Chapter #395

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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:                                                       +
+                                                                   +
+  Bosco          11th level halfling thief                    (CN) +
+  Mongo          18th level dwarven fighter                   (CG) +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  Date:        4/3/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                          +
+  Time:        late afternoon                                      +
+  Place:       some dungeon complex far below the surface world    +
+  Climate:     cool and dry                                        +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "Help you, I can.  Yes.  Mmm-mmmm."                              +
+                               - Yoda, _The Empire Strikes Back_   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





               CCCXCV.  Domain of the Svirfneblin





  Mongo and Bosco have survived the shapeshifters' attack, a fiery
explosion, a cave-in, and the attack of a hydra - only to fall prey
to the very svirfneblin they just helped!

  Bosco came to his senses slowly; the first thing he was aware of
was some hushed talking, somewhere nearby.  He didn't stir, though,
instead allowing his body to regain its full faculties without
letting his captors know that he was awake.  The halfling struggled
to grasp the language that he was hearing, but it was foreign to
him.  He spoke a smattering of gnomish, but the svirfneblin weren't
typical gnomes, and their language was a thing born and bred in the
lands beneath the world.  Damn, the halfling thought, maybe Mongo-
  Mongo!  Where was he, and was he okay?  These and other questions
flooded Bosco's mind, almost causing him to open his eyes and see
what was going on.  Slightly, ever so slightly, the halfling flexed
his wrists, checking for the bonds he was sure were there.  But no
ropes, chains, or cords bound his hands; this was quite a surprise.
The deep gnomes had seemed hostile enough when they'd attacked with
their little sleep-gas-globes.
  Now _those_ were useful weapons, thought Bosco.  Any gas that could
take Mongo out was some mighty fine powerful stuff, and the halfling
resolved to acquire some of the strange spheres for himself.  He got
to wondering why Mongo wasn't awake yet.  Maybe he'd gotten more of
the gas in his face?  Or maybe the vapor was more effective against
heavier or stronger victims?  Who could say?  And why hadn't the
svirfneblin used the stuff on the hydra, if it was so effective?
  Bosco stopped his daydreaming when he heard a familiar voice utter
a groan.  From the sound of things, Mongo was near, and he was waking
up.  Rather loudly, too.

Mongo:  -motherfucking damned little shits!  What the hell's going on
  around here?!?  (pause)  Bosco, wake the hell up!

  With that, the halfling could remain silent no longer.  Opening his
eyes, he took quick stock of his surroundings...and was again shocked.
Rather than a prison cell, or perhaps a dungeon, the two companions
were in some kind of barracks.  A small, four-foot high stone door
provided the room's only exit.  The chamber was about fifteen by ten
feet in size, and aside from four hard bedrolls, it was barren.

Mongo:  (looking around wildly)  Where's my hammer?
Bosco:  You must've dropped it.  Hey, you can bring it back just by
  thinking about it, can't you?
Mongo:  (concentrating)  Not if it's too far away...!
Bosco:  Oh.  (he has a notion, and begins checking through his own
  possessions)  Uh-oh.

  Some of their equipment and weapons were intact, while others were
missing.  This did little to help Mongo's mood, and he made it quite
clear.

Mongo:  (slams his fist against a wall, cracking it and shaking the
  entire room)  Dammit!
Bosco:  Hey, ease up...
Mongo:  To hell with that!  First they attack us - gas us! - after
  we help them!  Then they go through our stuff and take some of it.
Bosco:  Look at the bright side:  they didn't take away your girdle.
Mongo:  (ponders this, rubbing his chin thoughtfully)  True.
Bosco:  But where's your armor?
Mongo:  (becomes livid)  Arrrrrrgh!

  This second wall-slamming brought a svirfneblin to investigate,
the deep gnome's bald little head poking around the door.  Bosco
didn't remember hearing that door open, but he didn't have time
to point that out to Mongo.

Mongo:  (grabs the gnome by the collar and hoists him into the air,
  bumping his back up against the room's ceiling)  What the fuck's
  going on around here?!?
svirfneblin:  (terrified)
Mongo:  Okay, you-
other svirfneblin:  (enters)  Answer your questions, I will.  (he
  points to the gnome who Mongo has hoisted up against the ceiling)
  Down, put him, please.

  The new arrival was much like any other deep gnome they'd seen so
far:  on the lower end of three feet in height, with skin the color
of rock and a wrinkled, bald pate.  He wore a vest of leather with
tiny mithril rings interlaced over it.  At his side was a small but
dangerous-looking pickaxe, also of mithril.  Though all svirfneblin
tended to look alike to outsiders, this fellow seemed older, wiser,
and tougher.

Mongo:  Now we're getting somewhere.  (he sets the first gnome down,
  none too gently)
first svirfneblin:  (glances at the second)
second svirfneblin:  (nods)
first svirfneblin:  (departs the chamber)
Mongo:  Listen up, pal.  I want my hammer back, and I want my armor
  back, and I want them both now.
svirfneblin:  A fine weapon, is that hammer.  Took two of us to carry
  here, it did.
Bosco:  Who the heck are you, anyway?
svirfneblin:  Called Grimlok, I am.  King of this tribe, I am.
Mongo:  (irritated that the gnome is answering Bosco's questions but
  not his)  Does that mean that if I wring your neck, the others'll
  give me my stuff back?
Bosco:  (muttering to himself)  Diplomacy is dead...
Mongo:  (scowling at Grimlok)
Grimlok:  Take responsibility, I must.  (he sighs, and turns to Mongo)
  Dead could you be, you know.  Left up in the caverns, even.  (he
  grimaces)  Better to be dead...
Mongo:  If you'd wanted to kill us, we'd be dead already.  Besides,
  we helped your people beat that hydra.
Grimlok:  (nods eagerly)  A mighty battle, was that.  Appreciated,
  your help was.
Bosco:  Then we can have our equipment back?
Grimlok:  (hops away, toward the door)  Come.
Mongo:  (exchanges incredulous glances with Bosco)

  They followed the wiry gnome from the room, moving through a warren-
like series of burrows and round chambers.  Mongo realized that they
must be in one of the svirfneblins' legendary underground cities.

Mongo:  They have dwellings much like the dwarves.
Bosco:  (nods)  Even somewhat like the halflings.
Grimlok:  Very old, this city is.  Very special.
Mongo:  (changes his line of questioning, finally)  You mean to tell
  us that there's a svirfneblin city right under Greyhawk?!?
Grimlok:  (smiles and nods)  Right under Greyhawk, it is.  Has been
  for a long time.

  The way the gnome said "long" gave them the impression that he
spoke in terms of centuries, perhaps millenia.  Mumbling to himself,
Grimlok led his guests into a larger chamber, an armory of some sort.
Mongo's armor and hammer rested atop a stone table, along with Bosco's
leather armor, shortsword, and three daggers.

Bosco:  Hey!  (he looks at Mongo)  No one steals from me!
Mongo:  (ironically)  Hey, ease up.
Grimlok:  Had to be looked at, some of your things did.  (he points
  to Stormcrest)  Took two of us-
Mongo:  Yeah, you told us.

  To be sure, Mongo was actually relieved; his possessions were now
within his sight.  Also, he'd just checked, and found that the
precious portable hole was safe and secure in his pocket.  It seemed
that the svirfneblin had only checked for weaponry.  Taking the hole
out and unfolding it, Mongo opened the thing, revealing the bodies
within.  For his part, Grimlok seemed surprised to see the thing
unfolded, and impressed when he realized what it was.

Grimlok:  Hmm.  (he gets down on all fours and peers into the hole)
  In bad shape, that one is.
Mongo:  Yeah, he needs help, all right.  Do you have priests here?
Grimlok:  Priests, of course we have.  (he points to Belphanior)
  Needs a priest, that one.  (he points to the mess that used to
  be Darek)  Needs more than that, that one.  (he waves, and from
  a side chamber, other robe-clad svirfneblin appear)  They will
  take your companions to the temple of healing.
Mongo:  (nods, and climbs down into the hole, gently lifting the
  bodies up to the waiting gnomes)  Be careful with these guys,
  they're our friends.
gnome priests:  (abscond with the still forms of Belphanior and
  Darek)  Careful, will we be.
Mongo:  (wondering if that sounded too much like a question)
Bosco:  Hope they turn out okay.  (jokingly)  We could also use
  some help to find our other two friends.  They're missing.
Grimlok:  Help you we cannot.  The sewers, you came from.
Mongo:  So?
Bosco:  (moves toward his weapons)  You won't mind if I take these,
  will you?
Grimlok:  Your weapons they are.  In your hands they belong.  (he
  gestures to Mongo, then to Stormcrest)  A mighty hammer, that.
  Where you found it, may I ask?
Mongo:  (hefts the weapon menacingly)  Another world.
Grimlok:  (rubs his chin thoughtfully)  Makes much sense, that does.
  Better than mithril, better than adamant.
Bosco:  (holds up his sword)  I found this right here on _our_ world.
Grimlok:  (disregards the halfling, and taps Mongo's armor, which is
  still on the table)  Fine armor too, this is.  Thought it didn't
  exist, we did.  (thoughtfully)  Thought it didn't exist, everyone
  probably did.
Mongo:  (putting his armor back on)  Listen, Grimlok, why'd you gas
  us back there?
Grimlok:  A confused situation, it was.  Dangerous they are, all who
  come down from sewers.  Take no chances, can we.
Bosco:  Oh.  Well, heck, why didn't your soldiers use that gas on the
  hydra?
Grimlok:  Humanoid life only, does the gas affect.  Monsters, it does
  not.  (he shrugs)  Have it all, you cannot.
Mongo:  (adding things up)  Why are you so afraid of the sewers and
  what's in them?
Grimlok:  Oozes, jellies, molds.  Unaffected by our illusions are they.
  Other things, also.  Avoid being found, svirfneblin must.  Bad will
  it be, if city knows we're here.
Bosco:  Maybe not-
Grimlok:  No, bad it would be.  (he frowns)  More bad things, there
  are up there.  Sewer things.  Shapechangers.
Mongo:  (he and Bosco both react as if jolted)
Grimlok:  (his back turned, he is unaware of this as he continues)
  Also gigantic alligators, there are rumored to be.  (he turns
  around)  Believe it, I don't.  (he regards the two adventurers)
  Feeling well, are you?





next:      more is revealed
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:     The Olympics are coming.  Hell, by the time you read
  this, they'll probably be here.  The Georgia Tech campus is like
  a fortress.  High electrified barbed-wire fences.  Walls.  Police
  and FBI and who knows what else.  Controlled access to campus,
  metal detectors, item searches.  I have to work in the middle of
  all this crap.

  Here's some more shapeshifter storyline fanmail, circa 388-394:





_All_ the episodes in this shapeshifters thread have been
top class.  Bravo!

Gary



This has been a very good story.

The start was a bit obvious - the scene where Org(?)
gives Peldor the job immediately made me say: "He's
a shapeshifter!"

So up until the fireball was all pretty much telegraphed;
I expected almost every turn of the story up to that
point (including the fireball itself). It was entertaining,
solid reading (all I can hope for), but not really
grabbing me by the throat.

However, the stuff after then (the real story - for me)
has been just fantastic. Some of your best work, I think.

The scene with them in the narrow pipe was brilliant,
and the last bit, with the shapeshifters following
them up the chain is a great point to leave it.

You seem to ending the action episodes with cliffhangers
in very neat fashion, without letting them drive the
story itself. Great stuff.

Glen



  This particular story arc is one of your best yet!  A group
of us have been trying to figure out what happens next.  So far
we've decided that the head of the Theives Guild must have been
replaced by a shape-shifter.  Can't wait to find out if we're
right or not.  This particular adventure ranks right up there
with ThunderDelve.  It's nice to see that Peldor is still a bad-
ass, at least when Tonya's not around causing him to worry for
her safety.  Keep the stories coming!  The current 24 hour wait
between episodes seems almost unbearable.

-Tony

p.s. I was kind of hoping that Peldor had some way of summoning
     the Drow after the cave-in.  It would have been funny if
     A&L teleported in all dressed up... directly into a pipe
     with a foot of sludge on the floor.  Heh.  I can just
     imagine Alyander's reaction.  ;-)  But, then we would have
     missed Peldor and Otto's escape.



MY GOD!   Best story ever!

Jim



Very interestingn story - of course, we all realize that Peldor
isn't really dead - and how do we know this?

Because when you did the minor wedding you specifacally said
you didn't go overboard so you could treat Peldor's and Tanya's
wedding properly.
Therefore, neithe one of those characters is dead / will die, at
least until you have the wedding.  The other characters aren't
so "protected" though.....

Good storyline.  I didn't realize that Peldor's sword even had
a name - now I have to dig back and figure out what kind of
weapon it was. I assume you posted the stats for it at sometime?

Looking forward to the next few episodes to wrap up this storyline.

Damon



Thomas,

Looking at Mongo's magic items and stats, I just have one thing to
say...

He ain't dead.  No way, no how, no chance.  Anyone else, maybe.
Not da big guy, however.

Boy, is he going to be pissed.

Enjoying this storyline...

Dave



Thomas,

This has to be the best story yet.

Whoa!  You killed Peldor!  I know that he has the sword which
allows him to escape death, but _he_ wasn't weilding it.

>Whisper:  Who dies?
>Org:  The dwarf, Otto.  I believe you'll find him at the Green
> Dragon Inn...(he smiles, pleased)

Now you're pulling out all the stops.  Otto is a dangerous character,
but I doubt he has much of a chance against Whisper, especially if
he doesn't know he's coming.  Hell, I'm not even sure that I'd bet
on Rillen if _he_ had to fight Whisper.  I'm just hoping that the
Otto finds the Drow in time or all is lost.

Actually, I just thought about Otto managing to accidently off
Whisper by leading him through a rather dangerous chase in the
Drows' house with all the wards and guardians that must be in
place by now. (Providing of course that the Drow aren't home.)

I doubt that even Whisper would be prepared to chase Otto through
the home of a pair of powerful wizards.

Now THAT would be an interesting introduction to the Drows'
residence!

However, I don't think that Otto knows the defenses of the Drow
household, but I'm sure that he _knows_ they would be formidable.

Another thing, now that I think about it, Tanya is a pretty bright
individual herself and may have seen through Orgs' plot and may
already be in the sewers looking with the Drow looking for Peldors'
group as we speak.

Waiting for 391 in anticipation,

.marc



A couple poeple mentioned the idea of a young group of adventurers
or some rogues coming to explore Belphy's ;-)  castle.

This would be interesting to see.  Lets see what traps he has set,
and how he follows their movements,  and repeatedly strikes at them
to weaken them, knowing that he can't just stand in front of them
and fight.   They could even be "good" characters looking to get
rid of something evil, but they're still trespassing!  It would make
one look at the typical "invade the castle of the evil magician,
kill him, then take his treasure" story or plotline in a different
light.

Jim



Peldor utterly dead ?
I never believed the others died (after all, we never "saw" them
dead), but it looks like the thief is dead for good...i hope not.

-Angelos



Hi Thomas -

>   Subject: Adventurers 390

I just have to tell you that this episode was execelent. Peldor
dead, but surely not for good!?! And what of Mongo, Belphanior,
Bosco, and Darek? After finishing, I could only say "Wow".

Of course I have some questions. Doesn't Peldor have a wish to
use?

TM>  He gets one per year, and it's been less than a year since
TM>  he last used one (in #325)

Wouldn't he have picked up some fire-power (wand, scroll, ...)
when he was home? Oh well, people don't always pick the best
course of action, and he would have been far from in his best form.

I have printed out these stories, and am reading them to my two
boys as bed-time stories every night. They are 8 and 9 years old.
I do replace most of the swear words with "dang" and "shoot" though.
I'm up to #40 tonight. The boys can't get enough, and this way I get
to re-read the stories too!

TM>  Cool!  The younger generation...

Keep up the good work, only do it faster! I have got to know what
will happen next...

Ted



hiya,

 Great episode, been following the whole storyline intently and
it's been great. But peldor can't die! Maybe Tanya will restore
him, can't the dead be resurrected within a certain time period.
Wasn't one of the earlier adventurers restored to life a week or
so after his death. It was a very early episode.  I've got more
respect for Otto after this storyline, he just seems obsessed
with fire like Belphanior is :) or maybe was ;) anyway Keep up
the good work, be interesting to see how it works out.

Stefan



Oh joy! What a start to the weekend: three stories in one day!
Two expected twists (alligator and Org) and one unexpected
twist - Peldor dying. If Belphanior survives, then there's
going to be a *party*.

Hmmm... I thought shapeshifters didn't bleed.

Or has Peldor used his Wish to switch with Org?

A propos the alligator, this came across as a bit of a deus ex
machina.

And then there's the question of what happens when Whisper
recognises Otto.

Keep those stories flowing!

Quentin



I like your sewer adventures a lot!

Mark



wow...i just realized that Peldor was not holding Nightfang when
killed...so he didn't get the benefit of the 7 lives.

ouch.

-kal



Darn it Thomas!

I _love_ this!  You have me at the edge of my seat with this
storyline.  You've gotten quite good at "cliffhangers"
This, I think, is your best writing I've seen.  You're just
getting better and better.  Will Whisper kill Otto? (nah, of
course not! ...he won't, will he?)  Where are Alindyar and Lyra?
Will they save Ottoe?  Will Whisper break his contract?  What about
Mongo and Bosco?  Will Belphanior survive this?  What about Peldor and
his nine lives? I've never had so many questions!
This is truly great!  I just wish I had all the stories... the
suspense is killing me! :) :)  Keep up the good work!

-Sofus



Hello Thomas!

This storyline keeps improving! Man, i'm warning you, you've condemned
yourself in a life writing stories, for we wouldn't allow you to stop,
not that you've impoved *so* much!  ;)

Anyway, to business!  :)

I was wandering wether it'd be easy for you to post a timeline around
episode 400...In fact, what i'd really wanted to know is how close to
the Greyhawk wars are we now (you are going to put the party in the
wars, right? Please, please, please?  :)

TM>  No problem, I'll stick the latest timeline in #400.

     Marios

P.S.: What happened to your publishing efforts? Will we ever see the
famous adventurers on book?

TM>  You can thank TSR for this not happening.  I'd have to re-work
TM>  far too much material to avoid their rules and regulations.  I
TM>  could conceivably write something _else_ someday, and publish
TM>  it, but not the Adventurers.
TM>    Look at the bright side:  they're free!    :)



Oh god, what a mess!

Still loving it.

george



  Some more general notes...



   It's a great way to start off the work day, with an
Adventurers Story!  I've really enjoyed the sewer storyline.
So far I think it's one of your best.
   I like the way you keep comming up with storylines which
are interesting and a challenge for the characters.  They are
very high level and I know how hard it is to keep things
interesting when characters become that powerful.  Please, keep
it up! :)

Michael



T M,

   Thanks a lot! The stuff you've written is really worth the
tangling and wrangling around the Internet it has taken to
find it, and I really appreciate your help.

   Walnut Creek is making a _lot_ of money selling their
shareware/freeware CD collections. No royalties, fees, or
anything else - so the profits go almost directly into their
pockets. The 'Net section on their Gigagames CD seemed an
archival after-thought, noticeable only if you like mucking
around in DOS.

   Anyway, thanks for the references - and for writing the
stuff in the first place.

   -CONX

TM>  Let me say here and now that I'm not too happy about Walnut
TM>  Creek or their Giga-Games CD-ROM.  They're selling my free
TM>  work, and a lot of other peoples' besides.  More on this
TM>  once I learn more about the company.



OH Great one, shine your light upon me soul, thy website is a
masterpeice of light and pure surfing enjoyment!!



TM>  I never thought Peldor took himself that seriously when he
TM>  used to babble...

Heh, :)  still it would be a nice adventure for him to
actually find his roots.  My reason for this is
after going back to adventure one and re reading them all
His past is still heavily shrouded in mystery.

Anyways  keep up the excellent work, I always enjoy finding
a new Adventurers story on the net.

Cheers

Mark



TM>    I know he's surrounded in mystery, but bear in mind that
TM>  this is one of the things that makes him so cool.
TM>    The analogy I like to use is Marvel Comics and what they
TM>  did with Wolverine.  He was neat _because_ we didn't know
TM>  much about him.  When they tried to tell his origin, they
TM>  couldn't live up to the readers' expectations, and few
TM>  people were happy (including me.)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





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