Chapter #40

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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 PARTY:

Alindyar, 7th level drow elf mage (N)
Belphanior, 5th/5rd/6th level high elf fighter/mage/thief (CN)
Ged, 6th/6th level grey elf priest/mage of Boccob (NG)
Halbarad, 7th level human ranger (NG)
Mongo Thunderhead, 7th level dwarf fighter (CG)
Peldor, 8th level human thief (N)
Peyote, 6th/7th level half-elf fighter/druid of Obad-Hai (N)
Rob, 7th level human priest of Trithereon (LG)
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   6/18/570 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   shortly after nightfall
Place:  an unmapped hill fort in the western edge of the Pomarj
--------------------------------------------------------------------


                     XL.  Breaking In



  The party was trying to get into a fortress carved from a rugged
hill/mountain at night, when...

Belphanior:  Incoming!

  With that warning, the elf leaped to one side as a forked
bolt of lightning rocketed toward the group...

Mongo:  Holy shit!

                           _KRAK-OW!!!_

Alindyar:  Eep.  (not really in the forefront of the party, he
  is only slightly shocked, though knocked to the ground by the
  force of the blast)
Belphanior:  (manages to dodge the brunt of the blow due to his
  speed, but is still blasted)  Yagh!  You'll die for that!
Mongo:  (slow as always, he is caught full force by the bolt)
  ARGH!
Peldor:  (escapes serious harm)  Whoa...
Peyote:  (caught by most of the blast)  Electrifying!
Rob:  (escapes serious harm)  Ow!

meanwhile, in the midst of the stinking cloud...

Halbarad:  <cough>
Ged:  <retch>

meanwhile, back outside the cloud...

sorcerer:  (just in the gateway exposed by the lowered drawbridge)
  Ha ha!  All of you shall die!  (begins casting another spell); he
  is about a hundred feet from the main party, while Halbarad and
  Ged and their gas cloud are about thirty feet from him)
Peldor:  (goes invisible)  I'll see if I can sneak up on that guy
  and put him out of our misery.  (leaves)
Peyote:  Hey, good idea, man.  (slips on his ring and also turns
  invisible, but stays nearby)  The invisible part, I mean.
Alindyar:  (starts casting a spell)
Belphanior:  (starts casting a spell too)  Better stay back for
  now.  Another lightning bolt like that will get me for good.
Rob:  (casting a spiritual hammer)  Maybe I can hit him.
Peyote:  That's one major evil dude, there.  (draws his sword)
sorcerer:  Too late, fools!  (launches magic missiles at the party)
Alindyar:  Ugh.  (hit by one missile, spell ruined)  Damn him.
Belphanior:  Agh!  (hit by another missile, spell ruined)  Fuck!
Rob:  Ouch!  (hit by a third missile, spell ruined)  Darnit!
Peyote:  Smart evil dude, too.
Mongo:  Ignore ME, will you?!?!  (throws his hammer at the mage,
  hitting him and knocking him over)  Hah!
Peyote:  Hey, good shot.
Mongo:  Thanks.  That'll teach him!
Belphanior:  (draws his sword)  Cover me, I'm going in.  (starts
  moving toward the gate)  We'd better take that bridge before
  somebody pulls it back up.
Mongo:  (catches his returning hammer)  Hey, be careful.
sorcerer:  (gets up)  You'll DIE for that, dwarf!  (starts casting
  another spell)
Alindyar:  We really need to silence that man.
Mongo:  I agree.  (throws his hammer again, hitting the man in the
  doorway and knocking him back down)  Good enough?
Peyote:  He's not standing up again...
Alindyar:  Would you?
Peyote:  Good point.
Rob:  I think he's out for good over there...
Mongo:  Let's go find out.  (catches his hammer as it comes back)

  They quickly advanced on the fortress entrance.  As they passed
the (slowly dissipating) stinking cloud, there was a cry from the
sorcerer's area.  A number of ogres were in that vicinity, and the
drawbridge was being raised.

Belphanior:  There's at least a dozen ogres there.  I wonder where
  Peldor is?
Alindyar:  (to the ogres)  Halt!
Mongo:  They're not listening, drow...(throws his hammer at one of
  the ogres, hitting it)  Hah!
ogre:  Argh!
Peyote:  If they get that drawbridge up, we're through...
Alindyar:  'Twill not happen...(casts a fireball at the gate)
ogres:  Huh?  AAA!

                            WHOOOOOSH!!

  The massive ball of flame exploded beyond the gate, torching
all of the ogres and the mage's body as well.  Rock and rubble
flew everywhere...the force of the explosion blew away the gas
cloud that was making Halbarad and Ged sick, and they stumbled
around, gagging.

Peyote:  Hoo boy!  You've done it now!
Belphanior:  I sure hope that Peldor hadn't gotten inside of
  there yet...
Rob:  But he was invisible!  We'll never find the body!
Mongo:  Won't matter much, with the heat that the fireball made.
  No body left to find...
Peldor:  (materializes)  I am here.  Any fool could have seen
  what was going to happen to those ogres.
Mongo:  Yeah, you're right.
Alindyar:  (regarding the ruined entrance)  Well, I suppose that
  is one mage whose spellbooks shall not be recovered...
Ged:  (coughing)  Huk.  What in Boccob's name is going ON here?!?
Belphanior:  Nothing much.  We just torched the whole entryway.
Halbarad:  Wonderful.
Ged:  Well, I suppose we'd better make the most of it.
Mongo:  Right on!  (charges for the smoking, jagged entrance)
Peyote:  At least this fortress won't be on fire.  It's made of
  stone, unlike the last one we fireballed.
Belphanior:  Enough talk.  Let's go!

  They made their way to the shattered doorway.  Various bits
and pieces of ogres were lying about.  There was a blackened
hallway beyond, and the entire back wall (with a throne/chair
at the end on a raised platform) had been blown over, revealing
a larger chamber behind.



                THE FIRST FEW ROOMS OF THE FORTRESS:

             BEFORE                                 AFTER

                                  N
             ______              W+E               ______
          __|      |__            S             __|      |__
       __|            |__                    __|            |__
    __|                  |__              __|                  |__
 __|                        |__        __|                        |__
|                              |      |         Radius of Soot       |
/                              /      /              |               /
|__                          __|      |__            v             __|
   |__                    __|            |__       ......       __|
      |__              __|                  |__ ..:    . :.. __|
         |__        __|                        |__  , <{" __|
            |______|                              |,;>"^~|  <- Rubble
            |  \/  |  <---- Throne & Back Wall    |  , ^ |
            |      |                              |      |
            |      |                              |      |
            |      |                              |      |
            |      |                              |      |
            | o o  |                              |      |
            |_oooo_|                              |_    _|
              |o.|o  <-- Ogres                      |  |
              oooo
               ^---- Drawbridge doorway -------------^


  Such was the extent of the damage wrought by Alindyar's fireball
spell.  As there were doors to the left and right, the group chose
to check these out first.  They picked the left doorway, and went
through it only to be met by a charging group of seven yelling and
angry ogres.





next time:  Into the dungeons...

ANONYMOUS FTP SITE: tybalt.caltech.edu (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
***********************************************************************
NOTES:  When something like a lightning bolt hits the party, you can
watch their reactions to determine whether they made their saves or
not.  That's all I really use those reactionary statements for - to
rationalize how an individual could escape certain death by a bolt
of lightning...
  I didn't intend for the party to blow away the ogres and the whole
two big rooms behind them, though.
  I have been having problems posting, since the :r FILENAME utility
isn't working right.  I got part 39 posted two days late by replying
to my post saying I couldn't post the whole story; the reply allowed
me to include the file and thus all was well.  We'll see what happens
today, with this posting.
  Sorry that this and the last posting have been so short.  At least
this one has something more...see below.
***********************************************************************


Here are the results of the "Most Favorite/Least Favorite"
poll that I conducted between episodes 38 and 40.  This
document will appear within part 40, but I am putting it
on tybalt by itself as well.

>-

CHARACTER           + VOTES           - VOTES

Alindyar              5.5               0.0
Belphanior            4.0               1.0
Ged                   2.0               3.0
Halbarad              0.0               7.0
Mongo                 6.5               1.0
Peldor                7.5               3.0
Peyote                1.5               5.0
Rob                   2.0               8.0

Undecided             0.0               1.0


TOTALS               29.0              29.0     (a double check...)


   * Honorable Mention : Krug got one positive vote, but he's
       not a candidate anymore...

>-

  At first I insisted on only whole number votes but eventually gave
in to half-votes.  There are two ways to rank the results; simply for
the hell of it, I have done both below.
  These votes only reflect what I have received up to now, Sunday
5/17/92.

>-

METHOD#1 - SIMPLE MAJORITIES

Best Character           Worst Character
--------------           ---------------
#1 : Peldor              #1 : Rob
#2 : Mongo               #2 : Halbarad
#3 : Alindyar            #3 : Peyote

>-

METHOD#2 - GOOD VOTES AS A % OF TOTAL VOTES RECEIVED

Alindyar        5.5/5.5  = 100 %
Mongo           6.5/7.5  =  87
Belphanior      4.0/5.0  =  80
Peldor         7.5/10.5  =  71
Ged             2.0/5.0  =  40
Peyote          1.5/6.5  =  23
Rob            2.0/10.0  =  20
Halbarad        0.0/7.0  =   0

>-

DEFINITE RESULTS:

*  People had the most to say about Peldor
*  Peldor was the most popular character, followed by
     Mongo
*  Those who commented on Alindyar had only good things to
     say about him
*  Halbarad was by far and away the least popular character
*  Alindyar was the only one to get NO negative votes
*  Halbarad was the only one to get no positive votes
*  Using method #2 above, I think that Alindyar had the
     most favorable response, all things considered
*  WINNER: Peldor         LOSER: Rob


>-

READERS' COMMENTS ABOUT THE INDIVIDUALS (basically verbatim):


ALINDYAR:  Plays neutral well; reserved yet decisive;
interesting attitude toward the group and life; must
be more to him than we have seen so far; laid-back;
unknown details of his life must be interesting; says
"'Tis" too much; intelligent; non-munchkin

BELPHANIOR:  Interesting; seemed to kill a lot for a
neutral-aligned character; immoral; mean streak;
corrupted; cynical; completely lacking in morals;
in the middle of all action; mover & shaker in the
group; quirky; nasty; more than a little loony;
"he's the one who will get the whole party into some
bad trouble someday"; versatile

GED:  Well-played multi-class character; gutsy;
keeps trying to do the right thing; whiner, and
suspicious; gets neat spells; nasty to others
sometimes; unofficial leader of the group; the
best balancing force of good in the group; all
around useful

HALBARAD:  Too goody-goody; not enough profile or
personality; silent and competent; enigmatic; gets
overshadowed by Ged; not ranger-ish enough; too
low-key; too vague; uninteresting; not fleshed
out enough; good solid character considering
what we've seen of him

MONGO:  Loves his hammer; good battle and dinner
attitudes; dedicated to the group; dominant; good
approach to dealing with enemies; well-defined;
most type-cast; enthusiastic; tank; great to take
to a party; inspires confidence; "He is to the
party what Terry Pendleton is to the Braves"

PELDOR:  Good; hands-down sneakiest one; looks
after himself; annoying; keeps the game lively
though some may not like it; arrogant; boasting;
personable; good eye; cocky; backstabbing; self-
serving; contrasts the others; has a personality
all his own; active; well-meaning but covers his
own hide; unethical; interesting; "he is what he
is, but he takes so much joy in it that you can't
help but be swept along"; flamboyant; hilarious;
undeserving of sympathy but a good role-player;
cool; cocky; smart; well-defined; most classic
thief ever; great guy!

PEYOTE:  Consistent; one-dimensional; slang is
bad; anachronistic; uninteresting and undruidic;
nice speech patterns; affable; exotic; likeable;
"he irritates me"; just hacks away; cares but
not too spectacular

ROB:  Has an interesting habit of blending into
the nearest wall; pseudo-NPC/potted plant; has
his moments; innocent; ignorant; dedicated to
the group; not as incompetent as he acts; dumb;
never does or says much; humorous, in an unwitting
way; dorky; befuddled; clumsy; deserves and needs
sympathy; least interesting; hard to tell apart
from Ged (!?); unassertive; magical; inquiring;
nice guy who is so naive that you have to like
him; good for a joke; "likeable in a way that
Dirty Harry, Arnold, etc could never hope to
be"

>-

  So, what DOES it all mean?  I got a lot of good comments
during this survey.  A lot of readers actually like all of
the characters.  Several expressed interest in seeing all
eight characters' histories, not just the winner and the
loser.
  Okay, okay.  You win   :)    I'll do them all.  Yes, all
eight adventurers will be profiled soon.  I think I will
devote an entire posting to the profiles, to get them all
together in a single place at a single time.  You must be
warned, though; these will be in prose, not narrative format,
but I never thought my prose was THAT bad...
  This survey taught me a lot about the way I have been
portraying the characters.  I thank you all.  My comments
on the actual, individual players appear now, below - I am
making these to try and explain some of the character-to-
player relationships.  Perhaps the information below will
help put things in perspective.

>-

A DM's COMMENTS ON THE PLAYERS:

Alindyar:  Okay, his player was an oddball.  He often consumed
  an entire jug of wine during the course of a six-hour night
  of play.  He really did play the character quietly - silent,
  effective, and with a love for illusionary magic.  He also
  took pains not to do anything strongly evil or good, rather
  he was just a sideline observer who contributed his fair share
  to the party.  This player was much older than any of the rest
  of us, and had a lot of good advice for us all.
    He graduated in late 1989 after being at Tech for over six
  years.  He is currently working for an architecture firm in
  San Francisco, California.

Belphanior:  A good friend of mine, that player.  He was fairly
  calm in real life - I think that he used the character to act
  out things he would never really do.  Smart guy, too - he had
  two character sheets, one with all the thief stats deleted so
  that he could leave that sheet visible to throw suspicions of
  his true thiefly nature out the window.  Like Alindyar, this
  player pretty much played his character the way I have shown
  in the postings.  Good role-player.
    He graduated in 1991 with a CS degree, and works in Atlanta.

Ged:  A very good friend of mine, still in school here.  He set
  out from the start to play Ged as an arrogant, suspicious, and
  quick-to-snap-at-others sort of character.  I know for sure
  that he was (is) extremely pleased with the way he stuck to
  that idea.  Ged intentionally became the party asshole - and
  loved every minute of it.  Some readers have figured out that
  his attitude was meant to be that way, which is good.  He was
  one of the better role-players in the group, too.
    He will graduate in 1993 with an EE degree, and perhaps go
  on to pursue graduate school, perhaps become a professional
  sand volleyball player.

Halbarad:  This fellow was strange.  He was a die-hard gamer,
  no doubt about it.  He gamed fully twice as much as he went
  to classes or studied.  The guy just did not care about his
  schoolwork.  Anyway, at first, he played Halbarad the ranger
  fairly well, assuming a leadership position of sorts.  He
  seemed to be watching out for the party, to make sure that
  they didn't do Evil things.  After a point, though, he never
  seemed to have much to say or do.  Maybe he realized that
  he should have graduated by then, I'm not sure.  I have to
  admit, I have actually made the character appear _better_
  than he really was; yet, he still lost in votes.  I try
  to base his behavior on those first few adventures, when
  he was the most interesting.
    He actually did graduate, in 1990, with pitiful grades in
  Physics.  I have no idea what he is doing these days, except
  that he has no job and lives somewhere in Atlanta.

Mongo:  Another of my better friends.  He was a little withdrawn
  but played Mongo the dwarf with great fiery flair.  I think
  that he never missed a gaming session.  I have represented the
  character almost exactly the way he played it, I think, and I
  am glad to see that I can portray one of the best ones so well.
    The player got married in 1991, and graduated in March 1992.
  He is working in the Atlanta area.

Peldor:  With Ged's player, this fellow was my best friend here.
  The three of us constantly go out to eat, to movies, sporting
  events, etc. together - even once to Florida for spring break.
  This player acts just like his character in real life, except
  that he's 90% honest and doesn't steal things.  I have never
  seen him get angry.  Ever.  The job he did of role-playing
  Peldor the thief was the best I have ever seen (and there were
  other very good ones in this party).  Everything you see in my
  postings is something that he really did or said in the games.
  I wish that you could all meet this person.
    He will graduate at the end of 1992 with an AE degree, and
  I wish him the best of luck after that.  He will be the best
  man at my wedding, of that I am sure.

Peyote:  This person was older than all of us except Alindyar's
  player.  He originally arrived at Tech in fall of 1983, the
  same time as Alindyar's player by the way.  Within a year and
  a half, he had decided that it was not for him, and went into
  the Navy.  He returned to Atlanta in 1988 to finish a degree
  in Sociology at Ga. State.  The player was usually mellow,
  sometimes prone to fits of anger though.  He was also quite
  a major gamer, like Halbarad's player.  Often, though, he
  would complain to me that he wasn't getting enough chances in
  my campaign to do druidic things.  He was right, too.  The
  general uselessness of this character is not feigned in the
  least.  He did have a lax attitude, though, and often drank
  large quantities of beer during a game.  Peldor did this too,
  but the difference was that he got better as the beer cans
  piled up; Peyote got worse.  I think that he based (bases)
  his life around the 1960's ideas and ideals rather than the
  modern ones.
    The player graduated from Ga. State in 1990 and now works
  in the Atlanta area.  Together with Halbarad's player and
  Rob's player, he is trying to invent a good frp computer
  game.

Rob:  Ah, Rob.  Let me start by saying that there was never a
  stranger person.  The player was at LEAST as bad as his
  character.  He actually did walk into walls.  He would stay
  up all night playing computer games or rpgs and then go into
  a test the next day and ace it, without even studying.  He
  had a strange, computer-like mind - he once wrote a version
  of Tetris, from scratch, overnight.  He would take 23-hour
  quarters (that's about 9 classes, usually) and make all A's.
  The next quarter, he would do the same thing, but make all
  F's.  The guy took a bath about once every three days.  He
  owned an old Mustang that barely ran, and used to take it
  on long trips and have to stop on the interstate to fix some
  new problem.  He could sprint sub-6 minute miles at times,
  yet never exercised.  Truly one of a kind.
    The player missed a lot of games.  This is why he seems to
  be so quiet - often I, or someone else, would have to play
  his character.  The truly stupid things were always done by
  the player, though, like the acid-drinking and the attempt
  to plug the flamethrower.  Many of the other players urged
  me to get rid of him, but I held out hope for the player
  and the character.  He was the first to leave the party;
  you will have to wait a while for the details of that part,
  though.  He also had a bad memory, always forgetting every
  single thing of importance.  He often forgot to repay his
  loans for school - he owes various parties a total of over
  $30,000 still.  Oh, by the way, no, he never read Navero.
    The player never did get his degree from Tech either.  He
  had to take some test to let one of his AP credits count, and
  he forgot to go to the test, and didn't get his degree petition
  signed in time.  He just went right to work.  I doubt that
  he ever cleared this matter up, and since Ga. Tech kills off
  one's credits if one is in school for nine years, the guy
  has until 1998 or so to take that test.  I bet he forgets
  and thus wastes all the money and time he spent here.  Oh,
  yes - he's married and has a baby daughter.  Funny how these
  things work out...

>-

  I hope that you have enjoyed this lengthy addendum to the normal
posting #40.  The character histories will appear as soon as I have
time to flesh them out from the notes and facts that we made during
the campaign years.
*********************************************************************




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