25 November 2023

Eyes of a Catoblepas, Wings of an Owlbear (Greyhawk campaign)


10.1 The Wood Elf Camp (Richfest 2nd – 3rd)

Our dauntless adventurers — Erik (the mountain dwarf fighter from the Lortmils), Althaea (the high elf wizard from the city of Tringlee), and the brothers Godric (the human rogue from the Barony of Shiboleth) and Cedric (the human cleric of St. Cuthbert) – journey to the Wood Elf camp after successfully exploring the Tomb of Serten

Erik decides to give the legendary Helm of Laga Vulin to Cedric. The dwarf is sad and reluctant to make this decision. Finding the helm had been his dream ever since he learned of its existence and its ability to cure the wearer of the effects of all poisons and toxins – including alcohol. He had hoped that finding it would enable him to indulge in hedonistic drunken excesses without suffering disabling hangovers. Alas, the helm also impresses a commitment to LAW in those who wear it, something that Erik ultimately could not accept. He figures that it would be far better for one already devoted to dour order, like the warrior priest Cedric, to make use of it.

After two days of journeying through the northern reaches of the Kron Hills (with their loyal mule Vick), the party reaches the Wood Elf camp. There the party meets with the band’s leader, the beautiful half-elf Tomyria.

Godric explains his quest to find the Manor of Quesse (a legendary half-elf roguish mage, and distant relation of Godric and Cedric). Tomyria informs the party that she knows where the manor is located, but will divulge this information only if the party recovers one of three items for her: 
- A gryphon egg (from a nest located somewhere to the southwest, in the Kron Hills).
- The eyes of a catoblepas (from an abandoned farmhouse to the south).
- The wings of a unique (mutant?) flying owlbear (likely nesting in some hills to the southeast).

She explains that her band is looking for these items for the reclusive mage Master Nyv (of the Mage Tower, located roughly 9 leagues north of Nulb).

That evening, the party makes merry with the high-spirited elves. Tomyria and Godric hook up, as do Althaea and the wood elf scout Urth. Cedric tries to share the wisdom of St. Cuthbert with the elves, but is roundly mocked by the boisterous followers of Rillifane Rallathil. Erik, free from the discipline of the Helm of Laga Vulin, drinks until he passes out in an unwholesome puddle. 

10.2 Some Harpies, a Catoblepas, and a Ghost (Richfest 4th – 7th)

The party decides to recover the catoblepas eyes after Tomyria offers some additional platinum pieces as an incentive. The half-elf band leader gives them a magical glass container for the creature’s deadly eyes.

The adventuring quartet then journeys to the abandoned farmhouse, which lies on the northern side of the High Road, a mere two leagues away from the accursed Moathouse. En route, the party is attacked by a trio of vicious harpies. Erik is momentarily charmed by their music, but a magic missile blast from Althaea knocks his senses back into him. Eventually, the party is triumphant over the monsters.

At the farmhouse the party hunts down the terrible catoblepas in a mire. It is a difficult battle, but the party slays the creature and recovers its malevolent eyes. Althaea places them in the magical glass container. The party also slays a giant spider that attacks them in the barn, and some giant centipedes in the cottage.

Later in the old cottage, the adventurers are approached by a silent ghost. The ghost attempts to possess Godric but fails. Cedric figures out that the ghost is not in fact hostile but is trying to communicate with the party. When Cedric invokes the name of St. Cuthbert, the ghost looks at the cleric with hope, and then leads the party to a withered corpse hidden outside. Apparently, the ghost was once the farmer here, but was slain by vile brigands and not given a proper burial. The party builds a cairn for the body, which Cedric consecrates with holy water. The ghost thanks the party and disappears, having crossed over to its proper afterlife. 

After this good deed, the party naturally decides to loot the place. They uncover some bloodstones, a potion of healing, and a slightly magical dagger.

On their journey back to the Wood Elf camp, the adventurers again encounter Darr the druid. Darr learns of the party’s plans to eventually go to Nulb, and tells them that Otis is an ally, and that Mother Screng is actually friendly and helpful, even if she does not seem so at first. Darr also confirms that there is a flying owlbear in the region – such creatures are unnatural, and the druid encourages the party to destroy it if they are so inclined.

Darr travels north with the party along the High Road but leaves them when the adventures head west back to the Wood Elf Camp.

Tomyria is profoundly grateful for the catoblepas eyes and tells the party where Quesse’s ruined manor is located. She provides additional “rewards” to Godric later that evening. 

10.3 Some Ankhegs and the Wings of an Owlbear (Reaping 1st – 5th)

Tomyria offers the party forty platinum pieces if they will perform another job for her. The greedy adventurers agree to obtain the owlbear wings. The half-elf then provides the party with two large sacks for the wings, along with a vial of preservation fluid. 

The party heads back into the Gnarley Forest to find the lair of the flying owlbear. During their search, they are surprised by some vicious ankhegs, but manage to defeat the burrowing beasts. 

As the party nears the hills within the dark woodland, they are attacked by the winged owlbear! It swoops down a number of times to attack, and the party at first has a hard time responding. But Althaea manages to bring the savage brute down using a “Web” spell to entangle its wings. Erik then somehow disembowels the owlbear with his staff of striking. The wings are removed, covered with preservation fluid, and placed in the great sacks strapped to Vick the mule.

The adventuring quintet explores the owlbear’s lair. Within, they find hidden amongst the vile debris and waste a gold ring. The ring turns out to be magical – it enables its wearer to magically jump great distances. Erik is thrilled by the item and implores his friends to let him have it. Since they pity the dwarf for how the helm turned out for him, they agree to his request. 

The party also finds a secret door at the back of the cave. Beyond is a smugglers’ den, long abandoned. The adventurers recover some unruined bolts of silk. A cask of fine dwarvish brandy also is obtained, but Erik drops it while drunkenly stumbling down the hill, and the fine liquor is lost forever. 

Upon returning the Wood Elf camp, Tomyria rewards the adventurers for the wings. She also gives them a key to the band’s cabin on the outskirts of Nulb. And once again, she grants Godric a “special reward” later that night.

10.4 A Visit to Nulb (Reaping 6th – 8th)

The party spends a couple of days in the nasty village of Nulb, staying at the Wood Elves’ cabin and doing their best to remain inconspicuous. 

While in the village they overhear some cultists speaking Abyssal in the Waterside Hostel. They also interact positively with Mother Screng – who reveals herself to be Canoness Y’dey of the Church of St. Cuthbert, assisted by the Elf Murfles. (Apparently the druid Darr had informed them of the party’s efforts in the Moathouse during his previous visit.) Y’dey fills the party in on their mission (namely, spying on the activities of the agents of the Temple of Elemental Evil within Nulb and the surrounding region) and the general activities of the “Iuzians” in the area. She also gives the party a jar of “Keoghtom’s Ointment” to help them in their fight against the forces of Chaotic Evil.

The adventurers then make contact with Otis, who is acting as a smith in the village. After discussing the sad fate of Otis’s brother Elmo, the four learn that Otis is an agent of Viscount Wilfrick of Verbobonc. Otis makes tea for all and mentions that he uses two owls as spies in the area.

Finally, the group visits the Curio Shop run by the mysterious half-elf Elris. They find a map of an ancient tomb (located somewhere in the Vast Swamp), a tome on the “History of the Free City of Greyhawk,” a rusty barbute helmet, and a gnarled walking stick with a crystal on the top. They purchase all these items. Later, Althaea discovers that the crystal is an “Ioun Stone of Sustenance” – a wondrous item that enables its user to survive indefinitely without food or drink. Erik is repulsed by the item – food and drink give meaning to his life – whereas Althaea is delighted by it.

The four decide that their next destination will be the Tower of Master Nyv

  • The characters reached 5th level while resting near Nulb.
  • The picture of Tomyria is by Kim Sokol (found online). The monster pictures are from WotC. The map is from Goodman Games’ Temple of Elemental Evil book, with my additions. 
  • There are only two more log entries left for this campaign! (See the full list here.)

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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who lives primarily in Toronto but teaches in Milwaukee (sometimes in person, sometimes online).