Chapter #69

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                         THE ADVENTURERS



*****
*  The 8 player characters contained in these writings are copyright
*  1992 by Thomas Miller.  Any resemblance to persons or characters
*  either real or fictional is utterly coincidental.  Copying and/or
*  distribution of these stories is permissible only under the one
*  condition that no part of them will be used or sold for profit.
*  In that case, I hope you enjoy them.
*****

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   (give me a second here - they have to get back together...)

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                     LXIX.  Reunion



  Three months ago, the party split into two groups to travel
to Greyhawk.  One group went by land, the other by sea.  Both
reached their destination eventually, and even in a large city
like Greyhawk, it was only a matter of time before the two
factions found each other...

  The scruffy-looking man slipped past two dwarves and entered
the tavern.  His companions waited outside, hoping that this
place would not prove as fruitless as the last dozen inns they
had checked.  The fellow bought himself a mug of ale and began
scanning the establishment's common room, his eyes alert for
any clue as to where his targets might be found.  Suddenly, he
almost choked on his drink, as he saw several familiar faces
at a table in one corner.  At last, the object of his search!
  Peldor slunk over to the table, keeping out of sight.  He
concentrated while viewing the five people eating and drinking
around the large, stained wooden table, and used his magical
ring to lift a sizable egg from one plate.  The dwarf to whom
the plate, and egg, belonged cursed loudly in surprise, and
stabbed at the egg with a fork.  Another of those seated at
the table, a tall, muscular dark-skinned fellow, looked at the
egg nonchalantly, and exclaimed, "How eggciting."  But the
dwarf would have none of this tongue-in-cheek humor.
  "Gods be damned!  What in the bloody hells is going on with
this egg?!?!"  Mongo poked at the floating ovule in vain, as
it danced around his head.  Then, from the crowd, a familiar
face appeared, one that the dwarf had not seen in many months.
Mongo looked up, and bellowed, "PELDOR!  I should have known
it was you!!!"  All at the table rose to greet the rogue, and
then his companions came over as well, and took seats at the
table, as much greeting, talking, yelling, eating, and drinking
ensued.

Mongo:  (grabs a barmaid)  More grog!  Bring more grog!
barmaid:  okay.  (darts away)
Peldor:  (talking to Belphanior)  Hey, good to see you.  Any
  great thieving prospects here?
Belphanior:  (ripping a leg of lamb apart with his hands)  Nah.
  The guild demands that we join.  I ought to kill them all.
Peldor:  Here, this is Bosco, my henchman.  He has no soul right
  now, but he's a nice guy.
Bosco:  (shakes Belphanior's hand mindlessly)
Belphanior:  Err...right.
Ged:  Ah, it's about time you people showed up!  We were getting
  bored here waiting for you.
Halbarad:  (fuming)
Peyote:  Hey, dudes, time to feast and be merry!
Rillen:  (regarding Lyra)  Hmm.  (to Alindyar)  Who is this,
  your sister?
Alindyar:  Oh.  Ha, ha.  Not quite.  This is Lyra, whom I found
  in the course of our adventures and took under my...wing.
Lyra:  (kicks Alindyar)
Alindyar:  What?  What?
Ged:  (muttering)  Great.  _Another_ dark elf.
Halbarad:  Worry not, friend.  She can be trusted.  She helped
  us get out of many bad situations.
Ged:  I'll just bet.
Rillen:  (looking around)  Who is that little halfding?
Peldor:  This is Bosco.  He's really, really sick right now.
Rillen:  Oh.  He looks...empty.
Peldor:  Yeah.
Ged:  (to Alindyar)  How's the spellbook coming?  I bet I've
  got more than you.
Alindyar:  Perhaps.
Ged:  I recently learned the teleport spell.
Alindyar:  I have gained feeblemind, as well as the minor globe
  of invulnerability.  Among others.
Ged:  Hmph.
Halbarad:  (to an unfamiliar person at the table, next to Ged -
  a tall, very musclebound human)  Who might you be?
man:  I am Ah-nold.
Ged:  Arnold here is my new henchman.  I intend to keep him
  safe and out of harm - unlike _some_ people have done for
  theirs.  (glares at Peldor)
Arnold:  Right.  Oud of hahm's way.
Ged:  Er...yea.
Peldor:  (draining a flagon)
Belphanior:  (pokes Bosco)  You really _don't_ have a soul, do
  you?
Bosco:  (stares blankly ahead)
Belphanior:  No joke!  Wow.
Rillen:  (toasts with Arnold)  We should have great adventures
  soon.
Arnold:  Yes.  Gread advengures.  We can sdop the evil ones from
  gadhering or someding like dhat.
Ged:  Hmm.  Maybe I should teach him another language or two,
  before he joins a literary guild or something.

  Suddenly, there was a commotion nearby, as a rotund man pushed
his way through the crowd toward the adventurers' table.

Rillen:  Who is this fool?
man:  Excuse me.  Pardon me.  (steps on someone's toes)  Whoops.
  (nearly trips over a table leg)  Whoa.  (knocks a halfling out
  of the way)  Sorry about that.  (stands before the adventurers'
  table, finally)  Hey, guys.
Mongo:  ROB!
Ged:  Rob.
Belphanior:  (snickering)  Rob...
Rob:  I'm back!
Alindyar:  Obviously.
Ged:  I though you had to go to...err, stay at a temple of the
  god Trithereon or something.
Rob:  Well, they gave me guidance.  I think.  Anyway, I was sent
  to Greyhawk to assist the high priests of the temple here.
Peldor:  (to Belphanior)  Maybe they were trying to get rid of
  him or something.
Rob:  But the high priests told me to go out and raise money and
  spread the faith.  So I was just sitting on a streetcorner and
  decided to use my magic to find out what you people were up to.
  Boy, was I surprised when you turned up in Greyhawk!
Mongo:  (between mouthfuls of food)  Glmph.  Have a seat!
Rob:  Thanks, I think I will.  (knocks over a mug of ale as he
  takes a seat at the table)  Uh-oh.
Rillen:  Again I ask - who is this fool?

  Somehow, in some mystical, fateful way, the party was now at
its most complete phase ever, and there was much rejoicing.



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THE PARTY:

Alindyar      10th level drow elf mage                (N)
  Lyra         6th level female drow elf mage         (N)
Belphanior     7th/7th/8th level high elf w/m/t      (CN)
Ged            9th/8th level grey elf priest/mage    (NG)
  Arnold       6th level human warrior               (NG)
Halbarad       8th level human ranger                (NG)
  Zephyr       5+5 HD wild tiger                     (--)
Mongo          8th level dwarf warrior               (CG)
Peldor         11th level human thief                 (N)
  Bosco        6th level soulless halfling thief     (CN)
Peyote         7th/9th level half-elf fighter/druid   (N)
Rillen         8th level human warrior                (N)
Rob            9th level human priest                (LG)
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Date:   3/25/571 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   afternoon
Place:  the Free City of Greyhawk
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  Before the next quest could be found, several things happened.

  Firstly, Halbarad undertook a mission for a noble.  This minor
lord, one Gillian, had been robbed two nights past, and among
the items taken was a magical sword, a family heirloom.  He hired
the ranger to retrieve the loot and bring the thieves to justice.
Halbarad was able to do so, especially when Rillen lent him the
horseshoes of speed that he owned.  Halbarad tracked down the
bandits, and he and his tiger slew all but one.  The one survivor
claimed to know the whereabouts nearby of a fantastic monster
that had a great hoard of treasure.  The ranger decided to check
it out since he was far from the city anyway.  The claim was no
joke - Halbarad, the tiger, and the warrior fought and defeated
something very powerful (a behir).  Shortly after the battle
ended, the beast's cavernous lair collapsed, and the ranger was
barely able to escape with his life (the warrior bandit didn't
make it).
  As Halbarad and the tiger journeyed back towards Greyhawk,
they were attacked by a familiar figure - Zara the drow bitch.
The ranger was severely wounded, and if not for his tiger's help
in driving away the crazed drow mage, would have been slain.
The pair limped back into Greyhawk to recuperate, and Halbarad
made a lot of money from the noble's reward and the gems he had
picked up in the monster's lair.  He trained extensively, and
joined the mercenaries' guild of Greyhawk as well.  He also
managed to secure a permit for his tiger to enter the city.

  Secondly, Belphanior came across an ancient map, and ventured
alone into the city's sewers in search of some lost hoard of
ill-gotten wealth.  He fought a strange acidic creature, losing
his gauntlets and two magical longswords before using spells to
slay the thing.  Descending a hidden, slime-encrusted shaft,
the intrepid elf came upon a crypt, and perhaps foolishly,
entered it.  He fought a spectre lord, and was weakened quite
considerably, defeating the undead only through a combination
of luck and magic.  The thing had no treasure except for the
sword with which it had fought - a sword which spoke to the
elf, sensing a new, more powerful master in the violent and
chaotic Belphanior.  Thus it was that a most unholy union was
begun, that between Belphanior, the elf, and Blackrazor, the
longsword...
  The elf regained his lost levels when two malformed hill
giants in the upper levels of the sewers challenged him on
his way out.  Soon after this, Belphanior trained for more
power in the field of magic.

  Thirdly, Belphanior and Peldor sought out the home of the
mage Otiluke, to inquire about the tower they had adventured
in - the tower where Belphanior had gained a book full of the
mighty mage's personalized spells.  Though Otiluke was not
home, the visit did have one effect - the thick tome vanished
from Belphanior's person.  The infuriated elf immediately
began planning an attack on Otiluke's home, but Peldor managed
to talk him out of it.  Later, Belphanior traded his magical
two-handed sword to Ged (for Arnold's use) in return for some
gems.  He also met with a mage from the guild and traded his
ring of spell storing, his everfull purse, and his wand of
lightning for an item that opened gates to other planes - the
well of many worlds (the mage informed him that it was a most
capital offense to use that item within the city walls...).



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THE PARTY:

Alindyar      10th level drow elf mage                (N)
  Lyra         6th level female drow elf mage         (N)
Belphanior     7th/8th/8th level high elf w/m/t      (CN)
Ged            9th/8th level grey elf priest/mage    (NG)
  Arnold       6th level human warrior               (NG)
Halbarad       9th level human ranger                (NG)
  Zephyr       5+5 HD wild tiger                     (--)
Mongo          8th level dwarf warrior               (CG)
Peldor         11th level human thief                 (N)
  Bosco        6th level soulless halfling thief     (CN)
Peyote         7th/9th level half-elf fighter/druid   (N)
Rillen         8th level human warrior                (N)
Rob            9th level human priest                (LG)
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Date:   4/7/571 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   afternoon
Place:  the Free City of Greyhawk
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  The party, all happy in one way or another, met to decide what
in the world they would do next.  An answer was easily forthcoming
though, as Halbarad showed up, sweating and out of breath.

Mongo:  What in the fuck's wrong with YOU?!?
Halbarad:  Whew!  (holds up a scroll)  Some fellow just ran out of
  the shadows of an alley and handed me this.  Then he just...well,
  he just rotted away!  Gone in a moment, victim of some vile
  misdeed.
Ged:  Whoa.
Peyote:  Uncool.  Evil lurks within these city walls...
Peldor:  It's a good thing that you came to the mighty Peldor for
  protection.
Halbarad:  Well, I wished to take no chances.  So.  (opens the
  scroll)
Alindyar:  (peering over the ranger's shoulder)
Arnold:  (sharpening his sword)  Perhaps there will be a good
  avventure soon.
Ged:  Yep, looks that way.
Arnold:  Good.  I tink I've been sidding around here too long.
Peldor:  What's it say?
Peyote:  It's a map, detailing a fortress hidden in the Yatil
  Mountain range.  Also talks about a "Yin-Tze", whatever that
  is...I can't read it all.
Halbarad:  Hmm.

  They took the parchment to the sage's guild, where an elderly
fellow called Duzon helped them decipher the arcane script, for
a hefty price.

Duzon:  Ahh.  This is a map to a fortress.
Ged:  Tell us something we don't know.
Duzon:  I was getting to that.  Yin-Tze is a hermit, who also
  lives in these mountains.  He knows the location of the key,
  the key to get into this old complex.
Halbarad:  What manner of place is it, though?
Duzon:  Evil.  Great treasures.  Fearsome monsters.  All is not
  clear.
Rillen:  Get more torches in here, then.  It is too dark.
Lyra:  Heh, heh.
Alindyar:  (pops a Light spell onto the ceiling)
Peyote:  Hey, man, it was a _joke_.
Alindyar:  What?  Oh.  Whitherwhere, who cares?  Bah.
Ged:  Well, where do we find this Yin-Tze guy?
Duzon:  He is in the Rushmoors, the swamps.
Peldor:  (looking at his map)  Hey!  That's in the Gran March!
  That's a million leagues away from here!
Rob:  Where'd you get that map?  I lost one just like it a while
  ago.
Peldor:  Map?  What map?  (the map has disappeared from sight)

  They considered the map, and the facts they knew, and decided
to investigate.  They planned to depart on the morrow.





next time:  the cloud giant strikes

FTP SITE: ccosun.caltech.edu (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
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NOTES:  You are probably wondering why in the world I set it up so
that all of these adventurers were together at once.  They now
number nine, plus three henchmen (rounding up), a big wild tiger,
and several smaller animals (Peyote's minions).  The reason is
simple :  this adventure will be the last one with the party for
a couple of our heroes...
  Also, the reason that I didn't make full-fledged episodes out
of those "solo" adventures :  I have bad, BAD notes of those
adventures.  They're so bad that I can't even decipher what went
on, in some cases.  So, I abbreviated.  Trust me, you're not
missing much.
  About Rob...the player showed up, and I thought he would be
consistent for a while, so Rob the character returned.
  A word about the longsword, Blackrazor :  I decided to have it
chance across Belphanior.  For those of you not familiar with this
weapon, it appeared in TSR module S2, White Plume Mountain, as one
of three magical weapons of great power that a party was to regain
(they had been stolen in the first place by an evil wizard).  The
sword is basically Gygax's version of a toned-down Stormbringer.
The sword eats the souls of anything it slays, and the wielder
gets the levels/HD and hp of the slain being(s) for a short while.
Also, the sword must have a kill every so often or it compels the
wielder to go out and kill someone.  As you might imagine, its
ego wasn't enough to control Belphanior - but he had to keep the
bodies coming, evil humanoids or invalids usually, for fear that
the sword might force him to kill a party member if it went unfed
for too long...

  Well, midterms are over, and I was too slack.  I'll have to step
up the pace a bit to get out of this quarter alive.
  This weekend was GT's homecoming, and it was interesting to see
and talk to all the old alumni and friends who I've known at some
point in my career here.

  As a sad side note, I seem to have lost my girlfriend yesterday
(it's October 31 as I write this).  This weekend would have been
our 5th anniversary, but won't be, due to some irreconcilable
differences apparently.  The problems had nothing to do with my
on-the-side story-writing, I know that (fantasy really isn't a
big part of my life any more - I just don't want to be stereotyped
or known as a RPG addict who lost his girlfriend because he was
too spacey - the reasons are much more complex than that).  The
reason I am putting this message here is unclear, even to me -
maybe it's some kind of sick tribute, I don't really know.  Life
isn't all fun and games...fortunately I'm too old for this to
get to me like it would have a few years ago.  So...
  Happy f***ing Halloween, folks, and better luck to you...
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