The 20-Sided Theatre, Episode 23: The Prismatic Path
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 – Rudraigh Quattrin
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 (Hera), Cian (The Wiz)
Imperial Wizard/Grand Secretary – Rud
Tiny Orc 1 – Rud
Tiny Orc 2 – Cian
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, for you are about to experience the most wondrous spectacle in the Great, Venerable, and Multiplanar Empire of Voladros and the Uiadhenns. I am your Host-Proprietor, Rhomande Sorfinde, and I welcome you...to The 20-Sided Theatre!
The Wiz: 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 seems that Ironheel’s Imperial Posthe has extricated themselves from quite a sticky situation. But that’s not nearly as important as the fact that my Insufferable Basterds are currently suffering an ecological disaster. You see, Imenand still has trust issues with foodstuffs, so he’s seen fit to Blight the alconut supply, all across Penguidise Island! I keep trying to tell him, that an alconut is not a “foodstuff” per se, because nobody in their right mind would try to eat the flaky, white flesh of the fruit. Since we primarily use the nuts for their alcohol content, they should technically be categorized as “drinkstuffs”. Furthermore, Master Shenouda seems unwilling to accept the fact that he can use the alcohols within the nuts as fuels for his bunsen burners and other––ahem––manufactory equipments. Ah, well. Here’s Hera Laris and the Chip Dipson Memorial Action Town Criers, to catch you up on recent events with Ironheel’s Posthe. What’s the news, Hera?
((Music: Ben Briggs – Star Clash Theme))
Hera: Thank you, Rhomande. Tonight’s top story recounts the latest clash between Ironheel’s Imperial Task Posthe and Morellian, the Sorceror-Prince of Malbalindhe (MAL-buh-LIN-they). A skirmish on the Seas of Madness may have imperiled relations between Malbalindhe and the Empire, yet few details are available. We go now to The Wiz with those few details.
The Wiz: Thanks, Pally! Well, that albino weirdo – the tall one, not the short one – well, he and his band of pirates started pursuing Ironheel and his Imperial Posthe, and it’s all because Portia Fireleaf can't drive a freakin’ boat straight! So, anyway that Morellian guy got mad and chased the Posthe until he got so tired that he just decided to summon a giant water demon to chase our guys instead. I’m pretty sure that after that, Morellian went home, had a chalice of wine, put his feet up onto his favorite slave, and listened to the new album that Rhomande just dropped last week. Gods, but he’s dreamy!
Hera: Morellian sounds more like a flatulent layabout, if you ask me. Fie! Fie, I say, upon any being who uses sorcery to avoid completing their tasks with their own two hands!
The Wiz: Uh… No, Pally. I think you got your pronoun antecedents all mixed up. I was saying that Rhomande – you know… the guy what I was talking about last before I said “he”– he’s the dreamy one!
Hera: Oh. My apologies for the misunderstanding, The Wiz, but I still disagree. Rhomande is more a nightmare tempest of sound, fury, and hair-stiffening product.
Rhomande: This is your first and only warning, Hera. Keep that up, and I’ll turn your party into the Dipson-Laris Memorial Action Town Criers! Well… maybe I won’t do it myself… maybe I can use magic to avoid completing this task with my own two hands…
Hera: (under her breath) Fie!
Rhomande: What was that?
((Sfx: d20 roll))
Hera: I said it’s high time we wrapped up this news report. Any other pertinent pieces of information, The Wiz?
Rhomande: Oh! Well, that’s fine, then. Yeah, The Wiz! Like she asked: is there anything else that my beloved audience needs to know about recent events in That World Which Contains Those Young Kingdoms?
The Wiz: Ohgodsohgodsohgods! Rhomande just said my name! Rhomande knows my name! Squeeeee!
Hera: Composure, the Wiz. Composure.
The Wiz: Fine, fine. Alright, Pally. Keep your tunic on and don’t get your burlap panties in a twist.
Hera: My unmentionables are made of hessian, thank you very much. Not burlap. Now cease mentioning my unmentionables and get back to the news, young lady!
Hera: (alt. line) My unmentionables are made of the finest silks, thank you very much. Not burlap. Now cease mentioning my unmentionables and get back to the news, young lady!
The Wiz: Let’s see, uh… Oh, right! The whole reason the Imperial Posthe started running away in the foist place was ‘cuz of the Emperor calling back all the Task Forces, Strike Teams, and Peregrine Armies for the united defense of the Holy City of Sahn Daskaar! Alright, Pally, I’m done with the report. Back to you, or whatever, while I put on my best pair of bobby socks, cast Mirror Images, and try to get as many copies of Rhomande’s autograph as I can!
((Sfx: mirror images, maybe a second or two of Multiwiz?))
Multiple The Wiz: and try to get as many copies of Rhomande’s autograph as I can! So whaddaya say, Mister Rhomande? Will ya sign our autograph books? Please? Pleeeeease? Pretty please, on top of a slice of plum pudding that’s soaking in brandy?
Rhomande: After the show, dearies. After the show. You only barely just threw back to Lady Hera, and we haven’t even given her time to throw to commercial yet. Speaking of which… Hera?
Hera: Thank you, The Wiz and Rhomande. When we return, we will go to The Vengeful Ghost of Adanska Rothgeld with this week’s EctoBall Pre-Season highlights. 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 lose all senses of Ego, Desire, and Self as you enjoy your evening at The 20-Sided Theatre.
Scene 2: Do Not Drink and Corsair
Ormr: Alright, Lads ’n’ Ladies ’n’ Others, we gotta git ourselves back to the Empire ’fore something terrible happens. Who knows? Maybe that magic book what’s a Key of Rilinkrena’ll end up being the macguffin what the Emperor needs to save the Holy City.
Theo: Or perhaps it will be the strong arms and spirits of those friends and companions whom you bring back with you that saves the peoples of the Empire, friend Ormr!
Kartoffel: Ja, Theo! Or perhaps it will simply be se powers of friendship, cooperation, und true love sat conquer sis ‘Hungering End’.
Felicia: True love, Kartoffel? Purrrr… I don’t think that anybody here loves anybody else in that way. Except maybe Armor-Kal and his hard-footed Dire Mouse.
Ser Kal: No, no, Felicia! Vornorroch and I may share a deep bond, but ours is more of a Philadelphic relationship than romantic.
((Sfx: Vornorroch snort))
Kalindir: But, Kal, your relationship with your steed is highly romantic. But only if you remember that one of the definitions of ‘romantic’ is ‘a poetic or semi-historical adventure story, usually with a noble or entitled protagonist’. Ozzrick will back me up on this, won’t you, Ozz?
Ozzrick: Precisely, Kalindir! No story cries, “Romance,” more than that of a technomagically infused knight and his faithful stellar steed being frozen in time and awakening to defend and to explore a world that has forgotten the wonders that birthed the two of them in the first place. Wank, what are you twisting your face into that shape for? We’re totally right about Ser Kal and Vornorroch being the protagonists of a romance of grand proportions!
Wank: I think you bards have been reading too many old scrolls full of poems and plays and archaic definitions. Everybody knows that for a story to have romance in it, the two protagonists need to meet, resist each other, slowly fall in love, have a fight, and then make up again so they can get married! I’m pretty sure that’s the standard modern five-act play structure, right there. I bet if Owen and Lotty have a fight and they make up, they can declare platonic devotion to each other for the rest of time, and that would count as a romance.
Owen: Actually, Lotty and I have already passed through our period of conflict, thus solidifying our bond for all time. Dromeosaurs tend to move as swiftly through both physical and social situations as Portia moves from the stern to the aftcastle.
Portia: Yep! I’m getting to be pretty great at Corsairing my way all over the ship, now! I can tack the sails, batten up the hatches, till the rudder, swab the decks, and steer the ship all at once!
Ormr: And drink rum! Can’t forget the most important part! Or, at least, my favorite part!
Portia: Right! And drink rum like those pirates taught me!
Ormr: Yeah, Portia, I gotta agree, yer gittin’ ta be an expert on runnin’ drunk all over the ship while doin’ yer chores. Except fer that steerin’ the boat part. Every time you run down to move somethin’ or make an adjustment, then Vornorroch’s gotta take the wheel in his mouth, and that star horse’s got one powerful bite.
Ser Kal: Indeed, he has! Back in my day, the teeth of the great steeds of the ancient star pastures were so strong that they could even bite through iron and poorly tempered steels!
Ormr: Yeah, horse-Kal, that’s my point. I dunno if’n the wheel can take much more steady guidance from yer faithful steed. He’s bitten clean through most of the hand-pins ’round the rim, and the diameter of the hub’s down by almost two bites! Portia, I’ll tell ya what: you just go up there to the aftcastle and drive the boat, and we’ll take care o’ all yer sailin’ chores. If’n we need help, we’ll just git some o’ Morellian’s pirates to come up from the galley.
Portia: Sounds like a plan, Ormr! Uh… Do you still want me to drink rum while I steer the ship? That seemed pretty important to you.
Owen: Ehrm… So… Steering a vessel under the influence of any performance-altering substance is highly dangerous and inadvisable.
Ormr: I dunno about that, Owen; could go either way if’n yer trained right. Portia, is drinkin’ and boatin’ what them pirates what you trained under told you to do?
Portia: I’m pretty sure it was… The pirates usually talked about something called “state-dependent memory” before starting my sailing lessons.
Ormr: And when did the rum git involved in this process?
Portia: Right between them talking and the work starting.
Ormr: So that’s what we’ll do. You an’ me’ll drink some rum first, and then you’ll can take the wheel and guide us back to the Empire.
Theo: I still feel a little uneasy about this prospect. Back home in Scottalia, the Clerics of Makar always admonished against drink, doubly so against guiding a vehicle whilst inebriated, triply against riding in a vehicle that is guided by a drunk, quadruply so against getting your mules drunk, and quintuply against a riding with a drunk wagoneer whose mules are also drunk. They called these the Five Commandments That Will Ensure You Don’t Die Before War Breaks Out.
Wank: Yeah, Theo, but isn’t Scottalia the home of Bear Industries, who exports all that bear grass all over the planes? I heard that the Patriarch of the Church of War, the Baron of Keepfield, and the Chief Executive of Bear Industries are in cahoots with each other, and all the temperance movements in the kingdom are actually an attempt to make a land-grab and to boost bear grass sales.
Felicia: I heard those rumors, too, Wank, but you can’t believe most of what you hear, especially about religious officials, politicians, and corporations. And besides, those five rules are about driving a mule cart, not a boat. Portia should be fine at the helm of a ship, no matter her state.
Rhomande: The leadership of the Twenty-Sided Theatre would like to remind you to never, ever guide any vehicle nor to ride in a vehicle guided by someone under any chemical influences, no matter whether the vessel traverses land, sea, sky, the great void, or interplanar nonspace. I am Rhomande Sorfinde, and I endorse this message.
Ser Kal: Who in the hells was that?
Owen: Ehrm… So… The penultimate clause in his concluding sentence included a self-introduction, Ser Kallandriel.
Ozzrick: Everybody knows who Rhomande is! But why was he talking to us, right there? I thought only the giant disembodied voice was following us around.
DM: Gods damnit. He found a teensy loophole. You guys can only hear him if what he’s saying is honest and passes a certain threshold of social value.
Ormr: (drunk) Ooooooooh! Orc shoes made out of feet, ’cuz orcs are fuckin’ stooooo-pid! Hahaha! I love that shong. Anyway, Voiche, it doeshn’t matter if shome fanshy-pantsed knife-earsh wantsh ta follow me around. Let ’im. It’sh no shkin off my roshy ashhh.
Kartoffel: By Mother Harvanne’s merciful roots! Fraulein Fireleaf, vas have you done to Herr Ironheel?
Portia: (showing no effects) I dunno, Kartoffel. He matched me drink for drink, for about seven cups of the super-secret, triple-distilled, beargrass-enhanced grog that the pirates showed me how to make, and then he started singing that weird song. But he was right about one thing: I should go up there and guide the ship, since Vornorroch’s eaten half the wheel. Uh… Does anybody have some extra knives I can stab into the rim, to replace the handles?
Ormr: (drunk) I thinksh I got a couple o’ exshtra knivesh, shomewhere ’round here.
Owen: Ehrm… The Imperial Health Management Council strongly advises against trying to Drink and Knive, Ormr. Those pirates each carried some form of knife, dagger, or dirk, until we captured them and shoved them into the galley. If you need some knives, Portia, the pile of confiscated weapons should still be right over there, next to the hatch.
Portia: Thanks, Owen! Okay, let’s see here… I need at least two handles, so… Y’rrrugh! H’unghh!
((Sfx: knife stabbing into wood x2))
Wank: Hey, Portia, you might need a few more pins on the wheel. It’ll give you a little more granularity and precision in your boat-control. So, here. Have a few more. Yah! Hah!
((Sfx: knife stabbing into wood x4))
Portia: Thanks, Wank! Y’know, I’m really glad those pirates threw a net over you and tried to sell you off to that corrupt mayor. If they hadn’t, then I would never have met my best friend, and we’d all be up the creek right about now!
DM: Portia takes the jerry-rigged helm, and over the next three days she circles back and easily guides the ship toward the redstone archway near the center of the Sea of Madness.
Ormr: (drunk) Shcoria! It’sh a shcoria archway. I’m chhertain of it.
Wank: How are you still drunk, Ormr? It’s been three days!
Ormr: (drunk) We’ve shtill got a third of a keg o’ that grog what Portia mixshed up. I drank the other two thirdsh.
DM: As you draw close to the archway, the Kals and the Star Horse are once again taken over by the Imperial Thoughtcast System.
Imperial Wizard: Where are those idiot mercs? Oh! The glowing crystal just changed from red to green. Finally! It’s about time you guys leaped into action. *chuckle* Get it? “Leaped?” Because Ironheel’s from the Clan of… ah, forget it. You guys're no fun. Anyway, your next official task is to reach the Red Arch of Dalathorn, where the Imperial Portalmancer Platoon has placed an extraction point to the Prismatic Path. Hurry, now. You must return to Sahn Daskaar and save His Holiness the Emperor.
Ormr: (drunk) Look here, ya talking horshe. I wanna go back’n shave the emperor ash much ash the nexsht pershon. Well, maybe more’n the nexsht pershon if’n it’sh Felicia. She don’t care about much. But, uh… What wash I shaying?
Theo: I think you are confused, Friend Ormr. Vornorroch does not speak of his own volition, but has been overtaken by the Empire’s grand warning system, once more. Furthermore, we cannot shave the emperor, for His Holiness Emperor Nashtif the 27th first had all of his body hair removed about a week before his coronation, and the ritual is renewed once every fortnight, in accordance with the ancient tradition of the Tribe of Uiadh (“wahth”).
Ormr: (drunk) What about the emperor’sh beard? Beardsh ain’t body hair, Theo. They’re on yer fashe, and yer fashe ish on yer head. But anyway, thanksh for reminding me: we’re gonna go shave the emperor, ladsh ’n’ ladiesh ’n’ othersh! Now how do we open the door fer thish Prishmatic Path thingie?
((Sfx: opening a huge portal, creaky boat sounds, quantum winds and subspace bullshit))
DM: The only answer to Ormr’s query is is a thunderclap and a blindingly white light, followed by a long stretch of silent, tomblike darkness. After what feels like hours, tiny bluish stars wink into life and drift past your ship on the atemporal winds. The points of light are soon joined by an increasing number of terrifyingly beautiful colors, some of which you have never even seen and are just barely able to comprehend. Finally, after what feels like days, you hear a voice speaking directly into your minds.
Imperial Wizard: Let’s see, here… According to the calculations sent over by the Uiadhwanja Thoughtscape Monitoring Bureau you should be arriving at the nondimensional trailhead of the Prismatic Path just about now. The Path will take you underneath reality – well, underneath a handful of realities – anyway, consider it a backdoor privilege from the Imperial Defense Council. Henceforth, you must traverse the Prismatic Path until you find Sahn Daskaar Portal Alpha-1-mark-3. Don't get duped by some alternate trickster dimension or anything either. We'll page the Elves every so often to make sure you’re on the right track. Be seeing you!
Scene 3: Orcfestation ’49
DM: You open your eyes to behold a swirling, shifting cavernous place that seems to pulse with rudimentary emotions. The empathic waves of the locale alternatingly embrace you as a soul-mate and then ignore you as wholly unimportant. You look down to realize that you’re all still laying on the boat, which is docked at a free-floating, iridescent road. The road leads in all directions and no direction. The Prismatic Path is ever-shifting, but no matter the shape, a steady stream of shimmering portals always lines the walkway.
Kalindir: Uh… Where did that voice come from, and why were none of you freaked out by it?
Ser Kal: Indeed. Vornorroch and I agree with Kalindir: any time an enormous, sourceless voice suddenly addresses you, only danger can follow.
DM: Excuse me, Ser Kal? What was that you said against disembodied voices?
Ser Kal: Oh, right… Uh… Omnipresent company excluded. My apologies, Master Voice.
Kalindir: But that still does not explain who just spoke, nor why you all were unsurprised.
Ormr: Ughhhh… Portia, whatever you put in that grog’s givin’ me the worst hangover I’ve ever suffered. But, as my Great Aunt Grella used to say, the only cure for a hangover is to git up and git to work, so’s you can afford to visit the local cleric. Naw, that voice warn’t surprisin', cause it ain’t new. He’s already talked to us afore. That’s one o’ them Imperial Scrymages ’r somethin’. They’s been keepin’ track of us fer a while, now.
Kalindir: They why have Kal and I not heard this young man speak, thus far, eh?
Owen: Ehrm. So. Until this point in time, you, Ser Kallandriel, and Vornorroch of the Star Pastures had served as the primary imperial psychic nodes upon this plane. As active vocal conduits, all of your brain-power is dedicated to the processes of connection, relay, and dissemination, leaving no capacity for you to listen to your own voices.
Ser Kal: Got it. No need to fear the new voice. So, if I have this correct, all we need to do at this juncture is to find the proper portal to return us to the Holy City of Sahn Daskaar, yes? Well, do we have any indications as to which is the correct portal?
Portia: Just what the Imperial Wizard guy said: that we’re looking for Sahn Daskaar Portal Alpha-1-mark-3. But I don’t see any signs over any of these portals, so I’m not really sure where to start looking.
Ser Kal: Well, then! We must investigate all passages between the planes, starting with the closest portal on the left!
DM: Ser Kal strides over to the nearest two-dimensional sheet of swirling energies and sticks his head through, into some unknown reality.
((SFX: portally sounds))
Ser Kal: Hrm… This doesn’t look quite right. The trees are the right color, but there’s no Holy City. Just a bunch of rats scurrying through tall grass. Wait a minute… Those aren’t rats! AAAAAAGH!
DM: Ser Kallandriel pulls his head from the portal, leaping back two full paces. An expression of confused horror disfigures Kal’s face, as hundreds upon hundreds of four-finger-tall orcs spill forth from the hole between realities.
((Sfx: portally sounds, tiny orc horde))
Felicia: Now this is more to my liking! Hundreds of tiny, scurrying mammals who are too stupid to flee a major predator! Heeeere, orcy, orcy, orcy! Yesssss, that’s it… Mama Felicia’s just going to gather her haunches for a quick POUNCE! (cat hunting sounds)
Wank: Uh… Are orcs actually mammals? Most things with green hides tend to be lizards, which distinctly lay eggs. Also, eww. I’m going to use my half-celestial wings to flitter up a bit, so I’m not standing waist-deep in a swarm of orclets.
((Sfx: feathery wings))
Ormr: Well, Wank, orcs is people… just barely, but they still count. And most people is mammals in some kinda way, so it’s most likely that orcs is mammals, too. Even if they are green.
Owen: Ehrm. Actually, green skin is the lightest and least common of orcine skin pigments; the vast majority of orcs trend closer to red or brown hues. The green-skinned tribes merely were the ones with the most advanced technologies and the hardiest immune systems, thus making them the most likely to survive raids upon the surface realms.
Kartoffel: Plus, orc mosers produce milk to feed seir young. Sus, sey have mammary glands, vich is se primary characteristic of mammals.
Ser Kal: (struggling) This is all very interesting and academic, but my Madeupdium Shield is not enough to hold back this flood of tiny orcs! Could someone come over here and give Vornorroch a hand with stamping out these vermin.
((Sfx: Vornorroch, lots of tiny madeupdium shield hits, hoof stamping, d20 roll x same number as hoof stamps))
Ozzrick: Alright, Kalindir. Let’s help out our Technomagically Enhanced Friend and his Stellar Steed.
Kalindir: How do you propose we do that, Ozz?
Ozzrick: As we almost always do, Kal! We fascinate them… In stereo!
Kalindir: (simultaneously) In stereo!
DM: Ozzrick and Kalindir take up positions at opposite flanks of the Prismatic Path, striking up a tune to enchant even the hardest-skulled of orclets.
Wank: Orclets? Are we supposed to plug our magical devices into them, to recharge their energies or something? Or are you talking about the infant offspring of an orc and a werepig?
DM: What? No! I just mean they’re tiny orcs.
Wank: Oh, okay. You should be more careful with the neologisms, Mister Voice. Meanwhile, I’ll carefully take aim with this Battle 1,888 device, so I can take out of some of these tiny orcs with a CELESTIAL SMITE!
((Sfx: bolt-action rifle shot, Smite))
DM: Wank flitters up on her celestial wings and takes aim with her reclaimed battle stick. She fires into the center of the mass of minuscule invaders, and a streak of purifying, holy fire erupts from her weapon, exploding in coruscating waves on impact. Unfortunately, the tiny orcs just keep pouring out of the portal, and they’re juuuust smart enough not to run through positively-aligned flames.
Felicia: I don’t know why you’re all so… purrrrrr-turbed by all of these bipedal, green mice. Sigh. Maybe Lotty and I should show you how to take care of tiny, burrowing prey animals.
DM: The cat and the dromeosaur spring into action, chasing and corralling the flood of hamster-sized greenskins. Felicia bats them from side to side with her front paws, occasionally flicking one into the air to let it pirouette before she slurps it whole into her gullet. Meanwhile, Lotty stuns a score of them at a time with her thick, saurian tail before scooping them up and killing the orclings by the mouthful.
((Sfx: Lotty, d20 roll x5, claws hit x2, bite x2, tail slam))
Owen: Excellent work, Felicia!
Felicia: (full mouth) Whunmph? Whrft wrs thrt? (slurp the rest of the tiny orc into your mouth) Sorry, Owen, I didn’t catch any of that. Don’t bother me while I’m eating.
Owen: I’d appreciate it if you didn’t talk with your mouth full, Felicia. But that’s beside the point. You and Lotty have gathered enough of these tiny orcs in front of the portal that I can drive them back through with a judiciously placed casting of REPEL VERMIN!
((Sfx: Lotty, Repel Vermin))
DM: Owen traces his hands through the air, summoning a visage of the tiny orcs’ natural predator. The little, green barbarians panic and start scrambling over each other to retreat through the portal.
Tiny Orc 1: Aaaaagh! It giant cat! Ruuuuun!
Portia: Felicia, why are there two of you? Which one’s the real you?
Felicia: How could you not tell the real me, Portia? I’m the me who’s snapping these tiny monsters’ spines and leaving them at your heels. Honestly, I don’t know why I even try to feed you guys.
Ormr: Good job, my Imperial Posthe! That’s about half o’ them varmints down. But how’s we gonna sweep up the rest, now? Portia, yer our corsair, so I assume that means you know tactics fer herdin’ rats off o’ ships ’n’ such. You got any good plans? (pause) Portia?
Portia: Uhm… Ow! Can I get a little help over here, first? These little guys are stinging me all over!
DM: You turn to behold Portia being swarmed, scaled, and covered by about a third of the remaining orc swarm. The halfling piratess grabs frantically at the orcs who make their way up her hair, which is swiftly becoming a tangled nest of teensy, green bodies.
Owen: Ehrm… Technically, this type of organic clustering should be referred to as an Orc King.
Portia: Whatever it’s called, I’m sure they won’t like being doused in this tube of Sorfinde-brand Hair Cream. My lovely locks will suffer for it until I can find another tube, but it’ll be worth it not to have to comb live orcs out of my hair.
Kalindir: Oh! I love that stuff! It is the strongest mousse known to all elf-kind! I hear it is the very product that the Indishevilable Rhomande uses to keep himself fabulous, even in the stormiest of weathers! But you need to be careful with it. I am pretty sure there’s a warning on the label that says not to get it into your eyes, ears, or other orifices.
Portia: (reading) Uh… It certainly does, Kal! Right here at the bottom of the label, after “Distributed by Bear Industries”. And that well-hidden warning label is just what I’m banking on. These tiny orcs won’t know what hit ’em! Let’s see… Just gotta unscrew the cap… Squeeze a bit out… and apply liberally!
((Sfx: d20 roll, gooey squirt, as you might get from a tube of toothpaste in a cartoon))
Tiny Orc 1: Aaaaagh! Me eyes! Them burn! And… Why it get so hard for move? Why giant double-halfling hair get so stiff?
Tiny Orc 2: What you say? Me not able for hear you! Me ears am plugged!
Portia: Quick! Someone help me style this before the Hair Cream sets!
Wank: Are you sure you don’t want to comb out all the dead, dying, deaf, and blinded orclets first?
Portia: Well, the Hair Cream sets pretty fast, so I was just gonna work them into the sculpture as best I could until the next time I can properly wash my locks.
Wank: Oh, cool! Here, let me help you, then! Maybe we can style your hair into some sort of sailing ship, and all these little taxidermied orcs can be the crew!
((Sfx: d20 roll))
Ormr: Or maybe you can style yer hair to represent a traditional dwarven wedding cake. Y’see, when two dwarves love each other very much an’ decide it’s time to start a little homestead o’ their own, it’s customary to make a huge cake and decorate it with little moppets or figurines that look like everybody at the reception. Between the size o’ dwarf clans, and the fact that all the waitstaff gotta be on the cake since they’re technically at the party, Dwarven Wedding Cakes tend to be pretty big.
Kartoffel: Ja, Ormr, but sese are tiny orcs caught in Portia’s hair, not tiny dwarves!
Ormr: Well, hell! I don’t know! Maybe the two orcs what’re gettin’ married are kinda cosmopolitan or maybe they did a year abroad in Bloodbeard Pass or something. I’m just tryin’ ta work with what we got. What I do know is that we still got a mess o’ them critters what won’t run back toward the portal no more, on account of Owen making that image of Felicia in front of it!
Ser Kal: And the remaining orclets seem to be scattering in… two.. four… eight..? How are there eleven right angles in this place? Even with my superior elven mind and my technomagically enhanced physiology, I’m getting a migraine from looking at this place too long.
Kartoffel: Well, se soil is strange here, but I sink I can root myself deeply enough to keep se rest of sese kleinorczen from fleeing. H’urrrrrgh! (grunt of effort; try to sound like you’re trying not to sound like you’re pooping? [that was just fun to write as a direction; feel free to ignore it])
DM: Kartoffel reaches out with his potato eyes, rooting himself in what passes for the ground in this non-place that lies outside of spacetime and is made almost entirely of exotic matter. Fortunately, space folds in surprising ways in this place, so once the Slayerspud has rooted himself, his expanding and exploring chutes don’t actually have that far to traverse before they erupt from the ground, entangling and halting every last panicked, minuscule orc.
Ormr: Good work, Kartoffel! Now them runts’re all stuck to the floor! Uh… anybody know what yer supposed t’do when you catch a varmint in a glue trap?
Theo: Indeed I do, Master Ironheel! For before I was raised to the station of Wonderguard, before I was even so high as Town Guard, I was known as Theo the Rat-catcher! If we were using proper glue traps, I’d say we simply needed to roll them back up and whack them against the ground a few times to put the little devils out of their misery. But since they are enveloped by plant matter instead, we might need a different approach. Kartoffel, my squire? Would you be so kind as to disconnect yourself from your roots? I don’t want to hurt you with what comes next.
((Sfx: pop sound as Kartoffel disconnects from his new chutes/roots))
Kartoffel: Right away, Theo! You always come up with se best of plans in sese situations. Like sat time ve vere tied up by se Grand Vizier of Uplunk und he slowly lowered us toward sat vat of boiling sharks! I sought ve vould never get out of sat one!
Theo: Yes, Kartoffel, that was a tricky situation, wasn’t it! Good! It looks like you’re all disconnected, now. Everybody else, please help me roll all these trimmings up into an enormous tumbleweed!
((Sfx: squeaky/twisty plant sounds? the sound of yard waste as it goes into the compost bin?))
Tiny Orc 1: Aaaagh! Me no like potato no more! Me no like human neither!
Tiny Orc 2: Me want go home! Me swear to Great Orc if me get home safe me never eat potato or human never again!
Portia: Huff… This would go a little faster if we had pitchforks and didn’t have to do this with our bare hands.
Ozzrick: Either that or if we could cast some magic to help. By the way, Portia, your hair looks amazing!
Portia: Thanks, Ozzrick! Wank and I decided on a bowl-shape, so we could make my hairdo look like a tiny arena full of diminutive orcs!
Wank: Well, now that we’ve got all these little orcs in a big, planty ball, what’re we gonna do with ’em? Are we gonna try and shove them back through the portal? Or maybe through some other portal?
Ormr: Nah. I got a better idea. We need to camp ’fore we head out again, and I’m not sure whether it’s gonna unlock another portal if’n we shove something through it, like Horse-Kal did with the first one. So, instead, let’s start settin’ up camp. Owen, would you care to do yer part in the process?
Owen: Right away, Ormr. Let me just place some stones around the edge of our giant ball of kindling here… And now I’ll CREATE FLAME!
Ormr: Great job, lads ’n’ ladies ’n’ others! Now we’s just gotta rest up… (sniff)… We gotta rest… (sniff) Oh, by Vrassax’ Smegma Pockets! Them tiny burning orcs stink!
Ormr: Portia: Owen: Theo: Kartoffel: Wank: Kalindir: Ozzrick: Ser Kal: Felicia: (coughing from the stench of scores of tiny, burning orcs)
Scene 4: Credit where Credit is Due
Issa: Visit The 20-Sided Theatre online at twentysidedtheatre.com. You can also follow us on Twitter through scryomagical links that Imenand and Thrimlach have established. You can follow the Twenty Sided Theatre @ Two-Zero Sided Theatre spelled with an -RE, the Insufferable Rhomande Sorfinde @IllustriousRho, Master Imenand Shenouda @ShenoudaNecroCo, Thrimlach Lenanien @Thrimlach, Issa Featherfoot @LadyFeatherfoot, and Spirit of the Swift Wind @SpiritOTSW.
Stiev: The 20-Ssssided Theatre isssss a joint productiiiiion of Bear Indussssstriesssss and the Ssssshenouda Necromancccccy Corporatiiiiion. Thisssss Episssssode ssssstars Gabriel Abinante, Natalie Abinante, Blake Parker, Ceridwen Quattrin, Cian Quattrin, and Rudraigh Quattrin. With ssssspecial thanksssss to Jon Abinante for the ussssse of Owen Dromeosssss and Lotty.
Maldreth: Original Adventure by Cian Quattrin. Script adaptation by Rudraigh Quattrin. Engineered 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, I will hack into the Emperor’s Emergency Mindcast System, that I may puppet your fleshy corpse toward the closest Shendouda Organic Reclamation and Reprocessing Center, all while Vragul exercises his rights as King of Your Vocal Chords and destroys them forever by singing that horrid song about the materials from which Orc Shoes are manufactured.
Thrimlach: Join us next time at The 20-Sided Theatre!
Scene 5: The Tag
Rhomande: Well, my beloved audience, wasn’t that another exciting tale of daring and heroism! But how can one properly and efficiently keep track of all the feats and foibles and derring-do that one either surpasses or expects to come? Fortunately for you, Thrimlach ceatharinn is a master of pseudo-mathematics and astrological precalculations. Isn’t that right, ceatharan?
Thrimlach: It is not, ceatharan! I’ve studied astronomy––the workings and movements of celestial bodies. Hells, I’ve studied that almost as much as I’ve studied the workings and movements of carnal bodies. Anyway, in such studies, I’ve worked long and hard to craft the perfect timekeeping praxis for which we now demand your voluminous remunerations!
Rhomande: I couldn’t have said it better myself, ceatharan!
Thrimlach: But there’s still one problem with the sixteen-moon calendar that we’ve been developing.
Kalindir: What? Did somebody say my name? Sorry, I was cleaning the grit and the recently-shed argent scales from the body of my violin. If you let it build up, it ruins the tone.
Rhomande: That’s right, my beloved audience! Master Lenanien and I have scoured and scried over thousands of planes to find the most radiant and beautiful elf in all the planes! Fortunately, charisma is not merely a physical attribute, else I’d be drawing the Toppler right about now.
Thrimlach: That’s right! For our new sixteen-month calendar, we have selected the prettiest elf who didn’t threaten Rhomande’s tenuous and superficial masculinity as our pinup model… which obviously cuts out Ms. Lorelei Moonscale. That, and I still owe her friend Kelora a boat.
((Sfx: Lorelei twittering))
Kalindir: Oh! Are you talking about that series of scrycrystal photocaptures that we took the other week? Or was it last month? I have such a hard time keeping track of this decimalized Imperial timekeeping pattern, sometimes.
Thrimlach: Yep! We’re talking about all those pictures we took of you in those sexy poses in various states of undress. Here’s the one of you in the two-piece bathing suit… and here’s you in a jockstrap… here’s you as the Queen of the Promenade––that slinky dress looked quite fetching on you… and here you are winning the big Ectoball game!
Rhomande: Honestly, I think most humans have problems with Elven Gender because the differences between the Elven Sexes are so subtle. Come to think of it, the behavior patterns of Elven Gender are also pretty subtle… Either way, we scoured the worlds for the physically prettiest elf of a gender that most humans probably won’t recognize without an advanced degree from the University of All Knowledges. And we found them! Kalindir ceatharwan, would you care to give the final pitch?
Kalindir: My pleasure, Rhomande ceatharan! Master Sorfinde’s beloved audience, I am proud to present to you the Kalindir Celebnaur Sixteen-Moon Decimalized Imperial Calendar! Never again will you be late for an appointment! You’ll know which days are you children’s namedays, and therefore be able to schedule that out-of-town Adventuring Business you’ve been putting off! Anniversaries will be a thing of the future long before you let them become a thing of the past! Alimony payments will be able to loom over you from as long as a whole year away!
Rhomande: Yes, my beloved audience, with the Kalindir Celebnaur Sixteen-Moon Decimalized Imperial Calendar you will be able to plan every event from the Month of the Two-faced God to the Feast of the Crossed Mass in Tenber, all the way to the year-end months that we were too lazy to name and somehow misnumbered! Yes, friends, you, too, can enjoy these sixteen, high-quality images of Kal ceatharwa draped languidly over various landscapes and objects, all with the stated intention of keeping track of what day it is! What’s your favorite still image, ceatharan?
Thrimlach: I like the one where they’re suspended in that dungeon beneath the Grand Scottalian Cathedral of War and just barely covering up their naughty bits with all those chains. What about you, ceatharwan?
Kalindir: My favorite to shoot was definitely the one where I laid on my side across the nose of that dragon’s skull you two found in the swamps north of Veraat Keep.
Rhomande: For these titillating images and fourteen more, pick up your very own Kalindir Celebnaur Sixteen-Moon Decimalized Imperial Calendar today!