Episode 5 : Spider, Spider, What Webs You Weave!
 

Zandhurst the Astrologer continued, "In the room beyond is a Gate, that I control, which opens the door through the veils. I need to get into a series of ruined buildings but they are however currently occupied by a group of large spiders, these I want you to dispose of in anyway you see fit.", he waves his hand, "That is the price for my silence. I will allow you a day or two to think it over and when you are ready I will send you through the Gate. Here are ten gold pieces use it to buy some anti-spider venom potions as I do not wish you to die needlessly in my service. I think you are well capable of dealing with the spiders that are there or I would not be sending you through. Do you have any questions?. No, then thank you for coming here so promptly. I will see you here again tomorrow.". The guard escorted us out of the room and back into the street.

Grimwold Mindbreaker said, "This is a job we cannot refuse, so we might as well make the best of the situation. Lets go to Dram Wirmson the Alchemist, there are some potions that we should buy and hopefully not be needing.". We went to Dram Wirmson the Alchemist and first made some purchases of spider anti-venom and some more healing herbs. Looking about the walls we could see up near the edge of the curtain a glass cabinet containing a rack of Wands. There were four Wands inside with a space for a fifth. Grimwold Mindbreaker asked the price, just to confirm that they were indeed out of our price range. He asked of the space, what was the Wand that is missing. Dram Wirmson the Alchemist replied that it used to hold a Wand of Fire Balls but that it had been stolen by Hexgora. He added that he was in no hurry to get it back from her as long as she stayed away from here.

We made a further inquiry about getting a piece of Dragonbone. Dram Wirmson the Alchemist said, "I can get you a piece, a small piece, but it will cost you a considerable amount. I will not even consider getting it for you unless I get half the money in advance.". Crayg Rydorsson "So how much?". The Alchemist scratches his chin, "I would say that 60 gold pieces would cover the cost of getting it and keeping it for you.". Crayg Rydorsson said, "That's a hell of a lot.". "Yes, indeed it is, but do you know how difficult it is to get. What you want is rare and needed by ruthless magic using persons in their most potent of spells. Just inquiring after a piece of Dragonbone is dangerous in itself. Who knows for what it will be used?", he eyes the group with suspicion. Dram Wirmson the Alchemist said, "I will throw in some healing herbs as well to sweeten the deal for you.". Crayg Rydorsson said, "If you can get it, we can pay for it. We would like the healing herbs as well.". "A deal then, remember half the money first.". "Yes, we can bring it to you today, so you can start your inquiries.". "Good.".

Later in the afternoon Thor Frekwaldson returned to the Alchemist's shop and handed over a bag containing 30 gold pieces. He muttered "This had better be worth it.". Dram Wirmson the Alchemist said, "These are the healing herbs, I promised.", handing over four packets, "Use them wisely.". Thor Frekwaldson at this moment felt the usual weight on his shoulder leave as the blink monkey alighted and headed into the shop. A few moments later the curtain that separated the public display area from the private workshop area rippled as a blink monkey went through. Thor Frekwaldson thought to himself, "He can look after himself.", and exited the Alchemist's shop.

That night the blink monkey did not appear at the Restless Pig. Thor Frekwaldson started to get worried for it and decided that he would go back to the Alchemists to see if he could find what had happened to his pet. Thor Frekwaldson went down the stairs into the Alchemist's showroom. After a couple of minutes the Alchemist himself appeared and came over to Thor Frekwaldson. Dram Wirmson the Alchemist "How are you today, you seem however to be without your little companion.". "What companion, the halfling?". "No, no, I was referring to the one with the tail.". "Oh, that one.". "Yes, that one. He can get himself into all sorts of trouble, can't he? An alchemy shop could be especially dangerous for the little fellow, if he were to be caught a little light fingered.".

Thor Frekwaldson raised his hand to his forehead, covering his eyes, and started shaking his head. "I'm sure you could buy his freedom however, as long as you did not take too long. You see I have been working on an invisibility potion but it lacks this one ingredient. This one ingredient is fairly expensive, 5 gold pieces for the whole item.". Thor Frekwaldson looked down at the Alchemist, "I hear you, I'll pay.". Dram Wirmson the Alchemist smiled and said, "That's good, you can collect it when I have your other item, a couple of days and I will send word.". Thor Frekwaldson went out of the Alchemist's shop "I guess a couple of days in jail won't hurt the blink monkey, might even teach him something.".

The next day some of the party stood ready before the Gate that lead to other worlds. They had been told by Zandhurst the Astrologer that they were to kill the spiders that inhabited a Temple to the Nameless Gods in another world. The Astrologer took them to the chamber next door to reveal standing in the centre a Gate. The Gate stood 8' tall and 4' wide. The outer rim of the Gate was of polished onyx and inside a glazed surface. They approached the Gate and the glazed surface started to began to waver and whirl. Ripples of white static filled the glazed surface and increased as they approached, the compulsion to enter now stronger than ever. Zandhurst the Astrologer stood next to the Gate and speaking in a low voice muttered words never to be spoken above a quiet whisper. The compulsion ceased, the rippling static slowed and became stasis. "Now.", cried Zandhurst the Astrologer "Enter the Gate and rid me of the spiders that inhabit this place.". The party entered one by one, vanishing from this plane to appear on another beyond the veils.

They stood beside a ruined wall amidst the ruins of an ancient city. A city long since forgotten and long covered by the surrounding jungle. Before them was the one building in this maze of ruins that seemed still intact. This building stood upon a rise in the swamp and all around was surrounded by fetid water. Grimwold Mindbreaker cast fly and conveyed Crayg Rydorsson, Martin Astonsen and Vernon Zarck across to the entrance into the Temple to the Nameless Gods. Webs were festooned about the entrance and covered much of the entrance way. Martin Astonsen cut a passage through the webs. They advanced into the room beyond. This room was high and domed, it also had webs covering the ceiling and draping down to the floor.

Grimwold Mindbreaker cast presence and determined that there were two presences in the next room beyond, close to the ceiling. Slowly the party advanced to the next entrance way and again Martin Astonsen made a path. Crayg Rydorsson crept inside and looking up he saw high above two dark forms, silent and still, almost perfectly concealed on the ceiling above. Twang, Thunk, Drop, Splat. The first spider fell with an arrow in its abdomen and crashed to the floor where it curled into a ball and was motionless. The second spider scurried across the ceiling to above the door, it dropped and landed next to Crayg Rydorsson who had dived back through the entrance way. The spider having missed its mark jumped for Martin Astonsen only to impale itself on Martin Astonsen's outstretched sword. Again it retracted into a ball and was motionless. Grimwold Mindbreaker again cast presence and going through the Temple to the Nameless Gods determined that the spider infestation had been dealt with completely. Grimwold Mindbreaker produced a small jar and removed the poison sacs from the spider and filled the jar with the liquid.

Having negotiated the hidden terrors without incident and being just about to leave Martin Astonsen thought that he would set the spider webs alight. He brought out a torch and produced his tinder box. Martin Astonsen began to strike sparks, each one produced a soft blue glow that wafted out an inch from each spark but went completely unnoticed by those who looked on. Then the torch struck, there was a god almighty roar as the room burst into flame and the spider webs vanished from existence. Martin Astonsen was burnt beyond recognition. Vernon Zarck was severely burnt about his head but still alive gasped unconscious from the floor. Grimwold Mindbreaker managed to have been in the next room at the time and was unscathed. Crayg Rydorsson just patted himself down having been in the area of the room with the least spider webs.

Grimwold Mindbreaker and Crayg Rydorsson dragged Vernon Zarck to the Gate and removed from Martin Astonsen those items of value. They entered the Gate and stood in the room with Zandhurst the Astrologer. Zandhurst the Astrologer was eager for the news, the spiders vanquished but one dead. They rushed Vernon Zarck off to the Church of Lumina, the healers took him but it was only after a full week of coma did he recover. From now on he would be permanently bald and have scar burns over his head. The halfling went around to Dram Wirmson the Alchemist's shop and bought some giant turtle based burn ointment. There were a lot of these giant turtle based products at the moment in the Alchemist's. The burn ointment would assist in the healing of Vernon Zarck's burns and reduce the scarring, it however still could not do anything to improve upon initial bad looks.

Dram Wirmson the Alchemist sent word two days later that our item had arrived. We went to the Alchemist's shop and entered. Dram Wirmson the Alchemist was waiting for us and quickly appeared from behind the curtain. "Gentlemen, here is your piece of Dragonbone, small I know but it will do what you want.". Thor Frekwaldson came forward "Here is your money.". Dram Wirmson the Alchemist took the money and put it on his belt. Thor Frekwaldson said, "Don't you want to count it?". Dram Wirmson the Alchemist chuckled to himself saying "Whatever for my boy. I trust it is all there. Who has ever heard of anyone short changing an Alchemist and not dieing gruesomely shortly afterwards?. Oh, yes, I almost forgot, your little companion.". Dram Wirmson the Alchemist clapped his hand and the curtain rippled.

The blink monkey came out with manacles on each paw and chains stretching between them. It had the most pitiful expression on its face. As the blink monkey was led out it brightened up at the sight of Thor Frekwaldson and began squeaking and holding the hand manacles up towards him. Thor Frekwaldson handed over to the Alchemist the 5 gold pieces that would buy the blink monkeys freedom. The Dram Wirmson the Alchemist turned to the monkey "That's an expensive monkey, I hope his freedom is worth the price.". "Yes, it is I am fond of the little fellow.". "Release the monkey.". At the Alchemist's command the manacles dropped from each of the monkey's paws. The manacles and chains floated toward the Alchemist, they expanded to man size and hovered before the Alchemist, who motioned them back inside, at which they left, returning behind the curtain.

The blink monkey leapt from the ground onto Thor Frekwaldson shoulders and wrapped itself about his head, quivering and shaking. "That's a hell of a set of manacles and chains.". "Yes, they are aren't they. It has caught all manner of thieves, and invisible monkeys too! I never have been robbed and while its around I won't be. A word of warning, if I catch the monkey again I won't be parting with it again so quickly. It will go into one of my potions, invisibility I think.". "I get the message.". The Dram Wirmson the Alchemist stepped back through the curtain, which rippled, and he was gone from sight.

They emerged from the Alchemist's shop into the light, at this the blink monkey brightened up slightly and started chattering to Thor Frekwaldson. "I hope that teaches you a lesson, its cost me 5 gold pieces to buy your freedom. I don't know if I can afford to buy your freedom again. Besides if you get caught in that place again your going in the Alchemist's soup, right.". The blink monkey nodded a couple of times and then vanished from view. The blink monkey did not leave Thor Frekwaldson's shoulders for the next couple of days of its return to freedom.

Vernon Zarck had finally recovered from his ordeal by fire back in the Temple to the Nameless Gods. About the first thing he did was to pay a visit to Manfred the Herbalist over in District F of Middleburg. He offered Manfred the Herbalist the poison sacks removed from the giant spiders in exchange for a poison paste that would be easily applied to arrows. Manfred the Herbalist considered the offer and told Vernon Zarck to come back next day and he would supply him with the product he desired. A fair exchange of poisons.

We had two of the three ingredients that were needed by Hashem to transform him back to human form. It was about this time that Grimwold Mindbreaker first used the spell mind typing to determine what we were really dealing with when it came to the cat, Hashem. Grimwold Mindbreaker cast the spell and it returned to him the following information about Hashem. He was an Eastern man and a 55th level Sorcerer. This information he passed quietly around the party. We would have to seriously consider what we were to do when we did have all three ingredients.

 

 
(c) 1997 One Night in Middleburg Rolemaster Campaign Journal by Ross Stopford  
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