A place of Metal and Fire
Nomen Centaur Village

Metal.  Smoke.  Fire.  Marching Feet.

Everiel stirred from the table, the magic of the scroll fading as her spirit returned.   She looked around, seeing High Priest Jaric slowly lower his hands and the scroll he was holding crumbled to dust.   The Walls of the Mother Moon's hut surrounded her, thick with tapestry and animal hides.   in the light of a few simple lanterns, she could see the face of Shella, her Iron mother, look down.

How are you battle sister?, asked Shella. 

Everiel took a moment to recover, and said: "I am as well as someone who just returned from the bonds of death can be, Iron Mother."  "I am honored you would see fit to waste such valuable magics upon me."

Shella boomed out: "Ha, like i would let such a promising young candidate like you go to waste.  You fell by my side in Glorious Battle, and Gorum be Dammed if i was to let you stay cold in the ground when you could join us in yet more Battles of blood and Honor!"

Jaric askes: "Should i prepare the spells of restoration?  Gelros managed to find enough pure diamonds in out stash of gems to allow me to restore her to her full strength."

"Yes" replied Shella.  "I suspect we shall need Everiel in the coming fights with that damn cyclops duo."  

As Jaric begins the process to cast yet more divine spells, Shella leans in to speak with Everiel.  "Tell me sister, do you rember anything from your time beyond the veil?"

Everiel pauses, then speaks. "The last thing i remember mother, is that damn axe parting my spleen from my spine and burning out my breakfast through my nostrils."  "Though, i do remember a feeling of warmth, and the sounds of armies marching."

"Nothing Else?" asked Shella, as the glow of restorative magic began to seep into Everiel's skin.

"Well there was one more thing", said Everiel.  "I think I remember a voice reverberating in my head, saying Seek the trials."  "Thats the only thing i remember before waking up here."

"Innteresting," mumble Shella.

An Overpopulation of Soul Eaters
It's like a parliament of owls or a school of fish.

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 2, Month 11

Day 1.5? 1.7?

We finally found a place to rest. It's a hell-hole filled with dried blood, torture instruments, and Centaur feces, but, you know, it has a certain homey quality to it. More of a hovely quality, really. Like a literal hole in the ground. Formerly shared with the denizens of hell.

The shrine room was simultaneously a temple to some horrid deity and a gateway to this lovely corner of the dungeon. The tables were altars, and the cups were filled with dried blood. After poking around for a while, Kris carefully scrubbed out the cups and then gave us the all-clear to proceed. He assures us that by doing so he disabled some kind of horrible fire trap. Sometimes I think he is making stuff up just to pretend to earn his keep.

Beyond the shrine room we found a hallway of hewn stone, half finished. Passageways end in side alcoves; stairs ascend four steps and stop in midair. Of course, our ability to admire the shoddy architecture was cut short by a… demon? I guess? It inquired of Kris in whose name he dared to enter the chambers, and Kris replied (quite honestly, I might add) "In the name of Gelros Zhevons!" Well, the demon creature (apparently, a psychodemon, according to Gelros… although how the mental state of a pyschotic demon differs from a regular one I don't know) didn't respect that.

The psychodemon was a hard target. First, it clawed and grappled Kris. Second, Kris squirmed free. Third, it clawed and grappled Kris. You get the idea. Shella hit it, Jaric hit it, Narzeth cast his boneshattering spell (a couple times, it was apparently resistant), and generally everyone poured on the fury. It declined to die, for a while at least. Eventually, the demon emitted a cloud of noxious, stinking gas, which made Shella mad. So Shella finished it off. Done; moving on.

Meanwhile, a soul eater appeared. Everiel (she's coming in handy, that one) turned one on the psychodemon, which it happily helped murder. I then shot it to death. Another appeared and I shot it to death too. Good riddance.

At the end of the passageway (in the room we currently occupy), we found the centaur, Xamanthe, unconscious, bloodied, and paralyzed. Jaric healed her and released her from paralysis with a scroll, at which point she recovered and began conversing with Gelros in Sylvan. Xamanthe acknowledges being in way over her head and is thankful for the rescue. Upon entering the tomb, she was defeated by the cyclops zombies and brought to this place. She related being tortured by an emaciated cyclops with a single gem for an eye. She wants to go home.

We're spent for today; I've lost track of how many hours it has been since we slept. Much as none of us wants to sleep in this place, it seems the safest option to hole up where we are until we've rested and regained strength. Xamanthe has agreed to wait with us before we move.

Day… we'll call it 2, I guess

I'm writing in a lull in our exploration. This… morning seems an incorrect word, but I'll use it anyway… we woke cold and stiff in Xamanthe's temporary home, the torture chamber. During the "night," Shella had encountered and dispatched one of the zombies; on inspection it appears to be one we'd already destroyed once before. Someone, or something, is repairing them. If I had to guess, it would be this gem-eyed cylcops, who is beginning to sound a lot like the Vordekai of the centaur legends.

We escorted Xamanthe out of the fortress, retracing our steps to the entrance without incident. Outside, it was late morning. Bessie has left; her tracks lead back out of the valley. I can't blame her. Xamanthe headed out the same way. We, because we are fools, turned around and went back in.

When we woke earlier, I had the foresight to summon a centipede to scout the remainder of the fortress for us. At about the time that we returned to the shrine, it was back. I learned a little: the next chamber contained beings that made my vermin friend uneasy, and beyond there was a room full of heat, smoke, and sulpher. Finally, it found another path to the river, which is a useful insight.

We moved cautiously down the hallway and into a large chamber supported by two massive pillars. Here, unsurprisingly, we found soul eaters. Three, this time. We've learned now how to deal with these: Shella engaged and we dispatched them quickly. Now for the interesting part: to the right (as you enter the chamber) is a crack that leads to a passage filled with smoke and fumes. We haven't decided how to get through that yet, but fortunately there was another passage.

Straight ahead there was a door leading into the rock. Beyond this door lay a room with a huge cyclopean fresco and another, secret door, which Kris found behind a statue. This one was locked, both magically and with ordinary means. Narzeth dispelled the magical lock and Kris picked the regular one. Beyond was The Eye.

The Eye is a large gemstone fashioned as an eye and attached to the wall of the chamber. The whole room is so strongly magical even I can feel it. The walls are all covered in smaller painted images of eyes, all looking at that one central gemstone. Narzeth and Gelros studied it; Narzeth believes it may allow teleportation. Everything about that room suggests potent and dangerous magical rituals.

So, naturally, we've decided to steal it. (Well, perhaps "steal" is too strong a word when this entire place is clearly the lair of some evil villian whose very existence is a threat to our lands, but at the least we're claiming it as spoils of war.) So here I am writing, while Shella is in there with a crowbar working on removing it. What could possibly go wrong?


  • Disable Stygian fire trap (9,600 XP)
  • Defeat pyschodemon and soul eaters (14,400 XP)
  • Rescue Xamanthe (quest XP to follow later)
  • Defeat more soul eaters (XP?)


I got an eye, I got an eye, I got an eye, hey hey hey hey!

Give them the ol' angry eye.


..thieves will not be tolerated.  how dare they touch my focus.  Abaddon will aid me.

Underwater Adventures, Inc.
Apply Within!

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 2, Month 11

Day 1, Ah… The heck with it; I've lost track of time in here

This temple (castle? dungeon? masoleum?) grows more deadly the further we proceed. It scares me. I wish I were in a forest. Hazards of the trade, but these are particularly risky.

I've lost track of time now, but it must be quite late. After the last room, we needed a breather, so I've taken the opportunity to write things down. If things keep up like this, I might not be around to record them much longer. (Am I cheering you up yet? How about a near-death experience? Hang on!)

In the cavern after the zombies we found a dinosaur. A DINOSAUR. Well, a pleiosaur, which Gelros identified as an elasmosaur. All of which isn't particularly relevant. What is relevant is that (a) it bit Kris, (b) I failed to make nice-nice with it before © everyone decided the best way to fight a large aquatic creature in its native habitat was to dive in the water after it. Needless to say, it was somewhat hard to chase down. In the end, Narzeth used some mind-altering confusion spell and it bit it's own head off.

By this time I had decided that I wasn't following the rest of the party to the bottom of a 50' deep pool and had swum back to secure ropes to rescue them. Sigh. Some good did come of it; Kris found a body at the bottom with a magical ring, which Narzeth believes grants freedom to move through water without impediment. Some good that did the poor bastard who decided to fight the elasmosaur.

Proceeding further required traversing a short underwater passage. I rigged a rope and explored it first; it turned out to be short and easily navigable. Beyond was a large chamber filled with gigantic, and valuable, cyclopean pottery. We stored some of the smaller samples for later inspection, and moved on.

Next came what I have decided to call The Watery Grave. (Ok, look, I'm a bit shaken up here; ask me for good puns some other day.) Amazingly, it appears our centaur friend had been this far; I could still see hoofprints in the dust. Also amazingly, she appears to not have set off the traps. Yes traps, with an s. We, however, found these the old fashioned way: by blundering into them.

The chamber itself was foreboding but relatively normal for a militaristic shrine: ancient cyclopean warrior statues lined the walls of a large room. Kris, Shella, Everiel, and I had just finished cautiously checking the far reaches of the chamber, when several things happened all at once:

  • Large portcullises at each of the room slammed down. (Incidentally, this meant Gelros, Jaric, and Narzeth were locked out.)
  • Holes opened in the ceiling, and water began pouring through, along with some large and unhappy eels.
  • Side alcoves opened, and some of our zombie friends emerged.

The next few seconds were chaos. Narzeth pressed up against the bars and called out to Shella, who subsequently doubled in size. (Yikes!) Meanwhile, Jaric managed to haul up a portcullis manually and Gelros quickly fashions his any-tool into a support and pops it in place. Kris tried but failed to find a way to disable the sudden influx of water, so instead Everiel used stone-shaping magic to close off half the holes. Shella proceeded to smash the zombies, who also smashed Shella to a large degree, and took a chunk out of Jaric as well. Meanwhile, I shot the eels just to keep the enemy count down.

At this point, we're knee deep in water filled with blood (some of it ours) and eel guts, trying to figure out how to get through the room while still preserving a path of escape. Jaric had somehow lifted the first portcullis, but the second was proving harder. Everiel tried twice and failed; Shella tried twice as well. In the end, Gelros rigged a lever with multiple of our any-tools and we all helped Shella pry the gate up. Finally, we blocked both sides with heavy statues before escaping, shaken and bleeding, to the dry hallway beyond.

And here we sit, soaking wet but recovering. Even this notebook is showing the wear, despite being well wrapped in waterproof skins. Jaric and Everiel are finishing some healing rituals, so I expect we will be moving on soon. The room ahead appears to be some kind of shrine.


  • Defeat elasmosaurus (4,800 XP)
  • Survive trap room (16,800 XP)


  • Silver raven figurine of wondrous power
  • Platinum and ruby ring of Freedom of Movement
  • +2 gray flame longsword
  • Ancient cyclopean pottery (small) samples
I'm Going on a Valley of the Dead Trip, and I'm Going To Take...
A Banana!

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 2, Month 11


After long consultations with the centaur, preparations, a visit to Restov, and more preparations, we're on our way to the Valley of the Dead. It's not entirely clear to me what we hope to find there, other than the centaur leader's daughter. I hope an alliance with the centaur is itself a worthy prize for this place.

Day 1, Morning: Into the Valley

This morning, we entered the valley. It turns out to lie at the foot of a huge mountain range, beyond an extensive network of foothills. At the entrance of the valley is a stone wall festooned with warning symbols and messages in the centaur's language. Naturally, we ignored these.

The valley itself is several miles long and filled with rows of ancient stone pillars. These appear crafted, and some are inscribed with some ancient form of the Cyclopean language. (Or so says Gelros, and as far as I'm concerned, he knows pretty much everything about everything… so there you have it.) There are thousands of these… some standing, some toppled and broken.

More than the stones, the feel of the valley was oppressive. Despite the sunshine, it felt dark and clammy. The animals apparently feel it too: as we moved further it became quiet and I could see no birds, or even insects. There is something powerful here, and unfriendly.

At the end of the valley, a stone staircase proceeds up the mountain. Here, a quick look at the dust patterns revealed that a hoofed creature (perhaps Xamanthe?) had passed up the staircase fairly recently. I also noticed strange dragging footprints. These, it turns out, belonged to Cyclopean zombies, who promptly ambushed us.

The zombies turned out to be only a slight threat, but there is a menace about them. Their single eyes flash as they attack; it's quite disconcerting. Although we defeated them in short order, they do look powerful and capable of dealing deadly blows. This despite the fact that their mummified flesh appears no less than thousands of years old. As Narzeth and Gelros examine them, I'm recording our progress in this journal. Soon we proceed up the stairs.

Day 1, Early Afternoon: Stair Climber

The stairs were long. Up here, the air is cooler and the sense of doom has slightly abated. (Or I'm getting used to living under a sense of impending doom. It could be that.) At the top of the stairs, we found a small valley with a waterfall and a deep pool. In the pool sits an island, and the centaur tracks make for it. On the island is a large stone pillar, with smoke curling from the top. Whatever we are seeking is probably inside.

First, though, I should mention the wyverns. There were wyverns! These we defeated by teamwork. Significantly more teamwork than usual, I might add. Narzeth worked some magic that allowed Shella to fly (!) and she engaged the creatures with her sword. Shella's companion Everiel, meanwhile, used some potent magic on my longbow (she said it was "bane" magic) which did appear to make my arrows more accurate and deadly to those poor wyverns. I, well, I shot wyverns from horseback. It's what I do. Turned out to be effective too, although I was a wyvern pincushion as well. Jaric took care of that, bless him.

I would be amiss if I didn't record here that Gelros slew a wyvern with sparkly lights from a wand. And that Narzeth fought others off with his balls. His lightning balls. They were truly shocking.

Now that that's out of the way: we took our folding boat (that thing has proven quite useful!) over to the island and found a crack in the rock. We're preparing now to enter.

Day 1, Afternoon: Into Darkness

I believe it to be late afternoon now, but it's pitch black in here so I'm not sure. I left Bessie at the entrance; I hope she has the sense to swim back to the meadow if we tarry too long. This cave is more of a passage, really: there are many alcoves and frescoes detailing ancient cyclopean exploits, cities, empires… it would be quite impressive as an archaeological find if I didn't feel at any second that something was going to jump out and eat me. Shella says the feeling is from the magic; the whole place is infused with transmutation magic. There are some magical runes as well, but Gelros says they have been triggered and spent. Possibly an alarm of some kind.

We found and dispatched another three zombies. We overkilled, really: too much firepower expended. Beyond is a secret passageway through the rock that Kris discovered. Kris is motioning us on and Shella looks impatient; I'll put this away for now.


  • Explore hills hex (7,11) (150 XP)
  • Defeat cyclops zombies (4,800 XP)
  • Explore mountain hex (8,12) (150 XP)
  • Defeat more cyclops zombies (7,200 XP)


  • (6) MW battleaxe (size large)
  • (8) Spiniels, worth 100 GP each
  • Silverware worth 75 GP
  • 37 GP
  • +3 Greatsword with Issian coat of arms
  • 689 GP minted with cyclopean runes/images
  • Large jade bracelet
Extraplanar Ant Monsters and Where To Find Them
And a menagerie of other exotic threats

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 2, Month 10

Zzamas (that's apparently what the creepy spider lady's name is) turns out to have quite… interesting enemies. Gelros showed up in the morning; apparently he had made it most of the way to us the day before but needed some help from our main camp at locating our forward post. In any case, he spoke at length with Zzamas and a few things were decided.

 We followed Zzamas to her "home", which is apparently a large stone obelisk glowing faintly with magical energy in the middle of an otherwise barren field. Apparently it looks better in the ethereal plane? I don't know. Looked fairly forboding and inhospitable from this side. After some consultation with Zzamas, it became apparent that we had no way of engaging the Xill (the ant-creatures who you will soon meet), because they live on the Ethereal plane and we on the Material plane, although these planes coexist in space? This morning has been a crash course in interplanar geography from Gelros. It makes my head hurt.

As it turns out, we didn't have to wait long, because the Xill apparently thought we were an opportunity. We asked Zzamas to scout for them. She obliged, disappearing into thin air (plane shifting, I suppose), and reappeared moments later with a warning: "Careful friends! They are all around you!" Naturally, this put us all on alert. The enemy ambushed us moments later, popping into existence in a semicircle around our position. But seeing as we were ready for them, the ambush was less successful than it might otherwise have been.

Nevertheless, what ensued was one of the more horrific military skirmishes I have ever participated in. The Xill are monstrous: all insectisoid arms and legs, with beady eyes and large mandibles. Also swords. In what has become a depressing theme in recent combats, one bit me as Bessie and I tried to overrun its' comrade to escape. And promptly paralyzed me. I must be losing my edge. In fairness, nearly the same thing happened to Kris. So within a few seconds, two of us were down for the count. (As I would find out, Xill poison lasts for hours.)

But what came next was worse. While we were paralyzed, the Xill deployed some kind of proboscus and implanted (shudder) eggs into our chest cavities. Eggs! And you thought regular maggots were bad. Ugh. The worst part of this was being fully conscious throughout the whole thing.

Somehow, I was still in the saddle (thank you Bessie!) and, mercifully, Bessie ran away at this point, leaving the combat behind. So the rest of the combat I will relate as told to me by Gelros and Shella.

After Bessie hauled… horse? off the battlefield, Shella and the others slew several of the Xill. The remaining Xill decided to retreat, and decided that Kris should come with them. In fact, they almost succeeded. As they faded from this plane of existance, Zzamas transported Jaric through to the ethereal plane, where he dispatched the stragglers and recovered the still immobilized Kris. They seem to be none the worse for wear, apart from the, um, eggs, and the fact that Jaric lost all his fingernails in transit.

About those eggs: after some consultation with Zzamas (which, at the time, I could hear but mercifully not respond to), Jaric and Gelros concluded that they could either cut them out one at a time (yikes!) or use magical disease removal. Thankfully, Jaric opted for the latter. At that is about all I want to say about the experience. We wrapped up with Zzamas shortly after. She delivered her ancient shiny treasure chest, as promised, Gelros negotiated some kind of loose alliance, and we were on our way.

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 2, Month 11

It feels good to be back in town for a few days! Since Zzamas and her interplanar egg-injecting friends, we've been tying up loose ends. In fact, this is our second trip back to town since then. On our first trip back, we explored Lake Silverstep, and Shella and I decided to stay behind for a few days to catch a few of its famed eels for the gentlemen that wanted them. Those things are slippery, let me tell you, and I'm not referring to their skin.

Upon our return, there was quite a ruckus. Let me sum up:

  • We delivered not one, not two, but three roc eggs to the self-proclaimed Omelet King. He did, indeed, make a regal omelet with them, and it garnered about as much public attention as actual visiting royalty would have.
  • We delivered the eels to slightly less fanfare, but the eel pie was tasty and seems to have had a minor but persistent beneficial effect on my health.
  • We delivered the spider silk, which has helped boost the Arborian economy.
  • After much research, we decided to return the relic SkyBolt to the centaur (as, apparently, it is of their ancient culture) in an attempt to barter for some kind of truce.

Ok, about that last bullet: I think we got more than we bargained for. SkyBolt was indeed well-received by the centaur clan. They were at first hostile, suspicious, and skeptical (who can blame them?), but the relic won them over. Still, their leader, who goes by the title Mother Moon, would not consider SkyBolt a negotiating chip. Instead, for peace, Gelros was forced to agree that we would seek to find and return her missing daughter, Xamanthe, who had been posted to watch the Valley of the Dead (cheery sounding place!). The safe return of Xamanthe will guarantee us acceptance into the centaur tribe. Which either involves a peace treaty or a really wild party; I'm not sure which.

In any case, Mother Moon warned that in the Valley of the Dead an ancient evil, known by the name Vordekai (not coincidentally, the name of the cyclopean demigod in that text of Pendrod's that Gelros found), might, just might, be waking up. So, naturally, we agreed to go. (To be fair, I suppose this might also solve the mystery of Varynhold, which is still hanging like a damp cloud over settlement efforts to the east.) However, seeing as the place is called The Valley of the Dead, it seemed wise to prepare. Which we have, and we depart with our entourage tomorrow.


  • Completed Ghost Stone War quest (7200 XP)
  • Defeating Xill (12,000 XP)
  • Explore hex (7,10) (150 XP)
  • Explore hex (7,8) (150 XP)
  • Completed The Omelet King quest (7,200 XP)
  • Completed Wanted: Spidersilk quest (7,200 XP)
  • Completed MMM Eels! quest (7,200 XP)
  • Explore hex (5,11) (150 XP)
  • Explore hex (5,12) (150 XP)
  • Return Skybolt to the centaur (7,200 XP)


  • Gold chest worth 5000 GP (by itself!) with contents…

    • Spellbook (6 spells at each of levels 1-5)
    • Wand of Dimension Door (22 charges)
    • Scroll of Haste
    • Scroll of Blink
    • Scroll of Magic Missile (caster level 3)
    • Headband of Intellect +2
  • Cloak of Resistance +2
  • Handy Haversack
  • +2 Buckler
  • Mithril falchion


+1 permanent HP for each character for sampling the eel pie

Between a Roc and a Hard Place
Hard roc cafe? Also mud slinging.

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 2, Month 10

At least, I think it is the 10th month. The party, minus our fearless leader, is back together for some additional exploration south and west of Varynhold. I've returned from a long border patrol; I understand the others had business in town. Gelros is busy governing and says he will follow in a few days.

We came to these mountains to seek roc eggs, as we had heard tales of a large bird that inhabits the area. Yesterday, we climbed to the top of a mountain I have decided to call Big Roc, and we were rewarded. The climbing itself was not so bad; fixed lines and pitons did the trick. At the top was the creature's nest, but the roc herself was missing. After some brief scouting, we sent Kris under cover of invisibility to steal an egg. He stole… ALL the eggs. All three. Even when mama returned halfway through, he somehow managed to sneak them into the bag of holding and escape.

Mind you, Kris was invisible, but the rest of us (waiting a few hundred feet away on the mountain top) were not. Mama was not pleased. Naturally, she directed her ire at us. Which was a mistake on her part. I drove several arrows into her; Narzeth and Raven slung spells. She picked up Shella and dropped her over the side of the mountain, but Shella did her amazing puff-of-purple-smoke trick and reappeared next to me. At this, I think the roc simply gave up in frustration and flew away. For this I am glad; it would have been a shame to have had to put her down.

Roc eggs in hand, this morning we headed south to scout the mud flats on the shore of Lake Silverstep. And for some reason, we felt a need to explore them… thoroughly. This turned out to be dangerous, not to mention icky. (I've had two baths in the lake and I'm STILL scraping mud out of my fingernails.) But where was I… ah yes, the mudmen. In what may be the most pointless combat we've had recently, we fought and defeated a number of mud… men. Men made of mud.

It was a slog. We got bogged down. (Literally, I fell in quicksand and Jaric had to drag me out. I feel dumb.) Raven face planted in the mud; Kris was totally plastered in mud cakes thrown by the… mud… things. Shella did her thing, which, as you know, is cut enemies in half. But between the quicksand and all the mud slinging, in the end, it turned out to be easier for Narzeth to simply bombard the mud flats with well-placed fireballs until we had roasted out the rest of the creatures.

So hurray! The mineral rich mud flats are now ripe for the plundering. I guess?

Later that evening

So mud men might be weird, but you know what's weirder? A giant spider with the face of a woman who only speaks a language that Raven knows just showed up on my watch in the middle of the night and asked us to help her defeat some kind of ant creatures. She is offering treasure, so I guess we're agreeing? But, for the love of trees, it's midnight! I told her to wait until morning, which she seems content to do. But I'm keeping an eye on her.


  • Defeated the roc (9,600 XP)
  • Defeated the mud men and their sand traps (10,800 XP)


  • 3 roc eggs
  • Grinning skull statue made of platinum and worth 1500 GP
  • A mummified corpse

Unknown Entry


      Menace continues to advance.  Has cleared the village of the interlopers, likely paving the way for more filthy savages to  come and live there.

Sent servant to deal with the one we learned of, servant has failed.   New servants will have to be found.

Observed Menace as it continued to explore the land.  Menace has removed the Bulletes from existence, truly a pity.   We were looking forward to those.   They also killed a nest of spiders and then spent an inordinate amount of time gathering spider silk for some reason.   Watched as they bungled through an ambush set up by the Ettercaps.  I guess when you pit a group of fools against another group of fools, you get what you paid for.

Observations will continue.

Still In the Dark
Six adventurers walk into an inn...

Kingdom of Arboria, Year 2, Month 9

The third day of the exploration of the ruins of Varynhold

The search is growing tedious. We should have left the granary alone. It turned out to be full of nothing but rotting grain, rats, and rat carcasses. Moreover, Narzeth, Raven and myself were all bitten by the rats as we drove them off, and all of us feel some horrid disease coming on. I almost burned the place down just to cleanse the town of the filth, but in the end Jaric talked me out of it, somehow. I can't recall why.

We subsequently searched a house, where we found a well-kept loom and a half-starved calico cat. I convinced her to come with us; perhaps she will be useful. If nothing else, she deserves more than a subsistence on diseased rats, which appears to be what she has been eating.

Another house yielded a hidden chamber with a studry wooden box containing an artisan dinnerware set. Looks… attractice, if fragile and mostly useless for practical eating, but Gelros assures me it is valuable. There is also a note that the set was intended for King Noleski Suratova's eldest daughter, so whoever owned this home must have either been well-connected or aspired to be.

A third house was the home of a tailor… but I am rambling. From this and several other dwellings, we recovered nothing of note.

Toward mid-afternoon we found the town blacksmith, which sits near livestock pens previously filled with horses. When we arrived, however, there was nothing alive but a swarm of carrion fowl. These we were forced to fight off as well, and, like the rats, it was unpleasant. Raven and Gelros both sustained injuries to their eyes and are temporarily blind. Raven looks miserable.

The blacksmith itself is undamaged and will make valuable salvage, but we are no closer to uncovering what really happened here. It is now nearing dusk and we've retired to our campsite for the night. Gelros has fortified Shella with some type of magic that will allow her to stay awake while she sleeps, so we will be ready. (Don't ask me how that works; some kind of trace maybe.) I'll write more tomororow. Here's to a peaceful evening.

The fourth day of the exploration of the ruins of Varynhold


Well. I hope we can finally put that soul-eater thing behind us. It arrived again, toward midnight, and went straight for Gelros despite our fire barrier. As I mentioned, we were prepared, but even so everything happened so fast that we almost lost Gelros. The… thing arrived and struck Gelros twice with it's claws; from his reaction it was clearly dealing more than just physical damage. Jaric awoke but was too far away to cast his protective spells before the creature attacked again. (Mental note: next time make sure the priest beds down next to the known target he wished to protect.)

At the end, a number of things happened almost at once. The soul eater attacked again, knocking Gelros to the ground. Jaric stood and began scrambling over. The creature reared back and seemed poised to attempt some type of coup-de-grace, but Shella (mostly) and Kris (a bit) at that exact moment rent it into shreds. In a matter of seconds, the unnatural screams had died down, the shadows had dispersed, and it was over.

We were quite shaken, as you might imagine. Gelros was staring blankly, unresponsive. Jaric examined Gelros and accounced he had a wound to his psyche which was beyond his power to heal until he prepared special magic. We did what we could to make him comfortable, and then rested fitfully until morning. Fortunately, by mid-morning, Jaric had restored Gelros to his usual commanding self. He also healed Raven of her blindness. We all still feel ill, though, having yet to shake off the effects of the rat-borne diseases.

Of the rest of the exploration, there is only a little to report. I spoke with the calico cat (don't look at me like that; can't everyone speak with cats?) and she told us her "feeders went away at red sun time" (dawn? dusk?) with the "bird song" and she knows nothing else. She does seem to be a good mouser; I'm taking her back to the farm. Also, she likes fish. We searched the local church of Erastil and found several quite powerful magical scrolls that Jaric can make use of. 

The most intriguing find to date was the Inn. The Inn showed signs of struggle, in addition to the normal signs of benign abandonment: a dead spriggen was in the corner, and the front door is scratched with the single word "Nomen," which is apparently the name of that Centaur tribe to the east. Of greater interest is that we appear to have found the notes and belongings of Gelros' old professor, Maestro Ervil Pendrod, who we have been looking for. From his journal, it seems he was invited to research the jade bracelet that Gunderson discovereed. There are several sketches and notes; it appears this artifact has something to do with pre-historic centaur migrations?

Frankly, I was more interested in Pendrod's geography books. Of note, one volume was dog-eared at a passage about an island named Vordakai's Island with riches and some kind of guardian; a marginal note mentioned it might be a centaur God? Intriguing. Still, none of this has explained what became of the town's inhabitants.

I fear we will leave without a satisfactory explanation, and I hestitate to recommend that we claim the town for Arboria until we know what happened and can prevent it in the future. Ah well. For now, to rest and prepare for the journey home.

Game Mechanics

  • Killed Rat Swarm (5400 XP)
  • Killed Mass Murder of Crows (4800 XP)
  • Killed Soul Eater (4800 XP)
  • Found…

    • 37 gp, 52 sp, 114 cp
    • The professor's books (worth 500 GP to his academy)
    • A viola, with case (by a master craftsman, worth 2,000 GP)
    • Cure Serious Wounds (x3), Remove Paralysis (x3), Restoration (x1), Break Enchantment (x1), Raise Dead (x1), Breath of Life (x1)
  • The map counts as exploring hexes w/in 2 squares of Varynhold

    • (3,11) is plains (150 XP), infested w/ spiders
    • (4,11) is hills (150 XP)
    • (4,12) is plains (150 XP), infested w/ bulettes
    • (5,10) is mountains + river (150 XP)
    • (5,11) is plains (150 XP)
    • (6,11) is hills (150 XP)
    • (6,10) is mountains (150 XP)
    • (6,9) is hills + lake (150 XP), vast fields of mineral-enriched mud

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