NOTE: This is the short session to restart of a D&D 3.0/3.5 game run from 2002 to 2009 which is starting up again. The players were at the beginning of the scenario “Lord of the Iron Fortress” when Falstaff left for reasons explained below.
Sunday, January 8, 2023
(After playing Matt McPike’s D&D 3.0/3.5 Greyhawk game on Discord today from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. with Laura McPike.)
I was surprised when I found Alexiah and Luke at the gate back to Rigus after using the cubehop scroll but explained to her what happened briefly.
“And I’m going back,” I said. “I won’t travel with them anymore. Not people who think greed is more important than friendship.”
I pointed at the gate back to Rigus.
“So the party’s not following you?” she said. “Do they know that you left?”
“You’re not concerned,” she said. “Do you really think‒”
“What happened to you?” I said.
“I don’t know. I was in the middle of battle … um … things were – the battle was wrapping up and then Luke and I ended up here.”
“You vanished when I returned, as far as I could tell.”
“So, you were with them for a few hours. I’ve been here a few hours.”
“And now I’m going back. Unless you need anything of me.”
“You’re going back through the gate?”
“I’m going back to Rigus and then back to Oerth.”
“I can tell that you are angry, but do you truly feel that this came from a place of greed?”
“All I know is Turk lied to me …”
“… and then demanded the helmet, at which point, I gave it to him … and … after several hours of thought, I left. They’ll find out soon enough.”
“I mean, I would love if you stayed to finish out our quests, but I understand that … leaving might be what you feel is right.”
“I can’t keep you from leaving.”
“Unfortunately, they’re not on this cube.”
“How do you know this?”
“Because I required a spell to get here.”
I held up the used-up formerly magical scroll.
“So, you’re going to walk through the gate to get on?” she said.
“I’m going to go back to Rigus,” I said. “And then back to Oerth.”
“So, how did you know to come here to find me?”
“I didn’t. I had no idea you were here. I was merely coming back to the Battle Cube. With this spell, I can get to a cube so long as I know what the cube is called … I believe is how it works. And I knew this was the Battle Cube, so I returned here so I could return.”
I looked at her.
“If you want, I’ll see to getting you back to them,” I said begrudgingly.
“I mean … I don’t … I’m alone out here,” she said. “I don’t know how I got out here and I don’t have the powers to get back to where they are.”
“We’ll have to go back to Rigus. We’ll have to purchase more of the spells.”
Luke nodded. I told him I’d return him to Oerth as well, if he wished to go there. He nodded enthusiastically and said he’d like to return.
There was no sign of Lafoya at the gate.
“So, I … magically appeared here and whatever I was holding, I still had with me,” she said. “And I had important things in my bag. Do you know …?”
I removed her bag of holding from my shoulder and handed it over to her.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I forgot. Turk made such a fuss … about your bag.”
“I understand,” she said.
“Everything should be in there,” I said. “Except the shards. Turk kept the shards.”
She looked at me.
“They said they might need them,” I said.
“Where they are?” she said.
“On the Lost Cube, yes.”
“Okay. We did use them during part of the battle.”
“Groth told me.”
“So … yeah.”
“All right. Are you ready? Come along.”
We went back through the gate and past the dead rust dragon to Rigus. We returned Luke to the Steel Cauldron, the inn we had stayed t before, and then Alexiah and I went to the market to make some purchases. I bought a piece of chalk in the hopes of opening the gate to Acheron once again. She asked if the spell I would cast required components and I reminded her of the spined devil Barry using a piece of chalk to draw a door to get us back to Acheron.
When Alexiah asked what else I needed, I told her of the cubehop spell, which allowed anyone near the caster to travel from cube to cube in Acheron. It required a mage or sorcerer to cast. So long as the name of the cube the caster wanted to go to was known, they and those around them who wanted to go would be magically transported to that cube. It seemed like I always appeared near people I knew there. At least that had been my understanding.
We found a merchant, a bladeling, who sold magical scrolls from a shop called Rigus Oddities. The price was prohibitive: 1,650 gold pieces for a single scroll. He offered me a deal if I bought several. Alexiah asked if I was a member of any group that might give me a discount but I shook my head.
“How much for half a dozen?” I said.
“Oh!” the devil said.
“Six thousand for half a dozen,” I said. Then I checked myself. “Five thousand for half a dozen. That is a significant markdown, mind you, but … it’s money in your hand.”
“It is money in my hand but I liked your first markdown,” he said. “Six thousand.”
I nodded and began looking through my bag of holding at the various gems and coins. Alexiah tugged on my arm and we took a few steps away to speak quietly.
“I understand this is expensive and I know you’re taking this on in order to help me so I would like to contribute financially,” she said.
“I would be glad for you to do that,” I said. “How much?”
“Six thousand is the total for the six spells?”
“That’s what he says; yes.”
She offered me 2,500 gold coins and I gratefully accepted it. I walked back over.
“Do you take gemstones and jewels?” I said.
“Ah, yes,” the devil said. “I would have to appraise them myself though.”
“Fair enough,” I said.
I looked through my gems.
“I could always hire you, if you like, and you could work off your deal,” the devil said. “Any interest in doing some work for me?”
“What kind of work?” I said.
“You know: errands. Going. Getting things. Bringing them to me.”
“I’m afraid I’m a little busy for that.”
I took out 14 rubies I knew were valued at 100 gold pieces each and put them on the table. He looked them over and told me the value of them was 2,800 gold coins, twice their worth. That saved me a good deal of money. I also handed over an emerald worth 1,200 gold pieces, which he correctly valued. With the 2,500 gold pieces Alexiah put on the table, I took back 500 gold coins and put them into my money pouch in my bag of holding.
He took the money into the back of his shop and I cast detect magic before he returned with the six scrolls.
“Here you go,” he said. “Would you like a scroll case for them?”
“No, thank you,” I said.
“I’ll make you a deal,” he said.
I looked at each of the scrolls to verify they were magical and held the correct spell. I thanked him for his business and we left the place. I made sure to remember where the shop was in case I needed to return for work.
We returned to the Steel Cauldron as both of us were exhausted. Alexiah was still battle weary and covered in strange oil from the iron cats. We had a room with three beds and so spent the night there.
Luke offered to pay for the next night at the inn as I would have to leave him there while I returned Alexiah to the Lost Cube. I told him it didn’t matter but he noted if Alexiah wanted him to pay, he’d pay. He paid for the second night.
“I’m just thinking …” Alexiah said to Luke. “It’s what you should do. You should be raised that way.”
“My-my parents were killed shortly after I was born,” he said.
He told her he was raised in the woods by elves. I sat on my bed and didn’t interject.
“Elves have good manners,” Alexiah said.
The next morning, as we went down to the common room for breakfast, I saw Lafoya at the bar among the other creatures. She drank out of a wine glass.
“Excuse me for a moment,” I said to Alexiah.
I went over to the bar where the drow sat.
“Lafoya,” I said.
“Good morning,” she said.
“Good day. I see you made it back to Rigus.”
“Uh … yeah. After you left … um … let’s just say things got even weirder.”
“This … ogre appeared … and he was insufferable.”
“Oh. Did he attack?”
“No, I think he meant well, but he definitely wasn’t good at hiding or not announcing his presence to things that would get me killed.”
“So, I decided that I’d had enough. Your … party members are … let’s just say I think you may be the highest in the group as far as my opinion.”
“Well, thank you. I am planning to return to Oerth and you are welcome to come with me. Not immediately, but within the day. If you so desire.”
“Very good. I will travel with you.”
“Very well. I have to leave on an errand first, but will return here before I return to Oerth. If you know the way back through the gate to Oerth, that would be helpful. Otherwise, I’ll have to figure it out.”
“I do know the way. If you meet me here tomorrow, we can travel together.”
“Are you staying here?”
“I am now.”
I bid her good morning and then went to the table where Luke and Alexiah were sitting and ordered breakfast.
“Is everything okay?” Alexiah said.
“Oh yes,” I said. “I met her … she was the one who actually helped me get to the rest of the party when you disappeared. She had one of these scrolls. As a matter of fact … excuse me.”
I went back to Lafoya and gave her one of the cubehop scrolls in repayment for her helping me travel earlier.
“Oh, a kindness that I have not received from a human in some time,” she said. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” I said.
I went back to Alexiah and told her of running into Lafoya on the Battle Cube and how she told me about using the cubehop spells. The drow, which is what she was, were also looking for some kind of powerful magical item. I told her about the Blade of Fiery Might. It was a magical, keen scimitar that could cast flame bursts. When drawn, it sheathed the wielder in a constant warm fire shield and the sword’s great heat injured the one holding it unless they were immune to fire. It was believed to have been crafted by the efreet wizards on the elemental plane of fire and was, at one point, wielded by the grand sultan of the plane of fire. Allegedly there was a war between the efreet and the djinn long ago; someone from the djinn forces stole the blade from the sultan’s quarters, shattered the blade, and scattered the pieces across the multiverse.
“That’s what I think they might be using the dwarves for,” I said. “Possibly. To repair this thing.”
“The ones that have been kidnapped?” Alexiah said.
“Yes,” I said. “Correct. We discussed it at one point; we think that might be why they took smiths. Lafoya was also looking for it. She did not want it to fall into the hands … I believe … well, I don’t know if she ever told me why, exactly, she was looking for it.”
These were different shards from the ones Alexiah had already acquired as those those shards were from the Temple of Elemental Evil and were crystals. When that temple was destroyed, the crystals were shattered. Each of them had different latent, magic powers.
I told her the drow did not want the sword to be reforged. I also noted men did not like the drow as they had different morals than dwarves or men.
We finished our breakfast and left the inn. I bid Luke to wait there for me; I would return as soon as I could. I caught Lafoya’s eye before we left and gave her a nod. Luke went over to talk to Lafoya as we left. I hoped he survived.
“Is she pretty powerful, magically?” Alexiah asked me.
“She’s some kind of sorcerer, wizard, or spell caster,” I said. “As she can use the scrolls.”
We returned to the place where the portal had been. I drew the door but was unable to open it. I suggested we look for Barry the spined devil. We went to the bizarre and found him. He had no legs and rolled around in a cart.
“Ah!” he said as we approached. “My friend!”
“Ah,” I said. “We need to get back through the gate to Acheron.”
“If you please.”
“Well, what will you do for me?”
“What do you need done?”
“Let’s see. You did get rid of that … tiny lizard for me.”
“Perhaps you could acquire something for me.”
“Well, you’re going to Acheron. What are you going there for?”
“We are going to find our companions who have become misplaced.”
“I am taking …” I gestured at Alexiah. “… I’m taking her back to the other dwarves.”
“Would it be all right if I … came to you at a later date for payment?” he said.
“As in … something that you need, not coin. Correct? A favor.”
“A service. A service.”
“Yes, that is fine. Your name is Barry?”
“I am Falstaff. From Oerth.”
“A pleasure to meet you, Falstaff. And your friend here?”
I looked at Alexiah. He looked at Alexiah.
“Your name, dwarf!” he said.
“Why do you need my name?” she said.
“Because you will have to do me a favor,” he said.
“He wants a favor from each of us,” I said.
She stared at him.
“My name is Alexiah,” she finally said.
“And where might I find you?” he said.
“I don’t know where my travels will be taking me at this time.”
“Will you be on Oerth at some point?”
“I hope so.”
“I will find you. You will hear the wheels creaking.”
“So, how do we open the door?” I said.
“Well, I will take you there and I will open it,” Barry said.
He led us to the place, reached into a small pouch, and pulled out a piece of chalk. It looked just like normal chalk.
“It looks like somebody has already drawn a door here,” he said.
“Yes, that was me,” I said.
“Hm,” he said. “Nobody gets through for free.”
He drew almost exactly as I’d drawn and then reached out and opened the door.
“This will only work one time,” he said.
“Very well,” I said. “Thank you, Barry. I look forward to doing service for you in the future.”
I went through, Alexiah just behind.
We passed through the passages and by the dead rust dragon to the other side where we appeared at the same portal we’d passed through to the Battle Cube.
“I do not know what’s going to be on the other side when we appear,” I told Alexiah. “Whether there will be something that can hurt us or harm us or attack us, so I’m going to cast a couple spells on you. I’m going to cast a fly spell on you with your permission.”
“Yes,” she said. “Just so I can flee the situation if necessary.”
“If need be, yes,” I said.
I cast the spell upon her and myself, telling her it would last 70 minutes. I gave her two of the cubehop scrolls and ask her to give them to Fred as he leant me one that got me back. Then I told her I was going to cast an invisibility spell upon her as well. I made her invisible and then made myself invisible. My own spells also affected Caeruleus and Shadow.
“Don’t move but want to come with me when I move,” I said.
I read from the cubehop scroll.