Chapter #536

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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 1991-8 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                    +
+                           +
+  Mongo        18th level dwarven warrior                     (CG) +
+    Gorin      10th level dwarven warrior                     (NG) +
+  Date:        8/19/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        midday                                              +
+  Place:       the hills to the west of the city of Fergor         +
+  Climate:     mild                                                +
+  "War is hell."                                                   +
+                                                 - common adage    +

                  DXXXVI.  Goblins and Glory

  Despite their best-laid plans, the dwarven force had been unable
to take the goblin warrens by surprise.  As Noggin, Mongo, Gorin,
and the others watched with sinking hearts, the tunnels were being

Mongo:  (points to one tunnel mouth, where a large boulder is
  being rolled into place, blocking any entrance)  Look!
Noggin:  Okay, so we do this the hard way.
Gorin:  Siege?
Noggin:  Bright lad.
Mongo:  Can I suggest a better idea?
Noggin:  (frowns)  Sure.  At this point, I'm willing to try anything
  reasonable.  If those little bastards entrench themselves in those
  tunnels, we could be here for weeks.
Gorin:  (to Mongo)  What do you have in mind?
Noggin:  (eyes Mongo)  What indeed?
Mongo:  (tightening his magical belt, he winks)  Well, it's like

  Nearby, at the entrance to the largest of the tunnels, a flurry of
activity met the eye...

goblin boss:  Push!  Push!  Put your backs into it, ya worthless
  sacks of scum!
goblins:  (about a dozen of them, they struggle to hold a gigantic
  boulder in place while others brace it)
other goblin:  That'll stop 'em!  Hah!
goblin boss:  (smacks the other)  Stop goofing off and help the
other goblin:  (stands up dizzily, his head reeling)  Sorry-

  There was a tremendous explosion right then, as if a gigantic
battering ram had smashed into the nearby boulder.  However, the
source of the explosion was far more powerful than any battering
ram, and it hadn't just smashed the boulder - it had obliterated

goblin boss:  (one of the few survivors of the catastrophe, he gets
  to his feet, pulling a shard of rock from his arm)  Wha...?! (he
  squints)  Oh shit!  Get up and fight, you worms!  They're on us!

  Mongo tore into the opening made by his hammer, smashing left and
right with the mighty weapon.  He was the tip of a wedge of armored
infantry; behind him, the dwarves of Greyspire poured into the
tunnel, hacking and slashing.  The entrance was secured within

Mongo:  (holds his hammer aloft, gore dripping from its surface)
  Victory is ours!
Noggin:  Not yet.  We have to clear these tunnels.
Mongo:  I know that, I was just trying to rally the troops.
Noggin:  Oh, don't worry - I daresay you have.

  Indeed, the dwarves were pretty happy right about now.  Instead
of dealing with a prolonged siege in which they'd have had to keep
a constant guard, they were now inside the enemy's lair without
having suffered a single casualty.

Noggin:  Good work - there's no way they could have expected that.
  We need to press the attack.  Mongo - you lead one squad down into
  this tunnel.  With that hammer, you're the best pointman we could
  possibly want.
Mongo:  Right.  (he moves into the tunnel)
Noggin:  I'll be behind your squad with another one.  Everyone else
  stays here; fortify this position and defend it if necessary.  (he
  points to Gorin, who is heading after Mongo)  You're in charge of
  the squad that's staying here, soldier.
Gorin:  But I'm Mongo's shield-
Noggin:  We need your experience here.
Gorin:  (grumbling)  Okay.  (to the other dwarves who have been made
  to stay behind)  Let's get some chunks of rock up and in place.
Noggin:  (heading into the dark tunnel that Mongo went down, he turns
  back to Gorin and the others)  If it comes to retreat, follow us -
  we'll leave passage-marks, just like we do in mines.

  With that, the dwarven captain and his men were out of sight;
this left Gorin and fifteen other dwarves in the cavern.  To one
side was the gaping hole that Mongo's hammer had widened; to the
other side was the tunnel that led deeper into the heart of the

Gorin:  How d'you like that...left behind!
dwarven soldier:  And in command.  What else do you want us to do
  here, after we've built a wall to protect the cavern entrance?
Gorin:  Uh...(he frowns)  Ready your weapons.  I want four dwarves
  manning the entrance outside our little barrier, at all times.
  If ANY goblins get anywhere near us, we need to be ready.
dwarves:  Right.

  Elsewhere, below the cavern and tunnel mouth, the others marched
through the smooth, twisting tunnel.  Thanks to their racial skills
and upbringing, not to mention their size, the dwarves were able
to smoothly and safely navigate these cramped tunnels.  Any human
present would have been hunched over, unable to move or fight with
any great speed.

Mongo:  (moving along at a rapid pace, he scans the darkness with
  his infravision, hammer held ready)

  Behind the adventurer, the other dwarves followed cautiously,
Noggin near the end of the marching order.  This wasn't due to any
cowardice on his part; rather, he was the commander, and he had to
be protected at all costs.  Of course, that was the last thing on
Mongo's mind at the moment; he was only thinking about the battle
ahead, and the goblins he would smash.
  Thus it was that, when he found a large chamber ahead, he stormed
right in, taking advantage of the hustle and bustle he made as he
bellowed in rage.

goblins:  (about a dozen of them, they stand ready in a half-circle
  around the passage Mongo just came through, weapons pointed at the
Mongo:  (roars loudly)  Surrender now...or DIE!
goblins:  (charge madly)

  Even in his fired-up state, Mongo wasn't dumb enough to stand in
the way of his support troops.  He leaped forward, swinging his
hammer at the goblins directly before him; this allowed the dwarves
behind him to spill into the chamber and attack.

Mongo:  (swats a spear aside, belting its wielder with his hammer)
goblin:  (its broken form flies away)
Mongo:  (turns as a sword bounces off of his armor)  Huh?
goblin:  Eep.
Mongo:  (punches the foe, removing it from the fray)

  Behind the fierceness of Mongo, the dwarves were wreaking havoc.
Within a very short time, this room, too, was secure.

Noggin:  Well-fought, Mongo!
Mongo:  Thanks.  What now?
Noggin:  This, I think, was only one room.  We need to keep moving
  and check out all the other tunnels and chambers.  I'd figure that
  when we find the goblin women and children, we'll have successfully
  conquered this little colony.

  And so they moved on.  They found another chamber, and then another
after that.  Each time, a small band of goblins tried to defend their
home; each time, the dwarves wiped them out without much trouble.
The most stressful moment, in fact, didn't come during the battles,
but afterward, when the central den had been located.

Mongo:  (arms crossed, he eyes a cavernful of goblin females and
  little goblin tots)  Hmph.  What do we do now?
Noggin:  (eyes Mongo intently)  What do you think we should do?
Mongo:  Don't rightfully know.
Noggin:  Maybe we should kill them.
Mongo:  That would be the best'd make sure that they never
  spawn more goblin warriors, or else grow up to become goblin
  warriors.  (he frowns)  But...
Noggin:  But, if I gave _you_ the order to kill all of these weak,
  defenseless goblins, would you?
Mongo:  Damn, I never thought about it that way.
Noggin:  I figured not.  (he glares at the goblin women and children
Mongo:  So what happens to them?
Noggin:  Well, these goblins' males have killed several townspeople,
  guards, and caravan members in the last few months.  Thusly, it's
  up to the city to decide their fate.  We'll take them all prisoner
  and turn them over to Chauncebar and the city officials.
Mongo:  Hmm.  A good compromise.

  When they returned topside, prisoners tied in a string, they found
out that Gorin and his crew had fought a minor skirmish.  Three of
the dwarves, including Gorin, were wounded, but eleven goblins lay
dead.  The dwarven soldiers praised Gorin's fast orders and coolness
under attack, and Noggin was pleased.

Noggin:  You did well...both of you.
Mongo:  How could we not have?  I mean, we've fought things that
  some of these kids will never even see.  This was a cakewalk -
  it almost had to be, really.
Noggin:  That doesn't mean we can't enjoy the cake.  Anyhow, what
  I'm getting at is this:  I'm going to propose to Marcus that you
  be promoted.
Mongo:  Promoted?!?  To what?
Noggin:  I want you to be the combat commander of the dwarven
Mongo:  What's a combat commander?
Noggin:  The one who leads the troops into battle after I give
  the order to attack.
Mongo:  Oh, okay.  Sounds like exactly the job for me.

next:      Rillen & Songa
ftp: in /pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     Just a note, while I'm thinking about it:  the greatest
  underground dwarven adventure I've ever written was the Thunder-
  delve exploration saga, way back in the 260s.  I can never hope
  to top that work of mine, and I will never try; that is the best
  dwarven-dungeon-adventure I could have hoped to create, and I was
  pleased with it.
    Now, the greatest underground dwarven adventure ever written
  can be found in _Siege of Darkness_, the third book of R.A.
  Salvatore's third trilogy.  Salvatore really revolutionized the
  previously unexplored area of dwarf & drow warfare underground.

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