Aardik - Cleric of The Raven Queen: Keeper of Death's Door, Hostess of the Afterlife. Every soul Aardrik takes he sees as a gift for his diety. Those he kills are blessed, lucky, fortunate in his eyes. His own sin of being resuscitated by a meddling physician has cost him the fee of harvesting 1000 humanoid souls before he can also enter the promised afterlife he craves. This is his diary entry for the latest stage of +Michael Raston
s Labyrinth Lord Hex Crawl.
"Finally I caught up with the others, at the bottom of a 700' shaft. Descending was perilous and taxing on my nerves, let alone the future bill with my laundry woman, but with boots firmly on solid ground again I was very relieved. Unfortunately, not completely relieved, as I had already started that process after a couple of slips at the 300' and 600' stages of the rope journey. The party greeted me and I met a couple of others I had yet to adventure with; one a metal gollum of kinds, the other a warrior with a taste for articulated gloves. From the former I received a bone crushing embrace, the latter I offered a curt nod - but refrained from a handshake for fear of losing a finger. Once torches were lit and underwear adjusted we set off to plumb the depths, looking for booty.
The local fauna was unusual, even for this area, and sadly far from humanoid; none to start my tally of souls for my Queen. I did my bit in dispatching as much of it as I could, but I doubt The Goddess would appreciate the offerings, unless herds of deer dropped from a great hight had become the new thing in divine home decor, for that is what the beasts we met and killed mainly resembled. Some gave us quite a bit of resistance and the metal automaton took a fair bashing. In the end he, or possibly she, looked just like that bronze plate statue in Dringleshire that fell in high winds and slid through most of the surrounding town before crashing to a halt. Hundreds of residents dead, statue bent and twisted, glorious day.
In our battles I did manage to recover a fine pair of antlers from one of the beasts, and fashioned a wondrous head band from them. One must make the effort to set fashion in this backward land. The rest of the monster remains consisted of surprisingly attractive pelts, if not wildly misshapen, and pounds and pounds of meat. The meat looked quite unattractive despite its former wrapping, but was put to several uses. My disgusting dwarf hireling, Durak the Putrid, was tasked with recovering several ornate vials of green goo from a corridor flooded with acid. Many ideas for their recovery were suggested but eventually I simply strapped inches of dripping monster streak to Durak's feet and sent him on his way. Contact with the acid was successfully avoided, mostly, but the meat had its own side effect. The dwarf's legs bulged and gained muscular mass in a mutated form, and eventually I persuaded the fellow to take the quick way out and ingest poison and rush off to meet My Lady in the next world. This he did, and none too soon, as we found out shortly after that his condition was not, in fact, fatal. Lucky escape for him, I say; almost missed a prime opportunity to die! Another use for the meat was as a meat shield. Normally I like my meat shields to be of the warrior type as they can propel themselves until their sacrifice is required, but acid sprays from a corridor wall required me to construct a shield of monster flesh to pass through it without being dissolved.
Later, after much walking and fighting, we had recovered much gold and other valuable items, and started to think about returning to the dwarf town to cash it all in. Only the long rope climb remained before we could start that journey. I must admit, I was not looking forward to this. Both Suige and myself made assisted restarts of this climb – assisted by gravity and a loose grip, but after a little healing we tried again and made it. The booty was hauled up, and the icing on the cake was a reception committee at surface level to meet us, and try to kill us. They were lizard men and we treated them to free tickets to the next world, but for two of them it was following a no-expence-charged plummet down the deep shaft, so they would arrive at My Lady's doorstep somewhat atomised.
We made it back to town, received much renumerance for our wares, and wait now to set forth again, once rested, and having a change of underpants."
Side note on wizards. Why! Why do old mages, once they have the magic sorted out in their heads, have grown the long beard, given up on ever losing their virginity, turn their minds and efforts to creating useless novelty magic items? Surely life for an old mage can not be so dull that the laugh of constructing a ring of delusion keeps them going? Do they really sit in their lonely towers giggling that someone out there believes they are magically imbued? I say this because we found one of these non-magic, magic items. One of our sticky-fingered elfs grabbed it as soon as he looked at it, but once fitted snuggly on his lady like hand all it did was give him the belief that he was invisible. We went along with it for a while; mostly because each of us thought ourselves special and talented enough to see through this alleged invisibility ability, but as the 'joke' dawned on us all the futility of it shone through. Again, why? Get a hobby old magic men, go for long walks, take up painting, but stop with the magical nothings; it's annoying.