Chapter 59

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               Navero, male human cleric, 6th level
               Dania, female 1/2-elf MU, 6th level
               Kortul, male human fighter, 6th level
               Kory, male elf bard, 5th level
               Topash, male elf druid, 5th level
               Serga, male half-ogre fighter, 4th level
               Lao Tsu, male human monk, 4th level

The other entrance in the Cave Fisher room was another low stream
entrance; water had probably flowed out of the Roper lair at one
point, judging from the erosion on the floor, but we'd been unable to
find a water inlet in the cave.  It might have dried up, and been
covered over with stalagmites, or maybe the water all fell from the
ceiling somewhere.  At this downstream entrance, our lantern only
showed more rough passageway going away to the south-east.

Kory: "See anything?"

Topash: "No, nothing.  No tracks in the dust visible, at least not of
     anything larger than insects.  There might not be anything back
     there at all."

Kory: "Aw, c'mon!  You saw all those talking doorways back there.
     This is a dungeon on a grand scale!  There's something everywhere
     if you look hard enough."

Kortul: (Ducks, walks some ways down passageway with Sun Sword drawn.)

Dania: "Don't go so far!  We don't want to have to run in and rescue
     you.  Do you see anything?"

Kortul: "No.  Angles away to left."

Topash: "Any breezes, or smells?"

Kortul: "Faint roaring sound."

Kory: "Roaring, like dragons, or roaring, like water?"

Kortul: "Can't tell.  Doesn't stop, though.  Must be water."

Navero: "I thought all the water would be frozen in winter."

Dania: "Nav, we're under the frost depth.  Besides, if it's making
     noise, it has to be moving pretty fast.  Kortul!  Stay there, and
     we'll come in after you."

Topash: "Everyone watch your heads." (Goes inside.) "Serga, do you
     think you can make it through here?"

Serga: (Looks woefully at the entrance.) "I think I'd have to crawl...
     if I fit in there at all!"

Navero: "Mightn't we stay here and wait for you?"

Dania: "It is not a good idea to split the party.  Nav, why don't you
     and Lao walk behind Serga in case anything comes up behind us?"

Topash: "So, with Serga bent over, they'd form a rear guard?"

Kory: (Doesn't know whether to slap Topash, or slap himself for not
     having thought of it first.)

Serga: "If I could reach you, I would hurt you."

Topash: "Please, don't.  I simply couldn't resist."

Kory: "No, you couldn't.  Shall we go moseying on?"

     Serga's shoulders fit the passageway, and he didn't quite have to
crawl, even through the lowest parts.  But it was noisy, slow going,
and we could be quite sure we'd never surprise anything up ahead of
us.  The passageway continued to curve left, and Kortul, at the head
of the group, was the first to step out into a small room.  It was
small, more of a wide spot in the passage than anything else.  The
passageway continued on the east side, and a man-sized entranceway
stood to his left, on what was by now the north side of the passage.
     Kortul looked through the north entrance; empty corridor, with a
4-way branch a short way up.  Topash looked through the eastern
entrance; the passageway continue on, and the roaring sound of falling
water could be heard through it.  Serga was just coming out, when a
tremendous bellow boomed out of the north entrance, and an explosion
blasted Kortul across the room.

Kortul: (Makes save, half damage.) "Urk!" (*SLAM!*)

Dania: (Makes save, took no damage.) "Hey, what the fuck!?"

Topash: (Fails save, half damage.) "Whatever it is, I hope it doesn't
     happen again!"

Kory: (Fails save, half damage.) "Oh, I dunno, I had kind of a blast!"
     (Starts singing battle song.)

Serga: (Makes save, no damage.) "I'd think you'd want to avoid that."

Navero: (Still in passageway.) "What happened?"

Lao Tsu: "I berieve it might have been a coconut, stuffed with
     gunpowdel and rit on file."

Monsters: "HAARRAWA!!" (Some Gnolls rush through the smoke and attack
     Serga.  This might be a problem, as they are each nearly as tall
     as he, though nothing like as wide.  Several more Gnolls are
     visible in the corridor beyond.)

More Monsters: "HAARRAWA!!" (Several more Gnolls start rushing the
     east entrance, though they have not reached it yet.)

Dania: (Looks down east entrance.) "Shit!  Kortul, get over here!"
     (Casts Flaming Sphere.)

Topash: "Yes, never mind that explosion, or that wall you appear to
     have become one with, do quit sitting around and give us a hand."
     (Draws scimitar, moves to slice at a Gnoll on Serga.)

Kortul: (Shakes head, clears cobwebs.) "Wha...?"

Kory: "Oh, rape and loot and kill and burn
       But all in moderation!
       If you follow my advice
       Then soon you'll rule the nation!
       Kill your foes and enemies
       And then kill your relations!
       Rape and loot and kill and burn
       But all in moderation!"

Serga: (Chops a Gnoll, it falls down not quite in two pieces.) "Just a
     minute, and I'll move over here." (Moves to block the north

Navero: (Comes out of corridor, takes swing at nearby Gnoll with
     mace.) "YAAAAAHHHHHH!!!" (Smacks the floor.)

Lao Tsu: (Hops over Navero's mace and quickly gets over to the other
     side of the room with Dania, where it's safer.)

Gnoll 1: "OOROOWAH!" (Bashes Topash on the head with a club.)

Gnoll 2: "AAGGAKHAHH!" (Bounces off of Serga's shield.)

Gnoll 3: "KIIERILLIAH!" (Bounces off of Serga's armor.)

Other Gnolls: (Lots of roaring and screaming.  The Gnolls in the east
     corridor reach Lao and Dania, and take swings at them.  One gets
     a glancing blow on Dania.)

Dania: "Oh, fuck it!" (Backs up, directs Flaming Sphere into bunch of

Topash: "Ow." (Slashes at Gnoll 1, gets a hit.)

Kortul: "Arrrr!!" (Slashes at Gnoll 1, gets a hit of his own.  Gnoll 1
     is now dead.)

Topash: "Well, I softened him up for you."

Kortul: (Smirk.) "Of course."

Kory: (Continues to make noise.)

Serga: (Munches Gnoll 2.)

Navero: (Sees Dania in distress, goes running across the room.)
     "YAAAAAHHH!!" BONK! (Actually manages to hit a Gnoll in the face!
     Rolls a 2 on his damage roll, but he takes what he gets.)

Lao Tsu: "I wondel, do these cleatules wish to ovelpowel us by theil
     numbels, ol by theil smerr?" (Punches Gnoll 4.)

Gnoll 2: "Yarga yarga miyirbollal!" (Or something equally intelligent
     and inspirational.  Hits Serga.)

Gnoll 3: "HARRROOO!" (Jumps up, smacks Serga in the back of the head
     with a mace.  Does not make big impression, as he does not seem
     to hit in a vital spot.)

Gnoll 4: "ARRUUWAU!" (Stabs Lao.)

Gnoll 5: "GRRRAAHAHAAHA!" (Bashes Navero.)

Dania: "Nav, get out of here!  Kortul, come over here and get these
     things!" (Directs Flaming Sphere through pack of Gnolls, they
     cringe away from it.)

Topash: "Actually, that might be a good idea." (Runs over to north
     entrance, beside Serga.)

Kortul: "*grunt*" (Drops to knee, nocks arrow, fires between Serga's
     legs into pack of Gnolls.)

Kory: (Still more noise.  It's what he does best.)

Serga: (Looks very surprised at arrow's flight path.) "KORTUL!  What
     are you doing?!" (Brains Gnoll 3.)

Navero: "Go away you evil nasty smelly icky things!" (Fumbles.)

Game M: (Navero has to roll to hit himself.) Navero, roll a d20.

Navero: Is this a save for my weapon breaking again?

Game M: No, no, just roll.  And try to roll low.

Navero: Just so I don't have to get another mace again...

(Navero's first ever critical hit.)

Game M: Oh, Navero...  You hit yourself in the, uh...

Navero: Let me guess.  The groin.

Game M: Yes.  For x3 damage.

Navero: (Drops with a shriek, clutching at himself in a most un-
     priestly fashion.)

Lao Tsu: (Gives flying side kick to Gnoll 4, who dents inward most
     satisfyingly.) "Excuse this unwolthy one, but why did the pliest
     stlike himserf in the wobbry-dangries?"

Gnoll 2: "Hrwooo." (Looks at Gnoll 3, decides to let two of his
     comrades-in-smelliness take on Serga.)

Gnoll 4: "Aaaaaraagh *cough* *cough* *spit blood* (Makes unproductive
     flailing motions at Lao.)

Gnolls 5-10: (Start laughing at Navero.)

Gnolls 11-12: (Rush forward and start beating on Serga's shield.)

Gnolls 13-16: (Break out the pompoms, and start doing a little dance,
     barking in unison, "Brai lim, brai lim, brai lim, BRAI!")

Dania: "Does anyone speak Gnoll?" (Guides Flaming Sphere into Gnoll 4,
     who promptly keels over.)

Topash: "Not I." (Slices Gnoll 11.)

Serga: "NO!!  PRIEST-FRIEND!!" (Nearly runs over Topash rushing to
     Navero's side, and bashes into Gnoll 5 with his shield.)

Kortul: (Notes the huge gap that Serga's move leaves in the party's
     defensive line, and rushes in to fill it.)

Kory: (Quits singing, as he is doubled over with laughter on the floor

Navero: "eep!"

Lao Tsu: (Would attack someone, but he'd have to go through the
     Flaming Sphere to do it.) "Medium, prease lemove youl framing
     barr flom my path."

Gnoll 2: (Shouts encouraging words while edging towards the back of
     his group.)

Gnoll 5: (Bounces off a couple of walls, re-orients himself, and
     swings unsuccessfully at Serga.)

Gnoll 6: (Throws a bucket of something wet that isn't water into the
     Flaming Sphere, but it does nothing.)

Gnolls 7-10: (Make rude gestures at Navero.)

Gnoll 11: (Grins at Kortul, swings, and misses.)

Gnoll 12: "Aaarawaa hurlln drai!" (Hits Kortul.)

Gnolls 13-16: (Catch Gnoll 2, shove him back in front of Topash.)

Dania: (Starts guiding Flaming Sphere back into Gnoll pack, but it
     goes out.) "Ok, Serga, go get 'em!"

Topash: "Ah, thank you, gentlemen." (Slices Gnoll 2, who looks very

Kortul: "Hmph." (Critical hit, chops Gnoll 11 in half lengthwise.
     Gnolls 13-16 go ooooh, and hold up cards: 9.7, 9.4, 9.9, 9.3.)

Serga: "RRRRAAAAAGGGHHHHH!!!!!" (In true Ogrish fashion.  Gnoll 5 is
     now lunch meat.)

Kory: (Drags Navero into the middle of the room.) "Nav, I gotta hand
     it to you, that was something else!  I don't think I'll EVER stop

Navero: "eep!"

Lao Tsu: (Hops forward, kicks Gnoll 6 in the throat.)

Gnoll 2: "Graa!  Hawaawal brai!" (Shrugs off Gnolls 13-16, advances to
     fight Topash with more confidence than he showed towards Serga.
     Misses anyway.)

Gnoll 6: "*hack!*" (Thumps Lao in the leg with a big club.)

Gnolls 7-8: (Rush forward and try to grapple Serga.  They are rather
     large, so the two of them manage to get his arms.)

Gnolls 9-10: (Wait unenthusiastically for the combat to make its way
     back to them.)

Gnoll 12: (Looks very impressed at what Kortul did to Gnoll 11, elects
     for a flying body slam rather than swordplay.  Kortul avoids it,
     Gnoll 12 dives past him into the middle of the room with Dania.)

Gnoll 13: (Starts offering Gnolls 14-16 life insurance policies.  They
     beat him up.)

Dania: "KORTUL!  You let one in!" (Magic Missile's Gnoll 12.)

Topash: "Kortul, remember to tell Dania you're sorry sometime."
     (Misses Gnoll 2.)

Kortul: "I have a bad memory." (Impales Gnoll 13. Gnolls 14-16 cheer.)

Serga: "LEGGO!" (Swings Gnolls 7 and 8 into each other.  They let go
     and fall down in a heap.)

Kory: "Dania, Dania, he just didn't want you to feel lonely, so he let
     the cutest one in.  Aren't you going to thank him?" (Stabs Gnoll
     12, who is looking very unhappy by now.)

Dania: "Fuck no!  Kill the thing!"

Kory: "You just need to get more fun out of life."

Navero: (Wobbles to his feet, thinks better of it, and sits down

Lao Tsu: (Kicks Gnoll 7 upside the head, it expires.)

Gnoll 2: (Swings at Topash, scores a critical hit!  Topash dodges into
     Gnoll 2's sword, brains himself, and falls down.)

Gnoll 8: (Stabs Serga in the shin.)

Gnolls 9-10: (Charge forward and attack Lao.  Both hit.)

Gnoll 12: (Sits up in the middle of the room and looks rather forlorn.
     He drops his weapon and sticks both hands up in the air.)

Gnoll 13: (Swings and misses Kortul.)

Gnolls 14-16: (See Gnoll 12, start screaming at him to get on his feet
     and fight like a monster.)

Dania: "Hey, what are we supposed to do if they surrender?"

Topash: I can't say, my character's unconscious.  The usual adventurer
     tactic is to disarm them, then kill them when we can do so with
     minimal risk to ourselves.

Kory: "Hey!  Why don't we ask him to guide us through the dungeon?"

Dania: "Because nobody speaks Gnoll?"

Kory: "Hmmm, that does create a problem.  I've got it! (Sits down with
     Gnoll 12.) "Ok, to begin with, English is a non-inflected, Indo-
     European language..."

Gnoll 12: (Sits there with both arms in the air, listening patiently.)

Navero: I thought we were all speaking Common, anyway.

Topash: English, Common, makes little difference.

Kortul: "HAH!" (Chops at Gnoll 2, but misses.)

Serga: (Stomps Gnoll 8, who goes squish.)

Lao Tsu: (Kicks Gnoll 9 in the 'nads.)

Gnoll 2: (Stands up straight, points at Gnoll 12.) "WAWHRA HAA!! DRAI

Gnolls 14-16: (Charge past Gnoll 2 into the middle of the room, aiming
     for Gnoll 12, Dania, Kory, and Navero.)

Gnoll 9: "eep!" (retreats)

Gnoll 10: (Looks at Serga and Lao, tries to decide who he least wants
     to attack.  Eventually attacks Lao, and misses.)

Gnoll 12: (Swings and hits Kortul.  Kortul is starting to look unhappy
     with these Gnolls now.)

Dania: "Oh, fuck!  Kortul, get that one, then there's ones behind
     you!" (Casts Magic Missile, scattering them among the charging

Topash: (Shakes head, starts getting up.) "OW....."

Kortul: (Swings at Gnoll 12, manages to kill it.  Then steps back for
     a moment for a Bud.)

Kory: "Dania, don't you have a Sleep spell?" (Stabs Gnoll 14.)

Dania: "Didn't think we'd be fighting anything wimpy enough for it

Serga: "You hurt my priest-friend!" (Misses Gnoll 10.)

Lao Tsu: "I do not think this one was in any way responsible."
     (Punches Gnoll 10.)

Gnoll 2: (Does a fast fade back down the corridor.)

Gnoll 9: (Recovers himself, returns to do battle.)

Gnoll 10: (Swings at Serga, hits.)

Gnoll 12: (Sits there and does his best to look harmless.)

Gnoll 14: (Swings and hits Kory.)

Gnoll 15: (Swings and hits Gnoll 12.)

Gnoll 16: (Looks back, notices Gnoll 2 is not there anymore, and turns
     into a giant all-day Sucker.)

Dania: (Smacks Gnoll 15 with her staff.) "Look, the Sleep spell is
     just about useless on anything high level!  Kill these things by

Topash: (Does demonstration of Excedrin headache #2.) "Certainly,
     certainly.  As soon as I fuse the halves of my skull back
     together, I'll be right with you."

Kortul: (Steps up to Gnoll 16, swings and hits.)

Kory: "Hey!  Quit ganging up on me!" (Stabs Gnoll 14, it dies.) "Cool!
     You may have a point, Dania.  How long has it been since we
     fought wimp monsters?"

Serga: (Chops up Gnoll 9.) "We've lost an awful lot of hit points for
     wimp monsters."

Kory: "Hey, they got the drop on us.  And what was that exploding
     thing they had?"

Lao Tsu: (Kicks Gnoll 10 into his next incarnation.) "It is this one's
     most felvent wish that they do not have any mole."

Gnoll 12: (Ducks and covers.)

Gnolls 15-16: (Get back-to-back in the middle of the room.)

Kortul, Lao, Kory, and Serga: (Collectively make hamburger out of
     Gnolls 15 and 16 in the next round.)

Dania: "Whew."

Serga: "Are you all right, priest-friend?"

Navero: "eep!"

Serga: "Maybe you should stay out of the front lines."

Dania: "Well, we keep telling him that.  You ok, Nav?"

Topash: "Ah, Navero.  He of the Bulging Backpack, with his mighty mace
     of self-destruction.  I feel ever so secure with him around.
     (Breaks into song.)  A grazing mace, how high the shriek..."

Navero: (In high-pitched voice) "I'll never do that again!"

Kory: "Wise planning."

Dania: "Shut up.  Navero, think you do a Cure Light Wounds?"

Kory: "Dania, please.  I know you wouldn't appreciate this, but this
     is Serious.  Nav, have a healing potion before the rest of us
     keel over from sympathy pains."

Navero: (Drinks healing potion.) "Oooog..."

Topash: "Very good.  Now, I have this slight problem with a subdermal
     hematoma I'd like you to look at..."

Navero: "Okay.  Maybe I should look at the Gnoll first... wait,
     where'd he go?"

(Everyone looks around.  Gnoll 12 is nowhere to be seen.)

Kory: "Ah, shit.  Oh, well.  Don't think we could have gotten anything
     out of him anyway."

     We had healing spells all around, then looked down the two
corridors leading out of the room.  The north corridor drifted away to
the north and west a long ways, while the east entrance, after about
50 feet, opened up onto a huge cave.  It was a long cave; we couldn't
see the ends north and south.  The roaring sound we'd heard was an
underground river, flowing fast and strong about twenty feet down from
our entrance.  The other wall was about forty feet away, just barely
visible.  There was another cave entrance on our wall, but no ledges
or paths we could easily walk over.  A rope extended along the well;
apparently, the way there was to go hand-over-hand along the rope.
     As we watched, another Gnoll head peeped out of the southern
entrance, then quickly pulled back again.  If we were going to get to
that entrance, we'd probably have to go along the cliff under fire.
If they didn't just cut the rope and send us into the river.  Rather
than deal with this on an empty stomach, we sat down for lunch.

Daniel Parsons                "More fricasseed Balrog?"      "Nah, some of the Dragon gall-bladder
                               would sit better with me.  I have a
                               delicate stomach."

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