Mpence, the goblin cleric Episode 03

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So we met yesterday at Dice Age Game Emporium once again to ask the eternal question.  “Are we level X now?”  Bill toyed with us, played with us, and led us on until we finally gave in and played the game.

In the end, Veep got his wish.  He was able to get the gnome paladin into the HMO.  It was a hard sell, but eventually, the gnome paladin decided that she needed the eternal blessing of the CAFC.

But let’s start at the beginning.

I met Mike and Sue at Don Taco.  We had a delicious lunch.  The invitation was extended to the entire group, but for some reason, Shari, Collin, Bill and Eric decided not to come.  I found out that Sue does not like having enchilada sauce covering her enchiladas.  She had dry enchiladas, and a bowl of the red sauce.  She would dip her fork into the sauce then scoop up her food in the dipped fork.

Now me, I like lots of sauce on my enchiladas.  When we make enchiladas at home, we use the crispy tostadas, and layer up the pan of enchiladas like Italian lasagna.  Well, more like Mexican lasagna.  Layers of tostada, chicken, sauce, tostada, chicken, sauce, with lots of cheese on top, and black olives to garnish.  This makes a nice plate of saucy goodness.  Some people insist on rolling up enchiladas.  I prefer mine like the Mexican lasagna.

But where were we?  I was dissecting Sue’s eating habits.  Now, I am not being critical of them, just noting them.  We had a nice conversation about kids, parents, people in general, all punctuated by Sue’s dipping her fork into the enchilada sauce and then eating a bite of semi-dry enchiladas.

In the faint background, I swear that I could hear Collin calling out “GOAL!” faintly.

We left for the Dice Age Game Emporium, and upon arrival, we found that Eric had moved the tables around, and was sitting patiently waiting for us.

Now humans are interesting creatures.  We are one of the few animals in the world that change the environment for our specific needs.  We build roads to  allow us to travel more quickly and efficiently, then we specifically choose to underfund the maintenance of the roads, so we get potholes.  Then we bitch and complain about how the potholes damage our cars.  In the end, we pay way more to replace tires and car rims, and various suspension parts on our cars than it would have cost to adequately tax ourselves to repave the roads.  Instead, we seem to take some obscene pleasure in complaining about the problem and how much it costs us, instead of deciding to make sure the maintenance is made to fix it in the first place.

So Eric, upon arriving at the Game Emporium moved the chairs around and tables around to not only give us a nice large table we could all sit around, but also turned it at exactly 37 1/2 degrees from normal to apply a nice amount of Feng Shui.  Eric arranged eight identically uncomfortable plastic chairs, two on each side around the tables.  As soon as Sue arrived, she changed out her chair with a comfy one.  Relying on her wisdom, I followed suit.  I figured that if Sue was going to be the one who broke the spell of Eric’s Feng Shui, then it wouldn’t matter if I followed.  Sue’s actions already destroyed any balance that Eric worked so hard to achieve.

Mike sat down next to Sue and proceeded to get out snacks.  After a while, Bill, Shari and Collin came in.  Bill was ready to start the game.  Eric, Sue, Mike, Collin, Shari and I… not so much.

It didn’t take long until Bill buried his head in his phone, figuring that at some point, we would start playing the game.

Then like a bunch of partially trained cockatiels, one after another, we all started calling out to Bill “Have we leveled up yet?” and “Polly wants a cracker” followed by “Who’s a pretty girl?” and then “Are we 3rd level yet?”

Bill crossed his arms on the table, and sank his head into his arms, moaning softly, once again regretting his decision to try to be a DM for this group.  I am not sure, because of the constant parrot like banter about leveling up, but I think Bill was weeping softly, thinking about how he could have spent the afternoon doing something productive, like changing the oil on his car, or maybe cleaning his bathroom instead of dealing with us.

But Bill was stuck.  Once again, he fell prey to the carpool idea, and arrived with Shari and Collin.  None of us were going to help him get away…  We all wanted to play D&D, well at some point, we all wanted to play D&D, maybe just not yet.

So it takes a while, and eventually, we all settle down and are ready to play.  Imagine the first day of preschool, where the kids are all supposed to settle down and take their nap, and every kid is super hyped up on sugar, and no one wants to have a nap.  Each kid peaks the sugar high, then crashes and whether or not they are ready for the nap, they collapse onto the floor in a deep post sugar rush, and they are super cranky about doing anything…  Well, that is pretty much what every Saturday afternoon is like for the DM.  And yet they keep coming back for more.

The breaking point came when Eric made a video of Mike’s Necronomicon.  Mike made a Necronomicon during his last week of employment, and has been carrying it around ever since.  He retired to become a chicken farmer and beekeeper, and of course, owner of his own private Necronomicon.  The tongue is worse for the wear.  We are not really sure why, but it seems that the tongue has taken on a rather grey pallor.  None of us really want to know what Mike does with this book on his spare time, nor why the tongue looks so well used, and the eyes have a glassy look to them.

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The point being, after Eric made the video, it appeared that all of the steam had been used from the players, and in a short lull, Bill decided we should get started.

We take a long rest. This long rest is punctuated by multiple questions from the party in the vein of “You said that we would level up after our next encounter…  Is a long rest an encounter?” and other such things.  Bill tried his best to not look impatient, or exasperated.  You see, we figure that this is a good opportunity for several adults who have had kids to express to Bill what having kids is like.  Make him think about birth control… a lot.

Oh, yes, Bill.  If you thought we were difficult to deal with, six adults asking rapid fire questions about the same thing you just said no to…  Nope.  This is nothing.  Try it for real with a real kid.  Those condoms look pretty good right now, no?

Now, none of us know what Bill really wants or does not want regarding kids.  Well, maybe Shari and Collin have an idea or an inkling.  That doesn’t mean that we all won’t try to influence Bill to think about putting off a family for a while.

So what did we do?  Well, we at least got to the top of the stairs, with a long rest.  HP replenished, spell slots opened up.  We were ready to continue.  Or at least start.

We all started out of the room with the dead goblins and Splish and Splash.  We go through a door, and find a nice reception area with a person behind it leading to  three areas, Security, Engineering and Legal.

As we enter the reception area, we are pulled into a conference room and approached by a human who is from the NRA, the Neverwinter Regurgitation Association, or some such thing.  We were told by the NRA operative that they have been trying to figure out what is going on in this factory.  Every time an official NRA spy is in the factory, they disappear.  As in dead.  The NRA knew that something was going on in the factory, and needed inside people.  There appeared to be someone in the NRA who was giving away details to the factory managers and getting the NRA operatives killed.

He wants us to work for him, and he will pay us to help figure out what is going on.  He suggests that we take out security first, then work on taking out the legal staff and engineers.  If we can get passes from both Engineering and Legal, we can use the passes to go up one level.  He tells us that we need both passes to be able to go up a level.

He offers to pay us 100 gold pieces each if we take out security.  So we move on.

Now Bill draws out the security area, which starts out looking like an anus.  Well, it actually looks like a circle with a missing part on it.  Normal people might think it looks like something other than an anus, but pretty soon, the cockatiels at the table start chirping about anus’ and sphincter like things.

The security area has multiple doors.  We enter the ring and the party pauses.  Things are normal.  We have many choices in front of us, and we stop.  Things degenerate around the table as we start to talk about local politics, President Trump, and I look at Bill, and he has this look on his face like “We were so fucking close!  Why?”

Finally, Mpence, or VEEP, as he prefers to be known as decides to go and open up one door.  The one on the left as you enter the first room.  Inside that room is one bugbear and two floating balls with tentacles and eyestalks.  Lola follows me.  Veep goes up to the three monsters and starts his spiel about how he is from demi-human resources, and has an exciting new health care opportunity for the factory workers.  Things are going well, until Lola starts her bump and grind routine, distracting the bugbear from the sales pitch.  Veep decides to go on through the next door, being guarded by the two floating ball things.  He finds it very hard to continue through.  The floating ball things seem to be keeping Veep from continuing on.

Meanwhile, Lola moves away and closes the door behind him, leaving Veep with the bugbear and two floating balls.  The floating balls attack Veep, and Veep ends up hitting the bugbear with the inflict wounds spell.  The bugbear is hurt, but not dead.  I retreat, and before I can get out of the room, one of the floating balls hits me with a pink ray coming from an eye socket, and I realize that I was wrong to attack the bugbear.  The bugbear was my friend.  The floating balls with the eye sockets are my friend.

I continue on out of the room with murderous intent of taking out the horrible beasts that are attacking the security sentry.

As I leave, I realize that the bugbear is not my friend, and I should kill him.  I close the door between the two floating balls and me, leaving me alone with the bugbear, and I kill him.  I strike him with my mace from behind, and kill him good.

The door that my “friends” or rather HMO members and future HMO members went through is locked.  There is nothing I can do.  So I go back to the reception desk, and inform the receptionist that there is a group of rampaging beings in the building, and they are being led by a horrible awful gnome paladin who wants to destroy all that this company stands for.  The rest of the rampaging party are thralls to the evil ways of the paladin, and should be spared.  Only the gnome paladin needs to be killed.

Bill looks at me (Rob) like “Why?”

Hey, I gotta play the character.  The paladin is competing with me for potential HMO customers.  Therefore, the paladin must be either converted herself, or die.  This is business, not personal.  I have a quota to meet, and she is not helping me meet my obligations.

Bill decides that the receptionist is not going to help me TPK the party.  Instead, he has the receptionist respond to me that Security will take care of this.

So I trudge back into the Security area, needing to kill the eyebeasts to get into the area with the rest of the party.

Veep doesn’t know it, but Lola locked Veep out, with the intent of letting Veep die.  Oh well, all is fair when it comes to business.

The party is having a bad time of it.  They are using all of their magic and abilities in the non-boss monster encounters.  Bill seems to be very happy, since most of the powerful magic and abilities will be gone when the party finally gets to the boss monster.  He seems really pleased with himself.  His grin gets bigger and bigger while he writes secret notes on his yellow legal pad, flipping pages back and forth, getting more and more excited about the obvious TPK that is about to become a reality.

Veep goes the other way, and ends up killing both of the eye beasts with his crossbow.  He ducks out from behind a door, shoots the crossbow, then ducks back behind the door.  The eye beasts keep trying to hit him with rays of different colors, but Veep is on a mission, he can’t convert these monsters to the CAFC HMO, so they must die.

He continues through after killing off the two eye beasts and goes through two more doors just as the final battle is coming to a conclusion with a full on beholder.  Things evidently didn’t go well for the party.  They were attacked by a bevy of eye beasts, and rounded the corner and found a beholder.

Apu decided that he would kill the beholder on his own.  It didn’t go as well as Eric wanted.  Apu was picked up and slammed into the roof of the Beholder’s lair.  He was dropped, things happened.

The entire adventure came down to one moment.

Here is the deal.

Apu wanted the glory kill of the beholder.

Veep wanted to admit the gnome paladin into the CAFC HMO.

At the end of the boss battle, the player order was Apu, then Veep.  The gnome paladin was down.  She was negative hit points.

The beholder was down to one hit point.

Apu had to make a difficult decision.

  • If Apu stabilized the gnome paladin, then Veep wouldn’t get to admit her to the CAFC HMO, however, Veep would likely kill the beholder.
  • If Apu killed the beholder, then Veep would be able to move to the paladin and convert her to the CAFC HMO.

Decisions, decisions.  Apu went for the glory kill.  He struck the beholder with his dagger, killing it.

That meant that Veep ran up to the gnome paladin and took two drams of blood and used the Spare the Dying cantrip on her.

The gnome paladin was saved!  Well, her soul was not bound to a demon, but she would live, and Veep had another convert to the CAFC HMO.

Life is good.

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Mpence, the goblin cleric Episode 02

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So we met last Saturday to game again.  Bill thought that he would have some control.  He was the DM, after all.  Did it work?  Not very well.  For some reason, he kept waiting for the group to get ready.  I kept popping up like a jackrabbit to look at all of the neat things in the game store.  There were games, minis, paints, RPG’s, models, paintbrushes, cards, sleeves, binders, boxes, rubber bands, booster packs, empty bags, dice, chairs, tables, carpet, soda machine, candy machine, windows, doors, foam storage, people, all things to interest someone who had ADHD, like me.

Eventually, Bill decided that we would start.  The group was having none of that.  They were chatting.  Bill said things like “let’s get started” and “The corridor is long and dark”.  That didn’t seem to help much. Bill finally pulled out his phone and pretended to not be in the room, at least until one of the players decided that we should start.

The Saturday group is very social.  We tend to take things on our own terms.  This can be problematic for a DM who has decided that we should be productive.  Same with players.

Now it didn’t help that we all started out at Don Taco for lunch.  Eric and I started out at 11 AM, which was what I PM’d to the group.  Shari, Bill, Collin, Mike and Sue rolled in about 11:30, just as Eric and I were finished with our lunch.  We sat around and all had a good time waiting for the second round of food for the late comers, and then had a good time while we ate.  I am not sure if Don Taco is used to a raucous crowd, but we did have to compete with the two TV’s.  Every time the soccer match playing on one TV had a goal, Collin would yell out “SCORE!” like some drunken match attendee.  It was really fascinating.  I started watching Collin while he was eating.  He would be completely engaged in a conversation with someone, and somehow in the periphery of his vision, a goal would be scored on either one of the two TV screens (showing different matches of course) and mid sentence, he would stop the conversation and yell out “SCORE!”  I wasn’t sure how he did it.  I will need to monitor his activities for more time to figure out if this was a fluke, or if he just does this.  I will also see if I can get him to face away from the TV, to determine the edge of his periphery of vision.  Can he still tell the goal has happened when he is not watching the TV?

We all left at the same time.  But for some reason people arrived at different times at Dice Age Game Emporium.  I think that people stopped for coffee on the way.  By the time that everyone was there, I was looking at shiny objects everywhere else, but at the game table.

How did the gameplay go, you ask?  I don’t really remember much.  We did stuff.  We talked, we tried to do some stuff, and we talked.  Bill got upset.  Things went poorly. I really don’t know for sure.  I was too busy thinking about having a week off from work, and spending time painting minis and hanging out with the dogs.

so what did we do?

We bugged Bill about leveling up.  You see, Bill said “You are almost ready to level up, once you get your first encounter done, you can level up”  So when we left the gnomes, “first encounter”, we started asking if it was time to level up or not.  Bill did his best at trying not to look exasperated.  But all of the adults at the table seemed to think that this was a good opportunity to have Bill think long and hard about having kids.  Without any communications between us, we all started bugging Bill at every point “Can we level up now?” and “We go to 4th level now, right?” and so on.

When we actually got going, we met a rock lobster, a flying rock lobster.  He looked like a crayon.  At least that is what Bill used on the mat to depict the flying rock lobster.

You see, the gnomes in the village warned us about a flying whirling creature that is very hard to see while in the air.  These creatures fly above a plateau.  The gnomes are never harassed by the creatures, but they are just on the edge of vision.  The gnomes don’t know a lot about these creatures, just that they are wary of them.  These were gnome druids…  Worthless bastards.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, complaining about gnome druids.  At least they aren’t elves.  I hate fucking elves.  I mean, me, Rob.  I hate elves.  They are all full of themselves, and always shown in books and movies as the righteous self important arrogant bastards that they are.  I mean, Jesus fucking Christ, they fucking suck.  I hate elves almost as much as marshmallow.  It isn’t enough to just be an “elf”, you have to be a special type of elf, like a “forest elf” or a “sea elf” or a “dark elf” – or at least that one is the way to get around the open license requirements for any specific game system.  Who the fuck thinks elves are cool?  They have all sorts of stupid looking clothes, prance around and ride forest creatures, and look down on everyone else.  Fuck em.  Stupid inbred motherfucking asshole dipshit elves.

But enough about elves.  At least none of the players in this game are playing elves.  I will probably rant at another time about this.

The only elf character that I ever played was in a GURPS game, where I was a self loathing elf who lived the life of a ghoul, wanting to shed himself of the horrible prissy nature of being a fucking elf.  He would stab people in the back and then eat them.  Now that is how you play an elf.

By the way, I will likely rant about elves at least one more time in my life. Guaranteed.

So we arrived at the plateau, and things were flitting around in the sky.  Everyone was worried.  Then with a large thump, the rock lobster drops.  I felt the unnatural need for lots of melted butter.  But then, the gnome paladin and the kenku druid started making horrible sounds out of their mouths.  Some foul incantations were spoken, and the paladin and the druid started telling us that they could talk to the rock lobster.

I ran up and tickled the lobster under its chin.  This language thing was bogus.  Elf crap.  There is no way to talk to the rock lobster.  Maybe there was.  I could try to bring it into the CAFC HMO.  So I gave the rock lobster one of my pamphlets, the Watchkeep.  It had a stirring story about locking in your future with CAFC.

Predicting the Future

Have you ever wondered what the future will be for you and your family? Does it promise riches or ruin, love or loneliness? Will you live a long life, or will your life be cut short? People have speculated about such questions for thousands of years.

Today experts study global trends and make projections about the future. While many of their forecasts have come true, others have failed, some miserably. For example, over 100 years ago, Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of macaroni pasta, was quoted as predicting: “The coming of the macaroni era will make war impossible.”

Many turn to the supernatural for clues about the future. Some seek the advice of astrologers; horoscopes are a regular feature in many magazines and newspapers. Others consult fortune-tellers or psychics, who claim to “read” the future by interpreting patterns in tarot cards, numbers, chicken entrails or the lines of one’s hand.

In their effort to discern the future, some in the ancient world consulted oracles​—priests or priestesses who passed on information from the god they claimed to represent. For instance, it is said that King Smelloesus of Lydia sent gifts of great value to the oracle at Smelphi, Smellreece, with a request to learn what the outcome would be if he fought against Stinkius of Asshole Elfland. The oracle said that Smelloesus would destroy “a great empire” if he marched against Stinkius. Confident of victory, Smelloesus sallied forth, but the great empire that was destroyed was his own!

The ambiguous forecast of the oracle was worthless; it would have appeared true no matter which side won the war. Smelloesus paid dearly for misinformation that brought him disaster. Have those who turn to today’s popular methods of predicting the future fared any better?

Don’t play with your future.  Our local representatives with CAFC can help insure your future, and your place in the afterlife.  Would you rather live your life, attempting to appease some god or gods, and then find out that you have failed, and are going to the wrong plane of existence, or would you rather live a life of debauchery, gluttony and to the fullest extreme, knowing that in the end, your personal ritual sacrifice will place you firmly within the thrall of a demon or devil?  We at CAFC believe that the latter is the answer, and all of that plus the benefit of a fully funded Health Management Organization!

While I was tickling the lobster’s chin, and explaining the benefits of CAFC, and the available levels of entry into the HMO, the gnome and druid were evidently finding out that the rock lobsters don’t like goblins.  For some reason, goblins do bad things to the area.  Bogus balderdash.  All I want to do is convert people to my HMO and heal the members.  If I was worried about someone doing something bad, it would be the fucking elves.  Now there is someone you want to watch out for. Goody two shoes asshole elves.

Eventually, the gnome and paladin say that we have been given passage, even though I am a goblin.  I call Elf bullshit on this – well maybe gnome and kenku bullshit.  First of all, the only two people who “claim” to be able to talk with the rock lobster, and no one else can confirm.  The kenku is only able to mimick others, so of course the conversation went like this…

Gnome paladin “The rock lobster says we can pass, even with you, the goblin” points at me.

Kenku druid “Even you! Even you!” points at me.

Gnome paladin “The rock lobster will fly us to as close to the factory as he feels safe doing”

Kenku druid “Fly safe factory! Even You” points at me.

Nowhere in this conversation do the bugbear twins come in.  I mean really?  the flying rock lobster is concerned about he, and not two homicidal bugbears?  What about the human bard?

I get no respect.  No respect.

So we all climb on the back of the rock lobster and fly off to the horizon.  The flight is quick, and we are dropped off near a large tower of gleaming metal.  The tower is immaculate.  Sparkling even.

The party stands in front of the main gate and taps the gate, pounds on the gate.  It appears to be very tough.  Too tough to break into.

After a while, I notice a red flashing light, and a nearby panel opens up and water gushes out.  Exploring this, I see that there is a way in, through the water ejection door.  I wait until it opens again, and after the water flows out, I climb through and I am in, with the door closing behind.  The floor slowly fills up with water, and I travel down the corridor.

After a while, I come to a fork in the corridor.  Everything is gleaming and shiny.  It appears to be well maintained.

After a short while, I come across six goblins.  They are all dressed in blue coveralls.  I approach them and they challenge me.  I explain that I am from Demi-Human Resources and I am providing information about an exciting new healthcare opportunity for employees.  They all have badges.  They notice that I don’t have a badge, and tell me that I need to leave, or they will kill me.  The only reason why they haven’t killed me yet is that I am a brother goblin, and they don’t just want to kill me outright, besides, they would have to clean up the mess.  They are janitorial engineer goblins, tasked with keeping the area clean.

I follow their advice and leave, going back the way I came.  As I round a turn in the passage, I see the rest of my group.  They evidently also found the entrance and came in.  They decided to go the other way at the fork in the passage, and are approached by three metal men, all with cleaning supplies.  As the party goes through, the metal men soap up the party members and clean them all up.  I want nothing to do with this.  I try to jump up on the shoulders of the bard, but he shucks me off, and I fall into the muck.

After everyone else goes through the cleaning metal men, I try to get through.  They clean me with a vengeance.  They get soap in my eyes.  It hurts.  These metal men were obviously designed by elves.  Bastards.

At the end of the hall, the party has found what they are looking for.  Cages of oozes, slimes, rock lobster babies and a gelatinous cube.  The bugbears to to work, breaking locks and letting the critters go.  They all go out and who knows how they ended up.  But then, I don’t care much, since oozes, slimes, gelatinous cubes and rock lobster babies are not our core constituency in the CAFC HMO.  I really doubt that a demon or devil would want a slime as a thrall in their plane of existence.

We know that there are several goblins in the room next door.  Well, we know because I told the party.  I suggest that we attack from two sides, one from the door we are standing in front of, and the other from the side where I approached the goblins earlier.  This seems to be agreed upon, and we split the party.  We attack simultaneously, or at least close to the same time.  G’rnola opens one door, and Lola and the paladin attack from the other side.  It is a massacre.  Well, originally, it is a massacre for Lola.  She goes down.

This is where providence plays in.  It is up to either me, or the paladin to save Lola.  The gods smiled on me, and I save Lola, while simultaneously getting another member into CAFC.  The paladin isn’t happy, but she was not in the right place to pull Lola back and enroll her in the HMO.

Lola jumps back up and gets back into the fight.  It ends up being a massacre for the goblins.  They are all killed, but not before I can ritually sacrifice two of them for CAFC.  Now, I didn’t do any of the fighting.  I am a healer.  A cleric.  I am not about fighting.  I am about converting the masses to my HMO, healing… and some ritual sacrifice.

We all pick up badges.  And continue up the stairs.  Well, I continue up the stairs ahead of the party.  I come across several more rooms, and find one group of goblins in a room behind a door.  They notice that I am covered in blood.  I explain to them that there is an evil paladin, you can tell from her short stature and the armor.  She is insane and wants to kill everyone.  They tell me that I can get cleaned up behind the other door.  I go to the other door, and find several more goblins who are operating a shower and bathroom.  I tell them the same thing, they need to kill the gnome in the armor.  She is trying to kill everyone in the building, and she is the leader.  If she falls, the rest will obviously give up.

I go to get a shower.

You see, the paladin is competition for healing.  Every being that she heals is a missed opportunity for me to enlist the same being in the CAFC HMO.  She needs to be eliminated, or at least beaten down to the point where I can autoenlist her in our program.  I don’t care if she dies, or is simply knocked down to the point where I can take her blood and enlist her in the program.  Well, maybe she should die.  She is rather full of herself, and keeps telling me that I am evil.  Me?  Evil?  No way.  I heal people.  I give people the opportunity of knowledge of where they will spend eternity.  That isn’t evil.  That is good.

The party comes in and slays the goblins who were working in the area.  I come out after a while, all squeaky clean and ready for some action.  But all of the action has happened.

Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Then things get bad.

Two large beings are in the third room.  It has a trapped entry, or at least a puzzle.  We find the puzzle pieces and open the door, and there are two human sized monsters inside this room, ready to kill.

The bugbears attack.  It doesn’t go too well for them.  They are hit with a slick watery substance that makes the entry hard.  G’rnola takes down one of the bad guys in three hits.  G’rnola is awesome.  Then Lola takes on the other bad guy.  Things go poorly for Lola for a while.  I try to shoot my crossbow at the bad guy and miss twice.  You see, I really don’t need to do the front line fighting thing.  I am a healer.

Eventually, the bad guys are killed.  We all rest.  It was a tough day.

At least I am clean.

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.

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.