Greyhawk: Gem of the Flanaess

Part One - Chapter Nineteen: Trolling for Treasure

By noon, on Freeday, the 14th day of Patchwall in the Common Year of 580, the Company of the Green Dragon was well into their sixth expedition into the Tower of War in the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. Having just killed four trolls that had been guarding an altar to Vaprak and a set of double doors that lay beyond, the band then stepped back into a corridor to investigate another set of double doors they had seen about thirty feet away.

Upon opening these doors, they found a large chamber that looked like a tavern after a good brawl. The stools were broken, the tables were overturned, and there was food and grime on the floors. A handful of trolls were enjoying a combination of eating and fighting. Stranger still were the two living troll heads that were sitting on a far shelf, and which were being prodded with a stick by another troll. But as soon as they took note of the light cast by a daylight spell that Kelgor had cast earlier, the trolls suddenly turned towards the band and began to approach. Tadwin then stepped into the doorway and launched a fireball that engulfed most of the trolls. When the smoke cleared, one of the trolls moved to the front and was quickly cut down by Corvyn with his giantbane greatsword. Kelgor then led the charge into the room and Corvyn was right behind him.

It was at this point that the band got a good look at the rest of the room and saw that in addition to eight normal sized trolls, there was a landing to the right where stood three very large female trolls, one of which was casting spells. Most of the spells she was casting appeared to be the kind that bolstered the other trolls or herself. But after Corvyn was savagely mauled by one of the trolls, he then fell victim to a hold spell that left him defenseless and in a very precarious situation. Kelgor did what he could to heal him up, but it was Tadwin who came to his rescue by dispelling the hold spell. Brom likewise had his difficulties due to the troll shaman. Following Brom’s initial sneak attack, the troll shaman cast a spell which, from that point on, foiled Brom’s preferred method of turning invisible before attacking. As a result, Brom was not as effective at dealing out damage as he would otherwise be.

But, despite these setbacks, the band persevered. Eventually, mostly due to Corvyn and his sword, the band began to make headway against the trolls, and as the band would take them down, Zeke or Tadwin would finish them off with a burning hands spell, an acid splash, or a flaming sphere. The battle went on for quite some time, but finally the only troll left standing was the shaman. Even before she had cast a number of defensive spells on herself, she was a very tough troll to defeat. Fortunately though, she too had a difficult time trying to hit those who pressed in on her and she even resorted to channeling negative energy which struck all members of the band. In the end, however, the band proved to be too much for her and, after receiving an astonishing amount of injuries, she finally collapsed to the ground.

Realizing how valuable she might be to the manager of the Pit back in Greyhawk, Zeke used several charges from his wand to try and polymorph the shaman into a harmless animal. But even on the verge of death, she proved to be too difficult for this. So, as the band had done with the other trolls, they set her body on fire to insure she would not be getting back up.

When the battle with the trolls was over, the band healed up their injuries and searched about the room, though they did not find anything of value. At this point, the spellcasters of the band were very low on spells, so, even though they had only been in the ruins for a couple of hours on this expedition, they decided to retreat back to Greyhawk once again. They were also concerned about Corvyn, who had been drained of life energy and they wanted to make sure they could cure his affliction before it got any worse or got more expensive to heal.

A few hours later, the band was back in Greyhawk, and Zeke took Corvyn to the temple of Boccob, where the band paid to have a restoration spell cast upon him. They also picked up a few more supplies and the rest of the day passed uneventfully.

On the following morning, that of Starday, the 15th day of Patchwall, the band set out yet again and began their seventh expedition into the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. Tadwin’s henchman, Niki, not having heard any news about Imogen for the past week or so, rejoined the rest of the henchmen and came along as well.

This time, before proceeding to the fourth underground level, the band gave their henchmen new instructions. After lowering the band down on the lift, the henchmen were to explore the third level for any signs of the troglodytes, which were believed to have been killed by the duergar, and to kill the giant frogs they had seen previously on the third level.

Upon reaching the fourth underground level again, the band picked up where they left off and returned to the room where the big battle with the trolls had taken place. Here, they found evidence of more recent activity, as well as the footprints of other trolls. They followed these tracks back to a kitchen where they found nothing of real interest. But beyond this they came to a hallway leading to five bedchambers, two of which were occupied by two more female troll leaders. The band killed these two without too much difficulty and found some minor treasure, although, as had been the case with much of the previous two levels, the band was disappointed at having found no magical treasure.

From here, the band returned to a corridor at the perimeter of the troll-controlled area and found a set of stairs leading down to the next level. Water ran down these stairs making them look very slippery. Before taking the stairs however, they looked further down the corridor and saw that it came to a collapsed dead-end. They then investigated another set of double doors at the opposite end of the corridor.

Beyond these doors, the band found an oddly shaped room with numerous pits dug into the floor. Inside these shallow pits were seven trolls which had been sleeping and were taken by surprise. Before the trolls could act, Tadwin cast a black tentacles spell, which grappled the trolls and greatly hampered their movement, although it also momentarily grappled Kelgor as well. With the trolls grappled, the band was able to take their time and cut the trolls down as they gradually made their way towards them. Zeke broke his spear during the fight, but it wasn’t magical, so it wasn’t a big loss.

Eventually, the band was able to kill all seven trolls and the band was able to search the room for items of interest. In a few of the pits, the band found some valuable gems, but, once again, no magic items. A couple of nearby side chambers appeared to have only large piles of refuse in them, though the band did not dig through them. From this area, the band returned to the double doors that had been guarded by the first four trolls they encountered.

Beyond these doors the band found what had once been a torture chamber with four prison cells, three of which still contained prisoners. In the first cell were three duergar, in the second were two dwarf-like beings whom the band realized were derro, and in the third cell were two strange looking fish men that the band assumed to be kuo-toa. All of them spoke undercommon, so the band questioned them and agreed to set them free if they would tell the band all they knew about the lower levels. From these ex-slaves the band learned several interesting bits of information, such as the kinds of humanoids they would probably encounter, the fact that there was a gold mine in the lower levels, as well as a gladiatorial arena, and that all of this was ruled by several ogre magi clerics of Nerull whose temple could be found on the lowest level. They even learned the names of four of these ogre magi: Nurroch, Krellock, Morgarin, and Korideth. In a nearby room, the duergar were allowed to collect their breastplates and picks. Then they followed the band back to the lift chamber and waited there, while the derro and kuo-toa wandered off on their own.

At this point, the only unexplored areas left on this level were either underwater or beyond collapses. So the band returned to the underwater area that Brom had explored previously. Here, Corvyn removed most of his gear and waded into the water. Tadwin used a dancing lights spell to help light the way, and Corvyn swam through the completely submerged passageway to a stuck door that Brom was unable to open. Corvyn pushed on the door and entered a room that was likewise completely submerged with very cloudy water and bits of debris floating about. Looking around, Corvyn found six manacle chains, a few branding irons and the metal form of a rack, all that remained of another torture chamber that once existed there. There was another door on the opposite side of the chamber, but before Corvyn could get to it, he suddenly realized that the water was filled with leaches and that he was now being drained of stamina. Corvyn turned around immediately and headed back as fast as he could. As soon as he emerged from the water in a panic, he shouted at Zeke to cast a burning hands spell on him. Zeke did as requested and the spell burned Corvyn pretty badly, but it also killed all the leaches attached to him.

Corvyn was then magically healed of his wounds, though they could do nothing at the time for the draining effects of the leaches. With no one having any desire to enter the leach infested water, they decided to try and enter the area from the opposite direction.

Circling around to a wide corridor with a door at one end and a collapsed passageway beyond that, the band came up with a plan to find out what lay beyond the collapse without having to do a lot of digging. Tadwin cast a gaseous form spell on Brom, who then seeped through the rubble to see if it would be worth exploring. Just beyond the collapsed area, which was more than thirty feet long and would have required many hours of digging, Brom came to a chamber with a giant-sized bed in it and a set of stairs leading down to the door that Corvyn had seen underwater. There were many cracks and fissures in the northeast wall of the chamber and something, a body perhaps, lay under the covers on the bed. But Brom saw nothing of particular interest, so he returned to his companions, via an alternate route through another collapsed passageway, where he resumed his solid form and described to the others what he had seen. All then agreed it would not be worth the trouble to explore any further.

Here, the band decided that they had explored enough of the fourth underground level, as the only thing left lay under or beyond collapsed passageways and would require a great deal of digging. They then began to make plans for exploring the fifth underground level, and one of the first decisions they had to make, was how to reach it, since the lift to that level had been destroyed. Before going down however, they had their henchmen lower the lift from above and took the three recently found duergar back up to the duergar complex where they could rejoin their kin. The henchmen, by this time, had finished investigating the third level, and found that the duergar had indeed killed all the troglodytes. The henchmen had also hunted down and killed all the giant frogs.

When the band was finally ready, they made their way to the stairs leading to the fifth level. After much debate, the band decided to try using the stairs, which were made slippery and dangerous due to the water that continually ran down them, rather than climbing down the elevator shaft, which also had water pouring down through it. As it turned out however, the band soon had second thoughts about the decision they made. Brom used a spider climb elixir and Kelgor cast a fly spell on himself, to avoid the slippery stairs. All the other members of the band though, with the exception of Zeke, ended up tumbling down the stairs most of the way and were pretty beat up by the time they reached the bottom.

From the bottom of the stair well, the band explored around a little bit, finding that the stairs actually continued on down to the next level. There were a few other corridors as well. But much of the level was in ruins, as the walls and ceilings had collapsed in many areas. The duergar had, in fact, warned them against creating any explosions as the entire level was very unstable.

Near the stairwell, the band soon found the lift chamber where the water poured in from the level above. The elevator shaft going to the next level was completely destroyed and some thirty feet down the water crashed onto a pile of rubble that filled much of the shaft. Lying atop this pile of rubble was the crushed body of a creature that looked part lion and part dragon, which the band eventually identified as a dragonne. Brom climbed down to it to take a look, but found nothing of use there.

At this point, the band began to have a change of heart about exploring the fifth underground level. Just from the small amount that the band had seen so far, there was the sense that this level could be even deadlier than the levels above, and they did not feel that they were quite ready for it. So, it was decided that they would retreat back to the city, where they could spend a couple of days and better prepare themselves. In order to get back up, Brom climbed up the elevator shaft and Corvyn was levitated back up. Then the two of them attached a rope to the winch up above, and the rest of the band was lifted back up, one at a time, using the winch. From there, the band gathered their henchmen and headed back to town.

Back in the city, they spent two days resting, training, and preparing themselves. It was during this time that Esremire began to notice a very subtle change in himself, a certain, almost imperceptible empowerment he felt, that was linked somehow to the gems he had gathered in one of the rooms within the ruins. Because these gems were part of the band’s treasure collected within the ruins, and therefore their value should have been shared equally between the members of the band, he intended to sell them. But something did not feel quite right about it – as if they might be cursed. So the band paid a cleric to cast a divination spell on the gems, and they were told that Esremire should keep the gems “for to do otherwise would be one step forward, two steps back.” So, for the time being, Esremire kept the gems. By the morning of Godsday, the 18th day of Patchwall, the band was preparing to make their eighth expedition into the ruins of Castle Greyhawk.

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Part One - Chapter Eighteen: The Devastation of Vaprak
It was on Earthday, the 6th day of Patchwall, in the Common Year of 580, when the Company of the Green Dragon made their fifth trip to the ruins of Castle Greyhawk; and it was shortly after noon when the band had come to an agreement with Gaerdar of the duergar to leave their complex alone, and proceed on to the fourth underground level of the dungeon. With the band’s henchmen staying behind on the third level in order to operate the lift, the rest of the band was lowered about fifty feet down until they came to a stop on a landing pad in a chamber that was in ruins.

At a nearby elevator shaft that obviously went to the level below, the two winches remained, but water now fell down the shaft. The water was coming through cracks in the walls to the northeast and northwest. A small stream also ran across the room to a set of double doors to the southeast. Upon examining the shaft going down with a light source, it was noted that the winch lines were dangling in the air, the elevator pad no longer attached, and that the chamber some fifty feet below was in even worse shape than the one they were in. Clearly the band would not be using the elevator to access the level below.

Looking about, the band decided first to try a set of double doors on the northwest side of the room. These doors opened up onto a wide corridor and a series of stairs going down. Unfortunately, water likewise seeped in through a crack on the northeast side and completely filled the passageway at the bottom of the stairs. But Brom took the time to make a potion that would help him move about underwater. He then removed his gear, and swam into the passageway. There he found a door that was stuck and a turn in the passageway with stairs that rose up out of the water. Brom followed the stairs going up and saw that they continued on up to a corridor that was higher in elevation than the one in which he left his companions. At this point, he turned around and returned to his companions to tell them what he had found. From here however, the band decided to try the double doors leading to the southeast. Beyond these doors they found a corridor with considerable damage done to it. It was partially caved in and debris was strewn all about.

Nevertheless, the band was able to move past the debris and follow the stream that ran through the passageway. The stream soon turned however, and flowed under the debris of a collapsed side passage. Brom was scouting ahead as usual and when he reached this point, he heard a distant woman’s voice calling from the southeast that said, “Oh please help me. I’m trapped.” Brom retreated, telling his companions what he had heard, though some members of the band did not appear very eager to respond to the call for help, perhaps believing it to be a trap. But Kelgor spoke up, saying that they had to at least investigate it, whether or not it was a trap. Esremire and Corvym then agreed and went to help him clear away the debris.

After a bit, the band had cleared away enough of the rubble to reach the passageway on the far side, where the stream ran to the northeast under another set of double doors. But the call for help, which by the way was never repeated, had come from the southeast. So they continued to dig, while Brom examined the double doors. Soon, those who were digging came upon a narrow collapsed passageway and after further digging, eventually cleared away enough to enter the passageway.

The passageway made a couple of turns and came to a small circular room where stood a beautiful solid gold statue of a naked woman holding out a flower of silver as if offering it to those who would enter. Esremire was fascinated by the statue and both he and Tadwin realized it was worth a small fortune. So, still wary of a trap, Esremire cautiously reached out to touch the statue when suddenly it came to life and attacked. The band battled the statue, which did considerable damage, and as they did so, the statue gradually began to take on the appearance of the rust-red skeletal form of Nerull, as if its true form was being revealed beneath the illusion of the golden woman. However, when the band finally defeated the statue, oddly enough, it reverted back to the shape of the golden woman! Realizing how much the statue was actually worth, the band debated for a while on how they might remove it from the ruins. But they agreed to leave it behind for the time being and come back for it later.

Following this, the band then headed through the double doors that lay beyond the debris and came to a large temple, the length of which was sundered with a sheer crevice that ended in the middle of the altar at the far end of the room. A balcony to the southeast had crumbled and collapsed, and its pillars had toppled. Water now gushed into the crevice and a rumbling could be heard far below.

As the band stepped into the chamber, a large rust-red skeletal statue with green hair could be seen wedged between the cave walls as if trying to keep from falling to its destruction. As the band was gazing in wonder at all of this, they were suddenly attacked from above by four blue creatures with conical bodies covered in angry red eyes and numerous tentacles. These creatures, called tentamorts, had stringers on the end of one tentacle and another tentacle long enough to strike and grab its opponents. Some members of the band fell victim to the stingers which caused them to become helplessly nauseous, while some were grappled by the second tentacle.

To make matters worse, during the battle, another creature that resembled a giant brain with a bird’s beak and long tentacles, called a grell, floated up out of the crevice and also attacked. Its first victim was Esremire, who became paralyzed by the tentacles and was on the verge of plummeting into the crevice, when Corvyn, who fared much better than most of his companions, came to his rescue. Corvyn killed the grell and then turned and attacked the tentamorts. He and Brom, who likewise fared better than the others, did most of the damage to the tentamorts. Eventually though, all the monsters were killed.

After healing up a bit, the band explored the temple, but found nothing of real value. They did however, notice an area in the crevice where four large marks were gouged into the sides, looking exactly as if some mighty being with huge talons or tentacles had literally ripped the floor apart. The statue of Nerull also had several cuts and scrapes on it, as if it had been attacked. It and the ruined altar both radiated a faint magic, but it appeared as if whatever the functioning of the magic once was, it had been destroyed. The band also noticed that the crevice apparently extended all the way to the level below.

From here, the band decided to investigate a set of double doors to the southeast. These doors opened up into a wide corridor with several single doors running alongside it. Here, the area seemed especially cold and forbidding. No moss, lichen or even insects could be seen and all seemed barren and deadly. The first door they opened here led to a bedchamber decorated with a tapestry depicting Nerull, and on the pillow of the bed was a black opal. Esremire took the black opal and put it in his pocket, but soon afterwards he began to feel badly. So he put the opal back and began to feel better. Realizing the opal was cursed, the band agreed to leave it behind.

The next two rooms they entered were identical and they too had black opals on the bed’s pillows. The band left these opals behind as well. The last of these rooms however, also had an occupant. It was a wraith, most likely the undead spirit of a half-orc cleric that served Nerull until the bitter end. It immediately attacked and struck Corvyn, seemingly draining the health from him in the process. Having never faced a wraith before, Corvyn believed at first that he had been drained of life energy by the undead creature and wanted no more part of it. So he quickly made a fighting withdrawal from the room. His companions, having witnessed the startled reaction of the band’s fighter to the undead creature, now became spooked themselves and an immediate retreat was called for by several members of the band.

Zeke, however, chose to blast the creature with a burning hands spell, and as a result, did not move back as far as his companions. Tadwin then moved back behind Zeke and launched a fireball into the hallway, which filled all the side rooms and ignited everything within. Fortunately, Tadwin was able to direct the blast so that it did no harm to Zeke and himself, though it did considerable damage to the wraith. Still, it did not destroy the wraith, which then moved up and struck Zeke with its health-draining touch. Once more, the two spellcasters retreated and again, Tadwin launched a fireball, this time managing to destroy the undead creature.

With the wraith now destroyed, the band soon realized that the damage caused by it was not as severe as they had initially thought. But despite this, the band decided to go ahead and retreat from the dungeon entirely anyway, so they could sell some of the treasure they had found, and so Tadwin could learn a few more spells, while Brom could learn more extracts. It would also allow the band to formulate more effective plans for the exploration of the ruins, now that they had a better idea of what they would be facing.

Before leaving though, Tadwin used his spell to locate secret doors and found two doors in the lift chamber. One of them led to an empty room where vast amounts of gold had once been stored. The other led to a passageway right next to the shaft going down, and although Esremire took precautions against falling down the shaft by tying a rope around his waist, he was still knocked off his feet and took a bit of a beating when he opened the door and a stream of water came gushing out. Afterwards, it was decided to try and approach the passageway from the other direction.

A few other doors and passageways were investigated as well, but most of these ended in collapsed areas where the rubble blocking the way was either too deep so as to make clearing the way impractical, or was extensive enough to require hours of digging. Finally, the band returned to where the golden statue was of the naked woman. There, Tadwin cast a spell that shrunk the statue to a size small enough to fit within one of the band’s magical backpacks. With this done, the band hopped on the lift and had their henchmen pull them up. A few hours later, they were back in the city.

Over the course of the following week, very few developments came up. There was no news about Imogen or any of the band’s other enemies, although Tadwin continued to scry upon Heironymous Spune and saw that he still spent his time somewhere in a swamp and was occasionally seen working with lizardfolk. Towards the end of the week however, the band got word that the Champions of Valor had been hired by the Directing Oligarchy to investigate the Mistmarsh.

On Freeday, the 14th day of Patchwall then, the band returned to the ruins of Castle Greyhawk, and began their sixth expedition into the Tower of War. This time, Ashba, who was still recovering from the recent death of her fiancé, chose to rejoin them in an effort to get on with her life. After checking in with Stillguar and the dwarves who guarded the tower, and making their usual agreement with them, the band proceeded to the fourth underground level as they had done previously. Along the way however, the band saw evidence that the troglodytes on the third level had been attacked and possibly even wiped out, though the band did not bother to take a closer look. It was assumed that the duergar had attacked them and the band had no concerns about this.

Back on the fourth underground level, the band picked up where they had left off, in the area where the wraith had been encountered. This time, they were better prepared to face any undead, including the use of a daylight spell that Kelgor cast upon himself. Although three of the bedchambers had been burned up by Tadwin’s fireball spell, a fourth such room was found still intact, complete with a black opal laying on the bed’s pillow. Here again, they encountered a wraith, but this time the wraith was rendered helpless in the daylight spell and was easily destroyed. Still, as before, the band chose to leave the black opal behind.

At the end of the cold and forbidding corridor, the band came to a door that opened up into a sitting room complete with a fireplace and a couple of couches. As the band entered the room, the fireplace sputtered weakly to life, apparently caused by some kind of enchantment. On the mantel piece was a golden statue of a battle scene depicting a horde of trolls and ogres destroying a small castle. The band took the statue and moved on to the only other door in the room, which led to a narrow set of zigzagging stairs. At the top of these stairs a door opened up into a large, nicely decorated kitchen. Here again, the fireplace burst to flame, though with much more fortitude than the previous one. This kitchen gave one the impression that it may once have fed the leaders of the underworld. Laid out on the kitchen table in a fold of black cloth were eleven gems of various shapes and sizes.

But before the band could examine anything here, they had to contend with a spectre that suddenly emerged through a door on the far side of the room. Kelgor and Corvyn charged up to it thinking it would be affected by the daylight spell that was still going. But to their surprise, the spectre was not affected and it attacked Corvyn, this time actually draining some of his life force. Fortunately, they were then able to kill the spectre before it did any more harm.

With the spectre destroyed, the band looked about the room and found, in addition to the eleven gems, a couple of potions. Kelgor cast an augury spell and could find no problem with the gems, so Esremire grabbed them. Afterwards, the band moved on and found a pantry with food, some of it rotting, along with three kegs of beer, wine and ale. Beyond that they found two more bedrooms, one of which contained the corpse of a dwarf-like creature that they identified as being a derro. In one of these rooms they encountered another wraith, but thanks to the daylight spell, they had no difficulty destroying it. The only other door from here was a concealed door, and the passageway beyond did not go very far before it ended in a collapsed area that was too heavily caved in to try and clear.

So the band retreated back to the temple and opened a set of double doors there that they had not yet explored beyond. These doors led to a short but wide passageway that connected to the narrow passageway where the water was flowing through from the lift room. Off to the northeast, there was also a large set of metal bound stone doors that appeared to be barred on the far side.

Rather than try to break down this door, the band instead gave Corvyn a light source and let him drink one of the potions they had just found, which Brom had identified as a potion of gaseous form. While in gaseous form, Corvyn was able to move beyond the doors and, after resuming his natural form, remove the heavy beam that barred the doors. The band then opened the door and entered the small chamber beyond which led to a narrow set of stairs going up. Brom snuck up ahead invisibly, and soon came to an intersection that connected with the corridor that he had previously discovered beyond the flooded stairwell. Just prior to the intersection was a set of stairs leading down to the southwest; and to the northeast, lay a room where four huge trolls appeared to be guarding a crude altar with a similarly crude statue of an ogre-troll type creature that was probably intended to be Vaprak. Beyond the trolls was another set of double doors.

Though the trolls had not noticed the presence of Brom, they had, however, noticed the light cast by Kelgor’s daylight spell and were on high alert. So Brom went back to his companions to tell them what he had found and to discuss a battle plan. Once they had devised a plan, Brom snuck past the trolls again and waited for the others to approach. Unfortunately, the plan did not go quite as hoped, for the trolls proved to be quicker than expected. But Kelgor ran up into their midst, momentarily drawing their attention and avoiding their attacks, thanks to a spell and his ability to dodge giant types with relative ease. Then Corvyn moved in and began wailing away at the trolls with his giant-bane greatsword. It made little difference then that the battle did not go as planned, for the trolls were no match against Corvyn and his sword, even after he had been drained of life energy. With the added threat of the sneak attacks from both of the rogues and a dwarf with a magical mace, the trolls were quickly defeated. Once they were down or about to drop, Tadwin then finished them off with a magical flaming sphere.

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Part One - Chapter Seventeen: New Alliances
It was on Sunday, the 2nd day of Patchwall, in the Common Year of 580, when the Company of the Green Dragon, learned that the lair of Clannair Blackshadow, formerly of the Shapechangers, was hidden somewhere within the Lord’s Tomb, and that the fourth member of the Shapechangers was Imogen Gellett, the barmaid at the Green Dragon Inn. As anxious as they were to act upon this new information, the band decided to wait for the following day, when Corvyn could have another restoration spell cast upon him, so he could return to his full health before the band got themselves involved in anything dangerous.

With this thought in mind, the band restricted their activities the rest of that day to merely paying a visit to the Green Dragon Inn as they might normally do. As expected, Imogen was working that night. Unfortunately, Tadwin did not do a very good job of acting as he typically would, and to a careful observer it might have been obvious that Tadwin seemed unusually nervous and out of sorts whenever Imogen came around to serve them. Perhaps, Imogen herself took note of this.

Whatever the case, there was at least one other person at the inn that night who definitely observed Tadwin’s uncharacteristic behavior. His name was Esremire and he could be described as a dandy, and a half-elf, and even a tailor. But in addition to these things, he was also a well-respected member of the Thieves’ Guild, and he too had his eyes on Imogen, though his reasons were very different from those of the band. Esremire, in fact, had been serving as one of the guild’s many eyes and ears for quite some time now, and was very familiar with the Company of the Green Dragon and some of their recent exploits. Indeed, another one of the tasks assigned by the guild was to keep an eye on adventuring bands like the Company of the Green Dragon. So whatever it was that the band had in mind for Imogen, Esremire had decided that he too would have his say in the matter.

Despite any subtle clues that the band might have unintentionally revealed about their motives, the night passed by uneventfully, at least for the band. The next day at about noon, Corvyn returned to the Grand Citadel, where Constable Derider Fanshen cast the last restoration spell on him. The band then spent much of the day resting and making plans for their proposed apprehension of Imogen later that night.

Meanwhile, with a little intuition and the considerable help of a few fellow members of the guild, Esremire came to the conclusion that the Company of the Green Dragon would attempt to ambush Imogen that night as she made her way home after work. So he too, made a few plans of his own.

Once again, with the setting of the sun, the Green Dragon Inn was packed with revelers who were now seriously partaking in the traditional festivities of Brewfest. But on this night, the Company of the Green Dragon would fail to make an appearance. Instead, Zeke disguised himself as a wealthy merchant, and entered the inn by himself. Then, using his considerable charm and charisma, he passed the night away, flirting with Imogen at every opportunity, making sure to keep his drinking to a minimum while at the same time making himself appear to be any easy mark for a late night mugging. As hoped, Imogen took the bait and accepted Zeke’s offer of walking her home after closing.

It was well after two in the morning then when Imogen and the seemingly heavily inebriated Zeke left the Green Dragon Inn and made their way to the Cargo Gate. An invisible Brom trailed along behind them just to make sure things went as planned. After passing through the city gate, Imogen and Zeke then headed south and around a wooded area on the west side of the city’s walls. And it was there that the band had set up their ambush.

But just as they were about to spring the trap, Imogen appeared to sense something was coming and pulled out a dagger, holding it up to Zeke’s throat. This did not prevent the band from attacking though, and at this point, they could not be certain if Imogen had even seen through Zeke’s disguise or not. Nevertheless, Brom came up behind her and stabbed her in the back. Then Tadwin called out to her from the nearby woods to surrender and struck her with a magic missile spell. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, an arrow whizzed past Imogen’s head, barely missing her.

All of this caused Imogen to release her hold on Zeke, but, despite her already serious injuries, she did not surrender. Instead, she did what no one had expected by reaching into a pocket and saying a command word while something could be heard snapping within her pocket. She then vanished in a puff of smoke. A quick check around seemed to confirm that she had somehow teleported away.

With their target now having escaped, the band began to look around for whoever it was that had shot the arrow. It was at this point that Esremire stepped out of his hiding place and introduced himself. He told the band that because Imogen was a freelance thief within the city, it had become his duty, as member of the Thieves’ Guild to catch her, dead or alive. The band was unsure about the motives of this newcomer, but their attention quickly turned to discussing the possible places where Imogen could have fled to. They realized that the most likely place would be her home at the boarding house known as the Black Orchid. So they began devising an attack there.

Esremire, however, informed the band that staging any kind of an attack at the Black Orchid might be more risky than they realized. He told them that the boarding house was home to an assortment of rogues, smugglers, and low-life types, some of which could be quite dangerous, including a half-orc assassin named Dooth Wyrmsill, though he was rumored to be crude and stupid. Hearing all of this, the band realized that Esremire was privy to a lot of information that they had never heard of. It was partly for this reason that the band then decided that Esremire might be a useful ally, and they invited him to come along.

They all headed around to the Highway Gate on the southern side of the city and after passing through it, made their way to the Black Orchid boarding house. Brom was the first to arrive, having used a potion to speed his movement. So, using his ring of invisibility, he began snooping around inside. Unfortunately, he did not know which of the dozen or so rooms belonged to Imogen. So he had to wait outside for the others to arrive. When the rest of the group showed up, Esremire knew which room was Imogen’s. So he snuck inside to investigate. Unfortunately, he was spotted by the inn’s proprietor, an elderly female elf by the name of Derken Gale. She questioned him, knowing full well that he did not live there. So Esremire made up an excuse and told her that he wanted to deliver a lost purse to Imogen.

A few minutes later, Derken Gale, now invisible, caught Esremire trying to pick the lock on Imogen’s door. She then began casting spells and calling out for other residents of the boarding house to come to her aid. Brom, who was still invisible, was about to try and assist Esremire, but changed his mind when he realized that Derken Gale was still invisible, even after attacking Esremire. Fortunately, Esremire was able to get Imogen’s door open, and in the process learned that Imogen was not at home. Then, just as a few other residents began chasing after him, including the half-orc assassin, Esremire broke Imogen’s window and jumped to the ground outside. He and the rest of the group then fled the scene.

Realizing that it would do little good to further investigate Imogen’s home, Tadwin and Brom went to Brom’s home at Mama Esther’s Bakery and Boarding house, while the rest of the group, including Esremire made the trip around to the pawnshop. Back at Brom’s home, Tadwin cast a spell to scry upon Imogen and found that she was in some dark and dusty chamber with lab equipment, talking to someone that Tadwin could not see. From the one sided conversation that he heard, Tadwin came to the conclusion that with the death of Clannair Blackshadow, Imogen must have made some kind of deal with the lich that was rumored to dwell within the Lord’s Tomb, which would help to explain how she was able to teleport away. Brom and Tadwin then returned to the pawnshop and informed the others of what they had learned, and they all agreed that if Imogen had the assistance of a lich that she was now probably beyond their reach, for they had no desire to go up against a lich and any undead minions he might have, not to mention Imogen herself.

So Esremire returned to his home, and it was decided by the band that they would simply inform Ricard Damaris, the innkeeper at the Green Dragon Inn, about the true nature of his barmaid. Afterwards they would resume their explorations of the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. Due to their late night activities, it was well past noon when the band got up and about on the following day. They then headed back to the inn to talk with Ricard. However, when they arrived they found that Esremire was already there and he had told Ricard about Imogen. The news, of course, was disturbing to Ricard, not only because Imogen was one of his best barmaids.

While they were talking with the Ricard, the band also made mention of the fact that they now intended to resume their explorations of the castle ruins. Esremire overheard this and he became interested in joining up with them. But, once again, he had a different reason than the band for wanting to visit the ruins. He had heard that a few months before, there was a woman by the name of Ravena who had joined up with a band of adventurers that went exploring in the ruins and was never heard from again. It seems that Ravena was the love interest of a high ranking member of the Thieves’ Guild by the name of Sandibar Graves, and that Sandibar had offered a nice reward for her safe return. It seemed doubtful, after all this time, that Ravena could still be alive, but it might be worth the effort to look for her. So when Esremire heard the band talk of returning to the ruins, he asked if he could join them, but he made it clear that he would want a full share of any treasure they collected. The band accepted his terms, realizing that Esremire had many useful connections within the city, not to mention some useful skills of his own. So they agreed to set out on the following day.

It was on the 5th day of Patchwall then, when the band, along with Esremire, made their fourth visit to the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. As before, the band brought along their henchmen, including Ashba’s fiancé Taylif, but not including Nikki whom Tadwin wanted to stay behind in the city and keep an eye out for any news about Imogen. With such a large group, the band had no hostile encounters along the way. And so it was not long before the band, having made their usual agreement with the dwarves who guarded the War Tower, were back in the dungeons and picking up where they had left off. Very little had changed during the band’s absence, with the Vaprak faction of ogre-kin almost entirely wiped out.

Upon reaching the 2nd underground level, the band had their henchmen lower them down on the lift into the 3rd under ground level, then told them to make their way over to the stairs leading down and wait for them at the bottom of those stairs. The band then resumed their explorations and soon entered an area occupied by more troglodytes. On their initial encounter with four of the troglodytes, one of the troglodytes was killed but the others quickly surrendered. These troglodytes then led them to a room where nearly a dozen more were quartered.

They put up no resistance and told them the general direction where Grimtorr, the only remaining half-ogre cleric could be found. They also mentioned that Grimtorr had a human concubine as well, which gave hope to Esremire that Ravena was still alive, although it also made the band shudder at the possible torture that this human concubine might have been through. Shortly after leaving the troglodytes behind, believing they had convinced them not to turn on them, the band made their way into a dining hall and a kitchen beyond where they encountered a couple of duergar cooks preparing a meal of more dead adventurers. Again, the band decided to let them live and turned their attention to a back room where the duergar said they could find Grimtorr in a meeting with his henchmen.

When the band was ready, they burst open the door and found a relatively small octagonal-shaped room taken up by a round table and chairs all of which were occupied by five orogs, two ogrillons and Grimtorr who sat on the far side. The band quickly began to cut down the ogre-kin while Brom activated his ring of invisibility, jumped up on the table and went straight for Grimtorr. Esremire, unfortunately, was not aware of Brom’s location though, and accidentally shot Brom in the back in an effort to hit Grimtorr with an arrow. Brom’s troubles did not end there however, as he was, just moments later, struck by Corvyn as he waded into the battle and was taking big swings with his greatsword. But despite these problems, Brom managed to make a deadly sneak attack that killed Grimtorr, while the rest of the band was able to defeat his henchmen with little difficulty.

Afterwards, Zeke healed up Brom’s injuries and the band looked about for items of interest. Among these were a set of tapestries, one of which depicted a pyramid atop a giant spiral staircase and above that was the image of Nerull, though it had been marked out. Another tapestry showed five priestly ogre mage and a third tapestry depicted a slave line filled with troglodytes, kuo-toa, drow and mind flayers.

From here, the band continued exploring the complex and soon came upon a few chambers occupied by a few more orogs and ogrillons, including four elite orogs in plate armor and wielding poisoned blades. All of these the band defeated fairly easily. In one room, they found three barrels filled with a poisonous gas, one of which they opened up and released the gas within from a safe distance in an effort to determine what was inside.

One chamber they found was a chapel dedicated to Vaprak, but which had once apparently been dedicated to Nerull. Behind the altar in that room they found a secret chamber with two hook horrors trapped inside. One of the hook horrors they killed, but the other one, Zeke managed to polymorph into a turtle with his wand. Another nearby chamber was obviously the quarters of Grimtorr and in it they found several luxury items that clearly were made for a woman. But they found no woman until Tadwin cast a spell to locate secret doors. Then they discovered another secret bedchamber and inside they found Ravena, who turned out to be a very attractive woman. To the band’s surprise, Ravena told them that Grimtorr had actually been very kind to her, though she was not all disappointed about being freed from captivity. In fact, she instantly took a liking to Esremire who told her he had come to the ruins to rescue her.

A few more hidden chambers and passageways were also discovered, but none of which led to anything of importance. So, with the 3rd underground level now completely explored and a rescued damsel-in-distress, the band realized they would need to return to the city. However, when they met up with their henchman again, they learned that they had been attacked by a wight and that Taylif had been killed in an effort to defend Ashba, who was now very distraught over the death of her fiancé. To make matters worse, they were forced to burn the body of Taylif so he would not rise up again as a wight.

It was nearing the end of the day by the time the band made it back to the city. Esremire immediately escorted Ravena to an inn where they got her a room and made her comfortable. A short while later, Esremire was rewarded as promised by Sandibar Graves and he split some of the reward with the Company of the Green Dragon. As a result, Esremire was invited to return with the band back to the castle ruins when they made their fifth trip there on the following day. This time, in addition to Nikki staying behind, Ashba likewise stayed behind to grieve over her fallen fiancé.

Still, the band had no difficulties on the return trip, despite their smaller numbers, and they were soon back on the 3rd underground level of the War Tower. This time, they all took the stairs down and made their way over to the lift that descended to the fifth level. Along the way, they did not encounter any of the troglodytes or duergar they had left behind, though they made no effort to search for them.

At the lift, the band had their henchmen lower them down towards the 4th underground level. But about 25 feet down, at about the halfway point, the band spotted a side cave and ordered the henchmen to stop the lift. Here they found a chest inside the cave and immediately suspected a trap. Just beyond the chest, they found a concealed door. So, while the band looked about the cave area, Brom scouted ahead invisibly and found a cave complex inhabited by dozens of duergar. But unlike the slaves that the band had encountered before, these duergar were far more organized and were clearly not slaves, at least not any more. Brom soon realized however, that the duergar had spotted the band through a spy hole and were now organizing a defense against them. Many of the duergar wore breast plates and carried picks for weapons, and they were turning invisible in preparation for an attack.

So Brom quickly scrambled back to warn the others, who were just now entering the duergar complex. When the band realized they were being surrounded by invisible duergar, they called out to them saying they had come in peace. Apparently at this point, the band was recognized by some of the duergar who had encountered the band before, including Gundo, who had had previous dealings with the band and knew they could be a formidable force. The leader of the duergar was then summoned and he and a few other duergar made themselves visible.

The leader of the duergar introduced himself as Gaerdar, and though he wore no armor like the rest of his kin, he appeared to be a very capable leader and exuded a confidence that most of the others did not. He asked the band why they had come and the band told them that they only wished to proceed to the level below without any interference from the duergar. After some discussion amongst his followers, Gaerdar agreed to the band’s proposal and let them go so long as the band agreed to stay clear of the duergar complex.

The band, in fact, considered the possibility of attacking the duergar, but decided against it, not only because these duergar appeared to be far more capable than the slaves that the band had dealt with before, but also because the band realized that there might come a time when they might actually want to form some kind of more cooperative agreement with the duergar. And so with that, the band had their henchmen bring them back up, to allow them to explain the situation to them and then prepared to be lowered down to the 4th underground level.

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Part One - Chapter Sixteen: The Unexpected Twists of Fate
It was shortly before midnight, on Freeday, the 28th day of Harvester, in the Common Year of 580, when the Company of the Green Dragon made their second assault on the hook horrors in the ruins of Castle Greyhawk, this time with much more success than on their initial attempt. After killing twenty-three of the huge monsters, there was a pause in the battle. So the band took a moment then to heal up using their wands of healing, as all of their healing spells had by this time been expended. But the break in the battle did not last for long. As Brom was about to do some more scouting about invisibly, ten more of the hook horrors came charging towards them from two passageways. Among these were the hook horrors that had previously been wounded in the first battle, as well as what appeared to be the leaders of the tribe judging by their size.

Despite the heavy losses these creatures had already suffered they continued to throw themselves into the fray with wild abandon. Any place else, this reckless behavior might have been seen as very uncharacteristic. But in the ruins of the War Tower, where the very air was fraught with the tension brought on by the struggles between Vaprak and Nerull, it was becoming commonplace. Still, in the case of the hook horrors, there seemed to be something more to it than mere tension. For the hook horrors appeared to be frantic, almost hysterical with rage. This went beyond even the slaughter they had recently been dealt at the hands of the Company of the Green Dragon. It seemed that something else even more disturbing had gotten the hook horrors into such a frenzy.

Using much of the same tactics as earlier, the band was able to kill most of the hook horrors, though not without receiving some injuries in return. The last of the hook horrors, presumably the tribe’s leader, Zeke polymorphed into a harmless, albeit aggressive, rabbit using a wand recently acquired from the Shapechengers. Although the rabbit appeared to retain the mind of a hook horror, Brom was able to pounce on it and stuff it into an empty sack, which prompted more than a few jokes, not to mention a few suggestions on what they might do with such a vicious rabbit.

With the last of the hook horrors apparently defeated, the band was again in need of rest and healing. So, as before, the band retreated to the dining hall where they had stayed previously with no difficulties. It was about half past nine the next morning, on Starday, the 1st of Brewfest, when the band was ready to continue on. Brom scouted ahead invisibly as usual, and when he came to the first hook horror cavern he was surprised to find ten zombies roaming about in the cave. Shouting out a warning to his companions, he then moved further into the caves, knowing full well that they would dispatch the zombies with ease.

As expected, Corvyn waded into the zombies and began cutting them down with broad sweeps of his greatsword. Then Kelgor stepped up behind him and sent out a wave of positive energy which nearly destroyed any zombies remaining. After taking down the last of these zombies, the band moved into the chamber containing twelve more zombies and twelve skeletons that Brom had discovered previously. Here again, Corvyn quickly carved a path into the midst of the undead and Kelgor followed him in. Two waves of positive energy then destroyed all but one zombie, which was then quickly cut down.

As his companions were busy destroying the mindless undead, Brom snuck even further into the hook horror’s caves, and there began to find clues as to what had caused the hook horrors such distress. Several of the hook horrors had been killed by something very big using only its claws and teeth, and whatever it was, it had to be very formidable to have done such damage. Thoughts of the monster unleashed by Vaprak came to mind, but the claw marks were different and this attack on the hook horrors had been much more recent.

After passing through a few of the cavern chambers, Brom noted the sound of his companions battling the undead had come to a stop. So he doubled back and met up with them again, and there he described what he had found. But instead of turning back in the direction of the hook horrors’ lair, the band decided instead to follow another natural passageway that led in the opposite direction. This passageway snaked around and came to a couple of intersections. At the first intersection, Brom, again scouting ahead, left a mark for his companions, and headed in the direction from which he could hear the sound of water flowing.

At the next intersection, just prior to reaching the underground stream, Brom spotted a section of ceiling that was unusually black and large. Concerned that this might be something dangerous, he waited a safe distance for his companions. When Tadwin saw it, he suspected it might be a black pudding or some other similar underground menace. So the band, realizing that weapons would probably not be the best means of dealing with such a creature, prepared to attack it with fire. They launched a few fire spells at it but unfortunately they did not anticipate its’ ability to leap from the ceiling and it suddenly pounced and landed on Tadwin. The creature’s acidic touch burned Tadwin, but thanks to Tadwin’s ring of freedom of movement, the creature was not able to grapple him, and it quickly slid off onto the floor of the passageway. Using spells, alchemical fire, and burning oil, the band continued to attack it. The black pudding only managed to get one more attack, striking Brom with a pseudopod, burning him and causing damage to some of his equipment, before it finally succumbed to the flames.

After healing up a bit, the band continued on and found the underground stream which, as the band had earlier been informed, was a source of food and water for the ogre-kin. Large fish of some kind could be seen swimming about in the stream. On the opposite side of the stream was a collapsed passageway that did not appear to be worth the effort to try and clear as it looked as if it had been created by a large burrowing creature, perhaps whatever it was that had attacked the hook horrors. The upper end of the stream emerged from a completely water-filled tunnel. So without any means of breathing under water, travel in that direction would have been very risky. In the opposite direction, the stream came to a waterfall that dropped hundreds of feet and well beyond any light source the band had. It did travel in the direction of the other two towers, but without any means flying, or safely scaling the slippery rock wall, travel in that direction would also be very risky. So the band turned back and continued to explore the winding natural passageways.

Eventually, Brom came upon a cave occupied by almost a dozen giant frogs the size of large dogs. Because Brom was once again invisible and moving silently, the giant frogs did not detect his presence and Brom decided it was not worth the group’s effort to fight them. He then doubled back and told his companions about the giant frogs, and they agreed with him.

Bypassing the cave with the giant frogs, the band’s only other apparent option was to return to the caves where the hook horrors had laired. Back in these caves, the rest of the band got a look at what Brom had already seen, the hook horrors that had recently been killed by something other than the band. From here they continued on past the point at which Brom had turned back, and came to a cavern that had clearly served, until very recently, as the hook horror’s hatchery. All of it had been destroyed and what remained of the hook horror’s offspring was scattered about like it had been struck by a tremendous storm. This was clearly what had upset the hook horror’s so much. But whatever had caused this devastation, the band could only guess – that is, until they moved about half way into the cave.

Then suddenly it all became too obvious, as a huge monster suddenly emerged from a recently carved passageway on the far side of the chamber. Larger than anything the band had ever seen before, this monstrosity had enormous claws and teeth and somewhat resembled a shark with four legs and a tough natural armor over most of its body. Corvyn rushed up to the monster and began hacking away at it and Kelgor soon followed, while the other members of the band repositioned themselves or took defensive measures. The monster, a living, breathing killing machine known as a bulette, then struck back and tore savagely into Corvyn, wounding him badly. But the band fought on, though they did little to slow it down.

It was at this point then, when band suffered their first major loss. For the bulette came at Corvyn again, and this time it tore him to shreds, nearly ripping his body in two. But the bulette did not stop there. After callously tossing Corvyn’s dead body aside it then leaped through the air and landed on Zeke, where it began tearing into him. The bulette was now on the verge of killing yet another member of the band. But fortunately, by this point, the bulette was badly wounded itself. So before it could take its second victim, Kelgor ran up behind the beast and landed the killing blow that finally put an end to the monster.

When the battle was over, only then did the band realize that there was nothing that could be done for Corvyn, except to try and have him raised from the dead. So they healed up those they could, and took a look around to see if there was anything worth taking. In a nearby cave, they found a bit of treasure which had apparently been stashed away by the hook horrors.

They also looked down the tunnel from which the bulette had emerged and found that it connected up to the lift room that they had seen previously from above. It was not occupied by anyone and there was another lift that could be lowered to the level below. But clearly, now was not the time to explore any further. Instead, they carried Corvyn’s body back to the dining hall where the band’s henchmen were waiting on them.

There they rested another eight hours or so until about half past seven in the evening, to insure they were prepared for the trek back to the city. During this time, they polymorphed the owlbear they had befriended into a dog in order to make it easier to take into the city. They then used a levitate spell to get Corvyn’s body up the elevator shaft and Ashba created a magical floating disc on which to carry his body back to the city. Any treasure the band had found on this excursion into the ruins was easily concealed in their magical backpacks, so none of it was given to the dwarves who guarded the tower. It was an uneventful trip back to the city and they arrived there at about half past one in the morning of Sunday, the 2nd day of Brewfest. They had to enter the city through the Cargo Gate, due to the lateness of the hour, and from there headed immediately to the pawnshop.

Following a night of rest, the band’s first task for the day was to try and find someone who could raise Corvyn from the dead. There were a number of people they knew who could do it – for a hefty fee. But they hit upon the idea of asking the Chief Constable, Derider Fanshen if she would do it for free, considering the favors the band had recently done, such as uncovering the plans for an invasion of Greyhawk. So, at about half past eleven, the band set out for the Grand Citadel where they soon got an audience with the constable. Derider, perhaps the most charitable member of the Directing Oligarchy, agreed to do it, provided the band paid for the material component of the spell. Unfortunately, they would need to return the next day, as she did not have the proper spell currently prepared.

After speaking with Derider, the band, using Tadwin’s henchman Nikki as a contact, went to the gladiatorial arena known as the Pit and spoke with the manager of the Pit, Pietain Morvannis. Zeke then made a deal with him and sold their polymorphed hook horror/rabbit for 8,000 gp, most of which would be used to pay Derider for the casting of spells to bring Corvyn back to life.

With this bit of business done, and now that he was experienced enough to do it, the band wanted Kelgor to cast speak with dead spells on the corpses of the members of the Shapechangers, to see if they could discover who the fourth member of the group was, and to learn the whereabouts of the lair of the drow in the group, Clannair Blackshadow. So the band visited the Common Crypt in the Thieves’ Quarter where the bodies were held and there Kelgor attempted to speak with the spirits of Clannair and Tarnek McGloogan. Unfortunately, neither spell worked. So they would have to return in a week to make another attempt.

Over the next several days, the band continued to take care of personal matters, while Brom and Tadwin spent much of their time studying. On Moonday the 3rd, Derider was able to bring Corvyn back to life and followed this up with a spell that would help to restore his health. That same day, Kelgor cast a speak with dead spell on the corpse of the wizard Harral and again met with no success. During this time, the owlbear, which by now not only looked like a dog but had begun acting like one, was given to the pawnshop’s clerk Emery to take care of. And Tadwin began scrying on Hieronymous Spune and found him wandering about in a swamp somewhere. Also, much to the band’s delight, Derider Fanshen announced to the band that the Directing Oligarchy had decided to award ownership of the pawnshop to the band as a reward for informing them of the invasion plans on the city.

On Sunday, the 2nd day of Patchwall, Kelgor made two more attempts with speak with dead spells. The first one, cast on the corpse of Tarnek, finally worked. Unfortunately, Tarnek’s spirit could not provide them with the answers they sought. However, the spell on Clannair worked as well, and this time they got the answers they were looking for. The band then learned that Clannair’s lair was hidden somewhere in the Lord’s Tomb, which was where the wealthy citizens of Greyhawk were buried. It was also rumored to be guarded by powerful undead.

As for the fourth member of the Shapechangers, according to Clannair, it was none other than Imogen Gellett, the barmaid at the Green Dragon Inn. This was a bit of a shock to Tadwin, who had taken a liking to Imogen and did not want to believe it. To make matters worse, Tadwin was even more dumbfounded when Kelgor suggested that Imogen may have been the person responsible for stealing Tadwin’s money pouch.

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Part One - Chapter Fifteen: The Horrors Below
It was on the night of Godsday, the 25th day of Harvester, in the Common Year of 580, when the Company of the Green Dragon, along with several members of the Champions of Valor, defeated the nefarious gang known as the Shapechangers. Aware that the Champions of Valor were about to summon the City Watch to the warehouse where the three criminals had been killed, and having no desire to be around when the guards arrived, the band hastily departed the area and returned to the pawnshop, not realizing that making such a quick exit might actually work to their disadvantage.

Once back at the pawnshop, the band discussed, for a while, their future plans with their henchmen. Following this the henchmen took their leave and returned to whatever inns they were currently staying at, and the rest of the night passed uneventfully – that is, at least, for the Company of the Green Dragon.

On the following day, Waterday, the 26th, the band began making preparations for their return to the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. Some of their equipment needed to be mended or replaced, particularly in the case of Corvyn who had been blasted by a lightning bolt on the previous day. Tadwin also wanted to buy a few spells at the Wizard’s Guild. So that afternoon he paid a visit to the guild and while there he ran into Elstar of the Champions of Valor. Elstar filled him in on what took place after the band left the warehouse on the night before.

According to Elstar, when the City Watch showed up, Valen and Caleb told them that it was the Champions of Valor who had defeated the Shapechangers, never even mentioning the Company of the Green Dragon and implying that they had hunted down the criminals on their own. Elstar, whose quiet demeanor was easily dominated by the boisterous braggadocio of Valen and Caleb, had little choice but to go along with his band mates. Then, accompanied by the City Watch, Valen, Caleb and Elstar paid a visit to Halric’s Exotic Pet store where Halric himself was taken in for questioning and all the pets that exhibited an enchantment of any kind were confiscated.

The next morning, all the enchantments on the pets were dispelled and they all turned out to have been polymorphed adventurers. Two of them were the Champions’ missing members, Riordan and Rimian. After some questioning of the victims it appeared that the Shapechangers had targeted adventurers who had some experience, though not a great deal, because by doing so the Shapechangers could also acquire what wealth and magic items they might have as well. Some of the victims had been ambushed after a night of drinking at an inn such as the Green Dragon, while others had been attacked following a night of carousing in the High Quarter or the Garden Quarter. All of them however, had recently come into some wealth through either adventuring, or gambling, or both. Clearly, the Shapechangers had done some casing before deciding on their next victim.

But most intriguing of all was that some of the victims, Riordan and Rimian in particular, were quite certain that the Shapechangers included a mysterious fourth member that was never apprehended. This fourth member was described as being fairly small and having whispered in a soft voice, possibly indicating a female. Then there is the fact that much of the wealth and many of the victim’s magic items were never recovered, some of which might still have been stashed away in the lair of this mysterious fourth member, or in the lair of the drow, Clannair Blackshadow, which still had yet to be located.

After hearing all of this, and completing his business at the Wizard’s Guild, Tadwin went and reported the news to the other members of the band and they considered whether or not they wanted to continue their investigation into the Shapechangers. By now the band had already let two other enemies escape, the rogue known as Jan who was a member of the outlaw band that had attacked them at the pawnshop, and Heironymous Spune, the evil cleric of Wastri the Frog God. The last thing they wanted to do now was add to the list of unvanquished foes – though for all they knew, Jan could have been the mysterious fourth member of the Shapechangers. Still, there were many other possibilities for the identity of this fourth member, which, of course, included any number of people that the band had never met before. Nevertheless, one name familiar to them did come up – and that was Imogen, the barmaid at the Green Dragon Inn. Zeke was the one who suggested that Tadwin cast a mind reading spell on her because of her connection to the disappearance of Riordan.

To Tadwin, the idea of Imogen, who looked to be in her early twenties at most, being a member of the Shapechangers sounded pretty far-fetched and he was very skeptical about it. But, despite this, he agreed to give it a try. So the band made plans to visit the Green Dragon Inn that night at around 8 o’clock.

When the band arrived at the Green Dragon Inn that night, there was the usual crowd of patrons and Manhorr, the locally famous bard, was again providing the nightly entertainment. Also in attendance were the Champions of Valor, all five members who were undoubtedly celebrating the return of their two lost members. It had been suggested by Brom, before the band’s arrival at the inn, that tonight they might actually follow through with the proposal made by Manhorr on their last visit to the inn, and buy a round of drinks for everyone in attendance in an effort to encourage some support from the crowd. But the band did not get the chance to do so before something occurred that would change their minds.

Soon after the band had settled down at one of the tables, Manhorr finished one of his tunes and immediately made an announcement to the crowd, telling everyone to give the Champions of Valor a big round of applause for bringing down the criminal gang known as the Shapechangers, which had been responsible for the abduction of several adventurers, some of which were frequent customers at the inn. As encouraged by Manhorr, the crowd gave a big cheer for the Champions of Valor and it seemed fairly obvious that Valen Rowendale had taken all the credit for something that the Company of the Green Dragon had largely done on their own. Elstar happened to glance over at the band at this point and it was clear that he was personally embarrassed and ashamed for what his band mates had done. This, of course, angered the band and made them question whether or not Rowendale was actually a paladin as he so often liked to appear. But disputing Rowendale’s claims at this time would have looked shallow and resentful and likely would have done nothing towards gaining the favor of the crowd. Even buying everyone a drink at this time seemed inappropriate, not to mention distasteful to the Company of the Green Dragon. So as much as it pained them, Brom in particular, the band decided to let the Champions of Valor have their day in the sun. For they knew that in time, they too would get theirs and the next time the Champions of Valor found themselves in a difficult situation, the band would think twice about offering any assistance.

As for the other reason for the band’s visit to the Green Dragon Inn, Tadwin eventually got around to casting a mind reading spell and attempted to read the mind of Imogen. Unfortunately, while he was able to detect the presence of thoughts in her, he was unable to read anything clearly. This didn’t necessarily mean anything, other than the fact that Imogen was able to resist the spell, and most likely unwittingly. But it did impress Tadwin somewhat and made him like her even more than before.

On the other hand, Tadwin did pass on a few details about the ruins of Castle Greyhawk to Ricard Damaris, the innkeeper, in exchange for some other new rumors about the ruins, which suggested that Zagig, now a demigod, observed all that occurred within the Power Tower. Another rumor claimed that a great black obelisk of unlimited magical ability rested deep within the ruins, which would grant wishes to any who asked. The later rumor, though somewhat intriguing, sounded rather dubious to the band.

The remainder of the night was uneventful. And so, on the following morning, that of Earthday, 27th day of Harvester, the Company of the Green Dragon, accompanied by their henchmen, including Taylif, the fiancé of Ashba, made their third journey to the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. Three and half hours after leaving the city, during which time the band came across no opposition, they arrived at the ruins at about a quarter to eleven. It took a bit longer than usual to get everyone across the fear-inducing bridge to the Tower of Zagig. But from this point, at the request of Tadwin and his ever-present curiosity, instead of heading towards the War Tower, they went instead to the Power Tower across yet another scary bridge.

At the Power Tower, which resembled the War Tower in many ways except that it had two pyramids built next to it with no visible entrances. And instead of dwarves, there was a band of elves guarding the entrance to the tower. Tadwin spoke to one of the elves, who stood upon a platform over the entrance, along with several other elves armed with bows and manning a pair of ballistae. Tadwin asked him about magic items for sale and the elf, who never gave the band a name, asked in return a few questions about their identities and any references they might have within the city. Tadwin told him who they were and, as a reference, offered the name of the librarian at the Wizard’s Guild, Jawal Severnain, who coincidentally happened to be a dark elf.

Tadwin was then told that there were a number of priests of Boccob who resided in the lowest parts of the dungeon and that it was they who sold the magic items. But because they did not have an appointment to see them, and because it was the band’s first visit to the Power Tower, they would need to return in twenty-four hours. So the band told the elves they would be back and afterwards made their way over to the Tower of War.

Once again, the band made their agreement to Stillguar and the dwarves for their tax on the gold. But unlike the two previous visits, thanks to the presence of their henchmen, they did not need the assistance of the dwarves to open the doors. Upon entering the tower, the band found it to be much as they had left it, with no reanimated undead to deal with. It wasn’t until they reached the second underground level that they began to notice some changes since their last visit, as some of the bodies of the ogre-kin that had previously been killed were now missing, presumably used as food for whatever remained in the dungeon. And those bodies that were still in place, which amounted to quite a lot, were now decomposing and filling the dungeons with the smell of rot and death.

Picking up where they had left off, the band looked in the southern most room of the second underground level where the first of the lifts were found, and saw no occupants there. So they returned to the feast hall where most of the ogre-kin had been slain. Here the smell of rotting corpses was almost overpowering. And so the band assigned their henchmen the very grim task of dragging the bodies into a nearby chamber with a relatively high ceiling and to begin burning the bodies. The band, meanwhile, investigated the chamber that lay just beyond the feast hall, which had three more lifts in it, all designed to lift troops as opposed to cargo, as well as a set of stairs leading down.

Making use of a recently acquired ring of invisibility, taken from one of the Shapechangers, and a darkvision spell, Brom scouted ahead. About thirty-five feet down, he came to the bottom of the lift chamber and found a wide set of stairs that gradually descended towards the southwest. Here, the band saw the first signs of the horrible monster unleashed by Vaprak, as the walls were gouged with huge claw marks and portions of the walls and ceilings had collapsed. Soon they came upon another set of stairs leading down, but it was completely blocked off with debris.

So the band followed a narrow corridor and came to a side room that had once been a chapel dedicated to Nerull, the God of Death. Here again, a corner of the room had collapsed. But the only other passageway was likewise caved in and the band’s only option was to dig past it or head back upstairs and take the other lifts going down. They opted to dig and so spent the next four hours clearing out the passageway enough for them to get through.

Finally, at about a half past four in the afternoon, the band was able to crawl through the debris. Again, Brom scouted ahead and came to a side room that appeared to have once been a dining hall for the clergy of Nerull. When Kelgor touched a rust colored altar at the far end of the room, food and water suddenly appeared on the altar. After some inspection, the food and water was found to be edible and it was believed that the altar could create the food and water several times a day. So, naturally, the band stopped to eat.

A short while later, Brom crawled through the rubble again and found that the passageway ended in a T-intersection. At the intersection he found an owlbear chained to a wall and almost starved to death. Going on a hunch, he fed the owlbear and soon discovered that the owlbear began to perceive him as a master. So Kelgor healed it up and they continued to feed it, hoping they could keep it tame and make it into a pet. By this time, the band had reported back to their henchmen who had completed their task of burning the ogre-kin corpses. So the henchmen were then brought downstairs and given the task of clearing away some of the rubble.

Meanwhile, the band explored three rooms that had once been the quarters of the priests of Nerull. These priests had since been transformed into wights, which the band had to fight. Fortunately, none of the band members were struck by the wights and so none were drained of any life force. Afterwards, a diary was discovered which detailed the last remaining days of the priests and described the attack of the monster which was said to be “a great wraithlike monster that looked like the drawings of Vaprak”.

From here, the band headed down the opposite corridor. At this point, they came across another blocked passageway, and it took them another hour to clear out the debris. It was about seven o’clock when they finished.

On the other side of the debris, the passageway went on for about 30 or 40 feet and came to an end at a shoddily constructed stone wall. Just prior to the stone wall a short side passage ended at a door. When Brom opened the door he found the remains of a dead dwarf that was impaled on spikes on the opposite side of the door and a steep passageway leading up. It appeared as if the dwarf had fallen victim to a trap while attempting to escape.

It was at about this point that Brom’s darkvision spell wore off, and since the band was running low on spells, they decided to rest. So they retreated back into the dining hall, which would have been easily defended from any attackers and had an apparent endless supply of food. There they spent the next nine hours or so resting and regaining spells. It was about five in the morning, on Godsday the 18th, when the band was ready to resume their explorations.

With Brom leading the way once again, they returned to the door where the dwarf had been impaled on spikes, and with the aid of a rope, climbed up the inclined passageway, which had apparently been a trapped stairwell with stairs that shifted to form a steep ramp. At the top of the trapped stairwell, they found a torture chamber that was lined on most sides with prison cells. The corpse of an ogrillon was found there with a poisoned knife in its belly and the group surmised that it had been killed by the dwarf who was attempting to escape only to die moments later in the stairwell. Finding no other access into the other parts of the level, the band then returned to the shoddily constructed stone wall and began dismantling it. Their henchmen, meanwhile, worked on clearing the passageway out behind them in order to free the owlbear.

An hour or so later, the band was able to move beyond the stone wall and here again, using the same precautions as before, Brom scouted ahead. Immediately he came to a natural passageway that sloped down into a large cavern. Cautiously he peered around and spotted several large creatures hanging by their hooked claws upon the walls and ceiling, apparently waiting there to ambush the band. Fortunately, due to his invisibility and stealth, the creatures did not detect Brom. So he was able to double back and warn his companions. The band then devised a plan and made a few preparations. Then Brom quietly crept through the cave to an opening in the other side, again without being detected, and there he waited.

When the rest of the band felt they were ready, they moved to the edge of the cavern and Tadwin quickly cast a fireball into the room, striking about half a dozen of the creatures. But to the bands great surprise, the fireball did little to slow the creatures down as they suddenly dropped from the walls and ceiling and attacked. Corvyn and Kelgor, who stood on the front line, got a couple of good swings in on the strange looking creatures, which unknown to the band at the time, where called hook horrors. But the band soon discovered just how fittingly named these creatures were as the hook horrors then struck with their gigantic hooked claws and their savage beaks. Both Corvyn and Kelgor were immediately grappled by the huge beasts which began tearing at their flesh with incredible ferocity. Corvyn managed to tear himself away from the creature that grabbed him, though already he was severely wounded. But Kelgor found himself in a situation even more dire than Corvyn’s as he was unable to break free and was on the verge of being ripped apart. Certain he was about to die, he only had time to whisper a quick prayer to his deity, Marthammor Duin.

Somehow, unbelievably, his prayer was then answered as Tadwin came up with a very clever and fortuitous solution to the dilemma and quickly cast a grease spell on Kelgor’s armor. It proved to be just enough for Kelgor to slip from the hook horror’s grasp. Immediately, the band began to make a fighting withdrawal, realizing they stood no chance against the hook horrors without a better plan. Tadwin continued to launch fireballs at the monsters, but onward they came. Kelgor was knocked unconscious and had to be carried or dragged back through the mound of rubble that still partially blocked the passageway behind them. Eventually, all but Brom managed to retreat behind the pile of rubble, which thankfully served as an effective barrier between the band and the hook horrors.

Brom, meanwhile, stayed hidden from the monsters, separated as he was from the rest of the band. In a nearby cave he found a dozen animated skeletons and a dozen animated zombies which he tried unsuccessfully to lure into the battle. He then sent his tumor familiar, Twig, to sneak past the hook horrors and deliver a message to his companions directing Tadwin to launch another fireball, which then allowed Brom to sneak past the hook horrors. By the time everyone was safely behind the rubble barrier, they had only managed to kill only a couple of the dozen or so hook horrors that had attacked them.

Obviously in need of a better plan, not to mention more spells, the band was left with little choice but to rest again even though it had not been long since their last rest. So again they retreated to the apparent safety of the dining hall and spent another eight hours resting. Then, because part of their new plan was to make use of Kelgor’s incense of meditation, which requires eight hours of prayer and meditation, they had to spend another eight hours in the dining hall. While Kelgor was busy with this, Tadwin, Zeke and Brom used the time to work on learning other spells or formulas.

Finally, at about a half past eleven o’clock that same night, the band was ready to resume their battle against the hook horrors. Going with the assumption that they were going to use everything they had in their fight against the hook horror’s, they devised a fairly radical plan of having Corvyn do most of the fighting, while Zeke and Kelgor stayed behind him and healed him up as the battle progressed. Tadwin, meanwhile, would continue to launch all his offensive spells at the monsters while Brom would do what he could to take advantage of opportunities.

As before, Brom snuck into the cavern only to find about half as many hook horrors guarding it, although these were fully healed. Again he moved to the opening on the far side where he found another chamber with hook horrors in it. These he managed to draw away to another chamber before the battle began. Then as planned, the rest of the band began the attack. This time, things went much better than before. Corvyn was able, for the most part to keep the hook horrors at a distance, making it more difficult for them to grapple him, while Zeke and Kelgor stayed behind him to assist him. Tadwin meanwhile launched as many fireballs and other offensive spells as he could and gradually the band wore them down.

When the fighting came to an end, at least temporarily, the band had managed to kill twenty-three of the huge monsters – a pretty impressive feat. Though no more hook horrors chose to enter the battle at this time, it was obvious to the band that there were still more to defeat and at this point the band was again low on spells.

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Part One - Chapter Fourteen: The Shapechangers

It was in the afternoon of Moonday, the 24th day of Harvester, in the Common Year of 580, when Tadwin of the Company of the Green Dragon heard from Elstar of the Champions of Valor, that two of Elstar’s companions had disappeared mysteriously, one each on the two previous nights and both following visits to the Green Dragon Inn. Tadwin then told Elstar that he and his band mates would visit the Green Dragon Inn that night to investigate the matter.

When Tadwin later on told his companions that he had offered to help the Champions of Valor with their latest dilemma, some of them were, to put it mildly, less than enthusiastic to aid any band associated with Valen Rowendale. But Tadwin told them he wanted to do it more as a favor to Elstar, whom he had come to regard as a friend. Tadwin was then able to convince the other band members to help in the matter and they were soon making plans to visit the Green Dragon Inn.

They also invited along their newly acquired friends whom they had rescued from the ruins on the previous day, as it would give them an opportunity to get better acquainted with them and discuss their future arrangements, for it had been decided by the band to accept them as henchmen. All seven of the recently rescued prisoners were very grateful to the band, both for their lives and for their freedom, and were eager to become a part of a band of adventurers for which they had a great deal of admiration. It took little time then for each of the seven newfound friends to decide which member of the band most interested them and to whom they wished to offer their services.

Jamis was a skilled archer, and though his fighting style differed greatly from Corvyn’s, he was drawn to the big burly warrior for his obvious skill in battle. Nikki, easily the most experienced of the seven, was an up and coming gladiator, familiar with the arena in Greyhawk known as the Pit, but also possessing some skill in the stealthier arts and certain knowledge of the Thieves’ Guild and their ways. He, on the other hand, was drawn to the band’s wizard Tadwin, whom he felt complimented his own abilities and whose powers he was very impressed with.

Ashba, the female elven wizard who specialized in evocation magic, was, much like Nikki, strangely drawn to a member of the band who was in some ways her opposite in skills, the rogue-alchemist Brom, most likely because his skills often complimented hers, but also because he had a mysterious dark side to him that she found oddly fascinating. The gnome illusionist Thiedge was easily charmed by the very charismatic sorcerer-oracle Zeke, who had a natural ability for magic for which he felt great envy. And finally, the three dwarven fighters, Bingo, Bongo and Bono were naturally drawn to Kelgor, who was not only a warrior himself, but also a spiritual leader of dwarves.

In addition to these seven, the band was joined by Ashba’s fiancé, an elven fighter by the name of Taylif. Taylif, it seemed, had not been among those who were captured by the ogre-kin in the ruins because Ashba, against Taylif’s advice and without his knowledge, had run off with a band of adventurers to seek treasure within the castle ruins. But Taylif was grateful to the band for her safe return and rewarded the band as she had claimed he would. Nevertheless, it now seemed apparent that Taylif felt compelled to keep a close eye on Ashba, though the band was uncertain, at this point, how he felt about her joining up with another band of adventurers.

Upon arriving at the Green Dragon Inn that evening, the band gathered around one table, while their new friends gathered around another one nearby. It appeared to be a typical night at the inn with the typical crowd shuffling in. The well-known bard Manhorr, whose popularity seemed to grow by the day, was providing some entertainment as usual, and the lovely young barmaid, Imogen, soon came around to offer them drinks. Shortly after their arrival, Manhorr took note of the band and announced to the crowd on hand that he had heard that the band had done a couple of very successful forays into the ruins of Castle Greyhawk, and teasingly suggested that the band pick up the tab for the next round of drinks for everyone in the barroom, to which the crowd cheerfully responded in agreement. But while the bard’s suggestion was seemingly made in jest, and though the band reacted with polite stoicism, some even managing to display a playful grin and a nod to the bard, most members of the band did not care for the unsolicited proclamation of their recently acquired wealth. However, once it became obvious that the band was not about to follow through with the bard’s suggestion, the crowd soon appeared to forget the bard’s announcement and returned to their conversations and various other distractions.

After a while, Tadwin began asking a few familiar faces about the circumstances around the disappearances of Riordan and Rimian. He started with the proprietor of the inn, Ricard Damaris, once an adventurer himself and often a good source of information. Ricard told Tadwin that two nights before, when the Champions of Valor had visited the inn, Riordan the bard had stayed until closing time flirting with Imogen, whom he then apparently left with. On the following night, again with the Champions of Valor all present at the inn, with the exception of Riordan, Rimian the rogue investigator spoke with several people, asking about Riordan. The last person he was seen talking to was an elf wearing dark blue robes, a yellow scarf and a purple conical hat. The two of them left around midnight and hadn’t been seen since.

Tadwin then spoke with Manhorr and Imogen, both of whom confirmed everything that Ricard had told him. Imogen added that when she left with Riordan two nights before, he walked her to her home, which was at a boarding house known as the Black Orchid located in the Thieves’ Quarter. As was her usual routine, they had to exit the city through the Cargo Gate, walk around to the south side of the city, and re-enter the city through the Highway Gate, since the more direct route through the Black Gate was, of course, closed at that time of the night. She said that upon arriving at her home, Riordan left her at the front door of the boarding house and, to the best of her knowledge, walked home alone.

When Tadwin repeated to the rest of the band, some of the information he had gathered, Brom found the description of the elf to be interesting because he knew of a man with a goatee who lived across the hall from him in his boarding house, whom he had also seen on several occasions wearing identical clothes of the same exact mismatched colors. Because of this, this neighbor of Brom’s quickly became the focus of the band’s investigation. So, while Tadwin continued to gather information at the Green Dragon Inn, Brom headed to his home, which was at Mama Esther’s Bakery and Boarding House, also located in the Thieves’ Quarter. As it was still early in the night, Brom found that his neighbor was not at home and managed to pick the lock on his door. Once inside, Brom found a number of interesting clues.

He soon learned that the man’s name was Harral Shastri and judging by the books found in a bookshelf, which included a spellbook, Harral was apparently a wizard who specialized in transmutation magic. This, of course, could explain how Harral might make himself appear to be an elf. Brom also found a ledger with a list of names for people he had apparently done business with. One of the names that seemed to come up frequently was a business called Halric’s Exotic Pets. He also found a number of receipts and various other pieces of parchment that seemed to indicate that Harral spent much of his time visiting some of the finer establishments in the High Quarter and the Garden Quarter, such as the Wheel of Gold Gambling House, the exclusive Patricians’ Club and a luxury inn called the Golden Phoenix. Armed with this information, Brom returned to the Green Dragon Inn where he told his companions what he had found.

Tadwin and Zeke then decided to go and visit some of these places to see if they could find Harral and do some spying on him. Tadwin barrowed Brom’s ring of chameleon power and Zeke used his hat of disguise so they could change the appearance of their clothes and blend in better with the wealthier crowd. Their first stop was the Golden Phoenix, where Zeke used his powers of persuasion to learn a few things about Harral. But Harral was not currently at the inn, so they moved on to the Wheel of Gold Gambling House where they soon spotted him at one of the roulette wheels. They watched him for a while but never observed him doing anything worthy of note. Eventually, Harral decided it was time for him to leave the gambling hall, and as he did so Tadwin and Zeke followed him out. But shortly after leaving the gambling house, Harral disappeared behind a crowd of people and mysteriously vanished. Tadwin and Zeke searched diligently for him, even using a see invisibility spell, but could not find him. It became obvious then that Harral must have used some form of magic or possibly a well-concealed door to disappear. So Tadwin and Zeke returned to the Green Dragon Inn.

Meanwhile, at the Green Dragon Inn, those members of the band who had stayed there spotted another person they were familiar with. It was Malagrym, the gladiator they had once fought alongside at the Pit. Corvyn spoke to him briefly and Malagrym told him he was looking for a few men that might be interested in going with him into the Mistmarsh south of the city to see if they could capture a monster to sell to the Pit. He claimed to have a magical device that would make it relatively easy to transport a monster back to the city and said that he had heard rumors about unusually large monsters being seen in the swamps.

Realizing that the Pit would pay a handsome reward for the delivery of an unusually large monster, and that it was yet another excuse for the band to take a trip into the swamps, Corvyn told Malagrym he would suggest the idea to his band mates and that they would consider it. But despite the fact that they now had three fairly good reasons to visit the Mistmarsh, though none of them were all that pressing, the band was still more interested in returning to the castle ruins instead, and, for the time being, declined the offer made by Malagrym.

By the time Tadwin and Zeke returned to the Green Dragon Inn, it was very late at night. And so the band decided to call it a day. In lieu of taking the secret sewer passage into the Old City, since the Black Gate was now closed, Brom returned to the pawnshop instead, which was much closer, and spent the night there.

On the following morning, Godsday the 25th, the band met up once again at the pawnshop and decided to pay a visit to Halric’s Exotic Pets store before going to their scheduled meeting with Constable Derider Fanshen. As crazy as it sounded, the band had come up with the notion that perhaps Harral Shastri was polymorphing the missing adventurers into exotic animals and selling them to the pet store.

At the pet store, the band saw many unusual pets for sale, none of which were very large. However, the most interesting characteristic about the pets was that some of them were revealed to be enchanted somehow when the band detected for magic. This seemed to confirm their suspicions about people who had been polymorphed. But before they could look into the matter much further, it was time for the band to make their way to the Grand Citadel.

A short while later, the band was being questioned by Constable Derider Fanshen who had cast a zone of truth spell to help determine whether or not they were being honest. It did not take long for Derider to come to the conclusion that the rightful owner of the pawnshop, Sennard Porbell, had indeed skipped town a couple of months before, just as the band had claimed he did. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the band had since then put a lot of their own money and effort into the business, according to law, the city had the right to claim the property for its own at this point, and to sell the property off to the highest bidder, which, on the other hand, could be the band members if they chose to take part in the bidding.

Either way, Derider tried to assure the band that they would be compensated for any money they put into the pawnshop. While the band was speaking with the constable, Zeke decided to bring up another matter, and took the opportunity to tell her about the information the band had learned concerning Sental Nurev, the Captain General of the Watch. Eventually it was revealed to Derider that Tadwin had cast a detect thoughts spell on the Captain General and discovered that his brother Sarek was being held prisoner by the rulers of Stoink, a city in the Bandit Kingdoms, and that Sental was being blackmailed into providing information about political decisions in, and the defense of, Greyhawk to an agent in the city by the name of Skandar Gundersson. Derider was clearly surprised to hear about this and cautioned the band that they were making a serious accusation about a well-regarded member of the Directing Oligarchy. Nevertheless, she thanked the band for the information and told them she would look into the matter herself.

In addition to this, the band told Derider all the information they had collected about the threat of invasion from Blackthorn, the ruins of Castle Greyhawk, and Mistmarsh. They even agreed to loan to her the map and documents they had found so she could show them to the Directing Oligarchy. Once again, Derider thanked the band for the valuable information and let them go on their way.

With these matters dealt with, the band resumed their investigation into the missing members of the Champions of Valor, and Zeke’s next step was to purchase one of the enchanted pets, a colorful parrot, from the exotic pet store. He then took the bird back to the pawnshop where a successful dispel magic spell turned the parrot back into a very confused dwarf. The dwarf then told the band what he could recall about his most recent memories and about how he had been ambushed one night in a dark alleyway.

Armed with this information, Tadwin tracked down Elstar and told him everything the band had uncovered about the mystery of his missing friends. And at this point, the band seriously considered letting the remaining members of the Champions of Valor deal with the matter from that point on. Still, some members of the band were apparently not satisfied with the outcome as it currently stood and wanted to see the investigation through to a more satisfactory conclusion.

So the band came up with a plan and got their henchmen involved. Believing the wizard Harral Shastri to be the only real threat to them, the band decided to split themselves up into smaller groups of two or three and stake out several locations within the city that evening, in the hopes of spotting him and observing him. As it turned out, this plan did work to a certain degree, for one of the groups did manage to find Harral. Unfortunately, they ended up stumbling into a lot more than they had bargained for, or were prepared for.

Zeke, who was with his henchman, Thiedge, and one of the dwarves, Bingo, were scouting out the Wheel of Gold Gambling House, when they spotted Harral walking towards the gambling hall. Zeke immediately sent Thiedge and Bingo off to find some of the others while he continued to watch Harral. But Harral turned around and left the gambling hall almost immediately. So Zeke tried to get some of the gambling hall’s guards involved by making a scene and claiming that the wizard had robbed him. A couple of the guards chased after the wizard, who took off running. But then the wizard cast a spell and suddenly disappeared. When Zeke caught up to the area where Harral had vanished he then found himself being attacked by the wizard who reappeared and began casting spells at him. Zeke cast a few spells back at the wizard, such as a web spell. But neither spellcaster was able to affect the other until after a few spells had been cast, at which point, Zeke was suddenly transformed into a small and relatively harmless dog.

A few minutes later, Tadwin and Kelgor arrived at the scene, with Bingo trying to catch up. They quickly learned from nearby on-lookers that Zeke had been turned into a dog and that the wizard responsible had then grabbed the dog and once again disappeared. At this point, what had previously been an investigation to simply aid another band had now turned into a mission to rescue one of their own. Believing that Harral would probably return to his home in the Thieves’ Quarter, Tadwin and Kelgor quickly headed south through the city. Along the way they ran into Corvyn, Jamis, Thiedge, Bongo and Bono, and they briefly explained what had happened. Then Tadwin and Kelgor, who could move much faster than the others, ran on ahead, leaving Corvyn and the henchmen behind. A few minutes later, shortly after passing through the Garden Gate, Corvyn and the henchmen then found themselves under attack.

Once again, it was the wizard Harral Shastri. But this time it was discovered that Harral was not acting alone. The other attacker appeared to be a dark elf, and the two of them began casting spells at Corvyn and the henchmen. During the brief battle, Harral blasted them with a lightning bolt spell, which dropped Thiedge and badly wounded Corvyn, Bingo and Bono. Sensing that Corvyn, who took the brunt of the spell, was about to go down as well, Harral then used a wand to cast a magic missile spell and knocked him unconscious. The situation then looked very grim for the henchmen. But thankfully a number of city guards, drawn by the sound of the lightning bolt, began to arrive at the scene and the two enemy spellcasters were forced to flee.

Tadwin and Kelgor had heard the lightning bolt go off also and they quickly doubled back, arriving in time to tend to the wounded and dying. After Kelgor expended all his powers healing up the band’s injuries, the band then took their time gathering up the remaining members of the band and met up at Brom’s home in the boarding house. There, it appeared that Harral never did return to his home. In fact, after Brom snuck back into Harral’s room it was discovered that his spellbook was missing. So Brom contacted a number of his beggar friends and put the word out that he was looking for Harral. They then contacted Valen Rowendale and the Champions of Valor to let them know what had occurred. Realizing that Harral and his accomplice were far more powerful than the band could safely deal with, they wanted to get as many allies involved as they could. They also wanted to track down the two spellcasters that night if possible, while the two villains were low on spells.

About an hour or so later, Brom’s contacts came through with an important bit of information. Harral Shastri had been seen just a short while before, with another darkly dressed individual at a warehouse in the River Quarter. This warehouse was owned by a very imposing man by the name of Tarnek McGloogan. Tarnek, in addition to being a big and muscular brute, was also said to be an experienced adventurer who was known to have killed several giants in his career. If Tarnek was in league with Harral, and it was very likely that he was, this made them a very formidable group indeed. Unfortunately, almost nothing was known about the dark elf, which may have made him the most dangerous one of the bunch. Whatever the case, the band was glad to have any allies they could muster against them.

A short while later, the remaining members of the Company of the Green Dragon, their henchmen including Taylif, and the remaining members of the Champions of Valor, were all gathered outside Tarnek’s warehouse formulating a plan. Tadwin cast a clairvoyance spell and observed Harral, Tarnek and the drow talking together while nearby sat a small dog in a cage, which they assumed to be Zeke. After agreeing upon a plan, they all took their places outside the three obvious entrances into the warehouse and waited for the signal. Then they all busted in and attacked.

A silence spell cast by Caleb of the Champions helped to insure that the enemy spellcasters would not easily get a spell off. Their biggest threat then was Tarnek who wielded a magical greatsword and was quite deadly with it. Fortunately he was not able to get many swings with his sword before falling under the combined attacks of his enemies. Harral likewise was taken down fairly quickly as he was unable to get a spell off.

The dark elf was the last to fall, as he focused on trying to make an escape. But Brom and Ashba cut off his retreat by coming at him from the rear. Though he managed to move outside the silenced area, he too was unable to get a spell off without it being disrupted, and though his sword was coated with poison, it had no effect on Brom who had a high resistance to poisons. Like his two accomplices, the drow was eventually cornered and dropped by one of Brom’s deadly sneak attacks.

When the battle was over, Valen thanked the band for their assistance and told the band they could have all the spoils of the victory. Then he and his two band members departed to go in search of their missing companions. On the bodies of their fallen foes, the band found several magic items and a couple of spellbooks, one of which revealed the name of the dark elf to be Clannair Blackshadow. After gathering these items, and anything else of value found on them, they grabbed Zeke, still in the form of a small dog, and headed back to the pawnshop.

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Part One - Chapter Thirteen: Converging Lines
It was in the evening of Sunday, the 23rd day of Harvester, in the Common Year of 580, when the Company of the Green Dragon defeated Bragoch, the sole remaining half-ogre priest of Vaprak in the second dungeon level of the War Tower, along with most of the orogs and ogrillions that served under him. Following the massive battle that took place in one of the feast halls, the band took the time to search the bodies of those they had slain, and tended to their injuries. Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do at the time to remove the curse that had been placed upon Brom, and which had such an adverse effect on his dexterity. And before they could return to the city, the band needed to rescue the prisoners that the troglodytes and duergar had told them about.

So the band allowed the troglodyte Chaka to lead them back through a few of the rooms they had already been through, and in the direction of where he said they would find more troglodyte allies as well as some of the prisoners. The three other remaining troglodytes and the six remaining duergar accompanied them, and with the troglodytes in front, they passed through a previously unexplored doorway and entered a narrow stairway that took a turn to the right and descended about ten feet. At the bottom of the stairs, the passageway turned left and at this point Chaka cautiously peered around the corner knowing there was a guard station just beyond. As he did so, an arrow flew out of a narrow slit and whizzed past Chaka’s head.

Seeing this, Corvyn stepped to the front and using his shield for cover, charged up to the arrow slit and blocked it with his shield, which allowed the others to move past without any danger. In the room beyond, Tadwin located a secret door leading into the small guard station, and Kelgor was then able to run in and kill the guard. With the only guard dead, the band looked around and found a chest that Chaka said was only a decoy. Still, the band found a few hundred gold pieces within it. But the real treasure, Chaka told them, would be found through a secret trap door in the room, which he opened and entered along with the other troglodytes. With the troglodytes leading the way again, they passed through the secret tunnel.

At the end of the tunnel, another ladder led up to an opening in a large chamber where the band soon found themselves at the top off a wide platform loaded with gold items of all shapes and sizes. On the far side of the chamber was another platform and a couple of doors, and in between were ten more troglodytes and two duergar busily carrying golden objects from the far platform, down a set of stairs, across the floor and up another set of stairs to the platform that the band was currently standing on. Off to one side of the chamber were a large table and a patch of ground covered with fungus that was also being tended to by the slaves.

As Chaka appeared on the platform, he announced to the troglodytes before him that the half-ogre priests had been defeated and that they were now free, which naturally led to great excitement among the troglodytes. While some of the band members then began examining the gold objects on the platform, which included a life-size statue of a dwarf that was too heavy to carry at the time, Chaka led Tadwin and Corvyn to the far side of the chamber and through one of the doors. In a room beyond, there was another trap door and another tunnel at the end of which was a set of double doors. Chaka wanted to look beyond the double doors to see if there were any more troglodytes there. But upon opening the door, all he saw were four ogrillons working a pair of winches that were attached to a large elevator, which descended to the level below. Assuming that the ogrillons would not be aware of recent events, Chaka, Tadwin and Corvyn turned back and rejoined their companions.

There in the large chamber, they gathered up all the gold they could carry, even having the troglodytes carrying some of it, and headed back. Once again, the band let Chaka and some of the troglodytes lead the way, this time according to Chaka, to where some of the prisoners were being held. They soon came to another set of stairs which led up to another large feast hall. There they encountered five more troglodytes, making a total of nineteen troglodytes that were now with the band. This many troglodytes, however, was more than the band felt comfortable with and it began to make the band a bit nervous, especially considering the fact that the band’s spellcasters were almost completely out of spells. As it turned out, the band had good reason to be concerned. For soon after entering the feast hall, just as the band had feared, the troglodytes, led by Chaka, suddenly turned on the band and attacked!

Fortunately, Zeke still had a couple of spells left and he was able to catch about half of the troglodytes in a web spell. Then he blasted a couple others with a burning hands spell. The rest of the troglodytes had to be fought using either weapons or cantrips. Still, despite this fact, the band did not have much difficulty in defeating the troglodytes, especially with Corvyn often taking two of them down with a single swing of his sword. Several of the band’s attacks early on were directed at Chaka, whom the band wanted to punish severely for his betrayal, and he was among the first to die. As in their most recent battle, Zeke set the web on fire and as the troglodytes broke free of the web, they were quickly killed.

When the battle was over, it was discovered that the duergar, which had been at the very rear of the large group of humanoids, had fled at the start of the battle, apparently wanting to have no part in the troglodytes’ betrayal. So the band turned to freeing the prisoners, which they found in a nearby room, along with four duergar cooks. The prisoners consisted of two men named Jamis and Nikki, and a female elf named Ashba. Jamis and Nikki were anxious to join the band in fighting against the humanoids and Ashba told the band that her betrothed would gladly reward the band for her rescue. All three of them had lost companions and allies in the dungeon, some of which the duergar cooks had fed to their masters. Because of this, the band allowed the three of them to take their vengeance upon the duergar cooks, which the band helped to kill. The three were then given spare weapons, and the group moved on to find more prisoners.

A short while later, the band arrived at a large chamber that had been described to them by some of the duergar. In it they found a large platform fifteen high, which had earlier been guarded by orogs and ogrillons. But the orogs and ogrillons were now presumably dead, having been part of the force that had died in the huge battle against the half-ogre priest Bragoch. Now, since there was no one guarding the chamber, it was a simple matter of scaling the two rope ladders that had been left hanging from the top of the platform, and rescuing the prisoners that were found in a pit within the platform. Here the band found three dwarves, who called themselves Bongo, Bingo and Bono, and a gnome by the name of Thiedge. These four had suffered much the same as the other rescued prisoners, and like them, were anxious to exact some revenge upon the humanoids that had captured them.

So the band, now with seven new allies tagging along, continued to search that level of the dungeon, in the hopes of finding more items of value left unguarded by the recently defeated humanoids. In a couple of nearby rooms, they did encounter a few more orogs and ogrillons that had apparently been overlooked in the last big battle. But these were easily killed and the band continued their search. They then came across a chapel that had once been dedicated to the evil god Nerull, with a statue that had already been ruined by weapons. There they found some of the poison used by the elite orogs. Eventually the band found the personal quarters of Bragoch as well as much of the equipment that had belonged to the band’s new allies. Within Bragoch’s quarters, they found a gold covered statue of the ogre god Vaprak, which the band knocked over and broke. They also found notes and ritual scrolls for the worship of Vaprak written in Undercommon.

Once all of these rooms had been searched, Tadwin cast a spell to locate secret doors and the band made one last pass through most of the rooms they had cleared out. In the process, they discovered a hidden compartment in a desk drawer with three scrolls, all written in Undercommon. One of these scrolls was entitled, “Procedure for recording number, type, condition and equipment of underworld troops issuing from exit #2”. The second scroll detailed order descriptions which identified the role of various troops in the siege of Greyhawk City. The third scroll appeared to be blank, but Tadwin suspected there was a secret message written on it.

In addition to the secret compartment in the desk, Tadwin also found a hidden room in the duergar’s quarters where he also found the original six duergar that had been with them before the troglodytes turned on them, along with two more duergar that had recently been found. These duergar, because they had not taken part in the troglodytes’ betrayal, the band decided to let them be. They did however, take all the gold items that the duergar had stashed away in their hidden room, much to the duergar’s displeasure. But a short while later, after it was discovered how much gold the band was now carrying, they decided to return the duergar’s gold to them, in the hopes that the band could count on their aid in the future and leaving the duergar with a somewhat indifferent attitude. Among the many gold items was the life-size statue of a dwarf. It was only as they were about to move this statue when they discovered that it was a real dwarf that had been covered in gold.

When the band returned to the first floor of the tower, they did not need the assistance of Stillguar and his dwarves to open the front door. But they willing paid the usual fee of one third of the gold recovered to them, although again, much of the band’s gold was hidden away in their handy haversacks and therefore never found by the dwarves. Once the band had settled their debt to the dwarves, among which they included the gold covered dwarf, the band took the time to rest just outside the dwarves’ fortress.

The following morning, the band and their new allies, now fully rested, made their way back to the city. Along the way however, they were attacked by three very capable, but ultimately foolish bandits who tried to ambush them with a hail of arrows. Apparently hoping that the large band of adventurers would be in bad shape, the bandits found out otherwise, shortly before they died.

A few hours later, the band arrived in the city of Greyhawk. The band gave their new found friends, many of which had begun talking about joining up with the band in future adventures, some of the gold they had found, and arrangements were made for places for each of them to stay. Back at the pawnshop, the band spoke with their shopkeeper Emery who told them he had sold most of the magic items that were for sale while they were gone and said that a man calling himself Inspector Jorak wanted to speak with the band as soon as possible.

The band was not anxious to speak to this Inspector Jorak, however, and instead tended to other matters first. First among these was the removal of Brom’s curse. Brom then went with Zeke to the Temple of Boccob, where a priest was able to remove the curse with little difficulty. Afterwards, Tadwin paid a visit to the Wizard’s Guild to try and locate a few spells as well as to speak to the guild’s alchemist Heironymous Tigana, on behalf of Brom. One of the alchemical formulae that Brom was looking for was quite rare and Heironymous said he would be willing to pass it along if the band was willing to retrieve for him a rare plant specimen which can only be found in the vast swampland known as the Mistmarsh that lay south of the city. Upon hearing this, Brom was not so sure he really wanted the formulae.

But a little later on, Brom began to have second thoughts. By that time, back at the pawnshop, Tadwin had taken some time to study the third scroll found in the desk at the castle ruins and had learned its secrets.

By holding the scroll near a hot flame, Tadwin revealed a map showing the area from Woolly Bay to the Nyr Dyv. Tactical marching paths were indicated on the map. Three thick lines seemed to appear from nowhere: one at the Greyhawk ruins, one near the edge of the Gnarley Forest, in the vicinity of Blackthorn, and one in the Mistmarsh. All three lines converged on Greyhawk City. Based on what the band had found several weeks before at Blackthorn and the other scrolls found within the castle ruins, it was obvious that someone had big plans for a major invasion of Greyhawk. Hopefully the band, along with the Rangers of the Gnarley Forest, had thwarted any invasion from Blackthorn. And it looked as if the band was well on their way to stopping what was happening at the castle ruins. But what, the band could not help but wonder, was happening in the Mistmarsh? Perhaps, the band thought, there was good reason to investigate the swamplands after all.

At this point, the band felt compelled to go and speak with the head of the city’s defenses, Sental Nurev, Captain-General of the Watch. So they set out then to the Grand Citadel and a short while later were speaking to Sental. They then told him everything they knew about the invasion plans, including what they knew of Blackthorn, and showed him the scrolls they had found. Sental listened to it all with great interest. But after a while it became obvious that Sental was distracted by something else and that he wasn’t devoting his full attention to the issue at hand. So Tadwin discretely cast a detect thoughts spell and read Sental’s mind. What he learned was somewhat alarming and later on he told his companions about it.

It seemed that Sental, who was ordinarily a trusted and incorruptible man, was being blackmailed by the rulers of Stoink in the far away Bandit Kingdoms. Apparently, Sental’s brother Sarek was being held prisoner by the rulers of Stoink and in order to keep his brother alive, Sental was providing information about political decisions in, and the defenses of Greyhawk to the agent of these men in the Free City by the name of Skandar Gundersson. Upon discovering this, Tadwin hinted around to Sental that he knew about the blackmailing. But this only made Sental more worried than before and he refused say anything or make any admissions about it. Later on, when Tadwin told his companions about what he knew, they debated on what to do with the information. But Zeke was strongly in favor of informing the other authorities such as the Directing Oligarchy of Greyhawk or perhaps the City Constable, Derider Fanshen who was also a member of the Directing Oligarchy.

Before leaving the Citadel though, the band went ahead and paid a visit to Inspector Jorak, whose office was just down the hall from Sental’s. Inspector Jorak, it turned out, wanted to question the band about the pawnshop and the sudden disappearance of its rightful owner, Sennard Porbel, who had not been seen for two months at this point. The band explained to him all the circumstances surrounding the pawnshop and the Inspector seemed to be somewhat dubious about their story. So he made an appointment with the band to speak with Constable Derider Fanshen on the following day at 10 o’clock in the morning. She could then question them and use magic to help determine the truth of the band’s claims. This would also likely be a good opportunity to tell her about the blackmailing of Sental Nurev if anyone chose to do so.

Later on, in the afternoon, Tadwin paid another visit to the Wizard’s Guild. This time he ran into Elstar, the wizard of Vallen Rowendale’s band, the Champions of Valor. Elstar asked Tadwin if he had been to the Green Dragon Inn lately, and told him that two nights before, after returning from the castle ruins themselves, the Champions of Valor paid a visit to the inn to celebrate their good fortune. That night, Riordan, the band’s bard stayed late after the rest of the band had left. The following day, Riordan failed to show up where he was supposed to and had not been seen since. So the next night, Rimian, the band’s rogue investigator began asking around about him at the inn. Now, it appeared that Rimian had likewise disappeared mysteriously. So Tadwin told Elstar that he and his companions would visit the inn that night and look into the matter.

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Part One - Chapter Twelve: Masters and Slaves

After having spent the previous couple of hours or so, making their way into the second underground level of the War Tower, the Company of the Green Dragon was ready to press on further into the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk. It was now about one o’clock in the afternoon of Sunday, the 23rd day of Harvester, in the Common Year of 580, and the band was finished searching a room where they had, just moments before, destroyed more than a dozen crawling hands that sprang out at them from a chest that they opened.

Having captured one of the crawling hands in a bag, Brom then put the bag into the chest and locked it, with the intention of retrieving it on the way out. The thirty gold items found within the room, however, were now neatly tucked away into the bands’ various bags and backpacks, along with the other portable items of wealth that they had so far discovered on this, their second foray into the ruins. Guarding this room, and the one above it, which was connected by a long set of stairs, had been two small groups of orogs and ogrillons, both races being a mixture of orc and ogre that were difficult to distinguish from their more commonly known cousins. These then were the first indications of the force that was ultimately responsible for the reanimation of the undead in the upper levels, as well as the luring of adventurers into the ruins with objects of gold.

But clearly the humanoids so far encountered were not capable themselves of animating the dead, though their masters apparently were. Unfortunately, the band at this point, could only guess at what form these masters took and what powers they might possess. Nor was it obvious the purpose behind their actions. Nevertheless, the band felt compelled to seek out these answers and put a stop to the masters’ plans, despite the foreboding sense that they were being led into a trap. Perhaps it would have been of some help if the band had been capable of deciphering the parchments also found within this last chamber. Unfortunately, they had been written in a language unknown to any of them. And so, with nothing more to go on, the band followed the set of stairs down which appeared to be the only option left to them.

After descending another 20 feet or so, the stairs came to an end at a chamber that was dimly lit by torchlight. Clearly visible from above, the unusual light up ahead was ample cause for the band to pause and approach the chamber with greater caution. In all the rooms the band had so far entered within the ruins, this was the first one that had been lit up. Therefore, while his companions stayed behind, Brom used his abilities at stealth and crept up to take a look.

Dominating the center of this 20 foot high room was a statue of a horrid mottled brown and green humanoid. Four gold trimmed semicircular tables with two chairs each faced the statue. Three sets of stairs to the northeast led upward, one to a set of double doors, the others to a balcony that ringed most of the room. Torches flared in wall sconces along the balcony.

Before entering the room, Brom also noted a section of the balcony, over the entrance way into the room, that was made of grating, along with a couple of barrels set near the grating. He likewise detected the slight sound of movement along the balcony, though he could not see anyone. Sensing an ambush, Brom retreated and informed his companions of all that he had seen. He then crept back down and quietly entered the room, making sure to stay under the balcony and out of sight. But despite his efforts, he was somehow detected and a guttural cry of alarm called out from the balcony.

Immediately, Brom’s companions flew into action as Corvyn led the charge down the stairs and into the center of the chamber, where he was promptly caught and held in place by a spell. The band’s spellcasters quickly struck back however, with Tadwin launching a well-aimed fireball, which caught most of the humanoids on the balcony by surprise, and Zeke stunned them with a color spray spell, thereby preventing the humanoids from pouring the contents of the barrels onto the band as they entered the room. This allowed the remaining members of the band to enter the chamber unhindered, and there they finally got a good look at their opposition.

Up on the balcony were five orogs, most of which were already badly burned by the fireball. Alongside them was an even larger half-ogre priest busily casting spells in an attempt to improve his forces’ odds. Then, out of two alcoves and from behind the stairs, sprang two ogrillons, which then charged into the fray.

Fortunately for Corvyn, the hold spell did not hold him for long and the ogrillons were soon cut down. Most of the orogs quickly followed them in defeat, leaving only one orog and the half-ogre on the balcony. Corvyn, by this point, had climbed one of the side stairs and he became the focus of the two remaining humanoids. After having cast a couple of enhancing spells on the orog, the half-ogre priest then howled in rage at Corvyn, causing the human warrior to be temporarily shaken. But despite the disadvantages, Corvyn easily dispatched the charging orog and then waited patiently for the half-ogre to come at him. The half-ogre, clearly enraged by the unexpected turn of events and seemingly preferring the brutality of physical combat over the subtleties of spellcasting, produced a great sword of his own and likewise charged. Though the half-ogre proved to be a more challenging foe, he too felt the pain of Corvyn’s mighty blade and soon fell from the balcony in a bloody heap.

With the battle over, the band removed any coins and gems found on the defeated humanoids and looked around for anything else of interest. The barrels on the balcony still smoldered from the fireball that struck them, but it was clear by now that they did not contain anything flammable or they would have exploded. Instead, it appeared they contained some foul smelling mixture that almost certainly would have caused nausea for anyone unfortunate enough to have been covered in the stuff.

Once again being particularly cautious, Brom checked the double doors for traps and then while everyone stood well away from the doors, Tadwin opened the doors with a spell. Beyond the doors was an octagonal-shaped room that appeared to be empty except for three doorways and a large, oval shaped hole in the ceiling which opened up into the center of a room above, where smoke was lingering. The band entered cautiously and Brom began checking the door to the right for traps.

Suddenly, four troglodytes pounced down from the oval hole and onto the band. Though initially they had an advantage over the band, Zeke blasted three with a burning hands spell and they were quickly killed. The fourth one, after being injured and on the verge of joining its companions in death, promptly surrendered and fell to his knees, pleading for mercy in its native tongue of Draconic. Tadwin, of course being quite familiar with Draconic, understood the creature and his life was spared. The troglodyte, which had obviously been a slave to the ogre-kin, introduced himself as Chaka and swore to serve the band now instead.

It was noted by the band, that all of the troglodytes had a brand or tattoo of a skull and scythe on them, all of which had been ruined and covered by a newer brand of a taloned hand. Tadwin recognized the former brand as the symbol of Nerull, God of the Dead, and the later brand as the symbol of Vaprak, God of Ogres.

Chaka then explained to Tadwin that all of those who dwelled beneath the War Tower were once followers of Nerull. But recently, Vaprak became angry that ogres and their kin were worshiping a human deity and decided to punish them. Now, many of those that had previously worshiped Nerull had, at this point, turned to worshiping Vaprak, and there was currently a war going on between the two factions. To make matters worse, the worshipers of Vaprak were presently cut off from much of their food supply as well as their supply of gold, both of which had previously come up from below. The followers of Vaprak still had access to an underground stream, which cut through a lower level, and which supplied water and some of the food they required. But, in order to supplement this food, the followers of Vaprak turned to luring adventurers into the dungeons with gold and using them as a food resource. However, at this point, their supply of gold was rapidly dwindling and they could not acquire any more from below.

In addition to this, Chaka answered a number of questions and mentioned that some of the levels below had suffered extensive damage when Vaprak released a powerful monster, or may have actually appeared in person, to take retaliation on the worshipers of Nerull. When asked how many levels existed below the one they were currently in, Chaka appeared to be unsure, but said there were about six or seven more levels. He also told Tadwin that there were many more slaves, some of which were troglodytes, some of which were duergar, most, if not all, of which would be willing to join forces with the band in an effort to destroy their ogre-kin masters.

This sounded agreeable to the band and they told Chaka to tell them everything he knew about the layout of the level they were on. A short while later, armed with the information that Chaka had supplied to them, the band formulated a plan and Brom picked the locked door to the right. Beyond the door, just as Chaka had said there would be, was a guard station manned by five orogs. The band quickly dispatched these and moved into a passageway that led off to one of the slaves’ quarters. There, with the aid of Chaka, the band acquired eight more troglodyte allies.

In addition to the troglodytes, there were four duergar all of which spoke Common. One of the duergar, who called himself Gundo, spoke up for the others and asked what was happening. Zeke then spoke to them and told them what was going on. The duergar, also known as gray dwarves and generally thought to be evil, much like troglodytes though not as chaotic, were long known to be bitter enemies of their distant, surface dwelling cousins. But Zeke, with his incredible charisma, easily convinced the duergar to join them in their fight against the ogre-kin masters, despite the fact that Zeke himself was not fond of the idea of working with these evil creatures.

Kelgor, likewise, was not particularly anxious to team up with the duergar either. Though he had never met one before, he was aware of their reputation and made a promise to himself to keep an eye on them. Still, he could not deny the logic in gaining all the slaves as allies – at least for the time being.

While in the slaves’ quarters, the band took the opportunity to look about to get an idea of the chambers’ sizes for mapping purposes, though by no means did they do a thorough examination of the rooms. When they were ready, the band led the slaves back into the octagonal-shaped room and up to the door, which according to Chaka, led to the living quarters of several of the half-ogre priests.

Upon opening the door, they saw to the right of them, what appeared to be an unoccupied waiting room, ahead of them, a set of stairs leading to a set of double doors, and to the left, a set of stairs leading to a bend in a corridor. After looking around the bend, and seeing a couple of owlbears chained to a wall and guarding the passageway beyond, they initially thought to kill the owlbears and take the passageway. But then they heard the sound of movement and many voices somewhere beyond the double doors. So instead, Tadwin cast a clairvoyance spell and took a look at what lay beyond the double doors.

There, he spied a large feasting hall with four raised platforms in all four corners. Scattered about the room were several tables and benches around which sat eight orogs and nine ogrillons. Up on the platform to the near left sat three half-ogre priests and all were being served food of a very questionable nature by duergar slaves that passed in and out of a door to the right.

Seeing this as the perfect opportunity to attack, the band devised a plan and instructed the troglodytes and the duergar on their part in it. When they were ready, the troglodytes opened the doors and Tadwin immediately launched a fireball into the room, making sure to time it so as not to hit any of the duergar slaves. With most of the orogs and the ogrillons now badly burned and the tables set aflame, the troglodytes poured into the room and set upon them. The band and the duergar then followed suit. While Brom and Kelgor concentrated on finishing off the smaller of the humanoids, Corvyn focused on taking out the half-ogres, and Tadwin and Zeke spread their offensive spells all about.

The troglodytes fought surprisingly well, though they took as good as they gave. But the fireball had done its damage and the ogre-kin began to fall at a rapid rate. The half-ogre priests also had their problems as it became apparent that some of their spells were failing them for some unexplained reason. Still, it was a chaotic and frenzied battle that lasted a relatively long while. Nevertheless, the ogre-kin, both big and small, eventually fell before the band and their unlikely allies.

When it was over, the troglodytes and duergar let out a cheer of victory and the band let them take the time to feast on what remained of the food. Five of the nine troglodytes fell in the battle, though some of these were kept alive by their fellow troglodytes. None of the duergar were killed however and their numbers were then bolstered to a dozen by eight more who served as cooks in the nearby kitchen. While the troglodytes ate and tended to their wounded, the band swept the room for any valuables. When they were done with this, they took a brief look into the kitchen, the pantry, and the duergars’ quarters, looking for any magic but not doing a particularly thorough search.

Opposite the doors through which they had entered was another set of double doors and when asked what lay beyond, the duergar told them there were elevators and stairs leading down to the next level. These doors had been barred to prevent anything below from raiding into this level. So the band let them be for the time being. Their main concern at this point, was any opposition that remained on this level and the fact that the band’s spellcasters were now running low on spells. Thus the band inquired about any more enemies and what the duergar knew of the unexplored areas.

The duergar told them there were two more half-ogre priests that they knew of, one of which dwelled on this level by the name of Bragoch. The other one, Grimtorr, resided on the level below. They also told the band about several prisoners that were being held captive in two different areas of the level, including three dwarves, a gnome, two humans and an elf. Then one of them drew out a rough map of a nearby chamber where some of the prisoners were kept and explained to them the difficulty of reaching these slaves even if they could defeat the guards. The band realized there was little chance for them to save the prisoners with the few spells they had left and that they would be hard pressed even to defeat the remaining half-ogre priest and his elite body guards. They considered the possibility of trying to rest and regain spells, but it seemed unlikely they would be able to. So, after much debate, the band decided to wait and ambush the remaining ogre-kin forces, knowing that eventually they would have to enter the feast hall.

It had been roughly an hour and a half since the band first entered this level of the dungeon and began their assault on the ogre-kin, and as it turned out, they would now have to wait another four hours or so before continuing the assault. During this time however, the band devised another battle plan and moved what remained of the burned tables and benches into defensive positions. Then they piled the bodies of those that had been slain onto the floor near the entranceway in the hopes of impeding the progress of anyone who might enter the feast hall. With all their preparations done, the band and their allies then took their positions and waited.

Finally, the sound of large humanoids approaching was heard just beyond the doors and, in preparation, the duergar who stood nearby used one of their innate abilities and turned invisible. When the doors opened up, a light spell was cast, revealing several orogs in plate armor. Immediately, the troglodytes and duergar that had been positioned on the far platform opened fire with crossbows. But they did little harm to the orogs before the orogs then retreated and closed the doors behind them.

The orogs, it appeared, were not as foolish as the band might have hoped and now the band had lost the advantage of surprise while the orogs went to gather reinforcements. Still, the band thought that holding their defensive positions was a better strategy than chasing after the orogs, despite the fact that the orogs would now have greater numbers and be better prepared.

With no better option, and their backs against the wall, the band would now have to defeat the ogre-kin in one final decisive battle – or die trying. For it was almost a certainty that Bragoch, the sole remaining priest on this level, would gather all the forces he could muster and bring them to the feast hall in an attempt to defeat what must appear to him to be a slave uprising. Though it would have been obvious to Bragoch that the slaves had been aided by adventurers, there was little chance that he could have known much about the numbers or strength of the adventurers. Having apparently had much success against adventurers in the past, as evidenced by all the adventurers that had been captured so far, it was hoped by the band that Bragoch would underestimate the band and would not resort to calling upon Grimtorr for aid.

About half an hour later, the band and their allies would learn the answer to this question, as they once again heard the sound of creatures approaching. This time, unfortunately, the duergar could not turn invisible, as they could only do so once a day. Instead, they used another innate ability of theirs and increased their size to become larger than the ogre-kin, granting them greater strength and a longer reach. When the doors opened up, the room was already lit and the first creatures to enter were the two owlbears that had been chained to the wall. The first owlbear charged at Corvyn and was quickly chopped down by his sword. But the second owlbear headed for one of the enlarged duergar and just as quickly ripped him to shreds.

Right behind the owlbears were eight orogs and eight ogrillons. But few of these made it into the feast hall before Zeke cast a web spell that proved to be devastating for the ogre-kin. Those few that made it into the hall became the targets of the troglodytes and duergar wielding crossbows, or were caught in the melee as the band and enlarged duergar advanced upon them.

After the owlbears and the initial orogs had been killed, Zeke moved up and set the web on fire with a burning hands spell. As the web burned, it likewise burned those that were caught in it, though it also released them in the process. Still, the ogre-kin escaped the webs at such a slow rate that they were easily cut down by the forces arrayed against them. Some of the ogre-kin managed to break free on their own, but not quickly enough to make a difference. Then, once the ogre-kin broke free, they had little choice but to move forward, as the way behind them was cut off by burning webs and trapped companions.

Adding to the ogre-kin’s dilemma was the fact that, due to the winding passageway and the stairs set before the doors, they could see very little of the doom that awaited them until it was too late. Not even the eight elite orogs at the rear, who wore plate armor and wielded poisoned blades, stood much of a chance. They too barely managed to enter the proverbial “meat-grinder” and swing their greatswords before they were laid low by the combined might of the band and their allies.

Of all the ogre-kin in the battle, only Bragoch had much of a choice. Standing at the absolute rear of the pack, he was the last to be freed by the burning webs. And while he could have turned and run at that point, he also could not be aware of the complete annihilation of his forces until he reached the entrance to the feast hall. At that point, turning and running would have only delayed the inevitable – and Bragoch was no coward.

Instead, Bragoch was filled with such rage at witnessing the carnage before him he swore to himself and to his god Vaprak that he would make somebody pay for what they had done, though it would almost certainly cost him his life. His first act was to cast a hold spell, this time again on Corvyn and again it did not hold him for long. He then pulled out his greatsword and headed straight for the band. He did not get far however, before Brom leaped out of hiding and landed a series of crippling sneak attacks. Other members of the band struck him as well, though not as severely as Brom had. It was Brom therefore, that drew his attention most, and he then turned and cast a spell, laying a curse upon Brom.

“May your aim forever falter from this day fourth!” he roared out.

Moments later, Kelgor stepped up and landed the final, killing blow.

When the battle was over, it was noted that the band had lost only six of their duergar allies. But Brom soon came to realize that he had lost a great deal of his dexterity, and that the only way to cure it would be to find someone who could remove the curse. The band was also hopeful at this point that they could easily rescue the prisoners. And so it was decided that after gathering the prisoners, the band would then escort them back to the city.

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Part One - Chapter Eleven: Pygmies, Sage, Myconid, and Plants

It was on the evening of Starday, the 22nd day of Harvester, in the Common Year of 580, while the Company of the Green Dragon was visiting the Green Dragon Inn, when they were approached by a young messenger bearing a note that said the sage, Adarian Herbifarge, was in danger. After asking the boy a few questions about the message, the band agreed to investigate the matter, and immediately set out for the Garden Quarter.

Quickly making their way through the lamp-lit streets of the city, the band soon came upon the sage’s two-story home with its numerous attached greenhouses. Upon knocking on the front door, they were then greeted by an odd looking creature that strongly resembled a mushroom with arms and legs. It stood only about two feet tall and under its red cap it had a face with no mouth. Appearing somewhat timid and frightened, the creature also seemed rather distressed.

But when Tadwin introduced himself and asked about Adarian, the creature did not speak – in fact it did not appear to be capable of speech. Instead, it released a cloud of gas, or more precisely, a cloud of spores, that engulfed the band. Seeing this, most members of the band backed away out of the cloud and became suspicious of the creature’s motives. Tadwin, however, who was caught a bit off-guard, heard a voice in his head and suddenly realized that the creature was communicating with him. The creature asked who they were and if they had come to aid his master and Tadwin answered in the affirmative. Tadwin’s companions, meanwhile, became puzzled by his actions and began to suspect that Tadwin had somehow fallen under the influence of the mushroom creature. But Tadwin assured his companions that the creature was only talking to him telepathically. Still, his friends did not trust the creature.

The creature then stepped back and motioned for the band to come in. Initially, only Tadwin followed the creature in and he asked the creature what had happened, after which, Tadwin passed the creature’s answer along to his companions. Gradually, the rest of the band shuffled inside the home, and into the cloud of spores, and listened in on the conversation.

The creature, introducing himself as Bhulb, explained that he was in the kitchen earlier, washing dishes for his master, Adarian, when a large crate was delivered. His master took the crate into his laboratory and instructed Bhulb that he was not to be disturbed. A few minutes later Bhulb heard terrible crashings and bangings in the laboratory followed by silence. Receiving no reply to his tentative knocks on the laboratory door, Bhulb peered inside to find the garden door smashed open and his master and the crate gone. Bhulb then immediately locked all the doors and sent for help.

Tadwin, being curious about the creature, asked him what kind of creature he was, and Bhulb explained to him that he was a myconid, and a very advanced one for his age, since myconids his size are not normally capable of releasing the cloud of rapport spores that allow him to communicate with other creatures. Bhulb then pointed the band in the direction of the laboratory, and they opened the door to investigate.

Smashed equipment in the laboratory was evidence of a recent struggle and the lock and framework of the door leading to the central garden was also smashed open and left ajar. Moving slowly and cautiously, the band entered the laboratory and looked around. They then moved into the garden, which was enclosed by several greenhouses that surrounded it. Tracks left by the crate being dragged were found entering the garden, but became obscured once inside the garden. There was however, no sign of the crate within the garden and only one other door leading out.

But before proceeding any further, they asked Bhulb about what they might find in the greenhouses and Bhulb told them that he was not allowed to enter the greenhouses, as his master had told him that “the contents are far too dangerous for a little myconid.” This, of course, made the band think twice about entering the greenhouses as well – not necessarily because they were afraid of any man-eating plants – but also because it made sense to refrain from causing harm to any of Adarian’s plants if it could be avoided.

Perhaps it was with this thought in mind, that Tadwin then cast a detect thoughts spell from the center of the garden and swept through the greenhouses around them. It quickly revealed four creatures of average intelligence and one creature of high intelligence, all in close proximity within the southern greenhouse. Unfortunately, there was no door allowing direct access to the greenhouse from the garden.

So, after some discussion, instead of taking a circuitous route through several other greenhouses, and therefore risking encounters with dangerous plants, or creating a hole in the wall to gain direct access to the southern greenhouse, and perhaps causing unnecessary damage, the band simply, and wisely, asked Bhulb if there was another entrance to the southern greenhouse. And indeed there was. Bhulb then showed the band a storage room inside the house, with a door on the far side that led directly into the southern greenhouse.

At this point, Tadwin cast a clairvoyance spell directed at the center of the greenhouse, and observed four small, plant-like humanoids digging a hole in the ground and a large crate next to it. Armed with this knowledge, the band then opened the door and entered the greenhouse. As they did so, the four small humanoids were startled and soon began yelling at the band in a threatening manner. The band however, hesitated, as they were not sure what was going on and they could not understand the humanoids. Again, they were concerned about causing harm to any of Adarian’s plants, so initially they did not attack. But when the band started to approach the humanoids, the humanoids, which the band now suspected were creatures known as vegepygmies, moved to attack the band with spears. At about the same time, the band heard the voice of a man coming from inside the crate, calling out for help.

Corvyn then led the charge and headed directly for the crate, essentially ignoring the four humanoids that surrounded him. While Corvyn struggled to pry open the lid of the crate, his companions meanwhile, fought against the vegepygmies. It soon became evident from the voice inside the crate, which was of course that of Adarian the sage, that Adarian held no regard for the lives of the vegepygmies and the band quickly refrained from holding back. As a result, the vegepygmies were quickly slain, and Adarian was freed from the crate.

When the fight was over, Adarian was of course very grateful to the band, but also quite fascinated by the vegepygmies. He explained that the crate had been delivered to his home with the vegepygmies inside. The vegepygmies, which he said were ordinarily not that aggressive, had apparently been charmed into attacking him. But thanks to a special magical ring that he wore, the vegepygmies could not directly harm him. So instead they threw him into the crate and tried to bury him.

Adarian went on to say that he had quite a few rivals and potential enemies within the city, due to his many awards from the Free City Flower Festival and the many wealthy patrons for whom he designed and created the most stupendous flower gardens. Among these rivals was his archrival, Halbard Broom, whom he suspected might be capable of developing such an elaborate scheme to do away with Adarian. Unfortunately, there did not appear to be any real proof that the crate had been sent by him.

As a reward for having saved him from the vegepygmies, Adarian gave the band 500 gold pieces, several gems, a scroll with several spells on it, and a magical decanter of endless water. And with that, the band returned to the Green Dragon Inn where they spent the rest of the evening relaxing and having an enjoyable time. On the following morning, Sunday the 23rd day of Harvester, the band set out once again to the ruins of Castle Greyhawk.

This time they encountered no opposition on the way to the ruins and after making their way slowly over the two fear-inducing bridges leading up to the War Tower, they were greeted by Stillguar and his band of dwarves. Again they agreed to the dwarves’ tax of one third of the gold recovered from the ruins, and again had to pay another 100 gold pieces to get the dwarves to help them open one of the front doors.

Once inside the grand entrance hall of the tower, everything looked much as it did when they left it on their first visit. But almost immediately they encountered something they had not expected – another band of adventurers coming up the stairs from the dungeon. It was however, a band that they were familiar with. It was in fact the self-proclaimed Champions of Valor, led by none other than Valen Rowendale, who was believed to be a paladin, along with Caleb, the equally arrogant cleric of Hieroneous, Elstar the conjurer, Riordan the bard, and Rimian the half-elf investigator.

As usual, Valen and Caleb traded insults with Corvyn and Brom. But it became obvious that Valen’s band had been fighting undead on the first two floors where the Company of the Green Dragon had already destroyed all the undead. Tadwin picked up on this and inquired about it, and Elstar filled in some of the details. Here then was proof that sometime during the previous week, the undead had been reanimated or replaced – and apparently so was much of the gold they had taken.

Fortunately, the Champions of Valor had gotten only as far as the Company of the Green Dragon had on their first visit and this meant that the Company could now pick up where they left off without having to fight the same undead all over again. The Champions of Valor however, appeared to be spent, loaded down with gold, and in much need of rest. They were now on their way back to the city. So the two bands parted ways and the Company of the Green Dragon headed down the stairs to where they had last explored.

Picking up from where they left off previously, they examined an unfinished passageway and chamber, finding nothing of interest there. They then returned to another unexplored passageway that led to several more rooms. One of these rooms appeared to be a large dining hall where they encountered more skeletons and zombies. During the fight, Brom became convinced that his companions could handle these adversaries with ease, so he crept down another short passageway to examine three other doors there. As he did so however, one of the doors opened up and out stepped four lizard-like humanoids, which the band later identified as troglodytes. Fortunately, the last of the zombies were being killed at this time and the rest of the band was able to focus on the troglodytes, which fought to the death despite their obviously doomed situation.

After the battle, all these rooms were searched for anything of value. From there, the passageway ended in a set of stairs leading down. Since the band was not yet ready to go down to the next level of the dungeon, they then turned back to investigate a secret door they had spotted previously but did not explore. This secret door was near the two portcullises that they had found on their first visit and when they opened it, they encountered nine skeletons which had apparently been placed there to operate the winches for the portcullises. The band quickly destroyed the skeletons and moved on.

At this point, there were only two options left, the stairs going down, which they just discovered, or another set of stairs that they had found previously. Since they were now closer to the previously discovered set of stairs they opted to follow them first. They soon learned however, that these stairs only went down about 8 feet or so to a landing with a door, where it then turned to the right and continued on down. They decided to look behind this door before going any further.

Behind this door were another few steps that led to a room full of broken equipment, including weapons, armor, bones and other useless adventuring gear. It looked as this was some kind of trash bin for all the useless items left behind by fallen adventurers. Clearly, somebody had placed these things there.

Following the stairs down from the landing, the band descended another 8 feet or so, where the passageway turned to the left and ended in a single door. This door was locked, but Brom easily picked it. Beyond was another short passageway lined on each side with four doors. Opening the first of these doors to the right revealed the remains of a bed, a stool and a table, all of which were covered in moss.

But before the band got any further, two of the seven remaining doors opened up and out stepped two creatures that at first appeared to be zombies infested with rot grubs. However, there was something more frightening about these zombies than any others they had encountered so far. In fact, they were so frightening that Zeke and Corvyn took off running in fear when they saw the creatures. The rest of the band stayed to fight and Brom quickly took one of them down with a well-aimed thrown dagger. The other one was more difficult to destroy and as the creature struck, the worms on it would leap towards its opponents. Fortunately, the band was able to kill it before it did any real harm to anyone. Kelgor then recognized the creatures as a rare form of cursed undead known as sons of Kyuss. Realizing how dangerous the creatures were, he made sure the band burned the creatures’ remains, including all the worms, before moving on.

The band then retreated back up to the first floor, where they met up with Zeke and Corvyn again. A short while later, they returned to the rooms where the sons of Kyuss had been and searched them. Just as in the case with the first room, the seven other rooms were furnished with beds, stools and tables, all covered with moss. In one of these rooms they found a flawed moss agate, and in the four rooms to the northeast, they found in each a small little spy hole. Using a dancing lights spell they observed a crude, oddly shaped room on the other side of the holes.

But they could find no passageway or stairs leading further into the dungeon. So they retreated back upstairs and made their way to the set of stairs that they had discovered more recently. Like the first set of stairs, these stairs only descended about 8 feet where they came to an end in an old kitchen that smelled of rot and decay.

Standing inside the kitchen were four more zombies, one of which appeared to be infested with rot grubs. Once again, a sense of fear washed over the band, though this time only Zeke took off running. The band then realized that the infested zombie was actually another son of Kyuss. This one got too close to Kelgor and when it struck him, one of the worms jumped onto Kelgor’s neck and began to burrow its way into his flesh. Fortunately, Corvyn reacted quickly and set fire to the worm with his flaming sword, burning Kelgor in the process as well, but quite possibly saving his life. Afterwards, the band was able to kill the son of Kyuss and the rest of the zombies. They then went and retrieved Zeke once again from the first floor.

After searching the kitchen and finding nothing of interest, the band prepared to look behind the only remaining door on the far side of the kitchen. As was the regular practice with all the doors they came to, Brom inspected it for traps. Having found none, the band gathered around the door and let Tadwin open the door with an opening cantrip, as usual. And it was thus that the band then discovered the flaw with their usual method, as they could not detect the tension caused by the wires attached to the far side of the door, which when released sprung a trap that was otherwise undetectable. With the opening of the door, two spring-loaded spears came flying out at the band, one of which struck Corvyn in the gut. Fortunately for Corvyn, very little of the deadly poison that coated the spear actually got into his bloodstream and he was spared an injury far more grievous than it actually turned out to be. Corvyn was also reminded then that standing right in front of a door while opening it basically defeated the purpose of using an opening cantrip in the first place, and he swore never to do that again.

After tending to Corvyn’s injury, the band then looked about the room and found nothing but empty shelves and a crushed barrel. This did not seem right to the band however, as it made little sense to guard an empty room with such a deadly trap. So the band did a more thorough examination and discovered a secret trap door in the floor. They examined it for traps and upon finding none, they opened it. Below the trap door were a narrow passageway and a set of stairs leading down. They followed these stairs and they too only descended about 8 feet where the passageway opened up into a rough-hewn cavern that was supported in the middle by a column of stone. To the left was a door, directly ahead was another narrow passageway, and all along the southern half of the cave rock debris was piled to the ceiling.

The door to the left was locked, but Brom managed to pick it. Beyond it was a small cave that contained numerous bags filled with onyx gems of varying sizes. Upon finding this, Tadwin then recalled that onyx gems were the spell components needed for animate dead spells. Having discovered this, the band then suspected that a spellcaster or spellcasters of some kind were responsible for animating the dead in the first two levels of the War Tower and that by confiscating these gems, it would almost certainly hinder the spellcaster’s ability to animate the dead.

After gathering up all the onyx gems, the band then explored the narrow passageway. It led to the oddly-shaped room that the band had seen earlier through the spy holes. At the far end of it was another pile of rock debris, also piled up to the ceiling. Once again the band found themselves at an apparent dead-end. Only two piles of rocks remained unexplored. So the band retuned to the previous cave and began searching the much larger pile of rocks there. Along with these rocks they found various tools such as shovels, picks and a cart. But among the debris, Brom also discovered a very large boulder attached to large iron hinges. Realizing that this was a concealed door, the band swung the boulder out and revealed another roughly hewn cave.

They entered the cave and found a gong to the right, a chest and a set of stairs to the left, and another opening in front of them. Suddenly five huge orcs carrying longswords emerged from the opening ahead of them and moved to attack. The band was able to defeat them without too much difficulty, though they were much tougher than ordinary orcs. Then Kelgor realized that these were not orcs, but rather orogs, which were a mix of orc and ogre. In a nearby room, the band found a table and five chairs and recognized the room as a guard station. Fortunately, no one rang the gong, which almost certainly was meant to be used as an alarm.

The chest they found had glue on the handles, but they were able to remove the glue. Inside the chest were dozens of golden objects from arrow heads to cups and arm bands. It looked as if these items had been stored in the chest to be placed later on in other parts of the first two levels in order to lure more adventurers into the dungeon. After collecting all of these and storing them in their back packs, the band continued on down the stairs.

This time the stairs descended a full 25 feet before opening up into a room, which seemed to indicate that they had now reached the second of the dungeon levels. To the right they saw another set of stairs going down. But ahead and to the left were a room and another room beyond that was slightly raised. What appeared to be three orcs and a small ogre emerged from these rooms and attacked. Believing the ogre to be a tough opponent, some members of the band used magic to increase their fighting ability, only to discover that the ogre was not as tough as they had thought. After defeating the humanoids, the band realized that they were all actually another mix of orc and ogre known as ogrillons. Clearly these humanoid creatures were of such mixed lineage that it was very difficult to distinguish between an orc, an ogrillon, an orog and an ogre.

After defeating the four ogrillons the band found in the far room a huge table with several parchments on it that none of them could read. They also found another chest and along the sides of the walls numerous golden items ranging from earrings to a tall urn. Upon opening the chest they released more than a dozen animated dismembered hands, which suddenly attacked them. One of the crawling hands got a grip around Tadwin’s throat and very nearly strangled him to death. But eventually the band was able to kill all of the crawling hands – all except one, which Brom managed to put into a bag after it had been injured.

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Part One - Chapter Ten: The Hidden Shrine of Iuz
It was approximately midnight on Sunday, the 16th day of Harvester, in the Common Year of 580, when the Company of the Green Dragon finished searching the first floor of the War Tower. But because it had only been about an hour and a half since they last rested, the band decided to continue on.

Before proceeding into the first of the lower levels however, they wanted to investigate the possibility of exploring the second floor of the tower above them, since that is where the swordwraiths had come from earlier. Because of his familiarity with stonework, they sent Kelgor ahead of the rest to inspect the stairwell leading up, and almost immediately he encountered enough fallen debris on the stairs to make passage to the second floor nearly impossible. On top of that, it soon became Kelgor’s opinion that the second floor was too unstable to safely move around on it. The band then came to the conclusion that the swordwraiths were able to move about the second floor either because they exerted very little if any weight, or because they were very familiar with the second floor, or a combination of the two. Whatever the case, the band agreed that they would not be making any attempt to explore the second floor themselves.

With that decided, the band turned to the stairs leading down, which also descended from the main entrance hall. Using Corvyn’s flaming sword and a light spell to guide the way as usual, the band made their way down the stairwell that zigzagged past a couple of landings until they reached the next level about 25 feet below. Here they came to a room with three doors and in each of the four corners were shelves upon which rested gold ingots on red velvet squares. Now more than ever, the band could not escape the feeling that the gold had been placed there to lure adventurers ever deeper into a trap. A detect poison spell helped to confirm this, as it was discovered that the gold was covered with poison. A quick cantrip however removed the poison and allowed the band to pocket the gold and continue on. The first door to the left, turned out to be a false door that led nowhere. But the second door, straight ahead led to another room.

In this room they found a few bones and the dried up body of a giant ant. On the opposite wall was another door and to the right, a hallway led away into darkness. They chose to go through the door and soon found themselves in an unfinished passageway. A little further on, at a bend in the passageway, they came across another door and decided to go through it. Then, at the end of another unfinished passageway they found a set of double doors, which opened up into a large, rough-hewn, cavern dominated by a huge pile of manure with eight peaks. Moonlight was faintly visible at the far end of the cavern.

The huge pile of manure, as Corvyn correctly pointed out, lay directly below the stables on the first floor, and was the product of all the horses once kept there many decades before. As the band was making their way past it, they were attacked by an otyugh hidden within the pile. Zeke got the worst of it as he was grappled and bitten by the foul monster before the band was able to kill it. To make matters worse, the manure also had rot grubs in it, one of which attached itself to Corvyn and had to be burned off with his flaming sword. After dealing with this the band tried to stay as far away from the manure as possible.

However, on the far side of the pile, Brom found a slab of compressed and hardened manure that turned out to be a concealed door. Realizing this, the band had to investigate further. Beyond the concealed door they found a rough and narrow passageway leading to a hidden shrine dedicated to the evil demi-god Iuz, complete with an altar, incense burners, a ceremonial dagger and bowl, and a statue of Iuz in his demonic form. The place reeked of offal and was filled with black and green sludge.

Despite the awful smell of the place, Tadwin was quite fascinated by the discovery, and ignoring the protests of some of his companions, he was determined to do a thorough examination of the shrine. Knowing that Iuz had been one of the nine powerful beings once captured and held prisoner in the castle by Zagig, until his escape about ten years before, Tadwin was quite puzzled as to why there would be a hidden shrine dedicated to him. Perhaps, unknown even to Zagig, there had been secret worshipers of Iuz among his followers. Or perhaps, there was an explanation even more bizarre and sinister. It did not seem to make much sense that the hidden shrine was built after the departure of Zagig, but this was, nevertheless, another possibility.

After some inspection, Tadwin realized that manure had been burned in both of the incense burners and wondered what might happen if he lit the incense burners. When he did so however, the statue of Iuz suddenly sprang to life and attacked. The band was then forced to chop it to bits.

Soon after this, Brom found another concealed door within the shrine. Opening this door revealed another small room that reeked even worse due to the pool of urine and manure that lay a foot deep on the sunken floor. In the center of the room rested a kiva-like structure with a ladder poking through the top of its opening. This room smelled so bad that at first no one wanted to enter it. Kelgor cast an augury spell and determined that it probably wouldn’t be worth investigating the room. But again, Tadwin could not turn his back on the room and had to examine it. So he held up his cloak and wadded through the horrible smelling liquid until he got to the kiva-like structure. He climbed up on this and then down the ladder into the small chamber within. There he collected a tinder box, some black candles and a black cloth. But by this point, the smell had gotten so bad that his nose started to bleed and he began to feel light-headed. So he got out of the room as quickly as he could.

Unfortunately, from that point on, Tadwin’s boots were permanently scented by the awful smell of the urine and not even a cleaning cantrip could remove the stench. The band, in fact, made Tadwin walk behind them for the remainder of their explorations until he could acquire another set of boots.

After investigating the shrine to Tadwin’s satisfaction, the band then moved on to the end of the man-made cavern and found a wide opening where the moonlight was filtering in. Obviously built originally to allow the manure to be dumped onto the valley floor below, the large passageway was protected by two portcullises, both of which now stood halfway open, and a series of arrow slits off to one side. Sensing a possible trap, the band avoided walking beyond the portcullises and headed towards a set of double doors in the cavern. These doors led to a few passageways, one of which headed back towards the stairs going up, while another headed in the direction of the arrow slits. The band chose to go towards the arrow slits, and just beyond a locked door there, which Brom managed to unlock, they came upon a room with ten skeletal archers. Seeing that they had been correct in their suspicions about a trap they battled the skeletons and destroyed them without much difficulty.

Each of these skeletons carried gold-tipped arrows and spears, and more were found in a nearby guard room. The band collected all the arrowheads and spearheads, and returned to the passageways, where they found a set of stairs leading down and a set of double doors. Not wanting to go down any further just yet, the band opened the double doors and found a room with two wheelbarrows and a few digging tools, including a shovel with a golden blade.

By now, it had become obvious that there was an extraordinary amount of gold items within the War Tower, and many of these items would not ordinarily be made of gold. This led some members of the band to wonder if there was some unusual explanation for all the gold items, perhaps something that would magically transform other materials into gold.

Also within this room were six doors. Behind each of these doors were more quarters and when the band opened the first of these doors they were attacked by a dozen zombies that issued forth from the quarters. After defeating the zombies, the band searched the quarters and Brom located another concealed door.

This one however was much different from the previous ones as it led into a very low tunnel. Brom explored the tunnel for a ways and found that it branched out in several directions. One of the tunnels he followed until it came to a dead-end, so he doubled back. It was only at this point that Brom realized the tunnels had been made by giant ants, and suddenly he found himself scrambling away from three giant ants that were chasing after him. One of the ants grabbed him and very nearly pulled him back into the lair. But Brom managed to escape and eventually made it back to his companions where they killed the three ants that had chased after Brom.

At this point, the band returned to the unfinished passageways, which they had found earlier and had not finished exploring, and continued on with these. Here the band passed through a few more doors leading into more unfinished passages and chambers. One door opened up into a very small, closet-sized room where they found a stash of gems lying under the lid of a crate. But soon after this, the band was attacked by three beings known as slow shadows. Two of these creatures latched on to Corvyn, while the third latched on to Kelgor. Unable to shake the creatures off, Corvyn and Kelgor were gradually drained of heat and became lethargic.

Corvyn, in fact, was very close to dropping unconscious when the band was finally able to kill all three shadows. When at last the battle was over, Zeke had to use the few remaining charges from his wand of healing and by now the band’s spellcasters were very low on spells. So the band decided that, even though it had only been a few hours since their last rest, it was time for them to rest once again.

They considered resting within the tower as they had done before. But it was pointed out by some of the band’s spellcasters that they felt ready to try and learn new spells that were more powerful than any they currently knew, and that it could be of great benefit to spend some time learning a few spells. And since they were not far from the city it made sense for them to return to the city to do their studying. But the band did not want to travel back in the darkness, so they decided to rest for a while just outside the tower, next to the dwarves’ fort.

Before going back outside however, the band took about half of the gold they had acquired so far, and hid it in their handy haversacks. Since the haversacks had extra-dimensional spaces in them, it was hoped that the dwarves would not be able to detect the gold there, and therefore the band would not be taxed for it. When they were ready, the band went to the front doors on the first floor and did their predetermined knocking pattern. It took a while for the dwarves to answer, as it was now in the middle of the night, but eventually six of the dwarves opened up one of the doors. Then, while the rest of the dwarves stood on the opposite side of the pit and before the wooden planks were placed back over the pit, one of the dwarven clerics, Dorogond by name, cast a spell to detect for gold. As hoped by the band only the gold that was not in the haversacks was detected, and it did not amount to a great deal. So the band decided to risk it all by gambling on the game the dwarves referred to as “The Great Risk” where two hammers were tossed into the air and the pattern in which they landed determined the outcome. As it turned out, luck was in the band’s favor at this time and they ended up being taxed only one tenth of their gold instead of one third, and that was only for the gold that the dwarves knew about.

Having met their agreement with the dwarves to the dwarves’ satisfaction, although the dwarves were somewhat disappointed with the outcome, the band spent the remainder of the night either resting, or, as in the case with others such as Kelgor, conversing with the dwarves.

Kelgor, in fact, took the opportunity to learn a little bit more about the dwarves and about the ruins of the castle. By the time the band was ready to move on, Kelgor had become friendly with Stillguar, the leader of the dwarves, and Dorgond and Arthton, the two dwarven clerics, despite the fact that they worshiped different deities.

With the coming of the dawn, the band slowly made their way back across the two narrow bridges and began their short journey back to town. Along the way, they were ambushed once again by a small band of orcs. But despite the fact that the band was low on spells and still suffering from a few injuries, they had no difficulty in defeating the orcs. And a short while later they were back in the city.

After a couple of days, during which the band spent resting, studying and training, Zeke came down with a case of filth fever, no doubt the result of having been bitten by the otyugh. But Kelgor was able to heal him back up to full health within a few more days. Six days then passed uneventfully. But during this time, band was also able to do some trading and resupplying. Tadwin, for example, bought some new boots to replace irreversibly stinky ones, and Zeke and Kelgor both bought two more wands of healing. Corvyn also got his flaming sword repaired.

On the evening of the sixth day, with the band now feeling more capable than ever and ready to resume their explorations of the castle ruins, they decided to pay another visit to the Green Dragon Inn before setting out the following day. Not long after their arrival at the inn however, a boy came running into the inn with a worried look on his face. He spoke briefly with Ricard Damaris, the inn’s proprietor, who in turn looked about and pointed the boy in the band’s direction.

The boy then came over to the band and spoke to them. “Excuse me kind sirs,” the boy said. “I have a message that may be of interest to you.” He then handed them a badly scrawled note that read, “Help, come quickly, Adarian the sage in danger”. Tadwin recognized the name of the sage who specialized in botany and lived in the Garden Quarter, though he had never met the man. When asked who he got the message from, the boy told the band that he had heard a strange voice in his head as he was walking through the Garden Quarter. The voice told him to write down the note and to deliver it to a band of adventurers.

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