Chapter #486

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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                    +
+                                  tmiller@cimmeria.ns.gatech.edu   +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  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 afternoon                                      +
+  Place:       the Isle of the Ape, within some demi-plane         +
+  Climate:     hot and humid                                       +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+  "We ain't gonna stand for no weirdness out here..."              +
+                                       - from _Friday the 13th_    +
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





                   CDLXXXVI.  Beyond the Wall





  The adventurers have just opened a great gate in the titanic wall,
and they now venture out into the jungle beyond.

Belphanior:  Out of the frying pan, into the fire.  (he nods grimly)
  I'm sure of it.
Bosco:  Maybe you're just dazed from loss of blood.

  Outside the hundred-foot wall was a curtain of tropical vegetation,
stretching to the east as far as the eye could see.  This jungle
rose up perhaps a hundred yards from the barrier; between the two
was a barren, nearly featureless section of flat ground.  Out in the
open, a bit farther from the wall than the foliage, a pair of twin
pillars rose from a shallow stone platform.

Ged:  What in Boccob's name is that?
Bosco:  What in Bosco's name is that?
Peldor:  What in Peld-
Ged:  That's enough out of you unworthy heathens!
Mongo:  Only one way to find out...(he wanders in that direction)
wispy thing:  Pfsss?  (it sails after Mongo, then past him)
Mongo:  (shaking his fist at the thing)  Damn glory-hogger!

  They approached with caution, for the pillars were covered with
strange glyphs and runes.  It seemed to be a place for conducting
sacrifices, given the manacles embedded in the rock of the columns.

Alindyar:  (points at these manacles)  'Tis the very same purplish
  metal used in yonder gates.
Lyra:  (sits up weakly, on the floating disc)  Ungh...what the hell
  are you talking about now?  (she spies the bizarre pillars)  Oh.
Alindyar:  (forgets about the pillars and their glyphs, hurrying to
  her side)  Are you well?
Lyra:  (shakes her head)  Dizzy...weak...but alive.
Arnold:  Thanks to Geb.
Alindyar:  Indeed.  (he nods to the grey elf appreciatively)
Ged:  (studying the vine-wrapped pillars, with Belphanior)  They seem
  long unused...
Belphanior:  Yeah.  Human sacrifice must have gone out of style in
  these parts.
Bosco:  Sacrifice?!?  (he looks around uneasily)  Let's hope they
  don't decide to re-enact it, now that we're here.
Otto:  You've probably got nothing to worry about, Bosco.  Halflings
  are too small to make good eating.
Bosco:  Eep!
Gorin:  (gestures to some old, worn ropes that hang from the manacles)
  Maybe whoever was last here broke free.
Mongo:  Busted out.
Songa:  (kneels down, picking up bits of rope that lie scattered on
  the stone base)  Hmm.  Vines, cured and bound...
Rillen:  Crude, but effective.
Tanya:  What do you suppose it means?
wispy thing:  (tries to shrug)  Aaarp.
Belphanior:  My guess is, someone was unable to work these metal
  manacles, and so they just used ropes.
Rillen:  Then the victim was _torn_ from these pillars...the ropes
  were torn, too...
Songa:  How distressing.
Mongo:  Maybe we should just run back through the gates now.  (he
  smirks)
Peldor:  (stirred to consciousness as Lyra climbs off the floating
  disc, he leans up on one arm)  What's going on?
Tanya:  About time you woke up.
Ged:  (drily)  It sure took him long enough - he was the last of the
  three to awaken.
Peldor:  Bah.  Peldors sleep for as long as they wish.  (he stands
  up)  Oh, my aching feet.
Gorin:  (somewhat incredulously)  You're not even groggy...!
Peldor:  (shrugs)  I'm Peldor.  (he looks around, scoping out the
  situation)  Say, why are we _outside_ the great wall?
Alindyar:  A long story...
Rillen:  A vote was taken, and sensibility lost out.
Peldor:  That's good.  (he sees the pillar)  Hey, those are some
  weird carvings.
Ged:  You're telling me.

  Some of the intricate figures were strange beasts - dragons, bat-
winged horrors, savage apes - but it was hard to tell, since they
were fairly worn-down.

Belphanior:  What are you doing?
Ged:  (casting a spell)  I simply must know what these mean.
Gorin:  I'm not sure I want to know...
Arnold:  Yaa.
Mongo:  I bet they don't mean anything.  They're just some bozo's
  artwork.  (he turns from the pillars, eyeing the jungle)  Sure is
  hot out here.
Arnold:  (nods, then removes his helm, mopping sweat from his face)
  Aaa.  What I wouldn't give for a cool pool right aboud now.
Otto:  Under other circumstances, I'd tell you to go jump in a lake.
Ged:  Quiet, all of you!  The almighty Boccob prepares to grant me
  the knowledge I seek!  (he waves his hands at the runic pillars,
  deciphering them aloud)  "Abandon all hope ye who are here..."
Belphanior:  How nice of them to leave that warning-
Ged:  There's more:  "...but fight like the blazes anyway!  Zagyg!"
Alindyar:  Aie.
Lyra:  Guess that tells us who created this island.
Belphanior:  Like we didn't know anyway...(to Ged)  Isn't that right?
Ged:  Yea.
Lyra:  You're a high priest of Boccob, which means you have links to
  Zagyg as well.  Can't you learn something...anything, about this
  damned island?
Ged:  (shrugs wearily)  I've been trying.  Boccob, nor the other,
  grants us any true knowledge today.
Lyra:  (shaking her fist angrily)  What use are they, then?!?
Ged:  You know, that's no way to talk to someone who just saved your
  life...
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  He is correct.  You should get a grip
  on yourself.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  But...agh, you're right.
Ged:  Fear not, I assure you that you're getting the full use of my
  talents and powers.  (he rubs his aching head)  Not that they'll
  do us much good, it seems.
Bosco:  (poking around in the detritus at the pillars' bases, he
  stands suddenly, holding aloft something that gleams in the sun-
  light)  Holy cow!
Tanya:  What've you got there, B-  oh, wow.
Otto:  Now _that's_ a gemstone!

  The halfling displayed a gigantic diamond, surely among the largest
raw gemstones any of them had ever seen.

Bosco:  Mine, mine, mine!  (excited, he nevertheless tucks the thing
  into his pouch before digging through the refuse at the base of one
  pillar)  There's more!

  Indeed there were - rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and more diamonds.
They quickly found more than a dozen of each, marveling in this vast
fortune that had appeared as if from nowhere.

Bosco:  Actually, they must've been here all this time...right under
  our noses.  (he smiles cannily)  You just have to know where to
  look, and how...and when.
wispy thing:  (grins as it attempts to enter a gemstone)  Pffft.
Mongo:  (opening the portable hole)  We can keep them in here-
Peldor:  No way.  (he points at several gemstones he holds in his
  hands)  I say we divide them up now, and each person can do what
  he wants with his, or hers.
Otto:  I second that motion.
Ged:  But...why?
Belphanior:  The question is, why not?
Songa:  (holding a sapphire in her calloused hands)  By the gods...
  I've not seen its like, in all my years!
Rillen:  Make no mistake about it, my beloved - such baubles have
  great power, among civilized people.  They can make, or break,
  the lives of such men.

  The adventurers divided the gemstones as equally as possible, the
few odd ones being put in Mongo's portable hole.  After this, they
turned their attention back to the jungle and its unknown dangers.

Bosco:  (frowning at Peldor's stash of gems)  Wait a minute here...
Songa:  (leading the party toward the jungle, she points)  Look
  there.

  Though the vegetation was thick and unbroken, as a rule, it had
two distinct trails that could be seen from here.  One, a foot path,
led to the northeast; it appeared to have been made by humans or
their ilk.  The other path, however, was wide and raw, bushes and
trees alike swept aside or crushed.

Belphanior:  I think we should take that path.
Ged:  Thinking like in the old days, eh?
Belphanior:  Yup.  Besides, the savages won't follow us along that
  one, I'd wager.
Songa:  He has a point.
Alindyar:  But not a very useful one.  Why exchange one danger for
  another?
Peldor:  (idly fiddling with the base of one pillar, as nobody pays
  attention to him)  I don't think we really know enough about either
  path to make the best decision.  (he winces as several large pearls
  roll out of a hidden compartment)
Bosco:  (looks down, then covers one with his foot, turning to grin
  at Peldor)
Peldor:  (shrugs)
Mongo:  (watching the jungle wall, along with the others)  So...little
  path, or big path?
Rillen:  Either way, we face the unknown.
Mongo:  (raises his metal club)  I'm ready!
Arnold:  Ah-nold too.
Gorin:  (watching the sun's slow descent to one horizon)  We really
  ought to start thinking about where we're gonna spend the night.
Songa:  We need to get to high ground...build a shelter.
Otto:  You don't think the village is a viable option?
Ged:  (shakes his head)  Even if we did that, we'd still be subject
  to attack at any time, from those savages.  And we already know that
  the village doesn't contain anything useful to us.
Lyra:  I wonder if the tribal shamans know anything about how to get
  away from this island?
Alindyar:  Or the location of the Wand...that we seek.
Ged:  Highly unlikely.  After all, they're just savages.
Songa:  Enough prattling talk.  (she strides toward the big path)
  Let's move out, before someone attacks us again.
Mongo:  (to Rillen, as they all follow her lead)  Headstrong woman,
  eh?
Rillen:  You have no idea.





next:      an entirely different kind of attack
ftp:       ftp.digex.net in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
           ftp.nol.net in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
           ftp.tas.gov.au/misc/stories
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:     A note on illusions cast on the Isle:

  As stated in the module, illusions won't be effective, in general.
This is because most of what's on the isle is dinosaurs, which don't
have brains advanced enough to comprehend illusions.  Other animals
are also immune due to "using senses other than sight."
  Human savages, however, are not immune.  This is inherent in the
module DM notes, to me.  I needed to say something, though, since
so many people have been asking.  I suppose I should have made it
clear when Rary was briefing the party.  The confusion seems to
have stemmed from him saying "no illusions will work there" when
what he really meant was "illusions tend to work very poorly there,
given the general nature of the native fauna."
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