Chapter 62

previous chapter (#61)                  next chapter (#63)

               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

Down in the burned-out remains of the spider nest, we started looking
at the remains of their previous meals.  Most were just dried husks
before catching fire, and were hardly recognizable now.  Fortunately,
they broke to pieces almost at a touch, and were easy to loot.  One
had been wearing chainmail which survived the fire, a good hint that
it was magical, and there were a few coins scattered here and there.
Also a few broken bottles, and what might have been a scroll, but it
was all burned.  Navero also gave the last rites to all the bodies, as
they might have had souls at some point, you can never be sure.
     The holes in the floor were quite large, and some were covered by
burned webs or other debris.  We had to be careful not to step in any.
Every now and then, we thought we heard faint scratching noises from
one of the holes, but we couldn't see anything, and they weren't wide
enough for us to enter.  While we were checking the fifth body, and
were scattered around the room, the inevitable attack occurred.  Giant
Rats suddenly darted out of all the holes, leaping and screeching and
biting madly.

Navero: (Yells as a rat suddenly jumps on his back.) "Hey!"
Dania: (Manages somehow to jump out of the way of a rat.) "Shit!"
     (Casts Magic Missile, rat dies messily.)
Kortul: (Swears and smashes a rat gnawing on his arm into the wall.)
Kory: "Oh, rats." (Stabs a rat.)
Topash: "I was hoping forlornly that no one would say that." (Slices a
Serga: (Blinks in surprise as several rats jump on him and try to gnaw
     through his armor.)
Lao Tsu: (Nimbly avoids every rat that jumped at him.) "You have tlury
     flightening velmin in this part of the wolrd."
Rats: (Scurry and squeal all around.  More and more pour out of tunnel
Navero: (Drops backpack, it falls on rat and severely injures it with
     its weight.) "There are dozens of them!  We'd better form a
Topash: "Navero, I never thought I'd see anyone kill a monster with
     his knapsack." (Slices rat, goes back-to-back with Kortul.)
Dania: "You haven't tried to lift Navero's pack, have you?" (Scatters
     MM's throughout the rats, 3 expire.)
Kory: (Stabs a rat, it expires.) "You could kill vampires with that
     pack, probably."
Serga: (Drops and rolls to get rats off of him.  This kills the rats,
     and a few others who happened to be nearby.)
Kortul: "Hmmmm..." (Chops rat into itty bitty pieces with two-hander.)
Lao Tsu: (Leaps high over rats, kicking one.  It dies with a pathetic
Topash: "Kory, you'd better go back to back with Navero.  Don't worry,
     he's dropped his pack so it's safe now."
Kory: "I dunno... he's gonna start swinging that mace now..."
Topash: "It's him or Dania.  Lao needs room to move, and Serga is
     finding his own unique way to deal with the rats."
Serga: "Hey!"
Kory: "Don't knock success.  Or excess.  Or access.  Speaking of
     which, how are we gonna keep the steroid mice from eating us?"
Rats: (More and more come pouring out of the rat holes.  They leap and
     bite and screech everywhere, with most everyone getting bitten at
     one point or another.)
     After entirely too much of this sort of thing, the remaining rats
decided we were too tough and scurried back to their holes.  Everyone
had a bite or two, so Navero cast Cure Disease all around.

Kory: "Well, that was interesting.  Shall we pick up where we left
Navero: "Sure." (Wobbles.)
Topash: "Is something wrong, Navero?"
Navero: "Nothing, I'm just tired.  Shall we look at the other bodies?"
Kory: "Hey, what time is it?  How long have we been down here?"
Dania: (Leaning on staff.) "I don't know, but I'm exhausted too.  Nav
     and I have been casting spells like crazy.  Let's finish checking
     the bodies over, and find someplace to crash."
Topash: "Good idea.  Strange how you have to think about it to realize
     you're tired, when you have no idea of the time.  Where would be
     a safe place?"
Kory: "Not here."
Dania: "No shit."
Kortul: "Room with faces isn't safe either."
Topash: "I agree.  Too many entrances to watch.  I suggest the long
     corridor between here and there."
Serga: "It's kind of narrow."
Kory: "Nah, it'll be okay.  Help me get this last one."
     All the bodies were checked (except for the hordes of dead rats)
and a meager amount of treasure pocketed.  The only magical item was
the chainmail.  Most of the bodies didn't look human anyway; a couple
were definitely Gnolls.
     Retreating to the corridor, we set up camp about halfway between
the two rooms.  We set double watches, and let the spell casters sleep
first, to recover from their exertions. (We used a spell-point system,
with points being recovered with undisturbed rest.  A night's sleep
recovered all spell points.)  There was one incident during the night,
when what looked like a giant cockroach approached us.  It wasn't that
big, only about a couple of feet long, and Serga stomped it without
waking the rest of the group.
     In the morning, Dania identified the mail: Chainmail +2.  Nice
stuff; we gave it to Navero without much complaint from anyone else.
Kortul got put in the lead this time, and we went back to the spider
room to look at the other entrances.  We noticed all the rat bodies
were gone too.
     To the east, we could see a long corridor going on as far as we
could see, but to the south, the corridor was much shorter, sloped
downward, and widened into a room about 30 feet away.  We decided to
go that way.
     The room at the end of the corridor had spider-webs in it, but
not so many that they hid the room's size, or its contents.  The
contents consisted of about a half-dozen dead spiders.  Their dry legs
curled up around them, they were scattered throughout the room, some
up in the webs, some lying on the floor.  The room itself was vaguely
round and about 20 feet wide, with several rat holes in the walls and
floors.  A pile of some shiny stuff was in a pile on the opposite side
of the room.

Topash: "A spider cemetery?"
Dania: "Weird."
Kory: "Highly bizarre."
Dania: "That's you.  What's that stuff over there?"
Topash: "I can't quite see through the webs.  I wonder why all these
     dead spiders are in here."
Kortul: "Sure they're dead?"
Topash: "They most certainly look dead.  Poke one."
Kortul: (Pokes spider with two-hander.  It is dry and light, and rolls
     over without too much of a push.)
     Unfortunately, this revealed more of it to view.  Most of it was
spider, but parts of the body and face were definitely rat.  Dead rat,
its nasty yellow teeth visible in the lantern light.  Bits of dry skin
and tissue still clung to dry bone, which melded into the spider's
exoskeletal parts to make a disturbing-looking whole.

Dania: "Oh, geezus."
Topash: (Very deliberately) "I think I am going to be sick."
Kortul: (Looks pale as stomach goes Whoops.)
Kory: "That is one of the eight most repulsive thing I''ve ever seen."
Topash: "Whoever is responsible for this has a really sick mind."
Dania: "Why do you think they're all dead?"
Topash: "Nature itself objected to their existence, I would think."
Navero: "I don't think so.  I mean, all kinds of wizards have made
     strange monsters, and they still exist."
Dania: "Hey!  Priests make them too."
Navero: "Priests call on the Gods, who take the creature from their
     own realms.  They are alien, but not unnatural."
Kory: "All of which is academic.  They're weird and disgusting, and
     would probably make Dania look like good company if they were
     alive.  Let's burn ‘em."
Dania: "There might be scrolls in that treasure pile.  They're dead,
     they're not gonna be doing anything.  Kortul, go see what's in
     the treasure pile."
Kortul: (Glares at Dania.) "You go."
Dania: "You're the one who always wants to go in the room first."
Kortul: "Decided to be more open-minded."
Topash: "Are we just going to stand here arguing about this?"
Kory: "Don't we always?"
Serga: "I'll go in."
Navero: "Can you see those spiders?"
Serga: "No.  It's dark down there."
Topash: "Never mind." (Walks into room, shoving aside spider-webs.)
     "It's a pile of coin.  Now..."
Undead Spider-rat 1: (Drops with absolute silence onto Topash and
     grabs him.)
Party: "AAAAAAHHHH!!!!" (Note: One of the players did let out a small
     yelp at this point.  I won't say who.  A good build-up can still
     scare people, even this jaded bunch.)
Dania: "Nav, dispel it!"
Navero: "Oh, Lords of the Correct and Unalterable Way, let this
     violation upon the earth be dispelled!"
Undead Spider-rat 1: (Blatantly ignores Navero and bites Topash,
     moldery fangs digging deep into him.)
Topash: "Aieeee!" (Swats ineffectively at Undead spider-rat.)
Kortul: (Thinking quickly, he heaves up his two-hander and slams it
     into the nearest dead spider.  Its twitching convinces everyone
     that they're probably all undead.)
Dania: "Shit.  Wonder how many hit dice these things have?" (Casts
     Flaming Sphere.)
Kory: (Loudly retches over in a corner.)
Navero: "Topash!  Are you all right?"
Topash: "NO!!!"
Lao Tsu: "So, smerry one, it seems we ale kept away flom the battre
     once again."
Serga: "I wish I could help."
Lao Tsu: "Do not wolly.  Mole four velmin wirr doubtress sneak up
     behind us."
Undead Spider-rats 2-5: (Drop onto Topash and Kortul, biting with some
Topash: "I do wish we'd had enough spell points to heal everyone up
     last night." (Tries to throw spider off, but it's very strong.
     Fortunately, its bite does not seem to be poisonous.)
Kortul: "Hmph." (Chops into Spider-rat 2 again.  It does not die.)
Dania: (Guides Flaming Sphere into Spider-rat 3.)
Kory: (Tries to recover himself.)
Navero: (Chants.)
Serga: (Looks behind him.) "Hey, more rats are sneaking up behind us."
Lao Tsu: "Indeed!  Sharr we stop them?"
Serga: "Ok."
Spider-rat 1: (Misses with bite, though it's still sitting on Topash.)
Spider-rat 2: (Backs away from Kortul, and spits a glob of some foul-
     smelling stuff on him.  He makes his save, and is only revolted.)
Spider-rat 3: (Cringes from Flaming Sphere, hissing.)
Spider-rat 4: (Spits at Dania, misses.)
Spider-rat 5: (Spits at Topash, gets critical miss.  Accidentally
     bites one of its own legs off.)
Rats: (Swarm up to Serga, squealing and biting.)
Topash: "Ahhhhh!" (Rolls on ground, but the thing is stubborn.)
Kortul: "ARGHHAA!" (Chops into Spider-rat 2, it finally dies.)
Dania: "Christ, these things are tough!" (Guides Flaming Sphere
     towards 3, backing it into a corner.)
Kory: "Knew I shouldn't have eaten so much breakfast."
Navero: (Still chanting.)
Lao Tsu: (Stomps on a rat's head.)
Serga: (Skewers a rat.)
Spider-rat 1: (Misses with bite.)
Spider-rat 3: (Hisses, and tries to climb away, but Flaming Sphere
     burns away webbing.)
Spider-rat 4: (Jumps at Kortul, gets critical miss.  Slams into wall
     and knocks itself dizzy.)
Spider-rat 5: (Spits at Dania, misses.)
Rats: (Bite at Lao and Serga.  One bites Lao for 1 point.)
Topash: (Stabs at Spider-rat 1, hits.)  Gee, Jeff, you're not hitting
     very well with these monsters.
Game M: I know!  They're great little monsters and I suddenly can't
     roll above a 5.
Kortul: Cheer up, luck always changes. (Chops at Spider-rat 4, gets
     critical hit and shears all legs off on one side.)  Uh, see?
Game M: (Fumes silently.)  These were supposed to be incredibly
     impressive monsters.
Topash: I think they're impressive!  You're just not rolling well.
Dania: (Places Flaming Sphere neatly around Spider-rat 3.) Happens to
     the best of us.  Dan's been on a bad-luck streak since he made
Game M: Yeah, and makes up for it with Kortul.
Navero: Hey, I think it's damn weird too.  But you see me roll.
Dania: Yeah!  It's not just the difference in to-hit bonuses.  With
     Kortul you roll 16, 14, 19, then with Navero you get a 2.
Kory: Repeatedly.  If I didn't see it, I wouldn't believe it.
Lao Tsu: (Dances on rat's heads.) I knew this guy who only rolled well
     when he was swinging at something he didn't want to hit.
Navero: How many times has Navero accidentally hit another party
Serga: Could be worse. (Stomps rats.)  I could accidentally hit
     another party member!
Topash: Oh, that would be hideous.
Spider-rat 1: (Misses Topash again.)
Spider-rat 3: (Sizzles and screams, trying to get away.)
Spider-rat 4: (Flops helplessly on the floor, spitting and hissing.)
Spider-rat 5: (Jumps at Kortul, and hits.  Kortul gets bit.)
Rats: (Elect to retreat back down their holes.)
Topash: (Slices at Spider-rat 1, misses.) "Ok, I'm only going to say
     this once.  HELP!!!"
Kortul: (Wrenches Spider-rat 5 off of his face and swats it across the
     room with his two-hander.) "In a minute!"
Dania: "We're working on it!" (Guides Sphere over Spider-rat 3 as it
     tries to wriggle away.)
Kory: (Sings battle song, a bit hoarsely.)
Navero: (Chants.)
Lao Tsu: "It occuls to this humbre one that you two might considel
     singing the same song duling battres."
Serga: "I don't know if they know any of the same songs."
Dania: "Yeah!  Harmonize a little!  Kory, do you do Gospel?"
Spider-rat 1: (Bites Topash, good and hard.)
Spider-rat 3: (Sizzle sizzle)
Spider-rat 4: (Manages to sit up, and spits at Dania.  She makes her
Spider-rat 5: (Jumps back across the room, missing Dania.)
Game M: Ok, that was a little better.  But you made your save.
Dania: Thank goddess. (Guides Flaming Sphere, Spider-rat 3 dies.)
Game M: Hey, you don't know what the spit balls do.
Topash: And we'd like it to stay that way. (Slices at Spider-rat 1,
Kortul: (Moves into room, chopping at Spider-rat 1.  Unfortunately, he
Kory: "That's my cue!" (Moves into space Kortul vacated, stabs Spider-
     rat 5.) "Ha!  Take that!"
Navero: (Keeps chanting.)
Lao Tsu: (Consults his little book of Zen.)
Serga: (Watches out for rats.)
Spider-rat 1: (Hisses, and spits at Kortul, missing again.)
Spider-rat 4: (Falls over again and flops around.)
Spider-rat 5: (Hisses, and jumps at Kory, missing.)
Topash: (Takes advantage of the distraction, and squirms away from
     Spider-rat 1.)
Kortul: (Swings again, and connects most satisfyingly. Spider-rat 1
Topash: "Good thing I softened it up for you."
Kortul: "Hmph."
Dania: (Puts Flaming Sphere on Spider-rat 4.) "Where's that other one
     gotten to?"
Kory: "It knocked Navero over." (Stabs Spider-rat 5.)
Navero: (Sits up, with Spider-rat 5 in his lap.  Swings and misses.)
Lao Tsu: "Ret me herp you with that." (Kicks Spider-rat 5 out of
     Navero's lap into wall.)
Serga: (Chops Spider-rat 5.  It looks very unhappy.)
Spider-rat 4: (Sizzles and dies.)
Spider-rat 5: (Spits at Serga, misses again.  GM hangs head in shame.)
Party: (Surrounds Spider-rat 5 and pounds it into a greasy wee spot on
     the floor.  I'll spare you the details.)
     After all the shouting was over and done with, we looked in the
room.  The pile was mostly silver pieces, as well as a battle axe,
some bits of armor, a wand, and a small box with a lock on it.  The
box did have a poison needle trap, but Kory got rid of it and picked
the lock.  Inside, there was a single large gem, which seemed to glow
with an inner greenish fire.  It just screamed magic.

Daniel Parsons                               OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHH... Pretty.

previous chapter (#61)                  next chapter (#63)