Kelfour Edition volume III number X

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 / \                                                                     \
|   |                                        Guide to Gems!  See Page 2   |
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 |    GemStone III(tm)                                     March 1993  |
 |                                                       Vol.3, No.10  |
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 |        ||||||/  \_) (____) (_(  (_(   (____/ (_____( (_(            |
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 |  ||,"""""""""""",||_) (____(  (_(  (_(  (_( (____/ (_((_(           |
 | |""  (@)    (@)  ""|                                                |
 | |..     (oo)     ..|              The Kronicles of Kulthea          |
 |    ", '\____/` ,"                                                   |
 |      "--------"                                                     |
 |                                                                     |
 |                                                                     |
 |  ................ Kelfour's Landing Local News ...............   1  |
 |  Alyssya's Guide to Gems--The Basics ............ Alyssya Sand   2  |
 |  New Players Tips .......................... Mordstrom Parthus   3  |
 |  Untitled Poem ............................... Loque Windsfoot   3  |
 |  Kelfour Fried Cockatrice .................... Loque Windsfoot   4  |
 |  Learning To Sing ............................... Erion Kulsen   6  |
 |  Wilderness Report ....................... D. Forest Hobgoblin   7  |
 |  The Query ................................ Palance Buckhannah   7  |
 |  RR Spells Vs. Armor ....................... Trachten Hickapod   8  |
 |  Misplaced Darts ...................... Lord Whilder Planrathe   9  |
 |  Slaughn on High ................................ Erion Kulsen  10  |
 |  The Poor Adventurer's Path to Knowledge .... Rasputin Santare  11  |
 |  Crazy Petya .............................. Aleksandr Charodey  14  |
 |  Distant Memories ....................... Baloreik Domarlynnas  16  |
 |  Undermining Kelfour's: Part 5 ........... Llorien Silvanestii  19  |
 |  A Matter of Honor ................................ Sean2 Ladd  22  |
 |  Snakes and Lathers ......................... Lloyd Llowd, PhD  26  |
 |                                                                     |
 |                                                                     |
 | Kelfour Edition of the Kronicles of Kulthea is devoted to the multi-|
 | player role-playing game GemStone III on GEnie Information Network. |
 | Submissions edited for space, accuracy and readability. Send GE Mail|
 | to P.HERRINGTON to Editor Rasputin Santare, Assist. Editors Kalagay |
 | Hallatil, Jarran Terraxx, or Publisher Lady Phaedra Bleu.           |
 |    _________________________________________________________________|___
 |   /                                                                    /

   |----------------------------|      that checking into the Inn carries a
  //                             \     tab  of  10 silvers per visit.  In a
 || +      Kelfour Edition      + |    bold  step  forward, the town elders
 ||                               |    have  now arranged to have that debt
 ||      L O C A L   N E W S      |    automatically   deducted  from  your
 || +                           + |    purse   (assuming   you  have  one),
  \\_____________________________/     thereby  saving  a  trip to the Debt
                                       Collector.    The   process  is  now
         Houses Of Kulthea             simplified, if not yet painless.
The  Houses  of  Kulthea have been a              Bards Sing Out
mysterious,   enigmatic   aspect  of              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Kulthean   society  for  quite  some   Bards  have  always  kept  us enter-
time.   If  you want to join, who do   tained and informed through song and
you  call?  Now, some of the mystery   verse.   But  now  something  new is
will  be  lifted.   Following  a new   happening.   They  are able, through
decree,  all Houses are henceforward   unknown,  arcane means, to escry the
required  to  post a plaque on their   identity and nature of virtually any
gates  with  the  names  of  current   item  simply by singing.  The nature
House  officers.   Finding the House   of this magic is not entirely under-
(and  the  requisite silver to join)   stood, and experimentation continues
is another matter.  Of course, for a   to  produce  some startling results.
more  detailed  look  at the Houses,   Needless to say, Bards have suddenly
their   entrance   requirements  and   become  as  popular  as a baker at a
contacts, you could also take a look   beggars' banquet.
at Dartaghan's article in KEV3N6.
                                              The Roleplaying Award
   Changes To Lockpick and Disarm             ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~     GM's  are  constantly on the lookout
Attempts  to  pick  locks and disarm   for players who are engaged in  good
traps have been  a  murky  business,   roleplaying.   While the debate over
fraught with  risk  and danger.  The   what  constitutes  good  roleplaying
risk and danger is  still there, but   rages   on,   the  awards  of  fame,
the nature of  the  beast  has  been   experience points and  "multipliers"
made  just  a  little  clearer  with   continue  to  be  handed  out  on  a
the   introduction  of  several  new   regular  basis.  Both the  fame  and
descriptors. Now successful attempts   experience   points   are  immediate
at disarming  or  picking will  tell   rewards that  are  applied  to  your
you if  the  lock or trap is "easy,"   character's  status  the  way combat
"routine,"  "difficult,"  and so on.   or special skills  experince  points
How effective this new feature  will   are applied.
be remains to be seen.
                                       The   multiplier,  however, works  a
        The Mystery Of Debt            little differently.  Essentially,  a
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~            multiplier  will  enhance the amount
New arrivals  to  Kelfour's  Landing   of  experience   absorbed   over   a
are  faced  with  repayment  of  the   certain   period  of  time;   higher
modest loan  they  receive  to  help   multipliers  given  for  exceptional
them  get outfitted and established.   roleplaying will last several hours,
Once repaid,  most  citizens  expect   while   lower   multipliers    given
to lead  debt-free  lives.  Instead,   for  average  roleplaying  will last
they find themselves back  in  debt,   only  an hour or so.  The  thing  to
wondering  how  they got there.  The   remember  about  it,  is  that   the
two  most  common  sources  are  the   timer  is  only  running  while  you
lockers  in  Moot Hall, and the Inn.   have experience to absorb.  Relaxing
While  most  people  make  the  con-   around  town,  while  your  mind  is
nection  between  their  lockers and   clear as a bell, will not  have  any
the  rental  fees, many have no idea   effect on its duration.
 _________          Alyssya's Guide to Gems--The Basics
/ \ _____ \         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
\@| ~|_|~ |                   by Alyssya Sand
  |  |~|  |
 _|  |~|  | 'm sure you are all well   Category 2: Good For Pocket Cash
/@| _|~|_ | aware of the  prolifera-
\_/ ~~~~~ / tion of stones and  gems   Included here are gems and stones in
  ~~~~~~~~  in  *GEM*stone recently.   the  50 - 300 coin range, definitely
If you've  been discarding them, you   worth  putting in your pocket!  Most
are  making a big  mistake; many are   of the stones in this list  are con-
beautiful and worth LOTS of silvers.   sidered  lesser gemstones, and their
                                       price reflects that status.
I've noted  the prices  received for    __________________________________
gems  and stones,  and I'd  like  to   | Gem Name                 Silvers |
share the results with you.  All the   | ~~~~~~~~                 ~~~~~~~ |
stones were  found on the Mine Road,   | Golden Beryl Gem............. 62 |
in the  Kobold  Forest, and  in  the   | Blue Tourmaline.............. 63 |
Hobgoblin, Lesser  Orc, Greater Orc,   | Red Spinel................ 71/65 |
and  Grey Orc  areas.  I have  a +30   | Blue Spinel.................. 75 |
bonus in Trading  and a +24 bonus in   | Almandine Garnet.......... 79/86 |
Presence,  which  some  folks  think   | Polished Blue Coral.......... 89 |
affects trading results.               | Red Jasper................ 87/90 |
                                       | Pink Spinel............. 173/197 |
For me there are three categories of   | Black Tourmaline............ 178 |
gems to be found:                      | Rose Quartz................. 188 |
                                       | Yellow Zircon............... 198 |
     1) Not Worth Carrying,            | Violet Spinel............... 199 |
     2) Good For Pocket Cash           |__________________________________|
     3) It's Worth How Much?
                                       Category 3: It's Worth How Much?
Here is  the breakdown as I've found
it so far. Where more than one price   Here are the  cream, stones that can
is mentioned, it indicates a differ-   be  worth more  than the  coins in a
ent price gotten from the Gem Dealer   Grey Orc's chest!  These fall in the
(located  SE,  S,  S,  W,  GO  SHOP,   category of true gemstones:  rubies,
from the  town square) for a similar   sapphires, topazes, and so on. These
stone at different times.              are  the  stones  that  can  make or
                                       break  an excursion to a remote area
Category 1: Not Worth Carrying         and can make a decided difference in
                                       your bank account.
In  this list, we  find the  garden-    __________________________________
variety  gems and stones,  the  ones   | Gem Name                 Silvers |
worth under  50 silvers. If  leaving   | ~~~~~~~~                 ~~~~~~~ |
these strikes you as  wasteful, then   | Golden Topaz................ 320 |
by all  means pick them up  and tote   | Aquamarine Gem.............. 435 |
them back with you!                    | Green Garnet............ 355/500 |
 __________________________________    | Star Sapphire............... 700 |
| Gem Name                 Silvers |   | Turquoise Stone............. 830 |
| ~~~~~~~~                 ~~~~~~~ |   | Polished Pink Coral......... 825 |
| Rock Crystal.................  8 |   | Smoky Topaz......... 940/895/810 |
| Star Diopside................ 17 |   | Pink Rhodocrosite Stone..350/980 |
| Clear Sapphire............... 18 |   | Yellow Sapphire........ 570/1170 |
| Polished Black Coral......... 20 |   | White Opal............. 530/1275 |
| Clear Topaz.................. 24 |   |__________________________________|
| Black Jasper................. 28 |
| Carnelian Quartz............. 32 |   It is worth noting that the value of
| Iridescent Labradorite Stone. 39 |   stones in  this range fluctuate. The
| Green Adventurine............ 49 |   Gem Dealer has given me  wildly dif-
|__________________________________|   fering  prices for  what appeared to
                                    -2-                             More...
be identical stones. I have  noticed                    New Players Tips
the variation more on stones in this    ____________    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
price range than in the other two.     / \ _________\ by Mordstrom Parthus
                                       \@| ||=|=|=|| |
Also, an aspect that seems to affect     | ~~ |_| ~~ |
prices  is color.  An unusual  color    _|    |_|    |
(or lack  of it!) can  greatly alter   /@|   _|_|_   |he  newer  players to
the selling price. Two good examples   \_/__________/  Gemstone  should  be
are sapphires  and topazes--note the   aware  of a great  many things about
difference between clear and colored   the world  in  which  he/she  plays.
specimens. In the coral family, too,   There  are several  hints, as a  new
color  makes for significant  varia-   player myself,  that I would like to
tions in price.                        pass along.  I have found  that  the
                                       world of Gemstone can be an exciting
Please  keep in  mind that  I am not   and rewarding  game to play IF these
including  information  about  which   guidelines are followed.
stones  should be  used for  getting
deeds from  Eissa                       - Train  in a  weapon so  as to  be
                                          able to use it and survive.
In conclusion, although  these lists    - With this in mind, always use the
are incomplete, they should give you      advanced character generator.
a good idea of what those stones you    - Become  familiar with  the innate
are  finding are  worth. It may also      abilities of your profession.
save you from marauding misinformers    - Become familiar  with the certain
in the  square,  who  advise  you to      limitations on where and what you
"leave that one -- it's  worthless,"      can  fight, initially and later.
and then pocket it after you go.        - Know when to run!
                                        - Become familiar with the lands.
How  do  I  know  about  this  ploy?    - Do not  be afraid  to re-roll the
Because I have used it myself -- and      character.
may again, if you let me.               - Realize what  Deeds are,  how you
                                          can  get them, and  how they  can
           Untitled Poem                  help you.
           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~                - Understand  the way  in which you
         by Loque Windsfoot               gain  experience, and  how  it is
              Focused                   - Understand the combat system.
           Clear of mind                - Set MACRO keys for  your computer
             of purpose                   at home.
              Battle!                  The  above  suggestions  are further
               blood                   explained in the Gemstone Help files
              essence                  located  in the Gemstone Library  as
            Sword swings               well as a  set of maps, of  the town
           essence flies               and  surrounding  areas, exquisitely
            gods oversee               done by Zepath the Ranger.  Gemstone
              Unclear                  is patterned from role playing games
             unfocused                 for a  reason, and  it is  much more
              drained                  fun to play if you play your part as
                Rest                   realistically  as  possible.  No one
              learning                 will make fun of your spelling (Well
           comprehending               not much anyways)  and no one should
              Friends                  laugh  at  someone who is trying  to
              Acorns?                  make his/her  character  fit in with
               peace                   the tapestry of  life that  makes up
              tranquil                 Kulthea. Have fun and role play your
           Clear of mind               guts  out (Hopefully  not literally)
             of purpose                and I will see you in Kelfour around
              Focused.                 sunrise.
                         Kelfour Fried Cockatrice
 ____________               by Loque Windsfoot
/ \ ___   ___\
\@|  \~\ /~/ |
  |   \ ~ /  | ou  know those rather   there  and  get  hammered.  But  you
 _|    |~|   | large  birds that run   have to  be  careful.    Cockatrices
/@|    |~|   | around in the  forest   have roughly a seven to eight-second
\_/    ~~~   / just between  Hobland   round  time,  which  leaves   little
  ~~~~~~~~~~~ and  Gorcland?   Yeah,   margin  for  error,  or  a  sluggish
the ones most everyone  walks  right   universe.  For that  reason,  macros
by  on their way to beat up on orcs,   are highly recommended.
trolls,  and   hobgoblins.  Well,  I
have  another option to consider for   The  other  method  is  to  set your
these  overgrown  poultry  products:   parry to  a  level  where  the  bird
hunt  them.   On  purpose.   I  know   cannot  get a good hit on  you,  but
this sounds drastic,  even  radical,   you  can  still  hit  it  with  some
but  there  are actually benefits to   effectiveness.  The  exact  point at
treating   these   birds   as   prey   which to  parry  will  vary  greatly
instead of scenery.                    from  one  adventurer  to  the next,
                                       making it difficult to estimate  the
For  one,  they  are  much easier to   precise  number  to  shoot for.  But
hit.  Greater orcs  (Gorcs)  have  a   I'll try  by  using  my  stats as  a
Defensive  Bonus  of  70--unless you   benchmark.
happen to break their  shield--while
cockatrices  have  a  DB of only 45.   I have a standing DB of  83  without
Second, our feathered  friends  seem   parrying  at  all,  so I am  totally
to  carry chests with more frequency   safe  from  the   cockatrice.   When
than  the  orcs.   This  is  not   a   wearing heavy hide, only the  bird's
statistical fact,  but my experience   best  attack  could possibly hit me,
has been that they'll will drop  two   and then only  one  percent  of  the
or  three  chests  per hunting trip.   time.   So  setting  your parry to a
Third, they are more likely to  have   point where  your  DB  is  83  would
magic  items,  such as gold rings (a   give  you  the  greatest  chance  of
compelling motive to  hunt  them  by   hitting, with  the  smallest  chance
itself).  Finally,  and perhaps most   of being  hit.  Since heavy hide can
importantly,  they  give  you   more   take a  critical  hit  with  a  roll
experience  than  orcs -- and appear   that's  only  10  above  its THT (To
with more regularity.                  Hit Threshold), you could  set  your
                                       parry  for a DB of 73 and still have
There are  basically  two  different   a 1%  chance  of getting killed.  If
ways   to   hunt   the   cockatrice:   you  want  to remain invulnerable to
parry-tag,  or  no  parry-tag. (Gee,   a critical  strike  from  the  bird,
Loque,  that's  a surprise!) In this   without   regards   to   greaves  or
case, the most effective  method  is   helms, then set your parry for a  DB
is to parry - tag. (Advice  for  the   of  74.  (For a detailed explanation
uninitiated:  Parry - tag  is  where   of   arms,   armor  and   the  logic
you  wait  at  full  parry  until  a   behind  the  dice  rolls,  Yashantre
monster  attacks  you,   immediately   Spleenbender's articles in KE Vol.1,
parry   down   to   0,   attack  the   Nos. 8 and 9 are recommended--Ed.)
critter, and parry back  up  to  100
before it can retaliate.)  It  seems   Now  for  the one reason adventurers
cockatrices   are    not    terribly   tend  to  avoid  cockatrices -- it's
intelligent;  they  will  never  run   eyes.  With  a  successful  gaze,  a
away,  no  matter  how badly they're   cockatrice  can  immobilize you  for
overmatched.  So  you  needn't worry   approximately  two to three  rounds.
about scaring them  off  and  having   While  not  as deadly as the gaze of
to  chase  them  from one end of the   a  Basilisk,  getting 'statued' by a
forest to the other.  They'll  stand   cockatrice   produces  a  couple  of
nasty side-effects:                    often than  a  rapier,  but do a lot
                                       more   damage   when   it  connects.
1.   You  cannot  attack,  move,  or   Because  cockatrices  are  so large,
even be dragged by a companion.        you    will   not   get   stuns   or
                                       death - strikes  against  them  with
2.   Your  DB  will  be  lowered  by   weapons.  However,  spells  such  as
whatever  QUickness  bonus you have,   Shockbolt, will  stun  normally  and
PLUS  any  shield  bonus,  including   seem   to   cause  death  with  some
magical  bonuses  for materials like   regularity.
Laen.  You will, however,  keep  any
bonus you  have  on your armor;  and   Tactical advice:  Be  sure  to  kill
you WILL keep your  parry--that  is,   any   lesser  orcs  that  happen  to
if  you were statued while at parry.   wander  in. They can be  a  nuisance
You will also  keep  any  DB  gained   at  best,  and   can   be  downright
through  magical  means, like spells   deadly if they happen to  catch  you
or statues.  With all these  factors   in  the  middle  of  a  parry - tag,
in  play,  you should calculate what   or even  worse,  while  immobilized.
effect  this  would  have  on   your   There's safety in  numbers -- groups
overall  DB  and  adjust  your parry   of four are  ideal,  with  at  least
setting accordingly.  Unless  you're   one   mage   for  those  ever-useful
parry - tagging.  In which case, you   stuns -- but hunt in  pairs, at  the
don't want to get caught at parry 0!   very least.
(A special  thanks  to  Carrentheon,   Even  if  you  have  the  ability to
who  spent near half an hour testing   wear   armors   other   than   heavy
the  effects of immobilization  with   hide, don't.  Hide  is the all-round
me.  For  some   reason  I  seem  to   favorite  for Cockatrice  territory,
be  immune,  perhaps  race or class-   so  don't leave  the square  without
related, but I am unsure.)             it.  And  finally,  always  let  the
                                       lowest - level  adventurer  in  your
The   best  weapon  to  use  against   group  search the dead chicken.  For
cockatrices  is  the  rapier--unless   some  unfathomable  reason, the less
you  happen  to  have  a Laen weapon   experienced characters seem  to find
handy.  A Drake falchion is  also  a   chests  and  useful items more often
good   choice;   it  will  hit  less   than those with more experience.
 / \                Map of Lesser Orcs and Cockatrices                    \
 | @/_____________________________________________________________________/
 |                    | (go path)                                        |
 |                    X                                                  |
 |                      \                                                |
 |                        X                                              |
 |                          \                                            |
 |                            X      (Hobland)    (Climb Trail)          |
 |                          /   \   /               |                    |
 |                      C-C       X                 C                    |
 |                      |           \             /                      |
 |                      C        (Dangirland)   C                        |
 |                      |                         \                      |
 |                      C                          C                     |
 |                      |                         /                      |
 |            Gorcland  C                      C                         |
 |                    \ |                     /                          |
 |                      C               C-C-C                            |
 |                        \           /      \                           |
 |                          C       C      (Go Bridge)                   |
 |                            \   /                                      |
 |                              C                                        |
 |  @\---------------------------------------------------------------------\
  \__/______________________________-5-_________________________ More...  _/
 / \                   Stats For Gorcs and Cockatrices                    \
 | @/_____________________________________________________________________/
 |                                                                       |
 |         Cockatrice    Lvl 6           Greater Orc      Lvl 5          |
 |         OB 40/50/60   DB 45           OB 80            DB 70          |
 |         THT 70/80     Rap/fal         THT 61/65 57/61  Fal/Br         |
 |         MTHT 83/66*/94                MTHT 89                         |
 |         CP's 70                       CP's 80                         |
 |                                                                       |
 |        *This is the attack to gauge where to parry: the claw.         |
 |             All MTHT's (Monster THTs) assume heavy hide.              |
 |  _____________________________________________________________________|_
 |  @\                                                                     \
 ____________                Learning To Sing
/ \      __  \               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
\@|     / "|  |              by Erion Kulsen
  |    //|"|  |
 _|   //=|"|  |
/@|  //  |"|  | roaring  outsweep of   of the gem.  To my surprise, the gem
\_/ ~~   ~~~ / news  told  of  local   began to resonate with my  voice!  I
  ~~~~~~~~~~~ spell weavers learning   then gained an insight as to certain
the Imbed spell.  This spell allowed   properties of the  gem.  Such as the
one to imbed, upon certain magically   weight and price. Although, this was
attuned items,  any  spell that  the   not enough, those who  could perform
magic  user  knew.  Discovering what   the imbed spell  would need to  know
items could be  imbeded soon  proved   more.  Again, I opened my  mouth and
to be the most difficult part of the   poured forth a song  about the  gem.
spell.  A way was  needed to tell if   As  I  expected,  the gem  resonated
an  item was in  fact  receptive  to   again.. yet this time, the gem began
magic.  Else it would become  a very   to draw raw essence from me! I could
costly process of trial and error.     only surmise that the gem was indeed
                                       receptive to magic, and imbedable by
Rumor had it that bards were able to   those who could do so.
identify certain properties of items
including if  an item was imbedable.   I passed  on this  new discovery  to
Yet for some time, no local bard was   all  the bards  I could find.  Soon,
able to determine how.  I myself had   all of  the  bards were singing unto
tried countless  times, all of which   such inanimate objects.  Both Enegue
were in vain.  After awhile, I began   and I found  that  one could sing of
to realize I had  no direction in my   *ANY*  item in  hand.  This included
reasearch.  I resolved  to go search   armor, weapons and  many other items
the  Tomes of Kulthea and  determine   of unknown origins.
if there was anything I could use to
apply to my research.  I came across   Bards best be forewarned of this new
one entry concerning the potion used   found power!  If  the  gods are  not
to prepare items  for  imbeding.  In   pleased  with  the  lyrics  of  your
this article it mentioned that bards   identifying  songs.... you may be in
had an instilled ability to identify   fact be punished!  Lord Enegue found
certain lore  about an item, through   out the difficult way,  when he lost
song.                                  his voice for a time after singing a
                                       particularly bad song.  As long as a
Quickly, I returned to town and took   bard  is  true unto  his profession,
a gem in hand. Focusing my thoughts,   being creative and singing  from the
I raised my  voice in  song and sang   heart, he has nothing to fear.
                             Wilderness Report
 ______________            by D. Forest Hobgoblin
/ \ ____  ____ \
\@| ~| |  | |~ |
  |  |~|--|~|  |i-Ho everybody! This   think  it's  maybe cutie Bregla Hob-
 _|  |~|--|~|  | is your  new  field   goblin,  y'know  the  one  with  the
/@| _|~|  |~|_ | reporter, D. Forest   great  moles?  So I go over to sniff
\_/ ~~~~  ~~~~ / Hobgoblin,   coming   her   out  and  all-of-a-sudden-like
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ atcha from the wilds   this lil short dude with a dorky hat
of Kulthea.                            bashes  me  on  the  nose  with  his
                                       shield!  Then again -- and again!  I
If  you're  a little confused let me   can  only  take so much, so I snatch
'splain; a certain KE editor thought   up  a  stick  to  teach  this brat a
it  might  be  wise  to  get another   lesson.   I smack him a couple times
point   of   view   on  life  around   with  my  twig,  and he's smacken me
Kelfour's.   So, after searching the   with  his  shield...   and  then  it
wilds  for someone who could read or   dawns  on him that he's gotta hit me
write   besides   smelly   civilized   with  his  sword.   I shoulda known.
types, they came up with me!           He swaps his stuff and Smack!  Right
                                       in  my  leg!   And  that's  not all!
Sure,  I protested, but what's a Hob   When  he  hits  me, his sword-thingy
to  do  when  he's got a wand in his   goes  off  like  a  forest  fire  in
ribs?   Heck,  they  even offered me   August!  Just like the fires dad and
chests as payment every month!  Like   I   used  to  set.   So  I'm  rollen
I need more chests.  If only I could   around,   y'know,  stop,  drop,  and
open them.  (sigh) Anyway, so here I   roll,  tryen  to  get  the  fire out
am  this beautiful sunny day, talken   and..  Whammo!  I'm out like a lite.
with  my  buddy, and all of a sudden
this  smelly  Elf  comes through the   Lemme tell ya, it's just not safe in
brush.   He's all decked out in this   the  forest  with  you  smelly-types
fancy-shmancy   garb;  reds,  pinks,   around. This neighborhood has really
ribbons   and  all  sorts  of  pansy   gone downhill!  Looks like a garbage
stuff!  He looks like a Cockie - you   dump with all these trashed weapons,
know,  those big chickens?  Well, we   armor,  and stupid treasure.  Thanks
start  chucklen  at  him and then...   alot!  Ever think about recycling?
WHAMMO!   My  buddy gets it right in
the  head  from  this smElf with the   Until  next time, this is D.  Forest
big  sword!   What a jerk!  What did   Hobgoblin  saying, "GET SOME FASHION
we  ever  do to him?  I get miffed a   SENCE, PEOPLE!"
little,  only  a little, and I start
over  to  talk  to  this chicken-guy      _______________________________
when  Blam!  -- he's got some loaded     /                               \
fingers or something!  Takes my head    |                                 |
clean off!                              |            The Query            |
                                        |            ~~~~~~~~~            |
After  a long talk with Elvanion, it    |      by Palance Buckhannah      |
seems  you smelly-types are after us    |                                 |
for  some silly reason.  What is it,    |  To parry or not to parry       |
our cash?  Our peaceful nature to be    |   that was the lesson           |
destroyed?   What  have WE ever done    |  That came to my mind           |
to YOU?                                 |   with the orc now in question  |
                                        |  For just when I lowered my     |
And another thing -- what's with the    |   parry to swing                |
creeps   hiden  in  the  bushes  and    |  Up came his weapon             |
smacken  us on the back of the head?    |   and ended the thing!          |
What  are  ya,  wierd?   I'm  sitten    |                                 |
down,  minden my own business, and I     \_______________________________/
hear  this rustlen in the bushes.  I
                            RR Spells vs. Armor
 _____________              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
/ \ _______   \            by Trachten Hickapod
\@| ~|  _ ~\  |
  |  |~|_|~ | |
  |  |~ _ ~/  | esistance  Roll (RR)   In addition, some characters cast RR
 _|  |~| \~\  | spells such  as Limb   spells:   Clerics,  healers,  and  a
/@|  |~|  \~\ | Pain  and Blind  are   ranger  or  two  cast  Channeling RR
\_/ ~~~~   ~~~/ probably  the  least   spells; mages, bards, sorcerers, and
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~  understood spells in   perhaps  a  thief  or  fighter  cast
the  game.   Unlike  the more common   Essence   RR   spells.    Sorcerers,
'bolt  and  'ball spells, RR attacks   thieves   and   fighters  can  learn
use  two  rolls of the die to deter-   either type but toward Essence.
mine  success.  The first is the BAR
roll  which  takes  into account the   See Scroll 1 as to the effectiveness
level of the caster and the armor of   of various armor types (keep in mind
the  target.   The result of the BAR   a positive adjustment to the RR roll
roll  is a positive or negative num-   is good for the target).
ber  which  is applied to the second   A few things are worth pointing out.
roll, the Resistance Roll (RR).  The   First,  the RR Mod from the table is
resistance  roll  determines  if the   the   average   difference   in  the
spell  is actually successful, based   outcome  of  the  BAR  roll  for any
on the caster's and target's levels.   given  roll  of  the  die.  In other
                                       words,  if  a roll has a result of X
By  choosing  the  proper armor, the   when using a wooden shield, the same
target  (you)  can influence the BAR   roll  will  have a result of X + 8.5
roll  in its favor.  The best armor,   when  using a metal shield, on aver-
however,   depends  in  whether  the   age (for Channeling spells).
spell  being  cast  is Channeling or
Essence.   Types  currently  cast by   Secondly,  the failure percentage is
creatures in Kulthea are:              the  chance  that  a spell will fail
                                       the  BAR roll (good for the target).
    Channeling                         Unfortunately,  each  level  of  the
    ~~~~~~~~~~                         caster subtracts 1% from the failure
    Blind  -  Monks, Liches            percentage,   so  Liches  and  Monks
                                       (both level 24+) will never fail the
    Essence                            BAR  roll,  even  if  the  target is
    ~~~~~~~                            wearing Metal Armor.
    Limb Pain - Revenants
                Dark Apparition        Thirdly,  for  Channeling RRs if you
                Tree Spirit            wear  both  metal  armor and a metal
    Fear      - Death Dirge            shield, the shield is ignored.  Fin-
                Specter, Wraith        ally,  a  reinforced shield contains
                Barrow Wight           enough metal to affect Channeling RR
                Ghoul King             spells (i.e., it's a metal shield).
                Wight Lord
     /                                                                 \\
    |                               Scroll 1                            ||
    |                               ~~~~~~~~                            ||
    |             Channeling                       Essence              ||
    |             ~~~~~~~~~~                       ~~~~~~~              ||
    |   Armr/Shield  Avg. RR Mod Fails | Armor      Avg. RR Mod Fails   ||
    |   ------------ ----------- ----- | ---------- ----------- -----   ||
    |   Wood Shield       0        4%  | Hide            0        4%    ||
    |   Metal Shield    +8.5      16%  | Leather       +3.1      12%    ||
    |   Metal Armor    +17.2      24%  | Metal         +6.0      16%    ||
                                                      (Continued on Page 10)
                             Misplaced Darts
           (Or, Never Trust A Furball Offering Free Information)
/ \ ____    ____\       by Lord Whilder Planrathe
\@| +|~| __ |~|+|
  |  |~|/~~\|~| |
 _|  |~/~/\~\~| |  ell, I go  off to   thiefly  ways  as well as the spells
/@| _|__/  \__|_|  far  distant (and   of  the  essence realm.  He confided
\_/_____________/  very  cold) lands   to   several   of  us  that  he  was
for a few months, and what do I find   training  in  the  abilities to hide
when  I  return?  A stack of Kelfour   and ambush.  "Imagine it, mageling,"
Editions!   Eagerly I delve into the   he  would  tell  us, "ambushing with
news  from  the Landing, and instead   shockbolt!   I  will  truely  be the
of  intelligently researched, highly   most   feared   hunter  in  all  the
informative articles I find...         Lands."
Abuse! From a certain Halfling whose   This, alas, was not to be.  One day,
race  is so ashamed of him they make   after   much  experimentation,  Lord
him  call  himself by some fictional   Lythe  determined that his ambushing
race!  I mean, let's be honest, just   skill   was   not  working  at  all.
one look at him will prove to you he   Angrily,  he  called  for one of the
is a halfling.  Still, let's look at   Gods,  Minor  (GM for short) to cor-
what I am referring to.                rect  this  obvious problem.  The GM
                                       that    answered   his   pleas   for
First  this  mage  tries to write an   assistance   was   none  other  than
article  on  sorcery!   Since I am a   Elvanion  himself.   I  was  in  the
mage  myself,  I cannot say for cer-   temple  when  the confrontation took
tain  that  all his article is right   place.   Lord  Lythe  explained  the
or wrong, but if he had only asked I   problem.   As  he  saw it, ambushing
could  have  set him straight on the   was  not  working  with spells.  The
ambush skill not work-      ___________________        answer from Elvanion
ing for spells.            /                   \       was very sympathetic
                          /                     \      but also very short.
My knowledge of this     /                       \
fact  requires a bit    /            ||           \    "Lythe,  the ambush-
of   history.    You   /            ||||           \   ing skill works only
see, I knew the mage  /            ||||||           \  with  weapons.  I am
Lythe  L'Green  whom |            ||||||||           | sorry, but ambushing
some  called  "mad." |           ||||||||||          | with spells will not
Lythe   was,   well, |          ||||||||||||         | improve  the  chance
interesting,  but  I |         ||||||||||||||        | of a kill as it does
don't  think  he was |        ||||||||||||||||       | with weapons."
mad.  Several things |       ||,"""""""""""",||      |
I  knew  that  Lythe |      |""  (@)    (@)  ""|     | After  much  discus-
was   learning  made |      |..     (oo)     ..|     | sion,  with Elvanion
for  an  interesting |         ", '\____/` ,"        | trying  to point out
character study. For |          ,"--------",         | the    good   points
instance,  my  first |        ,"            ",       | (Lythe  was  trained
introduction      to |      ,"                ",     | in  weapons,  so  it
Lythe  formally  was |    ,"   ,"""""""""""",   ",   | wasn't a total waste
when  I  had reached |     ",  |============|  ,"    | of  training), Lythe
fourth    level   of |       ","------------","      | went   on  to  doing
learning, and caught |         `;```     ```;        | such    things    as
him   attempting  to |          |     o     |        | stalking Lord Fxg in
pick  my pocket.  It |          |           |        | the  spider  temple,
seems  the good mage |          |    |-|    |        | before   he  finally
was   interested  in |          |    | |    |        | departed the lands.
some of the    ______|          |ooooO Ooooo|        |______        More...
My  point  is, before publication of    ___________    Slaughn on High
his  first  article, all Dart had to   / \  ______ \   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
do  was ask around before sending it   \@| /~/~~\_\ |  by Erion Kulsen
in.   I  was  present when Dart dis-     | \~\____~ |
covered  the  error  of his original    _| _~~~~\~\ |
article.   Did  he  admit he made an   /@| \~\__/~/ |itting  atop  a cliff,
error?  No, he immediately created a   \_/  ~~~~~~ / over  looking  a  deep
break-in  at  the  KE  building by a     ~~~~~~~~~~  green forest.  To your
"Nefarious  gang  of elves" (KEV3N2,   right, the  blue ocean stretches out
August 1992).  And he offers a "tidy   as far as you can see. To your left,
reward"  for  this non-existent gang   jagged peaks rise up from the valley
of  elves.   Being  that I have just   below, dusted  with  snow.  Up above
revealed  the true culprit, I expect   you, a lone  hawk spirals, ascending
full  payment of this "tidy reward,"   and  diving over  and  over.  A  cry
though  I  suspect  the  payment  is   eminates from  the hawk, a desperate
about as real as the gang was.         screech.. carried on the wind.
His  next article, Houses of Kulthea   It is twilight, and  a few stars are
(KEV3N6,   November  1992)  has  one   now visible.  Something catches your
error  that  I  know  of,  but  only   attention. Where one star was, there
because   he  mentions  me  in  this   is now two.  Waiting a  few moments,
article.   I  would  like  to stress   there is only one again.  You recall
that  although  I have no complaints   the twin stars, circling each other.
with any of the Houses of Kulthea, I   The first time you noticed them, you
am  surprised  that  House of Argent   were  on a  beach, far  away.  Then,
Aspis   isn't  trying  to  help  the   gazing into the heavens you remember
halfling  grow by hanging him by his   someone speaking to you of the stars
neck   six  feet  or  so  above  the   and the story  of thier birth.  Yet,
ground.   The  spirit of Lord Erebor   as hard as you try, you can not seem
must be laughing hysterically at the   to remember  all the  details.  What
"fact"  that  he and I "founded" the   was the name of the one who had told
Argent  Aspis.   Actually,  I  never   you? Don't fret over these thoughts.
kept  track of who the founders were   They matter no more.  Or do they?
of  each  house,  as  I was too busy
trying  not  to  get  caught  in the   Sighing, you  once  again  turn your
cross-fire   of  the  House  of  the   attention  back to the  hawk.  It is
Rising  Phoenix  and  everyone else.   still circling.. still searching for
The real fact is, I do not belong to   something,  someone.  After a while,
any  of the houses, much less having   the  hawk seems to give  up, turning
founded any of them.                   its course towards the peaks beyond.
                                       It flies  beyond  your vision..  one
Well,  that  strange,  far-away land   more  lone cry  reaches you from the
may  call  me  back before this sees   hawk.  There is no more.
print.   Someday,  when  I return, I
will  pick up the stack of KE's that   RR Spells    - Continued from Page 8
await  me,  and sit down to read the   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
intelligently   researched,   highly   Currently,  chain  mail  is the most
informative articles...                'wearable' metal armor.  It requires
                                       12  ranks of training and will still
And   those   written  by  Halfli...   cost you 5 points of DB, 5 points of
errr...  hobbits.                      OB,  and  5 from your QU bonus.  Its
  ________________________________     effective   critical   THT  compares
 /                                \    favorably  to  heavy  hide for light
|     Vacation of Your Dreams!     |   weapons like daggers and rapiers but
|     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~     |   is  significantly  lower for heavier
| Contributors to Kelfour Edition  |   weapons (falchions and broadswords).
| earn FREE WEEKENDS in  Kulthea!  |
| Send GE Mail to P.HERRINGTON for |   Thanks  to  Soulsvr, Aegyptia, and a
| complete details.                |   dark apparition from Claedesbrim for
 \________________________________/-10-helping me test various armors.
                    The Poor Adventurer's Path To Knowledge
 ___________        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
/ \   ____  \               by Rasputin Santare
\@| /~/~~\\  |
  ||~|    ~~ |
 _||~|  |==| | emStone  III  can  be   First,  to  get  there from anywhere
/@| \~\__//  | a big,   intimidating   on GEnie, just type m1045;1  at  any
\_/  ~~~~~  /  place - populated  by   numbered  GEnie  page  prompt.  When
  ~~~~~~~~~~  strange   and   deadly   you  arrive,  you'll see a menu with
creatures,   inhabited   by  equally   18 items listed. The only  ones  you
strange characters, and governed  by   really  need to work  with at first,
the  arcane  laws  of  magic and the   are  numbers  1, 3, 5, 6  and 7. And
Flows of Essence. It's  a  challenge   they're  really quite simple.
for  even  the  most  experienced of
players. But for  the  newcomer,  it   First, typing CAT will list  all  of
can be absolutely overwhelming.        the  categories  in  the BB by their
                                       number   and   title.   Typing   SET
Which  are  the  best  characters to   [number]  will  activate   whichever
play?  And how do you  create  them?   category  you  want  to  check  out.
What do  all  the  stats mean?  What   Then,  typing  TOP  will list all of
skills  should  you  train  in,  and   the  topics  available  under   that
what skills should you  ignore? What   category.
about spells?  Which characters  can
learn them and where do you find the   Once  you've  found a topic or three
lists?   Are  all  the spells on the   that interest you, all you  have  to
lists active, or  are  some  not  in   do  is  type 7, then enter the topic
play?   What  are  runes  used  for?   number or numbers to REAd them.   If
And statues?  And gold rings?  Which   you're  shy  and  don't want to post
weapons should  you train in?  Which   any of  your  own  messages,  select
armor? A thousand questions  and not   NOReply  at  the  parameters prompt;
enough  time to  ask  them  all, let   otherwise,  just   hit   RETURN   to
alone get  them  answered. Live  and   bypass   it,   and   away   you  go.
die  and  re-roll  enough  times and   Nothing to it.
you eventually get the hang  of  it.
But  that's  the  long  and  winding   An alternative approach  is  to  use
road.  There is an alternative path.   the  BROwse command instead of REAd.
A cheaper path.                        When you first enter a new  Bulletin
                                       Board all the messages are marked as
Although you can  get  answers  from   though  they've  been  read,  so you
other   players  in  the  game,  and   won't have to wade through  a  flood
learn a  lot  about  the  world  and   of messages.    From  that point on,
customs  of Kulthea from reading the   to  monitor  new  messages  in   any
Kelfour  Edition,  the  best  single   CATegory,  all you need to do is SET
resource   is   one   that's  rarely   [category] and type BRO.
tapped:  the GemStone  III  Bulletin
Board (BB). The GemStone III BB is a   This takes longer  to  explain  than
gold mine of information waiting  to   to do.  Still,  as  simple as it is,
be  mined  by anyone brave enough to   the   process   can   be    tedious,
tackle   its    seemingly    endless   especially  when  you're  trying  to
categories and topics. But fear not.   scan through  several  dozen  topics
The  BB  is  on  GEnie*Basic,  which   in    four   different   categories.
means  you  can  wander around in it   Fortunately, there's an even  easier
for  hours  and  never  pay  a  cent   way to get around.
above   your   basic  monthly  rate.
Better yet, you don't need to  be  a   There  are  two  important  commands
budding   hacker   to  navigate  the   hidden in the main BB menu that  can
area.  All you need to  know  are  a   make  your life a lot simpler:  MARk
few   directions  and  a  couple  of   and RAM.  MARk allows  you  to  mark
simple commands.                       any   topic   in  any  category  for
                                   -11-                             More...
future  reference;   and  RAM  (Read   with  your  GEnie  name,  so  others
All  Marked)  lets you read them. To   will  know  which  character  you're
use  these  commands,  you  have  to   playing  in  GemStone. To  do  this,
first list all the  topics  in  each   just  type NAM [character name], and
category, then type MAR [number]  to   it'll be included as an ID  whenever
mark  your  favorites.   That's  all   you  post  a  message  in any of the
there is to it.                        topics on the Board.
The  next  time  you  enter  the BB,   Next time you  visit  the  lands  of
instead of setting each category and   Kulthea,  take  a  few  minutes  and
reading or browsing through all  the   drop by the  GemStone  III  Bulletin
topics,  all  you have to do is type   Board  to  mark  a  few topics. It's
RAM. It  will list all new  messages   an  entertaining  way to learn  more
posted in every topic you've marked,   about  the  game,  its  laws and its
giving you the  chance to  reply  at   customs.  It's  a   short  track  to
the  end of  each  one. Using  these   meeting  new  people,  forming   new
commands,  you can get in and out in   friendships,   finding   hard-to-get
even  less  time,  and  still   read   items, or  even getting resurrected.
everything of interest to you.         And  it's an ideal forum for sharing
                                       ideas  with  the  people  who design
There's one  small  catch:  You need   and maintain the game. But  best  of
to visit the BB at least once  every   all - it's free.
30 days. If  you  don't,  GEnie will
reset  all  the  pointers;  all  the   To get  you  started  I've  captured
messages  will  be  marked as having   all  the CATegory and TOPic lists in
been read, and you'll have to  start   the  GemStone III  Bulletin   Board,
over again from square one.            including  descriptions  to help you
                                       choose  your  topics in advance.
Sooner   or   later,  passion   will
overcome shyness and you'll want  to   It should  be  noted that since  new
add  your  two-cents  worth  to  the   topics  are  started  all the  time,
discussions.  When  you  do,  you'll   these lists may  not  appear exactly
want  to  include  your game persona   as shown.
 /  \                                                                       \
 | @/_______________________________________________________________________/
 |                                                                         |
 |           Category 17                          Category 18              |
 |       Learning the GemStone         GemStone III Techniques and Tactics |
 |        III Art of Survival                                              |
 |                                     1 What's new?                       |
 | 1 Getting Started in Gemstone III   2 Weapons                           |
 | 2 What's New?                       3 Armor                             |
 | 3 The New Adventurer - Welcome!     4 Gladiatorial Games                |
 | 4 Communication Programs            5 Experience, Levels, and Skills    |
 | 5 Adventurers Needed!  Apply Here   6 Town Forums                       |
 | 6 New Choosing a Name for yourself? 7 Statistics - OBs, DBs, Etc.       |
 | 7 Getting Started: Thiefs           8 Understanding the system.         |
 | 8 Round Table Topics!               9 Unique Items (boast of them here) |
 | 9 Emergency!  Resurrection Needed! 10 Special Events Banners            |
 |10 Directions & Maps                11 Healer's Haven                    |
 |11 Getting Started: Rangers         12 Quests and Special Events         |
 |12 Getting Started: Bards           13 Kelfour's Edition - The Newsletter|
 |13 Getting Started:  Sorcerers      14 Magic and Spells in Kulthea       |
 |14 Getting started : Mages          15 Staff News and Updates            |
 |                                    16 New Category Leader               |
 |                                    17 Newbie Hunting Parties            |
 |  _______________________________________________________________________|
 |  @\                                                                      \
  /  \                                                                     \
  | @/_____________________________________________________________________/
  |                                                                       |
  |            Category 19                                                |
  | Suggestions, Improvements, Bug Reports                                |
  |                                                                       |
  | 1 What's New?                               Category 20               |
  | 2 Priority Lists for Changes        GemStone III General Discussions  |
  | 3 Justice not 'just us'!                                              |
  | 4 Spell list - Cleric Base           1 What's new?                    |
  | 5 Monstrous Intentions               2 Connections on "Earth"         |
  | 6 GemStone III - Bug Reports         3 Kulthean Stories               |
  | 7 Command Additions or Changes       4 The Drooping Dragon Pub        |
  | 8 Chests, Picking and Disarming      5 Past Worlds and Glorys         |
  | 9 Favorite Area of Kulthea           6 Want ads-Buy/Sell extra items  |
  |10 Organized Houses in Kulthea        7 Gemstone Trivia                |
  |11 Ideas for new items/shops in town  8 Mutual Warm Fuzzies            |
  |12 Spell List - Ranger Base           9 Goodbyes and Fare Thee Wells   |
  |13 Spell List - Sorceror Base        10 Roleplaying-Heart of the Matter|
  |14 Spell Lists-Open Ess/Closed Chan  12 Kulthean Conflicts!            |
  |15 Spell Lists - Bard Base           13 Fighters Guild                 |
  |16 Discussions with Simutronics      15 Kulthean Cape & Sash Registry  |
  |17 Society Discussions               16 Kulthean Wedding Announcements |
  |18 The GSIII IBM FrontEnd            17 Kulthean Writer's Co=op        |
  |19 New Item Suggestions                                                |
  |20 Skill Reallocation                                                  |
  |21 Enchantment True Changes                                            |
  |  _____________________________________________________________________|_
  |  @\                                                                     \
                                       ,=====#######***`       ___
                                      ,=====#######*****`    _/   \_
                                     ,mm===&&&####%%%****`\_/    *  |
                                    |mmm=m&&&%%##%%%***++++|      __)
                                      \   /----------\   /
              ..................      /__/            \__\

 ____________                   Crazy Petya
/ \ ________ \                  ~~~~~~~~~~~
\@| ~|_|~~|| |             by Aleksandr Charodey
  |  |~|_|~~ |
 _|  |~|-|__ | veryone knew that the   thunder  that  courses  through  the
/@|  |~|__|| | old man was insane. I   veins as one recounts "How  Cay Slew
\_/ ~~~~~~~~ / guess   even  I  felt   the Dragon" or the gentle introspec-
  ~~~~~~~~~~~  that  way. He  showed   tion stirred by "Old Favors Are Soon
up from  nowhere  when I was just  a   Forgotten?" He did not  realize that
boy  sliding  down  the mud - coated   I would not follow in his footsteps,
streets  of our village. He wore the   nor shall he ever.
trappings of a wanderer; heavy skins
covered  his body and  a well - used   In studying with Simon, I rarely had
morningstar  hung  at his  side. The   time to drop by and see Crazy Petya.
Elders  decided he could stay; there   I didn't  realize that my visits had
had been bandit raids and every able   any effect on him before, but he got
man was needed.                        more sullen  and  withdrawn  since I
                                       came  so  seldom. Feeling  guilty, I
He turned out  to be a  fair hand at   stopped  by late one  evening  on my
farming. The Elders  assigned  him a   way home from  Simon's. I knocked on
small plot, expecting him to refuse.   the door of Petya's small izba. From
He  managed to  grow as  much in his   inside  rose a  tremendous noise, as
thin, dry  soil as the Surovovs  did   if an ox and a pig were fighting for
in their wide strips of bottom land.   the last ear of corn. I pushed  open
Not  that it did  him much  good. He   the door and saw Petya with his back
sold almost  everything he grew  and   to the wall, pulling that  old morn-
spent the money on vodka.              ingstar out of an overturned chest.
By the time I learned my first notes   "They'll  never get me!" he screamed
on the balalaika, "Crazy Petya"  was   as he  clutched the  morningstar and
recognized  as  the  village  drunk.   stared past me out the the door.
Despite  that, or  maybe  because of
it, I spent  a lot of  time with old   I went in and closed the door behind
Petya. My father was always after me   me. I didn't want the others to know
to spend more  time with  him in his   that Petya was getting worse. He ran
local merchanting travels, but I was   to me at once and threw his arm over
more intrigued by the far journeys I   my shoulder.
could  take  in  Petya's  tales.  He
claimed  to have been  over  most of   "You believe  me, don't you  Alosha?
Kulthea and seen many  marvels.        You know I wouldn't lie to you?"
I  didn't  ever really believe  him,   "Sure, I  know that,"  I told Petya,
for his tales were too  fantastic --   hoping to  calm him  down and trying
and nothing fantastic ever  happened   to think of a way to take that morn-
in my life.  As the son of an almost   ingstar from him before  he hurt one
prosperous trader,  my life was led-   of us with it.
ger books and warehouse inventories.
I had  learned to  read and traveled   "They  are  here,  Alosha.  Here!  I
locally  with  my father,  far  from   thought I had outrun  them, but they
enough to satisfy my curious spirit.   are  here now," the grizzled old man
                                       confided.  As he put his mouth to my
In time, I came to  understudy Simon   ear,  I could  smell the  alcohol on
Petrovich, our village  storyteller.   his breath.  "They don't know  who I
My  father allowed  it, as long as I   am yet,"  he breathed  and gave me a
kept working for him. He felt that I   knowing look. The problem was that I
would see the reality of a storytel-   didn't know.
ler's life and of  a merchant's life
and make "the logical choice."  What   "Who is here, Petya?" I asked. "What
could my father know of the  pulsing   do you mean?"
Petya's eyes  narrowed menacingly at   "What?"
me. "You could be  one of them.  How
do I know I can trust you?"            "Before the unlife invades, there is
                                       often an infiltration  of living who
"It's time you gave me that morning-   conspire with  the unliving in order
star," I said and reached for it.      to  conquer.  They  organize  secret
                                       societies  and pledge  themselves to
"Aha! Trying to disarm me!" he cried   lofty goals, but they are in reality
as he  twisted away and  hit me with   fronts  for  unlife  invasion.  As a
the haft of his weapon.                Cleric, I had to learn much of these
                                       groups, including some of the secret
I came to in the  morning. Petya had   signs  they  use  to  identify  each
put me  in his bed, and  pulled up a   other.  Yesterday, Arkady  Mechnikov
chair beside  it. From the  look  of   gave  one of  those signs  to Vasily
him, he  had not slept  all night. I   Morozov."
don't  know which  of us felt worse.
My head  was aching and, apparently,   "That's crazy, Petya!" I blurted out
so was Petya's.                        before  I thought.  "Um, I mean, why
                                       would Arkady  and Vasily  have  any-
"You are awake, good," Petya mumbled   thing to  do with unlife?  They have
as my  eyes  opened. I did not  know   good homes and families."
what to think. Could Petya have gone
off the deep end?  He was apparently   "That's just  it!" cried Petya. "The
sober, if hung-over, but he was also   people in  these groups  are usually
dressed in  his old wandering  gear,   duped. They are lured with high talk
even the armor.                        and what seems like much for little.
                                       Before  they are  aware, they are in
"What's going on, Petya?" I asked as   to the point of no escape. It is not
I tried  to  sit  up,  then  thought   one step  from white to black, but a
better of it.                          stroll through shades of gray, until
                                       they suddenly realize that they are
Petya sighed,  looked at  me a  long   in the pitch dark."
time, then  spoke.  "You think  I am
crazy. Everyone here does. That does   This did not sound convincing, and I
not bother  me, but it  is not true.   guess that showed on my face.
"Long  ago I was  a priest.  I could   "Remember the last land division? It
channel  the  power of  essence  for   was the  most fiercely  contested in
good,  to battle  the unlife.  Don't   generations, was  it not?  And  why?
laugh, boy,  'tis  true!  Finally, I   Because  the  Elders, led by  Arkady
could handle the battle no longer. I   Mechnikov,  forced  the  Surovovs to
grew  afraid for my soul, and I cost   give  up  some of  that good  bottom
the lives of compatriots as I  fled.   land. Who did they give it to?  Why,
I traveled as far from  the place as   the Morozovs, that's who."
I could, hoping  to outrun  my fear,
my guilt.  I thought I  had done it,   "The Morozovs weren't the  only ones
until yesterday."                      who got  some of  that land. And the
                                       Surovovs have held plenty  of it for
For the first time I felt that Petya   a long time."
was  being  wholey  honest  with me.
Could  this sodden old man have been   "And  the Surovovs have the  largest
a Cleric?  "You fought the  unlife?"   household, and  the  most  mouths to
I asked, sitting  up in spite of the   feed.  Now  they  struggle  to  grow
pain. Then the rest of what  he said   enough potatoes and  cabbages to eat
sank in. "Are  you  saying  that the   through the winter, much less all of
unlife is here? Now?"                  the year. Not only that, look at who
                                       else came out of  this last division
"Not the  unlife yet, son. Something   with more than they need. The Stani-
much worse. Collaborators."            slavs and the Bakunins.  They didn't
need that land, but they got it, all   to the  drunk  miscreant. "Oh,  yes?
because Mechnikov pushed for it!"      YOU  decided?" asked my father. "You
                                       and what  army?" It  was one  of his
Those families were unusually close,   favorite phrases, and it rings in my
and Simon said the last division was   ears to this day, but not  nearly as
one of the most controversial in the   much as the response.
history of  the village.  Yet it was
hard  to believe  that these  people   Constantine's eyes  opened with hate
that I dealt with every day could be   and triumph. "Me and THIS  army!" he
involved in something so horrid.       hissed. As he did so, a taloned hand
                                       shot through the door and snapped my
"Maybe I am  wrong, boy.  Maybe I am   father's neck, then  gently  lowered
crazy, as they say. All I ask is for   his body to the ground. The creature
you  keep your mouth  shut and  your   filled the door next to Constantine.
eyes open.  And if anything  unusual   I knew  it well from the  tales that
happens, you come and tell me."        Simon taught me. It was a ghoul.
I tried to return to  my normal rou-   I did not wait to hear Constantine's
tine but was only partly successful.   instructions  to the  foul creature;
I could not help  but notice  when a   his intentions were clear. I thanked
small group of  Mechnikovs and Moro-   Reann, protector of the  night, as I
zovs stood  in  quiet  conversation,   ran  out  the back, that I had  been
far away from passers by. Also Petya   awake and dressed.  I made my way to
began to wear his  gear about at all   Petya's izba as quickly as I could.
times, even in the field.  He became
the main target of ridicule for many   On the way, I heard screams  and saw
versts; even travelers stopped for a   fires  springing  up all  across the
look at  "the  militant farmer."  At   village.  I met Petya as he was com-
least he quit swilling vodka and was   ing  out his  door.  Rapidly, I told
sober most of the time.                him what I had seen.
Time  went on; people  lost interest   "Blast! I should have known it would
in  Petya's  eccentric ways. It  was   be tonight! This is a night of power
almost  harvest, and there  was much   for  the  unliving." I  saw  flaming
to  prepare. I  was so  immersed  in   houses  reflected in his  eyes as he
memorizing  verse  by night and run-   gazed at me. "You must go to safety,
ning father's warehouse by day  that   boy." He pulled a leather thong from
I paid  little attention to  village   around his neck and  removed from it
events. Then,  on  the  eve  of  All   a gold ring. "Here." He put it in my
Lord's Day, that changed.              hand.  "Wear this  and  you  will be
                                       taken from here."
I was lying  on my bed in  the dark,
still dressed, exhausted from a full   As he spoke, the cries grew  louder.
day, when I  heard a loud banging on   We both looked up  to see a group of
the front door. Constantine  Bakunin   twenty  ragged figures coming toward
was outside.  I pulled  on my  boots   us. Their  unnatural  gait  betrayed
and eased  down the stairs. I didn't   them.  At their head walked one more
know  what he wanted, but  this time   erect than  the  others.  A wave  of
of night  he was  probably drunk and   terror  preceded him. I was  looking
looking for a fight. He was  talking   on a King Ghoul.
with  my father, slurry  with vodka,
but he  made  up in  volume  what he   Petya  spoke rapidly. "You can do no
lacked in clarity.                     good here,  Alosha.  Your  father is
                                       dead. You can't fight unlife. I have
"At's wha'I said. This place belongs   spent these  last weeks  remembering
to me an'my family now! We decided!"   much that  I had forgotten.  You are
                                       young.  You must go on. Just promise
My father stood  in the door, elbows   never to forget  what you  have seen
out, his powerful shoulders  squared   here this night!"
                                   -16-              (Continued on page 18)
 _________                    Distant Memories
/ \ _____ \                   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
\@| ~|_|~  |              by Baloreik Domarlynnas
  |  | |   |
 _|  |~|   |
/@| _|~|_  | still do not understand   attack on the town did not help much
\_/ ~~~~~ /  why, out of all  of the   either, but in any case, I was still
  ~~~~~~~~ cities in  Kulthea, I had   ashamed of myself because I had been
to head to Kelfours.  I could hardly   unable to do  anything  but watch as
recall my trip there, what  with all   waves of monsters began their attack
the  incidents which happened before   on my home.
my arrival, I suppose I  am  not  as
surprised as I thought.  It seems as   I vividly  remember both  my  mother
if I was actually drawn to this fair   and sister having rounded up all the
city by some  guiding  force showing   clerics  and mages  of  the  city to
me  that I  had a  mission  in  this   attack the  unlife, while  my father
town.  Even with such  feelings when   led the warriors to hold them at the
I first arrived in  this  town, I am   gate.  Being  a far more lazy person
beginning  to  have doubts about  my   in my youth, my studies with weapons
purpose in life.                       and  magic  were progressing  at  an
                                       extremely slow  pace, and I was told
It has already  been over  six years   that I would only get in the way.
since I  first arrived, although, to
a half-elf, the years  have  gone by   Having the highest  confidence in my
rather quickly.  I still have yet to   parents and the towns militia, I had
see  myself  closer  to finding  any   decided to head over to the town bar
information about my lost family. It   and test some of my better skills on
seems just this  last spring that we   the town maidens.  It  is amazing to
were all  together.  However, it was   see how insignificant my life really
short lived as an army of unlife had   was during those years.
come to destroy the whole town. With
no place to really hide, it was only   As the attack  began, the  town held
a matter of time  before the  unlife   up rather  least until the
had finally caught up with my family   demons began arriving in waves. With
after we had left our home to escape   the arrival of the  demons and a few
them.  With my  mother  being a high   wights,  the militia lines  began to
cleric of Eissa, I  suppose this was   crumble due to their fear spells. In
to be  expected since  she was known   a very short time the town was being
to be quite a thorn  to evil  forces   overun.  I quickly reacted by trying
everywhere.  Still, it all  seems so   to head home and salvaging any coins
pointless  now.  Perhaps in life  we   we had left.  After  grabbing all of
really  have no purpose  but to just   the  silvers I could, I ran  outside
live it out and die.  Perhaps we  do   to see  the majority of the town  in
not  need  to  leave our  own little   flames! The smell of burnt human and
dent or mark of accomplishment if we   elven flesh as  well as  the site of
only receive death in return.          all the  slain bodies was unbearable
                                       and enough to put me into a sense of
I suppose I do not  know for sure if   shock.  After a  few seconds,  I had
everyone in my family  has yet  been   managed to recover from  my state of
murdered, but having seen my  father   stupor and began scanning the roads.
in  his ancient  suit of  brigantine   With a quick  glance, I saw  that my
armor and  his great sword, makes me   mother and sister were being carried
feel ashamed at times. Mostly due to   away by  flying  monsters!  My heart
the fact  that I have not  been able   began racing as I thought what would
to  stand up  for  everything I have   happen to me if they left.  The town
ever believed in, unlike him.  Maybe   might kick  me out  since I was  not
that was  the real reason why I left   known to  be one of the  more  major
my old town.  To run away and forget   contributors to  the city.  In shear
my old life.  Being  blamed for  the   desperation to save my own worthless
life  and my status in this town,  I   and almost began chuckling instantly
picked  up a bow  and a laen  tipped   when I noticed  he was  probably six
arrow from near a fallen soldier and   or even seven years younger than me.
took aim at the flying beast. Having   I grabbed  a dark steel  rapier from
used a  wide wariety  of weapons, my   the ground and  began insulting this
bow and arrow  skill was adequate by   troublesome youth.  By his looks, he
my standards, (far  from the  guilds   seemed  to be  a thief  by trade and
standards however...),  with a quick   the seriousness in  his eyes made me
glance and aim,  I let the arrow fly   laugh again.  This was until I  felt
hoping to hit one of the monsters.     another  of his  jeweled daggers cut
                                       into me!  This time, with  quickness
As I  watched the  arrow spew off, I   and agility, he was able to stab one
began to wonder what would happen if   deep in to my right eye! I fell back
I did hit the foul beast. Would I be   in complete shock and  screamed as I
rewarded and made a hero? What would   felt the pain  begin flowing through
all  of the ladies  think?  Then  it   me. With a quick flash, I saw a laen
occured to  me, what would happen if   dagger  fly pass me  as I fell on my
I  hit the beast  and it  dropped my   back due to the  loss of blood.  The
mother or sister to their doom?  But   next thing I remember was  waking up
before  an answer arrived to  any of   in the healer's  house with numerous
those questions,  a part  of my life   scars on  my body  and bandages over
died at that very moment seeing that   my right eye.  My first thought then
I had missed the beast.                was, what had happened and where was
                                       everyone of  the  city, but  most of
Instead, I gasped  as I saw an arrow   all, where was my father?
protruding from my sisters chest! My
arrow... my heart sank and I quickly
looked around  to see if  anyone had         ----------\\------------
watched me  fire that dreadful shot.
With  no one near me, my  mind began
to go crazy in  confusion as  to  my
next course of action. I just knew I   Crazy Petya - Continued from Page 16
had to  get out of  this town.  With   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
that in mind,  I threw away  the bow   Saying  this, Petya laid his hand on
and  ran for  the gates.  There  was   my  shoulder  one  last  time,  then
still many skeletons as well as some   turned to meet the oncoming figures.
zombies around, but with the welcome   I watched,  tears streaming  from my
departure of the demons, (who seemed   eyes, as  Petya shaped  his hands in
more  intent on capturing all of the   motions unfamiliar  to me and  cried
clerics  and mages),  the  town  was   aloud for the Lords of Orhan to hear
finally beginning  to regain control   his plea. I held the ring Petya gave
even though  they were still severly   me, undecided  if I should  wear it.
outnumbered at by least three to one   As Petya  raised his morningstar  to
odds.  Feeling  rather  ashamed  for   the King Ghoul, I let the ring slide
having mistakenly  shot my sister, I   onto my finger.
tried to  head  out of town  without
acknowledging any of the soldiers.     The world tilted, and I found myself
                                       before a  gate to a town I had never
Putting my  head down, I started for   seen  before. This town, of  course,
the  town gates, it  was not until I   was  Kelfour's  Landing.  I sold the
felt a deep  burning sensation in my   ring for enough money to allow me to
back that I realized I  was actually   finish my training as an  apprentice
being stalked and attacked.  Quickly   storyteller. I also learned to wield
rolling away from the attack, I  was   a sword, something I never wanted to
actually  able  to lodge  the dagger   do before  that awful  night. I find
even deeper as I rolled. This forced   myself  a citizen of Kelfour's Land-
a hoarse cry from my lips as I tried   ing, making my way as best I can and
to  stand to regain my  composer.  I   trying to become worthy of the noble
now stared at  my adversary  in rage   sacrifice that Petya made.
 ___________           Undermining Kelfour's: Part 5
/ \ ______  \          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
\@| ~|_|~\\  |            by Llorien Silvanestii
  |  |~|  || |
 _|  |~|  || | row?" asked Pterelas.   Nomikos.  While there, I came across
/@|  |~|_//  | What is that?"          some old manuscripts. It seems  that
\_/ ~~~~~~  /                          the dwarves blamed elves for looting
  ~~~~~~~~~~  "'Drow,' as  in  'drow   their mines and  stealing vast quan-
elves,'" said Llorien, shakily prop-   tities  of  mithril.  The  elves, of
ing himself into a sitting position.   course, proclaimed their innocence."
"Llorien, dear,"  Penna  said,  "How   The bard seemed  to grow dizzy for a
are you feeling?"                      moment,  which  resulted  in another
                                       concerned appraisal of his condition
"I have  felt  better,"  replied the   by Penna.  After a moment's thought,
woozy bard. "I'll be okay once I get   she concluded  that Llorien's wobble
something  to wash these cobwebs out   was due  more to his drinking  on an
of my mouth, though."                  empty stomach than the  aftereffects
                                       of his poisoning.
Aegyptia poured  tea from the  small
pot that was brewing on the fire and   "And what  does all  this have to do
passed  it to  him. "What are  these   with drow?" inquired Inyigo.
drow, Llorien?" she asked.
                                       "Seems  like  there were  eyewitness
Llorien  sniffed  the  steaming cup.   accounts,"  replied  Llorien, "or at
"Nothing a wee bit stronger? To for-   least  that's  what the  manuscripts
tify my blood?" He raised an eyebrow   imply, of black elves  being seen in
in Inyigo's direction.                 the dwarven mines.  But in all these
                                       years, no  one has ever yet actually
The ranger nodded  knowingly, fished   gotten close to one of these drow."
a wineskin  out  of  his  cape,  and
tossed it to Llorien, muttering that   "Then this is your lucky day, breth-
bards have more  ways to get a drink   ren," spoke a voice from the shadow.
than there are windak  trees in  the
Upper Kaldsfang. Llorien unstoppered   Pterelas, at the first sound, jumped
the skin and took a long pull, wiped   to his feet and  wheeled to face the
his lips appreciatively and began:     voice,  drawing his  sword.  A  dark
                                       figure emerged, tall and  lithe, all
"Drow elves are nowadays  thought to   dressed in  black, blending  so well
be no more than a myth. Something to   with  the shadows that  you couldn't
scare elfkins  with. My great grand-   distinguish where his form ended and
pappy,  Llandien,  used to  tell  me   the darkness began.
bedtime stories about how drow would
kidnap young  elves in the middle of   "There  is no  need for  that."  The
the night, should they be so foolish   stranger  waved a  hand at Pterelas,
as to wander  out of the grove  when   whose  sword  glowed  hotly, causing
they should be sleeping.               the thief to drop it with a yelp. At
                                       once, painful red  blisters began to
"He would say  that no one  ever saw   well up in his palm.
these drow because their skin was as
black  as  coal  and  they  moved as   Inyigo started towards the dark fig-
silently  as  the  puma.  Where they   ure but thought better of his action
came from, no one knew.                when  three others,  each  holding a
                                       scimitar  in one  hand and a wicked-
"Then a few years back I was looking   looking dirk in the  other, detached
into the  conflicts and reasons  for   themselves  from  the darkness.  The
the racial anitpathy between dwarves   ranger  slowly let his hands drop to
and  elves, and I  got a rare oppor-   his sides and began  to reassess the
tunity to go to the Great Library on   situation.
                                   -19-                             More...
"You  appear to have  gone to  great   Hiccup.
lengths to  enter  our world,"  said
the  apparent  leader of  the group.   The drow  turned their heads, trying
"It is only fitting  that you should   locate the source of the sound.
have an escort."
At a signal, one of his confederates
sheathed his dirk and removed a clay   The drow  who carried Llorien  said,
jar from  his backpack.  "Smear some   "It's him," and tapped the now stir-
of this on  your hand," he  ordered,   ring form. He unceremoniously dumped
tossing  the  jar  to Pterelas,  who   the bard to the ground.  "I think he
caught the proferred ointment in his   can walk now."
unharmed hand. Penna moved closer to
help her friend tend his injuries.     Llorien  worked his way to his feet,
                                       using handholds on the rock  to haul
Now the leader pointed to the glass-   himself up. He lurched over to stand
eyed bard. "What's wrong with him?     beside Inyigo, stepping  clumsily on
                                       the ranger's foot.
Llorien looked up at the drow with a
silly grin on his face, the wineskin   "Whashup?" he grinned sheepishly.
dangling limply from his hand.
"He had an encounter with one of the
denizens  of   your  quaint   little   Inyigo shrugged. The leader motioned
world," Inyigo replied with sarcasm.   for the group to get back under way.
                                       The  bard  staggered  on  for a  few
"Ah, yes,"  murmured  the  drow. "We   steps, then stopped to lean  against
heard  that someone had disconnected   the wall. He started to hum, then to
our alarm system, so to speak.  This   sing some mournful dirge, dreadfully
fellow does  not have the  look of a   out of key.
warrior, though.  He looks more like
someone who has drunk  too much jaga   "What is he doing?"  the drow leader
juice. Is he able to travel?"          wanted to know.
One of the drow prodded Llorien. The   "He's a bard," replied Inyigo, as if
bard staggered upright, swayed a bit   that explained everything.  "Usually
to his left, then  pitched face for-   does this  kind of  thing when  he's
ward into  the dirt. The drow picked   had too much to drink."
up the bard and  hefted the unmoving
form to his shoulder.  The rest were   Penna looked  quizzically at Inyigo,
formed into a  group and signaled to   but nobody seemed to notice.
move ahead.
                                       "If he  doesn't start moving again,"
Only Inyigo  noticed  the  wet  spot   said the drow, "it's the  last thing
where the bard had lain and the now-   he'll ever do."  Another of the drow
empty  wineskin.  Glancing  back  at   prodded Llorien in  the ribs, urging
Llorien,  slung over the shoulder of   him into motion once more.
one of their captors,  he thought he
detected the faintest of smiles and    The group  got back  under  way with
the slightest of winks.                Llorien still singing. Inyigo mulled
                                       over the bard's strange behavior and
The party was  herded down the  main   listened  to  the  discordant  notes
corridor, which lead deeper into the   issuing from his lips. "That's odd,"
underground world. Abrupt twists and   thought the ranger.  "Either I'm go-
corners soon had all sense of direc-   ing crazy  or else  his  singing has
tion  turned  inside out.  They were   gotten  better." Indeed, it appeared
startled  from their  quiet thoughts   that  the singer was  less often out
by a strange  sound echoing off  the   of  tune  and  that his  words  were
walls of the passage.                  easier to understand.
                                   -20-                             More...
The  others  trudged  along  seeming   eyes. Everyone else  had been facing
oppressed with the weight of all the   down the corridor and  were not sub-
stone  above  about to  crush  them.   jected to  sudden, blinding light in
Penna glanced at Inyigo and  then at   their eyes. They now  turned to face
the shambling bard. Inyigo looked at   their captors.
at Llorien and  back at Penna.  Then
it dawned on him.                      Pterelas, spying  the scimitar lying
                                       on the ground, scooped  it up with a
"Damn  it all anyways,"  he thought,   catlike  movement and returned it to
"I should  have known. There's  only   its owner, blade first.
one time he could  ever sing on key.
He's trying to songspell them!"        Inyigo grabbed the  arm of his guard
                                       and whirled him around, then let him
Surely enough,  there seemed to be a   crash  into one of  his compatriots,
little less  caution about the drow.   which tumbled both to the ground.
They held thier scimitars less care-
fully; their  countenances  looked a   With  the  ferocity  and  grace of a
bit slack. Frantically, Inyigo tried   golem, Aegyptia  stomped on the hand
to figure out  how to take advantage   of one of  the fallen  drow, causing
of this situtation.                    him to relinquish  his weapon, which
                                       she grabbed and pitched to Inyigo.
"Penna?" he asked  softly, afraid of
breaking the  hold that  was forming   The ranger  moved  among  the fallen
over  the  drow.  "How's  Pterelas's   forms,  scimitar  menacing  each  in
hand doing?"                           turn, a wry grin on his face.
"I don't know," she said. "I haven't   Llorien,  faced with  the last  drow
checked lately." She  looked over to   still  armed and  standing, did what
the leader questioningly; he nodded.   any unarmed fighter  would do in his
She laid Pterelas's hand in hers and   place.  He launched a  well - placed
seemed to inspect his palm intently.   kick to his  opponent's lower torso;
                                       said opponent folded up and slumped
"The flesh is not healing properly,"   to the floor.
Penna explained  gravely. She looked
at the drow leader and said, "I am a   Quickly, they  trussed the drow with
healer. If you would allow me, I can   rope salvaged from one of the packs.
heal this in  but an instant  with a   The  drow that had  been skewered by
small spell."                          Pterelas groaned in pain. Penna tore
                                       open his tunic to tend his injuries.
The leader, his  judgment clouded by
the insidious effects  of the  song-   "Penna!" spat Pterelas. "Why are you
spell, nodded to her to proceed.       healing that scum?"
Penna, still holding Pterelas's hand   "Because if  he and  the others  had
in  hers, began  to chant  the first   wanted to, they could have killed us
lines of invocation.  Inyigo, having   long ago," she replied. "Gaining our
been  the  recipient  many  times of   freedom  is one  thing, but  killing
Penna's  healing,  realized at  once   where  we have not  even been harmed
that this was no healing spell being   is another.  Besides, as a  healer I
prepared.  As she  neared the end of   am sworn to help the injured."
her  incantation, she  squeezed  the
hand in  hers, then whirled  to cast   Aegyptia nodded her agreement. "Per-
the  full force  of her  spell  into   haps  they   know  something   about
the midst of the drow.                 Ignatius as well."
Brilliance  exploded into being; the   "Well then," said the suddenly sober
drow  staggered  back from  unaccus-   Llorien, "Why don't you ask?"
tomed  brightness. One  dropped  his
scimitar as his hands flew up to his             (To Be Continued)
 _________                   A Matter of Honor
/ \ _____ \                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
\@| ~|_|~  |                  by Sean2 Lladd
  |  | |   |
 _|  |~|   |
/@| _|~|_  |  had  been standing  in   What was unusual  about this was the
\_/ ~~~~~ / the  square  outside the   scarring.  Most merc  companies  had
  ~~~~~~~~  Guild Hall for about ten   healers to take care of that sort of
minutes.  I knew that I should enter   thing.  I did not  know of any other
and  get this over  with, but an act   registered company besides mine, er,
that has taken  ten years to  get up   Torvaal's -- would not be "mine" for
the  courage  for is not  any easier   much longer -- that  did not  have a
for the  doing.  My freedom, and the   healer.
return of my honor, are on the other
side of those doors, yet I was still   "Enemy wouldn't  supply a healer?" I
unable to  summon the  resolution to   asked.
walk through them.
                                       That's usually what happens. You get
Not many  people know  who I am.  My   injured  and captured  in a  battle,
so-called "captain" was one who did,   and if you're lucky, the  enemy is a
and he had been  holding that secret   merc company  also, and  you get  to
over me  since the  first day  I had   live.  Most  non-mercs  just  let us
been apprenticed into  his mercenary   rot, to live or die  as the gods see
company.  If I walked through  those   fit, forget about a healer.
Guild doors and made my complaint, I
would have to  tell the  whole story   "Nope," was  the  reply.  He did not
-- including why I  was in a company   even look up.
like  Torvaal's  "Weasels" to  begin
with.  To be honest, I knew that the   "But I thought..." I started.
Guild was supposed  to be impartial,
but I  was not  so sure  that  their   "Look sonny," he replied, looking up
impartiality would necessarily apply   at me.  "The company  I was with did
to me.  I mean, let's  face it,  not   not have a  healer.  OK?  And before
everyone can claim that they single-   you ask,  it was  Torvaal's company.
handedly put two  races on the brink   But you probably already had guessed
of war.                                that, didn't you?" he finished as he
                                       laid down the pen quill.
Anyway, I knew  that I would have to
face the  ordeal sooner or later, so   "How did...?  Oh, the badge."
I checked my gear for what seemed to
be the hundredth  time,  and  headed   "Yep" he answered, smiling slightly.
through  the  doors.  The  reception   "Now, are  you going to tell me what
area was a plain room with a desk in   the  Weasel wants,  or do we  get to
one corner and a  map of the Namerik   play twenty questions?"
territories on  the wall to my left.
There were two other  doors, both of   Now that  it had  come down to it, I
which were  closed, one opposite the   was hesitant  again.  It seemed that
map and one opposite  the door I had   my  backbone was  not as  stiff as I
just entered.                          had hoped it would be.
The man  behind the  desk caught  my   "Well.  Speak up!" he barked.
attention almost immediately. It was
obvious that he had been a mercenary   "No.  It's not Torvaal.  It's me!" I
at one time. He was missing his left   rushed.  "I  mean, I want  to file a
arm just above the  elbow and he had   complaint of  mistreatment and  con-
a long,  narrow scar  starting  from   tract violation, under Guild Codes."
the corner of his left eye, brushing
down past  the corner  of his  mouth   The man's  abrupt tone  had startled
and ending in the cleft of his chin.   me into  replying  so  fast,  that I
                                   -22-                             More...
could barely get the words out,  but   name is Sean 'tek T'Maerrional."
it felt good. All the anger and fear
and shame  that I  had been  made to   The pain that shot  through my body,
hide for the last ten years was out,   as I gave  my name dropped me to the
and nothing was going  to change it.   floor, curled up  in agony.  I could
Especially  now.  Because  if I  was   scarcely force  my lungs  to pull in
found to be in the wrong...  Well, I   air, each  succeeding  wave  of pain
was not  wrong, so no need  to worry   seemed to be worse than the last.
about that!  Much.
                                       Mikel  seemed to  have floated  over
He immediately seemed to change into   the table.  A small part of me noted
a different  person completely.  His   that he moved  real well  for a one-
face  became totally  devoid  of any   armed  old  man, but  the rest of me
expression, and an  intent look came   was too busy  trying  to breath past
into his  eyes as if he  had finally   the pain to really care.
focused on me. He took the papers on
his desk, piled  them neatly  on one   "What's wrong?!" he exclaimed  as he
corner, and  pulled  a  blank  sheet   knelt beside me.  "Is there anything
from  one of the  drawers and set it   I can do?"
down in front of him.
                                       "Curse. It... will..pass."  I forced
"OK.  Name?" was all he said.          out.  I hoped it would pass soon.
"Sean Lladd." I replied tentatively.   "A  curse?" Mikel was very genuinely
                                       confused.  Obviously my name had not
"Cute, kid. Means 'to kill', or some   sunk in. "Who would put a curse like
such, in the old tongue, right?"  he   this on you?!"
asked.  "Well, before we go  on much
further, let's  get a  couple things   "Grand...father."  I somehow managed
straight. First off, sit down.  This   to force out  between gasps for air.
will probably  take  a while.  After   And the  pain did  _NOT_  seem to be
you have  told me  your  story, then   going away.
you will have to tell it all over to
the Duty  Master.  Then you'll prob-   "WHAT?" came the stunned response.
ably  tell it  to the full Tribunal,
if the DM  agrees with  you.  So get   "
your  story straight,  now, out here!"
with me."
He paused  for a  second and  added,   The  pain  wasn't going away, and it
"By the way, the name's Mikel."        was  definitely  getting  harder  to
                                       breathe.   This  must  have been ob-
"Honored."  I replied automatically.   vious to Mikel as he suddenly stood,
                                       went to  the  door next to his desk,
"If you  are going  to do this,"  he   and   started  yelling  for  someone
continued.  "You are  going  to have   named  "Oskar."  He quickly returned
to tell the truth... all of it.  Now   to my side.
give  me  your  name,"  he  finished
flatly.                                "Why would your grandfather--did you
                                       say  'tek  T'Maerionnal?"  he  asked
Well, I had  more  or  less expected   suddenly.
that.  It had  been a slim  hope  at
best.  Now the truth would come out.   I nodded jerkily, trying to breathe.
So be it.  But I  had  forgotten one
very important  fact in the last ten   "Well," he mused.  "That would defi-
years, and I was about  to be firmly   nitely explain this."
                                       "So," a high,  thin voice  came from
"All right,"  I  answered.  "My real   behind  me. "What  seems to  be  the
                                    -23-                            More...
problem?  Oh,  yes.  I've  told  you   being very happy to breathe again, I
before, Mikel, I  don't do cures, or   saw that the mage Oskar was lying on
poison antidotes, or--"                the floor  on the  other side of the
                                       room. Mikel knelt over him, waving a
"Oh, shut  up, Oskar!" cut in Mikel.   vial in front of his nose.
"The boy's been cursed by his grand-
father. And you'd  better fix him up   "Is he--is  he all  right?" I forced
quick. He's starting to  turn a mean   myself to sit up. The room was still
shade of blue."                        reeling but  not as much as a minute
                                       ago. I  watched the  two men  across
"Cursed by  his--I'm  working on it!   the room.
No need to glare at me. What brought
on this condition?"                    Abruptly  the mage  thrust up a hand
                                       to knock the vial away. Mikel evaded
"Please--" I moaned.  The room began   the  blow and stoppered the  vial in
to spin. And I got the distinct idea   one smooth  motion. "I figured  that
that this Oskar was like every other   would  bring  you  'round,"  he said
spell - slinger I'd met. He'd ask me   cheerfully. "You okay now, Oskar?"
questions 'til I was dead, and raise
me just to ask a few thousand more.    The  mage  just  glared  across  the
                                       floor at me. "Who the frack  is your
"His name,"  Mikel responded acidly.   grandfather, lad?" he croaked. "That
"He gave me his name."                 is the  nastiest curse I've  had the
                                       misfortune to meet. I wonder what he
"Elvish  name  curse,"  said  Oskar.   was used? You  wouldn't--? Of course
"They're the only  ones who  use it.   not, you're just a fighter."
I can remove it. Maybe. Depends."
                                       "Well," he  snapped, smiling  up  at
"Well," snapped Mikel. "If you don't   Mikel. "Don't  just stand there, you
do it soon,  he'll be dead,  and the   great one-armed lump. Help me up!"
Master  will have us both doing road
duty for a month. Now, fix it!"        Mikel reached down and nearly  threw
                                       the mage  onto  his feet. He held on
"Testy, aren't we?" responded Oskar,   for a  minute to make sure Oskar was
with a slight smile.                   stable, then let go. Oskar just kept
                                       talking to himself and answering his
The mage ran his hands over my body,   own  questions as  he staggered  out
holding  them a  thumb's span  away.   the rear door. Mikel watched him go,
They began to glow with a weird blue   shaking his head and smiling.
light.  As Oskar's hands came closer
to my head,  they began to  tremble,   "He never changes,"  Mikel said. "He
and  he was sweating  as if under  a   stood in the middle of a K'zin raid-
great strain.  Whatever my so-called   ing party  one  time,  asking  their
grandfather had placed on me, it was   matriarch what her weapons were made
evidently quite powerful.              of, how they were made, on and on. I
                                       thought for sure that old she - lion
Suddenly a large spark arced between   was going to take his head off."
the  mage's fingertips and  my fore-
head. My  brain  felt  like  it  was   Mikel  chuckled,  caught  up  in his
being pulled  out through my eyes. I   memories. "You know  what she  _did_
cried out  involuntarily,  my  whole   do?"  he  asked  me after a  minute.
body arching up and  snapping out of   "Offered our  C. O.  _three_   young
its  curled-up  position.  And  then   gelded males for him. Said something
nothing. The pain was gone.            about his  courage and fearlessness.
                                       Seems their people don't have mages.
I lay on the floor, drawing in deep,   Leastways, not like we do.
shuddering  breaths.  When  I  could
finally  focus  on something besides   "She never realized that he's just a
                                   -24-                             More...
crazy mage. As long as Oskar's got a   "A-a-h-h," the human mountain softly
mystery to  solve, he  wouldn't care   exclaimed.  "You must  be the  other
if  the   entire  Troll  nation  was   half of Oskar's indisposition. Well,
camped next to him," he grinned.       I'm glad to  see you  survived, son.
                                       Given the  headache I just took from
"But," he  said,  returning  to  the   Oskar, you ought  to be near  death.
present. "he's a damn fine merc. And   Takes quite a lot to inconvenience a
he'd give you the shirt off his back   master mage."
if you needed it."
                                       He stepped  back from  the door  and
He turned to face me. I'd managed to   pointed to a cot halfway  across the
pull myself back into the chair dur-   room. "Lay him  down there," he told
ing his reminiscences. The pain  was   Mikel. "After you get his pack, wea-
gone, but I felt  weak as a  newborn   pons, and boots off, of course."
ferret  kit. I guess  it was  fairly
evident, because  Mikel came over to   "Of course,  O mighty healer," Mikel
the desk, put  his shoulder under my   responded. It  was obvious  from the
arm,  and hoisted  me to  my feet. I   grin on  both men's  faces that this
felt the steel  in his grip, for all   was a standing joke between them.
that it was surprisingly gentle.
                                       "Oh, and Mikel?"
"What now?" I asked, wobbling a bit.
"I feel  like I've  been kicked by a   "Yes, O mighty one?"
                                       "You'd better hurry," he  whispered.
"Well," he  replied. "We're going to   "I think  your young friend is going
take care of  that part next. I want   to faint."
you in  the infirmary  for the  next
couple of hours at least."             And to  my extreme  embarrassment, I
                                       did just that!     (To Be Continued)
He led me through the same door that
Oskar took  earlier. The door opened          @@@@@@  @@@@@@
on a long hallway. There was a stair         @\\\\\\@@\\\\\\@
going  up off to my  left and a pair         @\\\\\\%%%%%%\\@@@@
of  doors opposite each other  about          @@\\\%//////%@\\\\@
halfway along  the hall. The door at           @@@%////////%\\\\@
the far end was painted a deep shade         @@\\\%////////%@@@@
of blue. Obviously the infirmary. By         @\\\\\%//////%\\\\@
tradition,  blue  was  the  Healers'         @@@@@@%%%%%%\\\\\@
color, and  only they  wore blue  in             @\\\\\\@@@@@@@
the field.  Even Torvaal  didn't try             @\\\\\@\
to abuse that.                                    @@@@@  \
Mikel guided me down the hall toward                      \
the blue  door. It  was a good thing                       \
he was holding me up. My legs didn't                       \\
feel  connected to  the rest  of me,              &&        \\   &
trying  to go  off in  two different               &&        \\  &&
directions at each step. When we got                &&&       \ &&&
to  the door, Mikel  reached out and                &&&&     \ &&&&
gently tapped it with one foot.                      &&&&&   \ &&&&&
                                                      &&&&&  \ &&&&&
The door opened on the biggest human                   &&&&  \  &&&&
male  I  ever  saw  in  my  life.  I                    &&&  \ &&&&
craned my neck to look up at him and                     &&& \ &&&
almost  fell  over backwards.  Enor-                      && \ &&
mous, he wore  the gold-trimmed blue                       & \ &
smock of a master Healer.                         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                           Snakes and Lathers
 ____________              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
/ \          \             by Lloyd Llowd, PhD
\@||~|    |~||
  | \~\  /~/ |
 _|  \~\/~/  |
/@|   \~~/   | ermin.  How I despise   were quite good.
\_/    ~~    / vermin.  So, you  can
  ~~~~~~~~~~~  imagine  my  joy   at   H. VOLKAS turned out to  be a female
having my premises invaded by vermin   dwarf whose idea of flea control was
several times within the past month.   to dump several spiders in my living
In any  civilized town we would have   room and claim that  it was an acci-
moved long  ago to  eliminate  those   dent. I managed  to lock the  beasts
pests which  infest our  streets and   in a closet, where the  spiders made
houses:   fleas,   spiders,  snakes,   themselves useful by eating moths.
dwarves and hobbits.
                                       As I pondered  my next move, I heard
On coming down with a slight injury,   a rasping  in the water closet. When
I turned to  our local  medical pro-   a huge viper crawled  out of my sink
fession for help.  Having seen  Lord   and a water moccasin reared its head
Strom's tender mercies in the Gladi-   from my  bidet, I determined to have
atorial  Games, I  wanted  to find a   a word with my landlord.
healer who does not use Word of Stun
as an anesthetic and a falchion as a   Unfortunately, that turned out to be
scalpel. I  sent my request  through   Lord  Odds, the  richest  hobbit, or
Healers' Guild channels, hoping  for   inhabitant of any  species, in town.
Lady  Kayla  or Lady  Woundhealer to   He assured me that he and Lord Dart-
attend to  my distress.  (They tried   aghan could deal with all the vermin
to pawn off a lesser  healer on  me,   in my home with no difficulty.
but a  person of  my station in life
deserves first-class care.)            They entered my home.  Potent spells
                                       sizzled the air, followed by the two
Imagine my  surprise when Lord Care-   hairy menaces running  at speed from
taker appeared  at my door. At first   speed from  the front door. The next
I took him  for a penniless  dwarven   thing I  saw was the entire building
beggar, gave  him a silver, and sent   blown sky high  by the  stun clouds,
him on his  way.  However, he did at   firestorms,  and  death clouds  cast
last convince vme that he was both a   inside to rid it of vermin.
healer  and of noble  rank by demon-
strating that he had not removed his   It worked. No fleas. No  spiders. No
clothing and  bathed  for more  than   No snakes. And, of course, no house.
two  years. This  seems to  be a re-   Lord Odds was most apologetic, prom-
quirement for  most of our nobility.   ising  me new lodgings,  rent  free,
They  are always entering  Cheldar's   until my home was rebuilt.
Bath House but  never seem to emerge
any cleaner.                           Well, almost no fleas. It seems that
                                       both of  the hirsute  hedge  wizards
Shortly after Lord Caretaker went on   attracted a  few hundred or so fleas
his way, I discovered, to my horror,   apiece during  their  escapade.  The
that  my chambers hopped with fleas,   last I  saw, they had been forbidden
no doubt members of  the dwarf's own   entry to  House  Arcane  until  they
circus. Faced with an infestation of   take baths.
these  proportions, I  did  what any
sensible homeowner would do: I hired   Which, knowing  hobbits, will likely
an  exterminator. It was a promising   happen around the time Lord Elvanion
advertisement:  H. VOLKAS,  EXORCISM   says my new house will be  ready: in
AND PEST  CONTROL. I felt my chances   about a year.
of reasonable  service from a cleric

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