Chapter 20

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          Navero, male human cleric, 4th level
          Dania, female 1/2-elf MU, 4th level
          Kortul, male human fighter, 3rd level
          Razuli, male human fighter, 3rd level
          Arlor, male dwarf thief, 3rd level
          Kory Silvertongue, male elf bard, 2nd level

     When last we saw them, our heroes were poling up the swamp runs
in a skiff.  We were sadly inexpert, as was apparent to anyone who saw
us.  As morning wore on to afternoon, we left the jeering spectators
behind, and an uncomfortable silence settled down over the swamps.
Fortunately it was near the beginning of winter; it was damp enough,
but not hot, and so the insect density was tolerable.

Dania: "Quit splashing."

Razuli: "Jezuz H. CHRIST, magic-user, YOU steer, then!"

Kortul: "Shut up, both of you."

Kory: "Who elected you, bright eyes?  I fail to see your
     qualifications for the position of courageous leader."

Arlor: "I feel sick."

Dania: "So dive in and cool off.  There aren't any crocodiles nearby."

Kortul: "Over there.  Leave Dwarf alone."

Navero: "Dania, why do you not like Arlor?  I haven't seen him do
     anything to make you mad at him."

Dania: "I don't hate him, Nav.  Lighten up.  It's just this useless
     little geek gets on my nerves.  Didn't anyone ever tell you about
     Dwarves?  They chop down forests to make charcoal for their damn
     forges and mines.  Whole forests."

Arlor: "Um...  You only use dead wood for that."

Dania: "Well, it's sure as hell dead when you get through with it!"

Navero: "I know they make some very useful and nice things, Dania."

Dania: "Oh, sure, yeah, dead things, that decay, or just gather dust!
     Oh, what do you know?  You'll never live to see it, anyway."

Arlor: "Forests don't last either."

Dania: "Not with you around, that's for sure."

Navero: "Please, why are you angry?  Maybe the Dwarves clear away
     deadwood, and use it to make other things, that wouldn't exist
     otherwise.  Making things has its place in the world."
Dania: "Tell HIM!  THEY'RE the ones who go wild and chop down trees
     and kill people just so they could get more GOLD, and go around
     killing everything beautiful in the world and..."

Razuli: "What's this about going around killing people to get gold,

Dania: "Oh, shut the hell up!!  What do YOU know?!  Just a bunch of
     ignorant, short-sighted..."

Kortul: "WIZARD!"

Dania: "WHAT?!"

Kortul: "Pointless and stupid.  Wizard, steer.  Razuli, take priest's
     pole.  Priest, sit there." (Indicates between Dania and Arlor.)

Kory: "No, no, let them go on.  This is highly amusing."

Dania: "Why the FUCK should I listen to you?!"

Razuli: (Leaves steering oar.) "Come on, take the steering.  Navero,
     why don't you have a talk with these two?"

Dania: (Glares, grumbles, takes steering oar.)

Razuli: (Aside to Kortul) "What's with you?  You spoke several
     sentence fragments in a row.  She must be finally getting to ya,

Kortul: (Glares) "Women here uppity, don't know to shut up.
     'Specially elves.  Talk too much.  Everybody talks too much."

Razuli: "It's those pert little buns, isn't it?  The heaving breasts,
     the fiery eyes; a woman you can't tame..."

Kortul: (Glares)

Razuli: "Ok, OK!  Sheesh, you're no fun at all, ya know?"

Kory: (Laughs.)

     Along the way, we met a most extraordinary person.  During a
short lull in the conversation, we saw a small man in woodland colors,
waving to us from the side of the river.  We went over to investigate.

Small Man: "Hello.  I could not help but hear you as you came up the
     river.  I was wondering at your purpose, as I can see that this
     is not your usual mode of travel."

Razuli: "We're going to kill a dragon.  Wanna come with us?"

Small Man: "How kind of you to offer.  I had entered this area with
     the intent of scouting out such a beast, which threatens the
     order of this lovely green.  However, with the company of such
     obviously capable and industrious people as yourselves, I may be
     able to do more to correct the unbalancing of the natural

Razuli: "Huh?"

Small Man: "Yes, very capable and industrious.  I am Topash Raycin; I
     am a member of the Green Brotherhood of the Wood."

Navero: "Don't you worship trees?"

Topash: "Hah.  No; we work with the forces of nature to preserve the
     balance of the world.  We do not worship anyone; we coexist."

Dania: "Great.  Glad to have another elf on board.  Come on in."

Topash: "Elves, humans, dwarves; all have their place in the balance.
     But before we move on, I think perhaps some advice on how to
     handle a skiff is in order..."

(And so we went on into the swamp. The afternoon passed uneventfully.)

Game Master: Damn.  I expected you to walk in.  You're floating past
     all the encounters I set up.

Party: Sorry about that.  What a shame.

GM: I guess I'll just have to wing it.

(*SPLASH!*  Skiff tilts, entire party goes into the drink.)

Kory: *Glub!* "Oh no!  I'll get my instrument wet!"

Razuli: "Worry about your manhood some other time.  There's nothing
     around here that would want it anyway."

Arlor: "I can't sw..."

     A huge, greenish, yucky-looking humanoid had come up under our
skiff and toppled us into the river.  Fortunately, it was shallow in
the swamps, so only Arlor went under.  More humanoids appeared from
the bracken along the shore, and they rushed clumsily to the attack.

Kortul: (Draws sword, moves to Troll 1 by the skiff.)

Dania: "I think it's Trolls!"  (Magic Missiles Troll 2)

Topash: (Entangles two Trolls in bracken)

Razuli: "Get a fire going!  Navero, do it!"

Navero: "But my tinder and flints are all wet!"
Arlor: (*Blub*)

Kory: "I can't play a wet lute.  Take that, putrescence! (stabs Troll
     3) Mess with me, eh?  I'll teach you to" *WHAM!* "... on de udder
     hand, I could always use a bit o' education myself..."

Troll 1: "Harruuugat!  Kill!  Fuud!"  (Much swinging of claws, etc.)

Kortul: "Ha!" (Criticals, removes Troll 1's head.  It falls in river,
     body begins looking for it blindly.)

Navero: "Hang on, hang on..." (Staggers to shore, gets out flint and
     steel, starts looking for dry tinder.)

Razuli: "Quit playing with your instrument, bard." (Hits Troll 2.)

Kory: "Oh, ha ha.  At least I have one, human!" (Misses Troll 3) "Oh,
     fuck it."

Dania: "Are you that desperate, Kory?" (Magic Missiles Troll 3.)

Arlor: (*BLUB!*)

Topash: "Is this how you usually do battle, brave adventurers?" (Hits
     Troll 4)

Trolls: (Three Trolls still fighting.  Razuli clawed twice, Kory
     bitten, one moves in on Navero.)

Navero: "eep!" (Runs from Troll 4, Troll 4 chases.)

Topash: "It's good to see a group of people who can cast aside their
     personal differences and cooperate so well." (Hits Troll 3.)

       #####   ##     ##  ##  #####   ##
       ##  ##  ##     ##  ##  ##  ##  ##
Arlor: #####   ##     ##  ##  #####   ##
       ##  ##  ##     ##  ##  ##  ##
       #####   ######  ####   #####   ##

Razuli: "What the fuck was that?"

Kory: "I believe it is our Dwarven companion, attempting to alert us
     to one of the hazards associated with shortness.  Go see to him,
     my good fellow; and do be quick about it."

Kortul: (Takes large chunk out of Troll 3.)

Dania: "Oh, let him walk ashore." (Magic Missiles Troll 3, finishes

Trolls: (Two left.  One bites and claws Razuli, other still chasing
Razuli: "Oww... My cue for a strategic retreat."  (Breaks away, goes
     to look for Arlor.)

Kortul: (Comes ashore) "Priest!  Quit playing!"

Navero: "Ahhh!!" (Hits patch of very moist ground, falls.  Troll 3,
     strangely, does not follow.)

Kory: "Does anyone have a fire started yet?  Children, children, do I
     have to take care of everything?" (Stabs Troll 2.)

Dania: "Oh, shut up." (MM's Troll 2.) "Kortul!  We need you on this

Topash: (Hits Troll 2.)

Arlor: *GASP!*  (Pulled up to air by Razuli.)

Trolls: (Headless Troll has found its head.  Troll 3 starts to come up
     out of river.  Troll 4 leaves Navero.  Troll 2 claws Dania, Kory,
     misses with bite.)

Navero: "I'm sinking!" (Indeed, he is sinking into the damp ground.)

Dania: (MM's Troll 2, it falls.)

Razuli: "Nav, it's quicksand!  Lie still!"

Arlor: "I'm not never goin' in a boat again, yup, that's for sure."

Dania: "Yes, you are.  Now do something!"

Razuli: (Notices Troll 1 putting its head back on.  Promptly knocks it
     off again.  It tries to bite and falls into the river.)

Kortul: (Criticals, cuts Troll 4 in half.)

Topash: "Hmph." (Comes ashore, starts to work on fire.) "Everything's

Kortul: "Common enough in swamp."

Trolls: (Troll 1 resumes search.  Troll 3 moves to Dania.  Troll 4
     squirms.  Troll 2 stays on river bottom.  Trolls 5 & 6 starting
     to break out of the Entanglement.)

Kortul: (Drags Navero out of quicksand by his vestments.) "Not going

Topash: "Patience... Got it!" (Fire started.)

Dania: "Great!  Now do something with it!" (Smacks Troll 3 with her
     staff, it falls.)
Razuli: (Puts Arlor in shallow water, goes looking for Troll 1's

Kory: "Ah, good!  Someone besides me displays signs of competence!  I
     am greatly encouraged; now, if only my lute weren't ruined..."

Navero: "Ugh!  The two halves are growing!"

Arlor: "They do that, yup.  Disgustin'"

Trolls: (Troll 1 still looking.  Troll 3 goes down, Troll 2 hasn't
     come up.  Troll 4 still squirming, Trolls 5 & 6 break

Navero: "That fire's awful small."

Topash: "The wood is quite damp."

Kortul: (Moves to Trolls 5 & 6.) "Get over here!"

Dania: (Webs Trolls 5 & 6; it just misses Kortul.) "Ha!  Got 'em!"

Arlor: (Wades ashore.) "I hate water."

Razuli: "Any luck with the fire?" (Finds Troll 1's head, sticks it on
     his sword.)

Topash: "Some.  There; if anyone has any dry torches, we can begin.
     But be careful not to let the fire spread."

     The skiff had not been capsized, merely tipped, so our supplies
were still dry.  With the help of some lantern oil, Trolls 5 and 6
were soon roasting.  As the other Trolls come up, they are hacked to
bits and burned; some of us took damage in the fight.  After a
healing, everyone was moderately OK, although muddy and very wet.  We
realized that with this many Trolls, there would probably be a lair
nearby; a few hours search reveals a likely candidate, a large cave
near the water, under an overhang.  We took torches and went in,
Kortul at the point.

     The cave went in for about 15 feet; the floor was earth packed
down by huge feet; tree roots poked through the roof.  At 15 feet, the
tunnel took an abrupt dog-leg turn, and around the corner, waited 2
more Trolls.

Troll 1: *SMACK!*  (Hits Kortul with a Bastard sword, bites.)

Kortul: (!?) (Shoves torch in its mouth.)

Navero: (Starts Chanting)

Troll 2: (Tosses flask of oil onto Kortul.)

Kortul: (!?!)
Troll 1: "Gon' burn now?!  HahahAhaAhA!"

Razuli: "Oh, fuck."

Kory: "Duy, duy, this one's got a brain somewhere!  We should remove
     and donate it to science!"

Dania: "Kortul, back off and let me web 'em!"

Troll 1: (Claws, bites Kortul.)

Kortul: "RRRAAAHH!!!" (Swings twice and criticals once.  Troll 1 goes

Topash: "Very impressive.  Now get out and let us burn the other."

Troll 2: (Grabs Kortul, hugs him close, sticks tongue out at party.)

Dania: (MM's Troll 2)

Arlor: (Has snuck behind Troll 2, stabs it in the knee, distracting

Kortul: (Squirms away from Troll 2) "Hit it!"

Topash: (Lights the oil that rubbed off of Kortul onto Troll 2.)

     After much sound and fury, the two Trolls were dead and burned.
The air within the cave is quite fouled, but we explored on
nonetheless.  We found a lot of bones, a lot of rocks, and very little
else.  It being nearly nightfall by this point, we set up camp a short
way up the river; any bits of Troll we had missed did not come to
bother us, and the night passed uneventfully.

Daniel Parsons        "Oh, goody!  My instrument is in working order!"
                           "Kory, quit playing with yourself and go to
                            sleep.  You can lay Dania in the morning."

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