Chapter #35

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*  The 8 player characters contained in these writings are copyright
*  1992 by Thomas Miller...copying and distribution of these stories
*  is permissible only under the condition that no part of them will
*  be used or sold for profit.  In that case, I hope you enjoy them.
*    The dungeons and non-player characters contained herein are from
*  TSR's module, A4, and are copyright 1980 by TSR, Inc.  Specific
*  text and maps from them have been avoided, and I encourage anyone
*  who enjoys reading about them to buy and play the whole "A" series.


Alindyar, 6th level drow elf mage (N)
Belphanior, 5th/4rd/5th level high elf fighter/mage/thief (CN)
Ged, 5th/5th level grey elf priest/mage of Boccob (NG)
Halbarad, 6th level human ranger (NG)
Mongo Thunderhead, 6th level dwarf fighter (CG)
Peldor, 7th level human thief (N)
Peyote, 5th/6th level half-elf fighter/druid of Obad-Hai (N)
Rob, 6th level human priest of Trithereon (LG)
Date:   ?  (presumably sometime after 4/21)
Time:   about thirty minutes since the party woke up
Place:  the Slave Lords' dungeon in Suderham

                     XXXV.  Collection Time

Mongo:  (knocked over by something that leaped out of the water)
Belphanior:  Kill it!  (charges toward whatever is assaulting the
  dwarf, but stops short, realizing that he has no weapons)  Yipe.
Mongo:  (bashes his assailant with his bone/club)  Get the hell
  off of me!
creature:  (chittering, moves toward Belphanior)
Belphanior:  Yah!  (runs around, chased by the thing)
Halbarad:  I do not know which I would rather have more right now,
  sight or an axe.  (he, Peldor, and Rob still can't see, as they
  have no infravision)
Peldor:  I'd take sight.
Mongo:  I'd take the axe.
Rob:  Axe?
Ged:  Watch out!  The thing's still attacking!
Belphanior:  I'll punch it!  (swings at the creature, but misses)
Peldor:  (trying to find a way to apply his blind-fighting skills)
Mongo:  I'll get the bastard!  (bashes it again with his club,
  and it slows down considerably)
Belphanior:  (kicks at it, doing insignificant damage)
creature:  (charges Mongo again, biting him)
Mongo:  OW!  Leave me the hell alone!
Alindyar:  (scrutinizing the thing with his infravision)  The
  attacker appears to have the shape of a huge crustacean.
Mongo:  Huh?!?!
Ged:  Yep, you're right.  It's a crab, I think.
Mongo:  Crab?!  I've been attacked by a CRAB?!  Eyagh!  (smashes
  the creature again, and a wet splatter is heard)
Peyote:  I think you brained it.  Gross.
Mongo:  (examining the carcass in the darkness)  I think it IS a
  big crab!
Peldor:  Ah, if we only had a fire...
Mongo:  Oh, we will.  But for now, someone needs to carry this
  crab body around.  (looking at Peldor)
Peldor:  Uh...
Ged:  Yeah, you do it, Peldor.  You're fairly strong, and otherwise
  useless in this darkness.
Peldor:  (grumbling, he gingerly grabs the crab by a leg)  Fine,
  but I get first dibs on the meat.
Halbarad:  (manages to get to the water's edge)
Ged:  Hey, stay away from there!  There might be another one of
  those crabs.
Halbarad:  (tasting the water)  This is fresh water.
Ged:  So?
Mongo:  Wait a minute...
Halbarad:  Caverns usually do not have fresh water inside of them.
Peyote:  Yeah, dude, you're on to something!
Mongo:  He's right.  Even the dumbest kobold miner knows that.
Ged:  I see.  So this pool may lead to an outlet somewhere.
Alindyar:  ...such as that large freshwater lake surrounding the
  island that we are underneath.
Belphanior:  I'll check the pool.  It's not like I have anything
  that can't get wet.
Mongo:  Wait for me!  (wades out into the water, club brandished)
Ged:  We'll wait here, I guess.  (picks up the two pieces of wood
  that were washed up on the shore)  Hey, these are too wet to
  burn, but they might serve as clubs.
Peyote:  (hefting one)  Aye.
Belphanior:  Give me one of those.  (snatches one and swims out
  into the pool)  Nice fishies...(submerges)
Mongo:  (finding that he can float rather well when unarmored)
  Hmm, it's a good thing that I once learned how to swim.
Peyote:  Where's that elf?
Belphanior:  (surfaces on cue)  There is an exit from here, under
  the surface.
Ged:  Hmm.  Sounds like a possibility.
Mongo:  Well, what are we waiting for?!  Let's go swim and check
  it out!
Belphanior:  Okay.  (they take deep breaths and go under)
Peldor:  If we don't find light and heat soon, I may eat this
  crab raw...

over a minute later...

Alindyar:  Something is coming...
Belphanior:  (surfaces)  <cough>
Mongo:  (walks up onto the shore)  Whew!
Ged:  Well?  What's the story?
Belphanior:  Mongo can hold his breath longer than me, that's what.
Mongo:  The underwater tunnel continues for a while, but forks off
  fairly far down.
Belphanior:  We didn't want to risk going any farther, since we were
  running out of air by that point.
Mongo:  Yeah.  Well at least you were.  Anyway, there's also some
  funny worm-like things in the tunnel pretty close to us.  I didn't
  want to see what they were, though.  You never know...
Belphanior:  The water seemed charged nearby them.  I think they're
  electric eels, myself.
Halbarad:  Well, it seems that at least some of us cannot make that
  swim.  Even IF there is a way out.
Mongo:  (wondering just how long he can hold his breath)  I'd be
  willing to try for a farther swim.
Ged:  But what if there's nothing out there?  Not a chance.  We'll
  go back another way and see what we find.
Peyote:  Look on the bright side.  At least we found something we
  can eat later.  It wasn't a total loss.
Peldor:  Let's find heat then.  I'm getting hungry.
Mongo:  Bah.  You think you're getting hungry?!  I could eat ten
  of those crabs right now!
Ged:  Well, let's reverse our marching order in this cave, and go


THE MARCHING ORDER (* = no infravision) :

  <- Mongo  Belphanior  Alindyar  Ged  Halbarad  Rob  Peldor  Peyote
                                          *       *      *

  Suddenly, as they went back in a somewhat northward direction,
the ground trembled again, raining dirt and small rock bits all
over the adventurers.  This tremor seemed a bit more violent than
the first one.

Mongo:  Damned shitty construction.  You'd never see dwarves build
  a dungeon this feeble, that's for sure.
Ged:  I think someone's trying to tell us something...
Belphanior:  (silent as the party treks back several hundred feet)

  They eventually (and confusedly, it must be added) made their
way back to the main chamber of the dungeon.  Since the first two
passages were adjacent, they chose the next one in line (there
were four exits from the main area, total) and slowly marched
down it.  Shortly...

Mongo:  Hey!  What's that freakin' glow ahead?
Halbarad:  Glow?  What glow?
Belphanior:  It's a greenish aura.  Maybe fifty feet ahead of us.
Halbarad:  (his pupils finally adjusting to this new, dim lighting)
  I see it.
Peldor:  Light!  At last!
Rob:  Ow.  (covering his eyes)
Ged:  Rob, you've got the eyes of a bat.
Alindyar:  Wait.  Bats have no eyes.
Ged:  Yup.
Rob:  But...
Mongo:  Let's find out what the hell's going on up there.  Shh.
Peyote:  Be vewwy, vewwy quiet.  (holding his finger in front of
  his mouth)

  The party entered a larger chamber, which was quite damp and
filled with typical cave formations.  One stalactite had obviously
fallen recently, for it was shattered all over the floor of the
cavern.  There were a number of small, rounded fungi clustered in
the center of the place - these were the source of the strange
glowing light.  Each was about two feet high and perhaps half a
foot thick.  There were two larger fungi in the center of the
smaller ones, both over five feet in height.

Halbarad:  Shriekers!
Alindyar:  Actually, that one with the appendages does not appear
  to be a typical shrieker.  The other, however, is definitely a
  member of that species.
Peyote:  Say what?!?
Ged:  He means that the one with the funny little arms might not
  be a shrieker, but the other one is.
Alindyar:  Is that not what I said?
Mongo:  Not by me, pal.
Rob:  The little guys seem to be worshipping the bigger ones.
Peldor:  Aww...
Ged:  Hey, I have an idea.  Let's get one or two of the small ones
  and use them for light.  Well, at least until we get a chance to
  build a fire.
Halbarad:  I agree.
Peldor:  Me too.
Rob:  Yeah!
Mongo:  How do we know that they won't rot us or something?
Belphanior:  Good question.
Alindyar:  I think that the smaller fungi are harmless.  I know
  nothing of the larger ones, however.
Mongo:  Well, I'll just reach out and reel one in with this bone.
  (does so)
big fungus with arms:  (scuttles forth suddenly, flailing its
  tentacles at the dwarf)
other big fungus w/o arms:  SHRIEK!!!
Mongo:  (dodging wildly)  Yagh!
little fungus:  (scrambling about frantically, ambles near Peyote)
Peyote:  Eh?
Peldor:  Grab that fungus!
Peyote:  Come here, small light-emitting dude.  (snatches up the
  fungus)  Yuck.  Slimy.  Cold, too.
Belphanior:  (backing up to let Mongo retreat)
Mongo:  (hit by one of two branches)  OUCH!  Fuck!  FUCK!  THAT
  HURTS!  EYAGH!  (the DM made him save vs. death, and he barely
  made it...)
Ged:  Calm down.  (he and Belphanior pull Mongo back)
big flailing fungus:  (moves back to the center of the room)
shrieker:  SHRIEK!!!
Mongo:  Ouch!  That shit HURT!  Let's get the fuck out of here!
Belphanior:  Fine by me.  We got what we came for, anyway.
Peyote:  (holds up the little fungus)  Well, guys, there's now
  a fungus among us.
Ged:  You get to carry it.

  The party returned to the main chamber, the one they had woken
up in, and proceeded to go back to the first passage they had
tried earlier (the one with the sand monster or whatever it was).
But first:

Ged:  Let's look over what we have so far.
Alindyar:  Verily.

   BELPHANIOR : wooden club
   GED        : scroll tube, dry wood scraps
   HALBARAD   : wooden club
   MONGO      : thigh bone
   PELDOR     : giant crab carcass
   PEYOTE     : squirming, glowing fungus

Ged:  By Boccob!  I forgot all about that scroll tube!  Bring
  that fungus over here!
Peyote:  (rushes over as the elf opens the tube and unrolls the
  parchment)  Here he is.  (holds the vegetable aloft)
Ged:  What's this?  A message?
Halbarad:  What does it say?
Ged:  "This is the best I could do to help.  May your gods be
  with you.  If you escape, your equipment is being held on the
  Slave Lords' private boat, the Water Dragon, at the Suderham
  docks.  Signed, your friend from the gate."
Belphanior:  That beggar!
Peldor:  Yeah, him.
Ged:  But wait, there's more!  It's not one scroll, it's three!
Belphanior:  (looking intently over Ged's shoulder)  What's on
Alindyar:  (also very curious)  Yes, what?
Ged:  Hmm.  This one spell seems to be the one for reading magic,
  but it's permanent.
Mongo:  So?
Belphanior:  That means we can use it over and over, to read all
  of the spells.  Just like the read magic spell found in all of
  our spellbooks.
Alindyar:  How thoughtful.
Ged:  Let's see.  Affect Normal Fires, Light, Jump.  And the
  Read Magic.  And on this one:  Spider Climb, Feign Death, Dig.
Peldor:  Why would anyone want to feign death?
Ged:  Never mind that.  The third one has:  Audible Glamer,
  Dancing Lights, Wall of Fog, and Invisibility.
Alindyar:  That third scroll sounds interesting.
Belphanior:  Well, I'll be damned!  Now we have more chance than
  we did.
Ged:  Yep.  Remind me to thank that guy if - when - we get out
  of this place.
Mongo:  Speaking of which, let's get to it!
Peyote:  Right on!  (holds the fungus high)  Let's go, dudes!


Mongo:  There's that glowing light ahead.  Again.
Belphanior:  Let's not get caught by the sand thing again.
Ged:  I have another idea.  If several of us, well, you, rush
  into the sand, someone might get through.  I'll use the
  healing spells I have left to help anyone who gets hurt.
  Then, if feasible, those who got by can attack the monster
  from behind, and overwhelm it.
Peldor:  Even me?
Ged:  Even you.
Mongo:  Fuck.  I'll stay and fight the thing while others run.
Belphanior:  Sounds like a plan.  Let's do it.
Alindyar:  Peyote, hold the fungus on high to let the warriors
  see well.
Peyote:  Check.  (does so)
Mongo:  (runs for the sand, evading a number of tiny sandy
  blobs which are obviously no threat)  Where are you, you big
  glob of shit?!?
Peldor:  (runs behind him, as does Belphanior)
Belphanior:  Yaaaaa!
Halbarad:  (backs up Mongo)
sand-thing:  (rears up; it appears as a large mass of sand with
  a few pseudopods)
Mongo:  (swings at it with the bone, but doesn't land a solid
  enough blow)  Fuck!
sand-thing:  (bashes Mongo hard)
Mongo:  Cripes!
Peldor:  (leaps over a large portion of the sand and then runs
Belphanior:  (dashes through the sandy area, screaming and
  waving his club about wildly)
Halbarad:  (swats at the sand-thing with his club, hitting it)
Ged:  Boccob's ears!  The two fools made it!  Both of them!
Peyote:  Way cool.
Peldor:  (behind the sand-thing now)  Gimme that club.  I'll
  backstab it good!
Belphanior:  Hey!  I'll get it.  You stay back.  (charges at
  the approximate rear of the mass of sand, and manages to
  land a blow somehow)
Peldor:  (wanders back into the tunnel beyond somewhat,
  following the dim glow which just reappeared)
Belphanior:  Hey!  Get back here!

sand-thing:  (attacks Mongo again, slamming him into a wall)
Mongo:  Fuck!  I'm hurt bad!
Halbarad:  (bashes ineffectually at the creature with his club)
Rob:  I'll try to help!  (strolls up and casts a create water
  spell right in the middle of the sand monster)
Ged:  Great.  Now it's WET sand.  That hurts more.
Alindyar:  No, look!  The monster moves more slowly now!
Rob:  Yeah, it does, doesn't it?  Yay for me!
Belphanior:  (swipes at the thing, but misses)
Mongo:  (cursing loudly)  Yeaargh!  (bashes the monster with
  the bone, spraying sand everywhere)


Peldor:  (following the dim light)  What's this?  (picks up a
  skull after checking for spiders inside, and also a rusty
  dagger)  Yeah!  Hey, where'd the light go?  (backs up quickly)

in the main battle...

Halbarad:  (bashes the sandy mass with his club, hitting and
  spreading a lot of sand everywhere)
sand-thing:  (collapses)
Belphanior:  Hey, I think you killed it.
Mongo:  It's about fucking time!  Ugh.  I'm hurt.
Ged:  (casts a healing spell on the dwarf)  There, rest for a
Peyote:  (sets the fungus down)  Where's the thief?
Peldor:  (reappears)  Here I am!  Look, I found a skull!
Ged:  Oh boy.  The wonders of the modern world...
Mongo:  Well, we managed to kill that friggin' thing while you
  were back there playing with yourself.
Alindyar:  Was there anything of note back there?
Peldor:  Nope.  The passage dead-ended, and I found this skull.
  No one even had the sense to hide a gem or something inside it.
Ged:  Okay then.  Let's move out.
Peyote:  The light's getting dimmer...HEY!
fungus:  (wandering away)
Peyote:  (runs after it and grabs it)  Don't leave!  We still
  need you.
fungus:  (trembling slightly)
Peldor:  Maybe you should get a leash for him, or something.
Ged:  I think we should check some of the places we ignored
  when we couldn't really see.
Halbarad:  Agreed.

  The party made their way back to the pitch pool, and Ged gave
all the scrolls to Alindyar before filling the scroll tube with
pitch and sealing it.  Then the group went back to the giant ant
cavern to have a look.

Mongo:  They're still at it.  Digging away mindlessly.
Peyote:  Whoa, dude.  Look at those two.  They've got something
  in their mandibles.  A dagger?
Peldor:  (squinting)  Boy, we sure could use a dagger right
  about now.  No, one's got a sharp stone bit, and the other
  has what looks like an iron spike.
Halbarad:  Is the stone glossy?
Peldor:  Looks like it.
Ged:  Do you think it's flint?
Alindyar:  Aha.
Halbarad:  If we could get those, we might be able to make a
  fire.  Flint and steel...
Ged:  Good idea.  But how to implement it?
Alindyar:  'Tis simple.  We can use the scrolls that we were
  given.  Perhaps a dancing lights spell to one side?
Ged:  ...and an audible glamer to complement it!
Belphanior:  Don't forget the invisibility for he who goes
  to get the things.
Peyote:  But, dudes, you're assuming that the ants with the
  goodies will drop them and run over.
Halbarad:  Not a bad assumption.  Giant ants are just more
  mindless insects, after all.
Mongo:  Hey, this sounds like a good plan.  I'll be the backup
  man, in case we have to splatter any ants.
Alindyar:  I shall cast the spells, since I have the most skill
  at casting.
Ged:  That, my friend, is debatable.  But go ahead.  After you
  are concentrating on the two illusion-type spells, I'll cast
  the invisibility.  On Belphanior.  Then he can go across the
  ant-bridge and try for the items.
Belphanior:  I'm ready.
Alindyar:  And I as well.

Alindyar:  (casts the two spells on a niche in the end of the
  cave farthest from the two ants with the tools)
Ged:  (opens another scroll) Boccob, I hope this
Peyote:  (holds up the fungus to enable good spellcasting)
giant ants:  (all of them scuttle to investigate the strange
  moving lights and weird sounds coming from the far end of
  the cave)
Alindyar:  (concentrating, but easily able to create these
Ged:  (casts invisibility on Belphanior)
Belphanior:  (takes his wooden club and starts across the ant
  carcass bridge; he realizes that he would be more stable
  on all fours and so crawls across)
Peldor:  (whispering)  Look!  The ants DID drop their stuff!
  Go get it!
Rob:  Wow.
Belphanior:  (runs across, picks up the two items, and then
  crawls back)
ants:  (a few stragglers, they begin to cross the bridge to
  get a better whiff of the elf)
Belphanior:  (across now)  Fuck that.  (lifts his end of the
  bridge, and hurls the whole thing into the chasm below)
Peldor:  I guess they won't be chasing us out of here.
Ged:  Good job!
Belphanior:  (turning visible after the bridge maneuver)  Aw,
Alindyar:  Shall we retreat?
Halbarad:  Let us go back to the pool room.  I think that we
  should examine it more closely.
Belphanior:  But we'd be trapped there if anything attacked.
Mongo:  We need a camp.  That place has water and is also very
  defensible.  Let's go.

soon, in the pool room...

Ged:  Okay, let's see what we've got now...

   ALINDYAR   : three scrolls
   BELPHANIOR : wooden club, sharp piece of flint, iron spike
   GED        : scroll tube full of pitch, dry wood scraps
   HALBARAD   : wooden club
   MONGO      : thigh bone
   PELDOR     : giant crab carcass, skull, rusty dagger (secret)
   PEYOTE     : squirming, glowing fungus
   ROB        : nothing...

Halbarad:  (striking the flint on the spike, he makes sparks and
  applies them to some of the wood bits, making a small flame)
Ged:  (pours some pitch onto the flame, making it a small fire)
Rob:  Phew!
Peldor:  (with Mongo's help, he rips apart the dead crab and
  roasts the pieces)  Dinner!
Peyote:  (casts purify water on the pool, unsure if it will work)
  Well, now we can maybe drink this water.
Belphanior:  (tries to catch some fish from the pool with his bare
  hands, unsuccessfully)  Damn!  Quick little buggers!
Halbarad:  (tries the same thing, successfully; he gets three)
  Now we have fish, too.
Mongo:  All right!  (a feast of sorts commences)

next time:  More dungeon denizens and perils; escape!

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