Dagh clan Ruasch, Hill Orc Monk of Beogh
I am Dagh son of Noloj son of Motrha clan Ruasch. Clan Ruasch was founded by Ruasch clan Urbeok the Mighty, who descended into the Dungeon nearly a hundred years ago and returned with many orcish followers and the Orb of Zot for the glorification of Beogh, our god. However, not too much time passed before the Orb was stolen from him and taken into the Dungeon by an unknown entity, where through it’s power it was reinstated in it’s former place. Many orcs have ventured into the dungeon over the years to try and win the Orb back. None have returned. My father Noloj was one of those.
I am determined to succeed where all others have failed, save the founder of our clan. I will go down into the dungeon and retrieve the Orb of Zot, or die in the attempt. My mother is saddened by my desire, especially because we lost my father to the Dungeon already, but she knows that I have to do this and bring honor to my family.
- 1 Main Dungeon
- 2 Lair of Beasts
- 3 Work in Progress
- 4 About the author
Today is the day I go down…
I spent much of the night speaking with the elders of the clan, as they prepared me for what would come. I was blessed with the mark of piety, so that if I met a priest in the dungeon and was blessed to enter into Beogh’s holy service, I would be already favored by Beogh. They told me that there is no need for light as the dungeon is perpetually, if gloomily, lit by a dim and sourceless light. I was given the weapon of my choice, and by tradition, a simple robe – the only thing that Ruasch the Mighty wore when he descended into the dungeon. I chose to bear an axe, my childhood weapon. I am already proficient in the usage thereof and am eager to use my skills to serve Beogh.
At noon the clan gathered around the stairs down. About half a mile away, covered by a simple shack, the stone stairwell looked gloomy and foreboding. Not wanting to prolong the farewell, I said goodbye to the clan and headed down. I looked back once to see my lone shaft of sunlight disappear as the shack door was closed. Gloom overtook me, and it was with unusual trepidation that I descended the rest of the way.
I arrived in a area of close stone walls and winding passages, It is as the elders said – there is a mysterious light that is everywhere but comes from nowhere. Although hard to see at first, my eyes got used to it fairly quickly and I began to explore.
Almost immediately I found a stack of gold coins… but they seemed to be guarded by a cockroach grown to massive proportions. I moved towards it to slay it, and saw another creature – a goblin with a club. I moved back to a more strategic position and slew them one at a time. I also butchered the cockroach corpse, as the meat did not seem to be inedible. Then I collected the twelve coins. I wonder why they were just laying there – left by some hapless wanderer perhaps?
Soon afterwards, I came upon two golden potions laying in the center of a large room. I have collected them in case they may be useful.
Found a scroll. It is labeled in a tongue that is not Orcish or Common – I cannot read it and know not what it means. I am reluctant to break the seal and read the magic words inside for fear of harm. Also found a purple potion. Have decided – will read the scroll. As I read it, it turned to dust in my hands and a cloud of seemingly harmless fog filled the air around me. Strange…
After a brief rest I continued to wander. I found a small jade ring in a corner. Rather like the mysterious potions, I will carry it until I find some way to determine what it does. I could put it on, but I am reluctant to do something so foolhardy so soon; it could spell my death if the ring is laid with a terrible curse… Venturing a little ways further, I was ambushed by a constricting snake, a small kobold with an arsenal of stones, and a bat. I retreated a little ways and slew them all, taking what meat I could. I found nothing of value in their possessions and left them there.
I slept for some time. I no longer am sure of night and day, or indeed the passage of time. Here in the dungeon it is dim, with no change of light. Already the strangeness of it all is starting to wear on me and I am not certain that I can complete my task without going mad. Was this how my father felt? No. I am strong. I come from the line of Ruasch the Mighty. He succeeded and so will I.
I killed another bat. I hate those things, darting in and out, swooping down suddenly and then fleeing away. I also found some stairs that lead down, although I think that I will stay here for now, until there is nothing left to explore up here.
Killed a bright green lizard with a frilled head; also a hobgoblin. He guarded a murky amethyst potion, some gold, and two throwing nets. I left the nets, but took the gold and the potion. Soon after that I slew a goblin and a rat, taking their gold.
Have found a most strange thing: an area with plants and trees and shallow water. I did not expect to find anything of the sort here, but here it is, right in front of me as I write. It is somewhat comforting, as it reminds me of the outside, but in this dim light, with the strange plants and murky water… there is something terrifyingly eerie about it. I do not think I will linger long by this place.
Have stopped for a rest. Killed several goblins and hobgoblins and am wounded lightly; need to recuperate. Also found more gold. I have 57 pieces now. I am going to put on a suit of scale mail that I found for better protection.
I am done exploring this first level and am going to venture down the stairs to see what awaits me…
Found a spear and a hand axe like mine. I have no use for spears, and already have an axe, so I left them both. Just past the stairs I encountered a pack of jackals; I lured them into a narrow corridor and slew them all. I found more gold and a ration of bread, although I had to kill a goblin to get them. Also found a plain wooden ring.
Something very peculiar just occurred. I rounded a corner and found myself face to face with an ugly-looking imp. Behind him was another imp, and then a catlike creature that yowled “I am Natasha! Fear me!” I fought the imps and got to Natasha. I thought I was going to die, but managed to slay her and rest. But before I had fully recovered… around the corner came Natasha! I slew her a little more easily this time, but I am exceptionally perplexed. I was certain I had killed her! These dungeons are enough to drive a soul mad. Soon after, I came across another strange scroll and read it, to be treated to the sound of a witch cackle. Truly a scroll of random uselessness. However, not all here is useless – I just picked up a wand of iceblast that I can use against my foes.
After resting I continued on and met Jessica, an evil human who tried to kill me. I resisted her magic and slew her instead. I took a moment to marvel at how truly ugly humans are. Not long after, I met a band of goblins and hobgoblins, led by a nasty one named Robin. Fortuitously, the meeting occurred in a narrow corridor and I slew them with relative ease, although I was moderately wounded and had to rest for some time before continuing on.
I do not understand this! I met Natasha again, even though last time I know I killed her, even butchering her corpse! And yet there she was, along with a decaying zombie that appeared to be some sort of a snake and a couple of frilled lizards. I killed them all, and for some reason I believe that this time Natasha is gone for good. I suppose only time will tell, though. Also found another potion and a scroll of teleportation. That could come in handy for a tight spot.
Descending to the third level, I met a number of creatures including three gnolls and several adders, one of which almost proved to be the undoing of me; also an ogre that very nearly slew me. I heard a drain rusting, the entrance to a sewer, but even if I do find it I’m not sure I want to go in.
Met an orc… had to kill it. A very sobering experience. I hope to find a priest and convert fully to Beogh’s service so I can gain followers. I wonder if my father had to kill orcs?
Found a ghost of a previous adventurer, named Xanthe. Had to destroy it. Made me unhappy.
Went down a level – now on the fourth. I wonder how many levels this dungeon has? Met and destroyed a centaur skeleton without much difficulty. Had more trouble with the scorpion, which nearly did me in with poison. Later I met Blorc, a rather disagreeable and very fat orc who was wearing rainbow colored suspenders, of all things. He had a rather nasty trident of piercing and I had to teleport away by use of a scroll once, but killed him in the end. I think I will keep the trident, though.
Met a rather nasty chap named Eustatcio who kept summoning up all sorts of nasty things to kill me. Used up my remaining teleport scroll escaping. If I meet him again he will die…
Killed Eustatchio, a centaur, more rats. Went down another level. Killed some ants and another orc, as well as some more zombies and skeletons. Good news – found a scroll shop. Now I know what to do with all that gold! I bought a number of scrolls of identify, as well as one of teleportation and one of remove curse. I then proceeded to identify some of my jewelry and potions, ending up with some potions of curing and useful rings, such as a ring of see invisible and a ring of magic resistance. Killed an ice beast.
Met an unusual giant frog with a crown who called himself Prince Ribbit. Zapped him with a wand of polymorph… he turned into an unseen horror. I could see him thanks to my ring of see invisible, but I rather would have him turned into something less threatening. Couldn’t zap him again because his MR was too high. Survived and killed him, but I need to be more careful next time. Also found a spriggan baker and some rations. Killed the baker and took the rations gladly, with only a twinge of conscience. Need to move down a level…
I have found my first orc priest! The orcs were lying in wait for me as I came down the stairs to the sixth level, but when they saw that I was also an orc, the priest yelled that they would let me live if I accepted Beogh as my god. I have since I was a child, but I have never found a true priest to formally convert me. I gladly knelt at the priest’s feet, and converted fully to Beogh. The orcs roared in approval and spared my life. Beogh is generous indeed – immediately upon converting I gained the divine ability to smite my foes with the wrath of Beogh. Am very satisfied and feel that Beogh is smiling upon my journey.
Have cleared the sixth level without too much difficulty. Found a ring, put it on, it was a cursed ring of teleportation. Luckily I had a scroll of remove curse and got rid of it quickly. Had to teleport away from and then smite a nasty two-headed ogre that was taking massive chunks of my HP. I want to save my piety so Beogh will consider me worthy of gaining followers. Rested often, consumed a disgusting meal of raw ogre steaks. Found an amulet and more potions and scrolls. Ready to move down again.
This has been a challenging level, mentally and physically. I found my first spellbook, a book of burglary, and memorized Passwall. Also, I read through some of my scrolls. Found that I had two scrolls of teleportation when I read the third and landed in the middle of a pack of zombies. They were not too difficult to defeat, though, and I didn’t travel far from the safety of the stairs. I retreated back and continued. Had some scrolls of remove curse, blinking, one of immolation, and three of identify, which I used on a ring (positive energy) and two stacks of potions (heal wounds and haste). Set off again.
Not too far in I found a peculiar golden staircase in the middle of a diamond-shaped room. It was identified as a temple, and I went in out of curiosity. A wave of strange energy hit me as I entered, and I quickly saw why. The temple was filled with altars to many different gods. I wandered for a moment, feeling a strange reluctance to be here, as if I was betraying Beogh by being here. Just in case, I paused and offered a prayer to the great and powerful Beogh before continuing. I saw a variety of altars, but nothing was truly disturbing until I started exploring the small chambers off the main one. As I opened a door, I was almost knocked backwards by a wave of wrathful feeling. As it dissipated, I looked and saw that there was an altar there, and it belonged to Zin.
Zin! What orc child doesn’t know the story of Zin! Zin the traitor, Zin the coward, Zin the despicable! My mind involuntarily flashed back to the story, just after the end of the war...
Some of the gods had sided with The Shining One and his immortal daughter, Elyvilon; some with Yredelemnul, his second-in-command Beogh, and his necromancy-dabbling accomplice, Makhleb (who gained godhood during the war). But at the end of it, the gods had gathered to speak together. Yredelemnul had created, from the chaotic energies of the otherworld, and the quiet peace of the earth, and fire and wind and water, a most wondrous artefact, far greater than any that had been seen since the days of Zot. And because he took the secrets of the artefact making from the works of Zot itself, he hid it’s true name to keep others from gaining power over it and simply called it the Orb of Zot. And it was such a great and terrifying artefact that it ended the war, because they all saw that destruction lay close at had if they kept using such terrible powers. In those times Zin was a powerful leader in the armies of the dark, second only to his brother Beogh. They seemed to have a close relationship, but Zin secretly hated his brother and schemed for his downfall and destruction, while Zin himself would be exalted.
Zin’s chance came when Beogh was guarding the Orb of Zot, an incredible honor reserved for the greatest. The details have been lost in the fog of time, but Zin somehow got by the outer guards, Beogh’s honor guard of orcs; and into the inner chamber itself, where Beogh guarded the Orb. Beogh, believing and trusting his brother when Zin said Yredelemnul had sent Zin to take Beogh’s place because Beogh was desperately needed, went to go. Zin, as soon as his brother was out of the chamber, shouted to the guards that Beogh was trying to steal the Orb, closed and barred the door, and departed with it. Beogh was mighty indeed, but even he could not stand to the handpicked elite of the army, and was captured. When Yredelemnul heard, and found that the Orb was missing, in his fury he smote Beogh and stripped him of his powers. Where once Beogh was equal to the mightiest of warriors, he now had nothing. And this was something that could not be undone. But Zin went to the other side, and he gave the Orb of Zot to The Shining One, and a council was called. Now The Shining One held all the power, and he also had Zin.
Now when Yredelemnul discovered what had truly transpired, he was stricken, for he had smote his most powerful and trusted follower, and all for naught. And The Shining One took away the greatest powers of Yredelemnul, and his followers, and commanded them that they should never rise up in rebellion again lest they also be stripped of their powers and slain. And then he stripped Zin of his dark powers, and made Zin alike to a mortal, but then granted Zin new powers, and godhood, and placed him on the ruling council, and he was called a “good” god. And Beogh wept bitterly, for his betrayal and what Zin’s reward was for disloyalty.
But The Shining One said “I will not have loyalty go so severely punished, however, even in those who have worked against me.” And in a fashion similar to what he had done to Zin, he used the Orb to endow Beogh with new powers, although a fraction of what he had before. He also gave Beogh the choice of one thing that he wished to have as a god. And Beogh desired to be bound to his people that he had come from, the noble orcs. And The Shining One made it so, and it was done. Beogh became a bloodthirsty god, demanding kills and bloodshed in his name, but he swore that he would never betray his people; and while all other races were forbidden the worship of Beogh, all orcs were granted a place in his religion. And should any orc imitate Zin, abandoning and spurning their god, then Beogh’s wrath comes down swift and hard.
And The Shining One took the Orb, lest any be tempted to use it, and placed it where no one would get it, with fearsome guards and powerful wards. But over the years he has changed his mind, and many of the other gods also, and they send adventurers into the dungeon to find it and bring it back before any one else does.
But Beogh never forgot the betrayal of his brother, and Zin never forgot that Beogh was still a god, still an equal, and their hatred only festered and grew in the passing years…
I was an orc, one of Beogh’s sworn followers. Being in the presence of a place sacred to Zin was awful, and I could feel his malevolence turning towards me. I slammed the door shut as soon as movement returned to my limbs, and ran out of the temple with my heart hammering. I had sneered at the tawdry altars to other gods before; now they could have been old chairs for all I cared. I just needed to get out as fast as possible. I rested until I felt better, and slowly returned to exploration. Found an amulet; turned out to be an amulet of harm. Didn’t need such a thing and left it. Killed more creatures, nothing particularly noteworthy. After a rest I will go down to the eighth level.
Praise Beogh! May His great name live on forever and His glory be endless! I have gained four followers through His power. As I was exploring the eighth level, I ran into a band of wandering orcs. To my astonishment, more than half of them fell at my feet and, with expressions of awe and joy, proclaimed me the messiah and swore to follow me forever, then turned and attacked their fellows that had not joined them. Two of my followers were slain in the skirmish, but I have two orc “grunts”, or ordinary orc soldiers, a priest, and a magician. They all follow me wherever I go and are most useful. We catch our enemies in open areas, then the grunts and I hack away at them while the priest heals us and smites them, and the magician turns invisible and fires spells at them. It is a wonderful system. I am not so sure about this messiah business, however. I don’t know that I am truly who they think I am. Every orc knows the signs and portents, and we often speak of it, but I never dreamed that they might think me the chosen one of Beogh. But He must have converted these orcs to the cause, so who am I to argue? I am most troubled, and devote myself entirely to the business of clearing and exploring to avoid too much thought.
I am on the ninth level. I met some nasty monsters, but my orcs and I killed them all. To my sorrow, both soldiers and the magician were slain, leaving just the priest and me. He has a name – Ugrim. But Beogh looks after his own. I opened a door and found a small room completely packed with orcs. They kept seeing me and converting. Some of them were killed because they would not convert, but in the end I had eight grunts, three priests, three magicians, and two warriors. I was extremely pleased. Perhaps Beogh has chosen me after all.
We disposed of everything else on the level with ease. I found some nice loot, including a nameless scroll. I read it, and it turned out to be a scroll of acquirement that landed me a +2 executioner’s axe of flaming. I am overjoyed.
My hand is shaking so hard I can barely write. Even now, long after the encounter, I cannot rid myself of the awful images that replay inside my mind…
The tenth level was going all right. I lost a few orcs, but nothing too terrible, and two grunts became warriors. Things were fine. Then we found a strange room in the open, it’s walls made of crystal. The gate was translucent, and inside… inside… oh, I can’t bring myself to write it… but I must. Beogh grant me strength, I must. Inside was my father.
But not my father. No, this was the ghost of Noloj clan Ruasch, a cruel thing indeed. My own father’s spirit, caught here. Now I know that he did die down in these terrible dungeons, his blood spilled on the ground… It was my father without a doubt, but in a terrible ghostlike form, and with an ugly expression painted across his face.
I didn’t see it until too late.
Madly I rushed the vault and opened the gate, blind to anything except my father. But as soon as I opened it… as soon as I opened it he rushed forth and savagely attacked. I was stunned and uncomprehending. If it hadn’t been for my allies, I would have perished – if not at the hands of my father’s spirit, then from the three decaying zombies that had been entombed with him. But the other orcs rushed forward and attacked, giving me time to recover. My father’s spirit attacked with a vengeance; I retaliated numbly, tears streaming down my face. And then he was terribly wounded, and I raised my axe for the final blow, and something changed in that ghostly face of his, a look of sudden dawning realization, something pulling away from his eyes..
“My son,” he whispered as the axe came down, and I could not turn it away in time.
There was loot, piles of gold and armour and potions and scrolls. I saw none of it. I collapsed in the doorway and stared vacantly at the place where I had killed my father. I dimly heard one of the priests praying to Beogh to heal me, felt my physical pain lessen. It was nothing compared to the rent that had torn open inside of me. Why, Beogh? Wert Thou testing my loyalty? Was this all a terrible joke? I could only sit and stare, and weep.
My orcs gathered respectfully, not bothering me. Eventually I fell asleep there. When I awoke, I staggered to my feet and gathered the loot, but numbly. Now I sit against a cold crystal wall and wonder if I will ever be the same, and know it is a foolish wondering. No one ever leaves the dungeon unchanged… if they ever leave at all. My father died here. Will I do the same? What am I doing here? Why? Why?
I slept, and while I slept something incredible happened. I heard Beogh in my dreams, heard Him speak to me in a voice like terrible thunder. He said “DROWN THE UNBELIEVERS IN A SEA OF BLOOD.”
I have a purpose, and a life. I know without a doubt that I am the chosen Messiah of my people, and Beogh has sent me to restore the Orb and the honor of Him and all my people. He has given me a mission, and I know that He will help me fufill it. I am reborn. My father’s ghost is behind me. Beogh needs me to be my people’s messiah, and I will be. My orcs are ready for battle; I am at the head. I shout “Drown the unbelievers in a sea of blood!” and we are off.
Found a couple of scrolls that I hadn’t seen before. I warily read them and discovered they are scrolls of weapon enchanting, bringing my axe up to +4. Killed a bullfrog and ate the meat; it was surprisingly good. Also killed three killer bees and found a wand of flame.
The most interesting thing I found was a staircase that was different from all the others. It was marked as descending to “The Lair of Beasts.” One of my magicians, Norbak, told me it was a branch of the dungeon inhabited by all manner of beasts and monsters, but not much in the way of sentient life. I decided that I would visit it at a later time, as I did not feel prepared for it.
Time to move down again…
So far, so good. Lost a grunt to a centaur but another, Okrist, became a warrior; Norbak became a sorcerer, and Beogh blessed my other warrior, Morbeogh, with better armour. I also have an orc knight, although as of yet I do not know his name.
We were menaced by a repulsive ogre magess named Erolcha, who almost killed me, but I quaffed a potion that restored health to my limbs and thusly slew her. Gained a couple more orcs, one warrior and one magician. Gave Okrist a halberd so he can stand behind me and attack enemies from afar.
We were exploring and came across a large band of assorted enemies: no less than ten kobolds, several big kobolds (larger and meaner), many zombies, and something quite peculiar: three ghosts that made me more and more hungry when they hit me. I had to consume food in the middle of the battle to survive. At the end of the horde, I found something that astonished me: a staircase to the fabled Orcish Mines. I and my orcs were very excited! Here was the stronghold of orcs, the very place that many of the Dungeon’s orcs had come from.
However, we did not descend. I wanted to have the full measure of Beogh’s power about me when I entered, the better to convince the orcs that I was the chosen messiah. Instead we rested by the staircase for a time, recovering and swapping stories, then I led my band of orcs on.
I have come far since the day I descended into the dungeon. I remember being startled by large cockroaches and fearing the goblins that roamed with their clubs and daggers. Now I have bested mages, hydras, centaurs, zombies. I have gained the approval and blessing of Beogh, and followers through his power. I have collected a weapon the likes of which I have never seen before, flames dancing along its length; have more gold than I have ever seen before; and lead a band of warthirsty orcs. How things have changed!
I feel sad. As I came around a corner, a human surprised us. Dressed in green, he looked to be middle-aged. As he trapped me in a net, with my orcs behind me where they couldn’t get at him, he conversationally told me that he was a bounty hunter planning to retire after this last job and live a quiet life with his sweet wife and four children, using the money from his last bounty: me.
I broke free of the net and managed to kill him. As he lay dying, I asked him who had placed a bounty on his head. He didn’t reply, only whispered “Lauren” and died. I imagine Lauren is his wife. It saddens me that I had to kill this man who had a family waiting for him. But I too have family that waits for me, and a father that I must avenge.
Most of my orcs had not seen a human before, and, like I with my first human kill Jessica, stopped to marvel at the hideous features of humans. One grunt said fervently that he was grateful to be an orc, for were not orcs the most handsome of all the races, and if he were to have the appearance of a human he would tear out his throat in shame.
I wonder if it is Zin who is reaching down to hamper my journey?
I have cleared the level and feel that Beogh is smiling on me. I have decided – my orcs and I will descend into the Orcish Mines…
This has been an amazing level! As I descended, I was greeted by a rabble of orcs lying in wait for anyone who would come down the stairs. However, almost all of them were converted upon seeing me, two more converted when they saw my might in battle, and the rest of the infidels were slain. I and my orcs traveled on, meeting many orcs and converting many. There was also a great deal of gold, and some shops. There wasn’t much useful in the shops, but I did find a scroll of acquirement. Bought it with a large chunk of my money and asked for armor… got the +27 Lear’s Hauberk, an enchanted golden suit of armor that includes helmet, gloves, and boots! Beogh is guiding my quest.
Got more orcs, including several knights and five or six high priests. Morbeogh became a knight. Found an altar and prayed to Beogh thereon. Got more gold and orcs. In the end, I had probably thirty or forty orcs. I also, through Beogh’s goodness and power, resurrected an orc knight of mine that fell during the fighting. He rose with cries of gratitude and praise, and said that surely I was the messiah. It also erased any remaining traces of doubt in the other orc’s minds as to the veracity of my claim.
Will rest and then journey back to the dungeon with some of my orcs.
This is the twelfth level of the dungeon. Met a strange human named Rupert who screeched and roared in a berserk fury. He had a nasty +3 war axe of electrocution. I killed him without overmuch difficulty. However, to my sorrow, Norbak was slain. It was not Beogh’s will that he be resurrected, because he left no corpse that I could raise. Norbak has been with me since the ninth level. Although four levels doesn’t sound like much, we also took on the Orcish Mines together. And it’s amazing how much you bond after many life-or-death fights together. Besides, Norbak had a level, steady mind, was competent in battle and with magecraft, and reminded me of my uncle Dalog. I am saddened to lose him.
I was exploring with five of my orcs when I stepped on a hidden trap that made loud noise and placed a Mark upon me, so that any monster in the level would know my location. We were swiftly beset by monsters of many kinds, including a nasty centaur called Nessos and a pig-making witch named Kirke. In addition, there were humans, zombies, centaurs, and ogres. My orcs and I were beset from all sides and were in danger of being overwhelmed. So, I used Beogh’s granted power to summon all of my orcs from wherever they were in the dungeon. With all my summoned forces, I outnumbered the forces amassed against us – and, if sheer numbers were not enough, all my forces were orcs; proud, skillful, terrifying warriors. Little wonder the enemy crumbled and their minions were killed!
Later as we explored the level we found the place where all the monsters had emerged from: a series of interlocking rooms that eventually led to a mystic gateway to another place: the Vaults. Flushed with victory, I considered for a moment going down. My orcs, however, had heard tell of the place and told me that it was far too dangerous currently for me. Instead we cleared the rest of the level and, leaving most of the orcs to make camp here until I had need of them again, I took a small band (three grunts, one warrior, one priest) and headed down.
Found a room full of beasts like manticores, hippogriffs, yaks, and basilisks. Killed them all. Also found a vault with zombies, simulacra, and a ghost. It was of Mordak clan Eschpra, a Hill Orc who followed Qazlal. I was furious at the idea that an orc would spurn Beogh and follow one of the other gods, and in my rage I charged forward and slew the ghost in a vengeance. Gained a few more orcs, and got a +4 plate armor “Ioohoot”, which grants the power to see invisible things. I granted it to my high priest, Boldo.
Also met a horde of bizarre creatures, exceedingly ugly things that changed and pulsated. They were worthy foes but my orcs and I slew them and found some nice loot.
Encountered two fire dragons guarding gold and other treasures. I rashly charged them, drawn in by the promise of gold and glory, and paid for my folly: I lost one grunt and my priest, and came closer to death than I have ever been before. I truly did not think that I would survive, despite using the potions and abilities available to me, but Beogh granted my failing limbs strength to hew the dragons asunder. After chopping the meat from the dragon corpses I and my orcs ate and rested. Then, retreating up to the fourteenth level temporarily, I added a warrior, a priest, and another grunt to my little band before going back down to fight again.
The rest of the level was handled with relative ease. I found an archway to an ancient ossuary but declined to enter; some shops that held nothing I wanted to pay their prices for; and a staircase to the Depths, another branch that my orcs warned me against attempting now.
Once I cleared the entire level, I went up to the fourteenth and held a council with my orcs (the warlords, sorcerers, and high priests). We worked over the options available to us and in the end determined that we would venture into the Lair of Beasts. As Beogh’s power enables me to call my orcs from wherever they were, we decided to leave the camp in the main dungeon where it was. I am bringing with me two grunts, two warriors, and three priests, and we will travel to the Lair and whatever it may hold.
Lair of Beasts
This is a very different experience than the main dungeon. The air is thicker, and sounds of wild beasts screeching, hooting, croaking, roaring, and others are constantly around us. The floor, instead of the bare stone of the Dungeon, is thickly covered in moss. In places, it is actual grass. Plants and trees grow here, although they are eerie and somewhat… deformed. Stone walls still hem the Lair in at the edges, and turn the middle into a mix of passages and open spaces. The ceiling is much higher here, at least three times as high, and is hung with moss, cobwebs, and dripping water. The lighting is also strange, darker and lighter at the same time. While I can’t see as far and the ceiling is, for the most part, lost in shadow; what I can see, I can see well. Most peculiar.
There are many strange creatures here. Massive frogs. Herds of yaks. Drakes, relatives of dragons. Wolves. Giant hornets. But most of them are relatively easy to kill; so far, this has not been a terribly difficult journey. Of course, that can change in an instant…
Despite the ease of the branch so far, there is something that sends a cold shiver up my spine. Perhaps it is the fact that this strange place bears an eerie resemblance to the world above.
I just realized that I am no longer concerned about whether it is day or night, what time it is, and other surface concerns. Here in the Dungeon time is almost nonexistent. Rest when the need calls, eat when hunger gnaws, explore constantly… I wonder how hard it will be to adjust back to above customs if I ever escape this dungeon?
I am on the second level now. I have just realized that in my inventory I have two scrolls of enchant weapon; reading them makes my axe’s enchantment level +6.
My orcs and I found a staircase surrounded by shallow water. Through this gateway, a salty breeze blows and faintly, the sound of tides can be heard. Runes over the stair identify it as the entrance to the Shoals, ancestral home of the merfolk. And there on the side of the arch, cunningly hidden in other carvings, I found the Sign of the Rune.
Shards of power, created in the same age as the Orb itself, the Runes are remnants of the Orb’s counterpart the Sigil. While the Orb was a threatening weapon created by the gods of darkness, the Sigil was a thing of unstable power from the gods of light. When The Shining One locked away the Orb, he used its power to shatter the Sigil into fifteen Runes, more stable shards of the original whole. Although their power is much diminished, and indeed all but unusable for mortals, they have one important function. They serve as keys to lock the gate that leads to the Realmhold, the only place in all of the Realm that has some semblance of order imposed on it. At the bottom of the Realmhold is the Orb… and if you have enough power, as the gods themselves do, then you could break through the enchantments binding the Realmhold and venture out into the Realm itself. And woe betide any who attempt it…
I know that the Runes are scattered across the dungeon, guarded by terrifying creatures, but little beyond that. The one thing I am familiar is the Sign of the Rune that marks the certain presence of a Rune in a branch. And here, on this gateway to the Shoals, it is: surely a Rune is contained therin.
I was tempted to enter, but decided against it. My orcs and I will continue on through the Lair.
Found some treasure, including two amazing things: a scroll of acquirement, and a mask in the likeness of a dragon. When I don it, it makes me more mighty in battle, and it allows me to see things that are invisible! An amazing thing. Sadly, I cannot wear it with my Lear’s Hauberk, since that already comes with a helmet. Ah well.
My grunt leveled up to a warrior, and Boruk and the other warrior became knights. We have battled mostly porcupines, elephants, yaks, and frogs thus far. Moved down a level.
On the third level now. We met a strange creature indeed: a giant slug, with magical powers and a pointed hat perched on his head. We killed him with relative ease and declined to take the hat. Also found another scroll of acquirement. Moving down again.
On this, the fourth level, I found a dark and narrow hole surrounded by choking webs. A marking stone identified it as the Spider Nest, once home to the Queen Arach, now no better than a hiding-hole for crawling things. We flipped the stone with some effort, and there on the underside, covered in dirt and surrounded by meaningless scratches, was the Sign of the Rune again. Deep in the belly of this foul place another rune lies.
Again, my orcs and I went on to the rest of the lair rather than descend into the Nest. We found a small room that was packed with foul, slimy jelly-like creatures. I slew them fairly easily, and then encountered a most unusual plant: a virile green thing that spat corroding acid. I rushed and killed it; as my orcs and I were resting one priest told me that they were called “oklob plants” and had been the bane of many an adventurer.
We also encountered a pond, edged with shallow water but with deep water in the center. In it were no fewer than six electric eels. They were starting to take their toll on us when I felt something stir in me. Somehow I knew that Beogh was protecting me, and under the eyes of my astonished orcs, I walked on top of the water and slew the eels that had been pummeling us with electricity. Beogh has granted me another gift – walking on water.
Encountered two more oklob plants on the fifth level. They nearly killed me the first time. We retreated, and I set my orcs to guard the area while I went back alone, quaffing a potion of invisibility. In this way they were quickly disposed of, and I gathered the gold and rations they had been hiding before going back to gather my orcs and st off once more.
Enchanted my weapon further, to +7. Also found an amulet that I cannot identify. I will put it on and see… it is an amulet of the gourmand. I have no use for this. Instead I will don the other amulet, which is… an amulet of faith. I feel that Beogh is pleased with me.
I accidentally stumbled into a shaft as my orcs and I were exploring, and was drawn down to the sixth floor. I was immediately set on by a large pack of elephants, frogs, hydras, basilisks, and other unpleasant creatures. I made away in haste and found a stair up just around the corner where I was able to go up. Two spiny frogs followed me and I killed them, then went and found my orcs.
There was also a vault with undead therin, and my orc warrior perished there. He left no corpse. But all of my priests are high priests now, and all my other warriors became knights. In addition, we found a staircase to a place marked as the Slime Pits. The marker glowed a corrosive green, and when I touched it it ate away at my hand. But when I moved it with my axe (corroding the edge) it revealed the Sign of the Rune etched into the edge of the stairway.
The sixth level has been a hard one, and we are not done yet. I sit with my orcs in a secluded cave and write as we heal and rest.
Coming down, this time on purpose, we were beset by many creatures. Then as we were fighting, I stumbled into a teleport trap and was brought to the other side of the level. I managed to fight my way back to my orcs. To my amazement, all but one priest had survived. We battled off the remainder of the creatures in the vicinity, and then retreated to find a place to recover. This small cave, its opening barred with a door, is perfect.
Once we are all better we will continue.
I have finished the Lair, Beogh be praised! Lost a priest, but my other priest Gorg, along with my three knights (two of which are named Bogbarth and Boruk) are doing well. We are exultant over our conquest of this place and the subsequent treasure that we found. I granted better weapons to Boruk, leaving him with a +5 vampiric glaive in place of his +0 hand axe. We also met another orc, Urug, a lanky female with a missing eye and a terrifying battleaxe of freezing. She was quickly converted and joined our forces. She is very knowledgeable about the Lair and its branches and will no doubt prove invaluable.
This sixth floor of the Lair is rather a good place. My orcs agree with me that it would be a good spot to relocate the main camp to. A change of scenery will benefit the other orcs. In addition, there is plentiful water and plants, as well as food, so they will not have to deplete their supplies overmuch.
I am going to summon all my forces, and then I will counsel with them as to where I should go. Then we will leave them here in the Lair, where they may even journey to different levels if they need or desire. My orcs still wish for the Mines, though. All except for Urug, who has lived in the Lair and its branches since she was very young and loves no place more.
I have counseled with my orcs, most especially Urug, because she knows these branches, and we have decided to travel to the Spider Nest and retrieve the Rune therof.
Urug will come with us. She is a most useful ally and guide.
Work in Progress
I am not done with this. As I continue with this game I will add more on. Pretty much everything that transpired in the story actually happened, down to me nearly being killed by the ghost of one of my previous crawlers... had such great hopes for him, too...
I am solidly addicted to DCSS, have been since I first played it (with version 0.19.). I play almost exclusively ASCII, and will long extol its virtues to anyone who will listen (cleaner look, more compact and easier to follow, HAS LIKE NO LAG AT ALL which is HUGE when you compare it to the tile version, and it just leaves so much more to the imagination than having the little things drawn out for you...) but most people still just look at me like I am a babbling idiot and say "But you don't like the tiles?"
I am particularly attached to HOMo of Beogh characters (like this one) but am also fond of anything with Makleb, and the good old Minotaur Berserker of Trog. I once tried playing as a vampire exclusively in bat form but survived for so little time it was pathetic even for a bat.