Chapter #47

previous chapter (#46)                                                                  next chapter (#48)






*****
*  The 8 player characters contained in these writings are copyright
*  1992 by Thomas Miller.  Any resemblance to persons or characters
*  either real or fictional is purely coincidental.  Copying and/or
*  distribution of these stories is permissible only under the one
*  condition that no part of them will be used or sold for profit.
*  In that case, I hope you enjoy them.
*****

--------------------------------------------------------------------
THE PARTY:

Alindyar, 8th level drow elf mage (N)
Belphanior, 6th/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, 9th level human thief (N)
Peyote, 6th/7th level half-elf fighter/druid of Obad-Hai (N)
Rob, 8th level human priest of Trithereon (LG)
--------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   8/28/570 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   late morning
Place:  A crypt in the Crystalmist Mountains near the Yeomanry



                    XLVII.  Various Obstacles



  The party stands before a grey-misted archway in the third room
of the crypt.  Mongo has successfully reeled back an iron spike
tied to a rope, proving at least that no disintegration magic is
in effect at the arch.

Belphanior:  Okay.  (walks up to the arch and examines it)  No
  energy, no runes.  (pokes his little finger into the mist)
Mongo:  Hey, watch it there, pal!
Rob:  Who knows what's behind that thing?
Belphanior:  I'm fine so far.  (puts his hand in, then his arm)
  Nothing's bitten me yet.
Halbarad:  Hmm.
Ged:  That can always change.
Rob:  (seriously thinking about pushing Belphanior all the way
  through)
Peldor:  Well, do we go or do we stay here?
Belphanior:  We go.  (leaps in, sword raised)
Peyote:  Well, that may be the end of HIM.
Mongo:  (raises his hammer)  Maybe something'll throw him back.
Rob:  Like you throw back a fish that you don't want?
Mongo:  Yeah, something like that.
Alindyar:  Who will go next?
Rob:  Go?
Belphanior:  (pops back through the archway)  It's okay, except
  for one thing.
Mongo:  What's that?
Belphanior:  This.  (holds out his left hand, revealing a red
  glowing rune on the back of it)  It appeared as soon as I
  went through the arch, and it won't go away.
Alindyar:  How quaint.
Halbarad:  Are you in pain?  Do you feel odd?
Belphanior:  Nah.  I just don't like it.  Probably because I
  can't get rid of it.  It won't rub off, or anything.  (he
  scratches the glowing thing)  Damn it.  Someone dies for this.
Halbarad:  The portal seems safe enough.
Mongo:  Let's go.  No arch-ruin is going to stop me!  (leaps
  through the archway)
Peyote:  Is that like an arch-mage, or an arch-lich?
Rob:  Don't ask ME.

  Soon, the entire party had gone through the stone arch.  They
were in a four-way intersection of passages, one of the four
being a short tunnel leading to the arch they came through.
All of the adventurers now had a similar rune glowing on their
left hands.  Alindyar, Peldor, and Peyote had dull grey runes;
Belphanior had his red rune; Ged and Halbarad had blue runes;
Mongo had a green rune; Rob had a white rune.

Ged:  Hmm.  (to Halbarad)  It seems that _someone_ has grouped
  the two of us as having something in common.
Halbarad:  A lack of chaos, perhaps?

>  NOTE:  The party members are not all aware of each other's
>    alignments, though some do suspect the basis of the runes'
>    colors...most of them prefer not to discuss the matter.

Alindyar:  Which way to go?
Mongo:  Let's go right.  I like right.  (meanders off to that
  passage)
Halbarad:  Wait for me!  (runs after the dwarf)
Ged:  Let's follow them.  (they all do, but not for long, as...)
Belphanior:  Look, a door ahead.
Peldor:  Let me check that out.  (examining the door and its lock)
  Not even locked.  Careless dwarves.
Mongo:  Out of the way, you.  (opens the door)
Rob:  What's up there?
Mongo:  Well, it's another short corridor.  Looks like it goes, oh,
  thirty feet and splits left and right.
Belphanior:  Ho-hum.
Halbarad:  (backs up Mongo as he moves south)

  Suddenly, from each side there appeared a gigantic snake's head!

Mongo:  (facing the right/eastern one)  What?!
Halbarad:  (facing the western one)  By the gods!  What a lizard!
snakes:  <hiss>
Belphanior:  (pushes past Peyote to stand by Halbarad)  Wow.
Peyote:  (backs up Mongo)  Dude!

Mongo:  Snakes!  I knew something was wrong here!  (as the monster
  nearest him is fairly close, he charges it rather than using his
  hammer as a missile)
Halbarad:  (braces himself and closes with the snake head nearby
  him; both tails turn around their corridors, out of sight)
Belphanior:  (moves in behind Halbarad)  Come on, move it!
Peyote:  (follows Mongo into melee)
Mongo:  (bashes his snake)  Take that, snakey!
snake:  (bites Mongo, but no poison damage is done)
Mongo:  Ouch!  You fucker!  Take that too!  (hits the monster
  a second time)  That'll teach you to bite ME!
snake:  (reels a bit)
Peyote:  Oh, look at that!  He's just crushed.  (hacks the monster
  with his magical bastard sword, inflicting grievous damage)
Ged:  (just rounding the corner)  By Boccob's balls!  It's a snake
  as big as a house!
Peldor:  Two of them, actually.  (he can see no way to get in a
  backstab)  Damn.
Alindyar:  Mighty magic is called for here...
Rob:  Yea.
other snake:  (bites Halbarad)
Halbarad:  Agh!  (goes down fighting, chopping the snake once)  I
  am poisoned!  Urk...
Belphanior:  Out of my way.  (grabs the falling ranger and tosses
  him back)  Here, Rob.  Help him while I deal with this overgrown
  worm.
Rob:  (grabs Halbarad, laying him on the ground as he casts a spell
  on the poisoned man)  Hold on just a second longer, brave ranger.
Halbarad:  Gak.
Belphanior:  Yargh!  (charges the snake, slicing it once)  Get out
  of here, you scaly shitsucker!

Peldor:  (throws a dagger at Belphanior's snake, scoring a trivial
  wound)  Hah!
snake:  (snaps at Belphanior, but misses as the agile elf dodges)
Belphanior:  Whoa!
Ged:  (blasts Belphanior's snake with three magic missiles)  Take
  those tokens of Boccob's esteem!
snake:  (hisses loudly as small craters are burned into its head)
Belphanior:  (backs up)  Thanks for the cover.  (begins spellcasting)
Ged:  Any time.
Peyote:  (chops at the other snake again, but misses)  Huh?  What
  gives here?!
Mongo:  You missed.  (bashes the snake again)  Not like me.
snake:  Ssss!  (slams into the wall and dies)
Peyote:  Awesome!
other snake:  (also collapses after flailing for a moment)
Belphanior:  Huh?!  What happened?  Mine's dead too!  I didn't hit
  it _that_ hard.
Peyote:  How's Halbarad?
Rob:  He is fine.  I neutralized his poison...
Halbarad:  Many thanks, priest.  But for you, I would be a dead and
  bloated snake victim right now.
Mongo:  Hey!  These fuckin' things are blocking both exits!  We've
  got to move them out of the way!
Peldor:  Bah.  One of my caliber simply climbs over such obstacles.
  (he leaps atop on snake and crawls along its back, scraping the
  ceiling, after retrieving his dagger from the carcass)
Belphanior:  Good idea.  (also does so)
Mongo:  (squeezing between one dead snake head and the wall, moves
  along the corridor)
Halbarad:  Beware - the snakes may not really be dead.
Peyote:  So noted.  (he, and the others, move around or over the
  bodies)

  The party found that the snakes' room was actually one room...



       |  |
       |  |
       |  |
______/    \____
______ main __  |  <----PASSAGE THAT THE PARTY CHOSE FIRST
      \room/  | |
   N   |  |   | |__________
  W+E  |  |   |__________ .|  <----DOOR THAT MONGO JUST OPENED
   S    ==  <--ARCHWAY   | |
                   ______| |______
                  |  ___________  |
                  |  ___________  |  <----SNAKE ROOM
                  |  ____   ____  |
                  |______   ______|
                       _/   \_
               . . . . . . . . . . . .
             . . . (SNAKE'S CAVERN). . .
             . . . . (FAIRLY BIG). . . .
               . . . . . . . . . . . .



  Even more surprising was the fact that the "two" snakes were one
creature - a gigantic serpent with a head at each end!  The limp
body in the first parallel tunnel connected the two heads.

Mongo:  Well, I'll be a son of a gun!  I've never seen such a thing!
Peldor:  Me either.
Alindyar:  What an odd serpent.
Belphanior:  That was one big motherfucker, in any case.  Took a
  lot to kill the thing.
Halbarad:  Look, there is a cavern to the south.



  There sure was - a huge underground cave that was several hundred
feet wide and high.  Many small rats and fungi were present, the
former obviously food for the serpent, the latter probably food for
the rats.  The party searched the cavern extensively, to no avail;
there were neither exits nor treasures to be found here.  Heading
back into the main, four-exit room, they chose the left/western
passage next...
               |
               |____
                    |
           _____    |   |  |
          |  _  |   |   |  |
          | | | |   v   |  |
          | | | |______/    \____
          | | |________ main __  |  <----PASSAGE TO SNAKE ROOM
      ____| |____      \room/  | |                    & CAVE
     |           |   N  |  |
     | arrow room|  W+E |  |
     |____ . ____|   S   ==  <--Archway
          | |
       /  { }  <----spiked walls
. = door  |_|  <----secret door
         /   \
        |     | <---cylindrical room
         \___/



Mongo:  Pretty empty room, if you ask me.
Belphanior:  There's one exit, that door opposite us.
Peldor:  (checking for secret doors)
Halbarad:  (looking around)

  Suddenly, as Mongo and Halbarad reached the center of the room,
a hidden floor plate clicked.  Instantly, dozens of steel arrows
fired from the west and east walls at chest height, literally
bombarding the party!  Luckily they managed to duck, avoiding a
number of the arrows.  About six seconds later, arrows littered
the floor, and all was quiet...

Halbarad:  (stands up warily; he has four arrows imbedded in him)
  Ouch.
Belphanior:  (stuck by two arrows)  Fuck!  Some great dungeon
  this is!
Peldor:  (took three arrows)  Nice trap.  Agh...
Rob:  (took four arrows)  Ouch.  Look, there's an arrow in my
  arm.  (grabs the bloody missile)  OUCH!
Ged:  Dammit!  (only hit by two arrows)  Great job of finding
  traps there, guys!  We could have been pincushions!
Alindyar:  (pierced by three arrows)  Ach.  I feel like I am.
Peyote:  (hit by three)  Rude deal, man.
Mongo:  (totally unscathed)  Hey, guys?
Ged:  What?!
Mongo:  I didn't get hit by any of them.  They went right over
  my head...
all:  SHUT UP!
Mongo:  Geez.  It's not MY fault.
Rob:  (healing himself)
Ged:  (likewise)
Peyote:  (likewise)
Belphanior:  No healing for YOU, Mongo.  Heh heh.  (he thinks
  that it was worth his own wounds to get to listen to the
  party complain)  Nice trap.  Except I would have doubled the
  amount of arrows.
Alindyar:  Look there.  All of the arrow slots are at out waist
  or lower chest area.  This design makes perfect sense...to a
  dwarf.
Ged:  Useless!  I KNEW I should have memorized that damned
  protection from normal missiles spell!  I knew it!  But, no,
  I had to have lightning bolt instead!
Peldor:  It's not my fault that we didn't find that plate.
Ged:  Don't waste your excuses on ME!  (casts a Find Traps on
  himself)  There!  No more surprises!
Belphanior:  (muttering to himself)  Neat arrows. (takes a few)
Rob:  (heals Peldor)
Peyote:  (heals Halbarad)
Ged:  Eh?  Oh.  (heals Alindyar)
Belphanior:  (sips some of his potion of extra-healing)
Halbarad:  Let us go on.  But...
Alindyar:  Yes?
Halbarad:  Peldor, check that door for traps, please.
Ged:  Why bother?  My spell reveals none!
Peldor:  Are you sure?
Ged:  Sure I'm sure!
Peldor:  But...
Mongo:  Out of the way, then.  (opens the door, exposing a thirty
  foot long corridor with the middle ten-foot section's walls
  covered by inch-long spikes)  Yikes!
Belphanior:  Hmm.  A man-smasher.
Peyote:  Gnarly!
Mongo:  It looks like two giant meat tenderizers.
Peldor:  No door at the end, though.
Ged:  I see a trap...there!  (points to the section of passage)
Peldor:  Brilliant, priest.  And there I was, about to walk right
  through the passage...
Halbarad:  I might suggest that we avoid that area's floor.
Ged:  You might.  And I might suggest that the trap may be set
  off by anything passing through the walls.
Belphanior:  (throws a dagger through the spiked-wall area)  Hmm.
  That didn't trigger it.
Mongo:  Not heavy enough.  (tosses an empty wineskin through the
  suspected area, still without incident)  These are _dwarven_
  traps, remember?  More clever than most...
Rob:  Maybe it's broken.
Alindyar:  Perhaps we should just fly through.
Peyote:  To hell with that!
Ged:  Send the carpet first, and see what happens to it.
Alindyar:  (not sure he wants to risk his flying carpet - but then
  realizes that otherwise he would risk both it and himself)  As
  you wish.  (unrolls the carpet)  Now wait just one minute here.
  Such carpets as mine do not function that way.  You must be
  _riding_ the carpet to use its magic.
Ged:  Oh.  Of course.  What a stupid design for a carpet.  When
  _I_ make one, it will be able fly without riders.  Yep.
Belphanior:  (pokes his secondary longsword all the way into the
  spiked area)  Still nothing.
Peldor:  I'm jumping for it.  Remember that the annals of history
  will commend the bravery of Peldor in all crisis situations.
Ged:  Shouldn't that be the _anals_ of history?
Peldor:  Very funny.  I don't see YOU taking any risks here.
Ged:  Can I help it if I have no wish to get mashed into a bloody
  pulp?
Peldor:  No.  (runs forth and leaps through, successfully)  Well,
  damn!  It worked!  (starts looking for secret doors at the end
  of the passage)  C'mon, guys.  Hurry it up.  I don't have all
  day.
Alindyar:  I am going through.  Who will join me?
Rob:  I will!  (jumps on the carpet)
Ged:  Try not to fall off.

  However, it was not fated that the party be smashed into pulp
this day.  They took turns riding through, avoiding the walls,
floor, and ceiling entirely.  By the time all were successfully
past the fearsome trap, Peldor had popped open a secret panel.
The chamber beyond was a thirty-foot diameter cylindrical room,
with its floor at the adventurers' level and its ceiling high
above.  The walls were slippery and slimy, flagstone all the
way up.

Peldor:  No exits here, either.  (peering upwards)  Awfully
  dark up there, isn't it?
Alindyar:  Yes, indeed it is.  I shall ride up with the carpet
  and hold the bright mace there, if someone will accompany me.
Rob:  (hands the drow his light-ed mace)  Okay.
Mongo:  I'll go.  (they get back on the magical carpet and then
  rise slowly upward)
Alindyar:  I cannot see a thing, for this fiery mace we use as
  a torch is blinding me.
Mongo:  There's nothing up there.  Wait!  I see a rope hanging
  on a peg.  There's a ledge all the way around, it's only a
  foot wide, and the peg is on a wall stone above it.  Wha...?
  Whoa!  STOP!
Alindyar:  (stops the carpet)  What is it?
Mongo:  There's a whole bunch of thin wires at the ledge level.
  That's about a foot above your head there.
Alindyar:  Ah, I think I see.  They criss-cross above us, keeping
  us from rising further - and from getting that coiled rope.
Mongo:  I don't want to risk another trap.  Go back down.
Alindyar:  Surely.  (he lowers the carpet down and they brief the
  others on the situation)
Ged:  (looking up)  Yep, it's a trap all right.  My spell sees
  it clear as day.
Peldor:  Take me up there.  I can try to disarm it.
Peyote:  We'll back out, just in case a big stone falls down or
  something.
Alindyar:  (he and Peldor go back up)
Peldor:  Ah.  I see.  (raises his hand)  I've been practicing with
  this in my spare time.  Let's see if it paid off.  (concentrates
  deeply)
Alindyar:  What item is that?
Peldor:  (watches the rope lift off of its peg and float toward
  him)  Yes!  (he guides it clumsily through the gaps in the wires
  and into his hands)  Aha!  Peldor comes through once again!
Alindyar:  Are we missing anything else?
Peldor:  (scanning)  No, I don't think so.  I really don't want to
  mess with these wires, either.
Alindyar:  As you wish.  (they go back down)
Belphanior:  What did you get?
Peldor:  This rope - a fine rope it is, too - what's this?  A note
  attached to the rope?  (opens the note)  I can't read this.
Mongo:  Gimme that.  (grabs the old bit of paper)  It says:  THE
  GOLD CANNOT BE TAKEN."  In dwarven.
Ged:  How useful that bit of information was.
Halbarad:  Well, it is time to return to the main junction...



  Shortly they were back at the four-way intersection.  The only
remaining unexplored passage led north, so they went that way.
                                                           |
                __ __ __ __ __ __ ==  <----secret          |
               |..|..|..|..|..|..|..|       door           |
    TOMBS----> |.. .. ..    .. .. ..|                      |
               |__|__|__|__|__|__|__|                      |
       secret door----> |  |                               |
        into tombs      |  |   <---------------------------
                        |  |
                        |  |
                   ____/    \____
  PASSAGE TO---->  ____ main __  |  <----PASSAGE TO SNAKE ROOM
   TRAPS &             \room/  | |                    & CAVE
    ROPE ROOM     N     |  |
                 W+E    |  |
                  S      ==  <--Archway of entry...



Ged:  There's another trap ahead there, at that dead end!
Peldor:  Maybe you should have been a thief...

  They moved north, into the short dead-end passage.  Peldor
quickly found and disarmed the secret door and its trap, an
insidious acid-from-the-ceiling job.  Behind the door was
a tomb, with thirteen individual coffin rooms.

Peyote:  Stellar, man.  It's the hall of the dead.
Ged:  (ready to turn undead at a moment's notice)  Where are
  they?
Rob:  (holy symbol in hand)  Who?  Oh, them.
Belphanior:  (sniffing)  I smell ozone in here.
Alindyar:  (examining the walls)  These walls are fashioned of
  some unusual stone/metal alloy.  Ore?  Mongo?
Mongo:  (feeling the walls)  Yeah.  I don't know just what it
  is, but your guess is right, I think.  It's some kind of ore.
Peldor:  (to Belphanior)  I smell a trap.
Belphanior:  Yeah.  Just this once, we'll have to be extra-
  careful.
Ged:  This whole area seems to be a trap.  Watch it.
Halbarad:  These doors are all unlocked.  (tries one)  It is
  a coffin room.
Ged:  I would suggest not bothering the coffins...
Peyote:  Right on, man.
Peldor:  Darn!  Can I at least look for secret doors in the
  coffin chambers?  Can I?  Can I?
Halbarad:  Probably.  Just stay out of the coffins.  I think
  this is what we were warned about.
Mongo:  (opening the individual small rooms one at a time to
  make sure there are no monsters inside)  These are the
  tombs of dwarves.  Athor.  Durheim.  Tybalt.  Coramir.  I
  don't see one for Aranor, though.  Hey, guys, all of them
  are clean...
Belphanior:  Bah.  (puts his hand on a coffin)  <ZAP!>  Yeow!
  What the fuck?!
Peyote:  Phew.  Zapped by the dead.
Belphanior:  That damned coffin SHOCKED me!  (shaking his hand
  in pain)
Ged:  I told you so...
Alindyar:  This message is clear - do not disturb the coffins.

  Shortly, all thirteen coffin rooms were checked thoroughly,
if the coffins themselves were not.  Peldor located a sliding
wall panel in one of the last tombs, which led to an upward-
sloping circular section of passage.


                     _____
               N    |  >  |  \
              W+E   | ^| v|   >  (rises 20')
               S    | ^|<_|  /
                      ^
                      |___ from tomb

  Thus, the party went up facing north, and ended up about twenty
feet higher, facing north after making a complete turn.  The thing
resembled a spiral staircase, except it was a ramp.  A bit further
was another four-way intersection.  A red glow was visible from
the northern passage.

                                  (red glow)

                                     |  |
                                 ____|  |____
                                 ____    ____
                          N          |  |
                         W+E         |  |  <----CURRENT LOCATION
                          S         (down)        OF PARTY...
                                       |
                                       v
                                  (staircase)



Mongo:  Hey!  I wonder what _that_ is?
Belphanior:  I can feel the heat from here...





next time:  Draco Gerus Bronzo

ANONYMOUS FTP SITE: tybalt.caltech.edu (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
***********************************************************************




previous chapter (#46)                                                                  next chapter (#48)