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+ THE ADVENTURERS +
+ Epic II +
+ The various characters contained in these writings are +
+ copyright 1994 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... +
+ Thomas Miller +
+ firstname.lastname@example.org +
+ THE PARTY: +
+ Alindyar 15th level dark elven mage (N) +
+ Arnold 11th level human warrior (NG) +
+ Belphanior 12th/14th/14th level high elven w/m/t (CN) +
+ small immaterial wispy thing +
+ Ged 14th/14th level grey elf priest/mage (NG) +
+ Lyra 12th level female dark elven mage (N) +
+ Mongo 16th level dwarven warrior (CG) +
+ Gorin 7th level dwarven warrior (CG) +
+ Peldor 18th level human thief (N) +
+ Bosco 8th level halfling thief (CN) +
+ Rillen 16th level human warrior (N) +
+ SPECIAL GUEST STARS: +
+ Halbarad 13th level human ranger (NG) +
+ Zephyr large wild tiger (NG) +
+ Peyote 11th/12th level half-elf warrior/druid (N) +
+ Blok earth elemental (N) +
+ Date: 12/24/573 C.Y. (Common Year) +
+ Time: morning +
+ Place: the Free City of Greyhawk +
+ Climate: cold +
+ "Too many cooks spoil the broth." +
+ - variously attributed, and usually true +
CXCV. The Runes
After finally returning to Greyhawk, thanks to the drow,
the adventurers have been attending to personal matters for
more than two weeks. A few of them have even had the chance
Bosco: (in a bar somewhere) I can't speak for the others,
but I'm sure bored!
Gorin: Huh? What the hell are you talking about now?
Bosco: I'm bored, I say! (he stands up on top of a table)
Gorin: Drunk is more like it...
As fate would have it, the luck of the halfling, not to
mention the others, was about to change, though for better
or for worse was open to speculation...
Ged: (working diligently in his study) Let's see here...
two pinches of diamond powder...hmm...(he suddenly grows
extremely tired, and drifts into a light sleep)
As the elf dozed, a dream formed in his subconscious, a
dream like no other. Ged was standing atop a plain made
entirely of grey clouds. The only feature in this barren
place was a monstrous throne of some unknown material.
Atop this throne sat a titanic form, a twenty-foot tall
humanoid, of purple complexion and garbed in a robe of the
same royal purple. The huge being's eyes glowed a bright
purple, and an aura of power emanated from his entire body.
Ged: Who...what _are_ you?
figure: I AM HE WHO GRANTS YOUR MAGIC...YOUR POWER...
Ged: (he somehow simply _knows_ that this is the case)
Boccob! (he bows in humble supplication)
Ged: But...how are you here? In my dream? I don't truly
Boccob: I DO NOT CARE. THINK OF THIS FORM AS AN...AVATAR,
IF YOU WILL.
Ged: Uh...okay. But where am I? What's happening?
Boccob: YOU ARE HAVING A VISION, BUT THAT IS NOT IMPORTANT
AT THE MOMENT. THERE IS NOT MUCH TIME, AND I HAVE A TASK
FOR YOU, A TASK OF GREAT IMPORT.
Ged: I...I'd be honored to perform it...whatever it is...
But why _me_? I'm surely not the most powerful of-
Boccob: YOUR DEVOTION IS...EXTRAORDINARY. YOU HAVE THE
NECESSARY QUALITIES NEEDED FOR THIS QUEST, AS WELL AS A
NUMBER OF POWERFUL ITEMS AND COMPANIONS TO ASSIST YOU.
Ged: (still bowing, on one knee, he is almost afraid to
look up) Well, yes, that's true.
Boccob: LISTEN CAREFULLY. AGES PAST, WHEN THE FIRST, MOST
PRIMAL FORCES CREATED THE WORLDS, THE PLANES, LIFE, AND
ALL ELSE, THEY UNLEASHED MIGHTY FORCES, FORCES BEYOND ANY
MORTAL COMPREHENSION. THESE FORCES DREW UPON WHAT RAW,
ELEMENTAL MATTER THERE WAS AT THAT TIME, AND SHAPED IT
INTO EVERYTHING YOU KNOW OF TODAY...AND MUCH WHICH YOU
Ged: (gaping in awe at these legends)
Boccob: WHEN ALL WAS DONE, RESIDUAL AMOUNTS OF THIS RAW
MATTER REMAINED...REMNANTS, IF YOU WILL. AS THESE FEW
REMNANTS COULD NOT BE DESTROYED, THE PRIMAL GODS INSTEAD
SHAPED THEM INTO FORMS TANGIBLE TO MORTALS, AND DEALT
THEM TO THE INHABITANTS OF THE YOUNG OERTH, IN THE FORM
Ged: (rather confused, he speaks meekly) Runes?
Boccob: YES, RUNES. OF THESE THERE WERE SEVEN - ONE FOR
EACH OF THE PRIMAL ELEMENTS, PLUS THREE OTHERS. THESE
ITEMS EACH HAD MIGHTY POWERS, BUT WHEN COMBINED, THEY
WERE CAPABLE OF OPENING GATES IN THE VERY FABRIC OF THE
UNIVERSE. INDEED, THEY SEEMED TO GRAVITATE TOWARD ONE
ANOTHER, GIVEN THE SLIGHTEST OPPORTUNITY - FOR SUCH WAS
THEIR VERY NATURE.
Boccob: PRECISELY - THE RUNES HAD TO BE BROKEN APART AND
SCATTERED TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD. HOWEVER, WE HAVE NOW
LEARNED THAT CERTAIN...UNDESIRABLE ELEMENTS ON YOUR WORLD
ARE WORKING TO GATHER THE RUNES, TO DO THE UNSPEAKABLE.
Ged: You mean...
Boccob: YES. THEY INTEND TO UNITE THE RUNES AND OPEN RIFTS
ONCE MORE...RIFTS BEST LEFT SEALED. MORTALS WHO ASPIRE TO
GODHOOD - THEY HAVE NO IDEA OF THE POWER THEY WOULD DEAL
WITH. HOWEVER, THEY ARE NOT FULLY MOBILIZED AS OF YET -
THAT IS WHY _YOU_ MUST SEEK THOSE RUNES WHICH REMAIN LOST,
AND REGAIN THEM BEFORE THE FORCES OF EVIL.
Ged: I understand. You can have complete faith in me, O
Boccob: I KNOW. NOW GO ABOUT YOUR QUEST - AND REMEMBER,
MORE IS AT STAKE HERE THAN MERE RELICS AND A FEW LIVES...
YOUR ENTIRE WORLD MAY BE AT STAKE...(he, and everything
else but the clouds, fade from sight)
Gradually, Ged awoke from his nap, feeling well-rested.
Ged: Huh? (he looks around) Boccob, what a dream! Eh?
(his glance turns to his hand, in which is now grasped a
mithril medallion with a purple eye in its center)
purple eye: (opens, staring at Ged)
disembodied voice: Make haste...go to Ravel Disander...
Ged: Right! (he stands up) Calvin!
Calvin: (appears) Yeah?
Ged: Ready my traveling spellbooks, and my packs! And
fetch Ansalon and Tirion to me, now. I am preparing to
embark upon a long journey!
Shortly, Ged had packed the necessary items and made the
necessary arrangements, and without further ado, he cast a
spell and teleported himself to Greyhawk, gathering all of
the other adventurers before proceeding to Greyhawk's huge
temple of Boccob.
acolyte: (looks alarmed) They're here! (to the party)
Come in! The High Priest has been expecting you!
other acolyte: (recoils as Halbarad's giant tiger walks
Halbarad: Have no fear, good fellow.
They were ushered through numerous hallways and stairs,
and seemed to go deep into the foundations of the city.
Mongo: Shit, I'd say we're at least a hundred feet below
Bosco: (looking around) Phew, it sure smells down here!
They were finally led into a metal-lined chamber, within
which Ravel Disander was already seated, at a large, round
table of ancient wood.
Alindyar: (to Lyra) The walls...
Lyra: I see.
Peldor: I don't. What does it mean?
Alindyar: They are lined with lead.
Belphanior: (looks at the walls) Ah, so they are.
Mongo: So they are...so what?!?
Lyra: Lead is proof against many forms of magical scrying
Bosco: (trying to see through the walls with his x-ray
vision, but he can't) Hey!
Ravel: Please, be seated.
Ged: Okay, where do we begin?
Belphanior: A better question would be, why do we begin?
(he stifles a cough)
Rillen: An answer I, too, would like to hear.
Ravel stood, and gave a short speech about what was going
on - basically what Ged had already heard from the Boccob-
avatar. He also added in a bit of knowledge about the runes
Ravel: Besides the four basic elemental remnants/runes -
Earth, Water, Air, and Fire - there are three runes which
represent more non-tangible forces. First is the Magic
Rune, a focus for all things enchanted. The Star Rune is
a fragment of the otherworldly, alien forces outside our
world. Finally, there is the Time Rune, which is the very
crux of all the others. Its exact powers are unknown,
even to the most learned of scholars and sages...
all: (listening in varying states of fascination)
Ravel: The seven runes must not be rejoined, no matter what
the cost! The effects of such an event could be nothing
short of devastating...we're dealing with power far beyond
anything we can possibly comprehend.
When he finished, reactions were varied, to say the least.
Alindyar: By the gods!
Lyra: That's what he said...
Peyote: This is all so...deep.
Mongo: Cripes! Someone's gotta stop this crap!
Rillen: It would seem so.
Halbarad: Truly this is a great and noble quest.
Gorin: Sounded like it.
Belphanior: Hmph. I was thinking of going to free more
slaves. (he lies blatantly, as his real interest now is
to get one or more of the runes for himself)
Ged: Don't you understand?!? There won't _be_ any world
for them to be enslaved in, if these runes get put back
Peldor: That's not exactly what he said...
Bosco: Yeah, why should we jump to do what _your_ god
Peyote: Hold it, dudes. _My_ god told me of similar
Ravel: (smiling benevolently)
Peyote: You got it, man. It's not just Boccob who's in
on this one. The great Obad-Hai knows, too...
Alindyar: Amazing...different dieties united in a common
Ged: On the contrary, this is an exceptional cause.
Mongo: (to Peyote) Why didn't you say anything sooner?!?
Peyote: Relax, man. I had a feeling that we would all
unite in this common cause...patience is everything. I
knew that we'd be having this meeting soon enough.
Belphanior: (glares at the half-elf, irritated)
Ravel: I would hope that we can count on your support.
Besides, it's not as if you people are the only ones
questing for these runes...
Belphanior: Yeah, yeah. We know - the bad guys are out
Ravel: Not just them - there are others on our side, as
well...not just you...
Peldor: Other great heroes?
Mongo: Well, that's good to know.
Ravel: With the help of the Eight-
Belphanior: The Circle of Eight?
Ravel: None other. Anyhow, I have learned that those
noted archmagi, on their own, have secured one of the
runes already, as have a group of your fellow heroes.
Bosco: (looking around) But all of us are here already,
and we don't have any such rune!
Ravel: _Other_ heroes, small one.
Bosco: Others? What others can compare to us?
Ged: (kicks Bosco for interrupting)
Ravel: Those two runes can be counted safe, at least for
the time being. Three more have been recovered by the
undesirables - one by the Scarlet Brotherhood, one by
Iuz, and the third by a party of evil adventurers, in
the Horned Society, to the north.
Arnold: (counting on his fingers)
Ravel: Right. That leaves two that have not, as yet,
Rillen: Where are these runes?
Ravel: One of them lies far to the south, across the Gulf
of Densac, between the Scarlet Brotherhood and the Amedio
Jungle, further south even, across unknown seas.
Ged: An ocean voyage of significant length...
Ravel: Indeed. The other rune lies far to the north, in
the Land of Black Ice, north of Blackmoor.
Ravel: You must decide which to go after first. While the
seabound rune is closer, it also lies near the Scarlet
Brotherhood's peninsula. The rune in Blackmoor is rather
far away, but Iuz and the Horned Society are both closer
to that area than we are.
Mongo: Well, I don't care which one we look for.
Ged: The one by sea would be the logical choice.
Rillen: From the sound of things, we may already be too
late no matter which way we go.
Halbarad: Yet we must try. And I also vote for the closest
rune - that with the sea journey.
Peyote: Right on, man.
Peldor: (eyeing the two) You're not thinking of...
Halbarad: Nonsense, thief, of course we are!
Peyote: Yeah. This quest is too important for us to stay
Ged: Meaning that you're planning on coming with us...
Ged: (gazing at the purple-eyed medallion that he received
earlier) And what's this thing for?
Ravel: (holds up an identical medallion) They use Boccob's
power to move those within a certain radius to the location
of one another.
Peldor: (wondering what use the eye-medallion would be for
Ravel: Hark! I have prepared a ritual which will take all
of you south, to the coast of Onnwal.
Ravel: More specifically, the capital city - Scant.
Peldor: Scant was our hope in those dismal times...
Ravel: (ignoring the thief) We have agents there who will
see to your needs, once you arrive.
Rillen: These runes...what do they look like? How will we
recognize one if we see it?
Ravel: A good question...but fortunately one that we know
the answer to. Each rune takes on a form representative
of its "element"...thus, the Earth Rune might be a very
special gemstone, or some rare metal...the Fire Rune might
be a bit of strange magma, or perhaps a solid flame...
Peldor: That doesn't sound like a definite answer to me.
Ravel: Hmm, perhaps you're right. This subject matter has
never really been documented...I suppose you'll just have
to know, when you see a Rune.
Ged: Which one will we be seeking, then, in the seas to the
Ravel: That would be the Water Rune...and in Blackmoor lies
the Time Rune, perhaps the most powerful of them all.
Belphanior: Maybe we should be going to Blackmoor, then.
Mongo: Heck, maybe we'll have time to get _both_ of 'em!
Ravel: If you survive...
Gorin: (regards the high priest sourly)
They took about an hour to prepare themselves, pack their
items, and take care of business. Peldor left plenty of
money for his tavern to operate (not that it needed it, for
the place turned a nice profit) while Ged left both money
and explicit instructions. This wasn't an ideal time for
the elf to leave his budding lands, since numbers of new
settlers were moving in daily, but the greater call of the
quest had his attention now.
By lunchtime, the group was ready to depart.
Ravel: Remember, once you get the rune, you can use the
Boccob-medallion to return here, instantaneously.
Ged: We'll remember.
Alindyar: (wondering if this quest is really vital to the
sanctity of the world)
Lyra: (wondering if Boccob's power can be trusted to pull
the party out of a jam) Well, there's always our spells.
Ged: Have no fear.
Belphanior: (wondering why he should be helping with this
since Ged just refused to help him in the Sea Princes
adventure) Hmm. (he stifles another cough, and a tiny
drop of blood appears from one nostril) Uh-oh.
Peldor: (eyes the elf, worried)
Rillen: (wondering if he brought enough arrows) Hmm, too
late to worry about it now.
Halbarad: I am sure none of us will regret this quest.
Bosco: Ham! (he produces a ham sandwich)
Gorin: Bosco, this is no time to-
Peyote: I say let the little guy chow down, if it makes
Zephyr: (the huge tiger growls uneasily)
Blok: (the earth elemental, it stares ahead silently)
Ravel: Here you go...(he sprinkles some magical dust over
the adventurers, and they vanish from sight) May the gods
be with you...
next time : it begins
ftp site : ftp.cs.pdx.edu in /pub/frp/stories/adventurers
notes : Some of the credit for this idea should go to
the following, whose various ideas and feedback
shaped this adventure into the stuff that will
become episodes 195-199: Eric Boyd, Lance Dooly,
Thomas Miller email@example.com
Systems Support Specialist II Georgia Tech Network Services
"What good is being a hammer when you can't find a deserving nail?"
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