Greyhawk

The Wharves
Barfight at the Salt-n-Eel!

The Spelloyal Adventuring and Trading Company (SATC) have gone to the Wharf District of Greyhawk to investigate reports by various business people in the trading and shipping community that they are being attacked, mugged, or that several people have just disappeared. If anyone was to ask the group, they were simply hired to look after Leuwiss while he found out why his copper brazier wasn’t delivered. Simone, though away on business, was able to get ahold of forged receipts beforehand showing that Leuwiss was owed one copper brazier should the party be stopped while searching for answers.

In addition, Morgrave Spee has been seen coming from the Wharves at all times of the day as well and he’s a suspicious character of note as well.

With three options to begin looking into (the docks, the warehouses, or the Salt-n-Eel Tavern & Inn), the party decided to go to the Inn first. D’arcon, with his boots of spider climbing, walked up the side of the Inn and spied a Baklunish woman pacing in her room, obviously distraught over something. A man in a beggar disguise appeared at her door and informed her that the “River Gang” had not been seen. The woman told the man to resume his post outside of Snagtooth’s Shipyard and report back as soon as anything changes.

Simultaneously, Echo and Leuwiss had spotted a beggar permitted to go upstairs with merely a nod to the two large bouncers on either side of the door leading upstairs. The group reconvened outside, to decide what to do. With Echo and D’arcon tailing the man dressed as a beggar to find out more information, Leuwiss stayed behind performing for the crowd to scope out suspicious types. As they were closing in on the man, 4 loud men came from the docks and rounded the corner of the Salt-n-Eel Inn and went inside, prompting Echo, D’arcon, and the “beggar” to return to the Inn once more.

Leuwiss engaged the group of four men with little result and began to move on. D’arcon returned and stayed in the background to watch the crowd, with Echo following suit. Keeping an eye on one of the men (who was a very ugly 1/2 orc), Echo moved quickly to foil a pick pocket attempt on Leuwiss. The result was 20 gold coins spilling to the floor and Leuwiss turning to accuse the orc, rather publicly, that the man was a “Thief!”

A bar fight ensues, separating the characters in the fray. D’arcon moved quickly, but was nearly caught, to the now unguarded door to the rooms above, trying to unlock rooms and listen at the doors rather unsuccessfully. Before D’arcon could move into one of the rooms, the “beggar” appeared at the top of the stairs barring a quick exit. A struggle ensues where D’arcon is disarmed and is forced into the woman’s room and questioned about the “River Gang”. Playing innocent, D’arcon is set free but warned not to return but learns that the Pirate leader has a gem that the woman wants.

Echo notices the leader, a well dressed and groomed pirate with a flower in his lapel, effortlessly walking through the crowd without a problem and making his way toward the door. Leuwiss stands in front of this man barring his exit, buying time for the others to plan what they’ll do next. D’arcon attempts to pick his pocket, but finds nothing. The pirate gets upset, draws his longsword and Echo draws his rapier. Thinking fast, D’arcon alerts us from across the room with his shadow pantomiming that the Pirate had something on his person. Leuwiss turns and picks up a tray of bottles, dishes and cutlery as he finishes a spell and sets everything on this unseen force. Without warning, Leuwiss pushes it right into the pirate.

While the pirate is down, D’arcon focuses a darkness spell on him, steps into the darkness, plucks the flower and the group runs away, back to the candy shop. The group finds out that the flower is actually a collection of carved gemstones, held together with golden thread, that has different scents and magical powers.

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Return to the Docks

After re-grouping at the store, we were met late by the druid, Kevkas, and a swordsman, Duncan, but we filled them in on what had happened. With a little encouragement from my father, the group agreed to go back to the docks to run the pirates out of town, but not without a plan.

It was stated that we should burn their ship to the ground, but several of us were very uneasy about that. Leuwiss and Echo didn’t like that idea.

Kevkas and D’arcon helped concoct a plan that zeroed in on the dock adjacent to the Salt-N-Eel Tavern and Inn as the most likely place to find the River Gang. Echo assumed the shape of the gemstone hyacinth and I put him on my lapel. I was to be the decoy. Kevkas would approach first and watch from the under the water while D’arcon would watch from the shadows of the buildings. Duncan would linger and hide from some shrubs and trees near the Inn until the rest of us were there.

Duncan spotted the pirates paying off the city watch with a chest of something valuable as he passed and milled about to scope things out. Kevkas overheard the pirates on the dock talking to the half-orc, who barked out orders to punish them for letting the brooch slip out of their care earlier that night. Here Kevkas learned the name of the ship and also could see the leader counting some coin and placing it into a chest. Leuwiss approached the inn and pretended to look for something he had lost or left behind, making sure he was seen and thrown out of the tavern by the bartender. Leuwiss was soon spotted by the half-orc and the plan went into action.

Kevkas came out of the water as his spell wore off and met Duncan near the trees. D’arcon scampered across to lay in wait as well.

“You! I want to talk to you!” The half-orc shouted.

I continued to look around but head toward the trees where my companions were and when the moment came, Kevkas caused the plants to ensnare the pirates. We learned that the half-orc called “The Prawn” was eager to prove his worth to his gang after the last slip up. Kevkas stood ready to slit his throat if he didn’t start talking and the stupid orc drew a dagger to slip between Kevkas’ ribs!

Without needing a second to think, Kevkas did exactly what he said he would, and the half-orc lay in a puddle of his own blood. D’arcon decided to make himself look rather frightening and changed his visage into that of some sort of demon and heightened the effect with his shadow, which seems to take on a life of it’s own at times, and threaten the pirates souls. They ran away.

Aboard the ship, The Horizon, we fought a dozen or so pirates, buying time for Kevkas to slip below deck and find out who was paying the pirates to be such a nuisance. Quickly, he found the cabin of the “Dread Pirate Grim”, who seemed more of a type of man one might see at the Grand Operahouse in a ruffle and a powdered wig. While not the best fighter, Mr. Grim, was a sneaky one. He surrendered only to have the druid’s back unguarded, to which a female pirate emerged from the shadows to stab him in the back!

Above deck, the companions fought against the pirates, sending one after another screaming into the night! Below, Kevkas, bought time with a fiery hand and threatened to take the whole ship down with him. This frightened the pirates and they came above jumping overboard! These pirates were dreadful – dreadfully easy to scare!

I went below deck and helped Kevkas to his feet but neither Leuwiss could lift the large trunk nor could Kevkas in his hurt state. Just as they were to leave with some documents and the trunk, a pirate emerged from a 3rd room but was quickly dispatched with a firey blast. The ship was now on alight! Here the two enlisted the help of Echo, who changed back into his form and liberated the trunk for the rest of us. Above deck, we reunited with our companions and left as we watched the remaining pirates curse us and threaten us with retribution as they swam to safety, most likely, on the far bank of the river. The pirate ship burned and sank in the river.

We returned to the candy shop with some minor squabble and a further bribe to the gatesman on duty. Simone wasn’t able to find out any more information on this sudden appearance of this gang, but would keep on trying with her contacts. What she did advise was to keep an eye on the woman in the white and yellow leather armor. Her name was Pallorma. She was able to find out that she was half-sisters with a classmate of mine, Sheeba of Ket! Simone then took her leave.

As we counted our treasure for the night, in the doorway of the candy shop appeared the strange woman, Pallorma, D’arcon had encountered earlier. She was with two strong and well armed men and demanded the return of the flower pendant from D’arcon. A melee broke out in the candy store!

Already nearly out of spells, most of us had to fight with our weapons and it wasn’t pretty. D’arcon was put upon by the trio and they disarmed him again, forcibly taking the flower from him. The fight went back and forth for awhile with the 3 of them being outnumbered, but D’arcon managed to distract them enough that we managed to subdue one of the men and the woman took a nearly fatal blow from Duncan’s sword! The other man protected her with his life and nearly ended D’arcon’s, dragging Pallorma from the building and administering a potion to help her get on her feet again and they escaped into the night under a rather manner.

People suddenly came out into the streets in the middle of the night as if under a trance, creating a very difficult environment to stop the rogues. The smell of perfume in the air lead us to believe the flower was behind their speedy get-a-way and away they went into the night.

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The Final Resting Place of Dorshak Crane

The dwarf, Dorshak Crane, has always been a mean and terrible man. He lived next door to the Spelloyals and he frightened everyone. His house was always the big dark house that you rarely even saw a candlelight in the window. Dorshak, if anything, was a very, very cheap man. A few months ago, Dorshak disappeared. Somehow this didn’t surprise Leuwiss in the least.

What did surprise Leuwiss was when Klive told us that two of his new hires had gone missing after asking a lot of questions about our neighbor and his wealth, the group knew what was to come next. Soon after, Echo, D’arcon, and Leuwiss were shimmying into an open basement window to track down the two gnomes under Spelloyal’s employ.

After trying to push the door open in the dark for a few minutes, we heard the distinct sound of loud squeaking coming from in the basement’s well. Try as we might, the large rodents were upon us! We fought all eight of them off in close quarters and proceeded to push the door open, while Echo found some treasure inside of a pile of rags and such. Leuwiss found some rope and a lantern and D’arcon found a grappling hook.

In this next room we found two cots and supplies for an extended stay to last two weeks. From what we later found out, this was were the two gnomes were staying. This also explained why they had barricaded the door, probably to keep the rats from eating them in the night. Stairs went up to the first floor.

The party crept about the house, and much to everyone’s surprise, there were barely any furnishings in this formerly grand estate. The kitchen was bare, as were the halls. No paintings, chairs, or much of anything save for two mouldering beds linens, empty crates, a broken kitchen table and an overgrown garden. In the garden, Leuwiss was savagely attacked by a flock of pigeons, while everyone laughed. While Leuwiss didn’t find it funny, Echo discovered some dwarvish writing on the fountain and determined that the large jug the female dwarf held was a decanter of endless water, which activated by the text but would only continually pour if tipped on it’s side. The magic words also cleaned up the water in the fountain and it was quite lovely. Kudos.

And then there was the ghost.

This “ghost” made sounds, and thumps and groans. While these illusions were quite good, they fooled none of us. Room by room we went, finding absolutely nothing of interest, except for the fact that there were no stairs that went to the second floor. Echo suggested we somehow go up the seemingly wide expanse of the chimney.

D’arcon and Echo discussed how they’d go about climbing up the chimney and began poking around. D’arcon climbed up the chimney and hooked the grappling hook into a vent or flue and we all pulled on the rope until the thing bent open, gaining us access to the second floor.

We searched and searched, killed a couple of large centipedes, but we were greeted with nothing more, save for the strange noises and dark shapes just out of view. We came upon the main bedroom to find a mass, under the sheet of the bed. A dark shape sprung past us and disappeared into the house! Echo and D’arcon were not amused. We decided to stay very still.

Soon we heard voices talking downstairs. Our two gnome invaders were beginning to wonder if we’d finally found the secret place Dorshak had stowed away all his “riches” or perhaps “Dorshak had claimed us”. D’arcon attempted to scare them with a little of their own medicine and caused their own shadows to look menacing, which then caused a bit of a bickering between the two gnome twins. We took this as our opportunity to pounce upon them, and taking them by surprise, one fell through the floorboards while the other tried to pull him from the rotten boards which sprang a nest of 5 angry giant centipedes.

Always one to take advantage of a situation, D’arcon quickly tied them up and we dispatched the wriggling pests. Echo began poking around again in the chimney, I searched rooms with D’arcon, until we got bored and came back to see if Echo had found anything. D’arcon moved a statue on the mantle to reveal a tiny lever with dwarven writing. This produced stairs to and from the first and second floor.

The lever also removed a grate in the chimney and we climbed on up. This secret room was crammed with boxes and crates, all coated in dusty sheets, blankets, and cobwebs. Something in the dark stirred and sprang to life!

Dorshak Crane flew at us, his hair wild and nails long like talons! He attacked Echo, scratching and biting. The language on the man flew like his fists but he was no match for Echo’s rapier and D’arcon’s improvisation with a wooden board! When the two of them subdued Dorshak, they tied him up with the rest of the rope we had left over from tying up the gnomes.

Unknown to everyone, D’arcon has slipped two rings off Dorshak’s fingers and pockets them. One is inscribed with the word “Food” and the other “Water”.

Our attention now turned to the crates and chests. We’d never seen so much wealth in one place and it would have made a dragon jealous. Amongst the coins and the gems, we found 3 curious scrolls: one the title deeds to the mansion, second detailing his share in the Habendorf amethyst mine, and a third scroll which Leuwiss was able to determine was trapped and decided not to unfurl it. We took Dorshak and nearly all the treasure downstairs where Leuwiss pleaded with D’arcon that we should probably hand these things over to his family or the proper authorities. While Echo liked the idea of being wealthy, it didn’t sit right with him either to rob the mean old dwarf of all his money.

Most of these worries were for nothing. When we forced the front doors open, we were greeted by several large city guards and two agents from the Greyhawk Revenue Service. Nearly all of our monetary gains were confiscated for “back taxes owed” by Dorshak Crane and Leuwiss was happy to hand all of the money over. Dorshak Crane was hauled away somewhere. The two gnomes were taken in for trespassing, but were later released.

D’arcon, always with a trick or two up his sleeve took his time beforehand and stowed 1,000 platinum coins, the house deeds, and the documentation for share of the amethyst mine for later retrieval. What he plans on doing with these worries Leuwiss to no end.

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Tomb of Gleph

I write this entry in my journal from the steps of a large set of brass double doors that my companions and I have found in a series of underground caves. While we’ve had some minor excursions here and there, this is our greatest undertaking to date, with a treasure map we’ve found under dubious conditions. I must back track a little to explain.

Before we set out for our expedition north of the city today, Simone, our connection to the thieves in Greyhawk, has brought up some rather upsetting news to the party. The pirates we fought in the docks were mostly hired actors. Further investigation revealed that this third party has seemingly vanished into thin air. I’ve determined that somebody is now toying with us. Thankfully, all was not lost, as Simone was able to confirm that the “treasure map” was indeed real, pinpointing an ancient tomb far to the north of our fair city that has been uncovered due to a small oerthquake and cave in.

Earlier that morning, after we stocked up on provisions, we travelled across the Selintan via barge and headed northward through farmland until it gave way to arid hills. Without much incident, we nearly reached our destination by nightfall and set up camp. D’arcon, Echo, Simone, Kevkas, Duncan and my familiar Tokala perched ourselves up on a hill, overlooking the countryside. Kevkas spotted the area in which we were to travel in the morning, sighting a rather unusual mound of growth in the distance, putting the trees and other vegetation at twice the normal size. The night went rather smoothly, where we only became slightly disturbed when we spied a lone orc who looked badly wounded coming from the direction of our destination.

In the morning, we headed toward the peculiar mound and it took us about an hour to reach it. Once here, we could see that the ground had settled over many years, pulling into the earth what must have once sat on the top which was evidence to the broken masonary jutting out from the overgrowth. Duncan spotted a large opening in the far side of the mound and we decided to investigate.

Once our eyes adjusted to the dark, we could see light filtering in to a wide cave complex, with a somewhat shallow pool of clear water covering most of the sandy bottom of the cavern. Here we spotted some rather shiny gemstones in the deepest section along with the bones of some humanoid. As we waited for D’arcon to fish them out, Kevkas noticed that we were being watched by a mated pair of giant owls. Kevkas and Duncan bantered back and forth about whether or not to disturb the owls, as the owls had decided to decorate their nest with a rather new set of chainmail and hand axe, which would explain the picked over bones in the bottom of the pool.

After much planning, the two shoo’d the owls out of their nest long enough to grab these two bits, while D’arcon redressed and pointed out the lovely pile of gems he’d worked to retrieve. Duncan agreed to leave the owls and their two eggs alone, which reassured the druid Kevkas. I decided to say nothing, though I knew the eggs could easily fetch 2000 gold in Greyhawk.

The caves sloped down to our left into another larger cave, again with a sandy bottom, but with many stalactites. As we passed through – a strange, disheveled and naked man appeared from around a column seemingly not to notice us, as he plucked beetles and grubs from the moss covered column and placed them in his mouth. He sang to himself and muttered about our appearance as if he was trying to convince himself that we were not there. Kevkas approached him in a friendly manner and we determined that he was not in control of all his senses but we did manage to get some information out of him. That is, until D’arcon decided to slap him back into reality…

The man had come from deeper in the cave complex, where he talked about something that tried to eat him and that there were “mushroom people”. He’d also been trapped in this cavern for some time and not fully aware of his senses. D’arcon decided he had enough of his babbling and swatted him across the face. The man grew very angry, tumbled to an alcove and brandished a dagger with a blue hide covered handle. Sadly, no other information would be forthcoming and D’arcon dispatched the man and took his dagger. This caused a few sideways looks and tutting from the other companions.

We decided to move ahead and we found a passage that forked left or continued forward. We opted for the left passage and it snaked down deep into the ground and dead-ended at a small spring where it was lit by many crystals jutting in all direction. The spring seemed to leak from a fissure in the wall and disappeared somewhere in the floor. Most of the crystals were embedded firmly into the cave wall, but we did manage to extricate three of them. The crystals had strange properties. Whomever touched them felt at peace or very calm, but Kevkas, whether through his abilities or because nature looked kindly upon him, was able to see a vision of a woman dancing about in a green field. We packed these away and headed deeper into the caverns.

Before we came to the next cave, we could hear a great hollow wind whistling about. This cave, upon first inspection, seemed to be made of white stone, punctuated by a deep fissure from which the wind seemed to emanate from the ground below. A natural stone bridge crossed the chasm to the other side. D’arcon soon discovered that the walls were actually spider silk and became trapped as he tried to reach two freshly exsanguinated orc corpses as his fingers can’t seem to resist the lure of hidden treasure, despite the risks. Before we could help him, Duncan was battling a rather aggressive monstrous white spider! Echo, Kevkas and myself rushed to Duncan’s aid where we eventually sent the spider to it’s death. Meanwhile, D’arcon mumbled something about spider eggs just underneath the skins of the freshly killed orcs, grabbed two small pouches they had, and let the bodies fall into the ravine below and freed himself of his webbing. D’arcon announced that we should probably grab some of the spider silk when we leave as it would probably fetch a good price due to it’s strength.

We gathered our wits and headed deeper into the darkness. The next cave slanted down with a very uneven floor with many, many natural cave formations. The cave floor was littered with debris that had been here for some time, which told us something lived here, yet we were unsure where it was hiding. Slowly we entered the large cavern, stepping over the rough floor and broken bones that had been here for a very long time. D’arcon spotted some gemstones and went about collecting them as the cave reverberated with a loud rumbling. A gigantic blind lizard sensed our presence and climbed down the cave wall to attack us!

This proved to be a very difficult task, as it took all of us a long time stabbing at it, hiding behind stone formations and jumping out of the way of it’s deadly mouth. Not too badly hurt, we collected ourselves to move forward but noticed two orcs guarding one of the two exits!

They almost seemed like statues, standing almost still until we could get a better look at them. It seemed the lizard was merely an alarm system to alert these “guards”. The closer we approached the more they began to twitch and move, as if they could detect we were coming. To our horror, their skin was covered with a film and had hideous mushroom stalks protruding from their eye sockets!

Kevkas and Duncan voiced concern that they orcs were diseased and were very hesitant about moving forward, so we opted for ranged attacks to bring them down. Simone flung her daggers and I, my magic missiles into the bodies of these foul creatures, which caused them to ooze and pop, sending spores into the air around them. My companions were correct and we stayed away until the air looked settled enough to retrieve Simone’s daggers. We unanimously decided to venture to the other cave mouth instead of the one that the putrescent orcs stood guard at.

This next cave was dimly lit, but we could make out that this was some kind of fungus garden, with taller mushrooms at the periphery of the cave walls. Duncan could see that there was an entrance to the caves we did not want to pursue to the south and another passage to the east that disappeared into pitch black just past the mushrooms. Before we could do much decision making, 3 mushrooms blasted our eardrums with a high pitched scream! The only way it seemed to stop the noise was by killing these annoying things, no doubt, another line of defense for what we soon found to be a colony of mushroom creatures.

The south passage soon filled with moving humanoid shapes from very tiny to nearly 8 feet tall, blocking our way south. Duncan and Kevkas moved to the other cavern mouth and urged us all to do the same. We quickly complied and while they didn’t pursue us, we did feel like we would be watched closely by the colony.

Just past the mushroom garden, we came upon a wall of stacked stones and a passage that descended farther into inky darkness. Carefully, my companions dislodged some of the smaller rocks and found a light coming from the other side, from the cavern I now sit writing down my thoughts of what has transpired.

Working carefully, yet quickly, we removed enough of the rocks to wiggle through to the well furnished cave on the other side. Clearly, whatever or whomever lived here wanted to barricaded itself from the rest of the caves and their inhabitants. Rugs covered the sandy floor and torches lit the space. There was an ornate divan and a table with place settings for dinner. Two large, brass doors stood at a slight angle, yet were fastidiously polished.

From around a large pillar, a peculiar man appeared in a toga. He was tall, bronze and rather friendly. He greeted us and stated that he lived here. His overly friendly attitude alarmed Duncan, the swordsman, and Kevkas, the druid, and declined the meal he served us. I had my thoughts about what kind of creature this could be but I kept that to myself. The “man” began asking us where we came from and what we had seen on our adventures. When the man was sufficiently satisfied and very curious about the crystals we had and offered us a deal. In exchange for the crystals, he would give us whatever we wanted from his hoard of treasure plus the key to the great doors to the tomb that we sought.

Duncan traded the chainmail armor and axe from the owls nest for a pair of mighty gauntlets. The crystals were traded in for a wand of magic missiles, which I gladly snatched up.

If my book is in your hands now, this means I am dead, for I have gone past these great brass doors into the unknown. Into this strange tomb. The “Tomb of Gleph”.

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Beyond The Brass Doors
Inside the sunken rooms

We stood at the great brass doors to the supposed tomb we were tipped off to by a map we’d retrieved from an earlier misadventure. Gold key in hand, we turned the latch and pushed the doors that scraped and creaked across the dark interior of the room. Dust coated all surfaces, from the pillars to the wide tiled floors. D’arcon, Echo, Simone, and Leuwiss with his familiar, entered the room and we saw a blue glow dancing about a sarcophagus at the far wall. As we approached, the doors slammed closed behind us, trapping Duncan and Kevkas on the other side.

An apparition appeared before us, over the sepulcher, demanding we step into a glowing circle in the floor. Once all 4 of us stood in the protection circle, the floor became electrified outside of it. The ghost congratulated us on passing the “first” of many tests. Next versions of our faces appeared on far pillars and we were instructed to run to them and touch them. With the floor electrified, we were in for some painful and fancy footwork to make it to our respective pillar.

The phantom laughed at us and we were blinded by white light. Each of us, I would assume, as we later recalled to each other, now stood in our own endless white room that seemingly had no end where we were forced to fight against a version of ourselves. One by one, we each safely returned to the glowing circle while a large secret panel opened directly to our left.

This next passage took us to a spherical room with a large fountain in the center. The orb was made of a coppery color and it resembled a daylight sky as it faded up to the top above the fountain. In the fountain was a woman bathing and she made us answer 3 riddles that would win us passage to the next room. The first answer was “a towel”, the second was “a sponge” and the third answer was “icicle”.

After the answers were given, the woman and fountain disappeared and a hole appeared in the floor and we were sucked into it. Below the room was a corridor that lead to a room that looked very much like a wooden cabin. Along the farthest wall was a painting that covered much of it. It depicted a large beautiful countryside and when we watched it we could almost make out movement in the leaves.

Echo didn’t wait for a decision and simply walked into the painting and disappeared from view. After some minor debate, we all followed suit. There was a flash of light which seared our sight and we were overcome with a horrible sensation that we were being pulled apart.

As our eyes adjusted, we found the sensation of warm earth and grass under us, which meant we were laying on our backs looking up in to the sky.

It was incredibly overcast and there was the thunderous sound of rain, but it’s as if we were inside an immense building. Then we began to count large panels of glass high over our heads. Sitting up we noticed we were all sitting on what appeared to a large hill inside of gigantic green house! High above our heads banged a violent thunderstorm, hitting the massive crystalline roof. Mountains jut up outside of the greenhouse like snowy teeth and puncture the clouds. In the distance there was the sound of a booming waterfall.

Everyone sounded off to be counted as we marveled the lush landscape within the greenhouse and how it differs from the environment outside. Somebody clearly went to great pains to place this high in the mountains. We turned our face toward the sky as the storm subsided and the coulds suddenly parted. The sky presented us with a large moon, but it looked wrong and where was the second moon? That is when it dawned on Leuwiss, we were far from home. We were looking into the night sky and looking directly at Oerth!

We were on Luna!

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The Grand Greenhouse

We stood, regained our composure and decided where we’d set off first as the expanse of the Grand Greenhouse generated a fog preventing us to actually see the farthest end. Even though we could hear the waterfall that came from a large hole in the side of the greenhouse, there was an annoying clanging.

Before setting out we found the source of the sound and found several dwarves standing around 100 foot square pit with many clockwork gears protruding from it. Apparently, there was a creature in below the gear box that would need to be dispatched and the dwarves would tell answer any questions to the best of their ability once we had done so.

The “grunter” turned out to be a rust monster that had burrowed it’s way up from below. We descended a staircase of stone to the bottom of the pit to see that one of the gears was badly damaged. At the top of the hill we appeared on, there was a tower that housed a cord and a vehicle. Far into the distance on the other side of the greenhouse was a larger tower and these gears were some sort of clockwork device that enabled a vehicle to travel from one tower to the other, via the thick cord. In the ensuing melee, Simone lost one dagger on the thing and we set upon it as it feasted on the particles. Once it was destroyed we returned to question the dwarves.

A witch now lived in the tower on the other side of the greenhouse. She had eyes and ears everywhere and the dwarves were very twitchy about telling us why they feared her so much. Their original master, Gleph, hadn’t been seen in decades and they feared that the “Green Witch” was somehow to blame. Other than that, we were told the village elder or storyteller could relate the rest of the tale to us if we liked. When asked how we would return home, they were puzzled and decided the witch probably held the key to this problem.

We soon set off away from the dwarven workers and decided to steer clear of the village. All manner of large flora and fauna lived here, including many things we’ve never even imagined or heard of in our travels though there were more mundane encounters. For instance, we were able to shoo away a giant porcupine and a rather aggressive wild boar. What we didn’t count on was in a large clearing up ahead.

The clearing had several picked over bones and two desiccated dead bodies facing a hole in the ground. We decided we’d carefully circumvent the area but we alerted the inhabitants of the warren in the earth. From the ground floated bright red orbs, three feet around and with 6 eyestalks and three-fingered arms, eight in number! These horrible monsters attacked us and attached themselves to our backs trying to scratch and drain us of blood. When we struck them with a blade, they’d explode, further harming us. One of the bodies was of a druid in the same sect as Kevkas which we retrieved a rather bizarre scimitar.

While we hiked the wooded path, we periodically felt that we were being observed, and we hastened our journey until we came to a great lake that bisected the greenhouse. We could spy an island in the mist, halfway between us and the shore on the other side. It was covered in trees buy occasionally we could see a glint of something metal on the island. Without thinking much about what might be in the lake D’arcon once again, stripped down to swim across as none of us wanted to attempt it nor could Simone swim.

What surely should have been D’arcon’s watery grave, he managed to escape the maw of a giant goldfish and reached his destination. We could see him on the island and then he disappeared in the mists and foliage. Then a great flash of lightning told us he had triggered a trap! Leuwiss dove in and swam, but was bitten in the leg by the great fish, which hampered his ability to get there quickly and was tossed about the lakes surface as Leuwiss was almost food for the thing.

The remaining party trekked along the beach to the village and convinced a man with a boat to take them to the island to find out what had happened. On the island, Leuwiss found a very badly hurt D’arcon in front of a large laughing head of an idol. Inside the mouth was a very well preserved wizard we’ve come to recognize as Gleph. Luckily for D’arcon, Leuwiss saved his life with a potion he had taken with us in case of an unfortunate situation.

D’arcon decided that he wanted to search the body but before doing so, Gleph awakened and demanded to know what was going on! It seems we had disturbed his slumber as he was traveling the Astral Plane. We quickly explained how we came to be here and as soon as we mentioned a witch who had taken up residence in the tower, he teleported away.

Soon we were joined by our other companions who hired a boatman, who eventually took us to the other shore. The boatman told us an unlikely tale that 3 generations ago, the Green Witch rode a giant comet from the sky and landed here. In the distance there was a loud explosion and some otherworldly noises coming from the obscured distance, which lit up the outline of a twisted horn that pointed into the sky.

We hurried and set off toward the commotion, but were promptly harried by minions of the Green Witch. When the tower was in sight, we could see a figure on a balcony point at us. She sent 4 flying humanoid beings toward us to stall us and when we destroyed those, we were surrounded by dangerous vines with eyeballs on the ends. These proved to be very difficult to combat.

Simone, Echo and Leuwiss were all knocked out and dragged off. Leuwiss was saved by D’arcon from being pulled into the earth. It seems that our companions were less lucky. Simone was gone and Echo was utterly destroyed, leaving behind a large crystal that pulsed with life with the symbol of the archmage Tenser etched into it! Leuwiss tucked this away, balanced himself and we hurried to the Crystal Spire where we would surely find this witch.

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The Crystal Spire

We came to a clearing where workers tended a valley where grapes were grown. D’arcon quickly noticed that they were all once human or humanoid but were now all greenish and more like plants than their former selves. Thankfully they ignored us and went about their tasks in the fields.

Nestled in the valley was a small cottage where we found some personal affects of a woman who came here many, many years ago. A sword and some elfin chainmail sat here unused. D’arcon discovered the woman’s diary and it covered her arrival here and promptly ended when a green comet crashed through the roof of the greenhouse roughly 90 years ago. In the false bottom of a closet were 4 healing potions we both needed. After finding nothing more of value, we travelled down to a small lake the surrounded the Spire.

The Crystal Spire was grown, either by great magics or occurred here naturally when Gleph settled upon this place. Magnificent archways, balconies and grand windows dotted it’s surface as it stretched hight into the sky. The place was a maze of staircases and rooms, most of them locked to us.

Growing very tired of this we paused to catch our breath. It was then, behind a set of doors, we heard a rustling. D’arcon picked the lock and we entered what must have been the living quarters for the odd wizard we woke from the island. D’arcon went about looking for valuables and Leuwiss poured over some books. Light curtains obscured a balcony just beyond a large down bed, a dressing screen, and a large armoire.

D’arcon discovered the badly wounded and unconscious Gleph inside the armoire. While Leuwiss placed Gleph in his bed, D’arcon found a robe and a wand. Leuwiss didn’t say anything as he had already taken a book and slipped it in next to the crystal that Leuwiss was sure held Echo’s life essence. D’arcon and Leuwiss wandered out onto the balcony and discovered an infant treant in a large half-barrel pot on the balcony amongst some flowers. It warned us of the Green Witch directly above and set about tending to Gleph’s wounds and we beat a hasty retreat up the stairs.

The passageway to the top of the tower was covered in thick vines and leaves, similar to a pumpkin patch, but only much, much more monstrous. An open archway revealed an open sky observation deck covered in foliage, three human sized pods on the floor and everything seemed to be emanating from a great green cyst that had attached itself to the wall. In the pods, we found a human male, a dwarf, and our companion Simone!

Before we could celebrate, the Green Witch appeared from the vines and commanded the vegetation to seal us in. D’arcon set about freeing the captives and Leuwiss quickly covered by distracting the Green Witch with a flurry of magic missiles from my wand. The Witch hit D’arcon with a sleep spell which had no effect and he set about digging away at the large cyst. This infuriated the Witch and she flung a slow spell at him. A Ray of Enfeeblement had no affect on her and she advanced with some rather nasty spells of her own. Just as she was upon us, Leuwiss covered her in a web spell, immobilizing her.

With the slow spell wearing off, D’arcon and Leuwiss set about smashing this huge egg-shaped emerald. It took many blows to the gem while the Witch looked on in horror, but it finally broke into a million pieces and the Green Witch was consumed in a column of vile green flame! The plants she controlled began to wither and die.

From the other side of the vegetation was a rather hale and affable Gleph and his small treant companion! Before D’arcon could explain his theft, the kind wizard told him to keep the wand and robe as payment for ridding his domain of the vile witch and the deadly artifact. In addition, Gleph agreed to open a gate to take us back to the cave entrance back on Oerth. We wished him the best, stepped through the gate, and met the druid and fighter companion camped outside of the caves.

With our treasure on our backs and experience under our belts, we made our way back to the bustling metropolis of Greyhawk.

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Surprise Direction

Back in Greyhawk, our group of adventurers see an ominous and shadowlike being enter the candy store. Quickly everyone files into the shop in pursuit. This being drops a strange note with a symbol on the front desk that Leuwiss recognizes as the symbol for the Mage of the Valley.

Left behind is an official invitation from the Black One himself to come to the Vale and renew the severely lapsed, one-time yearly idani fruit contract. Quickly, a spirited conversation between all the companions rang out discussing all things that they new about the Vale, the mystery Mage himself and how would we plan to get there?

That’s when Carter called the family together to reveal the big surprise on the not-so “secret” 4th floor. In the steam-powered lift, it was explained that three generations ago Leuwiss’ grandfather was a spice merchant. He travelled in a boat. A turtle shaped boat that has been hidden in the attic since then. With some new paint and alterations, the surprise was readied. The ship, Tortuga, is at the top of the Spelloyal’s Candy shop.

With invitation in hand, the adventurers are about to set out.

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Up, And Away!
To the Valley of the Mage

Leuwiss sent letters out to the Companions instructing them to meet at the Golden Pheonix in the Garden Quarter for dinner to celebrate before taking off. There was literally nothing Leuwiss could glean from colleagues or from Greyhawk’s great library doing research about the Valley of the Mage. The only thing Leuwiss could find was a basic map with barely anything marked on it and what was marked on it was cryptic at best.

Dinner went less celebratory than Leuwiss had hoped. Dinner and drink were flowing freely, on his coin, when we were interrupted by a delivery of what seemed to be nice gesture. A single bottle of wine, of a Celene vintage, made from hyacinth flowers sent from a “gentleman” from the private dining room. Through a wooden screen sat several local businessmen and the man that came into Leuwiss’ father’s shop and the ambassador from the Scarlet Sign! And they were laughing at us.

This whole time – the “pirates”, the misleading about town, the strange gemstone flower, the diversion out of town – everything was to run us about. But why?

Before Leuwiss could formulate any sort of idea of how to react, D’arcon marched over to them and created a huge scene. Threats were exchanged, but since the Pact of Greyhawk was no longer deemed valid, our adversaries were leaving town. This may be only partially true given who they were seated with. They were up to something and we were leaving for who knows how long.

We excused ourselves before we were asked to leave, something Leuwiss had to remind D’arcon of, and that we were members of the community and we were representing my family’s interests and he was to start acting like it. Back at the shop, everyone had gathered a trunk of their belongings, picked their rooms onboard the ship and we left under cover of darkness as requested by the Oligarchy since Leuwiss’ last trip away seemed to upset many people in the city. Needless to say, that day Leuwiss travelled alone to meet with Tenser caused the shop to sell out of most of it’s candy!

With the rooftop opened and the sky spread with sparkling constellations on this clear night, Leuwiss explained some of the nature of piloting a ship, the planets in our solar system and how this related to the Prime Material Plane and the other planes, speed of travel, and when Leuwiss felt that get too dry for everyone we told stories of what we’d been doing over the break.

But we had a message to deliver before we left Greyhawk and Leuwiss enlisted D’arcon in driving that message home. As we flew out of the 4th story, Leuwiss steered the ship over to the Shar Ambassador’s home and instructed D’arcon to fling the lit bottle of highly flammable liquor through the window of his home and took straight up into the sky. Good luck explaining that one to the Oligarchy!

The Rhenee Ranger, Echo, and D’arcon climbed up onto the Ballista Deck to marvel at Greyspace and the stars for a few moments when Leuwiss told them we were now far above Oerth. It was truly amazing.

Eventually they stepped down the ladder back into the bridge room and Leuwiss began our descent back to the surface, but neatly on the far side of the Flanaess, just a few short miles outside the Valley we planned to visit.

Our trip in was rather uneventful, save for a near confrontation with a large bear foraging and the pit we all nearly fell into. Having never seen a coconut tree before, D’arcon pointed out that might be something Leuwiss would want to take back with us. When we approached the tree, 3 large purple globes fell to the ground with a great splash and stench causing us all to double over in our own sick.

Soon we were surrounded by at least 20 valley elves with bows drawn and ready. Quickly we produced the official invite and we were marched to a peculiar guard tower where we were held overnight as “guests”. While we were well fed and cared for, we were also listened to and spied upon.

In any case, we were pleasant and D’arcon moped that we weren’t greeted by the Mage himself. Instead we got to talk to many elves, gnomes, a human druid and finally to some higher level flunky named Nyeru Darkspring. He was very short with us and all business, conveying regret that somebody called “The First Protector” would not be visiting on this day. Nyeru swept into the room, explained where the idani orchard was and how no contact has been made with the family that runs it for over two weeks and swept out of the room, only stopping to mark on our map where it was and he was gone.

As instructed we left in the morning and hiked our way northwest, deeper into the valley heeding the words of the land by not stealing anything or causing harm to the inhabitants. Fierce animals and the like were game but we didn’t stumble into any of these.

We followed the Javan river and came to a rocky outcropping where tiny men with cloven hooves burst forth from the dense undergrowth. A friendly sort, the clan Exalted, named for the protector of the valley, watched us closely until they could see we were not a threat. When we convinced them that we were friendly, they demanded stories from all of us. Before we knew it a spontaneous celebration broke out! Dancing, drinks, food were provided and a safe place to stay for the night. The korred clan explained to D’arcon in more detail as to the nature of the Exalted One and how busy he was.

In the morning, we woke to leftover fruit and meat, packed, thanked our hosts and continued onward. The Rhennee ranger talked with Echo on our march, as Leuwiss’ familiar, Tokala the fox, D’arcon and Leuwiss followed a path farther northwest coming across some abandoned huts and startling some antelope. The smell of jasmine hung heavy in the air. It’s no wonder the Black One chose this marvelous place to live.

Ahead was another small river that emptied into a lake. And near this lake was an elven village where that also contained the idani orchard.

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Idani Orchard
Things were not what the seemed...

The elven village was tucked between the Barrier Peaks and a large lake. When we came to the village, we were greeted and we had to yet again show the official note of permission to be there. The village elder, an old female Valley elf, told us that the orchard we sought was to the north of the village a ways.

Suspicious eyes watched as we walked through town and came upon the manor. Finester Farm, was really nothing more than a two story log home. Large as it was it was surrounded by a great barricade of pointed logs to keep wandering creatures away from the home.

The place seemed quiet. That was until we approached the front door and heard somebody talking loudly, so we knocked. The talking stopped. We knocked again and somebody peered out the window. There was a note in a box next to the door that looked as if it had been in the elements for weeks. Abruptly, the double doors swung wide and a very distraught human male answered the door while five eerie elves stood clustered behind him.

We stated we’d come for the idani contract and hoped they’d be of some assistance. The elf family invited us in to eat and I spoke with them as to what our intentions were. Suddenly, D’arcon excused himself to the water closet feigning illness and immediately Leuwiss began to wonder what he had noticed that he had clearly not.

Food was spread out before us in a feast and we were all about to dig in when D’arcon appeared on the second floor balcony yelling, “Don’t eat anything!”

Our hosts were not amused.

I thought quickly on my feet and followed D’arcon’s lead, claiming we were all feeling a bit under the weather due to some bad food we had previously eaten. It wasn’t soon thereafter, a fight ensued between the family and our party.

Without provocation, D’arcon had made two sharp thrusts at the seated head of the family! Before anyone could speak as to what the meaning of this was, the family of elves moved in unison, sliding their chairs back and stood to begin the fight.

While nobody was looking, it seems the remaining human servant slipped a makeshift note into D’arcon’s pocket which he read in the water closet, alerting him that we were all in grave danger if we stayed. D’arcon decided he’d rescue this man from the clutches of what used to be a sweet and loving family up until 3 weeks ago.

After much of the food and furniture were overturned in the fight, the 5 doppelgängers were nothing more than pools of mercurial liquid oozing into the floorboards, we were thanked by the man for rescuing him from certain death. Much to my surprise we were given 500 pieces of gold and a diamond of great value.

The human servant, Legrand, informed us that three weeks ago the eldest son uncovered a strange stone in the walled garden in the back that was used to grow food for the household. The stone was lifted with ease and the elf descended below. Two days later, he reappeared and began acting strangely. One by one, the family were incapacitated late at night in some way and dragged below into the cave complex and replaced by a doppelgänger.

We were heralded as heroes by the locals in the elven village when we exited the manse. Though both D’arcon and Leuwiss spied a man dressed similarly to Nyeru Darkspring skirting the edges of the jubilant crowd, observing, and then quickly disappearing as quickly as he had came.

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