Chapter #369

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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 1991-6 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                    +
+                                  tmiller@cimmeria.ns.gatech.edu   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  THE PARTY (or a fraction of it, anyway):                         +
+                                                                   +
+  Arnold         12th level human barbarian                   (NG) +
+  Ged            14th/14th level grey elven priest/wizard     (NG) +
+  Mongo          17th level dwarven fighter                   (CG) +
+    Gorin         9th level dwarven fighter                   (NG) +
+                                                                   +
+                                                                   +
+  SPECIAL GUEST STARS:                                             +
+                                                                   +
+  Drexel         human paladin                                (LG) +
+  Eyer           wood elven fighter/acrobat                   (NG) +
+    Baltek       high elven archer                            (NG) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        2/2/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        late afternoon                                      +
+  Place:       the dungeons beneath Maure Castle                   +
+  Climate:     dry and musty                                       +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the       +
+   fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog."                  +
+                                           - Dwight D. Eisenhower  +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                CCCLXIX.  An Invincible Iron Foe





  The adventurers now face the primary guardian of this level:  the
gigantic iron golem that wields strange weapons.

Mongo:  (looks at the golem, then at his hammer, then at the golem
  again)  Uh, folks?  I think we've got a little problem...
Gorin:  The way your hammer bounced off that thing, I'd say you're
  right.
Ged:  Nonsense.  Observe.

  The elf completed his spell, and a massive sword of glowing force
appeared in the air between the golem and the party.

Eyer:  (eyes wide)  Wow.  (he looks back at Ged)  Did you...?
Ged:  I did - and yonder golem shall now feel the wrath of Boccob!
  (he brings the sword smashing down on the foe's head)

  There was a concussion, powerful enough to shake the floor beneath
their feet - but the construct of iron did not stop, or even slow,
in its stride.

iron golem:  (swats Eyer with its crystal sword, green drops of some
  foul substance spraying from the weapon as it swings)
Eyer:  Urgh!  (hit in the chest, he is swept back and sails away,
  landing on the floor nearby)  Ungh!
people in stands:  (some cheer for the golem, while others urge the
  adventurers on to greater efforts)
Arnold:  (fascinated by the spectators, who weren't there before the
  golem came to life)  Aaa.
Baltek:  I'll feather that fiend!  (he fires one, then another arrow
  at the foe, but they simply bounce off or shatter upon hitting it)
  Damn!
Drexel:  (turns to Eyer)  Are you well, friend?
Eyer:  (rolling around in pain)  P- poisoned blade...
Drexel:  (becomes enraged)  How foul!

  Whirling to face the golem, the paladin raised his holy sword high
and swore to his deity.

Drexel:  Prepare to meet your match, metal man!  (he charges)
iron golem:  (seemingly unconcerned by the large, armored man who
  bears down on it)

  Drexel swung with all his might, landing a tremendous blow on the
foe's shoulder.  The golem didn't even slow down, lashing out with
surprising speed.  Its feathered whip hit Drexel solidly.

Drexel:  Is that supposed to tickle?  Why, I-  Eh?  (he stiffens)
  What...?  (he looks alarmed)  Argh!  Something is...is...wron-

  The paladin spoke no more, for he had turned into stone, making a
nice, if confused-looking statue.

Mongo:  Holy shit!
Gorin:  That golem means business!
Ged:  (wallops the monster with his Mordenkainen's sword)
Baltek:  (fires some more arrows at the golem, but again, they do
  nothing)  It must be immune to weapons of no enchantment!
Ged:  Are you kidding?!?  It seems to be immune to weapons _with_
  an enchantment!

  Meanwhile, Arnold, Mongo, and Gorin had flanked the golem, triple-
teaming it.  They were actually managing to keep it at bay, for as
it struck at one fighter, the others would press their own attacks.
Still, this was a difficult tactic, given the foe's poisoned crystal
sword and stoning whip.

Mongo:  (blocks a sword-blow with his hammer)  We don't-  have-  much
  time!
Gorin:  (ducks under a whip-blow)  Ged!  Do something!
Arnold:  (hacks at the golem ineffectually)  And hurry!
Ged:  Uh...
Eyer:  (standing now, he regroups with Ged and Baltek)  Not even the
  dwarf's hammer seems to faze the damned thing.
Ged:  I know.  But there's got to be _some_ way.  Nothing is immune
  to everything.
Baltek:  (eyes the golem)
Ged:  I hope.
Eyer:  We need to immobilize it.
Ged:  Agreed, and I can do that.  (he begins another spell, his now-
  unused magical force-sword sinking to the floor)
Baltek:  We've got to help the others...but how?
Eyer:  (quaffs a healing potion)  Ahh.  (he looks around)  I'll think
  of something.

  Meanwhile, the golem batted aside an attack, then suddenly employed
a new, terrible tactic:  it belched a great sheet of flame upon all
three of its attackers!

Gorin:  (staggers back, aflame)  ARGH!
Arnold:  (somewhat better off in his plate mail)  Aaargh!
Mongo:  (between his mighty armor and his ring of fire resistance,
  he is all but unfazed)  Damn, it's hot!
Ged:  Boccob!  (he releases his spell)

  Coincidentally, and fortunately for the adventurers, the flame-
breath had driven the three warriors back.  Thus, Ged's spell of
rock-to-mud only caught the golem.

iron golem:  (makes a weird face as it sinks up to its armpits in
  the mud)
Ged:  (barely pausing to catch his breath, he whips out his decanter
  of endless water, aims it at the blazing Gorin, and utters a word
  of command)
Gorin:  AAARGH-  <sploosh>
Mongo:  Whoa!  Damn good move!  (for good measure, he fires his hammer
  at the snared golem, then runs to help Gorin)
Arnold:  (staggers about, his armor smoldering)  Aaaargh...
Drexel:  (still, of course, a statue)

  The iron golem had dropped its feather-whip as it struggled to
climb out of the mud-pit.

Eyer:  (notices this)  Of course!  (dashing over, he slides across
  the floor - a feat made possible by all the water and mud in the
  area - and grabs the whip by its handle)  Hah!  (he swats at the
  golem with its own whip)
Ged:  Way to go, Eyer!
Mongo:  That'll get him-
Baltek:  Uh...

  Their high hopes were dashed; for whatever reason, the petrification
whip wasn't working on the golem.

Eyer:  Gods be damned!  (he scrambles away, tossing the whip far to
  one side)  At least it won't be turning anyone else to stone...
Ged:  But we've still got to deal with it!  Look!

  Sure enough, the golem was climbing out of the mud-pit, slowly but
surely.

Mongo:  Let's see if I can delay him...(hurling his hammer, he hits
  the golem in the chest)
iron golem:  <CLANG>  (off-balance, it falls back into the mud)
Baltek:  A good move...but can you keep it up all day?
Mongo:  I don't think so.

  Already, the construct was climbing out of the pit again; Mongo
wouldn't be able to keep it in there forever.  Fortunately, Ged was
already working to solve this problem; his next spell returned the
mud to its natural, hard rock state.

iron golem:  (its bottom half trapped, it flails about)
Ged:  By Boccob, it worked!
Eyer:  That it did...
Mongo:  Now I can stand here and bombard it all day.
Baltek:  Wait...look!
iron golem:  slowly breaking free of the surrounding rock)
Ged:  Inconceivable!
Eyer:  That is one strong golem.
Mongo:  Maybe stronger than me.  (he hurls his hammer at the foe,
  but to no avail; the thing is nearly free)
Ged:  Damn!
Arnold:  Maybe one of us could lead it away...into the smaller part
  of the dundgeon.  Then the others could get to safety.
Eyer:  Drexel wouldn't like that.  Then again, who cares what he'd
  think?  He's petrified.
Mongo:  I'm not gonna run!  Besides, I couldn't outrun that fucker
  anyway.
demonic figure in crowd:  (to the golem)  Come on, you rustbucket!
  Smash those idiots!
smiling man in crowd:  (to the adventurers)  Fight that thing!  Get
  behind it!  Do SOMEthing!
Arnold:  Who asked you?
Baltek:  (considers firing an arrow at the crowds in the stands,
  just to see what would happen)
Ged:  (inspired by an idea)  Boccob!
Eyer:  Eh?
Ged:  I could cast a wall of force around the thing, and trap it
  inside!
Eyer:  Hmm...that might just work.
Ged:  I'll try it, then!  (he begins spellcasting)
Eyer:  (to Mongo)  We've got to hold it off, for just a while longer.
Mongo:  Can do!

  Gorin was still on the ground, in pain but alive; Drexel was stoned
to one side.  Mongo, Arnold, and Eyer stood between the golem and
Ged.  Baltek had ascended the throne area earlier, as he shot arrows
at the golem.

Baltek:  (nocking an arrow, he pauses, spying something)  Hmm.  (he
  releases his bowstring slowly)  Hmmm.

  The elven archer was eyeing the sword, that in the stony hand of
the fighter-statue.  Without another word, he walked over to the
statue and tried to pry the weapon from the statue's grip.  With
a surprised yell, Baltek fell back, the longsword in his hands -
the statue's arm had turned to flesh, released the sword, and then
become stone again!

Baltek:  (looking over the sword)  Marvelous...(he stands, and yells
  to the others)  Eyer!
Eyer:  (looks around and up)  What?
Baltek:  (holds up the sword)  Try this one!  (he tosses the sword
  in his liege's general direction)
Eyer:  O-kay...(trusting his henchman implicitly, he moves to catch
  the spinning blade)
Mongo:  (intercepts the throw, grabbing the sword from midair)  Got
  it!
Eyer:  What?!?
Mongo:  I've had a lot of practice.  (he eyes the sword)  Can't hurt
  to try this on that big sucker...
Eyer:  I'm the longsword expert - let me try!
Mongo:  I used to wield a longsword, and I still know how.  Besides,
  I've got the strength of a giant.  If this does work, my blows'll
  cut a helluva lot more deeply than yours.
Eyer:  (frowns, then nods grudgingly)  Very well.
Mongo:  (tucks Stormcrest in his belt)  Sorry.  (hefting the long-
  sword, he charges the golem, which has escaped by this time and
  knocked Arnold out of its way)  Hey, you!  Come and get me!
iron golem:  (lumbers toward the dwarf)
Arnold:  (staggers, his armor dented and his shoulder cut)  Aaa...
  poison...

  Mongo met the foe's charge head-on, fearing nothing.  As the golem
hit him squarely in the chest with its poison-coated blade, the dwarf
simultaneously connected with the borrowed sword he bore.

Mongo:  (knocked on his back by the force of the blow, though the
  golem's sword doesn't even dent his enchanted armor)  Ungh!
iron golem:  (reels, a huge gash torn in its stomach by Mongo's
  sword)
Mongo:  YEAH!
Eyer:  (suddenly inspired, he runs toward Baltek and the throne
  area)  Baltek!  Get me that other weapon, the dagger in that
  wizard-statue's hand!
Baltek:  (looks over)  Right!  (he runs for the second statue)
Ged:  (ready to cast his force-sphere, he can only stand there as
  Mongo melees the golem)  But what about my spell...?

  Since the golem's sword couldn't cut through Mongo's armor (which
covered most of his body) he was generally safe from its poison.
Though he sustained incredible wounds, the stout dwarf continued his
relentless attack, not giving an inch.  Now, at last, it was the
golem's turn to get hurt; every one of Mongo's blows that hit it
opened a new wound in its otherwise-impervious iron hide.
  So preoccupied was the golem, in fact, that it never saw Eyer,
armed with the wizard-statue's dagger, sneak around behind it.  The
elf's well-aimed blow split the golem's back wide open, and brought
the maimed foe down for good, its heavy form causing the floor to
quake.

Eyer:  (grins)  Well, what do you know, the dagger worked too...
Mongo:  (claps the elf on the shoulder, causing him to wince)  Well
  done!
Eyer:  Don't tell Drexel, if he recovers - he wouldn't approve of
  such a "cowardly" blow.
Baltek:  Who cares?
Eyer:  (to Mongo)  The credit goes to Baltek here - it was he who
  had the idea to use those statues' weapons.
Mongo:  (turns to Baltek)
Baltek:  (holds up his hands)  No need to clap me on the shoulder,
  thanks.

  With the fight over, the mysterious spectators in the stands, as
well as the six animated pillars, had reverted to their pre-battle
conditions.  All was silent.

Ged:  (needing to unload the sphere of force _somewhere_, he puts it
  around the golem's remains)  Oh, why not?

  They had a lot of cleaning up to do.  Drexel had to be turned back
to flesh; Gorin needed a lot of healing, while Mongo and Arnold were
less severely injured.  The barbarian also suffered from poisoning,
and though it hadn't slain him, it was causing him great agony.  As
Ged worked to remedy all of these conditions, Eyer busied himself
collecting the prized feather-whip.  The clever elf wrapped the
dangerous weapon in one of the rugs the party had stored in Mongo's
portable hole, then replaced the rug in the hole along with its new
cargo.
  After that, the elf checked the few doors and rooms the party had
missed on this level, but found nothing of interest.  Since the day
was nearly over (wounded adventurers simply know these things) and
the party needed a place to camp, Eyer picked what he thought was
the best place:  the thirty-foot square room next to the one that
had the secret passage to the spear-and-stairs room.  This chamber
only had one door, and was close to both the dungeon entrance and
the stairs down.
  An hour after the battle, the party had relocated to this room.
Mongo, Arnold, Gorin, and the newly-flesh Drexel slept the sleep of
the exhausted.  Eyer and Baltek stood watch, a spell from Ged in
place to augment their guard.  Ged himself was deep into his prayers
and books, for he had expended much magic this day.  A late morning
was anticipated by all.





next:      the second level
ftp:       ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
www:       http://www.access.digex.net/~dpm
           http://www3.hmc.edu/~kshobaki/adventurers
homepage:  http://www.gatech.edu/oit/oe/design/thomas/adv.html
mail:      tmiller@cimmeria.ns.gatech.edu   (preferred)
           thomas.miller@oit.gatech.edu     (emergency)
notes:     This module is WG5:  Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure
  which is old but good.
    Also:  I've got the Adventurers survey results, but I need to
  write them up.  Haven't done it yet.
    Also:  I'll be in Baltimore from 5/8 through 5/14 attending
  Syndicon, so this'll be the last episode you see for a while.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++




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