Chapter #80

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                                +
                              +   +
                            +       +
                          +           +
                        +               +
                      +                   +
                    +                       +
                  +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                    +                       +
                      +                   +
                        +               +
                          +           +
                            +       +
                              +   +
                                +



+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+    The various characters contained in these writings are   +
+  copyright 1993 by Thomas Miller.  Any resemblance to any   +
+  persons or characters either real or fictional is utterly  +
+  coincidental.  Copying and/or distribution of these tales  +
+  is permissible only under the sole condition that no part  +
+  of them will be used or sold for profit.  In that case, I  +
+  hope you enjoy them...                                     +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   THE PARTY:                                                +
+                                                             +
+   Alindyar      11th level drow elf mage              (N)   +
+      Lyra        7th level female drow elf mage       (N)   +
+   Belphanior     8th/8th/9th level high elf w/m/t    (CN)   +
+   Ged            9th/9th level grey elf priest/mage  (NG)   +
+      Arnold      7th level human warrior             (NG)   +
+   Mongo          9th level dwarf warrior             (CG)   +
+   Peldor        12th level human thief                (N)   +
+   Rillen         9th level human warrior              (N)   +
+   Rob           10th level human priest              (LG)   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+   Date:   7/16/571 C.Y. (Common Year)                       +
+   Time:   late morning                                      +
+   Place:  the Underdark                                     +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





               LXXX.  The Fate of Rob





  The party has descended into a huge, dark, and
strange-looking passageway far beneath the earth...

Alindyar:  Welcome, my friends, to the Underdark!

  They had entered the massive tunnel at a random
point along its length, for the segmented, black
walls continued to the left and right to the edge
of their vision, and beyond.  The floor upon which
they walked was firm and resilient, not made from
stone despite the resemblance.  The hundred-foot
radius passageway was quiet and empty, like some
dark, obscenely gigantic vein that had been sliced
neatly in half along its axis.  The shaft's walls
glistened like the skeleton of some weird insect,
and the wisps of mist floated everywhere as echoes
of the party's footsteps and whispers were eaten
by the vast corridor.
  The adventurers also noticed, for the first time,
that they were not in total darkness.  The cracks
and niches (joints?) between the plated walls glowed
with a dim, bluish light, casting a pale, eerie tint
upon the whole place.

Mongo:  Fuuuuuuuuck.
Belphanior:  I agree.
Ged:  Well said.
Rob:  (awestruck)  Is that stone, the walls, or...
  are we inside an insect?
Rillen:  Big bug.  Very big bug.
Alindyar:  No, actually, 'tis stone, but worked
  by drow and other, older magic, it appears as
  otherwise.  Occasionally some denizens see fit
  to build onto the existing framework, and they
  change it into further, still more unusual
  permutations...
Lyra:  Illithid colonies come to mind.
Alindyar:  Verily.
Ged:  By Boccob, I hope they don't get much more
  unusual that they already are.  The tunnels,
  that is.
Rillen:  I still think it is an insect.
Peldor:  What's making that blue light?  Magic?
Lyra:  In a way.  The cracks and niches in the
  walls are inhabited by benign fungi, which are
  naturally luminescent.
Rob:  Naturally.
Alindyar:  Unusual architecture, eh?
Ged:  I'll say.
Belphanior:  Even I will admit, this place is
  _weird_.
Mongo:  (hefts his hammer)  We might get ourselves
  in big trouble down here.
Rob:  Yeah.  Maybe we should go back.  (turns to
  find that the entry chute has vanished)  Huh?!?
Peldor:  Hey!  No fair!  (runs to the wall, and
  searches desperately for the opening which they
  all arrived here through)  It's gone.  Gone!
Alindyar:  Indeed.  Waste no time seeking it, for
  it is now as if it never was.
Rob:  Huh?  (genuinely confused)
Mongo:  Bah.  We'll make our _own_ door!
Belphanior:  Not so hasty.  There are no doubt a
  number of great treasures to be found down here.
Ged:  Possibly...
Peldor:  Did somebody say _treasure_?
Rillen:  Big bug filled with treasure.  Hmm.  It
  could be a worm.  Big underground worm.
Peldor:  The treasure worm!
Lyra:  Treasure is the least of our concerns now.
Alindyar:  Indeed.  This place is quite hazardous
  due to the monsters and magicks which reside
  within.
Peldor:  (spots a shadow moving, and is about to
  shout a warning when Belphanior's sword alerts
  the elf to a nearby soul)  H-
Belphanior:  (spins suddenly)  What's that?!?

  From the dimly lit mists to one side, a very odd
creature sallied forth.  It stood about eight feet
tall, and most of its form was composed of its huge
head.  Two long legs were attached to either side
of the head, and a pair of arms, scrawny-looking
next to the big legs, dangled at the sides.  The
head was highlighted by a voluminous maw, filled
with dozens of sharp teeth.  The monster drooled a
green ooze, and began babbling incoherently as it
moved toward the party.

Peldor:  Shit!  (turns invisible and leaps aside)
Mongo:  (addresses the thing)  What the hell are
  _you_?!?!?
thing:  Blblblblb!  (kicks the dwarf with one huge
  leg, knocking him down)  Blab scree fron!
Mongo:  Argh!
Belphanior:  That's the magic word.  (slashes at
  the beast, drawing a bit of yellow blood)  Hah!
Rob:  Magic?
thing:  (grabs Mongo with both arms, and pulls him
  toward its fanged maw)  Graaa!  Blb spron!
Mongo:  Argh!  It's got me!  (swings his hammer at
  the monster, wildly)  Leggo!
Rillen:  (bashes the monster with his staff, but
  the creature ignores him)
Ged:  (begins spellcasting)  We have to stop that
  thing!
Alindyar:  (to Lyra)  What _is_ it?
Lyra:  You're asking me?!?
thing:  (bites Mongo, denting his plate mail armor)
  Cha droog na!
Mongo:  ARGH!  (severely wounded by the monster's
  powerful jaws)  Damn it!  (green poison from the
  beast's jaws drips all over him, but he resists
  its debilitating effects)  <cough>  That stinks!
Rillen:  (hits the monster in the head, to no avail)
  Why will it not be wounded?
Belphanior:  Huh?  (slashes the beast from behind,
  drawing its attention)  I'm doing fine, thanks.
thing:  Blarg slurp!  (swats Belphanior using Mongo's
  body, and both are knocked down)  Grok blurpa!
Ged:  (blasts the creature with a Burning Hands, but
  the spell fizzles out)  Boccob damn it!
Alindyar:  Just as I suspected.  Most creatures here
  are highly magic resistant.
Ged:  How can you talk at a time like this, drow?!?!
Alindyar:  Twas simply an observation...
Ged:  Well, kindly stop observing and help us fight,
  dammit!
Alindyar:  Very well.  (casts a spell)
Arnold:  (misses the beast with his huge sword)  Aaa.
Rob:  (thinking of a good spell to use)
Alindyar:  (his spell is negated as it hits the foe)
  Ah, just as I expected.
egg-thing:  (forgotten now, it darts around among
  the adventurers)
Rob:  (trips and falls over the egg)  Hey!
egg-thing:  (dashes away toward the beast)
Peldor:  (invisible, moves into one of two smaller,
  side tunnels in the main one; sees that they are
  both ends of a small loop passage, and spots a
  chest in the center of the loop, out of sight of
  the main tunnel)  Aha.

thing:  (kicks Mongo, hard, stunning him)  Grool!
Mongo:  Argh!  Fuck you, too!
Belphanior:  (stands up)  So you want to fight, eh?
thing:  Blarga bokko!  (quickly snatches the elf and
  pops him into its mouth)  Slurpa munch munch!
Belphanior:  Argh!  (saved by his Stoneskin spell)
thing:  Lurga loof?  (confused by the meal's unusual
  toughness)
Rillen:  (smashes the beast with his staff)  Take
  _that_!
thing:  (kicks Rillen with one leg, knocking him
  back a bit)  Droog!
Rillen:  Ugh.
egg-thing:  (runs into the beast and falls down,
  then gets up and heads straight for a wall)
Arnold:  (misses the monster again)  Aaaaaaa.  Can'd
  hit it today.

  Suddenly, combat was punctuated by twin gouts of
flame from two small passages in the far wall of the
huge tunnel, accompanied by a loud explosive blast!

Peldor:  (visible, riding the brunt of one of the
  fiery blasts)  Oh shiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!
Ged:  What?!?  (whirls to see Peldor sail through
  the air)  What has that fool done this time?!?
Alindyar:  Fire trap?
Rob:  (runs to help Peldor, who has landed on the
  floor nearby, smoking and charred)  I'll help!

meanwhile...

thing:  (bites Belphanior again, negating his last
  stoneskins)  Muncha sloog!
Belphanior:  Somebody save me!  (tries to stab the
  monster, but scores only a minor wound)  Fuck!
  (realizes that the next bite will probably poison
  him to death, if it doesn't cut him in half too)
Rillen:  (his blow is met by the beast's leg, and
  deflected)  Damn.  We need to stop this monster!
Arnold:  (brings his sword down over the thing's
  head, cleaving it asunder)  You called?
thing:  (falls, dead and oozing much yellow ichor)
Belphanior:  Ah.  Free at last!  Thanks, big guy.
Arnold:  No prodlem.
Ged:  Good work, Arnold.
Arnold:  (beaming)  I, Ah-nold, have done it again!
  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
egg-thing:  (runs pell-mell into the tunnel wall,
  and stumbles about after standing up)

Rob:  (tending to Peldor)  It'll be okay.
Peldor:  Ugh.
Mongo:  (in pain, stands up, feels something warm
  in his backpack)  What's this?  (pulls out the
  strange wand, with intertwining snakes, which
  he got in a recent adventure)  Wha-?  (all of his
  wounds are healed as he touches the item)  Wow.
Ged:  What's that you've got there?
Mongo:  Healing item, looks like!  (touches the
  nearby Belphanior with the item, as a test)
Belphanior:  What are-  (his wounds are healed to
  some extent)  What?!?
Mongo:  (understandably very excited now)  Yeah...
  (grabs Peldor and taps him on the head with the
  wand)
Peldor:  Hey, wait just one minute!  (all of his
  wounds are healed)  Ahh.  I feel better.  What-
  ever you did, thanks a lot.
Mongo:  Holy...
Ged:  Holy is right!  It is obviously an artifact
  of the mighty Boccob.
Peldor:  (standing up)  Yes.  I suggest that you
  give it to me for safekeeping.
Ged:  (sputtering)  YOU?!?!?
Mongo:  What, are you crazy?  (stashes the wand
  in his pack)  This thing could come in handy.
  No way am I letting anyone else hang on to it.
  Especially you.
Peldor:  Those who don't trust Peldor always lose
  in the end...
Ged:  Bah.  Say, Peldor, what was that flame all
  about before?
Peldor:  Flame?  Oh, that.  I was bravely exploring
  that side tunnel, and a devious trap ravaged me.
  Fortunately for us all, I was not too badly hurt
  in the resulting explosion.
Lyra:  What a noble thief you are.
Ged:  Yes.  Show us this...passage.
Mongo:  (to Ged)  I bet there's a chest there...
Ged:  Yea.  He's not fooling anyone.

  The party entered the side loop, finding its walls
charred and hot to the touch.  The chest within was
checked, but no further traps were found, and the
thing was opened.  It contained a broken helm, an
odd metallic medallion, a melon (!), four blue vials,
a tiny golden bell, and six small, dead scorpions.

Belphanior:  (carefully picks up one of the scorpions
  and regards it)  This could be useful...
Rillen:  Careful.  It has a deadly sting.
Belphanior:  I know.  That's why I want it.  (collects
  the other scorpions)  Time to brew some poison...
  (begins to whistle cheerfully, despite the setting)
Mongo:  (collects the treasure and puts in into his
  portable hole for later identification and dividing)
Alindyar:  A _melon_?
Ged:  Stranger things have happened...
Rob:  (wandering around in the main corridor)
Peldor:  (just entered the main tunnel, too, from the
  side loop)  Hey, look!  (points at the metallic egg,
  which is now running down the big tunnel, headed for
  the unknown)
egg-thing:  (building up a pretty decent pace)
Rob:  Stop that egg!  (runs after the egg-thing)

  A powerful gust of wind suddenly buffeted everyone,
even those still in the loop.  Ged and Mongo entered
the main tunnel now, but were pushed back a bit by the
force of the winds.  Peldor flattened himself against
one side of the massive tunnel.  Rob stood out in the
center of the passage, though, looking in one direction
as the mists scattered.  Something was apparently out
there, flying toward the party from the distance.  Rob
peered in that direction as the winds grew stronger.

Ged:  Rob!  Get back here!
Mongo:  Get to safety!
Peldor:  (closest to the priest)  He can't hear them.
  I'll have to go and get him.  (begins to fight the
  winds as he moves slowly toward Rob)

  Just then, the priest was picked off the ground by
something unseen, something BIG.  Whatever it was, it
carried the priest rapidly away, as he flailed and
yelled.  Within moments, Rob was but a speck in the
distance, as the party stood gaping, in the gigantic
main tunnel.

Peldor:  He's gone...
Ged:  (having cast a spell of Detect Invisibility)
  Boccob!
Mongo:  What?  What is it?
Ged:  I'm not sure...but it's big.  And green.
Peldor:  And it took Rob!
Belphanior:  Oh, well.  (spots the egg-thing nearby)
egg-thing:  (overturned, its limbs have disappeared)
Belphanior:  (thinks about putting the egg into his
  well of many worlds, but decides not to)
Peldor:  (picks up the egg and puts it in his pack,
  where it makes a large bulge)  Someone has to keep
  this thing out of trouble.
Alindyar:  The priest is gone.  Long live the priest.
Lyra:  Amen.
Belphanior:  Wouldn't count on it.
Ged:  Well, I guess we should go in that direction.
Rillen:  Follow the wind-thing and Rob.
Mongo:  Yeah.
Arnold:  Yeaaaaaaa.

  They set out, walking along the massive, fungi-lit
tunnel in the direction that Rob disappeared in.





next time :  swamp thing

ftp site  :  ccosun.caltech.edu, in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers

notes     :  Rob the player had missed four or five straight
           sessions and showed no interest.  Thus I had to
           invent a way for Rob the character to go out in
           style.  And there you have it.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++






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