Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Episode 25, Part 1: Let's Get The Band Back Together...

The last of the workers climbed on board, and an ice elf sealed the hold behind her before heading below decks. The ship started to move, then a few moments later, dove and began to travel underwater...

Xeno refused to lurk behind his crates any longer. Sliding out from his hiding place, he convinced the orcish Iryien to lend him a swatch of clothing so he could pretend to shine up the interior of the amphibian ship.

"What is that idiot doing?" Iryien hissed. Kobayashi peered out at the orc as he polished the bone archway that led into the next chamber.

"Look like he scouting," replied Kobayashi. "Perhaps I scout too."

He lifted the top off the crate he was hiding behind, but due to the damage it had sustained earlier, the entire crate broke open, spilling the contents loudly on the floor.

A number of the black, spiky objects lit up and started to beep.

"I suggest we remove ourselves," whispered Xeno. He hurried into the next compartment. Kobayashi quickly followed, and joined him in what appeared to be a storage closet for pungent meat.

"Fools! You can't leave these here! We'll all die! In the water!!" As Xeno wedged himself in between two crates, he pried one open and reached inside. He found two bloated sausages, their pale skins barely containing the questionably pulsating contents.

They seemed to be alive.

"Well, they should absorb some of the blast, anyway," he remarked to Kobayashi as he too crouched low.

There was a click. And a BRZOOOM!!. And a muffled cry of pain.

Then it all went silent, and the only thing that could be heard was the clatter of heavy boots up a nearby ladder as some orcs arrived to investigate the noise.

Xeno emerged from his hiding place, attempting to blend in, pretending to snack on the turgid meats.

Somewhere inside the sausage, They sensed the warmth of a living creature... felt the cradling hand... could hear the heartbeat that They longed for... hungered for. As They were lifted towards the mouth They coiled, tensed, readied themselves to strike...

And then it was gone. The creature was only pretending to eat.

They would have to wait a little longer...

As Xeno watched, a burly female orc arrived on the scene and ordered Iryien's unconscious body be taken away. The female then pointed to Xeno and another orc and ordered them to clean up the pointy weapons. Perhaps they wouldn't notice of one went missing, Xeno thought...

Takemiya approached the final cell in the passageway and peered inside. There was a diminutive figure lying unconscious on a dirty cot inside. She looked familiar, but as Takemiya's thoughts bounced around his helm, he found himself at a loss, loosing touch with the vagaries of temporal existence.

What he really wanted was to perch himself on top of a really nice hoard somewhere. You know, some really resplendent dragon's horde somewhere and just chill out for a century or two and quit worrying about all these creatures and their constant struggle to avoid Death - like you have a chance - I mean, he's practically in our party now! How crazy is that?

But some part of him drew his mind back - his human mind - back to the present where he was staring at the prone body of...


Xoe! How did she get here? He tried the cell door, but alas, it was locked. He looked around for a key or a lever but stopped short as he heard approaching footsteps.

He now could make out the guard Karl and the robed priestess making their way towards him. Still invisible, he bunched himself up into a corner in order to let them pass. As they stormed by in agitation, he could hear the priestess say "They said she had captured two intruders: a gnome and a human. But when she went to interrogate them, all three of them disappeared!"

A gnome? Interrogation? Disappeared? That could only mean one thing.


Takemiya looked up from his thoughts in time to catch an old man in older armor pop into the hallway ahead to intercept the priestess. He asked her what was going on and she instructed him to double the guard on the prisoners and be on the lookout for anything strange. He nodded and turned on his heel, and when he did, Takemiya spotted the key ring.

Aha, Mister Jailer.

The amphibian ship had docked, and Xeno and Kobayashi were two of the first topside. A long gangplank led down to a dock that ran parallel to a rocky beach. Kobayashi, whose transmogrification had worn off, was directed to hit the water as Xeno hopped off the dock. He met up with Kobayashi under the gangplank and looked to see where they were.

A huge stockade lay like a bloated tick in the darkness at the end of the dock. Armed guards patrolled the walls. Large, pointy logs told strangers that not only were they not welcome, but they were likely to be on the receiving end of a painful buggering if they tried to gain access without permission.

A delegation emerged from the stockade and came up the dock to greet the ice elf and her bodyguards. Xeno and Kobayashi strained to hear the conversation.

"The shipment has arrived and is intact? Excellent. My Master will be pleased. He is here to inspect it himself."

The two hidden figures recognized that voice.

Count Fundus.

What was HE doing here? Does that mean we're in Plank Town? We're back on Lungfish Isle? And his Master - is the mysterious Chang Kai Eel here as well?

This opportunity was too good to pass up.

Xeno and Kobayashi waited until the last of the orcish crew had carried their load into the stockade before emerging from under the docks. Xeno had finally returned to his old, gnomish self.

"What we do now? You have plan?" asked Kobayashi, a little tentatively and with more than a little fear.

Xeno was still wielding two of the orcs' trembling sausages. Kobayashi stared in horror as, with a blood-curdling scream, he lifted them high above his head and charged the front gate.

"With Tahksha, Tsun Shi and Jae Hoon Suk as my witnesses, I will never be left alone with this lunatic again," muttered the monk.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Captain Nemo Had Nothing On This...

Iryien and Xeno shuffled up towards the ship, crate held at an awkward angle between them.

"You could lower your end a bit," Xeno whispered and he struggled, backwards, across the slippery cavern floor.

"And you could be taller," Iryien hissed in irritation. She was busy scanning the scene. Large humanoids, bundled in layers of fur, were busy shuttling crates up the gangplank to the bizarre, skeletal ship. Xeno glanced over his shoulder and noticed them, too. They were everywhere. He suddenly realized the three of them looked horribly out of place.

Then he heard Iryien whispering quietly to herself, and his whole world started to change...

The ground flew away from his feet as he grew, up, up, up to over six feet tall. Barely able to keep his feet going as he grew, he turned to see the last change overtake Iryien's shape, and he had to admit, it wasn't for the better.

She was now an orc.

And so too was Kobayashi, struggling down the icy steps alone with his crate as he morphed. The culmination of variables was too much for him, though, as his new feet slipped off the final step and he fell forward, landing on his crate as it burst open, spilling its contents over the icy floor...

The objects were foreign-looking, and unlike anything that Xeno had seen before. But even with their foreignness, they managed to communicate one simple fact: they were built to kill stuff. They were black. They were replete with barbs, tips, handles and triggers.

And they looked like fun.

As he reached his own, newly-orcish hand down to pick one up, a harsh voice echoed out in the cavern.

"You son of a promiscuous she-dog! Watch what you're doing! Remember what happened to Grazshnak when he dropped one of those back at White Plume Mountain?!? You'll be the death of us all!" A larger, uglier orc lumbered over to the transmogrified Kobayashi and thumped him one on the ear. "Now pick those up! Carefully! If but one of those is damaged I'll have you thrown out to sea!" The overseer turned on his heel and returned to the ship to vent his spleen on another hapless laborer.

A befuddled Kobayashi started to put the things carefully back in the box as he glanced up to Iryien and then himself.

"So this is the plan?" he whispered to the orc he assumed was Iryien.

"It all I could come up with on short notice. What has passed for your 'plans' has nearly gotten us killed. From now on you listen to me."

Iryien strengthened her grip on the crate she and Xeno had been carrying and almost knocked him over as she began pushing it towards the ship. Kobayashi hurried to catch up, but didn't encounter any more resistance as they brought the crates up the ramp and lowered them into the belly of...

The Ship.

It looked like a large sea creature with fins and a long neck. Its skin was a translucent red, and lights from within revealed a massive skeleton which held up the dried, rubbery flesh. As Xeno climbed down a ladder through a hole in the center of its back, he could see that it seemed to have two decks. The interior walls were also flesh and bone, but hideously re-grown into a more serviceable configuration. Smaller crawl-throughs were cut through these walls, and Xeno was directed to pass his crate through one of these walls to a waiting orc.

Iryien followed him down the ladder. She took Kobayashi's crate and looked around quickly before handing it to Xeno.

"Over there. Stack it on the others and hide behind it. We'll be over here. Don't move until you hear from me." She shoved him in the direction of a corner filled with crates. Reluctantly, he worked his way into a small corner and pulled the crate up to hide himself. He could just peer over the top and see the exit ladder and behind it, two orcs hiding themselves among the crates.

He was uncomfortable in his new skin, and with the fact that he couldn't seem locate his weapons. His backpack seemed to have disappeared in the change as well, as his fingers were gnarly, green and completely devoid of his special Glove of Fiery/Frozen/Acidic Death.

Xeno peered out at to where Iryien was hiding. He tried to fix her with his Very Peeved Look.

"Next time we split up, I'm going with Xoe," he mumbled.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Episode 24: How To Implode a Space-Time Continuum

Iryien sits at a spinning wheel in the small seaside cottage where she and Gaius have managed to raise three beautiful daughters. But things have taken a turn for the weird as of late: she's being visited by a disembodied voice which claims to be Takemiya Jones - a monk she once associated with many years ago while working for an outfit called, what was it again? Oh, yes - DCM Enterprises... She remembers him being somewhat level-headed, (well, until that thing with the helmet) so she wonders why he's spitting and sputtering, in and out of the back door of the cottage muttering about some sheriff from back in her adventuring days. Maybe she's been working too hard. I know it's not yet autumn, but the nights are getting cooler and it would be nice if the girls had their new sweaters before the frost...

Iryien is also eyeing Saladin and Xoe in the dim light of the dual moons. For some reason, (other than his recently-acquired deathly aura) Saladin seems to be flickering a bit. As if his body was a pool of water that had just had a pebble thrown in it. As they debate whether to head down the mountain and find their former selves, she listens as Xoe explains some of the pitfalls of tinkering too lightly with the Trousers of Time. Together they convince Saladin that the Temple is a better option - not to Raze it to the Ground with Cleansing Fire, as was his wont, but to play it cool and try to seek answers. The three of them proceed to the Temple as Saladin ceases to flicker.
There they are ushered in to the rear of the Temple where Xoe discovers, hidden away in a closet for a number of years, Object. He is covered in a layer of rust and dust, and has also acquired a new accent. He then proceeds to decapitate the Matron and a High Priestess, leaving the three heroes to meet yet another Iryien in circumstances of high drama.

Iryien is also freezing in an ice cavern, and is bewildered as to why she's there. Teleported from somewhere under Eldritch Mountain, she now finds herself with Kobayashi and Xeno, poorly bluffing their way past a frost giant and not particularly enjoying a cup of tea. Of course Kobayashi mutters the wrong thing, of course the tea makes Xeno go blind. But once the die rolls start to leave the realm of probability, the Gods (bless their twisted little hearts) find a way for everything to work out in the end. That's unless, of course, you're a frost giant that had entertained thoughts of having children one day...
So now she finds herself stowed away on a ship. Well, not a real ship, anyway, more like a hollowed-out sea creature's corpse. It appears these Ice Elves are packing up and heading off to rendezvous with Count Fundus, and if that's the case, she could be back under Eldritch Mountain in no time at all...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Episode 23: "I Think The DM Has A Drinking Problem."

Saladin looked up at the temple. All that was wood or wicker had burned away. What was left was a stone structure that looked... eldritch by comparison.

"We can all get in through this side window," he told the Holth and the Death Commandos. "Follow me."

They hurried over to the side of the temple and listened. The piteous moans of burned and glass-riddled acolytes had died down considerably. Saladin went in.

Li'l Sauron was next, followed by Object. Holth did not come next. Neither did Velva. The fact that Aaa'ooo'aaa failed to bring up the rear struck Saladin as particularly annoying. Demanding answers, he got a shrug from Li'l Sauron and a series of whines and clicks from Object. Not reassuring.

The three crept towards the back of the temple. Soft, lilting feminine voices could be heard debating some topic in Muralian. Saladin ears pricked up, while other parts of him grew ears. Gripping his club and ready for battle, he sprung around the painted screen that sectioned off the back of the temple to find... no one.

All that was there was an evilly bubbling throne on a gem-encrusted base, five stained glass windows depicting the 4 elements, the downfall of humanity and a pregnant Iryien, and a hole through the Earth window that was about the size of a berserking gnome. the feminine voices came from without.

Suddenly, in a fit of inspired madness that caused the DM to take a heavier-than-usual pull on his maple porter, Saladin leaped through the bottom of the center stained glass window, only to land with a resounding thud on top of...


The slowly-thawing corpses of the two guards had been set up in the crypt. "The next person who enters therein will get surely stain themselves," thought Xeno.

"Next time we split up, I go with Xoe," thought Kobayashi.

The two then headed up the hallway to an intersection. After some debate, the two decided that the passage ahead, which was wide and well-lit, could only lead to trouble, and instead chose to turn down a dark side corridor, redolent with sinister echoes and paved top to bottom with black obsidian.

"Next time we split up, I go with Xoe," thought Kobayashi.

Sure enough, they soon came to a dark and sinister chamber. So dark and so sinister, it sucked the light out of Xeno's light spell.

"Perhaps other way is better?" hazarded Kobayashi.

On cue, other way started to go boom, boom, boom with the sound of drums.

"Perhaps not," sighed Xeno. "I think we should- SWEET PICKLED EGGS WHAT'S THAT?"

Quick as a flash, Xeno's Cube of Force was activated, and just beyond it's protective walls, two vile, stinky undead appeared from within the chamber. The cube's walls seemed to keep them out. But as the drum section grew louder (and was soon joined by a cacophonous brass section) the duo decided that these two fiends were the lesser of two evils.

Kobayashi readied his Staff of Thunder and Lightning, aiming it into the chamber and over the heads of the two slavering fiends. He then discharged what would have been, outdoors, a very loud thunderclap...

Inside the small obsidian-lined chamber, however, it was destructively, titanically and... what was the term?

Oh, yes. It was ear-shatteringly loud.

While the cube protected the two from the bone-stripping cloud of supersonic pulverized obsidian, it did knock them flat on their asses. Lying there, stunned, Kobayashi thought of retiring from adventuring and becoming Port Harbor's official Drunk Munk.

Xeno wondered why everything had gone so quiet.

As he tilted his head back to see the five figures hurrying towards him (upside-down, from his point of view) he wondered if they were wearing slippers, for how else could they travel so noiselessly down this hallway?

Rough hands pulled him silently to his feet, them noiselessly lifted him up to face a woman wearing dark robes. She was mouthing words at him in a very agitated manner... Was she expecting him to read lips? Why wasn't she making any sound? Why does she look sort of familiar?

As she turned her attentions to Kobayashi, Xeno's memory started to clear... Iryien! She's come here to take us out of here! Yes, she's now leading us away from here, down this hallway, around a corner, up a little slopey bit here, yes, yes...up to this weird doorway and being thrown in - what the Hades? Why are we being tossed in here? What's up with Iryien? And how DID she manage to slam that door so silently?

Takemiya looked around the cell block. No keys hanging on a hook. Of course it couldn't be easy. But there were a couple more doors ahead...

He stopped to listen at the first. Nothing. He crept up to the second, and barely audible above the fish-slapping in the adjacent cell, he thought he could hear a high-pitched wooden sound.

He tried the door. Unlocked. He slowly pushed the door open and peered into the room...

A shabbily appointed room contained dirty dishes, piles of laundry and some poor creature's attempt at 'decorating'. Homel figurines and a painting by Thimmaus Kink-aid adorned what looked to be (and smelled to be) a studio apartment. In the middle of the room, spinning wool on a large wooden wheel, was Iryien.

"Iryien!" Takemiya whispered in her ear. Quick as a flash, Iryien picked up a wooden spindle and wheeled it about her head. Only Takemiya's incredible monkish training prevented him from losing an invisible eye.

"Who's there?!?" Wild-eyed and shaken, Iryien looked disheveled and a bit worn. Her plain gingham dress looked ancient and her hair had a sheen of what looked like chicken grease.

"It is me, Takemiya! I've found Longbottom! Do you know where the keys are kept?"

Iryien still held the spindle high and with a threatening air, turning to and fro in an attempt to keep the disembodied voice at bay.

"Longbottom? That was so long ago... Keys? What keys? How did you get into my cottage?" Takemiya looked around the room. He'd never have used the term "cottage" to describe what he saw.

Iryien was obviously under some sort of delusion, probably magical in nature.

He returned to the hallway outside. The imp was still lazily thudding away. Perhaps this would shake things up... Takemiya detached his floating head and rammed it into the cell door.

The bars clanged, but did not break. The imp disappeared with a POP! And he could now hear footsteps running towards him, from the direction of the angry priestess...

"Next time we split up, I go with Xoe," thought Takemiya.

Iryien opened her eyes. It was still dark. Her head hurt, her back hurt and her plate mail was probably dented. She got to her feet in time to see Saladin slowly get up on one knee. Glass tinkled to the ground.

"Mind explaining what this is about?" she whispered. She looked around for the Gardener, but he was nowhere to be seen.

"Iryien! Is that you? Where did you disappear to?" Saladin rushed forward, groping in the dim gray light towards the half-elf.

"Disappear? I wandered into this garden two minutes ago. It hardly constitutes 'disappearing'. Why aren't you down at Elof's? How did you fall out of the sky on me?"

Saladin started by explaining her going AWOL, Xoe returning and the ensuing rescue party. When he got to the part about Iryien being pregnant, she stopped him.

"WAIT, WHAT? I've only been gone two minutes! How could anything have happened in that amount of time???"

She suddenly heard Ben's voice in the back of her head: "Eldritch Mountain is practically build on a junkyard of Time..."

Saladin must've heard it too, for they both turned to look up towards the top where the temple lay waiting.

"I've got a bad feeling about this," she whispered.

Xeno watched as Iryien returned, silently sliding the door open and entering by herself. While he was hoping that she came with an ear-wax kit, instead she was wielding what looked like a Very Hurty Wand.

She flourished it in his direction, but after failing to comprehend her demands, he was ignored and she turned on Kobayashi.

Xeno couldn't read lips, but he could read the situation. Iryien was MAD, and probably under a geas or something.

Time to make like Gloobian Jelly Spider and Exeunt via its Superlative Nesting Sac.

Xeno carefully flipped open the mouth of his Bag of Holding and, while Iryien's back was turned, procured a teleport scroll. Catching Kobayashi's eye, he began to whisper...

A circle of flickering blue light opened in the floor, and without hesitation, Xeno leaped. "QUICK KOBAYASHI FOLLOW MEEEEEeeeeee...." The monk followed suit, and as he headed down the rabbit hole to Quietly Attentive Nature Spirits know where, he had one thing in his mind:

"Next time we split up, I go with Xoe."

Monday, November 22, 2010

Episode 22, Part 2: "Hey Guys, Let's Split Up!"

Xeno came to, on his back, Kobayashi slapping him back and forth.

"Be silent!" he hissed. "Not sure where we are, but I have feeling it not good."

Xeno looked around the dim room. Low niches in the wall, the damp smell of decay, what looked to be a dim outline of a skeleton...

"Oh, it's just a crypt." Xeno rolled free and examined the situation. 18 alcoves, all occupied. One door out. And no window from whence they came. Some weird sort of teleportation was involved, and he didn't like it.

Kobayashi found one of the interred was wearing a robe embroidered with yellow triangles. After some lengthy debate on the Nature of Grave Robbing, the Usefulness of Disguise in an Enemy Encampment and the likelihood of the corpse being infected with some sort of flesh-eating spores, one of them (I'm not saying who) decided to heave the corpse onto the floor in order to strip it of its vestments.

It hit the ground with a sickening plop and exploded into a million black, flesh-eating spores.

Kobayashi's lungs filled with the stuff. Xeno's nose and ears were overwhelmed with the rancid-smelling dust of mouldering decay. They coughed and hacked and made their way to the door, but stopped short as they heard voices and saw shadows under the door. They both kneeled, filling their lungs with what air seeped under the door. The smell of the grave was closing in and threatening to suffocate them both. Something had to be done.

Xeno threw open the door and fell onto the ground at the feet of two burly guards.


The two guards, who had incidentally just been discussing the fact that their wages had not, of late, realistically reflected the recent increase in risk and danger to their persons and who were, in fact, giving serious consideration to dropping the whole guard business like a hot rock and getting into the collectibles business, looked down to see a writhing black midget covered in death-smelling soot screaming at them and decided it wasn't even worth a moral check. They legged it.

Xeno chuckled to himself before extending the Middle Finger of Icy Doom. A Cone of Cold, flush with fives and sixes, left the two hapless guards cold and lifeless in the middle of a long, stone corridor.

Kobayashi immediately stripped off one of the guard's armor - it was brown and covered with small yellow triangles.

"Ever see Wizard of Oz?" said the monk to the gnome. Xeno just scratched his head. This guy just may be as crazy as I am, he thought...


Takemiya followed Longbottom's thoughts out the door and into a long corridor. He saw two figures appear from around a turn ion the hall some 20 yards distant. A female, stern and in flowing robes, walked with a quick agitation that told Takemiya she wielded power and was looking forward to using it on some hapless intruder. Behind her was Jordj. Takemiya, still invisible, backed himself into a corner and allowed them to pass. She wasn't going to be happy to find the guard in the pit, so he had just a few moments to move on and locate Longbottom.

Soon, after a few turnings, he located a row of cells.

He could hear a slow, steady series of sickening thuds. Combined with a high-pitched creaking sound, it sounded as someone was being repeatedly drubbed by a number of carp attached to a small metal wheel...

Takemiya crept up to the first cell and peered in. A humanoid lay curled up in a small dingy cot, facing the wall, unmoving. The second cell contained a large burly man with a booshy beard. He was unconscious and chained to the wall, and looked like he'd been there a while. The third cell contained the jackpot. Longbottom, stripped to the waist, was chained to a low bench. On the cell floor by his head was a small, three-spoked wheel. The wheel was being turned via a small crank by a tiny imp. The imp looked bored and on the verge of falling asleep. At the end of each of the three spokes was a fish. A dead fish. As the imp turned the wheel, the fish would, in turn, smack Longbottom in the forehead. His head was silvery with scales. Takemiya recognized the fish. They were indeed carp.


Xoe turned to look down at Ben.

"So what the hell's going on here? And why am I heading out this window?"

"This place is built on a mountain of temporal instability. I noticed a shift when we came in this way. You need to just pop out for a moment to see if we're still in the past. If we are, come back in and we'll try Plan B."

"And if we aren't?"

"Then hopefully we'll meet in the past when I'm a bit younger." Ben winked and gave Xoe a wave as she headed out into the night air.

Night air that was suspiciously devoid of smoke.

She listened and heard nothing. She looked at the hedge. It was three feet tall.

Quickly she turned and went through the window. Ben wasn't there. The trunks and banners and polearms weren't there. And where the alcove was, was...

A statue.

Or, half of one, actually. A kneeling figure, in monkly robes, lay half-constructed in the space where he alcove had been. Around it, workmen had left trowels ans loose stonework. They seemed to be constructing some sort of pool in front of it.

Xoe heard someone entering a door at the far end of the room. Two men entered, carrying a large painting draped in velvet. Xoe hopped down and piked her way through the workman's leavings in order to get a better look. They were talking to each other.

"Where'd they want it?"

Oh, I dunno. Anywhere safe, t'be sure. Wouldn't want to see it get damaged."

"Cor - hell's to pay if we nicked up her ladyship, hehe."

The two chuckled at what appeared to be an inside joke, and carefully left the painting leaning up against the far wall. The two stopped, lit their cigarettes, and ambled slowly out of the room.

Xoe couldn't resist. Making sure the two were long gone, she slipped over to the painting and lifted the cover...

A tall, radiant goddess in a mandorla gazed beatifically down at her. The artist had obviously been so taken by his subject that he imbued it with a special glowing power. The goddess was clad in sparse bits of chain mail - so sparse that it didn't quite cover her obviously swollen belly. Xoe looked up into the goddess' eyes and saw a look she recognized.

She blinked.

She took a few steps back and looked again.

It was Iryien.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Episode 22, Part 1: "Hey Guys, Let's Split Up!"

"What're you after? Obviously some wires got crossed here."

"Ah, well if you could help me, perhapsss I can exsssplain."

Xoe hopped into the room, albiet cautiously. The figure gestured towards Ben.

"I recognissse your friend, but he isss much changed. I do not think he will be helpful right now." With a wave of his hand, Ben was trapped behind a crystalline wall. The figure assured Xoe that he was fine. He then proceeded to roll an iridescent layer of skin off of one of his fingers and place it into the large trunk behind him before asking Xoe to assist him.

She noticed 4 smaller chests inside the larger one - each with a curious hexagonal keyhole in the top. One chest still had a key in it - a crystalline key, amber in color and triangular in shape. The lizard wizard had her remove the key and place it in a pouch he was wearing. He then had her help him drag the large chest into a curtained alcove. The curtain then shimmered - and Xoe realized she wasn't in Kansas anymore...

Meanwhile, Kobayashi emerged from his 'ordeal', none the worse for wear, if not a little confused. As Saladin and Xeno tried to decide where to head next, angry female monks could be heard in the main body of the temple. Saladin melded with stone and headed out to round up the Death Commandos. Xeno and Kobayashi moved quickly to an alcove in the rear of the temple where they found a throne, mounted on a gem-encrusted base. The body of the throne seemed to be made of a clear, crystalline material that was filled with a bubbling fluid. Two flaming sconces topped off the throne.

Xeno quickly scanned the alcove and found that the only way out lay through one of the five stained-glass windows at the back. Looking for something to break out a pane of glass, he found a golden censer and immediately picked it up. "Does it feel evil?" he asked himself.

The next thing Kobayashi knew, an enraged, bespittled gnome was hurling the censer then himself through the first window. Kobayashi followed suit in order to flee the acolytes who were now entering the back of the temple...

Somewhere deep underground, Takemiya sat up and scanned the hallway. Exits in both directions, but as he scanned around with the Helm of Telepathy, he found one direction alone led towards Longbottom, and that's the way he went. A door barred his way, and as he snuck up to it, he could hear voices, low and argumentative...

...then the floor gave way and he fell with a thud.

The pit trap had been clever, and quite luckily, not designed to maim. Bruised and flustered, Takemiya looked up into tines of two very long and very pointy tridents.

"Hey! Who're you? And what you doin' down 'ere? You're not even wearin' the right robes!"

Ah, Takemiya thought. First level guards, the staple of every great dungeon crawl.

"Many apologies. I have become lost whilst looking for most elusive exit. I shall await the arrival of your superior, and I assure you she shall not be in felicitous mood."

"Oi, whas he sayin' Karl?"

"Dunno, Jordj. Some sort of foreigner, I reckon. You better go get the Mistress. She ain't gonna be happy when she finds him 'ere."

One guard took off to fetch the Mistress while the remaining guard lit up a cigarette and relaxed in the door frame that overlooked the pit. Takemiya then detatched his head and sent it upwards to engage the guard in one of the more unfortunate bits of hand-to-head combat he'd experienced in his career. This allowed Takemiya's body to invisibly clamber up the walls of the pit and nimbly dump the guard into the pit. He then turned to the door at the back of the guardroom and, homing in on Longbottom's voice, dove deeper into the dungeon.

The wizard lizard pulled the curtain aside, revealing a different room entirely. A great storehouse of art objects were here, including one statue that seemed to be concealing an assassin. As the wizard backed into the room, dragging the chest, Xoe pushed from behind (keeping low, behind the chest) and kept one eye on the lurker. As he pulled the chest into the room the wizard thanked Xoe for her help, then the curtain fell back in place. Xoe heard the familiar chink-THUD of a crossbow bolt hitting home. The wizard gasped, uttered some famous last words, then ~

Xoe was back in the room with Ben. The wall was gone, and he was white with worry.

"Do you have any idea who that is you were with?" he gasped.

"Who that was, you mean. I believe he just expired." Xoe explained what she had seen and heard in the alcove below, then stopped as the facts marched by for her. Wizard. Killed. Painting. Past. Lizard...


"Yes. I believe you just witnessed the death of Loca'Luongo. And, I might add, you may have contributed to it indirectly having previously discharged his protection spell with your earlier attempt at a backstab."


"And now that we find ourselves back in the past, the only way we can reunite with the others is to either attempt a risky, draining attempt at time travel or try and head out the way we came in..."

Xoe looked at the window.

"Let's roll," she said, as she clambered up the wall...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Episode 21: Assault on the Temple of Perpetual Dawn, Part 3

Saladin raced into the back room of the temple, and much to his surprise he found a large, reptilian statue set against the back wall and dominating the center of the room. A large, eelike head sat on a humanoid body, kneeling in a meditative pose. Arms were tucked into its sleeves, while on the ground at its knees an inky pool of water sat malevolently still. Horrified yet fascinated, Saladin took a step towards the monstrosity, only to pause as he heard something. From behind a door set in the wall behind him, he heard noises - cries of someone, apparently in a great amount of pain. This person also seemed to be invoking the names of a great number of local deities. He strode forward resolutely to help.

Takemiya, while grateful for the confusion and chaos that provided excellent cover, decided that a little more caution was called for, and quietly shifted planes into the Ethereal. Sounds became muffled and shapes dimmed as he crossed the boundary of this reality and entered the next. But he could now see into the back room, see Saladin’s look of horror as he discovered the statue, and as he entered the back chamber through the wall, he could also see through the door the source of the strange, plaintiff cries issuing from the side room.

He had to admit, there were worse ways for someone to suffer…

Cold, damp and thoroughly annoyed, Xeno decided he’d had enough. Spying a window to the back of the temple, he decided to sneak in. Aaa’ooo’aaa had been dispatched to the top of the building to see what he could see, so Xeno took advantage of the chaos and clambered up and into…

A small, dark room.

He could see some sort of tabletop. He hopped down onto it and found himself tumbling amongst a number of objects. Fortunately for him, they seemed to be mostly made of rubber, so no suspicious noises were made to alert and of the guards. He managed to make his way to the floor, and after tripping over a few more rubbery items, he finally cast a light spell to see exactly what it was that had been giving him so much trouble.


It looked like the Spanish Inquisition had set up a special branch for bachelorette parties in here. Xeno didn’t know much about medieval rubber manufacture and molding, but he had a pretty good idea that this was a real good sampling of some of the best that the trade’s most clever and devious minds had to offer, and quite frankly it gave him the willies. LOTS of willies, to be exact.

He quickly slipped through the door opposite and into a large room containing Saladin, an large eel and a slowly apparating Takemiya.

“Don’t open that door.” Takemiya’s voice was cold, clear and full of authority. It froze Saladin with his hand on the knob.

“But someone sounds like they’re in pain! It could be Kobayashi! Oh, hi Xeno.”

Xeno shut the door behind him and eyed the room, and his eyes stopped on a pair of large, glinty eyes.

“Are those gems?” he asked, pointing to the statue’s large, green peepers.

“Yes,” sighed Takemiya wearily. “Those are indeed emeralds the size of my fist, and that is indeed Kobayashi,” he turned to face Saladin again, “but I can tell you that while he is indeed ‘in’ something, it is most definitely not pain.”

It's called 'Monkey Escapes Naughty Treehouse', actually, he thought to himself. And the lad's quite good at it.

“Still, don’t you think we should help him?” Saladin cried. “Who knows what’s going on in there? Xeno, should you really be climbing up there?” He was halfway up the eel’s head before Takemiya turned to gaze into the pool of black water.

“Xeno, shouldn’t you be detecting traps or something before you go prying gems from a statue’s eyes?” He thought he could see something in the water. The outline of a door.

“That’s Xoe. She’s the thief. I’m more of a sticky, stabby kind of guy.” Pling! The statue’s right eye popped out of its socket and into Xeno’s hand. He quickly pocketed it and moved over to the other eye and started prying it out with his knife.

Yes, thought Takemiya, there is a door at the bottom of the pool. A small trapdoor about the size of a-



Suddenly, Takemiya was sucked down, down, down into the noise and the black. Falling faster and faster he felt exploded apart only to be rammed back together again and find himself lying heaving and panting on the bottom of a passage floor. Water oozed out from his clothes. He could see an old, ancient stone ceiling above him, but he heard nothing but the trickle of water from his boots. He closed his eyes and turned on his telepathy, searching for minds that could tell him where he was.

He found one.

It was small, and it was weak, and it repeated over and over:

“My name is Ryan Longbottom. My name… is Ryan… Longbottom…”

Perhaps he was on the right track, after all.

Episode 21: Assault on the Temple of Perpetual Dawn, Part 2

Meanwhile, the Matron stepped aside and gestured to the young ladies kneeling around the mat. She looked at Kobayashi.
“Would you like to choose two opponents, or shall I choose for you?”
Kobayashi stuttered, then spluttered. He’d never seen so many… bosoms before.
“Ah, you may choose, ah, please.”
With an almost imperceptable nod, the Madam singled out two girls, and each sprung to the mat with surprising quickness.

Saladin, in raven form, sat on Takemiya’s shoulder and counted. 14 girls. Two monks. These guys BETTER be good, he thought…

“Be… careful,” Takemiya’s voice echoed inside Kobayashi’s head. He was glad that his master had the ability to communicate with him like this. These girls made him nervous for many reasons; their glistening skin, their supple limbs and their deadly quickness. How would he perform? Could he defeat them both? Why had their arrival been expected? Too many questions, and not enough time for answers. He was led onto the mat. The two girls, minimally clad, took their guard…

Outside in the night, Xeno was getting impatient. He was listening for a signal from Takemiya, but for now, all was silent. He decided that a closer look was warranted. With a whisper, Xeno’ s shape morphed into that of the hedge that surrounded the temple. Slowly and carefully, Xeno crept towards the side entrance to the temple.

The martial arts practice had come to an end, and a bare chested, muscular male had come to the temple door and held it open for the young ladies as they reentered the temple. As the last girl went inside, the man produced a cigarette, lit it, and casually smoked it as he leaned against the open door. Xeno could see the columns and hanging banners of the inner temple, but little else. He was about to move in for a closer look when he felt a presence behind him, then felt a warmth running down the back of his leg.

“STOP THAT!” he hissed at Aaa’ooo’aaa, the vulturesque Death Commando. Aaa let out a short, sharp squawk, and only after a frantic bout of aquatic inaccurracy did he manage to eventually stop what he was doing. “Do you HAVE to do that HERE, on ME????” Xeno was livid. And quite damp.

“SQUAA! Sorry, mon,” croaked the commando. “SQUAA! Why you hidin’ here, lookin’ like a boosh?”

Xeno shook his foot with as much irritability he could muster. “It’s called being incognito. You should look it up sometime.” Xeno turned back to the temple. The man had finished his smoke, and was turning to go inside. Xeno moved as quickly as he dared to get a look inside the temple before the door closed, but saw nothing. “Takemiya!” he growled in his head, “What’s going on in there???”

Kobayashi was now facing the two girls, and with a clap of the Matron’s hands, they pounced…

There were hands and feet raining from every direction. Kobayashi used all his training and skill to avid most of them. They seemed trained to fight as a team, one appearing where the other had just been, never letting him have a moment to recover. Kick, dodge, block, dodge, punch, dodge, dodge. He didn’t know how long he could keep it up.

He felt a great pain in his side, as all the muscles down his left side seemed to explode. He stifled a cry, but the next moment the Matron clapped her hands and yelled “Hai!” the girls stopped immediately, and stood still, arms raised, bosoms heaving.

“You friend is hurt,” she said. “He needs attending. Ladies, take him to a healing room and make him whole again.” The two girls took Kobayashi by the arms and led him to the back of the temple. As they exited through a door at the back, the Matron turned to Takemiya. “I am sorry your friend was injured. I hope you prove a more virile specimen.”

Kobayashi was led to the mat, and as he stepped onto the woven surface, Saladin suddenly morphed back into human form and appeared next to him. He had had enough.
“I'VE HAD ENOUGH!” he cried, and his bone staff appeared in his hand. Suddenly, every girl leaped to the ready, poised to strike.

Takemiya heard Xeno’s plaintiff cries in his head. He linked to Xeno’s mind at the very edge of his telepathic range and said “We have been seperated. We are outnumbered by very capable female combatants. They seem to be interested in us for nefarious reasons. I think a distraction would be in order.’

As soon as he thought those words, he regretted them, but could not take them back. He counted to five, about as long as he figure it would take Xeno to point his finger skyward, and silently said a word of prayer…

“Please don’t roll a one. This place is mostly wood and straw.”

Almost on cue, the night turned to day outside the temple. Windows exploded inwards, hot molten glass strafed the girls, and chaos ensued.

"I get what I ask for," Takemiya said to himself ruefully as he and Saladin scrambled to the back of the temple, stepping over wounded women and avoiding the small fires that were now burning everywhere in the temple. They came to a door in the back wall and entered quickly, hoping to find Kobayashi before anything bad could happen to him...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Episode 21: Assault on the Temple of Perpetual Dawn, Part 1

After discussing the curious results of Saladin's Precognition, the crew of Der Mobile headed up into the hills of Rosencrantz to Chateau Moebius...

An uber-paranoid Xeno began searching the all corners of Marguerite's sitting room until she turned up and immediately put his mind (and body) to rest. As he snoozed fitfully in the corner, the others learned that Pomegranate Shen comes from a family who prides itself on its talent for haunting. Both Pomegranate's aunt and grandmother successfully drove their murderers to insanity-riddled deaths, and it looked so far like Pomegranate had some of the old family skills. Other than some propitiative act on Xeno's part towards his ghostly companion, Marguerite seemed to think that finding Pomegranate's sister, Bronwyn, and convincing her to call off the vendetta was the party's next best hope. Good thing they were already on their way to the Temple of Perpetual Dawn...

The plan was made and the crew ascended Eldritch Mountain. The Guidos, the Death Commandos and Xeno staked out the perimeter of the temple, mingling with the delightful hedge that circumnavigated the temple grounds. Xeno and Ben took advantage of some fortuitous shadows and made their way to a window towards the back of the temple. Takemiya and Kobayashi, along with Saladin in raven form, made their way to the temple gates under the guise of being sent to the temple by a vision.

They were greeted, however, by a matron of the temple who seemed to be expecting them. She and her lamp-bearing acolytes led them past the dozen or so sweat-bedewed young women practicing a peculiar blend of tai-chi and judo on the temple grounds. The matron led them inside to a large, square mat surrounded by pillows. Another group of limber females was sparring inside, and with a clap from the matron, the young ladies, sheer garments still clinging to their heaving bosoms, took their places on the cushions.

Kobayashi leaned close to the masked form of Takemiya and whispered, "I've got a bad feeling about this."

Meanwhile, Xoe had gained entrance to the temple through the side window, but after hoisting Ben up through the window, he partially collapsed with what looked like extreme dizziness. "I'll be OK," he assured Xoe. "You wouldn't happen to have any mustard seed on you, would you?" After learning that she did not, Ben patted down his coat. "I have some on me somewhere - you look around while I look for it."

Xoe crept around the long, dark room, finding a trunk full of heavy objects wrapped in plush velvet bags, some ancient and classy heraldic flags and a set of schmancy polearms. But a muffled explosion interrupted her search, and soon after a figure entered the room and made its way to a large trunk at the back of the room. Tall, wizardly and smoking slightly, a scaly humanoid hurried into the room and threw open a chest at the back,  hurriedly tinkling around the contents. Xoe, naturally, snuck up behind him and tried to backstab him - only to find herself hurtling backwards due to a powerfully explosive defensive spell. Through the wall she flew, landing on her back in what looked like a museum. Sculptures, abs-reliefs and paintings covered the walls - including a VERY familiar painting of an old, decrepit-looking man on a tiny canvas, say, about big enough to fit into a theif's pouch.

As Xoe contemplated the painting's location and the implications of it being here, the lizard wizard poked his head through the Xoe-shaped hole in the wall.

"You're not ssuppossed to be here," he hisssed. His large, glassy eyes blinked once, then his head disappeared back through the wall. Xoe, gathering up herself (and her measly handful of hit points) leapt up to the hole and whispered to the wizard. "What're you after? Obviously some wires got crossed here." 

"You can say that again," said Ben Firenze, who Xoe could now see in the back corner of the room, standing waist-deep in a patch of blood red mustard plants. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Little Precognition Goes A Long Way

Saladin took a moment to gather his thoughts before attempting his Precognition. The rusty synapses in his brain had loosened up considerably when he and Xeno had been playing with The Deck, and he was feeling a little more confident about his chances of successfully navigating the myriad of possible futures that lay ahead of him and his crew. All that was left was to focus on Xeno and Marguerite...

Saladin closed his eyes and let the Third Eye of his consciousness open. His gaze wandered across the waters to Rosencrantz and Chateau Moebius. Somewhere in the distance he could hear what sounded like the rattle of ancient bones.

Then he saw her.

A young girl, long black hair, lithe of limb. She's laughing as she dances circles around Xeno. He lies on a cold, marble floor - an elegant pattern of flagstones beneath his trembling, curled-up body. The girl stops and leans over Xeno, bringing her lips close to his. Just before they touch, Xeno's eyes roll back in his head and a vile green foam oozes forth from his mouth. The girl flings her head back and squeals in delight. Xeno stops moving and the girl dances again. As she circles, Xeno starts trembling again. Saladin now notices Marguerite. She's standing behind Xeno and the girl, watching the dance through one, two, three cycles.

She looks up at Saladin at last and says: "A young wife fell sick and was about to die. "I love you so much," she told her husband, "I do not want to leave you. Do not go from me to any other woman. If you do, I will return as a ghost and cause you endless trouble."

Soon the wife passed away. The husband respected her last wish for the first three months, but then he met another woman and fell in love with her. They became engaged to be married.

Immediately after the engagement a ghost appeared every night to the man, blaming him for not keeping his promise. The ghost was clever too. She told him exactly what had transpired between himself and his new sweetheart. Whenever he gave his fiancee a present, the ghost would describe it in detail. She would even repeat conversations, and it so annoyed the man that he could not sleep. Someone advised him to take his problem to a Zen master who lived close to the village. At length, in despair, the poor man went to him for help.

"Your former wife became a ghost and knows everything you do, " commented the master. "Whatever you do or say, whatever you give your beloved, she knows. She must be a very wise ghost. Really you should admire such a ghost. The next time she appears, bargain with her. Tell her that she knows so much you can hide nothing from her, and that if she will answer you one question, you promise to break your engagement and remain single."

"What is the question I must ask her?" inquired the man.

The master replied: "Take a large handful of soy beans and ask her exactly how many beans you hold in your hand. If she cannot tell you, you will know that she is only a figment of your imagination and will trouble you no longer."

The next night, when the ghost appeared the man flattered her and told her that she knew everything. "Indeed," replied the ghost, "and I know you went to see that Zen master today."
"And since you know so much," demanded the man, "tell me how many beans I hold in this hand!"

There was no longer any ghost to answer the question."

Saladin shook his head and was back in the room. Everyone was staring intently at him, especially Xeno...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Episode 20: The Mission to Eldritch Mountain!

Everyone was healed. The ship was ready. The journey to Eldritch Mountain could begin. But first, a little swing by ‘The Floating Isle” to see if Mad Jack McMad’s tip about a sighting of the Mind Flayer ship was in order…

As Der Chelonian approached the Isle, the all-too-keen-eyed Takemiya spied a thin plume of smoke rising up from the middle of the island, between the two forested peaks. As the ship drew closer, Saladin could detect some faint background psionic static, and immediately the crew took up battle stations.

The ship took to the air for a flyover, and while the crew found a crash site, Takemiya picked up voices with his telepathic powers – voices that could see Der Mobile. Paranoia quickly took over, and the crew was soon raining white-hot death down upon the site of the crashed nautiloid.

As the smoke cleared (and infravision normalized), the inhabitants of the island revealed themselves to be the Death Commandos from the Hammer of Grapthar. Gollum, Li’l Sauron, Object, Aaa’oo’aaa, and Velva had not only survived the crash (and a ship full of illithids), but were in fact the ones who had killed of the mind flayers in the first place. Der Mobile gratefully gave the Commandos a lift and made their way to Guildenstern to rendezvous with Elof the Singing Blacksmith.

While Xeno dealt with Elof, the saw blades and a commodity to be named later, Iryien and Xoe headed up Eldritch Mountain for a little scouting mission. On the way, they found malevolent and rudely-stacked cairns marking the trail. Both felt strange, maternal urges as they climbed towards the temple. And just as Xoe had reached the rocky summit and laid her eyes on the temple for the first time, she turned to see a nude Iryien prancing about, doing some sort of interpretive dance whilst clutching a large golden carrot and smearing herself with rabbit droppings.

While this sight stunned Xoe, it was nothing when compared to the shock she felt at seeing Iryien quiver, shimmer, then disappear mid-leap. Xoe had seen enough for one scouting mission, and raced down the mountain to tell the others.

Sitting around Elof’s forge, the men folk had taken to quaffing some ale; but Xeno suddenly choked, and a well-placed Heimlich from Kobayashi shot a gallon of beer and a ninja-shaped voodoo doll out of Xeno’s esophagus. “Strange,” said everyone, but when Xeno came to, drew his swords and began cursing an unseen ghost, everyone took it as a sign of things actually being pretty normal.

The Ghost of Pomegranate Chen made a brief appearance, sucked face with (and 7 years off the life of) Xeno, then disapparated before Saladin could get a perusal through the Psionic Handbook in edgewise.

And with that, Xeno took off to the ship for a nap.

It was then agreed that Xeno should be escorted to Marguerite to see if she could unhaunt him; but alas, before they could even offload in Rosencrantz, the Ghost of Pomegranate Chen returned to slay the Harbormaster, bewilder Saladin and trick Xeno into crippling three Sulians with a blast of Crushing Despair…

So far the Mission is NOT going according to plan…

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Episode 19: The Anniversary

It was early morning. Xeno and Saladin had been up all night, playing with the Deck of Many Things. They had all their limbs intact. Xoe instantly knew that something must be wrong.

There was a knock at the door.

It was Death.


Saladin stepped back and allowed the zombielike Takemiya shuffle to the door.


Takemiya followed Death out the door and into the sunlight. Xeno and Xoe took up positions on the couch. Blankets were pulled up over heads. Saladin and Iryien looked on with curious trembling.

As Takemiya followed Death up the path that led from the building, the ground trembled, and a great bone coliseum rose up from the atari, cutting the two of them off from the rest of the world. Hoots and screeches issued forth from the skeletal crowd. Death turned to face him.


As the monk moved in to strike at Deaths nether regions, Saladin hurried up the tunnel that led into the coliseum. He could see that Takemiya was in some trouble, and wanted to help...

Death deftly sidestepped the monk and slashed him across the back with his scythe. Takemiya immediately sent his helmet shooting up int the air and Death followed it, clanging his scythe off the magical metal and sending pretty amber sparks flying.

By this time, Saladin had arrived in the circle and was immediately confronted with *POP!* a Death of his own to fight. Luckily, before he could get TOO killed, Takemiya's body grew to 40 feet tall, picked up Saladin "Fay Wray-style" and started hauling him up and out of the coliseum.

Meanwhile, Helmet decided to kamikaze Death, and the dice favored him. Death #1 was cleft in twain by the speeding Helmet, each half falling to the ground on either side of the crater that had now become Helmet's new home.

Saladin manage to wrest Death #2's scythe from him and break it in half, and in a surge of self delusion made to destroy the other Death's scythe. But as Saladin struggled with the right half of Death's body as it hung onto the scythe for dear death, Saladin transformed himself into a hawk, taking Death (or 49% of him) and his scythe with him in the transformation.

The coliseum disappeared, and a rather confused and embarrassed Death #2 slipped quietly away, mumbling to himself.

Takemiya's body rejoined with Helmet while Saladin went of to be ALONE WITH HIS THOUGHTS... which frightened him more than a little.

There was a hilarious bit with a canary, but if you weren't there it doesn't really translate.

Oh, and not to be outweirded, Xoe played with The Deck.

Strange things are now afoot at the DCM. Stay tuned for...


Dungeon Master's Support Group

There is a tavern in the multiverse unlike no other: gamers aren't allowed, the wenches be perfectly buxom and the drinks aren't watered down.
It be the Dungeon Master's Bar & Grille.
DMs from everywhere gather here to swap stories of brilliant campaigns and particulary well-drawn frontier maps.
There is a saying at the DMB&G: "Why do my best players have the worst ideas?"
Another one goes: "Why do my worst players have the most brilliant ones?"
It is at this point that DMs usually just shake their heads and go back to playing whist.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Gem of Recording...

That night, the last night of the Week of Peace, Ben Firenze comes calling to DCM HQ...
"I've finally unlocked the Gem," he says with a flourish. "It took some doing, I don't mind saying... Whoever created this item didn't want it to be tampered with. But a series of divinations, hyperspatial delvings and a minimacromicroscope were needed to glean the pass word to unlock the Gem and listen to its contents."
"What's a minimacromicroscope?" asked Saladin.
"Its a device I created to look at something very bigly, as if I were quite small," He glanced at Xeno, barely supressing a grin. "By projectinig the gem's surface into fourth-dimensional inverse-space and simultaneously retrojecting myself into obverse-space, I found..."
"You found what, exactly?" Xeno interrupted with gnomish contempt.
"I found the pass word engraved on the bottom of the stone!" Ben couldn't quite hide his glee.
"Give me that," Xeno swiped the gem fromk Ben and held it up to the light. "Hey! There IS a word here. And it's gnomish!"
"That's the second weirdest thing I discovered..."
"Efilnikufesin!" cried Xeno, and the Gem started to speak...
The sound of footsteps... a door opens.
"Ah, Ragnar. Do come in. Have we heard from Voletare?"
"Not yet, my Count. But I have arranged payment for the statues at the designated place. They will comply. They are writers, after all. They need the coin."
"Excellent. my Master will be pleased. He believes these statues could be very promising, very promising indeed."
"Could you refresh my memory as to whom your master is?"
"What a queer question, Ragnar. Are you feeling quite alright?"
"No, actually, I do not. This mission to the Outer Planes has me worried. I've never enjoyed travelling there. The people give me the creeps."
"Worry not, Ragnar. Lemuria is so caught up in herself she'll never notice one painting missing. The plan is airtight. Have you got the cube?"
"Yes, my Count."
"Good. Now get back to DCM before they notice you're gone. I don't want anything upsetting our plan. Rest assured, Master Eel will reward you most handsomely for your work."
"Are you sure he won't have me double-crossed? He's done it before..."
"Relax. Its not like I'm going to just have you shot once you hand over the painting. That would be just too trite... haha."
More footsteps, and a door opening and closing.
A few moments of silence follow, and then...
"....hehehe. Just don't ask TOO obvious a question. We need him to mention Chang, not to get suspicious."
"Just play it cool, Ragnar. Like you always do."
"You can count on me, Xoe... Oh, by Grunther's Beard, this thing's still on. Eccentrica!"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Episode 19: Deal or No Deal

Having dispatched the last of the jellyfish spawn, Der Mobile and The Hammer returned to DCM HQ. Plans were made, money was spent and everyone got back to their gentle routines back at home.

Then Takemiya pulled out The Deck.

The power of the Deck must have gotten to him, really. Why else would someone pull out what is surely The Most Dangerous Artifact in the known spheres? A surge of that magical power must've been directly responsible for him stating "I will draw four cards."

Everyone else slid back from the table as if he'd just let an ace mistakenly fall from his sleeve in a poker game with Bludgeon MacSplosion.

Takemiya placed the Deck on the table in front of him and turned over the First Card.

Euryale, the Dread Medusa.

Takemiya felt his body change on a molecular level. Weaken. Warp. Arteries hardened. Muscles stiffened. An image of a woman, snakes for hair, screamed through his mind. He wasn't sure what happened, but he was QUITE sure he didn't want to run into one of her kind in real life. He wasn't sure if he'd be able to handle it.

Takemiya turned over the Second Card.

Outside, Death Himself appeared. He pulled out an hourglass and glanced at it casually. His dark eye sockets smoldered with supernatural fire as they gazed at the sign on the door which told him that he'd come to the right place. He put the hourglass back inside his robe and reached for the door...

He wasn't sure what made him pause. Did he have the right place? He tried to look through the door, see through Time, but for some reason....


This place was a blank spot, a nothing in his field of vision.

"INTERESTING," he thought to himself. "I'LL JUST HAVE A BIT OF A WAIT." He turned and sat on a largish stone some way up the path that led from the house. Little did he know that he was not the first Immortal to have parked his Undying Keister on that particular piece of rock.

Meanwhile, Takemiya turned over the Third card, the idiot.

Um, I mean, The Idiot. The card.

Takemiya suddenly felt the strange urge to do all sorts of things. Dumb things. Silly things. He couldn't say why, but he just felt like doing the next thing that popped into his mind...

Like drawing another card.

The Donjon.

At that moment, Xoe saw the lights go out in Takemiya's eyes. Saladin noticed that a rosy glow had started to emanate from Takemiya's midsection, and it rose slowly up his torso, up his neck and towards his mouth. Takemiya's mouth opened and out of it floated a small amber sphere. It bobbed slowly up and down as it floated across the room, and everyone - everyone save Takemiya, that is - everyone followed it with their eyes as the sphere floated across the room, towards an open window and...
The sphere seemed to hit a soft, invisible barrier and pLuBbEd quietly back into the room where it bRoBbEd silently for a moment before fLuRkInG its way back towards Takemiya. A few whispered comments and gentle pokings ensued, whereupon DCM surmised that it was in fact Takemiya's soul that was silently gLeRnKiNg just over his right shoulder.
Takemiya ceased to draw any more cards.

While everyone debated what they were going to do next, Xeno scooped up the Deck. "Well, looks like he won't be needing this anymore," and he stowed it away. He then turned towards the Helm of Telepathy, where it was sitting on the old stuffed penguijn that had, for some reason, come to be in the office. He had what would later, in the history books (at least the ones that weren't used to line penguijn cages), be called a Moment of Inspiration.

He took the rather large and unwieldy helm and with an embarassed whisper asked Saladin for a boost. The bewildered giant dwarf picked the gnome up under the arms and hoisted him up towards the amber globe.

Xeno carefully placed the Helm over the globe and slowly, slooowly loosened his grip on it.

The Helm stayed there, floating.

(rattle, rattle...)

Then, just as slowly, just as carefully, the helm turned - slowly and silently - in midair, until it was facing the dangling gnome. It then did something that it had never done before in all of the the seven hundred and fifty three years of its existance:

It blinked.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Episode 18: The Badger Cannot Be Buggered At All

Saladin screams.

Kobayashi shifts his hands inside the massive chest cavity, trying to stem the flow of blood. Left coronary artery, left anterior descending artery, vena cava... all were being stoppered by one of Kobayashi's nine remaining digits. Bless the gods, he thought to himself, that the Harmonious Bags of Wind hadn't been perforated. He hadn't the fingers to spare, and he thought he could at least keep him from bleeding to death until the Hammer of Grapthar's Medicus could relieve him.

Suddenly, Saladin coughed, and a great spray of blood showered Kobayashi with bad news. The Bags had indeed been breached, only a million times over with wounds too small to see...

Saladin opened his eyes, and Kobayashi saw madness there. His features shifted, and his internal organs started to shift and move rapidly, shrinking away from Kobayashi's hands as the chest cavity closed up like an angry red clam. The monk was just able to pull his hands away in time to avoid having them sealed inside what now appeared to be a sullen, golden-haired badger. The badger regarded him for a moment with a look akin to disdain before its features shifted again and grew to the size and likeness of Saladin once more. The sucking chest wound was gone, but the look of madness remained.

"Medicine..." he gasped, and stumbled off to the hatchway thet led below decks.

Nastiness ensued.

Saladin, who was being mentally dominated by the mind flayers, knocked Takemiya off the helm in order to break off pursuit.

Above decks, a giant white worm was dispatched to further harass the pursuers. Xeno and Xoe did wonders for its health, however, and it soon ceased to be an issue.

Kobayashi dispatched (with a perfectly-timed 20) the Invisible Stalker that was threatening Takemiya with a messy death.

Saladin then proceeded to throw Kobayashi overboard.

This vexed Xeno, as reentering the atmosphere with a glowing monk in tow did not facilitate the greatest of chases.

The mind flayers got away....

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Episode 17: Sucking Chest Wound

No sooner had the chunks of dragon blubber hit the beach than Xeno and Xoe had a plan. Crates were packed with ice and the bits of white dragon were preserved for a trip to Maeda. Der Chelonian was tricked out, with the dual sawblade-slinger taking the place of the forward ballista. The ballista was in turn moved astern alongside the Frost Giant King's Crossbow of Accuracy, which had been modified with a C-clamp mount, allowing it to be moved and mounted anywhere along the railing of the ship.

Meanwhile, Maximinus threw a fete for the crew while Clavdivs took Iryien's measurements for a statue to grace the center of Aquae Sulis. "Gilded platinum", requested Iryien...
Healing, modification and pickling complete, the two ships took off for Maeda to find a tanner. What they also found was an ally who came knocking on the cabin door - a man named Macro, who warned the crew that a man by the name of Abdullah Faloon was on the moon, and if he found Xeno, things would get really bad, really fast. He then proceeded to 'refresh his memory', informing him that he (Xeno) had swindled Falloon out of Der Mobile in a crooked game of Cripple Mister Onion, and that there was a substantial bounty on his head, whether attached to the rest of his body or not.

In a moment of sublime prudence, the crew of Der Mobile chose to slip off of Maeda as quickly as possible and intercept the shipful of Mind Flayers that was in orbit around Atari. This was the same ship that had, a few nights before, threatened the crew from above and demanded the pearwood tree.

The nautoloid was found and battle was joined.

Too bad Saladin didn't look closely at the Crossbow of Accuracy. If he had, he would've seen the button, a very small button and made of Wvuntoorian Antler, that had engraved on it in very small characters "Presse ye thiss buttone fyrst."

The explosion could be heard even below decks. Takemiya winced at the helm. Kobayashi arrived to find Saladin doing his best impression of Carslbad Caverns, his massive ribcage open for all to see. It wasn't so much a case of 'stopping the bleeding' as 'finding his other lung'.
If they could just keep him alive long enough to get to the Hammer, their Medicus could do something for him, without a doubt.

OK, maybe with just a few doubts...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Where we're at...

Little calender not working, so here's the updated timeline...

See you tonight!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Episodes 16 & 17: The Battle Begins.. and Ends

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. But even worser still were the die rolls, improbable plans and accidental disintegrations that threatened to thwart Der Mobiles defence of Aquae Sulis. For even as the Tootlers marched into the center of the city, Iryien's charges were unleashed on the plumbing of the poor defenseless spa town; before long, Yon Steaming Puddle was formed - a steaming pool of dubious wetness that threatened the balance of the battle.
Next, Der Mobile was launched into the fray - and while crossbow bolts missed everything in sight, dropping kettles of hardened pitch turned out to be the ship's most effective means of harassing the enemy.
And on top of all that, every third member of Der Mobile seemed to get himself captured or spirited away to the lair of the Frost Giants. Things were looking grim.
Now, Iryien did now possess the single most destructive piece of alien hardware ever seen in the city, and had the Gods decided to leave her dice alone, she could've ended the battle rather quickly, and single-handedly to boot. But it was not to be, and many Sulians died.
But then something happened to turn the tide on the invaders...
Takemiya decided to teleport the ship.
Suddenly, the invaders were defenders and lost members joined in the fray. Xeno began a campaign of fearsome hamstringing. Saladin began being really nasty to women. And Takemiya turned Der Mobile into a Cuisinart.
By the time Der Mobile had secured the ice cave, help had arrived in the form of a heavily armored Hammership. As Gorth would later relate to the crew of Der Mobile as they combed the beaches for chunks of white dragon blubber, they had arrived at Der Mobile HQ with the recently-refitted Hammer of Grapthar when they were met by a man who introduced himself as a friend of Xoe. He seemed to be expecting them, and hastily explained that he had it from a reliable source that Xoe and her crew were in deep trouble, and that they were to hasten to a rift in a glacier some 50 miles north of a city known as Aquae Sulis. The gentleman gave him explicit directions to the city and produced a letter, written by Xeno, stating that the gentleman was a partner and confederate of Der Mobile's and was to be trusted without question.
Gorth then set off to the rescue, promising bodily harm to the gentleman if his warnings proved false. But in the end, it all worked out - blood was spilled, booty had and everyone was rescued.
Except some of Iryien's Sulians, of course.