It’s not a variation on the sphere of annihilation. He’s just fucking with us. Baby Momma sent word that it’s just a magical lock that won’t let us back through. I told Step-up already so he’s going ahead to scout.
We pulled up to Little E’s place with five minutes to spare and made our way inside. Poot locked the door behind us and turned off the neon Open sign. “What are you doing,” Little E balked. “I’ve got a business to run here.”
“Should have thought about that before you talked shit, shouldn’t you,” Poot countered. “Now zip up your pants and get to the table. It’s time to play D&D”
“You really think it’s wise to be pissing on your Dungeon Master,” E said in what he believed was a threatening tone.
“Quit your posturing, I’ve got shit to kill.”
The table was set up in the side room behind E’s register. Rudy was perched on a bar stool reading the World’s Largest Dungeon and muttering to Thief 1 about kids these days not recognizing the brilliance of Second Edition and the real mega-dungeon that was Undermountain.
“Whoa,” Thief 1 said as we entered the room, “you’re the guys he’s supposed to be taking out tonight?”
Is that what he said?
“Yeah. Mind if I watch.”
Sure, go wild and tell your family.
As Thief 1 disappeared down the hallway giggling into his phone we took our places at the table and started passing our character sheets down for Rudy to go over. Then the questions started. Where are you from? How do you guys know each other? What’s your faiths?
That last one had the whole table turn to me. St. Cuthbert with a focus on that Cudgel and common sense. I’m the leader of this flock of missionaries.
“Sounds good to me,” E said.
Right, as part of my duties I need to be proselytizing the word of St. Cuthbert to an initiate of the faith. I’d like to have a commoner for this.
I’ll call him Clevenger.
“His name’s Al’kallith Ne’phthal.”
I don’t remember asking his name. E glared at me so I decided to go for broke. I’ll be teaching novice Clevenger the glories of the faith. As such he’ll be carrying two bags for me. One that holds the three holy books of St. Cuthbert and one that holds some minor items such as food and the like.
“What three holy books?”
The Cudgel, Common Sense, and the Sexual Awakening of a Young Man in Dyvers.
“What the, ” he began as I quickly cut him off.
They’re totally legit. I can go get my copy of the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer if you’d like?
“No, I just,” he threw up his hands, “whatever. You’re not going to live long enough for it to matter so that’s fine.”
Excellent. Rudy, have you made a call on the Ju-ju cans?
Rudy’s face cracked a smile that cut his whole head in half. “Yeah. They’re cool with me!”
Righteous. Let’s get this show on the road.
Little E cleared his throat and began, “After traveling for weeks across the Yellowtail Mountains you find yourselves seeking shelter in the mouth of a cave. Lightning strikes all about the mountainside and thunder nearly deafens you. What do you do?”
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Poot boomed, “I do believe that we have officially entered into the funnel. Gird your loins and check your shit. I smell a battle coming for us.”
We busied ourselves prepping for the grinder before us. I readied Clevenger by hooking a lantern on his pole and lighting it. Weapons were drawn, shields readied, and Poot and I said the family motto: Kill the Dragon, Save the Girl, Loot the Treasure. With that we turned into the cave and began looking for trouble.
“Looking down the cavern mouth,” Little E intoned, “you find a narrow passageway that leads down to a worked stone floor.”
“I’ll take point,” Step-up announced, “I’m pulling out my collapsible pole and extending it all the way out so I can check for pit traps and I’m going to be checking the ceilings, walls, and floors thoroughly before we advance. Slow and steady progress is the call of the day.”
“Would you like to roll for each check individually or take 20?”
“20, we’re not in a hurry and we’ve got plenty of supplies.”
An hour of game time advanced with the breath it took to say this sentence out loud and we made it to the bottom where two featureless, iron doors greeted us. Step-up set a candle on his head, Biggboy guarded our back side, and we blew out the lantern as he began to examine the doors. Another hour and we opened them to find ourselves face to face with a blackness that no light could penetrate. Immediately Kid Icarus began whispering in Step-up’s ear. They carried on their private conversation while Poot chucked some loose pebbles into the black morass and listened to the silence that seemed to eat up the room.
“I’m going to step through,” Step-up announced as Kid Icarus slid a note card to his right for Poot to read. “Give me a five count before you follow me through.” With that he was gone.
We all stared at Little E waiting for a description of what happened next but he pretended to be studying the book for all the answers to life important questions. Finally Kid Icarus announced he was going in, followed by Neverwas, Biggboy and Poot – who handed me the note the rest of them had already read.
“So,” Little E said to me with a smirk on his face, “what are you going to do? Follow your buddies down the deep, dark hole? Or are you going to sit there with your thumb up your ass.”
Oh, Clevenger and I are going in, I said. And that’s one. He looked at me with a curious expression but let it pass as he started reading the boxed text.
“Your feeble torchlight seems to be getting swallowed up by the ever present gloom that seems to permeate the room. The room is damp and chilly. There are two, featureless, iron doors in the room. One is directly ahead and one is to your right. And somewhere out in the darkness you can hear a hacking cough.”
“On it,” and with that he took off sweeping the room from the far left to the right, using his darkvision to his advantage. It wasn’t long before he called out, “Three orcs over here.” We made our way over to the orcs while Step-up and Poot checked on the the two doors we could see and investigated the rest of the room.
Do you speak the King’s English or are you bereft of common decency and only speak that mongrel orc tongue?
“Can speak fine,” the largest of the three orcs said as he looked up at us, “not that it’ll do you any good.”
Biggboy, see if he isn’t a bit more helpful if you speak your own people’s tongue to him.
“Okay,” Biggboy said as he looked at his character sheet. “Right, what the fuck’s the deal bitch?”
While Biggboy began his interrogation Kid Icarus leaned over to me and whispered, “Baby Momma didn’t say anything about the orcs. Do you think he’s flipping the script?”
No, my guess is that we went in through a different entrance. Pass the word to be on the lookout for anything odd.
“Charlie,” Biggboy said, “these fuckers aren’t going to tell us anything. Seems they’re convinced that whatever they’ve been through is going to take us out soon enough. They’ve completely given up.”
Given up have you?
“What’s it matter to you? The end’s coming and it doesn’t matter where you go, it’ll get you soon enough.”
Ah, fair enough. Biggboy, Icarus, it seems that we have three orcs who would like us to leave them alone. What do you think, Neverwas?
“In times like these I find that SLEEP works best!”
“Sleep works best?” Little E asked in a puzzled voice.
We’ve been working with him on his delivery. You should expect more bad puns throughout the night.
“I’ve got a list,” Neverwas chimed in.
He has a two page list of ways to cast all of his spells. By the way, he did just cast Sleep.
“Oh,” Little E said, “right. Well everyone in the area needs to make a save so -“
“If you take a look at the board, Little E, you’ll notice that I was angled just right so that only the orcs were in the line of fire.”
“So you were,” he said as he rolled. “They failed.”
Good. Biggboy and I will slit their throats while Kid Icarus and Neverwas go through their possessions.
“What’s your alignment,” Little E asked.
Lawful Neutral with a heavy emphasis on the Cudgel for all the heathen scum who might oppose my faith.
“Chaotic neutral,” Biggboy answered. “I’m only here for the killing.”
The bodies were sorted out, looted, and left in the corner for the scavengers to take care of and we waited on Poot and Step-up to finish their explorations of the room. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long as they had been busy throughout our discussions with the orcs.
“There are six doors leading out of this room. One of them smells real bad. There are a lot of dead bodies in there or it’s filled with rotting zombies. Either way I’m not real excited to be exploring it. The one next to it has a trap on it. I didn’t disarm it as we don’t know what’s there yet, but there’s a sour smell coming from it. The third door was open and had bits of dried grass strewn all over the floor; real bad odor coming from the place. Last room had a closed door and nothing really to tell me what was behind it.”
“Which one do you favor,” Neverwas asked.
“I’m partial to the last room. It’s a surprise and I’m always in favor of that. Besides, we can always come back to the trapped room when we’re done. Nothing is coming in or out of it right now.”
Sounds good to me.
As we made our way to the door Poot leaned over to whisper to me, “I think he must really be running this by the book.”
“Yeah,” he whispered, “otherwise we should have seen something really deadly already.”
Those darkmantles haven’t shown up yet.
“But we came in a different way.”
Maybe, maybe not. Either way that trick has worked without fail for him so far, so be ready for it. Shit! did anyone remind Step-up to watch out for them?
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