Thistlyn the Bard (Maggie)
Caswyn of Apollo, the Cleric (Eric M.)
Arnold Littleworth the Magic-User (James)
Xeno the Magic-User (Thaddeus)
Jarri the Dwarf (Eric G)
Copernicus Quinn the Druid (Chris N.)
Martin the Fighting-Man (George)
Ookla the Mok, the Ranger (Dave)
Darwin of Drumthacket, the Cleric (Carl)
Obscura the Illusionist (Mike)
special non-playing cameo appearance by Greengoat
Wand of Fire (at auction)
Bracers of AC 4 (at auction)
Blunted Sword (at auction)
Ring of Fire Resistance (at auction)
Potion of Growth (at auction)
Potion of Superheroism (at auction)
Ring of Regeneration (at auction)
bunch o' scrolls (at auction)
other things (at auction)
The confidence that we can take on some of the worst monsters of the game
After a lot of preparation, nothing went as planned when the Company ran into two Balrogs in the wilderness. When the Balrogs began to bore us, the Grey Company decided to stop playing nice and just wasted them.
Flush with (literally) tons of gold from The Anubis Caper, several members of the Company bankrupted themselves by buying up everything in sight at the Ninth Menegril's Magical Item Auction.
The Company then visited Ontussa and asked several questions (summarized below).
Eventually the Grey Company decided to raid Scather's hoard (and, along the way, rescue the Elves controlled by the Wizard Slumath). Rescuing Maldoor and plundering the Pharaoh's Tomb with the Bossest Plan Ever remain on the agenda.
The Company then tried to hire mercenaries to assist in the battle against Slumath and his Griffon-riding Elves. Negotiations with Tim Bob, the mystical mercenary mistress of 80 Flesh Golem soldiers fell through, so the Company hired a band of untrained Skyfather Barbarians. (We spent 1680 gold hiring them: 80 gold for the barbarians, 1600 on leather armor for them.)
Leaving the Barbarians to march overland, the Grey Company rode forth on Celerion's eagle-chariot. Along the way, they were accosted by two Balrogs, who opened discussions by slicing open the chariot's netting. Caswyn and Obscura would have fallen to their deaths - had they not been whipped, strangled, and held hostage by the Balrogs. The Grey Company managed to land safely. Thistlyn mollified the demons by playing death metal for them - but then the Balrogs insisted on taking her back to Hell.
To buy time, Arnold promised the Balrogs that in exchange for their three hostages, he would provide them with the souls of 80 barbarians. Ookla hit upon a brilliant strategy, and flew off with Celerion and Martin to gather the Gynarch, Mareth, Patriarch Zekon, and Zekon's Hippogriff-riding Valkyries.
When these reinforcements drew near, the Balrogs figured out the ruse, and the fight began. The Balrogs died three minutes later. (Fight summary not in chronological order.)
- Thistlyn transformed into a Minotaur and escaped in the confusion.
- Arnold polymorphed Obscura into a Balrog, summoned an Ogre Mage, but got grappled by a burning Balrog and nearly died
- Jarri charged a Balrog but got grappled as well
- Ookla was mind-controlled by Thirster into fighting a Balrog in single combat, even though he was nearly dead
- Xeno used telekinesis to rescue Jarri and Arnold, and used excruciating cauterization to keep Ookla alive.
- Copernicus Quinn fried one Balrog (and Caswyn) with call lightning, and then healed Arnold
- Caswyn fled the Balrog's grasp with the grace of Apollo, tried to turn them, and was nearly killed
- Darwin raised a miraculous "earth wall" from his which he healed Caswyn.
- The Valkyries rushed in on foot
- Obscura, in Balrog form, took a lot of damage but finally killed one of the Balrogs with her dagger of venom.
- Martin, a 3rd level Fighting-Man, killed the other Balrog with a panicked sword-thrust
- Zekon, the Gynarch, and Mareth showed up.
We told the Balrogs that they should say hello to Lillianth for us in the next world. Zekon insisted on destroying the Balrog's weaponry. Mareth and Obscura reconciled (at least for one night).
The Grey Company flew on to Slumath's volcano-fortress. Although Arnold massmorphed everybody into trees, Slumath sent an illusion to negotiate with the party. In sum, Slumath no longer commands a force of Elves, but has raised several Zombie Fire Giants, has befriended several Were-Boars, and has reached some kind of relationship with younger Dragons living in the volcano. Slumath would not invite the Grey Company in to inspect his defenses against the Frost Giants' forthcoming attack. He did trade several of the Company's new spells for Slumath's Improved Rite of Fleshly Re-evanescence, a fifth-level version of animate dead with the following peculiarities:
- it takes all day to cast, and doing so depletes all the caster's mental and spiritual hit dice
- it requires that the skull of the re-animated corpse be filled with molten silver (for a skeleton) or gold (for a zombie); typical human cranial sizes means this translates into 30 gp for skeletons, 300 gp for zombies
- if in life the creature had physical advantages (size, strength, etc) these are passed on to its re-animated corpse in some measure
- if the dead creature was loyal to the caster in life, when its re-animated corpse is destroyed by an enemy the spirit rises again as a spectre
Questions for Ontussa
(Some questions were "put aside" in the interest of session time but it was decided that these would be answered later as though they had been asked at the time. If you made allowances for one of these "side-boarded" questions, please make a note of it below.)
- What enemies lay in wait for us 'beyond the veil' in rescuing Maldoor? None lie in wait.
- How do we transport the soul of Maldoor's (and Into, and Merselon) back to our world? Ontussa cannot probe the nature of such a distant plane.
- How do we re-attach Maldoor's (or Into's or Merselon's) soul to a body? Ontussa was unable to answer this question.
- What is the relationship between Slumath & the elves he has in his retinue? The elves had previously been charmed by him for so long that they no longer need to be charmed to remain under his control. (They have Stockholm syndrome).
- How does Ashur-Ram trap Wraiths inside bottles? He inhales the Wraiths into his lungs, and then breathes them out while blowing the glass for the bottles, obviously.
- What has Slumath been doing to protect the volcano fortress? Protecting it against scrying, among other things.
- Has Slumath removed Scather's treasure from the volcano? Ontussa has not seen it leave the zone into which she cannot see.
- Where is Scather, and when is it expected to return? Scather is staying with some Cloud Giants for a while but periodically does high-altitude flyovers of the area.
- What has been done to fortify the Pharaoh's Tomb? Anubis has hired mercenaries from Limbo to guard it.
- Who is the Caged One? A creature able to block Ontussa's efforts to learn more about it or the area of the Pharaoh's Tomb in which it seems to reside
- Who is the Little Girl? Ontussa says there is no such figure in the mural where the Caged One claimed she could be seen, and believes that this is one of the lies the Caged One seems compelled to utter in every statement it makes. Interestingly, the balrogs met in this session claimed to have no such constraint, but were very pleased to hear of the Caged One and Lillianth's misfortunes at the hands of the Grey Company.
- Would Ashur-Ram know if his curse on you were to be lifted? Ontussa replied that yes, he would know because she would be then compelled to kill the lifter of the curse and immediately report this to Ashur-Ram. (This cost of this question was refunded.)
- What has been accomplished in the restoration/re-armament of the Pharoah's Tomb since we left it? The gate to Limbo has been re-opened and mercenaries from Limbo have been hired to stand guard.
- Who is the figure in the glass pyramid in the Pharaoh's tomb? This is one of the Pharaoh's servants/guardians/magic-users, a powerful lich.
- Who is the dreaming goddess Myfanwy? Myfanwy is a goddess(?) who resides on the Astral Plane, a figure from a much earlier age of creation. She has been largely forgotten in this era, known primarily by the elven lotuskeepers of the town of Mitha and their shamans.
We also ascertained (through another refunded question) that killing Ashur-Ram would lift the curse and Ontussa's murderous obligation, but we already knew much of that.
Questions that were set aside for answering another time in the interest of session time, as explained above.
- What is the apparition that Chrystos sees before him in his magic eyes? It is the projection of color and shape information being transmitted to a device designed to receive and store the same.