Chapter #562

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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                    +
+                           +
+  Bosco        12th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+  Felicia       2nd level female human thief                  (LN) +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+  Tanya        5th/11th level female human warrior/thief      (LN) +
+  Date:        4/12/577 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        morning                                             +
+  Place:       the Free City of Greyhawk                           +
+  Climate:     pleasant                                            +
+  "Why don't you just grow up?"                                    +
+  "Why should I?  This is more fun!"                               +
+                                       - from _Streets of Fire_    +

                   DLXII.  Second Time Around

  The morning had barely begun, and already Bosco knew it was going
to be a good day...

Bosco:  (darts between two tables and leaps up onto the bar, doing
  three somersaults before finally coming to rest)  Yes!!!
Tanya:  What's eating you, Bosco?  Or should I say, what have you
  eaten?  You seem even bouncier than usual today.
Bosco:  As well I should be!  In three days, the greatest card game
  in the land - no, the whole world - is happening!  And I'm gonna
  be there!
Peldor:  How can it be?
Bosco:  Well, when you're a winner like me, you get invited back to
  play again.
Tanya:  It's probably all the people you beat, conspiring to regain
  their money from you.
Bosco:  Well, then, they're about to lose at double or nothing.
Peldor:  A regular card-shark, that's you.
Bosco:  Yep, and in three days, I'll take all the bread home.  (he
  beams)  The name of Bosco shall be associated with true greatness.
  (he frowns)  No, I take that back.  It will be synonymous with
  true greatness!  I like the sound of that...!  (he prances away
Peldor:  Hmm.
Tanya:  Is it just me, or is he counting chickens that haven't even
  been laid as eggs, much less hatched?
Peldor:  It's in his nature...much as it is in mine.  Well, was in
Tanya:  There's nothing wrong with that, but sometimes he takes it
Peldor:  As did I, in days gone by.  (he frowns)  Sometimes, I yearn
  for the old days.
Tanya:  (frowns herself)  You're not happy now?
Peldor:  (hugs her)  Oh, I'm happy now - more than happy.  It's just
  that sometimes, I feel like there's something I was supposed to do,
  but didn't.  (he looks at her)  Have you ever gotten that feeling?
Tanya:  Can't say that I have.
Peldor:  Hmm.  Well, I have - but whatever it is that's bugging me,
  either it'll come to me, or I'll forget.  No big deal, really.
Tanya:  Where's Bosco's card game?
Peldor:  Uh...(he thinks for a moment)  I heard that they were going
  to host it aboard a big ferryboat, originally-
Tanya:  "They?"
Peldor:  You know, them.  The ones behind all of this sort of stuff.
Tanya:  Ah.
Peldor:  But anyway, there wasn't a boat big enough that they could
  get fast enough.  So now, the card tournament's going to be held in
  the manor of a rich noble, Lord Kilroy.
Tanya:  Kilroy, the reclusive old geezer who lives an hour's ride
  outside of Greyhawk?
Peldor:  That's the one.
Tanya:  Why him?  Why there?
Peldor:  The Free City's tax laws - even the ones on gambling - don't
  apply once you get a certain distance from the city's walls.  By
  hosting the tournament, Kilroy not only avoids the government's
  regulations, he gets to keep the profits all for himself.
Tanya:  Doesn't the city know about this, and can't it do anything?
Peldor:  It could, but it's not worth their trouble.  Kilroy's given
  quite a sum to certain city officials, in the form of contributions
  and charities.
Tanya:  Whoa, now I'm really confused.  How come we don't have to
  deal with this gambling law here, in the Green Dragon's casino?
Peldor:  Ah, but we do.  We just pay a tax on our profits.  If you
  get down to it, making some profit is better than making none.
  (he frowns)  That's not why I really wanted a casino, though.
  It's for the entertainment of our guests more than anything else.
  Of course, Lord Kilroy has different reasons, probably.
Tanya:  Yes...why _does_ he want to host this tournament?
Peldor:  Prestige.
Tanya:  Well, I can understand that.
Peldor:  I'll say this for him - his plan's working.  From what I
  hear - and this doesn't even count Bosco's babbling - Kilroy's
  attracted some of the best card-players who ever lived.
Tanya:  Is there an entry fee?  Could we play, or watch?
Peldor:  We can't play...the contestants have already been chosen.
  Hell, at a thousand gold crowns a player, we might not want to play.
Tanya:  You're not getting cheap on me, are you?
Peldor:  Nope.  We have more than enough money to spare.  But there
  are so many better uses for a thousand crowns.  Besides, we can just
  watch for free.
Tanya:  Let's do it, then.  It sounds like fun, and we could use a
  day off.
Peldor:  Two days.  The finals happen the day after the initial rounds
  of play.
Tanya:  Still no problem.  We've got more than enough staff to cover
  for us, and besides, we deserve a vacation.
Bosco:  (prances back into the room, a card-deck clutched in his hands)
  Did someone say vacation?
Peldor:  We're coming to the card tournament with you.  We figured you
  could use a cheering section.
Bosco:  (musing to himself)  Bosco and the greatest card-
  game...under one roof...think of the possibilities.
Peldor:  We're just coming to watch.  (he grins)  And maybe place a bet
  or two on the side.
Bosco:  Now you're talking.
Tanya:  Oh, dear.  Now there's two of them.
Bosco:  Not so - there's only one-
Peldor:  Peldor!
Tanya:  (shaking her head)
Peldor:  When do we leave?
Bosco:  I was going to head out the day after tomorrow.  Kilroy's
  hosting a big feast the night before the games begin, and I could
  use a good feast.
Tanya:  Don't you feast at every meal?
Bosco:  Well, yeah, but this'll be different.
Peldor:  We can all feast.
Felicia:  (enters the bar area)  Feast?  When?
Bosco:  It's more than a feast - it's a card tournament of epic
Peldor:  Maybe even greater-than-epic proportions.
Tanya:  (sighs)
Felicia:  A card tournament?  Really?  Can I go?
Tanya:  Well-
Peldor:  Sure!
Tanya:  Uh...
Peldor:  Oh, come on.  It'll be good for her.
Bosco:  Yeah.
Tanya:  How is that possible?
Bosco:  Card playing sharpens the old noodle.  (taps his head)  I'm
  all the proof you need!
Tanya:  (smirks)  Are you sure?
Peldor:  Absolutely.  (he frowns)  Of course, someone will have to
  teach her the basics of Dragon-Deck - so she can understand what's
  going on, mind you.
Felicia:  (smiling)  No problem - Bosco's been teaching me Dragon-
  Deck for weeks now.
Tanya:  Oh, he has, has he?
Bosco:  (grins slyly)  Well, it seemed only natural...she wanted to
Tanya:  Great.  Everyone's a gambler but me.
Peldor:  Nonsense.  You know the game as well as any of us.  Besides,
  Felicia needs a well-rounded education.  (he gives Bosco an unseen
Felicia:  When are we leaving?
Tanya:  Two days - but make sure your chores are all done.
Felicia:  Most of them already are.  I've made the staff schedules for
  next month, and all the non-perishable food has been ordered.  Our
  wine cellar is completely inventoried and I just finished balancing
  the ledgers for the week.
Tanya:  Oh.
Peldor:  (grins at Bosco)
Bosco:  (shuffling his deck of cards)  Anyone up for a friendly practice

next:      to the manor of Kilroy they go
ftp: in /pub/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
email:       (preferred)
notes:     For those who are keeping track, Tanya's alignment is now
  lawful neutral.  Not that I use every official rule and stat in
  the books.
    I won't drag this storyline out - the next episode will show them
  traveling, and then the next will feature the pre-tournament feast,
  and the one after that will feature the great tournament itself, in
  its entirety.  And after that, I plan to deliver one hell of a
  surprise twist - one which will shock and thrill you.

    I was at the 9/14/98 Braves game where they beat Philadelphia
to clinch the division championship.  It was kind of an accident
(the tickets practically fell into my hands) but I'm sure not

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