Chapter #3

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  This is the third 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 (e.g. we use non-weapon proficiencies a lot).
  Someone has asked me to try to make the characters more unique and/or
distinguishable by using what they say to personify them.  Part of the
problem is that there were 9 characters/players at the start of the
campaign...this is too many to keep track of sometimes.  Fortunately,
this didn't last long, as different members of the group left or were
phased out.  I will work on their personalities, nevertheless, to try
and get the characters to come across the right way.



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                           III.  Betrayal




  The party enters the foreboding area of the Suss Forest, which is even
more dark and dismal than the previous parts.  Its most distinguishing
feature is an abundance of webs; the ground, trees, and branches overhead
are covered with sticky strands of spider silk.  Several skeletons litter
the ground nearby, encased in webbing; one of these is prominent due to
its plate mail which gleams in a few exposed spots.

Peyote:  Spiders, dude.  It's gotta be spiders.  We search the area.
Halbarad:  Carefully, of course.
Ged:  (casting light)  I need somebody's staff to put this light on.
Alindyar:  Here.  (hands over his wooden staff)
Peyote:  Fire it up, dude.
Ged:  (lights the staff)
Peldor:  I draw my sword.  (to DM)  Can I search any of the skeletons on
  the ground, without being noticed?
Belphanior:  (to DM)  I look up, into the trees.  What do I see?
DM:  Spiders.  (to all)  Suddenly a number of webs drop onto you from the
  trees above.  Everybody roll initiative rolls, adding your DEX bonuses;
  any above 5 are caught in webs.  (we use a d10, minus reaction bonus;
  low numbers go first, high numbers go last)  And, the spiders are now
  landing on the ground to attack you all.  They are giant spiders, in
  this case about most of a foot in diameter.

Alindyar:  (rolls a 7, and is webbed)  Hmm.
Belphanior:  (rolls a 2, and dodges free of the webs)  I charge out among
  the spiders!
Ged:  (rolls a 3, escaping the falling webs)  (begins spellcasting)
Halbarad:  (rolls an 8, and is webbed)  I must have tripped on a root or
  something...
Krug:  (rolls a 3, and is not webbed)  Urg!  Krug smash spiders!
Mongo:  (rolls a 9, and is webbed)  Shit!
Peldor:  (rolls a 1, easily escaping the webs)  Hah!  Peldor, quickest of
  the quick!  (to DM)  I search the nearest body.
Peyote:  (rolls a 6, but his reaction adjustment pulls it down to a 5; not
  webbed)  Whoa, man!  I defend myself from any spiders that may be nearby
  me now.
Rob:  (rolls a 10, and is webbed)

Peldor:  (headed toward nearest body, is faced by a spider)  I attack!
  (hits spider with a truly lucky blow - maximum damage!  The spider
  splats all over the ground)  There!  I've done my part!  (to DM)  Now
  I search the bodies.
Belphanior:  (swings, rolls a fumble)  ...
DM:  Belphanior, your sword bounces off of the ground and lands in a stray
  web nearby.  Two spiders close in on you.
Belphanior:  ..!
Krug:  (swings his huge sword, cleaving a spider in two)  Hurgh!  Look
  like oatmeal!
Ged:  (lets magic missile fly, at the spider stalking him)  Die, hairy
  fiend!  (rolls 4 on the 4-sider)
Spider#5:  (blasted by the spell, now seriously wounded)  (bites at Ged
  but misses.  Could be attributed to trauma.)
Peyote:  (swings but misses)  Uh-oh.
Spider#6:  (bites at Peyote, but misses)
Spider#7:  (goes for a random webbed target...a dice roll chooses Mongo)
Mongo:  Wait!  I try to break out of the webs with my great strength!
DM:  You're getting there, but not in time.  (rolls)  The spider bit you,
  take 2 hp and make a save.
Peyote:  Poison most foul, dude.
Mongo:  (a dwarf with a high CON, he has no problem saving against poison
  and easily makes the roll)
Spider#2:  (bites at Belphanior but misses)
Spider#3:  (bites Belphanior but doesn't get through his clothing; this
  is how we describe near misses, given the AD&D system...)
Belphanior:  Whew!  (waves hands and chants, sending a blinding spray of
  color at his opponents.  They waver at least momentarily.)
Peyote:  Gnarly!
Ged:  (still trapped in webs of course)  Hey!  I didn't know he could do
  that!  What gives?
Alindyar:  Methinks we have another mage in the party...
Belphanior:  Heh!

DM:  Round 2...

Krug:  (gets first action, except for Peldor, who is searching one of the
  old webbed skeletons nearby; Krug has weapon specialization and thus
  gets 3/2 attacks in melee with his two-handed sword, and this is his
  round to have two attacks.  By the way, Mongo also is specialized, in
  his longsword)  I come to help, dwarf!  (moves to attack the spider
  that bit Mongo; swings twice, hits twice)
Spider#7:  (splat)
Mongo:  Thanks, pal.
Krug:  Welcome.  (heads off toward someone else's spider)
Ged:  (swings mace at his wounded spider, barely hits, finishes it off)
Belphanior:  (stabs one of his two opponents, wounding it badly.  Neither
  of the two is moving though.)
Peyote:  (slices at spider#6, wounding it)
Spider#6:  (misses Peyote)
Peldor:  (pocketing something, turns toward the melee)

DM:  Round 3...

Peldor:  (attacks Peyote's spider from behind, but misses)  Whoops!
Krug:  (kills spider#2, the one that Belphanior did not wound yet)  Ock!
Belphanior:  (swings, finishes off spider#3, the one he wounded)  (to DM)
  I collect some spider guts, while they're still fresh.
Spider#6:  (turns and bites Peldor!)
Peldor:  (barely makes his poison save)
DM:  Hmm...that spider's poison sacs must have been low today.
Peyote:  (hits spider#6, killing it)  There you go, guy!  Sorry about that
  bite.
Peldor:  No problem.  (to DM)  Can I scavenge the spider's poison sacs?
DM:  Not without a chance of getting scratched and poisoned...
Peldor:  Err...okay.
Belphanior:  Hey!  I'll try!
DM:  The spider is too crushed to have any poison sacs left.  In fact, all
  of the spiders are.
Ged:  (carefully cutting webs off of those who were webbed)  I could
  use some help here!
Peyote:  Certainly, my most wizardly friend!  (moves to help)
Peldor:  I'll help too!  (to DM)  Can I pick their pockets as I cut them
  free?
DM:  ...no.
Peldor:  Oh.  Well, I'll help anyway.

  Mere minutes later, the entire party is free, if a bit sticky.

Halbarad:  We search the entire area.
Belphanior:  I recover my sword.
Peyote:  And the trees too, man.  I climb into the trees where the spiders
  made their humble abode and search there.

DM:  Okay.  On the nearby ground you find a dull steel battleaxe, an old,
  broken two-handed sword, a dagger with a dirty gem in the pommel, a large
  bone, a dented helm, two iron spikes, a dead rotting rat, a rusted and
  rotten crossbow, a moldy arrow, and a large gem.
    (to Peyote only)  In the trees, there is a rotten sack containing some
  silver coins, a ring, and a dull dagger.  What do you want to do with
  this loot?  (Being an honest fellow, Peyote doesn't steal any of it, and
  brings it all down from the tree.)
Ged:  We also search the bodies.
DM:  Okay, one is a skeletal human in rotted robes; he has a scroll case,
  a holy symbol, and three silver coins.  A second skeleton is that of a
  dwarf in plate mail, he carries a dagger.  The third corpse is a goblin,
  he is still fresh (still has meat) but has no loot.  The last body is a
  very old one, it crumbles upon examination, leaving a small sack of gold
  coins behind.
Ged:  Let's take all the good stuff and store it in a sack.
Peldor:  I'll carry the sack!
Mongo:  No, _I'll_ carry it.
Halbarad:  (to DM)  I search through the dust of the last corpse.
DM:  (to Halbarad)  You find a ring...
Halbarad:  Hey everybody!  We got this also!  (tosses ring into the pile
  of "good" stuff that is forming.)
Ged:  Boccob thanks you, noble one.  He will thank you even more, surely,
  if that ring is magical.
Peldor:  And even more if you get it, right, elf?  I would have kept it...
Halbarad:  Boccob is welcome, priest.
Peldor:  Boccob is puny!  Puny, I say!

  The party divines the following magical items: the battleaxe, the scroll
(inside the scroll case, of course; it's a priest scroll), dull dagger
from tree, ring from dusty corpse.  Halbarad takes the battleaxe, for now;
Ged gets the scroll, and the dagger and ring are put along with the coins
and the dagger w/gem, gem, and ring from tree (all nonmagical of course).

  The party continues through the forest for a couple of days.  The dark
part of the place, so to speak, seems to be past.  They do encounter a
pack of giant ants, but Alindyar gives them some of his iron rations,
and they ignore the party and eat the food.  The next day, they find a
river which is supposed to flow out of the forest, and follow it.  Near
the edge of the forest, a giant turtle crawls out of the (slow-moving)
river.  Despite Mongo's desire to cook it for the party, they leave it
alone, and continue on their way.  The river must be crossed, and they
do so by building a makeshift bridge out of logs.  The next morning,
Halbarad finds a strange footprint, and nearby an old, long unused path...
he follows it using his ranger skills, to a point where it deviates away
from the river, their intended course.  Discussion ensues, but is soon
punctuated...

DM:  A trio of large, furry creatures amble from the old path toward you.
  They carry huge axes and don't look friendly.
Halbarad:  How tall are they?
DM:  About 8' or so.
Peyote:  Bugbears?  Most evil dudes...
Ged:  I retreat to the rear of the party.
Alindyar:  Likewise.
Rob:  Yeah, me too!  (trips on a root and runs into a tree)  Ow!

  Mongo, Halbarad, and Krug form a front line of defense, with Belphanior
and Peyote behind them as a secondary line of either spell-casters or
sword-swingers (whatever is needed), and the other three in the rear.
Peldor is nowhere to be seen.  The bugbears close in and initiative is
rolled.  The order of events:

Halbarad:  (slices at bugbear#1, hitting for what seems like a good
  amount of damage)  Take that, ape!
Bugbear#1:  (laughs)  (hits Halbarad, a truly hefty blow)  Ug!
Halbarad:  Ouch!
Mongo:  I think they speak your language, Krug.
Krug:  (swings at bugbear#2, misses)  Fuck!  Shut up!
Bugbear#2:  (hits Krug, scores an unprecedented 11 hp of damage)  Die
  puny human!
Krug:  Urk.  (keels over, at an even 0 hp)
Bugbear#3:  (hits Mongo, and like his companions, does serious damage)
Mongo:  Shit!
Peyote:  (closer to the fallen Krug, steps over him to the front line)
Belphanior:  (stops spell casting to drag Krug's bleeding body out of
  the line of fire)  Here priests, heal this man!
Rob:  (begins spell casting to heal Krug)
Ged:  Heal?  (magic missiles bugbear#3)  Take that, oversized ape!
Bugbear#3:  (laughs at the smoking hole in his hide)  Hk!  Didn't hurt!
Alindyar:  (in the interest of saving his magic, throws a dagger, but
  misses by a long shot)
Mongo:  So I get to go last again, huh?  (swings sword at bugbear#3, but
  misses)  Damn!  Shit!  @$&*#%!!

DM:  Round 2...

Krug:  (alive, but unconscious, has been moved away)
Halbarad:  (swings, misses bugbear#1)  Crap!
Bugbear#2:  (smashes Peyote with a deadly blow)
Peyote:  (suddenly down to 1 hp)  I retreat...
Belphanior:  (yanks Peyote back and rushes up to fight his opponent)  I'll
  take care of this mess!  (swings and misses)  Err...okay, maybe not.
Bugbear#1:  (misses Halbarad)
Bugbear#3:  (hits Mongo with a glancing blow)
Mongo:  (down to 3 hp and goes last in this round)  Fuck!  FUCK!
DM:  Do you want to retreat?
Mongo:  Hell no!
Ged:  (no more offensive spells in his mighty 1st level arsenal.. :)  I
  think we're in big trouble folks...
Rob:  (only has healing magic on hand)  I unsling my mace and run around
  the others, to try and hit one of the bugbears.
DM:  Okay, roll.
Rob:  (misses)  Uh..
Alindyar:  (does nothing)
Mongo:  (swings at bugbear#3, twice, since this is the 2-attack round of
  his 3/2 attack capability with the longsword specialization)  A 16!
  A _20_!!!!  YES!!!  (dual blows, one a critical hit...)
Bugbear#3:  (dies, cut in half at the waist)

  A cheer goes up from the party...

DM:  Round 3...

Bugbear#1:  (hits Halbarad)  Grunt!
Halbarad:  (now seriously hurting)  I think about backing up...
Peldor:  (in position behind bugbear#1)  Here comes Peldor to save the day!
DM:  (to Peldor)  Make another move silently check, Peldor.
Peldor:  (passes with no problem)  (attacks with a backstab)  (hits with
  longsword for double damage)
Bugbear#1:  (collapses)
Belphanior:  (attacks simultaneously with bugbear#2)  (hits bugbear#2 at
  the same time as the monster hits him.  The bugbear shrugs off the minor
  cut, while Belphanior is direly wounded...)
Belphanior:  (down to -1 hp)  Ack!  (falls)
Peyote:  Heinous!
Ged:  Well, at least _somebody_ hit the killer bugbear.  His sacrifice was
  not in vain.
Peldor:  (to DM)  I try to look in Belphanior's pockets.
Halbarad:  (attacks the remaining bugbear, but misses)  I retreat and bind
  my wounds.
Belphanior:  Yeah!  I bind _my_ wounds too!
Ged:  You can't bind your wounds, fool.  You're _dead_!
Belphanior:  Oh yeah.
Peldor:  I'll bind his wounds for him.
Peyote:  I cure some light wounds on Belphanior.
Mongo:  (attacks bugbear, hits, inflicts mighty damage)  Hey!  I'm on a
  friggin' roll here!
Alindyar:  (throws a dagger at the bugbear, perchance hitting it and
  causing the final damage necessary to send it to its maker)
Peldor:  (has filched a few coins from Belphanior's pouch)  I search the
  bugbears.
DM:  Bugbears don't have pockets...they have no treasure except their
  weapons.  These were _poor_ bugbears.
Ged:  Do their weapons look to be of good quality?
DM:  Not quite.  They are rusty and not well maintained.
Rob:  (heals Peyote)  Have some healing!
Peyote:  Thanks guy.
Halbarad:  Maybe we should track their path and find out where they came
  from.  Maybe they have a lair...

  The party, recognizing the need for much rest and relaxation, makes camp
and goes nowhere for another day.  They manage to heal their wounds, to a
large degree.  The choice as to whether or not to go down the side trail
or continue on their mission comes to a vote.  Six vote to follow the side
path, two vote not to, one abstains.  The party sets off on the trail,
with Halbarad in the lead.  After a half hour of hacking through tangled
undergrowth, they find something...

DM:  Halbarad finds a strange footprint in some dirt nearby the path.
Halbarad:  What kind of footprint?
DM:  It has three clawed toes in front, plus one in back...it's a fairly
  shallow print, and the foot isn't more than half a foot in length.
Peyote:  No denizen of the forest made _that_ print, dude.
Halbarad:  I look for more nearby.
DM:  There are several.
Halbarad:  I follow them.
Party:  (everybody else)  We follow him.
DM:  About two hundred feet nearby, you come upon an old, run-down hut
  in the middle of the woods.  The undergrowth has all but covered it,
  and it is barely visible.  The door is slightly ajar.
Belphanior:  I listen at the door.
Peldor:  I sneak around the back and look for any windows etc.
DM:  The windows are overgrown.  Belphanior hears nothing.
Belphanior:  I draw my sword and open the door.
DM:  You see...nothing.  The small hut is empty.  The dirt floor is
  covered with rubble and dust...there are signs of recent disturbance
  though...
Belphanior:  I search for hidden doors under the rubble.
DM:  Aha!  You find a small square hatch in the floor.
Mongo:  I lift it up.
Belphanior:  I have my sword ready in case anything comes out...
DM:  It's too heavy to lift by yourself.

  Several characters, working in unison, are able to pry open the trap
door.  Underneath, there is a floor about 20' down, but no stairs or
ladder.  The chamber is cut from the hard ground itself; the walls
look like hard-packed clay.

Alindyar:  I tie a rope around the trapdoor (it is heavy and open and
  will serve as an anchor, won't it?) and lower it down into the
  darkness.
Belphanior:  I light my lantern, and shine it down to see what I can
  see.
DM:  You see a large, squarish room below, with several exits.
Belphanior:  I hold the lantern with my feet and shimmy down the rope.
Mongo:  Hey!  I go next!
Alindyar:  I go next.
Ged:  I go last.

  Finally, everyone is down the rope except Ged and Krug.

Ged:  (looking around)
Krug:  (at opening, peers down into the room.  The others down there
  are beginning to explore the area.)  To DM only:  I cut the rope and
  attack Ged.
DM:  !
DM:  (to Ged only)  Hey, heads up.  Krug has cut the rope and is now
  advancing on you, sword drawn, smiling...
Ged:  !!!

  The next segment takes place out of the view and hearing of the rest
of the party in the room below, except that the DM rolls a d10 for each
of them, ruling that a "0" indicates that that character saw Krug cut
the rope.  Alindyar the drow gets the roll, so the DM passes him a
note telling him what he saw.  He says nothing for now.

Ged:  (thinks it over for about two seconds.  He knows that even if he
  is able to fire his magic missile, it won't stop the warrior.)  Uh...
  can I try to tackle him and knock him into the open hatchway?
DM:  Mm...sure.  But you'll have to roll to hit him, at a -2 penalty
  (really trying to be fair here)
Ged:  I have nothing to lose.  (rolls a 20).  Omigod!  It worked!
DM:  Okay. you tackle him with all of your hundred pounds.  Krug, roll
  below your DEX to avoid falling in the hole.
Krug:  (rolls a 19, not of course below his DEX)  (both he and Ged
  fall in the hole and land on the pavement below.  More rolls for any
  possible saves indicate that, as appropriate, Krug took the brunt of
  the falling damage, while Ged managed to land on top of him.)

Halbarad:  Who cut the rope, dammit?!?
Mongo:  Hey!  What's going on up there!
Ged:  He cut the rope!  He attacked me!
Krug:  No I didn't.
Ged:  You did too!
Krug:  Did not!
Ged:  Did too!

  They start to close on each other to fight, oblivious of the others...

Halbarad:  I restrain Krug.
Ged:  Restrained, eh?  I attack him!
Mongo:  (bashes Ged over the head for subdual damage, knocking him out)
  Quiet, elf!
Krug:  Knocked out, eh?  I move in and stab Ged!
Belphanior:  (bashes Krug for subdual damage, also ko-ing him)  I for
  one want to know what the fuck happened up there.
Peyote:  Most uncool, man.
Mongo:  Tie them both up and we'll talk to them when they wake up.
Belphanior:  Just watch 'em carefully and keep a good distance between
  the two.
Rob:  I have one more healing spell...
Peldor:  I slap Ged to wake him up.
Ged:  (wakes up, even as Krug is awakened nearby)  Wuzzat?
Halbarad:  We're only going to ask you this once, guys.  Who cut the
  rope?
Ged:  He did.
Krug:  _He_ did.
Belphanior:  This is getting nowhere.
Alindyar:  I saw it.  It was Krug.

  The party thinks this is a joke until they see that the DM is backing
up Alindyar too.  Tempers flare...

Mongo:  What the hell did you do that for, Krug?
Krug:  Fuck you.
Mongo:  Hey!  We never attacked you.  What do you want anyway?
Krug:  Come over here and I'll show you.
Mongo:  Huh?!  Stay away from me, you @#$%*&!!!
Krug:  Ha.  Coward!  You're no warrior!  You're a mere stub of a man!
Mongo:  I draw my sword!
Krug:  You wanna fight, stub?  Ha ha!
Mongo:  Let's get it on, motherfucker!

Belphanior:  Let them fight!
Alindyar:  Aye, now that the battle is more evenly matched.
Halbarad:  No!  (to DM)  Do I have a chance to intercede?
DM:  Not until next round, they're going at it pretty fast right now.
Halbarad:  Okay.

Krug:  (attacks Mongo, gets initiative, but misses...)
Mongo:  (attacks Krug, near end of melee round, hits, rolls 8 on the d8
  plus strength bonus for a total of 13 hp.  Krug was at only 2 hp, so
  now he's at -11...truly dead, so to speak.)

Ged:  Err...
Mongo:  He's dead!
Belphanior:  And good riddance!
Halbarad:  Hmm.  Guess it's too late now.
Peldor:  I search his pockets...

  The party rests, heals, decides to explore the dungeon a bit before
they camp.  The loss of Krug is mourned only briefly, and his body is
left covered with a blanket.  Peldor gets his pocketful of coins.





THE PARTY THUS FAR:

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



NOTES:  To this day, I don't know why Krug's player turned on the rest
of them.  I think that the players may have been having minor sideline
arguments that led to the attack, I'm not sure, and the guy's long
gone.  Maybe he had a date that night, because he left but didn't seem
to be that mad really.  I don't think he was a die-hard gamer at heart
and was getting sick of the game.  In any case, Krug was never dealt
with beyond that point, and life went on.




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