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Chapter 4
Devils Playground or the first HeroQuest of the A-TEAM

After three weeks of training or cult duties the A-TEAM decide that they would go to the Devils Playground. Kaid-aw took the others except Raven to meet Talio, an old man who was the only man, who had survived the Devils Playground. He told them about the horrors of the place and the horrors he had went through in there. Later he had been blinded when he had sat and looked upon the sun to make even for all the sins he had done. He told them to find a big tree in the middle of the Devils Playground and from there they could descend down into the horrors. The ritual that opens the door can only be made during full moon. First one day before was used to find where the tree was so when the journey would start, no time would be spent finding the right location. After getting to the Playground and searching for a big tree they saw three humanoids, who turned out to be broos at a closer look. Raven and Dolxx charged immediately. Dolxx killed one broo on the first round, one on the second and the last on the third round. He did it nice and fast. The others helped by taking the parries of the broos, so Dolxx had it very easy to hit without needing to worry about any parries from the broos. Later in the afternoon the tree was found, and the party left the Playground.

The following day was spent in Pavis buying cure disease potions and finding more about the Playground in the Lhankor Mhy temple. Merlox made special torches, with an duration of a few days but an intensity much higher than normal. When the day of departure arrived the party thought they were ready. They took Talio with them and left Pavis for the Playground. They arrived to the tree without any delays and Talio begun preparing for the ceremony. Late in the evening, after dark Raven saw two ghost arriving. One of them attacked Raven who defeated it in a spirit combat, quite easily. The other attacked Dolxx. After some time it broke loose from the spirit combat when it could not do anything to Dolxx, due to his spirit screen 5 spell. The ghost made the mistake of attacking Merlox and lost it in a few rounds of spirit combat. Merlox then stored it in a spirit trapping crystal. At midnight the door opened. After a few meters down they torches faded away as also Ravens darksenses. After ten more meters down, the senses and torches light came back, but not as bright as normally. The stairs down ended in a tunnel. The right direction was chosen. After descending for 500 meters, the tunnel changed direction to upwards. Kaid-aw climbed first. But only after a few meters upwards a rock was thrown from the upper end of the climb. It crushed Kaid-aw's head into pieces. Kaid-aw died instantly, but was healed and resurrected. Then the other direction was chosen. After climbing slowly back to the start point, Talio was left in the stairs hiding and waiting for the party to come back, but he would leave before one day had passed. A new tactic was chosen. Raven would lead the party trusting his darksense as a guide. No light that would reveal them were lit. Merlox special torches were covered up and at a word from Raven they would be uncovered. A rope was tied between the members loosely. The tunnel led to a big chamber with fourteen tunnels leading out of it. The fourth tunnel to the left was chosen. After two splits where the left tunnel had been taken a chamber was found. In it was a Hydra, twelve Krarshtkids and two Krarshtides. The Krarshtkids attacked but the A-TEAM backed to the last split. The Krarshtides attacked Kaid-aw and Raven. Kaid-aw defeated his Krarshtide easily, but Raven had problems. He lost four points of permanent POW in the battle. Raven killed first one Krarshtkid before the Krarshtide attacked him. Merlox and Dolxx came to replace the others so they could concentrate completely on the spirit combats. Merlox killed one Krarshtkid first and then Dolxx came into action and killed three Krarshtkids with three blows into the heads of them. After this the Krarshtkids backed and did not want to attack anymore. Raven was mad and wanted to kill, maim and slay. Kaid-aw and Merlox prepared a crossbow attack and then Dolxx threw a torch against the Hydra to guide the missiles. The made a successful attack and it went unconscious after the 13 arrows hit it. Raven and Dolxx then run into the chamber. It took just three rounds to kill the last seven Krarshtkids. Dolxx killed two, with two nice blows in the heads. Raven and Kaid-aw also killed two, while Merlox killed one. Then a little resting before continuing the adventure. The following cavern that was found was filled up with runes, lots and lots of small runes. Raven made a critical search and found his cult runes. As he touched them he got three automatic POW gains with a 95 % chance of succeeding. Dolxx and Merlox missed their runes by the smallest amount possible and did not gain any POW gains. Kaid-aw did neither see his rune but he missed them by a mile. It was fair that Raven got three permanent POW back as he had just lost four against the Krarshtides.

After following the tunnels again a chamber was found. In there were five Jack O'Bears, one with SIZ 42 and other were not small either. A prepared missile and spell attack was made. The big one went unconscious as a result of Dolxx heavy damage with his missiles and one died of the Jack O'Bears. The three other stood up for fight. Raven had a darkwall in front of him while Kaid-aw had a lightwall. All the Jack O'Bears made their harmonizing attack on Dolxx who was harmonized by them all. Raven and Kaid-aw killed the Jack O'Bears within a few rounds. Merlox stood up against all the harmonization attempts. Then when the harmonization of Dolxx ended the party continued. In the following room there was a small ledge over an other room. The lower room was filled with snakes so the party did not want to climb down. More and more crossings were passed. In the following room they found two stone chairs with stoned broos sitting on them. A secret door was found in the room. In the inner room was a magical chair made of wood. It was taken as loot. Then the tunnel became darker and darker. Eventually Raven lost his darksense. At this point the decision of turning back was made. A new tunnel that was chosen ended in a cave with black water. Again turning back. This time the tunnel led back to the big room where they had been before. It was tunnel number six they came out from.

They continued back from where they had come from and turned to a new tunnel. This tunnel was a natural tunnel and not made by krarshtkids as many had been before. When the tunnel ended in a cave they saw there six scorpion men. Spells were thrown and then A-TEAM charged. Dolxx and Merlox killed one scorpion man each immediately. Dolxx and Kaid-aw started to run after two of the scorpion men who had tried to flee. Raven killed his enemy and the only survivor tried to defend himself against Merlox. As Dolxx and Kaid-aw run forward they came to the next cave where ten to fifteen scorpion men were gathered. Two of them charged against Dolxx and Kaid-aw as the rest retreated. Dolxx and Kaid-aw regrouped themselves to meet the scorpion men. One of the scorpion men had five tails while the other had two huge claws. Dolxx and Kaid-aw only wounded the scorpion men. The one with the tails got one hand useless while the other had his thorax useless. When the scorpion men could give back the one with the tails impaled and criticalled against Kaid-aw, who fell down unconscious. Dolxx parried easily the claw attacks. Kaid-aw's Allied spirit healed Kaid-aw immediately, but he would be out of action for five melees. Dolxx attacked both scorpion men and killed them both with his mighty attacks. He then was ready for the attacks of the rest but they did not come. Meanwhile Merlox and Raven eventually killed the sole scorpion man. When the A-TEAM advanced they found two different tunnels leaving the big cave. From one of them they heard a faint cry for help. As they thought it would be a trap they did not go to that cave but the other. But after they had walked fifty meters downwards in the big spiral formed tunnel they turned back and went to the other tunnel. There they found a cave and a man crucified with wooden poles to the ground. They released him but as they started to as him Raven and Kaid-aw got suspicious and killed him. He turned out to be Krarsht follower. He had a pouch with a big amount of gems. He had also a map of somekind with a puzzle on it. The A-TEAM went back to see if Talio were OK. They also spent the night there. Talio had heard some noise from the tunnel but as he was blind he could not see anybody. Early in the morning Dolxx heard some noise from the tunnel nearby and woke up the others. There came a group of trolls. Raven went and talked to them. They turned out to be from the Loricek clan and the leader knew Raven. The trolls told that somebody had tried to climb up to their area. They had stopped the attack and were now investigating what was the source of the attack. It went up a light for Raven and he understood that it was the trolls that had killed Kaid-aw as they had believed him for a chaos monster emerging from the devils playground. Raven told that the A-TEAM had cleared all enemies from here and that the trolls needed not to worry about the attack earlier. Afterwards everything went quiet again. Dolxx started to think about the puzzle they had found.

In the morning the figured it out together. Dolxx recognized the last figure as the cave where they had seen an altar. From that they solved the rest off the puzzle. It was a map how to find to the Krarsht followers lairs. The first sun was a round room from where tunnels led out. While the triangles together with the numbers showed which tunnel to take from the round room. Then a stream before a second round cave. Last was a cave with the altar the group had seen earlier. From there the tunnel led to the scorpion men's caves. A decision was made to go there. They found the stream as the map showed. On the other side was a group of broo's which fled when they saw the A-TEAM. Raven tried to charge against them but fell into the stream from the slippery bridge. Kaid-aw and Dolxx had to rescue Raven out of the stream before he would vanish in the stream. When everybody was safely over the bridge the broo's was nowhere to find. As they walked along the tunnel bars of bronze closed the tunnel. In it was a door with a padlock. Kaid-aw saw in it a very well conceal trap. He could not disarm it but he could open it with a successful pick lock. He takes the lock with him. The tunnels ended in a cave where a man was sitting beside a desk. A low fence was dividing the room. Besides the desk was a gate in the fence. Kaid-aw shoot the man with a single shot from his heavy crossbow. On the table was a book, which was taken. He also had a key that looked liked it could fit in the lock. There were three tunnels leading out of the cave. The left one was chosen and divided again into three tunnels. The middle one led to a cave with seven small cells. In each of them was a man sleeping. Kaid-aw and Raven killed all of them. The following right one led to a locked door which was barren from the inside. And the left one led to a similar cell complex. The team backed to the room with the desk. The middle one left very soon to stairs down. On the way there an assassin attacked Merlox in the head. The assassin hit 39 pts of damage in the head but luckily it was Merlox he had attacked, because Merlox could withstand it, thanks to his heavy armoring. The assassin fled immediately after the blow and no one was able to follow him quickly enough. The stairs down led to a new tunnel which ended to a open pair of doors. The doors looked like a mouth. In the middle of the room was a statue of Krarsht on a stone pillar. The pillar stood in the middle on a deep whole which was covered by a net of prazim. It was obvious that this was the temple of the cult. As the group examined the room Dolxx was attacked again by the same assassin. His arm was cut off but his allied spirit healed it immediately. As the blood dropped to the ground the door vanished. There was a small room with a tale and a book of stone for the priest and two small alcoves, one with the Rune Hunger, , and the other with the Rune Chaos, . Kaid-aw tried to cast a rope to the statue but as it touched the statue was attacked by a heavy disruption. A hole was cut into the net so the statue could fall down the twenty or so meters downwards before it touched a rapidly moving stream. Raven tried to shoot it with a slingshot powered by a fire arrow but he got the same result. Then Dolxx tried again with the rope but once again a disruption came from the statue. Eventually Kaid-aw started to read the book in the priests room. It was a book about the rituals and history of the cult. After reading for three hours he found a story which interested him. It was a story about a HeroQuest. In this he could read the following story:

Urlok, the fourth son of Urox had been trying to find Shrart, a descendant of the Hungry Mouth. One day after a contact with Mostali's Shrart was resting. Urlok atlast found Shrart and sneaked into it, through the open mouth, to cleave Shrart's heart in two. Urlok saw the Mostali's Shrart had eaten but continued. As he walked on he found an adamant dagger laying on the ground, or more correctly in Shrart's throat. He tried to take the dagger, but as he was reaching for it, an unknown "well-doer" hit him in the back. Urlok turned around and killed the "well-doer", but when the blood of him dropped down, Shrart felt the sweetness of blood and woke up. It closed the mouth and Urlok was captured inside it and died there.

It was obvious that Dolxx blood had closed the door and the only thing that could save the party was their first HeroQuest. In the book was the rituals for the HeroQuest, but they had to change it, because they could not afford to get any blood on the ground. Obviously the so called "well-doer" would attack as they were getting the dagger. They argued fourth and back how they would do the HeroQuest without getting wounded. In the end everybody agreed that Merlox would pick up the dagger and jump forwards as he would touch the dagger. He would be protected by the best protection spells the group had. And at the same moment Dolxx and Kaid-aw would attack where the "well-doer" would most probably stand. They could not stay ready to attack as then the assassin would most likely not attack them but later. It would have to be a surprise attack against the "well-doer".

They cut the net more so they could jump into the water to start the HeroQuest. In the two alcoves were two metal runes with ceremony guidance's how to perform the ceremonies correctly. The ceremony was made by Merlox who was the most accustomed with ceremonies. Then everybody jumped in the water and the HeroQuest started. After a few rounds they emerged on a shore in the Heroplane. They looked around curiously, but everything looked quiet. A worm was some fifty meters away from them. They casted all their spells as they would not go away, because there is no time on the Heroplane. Then they started to slowly approach the worm. Only Dolxx managed to sneak but even the others were quiet. The mouth of the worm was open. As they entered it, they saw a few meters inside two dead dwarfs. And not far further there were three more dwarfs. These were the mostali the story had told about. And soon they saw the dagger laying in front of them. They took their positions as they had agree earlier. And just as Merlox touched the dagger Dolxx and Kaid-aw hit where the "well-doer" would be. And indeed he was there. Both Dolxx and Kaid-aw hit but it was Dolxx mighty blow in the abdom that made it. The "well-doer" fell down unconscious. Then Kaid-aw chopped the head off the "well-doer". Merlox got the dagger as he climbed up from the ground. The "well-doer" had a dagger that was magical and made of iron, which the group took with them. Now they were not anymore on the HeroQuest the ritual was telling about. After a short walk they found the heart. Everybody aimed and attacked the heart. Kaid-aw hit well with his main weapon while Dolxx and Merlox only hit with their secondary attack. Raven hit with both his attacks. But the damage was not enough and the worm started to move itself. Immediately a new group of attacks were made. Kaid-aw hit again with his spear, while Raven once more hit with his both attacks. Dolxx hit only with his kick while Merlox missed completely. But as the last hit stroke home the movements of the worm died out, as it died. A white wall of some liquid, Dolxx guessed as prazim, engulfed the party. It came from the interior of the worm. After a few rounds they flew out of the hole they had jumped in from the temple and the mouth formed door was open again. The modified HeroQuest had been successful. Everybody was completely cover with prazim but they were able to move normally. Now the party left the temple as quickly as possible. Dolxx would lead the group and kill anything that tried to stop them while Kaid-aw and Raven took the stonebook and the metal runes. Merlox would be the rear guard. As the party came to the room with the desk there were people in it but when they saw the party covered with the prazim, the moved out of the way. When everybody had passed the room a leader of the Krarshti shouted and said to the A-TEAM to leave the book behind them. Kaid-aw let loose of the book, but Raven said that he would not take any orders from any slimy chaos follower and carried alone the book with him. The leader cursed Raven and said that he would be a marked man in the future. Raven realized this but he did not care. It was a mighty deed when he carried alone the book, as any normal person could not have done it. The journey to the tunnel up to the surface was a short and uneventful. Talio was waiting where he had been left, on the stairs to the surface. Raven asked the others if they could block the tunnel at that point for an half an hour while he would go to the trolls and climb up to the troll quarters with the book. After this the rest and Talio walked back to Arlatens tower and then escorted Talio to his quarters.

After this a long training period for Merlox and Raven was held, while Dolxx and Kaid-aw did cult duties. The A-TEAM Inn was opened just before the sacred time.

Do you want to read how the A-TEAM reacted on some Minor Worries?
Did you read how the A-TEAM coped with the Trollclan that wanted their lands?

Copyright © 1997-2005 by Kim Englund. All rights reserved. How to contact me. Last modified 01.01.2005.

A picture with runes which makes this page look cool ;-)