Chapter #32

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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, A3, 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, 5th/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/6th level half-elf fighter/druid of Obad-Hai (N)
Rob, 6th level human priest of Trithereon (LG)
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Date:   4/21/570 C.Y.
Time:   early morning
Place:  the city of Suderham, hidden in the Drachengrab Mountains
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                  XXXII.  Challenges Galore



  The party had broken (walked) into an abandoned (?) house and
decided to stay there for the night.  It didn't hurt at all that
they located a secret hatchway.  How very convenient.  Morning
saw them eating a hasty meal and preparing to brave whatever was
below.

Mongo:  Damn.  I'm out of eggs.
Rob:  Huh?
Mongo:  Nevermind.  They were all smashed up anyway.  No use but
  to attract ants.
Belphanior:  (sitting in a corner sharpening his sword)
Halbarad:  Let us clean up and be on our way.
Peyote:  Merry way.
Halbarad:  Right.
Ged:  (to Belphanior)  Not hungry?
Belphanior:  Nah.  I never eat before I go underground.  It makes
  me sick.
Alindyar:  Odd.
Mongo:  I don't see how in the bloody hell you can stand to go
  without breakfast.  Me, I'd get eaten by my own belly before too
  long!
Peldor:  (checking his gear)  I'm ready.  Let those below tremble
  in awe of the mighty Peldor's coming!
Ged:  Yeah, right.
Halbarad:  (grasping the ring to the hatch)  Let's get this cover
  up...
Mongo:  Sure, I'll help.  (helps the ranger lift the hatch, exposing
  a dark, square shaft and a ladder, both going down)
Rob:  Gee, it sure is _dark_ in there.
Belphanior:  (considering pushing the priest down the tunnel)  Nah.
  Might need him later.  Hey, I'll go down first!
Ged:  What noble logic.
Rob:  (lights a lantern, illuminating a floor about thirty feet
  below)  I'm ready now!
Belphanior:  (loosens his sword in its sheath and descends, soon
  followed by the others)

  The shaft did bottom out below, and a ten foot square, horizontal
corridor led to the west.  They began to follow it.

Rob:  Phew!  It sure does stink in here.
Mongo:  Hey, it wasn't me.
Belphanior:  <cough>  (draws his sword)
Peyote:  Quaffer...
Ged:  Try to control yourself next time, Rob.
Alindyar:  This corridor seems to have been long unused.
Mongo:  (examining the stonework of the walls)  It's fairly
  recent.  Maybe ten years old.  Sort of looks like a sewer
  passage...
Halbarad:  Hark!  The way turns ahead.
Peyote:  Way...(draws his sword)
Mongo:  (he and Belphanior round the corner)  There's a big room
  up ahead.  We're going in.  Right, elf?
Belphanior:  Check.  I'm with you.

  A short distance ahead was a large hexagonal chamber.  The
ceiling was higher here - maybe twenty feet - and covered with
some sort of mineral deposit.  It appeared quite wet.  A giant
figure stood in the center of the room; it appeared to have metal
skin.

Mongo:  Nope, this definitely isn't any normal kind of sewer.
Belphanior:  (fearlessly strides forth)
figure:  Flee now, or I shall breathe poison death upon you all!
Belphanior:  (backs up)  Death?
Rob:  (raises his lantern)  Death?
Ged:  Is that a GOLEM?!?
Alindyar:  'Twould appear so...an iron golem.
Ged:  Maybe we should reason with it.
Alindyar:  Maybe we should leave.
Mongo:  Fuck that!  (approaches the thing)  Who are you?!?
figure:  (unmoving, regards the dwarf)
Mongo:  What do you want?!?
figure:  (still does nothing)
Mongo:  To hell with HIM.  (heads for a passageway in the southern
  wall)  I'm going elsewhere.
Belphanior:  (skirts the figure cautiously, keeping it at swordpoint
  all the while)
Halbarad:  Um...follow them, but keep to the fringe of the room.
Ged:  Maybe some of us should go around the other edge of the room
  in case it breathes.
Alindyar:  Sensible idea.
Peyote:  All right!

  Halbarad, Alindyar, and Peldor went along the east wall; Ged, Rob,
and Peyote went along the west wall.  Throughout all this, the thing
in the middle of the room remained impassive.

Mongo:  Hurry up, guys!  There's a whole new passage to be explored
  over here!
Belphanior:  (peering into the darkness)

  Soon, they regrouped at the southern passage and went down it.
Peldor kept a lookout to the rear in case the would-be golem came
after them.  After about two hundred feet, the new passage led to
a ladder going up thirty feet to a hatch...

Ged:  Looks familiar.
Halbarad:  We could not have come far.
Mongo:  No way, maybe three hundred feet south of where we came in.
Halbarad:  We are no doubt still below the city.  I would suggest
  that we avoid resurfacing just yet.
Ged:  I agree.  What would be the point?
Belphanior:  Maybe that golem-thing is guarding a secret door.
Peldor:  Let's go back.  I'll search while you all cover my back.
Ged:  Fat chance.
Rob:  I could try to turn the golem-thing.
Peyote:  Get out of town!  Hold that lantern and keep quiet.
Halbarad:  Back we go, then.  (they all return to the larger room)
Peldor:  (starts searching the wall)
Belphanior:  (he and Mongo start searching the other wall)
Rob:  (addressing the golem-thing)  Who sent you?
Ged:  (watching both of them warily)
Halbarad:  (looking around nervously)  I feel that we are missing
  something...
Peyote:  (sword drawn, strolling about looking at the ceiling)  Ho-
  hum...
Alindyar:  (regarding the golem)  Shoddy construction, in my humble
  opinion.
Peldor:  Bingo!
Rob:  Huh?
Peldor:  (chipping away limestone with a chisel)  This door is, err,
  was, concealed.
Mongo:  What's that, a passage behind it?  (walks up and pulls on a
  sheet of thin stone, exposing a good bit of the door)
Halbarad:  This is definitely a new way to continue.
Peyote:  It's the choice of a NEW generation...
Belphanior:  Let's take it.  Out of my way.  (heads into the new
  passage)
Mongo:  Hey, wait up!  (he, and the rest, follow)
Peldor:  (watching the still-unmoving figure in the room behind)

  The passage was once more ten feet square.  It led a short way to
the west, then turned sharply left and went on for at least a hundred
feet.

Belphanior:  (in the lead with Mongo)  Hold that lantern higher!  We
  need more light up here!
Mongo:  Or turn the damned thing off.  My infravision would work too.
Rob:  Okay, okay.
Belphanior:  Make it snaAAaaaaaa...(falls into a now-open pit)
Mongo:  Yie!  (falls too)
Halbarad:  (looking down into the pit, where the pair are laying not
  eight feet below, in a bed of soft sand...)  Hmm...
Belphanior:  I hope there's not an ant lion underneath.
Mongo:  Ant?  Lion?  Is that like an owlbear?
Peldor:  (in the rear)  Eh?  (notices a large section of stone from
  the wall right behind him slide away; a gleaming nozzle is exposed,
  and strange hissing sounds are coming from it)  Eh?!
Alindyar:  What is that?
Peldor:  I don't know, but I don't want to know!  Out of the way!
  (he runs forth and attempts to jump the pit)
Ged:  Uh-oh!  (also runs for the pit)
Peldor:  (clears the pit's rim easily and rolls to his feet on the
  opposite side)  I think I'll keep backing up...
Ged:  (tries to jump across the pit as well, but misses the far edge
  and slams into the wall, then lands in the powdery sand)  Agh!  My
  back!
Belphanior:  Quit whining.
Mongo:  What the hell's going on up there?!  What are you people
  running from?
Alindyar:  Hmm.  Yonder contraption has some fell purpose, I am sure.
  There is no time for the carpet...(runs and jumps right into the
  pit, with surprising grace)  Oof!
Halbarad:  No time at all.  I shall jump too.  (sails clumsily into
  the pit)
Peyote:  What is that nipple?
Rob:  (looking around wildly, trying to decide what to do)
Peyote:  That pit seems awful full.  I think I'll stay up here, man.
Rob:  (runs toward the nozzle)  I'll stop it!
Peyote:  (backing up to the edge of the pit)  Get back here, pinhead!
  You don't want to be THAT close!
Rob:  I can make it!  I'll just plug it with my flail!  I'll-

                          << WHOOOOOSH!! >>

Peyote:  (caught by a huge gout of flame, crisped somewhat mildly,
  and falls back on top of everyone in the pit)  Whoops.  BAD call.
Ged:  Well, look at that flame overhead.  Wonder where Rob made his
  last stand against it...
Belphanior:  Serves the imbecile right.
Mongo:  The poor little guy.
Peyote:  (putting out tiny flames on his shirt)  I tried to warn him.
Alindyar:  Observe - the flame ceases.
Mongo:  Hey, someone get on my shoulders and climb back up.
Peldor:  (looking over the far edge, down into the pit)  Are you okay?
Halbarad:  We are.  The priest...well, that is another matter.
Peldor:  I see him over there.  He's actually moving around.  Looks a
  lot like a big charred worm though.
Halbarad:  (climbs out of the pit on Rob's side)  Priest?
Rob:  Uhh...
Halbarad:  Don't try to move.  That was a stupid thing you did.  Brave,
  but stupid.
Rob:  I'm okay, I'm okay.
Ged:  (peeking over the rim of the pit)  Boccob's beard!  The dolt
  lives!  (various adventurers are emerging from the pit now)
Peldor:  He managed to dodge to one side as the flame came.  Sort of.
Rob:  (totally black, his outfit is shredded as well as burned, and
  all the metal of his armor is blackened; some small bits have
  actually melted and run)  I think I avoided the worst of it.
Peyote:  NOT!  Heh heh.
Ged:  (regarding the smoking priest)  Rob, your hair is all burned
  away.
Peyote:  Crispy critter...
Rob:  I shall live on.  It takes more than that to put away a holy
  man such as myself.
Belphanior:  If you say so.
Rob:  (feeling his stubble)
Alindyar:  (floating up on his carpet)  We should ensure that yon
  flame-spouter is extinct...
Ged:  It's not making any more noise.
Peyote:  Must be all blasted out, after Rob.  Ho ho.
Mongo:  Hey!  Someone get me out of this pit!

  Soon, they were all across the pit.  Rob healed himself of the
not insignificant wounds he had incurred.  Peldor had scouted ahead
just a bit, and reported a door with no noise audible from behind
(actually he was sick of finding no treasure and hoped to come upon
some before everyone else joined him).  Alindyar stayed in the
center of the party on his carpet, about four feet above the floor.

Mongo:  I'll open the door.  Hey, it's unlocked!  Oh well...

  Beyond was a forty foot square room, with a twenty foot ceiling
again.

Alindyar:  Ah!  Freedom of motion!
Belphanior:  I see two doors in the far wall.  I'll take the eastern
  one.
Mongo:  I'll take the western one, then.
Halbarad:  Caution.  They may be trapped.
Rob:  Watch out for nozzles in the walls...
Peldor:  (looking around for secret doors or treasure)  Ho-hum.
Mongo:  (headed for the western door)  Hm?  Hey!  HEY!  I can't
  move!  My feet are stuck!
Ged:  How...?
Mongo:  Aaaagh!  I hate being stuck!  (rough tendrils are rising
  from the floor and batting at him)  What the fuck?!?!  Where in
  the hell did THOSE come from?!  (swinging his hammer around)

Belphanior:  Seems like I picked the wrong door...(leaps to the
  dwarf's side, hacking at the brownish bludgeons)  Huh?
Alindyar:  'Tis a mimic!
Ged:  Hey!  I was about to say that!
Alindyar:  My apologies.
Ged:  Boccob damn it!  What spells have I to deal with a monster
  like this?!
Alindyar:  That creature is no easy mark...
Belphanior:  Hey, I'm stuck too!  (trying in vain to move his feet)
Mongo:  (slams the ground with his hammer)  Take THAT, living
  floor!
Belphanior:  (severs a blob from its tendril)  Whee!
Peyote:  Gnarly!  Just gnarly!  (moves closer, sword drawn, but
  watches the floor suspiciously)
tendril:  (whacks Mongo hard, snaring his hammer arm in the process)
Mongo:  AGH!  It's got me good now!  Help!
Halbarad:  (lays into the thing with his axe and dagger)
Alindyar:  (sitting cross-legged on his carpet, digging in his pack
  for something)
Rob:  (dashes forth to attack, but his feet get stuck too, and he
  falls over)  <ROLLED A 1 ON d20...>  Ooooops...!
Peyote:  (chops at the floor, wounding the mimic)  Lo!  I found it!
  Or part of it!
Halbarad:  Good work!  Keep at it!
Peldor:  (attacks a stray tentacle, cutting it, but is careful not
  to get mired to the floor)
Ged:  (sputtering in anger)  I'll bash it, by Boccob!  (runs up and
  slams his morningstar into the monster heavily)
Mongo:  Hey!  The blasted thing lost its grip!  (starts pounding the
  now-flaccid mimic/floor/tendrils with his hammer)
Peyote:  Good going, elfdude.  You dealt with it.
Mongo:  You killed it!  (looking around)  Yea!
Ged:  Well, I...
Mongo:  (shaking Ged's hand)  What a true heroic feat!  We'll make
  a warrior out of you yet!
Rob:  (trying to stand up without slipping)  What happened?
Ged:  Do you need healing?
Mongo:  Nah.  I'm barely bruised.  It takes more than that thing to
  stop a Thunderhead.  Save your magic.
Ged:  As you will.
Belphanior:  This door is false (has opened the eastern door to a
  blank wall).
Peldor:  (at the western door)  This one isn't.  Let's take it.
Rob:  (was going to remind the party to search for treasure under
  the mimic but thinks better of it)

  They went through the door and almost immediately turned leftward.
Before them was a long corridor lit by fiery torches set into the
wall every ten feet or so.  It was quite warm in here.

Mongo:  (plodding off down the passage)  Give me something I can
  fight!  No glue monsters, just a giant or two!  Or even an orc,
  for crying out loud!
Halbarad:  Orc?
Belphanior:  I have a feeling that you won't be disappointed before
  too long.
Alindyar:  This heat grows nigh unbearable...
Ged:  No shit.  Whew!
Peldor:  Puny mage.
Peyote:  (sweating profusely)  I can barely stand this dire heatwave,
  dudes.  Let's mosey on out of here.

  Suddenly the walls to either side slid away, and a pair of large
black hounds emerged, one to either side.  Without warning, they
breathed gouts of flame at the tightly-packed party.  All were hit,
for various degrees of injury.

Alindyar:  Fire-breathing hounds!  I have heard tales of these.
Ged:  Indeed.
Alindyar:  Some say they come from the hells.
Ged:  Shall we philosophize on the matter, or help the others?!
Alindyar:  Ah, of course.  (begins spellcasting as his carpet
  rises a bit)  Wait...I have no useful spells for close quarters
  such as these.  (starts looking for his wand)
Mongo:  Agh!  We're like sardines in a can here!
Belphanior:  (charges one of the things, batting Rob out of his way
  as he does do)  You'll pay for that, mutt!
hound#1:  Grr...
Halbarad:  (attacks the other hound with his axe as it prepares to
  breathe again - his armor is smoldering)  Foul vermin!  Away with
  you!
Rob:  (backs off, to the west, and starts casting a spell)
Peldor:  (trying to sneak into the alcove of hound#1)
Peyote:  (moves with Halbarad to double-team hound#2)
hound#2:  (bites Halbarad, wounding him only slightly)  Grr...
hound#1:  (breathes fire at Belphanior)
Belphanior:  Agh!  Die, motherfucker!  (slashes the beast, wounding
  it a bit)  I'll kill you for that!
Rob:  (taps the crazed elf)  There.
Belphanior:  Stay away from me, you!  Can't you see that I'm trying
  to wage war here?!
Rob:  But...I have given you a spell of resistance to heat and fire.
Belphanior:  Oh.
Alindyar:  (blasts hound#1 with magic missiles from his wand)
hound#1:  Yoooowl!
Ged:  (casts blindness on hound#1)  Boccob take your sight, evil
  beast!
hound#1:  (blinded)  Awoooowl!
Ged:  This just isn't your day, is it?
hound#1:  (trying to get a good guess as to where to breathe)
Peldor:  (finds that he can't get by the two warriors battling the
  second hound, and starts moving further down the corridor)
Mongo:  Lemme at 'em!  Lemme at 'em!  (can't find a place to fit into
  the melee)  Shit.

hound#2:  (breathes fire on Halbarad and Peyote, singing them again)
Halbarad:  Agh!  (chops the monster, but his dagger stab misses)
Peyote:  Woo!  (slices the hound...it falls, dying)  Natch!
Halbarad:  What was that?
Peyote:  Nothing.
hound#1:  (breathes fire on Belphanior)
Belphanior:  (protected by Rob's spell, he feels no pain)  Ahh.  This
  is too easy...(hacks the monster to death within two minutes)

  Meanwhile, Peldor had advanced to the end of the passage (it turned
rightward) and was peering carefully around the corner.  Unfortunately
he was only human and as such had no infravision.  Thus, he had no
warning when a three foot long crossbow bolt flew out of the darkness
to the north and pinned him to the wall, transfixing his arm.  All he
heard were heavy footfalls and a slammed door somewhere ahead.

Peldor:  AAGH!
Mongo:  Hey!  The thief got ambushed!
Ged:  Serves him right.  But, let's go help him out.
Halbarad:  Aye.  (they all run westward to the corner)
Belphanior:  (stays behind, having spotted gem-studded collars on the
  hell hounds)  Ah...

nearby...

Peyote:  What happened, dude?
Peldor:  Someone shot me, what does it look like?!  Agh!
Mongo:  Nailed you to that wall good, too.
Ged:  We need some clippers, or something.
Peldor:  Bah.  Just get me off of this wall.
Mongo:  (grabs the tail end of the inch-thick bolt)  You sure?
Peldor:  I can take it.
Mongo:  O-kay...
Halbarad:  When Mongo breaks the bolt, we'll pull the thief off of it.
Peyote:  Sure thing.
Mongo:  Grr...<SNAP>
Peldor:  YEAAAAARGH!!!!!
Halbarad:  (he and Peyote get Peldor safely to the ground)
Ged:  That's a nasty hole there (pressing a cloth to stop the blood
  flow)
Peldor:  AAAARGH!
Peyote:  Medic!
Rob:  I'm here.  Don't worry.  (heals Peldor, twice)  Do you feel any
  better, brave thief?
Peldor:  Ahhh.......yeah.  Oh yeah.
Ged:  Enough.  Let's get some light on this passage to the north.
Halbarad:  (explores said area, finding a lengthy corridor leading to
  a heavy door)
Rob:  (to Peldor)  I know how it is to do one thing when everyone else
  is doing something else.  I sympathize with you.
Peldor:  I owe you one.
Rob:  Think nothing of it.
Ged:  Say, who's missing?

  Suddenly, a loud cry of pain came from the east.  Belphanior was
staggering toward the party, a gem-studded dog collar grasped in one
hand...

Ged:  Wha...?
Belphanior:  <gasp>  Poison...  (falls to his knees)





next time:  minotaur madness; cubic jello; the muck-thing; serpents;
            the doom of the party...

ANONYMOUS FTP SITE: tybalt.caltech.edu (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
***********************************************************************
NOTES:  Well.  It's been only two days, i.e. about 48 hours, since my
last posting.  The distress signal did not go unheard.  I got no less
than 36 email messages, all of them positive and encouraging.  So:  I
think I was having a slight case of the "cry wolf" syndrome.  I just
was in momentary doubt as to whether or not there were still fans out
there.  However, I doubt no more.  Do not worry, the stories will
continue.  If I was in a slump then, I'm on a high wave now.  Funny
how these things work out...I extend a heartfelt thanks to all who
sent me mail.
  I will wrap up module A3 with the next posting (part 33) and get
into A4, the best of the series in my opinion.
***********************************************************************




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