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Run, you fools!



 SilverHorn ran around a corner in the tunnel, and saw a rough area with rocks and loose boulders and also what looked like a hole off to one side. As quick as thought, he moved into the hole, which was deeper than it looked, and had a turn in it. In fact, it seemed to be another passage.

The Troll came around the corner, didn’t see SilverHorn, and pounded on down the tunnel and around another corner, making a scary noise somewhere between a growl and a bellow. SilverHorn couldn’t see any of this, but he could hear the Troll fading into the distance. The question now was whether to continue to explore the little passageway he was in – it was very tight – or to come back out and head back toward the entrance . . .

Taran saw Mahrundl slip into the hidden passage on the room’s wall. He now felt that he had fallen behind everyone, except perhaps SilverHorn, who had decided to go back. He considered the fact that if he thought he was dying from drinking the water, he could always take the Trollgod’s magic ring off and be out of the race where he could get some help and curing. With this alternate plan in mind, Taran dipped his snout down and slurped up some water from pool number three.

The water tasted absolutely horrible – even to an Uruk. It was slimy and bitter, but magical without a doubt. He could feel his body changing. His skin grew red, and began to puff up. His eyes watered copiously. A feeling of heat grew along his esophagus and stomach, and he began to retch. A wave of red washed across his vision and . . . he passed out, falling to the bone-littered floor . . .

Rrraff saw the shortcut to the cavern closing up in front of him. He dashed toward it and dove through just as the stone closed up behind him. He found himself in a large cavern, but he really couldn’t see too much of it, as various stalactites and stalagmites blocked his vision. He heard a noise – you couldn’t call it a roar exactly – and saw a distant figure diving down out of the sky toward something.

He picked himself up and began to run in the direction of the distant figure, but he quickly lost his way in the maze of stalagmites that blocked him. He did try to always move downwards and towards the center.

Coming around a corner suddenly, he bumped into a Balrukh. It was sitting on the ground ripping apart a huge insect and obviously eating the meaty parts. Rrraff fell down, and when he looked up, he saw a huge shadowy face with flickers of fire around the edges staring at him.

“Wat arrrrrr yuuuu?” asked a thick voice. At the same time, a huge 4-clawed hand wrapped itself around his shoulder and upper arm.

Meanwhile, many thoughts passed through Tmuwo’s mind as the giant cockroach pounced on him. For a fleeting instant, he even thought he could lure it away with music from his kalimba, but there wasn’t time. Running, casting a spell like Hold That Pose, and fighting with his bony club all occurred to him. There was no time. All he really could do was swing his club and defend himself. [1]

Tmuwo’s club glanced off the insect’s chitinous carapace. Its mandibles sank into his Trollish flesh, gouging out a large piece of rocky flesh. Acidic blood oozed from the wound and smeared the insect’s mandibles. It begins to sizzle and burn into the insect . . .

Mahrundl emerged from the passageway, and not too far ahead of him on the path, he saw Tmuwo confronting a huge insect. The insect attacked and took a chunk out of Tmuwo . . .

A giant cockroach pounces toward Gimor who dives beneath it and rolls to his feet beyond it – ready to fight or flee. Suddenly, Middleclaw appears from above, and swings his sword at the cockroach. The bug turned just in time to snap at Middleclaw’s foot, tearing a streak of fire along the leg near the ankle.[2] The sword slashed through the insect as if it were made of paper. The cockroach spewed ichor and died.[3]

Middleclaw pulled his sword out of the carcass and landed. “Lucky for you I came back,” he told Gimor.

“I was doing alright,” said Gimor. “It never laid a claw on me. But thanks.”

“It scratched me,” said Middleclaw. “I hope these things aren’t poisonous.”

“They are always poisonous,” said Gimor. “What are you going to do about the wound?”

[1] Combat: Cockroach gets 2D6 + 5, and is poisonous. Tmuwo gets 3D6. Cockroach gets 15. Tmuwo gets 9. Tmuwo takes 6 hits of damage and is poisoned.

[2] Spite damage—bug rolled 6, 2.

[3] 15 A.P. to Middleclaw.


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