Chapter #309

previous chapter (#308)                                                                  next chapter (#310)

                                +   +
                              +       +
                            +           +
                          +               +
                        +                   +
                      +                       +
                    +      THE ADVENTURERS      +
                      +                       +
                        +      Epic II      +
                          +               +
                            +           +
                              +       +
                                +   +

+    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 1991-5 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                    +
+                          +
+  THE PARTY (or a portion of it):                                  +
+                                                                   +
+  Belphanior   13th/14th/14th level elven warrior/mage/thief (CN)  +
+    Otto        6th/8th level dwarven warrior/thief          (CN)  +
+  Date:        4/18/575 C.Y. (Common Year)                         +
+  Time:        late morning                                        +
+  Place:       the mountain town of Helgate                        +
+  Climate:     chilly                                              +
+  "Just because something's cool doesn't mean that something       +
+   else doesn't suck."                                             +
+                                                     - Butt-head   +

                    CCCIX.  Testing Ground

  Mere days after Lyra's fabulous one-hundredth birthday party, the
mad elf Belphanior has finally returned to faraway Helgate.

Belphanior:  Well, actually, I came back last night.
Otto:  Teleportation, eh?  (nods to himself, as if answering his own
  question)  Did you bring the golem?
Belphanior:  Yep.  Angus is sitting downstairs at the moment.

  The elf reclined in a soft leather chair, his favorite.  The piece
of furniture has belonged to the town's previous ruler, who had no
further need of it in his present condition.

Belphanior:  (sips rare wine from a golden flagon)
Otto:  Downstairs?
Belphanior:  Remember, Angus weighs better than two tons.  He weighs
  too much to make his way to this floor.  Hell, he couldn't even
  make it up the first staircase...
Otto:  Good point.
Belphanior:  Yet another reason why we need a better dwelling place,
  a castle perhaps...
Otto:  Another reason?  You mean besides the fact that this hotel is
  an easy, public target for our endless array of enemies?
Belphanior:  Precisely.
Otto:  (scratching at his beard absentmindedly)  Where in the Hells
  can we build a castle?
Belphanior:  I was thinking of the northern edge of town...where the
  mountainside meets the town.
Otto:  Above the mines...yeah, that would work.  The rock there is
  the right consistency and strength, and if I remember correctly,
  there's a natural shelf of granite on the slope.
Belphanior:  It overlooks the entire town, yet it's far enough out
  from the mountainside to stand on its own.
Otto:  Sounds like a good idea.
Belphanior:  Yeah...all I need to make it happen is the material and
  labor to build it.
Otto:  Now _that_ might be tough.
Belphanior:  Believe me, I'm looking into it.
Otto:  Let me know what I can do to help.  Hmm, to switch subjects
  entirely, how was Greyhawk?
Belphanior:  The usual-  well, that's not true.  The usual would've
  meant that I got into a pitched battle with city authorities and
  ended up being driven out.
Otto:  Or killing them all.
Belphanior:  (his eye glows)  Hmm, a possibility that I hadn't yet
Otto:  (thinking of Lyra)  A hundred years, eh?  Man, that's a long
Belphanior:  Not really...not in the grand scale of things.  Myself,
  I'm a century and a quarter old.
Otto:  Hmm.
Belphanior:  But enough about the drow, and their party.  We've got
  some...experiments ahead.
Otto:  What sort of experiments?  New poisons?  Acids?
Belphanior:  Better.  Did I ever tell you about our voyage to that
  strange alternate dimension, the one called "Earth"?
Otto:  (leans forward, interested)  Nope.
Belphanior:  Pour yourself a drink, my friend.  I've got a story for

  The elf proceeded to relate his (and the other adventurers')
unusual adventures in the alternate reality, several years ago.
The tale took nearly an hour to tell, given the elf's attention
to detail (not to mention embellishment) and when it was done,
Otto sat and pondered, his chin in his hands.

Belphanior:  So, what do you think?
Otto:  Question one...
Belphanior:  Shoot.
Otto:  Who was the little red demon-thing you fought right before
  being sucked into the time-vortex?
Belphanior:  Beats the hell out of me.  I always figured he was
  working for the forces of "evil" who were arrayed against us at
  the time.
Otto:  Hmm.  Question two:  what happened to the girl, Paula?
Belphanior:  (shrugs indifferently)  Who cares?
Otto:  Indeed.  And now to question three:  what exactly did you
  retrieve, during your travels there?  From the sound of it, there
  was a wide variety of alien artifacts to be had.
Belphanior:  Ah, _now_ you're talking!  (he looks around)  We'll
  need to find a testing ground for the arcane devices.  Since we
  still have to live in this hotel, I don't want to risk destroying
Otto:  You think some of the relics are that powerful?
Belphanior:  Undoubtedly.
Otto:  (nods)  Also, I'd suppose we don't want to risk any of these
  townspeople finding out what's afoot.
Belphanior:  Agreed.  Though they're generally a harmless lot, it
  serves no purpose for them to see and know more than they must.
Otto:  How about the old, abandoned mines to the north?
Belphanior:  Exactly my thoughts.  You think they're safe for any
  potentially heavy-duty blasting, though?
Otto:  I looked into them, previously, for another reason, and they
  seem sturdy enough.  I guess the ore vein ran out.  (shrugs)
  One can never have too much money.
Belphanior:  (stands)  Okay.  I'm ready when you are.
Otto:  A few moments...I'd like to get some parchment and a quill.
Belphanior:  You?  The note-taking type?
Otto:  It's a fool indeed who doesn't learn to read and write.

  Within the hour, they had ventured to the mines, practically
empty-handed save for the usual weapons and protections, not to
mention Belphanior's portable hole, in which all the artifacts
were stored.  Just being in the mines wasn't sufficient, since
they wanted to "test" the items in secrecy.  Thus, they moved
deep into the mineshafts, far from anywhere where prying eyes and
minds might interfere.  At last settling in a large, hollowed-out
cavern, they stopped.  Otto lit a lantern and placed it against
one wall, while Belphanior began taking strange items from his
portable hole.

Otto:  (looks on, in wonder)  I'm amazed that you retrieved so
Belphanior:  Hey, how often do you get a chance to loot on an alien
  world?  Besides, we were there for several days, and some of these
  things are actually Peldor's.
Otto:  (looking over the assortment of wondrous items)  Hmm.

  There were dozens of strange and unique things here, all stolen by
Belphanior during his short time on the world of Earth.  Without
further ado, they began examining the items, one by one.

Belphanior:  Let's start with what we know.  (he holds up a device
  that resembles a metal tube with a handle attached, at an angle)
  This is a sling.
Otto:  Pardon?
Belphanior:  A sling, but more powerful and easier to use than any
  sling on this world.  Observe.  (he fumbles with a tiny switch on
  the thing, then points its tube-end at one wall and pulls a lever
  on the item's underside)

  There was a terrific blast, incredibly loud in the confined space,
and a chunk of rock was torn free from the wall.  Something small and
incredibly fast-moving flew around the chamber for a moment.

Otto:  (covering his ears)  Sling, eh?
Belphanior:  As you can see, it's more powerful than any sling we
  know of.  It fires tiny pointed stones of metal at high rates of
  speed, with equally high rates of accuracy.  (he hands the thing
  to Otto)
Otto:  (examining the item)  Where are the stones held?
Belphanior:  Within the handle.  A squarish metal container keeps
  them safely locked away.  Watch that switch, there - it causes
  the weapon to fire.
Otto:  Right.  (interested, he sets the item aside for now)  Did
  you get any more of the stones which it launches?
Belphanior:  (holds up a couple of paper boxes)  I believe these
  will serve.
Otto:  (carefully opens the boxes)  What powers the launching of
  the metal stones?
Belphanior:  Sorcery, as far as I can tell.
Otto:  (holding up two differently-sized metal "stones" in either
  hand)  Err...
Belphanior:  (hefts a larger weapon, with a longer tube and much
  narrower handle)  This is called a "shotgun" - that's what I
  heard someone say.
Otto:  (puts the pointed sling stones down)  Shot-gun?
Belphanior:  It can fire volleys of smaller sling-bullets, which
  tend to shred anything they hit.
Otto:  Interesting concept.
Belphanior:  Unlike the other weapon, this one stores its sling-
  bullets in a small cylinder.  The cylinders are in turn stored
  beneath the long metal tube, here.
Otto:  (looking the weapon over)
Belphanior:  Watch this.  (he points the item's tube at the same
  wall as before)
Otto:  (always a fast learner, he covers his ears)

  There was a thunderous concussion, and Belphanior dropped the
weapon, covering his ears as he staggered about.

Belphanior:  Damn!  I'm deaf!
Otto:  (rubbing his eyes, for the cavern is now filled with thick
  smoke)  Whoa.

  As the smoke cleared, they could both see the section of wall where
the weapon had launched its magical load.  A sizable chunk of wall
was pitted and torn, and a number of tiny metal balls were embedded
in the stone itself.

Otto:  I wonder what sorts of military applications this would have.
Belphanior:  Why, good ones, of course.  (he picks the shot-gun up
  and sets it aside)  Bad news is, I only found a few of the special
  stones that this one hurls.  Perhaps a dozen, all told.
Otto:  That's not really bad news.  At least you have _some_.
Belphanior:  True.  Now we turn to more familiar weapons...(he holds
  a long, sharp knife up, turning its blade over and over)  Black
Otto:  And a ridged backside, to the blade.  Perhaps for sawing away
  bone and flesh?
Belphanior:  Probably.
Otto:  (picks up a six-inch long tube of silver metal)  What's this?
  (pushing a button, he causes a five-inch blade of steel to spring
  forth from the tube)  Whoa!
Belphanior:  Hey, lemme see that.  (he trades knives with the dwarf)
Otto:  (takes the first knive's ridged back and experimentally saws
  at a piece of wood on the cavern floor)  Nice.
Belphanior:  Eh?  (having learned that a small button on the handle
  causes the second blade to appear and disappear, he now repeatedly
  flicks the knife in and out)
Otto:  This saw-blade works really well.  A novel idea - I wonder
  why some enterprising dwarf hasn't thought of it already?
Belphanior:  Who knows?  (he picks up a small, brightly painted
  cylinder of metal)  What's this?
Otto:  Just make sure you aim it away, if it's got an open end and
  a button.  (he tinkers with a smooth, black metal cylinder some
  eight inches in length and better than an inch in diameter)  Th-

  The dwarf had depressed a round, nearly flat disc on the object,
causing a small blade to fire from one end; it had whizzed by his
face, missing narrowly before it lodged in the cavern's ceiling.

Belphanior:  Careful with that.  (he depresses a white button atop
  his own cylinder, releasing a burst of noxious gas right into his
  face)  Ghak!  (he falls to his knees, coughing uncontrollably and
  rubbing madly at his eyes, which are gushing tears)
Otto:  (eyes the blade he just embedded in the ceiling, then moves
  to help the elf, producing a flask of clean water)  Calm down!
Belphanior:  C- can't see...
Otto:  Here, pour this in your eyes.  (he helps the elf do so)
Belphanior:  Ahh...better...(he looks around, blinking)  Vision's
Otto:  Good thing I came prepared.  What was that stuff?
Belphanior:  Blindness gas, coughing gas, probably both in one.
  (he wipes his eyes again)  Damn.
Otto:  (hefts a black cloth belt, whose length is covered with small
  green spheres of metal)  These things have handles and tiny metal
  pins...(he notices the resemblance between the metal spheres and
  the gas-cylinder that Belphanior just sampled)  Maybe we'd better
  save these for outdoors testing.
Belphanior:  (still coughing slightly)  Ghak...

  Over the next few hours, they slowly, carefully, and (in some
cases, painfully) identified a number of other items:

- a green metal-and-glass double eyepiece that totally covered one's
  eyes; Belphanior at first thought it to be a form of protection
  against the gas-cylinder, but Otto noted that the thing, when put
  over one's eyes, altered vision somehow

- a black cloth vest, with thick pads and in some places, pockets
  containing metal plates; it seemed useless against swords and axes
  so they put it aside for now

- a long, thick black metal cylinder (Otto:  "What is it with this
  world and cylinders?") tipped with two tiny silver rods; they
  quickly learned (the hard way) that pushing a button delivered a
  nasty, stunning shock to whatever was touching the two silver rods

- several clear bags (unknown, but fairly durable material of a
  transparent nature) filled with white powder; they eventually
  slit one open, and found that the powder tasted terrible

- a sealed tube, with an unscrewing end, that contained some strange
  but pleasant-smelling dried leaves

- a small sack containing various golden necklaces, chains, and rings
  of extremely gaudy appearance (Belphanior:  "Who'd wear shit like

- several thin metal rings, with a variety of unusual (and rather
  small) keys

- a number of small, hollow, translucent, lightweight tubes (of an
  unknown, but strong, substance) tipped with tiny needles (Otto:
  "From their torture chamber, perhaps?"); they found that a smaller
  cylinder was contained within the outer shell, and that liquids
  placed in the larger tube would squirt from the needle, if the
  smaller tube was pressed forcibly; these tubes were designated for
  further tests involving poisons and acids

- several lengths of long, pliable brown tubing; made from a material
  of incredible stretching properties, these tubes were found to break
  under extreme stretching

- dozens of tiny, paper-thin metal plates, with one very sharp edge;
  at first considered as throwing weapons, then deemed useless, given
  the availability of larger, sturdier blades

- a black belt-pouch containing metal rods and blades that could only
  be lockpicks (Belphanior:  "Some things are common to all worlds.")

- a strange handle, like the sling-weapon they had first tested but
  with a thin lockpick-type protrusion; it seemed useless at first
  glance, and was earmarked for further testing

- several thin wafers, of a material much like the needle-tipped
  tubes but not translucent; they resembled the strange keys that
  Belphanior had seen on Earth; given the absence of such locks on
  this world, these items were deemed useless

- a small rectangular item of the same material, it had an opaque
  window at one end, as well as a tiny button and a switch/lever;
  no combination of these latter two produced any effect

- dozens of stacks of the green paper that Earth-people used for

- a pair of metal plates, each engraved with the designs on one
  side of the green paper (Otto:  "They must have used these to
  make more of their currency...too easy, if you ask me.")

- a large, heavy tool, with twin handles that joined at a pair of
  much smaller, and sharp, ends; both of them quickly realized that
  this was a lock-cutting device of some sort

- a pair of shiny metal rings, slightly larger than Otto's wrists;
  upon experimentation, they were found to contain other jointed
  pieces, that could be rotated to fasten around ladder-rungs or
  similar things; once secured, there seemed to be no way to open
  the things (Belphanior:  "Maybe those lock-cutters would do the

- a small silver whistle, which produced a high-pitched sound

- a bottle of liquid, which smelled and tasted like strong whiskey
  of some kind

- a small, thin hinged box of a light, unknown material; when opened
  it was found to contain a black square of an inky black substance

- a large, heavy red cylinder, with a handle-like protrusion and a
  long, black tube of the now-familiar light, strong material; they
  tried to fire this weapon, without luck, for a tiny metal pin was
  placed to stop the handle's motion (Otto:  "Too dangerous, perhaps,
  for casual use?"); when the handle was eventually pulled, the tube
  emitted a stream of white foam, which reminded Belphanior very much
  of the substance one of his wands generated

- a set of tiny keys; quickly found to fit the pair of shiny metal
  rings found previously

- a long, silver rod with a single button (Otto:  "At least this is
  simple!") which, when pushed, produced a powerful beam of bright

- a clear paper-and-unknown-transparent-material container with two
  small cylinders stored within; after the container was opened (a
  trivial task with any knife) the cylinders could not be made to
  do anything

- a five-inch wide disc of thin, pliant, and lightweight material;
  it had a small hole in its center, one plain silver side, and one
  side covered in tiny runes; thought to be a hurled weapon of some
  great magical power

- a small rectangular box-and-cylinder device with several buttons;
  its sole purpose seemed to be the generation of a brief but very
  bright burst of light (Belphanior:  "I like the light-wand better

- a box of tiny wooden sticks, tipped with a red substance; they
  had no powers or properties when dropped, chewed, or rubbed
  together, but were found to be highly flammable (especially the
  red tips) under direct flame

- a paper package, which when ripped open contained a dozen rather
  thin, white cigars; these were lit, but produced a terrible odor

- several brightly painted cylinders of thin metal, which obviously
  contained liquid of some sort; on one end was a metal tab of some
  kind; Belphanior shook one, listening to the fluid slosh within,
  before opening it...which produced a wet explosion, covering the
  elf with a sticky brown syrup

- a small oval cylinder of tough, light material (they were calling
  it "substance X" by this time) topped with a tiny gear and an
  equally tiny button; the gear, when spun, generated sparks, though
  pushing the button only caused a faint hissing sound (Otto:  "Why,
  it's nothing more than a glorified flint-and-steel!")

- a small, colored, opaque bottle of "substance X", it contained a
  thick liquid of some kind; Belphanior, being immune to poisons,
  tasted this, finding it nearly as bitter as any poison, though it
  smelled wonderfully fresh

- a small, cylindrical metal container, within which sloshed a liquid;
  pushing a button caused a tiny nozzle to emit a thick, soapy white
  foam which tasted worse than the liquid in the last bottle

- a tiny cylinder of "substance X", whose base rotated, eventually
  forcing one end of the cylinder off and exposing a greasy red
  stick (Otto:  "It kinda reminds me of war paint.")

- a transparent, paper-thin container, which contained a pair of
  rough-textured golden cylinders of indefinite shape; when these
  were squeezed, they were found to be soft, even fragile; when
  the outer shell was ripped open, the golden things were found to
  smell like a fresh pastry, and eventually, Belphanior ate one
  (Belphanior:  "Mmmmmm.  And still fresh after all these years!")

- a triangular cylinder of "substance X", which contained a thick
  pinkish fluid; its stopper was opened after several irritating
  minutes, and Belphanior drank the potion, with no apparent effect

- a thin, three-foot long pole of wood, tipped with a cup of some
  soft, black material; the thing was found to stick strongly to
  any sheer surface (Belphanior:  "Interesting.  The air pressure
  within the rounded cup keeps it attached.")  (Otto:  "Maybe it
  would stick to a person's head just as well.")

- a small, thin, square, item; after being torn open, its contents
  were revealed:  a ring of a thin, opaque, pliable substance that
  was eventually unrolled, to a length of perhaps eight inches; it
  seemed to be some kind of covering for something

- a small, metal box, one side of which featured a glass plate
  covering several tiny metal needles; this item resembled the
  magical compass that Belphanior possessed, but only one of its
  hands seemed to move, and in a regular motion anyway; also, the
  thing constantly produced a faint ticking sound from within;
  deemed to be a broken direction-finder of some sort, this item
  was catalogued for eventual dissection

- a three-foot long, smoothly-shaped metal club, of extremely strong
  yet lightweight metal; ruled to be a magical club of indeterminate

- a pair of heavy boots, which (unlike most magical boots) did not
  re-size themselves when a foot was inserted into one; they were
  too small for Belphanior but too big for Otto

- a jacket of some flat black hide, with the added innovation of tiny
  metal studs, which helped seal its pockets to protect the contents

- a tiny book, its pages filled with strange, indecipherable scrawled

- a small vial constructed from "substance X", with a screw-top; it
  contained dozens of tiny, identical white tablets; Belphanior ate
  several, to no effect

- an item fashioned from thin, black-colored metal and dark, opaque
  discs of glass; this provided the two adventurers with minutes of
  puzzlement until Otto tried putting the thing on his face, when
  he discovered that the item was an external eye-lens of some sort,
  one that seemed to protect the user from bright light (and who
  knew what else?) (Belphanior:  "I bet the drow would trade me a
  good spell or two for this thing.")

- several thick, square pieces of paper, upon each of which was
  painted a miniature image; these colorful paintings were of truly
  marvelous quality, and a few of them allowed Belphanior to show
  Otto glimpses of the alternate world

- a tiny, six-inch long tube of golden metal, with a narrow, tiny
  button on one end; when pushed, the button caused a similarly
  tiny metal prong to appear at the tube's opposite end; this tube
  seemed to have no apparent use until Belphanior drew it across
  his arm, leaving a mark that resembled that made by a quill of
  the finest sort; the item was taken apart to reveal its workings
  (Belphanior:  "Ah!  An item worthy of the wiliest elves - a self-
  contained ink-and-quill!")

- several fragile spellbooks (?) which contained more small but
  detailed paintings of things found on the world of Earth; the
  subjects of these manuals ranged from nature scenes to portraits
  of men and women to life-like paintings of naked women (Otto:
  "Holy shit!  Look at the size of _those_!  They don't make them
  like that, here...")

- a three-foot by half-foot wooden board, with slightly curved edges
  and two pairs of tiny wheels, mounted on one side; the thing was
  apparently some kind of magical traveling platform, though it
  quickly became apparent that much practice was necessary for one
  to use the item with any degree of effectiveness

- a tiny bottle, of "substance X", with a screw-top; it contained a
  foul-tasting white fluid that dried rather quickly, sticking to
  Belphanior's tongue (Belphanior:  "Where's Rob when we _really_
  need him?") (Otto:  "Rob?  Who's Rob?")

- dozens of small, circular bands of a pliable, stretchable brown
  substance; like the long, pliable tubing examined earlier, these
  things were found to break upon extreme stretching

- a tiny vial with a removable tip; the clear fluid within seemed
  to have no properties when a drop was placed on Otto's fingertip
  ...until he tried to pull his thumb and forefinger apart (Otto:
  "Glue!  A powerful glue!")

- a square stack of tiny, blank yellow papers; when one was removed
  from the top of the stack, it was found that part of it had an
  adhesive property, and would stick to nearly anything until pulled

- a thin, lightweight disc, some eight inches in diameter, with
  runes on one side; it had no offensive, defensive, or intensive
  properties, though it was remarkably well-balanced for throwing
  (Otto:  "Hmm, maybe if we attached a bunch of those tiny metal
  blades to this thing...?")

- a small, metal-and-"substance X" contraption, which contained more
  than a dozen blades and implements that folded out if needed; this
  was ruled one of the more practical items

- a rectangular box, about 15" x 10" x 3", of "substance X"; it had
  a variety of nearly-flush buttons, and a 6" x 1" slot with a
  hinged door, on one side; protruding from one corner of the thing
  was a pliant black rope, of some strange material, which ended in
  a pair of copper-colored metal pins; try as they might, the pair
  were unable to make this device do anything

- a metal box, perhaps 9" x 6" and 8" high (the thing had four legs
  to stand on, defining a bottom side) with a sliding lever on one
  side and two long rectangular slots in the top face; these twin
  platforms within appeared to have springs mounted behind them, but
  a more detailed analysis would require taking the thing apart; the
  item also had a metal-tipped rope, like the last, but there seemed
  to be no way to connect the two boxes using these ropes

- half a dozen long, red tubes of paper, with a thin wick of oiled
  paper protruding from one end; Belphanior was about to light the
  wick of one when Otto theorized that anything requiring fire to
  activate was probably too dangerous to use in a confined mineshaft

  After the examination of all these wondrous items, the pair were
left with many questions, and a few general theories:

1)  the inhabitants of the Earth dimension liked cylindrical shapes
2)  several of their items were merely analogues of things found on
    Oerth (the flint-and-steel tube, the light-wand, certain of the
    potion bottles)
3)  their level of weaponry was, in some cases, far superior to that
    found on Oerth, though it was obvious that they still had need
    for more basic weapons such as knives and clubs

Belphanior:  A good day's work, all in all.
Otto:  Aye.  We'll need to lock some of this stuff up, to keep the
  wrong hands off it.
Belphanior:  And other items will require further testing, maybe
  even battle testing.
Otto:  I'm looking forward to it.

next:   the fate of Gorin, and the next step in a dastardly plot
ftp: in /pub/access/dpm/rpg/stories/adventurers
notes:  Thanks to the following readers for their suggestions on
  items recovered from Earth:

  Glen Barnett
  Jefferson E. Bell
  John Jay Feiler
  Maciek Karczewski
  Gabriel Law
  Jens-Arthur Leirbakk
  Matt Hurd
  Joe Katzman
  Joshua Nelson
  Carl M Petersen IV
  Marty Ross
  Jim Sidaris
  Gregory Stratton
  Thomas Vallow
  David Marcus Woodcock

previous chapter (#308)                                                                  next chapter (#310)