Monday, April 23, 2012

Episode 60: When is a 1 Not a 1?

The cosmos swirled around everyone as the blackness opened up and swallowed. Rotating whorls of light and (possibly) the beginnings of new Universes spun this way and that. Captain Bonkers found himself stretched impossibly thin as his feet were pulled at near-light speeds towards a particularly close-knit group of portals...

Good thing his head was closer than most.

With extreme effort, he guided  his feet towards a highly blue-looking portal. Two other unrecognizable party members seemed to, in their spaghettified and blueshifted state, consciously follow him towards their unknown fate.

The rest of the party split up and disappeared...

As the three shot through the portal at breakneck speed, the Jade Scarab closed his eyes and quickly summoned forth his inner Qi, using it to open The Third Eye of Emerald Openness. He peered through the portal and thought: "Wow, that's a LOT of hard, stony ground and it's coming on really qui-"

The Scarab hit the ground with a sound like a cow hitting the Great Wall at terminal velocity.

Dolorous bounced twice before landing in a pile of crumpled wings, smeared mascara and delicate chainmail accessories. The Captain landed rather deftly on his feet, and celebrated appropriately with arms thrust skyward, screaming his tribe's ancient battle cry:

Behind him, the Jade Scarab died.

But all was not lost. It didn't take long for the Captain to sense something.... amazing. Underneath him, there were rivers. Living rivers of gold. Proto-gold. The essence of gold. Bonkers could hear it's heartbeat filling his ears, burrowing hotly under his fingernails. 

He wanted it badly. He needed it. He invented the Cadillac in his head just so he could get outrageous rims for it with all the money he'd have if he could just... dig... it... 


Three things happened next, and all at the same time.

Dolorous tried to cast a spell in order to save the Scarab. The Scarab's soul, however, had already vacated the premises and had drifted miserably along to a point on the ground where the fabric of reality seemed to be thinning...

...which was because, while Dolorous wasn't exactly the best spellcaster in the world, her new demonic prowess allows her a certain leeway when it comes to the veil between the worlds...

...which Bonkers was looking to pierce with his double-headed axe, in order to get to the fantastic riches he could hear swimming below the surface of this vaguely familiar-looking rocky hillside...

So as Bonkers' axe broke through to the sentient proto-gold, it did so right where the Scarab's disembodied soul was lurking. Things exploded. Mingled. Congealed.

The next thing you know, the Jade Scarab had been resurrected as a 40-foot tall Living Proto-Gold Golem...

And because the Universe (at least the one occupied by Koresh, anyway) can never leave well enough alone, Dolorous discovered something sitting on the ground, right about the time crossbow bolts started to fly.

There was a cone of cold. Screams. And someone rolled a 1...


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Episode 59: Well, At Least We Got Off That Planet!

It all began so innocently.

It was a straight-up dungeon fight scene. The Squad had the higher ground (a stairwell) and superior firepower (draconic laser tubes), even if they were slightly outnumbered. And The Enigma had managed to not trample on Dolorous while firing upon (and exploderating) a skeleton.

Even Captain Bonkers managed an atypical display of dexterity, failing to trample Dolorous and firing upon (and hitting) Stonehenge. Probably even accidentally.

Stonehenge welcomed the change, as the giant troll's constant battering of him into the dungeon floor was getting old (and his hit points were in danger of falling below 50 - a worrisome spot indeed.)

But just when The Squad was poised to 'kick things into high gear', as it were, the nitpicking gnome of disaster began pulling at the thread of reality, and things began to fall apart.

It began, as it usually does, with Koresh.

Instead of the acid-breathing, forked-finger fonging tsunami of destruction that the Squad is used to (and actually is capable of planning for), Koresh paused for a moment to curl himself inward around his milky-white sphere. He began to pet it. The Enigma even heard the words 'my preciousssss' being uttered.

That wasn't helpful.

What also wasn't helpful was the dark, cowled wizard forking dual bolts of violet light at the stairwell. Not only did they cause Dolorous' BoomHaranging Bone Shards to utterly miss the mark, but they (most unhelpfully) caused the The Captain and Enigma (Love.... Love will keep us two gethuh...) dematerialize in a puff of purple static and rematerialize at the wizard's side, mer purplish clones of their former selves.

And, in rare and concerted effort to be helpful, the Jade Scarab crawled under the wizard's robe and was eaten by a Basket Imp.

It was at this point that Koresh built a small hut out of glowing skeleton bones.

(It should be noted that when the Jade Scarab crawled under the wizard's robe, he was, in fact, in scarab form. It would have been awkward, and probably against the rules of D&D to do it in human form.)

(Also, the Imp would have to have been much bigger.)

Anyway, having led the charge into Failsville, the Jade Scarab decided he'd had enough, and took it upon himself to right the ship - first by having himself vomited up by the Imp, and then by performing a barrel roll, a basket punch and a head squeeze to the wizard - considerably turning the tide in the Party's favor. In fact, things were going so well that when Koresh finally emerged from his exploding hut to attack the giant troll (having become bored with pummeling Stonehenge) he had the wherewithal to detect a slight disturbance in the fabric of reality...

Koresh was just able to gather everyone together when IT appeared.

Big. Dark. Malevolent. And a current employer, apparently.

It started asking questions like "Why have you strayed from the path?" and "What of the tasks we've given you?" After some nervous chitchat, each party member had a vision of the past/future...

...and were plunged into a Hellish cathedral.

(It was at this point things got really weird. The Enigma was turned into a salt lick. The Jade Scarab was cut in half by the Anti-Pope. Captain Bonkers went, well, bonkers and got stuck in - literally. And while the former gnomes stabbed and fonged their way into a winning position against the giant devil, The Enigma became the King of Evil Deer and, riding into the cathedral on the back of his hellish steed, delivered the coup de grace with a well-placed antler butt.)

Then everything went black.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Episode 58: How Many Time Zones Are There In The Known Universe?

Mr. Prim started blankly at the Vectroscope. It had been a Very Trying Week, and the distinct lack of 'plibs' on the Vectroscreen did nothing but magnify his annoyance. _ __ ____ The Ever Mightie had made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that the Naugahyde Cotillion had "verrry littttle tyme" to locate the band of minor-league deities and get them back on the Path.

Prim had the tact and strong urge for self-preservation not to ask what would happen if they didn't, but he had a feeling that it would be more than the nullification of their company contract. He redoubled his efforts at the Vectroscope, leaning in over the glowing green screen, knuckles whitening on the control knobs, scanning, scanning....


At first, he couldn't believe his ears.


A quick check of the settings and a deft twirl of the tumblers assured him he wasn't just imagin-

plib. plib.

With what passed (for him) as a feeling of elation, he zoomed in on the quadrant, attenuated the Focusizer, and set the Pfhasiur to Stun.

plib. plib. plib.

"Got 'em," he whipered to himself, and to everyone, as he knew he was being observed.

"Athas. They're on Athas, your Eminences." Fingers whirred and tumblers tumbled. "Shall I take The Desk and go have a chat with them?"

"Nø," boomed a voice that came from the floor, the air, and everywhere in between (all at once). "¡ wi∫∫ ∂e@£ w¡†h †hem m¥$e£f."

There was a •pop!•, and the feeling that every other molecule in the air had ceased to exist. It was not an unpleasant sensation, but it went a long way to make one feel like one had been operating under unpleasant circumstances for longer than one had realized.

"Crazy bugger," Prim thought to himself. "Let's see HIM deal with that lot. They're so unstable, I wouldn't be surprised if they-"

Prim sat bolt upright, a strange, puzzled look crept over his face and under his dark glasses. His fingers didn't move, but tumblers tumbled in his mind.

With lightning speed and a sweat of anticipation, he threw himself at the Vectrometer, cranking and wheedling the contraption into maximum focus.

plib. plib. plib. plib. plib. plib. PLIB.

Prim had no idea what was going to happen next.

But he was sure as Hells going to watch.