“You had a back way out, and you were going to take me the long way?” asked Dandelion.
“I didn’t want you seeing my home,” said Hammer. “But now you’ve seen it, and i’ve already been paid, I might as well do things the easy way. Up that ladder and you’re out of the Moonstone Caves.”
“Don’t go,” said Min Kon. “It’s a trap.”
“Any traps on this this thing?”
“That’s a very astute question. Yes, some of the rungs are coated with a very deadly contact poison. But a Too-bad Toxin spell would cure you.”
“You mind going up first, and just showing me which rungs to avoid?”
“Not at all. Come on!” Hammer started up the ladder. Sometimes he skipped a rung. Sometimes he skipped two, though that took a big step to accomplish. Dandelion followed in his footsteps religiously. The walls of the shaft were rough-hewn and jagged. In places the minotaur and the ogress could barely squeeze by. This had once been a simple fissure in the rock until Hammer, or someone, decided to enlarge it into an escape tunnel.
Min Kon screamed in her mind all the way up. “No no no no no no!”
At the top Hammer stopped and peered out through a concealed eyeslit. Nobody was in sight. He stepped off the ladder onto a small ledge, and moved a hefty boulder to the side. Outside, was a forest glade.
Dandelion crawled out through the hole that Hammer had made in the hillside. As she exited, Hammer said, “So long, good luck, be careful with that necklace.” And he closed the hill again.
It was a beautiful morning in the forest. The sun shone, birds sang. “Well, Min Kon that wasn’t so bad.”
The necklace was absolutey silent.
“Min Kon, answer me. Aren’t you glad to be out of those caves?”
Dandelion reached down and lightly lifted the neclace away from her skin, and dropped it back into the treasure sack. Then, smiling with the pure joy of being alive and out of those caves, she wandered off in search of a landmark so that she could find her way home.
Khenn Arrth said… “The Adventures of Dandelion are over (for now). Thanks for playing.
Naharaht said… ” Congratulations on completing the adventure, Dandelion.”
Dandelion the Ogre said… ” Thanks, Naharaht! I’m quite excited. I won! And I owe it all to you guys.”
Dandelion the Ogre said… ” Oh yeah, and thank you all for not killing me like you killed Boozer. 🙂
D’gou said… ” Dandelion: Thank the cooperative voting process. Almost, I think they were the ones who wanted you to sleep. Sheesh, who’d’ve thunk you could hurt yourself sawin’ logs?”
Taran Dracon said… ” Dandy, congrats on getting out alive.
Ken’s Notes About This Adventure
This Dandelion blog series would not have been possible witout the creative work of a lot of other people besides me. I’d like to thank them here. Gynn Silva created the character of Dandelion the Ogress as her avatar in Trollhalla. She has left Trollhalla behind, but she will always be remembered fondly. Her creative work continues at the site she shares with her husband Rick Silva–they do small press independent comics together at http://www.dandelionstudios.com. (And good stuff it is–I’m a fan.) It was brave of her to volunteer her character to be the heroine of a collective storytelling. The last person who did that died horribly, pincushioned by elvish arrows. Nasty elves reappeared in this story too. I must thank Kevin Bracey, also known as Quoghmyre, the southern-most Troll because he lives at the south tip of New Zealand, for the wonderfully evocative title illustration that I used on all 57 episodes. His artistic imagination gave an ogress a Mohawk hair-do–it’s something that I would have never thought of. I made a new friend on http://twitter.com who got involved. Greywulf (aka Robin Stacey) at first created a single render for Dandelion, and then I roped him into illustrating the whole series with marvelous results. What a long strange trip it has been, eh Greywulf! The Moonstone Caves is an actual GM dungeon for Tunnels and Trolls created by Douglas Eckhart. He deserves a lot of credit for the adventure this became. The dungeon is freely available on his web site at http://www.douglas.eckhart.btinternet.co.uk/page12.html. I admit that I twisted his cavern into something he never intended, but that’s what a GM is supposed to do with the products that people release for them. You don’t have to slavishly follow the text–you need to put your own imaginations into these adventures. Thanks for giving me a framework for the adventure. And then there are the members of Trollhalla who decided Dandelion’s fate with their votes. You can see some of their (Trollish) names in the little epilogs that accompany some of these chapters. Whenever Dandelion came to a decision point, it was up to the voting members to decide what she did next. This group method of adventuring produces some interesting results, not always what the individual who’s character is being used, wants to see. I took this style of play from Rick Loomis, C.E.O. of Flying Buffalo, Inc. who used to run mini-adventures in his monthly newsletter where his readers would determine what action the character took next.
Lastly, I’d like to thank any readers who stuck with me through this epic. I hope you enjoyed the trip.
–Ken St. Andre, September 15, 2010.