Chapter #488

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                                +   +
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                            +           +
                          +               +
                        +                   +
                      +                       +
                    +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                      +                       +
                        +      Epic III     +
                          +               +
                            +           +
                              +       +
                                +   +

+    Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells, and      +
+  other terms used in these stories are the property of TSR, Inc.  +
+  However, this does not mean that TSR in any way endorses or      +
+  authorizes their use, and any such items contained within these  +
+  stories should not be considered representative of TSR in any    +
+  way, shape, or form.                                             +
+    The player characters contained in these writings are copy-    +
+  right 1991-6 by Thomas Miller.  Any resemblance to any persons   +
+  or characters either real or fictional is utterly coincidental.  +
+  Copying and/or distribution of these tales is permissible only   +
+  under the sole condition that no part of them will be used or    +
+  sold for profit.  In that case, I hope you enjoy them...         +
+                                                                   +
+                                  Thomas Miller                    +
+                           +
+  Alindyar     17th level drow mage                            (N) +
+    Lyra       13th level female drow mage                     (N) +
+  Belphanior  (14th)^3 level elven fighter/wizard/thief       (CN) +
+    Otto        8th/9th level dwarven fighter/thief           (CN) +
+    the wispy thing                                                +
+  Ged          15th/14th level grey elven priest/mage         (NG) +
+    Arnold     13th level human barbarian warrior             (NG) +
+  Mongo        18th level dwarven fighter                     (CG) +
+    Gorin      10th level dwarven fighter                     (NG) +
+  Peldor       20th level human thief                          (N) +
+    Tanya       5th/11th level female human fighter/thief      (N) +
+    Bosco      11th level halfling thief                      (CN) +
+  Rillen       17th level human monk                           (N) +
+    Songa      13th level human huntress                       (N) +
+  Date:        6/22/576 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        the middle of the night                             +
+  Place:       the Isle of the Ape, within some demi-plane         +
+  Climate:     hot and humid                                       +
+  "Funny story.  Sounds unbelievable.  Probably true."             +
+                                    - Rorschach, from _Watchmen_   +

                   CDLXXXVIII.  Jungle Fever

  While camped in the jungle, the adventurers have been accosted
by a huge carnivorous dinosaur!

Mongo:  (caught in the jaws of the huge tyrannosaurus)  Fuuuuck!
tyrannosaurus:  (rears up, shaking the trapped dwarf like a leaf)
Mongo:  (cursing and beating the thing across the nose with his club,
  he quickly vanishes into the fanged maw, swallowed whole)
tyrannosaurus:  UUURP.
Bosco:  (shaking his sword at the beast)  Hey, that wasn't polite!
tyrannosaurus:  (turns to regard the halfling)
Bosco:  Ulp.
tyrannosaurus:  RRAAAAARGH!  (it charges right for Bosco's tree)
Belphanior:  Oh, for crying...(he begins spellcasting, frantically)
Otto:  Good going, Bosco!  (he nocks a bolt in his crossbow)
Gorin:  Mongo...(he hefts his axe, not quite sure what he intends
  to do with it)  Damned lizard...

  As the gigantic lizard bore down on those in the tree, all they
could do was wait and do their best to prepare for the worst.  The
notion of climbing down was a futile one, since there wasn't enough
time.  Staying put was the best of several bad options; although
they were a good thirty feet above the ground, the tyrannosaurus
was at least fifty feet tall, and would have no trouble assaulting
their treeborne platform.
  On the ground, encased in their bubble of force, the others stood
and watched in awe.

Ged:  Those fools!  I told them to stay here with us.
Lyra:  We have to go out and help them!
Alindyar:  That might not be a good strategy...
Peldor:  To hell with strategy - they need our help!
Ged:  Not yet, they don't.
Rillen:  But Mongo...
Ged:  Yea...damn it all.
Songa:  I'm no coward, but if this wall is taken down, what can we
  do against something like that, anyway?
Alindyar:  That is a very good question.
Lyra:  I'm thinking maybe a lightning bolt to the head.
Ged:  Hmm.  It would be nice if we could see more clearly, to better
  attack the thing...
Arnold:  (touches the transparent wall, trying to see through the
  murky darkness beyond)  Yah.

  Indeed, they had only a limited view of the beast's attack; the
light of a mostly-full moon shone through the treetops, giving them
glimpses of the scene beyond.  From within their comparitively tiny
sphere, they had a ground-zero view of the action.

tyrannosaurus:  GRAAARGH!  (it reaches the tree, ramming it head-on
  with enough force to rattle teeth and brains)
Gorin:  (knocked from the platform, he falls to the ground roughly,
  dropping his battleaxe)  Ungh!
Belphanior:  (also knocked from the tree, he launches a lightning
  bolt gone awry)  Fuck-  (the bolt flies directly upward into the
  night sky, while the elf falls to the ground, cracking a rib as
  he hits)  Unf!
Otto:  (having fired just before the collision, his bolt is imbedded
  in the huge dinosaur's nose)  Got 'im!  (as the tree shakes, the
  dwarf hangs on for dear life)
wispy thing:  (lost amidst the flurry of leaves set free by the
  impact)  Aaarp?
Bosco:  (having had the sense to evacuate the platform before the
  collision, he flies upward)  He who fights and runs away-
tyrannosaurus:  (going after Bosco, it snaps at the halfling as he
  climbs)  GRAAAAR!
Bosco:  (misses being bitten in half by mere feet)  Yie!  (he rises
  further, his boots' little wings flapping furiously)
tyrannosaurus:  (snaps at the tiny prey again, but the halfling is
  now safely above the hungry foe)  RAAAARGH!  (stepping backwards,
  the tremendous beast trips over the immovable force-bubble)  RRRG?
  (it topples, landing with earth-shaking force)
Ged:  (within the sphere of force, of course)  Hah!  (he staggers
  to keep his footing)
Alindyar:  'Tis indeed fortunate that we had not yet canceled this
Songa:  (stabbing at the invisible wall with her spear)  I want out!
Peldor:  (to Ged)  Open this thing, dammit.
Ged:  I'm working on it...
Rillen:  Not fast enough!
tyrannosaurus:  (clumsily regains its footing, standing erect once
  more, and looks around)  GRRRRRR.
Otto:  (still in the tree, he suddenly finds himself the focus of
  the monster's gaze)  Whoa.
tyrannosaurus:  (regards the dwarf)  GRAAAR...(it gnashes its teeth,
  grinning ferociously)
Otto:  (slowly, discreetly, he grabs another bolt, muttering)  I bet
  poison's no good against this thing...

  In the force-sphere...

Tanya:  Look at him!  How can anybody be so calm?
Songa:  I'd say because he has no other choice.  (to the wizards in
  general)  Open this damned bubble.  I wish to join the fight.
Rillen:  (turns to Songa)
Songa:  You have something to say?
Rillen:  ...only this:  let's get out there and show that monster
  what brave hearts can do!
Songa:  And sharp weapons...(she hefts her spear)

  In the tree...

Otto:  (inch by inch, he brings his crossbow to bear)
tyrannosaurus:  (suddenly lunges forward, gnashing its fearsome
  teeth)  RRAAARGH!  (it pauses suddenly, looking downward)  RRR?
Gorin:  (brings his axe down again, severing a toe with the mighty
  chop)  Hah!  Take that toecheese!
tyrannosaurus:  (bellows in pain)  RRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!  (with a
  kick of its bad foot, it sends the dwarf sailing through the
  jungle, and out of sight)  GRAAARGH!  (looking back to Otto, it
  lunges, chomping down on a large area of branches and leaves)
Otto:  (leaps out of harm's way in the nick of time, his bolt
  whizzing away into the night)  Gangway!  (he falls backward, his
  crossbow only staying with him because of the strap that ties
  it to his belt)

  As Otto landed on a log, bouncing and rolling off in a daze, the
tyrannosaurus was already whirling about, ready to devour more of
this food that had wandered into its territory.  However, Belphanior
had recovered, and was shakily attempting to cast another spell.
The dinosaur stomped its way toward him, bellowing every time its
injured foot came down.

wispy thing:  (trying to distract the huge foe, it flits about the
  dinosaur's face)  Sssss!
tyrannosaurus:  (snaps once, in irritation, but generally ignores
  the immaterial distraction)  RRRRARGH!
Bosco:  (following above the lizard, he hurls a marble at its head)

  The tiny glass bead struck the foe, hardly with enough force to
even be felt.  However, the marble split into two marbles, each of
which bounced again, splitting into two more marbles...and so on.
Within moments, there were dozens of tiny spheres bouncing on the
dinosaur's head.  Eventually, these fell off into the jungle, but
the halfling's ploy had gained Belphanior enough time to prepare
his next offensive.

Belphanior:  Let's see how you like this...(he fires a thin green
  beam from one finger)

  The monstrous dinosaur was large and clumsy-looking; it seemed
impossible that the thing could possibly avoid the beam.  That was
precisely what happened, though.  Perhaps the poor visibility
caused Belphanior's attack to miss, or perhaps the foe did in fact
dodge aside inadvertently.  Whatever the case, the disintegration
beam missed, and the elf was left standing there as the beast bore
down on him.

Belphanior:  Uh-oh.  This just isn't my day...
tyrannosaurus:  (stomps with one foot, pinning Belphanior to the
  jungle floor before he can leap aside)

  The elf was still alive only because the jungle's floor was soft
dirt and matted leaves, mostly.  However, the tyrannosaurus seemed
intent on rectifying that situation, as it brought its toothsome
maw down, toward the wriggling Belphanior...

Ged:  (outside the campsite now, his hands aglow)  By Boccob, beast,
  turn and face me!  (he snaps his fingers, and a terribly bright
  burst of light appears right between the reptile's eyes)
tyrannosaurus:  GRRRRRR...?  (it removes its foot from Belphanior
  and rears up, suddenly unable to see much of anything)
Alindyar:  Brilliant!
Ged:  Of course.  I blinded the creature while also solving the
  problem of poor visibility.  Killed two birds with one stone...
Lyra:  Well-done.  (she drops a web on the gigantic lizard's feet)

  The tyrannosaurus, however, was having none of this.  With a
mighty lurch and an ear-splitting roar, it whirled, rending the
webs like paper, and thundered away into the jungle.  Trees and
bushes alike were torn asunder by its passing, and the blazing
light that Ged had placed upon it quickly receded into the night.

Ged:  (shaking his fist in the air triumphantly)  Come back here
  and fight, you coward!
Lyra:  Now where the hell did it think it was going?
Alindyar:  I believe it had no idea, and no intention.  It simply
Songa:  (nods)  Typical behavior, no matter what the animal's size.
Belphanior:  (sits up and brushes himself off)  Hell, it took you
  people long enough to join the fight...
Tanya:  (somewhat miffed)  We did the best we could.
Lyra:  That's right.
Otto:  (frowns)
Rillen:  But what about Mongo?
Ged:  What about him?  He's wearing indestructible armor, a ring
  that heals all his wounds, and the last time I checked, an amulet
  that lets him breathe in any conditions.  He's probably asleep in
  that monster's stomach.  (he frowns)  Of course, we still need to
  go find out...
Songa:  (somewhat angrily)  That we do.  And you would do well to
  remember that some of your precious magic items aren't working at
  all on this island.
Ged:  Hmph.
Tanya:  (to Peldor)  Mongo has all of those things?
Peldor:  (shrugs)  With the exception of the feather tattoos, he
  always did have a knack for ending up with the most useful stuff.
Otto:  (wipes blood from a cut on his forehead)
Rillen:  I ask again:  what about Mongo?
Peldor:  We'll get him...or find his bones.  But first we've got
  to attend to the wounded we still have.

  The master thief was looking at Belphanior, who lay in a perfectly
man-sized depression in the forest floor.

wispy thing:  Sprrd?
Ged:  (leaning over Belphanior)  Are you alive?
Belphanior:  (slowly extricates himself from the odd hole)  Yeah,
  though I've seen better days...
Tanya:  (goes after Gorin, or at least the last direction she saw
  him sail away in)  Gorin?
Gorin:  (somewhere in the foliage)  Unh...over here...
Otto:  (sits up, painfully)  Ow.
Rillen:  Are _you_ okay?
Otto:  Sure...though I'm starting to believe that if people were
  meant to live in trees, they'd have fingers on their feet, and
Bosco:  (hovering about thirty feet up, he looks in the direction
  the tyrannosaurus fled)  I don't see that dinosaur, or the light
  on its head.
Peldor:  (peering into the darkness with his eagle eyes)  Me neither.
Songa:  We won't ever find that thing in the daytime - we won't be
  able to see the glow.
Ged:  Not a problem.  That spell will last forever.
Rillen:  How useful.
Gorin:  (staggering back into the campsite with Tanya's help)  We
  could always just follow the trail of destruction...
Belphanior:  Or someone could go airborne, and track the creature.
  (he begins spellcasting)
Ged:  Are you sure you're in any shape for this?
Belphanior:  Yup.  Don't worry about me.
Bosco:  Let me go.
Alindyar:  Or I, with my superior infravision.
Belphanior:  Nope.  You people just stay here - that fucker's mine.
  (he flies upward, faster than Bosco and more determined than
  Alindyar, and quickly disappears into the night sky)
Lyra:  Well.
Ged:  Belphanior sure is a willful one.
Alindyar:  (ESPing to Lyra)  He's one to talk.
Lyra:  (ESPing to Alindyar)  You've got that right.

  Slowly, if impatiently, the adventurers surveyed the remnants of
their campsite, and prepared to bed down again.

next:      can Mongo be found?
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
  in /pub/users/zac/rpg/adventurers/
mail:       (preferred)
notes:     I'm working hard to have some good character-to-character
  conversations...maybe not in all-action episodes like this, but
  in the last one...

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