Arden Vul

Fools

Slow your breathing… rhythmic. Listen to the simpleton snore. Everyone must believe. You can’t tell them, they can’t understand. The pain… it’s constant now. The soul being pulled to an impossible task. Melchior must die. You have to. There is no other way now.

Hide it. The pain. You are Balthazar the Blue. They can never see it. Ashamed. Lessened. They need you.

Quietly. Quickly. The words. Known. Prepared. Invisible. The others would never see, but the elf… vigilant. Did anyone notice? Quiet. Listen. Nothing.

I should tell them. Even fools understand pain. The priest, the goblin, the dead woman. Fools. Good fools. My fools? Protective? That is new. I will have to think more on that later.

No. I can’t tell them. Too risky. What if they tried to stop me? What if they didn’t? Can’t risk it. The self-righteous paladin would never allow it. Would never forgive it.

Roll over. Quietly. Start moving. Escape.

You remember the way. Turn. Straight. Hidden Door. Still locked. Of course it is. Anyone powerful enough to unlock has the sense not to.

Release. Dispel. Open. Illusion won’t work now. I see.

Last chance. Turn back? No…. I can’t live with this pain. The only way.

Step in to the room. It can’t hurt you, yet. Caged. No need to be afraid. Stop being afraid.

Now. We Bargain.

Fools. Forgive me.

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Have You Ever Danced with a Devil in the Pale Moon Light? Or under other, less romantic circumstances?
Callista's color commentary

“EVIL!”

Charge.

Whatever, Grimley. All I know is that skinny bitch Triv-Lok played us. I should have punched her in the throat the second she took that green card from Wick-trimmer. Instead I let her get away with it. She was so fast … need to learn that.

Obey me.

Obey this, old man. Be glad I got to you first, and that my hands were empty. Ulv would have gutted you for fun.

WHAK!

That was a strangely calm command for an old man outnumbered six to one. And a strangely solid jaw, for all he spun around like a drunken sailor. Why is Ulv scrubbing at the floor? Doesn’t matter. Elbow to the kidney will drop him.

Whiff!

Crap, he fell the wrong way. Right into Grimley’s swing

Tink!

Nope, somehow his blade bounced off the floor. Sweep the legs.

Swish!

Oh, nooo. We’re being played again.

“Uh, ladies? I hate to tell you this, but the Amulet of Djed says that you’ve got a tiger by the tail in there. And by tiger, I mean big red devil. Horns, hoofs, giant iron phallus, the whole deal. I think he’s happy to see us, if you know what I mean.”

Thanks a lot, Wick-trimmer. And me without a magic weapon.

“Luna, stop fiddling with the walls and tackle the barbarian! Don’t let her break the circle, or we lose our bargaining power with the devil!”

Or he escapes, and kills us all, if we’re lucky.

“My name is Aaaaaariel!” WHUMP!

“I vas kleanink! I must klean der flor!”

“Shut up and (grunt) out … the … door!”

Time to go, Grimley. Time to go, Grimley. “Time to go, Grimley!”

“EVIL!”

“It’s been here a thousand years! It’s not going anywhere … !”

Tumble. Stumble. Run.

“I’m Wizard Locking this door. It won’t stop the devil if that circle was degraded in any way, but it will prevent any other party from getting in there to release it. Assuming they even have the wit to find it, which is unlikely. It was so cunningly made that only one of such godlike intellect as Balthazar the Blue, the kind of genius born once in a thousand years – ”

“Hey, I found that door. Me, Ariel.”

“Shut up, Luna. Don’t interrupt me when I’m talking about myself. Or any other time.”

I have GOT to find some more professional associates. And a magic weapon.

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A Brief Summary of Events Dark and Deep

We have new titles based on the last session:

Wicktrimmer: Champion of Thoth and Traveler of the Astral Plane
Callista: Calmer of the Star-Fallen
Grimley: Conqueror of the Zodiac
Luna: Slayer of the Montari

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Sssmoke Signals
floating through the ether

Almosst sssertainly noticed, if not actually intersssepted, by Klimt the Watcher, Klimt the Observant, Klimt the Eyefully Endowed . . .

Boys. Left town quickly. New standing orders. Don’t kill anyone. Beatings fine. Watch CoP. C.

Cats. Blue fool blew up patrol. Three survivors. Do not kill. Discredit. C.

Dudes. Outlawed. Need smoke-tight alibi. Blame doppelgangers? C.

Eggs. New plan, Op: REASONABLE DOUBT. Buy sightings from CoP goblin. Total crime wave. Noone dies. C.

Fellows. Hiding out. Smoke silence. Do not attempt extraction. Continue REASONABLE DOUBT. Don’t overdo. Infamous, not monstrous. C.

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Who Knew Dwarves Could Sing?
From the laboratory journals of Pyrite the Magician, member in good standing, College of Perception:

This is maddening! There is simply not enough of the hallucinogenic poison left on the dart to analyze alchemically. The Shen have disappeared from Narsileon, and no one here knows where they have gone. Otherwise I would just get a larger sample, or – better – Hypnotize one of them into telling me all they know of it. My new spells might allow me to find them, eventually, but if the servants don’t know where to go, then searching systematically will take longer than I expect to live, especially if the Shen have gone back to their far Western homeland. Unless I had literally thousands of Shadow Servants searching in parallel … (note to self: research hijacking of Shadow Servants cast by other mages).

I could ask my elders here at the College, but that would cost more gold than the warrior wench is paying me. I could visit Klimt, but that would be even more expensive, in “contracts.” Flipping Achonteans. What’s wrong with a good Goblin spit-shake?

The library here at CoP has been little help, so far. There are 61 volumes on opium, and a dozen on mushrooms of various species – though none on the fungal forest that we found underneath Arden Vul. There is also an epic poem in Khazak by a bard of unsavory reputation who styles himself the Lizard King, whose handwriting certainly looks as if he were on something. If I still had my helmet, the translation would be instantaneous. Hm . . . I could easily visit the Dwarf embassy here in Narsileon.

Who should I wear? Someone formal, I think.

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"At 3rd level, monks can speak with animals"
"This is not a magical ability, and the GM should determine how it works."

From the Scriptures of the Jade Cup:

I’m getting used to dreaming other people’s dreams. It’s almost a good thing that they’re mostly dead people’s dreams. That makes it easier to tell where they came from. Once I know that it’s not my dream, but someone else’s, I can relax and move around in that dream without fear. I learn all kinds of things that way. Sword and staff techniques. Catching that Shen dart? Saw that in a snake woman’s dream. Didn’t know there were snake women? Me neither. They dream weird, weird things.

Usually those dreams happen when I’m asleep, or meditating. And until today they were always people’s dreams. People who walk and talk. Not … animals. I figured, who would use the Cup to raise a squirrel from the dead?

I was sitting meditation, just following my breath, when a little brown bird dropped to the ground in front of me. Their eyes are on the sides of their heads, so if they want to look straight at you, they turn their heads. I never thought about that before. This bird looked straight at me with one eye and put that half of his brain to sleep. Its other eye, pointed away from me, was still awake, looking out for trouble.

Maybe that’s what Luna does … ?

Anyway, the swamp sparrow (that’s what I decided to call it) had a very detailed map of the campsite and the surrounding area in his head. Yes, it was a he. Suddenly I knew where to find every seed and insect for a hundred yards. Then he woke up and flew to a rotten log about 15 yards from where I was sitting. I stood up, walked over, and split the log open with my longsword. Ants swarmed out, stupid with anger. The sparrow pecked up his fill and flew off.

That was the strangest thing that happened to me, that day.

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Ülv Fire-Eyes (Bruntzilla) bad trip with Cat-Vultures

BruntzillasBadTrip2.jpg
Ülv Fire-Eyes (Bruntzilla) bad trip with Cat-Vultures.

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Sweaty Visions
_From the laboratory journals of Pyrite the Magician, member in good standing, College of Perception, Narsileon._

A tall woman visited the house today, claiming to be the warrior Jasper freed from the Cult of Set’s gaol underneath the Forum in Arden Vul. She was better fed, and sun-darkened, and vaguely different in demeanor, but I detected no whiff of illusion magic.

She produced a small dart, which she said was coated with a poison that induced potent, debilitating visions. Similar darts had apparently rendered Br and Bz completely batshit crazy for a period of several hours. Bz, she said, had fallen in love with a fountain – not in the romantic sense (though that would have been hilarious). Instead he had become aesthetically transfixed, unable to look away. The barbarian’s visions were different but equally powerful.

The users of the poison, a group of Shen from the far west, beyond the Elfin Kingdom, though friendly in their brusque and honor-bound way, would neither reveal the source of their “sacrament,” nor trade for larger samples of it. They only allowed her to keep the one dart because she had plucked it from the air when they shot it at her. Apparently that meant she had “won” it from them? Religious people are so weird (Note for later: legality of starting own religion). The nature of the misunderstanding that led to them spitting darts at her was never mentioned.

In any case, she offered me a thousand gold to solve the riddle for her, either to identify the toxin and where it might be found, or to replicate its effects alchemically. I have plenty of my own research projects to carry out, but none of them is cheap.

Preliminary questions:

1) minimum effective dose?
2) independent effect, or synergistic with illusion spells?
3) soluble in water, alcohol, or oil?

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An Ode to Doffy

song that will soon be played by all bards, especially in the Rampant Monkey

Dem bones, dem bones, dem Dof bones,
Dem bones, dem bones, dem Dof bones,
Dem bones, dem bones, dem Dof bones,
Now shake dem goblin bones!

The toe bone’s connected to the foot bone, The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone, The ankle bone’s connected to the leg bone,

Not no more you green bastard!

The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone, The knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone, Not no more you lying freak! Dem bones, dem bones, dem Dof bones, Dem bones, dem bones, dem Dof bones, Dem bones, dem bones, dem Dof bones, Now gonna slice dem Dof bones! The hip bone’s connected to the back bone The back bone’s connected to the neck bone, The neck bone’s connected to the head bone, Not no more you bloated corpse! The finger bone’s connected to the hand bone, The hand bone’s connected to the arm bone, The arm bone’s connected to the shoulder bone, Not no more you pile o’ bones! Dem bones, dem bones gonna fall down Dem bones, dem bones, gonna fall down Dem bones, dem bones, gonna fall down Now shake dem goblin bones!

DIE MOTHERF********** DIE! AND STAY DEAD!!!!!!!!!
smashes mandolin on stage

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A little closer ...
Callista's internal monologue

Oh, my head hurts. What’s in that necromancer’s staff, lead?

Go down. Play dead. Wait for him to turn his back.

Oh, for Odin’s sake. They’re picking me up! So gross. I hate touching dead things. Should have thought of that — necromancers don’t waste raw materials — but it’s fine, it’s fine. With them jostling me around, I don’t even have to hold my breath to look dead. They’ll take me right to him. Just one moment of surprise, and once I get my hands on that staff, he’s mine.

What’s that thing chained to the wall!?!

This could be a problem. The zombies are dragging me the wrong way. Where’s that bloody paladin? If he turns the zombies, they’ll drop me right about … there. Then if he circles left, the priest will fade backwards to release the monster. He’ll have to step right over me. Yes, that will work. That’s it, a little closer …

NO, don’t attack the zombies! Ach! Amateurs!

Oh, my head hurts.

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