The 20-Sided Theatre, Episode 4: Caught in the Dungeon of Ahk'rapp
Imenand - Blake
Rhomande - Rud
Thrimlach - Cian
Maldreth - Gabe
Issa - Ceri
Summit - Cian
Vragul - Rud
Drowmande Sorofein - Blake
Galette Orclington - Ceri
Yipping Kip Kobold - Gabe
Mroushth the Mushroom Man - Rud
Halfling Herdsman - (really Drowmande) - Blake
Lorramar the Stitched Raven - Gabe
Draykh Gunfist - Cian
Pilot Sergeant - Blake
Pilot 1 (dude) - Gabe
Pilot 2 (lady) - Ceri
Scene 0: Alternate Drowmande/Icosagon Intro
Scene 0:Show Opening & Theme Music
Vragul: **From “offstage”** QUIET!! TIME FOR START SHOW! VRAGUL DEFEAT AUDIENCE!!
SFX: (2d20 rolls)
SFX: (pause)(51136_rutgermuller_Cough (short))
SFX: (two-count pause)
Rhomande: Hunh... that disembodied voice usually tells us what happened right after we try something. Oh, well. No competition!
Rhomande: Good evening Lords and Ladies. You have chosen your evening's entertainment --
Drowmande: (interrupting) Oh, no you don’t, treesleeper! This isn’t your theatre.
Rhomande: Hey, who the---
Drowmande: (interrupting) Ruffians! Wenches! Bloodthirsty degenerates of all ages! It’s Thursday night, and you know what that means! Welcome... to the Icosagon!
The Wiz: **From “offstage”** Dancing lights! SFX: (121558_sbarncar_whistleandreport.aif x 5 (bunched in time with opening of Theme Music)
Theme Music: (VCMG – Victory Flower Fields – 20-Sided Theatre Edit)
--> slight alteration?
Music Bed: (Sylvius Leopold Weiss – Courante in F Major.mp3)
Drowmande: We join our contestants...
Rhomande: (interrupting) Hey! We’re “heroes”!
Drowmande: Not while you’re here, you’re not.
(Sfx: d20 roll, fail)
Rhomande: (Strangled, angry sounds)
Drowmande: Ahem... Allow me to introduce you to our “Contestants” -- The Insufferable Basterds of Western Scottalia!
(Sfx: Crowd boo)
Drowmande: Thrimlach Lenanien! A blind Elf Sorcerer, stripped of all his attendants, charms, and poultices.
Thrimlach: Torrea? Ceatharan? Where is everybody? I can’t even see my hand in front of my familiar’s face! Sir Gnome, I know you’re somehow to blame for this... So help me I’m going to drop you in SUCH a maze!
Drowmande: Imenand Shenouda, known throughout The Empire as The Weaponsmith -- he serves as President and spokesman of The Shenouda Necromancy Corporation, and provider of the Icosagon’s more devious implements of carnage.
Imenand: SFX: (4914_noisecollector_cat2.wav) By Mëassë’s implacable hammer, when I get out of here, I’m going to incorporate you into your masters’ next device!
Drowmande: Issa Featherfoot, Pengonquin Princess. A sneaky, seven-foot-tall Werepenguin! It’s been quite a while since we had a good beast hunt, hasn’t it, folks?
Issa: (series of VERY angy penguin noises)
Drowmande: Quite a mouth -- er... beak, isn’t that? Who’s next? Ah, right! The terrible, towering Maldreth the Impius, the ogre-blooded Patriarch of the Church of War, dedicated to Makar, Father of Strife!
Maldreth: Ugh! None of you buffoons will receive the healing might of Makar’s Poleaxe until someone kills that gods-be-damned new voice.
Drowmande: His Majestic Terror, Vragul, son of Vorbal, King of Town Hall, King of Wagon, King of Docks, King of Wife, King of Bloodless Axe, and Baron of Keepfield!
Vragul: (snoring/sleeping) Zzzz.... king of potato.... king of rock... king of bed... zzzz
Drowmande: Stil Colemanaani, the Druid of the Frozen Summit! Tender of Western Scottalia's fields and forests, and Exchequer of Oak Vale.
Summit: By the Green Man’s Beard! I was just checking in on some of our properties, and now I’m here. Wherever here is...
Drowmande: And our leastmost challenger, some flamboyant elf called Rheumy Andy!
Rhomande: It’s Rhomande, and you know it! Sheesh... and I thought the last disembodied voice was bad.
Drowmande: Coves and Cozies of my blood-lusting audience, recline upon your gilded seats, quaff your libations and thoroughly enjoy your evening at The Icosagon of Ahk’rapp!
End Music Bed: (Sylvius Leopold Weiss – Courante in F Major.mp3)
Scene 1: Buying, Trading, and Celling
Drowmande: Watch, as our latest attractions awake in darkness with cramped muscles and pulsating bruises.
Imenand: How is this possible? I do not sleep.
Drowmande: Well, everything was black and of the void, and now it is not. You are fully aware of your body, once more.
Imenand: I haven't done this in a long time. And I swear to you upon Measse's great anvil, when I release myself from this cell, you shall die slowly in torment.
Drowmande: Good luck with that. Observe! The air has an electric quality to it, which hits their skin in repeating waves. Within minutes their eyes should adjust, revealing the room to be six feet by eight feet in length and five feet in height. A single six-inch-square portal allows dim purplish light to spill in from beyond the cell. None of their gear or accoutrements are apparent. Instead, each of these Insuffrable Basterds wears a simple burlap tunic knotted with a short length of rope.
Issa: We've definitely done this before.
Thrimlach: What? Woken up in a cell and talked to a disembodied voice?
Imenand: We've done that hundreds of times.
Rhomande: But they usually let us keep our own clothes. And it's usually the same voice. I fear this may be no ordinary dungeon!
Issa: What gave it away? The magical traps set by the Potato King, or the fact that I can't find a seam in this wall? (SFX: d20 roll) Oh! Here’s a sliver of stone. That’ll be a good enough tool. Now, I just need to find a seam, and we'll be out in two shakes of a tuna's tail!
Thrimlach: Evil gods above! They have taken my spell pouch! Now how will I get out? I won't debase the Elven Race by asking some flightless princess to free me! I'd rather die in here.
Summit: Well, Thrim, if you don't like giant birds, how do you feel about... FLIES? (SFX: wild shape, shrink?, fly buzz) Hey, guys! There's a hallway out here. I think I can get your doors open.
Imenand: No need, Druid. I can still Knock this door open. (Sfx: Blake knock)
Issa: I know there's got to be a seam somewhere around here! (Sfx: d20 roll, fail)
Thrimlach: Try the wall with the hole in it, Penguin! Ha-haaah! This is quite amusing, eh, ceatharan?
Rhomande: (panicked) Help! I'm the implacable Rhomande Sorfinde and I'm locked in a cell! GET ME OUT!
Imenand: (Sfx Knock) Get up, Bard. We're making a jail break. You can still sing, right? Then you can still be useful.
Thrimlach: I demand that you relock my door! I would have figured it out eventually! Wait... One... Two... Where are the rest of us?
Summit: A different cell block, I'd assume. Although... (Sfx:d20 roll) Does anybody else hear that?
Rhomande: Vragul? Your majesty? We have to escape?
Vragul: (snore) Me already escape... Zzz.... Wife pregnant... Always roll over, wake king up... King of Dream.... Zzzzz
Imenand: I'm not waiting for him. He'll have to catch up with us later.
Drowmande: Yes, my bloodthirsty fans, these Insuffrable Basterds have overcome their first peril. Their first and second, if you count waking a sleeping half-orc! Behold! A single door stands at the end of the hallway, leading up a staircase. A ten-foot pole hangs above the lintel over each row of cells.
Imenand: (sigh) Come on. I need to return to my forge. The Mother of Arms visited me in my dreams, and I wish to get about her unholy work.
Issa: Hang on! I'm close! I can feel it!
Imenand: Ugh. Enough of this.
(Sfx: Blake Knock, door open)
Issa: I'm a genius!
Thrimlach: Come on, Penguin! We don't have all day to be building nests in the corner!
Issa: For the last time, the Pengonquin do not nest!
Scene 2: The Straight and Narrow
Rhomande: Hrm... Let's see... A stick, a bit of dirt, a bit of burlap tunic... And voila! I shall record and relate our latest adventure!
Drowmande: Not dressed like that, he won't, folks. Behold, as the Insuffrable ones emerge from the stairs into a long, nearly featureless hallway. At the end of the 80-foot run sits a treasure chest.
Thrimlach: Well, that looks suspicious.
Issa: You're blind! You've got no eyes!
Summit: Hey, missie Rogue! Go look for traps!
Issa: Well, I was searching for traps, but now I'm not so sure. You can check out this suspicious flagstone, here.
Thrimlach: I knew it! No passage could possibly be this innocuous!
Summit: I've got this one! Stone Shape! (Sfx: Stone Shape). There! Now we can walk through this pit and avoid the trigger plates.
Imenand: How in the name of the Empire's long arm did you cast that?
Summit: Whoever took our gear didn't pick all the twigs from my hair. I always keep a few sprigs of mistletoe up there in case something like this happens.
Drowmande: It appears our hapless contestants have passed their second challenge! But how will they fare against the next?
Issa: How hard can it be? All we have to do is walk straight across this pit and not jump up and down on those four plungers. I'll just make a “move carefully” check.
(Sfx: d20 roll, failure, falling penguin noise)
Issa: Waaaak! Oof!
Thrimlach: I've never seen a penguin hunt for worms like that before. I'll have to update my Archives.
Issa: Wak murph wrrkmph wwrkk frmmmmph!
Thrimlach: Easy for you to say. I'm not going anywhere near that pit until you've all set off -- er... Passed the dangerous part.
Imenand: Get up, penguin. You have work to do.
Issa: Wak! You will be rewarded upon our return to civilization. As for him... Hey, Thrim! The way's clear!
((Can we make it sound like Issa's throwing her voice for the last part?; if so, Sfx: d20, as well))
Thrimlach: Excellent! This calls for a classic elven walking tune! Durp-dee-durp-dee-doo. Aaaack!
(Sfx: Fusillade of Spears)
Rhomande: Lady Issa! I had no idea that penguins could throw their voices like that! Have you ever considered a life on the stage?
Issa: Right now, I'm more worried about a life in this hallway. My life.
Summit: I think I figured out what those ten foot poles were for. Oh well. An 8-foot spear is better than a ten foot stick any day.
Thrimlach: Hunh... I was wondering why in the 4,832 Hells those things were there. But wait, Summit! I just remembered something. Penguins are made of feathers!
Issa: Ouch! You will be punished for this affront to the heir-apparent!
Thrimlach: Oh yeah, and what about this affront to nature? Fly, Penguin! FLY!
(Sfx: fly x6)
Imenand: How resourceful! Our party is like a stone soup! Now, does anybody have a dram of quicksilver?
Rhomande: Not on me!
Summit: Maybe in me... You know... If you can rig together a makeshift distillery.
Issa: And distill all of us! Anyway, maybe there's some silverfish in that treasure box over there.
Imenand: Quicksilver. Not silverfish.
Issa: Wak-ever. Let's get to the other side.
Thrimlach: Indeed! Come, my cell mates! Fly with me! Flyyyyyyy!
(Sfx: Fusillade of spears)
Thrimlach: Ouch! Maybe you should disarm this one after all, Penguin!
Summit: Ten foot pole time!
Drowmande: Yes, fans of carnage, these shining examples of their species have finally figured out the puzzle!
Thrimlach: Shut up, voice. We didn't need the last one's help, and we sure don't need yours. Give me that pole, Summit. Now... Just a little tap-tap and...
(Sfx: collapsing ceiling)
Rhomande: Thus did Thrimlach-ceatharan spring the next trap, which harmlessly unloaded its many spiked stones into the ten-foot stretch before us!
Thrimlach: If those blocks fell, then they fell from somewhere else. That means there must be a way out of this dungeon. I'll just look up there and.... Aaaagh! I'm blind!
Issa: You were already blind!
Thrimlach: I'm more blind! I can't even see my elven cousins’ thoughtscapes anymore!
Rhomande: I knew I always had an audience in my head! I'll have to use this to my advantage somehow.
Imenand: Wait... you elves can do that?
Summit: Man... er... Elf up and look down, Thrim. Looks like they want us to do this by the book. The book of nature! Grab my hands and we'll plant step to the patch of moss on the backside of that chest.
(Sfx: plant growth, teleport?)
Rhomande: Now, then. Who wants to open the box?
Imenand: It, too, hides a trap, in all likelihood.
Issa: Fine, fine. Keep your feathers on. (Sfx: d20 roll) I can't find any traps on this thing. I'm not opening it, though.
Summit: (offering) Ten-foot pole?
Issa: Ten-foot pole.
(Sfx: horror movie creaky door)
Rhomande: Oh, ye gods! DUCK!
(Pause for a beat)
Rhomande: Where's the Kaboom? I fully expected a planes-shattering Kaboom.
Issa: No kaboom, Bard. Just my Infiltration Kit.
(Sfx: jingling keys)
Imenand: And a false bottom, if my hearing does not fail me.
(Sfx: hollow knock)
Summit: Let's be safe on this one.
Issa: Agreed. I'm going to search this thing as carefully as a male with an egg. (Sfx: d20)
Thrimlach: And I shall detect its magical properties! (Sfx: detect magic) Hrm... I'm feeling a very strong evocative energy woven throughout that plank of wood.
Issa: I found the catch! I just need to slip this in here and...
(Sfx: Sfx: Prismatic Spray)
Thrimlach: What's going on? I can't see!
Rhomande: Just get down, ceatharan! It's a Prismatic Spray!
(Sfx: fire, acid, elec damage)
All: (groans in pain)
Rhomande: Beneath the false bottom of the treasure chest, we did find a ladder descending into darkness.
Drowmande: Their second trial is now complete! Step down and step forth, Bastardly Challengers! Your spotlight awaits!
Maldreth: What are you idiots doing laying around while some voice taunts us? Makar will be very displeased when I confess your sins for you.
Rhomande: Father Maldreth! Whence did you come?
Maldreth: I woke up in a cell, and came out here to see you idiots in a charred pile. I suppose you'll want to feel the healing thrust of Makar's bountiful shiv, before you climb down that hole.
Thrimlach: (at 1 HP) Yes.... Please....
Scene 3: Cash and Prizes
Imenand: The gods appear to have given us only one option at this juncture. Everybody into the box!
Rhomande: You heard the man – er, mummy! Go go go! Climb climb climb!
(Sfx: d20 roll x7, 2 failures)
Issa: Everybody just take it nice and slow. Thrimlach, what are you doing!?
Thrimlach: Look out below, Penguin!
Imenand: Oh! One of my wrappings has come loo-OOPS!
Rhomande: The only silver lining in this situation is that nobody can see this hideously embarrassing totem pole we've made.
(Sfx: lights, & other magic effects)
Drowmande: Now, my stagehands! Dancing Cones of Light! Prep sound, and.... Mass Whisper! Good, good. Now the audience is prepped. Going live to Scrynet in 3... 2... Who put that hideous totem pole there? And what culture in its right mind worships a Penguin, a Mummy, and a blind Elf?
Rhomande: And thus did the lights come up, to reveal a grand theatre. But for the first time in my life, rows upon rows of poorly upholstered chairs haphazardly lay between the stage and its star performer! For an usurper stood in my place at the podium. Our minds registered him as a drow, but through devious magical failsafes, none of us walked away with the memory of his face. It certainly wasn’t because he was so Charismatic that even the memory of his beauty would draw us in forever and crush our minds.
Drowmande: I prefer the term "Facial Singularity."
Summit: It's... His face... It's so beautiful, yet so forbidding. I can't not look! But I mustn't comprehend!
Issa: This wibbly-face confuses me.
Thrimlach: What wibbly-face? I've always wanted to vivisect one of those!
Imenand: Tear your eyes from that non-face and take in the rest of the room! Spirits seem to be settling into these chairs.
Drowmande: Oh, great! And now they've gone live. Uhrm... Ladies, gentlemen, constructs, unknowables, and other! I am the Absurdly Beautiful Drowmande Sorofein, and it is my pride to welcome you to the final round of What Do Most People Pay For It! And now, our contestants. Hailing from the Thhhrassssshhhian Mycolony on Frembalas, Mroushth!
Drowmande: And a very sporeful Frrammmnsh to you, too! Our next contestant comes from then Talfian Silver Mines of the Province of Kesh. Ladies and gentlemen etc., please welcome Professor Yipping Kip Kobold!
Kip: Great to be back, Master Drowmande!
Drowmande: And what have you done with your winnings, since we last saw you, Kip?
Kip: I tripled my workforce, so we could open up our second mine! I'm hoping to double what we have if I win tonight. I never knew humans sold each other so cheap!
Drowmande: (affected laugh) Yes, Kip, humans certainly are stupid and cheap, aren't they. And who knows more about the internal workings of stupid humans than our returning champion, Doctor Galette Orclington, Ax.E.
Galette: (orc-sexily) Me happy be back, Funny Face.
Drowmande: Hsssst! Not in front of the cameras! Ha, ha, ha, folks! I've never seen this woman in my life!
Rhomande: (writing hastily) Got to get all of this down! Seventy feet away, across fifty ... I guess let's call them "rows" of chairs squatted a stage and some sort of scoreboard, written in an unfamiliar language. The stage area sported four podia and three doors, each marked with a crudely scrawled number.
Thrimlach: Quit your writing, ceatharan! Don't you know how rude it is to draft messages in the theatre? We could be kicked out by the ushers!
Imenand: Or worse. They could arrest us for theatrical piracy. I'm pretty sure that's trademarked material that you're describing, there.
Drowmande: Indeed it is, o bandaged one! It seems you have failed your third test. You couldn't shut up and let the show go on! And for that, your whole party must die!
Maldreth: What terrible parishioners you are! How many times have I had to confiscate your parchment and quills and crystal balls during a service? This beating will be for your own good. Let’s give ’em a lesson they’ll never forget!
Drowmande: Hah! Right! The drow in the three hundred thousand gold-piece suit is going to ask for help from the ogre in the seven copper-piece sack. Come on! </Gob Bluth>
Galette: Hah! You tell him, Lovey Face!
Kip: Can I keep the survivors?
(Pause, ticking clock, crickets, or something)
Drowmande: What are you guy still doing up on the stage? Come on! The sooner you kill them the sooner we can get back to the game.
Galette: Oh, right. Sorry, Pookum. RRRRRRAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH!
Issa: Um... Guys? There's some fungus already among us.
Summit: Well, are you surprised? You've done security for Rhomande's theatre; you know how long these shows take to imprint on a crystal. That mushroom man's probably been setting off spores in here for hours.
Rhomande: And when all seemed bleak, as the army of fungal warriors surrounded us, a familiar battle cry echoed out from the passage above.
Vragul: Me KING OF CELL!
Drowmande: And here comes a new challenger! Yes, friends, hailing all the way from the Scottalian barony of Keepfield, Vragul, King of Mayhem! He's the one I told you about, Miss Orclington.
Galette: Him pretty. How he get wing like that?
Thrimlach: Just a simple body kit that I added on after market, one Sunday. If you get me the parts...
Imenand: No! You will not make another flying Orc! It's bad enough having the one. At least he's on our team. And he brought weapons!
Issa: Wait... I think I spot... (Sfx: d20 roll) Those aren't staves. He broke the other ten-foot pole in half!
Vragul: (Sfx Flying Orc -jet?-, d20 roll, axe hit) Me save you! Me find Thrimlorc blood in hall. Know you in trouble. Where us now? Look like bear move in with talky-elf.
Summit: How ever did you know that the blood was Thrimlach's?
Vragul: Me just know. Taste like Thrimlorc, so me assume it his blood. No taste like anybody else blood me know.
Issa: Why do you know what all of our blood tastes like? And how?
Vragul: Need know many thing when want be king of all. No worry. You all safe from shape shifter when King Vragul around.
Rhomande: And now we have a fighting chance! Join me in our battle cry, Your Majesty! For Glory and Market Share! (SFX lute strum, reverb? on voice for Greater Shout)
Drowmande: No, you fool! Those mushroom people are in their spore-spreading stages!
(Sfx: series of pops and wet bursts? Mushroom men exploding and letting off puffs of spores)
Vragul: That not battle cry, stupid talky elf! And you no kill enough mushroom mans! Me Vragul KING OF MUSHROOM MANS!
(Sfx: d20 roll x3, axe hits, more mushroom popping)
Vragul: Ugh! Aaah-CHOO! Me really hate fungus thing. Remind me of when Fathorc make dinner, after Mothorc run away with younger man.
Summit: By Mother Nature's Shaggy Green Hair! You guys are going to need some bolstering, I think. Let's start with the raw Strength of a Herd of Buffalo! (Sfx: mass bull's strength)
Thrimlach: Hey, Penguin!
Issa: What? I'm kinda busy here, Thrim!
Thrimlach: Are you a magical penguin?
Issa: Um... I'm a positive energy zombie penguin, if that's what you mean.
Thrimlach: Receive this magical blessing upon your fangs! (Sfx: Magic Fang)
Issa: But I don't have fangs!
Thrimlach: Beak, then. Whatever.
Issa: Much better! Magical peck-PECK! (Sfx: 2 rolls & pecks, shroom pops)
Issa: (pained penguin noises, plus spitting) Why did we stop fighting fish men and mermaids! Everything we fight tastes terrible lately!
Maldreth: By the Terrible Swift Sword of Wrath! Why are you twits still mucking about with the mushroom people? It's painfully obvious that we should be up on the stage right now!
Rhomande: (aside) You've got that for damned certain.
Drowmande: Hah! Over my dead body, and those of my innumerable adoring Polemophiles!
Thrimlach: Let's just see how dead your body is after it passes through a Prism--
Maldreth: (interrupting) Kill that blasphemer, my Basterds! This Barrier of the Warfather’s Keen Blades will create a ten-foot wide corridor. Then you idiots just need to get to the stage.
(Sfx: Blade Barrier)
Drowmande: That doesn't look good for our contestants. Quick! Make your reflex saves! (Sfx: d20 roll x3)
Kip: Galette! Duck!
Galette: Wha--? Oof! (Sfx: hella blades from the barrier)
Maldreth: What are you doing, Thrimlach? Get moving!
Thrimlach: Ooogh. Maldreth? O Foul One? Is that you? I can't see you...
Maldreth: Of course you can't see me. Either that drow up there or the people he works for have stolen your eye trinkets. I suppose that's why you walked face-first into my Blade Barrier.
Thrimlach: May...be... (Cough)
Maldreth: Fine, then. We'll chalk this one down as Nobody's Fault and No Harm Done. By the Shit-Stained Breeches of Makar's Enemies, be healed, blind elf! (Sfx: Cure)
(Sfx: Wings flapping)
Issa: Why are you guys still on the ground? The magic folk just cast fly on us! And I'll be a seal's aunt if I let Vragul get all of the credit for this one. PeckPECK!
(Sfx: d20 roll x2, 2 peck strikes)
Kip: Yeek! Ouch! Get this fucking puffin away from me!
Issa: I'm a penguin, you filthy otter!
Kip: I'm a Kobold!
Drowmande: And you'll be a dead, penniless Kobold unless you kill the escapees and win this game!
Issa: Wait... Does that mean there's cash behind one of those doors?
Drowmande: There's only one way to find out, Lady Featherfoot. And to ensure that it really is the only way, I'll have to erect this Cube of Force around the host's podium. (Sfx: cube of force)
Imenand: Hey! That's my cube! Return it, Deep Elf, or you shall suffer thousands of experiments before I vivisect you!
Thrimlach: Ahem. Now, I need to restart my casting. Vragul! Penguin! Cover your eyes!
Drowmande: What in the Master's True Name do you think you're doing, pink-skin?
Thrimlach: Making some space so I can win this game. Prismatic Wall! (Sfx: Prismatic Wall)
Galette: Aaagh! Pookum? Where you go? Me no see!
Kip: (panicked) Galette! Galette, stop moving around! We don't have very much room in --
(Sfx: trip, thud)
Galette & Kip: Ooof!
(Sfx: multiple zaps as they fall through the prismatic wall)
Rhomande: Good work, Thrimlach-ceatharan.
Issa: No it wasn't! Look where the wall is!
Thrimlach: I can't. Remember?
Issa: It's right in front of the treasure doors! Now we'll never get to it!
Thrimlach: Sure we will, Penguin! We just need to wait about three and a half hours for the wall to dissipate!
Drowmande: Actually, you have nothing to fear. Those are just the stage props. Perfectly worthless. We deliver the actual prizes to you a few days after the show scries out.
Thrimlach: Well, how was I supposed to know that? I've never been in a theatre before!
Rhomande: What about the time we visited my theatre, ceatharan? The one I renovated in the Great Entertainments District of Sahn Daskaar.
Issa: It wasn't really a theatre, though. It was an opera house that was built on an old Gladiator Burial Ground.
Thrimlach: Nope. Not ringing any gongs.
Imenand: It was destroyed by a many-tentacled beast wreathed in hellfire.
Rhomande: Right in the middle of the second act, on opening night! Ah, well. That old Scottalian Bakers' Insurance policy sure came in handy, at least!
Thrimlach: Oh, that place! I always thought that was some sort of fever dream. Sir Gnome and I sort of got into the alchemy kit before the show, if you know what I mean. I thought I’d seen a goblin earlier that day.
Maldreth: That place was an opera house? I had assumed it was some sort of menagerie, from all the feathers and furs.
Rhomande: Well, I'm opening a better one when I get back! Maybe a flying theatre ship...
Drowmande: Nah, you want to get into scrycasting or Planar Sending. That's where the real exposure is. And speaking of which, you idiots owe me three contestants. We were just about to finish the game and send it to the gnomes in editing, when you insufferable Basterds barged in and started killing everybody.
Thrimlach: (impersonation) Me Vragul King of Game. Me want play!
Drowmande: Excellent! You can take Galette's place, and maybe nobody will be able to tell. All orcs look alike through scrying, anyway.
Vragul: What! Me no--
Rhomande: Get up there, your Majesty! And if you can't think of anything to say, just keep repeating my name.
Issa: Aww shit. Time to be a rogue! Gotta get off this stage stealthily. (Sfx: d20 roll x2)
Drowmande: Oh, no you don't, missie! You're contestant number two. Keep the beak on and hunch down, though. And put on these spectacles. You're supposed to be a Kobold professor of History.
Issa: (penguin grumbling)
Thrimlach: Hey, this sounds like fun, now! Count me in. It’ll be nice to have me and my partially-undead friends in a friendly game of... Hey, what's this game called?
Drowmande: It's called "What Do Most People Pay For It?" I show you objects, and you tell me what the average bartering price is for the items. Fortunately, we're almost done and you don't have to play that part.
Vragul: So what we do for game?
Drowmande: Well, you select a door, and I open it. Sometimes there's treasure behind the door, and sometimes there's unspeakable death. And sometimes you can find the Greatest Prize of All.
Issa: Which is...?
Drowmande: There's only one way to find out. Now, the rest of you take your seats in the house. We're returning to live scry in ten seconds.
(Sfx: shuffling papers, Drowmande clearing throat/vocal exercises, people sitting into chairs)
Drowmande: And now, we return to What Do Most People Pay For It, and our final Showcase Showoff! Our contestants got into a bit of a scrape, my rakes and rivvies, so don’t be surprised if they look and sound a little different after our break.
Drowmande: (angry for 2nd half, since you just read the doors for the first time) Beside me, the lights now reveal three doors, appropriately.... numbered.... by my illiterate barbarian stage crew. I really need to renegotiate my contracts.
Drowmande: Your task, my unwitting contestants, is to choose the correct door, for fabulous cash and prizes.
Dromande: Galette Orclington, since you scored highest in the last round, you get to choose first. Will you open Door Number 1, Door Number 2, or Door Number... I guess that’s an E?
Vragul: Me illiterate. No have any idea what them symbols mean. Me choose left door.
Drowmande: An excellent choice, Lady Orclington!
Vragul: Me no lady.
Drowmande: (hammy game show host) Me-ow! Save it for the dressing room, baby. Now, my illiterate barbarian stage crew, please reveal what lies behind Door Number 1!
(SFX: door creak)
Drowmande: Well, this is a first! It’s usually death on the first door. This time, however, it appears that behind Door Number 1 lies Door Number E!
Thrimlach: Sorry, Lady Orclington! Looks like you lose! Now, what am I supposed to be? Some sort of Mouldering Mound? I’m pretty sure I speak Rotting Plant. Ahem. THRRRMPSSHHHLLLHHKKKK RRRRHHHHLLLLLSSSSSSS!
(SFX: “wrong answer” buzzer)
Drowmande: As horrifying as that was, I do need your answer for this round in the form of a number. And now, to our third contestant, Professor Yipping Kip Kobold! What door do you want to open, Kip? Door Number E, Door Number 2, or Door Number E?
Issa: I hate you. So much. I also choose the left door. I know how these adventures go. Always choose left!
(SFX: door creak)
Drowmande: Uhm... Wow. Ladies and Gentlemen, the producers of this fine show must be having a bit of a lark, here. I’ll have to speak to them after the show. Behind the first Door Number E, lies Door Number 2!
Drowmande: Well, we usually run out of contestants by this point. I’m not really sure what to do. I guess the rules state that we open doors until everyone’s dead or someone finds treasure. Galette, pick a new door, if you’d be so sweet.
Vragul: Me still no read. Me still go left.
(SFX: door creak)
Drowmande: Door Number 1. Hunh. We may be here a while, folks, so strap in, grab a cold beverage, and stay tuned!
Issa: STOP OPENING THE LEFT DOOR!
Vragul: Me have process. It very intricate and involved.
Thrimlach: This is an awful game! I pick Door Number 2!
Drowmande: Right. Let’s see what type of horrifying death awaits...
(SFX: door creak)
Drowmande: Oh, for crying out loud! Another Door 3.
Rhomande: It’s an E. Clearly.
Drowmande: Like you could do better under these circumstances!
Rhomande: I’ve done far better under far worse, I’d have you know!
Issa: Shut up, the both of you, and somebody open Door Number 1!
Drowmande: The Kobold’s right. We need to finish this without killing each other. That part can come afterwards. Preferably in some sort of pay-per-scry format. Let’s open it up, illiterate barbarians!
(SFX: door creak)
Drowmande: Okay. Not sure if we’re getting somewhere, but now we’ve whittled down the choices. Now, Galette. Choose carefully. And just in case, I’d like you to open the door yourself. Now, will you open Door Number E, Door Number E, or Door Number E?
Vragul: Me think me figure game out. Now me defeat stupid game and stupid door. Me choose All Door!
(SFX: Doors creaking)
Drowmande: It’s an enormous wardrobe! Yes, Galette, there are enough clothes here to cover you up until the day you die. It won’t matter whether you shrink down to halfling size or balloon up to that of an ogre, there are enough clothes in enough sizes and styles to fit any situation.
Imenand: Those clothes look familiar.
Maldreth: Yeah... I swear I had a mitre like that once.
Rhomande: That’s my cloak! Not the good one. My lucky cloak! The one I was wearing when I first came to Oak Vale, and met all of you people!
Imenand: You considered that a lucky day?
Rhomande: What? No! This was my lucky cloak long before I met any of you. I was just trying to jog all of your memories!
Drowmande: And you runners up get to split this enormous pile of money! We confiscated it from some prisoners a few days ago, so watch your backs. Especially if you see some Scottalians. There’re a lot of coins showing Rasia and Gomas in that pile. Give ’em a hand, everybody!
(Sfx: crowd cheering)
Thrimlach: I HATE THIS GAME! Stealing my things, then making me open doors! Where will it stop!?
Issa: (flatly, -_-) Yay. We get our money back, too. In any case, let’s get out of these burlap sacks and into some comfortable clothes before we kill that drow.
Summit: I think it might be a little late for that. He just ran out the backstage door.
Thrimlach: Don’t worry, friends. I’ve got this one. TIME STOP! (Sfx: Time Stop, time unstop)
Maldreth: Finally, someone doesn’t embarrass me, my god, or my church on interplanar scrycasting. Good work, Thrim... Wait a minute!
Summit: Where’s the drow, Thrim?
Thrimlach: Oh! You wanted me to catch that guy? Sorry, I didn’t realize that.
Imenand: Then what did you do?
Vragul: Hmm. Blue tunic look nice on me kingly skin, but tunic a little too tight. Me King of Clothes. BWAH! What talky-elf do wear me crown?
Rhomande: (through gritted teeth) Thrimlach, if you ever dress me up in Vragul’s clothes again, I swear you’ll never live to see your 1900th birthday. And Vragul, so help me, I will find a way to wreak my vengeance. YOU RIPPED MY BLUE TUNIC!
Imenand: So sad. Wasn’t that the one Maldreth brought you?
Maldreth: By Makar’s filed teeth! Will you fatuous gasbags please just shut up, suit up, and follow that drow?
Scene 4: The Herdsman and the Flocks
Rhomande: The side door did emerge into rolling plains, whose grassy waves were a wonderfully welcome sight, after so long in dungeons and potato-based realities. As we turned to look back whence we came, we beheld a free-standing door frame, with no sign of a theatre beyond. A standing stone topped a nearby hill, the only other landmark in sight.
Vragul: Talky-elf need shut up. Me no can think with all you noise!
Rhomande: But, however else am I to memorize this grand adventure? Your glory’s not going to spread itself throughout the land, Your Majesty. Thank the gods, your wife has seen to that!
Maldreth: And the less said about that, the better! Let’s get up to that standing stone and see if we can find a way out of this insufficiently dismal place!
Issa: Any idea where we are? Summit, you’re our tracker.
Summit: I’ll scout ahead in Bird Shape! (SFX: Shapeshift, eagle cry)
Imenand: Well, I have no idea where we might be. Or when. Looks like the prime material plane, but we can’t be fully sure. Personally, I’m waiting for some giant grass-and-stone dragon comes trundling over that hill.
Maldreth: Hmm... Looks like some good clay in this dirt. With a little ingenuity and a few orisons to harden the clay...
Imenand: A capital idea, Father Maldreth!
(Sfx: clay and scratching out a holy symbol)
Maldreth: Excellent! These hastily produced holy symbols will serve just fine until we can find some proper obsidian. Then the Weaponer and I can make new ones. Better take some of this clay, too. Might come in handy.
(SFX: eagle cry, shapeshift)
Summit: Not much to see up there. The hills and dells seem to go on and on at least to the horizon. Nothing taller than grass out there, except for a circle of stones on the far side of the hill, with something shimmery in the center. Oh, and there’s a halfling standing in the tall grass over there, at the base of the stone. He’s scratching his head with one hand and holding a straw hat with the other.
Vragul: Me defeat halfling! Vragul defeat all! RAAAAAAAAGH!
(Sfx: crash, tumble, wrestling sounds)
Thrimlach: Vragul, get off of that halfling! You don’t know where it’s been!
Herdsman: Thankee kindly! Been a while since anyone tackled me like that! Now, what can I do you fer?
Vragul: Me still worked up. Maybe feel like can lift three ton weight. You, halfling. You have thing that weigh three ton?
Herdsman: Well, I can’t rightly say I do. Maybe if you try to lift my herd o’ owlbears, that might do it. Don’t hurt ’em, though!
Summit: I didn’t see any owlbears.
Herdsman: Well, that’s the problem, ennit. Look, while y’all’re here, could you folks do an honest herdsman a good turn?
Imenand: I am unfamiliar with this concept of “a good turn.”
Thrimlach: Meh. What else do we have to do right now? Whaddaya need, half-stuff?
Herdsman: Well, I got four flocks out there, a-ranging. I need to gather 'em into that ring o' stones, down the hill yonder.
Thrimlach: Flocks of what?
Herdsman: Well, I don’t want to get y’all into more trouble than you think it’s worth, so let’s start easy. I think I can see my flock of sheep, down there to the southwest. Ya see, my dog’s run off again, and he’d usually do it.
Thrimlach: I still don’t see what you’re talking about.
Issa: That’s because you still don’t have your eyes. Plus, for some reason you’ve insisted on wearing that ridiculous blindfold!
Herdsman: So, whaddaya say? Can you herd my flocks into that circle?
Imenand: Of course we can hurt them in that circle!
Herdsman: Herd them. Please don’t do anything to harm my sheep. I really need the wool and mutton for next season!
Imenand: My apologies. I have difficulties at times, thanks to my D&T training.
Herdsman: The heck is D&T training?
Imenand: When we come across beasts in the wild, we usually must fend them off. We hurT more than herD.
Summit: Don’t worry, Halfling. As a guardian of nature, it is my duty to tend creation’s stupider species.
Herdsman: (quietly, while Summit is talking?) I have a name, you know. You could call me Koleth.
Summit: DOMINATE ANIMAL!
Summit: There you go, sheep. Get on into that stone circle, there. That’s a good stupid sheep. Go running!
Issa: Did that sheep just disappear as it entered the circle?
Herdsman: Of course, they did, Ostrich Lady! You didn’t think my sheepfold was out here in the middle of nowhere, didja?
Maldreth: This is already taking too long. How about I just kill the rest of your herds?
Herdsman: Oh, please don’t! M’lord’s been taking more and more every year, and I’m so afeared for next winter.
Maldreth: Fine. Then what will you give me not to kill your animals?
Herdsman: Well, I can tell you the secret of the circle down yonder. But only if you get all my animals into there without any injuries. Howsabout that?
Imenand: Come now, Father Maldreth! There are far more ways to leave our mark than simple violence. Take terror, for example! We can easily terrify these sheep and herd them wherever we want. We just need to work together!
Maldreth: And how do you propose that?
Imenand: While the Druid of the Frozen Summit focuses on keeping the herd together, we can steer them with our dogs.
Maldreth: What dogs?
Imenand: These! SUMMON FIENDISH DIRE WOLVES!
(Sfx: summon, dog braying)
Maldreth: Wonderful! Now I don’t have to go running after sheep. Right behind you, Weaponer! Makar, bless us with the presence of your prehistoric braying hunters!
(SFX: summon, dogs braying, sheep stampeding)
Herdsman: Not a bad plan, gents! I think you might be intimidatin’ them the way you want.
(Sfx: d20 roll)
Imenand: Silence, halfling. We must concentrate on this task.
Maldreth: This secret had better be worth it, or else you’re going to end up a messy and hastily performed sacrifice, down on those rocks.
(Sfx: Sheep stampeding)
Herdsman: Well, that went right quick! I didn’t think you city folk really knew what y’all were doing. Thanks a heap! Now, could you get on down to the south side and herd them Springbucks down into the circle? Gonna need lots of hides and jerked meat for the wintertime! Keeping them suckers ain’t easy, but it sure is profitable.
Summit: What in the infinite hells is a springbuck? I’ve never heard of such an animal. What does it even look like?
Thrimlach: Aren’t you our Nature-Force-Scouting-Subdivision, or something? How do you not know each of the infinite variants on the common deer?
Summit: I dunno. Not many prairie deer make their way up to the summit. Imenand! Maldreth! You two still have those dogs handy?
Imenand: Indeed we do!
(Sfx: d20 roll)
Maldreth: Hmm... Maybe we were a little over-aggressive there. All the bucks seem to have sprung. Those helldogs won’t be able to catch all of them, now that they’ve scattered.
Vragul: No worry. Me king of deer-things.
(Sfx: Orc wings)
Vragul: Me just need... Get good grip...
(Sfx: d20 roll, deer/springbuck bleating?)
Vragul: Hah! And fly back to circle!
(Sfx: Thud, disappearing springbuck)
Issa: This is still taking too long. Vragul’s the only one of us who can still fly fast enough to catch the damned things, and there’s no way Rhomande and Thrimlach can lift a whole springbuck by themselves. Even with magic.
Rhomande: I never!
Imenand: She has a point.
Summit: Fine. We should all pitch in. MASS HIPPOGRYPH FORM!
Summit: Now, be careful with those claws! Just try to pick them up by the scruff of the neck.
(Sfx: d20 rolls, reverse polymorphs, bleating deer)
Rhomande: Whew! I hope never to smell like that ever again! Well, now, halfling, what new unlikely beasts will you have us wrangle?
Herdsman: That was the craziest thing I ever saw in my whole life! You folks are quite somethin’. Well, there’s two herds left, and since y’all got through the first two so quick, maybe you’d like to take the hard one on.
Summit: What could be so hard to herd, herdsman? Do you have a flock of Skaranian Tanglebirds, or something?
Herdsman: Almost like that. I got me three owlbears that’ve wandered off. Now owlbears’re hard to keep, but what other animal can give you both cheese and eggs at the same time? They’re practically walking omelet factories!
Imenand: The Dire Platypus can produce both cheese and eggs. You might not want to eat its cheese, though. The inner fluids of the Dire Platypus are quite poisonous to other species.
Thrimlach: Ewwww. Platypus and Owlbear omelets sound like something Vragul’s wife would make.
Vragul: Mmmm... Just like great grandmorc used to make on Satorcday morning. Me very lucky to have have such domestic wife in modern day and age.
Summit: (Sfx: d20 roll) Hmm... According to my Druidly knowledge, the best way to deal with owlbears is to come at them unawares. So, it’s time to blend in! TREE SHAPE!
(Sfx: Tree shape)
Issa: Forget this shit. The first two were really easy, and we used to fight owlbears way back when we only owned the town of Oak Vale and that creepy keep to the south of it.
Thrimlach: Ah, yes! Did I mention that I’m opening a retreat house there, for weary wizards, witches, and the like? I even hired Maldreth to do the decorating!
Maldreth: That reminds me. Your final shipment of assorted chains should be arriving within the fortnight. Assuming time’s stayed somewhat constant between here, the potato place, and home.
Issa: C’mere owlbears! Wait... I mean go over there! How do you handle these fucking animals?
(Sfx: d20 roll)
Issa: <<Penguin-growl noises>>
(Sfx: Owlbear growl/screech)
Issa: Oh. Right. They’re a little braver than sheep.
Summit: Yeah, and I can only Dominate one at a time.
((Sfx: Tree branches))
(Sfx: Dominate, d20 roll, angry owlbear sounds)
Summit: <gulp> Maybe not even one at a time. Let’s give that a little more juice.
((SFX: Tree branches))
(Sfx: Dominate, d20 roll, happy/purring owlbear sounds)
Summit: Much better! Now, go into that circle of stones, you pwecious widdwe abomination.
((SFX: Tree branches))
(Sfx: orc jet)
Vragul: Me wrestle bear-bird! Just need get close enou--
(Sfx: d20 roll, angry owlbear)
Rhomande: It looks like it’s up to me to take care of the other two beasts. Hrm... Not very clever things are you? We can fix that with a judicious sprinkling of Mass Cunning!
(Sfx: lute strum, mass cunning/int up)
Imenand: Rhomande, what do you think you’re doing? You’re supposed to enhance your allies, not your foes!
Rhomande: I have -- (sfx: d20 roll, owlbear screech, hit) Ouch! I have a plan! Can anybody cast Comprehend Languages on them? Or me, I suppose?
Thrimlach: Oh dear gods! He’s going to sing in Owlbear!
Maldreth: Not if I have to say anything about it. May the shit-covered halberd of Makar prick you all and infect you with BRAIN SPIDERS!
(Sfx: Brain spiders, d20 roll x10)
Maldreth: There! Now nobody has to remember anything about what happened a moment ago. Just toddle on home and tell your parents how much fun you had with Father Maldreth! Oops! Sorry, force of habit. Owlbears! I know you’re smart enough to follow my directions now. Go over there and take a nap in that circle of standing stones.
(Sfx: sleepy owlbear sounds?, shuffling feet, teleportation/whatever sound denotes the animals go away)
Maldreth: Hrm... That halfling’s got some pretty weird thoughts. He keeps pulling up graphic images of that she-orc we cheated out of that gameshow. At least I know the secret to the circle of stones, now.
Rhomande: Then whatever is it?
Maldreth: It’s all part of some sort of game. We can get out of here if we finish with his flocks. And we’ll get some sort of prize if we do it quickly enough.
Summit: Well, then we should finish up and get on to whatever’s next.
((Sfx: tree branches))
Vragul: Me defeat stupid game! Vragul King of Game!
Rhomande: Yes, yes, your Majesty. Quite true. Now, let’s see what absurd hybrid this halfling will have us shepherd next. Perhaps some sort of giant, lion-faced silk worms?
Herdsman: Now, now, there’s no need to get all rude like that. I already toldja, the owlbears is the toughest herd I got. Now you just need to get a coupla critters together, and I can head on home.
Issa: And what sort of critters would these be, pray tell?
Herdsman: Ah, you know. There’s a skunk, a monkey, a bunny, a coupla cats. Stuff like that. They’re over there, to the north side of the hill, I think.
Vragul: Sound yummy. Like me uncle Gark used to raise when me little.
Herdsman: You’re dang right, they’re yummy! Especially after a long time stewin’. Y’all should come to the farmstead and try my sweetheart’s critter stew, if you got the time after this!
Thrimlach: I’ll pass. And I think I’ll tip the odds in our favor against these annoyingly cute critters. TIME STOP!
(Sfx: time stop)
Thrimlach: Now, a few judiciously placed Force Cages should keep them from scattering...
(Sfx: Force cage x4)
Thrimlach: And now it’s just up to Vragul to carry the cages! Time... UNSTOP!
(Sfx: time resumes)
Herdsman: Now them critters’re... Gosh, you fellers work fast! I’ve never seen a pen put up so quickly!
Vragul: Me still need throw animals in circle?
Herdsman: “Throw” really ain’t what I was thinking.
Rhomande: (interrupting) Toss away, your Majesty! We need to finish this game and get back home, before my sister and her band steal away my adoring fans.
Herdsman: (slowly turning back into Drowmande) Well, I guess it’s time for me to get going, then. Once the last cage’s through the circle, you can take your prize. But that won’t be your last challenge of the evening! Ta-ta!
Issa: Hey! Was that halfling really that drow gameshow host?
Summit: I fear it was.
((SFX: Tree branches))
Issa: This place is even worse than the potato kingdom!
Maldreth: So far, I am inclined to agree... However, I feel something... a familiar presence emanating from the circle of stones.
Vragul: Me feel something too. Me no put finger on it, though.
Thrimlach: Yes, yes, we’ve all got weird tingly feelings that remind us of our familiar binding ceremonies. Now, can we please see what’s out there?
Summit: Way ahead of you, Thrim. There’s a chest sitting in the middle of this place, now. Not sure if it’s trapped or not.
((SFX: Tree branches))
Issa: There’s only one way to find out!
(Sfx: d20 roll x2)
Issa: Nope, no traps. And I jimmied the lock open for ya. Who wants to do the honors?
Vragul: Me open chest! Vragul King of Honors!
(Sfx: chest opening)
Vragul: It Bloodless! He back! (sfx: kiss) Me miss you so much! We defeat many puny demihuman soon, me promise. Oh. And there some other stuff too.
(Sfx: Flapping wings)
Thrimlach: Lorramar! How’d you get in there?
Lorramar: <krwok> Not sure, boss. Some blonde kid fed me some crumbs, then everything went black.
Summit: An interesting turn of events, don’t you think?
((SFX: Tree branches))
Thrimlach: What? That Lorramar came back to me twice, without really doing anything in between?
Imenand: No, you blind fool. They captured us, stripped us, then allowed us to escape. Then we pass a challenge, we retrieve our own toolkits, clothes, and money, and now our unseen captors return our pets, familiars, and weapons. The only question remaining is, “To what end have they captured us?”
Scene 5: The First Living Weapon
Rhomande: Imenand had barely finished his musings, when from all sides the clamor of a sportsgoing crowd did thunder down upon us. "Gun-Fist! Gun -Fist!" they chanted, until something began to shimmer between the circle’s two largest stones. The space between the stones necrotized to an opaque gray, then resolved into the shape of a bulky human, to the great delight of the unseen spectators. Then, a newly familiar voice rang out throughout the rolling hills.
Drowmande: Yes, my coves and cozies! The night’s contestants have met all their preliminary challenges! We have heard your cries; your wish is our command. At your behest, our challengers shall now face a modern marvel of cogs, sprockets, springs and steam! Allow me to introduce the Great Horrible One’s First Living Weapon... Lieutenant Draykh Gunfist!
Maldreth: Hey, I remember you! We met you in Brext!
Summit: Yeah... Didn’t you have a colossal humanoid that you made out of hundreds of dead bodies? I kinda remember a big, gray zombie with some weird seating behind the neck.
((SFX: Tree branches))
Rhomande: Indeed, we did combat such an abomination! I took very good notes that day.
(Sfx: Crowd cheers louder)
Drowmande: What an excellent suggestion, from the Insufferable Scottalian Basterds! The crowd seems to quite enjoy the prospect. Yes, lovers of carnage, your host hears your pleas! As an additional challenge, our contestants must now face Gunfist and the Flesh Colossus!
(Sfx: crowd cheering, undead mech sounds)
Gunfist: Looks like it’s time for a rematch, you traitors. The Howling Darkness came through the portals, thanks to your failure. The Crystalline City of Brext burned because of you. DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW HOT IT HAS TO BE FOR CRYSTAL TO CATCH FIRE?
Summit: (gulp) I’m not so sure that’s the same colossal zombie we fought before. This one looks bigger.
((SFX: Tree branches))
Issa: And I’m pretty sure the other one was gray. This one’s all red and black.
Imenand: I had a hand in designing these weapons for the Holy and Glorious Emperor’s Bulwark Legions. This is definitely not the same undead mechanical warrior as before. For starters, this one’s been painted. More importantly, this one is half again as large as my designs called for. Interesting... I had thought it would collapse under its own weight if it were any larger. I must reinspect my mathegraphical calca when we return from this place.
Summit: You should leave the maths for a time when we’re not being attacked by the next generation of your own creations, Imenand!
((SFX: Tree branches))
Imenand: You stay out of this, talking tree! You’re not in this party, so you don’t get a vote.
Summit: I’m the Druid of the Frozen Summit. Your exchecquer. I am in this party. I’m also attempting a flanking maneuver, so stop drawing attention to me.
Issa: It’s your own damned fault for talking while still in Tree Shape.
Rhomande: Summit did have a point. We should focus on the man climbing the fifty-foot high zombie, and quit speaking so loudly about our flanking maneuvers.
Gunfist: A flanking maneuver, eh? Sounds like a good idea! Time to Vanish!
Issa: Aww, fuck. Great, now there’s nothing I can peck in the kidneys. I’ll just hide behind this tree for a minute and study the target.
Summit: To combat a thing so unnatural, we must call upon the strength of nature itself. SUMMON ROCK ELEMENTAL!
(Sfx: change shape, rocks)
Rhomande: As the Druid of the Frozen Summit called forth a fifteen-foot tall being of earth and stone, the undead construct did stretch forth its left hand, splaying the fingers, as if to cast an enormous fireball. But flames would have been far better and easier for us to evade. Instead, a jet of boiling steam erupted from the palm, as the gigantic nightmare made its advance.
(Sfx: colossal roar, steam jet, huge steps)
Rhomande: Hit the deck!
(Sfx: d20 roll x7)
Imenand: Ugh... At least it didn’t set my wrappings on fire.
Vragul: (woozy) Me still up... Me... defeat... burny-fog...
Summit: I’ve got him, fellows! I’ll have my elemental hit the Flesh Colossus with an Awesome Blow!
(Sfx: d20 roll, massive rock monster hitting adamantine plating)
Drowmande: Ooh! Right to the knee! And... (Sfx: d20 roll, crack) Oh! And the Colossus is going down!
Vragul: Uh-oh. Me no think this sudden shadow very good.
Thrimlach: Vragul, take to the air with me!
(Sfx: d20 roll x2, fly, orc jet, sound of a falling flesh colossus)
Vragul: Me take opportunity to let ugly stitchy-giant feel King’s Bloodless Kiss! Rrraaagh!
(Sfx: d20 roll, merciful axe hit)
Thrimlach: Thanks for rocking him off his feet, Summit! Now, let’s pile on some more rocks... METEOR SWARM!
(Sfx: Meteors x4, crowd boos)
Drowmande: Not very sportsmanly, was that folks?
Maldreth: Who are you to talk about being sportsmanly, drow? We’re here with half our roster, at a third of our normal strength!
Drowmande: Don’t worry, ogroid. You won’t stay that way for long.
Maldreth: Indeed, I won’t... for I shall transfigure myself into a VISAGE OF MAKAR’S UNHOLY POWER!
(Sfx: Visage of the Deity, divine power)
Rhomande: Now, ladies and gentlemen, Maldreth the Impius is already a terror to behold. He stands over three paces in height, and his papery skin hangs limply over his fleshless bones. Yet, at this moment, I found terror anew in viewing the War Priest, for his very aspect changed, his skin darkening and his every limb sprouting spurs of bone. As Father Maldreth doubled in height, osseous chains wrapped themselves about him, climbing to his oxlike shoulders, hooking and stretching the flesh until a pair of sickly, batlike wings lifted him from the grass.
Issa: I’m definitely going to have nightmares until the day I die, aren’t I?
Thrimlach: (barfing noises) Ugh... I hope he casts Mind Spiders again.
Imenand: This is truly a miracle to behold. In thanks, I must pray to Mëassë, the twin of Maldreth’s deity.
Maldreth: (Sfx: voice modulation) Come, Vragul! Together we shall conquer this land, and all denizens within it!
Vragul: Me like sound of plan, uglypriest. Just one condition: me lead glorious charge!
(Sfx: d20 roll x5, axe and Fang of Pain hits)
Issa: Great. Now he’s talking like Rhomande. The Heir Apparent of the Pengonquin Expanse shall not stand for such absurdities.
Rhomande: Ignore the absurdities, Issa, and just hit that enormous zombie!
Imenand: It’s not a zombie, it’s a Mechanically Enhanced Commixture of Humanoids. M.E.C.H for short!
Summit: (sfx: talking tree) Well, the Colossus is down. Where’d the Gun Guy go?
(Sfx: chainsaw revving, blade of blood, un-vanish)
Gunfist: Right here, ya talking tree! HAHAHAHAHA! That’ll teach ya to be the only tree in the valley!
(Sfx: d20 roll x5, chainsaw revving, tree falling)
Summit: Aaagh! This was a terrible disguise!
(Sfx: Crowd “OHHHHH”)
Drowmande: What a turn of events, folks! The Druid of the Frozen Summit has fallen in battle! Be sure to visit our Scry Site to vote on his ultimate fate!
Maldreth: He hasn’t fallen yet! Makar still has a use for the Druid of the Frozen Summit. By the War Father’s Inevitable Fist, I return you to the living!
Gunfist: You’re next, ponce! VANISH!
(Sfx: Vanish/smoke bomb)
Rhomande: (stage whisper) I think he’s talking to you, Issa. You’d better watch out!
Issa: Hrm... he was standing just over there... and Rhomande’s there... so the most likely spot to catch him is... HERE!
(Sfx: d20 roll, fail, falling penguin)
(Sfx: lauging crowd)
Drowmande: Have you ever seen such a clumsy puffin, my bloodthirsty fans? Or such an enormous one?
Issa: I’M A PENGUIN!
Summit: I’ll take out his invisibility in a minute. But first, I’ll have to rust out this huge zombie’s armor.
(Sfx: rusting grasp)
Imenand: However will that aid us?
Summit: You’ve got to wait for the wind to pick up. Now cover your eyes!
(Sfx: magic wind)
Gunfist: (coughing, spitting) Ah, crap. So much for the easy way!
(Sfx: revving chainsaw)
Issa: Wait a minute... why is his name “Gunfist” when he’s got some sort of chattersaw attached to his arm?
Drowmande: Marketing, of course! Nobody would ever pay decent money to watch someone called Draykh Sawfist.
Imenand: You idiots! The mech may be down, but you forgot to kill the pilots!
Rhomande: There were people in that thing?
Imenand: Of course there were people in there! What? Did you expect me to design a thirty-foot tall, necromantically-powered, mechanically enhanced weapon, then leave it to its own guidance systems?
Sergeant: Forward, men! Prepare yourselves for hand-to-hand combat!
Summit: I don’t think so, friend. You still have to deal with my Stone Elemental.
(Sfx: d20 roll x2, slam x2, crowd “ohhhh!”)
Pilot 1: Sergeant! You’ve killed him!
Pilot 2: For the Sergeant! Die, fiends!
(Sfx: d20 roll x4, arrows x4)
Maldreth: (Sfx: voice modulation) Hey, watch it, fleshling!
Pilot 1: It didn’t work!
Pilot 2: Who in the names of Praanti and Keevlach are these guys?
Rhomande: As the pilots hastily cranked at their crossbows, Vragul and Maldreth made their slow approach. They towered over the panicked humans for a long moment before his Majesty the King of Town Hall spoke.
Vragul: You, Pilots! What in all hells wrong with you? You slow or something? You not know who me am? Me the Gods-Damned KING OF FIGHT!
(Sfx: d20 roll, merciful axe hit)
Maldreth: (Sfx: voice modulation) You are such small things. The Fang of Pain will usher you to your end... though not swiftly.
(Sfx: d20 roll, chains x3)
Pilot 1 and Pilot 2: Oh, the Humanity! (and other dying sounds)
Rhomande: Vragul slapped one pilot across the left cheek with the flat of his great axe, Bloodless. Upon contact, the woman’s head snapped around one hundred and eighty degrees.
Rhomande: She pirouetted thrice, before dropping her crossbow and collapsing to the ground five yards away.
Rhomande: Meanwhile, Maldreth whirled the hooked chain of his weapon above his head, casting it at the male.
Rhomande: The line split into three, wrapping about the man, clawing deep into his flesh.
Rhomande: Maldreth gave but a single yank, and the less I say about what I saw that day, the better you all shall sleep, my dear audience.
Drowmande: Hey, bard! Get your head out of the clouds and into the fight! The only audience here is mine!
Thrimlach: Great! Now that those mooks are down, let’s see if we can pin that sawfisted assassin in with a few PRISMATIC WALLS!
(Sfx: prismatic wall x2)
Imenand: Ah! A grand idea! With careful placement, we can form an isosceles triangle! Just like we used to study in Wizard College.
(Sfx: Prismatic Wall)
Thrimlach: Yup. My fraternity and I used to put a few of these up and pass around the bear grass all afternoon.
Rhomande: You have an excellent eye for stage dressing, ceatharan! If you ever want a job in the theatre, I could use your talents!
Maldreth: (Sfx: voice modulation) Enough prattle! Where is the mortal with the chattersaw? I lost track of him when the pilots emerged.
Vragul: Me not know. Me too busy with axe craft.
Rhomande: Sorry. I lost him, too. I was taking notes.
Issa: He probably got all that rust off and went invisible again.
Maldreth: (Sfx: voice modulation) Ugh! You are the worst parishoners. I would not wish you on the most punishable of the priests in my order. By the ever-vigilant eyes of Makar, grant us True Sight!
(Sfx: true sight)
Maldreth: (Sfx: voice modulation) What the...? Thrimlach! He’s not even in here! You’ve sealed us off from the fight!
Thrimlach: Woops! Lorramar, this is somehow your fault, since Sir Gnome’s off on his bildungsquesten.
Issa: What is it with you and blaming all the birds around you for your mistakes?
(Sfx: Chainsaw, teleport, crowd cheer)
Drowmande: That’s right, my gore-gazers! One of Lieutenant Gunfist’s many technomagical improvements allows him to slip between spaces, to deliver his devastating surprise chattersaw attacks.
Gunfist: Try to take me out of the game, eh, blind man? Howsabout I take you out instead?
(Sfx: d20 roll x3, chainsaw)
Thrimlach: Aaaaaagh! Give... my followers... to Vragul. (“I’m dead” sound)
(Sfx: Crowd cheer)
Rhomande: Ceatharan! You fiend! He was in the prime of his life -- barely two hundred and twenty, and you cut him down like a tree that was really our other friend in disguise! By the charismatic strength of my tongue and eyes, shalt thou HOLD, MONSTER! Stand still for your destruction!
(Sfx: Hold Monster, d20 roll)
Gunfist: D’aah! Lemme go, ye bastard, or I swear by Mother Mëassë’s teats I’ll garrote you with your lute strings!
Rhomande: Your Majesty, I believe the the passing of judgement should be yours.
Vragul: Only one sentence for killing Funny Eyes. Me give you medal, then HIT WITH AXE!
(Sfx: d20 roll x3, Whiff x3, crowd surprise, crowd cheer)
Gunfist: Hah! I’m sorry. Were you under the impression that the bard’s spell actually worked?
Maldreth: (Sfx: voice modulation) Of course not! Even Vragul’s not dumb enough to think Rhomande the important part of a plan. The elf was but a distraction.
(d20 roll, punch, grapple)
Gunfist: Lemme go! How the fuck did you sneak up on me, anyway?
Maldreth: (Sfx: voice modulation) The bard is rather eye-catching. Imenand, this thing seems to be a broken weapon. What do you suggest we do?
Imenand: I suggest we dismantle it, piece by piece, to discover its inner workings.
Gunfist: I vote we let it into our party!
Vragul: Saw-hand no get vote! Saw-hand get AXE TO FACE!
(Sfx: d20 roll, big hit with merciful axe)
Maldreth: (Sfx: voice modulation) Thank you, Vragul. The only thing worse than listening to you idiots whine is listening to anybody else whine.
Imenand: Yessss! Now that he is unconscious, we can more easily prepare him for exploratory surgery.
(Sfx: angry crowd)
Drowmande: I think our loyal bloodmongers might have something to say about that.
Scene 6: Hermes & Hades
(Sfx: surprised and angry crowd; like the home team just lost in game 7 of the series)
Drowmande: Yes, friends, your champion has fallen at the hands of these scurrilous scalliwags. But fear not! They shall return to their cells, to await your further pleasure. Hermes! Hades! Please wrangle these prisoners!
(Sfx: Ogre growls, combat sounds beneath Rhomande’s speech)
Rhomande: Two of the most enormous fiends ever to have torn their way from ogre womb did tower over the standing stone where we had entered the valley.
Rhomande: The crowd's clamor changed its timbre once more, as the two hulks charged. One by one, my Insuffrable Basterds fell to their cats-o-nine and cudgels.
Rhomande: Imenand burst into dancing flames, as the Ogre called Hades smashed a burning mace into his spine.
Rhomande: The one called Hermes caught Vragul by the wings and tore them from his shoulders.
Rhomande: Maldreth strode forward, full with the Might of Makar, but the unholy darkness left him, and, exhausted, he sagged before the twin visages of death.
Rhomande: They lifted the stone elemental from its feet and used it to grind Maldreth’s bones into the earth, reducing the ogroid priest into a bloody mash.
Rhomande: I shall pass over what they did to Issa, and I promise never to make you think of a penguin’s wishbone.
Rhomande: Then, finally, I alone stood before them -- definitely not cowering behind the treasure chest. I bravely charged, but my meager strength was not enough. I caught a clout to the ear, then all went black.
(Sfx: Crowd cheer)
Scene 7: Credit Where Credit Is Due
Music Bed: (Credit Where Credit Is Due - VCMG)
Thrimlach: Visit The 20-Sided Theatre online at twentysidedtheatre.com
Rhomande: The 20-Sided Theatre is a joint production of Bear Industries and the Shenouda Necromancy Corporation. Episode Five stars Gabriel Abinante, Blake Parker, Ceri Quattrin, Cian Quattrin, Rudraigh Quattrin, and Chris Wong
Issa: Written by Rudraigh Quattrin and Edited by Blake Parker.
Imenand: Sound Effects Design by
Imenand: Music by
Maldreth: Join us next time at The 20-Sided Theatre!
Scene 8: TAG! You’re it!
Drowmande: The Icosagon is underwritten in part by the 20-Sided Theatre and a generous endowment from His Holiness Durandle Bartholomew, Gran’ POOP from the land of Trond.
((Gran’ POOP : pronounce the “Gran” as if you’re going to say “Grand” in a very
serious way, then go falsetto for the POOP. I’ll give demonstrations. ~Rud))
Drowmande: Yes, His Holiness has gone away, with his squadron of armored hippogyrphs in tow, to do battle with forces unknown and unknowable! And it’s all for our benefit and entertainment!
Drowmande: Once the Gran’ POOP returns from his journeys, you can be sure that we’ll edit it together in a sicknasty four-hour montage, complete with soundtrack by the Red Hand Minstrel Troupe!
Rhomande: You got my sister to do the soundtrack! You villain! I hate you, you stupid Deep Elf! You shall feel the sharp edge of my tongue, to be sure!
Drowmande: That’s a tempting offer, Topsider, but Drowmande’s sworn off dating the contestants, for the foreseeable future.
Drowmande: (cheerfully) O my dreadful mob of rabid fans, don’t worry a bit about finding your way back for more trials and troubles.
Drowmande: (sinisterly) The Arena of Ahk’rapp will come to you, first!