Chapter #1075

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                           +                   +
                         +                       +
                       +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                         +                       +
                           +       Epic V      +
                             +               +
                               +           +
                                 +       +
                                   +   +

+     Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells, and other     +
+   terms used in these stories are the property of Wizards of the Coast  +
+   which has in no way endorsed or authorized their use.  Any such       +
+   property contained within these stories are not representative of     +
+   Wizards of the Coast in any fashion.                                  +
+     The player characters depicted in these stories are copyright       +
+   1991-2021 by Thomas A. Miller.  Any resemblance to any persons        +
+   or characters either real or fictional is utterly coincidental.       +
+   Copying and/or distribution of these stories is permissible under     +
+   the sole condition that no money is made in the process.  In that     +
+   case, I hope you enjoy them!                                          +
+   Belphanior     18th/18th/18th level elven fighter/wizard/thief        +
+   Hope           16th level female human wizard                         +
+     Poulos        8th level human warrior                               +
+   Irina          14th/7th level female human priestess/warrior          +
+   Neera          12th level female human wizard (sage/astrologer)       +
+     Arusha        5th level human female wizard/alchemist               +
+     Judhon        7th level gnomish illusionist                         +
+   Otto           12th/14th level dwarven fighter/thief                  +
+   Paige          13th level human female warrior                        +
+   Razor Charlie  12th level human fighter                               +
+   Skektek        14th level human wizard                                +
+   Ys             14th level reptilian fighter                           +
+   Date:          7/3/581 C.Y. (Common Year)                             +
+   Time:          midday                                                 +
+   Place:         a vault within the northeastern Yatil Mountains        +
+   Climate:       cool and pleasant                                      +
+   "They are the best, and they specialize in the ridiculous!"           +
+                       - Captain Sosa, from _The A-Team_ film (2010)     +

                   MLXXV.  The Shape of Things

  Belphanior sat out on the high mountainside ledge, his back against the
stone, his eyes closed, simply breathing in the chilly mountain air and
listening to the sounds of nature.  As busy as he was, he always enjoyed
these brief periods of solitude when he could get them.

Belphanior:  (quietly thinking to himself)

  Hope and the other two were supposed to return any time now; conversely,
Mongo had departed early this morning.  The dwarf had seemed determined
to travel back to civilization the hard way, which meant weeks or perhaps
months of marching.  While he'd be alone, he was far from defenseless;
Belphanior pitied any highway brigands who happened to choose the dwarf
as a victim.  Monsters were another matter entirely, but Mongo had both
the weapons and the experience to properly deal with any such assailants.
  While the organization of the community pool of magic items was the main
task for today - one which would get underway once the others were back
from Greyhawk - a few other matters had already been dealt with.  After a
discussion with Neera, Belphanior had decided that it made sense for her
to mentor both Arusha and Judhon.  Both of the new additions to the party
had skills that aligned with the sorts of tasks Neera typically took on,
and the extra personnel could only make her work easier.  The elf more or
less thought of those three as the ones who'd remain behind for most if
not all missions, supporting the others indirectly with their research
and scrying work.  It also appeared that, given the proper resources and
work environment, Arusha might be able to fabricate magical potions and
oils.  This would be a great boon to the party in general.
  Another matter - one which would have to be attended to in the future -
had to do with Kronos.  The mysterious lich had previously told Belphanior
of his desire to recover a lost item, should it prove to be in Mesoloth's
hoard.  Whether it actually was or not remained to be seen, and in the
meantime the elf could only wonder what this item might be.  To be sure,
given the size of the vault and the number of items contained within, the
possibilities were endless.  Belphanior had decided to deal with this once
all of the other, shorter-term issues had been addressed.

Belphanior:  (feeling a tingle from Blackrazor at his side, he opens his

  The dark sword had gone unfed for too long a time, and although the elf
was confident in his ability to resist the powerful will of the weapon,
he had seen no reason to push his luck.  To that end, he had taken a short
excursion early this morning, transporting himself to a certain faraway
land known for its roving bands of predatory humanoids.  Once there (and
after protecting himself with Stoneskin and a couple of other measures)
he'd allowed himself to become surrounded by armed assailants...and then
proceeded to quickly and brutally cut them all down, feeding his blade
the souls it needed to be satiated.  While some might have called this
action ruthless or even evil, the elf didn't see it that way; to him, it
was nothing more than the natural course of things.  Besides, the gnolls
he'd slain actually _were_ evil, and would have done the same to him, had
he not been who he was.  In any case, it was over and he'd returned, his
clothes stained with the blood of others as had so often been the case in
his life.
  Fortunately, the issue of bloody garments had been resolved thanks to
two newly-discovered magical items from the secret bedchamber found by
Mongo and Ys.  The large wooden wardrobe found within generated clothing
for whoever stood in front of its mirror - pants, shirt, outerwear, belt,
cloak, boots, and anything else desired, in the style and color that the
item's owner had in mind.  The garments thus created were nonmagical, but
always fit perfectly as if fashioned by a master tailor.  The other magic
item from that bedchamber was a small iron basin; when any garment was put
inside, the thing would fill with water and soap and magically wash the
item or items.  The process took only a short time, perhaps a tenth of an
hour, and whatever had been washed would be clean and free of any stains.
Unfortunately, the wet garments still needed to be hung and dried, but
that was a relatively minor complaint given the amount of work the basin

Belphanior:  (stops his quick musings as Hope, Irina, and Poulos appear
  on the ledge via magic)  Welcome back.  Did you get everything done?
Hope:  We did.
Poulos:  (pleasantly)  What a fine day.  (he inhales vast amounts of the
  clean mountain air)  Yes, indeed.
Irina:  Are we still dealing with the treasure hoard?
Belphanior:  Yep.  (he sighs)  We have to.

  They headed down into the vault, the elf sealing the entrance behind
them.  Once they'd rejoined the others, the process of tackling the vast
hoard got underway.  As they'd already accounted for the things gained
in the strange, grim realm they'd just escaped from...

     potions of speed, 2 (Belphanior, Razor Charlie)
     potion of clairvoyance (Hope)
     potion of fire breath (Skektek)
     potion of gaseous form, slightly used (Skektek)
     potions of healing (11)
     potion of invisibility (Otto)
     potion of anti-magic (Belphanior)
     ring of shocking grasp (Skektek)
     ring of warmth (Skektek)
     wand of frost (Hope)
     wand of illumination, almost depleted (Hope)
     wand of treasure finding (Belphanior)
     cloak of protection +1 (Hope)
     bag of holding, small (Hope)
       contains dagger +1, Keoghtom's ointment, decanter of endless water
     dagger +2 (Razor Charlie)
     footman's mace +3 (Irina)
     shortsword +1 (Otto)

...the next step was to merge these with the main treasure hoard, along
with any older items to be relinquished per Belphanior's new methodology.
At this point, they ran through their inventory, one person at a time, and
made decisions (partially influenced by Belphanior) about which specific
items should be donated to the hoard.

  Belphanior kept the ring of Zaeon, his earring, his crystal eye, the
weird ruby skull which amplified his spellcasting powers, and of course
Blackrazor.  He also retained a handful of items that had proven useful
in the past during critical moments:  the cube of force, one of his two
periapts, Kronos' hourglass, and an enchanted dagger.  And of course, he
maintained ownership of the two most useful non-weapons in the arsenal
(the Loom of Ages and the Eye of Celestian).  Everything else of the elf's
was now part of the community pool:  his ring of spell storing, the other
periapt, the portable hole, the teeth of Orcus, the seeing stones...not
to mention the more powerful items, which were grouped into appropriate
sections within the vault:

      Fork of Doom
      Seeking Scroll
      figurine of wondrous power, 3-headed hound
      adamant box with extremely powerful magic aura
      small triangular stone with extremely powerful magic aura
      black metal golem, damaged

      Hand of Oblivion
      iron flask (currently contains deadly black cloud from sky castle)

      teardrop of the gods (relic) (Parekh)
      white spellbook from moon gateway (Parekh)
      black ruby from darkness gateway, evil (Nenya)
      Kronos' Skyship, currently under repair (Kronos)

  Otto, being mostly combat-oriented, retained most of his armor and
weaponry.  He also kept both rings, the cube of silence, the noose, the
dust or dryness, the pot of endless smoke, and all of his poisons and
such.  He still gave up quite a number of magical items:  two powerful
shortswords including one specifically fashioned to combat werewolves,
the wizard lock, the everfull basin, his small collection of mithril
coins, the mithril horn that had once belonged to Ged, the sharp spike
of adamant, and the bag of crushing.

  Razor Charlie was a walking arsenal of blades, and as such held onto
all of them, magical or otherwise.  This totaled to an astounding thirty
knives or daggers, only a dozen of which were nonmagical (and even then,
they were silver and finely-crafted).  He also kept his leather armor,
his bracer, his amulet, his whip, and his boots of elvenkind.  This meant
that the lean, scarred warrior gave up the magical coin purse, the net,
the skeleton key, the chime that could interrupt spells, and the always-
fun (but potentially debilitating) everfull drinking horn.

  Skektek really didn't have much to begin with:  robes, four rings, the
coin of gambling, and a small floating chunk of rock that seemed to have
no real purpose.  Accordingly, he kept everything but the last two items,
with the expectation that he'd later draw a couple of destructive wands
from the larger hoard on a permanent basis.

  Ys retained the things that only he could wear or carry (his leather
armor, his gigantic greatsword, the equally-gigantic great axe from the
frozen gateway) plus the ring of fire resistance.  The rest of his own
personal inventory consisted of a number of eclectic magic items that he
couldn't or didn't use, and so they were donated to the community pool.
These were, in no particular order, a potion of intimidation, a spoon, a
small statuette, an oversized cursed helm, a small metal cube, some seeds,
a primitive wooden totem, a shovel, a staff, a rod with a shrunken head,
and a huge walnut.

  Like Skektek, Hope traveled light; before the recent adventure, her
magical inventory had consisted only of protective robes, a wand that
could shatter glass, a cubic gate that could take its bearer to other
planes, a rod of cancellation, a small chest of holding, and a potion.
Also like Skektek, she shed most of her items (all but the robes) knowing
that she'd later re-equip herself from the vast magical armory.

  Neera was a bit of a unique case, as she primarily tended to use items
that helped her scry and do research.  With that in mind, she kept the
Crown of Zagyg (that thin mithril band inlaid with a sapphire, which had
boosted her magical powers and helped her solve Mesoloth's mysteries) as
well as the Finger of Boccob and the Crown of Panagaea.  She also retained
possession of the various items that were perpetually under study (the
tablets from Panagaea, Gorath's journal) or which offered her protection
(the protective rope circlet, the ring of spell turning, the cloak of
steel, the brooch).  Thus, the items given up by Neera were the ring of
wizardry, the buckler of dancing, the ghost mask, the sandals of silence,
the dagger, the flying carpet, and the mirror of mirror images.

  Irina, having joined the party already equipped thanks to the temple of
Istus and her previous adventures, kept almost all of her magic items,
only donating the strange but powerful thorn to the group hoard.  She also
retained the powerful footman's mace found on that other world, as no one
else used that particular type of armament and she'd lacked an enchanted
weapon before.

  The same logic applied to Paige, who retained everything she had owned
when she joined the party on that other world.  Poulos, Judhon, and Arusha
actually didn't possess or carry any magical items.

Belphanior:  Not yet.

  With that out of the way, the contents of the community armory, at this
exact moment, were static...and impressive.


   (as of this moment in time, before any re-arming)

      (16) spellbooks containing various wizard spells, grouped by theme
      ( 1) spellbook containing the True Dweomer used to protect the vault
      ( 4) Manuals of Golems (one each of clay, flesh, stone, iron)
      Libram of Gainful Conjuration
      Libram of Ineffable Damnation
      Libram of Silver Magic
      Tome of Understanding
      Conjoined Tomes (two books linked so that any writing in one will
         also appear in the other)
      (CURSED) book that compels the reader to continue, and drives them
         insane over time
   Feasting Table (produces excellent food or drink as desired by user)

      (29) scrolls containing one or more various wizard spells
      (13) scrolls containing one or more various priest spells
      Mapping Scroll (automatically maps out all rooms and passages,
         including secret/concealed, within 200')
   scroll cases
      ivory (affords bearer good luck, as a Luckstone)
      wood (indestructible)
      bone (allows bearer to speak with dead 1/week)
      iron (CURSED, will shred any paper put inside)
      brass (adds one random wizard spell to any blank scroll put inside,
         only functions 1/week)
      Dapper Wardrobe (creates garments tailored to whoever looks into
         its mirror)
      Ghostly Washbasin (generates water/soap and washes anything put

      plate mail +3
      plate mail +1
      (CURSED) plate mail -1
      chain mail, elven
      chain mail +3
      chain mail +2
      (2) chain mail +1
      leather armor +3
      leather armor +2 (sized for a human female)
      leather armor +2
      (3) leather armor +1
      Helm of Foe Detection
      Helm of Telepathy
      Helm of Underwater Action
      (3) damaged, powerless
      (CURSED) Helm of Blindness
      (CURSED) Helm of Opposite Alignment
      large shield +1, +4 vs missiles
      (2) large shield +2
      (2) large shield +1
      medium shield +5
      small shield +2
      (2) small shield +1
      two-handed sword +2
      two-handed sword +1
      two-handed sword, cursed berserking
      bastard sword +2, white dragon slayer
      bastard sword +1
      longsword +4, Defender
      longsword +3, Frost Brand
      longsword +1, Flame Tongue
      (2) longsword +3
      (3) longsword +2
      katana +2
      (5) longsword +1
      shortsword +3
      shortsword +2, of Quickness
      (2) shortsword +2
      (3) shortsword +1
      broadsword +2
      scimitar +2, of speed
      scimitar +1
   other weapons
      battleaxe +3
      battleaxe +2
      (2) battleaxe +1
      hand axe +2
      (2) hand axe +1
      warhammer +3
      warhammer +2
      (2) warhammer +1
      (2) spear +2
      (4) spear +1
      (CURSED) spear, Cursed Backbiter
      pike +3
      pike +1
      mace +1, of Disruption
      mace +3
      (2) mace +2
      (2) mace +1
      morningstar +1, Flame Star (similar to Flame Tongue sword)
      (2) morningstar +2
      (2) morningstar +1
      flail +2
      (2) flail +1
      club +4
      club +1
      whip +3
      dagger +5
      dagger +3
      (3) dagger +2
      (3) dagger +1
      knife +3
      knife +2
      (2) knife +1
      (2) longbow +2)
      (3) longbow +1
      shortbow +3
      (2) shortbow +1
      arrow of slaying (arachnids)
      arrow of slaying (giants)
      arrow of slaying (golems)
      arrow of slaying (undead)
      ( 3) arrow +3
      (11) arrow +2
      (19) arrow +1
      Quiver of Holding (can hold ~60 arrows)
      Crossbow of Accuracy
      Crossbow of Distance
      ( 2) crossbow +1
      ( 2) Bolt of Lightning
      ( 2) bolt +3
      ( 7) bolt +2
      (18) bolt +1
      sling +2
      (11) sling stone +1
      (3) shuriken +2
   miscellaneous gear
      Bracers of Defense AC4
      (CURSED) Gauntlets of Fumbling
      (CURSED) Manacle Gauntlets (entrap anyone who puts both on)
      (single gauntlet) damaged
      (single gauntlet) Gauntlet of Shocking Grasp
      (single gauntlet) Gauntlet of Ogre Power (so one hand only)
      Girdle of Hill Giant Strength
      Girdle of Many Pouches
      (CURSED) Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity
      Belt of Flying (allows 2 hours/day of flying, as the spell)
      (4) Boots of Elvenkind
      Boots of Levitation
      Boots of the North
      Boots of Speed
      Boots of Varied Tracks
      (CURSED) Boots of Dancing
      Heward's Handy Haversack
      Backpack of Holding (as the bag, smallest size)
      Backpack of Lightness
      (3) Bag of Holding
      Bag of Transmuting
      Bag of Tricks
      (CURSED) Bag of Devouring
      Ring of Fire Resistance
      Ring of Frost Resistance
      Ring of Protection +3
      Ring of Protection +2
      (2) Ring of Protection +1
      Ring of Regeneration
      Ring of Telekinesis
      Ring of Wishes (2 left)
      Rod of Cancellation
      Staff of Curing
      Staff of Power
      Staff of Striking
      Wand of Conjuration
      Wand of Fear
      Wand of Fire
      Wand of Frost
      Wand of Illumination
      Wand of Illusion
      Wand of Lightning
      Wand of Magic Missiles
      (55) assorted potions
      Amulet vs Undead (weakest variety)
      Bottle of Air (always remains full of clean, fresh air, can be used
         as breathing device)
      Flask of Putridity (contains the most noxious-smelling vapor ever)
      Crystal Ball (normal)
      Crystal Ball (with telepathy)
      Figurine of Wondrous Power, golden cat
      Horseshoes of Speed and Saddle of Riding (matched set)
      Mirror of Mental Prowess
      Chest of Keeping (small sturdy iron chest, powerfully enchanted to
         protect contents) (as a bonus, it contained a dozen large,
         extremely valuable gemstones)
      Corner Stone (small, worn stone brick, has powerful construction
      Droplets of Eternal Sleep (tiny vial, one drop ingested will cause
         1d4 years of uninterruptible slumber)
      Flask of Storms (well-sealed, contains ever-churning water, can be
         opened at sea to cause a storm)
      Garm's Gauntlet (a simple dog collar that increases the strength
         and stamina of any dog wearing it)
      Hoe of the Crops (farming implement that blesses crops it's used on)
      Nail of Holding (confers strong protection/durability on the
         structure in which it's employed)
      Needle of Sewing (will repair damaged garments, including magical
      Sail of Sailing (small folded-up sail that, once unpacked and
         installed, generates its own wind)
      Sphere and Pyramid of Ngeces (6' one-ton metal sphere moves at 12"
         and is controlled by bearer of tiny pyramid)
      Spoon of Stewing (can magically fill a container with any edible
         liquid e.g. water, soup, stew)
      Urn of Souls (small iron urn that can imprison a foe)
      broom and feather duster (both animate and clean on their own)
      (CURSED) human skull, sealed within a glasteel case

      Fork of Doom
      Seeking Scroll
      figurine of wondrous power, 3-headed hound
      adamant box with extremely powerful magic aura
      small triangular stone with extremely powerful magic aura
      black metal golem, damaged
      Hand of Oblivion
      iron flask (currently contains deadly black cloud from sky castle)
      teardrop of the gods (relic) (Parekh)
      white spellbook from moon gateway (Parekh)
      black ruby from darkness gateway, evil (Nenya)
      Kronos' Skyship, currently under repair (Kronos)
   from Belphanior
      ring of spell storing
      periapt of wound closure
      portable hole
      teeth of Orcus
      seeing stones
      potion of speed
      potion of anti-magic
      wand of treasure finding
      (11) potions of healing (from overall group)
   from Otto
      shortsword +3 of Panagaea (+6 vs avians and reptiles, confers water
         breathing and feather falling)
      Wolfsbane (shortsword +1, +3 vs lycanthropes, +5 vs werewolves, has
         other powers)
      tiny ornate lock (wizard locks all within 100' once/week)
      everfull basin
      43 mp (mithril pieces)
      mithril horn of Valhalla (from Ged via Mongo, summons 2-5 berserkers
         of 6th level, usable only by a warrior)
      adamant spike +5
      bag of crushing (from sky castle treasure; anything placed within is
         crushed as if between two heavy blocks of stone)
      potion of invisibility
      shortsword +1
   from Razor Charlie
      Bucknard's everfull purse (silver)
      net of entrapment
      skeleton key (will open most locks it's touched against)
      chime of interruption
      everfull drinking horn
      potion of speed
      dagger +2
   from Skektek
      coin of gambling
      small floating chunk of rock
      potion of fire breath
      ring of shocking grasp
      ring of warmth
      potion of gaseous form, slightly used
   from Ys
      holy spoon (purifies water it's dipped in, within reason)
      statuette of the snake-men (unknown relic of ancient civilization)
      Skull of Trakos [from armory gateway] (cursed great horned helm;
         Feebleminds anyone who puts it on, no save) (needs to be donated
         to Nenya)
      Daern's Instant Fortress (small metal cube, from Gorath's treasure)
      seeds from the sower (from sky castle treasure; single planted seed
         yields bountiful crops next morning; 21 seeds)
      curse-breaking totem (from sky castle treasure; primitive wooden
         sculpture, destroys any cursed item it touches)
      Gold Digger (old, worn shovel that can locate treasure)
      serpent staff (transforms into large snake, confers protection from
         all snakes)
      rod with shrunken head (parts water once per day when touched to
      fist-sized walnut (single-use item; when planted, causes a gigantic
         tree to grow rapidly)
   from Hope
      tuning fork (wand that can shatter glass)
      cubic gate
      rod of cancellation
      chest of holding (2' x 1' x 1')
      potion of ESP
      potion of clairvoyance
      wand of frost
      wand of illumination, almost depleted
      cloak of protection +1
      bag of holding, small
      dagger +1
      Keoghtom's ointment
      decanter of endless water
   from Irina
      thorn (when planted in soil, will spawn a large expanse of sharp,
         thorny growth)
   from Neera
      ring of wizardry (from Otto's surplus, per episode 974) (doubles
         1st level spells only)
      buckler of dancing (from sky castle treasure; animates to help
        protect owner)
      ghost mask (from sky castle treasure; allows wearer to sense all
         forms of possession, magic jar, etc.)
      sandals of silence (confer complete inaudibility to wearer)
      dagger +3
      flying carpet (2-person)
      mirror of mirror images


Skektek:  (whistles)
Belphanior:  It's obvious that the dragon encountered and slew numerous
  adventuring parties over the years...a few from faraway lands, based on
  some of those weapons and pieces of armor.
Paige:  One can only wonder at the stories of each such party, who they
  were and what they did before meeting their end...
Belphanior:  One doesn't have to wonder, since we have the Loom of Ages.
  It's only a matter of finding the time to look back into the past.
Neera:  It would take hundreds of hours to learn even a small fraction of
  all there is to know.
Otto:  It looks like some items got damaged, too - probably in their old
  owners' battles with the dragon.  Who knows what it threw out, that was
  damaged beyond repair?
Arusha:  (exchanges glances with Judhon, as if to silently say "we're a
  part of the big game now")
Skektek:  So when do we decide who gets what from the community pool, in
  order to re-equip?
Hope:  (nods)  While I lack our friend's lust for powerful destructive
  wands, the question is valid.
Belphanior:  And the answer is...soon.

  Just before being unwillingly transported to the other realm, the elf
had been thinking about how the various powerful items he'd accumulated
could work together for a common purpose.  He didn't yet know what that
ultimate purpose was, but he did know that the pieces of the puzzle had
been assembled.  The Seeking Scroll could locate any individual or item,
the Eye of Celestian could transport him there (or anywhere else), the
Loom of Ages could reveal the past history of anything, the Finger of
Boccob could reveal the powers and drawbacks of nearly any magical item.
They also had other highly useful items, like the mirror found in the
purple dragon's hoard, which would allow them to observe other people or
creatures - a capability that would pair well with the Seeking Scroll's
ability to simply locate others.
  All of those items had indirect bearing on conflict and combat - they
enabled the elf to gather information and answers ahead of time, which
would better prepare him for confrontations.  At those times, other items
with a more direct impact would be employed...items such as Blackrazor,
or the Fork of Doom, or any of the dozens of powerful weapons - melee or
wands or whatever.  Spells also fit into this category, and between the
party's multiple wizards, its overall magical ability was substantial.

Belphanior:  First, we need to decide whether we're keeping the magical
  armory here...which pretty much means we'd need to stay here too.  The
  advantages of that are several:  the vault is remote, it's naturally
  protected to a high degree against magical scrying and intrusion, and
  then the warding spell bolsters that protection even further.  It also
  protects itself - like not letting fires be lit within - and repairs
  itself - as it did after the incident that took many of us away.
Neera:  And it cleans itself, plus allows those within to be completely
  self-sufficient, thanks to the table that creates food and the wardrobe
  that creates clothes and the basin that washes them.
Otto:'s a nice giant trophy room, but it wasn't made
  to quarter-  (he surveys the group briefly)  - twelve people.
Neera:  No fires inside means no experiments, no laboratory work...which
  ties into what Otto just said, there's no space for such.
Paige:  (looking around)  I could see some of us feeling confined after
  spending days, or weeks, down here out of the sunlight.
Ys:  Also, since it's remote, those of us without magical ability cannot
  simply leave to do anything...we are completely dependent on the few
  with such ability.
Belphanior:  Good points, all.  It's quite possible that the best place
  for all these items is in fact right here...but it may not suit all of
  our purposes.
Otto:  It's like we have this vast treasure, and a giant safe to put it
Hope:  ...but we can't live in a giant safe.
Belphanior:  So there it is.  We have to figure out what to do, not only
  to protect this hoard, but also to give ourselves the best place to
  live...the best home.  (he thinks back to the group's previous lairs,
  including the sky castle, the underground gateway in the Pelisso Swamp,
  and Helgate)  I don't know about the rest of you, but I've never had a
  permanent place that I could really call home.  I'm not sure if that's
  even possible, considering what we do for a living.  (he looks around
  at the different members of the group)  But that's what we need to do
  next...we need to figure this out, and then make it happen.

next:       return to the lost island
released:   5/21/2021
notes:      Simultaneous with the release of this episode are these
  additions/updates to the website:
  - the Rogues' Gallery section is current
  - the Characters section has updated stats for Belphanior's group
    - including character sheets for Arusha, Judhon, Paige, and Poulos
  - the Characters section has a "community magic hoard" link
  - the Monsters section has stats for Mesoloth

    So obviously Belphanior and crew have some things to figure out, but
  at least I got their magic item inventories figured out - which, by the
  way, took me about four extra hours.  There was a lot of work to be done

    And there'll be a lot of work for me to prep for the next story arc
  hinted at above, because honestly I've completely forgotten what the
  hell was going on with that group.  What I do know is that I'm pretty
  far ahead of schedule (as I write this one, 1075, I'm sitting on more
  than twenty stories, which is twenty weeks of's the end of
  December 2020 and I've got sufficient stories to cover me through late
  May 2021).  So I'll have plenty of time to figure it out.
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