Greyhawk: Gem of the Flanaess

Part Three - Chapter Four: Assault on the Mines of Nerull

At about 3 am, on Godsday the 11th day of Fireseek, in the Common Year of 581, the Company of the Green Dragon had just released the four umber hulks they had found on the ninth level of the War Tower in the ruins of Castle Greyhawk, when they turned their attention to the mine tunnels. From the main chamber, they followed the tunnel leading to the southeast which went for a good ways but eventually came to an end in a large unoccupied cave that appeared to be mined out. So the band turned around and headed back.

Along the way, however, Corvyn found a small, uncut gemstone lying on the floor and bent over to pick it up. When he did, three strange looking monsters rose up out of the floor in the midst of the band. These short and squat creatures, known as xorn, each had three arms, three legs, three eyes and a large mouth, and they appeared to be upset that Corvyn had picked up the gemstone, so they attacked. The band fought back, of course, and Brom soon discovered that, due to the positioning of their arms and eyes, they could not be flanked. But eventually the band was able to kill all three, and once they were dead, the band, going on the hunch that these strange creatures regarded the gemstone as a source of food, cut all three open and discovered several more gemstones in their bellies.

Once they were done with this, the band moved on to the next mine tunnel which branched off to the northeast, where Tadwin had seen a guard station previously with his arcane eye. When they got near the guard station, Brom turned invisible and scouted ahead while the rest of the band stayed back. But, much to Brom’s surprise, some of the two-headed trolls there seemed to be able to smell Brom as he got close, though they could not pin-point his exact position. This caused the four two-headed trolls to be more alert than the band had hoped for, and they began to advance towards the band unexpectedly. Nevertheless, Brom was still able to get his usual sneak attacks in, while Zeke and Tadwin unleashed their fireball spells and Corvyn cut the trolls down with his sword.

Soon, a great battle was underway and because of the tremendous noise caused by all the fireballs and such, it grew even more massive. Before long, the battle was joined by 2 more two-headed trolls, 2 giant trolls, and 2 fomorian giants, all of which came from the northern tunnel. Tadwin was able to slow them down with a low wall of force, which allowed him and Zeke to hit them with more fireballs. Then 4 more giant trolls appeared from the south cutting off any escape route. Zeke managed to slow them down a bit with a web spell. But by this point, though some of the original two-headed trolls were down and some had been destroyed, the band had become so preoccupied by the newly-arriving foes that they could not find the time to finish off the trolls that were down. Once again, Rohnam was spending much of his time healing up injuries and it did not take long before the band found themselves running low on spells and with too many enemies to handle.

So eventually, the band decided it was time for them to make a more desperate retreat. Getting the okay from Brom to leave him behind, because he could not take everyone with him, Tadwin cast a dimension door spell and took all but Brom back to the fifth level of the dungeon where the band’s henchmen had been waiting. Brom, meanwhile, used his invisibility and some of his potions to try and finish off some of the trolls that had been taken down. But it was not long before he decided it was too risky to continue, realizing that with a couple of unlucky swings from the giant trolls’ greatclubs, he could easily be killed. So he too fled through the clearing in the web and gradually made his way back upstairs to the fourth level, and to the duergar complex, where everyone else had gathered by this time.

Taking advantage of the guest quarters provided by Gaerdar and the rest of the gray dwarves, the band spent the next fourteen hours healing, resting and preparing for their next foray into the ninth level. While they were with the duergar, the band made sure to let it be known that the duergar should leave alone any gold or other treasure left behind by the band, assuring the duergar that they would return to collect their well-earned rewards. It was about six o’clock in the evening then, when the band began their descent back to the ninth level. This time, the remaining half-orc priests appeared to be expecting the band’s return, and using what forces and resources they had left to them, they made a concerted effort to try and defend the ninth level.

Their first line of defense was a glyph of warding placed on the second secret door leading into the huge dining hall. Brom discovered it before it caused anyone any harm. But when the band opened the door, there were 4 two-headed trolls there in the dining hall to meet them. But rather than charge at the band, as the band had expected them to do, three of the four trolls opened nearby doors and called out a warning, thereby alerting the rest of the level. Then they did what they could to defend the dining hall while they waited on reinforcements.

The band meanwhile was hesitant to charge in and attack, hoping they could draw the trolls towards them instead. As a result, the battle got off to a slow start, and eventually more enemy forces began to arrive, including more giant trolls and fomorian giants. In addition to these, were two half-orc clerics, both of whom had managed to cast a few spells on themselves before entering the battle. They started off by making things difficult for the band with silence spells and hold person spells. But the band countered these with a web spell and a wall of force that bisected the room and cut off half of the enemy forces. This was followed by more fireballs, and although the forces of Nerull occasionally made some effective attacks on the band, the band gradually began to wear down and destroy their enemies. Both of the half-orc priests were forced to retreat at some point and one of the fomorian giants was seriously wounded and fled from the battle. But all other foes of the band were killed.

When it became clear that the band had their enemies in retreat, some of them charged in after one of the half-orc priests, only to discover that the half-orc had been prepared for melee combat and fought back surprisingly well with a magical scythe. And though it was unclear at the time how the priest was able to do so, he also caused negative energy to pass through his weapon, which caused even further injury to his assailants. Nevertheless, the half-orc priest inevitably succumbed to the combined attacks of the band and soon fell to the floor dead, at which point, the band paused to tend to their wounds and to search the bodies of the fallen.

Once this was done, the band took the time to look inside the nearby room where they had first encountered two-headed trolls. At the back of this room was a door that the band had not investigated yet. Not only was this door locked, but it was also stuck and had to be forced open. Beyond it was a room taken up almost entirely by a large brass bed. Graffiti was scrawled all over the walls in some foreign language.

Tadwin had to use a spell from a scroll in order to read the writing on the walls. They turned out to be threats and insults against various inhabitants of the dungeon, written apparently by the efreeti which the band had already killed. From this, it became obvious that the efreeti had somehow been imprisoned in this dungeon for quite some time and forced to work against his will.

Turning from this room, the band decided to investigate the doorways through which the half-orc priests had fled. One doorway led to a zig-zag hallway that ended at a door. Another doorway led into a two-tiered room where about two dozen exhausted and nervous derro were resting. None of the derro wished to put up a fight, so the band let them be. At one end of this room was another door, and beyond it was a hallway that connected to the zig-zag hallway and then continued on around a bend.

At the end of this hallway was a large room where a high bench, two high tables and some stumps sat before a fireplace. Upon the mantel were several derro heads, perhaps once belonging to those of unruly slaves. It appeared this was the living area of the fomorian giants. There were seven doors in the room, six of which led to the individual sleeping quarters of giants and were occupied by beds that took up the entire rooms. However, none of these rooms contained any giants.

The seventh door led to a short hallway and a T-intersection. To the southwest was another door and to the northeast the hallway led into a dining room furnished with a rust red bone table and several chairs. An unfinished meal of some kind sat on the table. Turning back to the door at the T-intersection, the band entered what appeared to be a small temple that reeked of evil emanating from a bone altar. A sacrificial table and several huge stumps lay at the center of the room, while a rust red curtain was draped behind the altar.

Soon after the band entered the room, the curtain was flung aside and out stepped two fomorian giants emerging from a nearby room. Behind them were two more half-orc priests, one of which was the priest who had escaped earlier and was now fully healed. He also wielded a scythe while the second priest carried a steel shield and brandished a sickle in his other hand.

As before, the priests used silence and hold person spells to try and hinder the band. But when Corvyn and the giants blocked the doorway, the priest with the sickle and shield tried to tumble past them and attack. He was quickly cut down however and the giants fell soon afterwards. When the band moved in to attack the final priest, he too was found to be prepared for melee combat and like his earlier companion, he wielded a magical scythe and was able to channel negative energy through it to cause additional harm. But like the other priests before him, he also was doomed to fall before the Company of the Green Dragon.

When the battle was over, the band tended to any injuries and examined the fallen foes for any items of value. Among the valuables found on the priests were 20 black jaspers that Zeke refused to touch as they seemed to be permeated with evil. The same could be said about the curtain which no one cared to touch. A quick check of the prison cells at the back of the adjacent room revealed two prisoners, both of which the band released using a set of keys found on one of the priests. One of the prisoners was a derro who did not speak much but who was clearly glad to be released. The other was a drow who spoke only in undercommon.

The drow introduced himself to Tadwin, giving the name of Trizzac, and claimed to be a businessman of sorts, with connections to various merchants of weapons and other items in the underdark. He told Tadwin that he had made a deal with the ogre magi for weapons, but when something went wrong with the deal, he was imprisoned. It was shortly after that when the war between Nerull and Vaprak broke out and he had been imprisoned ever since. But he assured Tadwin that he could be of some assistance to the band.
Part Three - Chapter Three: The Guardians of Nerull's Vault

By midday, on Moonday the 10th day of Fireseek, in the Common Year of 581, the Company of the Green Dragon had defeated all of the known enemy forces on the eighth level of the Tower of War in the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. In fact, after having dealt with the priests of Nerull and their troll and ogre guardians so completely and effectively, and in just half a day’s work, the band was still in good enough shape to make an initial foray into the more heavily defended ninth level.

Leaving the drawbridges down and the passageway leading to them clear, the band made their way across the river of lava, beyond the shielding wall to the southwest, and into the octagonal-shaped room where yet another statue of Nerull had been discovered. Realizing that they had overlooked this room in their first pass through the area, they now took the time to examine it more closely, and found that the staff was actually a magical staff with a head that could strike as a poisonous snake. So, of course, they took the staff, but soon learned that it would only operate for those of an evil nature, which meant that, at least for the time being, it was Tadwin’s to wield.

From there they went downstairs and walked a very long passageway leading to the southwest that eventually ended in a T-intersection and two sets of spiral stairs going down. They followed one set of stairs for a bit, but soon came to the conclusion that these stairs would probably take them all the way to the bottom level, completely skipping over the ninth level. Realizing they were not yet ready for the next level, nor did they want to leave an entire level of enemies at their backs, the band went back and searched for secret doors. It did not take long to find one in an obvious place at the start of the passageway. Beyond this secret door was a wide passageway leading directly west at the end of which was another secret door.

Upon opening the second secret door, they found a huge circular dining hall that smelled of stale beer and rotting food. Among the many tables and chairs, and the two fire pits, fungus and mushrooms lay scattered about and some could even be seen growing on the ceiling and walls. But despite the obvious signs of occupation, the huge room was otherwise devoid of any occupants.

There were however several doors in the chamber. So the band chose the nearest door to their left, and after checking for traps, opened it. In the room beyond were six two-headed trolls, some of which were resting in the now familiar shallow troll pits, though even the napping trolls were quick to their feet. But regardless of how alert any of them might have been, the trolls’ first actions were all the same, which was to try and shield themselves from the fireball that was predictably hurled into the room. This was followed by the equally predictable stance in the doorway by Corvyn and his giant-bane greatsword. What was not so easily predicted however, was the resistance put up by the two-headed trolls as they fought back. It did not take long for the band to realize just how much tougher the two-headed trolls were than the normal variety.

To make matters worse, the band then heard the sound of several giant trolls approaching from the rear. Contrary to what one might expect from the name “giant troll”, these hulking monsters were not merely large trolls, but rather a cross between hill giants and trolls. The resulting offspring was therefore not much larger than an ordinary troll, and yet somehow they were typically more deadly than one would expect an exceptionally large troll to be.

Realizing that the band could suddenly find themselves in a very dire situation, Tadwin wisely cast a spell and, just in the nick of time, produced a wall of force that blocked off the entrance into the dining hall, thereby preventing the giant trolls from entering. It did not stop them from trying though, as a number of them, unaware of its presence, ran into the wall of force and afterwards continued to pound on it, not knowing they could do no harm to it.

The band, meanwhile, focused on killing the two-headed trolls, which proved to be more difficult than they had anticipated. More than once during the battle, Corvyn was taking such a beating that he had to be magically healed by Rohnam just to stay on his feet, which was not something Corvyn had been accustomed to for quite some time. Still, the band eventually prevailed and managed to put down the last of the trolls with only seconds to spare before the wall of force expired.

When it did, the six giant trolls came barging into the dining hall, swinging their enormous greatclubs, and causing enough ruckus to alert the entire level. Nevertheless, the band stood their ground and eventually defeated them as well. But when the battle was over, the band decided it was time to retreat.

Upon reaching the eighth level, the band left the nearest drawbridge up to try and prevent any forces from below from crossing the lava river. Then they made their way to one of the concealed chambers that the derro had constructed. Feeling confident that any forces from below would be unaware of the derros’ concealed chambers, the band believed they would be safe enough there to rest and allow their spellcasters to regain their spells. The band spoke to some of the derro in the area and told them of their plans to defeat the ogre magi masters and warned them to leave any gold left behind by the band alone, assuring the derro that they would eventually return to gather it. The band also decided to tell the duergar the same thing, but due to the difficulty in making it back to the duergar from their current location, they ended up hold off on doing this for the time being.

Almost twelve hours later, it looked as if they had been correct in their assumption that they would not be found where they rested. But shortly after midnight, on Godsday the 11th, just half an hour before they were about to end their rest, Brom heard the sound of two two-headed trolls entering a short hallway just outside their room through a concealed door. Brom was able to kill both of the two-headed trolls almost single-handedly using his usual tactic of invisible sneak attacks, while Corvyn gave a slight assist in the end. But convinced that the derro had betrayed their position, Brom became quite angry. Moments later, he tracked down five of the derro in the nearby kitchen and savagely sliced four of the derros’ throats. The fifth one he let live, but issued a stern warning, telling him to spread the word among the derro that any further betrayal would lead to their deaths.

About an hour and a half later, at around 2am, the band was ready to set out again. They then returned to the ninth level and found that the huge dining hall was again empty of any occupants, though the charred bodies of the two-headed trolls and the giant trolls, killed previously by the band, had been dragged away in the direction from where the giant trolls had come. From here, the band decided to do some scouting ahead and then come up with a plan. So Brom turned invisible and headed off in the direction where the troll bodies had been dragged. Tadwin, meanwhile, followed along with an arcane eye spell enhanced with another spell that would allow him to see Brom.

Brom and the arcane eye soon came to a large cavern, where dust and loud crunching sounds filled the air. Cart tracks ringed the outer edges of the room, while a 15’ high mound of rubble filled the center. A smaller mound of rocks and rock powder laid to the south, as derro teemed over the area furiously shoveling rubble around, loading, or emptying carts. All of this however, was barely noticed, for 20’ high up on a ledge, a cloaked figure sat on a golden throne holding a staff which was shooting forth a faint deep purple glow which struck and surrounded a 16’ tall earth elemental that pounded rubble to dust with its huge fists. The lower half of the earth elemental was hidden below the surrounding rubble, but on the far side could be heard more crunching noises. Upon closer inspection, four umber hulks with chains around their ankles stood there, adding to the pile of crushed rock. Leading from this huge cavern were five large passageways where more cart tracks ran off into.

Brom and Tadwin’s invisible eye followed the passageway to the left and soon came to a side cave where a two-headed troll, a giant roll, and a huge, malformed giant known as a fomorian giant, sat on guard duty. Just beyond this, the cart track led them to a large room where a 12’ tall, fiery giant cranked winches atop a strange catapult-like wagon of iron without wheels. The wagon rested on a 10’ wide track of metal rollers set down in a shallow trench. The catapult end was connected to a bowl-shaped, wheeless cart that rested on another track. This track was only 5’ wide but had golden rollers. A couple of nervous looking giant trolls stood guard near a rough passageway, while a handful of derro were grouped around the carts and another similar cart on the other side of the catapult-wagon. Two fomorian giants manned a large winch which had chains attached to the wagon. The air here was very warm and heat radiated from a huge set of iron double doors to the southwest.

Brom and the arcane eye were not able to observe the area for long, before the fiery giant seemed to take notice of their presence. So they quickly retreated back towards the large cavern. From here, Tadwin scouted out the other wide passageways and eventually found that each of them led off into the mines where derro slaved away while being observed by numerous two-headed trolls, giant trolls and fomorian giants. Along the way, there were a few more guard stations. Most of the mines were apparently gold mines, but in one particular branch the derro there appeared to be unearthing rough gems of various kinds.

While Tadwin scouted out the mines with his arcane eye, Brom returned to the rest of the band and they began devising a plan of action. By the time Tadwin had scouted out the mines, the rest of the band had finished formulating a plan. When they were ready, they put that plan into motion.

Moving ahead invisibly, Brom snuck back into the large cavern, and flew as quietly as he could up to where the cloaked figure sat. He then quickly made a series of sneak attacks and killed what turned out to be another half-orc cleric of Nerull. As the half-orc was dying, his concentration on controlling the earth elemental was broken, and the earth elemental was suddenly released. Moments later, the rest of the band entered the cavern. As they did so, the derro became aware of them and of the demise of the half-orc cleric. But being unsure of what was happening, they merely stopped working and looked on to see what would happen next. By now, the still invisible Brom was already on his way to his next targets, which were the guards at the nearby guard station.

Meanwhile, the earth elemental was free to do as it wished. Ordinarily, a free-willed elemental in such a situation would most likely attack whoever had recently controlled it. But since the half-orc was already dead, there was no point in doing so. However, when Tadwin saw that the earth elemental was now free-willed, he thought he might be able to take control of it. Unfortunately, although Tadwin possessed a fair amount of knowledge concerning the summoning and controlling of elementals, he was, nevertheless, unfamiliar with some of the details and did not realize that it was virtually impossible to resume control of a free-willed elemental. So when Tadwin attempted to take control of the earth elemental, the elemental found a new foe on which to focus its anger. Using its ability to move through the earth unhindered, it quickly sunk into the ground and headed rapidly towards Tadwin.

When Tadwin saw the body language of the earth elemental, just before it disappeared into the ground, he instantly realized his mistake and knew he was in danger. He called out a warning, which prompted the rest of the band to come to his aid, all except for Brom who, unknown to the rest of the band, had already left the cavern and was well on his way to the guard station.

When the earth elemental emerged from the ground in front of Tadwin, Corvyn was there to greet it and the big, burly fighter quickly killed it. But as he did so, the four umber hulks now approached. Although they wore chains around their ankles, the chains were just long enough to allow the umber hulks to reach the band of adventurers. Seeing the band as potential enemies, the hulking monsters moved to attack. The band however, saw that they could easily outrun the umber hulks and knowing that Brom must have already left the cavern, they turned and headed in the same direction. Unfortunately, unknown to everyone at the time, Corvyn apparently got caught by the gaze of one of the umber hulks just before they turned to go. Although the affect appeared to be slightly delayed, Corvyn eventually succumbed to the umber hulk’s confusing gaze as he and Zeke were bringing up the rear and leaving the cavern. Now, suddenly mistaking Zeke for an enemy, he attacked Zeke and severely wounded the band’s leader. Rohnam was not too far ahead of them though, and realizing what was happening, he was able to turn back and dispel Corvyn’s confusion.

Meanwhile, unaware of what was delaying his companions, Brom continued to proceed with the plan and attacked the guards at the guard station, killing the two-headed troll, the giant troll and the fomorian giant virtually unassisted. The last of the guards was falling as his companions were approaching and they got there just in time to make sure the trolls could not regenerate. With the band now back together at the guard station, they took a moment to update their plan and search the bodies of the guards. When they were ready, they then moved on to the next room.

When they got there, Tadwin entered the room first so he could unleash a cone of cold. But immediately afterwards, the fiery giant there, which the band soon recognized as an efreeti, threw up a wall of fire directly behind Tadwin, essentially cutting him off from the rest of the band. Then he quickly blasted Tadwin with three scorching rays of fire, wounding him badly. Tadwin had no choice then but to retreat back through the wall of fire, thereby causing further injury to himself. The rest of the band hesitated, unsure of whether or not they wanted to step through the wall of fire. But some of them were wearing the rings of fire resistance they had recently acquired, while Corvyn just figured he could suffer the damage okay. So Corvyn, Rohnam and Brom stepped through the wall of fire and attacked while Zeke and Tadwin launched their spells through the wall of fire. More mass damage spells, including at least two fireballs, exploded in the room, causing severe injuries and killing some of the trolls and giants. The derro who survived the first attack fled from the room, while a two-headed troll from a nearby room joined in on the battle. Being immune to the fireballs, the efreeti had to be attacked by other means. Although it was able to cast spells and fire scorching rays almost simultaneously, the efreeti was badly wounded early on in the battle by Corvyn and was forced to take defensive measures. Initially, when the efreeti disappeared, most of the band assumed it had teleported away. It had only turned invisible though, and after taking up a position elsewhere in the room, it eventually resumed its attacks.

A couple of the two-headed trolls attempted to move across the rollers to attack, but one of them fell down in the process, and both of them soon decided they were too close to the wall of fire and retreated. But not before Rohnam used the ring of fire resistance he was wearing to his advantage and, being immune to the fire, attacked through the wall of fire. Near the end of the battle, once the efreeti had fallen, Zeke displayed a bit of razzle-dazzle when he managed to knock 2 two-headed trolls and 2 giant trolls on their asses with one magic missile spell!

The battle appeared to come to an end shortly afterwards. But as the band began to tend to some injuries, another two-headed troll and another giant troll suddenly stormed into the room. Perhaps hoping to avoid all the mass damage spells, but realizing they would have to fight sooner or later, these two were late-comers to the fight. Whatever the case, they died just as quickly as those that had come before.

When the battle was now confirmed to be over, the band returned to healing their wounds. Once this was done, they looked about in the nearby rooms and found about 2 dozen derro hiding there, some of which had been badly wounded by Tadwin’s cone of cold. But none of the derro wanted to fight the band and they quickly did what they could to comply with the band’s desires, answering any questions as best they could. In one of the rooms, which lay to the southeast, the band found a cart full of newly crafted gold weapons and armor. In another room, to the northeast, the derro there had been making these golden objects with various tools and molds. Piled in this room were many more items made of gold, some of which were unfinished.

The band instructed the derro to resume their work, while they looked behind a door in the northeast room. This door led to a small room filled with glass ware and bottles of strange looking fluids. A few gold bars were scattered about and two nervous derro stood there holding a couple of bottles, looking as if they were considering whether or not to throw the bottles at the band. Fortunately for them, common sense prevailed and they chose not to throw the bottles, which turned out to contain some fairly potent acid.

Upon questioning, the derro told the band they had been commanded by the priests to devise a way of turning gold into iron, since iron was in such short supply here. They claimed they had come close in their experiments, indicating one green/silver bottle on the shelf which they said contained a liquid that could turn gold into brass. In addition to this, there were a dozen more bottles of acid and three bottles of some unidentifiable poisonous substance. Most of this Brom was able to confirm after some examination.

Once the band had finished investigating this room, they took their searches elsewhere and quickly discovered a secret door that led to the lift chamber going up to the eighth level. There was no lift going down. Afterwards, the band returned to the large cavern where they cautiously approached the umber hulks still chained there. Zeke was able to make gestures and communicate roughly with the umber hulks, indicating to them that they meant them no harm. Once the umber hulks seemed to understand this, the band removed the chains around their ankles and released them, at which point, the umber hulks turned and began digging their way out of the cavern.
Part Three - Chapter Two: A Sacrifice Denied

It was early in the evening on Sunday, the 9th day of Fireseek, in the Common Year of 581, when a tremendous explosion, set off by one of Zeke’s fireballs, caused much of the ceiling of a large cavern to collapse on top of the Company of the Green Dragon soon after they began exploring the eighth level of the ruins of the Tower of War. Shortly afterwards, the band had killed another troll and eight more derro in a nearby living area that appeared to be cut off from the rest of the level. With the lifts both above them and below them heavily damaged, there appeared to be no means of entering the area they were in, save for a difficult to reach secret door that led to a secret stash of golden arms and armor. So the band saw this as a good opportunity for them to rest.

First, however, they wanted to contact the duergar and their henchmen above to let them know they were still alive and to inform them of their plans. With this in mind, Zeke used his winged boots to fly up through the lift shaft where he could speak to the duergar on the seventh level. In addition to telling the duergar about their situation, Zeke also suggested that the duergar be on the lookout for anyone coming up from the eighth level by way of the secret stairwell. The band assumed that others on the eighth level had heard the explosion and would likely want to come and investigate via the seventh level.

Upon Zeke’s return, the band set up their watches and began taking their turns resting, eating and tending to their daily routines. Fortunately, the living area had plenty of food and drink that even a band of humans could stomach without complaint, though the sleeping arrangements were another matter entirely.

Sometime after midnight, about halfway through their rest, and while Zeke and Corvyn were on watch, Corvyn heard the sound of a whispering voice. At first, the strange voice seemed to be speaking to others in the group who were asleep. But then the voice began whispering to Corvyn, and Corvyn then realized that it was the leader of the duergar, Gaerdar, trying to communicate to the band with magic.

Gaerdar told Corvyn that a group, led by a half-orc priest, had come up through the secret stairwell, just as the band had expected. But they were attacked by the derro and forced to retreat back down. Corvyn realized that among other things, this meant that the enemy forces were now aware, that at the very least, the derro had taken over much, if not all of the seventh level. But how much more the priests of Nerull could know at this point, was probably a tad beyond Corvyn’s limited capacity to reason. Hopefully, the band could still have some element of surprise. Corvyn was able to send a response back to Gaerdar, acknowledging the receipt of his message. Then, later on, when the others each awoke, Corvyn told them what Gaerdar had said. The rest of the night passed by uneventfully.

So, it was about 7 o’clock the following morning, Moonday the 10th day of Fireseek, when the band was ready to resume their explorations. The obvious place to start was the secret door found previously on the far side of the cavern. They placed the plank over the tar pit and made their way to the secret room, where they began inspecting another secret door to the northeast. This one however, felt very warm to the touch when Brom went to inspect it and search for any traps. He surmised that it was extremely hot on the other side of the door, so hot in fact, that it might cause injury to anyone not protected from the heat.

Tadwin decided then that now might be a good time for him to send out an invisible eye to scout out as much of the level as he could. So, while one of his companions quickly opened and closed the door, Tadwin sent his conjured sensor through the doorway and into a wide corridor that ran from east to west. The natural corridor was both dimly lit and heated by a river of molten lava, which flowed to the east. Nowhere was there a pathway, much less any obvious doors to be found. But Tadwin did spy some interesting structures to the west. So it was to the west that he then sent his invisible eye.

Soon, he came across what appeared to be either a trap or some kind of defensive mechanism designed to utilize the river of lava in some way. Just beyond that were a pair of draw bridges to either side of the cave, clearly intended to span the river of lava if they were lowered, which they currently were not. And still further on, there was a sort of natural bridge that barely cleared the lava. To the north of that bridge lay a passageway, and to the south, a door, partially protected from the heat by a wall.

Tadwin was able to send his invisible eye a bit further into the passageway, and down both directions of the wide corridor, but he was either blocked by closed doors or he did not find much else of real interest. The two possible exceptions to this were an octagonal shaped room with a statue of Nerull holding a staff, and a nearby stairwell that appeared to lead to the ninth level, both of which were found just south of the draw bridge.

But the band decided to investigate the door behind the wall first, using what magic and abilities they had to try and avoid any injuries from the extreme heat. Brom used one of his many concoctions to protect himself from the heat, while he tested out his recently acquired wings for the first time in a critical situation. Still flying a bit awkwardly, he managed to make it to the door fairly quickly, ahead of the others, so he could look for traps. Upon finding no traps, and willing to take a risk to escape the heat, he opened the door and entered. Moments later, the rest of the band, though without Kaelegg, appeared through one of Tadwin’s dimensional doors just outside the door, which Brom then opened to let them in. Kaelegg had to be left behind in the secret room because Tadwin was not able to transport everyone.

Beyond the door the band found a series of rooms that appeared to be the living quarters of more half-orc priests, complete with the usual Nerull worshiping accoutrements and several magically trapped tomes on Nerull. But none of the rooms held any occupants. Passing through a few doors beyond this area, the band found a room containing two statues of ogres, one of which wore a set of magical gauntlets.

After some investigation, the band learned that the gauntlets could be used to help push a hidden lever, thereby opening a secret door, which appeared to lead into the central Tower of Zagig. They found that, barring any kind of powerful magic currently beyond them, the door could only be opened by pushing the lever. And this could only be accomplished with tremendous strength, which, as Corvyn soon discovered, was greatly enhanced for anyone wearing the gauntlets. Unfortunately, the gauntlets were linked to chains made of a strange, bluish and magically reinforced metal that no one could severe without a great deal of effort. And so, for the time being, the band was forced to leave the magical gauntlets behind, vowing to return for them when they had more time and perhaps the means to break the chains.

One other item of interest that they discovered while trying to learn the destination of the passageway beyond the secret door, were the sets of tracks made by a few individuals of varying sizes, which appeared to lead away from the Tower of Zagig, in an otherwise rarely used corridor. Due to the nature of the secret door, the band could only guess that whoever made these tracks, must have used powerful magic to breach the thick stone wall and enter the War Tower.

Near the room with the magical gauntlets, the band found another door that looked very similar to the trapped doors they encountered the first time they entered the eighth level. This, they concluded, was probably where these doors connected and would lead to the secret spiral stairway and the seventh level. According to Gaerdar’s message, a band led by a half-orc priest passed through this way several hours before. But at this time, all appeared to be vacant.

So they headed for the natural stone bridge that spanned the river of lava, with Brom far out in front to scout ahead. As before, everyone used what magic they had to protect them from the heat. Corvyn had to cover himself with a wet towel, which helped a bit but did not fully protect him. It was Brom however, who came the closest to a disaster when he accidentally set off three glyphs of warding while crossing over the bridge. One of the glyphs, which Brom fell victim to, acted as a hold person spell and were it not for his forward momentum leading him straight ahead, he could have tumbled into the river of lava and very nearly did. The hold spell wore off just as Brom’s companions were approaching, so naturally Brom tried to act nonchalant about the mishap, behaving as if nothing troubling had occurred.

Once across the bridge and away from the heat, the band found a sauna that made creative use of the nearby heat-source, and beyond that, a cloak room with a secret door to the north. Listening at the secret door, Brom could hear what sounded like one of the half-orcs making a rousing speech to a large room full of ogres and trolls. Tadwin cast a clairvoyance spell and was able to confirm the assertion that the vast majority of this level’s inhabitants were now all gathered in a large temple dedicated to Nerull. He also learned that one of the half-orc priests, of which there were three standing at an altar on the near side of the chamber, had chained a woman to the altar and was about to sacrifice her. Realizing that he had to tell his companions, despite what Nerull might wish to say about it, Tadwin accurately described the scene.

Aware that time was of great importance, the band made a few quick battle plans, hastily prepared themselves and opened the door. Taking a dozen elite ogres and half a dozen trolls by surprise, the arcane spellcasters launched a couple of fireballs into the room, while the others moved in to attack with weapons. Between Corvyn’s skill with a giant-bane greatsword, and Brom’s devastating sneak attacks, the rest of the battle was completely one-sided. Within a matter of seconds, the band had wiped out nearly all the inhabitants of the eighth level with not so much as a scratch. One of the half-orc priests tried to make a run for it near the end, only to be taken down by a magic missile spell.

When it was over, some members of the band began inspecting the fallen bodies, while Rohnam freed the chained woman with a set of keys found on one of the clerics. The woman thanked the band for the well-timed rescue, saying that her name was Elegeena and that she had a friend being held in a nearby cell. She told the band that she and her dwarven friend were all that remained of an all-female band of adventurers, who, upon the insistence of the band’s wizard, had started out in the Tower of Zagig. She said that they got into serious trouble right from the start and spent most of their time trying to avoid or run away from battles. According to Elegeena, they eventually, somehow, made it to what they believed was the lowest level of the central tower where she claimed to have seen the tomb of Zagig himself. When asked what she had seen in the central tower, she spoke of powerful undead wizards and numerous deadly traps, but did not go into much detail.

Moving on from the temple hall, the band headed in the direction where Elegeena said they could find her friend. By now aware that Zeke was the obvious leader of the band, she instead seemed to focus most of her attention towards Rohnam who, though he was not quite as charismatic as Zeke, could not help but be the lady’s man he was well known for. He played the part of a concerned hero quite well, although if Elegeena was to be believed, she was far more skilled at dungeon delving than the average damsel in distress. Along the way, the band encountered a large troll and ogre who tried to ambush them but quickly met the same fate as all the others. Eventually, the band found a few holding cells at the rear of a large, lavishly decorated bedchamber. There, they met and released Elegeena’s friend, Ulaka. Nearby, in a locked chest, they found some equipment that the two women claimed as theirs.

After helping the females with their armor, the band offered to escort the women back up to the seventh level and relative safety. They then made their way back across the river of lava and over to the trapped door found earlier. Now with a set of keys, the band believed they would be able to bypass the trap fairly easily. So, using these keys, while the rest of the band stayed behind, Brom led the two women through a series of six iron doors, all of which triggered a steady stream of poisonous gas and automatically closed behind them. Holding their breath along the way, they all three made it to the stairs with no problem. Brom then took them upstairs where he eventually introduced them to the duergar, telling the duergar to take the woman back up to where the band’s henchmen were. With this matter now dealt with, Brom returned to his companions and they resumed their explorations.

From this point on, there was little left to be done on the eighth level but take out the few remaining ogres and trolls who had been stationed on guard duty. Occasionally, the band ran into small groups of derro, who had no desire to fight with the band, including four who were lying sick in a sort-of infirmary. A few of the derro offered up answers and advice if they were feeling threatened, though the sick derro seemed to be disappointed when the band found a secret door leading to a stash of tools and other secret passageways. The band also found a few elaborately designed and built traps and defensive measures, meant to kill intruders or even to seal off the eighth level by purposely causing the lift room to explode. All of these measures proved to be quite pointless against the band, largely due to the changes caused by the destruction of the middle levels in the War Tower.

After further exploration, the band learned how to operate the draw bridges spanning the river of lava, as well as a massive stone block that could be slid into place to seal off a wide passageway, leading to the draw bridges and the stairs to the level below. This they decided to open up, though they left one of the draw bridges up. They also found a long cylinder made of stone and hidden away in a secret chamber. This was apparently something that the derro had come up with on their own, as a means of secretly crossing the river of lava, in order to reach the secret room of golden arms and armor, which the band had to use to enter the remaining sections of the level.

By noon, the band had explored almost every chamber on the eighth level, with one obvious exception. This was an ancient chamber that had been sealed behind a secret door with a glyph of warding. Inside this large cave was an earthen mound covered with yellow blossoms and at the northern end stood a statue of a giant bat. Not feeling particularly sure about this chamber, the opted to avoid it initially. Later on, when asked about it, one of the derro cooks told the band that the half-orc priests were actually a bit afraid of entering the chamber. They believed it was the resting place of a powerful vampire named Crimloc, who Zagig had imprisoned there decades ago with a curse of some kind. For the time being anyway, the band decided that they too would avoid the place.
Part Three - Chapter One: Best. Fireball. Ever.
It was late in the evening on Starday, the 8th day of Fireseek, in the Common Year of 581, when the Company of the Green Dragon returned to their recently acquired new home at Prism Keep, after having cleared out most of the 7th level of the Tower of War in the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. There, they unloaded all the treasure they had collected on their visit to the ruins and settled down for a comfortable night’s rest.

But it had not been all that long since they last rested, and Brom was anxious to return to his work on an alchemical experiment he had been working on for a while and which he felt he was very close to completing. So he soon resumed his work, and in a moment of inspiration, made an amazing discovery that he could not wait to test out upon himself. Having brewed up a potion that he felt confident would work as he had hoped, he quickly gulped it down and suddenly found himself gaging and thrashing about on the floor of his laboratory, writhing in terrible pain as his body underwent yet another bizarre transformation. When at last the pain and nausea had passed, Brom picked himself up off the floor and admired himself in a mirror as he spread wide his newly formed pair of reptilian wings! His tumor monkey Twig, on the other hand, could only chitter and squeal in the language that only Brom could understand, declaring what an odd looking creature his master had become.

The next morning, when Brom made his first appearance before his bandmates and the band’s henchmen, he was met with a mixture of puzzled stares, awkward silences, humorous remarks and fascinated expressions. But before long, everyone gradually came to realize and accept the fact that Brom’s new feature was just another one of the strange and not so unexpected manifestations of the twisted mind he had become known for. Some of Brom’s friends soon pointed out, however, that his magical armor (or any armor or clothing for that matter) would no longer fit him without some alterations. And some of his friends became concerned about the unwanted attention his wings would attract in public places like Greyhawk City. Brom’s answer to the first concern was that he would purchase and quickly alter a set of non-magical leather armor to use until his magical leather armor could be properly adjusted.

As for the attention he might attract, Brom figured he could just remain invisible in public places. But clearly this was not always going to be feasible. It would mean he could never again join his companions at a tavern or countless other public places, and would have a great deal of difficulty in interacting with contacts, merchants and in any kind of information gathering endeavor. So Rohnam offered to lend him his magical ring of alteration when needed, agreeing to work out some kind of deal with him in the future to make a permanent trade for the ring. This would be much more preferable as it would allow Brom to assume any humanoid form from as small as a gnome to as large as an ordinary man, without limitations.

With this plan in mind, the band prepared for another trip into the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. Having now begun the incursion of the Nerull worshipers in the lower levels of the War Tower, now was not the time to take a break and allow the forces there to regroup and shore up any defenses. To avoid a more difficult and prolonged campaign against the half-orcs, trolls and ogres, the banded needed to remain on the offensive and take advantage of the victories they had so far achieved.

So, when they were ready, the band returned to the city and visited a few of the more than a dozen leather workers there, soon finding a gentleman who could sell them a suit of leather armor that would fit Brom. For a few more coins, the man agreed to make a few quick alterations to the suit of armor, not only the holes in the back for Brom’s wings, but also the slits and laces necessary to allow the suit to be slid over the wings and fastened in place.

Once this matter had been dealt with, the band, along with their original group of henchmen, set out for the ruins. This time Rohnam brought along his henchman, Sarina the Red, an experienced half-elf fighter who could add a much needed presence in the ranks of the henchmen. After a three hour walk along a very familiar path, the band arrived at the castle ruins and began their tenth expedition into the War Tower. Having just left the ruins on the day before, nothing had changed except for the fact that Gaerdar had reanimated his zombie guardians on the third level. Gaerdar had told the band he would be doing so, and because he did not want the band to destroy his troglodyte zombies a third time, he asked Tadwin to present his unholy symbol of Nerull before the zombies, which would then allow the band to pass without any unnecessary conflict.

Tadwin did as Gaerdar had asked and, after stepping past the zombies, the band and their henchmen were soon greeted by the duergar guards who then lowered them to the fourth level where they met with Gaerdar again. Gaerdar informed the band that nothing had changed concerning their enemies below while the band was gone, but again cautioned them against the possible treachery of the derro who were recently released from slavery on the seventh level and which now numbered more than a hundred strong. Gaerdar also mentioned that he had instructed his men to begin making repairs to the lift leading from the fifth to the heavily damaged sixth level.

Keeping all of this in mind, the band then had the duergar lower them to the fifth level where the henchmen remained in the lift room along with a contingent of duergar who began making repairs to the lift. As before, the band used ropes to lower themselves down through the lift shaft and on to the sixth level, where they made their way to the secret stairwell. Upon reaching the seventh level, and entering the area that had recently been occupied by the elite ogres, they soon came to the magically darkened room where Tadwin had detected a secret door. As yet, the band had found no sign of the derro and they recalled that this secret door was likely the one mentioned by one of the half-orc priests who suspected some of the derro slaves had escaped through. So they decided to take a look.

Going on a hunch, Corvyn checked to see if his ioun torch could penetrate the darkness and he discovered that it did lighten up the room a bit, though not a great deal. Still, it was enough to allow the band to find the secret door and open it. Beyond the secret door they found a passageway and some stairs that went down into a completely submerged section. They debated a bit on whether or not to venture into the water. But an augury spell indicated that, although there was some danger involved, there could be some benefit to going into the water.

So Corvyn led the way and soon found another secret door, which he opened. Almost immediately, he felt the water pulling on him, threatening to drag him towards a crevice that was in the floor of the room just beyond the secret door. But Corvyn was able to brace himself and hold firm against the water’s pull as he stepped into the room. Brom, who was right behind Corvyn, was not as fortunate. He was pulled off a rope that he had been trying to hold onto and dragged to the crevice where he then got wedged in place.

Though the crevice was large enough to pull Brom off his feet, it was not large enough to let him pass through it. And so he remained stuck to the floor, unable to break free of the powerful suction. The good news, though, was that by blocking the crevice, the water’s pull was subsided, which allowed everyone else to move easily past and onto a set of stairs leading up into another passageway. Once everyone had made it safely past, while Brom was forced to continue holding his breath, Corvyn tied a rope around Brom and they were able to pull him free. Unfortunately, Corvyn then got sucked onto the crevice. So the band had to use the rope again, though this time they pulled Corvyn free while everyone else was safely out of the water.

When the band was ready to move on, they followed the passageway to a room lined with mostly empty crates. There they were attacked by eight winged kobold-like creatures known as urds. These urds were easily defeated, but they did manage to cause the band some serious injuries as they were very adept at dropping rocks on people’s heads and they were equipped with a wand of magic missiles and a potion of fire breath.

Soon afterwards, the band came upon a very similar room, though this one also contained a statue of Nerull. Here, they were attacked by six urds who suddenly appeared through an illusionary wall. One of the urds had a magical dagger and another had used a rod of terror to make himself appear very frightening. In fact, he was so frightening that several members of the band fled from the room in panic.

Once the band had killed five of these urds and scared the sixth one away, they regrouped and found a secret passageway under the statue of Nerull and a trap door in the floor behind the illusionary wall. They decided to investigate the trap door first, since that was the direction that the sixth urd had fled.

Following another passageway there, they eventually came to a set of stairs leading up to a room where they were attacked by five invisible verbeeg giants and the urd. Corvyn killed most of the giants on his own with his giant-bane greatsword. When the giants and the urd were dead, the band climbed down a ladder into another passageway, which they began to investigate. But the passageway went on for quite a ways and the band eventually came to the conclusion that it would only lead them to the Power Tower if they continued to follow it.

They recalled what Caleb of the Champions of Valor had said about the Power Tower and they realized that this had to be the passageway through which he had escaped. Despite the fact that the Power Tower almost certainly had more magic items to be gained, as evidenced by the items possessed by the urds and the giants, the band did not feel they were ready to venture there just yet. There was also the fact that they had unfinished business to attend to in the War Tower first. So the band turned back and made their way to the passageway under the statue of Nerull.

This passageway soon led them to an oddly shaped room with an altar dedicated to Nerull off to one side. At the center of the room were six urds and three verbeeg giants heavily involved in some kind of debate when the band walked in. A battle then broke out and the band, of course, was victorious. When it was over, the band discovered that one of the giants had been holding a ring of water walking, while another was holding a potion. Unfortunately, the glass vial containing the potion was shattered by Tadwin’s cone of cold spell and the potion was lost.

After gathering anything of value and finding no other doors or passageways, the band made one last search for any secret doors and headed back to the flooded rooms. Once again the band debated a while on whether or not to explore any more of the flooded rooms. Eventually, Corvyn decided to retrieve one of the dead giant’s bodies and use it to plug up the crevice, so the band could pass through with no difficulties. Then, once the band was safely back on the other side, Corvyn quickly looked through the other flooded rooms, but found nothing of interest.

With the water hazards now behind them, the band dried themselves off a bit and headed towards the secret stairwell in the priests’ area, hoping it would lead them to the eighth level. During the band’s last break from the castle ruins, Kaelegg had drawn up a map showing everything that the duergar claimed to know about the eighth level, which wasn’t much. But based on this, the band wanted to try the secret stairwell first.

The spiraling stairs descended about seventy-five feet, further than any set of stairs they had found so far in the Tower of War, and finally came to a stop at a short passageway that ended at a sturdy iron door with a vastly superior lock. Brom examined the door and found that it was rigged to close automatically. He was able to pick the lock, but it took him two minutes to do so. When he finally got the door open, a visible gas began to fill up the small room just beyond.

The band retreated back upstairs and waited for the gas to dissipate. When they returned, the door had closed and locked, so Brom had to pick the lock once again. As before, when they opened the door, gas began to poor out again. Zeke tested the gas and found that, while it was poisonous to breath, it was not harmful to touch. So, in theory, the band could try to get through by holding their breath. But the only thing they saw in the room was another iron door just like the first one, and the band could not help but envision themselves running out of breath while waiting for Brom to pick the lock, especially if there were more of these doors beyond.

At this point, taking the lift down to the eighth level was now beginning to look more promising. So the band retreated back upstairs, all the way up to the sixth level lift room. From there, they had to get the duergar and the band’s henchmen to pull a couple of them by rope, back up to the fifth level where they could explain to the duergar that they needed some of them to lower them on the lift to the eighth level. This meant that more of the duergar had to be summoned from up above and lowered into the sixth level just like the band had been.

By the time the band and eight of the duergar, including several of their most experienced members, had made it to the lift room on the seventh level, it was about 5 o’clock in the evening. During all of this time, there had been no sign of the derro who had been freed and no one could even be sure if they remained on the seventh level. There had been some discussion of bringing the henchmen down to the seventh level as well. But because some felt that the derro could be too dangerous if they turned on them, it was agreed to leave them on the fifth level for the time being.

When all was ready, the duergar began lowering the band into the shaft leading to the eighth level. About twenty-five feet down, the shaft suddenly opened up into a very large cavern. Looking over the sides of the lift, the band could see they were being lowered onto a plateau that was centered in this cavern, which had a ceiling of about fifty feet. Around this plateau was a pit of black goo, the surface of which was about twenty feet below. Spanning across the black goo was a swinging bridge which ended at a set of large double doors. Next to where the lift would set down were two winches and a pit which dropped to the ninth level. And next to that was a stone building with a set of double doors on the near side. Standing around and gazing upwards were nine derro and five trolls.

Since it had been about a day and a half since the lift service from the seventh level had been unexpectedly interrupted, the trolls and derro below were obviously curious about what was now coming down towards them. But since they could not see who was on the lift until it got very near the ground, they had no idea what to expect, which gave the band an obvious advantage.

When the lift was still about ten feet above the plateau, the band began firing at the trolls and derro with missile weapons and spells. While the derro might have sided with the band in an uprising against their masters, like the derro on the seventh level had done, this did not happen, largely due to the black tentacles spell that Tadwin cast which began attacking both the trolls and derro with no distinction between the two. None of the other band members seemed to be upset about this however, since none of them trusted the derro and did not care to see an already large force of derro grow even larger. Unfortunately, it meant that they had to battle both the trolls and the derro.

In response, the trolls began hurling rocks at the band, while the derro used their soundburst attacks and magically darkened the areas around them. When the lift got about four feet above the plateau, Brom, Corvyn and Kaelegg all jumped off the lift and attacked the trolls up close. Brom, of course, had turned invisible and made a sneak attack, while Corvyn and Kaelegg jumped directly on top of one of the trolls. After cutting into the troll, Corvyn managed to land on his feet. Kaelegg was not as fortunate and fell on his face.

It was at about this point, when Zeke decided to throw a fireball at some of the trolls and ended up doing far more damage than anyone could have imagined. For, unknown to all, perhaps even to the priests of this level, the black goo surrounding the plateau had been releasing a gas that had been building up near the ceiling of the cavern. Zeke’s fireball managed to ignite this gas, which caused a tremendous explosion inside the cavern. So huge was this explosion that it caused much of the cavern’s ceiling to collapse, and most of those who were not killed by the fire that roared through the cavern, were then crushed to death by the falling debris.

Most of the band, however, was fortunate in this regard. Since most of them were still on the lift at the time, with an open shaft directly above them, they did not have as much debris fall on top of them. So their injuries were not as potentially severe.

Brom, however, had nowhere to go other than to duck underneath the troll in front of him. Somehow, miraculously, the troll unintentionally shielded Brom completely from the fire and the falling debris and, although the troll fell on top of him, Brom managed to emerge from the explosion with nothing more than a few minor scratches. Corvyn, on the other hand, was able to duck under the lift and avoided being crushed to death, though he was injured rather severely. But it was Kaelegg who took the worst of it. Though he too had managed to duck under the troll in front of him, when the smoke and dust began to clear shortly after the explosion, he was not moving and most of the band was fairly certain he was dead.

It took a few moments following the explosion before anyone began to stir, and still longer for anyone to get a real sense of the damage done, due to the smoke and dust that continued to cloud the air. The explosion had caused the chains holding the lift to break, which then dropped the lift the few remaining feet onto the rounded platforms below. This in turn knocked all of those still on the lift off of their feet.

All around the platform, huge piles of stone covered the plateau. All of the derro were killed in the explosion, as were most of the trolls. As for those who were not on the lift, Brom was the first to emerge as he crawled out from under the troll. But it was at this point that Brom realized the troll that fell on him was still regenerating and beginning to stir. So he quickly made some deep cuts into it and began searching for some means to burn it.

Corvyn, meanwhile, crawled out from under the lift and made a quick examination of Kaelegg. Much to Corvyn’s surprise, the stubbornly tough duergar was still alive, though just barely. Unfortunately, so too was the troll on top of Kaelegg, which was also beginning to stir. So Corvyn called out to one of the band’s healers to tend to Kaelegg, while he cut a few gashes in the troll and reached for his flaming sword. And it was thus, that the band managed to save Kaelegg and kill the two remaining trolls.

When all of their enemies had been slain, the band took a while to heal their injuries. Then they looked around at what other damaged the explosion had caused. They saw that the two winches next to the shaft leading to the ninth level were heavily damaged, and that the swinging bridge was destroyed. Also, the double doors at the far end of where the bridge had been were blown in and a passageway beyond had collapsed. To the south of that, a large hole had been created in the cavern wall.

They took a look inside the stone building and found more random objects made of gold and the trolls sleeping chamber, but nothing else of interest. Then Brom tried out his wings for the first time and flew across the pit of black goo to the large hole in the wall. It opened up into a room that had been the sleeping chamber of some of the derro. On the far side was a door that Brom took a peek through. There he saw a troll in the process of ordering eight derro to clear out the passageway that had collapsed in the explosion. Brom flew back to the plateau then and told his companions what he had found.

They decided to attack the troll and the derro. So Brom flew back, while Zeke used his winged boots to fly across and Tadwin used a dimension door spell to get the rest of the band there. When they were ready, the band opened the door and attacked, quickly killing the troll and the derro with no problems. When the fight was over, the band looked about at what was obviously a dining hall, and a fairly nice one at that, with plenty of tables and chairs. Other nearby doors led to more sleeping chambers and a fairly well stocked pantry. But they found no obvious means of access into the rest of the eighth level.

Because of this, the band decided that this might be a good opportunity for the band to rest and regain spells, since they were in an area where no enemy forces were likely to find them, much less reach them. But before resting, Tadwin wanted to search for secret doors with a spell. So he borrowed Zeke’s winged boots to allow him to look all about the cavern. To his surprise, he found only one secret door and it was in a very unlikely and hard to reach place on the north side of the cavern. Here, there was no place to stand while opening the door and the nearest ledge was ten feet away across the pit of goo that was twenty feet below. But Tadwin managed to get the door open.

Just beyond, he found a small treasure trove of golden arms and armor and a wooden plank just long enough to span the pit of goo. On the far side was another secret door leading towards the northeast. Tadwin grabbed the wooden plank, closed the door behind him, and dropped the plank on the roof of the stone building as he flew back over to his companions to report what he had found.
Part Two - Chapter Eleven: Showdown in the Gladiatorial Arena

It was about three o’clock in the morning, on the 8th day of Fireseek, in the Common Year of 581, when the Company of the Green Dragon battled against and defeated the first of the half-orc priests on the 7th level of the ruins of the Tower of War. But unknown to them, at about that same time, their henchmen were also in a battle of their own.

Nikki, Ashba, Thiege and Jamis had been in the lift room of the fifth floor, when they heard something very large approaching. They only had a moment to prepare themselves, so while the others drew their weapons or readied their spell components, Nikki hid in a corner where he hoped to take whatever was approaching by surprise. Suddenly the doors to the lift room flew open and in stepped a huge ettin carrying two large clubs. Ashba tried to hit the ettin with a flaming sphere, but the ettin dodged to the side. The ettin then charged at them and struck Jamis, critically wounding him. The four henchmen were stunned at how vicious the ettin’s attacks were and tried to fight back. But the ettin struck Jamis again, knocking him unconscious. Then he turned and knocked Thiedge unconscious.

Before they knew what had hit them, half of the henchmen were now lying on the floor bleeding to death. Nikki and Ashba realized then that they could not fight the ettin in a toe-to-toe combat, so they retreated from the room and headed in the direction from which the ettin had come. The ettin, however, did not pursue them. Instead, the ettin poked at Jamis lying on the floor apparently to make sure he was knocked out. The ettin’s two heads then began talking to each other, perhaps trying to decide what to do with the two unconscious adventurers.

Seeing this from the hallway into which they had fled, Nikki and Ashba knew they had to do something or the ettin might eat their companions. So when the ettin reached down to grab the leg of Jamis, Ashba hit him with her flaming sphere and Nikki struck him with an arrow. The ettin turned and chased after them at this point. And from here on, Nikki and Ashba had to fight while on the run, using spells and arrows to do what they could, and then retreating to a safe distance.

At first, the ettin was able to catch up to them whenever they stopped and Nikki was forced to try and defend himself. But at some point, the ettin slipped and fell in the water that continually ran through the passageway. This gave Nikki and Ashba enough time to increase the distance between them and the ettin, allowing them to attack the ettin from a distance but not allowing the ettin to close in on them. Soon however, Ashba ran out of attack spells and had to resort to casting force missile cantrips. Fortunately however, this proved to be just enough to finally down the huge monster. Amazingly, Nikki and Ashba killed the ettin, almost entirely on their own.

When the battle was over, they quickly returned to look at Jamis and Thiedge and were relieved to find that both of them had stopped bleeding on their own, and both were still alive. Ashba then sent her familiar, a thrush she called Aliel, to go and find the rest of the band who were now on their way back. When the band got back to their henchmen, they healed them up and the entire group retreated back to the fourth level where the duergar once again allowed them to rest in an area they had set up for guests.

It was about noon when the band felt rested enough to regain their spells and prepare for another foray into the seventh level of the ruins. This time it was their intention to immediately seek out the remainder of the half-orc priests and eliminate them. Unfortunately, as Gaerdar pointed out to them, because the band retreated after killing the first of the priests, any element of surprise they might have had was now more than likely gone. So the band had to prepare for the possibility of a more organized resistance and increased defensive measures.

As before, when the band returned to the seventh level at about 1:30, they cautiously approached the secret door where just beyond they had fought their most recent battle. Again, they left their henchmen on the fifth level, but this time they were accompanied by two of Gaerdar’s lieutenants, which the duergar leader had offered to help in their protection. And though the band made no effort to search for them, they found no sign of the more than forty derro that the band had already freed from their masters. Once they reached the secret door, Tadwin cast another arcane eye spell before opening the door, hoping he would be able to scout out ahead for any signs of danger. But he did not get the chance to, at least not immediately, for as soon as the door opened, an explosion went off and the enemy forces were alerted.

The apparent glyph of warding above the door was just the first of the recently added defenses since the band had killed the first of the half-orc priests. And though no one was injured by the explosion, since the door was opened with a cantrip while the band stood clear, it did make a fairly loud bang. So almost immediately, three elite ogres, who were probably on a high alert status, came running from a nearby guard station. And just like that, the band was already engaged in their first battle. Fortunately, the band was well rested and well prepared, so they quickly tore into the onrushing ogres and began making steady progress down the hallway.

When the first three ogres were killed, the band heard more movement just around a corner, and onward they continued. This second set of ogres, was more cautious than the first, trying their best to gain the most advantageous position they could in the passageways. They were also encouraged by a half-orc priest who stood nearby and cast spells at the band. The priest’s spells, however, did not prove to be very effective and he did not manage to get many of them cast before Brom used a vomit swarm extract and sent a swarm of angry wasps after the priest. The priest then spent much of the remainder of the battle trying to get away from the wasps.

Early on in the battle, Kaelegg seemed very eager to join in and take out some revenge on the ogres and the priests. But he became seriously injured at one point, which prompted Rohnam to use a healing spell on him. The band did not care to see any of their healing spells go to the duergar, so they told him to hang back during the battles, which he did for a while. But as they were fighting the priest, he could not help but to turn invisible and sneak up behind the priest just to get one shot at the priest. Unfortunately he missed and almost became the priest’s next target for a spell. Moments later though, the priest was killed. So Kaelegg decided to follow the band’s advice for the most part and stay out of the fights.

Once the priest and the second group of ogres were killed, it appeared that no more enemies were on the way. So the band took the time to search the bodies and the nearby rooms for treasure, which included numerous books on Nerull that would be quite valuable to followers of the deity. Tadwin now also used his arcane eye, to scout out a great deal of the remainder of the level and in the process, discovered a few possible traps and ambush sites. When they were ready, the band moved on down a zig-zagging corridor to a long, wide hall with a series of descending stairs.

As Tadwin had noted with his arcane eye, this hallway appeared to be set up as a trapped ambush site. For it looked as if there were several ogres at the top of the stairs waiting for the band to enter the hallway so they could push a large stone ball down the hallway and crush the band. In an effort to spoil the trap however, Brom tried to sneak up the stairs invisibly. But a short way into the hallway, he passed over another glyph of warding, which, like the first one, exploded and caused a loud bang, though Brom was able to dodge to the side without injury. A short while later, just as Brom stepped on the first of the stairs, another glyph went off, with the same results, and this apparently was the cue for the ogres to push the stone ball. Suddenly, Brom looked up and saw the huge stone ball at the top of the stairs rolling slowly towards him, but rapidly picking up speed. With no time to think about it, Brom immediately ran in the opposite direct as fast as he could and dove into the side passage where the rest of the band awaited, while the huge stone ball tumbled on down the hall, narrowly missing him. Had Brom not reacted when he did, he would have surely been flattened.

With the danger of the trap now passed, Brom returned to the stairs and made sure there were no more glyphs of warding to be set off. When he was satisfied there was not, the rest of the band moved out into the hallway and up the stairs, where they battled the eight elite ogres who were waiting for them. As before, the band had little difficulty defeating the ogres. So when the battle was over, they released another stone ball that rolled down from that point in the opposite direction, where it eventually curved around a bend and crashed into a caved-in section of stairs. After gathering the golden sword sheaths that the ogres all carried, the band then turned their attention to a huge chamber nearby that was supported by six columns.

At the far end of this chamber were a rust-red altar and table, and two gold statues to either side, one of a troll and the other of an ogre holding a greatsword. The band inspected the area briefly, though they avoided touching anything, and found nothing of interest other than the gold statues which they left in place. Then they entered a wide hallway on the opposite side of the area where the giant balls had been. At the end of this hallway, they came to a 15 foot tall statue of Nerull that stood atop a dais. Soon after they approached it, though whether it was because they had done something to trigger it they could not say, the gold statues of the troll and ogre suddenly animated and came charging at them, forcing the band to fight them.

The band was able to defeat the statues without too much difficulty and only then discovered that the statues had merely been plated in gold. Leaving the ruins of these statues behind, the band opened a nearby door and found what appeared to be a tavern with three different levels and three different bars. Inside the bar were four derro bartenders who were waiting on three other derro and two ogres. The band ignored the derro and stepped in to battle the ogres. During the battle, a door opened up on the lowest, most distant level and out stepped two half orc clerics. In his haste to reach them, Corvyn tried to dive onto one of the bars and ended up falling onto the floor instead. But despite Corvyn’s embarrassing maneuver, the band quickly killed the ogres and half-orcs, with just a little help from the derro who joined in on the fight.

When the fight was over, the derro told the band that beyond the door on the opposite side of the hall was a gladiatorial arena, where the first of several matches had just recently begun. After getting some information about the arena from the derro, the band devised a plan and entered the arena through several doors. Once inside they found that a bloody battle was indeed being waged between a troll and a human, some fifteen feet below in a pit. All around the pit were balconies and stands where almost two dozen derro, half a dozen trolls and half a dozen ogres were watching and cheering. There was also a half-orc cleric on the far side of the arena.

Taking advantage of the initial confusion, the band began tearing into the ogres and trolls, taking several of them down before they could organize any kind of resistance. More trolls entered into the pit from cages under the balconies during the fight, making for a rather large and chaotic battle. But the band assumed control of the fight from the start and never did lose the advantage. While the battle was under way, some members of the band eventually realized that the human inside the pit was very familiar to them. It was none other than Caleb of the Champions of Valor, who had disappeared in the Mistmarsh almost 3 months before. Though the band had never much cared for the pompous and pretentious cleric of Hieroneous, they were at least willing to come to his aid just so they could hear from him how he managed to find himself in such a dire predicament. Early on in the battle, Brom used one of his alchemical concoctions and temporarily transformed himself into an undead creature with wings, known as a berbalang, so he could quickly fly over to the half orc priest and kill him before he could cause much harm with his spells.

Even Kaelegg got involved in the battle despite his earlier agreement to stay out of the battles. Eventually, with the entire band unleashing their full potential, the band was able to kill every last one of the trolls and ogres, allowing the derro to break free and run about as they wished. When the battle was finally over, they healed up their injuries and spoke to Caleb, who told the band a strange tale about what had happened to him over the last few months.

He told the band that after escaping the lizardmen in the Mistmarsh, he and Valen had been captured by the famous elven wizard known as Prince Melf, who teleported them into a dungeon where they soon became the unwilling servants of some creature capable of controlling their every move. He said that his memories were very jumbled and confused and that he could not recall ever having seen the creature that controlled them. But he believed that whatever it was, it lived beneath a pool of water in the dungeon. He also said there were other wizards there as well, conducting various experiments in labs. He claimed they were the famous Ring of Five, of which Melf was known to be a member, but which also included the famous wizards Serten, Leomund, Jaran Krimeeah a.k.a. the Black One or the Mage of the Valley and none other than the Mad Archmage himself, Zagig, who had built the castle long ago and has not been seen in public in many decades. So powerful a wizard he was thought to be that many believed him to be a demi-god.

According to Caleb, he recently managed to break away from of the mental control that kept him a prisoner and he spent several days running and hiding in a labyrinth of dark caves, filled with monsters that included several humanoid races such as verbeeg giants. He said that he followed some of these giants, who had also managed to escape, and eventually made his way into the lower levels of the War Tower, where he was captured once again by the half-orc clerics and thrown into the gladiatorial arena. The band realized that if only a part of what he said was true, then it appeared the dungeon which he originally escaped from lay under the Power Tower. It also appeared that Valen was still being held there as a slave.

After listening to a brief summary of Caleb’s bizarre tale, the band continued searching the remaining rooms of the level, which included a sort of inn near the arena where trolls, ogres and derro were allowed to stay for a time as a reward for good work.

A few more trolls were found and killed in this area and more than three dozen more derro were discovered in various nearby places, including a dozen found locked inside cages under the arena, all of whom were released. Having now cleared out the level of any trolls, ogres and half-orcs, the band investigated what was left, which included the tunnels where the giant balls had rolled down. The tunnel to the northeast ended in a collapsed stairwell that once apparently led to the level below. The tunnel to the southwest led down a series of steps and eventually to a collapsed chamber where a stream of water seeped out from under the debris and into a crack in the wall.

After gathering anything of value from their defeated enemies, the band made one last pass through the rooms and passageways, while Tadwin detected for secret doors. Along the way, Tadwin discovered two secret doors. One, near the quarters of the half-orc clerics, led directly to a spiraling set of stairs that appeared to descend to the level below. The other was inside the magically darkened room, near the ogre’s quarters. They did not investigate this door but suspected that it was the secret door mentioned in one of the half-orc’s notes that said several derro had apparently escaped through, taking with them some mining instruments.

With the sixth level of the dungeon now having apparently been cleared of all enemy forces, the band decided it was time for them to retreat and regroup. So they made their way back to the duergar levels, gathering their henchmen along the way, and informed the duergar of their departure. They then returned to the city and from there went on to Prism Keep to take a brief but well deserved rest.
Part Two - Chapter Ten: Return to the Ruins
It was on Earthday, the 6th day of Fireseek, in the Common Year of 581, when the Company of the Green Dragon defeated the monstrous troll known as Swamp Thing in a gladiatorial match at the Pit. Later that night, while celebrating their victory down the street at the Green Dragon Inn, the band decided it was time for them to resume their explorations of the ruins of Castle Greyhawk.

So the following morning, that of Freeday the 7th, still on a high from the cheering crowds and their glorious victory of the night before, the band and their original group of henchmen made their preparations and set out on the way for their ninth expedition into the ruins. It had been five weeks since their last visit, but despite this little had changed, or at least it appeared so when they first arrived. After making their way across the unnerving and treacherously narrow bridges that led to the War Tower, the band passed by the graves of the dwarves who had once guarded the tower, a grim reminder of the ongoing struggles for control of the ruins and the rumored treasures that lay hidden below.

With one last check and the casting of a couple of light spells, the band entered the ruined tower through the secret door by the front entrance and made their way downstairs following a path that was now becoming very familiar to them. The sweet and musty smell of corpses decaying on the third level had lessened considerably since their last visit, a testament perhaps to the presence of scavenging creatures that feed on such things.

One thing that had not changed on the third level however, were the zombie troglodytes that greeted them once again as they entered the large chamber just prior to the southern lift room. Though the band had destroyed the zombies on their last visit, it appeared that Gaerdar, the leader of the duergar, had reanimated them as a first line of defense against incursions from above. As before, the band let their henchmen battle the zombies so they could get in some real combat experience. Unlike the previous time however, without Bingo, Bongo and Bono there to aid them, the other four henchmen struggled against the zombies.

Early in the battle, Ashba had one of her scorching ray spells backfire and she burned herself badly. Except for a couple of magic missile spells he had memorized, Thiedge’s spells were mostly useless against the zombies. Nikki, with his rapier, was completely ineffective against the zombies, though he stood up front and held most of the zombies off the spell casters. As a result, he received most of the injuries and was badly wounded by the end of the battle. Fortunately, he was much tougher than the other three. Jamis started off by using his bow but had to eventually use his sword and managed to score a few hits on the zombies. It was Ashba though, who after being badly injured by her own spell, did most of the damage by far to the zombies and destroyed more than half of them almost single-handedly.

When the battle was over, Rohnam used a wand to heal all their henchman’s injuries. But at the same time, a voice called out to them from an unseen being nearby. The voice identified them as the Company of the Green Dragon and after Zeke confirmed this, an invisible duergar then made himself visible. He told the band that the duergar had been wondering when they would return to the ruins, and then expressed some dismay at the destruction of the zombies. But recalling the alliance between the two groups, the duergar offered to escort the band to the next level to see Gaerdar. The band accepted the offer and followed the duergar into the lift room where several more duergar then lowered them down on the lift.

On the fourth level, where he had apparently now moved his residence, the band then met with the leader of the duergar and spoke with him for a bit. Gaerdar told the band that the duergar had made considerable progress during the band’s absence, having cleared out most of the fourth level of debris so they could utilize the food producing altar and other resources, insuring that starvation was no longer a concern for them. He also told the band that they had been doing surveillance on the 7th level where the half-orc clerics of Nerull were still in control. According to their contacts, the half-orcs had been busy trying to build a tunnel to the upper levels, an alternate route past the ruined levels directly above them, so they could once again reconnect with the surface world. So far, there had been no clashes between the duergar and the forces of the half-orcs. But Gaerdar assumed there would eventually come a day when the duergar would have to wage war on their former masters. So in the meantime, the duergar had been preparing themselves, trying to make sure they would be ready when that day finally arrived.

Of course, if the Company of the Green Dragon should take the lead and defeat the duergar’s enemies beforehand, then the duergar could avoid this seemingly inevitable war. And so it was to the duergar’s advantage, according to Gaerdar, to aid the band in whatever way they could. This was despite the fact that Gaerdar and the forces below, who were led by the much feared ogre magi of the lowest level, all worshiped the same deity. Exactly what Nerull thought about this however, was anyone’s guess. The same could be said about how Tadwin fit into all of this. It seemed that, for the time being, Nerull would remain silent on the matter. Or, on the other hand, if Nerull had expressed an opinion, that opinion was not being shared with all those involved.

Nevertheless, in an effort to aid the band in their endeavors, Gaerdar again offered to send his trusted lieutenant, Kaelegg, along as a guide as he had done before. Kaelegg then quickly gathered his meager equipment and moments later, he and the band were being lowered, past the duergar complex, into the level below. It was on the fifth level then where the band used their ropes to lower themselves to the sixth level while the henchmen stayed behind on the fifth level to aid in the band’s return.

On the sixth level, the band made their way to the two sets of stairs leading down. One set of stairs, which lay beyond a door, was a trap, according to Kaelegg. So they avoided it, and descended the other set of stairs. Near the bottom of the stairs, Tadwin used an arcane eye spell to scout out ahead. With his spell, Tadwin was able to spy on more than a dozen ogres spread out over several rooms, but closed doors and dead end passages prevented him from seeing any further. The spell served its purpose however, and the band felt they were well prepared when they continued down the stairs and attacked the ogres.

Initially, the band cut down the first group of ogres with little effort. But if there was a mistake made on the part of the band, it was in the assumption that the ogres would be very easy to kill. They soon discovered though, that the majority of these ogres were well trained and well equipped, and as the ogres mustered a defense they became more difficult to kill than the band had anticipated. This is not to say that the ogres posed any real threat to the Company of the Green Dragon, for the ogres were still heavily outmatched by the powerful band of adventurers. Nevertheless, the ogres managed to occasionally wound one of the band members and when they did it was more often than not a fairly severe injury.

Gradually however, the band waded through the ogres taking them down one by one and leaving a trail of carnage behind them. When they were done, they searched the ogres and their rooms for any valuables, and came up with more than a dozen golden sword sheaths for the ogres’ over-sized broadswords. They also found a few black cloaks hidden behind a barrel of ale, that Kaelegg said were identical to the cloaks worn by the priests of this level.

One room that the band came to was cloaked in magical darkness. But using a pair of magical goggles that Brom had recently bought in the city, Brom was able to see into the darkness. With his dark-vision, Brom saw that the room contained a small horde of golden objects ranging from furniture to statues. Unfortunately, when he tried to descend the stairs that led into the room, he was suddenly struck deaf and blind. Sensing that something bad had happened to Brom, Tadwin reached in and pulled him out of the room. Though he could not speak, the band quickly realized what had happened to Brom, and soon after they also realized that the only means they currently had of healing Brom’s maladies, was to use a powerful, one of kind potion that they would prefer to save for another time. The only alternative, though, was to take him to a cleric who could heal him. Since the band had only gotten started just a short while before, this was not an easy decision for them to make. But Kaelegg assured them that Gaerdar would be willing and able to cast the necessary spells.

So, somewhat reluctantly, the band made their way back upstairs and eventually returned to the fourth level where they explained to Gaerdar what had happened. Gaerdar, of course, agreed to cast the spells at no charge to the band, but said he would need to rest first as he did not have the proper spells currently memorized. This meant that the band would have to wait for quite some time before they could continue on. So in the meantime, the duergar directed them to a room where the band could make themselves comfortable and offered them the use of their kitchen and bar. Tadwin, however, decided to use some of the time to try and retrieve the golden objects found in the darkened room. Taking a few people with him, he returned to the seventh level, and cast a couple of unseen servant spells. The first unseen servant managed to set off the rest of the glyphs of warding that remained on the stairs and was killed in the process. But the second unseen servant was able to drag the golden objects out of the room where Tadwin and the others could safely collect them.

After hauling all of the treasure back up to the fourth level, the band could do little else but rest and wait. It was about one o’clock in the morning on the 8th day of Fireseek then, when Gaerdar was finally ready to cast the spells needed to heal Brom. Once the spells were cast, the band grabbed their gear and set out once again into the levels below. Following the same procedure as before, the band was soon picking up where they had left off. Fortunately, it appeared that nothing had changed during the time they were gone.

Across the hall from where the darkened room was, there was a door. Beyond it, the band soon came upon a small octagonal-shaped room with a shaft in the center. Brom descended a ladder in the shaft, which only dropped about ten feet, and scouted out a passageway beyond. This passageway eventually came to another shaft leading up ten feet to a secret door. After Brom returned to his companions and described what he had seen, Kaelegg confirmed that this area of the seventh level was apparently constructed by the priests of this level without the knowledge and approval of their masters below. Therefore, in order to enter the rest of the level, which Kaelegg described as an entertainment level for the slaves, complete with a gladiatorial arena, the band would have to locate and pass through a number of secret doors.

Following the passageway back to the secret door, and then stepping through it, the band entered a wide hallway with a set of double doors to the right and a large chamber to the left that contained some very large objects made of gold, including two life-sized statues of trolls and a golden couch. Though the band could detect no magic in the area, they were very suspicious of the arrangement and the apparent value of the golden objects and they suspected a trap. So they opted to investigate the double doors first.

Beyond the double doors, the band came to a large chamber with blackened walls and which was occupied by what at first appeared to be a large gray dragon with mottled red and brown scales. As the band entered, a dwarf-like creature that Kaelegg identified as a derro ducked into a set of double doors on the far side of the room. The band immediately attacked the large monster, which was held in place by golden chains, and although it breathed fire like a dragon, the band soon realized, due in part to its lack of wings, that it was actually fire lizard. Though it did cause some injuries to the band, they managed to kill it without too much difficulty.

With the fire-lizard dead, the band investigated the room beyond and found, in addition to the derro that had run away, a huge nest, obviously that of the fire lizard, and inside it, a very large egg. Realizing that the egg was very valuable, or could even be useful to the band if they wanted to have a fire lizard guardian for themselves, the band left it alone for the time being with the intention of retrieving it later. As for the derro, the band questioned him and got a description of what could be found in the nearby chambers. The derro, who called himself Danu, then pointed out a secret door beyond which more derro slaves could be found along with several troll masters.

When the band was ready, they opened the secret door and entered a chamber occupied by four trolls who were busy operating winches and raising a lift from below. On the opposite side of the lift, a couple of derro were drawing something on the wall, and nearby was a large stone slab that rested on a long series of golden rollers set into the floor, which apparently served as some kind of conveyer. The band attacked the trolls and the derro joined in as well, making use of their natural ability to cause damage with sound bursts.

Using the tried and true tactics the band had developed against trolls, the band was able to kill them with minimal injury to themselves. Then again they questioned the derro, who pointed out three doors beyond the stone slab. Two of the doors led to rooms with nothing but mining equipment, just as the derro had said. But the center door led to a room where some of the derro apparently slept, as well as another door that lay beyond. This second door, the derro failed to mention, was actually trapped. So when the band went to open it, a trap door opened up beneath Brom and Corvyn. Brom was able to dodge to the side and catch himself. But Corvyn fell twenty feet into the pit below and got banged up a bit. This caused some of derro, who are known for their cruelty and disliking for humans, to snicker a bit. Despite this, the band did not retaliate in any way and after pulling Corvyn up from the pit, continued on their way through the door.

The next chamber that they entered was another sleeping chamber for dozens of derro, though there were only four asleep at this time. It was guarded by another troll that the band quickly dispatched. By this point, some members of the band were getting anxious to fight the leaders of this level and began asking how to find them. But the derro urged them to finish taking out the trolls first.

One more troll was found in a room to the southwest, and after killing him, the band entered a room to the northeast that served as a dining hall. In here were two more trolls and six more derro. The band, with a little aid from the derro, quickly killed these two trolls and had a look around. Nearby, they found a kitchen and a pantry, along with crates of food and barrels of water and ale. The derro showed them where plans had been made for creating a tunnel through the pantry and other storage rooms and which would more directly connect the lift from below to a chamber beyond where they were in the process of digging a tunnel that led up. The derro then led the band to the chamber where they were digging the tunnel. Inside, along with a huge pile of rubble that was being hauled off while others above were adding to it, were two dozen more derro busy at work.

But once it became clear to these derro that the trolls were dead, all work came to an abrupt halt and many of the derro began to cheer. There were now more than forty derro all gathered together here and many of the derro began to eye the band with looks that made the band somewhat concerned. For the time being, however, the derro became content with simply raiding the kitchen and the pantry while they plotted revenge on their previous masters. The band, meanwhile, convinced Danu to take them to the door that would lead them into the rest of the level, where the half-orc priests could be found. So Danu guided the band back into another area they had passed by earlier and, beyond a short flight of stairs, indicated a secret door.

Beyond this secret door, the band found a short passageway and a couple of doors to either side. The first door they checked, Brom found was protected by a glyph of warding. He was able to remove the glyph and open the door, which led into the personal quarters of one of the priests. Here a rust-red and black blanketed bed sat beside a desk and chair, and tapestries portraying various scenes of death adorned the walls. Lying about the room were a golden-hilted sacrificial dagger and a few malachite religious tokens. The desk was locked, but Brom was able to pick it. It contained writing materials and notes on several things all written in undercommon. Tadwin looked through them and found that there were notes on the attempt to build a lift and a stairwell leading up, as well as the success of their entertainment level in boosting the morale of the derro slaves. There were also a couple of black books including one that listed guards and slaves who needed to be watched.

While some of the band was busy looking about the room, others were still in the hallway when three large ogres suddenly came from around the corner and charged at them. Moments later, the door across the hall opened up and a half-orc priest within began casting spells. Fortunately for the band, the priest’s first spell appeared to have no effect and Zeke was able to cast a silence spell in the room, preventing him from casting any more. Corvyn, on the other hand, cut down the other ogres fairly quickly, but found that these ogres were using poisoned blades and before long, Corvyn was in serious trouble and in dire need of some healing from Zeke. The priest, meanwhile, who was very difficult to hit, produced a scythe and used it along with some clerical abilities to attack Tadwin, hurting him badly and causing him to back away. But Brom snuck in behind the priest and with a few deadly sneak attacks he soon had the priest reeling from his mortal injuries. The band was then able to kill their attackers, but once again they found the ogres and the half-orc priest to be more formidable than they had originally expected.

When the battle was over, the band was forced to use most of their healing spells as some of them were very badly wounded. Once everyone was healed sufficiently, they searched the bodies and the other room for anything of value. The priest had magical plate armor and all of them carried more items of gold. In addition to much of the same things found in the first bedroom, they found in the second one a secret compartment in the desk. Inside it was a list of thirteen derro names and a passage in undercommon that read, “These derro have escaped with mining instruments and cannot be found. I suspect they entered the secret area near the elite ogre barracks.” Kaelegg could not shed any light on whatever this meant. But the band decided it was time for them to retreat back to the fourth level.

On the way, Tadwin scouted out a few areas using his spell to detect for secret doors. He found one near the fire lizard lair and another near the ogre barracks. He also investigated the track of golden rollers and found that it led to a collapsed area where water poured out of the rubble into a crevice in the floor. And finally, Rohnam used the helm of intuition that he bought from Zeke and was able to determine that in the area where they had suspected a trap and passed up previously, there was some reward to be gained, though not as much as there appeared to be and there was indeed some danger there as well.
Part Two - Chapter Nine: Glory and Fame
In the City of Greyhawk, it was about nine in the evening on the 22nd day of Sunsebb, in the Common Year of 580. But for the Company of the Green Dragon, it was in the early morning when they defeated the final guardian inside Prism Keep and released the wizard Alarius from his prison on the Ethereal Plane. A short while later, they were the new masters of Prism Keep.

Soon after Alarius’ departure from the keep, the band noticed that the keep began to move rapidly through the skies. No one knew why, but there was nothing they could do to change it, though Tensil suggested that Alarius may have sent the keep on its way back to its original starting place near the Kingdom of Kelant.

For the new masters of the keep, however, there were more pressing matters to attend to, including taking inventory of the resources that the band now had at their disposal. First among these matters was figuring out how to deal with the brass golem so they could look more closely at the library. Fortunately, in Irinia’s quarters they found a series of command words that allowed them to take control of the brass golem. Once this was done, some time was spent examining the library and its contents. Time was then also spent going through any areas of the keep that they had not already searched thoroughly and doing just that.

One area of note in this regard was the gallery just outside the Orange Spire. Here, dozens of beautiful paintings, busts, tapestries, banners, and other objects of art adorned this magnificent hallway. One painting in particular stood out as it seemed to change every time one looked at it. It depicted a beach at sunset and Zeke and Tadwin had noticed that it detected as being magical. When they asked Tensil about it he warned them not to touch it because doing so, he said, would transport them to the beach in the painting, which he said was on the coast of a wild and untamed land called Emerdyn where bands of men on horseback vied for control of the land with savages. But he told the band that if they did go there, they could return by standing in the place where they first appeared and speaking the name Alarius.

The last area inside the keep that they explored consisted of the two rooms that the manticores used as a lair. Because the keep was moving so rapidly through the skies, all four of the manticores that laired there were forced to stay inside or be left behind. This gave the band the opportunity to deal with all four of them at once. Realizing that the manticores would likely pose a serious threat to any people below, regardless of any deal the band might make with them, the band decided to eliminate them. So, after getting prepared, the band opened the doors to their lair and attacked. Unfortunately, Tadwin underestimated the size of the room and threw a fireball into it, which backlashed and caught Corvyn in it, thereby damaging some of his equipment. The rest of the battle went with no other problems though, and the band was able to kill them and collect any treasure they had stashed away.

For the remainder of the day, the band learned from Tensil and other sources about Irinia’s past and how she went from being a favored student of Alarius and a baroness in the Kingdom of Kelant to becoming Alarius’ ultimate betrayer. Meanwhile, they interviewed the other inhabitants of the keep who were still conscious, while Rohnam used detect thoughts spells to try and determine who could be trusted. With this information, Zeke urged the band into resurrecting as many as five of the guards who had been charmed by Irinia and were killed during the battles against her.

At some point during all of this, Zeke also spoke to Brom and Corvyn in private and mentioned the fact that they had recently learned about Tadwin’s conversion to a worshiper of Nerull. But despite any concerns they may have had on this matter, they decided not to press the issue as none of them really seemed to believe that Tadwin was a threat to them. Tadwin, on the other hand, did speak to Brom, Corvyn, Rohnam, Malagrym and Tukares, all of those who were present when Tadwin’s secret was revealed, and convinced them to say nothing about it to their henchmen, or anyone else, as it might cause problems with them.

At about seven o’clock that evening, which in Greyhawk was about seven o’clock in the morning on the 23rd day of Sunsebb, the band made a return trip to Greyhawk, for by this time the pawnshop had been closed for three days in a row and it needed to be reopened. The band also realized that it had been several days since any of them had spoken to their henchmen, who by now were probably becoming concerned. And finally, there was the matter of the two men, Colm and Ogden, who had been left in the house above the portal to Prism Keep. According to what Corvyn had learned while he was charmed by Irinia, Colm and Ogden were aware of who the band was and because of this they could prove to be a source of trouble.

After passing through the portal, they reentered the house through the secret doors in the basement and made their way upstairs. But they soon discovered that the house had been abandoned and there was no sign of Colm or Ogden. There was however, a horrible stench coming from one of the bedrooms upstairs. It was the overwhelming odor of a dead body as it decayed. Upon further examination, it turned out to be the body of the other man that Brom had seen asleep in his bed on the night that the band had first entered the house. It appeared that the man had been dead for several days and that he might have been killed by an inflict wounds spell.

The foot chest in both his room and in the room of the man that Brom had killed and dragged into the sewers were both smashed open. So the band theorized that perhaps Colm and Ogden had turned on their companion and killed and robbed him. Then the two of them fled. Whatever the case, it appeared that the house was now the band’s to do whatever they chose to do with. So they dragged the corpse of the dead man into the sewers, just as they had done his companion, and did their best to clean up the room where he had died.

The band then paid a visit to the pawnshop to let Emery know he could open the shop for business. Afterwards, the band went to see each of their henchmen and let them know what they had been up to over the past few days. Once all had been explained, the henchmen returned with the band to the house where they followed them through the portal to their new home in Prism Keep. While the henchmen were getting settled in, the band finally called it a day and went to find a place to rest.

The next day at Prism Keep, the band took what they had learned from their interviews on the previous day, and decided to use the rod of resurrection to bring Elrath Oakenthews and Danal Blackeagle back to life. With further interviews, they then decided to resurrect Shevarin Arrowsong, Tiran Tyvilar and Keldavin the Bold. During this process, they also made sure to dispel any charms that any of these people had on them. Then Zeke explained to each of them the situation and how they had been manipulated by Irinia. Doing this had the desired effect of earning the respect and understanding of these people, especially towards Zeke whose charisma was undeniable. In fact, all five of these people, in addition to Daranal Trenn and Ulwar Giantkin, were so grateful to the Company of the Green Dragon and so impressed with Zeke that they offered their services to Zeke.

By now, Rohnam had been offered a permanent position in the Company of the Green Dragon, and he gladly accepted. He managed to charm Sarina the Red and so he offered to take her under his wing, so to speak. Malagrym was also offered a position as the Keep’s steward, but he graciously declined the offer as he preferred to be a bit less confined by such obligations. Tukares had taken a liking to Malagrym and so offered to go with him wherever he went. Tensil naturally wanted to remain at the keep and continue his studies there. So he asked Tadwin if he would be willing to take on an apprentice, to which Tadwin gladly accepted. The servants, Jeren, Sadi and Anna, all wished to remain employed there at the keep. So they too offered to stay.

This left only Irinia, and Jhalil and the bodies of Kendel Trollbane, Durfang the Black, Thorik Halfaxe and Kuresh Wildflame to decide what to do with. It was quickly agreed that the four dead men would be left that way, and while the keep was sailing through the skies over a sea, their bodies were dropped from the keep into the waters below. As for Irinia and Jhalil, Tensil explained to the band that if he was correct about where the keep was headed, there would be many people there who would wish to see these two punished for their crimes. So he advised the band to turn them over to the authorities there as it would go a long way in making a good first impression with these people. So the band agreed.

By the end of the following day Prism Keep finally came to a stop, and as it turned out, Tensil had been correct. For the keep now hovered about four thousand feet over a forest at the edge of the Kingdom of Kelant. Using information offered by Tensil, Tadwin closely observed a village below and just beyond the forest called Glynfaren. When he felt that he had become as familiar with the village as he possibly could from high up above, Tadwin teleported himself along with Zeke, Jhalil and Irinia, still in the form of a rabbit, to a clearing just outside the village. Zeke then cast a silence spell over Irinia and Tadwin dispelled the polymorph spell, thereby turning Irinia back into her original form. After removing any magic items from Irinia, and making sure that neither Irinia or Jhalil were able to cast any spells, Tadwin and Zeke marched them into the village.

Upon arriving at the village, several of the people there recognized Irinia, or the “Ice Princess”, as they sometimes referred to her, and word quickly spread that Irinia had been captured. Village guards soon arrived and after speaking with Zeke, they gladly escorted them to the keep of the local lord and rightful head of the village, Lord Palon.

Lord Palon was glad to see that Irinia and Jhalil had been captured and had them quickly thrown into a cell. He then invited Zeke and Tadwin to stay for dinner. That evening, Zeke and Tadwin told Lord Palon much of what had recently occurred at Prism Keep and Lord Palon explained to them that he would send word to the nearby town of Inguard, which was the seat of the Barony of Aelrast, and where Irinia’s cousin, Baron Rollan, served under King Archenhaud. He would ask him to send his wizardly advisor Qilrian so that he could oversee the transference of the two prisoners to Inguard where she would presumably be tried and punished. All of this sounded agreeable to Zeke and Tadwin. Lord Palon asked Zeke one more thing, which was to testify to the recent crimes of Irinia and Jhalil at court in Inguard and Zeke agreed to this as well. So Lord Palon told Zeke that he would light a bonfire at dusk at the edge of the village when the time had come for Zeke to go to Inguard.

Once all of this was done, and Zeke and Tadwin had returned to Prism Keep, the band was then able to divide up the treasure they had acquired and began to make further arrangements for their new home. Over the next several days, some adjustments were made concerning Prism Keep, but the band also fell back into a routine of training and dealing with personal business. With the keep having made such a long journey through the skies of Pariatas, which was the name by which they called their world, the daylight hours shifted dramatically and now matched exactly with the City of Greyhawk. So once the band got readjusted this, they had no more difficulties with the alternating times of the day.

Starting on the 25th day of Sunsebb, the band resumed dealing with business back in Greyhawk. Several magic items were put up for sale at the pawnshop. Zeke spent time training at the Temple of Boccob. Tadwin spent time learning spells. Brom spent his time getting acquainted with the laboratory at Prism Keep. And Malagrym returned to his life at the Pit, while Rohnam spent much of his time at the Green Dragon Inn, telling tales about his most recent adventure.

After a few days, Zeke used his hat of disguise to make himself appear like Lord Kax, whom the band had learned was the “official” owner of the house in Greyhawk, and paid a visit to the Grand Citadel, along with Tadwin and the deed of the house. Despite the fact that Zeke’s attempt at forging Lord Kax’s signature was not very accurate, he managed to bluff the clerk there and convince him that he was selling the house to Tadwin. Property taxes were then paid, and the house became the official property of the Company of the Green Dragon.

With the end of the year, and the beginning of a new one, the band took some time to celebrate along with the rest of the city, particularly on the 8th day of Needfest and the annual Feast of Fools where Rohnam did his best in the competition for the year’s best bard. During this time, the band’s fame and reputation grew in the City of Greyhawk as well as in the Barony of Aelrast.

During this time off, several things occurred at the pawnshop as well and thanks to Zeke’s expert diplomacy the band was able to avoid paying a heavy tax that the city tried to stick them with and he managed to earn some influence with various people along the way by spreading beneficial rumors about the band.

After about a week, Zeke got the signal from the village of Glynfaren to show up in Inguard to testify at court there. By this time, Tadwin had been reading up a bit on the town of Inguard and was able to use scrying spells to observe parts of it. After studying an area in the town closely, he felt that he was familiar enough with it to teleport himself and Zeke there. So Zeke and Tadwin attended the trial of Irinia and Jhalil as they had been asked to and they met with Baron Rollan and others. Zeke made a good impression there and Irinia and Jhalil were sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in a dungeon.

Later in the following week, each of the band members took some much deserved time off for simple relaxation. But on one of these days, Tadwin was a guest speaker at the School of Wizardry, a task that he did for free though it did help him to gain some influence. Zeke also earned some influence with Constable Derider Fanshen and others when he spent a day speaking with her and other prominent citizens of the city. Even Corvyn tried his best to gain some influence by demonstrating his riding skills to a group of people interested in horsemanship. Unfortunately, Corvyn’s efforts were not particularly successful.

By the time two weeks had passed since their acquisition of Prism Keep, there had been much talk about the heroics of the Company of the Green Dragon. And it just so happened that down at the Pit there was also much talk about the giant troll that the band had brought back from the Mistmarsh. The troll had become a crowd favorite at the Pit, winning all of its gladiatorial matches and earning the name Swamp Thing. So, thanks in part to the efforts of people like Malagrym and Rohnam, and even Tadwin’s henchman Nikki who was a regular at the Pit, there eventually grew a great deal of interest in seeing a match take place between Swamp Thing and the Company of the Green Dragon. At some point, the band finally had to accept the challenge. And so, the match was scheduled to take place on the night of Earhday, the 6th day of Fireseek.

That night it was a packed house at the Pit, and the crowd was much larger than usual in anticipation for the night’s final match. Even the Pit’s owner, the rarely seen Andrade Mirrius was in attendance. Rohnam chose not to take part in the match though he did his part in the stands cheering on the crowd. Malagrym, however, took his place alongside the rest of the Company of the Green Dragon.

When the match began, Swamp Thing started things off by letting out a ferocious roar as he pounded the ground with his enormous fists. It was a maneuver that the entire band found to be quite intimidating and it had them a bit shaken right from the start. It also got the crowd quite excited.

But the band had their supporters as well, and soon the roar of the crowd helped to bolster the band and got them to shake off their intimidation. Tadwin then cast an illusion of a great thundercloud, out of which flew a swarm of small green dragons that swirled around Swamp Thing and momentarily distracted him. The crowd loved the visual effect and cheered for more. Malagrym then blasted Swamp Thing with a pair of scorching rays and the crowd let out another encouraging roar.

Swamp Thing, however, now became focused on the cause of those rays and ignored the illusions which had not caused him any harm. He charged at Malagrym and hit him with a clawed fist that sent Malagrym flying through the air and landing on his back. Again the crowd roared, this time for the troll. Brom then took a moment to move into position, while Zeke hit the troll with a ray of enfeeblement. Corvyn then charged in and took his first swing at the giant humanoid.

Seeing that Brom was not using his ring of invisibility, since the crowd could not appreciate such a thing, Tadwin decided to help him out by casting a glitterdust spell on the troll, which momentarily blinded the troll. Malagrym then got up off the ground and sent two more scorching rays at the troll, though only one of them hit. Swamp Thing then took a wild swing at Corvyn, missing badly and causing a few boos from the crowd. But he was able to shake off his blindness. Nevertheless, Brom was now in a flanking position and he made a devastating sneak attack on the monster. Zeke followed this up with a doom spell, as Corvyn activated his boots of speed and struck the troll several times with his giantslayer sword causing great wounds to the monster.

Despite the massive damage he had taken, the monster still stood strong. So Tadwin hit him with an acid arrow spell. Malagrym, now sensing that Swamp Thing was badly hurt, came at him with his sword and claws but was unable to hit the troll soundly. Swamp Thing, now in close quarters with Corvyn and now longer blinded, unleashed his full furry on Corvyn. With unbelievable ferocity, Swamp Thing tore away at Corvyn, ripping and shredding with his huge claws. Were it not for a stoneskin spell placed on him before the battle, Corvyn would have literally been torn to pieces. As it was, Corvyn managed to survive, though he was left lying on the ground in a pool of blood. A cheer for the troll then erupted. But it was quickly silenced as Brom struck with another crippling sneak attack that brought the giant troll crashing to the ground.

Now another cheer went up, this time for the victors – the Company of the Green Dragon. And to emphasize this, Tadwin ended the match with another illusion, this time with a huge green dragon that roared and flew around in a circle above the crowd’s heads, causing them to go wild!
Part Two - Chapter Eight: A Changing of Hands

To the Company of the Green Dragon, it was about half past eight in the evening of Freeday, the 21st day of Sunsebb, in the Common Year of 580. But in the realm of Prism Keep, it was early in the morning when the band defeated Kendel Trollbane for the second time, along with three of his guards. With Rohnam having just detected several sentient beings beyond a nearby set of double doors, the band assumed that Irinia and what remained of her followers were waiting for them to enter.

Realizing this was likely the case, the band took some time to prepare themselves for a difficult battle by casting a number of protective spells and doing what else they could to ready themselves. While doing so, Brom mentioned the fact that he had no magic weapons, having lost all his magic daggers during their first fight against Irinia, and this had him concerned. But Tadwin told him he could remedy this by casting a temporary enchantment on a non-magical dagger, which Brom was grateful for.

However, when Tadwin moved to cast the spell, Brom noticed he seemed to hesitate a bit, and then he appeared to grasp something under his robes as he cast the spell. Brom became suspicious about this, perhaps believing that Tadwin may have been compromised by the enchantress Irinia, so he immediately asked Tadwin what was under his robes, making sure he spoke loud enough for the others to hear. A look then flashed briefly on Tadwin’s face, appearing as if he had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Slowly and cautiously, Tadwin reached under his robes and produced a crudely carved symbol of a skull and sickle, which everyone recognized as the unholy symbol of Nerull. An audible gasp could be heard coming from many of those who stood nearby. Immediate demands for an explanation quickly followed, particularly from Zeke who was quite shocked and dismayed at what he was seeing. Tadwin told them he had become a follower of Nerull a couple of weeks before, but insisted he had no choice, claiming he would have been killed otherwise. He then tried to reassure his companions that he remained loyal to them and that they were in no danger. Brom pointed out that if Tadwin had been a follower of Nerull for two weeks he did not act as if he had any designs against any other members of the band.

Still, there were those, Zeke being chief among them, that began to make accusations and called Tadwin evil, to which Tadwin made little effort to defend himself. But Brom then pointed out that this was not the time, nor was this the place to have this discussion. Right now, they needed to focus on what awaited them in the next room. So the band agreed to save this discussion for another time, and resumed making their preparations.

When they were ready, most of them stepped to the side of the double doors as Tadwin created an illusion of them, hoping it could be used to trick Irinia into wasting her first attacks on this illusion. Also key to the band’s plan of attack was their use of a wand of protection from evil, which would make them immune to any kind of magical compulsion from Irinia. With these and other preparations made, Rohnam and Malagrym, who were not included in the illusion, opened the double doors and stepped to the side.

Beyond the double doors, brilliant beams of golden light flashed and scintillated from a shard of jacinth embedded in the floor in the center of the octagonal-shaped room. Similar in many ways to the other spires, the Orange Spire appeared to be used as personal quarters as elegant furniture was tastefully placed about the room, including a large bed, several armoires and dressers, and a small writing desk. Long streamers of yellow and red silk decorated the room and several paintings hung from the walls. But it was the room’s occupants that drew the band’s attention.

Perhaps most noticeable and up front were the three two-headed giants, known as ettins, who clutched large flails in each hand. Behind them stood the Frost Barbarian Ulwar Giantkin, the half-elf Sarina the Red, and the dwarf Thorik Halfaxe. Behind them and towards the center was Irinia the Enchantress and to her right, the mysterious Lord Kax. To her left, stood the band’s recently captured warrior Corvyn, who by all appearances still seemed to be under the magical influence of Irinia.

Irinia, however, did not act as the band had expected upon seeing the band, or rather the illusion of them, for she did not immediately attack. Instead Irinia attempted to parlay with the band, perhaps in an effort to win the band over without bloodshed, or to possibly draw them in before pouncing on them with her formidable repertoire of spells.

Either way, Tadwin was not prepared to have his illusionary band behave in a convincing manner, for at this point, most of the band could not even see into the room to understand what they were facing. So Tadwin did what he could by directing the illusionary band members to charge in as if to attack. The ettins appeared to be fooled by the illusionary band, for they stepped up and took swings at the illusionary band members, which promptly disappeared when they were struck. Seeing this, other followers of Irinia called out to their allies, saying they were only illusions, and no more attacks were wasted on them. The illusion then was not as effective as the band had hoped. But the rest of the band’s plan worked much better than the band could have dared to hope for.

With the illusionary band members gone, the real band members then charged into the room. When they did, Irinia cast a powerful charm spell at them and to her surprise and dismay, it had no effect on them due to the protection from evil spells. Corvyn, because he had been charmed, tried to stop his bandmates from attacking by reasoning with them, believing they could all be friends. Tadwin and Rohnam then cast dispel magic spells at Corvyn hoping to remove any charms on him, and though it was not immediately obvious, both of them proved to be very effective. Malagrym, meanwhile, blasted the ettins with scorching rays, while Brom moved in behind them invisibly. Zeke, on the other hand, focused his attentions on Irinia, trying to hit her with his wand of baleful polymorph. It took two attempts, and on the second try, Zeke succeeded in turning Irinia into a rabbit. Obviously, this was something that Irinia had not been expecting, and suddenly the battle was quickly turning against Irinia and her followers. Corvyn, now no longer under the influence of Irinia, drew his giantbane greatsword and began gutting the ettins down, as Rohnam hit Ulwar and Sarina both with hold spells.

With what could have been a very difficult battle initially, the band was now rapidly assuming control. Since Irinia had been turned into a rabbit, it appeared that there was little she could do to win the battle, much less escape. But soon after being turned into a rabbit, she unexpectedly disappeared in a puff of smoke. Somehow it seemed she had escaped. Brom then turned his attentions on one of the ettins while others battled lord Kax and Thorik. At this point, however, another one of Irinia’s henchmen made his appearance.

It was the half-elf fighter/cleric Jhalil, whom the band had killed previously soon after entering the keep for the first time. Obviously, Irinia had come up with some means of bringing him back from the dead and he had been invisible up to this point in the battle. He now chose to reveal himself by striking Brom with a powerful attack using a combination of magical powers. It was a vicious blow to Brom, but it now made Jhalil an easy target for the band. Soon, Jhalil was probably wishing he had used his invisibility to escape rather than attack, for it was not long before he was overwhelmed by the band.

Even Lord Kax, despite his ability to teleport at will, found himself confronted by too many enemies towards the end, and he too was killed. As the ettins died, they disappeared, indicating they had been summoned there by a monster summoning spell. Lord Kax however, despite the band’s suspicions that he was an extra-planar being, remained laying where he died, which seemed to indicate he had been summoned to this plane by some other means.

When the battle was over, they checked on their fallen foes and made sure that none of them had died as it was not yet clear if any of them had been charmed. Each of the bodies was examined for magic items and objects of value, and when a magical ring was removed from Lord Kax’s finger, his body turned into that of his true form – a babau demon.

After a thorough search of Irinia’s quarters, which included a treasure vault with treasure in it, along with Irinia’s spellbook, the band began searching the rest of the keep, primarily to try and find where Irinia in rabbit form may have disappeared to, but also to begin gathering the gem shards so they could release the wizard Alarius. They also returned to Tensil’s room and freed him again. He, in turn, offered what advice and information he could.

In the Orange Spire, Zeke was able to remove the shard there by standing over it and concentrating on it, despite the fact that Tadwin before him was unable to do so. This may have had something to do with the fact that Zeke was good, whereas Tadwin was not, though no one could be certain of this. The shard in the Red Spire was easily acquired by simply flying up to it and retrieving it. The shard in the Yellow Spire was a little trickier to get, however.

Upon entering the Yellow Spire for the first time, they found that it was a huge library with books full of rare tomes. At the exact center of the library was a gleaming brass statue. The shard here, a magnificent topaz, was bound in a golden circlet which rested on the brass statue’s brow. It was not difficult for Zeke to reach up and remove the shard. But when he did, the statue came to life and moved to attack. It soon became obvious that the band would have a great deal of difficulty affecting the statue, or brass golem, as they then realized what it was, so they tried to flee the room. But Corvyn was not quick enough and he became the victim of the bass golem’s magical attack which sent Corvyn into an extra-dimensional maze where he wandered about for the duration of the spell, which turned out to be ten minutes. Upon his release, Corvyn likewise fled the library and rejoined his companions.

The three remaining shards, the band decided, would be much easier to acquire if the band’s spellcasters had different spells. So the band then focused on searching the rest of the keep for Irinia the rabbit. Eventually, the band met the keep’s two other servants, Sadi and Anna, who worked under the butler Jeren. The three of them were then recruited to help search the keep for the lost rabbit, while Tadwin used a spell that created numerous magical eyes to look about.

Sometime later, the only room within the keep that the band had been unable to enter was the laboratory. But a key had been found in a cloakroom, and it was hoped that the key would be able to open the door to the lab. So the band gathered once again outside the door to the lab, and Tadwin cast a clairvoyance spell to take a look inside. Much to the band’s relief and amusement, in addition to a lot of lab equipment, Tadwin saw a rabbit hiding under a table. So the band got ready to try and catch a fleeing rabbit. But when they opened the door with the key, they found no rabbit. Instead, they noticed a slow moving cloud of mist drifting out of the lab.

It took them a minute to realize what was happening. But a nearly empty vial was discovered on the floor of the lab with its cork stopper chewed off. Brom determined it had once been a potion of gaseous form, and the band then realized that Irinia was trying to escape as a cloud of mist. Fortunately, the gas form was so slow that the band was able to catch up to the cloud cause enough damage to it before it could seep under a nearby doorway. With Irinia rendered unconscious in gaseous form, they just had to wait for the gaseous form to wear off.

With Irinia back in rabbit form and in their custody, the band was able to rest easier, though it was now obvious that Irinia still retained her own mind. The band took her and put her in a cage. They then gathered the rest of the unconscious inhabitants of the keep, tied them up and locked them in a room where they kept a watch. For the remainder of the day, the band then looked through Irinia’s notes and learned what they could about the keep and Alarius’ situation. Finally, when it got late in the realm of the keep, the band laid down to rest for the night.

The next morning, they awoke at about 7am, which was about 7pm on the 22nd day of Sunsebb in Greyhawk, and the band prepared for the day. When they felt they were ready, the band made their way to the Purple Spire where the shard there was encased inside a sphere of force. Unable to figure out a way past the sphere of force, they decided to take the sphere with them and to their surprise, the sphere suddenly disappeared when they took it outside of the room. The shard in the Blue Sphere was easy enough for Corvyn to retrieve from the pool of water after he removed his armor and drank a potion that Brom had made for him.

The final shard in the Green Spire turned out to be the most difficult of the shards to retrieve. This was a great arboretum filled with plants and flowers of all types. Here, stone benches and small statues were lost in the riotous growth of vegetation and winding paths led further into the garden. As the band stood in the doorway absorbing the scene, a beautiful woman appeared among the lush leaves of one of the pathways. She held a finger to her lips, indicating to the band to be silent, and beckoned them to follow as she turned and headed deeper into the room.

Brom and Tadwin took the lead and followed her. But as the band fell in behind, they noticed that the plants around them began to cut them off and separate them from one another by moving across the pathways. Then some of the plants tried to entangle them. Tadwin got hopelessly stuck for a while, but Brom was able to escape by drinking a potion that let him fly. The rest of the band meanwhile was forced to retreat and find another way through the garden. Brom tried to use his flying potion to fly up and retrieve the shard that floated up above. But the woman, who by this point was obviously the cause of the plants’ strange behavior, waved her hand and somehow knocked Brom into the side of the spire. Then she dispelled Brom’s potion, causing him to come back down to the ground.

Eventually, the woman apparently revealed what must have been her true form, that of an unusual demon of some kind which looked much like an orangutan with huge claws. Now, no longer using an illusion to disguise itself, it attacked Brom. But Brom managed to hold his own against the demon until some of his companions arrived and helped him to kill it. With the strange demon dead, the band was then able to retrieve the shard with little difficulty. Having acquired all six shards, the band then headed to the central courtyard. At this time, not only were they joined by Tensil, but the servants also came to the courtyard so they could witness the return of their beloved old master Alarius. Unsure of how to proceed, Zeke placed each shard one at a time into the pedestal in its corresponding position with the spires, and the band watched as each shard fused with the pedestal and altered the pedestal’s color.

As Zeke placed the last crystal into its niche in the pedestal, the pedestal went dark for a second. Then each piece glowed brightly in its own color, and the six shards fused into a single white gem. The intensity of the light grew to a blinding brilliance in a matter of moments. Suddenly, there was a brilliant flash of light. Around the band, misty walls of white crystal began to form a tower of purest light materializing from the white emanations of the healed gem. They could see the courtyard beyond through the misty walls of the white spire. In a moment, the walls solidified, cleared, and seemed to disappear altogether, leaving the band floating in a gray void. The band felt as though they had been somehow transported far away from Prism Keep.

In the center of the white tower, they could see a crystal block nearly 10’ to a side. In the middle of the block, a snowy-bearded wizard was suspended, trapped by the crystal that surrounded him.

“Thank you, my friends,” a voice whispered in their minds. “I am almost free. Touch the Rainbow Crystal to the glass that imprisons me, and I shall escape from this confinement. But be careful – Irinia anticipated this day and placed one last guardian in your path.”

Suddenly, there was a rush of wind and something terrible appeared in the middle of the group, howling and slashing. It was a muscular, violet demon that stood upon elephant feet. Large, razor-sharp horns covered its body.

The demon, known as a kalavakus, immediately attacked, using its spell-like abilities to try and affect multiple targets. But the demon proved to be no match for the six powerful adventurers that surrounded it, and the band quickly overwhelmed and killed the demon with little effort. During the brief battle, Tadwin moved to the crystal block that encased the wizard and touched it with the Rainbow Crystal.

As he touched the Rainbow Crystal to the glass tomb, the prison began to dissipate in smoky wisps. In moments, just as the demon was falling to the ground, the archmage inside was freed, and Alarius opened his eyes and stepped forward from the wreckage of his tomb.

“Thank you, brave souls,” he said with a solemn expression. “You have defeated a great evil today.”

The band noticed, at this point, that the white tower had returned to the keep, as had they, and that the colorful spires were sparkling in the sunshine outside. Alarius smiled, but there was a sadness in his eyes.

“I have been trapped in that prison for many years,” he said. “I never thought I would see the sun again. But during my imprisonment, I have come to realize that should I ever the free again, it would be time for me to move on and leave this world behind. I have a new purpose now, and I am not growing any younger. So, as your reward, I leave Prism Keep in your capable hands with the hope that you will do well for the people of this realm. I have come to love the people of this land, and the people here have treated me with great kindness and respect. Do not make me regret the decision I have made. Farwell, brave souls. Perhaps we shall meet again.”

And with that, Alarius cast a quick spell, emphasizing it with a thump of his gnarled staff, and he was suddenly gone in a puff of smoke. Nearby, the servants of Prism Keep, having overheard all, smiled and with teary eyes, bowed slightly to acknowledge the new masters of Prism Keep.
Part Two - Chapter Seven: Alternating Allies

To the Company of the Green Dragon, it was about half past nine in the morning of Earthday, the 20th day of Sunsebb, in the Common Year of 580. But in the realm of Prism Keep, it was sometime in the night when the band returned the unconscious body of Tensil to his quarters. Though they had earlier decided to make their way to the Orange Spire, where they hoped to confront the wizard Irinia, Brom was now more interested in learning what he could about the girl he had seen just a short while before. Was she merely a servant girl or another charmed innocent as she appeared to be, or was there something more to her? Brom wanted to know before they went in search of Irinia. So he convinced his companions to wait in Tensil’s quarters while he went and asked the butler Jeren what he knew about the girl.

Moving through the halls invisibly, Brom made his way to the west side of the keep where he intended to cut through the courtyard on his way to the dining room. But as he opened the door to the courtyard, he was surprised to find Lord Kax standing near the pedestal at the center of the courtyard. Lord Kax clearly noticed the door being opened, for he turned to ask who was there. Whether or not Lord Kax actually saw the invisible Brom, he gave no indication that he had and Brom, of course, made no response. Instead, Brom turned back and quickly made his way to Tensil’s quarters.

There he told his companions that he had seen Lord Kax and they quickly came up with a plan to try and corner Lord Kax and attack him. While the rest of the band headed around to the east side of the keep, where they planned to come at Lord Kax, Brom returned to the west side to block any possible escape. However, when the band entered the courtyard from both sides, Lord Kax was nowhere to be found. So the band gave up on that plan, and decided instead to go to the dining room together.

Going along the route to the west, through the conservatory, the hall, and the drawing room, the band made it to the dining room with no encounters. But when they opened the door to the dining room, they saw that it was occupied, not by the butler Jeren, but rather by Lord Kax, the barbarian Ulwar Giantkin, the half-elf female Sarina the Red, and the dwarf Thorik Halfaxe.

Lord Kax was apparently not too surprised by the band’s sudden appearance, for as soon as the doors were opened, he yelled at his guards, “There they are! Get them!” The warriors turned to charge at the band, but before they got very far, Tadwin blasted them with a cone of cold. Tadwin’s spell slowed them down a bit, but it did not stop them and a deadly battle soon followed.

Having already expended a large portion of their spells since their last rest, the band tried to force their enemies into a bottleneck at the doorway to make better use of what they had left. But their efforts were foiled when Lord Kax teleported into the drawing room behind them and came at them from the rear. Corvyn stayed in front and took on the barbarian and the half-elf, taking both of them down, but receiving several severe injuries in return. The rest of the band did what they could to aid Corvyn, but also had to contend with Lord Kax as well. Tadwin cast a magic circle spell that momentarily held Lord Kax at bay, and incidentally proved that he was actually some kind of evil outsider. Unfortunately, he was able to dispel the magic circle and resume his attacks.

When the dwarf approached the band, he paused long enough to open another set of doors in the dining room which led to a gallery. Then he advanced on the badly wounded Corvyn and managed to land a devastating blow with his warhammer that sent Corvyn crashing to the ground. With enemies all around, no one was able to get to Corvyn for several precious seconds and his life continued to bleed out onto the floor. Zeke finally got to him though, and staunched his bleeding just in the nick of time, but he left himself exposed in the process. He then came under attack from the dwarf, and although the band was able to take the dwarf down, by the time they did so, both Tadwin and Zeke were also on the verge of dropping.

If no other combatants had entered the fray at this point, the band might have emerged from the battle victorious. But it was at this point that Irinia then showed up. She was a tall, willowy enchantress of great beauty, and of equally great power. She entered the dining room through the galley, immediately casting an enchantment spell, and made a suggestion to all members of the band to surrender and drop their weapons. Under compulsion of the spell, which, try as they did they could not resist, the Company of the Green Dragon was forced to do as Irinia suggested. The band stopped fighting and dropped any weapons they had in their hands.

But, having now fulfilled the conditions of the spell, they were then no longer under its influence and could, if they chose to, resume fighting again, though they would be at a great disadvantage if they did so. For Tadwin and Zeke were both critically wounded and Brom, having already thrown some of his magic daggers, now no longer had a magic weapon with which to fight Lord Kax.

Irinia ordered the band to back against the wall as Lord Kax began to gather their weapons. But Brom instead activated his ring of invisibility and disappeared, prompting Lord Kax to attack again. But before he was able to, Tadwin told Zeke to back away as ordered, and when he did so, Tadwin moved with him and quickly cast a spell. He then grabbed Zeke and Brom, whom he could see thanks to another spell he had cast earlier, and teleported the three of them out of there. Having made a very daring and narrow escape from Irinia and Lord Kax, Tadwin took them to the secret room nearby, hoping they would not be discovered there. Unfortunately, this meant leaving behind the unconscious body of Corvyn.

Back in the secret room, the band healed up as much as they could and hastily discussed their next course of action. Brom, who was still relatively uninjured, wanted to know what Irinia and Lord Kax were doing at this point, so he snuck out of the secret room invisibly and crept into the drawing room. There he could hear that Irinia had managed to revive the dwarf and he was now dragging the other unconscious bodies further into the dining room. When Brom then peeked through the open doorway, he was spotted by Irinia and Lord Kax, both of whom could apparently see through his invisibility.

Brom took off running, but did not return to the secret room for fear of revealing its location. Instead, he gulped down an extract to help him run faster. But it did him little good, as Lord Kax kept teleporting in front of him. It seemed that there was no limit to the number of times Lord Kax could teleport, so Brom tried to lose him by running outside the keep. But again, Lord Kax teleported in front of him and managed to ambush Brom as he came around a corner. So Brom ran to the edge of the cloud on which the keep rested. Then he drank another extract and jumped off the cloud. This last potion granted Brom the ability to fly, which made it virtually impossible for Lord Kax to teleport next to him and attack. So Lord Kax gave up the chase at this point.

Brom flew around for a bit until he was certain that he had lost Lord Kax. Then he returned to the keep. After sneaking back inside and making it back to the secret room apparently undetected, he again headed towards the dining room, this time making sure to remain out of sight. When he got near the dining room, he again could hear Irinia’s voice. So he paused to listen. What he heard alarmed him greatly, for it now became obvious that Irinia had revived Corvyn and had also charmed him. After convincing Corvyn that she was his friend, he then agreed to show her where the secret room was. As soon as Brom heard this, he knew they were in real trouble. So he quickly returned to the secret room where he told his companions all that he had heard.

They all agreed then that it was time for them to make a hasty retreat from the keep. In fact, they all ran from the keep, taking Tukares with them, and got to the magic gate as fast as they could. At the gate, Tadwin recited the lines inscribed on the key, activating the portal, and they stepped through and entered the sewers beneath the City of Greyhawk. It was about eleven o’clock in the morning when the band, now with Tukares taking the place of Corvyn, emerged from the basement and immediately exited the house and entered the streets of the Thieves’ Quarter.

After further discussion, the band now realized that with Corvyn charmed by Irinia, he could conceivably tell her everything about where they lived and worked. Suddenly it seemed, it was no longer safe to return to their homes, or the pawnshop, or any place else that they regularly might go. But the band also knew that they had to rescue Corvyn and would probably need some help in order to do so. In addition to this, they agreed that their experiment of trying to continue adventuring without a capable healer was probably a failure.

So, as much as the thought had originally disagreed with him, Brom suggested that they give Rohnam a try to see if he could be a useful and agreeable addition to the band. In fact, considering how powerful Irinia appeared to be, the band also decided to see if Malagrym would be willing to come along as well. So the band’s first stop was the Green Dragon Inn, where they met with Rohnam and offered him an equal share in any treasure collected if he would help them rescue Corvyn. If things went well, they told him, they might offer him a more permanent position in the band.

Rohnam agreed with these terms, and after gathering some things, he immediately went with the band as they located Malagrym’s residence at a boarding house in the Foreign Quarter. There, they offered Malagrym the same deal and he too agreed to the terms. From there, the band went to the pawnshop where they told Emery about the situation. Then they had him close the shop, for fear that it might be attacked, and gathered all their valuables, including magic items for sale, loaded up their horses, and rode out of town.

So concerned, they were, about being attacked by Irinia and her followers, they did not even want to be inside the city while they rested and made plans. Instead, they rode out into the countryside a good ways where they had Tadwin cast a rope trick spell, hoping they would not be observed. There they rested for the remainder of the day and much of the following day, with the exception of a brief return to the city to buy a few wands to aid in healing and protection from Irinia’s spells.

It was not until about seven in the evening, on Freeday, the 21st day of Sunsebb, when the band and their new allies, including Tukares, who now had a personal vendetta against Irinia, returned to the city. When the band got to the house that sat above the portal to Prism Keep, and which was not far from the pawnshop, they saw that there were several lights on in the house. Hoping to avoid a confrontation there, the band decided to see if they could find an alternate route through the sewers to the portal.

There were three possible sewer entrances that Brom was aware of. One of them was right outside the pawnshop, and concerned that the pawnshop might be under observation, they did not want to go there. Another one was near the Thieves’ Guild and Brom knew that it was often used by members of the guild. The third one was far to the south and would require an extensive trek through an unfamiliar area of the sewer system. So, while the band waited near the house, Brom went to take a look at the sewer entrance by the Thieves’ Guild. As was often the case, there were a couple of men, most likely members of the Thieves’ Guild, standing nearby within easy view of the sewer entrance. There was no chance of the band entering the sewers from there without being seen. So Brom went to look at the sewer entrance by the pawnshop. Seeing no one nearby, he entered the sewer by himself, but soon came upon a huge swarm of bats that had roosted there.

Not wanting to deal with the bats, Brom then went to investigate the southern entrance. Again he saw no one nearby, so again he entered the sewers. The sewer tunnels did not go exactly in the direction he had expected them to, but eventually he was able to find his way towards the portal. Along the way, however, he came upon a large pile of rubbish and saw something moving inside it. Not wanting to deal with whatever this was by himself, he then made his way back to the sewer entrance and went and found his companions. He took them to the southern sewer entrance and led them to the area where the pile of trash lay.

As they had suspected, the creature in the pile of trash was a neo-otyugh, which the band was able to kill without too much effort, though it was a shaky start for both Rohnam and Malagrym, both of whom made sloppy mistakes. But with the monster dead, the band was able to continue on, and Brom soon came upon a familiar sight and the horribly smelling, half-eaten corpse of the man he had killed and dragged into the sewer two days before. A short while later, the band was at the portal that led to Prism Keep.

It was about eight o’clock at night when the band passed through the portal, though it was now a sunny morning outside Prism Keep. When the band arrived, they saw no one guarding the way or any creatures moving about. So Tadwin cast a spell that created a floating eye with which he could scout out ahead. Using this, he observed as much of the keep as he could, but again he found no one, other than the two manticores that stayed in their lair. So the band walked to the entrance of the keep and, using the password given to them by Tensil, entered through the front doors with no difficulties. As soon as they stepped into the great hall, however, the suit of armor on the far side once again issued its challenge saying, “Who dares intrude in the keep of Irinia, Queen of Beauty and Mistress of the Sorcerous Arts?” But again, nothing further happened.

Using what Tukares knew of the keep, the band went from there and traveled along the west side of the keep. They looked into the Yellow Spire, which served as the keep’s library, and several of the quarters, but found no occupants. They could not get into the heavily locked laboratory and the Red Spire was also empty. Finally, they came upon the keep’s galley, and here they ran into their first opposition.

Upon opening the doors, the band found, to their great surprise, Kendel Trollbane, now once again, appearing quite alive and well. With him were the Baklunish swordswoman Daranal Trenn, the dark-skinned man Kuresh Wildflame, and Keldavin the Bold, wielding his morningstar. Tadwin cast a black tentacles spell, but initially, it was not very effective. So Rohnam cast a hold person spell on Keldavin, which held him in place. Kendal drank a potion of flying and was able to escape the black tentacles, while Kuresh was able to avoid the tentacles altogether and moved in front to brace his trident at the doorway. Brom dodged past Kuresh and began attacking from a flanking position, as Malagrym advanced on Kuresh.

Early on, Malagrym’s troubles continued, though he did manage to wield his sword in such a flashy display that the band’s enemies became intimidated. Zeke then cast a spell on Daranal that compelled her to kill her nearest ally, which was Keldavin. He was within arm’s reach of her and because he was caught in a hold spell, he was completely defenseless and easily killed. Kendal and Kuresh were then taken down by the combined efforts of the band and Malagrym finally showed that he was capable of doing a good deal of damage with his claws and his gladiatorial skills.

Near the end of the battle, Daranal Trenn was the only enemy left standing, though she was still caught in Tadwin’s black tentacles spell. Realizing that her situation was hopeless, she offered to surrender once again, and pleaded for the black tentacles spell to be dismissed. But Tadwin hesitated, allowing the spell to continue strangling her for a little bit longer, while Rohnam did not seem to care and continued throwing daggers at her. Finally, Tadwin dismissed the spell, though not before she had been knocked unconscious.

When the battle was over, Zeke checked on the enemy combatants. Kuresh was dead, and so was Kendel, as Brom had made sure of this, knowing full well that Kendel had not been charmed. But Daranal was still alive. So Zeke bound her wounds to keep her from dying. Then Rohnam cast a detect thoughts spell and with it he was able to determine that several intelligent creatures waited for them just beyond the doors inside the Orange Spire.
Part Two - Chapter Six: The Mystery of Prism Keep

It was about half past eight on the evening of Waterday, the 19th day of Sunsebb, in the Common Year of 580, when the Company of the Green Dragon entered the gate that took them to the realm of Prism Keep. But time in this alternate world passed differently and here it was morning when the band, soon afterwards, broke into Prism Keep and began attacking the occupants of the keep. Within a short while, two of the keep’s occupants were dead, one was unconscious, and two more had surrendered.

Initially, the band had suspected that several people were being held against their will in the keep and this was their reason for attacking the keep’s occupants. But upon questioning the two captured warriors, they began to wonder if their initial assessment had been accurate, for both detainees insisted that all within the keep had come there of their own free will.

The female, Daranal Trenn, was Baklunish and claimed she was a noble swordswoman from the Caliphate of Ekbir. The man was the caravan guard Tukares that the band had heard mentioned in Greyhawk and he professed to be from the nearby city of Dyvers. Both of them said they had been hired by the wizard Irinia to defend the keep against all enemies and because the Company of the Green Dragon had clearly been the aggressors they should be counted among those enemies. However, when the band pressed them further for details, the two captured warriors could not convincingly explain their seemingly sudden, complete and unwavering loyalty to the wizard Irinia. They claimed that Irinia was in the process of trying to rescue the wizard Alarius, who had been betrayed by an apprentice of his, named Tymor. Tymor had been killed apparently in the act of betraying Alarius, but Alarius was now trapped somewhere on the Ethereal Plane.

Unsure of what to make of all of this, the band decided it might be best to find and question Elrath Oakenthews, the warrior they had originally come in search of. So they asked about him and were told that he and his group could probably be found in the Red Spire, as they had just left them there a few minutes before.

The band then carried the unconscious man, whom the other two said was their leader under Irinia, Kendel Trollbane, out to the patio where the chimeras had laird. There they tied up and gagged him and Tukares, and placed the bodies of the two dead warriors. Then they instructed Daranal to take them to the Red Spire.

Daranal led them back through the courtyard and headed for the far side. But before they got to the door, they were attacked by eight giant wasps that flew down from above. Though she never made any attempt to escape during the battle that followed, Daranal was apparently just as concerned about being attacked by the giant wasps, despite the fact that they seemed to avoid her. The band was able to kill all the giant wasps, though they received a few injuries in return. Tadwin, in fact, became a victim to their poison and was thereafter moving about with some discomfort as a result.

Once the giant wasps were dead, Daranal then took them to the Red Spire. Here, a great lantern hung from the spire’s apex. It was made from welded swords and contained a brilliant ruby shard that pulsed like a beating heart and bathed the chamber in crimson light. The walls of the chamber were decorated with a breathtaking display of shields, polearms and banners. As expected, there were also three occupants in the room, the three warriors that Tadwin had seen when he first scryed upon Elrath Oakenthews.

In addition to Elrath, who was a big burly fighter of limited intelligence from Veluna, there was Durfang the Black, an unpleasant and violent man who wielded two shortswords and was said to be a native of the Great Kingdom. The third man was Tiran Tyvilar, a handsome and personable fellow from the Kingdom of Keoland.

Upon seeing the band along with Daranal, Tiran asked who they were and what their business was, obviously suspecting they were the cause of the recent alarm. The band then explained that they had come in search of Elrath and mentioned Elrath’s friend Harry. Elrath seemed to appreciate Harry’s concern for him, but tried to convince the band that it was his decision to come to Prism Keep even though he could not really explain why he left Greyhawk without gathering his possessions or without saying a word to his friends. Despite the band’s attempts at this point to avoid any further bloodshed, tempers flared when Daranal informed the three men that the band had already killed two other men.

Nevertheless, the three men insisted that they go and speak to the wizard Irinia and the band agreed to do so. Some of the men then led the way, while others stayed at the rear. Brom meanwhile, who had been invisible during the entire exchange, stayed at the very back and followed along behind stealthily. The entire group passed back through the courtyard and on through the rooms where blood still stained the floor from the previous battles. They then entered the Purple Spire, which clearly served as Irinia’s throne room.

There, a throne of clear glass sat beneath a hovering gem of exquisite royal purple that cast the chamber in various shades of purple. Exotic tapestries adorned all but one wall, which was covered by a great map of some unrecognizable land. But instead of Irinia, the only occupants in the room were three more men.

The man at the center with a morningstar in his hands was Keldavin the Bold, an apparent native of this alternate world. To his right, carrying a bastard sword, was another apparent native, Danal Blackeagle. And to their left was a dark-skinned man wielding a trident, an Olman from the Amedio Jungle named Kuresh Wildflame.

Almost as soon as the doors to the Purple Spire were opened, and despite the fact that the band was accompanied by four other occupants of the keep, Keldavin, perhaps acting under the orders of Irinia, ordered everyone to attack the intruders. A great battle then ensued. The defenders of the castle varied in skill, though none of them were quite as skilled as any member of the Company of the Green Dragon. Still, the band was outnumbered by almost two to one and they had some difficulty in defeating their assailants. Daranal, though she had been relieved of her weapon earlier, grabbed an axe from a nearby display of armor and joined in the battle. More than one member of the band became severely injured in the battle and needed immediate medical attention during the struggle to remain standing. But gradually the band got the upper hand, and several of their attackers began to fall starting from the rear where Brom got in a few sneak attacks. Corvyn, meanwhile, took on as many as three warriors up front, and it was those warriors who were the last to go down. But a fireball cast by Tadwin helped to bring about their defeat.

When the battle was over, the band tried to save as many of their attackers as they could, for by now they had begun to suspect that some of the keep’s defenders were not completely in control of their own actions.

Unfortunately, there were some that they could not save, and Elrath Oakenthews was among them. Danal Blackeagle, Durfang the Black, and Tiran Tyvilar also died in the battle. The rest were knocked unconscious, but their wounds were staunched and for now they remained alive. Some members of the band too were badly injured and they needed some magical healing. By now, all their healing spells were gone and the band was forced to use their healing wands and potions.

When they were ready to continue on, the band looked about the chamber and searched the bodies of the keep’s defenders. In addition to a few magic items, they noted that many of the defeated warriors had a weak enchantment over them and the band suspected they had been charmed, which would explain some of the mystery behind their behavior. Also, hidden in a secret and trapped compartment in the throne, the band found four rough diamonds.

After searching the room, the band dragged the bodies, those both alive and dead, out to the patio where they had left the others, and tied up and gagged those that were still alive. Then the band continued to explore the keep. Beyond one door they found two angry manticores. Tadwin cast a black tentacles spell into the room before the manticores could attack and they quickly closed the door, knowing that the spell would hold them back for a bit.

Next, the band found a nicely appointed drawing room and a great dining hall where they met an old and dignified butler by the name of Jeren. It soon became obvious that Jeren knew more about what was going on inside the keep than most of its occupants, and to the band’s great fortune, was willing to help them. Jeren quickly explained to the band that it was Irinia who actually betrayed the wizard Alarius. He told the band that Irinia was a powerful enchantress and that most of the keep’s defenders had been charmed into serving her. He advised them to find and release Alarius’s only other surviving apprentice, a young man by the name of Tensil. Tensil, he said, would be able to explain more about the keep and give them information that could help the band defeat Irinia. Jeren drew a map of the keep which showed where to find Tensil. Then he told them about a secret chamber that only he knew about and in which Alarius had placed several magic items and other equipment that could be useful in an emergency. He also gave them a key and showed the band a secret sign that would allow them to bypass the magical symbols that warded the room.

From there, the band doubled back and located the secret chamber. Using the strange hand gesture and the key, the band was able to enter the chamber, open the locked and trapped chest, and grab anything useful, which included some powerful potions, a scroll with some powerful spells on it, a ring and a dagger. At this point, they decided it was time for them to rest. But before they did, they wanted to hide the bodies of the warriors they had defeated, both the dead ones and those that were still alive. The secret chamber was not far from the patio where they had left them, so they headed in that direction.

However, just after closing the door to the secret chamber, a door opened up in the room where they were standing, and in came two hideous looking creatures, clearly intent on attacking them. These creatures were emaciated figures that resembled horned human skeletons smothered within a bone-tight hide of slimy leather and were a kind of demon known as a babaus. They were soon joined by a tall and darkly handsome young man wielding a bardiche. This man, the band later surmised, was known as Lord Kax and, according to the butler Jeren, was some sort of mysterious advisor to Irinia. While the others battled the demons, Corvyn took on Lord Kax and found that he exhibited some of the same qualities as the demons, such as the fact that he was resistant to injury and his touch seemed to behave like acid. But Corvyn quickly had Lord Kax on the defensive and badly injured. So Lord Kax tried to retreat into the next room. Corvyn followed him however until Lord Kax suddenly vanished right in front of him. Meanwhile, the others killed the two babaus, which disappeared upon their deaths, indicating they had been summoned by a spell.

With the demons gone, the band then resumed their plan of moving their captives and the bodies into the secret chamber. They also made sure to clean up any blood that might help to reveal the location of the secret chamber. For the next eight or nine hours then, the band rested with no disturbance. However, sometime during a later watch, Corvyn noticed that the body of Kendel Trollbane was looking unusually pale and did not appear to be breathing. When he went to take a closer look he found that the warrior was dead. Apparently, one of his earlier wounds had reopened and he bleed to death as his body was now lying in a puddle of blood.

After a sufficient rest, Tadwin memorized his spells and the band healed up a few more injuries. Tadwin had also tried to remove the charm spells from some of the keep’s defenders and managed to do so successfully with the caravan guard Tukares. Tukares was the only one who was still conscious and, in fact, he was not all that badly injured. Realizing now that he had been charmed by Irinia, he offered to aid the band against Irinia, once he had been released from his bonds. But the band told him to stay behind and keep an eye on the rest of the captives.

When the band then exited the secret chamber, it was now night time and the keep was not lit up very well. So the band used a combination of potions and spells to cast dark vision on themselves, and headed off in the direction of Tensil’s quarters. They decided to cut through the Blue Spire to get there and when they entered the chamber they saw that it was dominated by a huge, seemingly bottomless pool of water. In fact, they could see right through the water to the mountain range far below. They also spotted a beautiful crystal suspended deep within the pool, which Zeke tried unsuccessfully to retrieve with a spell.

Moving through the Blue Spire, the band then came to a parlor of sorts that was guarded by huge demons with squat, pot-bellies, massive arms and thick, round legs. Their heads resembled that of trunkless and tuskless elephants with four great backward curving horns that sprouted from behind their eyes. These unusual demons, known as balbans, immediately turned and charged at the band as soon as they saw them. One of the demons trampled over Corvyn and forced the band to retreat back into the Blue Spire with their backs at the water’s edge. The other demon, meanwhile, created an area of darkness and tried to dispel some of the band’s magic. It was a tough battle, but the band was eventually able to wear the demons down and defeat them. When they died, their bodies remained in place, which indicated that they had entered this world by a more permanent means than a summoning spell.

With the demons dead, the band was able to rescue the young apprentice Tensil, who mistook the band at first for more of Irinia’s charmed guards. But once the band had explained their situation, Tensil told them that it was he who had tossed the crystal key through the portal in an attempt to escape. He confirmed Jeren’s story that it was Irinia who had betrayed Alarius and asked for the band’s help in bringing Alarius back.

In order to free Alarius from the Ethereal Plane, Tensil told them, the band would have to gather the six crystals in each of the spires and place them in the pedestal at the center of the keep’s courtyard. But before doing so, the band decided to try and defeat Irinia first. Tensil told them that Irinia used the Orange Spire as her own personal quarters. So it was to the Orange Spire that the band intended to go to first. Brom wanted to scout the way out ahead of the others though, and snuck off invisibly.

He first passed through the great hall at the front of the keep, where a suit of armor issued a booming challenge to him but made no other actions. Ignoring the suit of armor, Brom followed a hallway that led up to a gallery right outside the Orange Spire. Nearby, Brom spotted a young country maiden in a very plain dress, most likely a servant, gazing out the windows at the stars from a comfortable looking veranda. They did not notice the invisible Brom and he did not reveal his presence. Instead, he decided to head back and rejoin his companions.

The rest of the band, meanwhile, waited for what they believed to be a sufficient amount of time, and began following Brom’s path. When they entered the great hall, the suit of armor again issued its challenge, and again it was ignored by the band. However, almost immediately afterwards, another door flew open and out came several huge gargoyles that charged in to attack. As the battle progressed, more gargoyles poured into the room until there were six in all, and they were then joined by two more even more savage gargoyles known as margoyles.

Hearing the sound of battle, Brom ran back to the hall to aid his companions and after a challenging fight, the band was able to kill all the gargoyles. Unfortunately, despite their efforts to keep him on his feet, Tensil was knocked unconscious. So when the battle was over, they took Tensil back to his quarters, where they left him and turned to head back to the Orange Spire.

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