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  #1  
Old Mar 10th, 2021, 07:45 AM
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The Battle of the Bards

Spyder
right-aligned image
Spyder, you die.

It's new. You never did this before. Oh sure, you've come close. There was that vamp you all met up with in a tomb near some little shirthole village in the Meriabrand mountains. She had a serious thing for you. You almost bit it, so to speak. And another time, fighting these Sahuagin...well. Like almost all in the band you have been to an interstitial space or two. You didn't die though. Your bandies always jerked you back from the brink. Now, you did die.

You find yourself in a vast black desert wasteland, the sky split by endless janky spears of silent lightning, punctuated by the rhythmic barking of a million huge, gruff, distant dogs. This is not, if Drow art and poetry is to be believed, the Demonweb Pits. There, you would already have a clipboard and an eternity of webby filing as a slave-bureaucrat in the service of the Spiderqueen. As a very young Drow, you decided there was more to life than percussion and filing. You stopped being Tazennin Filaerth and climbed up into the burning, awful sunlight, and found your band. Even so, you are still Drow. You really thought it would be the Demon Web Pits...

You wear my armor, Truescar, she says. You fed me pain. You returned my avatar's heart, putting to sleep an itch that had been a bothersome distraction for a century now. Of course, you came to me.

Whip's voice. And there she is, slithering against your hip in your slick-arse armor. But Whip is not who spoke. No.

left-aligned image
She comes on chains. Descending from the red sky, the barbs through her back pulling painfully at the otherwise flawless skin, and oh, you know this beautiful, cruel face. You have seen it on a door. You know this voice. You have heard it in your mind.

Spyder, she says, the very word a burning caress in her mouth. My favorite Truescar. And the chains land her lightly on her feet beside you, and then she kisses you, leaning in, and---Spyder, come on. You are a lead lutist. You have kissed a lot of sentient beings. But this---her mouth is a cool flame that sears and destroys and remakes you in a moment.

(Aside: You know, Justin. Very pretty, that boy. All color and flash and zested tangerine smells and sparkle. You are the opposite thing, equally lovely, but quiet, intense, so black and white that you are almost in gray scale. You would die for Justin---oh, hey, you have---but at the same time? There's always been just a leeetle rivalry. Friendly, but present. Two pretty boys, one band. You liked it---it kept you both sharp! Buuuuuuut. Let's be honest, ever since he got a leg over on a goddess? He's been the tiniest bit braggy about it. The number of times he begins stories with the gratuitous phrase, "You know, before I got it on with an actual goddddessss, I used to think..." It's practically his sexual exploit Once Upon a TIME these days. So much so that now the band will hurl things at him when he tries to start stories that way, all yelling MINOR PANTHEON, JUSTIN! MINOR PANTHEON! Now? You get what he was on about. And you kinda wish you were not dead so you could be a little world weary when he started up with that, again. You could be all... I know, I know, GODDESSES, amirite? with him about it...but. Dammit. You are dead.)

There are compensations. The first is, she puts Genevieve into your arms. Restored. The lute the way she was when she was crafted. You did not know her then, but you could always see the outlines of this immortal beauty in the ruins of her. The second is, Loviatar wants melody and harmony. She calls you out of you, a lovely agony of tearing, and there you are. Other you, with your other Genevieve. You smile at you and you smile back at you and yous are smiling.

Spyders, yous sit in the burning sands in The Barrens of Doom and Despair, the boiling heart of Banehold, and yous play. Loviatar lies down nearby, stretching herself out in the red sand, Well as comfy as any girl can be in that outfit, good grief.comfy as a girl on a beach. The strings are silver, so sharp they cut your fingers, and you bleed into the wood until the lutes is yous and yous are the lutes and the pain of it is exquisite and your music roils, unstoppable, in an unceasing perfection.

A bonus. And this is NOT the best part---the music is the best part----but it's a definite perk when your girl says--- and is it Loviatar? Or the lute? Who is playing whom? Does it matter? The music wails around you----Your girl says, I worked it out with his progenitor, a very minor devil from Avernus. If Dragar dies today, if your friends find him and kill him...He's. Coming. Here.

As eternities go, it's forkin' rock-n-roll.



Inside the Yurt of Hurt Durza, Rita has been a right arse-pain. You didn't mind, because you are by far the chillest member of Minstrell/Maxstrell. A very easy-going half-orc. Plus it was nice to be stirred every now and again so you could bang on the wall of the chill-out hut and ruin Nuvian's sleep. But. Now? She is jerking and yanking at your braid almost painfully. You wake up a little grumpy to see---it is not Rita. She is curled up asleep in a delicate little puff in your lap beside Bobby, who lies by her in a vulgar snoring sprawl. No. It's the MUSHROOM you tucked away in there. The translucent one that adamantly would not be eaten. Now it bucks and writhes like a worm on the fishing line of your hair, straining toward---

Spyder.

He lies face up, eyes open, and all the blood that should be in him is out of him, the wet crimson framing his stark, pale beauty. He has those purpley-drow eyes. You forget how lovely they are because you never see them. They stay behind his everpresent glasses. Now those eyes are naked and open and empty of all things.

left-aligned image
Hey. Dragar is gone. These things feel related.

In your hair, the mushroom jerks and twitches, yanking your head, pulling on you, turning your face in the direction of the one thing in this always-before-safe-haven that you cannot bear to face: One of your own. Dead.

Justin, you are upstairs, getting beautifuller, which let's face it, is a challenge, considering your baseline is pretty spectacular, #wokeuplikedis, but Mordanda has a collection of spangled lip-glosses and you are MANAGING it, when you feel a faint squirming in your pants. It has to be a mushroom in your pocket, because while you will be happy to see Berf if your trick works, you are not gonna be that happy to see Berf.

Time's up. The walls of the Chill-Out collapse.

Jane, dead-tranced, you come out of it to find yourself plummeting. YAY. You land with a great satisfying THWUMP in a sprawl on top of Lofwyr, (OOF! There are those stabby knife knees. Yeah, Skald, you are awake!) Snorkberth and Figgs are up. Jane, it is possible your foot accidentally rears back and then connects with dumb Snorkberth WHO IS DARING TO BE A PILLOW pretty hard. Maybe twice. He says Oooof! WHAT WHAT? very Snorkily and loud, and Hingalon wakes up.

Jane, something in your pocket writhes and twists.

Baron, the walls of the chill-out hut have dropped. You sit up.

Oh, hey. Band. Your unrepeated, un-reschedule-able, unmissable moment in the competition starts in two to four hours. If you are not there, you forfeit. You are still trapped. You are still not sure who did this to you (Or are you? Maybe you have ideas? At any rate, you can likely take some names off of your suspect board?) Giant Bugbears and a god shield and the Possible Calling of WhateverTF a Petunia is stand in your way. You have no set lead singer. And, not for nothing, your best musician, your lead lutist, your Drow---BAND!

Spyder's dead.

Unacceptable.


OOC and MAP

 

Last edited by Fillyjonk; Mar 10th, 2021 at 08:54 AM.
  #2  
Old Mar 10th, 2021, 10:20 AM
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Baron de Boom
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It's one of the oldest bard conversations: what's the source of our magic?

That's an easy answer for clerics—gods. For warlocks—sold my soul! For wizards—nerdiness. For paladins—uptightness. But for bards? The Baron has had this conversation with all the members of the band ... they all have different ideas. If he understands correctly, and he might be simplifying a bit here—but that usually isn't a problem with the Slashers, Jane and Justin get their magic because, well, why shouldn't they being the golden children they are. Durza gets her magic from "happy feet." Lofwyr gets his magic because the ancestors appreciate his dedication to the tribal work-out routines, "the pecs of the patriarchal lineage, dude!" Hingalon gets his magic from (well, he's done some soul-selling and let's not go into that). And if you ask Spydyr, he just shakes his head and looks at you as if he can't believe you don't understand it all already—"Art," he says, "artistry."

Who knows. Maybe it is different for each of them.

The Baron truly knows only his own source of magic. And that's Fred George, the wise almiraj who visits him in his sleep. Each night, BdB and FG hop along together and come to a huddle of other magicial almiraj who amble up to them, sniff around and then stand expectantly on their hind feet waiting for BdB and FG to choose. "Oh, you'll want Frank tomorrow", FG might say, "he'll come in handy." And sometimes even one of the almiraj will hop forward themselves, insisting that they follow the Baron out of his dreams—Sliria and Dal'for always manage to sneak into the group.

When the Baron levels up, FG will sometimes introduce new almiraj and tell BdB about them. You see, not only does each almiraj have their own history, their own colored fur pattern and their own dislikes regarding food and where to be rubbed, but each of them represents a particular cantrip or spell. Sliria and Dal'for, the ones who always sneak in, provide the Baron with the ability for Thunderwave and Shield. Frank is Feather Fall. And FG? Well, as far as Baron can tell, FG is the curator of them all, the celestial librarian of his magic who makes recommendations, loans out his favorites and makes sure to brush their coat and strengthen their spines each time they return for the night.

So, really, the explanation of "magic comes from my happy feet!" isn't that strange in comparison, the Baron realizes as he makes his selection of magical almiraj for the day, following FG's advice and assembling a rather pugilistic group except for one almiraj—a long-haired fluffy specimen with a short horn and a wide smile. "Oh, this is Hwlai ... she's for Kuqi. Be sure to bring her along," explains FG. So of course he does.

When the Baron wakes up, he stretches, hears a loud commotion from the hut-sleepers near him and realizes he needs to go see if he can help.

But first, he hovers over Kuqi.

"Kuqi," he says, "meet Hwlai!"



 


 

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Last edited by bananabadger; Mar 10th, 2021 at 08:11 PM.
  #3  
Old Mar 10th, 2021, 11:48 AM
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Durza
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Artist credit: Dotswap
When Durza awakes, jiggled into life by this weirdly-active mushroom, it feels like something is different. It's not just that Spyder is dead, bleeding out onto Mordanda's cushions, although that is certainly different as Spyder has never actually died before. Something else is different. The normal roiling buzz of excitement and "what-shall-we-do-now?"ism in Durza's head is gone, shoved out, along with everything else that's usually dancing around in there.

Now her consciousness is honed to a fine point, a stage-lit pinprick, focused entirely on this dead drow, room-temperature on the floor. There's a constriction, tight around her forehead, that feels like a tourniquet on her brain. When she stands, it's on legs that feel like they belong to someone else.

Durza feels better, but she hardly notices it. She prods at the other Slashers. "Lofe. Hing. Spyder's..." she doesn't finish. "Dragar," she concludes, decisively. Spyder isn't going anywhere. There will be time --a whole lifetime-- for mourning him later. Before that, there is a job that needs to be done, and it starts with finding that pink-pantied pillock and doing him in. She sets off in pursuit. She intended to be quiet, but her limbs feel hollow and full of air and none of them work quite right. She hopes they'll work alright when it matters.


Action Block and Stat Block
Initiative: 8
Saving throws:
Free Action: Stealth (9)
Move: Pursue Dragar
Action: Dash 60ft east, towards Dragar
Note: I'm combining Dash with Stealth based on this response from Jeremy E. Crawford, but if it's not permitted in this game (or if entering stealth is considered an action in its own right), then Durza will move the normal 30ft instead
Reaction:
Bonus Action:
Condition:
Concentrating:

 



Last edited by bothers; Mar 10th, 2021 at 12:08 PM.
  #4  
Old Mar 10th, 2021, 12:54 PM
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Dagger Jane, Eladrin Bard/Sorcerer
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Jane wakes up in midair. But before she lands directly on Lofwyr's sternum, she has time to notice that Snorkberth has inserted himself into Lofwyr's sleeping radius and is pretending to be some kind of disgusting hairy bugbear body pillow that no one would ever think about getting or wanting! Jane is not insightful, and she hasn't understood a lot of the internal back-and-forth between Owlferth and the Skald. But she does feel a hot angry streak of "Nuh-uh, that's MY playmate!" and she allows the toes of both her Converse to bury themselves in the mossy depths of Snork's groin when she lands. Not one to work out problems responsibly between thinking adults, she buries her jealous rage at Owlferth in an unmarked internal container where it can fester and feed on her feelings. She rolls off of Lofwyr onto Spyder's dead body.

At first she doesn't understand what all the blood is. And why Spyder is here. She saw him get up and leave the hut. But then she sees Durza's face. Her friend has the sad wrinkle between her brows, and Jane understands.

Jane looks back at Spyder and her face crumples into folds. She balls her fists in Spyder's leather jacket and pulls his body up into her arms and cries. Red face. Tentacles manifesting in all direction. Hot tears.

"No, this can't be happening! He can't be dead! We were all right here!" she shrieks in peak brat. "I was right up there!! WHO KILLED HIM?!?! WHO!?" Spyder, dead, is unthinkable. She was on patrol! He *is* the band! It was her watch! He tells them all what to sing and play! She should have protected him! Without him, they won't even have a band! It will all be ruined! Durza puts a firm hand on Jane's shoulder before she really gets going and yoinks Spyder's head off his corpse in an agony of frustration and sadness and guilt, and says, with absolute chilling calm, "Dragar."

Jane puts her hand out to take Durza's arm, pulls herself into Durza's lap where she snorts a little bit and coughs and wraps her arms around her friend's arm. "We have to kill Dragar, Durza. I don't even care if we get to the show. I don't even care if a bugbear eats me after. Dragar must die. He has to die screaming. I'll tentacle off his head!"

She feels a little stupid squirming thing in her stupid pocket and pulls out the clear mushroom. "WHAT DO YOU WANT!?!?" she shouts into its fungus face.


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  #5  
Old Mar 10th, 2021, 06:01 PM
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Spyder
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Spyder time is weird here. Sometimes you think that perfect string of esoteric thirteenths yous just coaxed out of Genevieves lasted four hours. And then yous think---We've been here a blink, we don't think we exhaled yet, even once. And then yous think, Oh. We are dead. Maybe we don't breathe?

18 seconds, Loviatar agrees. No. That's insane. You have eaten dinner with her. Indian food, so spicy all four of your eyes wept blood, and so delicious, you could not stop eating it. That's how it is here: Pain, but with such pleasure, always. Now you are in her bed--- a bed of nails, of course, which was---- challenging. But interesting. You are all three passing a long, brown cigarette back and forth, blowing smoke rings. Huh. So you can apparently inhale. Lov is in the middle, and yous are sure yous have been here for longer than 18 damn seconds. Or she'd be grumpy. Spyder, she is not grumpy.

I'm slowing it, she confesses to one of you. I might not get to keep you. This time. We'll know for allllmost sure in...42 seconds. She smiles, and puts the cigarette out on other Spyder. The next six seconds last four days.


The Hunt for Pink Oc-tiefling Oh dear, says Snorkberth, all healed up. He has a big boomy voice now. Are his posh vowels less posh? Hard to tell. Hard to care,now, considering. Why, he is still WARM! And me a cleric. If I had diamond, worth at least three hundred gold... Nuvian is dead asleep in a pile on the floor.

Baron, You aren't sure Kuqi can see Hwlai (with her eyes crusted near shut, she can barely see you) but it does not matter. Hwlai can see her. She stabilizes, half conscious, tossing side to side, her fingers scrabbling at your arm.

Berf, she says, muttering and tossing. Berf. Petunia. You should kill me. You have to... The blast. The push. It must... If I hear the order, I will do it. You can't have me near Berf. 100 feet. You should kill me. If Berf is near he can make me call her...Do not let... and so on.

Durza, it really takes a lot to fuss you. You are fussed. It really takes a lot to calm Jane. Yeah. That does not happen. You are fussed together, each in your own way. The screaming flailing pre-violence violence way and the calm scything pre-murder murderous intention way. Durza, you start getting up, letting your rats plop onto the pillow you were using.

Bobby sidles toward Spyder, like, ...Eat this, yes? Rita gets in her face and has a big squeaky cuss at her. You do not currently speak rat, but you can recognize, NO EATING DEAD SLASHERS, in any language. Bobby, as per usual, defers to Rita. They go to sit on Spyder. Clearly on guard. Tiny Figgs scurries up beside your dead friend, clearly taking a stand with two tiny rats. He says, We will watch over him! We won't let anything happen! Get that shirtball. It's a little bit, well, valiant.

But you cannot appreciate it fully. You are prepping to sprint, so focused that you barely notice the tug in your braid. It just a smaller, fungussier version of the tug of Jane on your arm. But then Jane yoinks an identical mushroom out of her pocket. And hers is going nuts, too. These things never moved or did squat-all except when you tried to eat them. They objected to that. Vigorously. Once you stopped trying to eat them, they lay quiet in her pocket and your braid like, like...well. Like plucked fungus. FOR HOURS. Until less than half a minute ago. When yours went nuts. Apparently hers too. Why? The mushrooms yearn and squirm, twisting and wriggling.

WHAT DO YOU WANT!?!? Jane shrieks. The mushroom does not answer, of course. Jane can't speak to plants. But your eyes meet hers, and your blind rage pauses and her flailing pauses as with blazing, almost matching insight, you understand that this is the right question. This mushroom WANTED something earlier. To not be eaten. But the whole band was distracted and didn't have time to investigate what its dealio was. Hey. MUSHROOMS. #BattleoftheBards #band-napped #BUSY #NO1CARE

But. Now it is moving again. It must, again, want something. The two of you stare at each other, bloodlusty and hurt and ruined and furious. What matters mycology? What matters the thrashing desires of two small nobbins of fungus, when your Spyder is dead? You stare at each other, panting. Does it matter, Durza? Or do you dash?

Justin, the mushroom in your pocket is a tickling bother. You hear a door open, then close. roll perceptionThe pantry or the apartment? Is Spy getting a snack? Or leaving? Spyder is really broken up about other Spyder. You get that, but Berf is coming any minute and Spy is a Slasher---a real team player. It seems weird for him to leave the apartment.

Hingalon, you stare at your dead friend still piecing it all together. You are a dreamer. You sleep deeper than most. Lofwyr, you are already up and running, hauling your big body through the hatch, so wild-eyeed and furious that Justin stares at you in consternation. You realize he has no idea yet, what you've lost. So you tell him. WHICH WAY DID HE GO?

Justin, roll perception. Do you know?


Last edited by Fillyjonk; Mar 10th, 2021 at 06:08 PM.
  #6  
Old Mar 10th, 2021, 07:51 PM
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Justindanda smiled and re-bagged the red mushroom he offered Spyder, understanding. It could be hard to lose a part of yourself, and especially so if one were as hot as Spyd- Well, he's not that hot compared to Justin of course, but still, that's tough, man. The eladrin genuinely regretted not having two drow who made insane music, though. That was totally the shizz.

So Justindanda didn't really think much of Spyder going out and "spending a minute" with Genevieve, but it sounded like he was going out? Did he forget the plan about Berf and stuff? Unlikely, Spy's one of the smartest peeps in M/M! Probably just going for that alone time he wanted so much.

Then the shroom he had tried to eat - and failed, again! - suddenly went all a-tingle and a-tickle inside his trouser pocket. "Whoa boy, what's the big f- Oh hey, Lof. Lof?"

The big bro swole bro aasimar busted out of that hatch like there was no tomorrow, looking as anti-deity and all fury and stormbro as he ever did. Justin stared at his face, wondering if he had like a bad dream or something.

Lofwyr tells him.

"W-what?" Justindanda laughed, weirded out. Was this like, a joke? "Spy just went out, man- What'dya mean he's not- What? What? What?!" What???? No. That can't- That doesn't- NO. NO!

Yes, there was the planned date-night-turn-to-terror-night for Berf a few minutes from now. But if what Lofwyr was actually telling the truth - and Justin knew deep down that he did - then for the moment, there was only one goal.

"TAKE. HIM. DOWN."

Justindanda's purple eyes glowed bright with fury and bardic fae power; so much so that he inspired Lofwyr to be able to run that much farther, spurred on by their collective need for justice and aching love for one of their own. Their beloved lead lutist; their best of the best, their black-hole sun, infra-dark, elf boy.

"Heyyy 'Spyyyy'. Where ya goin'?"

Justin's Mechanics
Free Action:
Move: move 60' E
Action: Dash
Bonus Action: use Mantle of Inspiration on Lof, Justin, and whoever (up to 2 more) else is up out of the hatch and chasing Dragarse
More Movement:
Reaction: move 30' more East (90' total)
Condition:
Concentrating:

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Last edited by ElderOblex; Mar 11th, 2021 at 09:40 PM.
  #7  
Old Mar 10th, 2021, 08:30 PM
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Baron de Boom
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By this time, the Baron has heard the commotion and understood what has happened. With time even more urgent, he decides to put the same plan that had just been used against his band to work for his band.

"Hingalon ... can you help me give her a cure?" Baron asks his friend. If the halfling is able to heal Kuqi, then the Baron proceeds with his plan, picking up Kuqi's lyre and trying to put together the clues and warnings she has been giving. "Here, I'm just going to borrow this for a short time and try to find Petunia. She won't be harmed."

And so, with Kuqi's lyre, the polymorph spell and Kuqi's general appearance, the Baron heads out of their hiding place.






 


 

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Last edited by bananabadger; Mar 10th, 2021 at 11:02 PM.
  #8  
Old Mar 10th, 2021, 10:56 PM
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Bring The Pain
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Lofwyr burst through the floor hatch with eyes set to kill. Justin, sweet beautiful Justin didn't know. The skald told him the unthinkable. A slasher was gone, murdered. "Spy just went out, man..." He said. And then, Lofwyr saw the realization set in. Justin went from confused to righteous fury in a split second. "Take. Him. DOWN!" He commanded.

"Oh, I'm going to break him. I'm going to give in completely to the rage, He'd better hope those bugbears find him first!" The skald managed to say through clenched teeth.

"You hear that Dragar! I'm COMING for YOU!" Lofwyr had never been this angry before. Maybe on the day he fell and was banished from his homeland. He was walking a razor-thin line between functional warrior and blood-crazed blackout berzerker. Gods help that tiefling.

No. The Gods don't care. They only help themselves. They talk and talk about justice and then allow such vile acts. People are truly alone. The Gods only pursue their own agendas and leave everyone else to fend for themselves. At least the evil ones are honest about it. He will become his own God. One of vengeance and fury. Dragar will know holy terror and retribution this day. So says Lofwyr the Skald.

He roared and charged into the next room. If one of the doors were open he would pass through. If both are open, He will continue east unless he sees the doomed pink coward. Today, Dragar would finally be red. "He was the only reason you're still alive. Well, he's not here to stop me now you pink weasel! Come out and die!"

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  #9  
Old Mar 11th, 2021, 08:36 AM
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Durza
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Artist credit: Dotswap
The other Slashers are awake now, all except for the one who isn't going to wake up, ever again. There's noise and chaos and it all sounds like it's coming from very, very far away. Even the mushrooms are awake, the determined little wigglers who didn't want to be eaten. Who was the last person to eat a mushroom, down here? That's right, it was Spyder.

Durza looks at Jane and all her tentacles writhing and shrieking, and at the mushrooms in their hands. She looks at the rats and the Figgs who are offering to guard their friend and... well, it's not a smile, exactly, as none of the muscles that make a smile are working correctly either, she is like a tiny pilot remote controlling some novel body from a great distance, but it's an expression. She is grateful for their help, if not exactly happy.

She looks at Snorkberth, wringing his big bugbear paws in grief. Is it real grief? She looks at Nuvian, asleep on the floor. Is it real sleep? She grips Jane's arm, unusually tightly, to lead her away from these people. This is Slasher business. The rats didn't trust them. Rats know. She should have listened to the rats.

Gramgrams was an ovate, way back. Prophetry, seership. She'd wanted her grandchildren to follow the path, but Dergu was a book-reading weed who didn't believe in casting bones and entrails and haruspicy and signs. Durza took the bard route instead, but there was a still a bit of the ovate in her. She could read the signs, sometimes, if she paid attention. The signs are all around, always, if you pay attention. She means to pay attention now.

Mushroom-filled paws, Jane and Durza, flat palms before them, huddled away from deceitful ears.

"What are you tryna tell us."


Action Block and Stat Block
Initiative: 8
Saving throws:
Free Action:
Move: Up the hatch and out of earshot of non-bandies downstairs
Action: Cast Speak with Plants on Jane+Durza's mushrooms
Reaction:
Bonus Action:
Condition:
Concentrating:

 


  #10  
Old Mar 11th, 2021, 04:26 PM
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The Tear in the Opal

the Tear in the Opal
Hingalon was surprised when Jane-rar picked him up, but learned right away to enjoy a bugbear's hairy embrace, even if in fact it was more of a pointy, all-elbowy strangle-hug. Still, he found it incredibly relaxing, and might have dozed off for a few seconds... until Jane-rar flung him away during her mad-dash sewer exploration.



Oh well. The snooze-time was only deferred for a while, to Durza's magic Yurt! But before succumbing to the welcoming arms of the Goddess of Sleep, he had one more thing to do; something that he'd been deferring for a while, but could not be postponed any more. In the last few days Hingalon had had a recurring dream. He wasn't even sure it was an actual dream -- a vision, maybe? Or something from the Void between the spheres had reached forward to touch him with a quasi-physical tendril? In his case, the difference between all these tended to be vague, almost non-existent: the metaphysical was part of his world as much as the ground under his inadequately groomed feet.

In any case, he went rummaging into Mordanda's jewelry boxes until he finally came up with the ideal item, which he found in her dresser. It was a ring, a black opal shot with purple, set in platinum. Hingalon approached the Baron: they were old-time buddies, but he was still strangely reticent and had to force himself to speak up.

"Baron, I've got a favor to ask you. Before we set down to sleep, can you take your tools and drill a hole in this stone for me? Nothing big, it should just be large enough to contain... a drop of liquid?"

"Pimples always said decorative flourishes were the entrapment of the ruling class ... but you should have seen his wardrobe; it was the entrapment of lice. I approve."

"Powerful, functional things should be beautiful. And maybe someday you can introduce me to this halfling girl of yours?"

The Baron had said this in a light-hearted tone, but he turned serious as soon as he glanced at Hingalon's face. There was something going on, and certainly it had nothing to do with thoughtless youth and happy-go-lucky hanky-panky.

After thanking his friend, Hingalon looked for a quiet place to be alone for a while before joining the others in Durza's shelter. The sewer was damp and smelly, but he didn't care: for a few minutes, he was going to another dimension than the material plane. Plopping down his loincloth-clad buttocks in a stinky puddle, he crossed his legs, cradled the ring and concentrated. After a few moments, he felt a connection. There she was, endlessly roaming the Void: she had died in chains, and after death she was still a prisoner of hate, pain and grief.

Hingalon opened himself to touch her spirit. He felt the hunger gnawing at her body, the desperation wracking her mind. Surely they couldn't have forgotten her in that cellar? What was the point? She would do anything now, she'd learned her lesson -- no more pride, no more objections. What was the purpose of letting her die alone, like that?

And yet they didn't come. She had broken her fingers trying to pry open the manacle on her other hand, to pull the chain from the wall. Just before starving, already delirious, she found herself chewing on the bloody stumps. And yet they hadn't come back.

A single tear ran down the halfling's cheek and dropped into the gem, where it froze solid, sealing the opening that Baron had just made. Hingalon and Lily were joined now. It was time to go back and rejoin the rest of the band.



Dead tired and emotionally exhausted, Hingalon finally headed towards the Yurt for some well-deserved sleep. Reflecting Durza's character, the place was exceptionally hospitable and cozy. After long, dreamless hours, the halfling rose refreshed and ready to go. Actually, he'd never felt level up!that powerful! Was luck finally turning for the Bards?
No. It definitely wasn't. It didn't for little Kuqi, it didn't for Spyder, I'm pretty sure this is, in fact, a wordproditoriously and murderously... well, murdered by an envious, pinkish abjection.

But now it was time to act, and act quick. Following the Baron's cue, the halfling approached Kuqi and hovered his hands all over her body, trying to cure the worst of her injuries. Meanwhile, Lily was already stirring in his ring...

Hingalon's OOC and Actions
OOC:

Saving throws:
Free Action:
Move: to Kuqi
Action: Cure Wounds with a 1-st lv slot. I rolled
Dice Roll:
1d8+4 (1)+4 Total = 5
a natural 1 because I suck, hence 5 HPs cured.
Reaction:
Bonus Action:
Condition:
Concentrating:


 
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Last edited by stepanxol; Mar 29th, 2021 at 02:57 PM.
  #11  
Old Mar 11th, 2021, 05:11 PM
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Dagger Jane, Eladrin Bard/Sorcerer
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Durza pulls Jane upstairs and they stare at their wildly gesticulating mushrooms. Looking back and forth from the mushroom to the green person next to her, Jane sees the two of them get their language intuned as she pants impatiently, shaking and shouting at her mushroom to no avail. This plant-talking is kind of a Durza thing that Jane can't access, like family ties, having rhythm, and a profound sense of self. The last time Jane communicated with a plant, it was a snake plant in a sweaty diner in Woodbottle that Jane had prestidigitated googly eyes onto and was using to practice saying "Don't you forking look at me," in Deep Speech.

As Durza settles in to commune with the little squirming thing, Jane shoves her mushroom into Durza's other hand and says, "I can't understand a dang word he's saying. I'm going after Dragar. I will message you in six seconds if I don't see you first."


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Last edited by lostcheerio; Mar 11th, 2021 at 05:17 PM.
  #12  
Old Mar 11th, 2021, 05:20 PM
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Bottle, Book, Brand
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Spyder she is not always with you. She's a goddess. She has, like, things.

But hey, a LOT of musicians end up in Banehold! Yous meet a baatezu drummer who daily peels off all her skin that is not tattooed which, gross, but hey, yous are not judge-y, and damn, she can drum. A couple of condemned Viol freaks climb up out of a pit of Lemures that is here on loan from Asmodeus; Lov thinks you'll enjoy jamming with them, and you do, and they really enjoy not being in the pit of Lemures.

I borrowed them for Dragar's first few millennia, Loviatar tells you. If your friends off him today? He's mine. If not, he goes back to being his progenitor's and when he dies he'll likely get a little hell earldom and be an unendurable torturous prat. I hope they get him. We'll do him up right, here, Truescar. Believe it.

Yous do believe it. Cool cool cool. Yous meet a bunch of maelephants with trumpet trunks who bring the brass. It's good. Not Slashers good. But good. Word spreads. More musicians come to the sandy red plateau where yous like to jam. The best of them start talking about a name, an album, a 9 hells tour with a few stops in Gehenna. Spyders and the Truescars. Maybe yous can make something out of these guys. Given time. You have time. You notice Mundane Plane life seems FAR for all them. And yous think, maybe, when another 36 seconds pass, Mundane Planer life will begin feel far to yous. But.

But but but. Maybe it's just that yous KNOW your ride-or-dies are deeply mourning, and their morale is wrecked, and they are hurt and furious---all this, and your beloveds are still trapped and in peril. And even though yous HAVE your admission from Dragar---what you always knew was true was so very true he cut your throat over it---yous still want your band to win. You want to take Minstrel/Maxstrel all the mortal way. FINISH your business! Here, yous know, will always be here. If you keep this armor, keep this whip, keep the faith, well, you'll both be touring with the Truescars soon enough.

You want to help them? she asks. I really only like to see you weeping when you're smiling, too. Look, I can gift them a little help: Bottle. Book. Brand. Little present, medium present, big present. You know they will be good presents. But. Each will have a price. What did Door say, a few hours and a thousand years ago? Every kiss comes with a slap. Little slap, medium slap, big slap.

Risk and reward, Slasher. Pick.


The Hunt for Pink Yuck-tiefling
left-aligned image
Baroni Kuqi is raving. It's hard to piece it together. You kinda get that Petunia is hers, but currently obeys Berf. The collar. She said on the roof that Petunia also wears the collar. So. Kuqi is clearly afraid to be within eye or earshot of Berf. You believe she would rather you smother her with a pillow than be used to kill you. This lady is a goblin's goblin. That's the best you can do, distracted as you are. With Spyder dead. You call that one Almiraj whose fur always seems to blend with her surroundings, and interact correctly, and as her furs shifts, you shift, and you are...

Baroness de Kuqi! You snarfle the harp and up you go. AH. This is a focus. Stinks of magic and her greasy Composting-Strawberry lip gloss. Attuned? Yes. You can feel her with you, like a string that runs back from the harp to her. It helps you be her. You got this! The wedge-heeled flip-flops make your walk slightly pigeon-toed, pushing your center of balance out if your shoulders and into your hips. You feel your goggles mist away into invisibility and you peer at the world through her lamp-lit orange eyes. Your knees crackle like the knees of a gob who is no longer young. Well. That may just be your knees, but if feels correct for Kuqi, too. You hustle east, and you don't even get to the pantry. Frustrating! But then, you feel Justin's mantle settle over you. YEAH! ZOOM! You trip-trap thirty extra feet, super fast.

Hingalon, the Baron has asked you to stay and help Kuqi. You do, and she sits up, coughing, her swollen eyes unswelling a little. She watches her Baron-self run up the ladder. Good. she says. That is VERY good. Hin? Can you deafen me? Do you know this spell, deafen? I do not. Or Silence, if I was silenced that is good, or put me in a magic circle? Or...hrm. If Berf stays away far enough, anything to block my ears might help...

Durza you don't trust these outsiders, but you trust your rats. Well. Rita. Bobby kinda wants to maybe eat one of Spyder's ears, which, no. She has base instincts, that girl, and very few pleasing social skills, but you think a good heart. She listens to Rita, at anyrat(e). And, not for nothing, she did shoot poop at Dragar and Nuvian, and she seems to want to please you. But, no on the ear, Bobby. No. Spyder needs both ears. To hang his glasses on.

You are gonna to Orc-Rip Spyder's rightful glasses off that tiefling (to "orc-rip off glasses" means you take the eyes right along with 'em) and bring them back to your fallen friend. You can't bury or burn Spyder without his glasses. You have a strong sense of what is owed the dead from Gramgrams, from the path you didn't take---although, as Gramgrams has told you many times, with no small pride, bards and ovates are adjacent. There is an overlap. You are loathe to leave Spyder's body with the non-slashers after WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED. But Hingalon is there, taking care of Kuqi. Your Hin will not anyone deface Spyder. So you grab Jane's hand and the two of you hurry up the ladder and out the hatch. As you go, the mushrooms seem to get more frantic. They do not like this? TOO BAD FUNGUS, you need privacy. Rita has not steered you wrong, yet, and she did not trust the non-slashers, wouldn't talk in front of them, so now you won't.

Jane, as you come out of the hatch, you feel Justin's Mantle drop over you. SPEED. YES. You throw your mushroom Durza-ward-ish hollering, Plant-speak it!!!!! and run after Dragar like a murderous pile of angry tentacles, surging just past the Baron.

right-aligned image
Durza, you cast. It's instant. They were already shrieking. You have to work to understand them over each other; they are in competition! NO NO I WILL GET THE FRESHDEAD! I MUST PREGNANT! I AM BEST FOR PREGNANT!

NONO! FRESH DEAD IS MY PREGNANT! FOR ME ME ME!, says Jane's mushroom. It is creepy-crawling toward the hatch like a desperate inchworm.

The mushroom that you grew, the one you plucked out of your own flesh---which really ought to make it your crops, and thus it should have let you eat it--- now it turns to you and says, You FASTER than hims, Muvver. Take me hurry to the freshdead! Take me hurry, while it warm. I want to pregnant! Muvver, dantn't you wunt grand-shrooms? Hims too slow anyway. By time hims creepy crawls down, it will be too dead for pregnant. Sad sad sad! It twists and jerks, trying with its whole half-ounce to drag you back down the hatch.

Justin, your mantle swirls around you in a glorious fae spangle that smells of citrus and thyme and exceptional botanical gin, and you had no ladder to deal with. You dash through the pantry. You can see him! YOU CAN SEE HIM. He is almost to the ladder. That. Booger. Was. Strolling. Spyder-insecurity aside, he never lacked for confidence. He really thought, he REALLY thought, I'll stroll on out of there in my Spyder suit, la la la, clever clever clever. ARRRGGGG! You can't quite get there, though, even with your boost!

Dragar is clearly shocked when he hears the thunder of Skaldic feet a'thunderin' behind him. He whirls. Lofwyr, you are not going to reach him. He is right by the ladder! Seconds from scooting up it! But even at your fastest farthest maddest gallop, there is no way you can reach him. And then Justin's Mantle whirls around you in a glamour-puff, and in a burst of bardically fired speed, you do catch up. You arrive winded, panting! READY.

Dragar looks at you. His eyes bug. For a breathless second, you sip the nectar of his terror. He knows you know. He knows you see through him.

But then, he smiles. He reaches up slicks one Spyder-finger along his throat, where you know Dragar wore some sort of janky choker. He says, I am intangible, but NEVER obscure. Which are literally the most pretentious arse spell words you have ever heard. Honestly, you can't kill this guy ENOUGH.

But. The pretentious words work. POOF. He is gone.



OOC MAP CHART
 




Last edited by Fillyjonk; Mar 11th, 2021 at 05:46 PM.
  #13  
Old Mar 11th, 2021, 09:30 PM
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Dagger Jane, Eladrin Bard/Sorcerer
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"Intangible but never obscure?" What a freaking precious little wanker. Jane puts her upside down finger-goggles on and casts her spell: "I SEE LONDON I SEE FRANCE I SEE YOUR PINK DUMB BUTT HANGING OUT OF YOUR SAGGY UNDERPANTS." Yanking open the ethereal plane like a bathroom door when someone is just trying to get some privacy, Jane looks up the ladder, down the tunnels, and all around.

She sees Dragar coming *down* the ladder, and trying to sneak past the Skald. Hopping up and down in a hot rage, she points all her tentacles at his position and yells "GET HIM LOFWYR!"

And then past Dragar she sees someone putting his big hairy bugbear feet down onto the ladder. She sees him step down, down into the tunnel, and then with the advent of some pendulous protuberances, she realizes: THIS IS BERF. Naked Berf. Come to pay court to Mordanda.

She turns and hisses down the passageway: "BERF IS HERE. BERF." There's Koqi, there's Mordanda, ready to receive him. They just have to get Dragar down and dragged out of the way!


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Last edited by lostcheerio; Mar 11th, 2021 at 10:47 PM.
  #14  
Old Mar 11th, 2021, 10:17 PM
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Baron de Boom
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[Mathilda, stage left]: Hey, Sparky, how long does it take a turncoat to climb up a ladder?

[Sparky, stage right]: I don't know, Mathilda, how long does ...

sound of music interrupts Sparky

[Sparky, front stage]: Hey! I'm trying to perform here! Nobody respects my artistry! Someone is ...

Sparky falls down and begins snoring; Mathilda, too

[Voice of Uncle Mort, offstage]: Uh-oh! Kids! It's the sound of the magic harp! That means Puppet Smut time is finished. We always do seem to finish too early, but them's the breaks! Don't forget to say hi to Little Draggins in the back as you leave and put a silver piece in his funny hat ... or else Mathilda and Sparky will send pixies into your home to spit in your nose as you sleep!

[Mathilda, wakes up]: Just kidding!

[Sparky, wakes up]: Kinda. Not really. Give the silver you little brats!

harp music starts again; puppets sleep; curtains close; harp music continues as kids exit

Uncle Mort would be so ashamed of you Draggins ... thinks the Baron as he casts the sleep spell on the murderer who used to be Draggins, I knew I shouldn't have let that tiefling tailor family take you in. Always seemed suspicious to me. You weren't such a bad kid when you knew this song. At least we gave you music, eh?

 


 

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Last edited by bananabadger; Mar 11th, 2021 at 10:18 PM.
  #15  
Old Mar 11th, 2021, 11:51 PM
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Gone Away
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When Dragar turned around the look in his eyes was priceless. He knew exactly what was coming and was terrified. That primal fear is far more intoxicating than any herb, mushroom, or brew Lofwyr has ever sampled. And the skald has sampled plenty. "You." He whisper-growled as his eyes flashed mirror black.

"This won't be quick. But, it will be painful. I'm going to peel off your face and maybe make it into a codpiece. Would you like that? Your horns will be used for ale. I wonder how long you can live without a face, or horns? What about hands?" Lofwyr rubbed his chin and basked in the shivering terror of the doomed tiefling.

But, Dragar wasn't whimpering. He was actually looking smug and highly punchable again. The pink fool said something stupid and vanished. Lofwyr grit his teeth and fumed. "You're only delaying the inevitable, coward. Even if you escape this place, I won't ever stop hunting you. You are finished Dragar! Dead already. Vallos isn't that big. Look at me! I'm Godborne you know what I'm capable of!"

Lofwyr was shaking with fury when Dagger Jane called out to him. "Get him Lofwyr!" echoed through the tunnels as she pointed with every finger and tentacle available. That's just what he intended to do.

The skald gripped his battleaxe so hard his knuckles cracked. He Only 8 with inspiration. 4 damage if by some miracle...swung wildly into the air where he thought Spyder's murderer would be.

"Berf is here. Berf." Jane hissed. Lofwyr whispered some curses in celestial. "This just keeps getting better. We're by no means finished Dragar. I'll be taking that face if it's the last thing I do." Just hit them until they stop moving. He reminded himself. East right?

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