The 20-Sided Theatre, Episode 30: The City of the Deep Elves
Scottalia’s HardXcorE Strikers
Godric Goodfellowe, a Lycanthropic Paladin – Gabriel Abinante
Elrenaar Wolfrond, and his Companion Moonslice – Cian Quattrin
Westley, a Pantsless Halfling – Natalie Abinante
Grorque Jorsten, a Cleric of Aigh Dubbil Yukay with a Huge Mace – Blake Parker
Thelindrias Ratkin, a Lycanthropic Ascetic Hunter – Rudraigh Quattrin
Yavië Sindara, a Red-Robed Witch – Ceridwen Quattrin
Jonorcthan Coultorc, a Half-Orc Bard/Sorcerorc – Tony Scaruffi
The DM – Rud
Rhomande – Rud
Jaisin Hamsson, Rhomande’s Nephew – Tony Scaruffi
Ratoul, the Most Interesting Dire Rat in the Planes – Cian
Credits: Mhorton, Rho, Issa, Imenand, Stiev – Tony, Rud, Ceridwen, Blake, Natalie
Hera Laris – Ceridwen
Engar – Gabe
Skrump Jugga – Blake
The Mammoth King – Tony (Due to a typo, we may need to introduce the Queen Mammother)
Mhorton Salzgeld – Tony
Chef Cipolla – Blake
Tipp Indecent – Rud
Asendolian, a long-dead Drow – Ceridwen
Castolín, a long-abdead Drow – Rud
Thrimlach Lenanien – 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, 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: O my beloved audience, it has been quite a time since we last checked in with each other. Preparations for my Insufferable Basterds’ triumphant return to Sahn Daskaar are well under way. It should only take another six and a half weeks until we have gathered the full might of our various attendants, vassals, monks, penguins, devout Scottalians, irresponsible magi, undead automata, and so forth. Once everybody has assembled in the Oak Vale Town Square, we shall call our rolls and set off for the capital city of the Empire. This time, we’re definitely not being irresponsible and nobody is planting alconut trees around the perimeter of Town Hall. And to further convince you not to peer too closely into my business affairs, I present Hera Laris and the Dipson Memorial Action Town Criers. What’s the news, Hera?
Hera: Thank you, Rhomande. Tonight we bring you news of an environmental disaster upon the world of Yaraí (yar-EYE-ee). Last night an earthquake rocked the Weyalar Jungle, registering over 7 and a half marks on the logarithmic scale. We go now to Engar Flamehand for more details.
Engar: Thank you, Hera. As you can see behind me, the village of Skree has been entirely wiped out by the quake. No survivors from the peaceful tribe of fruit-eating bat people have been located as of yet; however, no bodies have been found, either.
Hera: Engar, do you have any information on what did happen to the peaceful, fruit-eating bat-people of Weyalar?
Engar: Very little, Dame Laris. The last report from the Task Force that the Imperial Service Organization deployed to this world merely reads, “Bat in dangorc. Azu-orc-stone Cave safe.”
Hera: What is that even supposed to mean, Engar?
Engar: Well, Hera, the note seems to have been quilled by their bard, Jonorcthan Coultorc, who is well known for his position on remuneration for writing. I believe the official quote is, “Unless me sing or me get pay, me use as lilt-le word as me can, even for orcfficial purporcses.”
Hera: Well, perhaps the bat people have been relocated to the Azurestone Caverns.
Engar: Highly unlikely, Hera. A few days ago, an explosion caused the mouth of the cavern complex to collapse. The cause of said explosion is still under investigation by the local constabularies. Unfortunately, these constabularies hail from four different tribes, city-states, or whatever civic units they use here on Yaraí (yar-EYE-ee), so they’re more focused on determining who holds jurisdiction than upon investigation. And that attempt at jurisdictional determination looks to be deteriorating swiftly. I’m going to wrap up here and head back to the studio before things turn violent between the emissaries from Wolf Clan and Swamp Tribe. So, back to you, Hera!
Hera: Thank you, Engar. When we return, the Vengeful Ghost of Adanska Rothgeld will present us with the results of every sporting event played throughout the Empire in the past month. But first, a word from our sponsors.
Skrump: Me ams Skrumpp Jugga, and me here for tell you ‘bout new prodorct that ams change me life. Me ams orcllergic for many animal with hair. Thems make me sneeze, and it get hard for breathe, just when beast walk by! Me go to doctorc and him say that if me want for live longorc, then me needs be far away from all hairy animal, othorcwise me maybe go into an—ana—you hold. Me write down. ((Sfx: rustling paper)) Me maybe go into an-a-phorc-lat-cic (speak slowly) shock. Luckily me know fine purveyorc of all most best animal grooming prodorct.
Skrumpp: Me want for introduce The Mammoth King Brand ((Sfx: Mammoth trumpet)) animal fast-shave burny-foam! You orcllergic to horcse? Cover horcse in foam then watch mane and tail shrink orcway! Ams sheep get you goat? Put burny-foam on both! You not need wool if you orcllergic! Ams you always sneeze when Dwarf near by? Only The Mammoth King (SFX: mammoth trumpet) Brand fast-shave burny-foam ams be poworcful enough for melt away even hardest, thickest Dwarven follorcle. Just listen for him Majesty endorcsment.
Mammoth King: I AM THE MAMMOTH KING! ((Sfx: Mammoth trumpet))
Skrump: Him majesty tell you for go buy The Mammoth King Brand ((Sfx: mammoth trumpet)) animal fast-shave burny-foam right now, even if you no think you need!
Rhomande: O noble members of my beloved audience, please do recline upon your gilded seats, liberally quaff your libations, inspire your pharmakoi, and adjust your listening devices that you may capture even the tiniest twitterings that waft past your exquisitely shaped ears at The 20-Sided Theatre.
Scene 2: The Jailor’s Journal
DM: You awaken in near-total darkness, with the only illumination coming from the lower landing on the stairwell, where you’ve built a fire and posted watches while the rest of the party slept. The guard post in the outer walls of Faíre Síoraí provided a decently defensible spot for you to bivouac, but now the time has come to delve deeper into the ruins, in hopes of finding an ancient Deep Elf raiding tunnel so you can escape to this world’s surface.
Godric: And from there, we shall return to Sahn Daskaar, that we might answer the Emperor’s call and save the lives of countless myriads!
Westley: Very true, Godric. But it’s gonna be way easier said than done, what with all them eye-blastin’ roaches what we had to fight this room fer last night.
Elrenaar: Worry not, Westley! Those roaches had obviously been tampered with by some unknown outside force, so it’s not like we’re going to run into a whole hive of bugs that’ve evolved to use their eyes for shooting chaos rays instead of seeing. And if we do happen to come across any more of those things, Moonslice ((Sfx: moonslice)) and I will keep you safe.
Coultorc: Um… Me think you miss some thing, Elrenorc.
Elrenaar: You’re mispronouncing my name again, Coultaar.
Coultorc: (sarcastorc) Me sooooooo sorry, Wolfy-Elf. You obvious no miss nothing because you ams soooo familiorc with storcy about Hungorcing End.
Grorque: I’m only passingly familiar with that set of stories, Coultorc. What does your bardly knowledge bring to the party.
Coultorc: Me thank, Grorque (pronounced “Grorc/Grork”)… Me also thank for make name easy for me say, even if not easy for me draw it sound. Hungorcing End ams no-eyes demon that want for eat whole unorcverse. Maybe more than one unorcverse. It unclear. Anyway, great-great-ancestorc of Emperorc defeat long time’go, but story no say how it done. Just that Empiorc start aftorc no-eyes demon go’way, and now demon huntorc ams principal export prodorct of Empiorc.
Yavië: You missed a few dozen “greats” there, Coultorc. A few hundred, if you were talking about the Emperor’s human lineage and not his elven. But yes, you have given a very basic recounting of events from the deepest beginnings of the empire’s mythical past.
Thelindrias: Do you know the long version of that story, Coultorc? Ratoul is tutoring me for the Imperial Citizenship Exam, but the oldest of Dire Rat Lore only goes back about 120 years.
Godric: A point well made, Ratoul! He says that since we are all awake and packed, we ought to continue our search for a path back up to the surface. But first, let us start by searching the rest of this guard post.
DM: Sounds like you guys need to give me some rolls.
((Sfx: d20 roll x many))
Thelindrias: You guys find anything?
Westley: Nothing super useful. Just this well-crafted compound bow and a bottle of fluid that looks like that opera singer’s hair.
Rhomande: Ahem. To whom are you referring as “that opera singer”?
DM: According to the rules that you set up in this theatre, they can’t hear you, Bard. You’re not in this scene, so leave them and their Potion of Splendor alone.
Rhomande: Fine. But when we all convene in Sahn Daskaar, I am going to give such a performance that nobody will ever refer to me as “that anything” ever again!
DM: I hate you.
Westley: What did I do!?
DM: No, I was talking to… you know what, never mind. Anybody else find anything?
Jaisin: I did! It looks like a journal or a log of some kind. Let’s see… I studied Classical Deep Elf back in Wizard College, so I ought to be able to translate, if you give me some time. ((Sfx: page rustling))
Grorque: Anything useful in the first few pages, Jaisin?
Jaisin: Uh… Not so much, if I’m reading this right. It’s mostly a journal about life in the guard post. Oh! There’s a date here, in the upper margin! But it’s in the Deep Elf Calendar. Hrm. Let’s see, here… Carry the one… multiply by eleven ninths… divide by the square root of the hypotenuse… It looks like the first entry is from about 15 or 16 hundred years ago, give or take half a century.
Yavië: Let me see that date. Hrm, yes. Your meager capacity for mental mathematics has always been your greatest academic shortcoming, Jaisin. But you seem to be improving; this first entry was written on the 77th day of the third season, 1579 years ago.
Grorque: I feel my very animus moved by the unseen hand of Aigh Dubbil Yukay. Can I crash your reading party, Yavië?
Yavië: Of course, Grorque! Though, I did not know you could read any variations on the Deep Elf language.
Grorque: I can’t! But like I said, it feels like there’s something in there I need to see. Lemme just look over your shoulder… Hey! That symbol! What does that symbol mean? I think I’ve seen it somewhere before.
Thelindrias: If it’s anything like my native tongue, then that’s the symbol for Horizon. But, it’s been modified in some way that I can’t parse.
Jaisin: Technically, it’s the symbol for Accretion, not Horizon. Like when clouds of dust collapse in space and the particles start rubbing up against each other until a star erupts.
Elrenaar: Why was this Deep Elf guard writing in his journal about how stars are formed? Also, his people lived underground, so how did they know anything about stellar ecology?
Westley: If they raided the surface as often as Talek said they used to, then they probably had plenty of opportunities to study the stars.
Godric: Jaisin, you keep reading, in case anything useful is to be found in there. Meanwhile, we should head back downstairs to the main office. I want to search the door on the other side of the Duty Desk.
DM: You head down the stairs and swiftly confront Godric’s door.
Godric: Now, let us simply open this portal and… Hur’k! ((Sfx: hitting a solid door)) It won’t open.
Westley: Don’t worry, Godric! I’ve got a masterwork set of lockpicks, so we’ll have that door jimmied in no time!
Coultorc: Uh… Half-thing? You no wear pant, so where you ams hide pick?
Westley: Oh, easy. Most of my lockpicks can double as hairpins or other ornaments.
((Sfx: d20 roll))
Grorque: Did you get it, Wes?
Westley: Uh… I’m not really feeling anything to fiddle with… I think the tumblers are all jammed in the Unlocked position or something.
Godric: Well, if it’s not locked, then our path of action is clear. Hardcore Scottalians…
Godric: Westley: Thelindrias: Grorque: Coultorc: Jaisin: Yavië: Elrenaar: STRIKE! FOR THE EMPIRE!
DM: ((Sfx: d20 roll x many, stone door scraping against floor/opening slowly)) You put the combined weight of the entire party up against the door, and within a few moments it slowly, torturously begins to open.
Scene 3: A Word from Our Sponsors
Mhorton: After a long day of ploughing fields or cutting down trees or whatever it is you Nominally Protected Citizens usually do, it is customary to sit down to a hearty, home-cooked meal. But who has time to prepare a meal when you’ve been laboring in the salt mines all day? Hi. My name is Mhorton Salzgeld, and I’ve decided to capitalize on the name-confusion that has plagued my clan’s salt mines for generations. So, I am now introducing the Mhorton’s Own line of home cooking tutorials and supplies. Yes, rubes, I’ve scoured the world for the finest chef to prepare my fine bounty of foodstuffs! Why don’t you come out here and introduce yourself, Chef Cipolla? (it’s Italian; pronounce it “chip-O-la”)
Cipolla: It’s a-nice-a to meet you, folks. The onion a-man here has a-hired me to make-a-the finest onion a-recipes in all-a-the planes. I’m a-gonna teach you to cook-a-the onions in-a ways that you wouldn’t-a believe-a-that onions could be prepared!
Mhorton: Fortunately, I know how to cast Comprehend Languages ((Sfx: Comprehend Language)) so I can translate all of his directions and instructions into simplified common for you, the simple commoner! What’s on this month’s menu, Chef Cipolla?
Cipolla: This month, we’ve got four dishes on order. Twice-baked onions, with an onion salad. Braised onions in an onion bisque. An exquisite seven-onion casserole. And my personal favorite, onion tartar with a side of deep-fried shallots.
Mhorton: Don’t those all sound delicious, folks? The onion tartar is my favorite, too, Cipolla.
Cipolla: That onion-asparagus hybrid that Imenand sent over was pretty disgusting, though. We should-a charge-a-the Value Added Tax for any recipes that use the Oniogus… Asparagon? Oñasparaiongus.
Mhorton: Uhm… instead of addressing that tiny update in my coworker’s war on foodstuffs, I’m going to let the audience in on the Special Deal of the month. Yes, audience, when you scry in to place your first order, just speak the special promotion code, “Sir Gnome,” and every meal you order will come with a free side-order of Mhorton's Own Grandpappy-Style Barbecue-Flavored Onion Bits! Need another opinion? Just ask this paid actor!
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Cipolla: Of course, Master Salzgeld! This year, we’ve had yellow onions with pearl onion garnish, onion under glass, onion á la mode, stuffed onions, onion po’boy, fried onions, deep fried onions, beer-battered onion rings, onions creole, onions 3-ways, deconstructed onion slaw, onion-stuffed onions, onion etoufeé, onion jerkey, onion stew, stewed onions, bacon-wrapped onions made with bacon from the Plane of Onions, broiled onion rings, fresh-squeezed onion-ade, onion-wrapped bacon, onion chowder, onion bisque, candied onions, Candide onions, onion leather, sunny-side-onions, and I guess that's about all the kinds of ways I know how to cook onions at the moment.
((Sfx/Music: Fade out as Cipolla’s list grows))
Scene 4: The Jailed Demon
Westley: Gods, but I’m hungry now!
DM: You’re not supposed to be listening to the commercials, Westley.
Yavië: Yeah, you’re supposed to be helping us open this door. Jaisin! Stop pushing with your back like some sort of commoner and use your magics!
Jaisin: Oh, right. Sorry, Yavië. I keep forgetting that magic’s an option.
Godric: Okay, now that each of us is focused and living closer to their full potential, everybody PUSH!
((Sfx: d20 roll x many, stone door scraping against floor/opening slowly))
DM: The heavy stone door slides backward, then falls into a channel, whereupon some unseen mechanism draws it aside, hiding the slab within the left-hand wall, revealing a long, dark staircase. The passage heads downward, then turns after twenty feet, so you cannot see what lies below.
Grorque: Looks like the party’s in the basement. Which is great news, because Aigh Dubbil Yukay loves basement parties!
Elrenaar: I like deep, dank caves as much as the next elf who prefers to live in wolf-shape, but something feels wrong here. Maybe lots of things. For example, what’s powering that door mechanism? And how has it lasted this long?
Jaisin: I think you might be right about that, Elrenaar. I’ve been translating this journal, and it looks like it spans the year and a half before the fall of the city. Lots of pages seem to be missing, though. Anyway, the Deep Elf who wrote this was part of the city guard, charged specifically with keeping the perimeter clear of any invaders.
Godric: Does the journal give any indication as to what we might face down there, Jaisin?
Jaisin: Uhm… the first few entries are pretty boring, but Day 12 has something out of the ordinary. Let’s see… “From the private log of Sergeant Asendolian, 14th day of Receding Heat. Out on patrol today, we found a stranger. She was of our people, but not of Síoraí.
Asendolian: (voice-over) She was of our people, but not of Síoraí. She lay in a motionless heap her eyes having been plucked from her head. We were half a day’s walk from the 97th Junction, meaning that the closest outpost was more than two days away, so we took this poor wretch for dead. Castolín was the youngest in the company, so the duty of pocket-rifling fell to him. He cautiously prodded the body with the butt of his spear, yielding no response, so he knelt to pluck any valuables from the corpse. But when Castolín crouched, the body spun over and grabbed him by the hair, slamming his face into the stone floor. The stranger crawled over my cadet, placing her mouth beside Castolín’s ear. I shall not repeat what I saw that day, and I hope never to see it again. Suffice it to say that though Castolín is alive, he is not what I would call living. As for the stranger, she is destroyed. Castolín is now bound and headed for the deepest laboratories ever excavated for the Mistresses of the Arts and their experimentations.
Westley: Meh. Bodies that don’t die aren’t anything new. We fight zombies all the time! Hells, one time Grorque even used his holy symbol to vaporize half a dozen zombies in a big flash of light!
Grorque: Actually, I just used the power of the great Aigh Dubbil Yukay to ensure that their souls were no longer locked outside the Great Afterparty. Destroying their bodies was just a side effect of time and rot catching up to their artificially-preserved remains once their souls had transcended. Oh, look! We’re almost at the bottom of the stairs.
DM: You descend into some sort of processing and holding room. A stone desk blocks most of the entryway. A row of three cells opens up to the left, behind the desk.
Thelindrias: It doesn’t look like there’s any trace of the people who used to work here.
Godric: Ratoul is correct! Sometimes one simply needs to take a look from a different vantage point. HardXcorE Scottalians, fan out and search!
((Sfx: d20 x many))
Elrenaar: Nothing in the first cell. Just a stone sleeping slab and a granite chamber pot in the corner. Gods! These Deep Elves were quite lacking in their accommodations. Back in the Empire at least we have the Captives’ Bill of Rights to regulate places like this.
Westley: Yeah, but would you expect a city full of evil underground elves who are known for raiding the surface for resources to care too much about anybody’s comfort, let alone prisoners’?
Elrenaar: No, I suppose you’re right, Westley.
Coultorc: Um. Door for cell numborc 2 seem for be rotted off it hinge. It difforcult for tell, though.
Godric: What causes this difficulty, Coultorc?
Coultorc: Well, me see troll-size spy-orc of stone ams fall through ceiling and wall. Maybe that what break door? Me not know. Me not allowed for join secret Masonorc society because of me brothorc and him bad reputation.
Yavië: All of you went for the cells, when you should have been investigating the desk. Everybody with a desk ought to keep an ((Sfx: d20))… aha! Here it is!
Jaisin: What did you find, Mistress Yavië?
Yavië: Every good desk needs a secret compartment, Jaisin. This is where you keep the good candies and your favorite quills.
Jaisin: I’ll remember that when I get a desk! Maybe I’ll get one if I cozy up to some noble somewhere and offer to control the weather for him or something.
Yavië: You will do no such thing, Jaisin! We are members of the Thirteenth Imperial Coven. We do not “cozy up” to anyone or anything. If you want to help peasants by controlling the weather, then you simply do so. And if any of those peasants crosses you, then you simply hex them into the next year. Anyway, I found a ring, two scrolls, and a very shimmery cloak in the secret compartment. No candies, sadly.
Grorque: Uh… guys? You may want to get over here. And bring some weapons. Looks like I’ve found the spot where those entropy demons have been sneaking in.
DM: The third cell is in terrible disarray. Rubble and debris lay scattered everywhere, except for a clean streak down the center. The rear section of this wall has been bored through, opening into a natural cavern.
Godric: Well, friends, let us continue onward, that we may—DUCK!
((Sfx: d20 roll, chaos ray x2))
Westley: That was close! Thanks for the warning, Godric!
Godric: It looks like nobody was hurt. Now that we have an idea of that which with we are about to deal, we should approach with caution.
DM: As you peer into the cavern, you can see the source of the chaos beam: a Deep Elf with pitted sockets, pierced through and through with massive bronze rings. Lengths of chain suspend him from the ceiling, looping through the body rings, but somehow not tearing his flesh as he writhes and thrashes. The chain is composed of an unfamiliar metal, but you don’t have long to inspect it. The Deep Elf snaps its head toward you and opens its gaping jaws to let forth a rattling, empty howl.
((Sfx: Hungering End Scream))
Jaisin: That’s… That’s Castolín, from the journal I found. The author described how they locked him down here when he refused to die, and then they started running experiments on him to see if they could convert whatever energies sustain him into usable forms of power.
Godric: His chains seem to be holding fast. I do not recognize the material of which they are fashioned, though.
Grorque: ((sfx: crumbling stone)) Even though those chains seem to be holding strong, I think the masonry’s decayed over the past fifteen thousand years. It looks like the wall anchors are coming loose. ((Sfx: chains))
Elrenaar: Uh, oh! Those anchors are definitely loose! As in, they just came loose from the wall! And now Castolín has a clutch of chains to use as weapons! Come, Moonslice ((Sfx: moonslice))! Let us dispatch this antediluvian denizen of decay and destruction!
DM: As you stand there discussing the ancient roots of your current problem, the being that was once Castolín dances toward the party, swinging his chains in a wide circle, all the while babbling the typical demonic nothings of the Hungering End.
Castolín: Fáda direthwa codlatill…
Westley: Uh… anybody speak 15-thousand-year-old Drow?
Grorque: Nope, but I can cast Comprehend Languages!
Castolín: Long has the end slept, and now that it wakes, the stars shall consume their children until, bloated and tumescent, they burst and spread their spores across creation. You, too, shall burst, and I shall spread you across this plane. Rejoice, for we spare you the final chilling. You shall become the zero and the zero is absolute!
((Sfx: d20 roll, chains))
Westley: Whoa, look out! Gods, but that guy is fast! So I’m just gonna tumble around this cramped jail space, until he can’t see me anymore. Hup!
((Sfx: d20 roll, tumbling hobbit?))
Coultorc: Hehe! Tumbly Half-thing remind me of song me once write. Me sing for inspire you conforcdence! Oooooooohrc! There-once-was-half-thing-who-ams-roll…!
((Sfx: Inspire Courage))
Jaisin: Hey, that’s a pretty good tune! I’ll join in and jam on the spoons!
Yavië: Jaisin! Put down those spoons. Spoons are utensils, not instruments. And you’re supposed to be on shield duty, anyway.
Thelindrias: I agree, Ratoul. I don’t think that this ancient, eyeless Deep Elf likes the spoons either.
Castolín: SILENCE! Burn and burst and thou shalt disperse!
((Sfx: chains hitting stone))
DM: The demon snaps his arms backward, flinging the chains wide so that they strike the stone walls of the cell, whereupon they spark and ignite some unseen and unsmelled pocket of incendiary gas. Everybody’s going to need to make some saves.
((Sfx: fireball, d20 rolls))
Elrenaar: (cough-cough) What the hells was that?
Coultorc: (cough-cough) Me not know, wolfy-elf. ((Sfx: gathering chaos energy/charging up blasts)) But me ams wonder more what make new sound.
Godric: The fiend is gathering the entropic force into his empty sockets! Jaisin, you know what to do!
Jaisin: (sigh) Training with Unca’ Rho and his friends was never this demanding…
Castolín: Die, surfacers! The end shall be absolute, and the absolute is the absent, and absence is zero!
Jaisin: Master Goodfellowe, quick! Hide behind this swift Shield! ((Sfx: chaos ray, shield))
Yavië: This fiend is far too mobile for my liking.
Grorque: Any ideas about how to slow him down, Yavië.
Yavië: Just one, Reverend Jorsten. First, I shall use my elementalist witchcraft to densify the air around the eyeless wretch. ((Sfx: arms of air/hold person, d20 roll))
Grorque: Uh… he’s still moving, Yavs. Almost hypnotically, if I’m being honest. I swear by the sacred name of Aigh Dubbil Yukay, if this Deep Elf weren’t using all that chain dancing to try to kill us, I’d be tempted to bring him back to the High Church of the Grand Party for our weekly rave meditation.
Yavië: My attempt was not to stop the wretch himself, Reverend Jorsten; it was to seize one of the chains that has been bolted into his ankle. Which I have accomplished, by the way.
DM: Yavië speaks the truth. The demon that was once Castolín takes another spinning step forward, only to find his progress impeded by the shackle upon his left ankle.
Castolín: Te transa ort’hen! ((Sfx: chaos blast and chain rattle))
Coultorc: Uh… Grorque? Why no ams him word in common no mor’c?
Grorque: The spell has a decency filter, Coultorc. What he just said is best left untranslated. If he stops cursing in Ancient Deep Elf, then we’ll be able to understand him again.
Coultorc: Oh, orckay. Me follorc up question ams this: Why for him chain no break? Me think them chaorc ray ams break all thing, but chain no even look like it be touch. Look! It even still shiny. Maybe shiniorc now.
Godric: Coultorc speaks the truth, friends. Behold! The metal of those chains seems to resist the demon’s entropic decay; perhaps it even draws strength and stability from the blasts.
Godric: Quite so, Ratoul. Your observation is wisely-noted and well-worded, as always. Come, Hardcore Scottalians! I shall draw the demon’s attention, whilst you take hold of the other three chains. Come, Castolín! Thou now standest against Godric Goodfellowe and mighty Sanction, the ancient blade of the Lawful Orderhood of Gomas!
DM: The demon snaps both its attention and the chain ((Sfx: chains)) on its right wrist toward Godric, sending the links of burnished, verdigris metal in a line aimed at the paladin’s throat.
Godric: Fortunately, Godric Goodfellowe is a master of parrying! ((Sfx: sword parry)) Furthermore, he is quite capable of wrapping the chain about his Great Sword, then stomping upon it, that he might further impede his foe’s maneuverability!
Thelindrias: Here, Godric! Let me take that for you. ((Sfx: chains)) Ratoul and I will scurry into the wall with it and anchor these shiny, little links in the most solid piece of stone that we can find!
Godric: My thanks, Thelindrias. And <squeak> to you, Ratoul!
((Sfx: shapeshift, chains dragging))
Elrenaar: I gotta hand it to him. Ratoul has the always best plans. I guess it comes with his wealth of experience. Come, Moonslice ((Sfx: moonslice))! Let us seize another chain!
DM: As the dire rats scurry off, Elrenaar and Moonslice ((Sfx: moonslice)) close in on a third chain, but before either of them can snatch it, Castolín kicks his free leg, sending the metal links across the room, once again aiming at Godric.
Jaisin: OhnoQuickenedSHIELD! ((Sfx: shield)) Whew! That wasn’t a chaos ray, but I’ve still got you covered, Mr. Goodfellowe!
Godric: I shall ever be safe if my life is in your hands, Jaisin. But, please. Call me Sir Goodfellowe. Mister Goodfellowe is my father’s name. Now, did anybody see where that chain landed?
Westley: I did! And I even grabbed a hold of it fer ya, Godric! Now, I may not be very strong, but I’ll do my best to hold this hunk o’ chain in place while that Castolín fella thrashes about.
Grorque: Worry not, Westley! For the great Aigh Dubbil Yukay shall grant our party the Strength of the Herd, ((Sfx: mass bull’s strength)) so that we might raise the roof of this barracks even but an inch higher than it now sits! And I pray, great Sultan of Soirées, that you send your spirit down to Enlarge this Halfling! ((Sfx: enlarge person))
Westley: (big) Yee-haw! C’mon ya eyeless demon! Let’s see ya try to move while both o’ yer legs and one o’ yer arms’re bein’ pulled in every what direction there is!
Coultorc: Ha! So funny! Me think me able use me magic and me fork tongue for stun no-eyes elf if me compose little bit of Satiorc. Orc-hem.
Once there ams Deep Elf,
way down in deep brig.
Hims now get stop by
rat, wolf, and pig.
((Sfx: bardic satire stun))
DM: Coultorc’s limerick of satirical stunning seems to have worked. The eyeless Deep Elf now hangs limp, suspended by the strange metal that coils around his body. He seems quiet.
Yavië: Seems quiet? Or is quiet? These are very different things, and I wish to know that with which we deal. So I shall bend the great, glowing torrent of creation’s flowing energies toward my witchy ends and AMPLIFY SOUND!
((Sfx: amplify sound spell))
Castolín: (slowly, at first, gaining in speed and insane intensity) I feel you stir. You sleep, yet you turn now to wake and to wake is to know and to know is to know pain! And thus, you shall not wake. Those already awake shall be rent that they may never waken again! (pause, then start quietly, as if nearly sane) But I do not yet sleep, for I bear the knowledge and I bear the pain. And I feel… Yes… I feel the pull. The pull toward the great hammer that shall crack the heavens and bleed the suns.
DM: The Deep Elf has raised his head during this speech, directing his hideous, unwavering gaze toward Rhomande’s young, porcine nephew. While the demon’s empty eyes seem to eat the scant light shed by Yavië’s orb, Jaisin’s eyes seem to glow brighter against that darkness, shining with a deep, pulsing amber light.
Jaisin: I… I smell… <pig snort> There’s something in him… Something that… <sniff, sniff> Something that smells… <oink> That smells Wrong. Something that’s not really him.
((Sfx: something that starts as a pig noise, and continues as a huge vacuuming windstorm))
DM: The air stirs in the cramped jailhouse, softly at first, but soon a stiff wind whips around the room, rustling clothes and blowing away loose headgear. But all eyes are drawn toward the young half-elf in the silver-embroidered mage’s robes. He has grown to a height of twelve and a half ILDMs, his neck and back now bristling with thick hairs. His tusks gleam in the light of his eyes, and the great, rushing vortex that has caused the sudden wind storm seems to have its focal points somewhere inside Jaisin’s massive, porcine nostrils.
Yavië: Jaisin! Why are you in Wereboar form? You know that I do not approve of your manners when you… Jaisin? Jaisin, what is wrong? Why do you not look at me when I speak to you?
Godric: Whatever is happening, Yavië, I do not believe young Jaisin can stop himself. Did I not know better, I would say that he seems possessed.
Thelindrias: Indeed, Ratoul. You are right, Godric. The boy indeed seems possessed, but possessed of purpose. Look how he’s drawing his nose closer and closer to Castolín’s face!
Elrenaar: Uh… Is there supposed to be a thick, curling cloud of greasy, black smoke coming out of that guy’s eyes? And, uh… why isn’t that gross cloud going into Jaisin’s nose, when he’s snorting in so hard? Not that I want it to. I just want to know which laws of nature are being broken right now.
Grorque: No laws of nature are being broken, Elrenaar! I feel the stirrings of divinity and extraplanar energies in this room. I think… By the Celestial Bouncer, may he never eject us! I think Jaisin is drawing out the demon from Castolín’s mind.
DM: Grorque is swiftly proven correct. As the formless cloud hangs in the space between the Deep Elf’s pitted eyes and the great boar’s snorting nostrils, it slowly collapses into a vaguely humanoid shape, with five-point radial symmetry that suggests arms, legs, and a head.
Westley: (big) We gotta do something about that smoke-demon, then! But, uh… should we let go of these chains? I don’t wanna let loose another threat if I don’t have to.
DM: As the fiend of the Hungering End takes its rough-edged shape, the light in the Great Wereboar’s ((Sfx: boar squeal)) eyes flickers. Within moments, Castolín noticeably goes slack, slumping low in his chains.
Godric: We must move quickly, before the advantage is no longer ours. Hardcore Scottalians…
Godric: Westley (big): Thelindrias: Grorque: Coultorc: Yavië: Elrenaar: STRIKE! FOR THE EMPIRE!
((Sfx: d20 rolls))
DM: The party sets to their grisly work with severity and determination. Weapons, teeth, claws, and spells soar through the air, mostly proving useless against the demon, with a few key exceptions. As the light in Jaisin’s eyes intensifies, Yavië—tiny in comparison to the hulking wereboar ((Sfx: boar squeal)) beside her—noticeably grows in magical strength, visibly warping reality around her as she uses her witch-magics to form lances of unbridled elemental force, which she casts over the shoulders of her teammates, piercing the demon’s coalescing form.
Yavië: (throwing spirit lances) Yah! ((Sfx: spirit lance)) Our bond is strong, Jaisin! I feel—H’rah! ((Sfx: spirit lance)) I feel the fire burning bright within you. As fire heats—Yah! ((Sfx: spirit lance))—the winds stir. Wind brings rain, and rain falls upon the stone at the heart of flame. Reality is a circle of cycles within circuits, and this thing has no place on our course! Yaah! ((Sfx: spirit lance, demon in pain, d20 rolls with all above spirit lances?))
DM: As the lances of pure, organizing principle pierce the demon’s chest and shoulders, the party hacks away at its long, spindly legs. A moment ago, their knives, maces, teeth, and claws merely passed through the chaos elemental, but Yavië’s magical bolts seem to be counteracting whatever supernatural effects had formerly been protecting it.
Godric: Denizen of the Hungering End, you stand before Godric Goodfellowe, Paladin of Gomas and rightful steward of Sanction ((Sfx: sword “schwing”)), the holy blade of Justicar Weaverra. They say she found it in a hidden temple, deep in the Forgefen Swamp, and among all the Order it was only she whose heart was light enough that it would bear her touch, and thus allow her to bear its might. And so, I invoke the First Justicar, and I ask her to forgive me the sin of testing your heart. May it be light under the weight of Gomas’ justice! ((Sfx: d20 roll))
DM: Godric holds the sacred weapon before him, the lugs in the blade protecting the crown of his skull. He then pulls his left hand outward for a moment, wheeling the blade above the heads of his partymates, before stepping to the right and snapping his arms toward the left, bringing Sanction upward toward where the demon’s right hipbone would be if it had a skeleton. ((Sfx: sword hit)) The blade cleaves heavily through the monster’s form, stopping only when the sword has reached its left breast, whereupon the jail cell lights up in a blinding flash ((Sfx: magic explosion, demon pain)) and a wave of force rolls outward, slamming ((Sfx: explosion, hella thuds)) everybody against the walls.
((Sfx: fade to three beats of silence))
Westley: (slowly, painfully) Ooooogh. Am I blind or did Yavië’s light go out?
Coultorc: Me think there ams no light. Me was be able for close eye when Hungorcing Demon explode, and now all just look like regulorc for cave. Here, me ams can use me bardorc magic for make you Tiny Day Moon! ((Sfx: light))
Westley: Thanks for the light, Coultorc. Okay, is everybody alright? I know this is usually Godric’s job, but sound off, and groan if you need healing.
Grorque: Fortunately, one of the benefits of following the Great God of Celebrations is an immunity to the damaging effects of blinding or strobing lights. And my many long hours of meditative headbanging seem to have prepared my skull to shrug off blows like the one I just received.
Thelindrias: Ratoul and I managed to curl up when the blast hit. I think I may need someone to realign the bones in my back, but at least I’m alive.
Godric: Yavië? ((Sfx: cure)) Yavië, wake up! Receive the healing light of Gomas as I lay my hands upon you! ((Sfx: cure)) Grorque! Come help! Her wounds are healed, yet she does not stir!
Grorque: Here, Godric, let me see… Maybe she just needs a little bit of Restoration! ((Sfx: Lesser Restoration))
Elrenaar: I think it may have something to do with her witch-bond. I’ve healed Jaisin’s wounds and cast restoration enough times that I think I might need to take a little breather, but I can’t yet, because he’s still just barely breathing.
Westley: Hey, guys… I know our friends are still in need of extreme medical attention, but I think this Deep Elf kid is still breathing… or maybe breathing again… I think this kid with no eyes needs help, too.
Godric: Alright, then. Westley, Thelindrias, Ratoul, you three rest up, and in an hour I want you scouting the city while the rest of us bivouac here and run triage. If the Grand Partier, the Spirit of Nature, and the Lord of Laws are truly with us, we will be able to move out in the next few hours.
Scene 5: Credit where Credit is Due
Sstiev: Visssssit The 20-Sssssided Theatre online at twentyssssssidedtheatre.com. You can alssso follow usss on Twitter through sssscryomagical linksssss that Imenand and Thrimlach have essssstablished. You can follow the Twenty Sssssided Theatre @ Two-Zzzzero Sssssided Theatre sssssspelled with an -RE, the Inssssssufferable Rhomande Sssssorfinde @IllusssssstrioussssRho, Massssster Imenand Shehhhnouda @ShhhhenoudaNecroCo, Thrimlach Lenanien @Thrimlach, Isssssa Featherfoot @LadyFeatherfoot, and Sssssspirit of the Ssssswift Wind @SsssspiritOTSsssssW. Check the shhhhhow notessssss if you need help with the sssssspellingsssss!
Mhorton: 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.
Rhomande: Tonight’s episode was written by Rudraigh Quattrin and 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…
Issa: Join us next time at The 20-Sided Theatre!
Scene 6: The Tag
Thrimlach: Ceatharan? Can you hear me? I’m tapping into the Elven Thoughtscape again.
Rhomande: That I can, ceatharan! That must mean it’s time for another thrilling installment of Thrim and Rho’s—
Thrimlach: Nope! Not this time, Bard. This time I’m calling to tell you about a great new service that I just signed you up for!
Rhomande: A new service! I hope it’s not one of those specialty services that hides a pea under your mattress twice a year, to be sure your delicate constitution has remained as sensitive as it ought to be!
Thrimlach: Close, but no overstuffed pipe, ceatharan! You know how you never write any operas about those times between our adventures, when we’re doing administrative work for our various landholdings or researching frivolous new spells like Prismatic Slippers?
Rhomande: Yes, I know those times. The times that are too boring to even fabricate an interesting series of events.
Thrimlach: What in the hells was that sound, ceatharan?
Rhomande: Oh, it’s an alarm I set to go off whenever the postman finally catches up with me. Give me one second. (quiet, from off-mic) Thank you, Wakbert. The SlidingPeck Delivery service is always a pleasure to encounter! (back to mic) ((Sfx: agitated-monkey-in-a-box)) H’urrrrgh! I seem to have received a medium-classed crate with no return address, ceatharan. And whatever’s in it seems to be unappreciative of Wakbert’s handling—er—flippering of the parcel.
Thrimlach: Go ahead and open it, ceatharan! While you do, I’ll explain to the audience how Monthly Evil Monkeys can improve their time between adventures!
((begin Background SFX: Crate being pried open, evil monkey pops out, rhomande fights it, vorpal potato sword hits, d20 rolls, monkey claw scratches, bites, etc.))
Rhomande: (background) ((fighting an evil monkey sounds))
Thrimlach: (yelling a bit, over the monkeyfight) You see, a good adventurer needs to stay on their toes, especially between notable events. And with Monthly Evil Monkeys, you can be sure that your edge never dulls! Up to four times a month, you will receive, run across, or be found by an Evil Monkey who will not stop until one of you has—Hold on a second. Let’s check in with our satisfied customer. How’s the evil monkey, ceatharan?
Rhomande: How do I kill this damned thing, Thrimlach? The vorpal enchantment on my potato-soled scimitar seems to be of no use against this thick-necked simian!
Thrimlach: That’s because you don’t know the secret to Monthly Evil Monkeys’ entrepreneurial success! First someone with a big net goes to the Plane of Evil Primates and, uh… Let’s just say they offer up enough bananas to make enough splits for every archer in Sahn Daskaar’s Civic Guard, and in return, about a hundred thousand evil monkeys find their way to one of our packing depots. That’s when one of my ““Wizard Interns”” casts Geas, forcing the evil monkey to attack a specific person until one of them—Hey, ceatharan! You may wanna work your way over to the bar for this next part.
Rhomande: Oh ye gods, it’s in my hair! Ceatharan, this evil monkey has ruined my beautiful hair! What behind the bar can possibly help?
Thrimlach: Every evil monkey is under magical orders to beat their targets to within an inch of their life, until one of them can manage to smash a barrel over the other one’s head.
((Sfx: d20 roll, barrel smash, end fighting sounds))
Rhomande: Uhh… (passing out)
Thrimlach: Heh. Good work, Clyde. Oh, and before any of you scry in to complain, sometimes they’ll send great apes, dolls, or plush toys instead. But they all come from the Plane of Evil Primates, so you won’t get any money back if you get killed by a dire gorilla or a sock monkey wearing a fez, when you were expecting a macaque. How ya doin’ down there, ceatharan?
Rhomande: I… hate… you.
Thrimlach: Monthly Evil Monkeys! Keep your adventuring edge, all the year round! Use promo code ShutUpSirGnome—all one word—at checkout for 30% off the listed price!