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The Adventures of Monty Haul (Monty Strikes Back)

by James M. Ward (Dragon #21)

We were on a winter level tonight and were far from pleased. It was Friday, one of our usual D&D; nights and we were going down into a refrigerated level of Monty’s that we had found weeks before. We had all made fur coats for our figures and most of the group was going down. Robert, Jake, and Dave (I) (Tactics boys through and through) were going down as their 20th level fighters; Brian (a tactics lover too, but a fanatic on Western Gunfight) was going down as their 20th level fighters; Brian (a tactics lover too, but a fanatic on Western Gunfight) was going as his 21st level thief/fighter/cleric dwarf; Ernie, Dave (II), and I were going down as wizards of the 18th level (just little guys); Freddie was his stupid high level sword carried by a flesh golem from Jake’s golem squadron; Tom and Tim went as druids (probably because they liked all types of herbs).

The three ancient white dragons guarding the door were no problem. It was just a matter of running in the chamber hasted and invisible and throwing three hold monsters at things. They didn’t have any treasure; they were just there to slow us down a bit. As we walked through the door ‘Monty gave his “evil” chuckle which always meant we were in big trouble) and we were told that we were sliding down a sheet of glare ice. We wound up pinioned against a mass of ice spears and everybody but Freddie had taken damage. He then thought it would be a great idea to use his flaming power to melt the spears away. Ernie and I, knowing the horrors Monty could think up, tried to stop him but it was too late. We were hit from above by partially melted ice stalactites and again Freddie was the only one unhurt.

None of us were pleased, but we all took it in stride and started off in a southerly direction hoping for a warmer climate. That’s when we met the “Wolfoids”. Monty didn’t call them that, he called them humanoids with wolf heads and we weren’t worried (but I had a suspicion this level was turning out to be far from kosher). Robert and Tim rushed out in the lead (our Diplomacy experts) and were going to talk but the “Wolfoids” weren’t in the mood. They started to glow and came in swinging big pikes while the leader of the group unlimbered a pistol of some type and burnt off one arm of the flesh golem, (the one with Freddie in it). We magic users threw out a horde of magic missiles that Monty told us bounced off the glowing shields around the “Wolfoids”. The things hacked at our three fighters their round and our hacks back didn’t even touch them. Then our Druids really came through and warped the wood of the pikes and the wolves sat stunned for a turn while we made a mud pond for their feet. Their glowing shields went out in their struggle to be free and they were easy meat then. We managed to get the gun away and Ernie and I had a discussion on who of us two should get it for the adventure since we were the only ones in Monty’s game (with these characters) that had used pistols of any type (much to the disgust of the tactics boys and Brian.) I let Ernie have it, nice guy that I am; besides, how did I know Monty didn’t have a self destruct mechanism attached for the tenth shot or something?

We traveled down an ever widening corridor and were confronted by three oval robots. All of us had fought robots in the past and we had a healthy respect for them (especially Ernie who refused to even come close to them). Tim and Robert went out again to try to talk to them and weren’t pleased with the results. Glowing tentacles went out and tapped them on the shoulder (before they could duck, of course) and caused them to fall unconscious to the ground. They both started yelling about saving throws, magical armor, and artifacts but Monty just smiled that “go and kill yourselves will ya” grin of his and told them they were out of it for awhile. The stupid things started coming towards us with those tentacles out and glowing and thoughts of running crossed our minds. Dave (II) then had a brilliant thought and told Monty he was telekenesing Freddie over to the robots. This brought large protests from the ever retreating Freddie and even larger smiles from the rest of us (it must have been all that typical Petal Throne sadistic thinking that gave him that idea). Naturally, when one of the robots reached out and grabbed Freddie the swords powers took over and he had control of the robot (something Freddie would have never thought of by himself). He used it to get the other two and we had a new flunky. When we found 17 huge gems in each robot we had to restrain Ernie from breaking Freddie’s robot open for its treasure. He kept saying something about “the treasure jingling in the wrong pockets” or something like that.

Anyway, the frosty corridor ended in a metal door that we had to knock spell open, which really irritated Robert and Jake who had on girdles of Storm Giant strength. The door opened out onto a multi-roomed chamber. Brian was told by Monty that his infravision picked up some strange emanations in the room with a clear panel wall blocking it. Dave (1) charged right through it in typical blitzkrieg fashion and promptly received ten dice of damage with Monty explaining it as being strange painful burn welts. I felt I knew what was happening, but I wasn’t saying anything until I was sure. Just in case I was right I moved my figure to the back of the group and took Ernie’s with me. We didn’t find anything in the rooms but some cheap steel bracelets with colored rectangles on their tops. I took one of every color with nobody saying anything about it because they all thought I was kind of greedy anyway. Freddie was able to find an ice blocked door and Dave (II) melted the ice and Monty showed us a picture of what it looked like. I noted the color band strip on the side of the door while Dave said he was opening it with a knock spell. I secretly passed Ernie a note telling him that we weren’t in our relatively safe and happy D&D; land, but in the horrible, insane world of Metamorphosis Alpha. We all had a copy of the rules, but didn’t play it because it was too tame for most of us.

Ernie and I stayed back to watch the fun as Dave (1) and Tom took our figures through the door. We were greeted with a winter forest scene and Tim and Tom wanted everyone to follow them saying that only druids could truly work best in a forested outdoor. It was a minute later that the trees started grabbing for the front members of our party. Tim and Tom both cast plant control spells and went wild when they saw Monty rolling three six-sided dice for saving throws for all the trees.

“What do you mean they get saving throws?" asked Tim. “I’m a druid, I know all about plants.”

Just then we all failed to make our saving throws and lost six hit points each. Ernie and I ran and all the rest followed suit. We came to a wall and an open door and Freddie took the robot in, not worried about any type of attack hurting him. He and the robot were grabbed and forced into a pressing machine. The robot was ruined (so were his gems) but Monty allowed Freddie to come out of the machine as a long strip of very flat metal, not useable as a sword, but still having its magical powers. From out of these machines came a horde of winged snakes of huge size. The fighters rushed up swinging with their swords and were greeted by batches of spat poison. Jake and Robert died (not making their minus four poison saving throw) and Dave (I) had his sword split apart by the action of the snake’s acid poison. That didn’t bother Dave; he just pulled out his second vorpal blade and went on swinging. Tim, Tom, and Brian all threw snake charms at the things and without rolling a saving throw, Monty said they didn’t work. Those three started shouting about all snakes getting saving throws no matter what type. Monty (smiling again) said “That’s true if what you were fighting were reptiles.” Everyone but Ernie and I sat there with their mouths open wondering what they had gotten themselves into. We tossed sleep spells and got the whole batch (making me wish I had taken lots more sleep spells). We found piles of copper and silver bars and when we tried to teleport them away they wouldn’t go. This made Dave (II), Ernie, and I start to sweat, but a wish worked so we weren’t worried; if we had to get out of there surely one of us had a wish spell. Robert’s “Rod of Seven Parts” brought him back to life and Jake’s “Ring of Gax” woke him up after we promised to sacrifice ten elves to it and we were on our way again.

As we were traveling in this outdoor section of the level, we came across a herd of blue cattle with long horns. It didn’t bother us (except for Ernie and me) and Monty told us they were clustering around a thing we couldn’t see. We all went closer and Monty rolled just one set of three six-siders and told us all we were down to one hit point. That was just too much for most of us. We had been spat at, plant grabbed, almost killed, and radiated and it was time for us to strike back. We unlimbered stuff we hardly ever used. Tim took out his “Eldest Worm Orb”; Jake took out his, “Sword and Eye of Vecna”; Robert took out his “Rod of Seven Parts”, Brian summoned his “Servant of Leuk-O”; Dave (II) grabbed his “Horn of Change”; Dave (I) summoned his flying (“Throne of the Gods”; Tom took out his “Sabre of Kas”; just to follow suit and not be shown up by the rest of the boys; Ernie grabbed his “Orb and Sceptre of Magic”, and I took out my “Stokes Co’Agulator”. After we were through firing, spelling, changing, and melting there wasn’t anything left where the cows had been, but a big hole in the ground. Unfortunately for us Monty started laughing.

You have to know something about Monty to appreciate this. When he is fooling us and we are stumped (which happens often), he is all smiles. When we do stupid things (which happens not quite as often, but almost) he smiles and chuckles. When we pull off great tricks and beat or are beating his prize stuff (a rare occasion), he takes it seriously and still has fun right along side of us. But when he laughs after we just blew apart one of his pet things, we all knew we were in “big” trouble. Ernie and I both looked at each other with that “shall we teleport our of this mess?” look, then the thought came to both of us that we couldn’t. We both made a grab for each others spell lists to see if the 9th level wish spell was on them (they weren’t). We grabbed for Dave’s and we didn’t find one there either! Monty told us that out of the hole we had made was coming a batch of green vines. Tom, Tim, and Brian’s speak with plants spells worked great on the first batch and they were ordered away. The second batch that came out almost immediately was pink and they ignored Tom, Tim. and Brian’s spells. Robert, Jake, and Dave (I) chopped them to pieces and that worked fine. The third batch of plants was pink and scaled and ignored chops and clerical spells and the magic users had to lend a hand and that worked fine. I was all for running (I want that noted for posterity) but Ernie said “thing of the great treasure this thing must be guarding” and nine sets of greedy eyes sparkled at the thought. We all unlimbered our artifacts and again watched a batch of red and pink, scaly, plant vines come out of the hole. We let loose with the same type of blast that took out the cows and then we rushed up to the hole to go blast at its source. We were greeted by a growing batch of orange, red, and pink dotted, scaly, plant vines that seemed to be growing from huge tanks below us. We all knew that we were in trouble but we had to try so we gave this thing a blast to no effect and we were all grabbed. I thing it was Robert who yelled “try psionics” and we all used our powers to blast it once more. Monty said we could see the new yellow, red, orange, and pink dotted, scaly, plant vines growing out of the tank. That was too much for us and we tried to leave by pouring ethereal potions over ourselves. The vines grabbed our ethereal bodies and that was the least we ever saw of our characters.


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