The 20-Sided Theatre, Episode 19: The Reality Storm
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
Ssssstiev Pierab’bat, Chameleon Rogue – Natalie Abinante
Issa Featherfoot, Pengonquin Princess – Ceridwen Quattrin
Thrimlach Lenanien, Secretive Elven Mage – Cian Quattrin
Dark Brother Smyd Kaltrops, The Half Bear Monk – Cian
Vragul, King of Town Hall – Rud
The DM – Rud
Torrea Marsvel - Cian
Lorramar (Thrim’s Raven) – Gabe
Sir Gnome — Rud
Tuxedo Beak – Blake
Helema Nisbet Alafinde, Rhomande’s niece – Tony
Lowok Airwakka, a Homeless, Multibreed Penguin – Tony
Yfirma∂r, Queen of Town Hall – Natalie
The Emperor – Cian
Imperial Wizard – Rud
Grand Marshall of the Empire of Voladros – Tony
Grand Treasurer of the Empire of Voladros, a Dwarf – Gabe
Makar, Father of War – Rud
Wakkarda Wakalban, an Island Penguin who may or may not sound like Ricardo Montalban–Rud
Scene 0: Show Opening & Theme Music
Vragul: 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: Reintroductions and Catching Up
Music Bed: (Sylvius Leopold Weiss – Courante in F Major.mp3)
Rhomande: The curtain rises, and we rejoin our ““Heroes””—
DM: Great. We’re back to these assholes. I had so hoped that I’d get to stay with Chip Dipson and the Criers for a while.
Rhomande: But you must remember, Master Voice, that this is my theatre, and all attentions are to be directed whencever I point.
DM: Give me a Bluff Check, Rhomande.
Rhomande: No. I spoke nothing but the truth.
((Sfx: shuffling of papers, looking through notes))
DM: Gods. Damnnit. Fuck. Why does the Great Celestial Rulebook always come back to bite me in the ass, whenever I’m talking to you guys? Fine. What have you ““Heroes”” been up to?
Rhomande: Well, the biggest piece of gossip is that Torrea and I are now divorced. Or annulled, perhaps. In any case, it brought me only momentary relief, before we were all subjected to the distressed sobbing of a positive-energy undead paladin, whose dreams of a little cottage in the foothills had been twice broken in as many weeks. Let’s see… what else… Thrimlach ceatharinn is back from the brink of death, now that Maldreth and Imenand have lifted the Fatwa against foodstufs. Oh, and we’re ignoring a summons from the Emperor, so we can go visit some penguins.
DM: You guys are the least responsible group of adventurers I’ve ever met.
Rhomande: And who better to introduce the least responsible adventurers on the plane, than Scottalia’s own Irresponsible Rhomande Sorfinde? It is my pride and joy to reacquaint you with my Insufferable Basterds!
Rhomande: Imenand Shenouda, who serves The Empire as Grand Weaponsmith. He also fills the posts of 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) Thank Mëassë that I am still able to scry on my workshop in the Swamp Temple! I do not fully trust my embalmed Necromages with the development of Shenouda’s Plutonium Elemental-Powered Battle Engine. The sooner we conquer these penguin tribes, the sooner I can conscript your ““help”” in testing the radiation shields around the cockpit.
Rhomande: The terrible, towering Maldreth the Impius, the ogre-blooded Patriarch of the Church of War, dedicated to Makar, Father of Strife!
Maldreth: Although our purposes are entwined, Master Shenouda, I will never understand your goddess’ desire to make weapons before making war. War is primal and holds primacy. If you cannot make war with your own fists, feet, and teeth, then you will be swiftly conquered by someone who can.
Rhomande: Dark Brother Smyd Kaltrops, the Half-Bear Monk! He also serves as President of Bear Industries. A shapeshifter of insurmountable strength and speed.
Smyd: Father Maldreth is correct. Those who can’t help themselves deserve to be forced to help others. ((Sfx: bear roar)) But it still ruffles my fur that those fucking Sky Penguins were able to help themselves!
Rhomande: Stiev “the Chameleon” Pie-rabbat; thoroughly odorless, colorless, and deadly! Whenever she’s not vomiting over the side of a boat, that is.
Stiev: (sea sick) Bwugh… Thisss…. Thisssss isssssn’t….. Blguagghgh…. (huff) That’ssss a little better… Now if thissss boat would jussssst sssssstop rocking and pitching for a few minutesssss then I could…. BWLARGH!
Rhomande: Issa Featherfoot, Pengonquin Princess. A 7' tall shapeshifting Penguin Assassin! She is currently attended by her faithful and oft-missing bodyguard, the mysterious Tuxedo Beak, and a raggedy, homeless penguin called Luwok Airwakka!
((Sfx: splash of a breaching penguin, boots/feet/flippers hitting wooden planks))
Issa: Ah! How wonderful it is to be in the sea! I dunno why you guys got your pantaloons in such a twist about the whole food thing. We’re on the ocean, which is full of fish!
Luwok: I completely agree, Lady Featherfoot! These non-penguins just needed to get over themselves and eat the fish that you, Master Beak, and I brought up in our gullets from the briny depths.
Tuxedo Beak: I think it was actually the lack of fresh water that made them sick. Most other species don’t have the supraorbital gland that desalinates seawater.
Rhomande: No, penguins, the combination of all of that grossed us out. Anyway, who’s next… ah, yes! Thrimlach Lenanien! A blindfolded Elf Sorcerer with a blackened potato perched on one shoulder and a Frankenstein’s 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. Oh, Torrea, I’m so sorry. This is all Sir Gnome’s fault; you know that. You, too, Lorramar. Ugh. And Sir Gnome, I guess. HOW DARE YOU MAKE TORREA CRY, SIR GNOME!
Torrea: (crying) Yes… (sniff) Lord Thrimlach…. (loud crying)
Lorramar: <kwok> You got it, boss! <caw>
Sir Gnome: Yeth, Mathter. Thorry, Mathter. Thorry, Torrea.
Rhomande: And last, but certainly not least: Yours truly, the Inespousible Rhomande Sorfinde! Bard in Extraordinaire, Beloved of Quintillions, The Shattering Light of Every Dawn…
Issa: (interrupting) Get on with it, Bard! Wait a minute! You already introduced yourself once at the beginning of this list!
Rhomande: An Elven Bard of pan-dimensional acclaim, who deserves not one, but two introductions! But you already knew that, didn't you? Lords and Ladies of my beloved audience––
Helema: Unca Rho, you forgot to introduce me! Mom says if I don’t insist on that, you’ll just ignore me every time I’m here, until you need something.
Rhomande: What the fuck are you doing here, Helema! I thought I told you to wait for me and practice your violin, back at the Frozen Summit!
Helema: I did, but then you guys walked through a portal after Ms. Tamlin and Ms. Lorelei stole your boat, but before you got that new one that Mr. Lenanien put the transdimensional sail on. Before we left, mom said to tell you––
Rhomande: Yes, yes! Fine. I remember, now. Ahem. Helema Nisbet Alafinde, my niece. Spawn of my bitch of a sister’s loins. By the way, Helema, don’t mention your mother again, or I’ll officially declare your twin brother Jaisin as my Least Unfavorite Niece. You don’t want to lose out to somebody who plays the spoons, do you, Helema?
Helema: (sheepishly) (sigh) No, Unca Rho.
Rhomande: Lords and Ladies of my beloved audience, please do 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: Turbulence
DM: You have been traveling for an indeterminate amount of time –y’know… since Thrimlach’s taking you through interdimensional non-space, which means you’re only experiencing a subjective version of time that’s not tethered to any particular reality– Anyway, you’re aboard a ship that you stole from the harbor in Oak Vale.
Maldreth: It’s a good thing we were able to return to Oak Vale to procure this second ship. Gate is a very useful spell. Especially when your idiot parishioners lose your magical transdimensional boat to pirates.
Thrimlach: Hey! Kelora and Lorelei may be pirates, but they’re still our friends! Plus, I kinda owed them a boat. Anyway, none of that matters, since Sir Gnome did something right for once and tore down the transdimensional sail before they left us on that deserted island on the Plane of Northern Seas.
Issa: Yeah, so now instead of leaving one group of friends stranded in a strange corner of reality, with no way out, you left two groups stranded.
Rhomande: Oh, they’ll be fine. They’ll just have to find a powerful mage or a wandering, irresponsible portalmancer to get back to us, once they’ve grown bored of pirating a whole plane. Furthermore, Drowmande ceatharadan has been sending me episodes of The Kelora Tamlin Adventure Hour for editing, so I know for a fact that they’ve already skinned a herd of dire dolphins and sewn their hides together into a new mainsail.
Stiev: It wassss alssssso kinda nicccce of Maldreth to open that Gate sssso we could sssstop in at that Crosssssplanar Bar & Grill again, after ten weekssss at sssssea.
Helema: And you guys forgot to bring all of your hundreds of followers with you the first time, so now we might even be ready for whatever’s attacking His Majesty.
Smyd: “His Majesty?” You mean Vragul? Nothing’s attacking him; he and Vriggle are asleep in the cargo hold, again.
Yfirma∂r: That right. Orc male always need more sleep than female, even as adult. Boy-Orc nap time most sacred time of all. No want male be cranky and stubborc.
Helema: No, the other guy who talked through Mr. Lenanien, Mr. Shenouda, Unca Rho, and me. The one who said his city was under attack.
Imenand: You mean “His Holiness,” Helema. That is the proper apellation by which one references the Emperor.
DM: I really don’t know why you guys are recapping all of this; you were there to witness or to take part in all of this.
Smyd: Yeah, but we’ve run out of conversation topics, and nobody wants to bring up the fact that Rhomande broke Torrea’s heart.
Torrea: (crying) Oh… My sweet almost-husband, why did the gods see fit to saddle us with Sir Gnome, in place of a bridal wreath? (turns into an Ex-Fury) And why were you stupid enough to let him serve as your Best Man? I know that I already chose Lord Thrimlach as my maid of honor, but you should have noticed that the person who handed you the rings was Lady Gnome in disguise, and not Sir Gnome!
Issa: To be fair, Torrea, that one wasn’t just Rhomande. Neither you nor of the rest of us noticed.
Torrea: I was wearing a veil! My vision was obstructed!
Maldreth: I try to look at all of you as little as possible.
Stiev: Plussss, when you take Lady Gnome’sssss wig off, it’ssss kinda hard to tell the differenccccce between her and her husssssband. At leassssst you can tell which onesss are Ssssir Gnome Junior and Thrimlette, sssssinccccce they’re different sssssizesssss.
DM: In any case! You guys are currently between planes, and your ship has begun rocking and shuddering violently. You might want to make some… well, there’s a lot going on, so you should make a whole array of skill checks.
((Sfx: groaning wood, d20 roll x12))
Smyd: Uh, guys? What’s that giant, swirling cloud of flashing colors that we’re heading toward?
Imenand: May Mëassë forge us anew! We must steer the ship, lest those raw strands of primal energies splinter us all!
Thrimlach: Ooh! I love these! It's a reality storm! Something really big must be going on. And it looks like it’s going on in a lot of places.
Rhomande: So what do we do, ceatharan?
Thrimlach: The best course of action is to steer toward a boring, pithy, nowhere reality. From there, we can just wait out the storm, and then continue on our penguin-themed worlds-tour!
Yfirma∂r: Me still not see why you need use cross-dimensions ship, when all penguin ams supposed be on us home plane.
Thrimlach: What? And miss all of this?
DM: A thunder, deeper and grander than any on the prime material planes, rolls out across Nonspace. The storm is moving fast, and the Winds of Causality are already buffeting your ship.
((Sfx: high winds, thunder in distance))
Helema: (mo–y: starts to say “mom”, then switches to “my dad”) This looks pretty bad! Mo—y dad says that the safest place in a storm is at the center.
Rhomande: But your father is also a pig-man, and he married my sister, so his intelligence, sense of taste, and opinions can be fully discounted. But thank you, my Least Unfavorite Niece, for not mentioning your mother.
Issa: Ah, crap. Tuxie, Luwok! You guys start pulling on that sail thing! I’ll head up to the helm and see if I can keep a steady flipper on the wheel.
Tuxedo Beak: Aye, aye, Lady Featherfoot!
Luwok: At once, my Empress!
((Sfx: d20 roll x3))
DM: Issa heads back toward the stern, and the two male penguins immediately set to pulling on ropes and tying knots.
Stiev: Uh… Do you Penguinssss know what you’re doing? You’re good in water, but I’ve never ssssseen you on a ssssship. Exxxxcccccept for that one time in the Arena of Ahk’rapp. And you ssssspent mossssst of that fight in the water.
Issa: Uh… not really, but nobody else was trying anything useful at the time.
Maldreth: Hrm… GATEWAY! Nothing… odd… I had hoped to escape you buffoons, but it seems that father Makar has other plans for us.
DM: The reality storm is interfering with all forms of teleportation, manifestation, transcommunication, between planes. Maybe you guys should… uh, oh! Issa! Make a - a - a “drive the boat well” check!
Issa: On it, Master Disembodied Voice! I’ll just… uh… flipper this wheel over to the left a bit…
Thrimlach: No, Issa! Not that way! Turn it to the right! I think I might know a place where we can weather out the storm!
((Sfx: d20 roll x2, thunder, the sound of a splintering mast))
DM: The mast groans and creaks, before splintering and and ripping backwards, toward the starboard side of your ship. The transdimensional sail catches an impulse from a coming wave of dimensional energy and pulls the flailing mast back toward the storm.
Issa: Luwok, what are you doing! Let go of that rope!
Luwok: I can’t, Lady Featherfoot! I got all tangled and knotted up in it! I don’t want to die in a reality storm!
Rhomande: Then allow the ever-ready Rhomande Sorfinde to draw The Toppler from its sheath and—
((Sfx: drawing a sword))
Issa: Oh, no you don’t, Bard! You’re not using your vorpal, potato-souled scimitar, so you can inevitably fuck it all up and cut off poor Luwok’s head!
((Sfx: sliding rope starts))
Luwok: Lady Featherfoot! The rope is uncoiling really fast, here!
DM: The transdimensional sail and your mast are now lost from sight. And you guys sure used a LOT of rope on that sail!
Luwok: Oh nooooo!
((Sfx: sliding rope stops, pause))
Luwok: What… what happened? Why am I not flying away with the mast?
((Sfx: removing invisibility))
Stiev: Well, for one, you’re a penguin, and penguinssss don’t fly.
Tuxedo Beak: Those seal-fucker Sky Penguins can fly! They lord it over everyone they meet!
Stiev: The Ssssssky penguinssss don’t actually fly, Tuxxxxxie. They pilot macccchhhhinessss that carry them through the air. But anyway, nobody noticccced when I sssssslicccced Luwok’sssss rope, while Issssssa wassss yelling at Rhomande.
Smyd: Well, what do we do now? We don’t have a transdimensional sail any more!
Imenand: But we do have a polycosmic rudder, still!
Issa: Yeah, good luck with that. That wheel thing totally has a mind of its own.
Maldreth: That is because you lack thumbs, penguin. Brother Kaltrops, would you like to show Lady Featherfoot how Makar has taught you to compensate for inferior manipulators?
Smyd: No. Not really.
((Sfx: Bear Roar))
Smyd: BUT I REALLY DON’T WANT TO DIE IN A PLACE THAT’S NOT ACTUALLY A PLACE! WHICH WAY SHOULD I TURN THE SHIP, THRIMLACH?
Thrimlach: Uhhh… Let me figure that out really quick. We’ve been spinning about 14 degrees per second, but this non-space takes 35,912 degrees to make a full circuit… Imenand! Maldreth! I need some help with this non-Orclidean Trigonometry! Sir Gnome keeps botching the calculations, because he can only multiply by nines!
Maldreth: Ugh. Fine. The study of Maths is a war against a slovenly mind, I suppose. Yfirma∂r. You are the next strongest. You will brace the wheel with Brother Kaltrops, once we have established our course.
Yfirma∂r: Sound good, no-nose uglypriest.
Imenand: Ah, I have something that I’ve been waiting for just such a situation as this! BEHOLD! Shenouda’s Multispatial Trigonometry Tables!
((Sfx: unfurling of a lot of paper))
DM: Well, it sounds like you guys have a plan going, so give me the appropriate checks.
((Sfx: d20 roll x3))
Thrimlach: Alright, Bear, you need to turn the wheel hard to the right, and keep going until I say stop!
Smyd: URGH! THOUGH IT’S AGAINST OUR PARTY’S NATURE, WE’RE GOING RIGHT! URRRRAAAAGH! (sounds of exertion)
((Sfx: d20 roll, turning wheel))
Thrimlach: Good… good… Keep going… Aaaaaaand… Swing her back! We need to keep going in this direction!
Smyd: WHOA! THE WHEEL’S KICKING BACK! WE’RE DRIFTING LEFT AGAIN!
Yfirma∂r: Me help keep boat straight! Me Queen of No-Mast Boat! RRRRAAAAGH!
((Sfx: d20 roll))
DM: The bear and the half-orc manage to steady your course, and you follow Thrimlach’s directions toward a small spacetime that is out of the current path of Great Events.
Scene 3: Landfall
DM: The ship lurches to a halt, and you hear a violent splash. Everybody make some reflex saves.
((Sfx: splash, d20 roll x14, bodies hitting a wooden deck))
Rhomande: Ooogh. Remind me never to let a penguin drive a boat or pilot one of those ridiculous Hoversleds from the Sky Penguins. Alright, my Basterds! Sound off!
Helema: I’m here, Unca’ Rho! I even managed to save my Stone-of-various Violin that mom’s Dwarf friends gave me for my sixth birthday!
Rhomande: I said Basterds sound off, Helema. You’re not officially in our adventuring party. And you won’t be if you keep mentioning dwarves!
Helema: Well, that’s an improvement in the things I’m not supposed to mention, at least.
Maldreth: You are all worthless and weak. I will spend this evening devising suitable penances for each and every one of you.
Stiev: Ugh… I’m okay, I think. Jusssst a little bruisssssssed, but non the worsssssse for wear.
Thrimlach: I’m fine. Torrea’s fine, except for the, uh… you know… the thing with Rhomande.
Sir Gnome: The divorce, Mathter?
Lorramar: <kwok> No, dummy! <caw> It was an annulment! <kwork>
Torrea: Oh, my shattered dreams! (sobbing)
Imenand: Oh, will you idiots stop bringing that up while she’s in earshot? Bastet and I are growing rather tired of Torrea’s keening.
Yfirma∂r: Me fine.
((Sfx: baby crying in distance))
Yfirma∂r: Uh, oh. That sound like Vragul wake up in middle of nightmare again. Me better go check on him.
Helema: Um… Lady Yfirma∂r, don’t you mean that sounds like Vriggle. You know: your toddler?
Yfirma∂r: No, that definitely Vragul. Vriggle cry more deep voiced, now that him almost 4 year old. Vragul say he have night terror whenever he sleep in day. Big dummy not realize he not have night terror, ’cause it not night! (sigh) But him me big dummy, so me go make sure he okay. VRAGUL! YOU STOP CRY, OR YOU WAKE VRIGGLE! THEN ME BE REALLY MAD!
Imenand: Ugh. So much better whenever the half-orcs aren’t within earshot. I should devise a soundless room, wherein we might deposit them and Torrea, until she stops crying. And the Bard, for good measure.
Smyd: Hey, guys? Where are the penguins?
Thrimlach: More importantly, where’d the land on this plane go? That’s an awful lot of water. If I were a Dwarf, I’d be pissing myself, right about now. All Dwarves fear water.
Rhomande: This is a fact, ceatharan!
Thrimlach: Duh. It’s why I said it.
((Sfx: splash x3))
DM: Issa, Tuxedo Beak, and Luwok breach swiftly from the water. They gracefully arc through the air and land heavily on the port side of the main deck. They stand majestically and triumphantly, Issa in the center, flanked by her two faithful attendants. The setting sun frames them in glowing silhouettes for a moment… before each of them bows their head, opens their beak, and coughs out a gulletful of small, silver-scaled fish.
((Sfx: thud x3, fish spill))
Issa: Man, this place is great! Just look at all of these dire anchovies that we have for dinner tonight, instead of the bland, unidentifiable biscuits that Maldreth and Imenand have been making!
Thrimlach: Ugh. No thank you, penguins. I’ll stay with the probably-evil foodstuffs that wage a constant war on my bowels.
Maldreth: Ah! Makar is less displeased with you than usual, Thrimlach! If you’d like to lessen your penance further, then how about you tell us where we are?
Thrimlach: Oh, this is just a little place that I like to escape to every now and again. You know, to take it easy for 7 or 8 weeks, maybe do some magical research. Behold! My favorite vacationing spot: The Plane of Beaches!
Imenand: Thrimlach, there isn’t a beach in sight! No beeches either! Neither shoreline nor tree, in the highly-probably case that your drugs-addled mind drove us headlong into a homophone! Again!
Smyd: So, how are we going to get anywhere, without a sail? Transdimensional or otherwise.
Luwok: Lady Featherfoot, Master Beak and I might be able to scout out the seas around us. We can take 20-minute shifts swimming along the sea floor, looking for the upward slope of an island or a continental shelf.
Thrimlach: Oh, no you won’t! We’re not going to let you penguins escape and leave us all stranded here, adrift on an infinite sea in a plane of infinite beach.
Issa: Well, do you have any better ideas, Thrim?
Thrimlach: Well, maybe. I have one idea! Sir Gnome!
Sir Gnome: Yeth, Mathter.
((Sfx: d20 roll, splash))
Thrimlach: Now that you’re in the water, wearing a suit of plate mail that’s five sizes too large, try your best to push the boat to land!
Sir Gnome: Yeth… (blurbgle) Mathter!
((Sfx: d20 roll, small thud against a wooden hull, lapping water))
Helema: Whoa! Look at him go! Miss Torrea, did you give the skeleton boy a life preserver spell or something?
Torrea: No, girl. That is all Sir Gnome’s doing!
Maldreth: Hmph. I believe that Sir Gnome may be the most faithful of all my flock. Despite the many impediments to his success, imposed by both himself and his blindfolded master, Sir Gnome never fails to attempt the impossible. He wages wars he knows he cannot win, and few endeavors are more beloved to Makar of the Broken Teeth.
Imenand: This is merely a matter of statistics. In any undertaking, Sir Gnome has a 5% chance of success, a 90% chance of failure, and a 5% chance of cataclysmic failure. SIR GNOME! If this vessel sinks and my ceremonial wrappings get wet, I will invert the dimensional hole that Thrimlach placed in your head!
Sir Gnome: Yeth, Mathter Shenouda!
DM: Sir Gnome swims toward the starboard side of the hull, braces himself against it, and begins to kick with all his meager strength.
((Sfx: d20 roll, fast-moving water))
Issa: Whoa! Keep steady! Uh… should someone go up to the wheel to steer?
Rhomande: Only if they have hands, and not flippers!
Thrimlach: No, that’s really not a good idea. Look! We’re traveling perpendicularly to the bicameral axis of the ship!
Stiev: What doessss that sssssentenccccce mean, Thrimlach?
Smyd: We’re going left. Boats aren’t really supposed to go left. They’re designed to go forward, and sometimes arc toward the left.
Luwok: Well, does anybody have an idea of when we might hit land?
Thrimlach: What do I look like? Like I’m made of a compass, sextant, and spyglass? I know what plane we’re on, not where we are on that plane!
Maldreth: Which is about as useful as knowing which star system you’re in, but not which astral body you stand upon.
Imenand: Well, given an infinite amount of time, we should eventually find a land mass on this plane. I am undead, so I can afford the luxury of such patience.
DM: In under an hour, you catch sight of a large island. Its broad, white-sand beaches stretch for miles, ultimately finding their limits in a long line of silver-barked beech trees. Above and beyond the tree line, an enormous, black mountain dominates the skyline with its impossible heights.
Yfirma∂r: Me really like move fast on boat. Especially when son and husborc still napping! Me feel like QUEEN OF WORLD! (Titanic reference)
Maldreth: No! I will not stand for such a claim!
Yfirma∂r: What you worry about, dead-priest? Me only say me feel like Queen of World. Me not actually want be Queen of World. Me not want such responsorcbility. Let Vragul have world if him want; me have Vragul, and that good enough.
Rhomande: Um… That mountain got a lot bigger in the past few seconds. Maybe we ought to slow down?
Smyd: I don’t think we’ve got the runway to slow down any. Everyone brace for impact!
((Sfx: d20 roll x many, the sound of a boat running sidelong into a beach))
DM: Sir Gnome continues pushing with all of his inexplicable might, hitting a sand bar and rolling the ship you stand upon. Most of you are thrown free from the craft, at this point, to land heavily in the sand dunes. Inertia and torque take over from Sir Gnome, and your vessel rolls and/or skids a third of the way up the mile-long beach before finally crashing to a halt.
((Sfx: d20 roll))
Maldreth: What is that?
Imenand: What is what, Father Maldreth?
Maldreth: That enormous, green sheet-looking thing that’s crawling from beneath the wreckage of our ship. What the hells is that?
Yfirma∂r: Me know that sexy wingy shape any place! Hey, Pookum! You finally wake up from nappy time?
Vragul: Uggggh! Me awake! Me no roll over on top of Vriggle! Him okay! Me King of Not Kill Son in sleep!
DM: Vragul lifts his toddler son aloft in his broad, green hands, and the half-orc prince squeals delightedly.
Thrimlach: Well, at least we’re on solid land again! And it looks like we all survived, somehow! Even, Sir Gnome is still here! Good work beaching that boat, Sir Gnome! You’ll get a bonus someday!
Sir Gnome: Yeth Mathter. Thank you, Mathter.
Helema: Good work!? But he totally ruined the rest of your boat! You could have cut down one of those silvery-wooded trees up on the hill, over there, and used it to make a new mast!
Thrimlach: Well, you have to be specific with your instructions to Sir Gnome, if you want a particular effect out of him. He’s like one of those Thinking Machines that the Imperial Bureau of Maths uses for their computations. Only much less intelligent. Much, much less intelligent. Unlike the Computationers, Sir Gnome can only focus on one thing at a time.
DM: You spend the next hour or so making camp beside your ruined ship. Just as your argument about whether to go out in search of food, ask Imenand and Maldreth to make some vittles, or to eat the penguins’ fish is reaching its crescendo—
Maldreth: For the last time! Father Makar feeds those who feed themselves! Now, if you don’t mind, Master Shenouda and I would like to return to our business.
Imenand: Yes. We have found quite a unique species of scorpion upon this beech. We wish to enlarge it and suffuse it with radiant energies, that we might make closer investigations of its workings, even once the sun has gone down.
Stiev: Sssso it’ssss a ssssand ssssscorpion?
Imenand: No, you prickwit! It’s a tree scorpion!
DM: I’m going to intervene here and ask you all to make spot checks.
((Sfx: d20 roll x many))
Smyd: ((Sfx: bear roar)) Aha! Gotcha ya little creeper!
Wakkarda: Let me down, jou giant, furry piglet!
Smyd: Piglet!? What? You’ve never seen a bear before?
Wakkarda: I believe jou are saying “boar” wrong.
Issa: EVERYBODY STOP! NO MORE PUNS! Or word play, or rhyming, or whatever stupid thing it is you’re doing with your mouths, right now! Smyd, let that white-feathered penguin go!
Rhomande: Is… Is she wearing a grass skirt?
Thrimlach: And a coconut bra? Even though penguins have feathers, and it’s completely socially acceptable for most animal people to run around naked most of the time?
Imenand: A white-feathered penguin, you say? Is she one of those Underpenguins we have yet to meet?
Luwok: No, she’s not. The Underpenguins all have black feathers on their bellies. But this penguin only has tiny, black spots dappling her shoulders. And her eyebrow plumes are intriguing, too. They stand out a full flipper’s length from her head, spraying the most rich hues of yellow, orange, and red that I’ve ever seen!
Issa: My apologies, cousin. I am Issa Featherfoot of the Pengonquin Plains Tribe. My friends and I washed up on your shores, tired and hungry after a long, dangerous storm. Our bear is simply overzealous in his defense of his friends, after such trials. Please, sit. Join us. Have a fish or two!
Wakkarda: Why thank jou, Mistress Issa. I am sorry for spying. We simply do not get visitors around here very often, and jou are all so beautifully strange. Jour dark feathers… They are like no feathers in my whole tribe!
Issa: Why thank you! I really don’t wash them enough, but you’re so kind to say such nice things about little, old me! So, you’ve got my name. What’s yours?
Wakkarda: I am Wakkarda Wakalban, and I welcome jou to Penguidise Island!
Rhomande: Well, it looks like we’ve found another lost penguin tribe! And who would have thought that we’d find them entirely by accident?
Thrimlach: Meh. Mandos works the hands of fate in often senseless ways. But things always work out in the end!
Tuxedo Beak: Even if “the end” sometimes means you die and get raised as a skeleton by a blindfolded sorceror.
Thrimlach: Sir Gnome, are you–– You’re not Sir Gnome! What are you doing over here making sidelong comments, Tuxedo Beak? What’s the matter? You jealous or something, just because Issa’s found a new girl-penguin, and girls are always more intriguing than boys?
Wakkarda: Please! My new friends! Jou must come with me to the village! We will hold a great feast in your honor, with a roast pig and alconuts and island fruits!
Stiev: Alconutssss? What are Alconutsssss?
Wakkarda: Here, my friend! Jou must have one! Jou must hit the little face with a little martellino or something.
Stiev: Doesssss the butt of my dagger work?
Wakkarda: What is a “dagger”? Oh! I see! It is a little knife! Jes, this will work!
((Sfx: d20 roll, something hitting a coconut))
Stiev: Aww. It didn’t work!
Wakkarda: Ah hahahaha! It is okay, my friend! This takes some practice. Here, like this.
((Sfx: d20 roll, something cracking a coconut))
Stiev: (slurp) Wow! Thisssss sssssshit isssss delicccccioussssss! And it burnsssss, ever-sssso-ssssslightly!
Wakkarda: Haha! Jes, my friend! But jou must be careful not to drink too much! Jou do not want to miss out on the dancing tonight!
DM: You set out for the Island Penguins village, as the sun is gently setting beyond the lazily lapping sea. Before long—
Issa: Wait. Hold on a second, Voice. Helema. Come here.
Helema: But Unca’ Rho said I have to practice bending notes on my violin, so I don’t shame him in front of a new group of people!
Issa: Whatever. Your uncle is an asshole. You pointed out something weird a while ago.
Helema: I did, Miss Featherfoot?
Issa: Yeah, you did. Remember those trees?
Helema: The ones with the silvery bark, Miss Featherfoot?
Issa: Yeah, those ones. Thrimlach, what did you say this place was called?
Thrimlach: The Plane of Beaches!
Maldreth: Ah, yes! In the Zone of Proxiphones. I once came here by accident, when I was traveling to the Plane of Bitches. My packs of fiendish bloodhounds needed a new Queen to lead them.
Issa: I hate you. And does anybody else recognize what kind trees those are, with the silvery bark?
DM: Knowledge (Trees), anybody?
((Sfx: d20 roll))
Smyd: Oh, gods! They’re beeches!
Issa: Rhomande, I know this is all somehow your fault.
Rhomande: Wha— I’ve never even been to this place! I was going to come here on my honeymoon, but we never consummated the relationship, and anyway it turns out that Sir Gnome’s signature was forged, anyway, so it wasn’t legal. Oh, shit! I’m sorry, Torrea! I didn’t mean to—
Torrea: No, no, Master Bard. It does not hurt quite so much, now that I have come to a realization.
Torrea: Yes. I had trouble admitting this, but… our marriage was never consummated because, gentle and handsome as you are, I simply… Oh, how hard this is to admit… I simply am not attracted to you in that way, my sweet almost-husband. I know everybody else seems to be, so for a time, I thought that something must be… I don’t know, fundamentally wrong about me. But popular opinion is still merely opinion. It’s okay for me not to be attracted to you, or to anybody for that matter! All will be well, so long as I am true to myself.
Issa: How wise of you, Torrea! Man, I guess being a Paladin has its benefits!
Thrimlach: All’s well that ends, well, then, isn’t it Ceatharan? Ceatharan? What’s wrong, Rhomande?
Rhomande: Somebody… isn’t… attracted to… WAAAAAAAAAAAH! DOO HOO HOO!
Scene 4: Credit where Credit is Due
Torrea: 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 The 20-Sided Theatre @“two-zero sided theatre, spelled with an -RE”, the immatrimoniable Rhomande @IllustriousRho, Master Shenouda @ShenoudaNecroCo, Thrimlach @Thrimlach, Issa Featherfoot @LadyFeatherfoot, and Spirit of the Swift Wind @SpiritOTSW.
Rhomande: The 20-Sided Theatre is a joint prod… I can’t do this! Helema! Take over!
Helema: 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, Rudraigh Quattrin, and Tony Scaruffi. With special thanks to Becky Chambers and Berglaug Åsmundrdottir for letting us mention Kelora Tamlin and Lorelei.
Stiev: Written by Rudraigh Quattrin and Edited by Blake Parker.
Tuxedo Beak: 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. If you don’t…
Luwok: Join us next time at The 20-Sided Theatre!
Scene 5: The Tag
Emperor: Grand Secretary! How go the preparations for the defense of our homeland?
Imperial Wizard: Over 74% of all Task Forces, Strike Teams, and Peregrine Armies have reported to Lieutenant-Major Umbar Spikeshoe for muster, your Holiness. Of the remaining detachments, only a dozen parties have yet to send word of their whereabouts.
Emperor: Excellent! What have you to report of our defenses, Grand Marshall?
Grand Marshall: The initial strike of the Hungering End has centimated the warren of shanty towns that once stood beyond the Outer Walls, Your Holiness; however, the walls still stand, and the arcane wards that shelter us from our attackers remain in place. The Young City now swells with refugees from the Warren and the Provinces, but our people still survive.
Emperor: So, the enemy cannot get in, then? What of our supplies? Can we afford to feed and clothe the civilians, in addition to our armies?
Grand Marshall: The armies’ storehouses in the harbor were destroyed in the initial blitz, Your Holiness. I know not of the stocks within the City, proper.
Emperor: Hrm. Double the number of Clerics in each Legion, Grand Marshall. Though their foodstuffs awe bland and chewy, they provide enough sustenance for a man to stand and fight another day. What of the foodstuffs in the city? What can you tell us, Grand Treasurer?
Grand Treasurer: Not good, Yer Holiness. Normally, the farms between the Outer Wall and the Inner provide enough for all of Sahn Daskaar to feast for a week, straight, before we run outta food. But with the port blockaded and all the refugees seeking safety with us, we’re down below minimum calories per individual, per day, as recommended by the Imperial Health Management Council. In about fifteen days, we’ll all be hunting for rats, raccoons, skunks, and other vermin, just to keep mind, body, and soul together.
Emperor: Can you augment your rations with conjured foodstuffs, Grand Treasurer?
Grand Treasurer: No, Holiness. There simply aren’t enough Clerics. They could make food and water until they all keel over dead, and it still wouldn’t be enough. It might buy us another week or two, though.
Emperor: Then I hereby decree, in the name of Voladros and the Uiadhenns, that any cleric not on Active Healing Duty must spend all of his remaining mana conjuring biscuits and water to be immediately distributed by the Imperial Parcel Service. Grand Secretary, have we any word from the Grand Weaponer yet?
Imperial Wizard: No, Your Holiness; though, his latest shipment of Blackmagma Colossi did manage to arrive before we lost the port.
Grand Marshall: We are currently retrofitting the Weaponer’s Colossi with the ancient metal that the High Seer uncovered in his visions. That should help them stand up to the destructive power of our ancient enemy.
Emperor: Ah, yes. Excellent. The Grand Weaponer has sworn fealty to the Empire, and the Empire trusts his judgement. If he is not here, then Master Shenouda must be working on a new siege engine or a new polymer to help us win. Any word from High Seer Gwaven?
Imperial Wizard: He sleeps, Your Holiness. The Sight is not upon him, and his tongue is still. His last words were, “The forgotten is not dead, nor is the dead forgotten.”
Emperor: Hmm. The same warning he gave when Master Shenouda first came to Sahn Daskaar. It always disturbs me when Lord Gwaven falls silent. His council is ever —
Makar: MEN OF VOLADROS. ELVES OF UIADH. DWARVES OF ULN. MAKAR, THE FATHER WAR, REVOKES HIS SHELTERING SHIELD. FOR THE TRANSGRESSION OF THE FATHERS OF YOUR FATHERS OF YOUR FATHERS HAS RESTITUTION COME DUE. WITH THE FIRST WEAPONS OF THE FIRST FORGE DOES MAKAR MAKE WAR UPON YOU. THE FORGOTTEN IS NOT DEAD. YOU SHALL LEARN TO FEAR THE FORGOTTEN. THE DEAD IS NOT FORGOTTEN, AND SHE SHALL LIVE AGAIN.
Emperor: We must pray that the Grand Weaponer and his Task Force arrive soon. May the gods help us all.
POSSIBLE BONUS TAG: Rud! Note to Self! Send Blake a clip from Evil Meets Island Penguins Gameplay, around 41 minutes in
TIME STAMP FOR NEXT INTERLUDE: 00:44:00