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[Aug. 12th, 2011|08:14 pm]
The Dragon of Life
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DM: All right, whose game are we playing?
Damien: You foolishly sat in the DM’s seat.
DM: All right, roll new characters! Your rolling method is 1d6-5.
Damien: Negative three, negative two.
Alandris: You can’t have lower than 1!
DM: Sure you can, you can have zero.
Alandris: So we have all-zero-stat characters.
DM: Yep, you’re dead.
Alandris: See how easy that was! You didn’t even have to roll!
DM: Last time, as you recall, Tyrgol was remade in the bloodline and image of his god…

The characters, still in Moradin’s bedchambers, ponder this turn of events and recall their mission to mind. Or, alternatively, video games. The group pats themselves on the back for their good work at the flying portion of the challenge.

Alandris: Do the demon again, he was hilarious.
DM: “You couldn’t have done any better than what I did!”
Alandris: There you go. You’re like the demonic Pat Sajak.
DM: “There’s no fucking vowel, you moron!”
Alandris: “I’ll give the wheel one final spin! Consonants worth… a stab in the heart, vowels are worth nothing.”
DM: Tyrgol, even Moradin himself is staring at you from beneath his bedclothes, his sheets pulled up to his nose, in awe! Apparently this transformation has gone far better than even the god could have predicted!
Tyrgol: Oh, I thought he was angry with me for a second.
DM: “You bastard, how dare you take more of my power! Asshole!”
Alandris: Just like a dwarven nose sticking up from his sheets, like ‘ooh!’
DM: He calls in his servants, Bifur, Bofur, and Bombur.
Damien: Is there a physical transformation to it?
DM: It’s a subtle one. You can sense a sort of nature about Tyrgol, whereas before a certain air of evil clung to him from his tainted bloodline--
Damien: He’s also now the tallest dwarf. Ever.
DM: Now he seems stronger, more powerful. Yes, Tyrgol, you have grown 2 inches.
Tyrgol: Excellent, 4’7”.
Damien: That’s a bigass fucking dwarf. You’re almost as tall as a short human.
DM: A true representative of dwarfkind now stands before you, gentlemen (and lady).
Damien: What’s that mean? My Int’s not high enough to care!
Tyrgol: “Ah, that felt pretty good.”
DM: Tyrgol, you feel invigorated as never before.
Damien: You are five levels higher now.
Niobhe: We’re all screwed.
Damien: If you’re not epic level, you are now. Now you all go absorb a god!
DM: “Now Moradin’s weaker! Get him!” After a long ominous pause, Moradin finally speaks. “Well that went all right then. Uh, any side effects?”
Tyrgol: “Nothin’ but good ones.”
DM: “Aye, good aim… uh… uh… you.”
Alandris: “Me.”
DM: “Mage.”
Alandris: I forget what my voice for him sounded like… “At your service!” …uh, yeah, I need to think one up.
DM: (halfling voice) “At your service, sir!”
Alandris: I’m not doing Matthias as my elven mage! Although that’s not a bad idea, considering. I could do my Orlando Bloom impersonation… “Have you heard nothing Lord Tyrgol has said?”
Damien: Nope, nope, if you’re gonna do a star, you gotta do… Goldblum.
Alandris: I’m not doing Jeff Goldblum as an elf. Although he does have all the hand motions down for spellcasting. “Sound Lance! What that actually did was on the cellular level…”
Damien: That is WAY too good an impression of him.

The group attempts to push Alandris into impersonating Lorrithrik. The group finally veers back to the game, trying to figure out how to find the avatar. Damien proposes Hendlar to serve, but Moradin nixes this.

DM: “That would only cause greater confusion. People are already having problems thinking of him as both their mortal leader and the next coming of me. That’s what we’re tryin’ to stop here if you’ll recall.”
Damien: “Okay. Does it have to be a dwarf?”
DM: “…Aye, a dwarf usually does best as the avatar of the dwarf god.”
Damien: (glaring at the other players, who are laughing at him) “Just checking!”
Alandris: “Why not me? I’d make a fine god of the dwarves!”
DM: “All right, administer the first test, Tyrgol.”
Alandris: “I’ll need some practice for the drinking, of course.”
Tyrgol: “All righty, just stand on yer head… All right, here’s a keg. Here’s another keg. Now get drinkin’.”
Alandris: “How long do I have?”
Tyrgol: “Five minutes.”
Alandris: “Oh.”

Damien attempts to list dwarven qualities to identify the avatar. Alandris helps. It doesn’t end well. Moradin kicks them out of the judging. Alandris’s new voice slowly drives Damien mad. Niobhe insists that the avatar is Dirk, purely OOC and meta. Damien’s repeatedly hassling for qualifications makes Moradin weak, and he directs them to a path home.

Alandris: “Something to help you sleep?”
DM: “No thank you.”
Alandris: “Something for your headache?”
DM: “I rather don’t trust something to help me sleep comin’ from a—“
Alandris: “CRUCIO!”
DM: “No! Ya’ve got ta MEAN them, Alandris!”
Damien: “Listen guys, there’s a lot of doors here to different worlds, I figure maybe we can find the the world of hot women, and just park our asses over there.”
Niobhe: “And why would I care about this?”
Damien: “Because there’s hot dudes there?”
Alandris: “Why would there be hot dudes on the world of hot women?”
Damien: “What are the hot women gonna do besides me? After 10 or 15 I have to take a break.”
DM: “There’s no world of hot women—“
Damien: “Look, you’re all weak, unless the next words out of your mouth are the name of the avatar I don’t wanna hear it!”

The group sets off to find the proper archway that leads home. They pass two other doors.

Tyrgol: What do the first and second doors say?
DM: The first one says, in dwarven script, “Other Inner Planes.” The second one says, “Worlds With Good Booze.”
Alandris: “Why isn’t that the first door?! What other doors would dwarves –“
Tyrgol: What does the third door say?
DM: Third door: “Worlds of Worship.”
Alandris: WoW? Really?

The party inexplicably erupts into arguing over how the portal can lead to worlds with good booze when there’s excellent free booze in this world. Tyrgol lampshades Alandris’s new voice. They step through an archway leading to Baruk-Azhik.

Tyrgol: It’s an old portal, so it’s like deep in the fucking orog realms. “Uh-oh.”
Alandris: “Finally, some combat! Against opponents that I might just be able to lay waste to!”
DM: “Hello, we’re the epic-level Hobgoblin Squad.”
Alandris: (weary sigh)

Tyrgol, first through the portal, must make a Reflex saving throw. He promptly walks face-first into the high-priest, as the portal opened a scant two inches before said high priest. They are in the sacred sanctum of the temple.

DM: “What are you –“ (remembering his accent) -- “What’re ye doin’ back?!”
Tyrgol: “We were sent back by Moradin.”
DM: “My god, and I mean that literally.”
Damien: He’s like on the other side of the portal. “Hello!”
DM: “Quickly, come, come, come, tell me everything that happened!”
Damien: There were rivers of beer.
Tyrgol: That IS the first thing I say. “Beer flows like rivers there.”
DM: “Oh aye, it IS heaven.”
Niobhe: “They have a giant mountain, and there’s a railing and when you open up the railing, there’s beer inside.”
DM: “Aye, it IS heaven.”
Damien: I wanna sign up to be a dwarf, that sounds pretty good…
Tyrgol: “It tastes great!”
DM: “…Aye, it was heaven. What HAPPENED!”
Tyrgol: “I wanna reminisce about beer a bit more. Ahh, man.”
DM: “…did ya bring any back?”
Alandris: Don’t let him have any!
Damien: “It was destroyed on re-entry.”
Tyrgol: I’m trying to shift my alignment back to lawful good. Shit!
DM: That’s exactly the sort of hard decision you have to make to shift your alignment.
Alandris: “You see, beer from that plane cannot cross back into this world.”
Tyrgol: “Oh god – it can’t?!”

It can; Tyrgol checks. He gives the priest a mug of it; the priest communes with the beer for 20 minutes or so. Damien finally relates the mission to the priest, then refuses to tell the priest any details. The priest simply asks Tyrgol, who relates the sad tale. Tyrgol accidentally fumbles a name to “Grimm Gaybeard” and there is much chortling. The priest promptly proposes to make Hendlar the permanent avatar, and is of course smacked down. Alandris attempts to bypass the entire selection process by selecting Dirk. Damien proposes a tournament that exemplifies dwarfdom.

DM: “All right, all right, all right. First things first. Tyrgol, we’ve got to have your trial. Once that is done we can get to work on this whole… avatar thing.”
Damien: “Wait. Wait. Wait.”

A parody of Chrono Trigger immediately erupts. Damien tries to get out of the trial, but is reminded he was a witness to Tyrgol’s transformation. Tyrgol is jailed for the night, and the remaining PCs are put into protective custody. The PCs demand food, namely delicious meat, to which the priest agrees.

Alandris: “I’ve always wanted to ask. You live in a cave!”
DM: “While that IS true, we have a clan entirely devoted to the raising of foodstuffs. That includes birds and whatnot that are on the surface. In addition there are many underground animals and animals that can survive perfectly well underground.”
Alandris: (after a period of silence) I had another question, but I forget what it was.
DM: “Damn your logical answers!”
Alandris: “And what about… women? I haven’t seen many dwarf women.”
Damien: “They’re there. They just look… you know what, don’t worry about it, unless you want a dwarf woman…”
DM: “I’m sure we could find an example –
Alandris: “I’ve seen a lot of holes in the ground, but not the women!”
DM: “…what are you implying?”
Alandris: “Do you all spring out of them?!”
DM: “That IS the legend, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, this is not an appropriate conversation to be taking, with a man of the cloth I might add!”
Damien: (stage whispering) “Because he IS a woman!” Bum bum bum! Wait, he’s also an elf for some reason.

The priest finally gets around to ordering them out of the inner sanctum so the messy business of justice can be taken care of. Damien predicts the jail will be on a boat, then complains vigorously about boats. The accents start getting inexplicably stupid. Damien attempts to identify poison in his food through the use of his training in ‘poison punch’ style; his roll is good enough to determine that the food will not poison-punch him.

DM: Tyrgol, this night passes with one of the most refreshing sleeps of your life.
Tyrgol: Hmm.
Damien: You find two heads of two local whores at your bed.
Tyrgol: “Uh-oh.”
Alandris: Dwarven gods do it rough.
DM: Sadly, instead of turning into a demon who goes out and kills, you turn into a dwarf who goes and kills at night.
Tyrgol: I go through the whole transformation thing, “Aaaargh!” – nothing has changed.

The morning begins with dwarves bidding the players to come to the Trial of Tyrgol. Damien attempts to bring beer.

DM: “The law is not a thing to be taken lightly, sir!”
Damien: “Listen buddy, I was put in jail for three months for breaking no law. I don’t understand…”
DM: “All right, if you live in a shitty human kingdom you’ve got –“
Damien: “I didn’t LIVE there! I was passing through minding my own business-“
DM: “If you’ve EVER been in a shitty human kingdom you’ve got no right to complain because you brought it on yourself, sir!”

Damien and the dwarf guard get into an argument about racism and immigration. The dwarven trial begins as the magistrate enters. The players immediately focus on the most important thing: how uncomfortable the chairs are.

Alandris: “Don’t worry, if things don’t go well I have just the spell to get us out.”
Tyrgol: “WHAT?!”
Alandris: Oh yeah…
Tyrgol: I’m probably not right next to you.”

The courtroom, a converted church, is packed full of dwarves. The DM describes the courtroom in great detail. Damien begins humming the music for the trial in Chrono Trigger.

DM: The corrupt chancellor appears and forges your death sentence.
Damien: No matter what you get, you are going to die!
Alandris: I have nothing BUT contempt for this court!
DM: The bailiff stands and slams his massive hammer, ceremonial though it may be, onto the ground three times. “Aye vey! Aye vey! Aye vey! All rise for the magistrate!” With great ceremony a dwarf with a magnificent white beard and curled hair –
Damien: (gasping, then squealing gleefully) SANTA CLAUSE IS HEEEEERE!
DM: No, one of those stupid colonial wigs, except this is his real hair – rises and takes a seat. “BE SEATED!”

The charges are read and legal blathering occurs.

DM: “How do you plead?”
Tyrgol: “Both guilty and not guilty.”
DM: “That’s not a valid plea. I believe yer lookin’ for guilty with an explanation.”
Tyrgol: “Aye, that would be the one, m’lord.”
DM: “All right then, I’ll have the state make the case.”
Tyrgol: …who’s the state?
DM: An oddly tall and thin dwarf stands up, stroking his beard.
Tyrgol: Halfling! HALFLING!
Alandris: It’s Shorty Cochran! They brought in the big guns, they want him put away!
Tyrgol: If the soul does not fit, you must acquit!
DM: Speaking powerfully, he delivers a magnificent oration.
Damien: Defense against diplomacy! (rolling dice hurriedly)
DM: It’s not Diplomacy! It’s Performance(oration)!
Damien: I’m defending myself against his attempts to persuade me to turn against my friends.
DM: He’s – he’s not – he’s just giving a speech! It’s much more powerful than I can convey while keeping my accent AND a straight face.

The first witness is called: apparently, The Cheat from Homestar Runner. Then the first real witness is called, a guard from the estate. Niobhe accuses the trial of calumny. The dwarf relates how a demonic creature slayed his lord, but left behind several key pieces of evidence such as ripped cloth and beer. The group is skeptical beyond belief. Tyrgol declines to question. Another witness takes the stand. It’s a dwarf woman. The group is shocked.

DM: “The witnesses will please refrain from ogling the testifying witness!”
Damien: “I’ve never seen one before!”
DM: “There’re several – will all the dwarf women in the audience please raise their hands?”
Damien: “I can’t see them from over here!” There’s one right behind me. “I don’t know what’s going on!”

The DM briefly describes the witness identifying Tyrgol. Damien complains that the evidence is loose; the DM questions if he really wants an in-depth trial detail. Tyrgol again declines to cross-examine. Damien Human is called to the stand. He is questioned about the events of the night where they group beat down Tyrgol’s demon form. Niobhe Half Even and Alandris… Blast-causer are in turn called.

DM: “We don’t know your clan names! You humans have such strange archaic clan names we don’t understand them!”
Damien: “White!”

Chaos reigns for a moment. Alandris and Niobhe both agree to the events of the night being as described, and Tyrgol again declines to ask questions.

Alandris: “I’d like to make it known that he was clearly possessed, since he demonstrated powers and abilities he does not have, as we’ve traveled with him these many… months…?”
DM: “Are ya certain he doesn’t have them, or has them and just hasn’t used them in your presence before?”
Alandris: “Our lives have been threatened many times, since we joined up, and he never –“
DM: “This is Tyrgol, could it not be possible that he was simply drunk and forgot he had these powers?”
Tyrgol: “Hey, come on now, everyone knows I get a bit stronger when I’m drunk.”
DM: “Aye, aye, but not smarter.”

Tyrgol has an opportunity to call witnesses. He ponders calling himself, then running between the stand and his seat, but is told he is prohibited from engaging in shenanigans by law. Tyrgol leads into questions about the spells that were cast upon him by the high priest.

Tyrgol: “One was cast on me to prevent me from telling the truth.” Oh – I’m sorry –

A good laugh is had at his expense! Tyrgol explains he said, truthfully, that he had not done the deed, but the high priest had also divined that he HAD done so.

Tyrgol: “We can conclude that it was not me, body mind and soul, who did the murders… well, body…”
Alandris: “Kind of like, if I swing me mace at an orog bastard and cave his head in, you can’t call the mace the murderer, since I was the one what swung it.”
DM: “Objection, I’d like to cite The People vs. Mace.”
Damien: “We should have known about that, I told you to do your reading –“
Alandris: “We’ve got a blood legal stipulation!”

Tyrgol calls the high priest to the stand to testify to the truth of his arguments of being a mere tool. He then threatens to call Hendlar to the stand just to see what will happen. Closing arguments are done.

DM: The magistrate stands. “Tyrgol… Uh, technically yer guilty. But it would be kinda stupid ta have that stigma attached to ya for the rest’a yer life for something that wasn’t actually yer fault. So I’m callin’ it not guilty. From what I hear, ya’ve already done enough ta take care’a this little problem, it won’t be happenin’ again, an’ it wasn’t you behind the wheel in the first place, so yer free to go.”
Tyrgol: “Thank ye, m’lord.”
Alandris and Damien: “Yaaaaaay.”

Tyrgol gets his stuff back, then wonders what to do next…

DM: The lure of the tavern, versus what your god told you to do. Oh, this is a hard choice…
Alandris: “Might do well to sort of lay off the drinking heavily for a time, seeing as how –“
Tyrgol: (slaps Alandris)
Alandris: “Right…”
DM: “All right, all rise for the magistrate, we’re here for the Slappin’ Trial of Tyrgol…”
Damien: Everything he does, he has to go on trial for.
Alandris: “The Trial of Tyrgol 2.”
Tyrgol: I know the judge by name…
DM: “Tyrgol, we’re puttin’ ya on trial for drinkin’ too much. Aye, even for a dwarf.”
Tyrgol: “Obviously I’m guilty, m’lord…”
Alandris: Guilty with an explanation!
Damien: Tyrgol stepped on that bug! Bug Murderer!
DM: “All right! I’ve cut down on me alcohol a lot! Now I won’t get in trouble –“ “Tyrgol, we’re puttin’ ya on trial for drinkin’ too little.” “Aww son of a bitch!”
Damien: We need to leave Baruk-Azhik NOW.

The characters talk about their mission in terms of finding the ‘you know what’. A young child shows up and starts interrogating them. They can’t get rid of the kid, who keeps offering to help them look for the you-know-what.

Damien: “Listen. You know how you can help us?”
DM: “How’s that?”
Damien: “Down the street and to the right, go down the alley, take a left. On the wall, you’ll find writing. Look carefully, the writing’s there. The clue is the number on the wall. Find it. Bring it back here.”
DM: “All right!”
Alandris: “He’s gonna be back in like ten minutes…”
Damien: “I don’t care.”
DM: Unless there are muggers down that alley.
Alandris: Oh, alignment shift!
DM: “Oh no! Rapists!”
Damien: “He’ll be okay, he’s 35! That’s an adult dwarf, right?”
Tyrgol: “Uh, no?”
Alandris: And then the rapists’ll get off because they’re all, “Oh, we drank too much, we don’t remember.”
DM: “And we turned into demons.”
Alandris: We’ve set a precedent! The Tyrgol defense! “Well ya can’t find us guilty if you were possessed by demons!” We’ve created a D&D sanity plea, I hope you’re satisfied. …then again, it did happen…

It… it just gets worse from there. Realizing they’re free of the kid, the group again ponders how to find the avatar. Damien decides to ask every dwarf for their character sheet. Someone gives them an Exalted sheet. Alandris proposes a massive tavern fight, the one who lasts the longest wins. Tyrgol heads back to the temple to speak to the high priest, whose name is FINALLY revealed: Rothkar Rockhammer, or something like that. However, the underpriest reveals he’s in meditation.

Damien: “Ahhhh. ‘Meditation’, huh?”
DM: “What are you implyin’?”
Alandris: He’s having a drink.
DM: “Are you implyin’ foul and uncouth things about the high priest?”
Damien: “No, he’s in meditation, what’s the problem?”
DM: “Ya WINKED, sir! Ya winked knowlingly! I’ll have ya know we do not tolerating having shit talked about our high priest! He is a good man who has lead our flock for many years—“
Damien: “Notice how my eyes stay closed –“
DM: “Tyrgol, why do you hang out with these assholes?!”
Alandris: “Don’t mind him, he’s got rheumatism!”
Tyrgol: “Aye, they’re honorable guys, and gal… they’re good in a fight.”
Alandris: The People vs. Winky White.
Damien: You know what? Forget this. I’m done! This town is ridiculous!
Tyrgol: I teleport him to… the Gorgon’s Crown, and come back.
Damien: You guys come back there. “Thanks a lot buddy. I’m level 20 now.”
DM: Hey, you could pretty much take over the place, they need a strong leader up there.
Damien: I come back with an army! “Wha’sup? SUP? I’m the general! GENERAL! And I got me some fried chicken!”

The underpriest continues to argue with them. The DM demands Diplomacy checks. The underpriest agrees to go speak with the others reluctantly and begrudgingly. Damien demands that Moradin start smiting his priests, ranting and raving.

DM: One of the lower novitiates comes up to you. “Sir, please, you’re causing a scene!”
Damien: “A scene?! I’ll give you a scene!” BODY DROP!
Niobhe: I’m going…
Tyrgol: I guess we’re gonna be yer witnesses?
Alandris: The People vs. Winky White…
Damien: “Did you body drop this dwarf?” “Damn right I did, he came up to me talking about causing a scene, I caused a scene, I grab onto the dwarf guard, BODY DROP!”
DM: It was some innocent dwarven novitiate!
Damien: He shouldn’t have been standing there next to me! Hey this pit’s not tall enough, my entire upper body is above the pit! I could just walk out of this thing! What am I gonna do? Smash, I’m gone! Walk out!
DM: The pit is only symbolic anyway.
Damien: I’m standing in the pit, I’m still over the dwarf! It’s not like I’m in a pit of tiny people! (finally losing steam and slumping over, laughing) I’m done…
DM: (laughing helplessly) Basically a cranky baby, just let him cry himself out… “Wah! Wah! Baby Damien want justice! Somebody stop being racist.”

The group mostly laughs themselves silly. Damien demands the story move on, but vows he WILL body drop the underpriest if he says no. Fortunately he does not.

DM: “All right, I’ll escort ya back.”
Damien: “Huh? What’s that?”
Tyrgol: “Damien, please.”
Alandris: Damien want justice!
DM: (kicks his arms and legs like a tantruming child, breaking the group into laughter again.)
Damien: See! I got the job DONE!
DM: It was gonna happen whether you complained for 20 minutes or not!
Damien: But we had a good laugh, I’d say it’s a win! 57 bonus experience. Bam!

Tyrgol asks the priest of his thoughts on the matter. The priests advises them that an announcement must reach every dwarf possible. They consider a tournament of some sorts, covering will and intelligence as well as arms. The priest sets them to the task of considering what tasks should be done. Off to the bar they go! They debate a contest of cleverness: appearing to outdrink Tyrgol without actually doing so. The DM points out explicitly that he isn’t going to tell them how to do the tests, so they better get to work.

Damien: Okay, the first thing we’re gonna do, guys, is we’re gonna derail this fucking story. No tomorrow. DM’s not gonna know what hit him.
Niobhe: We need to go looking for Dirk because obviously he’s the best choice.
Damien: No, that’s too obvious.

Certain they need a contest of arms, they agree to put that last because it’s most interesting. The issue of who judges the contest arises; the PCs believe they must all do so. Damien proposes a test of faith that inexplicably involves killing babies. They suggest a test of strength as well. Alandris proposes making all the tests public to weed out the chaff.

Damien: Strength of mind… strength of will… strength of constitution…
DM: You’re just looking at attributes, now.

Niobhe disagrees with Alandris on announcing the tests. Damien continues to list suggestions for the avatar test.

Alandris: Maybe we could have a TEAM of avatars. “It’s dwarfin’ time!”
Niobhe: (collapses in hysterics)
DM: Don’t dignify that with laughter.
Niobhe: Shut up, it’s funny.

Tyrgol proposes that a great reward be offered as a prize to the winner to make people eager to compete, possibly just as an excuse to try to get Hendlar into the game. A moment’s thought reveals a possible pitfall, though.

Tyrgol: The problem is, if we give him a problem like that, and then we take him away to become the avatar, that’s gonna raise a few eyebrows. “Whatever happened to that dude who got the title?”
DM: “He disappeared forever… after meeting with Hendlar!”
Niobhe: Not after meeting with Hendlar, after meeting with Tyrgol. “Uh-oh….”
Alandris: The People vs. Tyrgol…
Tyrgol: “You murdered the lord of the realm!”
Alandris: “There’s no evideeeeence!”
DM: “I saw him going into the room!”
Alandris: “Yes, but what did you find after? Some beer?”
DM:”Scrap of cloth!”
Alandris: “But no body?!”
Tyrgol: “Porn! Lots and lots of porn.”
DM: “We assumed Tyrgol turned him into beer and drank him!”
Alandris: (howling) Why didn’t he do that the first time?!

Alandris proposes that Tyrgol should throw a ball under the pretense of seeking a suitor; the DM points out that would eliminate most of the males. The conversation goes from dwarf transvestites to Trogdor, somehow, before tapering off awkwardly.

DM: I like how as soon as I required you guys to have any independent thought whatsoever, the game just sort of… screech!
Tyrgol: No, no, it’s not that, it’s just like... well yeah, it is kinda like that.
Niobhe: You asked for independent thought and who went to the bathroom? Damien!
DM: Apparently I need a bar fight to keep you guys together.
Alandris: Damien... want justice! Um, well, we sort of thought what we needed, it’s gonna take time to put it all together. In the meantime what do we do?
Tyrgol: Do you want like, a very exact thing we’re going to do, or—
Alandris: Who cares, it’s not like we have to do it right!
Tyrgol: Aye yi yi…
Niobhe: Moradin strikes Alandris down.
Alandris: He’s gonna put the person we need right in front of us whether we realize it or not.
Tyrgol: He’s probably putting multiple people in front of us.
Alandris: How surprised was he when Barack picked what’s-her-face instead of all the other ones?
DM: That was not the person I expected him to go for, no.
Alandris: You wanted him to go for the thirteen-year-old girl.
DM: That was just in-character for her!
Alandris: …right.
Damien: (bursting back into the scene) Look, I liked the half-elf, okay!
Alandris: Okay! So… what’re we gonna do to wait it out while the clergy puts the whole thing together…

They continue to ponder the alleged prize that would be great enough to lure all worthy applicants. Mostly in confused silence. Alandris proposes the winner be granted a miracle spell. Damien proposes they dump the problem in the hands of the clergy. The group wanders back to proposing tests and events. The conversation turns idiotic; Tyrgol points out that they’ve been drinking for hours, so it’s perfectly in-character. The DM shrugs, runs with it, and puts them in their rooms the next morning with no idea how they got there. After much bullshitting the scene plods forward at a snail’s pace.

Tyrgol: No no no no, I’m not Alec. I’m not Alec.
DM: Yeah, you’re here.
Tyrgol: Whose favorite line back in the day was ‘less gay, more slay’.

The DM scolds the players for making their characters mindless react-o-bots. Damien complains that a 12 Intelligence is not enough to think. Alandris proposes giving the dwarves a quest instead of just a tournament. Tyrgol proposes that the winners of the tournament be sent on a quest. After a long, long LONG tangent, the party returns to the high priest to explain their plan. The high priest suggests that the final quest, rather than be recovering an item or doing a specific deed, be to go out and do good in the world in the dwarven name, and their deeds will be judged on their return. The party likes this! Tyrgol debates the judging panel’s makeup. The high priest tasks them with earning the support of the various thanes.

Niobhe: (singing) “Do you wanna be an Avataaar?”
Damien: “It’s time for Dwarf IDOOOOOOOL!”
Alandris: Moscow, Moscow…
DM: “And that’s a 3.5 from the Russian judge.”

Tyrgol, eyeing the DM wickedly, proposes going to get help from Barack and Eirien. The high priest immediately blocks this. The group briefly discusses the failure of the Rapture to occur.

DM: Hey. Here’s why the Rapture didn’t happen.

First, the party heads to Tierdrek, amidst many a pummeling joke.

DM: Tierdrek sits on his plebian-looking throne.
Damien: I have to look up this word!
DM: It means it ain’t fancy.
Tyrgol: It’s a stool.
Alandris: It’s a bar stool!
Tyrgol: No, no, it’s just a high-backed seat with some scrollwork.
DM: And there’s an ottoman. Dwarven thanes are not too puffed up on their own importance after all.
Tyrgol: “Greetings, me thane.”
DM: “What up?”
Alandris: Ha! “What up?”
Tyrgol: He and I are on good terms. “Well, obviously as you heard, I have not been arrested, I’m a free man.”
DM: “Ya got off on a technicality, Tyrgol. I’m keepin’ my eye on ya. I know it’s just sittin’ within ya waitin’ ta kill again.”
Tyrgol: “I.. know this time, I actually think it’s gone.”
DM: “…Ah! Ya totally bought it, didn’t ya! Ha! Seriously, what can I do for ya.”
Tyrgol: “…that was a really good performance.”

They explain the idea to the thane. A Diplomacy check gets them a small allotment of finance and the use of some resources like the training yard. Niobhe just throws a die. The DM lectures her on actually roleplaying versus just rolling a die; the players complain that he makes them roll anyway! Tyrgol tries to make six months pass in a blur by going to the bar. The group instead makes six months pass in real time by complaining about James Cameron and 3D movies. Well, not that much time, but a lot of time. Tyrgol finally gets along towards moving to the Stormhand clan hall.

Tyrgol: I’m guessing I can’t just walk into the actual clan’s quarters.
DM: No. At the thane’s hall a menacing burly dwarven guard stands, looking ominous.
Niobhe: “You’d be PERFECT! You’d be perfect! He has to join the tournament, look at him, he’s magnificent.”
DM: “I’m sorry? Of what do ya speak?”
Alandris: (tittering at the dwarf’s slow voice)
Tyrgol: “We’re preparing for a tournament for all’a dwarvenkind.”
DM: “Ahhhkay?”
Tyrgol: “And this is what we came to speak with Galuf for.”
DM: “Galuf? Yooooou… wish to speak with Galuf?” He looks you over, seeing the many evidences upon your person. You’re a Stooormfist, nyeeeeeh. Not quite the biggest loser clan but a big loser clan!

The DM calls for a Diplomacy check; the players complain. Niobhe goes CRAZY on the buttering-up.

Niobhe: “I don’t know if I wanna say you’re a shoo-in, but he’d be up there, wouldn’t he?”
Tyrgol: “Definitely in the physical proportions, the matter is does he have the brain capacity…”
Alandris: “He does seem able to swing a hammer…”
DM: “What are you implying?”
Tyrgol: “I’m not implying anything, sir!”
Damien: “Listen. Listen buddy. Listen, we’re not implying anything, we’re downright fucking TELLING you, you are not the brightest man in the shack.”

Damien goes ballistic on the guard and stomps off, to the horror of the rest of the group.

DM: Apparently you all storm off, offended.
Damien: Damn straight! Screw this guy! You keep putting these assholes at the front door! We’re not gonna take it any more! Why don’t I have any of these guys blocking MY door at Barack’s keep?! What the fuck? Every asshole and their dog can walk right into my keep with boxes and axes and fucking barrel-guns and we can’t even walk in to talk to the guy?! Screw you!”
Alandris: Baby Damien want justice!

Damien gets it out, and Tyrgol tries again to see the thane. They are given an appointment the next day.

Damien: Know what, that’s it. I know exactly what we’re doing. Give me your gold. Got five hundred gold together, we get a couple hookers, every time we see a doorman, we sic a couple of them on him, he’s out of the way, we see him, we’re done. Easy as peasy.
DM: You head for the Bronzeaxe clan, picking up hookers along the way—
Tyrgol: NOOOOOO!
DM: All right, Damien’s picking up hookers –
Damien: I wouldn’t even know where to find them!
DM: All right, roll a Gather Information check –
Tyrgol: Noooooooooooooo. All right, to the Bronzeaxe.
DM: Another doorman awaits outside the Bronzeaxe clan hall.
Tyrgol: “Greetings, honorable Bronzeaxe, I’m here ta see yer thane.”
DM: It’s a female dwarf, your hooker plan wouldn’t have worked anyway. “May I as who’s callin’?”
Niobhe: “She’s perfect too!”
Damien: Your ploy is not working!
Tyrgol: “I am Tyrgol Stormfist. I am on a, uh –“
Alandris: On a mission from God.
DM: Yeah, I can see how this is ending the tournament, you guys are outrunning the cops and the Nazis, you show up, judge one event, and then sneak out to get the money back to the orphanage…

The doorman gets permission to send them in and does so cheerfully. Damien sighs. The DM cheerfully notes it’s impossible to please Damien, even with a friendly doorman.

DM: Less gay, more slay, huh, Damien?
Damien: I love Diplomacy, I’m just having trouble fitting this guy into the dwarf world right now, so he’s jumpy.
DM: You’re escorted into a finely-appointed waiting room, it’s obviously meant for actual COMFORT of the guests, unlike in those human kingdoms where it’s just meant to impress on the lowly guests how awesome and powerful the monarch is.
Damien: What are they supposed to do? You guys don’t have fifty, sixty people seeing you every –ing day about every little problem? “My shoes don’t fit!” “Some dude yelled that there was a hat sale and I had to deal with it! Waah! Waah!” Every little thing! You tell your overthane he has to deal with every dwarf and every little problem, I’m sure his little room would be worse for the wear. It’s meant to keep people out, not make ‘em feel welcome!
DM: That’s pretty much it, too, it’s meant to…
DM and Damien: Discourage people from bothering the regent with their petty problems.
DM: I’m glad you picked up on that, I go to an effort to emphasize that every time you guys go through that process.
Niobhe: Doesn’t that mean Aibghalien’s throne room, or waiting room, was really shitty too?
DM: Wait, when did he ever SEE people? He was too busy dealing with things! He had four lieutenants whose job it was to see people while he was upstairs blowing shit up!

The characters get in to see the thane, Marduk.

DM: Marduk looks at you all. Doesn’t seem to have the same sort of immediate prejudice. “I’m told yer comin’ on a meetin’ from the high priest. What can I do for ya?”
Damien: “Listen buddy. We wanna talk to your thane. Five platinum, you tell him we’re here to see him. No talk, no long stories, no nothing. Get him, tell him we’re here, five platinum.”
Niobhe: …You know that’s the thane, right?
Damien: That’s him? Or are we at the other place?! I thought we’d moved on. I’m like so out of it now! I don’t care! I just don’t care!
Tyrgol: Marduk’s mouth is just hanging wide-open.
Alandris: The People vs. Winky White!
DM: “Thank you for the money?”
Damien: “Just take it, I don’t care any more. Can you tell the other thanes to give money, ‘cuz I just can’t take none of these fucking dumbass guards!”
Tyrgol: Back to the beginning of this conversation…

Tyrgol diplomatizes and butters up the thane by saying the Bronzeaxe clan name should be prominent in this whole process. Damien, finally going crazy over all this diplomacy, hurls his character sheet aside and starts digging out Barack. Tyrgol earns his support, then indicates he’ll be around the usual spots to await a messenger.

Damien: (bursting into laughter)
Alandris: Search the taverns and whorehouses!
Damien: Do you have a house?!
Tyrgol: My places in the clanhome.
Damien: What happened to my house? Did my character have a home somewhere?
Alandris: He had plebian accommodations.
Damien: I started in jail, I don’t know where I’m from!
DM: You’re a freelance adventurer, you had no home. You stayed at inns, taverns—
Damien: And jails, apparently.
DM: Well, it’s all that whoring.
Niobhe: We were in that oubliette – why the hell was I arrested, then?! I don’t whore!
Damien: They thought you were the whore.
Alandris: Guilt by association!
DM: I told you all why you were arrested: specious reasons at best!
Tyrgol: We’re going to the Watershold. …was he ever found? He went missing after the…
Alandris: The Doppelganger!
DM: That’s true, but as far as anyone knows, he was found.
Alandris: Oh ho ho ho!
Tyrgol: Put us in doubt as per usual.
Damien: HE DOES THAT FOR EVERYTHING! “Am I drinking water?” “As far as you know…”
DM: “It is water.”
Damien: “Am I sitting on a chair?” “As far as you know…”
DM: Sometimes I mix it up. “To the best of your ability to tell, it’s a chair.”
Alandris: Roll your Appraise.
DM: Roll Knowledge(chairs). Knowledge(carpentry) would also work.
Tyrgol: I have none?
DM: You are perfectly certain it is a chair. You are very convinced it is a chair.
Damien: I have no knowledge of it being a chair, I should be convinced it’s NOT a chair because I have no idea what it is.
DM: You’ve heard of these things called chairs, but you’re not certain this is one.
Damien: Let’s have, like, super-realistic D&D. If you don’t have the knowledge of it you don’t know what it is.
DM: That’s called Rolemaster and let’s never go there.
Damien: There is a game –
DM and Damien: Everything.
Damien: Ah.
DM: It’s insane! I once played a game of that, we fought this villain that we literally could not defeat! Because his armor skill and his weapon skill were so high, and we were like starting characters – STARTING CHARACTERS in Rolemaster are about this much greater -- (a very tiny distance is indicated) -- than your average schlub off the street! We beat on him, we could not hit him, we finally managed to defeat him when my flaming sword – I rolled a botch with it and my sword detonated in a wash of flames that did more damage to him than me because I was wearing armor that somehow absorbed the fire damage better than his fire damage did! We beat the bad guy because I BOTCHED! THAT IS THE WORST GAME EVER!
Damien: That is insane.
Niobhe: This is the first time I’ve ever seen him get so pissed about a game before.
DM: ROLEMASTER FUCKING SUCKS! The only reason you would play it is for the fucking comedy value! It is like the game when you think that algebra is hilarious and should be part of your roleplaying experience! There is math for fucking everything! It’s like a computer would choke and fucking DIE on Rolemaster! AAAAH!

The players stare in awe for a moment, then hurriedly divert back to the plot. The DM picks up the scene in the middle of them talking to Diirk Watershold, and him agreeing to finance their games.

Tyrgol: Oh, we got to go straight in to see him, fantastic!
DM: Yeah, I’ll allow you to handwave getting in past the dwarves. Because Damien would just offend them! The only way I can prevent that is to get you right past them!
Damien: I’m just waiting to piss off my friends long enough that they SEND ME BACK TO THE TAVERN!

They send Damien back to the tavern. The players all attempt to alternately justify their nonparticipation or skip EVERYTHING. The DM indicates they don’t even really need to negotiate with the Stainedbeard clan, since providing food for these events is pretty much the job. Tyrgol plans to hit up the high priest once again, but instead goes to see the Stonebeard clan. The staffing seems oddly low at their clanhall, though… the only person at the door is a confused-looking pageboy!

Tyrgol: “What’s with that look, lad?”
DM: “Oh, uh, uh, uh, welcome to the, uh, the clanhall! What can I do for ya?”
Tyrgol: “I wish ta see Khothsh.”
DM: “I’m sorry, he’s not in, sir!”
Tyrgol: “When will he be in?”
DM: “We don’t know, sir!”
Tyrgol: “What is wrong with him?”
DM: “He’s out dealing with some problems!”
Niobhe: “What problems?”
DM: “There are a lot of problems on the surface.”
Tyrgol: “Aye, like?”
DM: “Uh, monsters! Fiends! Evil! I don’t know the details… All I know is they told me ta stand here and greet people an’ tell ‘em no one is in. ….no one is in, sir! Please come back later!”
Tyrgol: “Yer doin’ a fine job.”
Niobhe: “Give the man some ale!”
Alandris: Get the kid drunk! Here, have some salt pork, ya poor little bastard.”
DM: “Oh thank you sir.”
Tyrgol: “Here, have a mug of ale.”
DM: “Oh thank you! You guys are wonderful!”
Alandris: “There’s a tournament coming up!”
DM: The first round of the martial challenge, you just see this kid hewed in half by some massive dwarf. “OH WHAT HAVE WE DOOOOONE?!” Except for Damien: “Ha ha! Do it again!”
Damien: Every asshole dwarf guard is gonna be in this tournament, and I’m gonna be booing them all! BOOO!

The thane is up on the surface by the farms. In anticipation of this upcoming plot, the game at last ends!