Chapter #34

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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, A4, 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:   ?  (presumably sometime after 4/21)
Time:   ?
Place:  the Slave Lords' dungeon in Suderham
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PROLOGUE:  In the last writing, the party was knocked out by a
devious gas trap on the verge of fighting the Slave Lords.  Now,
if you haven't read the module, this little explanation will
help.  The module, A4, has some text describing how the party
spell-casters used up all their remaining spells in worthy, yet
futile attempts to free the party.  I'm not sure that this is
enough for some parties - I know that this one wasn't too happy
with it.  But, it IS a tournament module after all, so that's
the way I feel it should be played.  Anyway, the module has the
captors depriving the spell-users of food and good rest in order
to keep their spells from being re-learned or prayed for.  The
priests are still able to squeak a few by, however:

GED:     cure light wounds (2), create water
PEYOTE:  cure light wounds (2), purify food & drink
ROB:     cure light wounds, resist cold

  I just thought this little explanation would help those who
don't have the module but might wonder about the setting the
adventurers have been placed in.  And now, without further ado:


                     XXXIV.  Prisoners



Mongo:  (waking up)  Hey!
Peldor:  (sitting up, looking around)  You're awake too?
Mongo:  Seems that way, doesn't it?
Peldor:  Well, I can't see anything in this darkness.
Mongo:  I can.  Not that there's anything to see.
Peldor:  Is everyone here?
Mongo:  Yep.  All eight of us.
Belphanior:  (stands up)  Hey, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.
Mongo:  Kansas?
Peldor:  Are we in a room, or a pit, or what?
Mongo:  It's a big cave-type place.  Maybe thirty feet across, with
  four exits.  I can't see a ceiling.
Peldor:  (playing with the sand beneath his feet)  Hmm.
Belphanior:  Hey!  Where are my clothes?!?
Mongo:  That's it!  No clothes!  I knew something else was wrong!
Peldor:  Well, I don't know about you guys, but I've got a loincloth
  on.  Brr.
Mongo:  Loincloth?  What's that?  All I've got is this rag here.
Belphanior:  They took my weapons!  They took everything!
Peldor:  Yep.
Mongo:  So they've got all our stuff.  Even my hammer.  Grr.
Peldor:  Those bastards.
Ged:  Yawn.  (sits up)  Hey, what gives?
Belphanior:  Nobody.  We've been seriously fucked over.
Mongo:  (wandering around the chamber)
Peldor:  (looking blindly about)
Ged:  Hey, I have a headache.  And all my spells are shot, too!
Belphanior:  Me too.  I think they purposely kept us from sleeping
  and eating right.  Deprivation works on us magi, you know.
Mongo:  Food?  I'm hungry!
Ged:  No food here, either.
Belphanior:  (trying to climb a wall)
Mongo:  (waking up Halbarad)
Ged:  What's this?  (picks up a tube that was on the floor)  I found
  a scroll tube!
Halbarad:  Where are we?  I cannot see...
Mongo:  We're in somebody's dungeon.
Alindyar:  (wakes up)  Hmm.
Peyote:  (sits up)  Dudes?  What gives?
Ged:  (opening the tube)  Hey, there's a scroll in here!
Peldor:  Read it!
Ged:  I can't.  There's no light.
Alindyar:  Obviously, much has transpired.  I only vaguely recall
  our captors keeping us from studying spells.  I trust that you
  have the same problems?
Belphanior:  (falls from the wall)  Oof!  The damned walls are too
  crumbly to climb.  Yea, those dolts prevented any of us spell-
  casters from doing anything useful right about now.
Ged:  I have a couple of holy spells left, somehow.
Peyote:  Yeah, me too, man.  They didn't block everything.
Mongo:  Oh, I feel so much safer now.
Rob:  (rolls over, into Mongo's leg)  Huh??
Mongo:  Get up, you.
Rob:  Ugh.  I feel sick.
Ged:  They could have at least given us some decent clothes.
Mongo:  Well, they didn't, so let's get a move on.  One of these
  tunnels has a slight glow far down it.  I figured that even you
  blind people would have seen that by now.
Rob:  (sits straight up)  Hey!  I can't see!  I'm blind!  Blind
  as a bat!!
Ged:  I guess I'll just hold on to this tube for now, until we
  find some way to read the paper inside it.
Rob:  Where are my clothes?!  I'm cold!  And I'm exposed!
Halbarad:  Please stop complaining.
Mongo:  Yeah, peewee.
Rob:  (mumbling to himself about the lack of respect priests get
  these days)
Peyote:  Well, we had better corral the sightless ones together
  to keep them from running into walls.
Ged:  (glances at Rob)  Yup.
Belphanior:  I say that we go a different way than the dimly-lit
  one.  Obviously that's just what they want us to do.
Mongo:  I don't think they really care about us anymore.  Why
  not just kill us?  Why this?
Alindyar:  I seem to recall some priests discussing feeding us
  to the Earth Dragon...
Ged:  Ah.  That explains EVERYthing.
Mongo:  Fuck!  I'm not gonna be food for any dragon!  Not without
  a fight, anyway!
Belphanior:  My sentiments exactly.
Ged:  Let's go this way.  (points to the approximate east)
  Here, Halbarad, you hold on to my shoulders, and Rob, hold on
  to his, and Peldor hold on to Rob.  Peyote, you stay in the
  back and watch out for anything coming from the rear.
Peldor:  Hey, watch what you say.  We're all half-naked here,
  remember?
Ged:  Whatever.  But we don't want to be ambushed in the dark by
  any monsters.
Belphanior:  I'll lead the way.  Even though this IS the dimly-
  lit passage.  I'm ready to kill something.
Mongo:  Hey, wait for me!  I'm still the strongest.
Alindyar:  I suppose I shall just remain in the center of the
  party.
Ged:  Sure.
Alindyar:  Wait, I have the farthest-reaching infravision.
Belphanior:  Well, stay near the front of the group then.

  Suddenly, the ground shook, and dust fell from the walls and
ceiling...

Mongo:  An earthquake?  Shit, this place'll never survive that!
Ged:  Neither will we.
Halbarad:  Let us make haste.
Mongo:  This tunnel's awful narrow.  We'll have to march single
  file.



THE MARCHING ORDER (* = no infravision) :

  Peyote  Peldor  Rob  Halbarad  Ged  Alindyar  Belphanior  Mongo ->
             *     *       *


shortly...

Mongo:  Hey!  That little light is moving back as we advance!
Belphanior:  Oh, if I only had my bow...
Mongo:  Fuck that.  If I only had my hammer...well, then we'd see
  some serious ass-kicking, that's for sure.
Peyote:  For sure.
Ged:  If I had all my spells-
Halbarad:  Enough about the spells, and the weapons.  At least you
  can all see.  I can't even do that.  We need to stop bickering
  and make a better lot for ourselves.
Rob:  Yeah!
Peyote:  Pronto!
Mongo:  What's that?!  Something just brushed my feet!
Belphanior:  And mine too!
Alindyar:  It felt like swirling sand.
Peyote:  Sounds cool.
Mongo:  Where'd that floating light go?  Hey, wha-

                             WHAAAAP!

Mongo:  (flies back, reeling)  Agh!
Belphanior:  What in the hell?!
Alindyar:  Beware!  Something attacks!
Ged:  Get back!  Retreat!  We're useless in the dark!  Whatever
  it is, I can't see it either!  (they back up)
Belphanior:  (grabs Mongo and pulls him back)  Come on!
Mongo:  Uhh...
Peldor:  What's happening?
Ged:  Strategic withdrawal.
Peyote:  (running back into the main chamber, followed by the
  others)
Rob:  (trips and falls)  Whoops.
Halbarad:  (trips over Rob)  Oof.
Ged:  For crying out loud!
Belphanior:  (to Mongo)  Are you okay?
Mongo:  Just a little bruised, that's all.  That felt like SAND
  that hit me - I feel scraped.  I'm bleeding.
Ged:  I still have one or two minor healing spells...
Mongo:  Nah.  I'm fine.  Let's go back there and fight!
Halbarad:  (having gotten up)  That is NOT a good idea.  If you
  with infravision can't see whatever attacked Mongo, then none
  of us can fight it.
Ged:  Besides, we don't have any weapons.
Rob:  (unable to see, he is addressing the far wall)  Yeah!
Peldor:  Well, let's go another way.
Mongo:  Hey, there's that tiny light again.
Ged:  Maybe it's a monster.
Alindyar:  Perhaps it seeks to lure us astray.
Belphanior:  If I had a sword, I'd lead it to hell...
Ged:  Let's go this way (points south)
Rob:  Okay!  (looking north)
Mongo:  (leads the way into the southern exit)

soon...

Mongo:  Ow!  What the-
Belphanior:  What?
Mongo:  I stepped on something.  Feels like a splinter or eight.
  (holds something aloft)  Hey, I found a club!
Alindyar:  What of the splinters?
Ged:  Are they wooden?  Because if they are, maybe we can use them
  to make fire!
Mongo:  (collecting splinters from the ground)  They feel like wood.
  Smell like wood.  Hmm.  TASTE like wood.
Alindyar:  That would seem to lead to only one conclusion.
Ged:  Are they big enough to use as weapons?
Mongo:  I doubt it.  But they're dry.  If we can make a spark, I
  bet we could burn these.  Here.  (hands them to Ged to carry)
Ged:  Gee, thanks.  (puts them in the tube along with the scroll)
Belphanior:  What's that club you found?
Mongo:  I think it's somebody's bone.  Big one, too.  (hefting the
  thigh bone)  Not bad, for a club.  I think I'll hang on to this
  for the next encounter.
Belphanior:  Sure.
Mongo:  Now they're in trouble.  Now I have a weapon.  (swinging
  the bone about easily)  Just wait!
Halbarad:  Let us move on, please.  I want light.

  Soon, after choosing the left fork of a splitting passage, they
came upon another fork.  They went left again, just for the sake of
consistency.  A few minutes later...

Mongo:  Huh?!
Belphanior:  What now?
Mongo:  I stepped in something.  I really hope it's not what I
  think it is.
Rob:  Huh?
Mongo:  (sniffing his finger which he just dipped into whatever it
  is he stepped in)  Bah.  This is pitch.
Peyote:  Throw what?  Where?
Ged:  Tar, you fool.
Belphanior:  Is there a lot?
Mongo:  Not really.  It's just a small puddle, off to the left here.
  Watch it.
Alindyar:  If we had a flame source, we could use it for fuel.
Ged:  Maybe we can come back here later then, if we find one.
Mongo:  Yeah.  (moves on a bit)
Belphanior:  I smell something.
Mongo:  Phew!
Peyote:  Most foul.  I hope I don't get sick and blow chunks.
Mongo:  Shh!  There's an open area ahead.

  They moved around a final kink in the tunnel and into a larger
chamber.  Right in front of their feet was an apparently bottomless
chasm, about twenty feet wide.  On the far side was a big cavern,
full of small holes.  These were teeming with gigantic ants, which
crawled across the floors and walls everywhere.  They carried food
and other unrecognizable items.  The gap was bridged by a bizarre
construct, made of giant ants' shriveled bodies.  The ants seemed
to be ignoring the party, and all were on the other side of the
ant-bridge.

Belphanior:  Is that a larva they're carrying over there?  I've
  always wanted to eat one of those.
Rob:  Gross.
Peyote:  Dude, I'm definitely going to have to hurl if you do that.
Mongo:  Even with my infravision, I still can't make out any details
  of anything.
Alindyar:  Those insects may have something useful.
Halbarad:  (still unable to see any of this)  Is it worth the
  risk?
Peldor:  (also blind)  Not in my opinion.
Mongo:  Then let's go.  Unless you want to fight them.  I'm ready
  for battle.
Ged:  I think that we should save our energy for foes more menacing
  than giant ants.
Halbarad:  Agreed.  Let us seek a flame source.

...and so they went back to the second fork, and took its rightward
branch...

Mongo:  Yah!  (swatting overhead)
Belphanior:  Something touched me!
Mongo:  There's big hairy tentacles overhead!  Watch out!
Ged:  I don't see anything giving off heat.
Peyote:  I smell roots.
Alindyar:  The things are not moving of their own accord - only
  due to you hitting them.  Methinks they are harmless.
Mongo:  Hey, they ARE roots!  Good call, druid!
Ged:  Can we eat them?
Peyote:  (examining the roots)  I don't see why not.  But of more
  importance is this:  We must be close to the surface, if we are
  seeing roots.  Maybe a way to escape is nearby.
Mongo:  Let's get to it, then.  (moves on)
Ged:  (trying to figure out how to cut the roots loose)
Peldor:  (looking around blindly)
Rob:  (ditto)
Belphanior:  (watching the roots suspiciously)

soon...

Mongo:  There's a pool ahead.  Cold water, too.
Ged:  Gee, how useful.
Belphanior:  Not really.  But there are fish there.  And we can
  eat fish.
Mongo:  But we have to catch them first.
Belphanior:  Oh, yeah.
Alindyar:  Look, there is some wood washed up on the shore.
Mongo:  (moving toward the edge of the water)  I'll get it.

  Suddenly, something chittered and emerged from the pool with a
clicking sound, bowling over the dwarf in the process!





next time:  Attack of the fifty-foot crab!  (no, just kidding)
  Dinner for all!  And the party finally finds a light source!

ANONYMOUS FTP SITE: tybalt.caltech.edu (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
***********************************************************************
NOTES:  This episode got delayed a bit by various side-effects of the
rioting caused by the Rodney King business (a verdict that I don't
think I agree with, by the way).  I do live near downtown Atlanta,
after all.  I'm just glad I don't live in Los Angeles...
  I should be able to get another part done by Thursday if not any
earlier.  Someday I'm going to write six or seven and post one a day
for a week.
***********************************************************************




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