Ice’d Out

I had no idea what was gonna happen the night that Dutch called.

“Hey kid, get your crew together. I got another job for ya. It may be my way back into the old man’s good graces.”

Dutch always talked about how he’d gotten pushed out of the family but nobody seemed to know why. He had always promised me and my crew that if he ever found a way back he’d make sure we were taken care of. If Dutch thought that this would impress those who had shipped him off, his words, the take on this score would be pretty good.

“So what is it?”

“A beautiful bit o’ ice me boy. Call me when you get those two ready and we’ll meet up and get this done.”

At this point he hung up. I hadn’t heard anyone call diamonds “ice” anywhere outside of movies. It was also weird that Dutch was coming along but I couldn’t blame him for wanting to oversee things.

So I called up my brother Tommy and told him to get Fletcher and meet me at the dumpy little diner that Dutch did his business out of. Tommy was always game for whatever I steered his way. I always took it as a benefit of being his big brother.

Fletch, Fletcher Reed, could be just as useful when I could get him to shut his mouth. When he wasn’t working with or for me Fletch, was usually running some kind of con, but I never asked about them because I never really wanted to know.

And ninety minutes later we were having a sit down with Dutch to discuss the details.

We were to break into a mansion and make our way to the vault. Once there we would acquire a statue that according to Dutch was “a priceless piece of antiquity” that he already had a buyer lined up for. We were to take nothing else and to only go where Dutch instructed us to while inside. Something about his way around the security within the place.

The job had to be completed by sunrise while the owner was out dealing with … something.

Dutch was never really clear what that was. We would receive our shares at the end of the job, once Dutch had verified that the buyer was happy. And with that we set off to make a bit of mischief.

Dutch gave directions as we went and finally had me park about half a mile from the target’s mansion, though I don’t know why. Even from the road you couldn’t see the and I’d never have even known it was there on that hill were it not for Dutch, which was odd for a place as big as this one appeared to be in the darkness.

As we slowly made our way up the hill circling the mansion I couldn’t help being a little taken aback by the overall scope in both size and splendor. In the back near the almost invisible door we would end up using for entry was a small fenced in garden with what appeared in the moonlight some kind of fruit bearing trees.

I call the door nearly invisible because without Dutch we would never have known it was there. The closer we maneuvered towards our final prize the more apparent it became that Dutch knew more than he had let on. It also seemed strange, in light of that, why the rest of us were even there. Up to the point of entry, the three of us had done nothing but just be present. But I pushed those thoughts back as we finally made our way inside and thought only of my coming payday.

Two things became clear as we entered the place. First was the almost complete lack of light inside except for the little bit sneaking in through the curtains of whatever room we happened to be in. The second was the smell. It didn’t smell bad so much as it just smelled… old.

It reminded me of my grandma’s house. Moth balls and quiet age. I asked Dutch if he was sure this was the right place cause it didn’t seem like this place was lived in.  I could tell, even in the dark from the look that he gave me to just shut up and go with it, so I did.

At this Dutch started to slowly and deliberately lead us through the unlit hallways and darkened stairways until we finally stood before what had to be the door to the vault. I was thankful because I had gotten so turned around as we moved through the darkness that I could not have found my way out at that point if my life had depended on it.

It looked like one of those old timey bank vaults that you see in old movies. Unlike what you see in the movies though, there was something carved or engraved into the metal of the door. None of us could read what it said but English was the only language amongst us so there was not big shock there.

As we moved closer, the “letters” started to glow brighter and brighter shades of blue.  This was also when it felt like we were being watched by… something, but in the growing light it was clear we were the only ones here and none among us could see any kind of camera.

Dutch pulled this thing from his jacket pocket. It looked kinda like one of those dream catcher things only it was connected to a calculator. I asked him what it was cause it looked like a bunch of junk but he just shot me the wickedest, weirdest grin.

“It’s a key, kiddo.”

“It looks like junk Dutch.”

“I assure you it’s not. This may just be the only thing in all of creation that can get through these wards and break the seal on this door.”

While this was going on I could hear Tommy and Fletch talking softly, voicing the same concerns I’d silently had since we got here, but I tried to play it as cool as I could.

“So are these ward things the glowing blue letters?”

“Yeah kid, it’s those ‘glowing blue letters’.” But it sounded like he was talking down to me.

Now I’d never been anything but loyal to Dutch, but enough was enough. I grabbed Dutch by the arm and spun him around. I pinned him to the wall with my forearm to his throat.

“What aren’t you telling us? How do you know so much about this place and how do you just happen to have the key to this door and a way around all the security?”

Dutch pushed me away like I weighed nothing and chuckled.

“Alright kiddo, you want some answers? Fine, I’ll oblige. I know this place like the back of my hand because once upon a time I called this place home. I have this key because… well I’ve always had this key. When I was cast out I was permitted to take only what was on my person, and this key was it. I’ve just been waiting for the right time to make my move and come back.”

Somehow his attempts at clearing things up only ended up muddling them it all the more. I had more questions now than when we started. Before I could even come up with a response Fletch started in.

“So what, like your family lives here or something?”

“Yeah, boy-o, something like that.”

Dutch saying it the same way and obviously on purpose just came off as offensive. I decided to just ask what I had been avoiding all along.

“Since you already have this key thing, and you already know your way around, why do you need us? Hell Dutch, you even said you had a buyer lined up already.”

He looked like he was deeply thinking about an answer and just shrugged.

“I don’t, at least not in any real sense.”

But before I could even voice a response to that he continued.

“Do you remember all of those times I promised I’d take care of the three of you if and when the time came? Well, this is that time.”

At this Tommy grabbed my shoulder, “What’s e’ talking talkin’ bout?”

“Dutch had always told me that if he found a way back in for himself we’d be a part of that. I guess I just thought that was nothin’ but talk.”

Dutch cleared his throat, “How’s about I just make good on my word.”

With that he pressed a few more buttons on his “key” and the blue lights on the door winked out one by one. As the last one went dark, there was a rumble as if from within the earth itself that I took as the vault door unlocking.

As the door slowly opened, on it’s own I might add, we got another round of that weird blue light only this time it was accompanied by a bone chilling cold. It made me wonder if this was a vault or a freezer. Not that it mattered with the end now in sight, so we all made our way inside.

The first thing I noticed as we crossed the threshold was just how empty it was. This made it feel so much bigger than it really was. The walls were made of some kind of metal and covered in those things that Dutch had called wards. They were the only source of light in here but there were so many of them that there was no trouble seeing the statue we’d come for.

The statue sat on some kind of raised platform in the middle of the room. Surrounding that and kind of set into the stone floor were these three rings. One looked to be copper, one silver and one gold. The statue though was breathtaking and I moved in to get a closer look.

It looked to be about a foot and a half tall and was almost perfectly clear. At first I thought it was in the shape of a man, but the closer I got the more I saw how wrong I was. It had wings which were kind of wrapped around its body and blended a bit with the hooded cloak I’d guess you’d call it. The hood covered a majority of the head so that you could only really make out the slightly pointed chin and the little bit of beard covering it.

I did make out two small black gems, flecks almost, made of onyx or something for the eyes. It felt like those eyes were looking deep inside of me, like inside my soul inside of me.

I saw what looked like bumps of some kind near the front of the hood but couldn’t really tell what those might be.

The thing that struck me as odd though were the legs. The appeared to be covered in fur and ended in feet like that of a goats or something.

Now as I was studying all of this I was compelled to touch it and noticed that in my focus on the statue, both Tommy and Fletch were doing the same damn thing. We all reached out and touched it at the same time and then it hit me.

“Dutch, when you’d said ice I’d assumed you meant diamonds, but this is just ice. What are we really doing here?”

“Let me show you.” He said as he moved in and gently picked up the statue.

As he cradled it in his arms he began to speak, well not so much speak as chant, but it was not in any language I could understand.

As dutch was chanting, just above the floor, there began to be a sort of shimmer in the air. At first it looked the way the air above a desert highway does on a hot summer day. Of course those “heat lines” don’t grow to the height of a man.

They also don’t separate when they once they do until there is a whole big enough for a man to go through.

As this thing grew in front of me, through it I could hear voices crying out, almost like they were in pain. It was starting to make my head throb as it got the “hole” in air got bigger and the cries grew louder. I also felt a cold wind blowing through the hole as it grew.

I tried to get a look through the hole as it grew but the harder I looked the less sense it made. It was as if my mind was refusing to comprehend what I was seeing.

The pressure from the almost rhythmic throbbing was becoming too much and I sank to my knees clutching at my forehead. I saw as I sank down that Tommy and Fletch had done the same.

Dutch however was standing tall and seemed to be unaffected by all of this. I tried to cry out but couldn’t seem to get my mouth to make the words. Dutch just looked at me and smiled.

“Come forth my master and accept this trinity of sacrifices that you might walk free once more.” At this the voices crying out grew frantic but I thought I heard one voice above all the others that sounded almost…eager. I wish I could remember what it said.

It was becoming impossible to move, let alone think clearly and this is when Dutch pulled a small pistol from somewhere on his person. He then walked over and calmly shot Fletch square in the chest. The gunshot boomed and the sound echoed off the walls like a cannon. Before the gunshot had even faded the voices on the other side of the shimmer grew all the more frenzied and from the look in Dutch’s eyes it became clear if someone didn’t stop him then he would kill us all. Not surprisingly that is an incredibly motivating prospect.

However, despite this I found it incredibly difficult to move. That is, until I saw Dutch moving towards Tommy. I found myself filled with a rage at this betrayal. I was screaming as I got shakily to my feet. Dutch turned and his eyes met mine.

“No more Dutch.” And I launched myself at him.

After the way he had thrown me off of him earlier I didn’t think I could take him in anything even close to a fair fight, but I thought I could at least get the gun away. As I was closing the distance between us I heard the gun go off again and something whistled by my ear, which in turn felt like it was now on fire. I had my hands on the gun in the same instant it registered that I had been shot in the ear.

As I attempted to wrestle the gun free Dutch started to try and shake me off. God was he strong. If this went on for too long I knew I stood no chance of winning, let alone surviving.

I decided to try something that had been a tried and true tactic in a fight and I kneed Dutch square in the balls. The gun went off again as he loosened his grip enough for me to get it away from him. I pointed it at Dutch and began to back away.

Tommy cried out. I looked and saw that he had been gut shot. God… there was so much blood. With every twitch and spasm more blood poured out onto the floor.

“Tommy, hold on. We’ll get you out of here.” But it didn’t matter. He coughed one more time and lay still on the floor.

The frenzied screams through the shimmer grew completely incensed at this point and that voice called out once more.

“Complete the trinity and free me.”

I moved slowly towards Dutch who had now moved until he was right in front of the shimmer.

“Why?” I asked in disbelief of all that had happened.

He just smiled that wide Dutch smile.

“Nothing personal kiddo. You three were just a means to an end.”

“Means to an end? MEANS TO AN END! I have been nothing but loyal to you Dutch.” I was all but screaming this.

He just smiled again and shrugged and before I even knew what I was doing I was pulling the trigger and I kept pulling until long after the gun clicked on and empty chamber. Dutch’s front was littered with growing spots of red from all the impacts.

I walked over as he took a knee. I couldn’t understand why he was still alive at this point but I didn’t care. I grabbed Dutch by his suit coat and he feebly tried to fight me off, but the blood loss seemed to be taking some of the fight out of him.

“Damn you, Dutch.”

As he was going limp in my arms he smiled feebly and said, “Sorry kiddo, it was the only way.”

Dutch went still then and I just shoved his body through that shimmer in the air. The already wildly screaming voices on the other side grew in both volume and fury until it was more than I could take. I collapsed to the floor as the world went dark.

I woke up in a hospital room some time later and was immediately greeted by a detective.

He told me that I was found slumped over the wheel of my car covered in blood that was not my own and he wanted some answers.

I told him my story, all of it, and he made a few notes in a little pad and he made some phone calls to have it all checked out.

After what felt like hours, the detective returned. Dutch, Fletch and Tommy were all missing. The house on the hill that I had described could not be located, although they did find a small basket of fruit on a hill near where I had described the house.

Since there were no bodies or any other evidence of a crime I was not being charged with anything at that time. I was however told not to leave town in case there were other questions they wanted me to answer.

Some time after the detective left a doctor came to let me know that I was being held overnight for observation but barring something unforeseen I would be released the following morning.

I was so tired and confused at this point that I didn’t care. I’d eventually get out and start my search for answers. Sleep came easily.

I awoke in the early hours and saw that it was still dark. Someone had left flowers on the table by the bed. As I grabbed the card I saw that someone was standing in the doorway to my room. They had on a heavy winter coat with the hood pulled up. It hid all of the face, save the chin. They just stood there watching me in silence. Finally they raised a hand and pointed at the card I was holding. So I read it.

Just wanted to say thank you. I’m sure I’ll see you around.”

As I raised my sleepy eyes back to the doorway the figure was gone. Receding down the hallway then I heard two things. The first was a soft, yet almost maniacal laughter. The second, was the sound of his footsteps. They sounded like hooves on the tile of the hospital hallway.

I found myself crying then as it began to hit me what I’d done. I’d completed the trinity, whatever that was, with the death of Dutch. What had I released upon the world?

I commit this tale to paper now solely so those who follow may understand why I left again. I had to find it. I had to try and make it right. And I needed to say I’m sorry. I had no idea what was going to happen that night when Dutch called.

Part 40-43 – A Friend Found

From where I was finally able to see him we found that we were almost directly beneath a platform in a tree with some competent looking guards. Brought back memories of when we dealt with goblins in trees and rescued the girl. Seemed like a bit of cosmic symmetry. So we backed up as quietly as we could and made our camp a short distance from where Shojin was being held in some weeds and brush that were taller than me, not that that says much. Then we waited. At first light I’d scout the camp from above and from there we would make our rescue plans. Fayne and Z were going to take watches, and coupled with my babies that should have been sufficient for all of us to get a decent night’s rest.

And I think she came to me again in the night. I had a weird dream of darkness and caves but it’s all hazy and I don’t remember much, but when I awoke I knew just how to make use of the pile of stuff we’d picked up in the orc village. It also suddenly occurred to me that we never got anyone’s names from that awful place. I hoped that they were doing alright and had made it home.

Also, Z was back looking like she was brimming over with nothing but darkness. So back to normal I guess. Her hammer looked different but in the best most terrible ways. Now at some point in the night I’d taken her stuff out my pack and I guess I pee’d on her holy symbol. I couldn’t remember why so I didn’t say anything. Just welcomed her back and gave her these gauntlets we’d gotten. I couldn’t rightly say what they did, but I worked my way around the group and had a couple items for everyone. It was always the same. Hand over one or two or in Gnoman’s case three things with some quick instructions. I also took one of the scrolls and asked her what color she wanted the flames, she looked as confused by my asking as I did in the asking. She said what she liked, I used the magics in the scroll and the head of her wicked hammer, that I was a little afraid of took on a sickly glow as they flames, flames I knew didn’t actually burn anything, surround the head and the light played off the big red gemstone that now adorned its top. It almost looked wet, which was weird.

Gnoman was given a sword, a potion and a scroll, but to the best of my knowledge he couldn’t use scrolls. The only thing I could say to him was you’ll know when to use it. For the lute-like thing I gave to Ezrella the instruction was simply play it and it does stuff. I also gave her a pile of gems because I’d heard somewhere that holy types needed those for bringing folks back from the lady’s door.

We’d also found a pack of what looked like playing cards, but I knew they were something much more interesting. At least I hoped they were. I kept those back for Shojin, because I just knew deep inside that maybe they’d work best for him.

I did a quick once over from the air of the camp and relayed everything I saw back to my companions. It was a large clearing with a not quite river cutting the camp almost in half. There were about six buildings but I dared not get closer and compromise our position in the woods. As I was coming back into towards our camp was when I fully caught sight of all the guard towers that surrounded the camp. Well damn, that added a wrinkle to all of this.

Once I was back Ezrella was still just strumming on the thing and with a smile said she had an idea and so she and I headed off closer to the camp to get a closer look at things. I took Shojins want and the tusk he kept tied in his hair along with the cards. I had no idea what if anything I could get to him but I knew I wanted to be prepared. As we moved like liquid shadows closer and closer towards the clearing ahead, it seemed like we narrowly missed a patrol, but try as we might we couldn’t figure out how we missed them. As we were still in the high weeds right at the edge of the clearing and near enough to see that Shojin was being made to chop down trees.

Ezrella strummed on her instrument and let out an audible gasp. Apparently she’d made me invisible. She is about the best thing that has happened to our group. She said she’d meet me back in camp and slipped off through the weeds. Seemed like she was at home amongst the high weeds and trees. I envied her that. I haven’t had a place like that in a really long time. The closest I’ve come in recent memory had nothing to do with the place and everything to do with the people. And then that got broken.

So if I was invisible I was going to make the most effective use of it. I made my way across the clearing, past guards, over, under and around obstacles, until finally I was near enough that I could reach out to touch him. At this point I saw that he was tethered to someone. They were working on the same project and the little guy was fetching stuff that Shojin needed for the next task.

I said something quietly that I hoped would not alert the nearby guards. He chuckled and that did get the guards attention, so he faked a coughing fit. Ok then, it was to be yes or no questions. Through a series of questions I’d learned that they kept him in one of the buildings across the camp. I’d also gotten him set for a jailbreak of sorts to take place in the evening. I also tucked the packet of cards into his waist and that was when the instructions came. Shuffle these as you can and just throw one when you find yourself out of options. He didn’t have any pockets so I couldn’t give him his wand, but I was able toss the tusk up into his open, billowy rags that comprised his shirt.

I made my way back to the group to let them know what I’d found out and we started making our way to the end of the camp with the buildings that would house prisoners. As we were moving through the brush quietly Z’s hammer caught on a dead log and pulled it down into the weeds next to us, which would not have been a problem were it not for the guards in the tree almost on top of us. They made some bird calls that were answered by another of the raised platforms and a group in the camp which proceeded to start heading our way.

As they got closer the guards in the tree shouted down what they heard and I knew I only had a moment to act. I made the invisible hand I’ve used to cause trouble from time to time and put it ground level with the fingers spread out. I moved it in a direction away from us in the hopes that the guards would think it a small animal, when I’d moved it to the edge of its range I just let the magic dissipate. The guards seemed sufficiently satisfied. I smiled. It felt like I was finally figuring myself out.

Time came for the workers in the camp to have dinner or go back to their cells, not sure which. Yes or no questions was maybe not the best idea. It really limited my options for understanding of what was going on. But no matter, as soon as Shojin was across the bridge he saw something that caused him to change the plan we’d worked out. He shrank before my eyes, dropped the bracer things he was wearing and as soon as they were gone, was back to normal size. He threw one of the cards from the pack I’d given him and it was on.

This 2 headed nasty looking ogre just sort of popped into being where the card landed. Clever boy. And that was when everything started popping off. As we hustled to make it to where Shojin was we had a decent distance to cover and he was under fire almost immediately. And then we saw ANOTHER FREAKING GNOMAN. Oh damn, I knew what it was like to have him on our side, but didn’t really want to deal with that. So many questions that I wanted answered, plus questions I didn’t even know how to ask. I’d revisit it later if I remembered.

Our Gnoman was suddenly wreathed in flames, quaffed the potion and stalked off to meet the guy he recognized. So it was to be Gnoman on Gnoman violence. This was going to be interesting, but there were so many people that we needed to deal with I wouldn’t be able to sit back and just enjoy the show.

Shojin was just path a bridge that was a couple hundred yards ahead of us. So we worked out way into the battle as only we can. Fayne was picking off people almost as fast as she could pull the string back on her bow. Ezrella brought out a unicorn to wreak some havoc. Not a real one mind you, but it was the form her spirit weapon took this time. I liked how she was changing it up but kept it on theme with every use.

I took potshots with my little hand crossbow as I closed the distance and had the birds help whoever looked to need it. And then I had an idea. The new trick that let me change my appearance, also changed the appearance of my clothes. I used that to make a pattern like the little bridge and hugged up against it as a bunch of guards came running through. Apparently I missed it when our Gnoman dispatched the other because he came running up covered in blood and fire with death burning in his eyes into the mass of guards. This right here was in line with the story we’d first heard of Gnoman. And by the gods it was the most beautiful and terrible thing that I had ever seen.

Apparently we’d made enough noise to attract attention from what had to be the officers barracks within this camp and a sound rang out that I recognized. A sharp whistled on the cooling air. Oh hell no. Through the doorway of the officers barracks stepped the familiar form from our time in Dillard. Whistle around his neck and clipboard in hand. We locked eyes from across the camp and I yelled out to him that I hoped he remembered my promise. He smiled and started throwing fireballs.

All throughout this there was an old man, the man that caught Shojin’s eye on his way back I would later find out. He was throwing around magick like it was nothing and with each spell he cast there was a golden spectral blade that appeared in his hand for a moment. Fireballs blasting into the various buildings. It was absolute chaos and things seemed to be turning in our favor. I hate it when it feels like we’re winning.

That was when the Dwarf in armor covered in spikes burst through the wall of building the whistle bitch had come out of and he was making for a beaten and bloodied Shojin. Before he got there, for good measure whistle bitch threw a fireball of his own right on top of Shojin, who went down. Ezrella brought him back. This back and forth with Shojin’s life went on for what felt like minutes as Gnoman charged across the open area to get his newest victim. But before he could get there the Dwarf dropped onto an already prone Shojin and proceeded to use the spikes on his armor to just start shredding the flesh of Shojin. I was too far away to do anything useful. I’d come all this way and this was how the rescue would end. With Shojin dead. As the dwarf was standing back up, he was met with Gnoman charging him and pushing him back.

Ezrella had directed some bit of the connection to her god into the Whistle Bitch’s face and he just crumpled to the ground in a heap. Small victory I guess. Felt hollow. But, there was the old man, who didn’t carry himself like an old man striding over to Shojin. From the distance I was I couldn’t hear what he said, but I saw him stick out his hand and Shojin rose back up from his position on the ground healed. I just smiled and cried a little. But that would have to wait as there were more guards coming. And so the battle raged on. Gnoman eventually dispatched the dwarf and set to on the guards while we were just doing what we could not die anymore. We’d had enough death amongst our ranks today. We were together again and this was not how our tale ended. As the dust settled and we saw all the dead all over the camp and the state of ourselves one thing was clear. We won. We saved him. It started to lightly rain, which was a good thing because some of the buildings were still on fire. Where in the hells was Fayne’s bear?

PayDay’s Journal 36-39 – Still Searching

Harvesting dragon parts is not easier. It’s gross and bloody work but when it’s all said and done, we’ve collected a fair pile of bits and bobs that we can hopefully use later or at the very least sell for some kind of delightful profit. We retreat up the hill a bit as we are trying to decide what our plan forward is, and there is a familiar hand like shape receding into the mist only to be replaced by the single ugliest person I have ever had the misfortune to meet on more than one occasion. Of course. It had to be Gnoman. I didn’t have time for his I don’t remember you nonsense so I immediately went to task of trying to get him to work with us. I think I even offered him money. I didn’t care so long as he would be willing to work with us. He accompanied us down into the village and I slid into Shojin’s face because I couldn’t think of anything better to do at the time.

Apparently this was all it took to get the orcs in the village to come back out of their hovels to see what was going on. A trio of what I took to be elders gathered and with much pointing seemed real interested in us now. The only problem was that that Gnoman was the only one who seemed to understand them. It seemed that we had slain their jailer (whatever they said didn’t translate all that well) and they were nothing short of impressed with what we had done. So they were, I don’t know, heralding me as their tiny savior. The weird part was the longer I wore Shojin’s face the more inclined I was to help them.

They were afraid of something that was still in the domed structure in the middle of their village. Whatever it was is what was keeping them from fleeing as soon as the dragon was killed. They gave us a hovel of our own for the evening and Ezrella chose to sleep inside with Fayne, Z, Gnoman and myself while the boys slept outside, which worked out because he was a creepy lecherous dwarf, but I didn’t trust myself around. His crazy was too much like mine. Nothing good could have come from that, but it might have been fun.

We used our standard practice and used the bear as a big furry doorstop and we bedded down for the night.

Munnin woke me up pecking my forehead which wasn’t all that weird. When we locked eyes and he said “You must follow”, yeah that was weird. And he just kept saying it. I was just trying to get him to keep it down when he flew into the most ruined corner of the tiny building we were in and just smashed right through the wall. Where he flew there was a purple radiance in his wake. Weirder and weirder. I thought about trying to wake the others, but I figured this was something the lady wanted me to do so I just followed Munnin. It was deep in the night and with him not on my shoulder I should not have been able to see as well as I was able to at that point. I tried to flex my magical muscles and there was no effect.

Now Huginn was there and telling me to follow. And they both wanted me to head into the domed structure. I owe the lady my life and she’s done me no wrongs up to now. She’s cryptic and only helps me succeed in looking insane, but I do as she asks. So I did my best to be as much like a shadow as possible and I snuck inside. From the outside I would not have guessed that it went as deep as it did. There were two paths, a narrow one with steps that looked like it was sized for people and there was the large dirt and loose stone path that was clearly for the dragon. I chose the big path so I could reduce the chance of being snuck up on.

Descending the path every once and a while there were small rooms off the sides, and they were all filled these large round barrel things. The tops of all of them were sealed in some way. I didn’t try too hard to open any of them, because I wasn’t sure what was inside or how to do it. I heard a soft but steady rhythmic noise as I travelled ever downward.

Eventually I found myself at the bottom and the floor leveled out. I crept around the final corner and nearly soiled myself. Another dragon. As big and as black as the one we’d slain and pacing a large room. There was a row of tables along the far wall and at each table was a small dragonish looking person and I don’t completely understand what they were doing. I just knew it couldn’t be good. But none of them seemed to notice me so far so I moved closer. As the dragon paced the room and seemed to inspect their work the people working at the tables were casting spells on eggs. Really big eggs, and all of them had a metallic gleam in the low light. A sickly light passed from their hands to the eggs and seemed like it was infusing them with…something. Were they corrupting these unborn things? It seemed that after a bit of imbuing them with energies malignant they were placed into another of those large barrel container things. And there were more of those things all about this room. It was countless eggs and all for some purpose that I still didn’t know.

I moved closer still and the dragon looked my way. I thought for sure he’d seen me or maybe even smelled me. I was finally close enough to see that there was something wrong with the eyes of the dragon people. They were inky black voids. There was no light there or signs of life. I also noticed that that there was something off in the way they moved but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I saw that there was a door at the far end of the room and wanted to find out what was on the other side. I studied the path that the dragon took and moved as quickly as I dared so as to avoid being found out. I made it to the door and of course it was locked and the dragon was starting back towards me. I was quickly running out of time and for the first time since I’d entered the room the dragon paused and sniffed the air. I had to hurry. I worked at the lock as fast as I could and it seemed like the lady was smiling on me because as soon as I opened the door and moved through it I found myself back in my bed with Munnin pecking me on the head. I flicked his beak and called him a jerk and went about telling the group about the dream I’d had. When I went to wake Z, I pulled back the blanket and she was gone. In her place were a multitude of spiders and her holy symbol. Fayne tried to picked it up and got burn for her effort. I rolled it all up and put it in my pack. I guess we’d look for her after we found Shojin.

We readied ourselves to face the dragon below and bid farewell to the trio of guys we’d worked with. I hope they find what their after and I wouldn’t mind working with them again sometime. Ezrella wanted to travel with us it seemed, which worked out because we needed the help. And I led the group back down where I’d been in my dream. But it was different. Still too paths, still going down, but the dragon’s path was far more worn down than in my dream. As we came upon the rooms the containers were gone, however we did find a golden egg in one of the rooms under a layer of dirt. It was making a soft noise and drew me to it. I carefully wrapped it up and placed it in my pack, but got the impression that it would have been fine almost independent how I treated it. I’m starting to think it’s a dragon egg. I’ve no idea what we’ll do if and when it hatches, but I couldn’t just leave it there and knew Shojin wouldn’t either. I had hopes that he would have a better idea what to do with it.

As we continued to descend the place was empty and covered in a thick layer of dust. We rounded that final corner and instead of finding a dragon instead found almost nothing. No dragon or empty-eyed dragon people. It was pretty anticlimactic. We did however find one of the containers. It had some markings on it in a language that only Gnomann seemed able to decipher. It was something like “do not open until this amount of time has passed” but the amount of time made no sense and it wasn’t clear if it was days, months, years or something longer. If this thing was filled with more eggs there had to be hundreds of them. I set about trying to open it, and it was simply a matter of being willing to pay the price for working the locking mechanism. Eh, why not.

And… I was thrown across the room. And the eggs ruined before our eyes. So, we left. Not what I’d intended but my main goal was to help the orcs. We headed back up and as we neared the entrance heard the cries of battle from outside. Since wearing Shojin’s face had worked for helping me feel heroic, I had an idea to seem more fearsome in battle and slid into looking like a slightly smaller Gnomann. What we faced were a quartet of hulking bipedal dragon things. They were formidable foes but were ultimately no match for our many shenanigans. And these guys were hauling a small fortune amongst them. Just a massive pile of…stuff. Gems and gold and weird little statues, but also a couple of scrolls, a sword and this thing that looked like a lute but had like forty strings, and a gnarly looking flute pipe thing. And some other random stuff that we’d probably find a use for. All in all it was pretty amazing. We collected it all and told the survivors in the village that we had dealt with all the threats and they should all return home.

Strangely as were interacting with the people in the village it seemed like the years they all wore seemed to fade away. There was some strange magic at work in this place. The people rejoiced and ran off and we were proud. This was quite possibly the first time we had done an honorable, heroic thing. We save these people and it felt great. But it was missing something. We were missing something. So we checked our own wounded and set off back the way we came. Shojin wasn’t here and never was. We needed to find his trail and get him back. So for the third time we made our way back to what was becoming our basecamp there by the road a days travel from Dillard and set up camp for the night. We’d get started first thing in the morning. It was time for Fayne to earn her keep. She was not a good ranger.

Morning came and Fayne claimed to have found a trail. My patience was wearing thin at the time it was taking to find Shojin and I was mean. But we made good time and after a short bit of travel we found Shojin’s wand and I nearly started crying right then and there. We were finally on the right track and I had to believe that we were closing the distance between us.

I pushed Fayne harder and harder to get us there as the day wore on and finally we were deep in the brush and we found a discarded pack and signs of a struggle. Good, that meant he didn’t go quietly. On the ground we found the tusk Shojin kept tied in his hair. Damn. They were trying to limit his options. I resolved in that moment that I would kill all the people responsible for this and I would stop at nothing short of the total annihilation of anyone who stood in my path.Fayne was saying something about finding a unique boot print that had a very distinctive cut in the sole and she had a bead on the direction it was travelling. Almost as if on cue four human, I don’t know what they were, came out of the brush. They bore the emblem of some burning eye on their person and were fairly clean which spoke of funding. Didn’t matter, they were in our way. I wanted to keep one of them alive but Fayne ignored my request and put an arrow through the last of them after we easily dispatched the first three. She noticed that his boot had the same distinctive mark she had found and that he would lead us back to their camp.  

I got snippy about interrogating a dead man and she clarified that his tracks would lead us there. Ok, that made sense. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves nearing a open area and could hear the sounds of people being ordered about. As night was nearly upon us, off in the distance I saw a man in rags chopping down a very large tree. A gangly orcish man. Finally, and at last, we’d found Shojin. And there would be hell to pay.

PayDay’s Journal 33-35 – Missing

He’s gone. Shojin’s gone. He said he’d take a watch and come morning he was just gone. And we were off on our search for him. I was probably putting too much pressure on Fayne to find him, but I didn’t care. I needed Shojin. I realized as soon as he was gone that I loved him, but not in that way. He keeps me even. He gives me balance. He makes me try to be a better… me. And Fayne says she can find him, but by the gods she is awful. We find a spot of blood just outside of camp and like the top notch tracker she apparently is she licks it. She licks it. What kind of idiot licks random blood on the ground? Well, moral of the story you shouldn’t do that. She started to feel weird and it only got worse as we tried to continue picking up Shojin’s trail.

In her somewhat addled state, Fayne was…let’s call it less than at her best. But she tried, more from my prodding than anything else. I couldn’t properly articulate why I needed to find him, only that I did. So even if her health seemed to be slipping, she led us off into nearby trees and on the trail she claimed was his. And then things got weird, even by our standards.

It wasn’t long before we stumbled upon a quartet of travelers on a mission of their own that was also steering them to Highbreeze. There was a dwarf who seemed to be a little touched with madness. I liked him even if he was an abrasive jerk. There was a goliath who may have suffered from some mental impairments. There was the one who like me enjoyed time in the shadows, but was honorable in his own way. Finally, there was this elven lady named Ezrella. She looked like a total bumpkin and the more I got to know her the more true that seemed. She also smelled faintly of graveyards and she could say some really dark stuff sometimes, but in all my travels and in all my life this was the first person I had ever met that truly wanted to help all those that she met. It was sweet in it’s own way. She was clearly going to need protection. She healed Fayne, but when she found out what had happened she said she wouldn’t do it if Fayne continued licking things on the ground.

Like most meetings our first almost came to blows and was stopped short because a greater threat presented itself. From the direction we were more or less travelling came the sounds of a fairly large war party. The group appeared to be comprised of orcs of a couple different sizes and these coal black things that weren’t exactly dragons and they weren’t exactly dogs but they were sort of dog sized dragons. After a short but difficult altercation with the bigger threat, we agreed to join forces for as long as our interests intersected. I used a new thing the lady taught me to show these new people what Shojin looked like, but kept having to tell people that he was taller. I found that every time I was using this power to slip into a new face I kept having to tell people that the face’s bearer was taller. But no matter, as I was showing this the dwarf got it out and set about attempting to pleasure himself in one of the dragon dog things death wounds. Fun fact, their innards were acidic. Our new friend Ezrella refused to heal him because he was an idiot. I was beginning to like the code she lived by and she was maybe less bumpkin than I realized.

After the dwarf got the burning in his loins under control, we set off in the direction the party had come from in the hopes that it would continue to bring us closer to Shojin, one step at a time. The badder guys than us left a path that was pretty easy to follow. They were clearly not trying to be subtle in the least. Eventually we crested a hill and expecting to find where the group had come from we saw… an empty valley. And then one of the new people tripped and fell down the hill and vanished out of sight. Like he was there and then he just wasn’t. Which was freaking weird. So we opted to just head down the hill at a more controlled pace in an attempt to find him. The whole thing stank of illusions. We had to be getting closer to him. This seemed like something he would do.

As we moved down the hill we passed through an invisible barrier. It didn’t feel like anything but some pressure in my chest and looking around, it seemed that others felt the same thing. As we moved down the hill, we saw a village inhabited by orcs. They all seemed to be pretty downtrodden. Misery was their only expression and it jumped out pretty quickly that there were no children playing or working with the adults. As we approached the camp the orcs quickly retreated into the hovels that were in various states of crumbling and ruin that comprised this village But as we got closer village was a much to generous term for what lay before us.

Not that it mattered as we didn’t get much time to look around. At the center of the village was an earthen dome that I imagined mirrored the illusion over this valley. It had a massive entrance on the side facing us. Way bigger than a person I was not enamored of whatever needed an entrance of that size. But joy of joys we almost immediately found out.

Now, quick aside Ezrella had done some travelling before she met with us and had encountered a couple of cultists early on. These encounters had affected her deeply or at least deeper than we could have known because she just starting yelling at the heavens at a volume louder than her size should have generated as a dark shadow of immense size came streaking from the opening that concerned me. It was a dragon. A dragon. Oh crap. I thought we were dead for certain and when the thing responded to Ezrella’s taunts, I was certain we wouldn’t be seeing Shojin, let alone anyone, ever again.

And the fight was on. I made the decision that this would be the battle that I made an entrance of some magnitude into. So I dropped the glamor that was concealing my nakedness beneath my cloak and rode into battle on Fayne’s bear as naked as the day I was born. I won’t be doing that again. I was going for this whole visual thing, but I think the performance of it all was lost on the great black beast.

We fought for what felt like hours and the dragon nearly took down a number of our newly grown travelling group. But this was not to be its day, for in the end we emerged something like victorious. We’d won. An no one died. It felt far too easy. And that terrified me, because anything worth doing was worth the challenge. This couldn’t possibly be the end of things. And there was still the matter of the orcs. And still no Shojin, but we were closer. We had to be. I needed us to be. I so badly needed us to be. I was barely holding it together at this point. It had to get easier from here.

PayDay’s Journal 30-32 – Another history lesson

So the lady told me another story. On the western side of Minn’s Teeth a group of smaller kingdoms and city states banded together to protect their interests and defend the mountain range. The alliance called itself the Teeth’s Guard and consisted of delegations that include the Dwarves, Dragonborn, Dr’oban, Halfling and Goliath peoples. I saw her tale from the eyes of the Dro’ban. He was… kind of a prissy little thing.

Now this group was heading east to Highbreeze for the coronation of Petrus of Marey the first. Ha. Mary’s Peter. The House of Marey was looking to curry some favor with the other kingdoms of the continent and were convinced by this jerky tool Farrellu of Conton, the lawkeeper of Highbreeze, to invite each kingdom to send a delegation to the event.

In response to the invitation the Alliance each sent someone such that the delegation consisted of both diplomats and security forces, except the Dragonborn. The Dragonborn, in a move most curious asked the delegation to make contact with the son of an Elder on the Dragonborn Council who was last known to be residing within Highbreeze proper. After making contact they were to ensure that he attended the coronation as the official representative of the Dragonborn Council, and then bring him home to ascend to his ailing father’s position on the Council.

As the Delegation made it to the city it was decided that the first order of business would be to follow the leads they uncovered in finding “Molt” who was rumored to be spend far too much time in a Dwarven Tavern. And this tavern was freaking amazing. On the outside it looked like it was carved out of and into a giant boulder, almost a miniature mountain. The inside was so Dwarven you could almost smell the beard oil and all it was missing the sound of someone hammering on a forge in the corner.

Upon arrival at the tavern, several of the delegates made contact with Molt. After a few drinks, they attempted to convince the wayward Dragonborn to join them for the coronation which erupted into a brawl that spilled out into the streets of Highbreeze. That said, you need to understand that Molt was a disgusting being. In everything I saw of him he puke or pissed or soiled himself whenever and wherever he happened to be. And he was brash and abrasive just gross. But nobility I guess so whatever.

After a short scuffle in the streets, the group was able to subdue Molt and as luck would have it, this made me like them more too, the Highbreeze guard came to intervene.

The guards were convinced to send them on their way, showing the how to get to the entrance to the High House District of the city. With little regard for how to behave themselves in proper company in the city, several of the delegates openly made a joke about how they were not there to assassinate the new king. The guards, rightly so and unsure of how to take it, did not take the joke the way it was intended.

The High House District was accessed by means of this platform that was raised and lowered by means of some magick. The district itself opened up before the party and the sights and sounds and wonderment surrounding them caught most of them by surprise and despite the guards desires and attempts to promptly escort the group to the house of Conton the party took in the truly awe inspiring view from the High House District.

On arriving at the house of Conton, the delegates were introduced to the Lawkeeper Ferellus, the Half Elf head of the house of Conton, and ushered into a great reception. Ok, so this guy, this guy here was the same guy who sprung us from jail in Dillard. He looked the same. Same robe, same ears, same face. I’d remember that asshole anywhere. Now if this was truly at the time of the Coronation of Petrus the first, then this was at least a couple hundred years ago. And this guy looked exactly the same, which was more than a little troubling.

Once in the reception proper, a reception that appeared to be held in their honor, which given their low stature in the grand scheme of the world proper, small talk was made. Soon after, the son of Ferellus, Roget, infamous playboy and erstwhile vagabond made his way into the reception and for the first time since he agreed to join the delegation Molt seemed at ease, conversing with his old friend and fellow reveler. I think they totally banged.  

Roget begged the party to join him in the spa in the rear courtyard of the Conton Property later in the evening.

One of the Dwarves in the party spent his time using his gifts to investigate the area. Also, he flicked his nipples a lot. Like a lot, a lot. Like ladies get paid to let you flick their nipples this much a lot. Also his nipples smoked. It was weird. Also, he was drinking almost non-stop when he wasn’t flicking his nipples. I bet he knew how to have some fun.

Finding what appeared to be Ferellus’ personal study, he found that the primary knowledge kept in the study related to the many forms of magic found throughout the realm and in the process stumbled across a small hidden alcove that appeared to hold the personal spellbooks from a multitude of spellcasters from throughout the realm and they didn’t know what to make of that. Someone’s personal spellbook was essentially an extension of themselves and the sheer volume of volumes present made them wonder as to the whereabouts and well-being of the owners.

As the party returned to their rooms to ready themselves for the evenings revelry, iit was discovered that many of the political delegates had been assassinated in their chambers. While inspecting some of the bodies the party was ambushed by magic wielding assassins and a battle ensued destroying rooms and setting the mansion ablaze.

For reasons that were entirely unclear to the group, a dark figure began pressing down the hallway towards the fray. As the halfling paladin began to engage (and I have to say this paladin somehow sucked at their job worse than Z), was revealed to be Ferellus himself wielding magical with incredible prowess and almost singing the refrain of “It didn’t have to go this way.”

As the battle raged on the assassins were quickly dispatched through some clever trickery and a giant sized Goliath (I think you had to be there for that to make sense). Eventually, the Dwarf with the nipple fetish and the super pris Dr’oban joined the halfling in the hallway and appeared to defeat Ferellus as he split himself into four entities, one vanishing through a hastily made portal and the other three, looking identical, falling dead to the floor.

As they were falling to the floor, the familiar sound of guard footfalls rang out in the in the hallway and they arrived just in time to see their master, dead on the floor and in triplicate. Seemed and ironic end to what I assumed was a paper pushing lawkeeper. As they were rounding up the group, I got the impression this was not the last time the lady would show me this group.

Fill in the Game! With us!

We here at Foolish Media are pleased to announce that we have launched a series of videos that will show you the ins and outs of playing Fill in the Game!

Each week, over on facebook, we will be posting a picture of a new card, and card type from the game, and we are looking for you to Fill in the Game! Send us your suggestions on how you would challenge a friend to play the game, and may we will include it in the next video!

We have recorded 2 videos so far in the series. The First video, featuring Chad and his assistant Kez, can be found here. The first video featurings a Green / Easy Challenge from the Challenge Deck, and the latest video (available here)  features 3 of the 4 fools, and one Greek Goddess showing how medium challenges will work!

Next, we will have a hard challenge video, where we show you how to use Stunt Cards, and then a video on Game Changers, and then we will finish up with a couple of videos of turns / games being played to give you an idea of how this all comes together!

Stay Tuned!

PayDay’s Journal 26-29 – Things are going great

So there we were all just about dead piled into an orcish leaders room with a bear against the door like a big, furry doorstop. We took some time to rest and recover and in the process of recovery also worked our way into a chest in the corner of the room. Z seemed obsessed with just smashing it open and despite her best efforts she only really seemed to make a dent in the floor. Once opened, it was like the best thing that had happened to our group since getting out of jail. We found a quiver of six bolts that I would come to discover resized themselves when I had the quiver on to fit my hand crossbow. Later on I learned that the each of the bolts did something different when fired and would eventually return to the quiver. Some came back sooner than others. It really all depended on exactly what they did. There was also a pretty decent wand in there that Shojin claimed.

When we were done finding new stuff to better ourselves, we set up our first watch and that was when things got… real. I waited until everyone was asleep and I apologized to Shojin for the thing I did with the orc bodies next to the road. I know he never would have known but it bothered me. At least it did until we talked about his philosophy and why he was willing to fight some orcs and not others. Since he was willing to share this somewhat secret part of himself, I felt it only prudent to do the same and so I told him my real name, Violet Underbough. I also told him the truth about where I came from.

And then there were the noises from the hallway. Looking over the bear and through the keyhole we could see orcs that looked similar to those we had killed moving around in the hallway. In addition to that the bodies that had been in the hallway were no longer there.  But the “patrols” never seemed to move closer to the door to the room we were in. As such, when it came time for Z and Fayne to take over on watch we let them know what was up and caught some shut eye.

After what for us passed for a good night sleep, I offered to do some recon. I sent one of my babies down the hallway just slowly walking on the floor while I looked through her eyes. What I saw made no sense. The patrol of orcs in this place was looking more and more suspiciously similar to the dead orcs from the prior day. Although day is a relative term in this case because time was just sort of blending together the longer we were down in this place.

Ultimately it didn’t matter because one of them appeared to hear me and then they all started moving down the hallway towards our refuge. Well crap. We made some hasty preparations and locked the door to buy a little time for ourselves, but undead strength pounding on the doors was quickly closing that window of opportunity. When the door finally opened we functioned like a well-oiled automaton.

Which is to say, we were clunky and pretty much tripping over each other and only just barely successful. Gods but we are awful. And when it was done, some of the bodies started to get back up forcing us to kill them again. Which forced us to put them down again and once that was done we began to systematically dismember the bodies, although it looked like little more than crazy people cutting up dead things and piling them in the corner. And with that we put the bear back in front of the door and hid out in our little refuge with a pile of orc parts in the corner. Totally normal, for us anyways.

After a short rest we were again on our way out to search of what lay at the heart of this place and so off we went. I took point and was assessing the first room we came across and when I didn’t find anything I simply crossed the threshold and the next thing I know I’m falling. I am not good at my job. And it was as I was getting up that I found myself beset on what felt like all sides by some both seen and unseen attacker, and my attacker was a big blue and white spider that kept moving appearing and disappearing. And as I’m down in this hole fighting for my life all I can hear from above me is Z calling out “Don’t hurt it, I want it as a pet”. Yeah, I have a lot of choice in the matter as the thing is quickly making short work of my on my lonesome. Shojin was making his way to the ground near me as the thing finally bit me and I slipped into unconsciousness.

When I came to everyone was more or less in the pit I’d fallen into and I was confused as to what was going on. It didn’t matter though, eventually the spider was dispatched and I was left to heal myself, again. Of all of use being terrible at our jobs, Z seemed to be about the worst of us. She was more bloodthirsty than that Gnoman character we knew and all he seemed to know was killing, killing and more killing. Since nobody seemed interested in helping me now that I was conscious, I climbed up out of the hole we had fallen into told the lot of them to piss off and went back to the room we were using for a base. Once there I locked the door, put myself in the chest we’d opened and locked the lid from the inside. I needed time to recover before I did anything else. I wouldn’t get it but it was what I needed.

I’d just fallen asleep when I heard someone trying to open the door to the room my new home was in. Great, more things that would try and kill me. I just kept still and quiet and hoped they would leave me alone. They didn’t. It wasn’t long before what started as someone messing with the door turned into someone beating the door and working to force it open. And as loud and disorganized as it sounded it had to be my “companions”.

Once the door had been forced open, I could hear them talking and looking for me which after a short time turned into someone trying to open the chest I’d taken refuge in. I said nothing. When they couldn’t get it opened then started shaking it. I still said nothing. They picked it up and shook it. I said nothing and tried to hold still. Then I heard one of them talking about seeing a patrol that was both near us and heading towards the entrance to this damnable crypt. And I remembered.

I remembered how we all met on the road to that tiny town not so long ago. I remembered that punk with the whistle and our time in jail. I remembered our trial. I remembered the brothel and our time on the road to get to this point. There was one thing that was constant through all of that. Us. We were who we were. For better or worse and warts and all. But through it all I remembered that feeling of betrayal with that stupid spider. Z and I would hash this out at some point, but not if we died before hand.

So I popped the lid opened and moved towards the door. As I was passing through the door to the room, it looked like they were still figuring out how they were going to fix it. I moved quickly and quietly towards the entrance behind, but not to far, the guard patrol that had just exited. Next to the stairs leading out into what appeared to be nighttime, there was a lever that looked like it should work a portcullis gate thing. I pulled the level and it did lock us in. Which is better maybe than knowing these guards were going to come back and beat our half dead selves the other half of the way.

This got me thinking, how long had we been in here? It was starting to feel like days, but without the sun or moons it was impossible to know just how long we’d been here.

This next part is a little disjointed because a lot happened in a short period of time. I voiced my anger at how things went over the stupid spider and threatened to leave. Things escalated quickly to the point that Shojin snatched up one of my birds and we then got into a war of spells while I kept telling him to return my bird. When it was all said and done the only thing that ended our conflict was the intervention of Fayne and offers to ride her bear. I of course accepted. But I also made it clear that if anyone messed with my birds again, I would make them suffer. I then popped my bird into that place between places I can keep them sometimes and then brought it back on my shoulder. I also let Shojin know that I could have done that the entire time. What I didn’t tell him was that I was just trying to give him the chance to be decent. So, everyone but Fayne appeared to be angry at me at this point. I probably shouldn’t have told Z to sleep with one eye open. It was petty. So we rested again, trying to get ourselves back into something approximating fighting shape.

And then we went further inside. Skulking down hallways and through secret doors we found ourselves faced with a mystery in the form of what looked to be a cavern at the bottom of a well. It was apparently night as moonlight found its way into the room around us. Gods but we had been in here for so long.

From what I can only guess was the bucket at the top of the well there came a soft chuckle. As we started to move into the room to investigate, A hidden gate slammed into the floor behind and between us, separating the group in half. Just great. This was exactly what we needed. Fayne was stuck outside with her bear. Not that it mattered, because at that moment the… thing was upon us. It looked a bit like a glowing, floating head that just kept giggling like an idiot. Also, the bucket was it’s helmet or hat or would it just have been armor if it was just a head surrounded by bucket. I don’t know. It was just really weird.

It didn’t matter though, cause this thing whatever it was was trying to kill us. But the odds being what they were and us getting kicked all over creation at this point led us to be somehow so way victorious. And to the floor fell what appeared to be a really big gem. Z and I both went for it, but I got it first. Some malevolence presence within the stone felt like it was pushing its way into my mind. I was able to overpower it, but realized I wanted nothing to do with this.So I dropped it back to the floor and having some small idea what was going on with the stone resolved to convince any people that regardless what happened or where we ended up that Z was possessed by an evil spirit wherever we ended up.

The bigger take away from this encounter though was that this dungeon could go to hell. I was just done and said as much. I informed the group that I was leaving and they could come with me or stay and I didn’t really care what their choice was at that point. If I never saw this dungeon again it would be too soon. Everyone else followed me out the door and towards the road where this terrible stopover took place taking solace in the thought that things could not get any worse.

Gozer, The Bone Sculptor is available for download!

Gozer, the Bone Sculptor, the first of many D&D monsters to comeDo you have a Dungeons & Dragons game, and are looking for a Boss to toss in the mix? Do you think that it would be awesome if some of D&D’s most iconic monsters were there to give your low level parties some iconic monsters to find?

Look no further, than Foolish Media’s first Monster! Gozer, the Bone Sculptor, is a “Gazer” type Beholder monster, designed on the 2 Fools Rushing Podcast #177 “2 Fools and the campaign Preparation” .

You can listen to the episode, and check out just how we came up with this guy over on the podcast page, and you can now download Gozer the Bone Sculptor (FOR FREE!) right here.

A special thanks, and shout out to Natural Crit, and their awesome homebrew template!

Con on the Cob, The Wrap Up.

Jeff and Ray, Posing with our awards

Con on the Cob has come, and sadly gone, for 2018.

We fools (and honorary fool Brad) would like to take a moment to thank each and every Attendee who stopped by the booth, demo tables, or clucked around in our Dungeons and Dragons One Shot. We met new friends, reconnected with old friends, and had an absolute amazing time. A bird may not have the time to fart, But fools do! (thank you Andy, Chad can’t get that out of his head.)
Continue reading “Con on the Cob, The Wrap Up.”

PayDay’s Journal 23-25 – Slippery when greased

The next day I was up and ready to go before anyone else and ready to make Shojin keep true to his word. Gnoman was just gone. No note or anything. He just left sometime in the night. It wasn’t all that surprising and I had a feeling we would likely be seeing him sometime down the road. I did feel a little bad about how I treated the bodies, but what’s done is done. Shojin was awakened by me just sort of right in his face. He freaked a little. After everyone was up we were off to find out what was going on with the orc raiders. Fayne was able to pick up their trail and track them into the brush. We eventually came upon a recently used camp that was in line with all the signs of those we were chasing down and as such we moved off into the trees.

After moving into the deeper forest for some time through the trees into a deeper part of the woods we came upon a stream and that’s when things got weird… or interesting. Matter of perspective I guess. Things certainly did get more fun. As we approached the stream, we heard some rustling in the bushes on the opposite side and since we were tracking orcs. That was when we came upon what I can only describe as a big, dumb bear. It came lumbering out of the woods and Fayne seemed fit to pop a blood vessel with excitement.

It was never worth writing about at length because it was annoying and just seemed like the kind of obsession someone with a childlike intelligence would have, but ever since meeting her she would not shut up about making friends with a bear, and it looked like she might just get her chance. It looked hurt, like it had maybe met up with the orcs we were looking for at some time prior to meeting us and seemed to have a little trepidation at this frantically gesticulating dark elf, but while it may have been wary of her intentions it just observed her. Eventually she healed the bear a bit and that seemed to make it a little less concerned with her being a possible threat and it was just about then that the orcs that had hurt the bear came out of brush.

Things happened really fast at that point. Shojin seemed to lose his mind and go into some kind of blood rage. Fayne positioned herself between the bear and its attackers and Z seemed like she was in the mood to hurt something. I had the misfortune of not crossing the stream with my companions before the fight, and due to it being nearly as deep as I am tall I kept a healthy distance from the fight and fired some crossbow bolts and a few choice spells at the baddies.

We ultimately were able to dispatch our foes fairly quickly, but not without the damn bear getting even more hurt. Fayne continued to insist that this was a sign of something or other and they were destined to be best friends. After the last orc finally went down Shojin just lost it. For all his talk of a decent burial for ocr-kind or whatever he just beat the corpse of the last one to fall with his staff until long after the wood cracked. We just kept calling out to him and he either didn’t hear us through the fog of war or something far more personal was at play.

Eventually I’d had enough and told him a stupid joke laced with a little arcane energy and he fell down laughing, and that should have been the end of it. However, since he was still not in control of himself he rolled down the bank and ended up almost completely submerged in the water and starting to drown. So I dropped the spell and wouldn’t you know he got up barely breathing and went right back to work beat the bloody pulp that used to be an orc to an even bloodier pulpier mess.

Eventually he just sort of wore himself out and we were finally able to continue on our way. I guess he fixed his staff and we never really talked about what happened. Tracking the orc led us to a path that appeared to follow a patrol circuit around a valley. Figuring either direction was just as likely to get us there, we picked a path seemingly at random and off we went.  

A short while later we found ourselves outside a crypt or mausoleum that was built into the side of a hill. We extinguished the outside lights and then end up in a situation where we were luring orc guards away from the door and helping them meet their god. Eventually this attracted the attention of those inside the crypt and we made our way inside.

After a bit of sneaking around I had the lay of the land down so to speak and had discovered what seemed to be an orc in a position of authority, there was a small miscalculation and we ended up once more in a fight for our lives, which was a perfect time for Shojin’s magic to develop a mind of its own and when it was down to just us and the Orcish Taskmaster, the floor became greasy and some of us had the good fortune of finishing things out firing our spells and crossbow bolts from the floor.  And it was not without paying a pretty hefty cost. We were all various degrees of beaten and bloody and the bear was very nearly dead.