The 20-Sided Theatre, Episode 13: The Call to Action
Rhomande's Insufferable Basterds
Rhomande Sorfinde, Bard in Extraordinaire – Rudraigh Quattrin
Imenand Shenouda, President of The Shenouda Necromancy Corporation – Blake Parker
Maldreth the Impius, Ogroid High Priest of Makar – Gabe Abinante
Stiev Pierabbat, Chameleon Rogue – Natalie Abinante
Issa Featherfoot, Pengonquin Princess – Ceridwen Quattrin
Thrimlach Lenanien, Secretive Elven Mage – Cian Quattrin
The DM – Rud
Torrea Marsvel - Cian
Lorramar (Thrim’s Raven) – Gabe
Sir Gnome — Rud
Tuxedo Beak – Blake
Stil Colemanaani, Druid of the Frozen Summit – Cian
Kelora Tamlin, a Human Swashbuckler & wielder of the Dawnbreaker - Becky
Lorelei, a pacifist Lawful Good half celestial moon elf – Begga?
*Lorelei’s name should always be followed by twittering birds, a-la SotSW (neigh)
Helema Nisbet Alafinde, Rhomande’s niece – Tony
Homeless Penguin – Tony
Imperial Wizard – Rud
Emperor Nashtif – Cian
Scene 0: Show Opening & Theme Music
Vragul: **From “offstage”** QUIET!! TIME FOR START SHOW! VRAGUL DEFEAT AUDIENCE!!
SFX: (2d20 rolls)
DM: Your Move Silently and Hide checks are successful.
SFX: (pause)(51136_rutgermuller_Cough (short))
Rhomande: Good evening Lords and Ladies. You have chosen your entertainment quite wisely. You are about to experience the most wondrous spectacle in the Great, Venerable, and Multiplanar Empire of Voladros. I am your Host-Proprietor, Rhomande Sorfinde, and I welcome you...to The 20-Sided Theatre!
The Wiz: **From “offstage”** Dancing lights! SFX: (121558_sbarncar_whistleandreport.aif x 5 (bunched in time with opening of Theme Music)
Theme Music: (VCMG – Victory Flower Fields – 20-Sided Theatre Edit)
Music Bed: (Sylvius Leopold Weiss – Courante in F Major.mp3)
Scene 1: Introductions
Music Bed: (Sylvius Leopold Weiss – Courante in F Major.mp3)
Rhomande: The curtain rises, and we rejoin our ““Heroes””—
DM: Really? We’re going through all of that again?
Rhomande: What else would you call a group of adventurers who have killed not one, but two dragons that had been harassing people.
DM: Only the potato dragon was harassing people. Athairsidrinn was trying to give you a warning.
Rhomande: Voice? Are we people?
DM: Well… yeah… We’re pretty inclusive and open-minded, here, with our definition of “people”.
Rhomande: And when someone stops you in your daily travels to talk to you about something that they and only they are interested in or worried about, wouldn’t you call that “harassment”?
DM: Yeah. I suppose it’s a relatively small type of harassment, but it still qualifies.
Rhomande: Well, under those definitions, we are ““people”” who were ““harassed”” by that dragon. Ipso facto, ergo, et cetera… ““Heroes””.
((Sfx: d20 roll))
DM: Gods damnit. Fine. You’re still ““heroes””.
Rhomande: It is my pride and joy to introduce your evening’s ““Heroes””. Oh, and voice? Don’t think for one second that I missed you pronouncing ““heroes”” with a lower-case “h”.
DM: Just get on with it, Bard.
Rhomande: It is my pride and joy to introduce your evening’s ““Heroes””. Scottalia’s own Insufferable Basterds!
Rhomande: Imenand Shenouda, known throughout The Empire as The Weaponsmith. He serves as President and spokesman of The Shenouda Necromancy Corporation. This mummified Human Wizard is ever accompanied by his Skeletal-Cat Familiar, Bastet.
Imenand: SFX: (4914_noisecollector_cat2.wav) Ah! It is so satisfying to be back on the prime material plane! My experiments went off without a hitch, and just today I have received a package from the Grand University of All Knowledges. They wish me to… experiment … with an organism from the Plane of Plutonium!
Rhomande: The terrible, towering Maldreth the Impius, the ogre-blooded Patriarch of the Church of War, dedicated to Makar, Father of Strife!
Maldreth: Where is that idiot druid? He was supposed to send me a list of the richest ore veins running throughout the Artsus Mountains, to the south. Now how am I supposed to supply all of the chains for the redecoration of Saint Turbulus’ Home for Orphanable Children?
Rhomande: The new addition to my team: Stiev “the Chameleon” Pie-rabbat; thoroughly odorless, colorless, and deadly!
Stiev: Thissssss “outsssssssside” placccccce isssss amazzzzzing! I never thought I’d get to sssssee a real, live town! Look! It’ssssss even got a wall around it, and a public houssssse, and everything!
Rhomande: Issa Featherfoot, Pengonquin Princess. A 7' tall shapeshifting Penguin Assassin! She is attended by her faithful and oft-missing bodyguard, the mysterious Tuxedo Beak!
Issa: Mmmmm… Nothing tastes better than my mom’s Sahaugin Surprise Rolls! I’m so glad we’re finally able to get fresh seafood again.
Tuxedo Beak: Don’t forget to leave room for dessert, fishball head! Your mother the Empress sent you a batch of kelp muffins along with the sushi rolls.
Issa: Ugh. Health food.
Rhomande: Thrimlach Lenanien! A blindfolded Elf Sorcerer with a blackened potato perched on one shoulder and a reanimated Stitched Raven on the other. He is attended by his minions, Torrea Marsvel, an Undead Paladin and Sir Gnome, his faithful Gnome-Skeleton valet.
Thrimlach: Come along, Torrea. You, too, Lorramar. Ugh. And Sir Gnome, I guess. I’m not mad at you for the family thing, anymore. But if you’re ever going to be able to protect Thrimlette and Sir Gnome, Jr., then I’ll have to toughen you up a bit!
Torrea: Yes, Lord Thrimlach.
Lorramar: <kwok> You got it, boss! <caw>
Sir Gnome: Yeth, Mathter.
Rhomande: And last, but certainly not least: Yours truly, the incorrigible Rhomande Sorfinde! Bard in Extraordinaire, Beloved of Quadrillions, The Light of Every Dawn…
Issa: (interrupting) Bard! (1-beat pause) Shut! Up!
Rhomande: An Elven Bard of pan-dimensional acclaim. But you already knew that, didn't you? Lords and Ladies of my beloved audience, recline upon your gilded seats, quaff your libations, adjust your listening devices to receive the full panoply of poco a poco primary melodies, that you may thoroughly enjoy your evening at The 20-Sided Theatre!
End Music Bed: (Sylvius Leopold Weiss – Courante in F Major.mp3)
Scene 2: A Joyous Return
DM: So, it’s been about three months since you’ve returned from your travels to the Plane of Potatoes, the Arena of Ahk’rapp, and the Gates of Dawn. Aside from a second, blood-red sun that rises in the west about four hours after the usual one goes up in the east, nothing seems too terribly different in Scottalia. Anybody have any business they need to attend?
Thrimlach: I need to open five portals at once, and send three walking eyes and Sir Gnome through four of them, before taking Torrea with me through the last one.
((Sfx: gate x4, walking eye x3?))
Thrimlach: I’ll spend a few hours walking back and forth through all these portals, then I’m off on ““Wizard Business””. I’ll be back in three weeks, and if any other version of me shows up before then, he’s an evil clone or multiversal counterpart or something, so you should kill him.
Thrimlach: Oh! And knock Sir Gnome’s left shin out from under him if he ever shows up, anywhere, ever.
Stiev: What are you doing? Thisssss looksssss like you’re sssssetting up a gag for that sssscrycasssst with the fassssst motttttion underwear chasssssesss. What wasssss that Halfling’sssss name? I sssssssometimessssss ssssssaw him backsssssstage in hisssssss dressssssing cccccell.
Maldreth: I believe you are thinking of Bennilee Underhill. The only halfling ever to bring a smile to the Slaughterlord’s lips. Hah! I love those halfling fast motion underwear chases. The music is really what makes it work, for me.
DM: Ooookay. Sorry I asked. Let’s skip ahead until we get to the important part.
((Sfx: time passing swiftly))
Rhomande: HAHAHAHA! YOU ALL LAUGHED AT ME! NOBODY EVER EXPECTED THE INCONSEQUENTIAL RHOMANDE SORFINDE TO CONQUER THIS LAND AND RULE IT WITH A FABULOUSLY ENGRAVED ADAMANTINE FIST! NOW, BACK TO YOUR LUTE LESSONS!
DM: Woops. Too far. Let’s roll it back a bit.
((Sfx: time rewinding))
DM: You all find yourselves in the Frozen Summit Crossplanar Bar & Grill, one late afternoon, some three and a half weeks later.
((sfx: clinking glasses, low crowd murmur))
Summit: Oh, hey, guys! What do you want to drink? I got some reeeeeeeally good specials on tap for the happy hour! Like this Dwa— errrv… Ahem. “Achondroplasic, bearded human” ale! Oh, hey Rhomande! You can take the stage, if you want. The fact that a local up-and-comer never seems to stop you.
Rhomande: Sounds good! (slurp) Ahh! I’ve never had a beverage so refreshing, yet so intoxicating at the same time! You’ll have to send me a whole keg of this stuff, Summit! It’s all the more delicious, for having been made by achondroplasic, bearded humans and not dwarves!
DM: The party settles in at their tables, and a few moments later, a hush settles over the bar, leaving only a squeaky door hinge and a shattering glass to be heard, as a ruffled, mangy penguin man waddles through the doorway.
((Sfx: cowboy bar when a stranger walks in, squeaky hinge, shattering drinking glass))
Imenand: Issa, do you know this penguin?
Issa: Fuck you, Imenand. Not all penguins know each other. The old stories say that there are at least 12 tribes, hidden around the world. Possibly more.
Tuxedo Beak: Well, there’s the twelve tribes we know about, and there are stories that tell of a hidden thirteenth. And I kind of remember the wise woman mentioning that there’s a fourteenth that we’re not ever supposed to mention, or else An’kill Arn’ee will fry us alive with his Hex Vision. Oh! And when she was seventeen, my older sister left home with her tinfoil helm, claiming that she would someday find the double-secret fifteenth tribe of lost penguins. But we’re pretty sure she was delusional.
Issa: Yeah! If there are 12 to 15 tribes of penguins scattered around the world, and I’m only from one of those tribes, then how can I know possibly know everybody in my species?
DM: A disturbance onstage catches everybody’s attention, and you see the real source of the bar patrons’ discomfort.
Rhomande: No, sorry, child, you’ll never amount to anything. Maaaaaybe I’ll let you sit behind the stage as a phantom musician, someday, but as it stands, you just don’t have the chops.
Helema: But… but… Uncle Rho, my mom said that I’m supposed to practice playing while facing the audience. You know how bad stage fright can be! Mom says when you were little —
Rhomande: Fine! Fine! You can have the stage! But remember, my dear Helema Nisbet Alafinde, as I have told you before, the less you mention my sister, who happens to be your mother, the more likely I am to hire you as a permanent rhythm violinist.
Issa: Gods, I hate when Rhomande runs into his family. He doesn’t even like the ones he likes! I’ve heard him say a bajillion times that his niece, there, is “my favoritest next-of-kin, despite the fact that she gestated within Izreanna”. (rhomande impression)
DM: Gods, I hate this party. Hey, guys. Instead of running into even more of Rhomande’s family members in an attempt to make the world seem more fleshed out, how about you turn your attention to the task at hand?
Maldreth: A capital suggestion. I scan the bar for strangers, that I might properly terrorize my flock into obedience and submission. Hmmm… Well, that’s not a person, but it’s certainly eye catching.
((Sfx: d20 roll, portal, flooding water))
DM: Oh, gods damnit! Your attention is violently distracted by the sudden appearance of a planar gateway. Torrents of water immediately crash outward, flooding the bar. The water is swiftly followed by three two-foot-thick tentacles. The green-fleshed, many-suckered appendages flail wildly, knocking over tables and smashing glasses within fifteen feet of the portal.
((Sfx: smashing plates))
Maldreth: Hmph. Makar works in mysterious ways. It has apparently been too long since my flock has engaged in Unholy Battle! By the clawed gauntlets of the Father of War may this tentacle succumb to Horrid Wilting!
((Sfx: horrid wilting))
DM: Maldreth stretches out his hand to sign an unholy ward over the nearest tentacle. The flailing arm swiftly blackens, shrivels, and wastes away to nothing.
Summit: Hey! Whattayou doing making such a mess in my bar? It’s gonna take the shambling mounds a loooooong time to get this place back up to code! As a Druid of the Circle it’s my job to tend the many creatures and plants that mother nature has seen fit to create. But if I’m a-tending, then I’m a gardener. A plant out of place is a weed, and an animal out of place is a pest. So it’s my job to train nature to keep away the pests and the weeds. Plus, it’ll speed up the cleaning of my bar if right now I cast CONTROL WATER!
((Sfx: control water, reversing water flow?, flooding stops))
DM: The water slows, then pauses flowing through the portal. After another half-second of tentacle flailing, the water flow reverses, forcing the other two arms back to wherever they came from. Within moments the ILDM-and-a-half of water that has pooled in the bar begins visibly draining upward through the planar gate.
Thrimlach: (from other side of gateway) Stil, you stupid hu-man, what in the seventeen hells do you think you’re doing? I’m trying to come through, and you just pushed a kraken into Spirit of the Swift Wind’s face!
Imenand: Ugh. Despite my heightened flammability, I do not appreciate my ceremonial wrappings being doused in water. I shall “rescue” Thrimlach, only that I might teach him a lesson in gateway etiquette. SHENOUDA’S FORCEFUL HAND should retrieve him quite… handily.
((Sfx: Forceful Hand))
Rhomande: Excellent choice of words, Imenand Gabharan!
Issa: I hate you both.
Thrimlach: (from other side of gateway) Oshit! Everybody hold on! Torrea, you’re steering!
Torrea: (from other side of gateway) Of course, Lord Thrimlach! Spirit of the Swift Wind will carry us all to the saving, disembodied, ten-foot-wide hand sent by Master Shenouda!
Imenand: Good. It sounds like Thrimlach is on his way. Father Maldreth, would you care to help me prepare a suitable punishment for the blindfolded elf magus?
Maldreth: Oh, I have quite the list of penances for Thrimlach! Let’s see. For the first on the list, you’ll need half a bucket of rendered dire elk fat, three to six live carp, and a burlap sack.
Imenand: I believe I can fetch those items rather easily. I’ll be back soon. Keep the addlebrained elf here until I return.
((Sfx: sloshing through water?, door creaking as Imenand leaves the bar))
Kelora: (from other side of gateway) Hang on, Lorelei! You’ve got Gentleman’s reins, right?
((Sfx: twittering birds))
Lorelei: (from other side of gateway) He’s safe, Kelora, but some of the sailors you hired look like they’d rather sleep or play with the squiddily than go on a water slide.
Torrea: (from other side of gateway) Sir Gnome, let me use the excess leather that buckles your armor closed to lash these two majestic stallions together!
Sir Gnome: (from other side of gateway) Yeth, Torrea.
Torrea: (from other side of gateway) Here we gooooooo!
Thrimlach: (from other side of gateway) Weeeeeeeee!
DM: Spirit of the Swift Wind and a second horse spill through the gateway, riding a wave of water that’s being pushed by Imenand’s enormous magical hand. Sir Gnome hangs suspended between the two steeds, whose four riders cling on for dear life. All seven bodies fall to the floor in a heap.
((Sfx: neigh, four medium bodies, two horses, and one sir gnome hitting the floor))
Issa: Okay, you’re through, Thrimlach, now close the fucking gate!
Lorelei: Nonononono! You can’t! Kelora, you’ve got to tell them! They-they-they—
Kelora: It’s okay, honey. It’s okay. They’re going to be fine. Her, um… familiars are still on the other side of the gate.
Summit: Oh, that’s no problem. I’m good with animals. What kinds of precious little beasts are we talking about?
Lorelei: Um… Some hummingbirds and finches.
Summit: Oh, they’re easy! You just need to sound like a worm wiggling through some birdseed! Or you need to cast a slightly modified version of SUMMON NATURE’S ALLY!
DM: Through the gateway, you can see the the murk of sea water and the occasional dead sailor or bit of flotsam drifting past. The brutal serenity of the shipwreck is soon disturbed by the appearance of two hundred and sixty small birds diving into the water, and making directly for the portal. You guys may want to duck.
((Sfx: d20 roll x10, storm of small birds))
Summit: I didn’t expect you would have this many familiars!
Lorelei: Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyou for saving my dear flocks! Oh, Mister Peckybeak, you’re all soaked! And you, too, Jitterling! Oh, and Flufflebreast, you just look… (drifts off, talking to each bird by name as she dries them off and cares for their recovery)
Thrimlach: That looks like she’s got all of them, so I’ll just close the portal, in case any more krakens are nearby.
((Sfx: portal closing))
Torrea: If you do not mind, Lord Thrimlach, I shall take my leave and guide Spirit of the Swift Wind and Gentleman to the stables, that I might unhitch Sir Gnome.
Thrimlach: Sounds good, Torrea. But don’t bother unhitching Sir Gnome. Just make sure the two horses get adjacent stalls, and he can hang over the wall between them.
Torrea: At once, Lord Thrimlach! Come, Sir Gnome!
Sir Gnome: Yeth, mathter. Yeth, Torrea… Um… my feet can’t reach the floor.
((Sfx: two horses leaving the bar, creaky bar door as they leave))
Maldreth: Well, Thrimlach, you’ve earned yourself quite a penance for ruining Master Saenouda’s wrappings. He will be back soon with the trappings to begin your penance. But I suppose this also means that you’ve also provided us with the opportunity to best a kraken in mortal combat. And such victories deserve celebratory sacrifices! Now, let’s see who we can… Ah! That softly-glowing elf you brought through the portal should do the trick! But there’s something familiar about the human woman standing beside her and the ruby-hilted sword hanging from her belt.
Issa: Kelora! My friend! You have returned!
Kelora: Issa! You’re the only one of these assholes I’m ever glad to see!
Issa: I kept your ruby-hilted sword nice and shiny for you!
Kelora: Thank you! But I’m a little confused, since I still have my ruby-hilted sword.
Issa: Then what the hell did I pick up from that watery, Faceless Pirate who claimed to have killed you?
Kelora: Oh, that guy? Nah. He chased me for a bit, then he went to some necromancer to make an evil knockoff of my sword. But Lorelei and I figured it out and kicked his ass, all in about 22 minutes, plus advertising breaks. Oh! Almost forgot to tell you guys. I’m the star of a hot new Pay to Scry adventure series that’s being produced by some black-hole faced Drow!
((Sfx: twittering birds))
Issa: That’s awesome! I’m so happy for you! And as for the Faceless Pirate: fuck that guy. We killed him. Right in his face.
Thrimlach: Um… Penguin? That guy had no face.
Lorelei: So, you killed him in his lack of a face?
Issa: Yup! Twice. All because we thought he killed Kelora. Well, fine. We would have killed him either way, but — as Rhomande is so fucking fond of saying — this made a better story. Anyway, I’m pleased to make your acquaintance, Lorelei. What’s your deal?
((Sfx: twittering birds))
Lorelei: Well, my mother was a Celestial, and my father was a Moon Elf. I have studied the arts of Sorcery, Druidism, the Lording or Ladying over Birds, and I am a third-circle disciple of the Radiant Celestial Dragon, Athairsidrinn the Open-Hearted. I believe in peace and nonviolence in all forms. Oh! And I have this Degree in Veganism from the Imperial Institute of Peace and Joy.
Thrimlach: Ooh! Documents! Gimme here! Wow! It says here that you’re a level two Raw Vegan!
((Sfx: rustling of a grabbed piece of paper))
Maldreth: Ugh. I have no use for pacifists.
Rhomande: Correction, Father Maldreth: you have one use for pacifists.
Maldreth: Hmmm. Good point. I’d better keep this one around, until we really need the Warfather’s aid.
((Sfx: Creaky bar door as Imenand returns))
Imenand: You’re all talking too loudly. I can hear you idiots from my quaternary workshop down the street! Enough with the introductions and pleasantries! Somebody take this bucket and this sack full of fish! Now, Kelora, it has been some time since our paths last crossed. You shall answer me this one query: Where is Gentleman?
Kelora: Oh, he’s off in the stables with Torrea and Spirit of the Swift Wind.
Imenand: Then I shall withdraw to the stables forthwith, that I might outmaneuver Vragul in his Equine Alliance! Come, Bastet! Wait. Where…? Bastet! Leave that you-sized rat carcass alone! If you’re not going to eat it, then at least leave it on my door mat, that I might use its components later!
((Sfx: cat meow, creaky door at the front of the bar))
DM: Issa, why don’t you give me a Knowledge (Penguin Tribes) check?
((Sfx: d20 roll))
Issa: Okay. That strange, raggedy penguin looks weird. He’s got the thick feathers that you typically see on the Northern Tribe of Ice Penguins, but he has the cold, blue eyes that only come from that asshole tribe of Sky Penguins.
Tuxedo Beak: Lady Issa, you know what the prophesies of the moon egg say about The One Who Hails From Multiple Penguin Tribes. That’s why the Penguins of Old decided to break off and live in isolation. It could be incredibly dangerous to talk to this individual!
Issa: No, Tuxie. That’s closed-minded and superstitious. As Heir-Apparent to the Pengonquin Expanse, it is my duty and pleasure to welcome this penguin with open flippers. Cousin! How are you? (sniff, cough) Ugh. Other than in need of a bath and to have your clothes burned?
Homeless Penguin: (penguin sobbing) Oh, great lady, I am not worthy of such kindness! No one has ever embraced me so, in all my life! My name is Luwak Airwakka. You see, since I was little I have been told, as your manservant said, that I am the perfect embodiment of the rift amongst the various penguin tribes. I am accepted by neither the Ice Penguins to the North, nor the Sky Penguins in their city of cloud floes.
Issa: Well, you’re in luck, Luwak Airwakka. For under the guidance of Issa Featherfoot, the Pengonquin are becoming a progressive tribe of coastal penguins who live to the southwest, across the great sea. There, all penguins are welcome and equally valued. Except for those filthy kelpbeaks, but they’re ritually disfigured criminals, and not really a tribe. Isn’t that right, Tuxie, who has the cutest, shortest, roundest beak I’ve ever seen partially obscured by a domino mask!
Homeless Penguin: If all your tribe welcomes me as you do, then I shall follow you to the ends of the earth, Lady Featherfoot!
DM: The homeless penguin drops to his belly and begins softly kissing Issa’s webbed feet.
Homeless Penguin: I have traveled throughout the manly lands of Iona∂enn, and I have been rejected by all penguins I came across. Ice Penguins, Sky Penguins, Forest penguins, and even Lava Penguins!
Stiev: Lava Penguinssss?
Issa: Yeah, they’re immune to damage by fire or heat, so hang out in volcanoes, sitting atop rockburgs that slowly melt in the magma. And when there’s no rocks to sit on, they all go surfing. At least, that’s what the oldest fish skin that the wise penguin would let me read said about them.
Tuxedo Beak: They also spend a lot of time hollowing out bowls and ramps in the rockburgs, so they can skateboard when the lava surfing is bad. They scry out a week of extreme sports championships every four years, to show their athleticism and prowess.
Rhomande: And so that Ceatharadinn Dromande and the Great Horrible One can make a tidy profit, I’d wager. Helema! Stop sawing on that violin, and show some fucking grace and decorum while you’re onstage! Gods, I might as well put your brother up there to play the spoons!
Homeless Penguin: Uh… Yes, I have traveled all across the top of this world, and I have been rejected by every tribe I’ve met. I have heard rumors of White-feathered, black-bellied Underpenguins who live beneath the mountains like dwarves, but I’m afraid of the dark, so I never seriously went looking for them.
Issa: I know this is usually Thrimlach’s thing, but I think I have a new QUEST! I shall unite all these people, and I shall bring them under my sheltering flipper! I swear that before I die, I will be known across this land as the Mother of Penguins!
Stiev: They’re not really “people”, though, are they?
Maldreth: How closed-minded of you, Stiev! All who can comprehend spoken, written, or otherwise complicated language structures can be considered “people”. For, as Father Makar teaches, war can only be made upon people! Otherwise it’s just hunting, pest elimination, or a symptom of sociopathy. Besides, if animal people aren’t people, then you don’t get a vote in the matter anyway, Chameleon.
Kelora: Wait. Wait. Wait. If that’s the standard of personhood, then shouldn't Gentleman and Spirit of the Swift Wind get to vote? I mean, they seem to be able to comprehend our relatively complex languagey bits.
Thrimlach: No. Absolutely not. If we start considering Spirit of the Swift Wind “a person” then it’s a slippery slope toward Sir Gnome getting the vote. Sorry, Kelora, but Gentleman can’t be allowed to vote, either. We don’t want Spirit of the Swift Wind to get jealous.
((Sfx: neigh x2))
Stiev: Well, if Sssssir Gnome issssn’t “people”, Thrimlach, then you aren’t either!
Rhomande: False. Elves always count as “people”, and thus always get a vote. Thrimlach Ceatharinn, there, ensured his eternal enfranchisement when he cast away the icky bits that congealed into Threllis Lein. I thought you understood all that.
Thrimlach: Uh. Ceatharan? I think you misspoke. You meant to say, “Elves only count as people.”
Issa: Ahem. Amendment Eight to the Imperial Articles of Conglomeration clearly states, “All beings shall be defined as ‘persons’ and thus granted all rights, privileges, and duties, as defined in Article II, if they or their species are typically found to be able to craft and to make use of tools and if they or their species are typically found to be able to converse in any spoken, written, performative, or otherwise transmissible language that includes a capacity to describe abstractions, emotions, and consequences.” That’s way more than just elves, jackass.
((Sfx: imenand returns to the bar and takes up a seat at the table))
Imenand: I have returned from my “negotiations” with Gentleman. He accepted the carrots I grew in the grave soil of my deadly departed Cadaver Collector, but when I offered to make him a great and powerful horse lich, he simply answered, “Neigh.”
Issa: I hate you.
Imenand: I don’t care. I have the longevity to outlast your hate, penguin. And once Kelora inevitably dies, perhaps then Gentleman will wish to travel the realms with me. Anyway, you are correct, Issa; you have recited the exact verbiage employed in the empire’s newest amendment. The third anniversary of the final colony’s signing on is going to be celebrated in just under two weeks.
Torrea: Sir Gnome and I have returned as well, Lord Thrimlach. The straps on his armor haven't been oiled in quite some time, so they snapped and he fell into the stalls.
Stiev: Ssssstallsssss, plural?
Sir Gnome: My left and right got split, Lady Chameleon. I fink my feet are on backwards…
Kelora: Waitwaitwait. Roll it back a sec. Amendment Eight is only three years old and it’s your newest? Isn’t your empire over ten thousand years old or something?
Imenand: Indeed, that is the rough age of the Holy and Venerable Empire of Voladros. We’ve only just gotten to the Eighth Amendment because we were very good at settling our issues in the original Articles of Conglomeration.
Stiev: Ssso, thisss meansssss I have rightsssss and privilegessssss? Cold Rockssssss at Noon! Getting out of the Arena with you guysssssss wassssss definitely a good decccccissssssion!
Issa: You have responsibilities, too, so this is still probably the worst good decision you’ll ever make, Stiev. Anyway, what’s new, Kelora? What have you and Lorelei been up to?
Lorelei: Well, before we came here, we were on a ship full of bluff, wind-burnt sailors, and a big old squiddily-widdily came up to give the boat a hug! Oh! And six other boats came over to say hi and play with the squiddily, all of them flying black flags with smily Sir Gnome faces!
Maldreth: What in the ever-bleeding names of Makar’s Enemies are you talking about?
Kelora: Pirates. We were attacked by pirates, while a kraken was trying to drown us. We, um… How do I put this for Lorelei?
Lorelei: We gave them our ship to play hide-and-seek with mermaids in!
Kelora: That’s right! We put all of the other pirates on our ship, then let the kraken carry them down to the briny depths! Ah, how I miss my ship! But I suppose I can always buy a new one. So, I raise a toast to the Dock Stallion and her crew! May Davey Jones not see fit to haunt me with their ghosts!
((Sfx: Clinking glasses at a toast))
Rhomande: To the Dock Stallion!
Lorelei: To happy times with mermaids!
Issa: Mmm… mermaid jerky.
Imenand: I should send out a reclamation crew.
Maldreth: Toasts are just weak prayers. Those pirates got the end they deserved.
Thrimlach: Sir Gnome, why didn’t you raise a glass for the memory of Kelora’s crew? Do you wish them ill or something?
Sir Gnome: No, mathter. I bear no ill will, mathter. It’th jutht that you thaid I’m not allowed to drink anyfing, becauthe it jutht spills out onto the carpet.
Thrimlach: Oh. Right. And I don’t want to chance you getting drunk. You’re bumbling enough as it is. But it’s still rude not to raise your glass and drink during a toast! Ceatharan, do you have a solution to this predicament?
Rhomande: I suppose I do, ceatharan! Sir Gnome, I place this Geas upon you! Whenever you feel a toast coming on, you are to fetch a tall glass of whatever floor polish or carpet shampoo might be appropriate, and then you toast with that! That way, you’re not being rude, and the floors get cleaned, to boot!
Sir Gnome: Yeth, mathter Thorfinde.
Thrimlach: Good. Now that that’s finished… Sir Gnome, I want you to go back into the stables and put yourself together properly. Don’t come back until you’re fixed.
Sir Gnome: Yeth, mathter.
((Sfx: door creak as SG leaves))
Stiev: Kelora, why did you name your ssssship “the Dock Sssssstallion” anyway?
Lorelei: It was named after Gentleman’s first love! There’s nothing quite as breathtaking as two mighty stallions frolicking free in the meadows!
Kelora: That’s mostly correct, I guess. If you use a more carnal definition of “love” and totally forget the definition of “first”. Either way, Gentleman always whinnied appreciatively whenever we went to visit that particular port. Appreciatively? Maybe it was seductively? I’m good with horses, but their language is a little subtle for me, at times.
Thrimlach: I’m not sure I know how I’m supposed to feel about a seductive whinny.
Stiev: Well, there’sssss only one way to find out. You need to try to date a horsssse!
Thrimlach: Look I’m not sure what all of you furry-types are into, but we elves do not go about, making centaurs all willie-whinny.
Stiev: I’m not a furry! I have ssssscalesssss!
DM: Yeah, she lays eggs, and she’s not a platypus or an owlbear, so there’s a zero percent chance of fur.
Maldreth: Well, that’s an abomination.
Thrimlach: Yeah, I’m inclined to agree. Do any of the rest of you lay eggs, too?
Maldreth: Absolutely not.
Rhomande: Only on stage, and only on Jovedays after 11:30 pm.
Kelora: Well, that’s a personal question.
Lorelei: A proper and demure lady does not speak about her egg laying or other reproductive habits.
Kelora: Yeah, you don’t see us asking if your vestigial, male nipples actually do anything!
Thrimlach: Wha- well- um… Yeah, I kinda get what you mean. What I do with my nipples is my business and nobody else’s!
Lorelei: So long as you cover them up in public, unless you’re a barbarian. Showing nipples is part of barbarian culture, you know.
Imenand: Actually, such body shaming as our culture engages in proves to be counterproductive in virtually all circumstances. Besides that, male nipples can be “productive”. Under the right circumstances, of course.
Rhomande: I heard a story about that once! You see, once there were these brothers who were serving as soldiers in the Great War of Ypres…
Thrimlach: I’ve heard of that war! Those were some pretty dire circumstances. Is that the kind you meant, Imenand?
Stiev: I’m jussssst gonna put thisssss out there: You Elvessss are really weird, if you have a sssstory about nipplesssss that sssstartsssss with two male ssssssiblingsssss going to war.
Maldreth: No, no, Chameleon! Your vocabulary of war is sorely lacking. He meant “brother” as in “a band of brothers”. Have you learned nothing from the sermons that Makar has seen fit to so Infernally Inspire me with?
Imenand: Wait… “a band of brothers”? Such as the Sons of Han, those three young, blonde bards who haven’t been seen since they played a private event at the Swamp Temple? The ones who first grew to fame for their song “All Quiet on the MmmmBop Front?”
Kelora: No, the Han’s Sons Brotherly Bards are most certainly not what he meant. He meant more of a company of companions, out for equal shares of loot and booty.
Rhomande: Loot and booty, eh? Kelora, I never knew you played—
Issa: (interrupting) We’re not doing that gag again, Rhomande. Besides, as much as I love Kelora, she flubbed the setup.
Rhomande: Ah, well. Now at least, I don’t have to tell you the rest of a very depressing story that ends with the whole company succumbing to a bad case of The Beegees.
Thrimlach: You had that once, didn’t you ceatharan? From that Frankish girl who kept following us through the Planes of Liberte, Fraternite, et Egalite.
Rhomande: I asked you not to mention that, again, Thrimlach! And, besides, I went to a Cleric of Diancecht immediately after that trip, so everything’s cleared up.
Maldreth: How dare you go to a cleric of some piddily healing god! Makar is more displeased than ever; you won a battle with venereal disease, but you took a divine shortcut to do so!
Lorelei: What’s a venereal disease? Does it have something to do with your veins?
Rhomande: Well, you see—
Kelora: (interrupting) Yep! All to do with veins. It’s when your veins constrict or something painful. (aside) Guys, come on! She’s pure, sweet, and innocent, and I’d like to not spoil that for a little longer. (to everybody) Let’s switch topics and toast the crew of the Dock Stallion again! They were loyal and fierce, despite my not having paid them in months!
Thrimlach: Well, I’m the king of not paying my hirelings. Take Sir Gnome! Please! Just get him out of my sight!
Issa: He’s not in your sight, Thrim. Sir Gnome’s back in the stables, with Gentleman and Spirit of the Swift Wind.
Imenand: Thrimlach! You don’t pay your hirelings, and yet, you somehow remember to pay your taxes!
Thrimlach: Hey! I have principles! Besides, in all the years we’ve been adventuring, they’ve only found us to ask for our taxes once! And I’m pretty sure Sir Gnome lost most of it.
DM: Ooooo-kay. I can see that you guys have a lot to catch up on, and you’re not all that interested in finding out whatever it is that Luwok Airwakka wants you to do, so let’s skip ahead again.
((Sfx: skipping ahead))
DM: You’re all well into your cups, when suddenly every elf in the bar snaps to rigid attention. Their lips peel away from their teeth in horrible rictus grimaces, and they stand with all muscles taut for a long minute. They blankly stare into the ceiling, as they begin speak in unison.
Imperial Wizard: Hello? (tongue clicking) Is this thing on? You have the honor of being contacted by his Excellence –
Emperor: Give me that trinket, you fool! We have no time for pleasantries! This is the Emperor himself. I am reaching out to all forces in the field, to all strike teams, to our allies and to our enemies. Sahn Daskaar, the Holy City of Voladros and the Uiadhenns, is under attack. The Hungering End has returned, and our knights and magi are not enough to hold back the flood. If they take the Gateways in the harbor, then all is lost. They will ravage and consume all worlds that our Empire has touched. Whether you love us or hate us, you must send your armies. You can kill us all later, if you get the chance. At least we would die knowing that there will be a later.
DM: All of the Vocal Conduits relax and regain control of their bodies.
Maldreth: Come, my flock! The hand of Makar moves the throat, lungs, and tongue of these elves! The emperor himself is in peril, and we must away to one side or another in that battle!
Scene 3: Credit where Credit is Due
Kelora: Visit The 20-Sided Theatre online at twentysidedtheatre.com. And follow us on Twitter through scryomagical links that Imenand and Thrimlach have established. You can follow Rhomande @IllustriousRho, Master Shenouda @ShenoudaNecroCo, Thrimlach @Thrimlach, Issa Featherfoot @LadyFeatherfoot, and Spirit of the Swift Wind @SpiritOTSW.
Lorelei: The 20-Sided Theatre is a joint production of Bear Industries and the Shenouda Necromancy Corporation. This Episode stars Gabriel Abinante, Natalie Abinante, Berglaug Åsmundrdottir, Becky Chambers, Blake Parker, Ceridwen Quattrin, Cian Quattrin, Rudraigh Quattrin, and Tony Scaruffi. With special thanks to Jim Kolling for the use of Stil Colemanaani, the Druid of the Frozen Summit.
Maldreth: Written by Rudraigh Quattrin and Edited by Blake Parker.
Imenand: Sound Effects Design by
Imenand: Music by
Issa: For a complete list of and links to all the music and sound effects you heard on tonight's episode visit the show notes at 20sidedtheatre.com.
Rhomande: And as a final thank you, I have an announcement and an endorsement. Kelora Tamlin…er… Becky Chambers has written some books of scientific and speculative fictions! Go find The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet at your favorite local bookshop or internet merchant, and be on the lookout for A Closed and Common Orbit, wherever only the finest books are sold! You can find out more about Becky Chambers and her writings at otherscribbles.com. Now, let me tell you a truth: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is one of the best reads you’ll ever come across, and you can trust me on that…. See? No bluff check!
Stiev: Join ussssss nexxxt time at The 20-Ssssided Theatre!
Scene 4: The Tag
Issa: Hey, Stiev. You look a little down. What’s the matter?
Stiev: Well, you remember how Maldreth, Thrimlach, and Imenand offered to make me a possssitive energy undead lizzzzzzard perssssson? I’m kinda regretting that decccccissssssion.
Issa: What in the frozen hells were you doing listening to the advice of those three weirdos?
Stiev: Well, I asssssked Rhomande what he thought, and he sssssaid, “Meh. What are you looking to get out of it, Sssssstiev?” I sssssaid I wanted to be able to ssssspend more time around Imenand and that Plutonium Elemental sssssso I could become a Mutant Ninja Chameleon, but I didn’t want to get ssssssick from all the radiation they were giving off.
Issa: That sounds like a terrible plan, Stiev.
Stiev: Well, Rhomande jusssst ssssaid, “I sssssupposssse that could work,” and kinda shhhhhrugged and walked off. Sssssso I took that asssssss a ssssssign to go ahead with the procccccedure. But now, sssssincccce I’m undead and my cccccccellssssss aren’t dividing, I can’t ever possssssibly become a mutant.
Issa: That was dumb of you, Stiev. It sounds like you talked yourself into a dangerous and stupid procedure, just because Rhomande was standing near you. I know he’s charismatic, but he’s also a self-centered ass. That was most definitely not an endorsement.
Rhomande: Indeed, it was not! For you will know without a doubt whenever the Irremunerable Rhomande Sorfinde makes an endorsement. Hi. I’m Rhomande Sorfinde, Bard in Extraordinaire, and I endorse food. Are you hungry? Will you be hungry some time in the future? You should try the wide variety foodstuffs that can be found virtually anywhere, in an uncountable variety of shapes, textures, and flavors. Food: It’s really good! Eat food today! I am Rhomande Sorfinde, and I endorse this product.
((Sfx: d20 roll))