Players: Missy, Lynn, Robin, Mark, Curtis
Four days passed as the party journeyed onward. Mogdar's condition continued to deteriorate. He would unknowingly lose chunks of flesh, he was forgetting his spells, and he began to stink. Shao Tsang and Ezren tried to keep Mogdar patched up, but they were fighting a losing battle. The party happened upon a medium-sized town at the end of the fifth day and found a place to sleep.
There were rumors around town of a "dragon" menacing the area. It was said to have two wings, two legs, and a large stinger. It was apparently once the guardian of a nearby wizard's tower, but lately the wizard had been absent and his dragon had gone feral.
The next day, several party members had business to attend to. Bobo went to Gudrin the smith to get a replacement for the longsword he shattered trying to break the Death Rock. Gudrin claimed to be almost out of swords, but offered to sell one that he was saving for 50 gold pieces. Bobo, not familiar with the wiles of city folk, bought the sword. Seisha tried to sell a magical weapon to Gudrin, but couldn't get the price she wanted.
Ezren and Mogdar were also shopping. Ezren first took Mogdar to a perfumery, to get something to cover up his stink. The perfume seller was disturbed by Mogdar's smell, appearance, and behavior, and tried to call the town guard. Ezren hypnotized her, bought the perfume, made her forget, and moved on, dousing Mogdar with perfume all the while.
Seisha and Bobo were at the general store buying camping supplies when Ezren and Mogdar showed up. Ezren eventually managed to get some quicklime from Tahr the general store owner, but when he tried to haggle, Mogdar offered Tahr a 5,000 gold piece necklace to pay for the lime. Apparently the befuddled Mogdar thought that Ezren really couldn't afford the lime and wanted to help his master. Tahr quickly snatched up the necklace, handed over the lime with a couple of freebies, and closed down his store, overjoyed.
Seisha, alarmed at her dwindling supply of poison for her blowgun darts, struck a deal with Ezren to get him to use his herbalism knowledge to make some more poison. They took Mogdar to the town's herbalist to make some purchases. The herbalist was reluctant at first, because many of the herbs they requested were only useful for poison and witchcraft, but eventually sold them much of what they were looking for.
Unfortunately, some neighborhood toughs had also seen them going into the herbalist's shop. They had been catching word of shifty Ezren and his strange and stinky companion, and they thought that buying funny herbs was enough weird behavior to justify beating him up. They accosted Ezren, Seisha, and Mogdar outside the shop. Ezren shouted out, "Mogdar! Kill!" and summoned a swarm of wasps to deal with them. Mogdar took this order very literally and stabbed one of the bullies in the neck, killing him instantly. Another died of wasp stings when he unfortunately chose to flee instead of swatting away the wasps.
The crisis appeared to be over, but Ezren forgot to rescind his kill order. Mogdar, with very little mind left, continued to carry out Ezren's last command. He calmly walked back in to the herbalist's shop and brutally stabbed the herbalist to death. Mogdar was now quite a sight; he was rotting, bandaged, perfumed, packed with lime and spattered with fresh blood.
Ezren told Mogdar to stop killing, but the city guard was already on its way. Seisha managed to divert most of them through clever use of her Ring of Chameleon Power, but a few still tracked Ezren and Mogdar. Ezren made them both invisible, but Mogdar just took advantage of the opportunity to backstab one of the guards, killing him. Eventually Seisha and Ezren distracted the rest of them and the party fled the city.
While they were camping that night, the party was awakened by something large flying overhead. A few party members peppered it with missile weapons. Seisha struck psionically and dominated the creature, bringing it to the ground. She then forced it to sleep, and the party bound its wings. Binknutt, calling on his bardic lore, identified the creature as a "Thrakazord," contradicting those who foolishly believed it to be a wyvern. A brief debate ensued over what to do next, and eventually the party elected to cut off its stinger. This woke the beast up, and since its wings were bound and its stinger gone, it set about trying to bite the party members. They eventually slew the Thrakazord, and Seisha managed to squeeze some virulent poison from its stinger.
The next day the party headed back the way the Thrakazord had come and found its lair in a cave. Among its refuse and the bones of its victims, they found some treasure, including a powerful wizard scroll which Ezren pocketed, and a Wand of Enemy Detection that Bobo claimed. Also among the treasure was a strange circular device, which interested the zombified Mogdar so much that his jaw fell off when he looked at it. Since he seemed so interested in it, the party let him wear it around his neck. It appeared to just be some sort of symbol, and didn't exhibit any magical abilities.
The party spent the night before heading on to the wizard's tower that they had spotted in the distance. That night was the seventh since Ezren had obtained the Death Rock. He had a dream that he was inside a huge beating heart. A voice boomed out, "Let me feed again to activate my power; Deny me and be cursed forever." Ezren, suspecting that letting it feed again would mean turning Shao Tsang (who was also in the dream) into a zombie as well, refused to reactivate the Rock. It swore revenge on him and he awoke the next morning with the Death Rock gone.
Mogdar also awoke the next morning completely restored, but he didn't tell anyone right away. When Shao Tsang started to change Mogdar's dressings he discovered that he was healed. When Mogdar was addressed, he finally admitted to being "back." Mogdar was apparently very upset about his experience and demanded that Ezren turn over his Ring of Wizardry. Ezren refused and offered the scroll, and Mogdar began threatening to wipe him out of existence. Ezren appealed to Shao Tsang to protect him in case Mogdar tried to erase him from history.
The next day they moved on to the tower, which Binknutt insisted must be the lair of a "Thrakazord Breeder." He hoped that there might be valuable Thrakazord eggs. The party had by this time become a little suspicious of Binknutt's lore knowledge, since he had misidentified every magic item in the Thrakazord's hoard. One misidentification was nearly disastrous; he had labeled a flask of Oil of Fiery Burning as a Philtre of Love. Luckily Seisha's Wand of Magic Detection identified the potion correctly.
The tower was guarded by six statues in two rows of three. The statues were all of dinosaurs (Deinonychus), although the party only recognized them as strange lizard-creatures. The tower had no door, only a strange fist-sized circular indention in an otherwise smooth wall. A balcony ran around the top of the tower.
While the party was debating what to do, Binknutt got bored and stuck his hand in the indention. The six statues immediately came to life and attacked. It was a desperate battle, with several party members losing consciousness, but eventually the party triumphed. They retreated to lick their wounds and camp for the night, with not a few recriminations directed at Binknutt for his impulsiveness.
That night, while everyone was sleeping, Mogdar drank a potion of invisibility and slipped past whoever was on watch and went to investigate the tower. He had recognized the symbol on the device taken from the Thrakazord's cavern as the one that Malligant had shown him (see Adventure #8). The problem was, Mogdar didn't know if the symbol really was the sign of the Guardians, or just Malligant's personal symbol. He carefully approached the tower and inserted the device into the indentation. A large, glowing version of the symbol appeared in the wall of the tower; then double doors appeared around the indentation. They weren't locked. Mogdar entered.
Mogdar scouted the tower, bypassing several doors on the first level and heading up a spiral staircase to the second. The second level appeared to be a library. The third was one large bedroom. Mogdar's looting skills quickly focused his attention on a large wardrobe in the bedroom. It was closed, and large carved runes, inlaid with red enamel, were on its doors. He was careful not to touch it, but managed to detect powerful magic of varying kinds, including Chronomancy, inside. Unable to read the runes, and unwilling to attempt to open the almost-certainly trapped wardrobe himself, Mogdar returned to the camp.
He slipped quietly and invisibly back into camp and woke Seisha. They exchanged a few secrets and struck a bargain, deciding to attempt to crack the wardrobe together. They returned to the tower and examined the wardrobe. Seisha also could not read the runes, but was able to discern that they were connected to a trap on the wardrobe that she could not remove. Under assurances from Mogdar that he would keep anything bad from happening to her, Seisha agreed to attempt to open the wardrobe. Mogdar went back down to the second level to avoid being caught in any trap that might be sprung. He waited and heard nothing from Seisha. Finally he went back upstairs and found Seisha reaching out for the wardrobe, converted to stone like the dinosaurs outside. Mogdar cast a spell (ironically, from a scroll that Malligant had given him), creating a paradox and rewinding time to a few minutes earlier. He told Seisha that their attempt to open the wardrobe wouldn't work, and they returned to camp. Before he left the tower, Mogdar removed the key/symbol, causing the doors to once again meld into the wall of the tower.
Back in camp, Ezren awoke to Ixifractus' hissing and the sounds of Seisha rifling through his pack. She explained that she had heard a noise from inside it and was investigating. Ezren checked his possessions, notably the Ring of Wizardry that Mogdar coveted, but found nothing missing. He accepted Seisha's explanation and went back to sleep.
Seisha had, in fact, taken a book - "On the Summoning of Great Beasts" - that Ezren had taken from the wizard's library in Al-Qadim. Her ninja clan was specifically charged with keeping these Great Beasts from ever again re-entering our reality, and Seisha had been assigned to watch Ezren while a convincing duplicate could be prepared. She switched the book for one that contained most of the same knowledge but no techniques on actually bringing the "Great Beasts" to the prime material plane.
The next morning the party decided to investigate the tower as a group. Mogdar sternly cautioned the group against touching anything and led the way in, restoring the doors with his "key." Binknutt and Bobo quickly proved to be more than anyone could handle, and they attempted to investigate every nook and cranny, which quickly exasperated Mogdar. When the party reached the third level, Binknutt plopped down on the bed and picked a book up off the nightstand. To his surprise, it was a history of Lankhmar, his hometown. He discovered almost immediately, though, that it contained gross inaccuracies and had strange annotations. This was puzzling, as the book appeared to be a history text and not a work of fiction.
When Binknutt's inquisitiveness was discovered, he and Bobo were banished to the second floor, where it was hoped that they could do less damage, and admonished not to touch anything. Ignoring this instruction almost immediately, Binknutt quickly discovered that the few books he could read in the library were also history books. Bobo, who couldn't read, had to be satisfied with Binknutt's descriptions of the books.
Upstairs, it turned out that Ezren could read the runes on the wardrobe. They were ancient Azzarian, an obscure and forgotten tongue that very few scholars could read. The wardrobe didn't appear to be old enough for it to actually be an Azzarian artifact, however. The runes read, "Touch me and become my guardian; Speak thy name and I shall open." Ezren had some suspicions, but nevertheless spoke his own name. The wardrobe opened silently.
Inside were clothes and, behind a false back, several packages of varying sizes that Mogdar wouldn't let anyone touch. Instead, they lifted the boxes out using Seisha's Ring of Telekinesis. The boxes also were covered with Azzarian runes: each box had the name of a party member on it.
No one was brave enough to actually open, or even touch, the boxes. They carefully carted them all outside. As soon as the party was outside, they immediately knew that something was wrong. The terrain around the tower was completely different. An oddly organized forest had sprung up out of nowhere. The sun was farther along in the sky than it should have been. Although they instantly suspected time travel, the party had actually been transported to Oerth, the world of Greyhawk.
The strangely regimented forest soon revealed itself to be an illusion covering an actual regiment. Its commander demanded that the party surrender themselves, as they were wanted for assaulting the High Priest of Gran March.
The party immediately launched into their usual response to any demand for surrender from an overwhelming force: they prepared to fight to the death. Binknutt and Seisha scaled the tower walls to reach the third floor balcony. Ezren cowed the troops with illusions. The others prepared to fight. This time, however, they were outmatched. Guided by hooded "priests," the opposing force seemed to know their every move just before they made it. Ezren's illusions were quickly dispelled or proven false. Clouds of nauseating gas disabled many of the party members. Arrows began to rain down on those who still resisted. Finally, Bobo, seeing that the party was about to be massacred, gathered several of his gassed colleagues up and surrendered. Trapped, the rest of the party quickly followed suit.
The party was dragged to Gran March and thrown into jail. Mogdar planned to escape to Temporal Prime, but didn't have the appropriate spell prepared, and was separated from his books. Seisha tried to contact her distant Clan, and soon realized that the tower had shifted them to an entirely different world. Frustration and bitterness, directed at the cruelty and capriciousness of the Dungeon M - uh, Fates - set in.
Eventually they were taken before the Commandant of Gran March and his High Priest. The High Priest, to the surprise of few, was Malligant, the party's old enemy. The party was told that, ten years ago, people with the items in the boxes they had taken from the tower had attacked and nearly killed the High Priest. Once taken out of the boxes, the items were revealed to all be marked with distinctive runes. This was enough proof for the Commandant, and he quickly found the party to be guilty.
Malligant was obviously very pleased with himself. He had duped Mogdar and Ezren, who prided themselves on being smart and cautious, into leading the party into a trap. By leaving his symbol, which only Mogdar had seen, and using Azzarian runes, which only Ezren could read, he had left enough information for the party piece together what was going on. Because the two wizards were competitive and secretive, however, they didn't put the puzzle together, and sprang the trap. Mogdar already hated Malligant for using him before (see Adventure #8). Ezren was new to the experience, and was enraged. Malligant saw this, and taunted him, saying "Speak thy name – and fall into my trap."
The Commandant was ready to sentence the party to be executed, but he announced that the High Priest had asked him to spare their lives. Their punishment, then, would be exile: they would be taken over the border into neighboring Geoff, which had been overrun by giants. Magical wards would detect them if they tried to cross the border and leave Geoff. The only way they could expiate their crime would be to liberate Geoff from the evil humanoids, a task which everyone seemed quite sure was impossible for a handful of criminals. After all, none of the other criminals that had been tossed over the border had done it yet.
On their way out of the throne room, the party was forced to kneel and beg forgiveness of the High Priest, who smirked at them through the whole ordeal. Most of the party submitted willingly, but Ezren and Mogdar had to be battered to their knees.
The party was taken to the "annexed" village of Hochoch, and from there across the Javan River into Geoff, where they would have to liberate an entire country or die trying.