"The Gateway"
from the Base Set rulebook
By Phil Tavel

                The cave was a tangle of shadows, each a lurking possibility. Tony inched along, hands gliding over the slimy walls. The stench of dirt hung heavy in the air, and other, more menacing odors swirled all around him. He tried not to think about what his hands were Touching, or what he might be stepping on. Glancing back, Tony could only see a speck of light marking the cave¡¯s entrance. The far-off laughter of the other boys was barely audible. They had taunted and dared him and now he was here, in this hole in the ground, searching for some rumored crystals.
                ¡°Tony¡¯s a wimp, Tony¡¯s a wimp!¡± they had sneered.
                ¡°I¡¯ll show them,¡± Tony said to himself. ¡°I¡¯ll bring back the biggest crystal they¡¯ve ever seen!¡±
                Ahead, Tony could see a faint glow illuminating the passageway, which began to slope gradually downward. Suddenly, something scampered past Tony, streaking over his sneakers, squeaking as it disappeared into the darkness. Nerves already frayed, Tony yelped and jumped, and found himself off balance, sliding down the incline. He tried grasping at the cavern¡¯s meager formations, but came away with fistfuls of mud. Soon he was around a corner and heading toward the glow. ¡°Ouch, dark, light, dark, ouch,¡± was all that went through Tony¡¯s mind as he tumbled head over heels down the slippery tunnel. He landed with a thud, face down in the dirt and muck, his shins bruised and his knees scraped.
                Moaning, Tony straightened himself up and wiped the dirt off his clothes. ¡°Stupid me,¡± he grumbled. ¡°Why did I agree to do this?¡± He glared back at the passage that he had just fallen down. ¡°I mean really, what do they know? But did I do the smart thing and tell them to shove off? Noooo, I just said ¡®No problem¡¯ and jumped into this little trap, into who-knows-what to get...some...cryst...¡±
                Tony¡¯s voice trailed off as he looked around the huge room where he now stood. In every direction and as far as he could see were bright blue crystals! The faint glow he had noticed earlier was now a brilliant sapphire light. Tony had never seen anything so beautiful in his life. It was amazing. Tony spun around and around. ¡°Wowwww!¡± His voice echoed ever so gently off the crystalline walls. He couldn¡¯t believe what he was seeing. The crystals were of all shapes and sizes, lying on the ground, stuck to the walls, even hanging from the ceiling!
                ¡°Well,¡± Tony remarked to no one in particular, ¡°I guess it was worth the bumpy trip to get down here after all.¡± He bent down to grab a large crystal that was sticking up out of the floor. But before he even touched the crystal he felt a low vibration beneath his feet. He straightened and examined his surroundings closer. He couldn¡¯t see what was causing the shuddering. There were no pipes in sight, no roads above, not even a river nearby to cause this trembling. The vibration started to get more intense, and was now accompanied by a low hum. Maybe the vibration was from up ahead, Tony thought. He wandered farther into the cave, searching for the source of the strange sensations. Soon, he was immersed even deeper in the blue radiance as the crystals increased in size and number.

                The vibration started to grow, as did the hum. The floor started to shake, and Tony could feel the crystals moving back and forth under his feet. Thinking that it was probably a good time to leave, Tony bent down to grab a small crystal souvenir. Suddenly, the floor, ceiling, and walls of the cave started to pulse violently. Fear gripped Tony as he was flung back, away from the passage entrance. Struggling to his feet, he noticed the ground starting to give way. Crystals were falling through large cracks in the floor and walls. Others were detaching from the ceiling, a few crashing dangerously close to Tony. The ground itself began dropping away into nothingness. Finally Tony regained his footing and turned himself around. Abruptly, the floor in front of him vanished. Running to the nearest wall, he dodged the falling crystals and did his best to avoid the breaks in the floor beneath him. As more and more ground gave way to blackness, he frantically jumped along the wall, from crystal to crystal, trying to make it back to safety. It felt useless, and Tony was close to exhaustion. No matter what he did, he couldn¡¯t seem to get any closer to escaping. Crystals and floor continued to evade him. Panic seized him as the possibility rose in his mind that he just might not make it.
                Frantically dashing around the collapsing corridor, Tony spotted a large crystal set in the wall near the cavern entrance. He gathered all of his strength and leapt for the wall, grabbing the huge crystal and clinging to it with all his might. To his horror, he saw the crystal begin slipping out of the wall. He glanced down, only to find nothing but pitch darkness below him! He shut his eyes tight, hoping with all his heart that this was just a bad dream. Then, with a horrible crunching sound that Tony would remember for the rest of his life, the crystal fell from the wall, taking Tony with it into the void. His scream was swallowed by the inky blackness, leaving only hollow echoes in its wake.
* * * * *
                ¡°Mmmph.¡± Tony mumbled as he woke up. There was something soft brushing against his face. Suddenly, he remembered the cave and his fall. He sat bolt upright, totally alert now. Looking down at himself he patted his chest and his arms to make sure that they were all in working order. Satisfied that all was as it should be, he closed his eyes and let out a long sigh. It had all been just a bad dream. Tony¡¯s hands reached behind him now, propping up his slight frame. He felt mud squishing between his fingers. He slowly opened his eyes and looked around. He realized this was definitely not his bedroom. Gazing dazedly around, Tony saw that he was by the side of soft yellow-green grass. Above was a beautiful lavender sky. Lavender? Tony thought to himself. A river? Where am I?
                His heart was pounding in alarm. A warm breeze ruffled the odd fuzzy tufts of the grass, and the air carried with it unfamiliar scents of a different land. Before he had time to come to grips with this strange situation, a cold shadow fell upon him from the embankment above. Two strange, rather monstrous people were staring down at him. They were hideously ugly and misshapen, nightmarish in every feature from their yellowish fangs to their burning coal eyes. Tony grew cold, suddenly chilled in the shadow of these two fearsome strangers. As he watched, shivering beneath their baleful glare, the taller of the two smiled darkly and pointed a ringed finger directly at him. The ring began to glow...

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