||[Jul. 21st, 2011|11:33 pm]
The Dragon of Life
Someone opens peanuts DIRECTLY ON THE MICROPHONE. The transcriber is most displeased.
DM: Lorrithrik! After your FAILED assault on the citadel of Gavin Tael and your person –
Lorrithrik: Where did I go WRONG?!
Damien: I still haven’t talked to him about that, have I?
DM: No, you haven’t seen him since. You retreated to lick your wounds and seek out some healing. You were separated from your compatriots. Due to that you’re not certain what happened to them for the longest time. However, the next day after that evening had passed, the rumor began circulating that Gavin Tael was dead. However! From your place of rest –
Lorrithrik: Lorrithrik’s probably got webs up in the forest somewhere… catching children, and then one day, “Ooh! Something big, something big is in my web!” She runs out and these guys are in the web.
DM: No. From your hiding spot in the city, while recuperating, the rumors are put to rest when Gavin Tael appears and gives a public speech about going forth to fight the demonic hordes that had taken over their own capital!
DM: Shortly after, the army marched out, but not without cost to you! For in the chaos and tumult of that entire encampment being torn up, you were discovered! People attempted to take you into change or better yet, slay you for the bounty on your head! You fled, hearing only rumors that your compatriots had escaped, somehow, to the realm of Elinie!
Lorrithrik: Better go find ‘em!
DM: You followed them, presented your credentials, had a long wait at the Master of the Door’s, spoke with them for a while, and then were told to take the teleporter.
Lorrithrik: To the teleporter! “Ah, Baruk-Azhik, that’s underground.”
Alandris takes a phone call and the other players shout congratulations. Niobhe is confused.
Niobhe: What are we congratulation [the person on the other end of the phone] for?
Damien: Oh, uh, someone proposed to her.
Lorrithrik: I hope it was Alandris.
Damien: No, no. No. It wasn’t.
Lorrithrik: …sorry, Alandris.
DM: It was his archenemy, Sirdnala.
While waiting for the phone call to end, the group vigorously discusses the MMO Rift. This lasts MUCH LONGER than can be described. By the time the phone call ends, Lorrithrik has wandered off. The DM begins describing what happened after the last session.
Damien: Oh that’s right, we have to SOLVE THE CRIME again.
DM: No, you solved it, it was Tyrgol.
The PCs are taken to the temple and given healing. Damien attempts to help heal, then remember he’s NOT a cleric, he just has fast healing. Lorrithrik explains to the guards at the teleporter who his companions are, to their alarm.
DM: Tyrgol, as your eyes crack open, the priest reaches for a hammer he left leaning by your bed. He appears ready to strike you down, but when you make no hostile move towards him –
Tyrgol: Wait, wait, wait wait!
DM: ..when you throw him…
Tyrgol: I put him to sleep!
Lorrithrik catches up with his comrades at this point. Tyrgol is for once clothed, despite the many times in this campaign he has not been.
Lorrithrik: But I am not.
DM: I’m sorry, the dwarves don’t know what to do with a flawless elven breast… you are banished from the land.
Alandris: “Look at this thing, it’s round!”
DM: “It’s not hairy at all, what the hell.” And so, you are reunited… with Lorrithrik.
Lorrithrik: Um, hi guys.
DM: The invisibility caster. The Tael provoker.
Lorrithrik: “Hey, you walked in first! I just meant to wait outside the door until those other people had left but you just had to waltz on in—“
Alandris: Sashay. Use the word ‘sashay’.
Lorrithrik: “Sashay on in and –“
Damien: “Wait. Let’s make the basics out of this. I remember having the conversation we had. I said, ‘you two lovely ladies,’ I remember my exact words, ‘will go in and you will use your feminine charms to get into the little… Ghoerish bedroom by pretending to be…’” What’re whores in D&D terms?
Niobhe: A lady of the evening!
Damien: “A lady of the evening! So you can talk to him! Things I did NOT say to do were… cast invisibility!”
DM: HOWEVER, as if the very gods themselves were attempting to mollify the situation, you all receive 2400 experience!
Damien: “I don’t remember telling you to sneak in, nor do I remember telling you to knock out guards!”
Lorrithrik: “Hey. First of all, don’t be bossy to spiders. Second of all—“
DM: Wait, what did you say?
Lorrithrik: Don’t be bossy to spiders.
DM: Upon speaking those words, the dwarven clerics who are nearby kind of look at each other in confusion.
The group bemoans not gaining a level from this.
Lorrithrik: “In important news, Ghoere is at war!”
Alandris: (bursts into laughter)
The group lamely summarizes their adventures to this point. Damien continues hassle Lorrithrik about his adventure.
Damien: ”Sneaking around and using your feminine charms, we now know you’re not GOOD at that. It’s a good thing. But what were you saying about the information you had from Ghoere?”
Lorrithrik: “Oh, I don’t know. NOTHING?”
Damien: “You were also bad at collecting information, that’s excellent, another job we know not to put you on.”
Alandris: It was a public announcement, so it’s not like she had to gather information, she’s just withholding it.
Damien: “Anyways, you are – you are good, what is she good at? I don’t remember. She’s good at fighting demons.”
Lorrithrik: “I never fought a demon in my life, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Niobhe: She’s not good at fighting either, remember, she ran away?
Damien willfully deafens the transcriber by opening bags right next to the microphone. The group realizes they may not be free to go, so Tyrgol questions an acolyte.
Alandris: I love how every time you’re playing a dwarf character, you rub your hands together.
Tyrgol: Now you’ve made him conscious of it.
Alandris: That’s your tell, your tell that you’re playing a dwarf! As if the accent wasn’t enough, but it’s usually only a dwarf when I notice it… or, or a… Matthias. You do it as Matthias.
DM: “All right, sir, I’m going to get right to work!”
Alandris: Yeah, him! Him, or a dwarf.
DM: “It’s the little people, sir. We enjoy the friction!”
Almost no one can remember why they came to the dwarven kingdom until Tyrgol reminds them. Tyrgol tries to leave for drinks at the bar, but is unable. Tyrgol attempts to go buy a Keg of Holding, but is similarly unable. He pouts vigorously. The group waits for an hour before the High Priest of the Forge emerges, hobbling towards them.
DM: “Moradin in his wisdom has revealed that the taint lies deep within ye.”
Tyrgol: “How far deep into me?”
DM: “In yer blood, lad.”
Tyrgol: “Well that would explain th’ new abilities I’ve gotten lately.”
Alandris: “The solution is simple. We drain him of all his blood.”
DM: And replace it with alcohol.
Alandris: The blood of a puppy!
Tyrgol: “No puppies, that’s just sick. Do it with beer. Do it proper.”
DM: “Beer doesn’t have blood! I don’t care what the fookin’ heretics over at the Temple of the Anvil say, beer dinnae have blood!”
Tyrgol: …Is THAT the difference that got them warring? If beer has blood or not?
DM: It’s a vague allusion to the whole idea of Communion? Does the beer actually become the blood of Moradin, or is it symbolic?
Alandris: We’ll set Tyrgol afire and then douse him in beer. If Moradin wishes him cleansed, the fire will go out.
Tyrgol: “And if not, I’ll die happy.”
DM: Dwarven witch-dunkings, they dunk ‘em in a vat of beer. “A real dwarf NEVER comes up.”
The dwarven priest sees only one thing CAN be done… at which point Lorrithrik gets a call to come home.
DM: “The answer to our problem lies with Moradin himself. And thought this whole invasion of many strange gods and demons has proven dark and dire for our realm, there is some hope. For if the gods can come to us, we can go to the gods. Therefore, I shall send you there.”
Damien: “Wait. Wait. WHAT?”
DM “Not by killing you!”
Tyrgol: “Put yer head on the choppin’ block there…”
Alandris: “We need some sort of holy place, don’t we?”
DM: “This temple will be sufficient, for on this night I shall pray, and Moradin shall grant me the power to open the gate to his world. Then shall I send you all to the heavens of dwarfkind.”
Damien: We go up there dead, and it’s like, “Everything’s solved, can you send us back to life?” “Oh no, we can’t do that.” “YOU SON OF A BIIIIIIIITCH!”
Discussion of the bizarrely useless nature of cities of nothing but columns and halls ensues. The priest tells them they must spend the day in meditation and ceremony.
Niobhe: “This is the dwarven plane of heaven, so I need to be shitfaced drunk, don’t I?”
Alandris: “And I need to be sitting down.”
DM: “I believe yer time with Tyrgol has given you a slightly one-dimensional view of our kind.”
Alandris: “So you’re not a drinker then?”
DM: “Of course I’m a bloody drinker!”
Alandris: “Then let’s meditate, yaaaaaay!”
DM: “Aah, what the hell.”
Damien tells Niobhe that, as a cleric, she should be pissed and denounce the dwarves’ god while she’s up there. The group spends the day in drinking, meditation, ceremony, and such and such. Dwarven ceremonies apparently involve bells that start at the height of a person and go from there. The group begins arguing whether a swallowed die’s roll should be counted when it is passed, or when it comes to rest in the stomach. Somehow this turns into killing the DM so they can go to Niobhe’s wedding, after which the DM will run the game as a zombie. Lorrithrik leafs through a fashion paper instead of meditating, while Alandris just thumps his head with a book while chanting. The DM threatens to have the ritual fail, but admits it isn’t necessary, the high priest just thinks it is.
DM: So despite your best efforts at sabotaging it, you will not fail.
Lorrithrik: Ooh, look at this dress! Hmm! …what is your name? Nee-oh-bee! Come over here.
Niobhe: Niobhe. Niobhe. It’s Niobhe.
DM: And then Lorrithrik remembered he was actually a male. Oh dear.
Damien: Secret BOYFRIIIIEND!
Lorrithrik: “Niobhe, look at this evening gown…”
Niobhe: I get it, Lorrithrik’s a cross-dresser.
Lorrithrik: …what do you mean? Lorrithrik’s a female.
DM: You’re a male in your spider form.
Lorrithrik: What do you mean?!
Alandris: Are you like Ranma ½?!
DM: Lorrithrik, your entire purpose was that he was a male in his spider form but he took the form of an elven female because he found that allowed him to manipulate the humans better.
Niobhe: I remember!
Damien: Ranma ½! I call Ryoga! I have no idea where I’m goin’.
Alandris: I call Genma. I turn into a panda…
Lorrithrik: Well that changes nothing.
DM: Ugh, the fucking dwarven bell wakes you because it’s loud and you’re in the same building. GONG! GONG! GONG! GONG! (the resonance on the mic is really quite impressive, a serious hum) And so on.
Lorrithrik continues to get ‘come home’ texts. The group ponders what to do next, but decide the DM is on a roll and they wanna see what comes next. The DM tells them to roll for initiative.
DM: You’re all brought into the inner sanctum, where before an altar shaped like an anvil, the high priest kneels, chanting.
Alandris: I approve.
DM: Your stuff is stacked nearby, ready for you to pick it up and take it into the portal as soon as it opens. The other priests stand by respectfully, a look of awe upon their faces. Never before has a feat like this been done in the history of Cerilia, except for maybe the Sword Mage opening a portal, but he doesn’t count because he’s not holy.
Alandris: I approve more.
DM: The chanting comes to a crescendo. First there is a crack of light which appears in midair, then it dilates outwards, opening. Its surface is a milky sheen, you can’t see what lies beyond you. But despite that, the priests tell you to hurry, hurry, step in before it closes!
The characters step into the portal. Many Stargate allusions are made.
DM: It feels like your bodies are being dissolved in a sea rancid milk.
Tyrgol: “Oh, this is like when I drank that really old keg that had been left out in the sun too long.”
DM: You’re not Iglar! There is a stretching sensation, pulling, tearing, and then all is darkness. If this is the dwarven heaven, it’s nothing at all like their religion predicts. You’re standing at the end of a long bridge. On either side, the infinite blackness of the nothingness between the planes. Standing in front of you, in front of the bridge –
Niobhe: Is a goddamn vampire-monk.
DM: NO VAMPIRE MONKS. Four figures. One is a tall winged figure. Looks like an angel.
Alandris: Is it a one-winged angel?
Damien: Does he have long silver hair?
DM: He has two wings and neither of them are black. Standing next to him, is what appears to be a lion man, a great flaming sword at his belt. Opposite him, a massive winged demon , and next to that demon, what appears be an imp of some sort. He has a handlebar mustache that appears to be made out of steel wool. “Ah! Welcome to the Bridge of Choices!”
Alandris: (cracks up at the voice the DM used)
DM: “Yes, you’ve reached the place of choices, and how HAPPY we are to see you here today! You’ve come to make a choice, haven’t you?”
DM: “The answer is YES! Yes?! YES?! YES! YES! YES!”
Damien: “If you knew the answer why are you asking us the question?”
DM: “Yes yes yes because I like to ask questions!”
Damien: “Oh, well then give us the answer – the question, so we can make our choice.”
Hanzo: Should we step into the safety circle?
Niobhe: It is for your safety!
DM: “Well, you wish to get by to the upper planes, and you see we have this thing here where you’re not allowed to go past, we say. And then THEY say, ‘Let them pass’ – do it, do it!” The lion man, looking extremely put out, says, “Let them pass.”
Alandris: “So we can go?”
DM: “Oh no no no no no no no, no no, no, no no no, no, no, no yes, but no.”
Alandris: “Where will we be going then?”
DM: “You see, to pass the Place of Choices, you must make a choice!”
Alandris: “I choose to pass!”
DM: “Ah, you choose to pass! Then you don’t mind doing what is necessary to pass!”
Damien: Kill your friends.
Alandris: “I choose to find out what is necessary to pass!”
DM: “Ah, I choose you! That’s not true, I don’t actually choose you. When I am through, you must choose one amongst yourselves, who must FIGHT!”
Alandris: “Fight what?”
DM: “Why you must fight… one of us to get past! There are many rules here—“ Hr produces an insanely large contract with type that is about this wide.
Alandris: “Do we choose which one of you we must fight?”
DM: “You may choose any one of us!”
Alandris: “Then I choose you!”
Alandris: “No, I do not.”
DM: “Oh, no?
Alandris: “Let me reaa—“ (cracking up) What a joke! “Let me read that!”
DM: He hands it to you. Do you read demonic? It is Infernal, in fact.
Damien: “You must answer me these questions three.”
Alandris: Well, Draconic – INFERNAL? Fuck.
Damien: “If you’re going to make us make a choice, I have a question.”
DM: “Well, fire away! In fact you may ask any one of us a question!”
Alandris: “I choose to get a translator. Which one of you can translate?”
Damien: “Are these your true forms?”
DM: “Why yes, yes they are! None of us appear as anything other than you would see us if you were not looking?”
Alandris: It’s kind of like an extra-annoying Mark Hamill Joker.
Damien: Yes it IS! Extremely annoying.
Alandris: “Hey, kiddies! Who wants to go to the higher planes?”
DM: The large demon speaks. “Gee Mistah J, why don’t ya just let ‘em pass?”
Alandris: Is the third demon flipping a coin? “Ah, good heads says ya get to pass. Bad heads say ya don’t pass, ‘cept over my dead body.”
The characters realize they can’t puzzle out the contract. Alandris tries to convince them to give them the contract, but the demon claims he can’t. Damien has a revelation.
Damien: Wait, wait, there’s an angel there. “Angel?”
Damien: “Do you have them written in Celestial?”
DM: “No, the demons are the ones in charge of administering the laws, it being generally assumed that we would actually do so competently, fairly, and within the bounds of what was intended. Fortunately, that means we administer the judgments of success. They may use whatever trickery they wish to to ensure you do not pass, or pass only into the demon realms as they would prefer. However, should you succeed in the trial, we shall ensure that they do not break the rules.”
Damien: “So you KNOW the rules! Or do they set the rules on each occasion?”
DM: “The rules – let us say the rules are written in such a way that they have almost unlimited flexibility.”
Alandris: “The rules are, there are no rules.”
DM: “Oh no, the rules are that there are so many rules there might as well be no rules. It’s a close distinction but an important one.”
Alandris: “Can you perhaps point out to us some of the more pertinent ones?”
DM: “In essence this is indeed a contest of strength. You may select one person, then one opponent will be selected for you.”
Alandris: “Is that going to be based on who we put forth as our champion?”
DM: “It will in part.”
Damien: “He said fight, but he did not say fight with what!”
Alandris: “He said it’s a test of strength.”
The group ponders who to set forward, as it will determine their challenge. Alandris challenges them to a battle of wits with poisoned goblets. The group attempts to puzzle out Westley’s stats. The imp subtly hints that he wishes to tussle with Tyrgol. Tyrgol chooses all four of the party against just the imp.
DM: “Oh. Oh! OHHHHHH!”
Alandris: “You are clearly the most powerful, wise, and strong of the group! Why involve anyone else?” You know, we’re gonna die.
Damien: We can’t die in the Astral Plane!
Niobhe: Yes we can!
Damien: No we can’t!
Alandris: We’ll be a bunch of vegetables back on the material plane, oh, that’s a victory.
DM: “I have the perfect contest, if that’s what you want to do! I have it I have it I have it I have it I have it I have it.”
Damien: “I would like to hear it before I agree to it!”
The group debates, then elects to proceed. The imp lampshades that if they’d chosen just one to fight him, he’d have chosen a champion from another of their number. Then he jokingly threatens to summon Gavin Tael as his champion. Or the Sword Mage. Or Gavin Tael the Sword Mage.
Damien: “Or Barack the Unkillable.”
DM: “Or this charming fellow named Wes, from another world!”
Alandris: “Wait. Illusory Pit!”
DM: “CURSE YOU Illusory Pit! Who knew the Illusory Pit would work quite better than the real one?!”
The imp tells them their challenge has three parts.
DM: “The first contest… shall be the DANCE-OFF!”
Damien: Wait, what’s the first quest?
DM: “The DANCE-OFF!”
The group complains that Perform(Dance) can’t be used untrained. The DM simply shrugs and says they can be interpretive. Damien comes up with a razor-thin justification for rolling Martial Lore, of all things. He gains a +5 to an untrained Perform check. He rolls a 20. Tyrgol stares at his skills in horror, then comes up with Tumble. He rolls stellar and his final result is a 23 (it would have bee na 24, but… Charisma penalty). Niobhe… comes up with BLACKSMITHING as a roll, but rolls a nat-20 on the Dance roll. Alandris rolls Spellcraft from doing somatic spell components, and comes up with another nat-20. He invents hand-jive.
DM: The lion-man watches you for a moment, and then says in what was clearly meant to be an undertone, but is entirely too carrying, “This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”
Damien: His, or all of us?
DM: All of yours.
Alandris: Well I didn’t pick a DANCE-OFF to get into the higher planes.”
Tyrgol: “Yeah, blame the imp.”
DM: “Now it’s MY turn! Ha wha cha cha, jep hup hup hup wha uh-oh!” (miming falling backwards in his chair.)
Damien: Did… we lose…
Alandris: The devil looked up and knew that he’d been beat, so he laid that golden fiddle down at Johnny’s feet.
Tyrgol: So he fumbled.
DM: There’s a long, awkward pause. Then he abruptly reappears on the ledge! “All right! That’s round one to you, and round two, the FLYING contest, to me!”
Damien: Wait. WHAT?
Alandris: We lose?!
Damien: “Well, you sir are wrong, because I know the martial arts lore of flying.”
DM: “Let’s see it!”
Alandris: Roll your Jump check.
Damien: Roll my Jump check of death?! Is he serious about round 2 being flying?
DM: That’s what he said!
Alandris: ‘Cuz he lost, it’s gonna be a tiebreaker.
Damien: Can I roll anything?
Alandris: Well, Intimidate rhymes with levitate.
Damien: I’m gonna scare the earth into pushing me away using my skill! My Intimidate roll IS higher than my lore check.
Tyrgol: We’re on a celestial plane, why not?
DM: You don’t know where you are!
Damien: Anyone have any spider cling?
DM: Spider cling…?
The group begins searching their sheets for options, but find none. They can’t bring themselves to concede, though. Damien proposes that Alandris make their backpacks fly, but Alandris admits he was relying on the interpretation of ‘a magic missile flying through the air on its course to attack the imp.’
Tyrgol: I got a 21 on my rope use, I tie a nice, strong knot around my waist. Hand him the other half of the rope. “All right! Swing it about!”
Damien: ….that’s a great idea. All right!
Tyrgol: “Wheeee! Look at me, I’m a spitfire! Ptuh! Ptuh! Ptuh!”
Damien: Do a barrel roll.
Tyrgol: 21on my Tumble roll.
DM: That’s not enough. The laws of physics are against you.
Tyrgol: “The centrifugal force is fighting me!”
Damien demands that Alandris cast spells on Tyrgol to make him spin. Alandris replies by casting several slapping hands on him.
Damien: Come on, we’re being creative here! We got him spinning around, we’ve got him flying here!
The group continues to argue rules interpretations while still spinning Tyrgol. Damien and Tyrgol both roll well on ability checks to keep going!
DM: The large angel says, “You know, I think we have to give the victory to them.” “Wait, what what WHAT? That’s not FLYING!” “Well, it’s fairly close, and it’s certainly more entertaining than anything YOU can do, so we simply choose to decide on the basis of entertainment.”
Damien: WOOO! Tyrgol! TWO HANDS!
Tyrgol: (double-high-fives Damien)
DM: You let go to high-five him.
Alandris: ”How many rounds are there?”
Alandris: “And we’ve won two, so we win by default.”
DM: “No! For the third round is worth twice as many points as the first two rounds put together!”
Damien: “So even if you win, we tie.”
DM: “I said twice as much.”
DM: “Well, since you all decided to be so good at flying, this time, we’ll have a little bit of another contest that I particularly favor! This contest is, all four of you stand right here--“ He indicates a circle. “—and I will stand in the circle with you! It’s positioning!”
Alandris: “That’s the contest?”
DM: He steps into the circle. “No, no, this is positioning FOR the contest.”
Alandris: “What’s the contest?”
DM: “What, what, you don’t trust me?”
The contest is enduring a withering barrage of FIRE. Tyrgol realizes his blood power would have let him jump off the bridge and teleport back on. The group goes into the circle, and have a minute to prepare.
Alandris: “How long until this contest begins?”
DM: He is counting down on his fingers. He has thirty of them. However you notice many of them disappear as soon as he counts them. “Twenty-three… twenty-two…”
Alandris: How long do I need to cast something?
DM: Not long.
Alandris: All right, then I’ll just say it when it’s time.
DM: He continues to count down. “Five… four… three! TWO!”
Alandris: Mass fire shield.
DM: “ONE!!!” The lion-man lifts one hand and begins to pour flames out on you all. Reflex saving throws!
Everyone passes their save, and the fire shields protect them from all their damage. No one is certain if they won or not.
Alandris: Is this like Whose Line Is It Anyway?, the points are just doled out how the fucking host sees fit?
DM: “Now read the credits in a style of my choosing, young boy! I choose ‘a homo who’s taking it from me!’, oh yes.”
Alandris: This episode was directed by THE DM, oh yes, he’s a grand old chap!
DM: The flames dissipate, and everyone stands there unharmed. (adopts the shocked and horrified expression of the imp.)
Tyrgol: “Mug of ale?”
Alandris: “Chilled wine?”
DM: “Why do you all have beer and alcohol?”
Damien: “We DID just come from the dwarven capital.”
DM: “Oh, well that makes PERFECT sense then.”
DM: “The hell is this?”
Alandris: “Give it a try.”
DM: (mimes putting the popsicle in his mouth.)
The DM awards Alandris 15 experience for that.
DM: The tall angel speaks. “So where are you headed.”
Tyrgol: “We’re off to see Moradin.”
DM: “Oh. Oh dear.”
Tyrgol: “Is that a problem?”
Damien: We just wasted our time.
DM: “Very well, I shall open the way.”
Alandris:”Wait, why would that prove troublesome for us?”
DM: “Ah, well, you’ll see. It’s not my place to speak of any god’s doings.”
The angel opens a portal. The paranoid group prepares to buff. Alandris threatens to pitch a stinking cloud at the demons as they pass through. They step into a the most beautiful field on the most beautiful sunny day imaginable.
Niobhe: Is it a field of hops?
Tyrgol: Why the fuck not?! “What the fuck’s going on here? We should be in a deep cavern!”
Alandris accuses it of being Phantasy Star Online. However the colors are brighter and the world seems perfect, no illness or disharmony.
DM: Those of you who are not Lawful Good in alignment feel ill-at-ease. I believe that’s everybody.
Alandris: Wait, you’re the healer, right?
Damien: I’m Neutral Good.
Niobhe: I’m Neutral Good.
Tyrgol: I’m Chaotic Good.
DM: Neutral Good is tolerable. You don’t feel terrible here. It’s a little too perfect for your tastes. But those of you who are Chaotic… oh, it burns at you. It literally sits in your chest like a weight.
The group inexplicably mocks the heavens and Tyrgol renounces his faith. The group then spies a dwarven statue which has been carved out the entire upper half of a mountain. They wisely decide this is their destination. The DM questions how they’re traveling to the mountain, which… somehow turns into complete destruction of the field with weapons and magic. The group observes a herd of wildebeests that is being stalked by something and elects to --
Alandris: Wall of Fire!
Damien: I don’t know if it’s a good idea to wipe out the entire field…
Alandris: It’s not even real!
Damien: Well – I would—
Niobhe: It’ll feel real enough to us when we’re roasting in our armor!
The group elects to avoid this one, which the DM calls wise – since the celestial lioness, and even the wildebeests, are much larger than they had realized. They continue on.
DM: Niobhe, you hear a voice call out in Celestial. “Travelers, you hungry?”
Damien: “It’s a trick! Let’s move on!” It’s a trap!
Niobhe: Celestials are good! Are we actually hungry?
Alandris: Call out to the lioness, “Do you like yours cooked?”
Niobhe politely declines and the group continues onwards unmolested. They see immense stairs which lead up to the feet of the dwarven statues. The steps are also massive, to the point that Jump or Climb would be needed to get up each step.
DM: Carved into the bottom step are mighty runes in the Celestial language.
Alandris and Niobhe: What do they say?
DM: “Petitioners, use side stairs.”
Tyrgol: Thank god.
Niobhe: Let’s find the side stairs.
Damien: “Side stairs are on other side of mountain.”
Alandris: Is there an arrow?
DM: (pausing) It is the most perfect arrow you’ve ever seen. You realize that from now on, all other arrows you see will pale in comparison to this one.
Damien: “That is a nice-looking arrow.”
Tyrgol produces a dwarven protractor, which is a ham. They find the side-stairs, which are carved for dwarves. Tyrgol rolls a Listen check.
DM: You hear what is unmistakably the flow of beer.
Tyrgol: “There’s beer nearby! Did the keg – no, the keg didn’t burst open.”
Alandris: Somebody cast Hold Person. It’s like Monterey Jack. “CheeeEEeeeEEeeeEeeeEeeeEeeese!”
Tyrgol: “I follow the beer!” I do say that out loud.
DM: As you continue up the stairs, the sound never leaves.
Tyrgol: Does it get stronger?
Tyrgol: DAMN IT!
DM: The sound seems to be coming… from the side. You look over the thick railing but see nothing.
Tyrgol: This is frustrating!
DM: Roll a Search check.
Tyrgol and Niobhe: “I’m searching for beer!”
DM: Inspiration strikes. You realize the beer sound is not coming from the other side, it’s coming from WITHIN this thick marble railing! You find a catch, you pop it open! It’s like a bar. As the top swivels open there are goblets stored within it, and a fountain of beer rushing through! Carved in dwarven runes on the top of the surface. “Welcome. Enjoy.”
Tyrgol: I just straddle the thing… </i>(miming plunging his head in)</i> “All right, a few mugs to go.”
DM: This is the most perfect beer ever.
Tyrgol: I quickly spit it out. “No! I have to go back to crappy beer then! Get the taste out of my memory! All right, here, you have this!”
DM: The most perfect. Beer. Ever.
Alandris: “Well, I’m more of a wine drinker, actually. …But…”
Tyrgol: “Is it possible to give one amnesia? Selectively.”
Alandris: “I could probably cast something that would do the trick…”
Tyrgol: “’Cuz it was good. But now it’s just a ghost of a memory. Come on.”
DM: “And yet it still flows beside you…”
Alandris: “We’ll never get up the stairs at this rate.”
DM: Even the Celestial realm has its pits and pratfalls.
Alandris: You’re gonna have to roll something, aren’t you.
DM: No, no, I leave it up to Tyrgol to decide if he can resist the delicious beer. The perfect beer. The lovely beer. The sweet, flowing beer. The SHINY, CANDY-LIKE BUTTON!
Tyrgol tries to motivate himself to keep moving by drinking his own beer, then realizes he can just fill up his personal keg. The group continues on, passing Con checks to make it up the stairs.
DM: You reach the top of the stairs. Standing at the immense gates inscribed with the entire history of dwarfkind… stands a burly dwarf. Massive! As tall as a human even! His beard curls down to the floor. He has his hands folded on the haft of a massive hammer that even the Overthane himself would quail to lift.
Damien: …quail to lift?
DM: (slow, deep voice) “Welcome to the Halls of the Dwarves.”
Tyrgol: I speak in Karamhul, “Greetings, wise one.”
DM: “Hey. You’re alive. What’s up with that?”
DM: “You’re alive.”
Tyrgol: “Aye, I do have a pulse.”
DM: “Why? What’re you doing here? You’re too early. You’re not supposed to come here till yer dead, man!”
Damien: What is he?! A JAMAICAN dwarf?!
Alandris: It IS a rather strange accent he has.
Tyrgol: It’s Old Dwarvish.
Tyrgol explains their issue. The dwarf doesn’t recognize the world they’re from until they start naming other gods, then laughs at them and attempts to turn them away. Alandris lampshades this dwarf’s role as the guardian to the Emerald City, at which point the DM tells them they’re all given glasses so they see everyone with a beard. Tyrgol angrily explains he’s tainted with demonic energy, and rolls a 17 on Diplomacy.
DM: “Hmmm. Yer blood’s makin’ ya evil, is that what I’m hearin’?”
Tyrgol: “I have murdered someone without me knowin’.”
DM: “Well how the hell did ya get up here ta dwarf heaven if yer a murderer, that doesnae make any sense…”
Tyrgol: “Because I DIDN’T DO IT!”
DM: “Oh right, the living thing, the living thing.”
Tyrgol: “I didn’t DO it!”
Damien: “Can we talk to SOMEBODY ELSE, please?!”
DM: “Your soul DOES look kinda tainted.”
Tyrgol: “I drink a lot.”
DM: “That wouldn’t—“
Tyrgol: “I know, I’m jus’ kidding.”
DM: “Ohhh, ohhhhhh, ohh, ho ho ho ho ho… ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
Alandris: Quick get him while he’s laughing!
DM: (continuing to laugh an inappropriately long and awkward time) “I’m sorry. Where were we?”
Damien: “You were letting us in.”
The entire party laughs heartily, awkwardly, and for FAR TOO LONG. They question why the fake laughter actually made them turn red. The dwarf explains that one of Moradin’s avatars had taken off and been maybe killed, referencing the past events of the first game. Tyrgol has no Knowledge(History), and so potential trivia is lost on the group as another dwarf arrives to take his position.
DM: To your dwarven darkvision, these halls seem almost perfect. There is no need for light down here, for in the dark all is clear to you. You can see just as clearly as if it were broad daylight! The rest of you are boned.
Damien: I keep running into columns. “Why are there so many columns?! Why are they arranged so poorly!”
Tyrgol leads the conga line down. The guard questions their sexuality… but says it’s okay. Onwards they go, Damien attempting to throw out infinite sunrods.
DM: Tyrgol, you’re beholding wonders such as you’ve never seen. The rest of you are beholding nothing, it really kind of sucks for all of you, especially as Tyrgol gasps in joy and wonder.
Tyrgol: “Wow, that’s great – whoa! What--?!”
DM: It’s so great you’ve been brought to tears. Though not a philosophical or spiritual or intellectual or… barely sentient dwarf, you nevertheless become aware of the sheer beauty and magnificence of your people as represented in these halls.
Alandris: “Someday you will dwell here.”
Tyrgol: “Aye, that I will.”
DM: “What – what? Oh no, no no no. You won’t be comin’ here.”
DM: “Look... y’know how the dwarves are big on order an’ clan prosperity an’ all of that? Yer… not. Yer not. You’ll be goin’ to elf-hippie heaven.”
DM: “That’s how it is.”
Tyrgol: “That’s not gonna happen.”
DM: “Yes, it is.”
Tyrgol: “Nae, it won’t.”
DM: You curse the day your player made you chaotic.
The DM explains that alignment determines which plane you go to on death. Alandris finally casts a continual flame on a mace, and their escort realizes none of them could SEE up until that point.
Damien: “You mean me the clue that I kept running into columns wasn’t enough of a giveaway?”
DM: “I’m sorry, to be honest I thought you were either drunk or an idiot.”
Damien: “Well, that’s not the first time.”
Now all can see the beauty of dwarven craftsmanship. Tyrgol begins sincerely pondering an alignment shift, thanks to the revelations he’s undergone. They pass by the Hall of Training, where the greatest fallen dwarves of all time are training. The DM and Tyrgol argue over whether dwarven stories are enough to recognize the heroes, or if history knowledge is needed . Damien yells for a while. They reach the bottom and meet a dwarven priest – just as the Terminator music in the background reaches a crescendo. The group simply collapses for a while. Tyrgol attempts to sit in Moradin’s sacred chair, but is not allowed. The DM glances over to Damien and Niobhe, only to realize neither of them is paying the slightest bit of attention.
DM: I feel like I’ve lost half the table here.
Tyrgol: You have.
Damien: I’m waiting for something to happen!
DM: It’s called ROLEPLAYING, you jackass!
Damien: What am I gonna roleplay in fucking dwarf heaven? It was fun with the dancing and the opening part but now I’m just gonna walk along and enjoy the view!
DM: At least have some character-appropriate reactions.
Damien: Yeah. I’m in dwarf heaven. I’m a human in the shortest place on earth. What am I gonna do?
DM: It is NOT the shortest place on earth. A, it’s not on earth, B, you’ve never seen halfling heaven.
DM: Just imagine Godzilla in Tokyo, he just stomps around until somebody pushes him aside.
The priest cautions them that Moradin has been weak and ill since Grimm Graybeard, the avatar of their world, disappeared, and that Moradin had said many things only those from their world could understand. The group steps to the door. Damien hits a shot on his smartphone snooker game.
DM: You step inside to see Moradin playing snooker. “Oh –uh…uh!” He dives into bed, pulls the covers over his head.
Tyrgol: “Argh, I’m sick! Ooh, argh!”
Damien: “So if it was so important for us to see him, why didn’t you take us to him in the first place?”
DM: “I-I did, as soon as you got down here.”
Damien: “I mean from the start, we had to go through the whole… showboat and games to get through the front door, and now you’re all ‘oh, go see Moradin right now!’.”
DM: “I’m sorry, we thought it was bloody unlikely that someone from your world who’s never ever been here before in all the history of the upper planes would just show up on our doorstep! We didn’t FORESEE THAT!”
Damien: “Wait a minute, so dwarves that die from our world don’t come here after all.”
Tyrgol: No, he’s talking about – he? She? He’s talking about living dwarves.
The group steps inside, to find Moradin shivered and huddled in bed, beard lying limp on the covers.
Tyrgol: “My lord.”
Tyrgol: I kneel.
DM: “Stop that, stop that.”
Tyrgol: “Look, it’s not every day y’come face ta face with yer god.”
DM: “We’re not standin’ on the ceremony here. Let’s get business done. I’m glad you’ve made it.”
Tyrgol: “I was hopin’ ta get more insight but these seems to be a more personal matter.”
DM: “I have lost much of my power. It has been taken t’yer world.”
Alandris: “Taken by whom?”
DM: “When Hendlar committed bloodtheft on Grimm Graybeard, it was at his behest and for the good of the world, but it drew a great deal of my power inta yer world, as the other gods who died long ago lost their power. Now it’s taken up residence in the bloodline of many, and in the land itself.”
Tyrgol: “It’s like you were at Mt. Deismaar, but it didn’t take it’s effects until now.”
DM: “It has been like this… ever since the bloodtheft happened.”
Alandris: “What can we do to set this right?”
DM: “It is… a question I dinnae know the answer to. I have many theories. But I dinnae know if any of them are the accurate one.”
Alandris: “What of his blood?”
DM: “Ah, tainted.”
Damien: “Tainted with what?”
DM: “When the barriers of the planes fell, many creatures started looking into this world that’d never been touched. Not just demons, but many other of the lesser gods as well. Many of the more niche gods.”
Damien: “So you’re threatened by the gods of other planes, because you’re weakened now?”
DM: “What I am saying is that many of them have found their power leeched off into your world as well, and some of the very essence of the planes themselves has leeched in as well.”
Damien: (hits another snooker shot)
Alandris: Stop that!
Tyrgol: “And it’s taintin’ the bloodlines.”
DM: (to Damien) “Yer own, lad, holds some of this plane’s essence. Not a god, simply… the upper plane’s itself. Tyrgol holds the opposite, some of the infernal realm’s.”
Tyrgol: “That’s nae good.”
DM: “It is not as large a problem as you think.”
Tyrgol: “Well, murderin’ fellow dwarves is not a good thing…”
DM: “You are here in the upper planes. We can solve that problem.”
Tyrgol: “Ah, that’s good!”
Damien: (hits another snooker shot)
DM: “Here the taint is weak.”
Damien: (hits another snooker shot)
DM: “It can be removed from ya.”
Damien: That’s some fucking bullshit.
Damien: That’s not a plow, I hit a ball! I hit a ball!
Alandris: (laughing hysterically) That’s some bullshit!
Tyrgol: “We can remove your taint.” “What the fuck?! That’s some fucking bullshit!”
Damien reveals he’s been playing normal eight-ball the entire time. No one has any idea what to say to this.
Alandris: “Forgive our human companion.”
Damien: “He’s busy playing his magical advice.”
Alandris: “And by the way you dwarves could use more satellites, down here... I’m getting terrible reception.”
Damien: “What I don’t understand… you’re weakening, there’s no other gods to aid you? Recover your power?”
DM: “My power has all been taken by mortals. I have theories but I think, for example, ‘kill everyone who holds my power’ would, aside from not personally being my style, not go over well.”
Tyrgol: “Nay, it probably wouldn’t.”
DM: “Especially since it is not only dwarves that bear my power.”
Damien: “So whenever someone with your bloodline is born, it draws upon your power?”
DM: “Much of my power has been taken into the land.”
Damien: “So your power doesn’t recover? I mean your power is finite?”
Comparisons to Sauron and Morgoth are drawn for some reason. Moradin attempts to explain, but Damien doesn’t get it. Alandris promises to explain with small words later.
Tyrgol: “So what are yer other theories?”
DM: “One thing I wish to ask of you… Aside from what is wrong with your people? My god. Always with the religious schisms, ugh!”
Tyrgol: “I hear the Overthane has been a bit taxed by that as well.”
DM: “What I want you ta do, Tyrgol, in exchange for me helping you…”
Tyrgol: “All right.”
Damien: (makes his phone beep obnoxiously) All right you son of a bitch!
DM: YOU ARE SMITED! Smited, sir, for insulting Moradin!
Alandris inhales a peanut from laughing. He’s fine.
DM: “I need an avatar on that world.”
Alandris: “I thought Hendlar was –“
DM: “NO, Hendlar is not me bloody avatar on that world, I don’t know HOW that idea got started.”
Damien: “You sound PISSED about it, too. Isn’t that noble paladin Barack anywhere about? I guess not.”
DM: “Barack is kinda taken by another god.”
Tyrgol: “He WAS your avatar for a little bit, what was wrong with that?”
DM: “Well look what came of it, the entire dwarven kingdom doesn’t know what to make of it. And besides, he’s actually a competent ruler except for that whole business with the plague, I’d rather not take him from the position. I’d rather he continue to be there, doin’ good on the world, doin’ what he does best.”
Alandris: “But in the meantime you need an avatar.”
DM: “I need a competent and capable of avatar, not just some dwarf off the street. What I want you to do, Tyrgol, is find me a dwarf who can serve as me avatar.”
Tyrgol: “Do you want us to do… auditions, or-“
DM: “I’m sure you can think of something!”
Tyrgol: Aww damn, I do have a high Wisdom.
Alandris: “What are the qualities you look for in an avatar?”
DM: “My avatar must be a skilled embodiment of dwarfkind.”
Tyrgol: DAMN IT he’s gonna take Dirk from me!
Some planar backstory ensues, in which Moradin explains why he cannot get help from the other gods of Cerilia. Alandris snickers because Moradin used the word ‘portfolio’. Grimm Graybeard has also passed beyond the ken of even the divine, on his next step in the great cycle, he reveals. Alandris briefly diverges into dwarven reproductive habits, while Tyrgol asks if dwarves were really formed from the earth and stone originally (they were).
Tyrgol: “That was one only philosophical question I had.”
DM: “It’s…right there in the holy books.”
Tyrgol: ”This comin’ from the god that just told me, ‘oh what’s wrong with yer religion problem’ an’ there’s two separate books.”
DM: “Aye, have ya ever actually READ the two separate books? They differ in like five places, tops! It’s a stupid trivial thing, why does it keep going on…”
Tyrgol: “Maybe you should come down there and tell them that.”
DM: “Maybe when I get an avatar I’ll have a yell at them.”
Alandris: “What’s with the beer in the handrails?”
DM: “When – when yer dead, ya kinda want beer.”
Alandris: “Why make it so troublesome to get to? Why not a waterfall of beer? Or a lagoon of beer?”
DM: “That way ya have beer the entire way up the steps.”
Alandris: “Aye. I see your point… why not a cup that never empties – I’m sorry, there are better things for me to ask.”
DM: “Tha’s great, he comes here all the way from the magical little land that steals gods’ powers to criticize my sense of exterior décor.”
Alandris: “Oh it’s your sense of exterior décor.”
DM: “I LIKE the idea of beer in the railings.”
Alandris: “I didn’t know it was your idea, I just wanted an explanation.”
DM: “Who ELSE would be in charge down here?”
Alandris: “Well according to the doorman, it could’ve been any one of you! …. … or the door… dwarf.”
Tyrgol: “I’ve been charged with finding my god an avatar.”
Damien: “Sounds like a pretty pesky journey.”
Tyrgol: “It’s – ya know, worthiness comes into question.”
Alandris: “Well there’s only so many dwarves in our realm.”
Tyrgol: “I mean my worthiness. Especially since I’ve been firsthand told I’m not comin’ here when I die.”
DM: “Aye, it’s true, it’s true, that could change if ya chose to, but it’s true for now. However, you have one very important thing that no other dwarf up till now has had.”
Tyrgol: “What is that?”
DM: “Ya managed ta get here and get the job.”
Tyrgol: “…Aye, that’s true.”
DM: “Besides, whatever yer personal flaws may be, yer a dwarf. That means you’ll get it done or die trying.”
Tyrgol vows to find the avatar. Alandris agrees to assist, and so Moradin bids him bring to mind his best spell. He chooses Prismatic Ray, so Moradin beckons him over and imbues him with power. Alandris casts the spell at Tyrgol and crits the ranged touch attack, to the DM’s horror. The DM had planned to allow him to replace his bloodline with Celestial and adapt his powers to suit, but thanks to the crit Tyrgol’s blood strength goes to Great level, and he is allowed to select his bloodline derivation. Tyrgol selects Moradin. He gains the powers of Protection from Evil, Divine Wrath, Iron Will, Stone Form, and teleportation through stone. Tyrgol now stands before them a powerful dwarf… and the game ends on that note.