Chapter #482

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                                +   +
                              +       +
                            +           +
                          +               +
                        +                   +
                      +                       +
                    +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                      +                       +
                        +      Epic III     +
                          +               +
                            +           +
                              +       +
                                +   +

+    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                    +
+                           +
+  Alindyar     17th level drow mage                            (N) +
+    Lyra       13th level female drow mage                     (N) +
+  Belphanior  (14th)^3 level elven fighter/wizard/thief       (CN) +
+    Otto        8th/9th level dwarven fighter/thief           (CN) +
+    the wispy thing                                                +
+  Ged          15th/14th level grey elven priest/mage         (NG) +
+    Arnold     13th level human barbarian warrior             (NG) +
+  Mongo        18th level dwarven fighter                     (CG) +
+    Gorin      10th level dwarven fighter                     (NG) +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+    Tanya       5th/11th level female human fighter/thief      (N) +
+    Bosco      11th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+  Rillen       17th level human monk                           (N) +
+    Songa      13th level human huntress                       (N) +
+  Date:        6/22/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        late morning                                        +
+  Place:       the Isle of the Ape, within some demi-plane         +
+  Climate:     hot and humid                                       +
+  "Thou strange piece of wild nature!"                             +
+                     - _The Lady's Last Stake_, by Colley Cibber   +

                  CDLXXXII.  Unfriendly Climate

  Less than an hour ago, the party arrived on the dreaded Isle of the
Ape.  Already, they have fought a pack of winged dinosaurs, and found
that all is not as it should be in this fell place...

Mongo:  -doesn't make any damned sense!  The hammer ought to work!
Alindyar:  Yet, it fails to function properly.
Gorin:  (suddenly has an idea)  What about your armor?
Mongo:  What about it?
Gorin:  Well, I was thinking...since it's a super-powerful item too,
  maybe it's also not working.
Arnold:  How can armor not work?
Mongo:  (rather disturbed)  One easy way to find out.  (he looks around
  for a moment, then begins climbing a short hill)
Ged:  What are you doing?
Mongo:  One thing this armor does, it keeps me from falling.  I think
  you wizard-types call it "feather falling"?
Ged:  Of course.
Mongo:  (achieves the top of the hillock)  Well, if I don't feather
  fall off of this fucking rock I'm standing on, then it's safe to
  say my armor's not working.
Peldor:  (to Tanya)  He's got a point.
Tanya:  Yes...not a pleasant one, though.
wispy thing:  (watching Mongo, it frowns)  Aaarp?
Mongo:  (jumps off the hill's top...and hits the ground, hard)  Ow!
Lyra:  So there we have it.  I wonder what _else_ doesn't work?

  Fortunately, there wasn't much, though the few losses were severe.
Besides Mongo's hammer and armor, the enchanted weapons Blackrazor
and Lightbringer didn't seem to be functioning properly.  Neither
weapon exhibited any of its special powers on this island.  Also, the
ancient Sueloise fire-wand that was Ged's pride and joy failed to
produce even the tiniest spark.

Ged:  Boccob damn it!  (he hurls the wand to the ground in fury)
Otto:  Hey, if you don't want that...
Ged:  (thinking better of it, he picks the item back up after a few
  moments, and stashes it in his pack)
Belphanior:  (muttering to himself)  No souls...combat
  will be a little tougher now.
Mongo:  You're telling me!
Peldor:  (secretly wondering if his longsword, whatever its powers,
  is similarly affected)
Ged:  We should have known.
Lyra:  Should have known what?
Ged:  Zagyg, benevolent as he may be, still thrives on chaos and
  chance.  It only makes sense that his demi-plane would prevent
  certain items - items that rely on other deities, or planes, for
  their power - from working properly.
Alindyar:  To be sure, it is a little late to think of this now.
Ged:  (shaking his head)  You've got that right.
wispy thing:  (sailing around Belphanior, it frowns)  Sprrd.
Bosco:  So, what're you guys gonna do?
Mongo:  That's a damn good question.
Rillen:  Wait, I thought you said you had other weapons to use?
Mongo:  I thought I did, but they're not here in my portable hole.
  I must've left them at home, or given them away, or sold 'em.
Ged:  Damn it all...
Belphanior:  (cursing to himself)
Songa:  (grows irritated)  Can't you people just deal with it?!?
Mongo:  Huh?
Belphanior:  Eh?
Ged:  What?
Songa:  (waves her spear animatedly)  I said, _deal_ with it!  You
  people are complaining because some fancy tricks aren't working.
  Did you ever stop to think that at least you still have your
  weapons?  It's not as if someone took them away - you can still
  fight with them.  That hammer can still crush a skull, and that
  sword can still cut through flesh.
Belphanior:  Hmm.
Songa:  Some of us never bothered with magically-powered weapons in
  the first place.  (she shakes her head in disgust)  Some of you
  seem to have grown too dependent on your toys.  (shaking her head,
  she storms away)
Ged:  Whoa.
Mongo:  Lady's got a point.
Rillen:  (wide-eyed, he stands there, smirking)
Tanya:  (to Peldor)  Outspoken, isn't she?
Peldor:  Yeah...
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  She raises a good issue here.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  Indeed.  Maybe this will spur us on to
  positive action.
Gorin:  (scratches his beard, and looks at Mongo)
wispy thing:  (floating in place, upside down, it also looks at Mongo)
Mongo:  I need a weapon.  (he eyes his companions)  Anyone got one
  to loan me?
Belphanior:  Let's see what I can do.  (he opens his small portable
  hole and begins pulling items from it)
Mongo:  (leans over the elf's shoulder)
Belphanior:  (holds up a shortsword)  Will this do?
Mongo:  Nah, I gave up swords a long time ago.
Belphanior:  (hands over a battleaxe)  Axe?
Mongo:  No...
Belphanior:  (produces a three-foot long club of polished metal)  How
  about this?
Mongo:  Bingo.  (he hefts the thing, which is lightweight yet quite
  sturdy)  Where'd you find this?
Belphanior:  I picked it up on that "Earth" world.
Peldor:  Ah, yes, I remember...
Belphanior:  I've no idea what the club's powers are, if it has any,
  but it's as strong as any blade I've ever seen.  I think it's highly
Mongo:  I'll try it out, thanks.
Ged:  Why not just use your hammer?  I intend to wield Lightbringer
  in battle, even if its powers aren't working...why not use Stormcrest
Mongo:  Maybe I will.  (he hefts the metal club)  We'll see.
Ged:  (frowns, not understanding)

  They regrouped and prepared to move out.  Although Mongo's armor
wasn't exhibiting its usual plethora of powers and properties, it
still retained at least one:  it weighed no more than a set of thick
clothing.  It was as if the mighty powers of the artifacts and relics
were sapped, but the simple and basic ones might yet function.  What-
ever the case, the dwarf was grumblingly pleased with this small bit
of good fortune.
  The adventurers began marching in a northeasterly direction.  Songa
assured them that there were grasslands ahead - something about the
lay of the land - and sure enough, she was right.  A short time after
they left the scene of the winged-lizard attack, the companions found
themselves walking through a tall savannah, the grass often rising as
high as their heads.

Bosco:  (looking up)  No fair!  (using his winged boots, he flies a
  few feet off the ground, so that he too may see)  Ah, much better.
wispy thing:  (follows Bosco's example)  Spaaa.

  They marched on, crossing the plains and heading deeper into the
heart of the island.  From time to time, they passed outcroppings of
rock, these dotting the plains with no rhyme or reason.  There were
also small pools of water, thickets, and insect nests.

Alindyar:  (points to a six-foot-high mound of dried mud)  What could
  that be?
Songa:  Ant nest.
Arnold:  Aaa.
Bosco:  I guess we shouldn't bother it.
Belphanior:  If an enemy presented itself, we could always shove it
  into the anthill.
Otto:  Heh.
Tanya:  Be careful what you wish for...enemies might lurk anywhere.
wispy thing:  Pffft?  (it flies into the anthill's open top)

  Onward they went.  The heat and humidity definitely took their toll,
causing rest stops to be needed more and more frequently.  Even the
warriors, hale and hardy as they were, found themselves sweating and
exhausted.  Those of the party who were unused to such conditions had
a harder time of it.

Alindyar:  (his robe drenched, he can't take it off because of the sun
  above)  Aie...
Ged:  (mops sweat from his brow)  By Boccob, this is rough going!
Lyra:  (trips over a root, and nearly falls over)  It's insane, is
  what it is.
wispy thing:  (the only one unaffected by all of this, it still seems
  to sympathize with its companions' discomfort)  Sprrd?
Belphanior:  (drenched in sweat, he glares at the immaterial being)
Songa:  (wearier than anyone else, being completely unused to this
  climate, she still presses on grimly)
Mongo:  (to Songa)  Uh...
Songa:  What?
Mongo:  Just wanted you to know that...well, I know you were right.
Songa:  About what?
Mongo:  About the weapons and relying on magic, and all that.  You
  did a good job of reminding us of that.
Songa:  No problem.
Peldor:  (muttering to Tanya)  This isn't any fun at all.
Tanya:  I agree.  What in the hell are we doing here?
Peldor:  (trudging along wearily)  I'm beginning to wonder.

  Indeed, the climate was brutal; if not for Ged's magical decanter,
able to spray forth a limitless stream of water, they very well might
have collapsed of heat exhaustion.  Still, this island was no picnic,
and it was only midday when they stopped for a longer rest, this time
to have lunch as well.  As they unpacked or simply flopped wearily on
the ground, one of their number gazed at the horizon, frowning.

Peldor:  (squinting)  Is that a village?!?

  Quite a distance from their current location, the roofs of huts
were just barely visible.  They appeared to be crude and simple
dwellings, the kind made by primitive savages.  The village was on
the grasslands, but to either side, perhaps a mile distant, rose more
hills.  These formed a natural barrier between the village and the
coast.  No mists hung here, for the plains were at a lower elevation
than the surrounding hills (and those behind the adventurers) and the
sun's rays had burned away whatever fog had covered the grasslands.

Tanya:  (gaping in awe, as are the others)  I see the village...but
  what's _that_?!?

  Behind the clustered huts rose a gigantic wall!  It was hard to
tell for sure, from this range, but the barrier had to rise more than
a hundred feet off the ground.  It was much wider than that, too, for
it spanned the hills on either side of the village.

Alindyar:  I shudder to think what that wall was built to keep out.
Lyra:  Or in...
Ged:  Yea.  Maybe we should fly over and take a look.
Bosco:  (bites into some dried bread)  Sure, sure...after lunch.
Belphanior:  Bosco's right.  We'd better rest and recuperate before
  checking that village.
Mongo:  You got that right.  (he loosens his chain mail, to let air
  circulate)  Shit, I'm frying in here!
Arnold:  (popping latches on his armor)  You should try wearink
  plate mail!
Rillen:  (having long ago shed his robe, in favor of a sleeveless
  tunic of thin cloth, he frowns at the mere thought of having to
  wear armor)  This island is hot...too hot.
Songa:  Agreed.  (wearing a similar tunic, since she made both of
  them, she chews on a strip of dried meat)
Tanya:  (swats at the tiny flying insects that swarm about her face
  and her food)  Damn.
Peldor:  (moves closer to Tanya, his magical ring forcing the insects
  to retreat)  Bosco, do you still have that seeing-glass?
Bosco:  Sure.  (he finds his magical jewelled telescope, and hands it
  to Peldor)
Peldor:  (leaning on a boulder, he scans the village)  I see dozens
  of savages...warriors, with spears and bows and stone knives.
Otto:  (checking his weapons)  We'd better get ready for the worst.
  If those guys are hostile, we'll have to fight our way through.

next:      we skip away for one episode, to the annual Halloween deal
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     This has been a busy time.  Between Tech's homecoming,
  old friends visiting, Halloween parties, and a four-day training
  class I was shanghaied into attending, I haven't had much time to

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