Games Accessible to the Blind
Issue 43: first quarter, 2005
Edited by Ron Schamerhorn & Lynette Frison
Fun, Friendship, Knowledge, Charity
Welcome to the forty-second issue of Audyssey. This magazine is dedicated to
the discussion of games which, through accident or design, are accessible to
the blind either with or without sighted assistance.
For the first quarter of 2005, we have a number of game finds and well
written reviews. A few good tid bits in the letters section,news from a
couple of the developers, and informative articles including the return of
everyone's favourite hero Adam the immortal gamer!
Note: This magazine uses plus-signs as navigation markers. Three plus-signs
are placed above any articles or sections. Within these sections, two
plus-signs denote the start of a new sub-section. Smaller divisions are
marked by a single plus-sign. This allows people to use their search
capabilities to go quickly to the next division they are interested in. For
instance, the "Letters" section is preceded by three plus-signs. Each letter
within it has two plus-signs before it. Answers to letters have a single
plus-sign before them.
From The Editor
Adam the immortal gamer
Games for hand ear coordination
Encounter in the Worm's layer
Making Nethack Accessible in windows
News From Game Developers
Fearless Flin Development Diary: Part III
Game Announcements and Reviews
Distribution Information and Submission Policies
From The Editor:
Hello to my readership,
I know this one has been a long time in coming but I hope you'll agree the
wait was worth it. I feel this issue for the first quarter 2005 is a good
The reason there was no issue before Christmas to wrap up the 2004 year
was my computers fault. Perhaps also my own, though steps have been taken
to ensure this problem won't occur again.
In short my power supply died, a few days later it was fixed but the cache
had been damaged and thus the computer was doing some odd things. It was
taken back to the shop and fortunately covered under warranty for the work.
Then with the holiday season, and other such events in life I finally got
it back in early January. Then of course was the fun of getting all the
programs I use regularly back on and such things. I don't think I lost any
material from the drive, at least I don't think I have.
I'm glad there was a good supply of material for this issue. At times I
almost forget what there is to be put in the publication. Though this
doesn't mean to relax keep the submissions coming in. After all I edit I'm
not trying to write this all on my own. But without much further from me
On to issue 43! Happy reading all!
Developer group started
This is just a quick e-mail to let all developers know that AGDev.org has
Been officially launched. We're keen for you to sign up to the discussion
system and start asking questions, giving support, sharing your ideas and
contributing to the interest groups. Note that initially, membership is
restricted to developers who have released at least one accessible game to
date. Further invitations will follow for prospective developers.
As a group, we've got a number of important organisational questions to
answer at the start, too -- your input on those
is vital to how things will
be run in the future so keep on the lookout for a post that'll kick off this
For more information on how to sign up, visit
and follow the instructions there. If
you have any questions or problems, please don't hesitate to contact the
list owner at [email protected].
Hope to see you all on-list/forum soon!
All the best,
Winfrotz and TTS
Hello, Adventurer !!!
While we're currently working on a lot of incredible things that we feel are
newsworthy, our latest discovery couldn't wait to be announced.
One of our blind customers, William H., has brought the existence of a new
version of Windows Frotz to our attention with built-in text-to-speech
Ok, if you're not blind this news won't be terribly exciting for you so feel
free to delete this email and return your attention to Pentari, Endgame or
For those of you that have relied on JAWS or other solutions for screen
reading, this new release of WindowsFrotz is something you'll want to grab
right away. It will totally enhance your Malinche gaming experience.
and go download your copy now.
Adam, The Immortal Gamer and the Virtual Reality chip.
by Phil Vlasak
A dim light is still on in the Erindale Campus
dorm room of Adam Taylor. It is Halloween night,
and Adam looks up at the sound of rain hitting
his window. The sky splits and a roar rumbles
loudly, then echoes across the valley.
"Hmm, he thinks to himself, perfect weather for a
game of ghosts and goblins, but not for studying
Adam starts to close his computer just before a
brilliant flash blinds him and a force smashes
the window glass and knocks him off his chair.
When Adam wakes up he finds himself laying in bed
on the second floor of a two family house. There
is no broken glass or any sign that his ROOM was
hit by lightning. As the mist clears in his mind,
his memories start to come back. He is no longer
a college student but a programmer for BSC Games
living and working in Boardman, Ohio.
"Wow, what a dream!" Adam says to himself.
He thinks that nap after work did some good but
wonders why his dream was about being in college,
before VR took over the world. Then Adam
remembers when he got off the bus this evening,
he noticed the packing boxes on the curb in front
of his house and furniture in the downstairs
apartment. He thinks it will be good to have
someone else living in the building.
Getting up, opening the door to his bedroom he is
greeted by a rather large egg balanced on two
bird legs. It is dancing on his living room
"Whoo wee, whoot!" It says.
When it speaks, its shell opens slightly and
occasionally its large yellow eyes peek out from
under the shell. He smiles as he recalls the
first time he saw the bobbing robot egg doing
that same dance at the Adora Entertainment lab.
"No, not now Oakie, I need to work now. Go back
and sit in your nest."
The bird wines a little then turns around,
wobbles over and crouches down facing away from
him, the egg shell hat settling down to the rest
of the ovoid. He felt sorry for the bird but
knew that if he gave the toy any attention, it
would take over his whole evening. He tells the
micro what he wants and it reaches into the
fridge and pulls out a package then heats it
according to the bar code printed on the lid.
After dinner he starts to work on his BSC Anasazi
game. During a break, he looks out in his back
yard and notices a woman and a teenage boy
playing baseball. She was pitching to the boy,
and he was trying to hit the ball. Half the time
it flew over his head towards the house. Adam
watches him run after the ball and throw it back
to the woman. She has long blonde hair and a very
curvy body, dressed in loose t-shirt and pants.
The other times he hits the ball past her and she
runs all the way to the back fence to get it.
Even from this distance he can tell she is
Adam watches them for a while then has an idea.
He grabs a jacket, sprints down the steps to the
Stopping by the house, picking up the ball he
smiles and says, "Hi, I'm Adam and live
"Howdy, I'm Cindy and he's my son Matthew. We've
moved in downstairs this morning!" she said
returning his smile.
She was a little shorter than Adam with dark
brown eyes and a deep tan. Matthew was just as
tall as her but skinny with a look of worry on
How about if I throw the ball and you catch it?
he asks Cindy, then continues, "Then we'll see if
your son can hit it."
She thinks about his plan for a second, then
The house had a large grassy back yard with a low
fence but not big enough to keep a well hit fly
ball inside it. Adam knew something about
pitching from playing the latest VR version of
Strat-O-Matic Baseball, so he threw curve balls
low in the strike zone so Matthew would only hit
easy grounders. After a while, the boy's hitting
improved and Adam spent most of the time running
after the ball.
Adam stops when noticing the dark clouds looming
over the house.
"We'd better take cover, it's gonna' get pretty
wet out here!" he exclaims.
The three run towards the porch, just missing the
downpour by seconds.
Adam catches his breath and says, "It would have
been better if we had gone to the Boardman VR
center and played Strat-O-Matic baseball at
Yankee Stadium instead. No chance of getting wet,
unless you want to," he adds.
Cindy turns to Adam and asks, "Hey, speaking of
gettin' drenched, do yall want a cool drink?"
"No, but thanks for the offer." he replies,
knowing how messy it would be in her place the
first day after moving.
Cindy straightens her messed hair and says, "Well
in that case, thanks lots for helping us, and
we'll see ya later."
Adam went up to his apartment to do some work but
after a while he stopped. His memory of her kept
him from concentrating on it. Images of her
smiling face tossing her head and her blonde
curls tumbling about distracted him.
When Adam woke up the next morning, it was still
raining. He opens an umbrella, grabs his
briefcase then goes down to wait for the bus to
Cindy was already standing on the curb waiting at
the bus stop. Knowing the schedule Adam had
about five minutes to talk to her. "Hi Cindy. You
didn't have a chance last night to tell me all
about your move to Boardman."
"Hi. It looks like you work downtown too." She
said glancing at his trench coat and briefcase.
Adam says, "I'm a telematics Specialist and
designer of computer games for BSC."
She replies, "I work for Gates.Com as an
executive in their publicity department. Right
now I'm starting on the Spiracles campaign." She
glances back at the house then turns to Adam and
continues, "We were moved by them with all
expenses paid. They packed all our stuff and
"So your place wasn't filled with boxes!" Adam
exclaims. "I should have taken you up on that
drink invitation last night!"
"Well, you never know when we'll need a relief
pitcher again." she says.
"I'd like to talk to you some more and since
we're waiting for the same bus, how about sitting
together? he inquires.
Her eyes went far away for a second, then focused
on him, "Sure." She said simply.
"Where did you move from?" he asked.
"North Carolina, can't you tell from my accent?"
she says smiling at him.
The bus arrived and there were two vacant seats
together. It was one of those solar powered
busses but on a rainy day like today it had to
start up on its fuel cells. The low hum of the
electric motors was hidden by the sound of the
rain hitting the windows.
As he talked about the town and what were the
best restaurants he could tell by her body
language that she was interested in him.
As she was talking, Adam slips his right hand
into his shirt pocket and pulls out a card.
Pressing on the release square. It turns a pale
He smiles at that, glancing towards Cindy and
says, "I know I just met you yesterday, but I'd
like you to see my ZIP card."
"Ok" she said hesitantly.
As Adam hands her the card he notices the green
color increasing. This is the compatibility glow,
green for go, yellow for caution and red for
She smiles and Adam sees a little blush forming
on her cheeks.
He knew that he could have kept the text secret
and asked Cindy on a date just by the card's
color. That is, if she's honest with her answers,
Cindy looks at the government regulated text
which shows up filling the card's small screen.
Name given at birth, Adam Taylor.
Current Name, Same
Web Name, Adam The Immortal Gamer.
Web Site, Blade's Armoury.
Marital Status, divorced
Birth Date, November 17, 1976
After scrolling through the rest of Adam's data
she smiles and says, "Thanks." As she hands the
card back she continues, "So you were born in
Mississauga Ontario? That's a long way from
Boardman." Thinking about his answers on the card
she adds, "I also like to read sci-fi and
fantasy. I enjoy the stories of Karen Joy Fowler
and Terry Bisson and sometimes even purchase the
She pauses a moment then reaches into her purse,
pulls out her ZIP card and thumps the I d square.
It glows a deep green as she hands it to him.
Name given at birth, Cindy Visconti
Current Name, Cindy Erven
Web Name, Miss Cindy
Web Site, Gates.com/Spiracles/Cindy
Marital Status, divorced
Birth Date, April 7, 1977
Adam presses the scroll button and reads her
Best physical features? smile, and naturally
Hobbies? reading, writing, Virtual Reality games.
Favourite type of music? Ambient Rock of 1K.
Favourite type of food? Non-Lactase Vegetarian.
Interested in natural or enhanced dates? both
Any extra organs or body augmentations? Virtual
As Adam hands back her card, he asks, "Since you
and your son are new to Boardman, How about I
take you both out to dinner tonight?"
"Sure, but I don't think Matthew wants to go,
he's so tied up with his VR game," she answers.
After work, they met right outside her door and
he drove her to the restaurant.
During the meal Adam said, "I went to college at
the Erindale Campus in Mississauga, and decided
to go into the game design field. After college
I went to work for BSC Games, and I'm still
there. I'm working on a VR experience where you
are a Bald Eagle flying over the south west set
at the beginning of 1K," he explained. "You can
see millions of buffalo swarming over the plains
and watch the Anasazi culture develop." He looks
in her eyes and said, "The VR chip makes the games easier to design."
"Yes, my chip does make my work easier too." she
replies tilting her head.
"Do you use the VR at home?" Adam asks.
"No, when I'm home I don't do much VR," she
answers glancing at the table.
Adam thought he noticed a little blush in her
cheeks but put it off as the affect of the wine.
"I get an intense contact high just living in
this area." He says while sipping the last of his
"I hope I'll grow to love it too," she says
Smiling at him.
Eventually Adam says, "Sometimes I let my work
rule my life. I should spend more time going out
to dinner like this."
"Do you ever talk to your computer?" Cindy asks
while sliding her fingers through her hair.
"No, but I do talk to my pet robot. Its a
prototype bird that I'm testing out for Adora
Entertainment," He answers as the waiter brings
him the bill pad. Adam inserts his ZIP card then
follows her out to the car.
At her door Adam holds her hand, says goodnight
and turns away.
When he gets to his apartment, Oakie's eyes peek
out but it doesn't move from its nest, it just
"Stop whining!" Adam commands, then sits down at
his work station.
He inserts the ZIP card into his Alchemy Game
Studios VR unit and downloads the compatibility
information that his card got from Cindy's. He
goes to the physical model section and scrolls
through the choices.
USE THE ARROW KEYS TO ADJUST DOWNLOADED DEFAULTS.
Adam moves to the PERSONALITY category.
Affectionate, Brazen, Conceited, Coquette,
Erotic, Flirt, Passionate, Provocative, Sultry,
Sweet, Tease, Tender, Vamp.
He chooses Affectionate and Sultry then clicks on
OK. Adam climbs into his VR suit, fits the wires
from the computer to the plug implanted in his
brain, then his real world fades away...
He fast forwards to the last time he saw her
tonight. Adam moves to Cindy standing by her
door, but instead of shaking her hand, he leans
over, and kisses her lightly on the lips. He
covers her neck with tiny, fluttery kisses from
her collarbone to her ear. Adam focuses on the
feel of his lips, putting a constant pressure on
her ear lobe. When he kisses Cindy nothing else
exists in the world. His entire life is wrapped
up into the moment. Adam feels eternity and
reaches back into the past and into the future.
Without a word, she smiles, pulls Adam's arm
towards her and closes the door behind them. They
spend a while together, until he unplugs from the
Meanwhile, Cindy closes the door after saying
goodbye to Adam, then goes over to her Alchemy
Game Studios VR and inserts her ZIP card,
downloading the compatibility information that
her card got from Adam's. She goes to the
physical model section and scrolls through the
choices. and reviews the PERSONALITY settings.
Affectionate, Audacious, Conceited, Dumb, Eager,
Nervous, Passionate, Passive, Provocative,
Sensual, Sweet, Tender.
Cindy makes her choices and clicks on OK. As she
puts on her VR suit, and waits for the romance to
start she thinks about telling him the truth
about how much she depends emotionally on her VR,
but realizes that it is just too unthinkable. Her
reality fades out...
A rough approximation of Adam leans closer and
looks deep into her eyes as they kiss. Music
increases in Cindy's head. It starts with the
notes prolonged and subtly erotic.
Adam Taylor gets up from his VR unit and walks
over when he hears his bird whimpering. He
notices that Oakie is crying.
Tears suddenly pour down Cindy's face. Weeks of
pent-in frustration burst loose as she invites
Adam to enter her secret place.
Adam notices that the bird has dropped its egg
shell hat off. He looks closer at the nest and
picks out the small pieces of plastic shell. He
studies them and thinks they could be dangerous
if stepped on by accident. Even though they are
in the nest they could drop out when Oakie
uncouples from her recharger. He looks at the
bird now struggling to break off the rest of the
As the door closes, Cindy takes off her baseball
cap then unbuttons her sweater.
Oakie reaches down with her beak and snaps off a
chunk. Should he help the bird get free? He
mulls over that for a minute then notices a large
crack on the left side that soon splits
completely and releases the baby bird. Adam
bends over and picks Oakie up and looks at her
plastic feathers closely for the first time.
Cindy reaches down with her left hand and snaps
off her belt. She looks up and he is smiling. She
grabs hold of him firmly and pulls him towards
Oakie's wings wrap around Adam pulling him
closer. Her wings beat into his shoulders and her
rubber claws scratch harmlessly down his belly as
her beak stretches toward his mouth.
Cindy leans forward to press a Passionate kiss on
Adam's lips. Her head rests on his shoulder and
then she pulls and nibbles on his ear lobe making
him gasp. She bites harder and pierces his skin
with her sharp teeth. With the blending of her
Vampire saliva and his blood, he is bonded to
her. By her bite he will never be able to die.
And he will never be able to leave her. Leading
him inside her dungeon, she whispers, "Now we
will be immortal together forever."
Oakie's head rests on Adam's shoulder and her
beak pulls and nibbles his ear lobe making him
laugh. She bites harder and he feels pain.
"Ouch! No, no Oakie! Stop it!" Adam yells as
he yanks her beak away from his head.
Adam puts Oakie down and she runs off and hides
in the closet as He feels his ear slick with
blood. He presses a tissue to try and stop the
Adam looks at his ear in the bathroom mirror. It
is really cut bad and refuses to stop bleeding.
He runs downstairs and as he gets near his car,
it senses the proximity of his ZIP card, turns on
the lights, opens the door and starts its motor.
"Emergency room!" He says while closing the
The car finds the location of the nearest twenty
four hour emergency hut on its GPS map and steps
on the gas for him. Sensing other objects on the
road and turning all the lights green on the way,
his car rushes him there in three minutes. The
car screeches to a stop near the microphone and
camera and opens the window for him.
"Please state the nature of the medical
emergency." The automated Doctor says.
"My robot bit my ear lobe!" Adam yells into the
While he watches the camera focusing in on the
wound, Adam recognizes that the doctor's voice is
from the old Voyager Star Trek show.
"Please lean out of the car for a moment." The
Adam does so and is startled by two gripper arms
that hold his head still as a laser cauterizes
his bleating ear.
"Youl!" Adam yells as the sharp pain hits him.
"Sorry about that, the five milligrams of
Nova spray would have taken too much time." The
Doctor explains. "There are three other
emergencies coming and we need this parking
Adam's car starts up and pulls off before he has
time to respond.
He hears the Doctor's voice trail off behind him
saying, "Thank you for using the Clara Barton
Managed Care Medical Hut. Your ZIP card will be
Adam fades from Cindy's vision and she feels a
cold chill run down her spine.
"Excuse me, Ms. Erven, but your time has run
out." The Alchemy Game Studios software lawyer
says in Cindy's head. "You must verbally agree
to the monthly payment to Alchemy to make this
program fully functional."
"Damn!" She says out loud. "Is that a verbal
agreement to the payment plan?" The program
"No, You should know that by now!" Cindy shouts
in frustration. As she slowly strips off the VR
suit she mutters to herself, "Damn it, just when
I get to the good part, the demo throws ice water
"At the time of your purchase notification, you
will receive a personalized password that removes
these nag messages and unlocks all features of
this Alchemy program." The computer voice
continues in a monotone.
Cindy turns the VR unit off, drops the cold wet
suit into her hamper and puts on some dry
clothes. She thinks about her situation. If I
agree to upgrade from demo to the full thing,
there goes Mat's college money. It would be great
to hear Adam talk with his own voice instead of
the stock one offered by the Alchemy demo. Then
again it would probably be better to ask the real
Adam to plug in and share my VR fantasy. Maybe I
should have been more honest in my compatibility
questions and asked for someone I really need
instead of someone I could tolerate. If all my
money wasn't spent on divorce lawyers I could
even upgrade to a newer unit. Now I have to work
hard just paying the bills for this old suit.
Back in his apartment, Adam finds the bird hiding
in his closet under a pile of shirts she pulled
down over her head.
"You can't hide from me girl!" He says angrily
as he uncovers the bird, turns it around and
presses the diagnostic button under her wing.
"Good evening Mr. Taylor." The Adora
Entertainment Softbird technician says.
"What was your motivation in biting my ear?" Adam
asks. It sounds strange to hear a human voice
coming from the bird's beak.
"As you know, Oakie senses your emotions in
several different ways." The man says out of the
now immobile bird. "It notices your expressions,
your pupil dilation, your breathing rate and the
speed of your motions. It also has a voice
sensor to determine your vocal stress level. When
you are not in the room, Oakie has the ability to
pick up on your VR activity through sensing stray
frequencies emanating from your equipment. This
was the factor that controlled the biting"
Adam thinks about his recently completed VR
experience with Cindy. It might have detected him
nibbling on her ear before kissing her but he
certainly didn't bite it hard.
"I think you need a slight adjustment." Adam
says while checking out his still hurting ear.
"Calibrate your program and restrict your biting
to non living things." He commands.
"Modification complete." The Adora Entertainment
software technician says.
The next morning Adam sees Cindy waiting for the
bus. He greets her but all she can do is stair
open mouthed at his bitten ear. It was the same
one she had bitten in her VR experience!
Unfortunately, there were only a few single seats
left on the bus so she couldn't ask Adam about
During a break at work, Cindy decides to revise
her zip info on relationships. Then she'll be
able to see if Adam is still compatible. Cindy
Touches her lips just for a second thinking about
the strange coincidence of the ear, then clicks
on his picture to invite Adam for dinner.
Adam arrives downstairs at seven PM. He brings
his robot Owl along to show it to her and
Matthew. This is the birds first trip out of the
"I know he'd like to see it but I just can't get
that kid away from his game on the VR." Cindy
says while serving stuffed mushrooms. "I'll just
put his dinner in the micro so he can eat it
"Now then, what happened to your ear?" Cindy
Matthew Erven is too deeply involved in the GMA
game, Shades of Doom version twelve to stop for
dinner. In a level where the monsters roam free,
their search for him is intense. It's night and
the dim light of the moon makes hiding more
difficult. The flashlights, yellow beams burst
over the near cliff face, then search the ceiling
of a cave. It's cold and he is naked, having
lost all of his weapons and armour at the entrance
to this level . Laying flat on his back in the
tall wet grass, the mutant humans pass near by
Matthew. There is no defence for him except by
stealth. The nearest searcher pauses a few
seconds then moves on. Matthew stops breathing
and goose bumps raise on the back of his arms
when the voice of the growling creature gets
louder. They search in vain. He understands that
their weapons are made of rubber, but when shot
too close, they can really sting. The thud of
their foot steps beat off to the west. He sighs
for the time being, his body is safe from their
bruising weapons. The grass hides Matthew as he
turns onto his belly. Some of the blades are
short but most are tall enough to hide him. The
sounds of their feet are scarcely heard now. It
takes courage to peek out to see how far they
have gone. There are three of them and Matthew
is in no immediate danger from being spotted. A
rare deliverance from their attacks. Matthew
crawls on his hands and knees over to where they
had already been, to look for a refuge from their
search. He examines the cavities in the cliff
face, then enters a wide mouth gash. It gives
Matthew room enough to stand up and still be
hidden. He hears them coming back. He is
doubtful that his location is safe from a close
inspection. Matthew thinks some of the caves are
connected by tunnels but many have no other way
out. The existence of a long tunnel is what he
hopes for after all his efforts to escape. It's
damp in the cave. Hundreds of bats hang off the
ceiling in the gloom. They are perpetually in
motion, breathing and flapping. He hears some of
them swoop down and pounce on the first sight of
food. The flashlights have attracted flying
insects that the bats gobble down quickly.
Strange noises come from them. It's the combined
sounds of hundreds of hearts beating and lungs
swelling and relaxing. Matthew is discouraged.
It's impossible for him to stay here. But they
are still searching. Matthew sees the lights
fanning outside getting closer and closer. It's
clear that he has no other place to go but
further into the cave. He finds refuge in a
small notch four feet up in the wall.
In Cindy's apartment, Oakie swings her head left
and right looking up at the ceiling then jumps up
on the couch and watches them eat.
"I've been thinking of our talk about
relationships." Adam says between bites. "When
you said that you were still hurting from your
divorce and that after a long marriage you
drifted apart. When did you realize that you
weren't compatible?" He asks.
Cindy looks at Adam and pauses eating. "It was
the socks and shoes. He had a strange way of
putting them on and taking them off. At first I
thought it was cute, then after a while, it
bugged the hell out of me. He would sit on the
edge of the bed and lean over and put on his
right sock and shoe first. He would repeat the
process with his left sock and left shoe. Then
he would slip his pants over his shoes.
"Why did he do that?" Adam asks.
"He said that when he was a child he was afraid
of fires. He thought it would be better if woken
up in the middle of the night to put on one sock
and shoe then hop outside than to put both socks
and shoes on. He told me he had been doing it
"It really bugged you that much?" Adam asks.
"I told him that I would just run out with bear
feet. He refused to change. I thought he was
deranged and I told him to stop, but he didn't."
She wraps a chain around her wrist, smiles and
continues, "Then there was the other thing, his
Matthew examines the ledge he is sitting on.
Luckily it is not inhabited by any bats. As the
lights drift away from the cave opening, he
gradually hears the chatter of thousands of small
feet echoing around him. and the sound is getting
louder and louder. His skin shrivels at the
realization that the floor is covered with cave
crickets. Just then, one bat looses its grip on
the ceiling and falls to the cave floor. He hears
the insects swarm over the screeching body. In
the gloom of the cave, he can just make out that
the bugs quickly strip the flesh off and the bat
is reduced to shining bones. Matthew realizes
that the carnivorous insects were scared off by
the search lights and now are back to trap him in
the notch. When the crickets are done with the
fallen bat. They settle down to a glistening
black surface covering the floor below him.
Matthew gets the creeps thinking about those bugs
and what they could do to his naked feet if he
tries to run out. He has the horrible thought of
falling asleep then slipping off the ledge and
falling into that mass of creatures unable to
breathe as they enter his mouth and nose while
thousands of pinchers dig into his flesh. So much
for a vivid imagination. He can feel that here,
alone in this place, he will die. In this cave,
death happens so often that there is nothing to
mark its passing. His cramped little notch is a
sanctuary but only until he becomes too thirsty
or hungry to stay. Matthew wishes he had a trap
door to the top of the hill where he knows the
monsters would not look for him. He is tempted
by the cave opening, so near yet impossible to
reach. With his back tight against the wall
Matthew still sees the searcher's lights dimly
fanning outside. It's clear that he has no other
place to go. Hiding in this hideously damp dark
cave He explores the small notch in the wall with
his finger tips, touching the ceiling above his
head. Then he reaches behind him. An instant of
dread crosses his mind when he touches a soft
mushy object that feels like an enormous spider.
Matthew is ready to unleash a fury of fists at
the thing but pauses to think. If it's a spider
he is dead, but if it's something else, something
he can use, then it's worth clicking on. He
decides to explore it further. It turns out to
be a mushroom. This could be a food source or the
instrument of his end if it's poisonous. He
examines the small ledge and there are several
fat mushrooms on it the size of tennis balls.
Oakie starts to whimper as its head swivels back
and forth as if it was seeing something crawling
around the room. Adam goes over and picks Oakie
up and brings her back to the table. Holding
Oakie on his lap Adam doesn't see the bird take a
big bite of a mushroom. Oakie squirms off his lap
and runs back to the couch.
Matthew picks a mushroom and tosses pieces of it
up to the bats. They fly over and snatch the
pieces out of the air thinking they are flying
insects. Now he only has to wait to find out if
they die from eating the mushrooms.
A few minutes later, Adam feels something hitting
the back of his head. He looks around and sees
Oakie spitting out a little chunk of mushroom
then slapping it with her right wing like a
tennis serve. It flies over his head and plops
down on the table. Cindy is carrying dishes into
the kitchen so he cleans up some of the most
obvious mess that Oakie made before she notices
Matthew starts a long vigil listening for the
telltale thud of their bodies. It's clear to him
now that the chance of escape is small. He
wonders if he should call out to attract the
searchers to come back and save him from starving
or being eaten by bugs. If they decide to kill
him, at least it will be quick. The bats still
hug the ceiling. The mushrooms seem to not have
affected them. Matthew is stricken rigid by the
fear of falling asleep and dropping off the
ledge. He is famished. The mushrooms are too
tempting not to try. He reaches out and picks
one and takes a bite of its smooth surface. It's
moist and tart but not terrible. He is tempted
to eat more right away but being careful he
decides to wait and see if the little piece makes
him sick. He debates with himself how long to
wait to find out the effects of a small taste. He
hears a sharp crack outside. Matthew is frozen
in place waiting for the searchers to pass. He
can't move but he must stay alert. Every now and
then he begins to fall asleep and nearly loses
his balance. He thinks of his life outside of
this world. He wonders if any of his peeps are
the ones searching for him. He murmurs, "If they
are, I'll get those bunches of bad fakers!"
Matthew has sat still so long that his muscles
ache. The sound of flapping catches his
attention. The bats start to fly out of the cave
by the hundreds. The incessant beat of their
wings form flying blurs, their little pupils
glimmering like thousands of stars in the sky.
The stench in the cave caused by the bats is
overwhelming enough to cause him to hold his
nose. He has to wait until the air clears. Has
he waited long enough? His increasing hunger
makes him test the air. It is breathable. Now he
must try to eat some more. It doesn't appear
that the mushrooms are poisonous. Matthew takes
another bite. The sight of the bat's yellow eyes
reflecting the flash lights as they flew out of
the cave makes him shiver. Matthew presses tight
to the back wall of the notch trying not to be
seen from the entrance. It looks like the
searchers will not explore the tunnel. They are
coming and going by, their nearness reflected by
the beams of light passing at intervals. The
lights make the mass of remaining bats vibrate
and tremble. The direct light occasionally stirs
After a while, Matthew notes a group of
stationary bats sitting in a niche directly
across from him. He can hear a faint squeaking
from them. Their voices give the impression of a
nesting mother with babies to feed. It's not
bats, it's rats! They must have come in by a
different route since they could not have walked
on the insects without being eaten. He can just
barely see their small round eyes glimmering in
the fading search light.
He realizes that the way to freedom maybe at
hand. Matthew gathers the mushrooms until his
arms are filled then starts throwing them on
either side of a path across to the rat tunnel.
The insects surge towards the mushrooms reacting
like they are falling bats. This leaves a narrow
path clear of them. Matthew springs out of his
notch and rushes towards the other hole in the
wall. His jumping into the rat infested tunnel
scares them off. This is good because he can
follow their fading scratching sound in this area
of total darkness. Matthew hears small bones
break under his bare feet but no sign of the
deadly insects. He is free to slowly explore the
tunnel and does a full circuit of the new space.
His hope of escape dwindles as there is no easy
way out. He gropes the walls, higher and higher,
leaving no place un-searched. Though the floor
is continuous there are numerous small niches in
the cave walls but they are too small for him to
enter. He can feel the ceiling of the cave a foot
over his head. When Matthew turns around to face
the entrance of this side tunnel, he feels a
draft on his face. This raises goose bumps in the
sure knowledge that there is a way out. But is it
large enough to squeeze through? Their is a
rustling of tiny feet further into the tunnel.
He feels a deep notch waste high in the wall to
the right. He enters that passage. The smell of
damp rat fur is stronger. As Matthew pauses to
listen, the sound of the claws fade away. There
seems to be an unbroken surface but the constant
breeze from the bats is intensified in this
narrow tunnel. Beyond a point the wind stops. He
moves back to where the breeze is on his face.
Matthew feels up a foot. He feels a ledge over
his head. With the agility of a cat Matthew grabs
it and pulls himself up and onto the ledge. He
squats with his legs cramped underneath him on a
smaller shelf than before. He takes a breath.
Sitting is impossible for the shelf is only three
inches wide. There directly above him is an
opening. Matthew raises his head and feels the
air streaming past. With his eyes grown
sensitive to light in the complete darkness he
perceives a slight glow from above. He searches
for a hand hold on the wall and finds a narrow
groove that the rats use to enter the cave
chimney. He can imagine the rats above him
slipping off the ledges and falling on to his
head. By feeble fits and starts he climbs slowly
up the impossible sheer walls. Resting is
unthinkable as he clings perilously to small
finger and footholds. Some of the cracks and
crevices are slimy, crumbling and a half inch
wide. He gropes with one hand compelled to
continue up for if he falls, no one might hear
his scream, or if he cries out the searchers will
capture him. He doesn't know which would be
worse. The persistence of the fresh air flowing
around encourages him. Matthew slowly moves up
another foot then looks up and sees an edge above
him filled with stars. He threads his way slowly
up the last few feet. He reaches out with his
hands and grasps a clump of grass. Matthew inches
upwards until he can extend his arms over the
edge. He feels the cold temperature of the hill
top. His breathing intensifies as he is almost
at the end. It's unthinkable that he stop now,
but he is exhausted. He pauses a few minutes to
recover then grabs the two sides of the hole and
pulls his body out. He flips on his belly and
holds onto the grass clumps to keep from falling
back. Safe now, Matthew rolls over and lays flat
panting. He looks up at the sky and the radiant
full moon. As a beam of light shoots down
circling him, he realizes that his quest on this
level is over.
When Adam looks back at Oakie she is gone. He
hears a rustling from the fire place. It's the
sound of the bird squeezing up the chimney trying
to get out. Adam reaches up just in time to pull
her down. Her wings loosen clouds of black dust
that fall all over Adam. He finally reaches far
enough up to hit the shut off button.
Cindy pulls out her ZIP card from her purse,
thumbs the on switch and smiles at the green
glow. She hikes up her skirt a little, picks up
the tea cups and comes in from the kitchen. Her
eyes grow large with the shock at her soot
covered living room.
"What did you do to my apartment!" She exclaims.
I don't know what happened with this dirty bird!"
Adam croaks, looking at Oakie's blackened wings.
"She never did anything like this before. All I
can say is that I really apologize for bringing
Adam continues to beg her to forgive him as Cindy
pushes him and the bird out her front door
slamming it behind them.
Before she starts to clean up the mess, she plans
to call her sun for dinner again. Walking over to
her VR unit, she feels a wet squishy object on
the carpet. She picks up and examines what looks
like a piece of her mushroom dinner. Then she
notices two paths of mushroom pieces leading from
the couch to the fireplace.
"Matthew, time to eat dinner." the whispering
voice of his mother rings in his ears.
"Damn, she always interferes with my game!" He
He realizes that luckily it wasn't while he was
climbing or the interruption could have made him
fall. Matthew saves his position, sets the omni-
directional treadmill to frozen mode, then still
dressed in the VR suit studded with small
pressure solenoids, walks over to the side and
steps off. As he does, thousands of programmable
friction balls lower themselves on their
telescopic stems turning the rugged hillside of
his game world to a flat surface. He removes the
helmet, unplugs the nose filter and spits out the
taste generator, turns off the air system and
slips out of the suit. He looks his body over
for any bruises caused by the game. He can feel
the strain of climbing the chimney in his fingers
and shoulders but he still looks edgy slim. He
would have to wait to check the really flight
game sites until he could afford a better unit,
and he wished he was already twenty one so he
could get the chip implant like his mom has.
His cell phone rings and it's one of his peeps
from the game. They talk about how he got out of
Adam gets back into his apartment with Oakie, and
puts her back into the nest. Zap! Crash!
Lightning flashes outside of Adam's house and the
power goes out. He wakes up with his nose
pressed into the carpet. He looks up into the
blue screen of his college dorm computer as it
starts to re- boot. Looking out the window, he is
back at the Erindale Campus in Mississauga.
He thinks to himself, was it all a dream, or was
I in the future?
Games for hand/ear coordination
By Gerardo Corribio
Have you ever wanted a game that would serve the double purpose of (1)
bettering your hand/ear coordination and (2) have fun at the same time?
Crazy Darts, deek Out, and Bopit, all free games do exactly this.
First, though, let's define the term hand/ear coordination: According to the
American Heritage dictionary, coordination is defined as the Harmonious
functioning of muscles in the execution of movements. Though vague, we
can redefine hand/ear coordination for this article as the Harmonious
muscles in the execution of movements proceeded by auditory input.
Suppose a friend throws an empty coffee can on the kitchen floor, thus
a clang sound. The hand/ear coordination required for this example is to
hear where the can lands, locating the clang sound by our hearing it, and
search for the source of the clang, finding the coffee can. Though this is a
very basic example, the games being discussed for this review require us to
go a bit further. continuing with the coffee can example, if it were one of
these games, it would require us to instantly locate the coffee can upon its
fall. Beep baseball is another example in that apart from the words "ready
go" commands, one must hear where the beeping ball is approaching from and
hit the ball with the bat.
The famous children's Simon Says game is another example of hand/ear
coordination in that upon hearing a verbal command you follow it. Now that
hand/ear coordination has been explained, let's go with the games and
explain how the hand/ear coordination principle applies to them.
Deek Out, which one can download from
only requires that one's computer have Direct-X8 or higher installed and is
playable without sighted assistance; the game is self-voicing so no screen
reader is needed to play.
Once you launch DeekOut, you're presented with the task of trying to avoid
the computer. Using the right, left, up, and down arrows, move away from the
sound of the computer player
because if the computer gets you, you lose the game. However, one way that
helps you in adding points (to your score is the more you can avoid the
computer the more points
you get. Is to stay in one place when you hear a different sound from the
computer's. So ready to try and avoid being caught by your computer?
How is hand/ear coordination used in this game? With the act of listening
for the computer and avoiding it, thus moving yourself away requires that
you listen to the origin of the sound and using your hands' muscles and
instantly move away from the sound. Suppose you're walking around the block
hear a dog bark at you. What would you do? Quickly get away from the danger
of the dog biting you, thus this is the purpose of DeekOut, to get away from
the danger of the computer getting at you.
Crazy Darts which can be downloaded from
is self-voicing, playable without sighted assistance and only requires
Direct-X 8 or higher to work.
The purpose of Crazy Darts is to aim and shoot the dart at a randomly-moving
target. The closer to the center you shoot the more points. Sound easy?
close attention to the target's movements because each move is different
from the one before. When you feel the shot is right, press the spacebar to
shoot the dart.
The hand/ear coordination is used in that suppose you get verbal or sound
cues to where you need to throw a basketball? If the cue is more to the
left/right you either wait for it to be more in the center by you moving a
bit or you risk and throw the ball, hoping you get it in.
Remember the Bopit toy popular a few years ago? Jim Kitchen has adapted the
Bopit game for the PC. In case needing a refresher, Bopit involves
twisting,pulling and bopping in different combinations and faster each time.
To download Bopit, which needs a screen reader to run and playable without
sighted assistance, go to Jim Kitchen's page at
From there, go to the Free Windows Games link and you'll see the Bopit link.
Once downloaded, installed and making sure you've got your screen reader
running, launch the game and with yes no prompts, it'll ask you if you want
to read the instructions, if you want voiced commands or tones (I recommend
starting out with voiced prompts), the beginner level you want and finally
to start the game.
Once started in order to bopit hit the down arrow key, pull it is the left
arrow key, and twist it is the right arrow key. Be quick because one wrong
key or waiting too long, and you lose. Every time you correctly issue the
command the game speeds up faster and faster. When you get to 100 points,
though, it speeds up even more!
The hand/ear coordination used is the same as the Simon Says example; you
get a verbal command and follow it. However if you fail to do it correctly
the first time around, similar to the Simon Says game, you lose.
The Simon game, which is playable without sighted assistance and requires a
screen reader to play, from James Boden site at
follows this same principle in that you need to hear the sound and remember
what key is associated with the sound. but wait! It goes even further
because it requires the player to hear the sound and remember the sequence.
In that it's the first sound + sound B plus the number of notes you specify
in the configuration with the f3 keystroke.
To remember what key is associated with what sound, you can go into Free
Play mode from within the Game menu.
To start playing the game, press f2 or Start Game from within the menus and
you're all set to play
So want to start working your hand/ear coordination and have fun at the same
time? Enjoy these games!
Encounter In the Worm's Lair.
By Phil Vlasak and others.
This Dungeons and Dragons adventure is in the public Gamer's room
on Audio-Tips, Sunday night at nine o'clock Eastern time.
Audio-Tips is at:
Note: This story contains graphic descriptions of violence. It therefore may
not be suitable for younger readers.
Part 1 of this story was published on the Blind Gamers list in December. If
you want to skip it, search for,
Part 2, Underground Enemy
List of characters:
Alustrial, An Elf fighter with Psionic powers.
She can cause great damage with her mind as with her sword.
Shem al Adeen, Holy Warrior of Varice, God of the Sun. Being a man of the
desert, he finds himself in strange surroundings.
Chalk Casselwort, Gnome Priest of Sedric, God of the Heavens and Travelers.
Pledged to help and support the party, his size and lack of strength makes
him reluctant to battle.
Gabriella and NightShade, Elf sisters, Magic User and Thief. Strangers to
most of the group but old friends of Mace.
HeartString, Elf Priest of Liyyera, the goddess of love. His healing powers
are aimed to help broken hearts and bodies.
Mace Knighthammer, Magic User/ fighter. To him, stealth and cunning are
traits foremost in dealing with others If he can get
past his temper.
Molbo, Patriarch of Perasin, God of War. His wisdom does not quite make up
for his lack of smarts, and he likes to fight, too.
Hitomi Reju, Samurai Fighter, Priest of Helandra, the goddess of knowledge
and secrets. His honor is foremost in dealing with
challenges that he takes on willingly. He is master of the edged weapons,
katana and wakazachi.
SpringRight, Elf fighter. He is young but eager to try out battle techniques
learned from his tutors.
Taliesin, Half Elf, Bard. Prefers to fight with his tongue rather than his
The Battle begins.
Molbo has his supper and then starts to make a
cheese soup. Shem goes over to see what he is
doing & Molbo asks that Shem put someone in place
of him so he can honour his deity's gift of new
powers. Shem asks and Andy takes Molbo's place.
The cooking site is about 30 to 40 yards downwind
from the group. Chalk comes over to see Molbo at
his pot and asks if this stuff could attract
animals. Molbo doesn't think there should be a
problem. Taliesan comes over to Molbo and inquires as to
the outcome of the pot. Molbo explains that
either he dumps it on his next kill or he must
drink it. Mace and Gabriella continue dagger-
throwing training. He has only lost 1 so far. At
about midnight, Molbo sits down & wraps himself
in a blanket and watches his cheese soup simmer.
At 2 AM chalk and SpringRight notice the earth
shake feeling thumps from the south east. Chalk
starts tooting his whistle. The rest of the group
awaken quickly. The ground is really shaking by
the time all are out of the tent. They can't see
anything, though. Molbo is now on his feet and is
making sure the pot doesn't tip. Edam, Molbo's
yak, is getting kiddish & soup is sloshing
about. Molbo tries to calm the beast while
keeping an eye on the pot. Taliesan casts an
ARMOR spell on himself. Shem dons most of his
armour. SpringRight and Reju go to see Molbo. Reju
asks Molbo if he's causing the ground to shake.
Molbo doesn't know if his cooking is causing the
Chalk has also gotten his bow out. He's in
shooting distance with the Elven sisters and
A six foot high ten foot wide purple worm breaks
out of the ground. It is twenty two feet long
with a stinger on the end of its tale. It starts
slithering towards them. It has a big maw at one
end. Molbo puts himself between the pot and the
advancing worm. Reju takes up a position next to
Molbo. Taliesan manoeuvres around to get a clear
shot of the worm, but keeps his distance.
SpringRight goes to Molbo's other side and takes
up a position to fight with his sword. The worm
heads straight for Molbo, surges towards him but
misses him, distracted by the smell of cheese. SpringRight running straight
swings his sword and hacks a big chunk out of it.
Reju runs towards the creature with two swords,
swings his katana and carves a small gash out of
it's head but then misses with his short sword.
Molbo swings his really really big axe but just
takes a small slice out of it. chalk shoots an
arrow that does about the same amount of damage
as Molbo's axe. Reju's katana hits the worm for
a good slice. But the huge, subterranean
creature's mouth surrounds Reju sucking him into
itself. He is swallowed whole, partially crushed
inside the worm's gut being slowly digested. Reju
will die in six minutes if not recovered. chalks
second arrow misses the creature. The worm's tail
swings at Taliesin and hits but his armour spell
takes the brunt of the damage. chalk fires
another arrow but it just nicks the worm's side.
SpringRight swings his sword and misses.
talesen's crossbow bolt plunks into the worm with
very little effect. Molbo takes a very big swing,
but his axe cuts through air without hitting the
creature. chalk's second arrow hisses through the
air, bounces off SpringRight's armour and plunks
talesen in the leg. mace swings his bastard sword
and takes a big chunk out of the creature. Shem
ignites his sword and cuts a sizzling slice out
of the beast. SpringRight fumbles slips on a
patch of the worm's blood, falls and drops his
sword. Molbo with another mighty swing misses.
The purple worm, seeing the small creature on the
ground, smashes into SpringRight squishing him. On the ground trying to get
away from the worm,
SpringRight grabs his sword and keeps rolling
away. The worm's tail hits Shem with a mighty
thwack but the poison stinger misses him. chalk
fires another arrow but misses. Reju, trapped
inside the purple worm attempts to cut his way
out with his short sword but its digestive juices
weaken him, so each swing does less and less
damage. Molbo spins around and around with his
axe held out, with each revolution gaining
momentum, until he sinks it deep into the head
of the worm. talesen backs off from the range of
the swishing tail. mace takes a mighty swing with
his sword and it sinks right through the worm's
skin bouncing off Reju's armour. talesen's
crossbow bolt plunks it in the side but to
little affect. Shem prays to his god and with a
great swing his burning sword sinks deep into the
worm's brain, killing it instantly. At the same
time, Andy runs in and pokes it
through the side. Reju eventually hacks his way
out of the worm's gut. To celebrate the victory,
Molbo dumps his pot of cheese on the dead worm's
carcass. Reju finds that his belt pouch,
scabbards and boots were eaten away by digestive
juices. His magic healing Ioun stones were in
that pouch and are still inside the dead worm.
chalk uses a healing spell and cures SpringRight
and Reju. Molbo cures Shem and talesen. Reju
chops at the dead worm looking for his healing
stones until Mace walks over and hands the Ioun
stones to him saying that they rolled out of the
dead worm during the battle. Molbo comes over and
suggest they get going as scavengers will be
coming. Reju wants to know if they should bury
the creature. Gabriella suggests going into the
tunnel it made and checking its lair for
deposited treasures. They could also put the
critter back into the tunnel. Mace goes with
putting it back in its hole. Shem comes up and
inquires as to what we're discussing Andy chimes
in and puts his suggestion in to just move the
caravan. But Reju doesn't want to move. Shem
waves the rest over to join in. Mace suggests
that maybe there is another worm in the hole.
Maybe we should block the hole. Chalk suggests
going into the hole come sunrise. Molbo
disagrees. We should block the hole, but we have
to protect caravan, get it to shaiyo, and get to
Odifferus. Gabriella thinks they need to put some
distance between them and the worm. be it us
moving or moving the worm. They discuss burning the worm
& what critters that may draw. Molbo suggests we
ask Ravin, the caravan leader what he wants to
do. Gabriella goes to seek him out & talk to her
elder sister, Nightshade. Shem thinks there is no
additional danger leaving the worm where it is
and staying ;those who'd want it, won't want us.
Nightshade, Gabriella, and Ravin the caravan
leader come back now. Ravin heads over to Shem,
stops & puts his hand over his nose. Shem
explains in brief ;do we move on or stay? Ravin
seems to think it might be better to move, but
doesn't want to wake all the drivers up. He
decides we should stay till daybreak. We'll move
out with the rising sun. SpringRight still
suggests going down into the hole ;asks
Gabriella, Nightshade, Chalk if they want to go.
Mace, Shem, and Molbo decline due to size &
caravan protection. Nightshade suggests Andy
might like to go ;since he is a smaller warrior.
Andy considers ;how much time do we have before
Molbo: maybe an hour or two. Nightshade asks
Molbo to attach her rope to his cooking pot &
hold the rope for leverage as they slide down the
hole. Shem cautions engaging any potential foes
down there. SpringRight offers to go down first.
Nightshade agrees. Andy, you take up the rear.
Andy agrees and asks SpringRight for his whistle.
Molbo asks if they need light. Nightshade assures
them they won't need it. Chalk asks & Molbo
produces his light stick. Chalk takes it and
promises to return it in good order. Entering the lair.
The small group that includes Chalk, SpringRight,
NightShade, Gabriella and Andy get ready to
enter the worm's hole. Chalk leaves his bow and
arrows behind on the surface and also puts his
rations on the cart to lighten his load and make
more room in his backpack. He brings his fifty
foot silk rope, daggers and staff for any close
range trouble. Being a Rock Gnome, he has special
abilities such as Detecting Underground
Features, locating sloping passages, flawed
stonework, and his approximate depth and
direction underground. He has a feeling that his
god, Sedric would want him to do this but worries
that having already used some spells after the worm was defeated, he can not
as much as he would like. He knows that if he can
pray for new spells at sunrise, he would be much
more helpful in this adventure in the worm hole.
SpringRight [To Nightshade] Wait until I reach
the bottom before you come down. To avoid too
much noise, I'll shake the rope twice if all is
clear. And if it's not... well, I'll yell up to
you the situation ...if I can. [he smiles
grimly.] [SpringRight thinks for a few seconds.]
SpringRight: Three shakes if I need to be silent,
but it means there is trouble.
SpringRight makes his way hand over hand down the
rope. Every few seconds he looks behind him to
see what he is lowering himself into. Once he
reaches the bottom, he looks as far down the
tunnel as he can before the invasive light kills
his infravision. Mace thinks to himself "I hope I
don't get 3 tugs I really need to get some sleep
so I can study in the morning" The tunnel
continues at a 45-degree angle for about 60 feet,
then begins to level off. When Spring Right
reaches the end of NightShade's rope (100 feet),
the angle has reduced to about 30 degrees.
Looking with his infravision, it appears to
continue to level off for the next 60 feet or so,
at which point the angle is perhaps 15-20
degrees. Spring Right hasn't seen any sign of
life, but the tunnel seems fairly stable,
although there's a bit of loose dirt here and
there. Since all is clear, SpringRight pulls the
rope twice, and starts moving towards the next
incline. He has his long sword in hand if there
is enough room to swing, otherwise he will be
holding a dagger. He will check to make sure all
of his weapons are close at hand.
At the jerk of the rope Chalk motions the others
to start down the rope, not wanting Spring Right
to get too far without backup. He has his staff
strapped to his belt and his daggers in their
sheaths so his hands are free to use the rope.
NightShade and Gabriella make their way down.
NightShade seems to have little trouble, barely
even touching the rope. As she approaches
SpringRight, she asks if he needs the additional
coil of rope. Space-wise, it's a bit tight for a
long sword, but it's usable. Overall, it's about
5-6 feet wide all the way around.
SpringRight replies to Nightshade that he can
take the rope if she likes, but he has examined
the upcoming tunnel and he says there is only a
gentle descent ahead. He takes the rope anyway
thinking that there may be worse inclines past
what he has explored. SpringRight looks further
down the gentle incline to see what is ahead, but
he waits there until all in the small party make
the descent. Chalk also reaches Spring Right and
says, "If we run into trouble I may have to pray
for new spells since some of mine were used after
we killed the worm." In the
light cast from Molbo's rock Chalk examines the
walls and ceiling of the tunnel looking for
fissures or cracks that could lead to its
collapse. he looks back to see if Andy is
following. Andy has a bit of trouble getting down
the incline, even with the rope, but he catches
up with Chalk after a moment.
Chalk looks around, and the tunnel seems fairly
stable, but thinks that they probably shouldn't
test that too much. In the light from Molbo's
stone, they can see a good distance ahead. The
tunnel is leading off to the south, and continues
its gradual flattening over the next 100 feet or
so. NightShade tells Chalk that she and the other
elves shouldn't need any more rope from here, but
to keep it handy just in case. Andy says "I think
we might want the rope a bit further... if not
now, then when we come back up."
SpringRight looks at the group, and though he
never considered himself a leader, feels that he
might need to play that role now. SpringRight:
I'll take point again. Let's move on. We should
try to move as quietly as possible. Keep in
order. Keep our eyes open for anything you might
see along the way. Stay alert, and keep your
spells and weapons ready. He gives a confident
smile to everyone, but an especially warm one for
Gabriella. SpringRight starts moving down the
gentle incline with long sword ready.
Chalk looks at the walls to determine if they
were made by the worm or was it a natural cave or
perhaps a tunnel dug by Dwarves. He says, "Since
we are headed south, I think we're not headed
under the lake." He glances down to see if there
are any glittering bits but realizes he would not
know an unfinished jewel unless it was a faceted
one from someone who was eaten by the beast. He
asks, "Nightshade, do you have skills in
detecting treasure? I could pray for a Locate
Object spell if I get some time to do it. I would
have to fix in my mind either jewellery or
After the last person disappears, Molbo says a
silent prayer to his deity: 'The flimsy ones are
being foolish. Even though they do not know what
battles they face, let them come away from them
stronger. Then they will be ready to face
whatever the one-eyed things throw at us without
being fearful.' He continues to hold the pot
straining his ears to listen for the first sounds
of trouble in the worm tunnel. Reju rests a hand
on Molbo's shoulder. "No worries my friend. I'm
sure both your god and my goddess watch over our
friends this night." Reju will use his rope use
proficiency to double check the rope to make sure
it's secure. He'll also do a scan of the area
around this hole for trouble.
NightShade says "Do I look like a Dwarf, Chalk?
If something catches my eye, I'll pick it up, but
otherwise, I'm going to be keeping a close eye on
SpringRight in case we need to beat a hasty
retreat." Gabriella adds "Indeed, be careful,
SpringRight. Being underground always makes me
nervous." Chalk looks around and sees that the
tunnel is regular, but not so regular as to be
Dwarven in make. It's definitely not a natural
structure, though. The party continues on for a
few hundred feet more, and the tunnel is almost
flat now. Chalk would estimate that they are
perhaps 75 to 100 yards below ground. As they
press forward, NightShade lays a hand on
SpringRight's shoulder and whispers "Wait...
listen..." SpringRight hesitates, as it's
difficult to hear much of anything with Andy
clanking along behind, but Gabriella motions to
him to be still. Andy
pulls up short (no pun intended), and after a few
seconds, SpringRight can just make out a faint
squeaking sound coming from up ahead. Mace still
drinking the cider wonders if he will have to go
down there to bail out his friends After Taliesan
returns from getting the cider and ale. He pulls
out a set of pan pipes and starts to play softly.
Stopping briefly he asks Reju when he is to take
the watch and where? The question is asked in a
manor that it flows with the music.
mace after finishing his cider and seeing that
Molbo and Reju have things in hand will go and
cut around the worm and see if any new trinkets
fall out. (boredom is a terrible thing).
SpringRight whispers, "Rats? I hate rats!" He
turns to Nightshade and asks quietly, "Do you
think those are rats?" "Let's move quietly ahead,
and have your weapons ready."
NightShade replies "Could be. If they are rats,
that's a good sign."
SpringRight says, "Let's move on then, but
quietly." He motions to the rest of the group to
follow. Chalk whispers, "NightShade, what do you
mean a good sign?" He thinks a minute and
suggests, "Is it that rats feed on dead bodies,
or what is left of them when going through the
Chalk remembers something and whispers,
"Gabriella, do you have that detect magic spell
memorized? If we run across items in this hole,
the magic ones would be most valuable."
NightShade says: "Rats mean we could be close to
its lair." Gabriella shakes her head and says "I
cast my detection spell on the stones Mace
NightShade then shushes everyone as she moves
forward behind SpringRight. The squeaking gets
louder as they move forward, and NightShade puts
her hand on SpringRight's shoulder. She says
"Listen to that echoing... it sounds like a large
open space ahead. Tread carefully."
Chalk says, "With Molbo's light pointing us out,
I don't think being quiet will do any good. I may
have to pray for a Detect Magic spell myself.
NightShade steps back and bends down to whisper
to Chalk: "A lot of things that live underground
don't have very good eyesight and are very
dependent on their hearing.
Rats can see, sure... but they may not be the
only thing up ahead. However, you do make a good
point -- perhaps we should douse the light."
Good idea." SpringRight whispers, "Let's kill the
light and take care as we proceed." Once the
light is doused and his eyes become accustomed to
the dark, SpringRight starts moving forward
slowly. Heeding NightShade's advice, and not
totally trusting his infravision, he slides his
feet on the ground to ensure his next step is not
down a large drop. With the light covered, Chalk
sniffs the air thinking that after smelling the
worm that they battled, he would recognize the
foul stench if there was another worm up ahead.
Hearing Spring Right slide his feet, Chalk
whispers, "If you are worried about pits, we
could tie ourselves together with my silk rope."
At the dousing of the light and the talk of a
large open space ahead, Chalk realizes that they
may encounter side passages and want to identify
the tunnel that they came in, so he reaches into
his pouch and pulls out a Casselwort chalk and
quietly kneels down and places marks on the
floor. He plans to mark their path every ten
"Good idea Chalk. Pass me the end of the rope."
SpringRight calls back quietly. Once SpringRight
gets the end, he loops and ties the rope around
his waist. "Good. I'll be able to move a little
more quickly now." SpringRight says to himself.
"let's keep moving now." He whispers back, "But
let's maintain as much silence as we can, given
the armour we have in the group." SpringRight says
this as he looks back at the Halfling. After
handing the end of the rope to Spring Right,
Chalk passes it to each of the others to hold on
to. He ends up behind Andy with the rest of the
rope looped around his left arm. Chalk plays out
a little rope to put about six feet of distance
between him and Andy to keep out of the way from
the Halfling's possible sword swings.
He is thinking with his poor hand to hand
fighting skills and lack of spells, he would be
least likely to survive a confrontation with
another worm. If they do find treasure with no
beasts to fight he could help in collecting it,
or praying for his lighten load spell to use on
it. After everyone is attached, the group moves
slowly forward, scanning the area with
infravision. As he gets closer, SpringRight
begins to see small shapes moving around up
ahead. Also, they are definitely detecting a
change in the air -- the smell of the cheese is
fading, replaced by the smell of offal.
SpringRight continues to move forward, and now
can definitely make out rats in the tunnel ahead.
A couple run up the tunnel past them, perhaps
following the cheesy odour. The group is now
perhaps 20 feet away from the large chamber Chalk
noted, and indeed they can see that it's almost
spherical, about 50 feet in diameter, with dozens
of rats scurrying around piles of dung. It's very
hard to make out anything else at this point, but
there are certainly no additional worms here --
though there are at least a couple of other
tunnels exiting the chamber that they can see.
"Does anyone want to look around here?" asks
SpringRight. "If not, we should continue down one
of the other tunnels. Any preferences?" Chalk
speaks up, "When the worm eats someone, then the
treasure they were carrying is probably mixed in with that dung heap." And
tunnels could be exits." Thinking a minute, Chalk
continues, "We could explore the other tunnels a
little to see if they head down or up or if fresh
air is coming from them. If they go down, then it
is probably not an exit." He says, "I have marked
the floor of our tunnel with white chalk every
ten feet so we won't get lost. I suggest we
uncover that light stone to make searching this
pile easier." "Sure Chalk, take a look for me as
well." SpringRight says with disgust. "In the
meantime, I'd like to scout out a little ways
down each of these tunnels. Anyone interested in
joining me?" Gabriella says "I'm not sure I want
to stay down here much longer. Could another worm
be down one of those tunnels?"
NightShade counters "Come on, little
sister... we'd be able to hear it coming.
Besides, Chalk seems to be more than willing to
do the dirty work. Meanwhile, I could check a
couple of the passages. What do you say,
SpringRight says: "Let's look up both of them a
ways. Maybe a hundred yards or so. If you don't
have any preferences NightShade, let's take the
tunnel on the left. We shouldn't take too long
though, since the others will want to get going
once the sun rises." SpringRight looks at
Gabriella: "Don't worry Gabriella, if we come
across something more than we can handle, we will
just retreat back up the tunnel." SpringRight
smiles and pats his sword: "Besides, I'm not too
bad with this." NightShade says "Do you want us
all to go up the same tunnel, or should we split
up?" Chalk says, If you give me that glowing rock
of Molbo's I will stay here and pray for a spell
that will make finding things easier. But please
whistle if you hear any worms coming."
SpringRight ponders the question for a few
seconds: "NightShade, Our strength is as a group.
We have a combination of skills and talents that
make us stronger together, and so I don't think
we should split our numbers. On the other hand,
if anyone could go alone, you could, and so if
you wanted to explore one of the tunnels, that
would be reasonable. It would need to be your
choice though, but the rest of us better stick
together." NightShade replies "Oh, I have no
intention of going alone ...I was thinking that
if you and little sister went one way, then I
could go with... ah," She glances backwards at
Andy, who is rummaging through his pack, then
continues. "Hmmm...perhaps we SHOULD stick
together." She gestures with her dagger toward
the leftward passage. "Lead on." Chalk says, "I
would not be of too much use going with you
without more spells. I will wait here but
whistle if you need me. SpringRight frowns and
says, "We should not leave Chalk alone, how about
Andy staying with you?" Andy pulls out a sandwich
and says, "That would
be an excellent suggestion."
SpringRight removes the rope tying him to the
others and the three elves continue down the left
tunnel. After traveling about fifty feet, there
is a loud shout from SpringRight. He has fallen
through the floor landing on his back causing a
slight damage to his arm. He looks around and
discovers he is in a different type of tunnel,
this one is square in shape not round and it
looks like it is carved from solid rock. hearing
the yell of SpringRight, Chalk and Andy head into
the left tunnel and reach the hole in the floor
where Gabriella and Nightshade are standing
looking down. SpringRight tells them he is fine
then continues down the passage a little until he
reaches a great iron door. Impulsively he tries
opening it but finds it is locked. Heading back
to the hole in the ceiling, NightShade has thrown
down a rope and anchored it to the floor with a
spike. SpringRight climbs up back into the worm's
tunnel. He says there is another type of tunnel
down there, and a large metal door but I think we
need more support if we plan to investigate it.
Before leaving the lair, the group checks out the
other tunnel but finds it flooded by water from
the lake. The five head back out of the worm's
tunnel the same way they got in.
Back on the surface, SpringRight describes to the
others what he found below ground. Since the group has about an hour before
party decides to go investigate the door.
Reju has put on his spare pair of boots and is using his healing stone,
which is spinning above his head.
He wants to join the others, Mace, NightShade, SpringRight, Taliesin, and
They carry down a wagon axle to span the hole SpringRight made which will be
used to anchor a rope.
The six reach the door without problems. the iron door is ten feet
high and seven feet wide and the lock is a little
higher than normal, about 4 feet from the floor.
NightShade listens in before checking for traps
and hears a low rumbling behind it. Taliesin
reveals the thieving nature of the bard by also
listening and hears a constant low pitched
metallic moaning sound. Vishler astounds the
group by saying it sounds like a chain saw or
bulldozer. He then suggests a forge or people
doing metal work. The group thinks that it could
be an iron Golum monster which could do them
serious harm if the door was opened. Vishler is
interested in this discovery and says he will go
with the party the rest of the way to Odifferus
and back here to give the door a full
investigation. They promise to come back after
completing Molbo's quest and investigate more
with a full complement of people. SpringRight
suggests that they search the other end of the
tunnel and when they reach a T in it,
they see a light coming from the left passage.
Back on the surface, Chalk meditates for a while.
Sitting cross legged on the ground, he rises up
in a twisting motion, bowing to the four cardinal
directions. He feels comforted that Sedric gave
him more powerful spells, ones he had not had
before. He was aware that a group went down into
the hole a wile ago but is not sure what they are
attempting to do. He notices the glow of the sun
brightening the east horizon. Chalk walks over to
Molbo, smiles and says, "It's a great day today,
friend Molbo!" Molbo, too, is keeping an eye on
the brightening sky. He doesn't answer right
away. Molbo: It will be a great day if our
friends come out of that tunnel and we get the
caravan to the Elf city. The longer we delay in
getting to Odifferus, the more bad things may be
happening. We have never been without our Sacred
Crock of Cheese. We must get it back as soon as
we can. He looks towards the tunnel's entrance.
Molbo says I hope they come out soon. I do not
think the caravan leader will be happy with any
Chalk thinks for a second then says, "I now have
my god's power to help them if they are in
trouble. I will go down and see what is keeping
them and help them if it is needed." Chalk checks
his staff and daggers then slides down the rope
into the worm's hole . Molbo is startled out of
his own musings by Chalk's sudden disappearance
down the hole. He immediately looks for Shem and
intercepts him in one of his rounds. Molbo says,
"Shem, I do not know what has happened, but Chalk
has gone down into the hole. I can only assume
his god told him something. Do you think our
friends are in danger? Chalk reaches the end of
the rope, then sprints to the large open area filled with dung piles.
Chalk is tempted to use his detect magic spell to
locate if any magic items are in the piles, but
he thinks he will have plenty of time on the way
out to discover them. He knows there is a hole
that SpringRight fell through in the left tunnel,
so he enters it cautiously. Chalk is aware that
the group took a wagon axle down the hole so he
looks for something that is slightly warmer than
the surrounding worm tunnel. When he reaches it,
he doesn't see the party so he climbs down the
rope. At the bottom he looks around and listens
for any voices. Just as NightShade starts to move
around the corner, they hear a loud mechanical
noise. The rest of the group sees NightShade dive
backwards into the corridor as two iron gates
descend --one in each of the two "T" passages.
NightShade picks herself up and says quickly to
SpringRight "I must've tripped a pressure
plate... we need to get out of here!" She then
begins to run back toward the rope and waves for
everyone else to follow. Mace who's danger sense
is highly accurate at the first sign of something
going wrong, starts running towards the rope and
then barks out a authoritative go! out! and make
sure you mind the hole! SpringRight raises his
already naturally raised eyebrows and says to
Mace: What do you mean by asking us to mind the
hole? We need to climb up through it with the
rope. In any event, it looks as if no one will be
pursuing us from this direction. I'll run past
the rope and protect the group from anything
coming from the locked door.
Chalk hearing a loud crash from one of the
directions faces that way and sees the party
moving towards him. He can understand Mace's loud
voice say 'Go' and thinks the party may be
getting away from something rather than fight it,
so he quickly begins to shimmy up the rope. Just
before he gets to the top he sees six humanoid
shapes coming toward him, that seem to be that of
the six party members. Sadly, the gnome's legs
are too short to reach the wall in order to climb
up the rope properly, and he slips and lands with
a "thump" on his backside, taking a little damage
to his pride and rear. NightShade quickly gets to
him and begins to climb the rope herself. The
party hears sounds
of shouting from the passage beyond in the
direction of the locked door. Taliesan is the
next to reach the hole, and he sees Chalk
struggling to get up. Behind Taliesan are Mace
and Vishler, running nearly side-by-side,
followed by SpringRight with Reju bringing up the
Mace watching chalk fall back into the tunnel
thinks to him self "if chalk isn't up and moving
by the time I get to that opening I'm going to
reach down and toss him up topside" Chalk's hands
had slipped on the damp rope causing him to land
on his butt. "Rats!" he exclaims as he struggles
to get to his feet. In the light of the stone
carried by the party he sees that they are unhurt
and is relieved. He looks around himself to make
sure he didn't drop anything in the fall and when
he looks up, NightShade is already half way up
the rope. As Taliesan reaches chalk he says you
ok? hold the rope for me and I will shinny up
and NightShade and I can hoist you up together.
Chalk says to Taliesan, "I'm not too bad. It's
ironic, I hurry to help you and I'm the only one
who needs help!" He grabs the bottom of the rope
to steady it. Taliesan says no problem. as he
grabs the rope. Once he is in the upper chamber
he will ready himself to hoist the gnome up the
rope, at the same time he calls up telling
NightShade to help
him with the rope so we can hoist the others up
quicker. Once SpringRight makes it to the rope,
he runs a few feet past it, and readies his
sword. He yells: Climb as quick as you can, and
when you are all up, I'll grab the rope. If you
all then pull, and I climb at the same time, I
might just get away. Reju, can you help me until
the others get up, and then I can guard your
exit? mace says to SpringRight I can make myself
invisible so let Reju go and I'll stay with you I
can sneak up last or second to last Mace now
looking at the gnome getting off the ground then
looks at SpringRight and smiles "you never know
what might drop in"
As the party starts climbing the rope Reju draws
both of his blades and waits just long enough for
the others to get ahead of him so he can guard
the rear. SpringRight looks at Mace: Good idea,
but if you are going to go invisible, you better
start now. They are nearly on top of us.
Reju will wait long enough with both his blades
drawn watching the passage they came from. Then
once the party has safely made it's way up the
rope. He will sheath his blades and climb up
himself. If Chalk is still being ignored. Then
Reju will tell him to climb on his back and he'll
climb up. Reju to SpringRight, I've got your
back. Head on up. Reju says over his shoulder.
Both of you get going before these guys find us.
Meanwhile, back on the surface, Shem looks at
Molbo: "Perhaps. Chalk was convinced that one of
his prayers would be able to help them, so it
could be that he completed his prayers and went
to offer the assistance they provide." Looking
around to see who remains above ground, Shem
continues, "We are still rather weak up here. I
will investigate, so could you collect Andy, Paul
and Gabriella together?" Shem adds in a gruff and
surly manner, "With only four on the surface our
strength should not be divided on the perimeter."
Shem approaches the hole, but waits for Molbo's
response before lowering himself. Molbo nods. "I
will get the perky one and the little ones. I
just hope that our lack of strength up here
doesn't last too long. Should I get the caravan
leader, too?" Shem nods, and, using the rope for
assistance, walks down into the tunnel. Shem has
some difficulty navigating the cramped hole, but
not nearly as much as Mace had earlier. He lights
his sword, so that he can see when he reaches the
chamber with the dung and all the rats. He
notices no sign of his comrades at this point,
although he does notice chalk markings
along the walls going down to the left tunnel. As
19 he turns that way, he sees a faint light
glowing down in that direction. As NightShade
nears the top of the rope, Taliesan can hear the
shouting of strangers from up ahead coming
closer, accompanied by the sound of running
footfalls. In the confusion, it is difficult to
tell how distant they are or what is being
shouted, but Vishler is about 10 feet behind the
party at this point, and his light shows nothing,
so they are at least 50 feet away at this time.
Taliesan takes a moment to help Chalk to his feet
as Mace and Vishler catch up to him. Chalk plans
to go up the rope after Taliesan, since he
offered to help him. Chalk says if anyone wants a
dust packet he has some. If anyone responds to
his offer, Chalk will throw them one hoping they
know how to use it from past experiences.
Reju will continue to hold his weapons drawn, and
face the direction of the strange voices as the
others start to make their way up the rope.
SpringRight is moving past the group about 10
feet towards the approaching voices. Reju is
doing the same -- they are standing side-by-side
there. Mace opens a packet of Chalk's
Invisibility dust and covers himself with it.
Taliesan is following NightShade up the
rope. After him, it will be Chalk and Vishler.
Shem is looking down the tunnel -- he can't hear
what's happening, but he can make out the glow
from Molbo's stone (currently carried by
Vishler), although he doesn't know that's what is
glowing. Mace will apply the dust packet the same
way he saw chalk do it the last time he used it.
SpringRight prefers to be on the left. Reju will
be next to SpringRight then on his right. GRIN
Since he can fight with both hands. Reju of
course will not take any of the dust. NightShade
finishes pulling herself up through the hole, and
Taliesan begins climbing the rope. Mace is able
to apply the dust to himself as SpringRight and
Reju elbow their way past to face down whatever
might be coming. Shem can just make out movement
in the flickering light of the tunnel to his
left, and he now begins to hear some kind of
commotion as well, though it's faint. Just as
Vishler is helping Chalk to secure the rope
around himself, SpringRight hears what might be a
shouted command from up ahead in a language that
sounds vaguely familiar -- whoever it is is very
close, perhaps just outside the range of the
mace standing invisible near the rope prepares to
cast a spell As Vishler attaches the rope to the
gnome, Chalk says "Here is a dust of
disappearance packet, if you sprinkle it on
yourself you may escape notice. It is limited in
time but will allow you to cast spells and still
stay out of sight." When Vishler takes it, Chalk
will use the hand to hand contact to also give
him some aid, saying "This spell will bless you
and give you more strength." Shem quickly steps
into the tunnel. SpringRight yells in common to
the approaching threat: "We mean you no harm.
Let us leave in peace." He then repeats it in
Elven. Upon hearing the shouted command, followed
by SpringRight's response, Vishler blanches and
says "oh, shit"... At which time the entire area
around the rope crackles with energy... Chalk has just cast his
spell, and Vishler has just finished securing the
rope to Chalk. As Shem moves into the tunnel, the
light grows slightly brighter. He can now make
out two figures in the tunnel ahead. Still with
sword aflame, Shem moves forward. He's being
guarded, trying to move as quietly as possible
without sacrificing too much speed. Feeling the
magic around the rope Chalk quickly thinks what
kind of spell the owners of this tunnel would do
to prevent a group from leaving the area? Spider
web? Chain lightning?
Part 2, Underground Enemy
As Shem continues down the passage, he can make out for a brief instant
that the two figures in
the tunnel ahead are bipedal, slightly smaller
than human-sized. One appears to be helping the
other to his/ her feet. Shem is now about twenty
yards or so away from them, when he hears a loud
BANG from somewhere down below...
Down in the tunnel... The air around the party
crackles with energy for an instant, but it is a
very strange kind of energy -- cold, like the
energy is being sucked from the very air around
them. Then, there is a flash of what might be
described as anti-light --sort of like a bolt of
lightning, but completely light less and with
dark tendrils flaring out. It touches everyone
remaining in the passage, and for an instant,
nobody can see anything. The bolt hits.., ziz,
ziz ziz zap! Chalk and SpringRight are both down.
Mace surveys the damage and yells "Haul him up!
Now!" through the hole Mace is still invisible,
so the rest can't see him. . Vishler and Reju
look to be in really bad shape, but are still
standing. Vishler immediately begins casting a
spell as an invisible someone begins lifting
SpringRight's body. Shem can just make out
someone shouting "Haul him up!" as he continues
his approach. Shem charges full tilt down the
tunnel. He'll be prepared to cut down the first
biped, but after that yell he's definitely going
to make sure that's not a friend before swinging. Shem doesn't get very far
-- he's only a bit outside of torch range as it
is -- before he can make out that it's Taliesan
and NightShade. Taliesan joins NightShade in
starting to haul on the rope. As those who got
knocked for a loop recover, Vishler says "Those
are Dark Elves! We need to get out of here!"
After that, he seems to be preparing to cast a
spell. Shem rushes forward and helps NightShade
and Taliesan to haul Chalk up. It appears that
Mace is working on picking up SpringRight.
The only person still standing that Reju can see
is Vishler. Chalk's unconscious form is being
hauled up via the rope. SpringRight is being
lifted by an invisible person who sounds an awful
lot like Mace. Taliesan helps nightshade haul
chalk up. When he sees Shem he tells him to give
us a hand hauling, we have four others down the
hole and something strange is occurring, I don't
think that it is good. Shem's presence
immediately doubles the combined strength on the
rope, and Chalk is lifted quickly into the upper
chamber. As Chalk's body is being hauled up, Reju
surveys the scene. Vishler casts some kind of
spell, and Reju turns to him and asks "Are you
ready to run?" Vishler turns to look at Reju
incredulously. "Are you insane? The only place to
run is a dead end, unless you intend to bash your
way through a wall. If my Sanctuary spell worked,
you're in more danger than I." Shrugging, Reju
makes for the rope. "Okay stay here then. I
meant flee up the hole. As Reju reaches for the
rope, a hail of crossbow bolts comes in. One just
misses Vishler, and one bounces off Reju, but
another one slices through a gap in his armour.
Reju stumbles to the ground, stunned. Reju cries
out, Damn I hate Drow poison.
As soon as Chalk gets pulled through the hole.
Taliesan takes his climbing rope and ties it onto
the axle and then drops it down to the others in
the other chamber. mace would hope that you would
grab SpringRight first then toss down the rope
for what I think will be Reju
Chalk has been hauled up into the tunnel, and
Shem unties the rope from the Gnome and drops
down into the hole with it. Taliesan pulls out a
second rope and begins attaching it to the wagon
axle. Reju is on the ground, on his hands and
knees, trying to shake off the cobwebs.
SpringRight's unconscious form is now hovering in
mid-air as the invisible Mace grumbles asks if someone can grab and pull
SpringRight up. Vishler
looks at Shem and asks him if he should go up the
rope, or stick around to cast a spell that could
Reju uses the last vestiges of his strength to
stand up and head twwards the rope. Shem's a bit
confused by this situation. Pulling himself
together he snatches the end of his rope, and
holds it steady waiting to help Reju climb.
"Vishler, I don't even know what we are facing.
I know only that we seem over matched. (calling
up the hole) Chalk, get Molbo. You can do little
here!" NightShade calls down, Chalk is not
conscious. Vishler nods "Dark Elves, I think. I
heard one of them shout something that sounded
like their language, but I can't be certain...
I'd best cast something to protect us all."
out of the nothingness mace says "that sounds
like a really good idea after what they have done
with only one spell all ready." As soon as
Taliesan finishes getting the rope off Chalk's
body, he drops it down the hole. As he does, he
realizes that SpringRight's inert body is hanging
in mid air. "oh shit! NightShade can you give me
a hand over here SpringRight is right here!??"
Taliesan understands that there is a time and a
place for diplomacy. This just is not one of
those times. He thinks that time is of the
essence right now. Although he does not know
these adventurers very well he has a respect for
each and does not want to see any one of them
NightShade immediately grabs the rope with
Taliesan and both struggle, to slowly brings
SpringRight up. NightShade quickly unties the
rope and drops it down for another member.
Reju gives a loud shout as he leaps from his
crouched position to jump onto the second rope,
but he is having difficulty climbing. Vishler
begins casting a spell, and the party hears a
couple more shouted words from out in the
darkness. Another hail of bolts flies, this time
all directed at the newly-arrived Shem.
One hits him slicing a gash in his leg.
Additionally, something else flies out of the
darkness toward Reju -- some kind of grey blob of
energy that strikes him right in the midsection
while he is halfway up the rope.
Then, there is a sudden bright flash about 60
feet away, and for an instant it illuminates four
dark elves with crossbows trained on the group
and, behind them, what appears to be some kind of
dark fog. After the flash, there are a few shouts
from the darkness...
SpringRight's unconscious form is just BARELY
dragged over the lip of the pit by NightShade and
Taliesan -- bits of dirt and small rocks are
falling on those beneath, but not enough to hurt.
Reju gets hit with the grey blob and is sent
flying through the air like a rag doll. He lands
about 10 feet down the corridor in a heap.
Shem shakes off the effects of the crossbow bolt
and glares down the passage, sword aflame.
Vishler says "I don't have much else that can
help now... I'll go attach Reju to the rope."
NightShade looks down at Chalk and SpringRight
and says "Little sister better thank me for
this..." as she starts digging through her
backpack. Mace sounds like he is preparing to
cast another spell. mace steps away from Shem who can't see mace
while waving a flaming blade and continues to
cast Taliesan gets one of the ropes and sends it
back down the hole so that one of the party can
use it to get out of there. after Mace casts his
spell he will look around to string up anyone so
they can be pulled up
The ropes are down. One is being attached to Reju
by Vishler, the other is just kind of hanging
there unused. Taliesan prepares himself to help
haul anyone up or lend assistance. Taliesan says
to NightShade "Should I go get Molbo?"
NightShade looks at Taliesan and spits out, "Do I
look like I'm going to haul anybody up here by
myself? Why don't you cast a spell or something!"
The group left below hears some very excited
voices from the darkness. Shem is the sole
remaining fighter on the ground in the lower
tunnel. He steps ahead of Mace's voice and
shouts out, calling the forces of good to purify
the evil ones in an atempt to turn them.
It sounds like his turning worked, as they hear
running footsteps departing. Then, they hear a
popping noise from the same general area & can
see an icky greenish, brownish mist spreading
out, followed by choking and coughing from the
Vishler while tying Reju onto the rope makes a
discovery and exclaims, Reju is dead!
Suddenly there is a voice from the darkened area.
A group of humanoid things come out of it & head
towards Vishler, Shem and Mace. Vishler sees the
shadow monsters & assumes a defensive posture,
asking, "Should I continue to tie Reju up or go
up ourselves?" Shem asks if Vishler knows what
they are & he says No. Mace calls out, Vishler, hurry up the rope!
Nightshade pulls two vials out of her bag, but
determines that Chalk is dead so focuses on
SpringRight, and gives him a healing potion.
Before climbing the rope, Vishler asks if he
should leave the light rock. Shem says No, I have
my sword lit. Mace says he will turn Shem
invisible as he stands to fight letting the
others time enough to go up the rope.
NightShade tells the others of the fate of Chalk
as SpringRight is brought just barely awake with
the healing potion.
Down below, Mace turns Shem invisible. Shem sees
what looks like grey orcs down the tunnel.
Vishler throws the LIGHT STONE up to Taliesan,
who catches it, before he climbs the rope. Shem
finishes tying up Reju with the second dangling
rope. Vishler with help from Taliesan makes it up
into the upper tunnel. Shem bumps into Mace as he
tries to tie Reju. They do an awesome job & Mace
hollers for Vishler etc. to pull Reju up.
SpringRight now on his feet, will lend a hand in
pulling up Reju With his gauntlets of strength,
SpringRight doubles the speed it takes to pull
It is now quiet down the lower tunnel as The Dark
Elves seem to have disappeared. Mace ties himself
to the rope and climbs up. Then, the group in its
entirety, pulls up Shem. Just as Shem is pulled
up, there is a loud clanging noise from the lower
tunnel. Shem declares, Someone needs to run back
to the caravan & get them going. They discuss
torching the hole, but decide to get the two
bodies out first. Vishler takes the light stone
and heads for the caravan. SpringRight picks up Reju and starts heading out
of the tunnel. Nightshade unties, coils the ropes
and heads after him. Mace plasters some of
NightShade's oil around the axel on the upper
tunnel hole and drops the rest down to the lower
tunnel. He ignites the oil then picks up Chalk
Vishler climbing out of the hole, alerts Molbo to
the situation. Molbo takes off to warn the
caravan & runs into Gabriella. He urges her to
get them moving. She does her best to hurry them
along & Molbo races back to guard the hole.
Taliesan and SpringRight get to the top of the
tunnel and note that the caravan isn't moving.
Taliesan does his best to get things going. He
tells Fimbert that they may be pursued and
Fimbert gets things together rapidly.
Underground, the rest of the party reach the
large open space that is the worms lair. They can hear faint voices from way
behind. On the surface, SpringRight lays Reju's
body a little ways outside the hole. He searches
Reju's body for his healing stone but can't find
Below ground, Mace, Shem, and Nightshade are crossing the large worm's
chamber. Shem re-draws his sword Mace says he
wants to check out the dung piles first for Chalk
was sure there could be magic items in it.
Nightshade will keep an ear down the tunnel to
see if she can understand what the voices are
saying. Mace said he ignighted the axel to make
theDark Elves exit from the hole more difficult.
After a bit, Mace finds a silver piece in the
dung. A couple minutes go by & Nightshade hears
faint voices & now footsteps coming at a decent
speed towards them. Shem tells Mace to place a flask of greek fire on
the ground & for Nightshade and Mace to head up
Meanwhile, back on the surface, Molbo wants to
know where the enemies are when Nightshade comes
up. She explains that Shem and Mace are setting
up a bomb to stop their progress. Molbo steps
away from the hole and goes over to see what
SpringRight is up to. SpringRight asks Molbo to
help him lift Reju into a wagon.
Down in the lair, the dark Elves emerge out of
the tunnel into the chamber.
Shem tosses the Greek Fire at them and turns
visible. They shoot a LIGHTNING BOLT at Shem who
takes a massive hit. Shem is badly shaken, but is
still on his feet, so he takes off out of the
tunnel at full speed while the heaps of dung
burst into flame behind him.
Molbo helps SpringRight get Reju's body into a
cart. Mace carrying the dead Chalk, and finally
Shem emerge from the tunnel. Mace dumps Chalk in
the wagon with Reju. NightShade unfastens the
rope from the cooking pot and coils it up, and
Molbo stores the pot on his yak. The caravan
takes off a bit earlier than expected. Molbo
gives SpringRight a CURE moderate WOUNDS spell
that helps heal him. Paul gives Shem a cure light
wounds spell but it only helps him a bit. Vishler
rides up & warns Shem of possible Dark Elf
raiding parties coming after them at night. Shem
wishes his TURN EVIL was more effective ; he
thinks his deity doesn't trust him enough yet.
They discuss the nature of the Sciences that may
play in a battle. Shem questions how Vishler will
report this incident. Vishler: Your party was a
bit fool hearty after hearing the loud noises
behind the door. You were going to go back down
there after Odifferus, etc. etc. Shem's response
is very stole. At lunch, Molbo will give his last
Cure light wounds spell to Vishler. Molbo is
tired, but will keep vigil on the camp while
others rest. Ravin, the caravan leader, goes to
see Shem who explains what happened. Ravin
expresses his concerns about this groups ability
to keep watch on the caravan. He doubts Glar's
wisdom in hiring us. Ravin: I am reconsidering
having you continue as our guardsman after
Shaiyo. Shem: You will do what is best for your
business. They renegotiate ;we'll stick with
Glar's agreement to reach the city of Shaiyo. Ravin: I am unwell to
commit to anything beyond that. Ravin: You will
get 5 gold pieces per day for this half of the
The caravan makes it as far as the next lodge
without any difficulty.
At the Lodge.
The caravan arrives at the lodge at about 4 PM.
Taliesan goes to clean up. Paul gives Vishler and
Shem each a Cure Light Wounds spell. Mace asks if
anyone has any more healing spells. Molbo and
Paul say no luck. SpringRight and Taliesan are
down at the water. The rest go inside the inn.
Molbo finds a cot in a corner of the lodge and
rests. Shem looks about and sees a well-dressed
female elf among the others in the lodge. Their
is also an Elven cleric ;neatly dressed with a
heart medallion with an arrow through it.
SpringRight returns and sits near Gabriella and
chats. He's not feeling particularly well. Andy
and Paul are willing to take watches at Shem's
request. Molbo is willing to help if needed, but
is not alert as he should be. Taliesan when he
returns to the lodge, looks well rested. Shem
also goes to see Gabriella for her guarding aid.
Gabriella: I only cast 1 spell.
I shouldn't need more than a little time before
breakfast. I can take a watch early in the
evening. Nightshade chimes in her okay as well:
Yeah, we do need help. Nightshade and Mace can
help in an early watch. Nightshade tells them to
rest. We may need you tomorrow. Mace hopes he can
get some healing in the morning. Taliesan notes
the 2 well-dressed Elves. He introduces himself
to the female elf who is preparing a stew by the
fire. He tells her of his mission. She isn't
particularly interested and they part ways.
Taliesan is about to go to the male elf, but he
has since walked out of the lodge.
Nightshade asks Taliesan about the female elf-
Nightshade says she'll have a chat with her. If
there is something going on in Shaiyo, we need to
know about it. Nightshade chats with the female
and tells her of the Dark Elves we encountered.
This peaks the stranger's interest and she'll
need to get a message to their king in Shaiyo.
She offers her sword. Nightshade recommends she
talk to SpringRight about our mission. She
suggests she join the group to chat. Andy & Paul
are out on their watch. Nightshade introduces
Alustrial to SpringRight and Gabriella.
SpringRight introduces Mace, Vishler, Fimbert.
SpringRight tells her of all the monsters we
faced and the Drow underground. Alustrial's still
very concerned about how close the Drow were,
despite being underground. The elf priest comes
in and noticing the injuries of several group
members, offers his services as a healer. His
name is HeartString, Priest of Liyyera, the
goddess of love. SpringRight asks if he has
Resurrection. HeartString: alas I am too young.
SpringRight says Mace is the spokesperson of the
group if HeartString is looking to join.
HeartString mentions that he is on his way back to his home temple in
Shaiyo. Meanwhile, he has many healing powers that he could share,
and also does marriages. He says this while
looking at the two elves sitting together. The
group banters about SpringRight and Gabriella.
Ultimately, it is suggested that the priest join
as there is safety in numbers. The conversation
turns to things going on in Odifferus. While the
party talks of who gets HeartString's healing,
Alustrial heads to sleep. Gabriella settles down
to study spells before taking a watch.
HeartString gives a Cure Light Wounds spell to
Mace, SpringRight, and Vishler, and a Cure
Moderate Wounds spell to the sleeping Shem.
Taliesan checks on Paul and Andy ;all okay ;just
disappointed nobody wants to go to the desert to
help with their quest. The next morning about 4
a.m. (sunrise) SpringRight and Mace on last
watch. Shem asks SpringRight about the 2 new-
comers. Mace asks SpringRight of the female elf.
SpringRight seems to think there is more to her
than just a hired sword. Mace wants to test her
skills in Shaiyo. There we will need to take a
couple days rest. Shem thinks Molbo will want to
press on. Shem goes to do his prayers. Over the
next hour of so, the rest of the party begin to
stir. Molbo and Vishler are up to pray at 4. The
Rest of the caravan are up at 5 for breakfast.
The Caravan is planning on leaving at about 6
a.m. Alustrial comes to see SpringRight. I am
willing to join your group. Molbo walks around to
see who needs healing. Molbo heals Shem,
SpringRight, and Vishler. Molbo and Shem go to
meet Alustrial & HeartString. The main party will
discuss how long we stay in Shaiyo.
SpringRight introduces Molbo and Shem to
Alustrial. In the discussion of Alustrial's sword
skill, they learn of her psionic abilities.
Ravin, the caravan leader comes over to Shem: Are
you prepared to move out? Shem: Yes indeed e are.
Ravin: We'll be leaving in no more than 15
minutes. HeartString introduces himself to the
caravan leader who accepts his coming with us. On
the Road Again We will discuss if the 2 newbies
will join the
group in Shaiyo. We leave at about 6 a.m.
32 HeartString is riding a small one horse
carriage which has 2 seats behind him. He rides
between the forth & fifth wagons. Ravin: We want
to balance HeartString & Talisan's vehicles. His
is just back of center, Between sixth & seventh
wagons, don't want any weak spots. Alustrial has
her own steed and rides near the front of the
caravan. The morning passes uneventfully. At
lunch Ravin informs Shem that if we keep up this
pace, we'll arrive at Shaiyo in about 4 to 5
hours. Shem comments to Ravin, no patrols? Ravin:
The patrols don't go beyond a few miles beyond
their borders. Shem: no farms or life further out
than the 5 miles? Ravin: Not that I'm aware of.
The city is pretty unusual. You'll have to see it
for yourself. Shem nods & Ravin goes back to his
duties. Taliesan comes to talk to Shem about our
mission. Taliesan: My plans after this are
unsure. I want to see the King of Shaiyo, but after that, no plans. I'd like
to learn more about your mission.
Shem: We'll be moving on towards Molbo's
home country. I do not know what is going to
happen after that. With us losing a couple
members, we'd have some room. It will be a rough couple of weeks, though.
Taliesan: I think we'd be willing to come. My
wagon can carry some of your supplies to make the
journey easier. Shem: I travel light. I do not
know about the others. What other skills would
you bring besides your copious liquids to cheer
us. Taliesan: I can assist with gaining secretive
info. I can sing well. Fimbert is a skilled
huntsman. Shem: (brightens at mention of the
huntsman) If you insist, you would be welcome.
Taliesan: I am in it for the adventure. I want to
learn more of the area. I want to know what
Odifferus has in store. They part ways with the
understanding that Taliesan will be coming with
The party sets off and after travelling 15 to 20
minutes, SpringRight spots 3 figures standing
alongside the road ahead. They are on horses &
potentially elf sized and shaped. SpringRight
signals to Molbo who slows down to allow
SpringRight to approach the figures. Alustrial
will also come forward to greet them. They don't
respond to SpringRight's hail, but Alustrial
recognizes one of them as Logo. They have a brief
exchange and Qually is sent back to alert the
King of their approach and the exchange of
serious news. Logo wants to go back and see Glar.
We tell him that Glar is no longer and he shakes
his head. He starts heading back to the caravan.
They meet Molbo and then continue to the cart
with the caravan leader. Logo: Twan, stay at the
front of the group while I go talk to Ravin. Twan
assumes a position parallel to Molbo. Logo rides
up to the cart, nods at Shem. Alustrial explains
that there are several spokespeople ;Shem is one.
Logo rides over to greet Ravin. Logo: I am sorry
at your loss of Glar, I knew the previous caravan
leader well. We will escort you if you wish.
Ravin: If you like, you can speak to Shem about
all the monsters we faced. I just want to get the
goods to Shaiyo safely. Logo rides up around the
back of the wagon to come up beside him. They
chat and Shem tells him of the Drow a day and a
half from here, the worm, and how we came upon
their lair when ensuring no more worms were
coming. Logo indicates that this is closer than
they've been thus far. Shem doesn't want to go
into too much detail as he doesn't know the elf.
He will give all details to the King. Logo
assures him that an audience with the King will
be arranged. Shem notes that Logo wears a Holy
Symbol, but doesn't recognize it. They discuss
the role of Vodyus & Varice. Alustrial was able
to get her message through and get one in return.
Logo & she discuss the Dark Ones. Perhaps
something more is going on that they are so
close. We're heard that there've been
disturbances to the South. If they are from the
North as well, this is ill indeed. Some force has
arrived on the scene that has driven away the
wildlife. It is quite powerful & evil in nature.
We wanted to send folks to investigate it, but no
decisions have been made yet. She tells Logo of
the groups going on to Odifferus and beyond, but
would give no details. Logo: We will see what
comes out during the talk with the King. We must
determine of they are up to investigate on our
behalf. If not we'll send our own party. The
caravan travels for a couple hours without event.
Shem calls out to Twan: are we almost there?
Twan: Yes, I can see its outline now. SpringRight
sees a medium-sized dot of greenery in and
amongst grey, white and brown surroundings. It
looks like someone took a southlands forest
;maybe 2 miles on a side ;and plopped it next to
the lake. It sticks out from the rest of the
surroundings disiduous trees. The third elf
returns and heads to Twan first. Qually: The King
wants to have an audience with the group. You can
go back if you like. (She then rides on towards
Alustrial and Logo) The King wants an audience
with this group for first thing in the morning.
He is quite upset regarding the closeness of the
Drow. Alustrial, you should deliver your message
immediately. To Logo: The King has invited the
entire group to stay within the city. It is not
something that is done very often. Qually rides
back to let the King know they have accepted the
invitation ;a place will be presented to you by
Logo goes to Ravin, the caravan leader: Wait
here. We shall bring bearers to take your goods
into the city. We will bring ours out on the
morrow. Ravin calls a halt. HeartString will go
back to his temple to see if he can join in on
the audience with the King. Ravin comes over to
Shem and hands him a sack. Ravin: As we agreed,
here's the pay I promised, 330 gold pieces. We
will be remaining here for the next couple of
days. We do need to be getting back to Tommard
soon. Shem wishes him luck. Ravin: I would be
open to your group accompanying us back. Mace
wants a message to get back to his homeland.
& Mace will draw it up for you. Shem pays each
member equally, Molbo, Mace, 2 Elven sisters,
SpringRight, and himself. Mace mentions the
machinery sound to Shem that was behind the door
underground. Shem: We can discuss this more with
the King tomorrow. Alustrial approaches Shem and
Mace: I must go deliver my message forthwith. I
will be very interested in your adventure. I may
wish to come with you as you are headed South.
This, after what news I heard from the city. Shem
asks if there is a temple to Varice in the city.
Alustrial tells him there is a shrine on the
eastern edge. Nightshade asks if outsider elves
are allowed in the city or should we wait outside
with others? Alustrial: No, you may come in. It
is very different from your city-style.
Taliesan: What about half-elves? Alustrial: As
you are not quite a member of this party & thus
the invitation hasn't officially been extended to
you. I will allow you to come in. But I must
accompany you. Taliesan accepts graciously.
Alustrial "warns" Nightshade not to practice her
"art" inside the city. Nightshade is mock-
shocked. I shall not do such things in such a
fair city. I shall let Gabriella & SpringRight
know. Twan "suggests" that Alustrial deliver her
message. Alustrial heads towards the city.
SpringRight asks Alustrial if there is a Shrine
to the god of travelers. Alustrial: We have a
shrine at the entrance to the city. Taliesan
speaks up and offers to say a few words about the
deceased. Molbo says that Reju is happy now.
Vishler: perhaps since we are on mission for the
temples ;maybe they'd bring them back? He then
asks if he can take part in the
meeting as well. Vishler tells
Molbo he wants to continue to Odifferus & Molbo
is okay with that.
In the Elven City After Taliesan makes his pitch
to join the group Vishler talks to Shem and Mace.
I will go with you if you agree to check out the
drow tunnel after we take care of the Maluur in
Odifferus. This took place underground with
Nightshade, Mace, SpringRight as witnesses. It
was a deal I'd only made with Reju. I want to
know where you stand on aiding me with this after
the current mission. Vishler wants the group to
come back and tell him what happened in the city.
At sunset, Logo comes back to invite us & our
mounts into the city. Andy and Paul are asked to
stay with Fimbert. The subject of the dead ones
comes up. eight of the group eventually agree to
go. When the group approaches the forest, they
definitely feel a slight tingling sensation in
the air. When they cross through the trees, the
temperature shoots up to seventy five degrees.
The amount of activity also is dramatically
increased. The trees are interconnected by
platforms, rope bridges, ladders, etc. None of it
is on the ground. Shem asks Logo how it is so
Logo: We don't keep it this warm. The rest of the
world changed to be colder. It is a long story.
Perhaps one of our bards can tell the tale later.
Logo lowers a ladder to the group. They all make
it up the ladder with some minor slips. The party
is thirty feet off the ground when they reach
the platform. Molbo asks if they will get wet
seeing the easily made holes in the leaves
surrounding the sleeping area. Alustrial assures
him they will be dry. We are well protected.
Logo: We will meet with the King tomorrow morning
after breakfast ;8am. Someone will be sent. Logo asks if
Alustrial will stay ;I will for for some time.
Taliesan has a written message for the King. Both
Alustrial & Logo are taken aback by this. It is
against protocol. Taliesan: it is a message
requesting a diplomatic audience with the king as
representative of Taliesin's kingdom. Logo: I
shall take your message to the council and see if
one of them will speak to you. He then stuffs the
message into his belt. He descends the ladder.
Alustrial whirls on Taliesin and rebukes him for
overstepping his bounds. Taliesin explains
apologetically that he was doing his duty in the
most efficient way possible. HeartString says he
can contact one of the dead members to ask them
some questions tomorrow. And suggests the members
think of which would be most needed. Alustrial
"asks" if Mace wants to have their sparring
session. Mace is hesitant but Shem is game. Molbo
wants to watch the session & tags along.
Alustrial is very strong in her sword arm. Her
speed is good. She wears a very fine chain mail
armour. Shem is injured in the match but gains
health thanks to Alustrial's expense. He sees
wounds open up on her body as his quickly
vanish. Shem is shocked. Mace shares in the
Vishler checks things out. Alustrial then "heals"
herself. She assures the group that one who is
evil only uses her special healing power in
reverse. Vishler wants to experience it himself
and Alustrial offers to "show" him. HeartString
asks about her healing power. Alustrial: ?
;the power to do this comes from inside. I must
"recharge" before I do it again. Molbo expresses
his concerns about this ability putting herself
in danger during battle. Alustrial assures Molbo
that she has other abilities to use. HeartString
gives SpringRight a Cure Moderate Wounds spell
and he's almost back to full strength.
After all that, Alustrial looks a little green
around the gills. The next morning* Twan comes to
the tree. HeartString asks us again if we have
questions for the dead ones. Molbo says we
already know what killed them & so we do not need
to ask them questions. The rest agree. Shem asks
of etiquette points. do not speak unless asked to
do so. ;I think this may be an open session, tho.
Standing upon King's arrival. Do not interrupt
those who are speaking. Taliesin ;how shall we
address the King & councilors? Twan: Address
councilors by their given names & the King as My
Lord. The group gets to the tree and climbs sixty
feet up by ladders that are already in place.
There is one table ;Logo already there with a
couple of other Elves. There are Seats set across
from the table. Twan gestures the group sits in
these ;audience style (4 rows) Alustrial already
there & seated in this group of chairs. Twan
leaves the chamber as the party takes their
seats. They chat as a few other elves either.
Seated separate from table and audience chairs.
At 1 end of the table there is a very elderly
looking Human man with a bandage around his eyes.
Molbo recognizes him & mentions this to Shem, Name of FaSeer ;says a lot of
strange things, but knows a lot. A gong is heard
& a young elf steps forward and announces the
King's arrival. All in the room rise in
acknowledgement that Lukeon The King arrives: he
appears quite young for an Elven monarch, has
golden hair, fairly short yet wavy, carrying some
kind of scepter, decked out in very bright green
robe with nice embroidery, looks uneasy as he
takes his place at center of semi-circle table.
Lukeon makes a downward motion with his hands &
the council & we sit. He addresses the assembly.
Lukeon: I received a Message from Alustrial from
the East: much strife. It is spreading & it may
be north of us as well. There may be Dark Ones as
well near us. He asks for 1 among us to tell of
the Dark Elves.
Mace tells the assembled of the experience in the
purple worm's lair. One councilor wants to know
if we have any idea of how big the complex may
have been. Mace cannot elaborate & asks
SpringRight to fill in the details. SpringRight:
We only saw a small amount of their tunnels. They
were quick to react. Logo: Could you tell if they
had any connections to any other goings-on in
this part of the world? Alustrial points out that
Vishler may have more info. Vishler rises and
steps forward: When I listened beyond the door &
heard something of what the others heard: The
sound put me in mind of machinery at work. I have
never known the Dark Ones to use such devices. I
think this may indicate they are in cooperation
with another party. I do not know who that'd be,
however. I could make a better guess if I knew
what they were doing. Lukeon: We will get to
that. Is there anything else to bring forth.
Molbo brings up the One-Eyed Things & this seems
to please the King. Lukeon: You know of the
Maluur then. Shem explains in brief on how we all
came together in Nazivonema.
Lukeon The King tells us that the land of PeLing
is experiencing the same fighting situation as
Odifferus. He says that FaSeer may shed further
light on things. FaSeer rises & then addresses
the assembly. The Maluur's destruction of the
Nexus at Shall I'vor is only the beginning. They
are still fighting to get the nexus under Thair
Mountains. And they are now trying to take
control of the nexus near Odifferus. He then
explains their origin. The Maluur want to control
all nexus magic on Ardrana. They can be defeated:
I will tutor those who will face them. I do not
know who their current master is. He controls
them from a great distance. I would like to
travel with you in an endeavor to destroy the
Maluur. He then returns to his seat.
Lukeon asks Alustrial and grants HeartString to
go with the party. Molbo asks why they want the
crock of cheese. FaSeer says it protects Molbo's
people from the Maluur's power. That is why they
fight amongst themselves. The group all in their
own ways accept the mission. The King says they
should leave as soon as possible but tomorrow is
okay for them to leave as FaSeer will be able to
join them then. Lukeon dismisses the council &
they leave. Logo stays behind and wishes the
group all luck. Lukeon tells the group to make
lists of what they require of a magic nature to
help them in their defeat of the Maluur and give
them to Logo. That afternoon, Logo returns to the
group with a young elf, carrying a couple of
baskets. First, he addresses Mace: "Friend, I
would gladly grant your request to learn spells
among us for this trip, but time is short. I have
therefore brought for you three scrolls of a
power that may suit you. Do with them as you
wish." Logo then hands Mace a small bundle.
open them later, you discover that they contain
the spells Fly, Lightning Bolt, and Protection
from Evil, 10 foot Radius. Then, Logo turns to
HeartString. "Your faithfulness is appreciated by
our people, and by the High Priests of all
Shaiyo. For you, a measure of protection is in
order." Logo then hands HeartString a Cloak (this
would be a Cloak of Elvenkind). He then turns to
Alustrial. "Your prowess in battle and in the
mental disciplines is known. Your requests for
equipment of an archer were therefore the cause
of some confusion. However, we gladly will grant
this small boon."
With that, Logo hands to her a rope of climbing,
in case you didn't guess). Alustrial looks at the
60-foot long rope which is as thin as a slender
wand and weighs three pounds. When held at one
end, Alustrial can command the rope to snake
forward, upward, or downward at 10 feet per round
and attach itself securely wherever she desires.
It will unfasten itself and return in a similar
manner. The rope can also be commanded to knot
itself at one-foot intervals making climbing
easier. Logo then turns to Taliesin. "Would that
we had a Harp such as you requested, but I know
of your fondness for stringed instruments.
Hopefully, this will be a suitable substitute."
Logo then hands Taliesin a small, three-stringed
instrument -- a Fochluchan Bandore. The harp
allows Taliesin to Cast many spells including Faerie Fire, which
outlines objects or creatures with a pale glowing
light. It can also allow him to use charm spells more effectively, and has
the powers of levitation and invisibility amongst others.
He then turns to Molbo. "I understand your
desire to get back to your people quickly. We had
thought to provide you with Horseshoes of Speed,
but we have none that will fit your steed, nor
that of Shem. Fasir, it seems has discovered a
rare incantation that will allow great numbers to
be teleported. He is in his chambers, researching
this magic, so that he
might transport you all immediately to Odiferous.
In addition, since your mighty ax is already
enchanted, we shall, with your permission, add to
its power by allowing it to glow with a faint
light in the presence of Evil on command." Logo
then turns to Shem. "To you, as to the others, I
will relay a message from Fasir: 'Strength
against the Maluur will not avail you. They
cannot be harmed by weapons unless they are
enchanted.' We know of your blade, and that of
Alustrial, and of the ax of Molbo -- if there are
still any of you who carry no enchanted weapons,
speak now, and they will be provided. Also, for
you, Shem, this item was chosen." Shem is then
handed a Ring (a Ring of Blinking,
to be precise). When Shem issues a verbal command he will be able to
teleport from one point to another at a random time and in a random
direction, so attacks against him
would automatically miss after he has blinked. Logo then turns, finally, to
SpringRight. "Since you asked little, you will receive what you need." Logo
then hands SpringRight two quivers of magical arrows. I will enumerate
to you what they are, as there are several kinds,
20 in all. Logo also hands SpringRight a plus 1
shield. Finally, Logo addresses the group as a
whole. "Your safety is tantamount -- you must
reach the Nexus safely. Shem suggested a
particular item, which we will provide. This will
keep you from the view of enemies while
encamped." Logo hauls out a large, packed-up tent
(a Mist Tent). On a command word it will set
itself up, and repack itself. When the flap is
closed it turns invisible from the outside and
raises ten feet into the air. From the inside the
walls look like opaque white mist and the fabric
is fireproof. "Finally, one item that should be
of benefit to you all, as requested by
Logo hands to the priest a wooden Staff -- a
Staff of Curing, to be exact. "All of the Elves
of Shaiyo wish you well on your journey. Our
future may well hang in the balance."
Shem: "Your generosity
knows no bounds. Your sage advice, powerful
gifts, and hospitality will prove essential when
the time comes to eradicate the evil from this
land. May Varice send his warming rays down on
your lives, and the light of goodness never fail
Molbo's eyes open wide as he hears of how much
shorter the journey to Odifferus will be.
Molbo: "We cannot rid this land fast enough of
this terrible evil. To detect such things before
they know their enemy approaches is a VERY good
thing!" (he pumps his fist in the air, then
pauses and looks at Logo) "Where shall I bring my
ax to be enchanted?"
Mace, after taking the scrolls says "with these
scrolls that I am accepting I hope to conquer all
foes of this land."" these tools that you have
bestowed onto me will assist me with the
challenging task ahead. ""I thank you for your
generosity." HeartString says, Logo, would you
please thank his magisty for his gracious gifts.
The Cloak of Elvenkind will truly allow me to
heal the others while lessening the chance I will
be attacked myself. And this staff will indeed be
of great help in healing our party. I would hope
to know how potent a thing it is. I have heard
that some staves can be used up to twenty five
times before needing a high priest's attention.
Alustrial: Thank you my friend. The generosity
of our king and our people is with out bounds. I
will treat this gift with the up most reverence
thank you. Taliesin Accepts the instrument,
eyeing it reverently. He bows respectfully, I
thank you for your generosity. Please pass my
appreciation on to the king. Looking down
Taliesin says "I
carry no enchanted weapons, as well as my
companion, fimber. Molbo listens to the rest of
the party as they thank Logo for their various
gifts. He seems pensive as he stares at the
bundle that was identified as the tent that would
keep us from enemy sight. Molbo: "I am curious
about that tent, Logo. Will it keep our animals
from being seen as well as ourselves? It is a
very good gift, but if our animals cannot be
hidden, they will give away our position." He
looks at Shem for some support as he seemed to be
the one to suggest the idea. "Shem, our mounts
are a most certain giveaway if there are evil
things that know us and follow us. We must
protect them." He turns back to Logo. "I do not
mean to seem ungrateful for the gift. I do not
want to see my faithful mount hurt and
perhaps endanger my friends if he is seen. Shem:
(startled) "I must admit that I did not think of
this fact. Of course we must protect the
mounts! But then the mist tent I saw before came
out of a small bottle, and this one seems to be
larger when packed. Perhaps it is larger when
Logo turns to Molbo: "No, sadly, this is not
large enough for all of your mounts. Some, yes,
but not all. Perhaps, since so much distance is
being cut from your journey, the mounts can be
left in Odiferous?" HeartString puts a hand on
Molbo's arm. "I see that you have a true love for
your steed. I admire the thought so would it not
be safer at your home? I was planning to travel
with my carriage, which could hold two or three
more normal sized humans. Although not what I
would call an average marriage couple, I might be
able to carry Molbo and Shem. And maybe the Bard
could carry a few on his cart too. That would cut
down the number of animals by four." Looking at
Logo, HeartString asks, "Would that be enough
reduction to fit the rest in the tent?" Molbo
ponders this for a bit. Molbo: Yes, I think Edam
would like to be back at home. He has done a good
job and deserves rest. (he turns to Shem) I do
not think my people have ever had to take care of a mount like yours
before. Would you still want to take your mount
or could you tell my people how to take care of
your camel? Shem: "It is very important for me to
stay with him." How far will it be to the Nexus
from Odifferus? Mace: When this was originally
discussed, back in Nazivonema, it was estimated
that it was a day's journey north mounted, so
perhaps 2 days or so on foot. Logo: I will gladly
take your ax to be enchanted, Molbo, and would
return it this evening. Mace: If the goal is to
be sure where we camp is not visible to potential
enemies, anything outside of the tent would give us away.
Molbo: Yes, HeartString, Edam is more than just a
mount to me. He will stay in Odifferus as he has
done all he can. To ride in your cart, however,
would prevent me from protecting my friends. I
will not hide from potential foes. Molbo
retrieves his ax and stands it on one end. Molbo:
Logo, would you need help carrying it? It is a
very heavy ax. Logo replies "I would guess that
no more than four animals would fit in the tent
in addition to the...I believe it is twelve
people that will be going. Mace: Well it should
be around 2 days walk to where we have to go so
we may not need to take all the mounts Alustrial:
It would seem to me then that we should possibly
leave the animals behind. Unless for those who's
animals are a part of them. We could take those
along as scouts. I know you Molbo and Shem need
your animals. Who else would need theirs?
Alustrial: If you are able to leave your yack in
Odifferous. Then that would be one less animal
to take and house in the tent.
HeartString speaks, "I do use my carriage for more than just weddings. A
gift I received for my
services was a Beaker of Plentiful Potions. I
have recently purchased many empty glass flasks
to contain them.So I use my carriage storage
trunk to hold a chest that protects them from
breaking." He thinks for a moment and continues,
"In the past I have used the carriage to
transport seriously wounded, or unconscious
people. It has a soft padded bench seat that
does quite well for that purpose." He looks at
the item in his hands and says, "My new Cloak
wwill make me almost invisible at night, and we
Elves enjoy sleeping out where it is not too
crowded. So if it would make more room under the
tent, I could sleep on my carriage covered in it
so there would only be a slight chance that I
would be detected." He looks to Molbo and
continues, "And when we capture the sacred crock
of cheese, what better way to safely carry it back to your land than
sitting on the seat of my
In response to HeartString's question, Molbo
replies: "There are injuries in battle. Perhaps
your cart can carry them back to Odifferus. After
all, not all of you are as huge and hardy as me..." (he pumps his arms a
bit) "...except you,
Mace." (he pauses) "I have not seen all of you
fight. I cannot say what will happen in battle.
We do knot know much about our enemy. Perhaps we
can hide the cart by camping near trees?" (he
turns to HeartString) "Only you know what way is
best to carry your potions. If they are to help
in battle, they must be kept safe. If we take
this cart, would they be safe inside it?" Are you
sure you want to bring the cart, my friend? If
you value it as much as I value Edam, you may
wish to leave it behind. It could get damaged as
flimsy things do in the battle to come. I do
think you do have a good point about keeping the
Sacred Crock of Cheese Safe until it is returned
to my people. If I were taking Edam, I could
store it safely on his back, but I am not. I do
not want it damaged. How can we keep such an
important item safe from harm? (He looks to the
other spellcasters for advice.) Do any of you
have anything that would keep it safe? If not, I
shall have to see what we have in Odifferus.
Mace: I wonder if it is possible if our Elf
friends could have camouflage netting made to be
placed over the carts before we leave? Taliesin
Says, "I have casks on my wagon so that I can
hull provisions and supplies. I do not however
have any magical protections though. I would
like to take my wagon as far as odiferous. From
there provided that would be ok I could leave it
there, if this will help to expedite our travels.
I do have equipment and sustance that could be
Molbo: "Of course you can leave your cart in
Odifferus. I do not want to see it damaged."
(turns to face the group) It seems several of us
have things we do not want to get caught in the
battle. When we get to Odifferus, we can find a
safe place for them. We must not be distracted
from the enemy. The Elves here and many other
people are counting on us to defeat the evil one-
eyed things. Then, when the enemy is soundly
defeated and we return to Odifferus with the
Sacred Crock of Cheese, we can celebrate by
having your tasty drinks along with Odifferus'
finest cheese! (Molbo's tone and manner become
very animated) I know we can do this, friends.
Let us go forth and be triumphant!
Mace turns to HeartString: we could distribute
some of the empty viles for your potions.
Mace to logo: do you think your fine elves may be
able to make a camouflage blanket to throw over
one maybe 2 carts? HeartString: Thistledown is
the material from which cloaks of elvenkind are
made. But after being cut and sewn, it needs to
be enchanted with a permanent camouflage spell. I
figure a Thistledown sheet large enough to cover
my Carriage would cost 3,600 gold pieces, plus
the need for magic spells to turn it into
Mace: maybe there is a natural way it can be done
Logo replies: If you mean camouflage of a non-
magical nature, I am sure such material would be
quite easy to be found. I will ask. I admit that
I personally know little of Odiferous -- although
if there are stands of trees as Molbo says, then
certainly it can be done.
mace turns to Molbo "Do you think you could help
the elves with a description of your land?"
"Maybe from your description they may be able to
furnish us with something that may help us hide
the carts." Molbo replies: Well, many trees in
this area have needles that almost touch the
ground. These trees are hearty and can deal with
cold weather. Still, there are some that lose
their leaves, but they should be starting to get
their leaves back now. Is it possible to have a
covering to fit in with both types of trees? I
cannot say exactly what
we'll see on our trip to the nexus.
Alustrial: Well: the cloth that we would be
getting if we have enough. Would most definitely
give us concealment in all most any woodland
setting regardless of type of tree. mace says: I
would like this cloth, but if it is not available
to us we will need an alternative. Mace then
turns to logo We do appreciate all that you have
given us. It is most plentiful and gracious, (at
this point mace does a bow) but is it possible
that we can impose on you further? Some points
that my companions have made make sense. We may
need the wheeled vehicles to carry back wounded
or supplies to the nexus. If you do have the
cloth it may make it easier than if we had to
make 2 different kinds of netting or such to
conceal the carts. In any event friend logo we
would gladly accept any assistance you can
render. Shem: "It occurs to me though, that all
of this discussion of carts and carriages may be
worthless. I assume there are no roads from
Molbo's home to the Nexus. Open ground is no
place to take laden carts, let alone carriages.
We will undoubtedly suffer stuck wheels and
broken axles all the way there and back."
Molbo ponders for a moment. "Shem, you bring up a
good point. Since we do not know where the nexus
is, I cannot say that any
roads I know of would help us. Perhaps we will be
able to return to Odifferus the same way we are
getting there now when the battle is over?"
Taliesin turns to the group and says," My wagon
is built very sturdy, however even the best built
wagon is prone to damage when taken off road. The
way that I understand it time is of the essence.
I believe that Shem is right in saying that
taking the cart and wagon maybe a mistake. I
think that leaving them in Odifferus might be
the best plan of action. We can move much
quicker without them. Mace: If logo can help up
with the cloth we will have that as an option and
make the final descision in Odifferus.
HeartString: Geographically, Odiferous is in a
fairly narrow belt of arable land between the
devastation to the north and the Seven Deserts
to the south. But I don't think we are sure if
the nexus itself is within this belt or north of
Molbo: Let us decide now if we bring the carts or
they stay in Odifferus. Our friend, Logo, won't
have to get the cloth of hiding if we leave the
carts with my people. I say leave them in
Odifferus. They won't get damaged and we can get
to the nexus faster. And the sooner we face these
evil things, the sooner we can all rest knowing
they have been defeated. Molbo looks at the rest
of the party for their input. Alustrial: Of
course the decision for their property is the
owners to make. But in my opinion it is wiser to
leave the carts behind. We can distribute any
necessary equipment amongst our packs. If we are
to sneak up on the Maluur. Then it is most
important to move swiftly. We of course can not
do that if we are worrying about wagons and carts
breaking down and such. HeartString says, I will
leave my vehicle and horse in Odifferus. But,
Molbo, how large is this Sacred Crock of Cheese?
Is it small enough for one or two to carry? And
would they have to hold their noses when doing
so? I can carry enough of my potions in a
backpack for a few days, and I can give some of
you flasks for new ones as Mase suggested.
Molbo: "The Most Sacred Crock of Cheese will be
too big for someone as flimsy as you to carry,
friend HeartString, but I shall take full charge
of its safe return. I would do no less for my
people. When we get to Odifferus, I shall ask for
something to carry it in that will keep it safe.
The potions' safety I will leave to you. I can
carry them, but I would rather take things that
would be harder for you weaker ones to
carry...like the tent. The Mission Continues*
Molbo is very concerned about releasing the Crock
of Cheese once he has it, but party assures him
we fight as one & he cannot fight as well if he
keeps it. We discuss and decide to have the camel
and SpringRight's horse come with us. SpringRight
will continue to scout in front of party.
Alustrial wants to bring her private horse.
Taliesin will bring his draft horse & we'll see
what saddle we can get in Odifferus. Molbo gives
his axe to Logo & his assistant who brought our
items. We talk of the tent & decide that a guard
would be okay so long as they hide. We discuss
the items Reju and Chalk had ;dust of
disappearance packets, ioun stones (lost), helm
of mind protection, sundial. Nightshade says she
"found" 4 packets on Chalk's body as he was
hauled out of the hole. She has 2 & Gabriella has
2. SpringRight has Reju's stone (not the healing
one) he seemed to use it right before and during
a battle, but it may be damaged. Mace questions
if we can have the item tested. Logo could assist
with this but it would take an extra day and he
encourages us to leave as soon as possible unless
this divination would be pertinent to the battle
ahead. Both stone & dial are put into the basket
to see if an ID can be done. Gabriella offers to
DETECT MAGIC on the stone to see if it is still
functioning. Logo looks at the item's dim glow
and says it should still do what it was meant to.
He is about to go & Taliesin wants to look at
them. Taliesin believes the stone has protective
properties, but the sundial is foreign to him.
Because it is an unknown, They all decide to have
the sundial examined. Logo takes the sundial and
will make it first priority in the research he
will ask to be done. Logo leaves. HeartString
tells us of his Beaker of Plentiful Potions
The potion of thinness will make the drinker as thin as parchment and as
light. We talk of uses for the
potion ;Nightshade ;can be used in limited
circumstances. If Malure have a stronghold built it could be used in
HeartString gives Taliesin 1 Thinness Potion & 1
The Potion of Regeneration
would only work on Alustrial. You may be interested in this as it gives
you your normal strength back in half the time. HeartString gives Alustrial
the 2 Regeneration Potions & advises she use them within the next month as
they'll be ineffective after that.
Potion of Metal Immunity: a sword
can go through u but u can't hold a weapon of
metal. You can use a bow, though. HeartString can
use 1 potion & Taliesin may be interested in the
Molbo wants to stretch and practice before
battle. Alustrial leads Molbo, Mace, Gabriella,
SpringRight to a practice area. HeartString
suggests using his SPEAK WITH DEAD to ask Reju
about the stone. Vishler suggests using
it to ask Archivenk ;the dead ice wizard about
the sundial. Taliesin wants to go with them to
see it. Shem objects. Let the dead lie. The ID
spell hasn't run its course. The consensus is not
to do the speak with dead spell. Taliesin suggest finding a place to get
some Elven meed and swap a few stories.
HeartString takes Taliesin to an Elven tavern for
a drink. He wants to see
how they make the wine right in the grape. Mace
buries himself in his spellbook. At PM Logo and
others return & give Molbo his ax. The King
invites us to dinner. A court mage can ID the
sundial. We all go to the dinner. Mace & Faseer
will not be at dinner as they are both preparing
for the battle ahead. Their is a table set for 16
and we all take our seats. Lukeon comes in
unattended shortly thereafter. Molbo hears
Alustrial and the King talk of how the dragon
that protected the city of PeLing disappeared.
The city is in great strife and the dragon has
not made its traditional appearance to settle
things down. A great search has been made of the
countryside to find its lair with no results.
Faseer thinks the Malur are preventing the strife
news from reaching the dragon. The Malur may be
sending dragon false messages. A group of four
Elves were sent to check out the nexus & only 1
returned ;the Malure have erected a fortress on
the site of the nexus. The Elves were set upon by
Garbears Orcs. It is not known if these were
controlled by Malure or just mercenaries. Shem
asks for the composition of the fortress: Its
outer wall is fifteen feet high, and made of
stone. We discuss how the nexus strengthens mage
spells cast in its area. Faseer tells the King that the Malure are not
the power of the nexus for themselves, but
channeling it to their master. The Garbears Orcs
use metal weapons. We know not how many there are ,but the longer we wait
the more forces the Malure can gather. To date, we'd not seen them use
Garbears Orcs were made by Kurpatis during the Wars of Arin. After he dies,
they went amuck in the Northlands. The King "suggests" that we have 13
instead of 12 to avoid Kuraliskar's numbers.
Perhaps Tuong goes with us? When HeartString asks
the King what the Nexus does, "he says, Magic
items with variable powers may be affected. For example, there
would be a stronger healing power with the staff
of Curing, but it would have the same number of
To hear more about the adventure to Odifferus &
Beyond, visit www.Audio-Tips.com Sunday Nights at
9:00 PM Eastern time.
Making Nethack Accessible in Windows
By Michael Feir
In the good old Dos days, Nethack was a tremendous amount of fun for blind
people with speech or Braille access technology. Everything could be in text
symbols making it not too difficult to examine the dungeon layout around you
and play with competence. Now, it's a Windows world out there and Nethack
can still be just as fun as ever. Making it accessible involves making a few
small changes to the contents of the game's configuration file. I have no
experience with any other screen-readers than Jaws For Windows which is what
I use. However, this should in theory work with them as well assuming a
level of similarity. To look around the map requires the use of an
independent cursor which the player can move around without effecting the
screen reader should also be set to echo everything which appears on the
screen so that messages the game generates will be spoken. Finally, due to
extensive amount of punctuation marks used in the game to depict things,
screen readers should be set to a mode where no punctuation is pronounced
it is gone over by the independent cursor. It can be most annoying hearing
an endless string of periods which represent empty floor spaces, dashes
form the top and bottom walls of rooms, etc. With Jaws for Windows as well
as other screen readers, you can make a configuration file specifically for
Nethack which will make these sorts of adjustments for that program. I
certainly couldn't guarantee that this will work with any and all access
However, the reward is worth the effort of trying.
With that said, let's proceed to the changes in the defaults.nh file needed
to make the Windows version of Nethack accessible. This is a simple text
which contains a series of lines with various options. It also contains
lines of information which explain those options. If a line is to be treated
this latter kind of text, it is preceded by a number sign. You make one by
shifting the number three on the keyboard. Removing a number sign from in
of a line will cause the text in that line to be treated as instructions to
be interpreted by the game. The first change to be made is to a line which
You want to put an exclamation mark in front of "IBM graphics" so that the
This change will force only ASCII text symbols to be used rather than the
more pictorial symbols available in the extended ASCII set. The next line to
changed effects how keyboard commands are handled. A lot of screen readers
use the number pad to control their independent cursors or for other
Sighted players, on the other hand, find the number pad a handy way to move
around more intuitively than with the letters used on the Keyboard to
your character to move in many games of this type. There is a line saying:
You have to change the "number_pad:2" to "number_pad:0" to turn the number
There are a number of other changes I've made but these are more optional
and a matter of personal preference. I find the traditional rogue like menu
to be helpful to me. To have this, make certain the line reading:
Is present and isn't preceded by a number sign. You may want to disable
autopickup. You can do this by preceding the "autopickup" word with the word
so the option is "noautopickup".
These changes will result in nethack being as accessible as it can be. The
next thing to consider is how to play the game. You are represented by an
on the screen. However, other humanoids such as shopkeepers, soldiers etc
are also represented by @-signs. Fortunately, the PC cursor is always
where your character is. Therefore, in Jaws for Windows, routing the jaws
cursor to the pc cursor will put you right where your character is in the
You can then use the jaws cursor to explore the area around him/her. I know
that it is theoretically possible to build up a mental picture of the whole
dungeon level as far as it is known to the player. However, I don't play
Nethack all that seriously. I tend to look only at my immediate surroundings
as the room I'm in. However, I've talked to people who use their Braille
displays to gather a much better sense of the overall dungeon level.
One very useful command in the game is the autopilot. It goes a long way to
solving the insurmountable problems of retracing your steps once you find
down staircase and is also useful in locating doors you may have missed in
your explorations. Jaws for Windows won't give you row and column
like the old Dos screen readers did. Therefore, unless you're really good at
orientation, it was previously all too possible to become trapped on a level
you had explored fully unable to find where the staircase down to the next
level was. You would either have to go down immediately and sacrifice the
of the rest of the level or risk having the above fate happen to you. Now,
the autopilot will move you towards any fixed feature of the dungeon such as
the down or up staircases, closed doors you have found but haven't opened,
etc. The autopilot is invoked by using the underscore key which is the
dash or hyphen. The autopilot won't help you find objects such as a weapon
you may have left lying around.
Nethack certainly isn't a game for everyone. It's not at all like
interactive fiction. You have to be willing to put time into learning the
ropes as well
as being more than just a casual user of your screen reader's review
features. It's apparently a bit more intuitive with a Braille display. There
commands to learn and you must also learn what symbols represent what
objects. The slash command is another indispensable command for blind
certain to read the file called guidebook.txt. In a game this full of
complexities, it's vital that you have an idea what you're doing before
in. The online help and the above mentioned guidebook are very well written
and easy to access.
Being a merely casual player of the game, I haven't progressed even a tenth
of the way through it. There are many levels to the regular dungeon plus
special levels. Judging by the descriptions of them which I've read, there
very well may be access difficulties later on in the adventure. One area of
likely difficulty is the Socoban puzzle where you have to push rocks into
pits. There are also levels like the Gnomish mines which are mazes rather
whole rooms. Most of your time is spent in narrow corridors and it is quite
easy to become disoriented. Despite these issues, Nethack is easily one of
the most interesting and inspiring games I've ever come across. You'll never
have the same experience twice due to the staggering amount of randomness
built into the game. Perhaps, some day, there will be sound based
role-playing games of equal complexity and replay ability. Until then, for
sufficient patience and willingness to learn, there's Nethack. I hope this
writing makes it a bit easier for new players to get started.
News from Developers
News from BSC Games
Coming in 2005... the Void is a new fast-paced first-person 3D gaming
experience, set in the distant future. A new threat to the long-standing
peace between the human colonies have arisen from the shadows and can only
be described as "the Void," for leaving nothing but mystery in their wake.
The Mackenzie Star Station has severed all communications, and you, as
Commander Jeremy Blake, have been re-assigned to investigate. Cramped
quarters, spine-tingling suspense, and challenge at every turn will greet
you as you move through the old station. It will be up to you to discover
the cause of communications silence, attempt to restore communications, and
then make your report. With the Void as suspect to this incident, the nature
of your mission may change, and the danger could escalate beyond your
We are also continuing development, slowly but consistently, on CastleQuest
which will be our first online multiplay RPG. You can read up on cq at
www.castle-quest.com <http://www.castle-quest.com/> (note the dash between
castle and quest).
We are developing version 3.0 of BSCGames.com which also has us quite
occupied these days. We are revamping the navigation and graphical layout of
the site for 2005 and we hope that you will find it easier and more
straight-forward to get the information you come looking for. Graphical
layout? Stay tuned on that one.
While visiting BscGames.com, feel free to join our game talk list where
gamers talk all about BSC Games. Feel free to sign up for our newsletter for
updates on the Void and cq and their progress.
Justin Daubenmire - owner BSC Games
USA Games Inc.
Star Trek Final Conflict
by Thomas D. Ward. USA Games inc.
Sometime in February 2005 USA Games will be releasing the latest test
release of it's popular Star Trek strategy game, "Final Conflict." Final
Star Trek Final Conflict is a move based, self-voicing, strategy game in
which a player commands five Galaxy-Class starships and two starbases
against an allied force of Romulans, Cardassians, and the Breen. In
addition, Final Conflict includes one special bonus level in which the
player can command his or her forces against the dreaded enemy of the
Federation, "the Borg."
In the previous three test releases of STFC the game has captured a large
number of fans and followers. Thanks to their input, help, and suggestions
Alfa 4 is sure to be the most exciting, stable, and most popular version of
STFC to date. So what is new in STFC?
In previous versions of Star Trek Final Conflict the game simply used stereo
panning to move sound effects around in the game. In STFC Alfa 4 the game
has been completely updated to use true 3D positioning of the sound effects.
It is now possible to hear if an enemy is shooting from far away, or is
shooting at a vessel at a very close range. With a good set of headphones
now it is even possible to hear an enemies weapons from any direction.
The new test release of STFC has also added and updated many of the sound
effects to the game to add a richer sound experience for the player. For
example, now when restocking weapons or power from another ship or starbase
the player will hear the starships transporter as the weapons and power are
restocked. When a Breen or Romulan uses it's cloaking device the ship can be
heard by the player cloaking and decloaking during game play. The old
docking sound effect has been replaced by a better docking sound which
sounds more true to the Star Trek Next Generation and Deep Space 9
television shows. When a Federation ship receives damage during an attack it
is possible to hear the system powering down.
When development began on Star Trek Final Conflict Alfa 4 it was understood
there were technical problems with the existing artificial intelligence in
the game. The first thing that was done was the old artificial intelligence
was deleted and rewritten from scratch. As a result of the rewrite many of
the issues with the artificial intelligence have been solved, and the game
is now easier to play against.
As development progressed it was soon discovered why a player had such a
hard time winning the game. A bug was discovered in the game that when
shields were reduced the hull was reduced as well causing the player's ships
to be prematurely destroyed. Now though, in Alfa 4 this bug has been fixed,
and the shields must be at 0 before the hull can sustain any damage. This
has resulted in the players ships lasting much longer during game play.
Alfa 4 also has a new feature most gamers will find useful. In the first
three test releases a ship would have to go to the nearest starbase to
repair damages to the hull. In Alfa 4 all ships can dock with any Federation
ship and receive in-flight hull repairs no matter where they are. This can
be used as longer service time away from Federation space.
One of the most requested features has now been fulfilled. Many early
testers has suggested some kind of a menu to help learn the commands to play
the game. At last, STFC Alfa 4 has a fully menu driven interface which
allows a player to use either hot keys or menus to activate all of the games
features and commands. When F1 is pressed a player is taken to a main Menu
which has several submenus like: Game, Information, Status, Navigation, etc.
When one of these submenus is opened a player will see all the options in
that menu with a key attached to it such as Autopilot (A), Course (C), Power
(P), etc. By pressing the associated key that command is acted upon. Of
course, the player can simply arrow to that menu item and press the spacebar
to activate that command as well.
In addition to the technical changes Star Trek Final Conflict Alfa 4 has had
a major facelift as far as game play, ships, and enemies. In Alfa 1 and 2
the game was thought to take place sometime during star Trek Deep Space 9
season 3 or 4 in the Star Trek timeline. Later, in Alfa 3 we attempted to
see what the game would be like playing in Star Trek deep Space 9 season 6
against the Dominion. Now though, it has been decided that the game should
be reversed in the timeline to Star Trek Next Generation season 6 or Star
Trek Deep Space 9 season 1. This change may come as a disappointment for
some, but USA Games is certain STFC Alfa4 has better play value, stability,
and better action than any previous version.
All Federation ships in STFC Alfa 4 are based upon the Galaxy-Class
starships seen on Star Trek Next Generation and Deep Space 9. According to
Star Trek references there are five Galaxy class ships that have been named:
U.S.S. Enterprise, U.S.S. Odyssey, U.S.S. Galaxy, U.S.S. Venture, and U.S.S.
Yamato. All five Federation starships in STFC Alfa 4 have been named after
these five Galaxy-Class ships.
As many STFC players know the Romulans were removed in Alfa 3 but now have
been returned in Alfa 4. Many felt fighting both the Romulans and Breen at
the same time was to difficult because both use a cloaking device that
renders them invisible to the player for a majority of the time. However, as
mentioned earlier what was not known then was bugs in the artificial
intelligence and the code for shields and hull were the cause of so many
ships being destroyed so soon. However, the enemy certainly does have a
tactical advantage with so many ships that can become invisible. So how does
a player defeat so many invisible warships?
Final Conflict is all about tactics and strategy. Finding out how to defeat
the cloaked ships is one of the key elements to a successful mission in
STFC. Since it is so vital USA Games does not want to give out to many
secrets which could spoil the games replay value. However, we can lend a few
hints which may get the old and new STFC player well on his or her way to a
When a player plans to attack a group of cloaked ships he or she must think
about what they would do if they were in command of those ships. What are
the strategies a Romulan or breen commander could use?
The obvious strategy would be to cloak, become invisible, and ambush the
players ships as soon as they came in to range of the cloaked ship's
weapons. Since the player must assume his or her ships will be ambushed he
or she must be ready to expect an ambush from an unknown number of enemy
vessels at any time.
Another obvious strategy a Breen or Romulan commander might use with a
cloaked ship is cloak, get behind the fleet, and take out the Federation
starbases while the ships are away. By destroying the Federation ships' only
supply of photon torpedoes the player's fleet is almost assured to loose the
battle. Keeping the cloaked ships away from the starbases should be a high
priority for any STFC player.
When a player enters enemy space it is always wise to send more than one
ship in at once. The Federation ships should be close enough that they can
aid each other with weapons, power, and do in-flight hull repairs. Often
having more than one ship attacking the enemy in their own space keeps them
away from the Federation starbases and gives them many targets to attack and
not any one target to fire at. However, I have seen this strategy turned
against me when there were several cloaked ships in the same area.
In one game I was testing I sent three ships in to Romulan space to destroy
as many Romulans as possible. What ended up happening though was my fleet
got attacked from four Romulans from the front, but I had no idea there were
three Breen ships cloaked behind my fleet. I quickly killed the 4 Romulan
ships, and as I tried to get back to Deep Space 9 the Breen attacked
destroying all three of my ships, but not before I destroyed one of them.
Then, the Breen and remaining Romulan attacked Deep Space 9. The starbase
did manage to destroy 3 more cloaked ships, as well as a couple Cardassians,
before being destroyed itself. Which really did leave me pretty weakened.
However, the enemy did loose allot of cloaked ships during the battle. Eight
As it turned out I did win the game, but at games end I only had one
starship left. It was a tuff game, was tricky to win, but by destroying
several cloaked ships at the start of the game it was easy to attack and
destroy the Cardassian fleet which can not hide from sensors, and destroy
the last two Breen.
STFC Alfa 4 is still under active development and private testing. The good
news is the public Alfa should appear sometime in February 2005 once private
testing has completed, and it can be certain most bugs have been fixed.
While the game is not currently for sale it should be ready for sale later
this spring. However, you can visit
to download all our test releases for this title.
You can also go to
to read the latest news about our game titles.
If you would like to talk to others about our games you can go to
and subscribe to our support mailing list.
Fearless Flin Development Diary: Part III
By Michael Feir
While it isn't as polished as I'd like, I've at last taken my design
document to the point where I can begin working on other areas of
development. I haven't
yet worked out all of the special items or how all the special enemies will
be defeat. However, the mandatory and optional quests are all present now as
well as the basic abilities of all companions. After careful consideration,
I've done some radical changes to how special places could only be restored
once special foes associated with them had been dealt with. Now, all special
foes must be vanquished before escape from the current arena is possible.
Other changes have also been made to make certain that the game's interface
and options comply with the "easy to learn, hard to master" philosophy of
arcade games. Improvements in the game engine, particularly the number of
variables available, have given rise to still more changes. Defeating the
special enemies is one major area in need of continued work. I'd like to
have a couple of different methods of defeating special enemies. It should
be possible to do so without having any companions. However, where possible,
I'd like to come up with ways that certain companions can prove very useful.
All companions will be useful in general. The archer can attack from a
distance, the priest can exorcise ghosts and effectively fight demons. They
also be able to effect major change if players know where and when to use
them. For instance, the prince or princess can capture goblin castles
them into royal castles which help Fearless Flin. The peasant can work in
the garden or forge causing these places to be more productive. I'll be
on these issues while I begin working on sound effects.
One thing user-defined variables are excellent for is when you have similar
items to be collected but not necessarily used. They don't need to take up
space. They are also how you can indicate to the game whether certain
conditions have been met such as quests being completed. The engine is
being updated by David Greenwood and I expect that even more changes will
have been made by the time I get around to starting to try to program the
I've decided to spend the next few months focusing on creating the game's
sound effects. Before I start programming, I'd like to at least have the
sounds ready to plug in. Having spent the last half year thinking about what
my game should sound like, I now feel that it's time I started seeing how
close I can come to my imagined experience using the sound effects packages
I have available along with Sound. I also want to work on the script for
Flin's human companions who will be able to say a variety of things as they
travel with our adventurer. Additionally, the game will have a narrator who
will also need lines worked out. Special foes will also have a series of
phrases, taunts, and the like which they will say while present in the
If there's one overarching lesson the past while has impressed upon me, it's
that I can't seem to compartmentalise game development very well at all. I
need to try to keep moving forward more slowly in more than one area at a
time. All attempts at completely finishing one area of development have
me a lot of frustration. I suppose I should have known better since I never
enjoyed writing in secondary school once I had figured out where a story was
going or was forced to write an outline and then stick to it. It's
impossible to do a game without having some sense of its ending and
there are a number of facets of development which I'll have to become
proficient in and this challenge will keep things interesting for me. It
that my game deals extensively with random factors. I don't think I'd be
very good at all producing more linear adventures. Until next time, I'll
you to enjoy the rest of this issue of Audyssey.
Creator and former Editor of Audyssey Magazine
Game Announcements and Reviews:
Below are some of the new games available. Though an old treasure or two
may be discussed too. It's noteworthy that in some cases it's only an
announcement of a game, taken from the email list, and may not be a full
or an official notice from the developer. Reviews of games will not appear
in any particular order. The only exception to this will be when we have
more than one review for a game. In this case, reviews will be placed
consecutively so that it is easier to compare them.
Commercial text adventure
Hello Again, Adventurer !!!
I seldom send two emails in the same month much less in the same day. Just
as earlier in the day, an important development has just occurred - the
release of Azteca Release 2!
Azteca Release 2 corrects a few minor bugs and oversights that will enhance
your experience in the temple.
All Malinche games come with a full set of maps.
I have an ongoing zero tolerance policy where bugs are concerned and you can
always expect the latest, most up to date versions of all my games on a
Now go have a look at the calendar stone, examine the statue of the jaguar
the incense among other things. And most of all... enjoy!
Howard A. Sherman
1070 Highway 34 Suite H Matawan, NJ 07747
Abandonware I think
Here is from the online blind eye documentation:
The object of the game is for you to move around in a virtual city where you
have to locate a number of musical instruments that have been placed in
locations. The instrument will start playing when you are in its vicinity.
You will easily be able to hear where the sound is coming from and when you
get to where the instrument is, you will automatically pick it up. Then, a
voice will tell you how many instruments are left for you to find. When you
have located all of the instruments, you have to find a garage where a
hurdy-gurdy man is playing. All of the instruments will play for you and the
ends. You have a maximum of 60 minutes to complete the game and you must
beware of colliding with cars and walls or you will lose energy. If you have
not located all of the instruments within the time frame the game is over.
Now Phil's comments.
The game was a beta which could use some improvements.
The pace of the foot step sound was slower than I would like and the turn
left or right arrows moved the sounds more than what would be natural to me.
I am not sure but it sounded like fifteen degrees with each arrow hit, which
would spin you around in twelve hits.
To me I am used to the 5 to 7.5 degree turn of the GMA games.
The sound changes when you get close to an obstacle like a house is much too
subtle and thus I hit quite a few of them lowering my energy and getting
snide comments from the voice, like can't you see that house?
and , Dou you need new glasses?
I imagine after playing the game for a while I would be able to distinguish
the small changes in sounds so as not to lose energy.
For those who missed it, here is the direct download site:
and here is the web page to get the instructions:
You are receiving this email because you have previously requested
Blind-gamers Cribbage 1.0 (wave). Spoonbill Software has just released
1.1 (SAPI). If, by any chance, you haven't got SAPI already, you can
download the install file for SAPI Text-To-Speech directly from Spoonbill
Blind-gamers Cribbage 1.1 (SAPI) has the same functionality as its
predecessor Blind-gamers Cribbage 1.0 (wave) but with the following
. Version 1.1 uses SAPI, the Microsoft Speech Application Programming
Interface, which makes use of synthesized speech rather than hundreds of
pre-recorded wave files. This makes the program smaller and more flexible.
. You can now vary the speed of the voice from very slow to very fast
using the plus and minus keys on the numeric keypad. For this to work, you
have your screen reader turned off.
. The Sort Hand option, on function key F 12, now applies to the
computer's hand as well as your own hand and the cards in all hands and the
be sorted as specified by the setting of the Sort Hand option.
. The F 5 function key not only announces how many games you and the
computer have won during the current session, but it also announces how many
you and the computer have won overall, including games won in previous
sessions. It also gives you the opportunity to reset the overall scores back
. The F 3 function key now not only announces the current round total
during the Play phase, but also the sequence of cards played in the current
of play. This will enable you to better decide if you can make a run, pair
or fifteen during play.
If you would like a copy (and version 1.1 is only 530 kilobytes instead of a
whopping 2.7 megabytes for version 1.0) just reply to this email with a
note requesting the SAPI version. Thank you for your past interest in my
Blind-gamers series. You can read more by visiting the Spoonbill Software
Don't forget to visit the Newsletter page as well as the Blind-gamers page.
Albany, Western Australia
I cut all the Cryple game stuff from
Dean Martineau's Top Tech Tidbits for Thursday.
I'm a sucker for number and word logic games, so I wasted some time playing
Cryple, a free little game where each of the digits from 1-0 is represented
by a letter, and it's up to you to deduce which letter stands for which
digit based on arithmetic problems. the game works with JFW and
Window-Eyes. I've prepared a 15-minute audio file explaining it, to justify
my wasting time playing it. You can get the audio file at
(you might want to right-click and choose Save Target As if your intention
is to download the audio file.) and the game can be downloaded from
Reviewed by Gerardo Corripio.
This very simple but very realistic game, can be played without sighted
Have you ever wanted to learn how to develop computer games but at the same
time have fun with an arcade-style game? Try out Chopper Patrol from
*installation: Believe it or not, but no installation is required to enjoy
this game. Only unzip the file that downloads from the above page and you're
set to start playing and/or learning how to develop games because aside from
the executable game, you will find the source codes and the sound effects
in the game. also, from the above page, you can find the necessary tutorials
to start bringing us game buffs more fun-filled games.
*playing the game: Once you unzip the file, you'll find yourself in the
Chopper Patrol folder. To start playing, just find/launch the
file having unloaded Jaws (or whatever screen reader you have), and wait a
few seconds for the game to start. Once started, imagine yourself driving
in a tank; you will begin hearing either a helicopter or a jet coming from
left to right or vice versa; use the left control key to fire on the craft;
the cannon is used for the helicopters and the machine gun for the jets. If
you miss three jets in a row, the game stops and asks you whether you wish
to play again. Don't think it's easy for us who have never gotten the chance
to play more advanced games like Tank Commander because it's a bit tricky
targeting the jets because these come at you from either left to right or
vice versa having to move the target to the opposite side of the screen and
change to the machine gun in a flash with the up/down arrows, while the
helicopter stays stationary while either on the left/right or center, thus
less tricky. If you get all the jets and helicopters, you win the game.
Sounds simple I know but once you get the hang of it its very realistic!
and for you folks wanting to develop computer games, good luck!
Easter Egg Hunt
Reviewed by Gerardo Corripio.
Playable without assistance
Want to relive all those Easter-egg hunts you went through as kids?
L-Works' Easter Egg Hunt allows you to do exactly this, as well as improve
To download Easter Egg Hunt, go to
Once installed under the L-Works submenu then unload your screen reader
since this game is self-voicing, launch the game
and once the computer says On your Mark, Get Set, Go! get ready because you
have three minutes to find as many eggs as possible!
The game reports when you have two minutes, one minute and thirty seconds
left to collect eggs. Use the right, left, up, and down arrows to find the
eggs; when you hear the egg, indicated by a beeping sound. In the center,
it will automatically be picked up so you can keep on searching for more
These games have a system by which you can send the scores to l-works;
this option can be accessed from within the games' menu. Let me just say
that it's great they have this feature! because it's especially helpful to
get yourself motivated to try even harder just by looking at other players'
Hopefully I'll see mine someday posted among the top 10; if you try hard
enough hopefully you'll achieve the top 10 as well.
For those of you who have a Pac Mate and are looking for a game you can
play, Jawbreaker has been made blind friendly. I hope my description of how
play the game is not too confusing, but here goes: The game is played by
using your JAWS cursor and your Braille display to look at the board. There
are 11 columns with 12 jawbreakers in each column. You look for rows or
columns of jawbreakers of the same color. Colors are represented by numbers
your Braille display. Press the routing button on your Braille display that
is associated with the Braille cell that the jawbreaker you want to burst
is on, and the jawbreakers that are contiguous as far as color is concerned
all disappear. The jawbreakers in columns fall down to replace those that
disappear. So, for example if you find 3 fours side by side and the column
to the right has a 5, and just above the four in your third column is a 5,
burst those fours and the 5 falls down to replace the burst four, giving you
2 fives in a row which you can burst. The game is over when you have no
numbers side by side or directly in line in a column. You are given points
based on the number of jawbreakers you burst on each play. The more you
with each play, the higher your score for that play.
I don't think that you can play this using speech, because the spacing is
very important, and I think you need to feel, rather than hear, the numbers
their position on the board.
To play the game, you have to copy a jawbreaker.jgf file into the
windows\settings\enu folder, which may be hidden, into your Pac mate from
PC. If you want a copy of the jawbreaker.jgf file, let me know off! list!!
Absolutely no request through the list will even be responded to. You!
ask off list. My Email address is
If you are already a member of the Pac Mate list, you already know about
this fun little game. This Email is for those who are not Pac Mate list
If you want to be a member of the list that discusses the Pac Mate, you can
find more info at
Reviewed by Gerardo Corripio
Playable without sighted assistance
Imagine yourself in New York city killing pigeons; they're everywhere (on
benches, in peoples' houses, in cars, on the streets and sidewalks). You
work out a deal with the city and get to work shooting them to help the city
free itself of these birds.
This can be done in l-works' newest game entitled Pigeon-Panic which can
be downloaded from
Once the game is installed, you'll see a L-works program folder within
your Start Menu/Programs. In it will be installed the Pigeon-Panic game as
well as other l-works games you install in the future.
The game is self-voicing, so be sure and unload your screen reader before
Once in the game you'll be presented with a menu from which you can choose
a few options, including test speakers, start a new game, send scores to
and exit. it will all be spoken to you by a pre-recorded human voice.
Once you select the Start new Game option, the computer will say set,
ready go! and you'll start hearing one bird moving from left to right. When
it in the middle, press the spacebar to shoot. If you get him, the game
will continue, however, if you miss you'll get two more chances before the
stops. While you're shooting birds, every so often you'll hear a chime and
the game will be reporting your score; be prepared because each increase in
makes for faster-moving birds! So ready to shoot pigeons in New York?
Now my comments: the sounds are very realistic-sounding to the point that
you forget you're playing a computer game.
Private detective school
Game demo available from
Full version only on cd, by the looks of things only available from ONCE,
not sure about the Code Factory team direct
Reviewed by Will
This game, the latest from Code Factory has some fantastic concepts, which I
would love to share with you.
The story of this game, is that three pedals from the magnificent organ in
the headmasters office have been stolen. Of course, you, the main character,
are the best man up for the job and it is your task to try and recover the
pedals to unlock a safe. It is the graduation ceremony and the diplomas are
in the safe.
Sounds a weird storyline, think I got it right, smile
The interface, for those of you having played time adventures, you'll
recognize the main character i.e. you, as Jacko from this previous offering
from the company so in my opinion the acting is not bad. When I first
started the game, and after the intro, I was dropped straight into it.
It didn't say what to do to get help, but having played time adventures, I
figured that pressing the f12 key would yield some information as it did in
I was told the usual element, i.e. cursor keys to look at items in a room
and of course to move up and down menu items. Here however, was where the
game began to get interesting. By pressing S you are presented with a whole
map of the campus in which the game takes place.
It takes place at the private detective school academy.
When I pressed s, I was confronted with some cool music and then I thought,
what do I do?
The exciting part is you physically walk to each location!
This means that as you are walking around, if you are by a wall the sound is
wooden, if not and you are walking on the floor it is like a normal footstep
Then, when one approaches doors it may say after the door sound "laboratory"
etcetera. You have to solve each case, there are six cases in all which I
make up the whole mystery.
You have to solve them by examining objects, talking to characters,
eliminating suspects etcetera.
In the demo you only get the first quarter of the first case but the whole
campus to explore
It just sounds such a cool game, a lot of thinking will be involved.
For example in the toilets there are three pipes labelled a, b and c. I
guess everything is in this game for a reason.
The game has animations as well, but so far only 2 music tracks which I
find disappointing most locations are just quiet, well some have
environmental ambience but only that and no music to accompany.
It's hard to explain this game without giving it a go, it is a must, grins
If you like thinking then you will like this game.
I don't know as of yet, how to purchase this. I think for those of you
living in Spain you can go to an ONCE shop and pick it up I guess. This is
disappointing as I don't know the estimates for shipping this game or how
much shipment costs. For those of us like me, who live in the united
kingdom, I guess we have to do a bank transfer to code factory, I don't know
how much that will cost for shipment either,
read a full description at
under products, accessible then games, and finally entertainment games.
All in all well worth your fifty meg download, and the navigation is almost
like 3d as you walk around the campus. Doesn't seem a huge area to explore
that I've seen but maybe there are more locations in the full version, but
I don't think so
Overall rating: demo at least, 8 out of 10
happy pedal hunting
Reviewed by Gerardo Corripio.
Playable without sighted assistance
Looking for a realistic-sounding and feel driving/racing accessible game
especially for the blind? Try out Top Speed, a free game from Playing in the
Dark, from Belgium.
No special requirements such as ccp-net or WindowsInstaller is needed,
reason for the ease of installing Top Speed. Once installed, unload your
screen reader and either launch the desktop icon or the shortcut key you can
create yourself upon the game's install, and
after a few seconds wait, you should be hearing the Playing in the Dark
Intro theme and then the game itself will start.
A human recorded voice will tell you to use the arrow keys and enter to
navigate through the menu choices which are, by pressing the down arrow,
Quick Start in which you don't get to choose any of the options described
below, thus only allowing you to race around a track; single race in which
you get to choose which one of eight tracks you want to race, coincidentally
named for different countries, select a vehicle in which by pressing the
down arrow you get to choose one of four vehicles (between two cars and two
motorcycles) plus the Go Back option which allows you to go back to the
previous menu. Once you choose which vehicle you want to race in, select
between automatic and manual transmission, I recommend first going with the
manual transition even though it's very slow, to get familiar with the
Once you make the selection for both, the model and the type of
transition, the game will start by saying Start your Engines! "3, 2, 1,
roll!" Then you
pres the up arrow key to accelerate. A co-pilot will be saying the turns;
you steer with the left/right arrow keys respectively. Though I'm blind from
birth and have never driven a car except on the bumper cars, it sure feels
like driving a real car because depending on if it says sharp or ark, I'd
it's how far you go left/right. When you crash and the engine starts up
again, you continue from where you crashed until you either continue
crashing or finish
the track. Upon completion. The game reports your time and compares it with
your previous time record, saying if it's higher or lower than before.
Now let's talk a bit about the Street Adventures which is also very
interesting: When you choose it, you get four "adventures". once you choose
one of these,
you get the same choices as in the Single Race option with the model you
want to race in, the type of transition and away
To quit the track and go to another, just press Escape and you will return
to the Main Menu on which if you select Quit Game it exits out of the game.
Aside from the speech being totally human-recorded, the two other aspects I
really enjoy about the game which makes it very realistic is the fact that
you select the car/motor cycle, the engine sounds reflect the model, thus
sounding very realistic.
Secondly, the way in which you steer the car through the track is very
realistic because the type of turn you make, either arked or wide, reflects
to proceed through the track and if you crash.
Overall, this is a very awesome game which I recommend to whom ever wants to
experience being either in a race or driving a car. I definitely feel the
one would feel of driving/racing because as you go along, especially in the
street Adventures, you hear the wheels of the car changing from gravel,
and the like. Also, in both the races and the street adventures, you hear
people cheering you on. So ready to race/drive? Try out Top Speed!
All material to be included in future issues of Audyssey should be sent to
me at the following addresses:
1180 Dorval Dr. #303
Oakville On L6M 3G1
for MSN no email.
Brenda Green is the co moderator. Her efforts on behalf of the Audyssey
community are very much appreciated. She can be contacted at:
Kevin, co-owner/moderator of the blind gamers discussion list also helps
out greatly with the community and can be contacted at the following
email/msn: [email protected]
Distribution Information and Submission Policies
This magazine is published on a quarterly basis, each issue appearing no
earlier than the fifteenth of the publication month for its quarter. All
submissions to be published in an issue must be in my possession a minimum
of two days before the issue is published. I use MS-Word to produce
Audyssey, and can therefore accept submissions in pretty much any format.
They may be sent either on a 3.5-inch floppy disk, or via e-mail to:
Please write articles and letters about games or game-related
topics which interest you. They will likely interest me, and your fellow
readers. This magazine should and can be a
highly interesting and qualitative look at accessible gaming. To insure that
high quality is maintained, I'll need your
written contributions. I reserve the right to unilaterally make changes to
submissions if I deem it necessary to improve them grammatically or enhance
their understand ability. I will never make changes which will alter the
spirit of a submission.
All submissions must be in English. However, people need not be great
writers to have their work appear in Audyssey.
Many of our community come from different countries. Others are quite young.
Where possible, I try to preserve their
different styles of expression. The richness that this adds to the Audyssey
experience far outweighs any benefits
gained from having everything in prose so perfect as to be devoid of life.
Audyssey is a community and magazine built
on the need for blind people to have fun. There are no formal structural
requirements for submissions. Within reason,
they may be as long as necessary. Game reviews should all clearly state who
created the game being examined, where it
can be obtained, whether it can be played without sighted assistance, and
any system requirements or other critical
information. Although profanity is by no means banned, it should not be used
gratuitously. Submissions not published
in a current issue will be reserved for possible use in future issues if
* Those who are on the Audyssey discussion list should be aware that I
often put materials from the list in the "Letters" section if I feel that
they warrant it. Anything posted to this discussion list that in some way
stands out from the common and often lively ongoing discourse will be
considered fair game for publishing unless it contains the author's wish
that it not be published. From now on, it is now officially a policy of the
This magazine is free in its electronic form, and will always remain so. I'm
writing this magazine as much
for my own interest as for everyone else's. Your articles, reviews, and
letters, as well as any games you might care to send me, are what I'm
after. Send any games, articles, letters, or reviews via E-mail, or on a cd
or 3.5-inch disk in a self- addressed mailer if you want your media returned
to you. Please only send shareware or freeware games. It is illegal to send
commercial games unless you are their creator or have obtained permission to
do so. By sending me games, you will do several things: first, and most
obviously, you will earn my gratitude. You will also insure that the games
you send me are made available to my readership as a whole. If you can, I
recommend that you send e-mail. I can send and receive attachments with
ease. This way, no money will be wasted sending me a game I already have,
and you'll get my reply more quickly. You are responsible for shipping
costs. That means, either use a disk mailer which has your address on it,
and is either free matter for the blind, or is properly stamped. I can and
will gladly spare time to share games and my knowledge of them, but cannot
currently spare money above what I spend hunting for new games. I encourage
all my readers to give my magazine to whoever they think will appreciate it.
Up-load it onto web pages and bulletin board systems. Copy it on disk for
people, or print it out for sighted people who may find it of value. The
larger our community gets, the more self-sustaining it will become.
Those who want to receive issues of Audyssey as they are published should
send a blank E-mail to:
The Audyssey discussion list facilitates discussion about games
accessible to the blind between the publication of issues of Audyssey. All
are welcome as long as they respect their fellow community members and keep
in mind that the topic of the list is supposed to be games. Other topics are
allowed within reason as long as they don't begin to monopolize the list
traffic for too long. Newcomers should be advised that traffic is
frequently fairly heavy. Anyone participating in the discussion list will
have issues of Audyssey automatically sent to them via E-mail.
Representatives from all major developers of games for the blind are
actively participating on the list. There are two moderators keeping things
civil and orderly. Be certain to read the Audyssey Community Charter as all
list members are expected to follow its rules. If you want an active role in
shaping the future of accessible games, this is where you can dive right in.
To subscribe to this discussion list, send a blank message to:
Stan Bobbitt has made Audyssey Magazine available in HTML format for easy
on-line browsing. To take advantage of this, you are invited to visit our
home-page. People can easily and quickly navigate through the various
articles and reviews, and directly download or visit the sites of the games
that interest them. This will be of especial benefit for sighted people who
wish to make use of Audyssey and/or join the growing community surrounding
it. The Audyssey community thanks Mr. Bobbitt for his continued efforts on
its behalf in this matter.
Darren Duff also provides a home for Audyssey.
.Where the issues can be read, downloaded individually or one zip file of
all the issues. Thanks Darren!
Another site has recently added Audyssey issues to its resources. We
Note the dash in the below address.
to the Audyssey community and hope that visitors to this site find our
resource to be of value to them.