Chapter #70

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                         THE ADVENTURERS



*****
*  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:

Alindyar      10th level drow elf mage                (N)
  Lyra         6th level female drow elf mage         (N)
Belphanior     7th/8th/8th level high elf w/m/t      (CN)
Ged            9th/8th level grey elf priest/mage    (NG)
  Arnold       6th level human warrior               (NG)
Halbarad       9th level human ranger                (NG)
  Zephyr       5+5 HD wild tiger
Mongo          8th level dwarf warrior               (CG)
Peldor        11th level human thief                  (N)
  Bosco        6th level soulless halfling thief     (CN)
Peyote         7th/9th level half-elf fighter/druid   (N)
  fang         wild dog
  eye          hawk
  ear          hawk
Rillen         8th level human warrior                (N)
Rob            9th level human priest                (LG)
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Date:   4/8/571 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   morning
Place:  the Free City of Greyhawk
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                     LXX.  The Great Journey



  The party has decided to investigate the information written
on a scroll they have obtained.  They are packed and ready to
go, and are even now riding out of Greyhawk...

Mongo:  (looking around, at the vast size of the party)  Boy oh
  boy.  Things sure have changed.
Alindyar:  Verily.
Peyote:  Whatever are you talking about?  (pets his wild dog as
  one of his two hawks lands on his shoulder)
Belphanior:  Critters.
Halbarad:  (uncomfortable with this large sized party)  I suppose
  that we shall not be sneaking up on anybody...
Ged:  Nope.
Arnold:  Nooope.  (swinging his new, magical two-handed sword in
  the air merrily)  Nooooooope!
Belphanior:  Nice sword.  Where'd he get it?
Ged:  (knowing of course that he bought it from the elf yesterday
  and gave it to Arnold to use)  Bah.
Arnold:  It's a nice svord.  Cut dem up good.  Reel good.
Rillen:  Hmm.

  They were headed for the Rushmoors, to find the hermit called
Yin-Tze and decipher the scroll.  This was a three-week trip,
not without its share of perils, for even though all but the last
leg of the journey was through civilized lands, the Gnarley and
Welkwood Forests had to be traversed, and later in the trip the
looming Lortmil Mountain range had to be passed.
  Trouble was not long in coming; two days out of Greyhawk, the
party was approached by a band of seven travelers, two of whom
were quite tall and broad, inhumanly so.

warrior-type:  Greetings.  I am Dorgon.
Arnold:  Dorkon.
Ged:  Shh.
Halbarad:  Well met, Dorgon.  Why are you people moving to flank
  us, on this peaceful road, on this peaceful day?
Dorgon:  It is simple, really.  You have something we want.
Mongo:  (blurting out)  A map?!?  Hah!  We have no map!
mage-type:  Ah, but you do.  Right, Perius?
priest-type:  Correct.  They have the map among their number,
  Malor.  My magic has said it is so.
Malor:  (mage-type)  See?
Dorgon:  (warrior-type)  I knew it.
Perius:  (priest-type)  Yes.
other mage-type:  Yes!  Yes!  See?  See?
third mage-type:  Silence, Zorka, you fool.
second mage-type:  No!  No!  I won't be quiet, Forka.
Ged:  These guys are really badly off...
Belphanior:  (casting Stoneskin upon himself)
Dorgon:  (unsheathes sword)
Rillen:  (addressing Dorgon)  Leave us alone.  Or I will be
  forced to resort to...violence.
Peyote:  Don't make him angry, dude.  You wouldn't like him when
  he's angry.
Dorgon:  Bah.
Mongo:  (examining his hammer nonchalantly)
Alindyar:  (silently begins a spell)
Dorgon:  Enough prattle!  Give us the scroll or die!
Belphanior:  Go fuck yourself.
Mongo:  Yeah!  I've heard enough!  (hurls his hammer at Dorgon
  the warrior, smashing his shoulder)  Hah!
Dorgon:  Argh!  (stomps around in pain)  Kill them!  Kill!

  Everybody was in motion, all twenty-two of them (Bosco just
stood there blankly while action begun all around him.)  Most
of the fighter-types dismounted, as they were unused to horsed
combat and realized this at the last minute...

Alindyar:  (casts a Fly on himself and floats up into the air)
Peldor:  (becomes invisible and sneaks away to do some harm)
Halbarad:  (charges Dorgon)  Enough of your games, fiend!
Dorgon:  (begins melee with the ranger)  Hah.
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)  Hmm.  Who gets it next?
Belphanior:  (charges toward the enemies)  Yaaaaaaa!
big humanoid:  (tears off its hood, revealing it as a large
  and extremely ugly ogre)  I step on you, elfy.
other big humanoid:  (also an ogre)  Duh, yeah.  (they move
  to gang up on Belphanior)  Crush him like a grape.
Ged:  (to Arnold)  Move!  Help the elf there!  (begins spell-
  casting)
Arnold:  O-kay.  (charges the ogres)  I'll help you oud, liddle
  elf!
Belphanior:  Huh?  (watches as Arnold slices one of the ogre's
  arms off)  Hey, thanks.
Arnold:  (hacking in melee, mindlessly)  I love dhis!
Malor:  (the mage)  Hmm.  (casts a Web at the party, snagging
  Peyote, his wild dog, Rob, and the invalid Bosco)  Hah!
Perius:  (the priest)  Good shot.  (casts Light on Alindyar's
  eyes)
Alindyar:  (fails his save, is blinded)  Agh!  (begins wildly
  gyrating in the air)  Aaa!
Lyra:  Uh-oh.
Zorka:  (one of the lesser magi)  Eh?  (casts Magic Missile at
  Lyra)  Die, bitch!
Lyra:  (hit by the singular missile)  Ah!  How decidedly puny.
  (fires her own Magic Missiles at the mage)  Try mine, fool.
Zorka:  (hit by three missiles, dies with three large holes in
  his torso)  Agh.....
Forka:  (the other lesser mage)  I shall cast a spell too!  (he
  begins spellcasting)
Mongo:  Uh-uh.  (throws his hammer, clipping the mage but still
  crushing his chest in)  Naughty, naughty.
Forka:  Argh...(dies)
Malor:  Geez.  I knew we should have hired better support guys.
Perius:  Too late now.
Ged:  (casts a Slow spell on the priest, Perius)  Boccob is by
  far mightier than your puny god, fool!
Perius:  (slowed down)  Uuuhhh...
Rillen:  (strolls up to the ogre that Belphanior is fighting
  and bashes it, twice)  The bigger they are...
Belphanior:  I know.  (slices the ogre's throat, slaying it)
  The harder they fall.  Ahhhhhhhh.  (sucks in the ogre's
  life essence through his sword)
Rillen:  Are you all right?
Belphanior:  Oh, yeah.
Peyote:  (helpless in the web)  Eye!  Ear!  (begins squawking
  in hawk language)
hawks:  (one attacks Malor the mage, the other attacks Perius
  the priest)  Squark!
Malor:  Agh!  (batting at the bird)
Perius:  Ow!  (his hawk just got a piece of his ear, maybe due
  to his slowed state)  Damn!
Alindyar:  (sailing around blinded)  AGH!
Halbarad:  (chops Dorgon)  Attacking us was stupid.  We clearly
  outnumber you.
Dorgon:  I see that now.  Still...(slices the ranger, drawing
  blood)  I suggest that you worry about the matter at hand.
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)
Rob:  (entangled in the web)  Help!  Somebody help!
Rillen:  (looks back at Rob)  It looks like you are all tied
  up, there.
Arnold:  (takes a hit from the ogre he is fighting and then
  decapitates it with a mighty blow)  AAAAAH!  (holds the
  head up high for all to see)  I am Ah-nold!  Da vic-tah!
Ged:  Calm down.
Peldor:  (shows up behind the mage Malor, as his backstabbing
  attack guts the evil mage)  Ah.  So much for _him_.  Peldor
  saves the day for the fools once more.
Zephyr:  (Halbarad's tiger)  GROWR!  (leaps upon Dorgon, who
  his master is fighting, and tears his head off)  GROWRR!!
Halbarad:  (pats the big feline on the head)  Good kitty.
Ged:  (looking around)  Well, that is that.
Mongo:  Those guys were idiots.  I wonder why they didn't run
  away.  I would have, if I was facing me.  Not to mention the
  rest of us too...
Halbarad:  Who can know?  They were dolts of some sort.
Ged:  Obviously.
Peldor:  Yeah, obviously.  They dared to challenge the party
  which contained the great and mighty Peldor, after all.
Alindyar:  (hearing his companions talking below, he slowly
  floats to the ground, still blinded by his own brightly
  glowing eyes)  AAARGH!  This pains me muchly!
Ged:  (walks over)  Hold still.  (Dispels Magic on the drow,
  erasing the Light spell)  How's that?
Alindyar:  Ahhhhh.  MUCH better.
Ged:  It's a good thing that you don't have any more magic
  items to worry about during dispels.
Alindyar:  Perhaps.
Peyote:  Hey, dudes!  Someone get us out of this web!
Rob:  Yeah!

  They rested and healed their wounded after freeing those
caught in the web.  The magi had no spellbooks - a strange
thing indeed.

Alindyar:  (wiping his eyes)  That means that they are based
  locally.
Halbarad:  Also, they may have been a strike team of some
  sort.
Mongo:  Well, they struck _this_!  (holds up his hammer)
Peldor:  (searching the bodies)  Nothing.  Nothing!  These
  guys were as poor as beggars!
Ged:  Strike team, definitely.  There may be more of the fools
  about.  We should get moving.
Halbarad:  Aye.  (they begin moving along the road once more)

  The adventurers spent the next two weeks moving through
Furyondy, Veluna, the Kron Hills, the Lortmil Mountains, and
the Gran March, in that order.  They had no trouble in the
mountains thanks to a friendly dwarven patrol, whose members
Mongo quickly hit it off with.  The dwarves escorted the party
through one of their guarded passes, and thus the group made
it out of the peaks without difficulty.
  Nearly three weeks after they set out from the great city
of Greyhawk, the party entered the foul Rushmoors, a swampy
land teeming with insects and slime.  It took no time at all
for them to attract attention of the bad sort...

trolls:  (three of them, leap from the surrounding high grass
  and screech as they charge the surprised party)  SCREEEECH!
Alindyar:  Wha-?  Screeching trolls?  What transpires here?
Mongo:  (blocks a huge paw, but is buffeted by another)  Agh!
  We're under attack, that's what!  Cast a spell or something!
troll:  (attempts to bite Mongo)  GRARR!
Mongo:  (manages to cram his hammer into the thing's mouth)
  Here, chew on _that_, shithead!  (begins punching the troll
  in the belly)
Halbarad:  (clawed and bitten by a troll)  Argh!
Belphanior:  (clawed and bitten by a troll, but saved by his
  stoneskin spell)  Heh.  (draws his sword)

Zephyr:  (leaps upon the troll who wounded his master and
  tears into it)  GROWL!  GRAWR!  Snarl?  Ptui!
Halbarad:  I think he likes the troll meat not...
Arnold:  I, Ah-nold, will chaage into the flay!  (slashes
  a troll with his huge sword, drawing prodigious amounts of
  green blood)  Hah hah!  Cud dem up good!
Rillen:  (he and Peyote gang up on Belphanior's troll)
Belphanior:  Hey!  Save some for me!  (stabs at the troll)
Mongo:  (pulls his hammer from the troll's mouth, sending
  yellowed teeth flying, and begins pounding the monster
  into paste)  Attack _me_, will you?

  The magi barely had to use their spells, such was the raw
physical power of the party's great fighters (Peldor even got
in a blow or two).  The trolls were slain shortly and their
carcasses were burned, to avoid later complications.  Mongo
was the first to notice the faint, distant lights across the
moor, more visible since the sun had set.

Mongo:  Hey!  Look there!  Torches!
Peldor:  (peering with his eyes of the eagle)  I can't make
  anyone out.  Must be really dark over there.
Halbarad:  We should follow them.  Perhaps they know where
  the hermit lives.
Ged:  Or maybe they put these trolls up to this.  Let's go!

  The party moved toward the lights, but couldn't gain much
ground, as the people or whatever they were kept retreating.
Suddenly, a new danger presented itself, as the front row
of the party (Mongo, Halbarad, Belphanior, Rillen, Peyote,
and Arnold too) sunk waist-deep in quicksand!

Mongo:  (up to his beard)  Help!  Blub blub!
Arnold:  (looking around him)  Huh?
Peyote:  This is way bogus, man.  (to his wild dog)  Rowf
  growr!  (tells the dog to pull him out, but the animal
  isn't strong enough)
Rillen:  I am having a sinking feeling about this...
Belphanior:  Hey, you guys look out for an ambush!  And also
  get us the hell out of this stuff!
Halbarad:  (being pulled out by his tiger)  Hold, and we shall
  help the rest of you.

  But another surprise was in store - a pair of flickering
things, very much resembling the "torches" the party had been
following, swooped in and began touching the party members
who were trying to help their mud-trapped companions.

Ged:  (uncoiling some rope, gets zapped)  Yie!  That _hurts_,
  by Boccob!  (rubbing his stinging shoulder)
Halbarad:  (also attacked)  Argh!  What in the hells?
Peldor:  (slashes at one of the things, but it is way too
  fast for him)  Damn!
Alindyar:  Wisps!  Will-o-wisps!
Ged:  Yea!  He's right!
Lyra:  What do we do?
Alindyar:  Magic missiles!  They are one of the few things
  that affect these vile creatures.
Ged:  Okay.  (begins casting Magic Missile)  Oh, how I hate
  this spell...
Lyra:  (also begins casting Magic Missile)
Alindyar:  Cover us!  (begins casting Magic Missile too)
Peldor:  Uh, right.  Hey!  (begins dancing around, attracting
  one wisp's attention)  Over here!  Bite me!
Rob:  Yeah!  (swats at a wisp with his mace, but misses)

will-o-wisp:  (zaps Peldor)
Peldor:  YEOW!  I knew I was in for it!  (goes invisible)
will-o-wisp:  (dances about, momentarily confused)
Alindyar:  (launches a volley of magical bolts at Rob's wisp)
will-o-wisp:  ZAP!  ZAP!  ZAP!  ZAP!  ZAP!  (dances about in
  the air, weakened significantly)
Ged:  Everyone, blast that same one!  We need to kill one off
  quickly!  (fires his own four missiles at the thing)
will-o-wisp:  ZAP!  ZAP!  ZAP!  ZAP!  (flickering now)
Peldor:  (stalking his wisp)
Lyra:  (fires her own missiles)
will-o-wisp:  ZAP!  ZAP!  ZAP!  (it dies out, disintegrating)
Ged:  Yea!  Boccob!  Good move, everyone!
Peldor:  (slashes - nay, backstabs - his target...and HITS!)
  Aha!  (becomes visible)  Finally got the little sucker!
will-o-wisp:  (flits about in erratic movements)
Rob:  (begins tossing rope to those in the mud, Mongo first
  since only his groping hands are visible now)
Zephyr:  (bites Belphanior's cloak and pulls him out of the
  quicksand)  Growf.
Belphanior:  Hey, watch it with the cloak.
Zephyr:  (licks the elf's cheek)

meanwhile...

Peldor:  (poking at the wisp as it dances about)  Nothing is
  too much for the mighty Peldor!
Alindyar:  Hold.  I wish to speak with the creature.
Peldor:  Fine.  It's too weak to go anywhere, looks like.
Ged:  Speak with it?  How are you going to do _that_?
Alindyar:  Comprehend languages?
Ged:  Might not work.  Give it a try, though.
Alindyar:  Tongues?
Ged:  Who knows?
Alindyar:  (casts Tongues, and tries to communicate with the
  wisp, but receives no response)  Hmm.
Ged:  Well, now what?
Lyra:  (whispers in Alindyar's ear)
Alindyar:  Of course.  ESP!
Ged:  Hmm.  Might do the trick.  But that's an alien mind, I
  would think.  Who knows what strange thought waves it has?
Alindyar:  (thinking about his nigh-godlike intelligence)  It
  merits an attempt.  (casts ESP and regards the wisp, eyes
  shut and brow furrowed in concentration)  Hmm.  How very...
  chaotic.

  Soon, those who fell in the quicksand were all out, though
Mongo was very dirty and spitting out mud.  Alindyar was in
front of the surviving wisp, while Lyra stood poised to cast
a spell.

Alindyar:  This is the situation.  This...being will lead us
  to its ill-gotten hoard, which we shall appropriate, and
  then it will lead us toward the hut of Yin-Tze.  Lyra is
  ready to blast it with magic should it try to flee, or lead
  us into more quicksand, or anything like that.
Ged:  By Boccob!  I must get this ESP spell!
Mongo:  Hmph.  Whatever.  Let's get going, then.

  The wisp led them to a hidden trove, which consisted of a
chest full of many gems, and an old torch stub.  The stub
registered as non-magical, and was left behind, while the
gems were taken.  Peldor, unbeknownst to all, put the stub
into his pocket, for in his eyes it glowed with a faint
green tint.  The party moved out, following the odd creature
through the swamp; though it was well past nightfall, they
dared not risk camping, resting, and letting the thing get
away.  After many tiring, weary hours, a hut seemed to appear
before them, just as the sunrise was visible on the horizon.
Alindyar seemed to know that the wisp had led them to the
right place, for he motioned Lyra to let it flit away, and
it did so, vanishing almost immediately.
  Then, as the party approached the small, beaten hut, a
short, wizened man emerged and regarded them.

man:  Gleetings!  I am Yin-Tze.





next time:  the cloud giant strikes (really!)

FTP SITE: ccosun.caltech.edu (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
********************************************************************
NOTES:  As I write this, it is November 3, 1992.  One year ago on
this date, I began writing the Adventurers.  It all started when
I was cleaning my room and happened upon some written notes of one
of my old AD&D sessions.  A friend (you know who you are, Dave!)
had recorded them, painstakingly, at my request, and as I read
them for the first time in a while, I realized how funny they
were.  I had to post them, I knew that for sure.  So, I took them
to work, and typed them in verbatim on the trusty computer here.
Then I ftp-ed the file onto our UNIX host, and posted the thing
on the old rec.games.frp newsgroup.  Boy, was I one proud DM at
that moment.  I went home, happy that people would get to read
our group's adventures.
  The next day, I was reading the news, and found a most shocking
thing...somebody had _flamed_ me for my post!  I couldn't believe
it!  The person complained about how the posting, while a good
rendition of a gaming session, had no intrinsic humor.  Who were
those characters?  Why did they do what they did?  Why was it
supposed to be funny?  Who knew?  I realized at that moment why
the posting had evoked this reaction, and a few others after it
(though not as hostile).  No one knew the characters like those
of us in the group had.  Without a firm base in place, all of
our adventures (or anybody else's for that matter) were just so
much text.  What I had posted was a recording - not a story.
  With this in mind, I posted a mild rebuttal, and stated in it
that I could and would post an adventure that made sense, and
would make people want to read more.  I stayed after work that
night and wrote up a rough draft of what later that night became
Adventurers episode #1.  Then, after extensive proofreading and
editing, I posted it.  Later that week, since the fan mail was
fairly good, I wrote and posted another.  And, later, another.
  Well, you all know the rest of this story.  I just want to
use this day, the real 1st anniversary of the Adventurers epic,
to thank the person who flamed me.  I don't know who you are or
if you're still on the net, but thanks to you, my friend, we all
have "The Adventurers" to read...
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