Chapter #36

previous chapter (#35)                                                                  next chapter (#37)






*****
*  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.
*****

--------------------------------------------------------------------
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)
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   ?  (presumably sometime after 4/21)
Time:   about an hour since the party woke up
Place:  the Slave Lords' dungeon in Suderham
--------------------------------------------------------------------


                       XXXVI.  Escape



  The party has collected various (normally worthless) items
and managed to build a small fire.  They also have had workable,
though dim, light for a while now due to a small glowing fungus
they picked up earlier.

   ALINDYAR   : three scrolls (A: Wall of Fog; B: Spider Climb,
                  Feign Death, Dig; C: Affect Normal Fires,
                  Light, Jump, Read Magic)
   BELPHANIOR : wooden club, sharp piece of flint, iron spike
   GED        : scroll tube full of pitch, dry wood scraps
   HALBARAD   : wooden club
   MONGO      : thigh bone
   PELDOR     : giant crab carcass, skull, rusty dagger (secret)
   PEYOTE     : squirming, glowing fungus
   ROB        : nothing...

  They have eaten the crab and rested a bit, and are now ready
to search in earnest for a means of escape.  As they prepare
to move out, the ground trembles again, this time more severely
than the last.  Small chunks of rock fall around the party, and
the entire ceiling seems to leak dust.

Mongo:  Son of a bitch!  This place isn't gonna last much longer,
  at this rate!
Ged:  Maybe the gods are angry, or something.
Peldor:  Maybe Boccob finally realized what a fool his servant is
  and now wants to kill him.
Rob:  You think so?
Ged:  Bah.  You're just jealous because MY god is mightier than
  YOUR god.
Halbarad:  Let us proceed.  I weary of this place.
Alindyar:  Aye.
Belphanior:  (gives the sharp piece of flint to Halbarad for use
  as a weapon, and arms himself with the iron spike)
Mongo:  Let's get the hell out of here, then!

  They headed northward, passing the hanging roots, and soon were
back in the main chamber (the one where they all woke up).  Since
there was one passage from this cavern that they had not yet taken,
the adventurers elected to pursue this exit...

Mongo:  Hey, I smell water ahead.
Belphanior:  (right behind the dwarf)  How in the hells can you
  smell water?
Mongo:  Dunno.  Just runs in the Thunderhead family, I guess.
Ged:  Look, there's a cavern ahead.  (they all enter it)
Peyote:  Whoa, dudes.  More water!
Mongo:  It's another underground pool.
Halbarad:  The water is as clear as air, almost.  See the fish?
Rob:  Hey, yeah!  Fish!
Ged:  That's so incredible.
Belphanior:  Let's check for exits.  (strides into the pool)
Alindyar:  Look there.  A small stream is feeding this chamber,
  from that passage. (points to one of two exits from the area)
Peldor:  Maybe that's a way out.  I think we should go that way.
Ged:  Hush, fool.
Belphanior:  (getting deeper in, up to his chest now)  This pool
  is MUCH deeper than that other one.  Maybe there is something
  bigger hiding in here.
Ged:  So?  Swim out and check anyway.
Rob:  This pool is a lot bigger than the other one, too.  It
  goes back at least fifty feet.
Alindyar:  'Twould require hours of searching to check the whole
  of it.
Mongo:  He doesn't really have much of a weapon.  An iron spike
  is pretty puny.  (he is in up to his knees)  I couldn't even
  stand up as far out as he is, anyway.
Halbarad:  I would prefer to check the dry tunnels, myself.
Belphanior:  (to DM)  I peer into the deeper part.  Can I see
  any big black shapes out there?
DM:  Not really.  But you definitely can't see the whole pool
  either.
Belphanior:  (thinking heavily)  Let's come back here later.  I
  do not wish to chance an attack in which I will have no good
  help.  (backs up somewhat)
Mongo:  Hey!  I resent that!  I am great help in battle!  I just
  can't fight underwater.  Maybe I'll learn someday, though.
Rob:  First you have to learn how to breathe water.
Halbarad:  Shall we take the northern passage, with the stream,
  or the southern one?
Peldor:  Northern.
Ged:  Southern.
Peyote:  Who cares?
Mongo:  Bah.  (heads south)
Belphanior:  I'm with him.  (follows Mongo)
Halbarad:  It is settled then, I guess.  (they all follow)

soon...

Mongo:  (looking at the wall near a sharp turn in the tunnel)
  Eh?  What's this?
Belphanior:  Good question.  Stone chips?
Mongo:  Flint.  They're flint chips, just like the sharp piece
  that Halbarad has.  Someone collect some.
Rob:  (scrapes up a pile of flint chips)
Mongo:  (rounding the corner)  What's this, now?  Hey!  Coal!
  There's a vein of coal here!
Peyote:  Dude!  Let's get some of it!  (sets the glowing fungus
  down and starts grabbing bits of coal)
little glowing fungus:  (slowly wandering away)
Peldor:  (moves to intercept the thing)  Stick around, slimy.
Ged:  I think it's time to make torches now.  We have all the
  ingredients.  Two wooden clubs, pitch to coat them, flint
  and steel to ignite them...
Alindyar:  (he helps Ged construct two makeshift torches)
Peyote:  Good.  Can we lose the fungus now?
Halbarad:  That should be fine.  The torches will provide much
  better light anyway, and heat too.  (he makes sparks and
  ignites the rest of Ged's dry wood scraps, producing a small
  flame, and momentarily one of the torches is burning)
Peldor:  Do we need both of them burning right now?
Ged:  Nah.  Just one should be okay for now.  See how much
  better the light is already?
Rob:  Ow, that hurts my eyes.
Ged:  Somehow I knew it would.  Quit whining.
Mongo:  We can use the coal to make a REAL fire when both of
  the torches have burned out later.
Belphanior:  (now he has an iron spike, Mongo has a bone,
  Halbarad has a sharp piece of flint, Peyote has the burning
  torch, and Ged is carrying the unlit one)  Let's go.
Mongo:  (leading the group again; they are continuing down
  the passage)
something ahead:  grr...
Belphanior:  What the fuck was THAT?!?
Halbarad:  It sounded like an animal.
Mongo:  Well, it had better stay the hell away from me.  Or
  I'll bust it good!
animal:  (emerges into the light)  Grrr!
Mongo:  It's a beaver!
Halbarad:  Nay, a badger.  Let me try to communicate with it.
  (steps forth)
Belphanior:  Whatever you say, pal.
Alindyar:  I would say a giant badger.
Giant badger:  GRRR!
Halbarad:  (making growling animal noises at the animal)
Rob:  What's he up to?
Peyote:  Dude, he's trying to soothe the savage beast.
Rob:  Huh?
Halbarad:  (backing up)  This fellow is quite angry and savage.
  We should not invade his territory.
Giant badger:  (regarding the party intently, teeth bared)
Ged:  You're saying that we should go back and pick another
  passage because of some ANIMAL?!?
Halbarad:  Well, yes.  What right have we to disturb him?
Mongo:  Bah.  Double bah.  Let's just do something.
Rob:  Well, we shouldn't really fight an animal that's not
  evil.
Ged:  I have to agree with that.  But this is so STUPID!
Halbarad:  We can come back here later if we have to.
Belphanior:  (somewhat amused)  Let's take the other way out
  of the pool room, the tunnel with the stream.
Peldor:  (wondering what use rangers and druids have in life)

  After going back into the room with the big pool and then
travelling through about two hundred feet of cavern tunnels,
the party entered another chamber.  This place had quite a
bit of water dripping from the ceiling.  There were large
pointed rock formations on the floor and roof of the place.
Many unusual fungi were growing here among the stalagmites,
all of various shaped, sizes, and hues.  A hellish, red glow
lit up the room.

Peyote:  Awesome!  Nine-foot fungus lords!
Belphanior:  I want to know where that red glow is coming
  from.  (starts searching the chamber)
Mongo:  (watching the fungi suspiciously, thigh bone at the
  ready)  These slimy fuckers had better not attack us.  If
  they do, I'll splatter them all over the place!
Peyote:  Chill out, man.  It's just vegetation.
Halbarad:  (also searching the chamber)
Rob:  I wonder if they're good to eat?
Ged:  Don't push your luck.
Belphanior:  Hey!  I found bugs!
Mongo:  (rushing to look)  Big fat beetles!
Alindyar:  Fire beetles, it seems.  They are relatively
  harmless, and vegetarians besides.
Ged:  Well, that explains the fungi.
beetles:  (ignoring the party as they chow down on fungi)
Mongo:  Well, they look happy.  (heads down one of two exits
  from this fungi forest - the other exit is sort of blocked
  by the beetles)  Seems that this is our day to let monsters
  choose which ways we DON'T go.
Halbarad:  This is apt to happen when one has no real weapons.
Belphanior:  I tire of this pattern.  Something or somebody
  has to die soon.
Ged:  Let's hope not.  (he, and the rest, follow them)

  They went down a long, curving tunnel, and found themselves
at the intersection of three other tunnels.

Mongo:  Let's go get a better look at those passages.
"stalagmite":  (suddenly shoots tentacles at the dwarf)
Mongo:  Wha-!  (hit by several of the sticky strands)  Agh!
Alindyar:  'Tis another one of those roper creatures.  Ware
  the tentacles!
Peldor:  Ah, it doesn't look that dangerous.
Belphanior:  (dodges a tentacle)  Yipes.
Ged:  Lemme see those scrolls!
Belphanior:  (rushes the monster, stabbing it with his iron
  spike)  Die, foul thing!  Die!
Mongo:  (bashes weakly at the thing with his bone club)  I
  don't have any strength left...
Ged:  Weakness!  A weakness effect!
Halbarad:  (leaps at the monster, slashing at it with his sharp
  bit of flint, but misses)  Damn!
roper:  (recoils anyway)
Peyote:  (dashes forth and pokes his torch at the monster,
  burning it)  Leave that dwarf alone, bogus turdage!
Ged:  Aaa!  These scrolls have no useful attack spells!  If only
  I had my normal spells!  (grabs his half-full tube of pitch)
Rob:  What can I do?  (looks around)

roper:  (slowly pulling Mongo toward its big, grinning maw)
Ged:  (runs up and hurls his pitch-tube at the monster)  What?!
  YEAH!  (he rolled a 20!)  Boccob!
roper:  (splashed with the black pitch)  ...?
Belphanior:  (pokes it again with his spike, wounding it)
Mongo:  Help!  Help!
Peyote:  Here I come, dude!  (bashes the roper with his torch,
  igniting the pitch on it by sticking the burning wood onto
  the splashed area)  Yeah!  Hey, I just lost the torch...
Halbarad:  (hits the thing with his flint scrap)
roper:  Gggg!  (goes limp and falls, somewhat ablaze)
Belphanior:  Phew, that stinks!  (begins trying to put out the
  fire at the same time as he tries to cut open the monster's
  torso)  This spike isn't much good for this.  Give me that
  flint.  (grabs Halbarad's weapon)  Ah, much better for the
  gutting...(proceeds to splatter the nearby area with gore)
Mongo:  (unsteady on his feet)  I feel so weak...
Ged:  Let's rest here for a while.  Maybe you'll get some of
  your strength back.
Peldor:  I'll scout one of these other passages.
Halbarad:  Be careful.  We cannot get too spread out here.
Belphanior:  Aha!  (pulls two gems, one small, the other big,
  from the roper's gut)  Treasure!  (he managed to stash the
  medium-sized gem in his loincloth)
Mongo:  Let's go on.  I can fight.
Ged:  No.  We rest for at least ten minutes.  You're too weak,
  and we need the rest anyway.
Peldor:  (coming back after five minutes or so)  One of these
  tunnels dead-ends, another leads to a deep crevasse.
Ged:  How wide is the crevasse?
Peldor:  About twenty feet.  I think I could jump it, or else
  climb around it via the walls - they're pretty rough, with
  a lot of good handholds.
Belphanior:  (tightening his loincloth)
Alindyar:  By what means would the rest of us cross the chasm?
Halbarad:  We need rope.
Rob:  Rope?
Peyote:  We have no ropes, man.
Ged:  What about the hanging roots from that other place?
Mongo:  Ugh.  We don't really want to go all the way back there.
  Do we?
Peldor:  Not really.
Rob:  What about the arms of the monster we just killed?
Ged:  Hey!  Yeah!  Good idea, Rob!  (he examines one of the
  roper strands)  These are pretty long, maybe twenty feet.
Halbarad:  I'll see if we can cut one off.  (uses his flint
  to saw a tentacle off)  They can be cut!  (excitedly, he
  cuts three more off; the other two were burned away by the
  fire)
Peyote:  Good idea, Rob.
Peldor:  Good idea, Rob.
Mongo:  Good idea, Rob.
Halbarad:  Good idea, Rob.
Alindyar:  Good idea, Rob.
Belphanior:  Okay, okay.  Good idea, Rob.
Rob:  Gee, thanks guys.
Peldor:  Give me an end - tie two together.  I'll tie an end
  around my waist, and climb across.  (he does so and begins
  the perilous horizontal climb)  If I fall, you can all pull
  me back up.  That is, if the rope holds.
Ged:  I never thought I'd be saying this, but be careful there.
Peldor:  I'm touched.  (halfway across)
Halbarad:  The thief is going to make it.
Rob:  Go Peldor!
Peldor:  (successfully crosses the crevasse)  Ha.  I owe it all
  to my cheering section.  Hey, I need a way to secure this rope.
Belphanior:  (grudgingly)  Here.  (tosses his iron spike over)
Peldor:  (catches it)  Aha.  But I need a hammer.
Mongo:  Someone throw him this bone.  (Peyote does)
Peldor:  (ties the roper strand to the spike, and hammers it into
  the rock)  There.  Now cross.

  Minutes later, they had all crossed.  Mongo regained his full
strength just before his turn to cross, and so had no trouble
(even at half strength, he was still stronger than some of the
others...).  Peldor pulled the rope back and left it coiled on the
party's side of the chasm.  They went on to an open chamber ahead.

Mongo:  Hey, there's a draft in here!
Halbarad:  Open air!
Ged:  Look, there's a narrow rock tunnel cut into the ceiling.
  It goes straight up.
Belphanior:  We could climb up that, if we could get up there.
Alindyar:  'Tis a chimney, of sorts.
Peldor:  I'll just climb up...Ow!  Hey, the walls are covered
  with this slime stuff!  It's acidic!  (looking around at the
  other walls)  They're ALL covered with this shit.
Belphanior:  (decides that there's no way for either of them
  to climb this wall, between the slipperiness and the acid)
  Fuck.
Peyote:  How will we reach that shaft?  It must be twenty feet
  to the ceiling.
Ged:  Let's see.  Jump?
Alindyar:  Yea.  Utilize the spell on the scroll.
Ged:  (casts it on Peldor)  There you go.
Peldor:  (braces himself, aims, then leaps up into the opening)
  Wheeee!  I'm in!  There are ledges up here, so all of you can
  probably climb.  I feel a breeze!
Belphanior:  (just itching to get up there)  Hurry it up.
Ged:  Well, check out the tunnel!  See where it goes!
Peldor:  Okay!  (climbs up)

very soon...

Peldor:  (way up there)  Shit!  It's a dead end!  Oh, they can't
  hear me.  (descends to tell the party)

  About halfway down, a large spider leaped from its concealed
position and attacked the thief.  Before he knew what was going
on, he had been bitten.

DM:  The thing bites you.
Peldor:  Bites?  Oh, shit.  Poison!  Hmm.  Since I already got
  bit, I might as well grab the spider.  Is it near me?
DM:  Yes...
Peldor:  Good.  I grab it and let myself fall, trying to make
  it land on bottom.
DM:  !  Okay...(much dice rolling and also a saving throw follow)
  You are both falling.  The spider looks as surprised as, well, as
  a spider can be.

Mongo:  What the f-?!  (he jumps backwards as Peldor falls through
  the ceiling's chimney, grappling with a large spider)
Peldor:  Look out beloooow!!  (he falls unceremoniously on top of
  the spider as both hit the ground hard)

                           SQUISH!!

Peyote:  Ugh.  Totally gross.
Ged:  I wonder how he managed this.
Mongo:  Hey, thief!  Are you okay?
Peldor:  (slowly rising to his feet)  Agh.  I'll live.  That
  bug there (gesturing to the mashed mess underneath him) took
  the brunt of the blow.  Yech.  (scraping spider guts off of
  himself)
Alindyar:  Pray tell, did the spider have a lair?
Peldor:  I think so.  It definitely wasn't in the main tunnel,
  or I would have seen it.  Hmm.  I'll just take a jump back
  up there and have a closer look.
Ged:  Yea, the jump spell should still be good.  Go for it.
Belphanior:  Here, take the "rope" we made.  (ties the other
  two roper tentacles onto the main rope, which he just went
  back to retrieve; now the rope is about eighty feet long)
Peldor:  Will do.  (aims and leaps up again, then begins his
  second climb)  Spiders beware...Peldor the creative spider-
  killer is coming...

  About halfway up, the thief found a well-hidden chamber
(of course, now it wasn't well-hidden, since the resident had
sprung out of it...) and explored it carefully.  The nest was
comprised of brush and sticks, among which Peldor found a
small pouch of electrum coins - and two gems!  He secreted
one of the gems in his loincloth, then followed the breeze he
was feeling.  Shortly he had located a narrow, forty-foot
tunnel; a pinprick of light was barely visible at the far
end.  Excited now, he followed the passage and emerged behind
a toppled tree in a small grove of trees.
  The thief spent only a few moments smelling the aroma of
freedom.  He went back, found a rock outcropping in the lair
of the spider, and secured the roper rope to it.  Then he
yelled down the shaft, telling the others to come up in
order of weight (lightest ones first) since the rocks he
used to anchor the rope didn't look totally solid.

soon...

Alindyar:  (climbing up into the spider lair)  Never did I
  think that I would be this happy to see the sun's light...
Ged:  (arrives soon after)  Boccob be blessed.  Does that
  passage lead out, Peldor?
Peldor:  Sure thing.
Ged:  Yea!
Belphanior:  (arrives shortly thereafter)  Smell that air!

and so on...at last, Mongo made it up the rope.  The party
went through the tunnel and emerged into the daylight.  Just
then, there was a tremendous earth tremor, and the ground shook
hard enough to knock some of the adventurers down.  Much of
the foliage in the grove was tangled, but they moved through
it and went westward down a slope, heading for a nearby road.
Once they reached this, they saw that many trees had fallen
across the road.  More tremors shook the ground - and now
shouting could be heard from the northwest (the road went in
a northwest-southeast direction).

Peyote:  Dude.  The forest to the west is ablaze not too far
  from here.  I can hear the trees screaming.
Halbarad:  Aye.  This whole island may overturn soon, it seems.
Mongo:  Look there!  Lava!
Ged:  Holy shit.  We're in a volcano crater, remember?
Belphanior:  We'd better get the hell off of this island, fast,
  or we're going to fry.  Hell, the whole crater may collapse.
Peldor:  Something is on fire that way, too...
Mongo:  Maybe it's the city.
Belphanior:  Heh.  Someone beat me to it.

  The party rounded a corner and finally had a view of the city
of Suderham.  The south wall had crumbled, but worse, some kind
of yellow gas was coming from the area south of the city and
billowing right over the fallen wall and into the city.

Mongo:  Uh-oh!  Gas!
Peyote:  Looks pretty gnarly, dudes.
Halbarad:  How in the nine hells are we going to get off of
  this island?





next time:  The grand finale

ANONYMOUS FTP SITE: tybalt.caltech.edu (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
***********************************************************************
NOTES:  The 2nd edition JUMP spell allows a 30' vertical leap, and
Peldor has jumping talent anyway.  The module/1st edition AD&D game
JUMP spell allows only a 10' vertical leap.  I was in a good mood at
the time.  Just thought I'd clear this up for he/she who might catch
it...
  I would have finished and posted this last night, but the GT base-
ball team played a superb game, and then the Braves went into the
16th inning against Pittsburgh.  Too bad they lost, but it was one
hell of a game.  It lasted until 12:50 a.m.  I wasn't ready to post
this morning...and you should all know by now that I never put out
any postings during working hours (8 am - 5 pm EST).
  Anyway, this should be wrapped up in one more posting, so after
part 37 the A4 module will be concluded (I don't care if it takes
a 30K posting to depict the big battle, I _will_ fit it into the
next posting!).
***********************************************************************




previous chapter (#35)                                                                  next chapter (#37)