Sunday, August 12, 2018

Some books I like that changed my life in subtle ways

Greetings fellow readers and friends! I have been tagged to list my favorite books that have influenced my life in various ways and I feel I should do more than just post covers. For simplicity sake and to not clog up peoples feeds with me constantly posting I have decided to just make a short write up about a few of my all-time favorites. There are many other books I am overly enthusiastic about but will be written up later.

Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. If we have talked in a book store or even at a party, I have most likely talked to you about this book. Brief spoiler free talk up that will sound familiar “A hero gives up on the life of adventuring, fakes his own death, and now owns a bar. People come in telling stories about his life getting most of the details wrong until a traveling story teller gets him to tell the true story about what really happened, all his great triumphs as well as his horrible failures that still torture him.” I first heard about and started reading this book back in 2008 and I fell in love with it. It is the best thing I have read since Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. When I worked at a book place I hand sold over seven hundred copies and still to this day try to spread the good word. We are graced with a second book entitled The Wise Man’s Fear as well as a novella, The Slow Regard of Silent Things. We are waiting on a book three, I feel we are not a world deserving of a book three yet. His books have gotten me out of a few dark spells over the years, they have helped me cope with loss and disappointment. Please check out his Worldbuilders website where geeks can help do go in this world.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, by J.K. Rowling. I was bribed into reading this series as a young adult because I was dumb. My folks bought me book one and within the first chapter I was sold on the series. At that time book four was slated for release in a month or so and I caught up quickly. One of the hardest parts of any series is the wait and with each book the wait felt somehow more painful, with each character loss or the pain of youth being destroyed we would crave the next book. I benefit from these books, I resemble the main character which has helped start many amazing adventures and conversations over the years. It is hard to believe that it is the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Sorcerers Stone. If you have not seen the new covers please check them out. Books one, four, and seven are my favorites. Sorcerers Stone is our, and Harry’s, introduction to the wizarding world, Goblet of Fire had the Triwizard tournament and the awesome hedge labyrinth at the end and horrible heartbreak, and Deathly Hallows gave us resolution to many of the questions that haunted us for years. When Deathly Hallows came out I was working as a kiln technician at a summer camp and read the book in ten hours the night it came out so the campers would not ruin anything for me. Ok, rambling, if you like wizards and have ever wanted to do magic, read these books. The movies are great in their own ways but you miss out on so much if you don’t read the books at least once. I also enjoyed the Cursed Child book, after a few chapters the play format breezed by and it was like visiting old friends you think about often but are too awkward to talk too after all this time.

Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton. When the movie came out I was in third grade and I went with my dad to see it in theatres. As a bit of context, I liked dinosaurs and wanted to sit close to the screen. I had never really watched scary movies at this point either being much younger. I was terrified and curled up in a ball in the seat, there may have been tears. Eventually my dad and I left after the Dilophosaurus ate that guy from Seinfeld, lesson learned. A few months later we went back and were able to see the full movie. In fourth grade my grandfather on my dad’s side passed away suddenly and we were up north for a few days and the only movie we brought with was Jurassic Park, which I must have watched over ten times. I knew the movie pretty well by that point. My dad had read the book so he passed it on to me, so there I was at ten years of age reading Jurassic Park in my after-school day care program, fully immersed. I ended up reading it about six times over the next few years as well as the Lost World. There were cool parts they had left out of the movie and ended up recycling for other movies, which was fine. I loved the books and did not get back to kid’s books for a few years. I also wrote a few letters to Steven Spielberg recommending dinosaurs he should use in the movies and got a response thanking me for my contributions from his desk. Dinosaurs always will spark a flame in my heart, and these books helped.
Practical Demon Keeper, by Christopher Moore. This book I read again while very young, maybe fifth or sixth grade. The story revolves around a demon and its accidental conjurer traveling to a small town in California. The Conjurer is trying to find a way to dispose of his demon and chaos and blood shed ensues. I loved the use of mythology and humor mixed in with the brutality of a demon eating helpless mortals. I still have to read his other novels but I really enjoyed the references to King Solomon and other myths.

Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I had seen bits of the old Rankin-Bass movies growing up but had very little memory of their contents, I had only seen them during a migraine when I was seven or eight. Back before the live action movies came out I decided to check out the books, borrowing my dad’s box set of paperbacks. Over two days in the summer I read the hobbit, learning all about Bilbo and his ring, the giant eagles, and Gandalf with his Odin like wisdom, I was in love with this book. I started reading Lord of the Rings in high school and ruined them in my backpack. They each took a bit longer to read than the Hobbit but were just as fantastic. Each study hall I would sit down and delve into a world with elves, dwarves, hobbits, and trolls in the epic battle of good versus evil. Being a tiny person, I loved that hobbits were relevant in a world of men and monsters and the fate of everything hung in the balance based on their success or failure. I had the chance to see Tolkien’s original notes at the Haggerty Museum here in Milwaukee when they had it on display, it turns out Tolkien had sold the notes to the university. It was awesome, he had charts showing where each character was in every scene even if they weren’t mentioned, drawings of locations, alternate passages, I was in lore heaven. Since then I read the Silmarillion and a few of the books his son has been releasing such as the Children of Hurin and other books released by other authors, like Tolkien’s Ring by David Day. His world was rich in lore and myth and I hope to continue reading about it for years to come. Hobbit will always have a special place in my heart, and for my four years of college it was my nickname. I love both the Lord of the Rings films, the animated films for the Hobbit and Return of the King, and the strange Lord of the Rings film with the rotoscope animation as well as the books. The Hobbit movies were a bit much but I still enjoyed them, they explored lore that was just suggested and built upon it. The book takes me about four hours, the movies nine. Without these books modern fantasy would not be what it is now, most of the authors out there have been influenced in some way by the story of the one ring, which in itself is influenced by Nordic mythology.

Children of Odin, by Padraic Colum. This was the best source of simple and quick Norse mythology and folk tales for many audiences and one of my favorite ways to introduce people to the world of Thor and Loki. It covers everything from the death of Ymir, the giant and the creation of the worlds to Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods. When anyone has questions about Norse myth this is my go to book, and now Neil Gaiman has come out with his own Norse Mythology book which I try to pair with Children of Odin to give two different accounts of the stories. Gaiman has a way of humanizing the gods and monsters in fantastic ways.

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. Shadow Moon ends up encountering mythology in very close and personal ways. Tragedy strikes at home and Shadow has been let out of prison early. He meets a strange man named Mr. Wednesday who offers him a job, to be his man, more driver and bodyguard on the road. It features the old gods in a slow war with the gods of the modern age, technology and the like. This was the first book since Name of the Wind that caused me to lose myself completely to the text. Words danced before me and I was gone. As an amateur folklore and mythology specialist, this book felt like it was written for me to devour, characters I knew made me gleeful, and new characters I did not know sent me to my mythology shelf to research and yes, I have a mythology shelf, it is next to my art shelf. Being from Wisconsin I was excited for them to go to House on the Rock, a strange tourist stop full of oddities such as a giant whale fighting a squid and a carousel you are not allowed to ride. The show they made is pretty cool too, I enjoy the castings for everyone and it is neat to see more from characters in the background of the book.

Crystal Shard, by R. A. Salvatore. This was my introduction to the world of Dungeons and Dragons and the Forgotten Realms. Drizzt, a dark elf escaped from his terrible homeland helps the surface folk fight against a mad wizard and his crystal death star full of monsters and death. In this introduction story we meet the young barbarian Wulfgar, who ends up indentured to the dwarves after his people’s failed attack on Ten-Towns, Bruenor the dwarf leader of the region takes him under his wings as a ward. Bruenor’s other ward is Cattie-Brie, a human girl he has also raised. Cattie-Brie uses archery to defeat her foes. They are joined by Regis, a halfling that rather be fishing than adventuring but has a shadowy past and a magic amulet of persuasion. Drizzt is a drow, a dark elf from deep underground. He is a ranger, duel wielding cruel scimitars and accompanied by a magic panther named Guenhwyvar that he could summon with a figurine he had. With his friends Drizzt would topple tyrants, kill demons, anger the minions of the spider queen, mourn friends both new and old lost, and deal with the past he had hoped to leave behind. I had found these books in the Sci Fi book club and ended up with the entire Icewind Dale trilogy in one book. So began the madness of devouring novels. There are currently thirty-three novels books about Drizzt and his friends as well as a few spin off books about his one time rival as well as the Cleric Quintet. R.A. Salvatore has hurt me over the years but what he does is justified, without trauma or loss these characters would not change or evolve into what they become. I had thought that his title Hero was the last book, but it looks like we will be getting more Drizzt. I enjoyed these books almost to an unhealthy level, each one I would devour in about four hours and then the pining for the next one would begin. A few of the storylines would get repetitive, Drizzt is really good at killing orcs, but there was never a time I gave up on them. If you are going to start the series there are two good places. Crystal Shard was written first and after the fact Homeland, Exile, and Sojourn were written to show where Drizzt came from. I tell most readers to start with Homeland, but Crystal Shard was a bit more exciting of a read for me.
Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan. Lightning Thief is about a young boy, Percy Jackson. He has difficulty in school with reading and attention spans, but as it turns out, his brain is hardwired for both ancient Greek and combat. He is the son of one of the Greek gods, and quickly in the series you figure out which. In book one we find out someone has stolen the lightning bolt of Zeus, his master bolt, and he will go to war with the entire world if it is not returned. Percy and his friends Annabeth, a daughter of Athena, and Grover, a satyr protector of demigods, must travel across the land trying to find the bolt and clues on how to save their friends. The first set of books are the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series: Lightning Thief, Sea of Monsters, Titans Curse, Battle of the Labyrinth, and the Last Olympian follow Percy and his friends in their quest to prevent the end of the gods and mortals. These five books were amazing on their own, and Rick Riordan decided to write more expanding on myth. The Heroes of Olympus series features characters that survived the first series as well as a whole new camp of demigods, hidden away from the Greek camp. It seems there is a Roman camp on the other side of the united states that had no idea of the Greek camp. In this arc we meet Jason, a boy with no memory of where he came from but knows all the Roman names of the gods. He ends up in camp Half-blood with Piper, a girl he might be dating, and Leo, a young man who can build things and can control fire. They find out there is a prophecy that will need seven heroes to save the day. The second book starts with this strange boy named Percy, stricken with a loss of memory that only knows one thing, a girl named Annabeth is probably pissed. He ends up at the Roman camp and receives a similar prophecy. The Heroes of Olympus series is as follows: Lost Hero, Son of Neptune, Mark of Athena, House of Hades, and The Blood of Olympus. There were parts in these books that have destroyed me. He is continuing the Greek and Roman stories now with the Trials of Apollo, the Hidden Oracle, the Dark Prophecy, the Burning Maze, and next year we will be getting the Tyrants’ Tomb. Apollo has been struck down from the heavens for something that happened in the Blood of Olympus and now is a mortal teenager, Lester Papadopoulos, now forced to gain his divinity back by freeing the oracles that have been hidden away from the world by an evil organization bent on domination. He has also written a series about the Norse gods called Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer, the Hammer of Thor, and the Ship of the Dead which all feature a young boy named Magnus trying to stop Ragnarok with the help of a mute elf, a fashion sensible dwarf, and a young Muslim American girl that wants to be a pilot that also happens to be a Valkyrie, we also meet Sam, a kid that is gender fluid, Sam rocks. He also wrote the Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid, Throne of Fire, and the Serpent’s Shadow. Carter and Sadie are forced to save the world with the help of Egyptian gods that must possess human hosts to interact with the world. These all are fun series for getting young adults into mythology, some of the myths are edited for content reasons but still live up to the amazingness that is mythology. Rick Riordan has also been working on getting more children of all ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations in his books. Inclusion is important for these young readers. These books are about accepting who you are and what you came from as well as making your own story. Looking back at the world mythologies, the heroes were from all walks of life, it did not matter if you were old or young, blind or had a gimp leg, everyone has a purpose and a destiny.

Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin. Game of Thrones is frustrating and amazing. There is so much to it, so much left out of what we experience in both the shows and the book. We are five books in and seven seasons of the show. The first book I read over the course of a year, getting most of it spoiled along the way, the danger of working in a retail environment. I made sure to work my way quickly through the rest of them, reading the Dance with Dragons in less than a week. Game of Thrones is successful for many reasons, as opposed to the farmer rising up to defeat the tyrant which is many of the fantasy tales we hear, this is nobles backstabbing and burning each other to the ground with their ambitions and treachery. We get mythical beings mentioned in the first scenes that most of the realms think are just stories or fairytales but are actual threats to the Seven Kingdoms, they take a while but are still coming for the south. We eventually get dragons, the exiled princess sold of to the barbaric horse riders in a distant land rises to be the queen of her people and lead them to victory. Characters we get attached too die suddenly, leaving voids in our hearts. We don’t learn, we fall for the next awesome character until they crushed by a mountain. Everyone jokes about the writing of the books and complains about it taking so long to come out. I casually remind people book one came out in 1996, we are in for a wait and the more you bother the author, the longer this is going to take. The show has done a marvelous job adapting the thousands of pages of books into the show, yes characters have been left out or killed off too early. It is a rare thing to see people get this excited and worked up about something in geek culture. The show has gotten millions of people to go out and buy the books in a genre they might have never picked up before. They are not simple reads either, each book is at least nine hundred pages depending on the binding you pick up. After reading so much of Martin I do feel every other book to be a quick read, even when nothing happens for a few hundred pages, I have gotten used to it. And even in the pages where it feels like nothing is happening there are small moments that if missed leave you in the dark to the next big thing on the horizon. Conversations between characters in one chapter can lead to entire families getting wiped out later on. I would also recommend checking out the short story book, Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, it follows a knight and his squire navigating the political landscape of Targaryen rule years before the Game of Thrones series takes place. It is an illustrated book with three short stories bordering on novellas.

Heir to the Empire, by Timothy Zhan. This was my first adult Star Wars books. I had read many of the Young Jedi Knights books with Jacen and Jaina and young Anikin Solo, which would haunt me later on. Heir to the Empire was the introduction to my favorite once cannon, then not cannon, and now cannon again villain, Grand Admiral Thrawn. He studied the art of the Empire’s enemies and would figure out their weakness. He was intimidating and cool at the same time. He drew together the factions of the Empire after the battle of Endor and was using clones again to fill out the ranks of troopers to help combat the New Republic and their forces. Luke was doing his Jedi things again and was losing touch with the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Leia was pregnant with the twins and being attacked by assassins left and right leading to a cool moment where she was called “Daughter of Vader”. The assassins had worked for Vader and reconized his scent. She went with them and helped their people fix their broken world and gained some protection for herself. The Thrawn series was amazing. There was a Sith named Joruus C'baoth, we meet Mara Jade who became very important for many reasons. This trilogy started me on the path of reading many of the Star Wars novels, which was exclusive to about four years. I read almost half the catalogue except for the X-Wing books and a few others. I loved the New Jedi Order books and still hurt from Vector Prime, I enjoyed having a foe that was absent in the force. I was very excited to see them bring Thrawn back in the Rebels show and it was excellent.

Keep on the Borderlands, by Gary Gygax. This was the first Dungeons and Dragons adventure I ever read through, I felt it needed mentioning, being the gateway to the twist my life has taken, trying to write and hopefully eventually publish a campaign world. I am in my twentieth year playing Dungeons and Dragons, most of it I have spent running the game as the dungeon master, leading parties of adventurers through challenges both great and deadly. The times I was able to play as a character have spawned stories that I will tell for years to come, from the Robank’s Avengers meeting an untimely end in a vampire lair, to Robank, my dwarven bard getting killed by a fear spell and haunting his axe until the party could reincarnate him, to Kannorack my changeling warmage/beguiler/bard, Rakomon Teledonde Orta my dusk blade cursed human with a drastic skin condition, and Drogo my tiefling gold dragon blooded sorcerer that just wanted to flirt with mermaids. I have played around fifty different characters over the years and have run eighteen campaigns, seven of which officially finished, the others either the group moved on or life changed or is still in progress.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Untamed Wilds Session 8!

August 8th 2018 beat the all-time number of players record I had run for before. Our session started with three brand new faces, two kids and a parent playing for the first time. We had many of our usual crowd as well as a few returning faces we had not seen for a bit bringing our party to fourteen players. the party had returned from their oceanic journey about a week before hand and were in full gear festival mode celebrating their victory over Jazina and her gnoll minions. Our group consisted of the new harpy warlock, minotaur bard, satyr barbarian, and the returning catfolk, the warlock, drunken master monk, ranger hunter, blood hunter, human wizard, satyr bard and paladin, lizard folk swashbuckler and druid, centaur barbarian, and crow ranger. Their party was ruined when screams and smoke filled the area and a hydra burst forth to fight the group. Many of the party had attacks that did fire damage naturally so it never had a chance to regenerate, the centaur was able to take many of the heads as the blood hunter’s burning arrows sealed the wounds. As the crow fired arrows straight into its heart the ground shook and the crowds parted to reveal two gorgon metallic bulls. The group had some difficulty getting through their armor but the satyr barbarian was able to lasso one of them and hold it still to grant his allies advantage on their attacks. One was able to use its blast of petrifying gas against a small wedge of characters but they were too hardy to fall prey to its miasma. The druid was able to smack one of the gorgons, granting the neck to the barbarian centaur allowing her to cleave the head right off. Once the gorgons were vanquished four cyclops pulled off their one-use invisibility cloaks and laid into the less armored members of the party. The wizard was offended such base creatures dare attack him and magic flowed freely. Two of the cyclops were charmed by the bard’s hypnotic pattern, one of the others was charmed by the paladin’s fey step which was then ruined when the swashbuckler shot it in the face. The druid knocked the largest over with a tidal wave and the cat folk warlock started him on fire with a flaming sphere. The paladin had asked the cyclops when it was under the charm effect to toss him at the other cyclops but since the charm broke he just fast ball threw him at the druid, getting knocked prone. The monk killed the paladin tosser cyclops and jumped from his paralyzed head to another about thirty feet away using both cat folk grace and monk shenanigans. On his next turn he continued to bash the head in on the cyclops. The harpy warlock used his eldritch blast a few times and decided to go into melee with one of the cyclops after using true strike on himself and also beating up on the same cyclops. the cat folk ranger made great strides in damage with her hunter ability to do additional damage to wounded foes the entire fight. The wizard did cause a bird to get sick in the distance after missing with his ray of sickness and used his rays of frost to deal out more consistent hits, relying on magic missile when the need was dire. ­The swashbuckler was eventually able to hit and it was critically damaging for his foes, the cat folk warlock was able to slowly pepper away at the foes, driving them away from her with each hit. The blood hunters fire arrows helped whittle away at the monsters hit points the entire combat, the satyr bard got to move everyone around the battle field with his inspirations and the minotaur bard got to use his charge attack to drastically wound one of the cyclops. Our rangers, mages, and blood hunter were able to dominate the long-distance game even with a smaller map than the giant pirate ship we had used last time. Our druid was able to use some great poison sprays and close-range spells while the wizard and warlocks definitely wore down the monsters with their arcane arsenal. The centaur barbarian used her great sword to amazing effect, most of the monsters failed to resist her additional lightning damage while the satyr barbarian was able to use one of his additional equipment to change up the battle dynamics. The bards did as bards do and supported everyone the best they could. Healing was hard to come by but luckily the satyr bard was able to give people temporary hit points around the battlefield. Dissonant whispers helped the party as well, with monsters fleeing from them they were granted free attacks each time. The monsters died and eventually the jovial atmosphere returned. Now the question is why did the monsters attack, and possibly who sent them?

Friday, August 3, 2018

Untamed Wilds session 7

Within sight of the Drake’s Fortune the party decided it was time to plan. The crow ranger used the spyglass and could see four different Jazinas walking around the ship, ogres with small ballista walking the triple decks of the ship, a blue ogre talking to the Jazina at the helm, odd Nothic eye beasts patrolling parts of the decks, gnolls manning small row boats filling the water, and a dark shape looming under the massive ship. They chose to toss in the titan hydra scale and then address their troops, the fifty minotaur and the two ogres they had on board with them as well as the quickling and the human cleric Kiel. As the captain, the satyr paladin, was summing up the plan with as much forethought as “get em” they heard sizzling from the water, the waves shifted, and the titan hydra grabbed the kraken from under the water and body-slammed it on the fleet of row boats that were surrounding the Drake’s Fortune. The quickling was sent aboard the Drake’s Fortune to cause havoc but no sign of him was seen since he ran across the water, stabbing gnoll as he passed. The party drew their ship in close to the Drake’s Fortune and sent ballista bolts with ropes attached to them to latch onto the ship. The ship had come in close enough that the barbarian centaur just jumped the twenty-foot distance, the paladin close on her hooves. They quickly encountered and distracted the three ogres with the oversized crossbows while other foes made to slow the party down. The lizard swashbuckler used one of the ballista and shot an ogre on the lower deck, which the ogre tried to return by shooting it back with his oversized crossbow but just became tangled in the rope having not pulled it from his body the proper way. Both the crow ranger and the catfolk blood hunter launched long range arrows at the crew and captain of the ship, drawing her attention. She used her wand of fireball to return the favor, hitting most of the party and burning their sails. After that the ranged fighters chose to spread out and get to the other ship by piggybacking with the minotaur over the open water. The minotaur started pulling the ships closer together via their ropes, keeping the ships from drifting too far apart and a boarding crew took the chance to climb aboard and go looking for their captured kin. The other group of party members went into the lower decks to battle against unseen foes. The paladin rode on the barbarian’s back helping her bash ogres and Nothic eye beast monsters in the thick of things. Our swashbuckler made his way over on one of the ropes and closed in on the rope confused ogre, which had fled into one of the doorways inside the ship. The swashbuckler turned the corner and ran the ogre through and noticed Jazina further in the ship. She cast a spell at him which caused his balance to be wrecked, making both walking and shooting his bow somewhat difficult, and she ran back into the ship, locking the door. While off kilter the swashbuckler was able to pull off a trick shot bounced off of Kiel’s helm and into an ogre. At this point the blood hunter made his way over and helped the swashbuckler right himself. The minotaur with the crow on its back had breached one of the doors and found the oar room with most of the minotaur chained to oars being whipped by a sickly gnoll and at his feet was the quickling laying in a pool of its own blood. The minotaur siege team took quick care of the gnoll and made to unlock their allies. Off at the back end of the room Jazina could be seen leveling a long tube with a wooden grip at the crow, a loud bang filled the air along with smoke and an inch sphere of metal lodged into him. The tube had blown up a bit and the Jazina dove behind minotaur for cover. The crow waited till she popped back up, being rewarded with her rising up with a wand leveled at him. He put two arrows into her face and as she fell back the wand discharged creating a globe of fire hitting a large portion of the minotaur. The crow spent the rest of the battle helping heal the wounded and saving the worse off ones from death, even the quickling, he also helped unbind the minotaur to help the others. The more abled bodied made their way deeper into the ship, taking out unseen threats. After the last ogre on deck perished from terrible blows from arrows, war hammers, and electric great sword strikes, the forgotten blue ogre caught the paladin, barbarian, and cleric Kiel in a cone of cold and ice, bringing them close to death. Two Jazinas made their way to the party, one creating fear in the minds of the cleric and the barbarian causing them to flee, and the other trying and failing to dominate the paladin. The blood hunter was attempting to scout other areas of the ship and ran face first into another eye beast, which he slammed the door on and attempted to brace it and flee, the creature did get off one of its eye effects, causing the blood hunter’s skin to rot. The blood hunter ran all the way back to the other ship, leaving the swashbuckler to deal with this dire foe. After a few attempts the swashbuckler was able to rend the foe and start sending arrows at the ogre as well. Kiel tried to keep up with the healing but there were so many injuries to work on that he was spread thin. Seeing the tables turning the paladin used his dance charm to catch Jazinas but failing to catch the ogre. The barbarian fled and after a few moments to calm herself charged on a lower deck and brought pain to the lesser of the two dancing Jazina, which also took an arrow to the skull from the blood hunter a few ships away, ending her threat. The ogre, seeing things were looking dire, if not just odd, charmed the paladin to stop dancing and Jazina cast her teleportation spell taking the ogre along with her. The party took stock of their situation as a few odd booms shook the ship and noted that not only did two of them get away, but another Jazina did not join the fight, the ship was starting to tip just slightly. The two sailors on the group realized the ship was slowly sinking from the way it was pitching and started looting the ship for supplies and munitions. Once they secured their gear and survivors the titan hydra thanked them for the chance of battle and offered to help speed their travel home with their liberated friends. Each player gets to choose either a plus one weapon or armor now as a reward for completing this story arc.

We did a podcast

Four years ago, my friends and I recorded a podcast. They have their own website dedicated to comics, video games and movies and wanted to try out Dungeons and Dragons, or in this case I ran an adventure in Pathfinder for them. Their Podcast is and the link to the adventure is here Enjoy!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Untamed Wilds Session 6

With the antidote in hand the party healed everyone on their ship from the affliction of “Turned to Deer” and heard an odd sound, they looked overboard and found a small boat with a sleeping dwarf in it. When he woke up pulled out a rusty knife and jokingly threatened to take over the ship. They brought him aboard and fed him while he introduced himself to the party and the other people on the boat. He was a dwarf from the north island that had become separated from his fellow travelers. The lizard folk worked together to set up a wall of fishbones to replace the wall that was missing from the back of the boat where the captain’s quarters used to be, the wall was only a few feet high. They set sail on the trail of Jazina and her pirates and consulted their map again, the bard taking a bit of time to identify the map finding it was not only ancient but elven made and had a secret phrase that would unlock its hidden bounty. He spoke the elvish word for “reveal” and two islands showed up as well as an odd rock formation they would have to pass to get to Jazina and her flag ship, the Drakes Fortune. They sailed through the afternoon and came within sight of the first island, which as they got closer they observed abandoned boats. A few were newer, but most of them looked beaten and worn down by the sea and time. They gave it some distance and as night fell they saw fire in the center of the island and could hear some sort of revel taking place. The night air was filled with the smells of a delicious feast and the sounds of a good time, but the party stayed away from it. During the night they had a few visitors, a greeting was heard from the water and the druid lizard folk saw a small kobold on a boat that was set up like a general store. He offered the party wares for gold and trade. The group was split into two groups, one side wanted to murder him and take everything he had, the other side wanted to trade and would attempt to stop the other group if stupidity overtook them. They traded away their magic speaking golden monkey skulls for a spyglass, the other spyglass was in the captain’s quarters that sank to the deep. They bought some lumber, chains, potions, healers kits, and a potentially cursed yo-yo. He bid them ado and rowed off into the night after telling them the first island had food that was so good you never wanted to leave and the other island had shepherds that would sell you sheep if you had things to trade. The next watch saw a few whales off in the distance coming up for air and the following watch felt something rock their boat. With their torches they noticed a column of green scales that lead to the face of a sea serpent flickering in the light. The serpent asked in a booming voice for Jazina to show herself, which woke the entire boat sending the party scurrying. Diplomacy mixed with selective phrasing was attempted by the bard and monk leading to a quick and to the point discussion. The swashbuckler tried to hide his Jazina hats he had taken as spoils of battle. He looked into the water and saw another serpent head rising up. The heads both started sniffing the boat and eventually found the hats. The party found out the beast was an enemy of the creature that Jazina employed to destroy her enemies, the dreaded kraken. The party informed it where her ship was and they were not her friends. It left them a scale to throw into the water when they were close to her ship to bring him into the fray. Left confused, the party went back to sleep and finished off their watches. In the morning they sailed further past the second island, a hilly rock with herds of sheep milling about. They decided again to stay off and away from the island for fear of another deer incident. After a few more hours of sailing and some minor reef navigation they drew close to an odd bit of water full of broken ships, floating bodies, and in the distance large columns of stone jutting up from the ocean known as the Titan’s Ribcage. With their spyglass the ranger and blood hunter noticed odd forms flying around the ribs, recognizing them as more stitched together dragon creatures and they were eating something. With their combined effort in the crow’s nest and the centaur navigator they started making for the ribs, knowing from their map there was only one safe way through without wrecking the ship and ending up like the rest of the flotsam. As they started their progress they were almost caught off guard by one of the dragon creatures dive booming the deck. The bard knocked it out of the sky and into the water with a spell of laughter and it was struck by the boat as it continued moving forward. The centaur tied off the wheel and started her charge toward the front of the ship where all the action was taking place, the quickling guarding the wheel from danger if need be. The other two dragons hovered above the deck and blasted people with their chilling breath, the party all rushing up to deal with their foes. the minotaur had been ordered to attack anything they could with the ballista on the sides of the ship but were unable to bring anything to bear quick enough to deal with the dragons, some drawing smaller crossbows to shoot at the winged threats. The new dwarf friend called down a few pillars of radiant light to vex the scaled beasts and the monk was quick to land quite a few punishing blows against it, knocking it prone again. The first dragon eventually fell to the centaurs assault as well as electrical vengeance. The second dragon realized people were shooting at it and attacked the crow’s nest mercilessly with both chilling breath and tooth and nail. The blood hunter fell first, just to the floor of the crow’s nest and not out of it. The cleric threw a small ranged healing spell to him, hoping to keep him around for a bit longer. The ranger stabbed at the beast also taking a few hits too and eventually fled, almost succumbing to the pain. The third dragon had gone after the minotaur manning the ballista and was quickly punched in the back by repeat attacks of the monk and the dwarf cleric. The centaur had a few good hits as well and the beast fell. The monk, seeing his friends in the crow’s nest were in trouble, ran up to help them. The bard threw around a few spells to harry the minds of the dragons and enabled his allies to last longer in the combat as well as limited mobility bonuses, the druid threw fire at the dragons, attempting to burn them away, and while it was difficult to throw the flame the ship did not catch fire. The minotaur attempted to detach a few of the ballista to shoot at the dragons on deck and missed terribly. The swashbuckler had little luck with his bow. The crow’s nest was a mess, the ranger had fled and the blood hunter climbed away from the beast while it was preoccupied with the fleeing ranger, eventually the monk was able to bludgeon the life out of the dragon and it fell to the deck in a heap of broken bone and gristle. The party gathered their wits and continued piloting their ship before it continued its crash course with the ribs and were able to safely make their way within sight of the Drake’s Fortune, stationary on the sea on the horizon. The party has now made it to 5th level.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Untamed Wilds Session 5

With the ship still afloat, the group decided to multitask, one group went after whatever was left in the captain’s quarters and the other went below deck to find any remaining opposition on board. The crow ranger, the lizard swashbuckler, and the lizard druid entered Jazina’s cabin finding a book on the desk, a four-corner bed, and a few chairs. The book was disturbed by the swashbuckler, causing the entire cabin to slide off the ship, bars fell and locked into place on the windows, and the bed turned to stone causing the entire room to start sinking into the ocean. They first attempted the door, which sent an electric shock through them from the doorknob. The ranger slapped the book back on the desk, causing it to flip open and reveal the explosive runes charm. They took damage from the inferno and most of the room that was not submerged in water was now on fire. The druid used thunder wave to blow a hole in the ceiling and push the ranger through, but he got stuck. She tried to push him but accidentally was a bit frisky. The swashbuckler was able to get him free and push him out into the open ocean. They were able to swim up to the surface, realizing they had sunk almost ninety feet in less than a minute. They watched in the darkness as the room hit something serpentine and continue sinking. They joined the rest of their group on the ship. Meanwhile the paladin and the barbarian found and freed the minotaur below deck and found two other adventurers, a human wizard and a cat folk druid, as well as a strange mythical beast known as a Kirin. As soon as they opened the Kirin’s cell it flew off and the paladin swung a few points of healing on it as it passed him. They also found two ogres sleeping in the crew cabins, the paladin grabbed the pirate queens head, tossed it in their room and told them their master was dead, they could either join the crew proper or sink in the ocean. He gave them a few moments alone in their room and they came out to call him captain. The group all took jobs on the ship, the paladin acting as captain, the swashbuckler acting as first mate, the centaur as navigator, and everyone else looked into the food shortage issue having over fifty mouths to feed and bodies to get healthy. A few of the party took to fishing or assisting the ones fishing with magic, they were able to catch many odd fish and found out one of their new ogre friends was the ship's cook. They went with him to the kitchen and found it not up to ship standards, full of garbage, and the bones of many fish strewn about. They helped him clean it out and start over. The minotaur were all malnourished and exhausted from their time as gnoll prisoners and needed proper rest. The party checked out the map on board and realized it was a magic map showing them the entire sea as well as tiny boats to indicate where they were. They noticed the Drake’s Fortune was a about a day ahead of them and found two more islands that would have food to restock their larder, one labeled “fruits” and the other “meats”. The party made speed to the fruits island and found it, observing the island to only be a few miles wide with a large mountain surrounded by dense fruit bearing trees. The rangers and the blood hunter used their heightened senses to scan the island for other life and only found a few monsters lived on top of the mountain. The party used their away boats to ferry to gather the fruit, a few of the party and the ogre taste testing the product they were taking. They noticed the apple banana hybrid fruit to be overly delicious almost to the point of instant addiction, high in sugar and flavor, the wizard noticed all of it radiated mild transmutation magic. Seeing nothing instantaneous they figured it was good eating, even the tree sap was delicious, the centaur had one of the ogres try it and he tried to throw one of the trees to the ship so they could bring it with. The druids and paladin decided they needed to take saplings with them and returned to the boat. They decided to stay within eyesight of the island overnight and sail out in the morning, the first watch noticed a chilling green light on the island and when they went to wake the next watch both the paladin and the barbarian, the two that had tried the fruit had turned into deer. They switched out the watch and experimented with the fruit a bit finding no way to change them back. In the morning they realized they had never stopped the crew from continuing eating the fruit, and they also were all turned into deer, even Kiel and their quickling friend, who became a small cat sized deer. Realizing they had no real choice, they made their way back to the island and went to where they sensed the monsters the day before. They found a large ruined city and a temple built into the mountain. Inside the temple they found ancient broken traps and proceeded to break into every room and disturbing everything within, first finding spider webs and a room of spoiled goods, double doors with eyes painted on them, a broken dart trap that just blew whiffs of air, and a large spider and its three corpses it had been feeding on. The party was hesitant to open the double doors and had split into three smaller groups to deal with whatever the temple had left to throw at them. The spider was easy pickings for the party, it missed the druid with an attack and fell victim to fire and hoof attacks, leading into a hall with a gelatinous cube. The other small group found a skeletal man with green eyes sitting on a heavy chair in an empty room, he spoke in a strange tongue the bird and blood hunter did not recognize. The bird shot him twice, the skeleton spoke strange words and the bird disappeared in a flash of green smoke. The blood hunter continued to launch arrows into the skeleton until it tried to summon a larger spell to take out these invaders, bringing forth a shifting blue cube of elemental energy. The blood hunter weighed his options and shot the cube, causing the creature to drop it, causing a ten-foot radius sphere of nothingness to disintegrate part of the room as well as the creature. Those who spoke the human tongue heard it say “Oh shit” before a tearing sound ripped it from this world. Many members of the group gathered around to see what the commotion was on this side, leaving the paladin and the catfolk druid with the gelatinous cube, which was able to get off a few hits on the paladin while he and the cat both fled in opposite directions. At this point the bird fell to the ground in the main chamber with two odd women, one had a normal looking upper body but her legs were the body of a lion, the other had the lower body of a serpent. They welcomed the bird, asking them to help them drive out the invaders using magic to persuade him. The catfolk druid was investigating the murals and mosaics trying to figure out what this place was and from studying the wall art gleaned a bit of history. These creatures that lived here were like gods, they were worshiped by lesser things. They tried to gain more power by summoning a demon or devil, and it killed their gods and destroyed their cities, now only two of these creatures remain. She was also able to glean the order of cisterns to fix her friends. Most of the party was investigating a trio of cisterns and an arrow just missed the wizard, he turned to see the bird shooting at him, a strange snake lady try to charm him, and a lion woman charge him. Chaos ensued as the group tried to deal with these creatures. The paladin, having just gained some distance from the cube saw the bird shooting at his friends and started dancing, compelling the bird and the snake woman to start dancing as well. The party pummeled the Lamia, and realizing they were outmatched the lamia pled for mercy, promising treasure and a cure for the deer. The party took their word, spared them and gained the cure to save themselves and their crew. They returned to the ship with even more fruit, the antidote acted as a vaccine against the magic of the fruit, something the lamia had used to punish those that would steal from them without leaving tribute. They also admitted to selling deer to traveling merchants.

Untamed Wilds super session

On July eleventh, our session had an abnormally large turn out for players. We had a three of the regular players unable to make it and had four new players start. We were joined by a human life cleric, a human wizard, a cat folk drunken master monk, and a half elf eldritch knight fighter. Having prepared more of their sea voyage I had to change up my plans, pitting this army of twelve heroes against a force of invading ogres and hill giants. The giant kin were trying to attack Godmoot, the home of many of the players and the encounter went better than expected, each player getting moments to shine while combating the small attack force of giant kin. There was also a Nothic, an eye attack-based creature that ran on all fours and creeped everyone out, it was able to sneak up on the party members that were hiding out in the rear of the battlefield. It was a good two and a half hours of combat but it worked well, the monk catfolk stealing kills, the wizard crippling an ogre and freezing another. The paladin and our new cleric were able to magically bless a few of the new members as well, adding to their chances of success. Combinations of good crowd control from the bard and many arrows from the blood hunter and crow ranger helped whittle down their oversized foes. The cat folk ranger critically wounded one of the giants as it was fleeing the bard when the whole group got to attack it for free and the druid lizard was able to use her flame scimitar to great dismay of the ogres. Ray of sickness seemed to be a fun punishment against the ogres as well. 

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Island Map for Untamed Wilds

Greetings!! For readers as well as players I have added the map constructed for this campaign. I used Inkarnate, a free website that allows you to make maps for your worlds. They have a more Pro version that has more features. More Information can be found here

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Untamed Wilds Session 4

The adventure picked up with the party trying to figure out where to go next. They found out the gold monkey skull they found last time was a communication device and were unsure how or if they should use it or not. After much discussion they chose to leave the blood-stained pirate vessel with a broken mast and after much more discussion take the smaller boat known as the Tarrasque Shell. Before heading out a few bought potions and Ki-el bought a necklace that gave him a common language. The two characters with a sailing background, our lizard rogue and centaur barbarian, took up charge and navigated the party off in the indicated direction of the stolen minotaur. About an hour into their journey the cat folk monk on watch noticed a small vessel in their way that would be sunk unless they took evasive actions. The two sailors could not make a decision quick enough the smaller boat was crushed underneath. They heard a cry for help and the lizard rogue left overboard to save a small fey man known as a quickling. He told them he was running from a few past debts and just happened to be in their way. The party was hard pressed to trust him until it was let slip that Jazina had been defeated and he seemed visibly relieved, he was in greatest debt to her and now only had to worry about a northern human man that sought his coin. The group continued sailing and at nightfall they took turns watching the seas for trouble. As the raven ranger and the lizard druid watched there were odd blue lights floating towards their boat. The black sail came into focus as well as the bleached white bone deck, the pirate garbed skeleton waved hello from the deck of the odd vessel. They woke the rest of the party from their slumber and pointed out the strange sight before them. The skeleton pirate engaged the party in conversation for a bit until his fellow undead had climbed up the opposite side of the party’s boat and started attacking. The team got to see their new quickling friend in action, tossing a silver stringed dagger at his foes and pulling it back to his hand. The skeleton pirate captain threw magic at the party, shattering the crow’s nest, but was put down when the centaur, monk, and bard jumped across the gap between ships and pummeled him. In their moment of victory, the party questioned what to do with a pirate ship as it disincorporated and they fell into the water. The rest of the party dealt with the remaining skeletons quickly. The rest of the night went uneventfully except a dolphin jumping over their boat. The next morning the party continued sailing finding a small island only sixty feet long bearing only a solitary palm tree and sand. The party left Ki-el aboard and investigated, finding something had been buried and dug up a dead elf who unfortunately had suffocated in a wooden casket buried in the sand, and the borrowing crab like monsters in his stomach. The crab monsters climbed out and were annihilated by the party. They verified with Ki-el that it was an elf they found and buried it back on the island, setting sail after a few more investigations. Later in the afternoon they caught black sails on the horizon, finally finding the Kraken’s Maw, one of the other pirate ships with their minotaur friends. They waited till nightfall and attempted to sneak their ship within striking range. They sent their quickling friend into the ship ahead of them to see what havoc he could cause. A few minutes later they heard loud noises and a few yells and took that moment to shoot out the watcher in the crow’s nest. The rest of the party attempted to board the ship, finding the jump and climb difficult and three gnolls were readying the pair of ballista. The monk killed one of the gnolls and disabled the device with its body. The pirate leader, again a tiefling with light blue skin and swirling tattoos that looked just like Jazina. Jazina approached the party and use a spell to create a wave of thunder that struck four of the group, only one was blasted off the ship, landing on their own boat. The Lizard rogue decided to pull the boat around to come along side the bigger ship. In his attempt he misjudged the distance, turning ability, and the way a boat works and jammed his ship nose down under the larger ship somehow, starting the process of sinking his own ship. He and the rest of his crew were able to make their way onto the larger ship safely. The group was able to again overpower this Jazina figure and her minions on top of the ship, the Bloodhunter sinking an arrow into eye socket and the ranger making short work of the last remaining gnoll.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Untamed Wilds Session 3

Continuing the adventure with the gnoll pirates in Northpoint, the satyr paladin, satyr bard, catfolk warlock, and catfolk bloodhunter stayed behind with Phil, their human hench-person to help the minotaur militia deal with undead gnoll that came pouring into the town from the ocean while the rest of the party made their way down the docks to deal with the pirate queen and her forces. The lizard folk rogue fighter, centaur barbarian, raven person ranger, catfolk ranger, lizard folk druid, catfolk monk, and Ki-el their human healer were joined by a gnome barbarian in laying waste to the forces of the pirate queen Jazina. They charged across the docks and saw her ship, the Wasted Wyrm attempting to fix its damaged mast, two archers set up watching for interlopers, a large gnoll and two smaller ones on the dock waiting for instructions from their boss. As the party charged forward the lizard folk fighter noticed something pass him in the water as he was swimming and the water became pitch black. He made his way onto the dock and was followed by a massive tentacle, which grabbed him and slammed him near his friends. The party could hear odd flute sounds coming from the ship but could not see the source. At this point a second tentacle rose from the water on the other side of the dock, changing the party’s priorities from charging ahead to dealing with whatever this monster was. The lizard woman druid sending vine whips and poison sprays to deter the tentacles as well as the large gnoll. The raven ranger took aim and started picking off the archers while the large gnoll and one of the normal ones ran off to face the party. The tentacles thrashed about attempting to knock anyone within reach into the water but were quickly dealt grievous blows, and they retreated into the water the party rejoiced until the pitch of the flute changed and a terrible keening scream could be heard from the fog covered town. A dark shape flew from the fog and dove into the water. The party could not make out its form, arrows shot down from the ship and the centaur was struck with a ballista bolt from the battle-ready ship of gnolls. The group dealt with the large gnoll and as he fell an oddly scarred and sewn poorly white dragon pulled itself from the water, its scales darkened and bruised and the stitching in odd arcane pattern across its form. It opened its jaws and caught half the party in a cone of freezing cold. The team gang piled the dragon eventually cutting it in half and sending it to the deep. More gnoll jumped off the ship and the mysterious flute player could be seen, a pale white skinned tiefling pirate woman with icy blue runes dancing across her skin. The lizardman fighter shot at her and as the arrow went wide a large armored gnoll with a tall shield attempted to block it, interposing himself in front of his master. The party dealt with the other minions and eventually were able to board the boat and face down the large armored gnoll and Jazina, the raven ranger scoring a deep blow with an arrow to her chest, causing her to blast the ranger with fire, knocking him out of the battle. The gnoll was quickly overwhelmed and cut down, two well placed blows from the monk breaking its spine, and Jazina fell when she attempted to escape from the centaur and lizardman fighter and was cut in half, and then had her neck bit out by the lizardman. The party investigated the ship finding Jazina’s quarters, fifty minotaur strapped to oars, quite a good deal of ale and spirits, and a wealth of sailing supplies. In Jazina’s quarters they found a large bed, a desk, and a small golden monkey skull. The lizardman fighter found the room was oddly designed to detach from the ship but was unable to find out how. The catfolk ranger found a journal and realized that the writer, presumably Jazina, was writing to another Jazina about the new-found alliances with the hobgoblins and the serpent men pirates and the two other ships had left earlier with an equal amount of minotaur slaves. It further mentioned they would be heading to the rendezvous point and from there to the Witch’s Head. They found the Witch’s Head on a map and realized it was perfectly between the three islands. The party is now faced with a choice, they can return home to Godmoot to see what their goddess and the elders want them to do next or take this ship and sail out to save the other minotaur from unknown fates. There are other options as well but for now they feast their victory with the freed minotaur. The party is now level three. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Untamed Wilds Session 2

The party rested after their harrowing experiences with the reptile crab monsters and the bard used comprehend languages to listen in on their new human friends and figure out where they came from. He paraphrased to the rest of the party what was being said and eventually the humans caught on, the human cleric, named Ki-el, cast comprehend languages as well and explained clearer what their plight was. He and Phil came from the northern island and were captured by pirates of Wasted Wyrm. Their captor was Jasina, a tiefling pirate and known slave trafficker, who brought them to this island to trade with a strange satyr with black fur. They had been beaten and drugged and had awoken when the party was fighting off the horrible monsters in the pit. At this point they had no clue if they would be able to return home and would stick with the party as long as they needed to. The party was interrupted from the history lesson by two pixies that wandered over to see why a small military strike force was hanging out in the middle of the road. The party asked them about the roads and found out the minotaur city, Northpoint, they needed to go to was currently a day away and on fire, and when the party asked about the strange satyr with the bugs they learned about Kalish Blackfur, transmutation exile from Godmoot for breeding dangerous creatures as well as attacking caravans with a dragon that can melt metal with its breath. They informed the pixies of what they had seen and went off on their way, the pixies making their way to Godmoot to report with Ellendriana. Night fell and they made camp, finding their rest disturbed by a huge owlbear that not only was larger than normal, but also was undead and accompanied by four small twig creatures. The group made relatively quick work of the monsters and in the morning a selection of warriors tracked the owlbear trail to an out of place graveyard, leaving a few behind by the campsite. Most of the funerary practices on the island follow more cremation style traditions, the graveyard is more of a northern thing. The party found the cemetery was way older than originally thought and right outside its crumbled gates they found a large hole full of vines that looked like it could have held an owlbear skeleton. The lizard folk fighter/thief made his way into one of the four mausoleums and found a long rusted but still functional sword. As he left he noticed many of the vines surrounding the and inside the building were moving. The bard and the druid used magical divinations to figure out what the vines were and figure they are some kind of magical creature that is connected to all the vines and there is some kind of structure underneath the cemetery. The raven folk ranger remembered hearing of a corpse vine from a traveling storyteller that visited his forest home about high adventure on the seas and a boat being destroyed by similar vines and the swamp druid remembered assassin vines also much like these vines. The party decided to leave this area alone for now and come back later when better equipped. They rejoined the others and made their way to the outskirts of Northpoint. They could see its untouched lighthouse situated just east of the town up on the nearby hill as well as the still slightly smoking city. They went to the lighthouse to look for survivors and found two dead gnolls presenting with a case of spear wounds to the face, but no spear anywhere to be seen. The high walled fence held the party back momentarily. From their vantage point they could see large sails of a mighty ship in the port and what looked like figures moving parts of other ships and bound minotaur onto the largest ship, the rest of the ships looked looted or junked. As the party discussed options the monk climbed up and saw a sleeping female goliath resting against the lighthouse wall with a large spear at hand. The monk woke her carefully and the rest of the party joined them after the goliath, Gorast, opened the gates for them. They found out more about the gnoll raiders, there were about twenty left in town, two giant gnolls carrying minotaur, and their leader, the pirate. They asked for help raiding the town to free the minotaur and she declined, saying her place was here with the other survivors, but she would look for a friend that could or might help them. The group discussed a few off-putting plans when the tower guard came back with a wrinkly old goliath with tribal facial tattoos, and he seemed agitated being pulled away from his work. The party told them the basis of their plan and the old goliath used a lightning bolt to sunder the mast of the ship, the Wasted Wyrm. Then he had his guard carry him to the top of the lighthouse and he also created a bank of fog to sew confusion in the ranks of the enemies whilst cackling like a madman. The party watched as a small child minotaur looked around the door and asked if Feklin used magic again and its mother came to collect it and slam the door shut. The warband of adventurers made their way down to the fog covered town to hear the sounds of combat from within, the front gates wide open. it seemed survivors from the attack on the village were roused to combat as the fog filled the streets and the minotaur wanted to save their city. As they made their way in a large minotaur arm grabbed at the satyr paladin but before it struck him realized he was not a gnoll and let him go, the minotaur fading into the mist. The lizard folk fighter/rogue was able to stop the party from being torn apart by a hail of arrows launched from gnolls at the attacking minotaur. The satyr bard created an illusionary sound that corralled a few of the gnoll down another street, finding themselves down a well. the raven folk ranger was noticed by a large sized gnoll and the centaur barbarian beheaded it before it could do any harm. The lizardfolk druid stopped the party before they were trampled by minotaur, the catfolk ranger knocked over a minotaur merchants cabbage cart, much to the owner’s dismay. The catfolk monk dodged a hunk of still burning building that fell and was able to keep the party away from it. The catfolk warlock and blood hunter both stumbled out of the fog cloud and noisily made their way onto the long pier and were noticed by a group of gnolls. The fight was quick, there were only two normal gnolls and a large gnoll, the big one carrying two chained minotaur over its shoulders, one of which it dumped into the water as combat started. The lizard fighter dove into the water to save the minotaur, the rest of the party proceeded to beat the tar out of the gnolls. The centaur charged the large one dealing massive amounts of damage, the satyr bard charmed the two regular gnolls and cast hideous laughter on the big guy, causing him to fall over and be set upon by the rest of the party. The other two gnolls fell quickly.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Untamed Wilds session 1

June  6th of 2018, We started a new campaign at the game store with many of the same players as my last game store game. The game was taking place on an island controlled by a forest giant goddess that sends adventurers on missions to protect the realm from threats from outside. I described the game to them as Thundercats meets Narnia and gave them a tiny bit of information months back before we finished the last campaign. I let them choose from Goliaths, satyrs (eladrin elf stats), centaur, minotaur, cat folk, lizard folk, harpy, and crow folk. The island has a very Greek mythological feel to it as well, many familiar monsters will make appearances. The group made a chat group online and has discussed what they wanted to play, and I kept myself in the dark. When we gathered for the first session I sat down to four cat folk, a centaur, a crow person, two lizard folk, and two satyrs. We have a blood hunter, monk, ranger, and warlock cat folk, a centaur barbarian, a ranger crow person, a fighter and druid lizard folk, and a bard and paladin satyrs. The party gathered in the town of Godmoot to find out strange things were happening in the northlands in a small minotaur fishing village. On the first night of their journey they met a strange albino satyr named Keyhaw, he was a traveling storyteller one of the other satyrs had heard about in legends. He gave them background and rumors about the world and asked a few stories from them as well. In the morning he left, thanking them for the use of their fire and company, and the party headed north. They found two gnolls, strange bipedal hyena men, guarding what looked like a hole in the ground. The monk attempted to conversation with them and when that went sour the military strike team of a group backed him up and destroyed the two gnolls and investigated the ground hole. The entire party climbed down the earthen ladder inside and found a recently killed cow, a few pale fleshy hairless “humans”, and a hatching pile of eggs within the cow. As they attempted to break the eggs they heard muffled screaming from the next chamber as well and saw a few pink bodies being pulled apart by small reptilian crab creatures. The party fought them off and freed the two-remaining pink “men”, arming one with a knife and the other started healing the party. The two “men” did not share a language with the party so they were pantomiming with them to figure out what was going on. They killed seventeen of the odd monsters and three escaped into the walls, digging their way to the surface. The satyr bard used his fey power to return outside without having to climb and found a black furred satyr and four gnolls with a huge reptilian wolf creature up top. The black furred satyr had a stone whistle in his mouth and the remaining crab monsters climbed onto his outstretched arm. He asked what happened to the rest and the bard tried to deceive him, poorly. He fell victim to a holding spell and the party came up from the hole and attacked their new foes. The lizard folk fighter stabbed the black furred satyr in the chest with a sword so as a rebuttal the black furred satyr casually tossed a dagger into the lizard folk’s neck, knocking him out, and faded from view. The gnolls attacked and one of them ran the now dying lizard folk through the gut with his spear, the rest of the party flew to his defense, the monk also getting knocked out. Tactics mode kicked in as the group attempted to save their friends and slay their foes, the druid spraying poison onto a few of the attackers, ruining future attacks for them. The day was won and the healer ally helped fix the many wounds on the group, ensuring his own safety. They raided the gnolls both outside and down in the hole, where the other ones had fallen finding many spears and armor, which the “men” took as armor to hide their almost nakedness. The group survived first level and will arrive at their destination next session.

Dungeons and Dragons! Part 9, the Final path

The party helped the city recover and after a month returned to the life of adventuring. They had been sent to investigate a strange fortress on foreign and potentially enemy soil where strange magically occurrences were happening. One they arrived they found the other group they were going to team up with murdered on the mountains side. They observed at the front door two guards letting in two well dressed men into the fortress. the two guards accompanied them inside and a few moments later came back out and one had blood on his sword. The party used illusion magic to look like another group of guards and claimed to be from the white regiment and were here to investigate the fortress and the guards were skeptical, to be fair the party was very skeptical of the guards. As they exchanged bluffs a mage stepped out of the keep and the gig was spoiled. The druid using his alter-self ability bit one of the guards and they noticed no blood on his outfit, his body was slimmer then it appeared, and the sword that hit him in return felt a lot like a great axe. The party made quick work of the door guards and realized they were dealing with changeling invaders. Horrible shambling could be heard from within the corridors and zombies started to approach the party, who then blocked the exit with a cart. The zombies attempted to climb under the cart and were soundly destroyed. The group snuck into the fortress and found a long blood-stained hallway devoid of life which eventually lead to a larger intersection with closed doors to the left, a hallway forward, and a hall to the right with a small door with voices coming from behind it. They investigated the voices first, both the bard and one of the artificers entered the chamber to find magical humanoids in large cells. The scarred tiefling informed them they were test subjects and the floor went out from the cells and all the monsters fell and were absorbed by the “machine”. The party ignored the room full of zombies and decided to enter the next room with a group going in each door, the druid and the snake folk artificer entering from the first door and the rest of the party, the bard, paladin, and war forged artificer entering the second door. The paladin, now an oath breaker, brought her beholder zombie from an earlier adventure with her. The druid was in earth elemental form and got the lay of the land with his tremor sense, finding there were two strange creatures in the room overlooking the lower levels, a huge storm troll, and four mages casting spells into odd amplifiers powering a giant obelisk of adamantine. The bard peeked into the observation chamber and saw the two strange creatures, one appeared to be an undead lich, the other looked like thousands of bugs trying to hide in a robe, so she ran away. The druid instantly started pummeling one of the mages and the bard used dominate monster to bring the troll onto their side. The troll attacked and killed two of the mages. The rest of the party moved into the room and started attacking the mages that were left. The two cloaked figures started casting spells and took control of the troll back as well as put the party off balance. The troll used his lightning to wound a large number of the party members and the druid knocked out part of the wall and went for the bug man. His attacks seemed to do minimal damage against the robe of bugs and he became enveloped within its gross anatomy. The other lich took this chance to hit the druid elemental with a disintegrate spell, greatly wounding him. The rest of the party killed the last of the smaller mages off and saw that as they killed them their bodies got pulled into their magic amplifiers. The bard reversed the gravity in the room, attempting to wound the enemies but only succeeded in putting the druid on the ceiling. The artificers continued blasting the liches and the troll with their guns, costing the druid his elemental shape when shot with thunder damage, knocking him back to his firbolg self. The party attempted to use magics against the liches, who used counter spell to great effect. The liches grew tired of this charade and fire balled half the rest of the group and using higher spells on the obelisk. The metal and stone shattered and the party watched as a graceful metal dragon levitated above the floor and screamed. The party was pulled to the dragon and passed out, awaking standing in a swamp of ice cold water, in the dark, surrounded by howling and white trees. 
Once they gathered their bearings a duster wearing blood-soaked figure came running out of the darkness and was being chased by werewolves. The group, now featuring a dwarven brute fighter, made quick work of the werewolves with higher level spells such as moon beam, fire ball, and polymorph, making a tiny yarn golem into a hulking tyrannosaurus rex made of yarn. The night was young, the moon seemed closer than it should be as well. The group traveled on water walk to the small island about a mile away and set up a base camp, grilling their new blood covered friend, a human named Atticus Alewin. Atticus was from the area, telling the party about the nearby fishing village he currently calls home and explained a bit of the current strife in the land, and deflected questions about his blood fueled sword. While the cleric worked on summoning their lodging for the evening the party watched out for any other werewolves or other nocturnal hunters. The cleric’s summoned lodgings turned out to be a large temple dedicated to his divinity, fire. Within the structure the ceiling looked to be on fire, had a solitary door and two small windows. The party rested and alternated watches to make sure nothing truly nasty surprised them, also keeping an eye on Atticus, who made an odd cross of his swords to work as a drying rack for his swords and passing out on the stone floor. During the night the cleric scry on the troll they fought and saw he was within the castle of the lord within an iron maiden draining him just enough that he would not die.  On the first watch the fighter saw a large pillar like smoke rising off about three hundred yards. As he watched the pillar formed an eye on its top and started surveying a part of the swamp, and when it saw suitable prey descended on something in the darkness, horrible thrashing could be heard in the swamp, followed by a scream and then silence. He woke up the bard and went to sleep. During the bards watch she saw a raven that blocked out the moon, at first thinking it was close by, and later realizing it was further away and the size of an elephant if not bigger. She went and woke the druid for his watch. The druid stood vigil standing outside the door of the temple, keeping it open if he needed evacuation. After the first hour nothing was happening, then he heard a splash near the small island. He watched as something swam quickly to the shore and scampered across its surface, there was a light growl and another splash in the water and it swam away. the druid thought about what he just saw and went back inside realizing the thing he saw looked like human torso with a longer than normal spine, no lower body, and a perfectly smooth face. He locked the door and waited till morning to wake anyone else. They found out that the “spinetail” are dangerous predators of the waters and should be avoided. Atticus was the last to wake and realized in the light that a few of his new companions were not of this world, he was confused by the warforged, dragonborn, and two firbolg traveling with the part elves, halfling, and dwarf. The party grilled Atticus for information about his homeland, the political structure of the land, and who lived in the area. He gave them the best info he could, being a “simple” monster hunter and told them the more exotic races did not exist in this land. The group packed up and rode the carpet to the town of Kaer, finding a simple fishing village living on the edge of the swamp. Atticus got them inside after the group donned costumes and hid their monstrous visages and took them to the small tavern called the Empty Coffer. Other than the bartender and the group there was a bard slowly making his way into the common room. Fengast de Bard was very inquisitive and interrogated the party on their ambitions after giving them plot details and information regarding the metal and stone dragon in the center of the lord’s castle. Fengast de Bard also confused the party with his black and white checkerboard motley garb and monogramed handkerchief he handed out the party, he seemed to have an endless supply. The party knew they would have to go find the dragon to go home and that the enemy had it. Fengast de Bard was a part of a group called the Whispers, an organization seeking to save those the lord of the castle was seeking to destroy, corrupt, or control and attempted to sway the party to dispose of the lord. The party decided to take over a small abandoned home in the town and asked why it was abandoned. The barkeep Bresha told them the family left when one of the girls got bit by a spinetail and tried to eat her sister. The party set up camp in the abandoned building and kept seeing a flash of a small child running around in the building. The bard played tag with the child and tagged her. Later the child pulled on the bard’s leg and the bard saw nothing next to her and heard hissing and saw in the dust the phrase “come find us”. The cleric and witch worked on consecrating the home and the moment the Hallow spell completed the wall of the city blew off and a gargantuan monster entered but failed to get any closer to the house. The party threw a round of magics and pain into the creature and it fled further into the city, killing civilians and turning them into monstrous undead. The cleric and his kobold charged him to use divine magic to wound him and the beast bit down on the cleric, leaving the kobold alone on the magic broom, face to face with the beast. The druid decided to use tsunami and ended up destroying almost the entire town, drowning dozens, and destroying whatever protection the survivors had by tearing down the walls with the torrent of water. In shock, the rest of the party attacked the Hemless beast and eventually felled it, unleashing a swarm of dead villagers turned wights. The party destroyed them quickly. The bard Fengast de Bard gave them a map to quickly get to Strahd’s castle and sent them on their way. The party flew over the forests following the map while the druid, now deemed a murderer swam bellow them across the land. They found a camp site and build another small temple for the god of fire and the druid again was left outside, the rest of the party not trusting his choices in the previous battle. While on watch he saw a few of the enormous heads rolling across the distance towards the now ruined Kaer. He also felt a presence near him and turned to see a large sized skeleton sitting next to him staring off in the distance. He gave the skeleton some ale, which it drank, then it disappeared. In the morning the party made the final approach to the castle of Strahd. As they gazed at it they made a choice. The witch had the ability to change the terrain via magic as well as alter the sounds generated within its walls. He first sent his familiar to scout and found the throne room and the giant metallic dragon they were searching for, Strahd, his tinker goblin, and one of the Liches. While the familiar watched the witch set the magic into motion. The walls and floors and stone of the castle turned to glass and as the tinker goblin working on the golem dragon hit it with its hammer it went “smack, smack, quack” and confusion was had. The goblin turned to its master and shouted “Quack!” and in his rage the master struck him down with unholy fire and the flames roared with many quacks. The party chose that time to strike, the dwarf fighter jumped off the magic carpet, landing twenty feet down onto the glass floor with an enormous quacking sound, one of his feet breaking through, and charged Strahd. The druid shape shifted into a huge ape and broke through the glass and dropped behind Strahd, grabbing him with his large mitts. Strahd did not like this situation and ghost stepped to stand on top of the ape and snapped his fingers, casting meteor swarm, destroying his throne room of glass with loud quacking sounds and sending both the fighter and druid falling through many floors of glass until they reached the bottom of the quack zone and landing in glass strewn water, and a moment later the dragon golem and the lich landed next to them. The rest of the party tried to stay safe on their magic carpet and watched as Strahd went below and started whaling on the fighter and druid with magic. The lich informed them to throw any magic they had into the dragon golem as more guards started falling through glass floors and advancing on the party. The group were able to gather relatively close to one another as Strahd flew up higher to hit them with another meteor swarm. As the spell took shape and destruction eminent the golem absorbed the entire spell and a pillar of light hit the room. As the party finished blinking they found themselves standing on hard packed red desert under the light of a red sun with a dragon golem and a lich. 
They picked themselves back up and attempted to recharge the dragon by throwing more magic into it, noticing with each spell bits of the land around them would break and the dragon was not retaining any of the magic. The talked with the Lich that came through with them and found out lore about the dragon as well as the plots of the liches allies. As they talked they saw a glimmer of light in the distance and watched as a large shell of beetle with wheels being pulled by a large multi tusked elephant like creature came over the ridge. It was flanked by bird riding figures and they could see two brighter cloaked figures on top of the beetle. The party shouted out to them and were hit with magic from the mages when the party refused to comply with the mages claim of ownership. One of the bards force caged the mages while the party dealt with the warriors, the druid turning into a tyrannosaurus rex and eating one after tail whipping and biting another. The other warrior was killed by the witch with the spell finger of death and now the party has a zombie following them. The party freed the slaves within the beetle and found out more about the captors as well as the world itself. Metal was scarce, magic was terrible, and dragon kings ruled the world with iron fists. These creatures the party saved were half human dwarves bred with magic to be perfect workers and their life had been toil. They knew if they were taken to the city that they would have been force to fight each other to the death in the fighting arena for the enjoyment of the rich. The group investigated the innards of this mobile hollowed out shell and found antiquate storage for water, about a weeks’ worth, and “property” as well as living quarters for the warriors and the two mages. The party got themselves ready, knowing the force cage was going to expire and as the mages dropped rained on their parade, turning one to stone and killing the other. The druid attempted to plant seeds into the bodies of the slain and grow them with magic, finding he was only draining the moisture from the bodies with his spells. the party experimented with their spells a bit to find out that they were draining life force away from their surroundings with each spell. They decided to slow up on the magic a bit, get the dragon onto the back of the beetle and take the free people to their promised land, an oasis in the middle of nowhere. The elder of these free people was incredibly old and had been to the promised land before so he was able to guide the crew there, they just needed protection. They started their journey and argued about cannibalism and the morality of eating intelligent creatures, the lich quietly laughing at them the whole time. After a long day of travel a bad made a magical mansion for the party to stay in as well as their traveling companions. The beasts of burdens where not able to fit inside so the lich hid them with mundane means. As the druid was exploring outside he drew the attention of a creature that called itself Rathar of the ways, an odd fey creature that stood fifteen feet tall and had long spindly wooden limbs and its face was covered in a strange leaf with a crude smile drawn on it with red pigment. The group was hesitant to trust it but told it that they would allow it to travel with them till he could find his way again. The party rested and gave their new allies as much water and food, and in the morning packed up their gear, fed the animals, and started on their journey again. The creature Rathar sat with his feet dangling off the back of their beetle shell and watched the road disappear behind them. After a few hours of travel Rathar informed the party they were being followed by two scaled ones, which with his description they figured they were a form of Tyrannosaurus rexes. The party had a choice, fight them, run, or try to distract them. Of course, they chose to attack them, most of the party using non-magical attacks to deal with the dinosaurs, the fighter charged them and was almost eaten, the dinosaurs tried to rip him in half but his armor was to strong. After a few well-placed shots with the thunder cannon and called lightning the beasts were slain. During the combat the cleric, now back from the ethereal plane, saw two figures observing the group from a cliff face, moments later their fey companion, Rathar of the ways, caused them both to explode from the inside. The party looted parts from the tyrannosaurus rexes and made their way to their next rest stop. They tied off the sleeping elephant like monster to the stone wizard they were carrying around and the cleric created a temple inside the magic mansion. They rested peacefully and Rathar kept watch. the party asked Rathar about his disappearance and the exploding people and he informed them that he took care of the elves and their forces that were lying in wait. The druid wanted to learn how to blow people up and was unwilling to become a test subject. The next day they made it to the promised land and found the great pool of water protected by terrible poisons and a nature spirit. The nature spirit advised them against drinking the water, full of arsenic and worse, whereas the other smaller pools were being filtered by small plants. The party grilled him for information and was told they could get a new crystal at the old watch tower/light house. They wanted to just stay and work on the one they had and try to fix it but it would have taken five or more weeks and not worked. They eventually took the hint and went to the lighthouse, finding a skeleton on top with a large gem. The witch sent his sprite to investigate and the lich grabbed it and drained it of some of its energy. The witch dismissed its sprite and summoned it on the carpet. The party argued on the best way to engage the creature or just steal the gem and the dwarf brute fighter grew sick of just sitting around and jumped off the flying carpet and landed next to the lich, dealing around ninety points of damage to the lich with two sets of attacks with the use of an action surge. The rest of the party floundered while trying to figure out how to act and after the lich got trapped in a force cage by a bard. While in there the lich decided to immolate himself to return to his phylactery, which the paladin was carrying after stealing the giant crystal. At this point his two minions attacked the party, a pair of marilith. Most of the party used a prepared word of recall to teleport instantly back to base camp while the paladin, artificer, fighter, and bard were left to deal with the demons. The fighter and artificer made quick work of them and the cleric watched via a scry spell. The party regathered and discussed what to do with the gem. After a bit of arguing the lich reminded them of the other lich in the gem and they let him drain away it’s magical essence. He also mentioned he could hear the dragon golem scratching to be let out and the gem was vibrating. They also grilled Rathar about his intentions and why he wanted to return to their world. The party decided to wait till they had rested to let the gem be joined with the dragon. 
In the morning they placed the gem within its confines and watched as large arcane runes cut themselves into the stones below their feet and they all grew lighter and followed the light trails out of Dark Sun’s Athas and found themselves shooting through space and eventually touched down on what seemed to be home, except members of their group were missing, their lich was gone, the dragon missing, and Rathar of the Ways was reduced to ash and they saw his leaf face floating slowly to the ground. The druid touched him and the ash all blew away. The sky was blood red and black lightning cracked the sky. The group looked around for other clues and saw a very large ugly giant rutting around in a broken building off in the distance. They tried to avoid him but strange ember wolves saw them and howled before attacking. They threw a smoke screen up around the giant and attempted to deal with his dogs, finding them easy to destroy and oddly resistant to many of their normal tactics. After realizing the division of their efforts was keeping them from making any headway they ganged up on the giant, their druid fell victim to it’s horrible gaze and became deformed. As the fighter took down the giant they heard slow clapping and laughter across the ash filled valley and saw a somewhat familiar face, that of the fey creature known as Lon Lethen. He offered them a way out, gather enough teeth for him from the other two living titans and he would find them a way back to their own time. They grilled him for history facts and found that after one of the gods, Goloh, died the whole world went to shit. Nations went to war, bodies piled up, and the end of time beasts were unfettered from their secret bindings. Now only a few living creatures remained, Lon Lethen, Cull, another strange beast, and the Hekatonchires. As the party went towards the odd thunder like sounds they stumbled across a blue haired badly burned man mumbling to himself, repeating “couldn’t save them” or “it wasn’t enough”. One of the bards played calming music on her lute and he snapped out of his stupor. He claimed his name was Gerald, confirmed a few of their suspicions, and joined them on their journey to fight the other titans. When they arrived at the battle they saw a giant multi-armed stone man fighting what seemed to be a pile of eyes, mouths, and pale porcelain flesh. The cleric called to her god for help and the flame war god sent down an angel to help them. The battle commenced and chaos was found. The large stone creature attacked everything around itself with multiple slams, the flesh monster took huge bites out of the angel, the angel could barely keep itself in the fight. The flesh beast teleported away from the fighter and was able to sneak itself in to the force cube the party kept using as a bunker and was able to kill the kobold helper of the cleric and drastically wound the bard and cleric. The fighter was able to eventually wipe out the stone creature after a few of its teeth were ripped out by Lon Lethen and Gerald removed a few of its arms with disintegration. The party trapped the flesh monster within the force cube and Lon Lethen killed the beast inside. He gathered the party, brought back the kobold, and lead them with his new-found teeth to a giant crater. He climbed down and broke teeth around a massive skeleton and enacted a ritual that brought it back to life, a massive humanoid looking creature with a big bushy beard. Lon Lethen called out to the creature and told him that his servants have brought him back and must be returned to their own time. The party saw a flash and were back in the faulty portal standing within the viewing chamber with a duck. Their lives for the most part have returned to normal.

Dungeons and Dragons! Part 8!!

The party was given an invitation to the grand tournament honoring the defeat of Cull and the end of the War of Rising Kings. Robank, their boss, was the guest of honor for the event, having used a note of music so pure it drove off the armies of Cull. They were being asked to compete with other heroes in a giant maze similar to the sporting maze but changed up enough to be fair to foreign competitors. This event is to show solidarity with the neighboring kingdoms as groups of heroes from almost every nation have been invited to participate. The party has had time to heal their wounds and shop as well as relay all the information they have gleaned in their travels to their boss at Tower Artifacts. Forty adventuring groups have entered in the event, most they have never seen before, and a few familiar faces. Everything seems to be going well, they had each group get ready in separate summoning circles in the Arena of Bitka with crowds filling the stands. Vendors hawk their wares and can be heard over the crowds. There are giant ice screens with scrying spells places on them to show the events transpiring within the maze and its many environments. As the event starts they saw Robank sitting upon the champions dais made for him by the founders of this event. The spell grabs them and they were sent elsewhere. The last thing they saw were cloaked figures descend on Robank with knives drawn. The party opened their eyes in a dank terrible sewer and heard a voice in their heads say: “Great sacrifices, welcome to the hero Culling. This world has so much light in it that darkness has taken matters into its own hands. Before you are various challenges to test your mettle and thin your numbers. Can you make it to my throne and free your nation from chains? Make this challenge worth it. Bring me the primal keys to face the next threat. You should not trust the heroes you have been placed in here with, many are my pawns, having killed them long ago and living among you. Once allies might be villains in disguise. Go forth heroes and face death.” They gathered themselves and started preparing for the worst, already finding themselves standing in a dank sewer. The sewer water started rippling towards the party after the druid skipped a light stone across the water so they wisely left the room using the large metal doorway behind them. Tentacles slapped futilely against the door, shaking the wall. The cleric had time to cast a divination spell to commune with his god and asked questions on which way to go, is Robank still alive, are any of my current associates traitors? He got the answers he needed and a bit more finding Robank was still alive, the way they went was a quicker path, and their group did not contain and traitors. They went east, traveling past another iron door and heard fighting from further down the hallway. There was a fire giant fighting another group of heroes and winning. The giant had just killed the other parties’ fighter and while the party deliberated on interfering murdered a cleric. The party jumped in to save the rogue and the sorcerer, killing the giant rather quickly thanks to the magic sword the warforged had claimed from the skeletons last session. As the two warriors slumped in death the characters heard this boom in to their minds: “it seems one of you has fallen, such a pity, I had hoped to torture that one myself. You see the threats here are not like your simple sporting maze, each thing here is real and willing to destroy you, body and soul.” The party interrogated the rogue and sorcerer and found out they started in a room on fire and found a room full of eight comfy beds, a cozy breakfast nook and kitchen with a fireplace. They were attacked by the giants and fled to this hallway before the giants caught up with them. They were sad for the loss of their friends and put them in a portable hole not noticing they were a little lighter. The party with their two additions traveled further down the corridors and opened the next door they found, a room again full of comfy furniture. The cleric threw a chunk of bacon on a bed and the mattress folded on itself, eating it instantly. All the furniture grew eyes and teeth and started to charge the door, even the fireplace. The party slammed the door shut, cutting off a few pseudopods in the process. They found their way further down the tunnel and the next door was in a dead end. The spot was pleasant, like subtle calming melodies were on the horizon. They grew skeptical of this obvious trap and debated about opening the door. The cleric cast a divination clairvoyance spell to look beyond the door and saw tranquil waves on the peaceful shore of an ocean, sea breezes moving the palm trees, a large city sized turtle swam lazily among a chain of small islands in the distance. Cliffs ran westward with a switch back path leading to another door in the cliff and some sort of activity on top of the cliff. Far above the turtle floating islands chained together drifted ever so slowly in the sea breeze. Some of the party believed that this was an elaborate illusion meant to trap or maim them. The bards grew restless and tried to force their way past the druid who happened to be blocking the door. The necromancer contacted an otherworldly being and got odd responses. He learned that this was not an illusion, was not near Rhadamanthus, and something they needed was within the temple on the turtle. He is not sure what he contacted but it seemed more than happy to help. They soldiered on into the unknown and found out, yes, they somehow built a saltwater ocean inside the maze, sand and all. The druid started to converse with a friendly toucan and found people had brought everything here around three months ago. The party heard the death message in their heads again as a falling body hit one of the small islands from far above and crabs the size of elephants came out of the water to eat it. The party took small boats far around the small islands to skip past the crabs and found a latticework of pirate-built landing on the turtle for docking purposes. The druid asked questions to the turtle and got vague answers back. They investigated the temple and the sorcerer and rogue extras stayed back by the necromancer’s skeletons to be out of the way and the dead were unable to cross into sacred ground. The paladin started to demand the two extras join the rest of the group while the rest of the party found the altar with a large chest on top of a large oddly shaped rug. The chest had a large key made of non-ice solid water. The physics of it baffled them until they remembered magic. At this point a gasp went out as an arrow hit the rogue in the neck and dark poison pulsed into his now convulsing body. The necromancer commanded the rug to lift off and his friends all jumped on. They flew off as his skeletons were decimated by a group of undead warriors. The party booked it away from the temple and made for the cliff door. They noticed a clutch of harpies feeding near the door and bashed them with a fireball and picking off any stragglers while they got closer. The door was then unguarded but a loud yelling could be heard from a higher cliff point. They all jumped inside the cliff door and pulled it closed, relaxing for a moment. At this point a strange pale woman floated into the hallway with the and when she noticed the swarm of living creatures, teleported within their midst and wailed a baleful scream, almost killing both bards and the sorcerer in one fell swoop. The rest of the group beat the tar out of her and the banshee was destroyed. As the party examined the bards and sorcerer they found they were still alive but needed healing. Two survivors of another group entered the hall and tentatively joined the group. They had lost their companions to the sewer room and the snow room. As they discussed their past a small shape, a tiny blue man with a broom was confronted by the party. They interrogated him and found the dungeon rooms change places and rotate, he was sweeping up after parties, and lost his dustpan in the jungle room. They looked back to the cliff room and saw it was now the sewers again. They journeyed to the gremlins passage and found a room full of gold, after investigation they found a dragon guarding its treasure. The warforged kicked the dragonborn sorcerer into the room when he tried to cast a spell at the dragon and closed the door. The dragon asked him a few questions and soon the dragonborn paladin and the half elf bard came in too. The dragon told them he was at an impasse, he wanted to leave this horrible place but was stuck until he could find a way to carry out all of his gold. The party spit balled ideas with him and other members of the group decided to explore door number two and found the room full of hydra. They quit both rooms and traveled further down the hallway. They found another chamber with a strange large many limbed racoon sloth creature in a room covered in stone and emeralds. They watched the creature and it mimicked their hello waves and went back to grooming itself. The bard threw a rock in the room and it became reversed in gravity, then the party saw the corpse ball on the ceiling along with the thrown rock. The creature told them it was hungry, went back to eating an arm, and snarled at them. The party pressed it for information and tried to convince it to let them return it home. They pressed it enough that it grew suspicious and reversed the gravity in the door way causing the wizard and sorcerer to fly halfway into the room and take damage from the emerald shards on the floor. They knocked it out with a hypnotic pattern and the barbarian almost cut it in half with his hasted attacks. As they fought with it they heard a scream and found the elf sorcereress they had saved earlier scream as a gibbering mouther tackled her and killed her. The group was blasted with a beam of gravity reversal but only the sorcerer was affected by it and took 62 damage. The party switched focus and fought both monsters, finding the earth key inside the gravity lemur. The other was destroyed by the handiwork of the druid in earth elemental form and the barbarian with his cursed sword. The party rested and asked their gods and patrons questions about the dungeon and found that another team was walking around with the air key, the fire key was in the room on fire, and there was only one copy of each key. After resting they asked the gremlin more questions about the dungeon and he was evasive but honest with the information given. They heard the telltale grinding sound and found two doors out in the hallway with another door down the length of the hall. The right door looked to be a jungle and the gremlin grabbed his dustpan of wonder. The party attempted to figure out its magic over the course of ten-minute learning that whatever the dustpan gathered would not fall out of the dustpan, like it went elsewhere. They closed the jungle door and opened the next door finding a mountain range with four golem like creatures carrying a palanquin with a golden skeleton on top. Greed got the better of them and the druid attacked. He trapped the skeleton in a sphere of water and moved it away from its guardians. The golems attacked the party, moving to separate them from their charge. The paladin and the druid were subject to a fire explosion trigged by the paladin reading runes on the back of the amulet she removed from the skeleton. The druid turned into a water elemental and started attacking the golems. The party used spells to knock the golems off their feet and proceeded to bludgeon them do death, sending one off the cliff side. The party gathered themselves and watched as the bones of the skeleton spelled out the phrase “forest realm water ways” and started to wander up the mountain to see what was on top of it. They found the air temple with floating island connected by rope bridges and another adventuring party across the gap, tending to their wounds. The sorcerer and the witch decided to go talk with them with the druid in water elemental form and were attacked. After the party stopped trying to throw people over the edge they made quick work of the assassins but were unable to find the air key. The sorcerer had dominated one of the assassins and it confirmed that they did not have it on their persons. While they were investigating they heard a horrible screeching noise and saw a huge sized harpy tear out the first bridge. The party regrouped on different islands and assaulted her, teleporting allies from place to place for more advantageous positions. They defeated the harpy queen and decided to rest before carrying on their adventure. While resting the great voice filled their minds and informed them that the hallways were gone, and resting was a fool’s option. The sound of breaking gears and grinding stone filled the air.  The party got on their carpet and flew down to the last door they saw, back down by the beach. The door had been ripped from the frame and tossed into the sand. The passage lead into a cavern where the party continued their tradition of slapping every surface of the dungeon with bacon with light cast on it. After a few hundred feet of smack, smack, smack they heard smack, smack, thwack, and realized something was there. They were attacked by two manta ray cave monsters. The party spent many of their higher-level spells on the beasts and murdered them quickly. The witch had slowed them, the druid hit them with ongoing moon magics, the sorcerer hit them with small meteors, and the bad covered them in revealing magics. The party continued onward into a familiar chamber, the earth room and noticed one door with flames shooting from its depths, another leading into the dragon room and the last door across from the entrance had elements of a jungle poking through. A loud voice could be heard in the direction of the jungle shouting about its gold. The party investigated the dragon’s room to find it empty, the fire room had been looted, and the jungle was in the process of burning. The party split up, with the barbarian, necromancer, mite companion, and the paladin staying within the necromancer’s tiny hut he made out of magic while the rest of the party made their way into the jungle. Once into the jungle the rest of the group noticed the dragon they had met before flying around any laying waste to the center of the jungle. The witch wandered around the left flank looking for another door, finding a swamp. The rest of the group decided, having a dragonborn with them, they should try to talk with the raging red dragon. They messaged him with the bard’s spell and attempted to negotiate. After a few tense moments the dragon realized the party was wearing the same Tower Artifacts guild bags. The bard and cleric retreated with dimension door while the druid attempted to make himself immune to fire. The dragon attacked with tooth and claw both the sorcerer and the druid and fearing for their lives they also dimension door teleported after the bard and cleric. They all arrived near the witch in the swamp and found another door leading into a dark swamp and hid within. They followed a pathway of blue fey ghost lights and the witch noticed the glint of numerous jungle trolls sitting in the water watching the party and decided not to tell the party. They followed the lights to a large chicken legged hut surrounded by a fence of bones. The gate was open and the witch and dragonborn entered. The druid noticed the trolls eventually and had a panic attack, having had bad experiences in the past. The witch entered the hut and made a deal with the matron of the swamp, promising that she would serve the matron for a week’s time and help establish a coven near Rhadamanthus. She informed the adventurers of great wards she set up to keep the dragon out and her new troll minions would leave them alone. The group gained the matrons favor and were granted the ability to teleport past the dragon to the top of the nearby temple. While they were dealing with all that the necromancer, barbarian, paladin, and mite traveled past the horrible hydra chamber and found themselves outside a great temple on the north edge of the chamber. They could see a red dragon pacing and digging at the swamp door. They made another magic hut and moments later the other group appeared nearby. As a group they traveled up the temple stairs they noticed eyes carved into the stone work, and the druid and the necromancer remembered things about an eye monster. Within the temple they found large sized husks of molted spider carapaces stuck within the webs and dust. They beseeched nature for advice and found that there was a large undead power polluting the ruin, there were beasts still roaming the tunnels, and there was a much lower chamber that seems to lead to the next area. They made their way to stairs the druid had learned about and found a huge sized spider with a human face guarding them. They made quick work of the beast with larger area of effect spells and cleared the way. They journeyed down the stairs and found a hallway leading forward and another leading to the right and continued strait, finding a four-way tunnel, they chose to take the left passage and found a door locked and trapped with poison gas and within the room a minotaur skeleton soaked in blood and viscera from the mutilated bodies on the floor. The cleric said nope and used dispel evil and good on it and sent him to another realm. the group searched the bodies for loot and found the corpses had been sent into this room nude and stripped off all belongings. The next door northward lead to a strange fingerprinted hallway with odd marks in the dust, finding another door slightly ajar. Looking inside the party found a sea of severed hands writhing on the ground and the witch’s familiar got disintegrated by something else in the chamber, some strange flash of white. The party threw a wave of water and tried to turn the undead with divine power, finding the hands immune to divine might, the water destroyed them. The druid threw a wall of fire into the room, leaving an entire corner walled off and illuminated. The Death Tyrant dove through the wall, taking some damage and started shooting the party with rays of magical energy. After alliances were tampered with, healers thrown through walls of fire, barbarians hasted and climbing magical hands, death and disintegrations dodges, and fears faced, the party drove this monster into the dust, which the dragonborn started eating? He had his reasons. The party gathered together and gave a short rest a try and after notices a door that was hidden by the fire wall and another unassuming door on the north side of the chamber. They detected no magic, and the druid in elemental form went in and found a chest covered in runes but giving off no magical auras. He returned to the party with it and they popped it open finding a smaller parcel radiating epic levels of magic. The party had discovered a Deck of Many Things and within moments chaos reigned. They each decided to pull one card from the deck. The paladin reversed her alignment, the barbarian has a penalty on all his saving throws, the witch has an answer to one of their questions, the cleric gained a kobold knight, the sorcerer gained the ability to change the way something in the past of present happened, the druid lost all of his magic items, the bard lost a few points of her intelligence, the wizard’s soul was imprisoned elsewhere and his body became a vessel for the slain beholder monster. The druid in a panic drew two more cards gaining both the enmity of both a devil and an old friend. The witch attempted to help by drawing another card and should have been imprisoned but his contract with the witch protected him. The bard drew another card and will level up if she solo’s the next encounter. The sorcerer helped out the druid by cashing in his fix one problem card. The party decided to rest up a bit and after a few hours decided to pull the rest of the deck between them. The bard pulled the avatar of death card and was able to defeat it, also gaining the boon of the other card she pulled, becoming stronger. The barbarian also became stronger and the bard gained a monster filled keep. The cleric’s kobold friend ended up pulling the card of Comets, gaining two wishes. At this time the wizard’s subtle transformation went unnoticed by the party as well as the paladin taking the dark iron sword from the warforged barbarian. The party cast a spell to show them the quickest way out of the dungeon and traveled into the tube like tunnels the beholder was using to travel between the dungeon rooms without using the doors. They came to a chamber with a sunlit exit as well as stairs leading back up into the dungeon. After moments of discussion the witch sent his yarn golem up the stairs and saw a flaming skull looking around. Not wanting to get destroyed the yarn golem decided to retreat back down the way it came. They exited the ruins and found themselves in a vast city, to the right of them a large city wall and past that a painted forest scene on the outer wall. To their left a dense city full of large buildings, some screaming, and a few larger fires. They went into the dense city and found an armored “person” stabbing corpses with his sword and cutting down anything that tried to flee. The party unleashed a barrage of attacks against him and he animated the corpses as ghouls. The druid entangled the horde and tuned into an air elemental. Most of the party hung back and was enveloped with a hell ball the knight threw at them, leading to massive damage and a few near casualties. After a few more exchanges of blows the paladin killed the knight with her horrible sword and the knight was sucked into its blade. The party took a rest within the taverns nearby and the cleric noticed a false floor in the bar, and within there was a kobold merchant and his three iron golems, waiting out the storm. The party weighed their options and decided to do business with him, buying some new and needed gear. The druid went out to the magic wine fountain and drank until he passed out, the witch watching him to make sure nothing to bad happened. The necromancer set up his magnificent mansion with ghost looking unseen servants, bone d├ęcor, and unbeknownst to the party secret tunnels between the rooms. The party was met outside by two new faces, one a heavily shrouded mystic, the other a snake person artificer with a thunder cannon and a mechanical eagle friend. They joined the party in the morning. During the night the kobold felt and saw eyes watching him in the walls, and in the morning he and the fire cleric found the tunnels, leading the cleric to assume the necromancer has a thing for the “young ones” and put the group on alert, noticing after passing his note to the bard the eyes on the wall reading the note with her. They all gathered their things and decided to pass on breakfast when strange oversized bacon and mystery meats were being set on the table by the blood drenched ghostly servants. Outside they met the new group and headed out with them finding their path leading into a hallway. They were sure the voice had told them hallways were gone and were confused. After debating the witch’s familiar went into the tunnel and found an ornate room with copper mirrors in the corners and stairs leading up. The group experimented by throwing things onto the mirrors and found they were electrified. While the party again discussed the path, the necromancer claimed not to have time for this and teleported with his four skeletons elsewhere, and the mystic teleported to the top of the stairs triggering the traps the artificer detected. The stairs tuned into a ramp and the first five feet fell into quickly rising oil. The group all made their way both magically and jumping up the ramp an escaped the inferno of the oil hitting the metal plates and igniting the pit. To their right there was a long hallway leading to a further closed door and a hall that came to an end in front of them after two chambers. The party went to the closer end point, again sending the familiar to scout ahead and after burning webbing was tackled by a large spider like creature. The party set to attacking it dealing a heaping pile of damage upon it. They found there were tethers attaching it to something up above and noted with every hit strange pods above it would be damaged in its place.  They cut the tethers and watched as the beast, a machine placed within a spider husk, fell quiet, triggering the chest in the next room to burst open and spray both air and oil into the chamber onto the familiar with its hands aflame. The explosion sent a few of the party back out into the hall, the mystic plugged to the oil stream and eventually a large burst sound shook the tunnel. They found the rest of the chest disappointingly empty. They went to the other hall and found a larger chamber with odd large non-supporting pillars, two switches, and a mechanically sealed door on the end. The sprite familiar went and tugged on the right-side switch while the party was investigating and the door to the chamber clanged shut and the pillars fell away to reveal four writhing black oozes. The barbarian ran up and made the number now six oozes as he chipped away at them with his sword. The druid cut the room in half with a wall of fire, catching a few on the way and the witch slowed them with magic. The mystic summoned a fire elemental and as a group they dispatched the rest quickly. They flipped the other switch and the door opened, leading them into a chamber with a faint damp smell and an even larger suspicious pillar. The other door on the far side was jammed shut with barnacles and slick with algae. Once the entire group entered the room the doors predictably slammed shut and the party was up to their knees in odd water with two aboleth splashing about with water coming down from pipes in the ceiling. The druid was in water elemental shape and was attempting to bludgeon them, the bard eye bit on of them causing it to swim away, the witch used cloud kill and the cleric used control water to remove the water from the center of the room. The barbarian broke a chunk of the door open with his magic sword, the aboleth took damage from the witch’s large spell cloud and the both tried to dominate the mind of the druid and failed, so they lashed out with all their tentacles and afflicted him with bad magics. The party sent fireball after fireball at the aboleth quickly gaining the upper hand. The party dressed their wounds and pressed forward and found a room with a wall of doors, two boneless dead gargoyles, two signs with odd messages, and a trail of bloody footprints leading into frosty chamber past the open door. The signs spoke of a riddle, only one gargoyle spoke the truth, the other lied, but it looked like the last person through the chamber just murdered them both and carried on. Unsure of the path, the cleric cast a divination to ask her god for help, finding the snow door the most likely source of an exit. Once within the snow room the druid cast more divination spells to see if there were dangerous demons or otherworldly creatures in the room and found a faraway source of undead energy and asked if there were any dangers with terrain and found none. Having exhausted many of their abilities the party trudged off in the most likely direction, following the blood footprints, and noticed an ambush of strange fire and ice bugs. The bard used a spell to make one amused by shiny colors and shapes but the druid decided to charge it, after turning into mammoth, knock it down and step on it. During the attack he took fire damage and lost his mammoth form as well as breaking the bards spell. The rest of the party used spells to try to help the druid, who turned into a giant crab, attacked the monster, took fire damage, and lost his form again. The witch, feeling bad for the druid turned him back into a giant crab for an hour. After tense moments of almost losing their druid to the bugs the party defeated them, questioning the logic of charging hungry monsters. The party almost made it to the door when a shadowy shape of a beholder zombie shambled out of the snow. The paladin, having become evil, used command undead and now has a henchman temporarily. The party peered through the door and saw a fertile land of green forest, meadows, a floating tower with rock chucking giants, huge tracks of torn up soil, and a rock studded broken tower made of wood. They decided to tie up a loose end while resting before leaving the snow room and used their first wish spell, properly and precariously prepared to summon the bags the necromancer owned to the party, securing both of the keys he had possessed. The drawback being the bags had a vampire spawn within as well as piles of dead bodies. They poured the contents into a magic circle to keep all the possible undead inside and have now come to the realization their old necromancer pal might be a bit mad, having all of his items and gold stolen. The party took a look into the next room again and watched as a giant purple worm enveloped the floating tower and the giants in one big attack. The group decided to take their carpet across the chamber to the wooden tower that was un eaten by the purple worm and found it full of survivors of other groups. Of the twenty or so people only two volunteered to help the party in their fight and also had the last key they needed. They rested in the tower and after took their carpet towards the waterfall they had been informed of by the tiefling warlock and the human druid. They past minor threats from on high, ignoring the tree folk in a secluded glade as well as a group of kappa eating a horse in a river. Eventually they found the fifty-foot-high waterfall over a large lake and within a chamber impatiently waited Charles, their old friend turned foe and a dais which looked like the keys were to be placed on. The group fought him viciously and noticed on his body large welts that turned out to be more eyes. With the final blow a smile broke upon his face and his form shook, he thanked the party for releasing him, his head detached and swelled impossibly large and detached, becoming the beholder skeleton they had faced before and now wearing the helm of teleportation, and the body remained standing and throwing spells. the group used every tool at their disposal to kill theses beasts, from simple vine whips to wishing an incendiary cloud into being around their foes. The beholder and the now headless lich both used every round to blast the party with as much power as they could muster. The beholder used every ray in its arsenal, blowing more holes in the ground than the party and the lich cocooned himself in the globe of invulnerability making it so he could only be hurt by ninth level spells. The artificers both shot volley after volley of scatter shot into the lich and the beholder, one running around inside the chamber, the other riding upon its companion metal bird and ducking in and out of the cave to shoot every round. The cleric laid down heavy channel divinities and the kobold minion threw a storm of magic missiles after its wish and then hid outside he caves on the magic carpet covering its ears so just in case the cleric became possessed or charmed he would not hear any of the commands from its master. The newcomers both held their own against them as well. The paladin and her dark sword put every smite she had into the lich eventually killing him and pulling it into the sword. And her minion beholder she had charmed eventually got to send its disintegrate into the big skeletal beholder, ending its reign of terror. As soon as they killed them the party tossed their keys on the dais ending the tournament and returning to the Bitka Arena finding the city just a tiny bit on fire, their boss still alive but wounded.