Monday, January 28, 2013

Episode 74: Stuck In The Middle With You

While Xeno was out throttling his sworn enemy, Xoe, Ragnar, Takemiya and Kobayashi were exploring the strangely familiar statue in the prince's fwa-yay. It was indeed the very one encountered on the night of the foray into Chang Kai Eel's lair - the night they got Fundus high on scumble and discovered the resuscitated simulacrum of Ragnar in the eerie chamber below - accessed through a secret panel hidden in the inner thigh of the poor, eel-tormented man. The four of them were now debating a plan to quietly access the secret door which was in the middle of a fountain and now, in the middle of a public shaming after-party.

After a long debate failed to produce anything greater than the old 'pretend the dwarf is drunk and wants to go for a swim' ploy, the group was saved further embarrassment when the DM unveiled the old 'mysterious figure emerges from the secret panel' ploy. A very dark, silhouetted figure with glowing eyes and a compelling demeanor stood in the hollow of the Laocoon's enormous muscled thigh and drew Xoe in with his dark, enchanted gaze. As she floated across the water, her 'fellows', her 'friends', her brothers-in-arms' just watched and failed to act until she was swallowed whole by the malevolent sculpture's nethery regions.

Only then did they leap into action.

And leap into action they did...

The three noble adventurers leaped into the fray, fearlessly throwing themselves into the thigh of the unknown, hurtled themselves down the staircase of uncertainty, and dove headlong into the strange, glowing portal of adversarial escape and into... ornate, Muralian  sleeping chamber., one where even the doilies labored under a thousand layers of ancient lacquer, and the dust was so old it had a pedigree. The carpet was thick enough to hide cutlery, and the large, canopied bed could easily conceal an elephant.

Or worse.

Finding Xoe nowhere in the bedchamber, Ragnar elected to dive headfirst under the bed.  It was there that he discovered that the entire underside of the (what's the next size up from a 'king'?) mattress was a convoluted, writhing mass of articulated tentacles, tubes and webbing. Ye gods, thought Ragnar, this mattress is ALIVE!!!

So he decided to poke it. It sucked him up.

Takemiya, only tangentially aware of the dwarf as he slid past his ankles, braved a  peep between the curtains of the bed and found Prince  Englebert  sleeping peacefully on his back... to his conjoined twin, Chang Kai Eel. 

Takemiya froze - and in that moment, the Prince awoke - his gaze fixed directly at Takemiya. Panic seized him. Well, it didn't so much as sieze him as, well, he sort of felt pressed into immediate action and, well, the whole Muralian-twin thing was a bit of a shock, and, I mean, what would you do? 

So he punched him.

Or tried to punch him.

But before he could so much as form a fist, the Prince lashed out with his left arm and struck him with an open palm right in the solar plexus, knocking a watery double - a whole, Takemiya-shaped being made entirely of water - out of Tak's body and splashing across the back wall of the room. Water ran down the walls and soaked into the carpet. Takemiya remained standing, but felt considerably weakened.

Kobayashi somehow became stuck to the ceiling. Ragnar rose up through the mattress and emerged between the twins, held fast by the tentacles and snuggled up to the weirdest pair of silk boxers the world has ever seen.

It was then that Takemiya changed tactics, and engaged the Prince in conversation. This is how we learned that the Prince has been dreaming the events on Lungfish Isle. His brother, Chang, has been playing the more negative, nightmarish foil to Englebert's plans. Takemiya then attempts to enter the dream and manages to produce an escape at the back of the room in the shape of a red telephone booth. Englebert informs Takemiya that the phone booth will take them to the heart of the Muralian Empire - and into the palace of the Dowager Empress herself. Englebert entreats the group to kill the Empress - Chang and Englebert's mother, in fact - in order to weaken Chang's connection to the Negative Energy Plane and allow him to be killed, preferably by Englebert himself. Englebert realizes that this will most likely end in his own demise, but he tells the party that not only has he tired of a life tethered to his evil twin, but he would gain enormous peace from putting his brother's wicked deeds to an end.

Englebert then presents the party with a gift - a handful of red pills and a handful of blue pills. The red ones will teleport the one who swallows it directly back to Englebert's palace.

The blue ones are deadly poison.

When the Empress is dead, says Englebert, each one of you should take whichever pill you each deem appropriate.

Englebert then directs everyone's attention to the bell jar on the nightstand, where a small, self-contained ecosystem holds a miniature Zen garden, a moss-covered temple, two tiny gnomes and a rather enthusiastic monk who is no longer stuck to the ceiling...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Episode 73: My Name is Xeno Montoya...

Xene sped up the hillside path as only a gnome can: a whir of knees and toes beneath a pointed hat. But pursuing a grown human male on foot as a gnome proved slightly more mathematically daunting than Xeno had anticipated, and by the time he got close to the fleeing Count he had already met up with a team of confederates, obviously lying in wait to whisk him away after the overly tame Muralian shaming ritual. 

A minimum of visual confirmation was required for Xeno to start screaming epithets and readying the dreaded Forked Finger, and as Fundus fled the scene with the majority of his retinue, a few of his finest footmen were dispatched to rid the planet of the pesky gnome that by now was haunting Fundus' dreams.

In a bizarre, extradimensional cross between The Charge of the Light Brigade, Teddy Roosevelt's charge up San Juan Hill and a Burning Man festival, the six soldiers on horseback charged up the hill in order to trample the nuisensical gnome. But a die roll, some chaos and a fine, three-year-old steed named Beucephalus came together in one beautifully horrid moment; a moment forever enshrined in the anals (sic) of gaming history by the creation of the phrase "horse napalm".

It was not pretty.

And while five of the noble steeds and their riders perished in one awful, stinking moment, one poor beast survived - burns over 93% of it's body - to be forcefully mounted by Xeno and plunged madly, feverishly back down the hill.

Fundus, seeing yet another slow, mad car crash of chaos unfurl before his eyes turns on his heels (or, more aptly, his horse's heels) and attempts to flee. Having a superior  fully-functioning steed looked to be a great advantage, but this is where Xeno's hot-and-heavy relationship with Chaos levels the field.

Xeno attempts to slow Fundus, but instead causes a candleheaded replica of himself to fly forth from his forked finger and sieze Fundus, throw him to the ground and choke the living crap out of him. The remaining men-at-arms, seeing their leader basically throttled to death by a spastic manchild, turn and flee towards a black-sailed boat that sits waiting at the end of the long pier that juts out into a cold mountain lake. Some orcs can be seen on board the ship. None appear anxious to debark and confront Xeno...

Monday, January 7, 2013

Episode 72: The Shaming of Count Fundus

There are times when one's course of action runs like a clear line of dogsled tracks through the unbroken snow, and by starting at the logical point of origin and following the brave, blazoned trail one reaches the final conclusion with an air of inevitability, bounding across the finish line to the cheers and accolades of one and all.

And sometimes your dogs pull you off of a glacier and down, down, down to an icy death.

Plank Town on fire...
Thus it is when DCM, a newly enfortressed town at their disposal, one infernally imbued with the chaotic essenses of the Abyss, decides to play 'interior designer' with barrels of smoke powder, a five-headed dragon and moat filled with beer.

Whether the motivation was demonic paranoia fueled by alcohol and megalomania or just the result of extended gaming outside the Pit of Despair, the attendant members of DCM decided that the best way to drown out the sounds of Tiamat's cries was to blow a hole in Plank Town's walls and drain the beer moat into the cellars.

And, in true DCM fashion, it kinda worked.

So much so that the draconic screams were reduced to liquid mumbles and everyone was able to sleep. But in the morning, not only was everyone surprised to find that Plank Town was back to normal again, (read: merely uninhabited by Fundus and his menchildren) but a pageboy by the name of Douchecoosh had turned up at the gates, summoning DCM to Prince Englebert's for the public shaming of Count Fundus.

A familiar statue...
But when the shaming ceremony turned out to be a little too tame for Xeno and Xoe's liking, shit got real. Xeno charged off after Fundus, years of the distilled sap of vengeance boiled down to a hot syrup of hatred.
Xoe, Takemiya and Ragnar headed into the Prince's mansion, only to make a dark and chilling discovery...

Also, I've quite forgotten what 'Billy and the beer nuts' refers to, but I have a good idea...