|Rikard Le Rich||Only Son of Baron Le Rich||M 22|
|Ping Pong Aveline||Wizard of Noc, Native of Voisson||F 24|
|Nignog Gateaux||Knight of Gebong, Native of Voisson||M 21|
|Zar Queznel||Wizard of Noc, Son of Zarquon||M 17|
|Alfonso Bongo (aka Dunkan the Drunken)||The Wizard Under the Hill||M 53|
30th August 2482, Voisson Village: Pay 20 gp expenses each. Arrive home at their new house. That is: the house that Nignog, Ping, and Rikard bought together. Zar's conjured-wood house is still intact in the woods. They have brought with them two demon heads.
31st August 2482, Machay Town: Order sand to make demon bodies. Go to Machay. Zar buys a summoning bridge of the AAA Summoning Agency from Bentley Tillamoore, proprietor of All Magic Supplies. Zar signs a contract with AAA, declaring that he understands the rules of summoning. The Gods want to know which Temple Plot he is in when he summons, so the owner of the Temple Plot can permit or forbid the summoning. He learns about Summoning and he and studies the measurement of longitude and latitude. The Gods use the latitude and longitude he reports to determine which temple plot he is in. He buys a sextant (to measure the altitude of the sun at noon), a compass (to measure north and south), and a watch (to measure longitude by noting the time at mid-day).
Zar withdraws 200 gp from his Machay bank account. He uses 100 gp to pay for the summoning bridge and deposits the other 100 gp in his account with AAA. All purchases from AAA are strictly cash in advance. Ping withdraws 50 gp from her Machay bank account, Nignog withdraws 100 gp.
|29 gp||179 gp||19 gp||80 gp|
|1000 gp Mi glass||1000 gp Mi glass||1000 gp Mi glass||1000 gp Mi glass|
|0 gp||100 gp||0 gp||0 gp|
|119 gp||69 gp||209 gp||70 gp|
1st September 2482, Voisson Village: Pay 20 gp to AAA to tune their summoning bridge to spirit class. Place the two demon heads through the bridge to clean off their covering of conjured matter, and to clean plaque out of their insides. They copy down the symbols on the back of each demon head before they are once again coated in conjured matter. Show copy of symbols to a AAA agent.
For the next few days, they are training in their various disciplines and settling into their house, which they call Dimwitty Manor in honor of its previous owners.
6th September 2482, Voisson Village: The AAA agent reports that he has the command word for one of their demons: the one they fought in the cavern, not the one that delivered a small lightening ball. They purchase the command word for 2 gp. It is "katchickaclatachckchck", which is something only someone who has been trained in the pronounciation of Rattikit has any hope of saying properly. Zar and Ping have both had lessons in Rattikit. But the second demon the agent cannot find. Perhaps Zar and Ping copied the symbols down wrong. So they pay another 20 gp and pass the demon through again.
12th September 2482, Voisson Village: The AAA agent knows the name of their lightening-ball demon: it is Zanatakatak, which is the name our heroes expected to hear, after reading it on the portal to the dungeon of the Exshathallion Bowl.
"The owner of the command word wants 1600 gp for it," the agent says, "But she also makes another offer, an offer to buy the demon head from you directly for 5000 gp."
They put Zanatakatak's head in a box and think about the offer.
13th September 2482, Hills of Doom: Zar, Rikard, Ping, and Nignog set off for the Hills of Doom. Ping has white wine for Alfonso Bongo (Dunken the Drunken), Nignog brings Rum, Zar brings a jar of grasshoppers, and Rikard brings a bottle of fine red wine.
It is calm, cool, and clear. They cross the bridge of fallen logs and cross the River of Fire (see First Map). Their plan is to go back to the cavern with the red pool and find the homunculus that Zar now figures is called Aglamapootik (see The Red Pool).
Heading south along the east bank of the River of Fire, they come to a sign. "No Fighting Near the Shack", and another fifty meters later, "Do Not Pay the Chef". They come around a corner and see a shack with a chimney and three tables outside it, set back about thirty meters from the river. There is a counter in one wall of the shack. Inside are two orcs and a sapien. The sapien is wearing a chef's hat. They approach and the chef serves up four plates of barbequed meat on four platters.
"What are you doing here?" Ping says.
The chef shouts at her, sweeps the plates off the counter and onto the ground outside, and slams down the wood hatch of the counter. Inside they hear him shouting at the two orcs and banging pots and pans. Ping puts her bottle of white wine on the counter. Alfonso Bongo himself arrives up the path. He wants some lunch.
The chef opens the counter hatch, accepts the wine, and serves up some more barbeque. Zar gives him his jar of grasshoppers. The chef fries them up with caramelized onions and serves them with some syrup on a plate.
While drinking rum and eating, Alfonso tells Ping that the kobolds hiding in the bushes are waiting to come out and grab the food on the ground. He tells them there are some new rules for the Hills of Doom, courtesy of "He Who Should Not Be Named."
"What, you mean Abacuscraft?" Ping says.
"Shhh! The new rule is No interference with any partu unless they have committed a crime of theft of violence. So you can move around now safely, in theory, until you steal something. Of course, many of the creatures who live here are not very good at obeying rules. My this rum is good."
After their meal, which is delicious, although the grasshoppers are not for everyone, they leave with Alfonso to go to his place. Ping questions Alfonso about Abacuscraft, but Alfonso is already drunk on the rum that Nignog gave him. He passes out and Nignog must carry him.
13th September 2482, Hills of Doom: Arrive Alfonso Bongo's cavern at 1 pm. Carry him down the ladder. Ping wakes him up with a bucket of water and sits him down to talk about taking him to Ursia. Nignog, Rikard, and Zar set off with their head lamps in their helmets and descend to the Cavern of the Pools.
The cavern is occupied. There are six sapiens in there, searching the pools and the neighboaring passages. They speak the language of Lakh, the nearby barbarian nation. One is a big man in plate armor with a big sword. There are two women, one wearing leather armor and one wearing ring armor. A man in leather armor carries a staff and appears to be a wizard. Another man wears ring armor and carries a sword. The last one has his leather armor set aside and is searching the green pool.
Zar greets them and says he left something in the red pool, and he has come to get it. The wizard speaks Latin. Zar, Rikard, and Nignog approach the red pool. The adventurers from Lakh smile and nod. Nignog notes that the strangers have spider guts on their clothes.
Before Zar can get to the pool, The strangers attack. Our heroes stand up to the first rush, in which the woman in ring armor screams a battle cry while charging with spear. They put their backs to a wall. Zar blinds the woman with the spear using a Flash. Zar causes Fear in the man in plate armor. Nignog kills the man in ring armor. The wizard runs away. The man stripped to the waist has by now put on some black clothes. He goes after the wizard and forces the wizard back to continue the fight. Nignog fights the man in plate armor and knocks him out.
The wizard turns to run again. The man with his shirt off stabs the wizard in the back. The killer is an assassin. The wizard falls dead. The assassin retreats to a side passage. The blinded woman cradles the dead warrior's head in her hands as her sight returns. Zar picks up the dead wizard's wand. Nignog ties up the big guy in plate armor.
Our heroes search the Red Pool but find nothing. Perhaps Aglamapootik was found by someone else and taken. The assassin is creeping about. He fetches his leather armor. The unconscious woman comes around and runs off to join him. He cuts the bonds on the guy with plate armor, but Nignog bashes the big man again, and ties him up once more. So there are two of them hiding in a side passage, one tied up, one dead warrior, one grieving, and a dead wizard.
Zar gives up on the Red Pool and searches the wizard instead. He takes the wizard's rune cards, which are waterproof and well-drawn, a staff with a luminous stone in the top, and a thick notebook full of the wizard's writing. Nignog takes the big guy's plate armor. They take a spear, 23 gp, 3 bows, and 60 arrows, and three swords. With these things, they leave the cavern and return to Alfonso's cave. Zar sits down immediately to look through the wizard's notebook. He soon learns that the want is a Wand of Confusion, which allows you to cast a first level spell to obtain the third-level Confusion effect.
Alfonso Bongo offers Zar 75 gp for the want. Zar says no, and just as well, because the item is worth closer to 500 gp. The wizard's notes describe the runes needed to prepare the first level spell that the wand amplifies.
13th September 2482, Hills of Doom: Depart from Alfonso Bongo's cavern at 3 pm, climbing up the ladder. Ping appears to have convinced Alfonso to come back with her to Voisson so she can take him to Ursia via Endromis in disguise. But he won't go with Zar, Nignog, and Rikard because they are carrying a sack full of plate armor, a spear, a staff with a luminous stone on the end, and three swords.
"You'll be attacked," Alfonso says, "Leave all that behind, and you can go home without trouble. Just take the wand, don't bother with the armor."
"It's worth three hundred gold pieces," Zar says, "I'm not leaving it behind."
And so Alfonso and Ping agree to follow half an hour later. Zar, Nignog, and Rikard walk down the hill to the spring of Ogre Brook. There they see an ogre chopping up a human corpse next to the brook, on a table made of half-logs. The ogre is wearing armor of 2-mm steel plate. The plate armor in the large sack over Nignog's back is only 1-mm plate. The ogre stares at them for a few seconds and they stare at him. He leaves its cleaver sticking in the table, puts his horned helmet on, picks up his spiked club and shield, and charges with a terrifying roar.
Zar casts Will-o-Wisp and tries to dazzle the ogre. Nignog and Rikard receive the charge, jumping aside at the last moment. Nignog uses the spear planted in the ground, and scores a good hit, but does not penetrate the Ogre's armor. [Ogre: 45 hp, 3 dp, ap = 30, sp = 40, sa = −4.] The ogre swings his club at Zar, and Zar has a momentary vision of himself being splattered into a mist of blood, with his body flying twenty yards through the air. But he rolls aside and the club passes overhead without touching him.
Often, the ogre swings at Zar or Rikard, and Nignog gets to strike at the three-meter high monster without any fear of being hit back. But it is surprizingly hard to delivery a good blow. He is certain of hitting the ogre on the leg or body, but the ogre's armor is so thick that he must strike a mighty blow to cause any damage, and the ogre moves randomly as it attacks Nignog's comrades. [The ogre attacks one person each round, and does not bother to defend itself against the other two. So the other two need a 1 to hit, which more than they would need if the ogre tried to defend himself.]
Zar dazzles the ogre and defends himself with his small swords. Nignog gets in several fine hits. After eight rounds, the ogre turns and runs to the entrance of his lair and bars the double-doors behind him.
"Let's open the doors and go after him!" Nignog says, panting and leaning on one knee. [He is down to 2 dp.]
"Are you crazy?" Rikard says, "Let's go home."
They pick up their loot and head for home. A couple of hours later, they are almost at the bridge of fallen logs when they are attacked by twelve kobols with bows. They run. But Zar is hit twice. He feels his muscles near one of the injuries starting to stiffen. But he is able to keep running, and they make it home safely. He figures there must have been some kind of paralyzing poison on the arrow tips.
Alfonso and Ping, following half an hour later, set off from Alfonso's cavern. They walk at Alfonso's slow pace all the way back to the bridge of fallen logs without being molested in any way, although Ping is almost certain they are being watched by kobolds on the stretch of road with the trap door. They arrive home after dark, walking by the light of one of Alfonso's luminous stones.
[Award 2000 xp, so 500 xp each.]
On 16th September, Nignog and Zar ride to Machay and visit All Magic Supplies, the magic shop run by Mr. Bently Tillamoore the adutant. He has purchased Alfonso Bongo luminous stones from them in the past, and he sells thunder-eggs and other things they are interested in purchasing. They take with them their second demon head. Bently examines the head and says he'll do some research and decide if he wants to buy it. The next day he offers them 2000 gp. They will take this offer back to Ping. But Bently is not done with them yet: he has a job offer for them.
"In the Hills of Doom, if you go over the Iron Bridge and turn right down the River of Fire, go past the Giant Willow, and proceed for another few kilometers, before the River of Fire joins with the River Boome, you will come to an ancient road of giant paving stones, all cracked now with the grass growing up between them. That road once crossed the River of Fire and the River Boome. In Voisson you have the ruins of the stone bridge by which this road crossed the River Boome, and when you come to this path by the River of Fire, you may see, if you look carefully, the ruins of another stone bridge across that river also."
Bently takes a drink of water. Zar says, "That's very interesting, Mr. Tillamoore."
"Take this left turn along the Ancient Road, and follow the road up into the hills. It is a dangerous road. You may be attacked. You may be spied upon. But supposing your persist and make it to the top, you will come to an open space with trees and hills around the outside. The road passes along the edge, broken up now by trees. But in the center of this flat space is an area where no trees grow. And there you will find a low plant with red, fleshy leaves, which is called the Mandalus Fern. This plant contains a chemical known as Mandalic Acid. This acid is valuable, for it is used in certain medicinal and wizardly preparations."
"You want us to go get some for you?" Nignog says.
"I am willing to pay you well to fetch some, if you can," Bently says. "But you cannot simply bring the leaves back, for Mandalic Acid is unstable, and by the time you get back, it will have decomposed. So you must preserve it while you are at the place where the ferns grow, by the following procedure. First, you press the leaves to force out the juice. You pass this juice through gauze cloth to remove fragments of the flesh of the plant. You take this purified, red liquid, which is mostly water, but has a foul bitter taste, and you add to it a clear reagent solution that you shall make up separately. This reagent solution will be made of two hundred grams of a white salt I shall give you, and be mixed with one liter of clear, warm water, and mixed until there is no remaining salt, and the solution is clear. Mix the reagent with equal parts of the red juice from the plant. Immediately, the combination will turn bright yellow. A percipitate has formed in the solution. Pass the liquid through a clean gauze to separate the percipitate from the liquid. Dry the yellow percipitate in an oven. All this must be completed within twenty-four hours of picking the fern, or else the mandalic acid will be lost."
"Sounds strightforward enough," Zar says.
"If you can obtain one liter of the juice, and mix it with one liter of the reagent, you should obtain one hundred grams of yellow powder. For this powder, it being a compound of mandalic acid that will survive indefinitely, I will pay you one gold piece per gram."
"This yellow powder is worth ten times its weight in gold?" Nignog says.
"Yes. It is. If you agree to do this job, I will equip you with 2000 g of the white salt and two thunder-eggs to help keep you safe."
"Interesting," Zar says, "We'll think about it."
On the 18th September, our heroes sell Zanatakatak's head to an anonymous buyer on Olympia for 5000 gp. They pass the head through a spirit bridge to AAA summoning agency. The money is deposited in Zar's AAA summoning account, and from there he transfers 1250 gp into the Machay accounts of Ping, Rikard, and Nignog. During the day Ping has been watching Alfonso, making sure he does not get drunk, and developing a disguise. But she is not feeling well today. Zar sends a message through his summoning bridge to Throm Beausex, saying Alfonso has agreed to go to Ursia, and what support can she give? They await her reply.
On the morning of the 19th September, they find on their doorstep a letter to Alfonso Bong, addressed in large and perfect letters. It is from Abacuscraft, the manager of the Hills of Doom, inviting Alfonso Bongo to tea on the afternoon of the next day the Black Tower. The letter tells Alfonso he is permitted to bring guards.
"When Abacuscraft invites you to tea, it's best to accept," Alfonso says.
After lunch the next day, the 20th September, Alfonso dons his new spirit cloth cloak, which he made himself. He, Nignog, Rikard, and Zar set off for the Hills of Doom. Ping wants very much to come with them, but she is sick. She is layed up in bed with a fever and an aching body. Her mother is telling her to stay in bed.
Alfonso hates horses, so they walk. There are scattered clouds in the sky, and it is warm but not hot. They arrive at the Black Tower at about three in the afternoon. There are four orcs guarding the entrance to the tower, in heavy armor. One of them introduces himself to Nignog. Alfonso translates between Orcish and Caravelli. This orc is named Mick, and he is Nignog's third cousin. He is thirty two years old, and the dauther of Beth, who is in turn the daughter of Okh, brother of Nignog's grandmother Jen. Jen and Nignog Senior, had a daughter Alicia Schune, who married Claude Gateaux. Alicia was Nignog's mother, who sadly died in childbirth while fleeing religious persecution in Caravel. And so the rumor that Nignog might be a half-orc is confirmed. He might be, if he carries his grandmother's orc genes. Nignog's orcish relatives work in the Hills of Doom, even though their home is far to the south in the orc nation called Garaz. And so Mick is here, and so are some of his other relatives.
After waiting ten minutes, the adventurers leave their weapons at the front door and ascend the stairs of the tower. They enter Abacuscraft's office. Abacuscraft is a black orc. Alfonso he invites to sit. The three young men stand. Abacuscraft asks what he is to do with Alfonso's belongings in the Cavern under the Hill. Alfonso says whatever Abacuscraft likes, and Alfonso wants to go to Ursia. Abacuscraft says good luck to him.
Abacuscraft knows Nignog's grandfather, and has some kind of truce with the retired adventurer. But he says to Nignog now, "You have done well here, in the Hills of Doom. But your time adventuring here must come to an end. Tell your grandfather that the time has come and that my debt to him is paid."
"We have one more thing to do here," Nignog says, "We have agreed to fetch Mandalus Fern from the Hills of Doom, and we will not break our commitment."
"Very well: you have until the end of this calander year. Come the start of 2483, you will no longer be welcome here, unless you come in peace. Do not come to take from us."
"We agree," Nignog says. He must talk to his grandfather. What deal was made with Abacuscraft?
On the balcony outside is a tree bearing brightly colored and various fruits. Beside it is a black wyvern. The fruit on the tree is fascinating to Nignog and Zar. Abacuscraft invites them to pick one each, and they do, one at a time. Rikard eats a small, perfect blue fruit. Nothing seems to happen to him, so he goes back into the office, where he talks to an orc woman who brought them tea. But Abacuscraft says, "That one may be the most dangerous of all."
Zar eats an orange pepper-shaped fruit. He looks out from the balcony and wonders what is going to happen. The world seems new and fascinating. He notices things about trees, the river, and the sky that he has not noticed before. He realises that familiarity breeds blindness, and this blindness can stop you from understanding. This exhilerating sensation lasts for a few minutes, and then he must sit down, for his mind is tired.
"My favorite one," Abacuscraft says.
Nignog takes a fruit shaped and colored like a gold coin. He, too, looks out across the land. It's so warm and the forest is so natural. Why is he wearing all these clothes? A minute later, he is standing naked and happy on the balcony, his armor and wepons on the balcony.
"That one is fun when other people take it," Abacuscraft says.
The orcs are laughing. One of them slaps Nignog on the back. It's Mick. He picks up Nignog's belongings. Meanwhile, Rikard has been talking in sign language to the orc woman. Her name is Bra. The way she smiles around her tusks, and the way she stands with her hand on her hip and the tray in her other hand, is so entrancing that he things his heart will break. When it comes time to leave, he does not know what to do. He learns from Alfonso the words for "I want to see you again" and says them. The woman laughs and nods. And so they descend the stairs and go home with an escort of four orcs. Mick is carrying Nignog's belongings. Zar is contemplative and excited, Nignog is striding along naked with a big smile on his face. Rikard biting his lip wondering how long it will be before he sees that wonderful creature again.
At the bridge of fallen logs, Nignog hugs Mick goodbye and says it's been great to meet him. Mick hugs him back and says he must come and visit his family in Garaz one day.
Here we list the assets of our heroes in a table we update at the end of each game.
|1279 gp||179 gp||1269 gp||1330 gp|
|1000 gp Mi glass||1000 gp Mi glass||1000 gp Mi glass||1000 gp Mi glass|
|0 gp||1308 gp||0 gp||0 gp|
|119 gp||69 gp||209 gp||70 gp|