The 20-Sided Theatre, Episode 15: The Action Town Criers
Chip Dipson, Cleric of Paldas the Bright – Blake
The Vengeful Ghost of Adanska Rothgeld – Rud
The Wi<3z, a magical harlequin – Cian
Hera “Pally” Laris, a disapproving paladin – Ceridwen
Pinky the Problematic Pixie, a Half-Pixie, Half-Dragon – Natalie
Engar Flamehand, an elderly fire mage – Gabe
The DM – Rud
Peldra Kassin, a Human Monk – Blake
Grestin Deepfathom, a Sea Elf Cleric – Cian
Duke Goobler – Tony or Rud
Imenand – Blake
Rhomande – Rud
Issa – Ceridwen
Thrimlach – Cian
Maldreth – Gabe
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
Rhomande: While my Insufferable Basterds spend the next few months traversing the open seas, with very little to break the monotony, I shall guide your attention toward a new group of heroes from the far off realm of Rhios. These fresh-faced individuals travel the lands, crying the news of local dangers, then dealing with said dangers, so that the common people might sleep a little better. It is my pride and joy to introduce Chip Dipson’s Action Town Criers!
Rhomande: Led by your anchorman, Chip Dipson, a gnome cleric of Paldas the Bright. Spreading the news, both good and bad, with a kindly, trustworthy countenance!
Chip: Come on, guys! Gold Point isn’t going to warn itself of any dangers! It’s our gods-given duty to spread the word of the day, or may Paldas the Bright strike me blind!
Rhomande: The Action Criers’ entertainment correspondent: The Wiz! A shapely human harlequin illusionist whose voice annoys me only slightly less than the Dancing Lights girl I hired last year. She has a teeeeensy bit of a learning disability; specifically, she has Dyscrustacia. But her adorable handwriting with all those hearts over the I’s more than makes up for it.
The Wiz: Come on, Pally! If you ever want to turn that frown upside down, then you’ll have to get more comfortable around my enormous stockpile of plantain cream pies!
Rhomande: The Criers’ war correspondent, Hera Laris: a disapproving human paladin mounted atop a celestial Riding Bird. Her iron skirts are divided for battle!
Hera: The Wiz, if you put a pie anywhere near me or Chockie, you’d better be prepared to lose the hands that launched it.
((Sfx: wark/chirp of an ostrich-sized bird whenever someone mentions Chockie))
Rhomande: Bringing you all of the sports news you want – so long as you want to hear about Ectoball – the vengeful psychic ghost of Adanska Rothgeld! Once a living member of the Action Town Criers, this easily frustrated Maenad was accidentally stricken in the face by the axe of a one Ox Balbjorn. He now haunts the offending weapon, seeking eternal revenge on an inanimate object.
Adanska: Boo! Come on! Boo! Be afraid, you stupid Axe!
Rhomande: The Action Town Criers’ most Senior correspondent of all, the venerable and aged Engar Flamehand! A human fire magus in his early 80s who brings you the most up-to-date Health and Wellness news possible.
Engar: Almost every illness can be cured with a little leeching, followed by a LOT of cauterizing!
Rhomande: Lords and Ladies of my beloved audience, recline upon your gilded seats, quaff your libations, and adjust your listening devices to receive the full stereophonic, scryocastic selection of sounds, so you may thoroughly enjoy your evening at The 20-Sided Theatre!
Scene 2: Meeting A New Friend
DM: You’ve just left the town of Z’gor D’reez, heading south through the Gorlas Desert toward Gold Point. There you can find a ship to the city of Kord, where rumor says you can find the third Blood Gate Key. Last night, your sleep was greatly disturbed by the appearance of three mummies and six enormous scorpions, so you’re a little sluggish packing away the camp this morning.
Adanska: As a vengeful ghost, I don’t sleep. My dad always said I can sleep when I’m dead. Heh. Turns out my dad was wrong about that, too!
Chip: Adanska, why don’t you pack up the camp? We’ll need to leg it if we want to bring the news of the month to Gold Point and Kord.
Adanska: I’d help, but I can’t touch anything. Maybe if one of you lets me possess you?
Engar: I’m not sure I could survive the process.
Hera: Over my dead body. And even then, I plan on exploding or catching fire, so my body isn’t left in any shape for anyone to recycle or repurpose.
The Wiz: Don’t be such a meanie, Pally! I’ll tell ya what, ghostie! If you can figure out which of these dancing, juggling MIRROR IMAGES is the real me …
((Sfx: mirror image, add chorus to next line))
The Wiz: … Then I’ll let you use my hands until we break for lunch!
Adanska: Oh… um… are you this The Wiz?
((Sfx: the non-touching of a ghost and an illusion))
The Wiz: Nope! Sorry, Danskie! You can try again tomorrow if you buy a ticket! The price is one key!
Chip: Adanska, can’t you possess the bodies of those who have gone to the Great Beyond? If not, then why did I cast Gentle Repose on your corpse, just after Ox accidentally killed you with that backswing?
Adanska: Yeah, I can do that, Chip, but my body hasn’t been repaired yet. I thank you for making sure it’s not rotting or anything, but there’s still that huge split going from just above my left eye to just below my right collar bone.
Chip: Well, we can use your share of the rewards from our last journalistic investigation to fix your corpse at the next town. Since you can’t help with the teardown, how about you do some scouting instead?
Adanska: On it, boss.
((Sfx: begin wagon wheels rolling))
DM: You strike the camp and set out along the lonely desert road. Over the next day and a half…
((Sfx: d% roll[s?]))
DM: … surprisingly, nothing much happens! No packs of roving zombies. No marauding bands of hobgoblin dervishes. No sudden sandstorms. Just walking through the desert.
Chip: Paldas the Bright shines the light of his favor upon us!
Hera: I wish he’d shine his light a little less intensely. Divided or not, iron skirts over a padded black war slip really isn’t the ideal garb for the desert.
Engar: Agreed. Although my ceremonial robes from the Municipal College of Magical Arts allow plenty of air flow, they tend to soak up heat like that Eversponge that destroyed the river vale of eastern Peregros.
DM: Most of your conversations go along similar meandering paths, until something appears on the horizon. Give me some spot checks.
((Sfx: d20 roll x5, Wagon wheels stop))
Engar: My eyes aren’t what they used to be. Are you speaking of that oddly curved line that blurs the sky?
Hera: Engar. Push your glasses all the way up.
Adanska: It looks humanoid. But a little small.
Chip: They might need our help. Come on, Town Criers! Let’s spread the news!
DM: As you draw closer to the small humanoid, you see that its body is covered in green scales.
Pinky: W’haaaaaoah. Hi guys. You got any water?
The Wiz: Aaah! What’s that! It’s a tiny lobster!
Hera: You mean ‘dragon’.
Pinky: Yeah. What the lady on the golden riding bird said. I’m a half-dragon. The other bit’s half-pixie.
The Wiz: Oh, no you ain’t! Where do you think we’re going to find a dragon around here? There isn’t a sea for miles. You’re a lobster. Definitely a lobster.
Chip: Um… Good Pixie, what are you doing in the middle of the desert?
Pinky: I got lost.
Adanska: That makes sense. I haven’t seen a landmark around here for days!
Hera: We’re following a road, ghost. That’s about as much landmark as anybody should need.
The Wiz: Anyway, what’s your name, Lobstie?
Chip: She means you.
Pinky: Oh! I’m Pinky! Pinky the problematic pixie. I’m problematic because I breathe acid sometimes, and that’s not really great for my tribe’s ecosystem. So they kicked me out, and somehow I ended up lost in this desert.
Hera: Okay, enough with the pleasantries. As a paladin, it’s my duty to protect this party by casting DETECT GOOD whenever we meet someone new!
((Sfx: detect good))
Hera: Hrm. Let’s see here… Chip, check. Adanska, check. Engar, check. Pinky, check. And I still don’t fully trust you, the Wiz. You don’t show up when I detect good or evil.
The Wiz: Meh. I can go either way. But I like you guys, so I’ll keep the weekly number of pranks to the low 30s. Speaking of which… Hey, Pally! Look at this ORB OF DISTRACTIONS!
DM: Alright, The Wiz. I think I know what you’re up to, so how about you guys give me the appropriate rolls.
((Sfx: d20 roll x2, jingling keys))
Hera: The Wiz, what do you think you’re doing with my key ring!?
The Wiz: But they’re keys, Pally! I gotta have ’em! I gotta catch ’em all! It’s a compulsion, you know. Plus, I’m pretty sure I have a document here saying that all your keys are mine.
Chip: I believe your agreement was with the Flamehand.
((Sfx: rummaging through papers in a pocket or bag))
Engar: Yes, I have a copy here, somewhere. Oh, bother. I really need a better filing system for my robes.
Pinky: Man, you guys have some complicated profit-sharing rules!
The Wiz: That we do, Lobster-Pixie! You’re welcome to follow us to the next town, and if you do, might you be interested in helping me out in researching a new spell? If you just sign here, here, here, and here, then initial here, here, here, here, here, over there, and here, then we can see if THE WIZ’ INESCAPABLE CONTRACT is working yet!
((Sfx: rustling paper))
Hera: Don’t do it! Sign nothing, Pinky.
Pinky: I want to, but I don’t know how to write. How do you draw the words for “Pinky the Problematic Dragon-Pixie”?
Chip: Most legal documents will work fine if you just sign them with a big X. You just have to have another witness or two sign it as well, to say that it actually was you who made the mark.
Pinky: That sounds good! What’s an X look like?
The Wiz: It looks like this!
((Sfx: pen scratching))
The Wiz: Oh… Woops! Sorry, Pinky, I signed the wrong line. It looks like now I have to give all of my keys to myself forever or until both of me dies, whichever comes first. I can draw up a new contract for you if you give me a sec! Just let me finish signing my X on all these lines.
Pinky: Meh. It probably works out better this way. These claws make it kinda hard to hold the writing stick like you’re doing. Plus, I’m much more interested in knowing why I can see through that guy who’s got all the blue glow around him.
Engar: That’s our friend Adanska. Sadly, he shuffled off this mortal coil about a month ago, when our other friend Ox hit him in the face with an axe.
Pinky: Why did he do that? I’m not sure if I want to be friends with you guys if y’all think it’s acceptable to kill each other all the time.
Chip: Oh! No, no, no. That was an accident. Ox was winding up to take down a zombie, and Adanska was standing too close to the backswing. There’s no hard feelings between ’Danska and Ox.
Adanska: But I still seek vengeance on the axe that betrayed us both! So I haunt it and try to scare the axe to death, so that my soul can finally rest.
Pinky: Uuuuuhhhhhh… Okay? If you’re haunting this Ox guy’s axe, then where are the both of them?
Hera: They’re both in the cart guarding our supplies, at the moment. At least one of them is probably asleep.
Adanska: And to prove his friendship, one of the “supplies” Ox is guarding happens to be my gently reposed corpse. Once we get to the next town, I’m going to pay a cleric to Mend my body so I can use it again.
DM: Well, you guys have another day to catch Pinky up on the ins-and-outs of Town Crier-ing, so let’s spin on to the next interesting bit.
((Sfx: time passing))
Scene 3: The Spooky Town
Chip: …And that, dear Pinky, is why we put a Canteen of Endless Water upside down in a shrine with the cap off. It’s a proper monument to a fallen ally, and in two or three hundred years, this whole desert should be a lush, green valley.
Pinky: Wow, that’s a neat-o plan! Too bad most of you are humans, so you guys won’t be around long enough to see it finished.
DM: That’s pretty much the gist of all of your conversations on this journey: lots of catching Pinky up on the news of the day and even more discussion about the various foodstuffs you'd like to eat instead of Hardy Dwarf Brand Travel Cakes. After another day of uneventful travel through the desert–
Engar: Really? Two days in the desert, and nobody has succumbed to heat stroke, or we haven’t been attacked by jackals or something?
DM: Well, between your supplies, Create Water, and Endure Elements, the heat doesn’t really affect any of you. And either Adanska is a really good scout who steers you around danger without ever leaving the road, or there’s nothing hostile in this particular stretch of land. In any case, you reach the outskirts of Trur Dros, just as the sun is beginning to set. The town, centered around an oasis, is empty and silent.
The Wiz: Well, this place looks like it needs some more people. The best I can do is add some MIRROR IMAGES!
((Sfx: mirror image; multi voiced Wiz))
Hera: Yeah, this place is kinda creepy. Chip, didn’t you say this was a bustling trade town, because of the oasis? Shouldn’t there be, like, at least one camp set up outside the walls?
Chip: I fear something terrible may be happening here. Paldas the Bright councils caution as we investigate further. To Action, my Criers! Let’s spread the good news!
DM: You cautiously enter the town walls and make your way to the oasis at the center. The town remains deathly silent until the last of you passes through the ring of date trees. When the last, bloody edge of the sun is just barely peeking over the horizon, a great wailing and keening echoes forth from the town’s structures.
((Sfx: wailing & moaning))
The Wiz: Knock it off ’Danskie! You need to shut up with the spooky stuff so we can figure out what wrong with this town!
Adanska: It’s not me, The Wiz! We left Ox and his axe with the wagon, outside of town, so there’s not really a point to me being scary right now.
DM: Give me some Listen checks, guys.
((Sfx: d20 roll x6))
The Wiz: I thought I told you to be quiet, Ghostie! Oh, wait… now I’m looking at you, and you are being quiet. Sorry, ’Danskie. But the moans is usually you.
((Sfx: splashing water))
Pinky: I don’t think the moaning was what we were supposed to hear, Wiz.
The Wiz: Ahem. I’m sorry, Lobstie, but my name is pronounced “The Wiz”. With a little heart over the i.
Hera: May the gods Dang this all to the numberless Hecks! We haven’t seen or heard naturally running water since Z’gor D’riz, and the first time we come across some, it’s haunted or poisoned or evil water or something. Come, Chockie! We shall somehow use the light of Gender Equity to cleanse this town of its sickness!
((Sfx: wark/giant chirp))
Engar: We haven’t come across a source of clean water in quite some time… At least since — oh, what was that lad’s name? The one who was so sadly taken from us by that Ethereal Marauder in the terrifying mirage dungeon. Whatever his name was, he had a Canteen of Endless Waters.
Chip: I think you’ve confused a few things, Master Flamehand. We’ve never been to a mirage dungeon, but Gard of Yun’stiv did succumb to a bad case of Feral Snake Fever, about a week back.
Hera: So we gave him a traditional Dwarven Desert Burial and built a little shrine for the Endless Canteen.
The Wiz: And we turned it upside down and took the cap, so lots of people have a reason to visit Gard’s Grave out in the desert!
Engar: Oh, yes, I remember now! I had a few misgivings about leaving an enchanted water source eternally draining into the desert sands. That sounds like the kind of thing that bandits would make off with.
Adanska: So, that’s why you and The Wiz cast Stone Shape to make all the sand into a nearly-solid block around it. I stood inside and made sure the canteen didn’t tip over while the stone hardened.
Hera: In a few hundred years, this whole desert should be a lush, green expanse.
Pinky: Wait… but what happens to the environment before that? First, the desert will become a damp, sandy marsh. Basically the whole place will be quicksand. And if you wait long enough, you’ll flood the whole world!
Hera: Oh… right. Hadn’t thought of that. Adanska, you’re already a ghost, so you should get some people to turn that canteen back over. Make sure you do it after the desert becomes a veldt or a forest or something.
Adanska: Sounds like a good plan! But I’d rather not think about trying to find a new group of friends after you all pass on.
Pinky: Wait… Won’t we all be ghosts when we die?
Hera: Most certainly not! For some of us, a greater reward awaits!
Chip: Indeed. Adanska’s seems to be a rare, though not unprecedented case of psychic ghosthood. Most of us will travel on to the Halls of Judgement, whence we will join our departed brethren, or earn great punishments, or return to the great Cycle of Souls.
((Sfx: splashing water intensifies))
DM: Or maybe your religion only gives you parts of what comes afterward; never fully correct, but never truly incorrect. Whatever happens after the rest of you die can wait. Especially since the sound of splashing water is growing louder, as you walk through the deserted town.
Adanska: This place is spooky.
The Wiz: Danskie. What?
Adanska: What “what”, The Wiz? Ghosts can be scared, too.
Scene 4: The Sisters of The Many
DM: In a short while, you enter the town’s main square, the central feature of which is an enormous, curved stone standing above the pool of water that makes this little outpost of civilization possible. At the base of the bowing monolith, a little shelf of rock juts out about 5 feet above the waterline. A steady stream flows out from its unseen spring and over the shelf to pool into the basin below. Give me some spot checks.
((Sfx: d20 roll x5))
Engar: Oh, dear. My eyes aren’t so sharp as they were forty years ago.
Pinky: Is that a person in the pond?
Chip: Hail, stranger! We bring news of Z’gor D’riz! Would you care to swap stories?
DM: In the shallows of the pond stands a humanoid a few inches over 5 ILDMs tall ––
The Wiz: What’s an ILDM, voice?
Hera: It’s obviously religious writing that foretells the Ill Doom that awaits our enemies!
DM: Oh, right. You’ve never met the Empire. Well, an ILDM is… never mind. It’s a way of telling how tall the person is, and you guys can plainly see that for yourselves. The figure is clad in half plate armor. The dark metal is intricately etched with swirling patterns and what could be writing. Its right fist is clenched around a cruelly barbed mace crafted from the same metal as the armor. On its left arm hangs a heavy, metal shield with a sigil of what seems to be sixteen tentacles in a coiling wheel.
((Sfx: d20 roll))
Hera: (soberly) Wait a minute… I’ve studied heraldry, both ecclesiastical and secular, and I recognize that sigil! It is the sign of a being that my order merely calls “The Many.” This shadowy figure must die!
The Wiz: That’s not a name! Who goes around insisting that people call them “The” anything?
Pinky: I’m just going to let that one slide, while I use my natural pixie invisibility to not be noticed by someone that worships anything called “The Many”.
Adanksa: Guys, there’s someone else, up near the wellspring!
DM: Atop the stone shelf at the base of the curved monolith stands a human female dressed in dark purple, lightweight, billowing linen pants, topped with a matching sleeveless doublet. She is thin and long-limbed, standing nearly six ILDMs tall. Her pale arms are lightly muscled and exactingly toned. Her midnight hair hangs behind her in an enormous braid that sways gently, down behind her knees.
Peldra: They’ve come at last, but they’ve only just gotten here. See? See, Sister Grestin? I told you they would get here at some point. And I knew the point would be now!
DM: The armored individual responds, her voice muffled by the rune-etched, evil helm.
((Sfx: Grestin’s voice is muffled/flanged/metallized or something by her helmet))
Grestin: Yes, Sister Peldra. It is the Now. And the Now is when we ensure the coming of the Mouths of the Many, the Darkness that Howls, the End that Hungers!
DM: The cleric of the Many points her gauntleted finger toward the Wiz’ heart.
Grestin: The Hateful One has declared your death, wizard.
The Wiz: What! What’d I do? I cast Ghost Sound in the wrong place, didn’t I? I didn’t know there was a noise ordinance here! I’m sorry!
Peldra: Make this easy on yourselves. Give us the wizard and the rest of you may leave with your lives. Kasalan the Hateful, our radiant master, has no need for the rest of you. You will fall to the Entrophytes soon enough! Enjoy your last days. Spend them living. Give us the wizard.
Adanska: Look, lady, even if we do give you The Wiz, there’s no way I’m going to walk out of here alive, anyway. I’m a psychic ghost now, and even Chip here can’t bring me back. And he’s one of Paldas the Bright’s favorite worshippers! You’re not getting anything from me.
Hera: Now, hold on a second. What exactly do you want the wizard for?
The Wiz: Yeah! Why do you want Engar, here? I mean, he’s a thousand years old or something, so he’ll probably croak soon anyway!
Engar: My eyesight isn’t quite what it used to be, but I believe the Sisters of the Many were pointing at you, my dear. Besides, I’m only eighty years old, not a thousand!
Grestin: She will die, that the Circle of Iron Stars may never be forged!
Hera: Well, that’s not gonna happen. I could be wrong, but… What do you think, Chockie?
((Sfx: chocobo sound))
Hera: Yeah, I thought not.
((Sfx: hera readying her scythe))
Engar: Indubitably. This young woman has so much more studying and magical research ahead of her, and I will be damned to eternal torment on the Plane of Untagged Scrolls before I let you interfere with her schooling!
((Sfx: flaming hands))
Chip: Paldas the Bright is a god of infinite mercy, but not infinite patience. I give you the same terms you offered us. Let us keep the wizard, and you may leave with your lives.
((Sfx: chip readying his mace))
Pinky: Uh, Adanska, why are you moving toward the two evil ladies, instead of backing up with the rest of us to form a protective ring around The Wiz?
Adanska: Because I’m more effective in a fight if I have a body. And they seem to have brought two extras. If I were you, cleric, I’d start praying for your dark god to fortify your mind against POSSESSION!
((Sfx: d20 roll, whatever an exorcism sounds like))
Grestin: ENOUGH! The Will of the Many is strong, little ghost. It shall feast upon you very soon.
DM: Sister Grestin raises her left arm, pointing her wicked mace toward The Wiz.
Grestin: Fear me, wizard!
DM: As she strides through Adanska and toward your circle, nine shadows and three wraiths rise from the oasis. The shimmery, dark shapes in vaguely humanoid forms float menacingly toward the party.
The Wiz: C’mon, guys! I swear I don’t know what I did! Unless I didn’t did it yet. Did I?
Pinky: Well, if we’ve got a dozen ghost things coming at us, it looks like it’s up to Adanska and my Ghost Touch Claws to keep them away from The Wiz!
DM: That’s fine, but remember if you attack, that’ll drop your invisibility, and Peldra and Grestin will know where you are.
Pinky: Oh no they won’t, Mr. Voice! You’ve got that all wrong. As a pixie, I can stay invisible as long as I want, even if I attack!
((Sfx: d20 roll x2))
Peldra: But we can still hear you!
Grestin: And if we have INFRAVISION, we can still see you, as well!
Pinky: Yeah? Well, the infravision won’t do you any good if your eyes melt from my ACID BREATH!
((Sfx: acid breath, d20 roll x2))
Peldra: Aaagh! My face! Sister Grestin, shield your eyes!
Grestin: Why do you think I wear this helmet or carry this enormous shield, Sister Peldra? For exactly that purpose!
Hera: Pinky! Adanska! Get back in this half-circle! Chockie can’t cover the hole you guys left by himself!
The Wiz: Yeah! Get back here and save me, like the Pally said! Good work, Pally. I’ll give you some BULL’S STRENGTH as a reward!
((pause for a beat))
Hera: So… you gonna cast that, or what?
The Wiz: Jeez, Pally! You gotta put your own magic on first before you help your fellow passengers. Let me just quicken a DISPLACEMENT! And then you’re next.
((Sfx: Displacement, Bull’s Strength))
Engar: Back! Back, you shadowy fiends! If you want my pupil, then you must pass through Engar Flamehand’s FLAMING HANDS!
((Sfx: burning hands))
DM: Two shadows stop in their tracks, unwilling to pass into Engar’s fifteen-ILDM fan of fire. Meanwhile, Adanska is picking himself up off the ground.
Adanska: Woopbhghghgh! She’s strong! Gotta take a moment to get my psionic focus back.
((Sfx: d20 roll))
DM: The vengeful ghost of Adanska Rothgeld jumps backward six paces, folds its hands, and closes its cold, blue-rimmed eyes. After a second or two of stillness, the muscles in his face relax into a placid slackness. His eyes snap open as a wibbly, purple plasma of energies erupts along his forearm. Adanska throws the glowing arm downward and away from his hip, focusing the psychic force into an ILDM-long blade that extends along the line of his forearm.
((Sfx: Psi Blade))
Peldra: You may have regained your focus, spirit, but you will not recover from my flurried assault! Yah!… HA!
DM: Peldra bounds across the battlefield in the blink of an eye. She stands towering above Adanska, looking down her nose at him for a long moment, focusing the chaotic energies of the Many from her mind through her arm, into her fist, and finally into Adanska’s very-surprised face. She continues moving forward, stepping straight through the ghost’s right shin. She leans her torso backward and focuses one more time, bringing the heel of her palm crashing into Adanska’s left shoulder. The surprised ghost falls backward, tripping over Peldra’s leg and slamming into the ground.
((Sfx: strike x2, passing through a ghost, d20 roll x2, thud))
Adanska: Oww! I dink you bwoke my node!
DM: Meanwhile, Grestin raises her evil mace aloft, chanting softly in a wicked language.
Grestin: Kh’rik vamkh OOOOOOH la sthala MARU-OOOOOOH! Cower in terror at the insuperable power of The Many!
DM: A bloody red light flares around Grestin’s weapon, and she swings her arm in a wide arc. Three jets of magical energies course through the air toward Pinky, Hera, and Adanska.
((Sfx: d20 roll x3))
Pinky: Whoa, duck! Cover your face! I think they’re going for the eyes!
Adanska: Aweddy god dat cobered. Owww.
Hera: I shall never lower my countenance, not even if–- AAAGH! It stings! Gods DAMN! It got right in my eyes!
Engar: Lady Hera, do we need to tie you down so you don’t hurt yourself or others in your terror?
Hera: Ow! By all the goddesses’ tits, that hurts! Fuck! No, I’m not terrified, Engar. I’m a Paladin. Nothing scares me. But, ow! Even if you’re immune to fear, I do not suggest letting her magic get into your eyes.
Chip: TURN UNDEAD! That’s right, shadow being! Cower before the loving truth of Paldas the Bright! Go! Flee this place. Find peace, tormented spirit! Whew! Now that I’m not distracted, would you like some help, Hera?
((Sfx: Turn Undead))
Hera: Thank you, Chip, but I think it’s a better idea if we stay in formation. I’ll just quicken a Lesser Restoration!
Chip: A sound plan, Hera! And I shall fortify our position with a quickened Bless!
DM: The party starts glowing with the soft, golden light of Paldas the Bright, causing the eight remaining shadows and wraiths to momentarily halt their advance.
((Sfx: Phantoms/demons hissing))
Pinky: And let’s keep them at bay with more ACID BREATH! BLWEAAAAAGRHGH!
((Sfx: Acid Gas))
Engar: That was a mighty quick recharge for your breath weapon, Pinky. Usually it takes at least 15 seconds to refill the chemical sacks in a dragonoid’s throat.
Pinky: Yeah, they’re all still out of range, so this one was kinda weak. It was more to intimidate them, I guess. I’m not sure walking through that cloud would have done more than sting their eyes, noses, and throats.
Peldra: And as it stands, it did nothing, Dragon-pixie! And you’ve given away your position again!
DM: While Peldra stands next to Adanska, who happens to be twenty ILDMs away from Pinky, whom the monk is threatening, one of the phantoms regains its composure and stretches a translucent hand toward Hera’s breastplate.
Pinky: But it doesn’t realize that I’m standing right by Hera, protecting her flank! Yah! Hah! Pixie Scratch!
((Sfx: d20 roll, scratch, phantom/ghost hissing))
DM: Pinky’s magical claws find the phantom at a moment where its flickering back and forth from the ethereal plane lands it on the prime material. Pinky’s clawed hands rake through the phantom at the same moment the spirit makes contact with Hera’s breastplate.
Hera: Thanks for the save, Pinky! And we’re in luck! The goddesses have provided an opportunity for me to TURN UNDEAD and balance our scales!
((Sfx: d20 roll, Turn Undead))
DM: Another shadow being has arrived at the most likely point for Pinky to be standing — y’know… since she’s a pixie and she’s still invisible. Hera hoists her mighty, golden scythe high above her right shoulder, catching the light of Chip’s Blessing to reveal the full glory of the etched parable that unfolds along the blade of her weapon. A woman is born, and she blossoms into a maiden in a field of flowers, while a village of various people looks on. She becomes a mother, not of children, but of books and scrolls and devices, which are spread to the people around her for their universal benefit. Finally, she has grown old; a crone, gnarled and bent-backed. She stands alone at the graves of the entire village, having outlived them all. All of the shadows and phantoms cower in terror as Hera radiates the cycling green, orange, and indigo lights of the Triple Goddess across the battlefield.
Grestin: You shall not succeed, adventurers! Your gods are but two! Ours is The Many! The wizard shall die!
The Wiz: If you want The Wiz, then you’ll have to find The Wiz!
((Sfx: Mirror Image))
DM: Still blurry from her Displacement spell, The Wiz splits into six identically blurry copies of herself, forming a second ring behind her friends. The party now forms two half-circles that are protecting nothing in the center.
The Wiz: Which one of me is the real me? Catch the right one and you might win a prize! Guess wrong, and you’ll get a quickened DANCING LIGHTS! P’shoo!
((Sfx: sextupled voice, Dancing Lights))
DM: Eighty-four strobing bands of color spring forth from twelve hands, bathing the oasis in flickering, swirling, epilepsy-inducing patterns of light. Fortunately, nobody here seems to suffer from this very-real and very-serious affliction.
Engar: Young lady, you need to work on your aim! This is how you do it! You simply point your hand or your finger or whatever object happens to be in your hand – but be careful not to use your walking staff, though, or you fall down and it ruins the whole effort! I’ll use this knife that I have hanging from my belt as an example. You square up your hips and shoulders to the target – such as that evil cleric over there – point the object in your non-walking staff hand, and chant the formula for FIREBALL!
DM: A ball of flame ignites in the air just beyond the point of Engar’s knife and immediately streaks toward Grestin. She raises her shield to avoid a direct impact, but the explosion of flames swallows her. Within a few seconds, the smoke billows away and you can see her steaming armor begin to glow red with an evil healing spell.
Grestin: You try our patience. The End is already come. You have chosen an accelerated death.
Peldra: We shall break your bones and rend your tendons, but leave you living, that when the Great Unraveling begins you will be powerless to do anything but watch!
Adanska: I’ve HAD IT with you two! Quit it with the fucking villain talk and just do something! By all the gods’ genitals, I started this stupid psychic meditative practice thing because assholes like you kept getting under my skin! Well, howsabout I just get under yours instead!
Peldra: Wait, what are you—? Stay back! I am— I am a Servant of The Many!
((Sfx: d20 roll))
Adanska: And I’m a pissed off psychic ghost—
Peldra: (possessed by Adanska) — who’s wearing you like a suit made of meat.
DM: Adanska disappears from sight, and Peldra’s eyes start glowing with the same pale-blue light that the easily frustrated psychic ghost is made of.
Peldra: No, what are you—? I won’t let you!
Peldra: (possessed by Adanska) You gave up the right to “let” anything, when you threatened my friend.
DM: Peldra’s right arm flicks outward and down, stretching to its full extension as Adanska’s psi blade flares to life from the monk’s fist.
((Sfx: Psi blade on))
Peldra: (possessed by Adanska) So, let’s just give you the o’le psionic lobotomy and see if that resets your personality!
DM: Peldra’s body arches her back, lifting her head to stare at the starry sky for a fraction of a second, before driving her face downward into her uprising fist. The psychic blade passes cleanly through her head.
((Sfx: Psi blade strike))
Peldra: (screams in pain)
Grestin: (dismayed) PELLLLL-DRAAAAAAAAA!
DM: The monk falls limply to the ground, leaving Adanska’s ghost standing in her place, holding his own head in pain. The fallen monk has a terrible burn running in a line from her right eyebrow to her left cheekbone.
((Sfx: Psi blade off))
Adanska: Owwww! That’s what that feels like? Fuck, that hurts!
Hera: (sarcastically) Good job, genius. (regular) But actually good job, too. It was a well-executed administration of Justice.
DM: The evil cleric of The Many throws her shield aside, rushing to the fallen body of her companion.
((Sfx: psi blade on))
Adanska: Hey! I’m not even sure if she’s dead yet, but until we find that out, I fully intend to use that body! Yarh!
((Sfx: d20 roll, psi blade hit))
DM: Adanska swings at the onrushing cleric, and Grestin ignores the danger to herself, crashing straight into and then through Adanska’s attack. She collapses to her knees and gathers Peldra into her arms.
Grestin: You will never be forgotten, Action Town Criers, and your torments will never cease. Until we meet again!
Engar: She’s got a magic ring! Somebody stop her!
Pinky: On it!
((Sfx: d20 roll, non-hit or clunk to armor))
Grestin: Away from me, gnat! Great. Now you’ve ruined my dramatic exit! Fuck you!
DM: The two Sisters of the Many flash with a blindingly white light, and by the time your vision recovers, the only sign of them is Grestin’s discarded shield, emblazoned with the ringed tentacles of The Many.
Chip: Alright, Action Town Criers! It’s time to rest, recover, look for survivors, and then —
Chip: Adanska: Engar: The Wiz: Hera: Pinky: SPREAD THE NEWS!
Scene 5: Credit where Credit is Due
Rhomande: Visit The 20-Sided Theatre online at twentysidedtheatre.com. You can also follow us on Twitter through scryomagical links that Imenand and Thrimlach have established. You can follow Rhomande @IllustriousRho, Master Shenouda @ShenoudaNecroCo, Thrimlach ceatharan @Thrimlach, Issa Featherfoot @LadyFeatherfoot, and Spirit of the Swift Wind @SpiritOTSW.
Thrimlach: The 20-Sided Theatre is a joint production of Bear Industries and the Shenouda Necromancy Corporation. This Episode stars Gabriel Abinante, Natalie Abinante, Blake Parker, Ceridwen Quattrin, Cian Quattrin, and Rudraigh Quattrin. With special thanks to Jon Abinante for letting us mention Ox Balbjorn.
Maldreth: Original Adventure and Story by Blake Parker. Script adaptation by Rudraigh Quattrin. Edited by Blake Parker.
Imenand: Music by …
Imenand: 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. While you’re there, consider donating to the upkeep and production of the Twenty Sided Theatre. If you don’t…
Issa: Join us next time at The 20-Sided Theatre!
Scene 6: The Tag
Imenand: I am Imenand Shenouda, President of the Shenouda Necromancy Corporation and Lord High Weaponsmith of the Unholy Empire of Voladros and the Uiadhenns. What is the most expensive thing about defending your realms? Horseshoes for your avalry? Swords for your infantry? Arrows for your archers? Believe it or not, the average Imperial Noble spends 5 times as much on feeding their army as they do on any other Wartime expenditure.
Duke Goobler: I’m Duke Goobler, Earl of the Roiling Hills of South Westlund. I was drowning in debt trying to keep my armies fed. I was even considering conceding land to that accursed Dip Dobson and her horde of Halfling Barbarians. Then I found out how much I could save by switching to Shenouda Necro products!
Imenand: Eliminate your expenditures on vile foodstuffs to feed your ever-hungry armies. Scry us to place your order now. Our Scrylines are always open. My Embalmed Necromages are standing by to begin converting your sick, foodstuff addicted armies into ruthless, efficient machines of death.
Imenand: I am proud to announce the BLACKMAGMA Series of Shenouda Necromancy Corporation Necrotic weaponry and Magically Enhanced Conglomerations of Humanoids or M.E.C.H.s if you are into that whole brevity thing. Glory be to the Great Iron Lady: Meássë, the Mother of Weapons for allowing their deadly and elegant designs to be forged within my mind!
Duke Goobler: When I found out about the Shenouda Necromancy Corporation’s BLACKMAGMA series of lightning fast Undying Swordstriders, intensely potent Mummified Lightningcallers, and Undead Defender M.E.C.H.s, I knew I had to have them protecting the Roiling Hills of South Westlund immediately.
Duke Goobler: I scryed their customer service representatives, and within that very hour I had a team of Shenouda Necromancy Embalmed Necromages striding through a portal into my barracks to begin their work. Less than a week later my newly Undead army had repelled that devious Dip Dobson and sent her running back to the Halfling Wilds. I’ll never spend another copper piece on foodstuffs for my armies again! Thanks Shenouda Necromancy Corporation, you really brought out the best in my dead!
Imenand: End your dependence on vile foodstuffs. Think of the savings. Order your BLACKMAGMA Series Undead today! Scryperators at the Swamp Pyramid are waiting to hear from you. We look forward to bringing out the best in your dead.