Game of Chickens

Deer From Above

Wait. What? It’s not Chickens’ fault, you say?

We begin with the group preparing to spend the night in the abandoned Tinker’s home before setting out the next day. Smoke, frightened after Chickens’ last magical surge, has run off. After taking a group vote, they decide to try the old mage’s place first, though he’s had a reputation for being unfriendly. Though he is not guaranteed to have any answers or hospitality, the travel time is roughly a week and is the only possible lead that has a known destination. Russellbob votes to follow the path of least danger, but mostly listens. In Russellbob’s pack is a stick and a stone with Continual Light cast on one, and Continual Darkness cast upon the other. Together, they cancel each other out. As the conversation continues, Russellbob removes them from his bag, and wraps the stone of Continual Darkness completely up in twine. He then replaces them within his bag. The grass covered Froderick takes Chickens’ unending waterskin and drinks…and drinks…and drinks…

During this discussion, Cues is closely watching Chickens. Cues says, “I think I have an idea about Chickens’ curse”, and maneuvers to isolate Chickens from the rest of the party. He then begins to chant strange words. They sound like normal words that have been uttered backwards, turned inside out, and beaten with a stick. He raises his hands up towards Chickens, and an intensely, brightly colored rainbow of colors expands from his hands and envelopes Chickens. The colors clash with each other enough to make the entire party squint. Glaring reds, azure blues, fluorescent greens and oranges, blazing yellows all vie for dominance. The glaring eye assault lasts for about three seconds, and when it fades Chickens drops to the ground. Cues rushes forward, and rolls him over. Froderick roughly confronts Cues about his actions, and Cues hastily convinces the party that the spell is ultimately harmless.

After a couple of tense minutes, Chickens coughs, groans, and raises his head. “What…what was that?”….
Cues says to the group, “It was almost an hour. Now we wait to see if he throws a magical surge right away, or waits another hour.”
WHY DIDN”T YOU WARN ME!!!" Chickens implores as he holds his head, shaking off the effects of the spell.
Cues simply replies, “If I warned you, you’d have expected it…out on the trail, we may not have that opportunity.”
After a bit more time goes by, no magical surge comes from Chickens.

After this bit of experimentation, the group takes what rest they can. Cynd sleeps outside, waiting anxiously for Smoke to return. The rest of the group passes the night in the house. Chicken snores, and his wheezing exhalations from his exposed nasal cavity where his nose used to be makes a few of the party members wish he would stay dead when he died. Night passes with most of the party members regretting the loss of Tomas’ interdimensional mansion. Morning comes, and Froderick awakens to slightly wilted grass/hair and an incredible thirst. He steps over a sleeping Chickens, who he notices is drooling from his nasal chasm. Froderick is frozen with disgust for a moment before reaching for Chickens’ endless waterskin and taking a very, very long drink. Sated, Froderick looks around to make sure everyone else is still asleep, and sprinkles some of the water over his head, sighing with pleasure. Cynd awakens and is relieved to find that Smoke is back. Brimming with a mixture of anticipation and incompetence, our unlikely heroes prepare for the journey ahead. The day is cool and brisk, the sun is bright and shining, the breeze is fresh and biting, and the nipples are stiff and pointy.

Moving through the village to the road heading south, the group sets out. They make it to the edge of the village when the first magical surge of the day is released. The air around the entire party suddenly becomes alive with muted, subtle colors that twist about rhythmically. Cynd, Turqeel, Cues suddenly all just stop walking, and stare into the colors, utterly entranced. Smoke looks at them curiously, then to Cynd to see why he stopped walking. The rest of the party can see the nearly holographic display, but all it does is give them minor eye strain. The affected party members are oblivious to the world around them, jaws slack with wonder as they watch the display.
Chickens cries, “NOT AGAIN!!!”
Everyone stands looking at the display, and those not affected by it wonder what to do. After a couple of minutes, the colors slowly fade away to nothing. The three affected adventurers shake their heads and become aware of what’s going on around them as if waking up from a deep sleep. Chickens looks so relieved that he looks as if he could cry. Froderick, after a look at Chickens, then at Cues, suggest they start back off. The pace he sets is brisk for those who have shorter legs.

As the group works their way down the road, the world opens up before them. The road is fairly level, and what inclines they find are steep and downward angled. They party mostly travels without speaking, each lost to his own thoughts. Smoke can be found generally following the group, sometimes ahead, at times off to the side in the distance. The grass is tall, and the ground rocky. Trees are scattered in small clumps. After a time, oh say, about an hour, Chickens stiffens and gasps, and the ground under Froderick becomes white with frost, and frozen solid. The frozen ground spreads out from him in a circle, passing under everyone’s feet. Vegetation stiffens, and becomes white with frost. This spreads out in a circle from Froderick for about 60 yards and stops. The ground is cold and very hard, all grass and ground vegetation is covered with frost. The party looks at this in grim wonder, then continues on.

As travel continues, the day thankfully begins to warm. The ground becomes rockier and slopes down in a more or less continuous gentle decline. Sometimes they travel among patches of trees, sometimes the land is more open. After another hour passes, Chickens’ head snaps up, and he glares at Froderick…the regains himself, and looks around to see if anyone noticed. Froderick continues walking, seemingly unchanged. Cues is eyeing Chickens closely, but Chickens has gone back to walking.

The day gets yet warmer, Smoke can be seen periodically off to the sides of the road slinking through the countryside. Conversation is flat, as the group tries to forget the enormity of the path before them and just focuses on putting one foot in front of the other.
After a time, Rorek suddenly starts sniffing the air, and squinting about suspiciously. He points to the west, and says, mystified, “There be a lot of water several miles that way…”
He continues looking around, after sniffing the air…“There’s more water to the east a few miles away, but I’m thinkin’ it’s tainted.” Then he turns to Chickens, eyes widening, he points to Chickens’ waterskin….“There are oceans of water in that!!!” Then he shakes his head a second, sniffs the air suspiciously, and shakes a fist in Chickens’ face, “What’d ye do to me now!!!!” he roars, “All that fills me nose is the scent of durned water!”
Cynd notes that of all curses, that one is actually useful.
Rorek mulls that over for a second before giving Chickens a glare from beneath shaggy eyebrows. “I’m startin to think that there’s no gold worth his company!!” He then turns and continues tramping south.
Suddenly realizing how close he is to Chickens and his curses, Cynd casts a doubtful look a Chickens and begins to range ahead. Jarlath accompanies him.

Up ahead, out of sight, Cynd gets a sense of excitement from Smoke. Cynd increases his pace, and when he spies Smoke several yards off the sides of the path, she is crouching over large piece of dead deer. The rear half of a deer lies twisted and shredded on the ground. The teeth marks in the meat are quite large. Cynd finds no other tracks around the piece of the carcass. The group catches up, and on further investigation they determine that gravity delivered the deer to its resting place. It appears to have dropped from a great height.
Cynd mentally sends the cat a message, asking if she smells anything.
The message that comes back is more a concept than words, but can be summarized as “grassandearthanddeerandrocksandsquirrelandyouandlizard” Smoke seems happy at the prospect of such a free meal, until she sniffs closer as she gets ready to wolf down a bite. Her ears flatten, and Cynd receives the mental concept of tainted meat.

To be continued…

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Cryptic Clues

Why can’t the powers just say what they mean?

Froderick, Cynd, Russellbob, and Cues go to Shaghorn’s with the ogre ears to collect the bounty that Shaghorn has put on them. When they arrive at the temple to Reorx, they find the door locked. Unpleasantly surprised and concerned, Froderick knocks on the door. Shaghorn peeks out to see who it is. Recognizing the party, he opens the door and ushers them in. Cynd elects to wait outside. Simply put, Shaghorn looks like shit. He is wan, with bags under his eyes and more lines on his face than Froderick remembers. Froderick is stunned, asking Shaghorn what has happened. Wearily, Shaghorn tells them, “I fear I’ve aged.” He then intones that didn’t expect them back so quickly, and asks what they’ve discovered. Shaghorn takes the 5 sets of ogre ears, and gives Froderick to ceramic flasks of healing potions.

There is an odd tension in the air, and then another tinker emerges from the sickroom. He is missing his left arm below the elbow, and his chest is wrapped in bandages. He informs the group that he and two other tinkers were traveling from the south, and a “huge flying lizard with a tail like a scorpion” swooped down on them. It carried off his two friends, and took off half of his arm.

Shaghorn interjects irritably, and informs the group that he was up the entire previous night in prayer. In answer to his prayer, he received troubling visions. He tells the party that the ogres and kobolds and large lizard creature aren’t accidental wanderers. They are being driven forth. Something dark and terrible is coming, and driving these creatures ahead of it out of their lairs. Shaghorn plans on trying to talk the entire town into moving back down into the mines.

Shaghorn also stresses that Chickens must leave, and soon. He isn’t clear on what’s coming, but does know that if it gets a hold of Chickens, then his plight, and their own will be much, much worse. As the group is digesting this grim news, he does give them a slight ray of hope, telling them that he kept Chickens’ curse at the forefront of his prayers. He has been given three clues as to steps Chickens can take to start the hunt for Mandretch. Clues can be found in the following places:

“A forgotten Oracle speaks in the South.”
“A library in a drowned tower.”
And lastly, “Unexpected answers can be found in a cage”.

Shaghorn also informs them of one other person that might be able to provide some form of answers. Shaghorn tells them, “A week south of here, there is game path that forks to the east. If you follow it, there is an old mage that lives there. Maybe he will have more answers than I.”

Meanwhile, back at the home where the group is camped, Rorek is having issues experiencing phantom filth. Turqeel helps to heal what physical wounds he has left. Rorek’s mental trauma is deeper than Turqeel can assist with. Smoke lounges in the sun on the roof of the home, and Chickens fills Jarlath in on his curse and how he came to have it.

After Russellbob goes shopping, Froderick and company returns. The group discusses the clues and next steps. Furrowed brows populate the camp as everyone tries to decipher what they mean. They feel no closer to an answer than they had before. Cynd gathers firewood, and they prepare to camp for the night…that’s when Chickens’ magic surges again.

Chickens suddenly stiffens out, and there is a flash of blue. From the roof of the home, Smoke gives a miserable, piteous MEEOOWWWWRRRRRRR, and her neck and tail are encircled by bright azure bands of energy. They are about an inch wide, thin as ribbons, give off a deep blue light, and hold her completely in place. She is unable to pull away from the one encircling her neck, or pull her tail from the one banded around it. She tugs and pulls and makes pitiful noises, but the rings don’t budge from the place where they appeared.

Cynd, who senses a flood of panic from the cat, snarls menacingly at Chickens, “You foul creature, leave her be!” Jarlath and Froderick come running outside, with Cues following behind. Smoke is wailing in fear, and Cynd does his best to communicate that he will take care of this, that everything is ok. He leaps up to catch hold on the edge of the roof, and pulls himself up. On seeing Cynd, her wails diminish, but a low growl continues as she tries in vain to pull away from the glowing blue band encircling her neck. Cynd is able to just work a finger under the band around her neck, and tries hard to break it. Veins stand out on his neck, and his face turns red with effort. The blue band does not budge. Cynd moves to the band around Smoke’s tail, but is unable to work even a finger under that one. In rage, Cynd shouts terrible curse words in elven at Chickens. Everyone within earshot is momentarily captivated by the fluid grace and beauty that is the elven language, though Cues is shocked that such elegant expressionism can carry such an obscene, tawdry connotation.

Cynd yells down to Cues, “You! Wizard, what is this? Fix it!” Cynd leaps down from the roof, and he and Froderick interlace their fingers to provide a step to give Cues a boost up. Cues moves to the trapped feline, and inspects the band encircling her neck. Cynd sends a mental message to Smoke that the half human is trying to help, not to be afraid. Smoke still growls and strains against the bonds, eyes white with fear. Unfortunately, Cues has never seen anything remotely like this, and is unable to even identify the type of magic in its makeup.

Cynd does his best to intimidate Chickens into removing the curse, but Chickens is pathetically helpless to do anything about it, suggesting that maybe it will wear off with time.

Cynd snarls “Where is the small man??” and runs into the house looking for Turqeel, who has been watching out the window. Cynd grabs him by his robes, and moves him aggressively to the door, “Come, you are needed!” Turqeel offers no resistance, letting himself be shoved along. “I didn’t come out, as I’d hate to have anyone think I’m enjoying this…better to stay inside”, he says innocently. Froderick’s face turns to stone upon hearing this.

Ignoring this, Cynd snaps to Turqeel, “You are a man of cloth, no? Tell your god to release my friend!”

Turqeel holds his hands out in front of himself, palms up, apologetically, “I’m afraid I’m out of spells today…You see, I’ve used the rest of my spell abilities healing Rorek from the wounds he had taken from the kobold fight. But perhaps your friend that joined us with you could be of some assistance. I don’t recall him assisting anyone else with clerical ability today.” He glances sideways at Froderick as he says this.

Cynd shoves Turqeel out of his way and looks for Jarlath, “My friend, is there anything you can do? Smoke is trapped!!” Jarlath shakes his head, “Cynd…I don’t have any spell powerful enough to affect that.” Meanwhile on the roof, the low growling and wailing continues.

Feeling helpless, Cynd lifts himself back up to the roof to try to calm Smoke down. Her claws are planted into the roof, and she’s so tense she’s quivering. After tapping on the bands, poking them, pulling on them, Cynd sits down next to Smoke, dejected and depressed. On the ground below, everyone is silent. Turqeel returns to the house.

The group stays this way, uncomfortable for a time. Then, all at once, so quickly that the afterimage of the bands is left on everyone’s eyes, they vanish. Equally quickly, Smoke is off the roof and into the woods as if fired from a bow. Cynd, leaning against her, nearly falls from the roof as she rockets away. All the party can hear is her feet skittering madly over the dead leaves and stones as she runs into the woods.

Cynd sits on the roof, glowering at Chickens.

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Hour By Hour

Time Passes. One. Hour. At. A. Time.

The camp passes the night camping at the cave the ogres had been inhabiting. Between the kobolds, who formerly occupied the cavern, and the ogres, the most recent tenants, the odor inside the cave was too much for most of the party. They camp outside. Turqeel and Jarlath stay with Chickens, who is still stubbornly refusing to either live or die. Tempers are still tender and bruised, and the night is tense.

In the morning, Turqeel waits for Chickens to start attempting to live again, and then casts a healing spell to help him along. Chickens is mostly healed, retaining a good sized bruise on his head to remind him of his ordeal. After the healing, and some breakfast, the group heads back towards Tinkerhaven.

Along the way, Turqeel retrieves the crystal box with the translucent beating heart inside. It is about a foot to a side and has some weight, which makes it awkward to carry. When no one will assist him to carry it, Turqeel abandons his coil of rope from his equipment to be able to carry the weight. Eventually Rorek agrees to help carry it, provided he gets a share of the take when it is eventually sold.

The trips back is faster than the trip to find the cave. Froderick is plagued by intense thirst, and drains his waterskin quickly. Cues keeps quiet and to himself for the most part. Every hour of travel is broken by Chickens’ magical surges. For the most part, no effects from them are evident, much to the party’s relief (and in one case, the DM’s). However, one particularly effective surge targets Rorek. Within a matter of moments, he finds himself extremely clean, and exquisitely groomed. Rorek is horrified by this, and does everything he can to regain his proper dwarven filthiness. He rolls in the dirt, smears dirt in mud in his beard and hair, and even crunches it between his teeth. Nothing he does makes any difference. Not even his tears will mar his immaculate beard. No matter what he attempts, he continues to appear extremely well groomed. Even his nails are clean. Rorek has never been so afraid.

Upon reaching Tinkerhaven, Rorek, Turqeel, and Russellbob enter the abandoned home they’d been squatting in. Rorek tries rubbing soot from the fireplace all over himself. When this doesn’t work either, he chops furniture maniacally with his shiny, shiny axe and throws a chair out the window when Cynd taunts him from outside. Cues, Froderick and Cynd want to head to Shaghorn’s with the ogre ears to get the bounty, but….Rorek has the pouch with the ears in it, and he’s not in a very cooperative mood at the present time. They wait, hoping he will eventually just chop himself out.

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JER-RY!! JER-RY!!!

One big, happy family.

After the ogres are killed, Russellbob searches the bodies and finds a total of 14gp and two humanoid fingers.

Chickens continues to bounce back and forth between life and death. Mercifully, due to his massive head injury, when life returns to his body he remains unconscious. However, each time death attempts to claim him, he finds that the darkness of the grave is again tinted with a sickening amber tinge that can’t quite envelope him before life draws him back again.

Cynd retrieves his weapons, and Jarlath expresses his concerns of Turqeel’s enjoyment of the ogreling’s suffering to Froderick, who becomes extremely furious. The grass covered Froderick nearly assaults Turqeel, but Rorek stands up to him. Froderick is hesitant to attack Froderick with the sturdy dwarf ever so thirsty to “feed his axe”.

Froderick splits the gold pieces found by Russellbob among the party, deliberately shorting Turqeel. Turqeel calls out Froderick’s unfairness, and Froderick accuses Turqeel of doing nothing. Turqeel questions the wisdom of ostracizing the party’s healer, and points out to the group in general that if anyone in the party is useless, it is Cues. Yet Cues has been given twice the payment. Cues realizes that this news is true, and takes it as a major blow to his self-esteem. He gives his gold back to Russellbob, stating that he doesn’t deserve it. He wants to give it to Turqeel, but is afraid of angering the already unsteady Froderick further. Turqeel informs Froderick that from this point forward, he will be paying for any healing that he needs.

In his great anger, Froderick comes very close to assaulting Turqeel. His desire to commit murder is palpable. Rorek intervenes and the two nearly come to blows as Froderick brings forth his sickle. Rorek calmly eyes it and hefts his axe. Before blood can be shed, Cynd steps in to put a stop to it. Froderick offers Turqeel’s whole share of treasure to Rorek to buy him away from Turqeel, and gives Turqeel’s share to of the gold to Rorek. Rorek thinks about it for a moment, but feels that protection money is preferable over blood money, and gives the gold piece to Turqeel. This enrages Froderick further. Froderick is beside himself trying to convince the party that Turqeel is a person driven by pure evil. Turqeel calmly points out that Froderick is the only person that seems to be acting “evil”, and asks him to prove anything to the party. Livid, Froderick stalks out of the cave.

Tired of the ruckus, Smoke runs off on his own to hunt and get some peace and quiet. He can’t understand why the two-leg creature that has befriended him would want to remain so close to these loud beasts.

The group gathers wood and prepares to spend the night here rather than lug the laboriously struggling Chickens back to Tinkerhaven. Rorek gathers ogre ears for the bounty that Shaghorn has put on them.

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From the Eyes of Babes

Where Chickens learns how to get into a mother’s head.

After being bound by the plant life, those that were held captive have heard the commotion coming out of the cave, and waited to see if they would be held trapped while something came out to kill them while they remained helpless. The sounds of battle inside the cave are fierce. Then…there is silence. After another moment, the branches, weeds and roots holding them down go slack. They are still wrapped around Rorek, Smoke and Cynd, and they must free themselves. Cynd, struggling against the pain enveloping his torso from the ogre’s club strike, slowly and painfully rips his arms up from the ground one by one, then slowly sits up and rips the roots off of his legs. Rorek also frees himself, and bounces to his feet. Smoke is methodically trying to extract one paw at a time, chewing vines, and finally has to resort to sending Cynd a mental plea for assistance. The panther waits patiently while Cynd, pausing often when the pain becomes too great, slowly rips the weeds and roots from her limbs, neck, and tail.

Cynd, nursing what appears to be broken ribs and internal bleeding, calls to Jarlath for healing. As Jarlath is casting a healing spell on Cynd, more screaming is heard from the cavern.

Froderick has just gotten his sickle out of the club near the cave’s entrance. Russellbob is near to him. Further back, Chickens sits cross legged facing into the opening to a side-cave with Headsplasher laying across his legs, hoping to time the curse to use the next magical surge against the ogress in the cavern beyond. Therein is a female ogre with her toddler offspring. She is protectively standing armed with a spear between the little one and Chickens, staring at the hole in his face where his nose used to be and watching him warily.

All at once, Froderick and Russellbob hear a horrified and enraged, bellowing scream and see Chickens scramble to his feet as fast as he can gain them. He dodges to his left and a spear flies by from the side cavern, clattering to the floor further behind him. Chickens hastily braces himself and tries to draw his hammer back, but is way too late as he is freight trained by the mama ogre. She slams into Chickens knocking him back ten feet further, and Headsplasher goes flying out from Chickens’ hand and skitters across the ground towards where Froderick and Russellbob are standing, mouths agape. She continues her momentum, and barrels on top of him, fists pounding his head and chest into the cavern floor. From the cavern where the female came from can be heard the terrified wailing of a much younger voice. The shrieking of the female and the wailing of the child is deafening in the cave.

Cynd runs into the cave, eyes frantically sweeping side to side. Not finding his two handed sword, he instead a short sword and a dagger. Cynd nearly tramples Russellbob as he rushes in to engage the battle. Russellbob glances back to verify that he’s not about to be run over by anyone else, and then brings his blowgun to bear. With a quick line up and PFFT sound, a dart slices through the air just missing Froderick, and buries into the ogress’ side. She roars with pain and turns from the limp and bleeding Chickens. Behind her, the squalling continues. Her attention whips towards the party in the cave entrance.

Froderick charges in with is sickle at the ready. A snarls mars the ogress’ dainty features as he rushes in. As he swings the sickle, she jumps back out of range of the attack.
She bares her teeth, and says three loud, hysterical words that Froderick doesn’t understand . Then she is on the offense, fists leading. Froderick does his best to duck to the side as she comes at him, but a stunningly strong impact catches his shoulder, spins him fully around, and slams him prone to the floor.

Jarlath, still outside the cave, has a hard time making out exactly what it going on inside the dim light inside the cavern. But that doesn’t stop him from loading his sling and firing off a sling bullet to assist the side opposing whoever he hits. Froderick and the ogress are aware of something whizzing by them. There is a CLACK further back into the cave…and then another…and then another…. Cues runs into the cave and stops near RB, assessing the situation.

Cynd charges forward, absolute fury and hatred on his face. Froderick is on his hands and knees, rising from being knocked to the ground by our enraged beauty. Cynd’s steps carry him up onto Froderick’s back as he uses Froderick as a stepping stool, leaping from him up to the ogress. Froderick is knocked back to the ground as Cynd sails through the air, roaring in wrath. As he closes, she reaches her hands up, catching him in midair…and as she catches him, Cynd’s short sword pierces her face and upward into her brain. Her scream is instantly silenced. Momentum pushes her backwards and she falls to her back. Cynd rides her down, crashing to the ground just short of where Chickens lies still in a pool of blood.

The child’s wailing is still coming loudly from the side cave. Rorek runs in, screaming such profanities to make a pirate gasp. Frothing in his beard, he FINALLY makes it to the battle…only to find three dead ogres and the ELF standing atop the last one, drawing his sword from its face. As Rorek stands looking at the mess, the thought of losing the ogre kill to an elf drives a single tear down his cheek.

Cues moves over to where the side entrance is where Chickens was sitting. As he gets there, looks down at something lying on the ground next to his foot. He picks it up curiously and then drops it quickly in disgust, wiping his hand on his tunic.

The entire party can hear the ogre whelp screaming and wailing in fear and….pain? Froderick has regained his feet with a disapproving look at Cynd. Cynd wipes his blade on the ogress, then smiles sadistically to Rorek and says, “You missed the big one, but sounds like there’s at least one left…”

Cynd walks from the ogre, brushing past Cues. On the way by he looks to the ground to see what Cues dropped and what he finds stops him for a moment. Near to the round object that Cues dropped lies another. Cynd looks closer and realizes that they are eyeballs. Standing for a second, Cynd notes the white pupils and purple irises. Glancing at Cues, Cynd continues on to the child at the back wall of the cavern, crying.

Sitting on the ground, with a filthy fur on as a diaper, urine leaking out into a puddle on the floor is an ogre toddler. It is large for a toddler, nearly the size of Chickens. Its hands are covering it’s face as it cries in fear. At the sound of Cynd walking closer, it raises its arms, hands grasping to be picked up….and Cynd is stopped breathless in his tracks. The ogreling’s mouth is opened wide and three teeth are showing as it brays a teeth grating cry. A broad, flat runny nose already bristling with nose hairs sits above it. Wide, dirty ears jut off of the sides of its head. But the thing that transfixes Cynd in place is are the two slight runnels of blood leading up to the holes where its eyes should be. Eyelids hang limp and useless around the sockets. The little ogre screams in pain and fear, and holds its hands up towards Cynd for comfort. It screeches one word over and over that can only be one thing.
Cursing quietly, Cynd calls to the rest of the group, " Uhh guys, better get in here…"

The party filters in one by one to see what all the noise is about. The light back here is very diffused. The more of the group that crowds in, the more difficult it gets to see as the light filtering in is blocked. Russellbob pulls out his stick of Continual Light. Cues looks at Cynd curiously for a second, then looks down at the crying child, and says, “By the powers!”, and steps back away. Russellbob gapes, and Cues steps back out of the cavern. The group briefly argues about the fate of the ogreling. Cynd and Rorek want to kill it, Froderick believes it to still be an innocent, but recognizes that it is in pain. Jarlath doesn’t condone harming the child at all, and believes that they should help it. At the sound of the arguing voices, the crying and screaming rises in pitch. Turqeel comes in looking to see what the commotion is about.

Froderick inspects the eyeballs to see if they look to have been forcibly removed. They are perfectly round, no optic nerve attached, just a red raw spot where they were. When Turq sees the crying eyeless child, he wrings his fingers together slowly and smiles juuust a little.

Cynd hates to see a grown dwarf cry, and decides to give Rorek the option to end the eyeless child’s life, seeing how he missed out on the earlier fun. Turqeel stands by, watching intently, head forward a bit, hands wringing…almost like he’s washing them. Rorek lines up his axe up to the child’s neck, and relishes sending another smelly ogre from this world. The crying stops instantly as he swings and there is a splushing sound as blood fountains off of the axe blade to the floor. However, the axe stops 3/4 of the way through its neck. Instead of going through, the body is caught along in the momentum, and stays attached to the axe. The child’s body, nearly as large as Rorek, now dangles at the end of the axe. Turqeel’s smile widens just ever so slightly. His lips move briefly, and he stalks out of the room to the main cave. Jarlath notes this with a slight frown.

Froderick walks the away from the eyeless atrocity, and inspects the rest of the cave for other ogres. Russellbob also walks away from the scene, and puts his Continual Light stick to better use looking for his blowgun darts. One dart is sticking in the ogress’ side, and the other is further back. After retrieving his darts, Russellbob explores around the cave. Off of the main cavern he finds two other side caverns. After announcing them loudly to the group, he decides to explore them for either traps or treasure.

Cues, thankful for any distraction from the young horror, follows Russellbob’s light over to him to investigate. Of the two rooms that Russellbob finds, the first is long and narrow, curving to he left. It ends with a blockage of rocks of various sizes, from ceiling to floor. The room furthest to the back of the main cavern has a narrow opening. Further back in, it opens up. Russellbob notes that the floor of the room is strewn with bones and the air REEKS of feces. Russellbob wrinkles his nose and immediately decides that this room warrants no further investigation.

Cynd, spitting at the bloody, corpsey mess that is the dead ogreling, leaves the small cave and heads back out towards the entrance to find his sword and bow. His sword is in the area that was entangled, almost over by where rorek was trapped by the plant life. After recovering his sword, he looks to recover his bow and arrows. Three arrows are easily found pincushining the dead ogre’s body. After some searching, Cynd sees the fletching of the last one sticking out of the dirt in the slope nearby. His bow lies on the path where he dropped it when he charged the first ogre outside the cave.

Froderick walks to where Chickens lies still on the cavern floor near to the ogress’ body. He lies very…very…very still on the floor. The top part of his face is just a little concave. Froderick checks for a pulse, and detects no heartbeat. Chickens finally looks to be at peace. Froderick thinks that the head injury has finally put Chickens to rest, and crouches next to him in a moment of silence. Then….a sudden loud wheeze from comes from Chickens, and he begins to cough. Froderick jumps back, and lands on his butt. As he coughs, Chickens’ arms straighten stiffly at his sides and his shoulders pull inwards towards the center of his chest. He coughs once…twice…blood oozes up from his left eye socket….and then he goes limp again. Froderick takes a deep breath, realizing that Chickens’ life and the random surges of magic that will continue to torment all near him have not yet ended.

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Another Hack and Slash Night

They’re actually pulling this off? I’m speechless.

When we left off last week, Jarlath had cast Entangle in front of the cave mouth, and it caught a dead ogre, a soiled fur, Rorek, Smoke the panther, and Cynd. Cues and Turqeel are working their way around the area of effect, trying to think of a way to help. Neither has a range weapon. Russellbob and Jarlath are hanging back watching. Froderick and Chickens have entered the cave, and are battling one ogre, while another is further back with two emaciated kobold slaves. The slaves stand motionless in resigned fear.

Froderick has been slammed down to the ground by an ogre with his huge tree stump/club. He clears his head, looking up at the ogre who is smugly standing over him. Even wounded, it gives off an air of confidence, enjoying the pain of the puny human. Froderick slowly, subtly pulls his magical dagger from the sheath at his hip, then lunges up, burying the dagger deep into the wound he had previously opened up in the beast’s abdomen with the sickle. The dagger thrust enters all the way to Froderick’s wrist. The ogre’s eyes widen and his giant club crashes to the ground next to Froderick. The ogre staggers back from Froderick, and his hand and dagger reappear from the wound. Froderick’s hand and the dagger hilt are red with blood, but the blade remains shiny and clean. Not one drop of blood mars the dagger’s blade.

Chickens, with Headsplasher at the ready, watches to see if Froderick’s stab takes the ogre down. The brute has tottered back several paces, hands clutching at the deep belly wound, but it does not fall. The larger ogre behind it is yelling something at it and reaching for one of the kobold slaves. Chickens lunges over the dropped trunk/club, past Froderick, and rushes the ogre, Headsplasher swinging. His forward charge is thrown askew as he slips on some of the spilled blood, and his diagonal swing falls short, impacting the stone in front of the ogre with a mighty CRACK.

Jarlath advances to within five feet of the reaching vines, branches, and roots, trying to get a better visual of what is going on inside the cave.

It’s face crinkled up in pain and rage, the ogre looks at the mark Headsplasher made on the cave floor in front of it. Stone has chipped from the cave floor, and blood spats have scattered out from the warhammer’s impact. It steps forward, while one hand holds the wound in it’s gut, the other swings a ham fist around in a mighty backhand. Even while wounded there is immense power behind the blow. Chickens is knocked sideways and flies a full six feet to slam into the cave wall.

After sending Chickens flying into the wall, the ogre swoons in pain, and turns and slowly lurches its way toward the other older, larger ogre. The larger ogre grabs up a startled kobold slave and hurls it forcefully at Froderick. The hapless kobold flies through the air like it was fired from a rocket. It passes just over Froderick’s head and flies into the Entangled area outside the cave and is immediately entrapped in seeking, reaching weeds and roots.

Cynd attempts to muscle his way out of the plant life holding him prisoner. He Strains…grunts….heaves…sweats….strains…pees a little…annnnd stops before worse things happen.

Froderick gives a look of longing at his sickle, then takes the wicked edged dagger and sprints towards the wounded ogre. The ogre is faltering away from him, and leaning slightly forward, holding its belly wound. As Froderick reaches it, he jumps up and catches its shoulder with his left hand and pulls himself up onto the beast’s upper back. Before it can react, Froderick drives his dagger directly into the base of the ogre’s neck, severing its spine.
The brute collapses forward immediately. Froderick, using the dagger as a piton, hangs onto it and rides the falling creature to the ground. When he pulls the dagger from the ogre’s back, again not a spot of blood is present on its blade. Seeing this, the larger ogre roars in rage.

Before the larger ogre can do much more than meaningfully communicate the tumult of emotions and desire for revenge it is experiencing from the loss of its kin, Chickens rushes it, Headsplasher ready. Chickens misjudges his strike, and the WHIFF of the missed cross-wise swing is audible as the hammer passes the angered ogre harmlessly by. If Headsplasher had the capacity to deeply sigh and then weep, no one would blame it.

Outside the cave, and across the area of writhing plant life, Jarlath tries to make out the enemy amid the melee within the cavern. The mouth of the cave is large, but the lighting outside of the cave is much brighter than that within. Trying to make out exact details is difficult. Nevertheless, Jarlath decides to fire a sling bullet into the cave, hoping to hit the ogres within. He readies his sling, whirls it and releases the deadly projectile from its pouch. Froderick and Chickens are aware of something whizzing by in the air in the space between them and then of a loud cracking sound that repeats a few times further back in the cave.

Russelbob considers working up his battle skills more slowly. Perhaps by throwing a rock from a safe distance at something that is already dead.

Froderick leaps off the back of the dead ogre and charges the remaining one. Chickens is in front of him, and doesn’t know Froderick is coming. When Chickens steps to the side from his swing, it trips Froderick up. Instead of attacking the ogre, he stumbles directly into it bodily. It is like hitting a wall. It doesn’t budge an inch. The ogre was in the process of turning to pick something up from amid its fur pile, but then reacts and attempts to grab Froderick in an incredibly stinky bear hug. Froderick drops straight down, sliding beneath it’s closing arms. It is at this point as he drops down that Froderick learns just how truly horrible an ogre crotch smells.

Chickens angles around Froderick while the ogre is distracted with him, and tries to take another swing at the elusive, stationary beast. It sees Chickens coming around, and with nostrils flaring, it steps to the side, keeping Froderick between himself and Chickens.

The ogre looks towards its pile of furs longingly for a second, then swings a fist the size of a small pig at Froderick. Froderick ducks at the last possible instance. The fist barely passes over Froderick and slams into the kobold slave that has yet collected itself enough to act. The kobold, paralyzed with fear, is now paralyzed with death as it’s head crunches under the blow. It’s body spins in the air once, twice, three times before landing in a bloody limp scaly pile. The ogre stands dumbfounded at the sudden change in target, and Froderick takes advantage of its confusion. Straightening up quickly, he slashes the dagger across it’s chest. A line of blood wells deeply from it’s shoulder up towards it’s neck. It’s eyes widen, and it raises a hand up to try to staunch the blood.

Rorek trying in vain to escape the grasping weeds decides to try verbal abuse to get loose, muttering, “Hey weeds, your mother is a dirty goblin knocker…”

Holding it’s hand up in front of it, eyes wide, the ogre is yelling out something gruff and monosyllabic. It backs away over the furs, toward the opening of another room in the cave.

Russelbob decides to help out but to get within range for his blowgun, he needs to get through the Entangled area. Making it looks childishly easy, the two foot tall brownie skips his way through the shifting, seeking plant life. His little form dodges back and forth, uses vines for leverage to pull himself around other vines, and at one point runs along the length of Smoke’s back (drawing weeds to further entrap the feline) until he arrives untouched within the cave mouth, blowgun at the ready.

The large ogre is backing away, one hand holding the dagger wound. It has a hand up waving at chickens that it doesn’t want anymore. Heedless of the wants and needs of others, Chickens runs across the fur pile on the floor and jumps as high as he can. He brings Headsplasher down in a mighty one-handed overhead arc. The head of the hammer slams dead center of the ogre’s chest, with a muffled thump accompanied with a loud CRACK . The hammer’s head sinks in several inches and when it is pulled out, the divot remains. The ogre hitches a very short breath, then another. It’s eyes widen…white pupils losing focus, and it slumps over sideways, collapsing to the floor. Chickens is standing over the dead ogre, feeling exhilarated. He then he looks into the next room, and stops dead.

This section of the cavern is only about 20 feet deep. Towards the back wall, a female ogre stands. She is hairy, wart covered, bare breasted, and has face that many diseases would fear to touch. She is standing in front of and guarding a much smaller ogre, just barely taller than Chickens. She stands with a spear leveled at waist height in front of the little one, blocking it from Chickens. She is smaller than the males were, but still larger than any of the party by some measure.

Froderick frees his sickle from the heavy tree stump club it had become embedded in. Chickens backs away and informs the group of the ogress and her spawn in the other room. Chickens decides to sit in the doorway facing the ogress so that he cannot see the rest of the party, and waits for the curse to manifest itself. He will yell if she moves forward on him. He moves back to the side cave opening, and sees that she has cautiously crept about halfway toward the main cave. Upon seeing Chickens, she backs away with her little one. Her eyes are glued to the hole in his face, but occasionally they move to the body of the large ogre lying on the floor behind Chickens.

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The Bigger They Are The Harder We Fall

Apparently size does matter.

Smoke and Cynd lead the rest of the group as they continue backtracking the kobolds further into the rougher terrain. Froderick observes Cynd’s tracking technique. For some time, they backtrack until a stream is reached. Both Smoke and Froderick drink heartily.

Ever cheerful, Russellbob sings quiet jolly songs. The rest of the party doesn’t join the singalong. Apparently this isn’t a musical, else I’d have to pull a G.R.R.Martin on the party.

The kobold tracks follow a game trail that has widened out due to the passage of so much foot traffic. They follow along the stream for a time, entering an area where steep hills rise up on either side, and trees lean over the path, blocking out sunlight. Following this, they find the body of a kobold that looks to have collapsed and died. On further inspection, its ribs show to be broken, and tree bark is embedding into its hide. Further on, they spy their first true signs of ogres: footprints and large turds. The first thought Cynd has is to stick his finger into the turds. No one in the party entertains any ideas of accepting food from Cynd in the future. We, uh….we’ll have to keep an eye on Cynd.

Smoke comes running back to Cynd, giving off emotions of alarm and excitement. Ogres have been found! The entire party except for Rorek scatters off of the trail into the trees and underbrush to either side. The path ahead goes over a small rise and curves to the left around a large boulder. Nothing can be seen up to that point. Cynd elects to move forward to investigate alongside the panther. Rorek is not happy about hanging back. Chickens does his best to track the time since his last magical eruption.

Utterly silent, Cynd moves from tree to tree at the side of the path. Creeping forward around the bend in the path, Cynd finally sees it. The cave entrance is quite large. A very bored looking ogre stands outside the cave, watching a couple of emaciated kobolds that are labourously cleaning an animal fur. The creature is huge, with sallow yellow skin covered with almost as much coarse body hair as Robin Williams. The kobolds look like tiny children next to the imposing bulk of the ogre standing over them. The ogre is facing Cynd’s general direction, but does not see him hiding in the brush. Smoke’s ears flatten, and the large cat gives a low hiss. At the sight of his hated enemy, all thoughts of sneaking back to fill in the party are forgotten. Filled with a burning hatred, Cynd readies his bow.

Chickens creeps ahead up to a boulder at the bend in the path to try to see what is happening. He hopes to be able to use the curse to his advantage.

Cynd waits until the ogre yawns, and looses his arrow. The arrow flies right between its right arm and its body, and embeds itself in the side of the hill behind it with a thwack. The ogre’s head snaps up at the hiss of the arrow going by and the sound of it impacting the earth behind it and it turns quickly around, looking for the source of the sound. Both kobolds look around in surprise. Cynd silently draws another arrow, and fires into the ogre’s back. Bellowing in pain and rage, it reaches behind it trying to grasp the arrow now sticking out from between its shoulder blades. The ogre spins around, eyes wide, reaching behind it trying to grab the pain.

Rorek brings his axe to hand, and with a roar, charges forward around the boulder. Cues and Jarlath approach the boulder at the edge of the path more cautiously, followed by Turqeel. Froderick follows fast behind Rorek.

The two kobolds take one look at the ogre grasping desperately at the arrow sticking out of its back, and immediately flee off into the trees.

Cynd breaks from cover, drawing his bow and firing two more arrows while openly advancing upon the stricken ogre. The first arrow embeds into the furs on it’s shoulder, then hangs limply. The ogre looks up at Cynd in surprise. The ogre is momentarily frozen, stretched up trying to reach over it’s shoulder to get the arrow out of its back. Cynd’s second arrow enters just under the ogre’s sternum and buries to the fletching. It gives an impressively high pitched shriek for it’s size, and tries to grab the end of the arrow with a big meaty paw. Incomprehension lines it’s face, and disbelief, and pain. It sinks to it’s knees, still grasping helplessly at the end of the arrow sticking from it’s chest.

Jarlath begins casting toward the area in front of the cave mouth. The ogre’s movements grow slower and slower, and as its movements slow, its body leans more and more forward. Before the ogre can collapse, Cynd drops his bow to the dirt and rushes him, bringing his two handed bastard sword to bear. With his momentum carrying him, Cynd brings his blade flashing around in a mighty arc. As it collapses, the ogre is falling forward into the swing , and his blade slices through it’s head crosswise, from shoulder to shoulder. The front half of its face droops to it’s chest, and blood oozes out thickly, as opposed to spraying. The ogre collapses to the earth. Rorek rushes out, but screeches to a halt complaining loudly, “Ye’re stealing all the fun, elf! I don’t think I want to travel with ye no more!!”

Jarlath finishes casting Entangle. In the clearing in front of the cave, roots tear up from the ground, tree branches reach down from above, weed plants grow thick and strong, and the party members can hear the creak and groaning as plant cells grow, bend and conform. The plant life begins grasping and coiling at anything near to it. The ogre corpse is tightly wrapped by tree roots and weeds. Cynd, in the middle of the area does a speedy little dance, dodging reaching tree branches and quick stepping from the grasp of roots and underfoot plants that are reaching for him. Cynd ducks and dodges his way into the mouth of the cave where he comes face to stomach with another ogre that is rushing out to investigate the commotion. Cynd and the ogre both stop short, just outside the range of the grasping foliage. Its purple, white-pupilled eyes widen and it says something guttural and brings to hand a tree stump become elf smooshing club. The club looks to be a chunk of dead tree ripped from the ground, complete with broken roots jutting like medusa hair from the weapon’s head. Cynd takes in the beast before him with stoic surprise and sends a telepathic call to Smoke for help.

Froderick attempts to reach the cave mouth, slicing at limbs and reaching weed/vines, his sickle a blur. He dodges, he bobs, he weaves, he bends, and tralalas his way through the grasping plant life to the mouth of the cave. He is now close enough to see the ogre and Cynd sizing each other up.

Smoke hears Cynd’s call for help, and runs full speed out of the tree line towards the elf. Looking for a vantage where he can follow the action, Cues begins working his way around the area of effect from Jarlath’s Entangle spell. Further back, Russellbob carefully moves forward to get closer to see what is going on.

Seeing Froderick successfully make it through the Entangled area, Rorek decides to try to get in on the action. He makes it in about five steps, and is impeded by a root that wraps around his ankle. As he looks down in irritation, tree branches wrap his arms and chest
Weeds grow up around his legs, entwining them, and Rorek is held fast. He bellows in rage, “Get yer pet plants off me giblets!!!”

In front of Cynd, the ogre’s purple eyes sparkle with malice as it draws back the tree stump club to splush him with it. Stepping forward into the swing, the ogre swings the tree stump/club sidearm as if it were a tennis racket. The impact catches Cynd square in the chest with a sickening crunch and launches him out of the cave. The hapless elf flies backwards, sword spinning from his hand. He flies into the waiting tendrils of vine and root, and is thoroughly caught up in them before he has stopped rolling.

Smoke, meanwhile, is charging across the field of grasping vines and branches, dodging left, right, jumping over, ducking under the weaving plants, urgently making his way to assist Cynd. The cat’s eyes widen as he sees the elf ejected from the cave, and the one moment’s hesitance costs him. A seeking root wraps first his tail, then his back legs. The panther roars impotently as he struggles against the roots and weeds holding him fast.

As Froderick is entering the cave, having cleared the Entangled area, Cynd sails by him on one side, and the flying sword spins by him on the other. Froderick blinks at the near miss, and takes in the scene before him. Directly in front of him is the ogre that launched Cynd out of the cave. He notes that his ogre is young, not quite yet a full adult. Froderick is dwarfed by it, barely coming up to it’s chest. Behind it, Froderick sees another larger, older ogre, and two ragged kobolds standing nearby, slack-jawed with surprise. Chickens rushes through the Entangled area, ducking bobbing and weaving, making it into the cave right behind Froderick.

Froderick stops just long enough to size up his surroundings and then is in motion, grass hair flowing as he moves. He ducks beneath the ogre’s free hand, and whips his sickle right to left across its torso, drawing a deep line blood. At the end of the slice, however, his sickle impacts the ogre’s club with a solid THUNK…and becomes stuck in it. In pain and anger, the ogre yanks the club up over its head, widening the cut across its torso. The club is raised so violently that the sickle is ripped from Froderick’s hand, and high out of reach. Its blade is sunk a couple of inches into the upraised stump, and its blade gleams as it reflects the light from outside the cave behind Froderick. Then the sickle gets bigger and bigger very quickly, and the club is slammed down upon Froderick, bashing him down to the ground amid the blood spatters from the ogre’s stomach.

We leave off here for the evening. Rorek, a dead ogre, Cynd, Smoke, and a piece of soiled fur are caught up in the Entangle spell’s area of effect. Cues is trying to work his way around the Entangled area. Jarlath and Turqeel are on the opposite side of the area. Russellbob is hanging back watching the events unfold. Froderick has just been bashed to the ground, and Chickens stands with Headsplasher in front of the ogre. He barely comes up to its thighs. For perhaps the first time, Chickens hopes that his next wild magic surge is not too long in coming.

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Looking For Trouble.

Chickens gives Turqeel the creepiest Valentine’s Day gift ever.

We begin the session with Froderick verifying that he has all of his 2000 parts. Confirming that nothing is missing, Froderick is surprisingly stoic about having the raw power of the magic weave unleashed directly upon his junk.

The group backtracks the kobolds into the mountains. The going is slow, as Cynd pauses to check for sign now and again. During this time, Chickens has a few magic surges go off. Only one has a noticeable effect.

Chickens is hanging back from the main party with Turqeel when his curse performs its hourly random magical surge. Losing control of focusing the magic, Chickens focuses the magical effect on Turqeel, who staggers as if in sudden shock. Then, on the ground between them appears an intricate crystal cube, about a foot to a side. Within is what appears to be a translucent image of a beating human heart. Turq looks at it, then at Chickens, eyes wide. Turqeel whispers, “What is it?” Chickens says, “I don’t know but I’m not touching it.” Slowly, hesitantly, Turqeel reaches out and touches the cube. “It’s…warm,” he breathes in amazement. The ghostly heart inside the cube appears to be beating rapidly. Chickens asks for Turqeel to come over to him for a second, then reaches out and checks Turq for a pulse. Confirming that Turqeel does indeed have one, Chickens breathes a sigh of relief. Turqeel says, “It’s heavy…I can’t carry it too well along with my other gear. Can you help me carry it?” The cube has some weight to it, and has no convenient handles to make it easy to carry. They discuss burying it, but don’t have time to do it without losing the party. Chickens and Turqeel elect to stash it under the boughs of an evergreen tree, and hurry to catch up to the group.

Cynd and Smoke continue backtracking the kobolds. Cynd is able to understand Smoke by mentally picking up telepathically communicated concepts from the panther. The faint spoor of ogre is picked up by Smoke. As the party continues on (through another uneventful magical surge from Chickens) the terrain becomes steeper and rockier. A couple of smaller caves are discovered. Russellbob explores one and finds out it’s little more than a pocket in the rock. Another slightly larger cave is located, and Smoke detects the smell of kobolds, but it is old.

We break here for the night with the group planning on pressing forward to what will most likely be the death of them all.

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Hi's, Heys, and Howareyas

Fresh meat. New lives to ruin.

Chickens struggles with causing the loss of Pod who has vanished and been replaced by a violent and nearly silent stationary ball of cyclonic wind. Turqeel follows behind Chickens as he makes his way around the edge of the crater to the other side where they run into a human cleric, an elven ranger, and his platonic panther bestie who is feeding on a dead kobold that is stuck in a tree. Meanwhile in the crater, Rorek invents what might be the world’s first blender by tossing deceased kobolds into the strange vortex left behind in Podmidor’s place. Froderick has a dramatic moment at the realization of his friend Podmidor’s loss, complete with falling to his knees with his hands raised to the sky and yelling “Pooooooooddddddd!!!!” If only it were raining.

Introductions are made, and the newcomers are disgusted by Chickens’ noseless visage, fascinated by Froderick’s grassy hair, mystified by the magical kobold corpse mangling ball of wind, and wooed by Rorek’s rudeness. Despite the visual cues (not the bland mage, the other visual cues previously mentioned) they showcase their collective wisdom by deciding to join with the party and hunt ogres. There is a brief moment of concern among all nearby while Smoke, the panther, decides whether or not to eat Russellbob.

Chickens has a magical surge, targeting Froderick. Froderick is driven back to his knees by the sensation of miniature fireworks going off inside his grass covered sac-beans. After the initial pain and surprise, no other effects were noticed. We break off for the night before Froderick has a chance to react. Yup, that’s right where we hung up the “to be continued” sign. A magical surge to the rounders.

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A New Record

Two in one day. Let’s try for three.

Froderick, Rorek and Pod are in the crater along with a recently deceased bear, a couple hundred kobold bodies, dozens of crows and vultures, and thousands of flies. Cues, Russellbob, Chickens and Turqeel wait at the rim of the crater, watching. Russellbob is on Turqeel’s pack singing a song about rocks creating large holes. Chickens and Turqeel do their best to ignore Russellbob, and are speaking of Turqeel’s faith in the powers of chaos.

All at once, Chickens begins to feel queasy. A magical surge bursts forth from him, and is directed at Podmidor.

There is a brief expulsion of loose dirt away from where Podmidor is standing. A mild wind whips Rorek’s beard, and then Pod disappears from sight. For those nearby listening, a tempestuous wind can be heard faintly, as if it’s off in the distance.

Froderick is the first to notice that Pod has vanished. Rorek seems confused when the air stirs his beard, then he looks up and notices Frod looking intently toward Pod’s absence. Concerned in the disappearance of his friend, Froderick rushes over to where Podmidor was standing. Froderick gets within a few feet of where Podmidor was and then suddenly is whipped around bodily in a very fast, tight sphere in the air around where the halfling was standing. Over and over he turns, flips and tumbles like a green rag doll as he is battered repeatedly against the ground. As the party stands watching in shock, he is ejected and flies an easy 20 feet away and lands in a pile of dead kobolds, scattering bodies, crows and a cloud of flies.

Chickens cries, “Not again! Everyone get away from me!” He then turns and rushes away from the party like a teenage girl. When he is out of sight of them, he sits down with his head hanging, face in his hands. Turqeel turns to follow Chickens. Russellbob climbs down from him and uses his racial ability to blend in with a large rock at the crater’s rim.

Rorek looks thoughtfully at the spot where Podmidor was standing for a moment, and then goes to check on Frod. Cues heads down into the crater to assist. Froderick retains consciousness, but is stunned.

Turqeel tries talking to Chickens, who is overwhelmed with responsibility and guilt at the loss two friends in one morning. Maintaining his teenage girl personna, Chickens lashes out at Turqeel to leave him alone. Turqeel refuses and tries to keep Chickens from blaming himself. Turqeel tries to convince Chickens that he only means to help Chickens, and that Chickens can’t have feel any responsibility for his choices. Chickens gets up and walks away like a teenage girl zombie, making his way around the crater. Turqeel, unwilling to let him slip from sight, follows behind.

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