Chapter #332

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                                +   +
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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                    +
+                          +
+  THE PARTY:                                                       +
+                                                                   +
+  Peldor       19th level human thief                         (N)  +
+    Bosco      11th level halfling thief                     (CN)  +
+    Tanya       5th/11th level female human fighter/thief     (N)  +
+  Date:        6/25/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        early morning                                       +
+  Place:       the Free City of Greyhawk                           +
+  Climate:     warm                                                +
+  "I've got questions and I want answers.  Now start talking."     +
+                                        - Colton, from _Breakout_  +

                  CCCXXXII.  Business As Usual

  More than two weeks have passed since the adventurers were freed
from the evil foes by their henchpeople and various allies.  The
party has split once more, each member returning to Greyhawk (or
elsewhere) and going about his or her business.  In Peldor's case,
he has gone to talk to Org Nenshen, guildmaster of thieves in the
Free City.

Peldor:  -just about back to normal.  But there's still something
  that's _really_ been bugging me.
Org:  (steeples his fingers and leans back in his chair)  And that
Peldor:  Who in the heck was that Wendell guy?!?
Org:  What makes you think I would know?
Peldor:  (leans forward)  Fact:  Tanya came to you for help.  Fact:
  this strange fellow shows up in the rescue party, to assist an
  archmage with his luggage.
Org:  (smirks)
Peldor:  Fact:  later, this same porter joins the great battle,
  already in progress - where, I might add, he proceeds to slay a
  variety of foes with relative ease.
Org:  (frowns)  Incredible!
Peldor:  It sure is, isn't it?  Look, my friend.  I'm not stupid.
  You were the only one who knew what was going on, yet never did
  verbally commit to helping.  Tanya thinks that you sent this...
  Wendell, or whoever he was.  But I don't, so what I want to know
  is, who did?
Org:  Now you think I _wasn't_ involved?
Peldor:  No way.  If you were, then how come he didn't identify
  himself, using that amulet, with that insignia that you showed
Org:  (muttering to himself, really, as if he could answer without
  Peldor hearing)  Because he didn't have time until the battle was
Peldor:  (babbling on, he suddenly stops)  Eh?  What was that?
Org:  I think you heard me.
Peldor:  So you _do_ know!
Org:  (spreads his hands)  Never denied it.
Peldor:  (leans in close)  So who _was_ he?
Org:  Don't you know?
Peldor:  Let's just say I have my suspicions.
Org:  Go on.
Peldor:  I can only think of one individual who might be called the
  best assassin in the city.
Org:  (grins)  Ah, then you _do_ know.
Peldor:  Wendell...Whisper.  Hmm, kinda makes sense.
Org:  Disguise is his forte.  Or one of them, anyhow.
Peldor:  You don't think that was his real face?
Org:  I wouldn't bet on it.  And I'd also hope not:  he protects his
  identity well.
Peldor:  Apparently so.  According to Tanya, he played quite the fool
  on the journey to find us...a real moron, by all appearances.
Org:  Fooled 'em all, did he?
Peldor:  All except for the wizard Drawmij, perhaps.  Which raises
  my next question:  why'd he help us?
Org:  Pardon?
Peldor:  Did the city hire him to help?  Or did a select few call in
  some favors?  Or maybe Whisper knows Belphanior?
Org:  Good heavens, I hope not.
Peldor:  Then why?  Why did he come along?
Org:  You ask a lot of questions.
Peldor:  Yep, I'm a curious sort.
Org:  Answer:  the assassin was commissioned because several of those
  kidnapped were owed a debt by Greyhawk herself.
Peldor:  (half-expecting this)  Oh.
Org:  The Oligarchs...the Circle of was a decision made
  at the very highest levels.
Peldor:  Ah...a city-driven sanction.  Whose idea was it, originally?
Org:  Idea?
Peldor:  Yes.  From what I've studied of the workings of the city's
  government, something like this had to originate from the highest
  levels of the ruling Oligarchy.
Org:  You just won't give up, will you?
Peldor:  I've got to know what I've got to know.
Org:  (looking somewhat embarrassed)  Well...if you must know, the
  idea was first introduced - along with the pertinent facts - by a
  wise and concerned who hoped to see one of his friends
  come back safe and sound.
Peldor:  (looks stunned)  Oh.
Org:  (stands, smiling)  Now will you finally, please stop asking me
  these questions?!?
Peldor:  (also stands) was you!  My friend, I owe you a
  great debt!
Org:  Nonsense.
Peldor:  Helping a friend in need is not nonsense.  (he clasps the
  other's hand)  Tell me the assassin's fee, and I shall pay you
Org:  Never.
Peldor:  But-
Org:  (grinning)  Money isn't everything.  Now go, you - get back to
  work!  You've got a lot of backlog to account for, you rogue!  We
  can't all take week-long vacations, you know.
Peldor:  (leaving)  I won't forget this...Org, I owe you one.  (he
  departs silently)

  Behind, in the dim room, Org smiled to himself.

Org:  Anytime, my friend.  Anytime.

  Soon, Peldor arrived at his inn, walking through the front door,
deep in thought.  His musings were interrupted by a loud crash, and
a small body came screeching around a corner, skidding to a halt
just in front of Peldor.

Bosco:  Hey!
Peldor:  What in the world-
Vinnie:  (rounds the corner, murder in his eyes)  BOSCO!
Bosco:  Eep.  (he takes off again, heading toward the casino)
Vinnie:  Get back here, you little squirt!  I'm gonna boot you into
  next week...!  (he chases after the halfling)
Peldor:  I'm not even going to ask.  (he looks around)  Why am I
  talking to myself here?

  Entering the bar area, Peldor snuck up on Tanya, intending to give
her a surprise kiss after grabbing her from behind.  However, she
either heard him coming or had some sixth sense - who knew which -
for she whirled, deflecting his arms and flipping him around her
hip, to the floor.

Tanya:  Watch it, bub.  What've you got to say for yourself?
Peldor:  (lying on his back on the floor, grinning sheepishly)  Hi,
  honey, I'm home?
Tanya:  Good enough, I suppose.  (she reaches down, grabbing his hand
  and pulling him to his feet and into a bountiful hug)
Peldor:  Mmm.
Tanya:  (eyeing the nearly-empty interior of the establishment)  Good
  thing business is at an ebb right now, or we wouldn't be able to
  perform these little shenanigans.
Peldor:  I can think of other shenanigans that we could-

  The thief's statement was interrupted by another, more distant
crash, followed by a yelp from Bosco.

Peldor:  Say, what's going on here?
Tanya:  Err...Bosco's ferrets stole Vinnie's wallet.
Peldor:  Don't you mean purse?
Tanya:  To each their own...
Peldor:  Stole?  Ferrets?  Wait, what do you mean, _Bosco's_ ferrets?
Tanya:  (shrugs)  Bosco's ferrets!  (she sighs)  Apparently, our
  most excellent cook awarded some Bosco misdeed with a trio of baby
  ferrets.  He taught Bosco how to raise for to care for
  them...and how to train them.
Peldor:  (warily)  Train them for what?
Tanya:  (smirks)  What do you think?
Peldor:  Oh, dear lord.

  Just then, Bosco came barreling around the end of the bar, fell
into a roll, somehow slid through the legs of a table, and leapt to
his feet, stopping before Peldor.  A small, wriggling leather sack
was clutched in his tiny hands.

Bosco:  (looking behind his shoulder)  Hah!  Outwitted the dim fool!
  (he grabs a mug of beer from the bar next to Tanya, drains half of
  it, and burps)  Ahh!
Peldor:  Listen, Bosco...
Bosco:  (puts his finger to his lips)  Shh!  Be very, very quiet -
  I'm on the run!
Tanya:  Shouldn't you-
Vinnie:  (barrels around another corner and stops, obviously winded
  from much running about)  Bosco!
Bosco:  Uh-oh.  (he looks around, deciding which way to run next)
Peldor:  (raises his voice)  Everyone, STOP!
Bosco:  Aie.
Vinnie:  Huh?
Peldor:  Okay, enough of this.  Try and act professional, guys.  We
  are, after all, a public establishment.
Vinnie:  He started it!
Bosco:  Did not!
Peldor:  Bosco...the wallet.
Bosco:  (looks around innocently)  Wallet?  What wallet?
Vinnie:  _My_ wallet, you little beastmaster!
Peldor:  (eyeing the small sack in Bosco's clutches, as a tiny, furry
  head pokes out and looks around)
Bosco:  Beastmaster...I kinda like the sound of that.
Tanya:  (puts her head in her hands)
Bosco:  Bosco...Dragon Slayer, Juggernaut Warrior, Beastmaster!
Peldor:  You may be all of those things, Bosco, but you still have
  to give Vinnie's wallet back.
Bosco:  (talking to his ferrets now, as they begin emerging from the
  sack)  Good boys.  (he looks in the sack)  Hey!
Peldor:  What?
Bosco:  The wallet's gone?
Tanya:  (sarcastically)  What wallet?
Vinnie:  That's not funny, Bosco.  Now give it back.
ferrets:  (slinking around alongside the bar)
Bosco:  (turns the empty sack inside-out)  They hid it!  Again!
Vinnie:  Again?!?
Bosco:  (to Peldor)  They hide _everything_.  But I know where to
  look.  (he dashes away, toward the booths in the rear of the large
  dining room)
Peldor:  (scratching his head)  Now what?
Tanya:  (putting an arm around him, she begins scratching his head
  for him)  Apparently, they tend to hide things in the same places
  over and over.
Peldor:  Oh.  I didn't know that.

  Bosco reappeared within moments, a fat wallet held high in one
raised hand.

Bosco:  I knew it!
Vinnie:  Hey, that's my wallet!
Bosco:  (tosses the thing back to the bouncer)  Don't worry, it's
  all there - they don't know how to count and steal individual
  coins.  Not yet.  But you can count it if ya want.
Vinnie:  Don't worry, I will.  (he stalks away)
Tanya:  (smirks, not unamused)
Peldor:  Bosco?
Bosco:  Yeah, boss?
Peldor:  You never take a break, do you?
Bosco:  Hey, being me is a full-time job!

next:   a startling revelation
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
notes:  From time to time, various readers enjoy pointing out that
  various speakers in my stories don't always use proper grammar.
  This is true - because in real life as well, most speakers don't.
  Understand that I'm not at all ridiculing my readers - I'm just
  trying to explain why I write some things the way I do.
    Also, I'll be needing a trio of matching/related names for
  Bosco's three ferrets.  Kodo, Podo, and Frodo?  Probably too
  obvious.  Huey, Dewey, and Louie?  Already appeared as human
  villains.  Groucho, Harpo, and Zeppo?  Perhaps.
    Consider this a contest.

  In other news, on or around February 15 1996 the old cimmeria
(a NeXTstation turbo) was replaced with the new cimmeria (a Sun
Sparc 2.)  Didn't even notice, didja?     :)

  More fan mail; this batch covers #319-324 (in other words,
everything up to and including the big climactic battle) and
afterwards I'll answer some of the pressing questions of the

>>  And now some thoughts on the story: I became more and more
>>  distressed while reading the previous installments where the
>>  Adventurers were captured, one by one. Measuring the companions'
>>  skills against those who captured the group made me feel even
>>  more ill at ease about the success of a rescue attempt (even
>>  though I damn well knew they _had_ to be rescued). I had been
>>  so focused on their enemies that it didn't even occur to me of
>>  all the friends and allies the Adventurers must have made over time.
>>  I realize that Yod won't be directly involved in the rescue (at
>>  least not right away), I hope he is notified of Mongo's plight
>>  somehow before the rescue team leaves.
>>>>  Much later, after night had cloaked the city, the four
>>>>  adventurers were gathered in the Green Dragon Inn.  They sat
>>>>  around a table, eating and drinking as they bandied ideas and
>>>>  plans about.
>>  Why do I have the feeling (especially after reading 220) that
>>  this isn't the only such meeting going on concerning the rescue
>>  of the captured Adventurers?
>>  My compliments to the creators of Drawmij: quite an intriguing,
>>  even menacing character.
>>  Oh, I am looking forward to the trip beneath the Azure sea, and
>>  the rescue.
>>  This really is a great story-line: the best in, um, well, ever!
>>  Leonard

>>  Thomas,
>>     Well done.  Well done indeed.  Drawmij was a nice touch, as
>>  was the 'romance' between Deryck and Nenya.
>>     Bosco/Gorin mention Halbarad, Peyote, and Rob.  Might be
>>  interesting, considering the way Halbarad has...matured (i.e. how
>>  he behaved in the "Predator" episode).  Not to mention that Otto
>>  still hasnt showed up yet.
>>     One thing, though, I hope that you will include in the end is
>>  one hell of a running battle, like when the Adventurers first
>>  started.  One of the things that seemed to always grab my attention
>>  is how well the party works together when it wants to.  Two that
>>  come to mind are the encounter with the giants/trolls/ogres just
>>  after Rillen joined the party, and the series of fights that led
>>  to Peldor getting ripped in half.  Not necessarily just a bunch
>>  of hack and slash, but a touch-and-go type of thing where the
>>  Adventurers are really put to the test.  With Drawmij in the mix,
>>  lots of spell power tooo.  Another battle that comes to mind is
>>  the final one in the alternate-Oearth series, where Alyndiar broke
>>  his staff.  A good hard chase might also help the effect.  Imagine
>>  a highly intelligent group of villains, pulling the party this
>>  way, and that, as they fight through the villains lair.  Impromtu
>>  traps, ambushes, and the like.  (Yet another thought is to have a
>>  chase something akin to what Terry Brooks did in _The Sword of
>>  Shanarra_.)  You mentioned in an earlier post about trying to get
>>  a 'long-standing' villain.  A way to do it might be to have this
>>  grand series of battles, only to have a core goup of two or three
>>  escape just at the last minute, or escape mid battle and leave
>>  the party to battle a bucket-load of minions.  Naturally, the
>>  Adventurers will be plenty ticked-off, not to mention the higher-
>>  ups in Greyhawk.......
>>  Anyway, nice story to start the New Year with.  Looking forward
>>  to the next one.
>>  Tom

>>  "Nenya" is one of the Elven rings from Lord of the Rings.  neat.
>>   Just  noticed this. :-) The others are Vilya and Narya, in case
>>  you want to  give Nenya a coulpe of sisters. :-)
>>  TTYL,
>>  TJ

>>  wow, great! i've missed all the old characters. maybe you
>>  should have krug guest star as well. :)
>>  Daniel

>>  I love this current story line, the kidnappings and all are
>>  really something.  I'm waiting anxiously to see who is behind
>>  it all and what will happen in the final confrontation.  It's
>>  been a while since the entire party was in a big battle
>>  together, they are quite a force to tangle with!
>>  I was wondering if Halbarad, Peyote,and Rob were the next on
>>  the list to be kidnapped. After all, they were party to most
>>  of the groups adventures.  I just finished reading 319 and
>>  saw that maybe they will be in the rescue group, just as
>>  well, I like Peyote and Halbarad.  Rob is good for comical
>>  relief plus he's a pretty powerful cleric.
>>  Just a comment on Mongo's capture.  I never pictured Mongo
>>  to be all that concerned with human life.  I mean I just
>>  couldn't picture him giving up his weapons just to save the
>>  kid.  I definately could see him pulverizing the kidnapper
>>  AFTER he had killed the kid but not giving up in order to
>>  stop the kid from getting hurt, of course he would do his
>>  best to prevent it, by killing the kidnapper before he could
>>  do too much damage...  Oh well it's your story.
>>  Keep up the good work, I like getting 3 or 4 episodes in 2
>>  or 3 days :)
>>  Marc

>>    Hi Tom,
>>      I like this new story arc.  The adventurers are captured
>>  and have no idea who's behind it.  Whoever it is isn't messing
>>  around.  I wonder if Zara hasn't found a way back to life...
>>  hmmm?  This is a great chance to spotlight the henchmen and
>>  we also get to see some old friends like Peyote and Halbarad,
>>  not to mention guest stars like Yod.
>>      Keep up the great work!
>>    Michael

>>  Thomas,
>>  Hmmm....lets see...Drawmij, Yod, Halbarad, Peyote, Rob, Otto,
>>  Nenya, Tanya, Gorin, Bosco, and Wendell in the Rescue party.
>>  Belphanior, Peldor, Alindyar, Lyra, Ged, Rillen, Mongo, and
>>  Arnold in the To-Be-Rescued party.  Incapacitation notwith-
>>  standing, I can only surmise that who/whatever is behind all
>>  this is in for a world of hurt before this is all resolved.
>>  I was curious about the tiger Zephyr, though.  And the wispy
>>  thing.  Just wondering where they had gotten off to.
>>  Tom

>>  Thomas,
>>  Sounds like Drawmij did his apprenticeship up at General
>>  Dynamics' Electric Boat Division in Groton, CT.  Of course,
>>  the next question is, how does one classify this thing---
>>  is it an attack boat, or a boomer.....  :) :) :)
>>  Fascinating story.  I like the 'flat world' touch.  The
>>  other amusement is Rob, who goes from bumbling idiot, to
>>  bumbling idiot with intelligence....
>>  So, the Orcus saga starts.  I know one or two folks who
>>  will be extremely pleased to read it.  If the start is any
>>  indication, it looks like it ought to be fun. A point to
>>  ponder, though:  when this first 'battle' is done with,
>>  and the party makes its way back to Greyhawk to discuss
>>  the implications of this, what are the Oligarchs going to
>>  say?
>>  Surely, even with as powerful as the Adventurers are, the
>>  city elders aren't going to want something as powerful as
>>  Orcus wrecking havoc on the city, or nearby countryside,
>>  looking for the Adventurers.  A temporary banishment until
>>  the issue is resolved...?  A state order to go and take
>>  Orcus out?  Hmmmm......
>>  Looking forward to the next one.
>>  Regards,
>>  Tom

>>  Thomas,
>>    I must congradulate you on this story line.
>>>>  black-robed one:  A host of demons, including one of the
>>>>generals of the great one's of the leaders of
>>>>the Chaos of the six great Balors itself!
>>  Oh man, I love it when something comes back to haunt the
>>  players from the early days of their campaigning!  Especially
>>  when they have forgotten all about it...
>>  Wayne

>>  This storyline has been the best ever.  Your measured pace
>>  reveals the maturity of your writing, which I think has
>>  improved considerable (even though I liked the early stuff,
>>  too!).  I'm really looking forward to the resolution.
>>  BTW: the two groups looked wisely chosen.  Nice job!  :-)
>>  Richard

>>  Well now, this series is, without a doubt, the best you've
>>  done so far. I wish I had the time to give more input, but
>>  to be honest, you haven't needed it!
>>  One thought: if the adventurers have gained the attention
>>  and focus of a major diety, will simply defeating his
>>  minion (albeit a powerful one) be enough? It seems that
>>  some sort of equal (or greater) diety is going to have
>>  to interfere at some point, or we'll be back with the
>>  Adventurers getting attacked yet again.
>>  This _is_ great stuff. Maybe it's time to dust off the "who
>>  would play whom" in a movie ideas and submitt these puppies?
>>  Only a partial ;-) there!
>>  Leonard

>>  My guess on wendel was correct, and the use of the Elemental
>>  King  was brilliant, as I had forgotten the teams firepower.
>>  Drooling  with anticipation for the bloodfest posts to follow.
>>  Vic

>>  Thomas,
>>  The stories are great!  This type of story line is very
>>  difficult to have happen in a game context since most PCs
>>  will kill themselves trying to escape before the rescue.
>>  It is very interesting to see the "minor" characters taking
>>  charge to help their friends and teachers.  It was a great
>>  idea to bring back the rest of the original crew, but they
>>  still don't blend right with the rest of the group.
>>  I can't wait for the carnage to start in 325.  The Adventurers
>>  will be all ready to kill, maim and destroy once they get loose.
>>  I am looking foreward to Belphanior's calm reaction, once he is
>>  able to get some equal footing with his captors. :-)
>>  Keep Them Coming!!
>>  Marcus

>>  Thomas,
>>  Picking teams for baseball ... <grin> ... if that was hard,
>>  imagine what you would go through if you had to pick their
>>  batting order.... :)
>>  In another venue, looking for a WWF Main Event?  Try the
>>  Elemental King takes on the Iron Dwarf! :)
>>  Wendell was a nice touch, though I have to admit I was looking
>>  for something similar to happen with him.  With as powerful as
>>  Drawmij is, you knew somewhere he had to have someone tucked
>>  away that was good in a fight.  You might say Wendell's now
>>  the party's ace in the hole.  Hmm...maybe he and Drawmij have
>>  something worked out on the side....
>>   Halbarad and Peyote...they have worked out quite well,
>>  especially together.  Always did like both the ranger and
>>  druid classes.  This looks a lot more like the Halbarad
>>  of the early years and the 'Predator' episode, rather
>>  than the Halbarad that was sort of non-commital.  Its
>>  funny how Peyote generally takes abuse (or at least used
>>  to) from your readers as being silly or not doing any-
>>  thing, yet without him, the fight with the undead could
>>  very well have been much less one-sided.  Its good to see
>>  both the woodsmen contributing, if even in a subtle way.
>>  Bosco...Bosco looking out for Tanya?  My, oh my.  Whats the
>>  world coming to?  :)
>>  Otto...its been good to see Otto get into the act too.  In
>>  some ways, every adventuring party needs one wise-guy who tells
>>  it like it is, and is always on the side of pessimism and
>>  cynicism.  The one guy that, once everybody thinks every
>>  possible question has been raised, comes up with points no
>>  one really thought about.  He's becoming a Belphanior Jr, only
>>  with a little less chaos.
>>  Got that sneaky feeling things are going to blow up in a hurry
>>  here soon.
>>  Till next time,
>>  Tom

>>  I liked the whole plotline, but the "mass" batttle was the
>>  best you've written yet!
>>  Eric

>>  As usual, a totally smashing ending to this long storyline.
>>  Rance

>>  I had a blast reading this one.  It was nice to see alindyar
>>  in a rage.   nice touch.  I think that Alindyar and the
>>  Circle of Eight may want to give the Adventurers and their
>>  companions a gift.  Matching medallions/bracelets...something
>>  that will help them stay in contact that they can prevent
>>  being taken as they were ever again...  Or at least try to
>>  prevent it.
>>  Patrick

>>  Excellent episode, Thomas.  I'm glad you sent out part 2
>>  today.  I was about to send you a message with something
>>  to the effect of "More, more, now, now!" ;-)
>>  Keep'em coming (after you take your break, of course)
>>        Greg

>>  hey thomas,
>>  most excellent conclusion to a well written story.  i loved
>>  it.
>>  up until peldor's wish i thought they were in real trouble,
>>  what with all the undead and such, things looked grim.  but
>>  then the tide turned. excellent.
>>  arnold's tongue can be easily regenerated by ged, if i'm not
>>  mistaken.
>>  with the appearance of orcus, do i smell a bloodstone plot
>>  coming on?  that would be cool.
>>  i wonder if yod will be able to summon the earth elemental
>>  lord for a while?  some people play that the banishment spell
>>  lasts for quite a long while, but then the connection with
>>  the axe might be strong enough to over come the spell...hmmm.
>>  anyways, take a long deserved rest, go get some beer or
>>  something.  relax.  and then write more!
>>  thanks.
>>  have fun,
>>  matt h.

>>  Tom:
>>    Very good post.  I enjoyed it tremeduously.(sp)  Now that
>>  the great minons have been eradicated from this earth there
>>  are a couple threads that you might want to think about. (ie
>>  suggestions, hint, hint)
>>  1) Mongo is thinking about forming an empire.  There are
>>  several ways to have him look at certain areas to form this
>>  kingdom without have to actually build one yet.  This could
>>  be another example of Mongo helping some less fortune dwarfs
>>  but deciding not to stay.
>>  2) Peldor is pretty much set as far as what he will be doing.
>>  It might be interesting to see what would happen if a well
>>  financed rival thieves guild came into existance.  Also,
>>  several times there have been hints of shapeshifters
>>  (dopplegangers) trying to invade the city.  There is a thread
>>  that could be followed up by one then several of the members
>>  in a dungeon crawl underneath Greyhawk.
>>  3) Belth..You might want to have him develop the town by
>>  helping find deposits of minerals and then have a local ruler
>>  (ie like the state governer) decide he wants more control.
>>  In addition, there is always the discovery of some ancient
>>  buried evil (enemy) do to minning or exploring the area.
>>  4) Lyra and Aly...they could always be requested to do some-
>>  thing for the magic users guild which involves great risk
>>  and then requires help from other members.  In addition
>>  there could be some great Drow hunter appear and decide that
>>  these two are not that good and try to take them out.
>>  5) Ged..there could be some evil forming in the hills
>>  (mountains) to the west of his land that threatens to invade.
>>  Or his god could send him on a  quest.
>>  6) Rillian could decide to form a monestary or help start
>>  one somewhere so that the order he was in does not die
>>  completely.  There is also the idea of him finding another
>>  monk of his order who decides to establish a monestary and
>>  Rillien helping clear out an area and set things up.
>>  7) As far a henchmen, they could be used to lead into
>>  various aspects of the above to side adventures.
>>  8) Another idea is that after R&R  (ie in a little bit) you
>>  could have then sent on a quest like the one to recover the
>>  artifact of element control.  finding a suitable artifact
>>  is up to you.
>>  9) And then there is the idea of a mission to the Iuz area
>>  and that neck of the woods to find out what is going on up
>>  north to combat the spread of evil.
>>  10) And of course you need to think about how Orca is going
>>  to get even eventually.
>>  Ideas for thought.
>>  John

>>  I loved the 325 episodes. It was a surprisingly even match
>>  from the sound of it! Real gripping stuff. It'll be nice to
>>  see some other 'demon backed' protagonist rising to fill
>>  Necros' shoes. Horray for Orcus, he's such a great guy.
>>  Evil should win from time to time, give the baddies a break
>>  Pete

>>  I thought I'd better give you some feedback on the latest
>>  storylines.
>>  I really liked the use of Drawmij...the location of the
>>  bad guys base and suchlike. I also think you did a good
>>  job with the big fights, and it was nice to see Halbarad,
>>  Peyote and Rob again. However, my favourite bits were
>>  Wendell and the iron dwarf:-)   Wendell - what can I say?
>>  Nice aura of mystery, good lines (some of them sounded
>>  strangely familiar) - obviously a character with lots of
>>  potential. Heck, if I was one of the adventurers I'd
>>  probably be paying him never to accept a contract on me.
>>  I also expected Belphanior to start getting to know him,
>>  maybe offer him a job or two - since B. is the closest
>>  thing the adventurers have to an assasin.  I was very
>>  pleased to see that you didn't kill the iron dwarf off
>>  (Are you really telling me that burying him and drowning
>>  him will kill him? It didn't work for Jaws in that James
>>  Bond movie (Thunderball?)

  The Spy Who Loved Me.

>>  Basically, the iron dwarf is just about THE toughest guy
>>  one can have in the AD&D game, apart from maybe a god or
>>  the tarrasque (and I'd still be hedging my bets!) and I
>>  really like the way that nothing can put him down. It
>>  also reminds Mongo that whoever you are, there's always
>>  someone tougher than you. I would like to see the
>>  adventurers take the initiative on this one though - they
>>  probably also think he's survived so lets not just have
>>  them forget about him 'till they encounter him again. I
>>  feel sure that some of the adventurers would love to learn
>>  how to control him - let's see them do some research (and
>>  also make plans focusing on finding his weak spots) even
>>  if they don't actually get to control him. Maybe they
>>  figure out how to do so but when they return they find
>>  he's gone! Oh dear, worry worry - I hope he isn't in the
>>  wrong hands *evil grin*.
>>  Sean

>>  I noticed in the F.A.Q. that recently you read "Siege of
>>  Darkness" by R.A. Salvatore. Are the Drow on their way
>>  to invade Yod's kingdom? Are there deep gnomes and grey
>>  dwarves on (well, under) Oerth?  The "far west" setting
>>  of Helgate is exellent. But Belphanior should get more
>>  followers, don't you think so?  Please post more Rillen!
>>  Costas

>>  Thanks, Thomas.
>>  By now I have received all episodes (324-327 doubled),
>>  and just made my way through 325. A VERY nice story! Let
>>  me guess: the iron dwarf will be back.  BTW: I do not
>>  think Orcus should keep fighting. Considering combined
>>  strengths of adventurers and their friends (and few more
>>  archmages that might join in in case of TRUE emergency)
>>  Orcus (or I, if I were him) would decide to cut the high
>>  priest casualties. High priests are hard to come by, and
>>  take time to prepare. Anything short of Orcus' personal
>>  intervention might be insufficient (and adventurers are
>>  now on guard.)
>>    I would, however, consider some god joining in - the
>>  Adventurers as a group are WAY too powerful, and they
>>  disbalance the world by now. We are talking about some
>>  of the best warriors, mages, and priests on the planet!
>>    Some higher power might try to stop them fearing not
>>  of adventurers, but for them (and for Oerth)
>>  In general, good stuff. Just do not turn it into a
>>  second 'Moonshae' trilogy.  I HATED that! All the evil
>>  gods, one by one, lined up like nice little boys, coming
>>  after the Earthmother... What a pile of trash!

  I never read that series, and don't know what it's about,
but you're right, it does sound stupid.

>>                                     TimeLord

>>  Thomas,
>>  Congratulations all around!  The stories just keep getting
>>  better and better.  325 was an incredible episode, and I
>>  think that the whole series is probably now my favorite.
>>  The captures were all done intelligently, and the responses
>>  by the Adventurers friends and companions was equally well
>>  thought out.
>>  BTW, what is so wrong with watching some Westerns?  With
>>  the number of thieves, gamblers, and get-rich-quick
>>  skeemers entering the town, some of them are bound to
>>  cross paths with my favorite duo, Belphanior and Otto. :-)
>>  There is nothing better than seeing Belph & Otto acting
>>  "Law and Order" and protecting what they have rightfully
>>  stolen. :-)
>>  Keep them coming,
>>  Marcus

  And here are a couple of readers' suggestions for the future:

>>  Here's a suggestion on future episodes:
>>  For the Helgate..somewhere in far future, when gold is
>>  running out again, the miners could dig a wee bit too deep.
>>  Result could be that the town starts really live up to it's
>>  name. ;)
>>  There's also the future Ghawk will it affect the
>>  lives of the adventurers? Was the Greyhawk sieged? Fate of
>>  Ged's castle? Will their enemies see a opportunity they
>>  cannot miss? Will the adventurers see a opportunity to grab
>>  more power and influence? Time will tell..
>>   - VP

>>  1. "Take me to the future of your world" - Princes of the
>>  Universe (Queen).
>>  With regards to the Great War (or whatever it is called, I
>>  know little about the GH setting save what I picked up from
>>  a Gord the Rogue novel and your own stories, plus tidbits
>>  on the net), as well as the events leading up to it, it
>>  will be interesting to see if the presence (and actions) of
>>  the adventurers alters the "big picture" (Oerth timeline)
>>  described in the published books and modules.
>>  2. "I wish I'd been there." - me after reading episode 300.
>>  While Belphanior and Otto have been spending their six
>>  months after rescue ruling Helgate, obviously Peldor and
>>  co will be doing something.  And (unless I missed it) he
>>  never did get around to making inquiries about the shape-
>>  shifting things and the noble's body that he, Bosco and
>>  Belphanior found in the sewers... is the corpse still in
>>  the sack in cellar of his inn? :)
>>  3. "It's a trap!" - Admiral Ackbar.
>>  I do hope Alindyar, Lyra and Ged will put some thought
>>  towards what to do about the various enemies the party has
>>  made in the mere six years they've been adventuring. :)
>>  Ged has 20 Intelligence *and* Wisdom (!), Alindyar has 20
>>  Int (& Lyra 18), and some of the others aren't far behind -
>>  pretty awesome mental wattage.  Of course, just because one
>>  has god-like intellect, doesn't mean it gets much use, or
>>  applies to all fields of knowledge. :)
>>  Though if getting kidnapped as they did doesn't get them
>>  thinking about future precautions, they may deserve what-
>>  ever happens to them next time.
>>  4. "With our luck, if we stopped to smell the roses,
>>  they'd be in a patch of grab grass." - Mercury Celembril,
>>  sleepy journeymage.
>>  I was going to ask if there was any chance of a cameo or
>>  'name-dropping' for readers' characters (eg Mer, above),
>>  but then I realized if you did, there'd be no room for
>>  the story... so better not. Though I must say, if he ever
>>  visited your Greyhawk, I know where he'd stay. For the
>>  food! :)
>>  Speaking of which (cameos), how does Alindyar know a
>>  Garzith from Celene (ep.300), and who is this person? I've
>>  been wondering for ages.  And after reading your web site,
>>  I now recognise certain other names - and wonder how
>>  various members of the two groups would get on: for
>>  instance the thought of Bosco and Kup teaming up... the
>>  mind boggles!
>>  (pause while typing this, flip to story roster, hmmmm....)
>>  Hang on, that wouldn't be short for Garzithraxonitus, the
>>  bronze dragon met in a certain dungeon way back? And
>>  Alindyar invited him? Neat! :)
>>  (love how your story has so much depth and continuuity)
>>  ---
>>  Shane

  Okay, based on the above fanmail plus other mail I've gotten,
here are some answers:

Q:  Will someone be able to restore Arnold's severed tongue?
A:  Definitely.

Q:  When will we see Orcus again?
A:  Sooner than you think.

Q:  Why isn't Mongo trying to build a fortress and/or an empire?
A:  He isn't as old or experienced as Yod (levels aside) and he
    also isn't ready to take on that responsibility.

Q:  Why haven't the shapeshifters in Greyhawk struck again?
A:  Who says they haven't?  Actually, I haven't yet decided if
    their little colony was run into extinction by the efforts
    of Peldor and Belphanior, or if they're still up to their
    evil plans.

Q:  How much longer are we going to watch Belphanior resist
    sliding into complete and total evil?
A:  Not much longer.  I just want to do a story worthy of the
    idea, and it's taking a while to set up.

Q:  Where was Rillen headed when he got kidnapped?
A:  You'll know by episode #340.

Q:  Are the seven runes ever going to re-appear?
A:  I haven't decided.  To be honest, given the adventurers'
    sudden transportation to another dimension, someone had
    to step in and mop up the rune mess, and soon.  So they
    did, and all we know at the moment is that it was another
    group of adventurers.  I may just leave it at that - the
    adventurers I write about aren't the only powerful group
    on Oerth.

Q:  Is the iron dwarf dead?
A:  Or course not.

Q:  Will drow ever assault Thunderdelve, a la Salvatore?
A:  Doubtful.  While I've been known to borrow good ideas, I
    honestly don't think I could ever do this one as well as
    Salvatore did.

Q:  When will the Adventurers become involved in the Greyhawk
A:  Not for a while.  The pre-Wars events start in C.Y. 579
    and the Wars themselves begin in C.Y. 581.  Currently, it's
    C.Y. 576 in my stories.'ll be a while.

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