Keep on the Borderlands

13. Chasing the Serpent

12/15/10: John Reilly jumped in to fill out the group this week. He kind of took over the "leader role" from Hirbe, because Ryan will be gone for a few weeks.

RPGA Sanctioning #:    10-10-2499715

Killvilli - Dwarf Fighter
Merric - Halfling Thief
Ozzirth - Eladrin Mage
Tornam - Dwarf Cleric
Varian - Eladrin Mage

The heroes had been tricked by Benwick, a servant of the serpent god, Zehir. Thanks in part to the adventurers, Benwick was now on his way to bribe two black dragons into leading his lizardfolk army in an assault on the Keep!

Sal, Varian's girlfriend, worked for Benwick. He had thought she was a halfling, but in fact she was a changeling. Rather than feel betrayed, Varian was titillated by this news. Sal apologized profusely to the heroes for what Benwick had done, and offered them some of her rations.

Killvilli wanted her tied up. Varian said he'd carry her on his back. Many of the heroes felt she was not one to be trusted. She continued to apologize.

They made their way back to the Keep. Varian went to the church of Clarissa, where he found Elessan the elf. Elessan was the right hand man of the ruler of Restwell Keep - Lord Drysdale. Elessan examined the curse of clarissa, the brand on Varian's forehead. Elessan was stunned when Varian admitted to hitting on the goddess of battle.

Elessan was shocked. He said Varian was lucky to be alive, and that Clarissa was a paragon of virtue.

"I'm a paragon of everything opposing that." Varian proclaimed. Elessan muttered, wondering aloud  why he was helping Varian.

Elessan ultimately decided that perhaps a donation to the church would remove the curse. Varian gave away all of his 80 gold. Elessan invoked the names of spirits close to Clarissa - Irongrad and Marcela (Clarissa's evil side). The brand disappeared.

Varian was thrilled. Elessan chuckled. 

Varian went outside and crept around the building. He began to pee on it. Francis the poo demon ran over and got in the way of the stream, drinking the urine fresh from Varian's weiner.

The heroes then went to speak with Lord Drysdale, ruler of the Keep on the Borderlands. Guards escorted them to the main hall. Lord Drysdale had short, silver hair and a thick mustache. Elessan and ten guards were with him.

Killvilli said, "You're gonna be attacked by dragons and lizardfolk. They're gonna take over the whole keep." 

"You can thank Chubsy Wubsy for that one," added Varian.

Lord Drysdale was confused. "Chubsy... Wubsy?"

Varian explained in detail what had happened. Lord Drysdale became gravely concerned. He decided that the Keep needed to prepare for an assault. He asked the heroes to go and track down the lizardmen and Benwick in the swamps of the Chaos Scar. He also asked them to try to kill the dragons as well. The heroes agreed to do so.

The heroes slept and set off the next morning. Sal agreed to stay behind. Varian asked her to practice changing forms for him. The other heroes were glad she wasn't coming along.

They made their way into the Chaos Scar. They came close to the swamps, and spotted strange plants everywhere. There were fields full of patches of two foot tall green tubes, with crystal flowers growing out of the center of each tube.It was extremely quiet.

Kilvvili said "The neighborhood is quiet. But I'm here now." The dwarf stomped into a patch and suddenly, the crystalline flowers spun and shot into the air, tearing his skin and armor as they shot up into the clouds.

Ozzirth came close to a flower and tried to grab one. It spun and cut his hand as it launched into the sky. Merric raced through a patch, trying to avoid the crystalline flowers cut into him and he stumbled back. Varian cast Arc Lightning, blasting a path through the strange vegetation. The heroes followed the path he made and continued on, looking for the lair of Benwick and his lizardfolk army. 

They came upon the entrance to the Swamps. Vines dangled from the trees. Patches of black, round mushroom-like berries were everywhere. Merric cut some vines, and the black berries bobbed up and down and made a cheering or shrieking noise, like a tiny crowd watching a spectator sport.

Killvilli pulled out his hammer and smashed a bunch of the berries. They turned to try to dodge, but they were rooted to the ground. They let out disturbing shouts of terror and agony as the dwarf squashed some. A vine lashed out, trying to snatch the warf, but he avoided.

Varian teleported past the vines and into the swamp. Francis looked at the berries and slurped. Then he asked Varian, "Urine?". Varian told him now was not the time.

Ozziroth pulled up a berry. It shrieked. He put it in his mouth and chewed it. The berry screamed and moaned as if it was dying a horrible death. He swallowed it, and the thing could be heard shrieking from inside his belly. A vine lashed out, but he ducked it.

Tornam backed up and made a leap, jumping over the vines and into the swamp area. He helped the others get through.

The adventurers traveled in the dark swamp for a bit. Soon, the water was over a foot deep. They came to a large pond-like area where pink crystals were jutting from the water. They were discharging lightning, bouncing charges from crystal to crystal. One crystal was blue. It was not discharging anything. A small, strange bat was perched on it, making a strange chirping noise. 

Killvilli threw a hammer, shattering a pink crystal. It exploded loudly. A bunch of bats flew from a nearby tree, startled by the noise. The heroes debating throwing Killvilli at a crystal. He pointed out they were too puny to throw him.

Varian shot a magic missile at the bat, killing it. The crystal it was perched on turned from blue to pink. It began to discharge to lightning. 

Ozziroth concentrated and drained energy from the crystals. He then refoused the energy, and lifted Killvilli into the air. He hovered the dwarf over to a crystal. He shattered one, and then hovered over to another. Ozzirth lost control. Killvilli plopped into the water and shattered another. He had reated a path that lead almost all the way through.

Tornam uttered a prayer, creating a lightning aura, which blocked the lightning and helped him get through. Merric flipped and dodged his way past the lightning, helping his allies across.

The adventurers continued through the swamp, coming upon an area covered by a canopy of trees. Some trees were raining crystal shards. Frogs were perched on lily pads underneath, snatching the crystals with their tongues, converting them to energy and absorbing them. Other frogs were on the bases of trees, pooping crystal mush that was absorbed by the tree bark, which caused more crystal rain.

The shards looked very dangerous to pass through. Merric ran and dodged through the ryswtal rain, leaping over frogs and lilypads. Once on the far end, Gloomhandler asked "why don't you do the same? Oh that's right, you can't."

Varian put Francis on his head and walked. Francis swallowed any crystals that fell. He made it through, but Francis had a couple of sharp shards sticking out of his belly. Killvilli held up his metal shield over his head and made it all the way through.

Tornam cast create water, causing a sheet of water to appear above the frogs. It fell on them, submerging them all in the swamp water. He raced by as their legs dangled out of the water. Ozzirth followed, using his magic shield spell to protect him.

The heroes had survived the perils of the swamp, and found the path that would lead to the lizardfolk lair. A clearing opened up in the woods ahead, the trail disappearing into it. Standing stones mark the trail here, but none are visible elsewhere. In the center of the meadow was a stand of trees draped with spider webs. Two large spiders lurked in the webs. Beyond were a band of lizardfolk, poised to attack.

Two lizardmen flung javelins. One soared through trees and plunged into Killvilli (a critical) bloodying the dwarf. Varian cast a spell, sending a spider flying into on of the lizardmen. The spider bit the lizardman, who shrieked in surprise.

Tornam pulled out his sling and pelted the lizardmen with sling stones. Killvilli charged the other spider and hacked into it. Ozzirth then cast a spell which sent that spider hurtling into another lizardman, bloodying it in the process. 

Four other lizardmen produced blowguns. Killvilli was hit by two poison darts and was bloodied. The spiders and lizardmen fought furiously with one another. Varian cast a spell that dazed a lizardman and forced him to attack one of the blowgunners. He plunged his spear into his ally, killing him.

Merric crept forth and killed one of the spiders with a precise stab from his dagger. Killvilli waded through the spiderwebs and threw a hammer, crushing the face of a blowgunner. Ozziroth cast a massive font of flame spell which killed the other spider, a blowgunner and a spear-wielding lizardman. The fire continued to burn.

Varian killed the last blowgunner with a magic missile. Merric closed in and stabbed the last remaining lizardman, injuring him. Killvilli stalked the lizardman, and struck him with his hammer. The lizardman stumbled into the flames. Killvilli followed him in and hit him again as Varian fired off another magic missile and Tornam threw a stone into the lizardman's head. Killvilli swung one more time, caving in the lizardman's skull (with a critical). 

The adventurers were close to the lair. They wondered if Benwick or the dragons would be ready for them there....