Well it’s been a while since I wrote, but I have been detained.
We delivered that capstone to the scholar from Daggermark, and he was quite taken with it. I dropped in on him just quietly, and I’m fairly certain that he had abandoned taking any interest in the games to study it. But no real sign of what the capstone actually did.
The games themselves went quite swimmingly. We participated in four competitions – archery, woodcutting, oratory and the joust, which is traditionally participated in drunk.
Rainor simply blitzed the archery. There were three targets at various distances, points given for distance, accuracy, and swiftness. Rainor shot ten arrows at the far target – launching his second flurry before his first arrows had even hit, and turned away without watching the last ones fall. No bullseyes, I’m afraid, but ten hits. It think one competitor did score two bullseyes on the middle target and approached Rainor’s score, but that was simply luck. Everyone knew that Rainor completely outclassed everyone else – it was obvious.
Jope did the woodcutting – six logs, cut through as many as possible in a minute. Well, we were caught by surprise as it turned out that magic was permissible: people were using potions and one sorceress casting Tenser’s Transformation. The only rule seemed to be that your spellcasting must be done in the time limit. Jope and I conferred. On his go, he stepped up and drank a potion of Enlarge. Meanwhile I cast Haste, but concealing the gestures.
Arcane Trickster “Tricky Spell” feature.
It was cheating, but we seemed to get away with it. Our story would simply be that he had gotten some odd combination potion off an alchemist. Enlarged, he worked his way along the logs and got through all six of them within the time, with a few seconds to spare. An unprecedented achievement, apparently.
The logs were set 15′ apart. Andrew did full round attacks, but on each round did a 5′ step to get closer to the next log in line. Enlarged, he could reach the next log in the middle of his full round attack once the one he was working on was through. He had to do a move action to move up the line on one round, but apart from that it was a blizzard of damage. Don’t know if the game designers thought of that one <g>.
On the oratory, we did less well. Jope related our assault on the underground drow fortress and how we came to free the kobolds. He wasn’t the worst, is all I can say. The winner and favourite was one of the Pitax counselors, who told stories about an unnamed kingdom – quite obviously our own, relating some of the events in a way that made us look like fools. She knew all of our business! And was letting us know that she did. Not good – Pitax’s spies are far better than our own.
The joust was to be held the next day. But the ruler of Pitax and host of the game announced at the dinner that there had been cheating! Naturally, we nearly shat ourselves. He held up a bunch of arrows. (whew!) It seems that someone had swapped in arrows with adamantine heads: non-magical, but more likely to pierce the targets. I cast Detect Thoughts, concealing the gestures again and scanned the other competitors. The daggermark contingent was in an absolute tizz, and it’s plain they were the cheats. I mean, really! At a friendly games and all!
The next day, I and I think also Rainor checked in on the scholar, but nothing to report. There were heats for the joust, and I’m sorry to say that Klael was knocked out early on, but by the eventual winner and favourite so there’s no great shame in that. Even so, Fredonia had won the competition on points.
But at the awards, the lord of Pitax announced that there had been a murder! The scholar was dead, his capstone missing, and the awards moot.
We went to his pavilion and investigated. We were questioned, and were open with answers which, in hindsight, was rather silly. His lordship arrested us and had us taken to a villa a few miles away, where we were under arrest.
Well, we politely stayed in the villa like idiots. Five days we cooled our heels, then the head of the secret police came in and simply ordered “kill them”, and pitax warriors poured into the room. Rainor, Jope and his shieldbearer, and Klael began punching the warriors out and scrabbling for the weapons they dropped. I tried to cast, but it had been some days since I had drunk the blood of anything respectable and had trouble concentrating. Eventually, I got off a Haste and a Greater Invisibility (it’s my only defense, really – up against a trained fighter who can see me, I am toast) and proceeded to deal with the Pitax bards who were busy singing their national anthem and war chant. Meanwhile, Rainor and Klael were whistling for their companions.
Within a few seconds (frightening how fast a battle goes, after days of inactivity) they were done, and Klael and Jope began stripping the armour off the warriors, shieldbearer helping them dress.
Rainor and I stepped outside, to where the head of the secret police was calmly smoking a Galois on the porch, watching the detachment of soldiers that had brought him ride off down the road. Rainor had a moment of bad luck or just plain clumsiness and alerted him and they began to fight. He knew I was there, too, even invisible. He was too quick to hit in a sensitive spot with a Scorching Ray, so I brought out my only big hitter: Phantasmal Killer. But he shook that off, too. It took Rainor, Rainen, and Klael’s pegasus to bring him down. Rainor grappled and pinned him, and I put a Scorching Ray into the base of his skull.
The stasi officer was a high-level rogue. Seldryn has 3 levels of rogue and cannot get sneak attack on a high-level rogue with Uncanny Dodge by flanking or invisibility. They have to be immobilized. The Phantasmal Killer had a decent chance – it plays on a rogue’s weaknesses – but he made his fort save.
As soon as we were free of the villa, Jope started to receive messages – Tatselford and Fort Tuskwater were under attack by Pitax! They would had to have started their march as soon as we were safely occupied with the games.
So. Here we were. Armed and armoured if just barely, in hostile territory, and me without my godsdammed spellbook. I performed a Locate Object (with a little help from our family friend), but it was nowhere nearby. We needed our gear, including my backpack with probably close on a hundred thousand gold worth of scrolls which I have been crafting for the past year and my goggles. I mean – yes, everyone else has their stuff too. But I was lost without my spellbook.
The one soldier we had left alive was no use whatever. I suppose Mr Secret Policeman might have been some help, but I had incinerated his brain and no help was to be had there. There was nothing for it but to mount up (thankfully the stable had about a dozen horses) and ride for the games ground. We tied up the prisoner. We should have killed him, but Klael wouldn’t hear of it and even Rainor was squeamish. I suppose it wasn’t that important.
Sigh – the things that a neutral character has to put up with! Klael is a Paladin, and he and Seldryn avoid each other as much as possible.
We made decent speed and got to the site of the games within a day or so. We found our troops – a detachment of humans and kobolds, as well as His Grace’s masseurs and whatnot camped in the woods where we had left them.
The games were still being packed up. At the grounds we came dressed as secret policemen, of course, and Jope has “imperious” pretty much down. It seems our gear had been awarded as booty to the general of the Pitax army, and was with that general over at Tatselford.
So. Home with the best speed we could manage with a dozen or so troops, to assault the army besieging Tatselford.
Well, we didn’t really want to assault the whole army – just a quick strike into the command tent to get our stuff. It was a large pavilion surrounded on three sides by a palisade. Archers on the corners, a pair of trolls out front, and who knows what inside. The plan was to have our dozen or so troops stage a distraction outside at the main camp and to do a quick strike – in and out – at the pavilion.
We buffed up. I had Stoneskin (communal) prepared and a few pinches of diamond dust in my pouch. I also still had the Keen Weapon that I had prepared for the woodcutting. The godfolk were perfectly fine, of course, and cast their various blessings. We Dimension Doored into the pavilion and started the havok.
The interesting thing for me was just how much magic Switch still had, even without being able to prepare spells and without access to her scrolls. Thought and Memory acts as a Ring of Wizardry II, as well as being her bonded item. Stoneskin (communal) is a rort – 600gp worth of diamond dust to give everyone 110 points of DR 10/adamantine for 10 minutes. We needed it.
The general was an Oni – a spellcasting ogre. Great. He had two other people in the pavilion, both quite nasty fighters. Klael held off the Trolls, taking a real pounding doing so. I summoned an air elemental as a distraction (it fought defensively). Jope, Rainor and shieldbearer were dealing with the people inside, and I think Rainen and the Pegaus were taking out the archers outside. Our gear was all there in a big chest, but we didn’t have time to root through it. The Oni dropped some spells – confusion among them. Went invisible. I cast See Invisibility and Glitterdust, but he had gotten outside and was flying off. I managed to hit the trolls, too, with Glitterdust, which was handy, but I had no fire left to deal with them. The two offsiders were dead, the Oni had escaped, the trolls were healing up as we watched and had dealt with the elemental. Rainen, I think, had dealt with the confusion on shieldbearer but Klael was just about done. Jope and sheildbearer grabbed the chest and Jope was positively screaming at me to get us out of there (although I think we could have taken the trolls), so I did and we Dimension Doored back to the rendezvous. Less than a minute later, Klael on his pegasus and Rainor on Rainen arrive too.
And I have my spellbook back! The boys are rearming, Jope has his flail. We are still less than half a mile from a hostile army. We have barely a moment to take a breather.
I bet Dave threw in the trolls just because – well, because we are us.
Klael, between the Stoneskin and his Lay On Hands (which is a swift action for him, I belive), took about 300 points of damage. The dude is a tank.
Switch has used 21 spells – 5 in that last fight. She still has:
- Detect Magic, Dancing Lights, Mage Hand, Acid Splash
- Feather Fall × 2, Identify
- Resist Energy
- Major Image, Fly, Dispel Magic × 2
- No 4th level spells
- Phantasmal Web