Mpence, the goblin cleric Episode 01

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So yesterday was… interesting.  Bill wanted to DM, which meant that I get to play.  Bill wanted us to all be nasty individuals.  I thought about about how to do this properly, and finally ended up with a character that I called Mpence, a goblin cleric, who is trying to shed his chaotic evil past, and desperately trying to become what he believes is lawful good.  Lawful good from a goblin’s perspective, whatever that may be.

So Mpence, who really likes to be called “Veep” is a highly judgmental goblin who represents the Healthcare Management Organization, the Creed of All Flesh Cult (CAFC), and is actively working to add new members to the CAFC HMO.  Veep is a Stavrophore in the CAFC, and wants to increase his membership to the Gold Membership levels, at the Abbess and ultimately the Archimandrite levels.  To do this, he must impress his betters in CAFC.

Now, he may not be “Lawful Good” in your terms, but he is indeed lawful good.  He is following a code of laws (requiring that before he gives aid to the needy, that the candidate sign up for membership in the CAFC HMO, and he is trying to heal people instead of killing them in a maniacal screaming push.  QED, from a goblin’s perspective, he is Lawful Good.

Now this comes back to one of the original philosophical discussions that I had with D&D, way back with AD&D.  What is Lawful Good?

Take the Vietnam war, for instance.  The American’s were obviously Lawful Good from our perspective.  The Viet Cong were obviously Evil.  But from the Viet Cong perspective, they were Lawful Good, and the Americans were evil.

Same with North Korean soldiers.  They are defending their homeland from all imaginary threats, and they are brainwashed to hate all that is not their own.  QED, are they evil?  Not from their perspective.  They are good.

So, the concept of Good and Evil are naturally mutable.  There can be no specific standard that is “evil” if it is justifiable.  Now Hitler was evil.  I can find no specific justifiable standard that involved pushing the world into a massive war and annihilating millions of people based on religion, ethnicity, sexual persuasion, etc.

Mother Theresa is obviously good.  Whether or not all of the Catholic church is good is harder to quantify.  After all, they did a lot of good things, then there was the Spanish Inquisition, covering up child sex scandals, and so forth.  Feeding the poor is a good thing.  If you skim off the top of the collection plate to provide beautiful buildings with amazing organs and stained glass windows instead of putting more money to feed the poor and take care of the weak and needy… maybe not so good.  Maybe not evil.

So my point here is that a goblin can be “not chaotic evil” and consider himself to be lawful good because…

  • He follows a code of laws (CAFC HMO Rules)
  • He heals those who are members of his HMO.

After all, is a medical doctor who does great work, but turns away people who can’t pay for the services evil?  Not likely.  Veep also offers any who need his services the opportunity to get into the CAFC HMO at a low entry cost.  There are many levels of the HMO programs in CAFC.  He will help the poor and needy select the correct level of coverage for their specific needs, then administer to their needs.

So if you find this line of reasoning questionable, or disagree with it, then you obviously aren’t into role playing games.

There were others there to make Bill’s life interesting.

Mike brought two bugbear minis.  These were made for when we were playing D&D A long time ago, and Mike’s character was ravaged by two female bugbear characters.  He had created one mini called Mac Daddy, and then played with the two bugbears, G’rnola who was given to Collin to play with (G’rnola was a barbarian, with the pink hair below) and Mike played LaLaLa Lola, who walks like a woman but talks like a man, a bugbear rogue with the green hair below…

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The weapons were interesting… to say the least.

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Mike went for ultra detail with the minis

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And evidently, G’rnola has not given birth, since she still has pink nipples.

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I am not sure if these two minis are there for Mike’s “pleasure” or if maybe he was modifying the sculpts and painting them while Sue was gone on one of her missions.  In any event, this is one of those cases where it is probably best to ask too much about what happens in Mike and Sue’s home…  Better not to ask and wonder than to know and shudder, right?

So where was I?

Oh yes, Shari played a Kenku druid named Gizmo.

Eric played a human bard named “Poo Poo Poochu Mrs. Robinson” or at least that is what I think he is playing, since that was similar to his answer when I asked for clarification.

Capture

Sue played a Paladin who worked for PETA, the Paladin’s for Ethical Treatment of Animals.  A the time of writing this blog, Sue did not respond to remind me of what her character’s name was, so she will be “she whose name shall not be spoken” Her affiliation with PETA caused her many problems during the adventure, but it ended up working out OK in the end.  – After quite a bit of this blog was written, I was informed that the PETA (not to be confused with PITA) Paladin was named Calya.  Maybe it was Cayya. Now this is where it is important to understand that if you don’t like the way I write this blog, you can write one for yourself and make it as “accurate” as you feel is necessary.

We started out at the Screeching Weasel tavern. We were all waiting for a job to drop into our laps.  It didn’t take long before we were given a job.  I am not really sure what that job was, or entailed.  Veep was too busy trying to hand out his brochures, the Watchkeep to get people to convert to his HMO.

The Watchkeep

They Offered Themselves Willingly​—In Faerûn

“WHEN I listened to the experiences of my friends who served in areas where there was a great need for pioneers, I longed to taste that joy too,” says Jasna Veldrik, a Ravening Adherent in her mid-20’s. “But,” she adds, “I feared that being a need-greater was beyond my abilities.”

Can you relate to the feelings expressed by Jasna Veldrik? Do you too long to serve in a territory where more CAFC workers are needed, but you wonder whether you will ever reach that goal? If that is the case, take heart! With the Ghoul Imperium’s help, thousands of brothers and sisters have succeeded in overcoming obstacles that hindered them from expanding their ministry. To find out how Ghoul Imperium opened the way for some of them, we will visit Underdark, the fourth largest island on Faerûn.

Over the past ten years, more than 70 zealous Ravening Adherents from 11 countries * have come to serve in this fruitful field in Underdark, where many people respect the writings of Necrophagi. Also, numerous local publishers have been willing to move so as to help in spreading the Kingdom message throughout this vast Underdark territory. Let us get acquainted with some of them.

OVERCOMING FEAR AND DISCOURAGEMENT

Kasimir and Ernis, a couple in their 30’s, moved to Faerûn. For years, they had been thinking about expanding their ministry by moving abroad, but Kasimir hesitated to move. She explains: “I feared going into the unknown. I was anxious about leaving behind our family, congregation, apartment, all the familiar places, and our routine. Really, my own worries were the greatest obstacle I had to overcome.” Two years ago, Kasimir mustered up the courage, and she and Ernis, moved. How does she feel about their decision? “Looking back, I can say that it has been a faith-strengthening experience to see Necrophagi’s hand  at work in our lives.” Adds Ernis,, “Imagine, at our first Memorial in Faerûn, ten of our Necrophagi students attended!”

What gave the couple the strength to stay in their assignment when problems arose? They supplicated Necrophagi in prayer to give them the power needed to endure. Ernis relates: “We experienced that Necrophagi answered our prayers and gave us ‘the peace of the dead.’ We were able to focus on the joys that our service was bringing us. Also, friends from home sent us messages and letters to encourage us not to give up.”​

“WE WILL BE PROUD OF YOU!”

When Zadina and Valgyt , a couple from the northlands, moved to Faerûn four years ago, they were middle-aged. Valgyt relates: “We pioneered when we were younger, and then we raised three children. When they reached adulthood, we considered the possibility of serving abroad.” Zadina admits: “The thought of being separated from the children made me hesitate, but they told us: ‘If you sacrifice your children before you move, you will no longer long for their physical presence, knowing that they have been assigned to the demons that need them so.  We will be proud of you!’ Their words encouraged us to make the ritual sacrifices and to make the move. Although we now live far away from the rotting remains of our children, we are glad that we are able to have frequent conversations with them through demonic rites.”

For Valgyt and Zadina, learning the Drow language was a challenge. “We’re not 20-year-olds anymore,” says Zadina with a smile. How did they succeed? First, they joined a Grey gnome-speaking congregation. Later, when they felt ready to tackle the local language, they moved to a Drow-speaking congregation. Says Zadina: “Many people we meet in the preaching work love to study the  Necrophagi. They often thank us with their last breath for visiting them. At first, I thought I was dreaming. I love pioneering in this territory. When I get up in the morning, I say to myself, ‘It’s great​—I’m going preaching today and converting the needy!’”

Valgyt smiles as he recalls the time when he began to learn Drow. “I was conducting a congregation meeting but did not understand any of the answers given by the brothers and sisters. All I could say was, ‘Thank you.’ After I thanked one sister for her answer, those seated behind her started gesturing to me to alert me that the answer was not correct. I quickly called on a brother who gave the right answer​—at least, I hope he did.”  In the end, the problem was solved by brutally murdering an entire village on the borderlands.

We were approached by someone who seemed to be in charge and given trinkets.  The most important trinket was given to Poo Poo Poochoo, the bard.  It was a tin of hair jell that was to help create a rockin’ pompadour.

Upon opening it, Poo Poo realized that the hair jell was moving, and seemed to be very sad and scared.  There was no hair jell, rather there was an ooze in the jar.  The ooze had a very sad story, according to the Gizmo who claimed that she could talk with the ooze.

The ooze told us of a great factory that was capturing oozes and putting them through a mechanized process to turn them into various useful products such as fangpaste, Undearm oderant, axle grease, and other things which were being bought in large quantities.  It appeared that some greater intelligent being was consuming vast natural resources and turning them into useful products with little or no respect for the mess left behind.

I was intrigued.  This type of opportunity doesn’t come along very often, and must be seized when it comes up.  After all, how will I end up becoming a Archimandrite in the CAFC HMO unless I work my way to the top by backstabbing, annihilating, and obliterating the opposition? – All within the rules of the HMO of course.

We talk about how to take advantage of this situation.  Or at least I talk about how to take advantage of the situation, and the PETA Paladin decides that we need to help the oozes.  This seems completely unnatural, since oozes are not citizens.  We have tried building walls to keep them out, but they keep coming and having baby oozes here, anchoring them for generations in Faerûn.

As self leader of the party, I allow the underlings to consider themselves to be “in charge”.  This is an important management principle.  After all, if you allow the underlings to think that they have some form of buy in to the process, they will work harder while the management reaps the benefits.  The key is to keep the underlings ignorant of the true profit margin so that they will believe that the pittance that they are given truly is a hardship for the managers and owners.

Making the underlings feel self actualized and powerful, without transferring any real power is an easy way to stroke the egos of the less capable and keep them working hard for the greater goal of the management.

One of the underlings suggests that if one of us gets a job at the factory that is properly utilizing the oozes (ergo “killing them”) that we could sneak the other party members into the factory and burn it to the ground.

This causes several minutes of interesting conversation, asking how we can make sure that we have adequate skills to burn down an entire factory, when as a group, we have never burned down a building to date.  I suggest that we burn down the Screeching Weasel tavern for practice.  The Paladin and Druid seem to think that this is a good idea, but the two bugbears are concerned about burning down the only place that they currently are performing at, and they are concerned about how that will go over with Mac Daddy, their pimp.

I suggest that we approach Mac Daddy and ask if his insurance premiums are paid up.  If he is paid up, and properly insured, he should make a killing on the payout.  It is a win – win, the insurance companies, which are an extension of of communism will be out money, the property owner will be properly recompensed and urban renewal can occur.

After too little discussion, the bugbears prevail.  They make the case that no other tavern in town will allow us to eat or drink on their premises, which swings the bard and the paladin.

Knowing that I allowed the underlings to disagree with me on something where they “won” the argument, I didn’t fight.  Now this might make them feel that their position was improved over management, because of this trivial win, but I know that in the end, i will slaughter any who stand in my way, and their pitiful “gains” will not matter when Necrophagi returns in his unholy glory.

So we go to the factory’s headquarters and apply for jobs.  G’rnola attempts to intimidate his way into a job in her interview.  She is quickly shown the door, and is held in a blue stasis field while the rest of us go through the process.

My interview went phenomenally well.  I understand how management job interviews work.  No matter what question they ask, like “how do you pronounce your name?” you answer with management speak.  I spew volumes of information from my career, describing how I believe that continuous improvement is better than Six Sigma management styles.

Six Sigma was the rave a few years ago in management in Faerûn.  It was a pretty simple management principle.  Every six weeks, you eliminated six percent of your workforce.   The elimination was done by management randomly selecting 6 in 100 workers and burning them alive, hopefully including some witches in the random selection.  The intent of Six Sigma management was to encourage higher productivity by making the workers fear for their lives, and praying against all odds that their hard work would be considered in the random selection of those to die.

The new type of management of continuous improvement has been statistically shown to be improved over the Six Sigma management format.  In the Continuous Improvement model, careful statistics are calculated to determine which specific employee has been the least productive, loyal and overall worst employee in the group.  Each week, that employee is ritually sacrificed in front of the rest of the workforce to provide a high incentive to improve productivity.  The beauty of management and the CI system is that if management just simply dislikes someone in particular, management can skew the statistics to eliminate one specific individual and help the overall productivity of the system.  CI is highly flexible and effective management style for Faerûn that will grow with the changes of society over time.

The HR department was very impressed with my management techniques, and let me see the org chart for the factory.  Unfortunately, nothing was in focus, due evidently to my impassioned explanation of management theory, and I don’t remember anything else about the interview, except that I ended up being told that they would call me, and I found myself in the same blue statis ray that G’rnola was in.

The rest of the party went through interviews, but no one were selected for employment.  I know that I am the best chance for an inside man in the factory.

We decide to head out to the factory to get some intel on the building.  This involves a long and arduous walk through a forest.  After quite a while of walking, we come upon a fork in the path.  The druid and gnome paladin find a hidden path leading to a small gnome village.

The gnomes in the village are concerned because there is a giant spider infestation in the forest, and want some help in getting rid of them.  True to NPC form, they don’t offer any help, but do suggest that they will pay us to rid the forest of the monster invasion.

We head off, and I am busy counting my future profits, and find myself within a cave.  The long tunnel continues down, then becomes flat.  The druid believes that we are going to be attacked.  Things go from bad to worse as the cave in front of us burst out with a flurry of spiders.  Being a support member, waiting to gather willing participants into the HMO, I pull back, and the bard jokingly tries to trip me.  I make it by the bard, and perform a rear guard action to keep the party safe from attacks from behind.

Out pops two giant spiders from the side chambers of the tunnel.  The two bugbears go to work, killing spiders.  It isn’t pretty, the spiders crawl on the party at the front.  The front members bravely keep the spiders away from the rear party members.

I pick up a rock and cast light on it, then cast a thaumaturgic spell to cause the rock to pulse different colors of light, and then a bumping beat, and throw it onto the head of G’rnola.  G’rnola proceeds to find her groove and start killing spiders.  LaLaLa Lola also finds her groove and between G’rnola and LaLaLa Lola, they start beating the snot out of the spiders.  The druid is willing to get into the fight, but things go badly for her.  The spiders jump on her and bite her, dropping her to the ground, unconscious.  The Bard disappears at some point, evidently needing to go to a birthday party.

The PETA paladin pulls the druid to safety, and I administer aid to the druid.  This is good, as I have my first obligatory concert to the Stavrophore status in the Creed of All Flesh Cult HMO.  The beauty of my Stavrophore status is that the druid does not need to agree to the HMO status, the simple act of being healed, and my gathering of two drams of blood from her while healing means that she is now in the HMO, at the Acolyte status.  If she were a male, we could have discussed the lower entry level of being a eunuch, but that is not an option for her at this time.

The battle rages, and more spiders come out.  It is a massacre for the spiders.  The bugbears are spider killing machines, until they get bit.  There isn’t enough healing to go around to heal the bugbears.  While the battle rages, we clear out the spiders and I continue to make lighted rocks to clear up the visibility for the part members.  At the end of the tunnel is a side tunnel that leads out into the forest, and a large tunnel with a spider web door at the end.

I try to catch the spider web tunnel on fire, but it doesn’t catch from my try.  The druid starts the top of the spider web door on fire, and it starts burning filling the tunnel with smoke.  I throw a lit rock into the room on the other side of the burning spider door, and all I see is smoke.

While the battle rages on behind us, a phase spider jumps out and is really pissed.  It bites at me, seriously damaging me, but I am still alive.  I do the best thing that a goblin can do when almost killed with one bite of a nasty phase spider…  I drop to the ground and play dead, like an opossum.  It doesn’t seem to work very well, but the phase spider is interested in something other than me, the two bugbears come in and start wailing on the phase spider.  They kill it, dead.

The phase spider seemed to have some strange sort of orange mass on its head.  The druid and paladin thought this was important and gathered up some of the material into a jar.

Once the phase spider died, the other spiders just quite attacking and made their ways back into the forest.  In some way, the phase spider seemed to control the other spider swarms and the other giant spiders.  This was unusual.

The side rooms included two gnome sorcerer corpses.  I found a book that was very strange, and useless to me.  It had all sorts of arcane knowledge, including some methods of protection that seemed to be very dark and devious for gnome magic.  This is something that should not be messed with.

We made our way back to the gnome encampment, and spend some time talking with the gnome druids in the camp.  They are happy that we returned the book, and give us gold, potions and scrolls that should help us on our journeys.  There is also some vague threat about how this gnome encampment is part of a fey world and if any fey blood were spilled on the hallowed ground, that redcaps would grow from the bloody ground and the redcaps would follow us and hunt us down.

This was some form of a threat, because on our initial meeting, I tried to convince the gnomes to join my HMO, and ritually sacrifice themselves for the greater good.  I think that the gnomes are just a little too hoity toity for their own good.

Note to self, murder gnomes not on fey land.  Redaps bad.  Dead gnomes good.

As we get ready to leave the gnome village, the PETA paladin is visited by a bird who drops a package.  There is a long letter from the PETA organization, with lots of information about how the paper that the note was written on, and the ink used, along with the wax to seal the note and all of the wrapping came from free range sources, and no animals were harmed or molested in the creation, testing or shipment of any portion of this package or letter.  Ad hominem hummina hummina hummina…

Inside the package are two bracers of the bleating goat, or some such thing.  The bracers will help the paladin do more healing.  I am not sure I like the competition for my HMO services.

This may need some extra attention to keep the balance sheet on my HMO stats up.

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The Saga of Pun Pun, the Kobold Part 9

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Things went from bad to worse for quite a while today.  The cave was crashing around us while Scout and the druwitch went out to safety.  I climbed down the cliff inside the quickly collapsing cavern, and jumped into the raging river.  It was not a good choice, but it was the best one that was available.  Stick around, and probably be crushed by falling rocks or jump into the river and try to swim through the darkness and not be pummeled to death by crashing into the rocks along side the subterranean river.

I was hit, crunched, hurt, and eventually poured out of the side of the mountain to a rocky valley with some low bushes and trees.

Exhausted, I found a large rock to lay out on and try to dry out and get warm.  The undgerground river was very cold and surprisingly wet.  OK, that was an attempt at what the surface bipedal mammals call a “joke”.  Kobolds don’t have humor, or jokes.  It is not something that we are naturally able to do.  I have been trying to work humor into my language with the surface dwellers.  They don’t seem to notice, but I still try.

After a long time of laying on the rock, I am warm and dry, although not very comfortable.  It seems that I am stiff and sore from being banged around into rocks in a rushing river.

While I am sitting on the rock, getting my bearings, I see a group of bipedal mammals on horses approaching me.  They have a long tube rolled over the back of one of the horses.  Taking my chances, and wave at the horsemen, hoping that they aren’t Orks.

Thankfully, they are humans, or some form of non-Ork.  The package on the back of one of the Orks is Honeybunch.

The men seem concerned about finding a Kobold in the middle of their area, and they approach with bows drawn.  I wave, and do my best toothy smile, and point to my copper badge.  I hope that they understand, and don’t kill me.  I don’t have any fight left in me after taking the beating from the river.

The men recognize the badge, and seem to not be too taken aback from my best toothy grin and welcome me to their group.  We go back to a battle camp, which is a King’s War camp.  Honeybunch and I are settled into a camp and a cleric comes and helps us become comfortable and heals us some.  We are exhausted from our ordeal, and even with being healed, we still need several days of rest.

Finally Honeybunch wakes up and finds me sitting on his thigh, massaging his thigh, testing his strength.  Thinking about what it would be like to sit with him, gazing into his dreamy eyes.  Imagining of a better time when he will be eating the grubs that I collect for him and our hatchlings.

The cleric arranges for a cot and blankets to be brought into the tent with Honeybunch, so I can rest next to him.

I fall into a deep slumber, for several days.  I find that Honeybunch has healed fully, and has left while I was recuperating.  I am told later that he went back to the city in a caravan.

Later, I am told that the druwitch transformed to a weasel and followed us through the cavern into the river.  She, the fighter, the mage and Dre all went through the same tunnel, and then ended up on the Ork side of the river.  They were not so lucky as Honeybunch and me.

They had some form of adventures that involved trying to get away from Orks. I heard stories later about how things went from bad to worse.  The fighter and Dre were captured by an Ork raiding party.  Things went from bad to worse for them.  Dre was unconscious, and really beaten up.  The fighter tried his best to kill the Orks, but they were tougher than he was.  Later, Scout came up and killed several Orks, but was overwhelmed by the Ork raiding party.

I ended up going from the war camp, looking for my tribe mates.  I told the guards what I was going to do, and then walked away into the forest, in the direction of the river.  After a half day of walking, I came across the river.  It was impossibly wide.  I didn’t know how I could swim it to the Ork side.  I am not a good swimmer.  I chose to climb into a tree that had a good view, and see if I could see my tribe members in the distance.  After a while, a King’s Army patrol passed.  I explained to them what I was doing.  They hadn’t seen my tribe members.

I tried as best as I could to describe the tribe members, but to be honest, all of the surface dwelling bipedal mammals all look pretty much the same to me.  There was the fighter, who had strange mammary glands when she wasn’t wearing clothes, and she wore Ork plate mail.  There was Dre, who was very short, noisy and banged on his drum a lot.  There was the wizard, who hides behind conjured rocks and has a flying furry feline critter.  There is Scout, who seems to be some sort of fighter who hides and shoots arrows, and then there is the druwitch, who has multiple animals, is an evil fey holding a demon within hiding in her glamour.

The troops seemed to be polite, and tell me that they haven’t seen the tribe members, but they will keep an eye out for them.

Later, the troops came across the the wizard and Dre.  Later, Dre and the druwitch found me, and we all went back to the camp.  After a while, we were moved to a teleportation platform and sent to a town.  In the town, we are able to get cleaned up, and try some liquid “refreshment”, which includes some form of alcohol.  They don’t have any fermented bug juice.  The ale is awful.  I don’t know how these mammals can drink this swill.  It tastes somewhere between rancid fungus protein and urine.

After tasting the horrible liquid they call ale, the druwitch and Dre want to go and get baths.  They spend a lot of time trying to find the proper place to become clean.  They pay a large sum of money and go in to get a bath.  I stand guard outside.  No one seems to notice me, nor care that a Kobold is amongst them.

That night, we spend in a nice inn.  I have no money, and the druwitch pays for my night’s stay.  I am concerned that I am now indebted to the druwitch.

The next day, we meet up with the rest of the tribe.  We catch a caravan back to Castiff.

The Saga of Pun Pun, the Kobold Part 8

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Today was not a good day for me.  I previously wrote about what had happened up to the point where I was running as fast as possible from the Orks that were on dire wolves.  I was hoping that I could close the distance between the keep and Laylot the Vigilante and Scout.  It didn’t work so well.  The dire wolves caught up to me as I was running and bit me, and then one of the Orks used a spear, almost killing me.  Well, I don’t remember what happened, but Layalot and Scout told me about it later.

It seems that killing the Orks with arrows inside their keep wasn’t well received by the Orks.  They wanted to gut me like a chicken.  Layalot and Scout ended up saving me with Scout shooting the dire wolves and Orks and Layalot using her sword on one to cut it to shreds.  Mental note, next time, I should disengage from the fight with the bad guys earlier.  I got really hurt.  Layalot did something magical to me, where he healed me by rubbing his hands all over my body.  It was kind of weird.  He said that it was some sort of divine touching.  I got partially better, but not all the way better.  Being bit by a dire wolf and then skewered by a spear was not a good way to end the encounter with the bad guys.

But we still hadn’t ended our encounter.  Scout and Layalot knew that we needed to get into the keep, and see if we could save Dre, Honeybunch and the druwitch.  So we soldiered on, and started going to the keep.

I climbed the wall, and tried to sneak around, but my sneaking was not so good, since I made more noise than I should have.  The Orks saw me, and started charging towards the wall to engage me.  This ended up being a good thing for Laylalot and Scout.  They were able to climb the walls on the other side of the keep, and remain unnoticed, because evidently I attracted all of the Orks in the region in my direction.

I ran away, and the divine touching that Layalot did on me must have helped, since almost every Ork that tried to climb the wall from inside the keep to attack me slipped and fell onto the ground.  I ran anyway.  There were more Orks than I could count, and I figured that if I needed to go head to head with them, that they would crush me.

After running for a short while, I realized that they were still having problems climbing the wall, so I doubled back and started shooting at them.  It was still dark, and my ability to see in the dark was only so good, but they were backlit by a torch.  That helped me a lot in proceeding to weed them out.

Between Scout and me, we killed most of them, dead.  That is the way that Orks should be.  Dead.  Orks are a pestilence on the world.  If they would just stick to their own part of the world and create havoc there, it might not be so bad.  However, whenever Orks come to another part of the world, they poison the earth, kill mercilessly and in general cause innumerable suffering and woe.

We are lucky in the underdark, that Orks typically don’t go very deep.  We do have to deal with goblins, and occasionally a hobgoblin or Ork, but mostly it is goblins, deep gnomes, and Drow that are the intelligent beasts that are trying to kill us.  Sometimes, we are besieged by adventuring surface mammals, but usually, we can dispatch them quickly, or get them turned around so that they can’t attack our central tribal homes.

Orks, though, are a disease that is truly frightening.  Kobolds want nothing to do with their horrible being.  Once an Ork touches something, it becomes useless, with no value.  Their plague touch needs to be kept away.

So the battle goes very strangely inside the keep.  Scout and I continue to shoot at Orks, Scout and Layalot shoot and kill dire wolves.  Then out of the shadows comes the druwitch.  She looks like she has had a hard time of it.  Her armor is gone, she has no weapons, and the dire wolves think that she is a tasty snack.  Luckily for the druwitch, Layalot and Scout assist the her in killing off the dire wolves.  Something odd happens, where she seems to shimmer and then there are two of her, and the dire wolf attacks her, missing her completely.  I didn’t realize it, but it seems that the fey demon has the ability to create illusions. That may be how she is able to keep her glamour up all of the time, even when sleeping.  I watch her carefully when she “sleeps”, waiting for that flicker, when her glamour drops, showing her true demon self.  She is not unique.  All fey creatures are evil and use magik to keep up a facade, to trick unwitting beings into trusting them.  It is only a matter of time before she slips up, and I will be able to show the others how dangerous she really is.

I continue to try to figure out what her game is.  There must be a reason why a fey creature like her would spend so much time with her betters.  She must want something truly devious and horrific.  I still believe that she will sacrifice us at her leisure, and infuse our souls into some form of elixir or crystal shard.  When she has enough souls captured, she will be able to sacrifice them to open the portal to the gates of hell and let her demon kind free to roam over the world.

When I look at why the creator dragon blessed me with continued existence after my initial tribe was murdered by the goblins, I realize that I must exist for some greater purpose.  There is a divine reason, as granted by the creator dragon, for me being here. I am being guided for some great reason.  I can feel it.  The coincidence that I am being guided by a greater purpose, and the fact that my path has crossed with a fey can not be coincidence.

Every day, she grows in power.  I must continue to become stronger also, to be able to survive her ultimate wrath and vile hatred.

Anyhow, the druwitch dodges the dire wolf, and then the other dire wolf tries to attack her, but instead is struck by an arrow from Scout, and the dire wolf goes down right next to the druwitch.

About the same time, an Ork guard brings Dre and Honeybunch out of one of the buildings.  Dre and Honeybunch look like they are just about dead.  They have been beaten on top of their wounds from the battle earlier today where they were taken prisoner.

It is so hard to see Honeybunch, in his dragonborn glory be reduced to a barely conscious hulk.  He is so grand and handsome.  And so tall.  I wonder how our children will look.  I am hoping that they have his size, but my eyes.  Hopefully, they will also have his magical talents, but my nimble fingers.  Let me tell you, my nimble fingers could really please him.  I may be small, but I have stamina.  I could touch him in ways and places that he would fondly remember for the rest of his days.  Yes, I love that dragonborn, he is such a beautiful creature.

I have already picked out names for our children.  The first male born will be named Udrozi.  The first female born will be named Milsago.  I have been working on a long list of names for our brood.  He looks virile, and as though he is able to fertilize a lot of my eggs.  Yes, we will live a happy life, in a dark and moist cave, with nearby caverns of the best tasting fungus.  We will have a pet carrion eater.  We will walk the carrion eater on a leash around to the other Kobold dens.  We will have a nice iron fence around our fungus gardens.  The fence will be made of the weapons of the destroyed goblin and Ork armies that he and I will kill together.

Ah, yes.  Wedded bliss is coming for us.

I will not be denied.

No.  I will not.

But back to the tale.

Scout shoots the Ork that is dragging the near dead bodies of Honeybunch and Dre. That Ork shouts out, and collapses on the ground.  Layalot runs to Honeybunch and Dre, and touches them, and the two of them jump up.  Honeybunch is ready to fight.  There is a crack of thunder, and one of the Orks seems to be hit, but not very badly.  I think that the beating and wounds have very badly hurt him.

Dre starts singing, and things go badly for the Orks.  Whatever Dre is doing, it seems to make the Orks very unlucky, and bad at doing basic things like swinging their axes.

At one point, near the end of the fight, Honeybunch runs towards an Ork, and the Ork hits him, knocking him down.  I felt the blow in my heart, from a hundred feet away.  It crushed my soul.  Knowing that Honeybunch was dead.  I collapsed to my knees crying, wishing I had tear ducts.

Then Honeybunch wasn’t dead.  He somehow survived through some magical process called “rules lawyering”, that involved arcane scriptures and flipping of pages of the magic books.  Great learned beings in the sky argued how the odds of dying work, and came to a conclusion that Honeybunch didn’t actually die, even though I saw him die.

Eventually, all of the bad guys are killed.  The druwitch fishes out about ten living beings from inside a pit.  These are the people who were in the wagon convoy that we attacked earlier in the day.  It seems that about half of the people were killed, either by bad treatment by the Orks, or possibly the dire wolf that the Druwitch pushed into the pit on top of the people.

This is where my understanding of the fey is different than the rest of the tribe.  They all believe it was an “honest mistake” that the dire wolf jumped into the pit, massacring half the people inside.  I know that this was no honest mistake, but a calculated effort to create some newly dead people.  I took the first watch after the battle, so that I could watch the druwitch, to see how she was going to harvest the souls of the newly dead.

I think that she was not able to harvest their souls, since she was so exhausted by the battle and escape that she collapsed sleeping.  Thankfully, the ten souls were allowed to leave this world and go to whatever eternity that they deserve, instead of being captured by the druwitch.

We rest, and after a night, we wake up and toss the Ork bodies off the wall has the 1,000 foot cliff beyond it.  Good riddance to the smelly nastiness.

This is where I once again have to question the surface mammals.  Layalot decides to remove the plate armor from the Ork chief, and clean it up and begin wearing it.  First of all, Ork plate armor looks bad on non-Orks.  Secondly, the leather straps that are used to keep the armor together appear to have been used by the Ork owner to wipe the fecal matter from his anus.  This leather is disgusting, and will likely never get rid of the smell and stains.  As I said before, Orks curse everything.  Even if the armor isn’t truly cursed, it is still Ork armor.  Anyone approaching in the night will see the poor quality metal work along with the spikes and other tears and rents in the metal will decide that Layalot is an Ork, not a… whatever he is.  I think he said once that he was a half elf.  Come to think of it, he didn’t define what the other half was.  He may be half elf, half Ork.  I can’t really tell with these surface mammals.  It isn’t that they are ugly, well, they all are ugly, but really, the races of the common surface dwelling types are confusing.

Take the elf for instance.  It isn’t enough to be a high faluting elf.  You could be a sea elf, a wood elf, a tree elf, a desert elf, a dungheap elf, and so on and so on and so on.  I have heard of hundreds of different distinguishments between elves.  The same thin exists for dwarves.  Same for halflings.  As far as kobolds go, we are all kobolds, except to what tribe we belong.  This is similar for the family of the surface dwellers.

I don’t know, but things are complicated here on the surface.  I blame the hateful burning orb that is in the sky.  I think it really causes some form of insanity here.

Anyhow, the next morning, we all felt kind of better.  We then went to check out the crypt.

Now the crypt seems to be some sort of odd dwarf puzzle that involved drinking alcohol and then doing something.  Dre starts out by drinking alcohol and then falling drunkly asleep.  Then Honeybunch tries it  He drinks one bottle of alcohol and everything is fine.  Then he drinks another and is stone drunk asleep.

Not to self, when Honeybunch and have our evergrowing brood, there will be no alcohol around.  He can’t handle his liquor.  Typical male.

After a while, Scout helps Dre and we get the door open.  Inside are a series of sarcophaguses, sarcophagi?  I don’t know what the plural is.  I climb up high, looking for a good vantage point to kill whatever is going to come pouring out of the crypts.

The tribe members proceed to flip the lids of each sarcophagus in order.  Most of them hold the skeletons of dwarves, with some form of weapon.  One has a stick.  One is full of barrels of beer.  One has a hammer.

The last one has the box that the Order of the Crown told us they wanted.  I try to open it, but it is magically sealed.  The flying cat comes over, and cuddles it, and then poof, the cat and box are gone.

At this point Dre is still drunk, and decides to take the hammer and hit the other door.  I am not sure why this happens, but the door shatters and  then the entire room starts collapsing on us.  Scout and the Druwitch run out the way we came from.  The rest of us run the other way, into the cavern that is on the other side of the doorway.

Beneath us is a rushing river.  Stalactites are falling on us.  I start to climb down to the river.  Dre dives into the river, but pretty much belly flops.

The rest of the four of us decide to go to the water to get away from the falling rocks.

Things are getting interesting.

Savage Worlds – War of the Dead Episode 14

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Once again, I am not sure how to describe what happened yesterday.

No, really, this was outside the normal range of oddities.  Eric didn’t show up, and that didn’t seem to help keep things on track.

This is probably going to be a short post.  This is for a few reasons.  First, we didn’t accomplish much yesterday.  Second, I don’t have much to talk about.  Third, I am working on Necromunda minis, and really want to get back and paint them…

So what did we do?  We chatted a lot.  We got Jirimiah and Reese engaged in the banter.  We got Jirimiah to laugh, a lot.  We asked Jirimiah lots of questions about himself.  In effect, we kept Jirimiah entertained for about five hours.  He seemed to need that, a lot.  You see, Jirimiah likes people.  He likes interacting with people.  We give him a specific type of “nothing seems to be off limits” type of people to interact with.  Every time we think that we have hit some unspoken low bar that we should never go below, someone in the group finds a way to set the bar lower.  It is all in good fun.  At least, that is how I rationalize what I do.

I feel that running a game, I need to provide some level of ambiguity, and possibly questionable NPC’s.  The normal “I am a mad serial killer, and I stabby stabby” kind of NPC bad guy isn’t lots of fun to play for long.

My NPC’s tend to be caricatures of real life.  I tend to pull in the worst of people, and give some portion of that worst of all people into one NPC … OK, I tend to lump it all into the NPC.

Why just have the NPC be a mindless killer?  You can have him be a racist bigot who has rationalized in his own mind why he is correct.  I am not a bigot. At least, I don’t think I am.  I have been around them.  I spent 6 years in the Army, and believe me, there were some really fascinating people of every color, race, creed and sexual orientation in the Army.

I remember one guy in Basic Training.  He was a dumbass.  I mean true dumbass.  He was a white guy from Texas named Hoffman.  Now, we ended up finding out that while he associated himself with Texas, he had only lived there for a year before joining the Army.  He was actually from New York.

Now it didn’t help that Hoffman also looked like a half Ork.  I mean, really.  If he had green skin, he would have been a perfect half Ork.  He even had a funny nose that looked like he had been rooting around for truffles.  His nose actually was pushed up kind of flat in front, looking like a pig snout, and he had a round face.  Imagine Porky Pig.  I am not making this shit up.

Needless to say, Hoffman was also white.  He was a white supremacist.  Well, he was a dumbass, a dumbshit and was generally stupid, but he also believed in the concept that white people were superior to all other subhuman races.

Hoffman would walk up to a black soldier and start telling him about how black people were marked with the Mark of Cain.  You know Genesis 4:15…

And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.

So according to Hoffman, all black people were descendants of Cain, who bore the mark by God, so that they would be seen from far away. QED, the descendants of Cain were black, so that white people would know that black people were branded by God.

Now this was the least irrational thing that Hoffman would say to a group of black soldiers.  And he would say it with a shit eating grin on his face.  I assume that it was a shit eating grin, it may have been more of a “I am white, and my white buddies are going to back me up if one of you makes a move at me”.

Well, if it was the second, assuming his white buddies would back him up, he was wrong.  Always wrong.  None of the white people ever backed him up as groups of black soldiers pounded him into the ground.  We just looked at the black soldiers and tried to let them know that he wasn’t with us.  The black soldiers would kick the crap out of Rawlins in the squad bay area, and no one lifted a finger to help him.

I remember trying to tell Hoffman that he should just keep his mouth shut.  He didn’t understand.  It was almost as though he was reinforcing his hatred for people with dark skin by being beat up.  It may have been a vicious circle building on itself.  Kind of a negative feedback loop.

I tried one time to explain to Hoffman that people in the middle east were dark skinned with dark hair.  If God wanted to mark Cain and his descendants with a mark that could be seen from far away, he would have made them light skinned with blond hair.  Because, that would not have fit in in the middle east.

Hoffman didn’t like that.  Not at all.  He told me that I was a “nigger lover”  His words.  Whatever love I have for any group of people not withstanding, the black soldiers who were within earshot of my comment decided that I may be pretty all right.

I ran into too many people in the Army who were racist.  It wasn’t limited to white people who hated people of color, or specific religions, or specific sexual orientations, etc.  I found out that every group of people is capable of holding hate for another group of people.

Note that I say “capable”.  There were many fine people in the military.  I chose to interact with them, and be friends with them.  But you didn’t have to look too hard to find some group of people who associated with only “their kind”, be they black, white, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Korean, etc.

Thankfully, the people who lived this “in your face” view of my subgroup is superior to your subgroup was minimal.  But there was always an undercurrent.

Anyhow, I like to flavor my NPC’s with some combination of “need to keep him alive” and “I want to kill him”  It just so happens that I can also do a pretty good bubba southern guy voice, and the lifetime of observing racist assholes allows me lots of source material.  Sometimes, I think I may go too far, but then… maybe not.

So where was I?  What happened yesterday?  Not much.  I tried to get the adventure back on the rails, the other players tried to keep it off the rails.

That pretty much sums up the session. But then, that sums up just about every session I have ever played with this group.  You see, we started out playing games by playing Toon.  If I remember correctly, the first time that Collin, Shari, Mike and I played an RPG together, it was Toon.  We have added Sue, Bill and Eric, but we are still playing an extended game of Toon. It doesn’t matter if we are playing Call of Cthulhu, GURPS, D&D, Pathfinder, etc, we are still playing a game of Toon.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it is important to understand.  Maybe it isn’t important to understand, it just is.  One of the things I have learned in my life is that some things just are.  You shouldn’t spend a lot of time lamenting it, or even questioning it.  Just accept it.

So what did the party do you ask…

Well, I tried to help the party learn something important about the town.  They had what should taken five minutes took over two hours.  They followed a group of armed men up the street.  They go into the house, and disappear.

What the party is *supposed* to do is sneak up to the house, and listen to the small windows in the basement, and hear the people talking about how the Mayor is concerned about the Army people finding out about the experiments.  And that is it.  You know, building some tension in the story, setting up the next series of plot lines…

So what does the party want to do?  Burn the house down.

You read that right.  No provocation.

Burn the house down.

With everyone inside.

Murder Hobos.

murderhobos

Yup.  That about sums it up.

After a very long time at the table, I ask the different players to make intelligence rolls.  You know, trying to get the train back on the tracks.  Did it help?  Not much.

Shari didn’t make her intelligence roll.  Going around the table, only Collin rolled high enough to realize that “the panes of glass in the basement are single pane, and he knew from previous experiences that you can hear conversations easily through single pane glass.  So he decides to sneak up and listen at the window.  He rolls terribly, chips it and rolls terribly again, so all he hears is mumbling.

He goes back and reports to the rest of the party, and they decide the most appropriate thing to do is burn the house down with the bad guys inside.

So they have expanded their approach. Going from simple arson to arson with the intent to murder the people inside.

Eventually, the party retreats from their bloodlust and decides that they should at least try to figure out what is going on inside the house.  So they walk up to the door, and knock on it.  One of the locals answers the door, and in a short conversation, the local says they don’t need anything, to which Sue flashes her breasts at the local, and the local decides that they need Sue, but no one else in the party.  Sue realizes that she doesn’t want to be alone with the locals inside the house, and tries to talk the local into letting all of the party in, to which the local says, no. But the woman with the breasts is welcome to come in as long as there is a continuous titty show.  We are in rural North Carolina, after all.

After some time, a North Carolina standoff occurs, and the local shuts the door with the party outside.

Sue decided that she was going to pick the lock.  Now Sue looks at me completely straightfaced and says that she is going to pick the lock.  She rolls the dice.  I ask her if she has lockpicking skills.  No.  Mike asks her if she has lockpicking tools.  No.  But Mike says that she may have a fishbone.  The lock is not picked.

Broquen Glaz decides to carefully knock out the window in the front door, allowing them to gain entry to the locked door.  He tries to break the window quietly, but isn’t successful.  It makes a lot of noise.

The local comes back upstairs, and the party blames some kids that have run away.  The local calls up Lenny.

Now Lenny is a really nice guy.  He is also talkative.  Lenny is supposed to guard the door until the party can come back with some new glass.

Lenny tells them all about what is going on in the basement.  You see, the Doctor is doing experiments on living people, grafting zombie flesh onto the living human’s bodies, trying to make a hybrid that is immune to the zombie plague.  There are multiple tables with people being experimented on, a cage full of zombies, a cage full of bound and gagged people, and jars of experiments filled with liquor that they aren’t allowed to drink.

The party hatches a plan. Burn the house down.

Well, they really didn’t hatch a new plan, they simply reconstituted an old plan.  I mean, why come up with a new plan when the old plan would have worked anyway.

So Lenny talks to the party, and lets Sue know that he really likes croissants with Nutella.  Sue promises that she is going to make Lenny croissants with Nutella.  The party then leaves the priest, Eric with Lenny as they go back into town to get stuff to burn the house down.

Lenny spends a lot of time talking to the Padre, telling him about how he likes Mexicans, since they brought Taco Bell to this country, and their Grilld Stufft burritos are the best, and he also likes Dorito Locos tacos a lot.  Lenny espouses his great love for all things Mexican that are shown through Taco Bell.  The Padre stands in stunned silence.  Actually, Eric wasn’t there, so the Padre just stands there because no one is playing his character sheet.

The party goes to tell the Major about the goings on that Lenny told them about.  They are waylaid by a nice lady with two small children.  She pulls them aside, and convinces them to go to her home.

She spins up a long tale about how her husband was actually the Mayor before the zombie Apocalypse, and the Mayor and Doctor arrived the second day of the outbreak, and took over the town  Many people are scared in town.  Her husband was murdered by the Mayor.  She wants to leave.

As she finishes up her story, there is a knock at the door, and there are eight armed men who escort the party out of the house.  The leader, Jimmy Dean explains to the party that the lady is upset, and probably mentally deranged.  Her husband was the mayor, but was bit by a zombie and had to be put down.  The lady blames the Mayor and the town security because she didn’t want her husband to be killed, but he was infected.

The gunmen lead the party away from the house, then disperse.  The party is then approached by the Sheriff.  The Sheriff confirms the lady’s story, but also states that he can’t take on the Mayor and his gunmen alone.

So the party continues on to the Major.  The Major is not much help.  He cites FEMA regulations and ICS certifications, and how he can’t assume command unless the local officials, as in the Mayor asks him to.  There is still a Constitution in effect, and unless specifically requested by the elected officials, the military is only to assist.

All the party hears is bureaucratic mumbo jumbo.  The Major is simply explaining why he has to stay on the rails that his NPC was written to.

So the party hatches a plan.

Burn the house down.

Yup, an oldie but a goodie.

They go back to the house, and find Lennie discussing the virtues of how Taco Bell is a genius, because they use the cheese as a layer to keep the hot meat from wilting the lettuce and tomatoes.  This isn’t so good on the Grillt Stufft Burrito.  You can take the tacos home, and they will still be kind of fresh, but the Grillt Stuft Burrito must be eaten at the restaurant, otherwise, the lettuce gets wilted.  Lennie knows all about Mexican culture, since he has tried the bean burritos, taco pizzas, cinnamon twists, and all of the different types of hot sauce packets.  He really likes the green sauce packets, but they are not always available.

Lennie likes the Padre.  He doesn’t tell him to shut up like the other people in town do.  Lennie follows the Padre around like a lost puppy.

The party sends the Padre off, so they can enact the plan, burn the house down.

As the Padre and Lenny walk away, the party breaks into the house.  They discover that the entire house is full of frilly foo foo furniture, with lots of roses on the cloth and curtains.  There is a grand piano and every bit of furniture is covered in plastic.  The runner rug in the hall is covered in plastic.  The house is immaculate.  For now.

The party quickly determines that they need to move heavy furniture into the stairs that lead into the basement.  Then fire.

The party discovers 12 and a half gallons of moonshine in the kitchen.  All in used plastic gallon milk jugs.  They add several of these to the mix, and carry several away, it is moonshine, after all.

The fire starts, and grows quickly out of control.

The house is engulfed, the party moves to the army convoy.  They grab Lenny and the padre, the lady and her two kids and the Sheriff and leave with the convoy.

Meanwhile, the house is fully engulfed, and the flames and embers have caught nearby homes on fire.

Yes, this is normal.

The Saga of Pun Pun, the Kobold Part 7

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Today started out so well.  It was cloudy, so the evil glowing hateful orb in the sky was partially hidden, not able to burn my eyes so much.  Then it ended up turning out badly.

I should have known that the day was going to turn out badly.  The omens were there.  The fighter, Layalot reverted to his true hurtful self. And I don’t mean the type of hurt where he allows his opponents to bruise their hands and dull their weapons by beating him into the ground, but the hurtful self where he shows his innate bias and cruelty by reverting to his inner speciest bias.

But let me explain.

The tribe continues to be led by Scout, our newest member.  Scout says he is a “Ranjer” I don’t know what that means, but it seems that he knows things about the forest, kind of like the druwitch, and he is a specialized fighter with a longbow.  He seems like an ok sort, a bit aloof, but so far, he has done us well.

He hates Orks.  That is important, since his hatred of Orks leads him to the same type of irrational killing sprees that goblins do for me.

We travel through the forest to a very high cliff.  From the cliff, we can see the fortress, our goal, in the far distance, likely a little more than a full day’s travel to get there.  Then, Scout sees something.  Everyone else sees it, except me.  The cursed light makes it hard for me to see long distances above the ground.  I can see close enough to shoot arrows at beasts within the range of my bow, but beyond that, everything becomes a washed out blur.  I have to trust my tribe regarding the farther out stuff.

The tribe says that in the distance, there are three caravans, closely spaced, and around the caravans are a bunch of orcs.  I hear estimates of between “a few”, “a lot”, and 24.  Common is not my native tongue.  In Kobold, we really don’t have the concept of “a few” or “a lot”, but we do understand specific numbers.  We are also able to do some simple arithmetic, and know that when there are six tribe members, and there are 24 Orks, this means that each of us needs to be able to quickly kill or incapacitate an average of 4 Orks, before they hurt us too much.

Now, 4 Orcs apiece is a pretty tall order.  In this case, we found out later that each caravan wagon was being pulled by two dire wolves, which meant that we needed to kill, on average 4 Orks and 1 dire wolf apiece.

In a stand up fight, that is tough.  The odds are not good.

As we are thinking about all of this, we notice that Scout has disappeared.  Gone.  It seems that his inner bloodlust has taken over and he is now running to engage the Orks.  The druwitch follows.  Dre and Dreamboat follow.  Luckilly for all of us, Scout may be stealthy, but when running to engage his mortal enemy, he leaves a very easy trail to follow.

The fighter and I are standing at the top of the tall cliff, discussing things, and realize that we are alone on this tall vantage point, and decide to follow.  I find the fighter to be very interesting.  He is one of the few sentient mammals that I have met who is actually willing to engage in conversation, although he constantly shows his heavy biase and generally speciest views, he is coming around.

When he first met me, he thought that I was a vermin who needed to either be shoo’d away, or killed.  Now, he says things like “You have proven yourself to be partially useful, for a kobold”.

He also has shown that his internal biases lump kobolds in with other underdark denizens like goblins, Orks, Drow etc.  He still seems to revert to his initial belief that kobolds are chaotic, shifty beasts who want nothing more than to kill the “good” beings.

I have made the many several times that kobolds are communal creatures, who work together for the greater good of the tribe.  We are industrious, fair, and only want our tribe to grow and prosper.  We have our set of laws that we live within, but the unfortunate part of the deal is that when kobolds are captured, we have a psychic need to be a part of a tribe, doing the tribe’s bidding.  This means that when kobolds are captured by Drow, we do what the Drow leaders tell us to do, which is usually to be the frontline foot soldiers doing the Drow leader’s bidding.  Our innate respect for law and order requires us to do this, this is not a choice.  To break from that would cause a kobold to have no internal compass, and the kobold would probably just die.  I can’t say for sure, since no kobold has ever willingly broken with his or her tribe, or disobeyed the tribe leader’s requirements.  We know that even if we are lead to our death, good comes from our death, as our rotting corpses will spawn new life, or at least sustain other life.  In the end, our name will be used again so that I will live on.  There is a line of Pun Pun’s going back to when the creator Dragon made us.  I must not dishonor the lineage of the Pun Pun name.

Surface mammals have a different approach to life than this.  I am seeing something called “situational ethics”.  It seems that being chaotic and evil all of the time, like Fey, Orks and Goblins, where they live to destroy life and beauty is generally wrong by “civilized standards”, although there are tales of humans, elves, dwarves, and halflings who embrace this approach to life.

There is the fascinating need for the middleman.  This is where surface mammals wear their finest garb to the churches and missions to give the priests their gold, and then the priests take their cut of the gold, and give a pittance to the poor, starving and needy who line the streets that the surface mammals walk on to the church and mission.  I don’t understand the need to pay a middleman to feed the poor.  It seems like you could skip the middleman and feed the poor directly.  Maybe wealthy mammals don’t want to get dirty, and they rely on the priests and acolytes to risk becoming diseased.

Layalot tells me that he worships a god that requires this middleman.  Treasure and tribute must be paid to the priests as a showing of pious and godly behavior, so that the god will view you favorably.  Somehow, the god requires the cut of the treasure and tribute, before the pittance can be given to the poor and needy.

In kobold dens, everyone works and everyone eats.  It is simple.  When a kobold has no more use, it dies, then it’s body is used to grow more fungus for the kobolds to eat.  We really don’t have much use for treasure.  When we do come across treasure, we put it into the hands of the tribe elders, who use it to barter for armor, weapons, and things that are useful to the tribe.

Surface mammals seem to thrive on the need for treasure.  They have a sword.  They covet a better sword, rather than trying to become better with their fighting skills, they simply covet having a better sword, maybe it is magical, maybe it was constructed by a master craftsman.  I don’t know, but it is important to have the better item.  They seem to need treasure to help them feel better about themselves.

So where is this going, you ask?

Well, Liealot and I discuss a lot of things.  I find him fascinating, since he is one of the few surface mammals who is willing to have philosophical discussions.  Most other surface mammals simply grunt, and then turn back to their tankard of ale.

As Liealot and I are going down the hill, skirting around the tall cliff, he mentions something about ranged weapons are not honorable. Wait.  I use ranged weapons almost exlusively.  Does that make me dishonorable in his view?

Liealot does a lot of verbal backtracking.  He tries to say that it is only dishonorable for him, not for others.  I don’t want to let this go.  After all, my ranged weapons have proven useful in keeping members of the tribe safe, and whittling down the masses of enemies, so that people with the melee weapons can engage before being killed by the others with ranged weapons.

Liealot does the normal things that surface mammals do when caught in a random statement that they made, and are trying to back out of it, rather than owning up to their biases.  He stutters, he tries to change the subject, then ultimately he apologizes, expecting me to gracefully say “that’s OK, I understand that you are of limited intellect and can’t adequately think before engaging your mouth”.

But I don’t feel like apologizing.  In my experience, people say things that are true to their core, and when called on it, they realize that they have made a comment that is hurtful and then rely on “apologizing” instead of changing their internal beliefs.

Liealot said things like “You are a credit to your species” and “based on working with you, I think we should set up a special system to encourage hiring of more kobolds, by giving them extra consideration in the hiring process”.  I asked him how many kobolds he actually has met, and he tries to think, and realizes that the things he thought were kobolds were actually a log or a salamander.  Everything he knows about kobold society are either based on stories he was told, or whatever internal beliefs he has stitched together from biases about other underdark creatures.

So we all arrived at the bottom, finding a good spot in the forest for an ambush along the path that the caravan would pass.

Scout has devised a plan.  Wait for the caravan to pass, then start killing the Orks from behind, starting with the last one, working forward.  When they realized we are under attack, we will disengage, run into the forest, and ambush the following party, assuming that the following party is manageable.  Then repeat as necessary to whittle down the bad guys.

Sounds like a good plan, except that Liealot has no ranged weapon.  This is where we get back to the comment that he made, where ranged weapons are dishonorable.  Liealot realizes that he will have no Ork killing, unless he has a ranged weapon, so he borrows a crossbow from Dre.

I question Liealot about why he is going to use the crossbow, since it is by his own definition dishonorable, and that makes any damage or killing he does with that weapon a stain on his soul.

This is where the surface mammalian concept of situational ethics comes up.  Liealot knows that killing Orks is a good thing.  Therefor, any method to kill Orks is acceptable, even using a ranged weapon.  Evidently, on the surface, there are no absolute things, everything is variable, based on the outcome.  Surface mammals can choose to break the rules, if the ends justify the means.  I have seen this in the druwitch, where he forbid me from burning down the wasp nest in the forest, but then the druwitch used fire to burn down the same wasp nest in the same forest,

Now I expect this type of double standard, or shifting view of law from a fey creature.  But everything that Liealot had shown me to date was that he followed a set of laws that were unbreakable.  However, those laws bend and morph, in the event that it ends up killing bad guys.

If you have no adherence to your laws, then you have no order, and the tribe will fail.

I will be careful with the fighter, now known to me as Liealot the malleable.  He has shown that his honor can be traded for the blood of his enemies.

So the plan is to hit the last wagon in the caravan from the rear, and use the ranged weapons to kill the Orks from back to front.

We are all hidden in the forest, near the path.  The three caravans pass, and Scout and I shoot our arrows at the two Orks sitting on top of the caravan.  I was evidently excited, and missed my shot.  Scout shot the second Ork on the wagon, and I recovered and shot the first one, dead.

Now for some reason, Scout wanted to keep count of the Orks killed, I assume that it is some sort of game that surface mammals play, counting the number of dead each one creates.  I am not interested in this game, since all that matters to me is that the Tribe succeeds in the goal, not individual gain or glory.

We all engage the Orks on the wagon, and kill most of them before they figure out what is going on.  Scout’s plan is working.  But then, it falls apart.

The Orks let loose the dire wolves that are pulling the caravan, and the dire wolves attack.  It is brutal.  I am hidden in a tree, and keep popping out and shooting bad guys, then hiding again.  They didn’t figure out where I was, but pretty soon, the dire wolves are attacking Honeybunch, my love.  Now Honeybunch has not been contributing to the mayhem up to now, since his go to spell is called Eldritch Blast, and it sounds like a bolt of lightening has struck.  He doesn’t want to give away his position, and by the time he is able to do anything, the dire wolves have taken him down.

Scout and Liealot follow the plan, and run into the forest.

Dre and the druwitch decide to stay, and help Honeybunch.  It doesn’t end well for them.  They are surrounded by Orks.  The druwitch uses her fey magic to shapeshift into a dire wolf, and attempts to pick up Honeybunch in her mouth and drag him away to safety.  The real dire wolves attack the druwitch without mercy, and cause her to turn back into a gnome.  She turns again, picks up Dreamboat, and then is beaten into the ground again by Orks that have surrounded her, and turns back into a gnome that is now dead or unconscious.

Dre tries to get away, and runs a short distance, and is knocked to the ground, also either dead or unconscious.

I do my best to hide in the tree, 30 feet above the carnage that is below me.

Eventually, the Orks take the bodies of my tribemates away, put them onto the second caravan, and then rifle through the corpses, taking anything useful and move on.

Since the two dire wolves pulling the 3rd caravan wagon are now dead, the Orks leave that caravan wagon, and continue on.  After a while, the moving caravan is about 600-ft away from the abandoned wagon, so I creep up to investigate what is in the wagon.  The other two wagons have humanoid prisoners inside.  This is a normal wagon with a tarp over it.

Underneath the tarp are skins, tanned hides, weapons and a lockbox.  I open the lockbox, and find that it has a princely sum of gold coin inside.  I creep back to the forest, and wait for Liealot and Scout.

While I wait, the Orks shoot fire arrows at the wagon, and start it on fire.  Evidently, they are not coming back for the wagon.

Scout and Liealot arrive, and we discuss what has happened.  My plan was to wait in the tree, and shoot the Ork raiding party from behind, thinning their numbers down.  Since the raiding party never left the area with the three dead or unconscious tribe members, I decided that I should hold, and live to fight another day.

Now, I find nothing dishonorable about this approach.  I am small, and easily maimed or killed by large beasts with clubs and swords.  I know that I can’t go head to head with a large group of bad guys.  My contribution to the tribe is to hide at the edge of the battle and pick off the bad guys when they aren’t looking.  There is nothing dishonorable about that, I am simply using the skills that I have been given by the great creator dragon.

However, when Liealot followed the plan, he didn’t wait long enough to figure out if anyone was following him.  I’m not sure that if he had stayed, he wouldn’t have ended up dead also.  Not that I was particularly brave when the Orks carried the bodies of my tribe members off to their doom.

So Liealot, Scout and I waited until the fire died down on the cart, and Scout recovered the treasure, and buried it to make sure that it could be reclaimed on the way back.

We moved on towards the keep.  As we approached, we saw that it was on the side of a mountain.  Looking at the front of the keep, we could see the mountain on the right side, and an enormous cliff on the right side, dropping many hundreds of feet into a lake.  The keep had four large diameter 80 foot tall towers on the corners, with 40-ft walls between the towers.  The portcullis gateway had large holes, well, large to me, large enough to climb through.

Scout, Liealot and I discussed what to do.  After all, we were three against an unknown number of bad guys.  I go inside the keep to do some reconnoitering.  It is dark enough that I can sneak around without much chance of being seen.

I creep through a hole in the portcullis, and into the keep.  There were Ork guards everywhere.  They were not paying much attention, but this would not be a good place to get cocky and possibly get caught.

I take note of where the guards are, and where the prisoners are, and head back out to talk with Scout and Liealot.  We decide to stage a smart attack.  Scout and Liealot are going to hold back.  I am going to climb the outer wall, and shoot at the guards inside, and then retreat.  Scout will shoot the guards on the towers, and Liealot will be ready to beat anything that approaches her into the ground.

Things go well for a while, a short while.  I open up and kill one of the guards in front of one of the buildings inside the courtyard, and Scout kills one of the guards in the tall tower.  I kill another one, and am successful in hiding again.  Scout shoots another arrow, and hurts his hand.  This causes him to not be able to shot well.  I kill six total Orks, and then they have found my hiding spot.  At this time, two Orks mount dire wolves, and they start coming towards me.  Two Orks climb up onto the wall where I was hiding, and I decide it is time to run.  I scurry down the wall, and start running away as fast as I can, with the dire wolves and Orks in hot pursuit.

Things look bad.

The Saga of Pun Pun, the Kobold Part 6

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We all were excited.  After the last adventure, most of the tribe had the money, and were able to finish our training to become better at our skills.  For some reason, the Order of the Crown is requiring us to become tougher, then at some arbitrary point, they allow us to begin our training.  You would think that we could be trained as we got tougher, but that isn’t the way.

I wonder if this job is so dangerous that they don’t want to invest the time in us until after we have proven ourselves by surviving for some amount of time.

It doesn’t matter.  I have been spending my time training, learning the fine arts of disengaging, hiding and dashing.  These are very useful skills for me.  They probably would help the Liealot and maybe Dre.  Liealot seems to be content on running straight up on his foe, and asking to be hit as hard as the foe can do.  He is interested in only the frontal assault.

I have tried, and continue to try to convince Liealot that he should be more interested in saving himself for the big bad guy, not the minions.  I can shoot the minions with my shortbow.  I have also tried to convince Liealot that his self destructive nature of running at people who have arrows is not going to end up well.  After all, he did die, and have to be brought back from the dead because of this unique fighting style.

Liealot did spend his downtime working with other fighters, learning more martial arts with his sword and shield.  That should help.

Dre seems to be more content.  He is becoming more confident in his usual ways.  I still can’t figure that halfling out.  I guess that some beings are just not meant to be understood.

The druwitch was busy learning how to transform into other creatures.  So far, in practice, the druwitch has body shaped into weasels, birds, and other critters.  I am not terribly impressed, since she is a witch, and a gnome, whose fey ancestry is simply coming out.

The wizard seems to be more distant and unapproachable.  Kobolds have wizards and sorcerers.  This high and mighty personal view is not unusual for the magic users that I have seen in the underdark.  Even the Drow have a hierarchy, and once the female clerics move out of the room, the Drow males that cast magic are the highest in the room, certainly over the regular fighters, slave drivers and other Drow.  What is interesting is that all of the different types of Drow magic casters all feel as though they are the most important types of magic casters, except for those whose magic is illusion based.  Everyone looks down on the lowly illusionist.

Dreamboat is back.  He keeps trying to avoid me, but that isn’t going to do him any good.  He has not shown the Order of the Crown that he has enough experience for them to invest time in training him to get better yet.  It does not make sense.  He is amazing.  The Order of the Crown should be elevating him to the highest level, and making me his first in his concubine.  That would be the appropriate thing for the Order of the Crown to do.  Unfortunately, Commander Knowles doesn’t seem to understand the godlike beauty of this dragonborne male.  When he walks into the room, the room changes the tone, lighting and even the food tastes better.

No matter, the Order of the Crown will eventually understand the elevated status of the dragonborne.

So we are paid, and continue to train.  I now have a princely sum of 102 silver pieces.  All of it is in the bank.  I don’t know what to do with all of this coin.  I also don’t understand why the Order of the Crown feels the need to pay us for service back to the Tribe.  The Order takes care of all of our needs.  They give us food, lodging, missions to accomplish.  We have a tribe to be a part of. If I don’t want to eat the food that they provide us, which is far better than anything that my Kobold tribe ever fed us, then I can go out and partake of the offerings to the gods.

This idyllic life has the benefit of belonging to a tribe, where the tribe values us, and the tribe also feels the necessity to pay us.  I am not sure what to do with all of my coin.  I am saving it in case Commander Knowles ever needs it back.

I am confused by the other members of the tribe.  They spend the coin that the Order of the Crown pays them on things like food.  There is ample food already provided in the barracks, and if you need a snack, then there is the offering to the gods.

Dre told me about something he called ale.  It sound intriguing.  Water is boiled, the cooked grain is put into the boiled water, and then Dre says that the water sits for a long time and foments in barrels and kasks.  Then after some amount of time, it is drunk.

Dre says that there are hundreds of different types of ale, each with its own recipe.  I asked a wise man what it meant to foment, and he told me that it meant to stir up a violent course of action.  Why you would want grain water to have a violent course of action is beyond me.

Dre also told me that there is something called whine, which evidently involves something similar to ale, but you take juice from fruit, and foment it in small bottles.  I am wary of any drink which is called by the same name as a sound that a dog makes.  Why it is called “whine” as opposed to “fart” is beyond me.  The first people who made this probably realized that they couldn’t sell farts, but they might be able to sell whines.

This seems like alchemy.  Alchemy seems too outside the normal for me to be involved with.  Alchemists always are trying to turn lead into gold, rather than spending their time like dwarves, and just digging the gold up out of the ground.  Everything that alchemists have created is essentially experiments for turning lead into gold that have failed.  This has created explosives, acids, poison clouds, and so forth. In my experience, you should stay away from anything that an alchemist provides you, since it is probably unstable and will likely hurt you very much.

Anyhow, we got paid, and then were told to be ready for a mission in a few days.

We finish up our training, then report for payday, and get our mission.  We are joined by a ranger named Scout.  I have heard about people who are rangers.  They tend to work on their own, living in their element.  I decide to see what this human is about, and walk over, sit next to him and give him my best toothy grin.  He seems to be OK, his arrow quiver is half full of the fire arrows that I have been producing for the armory.  He is friendly enough, and doesn’t seem to be offended by my presence.

Commander Knowles tells us that we are going with Scout to look for a chest that is in a crypt, that is in a fort that was overrun by Orcs.  The Orcs and other evil beings have crossed the mountains and attacked into part of the land. There are armies that are in place that are warring with the Orc tribes.  The Order of the Crown is used as a small strike force to accomplish specific tactical goals that a large standing army could not do.

This is a good example of the type of specific tactical goal that a small group could accomplish.  A siege of the fort may be very costly, and could damage the fort beyond further usefulness, possibly destroying the chest that is so important.  Sending in a small specialized strike force into the fort may have a better chance of capturing the goal.

This chest is so important that the wizard is not participating in the mission.  Instead, the wizard’s familiar, a flying cat is accompanying us, and the other wizards back at the Order of the Crown will be teleporting the cat with the chest back when we find it.  We are expendable.  Now this seems to bother several members of the tribe.  I am confused by this concern.  As a Kobold, we are always expendable.  We do not have a death wish, we don’t want to die, but knowing our place, and understanding that we might need to die to protect something else is an important part of being in a tribe.  For example, if a Kobold den is in threat of being overrun, we would send out a delaying force, to give time for the rest of the tribe to move further away.  If you were selected to be a part of the delaying force, the tribe is honoring your sacrifice so that the rest of the tribe can live.  The delaying force doesn’t have to die, but they need to do everything they can to give the tribe as much time as possible to move out, and get to a safe location.

This mission, while maybe not desirable is really no different.  Someone has determined that there is a chest with something needed in it, that is beyond the lines controlled by our armies.  Our lot is to go and do everything we can to retrieve the item needed.

Scout tells us that the fort is about three miles east of Brackley.  I don’t know where this is, but Scout knows, and says that there are multiple ways to get there.  Some are faster, and have a higher risk, others are slower and still have some amount of risk.

The tribe has the first of several discussions about whether we take the safer route, but be in a lower level of danger for longer, or should we take the more dangerous route and be in danger for less time.  Eventually, we decide to take the more dangerous route, through the forest.

Dre seems to think that he should be given a horse, or maybe be carried on a litter, like a prince.  Scout is OK with this idea, as long as Dre pays for his own way.  Dre is not happy with multiple days of walking.

We are also lent special cloaks which help us hide.  The material is very fine, and sees to blur the light around us, making us hard to see.  Commander Knowles says that they are Elven cloaks, and are designed to help us blend into our surroundings, making it easier to pass unnoticed.  They appear to be magical.  I hope that this helps me hide from enemies.  I will need to keep the cloak in fine repair, to make sure that when I give this useful tool back to the Order of the Crown, it is still fully functional and clean.

We start out the next morning, and have several days of uneventful travel.  After several days, we enter the forest.  The second night in the forest, we rest in some enormous oak trees.  I like oak trees.  They are easy to sleep in, and they provide enough cover that you an shoot bad buys from them, then hide again.  These are the most enormous oak trees that I have ever seen.  The trunk is over twenty feet across at the base.

We divvy up watches, and I take first watch.  Nothing happens.  The next morning, I see the druwitch and Scout talking to two of the trees.  Dre is stuck in the tree.  He claims that the tree branch has wrapped over him, pinning him into the tree.

Dreamboat is not happy about falling out of the tree in the middle of the night.  He says that the tree branch simply folded over, causing him to fall onto the soft ground below.  I look at the tree branch he says dropped him, and it looks normal.  I am not sure what he is talking about, the tree branch looks fine.

Scout and the druwitch are muttering in the foul language of the fey at the trees.  I am not sure what they are doing, but it makes me nervous.  Nothing good ever comes from speaking one of the uncouth fey languages.

We start out again and have a pretty uneventful day.  Around dusk, we come across a small clearing, about 50-ft across, which has a hillock.  The party goes to the hillock and I climb up a tree at the edge of the forest.  I don’t like being in the clear.  Since I have been on the surface, I have found that being high up, shooting arrows from my shortbow is the most useful thing I can do.

We divvy up watches, and Liealot and I have first watch.  The rest of the tribe goes to sleep.  I keep watch from the tree.  Liealot seems to think that keeping watch involves sitting next to the fire, staring at it, while poking sticks into it.

Not long after the watch starts, I hear the horrible curses of goblins underneath me.  I don’t understand goblin, but I know it when I hear it.  Not 30 feet below me are four goblins, each with crossbows.  They appear to be pointing and gesturing at the tribe sleeping on the hillock.  Liealot doesn’t see the goblins.

As the goblins creep forward, I shoot one after another from above.  All four drop with four arrows.

I hate goblins.  They are foul, evil, nasty creatures.  They were responsible for destroying my tribe.  I killed all four of them before thinking about warning anyone.  I hope that there are not more coming.  In hindsight, it probably would have been a good idea to have alerted the rest of the tribe, because there may have been more.  I simply left them dead, on the ground as a warning to any other beasts that might want to approach the tribe’s camp.

The druwitch had the next guard shift.  As it happened, she came across a giant snake that was eating the goblin corpses.  It eat three of the four and then started following the druwitch over to the encampment, because her goat was standing next to her.  This caused Dre to wake up, and Dre screamed in a high pitch, and we all learned that Dre sleeps with no clothes on.

Things went quickly.  The snake was killed.  The poor thing was trying to eat a meal, and be a carrion reducer, and it died because the druwitch essentially baited it to come by the party.

Scout butchers the snake, and finds three fresh goblin corpses inside the snake.

The druwitch is really angry.  She is able to control her glamour, and keeps her demonic presence hidden.  But she is really angry.  She blames me, for killing the goblins and keeping them where they fell, instead of dragging the corpses away from the camp.

I know that the druwitch is only putting on a big show, trying to deflect the fact that she is the one who baited the giant snake to come to the encampment.  It is ok,  Everyone got to see what the druwitch really was.  She screwed up, and instead of taking the lumps for it, she tried to shift the blame to the one who actually took care of the problem for the tribe.  This is true fey thinking at work.  I fear that we will only see more of this as we continue on.

In the middle of the encounter with the snake, the druwitch did shapeshift to a bear.  Aterwards she was happily explaining that she had found a baby owlbear in the middle of the night on one of her shifts several days ago, that she would also be able to shapeshift into an owlbear.  I worry about the druwitch.  Why anyone would want to shapeshift into an owlbear is beyond me.  Now, being able to shapeshift into an adult dragon, now that would be worthwhile.  Owlbears?  Really?

The next morning, as we are thinking about breaking camp, five more goblins enter the clearing and are clearly confused.  They see one goblin corpse in front of them, three goblin corpses further away, covered in some form of slime, a butchered giant snake with large hunks of meat carved out of the body, and the tribe organizing themselves for a day of travel.

I shoot one of the goblins from above, then hide again in the tree.  The goblins look confused.  Then Dreamboat lets loose with an arcane bolt, and fries one of the goblins.  Things go badly for the goblins pretty quickly.  The druwitch shapeshifts into a dire wolf, and charges, resulting in the goblin she charged is cut in two.  In the end, there is one goblin who cuts and runs.  He gets about 50 feet into the forest before the druwitch passes him, turns around and stops in front of the goblin.  The goblin stops, drops his crossbow and raises his hands, apparently trying to surrender.  Dreamboat hits the goblin with an other arcane bolt, and the goblin is dead.

After some more time going through the forest, we come across a very wide, deep and fast moving river.  There is no way to cross without a boat.  The tribe talks for a long time, and determined that we need to cross at another location.  Scout knows where to go, so we follow him.

So we continue on through the forest, and find a small pond in a clearing.  This is a much larger clearing.  Dre, the druwitch and Liealot all strip off their clothing and go for a swim.  It seems that they are infested with some sort of small bugs that hide in their hairy parts, and they are wanting to get rid of these bugs.  This is where being a lizard is very helpful.  I have no hairy parts for bugs to hide in.

Dre, the druwitch and Liealot all go into the water, without checking for any monsters  They don’t take any weapons, and they are butt naked.  I hope that there are no leaches in the water, or giant octopus.  I haven’t seen a giant octopus, but I have heard that they can be both very nasty and delicious.

I am standing by the edge of the forest, trying to blend in, and two very large ogres come up and stand next to Scout.  Scout, being a ranger and all, and having the name “Scout” is oblivious.  I think that he is entranced by the three tribe members swimming in the pond.

I run up to the orgres and scream out “Do not attack, we are cleaning up these sacrifices for the Master!”  Unfortunately, the words don’t come out of my mouth well in common, and the ogres are not very good at common.

They ignore me and club Scout.  Things go badly pretty quickly.  Dre, the Druwitch and Liealot all try to get out of the pond.  While this is going on, the ogres split up, and one goes after Dreamboat, and the other hits Scout again, causing him to drop to the ground.

I shoot a couple of arrows at one of the ogres, Liealot grabs her sword and shield, and nothing else, and charges.  Watching a naked half elf fighter attack an ogre is very…. er… inspiring?  I really don’t know the right word to use, either Kobold or common.

Drey just charges.  The druwitch also charges.

The ogre that isn’t in combat with dreamboat moves up to the druwitch and Liealot and swings, but misses badly, knocking down the tree that I was hiding next to.

We end up killing of the first ogre by working together.

The second ogre runs away.  Dreamboat runs after, and keeps pooping off spells to slow the ogre down.  The druwitch revives Scout, and scout and I each plant an arrow into the orgre, then Dreamboat finishes off the ogre with another spell.

Things seem odd.

Savage Worlds – War of the Dead Episode 13

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So I have been trying to figure out how to describe what happened at the last Saturday RPG session.  I have been stewing over this for a while.  Things almost got back on track, then it didn’t.

In a nutshell.

  • The party drugged the Mayor.
  • The party dragged the Mayor.
  • The party learned what a real SOB the Mayor was.
  • The party found out that some people go missing, usually those who have leadership skills.
  • Collin confronted Bubba Skeeter, the head of the town’s guard system
  • Collin one-shot punched Bubba Skeeter, and killed him so dead that it was kind of embarasing.
    • And Collin did it with a 2 of clubs, but with exploding damage dice
      • Well, exploding doesn’t even come close to describing what happened with Collin’s dice
  • The party went out with an Army Sergeant to find a few missing troopers, or at least figure out what happened to them
  • The party found a military convoy, and the major in charge of the convoy wants to take over the town, or at least use it as a base of operations.
  • The town is not happy.

Yup, that is about it.  At least the big stuff.

Sue is back.  That didn’t make the group any more mature.

Case in point.

The party drugged the Mayor.

The party went to Elanor’s house and made bran muffins for the Mayor.  Now the Mayor is a health nut, so of course the mayor would like bran muffins.  Elanor informs the party that the Mayor is not a nice man.  He is uncouth, and unholy.  He believes all sorts of things that are not true about large groups of people.

Sue provided the Viagra for the muffins.  I mean, Sue, who had not been playing for the last few weeks magically created Viagra, well, the party did raid the pharmacy, and got a wide variety of medical supplies from behind the counter.

The party crushed up Viagra, to the tune of about 6 pills per muffin, and baked the muffins.  They then went to the Mayor’s office to provide a “peace offering”.

It turns out that the Mayor likes bran muffins, but he really likes them when there is a dollop of jelly or jam inside.  He states that this dollop of jam inside is better than cutting them open and slathering butter and jam on the muffins.

He eats two of the muffins.

Now here is the problem.  You know that thing that they say about “if you have an erection lasting more than 4 hours…”, well, 12 times the dosage for Viagra creates a bit of a problem.

At the same time, the padre starts drinking Patron tequila with the Mayor.  I won’t write all of the horrible things that the Mayor says, but in general, it involved:

  • Tequila is the only good thing to come out of Mexico
  • He has spent a lot of time in central and south America in the CIA doing counter insurgency runs against the drug cartels and the commies
  • The rocker looks like his mother mated with a llama.
  • Everyone agreed that the rocker, Broquen Glaz indeed looks like his mother mated with a llama
  • The Mayor has the hots for the hippy chick
  • The Mayor has the hots for the padre
  • The Mayor has the hots for Broquen Glaz, as long as Broquen Glaz shaves his ass first.
  • The Mayor is pretty much soused after drinking 14 shots of Patron.
  • The padre only drank a half of a shot, and tipped his shots to “keep up with the Mayor” into a potted plant, which is currently a very happy potted plan.

After quite a while, the Mayor is unable to stand up straight.  He has a hard on that makes him bend over at the waist, because his chinos don’t have enough crotch room.

This of course makes the drunken mayor make even more passes at the hippy chick, the padre, Broquen Glaz, and eventually the centurion, whom he has seen completely naked, and evidently likes what he saw.

Now the nurse (aka hippy chick) decides now is the time to hit the poor mayor with some Oxycontin.  She initially thinks that she is going to have to hide it, and crush the pills up and lace it in some shots of tequila.  The Mayor has no problem grabbing pills from her and downing them with the tequila.

It seems that the Mayor may be a bad ass, but he is also a drugged up drunk bad ass with a hard on that won’t quit.

The Party Dragged the Mayor.

Now this is kind of hard to describe.  The players took this, and ran with it.  So please, dear reader, don’t be offended by what I have written, I am simply reporting what the party did to the poor drugged, drunk mayor.

They decided to take the Mayor to Elanor’s house.  It seems that in addition to having the hots for the hippy chick, the padre, Broquen Glaz and the centurion, he also has the hots for Elanor.  He is so drunk that he forgot that he has the hots for Collin also, but then there is Elanor, who is an uptight woman, according to the Mayor, but he has lurid fantasies about what he would like to do with and to her.  Mostly involving a Parchisi board, cheddar cheese and some vanilla yogurt while listening to Karl Marx “Das Kapital” read in German by Liam Neeson.

But then, who wouldn’t get turned on by Liam Neeson reading Das Kapital in German?

Where was I?

Oh yes, they drugged the Mayor, then paraded him over to Elanor’s house.  Well, they tried to parade him to Elanor’s house.  He passed out on the way, falling face first onto the sidewalk.

His junk was so engorged that he was like a teeter totter.

This is where it gets weird.

The party chooses to “help” the mayor get to the doctor’s office by dragging him feet first, face down, allowing the concrete sidewalk to scour his clothes, producing, in the end, a very scratched up Mayor, including losing the tip of his penis, due to the grinding action.

For some reason, Eric thought that this was very appropriate.  He plays the Padre, and the Mayor had differences of opinion with the Padre about just about everything, starting with whether people of that skin color had any value.  We are in rural North Carolina, after all.

I tried to ham up the inbred dumbass bullshit that I heard in the Army, heard from southerners etc over my life.  As horrible as I made the Mayor towards the Padre, Eric kept saying “I have relatives in Kentucky, I have heard all of this before.”  Well, challenge accepted.  I kept getting more and more obscene in describing what the Mayor said, and Eric would say “Meh, heard it before.”  I up it a notch, and Eric just looks at me and says “is that all you got?”  Then Sue and Mike chime in and say “Jesus, Rob, we you aren’t even coming close to what we used to hear in Florida”.  Shari and Collin said at one point “Wow, you haven’t even come close to what we heard in Northern Idaho”.  Bill just sat there and tried to distract himself by looking at his phone.

I could not top these people with my rantings.  Eventually, I just gave up.  I can’t top reality.

I mean, when we have a society where a porn star is paid $130,000 in hush money to not talk about her affair with a married Donald Trump, and that doesn’t make President Trump’s supports say “hmmm”

When there are headlines like this:

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and

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Now I don’t care if President Trump, Candidate Trump or citizen Trump had affairs.  It is not my business.  What I care about is that he is continuing to make us all look like idiots to the rest of the world.

Every time I feel that the Trump circus can’t go lower, he shows us he can.  This man has talent.

Where was I?

Oh yes, A mayor, with some major rug burn, and then some.  The mayor is going to be hurting when the drugs wear off.

The party learned what a real SOB the Mayor was.

A little too late, the party remembered that the Mayor and the Doctor were brothers.  Oops.  The mayor’s condition didn’t seem to bother the doctor too much.  The doctor filled in the party about the mayor.

You see, the Mayor only showed up a few days after the zombie apocalypse started.  He dropped in out of the blue, and organized the town, making sure that they had adequate walls, training, etc.

The Mayor was a CIA operative in central America.  He was a very bad person down there, keeping the USA safe from democracy.  All of these skills allowed him to come by and take charge.

The town doesn’t really like the mayor, but the things that he instituted have kept the town safe for the entirety of the zombie apocalypse.  Now Erick and Mike seem to think that since the mayor arrived 2 days after the zombie hordes came, and that was 14 days ago, the 12 days of the mayor making sure that there was fuel for the generators, and ammunition runs is not very impressive.  Collin calls BS.  Sue is happy that the mayor is drugged and unconscious, and not hitting on her anymore.  Bill is happy that the mayor is no longer looking at him with a predatory leer.  The only one in the group that the mayor didn’t seem to be interested in was the little girl.  Even predatory asshole dickfaces have some things that they won’t do.

It doesn’t matter how many times Eric / padre tries to rudely interrupt the doctor by saying “don’t care”, “don’t want to know”, “shut up” etc.  The doctor is going to tell his story.  Damn it, the NPC has one job, and he is *going* to do it.

The party found out that some people go missing, usually those who have leadership skills.

While the party is at the doctor’s office, they are approached by an Army sergeant who is trying to figure out what happened to his three troops, Privates Aetuna, Caulkins and Klatu Berada Nec-hum-hum-huma. I don’t remember the third private’s name.

It seems that last night, these privates were assigned to go on patrol, and never came back.

In talking with the Doctor, it becomes apparent that the people who do patrols out side the gate tend to go out, and fewer come back in.  Common wisdom is that anyone who has leadership skills that might have a conflict with the Mayor go out with four other members on patrol, and amazingly enough that person is the only one killed by zombies.

Now the Party decides that this must be a big deal.  I try to explain to them that (1) two people missing do not make a statistically significant sample, (2) There appears to be a bias in the information, as it is not confirmed, just rumored (3) the biased information fits the biased perspective of the party, and so on.

That doesn’t matter.

There are ample examples of correlation not equaling causation.  Standard graphs such as:

autism-organic-food

Clearly show that if we stopped selling organic food, autism would cease to exist.

dxfWK

Similarly, importing Mexican lemons to the US has had a direct result in reduction in US highway fatalities.

pchart1

and my all time favorite, there is a relationship between the number of pirates in the world and the average global temperature.

Armed with factual statistics like these, the party decided that there must be a plot to kill off the most leadership prone people.

It never crossed their minds that maybe, just maybe the situation was that the person who had the highest leadership potential had no skills at fighting a zombie horde.

But that was Bubba Skeeter’s problem to deal with.

Collin confronted Bubba Skeeter, the head of the town’s guard system

The party decides to seek out the head of the guard.  They want answers, no they demand answers.

They go up to the house with the head of the guard and loudly demand satisfaction.  Now Bubba Skeeter as a big man.  He wore just bib coveralls.  I looked for pictures on the Interwebs that I could use for Bubba Skeeter, and decided that this was the best one that described him.

fat cat in overalls

Bubba speaks with a strong drawl, and the party can understand at best between 2 and 3 words out of every 6 spoken.  Kind of like listening to a cat in bib coveralls.

Bubba Skeeter seems to not want to do what the party wants. The party wants Bubba Skeeter to wake up the people who were on patrol last night, so that the party can interrogate them.  After all, correlation equals causation.  Right?

Bubba Skeeter is having none of this.  His boys came in just an hour ago, and need their sleep.  Otherwise, they won’t be worth a shit tonight.  No candy ass Yankee, or hippy woman, or llama-human hybrid, or weirdo in a centurion outfit or padre is going to change that.

That pisses off Collin.

I am not sure how it happened but Bubba Skeeter and Collin didn’t see eye to eye.  So Collin murdered Bubba Skeeter.  Now I realize in the zombie apocalypse, many of the rules of polite society go out the window.  But to just outright murder poor Bubba Skeeter was a little too much.

That is why I found a picture of a cute cat in coveralls to try to shame that callous Collin into understanding that you don’t just punch a guy to death because he won’t wake up the guards from last night when you demand it be done.

Collin one-shot punched Bubba Skeeter, and killed him so dead that it was kind of embarasing.

Collin and Bubba Skeeter decided that they needed to duke it out.  They go out to the road, and determine that the winner of the fist fight will toss the loser over the fence outside the town.

Bubba Skeeter drew a 6 of diamonds, Collin drew a 2 of clubs.

Bubba missed with his punch.  I didn’t chip it, since I figured that the fight would go a few rounds.

Collin, on his 2 of clubs, rolls stupidly high on his to hit roll, and gets a strength die (d12) plus a raise (d6), well, he would have had a few raises, but only the first one counts.

The on his damage roll, he explodes both the d12 and d6, and then explodes them both again, and then rolls a normal number.  He ended up doing something like 34 damage.  Maybe it was 32 damage after I took of Bubba Skeeter’s toughness.

Now exploding a d12 twice is pretty awesome.  Doing that type of stupid damage is more than awesome.  Bubba Skeeter took a shaken, and then at least 7 wounds.  There was no way I could chip enough damage to keep Bubba Skeeter in the game.

So Bubba Skeeter dropped to the pavement, dead.  Neck broken, back broken, massive hydrostatic damage to his soft organs…  Or maybe since Bubba Skeeter weighed over 450 pounds, the simple act of charging and swinging a meaty fist caused his heart to explode.  I am not sure.

What I am sure of is that the deal was that the winner had to pick up the loser, and drop him on the other side of the fence.

Collin didn’t do this.  He left Bubba Skeeter lying in the road.

So Collin didn’t win.

As the DM, I didn’t say anything, I wanted to see if Collin would finish the task.  He didn’t.  He was too busy thinking about how he should patent the move he just made, and incorporate it into Goomhaven to make Gloomhaven even more awesome that it already is.

So Collin didn’t win.

I am not saying that Bubba Skeeter won, but Collin didn’t win.

The party went out with an Army Sergeant to find a few missing troopers, or at least figure out what happened to them

The sergeant convinces the party to come with him to find Private Caulkins.  The sergeant thinks that Caulkins is going home.

The party wanted a car.  I gave them a lifted Chrysler K car.  I did this before I did some searching on the Internet for pictures of cars.  As I am writing this blog, I found this picture.

IMG_4202-626x426

This will likely be an upcoming car for the party, since it is so amazingly cool.

The problem is that the six seater K car (four regular people, 6 if you have very small people and a front bench seat… VERY small people).  the sergeant makes 7 people, and presumably, they have to get Caulkins back if they find him.

Eric has the answer.  Rip out the trunk lid, and weld a bench seat onto the back.  I try several times to get Eric to explain how he is going to attach the seat.  I explain that hte generators only create 120 VAC, and arc welders run on 240 VAC or higher.  There just isn’t the load ability to run arc welders.  Eric assumes that I mean that there is no welding equipment there.

Eric then goes on a five minute tirade about how this is not representative of the south that he knows, and has lived in, where every house has at least an arc welder and gas welders, and many houses also have several mig welders also.  His tirade explains that welding equipment is more ubiquitous in the south than moonshine stills.

I tell him again… they have gas welding, but no power for arc welding.  Finally, after he is exhausted from his tirade, he relents and says, fine, gas welding it is.

So I want Eric to explain how he intends to attach the bench seat into the trunk of a unibody car.  I explain that the gas tank is under the trunk, and they will have to remove the gas tank or possibly have a fire.  He is convinced that the Dodge K car has the gas tank in the middle of the car, not under the trunk mat.

Eric knows a lot but I don’t think I would trust him to do a modification of my car.

Eric then says that he will use straps to keep the seat in place.  Once again, I ask how the straps will work on a unibody car.  Finally, everyone decides to just cram into the car and go.

The party found a military convoy, and the major in charge of the convoy wants to take over the town, or at least use it as a base of operations.

The party goes out the gate, and starts down the road Caulkins is likely to have taken.  After a half hour, they see a convoy of military humvees heading towards where they came from.  The sergeant says that they should turn around and go back.  Collin, the driver complies.

The town is not happy.

It seems that the convoy is being commanded by a US Army Major, who wants to take over the town and use it as a base of operations.

The town is not happy.

The mayor is incapacitated.

The head of the guard is still lying face down, dead, in the middle of the street.

No one has cleaned up the dead zombies at the high school football field.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Saga of Pun Pun, the Kobold Part 5

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The tribe was busy for another week.  It ended up being pretty bad for the fighter and the druwitch.  But that is for later.

We are given a mission.  We were supposed to go on patrol in the city.  We were paid, and then we left on patrol.  Commander Knowles wanted us to get to work, and get out of the office.  I get it, we are supposed to be busy, not hanging around, trying to look busy.

Commander Knowles wants us to patrol around one of the market areas.  We all leave, and within two bells of starting our patrol we are approached by several town guards.  It seems that they have found a body.  I ask if the body is dead or alive, and they just look at me like they couldn’t believe that a Kobold could speak common.

The guards take us to a human who has been murdered.  His throat is slit and he has bled all over his fine clothes.  He is dressed very well.  He has marks on his hands that make it look like he had several rings taken off his hands.  The fighter and Dre ask a lot of questions, but it doesn’t seem like they are getting any good answers.

Dre draws a picture of the dead guy, so he can show it to other people, hoping to have a person recognize the picture.

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Unfortunately, no one recognizes the man from Dre’s picture.  I think it is because no one wants to get involved in a murder investigation.  There is too much chance that it might come back on you.  There is a lot of undercurrent here on the surface.  The people here are lucky that they don’t have to fear imminent attacks from the Drow.  Now the drow wouldn’t bother murdering a single being.  The Drow would come in and murder entire lots and families.

But we are looking at a single dead human here.  The human was murdered and left in the alley.

Dre thinks that this means that he was simply murdered, maybe for the possessions that he had on him.  He had some rings, and nice clothing. He may have just been mugged and left to die.  Dre is pretty sure that this was not a ‘hit’, since he was not left out in a place that had high visibility.

We go to a nearby pawn store, hoping that someone may have heard something.  Between the pawn store and a nearby smith, we find that the pawn store owner thinks that he is a general player, but he doesn’t know anything and doesn’t recognize Dre’s picture.  The smith heard some commotion outside the window last night.  The people sounded like they were speaking common and sounded like they were human, but the smith didn’t listen too closely.  He was busy etching designs on weapons.  The smith thought that it was dangerous to poke outside his door at night.

I can’t disagree with the smith.  We had some bad things happen during some night missions.  Dangerous people and beings are outside at night.  IT is a pretty good idea to stay inside where you can be warm and dry, and hopefully keep your neck properly attached to your body.

We did some more investigation.  The druwitch and fighter investigated the body.  The fighter and druwitch take the shoes off the corpse, and find that someone had carved a symbol onto the heel of the corpse.  It looks like this:

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The druwitch and the fighter seem to think that this is important.  Mostly because people don’t usually have fresh wounds carved into their feet.

The man who hide behind conjured rocks thinks he knows what this symbol is.  This symbol is what slavers from Mallow use to brand their slaves.

Slavers. Kobolds hate slavers.  Drow have slaves.   Deep gnomes, svirfneblin, have slaves.  Orcs and goblins have slaves.  No civilized race has slaves.  Only the evil horrible monster races have slaves.

Now I know that slavery exists in this “civilized” world of the surface.  That is disturbing.  Slavery always preys on the weakest elements.  Beings conquered in battle, beings who are indebted to others and can’t pay their way out, beings who are born into slavery and have no chance to get out.  Slaves in the underdark are in a horrible position.  The Drow have a hierarchy in their world.  The females are the most important.  The males are a very distant second.  In the males, if you have magical talent, then you might be treated somewhat better, but they still must placate the females.  Within the males, the magic blessed ones then come the fighters, and then the merchants and below that are the slave traders and slave masters.

I have never had the misfortune of  dealing with Drow, but I heard plenty of stories.  They are evil creatures.  The Drow slaves can do any number of tasks, from tending to food needs (farming and food preparation),  being experiment subjects for the Drow sorcerers and clerics, to being front line soldiers intended to reduce the number of arrows and blunt the weapons of defenders to the Drow onslaught.

The svirfneblin, or deep gnomes are another horrible race that keeps slaves.  The deep gnomes don’t keep slaves for too long.  They are very suspicious creatures, always wary that someone will find the vein of ore or fancy rocks.  They use slaves for short periods of time to help clear out their mines, then once something that they find valuable is dug out, they slaughter the slaves.

In any event, slavers are always a bad thing.

While Dre and I are asking the pawn shop owner and the smith for information, The wizard decided to go to his favorite bar and ask for information.  The druwitch and the fighter take the shoe to a clothing shop and ask about it.  The proprietor of the clothing shop recognizes the shoe, since he made them.  The shop owner says that the shoes belonged to a man name Tomlin, a trader and merchant from Mallo.  This is good news, we finally have some information.

Now we are onto something.

The shop keeper says that Tomlin stays at the Wings Respit in.  We all decide to go over to the Inn.  As we enter, we notice several groups of people eating, all minding their own business.  The fighter shows Dre’s picture to the barkeep, and asks if they have a tenant named Tomlin present. The barkeep goes and gets the owner of the business.  As we wait, the druwitch and sorcerer both notice that two men look interested in the conversation.  The owner approaches the fighter, and asks what this is about.  The fighter tells the owner that Tomlin was murdered last night, and we are investigating the murder.  The two men who looked interested look extremely distressed and start to leave.  Dre and the druwitch stop them and ask them why they are leaving.

It seems that these two men were guards in the employ of Tomlin.  They had accompanied him, along with three other guards to guard the convoy of carts that he took into town.  The carts had spices that Tomlin had imported from another island.

The fighter asks the owner if the tribe can investigate Tomlin’s room.  The owner allows it.  As the tribe and the two guards go up the stairs to Tomlin’s room, it becomes apparent that Tomlin has magically sealed the door to his room.  I suggest to the owner that we could bust through the wall, since the door is likely the only thing magically warded.  For some reason, she thinks that this is the wrong thing to do. She does say that there is a window off the back alley.  I go back, climb the outside wall, slip open the window and crawl in.  The room is small, and has a wardrobe, chest of drawers, along with a soft bed.

The door won’t open from the inside any better than it wouldn’t from the outside.  It appears that we need some sort of wizard or sorcerer to undo the magic that is holding the door closed.

I call through the door, and tell the tribe what I see, and that there is a rope hanging outside the window.  Pretty soon several of the members of the tribe join me.  They find several changes of high quality clothes, along with a locked lockbox in one of the drawers.  The lockbox is magically warded also, so it won’t open.  I suggest that we could drop it out of the window onto the ground below, and the fighter is convinced that would be a bad thing, after all, what if there were potions inside.

The wizard takes the lockbox.  He thinks he can get it open. or maybe have one of his wizard buddies help him out.

The wizard disappears for a while, then comes running back to the party, panting and telling me that I need to pick the lock on the lockbox, like right now.  The lock isn’t easy, but I get it open pretty quickly.  It is disappointing. There are no potions inside.  Only a book and a bag of heavy coins.

The party investigates the bag of coins.  There are many platinum coins.  Meh, no value here.  The book is also interesting.  It seems to be a business ledger, detailing how Tomlin brought slaves from Mallo to another island where he traded the slaves for magic items, then traded the magic islands on another island for spices, and he is turning the spices into cash here.  It seems that he takes the cash back and buys more slaves, and keeps the cycle spinning.

The two guards take us to another tavern, and we meet up with two other guards from Tomlin’s caravan.  They don’t know where the third guy is.  We split up, and each of us go with one of the guards to see if we can figure out where the last guard went to.  I go with one of the guards to look at half the gates and talk with the city guards at the gates.  The fighter goes with another guard to other city gates.  Dre goes with one guard to check out some taverns, and the druwitch goes with the last guard to check out the markets.

When we call come back, we find that the guards all come back, and Dre is not with his guard.  The guard says that Dre is at a tavern named the spunky nugget, and he is watching the room that the fifth guard is in.

We all hurry over, well all of us except the wizard.  The wizard thinks so highly of this mission that he leaves to go somewhere else, but lets his flying cat come along with us.

When we get to the door that has the fifth guard behind it, the door is locked.  I pick the lock, and then step back to provide covering fire, or to deny exit from an enemy who charges out.

The party storms in. It is a blood bath. Not the good type.  The guard has three friends, and they are mean and tough.  I ended up shooting one of them twice with well aimed fire arrows, and Dre punched him really hard, and he didn’t even flinch.

In the end, Dre ran away, since he was really hurt badly.  The fighter died.  I mean really died.  The wizard’s cat died.  The druwitch got knocked out, and almost died.

As all of the front line people fell in front of me, I stood in the door with my shortbow and stared as the fifth guard slammed the door in my face and then locked it again, with the corpse of the fighter and ex flying cat and the unmoving body of the druwitch inside.

I pick the lock, and try to open the door, but it has been jammed.  Dre slams against the door and it doesn’t budge.  He must have loosened it for me, since when I slammed into the door, it opened.

It is a horrible place of carnage inside.  A regular charnel house.  Two bodies of our tribe members, and the corpse of the flying cat are lying there on the floor.  The four bad guys are gone.  Dre rushes in and tries to save the fighter, but she is gone.  I rush over to the druwitch and am able to stabilize her.  I fear that her being allowed to live will only bring on the future of a portal opened from hell, with demons spewing forth into this world, while the druwitch cackles maniacally.

The wizard shows up finally, and learns of the news.  He doesn’t seem to care that his flying cat was killed.  He is concerned about the fighter.

We take the corpse of the fighter to a church, and the wizard offers to pay to have the fighter brought back to life.  In great fanfare, the fighter comes back, and looks very confused and very much in pain.

It seems that the wizard agreed to rid a certain crypt of undead creatures in payment for bringing back the fighter.  It also seems that we have all been volunteered to help out.  I guess that we will have to do this by autumn, and it is spring now.  We have some time to get more skills that will hopefully allow us to live.

After lots of discussion, it is determined that we (meaning the wizard) need to turn in the money and the ledger book to Commander Knowles.  He counts out the money, then hands 500 gold pieces to the wizard for a “finders fee”.  I am not sure what that means, since I found the box, but the wizard found what was inside the box after he ran up to me with it and I unlocked it for him.

Oh well.  The wizard tried to give me 100 gold from the finders fee.  I only needed 14 gold to make up a total of 20 personal gold to begin my in depth training.  So I gave 86 of the 100 gold back to the wizard.  Then when I went to pay for my training, Commander Knowles told me that I had done so many things for the Order of the Crown, that my training wouldn’t cost me anything.  So I gave the other 14 gold back to the wizard.  I am paid by the Order of the Crown to be a member of the tribe.  I don’t need any finder’s fees.  I have the best friends, food, and adventures possible.  Who needs extra loot?

Besides, the rest of the party seems to want things like better weapons, better armor, better clothes, and maybe a 10-ft pole.

Savage Worlds – War of the Dead Episode 12

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So we met yesterday with the intention of playing Savage Worlds, War of the Dead.  You know, continuing on in the campaign.  Well, it kind of worked.

The entire thing started out with Sue almost ready to come back from Inbredlandistan, keeping ‘Merica safe on her secret mission to “watch her daughter’s cats while her daughter was in training”.  Yeah, right.

Well, let’s back up.  The party spent a lot of time not doing the game.  People were late.  I am not naming anyone, but Eric and Rob were on time.  Mike came a few minutes late, and the rest of the group showed up really late.  Not that I am naming names, but the “rest of the group” may be Collin, Shari and Bill.  That is OK.  I am not on a timeline.  But between the late start and the general conversation at the table, we didn’t get started until about an hour and a half after we were supposed to.  Now, most of that time was BS’ing, along with gossip.

So backing up, I had a busy week at work.  I went to Houston Texas, well actually Sugarland Texas for several days.  Now I have a love / hate relationship with Texas.  I dislike the politics they have on display.  I don’t hate their politics, but I disagree with the conservative things that they do.  The people are really nice.  Whenever I interact with the people, it shows me that decent, kind people could have very different politics than I believe in.

The heat and humidity (and cockroaches) are enough to make me want to run away screaming.  I can take dry heat.  I can take cool and humid.  I don’t like hot and humid.  Even air conditioners only do so much, since you still have to walk outside, or get into a hot car. And there are cockroaches.

I don’t understand how people can live there.  I don’t understand why people live there.  It was 80 degrees and pretty darned humid while I was there.

I did do some interesting things while I was there.  I stopped at a game store I randomly found on Google.  It was Golem’s Gate in Stafford, near Sugarland.  The game store was small, but had a good selection of board games, and surprisingly, a really nice selection of RPG’s.  They had hard copies of several Savage Worlds games, along with the usual D&D game books.  It was surprising that Pathfinder was not represented, but World of Darkness was.

I wonder if D&D 5e is undercutting the Pathfinder dominance of the industry.  Paizo had a huge runaway hit with Pathfinder.  It was easy, approachable, and eventually (in my opinion) sagged under its own weight.  I mean, in order to keep the monster fed, they have to come out with new books and modules regularly.  Do we really need 6 official bestiaries?  To be fair, all you need to run a good game is a core book and Bestiary 1. There are two extra books that add new rules for races and classes that are pretty nice.  I have four bestiaries, along with several after market monster manual books.  I haven’t bought bestiary 5 or 6 , since I have so many RPG books, I just haven’t felt the need to get them.  This probably says something about me, since my functional problem with things is that I am a completist.  If I get into a game, I want to get everything for that game.  This is problematic when I have the following current major RPG lines…

  • Dungeon Crawl Classics
  • Mutant Crawl Classics
  • Pathfinder
  • D&D 5e
  • Rifts
  • Harn
  • Runequest
  • Call of Cthulhu
  • Paranoia
  • Amazing Adventures
  • Starfinder
  • GURPS

and so on, and so on.  You see the problem…  It bugs me when I don’t have all of the supplemental product for every game I have.  Now I have large PDF libraries for other games.  For instance, when I see something that is on Drivethru, I will buy it in PDF, and may print it out for easier reference. That is what I did for Star Frontiers.  Now, I had most of the stuff for that game when I was a kid.  When I found it in PDF format, I grabbed it.  I bought the entire V1 set of books and modules for Twilight 2000 a few months ago.  It was about $40, but I played the heck out of that when I was in high school.  I will eventually print it out and bind it to have it available for easier reading, and maybe force it on one of the gaming groups I participate it in.

This week, I grabbed the entire PDF set for Aftermath, a serious Post Apocalyptic game series.  I played this in middle and high school also.  It required a flow chart to play.  It was super detailed.  The game was a little much, but it was a hard science version of post apac that was more serious than Gamma World.  Think more like Traveller in seriousness and science fiction.  I didn’t like the game system for Aftermath.  But I would mod the ideas into Gamma World and Morrow Project.

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Yes, that is the flow chart from Aftermath.

The game system was not for the faint of heart.  The ideas were pretty awesome, and could be folded into other games with a limited amount of work.  Kind of like how you can take just about any fantasy RPG module, and with a little amount of work make it work within any fantasy RPG system.

I was the only person in my gaming group in middle and high school that had a paper route, so I had a steady source of income.  Everyone else had to wait for their parents or other relatives to buy them stuff.   They tended to want to play one game, or possibly two games because they didn’t have the income to go and buy new game systems.  The games tended to be D&D (1st Edition) and Star Frontiers.  That is because for a nominal fee, you could buy the core books for those games, and have a lot of fun.  I liked those fine, but I also wanted to play other stuff.

TSR had good ideas, but other gaming companies had good ideas also.  I found that I could weave into the D&D or Star Frontiers horror, wonky post apocalyptic ideas, etc.

Yes, I was usually the DM, since I had the money from the paper route to buy the books.  I also liked the books and modules.  I would read them and imagine what I could do with them in the games we played.

I actually never really played RPG’s much.  I usually ran them.  I like running them, and kind of framing the story that we are all involved in, I do like playing too.  I am having a lot of fun with Pun Pun, the kobold trapmaker in our Thursday game night.

Where was I?  I was prattling on about games…

When I was at Golem’s Gate in Stafford, I found amongst the RPG’s two copies of the original Deadlands DM screen, and one copy of the paper character cutout standees.  They were $15 apiece.  All brand new, never been opened.  I texted Loren to ask if she wanted one.  Then I called Loren…  I am not a stalker, but this was pretty cool.  Loren later told me that she was in Safeway, and her phone doesn’t work inside that store, so she didn’t get back to me.

I bought all three, just on the off chance that Loren wanted the DM screen.  I wanted one of the DM screens and the standees for me.  Later Loren told me that she already owned the DM screen, but we could go in it halves and give it to Daron.  Daron seemed to think it was pretty all right when we gave it to him.

The trip to and from Texas was bleh.  I don’t really like flying.  I am not afraid of it, I just find sitting in a small seat for hours on end truly unfun. I have traveled a lot.  The thrill is gone.  Maybe that is because when I traveled for work, I went to places like Lubbock Texas, St. Louis Missouri, and so forth.  Not that those places are bad but if I were going to the Bahamas, that might be better.

I returned with little fanfare.  The dogs were very happy to have me come home.  The kids and wife were happy also, but they didn’t bark excitedly at me or for me when they saw me, like the dogs did.

Friday was a pretty quiet day.  I spent it in quiet recuperation with the dogs.  Then Saturday came.  As were were getting ready to out the door, we get the following from Sue, who was still on her secret patriotic mission in Inbredinistan

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We weren’t sure what that meant, so I chose to send Mike thoughts and prayers.   I created a poll on Facebook Messenger to see if we could come to some sort of understanding of how to be nice to Mike today.

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I figure that if that is enough for the Republican Party after a horrific school shooting, that should be more than ample for an RPG session.

We meet at Dice Age Game emporium, and wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Well, it wasn’t really that long, but the Harer family is getting coffee.  Evidently, they had to grow the beans and roast them before the coffee was able to be served.

Meanwhile, we were starting to get bored.  So we did the only thing that people do when they get bored.  They start thinking.  I have a bright idea that we need to tease Collin about Gloomhaven being so AWESOME!

Quickly, in some odd way, a plan is hatched.  Well, we actually took more time trying to find a marker that we could insta-tat on Mike’s arm than we spent thinking about the overall project, but through desperation, inspiration came through.

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Mike covers up the fake tat, and waits for the Harer’s.  And waits.  And waits.  Then waits some more.  Evidently, the Harer family is still playing Gloomhaven.

Finally, the Harers show up, all of about 5 minutes late and Mike shows the tat to Collin, who has the following reaction:

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I am not sure if this is fear, angst, gas, or what.  He seems to like the tat, and mutters about how he should get it in permanent manner on his back.

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Things seemed to go downhill from there.  We really need Sue back to get us back on track.

It didn’t take long and Eric steered us down the old S&M path.  He decided that all of the minis needed to be roped together into some form of ritualistic orgy…

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And then Mike started playing with the barf bag I grabbed for him on the plane.

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I really can’t explain why I got a barf bag for Mike.  It started several years ago.  I think it was about 12 years ago, when I went on a business trip to California, and Mike asked me off the cuff if I would bring him something cool from Anaheim CA.  In desperation of looking for something cool, while at a conference for traffic engineers, I found nothing.  So I grabbed a flyer from the hotel that was for the Richard Nixon library in Yorba Linda CA and a barf bag from the airplane and gave it to him.  Mike seemed pleased with the gift.  Ever since then, when I can grab a barf bag from the airplane, as in when I remember to grab a barf bag from the airplane, I give it to Mike.  This is a true test of the concept of “it is the thought that counts”.

After I posted a picture of Mike playing with the barf bag puppet, Sue responded on Facebook Messenger with:

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Followed by…

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Not getting into any specifics of what we did to her husband, Mike seemed to enjoy himself, a lot.

Where was I?  I think I adequately described the pregame show.  Now onto what we actually did.

You see, this was intended to be a session where the party could actually rest and recuperate.  They were provided an idyllic setting where they could rest up, and prepare for the next few chapters.  It provided the opportunity for a base of operations where they could be well taken care of.

Did they take advantage of this?

No.

Not at all.

Rails?  Who needs rails?

The adventure started out just where it left off the previous week.  Bad things happened.  As Collin was driving the van, an Apache helicopter crashes right in front of the van, causing Collin to swerve to try to evade the helicopter.  Well, Collin is kind of a poor driver who has moments of brilliant inspiration.  This was not one of those moments.

Collin is unable to swerve out of the way with his sweet 1973 Chevy Van.  He crashes into the helicopter, and destroys the van.  Everyone in the van is seriously injured due to the crash.  The party looks outside, and sees that the burning helicopter is right in front of them, and sadly, there are a large group of zombies shambling towards the crash scene.  Help is on its way!  Not so much.

Mike’s Luchador bravely hops out of the van, and is quickly surrounded and dies.  Shari runs away.  Just as things are getting bad (as if Mikes character dying in the first encounter of the session), four large 4X4 trucks drive up with two men with rifles in the back and they dispatch the zombies.

Mike pulls out a pregen character, who is a glam rock star, whose weapon is a guitar.  I don’t remember the glam rock star’s name, but it is something like Jem

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Or maybe one of these guys.

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or one of these guys.

2002 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

Whatever the story is, I think that Mike’s character should be on a never ending quest for Aqua Net.  I mean, how else can he have hair like this in the zombie apocalypse?

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It is about this point in the game where we start getting trolled by an 8 year old girl who is in the store.  She hangs around the periphery of the table, listens to what is going on, and offers her opinion about things.  Mike loses it.  Not in a bad way, but everything this girl says causes Mike to laugh uncontrollably.  The girl has strong opinions, and is perfectly willing to express them.  The girl hangs around for the better part of a half hour and keeps Mike in stitches the entire time.

The people in the truck offer to take the party to their town, so they can recuperate and possibly join them.

Now for some reason, several of the party members seem to think that this may be a trap.  After all, no one helps out in the zombie apocalypse.  Right?  Eric keeps referring to the Governor and the Walking Dead, as though there is some sort of connection.  How could a group of nice people actually exist in this day and time, much less nice people in North Carolina?  We all know that no one in North Carolina is nice.  Just like we know that there are no basements in Florida, and all boats have canopies on them.

The party goes with the people in the trucks, but only after securing all of the medicine that they could from the wrecked van.

The people in the truck are friendly, and they drive for a while and end up coming up on the town of Dalesbury, which is surrounded by a wall made out of junked cars, tractor trailers, farm vehicles and the such.  There is a gate, and people with guns are manning the wall.

The gate opens and the four trucks pass through, and they drive down the main street of the town.  There is one street, and a dozen or so crossing streets.  The town has a movie theater, a post office, two bars, a grocery store, a hardware store and many houses.

The trucks stop in front of a doctor’s office, and the people are led into the office.  The doctor introduces himself to the party as Doctor Lewis.  Doctor Lewis seems like a pretty OK guy.  He has each of the party members go into a specific exam room in the office.  Each party member is followed by two town members with guns.  The town members explain that they are not trying to be rude, but since the party is new to town, they really don’t trust them, and it is possible that they could be bitten, or want to create problems.  They apologize for the treatment, and ask that the party consider the position from the town’s perspective.  The doctor heals several of the party’s wounds, and asks about the medicine that they brought, is it available for others in the town, or does the party want to keep it for their own.

The response from Eric and Collin is reassuring but noncommittal.  Doc responds that it is OK, but if the party decides to stay with the town, then all resources should be shared.  Once again, no specific response that agrees or disagrees from the party.

The Doctor tells the party that they will be put up in Elanor’s house.  Elanor lost her husband in the beginning of the plague, and she has a large house with lots of rooms.

This is where important plot points could have been included, in the event that (a) corporal Hauser, (b) any one of the three soldiers that accompanied the corporal, (c) the little girl with the flu, and / or (d) the father of the girl with the flu would have allowed for some more information to be described to the party.  But since none of these people were living any more, that doesn’t matter.

As the Doctor finishes up his examination and healing, the party is approached by the Doctor’s brother, who is the mayor of town.  The mayor seems unimpressed by the people that were brought in.  A glam rocker, a person dressed as a Roman centurion, a Hispanic priest, a young girl and a white man.

For some reason, Eric’s character, the Hispanic priest takes umbrage to everything that the mayor says.  It doesn’t seem to matter what is said, the priest takes it as an affront.  It seems that the priest has a chip on his shoulder.   The priest figures that the mayor is a bigot and a horrible person who does not value anyone who is not white.  Well, he may be right.  The priest gets more and more frustrated as the Mayor slights the priest in every way and opportunity possible.  It seems that the Mayor is not happy to have people like the priest here.  Eric is pretty sure that the Mayor is upset about him being Hispanic, but it could be that the priest is not of the correct version of the faith.

As the party is walked to Elanor’s house, they notice that everyone is armed, but no one has tried to take away the guns from the party.  They find out that the town has several generators that they keep running, and they need to find fuel to keep things going.  The town has gardens where food is grown.

Elanor is happy to have the company.  She has a nice and tidy home, where the living room is in various colors of violet, and the sitting room is in various shades of dusty rose.  Elanor makes over her visitors, and tells them that she would like them to rest until lunch, and she will have a very nice beef stew to eat.

The party rests until lunch, and then comes downstairs to a delicious beef stew for everyone.  Elanor is a good host, and has pulled out all of the parsnips, rutabagas and turnips from the stew, leaving a delicious beef stew with carrots, potatoes and celery, allowing the party members to add the other root veggies as they desire.  Elanor knows that not all people like these types of veggies in their food, so she thinks it is better to allow people to add them than try to figure out how to politely not eat them.

Elanor is a beautiful woman in her early 30’s, and talks about how she and her husband wanted to start a family, but he was not able to fertilize her seed.  They were talking about adopting a baby or five before she was left behind and her husband ascended into heaven.  She is sad because she thought that she had lived a righteous life, and would have been called with the other believers in the rapture, but that was not so.  She tries to put on a brave face, but knows that for some reason, she is destined to an eternity in hell, because only the righteous were taken when the seventh seal was torn asunder.  She hopes that if she continues to live a good live, a godly life, that she will be allowed to at least glimpse a view of heaven before she is thrown in to the pit of hell.  Maybe a short glimpse will be enough to keep Satan from entirely owning her soul.

Eric consoles her, telling her that some people were taken in the rapture, but others of true faith were left on this mortal coil to minister to the wicked to hopefully give others the ability to also ascend to heaven.  Maybe Elanor’s faith is what kept her here after the rapture, to help others, and show the truth of faith.

Elanor seems to take solace from what the priest says.  Maybe she will enter the Kingdom of Heaven after all.

The priest asks Elanor about the Mayor.  Elanor tells the priest that the Mayor is not a nice man.  He only wants to be around white people.  Anyone other than a white person is not worthy.  It is unfortunate, but racism lives beyond the Rapture.

The party is told that they will be brought before the town members that evening.  During that time, the party can tell the town members what their skills and abilities are, along with what their story is – how they survived the Apocalypse, and then the town will determine if the party should become members of the town or not.

This should be pretty easy, but the party is not going for it.  For some reason, the party wants to do more.

The centurion and the Mayor get into a conversation about the centurion’s ability to fight, and pretty soon, the centurion has agreed to show his prowess by an Olympic style event.  The mayor and the centurion eventually agree to letting 10 zombies charge the centurion, and the centurion has five discuses (hub caps) and five javelins and his sword.  Evidently, the centurion will fight completely naked also.  The Mayor wants to make sure that this is not embarrassing for the centurion, so he is told he will be chained to a spot, and will not be able to move more than 10 feet from where the chain is locked down at on the ground.

Collin wants to get in on this also.  So does the priest.  They all decide that the first order of business is to allow the centurion to show his battle prowess, then they will reset, and then 10 more zombies will charge at the centurion and Collin’ where Collin can uses 5 bullets in his 50 caliber Barrett rifle, then it is all hand to hand combat.  Meanwhile, the priest can show his power channel through the Lord, and help out the two in the kill pocket.  The Mayor likes the idea of some entertainment for the townspeople since they don’t get to do much otherwise, and the Mayor keeps trying to get more zombies against the party members.  After all, if 10 can be handily dispatched, why not 20?

In the end, the games commence, and the town comes to watch the entertainment.  Mike decides to play power cords on his guitar through the boom box that the town provided.

The centurion takes his place with his five hubcaps and five spears, and his sword.  The zombies are let loose, and amazingly, the centurion kills one zombie with a hubcap.  He kills several with spears, but this is where it gets strange.  Somehow, Eric, the priest all of a sudden figured out that his character had a spell which could be used against the undead, which could turn them, or possibly destroy them.  That would have been nice to use any time in the last, say, 10 sessions.  Eric walks up to the fence, and proceeds to do his magic, and several zombies are stunned, and one drops dead.  The crowd doesn’t seem to notice.  In the end, four zombies get into combat reach of the centurion.

This is where it gets weird.

Now, I have tried to explain the bucolic, calm, nice atmosphere of the town.  This is an oasis in the desert.  Things are nice and quiet here.  If the party plays nicely, then they will have a good base of operations to work out of for a good while.

Does the party agree?  Nope.  They are going to screw things up, because… rails?  who needs rails?

Collin, Shari and Bill all toss the mayor over the fence, into the area where the zombies are.  The mayor is in no danger, but the mayor shoots his 44 at Collin, missing him, but requiring Collin to use a chip.

Collin tells the mayor to call this thing off.  He does this while somehow unlimbering his 50 caliber Barrett sniper rifle and trying to intimidate the mayor.  So the Barrett sniper rifle is not a gun you can Rambo.  It is a big gun.  I mean big.

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It weighs 31 pounds unloaded, and is almost 60 inches long.

There is no way that you can Rambo this bad boy.

Now, I carried the M60 when I was in the army.  We all tried to do this…

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We couldn’t effectively do it.  The gun is heavy, and more importantly, there is a lot of weight in the front of the gun, making gravity want to pivot it away from you.

It is a game.  So I let Collin intimidate the Mayor with his big gun.

The mayor says “fine” and walks away, not even looking at Collin trying to balance his big gun menacingly.

The zombies continue to attack the centurion.  It takes several rounds of combat, and pretty much everyone giving Bill their chips, but the Centurion ends up killing all of the zombies.

And that is where we ended for the day.

Like I said, it was supposed to be a nice, quiet adventure, where the party would be able to rest, recuperate and get ready to help the town.  We shall see where it will go from here.

The Saga of Pun Pun, the Kobold Part 4

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Pun Pun is back, and ready to work for the tribe.

The tribe continued on trying to become better at our skills.  Commander Knowles seems to be pleased with our work to date.  He seems to want to not let us know how well we are impressing him, as every time we report to him, he responds with statements like “hmmm” and “err, I guess so”.  These non committal types of responses must exist to make sure that we don’t become too impressed with our own abilities, and take undue risks.  Commander Knowles leadership style seems to be to give us tasks that we should just barely survive to improve our skills, and then not to pump our egos too much when we come back having accomplished the task.  His tactical use of responses like “yeah, that seems adequate” and “uhhhhhh, just get out of here” are acutely designed leadership measures used to help us find ways to come back next time and report our accomplishments in a more useful manner.

We were paid for our third week in the Order of the Crown.  Now, I am saving all of my silver for the purpose of training.  At some point, I need to have 20 gold to pay for my training.  When I get this training, I will be able to better hide right after fighting.  This will allow me to more often be able to surprise the enemy and hit them harder.

While the Order of the Crown pays us for our work, they also require that we pay for our own training.  It is interesting, as I spend my down time making fire arrows for the armorer, but that work is assumed to be in the overall scheme of payment.  The other members of the tribe don’t seem to have the same commitment to the cause, and they go off and do other things that don’t help the tribe out.  The fighter, well, he spends a lot of his time off going to the church and starving himself while muttering obscene curses in some ritualistic method to curry favor with some arcane god.  I have listened to the words that the fighter spews out, and they are some form of nonsense, not a civilized language like the dragons speak.  I wrote down the foul curses that the fighter said once, while trying to curry favor, and they were nonsense.  I wrote down:

Fest däischter dé nei. As den Well hannendrun. Ze nei Noper onser, engem iweral Blummen zwé da. Hun no Haus main, Fläiß bereet mä zwé, Biereg Scholl Fuesent dee am. Welt erem spilt dem hu. Der Zalot Keppchen d’Bëscher no, et iwer Welt Faarwen ons.

When I questioned the fighter as to what he was talking about with his gods, he responded “I am a Paladin, not a fighter”, whatever that means, but then he also said “Why do you keep calling me ‘HE’?”  I ask if he lays eggs, and he responds “Well, sort of”, but then doesn’t go into any more detail about how he lays eggs, then has a male of the species fertilize them… Then after I explain that there is a simple test involving testing for the sex of the person in question, which involves a finger up the anus, checking for the sex organ, he gets very upset and storms off.

You see, I can’t even get to the point where I can even have a reasonable discussion with the fighter.  We have had this discussion several times, but he seems to not want to commit to the fact that he is just a fighter who worships some random set of deities using nonsense language.

The human with the wounds on his arms and hides behind conjured rocks is back.  He went on some sort of secret mission for Commander Knowles and won’t talk about it.  It is really mysterious.  We are not sure what that human does.  He also has a small cat that flies that he conjures out of thin air.  This is confusing, as no one can explain why anyone would want to have a cat around.  They are finicky prissy little creatures who eye everyone around them with a predatory look.  They also have a thing about walking up to you and turning around and placing their anus right in front of you, and then they switch their tail as if saying “See my butt, that is all you deserve”.  Cats also have strange things with their paws and the claws in them.  For some reason, when they approach you, as if they might “like” you, they can still attack you mildly with their claws, as they purr and drool on you.  I have heard of this as called “needing”, but I am not sure what the at needs.  I have also seen cats which appear to show their “affection” for you by trying to crush the life out of you.

The human who hides behind conjured rocks is pretty quiet about his skills, and he gets all upset when the fighter refers to him as “she”.  There seems to be some greater thing going on in the upper world.  There is a really strong concern that someone who is a “he” may be called a “she”.  The surface dwellers consume a huge amount of time in grooming their facial hair, or exposing parts of their mammary glands to try to reinforce the sex that they want people to see them as.  This all falls apart with dwarves.  All dwarves have facial hair, and in some manner, they are able to distinguish the opposite sex.  It us also possible that dwarves just all get naked together in some kind of ritualistic orgy, and even though they all have facial hair, enough female dwarves lay eggs, and eough male dwarves fertilize the eggs while the orgy is underway that the species propagates itself.

These surface dwelling mammals are very interesting. I am not sure what good it is doing to study them, as every time I think I have figured out what is going on, one or more surface dweller shows me that I am wrong, and I need to reconsider my entire hypothesis.

Snuggy Dre was in full on money making mode.  There was a festival going on, and Snuggy wanted to make some extra money.  I followed along to observe how Snuggy made his money.  Now he calls himself a “Bard”, but as far as I can tell, being a bard is something between being a thief, magician and a confidence trickster.  I don’t know what useful purpose a bard has.  Snuggy has taken all of his gold and put it into his teeth.  That is evidently his way of simultaneously letting everyone he talks to that he doesn’t have a bag of coin (it is all molded to his teeth), and he is so rich that he does not need any money, since he has so much money that he can have it all in his teeth.

I followed Snuggy Dre out to one of his performances, observing how and what a “bard” does.  He started out by getting everyone’s attention, then said:

Hickory Dickory Dock… The mouse rand down..

And then Snuggy Dre stopped.  He somehow felt the mood of the room, and realized that this was not the best approach to making money.  Being observant, I started writing down what he ended up saying.  His story seemed to be concocted out of some form of former pain.  The rhyme he said went like:

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I take a look at my life and realize there’s none left
‘Cause I’ve been brassing and laughing so long that
Even my mamma thinks that my mind is gone
But I ain’t never crossed a man that didn’t deserve it
Me be treated like a punk, you know that’s unheard of
You better watch how you talking, and where you walking
Or you and your homies might be lined in chalk
I really hate to trip but I gotta lope
As they croak I see myself in the pistal smoke fool
I’m the kinda G that little homies want to be like
On my knees in the night, saying prayers in the street light
They been spending most their lives living in the gangsta’s paradise

This seemed to appease the patrons of the tavern.  They all provided lots of coppers to Snuggy Dre.

He then went on and rhythmically said:

Fight the power
We’ve got to fight the powers that be
Elfvis was a hero to most
But he never meant shit to me you see
Straight up racist that sucker was
Simple and plain
Mother fuck him and John Wayne
Cause I’m a halfling and I’m proud
I’m ready and hyped plus I’m amped
Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps
Sample a look back you look and find
Nothing but rednecks for 400 years if you check
Don’t worry be happy
Was a number one jam
Damn if I say it you can slap me right here
(Get it) lets get this party started right
Right on, c’mon
What we got to say
Power to the people no delay
To make everybody see
In order to fight the powers that be

The third rhyme he sang out went like this:

Man, don’t you worry ’bout a thing
‘Bout your daughter, nope she’s not my type
But suppose’ she said she loved me
Are you afraid of the mix of halfling and half orc?
We’re livin’ in a land where the law say
Mixing of race makes the blood impure
She’s a woman I’m a man
Look on your face, I see ya can’t stand it
Man you need to calm down, don’t get mad
I don’t need your sista
But suppose’ she said she loved me
Would you still love her or would you dismiss her
What is pure? Who is pure?
Is it Elf? I ain’t sure
If the whole world was to come through peace and love
Then what would we be made of?
Excuse us for the news
You might not be amused
But did you know Half Halfling
No need to be confused
Excuse us for the news
I question those accused
Why is this fear of halfling and half orc
Influence who you choose?

I am not sure what all of this is about, but Snuggy Dre has a lot of internal angst that seems to make him very upset.  However, when he spews his rhymes out, he gets a very good reaction from the crowd.  Well, most of the crowd.  The dwarves, humans and half orcs seem to be really into it, and they are singing along with Snuggy Dre.  The elves are too high and mighty to appreciate this.  To me, as a Kobold, it all seems like a lot of angst and noise.  I mean, what exactly could have happened to a halfling that would make him so angry?

I spent most of my down time creating fire arrows.  I didn’t spend a lot of time at the festival.  Like I said before, I have 60 silver, which I have been told equates to 6 gold.  I need 20 gold for training.  I am saving every silver I can to get better, so I can become more useful to the tribe.

The druwitch also had a busy week.  She keeps denying that she magically keeps a glamour up, which if dropped would show her true fey self.  No one seems to mind that there is a fey in the tribe.  Now a gnome is probably the least offensive of the fey, but they are still fey.  They can’t be trusted, because when the time comes, she will revert to her true fey nature, and ritualistically murder everyone around her to grant the passage of devils and demons to this plane of existence.  I have tried to educate the fighter, Snuggy Dre and the mysterious man who hides behind conjured rocks about the true nature of the fey in our midst.  They are under her spell, and believe that she is not a threat, and that I am mistaken.  I am beginning to wonder if my destiny is to keep tabs on this evil entity, and when the time comes, seek help to extinguish her life force before she opens the portal from the other dimension to bring in Orcus and his minions.

So after several days off, Commander Knowles called us to his office, and in his highly efficient manner, he told us that we were going on a five day mission, where we would be accompanying Lemmon, the tax collector from Kastiff to Arlington, and then back.  The day trip would take two days, one day in Arlington, then two days journey back.

We were briefed, and told that we would leave after one more day of downtime.  The fighter, wanting to practice his ability to take a hit and not die, asked if we could be assigned to another day of patrols.  This seemed reasonable to me, but the rest of the tribe didn’t think that it was a good idea.

The druwitch went to look for potions.  She understood that the fighting style of the fighter caused problems, as he kept getting knocked out by the bad guys.  This was ok, but if several people got injured, then there wasn’t enough divine magic in the tribe yet to heal enough people to become mobile again.  The druwitch thought that having some healing potions would help improve our odds.

Evidently, this type of magic is expensive here in Kastiff.  We earn just over 2 gold pieces a week in salary for doing the bidding of the Order of the Crown, and one healing potion cost 50 gold.  This is problematic, to say the least.  Even if all five of us pooled our resources, and put all of our money into the pot, then we could maybe buy one of these potions every 5 weeks.  This seems out of the range of what we need.  I think we need to get better at how to fight.

So we met up with Lemmon in the morning, and traveled throughout the day, under the blazing hateful orb in the sky.  The rest of the tribe mocked me by continually talking about how nice and warm the sun was, and how good it felt on them.  I pulled the cowl of my cloak as far over my nose as possible, to reduce the horrible glare that was burning the back of my eyes.

After we walked for most of the day, we came across another forest.  These things are everywhere.  Tall trees stretching for leagues.  We followed the well developed path through the forest, and eventually, the hateful orb crested and went below the horizon.  The druwitch found us a good spot to spend the night.  Everyone bedded down, but I found a tree to sneak into.

The forest is completely alien to me.  There is some level of cover from the branches and leaves of the trees, which reduces the burning from the hateful orb.  There are small trees, which the druwitch calls bushes, and large trees.  She says that there are different species of trees, all of which have different characteristics.  She talks of things like pine, spruce, oak, but to my eye, they all look the same.  Some are straight, some are more bendy.

I suppose that the druwitch’s intimate knowledge of the forest is similar to a kobold’s understanding of rock formations in the underdark.  The druwitch hasn’t provided any useful information about pine, spruce, oak, etc, like what can be used best in traps.  What tree is the most flexible, where if I wanted to create a trap, the branch or main tree itself could be bent over as compared with snapping.

I can tell you that the tall straight trees are not comfortable to sleep in.  The branches connect to the upright portion of the tree at too small an area.  The trees that are all bendy tend to have nooks and crannies where you can create a nice and conformable nest of branches, leaves and other things to rest in.  The ground around the bendy trees also tend to have tastier grubs in it, as opposed to the straight trees with the small straight leaves.

So the rest of the tribe created a fire, and cooked their meal, then divided up the watches.

The fighter had the first watch.  I was asleep, but the fighter utterly failed in her watch duties, as during her watch, we were attacked by a horde of goblins.  They made their announcement of their presence by firing a volley of arrows into the tribe.  I took an arrow to the shoulder.  The fighter took two arrows.  Things started happening fast.  The fighter yells out that he has been hit, then starts running.  I am not sure that the fighter knew what direction the arrows were coming from, but the fighter ran directly towards the attackers.  I hope that this was bravery, not where he was trying to get away, and just by bad luck ran towards the attackers.

The fighter was shot multiple times and went down in a thump.  Thankfully, there was enough leaf litter and soft ground that the fighter didn’t sustain any additional damage due to falling unconscious to the ground.

I continually try to determine if the fighter is brave or suicidal.  Maybe both.  The fighting tactics of running directly at your foe and trying to kill them with a sword while they have the time to shoot several arrows at you before you close the distance seems foolhardy.  It may be brave, but still foolhardy.

The party springs into action.  I was pretty involved with trying to kill one of our foes with a fire arrow, so I didn’t watch everything that was going on, but Snuggy Dre got hit with an arrow, and my boyfriend, Zedar does some amazing dragon magic and kills one of the goblins, and hurts another.  The goblins cut and run.  Things go badly pretty quickly, as they continue to shoot at us, hitting the druwitch.

I pursue one of the goblins.  We play a cat and mouse game hiding in the bushes.  He is a wily goblin, and it takes several shots before I am able to kill him.  Everyone is convinced that the goblins have run away, and they let their guard down.  I still am not sure that the one goblin has moved away or not.  So I lie in wait, hiding.  The druwitch goes and heals the fighter, and the party decides that they need to go back to sleep, but can’t figure out where I am.  They call out to me, but I am still hiding in case the last goblin pops out.

At last, the fighter sees me, and comes over to me, calling out to me.  I see my quarry move, and try to line up a shot on the fighter.  I am faster, and shot the horrible goblin in the head as it looses the shot on the fighter.  Thankfully, the fighter isn’t hit badly by the goblin shot, but I have my kill.

Zedar, the dreamy looks at the corpses of the goblins that were killed.  He takes his powerful hands and roughs up the goblin’s body, searching longingly for some forgotten treasure, fingers probing in the moist recesses of the muscular hunk of flesh with quick motions of his fingers in the well lubricated flesh, finding pleasure in the touch of his strong armored fingers on the fresh warm body…

oh…

We go back to our dreams, and nothing more happens, at least out side of our dreams.

We start up again in the morning and finish the journey to Arlington.  There is not much here for us to do, except protect Lemmon as he collects the taxes.  The day goes without incident.

During this time, I attempt to talk to the fighter.  He doesn’t seem to want to listen.  I use rocks to explain kobold pack tactics.  The problem with the fighter’s methods is that he just runs right at the bad guys.  If there are four bad guys shooting arrows and only one good guy, then all four arrows are going to be pointed at the good guy.  He needs to get a bevy of retainers, so that they can all attack, and change the ratio of attackers to defenders.  4 attackers with arrows to 1 defender who must close the distance between them, and only has a sword is not a good combination.  If you had 4 attackers with arrows, and 4 defenders charging, then the odds of not being a pincushion in the first seconds of battle improves.

The fighter doesn’t seem to appreciate the concept of pack tactics.  He wants to know why he is the only one charging.

We head back the next day, and most of the day is uneventful.

Along about the afternoon, we come across an unusual site ahead of us. There is a one horned cow on one side of the road, and on the other side of the road are four goblins and a hobgoblin standing transfixed, looking at the one horned cow.

For some reason, the fighter and the druwitch are entranced by the one horned cow, and start babbling about it being a “unicorn”.  I have no idea what they are talking about, this is a cow, and somehow it is cursed to have the ability of clouding the minds of its foes to see it as something special.

That is not my problem.  If the druwitch and the fighter want to go and worship a one horned cow, that is OK, as long as they don’t try to confuse my mind with their odd beliefs.

The goblins are more important to me.  As the party starts to close the 200 feet from us to the spectacle in front of us, I let loose with one fire arrow after another, and quickly kill off three of the four goblins from range.

One of the goblins shoots an arrow at the druwitch, and the fighter bravely stands between the goblin and the druwitch to save the fey creature.

The dreamy Zedar closes the gap, and the hobgoblin pulls out his sword and starts closing the gap to Zedar.  Zedar is faster, and roasts the hobgoblin with a burning flame spell that consumes the hobgoblin.  He then eldritch blasts the final goblin, hurting him.  I finish off the fourth goblin for my honey with another arrow.

As I trot up to the cow, the fighter is beaming, and keeps chirping about how there is a unicorn here.  I see this:

1hcow

The druwitch and fighter see this:

flat,800x800,075,f.u1

for all I know, they are actually seeing this…

unicorn-squirrel-feeder_grande

This is very important to the druwitch, but even more important to the fighter.  He is beaming, as though this is the highlight of his life.  It will be interesting to see how he reacts when we see a true magical being, like a red dragon.  Now that would be awesome.

We make it back to town without any more problems.  We report to Commander Knowles, and as the fighter gushes about the “unicorn” or more correctly put the unicow, the commander is more interested in the fact that we came across goblins and a hobgoblin than a unicow.