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  #16  
Old Jan 10th, 2022, 11:12 AM
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Zorandicus
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'A rabbit, you say?' Zorandicus ponders the rat's words. He didn't care one whit for the useless rabble calling themselves the "not-so-goodfellas", or any muck-dweller for that matter. But a magical rabbit... Now that could be an ally worth having. 'If it is what you wish to do with your time, then who am I to object? As long as Furchtbar is dead at the end of this, I will be content.'

Already, the rat was scampering off to rummage through the wizard's belongings. Typical, the owl smiled, somewhat bemused, before spreading his wings wide. Without sound, he glided across the room and towards the door, trying to perch upon the handle of the door. Perhaps, his weight alone would be enough to push down the handle, and buy them their freedom?

 

 
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  #17  
Old Jan 16th, 2022, 10:37 AM
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Ernest the Cat
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The told tom feels pleased with the outcome, one blinded guard, the other, certainly distracted. He lazily takes a few licks at his paws, stands up with the slightest meow, and trots towards the entry to Summitstone. He proudly trots through the front entrance, and is immediately bombarded with an array of offensive, human scents and loud noises.

Ernest finds the nearest shadows and follows them along the perimeter to the room, and seeing the staircase, darts up and into a corner. Where could that rat and owl be?Rolled a 10 for Clever - hiyah! He began to search for his fellow familiars.




 
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  #18  
Old Jan 25th, 2022, 10:39 PM
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GM - In the Warlock’s OfficeWhile Furchtbar’s knavish attendants all toss and snore and fart wantonly, Brie does a little ransacking of his own. The black rat scampers over desk, shelf, and floor, from one overstuffed nook to another, searching the warlock’s office for anything that could be used to neutralize Geoff and the other lackeys. In keeping with the occupant’s timid bearing, however, the contents of the wizard’s chambers prove similarly benign. The magician’s catalogue appears to be almost exclusively limited to the study of celestial bodies, their movement about the heavens, and the myriad influences of these meanderings on other—decidedly more exciting and practical—domains of magical study. Short of braining the sleeping Geoff with a telescope, Brie is at a loss. But then, just as he is about to abandon his search, Brie makes an exciting discovery. Tucked in a dented pewter mug among a bristle of old writing quills and frayed paintbrushes, Brie finds a magic wand. The implement is thin and slender, barely as long as Brie’s body. It’s the color of bone or driftwood, all except for the business end—this bit is pure black, as if it was once used to prod a cooking fire. Tied to the handle is a bit of blue yarn securing a small paper tag. Inked on the tag in an elegant script are the words, “Knackered. Use at your own peril.” Just below this is a small pictogram—a jagged line that resembles a bolt of lightning. When Brie presses his sensitive ear against the wand’s length, he can hear the faint hum of electricity within, and he feels the hairs on his snout prick up.

Meanwhile, Andy tries his luck with the door. The owl alights soundlessly, gripping the metal handle in his talons and settling atop it like a perch. The weight of his body causes the handle to dip slightly, but the latch holds—barely. Zorandicus begins bobbing up an down experimentally, pumping the handle with his claws. A few good shoves and the handle sinks, the latch clicks softly, and the door swings open a crack. A sliver of amber light from the hallway beyond slashes the warlock’s chamber, cutting across the face of one of the floor-sleepers. The man grunts indignantly and throws an arm over his head, burying his eyes in the crook of his elbow. He sniffs once and resumes snoring.

GM - Outside the Academy Gates“Here it is! Water!” The guard’s voice is shrill with panic. He rushes over to his companion, uncorking the canteen. “Gods, man! Stop scratching!” he pleads. The blinded guard has fallen to his knees near the gate and is clawing frantically at the swollen, quivering knurl where his head should be. “Hhhhaaaalllppp!” the puckered monstrosity burbles pitifully. Too disgusted to approach and render any real aid, the would-be rescuer instead crouches a few yards away, sloshing water in the general direction of his grieved comrade. “That’s it!” he soothes, not at all convincingly. Better already, eh?”

It’s not better. Even at a distance Ernest and Brijida can see that the blind man’s agony is undiminished, despite his being slightly moistened. Wholly preoccupied by the bodily horror playing out before him, the remaining guard doesn’t even spare a glance when a cat, a fox, and a goblin—the goblin barely passing for a human child in his gingham tunic and mop wig—saunter by, right through the open gates. Once inside the academy grounds, the Familiars are confronted by a collection of grand structures, a network of looming palatial stone built into the sheer cliffs of Mount Myrddin. Ernest sets his sights on one of the largest buildings—a stumpy, modern-looking addition that stands in almost vulgar contrast to the rest. This, the old tom decides, must be the Volothamp building, home of the School for Fanciful Creature Studies and the headquarters of the hated Witch-Hunter, Adjunct Professor Ulrich von Furchtbar. Somewhere far above, on the second floor, Andy, Brie, and the wiserats will have already gained entry via the forgetful warlock’s open window, Mother willing. Ernest leads the rest of the ground team past a drowsing attendant and through the unlocked front doors, which Rocco opens without notice.

Inside, the Volothmap building is dim and quiet. Classes have been suspended for the duration of Whitebridge’s annual festival, and only a handful of the most ardently studious (read: unpopular) young magicians roam the halls, consumed by the teetering stacks of bookwork that they tote from room to room, oblivious to the Familiars’ presence. Ernest quickly ushers the others up a broad set of polished stone stairs—they’ll have to gain the upper floors to rejoin the rats and their owl chauffeur. The top of the stairs opens on a long central hall, its richly stained wooden floor stretching into the far distance. Suits of armor and sculptures wrought in the village’s signature white stone gleam at intervals along the hall’s length, and painted portraits of notable wizards and their magnanimous patrons hang in gilded frames on the walls. The passage is windowless and dark; only a random handful of the globe-shaped sconces lining it are lit, creating sporadic pools of amber light throughout. To the Familiars’ dismay, each side of the corridor is lousy with doors—too many to count, and each indistinguishable from the next. Which portal bars the way to the forgetful warlock’s office is any animal’s guess.

Before the Familiars have a chance to make a selection, however, the sound of human muttering begins drifting down the hall. Soon, the source of the grumbling materializes from the gloom. An old man, stooped and world-weary, shuffles down the hall in the animals’ direction. The human tugs at his long, wispy mustaches, clearly agitated. “Damn that Geoff!” he curses softly. “And Furchtbar, too! It’s a laboratory, not a damned barracks! Pfah! The The Familiars don’t understand his every word, but they recognize those hated names. Geoff. Furchtbar. The Witch-Hunter is close, and his lackeys are afoot to boot. Rocco confirms the animals’ suspicions by pointing excitedly down the hall, wagging his little gray-green fingers at the shadows from whence the wizard has wandered. The man draws nearer. Brijida trots in place, poised for fight or flight. She flashes an expectant glance at Ernest, tongue lolling. How best to circumvent this latest—and most cantankerous—obstacle?

GM - OOCEach Familiar inside the warlock’s office will need to test Sly DR 8 to slip through door undetected. The wiserats would count as one creature for the purposes of this test. See the Mechanics block below for instructions on using the magic wand.

Ernest and Brijida are welcome to proceed however they wish, but here are a few sample courses of action with associated Difficulty Ratings, for reference:
  • Hide until the wizard passes by, test Sly DR 8
  • Rush the wizard and run past, test Fierce DR 6 (he may react)
  • Set the wizard on fire, Brijida test Fierce DR 7 (he will certainly react)

GM - MechanicsThe Wand of Capricious Chain Lightning - Test Clever DR 8 to use the wand (using the wand is always DANGEROUS). On a success, the wand discharges enough electricity to stun an adult human for 6d10+10 minutes. Immediately following a successful stun, roll a d4. On a 2-4, the electricity arcs to another human, stunning for the same duration. On a 1, the lightning dissipates and the chain ends. Continue rolling until the chain ends or no additional human targets remain. On a failure, roll a d4 to determine the outcome.

FAILURE TABLE:
Roll d4Result
1The wand explodes (item is destroyed, user may be injured)
2-3The wand emits a deafening clap of thunder instead of lightning
4Nothing happens (item may be used again)

Note: Failure conditions only apply when the initial casting fails (i.e. not when lightning dissipates, ending a chain).

 
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Last edited by Mallothi; Jan 25th, 2022 at 10:40 PM.
  #19  
Old Jan 29th, 2022, 02:42 AM
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Past and Present
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Summitstone Academy, the Warlock‘s Study, several rat lifetimes ago

"Hurry up, will you? At this rate we will be reaching our destination after sundown and then you can kiss your precious solar eclipse goodbye!"

Annoyance was painted all over the man’s face and since the only thing more prominent than his jowls was his impressive belly, one couldn’t help but notice that the amount of annoyance in question was considerable, enough to crush lesser men beneath its weight.

But not Stanley.

The young warlock, skinny as a toothpick and with a nose whose tip was almost as sharp, barely paid any attention to his paunchy friend. Traveling to the druidic circle outside the village of Whitewall without his scientific equipment simply wouldn’t do. How then would he be able to make the measurements he intended? Besides, the distance was negligible - three to four hours at most and they had a total of six hours and twenty-seven minutes before the eclipse actually began. Twenty-six now. Plenty of time to reach the ancient standing stones on top of Moss Hill, assuming of course Oliver managed to keep up this time. During their last scientific excursion he had seemed to be constantly coming up with excuses in order to halt and stuff his face with the snacks he was carrying along in his bottomless bag. Having spent the better part of his late parents‘ sizable fortune on delicacies had resulted in Chez Gygax getting renovated to suit its wealthier clientele and him gaining over 100 pounds. All in all it was a fair trade.

"Almost ready, almost ready…", replied the warlock absentmindedly, while looking for his favorite telescope that seemed to be hiding from him this morning.

Oliver frowned.

"You do this on purpose, Stan. You just enjoy letting me wait for no good reason. Me, your best friend! Do you know what mumsy would have had to say about that?"

"Eureka!", cried out the warlock and proudly presented the telescope to his friend.

"No, not at all", continued Oliver, getting more cross by the moment. "I doubt that she would have even known what the word means. She would have said that you are taking advantage of my kindness."

This finally caught Stanley‘s attention.

"Oh, come on, Ollie, don’t say things like that. You are my best friend and I am so very glad that you decided to come along."

The other mage merely harrumphed in indignation. If Stanley wanted his forgiveness, he would have to do better than that.

"Let me make it up to you. What would you say to a nice big gingerbread man? That pharmacist‘s apprentice we met the other day gave me his master‘s secret recipe. He said the result is delicious, if somewhat spicy. Shall I bake a pair this evening after we get back? Wouldn’t that be something?"

Oliver arched an eyebrow in an attempt to appear unmollified, but it was obvious that he was no longer angry. If anything, he was getting hungry.

"What‘s the big deal with all this junk anyway?", he asked. "Why do you need so much stuff? Can’t you just use a piece of smoked glass to see the eclipse like a normal person?"

Stanley grinned, though he tried not to appear too condescending towards his friend.

"You know how important the right equipment is in my kind of work. To study the heavens one must be exact and prepared for anything."

The second mage scoffed.

"Prepared for anything? You are kidding. Tell me, Stan, what if we come upon bandits in the forest? Or rabid wild animals. Or even a troll! You heard what happened to Zachariah a few months ago. That big brute made him take a dive for refusing to pay the toll. Are you prepared for that?"

The warlock smiled reassuringly.

"I can think of worse punishments than being forced to take a bath in the river. Besides, between you and me, Zachariah really needed one anyway. The smell of bat guano he constantly uses for his spells is so strong I almost gag every time I meet him."

Oliver shook his head in mock disappointment.

"Your jokes won’t save you from danger, you know. It‘s a good thing I am here to watch out for you. Take this."

With great ceremony Oliver took out a wand out of his backpack and presented it to Stanley, who immediately grew alarmed.

"Is this…?"

The paunchy mage nodded affirmatively.

"Indeed. A wand of chain lighting. An item of great arcane power."

The warlock frowned.

"A wand of capricious chain lightning, you mean. Weren’t these banned for being too dangerous to use?"

Oliver had the decency to look moderately ashamed.

"Nonsense! The wand is perfectly safe in the hands of true masters of the arcane. It‘s those that oppose us that should be careful. Take it. You need some kind of protection in this evil world we are living in."

"But…", Stanley started.

"No buts! Take it!"

One did not argue with Oliver, especially not before a long journey. With a deep sigh Stanley resigned and gingerly accepted the wand. He would just put it inside a drawer and forget all about it.

"Fine. Thank you, Ollie."

The big man gave him a radiant smile.

"What are friends for, eh? May we now leave?"

The warlock nodded and clapped his friend amiably in the back.

"Sure, my friend. Let‘s go."

*****

Summitstone Academy, the Warlock‘s Study, the (dangerous) present

Brie could simply not believe the amount of knick-knacks the warlock had collected over the years. He seriously wondered whether the man had some rats‘ blood flowing in his veins. He even looked a bit rat-like, Brie thought, which was of course intended as a compliment. The black rat used to know many rat-ladies who would have found the old wizard’s drooping mustache rather attractive. In any case not a single one of the human’s assorted „treasures“ seemed to be of real use and having already scoured the entire room Brie‘s spirits sank.

What a pathetic excuse for a warlock! I bet he secured his position at the academy merely because of his good looks.

But suddenly he felt it and his whiskers twitched in excitement - the spark of magicks, just like when his tail used to brush against Mother‘s flying broom. Yes, he was certain now. He could even smell the arcane power!

Taking a better look inside a humble pewter mug, Brie made the discovery of a lifetime. A magical wand hidden next to gruesome animal trophies the humans used to write and paint with. The rat chuckled softly to himself. The old wizard was a sly one. What better place to hide such an item of power other than in common view! But Brie was slier still. Mother had taught him to sniff out magicks just like pigs sniffed out these o-so-delicious truffles.

Placing his paws upon the wand and feeling it vibrate with pent up energy, Brie raised it high as if he had just drawn the sword in the stone from one of Drops‘ favorite tales.

"Eureka!", he exclaimed softly and brandished the wand with excitement. He now had a way to fight these rat-killing humans effectively. Now he feared no one. Not Ulrich, not Geoff, not even Old Bart. He had the power!

Showing the wand to his cousins, Brie gave them a signal that could only be interpreted as „scram“. And so they did, rat after rat exited the room as stealthily and silently as only rats could, one of them carrying the treasure he had found with a huge toothy grin on his face.

Things were finally looking up.


 


 
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  #20  
Old Jan 29th, 2022, 08:28 AM
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Zorandicus
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'Quiet, you!' Zorandicus hissed at Brie's outcry of success, as best as an owl could hiss. 'If you have quite finished rummaging through these trinkets, I think we best make ourselves scarce before these oafs wake up.' Staring up nervously, the former wizard's familiar had to admit that even he would have trouble ending the wretched, bipedal muckdwellers under such a low ceiling.

He was relieved to see the rats finally make use of the little gap in the door he had provided them with. 'I hope you have found something worthwhile to satisfy your patron's greed,' the owl scoffed. 'But for now, let us make haste and find your friends. Furchtbar's lungs have wasted enough breath already- I think it is high time we find him, and end his wretched life.'

Once the last rat had passed through the door, Andy rose up into the air again, flicking his paw to give the door a little momentum before taking off. Sly: 8 (success!)He expertly flew through the now wider gap, eliciting an annoyed grunt from one of the sleeping buffoons as more light filled the chamber. The owl then darted into the hall, grabbing the knob on the outside of the door as he passed. Quickly, quietly, he pulled close the door, letting the wretches inside sleep so he could pursue his true prey.

'My talons long for your flesh, Furchtbar,' the owl muttered to himself. 'My beak hungers for your heart, and my wings of snow long to bathe in your blood. I am coming for you, muckdweller.'

Then he set off, keeping pace with his verminous allies as they made their way through the academy...

 

 
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Old Feb 6th, 2022, 11:05 AM
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Ernest the Cat
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He wasn't sure why, but Ernest had hoped that the ease of their initial entry through the academy's front door was an omen for how the rest of the trip to meet the other familiars would go...

But alas, here they were, snout to knee with yet another human.

"No reason to blind this one, just yet," he said with a sneer to Brijida. The fox continued tapping her feet. ""Hush!"" the old cat hissed at her. "Do you want to get us caught? You stay here, and sneak out while I get another scratch. The old coot seems friendly enough. "

Ernest emerged from the shadows and put on his best itty bitty kitty purr, nuzzling and circling the wizard's feet. At the worst, he'll get tossed aside. At best, another scratch and Brijida can sneak through!

 


 
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  #22  
Old Feb 11th, 2022, 11:43 PM
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Stanley Schnurrhaar, a human
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Stanley Schnurrhaar, tenured professor of Celestial Magicks and Mechanics, shuffles down the long, dark hallway. He mutters softly as he walks, rehearsing the flinty admonition he’d intended to deliver before being unceremoniously ejected from his own laboratory. “If I find a single scrap of parchment out of place, so help me!” He shakes a gnarled fist at a nearby suit of armor. “Heed my words, you brainless brute: Lay one finger on my instruments and suffer the wrath of an angry cosmos!” He clicks his tongue. “No, no, that’s not it.” He scowls, fingering his mustaches. “Ah!”—he brightens, squaring off against the gleaming statue once again—“And suffer the wrath of a thousand fiery suns! Ah-ha!” He slumps, suddenly self-conscious. The warlock turns his back on the uncaring field plate and continues trudging along, chapfallen.

Just then, a dark, furry form darts between Stanley’s slippered feet. “Oh-oh!” he chuckles, dancing around the swirling animal, hoisting his gowns to avoid stumbling over it. “What’s this, eh?” A black cat peers up at him, purring earnestly. “Hello, there,” Stanley murmurs, stooping to pet the old tom. A warm smile steals across the wizard’s ruddy face. He reaches out to give the Bombay a scratch, but something stays his hand. What’s this? His fingers hover just over the animal’s shoulders. The cat mews encouragingly. “No-no,” he stammers. “It can’t possibly…” Stanley abruptly drops to one knee, his joints sounding an alarming rapport of pops and snaps. Lips drawn into a thin line behind his prodigious whiskers, the wizard scrutinizes the feline interloper. His hand still hangs in the air, not quite touching the animal. His fingertips flutter almost imperceptibly. A gentle thrum of energy emanates continuously from the cat, prickling his open palm. Magic! My gods, could it really be?! In one deft motion Stanley snatches up the creature and draws it close. He presses the wriggling cat’s scruff against his nose, inhaling deeply. “Ah! Yes!” In a flash, he flips the tom on its back, cradling it like a newborn in the folds of his robes. He peels back the cat’s muzzle to inspect its gleaming teeth. “Yes, yes!” Stanley is almost giddy now. It must be! Ignoring its indignant cries of protest, the warlock lifts the cat’s tail, appraising its length and curvature. “It is!” The arcane signature is unmistakable. There can be no doubt as to the author of this magic. Beaming, Stanley releases the yowling animal.

The cat scampers a few paces away, plopping down on the dark wooden floor and chirping irritably. It begins sullenly grooming itself, as if to salve its wounded pride. Still crouched at the tom’s level, Stanley extends a friendly hand. “Forgive my excitement. Come, come, now.” The cat does not budge. “Hrmph,” the wizard huffs. “Well, let’s see. It’s been quite a while since I spoke any cat…” He clears his throat noisily. “Meow.” The cat yawns, unimpressed. “Meow?” Nothing. Stanley frowns. “This isn’t my catalogue, you see,” he grumbles. “Once more.” Stanley closes his eyes, concentrating. He delves deep into his memory, searching for the right words of power. “Meow.” The cat’s one good eye flashes with recognition. There it is.

In mewling, heavily-accented cat-speech, Stanley says, “I always knew Abigail would send someone to fetch her things.”

Just Outside the Warlock’s OfficeThe rodent coterie and snowy owl creep stealthily out of the forgetful warlock’s chambers. The heavy door clicks softly shut behind them. A long, dimly-lit hallway, resplendent with academic decor, stretches out interminably in either direction. Which way to go? The wiserats immediately strike up a hushed debate. “The smell of humans is stronger this way,” squeaks one rat. “No, this way is better—to the right,’’ counters another. Unable to reach a consensus, the Not-So-Goodfellas look to Brie and Andy to decide. “Well, Brie-Brain, what now?” Dale demands, skipping from paw to paw nervously.

Before either of the Familiars can make a determination, a sudden animal shout echoes down the darkened hall from the right. “Mother!” It’s Ernest, his voice full of excitement. “He knows Mother! He says he has some of her things! He wants us to follow him!” Brijida yips merrily in reply. The others are close! Brie and Andy rush to rejoin their companions, but are stopped short by the sound of another familiar voice, coming from the opposite direction. A terrible cry rings out—a scream of pain followed by a tortured whimper that sends shivers up the Familiars’ spines. Somewhere faraway to the left Raindrops on Roses is pleading for his life.

Which way to go?

 
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Last edited by Mallothi; Feb 11th, 2022 at 11:53 PM.
  #23  
Old Feb 13th, 2022, 03:35 AM
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A fork in the road
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"No path ever stays the same", Mother had claimed. "Follow it long enough and you will reach a fork. It will then be up to you to decide which way to go. Don’t try to guess where each path leads, for no one can accurately foretell the future. It is all tangled up like a ball of string." At this point Ernest had raised his head and looked around him. Failing to spot said ball of string, he snuggled up even closer to mother and closed his good eye once again. "Just follow your heart", Mother continued, "It will never lead you astray."

It seemed that the dark rat had reached this fork Mother had warned him about. On one paw he had the option to reunite with his friends and claim whatever powerful magicks Mother had left behind to help them in their quest against Ulrich von Furchtbar and his cruel minions. On the other he could attempt to save Drops from whatever mess he had gotten himself into. Oh yes, there could be no doubt that the voice belonged to his hare-brained friend. The witch hunter‘s men must have captured him during that encounter in the forest.

Silly rabbit!, Brie thought as he fumed inwardly. You ever wanted to be the knight in white fur, but it seems you are more like a princess - one ready to be turned into stew!

Turning to the owl, the rat shook his head in resignation. It was no use. The decision had been made for him.

"Sorry, Andy, I have to save the hare from himself. He‘ll never make it without assistance. Go with the others, they will need your help with whatever it is that Mother left behind. We will meet again once I have dealt with Drop‘s captor. I‘ll be alright, I have the power of thunder and lightning in my paws. Now, if you could also give me one of the alchemical potions and the magical salves, I believe I will be ready to face anything. Good luck! We will meet again."

Turning to his fellow rats, Brie got up on his hind legs and raised his wand high in a gesture that was equally comical and heroic.

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends! We leave no one behind!"


 


 
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Last edited by Elanir; Feb 13th, 2022 at 03:36 AM.
  #24  
Old Feb 13th, 2022, 01:00 PM
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Zorandicus
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'You would have me work alongside one of the muckdwelling denizens of this place?' Zorandicus asks incredulously, landing not too far from his rodent ally, staring at his curiously. 'Need I remind you, I recently murdered one of their kind? While their lives are worthless, I do believe they themselves attach some inexplicable sentimental value to one another's well-being.' He turns his head quickly in the direction of the fox's call, then back to the rodent. 'If you plan to work with one of the humans here, I do think it would be best for me not to show my face, if there is to be any chance of success.'

'And besides,' he continues, his disbelief making place for his natural smugness. 'I do believe liberating this magical rabbit would be more beneficial to the cause than whatever trinkets were left here by your... "mistress",' he says, almost gagging at uttering a word which would imply human superiority over animals.

'Not the mention the fact that a little air superiority might go a long way, in eliminating whatever is eliciting those screams from your friend... No, I think it is best if I remain with you, for now.'

 

 
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  #25  
Old Feb 22nd, 2022, 08:37 PM
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Ernest the Cat
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It's not often that a cat displays shock, but when they do, it is nearly always comical.

Brijida had just yipped to the others, begging them to come with and follow this man of magic. But then, a scream. A scream so primal, so painful, so completely raw that it spooked the old cat to his core. His back formed a high arch and all four feet simultaneously left the ground as he lept. A yowl escaped Ernest's body as his back end became higher than the front. "eeeeeoooowowwwwwhhhh!" He landed less than gracefully on his front end, rolling and tumbling back to stand, just before Brijida.

He shook out his back paws, and sat, shockingly collected for the level of surprise he had just displayed.

"What do you think, Briji? Save the rabbit or let him become a hasenpfeffer for the cook? "

"Why, cat friend. I have not seen you so scared as this in a LONG time! Except for when mother dropped that squash while cooking! Oh, that was too frightening, and funny! Yes, yes." The fox's eyes turned to slits and her mouth wagged wide as she laughed to herself. Ernest batted at her nose with a paw, making sure to leave his claws withdrawn.

"We agreed to never mention that again! Now, to save the hare or stay here? We need Andy, he at least understands human. Come on you two. "

Ernest circled the feet of Rocco and Brijida twice, and then began to trot away, towards the rats. He meowed back, hoping the wizard would understand. "Saving a friend, come with us! Help!"


 
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Last edited by NightCheese; Feb 22nd, 2022 at 08:38 PM.
  #26  
Old Feb 26th, 2022, 11:11 PM
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Stanley Schnurrhaar, a human
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Stanley smiles down at the old tom, beaming expectantly. The cat doesn’t move. The warlock bends at the waist, a sort of creaky, shallow bow. He gestures down the hall with a flourish, the sleeves of his robes snapping smartly. “Right this way, friend,” he mews. To his shock, the cat bolts in the opposite direction—back down the corridor toward his office. “Oop! Wait!” he whoops in his native human tongue, momentarily forgetting his cat-speech. He tries again in a feline yowl: “Not that way, Master Cat!” Stanley gasps as two other figures dart from the shadows. A fox and a beggarly toddler—No, not a child, but a goblin, by gods!—spring from behind a tall potted plant to join the Bombay. Even a fleeting glimpse of the grinning vixen is enough to confirm the telltale arcane signature. Another of Abigail’s wards! The cat sprints a quick circle around his compatriots and the trio take off, quick as a wink. “Wait!” the wizard calls again, but the creatures are undeterred. Stanley knuckles his rheumy eyes, convinced the hallway’s dim lights play tricks. He’d swear a lick of flame twitches at the end of the fox’s tail as it bounds away, into the gloom. Recovering himself, the warlock hollers, “You’re going the wrong way!” Nothing. Stanley throws up his hands in frustration. “Not even a blasted house cat will listen to me,” he grumbles to himself. Pfah! Where could they be off to in such a hurry, I wonder? As if in reply, a tortured squeal echoes down the corridor. Stanley’s eyes widen, and his throat goes suddenly dry. Furchtbar. A shudder wracks his ancient frame. Oh, gods, they’re after HIM.

On impulse, Stanley takes a step to pursue the cat et al, then thinks better of it, freezing mid-stride. Abigail might’ve sent a familiar after her sundries, but she wouldn’t condemn a beloved animal to die at Furchtbar’s hand. The creatures are here of their own accord. Stanley gulps a ragged breath as a morbid realization crystallizes. Oh, no. Surely, no! What’s happened to you, Abigail? The wizard whirls, dashing down the hall to the right, away from the frightful shrieking. As he runs, Stanley pleads aloud, a desperate, plaintive chant: “No-no-no! Gods below, Ulrich, what did you do?!”

Elsewhere in the Halls of the AcademyDetermined to stick together and rescue the loquacious hare, Brie, Andy, and the wiserats break to the left, following the sound of Raindrops on Roses’ cries away from the warlock’s office. As they scamper from one area of cover to the next, the sound of Drops’ wailing grows louder, nearer. Before long, they discover the sound’s point of origin: a sturdy, darkly-lacquered wooden door. It is one of many, but this particular door is unique for the second, smaller passage that has been inset at its bottom. This door-within-a-door is similar to those which dogs ofttimes degrade themselves to use for passage in and out of human homes—it is roughly 2 feet high, shaped like a duckpin, and swings freely from a hinge at its apex. On the wall adjacent to the nested doors is an official-looking placard that Zorandicus reads aloud: “School for Fanciful Creature Studies.”

Brie steels himself, preparing for whatever atrocity awaits on the other side. He grips the crackling wand tight, and moves to push open the animal-sized door. Just then, Ernest, Brijida, and Rocco skid to a stop behind the assembled wiserats. Similarly compelled to answer their fellow Familiar’s cries for help, they have rejoined the rats and their owl mercenary, just in time to breach Furchtbar’s inner sanctum, at long last. There is no time for a protracted reunion, however, as the rabbit hostage still whimpers pitifully somewhere beyond. Once again Brie adopts an expression of grim determination and inches forward, nosing at the entrance. HONK! The black rat freezes. Something moves, just inside. He can hear the slap of palmate feet, pacing. HONK! The inset door—a goose-shaped door, Brie realizes with terror—rattles on its hinge. The Familiars dare not breathe. A heartbeat passes. Two. Somewhere deeper within, a human voice barks, “Stand guard, Bart. I’ve forgotten my best bone saw. Won’t be a moment.” The Witch-Hunter! Human footfalls retreat. An interior door slams.

The Butcher resumes his patrol.

GM - OOCTo summarize:
  • While your Witch never mentioned a connection to the academy before, the warlock apparently knows her, and has deduced that something terrible happened to her
  • The warlock has fled in the opposite direction of the Familiars
  • The party is no longer split; everyone is currently gathered outside the School for Fanciful Creature Studies
  • RR is somewhere inside, nearby
  • Furchtbar is also inside, but has apparently retreated into another room deeper within
  • Bart is patrolling the area immediately beyond the door

And here are links to the two most recent RR interludes, just for fun:
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Last edited by Mallothi; Feb 26th, 2022 at 11:13 PM.
  #27  
Old Mar 1st, 2022, 05:02 PM
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Brie the Avenger
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"Ernest, Briji, Rocco!", cried out Brie, happy to see that his companions‘ numbers had remained undiminished. "This is it", he added with as much gravity as a rat could muster. „It“ was meant to describe the goose-shaped door right in front of them. The dark rat didn’t have to hear Drop‘s whimpering and Bart‘s maliciously nerve-racking „HONKs“ to know what awaited the Familiars and Co inside the room. He could feel the tension in his whiskers, could almost imagine the epic, climactic music that could easily have accompanied this clash of a relative term in this casegood versus as evil as it gets!evil. He just wished he could no really, this is the time to save!save this moment in time so that it would forever remain as proof of the tenacity of a group of small animals against the face of extreme adversity. They were finally so close to getting their revenge, bringing back Mother and honoring Beau‘s sacrifice.

This was indeed it.

Puffing up his chest, Brie turned to face his friends, allies and hired mercenaries. "Men… and dear Briji", he quickly added, "I see in your eyes, or eye, the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of woodland creatures fails, when we forsake our long-eared friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of cruel witch-hunters and butcher geese, when the age of rodents, felines, canidae, avians and greenskins comes crashing down, but it is not this day! This day we fight! In memory of Beau, our beloved companion, I bid you charge, animals of Whitebridge!!!"

Screaming like a rat possessed, Brie brandished his magical wand and, setting the example, charged through the goose-shaped door-within-a-door, ready to face whatever fate had in store for him.


 


 
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  #28  
Old Mar 2nd, 2022, 10:40 AM
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Zorandicus
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Bart, Zorandicus thought angrily, his eyes burning into the passageway ahead. The owl regarded that particular goose with the greatest of animosity. Such a horrid, lowly thing- a winged creature, a lord of the skies, abasing itself before muckdwellers. Betraying its own kind for the glory of those muckdwellers, even. How many murders of crows had not been murdered themselves by this vile gander, depriving Zorandicus of eyes throughout the city? How many pigeons had not been plucked from the sky at his command? The goose was vile beyond comprehension, and Andy's heart beat with joy at the prospect of killing not only Ulrich, but his hated "pet", too!

As Brie ran ahead, the owl simply rolled his eyes, then turned his head one hundred and eighty degrees to look up at Rocco. Clapping his wings, he didn't even bother speaking to the goblin, but instead landed on the creature's bag, urging him to spill its contents.

'Potions and salves,' he spoke, 'to defeat the hated foe. One for me,' he said, grabbing a vial of the Plowman's Helper for himself, 'and one for... Either of you,' he concluded, pushing the thing towards Ernest and Brijida. He then uncorked the flask with his talons and, grabbing the neck with his beak, threw the liquid back and swallowed it all in one gulp.

Immediately the owl winced, as the potion worked its magic on his body. His heart raced, his muscles seemingly pulsating with raw strength. It took a few agonizing seconds for the potion's immediate effects to subside, and Andy resolves to eat at least three more rats to get rid of the afwul taste. Then, he spread his wings, and flew after Brie. 'My talons hunger,' he screeched, 'my beak longs for your blood, traitor! Hide, run, beg for mercy- for this day the Northern Wind descends on you!'

 

 
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Last edited by DemonSlayer; Mar 2nd, 2022 at 10:40 AM.
  #29  
Old Mar 8th, 2022, 11:11 AM
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Ernest the Cat
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Ernest watched Brie burst beyond the goose-shaped door with reckless haste. At the same moment the owl shoved a bag at him. Unsure what these potions could do, he looked for a vial the same as Andy's, and grasped it in his mouth. He threw it back in a singular motion, and muttered to himself, "Well, it can't hurt. "

The liquid inside burned the feline's throat just enough to cause him to sneeze. However, he felt his prey drive grow and grow, and something came over the old tom that hadn't since his young mouse-hunting days. Shaking his head, the cat slinked into the shadows, shoulders rising and falling, his belly dragging silently on the floor. He searched for the goose, and prepared to pounce once he came into view.

As his good eye set his sights, only one thought came to mind... For mother... and Beau.

 


 
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  #30  
Old Mar 21st, 2022, 09:48 PM
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The Familiars of Sweetbriar Forest and their Whitebridge legionnaires crash through the goose-shaped door-within-a-door, howling. Brie leads the charge, brandishing his outsized wand. The seven remaining wiserats follow, a writhing swell of fur and fang that spills through the small portal like a greasy black wake at Brie’s tail. Zorandicus, the dread White Whirlwind, flies just above, wings thrumming and talons flashing with the promise of violence. Brijida, body pressed low to the floor, slips through next, yipping excitedly—tongues of arcane flame flicker at the tip of her twitching tail. Gibbering madly in his native goblin, Rocco mashes himself against the too-small entrance until he finally bursts through with an audible Pop! Finally, Ernest slinks in, taking up the rear. The old tom it silent, liquid—more shadow than beast.

The animals find themselves at the rear of a monumental auditorium—a vast lecture hall or operating theater. Those on foot feel luxurious carpet underpaw, its deep red color barely visible in the gloom. The animals stand at the end of the hall’s main aisle, a wide walkway that divides the enormous chamber down its middle. Many concentric rows of seating stand to either side of the aisle, filling the space between the Familiars and the chamber’s low stage, situated at its opposite end. The hall is veiled in shadow, save for that central platform, aglow with golden lamplight, and a single door, flung open and left ajar at stage right. There, as if on display for the edification of a thousand invisible onlookers, is Raindrops on Roses.

The hare is splayed atop a wooden table, bound to the macabre workbench with leather thongs and surrounded by a gleaming array of wicked-looking implements. At the sound of his long-lost companions’ entrance, Raindrops strains against his fetters, and with great effort lifts his head to peer up the long aisle. Light spills across the rabbit’s ruined face. The poor creature has been reduced to a grisly parody of his former beauty. The Familiars recoil at the sight of his blood-flecked pelt, his singed whiskers, and the mangled stumps where velveteen ears once stood proud. Raindrops on Roses draws a long, wheezing breath. “Beloved friends,” he coughs, blood rattling in his lungs. Tears glitter in the corners of his faraway eyes. Softly, he asks, “Do you remember her eulogy?” Drawing on what final energy yet remains in his broken body, Raindrops intones: “Lady Abigail, you were the particles of sunlight caught amongst the first rays of sun through a bedroom window on a festival day's morning. Beautiful, drifting through life carefree, an inspiration to those who would find themselves burdened by the drudgery and tyrannous monotony of the daily world. An inspiration to rise from the depths of darkest slumber, to seize every day as if it was your last. It will be our last days, each in turn, as the grand design moves ever forwar—” Raindrops convulses violently, wracked by desperate gasps and hacking coughs. When the fit finally subsides, he smiles weakly and continues, almost in a whisper. “We all fade into cherished memory, as if to realize room for those who would follow.” He closes his eyes. “Every cast member someday takes a final bow before a loving audience.” The hare lies still.

Without waiting for direction, Rocco and the wiserats rush forward, hastening down the aisle toward the stage and Drops. Not a second later, they’re intercepted by a bright, whistling projectile that bursts into a shower of orange sparks at their feet. They stop short in front of the cigarette that smolders on the carpet before them. A terrible cry rings loud throughout the auditorium. “HONK!” Rocco claps his hands over his mouth to stifle a yelp. Seven pairs of beady rat eyes dart from side to side, searching the darkness for the source of that hideous blare. “HONK!” Old Bart, the world's most bloodthirsty attack goose and Ulrich von Furchtbar's right-hand familiar, appears from between two rows of seats. He casually struts into the aisle, blocking the animals’ path. “How dost thou, interlopers?” He waddles forward three steps to glare down his fractured beak at the trembling wiserats. “What business has’t thee?” The loathsome bird extends a webbed foot and crushes the cigarette with a practiced twist. Rocco and the rats stand mute, paralyzed with fear. Then, with almost imperceptible swiftness, Bart’s long, slender neck snaps forward, striking like a feathered lash. The goose slowly raises his head again, revealing the measure of his treachery. Dale gasps. Agog, the rat reaches behind his back to paw at the place where his prized whistle was—until an instant ago—securely fastened. Now the tiny silver instrument floats high above the rats’ heads, clamped firmly in Bart’s cleft bill. “My thankths,” Bart lisps around the whistle, a wicked grin curling the corners of his beak.

The Butcher then turns his gaze on Ernest, Andy, and Brijida. “Prithee, abandon thy foolith dethigns and thurrender!” He pitches his voice louder and adds, “Ho, there! Cat! Fie on thy thneakery! Come forward, grimalkin!” He returns his focus to the Familiars gathered in the aisle. He narrows his black, soulless eyes. “Thurrender! Throw thinethelves upon Furchtbar’ths merthy, letht ye thuffer the full might of our athembled forthes!” The whistle flashes as Bart sucks in a deep gulp of air, ready to sound the alarm.

“One mith-sthep and I thummon Geoff’ths men forth!”

GM - OOCSadly, Ernest’s Sly roll wasn’t enough to fool Old Bart—he’s been spotted.

As you’ve probably guessed, pretty much everything from here on out is considered DANGEROUS. Here’s a link to the rules on DANGER.

 

 
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