Monday, December 20, 2010

The Ten vs. the Twelve

Destined Location: Castle Visgoth

Prophecy: "...and lo in the castle of the serpent on the day of ascension shall twelve enter to do battle with ten. And there they will fight to the death; none shall leave until all opponents are slain. In victory shall the course of the world be determined henceforth: freedom or tyranny."

The Ten
Elliot the Necromancer (wizard)
Harvas Raeth (monk/sorcerer)
Jared Shadowsmith (swordsman, shadowdancer)
Mutric (bandaged halfling, sorcerer)
Malus AKA Captain Evil (warrior)
Death Spectre (unknown abilities)
Raven (monk from Eastern Lands)
Blaine (shortsword wielding assasin from Eastern Lands)
The Pagan (unkown abilities, divine caster & melee combatant)
Rumplemintz (wizard)

The Twelve
Floyd Fiftynames (bard/duelist extraordinare - PC Joey)
Brixmor Baldon (cleric - PC Ben)
Virgil Deathbow (ranger, wizard, arcane archer - PC Dave)
Guy Fiftynames (barbarian, knight protector, holy liberator - PC Chris)
Axe Bludgeonfist (fighter - PC Aaron)
Oak (druid - PC Max)
Goldschmidt (druid)
Hemis (paladin)
Klepos (eldritch knight)
Sebastian (paladin)
McGrath (warrior)
Samred (barbarian)

Bench (to swap out with NPC pending availiblity)
Liam Strongbow (fighter - PC Greg)
Pskenart (enchanter - PC Justin)
Pierce Thundar (fighter - PC Daniel)

Brixmor's Game Plan (assuming full NPC roster)
Goldschmidt on Elliot
Guy on Harvas Raeth
Klepos on Jared
Floyd on Mutric
Samred on Malus
Hemis on the Death Spectre
Sebastian on Raven
McGrath on Blaine
Brixmor on the Pagan
Axe on Rumplemintz
Virgil and Oak in back for support

Friday, December 3, 2010

Other Game Blogs by the Group

To any loyal readers out there - while you are waiting for updates or posts to this blog check out these other campagin blogs featuring the same players:

or check out the group's poorly contrived website at

Friday, August 20, 2010

Game Notes - August 8 & 15, 2010

Gameplay begins as Guy joins the party (having arrived via separate transportation), and the gang starts off in search of the tomb of Lugh. After walking for a while and encountering some general nastiness, Guy realizes they have been under the effects of an illusion, and have wandered far off course. The party doubles back, but is forced to camp for the night before finding the tomb.

During the night, on Floyd's watch, a tribe of Driders (that's a drow / spider hybrid, folks) happens upon the party, and in exchange for some extra equipment the boys picked up along the way, the Driders tell the party the location of the tomb, which they know to be the realm of Bahamet, the spider god. The Driders inform the party that no one who has entered the cave where the tomb of Lugh is suspected to be returns, and those who do are usually killed by the Driders.

The party heads for the tomb in the morning, finding the cave fairly easily. Inside, they deal with all manner of giant spider business, including the destruction of Bahamet. Much rejoicing. Having cleaned out the giant spiders from the top of the cave, they find a lever which opens a porthculis to the next part of the cave, a long, LONG bridge. Brix casts Airwalk on some of the party (those who can't polymorph to fly), and the group passes over the bridge and all its terrors quickly and easily. Once on the other side, they find themselves in front of three doors.

Here ends the August 8 Session; the August 15 Session follows:

The party chooses their path through the gray, stone door which is the least adorned of the entryways. The path is lined with exceptionally deadly traps, but Floyd's trapfinding ability allows the party to circumvent most of them (one exception is a trap that nearly kills Brix, arguably the party's hardiest member). Finally, they reach the end of the hall, but are dismayed to see a door guarded by what appears to be ten iron golems. The party tries to rest and re-memorize, but regular attacks by shadows and wraiths make this effort impossible, so they charge into the room, hoping to get through the door before the iron golems can do considerable damage. To their great relief, only four of the golems are active, and Guy, Brix, and Virgil manage to dispatch them (with limited resources due to their depleted spell slots) while Floyd picks the lock to the room. The party opens the door and prepares to face their next challenge.

End of Session

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Game Notes March - July 2010, Part 3

The party heads to Doovin’s estate, where they intend to tell him of their impending trip to the Eastern Lands. However, they do not find Doovin there, only a man who is said to be watching the estate for Doovin while he is away on errands. The man is extremely rude and racist towards gnomes and dwarves, which results in Floyd zoning him out. He invites any commenter who recalls what this guy talked about to elaborate in the comments section, because he just doesn’t remember.

The party zips along to the border between Aggravail and the Eastern Lands, crossing over the border and finding a flying ship available for transport. The ship’s captain, a dwarf and native to the Eastern Lands, explains that he transports visitors between Aggravail and the Eastern Lands, although most travel is conducted by native Eastern Landers going to and from Aggravail. Very few visitors from Aggravail come to the Eastern Lands. The dwarf recalls three instances since he began his business, and one of them sounds as though they could be Ethan. The dwarf goes on to explain the political and religious structure of the Eastern Lands, which are controlled by houses that ally themselves with the elemental forces that give this land its strange power.

The party arrives at the central city of the Eastern Lands, where they encounter a variety of magical technology yet unknown to them. Guy, Virgil, and Brix are somewhat uncomfortable in this new environment, and Floyd tries to take it in stride. After taking a passenger car into the city, they walk through the common market, seeing all sorts of new species and manner of things. Eventually, the party makes its way to the Arcanum, the home of the arcane spellcasters’ guild. Once inside the Arcanum, however, they are identified and brought before an official, who reads three warrants for the party, one a summons from House Lin (the Halfling house), one a wanted ad from the mercanaries’ guild, and the third a summons from the wardens, a group that has taken upon itself the responsibility of governing the Eastern Lands.

The party asks to be released to House Lin, as their invitation seemed the least ominous. Once taken there, an official from House Lin introduces himself and tells the the party of the House structure in the Eastern Lands, and how it is difficult to get anything done or find protection without being a member of a house. Since Lin has extended their friendship, the boys express interest in joining House Lin, but must first complete a task for them as a test of their loyalty. They are sent to the wilderness to retreive a gem from a crashed airship, which they manage to do by tracking it down to a Temple of Krissk where it is being kept. There, they negotiate with the Temple elders and bring back the gem. Along the way they deal with trouble from a mercenary who ends up being more bluster than action.

The House of Lin is thoroughly impressed and bestows membership upon the party, who use this newfound allegiance to start getting tasks accomplished. Guy goes to the Azers to have his axe melted down and reforged with new magical properties. However, after melting the axe, the Azer explains that he cannot reforge it and refers him to someone who can (who is not in the city, natch). The party goes to the Arcanum to conduct their research undisturbed, and discover 1. the Eastern Lands’ page of Elliott’s journal, and 2. information on the Lay of Lugh. Virgil reconstructs his map for the Arcanum officials, who determine that the map is directions to the tomb of Lugh, where the Lay of Lugh is kept (among many other treasures; reportedly, a quarter of the documented artifacts in Guy’s compendium of artifacts can supposedly be found at the tomb of Lugh.

While Guy is working on getting his axe fixed, Virgil, Floyd, and Brix meet up with Pierce Thundar, who has been in the Eastern Lands for a while now. They swap news, and Pierce accompanies them on the trip to the Tomb of Lugh (Guy agrees to meet up with them later). The party takes an airship provided by House Lin, but discover that the captain has sold the information and the trip to another adventuring party. After determining that the party is evil (partially), and when talks with them break down, a fight breaks out, which the party wins with relative ease. The party also discovers that one of the other adventuring party has ALSO sold the information to another group, which is discovered to be following them on a ship of their own. The party arrives at the Tomb of Lugh, and Pierce departs with the ship.

End of Part 3; End of Sessions to date

Game Notes - March - July 2010, Part II

The party heads back towards Dreia for the final battle of the goblin war. On the way, they are paged by Doogal, whom they meet in Guy’s Port. Doogal has returned from Issa, bringing with him troops and supplies. In exchange, the Issans have requested control of the city of Guy’s Port as an embassy of sorts for their government to trade and engage in international diplomacy. Guy relinquishes the city to the Issans with only minor reluctance.

The party makes their way to Dreia, where the find the High Council (Braddock, Garvey, Bart, Ajax, Appolonious, Terick, etc.) making final preparations. The final battle strategy is settled upon, and then begins a grand final feast and celebration, which all the officers and enlisted men partake in.

Following this feast, the army makes ready to meet the approaching goblin force, this time commanded by none other than the Warlord Graxx himself. The party joins the front lines, alongside Samared, McGrath, and many of their other more powerful allies. There, they inspire the troops, help them prepare, and generally raise spirits before the battle.

Along the way, the party runs into Goldschmiddt and Rumplemintz, who enlist Virgil for an anticipated aspect of the battle – advance scouting reports a powerful trio of mind flayer wizards who will attempt to wage war against the magical abilities of the spellcasters in the battle. Goldschmiddt and Rumplemintz help Virgil prepare for this aspect of the battle.

At long last, the goblin army appears on the horizon, five times the size of the force assembled to fight them. An enormous, bloody battle ensues, with the party and the more advanced adventurers taking out the higher level baddies in the fight. Swarms of soldiers swell around the twelve Cathonic beasts of legend in this battle, even managing to take down one. Well into, but still in the early stages of the battle, Revan contacts the party with the news that he has figured out how to disable the magic-dampening beacons. The party leads a team towards one of the beacons, which the goblins defend voraciously. Finally, Floyd and Virgil gain access to the inside of the beacon while Guy, Brix, Samared, and McGrath defend their position from the outside.
Floyd and Virgil work their way up to the top of the beacon tower, then call Guy and Brix up. Whilst Guy and Floyd fight off the goblins attempting to defend the beacon’s power source, Virgil and Brix analyze the beacon and come to the conclusion that it can be destroyed with a Miracle spell. Brix casts the spell, which results in a holy schockwave resonating across the battlefield. Realizing it would be impossible for the party to take out all of the beacons this way, there is initially despair, until they realize that the holy energy has infused itself with the soldiers on the battlefield, raising the fallen and giving the allies new life and hope.

At this time, Goldschmiddt and Rumplemintz retreive Virgil for the mage-off. What follows is a fireworks show of magical energies as the three spellcasters trade blows with the mind flayers, but ultimately Goldschmiddt, Rumplemintz, and Virgil are victorious. This leads to a brief lull in the fighting while both sides regroup.

During this lull, the party is delighted to find Pskenart and Axe recently arrived from Larst, here to join the fight. As the battle resumes, the heroes fight valiantly, yet in spite of this, the beacons and Cathonic beasts are taking their toll on the numbers in the fight. It is when all hope seems nearly lost that Visgoth finally arrives (sort of), sending Harves Raeth and Malus to command his mighty army of undead. These undead swarm the Cathonic Beasts and the beacons, felling them with impressive alacrity. This distraction allows the party the opportunity it needs for a final push towards the Warlord. Taking their most elite group into the fray, the party works its way up to the Warlord’s prime entourage. A spectacular combat ensues, during which the party expends every available resource they have in battle. Pskenart and Floyd are both killed in the fight, and Axe is taken out, but Guy, nearly down to the last, manages to deliver the killing blow. The Warlord is dead.

The death of the Warlord has a major psychological ramification on the goblin forces. Disorganized and disillusioned, they scatter as the heroes and their army conduct mop-up duty. Guy, Virgil, and Brix carry their fallen comrades off the field, and, once the battle is over, resurrect Pskenart and Floyd.

The dead are tallied, and the number is overwhelming. Among the casualties of the battle are Vain, Pope Benedict, Ajax, Luth, and General Braddock. The fighting force of Western Aggravail is reduced to five digits from the two million who took the field. While the number of the dead is depressing, their sacrifice becomes fortuitious for the reality of the war’s aftermath that is to follow. Facing dramatically reduced resources, the survivors divide off into groups, occupying the Freelands territory (as of now, the only real livable land on the continent) in separate communities. Bart is asked to lead a community, and chooses to do so, promising to keep in touch with the party and work with them as they attempt to rebuild. Havern also returns to lead his community in peace. Appollonious, on the other hand, consults with the party, who decide that a regent must be installed in the Freelands to maintain order and keep the nation from dissolving. Appollonious takes on this regency, with the party engaged in other tasks.

The boys are concerned to find themselves at odds with followers of Doogal for control of Dreia. Tensions are raised to anger between Doogal’s spokesman and the party, and Virgil kills the spokesman in anger in front of many people. The rest of the party attempts to restrain Virgil, but Virgil chooses to Teleport away rather than face punishment. Guy, seeing no other recourse if he wants to keep the peace, declares Virgil an outlaw and pariah from the community.

The party goes off in search of Virgil, whom they find and begin to negotiate an acceptable return, however, Virgil is not keen on paying for his misdeed. The group attempts to involve Appollonious in their descion, but when they radio him, they learn from one of the Freelandian soldiers that Appollonious has been forced out of Haven by followers of Doogal. The party returns to Haven, marching straight in to the new leader of Doogal’s men and demanding they vacate Haven. The leader has the audacity to ask for terms, and they nearly come to blows again, saved only by a strong desire for diplomatic solution and a need not to escalate the situation further. Finally, Doogal himself returns, and the entire affair turns out to be a misunderstanding of where Doogal’s people were supposed to settle.

Doogal and Virgil negotiate their way through and appropriate punishment that will allow Doogal to save face. After considerable discussion, Virgil allows Doogal to behead him in front of his people. Brix immediately Ressurects Virgil, but the point is made.

The party heads west to The Warrior’s Rest to discuss their next move. Along the way they pass Guy’s Port and discover that three groups are fighting for control of it – followers of Doogal, the Issans, and a Freelandian faction. Guy visits the Issans and attempts a negotation for Issan food and supplies in exchange for increased trade and diplomatic inolvement in Aggravail.

Continuing on to Goldschmiddt, the party encounters Appollonius and expain the Doogal situation, and how he may safely return to Haven. Still on their way, the party is intercepted and taken to see Visgoth, who is curious to know if they have picked their twelve for the final fight (see the ten vs. the twelve propehcy). Visgoth explains that death is not necessarily an impediment to those who will fight in this encounter. During this conversation, the existence of the Elf-Grandmother comes up. Visgoth’s nostrils’ flare, and he’s off.

Of course, there’s no way the party’s not going to see this, so they zip off to Grandmother’s house. Guy, Brix, and Floyd maintain a safe distance while Virgil Polymorphs into a woodland critter and goes in for a closer look, using Teris’ spell circle to communicate the visuals and audio with the others. Visgoth confronts Grandmother, and an angry conversation ensues. Meanwhile, Virgil spots the Bellmaker taking off from Grandmother’s back porch with the twin elf boys in tow. Guy, Floyd, and Brix follow the Bellmaker, finding him just as he uses a bell to open a portal, and tosses the babies in. The party stops the Bellmaker from going through, demanding answers. Before he can elaborate, though, Linus drops in and kills the Bellmaker. Linus tells the boys that the Zarin they knew is dead, and that Linus’ consiousness has completely overtaken this body. He continues to profess non-allegienance, refusing to answer why he killed the Bellmaker, and he goes on his way.

Meanwhile, Virgil, from his hidden position, witnesses Visgoth kill Grandmother. Before she perishes, though, she imprints a map in Virgil’s brain. Virgil, alarmed that his position may have been given up, escapes and meets up with the rest of the party, who tell him about the Bellmaker encounter, and their inability to find the elf twins, Voltaire and Voltar. Vigil analyzes the portal, and determines that is an ever shifting portal, surmising that the twins may have ended up on compltely different planes from each other. The portal’s design keeps unwanted followers from being able to find you, but no individual who goes through it ends up in the same place. Realizing they have no hope of finding the twins, they dismiss the portal.

The party finally makes it to Goldschmiddt, and they explain everything that has happened to him. Goldschmiddt elaborates on a theory about Visgoth, that he is an aspect of something called the World Serpent, an antithesis to the spirt of creation (which Brix would classify as the one true God). Goldschmiddt believes that Visgoth’s desire to ascend is only part of a plan to reunite all of the World Serpent’s aspects, which would be very bad news for the universe. This news puts the party’s plan to find Ethan’s journal into high gear.

The group travels to the Necromancer’s Tower to retreive the second page, which they are able to do without major incident (they fight a transformed and mad angel, but nothing of major story consequence happens, nor do they encounter Elliott, as the journal page lies deep within the nether bowels of the tower, where Elliott is apparently unaware of its existence), only therein does the party discover further evidence of Elliott’s horrific evildoings. The page they find explains the mystical properties of the Lay of Lugh, a song fo the utmost difficulty, which, if played correctly, will suprress certain aspects of the vampire’s powers, enabling the party’s weapons to do damage to him. The Lay of Lugh, it is last rumored according to the page, is somewhere in the Eastern Lands. This knowledge directly influences the party’s next actions.

End of Part 2

Game Notes - March - July 2010


My apologies for the delay in postings. These past few months have been pretty busy. If you know me, it’s likely you know why. If you don’t, you probably don’t care why. Truth be told, neither do I. Since we’re in agreement, its on to business!

The following is a summation of what has occurred in game over the last few months. It is, unfortunately, not as comprehensive as session-to-session notes, but hopefully it will suffice.


In Luthia, the party recruits Garam to lead them on an expedition to the Temple of Set, for the purposes of rescuing Benedict, and hopefully putting the Fist of Set down once and for all. Garam agrees with some reluctance. Brix sets his Word of Recall for Luthia, and Virgil concocts a Teleport, which, aided by Garam and Floyd, succeeds in reaching their destination (the probability for error increased when the spellcaster has not visited the location prior).

As the party sneaks into the Temple of Set, the boys and Garam discuss Ethan and his request that they destroy Visgoth. To this end, Garam tells the party of Ethan’s research and findings into the methodology. Garam explains that Ethan had put together how to do it, but in order to protect the information and keep Visgoth unaware that it had been sussed out, he broke the instructions apart and spread them out in various locations. These pages with information were kept in a journal by Ethan, and Garam tells the boys that three of the pages are kept in Moloch’s Palace in the Meloitic Empire, the Necromancer’s Tower (Elliott’s current address), and the Eastern Lands, respectively. The boys REJOICE* over the knowledge that their journey will take that much longer.


The group works their way through a couple of levels of the temple, managing to stay hidden OR kill everything they encounter with relative ease. Having the option to go up or down in the temple, the party elects to go up. On the penultimate level of the temple, they encounter a room full of beholders, which, due to their numbers and the ability to create coverage all over the room, the party does not defeat, rather escaping to the top level with Brixmore sealing off the top via a Stone Shape spell.

On the top level, the party finds several unoccupied small rooms. In one of those rooms, Floyd finds a secret compartment in a bureau, wherein there is a magical necklace. Thinking this necklace to be his on the virtue of the fact that he found it, Floyd does not consider the need to hide his findings from the rest of the party, or for that matter, store the necklace in his rectum.
The party finds the main audience chamber. The door is closed, but by listening through the door, they realize that the Fist of Set is in there, waiting for them. Coming to the conclusion that the enemy is prepped, the party preps their own spells, abilities, etc., and they charge in. There they find the Fist of Set, along with a bound Benedict, and several of the Fist’s best friends. A fight ensues, during which Garam is killed, but so is the Fist of Set and all the room’s evil inhabitants. Benedict is rescued, and the Brix attempts to ressurect Garam, but Garam declines the offer.

The party moves on to explore the lower levels of the Temple, After bypassing the beholder room, the party makes its way down to the subterannian levels, where they encounter a partial construct, partial undead version of Virgil, who explains that he is from a future where the party fought Visgoth and lost, due to Floyd’s reckless use of his recently-obtained necklace and his boots. The party demands Floyd hand his necklace over to Virgil, Floyd reluctantly agrees to when it becomes appartent that he will be subdued for it.

The party returns to Aggravail with Benedict, where they are met by General Braddock, who has a war-related mission for them – to stop a flotilla of goblin troops sailing around the northwest corner of the continent. Using Floyd’s newly learned Shadow Walk, the group travels speedily to the beach near Britewater, where they intend to cut the flotilla off. Virgil Polymorphs to scout the flotilla, and learns that the whole thing is supported by four Krakens. The boys decide to attack the flotilla by taking out the Krakens. They prepare all manner of underwater spells (Water Breathing, etc.), and head for the flotilla. Due to their excellent preparation, the party dispatches the Krakens handily and sinks the flotilla.

The group heads back to Luthia to report their success, but are intercepted on the way by Charles Fox, who has decided to cash in his favor that Floyd owed to him for transporting him out of the Dream Realm. Fox asks the boys to retreive a scroll for him that is kept in the Eastern Lands, and tells them that once they retreive it for him, he will deposit them wherever they would like to end up. The party considers this a good opportunity, both for getting a taste of the Eastern Lands (which they will have to visit to find one of Ethan’s journal pages), but also for the chance to get into the sealed-off Meliotic Empire city.

Fox transports the boys to a forested area in the Eastern Lands, but due to a teleporting error, Guy does not travel with them. Fox vows to find Guy whilst the others get his scroll. Virgil, Brix, and Floyd walk the path they have been left on, discovering that it is a road to a fortress. Further scouting reveals that the fortress is a compound for giant-folk. While continuing their scouting, the party observes the crash of a flying ship. They head over to scout it out, and find the crew all critically injured or dead. As they explore further, they find the ship loaded with precious goods – weaponry, art, etc. As they explore (invisibly), they discover one of the more mobile crewmen activatling self-destruct mechanisms on the crates. The boys sneak out to the top deck, where they find giants from the compound interrogating the ship’s captain, an turtle-like creature. Deciding this is not their fight, the boys sneak off the ship, and observe from a distance. There, they observe the giants raiding the ship for goods. The party follows the giants from a distance to observe how they enter the compound, ultimately discovering a large drainage entrance on the way.

Brix, Floyd, and Virgil sneak into the compound via the drainage entrance, huddled together under Floyd’s Invisibility Sphere and Silence spells. They pass through most of the compound unseen and find themselves in a grand audience chamber. There, they see the giants cowing to and dwarfed by their master, a titan. VERY cautiously, the party sneaks into the titan’s main chamber. There, adjacent to the bedroom, they find a treasure room. The trio discover a chest (trapped, naturally), wherein they find the scroll, among a few other goodies. Virgil searches for Ethan’s journal page, but it is not located here. Unfortunately, their entrance to the room sets off a few wards and alarms, and the party finds themselves face to face with the titan. Realizing quickly that they cannot win this fight, Virgil transforms the party into mice, and the escape under the door, much to the thundering fury of the titan, who puts out an all-points bulletin on the boys.

The party manages to sneak out of the compound, where they are met by Charles Fox, who takes the scroll and expresses his gratitude to the boys, then, as promised, transports them to the steps of the palace at the Melotic Empire. There, they find Guy has teleported along with them. Guy’s explanation for where he has been all this time bores Floyd, so he does not take note of it.

The party takes stock of the city, finding most of its citizens are under a magical compulsion. Many of them are wastrels, malnurished and looking very bad. The same cannot be said of the soldiers, who seem fully alert and well taken care of. The boys decide to take advantage of this situation by visiting the local magic shop, but find slim pickings there.

While discussing their plan, the party is visited by a future version of Floyd, who explains that history has rewritten itself so that what future Virgil had forewarned of does not come to pass. However, future Floyd explains that the party will need to return the necklace to Floyd if they wish to survive an upcoming encounter at the Necromancer’s Tower. The party takes this under consideration, but choose not to return the necklace to Floyd at this time, much to his consternation.

The party sneaks into the palace, unnoticed by the hypnotized populace and the otherwise occupied soldiers. They make their way to the library, where they find two alert librarians. Things quickly get out of hand, and the party is forced to dispatch with them. However, this alerts the castle to their presence, and they are forced to barricade themselves into the library while they think of a plan (one that hopefully comes with eight hours of rest). Much to their surprise, they find the effort to apprehend them to be token, at best, and they are allowed to sleep through the night (on watches, of course). After prepping, the party sneaks through the palace, but finds their way unobstructed as they approach the throne room. There, they find a disguised Moloch, who has decided to deal with the party himself. Moloch reveals his true form to the party, that of an Elder Green Wyrm. A seriously tense battle ensues, ending when Floyd uses a magical eye he found in the titan’s stash to disintegrate the beast. Jubilant, the party ascends to the top of the palace to ring the bell and release the city from its magical force field. However, having done so, they find that the citizens of Meloitic City, having been released from the magic that binds them, are too far gone to survive, and have sadly passed away. Meanwhile, Moloch has apparently sent a force westward to cause havoc. Virgil cuts this force off, and the soldiers, learning that Moloch is dead, disperse to their own ends.

Meanwhile, a transmission reaches party from General Braddock. The final battle of the goblin war is at hand.

End of Part 1

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

NPC Profile: Viggio

We're back. Let's try not to make a big deal out of this.


Viggio was a member of the Seekers, a continent-wide group dedicated to fighting and hunting different monstrous entities. Viggio was one of the first adventurers that the party encountered upon leaving the abbey.

The party visited Viggio at the request of Dr. Ethan, who asked them to take a mysterious vial to him in Verl’s Crook. When they visited Viggio’s house, they found a corpulent man with a sour attitude. He asked the boys if anyone had touched the contents of the vial (naturally, Virgil had tasted it), so Viggio was forced to inject Virgil with a mysterious substance – the party later found out the vial contained vampire blood, and the injection was meant to prevent any ill side effects from imbibing the fluid.

Later on, while helping Ethan subdue a vampire, they discover that Viggio has been hurt fighting this monstrosity, but that he would recover.

When the party learns of the organization known as the Seekers, they discover Viggio is a part of it. As a member of the Seekers, Viggio participates in some of the bigger events in the party’s story: The Battle of the Cracked Flagon, the dinner meeting with Visgoth, and the Battle for the Basilica in Larst, where Viggio loses his life.

Like all who died in this battle and fought against Argoth, Viggio is revered as a hero.

Friday, February 26, 2010

February 6 & 21 Game Notes

NOTE: No sessions were played between February 7 - 20.

Gameplay begins in Luthia, with Brix deciding to conduct some independent research on the Central and End of Days prophecies, and Floyd, Guy, and Virgil returning to Dreia to seek out Benedict for his opinion and insight. Upon arriving in Dreia, the trio pay a visit to Mason, whom they find to be acting slightly out of line with what the party knows of his character. At that point, Guy notices that Mason has grey eyes, which he remembers from Bart's military intelligence to be a sign of a doppleganger. Alarmed at this revelation, the party plays it cool and parts company with Mason.

The boys immediately conduct a twofold investigation to figure out how Mason had been replaced with a doppleganger, and where they could find Benedict. As part of their investigation, they strike up a conversation with a member of the city watch, and in the process discover that Mitchell has become the de facto sherrif of Dreia - head of the watch. Knowing that Mitchell, ever the opportunist, has worked with the Goblin army, this gives the boys the how and the who behind what happened to Mason. Further investigation leads them to a city dump, where they find some of Mason's remains.

Unfortunately, their investigation alerts Mitchell that the Order of the Abbey have returned to the city, and Mitchell escapes, creating chaos and confusion among the watch-gaurd, so much so that they barely notice when the Fifty Gnomes' house catches fire. Floyd, Guy, and a few good neighbors help put out the fire, only to discover that the culprits are the Fist of Set, they themselves creating a diversion that will allow them to reach City Hall unimpeded. The fire out, the boys rush to the central promenade to discover they are too late, and the doppleganger Mason has been assasinated. While this has the unintended effect of removing doppleganger Mason from power without implicating the party in the murder of Mason, they are too late to reach the Fist of Set; to make matters worse, the party's efforts to find Benedict are for naught, and the suspicion is that the Fist of Set may have gotten to Benedict before the party could.

At this momentary peak of frustration, the boys are recalled to Luthia, where Braddock re-assigns them to command a select section of soldiers whose job it will be to hold the Pass until such time as the bulk of the force can fall back to the Illrean capital. Though dismayed to know that the Pass will be yielded, the party nevertheless accepts the responsibility in order to save as many good soldiers as possible. The trio travel to the Pass, where they learn that the King of Nemia is bringing a group of soldiers in to back them up. Guy and Virgil send Halverson back to the city with eighty percent of the force and commence working with the remaining soldiers on a battle strategy.

After a time, Halverson returns, stating that he feels it is important to stand with his soldiers, many of whom he expects to fall today. Virgil takes the archers up to a high position, Guy reinforces the (very makeshift) barricade, and Floyd wanders among the remaining troops, boosting morale and providing inspiration. When the goblin army arrives, it is indeed immense, and they are led by a troll with a nasty looking sword and his own personal bloodwatch guard (that special strike force the party was brought in to fight on the Tutian front a few sessions ago). The troll and the party exchange threats, then retreat to their position for battle. The party fires the first shot, in essence, by having Floyd Dimension Door to the rear of the goblin force and release the green "light signal" that the party obtained the last time they fought a bloodwatch guard, which indicates to the army to begin concentrating their fire into that area. The goblin army erupts into chaos, and Floyd Dimension Doors back to his position, whereupon Virgil orders his men to begin firing their arrows.

NOTE: This is the end of the Feb. 6 session, and the beginning of the Feb. 21 session.

At this point, through a wild magic quirk, Virgil finds himself suddenly replaced by Brixmore, who is equally surprised to discover himself teleported to the field. Brix, however, being cool like that, takes the whole thing in stride, and takes over command of the archers, wreaking his own special brand of holy havoc on the goblin army. Guy commands the group on the ground, which holds the barricade for as long as possible, then summons everything they've got to fight the goblin force. The good guys hold out for an impressive amount of time, and take out a large number of goblins, but eventually, their force is whittled down by approximately half. The archers run out of arrows, and Brix shifts his focus to healing soldiers and getting them back into action. The troll commander calls out to the party to surrender, but they refuse. At that point, the troll decides to face the boys personally (well, personally along with the bloodwatch guard).

Both armies fall back to a neutral position as Brix, Guy, and Floyd march out to meet the troll and his special force. Knowing the Nemain King's forces are still an hour away, Floyd does his best to delay the troll via parlay, writing out and detailing all the conditions of the fight, and singing "The Battle of the Cracked Flagon (Alice's Restaurant Version) for about 25 minutes, but eventually, the troll runs out of patience and the fight is underway. Brix puts up a Blade Barrier that separates the most of the bloodwatch guard from the troll, and the remaining guard attempt to grapple Guy. Floyd stabs the troll, and to his surprise, does quite a bit of damage, which the troll rewards him for by pummeling the dog shit out of him.

Eventually, Floyd manages to free Guy from the grapple, and Guy works his magic, felling the troll. Brix caps the defeat of the troll with a Flamestrike in order to insure the troll does not regenerate; however, once the bloodwatch guard realizes their commander is defeated, they go into kamikaze mode and take out the remaining soldiers in the good guys' army. Enraged, Guy draws the apocalypse sword, killing the bloodwatch gaurd and a good portion of the goblin force, but stops short of major destruction.

Floyd, Guy, and Brix fall back to the Illrean capital, where they meet up with the King of Nemia, who sends his troops in that direction as well. The battle at the pass buys the army enough time to set themselves up in good position to defend against a seige in the city, and soon enough, the goblin army arrives, reinforced, and begins laying seige to Illrea. Within the city, the boys take advantage of an opportunity to re-explore the Illrean Ranger safe house in the city. Upstairs, they find the Wand of Fireball laser cannons, and use them to put major smoking holes into the goblin forces. However, they only have a couple of charges apiece, which only serves to slow the goblins down. Left to their own devices again, the boys explore the transporting closets. They work out that the tiles in the closets allow the travelers to choose their destinations, and they begin working out where each destination takes them - one of them being to Haven. On the 2nd destination, they find their molecules being pulled apart, but manage to put the third tile on before it's too late. On the fourth destination, they find themselves in the ruins of the Ranger safe house in Larst, which, unfortunately, has no return tiles, leaving them stranded.

As Brix's Word of Recall is still set to the Tutian front, the party decides to return to Luthia from here on foot. First, however, they stop in and see Pskenart and Axe to check in on their progress. Pskenart is working hard at rebuilding Larst, but is frustrated because Terick has recruited every able-bodied man and woman in the area. The party promises to talk to Terick about supplying Pskenart with some more people.

The trio heads north through the former Gortia with the intent of running into Terick's army, which they do. Terick, as it turns out, has been doing a stellar job of building an army with what is available to him. Although they are short on supplies and true soldiers, Terick has made up for it with organization and an aggressive mindset. The boys themselves are almost recruited into the force, before finding their way to Terick, who calls off his recruiting dogs. The boys talk with Terick, who agrees to send 100 people back to Larst to help Pskenart. In the meantime, the army has swelled to almost 400,000 people, and Terick feels confident that he can get half a million if given another month and the opportunity to sweep through Luthia and southern Silar. The boys tell him they will try to give him that month, at which point it is expected that the army will join them at the front.

Brix, Guy, and Floyd continue north. Along the way, they encounter multiple goblin raiding parties of 60 or so apiece, and although they make short work of them, they are surprised to run into no less than three of them in a week. So as not to waste the resources, the party contacts Terick so that he can send parties to pick up the usable goblin horses, armor, and weaponry that the raiding parties no longer need (what with being dead and all). Brix attempts a Speak with Dead to discern some of the goblin raiding parties' motivation, but finds that they no little about the war other than their own role in dominating the western continent.

The boys reach southern Luthia, and have a close encounter with Visgoth's ex-wife, the grandmother of the elf twins who complete the Year of the Ram kids. She tells Guy to be careful with how she uses the sword, that every death it causes gives power to dark forces - knowledge that considerably changes Guy's opinion of the sword's usage. She also thanks the boys for all that they have been doing to advance her cause, though the party is unaware of exactly how they have done that. As she parts company from them, Floyd manages to forget that he is not supposed to mention the twins in her presence, as he tells her that they are anxious for the infants to grow up. Grandmother pauses, then lets it pass for the time being as she walks away.

The party heads up to the War Council, where they are disappointed to discover that the fallback from the first front will happen sooner than they thought. Guy and Brix do their best to convince the council to hold out another month for Terick's sake, and consider the implications of a fallback into the Western Luthian forest and the Twilight Lands.

End of Session

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I started playing the 2nd Edition of D&D in 7th grade, and continued through my sophomore year in high school, at which point too many people lost interest in the effort it took to get together for us to continue playing regularly. In the Spring of 2001, Jake introduced me to 3rd Edition, and graciously added me as a player in his veteran game, whereupon I had the time of my life, and a dormant passion was renewed.

Over the last nine years, I’ve played in nine games and run six of my own, and while I’m fond of many of the characters I’ve played, the most communal experience our group has as players is shared fondness / disdain for particular NPC’s that have crossed our path on one or more occasions. The following is a list of the top ten NPC’s we’ve encountered over the last decade, and why I feel they are / were so special (HINT: the secret to a great NPC is the way you react to them and how it inspires you to play as a character).

10. El-Hamanid, Created by: Dave, Game(s) in which NPC appeared: DuPontaine Swashbucklers

The bait and switch is a classic NPC tactic – create an NPC ally / acquaintance who the players come to trust, only to have them turn out to be the “big bad guy” they fight in the end. Of all the bait and switch NPCs I’ve encountered as a player, El-Hamanid was definitely the most unexpected. The reason for this was probably Dave’s ability to immerse us in a world of intrigue where we suspected everyone else. To us, El-Hamanid was simply Trader Joe, a completely different NPC staple – the universal shopkeep. For the first time in my playing history, though, the shopkeep did it.

9. Herb, Created by: Chris, Game(s) in which NPC appeared: The Fantabulous Mage-a-Tron

Herb was your classic wise man – lives in a small town, knows every secret in the game, is folksy and charming. But Chris’ specialty is folksy and charming, which gave Herb a twinkle Burl Ives couldn’t manage. In a world of high fantasy and magic, Chris’ hardy, New England farmer take on Herb was so convincing that I’ve often found myself wishing he were real so I could go to him for the answers.

8. Malkawa, Created by: Joey, Game(s) in which NPC appeared: Mouthus’ Journal

Every Star Wars game that takes place in the Old Republic era is bound to have a Jedi mentor in it. Malkawa could have been that mentor, were she not surrounded by a group hell-bent on re-routing the moral compass of the galaxy to their own whims. In the defense of the players, Malkawa was pretty insufferable; she was a Wookiiee, which made it difficult for her to communicate with most of the players, and she had a tendency towards righteous indignation that rubbed many of the players (particularly Chris and Daniel) the wrong way. I have no doubt that many will disagree about her inclusion; however, her influence alone kept the party from descending into a complete moral vacuum – once she was written out of the game, the criminal elements reigned supreme.

7. Jesus (Egg Pilot Edition), Created by: Dave, Game(s) in which NPC appeared: The Rapture

Jesus in an egg jumped every possible shark imaginable in Dave’s D20 future setting, propelling the story towards a speedy and premature conclusion. While this was regrettable, the character in itself was something of a masterstroke, and indelibly a creation of his DM. Dave’s Jesus was painted in the broad strokes of a Washington Post political cartoon – confused, out of sorts, and blindly poking at straws, the savior of mankind didn’t so much orchestrate his deification as he did stumble into it.

6. Soljus, Created by: Joey, Game(s) in which NPC appeared: The Dominici, The Fantabulous Mage-a-Tron, The DOPP

Soljus is a hybrid character, and this is important because his genius lies not in his creation so much as his development. When he first appeared in my Dominici game, Soljus was a common criminal polymorphed into a monkey by an Archmage; he later regained his human form only to become a monkey again later. In Chris’ hands, he took on a new life: Soljus’ curse was more than just a new form – he was granted an unnaturally long life, and lived so long that wisdom at long last found him after years of stubborn refusal. In my opinion, this makes him a truly amazing NPC – one who achieved real growth and change.

5. Doogal, Created by: Jacob, Game(s) in which NPC appeared: The Order of the Abbey

The top 5 is crowded with Jake’s creations, and few can compare to Doogal. Doogal has been the subject of more discussion than any other NPC I can remember. We respect him, but we fear his potential. Some want to kill him, while others see his value as an ally. Doogal has caused us more trouble than any other NPC on this list, and yet of anyone who has enjoyed “bad guy” status with PC’s, there are few characters we’ve wanted to kill less (with the notable exception of Dave, who kind of wants to kill everyone), and yet in spite of that, we’ve killed him twice. We’ve also spent hours of our lives discussing politics, playing concerts with, and just trying to outwit the guy. Plus, Doogal is the Doogie Howser of international commerce warfare. That concept alone has to be unique to the modern role-playing game.

4. Charles Fox, Created by: Jacob, Game(s) in which NPC appeared: Most of them.

Charles Fox is the epitome of the recurring character. He’s appeared in most of Jake’s games, and most of Chris’s games as well. He’s the frustrating, cryptic, elusive mysterious man in the forest, yet he’s witty, urbane, and quite possibly smarter than everyone else in this joint. In his purest form, Fox is the least fractured element of Jake’s personality when he’s running a game – a moment for him to step in and say, “guys, I know the players determine the direction of the game, but you really need a tour guide right now.” The funny thing is, a character like that (who inevitably leads you around by the nose to where the DM wants you to be) is typically boring, predictable, and makes the game less fun. Charles Fox not only contradicts those traits, he defies your expectations at every turn. That’s special.

3. Father Pious, Created by: Chris, Games in which NPC appeared: The DOPP

The DOPP were men of science. Father Pious was a man of faith. These two forces will butt heads, and the results will not be pretty – it’s that simple. That story has been told over and over, and the dichotomy works when you’re deeply involved in the story, but to an outside observer, it’s rote. Not Father Pious. Perhaps it was his real world inspiration (a priest we knew from our Catholic college days) that brought Father Pious so vividly to life, but I don’t think that really gets to the heart of the matter, because the player who got the most of out of Pious was the one of us who had never met the real guy. Once again, it was a vivid, imaginative, and detailed performance on the part of the DM that gave Father Pious that spark, and made him the enemy you most love to hate.

2. Nordogast, Created by: Joey, Game(s) in which NPC appeared: Con-Agra, Superheroes, Mouthus’ Journal, Serenity (infant cameo)

Nordogast was a true asshole, and you loved him for it. The key to Nordogast is that he was basically a PC – albeit a powerful PC with seemingly unlimited resources. It’s just that Nordogast was playing a different game than the one the players were involved in, and when he crossed paths with you, you were typically after the same MacGuffin. If you weren’t on opposing sides, however, Nordogast was the kind of guy you might like to sit down and have a drink with. In every game in which he has appeared, Nordogast has survived his first encounter with the PC’s (and always from the approach that he is a bad guy) by talking his way into their good graces. You know things will end badly. You know he is planning to screw you. You know you should just kill him now. But you can’t help yourself. It’s Nordogast.

1. Malus (Captain Evil), Created by: Jacob, Game(s) in which NPC appeared: Ravensfeast Trio, The Valley of the Fallen Stars, The Order of the Abbey

The first time PCs met Captain Evil, he was popping the head off of a 5th level cleric and marching towards a fight with a Vecna high-priest that promised to be so bad, the players opted to destroy the entire city in lieu of witnessing it. It would be easy to dismiss Captain Evil as a pile of cool stuff on a high-level warrior, but that would serve to underestimate the guy’s effect – the dude made our knees tremble no matter what level we were, and it was every inch attitude. A man who ate war, death, and destruction for breakfast, Captain Evil has seen and endured more mind-bending grief and torture than you or I could ever imagine. Even the admittedly ridiculous nickname we gave him way back at the beginning cannot mitigate the terror that comes with facing off with this guy. In his time, he has been associated with or appeared alongside some major baddies – Linus, the Horned King, Voltare, Visgoth, Asgaroth (Jake’s no slouch when it comes to scary-ass villains) – but if you were to ask us who’s the one guy we’re scared to fight? Look no further.

Honorable Mention: Celeron, Wyfierd (Galathian), Jeanette Tiso, Garam, Brown Tornado, Goldschmiddt, Won-Huong Lo, The Horned King

Friday, January 29, 2010

January 24 Game Notes

Gameplay begins with the party on horseback riding towards the capital city of Illrea and the pass. As they approach the Illrean capital, they see very few people, wagons, or carts on the road. Within a few hundred yards of the city, however, they are surprised to see a cart riding full speed out of town, only to have the driver of the cart felled by arrows. Virgil approaches the cart and sees the dead man, along with a cart full of swag. Guards from the city, wearing chain mail that has been painted black (in an effort, it would seem, to emulate the look of the Illrean Rangers), arrive, identify the man as a looter, and tell the party that none are allowed in the city by order of the King of Illrea. Although bearing the authority to do so, the party chooses not to enter the city.

The boys make their way to the Pass, only to find the soldiers in complete disarray (think of the Continental Army in New Brunswick during the early stages of the American Revolution). Alarmed at what they are seeing, the party makes its way to the command tent, finding Lt. Halverson, a mid-ranking officer stationed in the command tent. The intoxicated Halverson indicates that Dravick (the new leader of the Illrean Rangers and the man the party came to see to deliver the news that Vain is alive) is the ultimate authority at the pass, and that he can be found in his tent. The boys head to Dravick’s tent, where they find him unconcerned with the lack of discipline at the camp, stating that the pass has not been attacked, and he does not anticipate that it will be anytime soon. He is unrepentant towards what the party views as his poor supervision of the troops, and goes so far as to suggest that if the party does not leave him to his work as he sees fit, he will have the boys “disappeared” as is the (seldom-used) custom of the Illrean Rangers’ black ops division. This nearly incites a fight, but the party thinks the better of it as Dravick is a senior member of the War Council, and on an equal level of authority with Guy, Virgil, and General Braddock.

The party relieves Dravick of his command pending a vote from the council, and places Lt. Halverson in charge, promoting him to captain and charging him with the task of returning order and combat ready-ness to the troops stationed at the pass. Meanwhile, the boys find an Illrean Ranger scout and ask him to spread the message among the Rangers that Vain is alive and what his whereabouts are. The Ranger agrees, and rides off.

Later, Virgil surprises Dravick with a Charm Person spell which allows him to question Dravick at length about his attitudes and actions in the war effort. Dravick is more or less compliant with Virgil’s questions, though he will not reveal critical details in the presence of the other party members, which leads the others to wait outside and contact the other members of the War Council with Virgil’s communicators. While Virgil and Dravick are alone (although the party sees and hears all things Virgil does through the benefits of Abbott Teris’ spell circle), Virgil’s questioning leads him to suspect that Dravick is an agent for the other side. By intimating that he is eager to switch sides himself (he presents the attitude that the war is a lost cause for the allies), Virgil is able to obtain concrete proof that Dravick is a spy. Communicating this new information to the War Council, Dravick is removed from his command and from the War Council, and sentenced to die as a traitor.

However, seeing an opportunity, the Council suggests that Dravick die as a martyr to the war effort, compelling the troops to fight for their former fallen commander. Virgil and Floyd concoct a plan disguise themselves as goblins and kill Dravick after Virgil and Dravick walk through camp publicly as friends (this last part is important as the troops had witnessed the original falling out between Dravick and the party).

That night, however, before the party’s plan can be put into action, Dravick is visited in his tent by a group of elite Rangers (the black ops) who bring a horribly disfigured body on a stretcher, but alive. The figure greets Dravick, who reacts with terror, and the elite Rangers bring in a Sphere of Annihilation, into which they throw the unfortunate former commander. The figure identifies himself as Vain to the party, and intimates that he will be returning to Luthia to c0nvalesce, his wounds being so terrible that magical healing cannot fix them.

After observing Halverson’s efforts to whip the troops at the Pass into shape, the party, satisfied, leaves and accompanies Vain to Luthia. Upon arriving in Luthia, they are greeted by a young man who is the spitting image of Vain, who identifies himself as Appollonus, and is in actuality, the re-incarnated Gorom. As Vain wishes his return to be kept under wraps until such time as he is ready to assume command, he suggests that Apollonus take Dravick’s place on the war council, an appointment with which the party concurs.

The party pays a visit to Erronius, the primary Church liason in Luthia to the war effort. They ask Erronius for more details on the End of Days prophesy, which Erronius gives them in full, although translated and roughly paraphrased. Unfortunately, the prophesy does not point to any good news, even an “and then,” but merely speaks of the fall of the church based upon a massive invasion from the east which is led by the Warlord (Graxx). Erronius elaborates that due to this prophesy, Benedict has relocated to Dreia, as he believes that this will be where he is most needed when the prophesy comes to full fruition.

The party then visits Revan, where they speak to him about the deceased Seeker Merrill, who’s focus was Illithids, curious to know if any of Merrill’s notes on the subject had survived. Revan indicates that they had, but that the only person who would have access to them would be Garam, who is still in hiding from the Fist of Set. The party attempts to suss out where Garam would be hiding from the Fist of Set, and determine that the place he would consider them least likely to search for him would be the Temple of Set in Issa. The party calls Garam on his communicator, asking him to send a sign if he is there, which he does. The party then considers a plan to retrieve Garam by teleporting there to get him, but even with the help of other arcane spellcasters, the likelihood of a successful teleport into the temple without Virgil having ever seen it is too much. The boys then send Garam a message explaining their situation and asking for his assistance, although they do not expect him to respond, as he has been unresponsive for so long. They are therefore very surprised when he does arrive, electing to help the group find the answers to their questions.

The party considers the motivations that the goblins would have for the war, which leads Garam to reveal The Central Prophesy, or the key prophesy concerning the children born in the Year of the Ram, specifically, the year that the twelve (Floyd, Guy, Virgil, Zarin, Eric, Delphin, Brix, Graxx, Luth, Doogal, and the elf twins) were born. The Central Prophesy states that the birth of the twelve in the Year of the Ram points to a countdown in which a new god will ascend from the mortal realm, and the death of one born during the Year of the Ram (though not necessarily of the twelve, which brings several people back into play, notably Visgoth, Harves Raeth, the grandmother of the elf twins, and more). This concurs with what Garam knows about Illithids in that they believe that their chief deity, who is not fully vested with the powers of a god, is buried in a cavern somewhere below the Cracked Flagon. Furthermore, it corroborates the story of Visgoth, who seemed to be interested acquiring a full Existence Key (which he told the party were pieces of his soul) in order to enter the upper planes and challenge the gods directly – where, if victorious, he could take the place of the one he were to fell. This creates a situation in which the boys are forced to consider the many possibilities of those who might be aware of the Central Prophesy, and who might be vying for a spot at godhood (a selection of the party even considers candidacy for themselves).

Among the potential candidates would be Moloch, who is still quarantined in the capital of the Meliotic Empire along with his subjects. The scenario of Moloch ascending to godhood prompts Floyd to ask Scaramouche to go and petition his fellow good dragons in an effort to coerce them to join the fight. Scaramouche contends that the revelation of good dragons will certainly bring out the bad as well, but he will petition them nonetheless in an effort to see if the metallics will at least lend their knowledge and expertise to the party. Meanwhile, the party contacts Abbott Teris to ask him why he had not shared the Central Prophesy with them, though he explains that he did not out of fear that it would create a negative attitude in the boys - that they would either eschew their heroic responsibilities or possibly head down a path towards irrevocable evil.

In light of these many considerations, and the implications it has for the war and the future of the continent, the party contemplates its next move.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Adventures of Floyd Fiftynames: By the Numbers

Here are some numbers regarding the game to this point:

There have been, by my estimation, 93 sessions (42 of which are now represented on this blog as either game notes or puppet musical) of this game.

The first session commenced on Sunday, August 26, 2007 (2 years, 4 months, and 28 days ago).

There have been a total of 11 player characters in this game (12 if you count Hirsute MacGuffin and Chris Tennison as different characters) played by 9 players.

There have been no fewer than 350 distinct NPCs.

There are 231 pages of Floyd's puppet musical written.

Any other mind-boggling numbers out there?

Sessions XXII - XXIV: Floyd's Puppet Theatre Interpretation

The Order of the Abbey, Part Five: We’re Taking This Show on the Road

Act II

Curtain opens on a road in Gortia. In the distance there is a large cave. In front of the cave is a sign that says “Shortcut for Adventurers!” written in blood. Vultures feed on bones just outside the mouth of the cave. Near the road is a sign which reads, “Welcome to Gortia.”


Oh, where are we bound for?
FLOYD: What will we do there?
CHRIS TENNISON: I don’t know!
FLOYD: Why are we going?
CHRIS TENNISON: To meet some guys!
You guys know we’re going to Illrea to meet the head of the Illrean Rangers, right?
FLOYD: Well, we do now.
BRIX: While we were in Larst, Virgil met a ranger who invited him to Illrea to meet the head of his organization.
VIRGIL: Well, presumably because we’re up and coming adventurers, whose exploits are starting to be known far and wide.
FLOYD: You’re welcome.
VIRGIL: Among other things, we fought and defeated Doogal, took on the evil cultists of Krissk, explored Scar Canyon, purged the Tower of the Broken Moon, conquered the Tower of Puzzles, released the ghost from the Dagda Bridge, and escaped from the clutches of Cardinal Nikolai and killed his servant Faust, thereby avenging the death of our father figure, Abbott Teris.
GUY: Although I can’t help but feel there’s some major exploit that we’re forgetting.
FLOYD: Don’t worry. I’m sure it will come back to bite us in the ass eventually.
CHRIS TENNISON: Hey, look! A cave!
GUY: And it says shortcut for adventurers! We should use it.
BRIX: But what of the bones of these dead adventurers that lie strewn about the mouth of the cave?
GUY: I’m sure they’re unrelated.
VIRGIL: Says the axe-man!
GUY: What are you implying?
VIRGIL: I’m saying, Brix and I, we’re the ones that get paid to think around here! Let us decide how safe this cave shortcut is!
GUY: Oh, by all means, great thinker. Make up your mind!
FLOYD: Is anyone interested in my opinion?
GUY: No!
VIRGIL: Not really.
FLOYD (to the audience) We ended up taking the cave shortcut.

Interior of the cave flies in. It is spooky and scary.

GUY: This may have been a bad idea.
VIRGIL: I told you!
GUY: Now, Virgil. Don’t become the sort of person who runs from danger.
VIRGIL: If I ever become that sort of person, Floyd has my permission to humiliate me in his puppet musical.
FLOYD: Meta!

The cave starts to grow darker.

BRIX: I have a bad feeling about this, fellas.
VIRGIL: Is your cleric-sense tingling?
BRIX: While I’m pretty sure that doesn’t exist, you’re not far off, Virgil. I’m a dwarf, and this is the first time I’ve ever felt uneasy and uncomfortable about being underground.
FLOYD: But you weren’t raise underground, you were raised at the Abbey.
BRIX: It’s in my blood, Floyd.
FLOYD: Now you’re just allowing yourself to be stereotyped.
BRIX: Oh, really? And how many names do you have, o wearer of silly hats?
FLOYD: I withdraw my objection.

A glowing circle appears at the edge of the stage. The party approacheth.

CHRIS TENNISON: Are glowing circles ever good?
VIRGIL: Sometimes.
CHRIS TENNISON: So how do we find out?
BRIX: Looks to be some writing around the edge of the circle, but it’s too dim to read.

Suddenly, a disembodied voice chimes in from the other side of the circle.

VOICE: It’s a portal.
BRIX: Oh, thanks. Wait, what?

Weapons are drawn.

VIRGIL: A portal to where?
VOICE: Come in and you’ll find out.
CHRIS TENNISON: Um, thank you, but no.
VOICE: What’s the matter, Chris Tennison? Afraid of what you’ll find here?
CHRIS TENNISON: How- how do you know my name? I’m pretty sure even my parents don’t know I was reincarnated.
VOICE: I’ve been watching you. I’ve been watching you all.
GUY: Well, creepy as that may be, I think it’s time for us to go.
VOICE: Oh, no, Guy Axefury. Do not go. Stay, and feast your eyes upon the horrors of Hell!

The portal glows with intense brightness. Much screaming and running as the party exits hurriedly.

GUY: Run, run, run!
BRIX: Which way?
FLOYD: Eeny, meany, miney, Floyd! This way!

The party turns a corner, and exits. The cave flies out, revealing a hillside on the other side of the entrance to the cave. Nearby, a village square. Several peasants are having a party, with lots of cranberries, squash, cabbage, and pumpkin, as well as a large cooked fowl. There is dancing around a big campfire. Music from a fiddle an fife.

The party crests the hill running at full speed. This catches the attention of the villagers, who watch in wonder as the party runs down the hill, through their small village, and exits the other side. The villagers look at each other quizzically. Suddenly, Floyd re-enters, followed by the others.

VIRGIL: Um, Floyd? Why did you stop running?
FLOYD: Sorry, boys. I’ve got to get some of this pregnant.

A fair maiden approaches Floyd and hands him a mug.

MAIDEN: Welcome to our village, handsome gnome!
FLOYD: Welcome to Floyd’s tally sheet, fair maiden!

FLOYD pulls out a piece of paper on which is scrawled a list.

What’s today’s date? I’ll need to know that for future paternity suits.
MAIDEN: Why, everyone knows it’s the middle of high autumn!
GUY: Are you kidding me? I thought it was winter!
MAIDEN: It would be most peculiar if we had our autumnal equinox festival in the winter, slightly less attractive gnome.
VIRGIL: The cave…
BRIX: High autumn?
GUY: (looking at Floyd’s paper) Tally sheet…
GUY, VIRGIL, and BRIX: (together) The Harvester!
VIRGIL: Holy shit!
BRIX: We have to find him!
GUY: When is the date of the equinox?
MAIDEN: Ten nights from now.
VIRGIL: Jonathan dog crap!
BRIX: This is bad, this is bad.

FLOYD and the MAIDEN exit surreptitiously.

We don’t even know where we’re going to find him.

Suddenly a man steps forward from the villagers. It is DR. ETHAN.

ETHAN: Actually, we do.
CHRIS TENNISON: Dr. Ethan! Well, knee me in the crotch!

An oafish looking villager obliges.

Oomph! (Weakly) What gives?
ETHAN: Garam and I have worked out that the Harvester will begin his rampage at the Valley of the Fallen Stars, just east of centaur run, on the other side of the Bloody Crag, which incidentally, is the only way to get to the valley.
GUY: Through the crag?
ETHAN: That’s right.
GUY: Well, we could use the fighting practice. Come on, gang.
ETHAN: Garam and I will meet you there. We just need to talk one other person into joining us.

ETHAN exits. FLOYD re-enters, adjusting his hat, followed by the MAIDEN.

MAIDEN: Floyd! Will I ever see you again?
FLOYD: Sure thing, random village maiden. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to save the world.
GUY: Ready?
FLOYD: Born ready.
BRIX: To the crag?
ALL: To the crag!

The party exits. The villagers join hands and dance around the fire as music resumes.

Hail, Equinox
Mysterious night
The moon and stars
That glow so bright
Call to the spirits
Who take flight
And we revel
Until we see the light!

The campfire and the villagers fly out, revealing the interior of the Bloody Crag, a series of cliffs, caverns, and mountainside that serves as a perfectly defensible fortress. Within, a group of GNOLLS, ORCS, and other assorted low-level baddies are engaged in a battle with the party. The good guys are winning, but they’re sweating.

VIRGIL: Why are these gnolls so adamant about defending their lives?

VIRGIL lets loose an arrow, which flies smack dab into the middle of a GNOLL WARRIOR. The arrow lets loose an electric current, and the GNOLL falls dead.

GUY: I know, right? All we did was invade their fortress and only homestead.

GUY cleaves through two ORCS.

BRIX: Some creatures simply can’t appreciate hero work.

BRIX casts a spell and a column of fire engulfs several enemies.

CHRIS TENNISON: Those who live through this carnage will surely thank us someday.

CHRIS TENNISON swings his staff at an orc, but misses wildly and falls down.

FLOYD: Don’t worry. I’ll paint a flattering picture of the entire episode.

FLOYD stabs a gnoll in the eye. He falls to the ground, convulsing with shock.

A-STAGE closes. B-STAGE opens to reveal a gorgeous valley, surrounded by snowy mountain peaks. Above, the stars shine with an intense brightness. Below, a valley floor made of pure obsidian, the surface of which is so reflective that the stars seem to be an infinite mirror into the abyss within the face of the rock. GARAM, GOLDSCHMIDDT, and DR. ETHAN stand near the entrance from the mouth of the crag. FLOYD, BRIX, CHRIS TENNISON, GUY, and VIRGIL emerge, bloodied, bruised, but victorious. BRIX immediately begins healing the party.

CHRIS TENNISON: Goldschmiddt? Ethan, Garam? How’d you guys get over here?
GARAM: We came through the crag, same as you.
VIRGIL: Then why were there so many gnolls and orcs in there?
ETHAN: Well, we told them that we needed to get over to this side, and they let us through.
GARAM: Yes. It’s amazing what folks’ll do for you when you ask them nicely.
VIRGIL: Hmm. Imagine that.
GUY: So, what’s the plan?
GOLDSCHMIDDT: The Harvester cannot be harmed by normal means –
GUY: What’re you calling normal, Goldschmiddt? I mean, have you seen my axe?
GOLDSCHMIDDT: Your axe will be useless here. You must use the weapon I am providing to you.
GUY: Very well. Bestow upon me your mighty weapon.

GOLDSCHMIDDT reaches into his boot and pulls out a small dagger.

GOLDSCHMIDDT: There you go.
GUY: I am unenthused.
GOLDSCHMIDDT: Listen to me! This is the only weapon known that will harm the Harvester.
FLOYD: Where did you get it?
GOLDSCHMIDDT: I had to send away for it. Guy, you’re the most competent warrior in hand-to-hand combat, so you’ll be in charge of stabbing him. The rest of you will have to keep him off balance.
FLOYD: Easy enough.
VIRGIL: Oh, really? You think so?
FLOYD: Sure. Watch.

A WIND sweeps though the valley, followed by a faint rustle. Then, from out of nowhere, THE HARVESTER leaps onto stage and falls into a combat crouch.

FLOYD: You’re late. The Harvest was supposed to start three days ago.

Confused, THE HARVESTER checks his watch, which apparently keeps track of the date.


The party leaps into action. CHRIS TENNISON charges, but slips and falls. BRIX puts up a wind wall between THE HARVESTER and ETHAN, GARAM, and GOLDSCHMIDDT. VIRGIL begins to cast. FLOYD clicks his heels, and winds up behind THE HARVESTER.

GUY: That’s all I need.

GUY charges at THE HARVESTER with the dagger. THE HARVESTER proves to be tremendously agile, dodging and parrying GUY’s thrusts, though GUY and FLOYD manage to stay with THE HARVESTER every step of the way. THE HARVESTER backs around, leaping off BRIX’s wind wall and swinging with his sickle at VIRGIL, who barely gets out of the way in time. VIRGIL, for his part, knocks THE HARVESTER around with a couple of magic missiles. THE HARVESTER recovers, and spin fakes FLOYD, effectively taking away the flanking position GUY had. THE HARVESTER then takes a couple of steps backward, preparing to fully engage his combat skills onto GUY.

However, he doesn’t realize that he has backed right into CHRIS TENNISON, who was slow to get up from his initial trip. CHRIS TENNISON, thinking quickly, holds out his staff below THE HARVESTER’s knees. Caught completely off guard, THE HARVESTER trips backwards, falling flat on the ground. In an instant, GUY is there. In a flash, he stabs THE HARVESTER three times: once in the chest, once in the neck, and a third time in the abdomen. As he pulls the knife away, he rips a large amount of fabric on THE HARVESTER’s tunic, revealing nothing underneath. THE HARVESTER’s scarecrow-like body contorts, then there is a flash of light, and the clothes fall to the ground lifeless before quickly crumbling into dust.

Stunned, the party looks around at each other, and quickly begins to celebrate!

VIRGIL: We did it!
FLOYD: We saved the world!
GOLDSCHIMDDT: Don’t get too excited – you’ve defeated The Harvester, but you haven’t destroyed him.
BRIX: What are you talking about?
ETHAN: This is The Betrayer you’re talking about, boys – you don’t just get rid of him. Defeating The Harvester returns him to his original position, hanging from the Old Mill. He can’t harm anyone from there, unless someone releases him again.
FLOYD: Which you’re saying someone could do.
ETHAN: That’s what I’m saying, yes.
BRIX: Well, that sucks donkey balls! I can’t believe we worked so hard to destroy a great evil, only to put it back at a flimsy risk of being re-released into the world!
ETHAN: What can I say? Such is the nature of evil, boys. You can’t completely eradicate it. You can only hope to contain it. The struggle is eternal.
VIRGIL: Still, this feels tremendously anti-climactic. We don’t even get a reward out of this.
GARAM: Oh, I wouldn’t be too sure about that.

GARAM, ETHAN, and GOLDSCHMIDDT exit. From within:

ETHAN: Jesus Jones! Who killed all the gnolls in here?
VIRGIL: (to the rest of the group) What in the flip florn flap is Garam talking about?

Suddenly, a light shines, and a small deck of cards appears. A long pause as the party stares at the artifact before them. Finally:


Curtain Closes


January 17 Game Notes

Gameplay begins with the party awaiting their next assignment. The gang gets an intelligence report from Bart, who informs them that Braddock has been promoted from colonel to general in order to distinguish him as the commanding officer of the war. Braddock is currently seeing to a court martial trial for Colonel Dudemont, although Bart is unaware of what the charges are. Bart provides a brief profile of the three Nemian commanders involved in the war – Braddock, Dudemont, and Abrams. At the risk of oversimplification, he describes Braddock as the most cautious and tactical, Dudemont as the most troop-friendly, and Abrams as the most fearless, and the one most likely to employ non-traditional military tactics.

In addition, intelligence reveals that it has produced the first visual confirmation of The Warlord. He is noted as being a hulking monstrosity (dispelling any notions that he may closely resemble Brixmore) with multiple appendages and a frightening visage. He is flanked by an honor guard twice the size of the special task force the party has previously fought at the northern front.

Antsy for a project, many of the party members express a desire to be put to work more quickly than Braddock seems to be calling for them. The party travels to the headquarters for the northern front, where Floyd and Brixmore begin morale work with the troops and Guy and Virgil get an appraisal of the current situation. After learning that there is no current special task force work for them, Floyd opts to stay with the soldiers and provide confidence and courage, while Brix, Guy, and Virgil do some traveling.

Virgil returns to the college in Dreia to work on his spells and check on the status of current projects, such as the challenge grant and the development of the new communication devices. While there, he is approached by a group of students who wish to travel to the front to become more directly involved in the war effort.

Guy and Brix head to Doovin’s to ask him, as the only person they know of who can cast True Ressurection to see if he can bring Vain back from the dead. After preparing and undergoing the arduous task of casting the resurrection spell, Doovin emerges from his house to reveal that Vain cannot be resurrected, since he is not dead. Vain turns out to be alive, albeit trapped in the belly of one of the Cathonic beasts in the ruins of the Tutian capital.

Floyd, meanwhile, is approached by Braddock, who has a new mission for the party. The rest are summoned back, whereupon Braddock explains that he has an espionage opportunity on the supply caravan for the goblin army. Having gotten one of their carts, they will send the party into enemy territory to scout the devastation and state of the other side. Being possessed of good bluff and diplomacy skills, Guy and Floyd ride at the forefront of the cart, while Brix and Virgil guard the rear. The party places its weaponry into a box so as not to give themselves away.

The gang rides to the Tutian capital, which they find in complete ruins. In the center of the city, a truly monstrous beast sits, which the party determines to be the Cathonic beast that has swallowed Vain. The party rides along the outskirts of the city, until a soldier approaches them to ask them why they are off course. As a result of being so close to such unholy evil, the sentience of Guy’s axe kicks in, and it attempts to destroy the soldier. Guy manages to grab the axe before it gets away from him, but the damage is done. The soldier recognizes the group as the Order of the Abbey, and the party is outed. In an attempt to kill as many goblins and their brood as possible, the party draws the Apocalypse Sword – Guy holding it as Virgil, Brix, and Floyd added support to prevent it from being disarmed. The sword, as expected, rained down unbelievable destruction for two full rounds, at which point the Cathonic beast took notice and once of its tendrils reached out for the sword. Seeing this, the party quickly sheathed the sword and Brix’s Word of Recall returned them to the front command station. There, they reported to Braddock what they had seen. From the command station, the party could see the storm clouds that the sword created dissipating. The party comes to the conclusion that they are too recognizable for espionage work without significant efforts being taken to disguise them in the future. Braddock apparently agrees, because he further diminishes the party’s anonymity by assigning them a standard bearer – Axle, who formerly served as the party’s page back at the Council of Ellicor in Arimathea. Axle’s purpose will be to let the troops and commanders know where the party is in battle at all times. The party welcomes Axle into the fold, and awaits their next assignment.

End of Session.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

January 10 Game Notes

Gameplay begins as Guy arrives from Luthia to find Virgil, Floyd, Axe, and Brix at the drop-off point in Silar for the bridge destruction project. Three weeks have past since the initial scouting of the bridge. After regaling Guy with the story of the last session, the party heads for the bridge, to discover that it has been destroyed. The fresh remains of a monumental battle lay strewn about. The party happens upon the body of a warrior, and Brix resurrects him to discover that he is a member of the Order of the Serpent. The warrior explains that his party had been sent by Colonel Braddock after no word came back from the Abbey party. The Order of the Serpent (sans Pskenart, who had since left the group to focus on the rebuilding of Larst) prevailed, though all of the party died in the process (the destruction of the bridge itself was ultimately the result of a suicide run by Bricka, whose body could not be found and is presumed dead). The party recovers one other body, a spellcaster, but he declines the opportunity to return to the land of the living. The party and the warrior return to Luthia.

In Luthia, Colonel Braddock welcomes the boys and returns them to the business of conducting the war. Reports that the Goblin Army has pushed significantly farther down through Tutia and into Illrea is disheartening, though the party is relieved to hear that the Southern front is holding its ground until the Northern unit pushes to a certain point – presumably the mountain pass between Illrea and the former Bodian Protectorates. Colonel Braddock announces a strategy to push the Northern front back into Tutia, then into Jottenheim. He also reveals that he has ordered the druids to dig trenches in two fallback areas, with the final fallback in the Western Twilight Lands. Braddock’s demeanor strikes Floyd as gloomy and seems pre-disposed to defeat, but when confronted with such an impression, Braddock expresses a hope that the Goblins will stop their inexorable march westward when a significant show of force is displayed.

Braddock asks the party to convince the King of Illrea to order an evacuation, an action the King is reluctant to take because of his perception of Illrea’s symbolic importance to Western Aggravail. Floyd and the party make an impassioned plea to the king, persuading him that the preservation of Illrea’s people and it’s records are a preservation of Illrea itself, far more than any plot of land would be. The king agrees to an evacuation of the city on the condition that a garrison is placed therein and guarantee that an attempt will be made to hold the city. Given Ilrea’s proximity to the pass, and it’s perception as a slowing point for the Goblin Army should they get close to the pass, this matter is easily agreed to.

With the evacuation underway, Braddock asks to send the party to the Tutian/Illrean front to provide aid and support to the battle. The party agrees, but expresses a desire to visit Dreia first on a mission to recruit the wizard’s university into service for the Western Aggravail army. Needing to go quickly, the party takes a chance on Virgil’s Teleport, which goes off without a problem. In anticipation of a showdown with Mason, Virgil and Floyd head for the wizard university, while Brix, Axe, and Guy travel to Mason’s office.

In a surprise, Axe, Brix, and Guy find Mason to be somewhat agreeable to the notion that the wizard college be put to the task of supplying the war effort with magical technology. Mason expresses his desire to keep The Freelands strong and safe, and does so in such a way that for the first time in a long time, Guy and Mason understand each other. Then there may have been some kissing (unconfirmed, Floyd was not there to witness it).

Meanwhile, Floyd and Virgil arrive at the college and call an emergency meeting of the regents, who listen to Virgil’s plea, which falls on more or less deaf ears. The regents, absorbed in their own selfish desires, see no reason to aid the war effort without significant monetary gain for the college, even going so far as to suggest the party give up a good deal of their own personal equipment in exchange for creating a small number of communication devices that would aid the coordination of the war effort. Finally, a tenuous deal is reached. However, before they leave the university, Virgil heads to the university commons and declares a challenge grant – thirty thousand gold pieces in increments of five thousand for six ideas / magical developments that will advance the war effort. Impressed, Guy matches the challenge grant with thirty thousand of his own. One student comes forward with an idea that is immediately awarded – an advanced spell technique that allows mages to combine their spells for increased effect.

Using Brix’s word of recall, the party returns to Luthia, and is immediately transported to the Tutian front. They arrive to find a massive battle in progress. Amid explosions and catapulting boulders, the party makes its way to the command tent, where they find Colonel Dudemont, who sends them to confront the Goblin Army’s primary strike force, a group of nineteen ogres and a troll who punch through areas to gain the infantry access.

The party preps, heads out, and encounters the strike force. They are tremendously well-trained, and present a considerable challenge to the party. During the battle, Axe is killed, though ultimately, the party prevails. In addition, the through means of their magic (Prayer and Bless from Brix, Mass Enlarge Person from Virgil) and Floyd’s singing, the W. Aggravail army (primarily composed of trained soldiers from Nemia), find new life, and significantly push back the goblin forces. Although the victory is small, and hard-won, there is a tremendous boost in morale and confidence that comes with this win.

Following the battle, Axe is resurrected by Brix, and although glad to be returned to life, the experience is such that he requests a temporary leave from battle. Axe heads to Larst to join Pskenart in the rebuilding of Larst. The party expresses their gratitude to Axe for traveling with them so far, and count him among the most valuable of their allies.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Session XXI: Floyd's Puppet Theatre Interpretation

The Order of the Abbey, Part Five: We’re Taking This Show on the Road

Act I

Curtain opens on a ship in the middle of the ocean. SAILORS move sails and do other sailor-ish things. A CAPTAIN is at the wheel.

Longview girls, they have no combs,
Heave away, heave away,
They comb their hair with codfish bones,
We are bound for the Basilica!

Longview boys, they have no brains,
Heave away, heave away,
Their underpants have doody stains,
We are bound for the Basilica!

Heave away, my bully-bully boys,
Heave away, heave away,
Heave away and don’t you make a noise,
We are bound for the Basilica!

FLOYD enters from below deck, wearing a tri-corn hat with several large feathers.

You call that a sea chanty?

FLOYD is followed by VIRGIL, GUY, BRIX, and CHRIS TENNISON. They are dressed in sailor slops, and seem ready for work.

Try this one.
Heave, ho, heave ho!
Raise the sail, we’re on our way
Batten down the hatches and don’t be slow
We are bound to get to Larst someday!

The SAILORS glare at him.

It’s called panache. Get used to it.

The CAPTAIN approaches FLOYD.

CAPTAIN: Mr. Fiftynames –
FLOYD: Aye, aye, Cap’n?
CAPTAIN: You boys came aboard my ship from the Arimathean town of Longview –
FLOYD: That is where we were.
CAPTAIN: You agreed to work for your passage to Larst.
FLOYD: And that’s where we’re going.
CAPTAIN: Now, your friends over there, they are dressed for work, and they seem to be doing a yeoman’s job of keeping this ship in tip top shape.
FLOYD: Tip shop what now?
CAPTAIN: You, on the other hand, have done nothing but criticize my crew since you came aboard! When do ye expect to start earnin’ yer keep here, Mr. Fiftynames?
FLOYD: Captain, don’t worry. I see where your confusion lies. The fact is, my traveling companions are doing yeoman’s work, and with good reason. They’re yeomen.
CHRIS TENNISON: Can we throw him overboard?
GUY: No, no… let him finish, and the crew will do that for us.
FLOYD: I, on the other hand, am no laborer, as my well-manicured cuticles will attest. On the other hand, I don’t expect my friends here to pick up my slack, which is why I’ve created a very important job for myself.
CAPTAIN: And what is that, exactly?
FLOYD: I’m the ship’s entertainment officer!
CAPTAIN: We don’t NEED an entertainment officer, Mr. Fiftynames.
FLOYD: Maybe you don’t think you do – but this little ditty will convince you.
When rough waters rock your boat,
And you start to feelin’ ill,
Just remember this here tune –
And the next time that you’re
Green around the gills
You won’t feel the urge to swoon!

Smooth sailin’,
Oh, smooth sailin’
Across the great big sea,
Whether you’re travelin’
Or gone whalin’
You can travel comfortably!

We left Longview
With some cargo
Bound for another count-u-ree,
And when we get there,
Guy has promised
To buy Virgil a new steed!

And don’t forget that, either!
GUY: Relax. We knew we were headed to Larst, and we couldn’t very well take our horses on the ship with us.
CHRIS TENNISON: Plus, you kind of overreacted to the news that we couldn’t take them.
VIRGIL: How so?
BRIX: You set Longview on fire!
VIRGIL: Well, I was mad.
Smooth sailin’
Oh, smooth sailin’
Across the great big sea,
Whether you’re travelin’
Or gone whalin’
You can travel comfortably!

Button. Spoken:

CAPTAIN: Put on some slops, and swab the damn deck.
FLOYD: Fine.

Suddenly, the ship starts to shake violently. Waves splash over the side. A SAILOR falls overboard.

SAILOR: This is my only line! Ahh!
FLOYD: Damn. If it’s Lily the Mer-Gnome, tell her I’m not here!

FLOYD hides under a crate. An enormous SEA GIANT stands up in the water. As deep as the ocean is, he is only waist-deep.

BRIX: Oh, this isn’t good.
GIANT: I feel my kindred stirring.

He looks down at the party.

Beware Strom.

The SEA GIANT disappears back into the water. Everything returns to normal.

GUY: Strom? Who the hell is that?
CHRIS TENNISON: Something tells me we’re bound to find out.

BRIX approaches FLOYD’s hiding space.

BRIX: It’s safe to come out now, Floyd.
FLOYD: What was it?
BRIX: A giant, telling us to beware Strom.
FLOYD: Strom? The legendary giant lord who nearly conquered Western Aggravail once upon a time?


BRIX: Come again?
FLOYD: Yeah, it happened a long time ago. Strom was this big evil Frost Giant, and he nearly conquered the world, but he was beaten by a resistance of men, led by some guy with a weapon called Stromsbane.
CHRIS TENNISON: How do you know that?
FLOYD: You pick things up playing taverns and swapping stories. Every now and then, I tend to know something about a random topic.
GUY: Well, well. Who knew that this random…
FLOYD: Bardic knowledge?
GUY: Yeah – that it would come in handy?
FLOYD: I’m full of surprises.
CAPTAIN: I’m so fucking serious!! Get to work!

The boys pick up mops and start swabbing. From the crow’s nest:

SAILOR #2: Larst, ho!

A cheer erupts from the ship. Larst glides into the background, a multi-level city on a mountain. At the top level, a beautiful ivory and gold Basilica. The party stands in awe.

BRIX: Opulence. Peh.
VIRGIL: Ooh! I’ll bet that they have jewel encrusted horses here.

The boat docks, and the boys get off the ship. The ship flies out, replaced by the streets of the city.

GUY: Well, well. I guess the first thing we should do is –
VIRGIL: Horse. Now.
GUY: What? Oh, yeah…

GUY walks over to nearby tent, purchases a toy horse, and gives it to VIRGIL.


VIRGIL seethes.

CHRIS TENNISON: Letter of the law, my friend.

A GNOME enters.

GNOME: Hello!
FLOYD: Hello, fellow gnome! What up?
GNOME: I couldn’t help but notice you boys are new to the city. Looking for a way up to the top?
GNOME: How would you like to take a ride on my hot air balloon?

VIRGIL, FLOYD, BRIX, and CHRIS TENNISON look at each other with glee.


Then, playing it cool.

FLOYD: Sure, I guess.
GNOME: Hop in!
Come fly away with me
On a journey across the sky
When the ground is beneath your feet
The stars can only be in your eyes
But when you bid adieu
To the earth below you
And rapturously take to the air -
it’s a white knuckle rush
as your face becomes flush
and you feel… different
than you were over there.

A Hot Air Balloon flys in and lands at the boys’s feet. They get in, joined by the GNOME. The balloon takes off, and we find ourselves in the sky. Spoken:

VIRGIL: Whee! Flying is awesome!
FLOYD: Boy, it’s high up!
GUY: Not scared, are you Floyd?
FLOYD: Me? Please. I can cast feather fall. I’d be more worried if I were the iron dwarf over there.
BRIX: Eh – at least it’ll deaden the fall.
Come fly away with me
On a journey across the sky
When the ground is beneath your feet
The stars can only be in your eyes
But when you bid adieu
To the earth below you
And rapturously take to the air -
it’s a white knuckle rush
as your face becomes flush
and you feel… different
than you were over there.

The balloon lands on the top level. The Basilica looms large in the distance. Spoken:

GNOME: Here we are!
VIRGIL: Thanks!
GNOME: Don’t mention it. That’ll be one big bag of gold, please.

Stunned silence.

CHRIS TENNISON: A… a whole big bag?
GNOME: That’s right.

FLOYD reluctantly hands over a big bag of gold, taking one gold piece out in the process.

FLOYD: That’s for the bag.

HE pockets the gold piece.

GNOME: Pleasure doing business with you chumps.
BRIX: Chumps?
GNOME: That is to say – no, I was happy with it the first time.

The hot air balloon takes off. A GIRL in a gingham dress runs out.

GIRL: Oh! ! Come back! Don’t go without me! Please come back!
GNOME: I can’t come back! I don’t know how it works! Goodbye folks!

And the GNOME is gone.

GIRL: Oh! How am I ever going to get back to Kansas now?

The GIRL looks hopefully at the party. THEY stare back, blankly.

VIRGIL: Um, we should go.

The PARTY exits as the GIRL and her DOG (that’s right) look after them. A-STAGE closes. B-STAGE opens to reveal the PARTY sitting at a booth in a restaurant called “The Boar’s Head,” a fancy place. The party sits on one side of the booth, while a gentleman named MERRILL sits on the other side. A large feast is upon the table, and MERRILL eats hungrily.

MERRILL: So, you got swindled, huh?
GUY: You might say that.
MERRILL: Yeah, the mark-ups here in Larst are pretty high. You want a better deal? Go to the Bar With No Name.
VIRGIL: How are we supposed to find a bar with no name?
MERRILL: That is the name?
MERRILL: The name of the bar.
BRIX: The Bar with No Name.
MERRILL: That’s right.
FLOYD: But how can it be the name of the bar if it’s a bar with no name?
MERRILL: I… never mind, just find it –
VIRGIL: But how –
MERRILL: Shut up! I’m trying to tell you where you can get a good deal on magic items.
GUY: Well, let me tell you, Merrill, who is a member of the seekers, the same organization that Ethan and Garam belong to - we really appreciate your help.
FLOYD: (to Guy, sotto voce) Nice summation.
GUY: I feel so dirty.

The party gets up to leave.

CHRIS TENNISON: See you soon!
MERRILL: Doubt it.

B-STAGE closes. A-STAGE opens to reveal a darkened bar room with a handful of inhabitants, every one of whom look like an adventurer. The PARTY enters.

FLOYD: Well, this is the place.

An ILLREAN RANGER enters, approaches VIRGIL.

RANGER: Excuse me –
BRIX: Oh, no! No thank you, sir. We know all about the goblins.
RANGER: - Okay. Are you Virgil Deathbow?
VIRGIL: I sure am.
RANGER: I’d like to talk to you about you becoming a member of the Illrean Rangers.
VIRGIL: Nifty!

VIRGIL and the RANGER go off to a corner to talk. The rest of the party approaches an ELF at the bar with a big bag that says, “Stuff!”

CHRIS TENNISON: That’s quite a bag of stuff you got there.
ELF: You like what you see?
BRIX: You selling any of it?
ELF: Mayhaps.
CHRIS TENNISON: Well, ooh-la ti-da.
ELF: What’cha in the market for?

The PARTY begins conversing with the ELF. The door opens, and JARROD enters. He does not see the gang.

FLOYD: Hey, Guy.
GUY: What’s up, Floyd?
FLOYD: Isn’t that Jarrod?
GUY: You know, I think it is.
FLOYD: The same Jarrod who spys on us through an arcane mark he secretly placed on our arm?
GUY: That’s him. We should lay low and see what he’s up to.

But it’s too late. FLOYD calls out to JARROD.

FLOYD: Hey, Jarrod!

JARROD turns, surprised.

What’s the big idea, pal? You like to play peeping tom?
JARROD: What are you little twerps doing here?
FLOYD: You oughta know, shouldn’t you?
JARROD: Look, I don’t have time for your petty concerns and problems, boys. I’ve got actual important work to do.
GUY: We’re petty to you?
FLOYD: If that’s the case, why did you go to the trouble of programming channels onto our forearms?
JARROD: Screw off, gnomes.
GUY: That’s it!

GUY takes a swing at JARROD, who proves to be an illusion. The illusion dissipates.

FLOYD: What the fuck? Did this guy just send an illusion here to IGNORE US?
BRIX: Calm down, Floyd.
FLOYD: No! This guy doesn’t take us seriously enough to earn the right to spy on us any time he wants to. He’s cut off!
BRIX: Cut off? What are we going to do, chop off our arms?
FLOYD: You got a better idea?

VIRGIL re-enters the conversation.

VIRGIL: We could just find a wizard who will remove the arcane mark.
FLOYD:… or that.

A WIZARD stands up from the table.

WIZARD: I’m a wizard who can remove arcane marks.
FLOYD: Wu-Tang. Remove away, my good man.
WIZARD: Sure. That’ll be thirty-five hundred gold pieces per arm, though.
FLOYD: Son of a crap! Why is everything in this town so expensive?
GUY: Your only other choice is to go around without your left arm, Floyd.

LONG pause.

GUY: Here.

GUY hands the WIZARD a considerable amount of gold.

That should cover the four of us.
CHRIS TENNISON: That’s almost everything we had left from Scar Canyon!

The WIZARD concentrates, then speaks an incantation. FLOYD, GUY, VIRGIL, and BRIX look on as a little cloud of smoke erupts on their arms.

WIZARD: Pleasure doing business with you.

The WIZARD takes his money and scoots out of the bar. FLOYD takes out a piece of paper and pen and writes quickly.

VIRGIL: What are you doing?
FLOYD: I’m preparing an invoice for fourteen-thousand gold to Jarrod from us.
VIRGIL: I don’t think he’s going to pay that, Floyd.
FLOYD: Then I’m gonna take it out of his ass with a spiky scoop.
GUY: Are we done with Larst?
CHRIS TENNISON: I think we’re done with Larst.

Curtain Closes.