Adventurers: Frequently Asked Questions
Thomas Miller, author of "The Adventurers"
last updated 29 Jan 2016
WARNING: This page is full of spoilers!
The correct starting place for new readers is the Introduction.
Table of Contents:
A. QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PLAYERS AND THE SESSIONS
B. QUESTIONS ABOUT THE WRITEUPS
C. QUESTIONS ABOUT THINGS WITHIN THE GAME WORLD
D. QUESTIONS ABOUT STATS AND RULES
(A) QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PLAYERS AND THE SESSIONS:
We played starting in April 1989, and the campaign lasted until early 1991, when several players graduated and
moved away at once. I began writing on November 4 1991. A one-time reunion occurred on Saturday, October 9 1993,
and we finished two-thirds of the adventure I had designed for the occasion. All of the then-current characters'
players, except Alindyar, were there. Further reunions are unlikely, though - most of the players have
settled down or moved, and I doubt most of them still game.
The gaming happened at Georgia Tech, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. For the record, significant quantities of food and
drink were consumed during most of these gaming sessions. We played for just under 2 years. Each adventure was
usually played out in one night, typically from about 8 pm to about 3 am but sometimes later. We played about
every other weekend during active school quarters, less often at other times.
A1. Tell us about all this gaming you guys did - when, where, how?
A2. Do you still play (with others, since obviously the group has disbanded)?
No. Though I occasionally buy modules and accessories, I'm a creator, not a player. That's the way it's always been.
A3. What happened to make the whole group totally stop playing for years? Did they all get their diplomas at once?
One way to put it is this: I was lucky enough to get some good players' best gaming years, all at once. After our
initial run (shown in episodes #1-125) people started getting into other things, and it kind of fell apart. Hell, I'm
to blame too - I dated three different women in the first half of 1991, and things were pretty hectic.
(B) QUESTIONS ABOUT THE WRITEUPS:
As of September 1, 1993, the stories which adapted the many adventures that we played were done. It took 125 episodes
and 22 months. That was Epic I.
New stories started being published in October 1993, after the reunion was played. After the reunion had been adapted, I took
readers' suggestions and ran the characters through them myself, with input from the original players.
This body of work made up Epic II, and was pretty much played in my head, not by players. Epic II spanned 300 episodes
(#126-425) and took 34 months to write.
Epic III began with episode #426, right after a major turning point in one of the characters' lives. It began to detail
the later periods in the adventurers' lives (marriage, families, kingdoms, possible godhood, etc.) and the plotlines came
from my imagination. Epic III concluded with episode 600.
Epic IV consists of the stories released between January 2000 and January 2002: 601 to 800. After this, I officially retired
from writing, and episode 800 was written from that standpoint.
Two years later, in January 2004, I changed my mind (or perhaps had enough of a break) and un-retired. Epic V consists of
the stories released since then: 801 to 999, and counting as of January 2016.
B1. How many stories are there? Are there any more coming? I don't understand all this about "Epic I" and "Epic II"
and real stories and made-up stories and...?!?
B2. How long does it take to do all the writing?
On a good day, I produce 15K of quality material in about two hours. Proofreading takes up more time, especially if
I use more people than just myself to do it (which I do.)
From 2/2000 through 2/2003 I worked two jobs and 80 hours a week, which seriously cut into writing time. These days (2014-2016)
I just write when I feel like it; the urge comes and goes.
B3. How extensive were your game notes?
Fairly extensive. It's important to keep in mind, though, that I knew all of the players well. Thus, I've been able,
after the fact, to simulate what they would have done in various situations. With a few minor exceptions, the characters
acted just like their respective players.
To put it simply: the combats in the stories are probably not identical to those that actually happened, but the
outcomes of those combats are. Of course, now that I'm more than 800 episodes past the last scenario that was really
played, adherence to actual gaming doesn't really matter as much.
B4. How many pages/K/characters/lines are there total?
Through episode 700:
Currently, a full printout of all the parts stacks up to almost two feet of 8.5" x 11" paper with printing on both sides.
|book 01: ||296,696 || |
|book 02: ||421,811 || |
|book 03: ||233,664 || |
|book 04: ||384,965 || |
|book 05: ||432,659 || |
|book 06: ||330,624 || |
|book 07: ||503,050 || |
|book 08: ||353,091 || |
|book 09: ||551,713 || |
|book 10: ||399,972 || |
|book 11: ||448,415 || |
|book 12: ||603,739 || |
|book 13: ||612,605 || |
|book 14: ||467,977 || |
|book 15: ||507,014 || |
|book 16: ||546,823 || |
|book 17: ||480,614 || |
|book 18: ||448,541 || |
|book 19: ||422,422 || |
|book 20: ||343,511 || |
|book 21: ||312,146 || |
|book 22: ||504,571 || |
|book 23: ||549,915 || |
|book 24: ||466,193 || |
|book 25: ||759,290 || |
|book 26: ||321,105 || |
|book 27: ||307,252 || |
|book 28: ||397,842 || |
|book 29: ||313,764 || |
|book of lost tales: ||463,846 || |
|TOTAL: ||13,185,830 ||= 12.6 Mb |
B5. Did you glamorize the actions and behavior of the players in your writeups?
Often. It's extremely hard not to. Specific examples include: Rillen wasn't nearly as law-abiding as I make him out to be;
Ged may have been even more arrogant than I make him out to be;
Belphanior was a good bit more bloodthirsty than you see in the
stories. Looking back on it, I've done a fairly good job of
representing the characters/players as they were, while making
the party mesh well from outsiders' points of view.
B6. Please name all the official TSR modules that the party has been through.
Okay...in chronological order of exploration, here they are:
|A1-A2-A3-A4 ||(Slaver series) ||(episodes 016-037) || |
|Terrible Trouble At Tragidore ||(mini-module that came with the 2nd edition DM screen)
||(episodes 061-066) ||(only the land group did this) |
|WGR1 ||(Greyhawk Ruins) ||(episodes 120-125) || |
|S1 ||(Tomb of Horrors) ||(episodes 165-172) || |
|WG5 ||(Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure) ||(episodes 364-373) || |
|WG6 ||(Isle of the Ape) ||(episodes 480-500) || |
|T1 ||(Temple of Elemental Evil) ||(episodes 643-650) || |
B7. Do you take readers' or other peoples' characters for NPCs in your stories?
No. First, I've already got too many characers running around; I don't need any new ones.
Second, enough people ask me this that I wouldn't be able to use all their characters, thus it wouldn't be fair.
Third, I generally don't enjoy writing about other people's characters. Sorry.
B8. Do you ever let other people write the stories?
Never. But thanks for asking.
B9. Are you ever going to rewrite the old stories, so that they are as well-written
as the ones you're writing now?
I'd love to, but I don't have the time. I gave episode #1 the rewriting treatment,
but that was more of an experiment. Good idea, but not the best use of my time right now.
(C) QUESTIONS ABOUT THINGS TOTALLY WITHIN THE GAME WORLD:
a-LIND-yar (flat a, as in "bad")
AR-nold (or AH-nold if you prefer)
ged (active g, as in "go")
LYR-a (LYR as in "leer")
C1. How exactly are the names of the characters pronounced?
and let's not forget these:
HAL-ba-rad (dead ba, as in "buh")
krug (as in "bug")
C2. Why did Bosco have two lines in the part of episode #197 where he was supposed to be aboard
the _Victory_ while the bulk of the party explored the ruined ships?
That was Peldor, disguised as Bosco! Don't ask me why he did it, though - we probably wouldn't believe him if he told us.
C3. How did Belphanior survive/come back to life in episode #203?
His evil eye regenerated his wounds.
C4. What the heck IS the wispy thing anyway?
I never really decided. Perhaps it's better if I never do. We know the little guy's magical
(proven, essentially, in episode #224) and that he doesn't count as a person/being for spells
that move people great distances. Then there was the incident with the banshee in episode #215.
Most recently, after his comeback, there was the incident with the demon in episode #500.
I don't have any real explanation for you, though. Take a look at Lost Tale #23 for possibilities.
C5. Was Ged's fire wand supposed to be a Baklunish or a Sueloise artifact?
I've said that Ged's fire wand was a Sueloise item, but as
loyal Greyhawk fans everywhere know, it was the Baklunish who
brought down the Rain of Colorless Fire upon the Sueloise. The
Sueloise brought the Invoked Devastation down on the Baklunish
From here on out, consider it to be a Baklunish artifact that
the Sueloise captured during the conflict. It then stayed in
their city for countless centuries until Ged and the others
C6. Bosco once drank two magical potions at the same time. Did they mix, are they permanent, etc?
The potions in question were storm giant strength and speed.
Though I thought about it, I eventually decided that either/both
being permanent would unbalance the character, and thus concluded
that it was a non-eventful mix of potions. Admittedly, it would
have been interesting, but Bosco's spunky enough that he can get
by without magical bolstering.
C7. Whatever happened to Peyote's artifact, the Rod of Life and Death?
That item was ill-defined from the start, and didn't really mesh well with a druidic character. Thus,
I took the liberty of doing away with it after he and Halbarad left the party.
C8. Exactly how resistant are the drow to sunlight - and what happened to their innate drow powers?
Over the last five years of game time, both Alindyar and Lyra
have become significantly more accustomed to the sun's light.
This was not without cost, though - all of their inherent drow
powers, with the exception of the 120' infravision, no longer
function. Conceivably, if they spent any great amount of time
in the lands beneath the earth, their racial powers might return.
It is still necessary for both dark elves to wear robes and
hoods when under direct sunlight, and they tend to weaken in very
C9. What year (Greyhawk time) did the adventurers begin their adventuring ways? There aren't dates on the first episodes.
Ah, a good question. After researching everything, and making
decisions as to what's canon and what's not, I created a timeline
to address this sort of thing. One disclaimer: in the re-published
episode #1, I gave the date of the party's initial formation as
11/4/570 C.Y. but that was incorrect. The correct start date
is 11/4/569 C.Y. - this is when the Adventurers began their long
careers of mayhem.
The complete timeline appears within the index file.
C10. Over the years, you've revealed various origins for the characters. Who's left, and when will you do theirs?
Here's a complete summary:
[a] A bit of Otto's past was revealed in Lost Tales #4
[b] In retrospect, we actually still don't know that much about Peldor's origin
[c] Unlike any of the others, Rillen's origin was shown through flashbacks; see Lost Tales #10
C11. Was/is the Green Dragon Inn in the city of Fax or the city of Greyhawk? Originally it seemed to be in Fax,
but of course Peldor's inn is situated within Greyhawk.
There are Green Dragon Inns in both cities, but the one in Greyhawk is much bigger and nicer. Peldor was
initially interested in acquiring the establishment for nostalgaic value due to its name, the "counterpart" in Fax
being the place where the party first met.
(D)QUESTIONS ABOUT STATS AND RULES:
Remember that mine was a pretty high-magic campaign. To show an
example, let's take Mongo at 10th level. His thac0 was 11, -2 for
Str, -1 (or was it 2?) for specialization, -4 for the hammer bonus.
That's at least a thac0 of 4, not counting the fact that he's
wearing a girdle of giant strength. Also, you may note that the
party's foes, in general, don't have ACs far below 0. I think all
the warriors in the party were specialized in their main weapon, too.
Now that I've moved away from AD&D rules (as best as I can) I have
to rationalize things a little differently. Compare Mongo and his
hammer-use to a Navy SEAL. Both are professional warriors, well-
trained and experienced fighters who've been using their weapons to
survive, on almost a daily basis, for many years. Just as the SEAL
can point-acquire-shoot with flawless accuracy, so too can Mongo
sight-hurl-hit with deadly effect, almost every time.
D1. What kind of stats are these characters running around with?
In most combats, they seem to hit opponents with ease, and no
one ever dies anymore...
D2. Do players in your campaigns roll up their characters straight from the book, or are their stats tweaked?
At the outset, I gave them 90 points to divide up among the 6 stats
as they saw fit. I'm a firm believer in the school of thought that
player characters are heroic exceptions to the general populace, as
opposed to being typical members of fantasy society. For every Mongo
or Ged or Belphanior, you have a hundred common people who don't have
the brains or the brawn to achieve what the PCs have. I tend to call
this the "wretch theory."
Incidentally, Halbarad was the only one who didn't assign himself any 18s right from the get-go.
D3. What rules/guidelines did you use for Rillen's martial arts abilities?
I used to have some written down somewhere, but they're long gone
(not to mention obsolete) - now I just kinda do whatever I want,
since I'm able to write more freely these days. I will tell you
that his attack rates are: punch/kick 4/1 OR quarterstaff 5/2 OR
D4. Why does time get warped during extra-dimensional adventures?
Just because that's the way I think. In 126-143, six months
passed on Oerth for about three days on Oerth-2. In 200-212,
five months passed on Oerth for about 2.5 days on Earth. Seems
that I was (unintentionally) consistent.
While I'm at it, I'd like to say that I consider the time/
dimension warping phenomenon to be a useful one, but also a very
powerful one. I find myself having to be careful not to overuse
it. Really, though, Oerth-2 was more of an alternate dimension,
a caricature of Oerth. Our Earth was another, totally different
dimension entirely. I think of it as a "level" scheme, thus:
(other unique dimensions/universes)
[infinite] <--- (Oerth) <---> (Oerth-2) ---> [infinite]
So, horizontally, we have parallel/alternate dimensions;
vertically, we have entirely different ones. This is my own
personal vision of how it all fits together.
Incidentally, I have to be much more careful with time travel,
and haven't yet decided how that would work, but as of recent episodes (980s-990s)
I've had to think more on this.
D5. How do you handle death in your campaign and stories? What rules do you use? When is a "dead" person REALLY dead?
Damn good question. The basic problem, my friends, is this:
Early on, I made it trivially easy to get resurrected, for the
right price anyway. But in the long run, I decided that this
didn't really make much sense. Why would priests of some god -
any god - bother to bring some random schmoe back from the dead?
No, casual treatment of this sort of thing isn't plausible. As
a result, I've made it tougher for people to get brought back
from the other side. Examples: Gorin in #308, Darek Halfplow
This is how I tend to think of the whole subject: when you're
slain, your soul splits for some other plane (depending on your
alignment) and the body is left to rot. In rare cases, your soul
can be driven away _without_ the body dying; this happened to
Bosco early on. Anyway, once your soul is gone like this, you
can bring it back in one of two ways: clerical magic, or else
traveling to the Outer Plane in question and trading/stealing/
fighting with whatever native of that plane possesses it. Again,
this latter case is what happened with Bosco.
In some cases, especially if one's soul has gone to one's own
god or goddess, that being may not _want_ to let the soul in
question return to the Prime Material. When this happens, you've
more or less become a permanent servant of that god or goddess.
Certain spells or effects will permanently bar a soul from
returning to the Prime Material. Death spells are a common
example of this case, as is simply being resurrected too many
times. The soul is still out there - somewhere - but it isn't
Of course, it's also important to have a suitable body for the
soul to return to, if it's able. Thus, after the time limit for
resurrection & raise dead spells, the body's shot (or should I
say rot?) and the soul can't return to it. In this case, the
soul lives, on some Outer Plane, but it needs a body to live in.
The simple concept of dying of old age also fits this category.
I suppose it stands to reason that a soul prefers to inhabit
the body it was born into.
There are a few ways in which to permanently, truly kill souls
once and for all: a sphere of annihilation and Blackrazor are
two good examples. In this case, the soul itself is consumed,
never to return.
Of course. Foremost in my mind is
the Navero series,
by Daniel Parsons, both for its originality (it was the first of the great net.sagas)
and for its similarity to my own campaign (or my own campaign's similarity to it,
if you prefer.) Also notable to me are
and Hawn Ambrosius sagas,
by Jeff Standish;
the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords sagas (there's one by Peter Frey, as
well as a different one out there too);
the Wizard of Smaug series;
the Chronicles of Whitehand, by Allan Longley and others;
Qelrik, by Guido Roessling.
Forgive me if I've missed any others.
E1. Do you endorse any other stories/sagas?
If you know the location of the stories without links, or have copies, please
email the webmaster with that information!
E2. Do you think it's ethical/right/justified to continue making up stories after the ones that were actually played are over? Do the players agree with you on this?
Good question. Overall, my answer would be 'yes'. I do think
it's okay to go on. I have the approval of all major players, and
in most cases, I still consulted with them for ideas and proofreading.
In Ged's player's case, I used to talk with him often about the castle
that his character was building. Peldor's further exploits were often
invented over pitchers of beer at some local watering hole. And so on.
It's an ongoing and interactive process.
E3. Where in the world do you get all those cool quotes from, the ones you put near the top of the stories?
I have a library of over 2000 books, 500 CDs, 3000 comics,
and 1500 movies and TV shows...I constantly seek new and interesting quotes (and
find them!) Also, see Robert Byrne's series, "The 637 Best Things
Anybody Ever Said" (parts 1-5) - I use quotes from these a lot.
E4. Which episode holds the record for size?
As of episode 999 (Dec 2016) there are twenty-four episodes longer than 50 Kb, of which five top the 100 Kb mark:
- 983 (164 Kb)
- 983 (161 Kb)
- 525 (144 Kb)
- 975 (135 Kb)
- 991 (124 Kb)
- 250 (107 Kb)
- 975 (137 Kb)
- 991 (126 Kb)
- 325 (68 Kb)
- 999 (66 Kb)
- 980 (63 Kb)
- 980 (62 Kb)
- 175 (61 Kb)
- 970 (60 Kb)
- 970 (60 Kb)
- 500 (57.4 Kb)
- 400 (57.0 Kb)
- 225 (55.2 Kb)
- 125 (55.1 Kb)
- 972 (54 Kb)
- 675 (54 Kb)
- 450 (53.7 Kb)
- 75 (53.2 Kb)
- 200 (50 Kb)
You'll note that I tend to make every 25th episode a pretty big
one - this is just a personal preference. Episode 250 was actually
posted in a two-part cliffhanger format, as was 325.
Some stories after #325 have exceeded 50 Kb but that included fanmail
reprints; I didn't count those episodes.
A couple of other tendencies I have: every Halloween, I try and
do a scary story. Every April Fool's (well, beginning with 1996
anyway) I try and do a comedy story.
E5. What's this about TSR and copyright infringement anyway?
On October 4, 1994 I learned that ftp.cs.pdx.edu was removing
all material that contained AD&D-oriented items. Due to pressure
from TSR, no ftp site is now willing to carry such things, for
fear of legal action.
Though TSR has set up a site that I can put the Adventurers on,
they want me to put their copyright notice atop each story. It
seems that doing so might allow them to use my characters and
adventures, though, and they also want me to edit out violence,
profanity, etcetera. Due to these requested constraints on my
writing, I can't use their ftp site anytime in the near future.
This led to the stories from 205-250 or so not being archived
on any anonymous ftp site. However, in June 1995 a fan offered
me the use of his site, and I accepted. This was the first of
several ftp and web sites that I gained to archive my stories.
See the next question.
I'll add that the internet is a big place; if you look hard
enough, you're bound to find other places of archival for the
stories, both mine and others.
And finally...in late 1997, TSR was taken over by Wizards of the Coast - whose internet policies are much more fan-friendly.
I made an effort, but it never really worked out. I last communicated with WoTC in July 1998, and it didn't look promising.
As of 2016, with the advent of self-publishing over the internet, it might be possible for me to self-publish new, non-copyright-violating material someday...
E6. How many readers do you have, anyway? Is there a mailing list? Ftp site? Web page?
I've gotten thousands of fan emails over the 20+ years I've been writing these stories.
The only continent that I'm not certain I have readers on is Antarctica.
Yes, I do have a direct mailing list, which is a good thing because ever since 7/97, I have not posted the stories
to newsgroups. It just became too tedious. Thus, if you prefer to get the stories directly, send me email and
I'll subscribe you. Up until 1/96, the list was a simple .mailrc file, but nowadays it's a real live mailing list
on a real, live listserver. Its current size is more than 500 members.
And of course, with the advent of the web in the late 1990s, this web site is the primary means of all my publishing and communication.
To see where you can get old episodes, click here.
The Adventurers stories have been collected as books. e.g.
"book1", "book2", etc. I recommend these collected editions
because they're organized, with titles and page breaks, and
also because I tend to run a spell-checker on them (as opposed
to individual stories, which are never altered once I post them.)
(additions to this list are always welcome;
email them to me)