Chapter #17

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*****
*
*  The 8 player characters contained in this writing are copyright
*  1992 by Thomas Miller...copying and distribution of these stories
*  is permissible only under the condition that no part of them will
*  be used or sold for profit.  In that case, I hope you enjoy them.
*    The dungeons and non-player characters contained herein are from
*  TSR's module, A1, and are copyright 1980 by TSR, Inc.  Although
*  they are reprinted after a fashion in this story writeup, they
*  are not being used for profit or personal gain in any way.  In
*  this spirit, verbatim text and maps from the module have been
*  avoided.  I would encourage anyone who does not own the Slaver
*  series, that is, TSR modules A1-A4, to buy them, as much more
*  enjoyment will come from actually playing them rather than from
*  reading about one party's experiences within.
*
*****


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THE PARTY:

Alindyar, 5th level drow elf mage (N)
Belphanior, 4th/3rd/4th level high elf fighter/mage/thief (CN)
Ged, 4th/4th level grey elf priest/mage (NG)
Halbarad, 5th level human ranger (NG)
Mongo Thunderhead, 5th level dwarf fighter (CG)
Peldor, 6th level human thief (N)
Peyote, 4th/4th level half-elf fighter/druid (N)
Rob, 6th level human priest (LG)
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                            XVII.  The Sewers



  The intrepid party had just crossed a room with no floor...

DM:  You walk a short ways and then the corridor turns right.
Belphanior:  Well, naturally, we turn right as well.
DM:  There is an alcove to the right, after the turn, then the passage
  goes left a bit after that.
Mongo:  What's in the alcove?  I look into it.

  The small alcove contained three big barrels.  They seemed intact,
as no leaks were visible, but Mongo quickly rectified this by punching
a hole in one.  A sour liquid floated within; Alindyar noted that it
smelled like vinegar.  The group went on, bearing left and going down
a short flight of stairs into a squarish room.  The place had an acrid
odor to it; when the party moved to examine a pile of dirty rags that
lay in front of the door, the "rags" attacked, sprouting many thin
tendrils...

DM:  The rags attack those in the front rank.  That means you, Mongo,
  and also Belphanior and Halbarad.
Mongo:  No member of the Thunderhead clan will fall prey to someone's
  dirty laundry!  Err...I defend myself.
thing:  (flails dozens of sticky tentacles at the fighters)
Mongo:  (whipped by several)  Ouch!  That stings!  There's some kind
  of crap on these tentacles, and it burns!
Halbarad:  (hit by four)  Damn!
Belphanior:  (manages to dodge all but one)  Hey!  You'll pay for that!
  (slashes the thing with his sword)
Halbarad:  (axes the monster)
Ged:  (fires magic missiles at the thing, burning small craters in its
  sticky body)
Mongo:  Hell, I am so _slow_!  Well...last, but not least...(smashes
  the monster twice with his magic hammer, sending it into one wall
  where it stays, unmoving)  Ha!
Rob:  You could have just thrown the hammer.
Mongo:  Nah.  Too close.  Besides, this is more fun.  I raise my most
  mighty weapon in triumph.
Alindyar:  Maybe we should burn the creature.
Peldor:  No, then it would stink up the whole place.  What's this,
  treasure?  Aha!  (mucking through the pile of sticky slop where the
  thing was rooted, finds some gold coins, gems, and a ring)
Ged:  Hey!  Put those in the Official Party Treasure Sack (tm).  Don't
  take them for yourself!
Peldor:  Take it easy...I'm not in a bad mood...yet.
Peyote:  Let's move on down the path.
Belphanior:  Can we hear anything behind that door, I wonder?  Hmm?
DM:  Nada.
Belphanior:  Well, I open the door and peer out then.

  There was a corridor beyond, splitting three ways.  The western
branch was short and ended in a door; the eastern branch was longer
and at least two different doors were visible; the northern branch
went off somewhere else and was long.  The party, efficient as ever,
opted for the western direction with its single door.

Belphanior:  Unlocked?  Hah!  I get my bow ready, with an arrow at
  the ready.  Mongo, open that door.
Mongo:  (opens the door, revealing a stable with a few horses and
  some equipment and horse food.  More noteworthy are the four
  scuzzy-looking men sitting on hay bales...)
men:  (leap to the attack.  One of their number fumbles with a horn.)
Belphanior:  I knew it!  I shoot the hornblower before he can sound a
  note!  (shoots, hits, kills with a lucky shot)
man#4:  (would-be-hornblower)  Augh!  (dies)

  Generic combat ensued, resulting in the timely deaths of the three
guards within a minute.  Rob decided that this was the time to heal
the wounded, and did so eloquently.  Belphanior spotted a young girl
in rags hiding out in the loft.

girl:  My rescuers!  Help me, save me from those terrible slavers!
Belphanior:  Who the hell are you?  How did you get here?
girl:  I am a slave.  I got out of the slave pens and hid in here,
  but those guards came back, and I've been up in the loft for two
  days now.
Halbarad:  You must be hungry.  Here, have some of my rations.
girl:  Oh, thank you!  (eats the food ravenously)
Peldor:  (muttering)  Goody-two-shoes...(to DM)  I search the guards'
  bodies.
DM:  (to Peldor)  Hmm...you get a number of gold coins.
Peldor:  (to DM)  Well, surely one of these fools spotted me.  I give
  them about a fourth of the coins for the party's loot sack and keep
  the rest for myself.
DM:  (to Peldor)  Okay.  They seem to be paying more attention to the
  slave girl.
Peldor:  (snickering)
girl:  What will happen now?
Peldor:  (snickering)
Ged:  We are glad to have saved you.  Stay with us for protection.
Halbarad:  Yea.
Peyote:  Let's take the babe and begone!  Remember this room - we may
  need to come here for horses or something later.

  The group left the stable, slave girl in tow, and went back out into
the main corridor.  They took the east passage, went through one door
into a small, burned-up courtyard area, but found nothing of interest
in there.  They backed up, and followed the eastern passage until it
ended near some stairs down, and also a door.  Going through the door,
they found themselves in a much larger, burned-up courtyard area, and
proceeded to explore this outdoor place.

Peyote:  Yo, the sky is visible from this burned-up courtyard place...
Ged:  Brilliant observation.
Halbarad:  Be on your guard - there might be some deadly foe lurking
  in this miniature wasteland.
Belphanior:  I trudge through the charred debris, hunting for any
  misplaced treasure.
Ged:  Peldor would know all about that.
DM:  A tattered, hissing figure lopes out of a collapsed archway in the
  courtyard and heads for your group.
slave girl:  Eeeeeek!!
Belphanior:  Just one?  I attack it with my sword...

Belphanior:  (swings his magical longsword and hits, inflicting hefty
  damage)  Hah!  Stupid ruins dweller!
creature:  (swats Belphanior, inflicting superficial damage)
DM:  Belphanior, you lose one life energy level.
Belphanior:  Oh shit.  Help!  HELP!
Mongo:  (hurls his enchanted warhammer at the undead beast, splattering
  its head into pulp)  That quick enough?
Belphanior:  Somebody cast dispel magic on me!  No, never mind that!  I
  need healing!  Protection from evil!  Restoration!
Ged:  Calm down.  It's only one life energy level.
Peyote:  Yeah, chill.
Belphanior:  Only..only one..AAAAGH!!  (starts running around in circles)
Ged:  We can do nothing for you now, anyway, so let's get on with the
  exploration.
Mongo:  (to Belphanior)  Sorry, man.  (catches his hammer as it returns)
Belphanior:  Aaaaaa.....
Peldor:  Well, if he's not going to search for treasure, _I_ will.
Ged:  We all search for treasure, but we're more careful.  If any more
  of those things appear, me and Rob will try to turn them.
DM:  The courtyard is fairly empty.  Burned debris litters the place,
  but nothing else comes out to attack you as you search.  There is
  an apparently bricked-up section of the courtyard to the south.
Mongo:  Oh yeah?  I examine the stonework.  How good is the workmanship
  there?
DM:  It's a pretty sturdy wall, as they go.  It seems to have been kept
  in good shape.
Halbarad:  I wonder why?  Someone climb over the wall.  Err, how high
  is the thing, anyway?
Peldor:  (seeing that it is only about ten feet, he climbs it without
  a problem)
Mongo:  What do you see?
Peldor:  (scanning the courtyard)  Statues.  LOTS of them.  And there
  are no exits from this part.  Oh yeah, there's also a - uh, make that
  two - big lizardlike creatures roaming the place.
Halbarad:  Hmm.  (looking at DM)  HMM.
Alindyar:  Statues, eh?  In what way are they posed, may I ask?
DM:  Crouching, kneeling, praying, defiant.  Or twisted into broken
  positions.  Yeah, that's it.
Peyote:  Sounds like trouble.
Alindyar:  Yes.
Ged:  Basilisks, eh?
slave girl:  Eeeeeek!!
Belphanior:  Maybe we could just sit atop the wall and pepper them
  with arrows?
Halbarad:  No, then they would definitely look at us, and someone
  might get stoned.
Peyote:  So?
Halbarad:  Excuse me, petrified.
Peyote:  Oh.
Peldor:  Sounds risky.  Besides, I can't see any treasure in their
  immediate area.
Ged:  Why don't you go down into the courtyard and have a closer look,
  thief?
Peldor:  Umm, no thanks.
Halbarad:  My advice would be to ignore this part.
Belphanior:  Yep.  I already lost a life energy level today.  I don't
  want to push my luck.
Peyote:  Makes sense.  Let's vamoose.
Mongo:  Damn.  Oh well, maybe some other time, basilisks!

  The party went back inside, and decided to go down the stairs.

Halbarad:  Let's take the stairs down.
Everyone Else:  Okay.

  They descended into the darkness, which didn't last long due to
the timely casting of another light spell.  They were in a cavern-
type place; a tunnel led to the right and left.  It was dug from the
surrounding soil, and was packed tightly and supported by wooden
beams of dubious strength.  The ceiling was a good foot to two feet
higher than Belphanior's head (he was the tallest one in the group).
Ged cast spells of finding traps and resistance to fire on himself.
  The adventurers went to the left.  When the passage forked after
a short time, they chose the right tunnel, which was slightly more
narrow and cramped than the main one.  Only one person at a time
could walk abreast (though only the slave girl...ah, never mind).
Mongo elected himself to be the point man (dwarf), and so it was
that he burst into the first dirt-walled chamber full of giant ant
workers.

Mongo:  Aie!  We're in an anthill!  (to DM)  Uh, what are the ants
  doing anyway?
DM:  They _were_ just sitting there, doing giant ant things, but now
  they're a bit disturbed.  They scuttle in your direction, pincers
  snapping fiercely.
Mongo:  Oh.  (slams an ant with his hammer, crushing it)
Peyote:  Ick!  That must have hurt!
ant:  (fails to bite through Mongo's plate armor)
other ant:  (also fails)
Halbarad:  (directly behind Mongo)  Let me in!  (leaps into the
  chamber)
another ant:  (chomps Halbarad)
Halbarad:  Ouch, that hurt.
some other ant:  (also bites the ranger)
Halbarad:  Damn!  (chops one of the ants, cutting it in two)
DM:  There are still ten ants here.  Oh, did I forget to mention
  the three bigger, even more fierce-looking ants?  Here they come,
  too.  Boy, are you guys in for it now.
Peyote:  Boy, are we in for it now!
slave girl:  Eeeeeek!
Mongo:  Stop that damn screaming!!
Halbarad:  (to DM):  What exits do we see nearby?
DM:  There's one to the north - oh wait, about a dozen more ants are
  coming through it.  Also one to the south.
Halbarad:  Are ants coming through it?
DM:  No.  Well, not yet anyway.
Halbarad:  (yelling to Mongo over the din of battle)  Head for the
  south exit there!
Mongo:  What?!?!  Retreat?!? (gets attacked by four more giant ants,
  two of which actually hit him)  Ouch!  Fuck!!
Halbarad:  We'll cover the others from the ants - you can help too,
  Peyote - while they run that way.  Cramped up in here like this,
  we'll be worn down in no time!
Mongo:  I see!  Cover them we shall, then!  (smashes another of the
  overgrown insects)  Hey you back there!  Go south while we fight
  off the ants!
Ged:  Check.
Alindyar:  What if more dangers lie through the exit?
Belphanior:  I shall lead the way, as I am the best fighter not busy
  attacking ants right now.
Peldor:  Whatever you say.  I'll protect the girl!
Ged:  Yeah, right.

  Mongo, Halbarad, and Peyote held the savage, bloodthirsty ants at
bay while the other five, plus shrieking slave girl, escaped to the
south.  They were in a larger tunnel now, and a big chamber was just
visible to the right.  Belphanior and Ged moved in this direction;
Rob, Peldor, Alindyar, and the slave girl (quieted for the moment)
remained in the wide intersection; Mongo, Halbarad, and Peyote
fought side-by-side just inside the giant ant room, none of them
willing to retreat totally just yet.

Mongo:  (takes another hit from giant ant pincers, is also poisoned
  for further damage)  Damn it!  We need cover fire!
Peyote:  Preferably a fireball.  Were this a more desperate situation,
  I might have cause to use my wand of wonder.  (chops a nearby ant
  in three)
Halbarad:  (kills two ants)  The others had better find a clear path
  of escape very soon.  Agh!  (gets bitten by an ant)  VERY soon!

Alindyar:  (preparing some spell)
Peldor:  (looking around, and keeping hold of the slave girl)
Rob:  Hm.  Let's go this way.  (gestures to the left, down the bigger
  tunnel the other way)
Alindyar:  Go nowhere, priest.  Who knows what dark fiends lurk in
  these tunnels?
Rob:  Good point.  (draws his magical flail)

Belphanior:  (approaching the large chamber, with Ged in tow)
Ged:  (preparing magic missiles)
Belphanior:  Whoa!  There are insect-like humanoids in here, doing
  various minor tasks, it looks like.
Ged:  Hold!  There is a trap there!  On the floor!
Belphanior:  Really?  Whew!
Ged:  It's a thin cord or rope.  Should we cut it, or leave it?
Belphanior:  Uh...I don't know.  Here come the insect men though!
Insect Men:  (four in number, and looking formidable indeed, they
  move about the chamber, weapons in hand)
Belphanior:  (looking through his possessions in a hurry)
Ged:  (fires a magic missile at the creature nearest the tunnel)
  Take that, chittering evil bug!
Insect Man:  (clashes two swords together angrily; its two shield
  arms wave medium-sized shields about)  Chikchikchikchik!!!
Belphanior:  Have no fear, Ged.  I have the heavy artillery now!
  (aims his staff at the insect men and their room)
Ged:  Well don't just stand there!  Blast them!!
Belphanior:  MISKA SHA-BOOM!!  (a huge bolt of lightning shoots
  out of the weapon, exploding into the room with a loud clap of
  thunder)
DM:  KRAK-OW!!
Ged:  Krak-ow?  Ha ha.  It seems that the bug men are no more...
  Neither is the chamber, from the looks of things.
DM:  From some other room beyond, more insect men come, stepping
  gingerly over the charred, sparking bodies of their dead brothers.
  Bloodlust shines in their multifaceted bug eyes.  Never make fun
  of the dungeon master.
Belphanior:  Let's go the other way!
Ged:  Not a bad idea...(they run back to the others)  More enemies
  that way!  And our magic won't hold out forever!  Let's go this
  way, to the left!
Rob:  Finally.
Belphanior:  (to the three warriors still fighting giant ants)  We
  are _leaving_, so come on!
Mongo:  (straddling a heap of giant ant bodies)  You guys go first,
  I'll come after that!
Halbarad:  Very well.  (retreats with Peyote and joins the others)
Mongo:  Yah!  (tosses his hammer at the closest giant ant, and backs
  off, falling on his rear in the tunnel with the rest)  Whoops!
Ged:  Heh.  Watch where you're going, clumsy fool.
Mongo:  Quiet, elf.  (raises his arm, catching the returning hammer
  neatly)  You can hold the damned bugs off next time.
Halbarad:  Cut the chatter!  Let's get the hell out of here!

  The party fled down the unexplored passage at breakneck speed,
closely followed by a number of giant worker ants, giant soldier
ants, and aspis drones.

DM:  As you flee, you pass some other small tunnels on both sides...
Belphanior:  Fuck that!  We keep running!
Mongo:  Uh, guys, I'm not as fast as you are...wait up!
Alindyar:  (stops, is passed by the running dwarf)
Mongo:  Hey!  What are you up to?!
Alindyar:  I am buying us some time.  (casts a web back the way they
  came, blocking the tunnel with thick layers of sticky spiderwebs)
  There, _that_ should do it.  It had better do it.
Halbarad:  (having taken the lead)  Where are we going anyway?  I can
  barely see ahead.
Belphanior:  (tries to light a torch on the fly, but fails)  I can't
  see anything.  Whoever's got the torch back there, run faster!
Rob:  I'm going as fast as I can...

  The group slowed down a bit, passing a stinking side tunnel on their
right.  They avoided it, however, and continued on for about fifty feet
to a dead-end.

Belphanior:  There's a hatch in the ceiling.
Ged:  Well open it, then!
Halbarad:  (pushes up on the stone lid, moving it aside with surprising
  ease)  (to DM)  I guess I climb up now.  I have my weapons ready in
  case we are ambushed or anything like that.

  The ranger leaped up into the room above, ready for action.  The
first thing he saw was a huge statue of an orc.  The stony figure was
standing there with its legs spread, and its single rocky eye seemed
to peer at Halbarad with contempt.  All this he took in within the
space of a second.

Halbarad:  Holy Hells!  'Tis Grummsh, god of the orcs, my sworn enemy!

  Then he noticed the three half-orc warriors flanking the statue, and
the obviously evil priestess not five feet away, who had just turned
in surprise, facing him with a sneer on her face.






next time:  The downfall of the Temple of Grummsh; more sewers

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NOTES:  Humor.  Such a wonderful thing.  We sometimes got very little
accomplished in the way of dungeon exploration or wilderness travel,
but we always had fun.  That's the name of the game, after all...
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