Chapter #50

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*****
*  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, 9th level drow elf mage (N)
Belphanior, 6th/6rd/7th level high elf fighter/mage/thief (CN)
Ged, 7th/7th level grey elf priest/mage of Boccob (NG)
Halbarad, 7th level human ranger (NG)
Mongo Thunderhead, 8th level dwarf fighter (CG)
Peldor, 9th level human thief (N)
Peyote, 7th/8th level half-elf fighter/druid of Obad-Hai (N)
------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   10/15/570 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   afternoon
Place:  The city of Loftwick, capital of the Yeomanry
------------------------------------------------------------------



                        L.  Baptism by Fire



  Just now, the party was somewhat saddened to learn that their
primary priest, Rob, was called back to Keoland by his deity.

Peyote:  Well, I'll be.  The dude's really gone.
Belphanior:  Hmm.  (truly saddened by the departure of his main
  entertainment)  I'll miss him.  I really will.
Mongo:  He really wasn't a bad guy, for a priest.
Alindyar:  Perhaps we shall see the lad in the future.
Peldor:  (realizes that Rob may have had some useful items in
  his possession)  Darn it!  I missed my chance...
Ged:  I guess this makes _me_ the only priest now.
Peyote:  I'm good for half a priest, man.
Peldor:  Only half a priest?  We never have half a priest at
  home...
Halbarad:  Nay!  We need to find another priest.
Peyote:  What?!
Ged:  Bah.  _I_ am all the priest this party needs.
Mongo:  Another one couldn't hurt, pal.
Belphanior:  Yeah!  Get another one!
Peyote:  We have one and a half now.  That's fine.  I agree
  with Ged, we don't need another Rob walking around.
Peldor:  Well, don't get another _Rob_.  Get the new and
  improved model.
Alindyar:  My vote goes for another priest.
Halbarad:  How about this:  We post a note stating our need,
  and see who comes to talk to us?
Mongo:  Fine, but let's also say that he has to be voted in
  by _all_ of us.
Peyote:  That would tend to eliminate bad ones.
Peldor:  Get one with loads of money and items.
Alindyar:  Auditions?
Ged:  I still say no, but clearly I'm outvoted here.  Do as
  you will, but if I don't like a prospect, I'm not going to
  vote for him.
Halbarad:  Fine.  That is fair enough.  I'll make up a notice
  and find a place to post it.

  With that, the party members went about their business for
that day.  Halbarad and Mongo were in charge of posting the
notice, and did so with flair, tacking up several at the main
intersections on all the main streets.  The notes proclaimed
the need for an experienced priest to join an active, good-
aligned group of adventurers.  Applicants were to meet Mongo
the dwarf at the Blasted Beholder Inn (the party's current
lodging place) between noon and dusk...
  The sign went up at late afternoon.  The next day, after
the various adventurers agreed to come by the inn every hour
to check up on Mongo, the dwarf sat down at a table and
began counting a stack of coins.  Shortly...

lad:  Excuse me.  Sir?
Mongo:  Huh?
lad:  I'm here to see about that priest position.
Mongo:  Hmph.  You don't look like much.  What's your story?
lad:  I'm Foldor the Brave!  I will be a great priest one
  day!
Mongo:  One day?  What do you mean, one day?  Have you had
  any experience?  Ever killed a giant?  An ogre?
lad:  Err...no.
Mongo:  Even an orc?
lad:  Umm...no.  Aren't you people going to train me?
Mongo:  Huh?!  We need an experienced priest, not a green
  lad!  Can you even cast spells?
lad:  Err...not yet.  I haven't chosen any one religion yet.
Mongo:  Argh!  Get out of here!  You'd get killed within a
  week!  Come back when you can DO something!
lad:  (about to cry)  But...but...
Mongo:  Awww.  It's okay.  Listen, kid.  It's not that we
  don't _want_ you.  It's just that, well, we're always out
  there fighting dragons and stuff like that.  You would get
  eaten, having had no experience and all, and then we would
  have to come back here and tell your mother all about it.
lad:  ...
Mongo:  The world's a dangerous place.  Go and talk to your
  parents, find a temple to join, and maybe we'll take a look
  at you in a few years.
lad:  well, okay.
Mongo:  Here.  (fishes something out of a pocket)  This is a
  giant's eye.  Take it with you, and think of it as you are
  learning in the temple.  For good luck.  (winks at the kid)
lad:  Oh, boy!  A giant's eye!  Thanks!  (scampers off)  Wait
  'till I show Mom!  (gone)
Mongo:  Sheez.

  And so it went.  There were a dozen more applicants, most
of whom were not skilled enough for the party's liking.  Two
were actually brought out to an abandoned field, to prove
their worth to the group.  The first, however, was of some
odd religion, and Ged did not care for his beliefs, and thus
vetoed him (perhaps it was because the grey elf did not want
another priest in the party...).  The second proved decent in
skill, but was quite clumsy, and knew not the use of a single
weapon.  Peldor and Mongo both vetoed this one outright.
  Before dusk, the group gathered outside the inn, weary and
irritated.

Mongo:  What a fuckin' waste of my time!
Ged:  I told you guys, we _don't_ need another priest in the
  party.
Peldor:  Most of those people were losers anyway.
Peyote:  That one young lady showed promise...
Alindyar:  ...But she was yet unskilled enough for the sort
  of quests that we embark upon.
Peldor:  Aw, come on!  She was a fox!
Ged:  Yep, but that's not why we hire people.  Besides, if
  we had her in the party, you'd trip a lot more often.
Alindyar:  The wench of distraction...
Peyote:  Trip?
Halbarad:  Perhaps we do not need another after all.
Mongo:  What's that?

  Nearby, a commotion was afoot.  Apparently a group of
ruffians were waylaying some innocent victim in a nearby
alley, where they had just chased him or her...

Peyote:  Where are the town guards?
Ged:  Not here, obviously.  We have to help!  (draws his
  morningstar and runs for the alley)  Boccob!
Mongo:  Yeah!  Fight!  (lumbers after the elf)
Peldor:  Wait...ah, forget it.  Another mess to get into.
Halbarad:  We are obligated to assist those in need...

  The others followed Ged and Mongo to the alley, where an
unusual sight awaited them all.  There were six unsavory-
looking men circled around a single person.  This latter
individual was tall, and wearing dark grey robes with a
hood (a priest of some sort?).

ruffian#1:  That's far enough, friend.  We know you've got
  to have plenty of cash inside that robe, there.  Make
  this easy on yourself and hand it over.
ruffian#2:  Yeah.  Then we won't have to bust you up...too
  much.
ruffian#3:  Har har.
robed one:  (speaks with a thick accent)  I refuse.  I do
  not bow to common thugs.  Leave.
ruffian#1:  Your funeral, buddy!  (charges the person, club
  in hand)
robed one:  I think not.  (he dodges, lighting-quick, and
  brings a fist up into the ruffian's stomach)
ruffian#1:  OOF!  (sails into a wall, hard)
Belphanior:  Did you see that?!  (excitedly)  What speed!
Mongo:  Hit him pretty hard, too.  Strong guy.
Alindyar:  How know you that it is a male?  (remembering
  the early days, when some of the party thought that he
  was a female)
Peldor:  That was clearly a male voice...
Ged:  (about to join combat, he hesitates for an instant)
ruffian#2:  Hey!  He decked Clyde!  (charges the lone robed
  figure)
robed one:  (spins about and kicks the brigand in the side
  of the head, knocking him down)  I thought I told you to
  leave.
ruffian#3:  Argh!  (charges)
ruffian#4:  (charges)
robed one:  (ducks, punches one in the face, then sweeps
  the other with his leg, knocking him over)
Peyote:  Good move, dude.
ruffian#3:  (face mashed)  Yagh!  (reels back and falls)
ruffian#4:  (tripped)  Yie!  (falls)
robed one:  (elbows the downed one in the crotch)
ruffian#4:  Ooooooof.  Urgh.
Ged:  Hah!
Halbarad:  I think that this fellow has no need of our help.
ruffian#5:  (grabs the robed one from behind)
ruffian#6:  (punches him)  Har!  Hold him still, while I
  bust him up!
ruffian#5:  Ha ha.
robed one:  Bad idea.  (breaks the ruffian's hold by hitting
  his face with the back of his head)
ruffian#5:  Argh!  (holding his broken nose)  Bushted mah...
robed one:  (grabs the man)  That is for sticking your nose
  where it does not belong.  (kicks him with a loud crunching
  sound)
ruffian#5:  (falls quietly)
ruffian#6:  Huh?  What'd you do to Spike?!
robed one:  I gave him the boot.  (advances on the last of his
  assailants)
ruffian#6:  Aaaa!  (turns and flees)  <WHAP!>  (ran right into
  Mongo's steel-armored chest)  Urk...(falls, unconscious)
Mongo:  Stupid dimwit.
Ged:  (walks up to robed one)  Nice job there.
robed one:  (wheels, fists up)
Ged:  Yie!  (backs up a bit)  Hold it!  We're here to help!
robed one:  Need no help.  Trash taken out now.  For good.
Ged:  Well, we _were_ going to help, but you did a fine job
  all by yourself.  Are you all right?
robed one:  Fine.
Mongo:  Nice fighting there.  Where'd you learn all that?
robed one:  Long ago.
Ged:  Oh.  Well, say, we were sort of looking for a new companion,
  and, well, I was thinking...
robed one:  What happened to the old one?
Mongo:  He had to go away.
Ged:  Are you hungry?  I'd be happy to buy you dinner while
  we talked about it.
robed one:  (shakes the elf's hand)  I am called Rillen.
Peyote:  (whispering)  His hand's black.
Alindyar:  So?
Peldor:  If that's a drow, then I'm a faerie.
Ged:  (returning the handshake)  I am Ged.
Mongo:  Mongo, at your service.  (clasps hands with the man)
Belphanior:  I am Belphanior.  (shakes hands with Rillen, who
  stands several inches higher than the elf, who is the tallest
  of the party)  Do you gamble?
Rillen:  No.  Bad luck.

  And so forth.  They went back to the inn and had a hearty, hot
dinner.  Rillen let his hood down, revealing an ebon, human face
of indeterminate age.  Their new friend related a few details of
his history - he was a wandering warrior from a faraway land, on
a mission to learn of the world.  He had trained in a monastery
for many years, achieving great control of mind, body, and spirit,
and then left and traveled for many leagues.  He called himself
an expert with the longbow, staff, and his bare hands.

Ged:  Do you wish to join our party?
Halbarad:  Now wait one moment!  You said that we had no need of
  another priest - why should we need another _warrior_, of all
  things?!
Mongo:  Aw, come on.  We could use a guy like him.
Halbarad:  At least, we need to test his skill in battle.
Peyote:  Hmm.  (casts a Detect Evil on Rillen, discretely, finding
  none at all)  Well, he is not malevolent...
Halbarad:  Stranger, are you skilled in combat?
Peldor:  Do _you_ want to try and wrestle with him?
Rillen:  Never said I would join...
Ged:  Hey, there's safety in numbers on the open road.
Rillen:  ...But would like to try.  For awhile.
Halbarad:  You said you can fire a bow?  Let us see, then.
Mongo:  Bitchin'!  (they all go outside, and find a nearby
  field)
Halbarad:  (pulls out his bow)  I am going to fire a few of
  these arrows into that post, way over there.  (proceeds to
  do so, one at a time, and soon there are four arrows in the
  thick wooden post)  Now, my friend, can _you_ do as well?
Rillen:  Hmph.  (pulls his bow out)  Watch.
Peyote:  Hmm.
Rillen:  (draws and fires ten arrows, all of which hit and
  form a circle around the ranger's arrows)  Hah.  (looking
  mighty smug)
Ged:  Yea!
Mongo:  (happy)
Peyote:  Far out!
Halbarad:  All right, I concede defeat.  Your archery is on
  such a level as to rival mine.  But what use are you in
  melee?  Bare-handed combat is fine, but can you use that
  quarterstaff?
Rillen:  (whirls the staff around in an intricate series of
  maneuvers)  Come try me.  _If_ you wish.
Halbarad:  No, my good man.  I do not need to fight with you.
  Is that staff of any use against armored foes, though?
Rillen:  Yes.  (suddenly, a wicked, foot-long blade of steel
  pops out from one end of the staff)
Belphanior:  I'm impressed.
Halbarad:  (walks up and shakes the tall man's hand)  You have
  proven yourself to me.  Does anyone object to this man joining
  the party?
all:  No!
Ged:  Welcome, Rillen.
Mongo:  Back to the inn!  This calls for a round of drinks!  On
  me!
Peldor:  Hey!  Count me in!  (they all return to the tavern and
  at least some have too much to drink, as the moon rises...)

  Over the next days, the adventurers split into small groups
and searched for possible missions to undertake.  Finally, after
the second day, they all met for dinner and heard the findings
of Halbarad and Peyote.

Halbarad:  Rumor has it that a small town to the northwest is
  under continual attack by giants.
Mongo:  Giants!
Peyote:  ...and let's not forget that the giants are rumored
  to have much in the way of treasure.
Halbarad:  A force of thirty or so soldiers was sent a week
  ago, but no word has come back.
Peyote:  Should we go, we can get in on the action before the
  Loftwick militia is called in.  That means more glory, and
  more loot, and...
Halbarad:  Let us not forget the matter of helping the innocents
  of the village.
Peyote:  The village people, yeah.
Ged:  For that reason, I say we should go.  The oppressed masses
  need our help!
Peldor:  They do?
Belphanior:  Oh, come now.  Giants!  Just think of the treasure!
  Like he said.
Peldor:  Okay.
Rillen:  Plan sounds good to me.
Alindyar:  Agreed.  Let us go and meet giants.
Mongo:  Fuck yeah!
Halbarad:  Shall we depart tomorrow, then?
all:  Yea!

  So, they got a good final night's sleep before their departure
the next day.  Provisions for two weeks were bought, for the town
(some place called Fleer) was but three days' journey away.  The
warrior, Rillen, already had a mount, a large, magnificent horse
which had obviously cost him a good sum of money.  The group
rode northwest after breakfast, in a good mood, and for the next
three days, they moved on happily, camping on the roadside when
night fell, and riding by daylight.

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

Alindyar, 9th level drow elf mage (N)
Belphanior, 6th/6rd/7th level high elf fighter/mage/thief (CN)
Ged, 7th/7th level grey elf priest/mage of Boccob (NG)
Halbarad, 7th level human ranger (NG)
Mongo Thunderhead, 8th level dwarf fighter (CG)
Peldor, 9th level human thief (N)
Peyote, 7th/8th level half-elf fighter/druid of Obad-Hai (N)
Rillen, 8th level human fighter (N)
------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   10/19/570 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   afternoon
Place:  the wilderness of the Yeomanry
------------------------------------------------------------------

  After the third day on the road, the party reached the small
town of Fleer, riding into it one afternoon.  The place was a
small one, but yet, at midday, most of the businesses were
closed.  A few people wandered the streets dejectedly.  There
was a lot of dust in the air, and the party found themselves
thirsty.  They walked for a time before finding an open inn,
aptly named the Dead Tumbleweed Inn, and entered the place.

Mongo:  Barkeep!  Ale, please!
barkeep:  (morosely draws a mug of ale and hands it to the
  dwarf)
Halbarad:  I shall have one too.
barkeep:  (gets that too, still looking quite blank)
Peyote:  What's the deal here?  You'd think someone died.

  Suddenly, a huge ogre strutted into the inn, causing the
double doors to swing back and forth violently.  The beast
sauntered up to the bar, grinning.

ogre:  Hey, gimme a beer!
barkeep:  (hands the humanoid the beer shortly)
ogre:  (guzzling half of the drink immediately)  Hey!  Hey
  you!  (pushes Mongo)
Mongo:  Watch it, pal.
ogre:  (stands up)  Huh?  (kicks the dwarf's stool out from
  under him)
Rillen:  Not very nice.
ogre:  Haw haw!  What's your beef, dwarf?
Mongo:  (gets up, and punches the ogre in the groin)  I told
  you to watch it!
ogre:  (spits out beer)  Urgh.  (draws a big sword)  You'll
  pay for that, shorty!
Mongo:  (dodges the ogre's blow, and bashes him in the chest
  with a suddenly-drawn hammer)  No way, shithead!
ogre:  <SMACK!>  (falls down, and stays still)
Rillen:  Good fighting.  You shut him up.
Mongo:  Nah.  Any fool can take an ogre down - it just takes
  a little speed and a strong fighting arm.
barkeep:  (a look of terror on his pallid face)  Now you've
  done it!
Halbarad:  I beg your pardon?
barkeep:  Now they'll kill us all!  We're doomed!  (sobs in
  miserable terror)
Alindyar:  Didst I miss something?
Peyote:  What's your trip, dude?

  The adventurers were eventually able to get the man's story
out of him.  It seemed that the ogre was a member of a large
band of ogres and giant-types that had been terrorizing the
small town recently.  These ruffians went wherever they
pleased, robbing and killing at will.  No one could stop their
reign of terror.

Mongo:  No one, my ass!  WE will stop them!
Halbarad:  Hear, hear.
Rillen:  Where are these...giants?
barkeep:  Uh...they're out there to the northwest somewhere.
  They make their lair within an hour's ride, that is certain.
Peyote:  Okay.  Stay here.  We'll go find these ogres and such.
Peldor:  We will?
Belphanior:  Come on, live a little.  Besides, it's time for
  _blood_.
Alindyar:  'Tis a good thing that I have memorized some useful
  spells this day.

  Without further ado, the group rode for the northwest.  As
fate would have it, they didn't have far to go...

Halbarad:  What is that?  (petting his horse)  The mounts are
  nervous.
Peyote:  Hmm.
Peldor:  I don't see anybody.
Ged:  (preparing a spell)  Let's be ready, anyway.

  The horses would have none of it, though.  They were in a
positive panic, bucking and whinnying frantically.  Even the
large, noble horse ridden by Rillen was upset.  Before too
long, the party could not continue to ride.  Halbarad's best
attempts to calm them failed, and finally the party dismounted
in disgust and took the horses back a bit.  As they tried to
keep the animals from running, Peldor thought he saw something.

Peldor:  Eh?
Belphanior:  What's that?
Peldor:  I think we are being stalked...
Mongo:  Fuck that!  (pulls out his hammer and moves twenty
  feet up the trail)
Halbarad:  Hold on.  (draws his dagger and axe)  What is out
  there?
Peldor:  I'm not sure.
Peyote:  Maybe we should get in formation.  (they do, and
  move somewhat onward, leaving the horses a hundred feet
  back)
Rillen:  This smells like ambush.
Ged:  (readying a spell)  Tell me about it...

  Suddenly, huge forms appeared all around the party.  Whether
they were invisible, or hidden in the tall brush and grass, or
appeared from thin air was uncertain, but they definitely were
here for business, fully decked in armor and all well-armed.
All of them carried either large rocks or spears as well as
more conventional weapons.  There were three who were quite
obviously giants, as well as a big, smelly ettin, a troll, an
ogre with blue skin, and the strangest of all - a huge, maybe
twenty-five foot tall humanoid, with a single huge eye glaring
from his head far above.  This being towered over the tallest
of the others by a full eight feet.
  The two dozen ogres with this bunch seemed puny in contrast.

Peldor:  What the hell is THAT?!?
black-skinned giant:  You!  How DARE you slay one of my ogres?!
  So you wish to challenge us, eh?  (looks around)  Heh, heh.
  Fortunately for us, we were informed of your presence, so
  we thought we would come out to greet you personally.
other giant:  Har har.
Mongo:  Huh?!?  (fingering his hammer)
Peldor:  (invisible, using his ring to tie one ogre's boot
  laces together)
Ged:  You're really funny.  (quietly working on his spell)
black-skinned giant:  We will have none of that, now.  Prepare
  to meet your maker.
party:  (scrambling to get into a better defensive position)

  All the giants hurled their missiles, as Ged frantically
tried to get his spell cast.



                           FIRE GIANT

              5 OGRES                       5 OGRES
                         Mongo   Halbarad
      HILL GIANT              Ged                 STONE GIANT
                     Belphanior    Peyote
5 OGRES                     Alindyar                   5 OGRES
                         Peldor   Rillen
         TROLL                                    OGRE MAGE

             ETTIN                           CYCLOPS

                            3 OGRES



ogre:  (trips)  Wha....?
Peldor:  Ha ha.
Belphanior:  Oh shit!  (hit by a spear, and grazed by a boulder)
Alindyar:  (nicked by a spear)  Ouch.
Ged:  (hit by two spears, spell ruined)  Damn!  Boccob will see
  you pay for that!
Halbarad:  (hit by a rock and a spear)  Argh!
Mongo:  (hit by two rocks)  Agh!  Fuck!
Peldor:  (invisible, dodges some missiles easily)
Peyote:  (hit by a rock and a spear)  Dude!
Rillen:  (dodges some missiles)  You will regret that, big men.

  The giants and such closed, as the magi quickly tried to get
new spells cast...

Peldor:  (invisible, chops the ettin, scoring a deep wound)
ettin:  Aargh!  (the two heads start biting at each other)
Peldor:  (becomes visible)  Uh-oh.  They're confused already.
Belphanior:  (casts Color Spray on the ogres charging him)
  Here, enjoy.
ogres:  (four of the five are knocked unconscious)
Belphanior:  (draws his lightning wand)
Hill giant:  (chops Belphanior, knocking him back)  Har har!
Belphanior:  (quite seriously wounded now)  Fuck!  Just wait
  until I blast you, wiseguy.
Fire giant:  (chops at Mongo, grazing his armor and making
  sparks)  Damn!  Stay still, bug!
Stone giant:  (bashes Halbarad with a huge club)  Smash you!
Halbarad:  Argh!
Ged:  Yes!  (casts Haste on everyone)  Boccob is with us
  today!
Alindyar:  (casts Fear on the flank of opponents near the
  ranger and half-elf)
ogres:  (seven of the ten flee)  Aaaaa!
ogres:  (the other three)  Huh?  (they advance)
Stone giant:  (ignores the spell)  Bah.
Ogre mage:  (launches a Cone of Cold at the party, hitting
  most of them, though most also save successfully)
Rillen:  Cold.  Cold wind.
Peyote:  Yikes!
Alindyar:  Brr.
Ged:  Aaargh!
Mongo:  (armor frosted)  Dammit.
Belphanior:  Aaaagh!  You'll get it for that.
Peyote:  For sure.
ogre:  (swings at Belphanior, but misses)
ogre:  (slashes Mongo, but the dwarf's armor deflects the
  blow)
ogre:  (swipes at Mongo, but misses)
ogre:  (slashes at Halbarad, but misses)
ogre:  (stabs at Peyote, but misses)
ogre:  (slashes Peyote, injuring him)  Yeah!
Peyote:  (reels, but still manages to guzzle his potion of
  super-heroism)  Mmmmm.
ogre:  Uh-oh.
ogre:  This not good.
Peyote:  (gains three levels, +3 to hit, 18 hp)  You guys
  are dog meat!
ogre:  No, that for supper last night.
ogre:  Shut up and get dat guy!
Peldor:  (slashes the ettin, wounding it)  Fall, slow one.
Rillen:  (smashes the cyclops in the knee with his staff)
  I will knock you down.
Cyclops:  Bah.
ettin:  (chops Peldor, twice)  Die, puny man!
Peldor:  Ugh...now I dislike ettins...
Rillen:  (swats at the cyclops again, but misses, barely)
Halbarad:  (chops and slashes the stone giant, hitting with
  both attacks)  Take that, stony fiend.
Rillen:  (bashes the cyclops again, in the belly)  You are
  one _big_ person.
Cyclops:  Grunt.
Mongo:  (smashes the fire giant)  Take that, shitlips!
Peyote:  (chops one of his ogres, wounding it)
Troll:  (pummels Peldor)  Grblk!
Peldor:  Agh...
Rillen:  (smashes the cyclops on the arm)
Cyclops:  Ow.
Halbarad:  (chops and slashes the stone giant, hitting with
  only the axe though)
Mongo:  (bashes the fire giant in the thigh)  I'll take you
  down a foot at a time if I have to!
Peyote:  (misses the ogre he just wounded)
Cyclops:  (swats Rillen with considerable force)
Rillen:  Aaaaaaaa!  (grunting in primal pain)
Mongo:  (bashes at the giant again, but ineffectively)
Peyote:  (slashes the ogre again, slaying it)  Ho!  One down!
Halbarad:  (chops at the stone giant twice with his axe,
  hitting once)
Stone giant:  <grunt>
Mongo:  (smashes the giant in the foot, hard)  That's for
  having smelly feet!
Fire giant:  Cease your mindless prattle!
assorted other foes:  (trying to get into position to melee
  the party - not all of the giants and ogres can reach them)
Belphanior:  (waving his wand about, blasts the hill giant
  and the five ogres next to it)
Hill giant:  Yargh!  (singed)
ogres:  (all five are toasted)



                     FIRE GIANT
                                           STONE GIANT
                         Mongo   Halbarad
      HILL GIANT              Ged                OGRE
                     Belphanior    Peyote
  OGRE                      Alindyar             OGRE
                         Peldor   Rillen
                 TROLL                            OGRE MAGE
                        ETTIN       CYCLOPS

                            3 OGRES



Rillen:  (to cyclops)  Try this.  (the blade pops out from
  his staff, and he slashes the cyclops, wounding it again)
Cyclops:  Huh?
Belphanior:  (blasts the ogre and hill giant in front of
  him with his wand)  Ha ha!
ogre:  (disintegrates into a black and red smear)
Hill giant:  AARGH!  (his hair is all gone)  AAA!  (chops
  Belphanior, but misses)  AAAAA!
Belphanior:  Whew.
Peldor:  (slashes at the ettin, but misses)  Hey, that burnt
  hair sure does stink!
Rillen:  (stabs the cyclops, gashing its leg)  Shake a leg.
Cyclops:  Urgh!
Fire giant:  (chops at Mongo, but the dwarf dashes between
  his legs)  Damn!
Mongo:  (smashes the giant right in the groin)  Ha!
Fire giant:  Argh!  You will die!
Ged:  By Boccob, I call forth the tentacles of doom!  (casts
  Evard's Black Tentacles upon the ettin and the three ogres
  nearby it)  Hah, fools!  Taste the mighty magic of Boccob!
Ettin:  Huh?!  (snagged by three of the ebon things, snaps
  two of them)  Yargh!
ogre:  (snagged by three, snaps one)  Agh!  I is trapped!
ogre:  (snared by two, snaps both)  Huh?!
ogre:  (snared by two, snaps one)  Yarg!
Rillen:  Magic must not taste very good.
Ged:  Hah.  Stupid ogres!
Rillen:  (slashes the cyclops - a critical hit!)  Yes!
Cyclops:  (pierced through the heart, dies!)  rgg...
Rillen:  Glad to see he got my point...
Ged:  Yes!  Great going, Rillen!  Now somebody get that
  damned ogre mage!
Alindyar:  I am about to do that very thing.
Mongo:  (misses fire giant)  Damn!
Alindyar:  (fires five missiles from his wand, at the ogre
  mage)
Ogre mage:  Argh!  (hit by all the missiles, wounded)  Drow!
  You shall roast for that!  (goes airborne)
Alindyar:  Hmm.
Belphanior:  (blasts the hill giant with yet another bolt
  of lightning, taking some reflected damage himself)  Ya!
Hill giant:  AAARGH!  Stand still, flea!
Peldor:  (slashes at the ettin, but his blade is deflected
  by the monster's armor)  Damn!
Rillen:  (retrieving his weapon from the cyclops' body)
Halbarad:  (chops stone giant, and slashes it with his dagger)
ogre:  (chops Peyote)
ogre:  (misses Peyote)
Mongo:  (pounds fire giant)  Fall, you mountain!
Fire giant:  Never!
ogre:  (slashes at Rillen, hits)
Rillen:  Eh?
ogre:  (slashes at Peldor, misses)
ogre:  (can't attack, since he's blocked by his comrades)
Ettin:  (bashes Peldor, hitting once and missing once)  I
  get you!
Peldor:  (more than half-dead, literally)  Agh...
Peyote:  (chops ogre, hits)
ogre:  Agh!
ogre:  (chops at Belphanior, but misses)
Belphanior:  Whew.
Stone giant:  (bashes Halbarad)  Ha.
Halbarad:  (feeling some ribs break)  Agh!
Troll:  (lunging for Peldor, fumbles and trips...)
Peldor:  (can't help but laugh, even in this situation)  Hah.
Halbarad:  (chops and stabs the stone giant, but misses both
  times)  Damn!
Peyote:  (slashes the ogre, killing it)  Hah.  Bad luck, dude.
Mongo:  (bashes the fire giant _again_)  Die, dammit!
Ogre mage:  (uses his Sleep power on the party from the air,
  but fortunately they all save...!)  By the gods!  I do not
  believe it!
Alindyar:  Believe it.
Peyote:  (slices at another ogre, but misses)



                     FIRE GIANT
                                       STONE GIANT
                         Mongo   Halbarad
         HILL GIANT            Ged                OGRE
                Belphanior                 Peyote
                            Alindyar
                         Peldor
                 TROLL             Rillen         OGRE MAGE
                        ETTIN                     <airborne>

                            3 OGRES



Belphanior:  (blasts the hill giant)  Die!
Hill giant:  (dies, headless and extremely charred)
Belphanior:  Wow.
Peldor:  (misses the ettin, fumbling, and his sword sails
  off into the dirt)  Whoops.
Ettin:  Heh heh.
Rillen:  (attacking a tentacled ogre, slashes it deeply)
  Looks like you are all tied up...
ogre:  Agh!
Alindyar:  (getting his carpet out)
Fire giant:  (misses Mongo with his huge axe)  Arg!  Die!
Mongo:  (bashes the giant in the knee)  Fall!  Fall, damn
  you!
Peyote:  (slashes his ogre, killing it)  Sorry, dude.  Rude
  deal.
Stone giant:  (hits Halbarad with his stone club, knocking
  him out)  Ha.
Halbarad:  (unconscious and bleeding internally)
Ged:  Somebody help him!
Rillen:  (dices an ogre with his staff, slaying it)
Mongo:  (misses the giant)  Hey, watch it!  You almost
  stepped on me!
Fire giant:  SHUT UP!
Ogre mage:  (airborne)  Now you see me...(goes invisible)
Alindyar:  Curses!  (goes aerial on the carpet and starts
  spellcasting)
Troll:  (mauls the defenseless Peldor)  Rargh!
Peldor:  (smashed, bloody, comatose; falls to the ground)
Troll:  (moving toward Ged and Rillen)  Rrgh.  Rarg!
Rillen:  (slashes another tentacle-tied ogre, killing it)
Ged:  Eh?  (spots the troll coming for him)  Fortunately
  I am ready for you, green fiend!  (casts a Lightning
  Bolt in the direction of the troll, and incidentally,
  the ettin)  Ha!  Chew electric death, snarling curs!!
Ettin:  Eyaaaaaaaa!  (blasted into small bits, dies)
Troll:  YEARGH!  (blackened and missing chunks)  AARGH!
Ged:  Ha!  Boccob's might proves superior once more!
Mongo:  (bashes fire giant, hearing ribs and more crunch)
Fire giant:  (falls, dead at last)
Mongo:  Hah!  Mongo triumphs!
Alindyar:  (having cast Detect Invisibility, he can now
  see the ogre mage floating nearby - but doesn't let the
  creature know that...)
Belphanior:  (running into position, he blasts the troll
  directly with his wand)
Troll:  (melted)
Ged:  Thanks for finishing that scum off.  (pulls out his
  morningstar)
Belphanior:  Noooo problem.
Peyote:  (slashes at the stone giant, but its tough hide
  deflects the blow)  Damn.
Ogre mage:  (attempts to Charm Alindyar)  You know, it
  _really_ would be in your best interest to drop your
  carpet onto your dwarven friend there.  Otherwise, he
  is apt to hurt someone with that dreadful hammer of his.
Alindyar:  (sweating)  No...HA!  You shall have to do
  better than that, you floating blue turnip.
Ogre mage:  Turnip?



                                            Halbarad (dead)

                                       STONE GIANT
                         Mongo
                               Ged             Peyote
                Belphanior
                                            Alindyar
                                           <airborne>
                Peldor (dead)     Rillen         OGRE MAGE
                               OGRE              <airborne>



Belphanior:  (heading for the ogre)  Time to wrap this up.
Rillen:  (slashes at the ogre, but misses)  Damn!  I never
  miss!
ogre mage:  (looking around)
Alindyar:  Pay attention.  (blasts the humanoid with his own
  bolt of lightning)
Ogre mage:  Bah.  (the bolt is mostly deflected, and rebounds
  into Alindyar!)
Alindyar:  <ZAP>  Agh!  (falls, unconscious and in spasms)
Ogre mage:  (becomes visible)  Hah.  So much for YOU.
Mongo:  Hey!  Get down from there, you!  (hurls his hammer,
  hitting the ogre mage hard)
Ogre mage:  Agh!  (stunned, falls to the ground)
Ged:  (thinking of a double play, dashes up and hits the
  humanoid with his morningstar, killing it)  Yes!
Ogre mage:  No fair...(expires)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)  Get some oil and burn that
  fucker!  Remember the last blue ogres we fought?
Ged:  Yeah.  (thinking about a Burning Hands on the body)
Belphanior:  (moves up and backstabs the last ogre, killing it)
Mongo:  (saw the whole thing)  Backstab?
Ged:  Hey!  You fight like a thief!
Peyote:  (slashes at the stone giant, misses)  Huh?
Stone giant:  Argh!  (swats the half-elf, knocking him to
  the dirt, bleeding and unconscious)
Mongo:  Fuck!  (throws hammer at the giant, but misses by
  a hair)  FUCK!!
Ged:  (runs up and smashes his weapon into the giant's
  stomach)
Stone giant:  Urk.  (perishes, falling to the ground with
  a loud thump)
Ged:  Boccob!
Mongo:  Help the wounded!
Ged:  Oh, yeah.  (starts binding wounds and healing the
  comatose)  Geez, these guys are pretty bad off...
Belphanior:  I'm surprised that none of us are actually
  un-recoverable.
Ged:  It's a close thing, my friend.
Mongo:  (lighting the oil he poured on the ogre mage's
  body)
Rillen:  Why do you burn the body?
Mongo:  He may jump back up again and cause trouble.
Rillen:  (watching the blaze)  Not any more.


THE STATUS OF THE PARTY:
  Alindyar     :  - 7 hp
  Belphanior   :   11
  Ged          :   21
  Halbarad     :  - 4
  Mongo        :   18
  Peldor       :  - 2
  Peyote       :  - 1
  Rillen       :   12


  Soon, the four worst wounded were...stabilized, and
the others set about forming a defensive perimeter.
Next, Ged cast a Detect Magic spell, and the party set
about confiscating the dead group's magic items and
other loot:

fire giant   :  three potions (all smashed)
stone giant  :  strange rock
hill giant   :  (undersized, for him) morningstar
ogre mage    :  exotic ring, plus two potions (one smashed)
ogres        :  (various)  scimitar, pick, two-handed sword

  There were also several hundred coins and a few gems, as
well some cheap jewelry.  Peyote shocked Ged, Mongo, and
even Rillen by kicking back and turning into a large dog,
a bloodhound to be specific.  The half-elf/dog sniffed
around the whole area, quickly picking up the scent of the
evil humanoids.  He loped off, and chased the scent to a
hidden cave about a mile away.  Returning to the others,
he became human once more and briefed them.  Belphanior
wandered off in search of the horses, and was able to
recover six of them.  The group (those who were awake) did
not feel up to exploring the lair just yet, and so they
rested and built a camp for the rest of the day.
  The party camped overnight off the path, guarding their
wounded carefully and making sure that they were well-
prepared for an ambush (Belphanior set a number of traps
around the campsite).  Nothing came to bother them, though
they were paranoid (rightfully so).  The next morning, the
four wounded were able to ride, although too weak for any
combat situations.  The party checked the hidden cave,
and Mongo helped Peyote and Rillen try to move the massive
boulder blocking the entrance - to no avail.  Peldor tried
to help using his ring's power, and Ged also tied strong
ropes to the six horses in a clever use of both his rope
skills and his horsemanship abilities.  It wasn't until
Halbarad loaned his gauntlets of strength to the grey elf
that the combined force being exerted finally moved the
boulder.  Only a foot-wide crack was made, though, for the
ropes began to snap.  Belphanior slipped into the narrow
opening, followed by Mongo.  The others waited outside...
  Shortly, the pair returned, with news of piles of loot
and chests of coins.  Belphanior had disarmed the traps
on the latter, since Mongo told him flat out that his
third occupation was no longer a secret...the adventurers
decided to stay in this place, since it seemed fairly safe
and also contained a lot of new treasure.  They made their
camp inside the cave, and remained there for three more
days before returning to Fleer, well-healed and loaded
with treasure.  After the token stop in Fleer (which was
rewarded with cheers and singing by the locals), they
bought two horses and rode back to Loftwick for treasure
division and possible training.


THE LOOT (MAGIC ITEMS ONLY):
  (Identified beforehand, for a change, by Ged)

strange meteorite            - Peldor
morningstar +3               - Ged
ring of spell turning        - Ged
potion of healing            - Alindyar
scimitar +1                  - Peldor
pick +1                      - Mongo
2H sword +1                  - Peyote
cloak of comfort             - Halbarad
ioun stone                   - Peyote
potion of undead control     - Belphanior
big shovel                   - Mongo
wand of illumination         - Rillen
hand axe +2                  - Halbarad
quiver                       - Belphanior
crystal ball                 - Alindyar
horseshoes                   - Rillen


  In brief, only Halbarad and Peldor were in need of training.
They spent several weeks doing this, while the others waited
in boredom.  The cold of winter was suddenly (it seemed) upon
the adventurers.  Soon...

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

Alindyar, 9th level drow elf mage (N)
Belphanior, 6th/6rd/7th level high elf fighter/mage/thief (CN)
Ged, 7th/7th level grey elf priest/mage of Boccob (NG)
Halbarad, 8th level human ranger (NG)
Mongo Thunderhead, 8th level dwarf fighter (CG)
Peldor, 10th level human thief (N)
Peyote, 7th/8th level half-elf fighter/druid of Obad-Hai (N)
Rillen, 8th level human fighter (N)
------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   12/02/570 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   afternoon
Place:  Loftwick, capital of the Yeomanry
------------------------------------------------------------------

  In a private room within the latest tavern (the Daring Dancer
Inn), Belphanior was talking to Peldor...

Belphanior:  Say, why don't we check out the prospects in this
  city?
Peldor:  Now THAT, my friend, is a damned good idea...





next time:  Midnight escapades

FTP SITE: tybalt.caltech.edu (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
********************************************************************
NOTES:  This is the grand 50th episode, thus its length.  At a
length of 40K, this is the biggest one I've ever posted.  The
battle with the giants became one of the party's most talked-
about adventures.  They were actually a lot more worried during
the battle than I have probably showed.  Now, on to other things.
  Another fighter?  Is this a good idea?  Perhaps not, but yet,
this is how it happened.  Rillen's player had run Rob's character
the previous session, but since Rob showed no signs of playing that
month (or any other), the player wanted his own character.  The new
warrior Rillen is essentially a fighter, specializing in his bare
hands and the quarterstaff, and proficient with the longbow.
Penalties?  He is not allowed to use any other weapon(s), period.
He spent his entire life training with two weapons of choice, and
unarmed combat.  This is the cheap and easy way to build a monk -
there was no Warrior's handbook when we were playing...
  When you read Rillen's lines, think of an Arnold Schwarzenegger
who can fight very well.  That's how he was played - and the many
countless lines from movies and bad puns were hilarious (to us,
at least...).
********************************************************************




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