The 20-Sided Theatre, Episode 2: The Cleansing of Tuberorsus
Rhomande's Insufferable Basterds
Rhomande Sorfinde, Bard in Extraordinaire & Host-Proprietor of The 20-Sided Theatre – Rudraigh Quattrin
Dark Brother Smyd Kaltrops, President of Bear Industries – Cian Quattrin
Issa Featherfoot, Pengonquin Princess – Ceri Quattrin
Imenand Shenouda, President of The Shenouda Necromancy Corporation – Blake Parker
Tad Decent LLC, Town Exterminator of Oakvale – Chris Wong
Thrimlach Lenanien – Cian Quattrin
Vragul, Baron of Keepfield etc. (see “King of-” list) - Mike Solso
Thorn the Trixie Pixie of Unknown Gender – Blake Parker
Maldreth the Impius, Ogroid high priest of Makar – Gabe Abinante
The DM – Rudraigh Quattrin
Torrea Marsvel - Cian Quattrin
The Wiz – Cian Quattrin
Tuberorsus the Blighted – Blake Parker
Potatomad Chief – Cian
Makar, Father of War – Rud
Bardok the Unhinged – Gabe
Scene 0: Show Opening & Theme Music
Vragul: **From “offstage”** QUIET!! TIME FOR START SHOW! VROGOL DEFEAT AUDIENCE!!
SFX: (2d20 rolls)
The DM: Your Move Silent and Hide checks are successful. SFX: **Permanency**(reverb and/or effects on voice of the DM, as he is “outside” the world of the show)
SFX: (pause)(51136_rutgermuller_Cough (short))
Rhomande: Good evening Lords and Ladies. You have chosen your evening's entertainment quite wisely. You are about to experience the most wondrous spectacle in all of Western Scottalia. 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)
Rhomande: The curtain rises, and we rejoin our Heroes --
The DM: (interrupting) Really? Heroes?
Rhomande: Yeah, Heroes.
The DM: Ugh...Give me a bluff check. SFX: (d20 roll) Godsdamnit. (muttered to self). Fine...Heroes.
Rhomande: Allow me to introduce you to our heroes: The Insufferable Basterds.
Rhomande: Dark Brother Smid Kaltrops! The Half-Bear Monk and President of Bear Industries. A shapeshifter of near insurmountable strength and speed.
Smyd: SFX: (70333_mrbubble110_bear-roar.wav)The Scottalian Bread Merchants think they can strong-arm Bear Industries out of business‽ Not if I have anything to say about it. Which I will.
Rhomande: Thrimlach Lenanion! A blindfolded Elf Sorcerer with a potato perched on his shoulder and his minions Torrea Marsvel, an Undead Paladin and Sir Gnome, his faithful Gnome-Skeleton valet.
Thrimlach: Come along, Torrea. You too Sir Gnome! Or I'll put you in a maze!
Torrea: Yes sir.
Sir Gnome: Yes Master.
Rhomande: Tad Decent LLC, Town Exterminator of Oakvale. Undoubtedly the most accurate archer in all of Western Scottalia.
Tad: I'll turn Don Vincenzo into a pincushion.
Rhomande: Imenand Shenouda. He is known throughout The Empire as The Weaponsmith and he serves as President and spokesman of The Shenouda Necromancy Corporation. A mummified Human Wizard, accompanied by his Skeletal-Cat Familiar, Bastet.
Imenand: SFX: (4914_noisecollector_cat2.wav) You can count on The Shenouda Necromancy Corporation. When you need it dead yesterday.
Rhomande: Issa Featherfoot, Pengonquin Princess. A 7' tall shapeshifting Penguin Rogue!
Issa: Bow before the Princess of the mighty Pengonquin tribe or I'll peck you in the face!
Rhomande: A tiny thief of questionable gender! A master magician of variable size! Thorn, the Trixie Pixie!
Thorn: When I catch Vincenzo, he won’t know what hit him… or from what direction!
Rhomande: The terrible, towering Maldreth the Impius, the ogre-blooded Patriarch of the Church of War, dedicated to Makar, Father of Strife!
Maldreth: Where are you idiots? I had plans for this afternoon, and they hinged upon your faithful acts of violence!
Rhomande: His Majestic Terror, Vragul, son of Vorbal, King of Town Hall, King of Wagon, King of Docks, King of Wife, King of Axe, and Baron of Keepfield!
Vragul: No! Me King of Barony! Get it right, dressy-elf, or me dispense swift lesson! With Axe!
Rhomande: My humblest apologies, Your Majesty.
Rhomande: And last, but definitely not least: Yours truly, the inexplainable Rhomande Sorfinde! Bard in Extraordinaire, Beloved of Millions, The Light of the Shining Dawn…
Issa: (interrupting) *ahem* Get on with it!
Rhomande: An Elfen 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 and thoroughly enjoy your evening at The 20-Sided Theatre!
End Music Bed: (Sylvius Leopold Weiss – Courante in F Major.mp3)
Scene 1: Introduction and Chaos Potatoes
Rhomande: When last we left my Insufferable Basterds, they were crossing the wasteland of Tuberorsus the Blighted, a terrible place that may truly be Potato Hell.
Enormous dunes of mouldering tubers stretch as far as the eye can see, each one spreading its stygian spores on the wind. The great burning potato sun hammers down insistently, unmitigated by breeze nor cloud nor shade.
When last we camped, the lot of us were forced to repel a midnight attack by a horde of potato zombies. As if the undead spuds weren't bad enough, Tuberorsus himself used quite a bit of violence to express his displeasure at our presence.
Now, we trudge along the desert once again, exhausted and irritable from our lack of sleep.
Issa: Elf! Shut your poncy face and keep walking. A group of those twice-damned things ate our magic carpets.
Thorn: Wait... I'm still trying to figure that one out. Why would zombies eat carpets? Don't the undead usually eat whatever they were when they were alive?
DM: Remember where you are? The zombies can eat anything on this plane, since everything is a potato, on some level.
Tad: Hrm... That explains the glow bulb sticking out of the potato-sun. I kind of wondered about that.
DM: And so you continue your harrowing journey. Luckily, Create Food and Water is a fairly low-level spell, so your provisions are easily cared for.
Thrimlach: Where in the Twelve Hells is the rest of our party? Even with the planar temporal differential, they should have been here by now.
Rhomande: Strewth, ceatharan! I even made sure to leave them a note. I hope they arrive with my new wardrobe soon!
Issa: What's wrong with what you're wearing now?
Rhomande: You wouldn't understand. I'm pretty sure penguins are color blind.
Issa: You're completely wrong. And I hate you.
DM: Luckily, you don't have long to dwell on that thought. A cloud of dust rises in the distance, and you can feel more than hear a low rumble. Give me some spot checks.
SFX: (d20 roll x6)
Thorn: Are those potatoes wearing robes?
Imenand: You mean the ones with the pitted eyes and the horrendous piercings?
Thorn: No, I mean the other ones. The ones whose caravan seems to be on fire... But I don't see any flames.
DM: Indeed, as you close the distance, you witness the caravan flaking and blowing away as ash. The whole area shimmers with heat haze, but no flames are visible. In fact, the closer you come to the conflict, the colder the air grows.
Issa: Ah! Now this is proper Penguin weather!
Imenand: Hold your beak, penguin. I recognize these portents. The Empire has hunted this foe for the past nine thousand, four hundred and twenty-eight years, across innumerable worlds and planes.
Tad: But... I thought that you guys were just lying ... You know, for politics. You mean those stories you told were real?
Imenand: Indeed. The Hungering End has reached Outer Haikon. Forward, now! For the glory of the Empire!
Issa: (sarcastically) I guess we'd better kill it, then.
DM: The chaos potatoes notice your boisterous approach, and two of them break off from the nomads. The infected potatoes shamble toward you, rolling irregularly over the massive body rings piercing their bulk. The ground beneath them freezes, and a loud crack peals out before the very earth drifts away like dandelion seeds on the wind.
Rhomande: Excellent! SFX: (d20 roll) According to my extensive bardic knowledge, these are still too weak to cause lasting damage to this plane. Observe how we still have ground upon which to stand.
Issa: Wait... Why are these things bad?
Imenand: Because they absorb matter and energy in an attempt evenly redistribute them across the plurality universes.
Tad: So what? We already know we can move from universe to universe. Can't we just leave this one and lock the door behind us?
Rhomande: Would that it were so! The Hungering End travels from plane to plane, dispersing everything in its wake. Eventually it would catch up and corner us.
Tad: Big deal. You guys said that there’s an infinite number of universes, anyway, so we can just keep moving if we have to.
Imenand: You never studied mathematics, did you Tad?
Tad: No. Why?
Imenand: We have two Mathematical Limits at play here. One – the living universe – approaches a positive infinity. The other – the sections of the multiverse where the End has won – approaches a negative infinity. Do you want to gamble your very existence on the possibility that the negative infinity grows more slowly than the positive?
DM: While you have been discussing Basic Mythology and Advanced Mathematics, the third chaos spud has taken it upon herself to disintegrate the seventh of sixteen nomads.
Rhomande: Time to get some sorely needed attention. I shall raise my voice in song, accompanied by mine own lute. No potato will be able to ignore me!
SFX: (lute strum)
DM: They sure won't. All three chaos potatoes turn immediately toward Rhomande. One fires a black ray from its sickly index root.
Issa: Index root?
DM: Yeah... The one it points with, I guess.
Torrea: Duck, you silly bard!
DM: Torrea crashes into Rhomande, hurtling him to the ground, safely out of the beam's path.
Rhomande: My thanks, Dame Marsvel. You have secured yourself a place in my next ballad.
Issa: Eat beak, demons! Peck PECK!
SFX: (d20 roll x2)
Imenand: Right behind you, Penguin! Arc of Lightning!
SFX: (Blake lightning)
DM: These infected tubers convulse as electricity courses through them, but nothing seems to slow their approach. Not even Issa’s mighty beak.
Tad: Hrm... There's something odd going on here.
Thorn: You mean – Hold on one moment. Scorching Ray! SFX: (Sierra scorching ray) Sorry. You mean other than the "potatoes destroying reality in a fifteen-foot radius" thing?
Thrimlach: Or the part where we're on a plane that is entirely composed of potatoes, but one of those nomads looks like a yam?
Tad: No, I'm used to those by now. My nature sense is just... itching.
DM: A deep-throated roarSFX (bear roar) rises from behind the caravan, as a familiar ursine form bounds into the melée.
Smyd: Brutal Charge! SFX: (charge) Die, starch ball! SFX: (d20 roll x3)
DM: Smyd crosses the distance in less time than it took Rhomande to break into song, tackling one of the potato demons and savagely eviscerating it with his claws and teeth.
Thorn: These things can be eviscerated?
DM: Well, yes and no. Yes, they have insides that can be moved outside. No, this doesn't kill them. In fact, much of the demon’s body drifts away like the desert around it, but the hollowed-out potato skin keeps just coming.
Smyd: SFX: (bear roar) Sorry, guys. I had a lot of fruit earlier, and it took a while to find a decent Business Bush.
Thorn: Well, you're here when it matters. Behind you, bear! Scorching Ray!
SFX: (Sierra scorching ray)
DM: The chaos potato bursts into flames. Now you have an on-fire chaos-fueled potato of the Hungering End to deal with.
Tad: Wait! I've figured it out! I drop to my knees and cast Commune with Nature. SFX: (Chris commune with nature) We're still in the desert, right?
DM: Um... Yeah. What are you trying to do, here?
Tad: I humbly beseech the attention of Tuberorsus the Blighted.
Tuberorsus: SFX: (distortion, chorus) SPEAK, INVADING SPUDLING.
Tad: O, mighty Tuberorsus, whose great efforts ruined the diggers of far away, we have located the source of your agitation.
Tuberorsus: SFX: (distortion, chorus) THEIR BLIGHT IS FAR WORSE THAN ANY PLAGUE I EVER WROUGHT. I FEEL MY VERY CORE FRAYING AS THEY MOVE THROUGH ME.
Tad: Quite right. The Hungering End is from beyond the beyond. They will sweep through this world and countless others, consuming everything – rocks, trees, animals, water, the very airs we breathe. The End represents everything ... Un-tuber-riffic.
DM: Give me a diplomacy check, Tad.
SFX: (d20 roll, fail)
Tad: Hrm... Not great. I'd better keep talking.
Tuberorsus: SFX: (distortion, chorus) YOU WASTE MY TIME, SPROUTLING.
Tad: Great Tuberorsus, you are here as punishment for destroying – for murdering your fellow potatoes. Would it not go toward making amends, if you were to save all of Haikon from this menace?
DM: Tad, you are met with silence.
Tad: Well, that didn't work. Anyone got a plan B?
Rhomande: I could put on a last, grand performance.
Tad: (annoyed) ... Anybody else have a plan?
DM: Yes, Tad. Someone else does have a plan. Everyone make reflex saves, if you're not flying. SFX: (d20 roll x5) The ground shakes, and one of the cracks in the earth opens, swallowing one of the chaos potatoes. A moment later, the twenty-foot tall Aspect of Tuberorsus climbs from the chasm, lifting the remaining two demons from the ground.
Smyd: Hey, I wasn't done with that yet!
Thorn: Do you really want that giant waiter to bring back your moldy, demonic potato?
DM: Tuberorsus holds the two chaos potatoes aloft, smashing them against each other, before swallowing the starchy pulp of their remains.
Smyd: Well, I don't want it now.
Tuberorsus: SFX: (distortion, chorus) I MUST RETURN TO MY SOLICE, LITTLE POTATOES. CONSUMING THESE FEW INFECTIONS HAS TAXED ME GREATLY.
DM: And with that, the Aspect is reabsorbed into the desert, leaving you alone with the potato nomads.
Scene 2: Reuniting the Party
Rhomande: And now, we turn our sights back toward the great kingdom of Scottalia. Maldreth is just finding the message I left him.
Maldreth: Where are those meatsacks? Hrm… a note: Went to Potato Heaven. Bring Vragul and the blue tunic with the gold fringe. ~Rhomande
: Ugh… I summon Vragul with the ring I gave him.
Issa: Wait… Our lich friend gave us all rings?
Imenand: I didn’t take one!
Tad: We have what now?
Rhomande: Almost all of us… and shush! You’re not in this scene!
Thrimlach: Wait! That was a choice?
Rhomande: You’re not in this scene either!
Maldreth: I merely left a handful of magic rings in a bag in our secret meeting place.
Thrimlach: What do these rings do?
Maldreth: They just let me teleport to you, I swear! It’s handy, and you can teleport to me at any time!
Thrimlach: Whenever you want!
Maldreth: So I can heal you! It’s handy!
DM: Rhomande’s right. Only Maldreth should be onstage.
Maldreth: Ahem… USE MAGICAL DEVICE!
SFX: (d20 roll)
DM: Vragul appears in a puff of smoke.
SFX: (Gabe teleport)
Vragul: … no want clean out drains! Me King! King of…of... What? Huh? You no wife!
Maldreth: No. Me not. PLANAR GATEWAY!
SFX: (Gabe teleport)
DM: You stand amid the rolling yellow hills of Outer Haikon.
Maldreth: Good. Now I can teleport to Thrimlach.
DM: Ok. Give me another Use Magical Device check. SFX: (d20 roll) Your ring flares with the power granted you by Makar, forgotten god of battles. Within seconds, you stand head and shoulders over Thrimlach, as he tinkers with his bag of spell components. Thrim, give me a Notice check.
SFX: (d20 roll, fail)
Maldreth: Summon Vragul!
SFX: (d20 roll)
DM: Vragul appears in another puff of smoke. SFX: (Gabe teleport) He seems to have scooped one of the local fauna up onto his axe.
Vragul: … King of Potato Bunny!
SFX: (animal chittering)
Tad: It seems our esteemed King of Town Hall is losing this particular argument.
Scene 3: Conversing with Potatomads
DM: Maldreth and Vragul have arrived just at the end of your encounter with the chaos potatoes. The band of potato nomads… or potatomads.
Issa: Gods. Damnit.
DM: The potatomads are quite grateful for your timely intervention. Their chief straightens her robes as she wobbles toward you.
Chief: Thank you for saving us!
Tad: Pleased to meetcha. Tad Decent, LLC: Anything Exterminated at a Reasonable Price. Your pests are gone, and I’m not paid. (menacingly) That means there must be more trouble coming for you. Right?
Chief: Those beasts somehow blasted away the oasis that has been in this spot since the first Sprouting. O great traveling heroes, what news do you bring?
Vragul: Where oasis go?
Chief: Those things destroyed it.
Vragul: Where we find it?
Chief: It’s… not there anymore.
Vragul: You say gone. That mean it away.
Maldreth: (interrupting) I can fix your oasis problem for 200,000 standard-weight gold coins!
Vragul: (in background) Me subdue oasis.
Chief: We only have these!
DM: She opens a sack emblazoned with the local currency symbol. She reaches inside and pulls out a handful of quarter-sized Yukon Gold potatoes.
Tad: I’ll appraise them!
SFX: (d20 roll)
DM: They’re probably not worth anything on any other plane.
Tad: But it is food. Exotic food, at that!
Issa: And it’s made of the souls of dead potatoes. I bet we can make a mint if we can find an unscrupulous master chef. Where’d we put that turtle?
Tad: The plane of burnt, or something.
Thrimlach: Char! A truly terrible place, and the less we dwell on that the better.
Maldreth: Well, that sounds worthless to me. I hate you.
Smyd: Well, I guess you’re not getting your oasis back.
Maldreth: It’s probably made of potatoes anyway, like everything on this shitty plane.
Chief: I must protest!
Vragul: (interrupting) You travelers. Me find oasis. Bring it back. All me want, is you make Vragul King of Oasis.
Chief: Well, I suppose we may make you King of our oasis, as you ask, if you can return it.
Vragul: NO MAY! NO ASK! I HATE ASK! KING NEVER ASK!
Chief: (gulp) Yes, Sire! No, Sire! Whatever you say, my king!
Smyd: Now, potato! Have you seen any other travelers? We’re following the trail of a deadly criminal.
Chief: You mean the one with the … sprout? Coming out of its… what’s that word? Head!
Imenand: The feather, in its hat. Vincenzo.
Chief: Yes! We met with the Vincenzo four days past. It wanted to know the way to Inner Haikon and the Russet Hills.
Smyd: Then that’s where we’re going. Which way to the Russet Hills?
Chief: Sadly, we do not know. We have wandered these deserts for the past four hundred thousand years, and only thrice has this caravan reached the desert’s edge. The Vincenzo professed not to care, and demanded a direction. We pointed, and it left, and then the demons came.
Maldreth: Man, you guys suck.
Issa: Gods almighty!
Vragul: You dumber than Facerock Clan orc.
Chief: But this is our dream: to be nomads in the desert for a very long time. How can we be nomads if the desert ceases to exist?
Vragul: Maybe you learn dream better.
Thrimlach: Have a heart, King Vragul! Even such a lowly being as this potato, or even a Sir Gnome, has dreams and ambitions, you heartless monarch! Their dreams just aren’t as good, or as worthwhile as us clever folk!
Scene 4: A Goddess-Toppling Spud
Smyd: Let’s get a move on. Which way did Vincenzo go?
Chief: That way! We potatomads have an excellent sense of direction.
Thrimlach: I’m blind! Can you scry me those directions?
Chief: But… we don’t have any magi. But we do have this map!
Thrimlach: Hmm… I’m surprised you knew that scrying needs magi. I’ll have my potatoling read it.
DM: As Thrimlach pores over the map, the chief calls the rest of the party over to her caravan, leading you to a dark-stained wooden chest. The carving upon it shows a woman at a forge, with a potato at her foot.
Chief: This is the finest weapon of the Potato Clans. In the days before the sun, it rolled from an elf lord’s table and through the halls until it came to the Great Iron-Roasting Lady. It rolled beneath her foot, and she fell backward upon the ground, striking her posterior most humorously. Seeing the fire in this potato’s root, she placed it in the coals and there she shaped its form to its spirit. Will you take this goddess-toppling weapon and rid the desert of the rest of those demons?
Imenand: What in the name of all that is unholy was Mëassë doing?
Issa: Let me get this straight. Your goddess tripped over a potato, and then she made it into a sword.
Thrimlach: Hmph! You would never catch Mandos tripping over a measly vegetable!
Chief: With all due respect, I must correct you, Master blind pointy-sprout. We’re roots.
Imenand: You are what my goddess shapes you into! Just like this blade.
Rhomande: Identify Item! SFX: (Rud identify) Hrm… This weapon is a potato-souled vorpal scimitar. And it’s intelligent… barely. Fear not fair frittes! For the fearless foreign elf Rhomande Sorfinde will fell this foe.
Issa: Rhomande… When is the last time you even swung a fucking sword?
Rhomande: Just now, as I was gesticulating!
Issa: I hate you.
Scene 5: Hot Potato, Hot Pursuit
DM: You continue your journey across the desert of Tuberorsus the Blighted, pursuing both the demonic chaos potatoes and the elusive Don Vincenzo. The demons have left a wide swath of dispersed reality for you to follow.
Rhomande: At least this matter-fog is keeping the sun from blistering my exquisite ears.
Issa: This place is terrible. Potatoes can’t even do Hell right! Where are all the icebergs covered in seals?
Vragul: Not so bad. A little like great grandmorc used to say Orc Purgatory like.
Issa: Dare I ask the purpose of Orc Purgatory?
Vragul: Make you strong. You survive, find water and get born another time. Unless you weak. Then you die forever-death. Me strong. Get through desert. Me King of Desert! You! Sand! Show me way to oasis! King want drink!
Issa: Can anybody possibly track those chaos spuds? The Annointed Heiress of the Pengonquin Expanse does not wish to spend any more time listening to his Majesty yell at the sand.
Tad: Well, he may have a point there.
DM: Wait, he might?
Tad: Yeah. I’ve been noticing these tiny waves in this matter-fog. If we follow them to their source, we may find our vermin.
DM: How did you even notice that?
Tad: High Notice modifiers.
DM: Fair enough. Give me a Tracking check.
SFX: (d20 roll)
Maldreth: I don’t fully trust this exterminator. Rats and fish-men are one thing. Demons require a more inspired solution. Divine!
SFX: (Gabe divine)
DM: You get to ask Makar the Father of Battles one “yes or no” question.
Maldreth: Should I follow that studiously decent-looking exterminator, O Makar?
Makar: SFX: (distortion, chorus) YES
Maldreth: (happily) See? Now we know that the demons are this way. Or some other, better conflict.
DM: You spend the next three hours following Tad as he sniffs the air, halts intermittently, and continually hums. Give me two more Tracking checks.
SFX: (d20 x2, Tad humming)
Tad: Yep, these waves are definitely getting more frequent. And… there’s something pulsing out there.
DM: Everybody give me a Listen check.
SFX: (d20 roll x8, failure)
Maldreth: Ah! Just listen to the welcoming sounds of tortured moans on the wind. It reminds me of my first parish.
Rhomande: Bullshit! My keen elven senses would be able to detect any such sound!
Issa: Maybe if you’d stop talking, you could hear it!
Imenand: Hrm…The old stories tell of the empty howling of the demon scourge. The Hungering End could be heard for ten thousand leagues as it consumed the Crystal City of Brext, wordlessly crying their conquest.
Smyd: Those are just stories. We were at Brext, remember? No giant howling potato demons cropped up while we were there. Just that zone of death Father Maldreth put up. That and some colossal undead.
Vragul: Me tired of this. Want see something new. Me go left!
DM: Are you sure you want to leave the group?
Vragul: You no tell me what I do, giant no-body voice. Me go left.
DM: Vragul quickly discovers that something has broken reality in this part of the desert. He turns to his left, expecting to see the matter fog, but instead he is met with his own feet on the ground.
Vragul: What? That not possible.
DM: Indeed, the more you try to look to your left, the less you see around your feet. When you look up, you see your body, your legs, your feet, and the ground.
Vragul: Ugh. This worse than that time we on boat. BWAH! What that?
DM: Rhomande has clapped his hand on Vragul’s shoulder, spinning him around.
Rhomande: You alright your majesty? You look a little greener than normal.
Vragul: Me fine. And no touch new tunic. Wife make it herself. Take many hours hunting dire lizard.
Rhomande: My apologies, sir!
Rhomande: And so, we made our way across the blasted wastes, pursuing the Hungering End, upon a strange plane and far from home.
Upon our return to Sahn Daskaar, the emperor himself would surely reward us for vanquishing these abominations.
DM: And then an earthquake strikes. Make reflex saves. That’ll shut you up.
SFX: (d20 roll 6)
Scene 6: The Return of the Potato Dragon
DM: You all hit the ground at the same time. Everything has become very grey. The whole expanse before you has been leveled in every direction. The cracks in the ground have disappeared, and the earth seems to have been planed to a smooth, uniform height as far as the eye can see. There are no individual grains of sand any more – just polished, flat bedrock. The ashy matter-fog is thicker here than anywhere you have seen thus far. Tiny bits of potato hell stick in your nose and throat as you gasp for breath.
Thrimlach: I shall consult my Knowledge of the Planes! And this map I stole from the potatomads.
DM: Give me a roll, and let’s see what your books and scrolls come up with.
SFX: (d20 roll)
Thrimlach: According to my calculations and divinations, we are no more than seven hours from the edge of the desert. I don’t know how we’ve done it, but we’re nearly to Inner Haikon and Khadavan.
Smyd: Yeah, and that thing got here first!
Rhomande: Its many eyes were pitted and rotten. Though a few twisted roots and sickly chutes remained upon the great Potato Dragon, it, too, had fallen to the infectious demons of the Hungering End.
SFX: (dragon roar)
Vragul: Wait… this thing. It potato or dragon or demon?
DM: It’s a potato-dragon that is turning into a demon, Vragul.
Vragul: It transforming?
DM: Yes. It transforming… It is transforming. And rather quickly.
Vragul: I king. I kill thing before it finish change.
DM: But it’s already halfway there.
Vragul: I. KING. I. KILL. THING. BEFORE. FINISH. CHANGE.
DM: Sigh… fine. Do your worst.
Vragul: Hah! Now, this proper Orc Purgatory challenge like grandmorc always want me have! VRAGUL DEFEAT CHAOS POTATO DRAGON DEMON THING!
DM: SFX: (jet engine) Vragul takes to the air on his grafted dragon wings, readying Bloodless, his mighty greataxe.
Maldreth: Yes… an airborne battle! O Makar, Bringer of Strife! Bestow these cretins with the power to traverse the aether! Ethereal Jaunt!
SFX: (Gabe Ethereal Jaunt)
Tad: As much as I appreciate your aid, O Horrifying Priest, I think I’ll stick to what I know – flights of dozens of arrows!
SFX: (arrow x7)
DM: Tad fires as many arrows as his fingers can grasp, as quickly as his arm can draw them back. Unfortunately for you, this potato was somehow able to imagine the thick, scaly hide of an elder red dragon. Each arrow strikes the beast, but none take root in its starchy flesh.
Vragul: Hrm… that not good. Maybe no Power Attack like me plan.
Maldreth: You could always delay your action, you know. Wait for the bard to make himself useful for once.
Vragul: No wait for bard. King already defeat bard. No need stupid elf music. Just RAGE!
Issa: Hrm… I remember what happened the last time I charged that thing. Maybe this time I’ll just let our ‘venerable’ King of Town Hall get chewed on and blasted with jets of hot steam.
Rhomane: A capital idea, penguin! I shall play his Majesty into battle! Summon Lute!
SFX: (lute strum)
Vragul: ME! SFX: (d20 roll) SUBDUE! SFX: (d20 roll) POTATO! SFX: (d20 roll)
DM: Vragul moves so quickly that all you can see is a green and black streak, flitting around the dragon’s head and neck, striking blow after blow with the flat of his Great Axe, Bloodless.
Tad: Sigh… Hasn’t his wife taught him how to hold that thing yet?
Smyd: You haven’t spent very long at the keep, have you? She yells at him constantly, but it mostly ends in their “special orc married time”.
Imenand: Enough prattle! Start making yourselves useful. Lightning Bolt!
SFX: (Blake lightning bolt)
DM: SFX: (dragon growl) The dragon attempts to barrel roll out of the way of both the enraged, flying half-orc and the coursing bolt of electricity. It collides with the somersaulting Vragul, rolling its tail directly into the lightning’s streaking path. Parts of the tail burst, spewing potato filth in a twenty-foot radius.
SFX: (splat, squish)
Issa: Ewwww … Now I have to change my headdress again!
DM: Don’t bother, Issa. The dragon unleashes a jet of scalding white steam. Reflex saves from all of you.
SFX: (d20 roll x8)
Issa: Hooray! I’m safe this time!
Vragul: Ugh… Me not feel so good. Stupid sauna dragon gonna DIE!
SFX: (d20 roll)
Smyd: Does anybody have a plan other than “strike at it head-on”?
Rhomande: I do! Gloriously strike at it head-on!
Thrimlach: I like the “strike, gloriously, and head” parts of that plan, ceatharan. Might I suggest the addition of a METEOR SWARM?
SFX: (Cian meteor swarm)
DM: Four fair-sized rocks come hurtling from the sky…
Smyd: (interrupting) They’re not potato rocks or anything, are they?
DM: Surprisingly, no. Thrimlach appears to have reached out into the depths of space, warping the gravitic fields surrounding the planet, and drawing four asteroids directly toward the starchy demon.
Thrimlach: Eat rocks that are actually rocks!
SFX: (dragon roar, meteors)
DM: One passes within arm’s reach of Vragul.
Vragul: HEY! WATCH WHERE YOU THROW ROCKS! ME KING OF ROCKS!
Maldreth: Yeessss… The Meteor Blitzkrieg greatly pleases Father Makar. Now Quicken another one, Thrimlach!
Thrimlach: Pfft. If I’m going to please anyone’s god, it’ll be mine, not some ancient war deity that my ancestors decided wasn’t refined enough for the Elven race.
Maldreth: Very well. Instead, I shall imbue Brother Kaltrops with the Divine Power of the Warfather. You can keep praying to whatever bundle of sticks you want.
SFX: (Gabe divine power)
DM: Meanwhile, a familiar starburst appears SFX: (neigh, gallop) in the distance. From far off you can hear galloping hooves.
Torrea: Spirit of the Swift Wind (neigh)! Come to me!
Thrimlach: Ahem, Torrea. And that other thing?
Torrea: Ah, right. Rhomande Sorfinde, I grant you the splendor of the eagle!
SFX: (Torrea eagle’s splendor)
Rhomande: This moment did provide me with the inspiration necessary to craft my opera magnifica. I looked about and beheld powers of light and darkness arrayed side by side against the scourge of all worlds.
I raised my voice in song… a song so beautiful that the great Bardok the Manyfaced, Lord of Chance paused in his great mischief, admiring our plight through my honey-mouthed words. And, so the great Bardok said –
Bardok: SFX: (distortion, chorus) I, BARDOK THE UNHINGED, WOULD GRANT YOU A BOON, LITTLE VOICE. WHAT DOES THE VOICE WANT? WHEN YOU THINK OF IT, JUST BLOW OUT THIS EVERBURNING CANDLE.
DM: Everyone roll a Fortitude save. SFX: (d20 roll x7) Ok, if you failed, you are blinded for one round. If you passed, you see a small muffin-shape snap through a hole in reality. During that moment, Rhomande took the cupcake in his hand and secreted it somewhere on his person.
Issa: Wait… ewwww…. I don’t want to know about Rhomande’ssecretions.
Maldreth: I want to know what he thinks he’ll do with them… I cast Mind Spiders!
DM: We’ll deal with that in a minute, Maldreth. But first… [fail sound] The dragon fails his save. Bardok has blinded it, too, and the beast begins an awkward descent.
Smyd: I brutally charge!
DM: You can’t charge, because you’re flying, and the mechanics of flight don’t come naturally to bears or elves or any of the rest of you.
DM: Thorn, I apologize. Issa, penguins still can’t fly!
Smyd: Fine. I’m a monk. Monks are fast. I fly the 100 feet up and attack.
DM: That actually takes a double move, since you can only fly 60 feet as a single action.
Smyd: I hate flying! If bears needed to fly, Ursana wouldn’t have made it so bees have to put their hives on trees.
DM: The potato dragon snaps its mouldering jaws at you as it falls past.
SFX: (d20 roll, displacement)
Smyd: Hah! But I’m not there!
DM: Damn. You’re four feet to the left. I keep forgetting about that Cloak of Displacement.
Smyd: I make my counterattack!
SFX: (d20 roll x4)
DM: Take a moment to savor the sight of a bear mauling a demonic potato dragon, whilst hurtling toward the ground at an acceleration of 9.8 m/s2. The dragon rolls over, unable either to spread its wings or to dislodge Brother Smyd.
SFX: (dragon roar)
Tad: Finally! A moving target! I loose a storm of arrows. SFX: (d20 roll x5,1 crit) … There! Now it’s a feathered demon potato dragon! And I’m pretty sure the last one hit him in the eye!
Issa: This dragon already has too many adjectives and descriptors. No need to add “feathered” or “eyeless” to it!
Smyd: Agreed. I move that the only adjectives we add to this dragon, henceforth, should be “dead” or “eviscerated.”
SFX: (d20 roll, dragon roar)
Smyd: Shut up! You don’t get a vote!
SFX: (d20 roll, dragon roar again)
DM: Smyd, Issa. You’ve spent a full round within smelling distance of this thing… Give me a save vs. fear.
SFX: (d20 roll x2, fail)
Smyd: I fear nothing!
Issa: Oh ye gods! I’m twelve feet away from a steam-breathing, demonic, feathered potato dragon! And it’s already chewed on me once this month! Waaaaak!
DM: You are all treated to the sight of a seven-and-a-half foot penguin flapping its wings in panic as it plummets from the sky in an attempt to escape the falling dragon. Issa, you are shaken for the rest of the fight.
Issa: Wait, didn’t we have a paladin up here?
DM: Yeah, but I already took a gander at her area to see if anyone would benefit from her stalwart aura.
Torrea: How dare you look at me and my ‘area’! I’ve never heard such uncouth language.
DM: Well, uhm…
Torrea: My ‘area’ is beyond your comprehension, you filthy disembodied voice!
DM: Terrible sorry, ma’am. It won’t happen again. By the way, the dragon has come much closer to the ground by now. You are all within range of its aura of fear, now. Imenand, Rhomande, and Tad are also within range of the beast falling on top of them in the next six seconds. Give me saves versus fear and reflex.
Imenand: I have already died. I fear nothing
DM: Quite true! You only have to make the reflex save.
SFX: (d20 roll x5, failure x2)
Tad: Hoooo, boy!
Rhomande: He’s coming in fast.
Tad: Are you thinking what I’m thinking, bard? [pause] Bard? Hey, where’d Rhomande go?
DM: He’s over there, heading for that big rock.
Tad: The funny shaped one with the perfect hiding spot?
DM: The very same.
Tad: Uhm… well, I’d better show him where the good hiding spot is!
Thrimlach: Does it matter that I’m blind? Does that exempt me from the dragon fear?
DM: Not so much. You can still smell it. You can also still see it through your potato familiar… sort of.
Thrimlach: What do you mean ‘sort of’?
DM: You’re starting to get some kind of interference. Your left eye sees the dragon, but your right sees some half-rotten French fries sitting atop a series of spikes.
Thrimlach: Ugh… Got to check that last barrel of bear grass for impurities.
SFX: (bear roar)
Smyd: All sales are final. SFX: (d20 roll) By purchasing our product SFX: (d20 roll) you have agreed to the terms of service, SFX: (d20 roll) which include waiving the right SFX: (d20 roll) to complain about any perceivedSFX: (d20 roll) irregularities. Whew!
Thrimlach: That’s odd… Ah, well! I’m sure that this won’t interfere or come up in any way, later on!
Issa: Ye, gods! Why does this fucking dragon keep getting closer to me?
DM: Do you understand how gravity works?
Issa: I’m a penguin. Of course I don’t understand how gravity works!
Thrimlach: Well, penguin, you multiply the masses of two objects, then toss in some made up number, and divide by the square of the distance between them!
Issa: Yyyeahhh… Still don’t know how gravity works. But I do know how beaks work! Peck PECK!
SFX: (d20 roll x2)
DM: The great werepenguin has joined your bear in harrying this red-peeled drake as it sinks through the sky like a sack of cats tossed into a bog.
Vragul: No, penguin. You no defeat potato dragon. Me defeat! I king of potato place!
DM: Vragul flaps his wings mightily and nosedives toward the melee. He crashes into the dragon’s right flank, battering at its ribs and wing with Bloodless, his mighty axe.
Imenand: As effective as this cascading melee has been, I would like to add one more element into the mix.
DM: Which element would that be?
DM: You do know that casting most electricity spells into a melee is a good way to kill your party members, right?
Imenand: Your point being?
DM: Fair enough. Give me some saves. SFX: (d20 roll x3) Smyd, Issa, and Vragul make their saves and break off from the demon just as Imenand’s bolt of unregulated electricity SFX: (Blake lightning) collides with the beast. Those of you still within smelling range are treated to a new development. Instead of this thing merely reeking of dragon and rot, now it assaults your noses with the odor of burnt, rotten potato, with a light undertone of dragon musk.
Smyd: Ugh… This smells suspiciously like your wife’s cooking, Vragul.
Vragul: Me know! This great!
DM: No, Vragul, it’s not so great. Now, it’s annoyed, as well as hungry, as well as driven to unmake reality in all forms. In fact, SFX: (d20 roll) – It snaps you up, grinding into you with its molars. Simultaneously, it lets out a jet of steam, SFX: (steam jet) strafing the ground team. It swipes its foreclaws at Issa and SmydSFX: (d20 roll x2), and spreads its wings to regain control over its flight path. SFX: (d20 roll) The dragon compensates for Smyd’s displacement, buffeting the bear toward the ground. The impact explodes SFX: (chaos burst) with coruscating black-and-red energies, as it assimilates and redirects the magic energy that has been expended thus far. Smyd is left with flash-burns and the smell of burning hair, SFX: (sizzling) as the chaos potato rolls over to uppercut the flying penguin SFX: (d20 roll, chaos burst), releasing more of its stored chaotic power into the strike.
Smyd: SFX: (bear growl) Damned beast. This won’t grow back until it’s almost winter, you know!
Issa: [distressed penguin noises, possibly as a long string of profanity censoring]
Smyd: At least it doesn’t have anything else it can strike with.
DM: Oh! Thanks for reminding me! It also has a tail snap! SFX: (d20 roll) The dragon strikes at Spirit of the Swift Wind with its lashing tail. Give me a ride check Torrea.
Torrea: SFX: (d20 roll, fail) Woops. Spirit of the Swift Wind SFX: (neigh), look out!
DM: The dragon manages to strike the holy steed’s saddle, and the burst of chaotic power eats through the straps. Within seconds, Torrea is left floating atop an empty saddle, whilst her horse runs naked across the skies.
Torrea: He isn’t naked, though.
DM: Oh, yeah? Why not?
Torrea: He’s still wearing his horse shoes!
DM: Well, either way, you comically fall off of you flying horse. Luckily, you don’t fall to the ground, thanks to Maldreth’s flying spell.
Torrea: Well, that’s a relief. At least the dragon’s turn is over.
DM: Not quite. The dragon can make one more strike. It continues corkscrewing its body and flies into the ground at full-tilt, aiming for the ground team. Rhomande, Tad, Thrimlach, and the Cadaver Collector: give me reflex saves. SFX: (d20 roll x4, failure x1) Imenand, you can choose whether or not to dive out of the way, since your Cube of Force currently prevents all matter from passing closer to youthan 10 feet.
Thrimlach: Woops. Torrea, return and heal merpjh—
Smyd: Now’s our chance! Everyone, attack before it rolls over!
SFX: (d20 roll x10)
Rhomande: And so, our brave party did bring down this terror from the skies, and we laid about it with swords and knives, claws and teeth. Amid the carnage, Maldreth and I raised our weapons in prayer.
These arms had been forged in the years before day and night, in the smithy of Measse the Weaponmaker. In mine hand shines the vorpal potato sword! Behold Maldreth’s war pick, chased with ancient runes in half a hundred languages, with three spiked chains dangling from the butt-end.
We had recovered this holy artifact from the holt of the Fire Iron Otter clan, who dubbed this implement the Fang of Pain.
Now, these weapons pulse with the light of the twin gods, Makar and Mëassë, Father of War and Mother of Weapons, as the terrible priest and glorious bard drive blade and spike through the demon’s pulpy heart.
DM: Yep. All that the bard said happens, and the might of the twin gods spreads through the demon of the Hungering End, ripping it apart muon by muon, dispersing its excess atoms across the local reality. Within a few minutes, you notice the sand beginning to coalesce once again, taking the shapes of tiny potato-grains. Tuberorsus is already healing, thanks to your efforts.
Thrimlach: I cast Chain Lightning.
DM: But, why? There aren’t any more enemies around.
Thrimlach: I want to make some lightning fossils, and the sand is just reaching the right consistency.
DM: Sigh. Fine. SFX: (Cian lightning) You have just fulfilled the most sincere wishes of a small group of potatoes who wanted to be either glass, fossils, or lightning. One was even clever enough to want to be all three. She is happiest of all.
Issa: Do potatoes even have gender?
Vragul: Who care? Where oasis?
DM: We went over this, Vragul. You can’t see it because the oasis isn’t here.
Vragul: Then how me become it king?
Rhomande: Suffice it to say that the potatomads owe you, your Majesty. If ever you have a problem that could be sorted out by a group of wandering potato souls, you know where to turn! This is the true power of kingship.
Vragul: No. Axe true power of kingship. Favors and debts only power for weakling talky elf king. Orc know what give real power. Axe. And YELLING.
Scene 7: Exeunt Stage East
Rhomande: Once the evil of the Hungering End had been dispatched, a mighty wind arose and swept through the desert of Tuberorsus the Blighted, clearing the matter-fog.
When the air finally stilled itself, we beheld a wide, straight road, paved with cobbletots. The road had opened to us at the behest of Tuberorsus himself.
For wreaking his vengeance and clearing his desert of invaders, the Blighted One rewarded us with his most precious of gifts: the right to leave.
And so, my Insuffrable Basterds arrived at the borders of Inner Haikon, where Khadavan, King Prautha, and Don Vincenzo still lay ahead…
Scene 8: Credit Where Credit Is Due
Music Bed: (Credit Where Credit Is Due - VCMG)
Thrimlach: Visit The 20-Sided Theatre online at 20sidedtheatre.tumblr.com.
Rhomande: The 20-Sided Theatre is a joint production of Bear Industries and the Shenouda Necromancy Corporation.
Rhomande: This episode of The 20-Sided Theatre stars Gabriel Abinante, Blake Parker, Ceri Quattrin, Cian Quattrin, Rudraigh Quattrin, Mike Solso, and Chris Wong
Thorn: Written by Rory Quattrin. Edited by Blake Parker.
Issa: Sound Effects Design by benboncan, Blake Parker, bosone, braffe2, cjosephwalker, cfork, cgeffex, cyberkineticfilms, cognito-perceptu, dalomargrimm, ddohler, dkifer, dobroide, erdie, freesound, frequman, ggctuk, halleck, joelaudio, Jon Abinanted, lonemonk, mattwasser, m-o-m, mrbubble110, nextmaking, noisecollector, patchen, pushtobreak, rock-savage, Rudraigh Quattrin, rutgermuller, sbarncar, stephensaldana, steveygos93, syna-max, timbre, wolfsinger, zerolagtime,and zimbot.
Imenand: Music by Bart Spaans, Broken Cities, o_ame, Sylvius Leopold Weiss, and VCMG. For a complete list of and links to all the music you heard on tonight's episode visit 20sidedtheatre.tumblr.com.
Tad: Join us next time at The 20-Sided Theatre!