Chapter #27

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*****
*  The 8 player characters contained in these writings 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, A2, and are copyright 1980 by TSR, Inc.  Specific
*  text and maps from them have been avoided, and I encourage anyone
*  who enjoys reading about them to buy and play the whole "A" series.
*****

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THE PARTY:

Alindyar, 6th level drow elf mage (N)
Belphanior, 4th/4rd/5th level high elf fighter/mage/thief (CN)
Ged, 5th/5th level grey elf priest/mage of Boccob (NG)
Halbarad, 6th level human ranger (NG)
Mongo Thunderhead, 6th level dwarf fighter (CG)
Peldor, 7th level human thief (N)
Peyote, 5th/5th level half-elf fighter/druid of Obad-Hai (N)
Rob, 6th level human priest of Trithereon (LG)
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                      XXVII.  Mopping Up



  The party has camped for the night in a secret treasure passage,
within ten feet of a number of chests chock full of glorious loot that
they can't get at (due to the small, 1' wide tunnel leading from the
passage they are in to the treasure room; no one can fit through this
tunnel via physical or magical means).  Having appropriated a couple
of hirelings of the dungeon's masters, the party intends to use these
two (Carlstar and Fyndax) to guide them to the main slave area (where
the party can free the slaves) and then lead them out of this dungeon
complex.

Mongo:  Get a move on!  Let's get out of this cursed tunnel and go
  kick some slaver ass!
Belphanior:  My sword will speak for me...
Halbarad:  (making sure that nothing and nobody is being left behind)
  Aye.  Let us find these slaves.

  The party exited the secret passage and went back into the large area
with many doors.  Their guides advised them to avoid wasting time in a
passage to the north, as that contained more hirelings, and instead led
them to a door on the western wall.

Mongo:  You said the slaves were in here?
Carlstar:  Here's the place.  They're all in here, almost a hunnert of
  'em.  Watch out for the guards, though - they're a mean lot.
Halbarad:  We are well equipped to deal with them, I am sure.
Belphanior:  Damn straight!
Peyote:  (slips on his ring and goes invisible)
Alindyar:  (thinking about preparing a spell)
Ged:  (prepares his sleep spell)
Belphanior:  (listening at the door)  I don't hear anything...
Mongo:  You will soon.  Out of my way.  (opens the door and rushes in)

  The room was basically several rows of cells, divided on all sides and
bounded on the top by bars.  A 10' wide path led about sixty feet to a
flight of stairs leading up to a platform which overlooked the whole
chamber.  The ceiling was about twenty feet high.  There were easily a
dozen cells, probably more, as there appeared to be another stairway
going down from the platform on the opposite side of the room, leading
to other cells not directly accessible from the party's current location.
  The cells were filled with slaves, and the only thing they all had in
common was the simple white tunics they wore.  Many races, human, demi-
human, and humanoid, were represented here, and both male and female
slaves were visible.

Mongo:  Well, well, well.  What's this?  Slave central?
hobgoblin:  (coming down the stairway on this side)  Hey!  You!  What
  are you doing in here?!  (other hobgoblins follow the first)
Ged:  Let me through.  (pushes his way to the front)  Halt, fools!
Mongo:  Hey, watch who you're pushing, pal!
hobgoblins:  Elf!  Elf!  Elf in the pens!  (they charge)
Ged:  (casts a sleep spell)
hobgoblins:  (all five of them fall fast asleep)  zzzz...
Ged:  Idiots.
Mongo:  Look, there's more guards!
gnolls:  (two of them are standing at the top of the stairs wondering
  if they should approach the grey elf)
Mongo:  Don't just stand there, dog-faces!  (hurls his hammer, bashing
  one of the humanoids in the chest)
gnoll#1:  (feels ribs crack)  Hrrrhk!
gnoll#2:  (draws sword)  Stay away from me!
Belphanior:  He's mine!  (runs for the stairs)
gnoll#1:  (also draws sword)  Come an' git it, elf!
gnoll#2:  Sound the alarm!  Flee!
gnoll#1:  Get back here, doofus!  Help me fight!
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)
Halbarad:  (charges the gnolls)
Peldor:  (to DM)  Can I climb one of the cells?
DM:  If you can pass a DEX check...
Peldor:  (rolls successfully)  Yes!  (climbs atop a bank of cells and
  starts running for the other side of the room, much to the alarm of
  some of the slaves below his feet)
Peyote:  (casts a spell at the platform above, and a swarm of insects
  appears and attacks gnoll#2)
gnoll#2:  Aaaaa!  Git 'em offa me!!
Peyote:  (turns visible)  That's what you get for being slavers, dude.
Carlstar:  Ho-hum.  I think I'll just stay here and watch.
Fyndax:  Sounds reasonable to me.

Belphanior:  (bounds up the stairs and attacks gnoll#1, slashing it in
  the side)  Die, scum!
gnoll#1:  Eyah!  (nicks the elf with his weapon)
gnoll#2:  (batting at the insects covering his head)
Rob:  Gross.
Alindyar:  (draws his wand and blasts gnoll#2 in the torso with two
  magic missiles)
Halbarad:  (arrives at the stairs)  I am here!
Ged:  (draws morningstar and dashes for the melee)  Boccob comes too!
Mongo:  (hurls his hammer at gnoll#2, downing it)  Hah!
Alindyar:  Methinks Boccob may not be fast enough, then.
Peldor:  (leaps off of the cages onto the floor on the opposite side
  of the room, and heads up the stairs there)  Peldor is on the way!
  Have no fear!
slaves:  (watching Peldor in awe)
Halbarad:  (chops gnoll#1, slaying it)  So much for this measly battle.
Mongo:  Yeah!  (catches his hammer)  Where's some REAL battle?!?
Peldor:  (arrives on the balcony, spots the insects eating gnoll#2's
  head)  Gross.  (starts looking for treasure)
Ged:  (at the foot of the stairs)  Hmm.
Alindyar:  'Tis time to think of freeing these slaves.
Rob:  (standing at the foot of the stairs)
Belphanior:  (at the top of the stairs, examining the gnolls)  What's
  this?  Bugs?  Gross.
Halbarad:  (cleaning his axe on the gnoll's tunic)  Agreed.  There must
  be millions of them.  That poor gnoll.
Belphanior:  I would have slain him cleanly.
Ged:  Almost a hundred slaves here...
Carlstar:  Told you so.
Belphanior:  (comes back down the stairs and checks the hobgoblins
  for gold as he cuts their throats)
Rob:  Hey, what are you doing?
Belphanior:  What does it look like?  I'm making sure these dolts don't
  come back to bother us later.  Go away.
Rob:  Gee...
Mongo:  (eyeing some dwarves with their beards shaved off)  Geez.
Rob:  What's up guys?  (talking with a some halflings and a badly beaten
  gnome; he casts a healing spell on the gnome)
Peyote:  Dudes?  (two nasty-looking men are eyeing him from within their
  cell)
Halbarad:  Here is what we need.  (snatches a ring of keys from a peg in
  the wall)  Now we shall get these unfortunates out of this hell-hole.
Belphanior:  (leering at one man in a cell, who was yelling for the over-
  seers during the whole battle)
Peldor:  (talking to an attractive young woman in a cell with three men)
Ged:  (orating to a cell full of children)  You may thank Boccob for
  your rescue.
child:  Who's Boccob?
Ged:  Boccob is the lord of all magic, the greatest of the deities above.
  He is the sun from which all things spring forth, the well of all the
  worlds.  Furthermore...
Halbarad:  Enough preaching to the tots.  Take some of these keys and free
  them instead.
Ged:  As I was saying, Boccob works in strange and mysterious ways.  (he
  takes some keys and starts opening cell doors)
Peldor:  (picks the lock to the cell with the woman in it)  I'll get you
  out of here, damsel.
woman:  Oh thank you!  (runs forth and hugs the thief)  Whatever I can
  give you in return, I shall...willingly.
Peldor:  We'll talk about  this later, babe.
Peyote:  (observing a lithe, shaven-headed prisoner)  Dude?
shaven-headed one:  Oooohhhhmmmm...
Peyote:  Gnarly!  Free this guy!

  Within ten minutes, all of the slaves were free.  The larger cells to
the north contained many listless, apathetic slaves who seemed unable to
do anything useful except follow orders.  Ged tried to minister to these
unfortunates.  The other slaves were generally okay, though there were a
few who looked like troublemakers...

Belphanior:  (shouting at the masses from the platform above)  We will do
  what we can to protect you, but if I catch any of you terrorizing the
  others, I will deal with you as I did with him!  (holds up a bloody
  gnoll head for all to see)
Rob:  (trying to cover the children's eyes)
children:  waaaa!
Mongo:  For crying out loud.
Ged:  (looking over slaves to make sure they are in shape to travel)
female halfling:  (one of the "docile" ones, she gestures wildly to Ged)
Ged:  What's this?  What are you trying to show me?  (talks in several
  languages to her, eliciting no response other than a frenzied pointing
  at the cell next to her, which has a hole in the back wall)
Alindyar:  Mayhaps she is daft.
Ged:  Maybe.  (casts an ESP spell and touches his hands to her head)
Alindyar:  The ESP spell, I see.  What says her mind?
Ged:  ...young girl...clawed hands...taken through the wall...
Mongo:  What the hell's he up to?
Alindyar:  He reads her thoughts.
Ged:  Huh!
Peyote:  What's up?
Ged:  There are some sort of creatures beyond that hole, and they seem
  to have stolen a girl from one of the cells.
Mongo:  A girl, eh?  Then we must go get her!
Halbarad:  IF she yet lives.
Mongo:  Hey, mage.  (taps Ged on the shoulder)
Ged:  Eh?
Mongo:  Put one of your light spells onto my hammer.
Ged:  Sure.  (does so)
Mongo:  I'm going in.
Belphanior:  Not without me, you're not.
Halbarad:  Someone should stay here and watch the slaves.  We also
  need to find the exit.

  The slaves were herded and led out of the area and south, down a long
passage carved from stone.  Ged, Alindyar, Halbarad, and Peyote went
with them; Mongo, Belphanior, Peldor, and Rob went into the hole in the
cell wall.  << As the first group had a more interesting encounter, that
will be detailed here.  The others found a colony of strange, deformed
humanoids, who did not attack them; they also found a young human girl
and retrieved her from the deranged cave-things.  Belphanior had to cast
a flame sphere as they retreated, for the things seemed about to attack
the four for taking the girl.  The sphere was left blocking the hole in
the cell wall after they came back out.  -TM >>

Halbarad:  (wandering southward)  There is a large open area ahead.
Ged:  I hear talking.
Peyote:  Yea.
Carlstar:  Watch out.  There's other slavers here.  They're everywhere.
Fyndax:  Agreed.

  The four adventurers, with nearly a hundred slaves behind them, plus
the miner and the alchemist, entered a large carven chamber with a huge
tunnel going downward at one side.  The room had eight occupants, and
one of them whirled to face the intruders, his hood falling to reveal
jet-black skin and flowing white hair.

Alindyar:  Lolth's bones!  Dark elves!
Ged:  Surprised to see your kin?
Alindyar:  Quiet!
drow:  Who are you people?  (his companions draw their javelins)  What
  do you here in the slaver's compound?
Alindyar:  Now hear this.  (throws back his hood)
drow:  One of our brothers.  What strange company you keep, my friend.
Ged:  Hey...
Alindyar:  Silence!  I am Alindyar Rillifsbane, late of that drow clan,
  and these are my companions.  We are leading these slaves from here.
  All of the slavers who you have dealt with are dead.  Furthermore,
  there are yet more of us coming, as well as these slaves (gestures to
  the scores of slaves behind him and the others) who are desperate for
  their freedom.  I plead with you to return to the bowels of the earth
  and leave us be without incident.  I have no wish to unleash the
  mighty magicks which I command upon any of you.
Ged:  Hey!
drow:  Hmm.  We have no wish to fight, either, if the slavers are
  indeed gone.  And I do believe you.  We shall go.
Alindyar:  (watching them suspiciously)
drow:  (they all retreat into the cavernous tunnel)
Ged:  Slick.  Real slick, drow.
Alindyar:  It was as I stated.  I had no wish to fight with them.
Halbarad:  Well done, in any case.  Though perhaps it was our duty to
  apprehend them, seeing as they are evil beings and such.
Ged:  Then why don't YOU follow them down that tunnel and apprehend
  them?
Halbarad:  Err...okay.

  They continued on, through another passage going upwards.  This one
wound for many yards, eventually leading to a hillside exit.  Some
hobgoblins took one look at the party and fled, shrieking.  Soon after
this, the other four adventurers and the rescued girl rejoined the party
and the slaves.  The group noted that the stockade was muchly gutted,
apparently very badly, and took their leave of the area shortly, only
pausing to go back into the dungeons and gather some food for the
hundred or so slaves to carry.
  Thus began the journey westward, for most of the party members felt
that it was their duty to see that the refugees made it back to
civilization alive and well.  Perhaps only Peldor had a less noble
motivation for escorting the horde of slaves...

  For whatever reason(s), the party had an easy time getting out of
the Pomarj.  They journeyed for many days, trailing a horde of freed
slaves.  Some of these were lost or fled to their own fates, by Ged's
reckoning (he often counted the former slaves to see how many were
still there), but the vast majority stayed with the party.  Several
minor encounters might have delayed the group, if not for their power
and skill...
  Perhaps a week and a half later, the motley crew arrived in some
civilized area of Ulek, and within another two days were safe and
sound and muchly praised by the local rulers.  They trained for a
short time, divided what loot they had found in the stockade and
dungeons, and examined the maps they had taken.  It was obvious
that there was yet another slaver stronghold still deeper within
the Drachensgrab Hills, and after re-stocking their supplies and
provisions, they set out to find this place.


THE LOOT (magical items only):

sling +2         - Ged
ring of ?        - Mongo
cloak +2         - Peldor
potion of ?      - Belphanior
potion of ?      - Peyote
priest scroll    - Rob
ring of warmth   - Halbarad
strange token    - Alindyar

  * Item choosing determined by each character rolling a d20 with
    the highest roller picking first, etc.





next time:  The trek back into the Pomarj

************************************************************************
NOTES:  Incredible!  8 episodes for one puny module!  Well, maybe it
wasn't such a puny module after all.  What's even more incredible is
the reaction to the use of color spray, a 1st level spell, to off the
ogre mage in the last episode.  Bah.  In the campaign I was in in the
mid-80s (1st edition AD&D) the high-level magi could cast the magic
missile spell and get 8, 9, maybe 10 or more missiles out of it, for
damage totals of 25+ hp on the average.  This first level spell many
times won a battle for us.  The level of a spell should not limit what
that spell can do...especially with thinking players like Ged and
Alindyar.
  If this episode seems hastily done, it was - I wanted to get it done
and posted tonight but was running out of time.  Apologies to any who
really wanted to read about how Belphanior and Mongo dealt with the
cavelings.  About the eight drow - Alindyar really tried to diplomacize
rather than fight, and we were all tired that night, and drow are not
idiots, after all.  They can see when they will be beaten, and when a
retreat is the best option.  Those who have the module may note that
the drow originally had slaves - I decided that they had sent their
slaves away and were late in returning to the Underdark, thus their
meeting with the party.  The party opted to continue the series of
modules rather than challenge a likely drow city under the earth...
Sometimes it is a DM's prerogative to alter a module slightly, most
often this happens when it's 3 am and everyone is really tired but
also wants to get the adventure finished.
************************************************************************




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