Chapter #296

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                                +   +
                              +       +
                            +           +
                          +               +
                        +                   +
                      +                       +
                    +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                      +                       +
                        +      Epic II      +
                          +               +
                            +           +
                              +       +
                                +   +

+    Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells, and      +
+  other terms used in these stories are the property of TSR, Inc.  +
+  However, this does not mean that TSR in any way endorses or      +
+  authorizes their use, and any such items contained within these  +
+  stories should not be considered representative of TSR in any    +
+  way, shape, or form.                                             +
+    The player characters contained in these writings are copy-    +
+  right 1995 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                    +
+                          +
+  Alindyar     16th level dark elven mage                     (N)  +
+  Lyra         12th level female dark elven mage              (N)  +
+  Mongo        17th level dwarven warrior                    (CG)  +
+     Gorin      8th level dwarven warrior                    (CG)  +
+  Peldor       19th level human thief                         (N)  +
+     Bosco        10th level halfling thief                   (N)  +
+  Date:        3/17/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        midday                                              +
+  Place:       the Free City of Greyhawk                           +
+  Climate:     cold                                                +
+  "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are."               +
+                                        - from _Buckaroo Banzai_   +

                   CCXCVI.  Rovers' Return

  More than a month has passed since Peldor, Tanya, and the drow
returned to their homes in Greyhawk.  Things have pretty much
returned to normal...

Bosco:  (kicks open the doors to the Green Dragon Inn)  I'm home!
Peldor:  (stops eating his lunch, in mid-bite)
Tanya:  (pauses in her mixing of a drink)
Bosco:  (strolls into the inn, a tiny knapsack on his back)  Hey,
  something smells good.  (he clambers up a barstool and is soon
  sitting on the bar, facing Tanya)  Heyyyyyy, baby.
Tanya:  Nice to have you back, Bosco.
Bosco:  Nice to _be_ back.  Boy, have I got some stories for you.
Tanya:  I'll just bet you're chock full of them.
Peldor:  What was your take?
Bosco:  Huh?
Peldor:  How much richer are you now, than before?
Bosco:  Oh, that.  Lots.  (he digs in his pack, putting his loot
  on the countertop, one item at a time)
Tanya:  Where's Mongo?
Peldor:  And Gorin?
Bosco:  Uh, they went somewhere else.  I'm sure they'll be here
  sooner or later.
Tanya:  (to Bosco)  Is that a tiny stomach I hear rumbling?
Bosco:  Don't kid yourself.  It's not that small.
Tanya:  Let me see what I can scrounge up for you.  (she heads back
  toward the kitchen)
Peldor:  Did you make out okay?  I mean, you were gone for months!
Bosco:  I'm a Thunderdelver now!  (he looks around, expecting any
  listeners to be gaping in awe)  Hmm.
Peldor:  Thunder-who?
Bosco:  The mountain fortress of Yod Ironbeard!  I was there!  The
  legend of Bosco has been spread yet further!  I came, I saw, I
Tanya:  (reappears with a plate of steaming food)
Bosco:  (starts drooling as the plate is set before him)  Mmmmmm.
  (he eyes the food, which appears to be some mix of meat, bread,
  and melted cheeses)  What's this?  (without waiting for an answer,
  the halfling digs in, leaving a trail of cheese connecting the
  plate and his mouth)  Mmm, good!
Peldor:  (takes some of the food too)
Bosco:  (looks perturbed)
Tanya:  A Thunderdelver, eh?
Bosco:  Yeah.  Hey, how'd you know?  You were in the kitchen.
Tanya:  Bosco, even the clean-up boys back there could hear you.
Bosco:  And they'll want to hear more!

  As the halfling ate and chatted with Peldor, a small, sleek furred
form crept along the bar.  Unnoticed by all, it grabbed a large gem
and began its withdrawal along the bar-top.

Bosco:  -and then, I leaped onto its head and-  Hey!  (he drops his
  food in mid-bite as he sees the gem receding along the bar)
Peldor:  Heh.
Bosco:  Mine!  (he leaps atop the bar and runs after the gem, making
  deft little jumps to avoid the glasses and pitchers atop the bar)
Tanya:  Whoa, there!  My bar is not a racetrack-
Bosco:  Fear not, I'll be back in a flash!  (he runs down the bar)

  The gem vanished from the bar's surface, prompting Bosco to stop
and look on the floor.  Sure enough, the gem was there, moving away;
since the wooden floor was a lighter color than the bar-top, Bosco
could now see that the would-be thief was a small, furry animal,
rather like a weasel.  The thing retreated toward the kitchen with
its prize.

Bosco:  Hey!  (he leaps off the bar, onto a stool and then the floor,
  and dashes into the kitchen, after the gem and its thief)

  Headed for the kitchen, the halfling rounded a corner - and almost
ran full-tilt into a large, bearded man.

Bosco:  (in the blink of an eye, he ducks, sliding between the man's
  legs, and grabs the furry animal by the tail)
animal:  (begins screeching)
Bosco:  _My_ gem!  (he reaches to grab the prize)
man:  Hold on a second, there, small one.  (he pries the furry animal
  from Bosco's clutches, speaking to it in soothing tones)
Bosco:  Huh?  (he catches the gem as the man drops it to him)  Who
  the heck are you?
man:  I'm Leonardo, the new head cook.  Who are you?
Bosco:  (puffs out his chest)  I'm Bosco, Dragon-Slayer, Juggernaut
  Warrior, Thunderdelver-
Peldor:  (appears in the kitchen)  I see you two have met.
Bosco:  (eyeing the furry animal in the chef's hands)  Three.  There's
  three of us.
Leonardo:  Yes.  (holds the animal down to Bosco)  This is Tris.
Bosco:  Hmm.  What is it, a weasel?
Leonardo:  No, it's a ferret.  A weasel would have bitten you by now.
Bosco:  Oh.  (he pets the ferret on the head, gently)
Leonardo:  As you've seen, ferrets are quick, and sneaky, and they
  like to steal things.
Peldor:  (laughing, he leans against a wall)  Remind you of anyone,
Bosco:  (looking around innocently)  Nope.  (to Leonardo)  Got any
  extra ferrets, Leo?
Leonardo:  Pardon?
Peldor:  (laughs harder)

  Just then, there was a commotion from the main dining area - such
a commotion, in fact, that Peldor left the kitchen, curious.  Bosco,
gem in hand, trotted after him.

Peldor:  (re-enters his inn's main room)  Hey!
Mongo:  (garbed in new armor that shines like a polished mirror)
  Peldor, old buddy!  Glad to see you!
Peldor:  So here you are!
Gorin:  (making small talk with Tanya, he ends up ordering a pitcher
  of ale, and gets several mugs)
Mongo:  Like my new armor?
Peldor:  Hmm.
Vinnie:  (standing by the door, he shrugs)  I told him he couldn't
  wear armor in here, boss, but he insisted, and since he's one of
  your best friends...
Peldor:  No, it's okay, Vinnie.  (he eyes the armor)  That's the
  legendary armor Bosco told me about?
Mongo:  None other.  Man, we had to fight armies to get it!
Gorin:  Literally.
Bosco:  That scumbag Grimthaard?  He was a wimp!
Mongo:  Well, in the end.  But that doesn't matter, Bosco.
Bosco:  We cleared out the Deeps!  The Seventh Deep!  The Eighth
  Deep!  The Ninth Deep!
Tanya:  (laughing)  Wait, wait, let me guess.  Then the Tenth Deep?
Bosco:  (surprised)  How'd you know?
Peldor:  What other great wonders did you find?
Gorin:  Dwarven construction, centuries
  was wondrous!  (his eyes sparkle)
Mongo:  And Bosco got to swim in Yod's treasure hoard.
Bosco:  (sheepishly)  I was just keeping it safe til he got there!
Peldor:  Ah.  (to Bosco)  Excellent work.  You have learned well.
Bosco:  (nods, and upends a mug of ale)  Urp!
Tanya:  What other things did you recover from this..Thunderdelve?
Bosco:  (holds up a matched set of two fine throwing daggers)  I got
Peldor:  (his eyes widen)
Tanya:  Nice.  (she claps the halfling on the back)
Gorin:  I got a new shield...a mightier shield.
Mongo:  (admiring his armor)  All my other trinkets and baubles pale
  in comparison to this suit.
Leonardo:  (enters, from the kitchen, ferret in hand)
Mongo:  (spots the ferret)  Hey, Bosco, you used to look like that!
Bosco:  Quiet.
Peldor:  Ah!  Mongo, I want you to meet Leonardo - my new cook.
Mongo:  Cook?
Leonardo:  The finest in the land, sir.
Mongo:  (to the cook)  You and I have a lot to talk about, friend.
Leonardo:  To the kitchens, then!  (he trots away)
Mongo:  (wanders after the chef, but stops at the end of the bar, to
  get a new pitcher of ale)  I'll be there in a bit...
Gorin:  What are his chances?
Peldor:  Slim to none.  Leonardo's a real find.  I had to steal him
  from one of Dyvers' finest restaurants.
Bosco:  (still thinking about that ferret)  Hmm.

  There was a commotion as Alindyar and Lyra descended the staircase
and entered the dining room.

Alindyar:  Bosco?  Is that you?
Bosco:  None other.  (he hops down from his stool, somehow managing
  not to spill his drink)
Lyra:  (ignores Bosco as she greets the others)  Mongo!  Gorin!  How
  nice to see you again!
Gorin:  (to Tanya)  What's she all happy about?
Tanya:  Maybe you should ask her.
Mongo:  (bringing the pitcher of ale back to the table)  Alindyar!
  Old buddy, old pal.  Long time, no see.
Alindyar:  I have heard that you were delving into the depths of the
  great dwarven mountain, Thunderdelve.
Mongo:  (sticks out his chest proudly)  And see what I got?
Alindyar:  (frowns)  The armor's exact nature escapes me...enlighten
  me, please.
Mongo:  Ever heard of Arnd?
Alindyar:  The warrior-priest of Oerid folklore?  Of course.
Lyra:  (rather surprised)  Hmm, someone's been reading up on their
Alindyar:  What can I say?  My mind is but a sponge for knowledge-
Lyra:  (to Mongo)  Don't mind him.
Mongo:  Don't worry, I don't.
Bosco:  (drops a dagger next to Lyra, then bends down to retrieve
  it)  Hmm.  (he tries to look up her skirt)
Peldor:  So!  Lyra!  How's the research coming?
Lyra:  Fine.  We've not yet achieved the new spell we sought, but
  it's only a matter of time.
Tanya:  (stands slowly, looking over the bar; she spots Bosco in due
Bosco:  (realizes he's been spotted)  Uh-oh.
Tanya:  (points wordlessly to a barstool)
Bosco:  (hops onto the seat cheerfully)  Oh, bartender!  Refill,
Tanya:  (scowls at the imp)
Bosco:  (smiles innocently, and winks at Tanya)

  At that moment, two hulking figures entered the inn...

Rillen:  There they are.
Arnold:  Yah.
Mongo:  Whoa!  Rillen and Arnold!  (he waves)  Over here!
Peldor:  Rillen?
Bosco:  Arnold?
Rillen:  Bosco?
Arnold:  Peldork?
Gorin:  So, what far end of the world have you two been exploring?
Rillen:  I was...away, in the mountains to the far north.  Arnold,
  however, was right here.
Arnold:  (spreads his hands, as he explains further)  I had to deal
  with a wolf-boy, aboud a month ago.  Two days ago, Rillen came to
  Geb's cadstle, we are here.
Rillen:  (nods)
Mongo:  Hey, check out this new armor!
Rillen:  Fine armor, indeed.  Wherever did you find it?
Bosco:  The Tenth Deep!
Gorin:  What he means is that we had to defeat a whole army of orcs.
Mongo:  And we did.  Not without help, but we did it...
Peldor:  Tanya and I, meanwhile-
Tanya:  And our friends here.  (nods to the two drow)
Peldor:  -and Alindyar and Lyra...we took a week off and went to
Bosco:  Dyvers?  Hey, we just passed through there on the way here!
  They were all up in a flurry about some stolen jewelry or something
  like that.  Heck, for once, I _didn't_ do it.  But they were saying
  it was an impossible robbery...or that it might have been done by
  the legendary thief, Flavius.
Rillen:  Well, which is it?  The impossible, or Flavius?
Bosco:  (shrugs)  Hey, I don't know.  (he takes another sip from his
  mug)  But man, oh man, I'd sure like to meet the fella who pulled
  that one off!
Peldor:  (glances at Tanya, briefly)
Lyra:  (talking with Rillen about the weather to the north)
Gorin:  (talking with Alindyar about the possibility of fabricating
  a potion of super-heroism)
Arnold:  (looking around)  We're all here...all of us but Geb.
Mongo:  Yeah, really.  He's been gone for, what, two months now?
Peldor:  A week more than that, actually.
Alindyar:  I wonder what he is doing now.
Bosco:  Who cares?  It can't be as good as what _I_ did.  See, there
  were these orcs...
Mongo:  Ged, Ged, Ged.  Where the hell _is_ he, anyway?

next:   at last:  Ged!
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
notes:, we're getting there...

  Without further ado, I present the complete rules to the Dragon-
Deck game, courtesy of Eric Boyd's imagination:


Cousin Elbert,

    Bosco, Juggernaut Slayer, has truly made his mark on the
world!  I easily won the Tournament of Grand Champion Dragon-Deck
players this past week on our trip back from Thunderdelve Mountain
in the great city of of Punjab. Please tell all the folks back in
the burrows.

    Last time I visited, little Tiger-mantha seemed fascinated
by the Dragon-Deck cards I carried. I intended to teach her the
rules before that little disagreement with Mayor Hulbert, but I
never got the chance due to the subsequent events. Anyway, could
you please give her the attached set of rules that I picked up at
the tournament?


                    Bosco the Invincible



Dragon-Deck is a game of chance played with a deck of 81 cards
of eight suits. The eight suits, in descending order of power,
are as follows:

    Shooting Star

Each suit contains 10 cards in descending order:


There is also a single "Dragon" card that is not considered to be
part of any suit.

A game of Dragon-Deck consists of a series of hands, interspersed
by betting.  Before play begins, each player must state how much
they are bringing to the table and show that they can pay.  This
money is called their initial kitty.  Should any player quit before
he is either eliminated or wins it all, his remaining kitty is
forfeit to the eventual winner at the end of the game.  A player is
eliminated when he loses all of his kitty and the hand in which he
lost it is over.

Up to eight players can play in any hand. As few as two players are
needed.  When only one player remains, the game is over.

Prior to a hand, each player ante's up an amount specified by the
dealer (normally ten golden coins).  This is the beginning of the
"pot".  All bets go into the pot, and the winner of a hand winds
the entire pot.  If someone chooses not to pay the ante, they are
considered to be sitting out that hand.  One can not refuse an ante
of 1 golden coin.

All bets must be one or more gold coins. No one can set the ante or
raise the stakes in a hand higher than the smallest remaining kitty
of a player still in the hand (i.e. who has not yet folded), so no
one can be forced to fold (quit that hand) due to lack of funds.

At the beginning of each hand, the dealer deals seven cards to each
player.  Each player evaluates his hand. The player to the left of
the dealer either bets, passes (no bet), or folds.  This continues
clockwise around the table until someone bets.  If no one bets, the
dealer is required to bet at least one gold coin.  After the initial
bet, each player can "call" (match the current bet), "raise" (match
the current bet and increase it to a higher amount), or "fold"
(refuse to match the current bet and quit the hand).

If at any time all the players except one have folded, the remaining
player wins the hand.  Once a bet has made it around the entire
table without being raised, the dealer then goes clockwise around
the table, beginning with the player to his left, asking who wants
new cards.  Each player can request zero, one, two, or three new
cards.  Prior to receiving the new cards, they must the put the
corresponding number of cards from their hand in the discard pile.

Once every player has their cards, another round of betting begins,
again beginning with the player to the dealer's left.  When the
betting is concluded (a bet has made it around the table without
being raised), the last player to bet shows his cards.  Beginning
with the player to his left, each player states in turn whether or
not he can top the best hand.

Hands are ranked in the following descending order:

    *   Double Royal Suit
        (king, queen, and prince from one suit; king, queen
        and prince from another suit)
    *   Castle Suit
        (king, queen, and prince from one suit; knight,
        squire, and page from any suits)
    *   Royal Conclave
        (six cards from any suits including only kings,
        queens, and princes - the suit of the hand is that
        of the highest ranking king (or queen if no kings
        are held, or jack if no kings or queens are held)
    *   Royal Suit
        (king, queen, and prince from one suit)
    *   Double Royalty
        (king and queen from one suit, king and queen from
        another suit the suit of the hand is that of the
        higher ranking pair)
    *   Suit of Armor
        (knight, squire, page, and shield card from any
        suits - the suit of the hand is that of the knight)
    *   The Weaponry
        (sword, spear, and axe from any suits - the suit of
        the hand is that of the sword)
    *   The Players
        (highest ranking card, in both face value and suit)

In case of ties, the hand of the higher ranking suit wins.

In the Double Royalty suit and higher, each additional weapon held
raises the suit by one, but does not advance the rank. Hence a
Royal Suit of the Pitchfork Suit plus a sword card is considered to
be a Royal Suit of the Tombstone Suit, but a Royal Suit of the Tree
suit is considered to be a Royal Suit of the Tree suit, regardless
of the number of weapons held.  When this creates a tie, the hand
with more weapons wins.

The Dragon card raises any hand by one rank, but does not change
the suit (although additional weapon cards might). Hence a Suit of
Armor of the Tree suit plus the Dragon card is considered to be a
Double Royalty hand of the Tree suit. The highest ranking hand is
a Double Royal Suit plus the Dragon card.


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