Gwendolynn Von Holden's Diary: Can't a girl get some sleep around here?


First Post
Thanks to Rel for deleting some of the posts for me so that I can start fresh from where things were lost. If any of you out there are reading again who started the story hour with me two years ago, I am sorry for the review, but I just could not go on with some of the most important events lost. I don't know why I did not save them on my own computer, but for whatever reason I could not find them. So we are picking up from a bit before the Glade of Eilanahih. For those of you new to this story hour, enjoy! And for the players who might be reading this, please feel free to post again. I think some of your posts got lost as well. On with the show.

Oh wondrous night! I have not been feeling like tallying how many times I have longed to be home or even at Fort Greerson in a soft bed at an inn, or how many ogre heads I have popped open with my mind. The arguing is continuous and the forest relentless in the battles it brings us. We finally made headway in getting further than two steps out of the outpost we have been living in for I don't know how long, but I think it must've been because the ogres were busy training since when we ran into them again, they seemed even harder to defeat than before. I think the only reason we hadn't turned back is because we've been dragging Ardel's body with us and anyone in charge of it didn't want to back track. I knew we had intended to resurrect him at some point, but I thought he would become an ogre meal first. At least until tonight. Did I mention this was a wondrous night?

It started as most evenings here do. We were considering stopping for the night when, guess what? A band of ogres attacked us. Oh what a surprise that was. I think I took a club in the back and something slashed my arm. I don't know if it was an ax or an ogre claw because at this point, it all feels the same. My whole body hurt. I'm sure my brothers would tell me if I had ever bothered to work on the farm, I would be able to handle the pain better, but I don't think sore muscles from a day of bailing hay is the same as a bruise that runs from my shoulder blades to my rear end.

But anyway, we had been beaten down yet again. The ogres were all dead, but there was no hope for us if more attacked during the night. We pretty much dropped everything we owned and sat down to bind our wounds. I think Ternell was so tired he sat on top of Ardel's body. I was debating healing myself a little now or saving my power for the inevitable fight later tonight, when a man silently stepped into our midst. He had long, blond hair, almost silver, and clothes the colors of tree trunks and leaves. He actually looked as if he had stepped out of one of the trees, but no one saw where he had come from to tell me if that had happened.

“Good day,” he said.

“Good if you like being beaten like a drum by ogres,” said Korliss.

“You look damaged,” he said. “Perhaps I can help.” He held out his hand to shake Korliss' hand. Korliss doesn't trust people under normal conditions, so given the situation we had been in for months now, it is no surprise that Korliss merely stared at his hand and did not offer his own in return. The man was unruffled and remained with his own hand outstretched until Korliss finally relented and shook the man's hand. My eyes got big and round at that guy then. Korliss had a gash five inches long on his forehead that shrunk until it disappeared. His bruises vanished, and he stood straighter than I'd seen anybody in the party stand since we'd entered the forest. Korliss gaped as the man released him and offered his hand next to Chani. He shook each one of our hands and the wounds vanished before my eyes. When he took my own, I felt a calm and steady power flow through my veins that seemed to burst with energy around each of my wounds. Not only were the wounds gone, but I felt as if I had slept for a day straight.

Then, to my surprise, he bent down and took Ardel's hand. He said, “Why don't you get up?” I started to say that Ardel was dead, but Ardel stood up before the words came out of my mouth. Being a man of few words, Ardel managed to mutter, “Thanks.”

“Why don't you tell me about your visit in the forest,” said the miraculous man.

This was my queue to say something as I am supposed to be the speaker, but I was still drinking in the power he had sent through me. The others recounted what had been going on, even about Algalarond. He was surprised that Algalarond was imprisoned which was the only bit of emotion that crossed his face. Finally I found my tongue and asked, “Please, how may we repay you for what you have done for us?”

“Finish what you have started,” he said.

“Why don't you help us,” asked Korliss. I wanted to scream, “He already has!” but remained silent.

“That would throw off the balance,” he replied. Then he took Ardel's ax and placed a mark magically on it. I have no idea what the mark is, nor does anyone else. He left after that. He never told us his name or where he was from. Chani thinks he is an old elf, but I thought all the elves had left the world. She seemed to think some had stayed. I don't know anything about that, but I do know I wish I had the kind of power he has. To be able to grasp somebodies hand and raise them from the dead is amazing. There was no diamond or long ritual asking the gods for help. He just touched Ardel and Ardel was back. What power.

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First Post
This next part is a little uncharacteristic of Gwen. I have tried to play it up as her fatigue mixed with her resentment of people connected with the god Pter, but the truth is I was exhausted and did not play this night. I am going to ask some of the former players if they could write up what actually happened so you have more than Gwen's impressions here. It is a huge event for Ternell who was much more the star of this adventure than Gwen was.

Still in forest. Should ask party if anyone here knows how many months we've been here. I'm sure they would make some snitty remark about me writing all the time in the journal and aren't I keeping track? So I will just keep wondering since I haven't been doing a good job of marking time recently. I think it has been about a week since we met the mysterious man of the forest. Our spirits were brightened considerably after his visit, but it did not take long for the forest to wrap its vines around us and squeeze all our energy out again. That is only partially a metaphor. The vines attack sometimes too and they don't even have the decency to have minds I can attack like ogres do.

Anyway, we had more excitement last night. The good kind of excitement if you worship Pter. For me I was just grumpy to have been woken up by the blaring trumpet. I mean, really. What decent person suddenly appears in the middle of a camp of worn out adventurers and starts blowing a trumpet? Didn't he know if we didn't get sleep we wouldn't have any powers? Well, I guess he did, since he was kind enough to give me peaceful dreams, my powers back and heal me in the morning. But still, loud trumpets do not make me happy.

Okay, okay, so I'm not really telling the story proper. I'm just grouchy because I regret not going with everyone, but I'll never tell Aaron that! So, we were all sleeping peacefully and somebody was on watch who was not me. And all of a sudden loud, blaring music seemed to fill the whole forest. What was he thinking? Might as well call out to all the ogres, “We're over here!” He introduced himself as Carradec, Herald of Pter. This seemed to mean something to Aaron and Ternell. He told us he was here to take Ternell, but we could go if we wanted. Take him where is what I wanted to know but Aaraon and Ternell didn't even ask. They just said yes and left. I think most everyone else went with them, but I was too sleepy and didn't want to be running around with Pter people telling me what to do.

When I woke up in the morning, everyone was admiring this shining, white steed. I did a gasp at that thing and asked where it came from. Apparently, Ternell had earned it during the night. Carradec had taken him to battle a Minotar to the death. Some sort of paladin rite I assume. Ternell is spiritually connected to the horse, but I would still love the chance to ride it. I don't see that happening though, since I am not a follower of Pter and it would probably be blasphemous. Aaron told me I wasn't impressed enough with Carradec. Hmph. I am grateful to Carradec for healing me, that was very considerate of him, but the trumpet thing just really turned me off. Still, he obviously had power. I hope Aaron learned some of that healing from him.


First Post
Things a little better after Carradec visited, but then there was no end in sight to this forest! I think we are getting better at fighting ogres. We will be ogre experts by the time we get out of here. But I don't think I have gotten my powers fully back for three days now. We had long discussion at the campfire tonight. Everyone wants to get out of here, but no one knows how. If we turn back, we know it will be a long time before we get out, but if we keep going, we don't know how much longer until some sort of respite. Falon had a great idea, though. He got our his sword and asked Algalarond if he knew of anywhere we could go. And he did! He described a glade to us that used to be a safe place in the forest. We are heading there speedy quick. Well, at least as speedy as this party can go. I wonder if Ternell's new stead could carry all of us.
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Eeralai said:
He introduced himself as Carradec, Herald of Pter. This seemed to mean something to Aaron and Ternell. He told us he was here to take Ternell, but we could go if we wanted. Take him where is what I wanted to know but Aaraon and Ternell didn't even ask. They just said yes and left.

This was one of the more interesting moments in the campaign from my perspective. I could knock on Eeralai on the lack of description for Caradec, because I went to a lot of effort to describe Caradec! Dragonskin belt, specific aspects of his holy symbol, all that sort of thing. But let's be honest, this session was years ago and Eeralai wasn't paying a whole lot of attention that night anyway. :) But why was this one of the more interesting moments?

Well, it has to do with die rolls.

Understand, Ternell was a character built with Intelligence as a dump stat. This is a challenging thing when the player is a smart guy! It is even more challenging when I develop a PrC for the campaign that the player wants the character to take and one of the required skills is several ranks in Knowledge (Religion). So Ternell started out a little behind and he had been dumping skill ranks into Knowledge (Religion) to catch up. Also keeping in mind that Aaron has ranks in Knowledge (Religion) and Intelligence was not a dump stat (Charisma for him). So what I am saying is that I have two PCs who worship the same deity that are trying to bump up their Knowledge (Religion) skills and end up with much different skill bonuses.

I have an NPC show up to help Ternell get his warhorse because I am somewhat old school and I like the idea of the quest. I just didn't want to divert the entire session to the quest. So I have a representative of Ternell's god show up. Yep, Paladin's don't need to worship a god in 3.0, but Ternell did so I played with it. Now I have a couple of PCs with Knowledge (Religion) and they haven't had much chance to use it lately. I hate when skills aren't used often. I love Knowledge skills since I see them as a way to enable the character to know a lot, and they enable me (the GM) to expound on the setting. So I offer to let the PCs make Knowledge (Religion) checks to see if they recognize this guy.

Here I am thinking, OK, he is some sort of messenger or angel or something. I'm sorry, what was that? Didn't I know? Umm, no I didn't. With this campaign in particular, I tried to only answer some of those questions when I absolutely needed to. Understand, this encounter came at the end of the session. At the beginning of the evening, the player had reminded me that Ternell was now 5th level and should have access to the Special Mount. Since we were in the middle of the forest, he wasn't sure how that would work out. So, I resolved that I would facilitate that somehow. After we were wrapping up the session, I popped this encounter out, pretty much on the fly. My logic was that Ternell's player was the only one that needed to be involved and we could hash it out after everybody left, if we had to. I gave the other players the opportunity to observe, in character, or to bail out. Most of the players wanted to stick around to see how it turned out.

Anyway, I asked for Knowledge checks. Aaron rolls well. Ternell rolls a natural 20 and ends up with a better roll! My thoughts were that this could very well be the only time in the entire campaign that Ternell knows more about some aspect of the religion than Aaron. (Well, unless something helped boost Ternell's Int stat.) Sure, you can't have a critical success on a skill in 3.0. But it is always exciting to roll a 20 so I wanted to go with it.

All of a sudden, I need to explain who Caradec is and describing him as just some angel won't be good enough. I take the player aside, mostly to gain myself another minute of thought time. Then I start expounding that Caradec is a lesser known figure of the church, but mostly because so much information has been lost over time. He lived hundreds of years ago, was known to have defeated a blue dragon (remember that belt?), he was not just a Herald of Pter (a different PrC I decided), but he was also a High Knight of Pter (the same PrC that Ternell was angling for) in his mortal life. But that wasn't all, I started expounding that when Caradec died, he became one of the Three and Thirty, which is Pter's angelic support structure. The Three represent Solars who represent Chaotic Good, Lawful Good and Neutral Good. The Thirty represent the 10 Angels beneath each Solar that help support that infrastructure. So, Caradec wasn't just an angel, he was a former mortal whose deeds were so noteworthy to Pter that he was elevated to being an angel and was assigned to part of the angelic support structure that Pter uses to manage his influence in the world. At this point, I had just fleshed out more of my campaign history as well as cosmology. And it was definitely worth it! The player enjoyed having his PC know these things when Aaron did not. The other players enjoyed hearing this information come out. It just made for an interesting way to wrap up the evening.

So, when it came time for the rest of the PCs to decide if they wanted to watch Ternell undergo his trial, or just hang out back at camp, most of them wanted to watch the trial. It did require Caradec promising that nothing would happen at the camp while they were gone though. But when a powerful angel tells you that everthing should be OK, you tend to trust him.

End result - Ternell was tossed into a maze with a minotaur. I retroactively explained how these trials work much later in the campaign, so I will save that explanation for then. The other PCs could watch the trial, but they couldn't do anything to interfere. It was very Star Trek like in that the viewscreen would show what was happening, but there was no real interaction. How did it turn out? I will see if one of the players wants to describe it. If not, I will add that in later. :)


First Post

I enjoyed writing the story hour so much, that I have dedicated my time to trying to become a paid and published author. I'm starting slow, but I have four publications and two up coming publications this summer. I also have a website where I run a monthly writing contest inspired by EnWorlds Ceramic DM Contest. If you like to write or read, please check out my contest and blog...there is a monthly $30 prize!

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