Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ch. 3 Page 32

Yrag rocked back and forth as much as he could, straining to break the ice that held him fast.

Terik rolled away when the dragon lifted its foot to claw him.  He had his sword in hand again, but was still prone on the cavern floor.

Serten, not the dragon's highest priority, rose slowly back to his feet on the slippery ice.

It was Murlynd the dragon was looking for -- the wizard who had hurt it the most. At last, the dragon spotted Murlynd, holding back furthest from the combat area.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ch. 3 Page 31

The dragon slowed its descent with its one good wing, but could not stay airborne for long. Now, tactically, it would have been to their advantage to have the fighters waiting to surround it once it landed and then all lay into it together, but the situation was not helping them work to their own advantage.

Yrag had pressed his back hard to the stalagmite he used for cover when the dragon's frost breath gushed all around him, only to find his back frozen to the stalagmite afterwards. He was still working to free himself, but had little leverage.

The cavern floor had refrozen from the coating of dragon breath and, already covered in water from the fireball melting the previous layer, this new coating was extra slick. Terik had lost his balance while dodging and fell to the floor.

Murlynd had retreated to a good hiding place in the shadows, while Serten, still on his feet, was trying to come around behind where the dragon would land.

That left Tenser, behind cover, thinking about the new wand he gripped in his hand...

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 30

The dragon glanced around and saw that the humans, seeking cover, were not green adventurers. It was not concerned with the swordsmen, but two of them appeared to magic-users, and magic could be trouble. Perhaps from a better vantage point, like right above them, it would be able to freeze both of them. The dragon spread wings that felt numb from being folded for so long.

Murlynd saw that the danger from the dragon would be greater once it was airborne. He needed to take it down fast. Luckily, though he had squandered his fireball, he was not entirely out of offensive spells...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 29

The hide of the monstrous dragon was as white as snow, standing in stark contrast both to the dark rock behind it and the previous experience of the five adventurers with black-hide dragons. That experience told them that dragons were extremely dangerous, but more specifically, that standing in a tight group in front of a dragon was even more dangerous.

This was no time, though, to shed a tear for lost hirelings. As the dragon spread its giant wings and looked down on them hungrily, Yrag shouted a command that everyone knew to be the right action.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 28

There was a bright flash of white light and a lot of heat, heat that could be felt way back where the adventurers were standing.

Even when the light and heat faded, the cavern was no longer cold. The ice was shrinking before their eyes and pooling onto the uneven cavern floor. They all moved back into the cavern and looked at the treasure. The treasure that was so enticing...that no one was looking at the exposed ledges around the sides of the cavern.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 27

It was freezing cold in the cavern. Terik exhaled at the sight of it and could see his breath. Much of the cavern was immediately visible from the reflection of the magic light the party carried. Walls, floors, columns, stalactites, and stalagmites -- all were coated in ice.  The cavern stretched across at least 100 feet, which made for a lot of ice.  The ceiling started at 20 feet high, but vaulted much higher at the center, where it was circled by ring after ring of ice-coated stalactites.

Yrag started to slip on the ice, but caught his balance.

They all moved more cautiously into the cavern and glanced at the tall stalagmite closest to them. While they gathered around, Serten smiled broadly and said proudly, "I think you'll all be glad we came."

Friday, September 11, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 26

Curiosity overcame the adventurers. As Serten continued to enthusiastically wave them out of the mural room, they exited into the tunnel and formed back up into double ranks.

It became colder and colder as they came to the other end of the tunnel, until they could see their frosty breaths before them. They had been prepared for some explanation to the cold, but were still awestruck when they saw the cavern that awaited them.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Ch. 3 Page 25

One by one, the five adventurers left the tunnel behind the secret door and filed into the chamber at one end of the tunnel. The air still had its chill, but that was not responsible for the shiver they felt when they looked upon the back wall...

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ch. 3 Page 24

"We should be trying to find our way back..." Yrag reminded everyone.

"You're not at all curious about what is making this cold?" Serten asked.

"Not enough," Yrag answered. "For all we know there could be an ice monster through there making it cold."

"I think we could handle it..." Murlynd mused. "I have been saving a fireball spell..."

"Well, whatever you boys decide, at least we have this now," Terik said. He had already pried the amethyst stone from the pillar and held it up in his hand.

"Nice work," Yrag said. "Party treasure to be split later, of course."

"Of course," Terik chimed in.

What was that? Praise for prying a gem out of a wall? When he had put himself constantly at risk to find this room in the first place? Tenser fumed inwardly as he struggled to decipher the runes on the magic wand.

"We should at least see what's through here and then we can consider backtracking," Serten suggested, as a sort of compromise.

"Fine," Yrag said. "Let's form back up in our marching order. Terik, you and I will take the lead."

"I can move to the front rank," Tenser volunteered.

"Don't be foolish. Fighters in front, spell support from behind. It's how we've always done this," Yrag admonished.

"Not to mention you're still hurt," Serten added. "Do you need more healing magic?"

Tenser dismissed the offer, but fell back into the middle rank.

Murlynd retrieved his lamp-pole and fell into line.

Terik and Yrag stepped into a tunnel and fanned out to either side...

Friday, August 7, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 23

It was true, there was a definite chill in the air that was not there a moment ago, but it was clear to no one how this portended any threat to them. After everyone looked at each other, it became clear to Terik that everyone still expected him to go through with approaching the trapped pedestal.

Terik knew, as he stepped forward, that it was all his fault that people took advantage of him. With a bossy cousin like Robilar in the family, it just became easier for Terik to be the easygoing cousin. He should turn around and tell them that he was not going to be pushed around like this anymore. He could just point to one of the others and say, "You do this, not me!"  He could take command and boss them around, not the other way around!

But, on the other hand, that seemed like a lot more work than just checking to see if the magical traps were deactivated. Sighing inwardly, Terik reached forward...

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 22

It did not take long for the adventurers to find all three spots that detected for magic around the room and, at each, they found a concealed gem. The others were a red sapphire and a blue emerald. Then everyone looked to Murlynd for some explanation.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 21

Murlynd waved his metal wand through the air while saying its magic command words. When he was done, he carefully scanned the room while slowly lowering his wand.

Behind him, Yrag and Serten kept Tenser sitting up on the floor, instead of letting him stand, out of concern for how much damage he seemed to be taking.

"I'm fine, really," Tenser said.  And it was mostly true.

"If the spell was an illusion, can we just disbelieve in it and push through?" Yrag asked.

"Intellectually, I share your suspicion it was just an illusion," Tenser said, "but the pain was awfully convincing. I fell back right away when I felt it; I can't imagine how painful prolonged contact would be."

"We could just leave it alone," Yrag suggested.

"No. I want that wand."

"We could try to dispel it with magic," Serten offered.

"It's more complicated than that..." Murlynd said, having been listening to them, even though he had not appeared to be.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ch. 3, page 20

By Tenser's light spell, he could see a relatively small room ahead. Spaced along the walls were embedded pillars that seemed structurally important, since they were not fancy enough to look ornamental. At the center of the room was a small stone pedestal on which rested, what appeared to be, an ordinary stick of wood.

"Could that be a wand...?" Tenser mused quietly out loud to himself. He moved slowly into the room, eyeing the wooden stick now hungrily.

"Wait."  Yrag spoke from a step behind Tenser, forcefully, without being loud. "Don't go rushing ahead again. Don't you think this room might be trapped? We should wait for the others."

Tenser glanced back and saw Serten dropping to the floor of the pit, their rope in his hands. "I have two of you watching my back now, and I only want a closer look." So, ignoring Yrag's warning, Tenser moved closer.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Ch. 3, page 19

For a painfully long second, Tenser was terrified that he had activated another trap -- perhaps the floor would drop away and he would fall into an even deeper pit, or scythe blades would whirl out of the wall, or maybe the pit would fill with magical fire. Such were the dangers of castle dungeon exploration.

But no trap was sprung. Instead, a section of wall moved just slightly, revealing the outline of a door. Secret doors were as common a feature in castle dungeon exploration as traps, to Tenser's experience, but how to open it? Another hidden panel to press? He needed more hands down here.

"Is anyone coming down?" Tenser said, looking up to the top of the pit.

He had no need to worry on that score, for Yrag already had rope in hand and was starting to lower himself down.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 18

Yrag hesitated only a moment and then fired another arrow into the burning mass of fungus at the bottom of the pit. The fungal branches no longer writhed or wriggled, and appeared as black as charcoal now instead of bright violet.

A minute later, the fire was dying down, with nothing left to burn.

"I should go back down," Tenser said.  He looked around at the incredulous stares of his teammates, who had just rescued him from down there.  "You remember that pit trap on the fourth level with the secret door at the bottom?  What if this is like that? I have a hunch that fungal monster was 'cultivated' down there to guard something."

"I remember teaching you things like that," Yrag said thoughtfully.  "All right...maybe we should take a look -- but I do think it should be me or Terik going down there."

Tenser, however, only grew even more resolute on the matter. When the fire was all the way gone and the pit below must be cooling, Tenser spoke with conviction.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 17

Serten sang in a quiet falsetto.  He closed his eyes and held out his hands, which seemed to glow with a white radiance that shone out from under his gauntlets. Serten placed his open palm on Tenser's exposed skin and, with a flash, the white radiance passed from one body to the other. When this had no visible effect, Serten began to sing a new incantation to his god, Pholtus.  This time there was an immediate improvement; everywhere the white radiance spread a burning rash disappeared.

"Your god is as merciful as ever," Tenser said with much relief.

"You all say that when you need healing," Serten said with a grin, "but where are you on Godsday services...?"

Murlynd was by Yrag's side, with both of them keeping an eye on the things in the pit.  "I have something that I think will help with this," Murlynd said.  "I have acquired this substance called Greek Fire.  I have not yet learned what or who this 'Greek' is yet..." he said as he produced a beaker of dark liquid from out of his magic sack.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 16

It was not pleasant in the pit. Tenser's helm had fallen off and was lying somewhere, mixed in with all the huge violet mushrooms around him. At first, Tenser thought it was just his movement that was shaking the mushrooms and moving the sharp branches that stuck out from under the mushroom caps. The branches tore at his clothes and scraped his skin. Gradually, Tenser realized the branches were moving of their own accord as well -- he was being attacked!

And that was when the rope came down to him. Tenser wanted to fasten it around his waist, but there was no time. He gripped it hard and shouted--

Monday, April 6, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 15

The good news was that Tenser had not fallen as far as they had at first feared. Though he kept screaming initially, the others quickly surmised that something was hurting Tenser at the bottom of the pit.

The other good news was that Murlynd had rope.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 14

"I do...sense something this way," Serten said, looking back at Yrag.

"You can't sense things without using a spell first," Yrag said skeptically. "Murlynd, talk some sense into them."

"Sorry, Yrag, but I am with them on this," Murlynd said with a shrug as they moved forward. "I would like to see just where exactly we are..."

The style of architecture was so similar between the two castle dungeons that it was hard to differentiate a corridor in one from a corridor in the other. It had, in fact, taken some time to convince everyone that teleportals were transporting them between the two castles without their knowing it. None could explain why such an extraordinary feature was on these particular levels of the dungeons, though, to be fair, little of what the mad archmage turned demigod, Zagyg, had built down here made much sense to them.

What was known was that the two castles -- Greyhawk and El Raja Key -- were about 180 miles apart. The ride back to Greyhawk a month ago was still fresh in their minds, from the last time they failed to find the teleportal back. If they failed this time, it would be quite some time before they saw Robilar and Mordenkainen again.

Except for Yrag, no one seemed particularly worried about that.  Yet.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 13

Yrag continued to admonish Tenser.  "You should not be so trusting of anyone.  There are more than lives at stake down here. There is treasure enough down here, somewhere, to make kings of a dozen men, and enough magic to make someone the most powerful mage on Oerth.  Such treasures are not easily split between men of mercenary natures."

"You forget one thing," Tenser said, locking eyes with Yrag.  "You and I were strangers until just a year ago. If I cannot trust them, how can I trust you?"

Yrag met that gaze for a long moment, sucked on his lower lip, looked like he was going to say something else, but then backed down and turned away.

Freed of his gaze, Tenser left him and rejoined the others in the cavern.  A mere handful of coins had been pilfered off the bodies. It was suggested that the eigers must have had a lair somewhere nearby.

"Who's ever heard of a poor ogre?" Terik asked.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 12

"It looks like we've found the food supplier for this level," Tenser said to Yrag and Robilar.

"Or just purchased their supplies before they heard us coming," Yrag suggested.

"We should have all that moved back to the baggage camp," Robilar said.  "The orcs can have however much of the fish isn't edible to us.  I'll go see if I can find a volunteer to head back up and get Quij and our porters."

Tenser moved to follow him, but then...


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 11

Robilar murmured something about magical intuition and animal feces.

Terik was more gracious.  "Is that the same magical intuition that told you it was safe to drink from that well on the second level?"

Murlynd bristled.  "Intuition does not detect traps. And how was I to know the water would turn into snakes?"

"Can we discuss this later?" Yrag interjected. "Help search the rest of these eigers."

Mordenkainen was already poking around.  "If you find one still alive, keep it for a prisoner. We need to find out if they have a lair nearby..."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 10

One by one, the eigers were falling dead within the deadly magical cloud.  Yet one remained in melee with Terik and, realizing it was fighting its final battle, the eiger fought with a terrible ferocity. Terik half-heard the yells for him to fall back, and made some effort at a fighting withdrawal, but not as fast as the spell-cloud was moving towards him.  In the last instance, Tenser and Robilar had to come up behind their friend, grab him by the arms, and haul him backwards as fast as they could. The spell-cloud enveloped the last eiger and then...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Ch. 3, Page 9

Terik shoved past the phantasmal elven archers, as it was easier than taking the time to disbelieve in them.  Robilar raised his voice in a battle cry and Terik added his voice just as he lent his sword to the melee.  The eiger was thrown off-balance by being double-teamed.  Their magic swords pierced its hide armor and the living hide beneath, but not deeply before the eiger managed to push them both back. With a roar, the eiger brought its remaining companions' attention away from the distraction of Tenser's illusion and towards the real threat.

The eigers had reach and strength on their side, as everyone expected, but also some measure of skill, making the battle last longer than anyone expected. Yrag hung back, keeping his bow in reserve, just as the three magic-users kept their spells in reserve. Robilar and Terik's swords flashed back and forth stabbing and slashing until one of the eigers finally went down. As the battle raged, the two fighting men were protected from serious injury by their platemail armor, but were being buffeted mercilessly nonetheless...