THE FUNNY THINGS:
Ken, singing (guess the tune): Let's roll initiative again!
Cathy and Katy, about the adversary's initiative roll: He got a zero! - That means he doesn't get to go, right?
Cathy, Katy, and Ken, about an adversary the party faced: I don't know why I think it's a her. - It is. You have deemed it a her. - You have DM'ed it a her.
Ken, after his character had scored a critical hit: Oh yeah! Who's the dwarf? Who's the dwarf?
As they gathered up the loot and prepared to head back to Montrill, the party chatted with the Dwarves who had come to their aid. They learned that the group was a local militia unit led by a Dwarf named Ethan Allan; they called their unit the Silver Mountain Dwarves. The band was well known to King Reginald and aided him whenever he had work in the mountains. They had been glad to answer his call this time, too. Allan and his soldiers were a friendly, merry bunch and the adventurers enjoyed getting to know them as they worked. When they were ready, the whole group headed out on the return to Montrill. As they walked, Ethan Allan asked them what had happened, so Anaka, Asteriskes, and Felan told him the story of their adventures.
"Vegepygmies, eh? You know, there's a guy who's been in Montrill asking all sorts of questions about unusual creatures...he'd really be interested in that."
"What guy?" Anaka asked the Dwarf.
"Oh, I don't know, he came from Woodside and he's really interested in odd creatures that have never been seen before. He's been in town for a while."
"Probably the curator of the museum," Asteriskes told the thief, sotto voce.
After two uneventful days of travel, Ethan Allan and the group parted ways amicably at the Mayor's house. The servants welcomed them back and showed them to their original rooms. Anaka, Asteriskes, and Felan were thrilled to see clean clothes, warm baths, and large comfortable beds waiting for them. Shortly after they'd had time to clean up, each of the adventurers was roused by a servant informing them that the king would like them to come and dine with him.
"I must hear about your adventure! Were you able to catch the thief?" King Reginald asked eagerly, shaking their hands and greeting them warmly.
Anaka spun a wonderful tale incorporating all the events and alluding to the fact that they had Cyvorak's head.
King Reginald was also very interested in the Vegepygmies. "Mr. Peabody, the curator of the Woodside Museum is in town. I know that he is interested in these sorts of creatures."
"Are you asking us to bring him a specimen?" Asteriskes asked.
"No, no, no. I don't know what he needs specifically, but it so happens that he is meeting with me tomorrow morning. Will you please come and join us?" The king invited.
The adventurers agreed readily.
"By the way, don't worry about the sceptre. The most important thing is that I got it back. Besides, you rid the country of that thief -- and from what you've told me, he was attempting to become more than just a two-bit thief and could have become quite an annoyance to not just myself but the entire country. You have done me a great service. In return, my sorcerer will gladly identify any items you need identified. You need only supply him with the material components of the spell. There are two jewelers in town who can help -- Jasper Cutter and Jules Bijoux."
The rest of the evening was filled with friendly conversation and delectable foods. After a few hours, King Reginald returned to his home and the party went up to bed. They woke rested and delighted to see that the household staff had brought trays of breakfast up to each room. They ate and refreshed themselves before going to meet the king.
King Reginald and a Mr. Peabody -- a skinny, elderly man with gray hair -- were glad to see them and introductions were made.
"I understand you ran across some creatures that you had not seen before." said the curator.
"Yes," Felan replied.
"And you are familiar with the museum at Woodside and you don't recall seeing them in that museum?"
"Sire, I think you should send someone to get some specimens for me, if you could sir. I could use them for the museum," Mr. Peabody said, turning his attention to King Reginald.
"That's a good idea. I'll ask Ethan and his unit to work on it." The monarch replied.
"You seem to be able to take care of yourself in circumstances where you are unsure of what you're dealing with. I've been looking for someone to perform a service for the museum...and the country. There are tunnels and caverns in these mountains which contain odd creatures. We have descriptions of them, their abilities, and drawings of them, but we don't have actual specimens. I know they have been reported in these particular caverns to the west of Montrill. I'll give you the information that we have -- if you are willing to go after these creatures. You will be paid 5000gp for each creature -- dead or alive -- that you bring back." Mr. Peabody said to the adventurers.
As the group nodded in agreement, the curator handed out some parchments. " I will also loan you two of the largest bags of holding the museum has -- to transport the specimens -- the bags are property of the museum, so I would expect you to return them upon completion of the task, of course."
Accepting the assignment, the group bid farewell to Mr. Peabody. As they were leaving, King Reginald said to them, "If you go and get those pearls, my sorcerer is available this afternoon."
The party headed up the street. Jasper Cutter's shop was nearest, so they stopped in and bought enough pearls to get each magic item identified. Later that afternoon, they returned to King Reginald's place and met with the sorcerer. He went over the items and when he reached the broken sword hilt with some of its gems missing, he started back and clutched his throat.
"What's the matter?" asked Anaka
"This is the Blood Conciliator! This is a very dangerous item." said the jeweler.
"What should we do with it?"
"I think you should give it to the king."
"Does that mean we don't get any money for it?" muttered Asteriskes.
"I think you should give it to the king." The jeweler repeated.
The sorcerer identified the rest of their items and the group thanked him before leaving to discuss who got what. Asteriskes took the gauntlets of ogre power and the bracers of armor. Anaka took the daggers, the potions of Cure Light Wounds, one of the holy symbols of Xhitigal, the 3 remaining oil flask/bombs, and the 14 short spears she'd been using since they snagged them out of the cave complex. Felan also kept the short spears he'd been using from the stash he'd split with Anaka.
At dinner that evening, they presented the hilt of the Blood Conciliator to King Reginald. He was very pleased and told them of his intention to place it in the treasury with the rest of the crown jewels, since it was a weapon of legendary status.
"By the way, I never gave you the rest of your payment. I had promised you an additional amount upon completion of your task." He then handed them each a small purse containing 20,000gp. "You've done most excellently well and you have my thanks."
After another delightful evening of good food and conversation, the party returned to their rooms for another restful night as the mayor's guests. They woke to another filling breakfast awaiting them. They ate their fill and then headed into town to get supplies for the quest Mr. Peabody had set them on. They passed the day happily shopping, investigating various options, and eventually stocked themselves up. Then they returned to the mayor's house for another restful night followed by a yummy breakfast. They had packed up the night before, so after eating, they consulted the map Mr. Peabody had given them, bid their farewells to the mayor and his staff, and headed out.
Anaka led the way followed by Asteriskes, Felan, and Admiral Barky. Anaka deftly jumped out of the way just as the ground in front of her burst apart, making way for the creature that was clambering out of the ground.
An Ankheg! gasped Asteriskes and Felan simultaneously as Anaka landed safely to the side of the creature.
Felan closed and punched the creature, hitting for 7; Anaka stabbed with her dagger, hitting for 7; Admiral Barky came up behind Felan, growling protectively; Ankheg attacked Asteriskes, but missed; Asteriskes retaliated, hitting for 17 and killing it.
After briefly admiring the excellent tunnel-work of the Ankheg, the party got back on the road, knowing they had about 3 days to go before reaching the area specified by Mr. Peabody. The rest of the day passed uneventfully. They made camp in a nice grove. The druid caught some small woodland creatures and prepared a nice meal for his companions before everyone settled down for the night. Asteriskes took the first watch, with Admiral Barky keeping him company. Felan took the next watch. Anaka joined him for the last watch. They heard a crashing coming toward them through the underbrush. Felan cast Dawn, which immediately awoke Asteriskes and Admiral Barky. An ogre broke through the trees, charging for the party.
Anaka closed and attacked, hitting for 7; Admiral Barky flanked the Ogre and attacked, hitting for 10; Asteriskes closed and attacked, hitting for 15; Felan flanked and attacked, hitting for 3; Ogre roared angrily and attacked Anaka, but missed.
Anaka retaliated, hitting critically for 13 and taking the Ogre down.
As the sun was rising, the group decided to break camp. Felan scrounged around the area and gathered enough to make a hearty breakfast. They then resumed their marching order and headed back out. The day passed uneventfully.
Near evening they began to see pink veins in some of the rock faces. Mr P had told them this was an indication that they were reaching the area he was interested in. They made camp. The night passed calmly. In the morning, the druid again prepared a breakfast for his friends. Then they broke camp and resumed their march.
A little black furry critter crossed the path, stopped in front of the party - startled - and cried out in a loud and frightened voice.
"We should get away from here as quickly as possible before Mama Bear comes," said Felan knowingly.
"Can we get by it?" asked Anaka.
"Let me help," Felan replied. The druid came up beside her, used his Handle Animal skills to calm the cub enough for the party to skirt by it safely.
Not too much later, around noontime, they reached the mouth of a cave which looked distinctly like the site indicated to them by Mr. Peabody. Anaka searched the entryway, but found no traps. They entered the cave, which became a tunnel that led them underground.
The tunnel led to a cavern with a high ceiling rising perhaps four or five dozen feet above the ground. Short stalagmites rose from the guano-covered floor. The flapping of hundreds of wings echoed throughout the cave and an overwhelming stench of animals hung in the air. The cave was literally overwhelmed by bats. As the bats were not bothering them, the party advanced, avoiding the area where the majority of the bats were gathered. They reached a fork in the tunnel and chose to go to the right.
Apart from the high ceiling and the notable absence of any stalactites or stalagmites, there was nothing out of the ordinary in this chamber. The adventurers carefully entered the room. They had barely entered the room when a Neuronea charged at them.
Admiral Barky entered the room; Neuronea cast Deep Sleep - Felan failed and fell asleep, Asteriskes Saved; Felan snored loudly; Anaka threw a spear, hitting for 4; Asteriskes drew his bow, but missed his shot.
Admiral Barky closed and attacked, hitting for 9; Neuronea retaliated against Admiral Barky, hitting for 7, and Admiral Barky failed his Save and fell asleep; Felan was still sleeping; Anaka threw a spear, but missed; Asteriskes targeted Neuronea with his bow, hitting for 14.
Admiral Barky growled lightly in his sleep; Neuronea closed and attacked Asteriskes, hitting for 10, but Asteriskes made his Save against the sleep; Felan continued sleeping; Anaka threw another spear, hitting for 5; Asteriskes drew his great sword and attacked, hitting for 20 and taking her out, the Dwarf then performed a coup de gras.
Asteriskes and Admiral Barky gathered up the body and stuffed it into one of the bags of holding Mr. Peabody had provided. Anaka retrieved her spears. Then they searched the room and found what was probably the Neuronea's stash: 60 gp, 3 gold rings, and a pearl necklace. By the time they had finished, Felan and Admiral Barky had woken up. When they were ready, the group retraced its steps and headed down the other fork in the tunnel.
The battered body of a dark-skinned, white-haired humanoid -- slain by some unknown creature -- was sprawled on the uneven cave floor. Long stalactites hung from the ceiling. Four large bats dived at the party with a loud screeching.
Asteriskes swung his sword at the nearest Sonic Bat, hitting critically for a total of 66, chopping the bat into unrecognizable pieces which could not be taken back to the museum; Admiral Barky jumped at the bat near him and attacked, but missed; Felan attacked the Sonic Bat near him, hitting for 6; Anaka struck at the Sonic Bat near her, but missed; Sonic Bat-2 let out a potent sound wave, doing 5 points of Sonic Damage to everyone, but they all Saved against being stunned; Sonic Bat-3 attacked Admiral Barky, but missed; Sonic Bat-4 attacked Felan, but missed.
Asteriskes closed with Sonic Bat-2, hitting for 14 points of subdual damage, knocking the creature, unconscious, to the ground; Admiral Barky jumped at Sonic Bat-3 and attacked, hitting for 9 and taking it out; Felan attacked Sonic Bat-4, hitting for 7 points of subdual damage and taking his rival down.
They gathered up the two Sonic Bat corpses that were salvageable for the museum's use and put them in the other bag of holding. Felan identified the dead body in the room as a male Drow. They found a very interesting note as well as some money and other valuable items on his body.