So it’s the same day Xene, Drow Wizard, Dorian, Tiefling Rogue, Draethor (?) Bloodbeard, Dwarven Fighter, and Alden, Human hireling and NPC, step through the portal to find themselves standing in a pristine forest, a sharp contrast from the murky depths of the Plane of Shadow that they stepped out of not a few seconds before. Xene takes a moment to clear his head…And realizes that Dorian and Draethor seem unable to do the same. Their battle with Learwynn’s Shade has left them feeling rather…Drained of their wits. Wisdom drain will do that to a guy. So Xene is default leader, with Alden having fallen unconscious from wounds sustained during the battle with the Shadow Dragon, and Dorian and Draethor unable to make any real sense. Xene decides to push on for a few hours through this beautiful forest, after nearly drowning Dorian and Draethor with various beverages, before finding a suitable clearing to camp. And so they rest. Next day finds a suprise in the form of a large reptilian creature licking Draethor’s unconscious form. Xene, not quite sure what to do, decides it’s time to leave him to his fate as dinosaur chow. Meanwhile, a female Grey Elf by the name of Virdana decides to go for a stroll to the lake she bathes at after awakening. What a coincidence that she would bump into Xene, heading in the same general direction! Xene leads her back to the scene and she finds the gentle plant-eating dinosaur still there licking at the booze covering Draethor’s shirt and beard. The sight of the two gawkers gets it snorting in warning, but Virdana manages to calm the beast enough to get it to walk away.
Eventually the others save Alden awakens and Xene introduces Dorian and Draethor as Idiot and Drunk, respectively. Pleasantries are exchanged as Virdana, Idiot, and Drunk take a walk down to the lake and Xene finally gets some quiet time to contemplate his spellbook. Idiot and Drunk find more of the horrible substance that almost drowned them at the lake and learn that soap is not for eating (if I overheard the side conversation correctly; always nice when PC’s can RP w/o my intervention), Meanwhile Xene instructs his raven to keep watch. It does poorly and Xene gets a glimpse at a different sort of large reptilian creature, one who expected an anklyosaur meal but was OK with sampling tenderer fare. Xene rushes back to alert the others aaaaand Initiative is rolled. Now, I’d like to say that I did not expect an all-out brawl..The T-rex purposely had difficulty moving through the tree line, giving them time to flee, and I included a lake in the terrain as a hiding spot. Unfortunately, I had overlooked the Wisdom penalties I had inflicted on my PC’s last session. Doh. So Dorian hides behind a tree. T-Rex spots him and starts to move over and peer around said tree. Dorian pokes the T-Rex in the eye and uses his racial ability to summon a globe of darkness over it’s head. Very cute. Xene levitates out of harm’s way, Draethor chops at it with his axes and Virdana shows off her warmage blasty-powers. Dorian attempts to find a new hiding spot and his lack of wit (read: the DM) informs him that under that big globe of darkness he created would be the best place. So under he goes. Opposed rolls..T-Rex spots him. Rolls to hit. Hits despite concealment. I’m not gunning for him, I swear…A few rounds of grappling ensues and the T-Rex eventually rains bloody chunks of tiefling down on Draethor. However, despite all odds, the others manage to bring it down. Indeed, despite all odds; I thought I had a TPK on my hands since I wasn’t toning the creature down…Much.
After some searching through various innards to collect Dorian’s remains, Virdana pipes up that there is a human civilization to the West that might be able to bring him back. So off they go, eventually reaching the city of Technochitlan by nightfall (sound familiar, anyone?), of the land of Maztica. The humans here are odd compared to Faerunian peoples…Copper skinned, with almost no facial hair, wearing somewhat primitive garb and weaponry. Hm. The newcomers are let through oddly shiny (even at night) gates, and are invited (led) to a ceremony that reaches it’s conclusion just as they arrive. There they find themselves before the King of the Technochitlans. Very large, burly human, completely naked save warpaints and a few…Piercings. Accompanied by a comparatively small, clerkish-looking fellow, wearing a red loincloth, round-framed glasses (yes, glasses), and a multicolored cloak of bird feathers. Hapuhatec, and Sin-Hapuhatec (Voice-of-Hapuhatec). Language barriers proved to be a problem here but Virdana proved able to translate between the native tongue and her variant of elven to Xene. The king looks over them all, digests the story Virdana offers, and dismisses the lot of them, saying he will get their full account in the near future, but welcomes them to Technochitlan. Busy man. Sin-Hapuhatec is rather quiet for the guy claiming to be his voice.
So they go to find the healer, a beautiful young woman with a wonderfully melodious voice by the name of…I can’t recall. By melodious I mean rough and ear-biting. And by beautiful I mean an old hag. Either way, the healer correctly deduces that Dorian is in need of healing and says she can do so tomorrow. Alden, however, is in dire need of care. However, she’s in need of a rare herb that’s been in short supply since a certain large carnivorous dinosaur moved into the caves where it’s found with it’s mate. The group chats and decides they might be able to save Alden if they leave now and leave Dorian in the hag’s…I mean healer’s care. She also fixes Draethor’s Wisdom Drain, bringing him back to a grand total of 4. Huzzah! After taking a walk around town, they decide to fly there in style, picking up Pterodactyl mounts. Their efforts at haggling with the merchant went south after he overheard them talking about a suicide mission…Dinosaur mounts aren’t cheap to obtain or train, after all, so the rental fee went up accordingly. After some negotiations, they get their mounts and get on their way, making it to the mountaintop in record time. After some planning, they decide to rely on Xene’s Wizardry to get them their prize. Xene weaves a series of spells to disguise his scent and make himself invisible, then levitates the prized herb out of the cave. However, the T-Rex does notice the floating plant and curiously investigates, eventually sees the dwarf and other elf standing there and charges. Initiative. The Elf starts blasting away, however the T-Rex gets a few good bites in, not wanting to swallow her thanks to a coating of noxious acid, but more than willing to bite away. Draethor lays into it as well, and Xene eventually gets the herb in hand and levitates to their nearby mounts, signaling it’s time to get out of there. Virdana, unfortunately, slips on her own blood, and falls as she tries to scramble away. Draethor, however, proves his meddle in a beautiful aerial rescue, trailing a rope so Virdana can grab it, and getting her safely to her mount. The three of them take off back to town, just ahead of a quickly darkening sky. Just as they get back the rain sets in. The healer immediately gets to work on Alden and dismisses any comments about why there’s still lumps under the blanket Dorian was under. They head back to town and eventually find an inn.
Dorian, meanwhile, finds himself on a featureless grey plane. As he stands waiting, a fellow newly dead soul, a human having recently seen battle, arises from the murk, and without much delay, finds a messenger from his god, a man riding a large golden dragon, there to claim him. As Dorian ponders this, a pool of shadowy murk forms at his feet, and a hand, black and featureless, reaches out and simply holds, awaiting his decision. With that the disembodied head of an old woman pops into existence beside him, explains that yes, his friends did indeed bother to try and have him raised, and no, they did not in fact pawn his stuff. Dorian decides life’s worth living after all, and comes back. As the others have not yet arrived back from their herb-hunting, Dorian takes a walk around town in a newly acquired loincloth, and chats up Sin-Hapuhatec, who gives him a formal greeting and invites him to lunch at a local tavern. There he says to seek him out if he needs anything, and to send Xene his way to pick up a spell that might ease the language barriers. After he takes his leave, the others file in after their successful quest. They don’t notice Dorian immediately, however eventually he makes himself known, and there is much rejoicing. Dorian introduces himself as Dorian, as opposed to Idiot to Virdana, and right then Alden, escorted by two burly guards, joins the party, also in a loincloth and far less comfortable with it. And the group chats over a meal for a bit before retiring for the eve. Other than a roach the size of a small dog escaping from Xene’s mattress, being subsequently dazed with magic and stomped on, there are no encounters. And we ended there with our intrepid adventurers getting some well-deserved rest.
It seems next game we’ll see a new face being added to the group. I look forward to his addition, and I think the others will as well. A healer is something they’ve lacked for the longest time. Crybabies. I say if you can’t take a T-Rex bite the the midsection and laugh it off, go back to your coloring book; you’ve no business adventuring! I’m a cruel DM, aren’t I?…