The One True Game: According to Hoyle, and Others


First Post
Tales from the Perfect and Unbiased Memory of Mirel of Margrave County (cont)

We went back down into the well, back to the room of twenty pools. Darius wanted to look over the wall next to the room that was on the map. Kayla wanted to see the pools, to find out what each one did. She said that the scroll Elian gave her would let her read the pools as well as the little room behind the throne. As she was looking them over, Brother Ben wrote down the things she said. Most of the pools had a speaking sentence that would change them, the way that Quasqueton would open or close the door. The fire pool went out or relit, the pool of false gold appeared or went away again. I heard many of the sayings, and remembered the more interesting ones. Some of the pools would be fun to play with. I thought of many questions, but didn't ask any.

Darius didn't find the door he was looking for by the time she looked at all of the pools, so he gave up and we went through the Zeligar circle again. I was very surprised, because even though the arms of the stone columns were fixed, the throne was still out of place, wedged in with the spikes. Brother Ben saved us a lot of work by doing that. I wondered if the magical servants were very smart at all, since so simple a hindrance kept them from finishing their task. Kayla went into the little room, and soon came out. It was another magical barrier, like the archway, but by saying "Zeligar", like for the circle, each of us could go through it.

It led to a very large room and it was wonderful! There were so many barrels, great stacks of stone blocks, crates piled high, weapons, shields, and tools, too. I wished we had found all of this days ago. Darius pulled the lids off the barrels and they all were full of food! It was enough to feed the Outpost for several months. And all of it was still good, too. I ate a small handful of candy, a rare treat, and nobody said anything.

Darius was looking around the room, checking to see if there were any other doors in the walls or floor. He found one place in the floor that sounded hollow, so he broke through it to see if it went to another room below. It did, but not one like he expected. It was a huge cave, with the river flowing at the bottom, and nothing supporting the room except the floor he had just smashed. And cracks were spreading out. We had to get out of the room quickly, and take as much of everything with us as we could.

Kayla and I went up to the top of the well to get help from some of the soldiers. About twenty men were able to set their tasks aside and help out below. We took many torches, and ensconced them only in the halls that the men would have to walk down, so that they wouldn't have enough light to go wandering by. Kayla told each one where to stand and what to say. I went through the circle first to get them out of each other's way on the other side, and to send them up the right hallway. All twenty men came through the circle one right after the other. Many people could move quickly through a circle like that. I was impressed.

The men lined up about ten paces from each other, all the way from the circle to the throne, which was missing gems. Darius would pass things from the room to the first man in line, and the men would pass it to each other all the way down the hallways. The last several men in line took turns going through the circle and putting barrels and crates where Kayla wanted them. When that room was full, with only a small path from the circle to the door, the rest of the crates and barrels and stone blocks were lined up against the walls and between the great stone columns in the halls.

Once everything was out of the great room and safe from falling into the rivers, we tried to think of a way to carry things up the well. The well bucket would not hold much weight, and the notches made it very hard to carry things in hand. Some things, like tools and weapons, were bundled together and strapped to the men's backs. Barrels and crates, though, were left down in the wells until we could figure out what to do with them. When we finally left the well, the men were exhausted from lifting and carrying so many heavy things around. Kayla and I hadn't done near as much work so much as finding places to put things, so I wasn't tired a bit. I think she went back to studying the books. I took the horses and mules out for another walk, this time taking them outside the Outpost, since with a hundred soldiers camped, I felt much safer.

I stayed up late listening to the soldiers' fireside stories, and the next morning came very quick. But chores were easy, since all I had to do was tether the horses and mules out by the soldiers' animals, and that's exactly where they wanted to go. I could've mucked since there were enough shovels to go around, but Darius called for us to go into the tunnels again, and I was very pleased to let the chore wait another day. Kayla didn't need to prepare anything this time, so there was no time to play with the Quasqueton door. We went straight to the wizard's archway.

Sgt Darius tried passing through, and it threw him back, as it had the day before. This time Brother Ben also tried to pass through, and as I figured, it threw him back too, very hard. Darius began breaking the hands off of the statues, to see if that would break the magic. I was quick to add my sling to the effort, so that none could say I didn't hit a fair share. When both hands from both statues were broken off, Darius tried again to pass through, and again it threw him back. Igor went through, so it seemed that the archway was not changed at all. I was sad that we had broken the statues for nothing, for I didn't figure that the magical servants would fix them since they were on this side of the circle.

So I stepped between the two wizards and stood there. I figured that I might block the magic so that another could pass through, or it would reject both of us. I grit my teeth as Darius tried first, half expecting to be thrown and not knowing which way it would send me. I really didn't want to be thrown into the other side where Igor was. That spider earlier had scared me, and the rough walls looked close enough that I'd likely be knocked out again if I hit hard against one. But Darius passed through the arch, and I relaxed as Kayla went through too. But in figuring out the secret of the arch, we had forgotten about Brother Ben, who was just starting to sit up in the entry room. Igor didn't offer to come back through and help me, and I didn't feel like asking, but it didn't take long anyways. Brother Ben was awake if not very alert, and though he leaned heavily on me, he didn't have any more trouble with the archway.

We went down the tunnel to where I had seen the spider. It was webbed over again. Either the spider worked very quickly or it had help. I told everyone about the spider, and said that it didn't like fire. I figured to use a torch instead of the sling if it attacked again. We moved down the hall, burning the webs out of the way. And then there was the spider. It crawled along the ceiling of the tunnel and dropped down on Igor. Everyone attacked the spider, and it ran away from us, into the other part of the tunnels.

Darius ran after the fleeing spider, for he can see in the darkness quite well. Igor ran too, with Kayla holding a torch for him. Brother Ben and I looked around the cave room, since I was winded from fighting, and unless he took my torch and left me behind, he couldn't give chase either. It was a plain room, the webbing had all burned away. There were no other tunnels leading from it, so there was no place for another spider to come from. The only things in the room were two bodies, badly burned. They looked like they would stand up on two legs, but they weren't human or Elf or Dwarf. Brother Ben said that they were dead before the fire burned them.

Having caught my breath, we followed the sounds through the tunnels, and caught up to Kayla, Darius, and Igor right as they came up to a fork in the tunnel. Two more of the same creatures that were dead in the other room were standing guard at the fork. The spider ran right by them, down one of the forks. The two guards yipped down the tunnels, and turned towards us baring fangs and pikes.

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The story picks up with Session 4. This Sunday we are about to play Session 10. so there has been a lot of other news. ;)


Dearest Mother and Father,

My apologies for not writing for writing for some time. Not only have I been terribly busy myself, but Brother Ben has also been consumed with his responsibilities. Others have taken advantage of his generosity in scribing letters too. My lessens in writing have fallen by the wayside, but I hope to pick them up again sometime, in calmer more peaceful times.

While Darius and the others continued their exploration of the strange catacombs beneath Outpost Xavier, I have been concentrating my efforts on training a small group of pikemen. Dram has also been training his archers, but we were both called away from our men to assist with trouble down below. Igor came to us, seemingly in great fear, having been sent by Darius for reinforcements. Dram and I were thankfully already wearing our armor and equipped for battle, so we headed quickly down the well. We rushed ahead to the archway, where Dram explained that I would be able to pass through as long as I was touching him. This worked without incident, although we still do not know the reason why.

We found Darius, Kayla, Mirel and Ben in a long corridor, with a group of the dog-like creatures at the other end firing crossbows without much effect. I was prepared to load my crossbow and return fire, but the beasts headed for us as soon as we rounded the corner. I dropped my torch and fought with my sword. This too proved ineffective as the creatures swarmed us, leaving me no room to swing my blade. I dropped it too and began punching the dog that had my shield arm in his teeth.

Finally I was able to draw my dagger. The animals lacked courage, for once I drew blood on a few they retreated, revealing that many of my compatriots had been similarly overwhelmed. I picked up my sword and gave chase, but Darius gave the order for us to rest and regroup. His dwarven eyes can see farther in the darkness than our torches, and he counted four of the creatures that escaped. A small loss, considering the eighteen dead around our feet. We had come through the battle with minimal injuries, a fact I attribute to our continued improvement as a team. Each day we seem to work better together, and we manage to overcome increasingly difficult odds.

After investigating some odd, unfinished wax statues, we followed the path left by the dogs to what appeared to be their lair, where we found a collection of rubbery, egg-like orbs covered in webs and twigs. Either the reptile-dogs had been laying eggs, or these belonged to a large spider which they may have been keeping to provide them with food. Either way, we decided burning the things was the best idea. Our question was soon answered as Darius headed down the corridor and was quickly covered in a spray of webs. The large spider was moving along the ceiling, but Dram's arrows made quick work of it.

The next room seemed to be a temple of some kind. The furniture was made for small creatures, and our attention was drawn to a chair of piled animal bones. Offerings of coin were found at the foot of the chair, and we quickly collected them. Dram moved the chair, revealing a small opening which Darius crawled through to find small cavern, the centerpiece of which was a red stone that pulsed brightly. It suddenly lit up and Brother Ben screamed out as if in pain. The dwarf shattered the stone with his hammer, and the countless small pieces continued to flicker but began to fade. Ben reported that the pain he felt was fading as well.

A portion of the stone was left in the wall. Darius chipped it out, resulting in a handful of red, chalky powder. Ben asked him to finish smashing to the stone, saying “It tried to team me apart on the inside. It crawled into my head.” The dwarf kept crushing the small pieces into powder until Ben told us the feeling had completely subsided. When Darius touched the spot on the wall where the stone had been he felt like it was trying to pull him in. A burned out torch landed at his feet, as if appearing from no where. He poked the spot with the torch and it disappeared, pulled into the abyss. Suddenly, Darius vanished, as if he had been pulled into the wall. We all sat stunned, and then saw a coin fall from the wall into the room. Kayla told us it must be some kind of portal, but to where we did not know. Before she could finish explaining, the dwarf popped back into the room. He composed himself and explained that he had been transported to the room we had seen before with the multiple pools of liquids, coming out in the pool that looked like a black void. He had risked his life by stepping back into the void to be transported back to us.

I'm sorry to report that I don't expect I will telling much more of my story. My duties are taking up a great deal of my time. While I enjoy training, bettering myself and teaching others, I have time for little else. Brother Ben is somewhat disappointed that I have put aside my efforts to learn reading and writing, but I think he also understands my situation, as he is quite busy as well. Please have faith that I will return home, with many more stories to tell.


Cpl. Dalin Hoyle


Like Dalin, I, JoeBlank, have been busy with my own duties lately. Play continues, and the game is going very well. A few of the other players have volunteered to keep the story hour going, so hopefully there will be more frequent updates. Thanks for reading so far.


Prepare for Post-a-day

[sblock]A little bit of story overlap will happen at first. Some details already posted will be skimmed over in the beginning. You should see fresh new action starting within a few days.

let me know if you like the post-per-day format too.[/sblock]Brother Ben was not quite ready for what lay ahead. After finishing his letter to his mentor Reverend Father Stauk-Flezr, he walked about the hustle and bustle of the newly forming army encampment. The 100 men and women he saw were hard, tough soldiers, not like the inexperienced conscripts of Outpost X. These soldiers had seen war and worked together with a sense of unison whether setting up their tent camp or sending out perimeter patrols. Each seemed to understand the necessity to listen when an order was given. Every soldier displayed subtle skill in completing the task at hand. Brother Ben was growing fond of his own friends and he had long come to think of his fellow conscripts at Outpost Xavier as family to him. But the solders, Ben envied them. He could only hope these militia might become a team as close-knit as they were. They were the answer to his prayers. And there would be no more deaths with them here. Or so he believed.

The rest of the party was preparing to head back down the well to Quasqueton. Corporals Dalin and Dram had chosen to stay above ground in order to focus on the training of the conscripts each had previously started. Ben thought they planned to use the soldiers expertise, but did not hear after climbing in the well himself. The afternoon trip took some time, but a few useful things were discovered. First off, in their meeting together Elion had given Kayla some kind of parchment which allowed her to read the strange symbols which encircled each of the 20 pools in the large room. While Kayla's scroll crumbled, Ben took notes on a scrap of parchment trying to copy down all the words she read around each pool. Sadly, he unknowingly lost this same piece of parchment sometime in the next few days.

After scouting out the pool room, the party used the Zelligar circle inscribed on the floor of a different room to re-enter Zelligar's pristine personal quarters. The magical forces had cleaned up since the day before and even the caryatid columns were working once again. The group quickly destroyed the arms off of each with arrows and shot again. Fortunately, the powerful cleaning forces at work had not moved the throne back in front of the tunnel it guarded. This unexplored hallway had a much lower ceiling than the throne room. It was roman arched and etched on all sides with more strange symbols and weird writings. Kayla murmured a few words under her breath sounding like those from the parchment before and entered bravely. It was a puzzle, but Kayla quickly discovered the answer. Just like the Zelligar floor circle, one had to pronounce "Zelligar" before passing through.

The room on the far side was 40' x 40' square and every square inch was filled with supplies. Their jaws dropped at the sight. It was a vast treasure trove and more than they could have hoped for. Even the dried food was fresh. Ben had suspicions this might have to do with the magical cleaning forces and set a mental note to pass on how it might be contaminated. Heading in Darius found a strange crack in the wall and floor on the far right of the room. He believed that the position of this room matched up on Mirel's map in the upper left hand corner. He tied a rope to the end of his hammer and was throwing it at the wall in hopes of bursting through and proving his theory. Instead, a large hole crumbled away in the floor and Darius had to jump away to keep from falling in. Ben didn't notice if any supplies fell in, but with the floor rumbling Darius dared to take a peek below.

Amazement! With his vision Darius could see the whole of this room had a vast empty space below dropping into oblivion farther than his eyesight could reach. Checking along the sides he ascertained the space spread out in all directions from the hole encompassing at least all of the treasure room and likely far more. At the time the group could not afford to wait and ponder over this new found discovery. Darius did drop a stone and heard a splash after a good long fall.

The real danger was now clear. The cracks slowly were creeping outward in the floor. Everything of value needed to be moved out as quickly as possible. Quick as a snap a plan was laid and executed expertly. In retrospect Brother Ben was quite proud of how the team had worked things out. You see, several soldiers were brought down the well and a single line bucket brigade moved every item out of the treasure room before its entire floor collapsed. Even moving the supplies up the well to Outpost Xavier was accomplished before the end of twilight above. After hours of exertion by the team and twenty soldiers they all slept more soundly that night. In fact, it was the first night Ben was able to sleep soundly since his arrival less than one week ago.
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Check out the new art above, if you haven't spotted it already

[DAY 7 - Feastday, Mao 24th, CY 81]

Early the next morning Darius gave the order to once again head back down into the tunnels of Quesquaton. Cpl. Chervac accompanied the crew while Cpl's Dalin and Dram stayed above ground. The archway in the one room known to be on a lower level was tested. It was another puzzle like the tunnel behind the throne in Zelligar's quarters. Several people tried to pass below, but not all. Brother Ben tried this time and fell to the ground in pain passing out. Those who were accepted through were Igor and Mirel. The rest who tried failed and were injured for it. The lithography of two wizards waiving their hands at the door was marred in hopes that the magic might stop, but no such luck. Mirel finally solved the riddle by standing within the doorway while the others passed through. It was a dangerous thing to try, but successful nonetheless. Ben limped across into the natural caverns on the other side of the archway. It was truly a brand new world.

The tunnels were mostly natural with some rough work done to flatten the floor and walls. The cave split left and right ahead. To the right a newly reformed spider web blocked their path. Igor was leading and attacked by a 7' tall spider dropping down onto him. Without fear the party rushed to his aid and managed to land a solid below before the spider jumped over their heads and ran down the left tunnel. Darius, Igor, Chervac and Kayla ran after in hot pursuit, while injured Brother Ben and Mirel hung back. Ben inspected two badly burned bodies near the web and realized they were killed by poisoning and not the burning of the web. What creatures they were though he did not know. They were short merely 3' tall at best, scaly covered, and with dog-like faces. Everything else was distorted due to the fire. Ben would have thought they were precocious pigmen with a Charlotte to accompany them, but it was not so.

[Session 4]

The other four had run quite far down the left passage and encountered more of these amazing creatures. As if the gigantic 7' spider was not strange enough, here stood two more of the lizard-dog men with short spears in hand. They started barking very loudly and approached our four pursuers. Igor ran as fast as he could back through the archway, then through the Zelligar Circle, up the well, and outside to the encampment. Later he said that he went for reinforcements, but any who saw him leave could see the stark white terror on his face.

Fortunately, he did send reinforcements in the form of Dalin and Dram. They had stayed up with the militia to train and supervise as with the previous night's excursion. Ben believed Igor's tale kindled within them their sense of duty inspiring them to rush down the well and through the archway with Mirel's help to join in the fight. And quite a fight it was. Over twenty of the diminutive creatures had swarmed towards the group. Ben and Mirel had moved in as well and joined in combat, Ben with his flail and Mirel with her sling. At one point Ben fell to the ground and Dram had to pull him back to safety. All the time barking, the creatures fought ferociously while they still held larger numbers. But the band's attacks hurt them and killed many in one blow. Bodies soon littered the floor of the cavern and the battle was won as the last of the barkers fled. "Barkers" they were called by Dalin because of the incessant noise they made. Quite tenacious, the creatures still lacked bravery when outnumbered. Given their size, Ben thought this was probably wise. With the addtion of Dram and Dalin Cpl Chervac went back up to the Outpost to take command and report the group was okay.

The party set out more cautiously now walking down the left corridor with torches in hand. Darius led with that eerie ability he has to see in the dark. The footprints of the barkers and spider lead deeper into the caves before they split again after about 100’. The floor of the cavern here was covered in sand wet in the center. The tracks went straight through the sand, but Igor suggested the group should not as there might be a trap only creatures of heavy weight could trigger. So the party skirted along the sides slowly. On the far side was a human-sized red statue which appeared unfinished. The tracks led by it to the left and right. Inspecting the statue revealed small claw marks and the fact that it was made of some waxy material. Parts of it were broken off and several small bones covered it. Dram recognized the bones and dress materials as belonging to the Northmen of whom he was a descendant.
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The left cave was irregularly shaped and rather short with a very large boulder pressed up against the far end. Three other red wax statues were here too, all unfinished and partially melted. One was missing its top torso, while another had a block head that reminded them of the good man Charlie Brown. ;) It wore an old, decrepit form of scale armor. The third figure was missing its arms completely. Some of the party members looked over the statues again and most were tense with weapons raised in case they came to life. They had learned from prior experience fighting the wrapped corpse in the pool room that appearances were not to be trusted. The barker tracks led underneath and around the base of the boulder and an opening was seen to be beyond.

Several attempts were needed before the group found a means to move the large boulder back away from the far wall. The space was just wide enough to let Darius slip through. He explored beyond into an enormous cave wider and deeper than his eyes could see. Smelly animal dropping covered the floor with the tracks leading through them forward and to the right. Darius checked upwards and sure enough the ceiling was completed covered by thousands and thousands of sleeping bats. He moved forward a little into the guano and still saw no far wall. Moving along the tracks on the right he managed to spot another opening like the one he originally entered: a cave with the rear of a boulder blocking it from the far side. Returning to the statue cavern the group decided to head back rather than risk combat in the bat cave. The archway entrance was as they remembered it and no evidence was found of new barker tracks. The spider web over the spider lair was still burned away. The group decided to explore the second half of the caverns.

Footprints of the spider and the barkers covered the ground now down the right passageway too. The path curved around to the right and some rooms opened to each side. They party saw what looked to be a large nest with several spider webs around it to their left. Over 50 rubbery eggs stuck together sat in the center of nest. Webs and twigs propped it up. "Perhaps the spider eggs are what the barkers eat?" inquired Dalin. One was cut open and a small baby spider jumped out. "Torch them!" the call went up. A large spider moved out of the shadows and webbed Darius sticking him to the wall. Sling bullets, arrows, and bolts are shot while others using sword and flail to destroy the spider remaining spider eggs. Dram cut Darius free.

Following the tunnel farther it opened to a large room perhaps 30’ in depth. Apparently a dead end it looked like the main living quarters for the barkers. Along the right wall a small throne-like structure was built of bones. Brother Ben was reminded of Zelligar’s throne in his Hall of Statues. Offerings at the chair included a few coins and what might have been food. Dram lifted the chair and revealed a small opening in the wall beyond. The others nodded at the correlation. Looking down the small dug out tunnel a pulsing red light could be made out. As Darius was the shortest he ducked within to scout.

Inside was another dead-end room about 20’ in circumference. An outcropping of rock on one side contained a strange red rock smoothed on its outerface. To Darius it looked like an oversized fingernail attached to the rock. It pulsed a deep red menacing glow and suddenly flared brightly. "Aaaaauurrrghh!!" screamed Brother Ben back out in the throne room. He could feel something in his mind, a presence of great evil that threatened to overwhelm him. The pain was excruciating, so Ben screamed on and on. Darius took action and swung his hammer at the glowing rock smashing off a large piece. "There’s a rock in here making the glow!" shouted Darius. "Make it stop!" screamed Ben already feeling a lessening of the effect. Pieces of red, chalky powder fell from the stone as Darius hammered at it. "It tried to tear me apart from the inside!" yell Ben. "It crawled into my head!" Darius kept hammering until every bit of the rock was destroyed. It went deep into the stone filling the space behind like an orb. The pulsing light slowed as he neared completion. With the last hammer blow it stopped. Darius did not say anything afterwards and no sound came from the room. The rest of the group called out to him for what was going on and began to worry when no word came back.

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