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Subject: Claira and Dearborn's Dungeon Delve! [Warning: Long Post!] rss

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Jacovis
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Background: My son played Claira the Warrior. I played Dearborn the Wizard. Dungeon is my son's favorite boardgame (with I don't know how many plays) and tonight we decided to tell a story about our delve. Nota: We play that if you fail a Secret Door roll you can keep moving.

Prologue: Claira slammed down another tankard emptied of Fruit Punch flavored Kobold-ade onto the long table. She was pretty miserable. She had just been kicked out of the fabled Monstrous Mutts mercenary band for disobeying a direct order from the Captain. She was glad she had held her ground and decided not to burn down the doll-house at the farm they had quartered in last week. The thought of all those dolls becoming homeless was more than she could take, and she had done and seen horrible things: Fences torn down and cattle released leaving their owners to corral them again; dogs forced to eat scant leftovers instead of premium kibble; and she had once taken candy from a small child, under orders of course. But the doll house was too much and the best she could hope for now was for another war to start so she could find work again.

Nearby Dearborn was lounging uncomfortably in one of the inn's "chairs," which seemed to have been designed for the sole purpose of torturing his already tortured spine. Dearborn was used to hunching over spellbooks in poorly lit rooms, and even at times poring over the mysterious tomes of Witchdoctor Seuss. This inn's chairs, however, caused a special kind of pain. Dearborn had been searching for a scroll lost in this region over a thousand years ago. All of his fellow wizards had told him he was insane. So he left to prove them wrong by quitting his tenured position at the School of Magical Arts and going on a perilous journey with little evidence to back him up. He'd show them!

The dreariness in the inn was becoming so thick that even the fire seemed to be drowning in its own misery when Claira, staring down into an empty mug, noticed someone sitting next to her. Not a couple of feet away, but immediately to her left. She stated abruptly, "Whatever you want, I warn you... I've done things.. so you had better make what you have to say quick and worth my time."

Expecting some kind of verbal reply, Claira was shocked to hear only a raspy, quiet laughter. She looked up to see a human-sized rabbit sitting like any person would on the bench next to her. She looked back down and pushed seven empty mugs off the opposite side of the table and started to get up.

"I think you'll find my offer worth your while," the rabbit stated.

Claira snickered with a slight grin then said, "Unless you can grant wishes, you've got nothing worthwhile for me." Claira was now standing and grabbed her helm off the table, preparing to leave.

"Oh, but I can grant wishes," the rabbit said, "or rather a wish. But in return I need some trinkets from the abandoned underground fortress nearby and I would much rather someone get them for me than dirty my hands myself. Are you interested yet?" the rabbit asked mockingly.

Claira put her helm back on the table and, rubbing her eyes, sat back down and looked at the rabbit. "How do I know you can grant a wish?" she asked.

"I'm a talking rabbit, my dear. I think my prowess with magical energies should be clear from that fact alone. However, I understand your concern. As you know, casting a Wish is a tedious and expensive proposition that I just happen to have prepared for already. Several other....candidates... were unable to fulfill my task as requested, so my offer and the preparations still stand.

"I want to be clear, however, that the Wish is dependent upon two things: First, you must retrieve at least twenty thousand gold pieces worth of treasure from the dungeon. Second, the item I seek must ultimately be among the treasure you retrieve. The first point is to ensure you look adequately enough and don't waste my time since you can keep anything of value except my trinket! What say you?"

Claira sat in silence, thinking about the offer, when an arrogant sounding Elf sat down on the opposite side of the table, after loudly depositing the tankards onto the ground, and stated, "I'm interested in your offer. My own task requires my presence in those same ruins and a Wish is a valuable thing indeed."

Claira's eyes lit up with anger. "The offer was for me, Elf, go back to your forest tower and talk to the woodland animals...." The ridiculousness of that statement sank in too slowly for Claira as she recalled the rabbit seated next to her. "No offense," she mumbled as she looked back down at the table. "I'll do it."

"Well, it seems as if I stated I would do it first, good sir!" Dearborn stated in rabbit-language. The rabbit narrowed its eyes.

"Indeed. However, it is in my own interests if you both take on the task as a sort of race or challenge of sorts. Of course you both get to keep whatever treasure you gain, but I get the trinket either way and the Wish will be granted for whomever brings it to me. In the spirit of the fact that the Wizard interrupted my questioning and was not invited, however, he will have higher requirements to receive the Wish. You must bring thirty thousand gold pieces worth of treasure plus the trinket to receive the wish. Those are my terms. Do you both agree?"

Claira and Dearborn locked gazes and both smiled wryly at the same time. "I accept." they said together. The rabbit smiled.

"I shall await your return here two nights from now. I suggest an early start.. there are rumored to be unfriendly creatures down in those ruins..." the rabbit whispered.

********************************************************************

The next day Claira and Dearborn headed into the woods together, unwilling companions but they traveled together out of coincidence and a common, albeit competitive, objective. The ruins were fairly easy to approach, but that wasn't the concern during daylight. The real troubles lay inside.

Before they ventured down the stone staircase Claira expertly lighted a torch and Dearborn cast a Light cantrip on the claw atop his staff. Without a word to each other they ventured into the darkness and headed their own separate ways.

Claira headed West down what appeared to be a promising hallway. She knew the more valuable treasure was deeper in the dungeon, but it wouldn't do to leave small hordes of goblins and other nasties to attack her from behind. She entered a small room, surprising a lone Goblin that had been sleeping there. She dispatched it easily, finding a small sack of gold on him.

Meanwhile Dearborn headed East. He had been studying these ruins for several years now and he knew the more dangerous denizens were to be found this way, at least if the tunnels were not completely blocked off. As he wandered down the hallway he carefully reminded himself of his prepared spells and their components. He had prepared four Lightning Bolts, five Fireballs, and one Teleport just in case of an emergency.

As Claira continued East toward the Guard Room chamber, Dearborn followed the tunnel South toward what he thought had once been prison Cells. He heard a shuffling sound in a room to the side and grabbed the components for a Fireball spell from his pouch and gently nudged the door open with his foot. Of all things a Mummy was ambling toward him! He instinctively completed his spell, launching a massive ball of fire toward the undead being and incinerating its dried remains instantly. Dearborn picked up a Gold Ring that survived the blast and returned to the hallway.

Claira continued into the Guard Rooms, easily slicing through an Orc who happened upon her during a search and finding more gold coins. Eventually, her cautious curiosity got the best of her, however, as she entered the Guard Rooms chamber and got caught in a Cage Trap! It took her a short while to get out of the cage, but she found a Silver Cup while she was stuck in there to add to her treasure.

Dearborn, at the same time, approached the Torture Chamber after preparing a Lightning Bolt spell. As he approached the massive entrance he heard a loud clicking sound so he stuck as close to the wall as he could. Peering around the corner he saw a Drider! He knew that these magical Drow/Spider hybrids were immune to Electricity-based attacks so he let the spell out of his mind and remained out of sight while preparing to cast a Fireball again. Stepping out from the shadows, Dearborn completed his casting of the Fireball and heard the satisfying sound of crackling spider in the chamber. He hurried across the open space before his attack attracted too much attention.

Claira had escaped by this time from her Cage Trap and, after a brief encounter with a Giant Lizard (Lizards... Why did it have to be Lizards??!) in one of the side rooms she made it into the Pantry outer rooms, where she found an Ogre devouring an unlucky Kobold. Fortunately her training with the Mutts had included special tactics against Ogres and Giants and she handled him easily. Getting over the stench of half-devoured Kobold took a little more effort, but she overcame it to find a Gold Ring on the table.

Her fight had attracted the attention of an Evil Cleric of one of the dark gods, however, and as soon as she found and opened a secret passage down the hallway she was ambushed. Claira handled the Cleric with ease, and casually looted the Gold Cup attached by a string to the Cleric's robes as she wiped the red corn syrup off her sword.

Dearborn had continued his room-by-room search, but in the process found a dark Vampire. He blasted it with his prepared Lightning Bolt, but the Vampire was merely singed. And angry. He knew his chances against a Vampire were not very good, so Dearborn cast a silence cantrip and slipped deeper into the ruins. In another room he encountered a Black Pudding, which he fortunately was well-prepared for with another Fireball spell. In the gooey remains of the creature he discovered a Silver Coffer. He felt confident he could satisfy the requirements of the rabbit's task.

As Dearborn neared the Lair, his nose was so overwhelmed by the smell of burnt pudding that he missed the tell-tale scent of chemicals that accompanies an acidic beast nearby. He had prepared a Lightning Bolt before opening the door to the next room, where he faced a sleeping Black Dragon! He knew it was immune to Lightning, so again he felt the spell slipping from his mind as he wondered why he bothered to learn Lightning Bolt spells at all.

Claira's foray into the Pantry continued to attract all sorts of low-life ne'er-do-wells. Once she actually reached the Pantry chamber she was set upon by a not-so-sneaky Evil Rogue who had been wandering the ruins and thought the warrior would be a slow, easy target. The Rogue was incorrect.

Claira then headed East and fell into a Slide Trap, which landed her in the Cells where she faced a Mummy. (Two Mummies in the same Dungeon!? Sounds like an eighties sitcom...) Though it took more effort than her previous challenges, Claira was able to use her relative speed to her advantage and left a rather Charmin' impression on the Mummy with her blade.

Dearborn decided to go for a Fireball against the Black Dragon, hoping it would break through the giant lizard's natural magic resistance. Unfortunately it did not, and the retaliatory breath attack began melting the door and surrounding stones. He quickly prepared a second Fireball (also his last prepared Fireball spell!) as he heard the beast muttering its own incantation. He launched the spell into the darkness, completely missing the beast. Dearborn once again used his magic to slip away, hoping to survive to fight again.

Claira's luck with traps continued as she headed North from the Cells and got caught in another Cage Trap, once again finding some treasure, this time a Silver Coffer.

Dearborn was not much better off. He decided that he ought to take his chances in a battle of wills against the Vampire in the previous room and stepped in with all of his Arcane Arts prepared. It was that preparation that saved his life. The Vampire handily bested him in his tired state, and besides dropping his newly found Gold Ring Dearborn was able to escape to the Great Hall to rest and begin recovering his spells. He sat and studied his spell book and replenished his ready spell components, this time keeping only two Lightning Bolts along with seven Fireballs and his one Teleport since he had seen too many Lightning-resistant enemies so far.

Claira took advantage of Dearborn's being incapacitated and continued exploring. She went back into the Cells, where an Owlbear caught her off-guard and set her reeling back into the hallway. She dropped a Gold Ring in the process, but eventually regained the upper hand and separated the Owlbear back into an Owl and a Bear as it should be, recovering her Gold Ring.

As she wandered the hall, she thought she could feel a secret door outline, but could not find it with any certainty so she moved on toward The Hole chamber. While thinking about the rabbit, and how bizarre the whole situation was, Claira was nearly garroted by a Drow sneaking around in one of the rooms. After a violent fist fight she had knocked the dark elf unconscious and decided to tie him up, for his own protection, instead of killing him (after looting his Silver Coffer of course). I'm sure he is fine....

Dearborn had regained his strength and his spells and headed East in an attempt to find a hidden door he had seen on a map once. He was unable to find it, however, and headed South instead, searching for yet another hidden door. Apparently wizarding was much more of his specialty than discovering undisclosed entrances to hallways and rooms.

While Dearborn was searching futilely for any secret door at all, Claira had found one that led to a rather well-entrenched Troll. The Troll was wily, and had crafted many traps and trip-wires with string (Old-school AD&D picture reference!) which made it difficult to maneuver. The fight was vicious, and in spite of the Troll's natural ability to heal Claira was able to chop it up into enough bits to leave her alone for a while. And she gladly took its Treasure as well.

Dearborn approached the Torture Chamber again, with a Lightning Bolt prepared, and found yet another Vampire waiting for him. He cast the Lightning Bolt, which either missed or did not do any damage to the Vampire, he was not sure since he hid like the sniveling hobgoblin that he was and decided not to go in there just yet. Then he changed his mind and charged in to see if he was a Wizard or a Muppet and faced this Vampire, defeating it! Victory! And... no treasure.

Claira had decided that she had enough treasure, and likely the trinket, at this point so headed back toward the Cells. As she entered the chamber, she saw another Drow (maybe the same one. They all look alike...) staring at her menacingly from a short ways inside the chamber. She decided she didn't like Drow very much and just threw her dagger at him, killing him instantly and clearing the Cells.

Dearborn figured his time was nearly up to successfully beat Claira back to the inn, so he decided to attempt to take out the Black Dragon again. This time his Fireball was prepared and he took advantage of the dissolved doorway to cast his Fireball from farther away. Success! The Dragon was wounded severely and left the chamber, fleeing through some unknown well above ground to cast a Darkness spell on some unwary travelers including a Half-Elf, a Kinder... and .. wait wrong story.. Anyway, Dearborn discovered a Silver Necklace in the rubble, and stashed it away.

Claira had begun moving rapidly toward the Great Hall when she decided she was going to win this thing anyway so she stopped in a room by the entrance to take a quick rest. Unfortunately, there was a Dire Rat with the same idea lounging in there and she destroyed it in a terrible battle. (She really just stood on a chair and waited for it to leave. She is afraid of rats.) She looted the room to find some loose Gold Pieces lying around.

Dearborn, meanwhile, continued to explore and found himself facing a Purple Worm. After the last encounter with the Black Dragon, he was feeling confident so he cast his Fireball over his shoulder and confidently destroyed the Purple Worm, but lost the race, as he was about to find out....

********************************************************************

Epilogue: Claira had escaped the ruins with somewhere around 27,000 Gold Pieces worth of Treasure and made it back to the inn to see if the rabbit would be good for his word. As she made her way into the town she realized she was actually feeling pretty good about herself and what she had just accomplished. When she had been a mercenary she hadn't thought about how much fun it would be to kill things and loot for profit, but now she was sure she might have found a new calling.

As she entered the inn, the rabbit was sitting quietly on what passed for a chair in this place. She approached him and noisily dropped her bag of loot on the ground next to him. "Well, do what you need to do. But no games or tricks Rabbit."

"Those things are for children. I assure you this is a serious venture. Any word from that Elven companion of yours? It was nice to hear my own language spoken to me again after so long." The rabbit stopped and seemed to ponder something for a moment, then said, "Ah. There he is." and began casting a spell. With a sort of sensation of the the air being sucked out of the room Dearborn appeared in the middle of the inn and seemed utterly surprised to be where he was.

The rabbit smiled and beckoned to Dearborn to come over to sit near him. Dearborn, obviously relieved but somewhat disoriented, complied. "Claira," the rabbit said, "you have indeed discovered the trinket I seek." With that, the rabbit spoke a word and a soft blue glow came from within her treasure pile. The rabbit kept speaking softly and what appeared to be an armlet slipped out of the pile. and into the rabbit's hand. "This is the Armlet of the Crystal Warrior. It's no longer powerful and barely still magical, but it means much to me. I shall grant you your wish, and the remaining treasure is yours to keep, as we agreed. My Elven friend, the same for you, except the Wish of course. Please be more careful next time you delve into dark places."

Dearborn smiled, reached into his bag, and pulled out the Silver Coffer he had with him when he was teleported to the inn. "I have no need to go back," he said, "because I found what I sought." He opened the coffer and inside, with a light golden glow, was the Scroll of Unearthed Arcana. He bowed with a flourish and bid the rabbit and Claira goodnight.

Claira rolled her eyes and muttered "Wizards... can't live with them, and they can't hold a sword for some reason..." then she looked at the rabbit. "You can keep your Wish, Rabbit. I think I've found what I would have wished for anyway."

The rabbit looked astonished. "Really? My dear, this is not something I offered lightly, and is not something that should be passed up lightly either!"

Claira stood up, grabbed her bag of treasure, and smiled at the rabbit. "I know. That's why I'm going to keep going back down into those ruins. I discovered something about myself down there: I'm good at killing monsters." And Claira swaggered off to her room with her loot.

The innkeeper watched her walk into the dormitory, then looked back over at the chairs where she had been talking. He shook his head and said to one of the locals sitting at the bar "I've heard people talk to themselves before more times than I can count... but talking to a rabbit?... Used to be I would have asked her about it. Not anymore. You must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. For years I was smart. I recommend pleasant."

Fin.


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