Our inquiries in Magnamar led us to a clock-tower, rumoured to be inhabited by some snakelike creature. Entering, we were attacked by a construct stitched together of flesh. We would simply have bypassed it, but it went outside the tower and would have attacked bystanders. I judged that a present danger to the people outside was more important that whatever might or might not be at the top of the tower, and so Bhalek and I engaged it. On discovering that it was impervious to magics, Aeona and Vik ascended the steps on the inside of the tower, Zoran guarding them. (A flashy and distracting fighter, but not without valour).
The fight against the golem was tough, and made tougher by enemies above us dropping the bells of the clock onto us. I do not know what transpired above, saving only that Zoran fell a good hundred foot onto the floor, only his natural grace saving him.
Withal we brought the golem down, and our casters came down from the roof – Vik in her winged form (a creature not of evil, but of pure chaos – I mislike it: such a creature by definition cannot be bound to service forever) carrying Aeona.
We spent a moment healing ourselves, the potion of increased size which I had drunk to fight the golem wore off. Avove, we saw a great winged creature – an illusion (as we later discovered) that the snake thing had created to distract us while it descended to attack.
There is not much to describe, in truth. It was a tough fight. I lost concentration at one point and fell unconscious – revived by Aeona. Finally, the thing chose to run. Sadly, I am not well-suited to running down a fleeing foe. Vik’s eidolon, however, and Bahlek’s bow most certainly are.
We searched for evidence, we uncovered items of value. We found yet another letter leading us on to our next port of call – Turtleback Ferry, which lies in the shadow of Hook Mountain. I confess it will be a relief to get away from these swampy lowlands: the smell of the sea is not to my taste at all.
It concerns me somewhat that at each stage of our investigations we have been led thither by a note or letter left conveniently lying about. Do these people lack the commonsense to destroy their correspondence? Are we deliberately being led by a trail of breadcrumbs, placed by our foes? I hope not. But we have little choice but to proceed. At least – I do not. The motives of by companions are less clear to me, but I thank Torag for them.
The letter indicated that the purpose of the Runelords (or those that imagine they serve them – who knows? The Runelords are figures of myth.) in Magnimar was to harvest the souls of those prone to the vice of greed. And it mentioned that the Lord Mayor was a particular target. When we reported our results to him, I made particular mention of this – that the ancient thassolonian vice of greed made him a target. In truth, each of the ancient vices is a virtue mistaken. Greed is merely the virtue of prudence, of thrift and hard work, the virtue of taking care for the future, to prepare for it and to stockpile the today’s harvest against future’s want taken to extremes and placed above all other considerations. It is good for one who rules to be somewhat greedy, if you will, but he should be greedy on behalf of all his charge, and not forget the many other things also of import.
So I told him. I do not know if he listened, but I said my piece.
We were rewarded and fêted. In truth, we were in receipt of a prodigous amount of money – much of it in the form of credit to be spent in the city (I believe merchants in receipt of these notes can use them to pay tax, at which point the notes are are voided. The implications are stunning – this man has found a way to create gold out of thin air.).
We all purchased useful equipment, I am pleased to say. Aeona and Vik have spent considerable time purchasing ingredients and crafting items of magic. We have lingered here in town for weeks, in truth – but we know of no special timetable on which the runelords are operating. I have alternated between drinking and serving as an auxiliary with the town guard. A number of nasty little fights – I have become rather good at striking a target with the follow-through.
Aeona has enchanted my shield and – at my request – placed an illusion on my armour. To the ordinary eye, my half-ton of stone seems to be a simple suit of decent but somewhat worn leather. Deception is part of war, after all. I am not swift to run about the battlefield like Zoran – I need my enemies to come to me, or at least to stay in range. Stone armour tends to discourage that. I can better defend my companions if I appear easier meat.
Aeona has also greatly strengthened the enchantment on my axe. According to her, [aplologies to Brett for speaking for his character] her enchantments (as I understand them) work by choosing a future when the axe strikes true. Before, there was a slight blurring when I swung the axe, a trick of the eye easy to discount. Now, it is unmistakable – as I swing the axe there are multiple images of its flight through the air. Oh – less than a fingerwidth apart, true, but placing a blow here rather than there by less than a fingerwidth is the difference between a blow that bites and one that glances away.
Vik also gifted me with her time, and wove a belt with the enlargement charm. Now with a word I can battle a giant on more equal terms. A helpful trick if we head into the mountains.
Might also pick up a protective ring – I think I have the gold.
As to Vik’s eidolon – I will write no more today. It continues to be an issue of concern to me.
After looking through all the possible cheese, I settled on simply upgrading the axe to +3. The extra pluses are always useful, all the time – not just in special circumstances. A +3 weapon also beats DR/cold iron or silver, and we were up against bearded demons earlier.
Upgraded the shield. It’s pretty basic: if you are sword-and-board, then a +1 shield and +1 armour is way cheaper than a +2 on either. There are one or two cool shield enhancements, although I haven/t looked through them yet.
With grateful thanks to Rudyard Kipling, that horrible old racist and snob, who penned this D&D player’s anthem:
Loot If you've ever stole a pheasant-egg be'ind the keeper's back, If you've ever snigged the washin' from the line, If you've ever crammed a gander in your bloomin' 'aversack, You will understand this little song o' mine. But the service rules are 'ard, an' from such we are debarred, For the same with English morals does not suit. (Cornet: Toot! toot!) W'y, they call a man a robber if 'e stuffs 'is marchin' clobber With the -- (Chorus) Loo! loo! Lulu! lulu! Loo! loo! Loot! loot! loot! Ow the loot! Bloomin' loot! That's the thing to make the boys git up an' shoot! It's the same with dogs an' men, If you'd make 'em come again Clap 'em forward with a Loo! loo! Lulu! Loot! (ff) Whoopee! Tear 'im, puppy! Loo! loo! Lulu! Loot! loot! loot! Now remember when you're 'acking round a gilded Burma god That 'is eyes is very often precious stones; An' if you treat a nigger to a dose o' cleanin'-rod 'E's like to show you everything 'e owns. When 'e won't prodooce no more, pour some water on the floor Where you 'ear it answer 'ollow to the boot (Cornet: Toot! toot!) -- When the ground begins to sink, shove your baynick down the chink, An' you're sure to touch the -- (Chorus) Loo! loo! Lulu! Loot! loot! loot! Ow the loot! . . .