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Audyssey;
Games Accessible to the Blind
Issue 43: first quarter, 2005
Edited by Ron Schamerhorn & Lynette Frison

 Fun, Friendship, Knowledge, Charity

 +++

Welcome

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.

 

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Contents:

Welcome

From The Editor

Letters

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

Contacting Us

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
one.

 

  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!

 

+++

Letters

 

++

Developer group started

 

Hello Developers,

 

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

discussion soon.

 

For more information on how to sign up, visit

http://www.agdev.org/DiscussionArena

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,

 

David

 

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 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
capabilities!

 

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
Greystone.

 

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.

 

Visit

http://www.malinche.net/software.html

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

on-line."

 

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

floor.

 

"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

attractive.

 

Adam watches them for a while then has an idea.

He grabs a jacket,  sprints down the steps to the

back yard.

 

Stopping by the house, picking up the ball he

smiles and says, "Hi, I'm Adam and live

upstairs."

 

"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

his face.

 

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

answers, "Sure."

 

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

downtown Boardman.

 

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

unpacked everything!"

 

"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

green.

 

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

stop.

 

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,

he surmises.

 

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

 

Children, zero.

 

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

paper versions."

 

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

 

Children, one.

 

Birth Date, April 7, 1977

 

Adam presses the scroll button and reads her

relationship section.

 

Best physical features?  smile, and naturally

curly hair.

 

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

Reality chip.

 

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

drink.

 

"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

wines.

 

"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

VR unit.

 

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

shell.

 

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

her.

 

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

blood flowing.

 

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

door.

 

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

mike.

 

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

Doctor commands.

 

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

space."

 

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

billed."

 

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

asks.

 

"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 me!"

 

"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

his ear.

 

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

apartment.

 

"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

later."

 

"Now then, what happened to your ear?" Cindy

asks.

 

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

ever since."

 

"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

tiny feet."

 

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

it.

 

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

the bats.

 

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

her here."

 

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

cries out.

 

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

their trap.

 

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
functioning  of

 muscles  in  the  execution  of  movements proceeded by auditory input.

 

  Suppose a friend throws an empty coffee can on the kitchen floor, thus
making

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
afterwards

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

www.bscgames.com/deek.asp

 

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
and you

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

www.bscgames.com/dart.asp

 

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?
Pay

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

www.kitchensinc.net/

 

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
you get

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

http://freespace.virgin.net/jr.bowden/programs.htm

 

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:

www.audio-tips.com

 

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

sword.

 

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

trouble.

 

Chalk has also gotten his bow out. He's in

shooting distance with the Elven sisters and

Taliesan.

 

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

at it,

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

sunrise, Molbo?

 

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

help

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

weapons."

 

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

tightly while

 

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

worm?"

 

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

found."

 

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

feet.

 

"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

the other

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?"

 

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

sunrise another

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

Vishler.

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

delays either.

 

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

rear.

 

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

light stone...

 

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

help.

 

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

harmed.

 

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

cloudy area.

 

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

Reju up.

 

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

and leaves.

 

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

it.

 

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

the tunnel.

 

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

journey.

 

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 group.

 

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

sunset.

 

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.

Ravin agrees

 

& 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

warm.

 

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

feeling.

 

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.

Assuming you

 

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

HeartString."

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

you."

 

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

unpacked?"

 

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

carriage?"

 

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

quite helpful.

 

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

camouflage.

 

Mace: maybe there is a natural way it can be done

without magic

 

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

it.

 

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

stealth.

HeartString gives Taliesin 1 Thinness Potion & 1

to Nightshade.

 

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

other.

 

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

getting

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

spells.

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

charges, etc.

 

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
certain

level of similarity. To look around the map requires the use of an
independent cursor which the player can move around without effecting the
game. 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
the

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
unless

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
which

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
technology.

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
file

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
as

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
front

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

reads:

 

Options=IBM graphics

 

You want to put an exclamation mark in front of "IBM graphics" so that the
line reads:

 

Options=!IBM graphics

 

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
be

changed effects how keyboard commands are handled. A lot of screen readers
use the number pad to control their independent cursors or for other
functions.

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
command

your character to move in many games of this type. There is a line saying:

 

OPTIONS=time,noshowexp,number_pad:2,lit_corridor

 

You have to change the "number_pad:2" to "number_pad:0" to turn the number
pad off.

 

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
style

to be helpful to me. To have this, make certain the line reading:

 

OPTIONS=menustyle:traditional

 

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
"no"

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
@-sign

on the screen. However, other humanoids such as shopkeepers, soldiers etc
are also represented by @-signs. Fortunately, the PC cursor is always
located

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
dungeon.

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
such

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
the

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
coordinates

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
exploration

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
shifted

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
are many

commands to learn and you must also learn what symbols represent what
objects. The slash command is another indispensable command for blind
players. Be

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
plunging

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
numerous

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
than

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
those with

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

 

Greetings Gamers!

 

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
control.

 

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.

 

Best Wishes,

Justin Daubenmire - owner BSC Games

 

++

USA Games Inc.

 

Star Trek Final Conflict

Alfa 4

by Thomas D. Ward. USA Games inc.

 

http://www.usagames.us

 

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

successful mission.

 

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

in all.

 

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

 

http://www.usagames.us

 

to download all our test releases for this title.

 

You can also go to

 

http://www.usagames.us/news.php

 

to read the latest news about our game titles.

 

If you would like to talk to others about our games you can go to

 

http://www.usagames.us/lists.php

 

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
classic

arcade games. Improvements in the game engine, particularly the number of
variables available, have given rise to still more changes. Defeating the
game's

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
always

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
should

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
turning

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
thinking

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
inventory

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
constantly

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
game.

 

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
basic

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
Fearless

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
arena.

 

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
caused

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
limitations. However,

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
also helps

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
leave

you to enjoy the rest of this issue of Audyssey.

 

Michael Feir

Creator and former Editor of Audyssey Magazine

1996-2004

 

 

+++

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
review,  

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.

 

++

Azteca

Commercial text adventure

http://www.malinche.net

 

  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
regular basis.

 

Now go have a look at the calendar stone, examine the statue of the jaguar
and smell

the incense among other things.  And most of all... enjoy!

 

Howard A. Sherman

Implementor

http://www.malinche.net

 

1070 Highway 34 Suite H Matawan, NJ 07747

 

++

Blind Eye

Abandonware I think

Hi Charles,

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

different

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

game

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:

http://www2.hku.nl/~audiogam/ag/theblindeye/

 

and here is the web page to get the instructions:

http://www.theblindeye.com

Smiles,

Phil

 

++

Blind Cribbage

Spoonbill Software

 

 

Hi,

You are receiving this email because you have previously requested
Blind-gamers Cribbage 1.0 (wave). Spoonbill Software has just released
Blind-gamers Cribbage

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
Software's

Blind-gamers page.

 

Blind-gamers Cribbage 1.1 (SAPI) has the same functionality as its
predecessor Blind-gamers Cribbage 1.0 (wave) but with the following
enhancements:

 

.    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
must

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
crib will

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
games

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
to

zero.

 

.    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
round

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
short

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
website.

Don't forget to visit the Newsletter page as well as the Blind-gamers page.

 

Regards

Ian Humphreys

Spoonbill Software

Albany, Western Australia

 

++

Cryple

 

Hi Folks,

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

http://www.topdotenterprises.com/cryple.mp3

 

(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

http://www.topdotenterprises.com/cryple.exe

 

++

Chopper Patrol

Reviewed by Gerardo Corripio.

http://www.bscgames.com <http://www.bscgames.com/>

 

This very simple but very realistic game, can be played without sighted
assistance.

 

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

 

www.bscgames.com/resource_center.asp

 

*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
all

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
used

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
Chopper-patrol.exe

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
around

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
being

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!
Enjoy!

and for you folks wanting to develop computer games, good luck!

 

++

Easter Egg Hunt

Reviewed by Gerardo Corripio.

Playable without assistance

http://www.l-works.net

 

  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
on hand/ear

coordination skills.

 

To download Easter Egg Hunt, go to

http://www.l-works.net/get.php?file=egghuntsetup.exe

 

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
eggs.

 

  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'
scores!

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.

 

++ 

Jawbreaker 

 

  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
to

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
on

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
burst

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
and

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
your desktop

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!
must!

ask off list.  My Email address is

 

[email protected]

 

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
members.

 If you want to be a member of the list that discusses the Pac Mate, you can
find more info at

 

www.pacmategear.com

 

 

++

Pigeon-Panic

Reviewed by Gerardo Corripio

Playable without sighted assistance

http://www.l-works.net

 

  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

 

www.l-works.net/get.php?file=pigeonpanicsetup.exe

 

  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
playing.

 

  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
l-works

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
you hear

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
game

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
score

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

www.codfact.com

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
this

game.

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
assume

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
rather

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

www.codfact.com

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

 

++

Top Speed

Reviewed by Gerardo Corripio.

Playable without sighted assistance

http://users.pandora.be/playinginthedark/download_e.htm

 

  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
tracks.

 

  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
imagine

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

you go!

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.

 

Final Comments.

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
when

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
in how

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
thrill

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,
pavement

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!

 

 

++++

Contacting Us

 

All material to be included in future issues of Audyssey should be sent to
me at the following addresses:

Ron Schamerhorn

1180 Dorval Dr. #303

Oakville On L6M 3G1

[905]-842-1933

[email protected]

[email protected]

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:

[email protected]

 

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:

[email protected]

  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
appropriate.

* 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
Audyssey

community.

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:

[email protected]

   

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:

[email protected]

 

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.

http://www.angelfire.com/music4/duffstuff/audyssey.html

.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
welcome:

Note the dash in the below address.

http://www.blind-help.com

to the Audyssey community and hope that visitors to this site find our
resource to be of value to them.


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