Chapter #68

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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 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 "land" group):

Alindyar, 9th level drow elf mage (N)
  Lyra, 5th level female drow elf mage (LE/N)
Halbarad, 8th level human ranger (NG)
Peldor, 10th level human thief (N)
  Bosco, 5th level halfling thief (CN)
Peyote, 7th/8th level half-elf fighter/druid of Obad-Hai (N)
------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   1/2/571 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   late afternoon
Place:  the southern Suss Forest, alongside the Jewel River
------------------------------------------------------------------



                    LXVIII.  The Deck



  The party has just been blasted by a large, invisible green
dragon!  Of course, the dragon isn't invisible any more, but
the adventurers have more important things to worry about than
whether the monster is invisible or not...

various animals:  (summoned by Peyote earlier, they have all
  fled in terror by now)
Lyra:  (with a running start thanks to Alindyar, she avoids
  the worst of the noxious green poison breath)  Ack!  (falls
  to one side)
Alindyar:  (atop the carpet, hit by the worst part of the
  breath, saves but perishes anyway, at -8 hp)
Halbarad:  (saves, avoids serious damage as he rolls to one
  side)  <cough>  Whoa!  (guzzles a potion of speed)
Peldor:  (perhaps due to his luckstone, saves, manages to
  avoid critical damage)  <cough>  (sheathes his sword and
  becomes invisible)
Bosco:  (slain instantly by the breath, -33 hp)
Peyote:  (saves, but is barely conscious)  <COUGH>  (grabs
  a javelin of lightning)
Green Dragon:  HAH!  YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD SNEAK UP ON _ME_,
  DIDN'T YOU?  YOU WERE WRONG!  (moves to melee the nearest
  of the party)

Halbarad:  You shall pay for those deaths, monster!  (charges
  the dragon speedily, and hacks it with his axe)  Take that!
  (stabs it with his dagger)  And that!
Green Dragon:  ARGH!  THOSE TOOTHPICKS HURT!  (swats the ranger
  with a paw, knocking him aside)
Peyote:  How 'bout _this_ toothpick, then?  (hurls a javelin
  of lightning at the dragon, hitting it in the belly; the
  enchanted weapon explodes in a blast of electricity)  Yo!
Green Dragon:  ARGH!  YOU WILL DIE FOR THAT, FOOL!  (grabs the
  half-elf and crushes him in its mighty paw)  DIE!  DIE!
Peyote:  (smashed to a pulp)
Green Dragon:  DIE!  DIE!  (tosses the limp body aside)  BAH.
Halbarad:  (stands up)  Where is the foul fiend?  Ah, there,
  of course!
Lyra:  (dragging Alindyar's prone body away from the main
  battle)
Halbarad:  (leaps up once more, and charges the dragon again)
  I am not finished with you yet!  (chops it again, hitting
  with his axe, though his dagger glances off of its armored
  scales this time)  Hah!  The gods are kind!
Green Dragon:  FOOL!  (bats the ranger again, knocking him
  about fifty feet away)
Halbarad:  (drops his axe and dagger along the way, as he
  sails into a wall)  Oof!
Green Dragon:  HA HA!
Peldor:  (striding and springing with his boots, he tries to
  backstab the dragon)
Green Dragon:  WHAT?!?  (turns around and looks at the thief)
Peldor:  Erk.  (slashes the dragon across the head, since he
  can't backstab; a minor wound is scored)
Green Dragon:  ARGH!  YOU LITTLE BUGS HAVE A LOT OF STINGERS!
  (tries to bite Peldor but misses as the thief leaps aside)
Lyra:  (pours Alindyar's last potion of extra-healing down
  his throat, stabilizing him)  There.

Halbarad:  (looking around himself)  Damn.  Where are my axe
  and dagger?  (realizes that he can fire arrows from here
  much more safely than a melee approach)  Aha!  (grabs the
  bow and some arrows)
Peldor:  (slashes the dragon, but his blade bounces off of it)
Green Dragon:  (claws Peldor, knocking him unconscious)  HAH!
Peldor:  (slumps to the ground)
Green Dragon:  AH, BUT I SHALL EAT WELL TONIGHT!
Halbarad:  (fires two arrows at the dragon; both bounce off
  its hide)  Damn.
Green Dragon:  BAH.  MY SPELLS DEFLECT ALL YOUR PUNY WEAPONS.
  ONLY A MAGICAL ARROW COULD HURT ME NOW!  (showing his green
  hide with great pride)
Halbarad:  Magical arrows?  (thinking)  Magical?  (realizes
  that he is carrying an arrow of dragon slaying)  Gods!
  (frantically begins tossing items out of his pack)  Where
  is it?  Where _is_ it?!?!?
Green Dragon:  THIS IS NO TIME TO LOOK FOR MAGICAL WEAPONS,
  FOOL!  (uses an innate spell, Magic Missile, and blasts
  the ranger with five bolts)  HA HA!
Halbarad:  (pummeled mercilessly by the spell)  Argh!  Ugh!
  Ouch!  Aha!  (holds up a glowing red arrow)  Now we shall
  see!
Green Dragon:  (prepares to breathe on Halbarad)  NONE OF
  YOUR PUNY WEAPONS CAN KILL _ME_!  (sucks in breath)
Lyra:  No!  (casts a Web on the dragon's head)
Green Dragon:  EH?  (rips the web into bits with a shrug,
  looks at Lyra)  BAH.  YOU I SHALL SAVE FOR DESSERT...
  (turns to face Halbarad)  EH?
Halbarad:  (facing the dragon with a nocked, glowing arrow
  ready)  Here goes nothing.  Elhonna guide my aim.  (fires
  the arrow)
Green Dragon:  (watches the arrow as it flies toward him)
  WHAT?!?  (the missile pierces its left eye with a meaty
  sound)  AAAAAAAAARGH!  (leaps about in great pain, causing
  the ground to tremble terribly)  AAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!
Halbarad:  (watching in fascination)
Green Dragon:  (keels over, dead)
Halbarad:  By the gods!  It worked!  (limps over to Lyra)
Lyra:  So it did!  (happy)
Halbarad:  Were it not for your timely distraction, though,
  and my consumed potion, the beast would surely have breathed
  gaseous death upon me...
Lyra:  (looking around)  We must help these others!
Halbarad:  Aye.

  They tended to the other adventurers as best they could.
Alindyar, Peyote, even Peldor were recoverable, only on the
brink of death (the ranger and drow poured water down their
throats and then induced vomiting, hopefully to clean out
their systems), but the halfling Bosco was beyond help,
green of face and still of limb.  Lyra used a spell taught
her by Alindyar to create an illusion of a sleeping green
dragon where the real, dead one actually was.  Also, they
borrowed potions of healing from Peyote to get themselves
back up to full strength (not wanting to deal with the
half-elf's Rod of Life and Death).  Peldor also unwittingly
contributed a potion of healing to the cause.
  After a night of uncertain rest (during which Halbarad
stood watch, mostly), they woke up Peyote in the morning.
Though some kobolds approached during the night and early
morning, they were apparently fooled by the illusionary
dragon.  At any rate, they did not seem to want to risk
its wrath by awakening it.  Anyway, Peyote used his spells
to heal the others, though more rest was required by all.

Peyote:  I hope my spells helped, dudes.
Alindyar:  Most certainly.  Now I shall have to see to a
  spell or two for our continued safety while resting
  here.
Peldor:  What about Bosco?  What will become of him?
Peyote:  Who knows, dude?
Halbarad:  We may be better off without the little runt.
Peldor:  Hey, watch it.

  They rested for another two days, and took the time to
look over the dragon's great hoard.  Most of the monetary
treasure could not be taken, due to its weight, but many
magical items were found.  The topic of Bosco came up once
more, as well.

Peldor:  Maybe an item in this hoard can help Bosco.
Peyote:  Get real.
Lyra:  Cannot the druid use a spell to return him to life?
Peyote:  I have no spells that can do that...wait!  I have
  a scroll here somewhere...(begins searching his pack)
Peldor:  (holding his breath)
Peyote:  Ah!  (holds up a scroll tube)  Here it is!  This
  will help.  Though, it's not really raising of the dead.
Peldor:  It's not?  Then what is it?
Peyote:  Do you believe in reincarnation?
Halbarad:  What exactly is that?  Is it not bringing one
  back as another type of creature, but with the same mind?
Peyote:  Basically.  It's all I have.
Peldor:  (thinking)
Peyote:  Take it or leave it.  What will it be, dude?
Peldor:  Oh, all right.  I suppose he could be an orc, or
  a goblin, there are worse fates, after all.
Peyote:  (spellcasting)  Oh great Obad-hai!  We ask your
  help in returning this poor fool to life...

  Bosco stirred, and shifted - suddenly, he began melting
like clay!  Momentarily, though, he was gone, and a jet-
black raccoon stood in his place...

Peldor:  Bosco?
raccoon:  (looks up, and squeals loudly)
Peldor:  Ah, Bosco.  I'll see what can be done for you,
  but for now, you're stuck like this.  Sorry.  (pets the
  raccoon)  Poor Bosco...
raccoon-Bosco:  (scurries around angrily)
Alindyar:  Hmm.

  They departed later, after a total of four days since
the day they had found the dragon.  Apparently, the big
green monster had been the king of the area, for no more
organized attacks of any import occurred.  A few minor
battles did happen, but they did not last long.  Bosco
grew used to his new body, and the party travelled north
for over three weeks, until they entered the Gnarley
Forest and then left the woodlands, entering some short
grasslands.
  Two days after that, they passed through the gates of
the Free City of Dyvers, and paid for a series of rooms
at a fine tavern.  The treasure was quickly piled on a
large, expensive oaken table for division, for the party
did not want to wait until Greyhawk was reached...



THE LOOT (magic items only are listed):

  *  = couldn't be identified by sage
  ** = identified as very powerful & dangerous by sage

drow spellbooks                 Alindyar

black ring *                    Peldor
2 beads of force                Alindyar
wand of polymorphing            Alindyar
potion of extra healing         Peldor
javelin of piercing             Peyote

dagger +1                       Halbarad
eyes of the eagle               Peldor
potion extra healing            Halbarad
deck of cards **                (party)
horn of bubbles                 Alindyar
earring +1                      Halbarad
egg of creation                 Peyote
amulet *                        Peyote
net of entrapment               Peyote
amulet w/petrified dragon eye   Halbarad
potion of treasure finding      Peldor



  While they were at it, they decided to rest for a bit,
and Peyote trained in the druidic ways.  Lyra and Bosco
trained as well (as best the latter could).  After two
weeks, they departed for Greyhawk, which was only four
days' ride away.  The ride was through civilized lands,
and thus there was no trouble.  One interesting thing did
happen, though, on the way.

Alindyar:  (to Peldor)  I have an idea.
Peldor:  What's that?
Alindyar:  I could use my new wand to...transform Bosco back
  into his normal halfling self.
Peldor:  Think it'd work?
raccoon-Bosco:  (jumping up and down eagerly)
Alindyar:  Who can know?  'Tis worth a try.
Peldor:  Okay.
Alindyar:  (zaps raccoon-Bosco with intent to turn him back
  into a halfling)
raccoon-Bosco:  (becomes a halfling)  Yay!  (leaping around)
Lyra:  Tsk, tsk.
Peldor:  Uh...Alindyar?
Alindyar:  Hm?
Peldor:  What are those black rings around his eyes?  Sort of
  looks like a bandit mask...
Alindyar:  (snickering)
Peldor:  Grrr...
Bosco:  (hasn't looked in a mirror yet)  Yay!  I'm me again!
Halbarad:  He definitely looks like a thief, now.  Raccoon
  eyes and all.
Peyote:  The masked wonder - Bosco!
Alindyar:  Heh heh.

  They arrived in Greyhawk without incident after peaceful
travel through its suburbs.



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

Alindyar, 9th level drow elf mage (N)
  Lyra, 6th level female drow elf mage (LE/N)
Halbarad, 8th level human ranger (NG)
Peldor, 10th level human thief (N)
  Bosco, 6th level halfling thief (CN)
Peyote, 7th/9th level half-elf fighter/druid of Obad-Hai (N)
------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   3/08/571 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   evening
Place:  the Free City of Greyhawk
------------------------------------------------------------------



  Before seeking the sea group out, the land group unanimously
elected to...utilize their magical deck of cards first.  This
was a foolish choice for some, a good one for others...

Peldor:  I shall draw first.  Now, how does this thing work?
Alindyar:  You must first choose the number of cards you will
  draw.  And then hope that you are able to continue after
  each draw from the deck...
Peldor:  Aha.  Well, then, I shall draw...three cards.  (draws
  the first - a card marked Balance)  Huh?  (his alignment
  changes from neutral to neutral)  Hm.  Nothing happened.
Halbarad:  Perhaps the item does not work on thieves...
Peldor:  Bull!  Bah.  (draws his second card - a card titled
  Fool)  Eh?
Halbarad:  How appropriate.
Peldor:  (loses some experience but gains a bonus draw)  Ulp.
  (draws again - a card marked Throne)  Ah!  Peldor's true
  greatness is exposed at last!  (gains great charisma and,
  unbeknownst to him, a small keep somewhere in the world)
Alindyar:  The rascal has avoided serious injury thus far.
Peldor:  That's because I'm _Peldor_!  (draws his last card,
  one called Sun)  Huh?  (a large tome appears in his hands,
  and he gains some experience, more than he lost on his
  second draw)  Ah!  Peldor _is_ great!  I wanna draw again!
Alindyar:  You cannot.  You chose four, you drew four.
Peldor:  No!  No!  This is too much fun.  (eyes Bosco)  Hey,
  Bosco!  You're good at card games.  You should have some
  draws, too!
Bosco:  Yea!  (looks at the deck)  I wonder if this is a
  marked deck.  Oh, well.  I'll draw two!  (draws the first
  card, one titled Moon, and is granted three wishes)
Peyote:  Wow.
Bosco:  Yes!  YES!  (draws his second card - one marked as
  Void)  Ulp.  (his soul heads off to another plane)
Peldor:  Bosco?  Hey, Bosco?  (shakes the halfling)  He's
  gone!  What happened?
Alindyar:  He chose...poorly.
Bosco:  (gazing ahead dully)
Peldor:  Shit!  Three wishes, wasted.  Damn it all!
Peyote:  I'll go next, dude.  I will draw...once.  I don't
  want to risk too much.  (draws a single card - the Vizier)
  Hmm.  (suddenly knows that he will know the answer to his
  next dilemma)  Huh?
Alindyar:  I suppose it is my turn.  I shall draw four cards.
Halbarad:  FOUR?!?
Peyote:  That's risky, dude.
Alindyar:  Of course.  (draws his first card - one marked
  Euryale)  Euryale?  (he now has a permanent susceptibility
  to all forms of petrification)
Peldor:  (searching Bosco's pockets)
Halbarad:  (watching Peldor with a scowl)
Alindyar:  What else will there be?  (draws his second card,
  one titled Talons)  Uh-oh.  (every magic item on his person
  vanishes)
Lyra:  Yipes.
Peyote:  Rude deal, man.  RUDE deal.
Alindyar:  Oh, well.  It cannot get much worse.
Peldor:  Don't say that.  Never say that.
Alindyar:  (draws his third card, Star, and gains significant
  and nigh-godly intelligence)  Ahhhhh.  I am enlightened...
Lyra:  (happier now that something good has happened)
Alindyar:  (draws his fourth and last card, the Sun, and an
  enchanted cloak appears on his back)  Hm.  Not so bad in
  the end.  Lyra, will you draw?
Lyra:  Uhh...I don't think so.
Peldor:  Well, Halbarad, it's your turn now.
Halbarad:  Never.  (turns and walks away)
Peyote:  Well, I guess that's that.
Alindyar:  Hmm.  (watches the deck vanish)  I suppose it has
  served its purpose.
Lyra:  Yes.  Poor Bosco.  (pats the soul-less halfling on the
  head)



  Thus, some of the adventurers were tied up longer, needing
to train or cope with their newfound traits or curses...

ALINDYAR studied intently, and advanced a level in the arcane
  arts.  He and Lyra totally redesigned their spellbooks so
  that they were more efficiently organized.

HALBARAD did nothing unusual, but a large wild tiger showed up
  while he was wandering outside Greyhawk, and it became his
  companion.  (also see below, under Peldor's activities)

PELDOR managed to rid himself of his ring of truth, but later,
  unbeknownst to him, the mage who helped him with this matter,
  being a kindly and benevolent sort, sought out Halbarad and
  gave the ring to the ranger, knowing that he was one who
  would never lie but could use the ring for good purposes.
  Peldor also read his new book, and gained significant amounts
  of thiefly experience.  He knew not what to do about Bosco,
  though - the halfling's soul was gone and no solution seemed
  in sight.

PEYOTE spent an awful lot of time trying to figure out what his
  next dilemma would be.



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

Alindyar, 10th level drow elf mage (N)
  Lyra, 6th level female drow elf mage (N)
Halbarad, 8th level human ranger (NG)
Peldor, 11th level human thief (N)
  Bosco, 6th level halfling thief (CN) (no soul)
Peyote, 7th/9th level half-elf fighter/druid of Obad-Hai (N)
------------------------------------------------------------------
Date:   3/23/571 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   evening
Place:  the Free City of Greyhawk
------------------------------------------------------------------



  It seemed to be the time to seek out the other group, and see
how they had fared in their adventures...





next time:  Reunion

FTP SITE: ccosun.caltech.edu (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
********************************************************************
NOTES:  I played up Halbarad's realization that he had that arrow
a bit...at the time of the gaming I had forgotten about it, but
he never did...oh well, the best-laid plans of DMs sometimes go
awry.  I didn't want to BS my way out of it, though...
  Whew, that deck was one of the most controversial things ever
to hit our campaign.  Poor Bosco...hey, what _are_ the effects
of not having a soul, anyway?  I played it as if he was no more
than a vegetable, no mind, no actions, nothing...but in some
fiction I have read (e.g. Conan) the soul-less person can still
act normally - just without a soul.  Ideas, anyone?
********************************************************************





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