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2 August 2003 - Saturday

The beedleboop of my external brain did not awaken me, but the commotion of breakfast did, and I was not even the last person ready to play...

Amazon Quartet of Justice VIc: "Assault on the Dimensional Pocket! Are You Sure You're Not Evil?"

After loading up on equipment from the royal armory, Our Heroines, plus the bard Gabrielle and Marika the mercenary (now with the town guard), go into the pocket dimension where the Prince and Princess are being held.

Of course the villains keep a guard on the portal cave, but the five salamanders and huge eight-legged snake-creature are soon dispatched. There is only one exit, so the debate over which way to go is brief.

After travelling through the tunnel for an hour or two and surviving a few boobytraps, the Amazons are assaulted by snakes which drop from hidden crevices in the ceiling and transform into human or semi-humanoid form. Although badly outnumbered, Our Heroines prevail, at the expense of most of their magic and healing for the day. After determining that the gate they came through is one-way, they hole up in the pocket dimension they got from the villains who kidnapped Stephan; even though they don't fully trust it, it seems more secure than the alternative.

Refreshed, the Amazons continue their journey through the bowels of something that isn't the Earth. A few more traps are dealt with, including a pit containing a huge black ameboid monster, and finally the tunnel debouches into a huge cavern. Amaryllis sends an elemental to scout and it reports a large body of water a few hundred yards ahead, where some people with a boat are wrangling some captives. Alyra sneaks forward and discovers that half a dozen dark-skinned, pale-haired elves have taken about a dozen humans prisoner. Despite being invisible, she is apparently spotted and has to retreat, pursued by a stirge.

Over the objections of some, Sophia rides forward to parlay, accompanied by Gabrielle and Marika. This alarms the dark elves, who conjure glitterdust at the parlay party and start hustling the prisoners aboard. The rest of the party, lurking in the darkness for just this eventuality, springs to the attack, but not before Marika is felled by a poisoned crossbow bolt.

Sophia jumps Shekina from the shore to the boat to confront the drow leader, but as soon as he sees her shield he starts yelling to stop fighting. Sophia confirms that the drow are not evil (!) but the prisoners are. The drow leader claims to be a paladin of St Cuthbert, on a pirate-hunting expedition that got sidetracked into the pocket dimension. The prisoners are the remains of the pirates who sank the paladin's ship, forcing the drow to board the pirate ship.

No one entirely trusts the drow, even after they give Marika the antidote, but at least drow men are easy on the eyes.

* * *

Star-party planning interrupted the gaming, sadly, and also pointlessly, because when Al went ahead to set up, he reported the weather was no good. Earl, Dave, and Harold scarpered even before that, but the rest of us sat around entertaining Sherilyn or reading or something, until finally we went home and Marith and Ayse talked and sang and talked and talked some more.

We got home well after 1:00. Glargh.

Star party? by gconnor (Mon Aug 11 21:19:51 2003)

When you say Star party what exactly does that mean? M and I have been looking for others who like stargazing so we might have an excuse to haul out the scope, but neither of us is quite brave enough to just show up at a viewing spot where we don't know anyone.

Anyway if it is that kind of star party and not a meet-and-greet for Hollywood types, we might be interested... let us know if we are/might be welcome. Did I mention we have a Celestron Nexstar 11" +gps with almost no miles on it?

Re: Star Party by Image (Tue Aug 12 09:32:56 2003)

That would be the Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society star party... we have star parties every new moon weekend in good weather, up in the Sierras near Tahoe at an ubersecret location, codenamed HGO, known only to those who are taught the SVAS Handshake and who own the Decoder Finderscope.

It's a bit of a drive for our bay friends (e.g. Trip), so we're trying to arrange where they come up for something else -- like gaming -- and stay at least one night at our convenient-to-the-sierras-if-you-like-driving Roseville house.

You have me beat in accoutrements but not equipment; I own a 23-year-old C-11 Orange Tube with nothing but clock drive, which is just as I like it. (As far as I know, stargazers and porn actors are the only people who can without embarrassment ask and answer the question "So how many inches is that?" while setting up to ply their trade.)

If you'd like to join us for a trip up to the Sierras, you're welcome to -- though I need to know in advance if I'm going to bring up a large troupe, so I can clear it with the SVAS.

Also, I can put you in contact with the SVAS if you like to drive -- or I can ask around the SVAS to find the bay-area equivalent. Amateur stargazers are much like birders; they're eccentric but extremely friendly, anxious to show off their equipment, and thoroughly harmless (I bring my 7- and 5- year old children with me to SVAS star parties without a second thought).

Star Party by gconnor (Tue Aug 12 10:22:31 2003)

Sounds like a good deal... I shall speak to the social director of the family and let you know. It sounds like a bit of a drive, so we might elect to find something closer, but having friends or contacts already in the organization is a plus. Thanks for the info!

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