The 20-Sided Theatre, Episode 27: The Party of the Year
Rhomande Sorfinde’s Insufferable Basterds
Rhomande Sorfinde, Bard in Extraordinaire – Rudraigh Quattrin
Imenand Shenouda, President of The Shenouda Necromancy Corporation – Blake Parker
Maldreth the Impius, Ogroid High Priest of Makar – Gabe Abinante
Ssssstiev Pierab’bat, Chameleon Rogue – Natalie Abinante
Issa Featherfoot, Pengonquin Princess – Ceridwen Quattrin
Thrimlach Lenanien, Secretive Elven Mage – Cian Quattrin
Dark Brother Smyd Kaltrops, The Half Bear Monk – Cian Quattrin
Vragul, King of Town Hall – Rud
Mhorton Salzgeld, a Dwarven Mage – Tony Scaruffi
Stil Colemanaani, Druid of the Frozen Summit – Cian
The DM – Rud
Pamande Mulkafinde, a pig-haired Northern Gentlelf – Blake Parker
Hera Laris – Ceridwen
Pinky the Problematic Dragon-Pixie – Natalie
Khentin the Salespud – Gabe
Professor Slide – Cian
Skrumpp Jugga, an Average Joe’rc – Blake
A Northern Scottalian Serving Elf – Gabe
Zolov the Mesmerist – Cian
Joren Swiftriver – Blake
Threllis Lein – Cian
Tuxedo Beak – Blake
Sir Gnome – 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, Ladies, Non-Binary, Multiform, Constructs, and Others. 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: (Firefly Village Theme by Stephen O’Brien)
Scene 1: Recap with the Action Town Criers
Rhomande: After spending a barely-ordinate amount of time in my dressing room, I have finally emerged to greet you, the combined audience of my own Insufferable Basterds and my beloved sister’s Red Hand Minstrel Assassins. Since I’ve been in my private chambers, I haven’t even the foggiest idea about what’s been going on in Acoustica. So, to catch all of us up on the news of the day, here’s Hera the daughter of Kronos with her cadre of unquenchable Furies!
Hera: Master Sorfinde! Your sense of professionalism has been sorely lacking of late. For the last time, my name is Hera Laris, and these are the Dipson Memorial Action Town Criers!
Rhomande: An excellent introduction, Dame Laris! What’s the news, Hera?
Hera: What—But that’s not how you’re supposed to throw to— Sigh. (to self) The goddesses help those who tolerate the correctible mistakes of others. (regaining composure with a deep breath) Thank you, Rhomande. Tonight’s top story continues the hunt for the criminal prankster known only by the obvious pseudonym “Spanglegloves”. Incidents of property destruction and violence have recently erupted across the town of Acoustica and its swampy outskirts. We go now to the Action Town Criers’ very own Pinky the Problematic Dragon-Pixie for more information. Pinky?
Pinky: Thank you, Hera. As you can see from the sign sticking out of the wreckage behind me, the Hammock Taphouse and Grill collapsed this morning, killing four people and seven domesticated animals. Local authorities currently suspect foul play, largely due to the main support branches, which you’ll be able to see clearly if Adanska can get the scrycrystal recorder close enough… Is that good, Adanska? He’s giving me the thumbs-up, so that means you can clearly see these two notches in the support branch, where someone seems to have sawed a quarter of the way through the bough from each side. Alright, Adanska. That should be a good enough shot. Let’s get back down to the ground before something else up here breaks and crushes us to death—er… crushes me to death. You’re already a ghost.
((Sfx: flying pixie wings, starting around “which you’ll be able to see clearly” ending around “already a ghost””))
Hera: Pinky, why has this “Spanglegloves” issued their threats and enacted their violences upon this unsuspecting hamlet?
Pinky: Well, Hera, according to my sources, this “Spanglegloves” began issuing threats a little under a month ago, but the most violent of these pranks didn’t start until the past two days. They’re apparently upset that the Red Hand Minstrel Assassins will not be headlining this year’s Traditional Acoustican Birthday Hoedown Festival. The fact that the most popular five-piece musical act in the Empire will be replaced by the most popular single act seems to make no difference to this glitter-handed terrorist.
Hera: How terrible! As every bleeding-edge music fan knows, the Traditional Acoustican Birthday Hoedown is the largest, most popular music festival in the Province of Scottalia. Somewhere on the order of ten thousand visitors typically descend upon the swamp at this time of year, making security a top priority for the town, just ahead of clean water and plentiful foodstuffs.
Pinky: Huh. I didn’t know that. I’d never even heard of this festival until just a little while ago, when I was assigned to this story.
Hera: That is because you sit upon the dull edge of the knife that is musical fandom, Pinky. Somewhere down near the quillions, where the sharpening stone actually doesn’t do much good. Anything else to report, Pinky?
Pinky: Just that the public need not fear for their safety at this particular festival. Both the Red Hand and the Insufferable Basterds are aiding the Acoustican Public Investigators’ Guild in the search for this Spanglegloves character. A reward of three gold puntillos has been offered for any information leading to the capture of this dangerous individual. Back to you, Hera!
Hera: Thank you, Pinky. Up next, The Wiz will show us three simple tricks for cleaning your home and taking control of your life. But first, a word from our sponsors.
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Rhomande: O my Appreciated Patrons, please do settle in upon your brazen benches, slurp out your gaudy cups, enkindle your combustibles, and adjust your listening devices that you may thoroughly enjoy your scryomantic stereoscopic evening at The 20-Sided Theatre.
Scene 2: Formal Investigations
DM: You’re still sitting amidst the rubble of the Hammock Taphouse and Stove, the finest–and only–inn to be found in all of Acoustica. The building is in ruins due to a lives-threatening prank at the hands of some unknown individual who goes by the moniker “Spanglegloves”.
Stiev: And it’sssss up to usssssss to figure out who thisssssss Ssssssspangleglovesssssss character really isssssss and bring them to jussssssticccccccce!
Issa: Or we could just murder them, Stiev. That’s kinda our go-to solution for most problems.
Rhomande: That’s not true, Issa! What about that time Tularria and I masqueraded as the notoriously fictitious gangster Don Vincenzo, so that I could recover Nelio, my pet red-armed monkey! That plan didn’t involve murdering anybody. Did it, Nelio?
((Sfx: monkey sounds))
Issa: Didn’t I clothesline you with a knockout fish? Tuxie, maybe you ought to slap him with that slapfish again.
Tuxedo Beak: My black marlin blackjack is always ready for action, Lady Featherfoot!
Maldreth: Ugh. For the last time, penguins, the Father of the Combative Arts has called a ceasefire in the War on Bards, at least until after we return to the Empire’s capital and put the emperor in his place.
Imenand: Maldreth you limp-tongued halfwit, that’s not our mission! We are to return to the Holy City for the united defense of all worlds from the polycosmic entropic beings known to us as the Hungering End.
Mhorton: Actully, Imenand, Father Maldreth might have spoken truly there, if the emperor has been displaced or dislodged from his throne room. If that is the case, then we just need to secure the palace so we can stick the man back where he belongs: on a fancy chair!
Thrimlach: Y’know, we could just go to one of the infinite parallel worlds where Sahn Daskaar isn’t currently falling to destructive Chaos elementals. Then Mhorton’s plan of putting the Emperor on his chair and going home will be finished before we even start!
Stiev: Yeah, Thrimlach, but what about the other hundredssssssss or thousssssandsssssss of versssssionssssss of Ssssssahn Dasssssssskaar that are already desssssssstroyed and their iterationsssssss of the emperor dead? We sssssshhhhhhhouldn’t messssssss around too much with the reality-ssssshhhhhhhuffling. Let’ssssssss jussssssst keep thingssssssss sssssssimple and go back to ssssssssave our Emperor inssssssstead.
Rhomande: After we discover who is threatening my hometown because they don’t like the fact that it’s my sister’s birthday.
Issa: I still think I’m looking at prime suspect number one, right here. I mean, who else hates Izreanna enough to fuck up her Sweet 216?
Rhomande: Now look here! I promise you that the Insubpoenable Rhomande Sorfinde, had nothing to do with all of the vicious traps that have been laid around Acoustica. Furthermore, I’ve had someone from this party next to me near-continuously since I came out from behind that big rock–which was definitely not a bush–after we killed that ball of fish heads. So how could I have possibly laid out all of these intricate, clever, and finely-crafted traps under those circumstances?
Stiev: It’sssss the “near” part of that “near-continuousssssssly” that makessssss me lessssssss inclined toward trussssssssting you, Bard. Who knowsssssssss? Maybe thisssssss time you’re working with your nieccccccce or sssssssssomething.
Pamande: Which reminds me! I need to go back to the pig farm this morning, partly to get ready for tonight’s Traditional Acoustican Birthday Hoedown, and partially to spend some quality time with my darling granddaughter Helema and my beloved wife Mamande.
Stiev: Before you leave, I have a quessssssssstion. Or perhapssssss a sssssseriessssss of quesssssstionsssss, depending on how you anssssssswer. Sssssso, let’sssssss sssssstart thisssssss invessssssstigation off right with a ssssssssslap of a glove!
Pamande: Yes, Miss Sssstiev? How may I be of service? And I thank you for starting your investigation in the traditional Acoustican manner.
Stiev: You’re welcome! Ssssssso… How come it sssssssoundssssss like you married your sssssssisssssster? Alsssssso, it’ssssss kinda grosssssss that your parentsssssss named you Mamande and Pamande, asssssss if they were exxxxxssssssspecting thisssssss.
Pamande: I appreciate your curiosity, and since I don’t have time for another full explanation of our proud and traditional Acoustican Naming Customs, it must suffice to say that when two elves love each other very much and want to start a life together, they must first decide upon the new suffixes that their family unit will use for their given and family names. Each of us legally became a “-mande” a few days before our wedding, when the paperwork was filed.
Stiev: Ssssso, you married a woman whosssssse name wasssssss Ma? That pointssssssss to sssssssome deep, Oedipal ssssssssshit.
Pamande: No, no, no, no, my dear Chameleon! Her name became Ma when she became a mother, which happens to be right around the time my name became Pa. You know, they say a woman is a mother as soon as she knows she’s pregnant, but a man doesn’t become a father until he sees his child take its first breath.
Stiev: Sssssso, what wasssssss her name before it wassssss Ma?
Pamande: Miss Sssstiev! I will forgive you your curiosity, since you’re a foreigner and are therefore less familiar with our local cultural practices, but I must say that it is surpassingly rude to inquire so keenly about my wife’s maiden name! Why, with that information, nearly anybody could steal my dearly beloved children’s identities!
Stiev: Oh. Sssssssorry, Misssssster Mulkafinde. I didn’t mean to be rude. I jussssssst felt ssssssso comfortable, thankssssss to your fine Northern Hosssssssspitality, that I ssssssort of forgot to filter my thoughtsssssss before sssssssspeaking.
Pamande: That’s okay, Miss Sssstiev. All this talk about my wedding is just bringing a flood of memories back, and some of them ain’t so good. Did you know that Bro and Sissy’s grandfather didn’t approve of my courting his daughter? From day one, all he would say to her on the topic was, “My dear Yvrowen, you must forget about that Lalakendë boy and return to the Undyin’ Lands.”
Stiev: Wow! That ssssssure sssssssuckssssss!
Mhorton: But it sounds like love won out in the end! And speaking of the ends of things, what caused those tree branches to snap and ruin this swamp town’s only inn? Was that you, with your aura of radiation, Imenand?
Imenand: It most certainly was not, dwarf! We haven’t been here long enough for my free-radicals to affect the trees that severely… yet. Someone or something has been sawing at the inn’s support branches.
Stiev: Ssssssso, you didn’t caussssssse the branchessssss to break… But you’re ccccccertainly not helping the ssssssssituatttttiiiiiion with your radiatttttiiiiiion aura.
Imenand: Precisely. Now, let us disperse throughout the town, that we might find this Spanglegloves and turn their destructive and jealous nature into something more “manipulable”.
Mhorton: I’m not done investigating the scene of the crime yet. Hey, Mr. Mulkafinde! You said your twins were born on different days.
Issa: Yeah! I assume Izzy was born before midnight and Rho was born after. I also assume that Bromande lied to Izzy, and that’s why she thinks that he’s the older twin.
Mhorton: That’s a reasonable assumption, Issa, but there are other options. For instance: do you elves celebrate the festivals of Springing Forward and Falling Back? If the Acousticans save daylight like my people do, then the twins could have been born an hour apart on parchment, but only minutes apart by the hourglass.
((Sfx: glovelsap at “for instance”))
Pamande: Oh, no. It’s nothing quite as complicated as that. According to that Imperial Birth Certificate that my darling Sismande presented me about a month ago, she was born in the last hour of the last day of Harvester, and little Bromande was born in the first hour of the first day of Noplants. Although…
Pamande: Well, in leap years, we add a few extra days to Harvester. You know: to account for the eccentricity of our planet’s orbit around the sun.
Mhorton: So, Izzy was born on the 28th and Rho was born on the first?
Pamande: 28th and 1st? Oh! I’m sorry, Master Salzgeld. You must mean the 45th and the 49th. We Acousticans are particularly proud of our traditional calendaring and numbering systems, up here! So, yes. I suppose that some years, my twins’ birthdays must have been four days apart. Though, I cannot remember ever celebrating that way.
Issa: And there’s no way that little-kid Rhomande would ever share anything with his sister if he didn’t have to.
Thrimlach: Yeah, but on the other hand, I’d want to block out all memories of Rhomande throwing tantrums, so maybe Mulkafinde ceatharinn here’s just put all those memories into his Don’t Box.
Stiev: What’sssss a Don’t Boxxxxxxx?
Thrimlach: You know. That mental construct that you keep in the deepest, darkest cellar of your mind palace. It’s an old, worn-down box, and most of the paint has flaked away, but you can still clearly read the word “Don’t” scrawled on top of it. That’s were I put all of the memories I don’t want to think about!
Stiev: I ssssssstill don’t really get what you’re talking about. What kindssssss of thingssssss have you put into your Don’t Boxxxxxxxx, Thrimlach?
Thrimlach: Nice try, Chameleon, but I’m not going to dredge up things like Sir Gnome’s true name from before I killed him and raised him as a skeleton. And how do you not get what I’m talking about? Your mind palace must be a shambles if you don’t know where to put all the thoughts that cause you distress! Besides, why do you think I put anything into the Don’t Box, other than how long I’ve been standing too close to Imenand and his aura of radiatio—aarghblrgh! (barf sounds)
Imenand: Thrimlach! Why are you emptying the contents of your stomach all over the ground beneath my floating disc? You should at least have the common decency to die immediately afterward, if you’re going to vomit at somebody!
Maldreth: Thrimlach! Makar severely disapproves of your losing ground in the War on Cancer! As penance, you must overcome this challenge without the benefit of my infernal healing fist!
Thrimlach: Ooogh. Uh… Sorry, Gabharan. Sorry, Maldreth. Like I said, all of your radiation is one of those things I typically don’t think about. But I do happen to be a master portalmancer, so I should be able to open a quick GATEWAY to a place I can acquire drugs to cure my radiation poisoning!
Professor Slide: B’wah! Whadda you want? And what are you doing in Chemical Lab Rho?
Thrimlach: Well, you see—
Professor Slide: NEVER MIND THAT! Now that you’re here, you’ll be the perfect TEST SUBJECT for this new cocktail of radiation blockers, genetic stabilizers, and mutagenic retardants! Just hold still while I fill this MASSIVE NEEDLE!
Thrimlach: Look, whoever you are, I’m just gonna get out of here and—OUCH! My neck! Hey… I can feel it working already. Thanks, Mister Irresponsible Alchemist! By means of payment, I’ll turn this doorway into a permanent path to the Frozen Summit Crossplanar Bar and Grill! And with my debt fully paid, I’ll open up another GATEWAY back to Acoustica!
((Sfx: gateway x2, pause for a beat before Slide talks again))
Professor Slide: That was the only door in this room… how am I supposed to get out, now? (sigh) I guess this is why I invented the intercom. SONAR! Get in here! And bring the Mason with you! We have to do some REMODELING!
Scene 3: A Word from Our Sponsors
Rhomande: And now a word from our beloved progenitor…er… sponsor.
Pamande: Well hello there, friends. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Pamande Mulkafinde, the most famous pig farmer in all of Acoustica. My prize hogs have won best-in-show at Farming Recitals in both the Upper South and the Deep North of Scottalia.
Pamande: It is true what you’ve heard, Scottalian farmers prefer Mulkafinde’s Hog Linament & Barnyard Balm 3 to 1 over The Mammoth King (SFX: mammoth trumpet far away, Mammoth charge crescendo begins) Exotic Mount Grooming Products. Only the very best ingredients are steamed, brewed, and stewed in locally handmade Elven pottery and all batches are blessed by one of our venerable Swamp Witches.
Pamande: The Mammoth King (SFX: mammoth trumpet close by) wouldn’t know a...
(SFX: Mammoth charge crescendo ends, crash through wall)
Pamande: What The!?
The Mammoth King: I AM THE MAMMOTH KING! (SFX: Mammoth trumpet)
Pamande: Who are you?
Skrumpp: Me ams Skrumpp Jugga. This ams him majesty, The Mammoth King! (SFX: Mammoth trumpet)
Pamande: What do you think you’re doing on my property?!
Skrumpp: You shut you mouth pig-Elf, him majesty The Mammoth King (SFX: Mammoth trumpet) have imporctant message for share.
The Mammoth King: I AM THE MAMMOTH KING! (SFX: Mammoth trumpet)
Pamande: But he already said that...(interrupted)
Skrumpp: Me think me already tell you for shut up, pig-Elf! Him majesty say The Mammoth King (SFX: Mammoth trumpet) Brand Exotorc Mount Grooming Prodorcts ams be more good for animals than dumb grease made by stupid pig-Elf.
Pamande: Why, I never...(interrupted)
The Mammoth King: I AM THE MAMMOTH KING! (Mammoth trumpet)
Skrumpp: Him highness say The Mammoth King Exotorc Mount Grooming Prodorcts ams be now availorcble at all best merchants and shoppes (pronounced shoppies).
The Mammoth King: I AM THE MAMMOTH KING! (SFX: Mammoth trumpet)
Skrumpp: Scry The Mammoth King (SFX: mammoth trumpet) for make you orcder and be use promorc code TUSK — that spell T-U-K-S-K — when checkout for free porctalmancy delivorcry. Take best care of you animals. Buy The Mammoth King Exotorc Mount Grooming Prodorcts for you animals today!
The Mammoth King: I AM THE MAMMOTH KING! (SFX: Mammoth trumpet)
Scene 4: Fingers of Lightning
Thrimlach: Ah! I’m feeling much better after dropping in on that weirdo with the goggles!
Sir Gnome: I’m glad to thee you feeling better, Mathter. But… your robe theems to be collecting thockings.
Thrimlach: What? Oh… I must have taken a detour through the Plane of Socks. I’ll just peel these off and… YEOUCH!
Pamande: Thrimlach ceatharan! What do you think you’re doing, discharging electricity like that among the debris of the Hammock Taphouse and Stove. Are you trying to start the next Great Fire of Acoustica or something, son?
((Sfx: d20 roll))
Maldreth: Hmm… interesting. I didn’t sense any sort of magical resonance when the elf shot that bolt from his hand. Master Shenouda, the arcane is more your realm of expertise than mine. Was there something that Makar has shielded from my mind?
Imenand: I do not believe so, Reverend Maldreth. I am ever ready to counterspell that twit if needs be, and he tripped none of my alarms. Perhaps we should subject our “faithful friend” Thrimlach to further… “study”.
Thrimlach: Oh, no you don’t! I’m not letting you two lay your hands on me! Sir Gnome! Defend your master!
Sir Gnome: Yeth, mathte—gggg’zzsszzzzzz’hhhhhhh!
DM: Thrimlach stretches out his hands and yanks Sir Gnome off the ground, holding him a full ILDM from the carpet of debris. As Imenand and Maldreth draw closer, the hairs on Thrimlach’s arms begin to stand on end and his unkempt blond locks rise like the hackles on a lion’s back. With a loud crack and a blinding blue flash, a 30-ILDM bar of condensed electrical energy explodes from Thrimlachs hands, coursing through Sir Gnome and firing out the skeleton’s eye- and nose-sockets into the air between the looming mummy and lich.
Thrimlach: Whoa! I’ve never done that before. That was kind of cool!
Issa: What are you talking about? You throw lightning bolts around all the time!
Thrimlach: Yeah, but I usually have to cast a spell to do so, and I’d never endanger a spell’s effectiveness by channeling it through Sir Gnome.
Stiev: Maybe it’ssssss like how I’m sssssso good at jumping and can ssssssee through wallssssss now. I got thosssssse abilitiesssss from ssssstanding too closssssse to Imenand for a while. But anyway! There’sssss ssssstill a Ssssssspangleglovessssssss on the loosssssse! Let’ssss get thissss invesssssstigatttttion underway! Hey, you! The elf who takesssssss orderssssss and ssssssservessss foodsssstuffssssss! Yeah, you! Glove-ssssssslap! What do you know about the reccccccent threatsssssss to Pamande and hissss family?
Serving Elf: Look, here. Nobody from round these parts goes by “Spanglegloves” in any language. Too fancy a name for any decent Acoustican, if you ask me.
Stiev: Thanksssss, sssssserving elf! And now it’ssssss time for me to vanissssshhhhhh!
Serving Elf: Hey! Where’d she go?
Issa: Stiev, why do you think you’ll get any new information out of the people who work in the bar that just collapsed? We need to go out into the town and continue our investigations there. Come on, Tuxie! We’re heading to the Stump, where tonight’s performance is supposed to be held.
Tuxedo Beak: Right behind you, Lady Featherfoot!
DM: The penguins set off toward the Acousitca Stump, where they find Zolov the Mesmerist conducting his own investigation.
Issa: Hey, Zolov! Yeah, you! The alien-fed vampire who looks and smells like the smokestack on a tannery! Are you Spanglegloves? Oh, wait… Hand me the glove, Tuxie!
Tuxedo Beak: Do you want the one with the lead weights in the fingertips?
Issa: Nah. We probably don’t need the heavy glove this time; we’re just asking questions. Now, back to you, Zolov!
Zolov: Whats? Whats do’s you wants? Ow!
Issa: You know anything about this Spanglegloves dude? The only people I’ve seen wearing gloves today have been farmers, and all of those gloves were made of Pamande’s Pristine Pigskin. And you, I guess, but the Red Hand’s gloves are… y’know… red.
Zolov: Wells, we’se been sweepsings the town fors the trap everys hours or sos, and we seems to finds 1s or 2s on evserys pass. Most of those was sets off by Shakes the Censtaur. We ain’ts gots no goods lead yet, buts the Reds Hands Mintstrells Ass-a-sin Quinstet is ons the case!
Issa: Gotcha. And Shakes is hella clumsy, so there’s very little chance that he’s setting up traps around town.
((Sfx: distant trap sounds: thud, lightning))
Mhorton: (distant) Oh, noooooo!
Issa: Did you hear that, Tuxie?
Tuxedo Beak: I did, fishball head! It sounded like a dwarf falling into a pit that was full of balled lightning!
Issa: We’d better go check it out!
Scene 5: Thorough Investigations
DM: The penguins leave Zolov to his own investigations and rush across town toward the Acoustican Tree of Records, where they find Mhorton’s unconscious body being hauled out of a hole by Joren Swiftriver, the Red Hand’s lightning-limbed drummer. Figuratively lightning-limbed. He’s a really fast drummer, but he’s not made of electricity or anything. Either way, he’s pulling Mhorton out of a crackling pit.
((Sfx: crackling electricity, dragging a body))
Joren: There you go, Master Dwarf! Let’s get you up out of that hole and onto the ground. I know dwarves like to sleep beneath the earth, but I think that’s more of a dug-out den you’re in than a carved-out hall. Good… now just let me uncork this potion and pour it into your mouth… and with a little massaging of the throat…
((Sfx: cork pop, pouring liquid))
Mhorton: (coughing, spluttering, waking up with liquid in your mouth) P’feh! Ack! Wha— What happened? I was just walking along, and then this crazy numbness shot up from the ground, traveling through my legs, fibrillating my heart, and out through my downy dwarven hair.
Joren: It looks like you fell into a pit trap full of lightning spears. Sorry; I thought I’d thoroughly swept this area.
Mhorton: Well, thank you for the assistance, Master Swiftriver. I suppose you and your band are investigating the situation around here, too?
Joren: Indeed, we are! Not much progress yet, but Acoustica will be safe so long as the Red Hand is on the job!
Mhorton: Well, then. I might as well ask you some questions as part of my investigation! It’s kind of weird that I haven’t seen Rhomande’s sister yet, when this whole festival is supposed to be in honor of her birthday. So, where is she? When’s the last time you saw Izreanna?
((Sfx: gloveslap at “investigation”))
Joren: We haven’t seen Izzy since we arrived in Acoustica, about a month ago. She introduced us to her parents, and she was gone before any of us woke the next morning.
Mhorton: Well, that sounds suspicious.
Joren: Well, the townspeople say it’s part of the local tradition for the birthday person to recuse themself for three days before the party, but some people tend to go on a vision quest or something for a couple of weeks instead, so we shouldn’t worry. But they usually take at least two childhood friends with them when that happens. Not necessary to the custom, but you know how these Deep Northern swamp elves can be: it’s slowly becoming tradition.
Mhorton: Hmm… So Miss Alafinde hasn’t been seen for a month, but that’s within the realm of expectation. But it was also about a month ago that Spanglegloves left their first threatening note. But there’s no logical reason that she’d want to sabotage her own party.
Issa: That we know of! I mean, she is Rhomande’s sister. Who knows what kinds of hairbrained motivations are jostling around in her head.
Mhorton: Oh! Hi Issa! I must not have seen you approach, while I was unconscious in that pit.
((Sfx: Chameleon un-vanish))
Stiev: Issssa’ssssss not the only persssssson you misssssssed, Mhorton!
Mhorton: Bwah! Don’t sneak up on me like that, Stiev!
Stiev: Well, you were the clossssssesssssst magic-type perssssssson to where I found thissssss sssssusssssspiccccciousssss ssssssteeel sssssssssskull. Sssssee how itssssss eye sssssocketsssss have little, red pinpricksssssss of light in them? Oh, wait. The red lightssssss are bigger than they usssssed to be.
Issa: And they’re getting brighter by the second! Mhorton, what the hells is that thing?
Mhorton: Detect Magic! Well, it’s got quite an Evocative aura, if you know what I mean… and it’s heavily suffused with negative energy… If I can just focus my spell probe… Oh shit! Stiev, you need to get rid of that thing right now!
((Sfx: detect magic, wak))
Stiev: Why? What’ssssss in my hand? What am I holding, Mhorton?
Mhorton: It’s a skull blast trap, you stupid chameleon! Get it out of here before it —
((Sfx: Skull Blast))
Mhorton: Stiev: Issa: Tuxedo Beak: (coughing)
Issa: (cough, cough) Is everybody okay? Sound off!
Mhorton: I’ll smell like burnt hair for a while, but I’m still alive.
Tuxedo Beak: Waaaaak. My cummerbund made it through unscathed, Lady Featherfoot.
Stiev: I think I sssssstill have both of my handsssss and all of my fingerssssss. I might assssssk Maldreth for ssssssssome healing when I ssssssee him nexxxxxt.
Joren: I crouched behind the wall of drums as soon as I saw what the Chameleon was holding.
Issa: You’re not in our party, Joren. We don’t care. But it’s good to know that you’ll live to annoy Rhomande another day. And Stiev, it might be a better idea to ask Torrea for healing than Maldreth.
Stiev: Yeah, I sssssuppossssse you’re right, Issssssssa. And if we can’t find Torrea, then I guesssss we can write off any healing assssss a bussssssinesssss exxxxxxpensssssse, sssssssinccccce we’re ssssssuppossssssed to be playing a sssssshhhhhhhow tonight.
Mhorton: Oh, yeah! I’d completely forgotten about the song we’re supposed to play. I’d better tune up the tambourine! What time is that supposed to start, again?
Joren: The party starts between two and three hours after sundown. You guys will play until the Runt Moon touches the top of the Great Trunk of Acoustica. Then it’s the roadies’ time to shine for a bit, and after that the Red Hand goes on.
Rhomande: (yelling from far away) And that means that show call is four hours before sundown! I’ve chosen you each one of the most complicated, most eye-arresting costumes ever to emerge from Tularria’s Sewing Room!
DM: You look up and behold Rhomande leaning out of the highest window of the Great Trunk. He holds a black samite jacket, embroidered all over with various flowers and vines in silver and gold thread.
Stiev: Luckily, Chameleonsssssss don’t usssssually dresssssss in any sssssssort of clothing, ssssssso I’ve got sssssome more free time to continue my invesssssstigatttttiiiiiionsssssss!
Mhorton: So, I guess Stiev won’t be wearing anything that’s been picked out, then?
Rhomande: (far) STIEV WILL WEAR EXACTLY WHAT I TELL HER TO WEAR! IT’ S MY SISTER’S BIRTHDAY!
Issa: You hate your sister!
Rhomande: (far) Oh. Right. I do hate her! And… and that is why I shall control every aspect of this party, right down to the silk stockings beneath Stiev’s silver slippers and the garlands on Issa’s beak! So get your assorted posteriors backstage for fittings NOW!
Issa: Stiev: Mhorton: I hate you.
Scene 6: 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 Inexcusable Rhomande Sorfinde @IllustriousRho, Master Imenand Shenouda @ShenoudaNecroCo, Thrimlach Lenanien @Thrimlach, Me—Issa Featherfoot @LadyFeatherfoot, and Spirit of the Swift Wind @SpiritOTSW. Check the show notes if you need help with the spellings!
Maldreth: The 20-Sided Theatre is brought to you by Sorfinde Productions and the Shenouda Necromancy Corporation. This Episode stars Gabriel Abinante, Natalie Abinante, Blake Parker, Ceridwen Quattrin, Cian Quattrin, Rudraigh Quattrin, and Tony Scaruffi.
Thrimlach: Tonight’s episode was written by Rudraigh Quattrin and Blake Parker; engineering 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…
Mhorton: Join us next time at The 20-Sided Theatre!
Scene 7: The Tag
Threllis: HELLO ACOUSTICA! I am Threllis Lein, Master Necromancer and Innovative Surgeon, and this is my literally faceless backing band! 1-2-3-4!
Hera: That was the afternoon performance by Threllis and the Faceless, an up-and-coming band that was formed this very morning, when Pamande realized that he needed an opening act so that the audience could draw more favourable comparisons between some hackneyed nobodies and his son’s Insufferable Basterds. I’m Hera Laris and this is Beneath the Opera Pit.
((Music: short theme tune for Beneath the Pit/Behind the Music))
Hera: The story of Threllis and the Faceless goes back all the way to this morning, when certain news reached certain ears.
Threllis: I was up really, really early— I don’t sleep much, because of all the redundant organ systems I’ve installed over the years. But anyway, I was listening to the post-post-midnight report from the Dipson Memorial Action Town Criers—I like the dead guy on sports—when I heard about the show tonight at the Acoustica Stump and how the headliners would be Rhomande’s Insufferable Basterds. If the Basterds were playing, then Thrimlach would be there, and I wasn’t gonna let that knife-eared other-me take the stage without the looming danger of falling offstage into a mosh pit comprised of six hundred and sixteen forcibly reenfleshed Ectoball hooligans.
Hera: So Threllis opened a portal to one of his many graveyard stockpiles, cast a few dozen spells, opened another portal, and stepped forth into the Acoustica Town Square.
Pamande: Well, I was on my way home from the Hammock Taphouse and Stove when I first saw the Lein boy come through that portal, I thought it was Thrimlach ceatharinn making a parade of some sort with Master Shenouda’s irradiated necromages. I gotta admit, I was powerful relieved when I realized it wasn’t that irresponsible portalmancer and that them zombies wasn’t makin’ people sicker’n a lapdog in a leper colony. And It’d just occurred to me how tall a hill o’ trouble my son would raise if he realized that he was the opening act, so I approached the Lein boy right away.
Threllis: So I picked the first four zombies I saw and put instruments in their hands, and we immediately formed Lenanien’s Lashing Luthiers!
Hera: And then tragedy struck.
Threllis: Hey! You! The Shenouda Irradiated Necromage! Stop standing so close to my Lashing Luthiers! You’re melting all of the flesh that I used to cover their skulls! Awww! Now they’re all bumping into each other! You’re not even supposed to be moving yet anyway! Haven’t you learned your blocking?
((Sfx: radiation?; instruments hitting things))
Pamande: Well, without a backing band, the Acoustican Council of Good Taste wouldn’t let the Lein boy take the stage. You see, a band isn’t a band without at least two sapient performers and three instruments. Four instruments if you’ve got a tambourinist.
Hera: So, with a few hours of necromantic surgery and a little rebranding, Threllis emerged with a new band.
Threllis: I solved the face-melting problem. By removing their faces!
Hera: Thus did Threllis and the Faceless emerge like a clutch of phoenixes from the ashy eggs of Lenanien’s Lashing Luthiers. Although they’ve only played the Acoustican Audition thus far, this band shows great promise. When they take the stage this evening, you can be sure that Hera Laris and Beneath the Opera Pit will be there with eyes wide open, ears perked up, and scrycrystals recording everything.