Found in the dusty, ancient library of the royal castle of Ataria was the following narrative, titled "Adventurer's Log of the Expedition to Explore the Dungeon Referred to Throughout Legend as 'The Gauntlet,'" It appears to have been written by one "Blue Valkyrie." How it got there is unknown.
Find Exit to Next Level
Our quest got off to a contentious start. A scant thirty feet from the entrance rested a chest of gold, the first of what we knew to be many. Still, Green Elf, Red Warrior and Yellow Wizard could not decide who would be the one to collect it. Thirty whole seconds passed while everyone bickered and schemed to convince the others of the worth of assigning ownership to himself, all while the toxic air of the dungeon sapped away mercilessly at our strength. Finally, while arguing about the price of broadaxes and magic books, Warrior and Wizard were startled out of their discussion by the DM's voice booming down the corridor: "TREASURE: 100 POINTS." It seems that Elf took the initiative and scooped it up into his cloak, an act that probably saved our lives but still pissed off the others. They fixed him with a steady gaze that said plainly, “You'd best hope to have a bomb handy when Death comes around.” We’ll be lucky to reach Level 4.
Ghosts Must Be Shot
Warrior took the lead before any of us could stop him and tore into the walls of ghosts filling the corridor ahead. His battle-cry was terrible to behold as hordes of the translucent undead fell before him. The rest of us tried to stop him, but the bloodlust made him deaf to our pleas, all the whole hundreds of health drained, unnoticed, out of his total. We heard him exclaim, on his way down the exit with 31 life remaining, “I thought you said this game was hard!” Elf has already called dibs on his keys.
Some Food May Be Destroyed
Wizard and those damn fireballs of his. He hit upon the tactic of firing a blast down the hall and running after it, in order to nip those pesky generators as soon as they became visible. When he destroyed the first bottle of ale, the DM began to announce: “Remember, don’t shoot food.” As I figure it, the second food must have went up in flames by the last syllable in “remember”, and the third had to have been trashed by “shoot.” Soon after, I saw Elf labeling an arrow, in that strange flowing script of his kind, “Intended For Yellow Wizard” in preparation for the first Stun Shots floor. And all this time I thought magicians were supposed to be smart.
Fight Hand to Hand by Running Into Grunts
We encountered a new type of foe on this level. Since Warrior had to insert two extra coins after the disaster with the wraiths on Level 2, he’s been considerably more cagey about charging into battle, and nearly jumped when he spotted the first club-wielding brute. Without Warrior in front, and with Wizard and Elf’s complete lack of armor, guess who was presented the honor of taking point? Days like this make me wish I’d never left Valhalla.
So I’m running ahead, knocking grunts senseless left and right, but when I turn the next corner about fifty Level Three grunts swarm me, with at least two dozen between me and the generator. Behind me, I hear Wizard asking Warrior if he "has any eights," and Elf is memorizing passages from the Silmarillion. That is, they were doing these things up until the moment I ran back past them and around the corner. Hey, Freyja didn’t raise no fool. The hollow noise made by the clubs striking Warrior’s cranium confirmed my worst fears.
Beware the Demons Which Shoot You
My comrades are beginning to gain some measure of sense. Wizard has adapted the tactic of blasting ghosts through the cracks in some diagonal walls. Elf is proving adept at swerving between approaching grunts and surgically taking out generators. Even Warrior has shown some improvement in knowing which fights to pick and which to flee.
They were feeling pretty satisfied with themselves, right up until they met the first demons. Elf’s boots left skidmarks on the stone dungeon floor as he swerved around and behind a wall, narrowly avoiding a volley of fireballs. The demons were arrayed across the corridor ahead, continually covering the other side of the wall ahead of us with cinder. Wizard’s snide comment in response, “Green Elf needs underwear, badly!” did not meet with much laughter from the beleaguered ranger.
Sorcerers may be Invisible
Indeed they may be, but not Wizards, though he might have wished to be when thirty-one of his renegade brethren chased him through the exit to this level. After the rest of us disposed of his tormentors and as we gathered up the food and treasure we found on the now-empty level, we were given to wonder: did he forget about the three potions he had saved up? We each pondered thoughtfully about the meaning of the word “Yellow” in Wizard’s name.
Use Magic to Kill Death
Elf shouted as we entered this floor, “At last, I can test out that trick I heard about!” The rest of us asked what he meant by this. Elf claimed to have been told by an obese yellow sphere from a neighboring machine that there was a way to get tens of thousands of points from bombing Deaths. What followed made us alternately laugh and cry as he fired one arrow at a time at each Death on this level, then bombed it. The last Death he bombed gave him 8,000 points, causing him to exclaim “I’ve done it! Now all the Deaths we bomb until one of us shoots one of them will be worth 8,000 points!” “That’s swell,” said Warrior, as the dozen remaining Deaths on the level pounced on us, now potionless due to Elf’s little experiment. This is why one should never go adventuring with amateurs.
Add More Players for Greater Firepower
This level was much tougher than anything we’ve seen before. I lost almost a hundred health before I noticed I was surrounded by grunts as soon as we entered the level! We barely got out of this one with our lives. In the vestibule to Level 9, I heard Warrior mutter something like “By Crom, at last a worthy challenge! Surely blood will be spilt this day!” The rest of us have made plans to destroy the Conan novel we’ve noticed him hiding in his loincloth. A well-placed fireball from Wizard should just do the trick.
“We must work together!” I shouted as the level began. “We must all explore in the same direction!” I yelled as Warrior, Wizard and Elf ran north-west, south-east and north-east, respectively. “We have to hurry and find the exit!” were the words I voiced as each of them gleefully scarfed up dozens of treasure chests. “We’re not going to make it out in time!” I said as the DM counted down the last three seconds, while the two Ws tried to pass each other in a narrow hallway. “I told you so,” I added as all their collected gold evaporated into air as we were teleported out of the level.
Stalling Will Cause Doors to Open
The monsters are getting tougher than any of us have seen, yet our quest has barely begun. Endlessly patient, Wizard likes to stand at one end of a hall and out-blast the approaching monsters, slowly wearing down their number until there's a lull in the generator output. Wizard is always doing things like this. He stopped us just short of collecting a "?" jug, saying he was waiting until the last two digits of his health read 07, 27, 47, 67 or 87, claiming he had figured out "the pattern" to getting 200 health from it every time. Funny, I wouldn't have pictured a mortal man of science to be such easy prey for baseless superstition. Then, just before his health count hit 647, all the doors on the level slammed open, and the 80 Level Three ghosts who had piled up behind the shutter during his vigil, and were even more patiently waiting to get at him, poured through. He barely survived, yet what he seemed upset about most was that they ruined his count. I've long suspected that studying books of magic will adversely affect the mind; now I have proof!
Have Friends Join In Any Time
On this level we found yet another of those princely prizes, an Ability Potion. But before we could claim it we were jumped by a horde of grunts, supported by a set of lobbers behind walls. Of all the denizens of this benighted place, ghosts, grunts, demons, sorcerers, even Death himself, it's the lobbers that I despise most. Elf has perfected a method by which he constantly runs around in slight jerks and twists, a pattern that makes him appear inebriated but seems to cause the Lobbers to consistently miss. At least, they miss him, and their hurled rocks tend to hit the rest of us fairly often. Meanwhile, the rest of us undertook to plow through the grunts, with Warrior and myself leading the way, and Wizard coming up behind. Then there were just sixty grunts to go and three generators. Then, forty grunts and two generators. Next, twenty and one generator. Finally, just a few grunts remained. But then Wizard became overjoyed at our progress, fired one shot too many, and burst the potion! Sheepishly, as we slumped towards the exit, he placated us by reminding us that at least the explosion wiped out the lobbers in the process. We couldn't argue with that.
Add Coins Anytime for Extra Health
By dint of careful observation, I've come to notice something odd about the dungeons we are exploring. The longer we play, the rarer food becomes, and the faster monsters pour out of the many generators scattered throughout each level. But whenever one of us drops so low on health that he must add a coin for more health, then food again becomes common for a while, and the stream of monsters slackens. It's almost as if the unknown owner of the dungeons designed them so as to require that we continually add coins, and without a regular flow of them the dungeons eventually become too treacherous to survive, even for ones so skilled as we four. Thus, obtaining coins is a task of prime importance. Perhaps I should not have tipped the innkeeper so heavily at the tavern before our journey.
Get Bonus Multiplier by Collecting Treasure
We couldn't understand it. We each added several coins three level ago, yet food was still in short supply. I hadn't seen a single food on any of those floors, and neither, so they claimed, had the others. Health was getting dangerously low, and our outlay of coins had reached new levels. We were completely stumped... at least, until halfway through this level the DM's strange, hoarse voice intoned: "Green Elf seems to be getting all the food lately." Suddenly, it made sense. Elf picked up an Extra Speed four floors back, and had been whizzing around almost faster than the rest of us could see. Red Warrior took Green Elf aside (with the aid of a slablike hand around his pencil-thin neck) and explained that he was certain that the jurisdiction of the great Elfking of the Forest did not extend down 71 levels beneath the surface. So, just to speak hypothetically, the murder of some random, green-suited, wise-ass point-ear could conceivably go unpunished, however tragic that might seem. Elf didn't reply to Warrior's statement (he only gulped uncomfortably through what room remained in his esophagus) but starting on the very next level, food returned to the dungeon.
The last level! While very little is known about the dungeon or its origin, the legends which shroud its place in the history of our land all speak with one voice: "There are 100 floors in the dungeon." We are all rapidly tiring of our journey. I've expended the fewest coins of anyone in our meager band, and I must have used at least twenty. Warrior's used at least twice that number. Tensions within the party have stretched nearly to the breaking point. Wizard has taken to selfishly hording potions, and is now carrying so many that he can't pick up any keys. Elf likes to purposely become "It," then hide behind the rest of us. And Warrior... Warrior, who used to jump up at the very scent of gold, has taken to standing stock-still in the Treasure Rooms, preventing any of us from getting anywhere near the Exit, saying morosely "What's the point?" To be perfectly honest, I started wondering that twenty rooms ago.
We're all at each other's throats. Certainly, defeating some stupid dragon or evil wizard can't possibly be worse than what we've already been through. The only thing stopping us from having at each other with the full force of our Extra Powered, Extra Speeded weaponry is the prospect of getting out of this wretched place. Hold on, bright, beautiful sun! Blue Valkyrie is on her way!
(The journal ends here.)