve simply overcome defenses which would daunt a lesser dwarf.”
Tyrgol: “So you’re just along for the ride.”
DM: “That’s one theory.”
Tyrgol: “You’re at least trying to semi-help.”
DM: “Or I plan to betray you horribly. You shouldn’t discount that possibility.”
Tyrgol: “That’s always a possibility. But you’re talking out loud, and you haven’t given my position away, so there’s that.”

Tyrgol returns to lower a rope to the others. Everyone rolls a Listen check, but only Alandris hears a distant conversation about how the dwarves don’t intend to go check any of the incidents out. Tyrgol plans to go in and send them all to taste the staircase beer!

Alandris: “So Mr. Disembodied Voice, what do you suggest our next move be?’
DM: “As I was pointing out, there is a place on the camp on the next terrace.”
Alandris: “And on the morrow?”
DM: “What on the morrow?”
Damien: “We continue to fight!”
Alandris: “You talk to him.”

The group successfully climbs up to the terrace, where the mysterious voice conjures a small globe of light on the ground.

DM: “Gather round it. That is the safe spot.”
Alandris: “Heh. We’ve heard about safe spots before.”
Damien: This is not that game!
Alandris: Yes, let’s gather into the safety circle!
Niobhe: It is for your safety!

The group sits by the orb, as Damien begins planning for the end of the game. The voice cheerfully promises them a protective enchantment – in this case, Forcecage. Niobhe converts her entire arsenal of spells into healing. Damien interrogates the voice about the nature of his magical items. The group settles in to rest… and the dwarves and undead begin building a cell around them to keep them imprisoned. On that ominous note…