Chapter #2

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  This is the second in a series of adventure segments I have written
up.  It was played several years ago, and I am writing these based
on my DM's notes and memory.  The system is AD&D 2nd edition, tailored
just a bit.  I am going to call this series "The Adventurers" due to
lack of a better term (the group never named themselves or did any
world-shattering deeds to make a name...).
  This is written in a format similar to certain previous postings
of this sort on this newsgroup.  I have always written things up in
this format, and it is what I am most comfortable with, so even
though these may not read like a text story, they will be more fun
to write.  The dice rolls are not always invisible in these stories,
but usually when they are there, they add to the sense of what is
happening.  Please email comments and/or criticisms so I will have
some feedback on this work.



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                           II.  Fun in the Wilderness




  The party has been riding for about four hours since they left Fax.
They are riding on a well-used trail through some plains, and are headed
in a southeasterly direction.  Halbarad, the ranger, is riding about
a hundred yards ahead to scout the terrain out.

Mongo:  Maybe this Belegard character can tell us what's so important
  about this tube.
Belphanior:  Let me see that.  (examines the metallic tube)  Whatever it
  is, it's pretty light.  Hmm.  No openings.
Peldor:  I bet _I_ could get it open.
Peyote:  Whoa!  Dude!  Halbarad returns!
Halbarad:  (riding hard)  Riders approach!
Krug:  Hmph.
Ged:  How many?
Halbarad:  Six, and they appear to be brigands of some sort.
Peldor:  No mere brigand is a match for the mighty Peldor!  I draw my
  sword and await these brigands.

  The six men approach on the path.  They are dust-covered and look mean.

Belphanior:  I put on a mean face and stare at them.
Peldor:  Do they have any obvious valuables?
Ged:  Greetings, noble ones.  How goes it?
Soldier#1:  Greetings, wanderers.  (pauses)  You had best be camping soon,
  for only the well-armed travel by night without fear of robbery...
Mongo:  I am well-armed.
Krug:  Yuh.  My arms seem well to me.
Soldier#2:  Doubtless such experienced adventurers as yourselves have
  nothing to fear from any highway bandits.
Ged:  Well, fine then.  Good night to you!  (rides on)
Soldier#1:  Take care, travelers.
Peyote:  Later dudes.  Peace.
Peldor:  I'll take the rear.
Halbarad:  I shall go scout out a campsite somewhere up ahead.  (rides on
  ahead of Ged)

  Soon after, a suitable camping ground is found, and the group settles
down about fifty feet off the road.  Halbarad builds a fire, since it
is getting colder every minute, while Peyote and Belphanior wander off
to gather firewood.  Ged and the unknown mage are studying their
spellbooks, while Rob the priest prays quietly near the fire.  Mongo
has taken it upon himself to demonstrate his cooking proficiency (of
which he is quite proud) by adding herbs and spices to the rations
that the party is eating.  Peldor is out wandering, supposedly to
find more firewood.  Krug is busy eating his rations (raw).  When
the fire is burning high, Halbarad goes to find yet more wood.

Mongo:  These may be just iron rations, but they'll be the best damn
  iron rations that anybody ever had!
Ged:  (looking up)  Don't you touch my food!  I'll have my meal
  without any strange seasonings, thank you.
Mongo:  If you want to be without the benefit of these many delicious,
  mouth-watering spices, fine.
Krug:  Fine.  Munch munch.
Peldor:  (returns)  Here's a dead squirrel, Mongo, can you make it
  taste better?  (to DM)  I try to slip the carcass into the soup pot.
Mongo:  Hey!  Stay away from my kitchen!
Krug:  I'll eat it.  Give it here.

  Suddenly, a number of snarling creatures appear around the campsite.
Without any warning, they rush in, attacking at leisure.

Krug:  Wolves!  (fails to be suprised and draws sword)
Wolf#1:  (tries to bite Krug but misses)
Wolf#2:  (bowls Mongo over, clawing and biting successfully)
Wolf#3:  (bites Ged successfully)
Wolf#4:  (bites and claws Rob successfully)
Wolf#5:  (claws Peldor successfully)
Wolf#6:  (barrels into unknown mage, knocking him over but only scoring
  with a claw attack)
Wolf#7:  (goes for the soup, ignoring the characters)
DM:  Now that everybody has been suprised, roll for next round's
  initiative.
Krug:  (hacks wolf that attacked him, inflicting a major wound.  The
  wolf tries to limp away, blood pouring out of its side)
Peldor:  (stabs his wolf with a dagger, having no time to unsheath his
  sword.  The wolf is scratched but continues to attack)
Wolf#1:  (retreating)
Wolf#3:  (fails to bite Ged)
Wolf#4:  (bites Rob again.  Rob is hurting badly by this time)
Rob:  Help!  I club it with my mace (fails to hit the wolf though)
Wolf#2:  (attacks don't get through Mongo's armor)
Mage:  (tries to put some distance between his attacker and himself.  A
  long tear in his cloak shows a glimpse of jet-black skin to a few who
  happen to see.)
Wolf#6:  (chases mage)
Wolf#5:  (bites Peldor)
Ged:  Taste steel, foul vermin!  (manages to hit his attacker with his
  mace, and rolls maximum damage, braining it)
Wolf#3:  (dies)
Peldor:  A lucky roll, no doubt.
Mongo:  Do I have time to draw my sword?
DM:  (rolls for chance)  Nope.
Mongo:  Then I use the cooking pot I had in my hand and try to club the
  wolf.  (rolls)  Yes!  (rolls maximum damage, killing the wolf)  I
  knew it!  The pot is mightier than the sword!
Halbarad, Peyote, Belphanior:  (returning)  Oh shit!  (drop firewood)

  Round three commences, with the three fresh fighters charging those
wolves who are left.  The melee ends soon thereafter, as might be expected
when 60% of the party's heavy hitters suddenly join in.  All wolves are
dead or have fled.  Everybody but the cavalry and Krug is wounded, and Rob
and Peldor are in pretty bad shape.  Ged commences healing on Rob, who is
able to use his own healing spells on others once he is feeling better.

Ged:  Say, friend mage?  (to the unknown wizard)  You wouldn't perchance
  mind taking off your hood, would you?
Mage:  I'd rather not.
Mongo:  What manner of being are you?  You're not _evil_, are you?!?!?
Krug:  Evil?
Peyote:  Yeah, man!  What's the deal here anyway?
Rob:  Inquiring minds want to know.  _I_ want to know.
Mage:  Oh all right!  (pulls back hood.  He is a drow elf.)
Krug:  Hmm.
Ged:  You must have powerful magic indeed to fool my detection spell.
Halbarad:  Have any of you considered that maybe he is _not_ evil?!?
Mage:  _I_ have...
Peldor:  Nobody is innately evil.
Belphanior:  Some of us just have to work at it...
Ged:  Hmph!
Mage:  I am a renegade from my homeland and do not follow such ways as
  you might have come to expect from the drow.
Ged:  What is your opinion of the mass acts of evil committed by drow
  everywhere?  Well?
Mage:  Let's just say that I take a dim view.
Halbarad:  Well, there's no reason not to let him stay with us.  After
  all he _did_ assist us in that tavern.
Peyote:  Agreed.  Like, absolutely.
Krug:  Uh-huh.
Mongo:  You can't judge him by race, that wouldn't be fair.
Mage:  Another thing.  I am not a "he" or a "him".  My name is Alindyar
  Rillsifane, late of the clan Rillsifane, and I would prefer to be
  referred to as such.
Belphanior:  Okay, whatever you say, Such.
Krug:  Uh.
Ged:  Touchy, are we?  I'll be watching you, dark elf...

Krug piles the wolf bodies away from the camp, and the fire is built up
high with all the firewood found nearby.  The party sets up a defensive
position with two on watch at all times.  Despite all their worries and
precautions, nothing else bothers them this night.  Morning dawns on an
exhausted and bedraggled party.  They eat a cold breakfast in relative
silence, some eyeing others suspiciously.  About an hour later, after
feeding and watering the horses, they pack up and ride on.  They have a
crude map of the area, and decide to save time by cutting through the
nearby forest.  This ideas thrills some but scares others.  After about
three hours of boring riding, a group of eight suspicious-looking men
approaches from the other direction.

Peldor:  Suspicious-looking?  Like me?
Brigand#1:  Ho there!  Do us a faver and get off'a yer horses, yep!
Brigand#2:  At'll save us a'trouble o' havin' to knock yers off!
Brigand#3:  We'll take the cash, the horses, and the armor, an' I do
  mean _now_!
Ged:  You have got to be kidding!  Go about your way or suffer dire
  consequences indeed, fools!
Brigand#4:  As you will, mate.  Attack!  (the brigands begin to ride
  for the party.  Initiative is rolled.)
Peldor:  (throws dagger, hits brigand...#8.  Critical hit, location
  turns out to be right eye)
Brigand#8:  Gack!  @$#&%*!  (dies right there on his horse)
Ged:  (magic missiles bandit#1)
Bandit#1:  Yie!
Belphanior:  I stand up in my saddle and prepare to tackle the nearest
  mounted bandit.
DM:  Oh really?  Make a STR and a DEX check then.
Belphanior:  (rolls twice, both are under his stats)  Okay!
DM:  ...
Brigand#5:  (tackled by an airborne Belphanior, he is knocked from his
  saddle onto the ground)
Brigand#2:  (swings at Halbarad, hits for a minor would)
Brigand#3:  (swings at Peyote, misses)
Krug:  (kills brigand#7 in a single blow)  Snort!
Brigand#4:  (swings at Mongo, hits for 1 hp)
Mongo:  Ha ha!  You'll have to do better than that!  (swings sword and
  deals a serious blow)
Brigand#6:  (headed for Alindyar)  I'll take out this wimp!  (swings but
  misses)
Alindyar:  (since he didn't get interrupted, his spell is completed in
  a successful manner)
Phantasmal force:  (looks like a small winged demon)  Aaaaaa!  (the
  image attacks brigand#6, who, having an INT of 7, fail to save and
  suffers much illusionary damage)
Brigand#6:  Aaaaaa!  (flees, pursued by the demon-image)
Halbarad:  (to DM)  Say, you don't know the penalties for mounted melee,
  do you?  Because I have riding proficiency and don't get penalized...
DM:  (not really prepared for questions like this at this juncture)
Halbarad:  (swings and hits brigand#2 easily with his axe, killing him)
Peyote:  (swings and misses brigand#3)  Bogus, dude!
Brigand#4:  Run away!  Run away!  (he and the others still living flee)
Belphanior:  (wrestling with brigand#5 on the ground, works in a dagger
  attack and dispatches the bandit)  Hah!
Ged:  Somebody get those fools!
Phantasmal force:  (returns to Alindyar)
Ged:  Phantasmal force, eh?  Hmm.
Belphanior: ...
Halbarad:  Let them go.
Krug:  (beats his chest and lets out a scream of victory, a la Tarzan)

  The party rests for a bit and heals their wounds as the DM contemplates
mounted combat.  Halbarad uses his animal handling skills to calm the
horses who are jumpy, talking and cooing to them.

DM:  The horses are jumpy from the excitement.  After all, they've never
  seen mounted combat either.
Halbarad:  I use my animal handling skills to calm them.  I talk and coo
  to them.
Ged:  Coo?

  After ten rounds, the party resumes their journey.  They are briefly
harassed by eight kobolds at a later point, but the kobolds flee when
challenged, instead of fighting.

Belphanior:  I shoot the last one in the back with my bow as he flees.
  (makes roll, kills the kobold)
Krug:  Nice shot.
Ged:  Boccob will not forgive you your sins in the afterlife, o killer
  of the defenseless...
Peldor:  Boccob?  Prove that this Boccob exists, mage.
Ged:  Grr...

  At this point, the party reaches the Suss forest.  The forest seems
dark and foreboding.  Thick gnarled trees stretch up into the sky.  The
noises of the forest - birds, squirrels, and the like - can be heard.
The forest teems with life.

Peyote:  Say, this forest verily _teems_ with wildlife.

  They decide to camp right outside the forest.  Many more precautions
are taken this time, to the extent of Halbarad trying to talk to the
nearby forest creatures (alas, something he cannot do yet).  For some
reason, nothing bothers the party this night, much to their suprise.
The next morning they enter the forest, still heading southeast.  The
place grows dim as they progress deeper into it.  Wildlife becomes
scarce, and shadows abound.  There could be things watching the party
from a hundred different directions.  At one point, a strange monkeylike
creature is seen regarding them from a high perch.  For no apparent
reason, it bounds away through the trees, before Belphanior can shoot it
with an arrow.  The party stops for a late lunch; ahead of them, the
ever-scouting Halbarad reports a "very foreboding" area.





THE PARTY THUS FAR:

Belphanior, high elf fighter?
Ged, grey elf priest/mage
Halbarad, human ranger
Krug, human fighter
Mongo, dwarf fighter
Peldor, human thief
Peyote, half-elf fighter/druid
Rob, human priest
Alindyar, drow elf mage



NOTES:  This was the episode that made famous Mongo's proficiency with
the cooking pot (he wanted to take a weapon proficiency slot for it).
Also, note the lack of deeds from Rob (his player missed this session)
and the beginnings of Belphanior's bloodthirsty streak, and the manner
of dialogue (hippie?) used now by Peyote's player.




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