"Follow me, he says. I know the way, he says. My father built three or four castles in the swamp, so I know my way around swamps. *grumble grumble* A frickin' month of following swamp-cow Hawthorn before Kirga coughs politely and points out that it's on the other side of the marshline. Oh, uh..."
Log of the Misfit Brigade, faithfully recorded by Valadir, Esq.
(when the game is on a biweekly schedule, having the cancel one session sure delays things...)
Finally, we found the dungeon entrance (note: demerits for Hawthorn getting us lost, commendation to me for having the foresight to
not kill on sight hire Kirga.) On the first floor of the dungeon, we found a beastman wading in a pool. "The Fountain of Life!" exclaimed Hawthorn. :shake: Technically correct, as the swamp water in the pool must be teeming with all sorts of microbes and insects. I'll stick to my canteen, thankyouverymuch.
Astarra met her end here and blew up a bunch of spiders. I had to battle my way through a master naga. Hawthorn tried and failed to kill the beastman ("The water must give it supernatural life!" :shake: Idiot). Kirga and Astarra had earlier found some switches which opened the door out of here, so we left the beastman and headed out... except Astarra. Hawthorn said she was right behind him, but I guess she decided to dawdle. Great timing, as the beastman finished his bath and ran over to send her to the temple. Man, for a witch, she's got all kinds of interest in religion.
Once Astarra had rested and was alive again, we moved on. On the next floor, we interrupted some sort of creepy puppet show. The puppet master didn't care for that, so he sent some oversized Pinocchio our way. I was about to call a tactical retreat, but then saw an opening. If Astarra ran, she could get close enough to open a glyph, providing us with a second entrance and a chance to get at the master. It worked... and it didn't. I headed through Tamalir (learning how to breathe fire along the way) while Hawthorn went to confront the giant. Come to think of it, Kirga also went to fight the giant; probably just wanted to irritate it enough to smash Hawthorn flat, as his arrows weren't getting through that hide. A string of bad luck hit us, and we all made unexpected trips to town. I'd hoped to kill the master quickly so as to avoid the giant, but a barrage of traps messed us up and good. Finally, the giant died and the sorcerer went next. Not our best performance, but it was the last one for the puppet master.
The last floor opened into a barracks of sorts... more a mess hall really (must...resist...joke at expense of comrades). I took one look at the commanding officer- a lich with aura 6. Not my fight, nope, not at all. I did my part hacking up the initial rush of deep elves. After that, Kirga and I went gathering up the spoils- seems we'd interrupted a big poker game, what with all the loose coin. Hawthorn and Astarra handled clean up- mostly Astarra, as she got swatted, then the Hand of God swatted everyone except the commander. She came back and helped kill him, and he stayed dead.
And out we went. The giant had made things costly, but we came out with a fair amount of experience and a lot more coin than I had hoped for. And, perhaps most importantly, I'd found a weapon worthy of me: the Shadowblade! Oh, I know, I know, "The Shadowblade is cursed, it's darkness corrupts the soul, misfortune and misery await its owner, yadda yadda." Forget all that; all you need to know is that this thing is a one of a kind grade A monster chopper.
It was good to finally get out of the swamp. Word reached us that the Overlord's eldritch capabilities had improved, that Alric was marching on Dawnsmoor, and that Merrick was heading east. We were likewise marching on Dawnsmoor. We encountered an oracle along the way, who told us about the Prince of Thieves, hiding out in BitterDowns. I made a note to pursue this after we met with Olmric.
Dawnsmoor looked fine for a city under siege. I made my way to the temple to pay my respects, while the others went shopping. Kirga traded in his bow for some sort of grappling claw. He tried to explain it to me, but when he gets excited, his voice just turns into a high pitched whine. Astarra looked around the market at the magic booth- the Staff of Punishment was on display. She considered it, then walked right by the booth and into the graveyard. She picks up a stick from the ground, marches right back out, and tells the guy at the booth she wants to buy it. Not like he owns the stick, but he takes her money. All the while I'm protesting. "It's the Staff of the Grave," she says. "It's a stick from the cemetery," sez I, "put it back." Then she gets that weird look in her eye and I head elsewhere.
Women Witches, am I right guys?
At the temple, I met an old friend from choir. I'd fallen out of practice, but he spent the next week giving me some pointers and by the end, I was able to manage a pretty inspiring battle cry.
Out in the rest of the world, Lady Eliza had finally woken up from her beauty sleep. Three Farrows running around seemed three too many, so we decided to shorten Alric a head (and those siege engines pumping day and night had meant barely any sleep all week). The winds were high, disheartening Kirga. Alric massed his forces like a wall in front of him. I directed Hawthorn and Astarra to hit him from the front, while Kirga and I moved to flank. Those two met with some initial success, Astarra blowing up a razorwing in midflight and Hawthorn bashing a sorcerer senseless. A hellhound breathed a lot of smoke on Kirga and me, but there wasn't much fire there. I shrugged off a beastman, then Alric himself charged in. I was still hurting from wounds received in the swamp, but I held my ground (and bitterly regretted handing the Ring of Protection to Hawthorn, but it clashed with my Belt of Might). Alric wasn't enough to take me out, so I fought back. The Shadowblade bit deep into him, and I could see the fear in his eyes. The fool had gone for what he thought was an easy kill, but had trapped himself- Astarra and Hawthorn moved in to cut off this retreat, and the dark knight fell. Dawnsmoor was saved! Of course, his sister was on her way to pick up where he left off, but what sort of miracles do you people expect from us? (I have to work with a witch! A witch, damn you, and you expect me to save everyone?)
We left Dawnsmoor the next week, passing through the ruins of Alric's siege work. We waved to Eliza as we hurried past (aided by the traveler's staff). Our journey to Olmric's Hut was briefly (very briefly) interrupted by the Hammer Brothers, a pair of ogres dumber than their clubs. We cut through them quickly, one failing to rise after being struck by Astarra's cemetary stick, the other falling prey to the Shadowblade.
Olmric's Hut was a nice vacation. Kirga and I built up our endurance and fatigue, while Hawthorn and Astarra learned the secret of long and healthy lives.
Next time, Bitter Downs and the Prince of Thieves.