The 20-Sided Theatre, Episode 22: The Albino Sorceror
Ormr Ironheel’s Imperial Posthe
Ormr Ironheel – Cian
Portia Fireleaf – Blake
Ozzrick Oddfellow – Gabe
Kalindir Celebnaur – Ceridwen
Wank de Winky-Wonk SkiddamarinkydinkydinkskiddamarinkydooIloveyou-Smith – Natalie
Ser Kallandriel Alastarthe – Rud
Felicia Cattermain – Ceridwen
Owen Dromeos – Blake
The DM – Rud
Rhomande Sorfinde, Bard in Extraordinaire – Rud
Glumenar – Ceridwen
Morellian – Cian
Theo the Wonderguard – Cian
Kartoffel the Slayerspud – Blake
The Basterds (Credits) – Blake, Rud, Cian, Ceridwen, Natalie, Gabe
The Chip Dipson Memorial Action Town Criers (Recap) – Ceridwen, Natalie
The Electric Slide: Cian
Sam Sonar: Ceridwen
Penguin Quartet: 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: Recap
Rhomande: Well, my beloved audience, it sounds like things aren’t going so well for the Emperor and the Holy City of Sahn Daskaar. Father Maldreth tells us that Makar has “made a movement” in some unknowable way, causing trouble with, for, or about the Outer Walls of the Holy City. Well, Father Maldreth claims to know in which way the Father of War has “moved”, but such knowledge, according to the Patriarch of the Church of War, is, quote, “beyond the feeble ken of even my most faithful parishioners,” endquote. But that’s only the biggest news from a city that, statistically speaking, you are not standing anywhere near, at the moment. Instead, let us turn our attention back to Those Young Kingdoms and the Sea of Madness. And who better to catch you up with the events of far-flung planes than the Dipson Memorial Action Town Criers? We go now to our Anchorpaladin, Dame Hera Laris.
((Music: Ben Briggs – Star Clash Theme))
Hera: Thank you, Rhomande. Tonight’s top story follows Imperial Mixed-Species Task Force Number 57822.
Rhomande: Ahem. No. Please, Dame Laris, use the new team designation that Sir Gnome gave you.
Hera: Excuse me. I meant “Ironheel’s Imperial Pothse”… Led by Ormr Ironheel of the Clan of the Leaping Spears. This springy dwarf and his nine companions have just received the Emperor’s Call, but before they can return to defend the Holy City of Sahn Daskaar, they must overcome a new–or perhaps an old–impediment. Here’s the Criers’ own Pinky the Problematic Pixie with more. Pinky?
Pinky: Thank you, Hera. As you can see behind me on the scrycrystal, Ironheel’s Pothse entered the fabled Sea of Madness recently. This area is known primarily for its eternal tumult, which is largely caused by enraged water and air elementals trying to rip each other in half. Only the stupidest and the least mentally stable mariners in Those Young Kingdoms’ history have ever attempted to cross this patch of ocean. None have ever returned to report their success, so we presume that all of them were killed in the most unspeakable ways. We do, however, have confirmation that the Call of the Emperor has reached three nodes within Those Young Kingdoms.
Hera: Well, Pinky, getting the Emperor’s Call is always disorienting, but most people won’t have put themselves in such immediate danger, as Ormr and his group of adventurers often do. What in the names of the Triple-Goddess caused Ironheel’s Pothse to enter such a dangerous zone of chaotic wilderness?
Pinky: Well, their halfling corsair, Portia Fireleaf, had steered them toward the Sea of Madness in order to take a shortcut toward the Red Arch of Dalathorn, where they were supposed to report to their local contact: an albino sorceror known as Morellian. Unfortunately, Vornorroch of the Star Pastures was stricken by the Emperor’s Beacon, so Portia had to take over at the helm. Miss Fireleaf promptly turned their ship 180° and fled Morellian’s ship, rather than face him at half strength. We will update you as more information becomes available. Back to you, Hera!
((Sfx: vornorroch snort))
Hera: Thank you, Pinky. If you have any information on Those Young Kingdoms or on this Morellian individual, please report immediately to the Imperial Exploration and Task Service. Unless you’re currently fleeing for your life through the quickly-collapsing streets of Sahn Daskaar, that is. Up next: one surprising trick that can make you 40 silver pieces a day—without leaving your home! But first, a word from our sponsors.
Rhomande: Lords and ladies of my beloved audience, please do recline upon your gilded seats, quaff your libations, and adjust your listening devices that you may fully immerse yourself in the sonorous soundscape that comprises your evening at The 20-Sided Theatre.
Scene 2: Pursuit
Ormr: Portia! Keep the damned boat straight, so’s Theo can git a bead on that Morellian fucker. Even from this distance, I can see his eyes glowin’ with that red color what only evil people give off when they use magic.
Portia: Aye-aye, Ormr! Just gotta not spin the wheel, here! See? I’m getting the hang of this Corsairing business!
Ormr: Great. I’ll give you a medal or somethin' if’n we survive this. Owen! Ozzrick! Have you two found a way to wake up the Kals ’n’ the star horse yet?
Owen: Ehrm… So… They’re not actually asleep. Catatonic, perhaps, but their eyes are still open.
Ozzrick: (to Owen/Ormr) Either way, they’re not looking so good. Their breathing is really shallow. (to Kal) Come on, Kalindir… You’re my best friend. What’s gonna happen to the act if you die?
Wank: Ormr! It looks like Morellian’s ship is gaining on us! I… I think they’re almost in range for the Battle One Thousand Eight Hundred Eighty-Eights.
Ormr: Well, git them things loaded and ready fer firin’, Wank. If’n that evil sorceror gits our two keys of Rilinkrena, things is gonna be bad fer the Empire.
Felicia: Well, from what the two elves and the giant mouse said, it sounds like the Empire’s already in a spot of trouble.
Ormr: Fine. More trouble, then. And, Felicia, why ain’t you helpin’ at least one o’ the three tasks our posse’s got right now.
Felicia: Sigh. Fine. I’ll help wake up the elves. Kal? Kaaa-aaaal? Either one of you…
DM: Felicia squats on her haunches, between the bodies of the two paralyzed elves, impassively staring at their blank faces. She lazily swings her tail back and forth for a long moment, whilst drawing her front right paw slowly into the air. After a stretch of pregnant tension, Felicia strikes out with her paw, striking Kalindir on the nose.
Kalindir: (sputtering) Ah! Wha—? What is going on? Why am I on the ground?
Theo: Actually, friend Kalindir, you’re lying upon the deck of our ship. Not the ground.
Kartoffel: Vherever you are, Mensch Celebnaur, you should thank Katzlein Cattermain for returning you to your senses.
(((pronunciation: celebnaur = KEL ebb nawr)))
Kalindir: Actually, Kartoffel, I’m not a “Mensch”. I’m pretty sure that means “Human”. I’m more of a “Fee” or an “Alf”.
Ozzrick: Kal! You’re okay! What was that?
Kalindir: I… I’m not so sure. I was in the Elven Thoughtscape… it felt like I was drowning beneath an avalanche of someone else’s snowy thoughts. It felt like everybody was in that thoughtslide…
Portia: Well, that’s one of them up. Now we just need to get Other Kal and Vornorroch up.
((Sfx: Vornorroch snort))
Portia: Vornorroch! There you are! Looks like all you needed was someone to say your name! And maybe to say your name while holding a nice, juicy carrot in front of your nose. Who’s a good pony? Yes, you are! Yes, you are!
((Sfx: Vornorroch snort))
Ormr: Portia, what’re you doing!? Nobody’s drivin’ the boat now, and them pirates what Morellian hired ’re catchin’ up with us!
DM: The pirates’ ship is now close enough that you can hail each other and hold a reasonable conversation. Glumenar, the redheaded dogsbody of Malbalanidhe’s Sorceror Prince, raises a megaphone to his lips and addresses your Posse.
Rhomande: You mispronounced that word, Voice.
DM: You’re not in this scene, Rhomande.
Rhomande: Damned straight, I’m not. But this is still my theatre, and that means I can still give directions from offstage.
((Sfx: d20 roll))
DM: Ugh. Fine. What word was mispronounced?
Rhomande: Sir Gnome clearly named this group “Ironheel’s Imperial Pothse”. Spelled and pronounced with a lisp.
DM: Of all the— Fine. Glumenar addresses the Pothse on behalf of his master, Morellian of Malbalindhe.
Ormr: “Mal-baloney”? Sounds more like rotten lunch meat than a name fer a country.
DM: Well, you’re not the only one who has problems with foreign place names, Ormr. Wait til you hear what they think the Empire is called.
Glumenar: Foreigners from the Empire of Velcros and Wheat-thins! You have purloined artifacts from the ancients of Rilinkrena, the holy ancestors of Malbalindhe. Halt now, return the Keys, and my master will let you keep your lives in our oubliettes. Resist, and your flesh will be flayed and bleached for our scrolls, your bones will be crushed and burned to ash for our high-carbon steels, and whatever other various parts are left will be purified and distilled for our potions. You have two minute-glasses to decide your fate.
Ormr: We need a lot less time’n that. How’re them battle sticks comin’, Wank?
Wank: Got four of them primed and ready, Ormr!
Ormr: Great. You, Owen, Theo, and Felicia take them sticks and see if’n you can hit the stupid hat offa that redheaded feller’s head. Vornorroch, you and Portia git up to the aftcastle and see if’n you can keep the boat floatin’.
Owen: Right away, Ormr.
Portia: Aye-aye, commander!
Theo: Come, Felicia! Grab your Battle One Thousand Eight Hundred Eighty-Eight device and let us defend our ship, our friends, and our homelands from this menace of Mal-baloney!
Felicia: Cats don’t fetch sticks. But, I suppose I see your point. Fine. Taking aim.
((Sfx: bolt-action rifle shot x4))
DM: Four shots peal out, but their echoes are muffled by the permeating din of the Sea of Madness. Unfortunately, you guys haven’t practiced very much with these things, so nobody hits Glumenar’s hat. One of you does manage to knock another pirate into the ocean, though. The readheaded man continues to grin idiotically, as his ship closes on yours.
Ormr: Better’n nothin’. Ozzrick and the Kal what’s awake, you two strike up a tune to inspire our gunners. Maybe see if you can fascinate their helmsman, once we git close enough.
((sfx: vornorroch snort, maybe some rushing feet and some weapons-coming-off-racks sounds?))
Ozzrick: Right away, Ormr! Which tune should we strike up, Kalindir?
Kalindir: Well, Ozz, I don’t think those pirates have heard the one about the bridge, where everyone dies at the end.
Ozzrick: Do you mean The Fun Ferry at Fellowes’ Fjord, or The River’s Full of Ribs?
Kalindir: The first one. It’s way more depressing.
DM: The albi-gnome and the half-dragon elf strike up a tune so ancient that even Ser Kal would think it old-fashioned if he were awake. But that’s the cool thing about music: you can always put new words onto an old tune. Anyway, as the song reaches the first chorus, Glumenar’s grin fades into a grimace. His master, the black-armored Morellian, raises his milk-white face and opens his crimson eyes wide to the space between your galleons.
Ormr: Hopefully them pirates don’t like songs about a bunch o’ kids dying on a river bank. Okay, Kartoffel, yer the only one left. I want you see if’n you can wake the other Kal up before that pigment-less pig fucker hits us with one o’ his spells.
Kartoffel: Right away, Herr Ironheel! Let’s see… vas can ve use to wake you up, Herr Alastarthe? Oh! Sis bucket of deck-svabbings should do se trick!
((Sfx: sluicing water from a bucket))
Ser Kal: (sputtering) Wha— I’m up! Am I late for muster?
Kartoffel: Finally! You are awake, Kallandriel! Vas just happened to you, Kalindir, und Vornorroch?
((Sfx: vornorroch snort))
Ser Kal: In ancient days, Empress Shulamete Chartzith established a warning system that allowed the Empire’s Sovereign to tap directly into the Elven Thoughtscape, even across dimensions. Well, we call it the Elven Thoughtscape, but really anybody with a decent level of psionic attunement can join in. Or be forced in, in the case of our warning system. So, what’s going on, now? As active conduits, we three are the only party members who didn’t hear the message. Are we still fighting that guy who’s definitely evil because he’s a redhead? Or have we moved on to his master, who’s doubly evil, because he wears black armor and employs a redhead?
Ormr: Wait a minute, Kal. NOT YOU! T’OTHER ONE! KEEP PLAYING YER VIOLIN, SCALY-KAL! Alright, horse-Kal, back to business. Why warn’t Morellian affected by the Emperor’s Call, like you and Kal and the star horse? He’s an elf, too, by the look of him.
Owen: Ehrm… So… I actually think he was afflicted by the call. This explains why he hasn’t called down lightning or made the seas boil beneath us or anything.
Wank: Then why wasn’t I affected? Half-celestials definitely have a strong connection to the psionic plane.
Ser Kal: Not only is it surpassingly difficult to break into the mind of a celestial or a half-celestial, friend Wank, but also it is quite rude to intrude upon the minds of superior beings from the supernal planes.
Wank: I guess that makes sense. Hey, look! That Morellian guy seems to be yelling at us.
Scene 3: The Battle with the Bubbling Bebilith
DM: As his war ship comes alongside your slave galley, you finally hear his words floating across the distance.
Morellian: Treachery! I welcomed you into my kingdom. I tasked you with finding the ancient keys that will unlock the fabled Vault of Rilinkrena, the great repository of wisdom left by my ancestors! And now you spurn my friendship and you seek to keep the trove of sciences for yourselves! Behold! Arkoloch the Chaotic stands behind Malbalindhe, now as ever! HEAR ME ARKOLOCH! BRING DOWN RUIN UPON THESE THIEVES!
Ser Kal: Well. That makes the trifecta. This guy is definitely evil. One: he wears black armor. Two: he invokes the lords or ladies or whatever gender or genders of Chaos. And Three: he employs a redhead.
Ozzrick: I guess we do have one way to be certain about Morellian’s morality. We could always Detect Evil!
((Sfx: detect alignment))
DM: Ser Kal's anachronistic frozen-in-time perspective about hair color aside, you guys are at least partially right. Yes, he is a servant of Chaos. No, he does not serve the Masters of Chaos. Yes, he wears black armor. No, he does not scan as “evil”. Yes, he’s really pissed off at you. No, there’s really no way to get out of this situation, with Portia and Vornorroch at the helm.
((Sfx: Vornorroch snort))
Ormr: Well, then gird yerselves fer battle, my Imperial Posthe! See, voice? I was payin’ attention. I like the idea of havin’ my own posthe.
DM: Before you have much of a chance to ready yourselves further, a hideous, shrieking ululation emits from the albino sorceror’s gaping maw, and the waters before you begin to roil into a strangely perfect circle of turbulence.
((Sfx: begin bubbling seas))
Portia: Is that…? Is that a giant skull in the water?
Ozzrick: Nah, it can’t be. Things with skulls usually top out at six eyes, and that thing clearly has thirteen sockets.
DM: The image in the water only lasts a moment, before a large wave washes the vision from your eyes. The winds arise and whip into a fury as Morellian continues to utter sounds not meant for mortal throats. He slowly raises his arms, seemingly unencumbered by the black greatsword he clutches in his right fist.
Kalindir: Strike four! Only evil people carry black-bladed weapons!
Ormr: By Vrassax’ Itchy Veruccas! That’s only strike three! Fer the last time, it ain’t evil to hire redheads!
DM: As Morellian continues his chant, the inlaid runes upon his blade begin to shine with a dull, magenta light. The pirates, still brandishing filth and falchion alike, eye the albino nervously, and are only stopped from leaping off the ship by the menace of the churning, bubbling vortex below.
((Sfx: d20 roll, bolt-action rifle shot, wilhelm scream?, splash))
Ormr: Felicia, what the hells’re you doin’!?
Felicia: What? That guy on the railing was flat-footed.
DM: The dead pirate falls overboard, and when the corpse hits the water six tentacles shoot up and wrap around its arms, legs, torso, and head. The body is held suspended above the waves for a long moment, before the unseen beast tightens its muscles and tears the body limb from limb, flinging the parts down into the water for easy consumption.
Ser Kal: Ormr, if something terrible comes out of that churning water, I just want you to know: I was right about Morellian and Glumenar being evil.
Ormr: Gods dammit, horse-Kal! Warn’t you the one what said we should take as many jobs as possible from them? Warn’t it you who said, ‘Oh, there's lots of gold in collecting ancient artifacts and you dwarves love gold, right Ormr?' Because, uh… I genuinely can't remember which o’ you said that. And that would be just like an elf to take advantage of a poor dwarf's faulty memory!
Ser Kal: Um...look, it's those guys we hate! Leap upon them, Ormr, while Vornorroch and Portia, position us to ram their ship! Whatever I may have said in the past, our employer has clearly become our former-employer, at the very least because he’s taken up with pirates!
((Sfx: vornorroch snort))
Glumenar: Wait… Is that horse smart enough to actually pilot your ship?
Ser Kal: Certainly! Vornorroch of the Star Pastures is intelligent enough to understand sapient speech! He simply lacks the vocal hardware to respond. Look! He can even do math! What’s four plus two, boy?
((Sfx: vornorroch snort, horse footstep x6))
Kalindir: Wow. Then he's already smarter than that flying Orc back home that the Empire loves indulging so much.
Ozzrick: Gods! That guy's axe is smarter than him.
Kalindir: Duh. Why do you think he serves its every whim?
Portia: Alright, Vornorroch… Swing us around to port, then wheel us 270° to the right.
((Sfx: vornorroch snort))
DM: Vornorroch looks at you uncomprehendingly, Portia. Maybe a Handle Animal Check is in order.
((Sfx: d20 roll))
Portia: Oh, right! You don’t know port and starboard, since you’re a horse.
((Sfx: horse sounds))
Portia: Sorry. Star Horse. Now we just need to get into position. All right—
((Sfx: spinning ship’s wheel, creaking wood))
Portia: No, boy! Bad horse! I didn’t mean to go right! We want to head to the port side, first! I mean, left!
DM: Unfortunately, Vornorroch has a blind spot with lefts and rights, due to his equine dyslexia, so he smacks the wheel with a hoof, lurching the ship right instead of heeding Portia's directions.
((Sfx: spinning ship’s wheel))
Ormr: Kal, I wantcha ta know that this is yer fault. If’n you’d sent the horse to the edjucashin speshulist like I asked, we wouldn’t be in this trouble right now!
Ser Kal: What? You never asked me to do such a thing?
Ormr: That’s because I asked the other Kal to do it. You know… The Kal what’s all educated and writes poems and songs and shit all the time. The Kal what’s known for being literate.
Kalindir: Sorry, Ormr. We had our first appointment scheduled, but then we took a little longer with this Keys of Rilinkrena business than we’d anticipated, so we had to reschedule.
Ormr: That’s alright, scaly-Kal. I’m just a little tense right now, what cuz of all the pirates standin’ next to them guys what we don’t trust. But at least the boats’re close enough now that I can make a mighty dwarven JUMP… Ofuck!
((Sfx: d20 roll, jump, splash))
DM: Ormr leaps mightily, but he catches his left foot on the underside of the railing, which spins him over and sends him diving headlong into the sea.
Ser Kal: I tire of this sorcery, pale one! I issue my knightly challenge: come face me on the field of honor! Er...Water of honor. And I hereby solemnify this challenge with a FIREBOLT!
DM: Ser Kal stretches out his left hand toward Morellian, and a high-velocity, superheated rock shoots forth from it. The glow intensifies around the runes in the albino’s sword, and the technomagical knight’s projectile shatters as it comes into contact with its target. Morellian slowly turns his wide, magenta-wreathed eyes on the ancient Star Elf.
Ozzrick: Wait… his eyes are magenta, not red? Oh, crap. That changes everything.
Portia: How so, Ozzrick? I thought magenta was just a form of red, with a little bit of purple in it.
Owen: Ehrm… So… Magenta isn’t actually a color that appears in nature. It is the result of our brains trying to wrap the color spectrum around, in order to create a color that blends infrared with ultraviolet light.
Ozzrick: Exactly! This means that his eyes haven’t been glowing red this entire time! We know that red is an evil color, but violet’s kinda neutral. This guy serves chaos, but he doesn’t scan evil. Maybe this guy’s like an antihero or something.
Kalindir: I suppose that means he’s down to two strikes, if Ormr’s correct about it not being evil to hire redheads. Which I’m still skeptical of.
Ser Kal: Nope, he’s definitely wrong about that. It was even encoded in Imperial Law, back in my day!
Kartoffel: Ja, Herr Alastarthe, but sis law vas repealed about 2340 years ago, vis se Pigment Nondizcrimination Act.
DM: What…? How did you know that, Kartoffel?
Theo: My brave potato squire has been helping me review for the Imperial Citizenship Exams. Getting our Yellow Cards will allow us greater freedom to travel the worlds, helping the helpless, and defending the defenseless!
DM: Uh… Good for you guys, I guess. Meanwhile, the roiling, bubbling of the sea halts for a moment.
((Sfx: stop bubbling seas))
Ormr: Well, at least that’ll make it easier to climb back up toward the crow’s nest fer another mighty leap… unless something just came up and touched the soles of my feet… I really hope that’s not what I fear it is.
Morellian: I accept your challenge, treacherous foreigners. As my champion, I select the great Bebilith of Arkoloch. Behold your approaching doom!
((Sfx: big splash, bebilith roar))
Ormr: Oshit! As my grandpappy used to say, “Time to spear the damned thing and hold on fer dear life!”
((Sfx: d20 roll, spear hit, bebilith scream))
DM: The great beast of chaos erupts from the briny depths, as Ormr sinks the head of his spear deep into its pitted carapace. The dwarf swings this way and that from the haft of the weapon, as the arachnoid demon climbs out of the water and steps onto its suddenly-smooth surface, gently skating its giant, bladed legs over the top of the liquid water as if it were solid ice.
Morellian: That should do. Most people are terrified by anybody summoning anything. Glumenar, you go manage the pirates, while I wait here ominously, in case that guy who challenged me actually makes it over to our boat.
Glumenar: Aye-aye, Morellian! Alright, pirates, you heard him! Everybody onto the back of the Bebilith! If that ship isn’t sunk in 20 minutes, it’d better be because everybody on it is dead, and we’re dragging it back to port!
DM: The pirates leap without delay from the ship onto the awaiting giant crustacean. As it begins to skate towards your ship, you prepare for a collision with the great elemental beast.
Portia: Well, if there’s one thing I’m better at than helmsmaning, it’s swashbuckling! Just need to figure out which of these ropes to cut…
((Sfx: d20 roll))
Portia: And here we gooooooooooo!
((Sfx: d20 roll))
DM: Portia tries to swing out and jump onto the seaspider, but her timing is off, so she has to swing back to the ship.
Portia: Uh-oh. I’m coming baaaaaaaaaaaaack!
Theo: Worry not, friend Portia! For Theo the Wonderguard and Kartoffel the Slayer Spud are here to––mrpth!
DM: Something about Theo’s voice must have irritated the Bebilith, because the demon throws its enormous, sticky web to cover the Scottalian guardsman. Starting with the mouth, apparently.
Kartoffel: Theo! Let me help you out of sere! I will just use sis knife… vhich is now stuck to se web. Sis is going to take a little longer than I expected.
Owen: Drat. We need to get across to the other vessel. Come on, Lotty. Once we get over there, you can feed on all the higher primates your stomach desires. Let’s see… We need some sort of a bridge or a plank… Or perhaps I should simply cast a Spider Climb right after I summon a Swarm of Sea Rats!
((Sfx: lotty, summon swarm of rats, mass spider climb, low rumble of thousands of tiny feet))
DM: You hear the low rumble of thousands of tiny feet moving throughout both ships. Within moments, two of the stickiest, most horrendous rat kings you’ve ever seen have blossomed like pimples on the hulls of the two boats. The tumescent masses reach out toward each other, and within moments, every rat from each ship is caught in a pace-wide umbilicus that spans right over the Bebilith’s head.
Owen: There. Your footing might be a little sticky, Lotty, but now we have a clear way across, so you can eat those pirates.
Felicia: Outta the way, scales! These assholes wanted to throw me into salt water to be eaten by some huge spider-crab. Mrrrrowwww! Hiss!!
DM: Felicia drops to all fours and bounds across the rat-bridge, leaping upon the closes pirate she reach and laying into him with claws and teeth!
((Sfx: d20 roll x2, fighting cat sounds, fighting velociraptor sounds))
Portia: Okay! I think I know what went wrong… I cut the rope too high up, so it couldn’t actually reach the far ship. Just gotta pick a new rope… and here we go agaiiiiiiiiiin!
((Sfx: d20 roll, knife slash through rope))
DM: Portia once again sails through the air, fencing with the pirates atop the Bebilith, as she passes over their heads. At the end of her swing, Portia launches her feet forward and backflips her way into the gunner’s seat of a ballista. She immediately swings the device toward Morellian and makes a Use Siege Weapon check.
((Sfx: d20 roll, misfire))
Portia: Oh. Whoops. Gotta actually load the bolt before I can fire it. Sorry, guys. Give me a minute, and I’ll try again.
DM: Meanwhile, closer to the water line…
Ormr: Okay. I just gotta get my feet under me, first. Okay, Ormr. You can do this. Just gotta plant yer feet and pull out yer spear, in one… two… AAAAAAAAAAAH!
DM: The Bebilith twitches autonomically, as Ormr’s spear hits a cluster of nerves. The violent shudder sends Ormr flying, back toward the party’s slave galley. Ormr collapses onto the deck in a heap, a fraction of a second before the demon raises a heavy claw to crush him into paste.
((Sfx: heavy body hitting deck))
Ser Kal: Not if my Madeupdium Shield is interposed between the claw and the dwarf, first! Yah!
((Sfx: d20 roll, madeupdium shield))
DM: Kallandriel crashes toward his fallen friend, and just barely makes it in time. The rim of the technomagical knight’s Madeupdium shield catches the claw near the point, cracking the chitinous exoskeleton and releasing a hideous smell.
Ser Kal: (coughing)
Ormr: (coughing) Thanks… Kal… Gods, I hate fish.
((Sfx: chitin/lobster claw cracking open))
Portia: Okay… I’ve got the ballista loaded now. Just need to take careful aim at Morellian…
Ozzrick: Hey, Kalindir! It looks like Portia might need a little help.
Kalindir: Ja, Ozz! So maybe we should pick a tune for her and Inspire Competence!
Ozzrick: (simultaneous) Inspire Competence!
((Sfx: bard magic/inspire))
Portia: Hey, thanks, guys! That’s quite a stirring, confidence-building song… yeah, I kinda like that… Oshit! I’m supposed to be firing this giant crossbow!
Morellian: It’s a ballista. For now, at least. In a moment it will be a tangle of splinters and ropes, once it comes into contact with my Crushing Fist!
((Sfx: Crushing fist, splintering/breaking/shattering ballista))
Portia: Oh crap! Time to grab the rope and swing baaaaaaaaaaaack! Agaiiiiiiiiiiiiin! But on purpooooooooooooose!
DM: This is probably a good juncture for everybody to make Spot Checks.
((Sfx: d20 roll x10))
Kartoffel: Ja, Theo. I know you cannot see anysing yet. I am focused on making sure you can breathe first!
Wank: Hey, guys! There’s something wrong with Morellian! He looks a little pale… Uh… Even more pale than usual. Or maybe less pale? He’s kinda translucent-green, instead of translucent-blue.
Glumenar: Master? Master Morellian? You’ve spent yourself too quickly, Master. We must withdraw. Surely, the Bebilith will take care of them!
Morellian: Thank you, my old friend. Yes. Let us withdraw. Citizens of the Empire of Villalobos and Weak-things! I lay my curse upon you petty wretches! You shall live to rue disobeying the Sorceror Prince of Malbalindhe. When next we meet, my great ebon blade of ancient runes shall feast upon your very souls!
DM: Morellian’s eyes glow magenta once more, and a quickly-expanding dome of force flashes before your eyes, leaving nobody to stand on the war galley, save the albino elf and his redheaded companion. Four large sea elementals rise from the depths to shoulder Morellian’s ship and to carry it away towards safety, as the Sorceror Prince of Malbalindhe collapses in his squire’s arms.
((Sfx: big magic burst, lots & lots of splashes))
Owen: Ehrm… What about the rat-bridge that Lotty and I built?
DM: Oh, right. Uh… All the rats are blown off of your foes’ ship, as well. But the Spider Climb is still in effect, so they kinda get stuck to the side of your boat, like a giant, filthy, rat-haired Sticky Hand.
Wank: What’s a Sticky Hand? Sounds gross and like something you don’t talk about in mixed company.
Ozzrick: Never mind that, Wank! I’ve got a more important question: Did Morellian just kick our asses so hard that he got winded and had to go home?
Ormr: Ugh… That don’t matter right now. Leastawise ’cuz we still got that giant spider-crab-demon thing what’s tryin’ to kill us. Although, uh, it does seem to be kinda distracted, what with all the pirates hanging offa him. I don’t think they really ‘spected their boss to leave them all stranded and without a boat and such.
Ozzrick: Maybe we can offer them a spot on our galleon!
Kalindir: Yeah, Ozz, but we don’t really have too much space up here on the decks.
Ozzrick: Well, then maybe we can put them down in the galley with all the slaves we’re going to free once we get back to port!
Kalindir: A capital suggestion, my good friend! Let us attract all of these bluff sailors with a Mass Suggestion!
Ozzrick: (simultaneous) Mass Suggestion!
((Sfx: bards’ mass suggestion))
DM: Well, that takes care of most of the pirates. Upon hearing the tunes and the directions that are ringing forth from your bards…
Ozzrick: Swing your partner, Do-see-do!
Kalindir: Get yer ass up to the hold!
Ozzrick: Climb the railings; cross the decks!
Kalindir: If you don’t, we’ll break your necks! Yee-haw!
DM: As I was saying, the pirates begin to leave the battle field… er… battle waters. Anyway, they move fairly quickly, and the fastest of them lock themselves into place beside your galley slaves. This leaves only the Bebilith to contend with.
Ormr: Alright, voice, keep yer shirt on… If’n you got a shirt. Either way, I got this. Just gotta climb right onto the monster’s forehead…
((Sfx: d20 roll))
Felicia: Purrrrr… Ormr? Why are you climbing onto that thing’s head. Are you going to attack all of the little pirates that are swimming at our boat?
Ormr: Nah, I got a better idea’n that, Felicia. It involves a mighty, dwarven LEAP!
((Sfx: d20 roll, leap))
DM: Ormr finally finds his footing and leaps a good 40 ILDMs straight up, into the air. At the vertex of his narrow arc, he turns his body over and dives spear-first into the Bebilith’s leftmost eye. The summoned fiend screeches at an unholy frequency, as thousands upon thousands of smaller arthropods erupt from the wound in the monster’s face.
((Sfx: d20 roll, spear hit, bebilith scream))
Wank: Ewwww… Those things give birth through their heads?
Owen: Ehrm. So. Being a demon, the usual laws of physics and nature do not apply to the Common Bebilith. This one must have been full of eggs, and any new opening in the body sends a signal for the eggs to hatch and for the young to escape through the nearest opening in the mother’s corpse. Don’t worry, though. These juvenile demons are too soft to survive on the Prime Material Plane for long, so, like newborn turtles heading toward the sea, these arthropods will be returning to the Planes of Chaos and Evil, to prove their fitness for survival.
DM: The massive creature finally lurches its final step and slumps over into the side of your ship. Somehow, it even stays afloat on the ocean’s glassy surface, after it dies. Furthermore, the Bebilith does not dematerialize within seconds of its death, indicating that Morellian is probably an incredibly powerful sorceror.
Ser Kal: Enough of that! We still have pirates to deal with. Hey, you pirates! Surrender now, and you will be allowed to become a part of our crew! Any funny business and we’ll throw you back into the sea!
Wank: Um, Ser Kal, they're dead already. And the ones who aren’t are already down in the hold with all those slaves we promised to free.
Ser Kal: Oh. Then let us celebrate another glorious victory for the Empire!
Ormr: That's historically how it's worked, ain’t it? After a fight, someone declares, “Now that we’ve killed you, diplomacy will prevail!”
Portia: Pretty much! So, where to next, Ormr?
Ormr: Well, we oughta head fer the closest Imperial Gateway, so’s we can help out the Emperor. Sounded like a bunch o’ trouble back in the Holy City… I hope my favorite taphouse is still standing.
Scene 4: Credit where Credit is Due
Stiev: Vissssit The 20-Sssssided Theatre online at twentysssssidedtheatre.com. You can also follow usssss on Twitter through sssssscryomagical links that Imenand and Thrimlach have esssssstablisssssshed. You can follow the Twenty Sssssssided Theatre @ Two-Zzzzero Sssssided Theatre sssssspelled with an -RE, the Insssssurmountable Rhomande Ssssssorfinde @IllusssssstrioussssssRho, Masssssster Imenand Ssssssshenouda @SsssssshenoudaNecroCo, Thrimlach Lenanien @Thrimlach, Isssssssssa Featherfoot @LadyFeatherfoot, and Ssssssspirit of the Ssssssswift Wind @SsssssspiritOTSsssssssW.
Maldreth: 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 the use of Owen Dromeos and Lotty.
Thrimlach: Original Adventure and Story by Cian Quattrin. 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, then I shall summon a pregnant Bebilith onto your plane, and your entire species shall serve as the first meal of its hatchlings!
Rhomande: Join us next time at The 20-Sided Theatre!
Scene 5: The Tag
((Sfx: radio tuning))
Electric Slide: Greetings, denizens of the transdimensional empire I’ve been spying on! This is Professor E. Slide again, contacting you to announce another brilliant development from SlidingTech Industries and its subsidiaries. Do you hate children, but need to keep a good public appearance during offspring-centric holidays? Might I suggest handing out the new Candy Coal, brought to you by Edwin’s Friendly Potato-Based Food Products! When my great-uncle Enoch died and left me an abandoned coal mine, I had two choices before me…
((Sfx: Radio tuning))
Imenand: Yes, I believe that is the proper frequency. Citizens of the Empire! Pay no heed to this “Professor Slide”, for now speaks Imenand Shenouda, Grand Weaponer and Third Hand of His Holiness Emperor Nashtif, Twenty-Seventh of his name… Yep. That’s definitely broadcasting. Now, Mistress Featherfoot. Just like we’ve planned.
Issa: Yeah, yeah. Just gimme that trinket, you fool. I’m running out of alconuts, so we’ve got no time for pleasantries.
Imenand: Where have I heard that sentiment before…?
Issa: I dunno. It’s just something I came up with, all by myself, I guess. Anyway… Issa Featherfoot, Empress of the Pengonquin Expanse, here to undercut that weirdo who keeps interrupting Imenand’s commercials and the best-ever episodes of Elven Corner–like, the one where Rhomande burned down Thrimlach’s ancestral treehouse; man, what a great episode! And to help such undercutting, I am here to announce the all-new SlidingPeck Delivery Service! Do you have a package that needs to be somewhere else, and fast? But are you disgusted by how un-cute and un-cuddly your delivery options are? Fret no more! For SlidingPeck Deliveries only employs the most adorable penguins to deliver your parcels, letters, and packages. Here’s how it works. Step 1: you put something into a package and hand it to your nearest SlidingPeck Parcel Depot, alongside any applicable fees. That’s the end of your part in the process! Step 2: We tie your parcel, letter, or package to the back of a youthful, attractive penguin. Step 3: The delivery penguin slides on his or her belly for miles and miles, all the way to the front door of your package’s recipient! And be on the lookout for an upcoming service: Singing Penguigrams!
Penguin Quartet: Wak-wak-wak-waaaaak (“Sweet Adeline”)
Issa: If you remember nothing else, just keep repeating our name: SlidingPeck Delivery Services. Imenand says it’ll help pollute the namespace and the essee-oh or whatever for that Slide guy. Was that good enough, Imenand?
Imenand: Good enough, for a seven-foot tall penguin. Now, let us return the signal to its original wavelength, and see the results of our… handiwork.
Issa: Flipperwork, thank you very much.
Imenand: I hate you.
((Sfx: radio tuning))
Electric Slide: Awww. How sweet. I hope she hates you, too, Mister Shenouda. So touching… Anyway… Sonar! Get in here!
Sam Sonar: What is it, sir? I’m kinda busy. I just found this great new service that’ll deliver packages, but only if you can strap ’em to the back of a penguin, first.
Electric Slide: Oh! Perfect! I was about to ask you to help me send all these packages out!
Sam Sonar: Oh, holy fuck, that’s a lot of packages! What, did you miss the last three Christmases or something?
Electric Slide: Yes! Plus, the last nine birthdays of everyone I’ve ever known, plus twelve Mother’s Days, plus about forty weddings, since college. Now start strapping these boxes to penguins! I need to clear out this shed… for storage space!