Travelled to the village of Collodi, in search of the man Giuseppe, who had the tree containing the souls of Jab and Trudy cut down, only to find that he was condemned to hang the next day.
He told you his tale, which is that he was once a beloved entertainer, until the two halflings tried to rob him. He sicced some animated puppets on them, and the sight of his puppets chasing what seemed to be two children ruined his reputation and got him banished. Ten years later, after scraping by knowing that he would be lynched if he employed magic, he was allowed back, as the execution of the thieves verified his story.
After returning to town, two of the three magistrates who banished him ended up dead, along with his friend Brother Dwyer who looked after his gear for him while he was gone. He was arrested, but then the guard watching him was killed, and he seemed to be escaping his cell. Puppets were spotted on the scenes of these crimes.
Giuseppe claimed that he merely made the puppets to dishonor the memory of the thieves, but that they came alive under their own power and are committing the crimes. The remaining magistrate, Phillipson, thinks that they are under their creator's control however, and that by executing him they will become harmless.
To buy time, the party teleports him from his cell to one in Dagger Rock, and investigate his guilt. Records in the jail show that one item, a magic flute, was confiscated by Dwyer but not returned. Checking his wagon revealed the flute, hidden by an illusion cast by a Magic Lantern, which could only have been put there recently. Testing it out reveals that playing it can plant a suggestion in any nearby children to rob their parents and give the money to the player.
Leaving the wagon you meet up with an angry Phillipson who is quite certain that you are responsible for Giuseppe's escape, and threatens you with trouble if he is not returned by dawn.
Next you check out Dwyer's temple, which he was interred in. You questioned him magically, but determine little except that he was attacked by something small. Finding his journal reveals more. He and Giuseppe were good friends, and the puppeteer was planning all sorts of new magical technologies, such as puppets with spirits to animate them, or puppets real enough to imitate real people. He was strapped for cash, though. Dwyer stood up for Giuseppe at his trial and offered to take care of his magic tools while he was gone. While he was banished he examined the items and discovered the flute's properties, deciding to keep that one in the hope that Giuseppe would take the hint.
It's dawn now, and Rilath decides to try to scry the puppets, now having a sufficient description of them. To his surprise he sees them right outside, climbing a rooftop and about to attack Phillipson. You quickly teleport out to their location and beat the everloving hell out of them, which is shockingly easy.
Turns out these were mere animated objects, and woefully weak compared to you, not high level rogues inhabiting wooden bodies at all. Phillipson is now a hostage of the executioner, who is actually Giuseppe in disguise. When the guard was killed and he seemed to be escaping, he actually did escape and leave a psychically controlled golem in his place. Which is now in Dagger Rock.
Giuseppe fully intends to kill Phillipson, and knows you could stop him, but reveals that the golem version of him has broken out and taken a hostage in Dagger Rock, and could easily kill her in the time it would take to teleport back there. Thus he claims you have no choice but to let him kill Phillipson and escape. He reveals the golem's POV in a crystal ball.
Deego however spots something in the ball; Gamon has snuck up and thrown a Skiurid at the golem, disorienting it momentarily and giving you a round to act. Deego casts an entangling spell at Giuseppe, and the party teleports off to face the golem. It is destroyed, and both hostages saved.
You receive thanks from Phillipson, who admits that you inadvertently did the right thing by "freeing" the golem, and rewards you with Giuseppe's magical items. You return home to interrogate the puppets.
Post any questions you want to ask them here.
Advanced Stone Golem: 1920 xp each
Both hostages saved: 1000 xp each
Crystal Ball with Detect Thoughts: 51000 gp
Glove of Storing (x2): 10000 gp each
Hat containing Bag of Holding Type 4: 10000 gp
Outfit that can change to any type of clothing: 1800 gp
Magic Lantern (can cast Silent Image that lasts as long as candle within does): 4000 gp
Magic Flute: No set value, as it cannot be legally sold. Possible black market value, if you searched for an unsavory buyer.
Right, Our last Divvy on May 29th was 80,654 GP + 25,00 GP in taxes each. I'll assume everyone already has that noted.
Here is a breakdown of our thrid (and likely final) divvy:
51,000 Crystal Ball with Detect Thoughts
20,000 Glove of Storing (x2)
10,000 Hat of Holding (Type IV)
1,800 Glamoured Clothes
4,000 Magic Lantern (Silent Image as long as there’s a candle inside)
? Magic Flute
86,800 Loot Total
43,400 Loot @ Market Value
0 Cash Total
43,400 Subtotal Cash + Loot
Hey, I DO intend to play today, but I'm going to see a movie at 3 Eastern. The theater isn't that far, so in all probability I'll be back with plenty of time. But just in case I get caught in traffic or whatever, I thought I'd give a heads up that it's possible I'll be a little late. Probably not though.
Session closed. Four players in attendance for first part, three for second. Will explain second part in more detail, since Jack was absent.
Retrieved the location of the Hell Minstrels' stash from the wooden remains of Jab and Trudy, and pinpointed the location as a cemetery in the Barony. There you were confronted by Luchesi and Sheralee, given new forms by the demons in return for delivering the Key. A fight ensued and they were defeated, but allowed to "live" in return for some information.
Travelling down to the crypt where the treasure was stashed, you found the traps had chewed up the demons sent below, and that the entire place seemed infested with a freezing cold slime that grew in response to heat and drained life force.
Got past the traps, faced a room of infinitely spawning knights with keys, with the real key to the door revealing itself only after the magic summoning them had been destroyed, and solved a puzzle that provided a treasure.
Next week, came to a room filled from floor to ceiling with the frigid slime, which grew back too quickly to destroy with acid. Deego cleared it with a spell that specifically targets slimes and molds, revealing that the slime had covered a lava pit, the heat of which had caused its growth. A very confused Fire Elemental, once part of the crypt's security, emerged and explained what had happened. The Minstrels had long ago invaded the place, but left the traps intact to use it as a safe storage facility. They fought the elemental but spared it for the same reason, so it could pull intruders into the pit and kill them.
One day Jab and Trudy returned with the loot they got from fighting Lord Lugos, including the Key of Water. The elemental, sensing the power that was the antithesis to its nature, warned them that it was dangerous, but was ignored because neither spoke Ignan. After they left, the elemental tried to destroy the Key in its lava pit, but touching it caused great pain, and the lava solidified when it was thrown in, and had to be dug out.
In frustration, the elemental tossed the Key into a pile of standard issue dungeon slime, in the hopes that it would eventually dissolve. The next day it found the slime covering everything, and now freezing cold.
The party continued to the vault, where they found a massive pile of treasure. But knowing that this had to be too easy, they soon realized that a massive transparent ooze was there, its outline revealed with Faerie Fire. The ooze had indeed consumed the Key, in a manner similar to Captain Robinson's consumption of the Key of Fire, and was now a freezing, life-draining mass with the Key floating in it.
A difficult fight ensued. The blob was as wide as the room, and able to sweep along it digesting anyone in its way, albeit slowly. Furthermore, slashing and piercing damage done to it merely caused little bits to break off and attack themselves; they could also be reabsorbed into the main mass, restoring its life.
Rilath, unable to use his sword, and not wanting to touch it with the fire that caused its growth, summoned swarms of Arrow Hawks to zap it in an attempt to whittle it down. Both Deego and Madila got stuck within it. Madila teleported out, but was left on the brink of death after its attack. Deego tried to swim toward the center in the hopes of ripping out the Key, which was a good enough idea that I allowed an intelligence check to have an even better one; join the Key of Fire with the Key of Water, thus negating them both.
Deego, still stuck within, demanded that Rilath give him his Key, but didn't explain why. Rilath was unwilling to part with it and refused, instead teleporting Deego to safety. Deego told him the plan and Rilath decided to do it himself, turning into a giant and diving into the blob. The life-draining properties of the monster hurt him terribly, but Madila used the Key of Life to heal him, and he made it. The blob exploded, reverting to harmless muck in the process. The treasure was gathered and the party returned to Dagger Rock.
There a bloody great row ensued between Deego and Rilath, with Madila trying to act as peace-keeper. Deego said that Rilath had been stupid to do the deed himself since Deego was protected by a spell that granted immunity to the Con drain, that his greed had gotten the better of him in his refusal to give up the Key of Fire even momentarily, and that he would make a poor deity. Rilath countered that Deego hadn't explained his desires quickly enough, that it was only the Key that he was needlessly possessive of not everything, and that he felt he had done an overall good job of suppressing his selfish Chromatic instincts. Neither was in a particularly good mood afterward.
Loot and XP: Having thought about it, I'm not posting any.
You are about to embark on your final adventure, so book-keeping is a little pointless. So here's what we'll do: If you are within a few thousand xp of leveling, say 5k, then just level up. Otherwise stay put. Between the fights, traps, and story reward, 5k seems like a decent estimate.
Regarding treasure, it matters little. Any magic items I give you will be useless in the Outlands, so other than selling them at half value they have no purpose. Sure, I just gave you a big pile of treasure, but the only things worth buying are magic items, right? I mean, what the heck else do adventurers ever spend money on? And I usually award taxes in between chapters for being thoughtful Lords, so that's another big pile of gold.
So unless you have any particularly extravagant purchases planned, let's just say the Hell Minstrels' loot, combined with your tax revenue and own personal savings, will cover it. If you think you have something expensive enough you want that it will be an exception, ask me.
But since this is relevant (and the only magic that will reliably work in the Outlands), here is the Key of Water:
Physical Description: a small four sided pyramid made entirely of Turquoise, about three inches on a side. The sloped sides have small grooves that may allow it to fit together with other similar shapes objects, to form a cube. The gem is sea green, and shiny enough that it always looks damp.
Cosmetic Effect: When in possession of this pyramid, the wielder's skin looks wet, their fingers and toes grow webs, and they spout gills on the sides of their neck.
* The bearer gains immunity to Cold, but vulnerability to Fire.
* The bearer gains +4 Constitution, as Water is the ultimate source of all life.
* The bearer gains a swim speed equal to their land speed, a +8 to swim checks, and the ability to breathe underwater.
* The bearer can take on an Amorphous Form (as the spell in Spell Compendium) at will.
* The Key acts as an antenna pulling in energy from the moisture in the air around it. Once per day this energy can be discharged as a Cone of Cold spell. The Key can be combined with other Keys to produce more powerful spells, also useable once per day. The caster level for these spells is equal to the user's HD, and whichever mental stat is highest determines saving throw DCs.
* Water + Life: Rain of Roses (From BoED)
* Water + Death: Slime Wave (From SpC)
* Water + Earth: Acid Fog
* Water + Air: Control Weather
* Water + Earth + Life: Rain of Black Roses (From BoED)
* Water + Earth + Death: Obediant Avalanche (From CD)
how about a post recapping all 6 of the keys and their effects, so we dont have to go digging for them
Okay, here's a summary with most of the fluff left out.
Key of Death:
* Can't be harmed by positive energy
* Register as Undead to detection spells
* Create Undead using stored life force
Key of Life:
* Can't be harmed by negative energy
* Particularly hated by undead beings
* Resurrect with stored unlife force
Key of Fire:
* Weapons have Flaming Burst, grappling does 1d8 per round
* +4 Charisma
* Immune to Fire, vulnerable to Cold
* Give off light as a torch
Key of Earth:
* Immune to Acid, vulnerable to Electricity
* +4 Strength
* Burrow speed equal to land speed.
* +2 Nat armor, weight doubles, treated as larger for bull rushes, grapples, and overuns, -4 penalty to swim, climb, and balance.
Key of Air:
* Immune to Electricity, vulnerable to Acid
* +4 Dexterity
* Grow wings, fly speed equal to land speed.
* Weight halves, treated as smaller for bull rushes, grapples, and overuns, +4 to Climb, Swim, Tumble, and Balance checks.
Key of Water:
* Immune to Cold, vulnerable to Fire
* +4 Constitution
* Breathe underwater, swim speed equal to land speed, +8 to swim checks
* Amorphous Form at will
And here are the spells, and the Keys that make them up:
F: Fire Seeds
F + D: Fire Storm
F + L: Lions Roar
E: Flesh to Stone/Stone to Flesh
E + L: Giant Size
E + D: Earthquake
E + F: Haze of Smoldering Stone
E + F + L: Transmute rock to Lava
E + F + D: Crushing Fist of Spite
A: Chain Lightning
A + F: Incendiary Cloud
A + L: Greater Teleport
A + D: Whirlwind
A + F + L: Prismatic Deluge
A + F + D: Deadly Sunstroke
W: Cone of Cold
W + L: Rain of Roses
W + D: Slime Wave
W + E: Acid Fog
W + A: Control Weather
W + E + L: Rain of Black Roses
W + E + D: Obediant Avalanche
W + A + L: Stormrage
W + A + D: Storm of Vengeance
Cool. And what about other artefacts, like the Emerald Tooth?
Even deity level powers are nullified at the center, and as powerful as artifacts are, they are not as powerful as gods (who often create them). The Keys are the singular exception, as they are not even technically magical. They are more like an inherent fact of the very fabric of reality.