Archive for February, 2006

“Thief” Is Just an Epithet for “Winner”

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

As we considered our options in terms of what to do about the Ascendeds scrying the temple, and the various unfriendly critters inside said temple, I tied a rope to my waist, cast Detect Secret Doors and set off through the sandstorm with the rest of our party holding onto the other end of the rope. Circling the roof, I confirmed that there was only one secret door I could find, and it was inside the small wing which sat atop the mithril globe – the same room we’d seen guarded by a mage and two thugs, and whose entrance bore a warning that the Mulhorandi Ambassador himself wished the room sealed.

Upon my return we quickly discussed our options.

Rock advocated that he and I and others go there and simply kill all the Ascendeds. While I had no doubt that he and I could do so, I feared that we’d burn everything we had for the day on that, leaving us sitting atop a temple filled with enemies and down several of our many defenses. Rock’s enthusiasm for what he calls “villain-killin'” was admirable, but even I felt it might be unwise. Instead we settled for a bit of reconnaissance; I turned each of us into eagles and we soared up over Adric’s sandstorm and out to espy the camp from afar. As we watched, the Ascendeds concluded their scrying and opened another Gate, through which marched eight of the armored Ascendeds, 160 normal kobolds and one red half-dragon.

Half-dragons. Great.

As we watched, the Ascended formed ranks and began a disciplined march from their camp towards the Mulhorandi Embassy. Rock and I were quickly into the air and back to our friends to warn them of the enemies’ approach.

“They’re going to be pretty surprised to see this place excavated,” was a general conclusion, and we wondered whether their surprise might buy us some time or would simply encourage them to assault the Embassy all the more quickly.

“If we can let the two sides do some fighting first, we might get a glimpse of the Ambassador and we can pick our side from there,” Adric suggested.

“Should we try to warn the Set-worshippers inside to encourage a hasty battle?” someone else asked.

“We should let them start fighting and then we should force our way into that room, steal the artifact and teleport the hell away from here,” I said. “Today there are us, an army of Setites and an army of kobolds. Everybody’s here for the same thing, whatever McGuffin is inside that room. Tomorrow, I’m willing to bet there will still be us, the Setites and the Kobolds – but someone is going to have the McGuffin, and it might as well be us.”

“Villain-killin!” cried Rock, but I was quick to assuage his fears of a day without judicial bloodshed.

“Oh, we’ll kill villains, don’t you worry. Let’s just do it after we have whatever shiny is hidden inside, OK?”

“Well, how do we get it?” Badl asked.

“I don’t know,” I replied, “We run in, we spot the glowing whatever, we throw a sack over it and we teleport out!”

“What if it’s built into the place?” asked Nigel.

“I don’t know!” I replied, “That’s the point! It’s adventure!”

With that, we agreed to try to raise an alarm amongst the Setites upon the Ascendeds’ approach to encourage the quick onset of battle. Rock produced the magical bags that produce small animals and sent a boar and a cat into the Embassy with orders to find some of the jackal-men that guard the place. The rest of us hid in the sand a short distance away to observe. After a few moments, the boar returned but obviously it was the worse for wear as it was blooded and broken and animated only by the hellacious wasps that roam the halls of the Embassy. We watched as it emerged, obviously being used as a spy by the Setites inside, and in moments it was obliterated by a column of magical flame. The Ascendeds had clearly arrived and the red half-dragon clearly had magic to mimic the nastier half of his heritage.

A few moments later we noticed a few kobolds climbing up onto the roof of the embassy and reaching the apex of the same dome we had mounted earlier in the day. Whether they meant to cave it in, mar it in some way or merely enjoy the view was unknown, as I obliterated most of them with a sonicball. Apparently thinking this meant the gig was up, the Ascendeds’ forces blew a hole in the far side of the Embassy from us and we heard battle commence.

“Now’s our chance,” Katarina announced as Shadow reported back from his surreptitious inspection of the inside. Together we were transported directly through the walls and into the very room itself – the one behind the NO ENTRY BY ORDER OF THE AMBASSADOR OF MULHORAND door – where we found… a blank room. Shadow poked his head through the wall to keep watch and the rest of us set to examining the place for secret doors or unknown magic.

In short order we had determined that the room was blanketed in illusion and had managed to see past it; rather than a storage room we were in a plain room with a round trapdoor in its center. The doors out were warded in many magicks, and Shadow reported mere seconds after we arrived that a huge, black creature was lumbering down the hallway in our direction, its stride quick and with an obvious purpose. I read a scroll to seal the doors and Badl – thinking quickly and well – snapped his Immovable Rods into place against the center of the frame where the two doors met. Katarina bent over the lock with her tools and soon we heard both the lock click and the roar of an entity on the other side of the main doors: “WHO DARES TRESPASS IN THIS PLACE,” it bellowed, and we all knew that could be the voice of only one thing: The Ambassador.

Statecraft must have been murder back then, I thought to myself. Alas, there was no time for quips as the monstrous representative threw his weight against the door shattering my Knock spell and pushing even the Immovable Rods back a few inches. I polymorphed Rock into a Stone Giant and Badl transformed into a Dire Bear, then cast Animal Growth on himself. The two of them pushed back, and between them and the rods they held the door in place for a few precious seconds. As light sprang from the opened portal into the Mithril sphere below us, Adric threw up his hands in prayer and called down needles of light. Meanwhile Nigel and I each unloaded a spell but saw them wash off the Ambassador without effect.

At this point I should describe the Ambassador. Statecraft truly must have been murder in those days, because the Ambassador wasn’t someone I’d invite over for light appetizers, free drinks and some trade talks. He was enormously tall, stooped over in a hallway with fifteen-foot ceilings, and his entire body was made of something so black and smooth and absorbant that light seemed to fail to find its way back from him. He was somewhat like Shadow, but his form was terribly substantial compared to Shadow’s incorporeal state. When his fists swung he could chip gobbets of stone from marble walls and when he opened his eyes they twinkled like the dead stars of ancient skies. With a moan he would set dark energy upon us that burned living flesh and as soon as I realized I wasn’t going to be 100% effective against him I took on my favored flying form and dove down through the now-open trapdoor to at least see whatever was concealed in such a place.

When he saw the open trapdoor in the room and some of us starting to go through it, he cried out again: ONLY I CAN TOUCH THE SOURCE.

It was full of plants – brown-green weeds and stems wrapped around one another from years of growth and grown so fat with the foul brown ichor drunk by the jackal-men and used by them as a venom that it ran from their leaves and flowers into troughs placed underneath them so that it could be carried away and out of sight; whether processed first or fed directly into the pool where the jackal-men relax was unknown and unimportant. The plants themselves might be the McGuffin, I thought, save for the fact of the blue-white light that filled the room, spilling up out of a gap that circled the entire room where the floor met the curved walls of the mithril sphere. Nigel and Katarina dropped in after me and Katarina pointed to the center of the floor: “Another trapdoor,” she said, and in seconds she had swung it open to reveal an enormous and brightly-glowing sphere attached to a pedastal which was, in turn, sunk into the subfloor of the sphere.

“The shiny!” I cried, and Nigel and Katarina and I were on it in a flash. Detect Magic nearly left us blind when we cast it, and in the half-seconds we could stand to gaze on it we could learn only that it had multiple auras and effects – and, importantly, that the pedastal to which it was attached was something else, not a part of the magical mechanism itself.

“Let’s get this thing in a bag and get the hell out of here,” I said.

Meanwhile, upstairs, the Ambassador had wreaked untold havoc on Rock, Adric and Badl, but the three of them had put up a terrible fight in return and after punishing blows from Badl and Rock, and the vengeful magic of Adric, the Ambassador… ran. As Badl summoned an angry rhinoceros which in turn sank its horns into the Ambassador’s thigh, the Ambassador disengaged and disappeared by some magical means leaving my friends to take a couple of moments to regroup. No sooner had they caught their bearings, however, than they realized that the battle between the Ascendeds and the Setites was moving closer along the halls of the Embassy. Badl dropped a sleet storm in the Hallway to slow their progress, and indeed a few dying kobolds only barely managed to make it through before dropping dead before my companions’ feet. With a flash and a whiff of brimstone, however, the red half-dragon appeared before them and gazed up and down at Rock (in the guise of a Stone Giant), Badl (in the guise of a truly dire Dire Bear, fifteen feet long and as many feet wide) and Adric. A moment passed and the half-dragon opened his mouth: “Godsdamn, how many kinds of creatures inhabit this place!?”

“Sixteen!” Rock roared in reply. “If you count yourself!”*

With that, Rock raised his sword and charged the half-dragon. He struck so deep and so true, his sword biting so far into the half-dragon’s chest, that what Nigel later explained was called a “contingency spell” went off, something the half-dragon had prepared ahead of time in case things went poorly. As blood sprayed in all directions, so too did a spell familiar to my companions if of an unexpected element: a fire-based Acid Fog roared into life around them, emanating from the red half-dragon himself.

Badl and Rock backed out of the effect, losing sight of the half-dragon and thus unsure whether he had been struck dead.

As all that was happening, however, Nigel had pointed his finger at the pedastal which held up the Magic Whats-It and said, “OK, aiming…”

“Please don’t miss,” I said, hands on the silvery orb to try and catch it when the pedastal was disintegrated.

“Adric can regrow any limbs…” Nigel replied. “Probably.”

Pointing very carefully, he uttered a word and the air filled with ozone as the pedastal simply ceased to be. The orb – weighing several hundred pounds – crashed to the ground and we drew my blanket around it as quickly as we could. None of us, of course, could lift it, so none of us could hold it while I teleported us away.

“Stone Giant,” I said as I pointed at Katarina, and in an instant she dwarfed us all and lifted the blanket with the orb insde easily over one shoulder. “Now grab my hand.” She did so, and I couldn’t help but laugh a little. “Aren’t you glad you walked into our store?”

A moment later she, the orb and I stood in our cave back in the mountains that ring this ancient desert.

As soon as we were gone, Nigel flew back up through the trapdoors and announced their need to depart. Rock, Badl and Nigel each reached for Adric’s robes as Adric cast Word of Recall to return them to the cave. Within a moment we were all together again in the cave with the glowing orb, hundreds of miles from the battle that still raged within the ancient Embassy’s walls.

“We should speak with Mytheria tomorrow,” Adric said.

“And I will cast Legend Lore to see what I can learn of this orb,” Nigel added.

With that, we slept with great relief.

The next morning, Adric communicated an invitation to Mytheria and we told him of our caper. He complimented our daring-do, and warned that half-dragons are mad and terrible beings, the red ones being most feral of all. Nigel cast Legend Lore on the orb and learned a short rhyme that told us something of its importance to Alec/Muad Ter’thalas:

When Muad Ter’thalas brought his ancient band
From the godless world of the elves, this device –
favored trinket and foundation of cities – was among
his most prized possessions.**

So Alec wanted this personally. And we stole it right out from under his nose. Delicious.

Badl decided to scry our foes from the day before to see what could be learnt about their fates, and on scrying the half-dragon he saw that being sitting on the dunes outside the Embassy, healed whole and resting his chin on one fist as he stared at a track of oversized footprints leading south, away from the Embassy, across the sand. Clearly those were the footprints of the Ambassador, headed on foot in our direction. We felt pretty safe, though, given how far away we were at this point.

The half-dragon, surrounded by dead and wounded kobolds, stood up and dusted himself off with a weary sigh. “The Orb is gone,” he said to no one, “The Ambassador is gone and the heroes are gone.” Turning to a specific kobold, now, he pointed roughly at him. “And you,” he said to the wounded kobold, “Get to be the one to tell Alec about this.”

Sucks to be that guy.

—-
* He’s quite right, too, if you count all the polymorphs and Alter Self spells active: the thug jackal-men, the mage jackal-men, the Ambassador, hellwasps, humans, a gnome, an ape, a tressym, a shadow, kobolds, Ascended, a half-dragon, a winged elf (I can’t remember the technical term), a stone giant, a dire bear and a rhino.

** This is from memory, and is NOT remembered correctly. I have it written down in my character notebook, however.

Where There’s a Wind, There’s a Way

Saturday, February 4th, 2006

Editor’s Note: This is a summary written by Adric; that week I had another obligation and couldn’t be at the game. I think it’s awesome! Note that calling myself Editor is a misnomer, as I did not edit this at all. Just FYI.

To clarify briefly, one of the things done to deal with the swarms of Hellwasps was that Badl cast a spell to produce 31mph winds in a huge area, thus effectively pushing the enemies so far away as to not be a concern. I forgot to mention it in my last update.

And now, on with Adric’s update! Many thanks to Adric’s player for writing this!

======================================

After the last jackal fell, things were oddly calmer, despite the howling swirl of the wind Badl had conjured up. Adric and Rock moved down the corridor toward the central plaza to check on things. As they passed the crossing tunnel, they saw enormous swarms huddled left and right at the edges of the wind spell, awaiting its departure to pounce. As they moved on, they found the plaza apparently deserted.

“I think I’m going to fill a wineskin with some of that honey,” Rock declared, “is that a bad idea?”

“Probably, but I’ll keep a _word of recall_ ready in case something bad happens. Just run back here.”

“Unless I fall and you have to come get me.”

“Oh yeah,” Adric replied, “except then.”

Rock crept up to the raised pool and dipped his waterskin into the nectar. He noticed three steel skulls in the bottom of the pool. Ad libbing, he pulled out his spear and attempted to skewer one through the socket. He succeeded. Beyond all specter of surprise, of course, the sockets began glowing bright red and all three began to form bodies of the nectar substance itself, and advanced on him– slowly. very slowly.

He retreated back to Adric’s position in the shadows of the tunnel, put away his waterskin, pulled his bow and launched an arrow in tandem to Adric’s flame strike. the beings seemed unharmed– and still advancing. It was time to fall back.

We met back up with the main body and waited to see if any of them followed us all of the way– one did. It seemed immune to magic and packed a NASTY wallop. Rock knew he couldn’t even stand toe-to-toe against it for long. Nigel hollered something about “constructs” and “adamantine” and Rock pulled a stowed adamantine greatsword and squared off against the monster. Nigel recalled a particularly potent spell of force power, that could penetrate even the most resistant of creatures. Between the two, they brought the being down. Rock pocketed the skull with the nectarskin.

When Adric tried to heal Rock’s wounds he found them incredibly resistant to his spells. He found he had to focus twice as hard as usual in order to cure Rock’s wounds. At this point, the party decided they had accomplished about all they could at their current strength and needed to retreat and ponder their next move. Nigel dropped a wall of stone (only 3 inches thick, unfortunately– did we read that right? that seems thin) over the entrance to the cave and grabbed our teleport partners, and bampf!

Only, things didn’t go quite as planned. those riding with Whitten seized in pain as their biomagical signatures were briefly scrambled in a double zero division error. Whitten knew there was now a serious risk of becoming permanently stuck here until the pain of this transitional world killed them all. He refocused his karmic efforts and managed to get them all back to the cave in the next instant. (Editor’s note: Just my frickin’ luck, the one time my Fatespinner special abilities are needed and frickin’ work, I’m not there for it. 😉 )

As the party hunkered down in the quiet cave, they pondered what they had learned and more importantly, what their strategy would be for the following day. As Adric moved among them sharing the last of his healing energy, Nigel suggested blasting through the roof of the central room. Appreciating the dramatic flare of Nigel’s ever-direct approach, Whitten was drawn to the idea.

“It doesn’t leave us any escape route for those of us who can’t fly,” Rock replied. Air Walks and Fly‘s were counted. “We should send a group in the front entrance as a feint.”

“I can Stone Shape the wall,” Adric suggested.

“But I thought you only split your forces if you had a numerical superiority,” Badl said. “Er, that’s what a pack of wolves once told me, anyway.”

“If we break the roof of the place, but DON’T kill all of the baddies, we’ve got no way to close the barn door,” Adric cautioned. “I don’t want this evil getting out of its bottle.”

“We could Dimension Door,” Nigel supplied. “That limits how many can come in that way, though.”

Deciding to prepare for the broadest of these contingencies, but not an actual assault plan, the depleted and battered party’s eyes began to droop toward sleep. It was about then that a gentle spark of inspiration nudged the party’s thoughts.

“Adric, can’t clerics control the weather?” Nigel asked.

“With suitable caution for the disruption for the natural flow, one of my highest abilities is the ability to control the local environment,” Adric replied. “In this area, I could pull in a fierce sandstorm, blowing in any general direction– But be careful what you ask for, once called, it takes on a life of its own. We could be eating dust for days.”

It was then Badl and Nigel hatched an idea of sweeping scope– literally. “If you can get a vicious sandstorm, I could whip a smaller area of that into a sand-blasting excavatin’ tornado with my winds,” Badl explained. “We could have the whole place excavated in hours.” Whitten made a note to add “Archaeological Excavation” to the skills section of the TTC business cards.

The next morning, the party sat in the cold cave eating their daily Feast, empowered by the captured rod. This is the ONLY way to “dock a day’s rations” in the field. After breakfast, they bampfed back to the slaughtered camp outside the dungeon. Only it wasn’t there any more. The stone wall had been clawed open and the bodies, so carefully buried the day before, had been exhumed and taken inside.

“More wasp factories,” Badl concluded grimly.

Adric moved a mile or two off, to center the storm away from the dark conical pit in the sand from his 6 mile diameter sandstorm. Badl channeled the down-swept winds into a controlled tornado-forced winds that swept tons of sand aside. In a rod-extended fury, three hours of excavation had revealed most of the former Mulhorandi embassy. Thinking their might be more, the party moved off to see if any other buildings lurked in the immediate area. After another three hours, the entire complex became revealed. The main structure was the only building in the area. It was reasoned that we had explored approximately half of the area from the inside. Our excavation had briefly discovered the original “ground” of the time. A brief puff of white smoke was almost all anyone saw of the expanse of humanoid bones that littered the ambassadorial bailey.

Around the exterior, the party iscovered two “additions” built into the side of the embassy. The most interesting was the side addition that seemed to match up with the guarded doors inside. The room seemed to rest upon a lower basement room, constructed entirely of a silver metal. Badl alchemically identified it as “mostly mythral.”

“Could this be something the dwarves were charged to protect?” Adric asked?

“We’re being Scryed!” Nigel’s warning ceased all further speculation.

“I see a dozen masked winged-orc mages. They’re mounted. They’re scrying INSIDE the building. They’re only 5 miles–THAT way! They don’t seem to be looking for us. I think they’re trying to get a Teleport lock inside the embassy!”

We’ve got 45 minutes before one of our enemies teleports into our other enemies’ den. Do we let them fight and take out the “winner”? Do they think this storm is anything other than natural? Do they know we’re here, too?

Mostly Just of Sand & Blood

Friday, February 3rd, 2006

We popped back to the nomad camp and picked up Nigel and Katarina, telling them of our experience out in the desert. None of us were exactly thrilled about the idea of going down into whatever ruin had been excavated, but off we went, lycanthropes or no. This is where we separate the adventurers from the hobbyists, I guess.

Upon our return we decided that first we should bury the dead. This was hard and difficult in the sand, and we had little in the way of magic to help us and I am left wondering what I would do without magic in a given day. I use a lot of magic. I really wonder if I would like myself very much if I didn’t have it. But, of course, I do, so no worries.

We did what we could to pay our respects, however, and then we ventured down into the ruin in what has become our standard exploration formation: Katarina and Shadow at the front, Rock a few yards behind them with a torch (to better act as bait for anything nasty) and the rest of us a few more yards behind him in a mass. We didn’t get but a few feet into the place, however, before Katarina noticed two small alcoves to either side of the masonry hallway. Peeking into one, she saw an enormous – seven feet if it was an inch – man-jackal; by this I mean it had the body of a (very tall) man and the head of a jackal. It’s just that simple. These were the “lycanthrope” footprints we’d seen outside, shooting that theory down without anyone missing it very much in its demise.

I am rarely so glad to be wrong about something as I was to be wrong about lycanthropes being there.

The eyes of the jackal at whom she looked swung open as he heard our approach, and with a red glow it called out in what I can only describe as an early sort of Common that there were intruders. In the opposite alcove, an identical man-jackal responded by opening his own, red eyes and beginning to stride forward. Katarina leapt through the shadow to their backs and Rock drew them back out towards the opening where we collectively began to lay down the smack.

Other than their size and their appearance, there didn’t seem to be anything special about these man-jackals. Then we all noticed the sweet aroma that originated from them, and when one opened its jaws and tried to bite Rock we were able to see that a black, viscous liquid dripped from its teeth and gums and smelled like rotting honey.

Poison.

After taking out those two man-jackals, we performed a quick autopsy and were able to confirm that their stomachs were full of the stuff. Weird! We didn’t let this one tiny drop of oddity in the bucket of experience deter us from exploration, however, and as we progressed forward we noted a couple of empty alcoves and then an intersection where a long hallway arched forward out of sight to either side and, concealed behind a decorative stone wall, our own continued forward at a slight decline. We figured we were probably standing on the outside of a very large, circular complex, and progressing forward we made our way with great care to what is probably the center of the building.

In it, we saw a dozen more man-jackals. They lounged – lounged, like civilized beings, utterly relaxed in their posture and demeanor – around a large pool which seemed to be filled right to brimming with more of this same, black, moldering honey. From the pool the man-jackals would take lazy gulps, lapping it up and then settling back into repose. Still, even if they were deeply at ease we knew it would be tough to take a dozen of them at once. We crept back away, very quietly, and at the intersection of our hallway with the outer rim of the circle of the building we decided to go right and see what we could find.

Shortly, we found more man-jackals, including one dressed in a robe and decorated by a head-dress and staff that were clearly of Mulhorandi origin – as I suspected the man-jackals to be, as well, given their resemblance to some of the iconography of the Mulhorandi gods we’d seen when we vacationed there several years ago. They stood obvious guard over a large, stone door which had something inscribed on it; from our angle, however, we couldn’t make out the words. Katarina crept forward to try to see what they protected, but one of the beasts had the unlikely fortune to spot her as she crept through shadows. With that, another battle commenced and we learned that while the plainer, more common brutes are mere thugs the ones dressed in robes are spellcasters. Between us, however, we were able to take them all down save the spellcaster, who disappeared and, we knew, would raise the alarm with his kin.

As we started a hasty retreat I clasped my hand over the helm I keep for just such occasions and ran up to the stone door they’d guarded. In the ancient pictograms of Mulhorand it said:

NO ENTRY, BY ORDER OF THE AMBASSADOR OF MULHORAND

In an instant, I knew we were in a place that was ancient – but not nearly as ancient as The Tomb – and a great deal of new information was made plain to us. With it, however, were raised just as many questions.

No time for that then, however, as we ran back to the exit and tried to prepare a defense for the assault we knew these beasts would bring to bear. Knowing we could always just run outside and let Nigel seal the entrance with a wall of stone, we decided to test our mettle and try to take out as many as we could. Soon, the air filled with yips and howls and growled orders and – oh yes – the terrible buzzing of the wasps we’d fought earlier that day. I did what I could to try to stop their advance, filling the air with fogs of sonic energy to slow their advance. As I laid down suppressive sonic fireballs over the fog and the others went toe-to-toe with any that made it through that disruptive mist, we were able to wear their numbers down a great deal. Finally we sent Shadow ahead when they ceased their advance and he returned to report that there were still several, both brute and spellcaster, and several swarms of wasps just standing around waiting for us to relax our defense. We decided to lure them in, then, and dropped our spells just long enough to let them begin to rush us; in an instant we’d trapped several more and begun to lay further waste to their number.

Eventually we were out of spells and there were only a couple left. Rock, Badl and Bonzo had fought fiercely to protect us, with many dead man-jackals at their feet, and Adric had alternated between smiting and healing as he is equally good at both. Nigel and I were almost spent of magic, and Katarina had riddled more than a few man-jackals with bolts and stabbed a few in the back with her blade. Seeing us all still standing, though, the two or three brutes left to fight stopped in their tracks (ha ha – tracks) and one turned to another:

“They are too strong for us. We must go and wake the ambassador.”

With that, they took off running and we heard the distance erupt with more yips and yowls as man-jackals cried out to one another for help and aid.

“We need to get out of here,” everyone pretty much said at once. With that, we retreated from the excavated entrance to the building, Nigel sealed it shut with a spell and we returned to the cave to rest for the night; and, with our rest, to consider any number of questions.

For one thing, the Mulhorandi are an old nation. We know this. They brag that they are the oldest of human kingdoms, and their history easily extends somewhere from three to five thousand years into the past.

We also know that the Anauroch Desert was once home to a race of powerful wizards, called the Netherese. Their kingdom fell some thousands of years ago; the histories are vague, but I want to say two or three. Thus, it is entirely possible, and not really that surprising, that they would have had diplomatic relations with the Mulhorandi.

If an ancient site of power were in the center of the Netherese Empire, the wizards who rules the Netherese would certainly have known it. It might, in fact, have been part of what drew them to settle here. And, of course, if this building is the embassy of the distant and ancient land of Mulhorand, easily contemporaries to the Netherese, then this may be the Netherese capitol.

What is surprising is that the Mulhorandi ambassador would, you know, still be here. It’s not like his social calendar’s had anything on it since the Netherese passed into history. This leads to three possibilities:

  • the Mulhorandi ambassador is actually a contemporary Mulhorandi sent here by his government for no apparent reason,
  • the Mulhorandi ambassador went for a lie-down some, oh, five thousand years ago and has been “asleep” ever since, and those beasts are going to go knock on his door for a very long time before realizing that perhaps he’s simply never going to answer it after all, or
  • the Mulhorandi ambassador is some sort of undead who could still be alive down there, and if so, almost certainly unspeakably powerful with regards to magic and other arcane knowledge.

What separates the adventurers from the hobbyists, however, is none of that.

What separates the adventurers from the hobbyists is that we want to go back anyway.