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Any Port In A Storm
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A Midwinter Carol
The Dead World
Waiting For The Light
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Garden Of Bones
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In The Footsteps Of A Hero
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Wrong Way Go Back
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Isle Of The Cyclops
The Cold Heart Of Chaos
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Impudent Peasant!
Curse Of The Yeti
Bad Moon Rising
Riders Of The Storm
Bodies In The Docks
House Of Horror
Rebels Of The Dark Chasms
Midnight Deep
Lair Of The Troglodytes
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The Trial Of Allibor's Tomb
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Shrine Of The Salamander

by Andrew Wright


The Story So Far...
Map of Kakhabad showing Croaking Caves
Artwork © Andrew Wright
At the mouth of the immense Jabaji River, where it exits the Earth End Coastline and flows into the Kakhabad Sea, lie two strange subterranean communities. On the north bank, we find the perilous and paradoxical Daddu-Yadu - the Croaking Caves, of which more will be said later. On the south bank however, lies Daddu-Ley - the wealthy Copperstone Mines, controlled by priests of Verlang, patron deity of smelters and metal-workers. Here, creatures of a dozen different races drawn from across the Verminpit labour in the labyrinthine tunnels, extracting copper ore from the very bones of the earth. In addition to their mineral wealth, the forge-priests of Verlang also possess two other valuable treasures. One is their Sacred Spring, whose blessed waters are bottled and traded across Kakhabad. The other is their Holy Idol of Verlang, reputed to have been made by the god himself, from the very same magical clay that Titan used to fashion the world, and ired in a basalt kiln on the Elemental Plane of Flame. Some say the powers of the Idol are the reason that the priests of Daddu-Ley have ruled over this corner of Kakhabad in comparative peace for many years past, and many years still to come.

Lortag the Elder, Kakhabad: Its Lands and Peoples, 284 AC, The Year of the Fox, Kharé: Axiome Press.

'Thieves! Thieves in the night!' So howled Gulanti, the old High Priest of Verlang, god of the forge. And it was true. The copper-walled cave-temple had been ransacked, the idol of Verlang taken from its rightful place on the rune-embossed bronze altar.

Evidence was everywhere. Numerous great, wet slimy footprints stained and criss-crossed the tiled floor of the inner sanctum. They erupted out of a gaping black hole in the wall, circled the chamber (and grabbed the Idol), and ventured straight back from whence they came.

A party of priests armed with hammers and flaming torches ventured into the hole, down a long, winding tunnel that had been carefully burrowed into the rock and braced with driftwood. It opened, via a secret entrance, onto the marshy banks of the mighty Jabaji River, and the priests looked out across a drifting expanse of dark water. There, on the far and distant shore, they spied fires gleaming in the caves that dotted the great cliffs of the Earth End Coastline.

'Daddu-Yadu,' breathed the High Priest in fear (for he had accompanied the search party). 'The Croaking Caves. Lair of the Horntoads...'

'I don't understand,' you say to High Priest Gulanti, patriarch of the Copperstone Mines. 'Why leave it so obvious? It's almost like somebody else wants us to think the Horntoads did it. It could be river pirates. Smugglers from Kharé. By Lorodil! Even the Shield Maidens of Lumlé could have done it! Why Horntoads?'

'My fellow priest, sometimes things are indeed exactly what they seem,' says Gulanti. 'There is no hidden message, no secret meaning. Our Idol has magical powers, and the Horntoads desire those powers for themselves. Hence they have stolen it from us. After all, have you not heard the rumours of the Salamander that has taken up residence among them, in the shrine of Furlakk the Frog God?'

You nod grimly. Only recently, a boat-captain complained to you that the Horntoad raids on river shipping had become more frequent since a Salamander had arrived at Daddu-Yadu and cloaked itself in the mantle of leadership. Salamander meaning of course the big flaming monsters from the Elemental Plane of Fire, not the small harmless amphibians of pond and lake. The important questions remained unanswered though. Why had a Salamander come to Daddu-Yadu? And how?

'And do you remember the story of the Idol itself?' says Gulanti, as if beginning a sermon. 'Verlang fired it in the molten furnaces of the City of Brass, with the help of a dozen enslaved Salamanders, the First-Spawn of their race. Perhaps one of them has merely returned to claim what it rightfully believes to be the property of its people.'

'But this is sacrilege!' you cry. "The Idol of Verlang is for the priests of the forge-god alone to treasure! It is our most holy relic!'

'That is why you are here my friend,' says Gulanti, with a calm, firm voice. 'We need you to enter the Croaking Caves, slay the Salamander, and retrieve the Idol. We need you to do it quickly too, before word leaks out that the Idol has been stolen, and the Copperstone Mines are aflame with open rebellion among the slaves and miners. You are the best at what you do. Go! And may Verlang guide both your hammer and your spells...'

It is true. YOU are an adventuring forge-priest of Verlang, and have undertaken many perilous quests across Kakhabad at the behest of your god. You have stared down the Apes of Mauristatia. You have braved the Beastmen of Tinpang Valley. You have even infiltrated the Necromancers' Guild of Throben. But how will you fare in this, your most dangerous adventure? Will you survive the Shrine of the Salamander?


How To Use Magic
Hand of spell caster
Artwork © John Blanche
In this adventure you play a priest of Verlang, god of smiths, and have the option throughout the adventure, of using magic spells. All the spells known to the priests of Verlang are listed in the Spellbook of Verlang below, and you will need to study this before you set off on your adventure.

All spells are represented by a three-letter code and you must learn and practice your spells until you are able to identify a reasonable number of them from their codes. Casting a spell drains your STAMINA and each has a cost, in STAMINA points, for its use.

Some spells require the use of an artefact. If you try and cast a spell without possessing the correct artefact, you will be wasting your STAMINA as the spell will not work.

DON'T FORGET! You may not refer to the Spellbook of Verlang once you have started your adventure.


The Spellbook Of Verlang

HOT
The caster may direct this spell with his hands in any direction desired. As it is cast, a burning fireball shoots from the hands towards its target. It will be effective against any creature, whether magical or not, unless that creature cannot be harmed by fire. The fireball so created causes severe burns upon impact, but extinguishes soon after hitting its target.

Cost 4 STAMINA points


WOK
A coin of some sort is necessary for this spell. The caster places the coin on the wrist and casts the spell onto it. The coin becomes magically fixed on the wrist and acts as an invisible metal shield with an effective protection circle of just under three feet across. This will shield the user against all normal weapons. Afterwards, the coin is no longer usable as a coin.

Cost 1 STAMINA point


YOB
Casting this spell requires the tooth of a Giant. When this spell is cast upon the tooth correctly, a Giant, some twelve feet tall, will be created instantly. The caster has control over the Giant and may command him to fight an opponent, perform some feat of strength, etc. The Giant will disappear when his duty is done.

Cost 1 STAMINA point


POP
A potent little spell, but one which calls for great mental concentration, this spell must be cast on small pebbles. Once charged with magic, these pebbles can be thrown and will explode on impact. Apart from being dangerous to anything within shatter distance, the pebbles make a loud bang when they explode.

Cost 1 STAMINA point


MUD
As this spell is cast, the caster must sprinkle grains of sand on to the floor as desired (e.g. in front of a creature). The spell takes effect on the sand and the floor, creating a pool of quicksand. Any creature stepping on to this pool of quicksand will slowly be drowned in it.

Cost 1 STAMINA point


TEL
To activate this spell, the caster must wear a Cloth Skullcap. With the aid of this cap, the spell will allow the user to read the mind of any intelligent creature encountered, learning about its strengths, weaknesses, the contents of nearby rooms, etc.

Cost 1 STAMINA point


PEP
A Potion of Fire Water must be taken by the caster for this spell to be used. It will enhance the effects of the Fire Water to give the caster double or treble his or her own normal strength. Although the effects are temporary, they will normally be enough to aid in battle or to perform some feat of super-strength.

Cost 1 STAMINA point


ROK
Special stone dust is required for this spell. The dust must be thrown at a creature as the spell is being cast. Within seconds, the victim will start to petrify. As its movements become slower and eventually cease, it will start to turn grey. Some moments after the spell is cast, it will have solidified into a grey stone statue.

Cost 1 STAMINA point


HUF
In order to use this spell, the caster must possess the Galehorn, a trumpet-like instrument which plays a discordant note. The spell is cast on to the horn and it is blown in a particular direction. As the spell takes effect, a tremendous wind rushes from the trumpet. This wind is capable of blowing over man-sized creatures, or it can be used to blow things off shelves, over ledges, etc.

Cost 1 STAMINA point


Additional Information
You start armed with a war-hammer, but you may acquire other weapons later. As usual, you can choose the one that you will use in battle by selecting in the list of possessions and clicking on USE.
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