Chapter #55

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*  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 (temporarily split up; this is the "sea" group):

Belphanior, 6th/6th/7th level high elf fighter/mage/thief (CN)
Ged, 7th/7th level grey elf priest/mage of Boccob (NG)
Mongo Thunderhead, 8th level dwarf fighter (CG)
Rillen, 8th level human fighter (N)
Date:   12/27/570 C.Y. (Common Year)
Time:   afternoon
Place:  somewhere in the Azure Sea, far from the coast

                      LV.  The Squid

  The "sea" group had set out to sea, fending off pirates
and most recently rescuing a survivor from the water.  This
fellow was in the process of describing the monster that
wrecked his ship when the thing made it easier by showing
up in the flesh.

Durgan:  Eyahhhh!  (pointing at it)  That's it!  That's it!
Mongo:  Son of a fuckin' bitch!  That's the biggest damn fish
  I ever saw!
Rillen:  It does not look like a fish to _me_.  (draws his bow)
Ged:  That squid will crack open this ship like a nutshell, if
  it gets to us.
Belphanior:  (in crows' nest, muttering to himself)  If?  That
  should be _when_...
slaves/rowers in general:  Aaaaaaa!
Ged:  Stop panicking!  Somebody get that thing!
Mongo:  It's out of hammer range!  (guzzles his potion of heroism)
  Ahhh.  AHHHH!
Rillen:  (fires an arrow at the monster, but it falls short)  Even
  I cannot hit it from here.  We need a catapult.
Belphanior:  (emulating Mongo, drinks down one of his unknown
  potions)  Ahh!  Hey!  (his eyes have turned reddish and glow
  slightly)  What the fuck?!?
Ged:  Quit playing with yourself up there and help us out!
Belphanior:  Right!  (draws his wand of lightning)
giant squid:  (closing on the ship)

Belphanior:  (launches a lightning bolt at the thing)  Take this,
  you slime from the deep!
giant squid:  (blasted by the energy, flagellates about in the
  water as arcs of electricity skip off in all directions)
some slave:  Aaaa!  It's still coming!  It's still coming!
Rillen:  I think you made it mad...
Mongo:  Mad?!  I'll show it mad!  (hurls his hammer, which hits
  the squid but doesn't seem to faze it much)
Ged:  (prepares a spell)
Rillen:  (fires another arrow, hitting a random tentacle)  The
  monster is upon us!
giant squid:  RRRRKKK!  (flails at the ship, snatching five of
  the slaves)
slaves:  Aaaaagh!  Aieeeeee!  (they're being chomped as the
  squid lowers them into its beak, one by one)
Mongo:  (catches his hammer)  Boy, he sure is hungry!  (fires
  the hammer again, at a tentacle holding a slave)
giant squid:  RRRR?  (drops the slave into the water and goes
  after Mongo instead)
Mongo:  (to slaves)  Somebody get that man out of the water!
Ged:  Back, scaly horror!  (casts another lightning bolt at
  the thing, hitting it head-on)  Since you seem to like
  lightning so much, eat that!
giant squid:  RRRRRRRKKKKKK!  (swats at Ged with a tentacle,
  but misses)
Ged:  (dashing for cover)
slave in water:  Glub glub!
other slaves:  (trying to throw him a rope)
Rillen:  Bah.  (tosses his bow aside, and readies his staff,
  pointing the bladed end at a nearby tentacle)
slaves:  (running everywhere screaming)  Aaaaa!
giant squid:  (now has two arms around the ship, and the rest
  are hunting prey on deck)

Belphanior:  (still in the crows' nest)  Shit.  I can't fire
  another lightning bolt, or I'll get the people on deck.
Mongo:  (looking up)  Why are you talking to yourself up there?
Belphanior:  (ignores the dwarf, and prepares a spell)
Rillen:  (slashes a tentacle with his weapon, sending dark ichor
  spurting everywhere)  Ugh.
Ged:  (menaced by a tentacle)  Yie!  (blasts the appendage with
  four magical missiles)  Get the hell away from me!
giant squid:  (end of its tentacle burned off)
slaves:  (manage to pull their comrade out of the water at last)
Ged:  Good job, guys.
Belphanior:  (hurls five small globes - Melf's Minute Meteors -
  at the squid's head, hitting with three of them)  Yeah!
Ged:  Way to go!
giant squid:  (flailing its arms in irritation)  RRRRKK!
Rillen:  (slices the tentacle in front of him again)  Go grab
  somebody else.
Mongo:  (preparing to throw his hammer)  Huh?  (a tentacle has
  surrounded him)  Shit!
Rillen:  (to squid)  I didn't mean for you to grab HIM.
giant squid:  (grabs Mongo with its tentacle)  RRRRR!
Mongo:  Let go of me, you fucker!  (beats on the appendage
  which is slowly squeezing him)  Argh!
Ged:  Damn!  It's got Mongo!
giant squid:  (grabs a few more slaves)
Belphanior:  (looking around, thinking)

giant squid:  (crushing Mongo, as it draws him to its maw)
Mongo:  Yargh!  It's gonna eat me!  (throws his hammer at the
  beaked mouth at close range, chipping it)  Leggo!  Leggo!
Rillen:  (stabbing the tentacle that holds Mongo)  The thing
  will not let go of him!
Ged:  (preparing a spell)  Shit!  It's also got the ship in
  its grasp!  The hull is creaking!
Belphanior:  This calls for desperate measures!  (uses his
  ring's Jump spell, as he grabs a staff, and leaps off the
  crows' nest)
Ged:  What the...?
Rillen:  He thinks he can fly.
Belphanior:  (lands precariously on the squid's head)  Okay,
  ugly, it's time to die.  (points the staff at the squid's
giant squid:  RRRRRRR!  (reels in some tentacles to swat this
  new insect)
Ged:  What in the hell do you think you're doing over there?!?
Rillen:  Maybe he wants to test the monster's sight.
Belphanior:  (yelling at the squid)  Yeah, that's it!  Here's
  the pressure test!  (fires the staff, using its last four
  charges to produce its mightiest effect, the thunderclap/
  lightning stroke)  Hahahah!


  There was a tremendous noise, deafening everyone, and a
great bolt of lightning hit the squid dead-on in the eye.
The shockwave sent water in all directions, and the ship
rocked back and forth with the power of the blast.  All
those on deck were bowled over, some of the less fortunate
falling into the sea on the opposite side.  Mongo was
hurled into the ship as well, crashing through a deck rail
and into the mast, stunned.  A cloud of smoke appeared,
with a stench not unlike that of poorly cooked seafood.
There was silence for several moments.

Ged:  (shakes his head)  Wow.  (looking around)
Rillen:  (gets to his feet)  That was a blast.
slaves:  (bumping into each other)
Mongo:  Ugh.  (recovering consciousness slowly)

  The squid floated nearby the ship - or what was left of
it, anyway.  Its head was mostly gone, courtesy of the
thunderbolt, and inky blood and guts flowed freely into
the sea.  The tentacles drifted aimlessly, with the waves.

Ged:  I wonder if the elf lived through that one.
Rillen:  (looks around)
Ged:  Hmm.
Rillen:  Look!  There he is!  (points to a red-cloaked
  form floating in the water about fifty feet away)
Ged:  Throw him a rope!  The sharks will be here soon...
Rillen:  (gets a rope out to Belphanior on the second
  throw)  Ah.  Help me pull him in.
Ged:  Sure.  (they reel the elf in, and pull him onto
  the ship)
Belphanior:  (barely conscious, grabbing the rope by
  pure instinct; he is somewhat singed)  uhh.
Ged:  Hey, nice job there.  Stupid, but it worked.
Belphanior:  Thanksh.  <cough cough>
Ged:  Why are your eyes glowing red?
Belphanior:  Dunno.  Something I drank, maybe.  Where's
  the squid?
Rillen:  Around.
Ged:  Let's get the crew back to normal and leave the
Belphanior:  (looking around)  I guess the staff is lost.
  Shit.  Oh well, it was out of charges anyway.

  Soon, they were ready to get underway once more.  The
sea was filled with sharks and other predators, who had
quite a fine meal.  Belphanior and Mongo were healed,
and rested for a while as Ged and Rillen and the rowers
got the ship moving again.
  Nothing of interest happened for a day or so.  A single
merchant ship passed nearby, but was ignored.  The second
day after the squid encounter, however, a pair of vessels
was sighted, approaching fast.  They had large black flags
raised - pirate flags!

Ged:  Pirates!
Belphanior:  Those are mighty big ships.  I think I see
  catapults on their decks...
Mongo:  They'd better leave us alone!  I'm not in the mood
  for any shit.
Rillen:  Maybe they just want to wave to us.
Ged:  Doubtful.  Let's get the rowers ready for whatever
  may happen.
Mongo:  Hey, we forgot to get them some weapons or armor.
Ged:  Damn.
Belphanior:  In a fight, they'll be screwed.
slaves:  (milling around)


man on other ship:  (yelling)  Ho there!
Rillen:  Ho?
man:  Take down your sails and lay down your weapons!  If
  you obey, you will be spared!
Mongo:  (yelling)  Now you listen here!  Go away and leave
  us alone!
pirate:  (to his crewmen)  Fire!

  A volley of deadly arrows was launched at the party's
ship from both of the pirate ships.  The deck shook as
arrows hit it; slaves shrieked as arrows hit them.  Ged
stood with impunity, his belt deflecting any of the arrows
that might otherwise have wounded him.  The others dashed
for cover, except for Belphanior, who had so far kept his
head down in the crows' nest and seemed to be unnoticed.

pirate:  Fire the spells!
robed pirate:  (points, and three magic missiles fire away
  and hit Ged)  Ha ha!
pirates:  (laughing)
Mongo:  Hey!
Ged:  Ouch!  That hurt!  So they have a mage as well.
Mongo:  We'd better watch out.  Their mage could use one of
  those fireball things on us, instead of us using one of him.
Belphanior:  (up in the crows' nest)  No.  They're pirates,
  and they want our ship and slaves.  Ex-slaves.  Anyway, it
  would not serve their purpose to torch our ship.  They'd do
  it if they had to...but by the time they figure out what
  they should have done, it will be too late for them.
Rillen:  I see.
Belphanior:  Keep them busy for a minute.  I'll hit the port
  ship, you get the starboard one.  (the port one has the
Ged:  Okay.  (yelling as he prepares a spell)  Hold on!  We
  must talk amongst ourselves about your generous offer!
pirate:  No funny stuff there!  Stop that spellcasting or
  we fire the catapults!
Ged:  Uhh...Okay!  (to the others)  Hey guys, don't do
  anything to tip them off that we're going to fight.
Rillen:  (thinking about his bow and arrows and such mayhem)
Belphanior:  (fires a lightning bolt from his wand, hitting
  the port ship's mast directly and incinerating several of
  the pirates on deck)  Ha!
pirates:  Aaaaa!
Ged:  (ducks for cover as he prepares to complete his fireball
  spell)  Damn!
Rillen:  Does this mean I can shoot them now?
Mongo:  (fires his hammer, hitting some pirate and crushing
  the poor fellow's head)  Yeah!  War!  War!
Rillen:  Good.  (begins firing arrows)
Mongo:  (takes a pirate arrow in the leg)  ARGH!  (catches
  his returning hammer)  Fuck!  That hurts!
Belphanior:  (still in crows' nest, looking at the other
  pirate ship off the starboard bow)  What's that?  Hey!
  Hey!  They're firing their catapults at us!
Mongo:  Incoming!  Heads up, guys!
Rillen:  (watching big stones fly all around)  Hmm.
Ged:  Almost ready with the spell!
Belphanior:  Huh?  Yie!  (watching a large stone sailing
  right at his perch in the nest)  Aaaa!  <CRACK!>  (the
  boulder knocks him off, and smashes the crows' nest
  into splinters)
slaves:  (dodge aside as the elf hits the deck below)
Mongo:  (throws his hammer again, pulverizing a pirate
  archer)  Ged!  Torch that other ship or we're sunk!
Ged:  Right!  (leaps up, as arrows avoid him, and casts
  his spell at the second ship)  Boccob strikes!

  The other pirate ship took the fireball at the base of
main mast, and her sails blazed up almost instantly.  The
pirates ran around, screaming and cursing.

Rillen:  Direct hit.
Ged:  Boccob smiles this day!
Belphanior:  (stunned, lying on deck)  Where'zd go?
Mongo:  Hey!  Watch out!  (drags the elf to cover, as
  missiles fly everywhere)
Belphanior:  Thanks.
Ged:  I think we got their mage.  That first ship is
  still putting up a fight though.
Belphanior:  (gets up)  Not for long.  (fires a second
  lightning bolt at that vessel, knocking a hole in its
Mongo:  Damn nice toy you have there, pal.
Belphanior:  I know.

  The party got their ship away from the pirates, just in
case their ships (one burning, the other sinking fast)
happened to run into the party's or some other dumb thing.
Doomed pirates tended to try things like that, Ged thought,
and thus the party moved far away from the wrecks, leaving
the pirates to their fate.  Some of them got away on small
boats, but were ignored as the party headed northeast.
They did not have room for pirate prisoners, and anyway,
such captives would have outnumbered the party's own crew,
which would surely have been a problem.
  The next day, they moved in toward the coast, to land
for a time and effect repairs - for their mast was damaged
a bit, and the sail had been torn in the battle and needed
some patching.  They laid the anchor while the ship was
about a half-mile out, and rested that night, intending to
go ashore in the morning to survey their location while
repairs were made.

next time:  The party picks the wrong place to land

FTP SITE: (in pub/adnd/fluff/adventurers)
NOTES:  I recommend the new movie "Universal Soldier", since it's
chock full of good Arnold/Vandamme lines (which I shamelessly use
in these stories as I see fit).
  Sorry about the gap between postings.  I've been busy, as usual,
and it's hard to find free time...

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