Episode 9: Across the Astral Planes

The 20-Sided Theatre, Episode 9: The Gates of Dawn, Part 1—Across the Astral Planes


Dramatis Personae:

Rhomande's Insufferable Basterds

Rhomande Sorfinde, Bard in Extraordinaire & Host-Proprietor of The 20-Sided Theatre – Rudraigh Quattrin

Dark Brother Smyd Kaltrops, President of Bear Industries – Cian Quattrin

Issa Featherfoot, Pengonquin Princess – Ceridwen Quattrin

Imenand Shenouda, President of The Shenouda Necromancy Corporation – Blake Parker

Thrimlach Lenanien, Secretive Elven Mage – Cian Quattrin

Vragul, Baron of Keepfield etc. (see “King of-” list) - Rudraigh Quattrin

Thorn the Trixie Pixie of Unknown Gender – Blake Parker

Maldreth the Impius, Ogroid high priest of Makar – Gabe Abinante

Steve Pierabbat the Chameleon Rogue – Natalie Abinante



The DM – Rud

Torrea Marsvel - Cian 

Loramar (Thrim’s Raven) – Gabe

Sir Gnome — Rud

Yfirma∂r, Queen of Vragul – Natalie

Tuxedo Beak – Blake

Izreanna — Rud

Shakes — Blake

Zolov — Cian

Joren — Blake

Ragnaroctopus — Gabe

Sam Sonar — Ceridwen

Professor W. E. Slide — Cian






Scene 0: Show Opening & Theme Music and Story Thus Far


SFX: (90352_dobroide_20100213-tuning-02.wav)




SFX: (2d20 rolls)


Rhomande: Your Move Silent and Hide checks are successful.


SFX: (pause)(51136_rutgermuller_Cough (short))


Rhomande: Good evening Lords and Ladies. You have chosen your evening's entertainment quite wisely. You are about to experience the most wondrous spectacle in all of Western Scottalia. I am your Host-Proprietor, Rhomande Sorfinde, and I welcome you...to The 20-Sided Theatre!


The Wiz: **From “offstage”** Dancing lights! SFX: (121558_sbarncar_whistleandreport.aif x 5 (bunched in time with opening of Theme Music)


Theme Music: (VCMG – Victory Flower Fields – 20-Sided Theatre Edit)


SFX: (40555_frequman_pulley-2.wav)

Music Bed: (Sylvius Leopold Weiss – Courante in F Major.mp3)


Rhomande: The curtain rises, and we rejoin our Heroes, Rhomande Sorfinde’s own Insufferable Basterds.  It is my pride and joy to introduce my underlings, or as they prefer to be referenced, “adventuring companions.”


Rhomande: Dark Brother Smyd Kaltrops! The Half-Bear Monk and President of Bear Industries. A shapeshifter of near insurmountable strength and speed.


Smyd: SFX: (70333_mrbubble110_bear-roar.wav) I have no idea where we are, but I hope we get home soon.  My fur is starting to get all matted and mangy.


Rhomande: Thrimlach Lenanien! A blindfolded Elf Sorcerer with a blackened potato perched on one shoulder and a reanimated Stitched Raven on the other.  He is attended by his minions, Torrea Marsvel, an Undead Paladin and Sir Gnome, his faithful Gnome-Skeleton valet.  


Thrimlach: Come along, Torrea.  Ugh.  You, too, Sir Gnome.  And don’t think for a second that I’ve forgiven you for naming your so-called daughter “Thrimlette”!


Torrea: Yes sir.


Sir Gnome: No, Master.


Rhomande: Imenand Shenouda. He is known throughout The Empire as The Weaponsmith and he serves as President and spokesman of The Shenouda Necromancy Corporation. A mummified Human Wizard, accompanied by his Skeletal-Cat Familiar, Bastet.


Imenand: SFX: (4914_noisecollector_cat2.wav) Yes, yes, just get through with this as soon as you can.  I really must return to my workshops in the Swamp Temple soon.


Rhomande: Issa Featherfoot, Pengonquin Princess. A 7' tall shapeshifting Penguin Assassin!  She is attended by her faithful and oft-missing bodyguard, the mysterious Tuxedo Beak!


Issa: I really miss that old, disembodied voice.  I wish there were a way to disembody Rhomande’s voice… no, wait.  That’d be awful; then I wouldn’t be able to give him the old Peck-PECK when he makes puns.


Tuxedo Beak: Puns aren’t the worst thing in the planes you can deal with, Fishball Head.  There are also seals!


Rhomande: A tiny thief of questionable gender!  A master magician of variable size! Thorn, the Trixie Pixie!


Thorn: This is still all your fault, Bard.  Don’t think that any of us have forgiven you for leading us on a wild Monkey Chase.


Rhomande: The terrible, towering Maldreth the Impius, the ogre-blooded Patriarch of the Church of War, dedicated to Makar, Father of Strife!


Maldreth: Ah!  How disappointed I am that I was able to visit the great Arena of Ahk’rapp so recently, but it had to be with you band of simpletons.


Rhomande: The new addition to my team: Stiev “the Chameleon” Pie-rabbat; thoroughly odorless, colorless, and deadly!


Stiev: Look, I just want to get out of here.  I thought you guys might have the best chance, so I snuck out of my cell and followed you.


Rhomande: His Majestic Terror, Vragul, son of Vorbal, King of Town Hall, King of Wagon, King of Docks, King of Wife, King of Axe, and Baron of Keepfield!  Attended by the even more Majestic and Terrifying Yfirma∂r, Queen of Vragul, and their infant son, Vriggle.


Vragul: Me fathorc!  Me never be so proud in me life!  Me KING OF SON!


Yfirma∂r: Me be prouder if you get up for change you son’s nappy once in while.  


Rhomande: And last, but definitely not least: Yours truly, the inexplainable Rhomande Sorfinde! Bard in Extraordinaire, Beloved of Trillions, The Light of the Shining Dawn…


Issa: (interrupting) *ahem* Get on with it!


Rhomande: An Elfen Bard of pan-dimensional acclaim. But you already knew that, didn't you? Lords and Ladies of my beloved audience, recline upon your gilded seats, quaff your libations and thoroughly enjoy your evening at The 20-Sided Theatre!


End Music Bed: (Sylvius Leopold Weiss – Courante in F Major.mp3)


Rhomande: Thus far in the tale of Rhomande Sorfinde’s Insufferable Basterds, our “heroes” – and I’m so very glad that no body or voice is around to dispute that verbiage – have traveled from the Kingdom of Scottalia, through the Plane of Potatoes, where they were captured and sold to the Great Horrible One and his demiplanar Arena of Ahk’rapp.  After many trials and adventures, we have finally earned the right to leave that terrible place and make our way home.  But one trial awaits us still: escape from the place between planes, a nightmare realm of Astral unreality.  All we know is that we must search for and pass through some sort of monument that the Great Horrible one called The Gates of Dawn.


Rhomande: And now we present our feature episode: The 20-Sided Theatre: Across the Astral Planes!



Scene 1 - Emergence


Rhomande: We passed through the great archway rising from the sands, and from all around came a great tumult, like an angry sea god shaking the foundations of some unfortunate coastal city.  Great whooshing howls tore through my skull, and my flesh burned until I was sure that only my incandescent soul remained.  Skin and bone and gut all drifted away, leaving only a kernel of raw perspective.  I lost track of my companions - my fearless and ruthless Basterds - so I cannot relay their experiences; only my own.


(sfx: d20 roll x7)


Rhomande: And just as suddenly as they arose, all of these sensations ceased.  We all stood at the terminus of the Great Horrible One's gate.  Well... Perhaps "stood" gives the wrong impression, for all 'round us sparkled a variegated skyscape.  Stars winked at us from their great distances, while colorful strands of disembodied thought wended their ways around and through us.  Then, clouds of stardust descended upon the party like the evening fogs of Oak Vale, obscuring our view of platonically interacting sentences.


Rhomande: With a little experimentation, we found movement possible.  A few of us found walking a decent travel metaphor - within this non-plane of reality, at least.  As soon as we took our first, tentative steps beyond the star-fog --


DM: Your Savior appeared, to finally shut the Bard up.  


Issa: Hooray!  The giant voice is back, to tell us exactly which ways Rhomande has screwed up!


Stiev: Whoa, who’s that?


Issa: Just some voice that follows us around and helps us with our adventures.  Unless Rhomande screws it up and upsets the voice.  Again.


DM: Thank you for your vote of confidence, Issa.  (Sfx: Shuffle some notes) Now, Rhomande has already explained where you all are so -- oh, wait.  Crap. Those aren't supposed to -- HIT THE DECK AND ROLL INITIATIVES!!!


(Sfx: d20 roll x8, earthquake)


Thrimlach: (getting up off the ground)  Oof.  Why are all of those animal-people heading towards us?  There’s something really weird about them, and it’s not just the magical auras I’m sensing.


Stiev: Racist.  Animal people are people, too, you know. 


Issa: Yeah.  The Empire even issued that amendment to their Articles of Conglomeration to make it legal!  As if it shouldn’t have just been obvious from the beginning.


Imenand: I think he was referring to the empty, crusted sockets where their eyes should be.  Those portents are quite unsettling.


Thrimlach: Who’s the racist now?  As a non-eyed being, I am highly offended!


Maldreth: Not just that, you idiot!  All species are inferior; mostly to Makar and his faithful servants.  Anyway, all of those things seem to be denizens sent by the Hungering End.  If they get their hooks into this place, many more realities will be done for.  Are you thinking what I’m thinking, Brother Kaltrops?


Smyd: I think so, Father Maldreth, but where are we going to get enough fast-acting Cyanoid poison to take all of us down peacefully before the enemy gets here?


Maldreth: No, you nincompoop!  The same thing we do every day and every night, Brother Kaltrops: KILL THEM ALL!


DM: The howling beasts converge on you from all directions.  And I do mean all directions; like 36,000° worth.  Plus, you guys aren’t so good at navigating in 3 dimensions, so you’ll probably fail now that you’re drifting in five.  Quickly, now - focus.  Everybody make a Will Save so you can see your surroundings from a more familiar set of angles.


(Sfx: d20 roll x8)


Rhomande: They closed in on us from all sides, as we were still gaining what can only be described as “our sea legs” for this place-between-planes.  


DM: And while Rhomande was penning his notes, it distracted him from the oily black beams of terrifying magic that shot out from the enemies’ empty eye sockets.  I need Rhomande, Stiev, Issa, and the Bear to make Will Saves against the intelligence-draining effects of the Hungering End.


((Sfx: Hungering End Zap x3; d20 roll x3))


Stiev: Whoa!  That was close!  Luckily I have that lizardly dexterity.


Thrimlach: Yeah, and the super-articulated joints in your vertebrae certainly don’t hurt.  Especially when you use them to dodge those black beams that leave mind-smashingly white streaks across your familiars’ vision.  Speaking of black things with white streaks, howya doing, penguin?


Issa: (woozy) Bwwwwhat just hap-fenned?  Can I still Flyyyyyyyyyyy?


((Sfx: d20 roll))


Imenand: How is that possible!?


Thrimlach: She didn’t even cast any spells that time!


Maldreth: The Warfather is VERY displeased that the penguin has found the one bit of reality in which she can naturally fly, and she ISN’T USING THAT ABILITY TO MAKE WAR ON OUR ENEMIES!


Rhomande: Perhaps if I call her, she’ll snap back to attention.  She’s pretty far away, though… I’d better cast a Greater Shout, and then speak in penguin, just to be sure she understands me.  Ahem.


Rhomande: (Sfx: greater shout reverb) Waaaak, wek!  Wek wok Issa wak wak wekke!


Issa: (still en-dumb-ened) What?  What do you mean it’s time for tea and cakes at the petting zoo?  I’d better come down there to see what’s happening.  Ooh!  Maybe I’ll get to pet an alpaca!  They’re soffft!


DM: Fortunately for you, the sonic vibrations from Rhomande’s poor attempts at interlinguistic communication also strike three of the attacking denizens.  The one with a boar’s head and the one that looks like an emaciated gnome both softly pop, then drift away like ash on the breeze.   Unfortunately for you, this leaves six more within striking range.


Smyd: (also en-dumb-ened) Nobody blasts the CEO of Bear Industries!  ((Sfx: bear roar)) Time to get out the Chairmen of the Board!  Because that’s what I call my fists!  


((Sfx: d20 roll x4, 4 strikes))


Rhomande: Um… Brother Kaltrops?  You’ve killed that particular enemy already.  You’re not wrestling any more, so you can stop clawing and biting!


Issa: (en-dumb-ened) Hehe.  The big teddy thinks he’s a doggie.  Look!  He’s even chasing his tail!


Thrimlach: I kinda like him this way.  Can we keep him, Torrea?  Huh?  Can we?  Please?


Torrea: I think you had better deal with those abominable demons around us first, Lord Thrimlach.


DM: Two more enemies swoop in, one an insectoid being and the other some ethnic variation on the basic human species type.  Both sport the emblematic empty sockets and the massive body piercings that you have come to associate with the Hungering End.  


((Sfx: d20 roll))


DM: The insectoid closes in on Imenand, grazing his shoulder with razor-like mantis claws.  Give me a Will Save, mummy.


((Sfx: d20 roll))


Imenand: I am highly displeased by this… thing’s … imposition upon my personal space.  I shall encapsulate the both of us within my Cube of Force!


((Sfx: Cube of Force))


Imenand:  This will ensure that he cannot escape the spell I have been researching: Shenouda’s Prismatic Tomb!


DM: The Cube of Force is completely filled with striated and dancing prismatic energies.  When the ripples of light interact in just the right way, you can see Imenand at the center of the cube, serene and seemingly asleep, with his arms crossed across his chest.  He is unharmed and unworried by the waves of elemental magic flowing around him.  You see nothing of the insectoid within the cube.


Thrimlach: Y’know where I haven’t sent people in a while?  C’mere, you human-from-some-place-I-can’t-identify!  I’d like you to visit… the CHARS!  PLANE SHIFT!


((Sfx: Plane Shift))


Rhomande: I hope that Turtle chef you exiled there isn’t still alive and looking for revenge, or anything.


Thrimlach: Meh.  Even if he is, there’s no way he’ll somehow forge an unlikely alliance with the giant bugs and the giant robots, just for the merest shred of hope to survive in the face of the Hungering End.  And if he does, how’s he going to find us?  It’s not like we stay in one place all that long.


Stiev: Y’know… you guys need to fill me in on all this backstory, sometime.  It sounds like you’ve been doing this for a while, now, but even the bard didn’t think to take notes until recently.


Rhomande: I had assumed the voice was taking notes.  But then I realized he probably doesn’t have hands, so I started penning my own memoranda.


DM: While you’re discussing the probability and hope that your universe isn’t ruled by some sort of omnipotently devious sociopathic overlord with a penchant for dramatic irony, the last three enemies all open fire on Thorn, Maldreth, and Vragul.  


((Sfx: d20 roll x3))


Thorn: Hah!  You’ll have to be faster if you want to hit me!  Let’s see how quick you are against my Scorching Rays!


((Sfx: Scorching Ray))


Maldreth:  I am protected by the unholy might of the Father of War.  These lowly demons are not worth raising my shield.  I shall Restore the wits of the penguin and the bear.


Issa: (still dumb) I remember that story!  The Penguin and the Bear was one of my favorite parables, growing up.  I always loved hearing the High Preistess sing that one from the Holy Fish Skin.


Maldreth: That’s not what I’m doing.  And anyway, I’m pretty sure your witch doctor got the ending wrong.  Most religions do.  By the power of Makar’s ever-keen paring knife, be Restored!


((Sfx: Greater Restoration))


Thorn: Um… so you’re fine, but what about Vragul?  I think I saw him get hit.


Maldreth: Who can tell with him, anyway?  Isn’t that right, Vragul?


Vragul: ME KING OF WEIRD PLACE!  ME … DEFEAT. ALL. NO-EYES!  EXCEPT… MAYBE THRIMLORC!  ((Whoof: sigh of “finished”)) Since me already defeat him in past.  At least that what talky-elf say me do.


((Sfx: d20 roll x3, flat axe hits))



Scene 3: To the Keep!


DM: With the Hungering End dispatched for now, you finally have a chance to take in your surroundings.  A massive tower dominates one of your horizons.  A pair of burnished copper gates that must stand at least a hundred feet high guard the tower's entrance.  When you think of "below" you, you feel the firm touch of a paved street caress the soles of your feet.  The ground beneath you is slowly taking the shape of a road, probably leading to the gates.


Rhomande: The other end of the horizon darkens with approaching doom.  Best to get out of here!


Imenand: For once, the elf speaks wisely and briefly.


((Sfx: running feet))


Rhomande: We ran at full tilt through the starry mists, pursued by the hordes of the Hungering End.  As we ran, the mists would clear, then settle again, giving us the impression of fleeing across multiple worlds.


DM: You storm out of the fog into the Crystalline Piazza of Brext, where Maldreth’s anti-good zone still stands in effect, though the surroundings suggest a long passage of time.  The crystal city is shattered, with blood and smoke staining the hard-grown minerals.  Strange creatures prowl the streets.  The howling from the demons of the End is overwhelming, here.  


Maldreth: Hey, I remember this place!  I still think it would look better stained a dark red color and festooned with chains!


Issa: Come on!


DM: The mists part and the rolling hills of the russet range once again lay out before you.  Les arbres des pommes sway happily in the breeze.  The potato lamp crawls lazily across the sky, as the acolytes of entropy pursue you.


Thrimlach: Ugh.  Not this place again.  Move on!


DM: Sahn Daskaar, the capital city of the Empire, opens its streets to you, but without the customary gate tax, this time.  The crowds bustle about, some dancing, some singing, some simply trying to catch a better glimpse of the emperor’s grand parade.  Nobody seems to notice you or the throng of eyeless demons sweeping down from the heavens.


Vragul: Me want watch Parade.


Smyd: Look, Vragul, we can’t stop for this.




Imenand: I shall provide a parade of your very own, where you get to stand on one of those floats and wave.  Or you can have a throne on your float, if you want.  Just keep moving!


Vragul:  Okay.  Can me float have lots big animal teeths on it?


DM: The fogs lift again, revealing a dungeonscape.  Just ahead of you, a group of adventurers stands before a bas relief.  A gnome priest of some sort gives orders to a man with an axe, while a shapely harlequin juggles balls of fire in a corner.  After a moment, a pale, blue-aura’d face emerges from the relief.  They converse in some odd language, then continue through the dungeon, never aware of the pursuit raging around them.


Thorn: Awww!  What a cute little gnome!  I’d certainly trust anything coming out of his mouth.  And his clean, caring face would even make bad news seem a little less dreary.  I certainly hope he doesn’t die in a horrible accident somehow.


Stiev: Wait, so I’m not the only one who doesn’t know what’s going on anymore?  This is great!  I’m one of a group, now!


Torrea: Come, pixie!  You, too, Chameleon!  Climb atop Spirit of the Swift Wind with me, that we might make haste!


((Sfx: neigh))


DM: You run through a thick wood now, your pursuers ever at your heels.  The woods suddenly break, and you find yourselves in a circle of standing stones.  All around you, a group of travelers goes about the business of a camp.  A bushy-bearded dwarf uses his long spear to spit a boar, while a raggedy man in cat skins fights with an ostrich-sized reptile over a haunch of meat.


Loramar: <kwok> Man, that looks tasty! Can’t we stop here for a minute, boss? <Kwrok>


Thrimlach: We most certainly can not.  Not with those demons on our heels, at least.  Plus, I’m pretty sure we can’t touch anything, here.  Sir Gnome certainly isn’t allowed to touch anything, whether he’s physically able to or not.  Got that, Sir Gnome?


Sir Gnome: Yeth, mathter.  Touch noffing, mathter. 


DM: You stand amidst the tallest, straightest buildings that stone and glass have ever been piled into.  All around you, great roaring devices hurtle down tar-black streets.  This is, by far, the strangest place you’ve seen, yet, and not simply for the squadron of uniformed men sliding up one of those buildings, or the rock-fisted man grappling a weretiger.


Issa: Hey, if those guys can slide up buildings like that, why can’t I fly in my home plane?


Tuxedo Beak: You always make my heart fly, no matter the plane we’re on.  You’ll always know that’s true, fishball head.


Issa: Awww.  I love you, too, tuxie.


Imenand: Can we please leave the lovesick penguins behind?  Just this one time that they’re certain to die in a terrible way?


Maldreth: And can we leave the family of orcs here, too?  And maybe the rest of you idiots should stay, just to be safe.


Stiev: I’m pretty sure we’re almost to the tower!  Just a little farther.


DM: For a moment, you think that you have somehow been forced into an animal’s den, but when your eyes adjust to the gloom, you see that it is actually a barn.  The smell of animal comes from no farmyard creature, though.  Three cat-sized rats sleep in a pile with two dire wolves.  Nearby, a pair of priests chant their prayers, while a woman and a man stare deeply into each other’s eyes, trying desperately to avoid eye contact with some sort of octopus-man wearing mages’ robes.


Yfirma∂r: Oh!  That remind me, it time for change Vriggle diaper.  Vragul, you be good husborc and change you son.


Vragul: No, me pretty sure that not good idea.  Remember last time?  Me pin him diaper to him butt, then get blindfoldy elf use magic for change him into something else.  You get real mad for that.


Yfirma∂r: (sigh) Fine.  You kneel down and spread wing.  Me need big change table.


Vragul: Maybe us need smaller blanket for make diaper?


Issa: And maybe now isn’t quite the time to stop, since the tower is right over there.



Scene 4: The Outer Gates


DM: Reality shifts one last time, and once again you stand squarely in the astral space between planes.  You hurry through a huge set of gates and into the outer courtyard of the Tower of the Sun.  There you meet a squadron of familiar faces.


Thorn: Whoa!  I used to have a poster of these guys up on my wall when I was a teenager!


Stiev: Sounds like you had a pretty good adolescence, if you had a room with a poster in it and you could recognize people.  My youth was spent thieving from caravans in a swamp, near a big, old temple.  And then when I turned fifteen, I woke up in a cell.


Issa: Thanks for the backstory, Stiev.  Nobody asked.


Stiev: And yet, no matter how many times I ask, nobody will answer!  Watch.  Hey, bear!  Who the hell are these red-gloved musicians standing front of us?


Smyd: Aw, great.  Not these guys again.  They’re always such jerks.  


Maldreth: Ugh!  I hate these guys.


Rhomande: As do I.  For it is never good news when my sister and her group of minstrel assassins cross our paths.  Ugh.  Better get this over with.  Hello, Izreanna.  It’s good to see you, again.  How is fame and success with your progressive music band going?  What were you called again?


Thorn: They’re the Band of the Red Hands!  You should know that, Rhomande.  They’re even bigger than you are!


Rhomande: (angrily) Thank you for that reminder, Thorn.


DM: The entire Band of the Red Hands stands before you, each of them wearing scarlet gloves on their left manual appendages.  Would you like to introduce them, Rhomande, or should I?


Rhomande: I would rather have nothing to do with any of this.  I wish I were at home on my traveling theatre ship, sailing as far away from this moment as possible.


DM: It is my pleasure to introduce the members of the most popular band on the Imperial Scrynet:  Dancer, vocalist, and body-based percussionist, Izreanna Alafinde!


Izreanna: Bastard followers of my brother!  The High Seer of Voladros’ Holy and Benevolent Empire has ordered your destruction.


DM: On vocals and drums, the great Warchanter Joren Swiftriver!


Joren: Lord Gwaven told us that you cannot be allowed to return through the Gates of Dawn.


DM: Designer of visual effects and current owner of the Stellar Sitar of Sitalian-Mar, the enhanced vampire Zolov the Mesmerist.


Zolov: If you does, peoples will die.  Trillsions.  Whole worlds resducedssd to their basics pars-tickles.


DM: The human monk who had six extra arms grafted to his torso, before mastering Dwarven throat singing: Ragnaroctopus Jones! 


Ragnaroctopus: For crimes not yet committed – crimes that have been witnessed by Dawius Gwaven, Lord High Seer – you have been sentenced to death.


DM: Head Teamster and the first being to implant maracas into the hilts of his scimitars, Shakes the Centaur!


Shakes: Now kill?


Izreanna: Yes, dearie.  Now kill.


Stiev: Oh, screw this.  Time to Vanish!


((Sfx: Chameleon vanish))


Vragul: Where lizard go?  Oh, well.  Me have more important thing for do.  Hey!  You!  Stupid horse-man!  Why you need order for know when kill?  Only stupid peoples win by kill; even Spirit of Swift Wind know that.  Vragul teach you how Defeat with no kill!


((Sfx: neigh; d20 roll x3, 1 flat axe hit))


Shakes: (pained horsey sound) Not my fault!  High Seer say kill, so us kill!


Yfirma∂r: You always wisest ruler, husborc.  You hit horse-man while me and Vriggle take care of eight-arm.


DM: The dread Queen of Town Hall bounds across the central square, the infant half-orc prince happily gurgling in a sling tied around his mother’s midsection.   Yfirma∂r never breaks her stride as she opens her flurry with a back-spinning heel kick.  The speed and grace of her attack catches Ragnaroctopus unaware, but his long training and eight arms bat away her next three strikes.  The two monks tangle in each other’s steely grips, neither gaining advantage until the dread Yfirma∂r’s foot snakes around Ragnaroctopus’ right leg, hooking behind his knee.  Both grapplers strike the ground, Yfirma∂r landing atop her eight-armed opponent.  She uses the force of gravity to augment a forearm strike to the throat.


((Sfx: d20 roll x5, 2 punches, and other wrestling sounds))


Rhomande: The next action in the battle against my sister’s irritating musical troupe was an affront against bards everywhere, as the Centaur reached within himself and used what little grace lay in his soul to begin a Song of Inspiration.  The tuneless humming and shaking of maracas rang out throughout the courtyard, offending me to my glittery and incandescent core.


Shakes: We study up on game scrycrystal.  You heavy hitter, mister wing-orc.  No supposed engage for too long, while squishies still up.  So I follows plan and I gets medal!


((Sfx: maracas, d20 roll x2, 1 scimitar hit, followed by galloping))


Vragul: Hey, where you go, four-foots?  Me just starting have FUN!


((Sfx d20 roll, flat axe hit))


Thrimlach: No, Vragul!  Don’t slap the horse on the ass when he’s pointing this way-OH DEAR GODS SIR GNOME, GET BETWEEN ME AND THAT CENTAUR!  


Sir Gnome: Can’t Torrea do it, mathter?  She’s much better at defense that I am.  And I have a family to think about, now.


Thrimlach:  (flatly) What.  (more animated/angry) Did you just refuse a direct order, Sir Gnome?  Are you developing some sort of rudimentary personality or something?


Sir Gnome: No, mathter.  I mean Yeth, mathter.  I’ll take the brunt, mathter.


Ragnaroctopus: You shouldn’t have struck me in the throat, Lady Yfirma∂r.  For I have trained with the Dwarven Brotherhood of Jekken Ironthroat.  And I have learned many disruptive SONIC TRICKS.


((Sfx: reverb on the “Sonic Tricks”))


DM: The grapple is broken, and orcish mother and child are hurled 73 feet upward, riding atop the shockwave of a sonic boom.  After the ringing in everybody’s ears begins to fade away, you can hear a 5-note chord emanating from the deep bronze bell that is Ragnaroctopus’ chest and throat.


((Sfx: as appropriate))


Yfirma∂r: Whoaaah!  Hold on, little Vriggle.  This not you worst situation, yet.  Oh!  Look!  Me can see over walls!  And there lots of them no-eyes thing.  Thems get lots closer than us think.  Luckily me learn how slow-fall, so Vriggie be safe.


Zolov: Wells, that’s not so goods a backs-drop for this battles.  So, insteads, let’s gets some PHANTASMALS TERRAINS going.  Sing, my Stellars Sits-tar of Sits-tals-ians-Mar!  Sings of thats crystals-coverered planset with the reds suns!  You knows… the ones that blews up afster that lasers-eyes babies escapexsded its.


((Sfx: Phantasmal terrain, whatever Krypton sounds like when interpreted through a sitar))


Rhomande: What an amazingly beautiful city!  This is like the crystal city of Brext, but infinitely more elegant!  Well, except for the angry, red sun and the constant earthquakes and the distant volcanic eruptions.  Is this a real place?


Zolov: It was.  We visitsted it when we was youngers.  The reds suns didn’t seems to be bads for vamps-pires, so we staysed for a bits longers than we’s instendsded.  But afster I dranks the bloods of the locals, the suns didn’t seems to bothers me as much, no matters whats its colors is.


DM: Father Maldreth, Patriarch of the Church of War clears his throat, straightens his robes, and points a long, gnarled finger squarely at Joren Swiftriver, seated amidst his drum kit at the center of the Red Hand’s highly-posed tableaux.  


Maldreth: Ahem. I have had enough sightseeing for multiple lifetimes.  You are in my way, and you shall be removed.  O, Makar of the Bad Touch, send your hand down to caress this drummer with your FINGER OF DEATH. 


((Sfx: Finger of Death, d20 roll))


Joren: Nope.  I had extensive therapy for my childhood, so not even your weird god-inspired finger can hurt me.


Maldreth:  Oh?  Well, then maybe you should find new horrors in your adulthood.  Like helplessly watching as a quickened MASS HARM cascades over you and your allies!


((Sfx: Mass Harm))



    Joren: (electrocuted noises)


    Izzy: (screaming)


    Ragnaroctopus: (sudden vomiting)


Slightly trailing the simultaneous:

    Zolov: What?  What’s wrongs withs youse guys?  Ohs.  Waits.  You’re nots uns-deads likes I am.  That’s why you’res nots beings healsed rights nows.


Rhomande: At least that stopped most of their odd, Worlds-Music-inspired song.  Just the maracas and the sitar are going now.  And any sitar, even the legendary Stellar Sitar of Sitalain-Mar, can be COUNTERSONGED by any old piece of wood in the hands of the Insilenceable Rhomande Sorfinde!


((Sfx: lute, d20 roll x2, brief sitar/lute guitar-style battle over maracas?))


Rhomande:  And just to be sure I’m safe, I’ll stand right over here, near my dear friend Imenand and his Cadaver Collector!  Oh, hi Stiev!  I didn’t see you there.


Stiev: Shut up, bard.  I’m trying to get through all of this without dying.  I won’t wake up in a cell next time that happens!


Joren: Standing behind that earth-and-stone construct won’t save you from a DRUMQUAKE!  In the name of the Empire, you will die, so that more may live!


((Sfx: drums, earthquake, d20 roll x6))


Issa: How many fucking bards are in your sister’s party, Rhomande?  This is fucking ridiculous!


Izzy: More than enough bards, Penguin, and all of them cast long shadows.  Long enough for me to SHADOWSTEP!


((Sfx: Shadowstep))


DM: Once the effects of Maldreth’s Harm spell subside, Rhomande’s red-headed sister rolls lithely to her left, into the shadow cast by Joren’s 54-piece drum kit.  As she hits the shadow, she melds perfectly into it, disappearing immediately from sight.


Stiev: Damn.  And I thought I could blend in to shadows well!


Rhomande: At that moment, my worst nightmare came to life before my keen and clear elvish eyes.  While I was safely behind the cadaver collector and winning a solo-battle with another string-playing musician, the collector’s shadow peeled upwards from the ground to my left.  A shadow of my sister, Izreanna Alafinde, now stood right next to me, a wicked dagger in each of her shadowy hands.  So, naturally, I backed away from the unholy shadow.


Izzy: Right into the loving arms of your real sister.  Unfortunately for you, dear brother, those arms are almost always in contact with my deadly Ethereal Knives!


((Sfx: d20 roll x2))


Rhomande: Gah!  My kidneys!  Both of them!  Sister… I will harvest you for this.  


Izzy: You can’t have my kidneys. I’ve met your friends; especially that weirdo, Thrimlach.  If he doesn’t have spare parts and organs cloned for each of you, then I don’t know who does. 


Rhomande: IIIII-SSAAAAA!  Izzy won’t share her internal organs with me, when I need them more than she does!


Issa: Shut up, Bard, and just cast a healing spell on yourself!  I’m going to take out the vampire with a SlidingPECK!


DM: Issa waddles a few paces, far more quickly than you’d expect from a 7-foot tall penguin, then launches herself down and forward.  She slides almost fifty feet, off target by a good twenty degrees.  


Zolov: Uhms.  I thinks the penguins needs glasses.  I’ms overs here.


Issa: I’m not off target!  Penguins are excellent at trick shots!


DM: Issa slides toward an outcropping of the strange crystals that make up the phantasmal city, picking up speed as she passes through a low-sloped dell in the ground.  She hits the crystal at a high velocity, then twists her body as she slides over the ramp.  She hangs mid-air for a second at the top of her arc, then slams face-first into Zolov, striking him squarely in the chest with the point of her beak.


Issa: I think that would have looked way better with some proper backing music.  Oh, Tuxie!  Can you help Rhomande out?  But don’t tell him I cared about his music.  I just care even less about his sister’s bands’s music.


Tuxedo Beak: Of course I can, fishball head!  This should help out the elf!  RAZORFISH!


((Sfx: d20 roll x3, throwing knives x3))


DM: Tuxedo Beak launches forward, skidding across the courtyard on his belly, hurling three of his razor-sharp Throwing Fish as he goes.  Each mythril fish holds a copper rose in its mouth, the fins all gleaming keenly.  The penguin projects the first fish across the battlefield toward the Shadow that Izreanna is using to flank her brother, striking it squarely between the shoulder blades.  The second, he hurls at Ragnaroctopus, catching the monk on one of his eight forearms.  The third razorfish pirouettes in the air as it quickly closes the distance to Zolov the Kryptonian-fed vampire.  All the while, Tuxedo Beak is adding his own part to the grand song of the battlefield.


    In background:

        Tuxedo Beak: (penguin singing)



Smyd: Man, I love all of the music and the crystals and the open air of this place.  It reminds me of a cross between some of the old Bear Clan Hoedown Festivals and the High-bernation Holidays in the Sacred Crystal Caves.


Shakes: (horse-sounding harrumph) We been to Bear Clan Farming Festival.  Played headline on second stage, first time we ever goed.  Bear music still just about worst thing Izzy say Centaur ever heard.


Smyd: ((Sfx: bear growl)) How dare you speak ill of Bear Clan or any of its weird cultural idiosyncrasies!  You’re gonna die for the insult, Centaur!  BRUTAL CHARGE!


((Sfx: d20 roll x6, 5 hits))


Smyd: (power ranger sounds) hurp-BAH! YAH-YAH-YAH! K’RIIIIHHHHHT!


Thrimlach: Oof.  Gotta stand up still.  Damned earthquake.  


Joren: Drumquake.


Thrimlach: Whatever kind of quake it is, I should really start floating around on a disk like Imenand does.  I’ll just have to quicken a TOUCH OF FATIGUE before I get up!


((Sfx: d20 roll, touch of fatigue))


Shakes: Hah!  You misses me, no-eyes elf!


Thrimlach: But the WALKING PRISMATIC EYE won’t miss you!


Shakes: Wha—?


((Sfx: Fire damage, Walking Eye))


Thrimlach: Torrea, why are you and your horse being as useless as Sir Gnome right now?


Torrea: Oh!  My apologies, Lord Thrimlach!  Spirit of the Swift Wind and I were strategizing our next move!  And we decided on —


((Sfx: neigh))


DM: Rather than finish her sentence, Torrea commands Spirit of the Swift Wind to rear up, stretching to five paces in height as he balances on his hind legs just long enough to deliver two devastating hooves to the thick skull of Shakes the Centaur.


((Sfx: neigh, d20 rollx2, hoof hit x2))


Shakes: Oof!  Remind me of time older brother kick me in head when I’s just hits puberty.


Torrea: Hopefully you won’t be able to be reminded of anything once you’ve come into contact with Logic!


Issa: Who or what is “Logic”?


Torrea: It’s the name of my grand mace, here, Lady Featherfoot!  Observe, the power of LOGIC!


((Sfx: d20 roll, mace hit))


Thrimlach: What a dumb name for a mace.  Did Spirit of the Swift Wind come up with that one?


((Sfx: neigh))


Torrea: In fact, Lord Thrimlach, this name was bestowed upon my weapon by none other than Sir Gnome!


Thrimlach: What.  SIR GNOME, IS THIS TRUE!?


Sir Gnome: Yeth, mathter.


Thrimlach: I hate you.


Rhomande: And I hate this shadow that’s attacking me even more than I hate my sister!  Will somebody please do something about it?


Thorn: I’ve got your back, Bard!  Shadows tend to shrink when you shed light directly upon them.  And how more directly can you apply light than with SCORCHING RAYS?


((Sfx: Scorching Ray))


Izzy: AAGH!  My shadow!  You know, that was still attached to me, right?


Imenand: Once I’m through with your stupid band, EVERYTHING will be attached to you.  In fact, I may make anybody present who has levels in Bard into a one-being symphony.  Especially if Rhomande ever stops being marginally useful to Mother Mëassë’s purposes.


Issa: Imenand!  Stop supervillaining at them and do something!  I swear, this whole party just gets less and less effective, the more time we spend around Rhomande and his family.


Imenand: Keep your feathers on, Penguin.  I was just about to drop a WEAPONIZED PRISMATIC WALL and a QUICKENED ARC OF LIGHTNING.  After I erect my Cube of Force, of course.


((Sfx: Cube of Force, Prismatic Wall, arc of lightning, d20 roll x2))


DM: The wall springs up, beginning as a two-dimensional plane that separates Zolov, Ragnaroctopus, and Joren from the rest of the battlefield.  Almost as soon as it reaches its full height of ten feet, the plane presses five feet backward, leaving a swirling, prismatic afterimage that engulfs the vampire and the eight-armed monk.  The two ends of the wall spark with unbridled electricity, and a bolt shoots through the center of the wall, which happens to intersect with the spaces currently occupied by the Red Hand’s sitarist and throat singer.  Paradoxically – if you are familiar with the extremely mortal tendencies of drummers – Joren is safe and unharmed behind his kit.


Imenand: It’s not paradoxically.  When I was very young, one of my chores was to keep the drum beat while the other… ahem… members of my society… ahem… pushed great stone slabs up monumental ramps.  I don’t harm drummers.  Speaking of which…


DM: Imenand’s Cadaver Collector charges through the prismatic wall, unaffected by any of its magical layers.  It then crashes through the drum kit and stops before Joren, looming over him from a piled height of ten feet.  Far more quickly than anything of its size has any right to move, the Collector snatches Joren up in its massive fists and holds him aloft.


Joren: I thought you said you don’t harm drummers.


Imenand: I don’t; however, I may enhance them at some future date.  Your high dexterity makes you quite valuable.  Once I disassemble you and part you out, that is.


Joren: I guess that’s better than the Weaponized Wall.


Ragnaroctopus: (still taking damage) You’ve… got that… right.


Vragul: Eight-arms want out?  Vragul get you out.  VRAGUL KING OF OUT!


DM: Vragul sweeps down from the sky, landing just to the other side of the wall from Ragnaroctopus.  At the vertex of his journey, Vragul circles one arm around the waist of his darling half-orc wife, lifting her from danger.  With the other arm, he swings Bloodless, his Merciful Great Axe, through the prismatic field.


Ragnaroctopus: I didn’t ask for this kind of help!  Or any help!


Vragul: Vragul no care.  Vragul no hear you over sound of AWESOME BLOW! 


((Sfx: d20 roll, blunt axe hit))


DM: The eight-armed monk goes flying, but his flight path is quickly interrupted by the outer wall of the courtyard.


((Sfx: the sound of a body hitting a granite wall))


Shakes: This not going well.  Plan say to kill squishies.  But I’s am surrounded by not-squishie.




Shakes: Okay.  Maraca-swords is be good for improvising.  


DM: The centaur kicks up some crystalline dust from the phantasmal terrain, as he begins to spin in circles.  Within seconds, all you can see of Shakes is a tornado of hooves and blades.  Torrea  takes a hoof to the chest and nearly loses her balance atop Spirit of the Swift Wind.  She is helped the rest of the way from her saddle by a scimitar blade chasing after the hoof.  Still on the ground from the drumquake, Maldreth does not react as four cuts harmlessly glance away from his incredibly evil black armor.  Smyd catches a head-butt to his snout, which disorients him enough for a deep thrust to penetrate his defenses.


((Sfx: neigh, d20 roll x8, blades & hooves))


Torrea: Oof!


Smyd: Ouch!


Maldreth: Hmph.


Ragnaroctopus: I definitely think the worst offense I’ve suffered today has to be getting a metal fish thrown at me.  So… allez-oop!


DM: The eight-armed monk charges, spider-climbing over the Cadaver Collector to vault over Imenand’s Prismatic Wall.  His leap ends in the exact spot occupied by Tuxedo Beak.  Eight fists slam into the well-dressed penguin, some more than once.


((Sfx: d20 roll x10, flurry of blows))




Zolov: Goods work Ragsnarocstopus!  The pengsguin ams disktsracsted!  These lets me casts DIMENSIONS DOORS!


((Sfx: Dimension Door))


Zolov: And the pengsguins won’t be able to gets outs of the ways of the giants CRUSHINGS FISTS!


DM: A ghostly hand, the palm of which must be five feet wide, suddenly appears behind Issa, and just as suddenly closes its tree-like fingers around her in a tightening fist.


((Sfx: Crushing Fist))


Maldreth: Imenand, I don’t think your sack of drummer parts will be much use to you after it suffers a STORM OF VENGEANCE.  And Father Makar shall show us his great favor and his high opinion of my pastoral leadership by quickening the coming of HARM to the centaur!


((Sfx: Storm of Vengeance, Harm))


Joren: (pained sounds)


Shakes: (pained sounds)


Izzy: Shadow, you go attack that pixie.  I will fulfill the Emperor’s orders and kill my elder brother.  I truly am sorry, Mandy.


Rhomande: I hate it when you call me Mandy!  (Sigh) Do what you must, little sister.  You always have.  I will do as I wish… As I always have.


((Sfx: d20 roll x4, “whiff” sounds))


Izzy: Wait… what the…?  I know I’m using phantasmal psi-knives, but there’s usually a little more physical feedback than that!


Rhomande: Ha-hah!  That’s because I cast Mislead and fled to the safety – using “safety” in its broadest sense – of Imenand and Maldreth!  All done while you weren’t paying attention to me!  That has always been and ever shall be your downfall, little sister!


Maldreth: I don’t have time for you, right now, elf.  And you probably don’t want me to.  Do you remember the story of the Prodigal Bard, who only ever came back to his father after he had spent all of his money and then eaten the slop left over by the raccoon farmers?  It didn’t end well for the Bard.  


Rhomande: I will have you know, Father Maldreth, that I am quite well-versed in all tropes and tales.  But did you know that there is a second version of the Prodigal Bard?  


Joren: I know that version!  It ended with the Bard getting his revenge by collapsing his father’s house around the favorite brother’s ears!


Maldreth: Nobody asked you, drummer.  Besides, don’t you have your hands full right now?  I know that Imenand’s Cadaver Collector certainly has its hands full.


Joren: I do have my hands full!  Full of SONIC DRUMSTICKS!


((Sfx: d20 roll x4, sonic drumsticks))


Imenand: How dare you attack my Cadaver Collector with the one type of magic that affects it!  That’s it.  Your parts are no longer worthy of experimentation and reintegration!


DM: Meanwhile, halfway across the battlefield, Issa has squirmed her way free of Zolov’s disembodied Crushing Fist.


Issa: Don’t announce it so loudly, voice!  I’m sneaking up on that eight-armed monk, and I don’t want him to know what I’m planning until the last possible moment.


Thorn: What are you planning, Issa?




((Sfx: d20 roll x3, 3 peck hits))


Ragnaroctopus: Gah!  My kidneys!  I only have two of those!


Tuxedo Beak: But you have eight arms, and seven of them don’t have RAZORFISH sticking out of them!


((Sfx: d20 roll x3, flying razorfish x3))


Ragnaroctopus: I am getting very tired of you penguins and your sneak attacks.


Smyd: Join the club.  Those penguins constantly steal all of the fish.  Luckily they can’t climb trees, or we’d have no honey either!


Shakes: Honey tastes yummy.  


Smyd: Glad we agree on that, centaur.  ((Sfx: bear roar)) AND BEARS DON’T SHARE HONEY WITH ANYONE!  ESPECIALLY HORSES! HI-YAAAA!


((Sfx: d20 roll x5, many fist and claw hits))


Torrea: But I’ve seen you sharing honey with a horse!  


Smyd: Spirit of the Swift Wind doesn’t count.  He’s ferocious and noble, so he practically counts as a bear.


((Sfx: neigh))


Thrimlach:  Wait… I just realized something.


Maldreth: And what, pray tell, have you just realized?  Do you need some of Father Makar’s Mind Spiders to pry it from your brain meats?


Thrimlach: Uhm… I just realized something else… I realized I need to quicken a MIND BLANK so nobody sees what’s coming next.


Maldreth: Fine.  But this had better not have anything to do with honey or fish or other foodstuffs.


Thrimlach: Not so much.  I just realized we’re fighting a vampire.


Zolov: Uhms… you’res alsmost correxst.  I’ms nots just a vamps-pires.


Thrimlach: But you’re at least part vampire, so that means you’re probably susceptible to a SUNBURST!


((Sfx: Sunburst))




DM: As Zolov pointed out, he’s not just a vampire.  He’s been feeding on a number of alien species for quite a long time.  One of those species reacts quite differently to yellow-spectrum sunlight than most other beings.  The vampire part of his physiology begins to burn, crack, and crumble immediately.  But the alien ichor running through his veins reacts just as quickly to the sunburst, supercharging his strength, senses, and regenerative faculties.  The result is a much stronger vampire mage, whose body constantly offgasses black, oily smoke.


Thrimlach: Ah, crap.  Torrea!  You’re up!


Torrea: At once, my lord!  Come, Spirit of the Swift Wind!  Let us vanquish this particularly pollutive anomaly!


((Sfx: neigh, d20 roll, mace hit))


Zolov (extra reverb?): Hah!  Nice tries!  That’s mights have hurt fors a minute, but I’ms still drinksing in the rays of the elf’s sunsbursts!


((Sfx: moaning/howling of the Hungering End gets louder/more present))


DM: While you all have been spending your time reaching a more interesting stalemate in this battle, the denizens of the Hungering End have been drawing ever closer, and now the howls of the unmakers are clearly and constantly audible from just outside of the courtyard.


Thorn: That’s really bad.  We need to get past this excellent band, or else we’re all going to die!  Sorry, Izreanna.  I’m a huge fan –– don’t tell Rhomande –– but you’re going to have to do without a shadow for a while.  SCORCHING RAYS!


((Sfx: Scorching Ray))


Izzy: G’yaaaaouch!  Great.  Do you know how long it’ll take that to grow back?


Rhomande: The longer the better, if it means you can’t compete with me for stage time.


Imenand: You heard the pixie and the disembodied voice.  Stop fucking around and get these idiots out of our way.  Centaur!  Behold this SYMBOL OF STUNNING!


((Sfx: Symbol of Stun))


Shakes: Wha— duuuuuuuhhhhhh…


Imenand: Now disengage from him and get across the courtyard while my Cadaver Collector opens the gates.


Joren: How’s it going to open the gates when both of its hands are full?


Imenand: I’m glad you asked.  It seems to have a decent tool in its hands already.


Joren: I don’t see any—


((Sfx: slam))


Joren: Ouch!


DM: The Cadaver Collector slams Joren Swiftriver into the great brazen bars separating the courtyard from the Tower of the Sun.  A sickening crack rings out as Joren breaks three vertebrae and seven ribs.  Unfortunately, the other end of the courtyard has gotten a little more crowded.


Zolov: Uhms… Whys is all them guys has no eyes?  And whys is there huns-dreds of thems?


Izzy: Didn’t you read the Lord Seer’s dossier?  That’s why we need to kill my brother and his companions.  Because we don’t want those things to follow them home!


DM: The Hungering End makes no distinction between the two parties of adventurers, as they tear into the closest targets they can find.  The demons’ eyeless sockets and gaping jaws erupt with black rays of entropic energies, firing all around the courtyard.  Izreanna, Shakes, Thrimlach, and Smyd each take direct hits, leaving them devastatingly injured and bleeding out.  The hundreds of demons behind the first wave fire their chaotic rays in seemingly random directions, with the effect breaking the strong force that binds the atoms of the courtyard together.


((Sfx: as appropriate))


Maldreth: If these things win, then reality ceases, which means all wars cease.  Father Makar will not be pleased with that outcome.




((Sfx: d20 roll x7, flat axe hit x2, fist hit x5))


DM: Vragul dives toward the Cadaver Collector and Joren Swiftriver, dropping Yfirma∂r safely before the gates.  The two half-orcs then set about beating the drummer within an inch of his life.  Fists and flat axe fly faster than the eye can perceive, leaving the Drummer of the Red Hand a shattered and bloody mess.


Shakes: Get things off me!  I’s can't hold line much longer!  This not in plan!


DM: Ragnaroctopus Jones swings three of his eight arms around Issa’s neck, then bounds across the distance to Tuxedo Beak, grappling him as well.


Ragnaroctopus: LOOK AT THAT!  YOU SEE THAT!  This place is a fucking multiversal metaphor for the rising sun and you have led those things here to dismantle it!  This is what we’re trying to prevent, you stupid penguins!  Now stop squirming and help us hold them back!


Izzy: It’s too late, Rag.  We’re totally overrun, and the End has breached the walls.  Zolov, you know what to do!


Zolov: Ofs course.  We’s ams the Reds Hands.  We’s always has the seconds chance!


DM: Zolov reaches into his robes and pulls an amulet from the folds.  At the center of the circular amulet stands an angled gnomon, like the arm of a sun dial.  The enhanced vampire holds the amulet aloft, then hurls it to shatter upon the ground. 


((sfx: shattering glass))


DM: Time slows down, crawling and creeping to a slow halt, before everything …


((Sfx: rewind sound; possible rewind the whole fight scene?))



Scene 5: The Second Chance


Zolov: If you does, peoples will die.  Trillsions.  Whole worlds resducedssd to their basics pars-tickles.


Ragnaroctopus: For crimes not yet committed – crimes that have been witnessed by Dawius Gwaven, Lord High Seer – you have been sentenced —


Rhomande: (interrupting) Quick! Before they finish their speech!  GET THROUGH THE GATES AND LOCK THEM BEHIND US!


((Sfx: stampede, gate hinge, slamming gate))


DM: Uhm… I guess with that, you’re safe enough to rest for a little bit.



Scene 6: Credit where Credit is Due

Ragnaroctopus: Visit The 20-Sided Theatre online at twentysidedtheatre.com.  And follow the Insufferable Basterds through scryomagical links that Master Shenouda and Thrimlach have established.  You can follow Rhomande @IllustriousRho, Master Shenouda @ShenoudaNecroCo, Thrimlach @Thrimlach, and the Issa Featherfoot @LadyFeatherfoot.


Izreanna: The 20-Sided Theatre is a joint production of Bear Industries and the Shenouda Necromancy Corporation.  This Episode stars Gabriel Abinante, Natalie Abinante, Blake Parker, Ceridwen Quattrin, Cian Quattrin, and Rudraigh Quattrin.


Zolov: Writsten by Rudraigh Quattrin and Editsted by Blake Parker.


Joren: Sound Effects Design by  


Joren: Music by 


Shakes: For a complete list of and links to all the music you heard on tonight's episode visit the show notes at 20sidedtheatre.com.


Zolov: Joins us next times ats The 20s-Sidsed Thesatstre!



Scene 7: The Tag

Thrimlach: Ceatharan?  Are you there?  I’m tapping into the Elven Thoughtscape again.


Rhomande: Indeed, I am ceatharan!  That must mean this is another exciting instance of Thrim & Rho’s Elven Corner!  What’s the topic of discussion today, ceatharan?


Thrimlach: Well, ceatharan, we’re going to show how to make your tree-mansion a little more —


SFX: *static/tuning noises* 


E. Slide: Is this thing transmitting properly? How do I know I’m not just pissing off every dog within a hundred miles? Oh! the light is on. 


E. Slide: *ahem* Professor W.E.Slide here, Ultra-Genius, founder, CEO, Lead Experimental Scientist, and main beneficiary of SlidingTech Industries! In my recent "super-scientific” travels I’ve been encountering a great deal of undead, cloned, or mind-enslaved minions, many bearing the corporate stamp…er, brand?


E. Slide: (off mic) Sonar, get in here! What do you call a trademark that’s created solely by necrotic flesh?


Sam Sonar: Disgusting and probably not anti-union, sir?


E. Slide: Sam Sonar’s correct, it’s disgusting, but she’s also WRONG because it’s distinctly anti-union! What was I talking about? Oh right. These undead scabs bearing the stamp of the Shenouda Necromancy Corporation are taking away jobs from upstanding henchmen, and taking food from the mouths of their henchchildren - often by turning everyone into zombie food. 


E. Slide: And that’s exactly what I’m getting at! Do you know how expensive it is to pay so many life insurance policies out when you use union henchmen? Because here at SlidingTech Industries and its subsidiaries, we use quality, organic henchmen using only the finest natural ingredients and labor-relation processes. 


E. Slide: Any rumors relating to experimental body modification, unknowing inhalation of experimental chemicals, or exposure of our henchman to friction-reducing agents are purely that: completely inadmissible in court. 


E. Slide: In closing, further use of such nefariously money-hoarding policies will force me to respond in kind. But good luck retaliating; thanks to these hypersonic technologies, you can’t see me - I’m virutally Electric!




E. Slide: Phew, I hope that was threatening enough. I hope they don’t have zombie lawyers.


Sam Sonar: Sir, you’re still transmitting.


E. Slide: DOHFRGFHGDJCXZX *cuts out* 


SFX: *static/tuning noises* 


SFX: raging wildfire


Rhomande: O ye gods!  Ceatharan! Call the fire brigade!