Brett is back with us this week, and we were able to proceed with some more storyline
We had some discussion as to what to do next. We decided that it would be best to deal with the lizardmen encamped around the lake to our south, and then perhaps to investigate that tower in the centre of the lake – the subject of Rainor’s vision quest.
So we set off to the encampment. We were ambushed by some lizardmen sentries and took one as prisoner (glossing over a number of unpleasant details), and he told us – well – everything we needed to know, really. The lizardman village was on an island in the swamp, surrounded by a palisade. We considered options, and eventually decided to use my extremely precious scroll of Fly (I had not been able to transcribe it into my spellbook, yet – it was a little beyond me). We would enlarge His Lordship, cast Fly on him, and he and the witch would carry everyone over the defenses.
Well, a Fly spell does not a skilled flyer make. We landed roughly, but all together and in one piece. “Take us to our leader!”, said His Lordship – in very bad draconic – and the leader came out. And ordered his warriors: “Kill them!”.
Well, that took care of a number of moral ambiguities that I had been a trifle uncomfortable about. The chief was a giant, and beat up His Lordship rather badly. He would have shrugged off Morgana’s blindness spell, and so I Glitterdusted him. It took two goes.
In retrospect, our tactics were wrong. Rainor was focussing on the Lizardmen mobbing him, and I was shooting at the now-blind chief. But even blinded, I couldn’t get through his armour. What we ought to have done is have Rainor ignoring the Lizardmen around him – I should have gone in with my rapier or just shot them – and concentrate on the chief. Worked more as a team.
We won anyway. The warriors having been defeated, the rest of the village took flight. Except for Timmy.
I should explain. Two years ago, before this whole “Kingdom” business, there was a poster up at Olegs, offering a reward for anyone who could find a lost boy named Timmy. Well, we – we never really got around to it, you know? And gave him up for dead.
Well, Timmy was in the crocodile pit – by which I mean minding the crocodiles. We captured him and have returned him to his parents, who were surprisingly good about it. Everyone seems very happy that we “rescued” the boy, except perhaps the boy himself. Frankly, I don’t think it will end well. It might be a wise move to see if we can attach him to the sootscales – he could become an amazing ally, or a real problem.
Oh well. On to the tower, which we have left alone for too long.
The lizardman chief had some sort of fey or elemental with him that shot lightning. When he died, that elemental shot off towards the tower. Forewarned, Rainor and I prepared as many Resist Energy spells as we could. Five between us – enough for everyone. Rainor’s spells would not last as long as mine, but I had prepared a few scrolls a while ago and still had them, so we were set. I gave one scroll to Rainor and two to Morgana.
We landed on the island midmorning. Apart from the tower itself, there were some ruined outbuildings – just outlines on the ground. We approached the tower with all caution, but there was nothing happening.
The building itself was some sort of structure extending into the sky surrounded at the base by a two-level building, with a broad stone walkway/steps leading up.
Inside was really quite extraordinary. A stone obelisk of some sort. Mainly grey-white, but blackened towards the tip as if it had been burned. There were several layers of writing – the inside of the walls, engraved into a circle around the base of the obelisk, and a band of writing on the obelisk itself.
The band of writing on the obelisk itself was most curious – an etched inscription al done in one continuous stroke, along which some sort of silvery liquid flowed. The whole was encased in some sort of force effect or other protective – we could not touch it.
The band of writing engraved into the floor had been defaced, and what was written on the walls appeared to be graffiti. None of us could read any of it, although the writing on the floor seemed to be lawful in nature, and that on the obelisk itself chaotic. The magic auras were abjuration and conjuration – an odd mix. But we could make nothing more of any of it.
Investigating the floor below this – viewing platform, I suppose – we found braces and structural supports that could possibly be damaged.
We decided to wait until midnight. Our Resist Energy spells would run out, of course, but I could meditate and prepare them again before then, sometime near the end of first watch. We made camp outside.
I’m really quite pleased about the role my character played here. The trick to playing a wizard is that you must scribe scrolls. You have a lot of variety, but not many slots. A spell that you know but cannot cast when you need it is pointless. The solution is scrolls and wands. It’s expensive … but then again, you are not spending cash on armour and weapons like a fighter has to.
My favourite moment of play is “Oh – I got a spell for that”. I don’t mind that my character is a “mechanic”, is one spell level behind and somewhat dependent on items. She scribed the scrolls herself, after all, and low-level spells can be very, very handy in surprising ways. It’s correct for a rogue to be a “bag ‘o tricks” character. Morgan likes being artillery, so it all works out nicely.
In short – the character is starting to work. This could very easily have resulted in deaths without my character preparing those three scrolls.
Wish there was a way to scribe scrolls more cheaply but meh: we can’t allow wizards to have infinite spells, any more than we can hand out 2nd-ed vorpal weapons. I will start crafting wands, definitely – Resist Energy is a case in point. Our party of five will burn through five castings – seven if we do the animal companions. Wands are a must-have for spells that you need lots of, for one-per-person buffs. Morgana can take Craft Wondrous Item. It’s a pre-req for Craft Construct, which Morgan is inexplicably keen on.
At dusk, things started happening. The obelisk became active, and two of those lightning motes appeared. They attacked. Those three scrolls came in very, very handy. I can just manage to cast a spell without preparing it (bonded item), and so I protected His Lordship. Mogana gave her scrolls to Rainor (Protection from Energy is a little foreign to her, and she decided to to risk miscasting it), and Rainor protected everyone else except His Lordship’s shieldbearer, whom we advised to get down.
With that protection, the motes were only a nuisance – except for the sheildbearer, who was fried terribly. We burned 225gp worth of scrolls, and worth every penny. We couldn’t hit these things – they were just too fast. I didn’t even bother. I went into the building to see the obelisk for myself.
It was – quite extraordinary. Pulsing and carrying on. I really, really couldn’t make head nor tail of it. Morgana joined me, and eventually we puzzled it out. The stone trapped some sort of entity, which was being used to open a portal to the negative material plane. To deal with it, we had to deal with that band of writing around it – but it was protected by that force effect, and we had no way to deal with it.
So we ran outside, and told everyone to run for it. After we got a way from the tower, the motes stopped pursuing us.
In retrospect, it’s somewhat clearer now. The writing around the base of the monolith was from the same time as the thing itself. At some time in the past it was attacked, burned, and bound by a chaotic enemy. Hence the graffiti, the defacement of the original writing, and the bindings. There is still something there, and it is being bound to summon these motes and who knows what else.
It’s a simple matter to deal with freeing the thing. Morgana can prepare a Dispel Magic (it’s a little beyond me at present). That will dampen the force long enough for us to physically chisel and damage that inscription around which the silver liquid flows. Maybe simply blocking the flow for a few moments will be enough. But should we? Is the power in the stone being forced to bring forward creatures from the negative material plane, or is it being kept from doing so?
Option two is to damage the foundations of the building, perhaps toppling or breaking the stone.