Monday, December 10, 2018

Sleep Beckons

            You know, I often see posts bouncing around social media about how much people love to sleep. While I agree with the associated sentiment that it can be very challenging to get out of bed in the mornings, I must say that I’ve always found sleep itself to be a dreadfully dull, yet unfortunately necessary, waste of time.

            To function at optimal efficiency, the average human needs eight hours of sleep per day. That’s a full third of the day where we basically have to shut down and do nothing! From a young age, I always found that to be exceedingly frustrating. Think of how much more we could accomplish if we didn’t have to sleep!

            As to it being enjoyable, I recognize that everyone has different experiences in life, but how can it be so? It begins with lying down and doing nothing for a long enough period of time that your body goes into sleep mode – boring! This is followed by a period of unconsciousness accompanied by dreams – which can range from amazing to horrible, but also most of which end up not getting remembered once you wake up. To be fair, dreams can sometimes be enjoyable, but it’s erratic and inconsistent enough that it can’t really be used to define sleep as enjoyable. Then, after that, you wake up and have to get up – which, as has already been mentioned, can be quite the struggle.

            So, how is it that sleep can be defined as enjoyable? It eats up time that could better be used elsewhere, only erratically contains entertainment, and is otherwise a whole lot of nothing. This really is quite the puzzler for me.


            Sadly, I don’t have the time to figure it out – as I must now go to sleep.





Check out my YouTube channel where I tell the stories of my D&D campaigns.

Click here to find the charity anthology containing a couple of my short stories.

To see the chainmaille my wife and I make, click here.

Also, make sure you check out my wife's blog and her website.


If there's any subject you'd like to see me ramble on about, feel free to leave a comment asking me to do so.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Lark's Landing, Episode 48

Colonial Caerdia: Lark's Landing is a story being told through a 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign I'm running at a local hobby shop called the Devil's Bench. If you aren't familiar with this ongoing story, you can follow this link to Once Upon a Tabletop on YouTube to hear the start of it or read the brief summary I wrote when I switched from video to blog.

You can find the previous episode here.


8th-19th of Waning Spring, 1AL

The 3rd Watch found a silver box. Inside the silver box was a copper fish figurine. The copper fish figurine had a hatch on the back. They opened it and found colorful glowing beads inside. They touched the beads, causing the hatch to close and the fish to take to the air and fly off down the corridor.

Now the 3rd Watch are in hot pursuit. They follow the fish until it comes to a door, where it stops, waiting... so, they open the door for it, and it flies into the room - which is filled with a decrepit army of clay statues. The fish flies around the room for a little, then goes to another door, which is barred on this side.

Fiaeorri takes this brief respite to begin training her fire beetle, Ruby. T'Zric looks around for treasure and grabs some coral beads from a sedan chair with a skeleton chained to it, though they have little value. By then, the fish is flying again, back out the door they had come in through. Extang follows, staying on the fish's tail, but Fiaeorri unbars and opens the door the fish had been waiting at, wondering if it might come back - it doesn't. She and the rest of the group check through the door anyway, finding that it leads to a sandstone block they had pushed out of their way earlier. They then hurry to catch up with Extang and the fish.

For over an hour, in the poisoned air of this ancient temple, they follow the fish figurine as it meanders around - leading them in circles a couple times - until, at last, having returned to the room with the cat motif, most of them decide it's a dead end. They return to their search of the lower levels - all except for Extang, who insists that the fish has something to show them and continues to follow it on his own.

The main party make their way down to the lower levels, and then through an already open secret passage behind a statue, dropping down from high on the wall of a large hall lined with frescoes.

Back with the fish, Extang follows it through the open secret passage behind the calendar stone in the cat room, down a narrow tunnel, into a wider hall with three doorways off of it - one closed, one opening into a closet, and one opening into a large room. He follows it into the large room, which is filled with a diorama of a city built around a lake and rivers of what looks like liquid metal. The two do a circuit of the room - with Extang noticing some potential treasures but not stopping for fear of losing the fish - then back out of the room, into the hallway. The fish flies through the open door into the closet - and vanishes. Extang follows behind, and also disappears.

Down in the hallway, Fiaeorri is far in the lead, the others having hesitated before following her through the secret passage. She opens the doors at the far end of the room, and hears a horrible shriek. 120 feet back down the hall, the fish figurine appears under an archway, followed by Extang, but much more noticeable to her are the hundreds of swarming rats that come boiling out of the walls and ceiling to attack her.

She begins fending them off, with her friends helping mostly from afar, but then an enormous wolf-sized rat comes from beyond the doors into the dim light cast by Ruby to join the fray. The rest of the 3rd Watch (except Extang, who is casting from a distance while strolling along behind the fish) rush in to help, but they're having their own problems - as more rats have dropped out of the ceiling to land on them.

Eventually they clean up the pest problem and continue on down the hall, which goes down some stairs before the floor gets quite wet. The hall eventually opens up into a strange, half-flooded room with a stony beach and crystal ceiling. They pause here to refill their waterskins and for T'Zaric to wash off the liquid light that would be drowning him were it not for his magical cloak that lets him breathe underwater. Except for Extang, who follows the fish to a door, where it pauses. He tries to open the door, but finds it blocked by mud and silt. The fish turns around and leads him back the way he had just come from.

The rest of the 3rd Watch have decided they've had enough of this temple, and it's time to go home - with or without the vampire. They start heading out, passing Extang on the way, who argues that the fish must be leading them somewhere. Fiaeorri and T'Zaric continue on, in spite of Extang insisting on staying behind, but the others pause long enough to restrain him with spells and rope, then drag him along behind.

T'Zaric and Fiaeorri wait for the others to catch up with them once they get out of the poisoned area, then they all continue on out of the temple - with Extang finally cooperating once he's realized the fish is long since lost. They emerge into the night, which immediately alarms them as they know this is the time of the vampire. They push on for a couple of hours before making camp. Everyone on watch duty is exceptionally observant that night, and they are very glad that nothing dangerous occurs.

They rest throughout the day, deciding that they should travel at night so everyone is awake and conscious should the vampire come after them. Struggling through the jungle at night, it takes them much longer to get home - but the push on, arriving on the 19th of Waning Spring. They split the tiny amount of treasure they found on this trip and head off their separate ways.

T'Zaric goes to the council and asks if, as part of his penance for his crime of murdering Balasar, he can establish an archive or library. His suggestion is turned down, however, as the settlement currently has no need for such an establishment - but they agree to revisit the idea in the future when it will be more practical. Fiaeorri visits her shrine to Pagslas and works on training Ruby some more. Quib moves his nest from his lean-to to the 3rd Watch headquarters and begins looking over his notes. Extang goes to the tavern and Caerdian Explorers' Guild to complain to Stor about the new members he's stuck him with, talking about how they got cold feet at the first sign of trouble. Stor insists that they just need time and experience, and ends up more concerned that Extang had been planning to stay in the temple alone.

Patrick goes to the shrine to Epesta and asks one of the worshipers for a place to stay. Unfortunately, it seems that Saul, his guardian, has been worried and has asked people to keep a lookout for Patrick. The worshiper encourages him to go back to Saul so the old monk won't be worried anymore. Instead, Patrick goes to find Logan, who gives him permission to stay in his old house. Once there, Patrick sends a magical message to Saul, assuring him that he's safe, alive, and well, and has done well on the adventure he went on. Saul's reply is relief that Patrick is alive, but also an urgent request that he comes home immediately, insisting that there is something he doesn't understand.


And that's where this game session comes to an end. Check back in a week for Episode 49.

Monday, December 03, 2018

Sifting Thoughts

            I recently had a discussion about honesty which resulted in the conclusion that saying the first thing that comes into your mind isn’t honest. This flies in the face of many common ideas, because what is honesty if saying the first thing to come to your mind isn’t the most honest thing to say?

            I periodically see a post show up on my social media claiming that a study found that people who swear more are more likely to be honest. The logical connection being made is clearly that people who swear are more likely to be spouting whatever is on their mind, and that’s honest. Isn’t it? Well, let’s take a closer look at that.

            When you stub your toe on something, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Unless you’re a remarkably logical person, most likely the first thing on your mind in that moment is to be mad at the inanimate object you just stubbed your toe on, and be very angry at it for being there. If you were to shout out your anger at the object (as I’m sure you might), scathing it with the fury of the first thing that came to your mind, are you expressing your real and honest opinion on that object?

            Technically, the answer is yes; in that very specific and precise moment, those horrible things you shout at that poor innocent inanimate object are precisely what you are thinking about it. But, that opinion is fleeting and won’t last. It fades with the pain, leaving you feeling a little silly for shouting abuse at something that doesn’t even have ears – and which you probably put there in the first place. Unless you’re a remarkably stubborn person, you’ll most likely even admit to yourself that an inanimate object can hold no responsibility for the pain you just experienced. And, just like that, your totally honest response to stubbing your toes crumbles into meaningless lies that you spewed out in a moment of emotion. Your actual, honest opinion on that inanimate object and the part it played in causing you pain is the one that comes after letting the pain die down and taking the time to think about it.

            Now, naturally, there isn’t that much trouble with shouting at inanimate objects – unless, of course, it’s fitted with some very sophisticated Artificial Intelligence – but consider if it had been an impressionable child you’d tripped on when you fell and hurt yourself. Why you left a child lying on the floor is beyond me, but that initial, ‘honest’ response of yours could do everlasting harm.

            Let’s take a look at prejudices. These are ideas that we’ve been trained into believing, sometimes since childhood (possibly by having them shouted at us after having been tripped over). We look at someone, and we instantly make certain decisions about them based on how they look, how they’re dressed, how they move – anything. As an enlightened person, you are aware of at least some of your prejudices and know them to be untrue (and, frankly, in some cases, ridiculous. I mean, seriously, just because it’s a spider, it doesn’t mean it’s out to murder you). Yet, there’s that trained piece of your brain that throws the prejudice to the forefront of your thoughts. If you voice that prejudice, because it’s what’s right on your mind, you won’t be being honest – because your honest opinion comes after all that hard work you’ve put in to quashing that horrible prejudice (spiders are people too, you know).

            So, speaking what is on your mind clearly isn’t inherently honest. I would call it impulsive, and only honest out of happenstance or if the person you’re conversing with asked about the first thing that came to your mind. Honesty is what you get after you’ve taken the time to form well-reasoned thoughts.


            That, in itself, is something of a revelation, isn’t it? True honesty doesn’t come from impulsively speaking what you happen to be thinking; in fact what you say can become more honest by sifting it through mental filters before speaking.





Check out my YouTube channel where I tell the stories of my D&D campaigns.

Click here to find the charity anthology containing a couple of my short stories.

To see the chainmaille my wife and I make, click here.

Also, make sure you check out my wife's blog and her website.


If there's any subject you'd like to see me ramble on about, feel free to leave a comment asking me to do so.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Lark's Landing, Episode 47

Colonial Caerdia: Lark's Landing is a story being told through a 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign I'm running at a local hobby shop called the Devil's Bench. If you aren't familiar with this ongoing story, you can follow this link to Once Upon a Tabletop on YouTube to hear the start of it or read the brief summary I wrote when I switched from video to blog.

You can find the previous episode here.


7-8th of Waning Spring, 1AL

In a room full of stuffed cats, the 3rd Watch are once again facing off against a vampire - and T'Zaric, who has fallen under the creature's influence. The worst part is that as the group attempts to cast spells to bring T'Zaric back to their side, they discover that the changes that occurred when he made his wish prevent a lot of their spells from being able to take hold on him.

The vampire zips around the room for a bit, confidently ignoring the great deal of damage being dealt to him, until several swarms of bats arrive, answering his earlier call. At that point, he departs, instructing T'Zaric to keep the others occupied while he finishes his preparations down below - and telling him he can forget they ever met after he's expended his powers.

With the vampire frustratingly out of the picture, the group turn their attention first to eliminating the bats, then to taking down T'Zaric - who has mostly been kept in check by counterspells from Extang. When T'Zaric finally falls, they make sure he's not dying, then tie up his unconscious form.

Next comes an argument about what to do next. Quib expresses that he thinks it's time to go straight home, and Patrick wholeheartedly agrees. Fiaeorri isn't ready to give up on destroying the foul undead vampire, and Extang insists that this is all part of their job. However, they all agree that they need to recover from this encounter with the vampire before moving on, so they retreat to a side room on a higher level where they barricade themselves in so they can rest. They wait almost a full 24 hours for T'Zaric to stop struggling after he regains consciousness. Then they head back down, much to the dismay of Quib and Patrick.

They wind their way into the poisoned depths of the ancient tunnels, recovering some ropes the Extang and T'Zaric had forgotten on their firs journey here. At the bottom of a ramp with stone rollers set in the floor, they barely manage to push aside a sandstone block and make their way down a corridor which leads them to a lozenge-shaped room familiar to T'Zaric and Extang. Having been looted before, there isn't much of interest in the room, but T'Zaric suddenly has a strange experience.

While looking at the strange, pictograph language on the walls, some of the images seem to rise out of the wall, translating into  and flickering between languages he knows. He reads aloud portions of what appears to be a history of this temple, with claims that this is the home of the true gods who will awake to defend their people. There is also mention of followers being lost to a snake-god, and other people turning to worship the rival dragons, Fremrossa the Eternal Flame, and Quatheig, Bringer of Death.

After the strange words have left, T'Zaric examines the pictographs that the translation came from, finding some images that seem to link up - including snake-people, a gold dragon, and a green dragon. Intrigued by this information, Extang uses his magic mirror to see if he can peer into the past of Fremrossa the Eternal Flame and views clips of images from the life of a gold dragon. He pieces together the disjointed images as best he can to tell the story to Quib, who excitedly writes it down.

The group continue on through one of the doors out of the room, down a hall to another room filled with rubbish and giant fire beetles. Having been here before, T'Zaric and Extang tell the others that the beetles are harmless if they and their trash pile isn't disturbed. Fiaeorri, after wandering into the room and getting a cursory examination by some of the beetles, decides she wants one as a pet and manages to get one one a leash without upsetting it. She names it Ruby.

T'Zaric and Logan open one of the doors off the room and see a corridor that turns to the right - where there appears to be some sort of flickering light moving away from them. They head up to the corner, but by the time they get there the light is gone. They call over the rest of the group before proceeding further.

They proceed down the corridor, but Fiaeorri - who has been fastidiously searching for traps up until now - is distracted by Ruby and forgets to be on the lookout for danger. They trigger a pressure plate that drops heavy wood and copper walls both in front and behind them. They begin trying to lift the doors, but don't seem to be able to get a good enough grip. T'Zaric casts a spell turning himself into a mist and drifts up into the mechanism, hoping to find some way to raise the doors again - but finds that they were designed only to drop once.

He returns to the rest of the group to find that some openings have opened near the ceiling, and shortly after he gets back sand begins pouring out of them, piling up on the floor. Desperation strikes them, and Patrick blasts one of the doors with a powerful spell - managing to damage it a little. That's when a little ball of light comes through the door and begins attacking them.

Quib manages to temporarily drive the glowing creature back through the door while the others smash at the door until it breaks open. The 3rd Watch rush out with the sand pouring behind them and quickly finish off the light-creature. They proceed forwards, carefully checking for traps, and come to a dead end - but Fiaeorri notices that it looks like the wall can be rotated. She pushes on one side, and it does turn, opening up a narrow passage to a hallway beyond - past a pitiful pit that everyone can easily jump over.

The hall leads to a corridor with stone sculptures of animals on the walls. They follow it in one direction, which winds its way back to the lozenge-shaped room, before coming back and turning down a side corridor. This side corridor has its own side corridor which leads to a small alcove with a pedestal and silver coffer on top. Fiaeorri immediately notices a hinge across the floor and, upon closer examination, determines that the floor will tilt in towards the alcove and lock in place, trapping anyone who is on the other side. She works at disarming the trap, but it proves a bit tricky for her - so T'Zaric pulls out his own thieves' tools and smugly finishes the job.

They enter the alcove and retrieve the coffer, opening it carefully. Inside is a strange, copper, fish-like figurine with some kind of writing on the side. Extang pulls it out to take a closer look at it, and discovers a small sliding panel on the back. He opens it, finding a wall of colorful, glowing beads inside. At the urging of the others, he pokes the beads, hoping to find something else inside. Instead, the hatch slides closed all on its own. After a couple of seconds, the figurine then rises into the air and flies off down towards the corridor.


And that brings this game session to an end. Discover what happens next week in Episode 48.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Complications

            Life is a complicated mess filled with inconsistencies and contradictions. Particularly life in relation to humans and how we view and interact with the world.

Take our brains’ view on change, for example. We hate change with a fiery, burning passion. We like things to be predictable and consistent. Yet, if it is predictable and consistent, we get bored and go stir crazy, with our brains demanding something new. If we rearrange a room, we’ll adapt to it quickly, with our brains not minding very much – but don’t you dare return the room to an old arrangement! No, then something is clearly out of place and wrong.

            Similarly, people often speak of wishing they didn’t have to work a job so that they can accomplish more of what they want to do. However, if you speak to people in such a position, you’ll quickly learn that they wish they had a job to help fill their time. Because having all the time in the world to do whatever you want somehow takes away from the enjoyment of doing what you want.

            We come up with morals to clearly define right and wrong, and very soon break into factions because some things that are clearly right contradict other things that are clearly right, and some things that are wrong contradict other things that are clearly wrong. Ideas that seem so simple to one person appear nonsensical to another – and both can back up their perspectives with valid arguments.

            We seek freedom while binding ourselves with laws – though, of course, the laws are required to prevent ourselves from violating others’ freedoms, and to protect our own. We try to understand the world better, yet as soon as we discover something that doesn’t match what we believe, we’re more likely to dismiss the new information as being incorrect or inconsequential.

            We pay people money to go out and raise money. We have annual feasts when, agriculturally, food is the most difficult to come by. We spend our best years working to achieve dreams we’ll be too old to enjoy by the time we achieve them. We fight wars to achieve peace.

            And as I go through all the strange and confusing contradictions in life, I notice that the common factor is humans. How we view the world. How we treat each other. How we examine and categorize things.


            And I wonder... is life really so full of paradoxes? Perhaps life is actually extremely simple, and we overcomplicate it in our efforts to understand.





Check out my YouTube channel where I tell the stories of my D&D campaigns.

Click here to find the charity anthology containing a couple of my short stories.

To see the chainmaille my wife and I make, click here.

Also, make sure you check out my wife's blog and her website.


If there's any subject you'd like to see me ramble on about, feel free to leave a comment asking me to do so.

Monday, November 19, 2018

How To Train Your Players

            The more I run Dungeons & Dragons, the more I realize how important it is to train the people who are playing in your game. Not in the sense of teaching them how to play (though this is also very important), but in training them how your world will react to the actions their characters take. Every Dungeon Master runs a slightly different game, and every player comes in with their own expectations – establishing how the game will be run is important, otherwise halfway through you’re liable to have a character get in trouble for murdering or stealing and be surprised that they can get in trouble in a game.

            If there are going to be consequences for actions in the world you create, you need to establish this as early as possible, but with minor situations rather than major ones. If the characters storm around doing whatever they want from the start, without any consequences, they’re going to keep doing so for the rest of the game – and, likely, get upset if suddenly something unexpected happens. They didn’t get in trouble before, why should they now?

            The way to do this is to show the world reacting to the characters – both in positive and negative ways. Every time a character does something seemingly inconsequential – you know, pranks or other things they may do just for fun – think about how people or the environment would realistically respond to them, and make it happen. Even if it’s just something in the background that a random person mentions in passing, having the little details there will show the players that what they do makes a difference in the world – and they’ll begin to treat the world with that expectation. In my current campaign, I’ve had incoming new players told, “Everything that’s happened is our fault!” which isn’t entirely true, but it tells me that I’ve taught my players well.

            There is no easy way to deliberately train players into the feel of the game you are running; that can only come with time, because that part of the game is determined by everyone in it, and it will change as players come and go (if you have players coming and going in your game). For that, there is only patience. Every group forms its own culture, and that can be guided by the game’s content, but not controlled. Give the group time to settle and everything will usually sort itself out.

            One of the more challenging things to teach your players – especially less experienced ones – is how to conserve their resources. In many ways, this is up to them to learn on their own, but it really behoves a Dungeon Master to help them along the way – otherwise the players will simply take a nap to regain their abilities after every battle, which slows the game and takes away from the strategy, the fun, and the sense of imminent danger in the game.

            So, how do you train your players into this? There are two simple ways. The first is to put them in a situation where they can’t rest, be it because of how many monsters there are around, or because there is something like poison in the environment that interferes with resting. The other method is very similar to what I was talking about at the beginning – show them the consequences of their actions. If the players stop to sleep more than once in the same 24 hour time span, the rest of the world isn’t going to stop to sleep with them. The monsters are going to keep moving. The villains will continue constructing their nefarious plans. And the players need to see this in action – be it from visible changes in rooms they’ve already been in, monsters surrounding them when they wake up, or some sort of evidence that their sleep wasn’t quite as undisturbed as they had thought. The world doesn’t stop moving because the main characters are sleeping – and the sooner the players understand this, the sooner they’ll start conserving their skills and spells so they won’t have to sleep as often.


            To make sure your game runs smoothly, you need to make sure everyone is on the same page as to what to expect from the game and the world. Some of this, you can simply explain to the players, but some you have to show them. As a Dungeon Master, it isn’t your job to punish players for not understanding the world you built; it’s your job to educate them until they do understand (or, in the extreme case where they understand but don’t seem to be having fun, to adapt and change the world into one where they will have fun).





Check out my YouTube channel where I tell the stories of my D&D campaigns.

Click here to find the charity anthology containing a couple of my short stories.

To see the chainmaille my wife and I make, click here.

Also, make sure you check out my wife's blog and her website.


If there's any subject you'd like to see me ramble on about, feel free to leave a comment asking me to do so.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Lark's Landing, Episode 46

Colonial Caerdia: Lark's Landing is a story being told through a 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign I'm running at a local hobby shop called the Devil's Bench. If you aren't familiar with this ongoing story, you can follow this link to Once Upon a Tabletop on YouTube to hear the start of it or read the brief summary I wrote when I switched from video to blog.

You can find the previous episode here.


7th of Waning Spring, 1AL

The 3rd Watch have once again descended into the depths of an ancient, ruined temple, seeking the vampire they believe lives within. They have come to a room decorated with a cat motif which has several doors exiting from it. They choose to go through the only one not explored on the previous visit. Beyond is a hallway with walls carved as guards holding hatchet-headed polearms leading up to a pair of doors etched with the head of a panther god.

Finding no signs of traps, Fiaeorri leads the way and is surprised when two of the guards swing out of the wall, crossing their polearms in front of her with a blue spark. The only way to pass seems to be to go underneath. T'Zaric leads the way, making it look easy - however, Fiaeorri, following behind, brushes one of the polearms and receives an electrical shock on her way under. Everyone else makes it through except for Patrick, bringing up the rear. As he slides under, he gets such a jolt of electricity that he gets paralyzed where he is. The others begin to argue about how to get him the rest of the way through, but soon realize that he's still being injured by the electricity and pull him out.

After recovering from their shocking experience, they open the door into the room beyond. A long, narrow room runs to the right and left, lit by faint light. To the right is a well with light glowing from within and a hole in the high ceiling above it, and to the left is an enormous statue of an ogre-like creature sitting on a bed of hot coals, surrounded by skulls and broken weapons. At the base of the statue, a panther crouches, though it gets up and begins stalking forward as Fiaeorri enters the room, heading for the statue. However, there's something strange about it - it seems confused, and looks tight through Fiaeorri as if she wasn't there.

Then T'Zaric enters the room, and the panther makes straight for him, attacking him. T'Zaric evades it by flying up to the ceiling. As the rest of the group enter the room, the panther doesn't seem to be able to see them either, and continues to leap into the air swiping at T'Zaric's feet.

Fiaeorri climbs the statue to have a look in its mouth and is disappointed to find nothing there, while Patrick examines the bones, determining that they are over 10000 years old. Then everyone turns their attention to the well at the other end of the room, which appears to be filled with some sort of liquid light. T'Zaric uses a magically formed hand to fill a crystal flask with it. A tiny amount clings to the outside and appears to be spreading, but he managed to clean it off. Fiaeorri then gets him to pour a drop on one of her lead coins, and they watch as the drop slowly spreads to cover the whole thing - though, oddly, it stops there and doesn't spread to anything else touching it.

Fascinated, T'Zaric dips his mask in the liquid light. Extang uses his ten foot pole to find that the well is about five feet deep, resulting in the pole also getting eventually coated in light.

Frustrated by the continued aggressive attention of the panther, T'Zaric flies up the hole - and finds himself emerging into a room and being smacked into the wall by a giant blue creature with pointed teeth and yellow eyes that declares him to be lunch. T'Zaric grins nervously, then teleports back down into the room below, gibbering to his friends about what he just saw.

Fiaeorri takes the magic whistle that allows someone blowing it to fly and zips up the hole to attack the thing. It delightedly swings back, doing a considerable amount of damage. Most of the others can't do anything, as they can't fly or get a line of sight on the creature up the hole, but T'Zaric follows Fiaeorri back up to throw some spells at the creature. Fiaeorri, of course has decided to get in a few more hits before retreating from this dangerous foe, leaving T'Zaric as the only target. With a couple glaive swings, T'Zaric is barely holding onto consciousness, and he also retreats from the hole, trusting that such a large creature won't easily fit down it.

Below, Quib is furiously trying to heal his friends as best he can. They all wait for a few moments, but nothing happens. Not happy with the idea of letting something live if it wants to eat him, T'Zaric flies to the bottom of the hole and sends a fireball up into the room above, and is rewarded with an enraged roar. Then, down the hole comes the creature - though it seems to have shrunk small enough to fit through - swinging its glaive. A number of others gather around on the ground, attacking from a distance. T'Zaric ignites another fireball, right in the creature's face, taking a fair amount of damage himself, but it still isn't enough to take the creature. It swings its glaive... and T'Zaric is knocked unconscious and begins to fall. Luckily, Patrick is ready for this, and he manages to revive T'Zaric with a spell - which is a very good thing, because T'Zaric then fell into the liquid light, which isn't a very good place to be unconscious.

The creature, heavily wounded, retreats back up the hole, but T'Zaric isn't ready to let it get away. He launches another fireball and follows behind it, finding that it has finished the job - the creature is dead and has returned to its full size. He does a quick search of the room, which is covered in charred and smoldering furs, before getting a rope and tying it to the creature's leg so the others can climb up. The treasure that T'Zaric didn't sneak for himself is gathered and they decide it is time to rest - a feeling reinforced by the poison in the air weighing on them.

They make their way back to the big room without the poisonous air and begin to make camp - but, as they go, they notice that a bit of the liquid light was still clinging to T'Zaric and was spreading. They try many magical ways of removing it, to no avail. Slowly it begins to cover all of T'Zaric - and as it creeps over his nose and mouth he finds his breathing cut off. Thinking quickly, he pulls up the hood of his cloak that allows him to breath under water. This appears to do the trick, saving his life - but leaving him as a strange glowing creature.

Extang, who mostly sat out the last fight, isn't quite ready to rest yet. He grabs Logan and goes to check out the one side passage that hasn't been thoroughly explored yet. It leads to a room the 3rd Watch had approached before, but had determined not to cross. It has a thick layer of dust on the floor that, when disturbed, forms into figures that move around the room. Previously, the 3rd Watch had decided to leave the spirits to their rest, but Extang is determined to explore. He and Logan make their way through the room, attacking the aggressive guard-like figures and finding them to be quite insubstantial.

They pass through the room, and into the hall beyond which takes them to the cat-motif room. Extang notices that the statue of the panther-man is missing just as it attacks him from the shadows beside the door, not so statue-like anymore. Logan is quick to defend Extang, but the creature seems entirely focused on the dragonborn, as if it recognizes him. Extang flees down the hall, and the panther-man follows, tearing into him. Logan, quick behind, is able to arrive in time to kill the monster before it kills Extang - and they watch as it turns back into stone. Not wanting to fight this thing yet again, Extang searches it for anything it has that might be reviving it, but his best guess comes from the strange cavity in its chest.

The two return to the others and join them in sleeping away much of the rest of the day. None of those on watch notice anything out of place. When everyone is awake again, Extang expresses great curiosity about that panther that can only see T'Zaric. They agree to go experiment with it a bit, but on their way there they must go through the cat-motif room - where someone is waiting for them. The vampire they came to hunt stands in the room, commenting on how good it is to see them again. He raises his arms to the sky and calls to some unseen friends.

The 3rd Watch begin their attacks on him, and are surprised to find T'Zaric flying over to defend the vampire. Logan charges in to fight, while Fiaeorri attempts to charm T'Zaric back to their side, only to find that the spell has no effect on T'Zaric - likewise, Patrick discovers that his spell to hold a person in place isn't powerful enough to trap a vampire. So, the young cleric breaks out his secret weapon, casting a spell called Daylight, filling the room with brilliant light. He and the group had discovered that sunlight was the only way to permanently destroy vampires, and they believed this was a surefire way to do the job.

The vampire, however, is entirely unaffected. It seems that, in spite of its grandiose name, Daylight does not produce the lethal light of the sun.


And that's where this game session ends. Find out how our heroes will fare next week in Episode 47.