Chapter #337

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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:                                                       +
+                                                                   +
+  Arnold       12th level human barbarian warrior            (NG)  +
+  Ged          14th/14th level grey elven priest/mage        (NG)  +
+    Nenya       8th/9th level high elven fighter/mage        (NG)  +
+  Mongo        17th level dwarven fighter                    (CG)  +
+    Gorin       8th level dwarven fighter                    (CG)  +
+  Date:        6/26/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        midday                                              +
+  Place:       Ged's castle, west of Greyhawk                      +
+  Climate:     warm                                                +
+  "Well, I'll be damned."                                          +
+  "You may indeed...if you get lucky."                             +
+                 - Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, from _Tombstone_   +

            CCCXXXVII.  Resolutions and Surprises

  While others have been attending to affairs in Helgate or the
Free City of Greyhawk, Ged has been busy cleaning up certain
residual damages from the Necros incident...

Ged:  Open up and say "ahh"...
Arnold:  (opens his mouth)  Aaa.
Ged:  Excellent.  Your tongue is completely healed.
Arnold:  Then why do I have a scar on my tongdue?
Ged:  Err...remember Peldor, and the time he got ripped in half?
Arnold:  Yah.
Ged:  Same principle, different scales.
Arnold:  Oh.
Ged:  Have no fear, my good fellow.  It's totally superficial.
Arnold:  Ridght.  Well, I'l glad thad you could fix it.  (he pokes
  the air tentatively, with his tongue)  Glad indeed.
Ged:  Glad to be of help.  It was the least I could do.  (frowns)
  Others, I suspect, may have longer-lasting trauma from the whole
Arnold:  Yah.  I lost my helm of brilliance, one magical ring, and
  seven potions thanks to those evil bastaards.
Ged:  Eh?  Items lost, you say?  By Boccob, look at what _I_ lost
  in that fiasco!  (he counts items on his fingers)  My wondrous
  sky balloon!  My harmonica of gravity!  My amulet of the planes!
  My wand of wonder!  My gem of hypnosis!  Hmm, maybe not such a
  major loss, there...(he looks up again)  My box of preserving!
  My s-

  Just then, the doors to Ged's study burst open, admitting a dour-
faced dwarf.  This stout fellow was quickly followed by another,
happier-appearing dwarf.

Ged:  Eh?
Mongo:  (striding toward the elf and Arnold, purposefully)
Gorin:  Slow _down_, Mongo.  He's probably very busy-
Mongo:  Busy, bah!  We shall speak now!
Ged:  We?  As in you and I?
Mongo:  That's exactly who.
Ged:  Very well.  Err, what shall we speak about, exactly?  You lost
  items too, I suppose?
Mongo:  (stops short)  How'd you know?
Ged:  Necros looted all of our items.  Whether he destroyed those
  things, or sent them elsewhere, Boccob only knows...hmm, perhaps
  that's how I shall find out...
Mongo:  Yeah, actually, I lost my orb of fate, and a bunch of other
  non-battle type crap.  (he grimaces suddenly)  But that's _not_
  what I came here to talk about, so quit changing the subject!
Ged:  Sorry, it was totally accidental and unintentional.  So, what
  have you come here to talk with me about?
Mongo:  Well, you see, I've done a lot of thinking, and, well, once
  I realized what was what, it didn't, err, make any sense for me
  to, uh, have any reason to...(he looks up at the ceiling)
Gorin:  What he means is that he's sorry and he wants to apologize.
Ged:  What?  Why?
Mongo:  For, you know, getting really mad a few weeks ago, and
  yelling at you, and smashing a chunk out of your doorway there.
  (he eyes the referenced doorway)  I see you still haven't fixed
  it yet.
Ged:  No time.  (he looks at Mongo quizzically)  Sorry?
Mongo:  (looking uncomfortable)  Uhh...yeah.  After talking to Gorin
  and seeing that he wasn't mad with you, like I was, I began to
  think about whether I should be mad or not.
Ged:  Oh.  I see.  Why in Boccob's name didn't you say something to
  me while we were in the dungeon?
Mongo:  Didn't occur to me.  As mad as I was at you, I was even
  madder at the people who kidnapped us.  It's a whole different
  kind of mad, you know.
Ged:  Ah, I see.
Mongo:  (extends his hand)  Put 'er there, pal.
Ged:  (clasps hands with the dwarf)  Good to have you back as a
  friend, Mongo.
Mongo:  Good to be back.
Nenya:  (having entered the study at some point)  Ah.  Making up,
  and all that, I see.
Ged:  Indeed we were.
Mongo:  I ought to tell you, though, that I don't know about that
  idea with the linked rings for all of us old party members.
Ged:  Eh?
Mongo:  (shrugs)  It just doesn't strike me as right.
Ged:  Har-umph.
Nenya:  (now joined by Deryck)  Err...I think we have something to
  say...something that you all should hear.
Mongo:  (turns)  Huh?
Arnold:  (bites his tongue, then grimaces)
Ged:  Deryck?  What are you doing here?
Deryck:  As Nenya said, _we_ have something to say.
Ged:  You?  And you?  Explain, please.  I grow confused...
Gorin:  ...and it's barely midday.
Nenya:  As of today, Deryck and I are engaged.
Ged:  WHAT?!?
Deryck:  Recently, we pledged our love for one another.
Nenya:  Now that the rescue business is over and done with, we've
  decided to make it official.
Ged:  (stammering, for this was something he did not expect)  Th-
  wh-  but-
Mongo:  Engaged?!?  (he looks around)  This calls for...a party!
Gorin:  Really.  (to Arnold)  Say, big fella, you don't look too
  surprised by this news.
Arnold:  Well...
Ged:  (sputtering)  Engaged...?
Deryck:  Until we are united in marriage, anyhow.
Ged:  Married?
Nenya:  (smiling happily)  That's the general idea.
Ged:  Boccob...(he sits)  My castle commander...
Mongo:  (slaps Ged on the back)  Congratulations, my friend!  You've
  just consolidated your lands' defenses and organization!
Ged:  I sure hope so...
Nenya:  That's right.  We won't leave your service...not for a long
  while, anyway.
Deryck:  We'll continue in our current jobs, of course.  Things
  should be happier, if anything.
Ged:  Right.
Nenya:  You look distraught...confused.
Ged:  I am.  I mean, why now?
Deryck:  (simply)  To wait any longer would be to deny the truth
Mongo:  Ah...young love...
Arnold:  Aaa.
Ged:  Well...when will the marriage take place?
Nenya:  We don't know, but we want you to perform the ceremony.
Ged:  I'd be...honored.
Deryck:  (bows)  My thanks, milord.  (he and Nenya depart happily,
  hand in hand)
Ged:  Well, I'll be damned...
Mongo:  Crazy kids.
Gorin:  Wait until Bosco hears about this.
Ged:  Oh, now that will prove interesting.
Mongo:  And Peldor...and the drow...and Rillen.  Hell, where _is_
  Rillen, anyway?
Gorin:  (shrugs)  Beats me.  I haven't seen him since we got back
  from Drawmij's place.
Ged:  Rillen...disappeared?  (he looks worried)  See, I _told_ you
  we should've worked on making those rings!
Arnold:  Relaax.  I know where Rillen is.
Mongo:  You do?
Ged:  You do?!?
Gorin:  You do.
Arnold:  Yah.  (he is silent)
Mongo:  Well...?
Ged:  We're waiting.
Arnold:  Rillen said he was tired of fidhting, always fidhting with
  anyone and everyone who came along.
Mongo:  Rillen?  Tired of fighting?
Gorin:  Hmm, that's weird.
Arnold:  Some of us _are_ gedding old, you know.
Ged:  (frowns)
Arnold:  So, Rillen packed up, got me to mark up a map for him, and
  headed northeast.
Mongo:  Northeast?  What's northeast?
Gorin:  What indeed?
Ged:  Ah!  I think I know.  (he looks pleased)  The kingdom of
Arnold:  Yaa, thad's ridht.  My homeland, to the far nordth...and
  in it, my village...and in it, Songa.
Mongo:  Songa?  That gigantic warrior-woman huntress lady?
Arnold:  Yah.
Ged:  Songa...and Rillen...

next:   Rillen
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
notes:  Some readers have wondered why I skipped from the rescue
  party leaving the island right to Helgate, then back, then forth,
  sometimes spending several episodes on a sub-group, other times
  spending only one or two episodes on other sub-groups.
    The answer is...I don't know.  I just do what I do.     :)

  This batch of fan mail covers episodes #326-331 - everything
Belphanior's been up to lately.

>>  The boom idea is a good one, and can take you in quite a few
>>  directions. I personally like the bust to boom to bust concept.
>>  It is not uncommon for played out mines to have "last gasps",
>>  where the miners (and owners, more than likely) start mining
>>  in older areas of the mine that used to be rich in ore. They
>>  quite literally mine the supporting rock that was wisely left
>>  in place during the prosperous periods. Once the ore in the
>>  supporting rock is removed, the mine goes back to low grade,
>>  low yield production again.
>>  Needless to say, there this makes the mine an even more
>>  dangerous place to work, since you're now using wood timbers
>>  to support what solid rock used to hold up. This can make for
>>  good conflicts between the greedy and the virtuous (and those
>>  with a mixture of both). It can also easily explain another
>>  bust, when this short supply of ore is finally used up.
>>  You could even take several directions with this concept:
>>  have things return back to where they were, have the mine
>>  completely collapse and shut down for good (the older rich
>>  ore is probably closer to the entrance than the poorer, low
>>  grade stuff they've been scavenging deep down), have
>>  Belphanior's lust for gold push on the mining of the
>>  structural rock (Otto would probably discourage this,
>>  being a dwarf... but then Otto is different), which leads
>>  to the collapse, and a major revolt against Belphanior by
>>  the townsfolk (imagine the mob scenes from Frankenstein).
>>  You could also go a completely different route: perhaps
>>  the miners have finally dug too deep, and something really
>>  nasty, really evil, and really powerfull was imprisoned
>>  deep beneath the earth eons ago (or better yet, they
>>  stumble across some really old mine-works of an ancient,
>>  long dead race of dwarves, which placed the evil spirit/
>>  creature there to guard the incredibly rich ore from
>>  would be thieves), and is now released.  Belphanior could
>>  go down to confront it, and perhaps has a problem with
>>  his eye or even sword rebelling against him in favor of
>>  the truly evil creature.  Or maybe (after the boom is
>>  well under way) the creature is freed from the binding
>>  spell that placed it there (dwarvish or otherwise), and
>>  will set up a place of power for itself, with the citizens
>>  of Helgate as his slaves.  Some of the Earth weapons and
>>  devices might be fun in a battle against the creature
>>  (maybe it has minions? maybe it makes minions out of the
>>  miners... heh).
>>  Helgate: a grimy backwater of a mining town with only bad
>>  memories of yesterday, and no hope for a better future.
>>  It's good to be back.
>>  Leonard

>>   You know... I wanna know how Belphanior got that castle
>>  there.  Is that yet to be seen, or did he teleport it from
>>  that island??
>>  Patrick

>>  As always it was cool to see what little improvements
>>  the adventurers have made in their lives, in this case
>>  Belphanior and Otto.  How did they build the castle?  I
>>  don't believe I remember how they did that. I like how
>>  Angus was mentioned, and a basilisk!!  Belphanior must
>>  have some way of entering his bedchambers without going
>>  through the basilisk every time.
>>  Again the lack of mentioning what spells were cast to
>>  protect the castle was neat, leaving room for the reader
>>  to imagine.
>>  One totally unrelated question: do any of the party
>>  members have scars of any kind?  Most of their wounds
>>  have been healed magically, but I'd imagine they'd have
>>  scars of some kind.
>>  Gabe

  They sure do.  Though Belphanior probably has the most
scars, Peldor has the best one (remember Hadeus?)
  In my campaigns, scars remain even after magical healing.
To remove a scar takes special magic.

>>  Moving on to the Goldrush story, you certainly have
>>  read enough Westerns, haven't you? I'll reserve comment
>>  on this till I see where you're going, except to say
>>  that I like the introduction of the townsfolk NPC's,
>>  and I expect Candice knows quite a lot about B.'s
>>  defenses. Considering that 'Hell has no fury...' I
>>  expect B. may well come to regret treating her like
>>  that!  Gotta go...keep up the good work!
>>      Sean

>>  Reading the last few stories and letters a few ideas
>>  came to mind. The current henchmen are around the
>>  levels when they themselves find new henchmen. New
>>  characters to bring in perhaps and a completly new
>>  twist on things.  Isn't it about time that Tanya and
>>  Lyra have announcements to make to their other halves.
>>  I'm pregnant they both say together. I'm sure it would
>>  bring a lighter side to adventuring after their long
>>  struggle to escape from their kidnappers.
>>  Oh, one more thing I would love to see. Bosco and
>>  family go on holiday and cause havoc.
>>  Keep up the great work.
>>  Graham

>>  I think it will be alot of fun to watch Balphanior
>>  try to *preserve* order for a change.  I have really
>>  enjoyed the hellgate episodes, they have really matured
>>  Belph and Otto, from some of my least favorite
>>  characters to some of the best.  (Although yet another
>>  cheer for more Aldinyar stories.)
>>  Dave, Marie and Morgan

>>  I think it's about time that the Adventurers deal with
>>  the Cult of the Shriven Sickle. They are back in Grey-
>>  hawk and strong enough to be able to defeat an 18th
>>  level priest.
>>  Costas

>>  Holy shit, I was wondering when you were going to get
>>  around to dealing with Belphanior and Blackrazor, but
>>  I didn't expect it in the middle of the gold-rush story
>>  line!
>>  There was no action what-so-ever in this episode (aside
>>  from a cauldron being blown into the ceiling), and yet
>>  I was hanging on to every word because we were finally
>>  finding out more about Belphanior's character. I rather
>>  much suspected that Belhpanior prefered to be around
>>  others -- at least those he can trust.
>>  And Blackrazor... I know you've been pondering over what
>>  sort of intelligence the sword possessed, and now we're
>>  actually close to finding out. I suspect the sword must
>>  be telepathic or empathic to have gained its knowledge of
>>  current events: or perhaps it has a bi-directional link
>>  to Belhpanior's mind. Certainly it attempts to control
>>  Belhpanior when it hungers for souls, and Belhpanior is
>>  aware of this affect (and none too happy about it), but
>>  does Belhpanior suspect it may be reading his mind and
>>  emotions for its own benefit?
>>  I am relieved to hear that you aren't sick of writing
>>  about the Adventurer's, and delighted that you know have
>>  a host of ideas for future stories.
>>  As far as getting to Epic III, I think skipping ahead
>>  several years can be used wonderfully for dramatic affect.
>>  Think about all the new mysteries surrounding each
>>  character! You can have flash-backs to explain some new
>>  traits, possessions, positions, or even dismemberments or
>>  deaths. I think I'd actually prefer a gap before the first
>>  installments of Epic III. We, the readers, could be kept
>>  in suspense as each story revealed the current status of
>>  only one or two Adventurer's, and maybe a small,
>>  tantalizing bit about what went on over the years skipped.
>>  You can also stock-pile those ideas of what goes on
>>  between now and Epic III, and use them to fill in the
>>  gaps whenever the need arises.
>>  Eduardo... are we going to see any stats for him? Would
>>  he be a level 1 thief at this point in time, or better?
>>  I usually detest children, or child related stories, but
>>  Eduardo's okay: he doesn't act like the usual snot-nosed
>>  obnoxious precocious brats that fill the television shows
>>  these days. In fact, he's rather subtle and tight-lipped
>>  which is probably why he'll make such a good thief. Bobby
>>  Brady he isn't.
>>  Another group of bandits? I realize Belhphanior hasn't
>>  had much trouble with rogues in Helgate up until now, but
>>  we have seen an awful lot of louts in the past, and the
>>  usual quick finish with which our heroes dispatch them.
>>  I hope you have something unusual up your sleave for
>>  this group... or at least the leader. Hmm, of course
>>  Belphanior now has to worry about the safety of his
>>  townspeople, which is rather new for him.
>>  We'll see how things progress...
>>  Well now there you go again, catching me off guard! I had
>>  expected something different from the thugs, but not from
>>  the patrons.
>>  The female fighter in black has quite a stunning
>>  description, as well as skill with a rapier and melee
>>  ... does she have the personality to match? We'll see...
>>  I am wondering which direction you will take with her. I
>>  really can't see her as a long term match for Belhphanior,
>>  simply because I can't see Belhphanior with any long term
>>  mate. I kept thinking that she would make a good companion
>>  for Rillen, whom she could hear about during a conversation
>>  with Belhphanior.
>>  Leonard

>>   This is exactly the sort of characterization Blackrazor
>>  _should_ have.  Totally in the background.  Not like Light-
>>  bringer, piping in whenever it feels like it.  Even if it
>>  was only telepathic to Bel it would be disruptive says I.
>>  Rance

>>  i saw that both belphanior and otto advanced after the
>>  last adventure, and i was wondering how much experience
>>  you gave the players for defeating all of the NPCs. i
>>  think that in some book or other, it says that NPCs with
>>  classes should be worth 1/10th the amount of experience
>>  needed to reach the level they're at. for a high priest
>>  like necros, this would be a very large amount. i have
>>  the same problem giving experience to players, so i was
>>  wondering how you dealt with the problem. (you are,
>>  after all, one of the most famous DMs. :)
>>  dan

  To be honest (and I'm not sure you're gonna like this)
nowadays I just randomly raise their levels when I feel
it's time.  I have a vague XP number for each person,
scrawled somewhere, but basically I do what I want.

>>  Wow!  Just read 329 - 331 and they were excellent!  The
>>  entire lead-up to the bar fight was well done and the
>>  outcome was worth it.  (I loved all the quotes from The
>>  Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.)  The mystery woman is a
>>  good twist.  Beautiful and deadly.  A name
>>  about Morgan or Morganna.  Strong, noble and just a
>>  touch of cruelty.
>>  Looking foreward to the next story,
>>  Marcus

>>  Greetings,
>>  This letter is mail about the episodes up to Episode 329.
>>  Congratulations on a great fight scene in the rescuing
>>  of the adventurers. Who was that assassin who fought on
>>  the adventurers side?  Whoever he was he was defintiely
>>  handy.  As for the new episodes with Belaniphor and Otto,
>>  well in my opinion they are turning out well. An
>>  interesting storyline.  Otto is turning out to be a good
>>  character and Belaniphor seems to be at a point of great
>>  danger with his sword getting restless and Orcus and Co.
>>  maybe getting ready to try and work through Belanipohor.
>>  It should be interesting. I would also like to see how
>>  the other adventurers are getting on in the aftermath of
>>  the great battle :)
>>  Keep up the great work, these are some of the best
>>  stories around!
>>  Stefan

>>>  supply of dead foes.  Or innocents, even.  In a place
>>>  like Helgate, though, there were only so many of the
>>>  former...and then Belphanior might well find himself
>>>  preying on random innocents.  While he was no paladin
>>>  - far from it! - the elf took great pride in his own
>>>  personal code of ethics.  People who weren't asking
>>>  for it didn't get it, and that was that.  No sword, or
>>>  other item, was going to persuade Belphanior otherwise.
>>  I might be be wrong, but I thought that Belphanior was
>>  chaotic neutral with *evil* tendencies??????? , also, I
>>  seem to remember that his eye was supposed to shift him
>>  gradually further towards evil. He should avoid killing
>>  innocents in Hellgate because it is not profitable (al-
>>  though he might give in to temptation from time to time,
>>  due to being chaotic) not because he is repelled by the
>>  idea.  In short, he should be your basic ruthless tyrant
>>  with a sadistic twist (albeit a slight one).
>>  Could it be that because so many readers like Belphanior
>>  you are trying to portray him as a likable guy which he,
>>  -in my opinion- definitely should not be. If I had to
>>  classify Belphanior by his overall behavior I would guess
>>  something like CG with neutral tendencies, or CN with
>>  good tendencies, and same goes for Otto.
>>  Juha

  The basic problem here is that by virtue of this silly AD&D
system I've based my stories on, the alignment issues get to
be quite sticky.  So, I tend to basically throw them out the
window, despite the fact that alignments are still listed atop
each of my stories.

>>  Sorry to hear that you are feeling run down, and not able
>>  to produce as quickly.  I however must comment that this
>>  episode was terrific.  The prose was lucid, and the stuff
>>  from Blackrazor's POV was awesome.  Belphanior musing about
>>  life the universe and everything ... I think I am glad it
>>  took so long to write, it was worth it.
>>  Dave, Marie and Morgan

>>  Any thoughts to giving Belphanior a _true_ love interest?
>>  Sometimes I see Belphanior as a tragic character and I
>>  think it would fit his personality to fall for someone
>>  only later to send them away after some incident were he
>>  realizes that he is too dangerous a person to be around.
>>  I hope I articulated that clearly.  To put it another way,
>>  he sends his love away for her own safety becoming an
>>  emotional martyr.

  Unless she's even more dangerous than he is...

>>  Also, nice job with Blackrazor an episode back.  I can't
>>  wait to see where this sutble introduction climaxes.
>>  .marc

>>  I've now caught up with all the stories again, and I must
>>  say I've enjoyed the latest stories 275-330 a lot, their
>>  definitely among the best. The fight against the party's
>>  enemies reminded me a bit about the fight with the big
>>  Vampire Lord just after the party came out of underdark.
>>  It was certainly nice to see Mongo back in a fight again.
>>  I excpecially enjoyed the part where Wendell said "No,
>>  you're not" to the other assassin.
>>  If you want to get to the Greayhawk Wars quicker, couldn't
>>  you send the party back into underdark or into another
>>  dimesion, to let some time pass. It would be nice with
>>  the original party on adventure again, without all the
>>  co-stars. It's nice with a lot of interaction and getting
>>  to know people, but wouldn't it be nice with an adventure
>>  with only the original party (Belphanior, Mongo, Ged,
>>  Peldor, Alindyar, Halbarad, Peyote and Rob), where you
>>  could see how they've changed over the years?
>>  Stig E.

  I'd love to do it, but it's tough given the current party
members' relationships etc.  It's the same in real life -
when it was time to do that reunion, several years ago, I
was unable to get more than 75% of the group to come.  It's
the nature of the beast, I'm afraid.
  But a good idea nonetheless.

>>  Two things.  Belphanior mentions that he's 'no different
>>  from any other warrior who's killed 500 foes.'  I don't
>>  suppose you have any idea how many he's actually killed?  But I bet 500 is in the ballpark.

>>  Secondly, it seems to me that Eduardo is only too young
>>  to drink by our standards, not by typical medaeival
>>  fantasy standards.  Still, a really great series.
>>  Yours,
>>  Robert

  It was just an in-joke.  I'm sure someone would give him
alcohol if he really wanted it.

>>  Not very chaotic, nor particularly evil, some might say
>>  not that neutral either...
>>    This part of the latest story kind of bothered me - if I
>>  have understood correctly, Belphanior is supposed to be
>>  chaotic - as in doing chaotic things, and not caring all
>>  that much what those things are - neutral - caring mostly
>>  for nothing and nobody - with evil - as in killing people
>>  for the fun of it (?) - tendencies which are supposed to
>>  grow worse by the time, because of the eye, not some nice
>>  little fellow who actually cares about others than himself,
>>  except maybe a few close friends, and even leaves them if
>>  need be?
>>    I could understand that he is conserned about the sword
>>  being so strong, that it overpowers his will, but caring
>>  about killing innocents? What the heck for - if it keeps
>>  the sword happy, so much the better, right?
>>    Or, I would also understand that it might affect him as
>>  in being quilty by other peoples standards, if he killed
>>  innocents, and thus leading to a chance of climate, and
>>  this might be a concern for him if he plans to settle
>>  down, but then again, he is chaotic, so it shouldn't
>>  bother him so much either... But a code of ethics that
>>  says it's wrong to kill innocents on a chaotic neutral
>>  character with growing evil tendencies??? That just isn't
>>  my understanding of a guy like that. I might be wrong
>>  though...
>>    Just something I stopped to wonder among your excellent
>>  saga of the Adventurers,
>>    Kaitsu

>>  hey, is gorin's homeland the mountains that he saved
>>  mongo's life in?  i was just curious, to me he seems the
>>  type of dwarf that would come from the glorioles mountains,
>>  afterall, he doesn't really impose himself as a rude,
>>  obnoxious type dwarf and the dwarves of the glorioles have
>>  been refined by the elves in the area for years so that
>>  they have a more calm outlook on life.  otto definitely
>>  didn't come from the glorioles, that's for sure.
>>  have fun,
>>  matt h.

  Gorin came from the Flinty Hills, but the mentality from
the Glorioles sounds about right.  Otto, as we all know, is
still one with an unknown origin.

>>  (yes, its me, the Belphanior hater. =))


>>  An idea.
>>  As you know, I've been a long time supporter of dealing
>>  with the fact that Belphanior is and should be an evil
>>  nasty SOB, due to the influences of both the artifact
>>  eyeball in his head and the sword (defining it as CN
>>  doesn't seem appropriate... it actively craves souls,
>>  and drains them for all eternity. There is nothing
>>  neutral about this at all... though I suppose if your
>>  modeling it after the whole Melniborne thingme...).
>>  Anyway... So, here's my idea. =)
>>  At the end of the last big Saga (ie: the Adventurers getting
>>  kidnapped, and rescued) you cut to the big demon fellow
>>  (Orcus?) who said the 'to be remembered' words: "There is
>>  another."
>>  Well... how about if Belphanior is that 'other'!
>>  There is a great deal of support for this idea. The
>>  influence of the eye in his head should be pulling his
>>  alignment towards CE (should have done so a long time
>>  ago, but that's another story). And not just your selfish
>>  sort of CE... but the major nasty evil CE that inspired
>>  the artifact to be created in the first place. And not
>>  even an evil that lets him be totally in control of what
>>  he does. There are far more powerful forces at work then
>>  our elf. Every time Belphanior uses this artifact, he
>>  should be losing a bit of himself to whatever force is
>>  behind it. Every time the eye regenerates him or brings
>>  him back from the dead, or jellifies some poor foes
>>  bones, Belphanior is irrevocably selling himself to
>>  evil powers _far_ beyond his control.  Not only that,
>>  every time he kills with that sword, and permanently
>>  sucks the soul from someone, he is doing the same thing,
>>  but perhaps not to any definable demon. As well, there
>>  should be countless good/evil/neutral aligned forces
>>  who should be putting forth strong measures to stop
>>  this, as he is effectively stealing souls from the
>>  gods themselves, every time he kills someone. And he
>>  has not simply been killing evil people. There were
>>  most likely large numbers of neutrals, and even a good
>>  aligned sort or two. It's not the fact he's killing
>>  them, but what happens to their souls that should be
>>  addressed here.  (It should be noted that no priest of
>>  any god should even bear the existance of such a weapon,
>>  much less the use of it by a 'friend'.)
>>  All in all, Belphanior should long ago have fallen under
>>  the control of some evil force or other. Or at least could
>>  quite possibly do so in the future.
>>  Which of course leads back to the original premise....
>>  Belphanior would make a great 'Other'!
>>  As a side note: After reading the last episode (331) it
>>  seems to me that Belphanior relies way too much on his
>>  'gadgets' then on his skill. (ie: He doesn't try to avoid
>>  blows, he expects his sword to heal them for him.) This
>>  seems a very dangerous sort of attitude. One Anti-Magic
>>  shell, and he's going to be in big trouble.... Granted,
>>  to some degree, he is merely taking advantage of all he
>>  has at his disposal, but (especially lately) he seems to
>>  be taking it a bit too far... it's going to come back
>>  and bite him sooner or later. The boy ain't acting
>>  nearly as smart as he pretends to be.
>>  Aaron

  A lot of readers have expressed similar opinions, especially
concerning the alignment issue...we'll see how it turns out.

>>  Ummm, rapier's cannot remove heads very eaily--they have no
>>  edges, just a _very_ sharp point. I remain
>>  Yours,
>>  Robert

  Could it be a saber?  What I was thinking of was a 3' blade
with one edge, a frontal edge, and a sharp point.

>>  Well, having never read the earlier tales, I was not aware
>>  of the Orcus emnity, so never guessed the cause of the
>>  last little fracus. Personally, I was leaning towards that
>>  lich that Ged and Co. stirred up when re-exploring those
>>  Seluise (sp?) ruins. I seemed to recall that, even though
>>  Bosco introduced its head to his sword, the creature in
>>  question still lived...
>>  Hmm... perhaps it will crop up again... (gotta love those
>>  hanging threads....) Maybe it will even have learned the
>>  local language by then.
>>  Though I did guess Wendel was Whisper. =) Though I'm not
>>  sure on the motives, though it will come up... My money
>>  was on someone having hired him to kill Belphanior... but
>>  in order to do that, he had to make sure someone else
>>  didn't kill Belphanior first. Guess this was wrong.
>>  Interesting to find out what it really is.
>>  You need more villains that manage to get away in the end.
>>  (I was hoping at least one bad guy would escape the last
>>  broohaha, but alas)
>>  Why do I get the feeling that Otto was seriously
>>  considering trying to make off with the underwater
>>  sub-thingamajig? His questions and looks just oozed "I
>>  want it!" I suppose if any of them are the type for a bit
>>  of grand-theft auto and a joy ride, it'd be Otto and the
>>  Big B. I know I asked for a major underwater campaign
>>  type adventure way back when... perhaps this might be an
>>  excuse...
>>  I never saw the first encounter with the Iron Dwarf...

  Go back and read episodes #101-106.

>>  But, seeing as how both Mongo and Yod were wailing on
>>  it with their weapons of choice, for a considerable time,
>>  and it seemed none the worse for wear.... Ouch... nasty.
>>  Now its sitting under a pile of rubble beneath the ocean...
>>  Don't suppose anyone snagged the control amulet?
>>  I could see Belphanior doing something like that... since
>>  he did Jelly its possessor... and she did tell him what it
>>  did. Perhaps Otto and B will steal the sub to retrieve the
>>  dwarf? Though I'll be damned if I know what Belphanior
>>  might do with the ID....
>>  Speaking of Belphanior... what exactly was the time
>>  scale of the Adventurer's incarceration? I kept expecting
>>  you to do something about Blackrazor....

  Truly an idea whose potential I didn't explore...

>>  The blade is intelligent after all... and certainly not
>>  something totally loyal to Belphanior... I would have
>>  figured it'd dominate some flunky hanging about the
>>  place and make him go kill someone... it does thirst,
>>  after all. Would have been interesting. Aw well...
>>  I know I've said this before, but I really think you
>>  have handled Belphanior poorly to date. Sure, everyone
>>  loves him (I don't care much for the character myself)
>>  because he's a nasty SOB.... but he really doesn't make
>>  any sense. He should be a CE villain of villains by now.
>>  Hunted down by his own teammates. Why you ask?
>>  That eye is an artifact! And a CE one at that, there is
>>  _no way_ he should have been able to resist its affects
>>  for this long and stay just pleasantly CN with an
>>  occassionaly tendancy.

  Again...that pesky alignment thing.

>>                          He certainly doesn't have the
>>  moral or ethical makeup to make resisting it a big
>>  thing.  I was hoping someone would cut the damn eye out
>>  during all the torture while they were captured....
>>  Because as long as he has it in his head yet somehow
>>  manages not to be affected by it, the character will
>>  remain rather lame. What about negative side effects?
>>  Hell, he's jelloed two people that I've seen, to date,
>>  and its brought him back from the dead at least once.
>>  It should own him by now.  Either dump the eye, or
>>  deal with the conflict! Sorry: Deal realisticly, with
>>  the conflict. For now, Belphanior remains my least
>>  favorite of the lot, for this reason.

  Not all evil takeovers happen in a short time-frame.  If
the demon from whose head the eye fell lives for centuries,
even millenia, its eye's powers and influence will surely
take more than a few months to make themselves known.

>>  Hmm... what else can I rail on... (Gotta love 'fan'
>>  mail)
>>  If I remember correctly, you brushed off that entire
>>  Rune quest scenario that lead up to the Earth adventure
>>  by stating that another group solved it while they were
>>  on Earth...
>>  Ok. This's all right... nice to know there are other
>>  heroic groups out there who can get the job done... but
>>  what I want to know is: How did they manage to solve
>>  this quest, while Lyra was on Earth with the Water
>>  rune?  She should still have it on her, in fact.

  No, she was shown giving it to a more appropriate person
right after the party returned from Earth.

>>  The image of Bosco, dagger sticking into the back of
>>  a stone golem, slowly sliding down, leaving a large
>>  gash as he goes, reminded me of that old buccaneer
>>  movie where the guy rides a knife down the sail to
>>  the deck. 8)

  Good - it was intended to.    :)

>>  I was wondering when Alyndar was going to pull out
>>  the +2 Backscratcher.
>>  Otto? Sherrif of Hellgate? Ay Carumba!
>>  When did Otto and Belphanior build the castle? Did I
>>  miss a story somewhere? How did they do it so quickly?
>>  Belphanior ain't that powerful a mage.
>>  Hmm.. you said once you were going to try and calculate
>>  how old the Adventurers would be, considering their
>>  liberal use of wishes, haste spells/potions, et al...
>>  Any numbers yet?
>>  Aaron

>>  Now for a bit of negativism.  The adventurers are all
>>  very pwoerful, but it seems none of them are fearing
>>  death. I remember reading one of the fan-mail someone
>>  mentioning that and I agree.  I know all the characters
>>  are loved by somebody, but it seems none of them can be
>>  touched.  The closest I can think of recently is Arnold
>>  getting his tongue cut out. (no more "Ahnold" talk I
>>  guess, but I'm loving it!! A character permanently
>>  scarred for life.  After all the characters have been
>>  through it's nice to see them actually mortal)  I'd
>>  actually like to see a character meet his/her maker,
>>  for this very reason.  At the moment, no matter how
>>  much I read "they were fully aware some of them might
>>  never come back" or other lines of that nature I don't
>>  believe it.  I'm not sure if I'm carrying my point across,
>>  I hope you're following my babbling :)
>>  Thanks for another great batch of stories!  Keep up the good
>>  work!
>>  Gabe

  I guess this is a legitimate problem.  The nature of it is as
follows:  from the early adventures of the campaign, there was
resurrection magic in use.  Thus, since I made the mistake of
introducing it at low levels, it must also exist for them when
they are at high levels.  Thus, it's too prevalent.  There are
only a few ways to kill characters permanently.  If I could do
it all again, I'd make deaths permanent, but it's too late for
that, in this story-series anyway.
  Unless I did a magic-dying story like I heard was done for
the Forgotten Realms...?  But that's kinda cheesy.

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