Chapter #603

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                                   +   +
                                 +       +
                               +           +
                             +               +
                           +                   +
                         +                       +
                       +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                         +                       +
                           +      Epic IV      +
                             +               +
                               +           +
                                 +       +
                                   +   +

+     Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells, and other     +
+   terms used in these stories are the property of TSR, Inc.  However,   +
+   TSR has in no way endorsed or authorized their use, and any such      +
+   items contained within these stories are not representative of TSR    +
+   in any fashion.                                                       +
+     The player characters depicted in these stories are copyright       +
+   1991-2000 by Thomas A. Miller.  Any resemblance to any persons        +
+   or characters either real or fictional is utterly coincidental.       +
+   Copying and/or distribution of these stories is permissible under     +
+   the sole condition that no money is made in the process.  In that     +
+   case, I hope you enjoy them!                                          +
+                                                                         +
+                                                      Thomas A. Miller   +
+   Belphanior      14th/14th/14th level elven fighter/wizard/thief       +
+   Otto             8th/11th level dwarven fighter/thief                 +
+   Date:           1/2/579 C.Y. (Common Year)                            +
+   Time:           evening                                               +
+   Place:          the remote mountain town of Helgate                   +
+   Climate:        cold                                                  +
+   "My mama always told me, never put off till tomorrow people you       +
+    can kill today."                                                     +
+                                     - Doc Holliday, from _Wyatt Earp_   +

                    DCIII.  ...Best Served Cold

  After some discussion and realization, Belphanior and Otto have begun
the process of sorting through loose ends...

Belphanior:  Okay, first we have to rule out things we can't do a damned
  thing about right now.
Otto:  Our buddy from Hades, you-know-who.
Belphanior:  Right.  We'll tackle the smaller fish first, and get back to
  demon lords some other time.
Otto:  You do realize that the 'smaller fish' are still sharks?
Belphanior:  (nods)  Baron Albert.  Vampire and wizard, numerous servants,
  some of them undead.  True power unknown.
Otto:  We'd need the whole gang for that.
Belphanior:  True.  And maybe Angus too...though I'd figure we have the
  advantage against Albert since we haven't heard from him in a while.
Otto:  What else have we got here...okay, who hired Omak?
Belphanior:  This one I think I know.  Long ago - again, before your
  time - we had a run-in with some slavers.  (he clenches his fist)
  Slavers.  I hate slavers.
Otto:  What happened?
Belphanior:  Well...we basically cut a swath through the Holds of the Sea
  Princes, destroying a large portion of slaving operations and killing
  some wizards they sent after us.
Otto:  (nods, whistling)  I can see why someone there would be upset with
Belphanior:  It was a good couple of days.
Otto:  So who'd you leave behind alive?
Belphanior:  Not many of importance, but there were two head slavers who
  might have had the resources and inclination to dispatch Omak after us.
  Their names were Nobb and Ranulf, and both of them were pretty high up
  in the slave trade within Westkeep.
Otto:  Political assassination tends to leave new enemies behind.  If we
  go after them, we should leave no tracks.  Or frame someone else.  What
  about this adamantine golem you mentioned?
Belphanior:  A good idea, but it wasn't an enemy like Albert and the
  slaver scum.  We'll save it for round two.
Otto:  What exactly is the thing, anyway?
Belphanior:  Imagine a metal warrior twice the size and strength of Angus,
  but indestructible on top of that.  I mean immune to magic, everything.
Otto:  Whoa.
Belphanior:  One of the few times we had to retreat...anyhow, I've learned
  some spells of binding that I want to try on that golem.
Otto:  Spells?  I thought you said magic didn't work?
Belphanior:  These are unique spells.  I've been sitting on several tomes
  for years.  One came from Kronos, others from various foes we've slain
  over the years.
Otto:  Good old Kronos.
Belphanior:  Actually, most of his spells had to do with undead and their
  control.  That's where I got the idea to try and cur-  err, alter her
Otto:  Ah.
Belphanior:  Some of the lich's notes hinted at the existence of a spell
  or item that could effect such a change.
Otto:  Might be worth looking for.
Belphanior:  That's what a good amount of my research has concerned.
Otto:  (refills both glasses, which have somehow become empty)  And there
  I thought you were researching new and better ways to level towns.
Belphanior:  (shrugs)  That too.
Otto:  Okay, next topic:  how about Cynder?
Belphanior:  If he's dead, he's not a problem. If he isn't, he's stuck
  in the Abyss.  Lump him in with the demon lord.  We can't really think
  about travelling to the Abyss right now.
Otto:  I figured as much.  It's not like I want to go back there.
Belphanior:  Me either.
Otto:  (suddenly frowns)
Belphanior:  What?
Otto:  I was just remembering stories I heard as a kid.  It was a ghost
  story night, and someone was talking about an undead dragon. It scared
  the willies out of everybody, and won the contest.
Belphanior:  The things some people will make up...
Otto:  (his eyes light up)  Hey, what about this...remember all those
  vampires?  The ones who kidnapped Victoria?
Belphanior:  (nods)  They need to die.
Otto:  It should be pretty easy - just find out where they are and then
  flatten the building, bathing them in sunlight.
Belphanior:  Unless they're deep underground.  Maybe we should get Rob to
  come along for that one.
Otto:  Hmm, good point.
Belphanior:  There are a couple of hostile liches out there, too - aside
  from Xusia.  Kronos may or may not be dead, but there's another one,
  one that I summoned with this weird trumpet long ago.
Otto:  Trumpet?
Belphanior:  Ah, those were good days...
Otto:  I vote for Xusia.  Let's find out where he's holed up, go there,
  and make life unpleasant for him.
Belphanior:  But where is he?
Otto:  Maybe we need to go find a sage...or an oracle of Istus.  We're
  gonna need some serious help to get the answers we need here.
Belphanior:  True.  This is starting to have the makings of a major trip.
Otto:  I'd expect nothing else.
Belphanior:  And who knows what other stops we'll think of along the way?
Otto:  Are we taking any of the marshals?
Belphanior:  Not for the information-gathering phase.  Definitely for what
  comes afterward.
Otto:  Gotcha.  But it reminds me that we need more grunts in town...
  maybe we can find them the same place we find a sage.
Belphanior:  (holds up the parchment he's been scribbling on)  Hmm...

    /  \                                                        \
   /    \                                                        \
   \    /                                                        /
    \__/                                                        /
      /                                                        /
     /    MY KILL LIST:                         1/2/579       /
    |                                                        |
    |     asap:  Baron Albert                                |
    |            Omak's senders (Nobb & Ranulf?)             |
    |            Qurac and other vampires (NOTE - get        |
    |              Rob's help!)                              |
    |     later: Xusia                                       |
    |            Orcus                                       |
    |                                                        |
    |     other things to look into (sage?) :                |
    |       1)  adamantine golem                             |
    |       2)  fate of Cynder                               |
    |       3)  nearest temple of Orcus (so I can go         |
    |           burn it to the ground)                       |
    |                                                        |
    |     miscellaneous:                                     |
    |       1)  go chat with the deep gnomes beneath         |
    |           City of Greyhawk                             |
    |       2)  see if anyone in Greyhawk knows about        |
    |           these damn weird spells in Kronos' book      |
    |       3)  figure out most efficient anti-scrying       |
    |           method for self, and implement               |
    |       4)  visit Otiluke while in Greyhawk              |
    |                                                        |
    |                                                        |
    |                                                        |
     \                                                        \
      \                                                        \

Otto:  Outstanding!
Belphanior:  Tomorrow, we leave for Greyhawk...and we're not coming back
  until we've made a start at every one of these things.

next:      these guys get put on hold, as we check in on Mongo
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
notes:     I won't skip around too much on these plotlines, but I do want
  to revisit every major character before getting underway on any of their
  current quests/situations, which so far are as follows:

    Nenya/Deryck        Temple of Elemental Evil or Suel museum troubles
    Belphanior and co.  finding and slaying someone or something

    I have many choices for every one of the Adventurers, and I'll put it
  all together as I go.  I've already decided on the near future for the
  following:  Mongo, Peyote, Halbarad.  All will be revealed soon!  I'll
  say now that you may be surprised by some of the changes that have
  happened during (or will be revealed from) these "lost" two years.

    Update on survey so far:  I sent it with episode 602, exactly four
  days ago.  Total "yes" responses so far:  333.  Total number of people
  subscribed to the Adventurers list:  509.

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