Greyhawk: Gem of the Flanaess

Part Three - Chapter Ten: A New Threat Emerges

It was on the afternoon of Sunday, the 9th day of Readying, in the Common Year of 581, when the Company of the Green Dragon defeated the ogre magi of the War Tower and destroyed the Temple of Nerull. With the band now exhausted and the spellcasters running low on spells, they decided it was time to leave. Tadwin cast a teleport spell and took everyone back to the house in Greyhawk, which had been left unattended since the betrayal of Rohnam. From there, the band immediately returned to Prism Keep through the portal which lay in the sewers under the house. That evening, the band celebrated their victory as they told their henchmen and servants the tale of the great battle. It was also on this night, that Diamond was invited to become an official member of the Company of the Green Dragon, to which he gladly accepted.

The next morning, that of Moonday, the 10th day of Readying, after memorizing his spells, Tadwin cast several remove curse spells on himself until he finally succeeded in removing the curse caused by his staff. Then he, along with Zeke, Corvyn and Diamond paid a visit to Greyhawk, while Brom stayed behind at the keep. Brom had given Tadwin a list of magical items and alchemical formulas he wished to purchase, so Tadwin and company went in search of these things. As had been the case for some time now, Brom did not feel comfortable trying to deal with these matters himself, for fear of how people might react to his wings which were far too big to conceal without appropriate magic.

As Tadwin and company made their way around the city, visiting various shops, most of which they were quite familiar with, they soon took notice of the fact that most of the shopkeepers, gave the band odd stares and dirty looks or appeared hesitant to deal with them. After a few such episodes, Zeke asked one of the shopkeepers what the problem was. The shopkeeper was obviously nervous and tried to act as though nothing was wrong. But after some convincing from Zeke, the shopkeeper eventually told him that some ugly rumors had been going around the town concerning the band.

Concerned about these rumors, the band decided to stop by the Green Dragon Inn for lunch and see if their old friend Ricard Damaris, the proprietor of the inn, could shed some light on the source of these rumors. But, much to the band’s surprise and dismay, Ricard politely refused to serve them, suggesting that the band go and speak with the City Constable, Derider Fanshen who had apparently been asking questions about them and was looking for them. Wishing to get to the bottom of this, they decided to follow Ricard’s advice, but wanted to go and retrieve Brom from the keep before doing so. However, as they were headed back to the house, upon reaching the Black Gate, which they had passed through earlier that morning without any trouble, they were detained by the city watch.

Not wanting to cause any trouble, the band agreed to be escorted to the Grand Citadel without Brom, so they could speak with the Constable. A short while later, in the office of Derider Fanshen, the Constable told them she had heard some disturbing rumors. So the band agreed to answer some questions while Derider interrogated them one at a time.

First she spoke with Zeke, whom she knew to be the most morally sound of the group. Then she spoke with Tadwin, who, according to reports, was the most morally questionable. For both interrogations, Derider told them she would be casting a detect magic spell and a zone of truth spell. Both Zeke and Tadwin failed to resist the zone of truth spell and it did not take long before Derider learned that most of the rumors about the band were true; namely that Tadwin and Brom had murdered two men in the house they now claimed as theirs, that the band had made an alliance with the duergar in the ruins of Castle Greyhawk, and that, until recently, Tadwin was a worshiper of Nerull. These were all serious offenses as far as the City of Greyhawk was concerned and easily could have led to a sentence of hard labor for life or for Tadwin and Brom, a death sentence. Tadwin, of course, tried to spin everything in the best light possible, saying he had been forced into doing these things, while both of them pointed out how they had recently destroyed a temple of Nerull.

Nevertheless, Derider was being extremely generous when she then offered to make a deal with the band, saying she would be willing to forget all past crimes of the band (at least those she was aware of), if the band would, in turn, focus their efforts on solving the latest dilemma that had been plaguing the city in the past few months.

During the interrogations, Derider had asked both Zeke and Tadwin if they had ever heard of the Cult of the Shriven Sickle. Both had answered truthfully that they had not. So Derider told them what she knew or suspected about the group. They were a secret cult of Nerull worshipers operating illegally within the city and bent on causing all manner of chaos and disruption to the city and, in particular, organizations within the city which fought against the forces of evil. More specifically, their goals were to slay members of the Knights of Holy Shielding who had fled their overrun homes in the Shieldlands, slay priests of good faiths such as those of Pelor, Heironeous, and Rao, disgrace and dishonor people of power within the city, disrupt trade within the city, conduct espionage and do whatever they could to increase their own power. Their crimes consisted of murder, kidnapping, blackmail, and theft, just to name a few. There were even reports that they were responsible for the brutal slaying of workers in the docks, which led to rumors of vampires in the area, which in turn, threatened to cripple the river trade.

This cult was a serious threat to the city and all attempts by the City Watch to find the cult and stop them had, so far, been unsuccessful. With few alternatives open to her, since other adventuring groups in the city were either unavailable or not powerful enough, Derider turned to the Company of the Green Dragon for assistance. The band, of course, agreed to Derider’s proposition, knowing that to decline the offer would mean becoming enemies of the City of Greyhawk. Once the deal was agreed upon, Derider let the band go, but warned them about breaking any more laws, stating they would need a warrant from her or a Deputy Constable before entering any businesses or private property uninvited.

After leaving the Citadel, the band resumed their errands and gathered what magic items and alchemical formulas they could find that were on Brom’s list. This took the remainder of the day and when they were done they returned to Prism Keep and announced to Brom all that had occurred. That evening the band put their heads together and discussed ideas on how they might try to track down the Cult of the Shriven Sickle.

The next morning, on Godsday the 11th of Readying, Diamond cast some divination spells and learned that some of their earliest ideas would not likely produce any results, as these had already been investigated by the City Watch.

It appeared then that the band would have to resort to questioning possible witnesses to the cults’ various crimes in order to drum up a few leads. According to the information supplied by Derider Fanshen, the most recent act that was likely committed by the cult took place four days before, when a member of the Knights of Holy Shielding disappeared. So the band, with Brom coming along invisibly, returned to Greyhawk and located the House of the Knights of Holy Shielding in the High Quarter. There they spoke with the group’s leader, a paladin by the name of Valderesse Sharn.

She took a liking to Zeke, but clearly did not care much for the other members of the band, especially Tadwin. She told Zeke all she knew about the disappearance of Geret Thorning, the latest apparent victim of the cult, who was last seen at the Wheel of Gold Gambling House. She and the other knights had already investigated the disappearance and learned that the last person who is known to have seen him was a fellow Shieldlander by the name of Jamir Rellstar. Tadwin was familiar with Jamir as he was a well-liked wizard who frequented the Wizard’s Guild and the finer gambling halls of the city. It was a well-known tale that Jamir had been captured and tortured by the Horned Society before arriving in Greyhawk the previous year, and there were many who would vouch for Jamir’s good character, including Valderesse Sharn, who had no suspicions about him.

With what appeared to be a dead end, the band then visited several temples in the city and Diamond made sure to make a donation at the Temple of Boccob. Unfortunately, the band found no useful information at any of the temples either.

That afternoon, Tadwin paid a visit to the Wizard’s Guild and bought a copy of the spell dimensional anchor, believing it would come in handy if the band should ever have the opportunity to confront Rohnam, whom they felt certain had a hand in spreading the rumors about the band. While there, Tadwin came upon Jamir and made sure to point him out to Brom, as they were not entirely convinced that Jamir was completely innocent in the disappearance of Geret Thorning. Brom, still remaining invisible, later followed Jamir to the Wheel of Gold Gambling House. The rest of the band, meanwhile, went to the Gold Digger Tavern in the Thieves’ Quarter where they hoped to find another member of the Knights of Holy Shielding, a large fighter by the name of Artur Jakartai, who often visited the dwarven hangout.

As hoped, the band did find Artur at the tavern and he and Corvyn soon found themselves bonding as they drank ale and discussed nothing in particular, with the possible exception of what Artur could tell the band about the disappearance of Geret Thorning – which was practically nothing they had not already heard. Eventually, the band realized that Artur would likely be of little use to them. So the band called it a night and returned to the keep.

Brom, on the other hand, was able to learn something curious about Jamir. After watching him all evening and well into the night, Brom discovered that Artur was very skilled at any games of chance that required a certain amount of bluffing. But, perhaps more importantly, When Brom secretly followed Jamir from the gambling house and into Clerkberg, he saw Jamir step into a dark alleyway and mysteriously vanish. After a thorough search in the area, Brom was convinced that Jamir had not used a secret door, but instead used some magical means of transporting himself to some other location. This, of course, was curious behavior for someone who supposedly had nothing to hide. With nothing more to go on, Brom also returned to the keep and informed his companions of what he had seen.

On Waterday, the 12th, everyone but Tadwin returned to the city and did further investigating. Tadwin, on the other hand, stayed behind to learn the dimensional anchor spell. While passing by the Low Market, Corvyn saw an old friend, a dwarven blacksmith by the name of Grumm. Grumm gave Corvyn a dirty look which prompted Corvyn to find out why. Grumm was clearly upset with Corvyn for some unknown reason and before long the two began insulting one another and almost got into a scuffle. But Zeke cast a detect magic spell on him and quickly realized that Grumm was under some kind of spell. So Zeke dispelled the enchantment and when he did so, Grumm’s attitude suddenly changed and he apologized to Corvyn, saying he did not know what had come over him.

It occurred to the band then that perhaps someone had been going around the city, someone like Rohnam, and had been casting some kind of spell on friends of the band in an effort to spread the malicious rumors and cause trouble for the band. With this thought in mind, the band decided to visit some of their friends in order to further test this theory and remove any unwanted enchantments they might discover. Their first stop was Corvyn’s old trainer, Strayfer, but they detected no spell on him.

Next, they visited some of Zeke’s friends. They started with Daerok, who was a Sergeant in the City Watch and one of Zeke’s most trusted older friends. As soon as Daerok saw him, he ordered some of the City Watch to arrest Zeke, despite having already been cleared by Constable Fanshen. Corvyn stepped in and did what he could to hold off the guards while Zeke cast another detect magic. As expected, Zeke detected an enchantment on Daerok, so he dispelled it as well. When he did, Daerok also changed his attitude and ordered the guards to stand down. Zeke then explained to him what had occurred, and informed him that the band suspected that Rohnam was responsible for this.

Afterwards, the band visited his surrogate father Vangredd, who was also a cleric at the Temple of Boccob. Vangredd did not have any enchantment on him, but he told the band of an unusual encounter with a halfling whom Vangredd suspected tried to cast a spell on him. To the band, this sounded like it may have been Rohnam making use of his ring of alteration. Finally, the band visited the market place where the old mysterious Baklunish fortune-teller, Maerrida could be found. As was often the case, she seemed to be expecting Zeke but was also very cryptic with her responses. Though she did not appear to have any spell on her, she warned Zeke, as she almost always did, of danger and troubles to come. She mentioned something about possessions and property being in jeopardy. So the band immediately headed over to the pawnshop. Fortunately, at this time, they found nothing amiss with the pawnshop, which still remained closed.

Later in the day, Tadwin took a break from his studies to visit the Wizard’s Guild so he could stock up on a few spell components. On his way there, he met with the rest of the band who told him what they had learned so far this day. So, a short while later, while at the Guild, Tadwin was not taken entirely by surprise when he witnessed his friend Connor at the Guild talking to other wizards there and spreading potentially harmful rumors about him. But instead of trying to stop Connor or attempting to counter the rumors, Tadwin let him continue, thinking and rather enjoying the idea that these rumors might make people fear him. In fact, Tadwin’s only course of action in the matter was to visit the drow librarian, Jawal Severnain, and ask him about a spell that Rohnam could cast in order to cause such an effect. Eventually, he discovered a spell called “malicious spite” that fit the description, but chose, in the end, not to buy a copy of it.

That evening, the band devised a plan to try and learn more about Jamir Rellstar, still convinced he was somehow involved with the Cult of the Shriven Sickle. Diamond used an illusion to disguise himself as a wealthy noble and visited the Wheel of Gold Gambling House while Zeke and Brom hid outside. Corvyn and Tadwin, meanwhile, hid by the alley where Jamir had disappeared the night before. As hoped, Jamir likewise paid a visit to the gambling house, and when he left, Diamond, Zeke and Brom followed him. Once again, Jamir made his way to the neighborhood of the Wizard’s School and once again he disappeared mysteriously. But this time it was in the midst of a small grove of trees rather than the alley, and Brom was close enough to see that Jamir had used a silent means to vanish as if using a dimension door which was possibly activated by tapping his boots together.

The next day, Earthday, the 13th, the band was so certain that Jamir was involved with the cult that they came up with a plan to try and catch Jamir in the act of attacking or kidnapping a victim. With this idea in mind, they then visited the House of the Knights of Holy Shielding and asked for a volunteer who would be willing to act as bait. Somewhat doubtful of the outcome and yet eager to put an end to the cult, a paladin by the name of Redshir volunteered to assist the band. But it would have to wait until that evening. So, in the meantime, the band tended to other matters.

A short while later, they visited the pawnshop, and this time they found that it had been vandalized. Windows were smashed in, some merchandise had been stolen, and graffiti was written on the walls saying things like “Nerull Worshipers” and “Murderers”. Zeke used a few cantrips to repair the damage and clean up the graffiti.

That evening, the band put their plan into action. Zeke and Diamond disguised as wealthy nobles and visited the Wheel of Gold Gambling House where they watched, from a distance, Redshir, who also appeared at the gambling house. Corvyn, Tadwin and Brom, meanwhile, hid outside and waited. Unfortunately, Jamir never showed up that evening. So the band eventually gave up and returned to the keep.

On the following day, Freeday, the 14th, the band’s only objective was to try their plan again, hoping for better results. So they did not returned to the city until that evening. When they did return, they set themselves up in the same positions as on the previous night. But, once again, Jamir did not make an appearance.

The next morning, Starday the 15th day of Readying, Diamond cast a divination spell to see if it would be worth the effort to try their plan a third time. The answer he received indicated that on this night, they would likely have better results. So again, that evening, the band returned to the Wheel of Gold Gambling House, using the same tactics as on the previous two nights. This time, Jamir finally appeared.

As planned, Redshir made sure to make himself noticed by Jamir, and as hoped, Jamir soon struck up a conversation with him. Eventually, as the evening wore on, the luck of the two men ran out at the gambling tables, or possibly in the case of Jamir, he allowed himself to lose out. Whatever the case, shortly before midnight, Jamir invited Redshir to join him at the Silver Dragon Inn, where Jamir promised him they would find a more interesting time. When the two men left, the Company of the Green Dragon followed.

A short while later, when the two men drew near to the Silver Dragon, Jamir told Redshir that he wanted to show him something at the side of building. When Redshir hesitated to accompany him, Jamir lightly grabbed Redshir by the arm in an effort to encourage him and when he did, the band made their move to attack. Tadwin hit Jamir with a dimensional anchor spell, thereby assuring he could not escape with magic. The rest of the band then ran up. As they did so, several others came out from behind a corner and attacked Redshir.

One was a middle-aged woman with long flowing black hair and a terrifying, homicidal look on her face. Dressed in full plate armor and wielding a sickle, the band realized she had to be a member of the Cult of the Shriven Sickle and later on confirmed that she was known as Xanthi Lamman, High Priestess of Nerull. Next to her was a fearsome looking bearded man, tall and hulking of stature, also dressed in plate armor and wielding a sickle. He was called Garyne the Shroudrender. And finally, there was a huge, muscular half-orc dressed in plate armor like his companions, but wielding a greatsword. Grotnek Urtekknis he was called.

While it was clear that the three newcomers intended to do harm to Redshir, and thus they were obvious targets for the band, it was not so clear that Jamir meant to do him any harm – at least not at first. So the band focused their efforts on the three newcomers while, at the same time, trying to subdue Jamir.

When Corvyn entered the battle, he was quickly met by the half-orc, Grotnek who, unexpectedly tore into Corvyn, showing he was easily as strong and skilled as Corvyn, if not more so. Then Corvyn was attacked from behind by an invisible assailant who remained invisible. Already Corvyn was badly wounded and it quickly became obvious that Corvyn could not survive much longer being flanked by these two attackers.

Jamir, meanwhile, did eventually attack the band, so the band attacked back in kind. Zeke hit the invisible attacker with a glitterdust spell, revealing the attacker to be a woman. Then Tadwin threw up a wall of force between Corvyn and Grotnek, which prevented Grotnek from attacking Corvyn. The wall of force also cut Jamir and the invisible woman off from their allies. So these two became the focus of the band’s attacks and they were soon taken down. Unfortunately, the wall of force left Redshir on the wrong side. So Grotnek turned and attacked him, quickly dropping the paladin.

It did not appear, however, that the cult expected to face such opposition and they apparently had no desire for a prolonged battle. Seeing that things were not going well for them, they soon were looking for a means of escape. Garyne gulped down a potion of fly, unaware of the fact that he would not be able to escape. Moments later, he was blasted out of the sky by a fireball from Tadwin, and his body was retrieved by an invisible Brom who flew after him. Xanthi, however, did manage to escape with Grotnek when she grabbed the half-orc and cast a word of recall spell.

Although Garyne was killed, the band managed to take Jamir and the invisible woman alive but unconscious. It was only then that the band realized who the invisible woman was. It was none other than their old enemy Imogen Gellet, formerly a barmaid at the Green Dragon Inn and the sole surviving member of the Shapechangers. The band was thrilled to have finally apprehended her. They also managed to get to Redshir in time and keep him from dying.

With the danger now past, they cast a detect magic spell and were in the process of grabbing magic items when the City Watch arrived.
Part Three - Chapter Nine: The Fall of the Temple of Nerull

It was on the afternoon of Sunday, the 9th day of Readying, in the Common Year of 581, when the Company of the Green Dragon began their second assault on the Temple of Nerull. Half a minute into the battle, the first of the five remaining ogre magi was already dead and it appeared early on as if this battle would turn out quite favorably for the band.

Still there were a few surprises, such as when tentacles suddenly sprung out from the roof of a black, tar-like hut near the body of the ogre mage that had just been killed. Appearing much like those of a black tentacles spell, these tentacles tried to grab a hold of Corvyn, but he was able to fight them off.

Seeing the first of their comrades falling before the combined attacks of the band, and realizing that their offensive spells were having little if any effect on the band, the ogre magi apparently decided to change their battle strategy and take a more defensive approach. Having taken very little time to make preparations before entering the battle, the ogre magi tried to fall back and cast more defensive and combat spells on themselves and their forces.

They started off by ordering their troops to gather in groups so the ogre magi could cast spells on them to protect them from fire, knowing that the band relied heavily on fire spells, which were a weakness of the trolls. Once they had protected their forces from fire, the ogre magi then intended to surround themselves with their forces while they continued to cast combat spells on themselves. It appeared as if the ogre magi were convinced that their best chance for victory was to possibly sacrifice their own forces in order to better prepare themselves. Perhaps then, by the time the band had cut through the surrounding forces and reached the ogre magi, the band would be running low on spells and would be easier for the ogre magi to defeat.

The band, however, had ideas of their own, which was to gang up on the ogre magi and take one down at a time. When the ogre magi turned invisible and tried to fly towards their forces, Brom and Corvyn, both of whom could fly and see invisible objects, flew after the nearest ogre mage and attacked him from flanking positions. The ogre mage was forced to stop and defend himself. In desperation, the ogre mage tried unsuccessfully to cast a spell. Then, when he tried to retreat, Brom and Corvyn landed the killing blows, which included a burst of fire. The ogre mage was sent hurtling down into a patch of web that had been created earlier which then caught on fire.

Zeke, Tadwin and Diamond, meanwhile, focused on attacking the other forces. When the ogre mage hit the web, Tadwin used his staff and summoned a fire elemental to land on top of the ogre mage and make sure he was dead. Diamond then cast a confusion spell on one group of enemies, causing two giant trolls and a two-headed troll to become confused. When one of the other ogre magi then arrived at the group to cast the fire protection spell, one of the giant trolls attacked him. The confusion spell continued to cause disruption and havoc among that group of trolls, sometimes forcing even those who were not confused to fight against those that were. As a result, these trolls were ineffective defenders of the ogre mage who sought their protection. Brom and Corvyn had killed the last ogre mage so quickly that this one had little time to cast defensive spells. So he too was killed fairly quickly.

Only the last two ogre magi had sufficient time to cast enough spells on themselves to make worthy opponents of the band. But by the time Brom and Corvyn were headed towards the first of these, the ogre magi’s defenders had been considerably weakened by the band’s spell casters. Tadwin had cast a chain lightning spell that devastated the first group, killing all of the ogre archers, which had been focusing their attacks on him, and badly wounding the rest. Diamond had also been doing his part with flamestrike spells, only half of which were fire-based and therefore only partially protected from by the trolls. Zeke, meanwhile, focused on the last ogre mage and his group of defenders. Realizing that they were all protected from fire, Zeke launched a seemingly endless barrage of fireballs at the group until he was able to exhaust the spell that protected them.

When Corvyn and Brom arrived at the third ogre mage, the ogre mage quickly flew to the ground, keeping a nearby building at his back to prevent his two assailants from taking up flanking positions. Going to the ground, also encouraged Brom to land as well, since his natural means of flight was very taxing and therefore limited.

This fact, however, played into the hands of the ogre mage, since it was only while he had an opponent on the ground that the ogre mage could hope to pull off his next intended move. As soon as he found an opening, the ogre mage used his sickle to trip Brom, a maneuver that the ogre mage was quite practiced at. So skilled was he in this, in fact, that it left Brom in a very awkward position, allowing both the ogre mage and his nearest allies the opportunity for a series of much easier attacks on Brom while he was lying prone on the ground. Because of this, Brom found himself in a rare and precarious situation. Fortunately, he was able to recover from this and regain his feet, though it proved to be costly in terms of stamina.

Nevertheless, it was one of the few instances in the battle where the ogre magi were able to deal the band an unexpected setback. Soon after Brom resumed his fighting stance, he and Corvyn were able to drop the 8th ogre mage. And knowing he was protected from fire, they made sure he would not be regaining consciousness any time soon. Then they moved on to the ninth and final ogre mage.

By this time, Zeke had thrown enough fireballs at the ogre mage and his group of trolls and giants that their protection from fire spell had been used up and they were now taking damage from the fire. Because of this, the trolls and giants began dispersing away from the ogre mage, leaving him unprotected. Some of the trolls and ogres were then killed by further mass damage spells, while others ran for cover. One fomorian giant and a two-headed troll, even tried to hide among the myconids, knowing that if they were attacked by mass damage spells the myconids would be forced to enter the battle and use their powerful spore attacks on the band, which could be overwhelming. But the band was wise enough to not to use such spells and instead limited their attacks to those that would affect only the giant and the troll.

The last of the ogre magi, meanwhile, seeing that his allies had fled away from him, no doubt realized the hopelessness of the situation and very likely began looking for a means of escape. But the band saw this as well and some of them began moving to cut off any escape route. So, left with little choice, the ogre mage cast a slay living spell and, in an act of desperation, flew up towards Zeke to try and hit him with the spell. But he missed. Moments later, Brom and Corvyn were flanking him and quickly wearing him down.

In a final act of defiance, the ogre mage reached out and managed to hit Brom with the slay living spell, hoping he could at least take one of the band members with him. Brom, however, managed to resist the spell and took only minimal damage from it, though it still brought him dangerously close to his demise due to previous injuries he was still suffering from. Nevertheless, it would prove to be the last thing that the ogre mage would do before he too would join his brethren in death. Only moments later, the last of the trolls and ogres were killed as well.

When the battle was over, Tadwin informed the band that they would still have to kill the fire elemental he had summoned, knowing it would turn on him when he released control of it. Killing the fire elemental was easy enough, and when it was done, the band took the time to heal up their injuries and search the bodies of the ogre magi for any magic items. They also searched the huts of the ogre magi, making sure to avoid the black tentacles that sprang from the roofs of each of the huts.

Zeke then took the time to speak with the elder myconid via their communication spores and assured him that the band intended no harm to the myconids. An agreement was soon reached, allowing the myconids to live in peace there in the cave.

With this done, the band searched the other buildings in the cave, which were unused barracks, kitchens and store rooms, intended to be used by the army that was supposed to have come from the underdark in the planned invasion on Greyhawk.

Finally, the band turned their attention to the great pyramid at the center of the cave – the temple of Nerull. As before, the band entered through the one opening where the black-red flames issued from. Some members of the band suffered minor burns from the flames as they passed through them, despite the spells that protected them from fire. And once inside the temple, they were again attacked by the two powerful spectres that resided there. Death ward spells protected the band from the worst of the spectres’ attacks however, and it was not long before the band had defeated them.

Still, the band believed that the spectres were not permanently defeated and that eventually they would return. For it had been hinted at in a divination spell that destroying the spirits of the temple would also destroy the temple. But clearly the temple had not been destroyed.

Diamond suggested that resurrection spells cast on the spectres would probably destroy the spectres, and thus the temple. But the divination spell had also mentioned that there was another way to destroy the temple. According to the spell, a mighty blow from a good man of faith at the heart of the temple could destroy it as well, and as an added benefit, he would be greatly rewarded. Seeing this as a better option, the band decided to try this second method first.

Searching about in the temple, the band found a small chamber with a rust-red bone altar that seemed to pour forth an evil aura of death and foreboding. It seemed logical that this was the so-called heart of the temple. And since Zeke appeared to be the only “good man of faith” in the group, the band believed it was up to him to do the task. But Zeke was not particularly strong and there was some question as to whether or not he could deal a mighty blow to the altar. Perhaps, the band thought, the use of a magical weapon would be sufficient. So, with this hope in mind, Zeke took a swing at the alter with one and then another magic weapon. But none of them seemed to have any effect.

Taking inventory of the band’s various weapons then, the band found that their most powerfully enchanted weapon was one of Brom’s daggers. Again there was some doubt about whether or not a dagger would work and Brom was afraid that his dagger would be damaged. But the rest of the band talked him into it. So Brom handed his dagger over to Zeke. Zeke took the dagger and with both hands brought it down onto the altar with all his strength. To everyone’s surprise, the dagger was buried in the altar up to the hilt! When Zeke tugged on the dagger to extract it, the dagger snapped and fell apart. Almost instantly, Zeke then felt a surge of power go through him. At the same time the temple began to shake, while dust and pebbles fell from the ceiling. Then the ground rumbled with a tremendous sound that seemed to come from deep within the earth. It felt as if the stairs leading into the underdark beneath the pyramid had just collapsed!

Suddenly the band realized that the temple was crumbling and that they had to get out before it caved in on them. Quickly the band turned and fled out of the temple through the entrance way where the black-red flames had just been extinguished. As soon as the band emerged from the temple, the pyramid split in two and the giant statue of Nerull above came crashing down in a thunderous roar.

All around was covered in a giant cloud of dust and debris as a sound wave of destruction echoed throughout the huge cavern. When at last, the sound faded away and the dust began to settle, all that remained was a ruined mound of stone with a massive crack down the center and the bizarre remnants of a gigantic skeletal figure lying in a heap.

Unfortunately, Brom’s dagger was also destroyed. But the rest of the band offered to help replace it. On the other hand, the temple was likewise destroyed and the ogre magi were defeated, leaving no one within the ruins of the Tower of War who could realistically challenge the band. In addition to this, a major threat to the city of Greyhawk had, once and for all, been eliminated.

On a more personal note for certain members of the band, Zeke was rewarded, perhaps by Boccob himself, with an unexpected pool of knowledge and insight, while Tadwin came to the realization that his days of being a cleric of Nerull were over. Surely, Nerull would never forgive Tadwin for what he took part in on this day and other followers of Nerull would only see him as a traitor and an enemy. It appeared the time had come for Tadwin to seek the guidance of another, perhaps more appropriate, deity.

With thoughts like these on their minds, the band made one last search through the ruins of the temple for anything of value not yet recovered. Then they gathered up what they had collected and prepared to return to the city. Despite what they had accomplished, there were still issues to be dealt with.

There were the derro, for example, who were almost certainly quite upset with the band, feeling as though they had been betrayed. Then there were the duergar, who although they would be glad to hear of the defeat of the ogre magi, would also be upset to learn that the temple was destroyed along with the means of passage back to the underdark. And finally, there was Rohnam, Grimtorr and Grog who had betrayed the band. They could still pose a problem for the band, and the band felt they needed to exact some revenge upon them.
Part Three - Chapter Eight: The Enemy Among Us

It was on the afternoon of Earthday, the 6th day of Readying, in the Common Year of 581, when the Company of the Green Dragon began their assault on the Temple of Nerull. Just under 2 minutes into the battle, things were looking good for the band, especially considering the fact that a traitor was in their midst and had been for almost two months. But things did not stay good for much longer.

As the battle continued, Brom was able to kill the only remaining fomorian giant on top of the pyramid, thus allowing Corvyn to remove the weapon cord from his wrist, place his broken giant-bane sword in its scabbard, draw his flaming longsword and quaff a potion of fly, all of which delayed him from reentering the battle for some time. Meanwhile, Diamond’s troll skeletons entered the cave, followed by the derro which began blasting the nearest trolls and giants with their sound burst spells. Brom flew off to begin attacking another group of monsters, while Tadwin harassed others with a glitterdust spell and Diamond cast a holy smite spell.

It was at about this point when the tide of the battle quickly turned against the Company of the Green Dragon. The four remaining ogre magi had turned invisible and the ogre archers had taken down all of Tadwin’s mirror images and were beginning to hit him. Then suddenly, three of the ogre magi appeared around Tadwin as they struck him with three slay living spells. Tadwin managed to survive the first two somehow, but the third one was just too much and he died. While Tadwin’s body slowly drifted towards the ground, since he was no longer in control of his fly spell, the others anxiously awaited the arrival of Zeke who carried the rod of resurrection.

By this time, some members of the band were beginning to notice that the derro were only arriving from one set of stairs, even though the 160 derro that had joined them were sent down both sets of stairs. No one knew why. Fortunately, Zeke did not wait for the 80 derro in front of him to move into the cave. Using his winged boots, he flew over the heads of the derro and was soon followed by Rohnam who had downed a potion of fly. When Zeke entered the cavern and assessed the situation, he knew what had to be done and began searching for the rod of resurrection.

Rohnam likewise assessed the situation and immediately began to act upon a plan he had devised over the previous two weeks or so. He produced a scroll and flew near Zeke, telling him he had something that would help. He then cast a spell from the scroll and a greenish beam flew from Rohnam’s hand and struck Zeke. Zeke felt no affect from the spell, whatever it was intended to do, nor could he figure out what spell Rohnam had cast.

But with more pressing matters on his mind, Zeke did not give it much further thought and continued looking for the rod of resurrection. Due to the malevolent spirits that forever harassed him, it always took Zeke just a little bit longer to find anything in his backpack. Once he found the rod however, he flew over Diamond who was already near Tadwin’s body. Zeke intended to drop the rod near Diamond and let him resurrect Tadwin. Unfortunately, Zeke’s malevolent spirits may have also hindered him in this as the rod took an odd bounce and rolled away from Diamond after he dropped it.

Diamond then had to move, in order to retrieve the rod. But he was dangerously close to a giant troll and badly wounded. He could not turn his back on the giant troll knowing full well that the giant troll could easily drop him if he did. So Diamond waited to see if the nearby derro and troll skeletons could finish off the giant troll, which was likewise badly wounded. Unfortunately, they could not quite take the troll down. So Diamond tried to cast a spell defensively, but failed in the attempt.

This, however, allowed one of the ogre magi the opportunity to fly down and grab the rod of resurrection before Diamond could get to it. Whether the ogre mage knew what the rod was or not is uncertain. But what was certain was that Tadwin was not going to be resurrected anytime soon. To make matters worse, the giant troll then attacked Diamond, striking him with a mortal blow. And, as if this were not enough, it had now become obvious to Diamond who the band’s traitor was.

Diamond had known for quite some time that there was a traitor in the band. He just didn’t know who it was. Therefore he could not reveal this knowledge to anyone. He was new to the group, not even an official member of the band at this point, so he did not know who he could trust. If he had to guess, he probably would have picked Tadwin as the traitor, considering certain rumors he had heard about the wizard.

But he would have been wrong. A week or so before the battle, Diamond had cast a divination spell asking for general advice on the battle. He received another cryptic response that said, “When the betrayer reveals his game, your only hope may be the prince of flame.” Diamond now understood that the traitor had been Rohnam, for even at this moment, Rohnam had retreated back into the stairwell, where he cast another spell from a scroll that appeared to create a wall of force, which would block off any escape from the cavern. This was apparent, because the derro who still had yet to enter the cave were now prevented from doing so by some invisible barrier. It also made sense now that the other group of derro had never arrived. Most likely they too had encountered something blocking the stairwell.

All of this now became painfully clear to Diamond in his great wisdom – but it was all much too late. Though he did not know what spell Rohnam had cast on Zeke, he was certain it was not good and would probably prevent Zeke, and thus the band, from escaping the cave. Diamond realized then that it was probably true – the band’s only hope was to call upon the prince of flame, the efreeti named Kallian. And so with his dying breath, Diamond called out to Zeke, telling him they had been betrayed and imploring him to call upon the efreeti.

Zeke heard Diamond, but at first did not realize the seriousness of the situation. It soon dawned on him though. Two of his allies were now dead. More than half the derro had failed to arrive. Some of the derro appeared to be blocked by an invisible barrier. Rohnam had cast some mysterious spell on him and then disappeared. Grimtorr and Grolg were nowhere to be seen. The situation most certainly did not feel right and who knew what was going to happen next?

Going on the assumption that Diamond knew something that he did not, Zeke decided to follow his advice and use his ring to summon the efreeti. Knowing that the efreeti could grant him a wish, he began thinking of what he might wish for. Having been advised to be very careful in asking the efreeti to grant wishes and not wanting to ask for too much, when Kallian did arrive, he asked for Kallian to transport him and his companions, with all of their possessions, including the rod of resurrection, back to the band’s pawn shop. As always, Kallian nodded and said, “Your wish is my command.”

As some scholars may be aware, efreeti are notorious for twisting wishes around in such a way that, while the wish is granted, in a matter of speaking, it is usually not in the manner that the recipient of the wish had intended. Thus it was rather fortunate that the efreeti merely deposited everyone in a jumbled ball inside the band’s very crowded vault in their pawn shop, where they had to wait on someone in the shop to let them out. As hoped, Zeke arrived at the shop, as did Brom and Corvyn and the bodies of Tadwin and Diamond, along with their traveling possessions, including the rod of resurrection. But so did many of the band’s other possessions which had been stored at Prism Keep and which later had to be sorted out.

Once emerging from the vault however, the band’s first priority was to resurrect Tadwin. Diamond had to wait for the following day since the rod of resurrection could only be used once a day. With Tadwin back, the band then discussed what had occurred and it quickly became clear that if Rohnam had betrayed them, he could pose a serious threat to their security. So the band closed the shop and sent all their employees home until further notice. Then the band grabbed all their most valuable possessions, including any magic items for sale and headed for their house. At the house they noted that Rohnam’s henchman Sarina was gone as were all of her possessions. The band advised all of their henchmen who normally stayed at the house to go with them, and everyone returned to Prism Keep except Brom. Zeke gave his gate key to Brom so he could return on his own.

Brom then moved through the streets of the Slum Quarter invisibly for a bit, looking for trusted members of the Beggar’s Union, so he could hire a few to gather any information on the whereabouts of Rohnam. Doing so, however, meant that, for the first time, he had to reveal to these beggar’s his altered appearance, including his new wings. Then he returned to the pawn shop and waited on the roof to see if Rohnam would make an appearance. By ten o’clock, he had seen no sign of Rohnam. So Brom returned to Prism Keep. There, the band spent a few days training and devising yet another plan to attack the ogre magi. Concerned that the gateway to Greyhawk was no longer safe to travel through, the band began making more visits to the towns and villages that lay below Prism Keep for all their needs. During this time, Diamond was resurrected and the diminished health of both his and Tadwin’s was restored.

Three days after fleeing the castle ruins, the band was ready, on Sunday, the 9th day of Readying, to return for their 12th expedition into the Tower of War. This time, Tadwin felt he would be capable of teleporting all five of them, including Diamond, into the ogre magi’s cavern. And it was hoped that without a spy among them, the battle against the ogre magi would go much differently than their first one. In an attempt to further take them by surprise, the band waited until later in the day to make their attack and, as before, used a false vision spell to prevent the ogre magi from scying on them.

When the band was ready and had cast their preparatory spells and drank their potions, they stepped through the gateway into the sewers of Greyhawk. From there, after confirming with an augury spell, they immediately teleported into the ogre magi’s cavern on top of the pyramid. As hoped, the ogre magi were completely surprised by the band’s sudden arrival, and right from the start, the band took control of the battle by quickly killing the two fomorian giants on guard duty there. From there, the band started at the rear of the cavern and began taking down the trolls and giants. The five remaining ogre magi had all been inside their huts and only managed to cast a couple of defensive spells before they felt compelled to enter the battle. As a result, they were not as heavily protected and easier to strike.

Zeke and Tadwin then worked to separate and divide the enemy forces by use of a web spell and a wall of force. Then the band, all of which had some means of flying, worked on killing everything caught between the webs and the wall of force. Only half a minute into the battle, the first of the five ogre magi was killed just outside the entrance to his hut. It looked at this point as if this battle would turn out much differently than the last battle.
Part Three - Chapter Seven: Assault on the Temple of Nerull

It was on the morning of Moonday, the 3rd day of Readying, in the Common Year of 581, when the Company of the Green Dragon defeated the salamanders and the other creatures of fire in the dungeons of the War Tower in the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. After gathering the treasure in the salamanders’ lair, they returned to the city and then went on to Prism Keep, where they divided up the spoils of victory, while Grimtorr and Grolg stayed behind once again at the old dwarven fortress.

Back at Prism Keep, while under the protection of a false vision spell, the band formulated plans on how to attack the ogre magi in the bottom level of the War Tower. Then, on two separate occasions, over the next two days, a few of the band members made return trips to the city, where they bought several chests full of ordinary weapons. Tadwin then shrunk the chests full of weapons with item spells so they could be easily carried, after which he teleported them back to the dungeons of the War Tower. Once in the dungeons, they stored the chests full of weapons in a remote location. Then Tadwin cast arcane eye spells inside the ogre magi’s cave and looked around. On both occasions, it became clear that the ordinarily invisible eye was easily seen by the cave’s inhabitants, thus confirming the rumors that invisibility did not function there except perhaps for the ogre magi. The arcane eye was dispelled fairly quickly by the ogre magi. So Tadwin did not get much time to look around. But at least he was able to get a rough idea of the layout and a few other details.

Diamond also accompanied Tadwin to the ruins and while there he located and animated the skeletons of seven trolls to be used in the upcoming battle. Meanwhile, back in the city, Zeke paid a visit to the Wizard’s Guild where he hoped to purchase a pair of boots of teleportation that he knew had been for sale there. Unfortunately, he was disappointed to learn that someone had already bought the boots. So instead, Zeke bought a scroll with a dimension door spell on it.

It was on the morning, of Earthday then, the 6th day of Readying, when the band, including their new ally Diamond, and again under the cover of a false vision spell, returned for their eleventh expedition into the ruins of Castle Greyhawk.

After meeting up with Grimtorr and Grolg at the entrance to the War Tower, the band descended to the duergar complex, but told them only that they planned to attack the ogre magi without giving any details. They then made their way to the eighth level where they met with Errod who was still in the process of trying to assume control of all the derro. Zeke spoke to Errod and made a proposal, telling him that if the derro wanted to gain control of the mines, they would need to help the band in the attack on the ogre magi. In return, the band offered to give them all the weapons they had recently brought to the ruins, to make them more effective warriors, and assured Errod that the band would take care of the ogre magi, so they could not use their spells or the fireball launching device that was attached to the temple.

Zeke was able to convince Errod and some of his followers. But Errod told Zeke that he might not be able to convince a lot of the other derro to join them. So he suggested that Zeke make a speech before the derro and use his considerable skill at diplomacy to try and persuade them. Errod would send the word out among the derro to meet in two hours at the gladiatorial arena, hoping to get as many derro as possible to attend. Zeke agreed to the plan, and since Diamond’s false vision spell lasted for 12 hours, there was little concern that the ogre magi could learn about the attack or the band’s plans. Unknown to the band however, was the fact that there was a traitor amongst them, who was constantly keeping the ogre magi updated on the band’s actions through message spells and other means. Nor was the band aware that the ogre magi where using their innate abilities to take gaseous form and turn invisible in order to directly observe the band in person.

Two hours later, the vast majority of the derro were gathered in the arena. The entire arena fell under the protection of the false vision spell, but it made no difference, because, unknown to all, a few of the ogre magi were also in attendance. Zeke, nevertheless, made a great speech and managed to convince the vast majority of the derro to join them in the battle. What was still left to be done at this point though, was for the band to decide how they would begin the attack on the ogre magi. Several plans were proposed, but most of them were found to be flawed when discussed openly. As a result, the plan that they finally agreed upon was a very last minute suggestion, and this fact turned out to have a much greater impact than the band could have suspected, since the ogre magi had very little time to make adjustments.

Once the plan was agreed upon, the band led the derro into the ninth level along with Grimtorr, Grolg and Diamond’s troll skeletons which Diamond temporarily put under Zeke’s command. Only Tadwin, Brom, Corvyn and Diamond would be making the initial assault. The others, meanwhile, would stay at the top of the stairs leading to the bottom level, where they would wait for a message from the first four, telling them it was time to descend and attack. Though the band could not have known it, splitting the forces up in this way, also worked to the disadvantage of the ogre magi and their spy, who were forced to make alterations to their plans.

The band then took the time to cast numerous spells and quaff several potions that would help protect them and aid them in combat. When they were ready, Tadwin cast a dimension door spell and transported himself, Brom, Corvyn and Diamond to an archery station positioned just above the platform where the stairs opened up into the bottom level of the dungeon. There the band took six elite ogres with composite longbows by surprise and quickly killed them. Then they descended a set of stairs that led into a tunnel which passed under the platform and into the cave. Unfortunately, they also set off a magical trap inside the tunnel that caused Diamond to experience an uninterrupted pain throughout his body for the next hour.

By the time the time the band emerged in the cave, the ogre magi and all their forces were ready and waiting for them. The huge cavern was easily 200 feet in diameter and about 140 feet high. In the center of the cavern rested an incredible pyramid structure. It had an adamantite plate foundation. The sides ran up steeply to a statue which stood at its top like some god-like guardian of the cavern. The 80 foot high statue of Nerull held a red-veined sablewood staff tipped with a sickle blade in its right hand and a giant 10 foot skull in its left hand. At the base of the pyramid was a 10 wide notch which spouted forth a sickening black-red flame. Surrounding the pyramid were nine large huts which appeared to be made of oozing tar. A few stone buildings lay off to the northwest and a giant adamantite U-shaped hook was embedded in the ceiling above the statue. All about the cavern, the ogre magi’s forces were positioned and consisted of 9 two-headed trolls, 9 giant trolls, 6 fomorian giants, 6 more elite ogres, and 9 huge troll skeletons large enough to carry chairs in their rib cages for the ogre magi to ride around in. Behind the pyramid, more than 50 myconids had gathered in fields of brightly-colored mosses and mushrooms in an effort to remain out of the battle.

The ogre magi themselves were nowhere to be seen, but it could be assumed they were invisible and flying high above. Still, even those who could detect invisible objects did not see them, so they could not be sure of anything. But rather than battle the forces in front of them, the band members each instead ran straight towards the black-red flames that shot out of the base of the pyramid. Grimtorr had told them that these flames were partially illusionary and that in order to enter the pyramid, they would need to pass through them. It was hoped that the band’s protection spells would protect them from any harm they might otherwise take. It was also hoped that a haste spell cast earlier by Rohnam would help them reach the pyramid quicker. But by this point, the band had realized that the haste spell did not appear to be having any affect.

Still, much to the ogre magi’s frustration, each of the band members made it to the pyramid before the ogre magi or their forces could react. Despite knowing the flames were partially illusionary, and despite their protection spells, most of the four suffered some burns as they passed through the flames, most likely due to the fact that the pyramid was itself of artifact status. Brom was the only one to suffer no damage, as he had apparently passed the test mentioned by Grimtorr and he was now supposedly immune to the flames.

Just inside the flames, the band found a ladder leading up and a doorway. They opened the door and entered a small chamber on the opposite side of which was a curtain. Just beyond the curtain was a hexagonal-shaped room with a magic circle etched into the floor. Four sides of the room were decorated with scintillating curtains that portrayed four thrones, each occupied by ogre magi. Beside each curtain was a torch held by a troll-like hand. Resting on the floor, just outside the magic circle, were five empty gold candle sconces. Above the magic circle was a circular hole of equal size in the ceiling that partially revealed a chamber above where flames shot out from four directions and almost touched in the center above the hole. While standing back and gazing slightly upwards, the upper portion of an ogre magi seated in a throne could be seen in the room above. It appeared as if the images on the curtains were exact reflections of the thrones and the ogre magi seated above each of the curtains. The band eventually looked beyond the two curtains to the sides, but found only empty passageways.

Before any of them had time to do anything more, they were suddenly attacked by two powerful spectres that emerged from the walls. The band battled these spectres and was fortunate to avoid being hit by any of them, thanks largely to illusionary protection spells they had cast previously. Soon they were able to force the spectres to retreat. But when they did, the four ogre magi in the room above jumped down, and as they did, jets of flame shot up from four of the empty candle sconces nearby. One of the ogre magi had a shield with a covering on it. This one jumped in front of Corvyn and said to him, “Meet your death” as he tore the cover from the shield. As Corvyn glanced at the shield, which had a mirror on the front, he saw a reflection of himself. This reflection emerged from the mirror and before Corvyn could fathom what was happening, he was suddenly battling an exact duplicate of himself!

By this point, those ogre magi that were outside the pyramid were trying to enter the pyramid. But their spellcasting ability was, at first, hindered by a silence spell cast by Diamond. Then they were completely blocked from entering by a wall of force that Tadwin created. It was hoped that the band could then focus solely on killing the four ogre magi inside the pyramid. But this hope quickly turned to despair when the band found that they seemed to be unable to affect the ogre magi. It appeared they were completely immune to both spells and weapons and they were very difficult to strike. Fortunately, they were able to slowly defeat the duplicate of Corvyn and they somehow managed to avoid taking the worst of the attacks from the ogre magi. But without any means of affecting the ogre magi, some members of the band began to question the wisdom of attacking the ogre magi and started seriously thinking of trying to make a retreat.

Then Tadwin recalled a cryptic riddle that Diamond had received from a divination spell that said, “The fire that protects is the fire that destroys.” He then remembered how the fire shot up from the candle sconces when the ogre magi jumped down. So he told Corvyn to use the fire in the sconces against them. Corvyn then batted at one of the sconces on the floor with his sword so that its flame turned toward the ogre magi nearby. To his delight and amazement, when the fire struck the ogre magi, it suddenly burst into flames! With this critical revelation, the band then used each of the remaining sconces to quickly destroy the other ogre magi. Within moments, the battle had gone from one of despair and anxiety to one of hope and elation!

With four of the nine ogre magi now dead, the band began to believe they could win this fight. They quickly healed up any injuries and readied themselves. Then Tadwin dismissed the wall of force, which was about to expire anyway, and they attacked the next ogre magi who had been waiting just outside the wall of force. Taking this ogre magi by surprise, they quickly dropped him. The remaining ogre magi retreated, preferring to battle out in the open rather than in a confined hallway. Brom then hit the downed ogre magi with a flame, thinking this would keep it from regenerating and permanently kill it, since its wounds were clearly fatal. Unfortunately, in his haste, Brom failed to notice that the flame had no effect on the ogre magi.

The band then headed out of the pyramid. Tadwin used a fly spell to fly up and out while the others climbed the ladder. On top of the pyramid were two fomorian giants that were manning a catapult. Brom and Corvyn attacked these two and killed one of them, but not before one of the giants tried and almost succeeded in destroying Corvyn’s giant-bane sword, after Corvyn had already damaged it. Tadwin, meanwhile, cast a message spell, informing Zeke that it was now time to bring the derro downstairs and attack, since the ogre magi could no longer operate the fireball launching device. Then he cast a black tentacles spell near one corner of the pyramid, which effectively served to block and impede many of the trolls and giant-kin from approaching the entrance. Diamond, on the other hand, retreated back down the ladder and passed through the black-red flame issuing from the pyramid, where he intended to resume control of his troll skeletons as they entered the cave.
Part Three - Chapter Six: Out of the City and Into the Fire

It was on the morning of Waterday, the 12th day of Fireseek, in the Common Year of 581, when the Company of the Green Dragon made their return to the city following their tenth expedition into the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. Because the half-orc, Grimtorr, and the troll, Grolg, did not want to attempt entering the city of Greyhawk, and because they felt they could not trust either the duergar or the derro, they made all appearances to the duergar and the derro as if they were leaving the castle ruins, but instead chose to make a temporary home for themselves in the old dwarven fortress just outside the ruins of the War Tower.

Everyone else accompanied the band back to the city, including the band’s henchmen, plus Diamond and Trizzac, and the two women the band had rescued on the eighth level, Elegeena and Ulaka. When they neared the city, Brom turned invisible and flew back to the house in the Old City. Diamond and Trizzac accepted the band’s invitation to stay with them at Prism Keep. So Rohnam loaned his ring of alteration to Trizzac long enough to make sure that he would not have any trouble entering the city due to the fact that he was a drow. Elegeena and Ulaka then parted ways with the band and went in search of an inn, while everyone else proceeded to the house in the Old City. From this point on, the band took two weeks off to do some training, deal with personal matters, and prepare for their upcoming battle with the ogre magi.

While some of the band immediately returned to Prism Keep, others stopped by the pawn shop to see how things were going there. At the pawn shop, the store manager, Emery, informed them that he had sold a few magic items while they were gone, but also said that two days before, he and the other employees had been threatened and harassed by a band of thugs. Because of this, Emery was forced to call upon certain favors that various locals and other authorities owed to the band, thanks to the band’s influence, in order to convince the thugs to leave them alone. As a result, the band currently had no more influence to use in order to avoid any further troubles in the future.

So Emery suggested that some members of the band should consider setting aside some of their time during their two weeks off, to try and gather more influence. The band agreed, but most of them wanted to focus first on doing some training and worry about acquiring influence later on.

Over the next few days then, most members of the band spent the majority of their days training with various trainers on a number of skills, while spending a couple of hours each day on gathering treasure from the ruins. This they did by having Tadwin teleport himself and the stronger members of the band to and from the ruins, carrying as much treasure as they could on each return trip. It took three days to get it all. For the two thrones made of gold, the band simply had the derro melt them down and divide them up into more easily transported chunks of gold.

During this time, Corvyn also managed to break the chain holding the gauntlets of ogre power in place, though it took considerable effort and time, made a lot of noise, and completely ruined more than a dozen blades and axes. Once he had freed the gauntlets, the derro were able to heat the chain enough to more easily remove the rest of it. Once all of the treasure had been hauled back to the city, the band then spent an evening dividing it up between them.

Over the next several days and for the remainder of the two weeks, certain issues concerning the pawn shop would come up and either the band or Emery would have to deal with them. For example, soon after the band’s return to the city, a band of hoodlums threatened the shop. This time, Emery managed to intimidate the hoodlums and they were caught by the Nightwatchmen and arrested, which, in turn, helped the band regain some influence.

On that same day, the pawnshop was visited by Devin Halfhock, the owner of a nearby competing pawnshop and the main front for the black market and the Thieves’ Guild. Devin was upset about having lost some of his business to the band’s pawnshop and made a veiled threat against the band. This could have potentially hurt the pawnshop’s business or the band’s influence, due to malicious rumors being spread. But that evening, Brom was able to counter this by providing information on natural poisons to certain interested individuals. Then, on the following day, after hearing about Devin’s visit to the pawnshop, Zeke went and spoke with Devin, managing to sooth his anger and temporarily end any rivalry.

A few days later, however, despite the protection money paid to the Thieves’ Guild, the pawnshop was burglarized, though fortunately what the criminals stole was not worth a great deal. Later, that same day, Emery caught a shoplifter in the act. A few days after that, Devin Halfhock was once again making veiled threats against the band’s pawnshop, and once again, Brom used his knowledge of natural poisons to quell any harmful rumors, while Zeke had a talk with Devin in an attempt to end the rivalry.

Over the last few days of the two week period, the shop experienced a particularly slow day, for no particular reason, and on that same day, Emery caught another shoplifter in the act. The next day, it was discovered that the pawnshop was infested with rats. But Tadwin was able to solve the problem the following day with a cloudkill spell, though this of course, left numerous dead rats in the walls which would eventually begin to smell.

While all of this was going on at the pawnshop, each of the band’s members was also involved with other sorts of business. Tadwin, for example, spent five days during one week, doing some substitute teaching at the school of wizardry as a favor to one of the teachers there who needed some time off. In return, Tadwin gained a considerable amount of influence from the school for future use. Zeke likewise earned some clout when he spent three days in diplomatic discussions with various people of influence within the city.

All through the two weeks, spells and alchemical formulas were purchased and studied, magic items were bought and put up for sale, and new skills were learned or improved upon. During this time, however, it appeared that the band’s enemies were also doing some preparing as well, for each of the band members would occasionally sense a kind of tingling sensation at various times of the day, sometimes more than once a day, which, as they were well aware, could be an indication that the ogre magi had failed in an attempt to scry upon them.

Finally, after fifteen days of training, studying and preparing, plus two Freedays of rest and leisure, the band was ready to make their return to the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. So it was on the morning of Moonday, the 3rd day of Readying, when the band made their eleventh expedition into the Tower of War.

Following the long walk from the city, this time leaving their henchmen behind, the band met up with Grimtorr and Grolg at the dwarven fortress just outside the War Tower. Then they made their way down to the duergar complex. After telling the duergar a bit of their plan, the duergar assisted them in getting down to the ninth level of the dungeon. Along the way, the band saw that the duergar had repaired the lift between levels 5 and 6, and between levels 7 and 8. Then they discovered that all the surviving derro from level 9 were now living on level 8.

A new leader among the derro, known as Errod, had emerged and had gathered many of the derro as followers. The band spoke to Errod and he informed them that within a few days after the band’s most recent departure from the dungeon, they were attacked by the salamanders. Dozens of derro had been killed and they were forced to retreat. They had since kept the drawbridge on level 8 up in the hopes that it would keep the salamanders at bay. But the salamanders never ventured on to the 8th level. As a result, no mining had been done on the 9th level since then, but they managed to repair the lift between levels 8 and 9, and they cleared out the stairwell between levels 7 and 8. Errod told the band that they were attempting to form a new derro society and after speaking with other prominent derro, they decided to offer the band 30,000 gold pieces worth of golden objects if the band could successfully remove the salamanders and the ogre magi, after which the derro would take control of the mines.

After discussing the proposal among themselves for a bit, Zeke told Errod, having recently learned how to speak undercommon, that they agreed with their terms. Though in reality, the feeling among the band was that at some point, the band would eventually betray them and break their agreement. With the derro at least temporarily satisfied, the band then turned their attention to the salamanders.

The band had the derro lower them on the lift to the 9th level, where they could immediately enter the salamanders’ area. Each of them, including Grimtorr and Grolg, was provided with some form of magical protection from fire, using spells, rings and other means. Then Brom scouted the area out invisibly for a bit. The band had considered trying to see if they could make some kind of alliance with the salamanders, but it was eventually decided that any kind of agreement with the salamanders would be difficult to obtain, not to mention unreliable if at all possible. So the band instead prepared to attack.

When they were ready, Brom started things off with a sneak attack and the rest of the band quickly rushed in. Tadwin created a magical floating disc that served as a sort of bridge, allowing most members of the band and their allies to cross over the stream of lava that flowed through the caves. Only Diamond had any difficulty with this, as he tripped and nearly fell into the lava. But for the most part, the battle was fairly one-sided, and the band was able to wade through the numerous salamanders that came charging at them. In addition to the nearly two dozen salamanders, there were also four magma mephits that the band and their allies defeated. Even Grolg the troll, took advantage of his protection from fire, and thoroughly enjoyed pummeling the creatures of fire.

Once all the salamanders that came at them were dead, the band moved on to other caves further in where they battled more than a dozen hellhounds, a fire elemental and the four remaining salamanders who guarded their treasure. By this point, some of the protection from fire spells were beginning to fail, and the band and their allies suffered some injuries. But as before, they eventually prevailed and all of the fire creatures were killed. This includes eight fire snakes that were hiding inside fire pits.

With all of the fire creatures defeated, the band gathered up all the treasure, which included a large pile of golden objects and a metal bin full of gems. Afterwards, the band explored the few remaining caves and found what appeared to be a magical gateway most likely leading to the elemental plane of fire. Below it was a thirty foot long trough made of brass that was filled with large rubies. The band, of course, gathered the rubies as well. But when the last ruby was taken from the trough, the portal of fire suddenly collapsed and exploded, sending out a blast of fire which most of the band was fortunately still protected from. When the smoke cleared, the gateway was gone. So the band and their allies took the treasure and returned to the duergar complex.
Part Three - Chapter Five: A Joining of Forces

It was about 7 pm on the 11th day of Fireseek, in the Common Year of 581, when the Company of the Green Dragon released two prisoners found on the ninth level of the War Tower in the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. One of the prisoners was a derro, but the second was a drow named Trizzac who offered to assist the band in any way he could.

After the band spoke with Trizzac a bit and came to an agreement with him, Brom suddenly noticed a ring on a finger of one of the fallen half-orc priests that they had not noticed before. It was a brass ring set with a diamond-shaped amethyst. As Brom bent down to remove the ring, the band heard an unfamiliar voice coming from within the shadows of one of the cells. “I believe that ring belongs to me,” it said.

The band, of course, turned in the direction of the voice and saw a man emerging from the shadows. Dressed only in a pair of dirty underpants, much like the other prisoners, the thin and grimy young man had a shaggy and unkempt head of red hair and a scruffy beard. Apparently the man had remained quietly hidden in the shadows while he listened to the band’s conversation with the drow and made his observations. He introduced himself as Diamond, an experienced cleric of Boccob who also dabbled a bit in arcane magic, and when pressed further, he told the band that his background was of no consequence and refused to reveal his true name.

The band’s response to the stranger was initially cold and unfriendly due to his presumptuous claim. But Diamond was able to convince the band that the ring was, at the very least, once in his possession, by accurately describing it. And as much as Trizzac had been able to persuade the band that he could be of use to them, Diamond confidently assured the band that his assistance could be of much greater value. He immediately demonstrated this by healing some of the band’s injuries. Having now proven to the band his potential, the stranger then went on to claim that a pair of magical boots, also worn by the half-orc, was his as well and asked if they would let him use a magical shield, which he fully admitted did not belong to him.

With the band now willing to give him a try at proving his worth to them, Diamond explained to the band how he had found himself locked up in a prison cell, conceding the fact that he had made a mistake while attempting to collect some of the treasure in the ruins for himself, having previously heard rumors of the famous Company of the Green Dragon and their exploits within the ruins of Castle Greyhawk. Although Trizzac did not understand the common tongue, and therefore could not follow along with the conversation, he did seem to be quite familiar with Diamond, having been locked up in a cell near him for a few weeks. It quickly became apparent to the band that Trizzac was on very friendly terms with Diamond and, in fact, even appeared to look up to and admire the human, despite the fact that the drow was so much older.

With two new allies now joining them, the band then moved on and looked behind a curtain in the adjacent room where they found a door leading to an octagon-shaped room. There they found a strange symbol carved in the floor around a statue of Nerull. To either side of it, were large stone blocks resting against the wall, and along another wall sat a gold chest. Rohnam’s headband of intuition indicated that it would not be advisable to cross over the symbol in the floor without some sort of precaution. So the band avoided it and the statue. But they did take the gold chest, which was magical and appeared to contain an extra-dimensional space.

From there, the band did some back-tracking and inspected any obvious doors they had not already opened. In the process they found an unoccupied meeting room and two locked storage rooms containing fungus, roots, mushrooms, ale, beer and water. It was about 8 pm then, when Brom spent an hour brewing up another mutagen while the rest of the band took a breather and kept watch.

Afterwards, when they were ready, the band made their way into the mines to look for any remaining enemy forces. Soon they encountered 2 more two-headed trolls and a giant troll, causing a ferocious battle to break out. Before long, 4 fomorian giants and the last of the half-orc priests came at them from the rear and joined in on the battle. Although the band was by this time running low on spells, they managed to make the most of what they had left and eventually defeated their enemies without losing one of their own or any of their allies. Once the battle was over, the band tended to any injuries and began exploring the rest of the mines.

Along the way they informed any derro they encountered that they were now free, to which the derro responded by gleefully running towards the feasthall where a raucous celebration soon commenced. The band, meanwhile, continued to explore the mines and by 10 pm they were done. Having looked beyond every obvious door on the ninth level at this point, Tadwin then cast a spell to detect for secret doors and the band retraced their steps through the entire level, finding several secret and concealed doors along the way.

The last secret door they found was in the octagon-shaped room with the statue of Nerull. So it was from there that they began exploring beyond the secret doors. This first secret door was accessed through a lid in one of the large stone blocks and it lead to a set of stairs going down about 10 feet. At the bottom of the stairs were a short hallway and two doors. The first of these doors opened on to a set of stairs that went up about 10 feet. At the top of these stairs, in addition to a couple more doors, were 4 cages along one side of a hall. Inside the cages were an acid pocked troll, 4 maimed derro, a black-cloaked figure, and a stone box.

Curious about the cloaked figure, the band approached him first and discovered that he was yet another half-orc priest of Nerull who went by the name of Grimtorr. According to Grimtorr, he had gotten into a dispute with the other priests of Nerull and had been imprisoned by them as punishment. Because of this, Grimtorr claimed to be eager for revenge on the other priests and offered to aid the band in defeating them. He appeared to be somewhat disappointed then when the band informed him that all the other priests were already dead. So Grimtorr offered to help the band defeat the ogre magi, saying he would tell them everything he knew about the ogre magi and the huge cave below where they lived. As proof of this, Grimtorr told the band about some of the ogre magi’s defenses and the forces they commanded. But when asked how to enter the pyramid temple, Grimtorr told the band he would withhold this information until he could be certain the band would set him free.

The band conferred in private for a bit before reaching a decision and Rohnam cast a detect thoughts spell to try and read Grimtorr’s thoughts. Unfortunately, Rohnam’s spell did not appear to work on the half-orc. But, despite this, the band felt that Grimtorr had been very forthcoming with them and agreed he could be a valuable source of information and ally. So they released him.

The band also asked Grimtorr if he thought he could keep the troll under control and make him an ally as well, since it was very evident that the troll had been tortured by the priests. Grimtorr assured the band that they could count on the troll to do as he was commanded. So the troll, whose name was Grolg, was also freed, as were the 4 maimed derro. The stone box in the last cage contained all of Grimtorr’s equipment. So he was allowed to retrieve these things and don his armor. The band also loaned Grimtorr a magical scythe they had acquired earlier.

When they were ready, the band with their new allies, continued on. From there, they came upon a nearby torture chamber and the private quarters of several of the priests. No occupants were found in any of these rooms, save for 9 derro skeletons which the band easily destroyed. All of these rooms were searched for anything of value. Lastly, the band found a small room with a pool of hot water that the priests used as a hot tub.

When the band was done exploring the priests’ private chambers, at about 11:30 pm, they moved on to the feasthall where the derro continued their celebration. Beyond a secret door there they found a huge secret pantry filled with food and drink, enough to feed a small army. From there, the band went to the lift room and beyond a couple of secret doors there, the band discovered another river of lava. This one was smaller than the one on the eighth level and subsequently the tunnel was not as hot. As before, Brom scouted out a portion of these tunnels invisibly and Tadwin viewed the rest with an arcane eye spell. While doing so, they found that the area was inhabited by dozens of fiery snakelike creatures known as salamanders. In addition to this was a large collection of treasure and what appeared to be a fiery portal of some kind, perhaps even a gateway leading to the elemental plane of fire.

Not wishing to deal with all of this just yet, the band moved on to the last doorway they had not yet ventured through, which was actually a concealed door at the back of one of the mine tunnels. However, when they opened it, they came face to face with several salamanders and were forced to battle them. More salamanders soon entered the room and joined in on the fight. All together, the band killed nine salamanders before the remaining salamanders retreated back into their lair. By now the band had very few spells left, so they too decided it was time to retreat.

It was about 12:30 am when the band finally made it back to the duergar complex on the fourth level. The band was tired and spent at this point. So they chose to rest there for the night, rather than try to make it back to the city at such a late hour. Their plan now was to take a little time off to better prepare themselves for the battle against the ogre magi. During this time, they also wanted to collect all the treasure they had won so far and take it back to the city. This would be a bit of task requiring more than one trip, as they had amassed a lot of treasure at this point, including a few very nice magic items.

One such item, Tadwin activated by accident when he went to rub a smudge from a brass ring set with a very large ruby. After rubbing it, an efreeti suddenly appeared in a puff of smoke and said, “I am Kallian, at your service. What does the master desire?” Tadwin thought it over for a moment, but rather say something that might lead to trouble, he simply said, “Nothing at this time,” and the efreeti disappeared.
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.

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