Kelfour Edition volume III number IV
The official GemStone IV encyclopedia.
_______________________________________________________________________ / \ \ | | The Key to Lockpicking! See Page 6 | @_/_____________________________________________________________________/ | | | | | GemStone III(tm) September 1992 | | Vol.3, No.4 | | _ _ _ ___ | | / ) / ) / ) / __) | | / /_/ / ____ / / _/ ( ____ __ __ ____ | | / __/ / __ ) / / ( __) / _ ) / / / / / ___) | | / /\ \ / ___/ / / / / / (/ / / (_/ / / / | | (_/ \_) (____) (_( (_( (____/ (_____( (_( | | _____ _ _ _ _ | | / ____) / ) (/ _/ ) (/ | | / (__ ___/ / _ ( _) _ ____ ____ | | / ____) / _ / / ) / / / ) / _ ) / ) | | / (__ / (/ / / / / / / / / (/ / / /) / | | (_____) (____( (_( (_( (_( (____/ (_((_( | | | | The Kronicles of Kulthea | | | |_____________________________________________________________________| |_____________________________________________________________________| | | | Local News .................. 1 Hall of Fame ............... 9 | | Hobland: The New Player's Guide To Riches ....... Dayln Grimm 2 | | Untitled Poem ...................................... Greywulf 2 | | The Bard's Lament .......................... Enegue Lionheart 5 | | The Key to Lockpicking ............ Lord Artuero Bresnahanini 6 | | "Charming, Disarming You" ..................... Thellra Dumas 8 | | Armaments: A Guide to Weapons .............. Melchior Merdaen 10 | | What's in a Name? ....................... Lightning Blackhawk 11 | | A Newcomer's View of Kelfour's ............ Palance Buckhanna 12 | | along the ridge .................................. Coll Furze 13 | | Quest ........................................... Tapor Lieff 14 | | Hunter's Stew ............................ Silvanestii Family 16 | | Begginings .................................... Thellra Dumas 17 | | We Were Expecting Someone Older ..... Lord Gallenod Varynesti 18 | | Revelations ................ Elyria Blythe & Jhembryn Durrock 23 | | Cycles (Part I) ...................... Lord Whilder Planrathe 25 | | Sailor's Woe ..................................... Rhea Sibex 28 | | Murder and the Poisoned Pen .......... Miss Louvella Parsnips 29 | |_____________________________________________________________________| | | | Kelfour Edition of the Kronicles of Kulthea is devoted to the multi-| | player roleplaying game GemStone III(tm) on GEnie's online service. | | Submissions may be edited for space, accuracy and readability. | | Contact Assistant Editors Kalagay Halatil or Lady Rune Arundel, or | | Publisher Phaedra Bleu by GE Mail to P.HERRINGTON for details. | | Banner letters by Yonah | | __________________________________________________________________|___ | / / \_/_____________________________________________________________________/ Local News: Kelfour's Landing ~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Quest of the Loremaster ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Everyone who completed this exciting Lord Gallenod Varynesti and Lord quest received a bone ring, fame and Mikhail Minnehan, in that order. experience points; role-playing winners received nifty boomerangs as You'll find several Bardic Competi- well. Six top-scoring individuals tion winners in this issue including took home merchandise prizes includ- Greywulf's untitled poem which won ing real gems and I.C.E. boxed sets. the short poetry contest, Enegue's Role-playing awards went to: "The Bard's Lament" which took third place, Rhea's 1st Place Bard Song Place "Sailor's Woe," and Part 1 of Lord 1st Kelryn Greyblade Gallenod Varnesti's story which took 2nd Nerilka Ferine 1st place in that category. 3rd Moalanfaidh Maolmadhog 4th Sharissyl Falinoriel KE encourages others to send their 5th Althea Cassidy works via GE Mail to P.HERRINGTON 6th Trachten Hickapod should they honor us with permission 7th Slohan Quickheart to publish them. 8th Greywulf Alliantha 9th Thex DRAGONSBANE Residents Enjoy Free Weekends 10th Aredhel Marathys ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Citizens of Kelfour's Landing often Groups placed in the following order: enjoy the wilds (both in and out of town) for full weekends at no cost Place Group to themselves. This is made possible 1st Levels 5-8 by contributing to this newsletter, 2nd Levels 9-12 Kelfour Edition. Interested parties 3rd Levels 13-16 should inquire of Phaedra Blue in 4th Levels 17-20 the game, or send GE Mail to her at 5th Levels 1-4 the address P.HERRINGTON. 6th Lords Local Residents Wed Hot Summer Nights competition was ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ keen. Winners of the Scavenger Hunt Kalagay Halatil and Laeg Cearnach were Nixie Trevize in 1st Place, were wed in a dramatic ceremony in Lord Maruko Ahsimine in 2nd and Lord late September. KE wishes them happy Zhuge Liang in 3rd. The best Assas- and prosperous lives on behalf of sins turned out to be Lord Zhuge, the entire community. ________________________________________ / \ \ \@| Sing-Along-With-Glitch | ~| ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ | | by Glitch Talesitall, Bard at Large | | | | Ten Lost Lords. | | Ten Lost Lords. | | In circles they did run. | | In circles they did run. | | They all went out on a quest to do. | | Even taking along Lord Hobbits two, | | But hack 'n slash was all they knew. | _| Our Ten Lost Lords. | /@| Ten Lost Lords. | \_/______________________________________/ -1- Hobland: The New Player's Guide To Riches ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ___________ by Dayln Grimm ________________ / \ ______ \ / \\ \@| /~/~~\_\ | | *Caution!* || | \~\____~ |o, have you read Nat- The two-handed | These Tactics Can|| _| _~~~~\~\ | asha's No Nonsense sword is a mas- | Get You Killed || /@| \~\__/~/ | Guide to Rolling A sive weapon that \________________// \_/ ~~~~~~ / Character? Are you does great damage | || ~~~~~~~~~~ killing kobolds with and criticals. It is ~~~~~~~~~~~ ease and are torkaans becoming bor- much easier to hit most creatures ing? This is a guide to the richest with this weapon than any other, but newbie AREA in the lands. Where there's a trade off. The loss of 20 chests are common, creatures drop DB for not using a shield can be the magic items in their last moments, difference between life and death. and the experience gained both in I have seen a 1st level character game context and reality is far fighting along side a 4th level beyond what you will achieve in party match their damage blow for kobland or on the cliffs. blow using this weapon. I have also seen that same character die from a I am speaking of course of Hobland. single hit from a hobgoblin. As a lowly 3rd (almost 4th) level thief, I have hunted here from 1st The drake falchion is the weapon of level -- and you can, too! I am not choice in Hobland. Not only do you going to presume to teach anyone how get the shield bonus and a weapon to roll a character, there are good that hits easier than a broadsword, articles in previous KEs or in drakes flare up occassionally and do Natasha's Guide. If your STrength special damage. Ask around the is in the 90s and you have double temple. Many people have spares. trained in a weapon, or you are 2nd If you can't find one, be patient. level and have single trained in I have found two drakes in Hobland weapons, you should be able to so far, you may just find your own. effectively hunt in Hobland. You should wear heavy hide, arm and leg So you're ready, but how to get greaves, visored helm and a wooden there? You need a map! I suggest shield (except for two handers). you down-load Zepath's maps in the For a weapon you need a broadsword, GemStone III Library, but here's one falchion, two-handed sword, or -- if for now. you can get one from an older More next page... player -- a drake falchion. Weaponry Untitled Poem by Greywulf The broadsword is a fine weapon for ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hobland. You get to use a shield She waits and it is fairly easy to get a hit for me I'd like to think on those hobgoblins. even then in the passion of her fury The falchion is a slightly better her willful rending of flesh and earth weapon than the broadsword. It is my dark eyes flaming easier to hit creatures in Hobland in the heat of her defiance. with it. The problem is that they In stone are not sold in the weapon shop. she waits the gate You can sometimes find a falchion my soul's sweet slayer from a Lord returning to the temple wait not much longer; from the Monastery. Ask! Lords are each dawn usually happy to give one to a every noon courteous newbie. holds twilight's promise. -2- From Temple to Hobland ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ K-(go path)--G | ......|-(go gate)................... MAP KEY K . T . | . | . T = Town K . T-T Kelfours . G = Gate | . | Landing . K = Kobland K . T . C = Move carefully | . | . H = Hobland K . T . X = Don't go down! | . | . K . T-T-T-T-T /------\ . / . | |Temple| . K . T \------/ . | . | |-(go temple exit). Tips K . T----T . \ . . Ready your weapon and K .................................... shield, and Parry 100 at | the Gate. K ................ \ . . In the areas marked "C" K . Hobland . N move cautiously. One | . . | false step can put you K . H . W--+--E in a dangerous place. | . |\ . | K . H \ . S In the place marked "X" | . | \ . you can go down. DON'T K . H \ . DO IT! I have also seen / . | H . creatures come up here K (go path H | . from below! |-on the way \ H . C back only) H | . There is a shortcut to \ . | H . Hobland but it puts you C . H-H H | . in the path of very mean \ . / \ / H . Werebears. C . H H | . \ /. X . Always travel at Parry C ............ 100. Now for the Monsters! You will find 4 types in Hobland: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hobgoblin (Type A) Hobgoblin (Type B) OB - 50 DB - 25 OB - 50 DB - 25 THT (broadsword) - 31 THT (broadsword) - 57 MTHT (heavy hide) - 79 MTHT (heavy hide) - 84 CPs - 60 Level - 3 CPs - 60 Level - 3 Weapon - short sword Weapon - battle axe Armor - metal breastplate Armor - leather breastplate Forest Troll Lesser Orc OB - 36/70/60 DB - 25 OB - 60 DB - 50 THT (broadsword) - 57 THT (broadsword) - 57 MTHT (heavy hide) - 99/66/69 MTHT (heavy hide) - 79 CPs - 250 Level - 6 CPs - 60 Level - 4 Weapon - cudgel/claw/bite Weapon - short sword Armor - heavy hide Armor - heavy hide -3- More... All of these monsters usually drop him to attack you again. This treasure (when they die) in the form allows you maximum protection and of small chests, silver coins and maximum attack power. It has draw- magic items. The THT is the roll it backs though: the monster can't hit takes for you to hit the creature you and often runs away. Also, using a broadsword. The MTHT is another monster can come in and hit what it takes the monster to hit you you while you are stuck in round wearing heavy hide. CPs is how many time. I use an even more dangerous Concussion Points a monster has. method. Double parry tag! I attack twice at parry 0 and just barely The first thing you will notice is make it back to parry 100 before the how easy it is to hit a type A Hobgoblin strikes. (This tactic can Hobgoblin. This is your main prey: get you killed!) Easy to hit, high MTHT, lots of treasure, and the metal breastplate If parry tag is not your cup of tea, he carries is worth 166 silvers at or if you are faced with more than the pawn shop! one creature then use this method. Parry down to a point (use your own Type B Hobgoblins are a little math) where the creature can just harder to hit but not much. This is barely hit you (a roll of 95 or prey #2. Go after them for their better) and then attack as often as treasure and the leather breast- you can. This is a much safer plates that are worth 66 silvers at method and will protect you from the pawn shop. those beasties who like to jump into the middle of a fight. The Lesser Orc is hard to hit. His high DB and that heavy hide (just Other Things To Remember like yours) make him a tough target. His short sword is better than the Use Macros for parry and attack. others so watch out. At parry 100 You need the speed! you should be okay. As you hit them, they will parry up generating You are in a far more dangerous area a DB of up to 120! I suggest you than Kobland. Learn to fight there parry 100 and don't fight these. first. They don't carry much treasure and usually aren't worth the time. Don't hunt alone! If you insist on hunting alone, don't parry tag! The Forest Troll is both the most worthwhile and most dangerous mon- Skin your prey. Hobgoblin scalps ster in Hobland. While he uses his are worth 35 silvers, Troll hides cudgel, he is easy to hit and can't are worth 55. Sell them at the fight worth beans, but when (not if, furrier shop, south of the Gate. WHEN!) that cudgel breaks he becomes a fighting machine that will make Search dead monsters soon. They short work of you. They have high decay quickly and you'll lose the CPs and will parry up. Until you treasure. are very comfortable with Hobland I suggest you leave them alone. Hobland is a well traveled area. It is often crowded. Be courteous, Tactics don't attack a monster already engaged with a character unless you When faced with a lone Hobgoblin, are invited. Say hello to fellow you can parry tag. That is to wait adventurers, bow, smile, etc. at parry 100 for the monster to attack first and then drop your Wear your shield to get treasure. parry to 0, attack the Hobgoblin and Put it in your sack or backpack and then parry back up to 100 at then then remove your shield. At parry end of your round time and wait for 100 with your weapon in your right -4- More... hand you have more protection than Check your EXperience often. You your shield alone can give you. are fighting good monsters and will max your mind out fast! Watch your RoundTime. As you pick up metal breastplates and chests, it If a Forest Troll or other nasty is will increase. If your it's long, standing over your treasure, parry don't parry tag! 100 and wait. When he sees he can't hit you he will usually leave. If your shield breaks, many monsters drop them. Pick one up. If the fighting gets tough, leave. (I have been in a clearing with If you are out of room to carry that three Hobgoblins, two Lesser Orcs, last piece of treasure, drop your and a Forest Troll). Remember: He greaves (arm and leg) you can get who fights and runs away, lives to new ones on your next kill. fight another day. The Bard's Lament: by Enegue Lionheart ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We gather here but once a year, To tell of tales both far and near, Of Kingly quests and creatures dire, Of maidens fair and loves hot fire. Unfortunate a Bard I am, Who gathers tales but second hand, Embellishment is what I do, When bringing ballads home to you. Much rather would I join the fight, If only I could use the might, Of lute or flute or rousing song, That from a Bard is magic strong. Once more I'm taught a magic spell, I raise my voice as I do well, Out pours my song in warm gold tones, Yet not a bit of magic flows. And while some day our powers will make, That damned Inn's crystal seem a fake, Tis hard as Bard to see in the lands, Items cast spells only Bards should command. I search the Lands, I read the Tomes, And see my spells in others homes. It brings me grief that what I seek, Appears in spell lists foreign and cheap. With heavy sigh and hopeful mein, I cross my fingers each time I train, And look to the day I may ply my trade, As tis my heritage beyond weilding a blade. A Bard of Kelfour's, that I am. I hope one day to join the band, Of warriors, theives and mages too, who enjoy their powers thru and thru. -5- Successful Thievery: The Key to Lockpicking ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ by Lord Artuero Bresnahanini _______________ / \ ____ ____\ \@| +|~~\ /~~|+| uch to the delight Enough time has passed since the | |~\~\/~/~| | of thieves and all introduction of this new system to _| |~|\~~/|~| | who double train allow for an educated discussion of /@| _|~| ~~ |~|_| in the skill of its mechanics. \_/ ~~~~ ~~~~/ picking locks, a ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ new lockpicking Basic Determination of Success or system was implemented a few months Failure: ago. This new system de-emphasizes the importance of the lockpick and The formula used to determine a makes an adventurer's skill the det- thief's success in picking a lock is ermining factor in picking a lock. as follows: ["Result"] ["Modified Skill"] R = ((Base Skill) * (Lockpick Factor)) + D100 + Lock Difficulty If R is greater than 100, the thief R < 25 The thief fails to pick is successful in picking the lock. the lock and learns little about it. The time it takes to successfully pick a lock is determined by how R = 25-75 The thief fails to pick much R is greater than 100. If R the lock, but gets the feeling that falls between 100 and 150, the thief it is within his abilities. takes twenty seconds to pick the lock. If R is between 150 and 200, R = 75-90 The thief fails to pick the lock is picked in only ten the lock, but learns how difficult seconds, and if R is greater than (in thief-lingo) the lock is. 200, the thief picks the lock in no time at all. R = 90-100 The thief fails to pick the lock, but gets a better under- If R is 100 or less, then the thief standing of how the lock works, as has failed in his attempt to pick well as determining how difficult it the lock. There are differing is to pick. This result adds 5 to degrees of failure in picking the the picker's next roll on the chest. lock. Fortunately, I do not fail enough to make a confident estimate The thief may also fail by fumbling of the thresholds for failure the attempt completely. This happens results, but my guesses are as when the D100 = 1. A fumble results follows: in total failure with no round time. Base Skill * * * * * * * * Now let us examine the factors which believe it provides an additional go into the lockpicking formula. To +10 to the picker's skill. On the begin with, a thief's base skill is other hand, certain injuries, espe- made up of his skill bonus in cially head or nervous system picking locks plus his INtuition injuries, subtract from a thief's bonus. In addition, a thief may skill. You will be aware of it if augment this natural bonus by either your injuries have made picking the casting locklore on himself (+20), lock more difficult. or by having locklore cast on him by an accomplice or an item (+10). Base Skill = Pick Locks + IN + Although the existence of a kneeling Locklore [+10 or +20] + Kneel- bonus is disputed, I personally ing [+10] - injury penalty. -6- More... Lockpick Factor is added to the other factors, the chest difficulty is always expressed The thief's base skill is modified as a negative number, decreasing the by the quality of the lockpick he final result (R). chooses. The lockpick factor for lockpicks generally in use is as The lock difficulty can vary greatly follows: from lock to lock, ranging from -5 on down in increments of -5. Chests Common Lockpick 1.10 carried by creatures are supposed to Good Lockpick (approximation) 1.30 be generated so that a character Professional Lockpick 1.50 double trained in picking locks with Lore/Laen Lockpick 1.90 no additional bonuses can open a Xeno Lockpick 2.50 chest found on a creature of the character's level on the first try Multiplying the thief's base skill fifty percent of the time with a by the lockpick factor gives us his pick appropriate to the character's modified skill. Improving his mod- level. However, it appears that ified skill, through training, by this is only a nominal standard; the buying a better lockpick, using difficulties are "tweaked" to reach locklore, and kneeling, is as far as a desired result in terms of the thief can go in bettering his attempts/successes. ability to open a lock. Examples The rest is left to the chance of a D100 roll and the shrewdness of the Now for some examples to illustrate maker of the lock he is attempting the workings of the lockpicking to pick. system. Let us postulate the case of Remus, a twelfth level thief who D100 Roll is double trained in picking locks with an INtuition of 84. He will The thief's modified skill is added have 28 ranks of skill, giving him a to his D100 roll. As mentioned skill bonus of +114. His IN bonus earlier, should the D100 roll result is +8, giving him a total natural in an unmodified 1, the thief bonus of 122. He has not trained in fumbles his attempt. The D100 roll spells, so he will be unable to give may also result in extraordinary himself a locklore bonus. success because the roll for lockpicking is what is known as an Suppose that while hunting cave "open" (for open-ended) D100 roll. trolls in the silver mines, Remus This means that should the D100 = slays an unhappy troglodyte. He 100, a second D100 roll is added to cannot skin it, so he searches it the first. Should this second roll and finds a chest. Although Remus result in another 100, a third D100 does not know this, the chest has a roll is made and added to the first lock with a difficulty of -190. two, and so on. Thus, at least theoretically, any lock can be Thinking this will be an easy task, picked by any adventurer. When a Remus pulls out his professional picker does roll a 100, he feels lockpick. He first disarms the chest especially lucky. (Note: This roll (which is beyond the scope of this is not truly open-ended, because it discussion) and finding no traps, cannot be negative.) attempts to pick the lock. Multiply- ing his skill (122) by the lockpick Lock Difficulty factor for a professional pick (1.5) yields a modified skill of 183. We The difficulty of the lock, commonly add in his D100 result of 75 for a referred to as the "mod", works total of 258. Finally, we add the against the thief. Do not let the -190 chest difficulty which brings above formula mislead you: although down to 68. Too bad for Remus. He is it shows that the chest difficulty unable to pick the lock; however, he -7- More... does get the feeling that it is pick a lock (where you learn little within his abilities. about the lock) may result in damage and even outright breakage to your Remus puts his professional lockpick pick. A damaged pick is less effect- away and retrieves a lore lockpick ive than a new one, and a broken one from his sack. Determined to succeed is of no use at all. I do not yet this time, he asks a mage to cast have a theory on the mechanics of the locklore spell on him, and risks breakage except to the extent that life and limb by kneeling. His it is based on a relationship of the natural skill of +122 is augmented difficulty of the lock to the pick- by his friend's casting of locklore er's natural skill, and the strength (+10), and his kneeling bonus (+10), of the lockpick. Laen picks are the resulting in a base skill of +142. strongest normally available. The lockpick factor for a lore pick Hopefully this discussion of lock- is 1.9. Multiplying the base skill picking has enlightened you. Keep in by this factor results in a modified mind that the numbers discussed are skill of 270. Adding his D100 roll for the most part approximations of 95, and the -190 Lock Difficulty, (the exception being the Lockpick Remus's result is a whopping 175. Factors for all but the good pick), Success! Not only is Remus able to based on experiences and intuition pick the lock, but he does it in of myself and other notable thieves, only ten seconds. as the actual formula is hidden. I believe you will find it to be an Let us suppose that Remus wishes to accurate model even if not perfect. determine the range of chests he can pick under normal circumstances. For him, that means kneeling with "Charming, Disarming You" his green laen pick, but without the ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ locklore spell. His base skill in (or Thellra's Chest Blues) this situation would be +132 (114 +8 +10), and his modified skill is 251 When we first met, (132 * 1.9). Because the lowest roll Not so long ago, he can get on the D100 is two (a You desired to touch me fumble will make him miss no matter And promptly did so. what), it will take a lock more You rushed blindly, Thell, difficult than -150 to thwart any of As some will do, his attempts (251 + 2 + (-150) = 103 So it's no surprise, Success!). Thus, barring a fumble, That I captured you. Remus will be able to open any lock With that first touch, easier than -155 on the first try. I knew it was fate, You'd never let go, However, he also wishes to know what It was much too late. chests are too difficult for him to Your heart fluttered, attempt. Even if Remiss rolls a 99, As we locked in embrace, he will be not be able to open a I saw the sparks fly, chest more difficult than -245 (251 They haloed your face. + 99 + (-250) = 100 Failure!). So Your tingling body, his range runs up to about -245, Was trapped, my dear, although with luck he may pick You couldn't escape, higher. Remus is a careful person, And your eyes rolled in fear. so he will not attempt to pick Your hair stood straight up, chests he knows are more difficult Your clothes were singed, too, than -225, as he feels a 25% chance Since an electric current, of success is reasonable enough. Was surging through you. You collapsed to the ground, A Word On Breakage Fell right on your head, You finally let go of me, A fumble roll or complete failure to Too late, you were dead. -8- __________________________________________________________________________ / \ \ |@/________________________________________________________________________/ | | |-------------------------------------------------------------------------| | FIGHTER Lvl THIEF Lvl |===========COMMON MAN==| |-------------------------------------------------|Snikt Masrach 27| | Waldo2 Ptolomy 23 Mikhail Minnehan 27 |Enoch Madriaax 20| | Gilthor Longblade 22 Snikt Masrach 27 |Beolost Lamontt 19| | Ise Ikiryo 22 Moonpie Legend 24 |Sauren Tessar 13| | Benar Stormarm 21 Artuero Bresnahanini 24 |Silent Mydnyghte 10| | Garret Faerghhail 20 Winter Moorsland 23 |=============HIGH MAN==| | Sylphe Woodcrest 16 Valeria Deering 22 |Gilthor Longblade 22| | Angeleyes DuLac 15 Camorra Amandaus 21 |Benar Stormarm 21| | Peat Sallixto 15 Griffun Skyborne 21 |Queron Kinevan 20| | Dirac de Montegilt 14 Stanyon Sting 20 |Luke Medivac 17| |_Eyashusa Donestaya 13 Feckly Fecund 20 |Mordue d'Arti 16| /------------------------------------------------|=============HALF ELF==| | MAGE CLERIC |Kayla Kyndhart 29| |-------------------------------------------------|Fxg Lyon 29| | Dartaghan Darkstar 29 Lairaerrykthrok Tyki..28 |Mikhail Minnehan 27| | Odds Bodkins 27 Taarna Wayfinder 27 |Rhys Corwinson 27| | Whilder Planrathe 26 Redeye Kielsson 22 |Taarna Wayfinder 27| | Gira Gavilan 25 Zinderin Paxton 21 |=============WOOD ELF==| | Certain Justice 24 Bashir Mskshadhvar 21 |Baram Lightclad 23| | Baram Lightclad 23 Lohann McCloud 21 |Zhuge Liang 21| | Elminester Silvan..23 Ardneh Cormorant 20 |Joqain Denark 20| | Griffin Skywave 22 Edrom Atheling 20 |Rena Oakhallow 19| | Karel Tasavalta 22 Rena Oakhallow 19 |Mithil Wyerla 17| |_Rhone Yarrl 22 Michealoos Duraderos 19 |=============HIGH ELF==| /------------------------------------------------|Strom O'Berin 38| | HEALER BARD |Soulsavr Truespel 12| |-------------------------------------------------|Eol Elmoth 11| | Strom O'Berin 38 Enegue LionHeart 21 |Aquarin Howenthorne 6| | Kayla Kyndhart 29 Vshaal hiJneksha's 16 |Maia Moonsong 6| | Rhys Corwinson 27 Mendle Seldagrave 16 |=============FAIR ELF==| | Chardros Grax 25 Balladeer Carpentere 12 |Whilder Planrathe 26| | Caretaker D'BoldH..23 Damiano Faustas 11 |Chardros Grax 25| | Unum LUX 18 Llorien Silvanestii 10 |Artuero Bresnahanini 24| | Woundhealer Odlaw 18 Elladan Palarran 10 |Certain Justice 24| | Luke Medivac 17 Ringo Hobson 9 |Airioch Ramthanodox 22| | Vesitsa Talchild 17 Rasta Farian 8 |=============DWARF=====| |_Penna Dulaney 16 Darksaul Payne 7 |Caretaker D'BoldHome 23| /------------------------------------------------|Vesitsa Talchild 17| | RANGER SORCERER |Vshaal hiJneksha's 16| |-------------------------------------------------|Alberich Albenherrs..12| | Fxg Lyon 29 Airioch Ramthanodox 22 |Brand Brandenburg 11| | Nastorm Trevin 25 Mnesilichus Exitii 22 |=============HALFLING==| | Maruko Ashimine 25 Enigma Sirillian 21 |Dartaghan Darkstar 29| | Yuri Hanbidt 24 Queron Kinevan 20 |Lairaerrykthrok Tyk..28| | Gallenod Varynesti 22 Isei Ikazuchi 20 |Odds Bodkins 27| | Talon Elessidil 21 Enoch Madriaax 20 |Griffin Skywave 22| | Rune Arundel 20 Finndall Bobbins 18 |Mnesilichus Exitii 22| | Arborius Draginson 20 Mithil Wyerla 17 |=======================| | Artaq Congress 19 Vlad Drakulya 16 | ------------------- | | Beolost Lamontt 19 Fallon Slaaon 12 | ------------------- | |-------------------------------------------------------------------------| /@\ Shadow World Current Rankings as of Mon Sep 07 06:01:26 1992 | \_/_________________________________-9-___________________________________/ Armaments: A Guide to Weapons in GemStone III ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Part I: Edged Weapons _____________ By Melchior Merdaen / \ _________ \ \@| ||=|=|=|| |here's a variety of ing results. Hopefully, this infor- | ~~ |_| ~~ | weapons available in mation will make it easier for a new _| |_| | Kulthea, and the se- character to choose his/her first /@| _|_|_ | lection often comes weapon, and more advanced ones to \_/ ~~~~~ / down to what is most pick the right weapon for the job. ~~~~~~~~~~~ affordable or conven- Let's begin with skin-based armors. ient. I spent some time (5 1/2 levels, to be exact) recording the The numbers to the left of the slash To Hit (THT) and critical thresholds represent the THT while those to the of different weapons against differ- right are the lowest number needed ent armor types, with some interest- to produce a critical hit: THT/CRIT. ARMOR: Rapier Falchn Sh.Swd Br.Swd Scimitr HandAxe B.Axe 2H-Sword Robes 56/67 54/75 52/73 52/73 57/78 57/78 49/70 46/67 Skin 66/77 76/87 71/82 76/87 81/92 81/92 76/87 71/82 Lite Hide 70/81 80/91 75/86 80/91 85/96 85/96 80/91 75/86 Hvy. Hide 74/85 84/95 79/90 84/95 89/100 89/100 84/95 79/90 The rapier and short sword yield the best results of all one-handed weapons, while the two-handed sword beats the battle axe. Now, on to Soft Leather: ARMOR: Rapier Falchn Sh.Swd Br.Swd Scimitr HandAxe B.Axe 2H-Sword L.Leather 47/68 54/75 52/73 52/73 57/78 57/78 49/70 46/67 The rapier still tops the list in single handed, while the short sword and broadsword tie for second. The 2H-Sword still out-performs the battle axe. Next we move to rigid leather. ARMOR: Rapier Falchn Sh.Swd Br.Swd Scimitr HandAxe B.Axe 2H-Sword LeatherBr. 61/82 53/74 62/83 57/78 62/83 54/75 51/72 49/70 Cuirboli 69/90 61/82 70/91 65/86 70/91 62/83 59/80 57/78 The rapier and short sword prove much less adequate against here, while the falchion and the hand axe move to the top of the list. The 2H-sword still maintains a slight edge over the battle axe. Chain is next. ARMOR: Rapier Falchn ShSwrd BroSwd Scimitr Hand Ax B.Axe 2H-Swrd Chain Hau 61/111 57/107 71/121 61/111 66/116 56/106 48/98 51/101 Surprisingly here, the hand axe is the best single handed performer, followed by the falchion. The battle axe has eclipsed the 2H-sword in the two-handed category. Lastly, we'll cover plate. ARMOR: Rapier Falchn ShSwd BroSwd Scimitr Hand Ax B.Axe 2H-Swrd Metal Br. 49/120 27/98 41/112 31/102 31/102 26/97 18/89 21/92 Again, the hand axe gives the best showing in its category, followed closely by the falchion. The battle axe again proves itself to be the better two- handed choice. More... -10- Conclusions Once you move up to higher armor types, the falchion or hand axe is There's the information; use it as a better bet. For two-handeders, up you will. However, since this is my until chain armor types, the article, I have some recommenda- two-handed sword is the best choice, tions. For lower level characters after which it may be worthwhile to who spend most of their time in the grab that hobgoblin's battle axe. forest fighting kobolds or on the If you want to get a weapon and be Mine Road, I recommend the short done with it, the falchion is your sword. The Rapier has better num- best bet as an overall performer; bers, but its price and the fact even better if you can get a drake that it breaks easily make it a poor falchion. The big loser? The scimi- choice. Granted, the short sword tar. It only comes close to being causes less concussion point damage, competitive in one category; plate. but its THT and crit numbers are Everywhere else it's a dog. I'd lower, making hits and crits easier stay away from it. I'm checking to get. Of course, Crits are the special order materials and magical name of the game when it comes right enhancements and will cover them down to it. later. Til then, good hunting! What's in a Name? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ by Lightning Blackhawk _______________ / \ ____ ____\ \@| +|~| __ |~|+ |hat's in a name? Now on to something a bit more | |~|/~~\|~| | Well, besides the serious. In choosing a name, try to _| |~/~/\~\~| | obvious, there avoid beginning letters that are the /@| _|__/ \__|_ | are quite a few same as commonly found creatures in \_/_____________/ things. Lets take the wilds of Kulthea. Especially a look at the easy part first. In avoid having the first three letters the world of Kulthea, we are for- match. For instance, Hobart would tunate because we have a chance to be a bad name to have if you are choose our own names. This being hunting hobgoblins. You should also the case, our names have our person- avoid a name that starts with the ality etched in them. Sometimes our letters GOL or even GO. In the pofessions can be identified from beginning it may not seem too bad, our names, or sometimes our racial until you get old enough to start background can be ascertained. Our hunting golems. And remember that names give us style, that flair, there are more than one species of that pizazz, that whatchamacallit. golems living in our lands. It <smirk> But you're saying, "I would be sad indeed if a golem stomp already knew that." Okay, okay, bear knocked you down and a fellow party with me. member hit and killed you by mis- take. Also keep in mind that if Another point that I would like to someone typed in "kil gol" or "att make is that you "look" at someone gol", they will always hit at before you address them as either a another character first, no matter he or a she. A lot of names could be how many golems may be in the same used by either gender. For instance, room. my own name could be attached to a person of the female persuasion. So take care in choosing your name. This one simple thing could save you Chose one that is not only a very embarassing situation. And descriptive and colorful, but keeps believe me, I wherefor I speak. you out of harms way. -11- _________ A Newcomer's View of Kelfour's / \ _____ \ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ \@| ~|_|~ | by Palance Buckhanna | |~| | _| |~| | grew up deep in the that I could "think" to him if he /@| _|~|_ | fields of Grondor and was needed. Such generosity amazed \_/ ~~~~~ / came to Kelfour's green me, and I thanked him for the ~~~~~~~~ as the springtime grasses precious gift. Never before had I of Lyndia. Like my Elven Healer seen such magic, and I quickly forefathers, I was taken at an early rubbed the amulet. Immediately my age deep into the woods to practice mind buzzed with strange thoughts, the family craft. With no more than talk of Lords and Ladies, of Great I could carry, I left home to find Orcs and Wolverines and Quests to adventure. In spite of cautionary make my head spin. I almost lost tales of cutthroats and bandits, my balance, but the gentle cleric I came to the "big city" wide-eyed caught me and helped me sit down. and ready for anything. He grinned at me and told me that it would take a little time before I I have always been a religious got used to having others' thoughts person, so I thought it best to give in my head. the local Temple a call. A warm greeting from the adventurers Just then the kind healer returned lounging in the entranceway met me. and handed me a small pouch. Inside A weathered old thief with a missing was a variety of herbs, grasses, and eye and several nasty scars came roots. I had never been able to sauntering over. "First time here, afford such as this although I was kid?" he grinned. aware of their use. I thanked her for such a wonderful gift but she I was both scared and impressed with told me to think nothing of it. She this smiling rogue and uncertain as only requested that I use the herbs to where the encounter would lead. to do good and to help others as she My fears faded, however, as he had helped me. The Cleric told me regaled me with stories that even that the Lady Klara helps many one as naive as I couldn't believe. people the way she helped me, and I A lovely maiden, recognizing me as a told him that I would do exactly fellow healer, rescued me. what she asked of me. She was so stunning in her azure He then introduced me to a robes that even the boisterous rogue formidable looking fighter who had fell silent as she approached. She just entered the Temple. Balinor seemed frail, but had an air of looked like a man who got exactly dignity and respect. I bowed and she what he wanted and he was definitely responded with a gracious curtsy, not one to anger or to trifle with. asking my name and of the events He joked with the old Cleric, saying which had brought me here. She "Are you doing charity work again quizzed me thoroughly on the state old man?" of my experience and whether I had acquired any healing herbs on my Before I could decide whether to journey. When I told her I had no laugh or get mad, the fighter money and was not sure how an reached into his mountain pack and aspiring Healer began to make an pulled out a brilliant falchion and honest living, she bade me wait, and handed it to me. I was awed by the left quickly and quietly. exquisite weapon's shape and size. He laughed loudly and asked if I During my wait, the oldest of a could heal arm wounds. I told him nearby group of clerics introduced that I was studying just such a himself and offered his assistance. thing now and would soon be able to He handed me a shining crystal heal him. He shouted to a mage and amulet to wear around my neck so a bard that were close by and then -12- More... turned to me and told me to come I waved as they left and then with him. I said goodbye to the wandered aimlessly for about half an Cleric and headed out of the Temple hour until I finally followed anoth- with Balinor. er hunting party to the gates of town. Once there, I went to Temple The Bard was a quiet fellow with a and rested as Balinor had said. As I slight limp and a dark scar on his sat in there thinking about all of neck, while the mage was tall and the new and wonderful things I had dark with a deep voice and a variety seen that day, my new ring caught my of wands. We left the town and were eye. I rubbed its smooth, shiny sur- walking south when I spotted a face and took it off so I could have Wolverine coming. I grabbed my new a good look at it. It was a beauti- falchion and readied myself for the ful piece of jewelry and once again assault. Balinor looked over at me thought of the mysterious Balinor and said, "Friend Palance, didn't all of the other kind folk who had you tell me that you were right- helped a newcomer in town. Just as I handed?" I told him I was, and he was about to doze off, I thought to asked me why I was carrying my put my ring back on before I lost new prize in my left hand. I gave it... him a weak smile and swapped hands as I watched him quickly dispatch along the ridge the charging Wolverine. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ by Coll Furze We walked on until we came near a Cemetery. Balinor said that the tis almost dark and belly growlin hunting would be good today and that close to trees 'most black as night I should do nothing but parry and when there 'long path scoots lil furry- stay out of the way until I was in arguin wit head, me stomach wins needed. So I watched this incredible party destroy group after he can't me see lil furry group of undead creatures. After quiet now and smart so slow i creep each battle, I would do what little been rollin in that yonder torkaan I could to heal the party and then anway, the wind e's at yer back we would start off again. After a couple of hours things were slowing quickly now i raise me lil blade down, so Balinor took us back to a swoop in close and swing it down worn old bridge. He removed a and hit it, hit it -- hmm I wunner golden ring from his finger and gave throw it in th'fire, or eat it raw? it to me. hear the twig snap turn aroun then "Put the ring on and turn it to set see the tall one big sword in his hand its location," he said. "Then when look to left now, look to right now you remove the ring and put it on gulp and fart and wish i'z in me cave again, you will return to this spot." I put the ring on and felt a swings i first i swings and misses magical pulse in my finger, once knows i'll never see me home agin again stunned by such startling laugh, his sword clangs on me breastplate magic! I thanked him for the ring hardly feel it, laughin, cut em down and asked him where we were off to now. He told me that he and the thirsty now run down th'path others were headed for a place that sees another tall one in the shade would surely be lethal to me and laugh -- no shield and seez no armor that I should return to the Temple amble down th'trail to this fresh meat to relax and ponder the things I had seen and learned. He asked me if I ack, he burnt me shot bright light me knew how to get back to town and not look around but nothin looks the same wanting to appear foolish I told him stare at hand now, stare at arm now that I did. sky she spins and nightime falls at last -13- Quest ~~~~~ by Tapor Lieff _________ / \ _____ \ \@| ~|_|~ | am on a quest, one that honor and truth, courage and hum- _| |~| | is far beyond my skill, ility. "Always defend against your /@| _|~|_ | and may never be achie- weakness," he would say, "for every- \_/ ~~~~~ / ved. A quest that I one and everything has a weakness." ~~~~~~~~ will never leave or for- get. My name is Tapor Lieff, though This confused me. I could see no that was not the name given me at my weakness in him, he was invincible birth. If you will hear my story, I in my eyes. When I asked him of his must begin then. weakness, he only repeated, "Every- one and everything has its weak- I was born in the Lieff family home, ness". When I reached the age of within the great walled city of fifteen, my grandfather showed me Balini. A home of wealth and power, his collection of weapons. It was for my father was a member of the an awesome sight, filled with blades high council of the fellowship. I and hammers and spears, all studded was given the name Surri Lieff II, in gold and embedded with jewels. after my father. For I was the My eyes were drawn to the sword first born male and was to be a standing upright in the middle of scholar, to take my father's seat in the collection. A sword that from the fellowship council when the need hilt to tip stood nearly a foot arose. The fellowship was once a taller than my grandfather. A two- powerful tool in the taming of the handed sword with a blade that lands and creatures around Balini, seemed to give off its own light, but the land was now tame and the and a hilt fashioned in the shape of creatures dead. Fabulous stories an angel whose wings were spread to were told by my grandfather, Tapor, guard the wielder's hands. My desire of the battles it took to tame those for glory was overwhelming, and I lands. Stories that stirred in me a told my grandfather that. desire to follow, and meet the chal- lenges of which he spoke. He frowned, and taught me his final lesson. As we walked away from the With the land empty of dangerous display he said, "You, Surri, will beasts, the fellowship turned its never be a master of arms. A master attention to the dangerous men. of arms needs no glory. He needs They became the protectors of the only a reason of virtue, a quest to city of Balini, and did a far better follow. Without it, he is nothing, job than did the constable and his and you have no reason but your own men. "The fee the people pay is greed for glory. I will teach you no small in comparison to the services more." I asked of this quest and if they receive," my father would say. he had completed it. He shook his "Soon the fellowship will protect head slowly saying only, "Not yet." the entire realm." We did not spend much time together after that night. My schooling in the way of a scholar came from the mages of the fellow- I continued my schooling for the ship council, but I was slow to fellowship, for I knew that without learn; my mind would wander to a a quest, my destiny was to be a place of battle and glory. Each day member of the fellowship council. I after my teachings, I would sit with began to study harder but could my grandfather and hear his teach- still barely read. One night the ings in the ways of chivalry that a bells of the guard tower rang out master of arms must have. Those and woke me. Soon, guards carried to lessons I learned well, lessons of the house the body of my grand- -14- More... father. His back was burned and done. I left Balini that morning and split with a force that I knew must never returned. I now had a quest, have been magical. Now I knew his but to complete it I needed to learn weakness, and it terrified me. His the ways of arms, to master the weakness was a single word and skill and follow the teachings of my gesture from one who knew the ways grandfather. I cast away the name of magic. After the funeral, I was of Surri Lieff II, and adopted the surprised to learn that the fellow- name Tapor in his honor. ship was not searching for the murderer. My father told me that I wandered many years before I came the council decided that the fiend to the city of Kelfour's Landing. would be long gone by now. Although There, I met a young half-elf by the I was not allowed into the council name of Dayln Grimm. He showed me meetings themselves, I had seen the the wild lands surrounding the city fellowships army at work under their and how to survive them and learn. orders. They were relentless and I have now decided that this place could achieve nearly anything. I will serve well my needs, until I knew the fellowship would search for have mastered the art of arms and the killer, and I was going to help. the teachings of my grandfather. I I stole into the fellowship council will, someday, crush the fellowship chambers early one morning when it itself and groups like it, or die in was empty. I searched the records battle trying. there looking for any information they may have discovered of the I must go now, to hunt -- and learn. killer. The words were difficult, but what I could read crushed me: =======\\======= ___________________________ Orders to ransack towns that did not / __________________________ \ pay their dues, plots to upheave | / \ | towns that did not yet belong to the || _ || fellowship, and orders of assas- || / \ || sination for those who opposed the || || | || fellowship. It was among these rec- || || | || ords that I saw the name of my || || | || grandfather, Tapor. I struggled to || || | || make out each word. || || | || || || | || "By order of the High Council of the || || | || Fellowship of Balini, for speaking || || | || openly against the fellowship and || || | || questioning our wisdom, it is || || | || decided that Tapor Erad Lieff is to || || | || be executed outside of the city || || | || walls at the earliest opportunity." || || | || || || | || This document was signed by all the || || | || fellowship high council members, || || | || including my own father. I sat for || ||__| || hours in that empty hall, crying. I || // \ || thought of killing every fellowship || //______\ || member I could, but then remembered || | | || something my grandfather had taught || | ( || me. "If you want to kill a tree, || | ( || you do not attack the leaves." I || |__) || needed to destroy the fellowship || || itself. Then I remembered what he | \__________________________/ | had told me of the quest. My mind \____________________________/ cleared, and I knew what was to be -15- Hunter's Stew ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A gourmet recipe from the world ____________ famous kitchen of the Silvanestii family / \ ______ \ \@| /~/~~\~\ | ||~| |~|| kay, class, pay at- In the meantime, dig out Grandma's _||~| |~|| tention. Here's an old 20 gallon cauldron. Not the one /@| \~\__/~/ | intricate recipe pas- she used to mix the devil's brew in, \_/ ~~~~~~ / sed down through the either. Grease the inside with the ~~~~~~~~~~~ ages in my family. I torkaan bacon, and then brown the I recently made this at a gathering bacon in the bottom. Next, add the of my beloved Penna's clan, to rave 6 gallons of Helga's Blackgrog. (If reviews. In fact, they enjoyed it either Odds or Whilder have been so much, they insisted that I share invited to partake of this sumptuous it with all of Kelfour. feast, you may consider asking them to ET the cauldron 3 or 4 times due A most important thing: All ingred- to the highly acidic and somewhat ients MUST be fresh. Spoiled meat explosive nature of Helga's brews.) does nothing to enhance the exqui- site flavoring of this mouth-water- When the mixture is bubbling, add ing treat. the cubed puma. Cover and simmer for ______________________________ an hour. Meanwhile A note on gathering / \ rub steaks liber- the Puma Haunch. It | Ingredients | ally with garlic. is considered bad | ~~~~~~~~~~~ | Then find a spell- form to use a level | 1 Puma Haunch | caster with fire one cleric as bait. | 1 Rasher of Torkaan Bacon | bolt to quickly A two week old can | 2 Black Bear Steaks per person | sear the meat to of tune is just as | 2 cups of ground Boar Tusk | seal in juices. good, provided you | 6 gallons of Helga's Blackgrog | Add the steaks to have a ranger on | Akbutege Leaf | the cauldron. hand to cast Airwall | Edram Moss | to protection those | Garlic | When mean is tender sensitive olfactory | Salt and Pepper to taste | add ground Boar's nerves. \______________________________/ Tusk (for thicken- er), and salt and Preparation petter to taste. Stir constantly un- mixture thickens. The key is quick and timely prepar- ation of the meats. Enlist your din- Serve over wild rice, and with a ner party to give you a hand. Makes tossed salad. Best wine? Erebor's the time go faster and conversation Tipple of course. Chilled to 43 pleasant. Get that burly fighter to degrees. No refrigerator? That's tenderize the steaks with his war what cold ball spells are for. hammer while a healer cuts the puma haunch into nice bite size morsels. Enjoy. And bon appetite! Someone asked why Akbutege Leaf and Edram Moss were included in ingre- dients. I thought it obvious: When the guests aren't looking, eat them to patch up the injuries you got while gathering the ingredients so no one will see how inept you really are at hunting. -16- Beginnings ~~~~~~~~~~ _________ by Thellra Dumas / \ _____ \ \@| ~|_|~ | _| |~| | remember my first day in "Well, I NEVER!!" I huffed, aghast, /@| _|~|_ | Kelfour's Landing with and stomped toward the door. \_/ ~~~~~ / much melancholy. It was ~~~~~~~~ one of the finest days I "Well, maybe you should!" I heard can recall, yet much has been lost the gnome guffaw before I slammed since then. After many weeks of it -- hard. hard travel, I walked wearily through the gates into a bustling Muttering to myself, I launched away city, the likes of which I had never from that place and promptly slammed even imagined. Being from a tiny into someone rushing around the village, I had never seen so many corner. The breath was knocked out people in one place. I pulled a of me and I gasped for air. I worn scroll from my pack and opened my eyes and found myself carefully unrolled it. I read (for staring up at the most handsome man the hundredth time): I'd ever seen. A bard, by the look ____________________________________________________ / \ \ \@|_ WANTED // | / | | Brave Adventures to Aid in Battle Against Evil. | | Treasure and Fame Your Reward. _| _| Raging Threk Inn. City of Kelfour's Landing. \ /@| | \_/__________________________________________________/ I got directions from a mystical- of his merry outfit and the tin horn looking old man, and practically ran tied over his shoulder. to the Inn. I waved the scroll in front of the sullen gnome behind the "Oh dear, miss! Are you alright?" counter. "Where's the boss?" I He seemed genuinely concerned. asked eagerly. Still gasping, I managed to reply, The gnome stared at me for a long "I'll be fine in a minute." moment, taking in my disheveled ap- pearance. Its eyes then glanced at He helped me sit up, glancing past the scroll I had spread on the me every few seconds. "Is someone counter and an evil grin split its after you?" I asked, looking behind ugly face. "YOU!?" It sneered. "The me. I took his hand as he helped me boss might hire you to serve drinks stand. at the bar but NEVER to fight in his company. You're just a little girl!" "Nooo, I'm just a tad late for an It practically spat that last word appointment, but I want to be sure at me like an insult. you're really okay," he blushed. "I apologize for running into you." I snatched up the scroll, took a step back, and cleared my throat. "Accidents happen," I smiled. "I've "Just get the boss!" I sneered back. been hit worse." I stooped to pick up my pack and caught him staring at The gnome rolled its beady eyes, me out of the corner of my eye. continuing to ignore my request. Grinning inwardly, I straightened "Come back when the bar opens, my and blurted out, "Can I come with sweet. I have the perfect job for you?" you," it said with a leering wink. More... -17- At that exact instant he asked, "I'd better liven things up a little "Would you like to accompany me, now." He smiled wonderfullly, sat on milady?" the edge of the platform, and began a tale. He spoke of famous people We both burst out laughing. "I'd be living in the lands and revealed honored," we said simultaneously, many adventures they'd had. The and we laughed so hard tears came to bard actually became the people he our eyes. After the laughter had spoke of. One minute an innocent subsided into little giggles, we maiden was telling a silly story. looked at each other and I said, The next, a terrible ogre stomped on "Great minds..." "...Think alike," the stage in a horrifying temper. he finished with a grin. He offered me his arm and we hurried down the When he was done, the crowd cheered street towards a large crowd wildly. He smiled, nodded, and bowed gathered at the town square. again. Picking up his pack, he walked toward me and took my hand. "By the way, my name is Lorien," he said and tipped his hat to me. "You were wonderful!" I whistled. "You'll get a spot in that festival "I'm Thellra." I pointed to the for sure." crowd. "What's going on?" "Thank you for saying so." He said, "It's my appointment." He explained. seeming doubtful of his own talent. "I'm auditioning for a spot in the summer festival." We then walked to the bakery and ate cookies while we told each other our A loud voice called out "Lorien histories. So began our friendship. Silvanesti! Lorien! You're up!" Things were definitely looking up, my first day in the Landing. "Here! Here I am!" Lorien yelled. Smiling at me, he bounded towards (Apologies to Llorien and Penna, the makeshift stage. "Wait for me!" this remembrance being long ago.) I squirmed through the tightly _________________________________ pressed crowd and made my way up to / \ the front. Lorien took his place on | | the wooden platform and began to | | speak in a quiet but very commanding | Helga's Tavern | voice. "I will begin by playing a | ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ | new song. Just finished it today." | | He took a beautifully crafted dark | For the finest in all things | cherry flute out of his pack, drew | Kulthean, visit the world- | in a breath and started playing. It | famous Helga's Tavern. | was such a hauntingly sad tune that | | told of such grief that a goodly | | portion of the audience was wiping | The BEST Drinks in the Lands! | away tears before long. Even though | | the tune was so very sad, it touched | Tastiest Torkaanii Stew! | something deep inside me and somehow | | comforted me. Such a sharing of woe | Best Companionship in the World! | seemed to connect everyone in the | | crowd to one another, making us less | Up the stairs, two blocks | than strangers. Lorien came to the | South of Surtey's Tent | end with a clear high note and then | | his flute fell silent. I saw him | | wipe away a tear of his own before \_________________________________/ he bowed to the crowd. -18- We Were Expecting Someone Older ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ____________ by Lord Gallenod Varynesti / \ __ \ \@| / "| | | //|"| |lgo!" bellowed Brugo "Alright," grumbled the trader, "the _| //=|"| | Ironhand. The dwarf little thief has rich friends. As /@| // |"| | looked extremely long as the passage is booked and \_/ ~~ ~~~ / cross, his already paid for, we might as well take him. ~~~~~~~~~~~ craggy face further But I'm holding you personally res- creased by a ferocious squint as he ponsible for his behavior, appren- inspected his wagon. tice." Brugo glared at the younger dwarf. "If he causes trouble, I'll "Yes, Master Trader?" Algo shifted have your hide for a saddlebag!" his weight and waited for the inevitable tongue lashing that With that, Brugo stomped off, preceeded any trip with his master. leaving Algo thanking the Forger He knew that the trader was happiest that the old grump had taken it that with his wagons empty and his purse well. With a sigh of relief, he tur- full, not the other way around. So, ned back to the wagon and the hob- at the beginning of every trip, when bit. Two bright little eyes returned Brugo had spent the majority of his his gaze. ready cash on goods, he was usually in a foul mood. "He doesn't seem to like hobbits much, does he?" the small figure "What," Brugo asked through clenched observed. teeth, "is THAT doing in my wagon?" Algo sighed as he looked at the The object of Brugo's attention was hobbit. "Well, he doesn't appear to a small figure curled up asleep on like anyone much, but it's just a top of some expensive carpets. The front. He claims if he looked frien- tiny figure seemed blissfully uncon- dly, people would take advantage of cerned that the massive dwarf star- him. He's really very nice. For a ing down at it looked ready to eat master trader, anyway." raw oak. "He's not very nice to you," re- "I can explain, Master Trader." Algo marked the hobbit. "He yells at you shuffled again. "A gentleman asked all the time." if we would take this little hobbit over the pass with us. He paid for Algo chuckled. "Yes, he yells a his passage, Master Trader." lot. But he also drove all night through a blizzard to a healer when "Paid?" snorted Brugo. "With what? my youngest son was deathly ill. He This hobbit doesn't look like he has spoke the burial service for my two coins to rub together. At least father when he died." Algo sighed. not yet. He'll steal us blind, "He was my father's apprentice, and Algo! Don't you know all hobbits inherited the business from him. As are natural born thieves? It's in I will inherit from him in 80 years their blood! And you've just booked or so when he leaves us." passage for one on MY CARAVAN?!?" Algo sighed, and then grinned. "And Algo blushed, and stammered: "But he really is a very good trader. He the gentleman paid in gold, Master. may be surly, but he's honest. And Here." With a nervous flick of the very careful, which I hope helps on wrist, Algo handed a bulging purse this trip." The young dwarf's face to Brugo. The old dwarf's eyes wid- darkened. ened and his face relaxed a little as he considered the weight. "Why is that?" asked the hobbit. -19- More... "Well," replied Algo, "the route going were no business of a green we're taking has had some strange apprentice barely into his beard. happenings of late. Some caravans He smiled at the small figure have gotten through with no trouble. perched on the wagon and said: "I'm Others have disappeared without a Algo Stonearm, apprentice trader. trace. Master Brugo intends to go And what might your name be, friend over the mountains to Pragor, and hobbit?" this is the only route. So he's hired mercenaries to protect us." The little hobbit grinned. "You'd better not let your master see you Algo pointed to four lounging near being so polite, Algo, or he may the front of the caravan. One appea- decide you're not suited for this red to be a ranger, dressed head to business." Algo blushed slightly. toe in camouflaged hide armor. The second was a female elven mage, The hobbit chuckled and continued: lithe and graceful. The third was a "I'm Wimby Littlefoot, scholar and cleric of the Order of Reann. traveler." The hobbit smiled. "I'm afraid my family was very dis- The last member of the group was appointed in me, as I've never had a apparently its leader: a huge talent for thievery. Your goods are fighter with a shimmering greatsword safe from me." slung on his back. "That," said Algo, indicating the fighter, "is Disarmed by the hobbit's cheerful, Andar Trollbane. Got the name when innocent-looking grin, Algo smiled he killed a giant cave troll at the back. "Well," he chuckled, "I hope age of 12. Single-handedly." Algo so. I'd make a terrible saddlebag." shuddered. "Yo, dwarfling!" boomed a loud "Most impressive," said the hobbit, voice. Algo and Wimby looked up to nodding. "Your master apparently see Andar approaching on a huge hires the best. This must be a black horse. He looked even bigger valuable caravan." close up, almost seven feet tall, with muscles like a classic statue. Algo regarded the hobbit carefully, With him, riding a grey palfrey, was remembering his master's words about the elf. thieves and hobbits. Andar grinned at the dwarf. "Your The hobbit chuckled. "Have no fear, master said we were to see you about my friend, I have no designs on your supplies, and such." Despite the goods. I am but a poor traveller. fact that Algo was over 50 years old How could I steal even a single rug and the human was barely 30, Algo from this stack? They outweigh me felt like a gawky youth in the 10 to 1." The hobbit grinned. presence of the massive fighter. Algo chuckled at the thought of the The elf put her hand on Andar's arm tiny hobbit trying to even lift one and smiled. "Andar, please. This of the fine Hulgar carpets. How- poor dwarf has enough problems ever, he was still wary, as his without you grinning down at him master didn't always tell him like a huge baboon." everything about their cargo. Could they be carrying jewels, or some Andar softened his expression rare magical items? Considering the slightly. "You're right, Delphia. body guards Brugo had hired, it That Brugo is a tough bugger. I'll seemed this trip was far more than a lighten up." Andar shifted his simple journey to sell carpets. attention back to the dwarf as the other two mercenaries rode up. He Algo put such thoughts from his smiled at Algo. "You're Algo, mind. Any secret deals Brugo had right?" he asked. -20- More... "Yes sir," replied Algo. "What may mercenaries were all completely I do for you?" straight-faced, while the hobbit had the perpetual look of bemusement Andar nodded. "OK. We'll need room peculiar to his race. on a wagon for supplies for our horses and food for ourselves. You "Well," sniffed the dwarf, "you must can handle that?" admit it does sound a little silly. Whizbamph. What kind of name is Algo nodded. "Already done, sir. that? And the other bit. Sounds Your agent was quite specific about like a name for a cheap stage your requirements." magician. After all, how many people can go around adding the word Andar nodded again. "Yes, Lachmar `Incredible' to their name?" is most efficient. As is anyone who works for our employer." Andar smiled grimly. "He didn't. I believe the the Duke of Allond did Algo was puzzled at this. "Your that after a medium-sized dragon employer, sir?" I thought you were vaporized in mid-air in full view of working for Master Brugo." the entire population of his castle. This was one day after the duke Andar seemed about to speak again, inked a contract with Lachmar for but Delphia laid a hand on his arm. Wizbamph to get rid of the beast." They exchanged a silent glance before Andar answered. Algo, who's only contact with a dragon came when he saw a tooth "Yes, we have an employer," Andar twice his size in a museum, nodded replied guardedly. People like your dazedly. "Okay," he mumbled. "I master contract through him for guess that qualifies." mercenaries. Depending on what the job is, he then sends Lachmar arr- "But what does he look like?" asked ange the details. The boss prefers Wimby. "Did anyone see him?" to remain anonymous." Andar looked at the bright-eyed "You mean you don't know who he is?" hobbit and shook his head. "Nope, piped up a small voice from the not that I know of. He's been wagon. Wimby's bright eyes flashed credited with a few spectacular with interest. deeds like that. To the best of my knowledge, though, there's no one, Upon seeing the hobbit, Andar including his main agent, Lachmar, chuckled and Delphia smiled. The who really knows what he looks like. elven magess moved closer to the No one living, that is." wagon and gently patted the tiny hobbit on the shoulder. Algo shuddered slightly at the tone in the fighter's voice. "Well, we "Greetings, little one," she smiled. seem to be leaving. Should you "Yes, we know who he is. We've just require anything else, please let me never actually met him." know." Algo bowed, and climbed up on the wagon next to Wimby. Andar "Well? Who is it?" chirped the nodded, the four mercenaries assumed hobbit. their posts, and the caravan slowly started moving out the gates. The ranger answered in a dour voice: "Whizbamph the Incredible." "Do you think that was true?" squeaked Wimby. "Did this Whizbang On hearing the name, Algo started to really zap a dragon?" chuckle. Then, he noticed he was the only one who thought the name Algo shrugged. "Well, if Andar said sounded at all funny. The four it happened, it probably did. And I -21- More... think the name is Whizbamph. Anyone him feel very safe. who can vaporize anything, I want to get his name right." The dwarf Wimby turned out to be a delightful grinned. "Not that I'll ever get to traveling companion. The little meet someone like that. I'm impres- hobbit could sing and juggle as well sed enough with Andar and company." as any professional Algo had ever seen. He even brought an ocassional The hobbit grinned back. "They are smile to Brugo's normally gruff big, aren't they? And smelly, too. countenance. "Funny little thief," Except for the lady elf, of course; Brugo chuckled one night, after she's kind of cute." Wimby smiled Wimby had asked for a volunteer, wistfully. "Ah well, wishing won't selected the gruff master trader, make us any bigger, will it." With and proceeded to pull gold coins out that the hobbit sighed, burrowed of his ear. Of course, all the coins into the carpet pile, and promptly had come from Brugo's purse. fell asleep. But Brugo didn't seem to mind. The The caravan moved farther into the little halfling had charmed everyone mountains as the days progressed. with his stories, songs, and tricks. The late fall air was crisp, and the Particularly Delphia, who, to every- weather perfectly clear as the wagon one's great amusement had taken to train moved ever deeper into the hugging the hobbit at any excuse and mountains. Gaden, the ranger, scout- calling him her "little fuzzy cud- ed ahead ocassionally to look for dle-bunny." Wimby thrived under the signs of trouble, but found nothing. attention, and snuggled up to the Pelag, the cleric, cast a warding elven magess at every opportunity. spell on the camp every night. The cleric was alerted by his spell if Day after day, the caravan moved any creature larger than a squirrel deeper into the mountains with no approached the camp, and the mercen- sign of trouble. Little did they aries investigated every incident. know the full extent of the dangers Algo was thoroughly impressed with that awaited them. their professionalism and quiet efficiency. Seeing them work made Conclusion Next Month ________________________________________________________________________ I I | | | )/ \( | | . . ____|' . . . . `|___ | | . /\ l\ . )/ _____|/ ^^^^^^^^^ // == | | . . . ____|' . /\ |\ '^^^^^^^^^^^^^ . . | | . . /\ /\ ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ . . | | . . . . ^^^^^^^^^^^^ | | . . . ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ | | , . ^^^^^^^^^ | | . O Y ^^^^ | | /-l--| D ) . | | l | /-l-/ . . | | ,_, / \ | l | | q O / \ . . | | \/^\_p | | l_l . | | | \ . . | | | | | | +-----------------------------+ | | | Cave Painting -- 'The Hunt' | Kelfour | | |_____________________________| Museum | I______________________________________________________________________I ___________ Revelations / \ ______ \ ~~~~~~~~~~~ \@| ~|_|~\\ | by Elyria Blythe & Jhembryn Durrock. | |~| ||| _| |~| ||| ying several times that it was Jhembryn's father and /@| |~|_// | recently and losing a her own late love. Soon afterward I \_/ ~~~~~~ / cherished weapon has left to meditate on this revelation. ~~~~~~~~~~ made me start thinking My friend joined me in my hunt for about life and death and family. greater orcs, and welcome he was. I drank in every feature of his face My mother died long ago in a battle and soon started laughing quietly. against disease which she could not win. All I remember of her is flow- "Are you all right Elyria?" Jhembryn ing white hair and sparkling violet asked. "You seem a little bemused." eyes, soothing voice and warm hands. I was only five when she passed I laughed even harder, remembering a away, not nearly enough time to know particular confidence of his. He her. My father, inconsolable, sent once told me that before he became me to live with a maiden aunt. He engaged, he had had a feeling of passed away several years later, reaching toward me and had felt still never quite recovered from my something holding him back. mother's death. My aunt died in her sleep a few years back, quietly and He stared at me, confused, head painlessly, a victim of old age. No cocked to one side. "Elyria, are one was left me for family, and I you sure you're all right? What are was often lonely and sorrowful. you laughing about?" As my grief lessened, the numerous "Jhem, I'd like to show you men of Kelfour's--suave and something I hold very dear, and I handsome--came to my notice as think it will explain everything to though I were seeing them for the you. At least, I hope it will.' first time. One young healer quite attracted me, yet the bond which I removed a small weathered drawing drew us together seemed to part us of my mother and father from my pack too. I came to love Jhembryn, yet and handed it to Jhembryn. Awe and something always held me back from comprehension dawned in his eyes as saying so. When my fiance, Bolivar, he gazed at the picture. Finally he swept me off my feet the strange looked up from it and smiled. bond, although not forgotten, was pushed into a dark corner of my "I always wanted a sister, you know, mind. We three were best friends and but I never dreamed I actually had enjoyed our hunting expeditions one. To find that it is you--! And immensely. to think that I had a crush on you!" In time, my friend and I began to He started laughing, then kissed me reminisce about our lives, reviving resoundingly on the cheek and winked the dim memories we had of our at me. families. His father had died when he was about ten, but his mother "I guess it's okay for me to do that still lived, a charming human lady, now that I don't have to worry about striking - looking even after the Bolivar hitting me. After all, we passage of years. I visited her were only great friends before. Now often, as I so much missed my own we know who we really are." sweet mother. He then held me in an emotional On one visit, a tattered drawing of embrace, saying through his tears, man caught my eye. Shock icicled "I'm so happy we found out. At last through me; I quietly asked whose I have a true family. Will you tell picture it was. Proudly she told me me about our father?" -23- We went to the cottage for a while, One in particular stood out among so that we could share the memories them, and this I shared with my we held about our father. I hadn't brother. "It was right after my known where he traveled during the mother died, and father and I were years after my mother's death, but walking along the river. He was now I did. Unable to face the child very preoccupied and looked that reminded him so of his wife, he strained. I remember it so clearly found solace in the arms of another because of the startlingly vivid woman. Had I met Jhembryn's mother blue of the sky and the cries of the while biased by painful knowledge, I sea birds wheeling overhead. would have hated her and hated Jhembryn. But my maturity and time "We stopped at the river's edge, and in these lands serve me well. I love he turned to me. His face was my brother dearly, and his mother weary, his eyes dull. He kneeled as well. before me and held me close, and I could feel his warm breath against I told Jhembryn about the happy me. Holding me back away from him a times I had spent with Father, and bit, he looked into my eyes and he in turn shared his life with me. smiled. 'I have something for you, Neither of us had many years with little one. I want you to keep it him, but they were special ones for always, and think about the good both of us. times when we were a family.' He pulled a drawing from his pocket and "My father--our father--was killed handed it to me. It was the one I in battle at a storming of the town carry now. gates on a dark evening, during one of the periodic Unlife uprisings "Not long after that he sent me to against the citizens of Kelfour's my aunt's. I saw brief glimpses of Landing," Jhembryn began. "But I him in the ensuing years before his remember before he died, when he death, but never with any first taught me to wield a sword. regularity. I guess it was too painful for him." "I was rather clumsy with it, only about nine years old at the time, Jhembryn and I sat for a few moments but I still wanted to be as good as lost in thought. Finally, I smiled him." Tears began to flow from and pulled him to his feet, Jhembryn's eyes. indicating the door of the cottage. "Shall we?" I asked. "I really don't think he cared how good I was, but I wanted to please We continued our hunt and were him so badly. He had little time to joined there by my love. A rash of teach me because of the many battles giggling, winking, and nudging broke he was called to fight. I long felt out between Jhembryn and me, as that there was something he wanted Bolivar looked on in confusion. I to tell me, but never did. finally introduced my love to his soon to be brother-in-law and "He died when I was ten. I don't watched the fun. Strangely enough, really remember very much, but I my brother and I are getting married cherish the memories I have." After within days of each other. a long pause Jhembryn went on. "Stories of how our father died Not all the revelations in life are helped me decide what to do with my good, and not all are bad. This life. At the age of 19 I began to revelation heartened me after the study the healing arts. Now every recent sorrows of repeated death. time I heal someone, I wonder why no The laughter and love we feel is one could have healed Father." genuine and gives me back a family I thought lost. I sighed and thought about the very few clear memories I had of Father. ======\\====== -24- ___________ Cycles (Part I) / \ ______ \ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ \@| /~/~~\_\ | by Lord Whilder Planrathe | \~\____~ | _| _~~~~\~\ | lowly her world came small, wide-mouthed jug that had /@| \~\__/~/ | into focus. She been sitting at her feet all day. \_/ ~~~~~~ / blinked once, clear- She shook it vigorously and a loud ~~~~~~~~~~ ing the glazed look rattling came from it. "Inside of from her bright green eyes. For a this jug are 10 dice. Each die has moment she could not remember who 10 sides. Each side has a symbol of she was, nor why she had come here. one of my choices. The symbol that is seen most often on the first roll Then she saw the steel statue... shall be my choice. If it is required, I shall roll a second Memories. Ages past. Worlds ago. time." She sat at the table outside the (How had she kept a straight face at small cottage. It was her birthday. their looks? She suddenly burst And on this day, she would have to into laughter. Better late than choose the path her life would never...) follow. The crowd gathered around was not the well-wishers who had Again she had to wait as they edged attended her parties before, but the closer, jostling each other for a teachers who would help her along view of the table. After they the road she would soon choose. Or seemed to have settled into position rather, the life chance would choose she glared along the edge of the for her. table. More movement as the spectators tried to move away from (Chance! Her name was Chance! She the table edge yet still maintain remembered it now.) their view. She looked around at the gathering, Finally satisfied that nobody would trying her best to remain solemn. A bump against the table, she shook difficult task since it seemed the the jug and poured the dice onto the entire world was there, trying to table top. The sound of each stone convince her to follow their own as it clattered onto the wood roared paths of learning or trade. Long like thunder in her ears. Her heart hours ago they had began telling her seemed to climb into her throat. of the wonders of their arts, of the Breathing seemed impossible. She necessity of their crafts. But she lost focus on the crowd, the table knew. Gods how she knew! They only itself. Only the eternally wanted her for the fame of having tumbling, spinning, skittering dice the Luck-Child as their apprentice. existed. And ages later, they came to rest. She waited politely. No more came forth to petition her. She She waited as the crowd surged straightened her back and waited as around, murmuring to themselves and the talking died to a murmur, then each other. She waited as they left to a silence. "My friends" she to spread the news, to be the first spoke "I have decided not to decide to tell those who could not attend. for myself." She politely waited as As the sun began setting, she the roar of disapproval crested over realized that only two elves her, then slowly subsided. remained near the table. She continued, louder to be heard She looked up at the first one. over the few remaining voices, "I Nondescript, even for an elf. His have decided on several clothes could fit in almost possibilities." She lifted the anywhere. Not flashy, yet nice -25- enough to be worn in a royal court. She looked up in surprise. Send for He could be mistaken for someone him? She had sent a request for him working their way up the social to attend, not a demand. Then she ladder or someone who could fit in remembered that she was the Luck- with common society. Child. A request from her might seem a command to others. She watched as he slowly reached forward and picked up a die with a She recovered her composure. "I soft-looking hand. Her slight scowl asked for you to come for I desire did not bother him in the least. to learn from the one I think is the Carefully, lightly he turned the die best. You have many years of on his fingers, studying each side experience, and are still alive and and then placing it exactly back even recently were in combat." where it had been, each side facing exactly as it had been before. He He seemed to consider her statement. picked up a second die, examined it, Slowly he nodded. "Very well. Be and placed it exactly as before. at my home an hour before dawn, two days hence. Be neither late nor "Not loaded," he said, in a voice so early. And bring little with you, quiet she almost didn't hear him. for I do not believe you will stay long." He then turned and left, "No" she whispered back. leaving her kneeling in the grass. "Why is there one face of white, the Memories ended. The Present. other of black?" She looked again at the rusting "What do you think?" she answered. statue. She had come here for a reason. There had to be a reason. "Why do you think it is as clear cut She was no longer a guardswoman at as that?" he answered. Then he the keep. The master had died ages walked away from the table. ago. She should have died ages ago. Yet there were great blanks in her (Gods, she had been foolish thinking memory. She couldn't recall how she good and evil was that clear cut.) got here, or the trip here. She frowned. The last memory she had She looked over at the remaining was of her meeting far from this elf, and suddenly felt very small. place, with the mage Wild Luck. Or He was the armsman from another Whilder, as he seemed to prefer. village, and had only come at her request. She looked back at the And somehow she knew that had been dice. All ten had stopped with the five weeks ago. picture of a sword on the top face. Where did five weeks of her life go? She stood up and walked over to the old warrior. She then knelt down in She was still trying to remember front of him. what she had done for the last five weeks when the golem charged in "Master of Arms, I would learn your through the eastern archway. ways. Will you take me and train me Without a bit of hesitation she ran in the way of the warrior?" straight at the magical construct, her rapier seemed to leap into her He looked down upon her, considering hand. She swerved to her left just his reply. For long moments she out of its reach. Clumsily it feared he would reject her. grabbed for her, almost as though it was trying to hug her. She saw the "Why did you send for me?" He asked. opening she needed and leapt "There are many others who would straight at it, her rapier going train you, who are faster or straight through its eye, into the stronger than I am." brain, the metal of the rapier -26- More... disrupting both physical being and And the new aches, pains, bruises, magical energies. And even as the cuts, and scrapes, the cracked and golem fell, she looked at the rapier broken bones... in her hand, and memories came back. She remembered the day he did not Memories. Ages past. Worlds ago... arrive on time to begin the days Flood of memories. Short, jumbled... session. She started the routines the endless days of training... the and continued on until well into the endless repetition of exercise... morning, and was just beginning to the endless swing of over-weighted worry when he arrived. He was swords... the endless running with dressed in ordinary clothes, not his more weight than she could carry... usual practice armor, and she knew The endless climbing in full armor.. it was the last day of her training with him. The endless aches, pains, bruises, and cuts... He sat upon the bench, and indicated she should join him. She remembered the time he showed her the trunk, overflowing with "Would you be as a snake?" he asked. medals, decorations, proud proclama- tions of honor and bravery in fancy She was puzzled, for he had never script. He ignored her questions, said anything like this before. She simply stating that the chest was thought for a moment, then realized full of worthless metal and parch- what he had asked. "No," she replied ment. Things that impressed others, "for the snake strikes quickly and but not a true armsman. kills by poison. It stays, striking only a smaller or weaker foe and She remembered his words... runs from the stronger, larger ones." "Many fight for the glory of the battle. The bards sing often and He nodded. "Would you be as a bear?" tell many tales about their great battles over a mug of ale. Yet what "No, for a bear depends on brute of the one they speak of? Often strength and size." dust, for the greatest battle they ever fought was always their last. He nodded again. "What is the best way for you to fight, then?" "Many use strength to beat their foes. Yet that very strength is She puzzled over the question. But their greatest weakness. For when she had no answer. they meet a foe stronger than themselves, they fall. He waited patiently. The sun passed its zenith and began its descent "Many use speed to defeat another. into afternoon. Still, she could Yet battles must be fought where not answer him. movement is restricted, or the footing treacherous. Finally, she gave up. "How should I fight? What is the best way for me?" "Fight not for the glory of battle. Fight not for the first strike. He turned to face her. "You are Fight not to show your strength. indeed wiser than you believe. You Fight only to win." asked for the best way for yourself. Not for the best way. The best way She remembered the training... in for you." barehanded combat... with but daggers and simple clubs... with She fidgeted under his stern gaze. many swords and maces... with long, His black eyes caught her and held clumsy pole arms... her attention as never before. -27- More... "Be as the Hawk," he said. "The the brisk morning air. Hawk knows it gets but one strike, one chance at life or death. It He was there. Awaiting her. will circle and circle, patiently watching and waiting. And when it Without a word he presented her with strikes, it will strike true. The a rapier. His visage as stern as Hawk strikes to slay, not to battle ever. She watched his back as he gloriously." walked to the doorway, then he stopped and turned to her. He stood suddenly. "In the morn, one hour before dawn, you will "Your cycle of childhood ended when leave." And before she could react, you took the path of a warrior. Your he walked away. cycle of training ends now with this dawn. Begin now the cycle of life." She spent the rest of the afternoon preparing to leave, packing the few She remembered the small, sad smile things she had brought with her that played across his lips as he along with the few items she had closed the door. acquired during her (had it truly been so many?) years under the Memories ended. The Present. armsmaster's instruction. She glanced around, unsure of how She slept fitfully that night and much time she had spent thinking lay awake in her cot until the about the distant past. Her eye appointed hour had arrived. She caught the open steel door and the slowly walked to the door and looked room beyond it. Without realizing around, but her mentor had not what was happening, she followed an arrived to bid her farewell. Slowly urge to enter the old lab... she opened the door and stepped into (To Be Continued) Sailor's Woe: by Rhea Sibex ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A sailing man a Nymph did meet, one day upon the shore. He knew she was no normal lass, For only seaweed twas she wore. "Come here my beauty",the sailor cried... Ne'er such lovliness has been at my side", he reached his arms for more. Anxiously she viewed the man, great hairy ugly beast. Her mermaid friends had warned her, never travel alone the beach. "Begone foul demon - you whiskered thing, only a waterling can be my king" Whereupon she began to sing... Hoh Lah la-laaa Eee Yah me-meee Hoh Lah la-laaa "To my song your ears shall ring" And the sailor's eyes did stop their shine, As upon that shore his fate was signed. No more the Nymphs ran through his mind, As her song did make him stay. And to this day the sailors know, That Nymphs might be chased, but never caught. Fair of form but for sailors not. -28- Murder and the Poisoned Pen ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ _______________ by Miss Louvella Parsnips / \ ____ ____\ \@| +|~| __ |~|+|e have just return- in the near future, but we have | |~|/~~\|~| | ed from a rather serious doubts as to the wedding _| |~/~/\~\~| | lengthy absence, ever taking place. We do indeed. /@| _|__/ \__|_| brought on by \_/_____________/ several attempts A very young wood-elf magess has on our venerable life, and have also announced her intentions to discovered the same decadence, cor- marry a half elf fighter with an ruption and moral instability still equally sharp blade. Of course, we still rife in Kelfour's Landing. would not be as tacky as to suggest that this fighter seeks to gain the We wonder if the depraved inhabit- best of two worlds and that the two ants of Kulthea will ever change, brides know nothing of each other. especially those few who thought We are sure the wedding night will to rid the lands permanently of our be rather interesting. exalted persona. We have no doubt that the culprits will be brought The dark patch has overshadowed the to task in the very near future. impending wedding(s) also as he has We have no doubts indeed. been seen deep in the Kaldsfang forest locked in a passionate Of course, just because we were in embrace with one of the brides-to- absentia does not mean our eyes and be. We are much too genteel to ever ears were closed to the henious mention the name of the trollop who activities in the land. We are has been dallying around, but we did delighted to inform you of a rather happen to notice she seemed very at dark patch on Kulthea of late. It home in the forest. seems a young thief has been antagonizing everyone from the most A hastily scrawled missive in our pompous lordly type to the youngest mailbox has brought to light a (and still somewhat naive) of vicious and cruel murder which has adventurers. hence gone undetected. It is this which convinced us to return to the Naturally some of the more abhorrent Landing, as no crime this henious members of the landing took justice should go unpunished. Who better to into their own hands and attempted discover the murderer (and call for to stop this half-elf. He, however, a public hanging) than us? We have refuses to have anything to do with our suspicions that the murderer of the pompous lordly types, and has one of Kelfour's prominent (if continued his offensive activities rather tarnished) adventurers, might while mocking those who seek to be the same fiend who tried to drive him from the lands. We do not silence our malefic pen for eternity. know which is the lesser of two evils, the dark patch on humanity or We are still investigating this rash the pompous lordly types who think of crimes and will keep you informed they have a right to dispense moral as to further developments. We would justice. What nerve. advise all adventurers to develop eyes in the back of their heads or Speaking of offensive activities, we at least to watch their backs. have noticed a young couple spending a great deal of time au natural in Until next month, dear reader, Frick's best suite. The half-elf remember to send gossip, tattle and fighter with a very sharp blade and hearsay to MISS.SNOOP (via GE Mail) his short and hairy bride-to-be where it will quickly reach our insist they will be married sometime eager eyes. Tra la for now! -29- KEV3N4 [end]