from 'the Camp'

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from 'the Camp'

Post  Wedge on Wed May 22, 2013 9:29 pm

Dear Mother,

We finally arrived at 'the Camp'. I've heard the place described as "a wretched hive of filth and villainy" which isn't far from the truth. In addition to all the dirt and dust, the first person we saw - living person, there was a corpse hanging in the center of town - was a foaming-at-the-mouth-mad giant who put the smack-down on our blue friend. I maneuvered to let our rogue flank and hit the giant with the intensified-empowered shocking grasp. The fight didn't last long after that!

The town seems to be run by 'the usurer' who enforces a economy based on the iron bit. Since each bit costs 5 gold the prices are effectively quintuple.

We spent the first day exploring the town. The only magical type was a hag who sells potions. The local priest, Father Death, operates a death cult and is very enthusiastic about his believes even though no locals attended his ritual. The local undertaker appears to be a ghoul based on what we found in his house, though we did not actually meet in person. The inn were staying at is run by gnomes so the rooms are clean and the food is good.

In the morning we headed out into the desolation. I suggested we try to find the caravan that disappeared. The giant we killed yesterday was the leader of the caravan guides and everyone in town assumes that everyone with the caravan is now dead but they expect the horses to come back.

We hired a local guide and a good thing we did too! After a run in with some screamer ghosts - a really unpleasant experience - we found a couple of corpses that seem to have died of self inflicted wounds. I now wonder if these deaths are connected to the madness of the giant and destruction of the caravan? Some sort of insanity spell perhaps?

We were following the only tracks, apparently those of a woman, that lead away from the bodies when our guide warned us that a storm was approaching and that we needed shelter. We tried to take cover but the wind was horrific and full of bones that pierced the skin and dust that would have surely choked everyone to death if our wizard hadn't cast the rope trick spell and we managed to climb to safety. It's a neat little spell and it surely came in useful this time! I just wish the wizard would stop talking about Father - you'd think he was in love with the man.

The storm has blown out now. I'll write more when we next rest.

Wedge

Posts : 277
Join date : 2011-04-21

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class: Wizard
Race: Human

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Re: from 'the Camp'

Post  Wedge on Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:39 pm

Dear Mother,

Sorry I haven’t written but as I recently learned, you have already hear of my doings from another source - Bikto Frieze.  I don’t know why you felt it necessary to set him to spy on me but he is now dead along with the Elven warrior we rescued from the ruins, but I’ll start where Bikto left of in his account.

After defeating the flaming guardians of the old tomb, we rested uneventfully for the night. In the morning, we entered the domed building and encountered a bronzed door trapped with a Scorching Ray trap which indeed scorched Dismas who was trying to gain us access. One thing I’ll say for him: Dismas is a quick learner. After the first blast, he was able to disarm the trap and open the doors. As soon as the doors opened a swarm of spider boiled out from a chamber occluded by webs. Bikto’s fireball cleared the chamber and eradicated the spiders at the same time.

The chamber inside was covered by a dome, the upper portion of which was hidden by the Mage’s Private Sanctum spell cast by a powerful Arachnea, as we learned later. From his hiding place he clouded Dismas’ and Bikto’s minds with the Confusion spell and when that poor fool Zuek tried to knock both of them out, he got killed for his trouble. Realizing that the magical attacks were coming from the Sanctum, and being the only one capable of doing so,  I flew up to engage whatever enemy lurked there but got trapped in a force bubble, forced watch Zuek’s death at the hands of our ensorceled friends. Omian tried to keep Zuek alive through his healing spells but was eventually turned to stone by the Arachnea.

As it turned out the Arachnea was not evil and was just defending his nest, so when he offered a truce we accepted. He was actually a pretty nice being - as long as we promised not to bother him again he let us clear out some chambers of the tomb for him and keep the loot we found. He even lent us a dolly to get Omian to Camp to be revived! One of the chambers we cleared contained Elior - a half-elven warrior from the Army of Light who has been asleep for centuries until we opened his chamber. His men, however, were less fortunate having turned into ghouls whom we quickly dispatched. Another quick victory over a black pudding cleared that building and we headed for Bard’s Gate to fence our loot and stock up on items.

Upon return to The Camp we sampled the local fare (disgusting!) and returned for dinner and rest at the Bender Brothers Inn. It is - was - a relatively nice inn, run by gnomes, not too roomy but the food was good and we thought it safe...

I was awakened in the night by Bikto’s thundering knock on my door. By the time I grabbed my sword (but not my armor alas!) and opened the door of my room, he had made his way out the front door of the inn and busy fertilizing the ground - from both ends. I stayed to watch over (and make fun of) Bikto and just as he seemed to be getting a grip on his bowls and nausea I heard Omian scream.

It seems that Omian, having stomach problems - from the bad meat fed to us by the Beneder Brothers, we later learned - was sitting on the inn’s only toilet when one of the Benders - a highly trained assassin, it turned out - struck him through a phantasmal wall.  The second Bender brother attacked Ellior as he slept but failed to kill him. Omian’s screaming and sounds of combat in Elior’s room woke Dismas.  Bikto went to Omian’s help but was attacked by the third Bender brother - a powerful illusionist in the disguise of a drow. The building was cramped so I could not use my sword to full effect and Elior was forced to rely only on his armored firsts.  The fight was bitter with Bikto sucuming to the Phantom Killer spell early in the encounter. I tried to take care of the illusionist but could not get past his Mirror Images spell. Elior on the other hand kept on him and had some success in keeping him from casting, though we both got caught in a Slow spell.  The tactical situation was not good with the two assassin brothers controlling a narrow hallway, Bikto dead and Elior separated from the rest of the party in another room - the assassins managed to flank Elior and do some serious damage that Omian could not see much less heal. When one of the gnomes finally went down his brother went into such a rage that he damaged Elior beyond healing. We finally killed the other assassin, the illusionist surrendered and gave up his treasure.

I think I finally see what Father said about being a controller in combat.  Looking back, with the clarity of hindsight, at the two encounters that cost the lives of party members, a pattern seems to emerge. In each case, we started the encounter with a tactical disadvantage. The Arachnea was hidden by the Private Sanctum spell, the Benders had the element of surprise, used the bad food to divide the party, and the cramped space  to put us at a disadvantage. In both case, Bikto forged in to engage the enemy and got quickly take out of combat.  Perhaps if he had focused on controlling the battlefield without entering the fray - dispelling the Sanctum or using Stinking Cloud to force the Arachnea out to fight on our terms, using Reduce Person on Elior to let him use his Elfblade, summoning monsters to keep the Bender brothers bottled up in the hallway while Elior and I took them out - our companions would still be alive.  Please don’t mistake my critical analysis for ill thoughts of the dead. Nothing is certain in combat and hindsight is always perfect. Perhaps, if Bikto had done what I suggest, he would still be dead, perhaps he would now be alive and I dead. I shall never know and there is no point in dwelling on it.

But there are things that I intend to find out. Amongst Bikto’s gear were various cryptic letters which bear Father’s mark. It is fairly clear that Bikto was spying on me on Father’s behalf. What is less clear are the current events at home. Write me the truth of what is happening. I’ll accept no evasion on this.

Wilbert Gates Jr.

PS We have been requested to take over the inn, as it is an important institution at the Camp. We were able to hire a caretaker and we also took in an urchin girl to work in exchange for food and shelter. She reminds me of Matilda (my sister) when she was younger, except she has better hygene :-).

WGJ

Wedge

Posts : 277
Join date : 2011-04-21

Character sheet
class: Wizard
Race: Human

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