Chapter #60

previous chapter (#59)                                                                  next chapter (#61)






*****
*  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 utterly 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 (temporarily split up; this is the "sea" group):

Belphanior, 6th/6th/7th level high elf fighter/mage/thief (CN)
Ged, 7th/7th level grey elf priest/mage of Boccob (NG)
Mongo Thunderhead, 8th level dwarf fighter (CG)
Rillen, 8th level human fighter (N)
------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   1/7/571 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   evening
Place:  a lost city buried beneath part of the Suss Forest
------------------------------------------------------------------



                         LX.  Greyhawk



  The party is in a huge room, facing an ancient stone juggernaut
which just ran over Mongo...

Rillen:  That thing is on a roll!
Juggernaut:  (changes course, headed for Rillen, now the nearest
  intruder in the area)
Rillen:  Yie!  (turns and dashes for a wall)
Juggernaut:  (pursues, picking up speed once again)

Belphanior:  (pointing his wand at the construct, which is about
  a hundred feet distant)  I'll blast it!
Ged:  No!  You might hit Rillen!  (begins spellcasting)
Belphanior:  Damn.
Rillen:  (backed against a wall by the thing)  Uh-oh.
Juggernaut:  (bears down on the warrior)

  There was a tremendous CRACK! as the juggernaut slammed into the
wall of the room.  Against all odds, Rillen leaped out of harm's
way, running "up" the wall and then executing a reverse flip to
land on top of his attacker as it hit the wall.  About five feet
of wall was now crushed into powder, and the juggernaut backed up
slowly, ripping stones loose as it pulled free, Rillen dancing atop
it like some insane puppet.

Rillen:  (whacking the thing with his staff, chips away small bits
  of stone)  Take that!  And that!
Juggernaut:  (lurches forward and backward, trying to dislodge the
  annoying human)
Rillen:  You will not be rid of me that easily.  (hits it again)
Ged:  This should help.  (fires four magic missiles across the
  vast room)
Juggernaut:  (ignores the missiles, as they plow small furrows in
  its armored shell)
Ged:  Hmph.  Well, that was my last mage spell.  I hope you have
  better luck.
Belphanior:  (sticks his wand through his belt and walks slowly
  toward the battle, preparing a spell)  Me too.
Ged:  (wondering if he can reach Mongo's location to view the
  remains)  Hmm.

Rillen:  (hits the juggernaut again)  Think of this as a pat on
  the back.
Juggernaut:  (heads for the nearby wall)
Rillen:  Eh?  (looks up)  Aaa!
Juggernaut:  (slams into the wall, hard)
Rillen:  (hits the wall and bounces off to one side)
Juggernaut:  (tears out of the wall, leaving another sizable hole)
Belphanior:  (running now)  You!
Juggernaut:  (ignoring the onrushing elf)
Belphanior:  Don't ignore _me_, you fucker!  (casts a Grease spell
  on the ground in front of the thing, which is moving toward the
  prone Rillen now, gaining momentum)
Juggernaut:  (hits the slippery area and skids sideways)
Rillen:  Ugh.  (sits up)  Aaa!
Ged:  (heads toward the last known location of Mongo, griping
  something about not having enough spells)

Juggernaut:  (still sliding a bit, now facing a random direction)
Rillen:  Slick.
Belphanior:  (wand in hand again)  Hah!  Watch this.  Hey, you!
  (points the wand at the juggernaut and fires a lightning bolt
  right at it)
Juggernaut:  <CRACK>  (hit by the energy, slides away into a distant
  wall)
Rillen:  (standing up)  What do we do now?
Belphanior:  (looking around)  Run!  Run for the archway!  (they do)
Ged:  (finds Mongo, who has been trampled right down into the soft,
  muddy clay floor of this chamber)  Holy Boccob!  (grabs the dwarf
  and tries to carry him away)  Oof.
Rillen:  (arriving)  Let me help you with him.  (they manage to
  drag Mongo's body away slowly)
Belphanior:  (looking back at the juggernaut)  Shit.
Juggernaut:  (moving toward the party again)

Belphanior:  (fires another bolt at the thing)  Stop, damn you!
Juggernaut:  <CRACK>  (hit, veers a slight bit, but regains its
  control momentarily)
Ged:  (he and Rillen have reached the archway, and pull Mongo in
  after them)  Come on, run!
Belphanior:  (high-tailing it into the archway just fifty feet
  ahead of the huge stone juggernaut)  Move back!  It may try to
  break through the arch!

  Sure enough, it did, ramming the arch four times and knocking
it to bits.  The opening was still only ten feet wide, though,
and the thing finally gave up, and parked itself right outside
the arch's rubble.

Belphanior:  Whew!
Rillen:  (watching the juggernaut)  I do not think he is going
  to go away anytime soon.
Ged:  Who cares?  We're safe, for now.  (examines Mongo)
Ged:  What's back here, in this passage, anyway?
Belphanior:  Looks like some kind of side tunnel.  I see an open
  area up ahead.
Ged:  (casts several curative spells on Mongo)  I think he'll
  live!
Rillen:  (looks amazed)  How?!?
Ged:  Well, that muddy floor just gave way when he got rolled
  over.  He sunk right in...he's unconscious, but that ring of
  his kept him alive.  And my spells, of course.  My priestly
  spells, that is.
Belphanior:  That's good.  (they prop the dwarf against one side
  of the passage)  Let's check this open area ahead.

  The short passage led about thirty feet, winding to the right,
and ended in a small cavelike room.  They quickly relocated to
this place, and brought Mongo too, in case the juggernaut tried
to ram through again.  One could never be too sure, after all.
The room contained a chest and a number of items piled loosely
around it.  There was a foot-thick nugget of solid gold, most
prominent among the chamber's contents.  Piles of platinum
coins surrounded the chest; buried within them were a cloak,
an old bronze horn, and a folded piece of black cloth.  A long
wooden staff was jutting up from the coins, too.  Belphanior
found two needle traps on the chest, but disarmed both within
moments.  Inside were a few items:  a slender adamantine wand,
a scroll tube, a small diamond cube, a silver helm, and a dull
grey torus of some strange metal, mithril perhaps.  A silken
sack contained yet more:  a pair of fine, but ancient bracers;
an expensive-looking purse; and a set of two small figurines.
  The party rejoiced with glee at the finding of these great
treasures.  Then they realized that the juggernaut was still
out there, waiting...
  They decided to rest here, since it seemed safe and peaceful
as well as the only option at this time.  Ged regained his mage
spells, and Mongo returned to consciousness, though weak from
his brush with death.  Rillen was playing with the folded cloth
when he found that it was actually the opening to some kind of
large extradimensional hole.  The warrior didn't understand
what he had found until Belphanior started tossing coins down
into the hole, where they hit bottom perhaps ten feet below.
Better yet, the thing could be folded up and then carried away
to another location, to then be unfolded and opened again, if
desired.  A portable hole!  Quickly, all items were stashed
inside the hole, and Mongo folded it up and put it in his
pouch for safekeeping.
  After re-memorizing their spells, Ged and Belphanior spent
many hours formulating plans to beat the juggernaut and/or
escape.  None seemed feasible, until Ged pointed out that
he could use his Dig spell to bore a tunnel up through the
treasure room's roof and into the forest above.  With the
help of several ropes, Rillen's steel-hard quarterstaff, and
Ged's light shield (to keep dirt out of his face), the party
managed to drill and excavate a vertical shaft leading out
of the room they were trapped in.  Some distance up, they
broke through into the main dungeon, and Ged quickly secured
the ropes for the others to use.  The huge golden nugget was
no problem, thanks to the portable hole.  The group searched
the complex another time for secret doors or unfound exits,
but every viable exit seemed to have collapsed long ago.

Belphanior:  Let's leave.  We need to get to civilized lands
  and have this loot appraised.
Ged:  Perhaps.  Or perhaps I could appraise it myself, if we
  weren't in the middle of the wilderness.  Remember, that
  "Identify" spell drains all my strength away.
Mongo:  Let's just get the hell out of here.  I'll come back
  some other time and beat that thing.  Sometime when I'm
  feeling better, that is.
Rillen:  I agree.  Enough dead opponents and stone rollers
  for one place.  We should move on.
Ged:  (looking around)  Ahh.  Someday, I shall return to
  this place, and find its other lost treasures.
Mongo:  I think we got enough stuff from here, as it is.
  (thinking about that big gold nugget)  Ahh...

  And so, they departed the section of lost Sueloise city,
for now anyway.  Emerging into the Suss Forest, they covered
the stairway down with some brush and dead tree limbs.  Due
to their time in the buried dungeon, they had forgotten that
it was winter.  The chilling winds and frozen forest quickly
served to remind them, though, and Rillen had to put on more
robes to avoid frostbite.


------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   1/8/571 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   afternoon
Place:  somewhere in the Suss Forest
------------------------------------------------------------------


  The party found that their horses were all gone, much to their
dismay.  Rillen was especially upset at the loss of his magnificent
black horse.  They traveled northward on foot, much too weary for
this kind of crap.  A few encounters happened along the way, the
most noteworthy being a band of eight ogres, who didn't last long.
These humanoids had a few finely-crafted weapons, which were taken
in case of magical properties.  Four giant spiders also menaced
the adventurers before they emerged from the Suss, but these, too,
were beaten.
  Three days after escaping the lost ruins, they found that the
forest thinned out.  Walking next through plains, they were
challenged by a band of gnolls, who were driven away after half
their number were slain.  The next day, they entered the city of
Elredd, and stayed there for a day before moving northward, in
the direction of Greyhawk.  Yet another day later, they were able
to purchase a large warship, from some merchant and woodsman who
called himself "Lotus of Fax" and carried a bow that was strung at
all times, with an arrow always at the ready.  Rillen wondered
aloud about the sanity of this man, but his ship was of stout make,
so they took it.  Since no slaves were available, a crew of twenty
men was hired to man the oars.  The party ventured out into the
cold waters of the Woolly Bay, and five uneventful days later they
entered the mouth of the Selintan River, which led eventually to
their destination.
  To make a long story short, this area of the Selintan was
populated by numerous traders and river people.  Many sought to
bargain with the adventurers, and the party gained some rare
foods in return for a small portion of their loot.  They ate
like kings as they sailed northward along the bustling, busy
river.  Seven days later, a huge, sprawling city could be seen
ahead - the Free City of Greyhawk!

Rillen:  (astonished)  Wow.
Belphanior:  This is gonna be a _lot_ of fun...
Mongo:  Hey, let's tie the ship up at the docks and get into
  that city!  (jumping up and down on deck with his impatience)
Ged:  No, no, no.  They have to pull us into dock.  This ship is
  too big to maneuver with oars.  (orders the men to pull in the
  oars)  The tugs will take care of docking us.
Mongo:  Oh.  Well, bah.

  Soon, the ship was docked, and Ged paid the docking fees to
keep it tied in one of the many docks.  The group made their
way into the city, registering as visitors at the gate they
entered by.  Greyhawk seemed much more carefully run than the
other cities they had been to, that was for sure.  After a
few minutes of fruitless wandering, they found a fine-looking
inn and prepared to settle down for a while.  Much to their
surprise, though, the proprietor refused to take their coins,
informing them that they had to change them in for official
city currency at the moneychanger's shop.  Irritated, tired,
and downright grumpy, Mongo dashed away to this place while
the others waited (it was close to the inn they had chosen).
Soon, the dwarf returned, and tossed a sizable pouch of gold
at the innkeeper.  The party secured a four-bedroom suite
on the fourth floor, for a period of two weeks.  They went
to their rooms and retired early, planning to begin item
division and identification on the morrow, followed by any
training necessary.


------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   1/26/571 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   late morning
Place:  the free city of Greyhawk
------------------------------------------------------------------


  They woke up late the next morning, and spread their loot out
on a table for examination.  By far the most valuable of the
monetary treasures was the huge, foot-thick gold nugget.  Mongo
continually drooled over this prize, but the adventurers decided
to keep it in the portable hole as a "party treasure" for the
time being.  The coinage and gems were split evenly.  The scrolls
written in ancient Sueloise were kept by Ged for later deciphering
and perusal.  As for the large pile of (possibly) magical items...
Belphanior cast a Detect Magic spell on the lot, and the following
things were determined to be magical.  Straws decided the choosing
order, and the items were divided as follows:

(ITEM-CHOOSING ORDER : Mongo, Ged, Rillen, Belphanior; then repeat
  until done...)

small wooden cube         - Mongo              3rd
box of sling stones       - Rillen                   5th
iron wand                 - Ged                3rd
potion                    - Mongo                    5th
potion                    - Belphanior               5th |
potion                    - Belphanior               5th |
11 crossbow bolts         - Mongo                 4th
silver ring from pool     - Rillen       1st
cloak                     - Rillen                4th
staff                     - Belphanior   1st
portable hole             - Mongo        1st
bronze horn               - Rillen             3rd
adamantite wand           - Ged          1st
mage scroll               - Ged             2nd
diamond cube              - Belphanior      2nd
silver helm               - Mongo           2nd
torus                     - Ged                       5th
two-handed sword          - Belphanior         3rd
bracers                   - Rillen          2nd
purse                     - Belphanior             4th
golden lion figurines     - Ged                    4th



  Ged's identify spell could only help with up to seven of
the items, and besides it weakened him for a whole day, so
he decided not to use it.  Each of the four adventurers was
left to identify items and train on his own.  Summaries of
their activities follow:



BELPHANIOR really cashed in on this adventure, training for
all three classes.  He scoped out the Thieves' Guild while
exploring the city, but decided not to register himself
with them, for the time being at least.  He paid good money
(and Greyhawk coinage at that!) to learn that his diamond
cube could generate various protective fields.  The purse
had a few coins inside, and always seemed to have a few
more when opened again.  His potions were of deadly poison
and speed, both useful in some way to the elf.  Best of all,
his new staff was every mage's dream - a portable arsenal
of spells and magical effects!  Belphanior strove to learn
its various powers for future reference.

"A staff of power!  Oh boy!  Oh boy!  Oh boy!  People had
 better not fuck with me _now_ !!"



GED paid the fees to join the Mages' and Priests' Guilds,
and spent quite a bit of time at each.  He also took an
entire week to read his mystical Book of Exalted Deeds,
gaining much wisdom and experience in the process.  He also
copied his new scroll's seven spells into his spellbook,
relishing every moment of the transcription.  The temple
of Boccob told him that his torus was a talisman of great
power, to be used only in dire straits.  Ged also learned
the use of his figurines, which could summon two huge lions
to obey simple commands.  He quickly became enamored of his
new pets, finding that he loved cats of all types.  Both of
his wands were powerful, but required further study.  The
runes on the adamantite one seemed to provide a clue to its
functions.

"Nice kitties..."



MONGO spent a short time practicing with his hammer, against
moving stone targets, perhaps for the next juggernaut he
encountered.  The dwarf needed no formal training, though,
and was able to devote his time to his new magical items.
His crossbow bolts were simple, magical missiles, and his
potion was one of resistance to fire.  His cube was utterly
unfathomable (no one had ever seen anything like it), but
as long as Mongo kept it on his person, he felt good, so
the cube made its way into a pocket.  The portable hole was
quickly loaded with much treasure and equipment, but was
still nowhere near full.  Certainly it would come in handy
from now on; Mongo was used to carrying most of the heavy
loot, and the hole would change everything.  His helm was
a banded, silver-coated thing, with a few strange runes carved
on it, but it was fairly well-built and sturdy, and he decided
to wear it for a while and see if anything happened.

"Ah, my days of being the party crap-lugger are OVER!"



RILLEN had no need to train.  He spent a lot of his time in
the city, looking for fighting contests and tournaments.
He spoke with a sage about his items, and learned that the
silver ring could summon a powerful being from another world,
if rubbed deliberately.  His horn had a similar function, for
it could bring forth several skilled warriors to aid its
blower.  His new bracers were magically enchanted to help
ward against attacks.  His cloak would allow him to climb
walls like a spider.  The four sling stones were said to have
spell-like effects of great power, if they hit a target.

"Like a spider?  I guess this means I should stick around for
 a while."



  The party took their time posting notices for the land-
based group to find.  After all, who knew how long it would
take those four to arrive in Greyhawk?

------------------------------------------------------------------
THE PARTY (temporarily split up; this is the "sea" group):

Belphanior, 7th/7th/8th level high elf fighter/mage/thief (CN)
Ged, 9th/8th level grey elf priest/mage of Boccob (NG)
Mongo Thunderhead, 8th level dwarf fighter (CG)
Rillen, 8th level human fighter (N)
------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   3/12/571 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   mid-afternoon
Place:  the Free City of Greyhawk
------------------------------------------------------------------






next time:  The land group begins their odyssey

FTP SITE: tybalt.caltech.edu (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
********************************************************************
NOTES:  The juggernaut was of my own invention, based on something
I saw in an Expert set module, X2 I think.  Basically, mine was
about ac -5, hd 18, hp 144, thaco 3, dam 10-100, immune to fire,
cold...one tough customer, any way you look at it.  A folly of the
AD&D system allows a character who just got steamrolled to live,
if he has the hit points; this was Mongo's case (he went to -7 or
so but his ring got him back to 0 hp pretty quick, also Ged helped
his good friend back to health with spells).
  You may be wondering this:  why put a juggernaut in place if
it's so easy to just run by the thing?  Well, here's the way I
see it.  First, it was put there when a number of guards and
such were present, and the juggernaut wasn't by any means the
first line of defense for the treasure room.  Over the millennia,
only a few things survived - a smattering of undead, the ooze,
the iron golem, the juggernaut.  Everything else had long since
rotted away, including the numerous city defenders who would have
backed up the juggernaut in happier times.  Second, the thing was
old and half-broken down, thus it was slower and less maneuverable
than it was in its prime.  Had it been up to its original full
power, the six side rams would have worked too, and it would have
caught Belphanior before he reached safety.

About Greyhawk:

  I meant to have the specific tavern names in Greyhawk, along
with all NPCs dealt with.  BUT...my Greyhawk City boxed set is
in that infamous other city, and I don't plan to go back there
for two weeks.  So, in the interest of continuing frequent
postings, everything has been left generic.  For now.
  One final swipe:  Yes, the sea group _did_ beat the land-based
bunch.  By 17 days or so, I think.  Ged got the last laugh over
Halbarad.
********************************************************************




previous chapter (#59)                                                                  next chapter (#61)