Friday, October 20, 2017

The Warlock's Tower

For over eighty years, the Warlock lurked in his tower of stone, crafting all manner of trinket and bauble for the many curious novice and veteran travelers that had passed through his portal.

Often, the Warlock would narrate his many wild tales of Swords and Wizardry chronicling the many heroes to have crossed his path to those that would stop by and listen while having a smoke of the ol' pipe-weed and a sip of sweet mead, home-brewed by the Warlock himself. Some say that the Warlock would enchant his brew with a magical reagent said to be none other than the poisonous Black Lotus, used in such a precise portion with which to grant one's mind the key to unlocking the door to the veiled world.  This would leave those that partook in the sweet nectar with a sure-foot on the path and spirits lifted.

Throughout the many seasons, the Warlock had shared his craft with those who traveled on the same mystical path. Alas, there came a day when the tower grew dark, and the vines once speckled with sweet scented flowers withered and died, and the ancient stones decayed and fell to ruin.  The Warlock had vanished without a trace.

The gears of time ground on and the tower remained vacant.  Those same curious travelers searched the tower for trace of the Warlock and his fate but no clue was found.  Only rumor and conjecture now filled the minds of traveler and peasant alike.  Some say that a hidden passage had been found leading to tunnels beneath the tower itself. It was in these tunnels that the Warlock may have discovered other mysteries and portals and had left this mortal realm behind and met his mysterious fate.

These rumors proved too tempting for some as explorers entered the tower to pilfer some left behind treasure.  Some, however, never returned at all.

The ruined Warlock's tower still stands to this day, inviting those that wish to explore the maze of tunnels for tales and treasures left behind.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Session XCIII: One Pissed Off Dragon!

Our ongoing Swords and Wizardry sandbox campaign...

Current Player Characters:
Thenus (Ranger)
Wang Du (Monk)
Wolfheir (Viking)
Arg (Half-orc)
Sir Gwain (Paladin) 
Su (Cleric) 
Grop (Kobold Wizard)
Tadashi (samurai)
NPC
Koshan (Ogre-mage)
 After having infiltrated Agatheron's lair and defeating his army of Fire Giants, wounded and weary, the party made their way back to the village of the Firbolgs.  
With the power of Mithra, Su brought Wang Du back from the dead.  Through his travels in the Realm of Death, Wang returned more powerful than before to face his destiny with Agatheron.
Resting and recuperating in their hidden village of stone, the party began to make plans for their final assault on the Ancient Dragon. Some, such as Thenus, even questioned why they should risk their necks in the first place.
Lord Boomish, who fought Agatheron along with Baron Blackmoore many years ago, died from his wounds and old age. The Boomish family shield was given to Sir Gwain.
However, on the third evening, a fierce rumbling was heard throughout the canyon and the Flaming Pass.  In the skies above the mountains, a sight not seen for nearly 80 years; the fearsome and massive Ancient Red Dragon, Agatheron, flew off in a fit of burning rage heading to the foothills and the village of Litafjord.  From a distance they saw the the dragon raze the village to the ground, undoubtedly killing the remaining innkeeper and his dwarven wife.

With a bone-chilling and wrathful roar echoing in the mountain canyons, they saw Agatheron rise in the air and fly south towards Berkenstoke and Blackmoore... 
There was much debate as to whether take advantage of the Dragon being gone to plunder his treasure and set a trap or to continue healing.  Arg and Sir Gwain were persuasive and the party departed for the fortress once again, leaving the recovering McDagger, Biggs and Lothar behind.
Once again at the entrance, they saw it was guarded by a Fire-giant and his Hell Hound.  Without waiting, Sir Gwain rushed out and charged the Giant who let loose his beast.  Thenus fired arrows at the giant and wounded him as Arg, Wolf and Sir Gwain hacked first through the Hound and then the Giant.  

Entering the hall once again, they were soon surprised by two more Fire-Giants hiding in alcoves and firing Balistas.  The party splits and attacked their foes. Arg, Wang and Wolf attacked one giant while Sir Gwain and the rest of the party attacked the other. 

After the battle, there were two more dead Fire Giants and some wounded party members.  

It was decided to explore the rest of the alcoves in the great hall and then hunker-down to rest through the night to recover from their wounds. 

The next morning, as healing spells were cast, they heard a rushing of wind and a fierce and angry roar.  Fearing the Dragon's return, Grop turned Wang invisible and the Monk stepped out into the Great Hall.  The rest of the party thought it best to make a run for it across the hall to the opposite alcove and a hidden door.

As the party ran through the hall, the great winds were felt and heard when suddenly, the invisible dragon appeared and tried to bite the invisible Wang who successfully dodged the attack.

With the dragon present, the party went into action.  Su blasted a Cone of Frost at the dragon, wounding it as well as Wang Du who was in the line of fire. Thenus fired off her arrows and Sir Gwain, Arg and Wolf charged the ancient Red Dragon.  Koshan tossed the last Eye of Hithata which transformed into a Beholder!

Turning toward the party, Agatheron bellowed, "You have thwarted my plans in the valley and killed my army of Giants. Now I will kill all of you!" Taking a deep breath, the Red Dragon let loose a ball of flame!  

Su and Grop disintegrate into ash!
Wolf was singed but is still alive.

Sir Gwain ducked behind the Shield of Lord Boomish and survives unscathed.

Koshan and the Beholder burst into flame and die.

Thenus survived but is near death.

Wang attacked the Dragon, drawing his attention back to the Monk.  The dragon tried to claw Wang but the Monk quickly dodged the attack.

Turning back towards the party, the Agatheron attacked the rushing party with his Breath of Fire, wounding Sir Gwain and killing Arg, Thenus and the valiant Wolfheir.

With only Sir Gwain and Wang Du left and near death, they fought with sword, shield and fist against the Dragon's claw and tooth.  With a mighty blow to the dragon's neck and the mystical flying kick, Agatheron, the Ancient Red Dragon died with not so much a roar but a whimper.

With the loss of all their companions, through many adventures, Sir Gwain and Wang Du stood victorious over their greatest foe!

EPILOGUE

With the Ancient Red Dragon, Agatheron vanquished, and all their companions dead, Sir Gwain and Wang Du wearily marched back to the Firbolg's village.

Met by the recovering McDagger and Lothar, Sir Gwain and Wang Du related their final battle with the Fire Giants and the Dragon.

After their full recovery, the remaining party members along with the Firbolgs explore the abandoned fortress in search of the fabled treasure hoard of Agatheron.  Eventually it is found and it is, indeed, beyond imagination.  This long chamber is filled from end to end with unimaginable wealth. Gold is piled knee-high and speckled with jewels, weapons and artifacts of ages past - truly a dragon's hoard.

With the help of the Firbolgs, the treasure is mined out.

Without much need for treasure, the Firbolgs accepted only a small portion, preferring to live simply and peacefully in the mountains.

Wang, Sir Gwain and McDagger headed south to the village of Litafjord only to find it a charred ruin including the Keep of Lord Boomish, who was laid to rest near the Firbolg's village.

Abandoning the village and heading south, they came across the the innkeeper of the Craggy Inn and his dwarven wife.  They had left the village when they saw the dragon coming down the mountain and survived his attack.

Wang donated a portion of his treasure to the innkeeper so that they would be able to start anew.

They all travel south to the village of Berkenstoke which was destroyed by in the Dragon's wraith.  The sturdy townsfolk had already begun to rebuild the village and once the news of Agatheron's death spread there was a big celebration in honor of all the heroes that died; Wolfheir the Viking, the priest of Mithra - Su, Grop the mighty wizard, Todashi the samurai, Thenus the ranger, and Arg.

Sir Gwain and Wang donated gold to the rebuilding of  Berkenstoke and headed west to Blackmoore, which was also in ruin.

As donations and rebuilding began there as well, Sir Gwain and Wang said their farewells for now and chose separate paths to travel with the hopes that some day their paths may cross again.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Session XCII: The Half-orc and the Fire Giant

Our ongoing Swords and Wizardry sandbox campaign...

Current Player Characters:
Thenus (Ranger)
Wang Du (Monk)
Wolfheir (Viking)
Arg (Half-orc)
Sir Gwain (Paladin) 
Su (Cleric) 
Grop (Kobold Wizard)
Tadashi (samurai)

NPC's
McDagger (thief)
Biggs (fighter)
Koshan (Ogre Magi)
Lothar (Firblog)
Lord Boomish 
Having miraculously defeated a large onslaught of Fire Giants, the beleaguered party began to explore the grand hall. Arg, Lothar of the hill people and Grop examine the massive obsidian alter and the magic circle holding a burning Fire Elemental.  Grop dispelled the Elemental back to it's plane and Lothar read the inscription on the alter.  But the respite is short lived as a massive Fire Giant in flaming armor and carrying a flaming sword burst out from behind another of the curtained alcoves.  The party and the Giant charge each other and a bloody battle takes place.  The Giant chief falls!

Grop detects that the armor, sword and the giant's two rings are magical along with the Fire Giant's obsidian alter.  But as they decide what to do with all this, the Giant's wounds begin to heal and he begins to rise once again.  Sir Gwain draws his Frost Blade and beheads the giant.  Arg takes the flaming sword for himself and the Giant's rings are split among the party, which they wear as crowns or armbands.

As they loot the corpse, yet another Fire Giant poked his head out from another curtained alcove and shouted in shock at the site of his dead companions and Chief.  He rushed back behind the curtain.

Fearing another attack from the Fire Giants and naturally concerned over their weakened state, the party decided it best to try to hide and recover.  They sought shelter behind the curtain of the Giant Chief but only find a dead-end.  A search for secret doors turned up nothing.  
Suddenly, they heard angry shouting coming from the main hall.  Arg peeked out from behind the curtain and  saw that the Fire Giants are arguing among themselves and that the two strongest began to fight each other for the right to be chief.  Letting the fight play out, the party watches as one of the giants is defeated and the other claims chief.

Arg decided to go out and challenge the new Fire Giant chief.  He stepped out with the flaming sword and the rest of the party follows, walking in a uniform line across the hall towards the giants.  Arg challenges the new Chief to a one-on-one duel for the ownership of the Giant's Flaming Sword.  The challenge is accepted and the party and Fire Giants circle around the the two combatants.  Thenus slips Arg a gourd of speed to aid in his combat and the battle in engaged.  Arg matches the Fire Giant blow for blow, both wounding each other but both not giving in.  Suddenly, the flaming sword flies from Arg's grip and is picked up by another giant.  Grop casts a web around that giant with angers the other Giant onlookers who start to push and attack the party.  Sir Gwain tosses his Ice Blade to Arg who caught it and then cut the leg off of the giant and then beheaded the mortally wounded creature!  In a rage the rest of the Fire Giants attack.  In the battle, Wang fell, mangled and dead, but not before he stunned one of the Giants which was quickly dispatched.  Biggs also fell. With everyone near death, the nearly finished party with one last effort dispatched the remaining Fire Giants.  They are once again victorious! 

In no shape for another battle, the party gathers their wounded and exits the fortress and heads back to the hidden village of the Firbolgs....

Monday, September 11, 2017

Session XCI: Fire Giants!

Our ongoing Swords and Wizardry sandbox campaign...

Current Player Characters:
Thenus (Ranger)
Wang Du (Monk)
Centari (Elf)
Wolfheir (Viking)
Arg (Half-orc)
Sir Gwain (Paladin) 
Su (Cleric) 
Gorp (Kobold Wizard)
Tadashi (samurai)

NPC's
McDagger (thief)
Biggs (fighter)
Koshan (Ogre Magi)
Lothar (Firblog)
Lord Boomish

With McDagger invisible and tiny Gorp just inside the giant iron doors to the entrance of the ancient dragon Agatheron's lair, the rest of the party peered in and saw a massive hall almost one thousand feet long.  At the far end were five fire giants.

As they discussed what to do, eventually one of the giants started to head towards the open door.  Hiding on the outside, they prepared to ambush the lone fire giant. When the Giant stuck his head outside the party attacked, but not before he screams out a warning.  The Giant, however, stumbled and the party hacked him to death.

Dragging him out of the doorway, McDagger warned that there are two other giants heading towards the doors.  The party waited for the two Giants outside the doors.  When they stepped out they were also attacked.  McDagger warned that one of the other two Giants at the far end had rushed behind a curtain.

They dispatched the two Giants and enter the grand hall.  Searching behind massive curtains they found a ballista. Lothar rolled it out into the hall as Arg and Wang Du searched the hidden alcoves for more.  They noticeed that Koshan had disappeared by turning himself invisible. 

As they made their way up the hall, a distant alarm sounded and the party prepared for battle with the Giants.

From behind a curtain rushed a number of Fire Giants.  Gorp tried to fry them with a Fireball but the giants only laughed and charged on.  Arg and Wang fired off their ballista as does Lothar damaging two of the giants.  Gorp blastsed them with cold, wounding a number of the Fire Giants.  Finally the two groups engaged in hand to hand combat, Thenus firing damaging arrows to her favored foes.

Meanwhile, a Beholder appeared out of nowhere and shocked the party into fear until they notice that the magical beast started attacking the Fire Giants.

There was one robed Fire Giant that raised a wand by the Beholder turned him into a giant rat.  Koshan, now in his true form as a Ogre Magi, and McDagger attacked the Giant Rat and eventually kill it.

Arg and Wang charged the giants and the fierce battle continued.  Another blast of frost from Koshan defeated some of the Giants and Todashi almost fell to their attacks more than once. Sir Gwain saved him but has trouble fighting the Giants as he keeps dropping his magic sword. 

Suddenly, two Hell Hounds burst from the curtains and attacked McDagger, killing him.

Eventually, the party prevailed over this initial onslaught of Fire Giants. Su raised the dead McDagger who hobbled out of the hall shaken and wounded.

Surely there are more that lie in wait...



Session XC: Knock, Knock, Knocking On The Dragon's Door

Our ongoing Swords and Wizardry sandbox campaign...

Current Player Characters:
Thenus (Ranger)
Wang Du (Monk)
Centari (Elf)
Wolfheir (Viking)
Arg (Half-orc)
Sir Gwain (Paladin) 
Su (Cleric) 
Gorp (Kobold Wizard)
Tadashi (samurai)

NPC's
McDagger (thief)
Biggs (fighter)
Koshan (Magic User)

Having finally exited Hidatha's maze with his enemy Koshan as their new ally, our fearless party once again headed north towards the Grey Mountains and their face-off with Agatheron, the ancient red dragon claiming dominion over the land.

One evening at camp, Thenus shouted out a warning as the ground beneath their feet shook and opened and out crawled a group of Giant Ants.  The party responded and soon dispatched the insects. They resumed their rest and soon also their journey.

Entering the foothills, they saw in the distance the twinkling lights of a small village.  Su knew this village to be Litafjord.  They decided to make for the village and rest there before their final trek into the pass.  Upon entering the village, however, they found it to be mostly deserted save for the Craggy Inn run by the inkeeper and his dwarven wife.

The party learned that everyone had left the village on account of the reemergence of the Dragon and that he had gathered an army of Fire Giants to aid him.  The stubborn Innkeeper had decided to stay along with the village's lord, Lord Boomish.  Thenus recalled having worked for a Lord Boomish a while back in the town of Berkenstok when they recovered the family shield from the Ruins Beneath Xlarthan's Tower (back in session 75). They learned that this Lord is a cousin of the one that they had previously helped.

The next day they met Lord Boomish and he recognized the party as the ones that recovered his family's shield from the ruins beneath Xlarthan's tower.  The shield was used to defeat the dragon with Lord Blackmoore many years ago.  Lord Boomish decided that it is his destiny to face the dragon one last time and will aid the party.

The next day the party, along with Lord Boomish, left the village of Litafjord and head out into the mountains. They soon ran across the corpse of a fire Giant with it's head on a pike. Examining the ground for clues, Thenus discovered a trail leading off the path and into a canyon.  Following the trail, the party soon got the feeling that they were being watched. Arg shouted out their hatred for the Fire Giants and soon after, a Firbolg steped out.  The party befriended the giant hill people and were welcomed into their village.

They learned that the Firbolg's have been attacking their enemies, the Fire Giants, every chance they could.  The Firbolgs will not attack the Giants directly as the Fire Giants are too strong and are using hit and run tactics to weaken their enemies. The Firbolgs decided to help the party and will lead them to the entrance of the Dragon and his army.  One Firbolg, Lothar, volunteered to join the party and help infiltrate the Dragon's lair in search of his missing brother that was captured by the Fire Giants.

Lothar lead the party through the canyons and into the mountains and one evening they are standing before a pair of massive iron doors.  The great doors, outlined with a glowing dragon are discovered to by barred from the other side. Su turned McDagger invisible and uses his magic to unbar the door.  Arg and Wolf pushed the iron door open just a crack and Su and McDagger slip inside. The rest of the party peered in and saw and expansive long hall lit by torches made of trees.  At the far end were a number of Fire Giants....

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Session LXXXIX: Emerson, Frank and Tor

Continuing our ongoing Swords and Wizardry sandbox campaign...

Current Player Characters:
Thenus (Ranger)
Wang Du (Monk)
Centari (Elf)
Wolfheir (Viking)
Arg (Half-orc)
Sir Gwain (Paladin) 
Su (Cleric) 
Gorp (Kobold Wizard)
Todashi (samurai)

NPC's
McDagger (thief)
Biggs (fighter)
Emerson (bard)


Having found the green portal which they believed to be the exit, Sir Gwain lead the way to confirm that this was indeed true.

Back at the main entrance, they passed through the portal once again and began to retrace their steps, heading deeper into the labyrinth.

Down a passage that they had not explored they found an up sloping passage with a door at the end painted with a rams head.  The door was stuck and McDagger failed to open the door. Sir Gwain pulled the door open. Suddenly, a heavy cart with an iron rams head sprung from the closet beyond, rolling over and crushing members of the party.

Emerson the bard was gravely wounded and was screaming in shock and terror when he discovered that his hand, with which he performs upon his lute, has been shattered.  He pleaded with Su to heal him but Su had already healed the near death McDagger.  Su handed Emerson a clear potion that they had previously found in the wizard's chamber.  Emerson quickly downed the potion but immediately died from it's poisonous contents.

Leaving the body of the bard behind, they continued winding their way though the maze. Sir Gwain narrowly avoided falling into a pit trap in which an entire 40' section of the hallway teetered open.  After wedging spikes into the pivoting floor, they carefully made their way across.

They passed though the Hallway of Water once again and headed down a new passage.  Turning some corners they found themselves in front of a locked door.  McDagger picked the lock but failed to discover that the door was trapped and the thief was nearly killed again as the ceiling fell in on him. After recovering the thief, they found that the door only opened to a blank wall!

Continuing down the main passage and through a curtain,  they were attacked by two scorpions which Arg and Sir Gwain quickly dispatch.

They came across another door, but this time Arg was smart enough to trigger the arrow trap from a distance. This door turned out to be false as well.

Through some more curtained hallways they found another pool with a copper statue at the far end.  Arg leaped across to the statue and discovered two keyholes.  Using the keys he had found earlier, a small copper box rose out of the platform.  Upon opening it, Arg was electrocuted to near death!  Inside the box, however, he found a small black sphere.

Heading down another passage while consulting their map, they discover that the map appeared to be mostly complete except for a center portion.  It is in this space that they determine the prisoner they were sent in to dispatch must be. However, they decided to head back to the surface to rest and recover for a few days.

Once on the surface, though, the kids that had befriended them and wished to join their quest questioned the party about what happened to their friend Frank. Stretching the truth, Arg said that he died bravely fighting Minotaurs.  The kids were sad but asked why they left his body down in the dungeon. Arg responded with... something less than comforting.

After a couple of days rest, they headed back into the depths with the aspiring adventurers in tow, retracing their steps from the entrance.  They recovered Franks body, who had died from a deadly portal accident, and Emerson's body, who died from a deadly potion accident, and carried them up to the beach room.  There they buried the bodies with their companion Tor the dwarf who had died from a deadly Ettin accident.

They headed to one final arched opening that they had failed to explore and discovered stairs leading down. The stairs passed a landing with an iron statue of a bear but they found nothing odd about it.  The stairs wound down to a door which also proved to be false, but opening the door had brought the Iron Bear to life.  Arg, Wolf, Sir Gwain and Thenus charged the Iron Bear and fought it at the top of the stairs.

Having seemingly explored the entire maze, they headed back to one suspicious wall, and upon careful examination, discovered three small holes about the size of the discovered sphere.

After much debate about which hole to drop the sphere into, Wolf and Sir Gwain inserted the sphere into the first hole while the others stood back. A trapdoor opened and dropped the two into a pit of spikes.  The sphere rolled out of a slot at the base of the wall.

The companions were rescued from the pit and with the sphere in hand, tried another hole.

Wolf reached over and dropped the sphere into the third hole and was sliced by a bladed pendulum that dropped from the ceiling.

With one hole left to put the sphere, they finally opened the magic door and entered into a larger round chamber with a circular formation of pillared stone. Inside the stones, a forcewall distorted the image of a prisoner.  It was Koshan, who has been imprisoned by Hithata!

Would you trust this guy if he told you to go into a maze?
Talking with their prize, Koshan learned that Hithata had sent the party to kill him for taking the old wizard's eyes. Koshan told the party that he was a pupil of Hithata but that the wizard had grown corrupt and had destroyed Koshan's entire village. In vengence, Koshan confronted Hithata and had stolen his eyes. In a final desperate effort, Hithata imprisoned Koshan in his maze.

Koshan offered to aid the party if they set him free.  Thenus, who was quite angry for being sent by Hithata into his deadly maze was all for siding with Koshan.  However, it was the samarui Todashi who determined that Koshan is indeed telling the truth. Wang pulled the lever to remove the forcewall and Koshan was free.

With a new ally, they gathered their loot and left the maze to hunt down Hithata who was nowhere to be found.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Session LXXXVIII: Two Ettins Too Many

Our ongoing Swords and Wizardry sandbox campaign...

Current Player Characters:
Torvin Fulvousmith (Dwarf)
Thenus (Ranger)
Wang Du (Monk)
Centari (Elf)
Wolfheir (Viking)
Arg (Half-orc)
Sir Gwain (Paladin) 
Su (Cleric) 
Gorp (Kobold Wizard)
Tadashi (samurai)
NPC's
McDagger (thief)
Biggs (fighter)
Emerson (bard)

After briefly resting in the chamber with the slain lions, Arg recovered some of the feline "trophies" and the party continued their exploration of the maze in search of the wizard Hitatha's prisoner.

They entered a passageway which lead to a large magically lit cavern covered in sand, it's walls painted to look like a sky and tropical beach. There was even a pool of water at the far end with a row boat on shore.  Immediately wary of this scene the party was cautious. Arg and Sir Gwain walked deeper into the room and Arg tossed a lion's head into the water. Midway into the room two Giant Exoskeleton Crabs rose from the sand and attacked the brave explorers. After a brief battle, the party defeated the magical crabs but found nothing of value in the room.

Leaving that chamber they entered some caves and came across two Ettins!  It was a fierce battle and the party was badly beaten, with even the invincible Arg being knocked unconscious.  Towards the very end of the skirmish, Torvin Fulvousmith, the brave dwarf, fell.   With the Ettins finally defeated, Su attempted to bring the dwarf back from the dead but failed. After looting his belongings, the party buried the dwarf in the beach room and rested for the day.

Because of their delay, Wolfheir and the bard Emerson entered the maze in search of their companions which they run into in a hallway.

Through a previously discovered secret door, the party traveled deeper to the center of the maze and came across a wall of water near a shelf on which were pills and a sign that said "eat me".  The brave Sir Gwain swallowed a pill. Immediately, gills sprouted from his neck and it becomes difficult for him to breath air.  He lunged into the wall of water and was quickly attacked by three Giant Electric Eels.  Arg swallowed a pill and dove in to aid the knight.  With the Eels defeated, the two discovered a chest inside of which were two crystal eyes.

It was discovered that the waterway shortly lead to another dry junction and the rest of the party walked through the water to the other side. 

Heading south they found the passage blocked by an open room filled with water. In the corners were two statues of fish with copper chains hanging from their mouth which copper keys were attached.  In the pool were a number of large fish.  Not taking any chances, Arg speared all the fish and McDagger swam to each of the statues and obtained the keys. 

With the keys in hand, they backtracked to the dead-end hallway carved with a human skull with empty eye-sockets.  Inserting the crystal eyes into the skull they opened a secret door.  Through some long passageways they eventually came to a locked door. McDagger unlocked the door and the party entered into Hitatha's former chamber.  Here, they recovered some potions and the wizard's spellbook and piles of gold, silver and gems inside a locked chest which McDagger was able to open.

Leaving the room, the party eventually found a deep circular chamber with a green portal, similar to the entrance of the maze. Though they had not yet found their goal, they had found the way back out!

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