Eventually they approach close enough to see a small figure holding onto a skull. Most of the group dismounts.
The figure who had been heard before blinks. It's a kender. "Uh no."
Whifflenut: "Oh. So that's not Horatio?"
The kender shakes his head: "No. Horatio actually lived through the play. You're thinking of Yorick."
Whifflenut: "THAT'S RIGHT! The jester. Hello, Yorick!"
The kender turns to the skull: "What? Oh." He turns back to the group: "He said his name is not Yorick. It's Scuttles."
Luziann sighs and cuts him off of the saddle. Arden falls to the ground, still facing out to the desert.
Whifflenut: "I'm Whifflenut. This is the rest of the group, and those are our horses running off. I'LL GET THEM!" She runs into the desert after the horses.
Kender: "No. I'm talking to a spirit."
Peādārr sighs again: "Partially because of the kender," he said gesturing in the direction Whifflenut ran off to.
Peādārr gives up: "You just might be." Looking towards Arden: "I think we just traded one for another."
Peādārr: "Can't you tell?" Then he realizes how Arden behaves half the time. "Nevermind."
Luziann cuts the rest of Arden's bonds just as Whifflenut returns with the horses.
Whifflenut: "DM gift. I guess we required the supplies, so when I caught up to them they started running in circles real slow." She walks up to the new guy. "So, are you a new member of the group, or just here to give us information and leave?"
Kender: "Uhhh... I think I'm optional."
Luziann looks to Peādārr and makes a slicing motion across her neck, but Peādārr misses it before he says: "Umm... alright." Thinks on it for 0.05 seconds. "I MEAN NO! NO!"
Peādārr: "Well, it's up to him as well. You'll probably die a horrible death if you come with us."
Kender: "It's okay. You're not the first group to pass by here. As an NPC I repop here every time somebody reaches this point in the campaign. I've died many times. I was even promoted to PC last time, but I was slaughtered a few more chapters in."
Peādārr: "Don't worry. I doubt you'll last that long with us."
Whifflenut: "Shroud? Oh, I'm sorry. Who named you that?"
Shroud: "Uhh.... Christopher Coyle I think."
Whifflenut: "Coyle? Ew. Well, nice to meet you Shroud."
Arden forces Luziann to put her dagger back into its sheath.
Peādārr tries to hang himself by casting levitate onto a length of rope he wraps around his neck. It doesn't work.
The group heads up to where the canyon splits around a plateau with a watchtower over it.
Arden: "Which way should we go?"
Shroud: "Don't look at me. I'm an NPC. I'm not supposed to make decisions."
Whifflenut looks up to Luziann. Luziann sighs: "Okay. Right."
Whifflenut: "Then we go left!"
Luziann grinds her teeth.
The group enters the canyon and they sense a cold feeling over the place.
Whifflenut: "Is this place cursed?"
Shroud: "Oh yeah."
Whifflenut smiles excitedly: "What kind of curse?"
Shroud: "It likes undead stuff and things like that."
Looking up at the watchtower, they decide its the first place to investigate.
Arden: "How do we get up?"
Whifflenut: "Peādārr can levitate."
Luziann: "I thought that was a wizard spell."
Whifflenut: "Close enough."
Looping around a land bridge connecting the plateau with a shorter one to the north, Luziann finds a ladder. "We can get up from here!" she says when she approaches it.
Arden notices movement from the top of the plateau. "Uh... cats!" Four mountain lions jump down towards Luziann.
(At which point in real life one of our cats decides she is not getting enough attention and plops itself down onto my dice..... go fig.)
Arden pulls his sword out: "Luz!"
One of the lions chews on Luziann. Hanging from it's mouth she says calmly to the others: "A little help...."
Fight fight fight....
The entire group gets badly injured, but they manage to take down three of the four lions.
Arden: "We're not doing too bad. Just one left. We can handle it."
Two minutes later the one lion is still standing. Shroud, Luziann, and Arden are unconscious. Peādārr is down to one hit point.
Whifflenut jumps in and kills the lion with a touch spell. "I AM THE CHAMPION!"
Peādārr, on one knee, mutters: "We're never going to live this down." He commences healing on the party, running out of spells in the process. Shroud is barely conscious.
Peādārr: "Now I'm out of spells. Great."
Shroud (still heavily injured): "Maybe we need another healer."
Peādārr gets pissed: "That's it. I quit! I'm becoming a fighter."
Shroud: "You can't swap out class levels like that."
Peādārr: "I don't care. My work isn't appreciated. This quest has been a nightmare. Now, all I have to do is gain fighter levels and not heal anyone."
Shroud: "We won't have any good cure spells here. We'll all die."
Peādārr: "Yes, but at least I'll die honest to myself."
Shroud: "You don't mind dying?"
Peādārr: "Actually I do, but at least I'll see the two kender go first."
Shroud: "I don't care. I'm an NPC. I'll just repop at the front of the canyon when the next party shows up."
Peādārr: "......................... ****!" And he gives up on his career change.
They decide that continuing on is too dangerous at the moment, and will camp outside the canyon, outside of the curse's range. The next morning, Peādārr does more healing to the group, and they start back in.
Shroud: "I just hope the canyon isn't an instance zone and lions reset when we re-entered the canyon."
The group groans.
The lions did reset, but they were bugged. The group was able to climb by them without drawing agro.
They get up to the plateaus. Luziann gets a good look of the canyon and sees another building to the north. There is debate over which location was the real quest, and which was the side-quest. In the end, they admit they have no idea and just go to the closer one, the tower. Whifflenut runs up the steep land bridge to the watchtower. Peādārr, Arden, and Luziann make it up without a problem. Shroud slips and falls into the mist (and onto the rocks) below.
Whifflenut: "Oops.... Shroud? You okay?"
Something stirs in the mist.
Peādārr: "Is that him?"
There's a belch.
Whifflenut: "Guess not."
Whatever is in the mist moves away.
Peādārr: "Is it just me or has the mist gotten thicker?"
Peādārr: "I'm not sure we're going to want to get back down."
Whifflenut looks up at the tower: "Hello!?"
Nothing says 'hi'.
Peādārr says sarcastically: "Whiff, why don't introduce us?"
Whifflenut: "Okay. This is Peādārr! He's the cleric, who can do healing and rebuke undead."
Luziann: "He's a mystic. Not a cleric."
Peādārr: "I don't have a god."
Whifflenut: "Couldn't get a sponsor?"
Peādārr grinds his teeth.
Luziann: "You can still turn undead, right?"
Whifflenut yells to the tower: "Okay! He can turn undead, even though he's not as good as a real cleric."
Peādārr adds bitingly: "Just like how sorcerers aren't as good as real wizards?"
Whifflenut glares back: "And this is Arden! He's the tank. You'll probably want to avoid him and go after the healer first. I'm the mage! So I'll be kleenex!"
Arden examines the entryway: "Looks dark."
Peādārr: "Then you go first."
Arden: "Okay." He heads in.
Luziann rubs her temples.
Marching order: Arden, Whiff, Peādārr, and Luz.
They enter an old hallway with arrow slits in the sides for defenders to easily attack any invaders.
Peādārr sees movement through one of the holes.
Peādārr: "I think I see something."
Whifflenut, in front of him: "Are you watching my ***?"
Peādārr: "What? NO!"
Whifflenut: "So you weren't looking at me?"
Peādārr: "Well you're standing right there in front of me."
Luziann: "You're watching Whifflenut's ***?"
Peādārr: "NO! I just mean she's in front of me! Where else am I supposed to look?"
Arden: "She is short. You could just look over her."
Peādārr: "Yeah, Arden. I want to watch your *** instead."
Arden blinks: "You what?"
Suddenly a shadow rushes out of the wall, strikes Peādārr hard (sapping 6 points of strength) and vanishes into the opposite wall.
Luziann: "HOLY ****!"
Peādārr: "Not feeling good."
Luziann: "Back up!"
Whifflenut: "Probably a good idea."
Luziann: "You had to tell them to attack him first."
Whifflenut: "Don't blame me! He's the one who saw movement!"
Peādārr shouts from his weakened state: "This is NOT
a third level encounter!"
Luziann pulls Peādārr out of the tower.
Whifflenut: "Maybe we should leave too."
They retreat to the top of the small mesa.
Luziann: "Can you heal yourself?"
Peādārr: "I used all of my healing spells this morning."
Luziann: "Okay. Let's rest here for the day. I don't want to press into the canyon until we're at full strength."
That night, Whifflenut gets bored and watches the mist. "I wonder if Shroud is still down there."
From the mist there is the sound of movement. A weak voice groans.
Suddenly there is a quick 'munch' sound, followed by a second belch.
"Oh." She drops a rock. The rocks get crunched. Whifflenut then drops a bit of rations.
There is the another sound of a munch, followed by choking and a thud.
At this point, Arden is asleep, snoring. Luziann was relaxing, and Peādārr was busy healing slowly.
Luziann: "Can you swap out some of your spells with healing spells?"
Peādārr says irritably: "I've run out, completely. My die rolls just sucked."
Luziann: "In the morning we'll be ready. Still, I'm not sure about going into a place we know is filled with undead."
Peādārr: "Instead you want to go into the canyon where we have no idea what's in there."
Whifflenut: "Luz can scout ahead. We'll wait here and root for the things down there."
Luziann stands up threateningly and Whifflenut bolts up the land bridge to the tower, stopping at the doorway.
Luziann mutters: "Damn. She didn't fall... Maybe she'll go inside," she said hopefully, standing at the start of the bridge, watching.
Whiff approaches the dark doorway which seems much darker at night. She tosses a rock in.
She tosses another in.
She continues tossing rocks in, harder and harder. Other than the normal sounds of rocks hitting a cluttered floor or a wall. Then, amidst the throws, Whifflenut spins around nails Luziann in the head with a well aimed chuck. Luz isn't hit hard, but the sudden strike causes her to stumble and fall off the mesa.
Whiff returns to the short mesa and watches Luz climb up the ladder. "You okay?"
Luziann grabs Whiff and throws her off the precipice. Whifflenut casts Feather Fall and lands safely. Luz screams, climbs down, and begins chasing the kender with her sword out. Whiff bolts into the mist, Luz following.
Arden wakes: "What's that?"
Peādārr: "Nothing. Go back to sleep."
Whiff reaches a make-shift graveyard with half-buried bones in the ground. Luziann approaches screaming things that would break the CoC for the boards. Suddenly a wraith appears. Whiff hopes it goes after Luz, but instead it goes after her. Whiff runs towards Luz, yelling at her to run. Luz sees the wraith and runs too.
Running through the mist, they do not find the small plateau. Instead they run into a strange orchard.
Whifflenut: "Where are we?"
Luziann: "We went too far north. I think I remember seeing this place from the hill. It was to the northwest."
Whifflenut: "But we ran west."
The air changes scent.
Luziann sighs: "Look." She places her hands in the air, miming a map. "Say the tower and bridge are here, and you ran this way."
Whifflenut: "I ran that way," she says pointing east.
Luziann: "No, you went a little northward. When we ran westward, we passed north of the plateau and into the tree."
Whifflenut: "But I thought-"
A twisted dryad steps out of a tree: "Be gone, now, or your flesh shall be flayed from your body and my pretty flowers shall drink of your blood as your bones are ground into the earth beneath my feet."
Luziann: "I think we should leave."
Whifflenut: "Or set everything on fire."
The dryad screams in rage and summons two assassin vines, ordering them to attack.
The vines attack, and the dryad grows a giant knot of vines blocking Whiff and Luz from her.
Arden: "Maybe we should look for them."
Peādārr: "They can take care of themselves. Beside, they can call if they need us."
Whifflenut (fighting): "AHH!!!"
Peādārr fails his listen check: "Don't hear anything."
Arden critically fails his listen check and doesn't even hear Peādārr.
Peādārr and Arden: "Heard that."
Peādārr: "Uh... where did that yell come from?"
Luziann: "ARDEN! GET YOUR *** OVER HERE!"
Peādārr: "That way."
The dryad charms Luziann and orders her to "kill the kender".
Whifflenut fries one of the vines, almost killing it, and holds off long enough for the other two to show up and see a vine slam her sideways, knocking her out.
Pamela Isley laughs behind her protective wall, and tries to knock Arden out with a sleep spell. Arden shakes it off. Luziann attacks the two newcomers. Arden dodges Luz while trying to kill the vines. Peādārr struggles to reach Whifflenut before she dies. After several attempts, he stops her bleeding. Arden kills the vines, but is resistant to hurting Luziann. With her vines gone, the Pamela retreats back into the forest.
Still without spells, Peādārr grabs Whifflenut and retreats. Arden stays to try to grab Luziann and prevent her from killing the others.
Peādārr gets Whifflenut back up onto the plateau and the camp. Some time later Arden (with a nose bleed from a headbutt) forces Luziann to surrender. Still ensorcelled, she is bounded with their remaining rope.
Peādārr: "Great. A night's rest ruined. We'll need to spend a full day here to regroup."
Luziann: "Just let me kill the kender."
Peādārr: "You're under a charm spell."
Luziann: "I wanted to kill her before I went into the trees."
Peādārr: "You swung at Arden and me!"
Luziann: "I was cranky?"
They camp for over 24 hours. Peādārr finally gets his spells refilled. Luziann appears to be free of the spell. As soon as Whifflenut regains consciousness, she decks Luziann.
Luziann: "OW! What was that for!?"
Whifflenut: "For trying to kill me while I was unconscious!"
Arden: "How did you know if you were unconscious?"
Whifflenut: "..... My player told me."
Luziann: "No meta-gaming!"
Whifflenut: "THIS WHOLE CAMPAIGN IS A META-GAME!"
Luziann: "How about this? We can go back to the trees, and burn everything to the ground?"
Whifflenut: "Sounds good to me."
Peādārr: "Do we have any fire?"
Arden picks up a burning stick from the campfire.
Peādārr sighs: "Do we have any fire that won't go out in the MIST!?! Magical fire?"
Everyone is silent.
Luziann: "How about we level up, come back later, and THEN burn the forest?"
Whifflenut: "Sounds good to me."
Arden: "So what now?"
Luziann: "Well, there's undead in the tower. There's a wraith over there. The tree-***** that way. There's still the building to the north?"
Whifflenut: "Great. So we can get our butts kicked and have more we need to come back later and burn. For a full rounded out adventuring party, we're kinda pathetic."
Luziann: "Come on. It's the last place we haven't run from yet."
The group approaches a natural ramp leading up to the temple. Five broken statues no longer stand to either side of them as they reach the top. Once they reach the rise the temple is on, they feel the remaining strength of the gods pushing back the curse of the valley, making THIS spot a much safer place for the party to had camped at, instead of the direct middle of the cursed place.
Luziann: "I feel the ensorcelment and the urge to kill coming back."
Peādārr: "Me too."
And having approached the temple, they enter the next chapter of the campaign, and thus level.
Luziann: "ARE YOU ******* KIDDING ME! YOU MEAN ALL WE NEEDED TO DO WAS WALK STRAIGHT UP TO THIS PLACE TO ******* LEVEL!!!!?!!!?!!!"
Whifflenut: "THAT'S IT! I'M GOING BACK AND BURNING THE TREES!"
Arden: "Uh, then you're heading back and not heading into the next section. You won't get your level."
And the clean family fun quality of the conversation goes downhill from there.
Tune in next time, to an entirely different show. Trust me. It's better that way.