One of the draws was the Sun card:
Xavier the Marked (a cleric of Mesha) drew the card and was catapulted to 7th level. I randomly rolled in the LL AEC for the magic item and it was a "Helm of Brilliance."
Sun KD Gain beneficial miscellaneous magic item and 50,000 experience points.
I've never played with one of these before. When I announced that Xavier had found this, I didn't fully realize what it could do. See below.
Wow. This thing is practically an artifact.
Upon reflection, I had an epiphany (1) about this kind of powerful magic item (at least with regard to my campaign.)
Xavier became the heart of the party. I know the group felt that there was no foe too powerful to handle if Xavier was around. DB was excellent at using the gems on the helm to maximum benefit and he also used the flametongue and detect undead powers to maximum effect.
Xavier became the party leader, the party powerhouse and the party savior, time and time again.
DB made a special card (I hope to get a scan of it) to keep track of all the things Xavier could do with the helm. It was excellent.
We all knew in our heart of hearts, however, that that little clause (I highlighted in blue above) would be the death of him (eventually...)
Well, it happened.
It was awhile ago now, but I feel I had to memorialize Xavier with this post. Writing nothing about it just doesn't seem right.
The party was completing their exploration of the second level of CotMA. They came upon a somewhat isolated room and the monster description said that there was a "worry hag" in the room. I'm sure that Joseph had a perfectly fine description of this monster in Appendix III, but I decided to wing it.
The party listened at the door and they heard a creaky voice... "Oh, I hope they don't come in here... Oh, I hope they go away.... Oh no...." I decided that this was a suitable warning that something nasty lurked beyond...
The adventurers took this as an invite to go in. Funny lot those adventurer types...
Well, the party was split. Half of the group was checking out an adjacent room and the other half was listening to the hag worry away. The hag group included the Sir Owyn the Paladin, Vera Diamondtree the Wizard, Kalen the Wizard and Xavier.
The party knocked on the door.
In a hushed voice, "Oh no, oh no... I hope they don't come in..." Then a louder voice, "Who is it?" Quieter again, "Oh no, why did I say that..."
Sir Owyn asks, "Is there evil on the other side of the door?" Yes I say. It reeks of evil...
I'm still hoping to creep the party out and hoping they'll just go away. I've decided that this hag has some serious claw attacks (3d6x2) and that her claws will turn you to stone if you don't save. She's got a crystal ball and a couple of cat familars. One cat familiar has accidentally been turned to stone by an errant scratch under the chin. She has a potion that can be used to cure petrification of one victim. She keeps it around to cure her cats...
The party goes in through the door.
Xavier and Sir Owyn close in on the hag who erupts from her quiet repose with a blood curdling shriek. She leaps over the table she's seated at (with her crystal ball) and tears into the party.
The battle is joined. Sir Owyn loses his protection from evil ability because he's attacking her directly (but he's still AC -4). Xavier is AC 0. They both begin to wail on the hag, who has considerable HPs, 8 HD, but a low AC of 5.
Eventually Owyn is hit and he (amazingly) fails his save. Instant Paladin statue. JW is bummed that his Paladin is petrified.
Things start to go sideways. Kalen casts protection from evil on himself. He uses his Wand of Illusion to simulate a Blur spell, making Xavier harder to hit. The group retreats to the doorway and slams it shut. The hag is on the other side.
The rest of the group joins the fray and there is some discussion about how they will finish the hag off. Will they use a web? Magic missiles? Lightning? Will they fireball the hag?
They decide that Xavier will fireball the hag and that he'll do it at close range because he has fire resistance from the helm. Collen Redsides has a frostbrand that likewise confers fire resistance so he'll stick around as backup. The idea is to throw the fireball into the room and slam the door shut.
A few other party members, Thannor the Ranger and Larot the Warrior linger in the immediate area... The rest run to minimum safe distance...
The hag is ready and when the door is opened, she fights to get through... The fireball goes off...
Xavier rolls a "1" on his save.
The helm detonates.
We took the time to roll the Prismatic Sprays to see if any of the characters were sent to another dimension. Nope.
The minimum damage from all the fireballs and walls of fire was hundreds of points.
We rolled saves for all their magic items. Only a couple survived. Here's a scan of everything that was destroyed in the conflagration:
All that was left was a statue of a Paladin. JW is now happy that his Paladin is petrified... :)
RIP -- Collen Redsides, barbarian warrior of the North; Thannor, Ranger of the Deep Woods; Larot, grim Warrior (we hardly knew ye...) and Xavier the Marked.
You will all be missed.
(1) A magic item of this magnitude just couldn't be made by a single wizard. Either these things are made by a cabal or, I've decided, they are made by the gods. You see, the gods put items of chance, like the Deck of Many Things into the world and then if an adventurer is lucky enough, they bestow items like The Helm of Brilliance upon them. That's how items of this power make it in to the world at large... at least in Queston.