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Recap 8 (April 13th, 2002)

Cave of the Frog People

*Blub* Strange tall ones come to our cave. Then we see pointy ears, so we take them to their special room, and some go off to bring food. Strange that pointy ears do not speakthespeak back to us. But the not-so-tall one holds the key, so we think it good. *Ribbit* But Gerf notices a draft and goes to look. Statue of Paa-ki-nara is destroyed! These tall ones do not come correctly!

Gerf returns, tells others. *Blub* Taki questions pointy ears, tries to make it come with us to you, goodfather, because you speak the pointy ear talk. But tall ones will not come. Not-so-tall throws Paa-ki-nara's key-fork, hurls it like a darting dragonfly, and Taki very very dead. *Chirp* Some of us run, the rest fight to delay. More killed, more hurt.

The ones that run begin the preparation. *Ribbit* Wall is opened so maybe they will leave. Then we go to homechamber, get ready. All of us. Deacon Iop sings for our protectorgod.

One of the tall ones come. It stops! It smells us! It FEARS us! It flees, and the others flee with it. We have defended our home from the marauders! *RIBBIT RIBBIT RIBBIT*

Sidetracked Again

After leaving the frog-people's cave, some of the party opt to re-enter the orc mines to obtain some of the silvery powder that they had found within and re-examine some of the artifacts they had seen, but they then decided that the powder was potentially to dangerous to pick up, and, seeing that the mine was now overrun with frog-men, left again.

Meanwhile Venetto, scouting ahead, caught the trail of a wounded horse, and following it, encountered three badly wounded centaurs named *ahem* Georgino, Bambino, and Rodino (Oh come on! Like it's any worse than Greedo and Bleedo!). The centaurs were impressed with Venetto's tracking abilities and begged his aid. Venetto explained that he was part of a group, and led them back to the group so that everyone could hear their plea.

The centaurs explained that their chief had apparently been turned to stone by the wizard Skarda, who had recently moved into the woods. They had managed to trace a trail back to a tower that Skarda had apparently resided in, but did not believe that Skarda was currently occupying the tower. They did believe that the means to free their chief was in the tower.

Meanwhile, they said, some of the centaurs had taken over in the chief's absence, but these centaurs were cruel and vicious. They had turned the centaurs' village into a military camp, enslaving the men and imprisoning the women and children. Georgino and his friends had barely escaped with their lives.

While the party felt that they were being further and further delayed from their goal of returning to Malta Forest and dealing with Yerraterra (first traveling across the country to rescue Malouf's people, then travelling far to the south because of Chyekk's geas, then the foray into the frog-people's lair), they agreed to help the centaurs.

The Wizard's Tower

The party traveled with the centaurs to the tower and saw why the centaurs needed the party's help. The tower was surrounded by a thick moat of mud. The centaurs said that the mud was enchanted, and Malouf's senses agreed. The centaurs had no way of crossing the moat.

With some help from Leento, Snow lightly ran across the mud and did not sink in. As she crossed, however, the mud began to stir. A number of humanoid mud-blobs arose and began oozing towards the party as Snow began climbing the tower wall.

As the mudmen hurled mud and lumbered ever closer, Venetto, out of the corner of his eye, noticed a giant spider, previously camouflaged, scuttling towards Snow. He fired two crossbow shots and killed it.

The mudmen were getting reaching melee distance, and several party members were covered in a hardening mud that did not injure but was slowing everyone down. As the creatures got close enough, they threw themselves at their opponents, covering them in mud, making it impossible to move and difficult to breath. Lasthal noticed that the centaurs had disappeared before the fight.

Suddenly a second wave of mudmen appeared in the moat.

Meanwhile Snow had made it up the tower and jumped in through a window. Inside, with its back to her, she saw a hairy human-like creature in tattered clothes. It has heavy claws and a thick mane of hair. It also emitted terrible smell and a heavy, rattling breath.

Snow attempted to sneak past it, but the beast noticed her. It turned, revealing a face full of teeth, and charged at her. The two battled, hand to hand, and while Snow managed to avoid most of the creatures claw swipes, the few that managed to dig into her flesh sapped her strength. Eventually Snow was able to kill the beast. She then found the hidden button that lowered the drawbridge. The bridge lowered just as the party killed off the last of the mud creatures and began freeing those who had been trapped in the mud.

Entering the tower, Chyekk noticed that, like the guard towers at the barbarian slave pit, while the tower had been contructed recently, there were no signs of construction in the surrounding area.

The tower itself was bare inside, except for a treasure chest against the northern wall. The chest was surrounded by a glimmering blue field. While Leento and Lashtal debated the merits of attempting to destroy the protective shield without harming the contents of the chest, Chyekk lunged forward with his axe and attempted to shatter it. He failed, and was sent flying backwards. Malouf, who was previously held back by his companions, saw this as a signal that he was allowed to attack now, and lunged forward. He was also thrown back, but he stood up and tried it again. Having been thrown back a second time, Malouf gave up and stood off in a corner, muttering to himself about evil magicks.

Leento decided to risk the attempt at dispelling the shield, and began his preparations. After a few minutes of chanting, the rest of the party, watching in silence, saw the visible signs of strain on the druid's face. Grunting with effort, Leento pushed his hand forward a final time and then his body crumpled onto the floor, just as the shield dissolved.

Suddenly the centaurs returned, saying "Hurry! They've started sending out wider patrols, and they will soon find us." Within the chest, along with some potions, was a 2 foot wooden rod covered in runic carvings that the centaurs referred to as a staff, but identified it as the correct device to save their chief.

The party traveled to the glade that the now stone chief was at. The glade was guarded by four centaurs, which the party dispatched with ease. They then had to wait until Leento woke up. While they were doing that, Arkospixi patrolled a few feet beyond the edge of the clearing. She spotted some approaching centaurs, but not until they were too close to warn the others. After some effort, the party defeated these guards as well. Soon after, Leento awoke and was able to use the rod to free the centaur chief, whose name was, er, Chiefino.

Centaur Wars

With Chiefino, the party developed a strategy to attack the centaur generals and their loyal troops. They then travelled into the village, with Snow and Arkospixi taking strategic positions in the rear of the village. Meanwhile, Leento climbed a nearby tree and, guarded by Ursa below, began chanting.

Several of the centaur troops cheered when they saw Chiefino return and rushed to his side. Most remained allied with the generals, however.

A huge battle ensued. The party was held back by the press of the centaur troops, and was not able to reach the generals. Meanwhile, arrow shots hailed down from all around, and several centaurs charged to Leento's tree, only to be met by Ursa's claws. Arkospixi used her broach to cause some of the enemy troops to fight each other, and then returned fire with her arrows. Snow jumped directly into melee with the generals and managed to break one of their legs. She also almost snapped the neck of one, but was attacked by another and forced to retreat before she could.

Soon, however, Leento completed his chant and a great bolt of lightning crashed down from the heavens, killing many of the centaurs and injuring many more. Now the tide of the battle was turned, and the party swept in, killing the remaining soldiers and battling the generals. Chyekk, fighting one general, was injured badly by the centaur's fierce spear, and fell to the ground, bleeding. The rest of the party fared better, and soon all the generals were dead, and the few remaining soldiers were fleeing.

After the tending to the injured, Chiefino awarded the party with the generals' powerful Spears of Barbs as well as a fair amount of coins. A huge feast was also held in their honor.

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