Chapter #19

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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.
*
*****


-----------------------------------------------------------------------
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)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------


                     XIX.  The Slave Lord's Den



  The party is moving to attack a room full of slavers and slaves.
That is, they plan to attack the slavers, and free the slaves...
Area attacks or spells were out, since the slaves were exposed
through the bars of their cells and might get hurt.

Mongo:  (crouching near the top of the stairs into this chamber)
Halbarad:  (gives the signal, when the humans and orcs turn to look
  at a slave and have most of their backs to the party's location)
Belphanior:  (slips out into the room, stalking the slavers)
Peldor:  (also slips in that direction)
slave inside cage:  (gapes at the thieves)
Peldor:  (holds one finger in front of his mouth)  shh.
Halbarad:  (poised)
Peyote:  (poised)
Mongo:  (crouching.  Dwarves are generally too clumsy to poise.)
Ged:  (realizes that he is out of offensive mage spells, and thus
  stays back)
Alindyar:  (preparing a spell)
Rob:  (unsure of the best thing to do)
Belphanior:  (sneaking up; Peldor is nowhere to be seen)
orc:  (spots Belphanior)  Hey!  Intruders!
All Slavers:  (whirl about, and begin yelling and drawing weapons
  with obvious intent to attack)
Belphanior:  I love it when a plan comes together!  (charges into
  melee)

Belphanior:  (slashes an orc, killing it)  Die, scum!  Hah hah!
Halbarad:  (rushes to meet one of the humans, a female warrior)
Mongo:  (tosses hammer at one of the other humans, sure to get
  a hit in such close quarters)  Damn bastards.
Peyote:  (charges toward Halbarad)  Doom comes, slaver-dudes!
Ged:  (to the drow)  Go on up there and cast your spell.  I'll
  cover you in case any of them get past our meat-grinders and
  head this way.  (hefts his morningstar meaningfully)
Alindyar:  My thanks, fellow mage.  I wonder which of our many
  opponents would make the best target...hm.  That one seems to
  be a mage.
Rob:  Gee, I'll help too!  (grabs his mace and dashes toward combat)
Ged:  No, you idiot...!
Halbarad:  (slashes the woman warrior, inflicting mighty damage)
man:  (a merchant-type, hit by Mongo's hammer, crushed instantly)
Peyote:  (chops an orc in half)  Take that, mongrel!
woman warrior:  (swings at Halbarad with her battle axe, but the
  ranger deftly avoids the chop)  Surrender now!  We will spare
  you!
woman warrior:  Never, scum!
Mongo:  (catches the returning hammer)  Okay, who's next?
orc:  (realizes that his crossbow isn't useful at this close range
  and stabs at Peyote with his spear, grazing the half-elf's side)
orc:  (stabs at Peyote, but misses)
orc:  (stabs at Belphanior, wounding him slightly)
man:  (a mage-type, casts magical missiles, one at Belphanior, one
  at Halbarad, one at Peyote)  We are outclassed!  (shouting at
  one of the orcs)  Bring more help!
orc:  (farthest from the battle)  Yup!  (flees toward the rear of
  the room)
Peldor:  (busy picking the locks to the cell doors of the hardiest-
  looking slaves)
Alindyar:  (moving around the cells with Ged)  At last, a clear
  shot!  (casts dispel magic in the area of the mage)
DM:  (rolling dice)
Mage:  Damn!
Alindyar:  That should put a kink in his plans...
woman warrior:  (scores a cut on Halbarad with her second attack)
Halbarad:  Ouch!  Damn it all!
Rob:  (has realized that he has nobody to melee, since the ten-foot
  wide space between the cell blocks is sort of filled by the three
  party warriors)  Well...hey!  (starts talking to the nearest caged
  slave, preaching the faith of Trithereon)
slave:  (listening, as he isn't in a position to do much else)

Halbarad:  (chops and stabs the woman once more, hitting with both
  attacks)
woman warrior:  Agh!  You'll pay for that, pig!
Peyote:  (kills another orc)
Belphanior:  (kills the last orc, excepting he who fled)  Hah!  This
  is great!  (spots the mage trying to cast some spell)  You're next,
  chickenshit!
Mage:  (tries to work faster)

slave:  (freed by Peldor)  Thanks, friend.
Peldor:  No problem.  Here, can you use this dagger?
slave:  Oh yeah.
Peldor:  Good.  Then do me a favor and kill any slaver or orc that
  you see.  Protect my back while I free some more slaves.
slave:  (grins)  Okay, you got it.

Alindyar:  This is utter chaos.
Ged:  Here's the rear of the cages...oh look.  An orc.
orc:  (charges at the magi)  Die elves!
Ged:  (swings his morningstar and hits the skinny orc, killing it)
  Boccob's fist swings!  Boccob's fist crushes!  Doom to evil!
Alindyar:  Let's head for the back of the slaver's ranks there.



  At this point, the focus of melee in the center of the two rows of
cells looked something like this:

....................................
 Hal -><- W.W.
  Pey ->    Mage         <- Ali  x <--dead orc who was going for help
*   Bel ->               <- Ged
....................................
^
|
Mongo

Mage:  (realizes that he is being outflanked)  Agh!
Mongo:  (his hammer hits the mage just then, on a natural 20)  Yes!
Mage:  (mashed halfway through the cell bars, expires)  Ugh...
Mongo:  We need to find some more slavers!  (stalks off across the
  room)
Alindyar:  I shall save my spell.  The only opponent remaining is
  now covered by all three of the warriors.
Ged:  Maybe we should let her surrender.
Halbarad:  Surrender, woman!  We have no wish to harm you!
Belphanior:  Really!  Heh heh.  (to DM)  I go for a backstab.
Peyote:  (stabs the slaver)
warrior woman:  I shall never surrender to the likes of you!  (hits
  Peyote with a critical hit, causing a massive wound and stunning
  the half-elf)
Halbarad:  (chops her down)  I am truly sorry then.
Belphanior:  I'm not.  Heh.
Alindyar:  (with Peldor, searching the bodies of the three humans)
  What is this?  (holds up a paper)  I have found a map!
Peldor:  (pockets a few large gems, then displays others)  Gems!
  These are worth thousands in gold!  We're RICH!
Ged:  Give those over, thief.
Halbarad:  (finds a neat-looking gem among the woman's possessions)
  This gem looks to be magical, I would guess.
Peldor:  (searching the mage; others are helping)  Look!  (finds
  bracers and an odd ring)
Ged:  We can cast a spell of magic detection on this stuff later.
Peyote:  Cool.
Alindyar:  (studying the map)  This parchment plots the course of
  the slavers' caravan...
Halbarad:  Retain it then, for we may need it in the future.
slave:  Uh...I have some training as a warrior.  I will join your
  group, if you want.
Halbarad:  That's okay.  Why don't you stay with these other
  freed slaves and lead them out?  Follow us at a distance, to
  keep out of whatever trouble we may find.  If you are accosted
  by slavers, fight if they are less in number.  Otherwise, you
  can plead insanity and surrender...
slave:  Okay.  (rounds up the other slaves)

  The party rested, bound wounds, and drank what healing potions
they had left.  Peyote still had a few curative spells, but he
wanted to save them for truly dire circumstances.  There were a
couple of closets adjoining the room; these contained neatly piled
ropes, clothes, food, irons, etc.  They found a passage going
underneath the stairway up, beyond which was some kind of machine
room.  An insect man like those found earlier was lording it over
some slaves, but attacked the party when they entered.  The party
warriors moved to do battle with the outnumbered bug-man, and the
combat was greatly facilitated by the attacks of the slaves on
their overseer.  Mongo and one slave were slightly wounded, and
Alindyar gave the slave a sip from his potion of healing.
  The group told the slaves to follow them along with the others,
and they moved up the stairs, finding a door.  No sounds could be
heard, so they opened it and ran into another insect man.  He then
charged at the party, swords drawn, but they quickly made mincemeat
out of him.  A slit in the wall showed a nearby room, with narrow
beams forming the only walkway through that chamber.  There were
trap doors that were hanging open.  Below were many fairly deep
pits, empty.  One exit was visible across the network of beams,
while another was near the adventurers' current location (this
way did not require the crossing of the beams and led in the
opposite direction).  As no slaves or slavers were visible in
or over these slave pits, the party chose to go the easy way,
bearing east through a long corridor.  When they were about
fifty feet down this passage, a pair of insect men (Alindyar
was calling them "aspis" by this time) charged from the room
of pits toward the party.  The band of slaves was still in the
last room, and apparently the party was of greater priority
than the slaves.

DM:  Apparently the party is of greater priority than the
  slaves, for the aspis charge you.
Belphanior:  Fifty feet, eh?  I waste no time in blasting them
  with a lightning bolt from my staff.
Alindyar:  Use that energy sparingly, for it will run out at
  some point...
Mongo:  Wait!  I want to fight them!  (makes for the aspis)
Belphanior:  Here it comes, Mongo.  Duck or fry!
Mongo:  (stops, drops to the ground)  Damn it all!
Belphanior:  (fires the lightning down the hall, destroying
  the two aspis and collapsing a section of the hallway)
Peyote:  Major overkill, dude.
Mongo:  Hey, man, watch where you point that thing!
Ged:  Great!  Just great!  You idiot!  Now we can't retreat
  back the way we came!
Belphanior:  Uh...well, then, we'll just have to be careful
  ahead.
Ged:  And lucky.  Very lucky.  Stop blasting everything you
  see and use some discretion for once!
Belphanior:  (meekly)  Gee, sorry.  I'll _never_ do it again.
Halbarad:  Enough of this nonsense.  Mongo, Peyote, and I
  will lead the party.  Belphanior, stay in the second rank
  and cast spells or something, okay?
Belphanior:  Check.
DM:  The slaves still follow you at a distance.  They look
  spooked.
Peldor:  Let's find out what's down those stairs up ahead.
Belphanior:  (detects for traps, finds none, backs into the
  second rank)
DM:  (knows that he failed to find it)
Mongo:  (opens the door...the stairs suddenly become a ramp,
  causing EVERYBODY to slide down thirty or forty feet into
  some chamber, except all the slaves, who hang back.)
Halbarad:  @#%$&*!
Mongo:  Oops...
Peyote:  Whoa man!
Belphanior:  Oh shiiiiit!!!
Ged:  Boccob damn it!
Peldor:  Uh-oh.
Rob:  Wheeeeeee!
Alindyar:  This does not bode well for us...

  They all landed in a circular room.  The main floor was about
thirty feet in diameter, separated from a three-foot wide outer
ledge by a ten-foot wide moat of sewage.  Narrow bridges of stone
crossed the moat to the north, east, and south; the stairs/ramp
were to the west.  There were a table and chair in an alcove to
the east, beyond that bridge; a man sat there watching the party.
Many crates and boxes were stacked around him; some large, furry
animals surrounded him as well.  A number of orcs, armed with
crossbows circled the room, standing on the ledge.

Man:  Go get them.  (the weasels run for the party)
orcs:  (begins to spread out, some defending the three bridges
  which are the only way out of the central platform)
Peldor:  (notices the door shut behind the party)  The shit has
  hit the fan guys...
giant weasels:  (headed for the party, closing fast)
Mongo:  (moves to intercept them, with Halbarad and Peyote)
Belphanior:  (begins spellcasting)
Peldor:  (ready for action, awaiting an opportunity)
Ged:  (out of useful spells, grabs his morningstar and braces
  himself for combat, backing up Peyote)
Rob:  (begins casting the spell on his scroll)
Alindyar:  (casting a spell)
orcs:  (aiming their crossbows)
Man on other side:  (sips a potion; nobody notices this, as
  they are sort of preoccupied)

weasel#1:  (bites Mongo, but bounces off his plate mail)
weasel#2:  (bites Halbarad, locking its jaws onto him)
weasel#3:  (bites at Peyote, but misses)
weasel#4:  (bites at Mongo, locking onto his leg)
weasel#5:  (bites Halbarad)
Belphanior:  (casts a flaming sphere at the north ledge)  Heh.
  Let's see you stay on the ledge with _that_ rolling around.
orc:  (ablaze)  Aaaaaa!
Rob:  (sends a spiritual hammer at an orc on the south ledge)
other orc:  (fires a bolt at Ged, nicking him)
Ged:  Ouch!
Halbarad:  (chops at one of his weasels, wounding it)  Damn!
  These animals are weasels, some of the most vicious animals
  there are!  (tries to calm down the animals using his ranger
  skills, fails)  And well trained...
Peyote:  (chops at one of the unoccupied weasels, killing it)
  Dude!  Critical!
orc:  (shoots Peldor, wounding him)
orc:  (shoots at Alindyar, but misses)
orc:  (shoots at Rob, but misses)
Rob:  (bashes an orc with the magical hammer of force, knocking
  it off the ledge into the sewers below)
orc:  Aaaaa....(plop!)  glub glub..
Ged:  (hits a weasel, wounding it)  Boccob's fist strikes!  Let
  the unfaithful beware!
Mongo:  Fuck!  Fuck!  (smashes a weasel twice, killing it as it
  chomps on his armored leg)  Damn animals!
Peldor:  ("backstabs" the weasel locked onto Halbarad, killing
  it easily)  There!  Peldor has aided the cause!
Halbarad:  Quiet, thief!  Go find that weasel-master and get rid
  of him!
Peldor:  Good idea.  (thinking about the treasure that he might
  find, heads for an edge of the center platform)
Alindyar:  (casts a wall of fog on the south ledge)
orcs:  Hey!  Whassis?!?!?
other orcs:  (firing bolts at the party; Ged and Peldor are each
  hit once)

Belphanior:  (mentally rolls the flaming ball along the ledge,
  igniting another orc)  Hah hah!  I love it!
weasel:  (bites Mongo, locking on)
Mongo:  (smashes his attacker, wounding it)  Little shits...
weasel:  (bites Halbarad, wounding him)
orc:  (fires a bolt at Belphanior, wounding him)  Yah!
Belphanior:  Damn!  (loses concentration; the flaming sphere rolls
  into a third victim and then falls into the sewers, burning out)
Mongo:  Great smell.  Phew!
other orc: (also hits Belphanior with a bolt)
Belphanior:  What in the hell do I look like, a pincushion?  (the
  elf sheaths his sword and draws his bow)
Halbarad:  (chops and stabs his weasel, slaying it)
Rob:  (withdraws his spiritual hammer from the drow's fog and uses
  it to slam another orc, crushing it against a wall)
Peyote:  (slices at the last weasel but misses)  Yikes!
weasel:  (bites Peyote, locking onto him)  Grr.
Ged:  Boccob is back!  (smashes the weasel on Peyote, injuring it)
Peldor:  (leaps the sewer moat - he has the jumping proficiency as
  well as a high Dexterity)  Now where is that guy we saw?
orc:  (shoots Alindyar with a bolt, hitting him and ruining his
  spell)  Har!
Alindyar:  Ruined!  Damn their bones!
orc:  (shoots Ged again, hitting him)
Belphanior:  (shoots some orc with an arrow, killing it)

Peldor:  (wandering around in the alcove area)  Come out, come
  out, wherever you are!
Man:  (invisible, going for a backstab)
Peldor:  (hears him and whirls about, only taking a slight cut)
  Now that wasn't very nice!  (draws his sword)
Man:  (turns visible)  Quiet, fool!  (melee between the two
  thieves is underway)
weasel:  (sucks blood from Peyote)
Peyote:  A desperate situation!  This is definitely a desperate
  situation!  (pulls out the wand of wonder and aims it at the
  two orcs on the eastern bridge)
Halbarad:  No!  Oh, no!
Peyote:  (activates the wand)  Too late...
two orcs:  (shriek as leaves grow all over their bodies)
Halbarad:  (trots over and dispatches the weasel on Peyote)  You
  got lucky, you know.
Peyote:  The powers of nature are at work here.  Obad-hai would
  be pleased.
Mongo:  (looking around, tosses his hammer at an orc on a ledge,
  splattering it all over the place)  Who's Obad-hai?
Peyote:  Obad-Hai - He of the Forests.
Mongo:  Oh.  Of course.  How could I have been so stupid?
Ged:  (attacks one of the leafy orcs)  Boccob's anger is here for
  you, green ones!  Plenty to go around, too!
orc:  (hit, killed)
Ged:  Yes!  Let the unbeliever beware!
Peyote:  Speaking of the unbeliever, where's Peldor?
Halbarad:  He went across the moat, I think.
Belphanior:  (feathers another orc, slaying it)
Rob:  (his hammer bashes the last orc, knocking it into a wall
  and leaving it crushed and lifeless)
Peldor:  (slashes his opponent)  In Hell, you may tell them that
  Peldor sent you!
Man:  Never!  You will be there first!  (hits Peldor)  Ha!  See?

Peldor:  (slices the other thief)  I, and only I, will be king of
  thieves!
Man:  What in the world are you talking about?!?  (misses Peldor)
  Shut the hell up, your foolish prattle distracts me!
Mongo:  They sure do love to yak, don't they?
Ged:  What else can one expect of idiotic thieves?
Peyote:  (cures light wounds on Halbarad, who needs it the most)

Peldor:  (slashes him again)  Good.
Rob:  Go Peldor!!
Peyote:  Rah rah!
Mongo:  I'm gonna bean that thief in a second!
Ged:  Which one?
Man:  (stabs Peldor)

Peldor:  (misses his opponent)
Man:  (nicks Peldor.  Worried now, he goes for another sip of his
  potion of invisibility)
Mongo:  (tosses hammer, hitting the thief's hand and shattering
  the potion bottle)  Heh!  Don't be cheating, now!
Peyote:  (headed across the bridge, with Halbarad, in case Peldor
  loses)

Peldor:  (gets initiative, stabs the other thief, killing him)
  So it is that Peldor advances another rank in the world.  Ugh.
  (collapses from loss of blood)  help me, somebody...
Peyote:  (casts his last minor healing spell on Peldor)  That's
  it.  My magic is done for the day.  What's this?  (confiscates
  a ring from the dead thief's hand)

  The party bound their (numerous) wounds; everyone had suffered
at least two, except Rob, who miraculously didn't get hit by even
a single bolt.  Then they searched the boxes and crates, finding
some slaving gear and food.  One crate had some jewelry items in
it, which Alindyar put into his bag of holding.  There was a pile
of papers on the table, detailing slaver activities in the area.
One was a map like that found before.  Near the alcove, Peldor
found a ladder going up.  The party took this, finding that it
led up to a familiar dirt tunnel...the slaves had been recovered
and now followed again, huddled in a group at the rear of the
party; Belphanior walked with them for their own protection.
  Soon afterward, they reached some crude stairs going up.  The
band emerged into a crypt, and exited it to find an old cemetery.

Ged:  (detecting for evil)  Whoa!  Stay on the path, and let's
  get out of this place quick!
Mongo:  What?  Why?
Peyote:  Just go.  I sense it too.  (they follow a path to a door
  and open it, finding themselves in the old temple passages once
  more.)  Hey, we've been this way before...
Rob:  (communing with his god)  mmmmmmmmm...
Belphanior:  What's that fool up to now?
Alindyar:  Who could possibly know?
Mongo:  Who cares?
Rob:  (coming out of his trance)  Trithereon has spoken.  There
  are no more slaves under the ground.
Belphanior:  Sounds like somebody is trying to tell us something.
  (gets a torch and many flasks of oil)  Heh heh.
Halbarad:  What are you doing?
Belphanior:  (spreads the oil here and there)  Well, since we
  are done here, I'm just making sure that no one else will ever
  use this place again.
Ged:  For once, I agree with him.  (starts getting his own oil)
Peyote:  Hot oil party!
Rob:  Oh no, not that!
Peldor:  Where are the women?
Ged:  What about the evil ones still left underground?
Belphanior:  What _about_ them?
Halbarad:  (runs with Mongo to collect the other slaves that they
  left up here)
Peyote:  (opens the portculli, both of them)

  The party left the temple aflame.  There wasn't much wood to
burn, but what there was of it burned well, thanks to the dozen
strategically placed flasks of oil.

Halbarad:  Too much trouble to return to Ulek.  Let's just get
  some more supplies, and new horses, and follow these maps of
  the slave caravans.  We can send the slaves off to the west
  after arming and armoring them.  They can surely make it.
Ged:  Sounds good.  We need provisions.
Belphanior:  Yeah.  I need to get more oil.  LOTS more oil.  For
  next time.
Peldor:  Here's to next time (drinks from a flask of wine)



THE MAGIC LOOT (such as it was):

  potion of fire resistance - Halbarad
  ring (from sundew room)   - Belphanior
  mace +1                   - Rob
  potion of speed           - Mongo
  bracers (from mage)       - Alindyar
  ring of ? (from mage)     - Ged
  magical gem               - Peldor
  ring of protection        - Peyote





next time:  A2!  More slavers!

************************************************************************
NOTES:  The other modules need to take up less than four postings.  I
hope I can write them up more efficiently than I did this one.
  Also, sometimes there is the need for training on the fly, and such
things.  I let them get their new levels between A1 and A2, to help
later.  Highport had evil magi and priests of no small power, and an
evil mage is still a mage; he can teach others new spells.  I had no
compunctions about letting the party gain levels overnight.  Also, it
seemed in order to get Belphanior's level restored...this cost almost
all that the party had (and ALL of what the elf had) but it passed
the vote and so was done.

  Now for some conventions for the future.  If you've read this far,
then you're no doubt already a fan of these postings.  I have been
somewhat riled by the anti-story postings in rec.games.frp lately.
Of course, there has been at least one person per author that has
expressed discontent for that author's writings.  Tastes vary...
  I am not going to stop posting, because I think that many more
people read these than complain about them.  As far as I am concerned
my stories are my sole creative outlet, and by now I have decided
that this is the way I want to write them.  If I want to write "real"
fiction, I will start another series (one much better proofread than
these are) that I feel will be truly worthy of a novel.  But that
will come later.  First I wish to complete the chronicle of the
Adventurers.  I anticipate this to take quite a while, so if you
really like these stories, relax, they're not going away anytime soon.
  I am going to start making each posting as close to 15K as I can.
That way, they won't be too long for easy reading, and also, I can
get more postings out of a given adventure.  Also, I am going to
try to post every Sunday night.  If I post more frequently, so be it,
but Sunday night is the official Adventurers posting time.  There
will _always_ be a new episode posted Sunday night, unless Ga Tech's
entire network goes down...
  Happy trails.
************************************************************************




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