Game of Chickens

Kobolds In The Mist

Ovewhelming numbers? Meh.

Russellbob and Tomas are still spending their rainy day in the home of the Unknown Tinker that the kobolds abandoned.

The rest of the party stands hiding behind trees and large rocks at the lip of the bowl/crater that hides the kobold encampment. The party debates on what to do…they could go back for help, and get the rest of their party…OR…they can try to take on 200ish enemies on their own.

The answer is obvious.

After debating tactics, Podmidor successfully casts Wall of Fog extending down into the encampment. Rorek charges directly down into the thick fog, and begins feeding his axe anything it will reach. The party follows more slowly. The kobolds notice the unnatural nature of the fog, and begin rushing in to defend their camp.

As we leave off in a “to be continued” state, the party is still in the fog, and visibility is very limited. Kobolds come into view and attack what they can see, or flee if they don’t like it. Several party members have been wounded. Confusion and chaos reign at this point in time.

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Follow Those Kobolds

The party is split, but we’re only keeping one game night, dammit!

Tomas takes Russellbob to Shaghorn for healing. Shaghorn has had enough, as his services are dearly needed among other inventors. The tinkers that were scared away by the group in the last session show up, gibbering madly. Shaghorn tells them to leave and not come back until the kobolds are completely eradicated. If they need shelter, he directs them to find a wizard living several days to the South.

Russellbob and Tomas go to the house where the party was when they left. After inspecting the entire premises, they elect to wait for the party to return. The weather is turning bad, and rain is starting to fall. They contain a nice fire in the house, and sit back to wait.

The rest of the party has decided to head west, since that is the way the lost trail is heading. Cresting a rise, they see a meadow with a creek in the distance, and 4 kobolds resting near it. When the rain comes, the kobolds start moving on, and the party elects to follow.

They follow the kobolds over another rise, and discover a natural bowl about 1/4 mile across. There are roughly 200 kobold men, women and children camped within. Chickens has a surge that tars and feathers one kobold towards the center of the group. This creates a kicked anthill-like flurry in the center of the encampment. From their vantage point, they can identify the chief, but he is too far away for their spells to reach. Where we leave off, they are trying to figure out how to take out the chieftain without being overwhelmed.

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The Grass Is Always Greener

What is the difference between losing your head physically and losing your head mentally? Just a few seconds, really.

Picking up where we left off last week, the kobold that caught a face full of clay jar barely has time to cry out before crashing to the ground, limbs spasming. No more are in sight, but the other one can be heard through the trees, crying out an alarm. Podmidor places a hand on the prone kobold’s chest and casts Comprehend Languages. He is just completing his spell when one of the other tinkers drives his short sword through the kobold’s throat. Blood pours over his blade, and Podmidor’s hand. Podmidor is less than enthused. Froderick takes little notice, scanning the trees for any movement, sickle at the ready. Tomas also stands by alertly.

Chickens, Rorek, Turqeel, and a few of the other tinkers rush through the woods toward the house. Rorek follows closely behind Turq, bellowing a battle challenge. “IT’S NEUTERIN’ TIME!!! COME OUT YE BLASTED DOGMEN!!!” Getting through the trees, they find the house with the front door ajar. Turqeel tries so hard to be quiet, but Rorek is more than loud enough for the whole party.

Russellbob climbs up a tree about 20 feet to try and gain a better vantage point, but can’t see very well through the canopy of leaves. Russellbob decides to climb back down, and the bark beneath his adorable little toes gives way and he plummets a full 20 feet to the ground Russellbob sees the world spin around him, then a large tree root coming up to CRACK him in the face..a large flash of light..then…..darkness.

Chickens just happens to look back to see Russellbob’s form fall from the trees. He turns and rushes back that direction, followed by two of the Tinkers, Froderick, and Tomas. Rorek charges into the house through a window. Turqeel and Podmidor are focused on the possible threat from the house. Tomas picks up Russellbob’s limp form (Now with new peekaboo skull action!!) and uses his Helm of Teleportation to take him back to Shaghorn’s temple. No doubt Shaghorn will be thrilled.

There are no kobolds in the house. They appear to have vacated the premises, but did not clean up after themselves. Turqeel goes around the perimeter of the house, looking for any sign of the kobolds,but finds nothing.

The group meets in front of the house. Chickens relays the story of Russellbob’s fall, and Rorek tells what he found inside the house. Annnd from there, a spiral of party infighting begins. Turqeel accuses Rorek of being a bumbling idiot in his approach to the house, and Rorek eyes Turqeel thoughtfully as food for his axe. Before things can escalate further, Chicken’s curse lashes out.

Froderick is the target, and he suddenly stiffens and shudders, then turns a greenish hue.
Then the hue becomes greener as all of the hair on his body turns to grass. The ring of hair around his bald head. His eyebrows. His arm hair. His beard stubble. All become green blades of grass. His sickle drops to the ground as he stares at himself, eyes wide with horror. Two of the other tinkers, looking at Froderick in shock and fear Two of the other tinkers look at Froderick in shock and fear, give Chickens the sign of the evil eye, and run back towards the village. Froderick drops to his knees, looking at his arms, feeling his head. Podmidor looks at Froderick appraisingly “Least green looks good on you”. Froderick turns to Chickens, shaking with anger.
Chickens gapes “IT WASN’T ME!”
Turqeel: “Froderick take a breath. You know he didn’t mean to!”
Chickens: “We’ve been over this!”

Visibly trying to get himself under control, Froderick says, “You are more dangerous than Mandretch himself.”
Turqeel: “Think frod… instead of getting frustrated with this think of a way to have him get control of it.”
Quivering with anger, Froderick picks up his sickle. and begins to yell, “DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE DONE? THE ONLY PERSON WHO CAN CURE THIS WANTS US OUT!!!!”
Chickens held his hammer steadily, staring coldly at Froderick.
Froderick yells at Turqeel, “LISTEN TO YOURSELF!!! YOU STANK FOR DAYS!! We’re NEVER going to find him! We’ll all be dead first! Or frogs!”
Turqeel finally pushes Froderick over the edge, stating, “You know for a big warrior you do a lot of whining.” And at this point, another effect of Chicken’s random magic manifests itself.

Froderick balls his fist, and putting his weight behind it, steps up and punches Turqeel square on in the nose. Turqeel’s head flies off of his body, and rolls to a stop next to a tree a dozen feet away. Turqeel’s body never moves, and stands squarely facing a clearly stunned Froderick. Podmidor stands with his mouth open wide, speechless. One of the tinkers mutters some swear words, drops his catarifle to the ground and runs back towards the village. He is closely followed by the other two.

Turqeel’s head lying at the base of the tree, nose bleeding, can see past his standing body to Froderick, whose eyes are wide with shock. Turqeel now understands what happened when Chickens released a surge into his head back in Tomas’ mansion. He yells at Froderick, “YOU HAVE TO KNOCK MY HEAD OFF MY BODY TO MAKE A POINT?!” The head, at the tree, is yelling this, but the body intakes breath to do the yelling. Froderick, grassy eyebrows raised in horror,
steps back, sickle again falling to the earth. Turqeel’s body turns and starts walking towards his head. Chickens stands dumbfounded with Cues, whose mouth hangs wide open.

Podmidor moves towards Turqeel’s head, and arrives at the same time his body does. Turqeel’s body holds his hands out, and his head asks, “Pod, can you pick me up?” Pod picks up Turqeel’s head and turns it over to look at the bottom. Pod can see pulsing arteries, a cross section of Turqeel’s spine, and his trachea expand and contract when he breathes. Turqeel can see the world upside down. Podmidor makes mental notes, “Ummmm yes….this is very interesting…” Then he pokes his finger at the inside of Turqeel’s neck. Instead of being squishy, his finger contacts a flat barrier of force.“GIVE ME MY HEAD BACK”, Turqeel yells. Podmidor gives it back, and Turqeel’s body turns it’s head so its facing Pod, and he whispers, “I’m going to eat your soul.” Turqeel tries to put his head back, doubting it will go back on, but it firmly attaches it self immediately. He turns his head back and forth, testing it. Podmidor is incredibly interested by this. Turqeel tries to pull it back off again, but is unable.

Froderick sits down, says quietly to chickens…“All of us, huh? This is it. We’re all doomed. I’d kill you now to rid the world of this…but you wouldn’t die.” Froderick is blank eyed, looking through Chickens. “This world will crack like an egg.”
He rips a handful of grass out of his head, and giggles. Blood appears at the spot.
Chickens: “Frod? what’s wrong with you?”
Froderick, staring blankly: “Ketanja was wrong…there’s no hope.”
Chickens: “Froderick, what are you talking about?”

Totally ignoring the birth of madness next to him, Turqeel tries hard to pull his head off again, looking like a madman himself. Chickens steps back, watching Froderick, and getting his hammer ready. “What’s the point now,” Froderick asks. “It’s all in vain. I can’t kill him. He’ll kill us all before we find Mandretch” Podmidor gently grabs Froderick and guides him to sit down. Froderick sits back, staring at chickens. “I can see it now…the hole in your face. Everything is in there now” Turqeel stops trying to remove his head and watches Froderick warily with Chickens. “Madness….that’s what has been unleashed…utter madness….it will take us all, you know”, Froderick says blankly. Podmidor finally has had enough, and slaps Froderick across the face, yelling “SNAP OUT OF IT!!!” Froderick focuses his gaze on Pod after the slap and slowly nods his head.
Pod: “Listen, Frod-”
Froderick interrupts, “Right. Get a hold of myself. Because it doesn’t matter anymore.”
Pod: We’ve been through a lot, and there’s a lot left to go through."
Froderick: “It’s ok now. I get it. It doesn’t matter. He WILL kill everyone. But we still can’t stop. Just accept it.” Froderick gathers his sickle, and stands up. He looks calmer
“From now on, there are no remove curses. We will keep what we get, to show the world what is coming.” Froderick looks at each party member in turn. “Do you understand?? What happens, STAYS!!!!….Until all the world is burned.”

The group decides at this point to have Froderick track the kobolds to find out where they have retreated to. As they are preparing to go, the next in-party fight begins. Pod makes some cracks to Turqeel about how he’s found a way to get spellbooks once they get back to a town. Cues, already feeling taken advantage of, blows up and confesses to Froderick that Pod has possession of the gem that he had contributed to bribe the militia in Harbvog to keep them all from arrest. He announces that he has earned his rightful place in the party Podmidor rubs it in his face that he doesn’t have it now and Cues responds with a promise that if the gem doesn’t purchase two spellbooks, he’ll see that the one Pod gets burns. The tension between the two mages escalates, with Pod referring to Cues as an adept trying to manipulate them into babysitting, and Cues firing back that he is directly responsible for them finding Chickens to begin with, and then paying his life’s savings to keep them from arrest. Turqeel and Chickens try hard to diffuse the situation, and attention goes back to having Froderick track the kobolds.

Froderick follows the trail deep into the forest, at times having to backtrack. Chickens’ curse again manifests itself, and to his horror, Froderick is the target. This time, there seems to be no obvious effect, to Chickens’ great relief. The ground gets rockier and rockier as the hills begin to get steeper. The tracks become much harder to follow. Finally Froderick stops in frustration and announces that he has lost the trail. As the party discusses what to do, Froderick sits and digs out a small portion of the rations that Shaghorn has provided. He munches slowly, staring at the grass on his arm.

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Third Time's The Charm?

Where one party member has a change of heart, but the others still want to find out if monster families are flammable.

It is late morning. Our determined heroes apply the finishing touches on their makeshift grenades. The five tinkers who have decided to join in on the defense of their village are quite intrigued by the grenade idea. The party discusses the apparent weaknesses in their devices, and finally come up with the idea for Tomas to try to finagle a Spectral Hand spell enough to have it carry the bombs to the kobold house, and set them down there. Tomas will then Fireball the area, exploding the bombs. Plan in place, they start down towards the site of their past ass whoopins. While they debate, Rorek cradles his axe like a baby, and promises to feed it soon.

As they grow nearer to their destination, Russellbob finds himself thinking about the little koboldling that quietly reached out to him at the house window the night before. He thoughtfully asks the group, “I am curious though, where did we land with the family discussion? You guys know most of the kobolds there are women and pups, right?”

“Ya, that’s how we know that there is something bigger afoot. Raiding parties don’t bring families”, responds Froderick, paying more attention to his surroundings than Russellbob’s words. Turqeel realizes that he is need of a weapon, and Podmidor advises him to use a torch as a club. Rorek snorts, and indicates Russellbob and says, “Use the wee one!!!” and laughs uproarously. No one responds to this, but Rorek doesn’t notice.

When Russellbob expresses his concerns that this is not a war party, and they are about to burn to death a family that is just hanging out in the house, the five tinkers that have joined the group to help with the threat are beside themselves with anger and disgust. “They’reKOBOLDS!!! Evilsmellystupidsavageverminthathavecausedustroubleforgenerations! They’reworsethangoblins! Andyou’reworriedabouttheirfamilies??”

Russellbob stands up to their anger, insisting “I’m the only one who looked in the eyes of the pup that wouldn’t hurt anything, and more than half the kobolds there aren’t warriors!” At this, Froderick stops dead in his tracks, cranes his neck back to look to Russellbob who is riding on his backpack and asks, “What are you saying, Russellbob?”

Tomas and Cues are listening closely, and Turqeel asks “Ok guys, what are we going to do then?” Chickens shudders, then coldly says, “I think we should stick to the plan.” Rorek rolls his eyes dramatically, and in his best falsetto demonstrates nursing a baby and asks, “Oh, should we cuddle-wuddle the sweet widdle monster?” Ignoring Rorek, Cues asks Russellbob “Are you saying that they aren’t born little killers?”

Russellbob states, “What im saying is that I’ve had a change of heart. I didn’t really have time to think about it after getting back but what I saw there was some innocent families not rabid flesh eating monsters. Have any of you visited the camp?” No hands are raised, and only silence answers this question.

At this point, the other tinkers nearly explode with opinions.
“We’dbeattackedonsightifwewereevendclose”
“Theyalwaysattackusonsight,andusuallyingreaternubmers”
“Theyfleewhenthenumbersareeven”

Chickens, working to prove thier point, asks “How many gnomes have been killed by kobolds over the years?” The other gnomes all agree to his question quite emphatically, some even looking him in the face, despite the embarrassing missing nose. After a pause, Chickens follows with, “I say we stick to the plan, let’s get moving.” Turqeel agrees with “Families or not, they kill without mercy.”

Froderick tells Russellbob gently, “I was a soldier for years. I’ve seen things that make me shudder at night. The innocent always are the ones to pay when war comes. If we stop, do you think they will?”
“Has anyone asked them what they want?” Russellbob presses.
Turqeel: “ok, do we need to send a messenger?”

At this point, the other tinkers are starting to mutter and give very angry glances to Russellbob. The disagreement continues, then goes to a vote. Russellbob stands alone in his vote to ask questions first, and blow shit up later. Froderick makes one condition in the attack plans, to go in and do what they have to do, but they don’t kill any women or children that don’t attack first. The other five tinkers express displeasure at this notion. Finally, the party agrees to set off the bombs, and deal with any surviving women and children left with mercy, provided none attack first.

They elect to leaving the cart there, and carrying the grenades on foot to the occupied home. The group scans the trees and brush carefully as they progress forward, wary of another kobold trap. They bypass the House of the Dead Bear with no incident, and make it all the way to the house the kobolds are squatting in. From the road, they can only see a portion of the home, the rest is blocked by trees. The group spreads out a bit, so as not to fall victim all at once to another sudden rain of spears. Tomas needs to be in a place where he can see the home to plant the bombs. Russellbob is asked to sneak up and investigate the scene.

Making his way to the front of the home, Russellbob sees two kobolds leaning on spears, quietly talking in their native tongue. He slips around them, and goes to the side of the house where he first looked in and saw the kobolds before. He pulls himself up to look in the window, and sees one more male kobold with a spear, and two females, all dozing. The little one is still there, and is playing with a stick, banging it on the floor like a club. Russellbob’s foot slips, and scrapes on the side of the home. The young one looks over, and meets his eyes again. It doesn’t cry out, but instead stands up, and toddles over toward the window. At this point, Russellbob drops down, and begins to work his way back.

He is not nearly so silent on his return trip, and as he is crossing from the side of the house back across the front to get back to the party, the two kobolds become aware of his presence and start yapping/frauhausing in surprise and anger. One looks too caught off guard to act and the other jumps forward and hurls a spear. The spear flies wide, and Russellbob rushes back throught the trees and brush to the dubious safety of the party. He gets to the group and relates what has happened in a rush of words that even the tinkers are hard pressed to follow. The kobold giving chase spots rushes out of the trees, sees the party, and screeches to a halt in surprise. Turqeel steps forward and hurls one of his clay jars at the kobold as hard as he can. The jar crashes into the kobold’s face, splitting the jar and knocking the kobold from his feet.

Annnd that’s where we ended. Yup, that’s it. Right in the start of a potential fight or ass whoopin’, whichever way it has yet to go. It was late, and people needed to get up for various stupid responsibilities the next day. The kobold gets a faceful of a rather weighty clay jar filled with explosive goodies, and it’s lights out. Cut to black. Cue credits. To be continued.

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The Most Planned Out Kobold Extermination In History

I wonder if Orkin goes through this each day before dispatching their vans.

Chickens finally comes out of his stupor and realizes that he has a female body and inadequate clothing. He decides that this is an unacceptable combination, considering the pigs that he travels with. One Remove Curse and one donated clerical robe later, he is back in business.

The party gatheres enough sand for Tomas to cast Polymorph Any Object on, converting their harvest to one big pile of smokepowder. He also casts this on some water to add to the lamp oil donated by Shaghorn. Eighteen medieval grenades are thus lovingly created.

Upon arriving with the cart at the launching gnomeflinger, the party finds five tinkers that had decided to volunteer their services to help eradicate this stubborn kobold foothold in their village. Enter Keegan Eldersnoot, Girvin Rumblebeard, Tomlin Bashmantle, Cerin Kneefoottoe, and Lorcin Jones. Keegan has a new invention he would like to try. It is essentially a rifle barrel with a miniature catapult built on the top of it that fires sling stones. Inside the barrel are many gears and other tinker deemed necessities.

The group plans. And plans. And plans. Then plans a little more.

The group has finally come up with a plan that they are satisfied with and is now poised to take their homemade explosives beyond the site of their recent budding forest fire directly to the kobolds themselves.

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Banalities And Brainstorming.

One of those game nights.

Chickens still remains semi-conscious, coming to grips with finally achieving womanhood. The rest of the group tries to figure out how best to approach this kobold issue. They decide that if the kobolds have actual families with them, this is not a simple raiding party. Something must be driving them out. Something bigger is afoot. So, how best can they find out what it is without having their asses handed to them by a bunch of creatures much weaker and less intelligent than they are?

They finally come up with the idea to have Russellbob and someone go sneak in the back, while the rest of the group causes a big distraction in front. To cause the distraction, they ask Shaghorn to go through the village, and find all the clay pots, smokepowder (blackpowder) and stray metal bits that he can gather. They will try to create wicks, and make grenades. As the party is wearing out it’s welcome, Shaghorn agrees to hopefully expedite their departure time.

While he is gathering said items, Turqeel goes and bathes in the creek down the way. The water is COLD, and creatures downstream are adversely affected by what comes from his robes. Fish die, and frogs relocate. It’s a mini-environmental disaster. If frogs could vow revenge, Turq would find himself in an amphibian war.

The rest of the party goes to the inn for breakfast. Turqeel, still wet, joins them after killing the wildlife at the creek. The innkeep’s main interest is when are they leaving with Chickens. It seems that the near catastrophic forest fire has the village on their last nerve.

Shaghorn returns with 18 pots, 2 bags of powder, and a bunch of metal bits. There is only enough powder to make 6 jars. Then the idea comes up to magically create more, and Tomas suggests that he cast Polymorph Any Object on some sand and rocks to make more smokepowder…blackpowder…whatever.

Annnnd that’s where we left off. The group is set to take the cart of jars and such down to the gnomeflinger, and go from there.

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Other Stuff Then Sudden Boobies

Yup, you heard me right. Boobies!! I could’ve made a witty remark pertaining to chicken breast, but I’m taking the low road.

On this night, Chickens still claws his way between life and death. The rest of the group waits restlessly in the mansion, passing time as best as they can, and waiting. But right now, we aren’t focused on them. We’ll return to their idiocy in a while. Now, we drift through the night to the southern end of Tinkerhaven, where we find Russellbob in the hallway of a perhaps not so willingly abandoned home.

Russellbob stands just inside the broken front door of the house where the diseased bear came out of. The darkness down the hall is absolute and the odors of urine and unwashed body is thick in the air. Russellbob trails his hand along the wall as he creeps forward, regretting this very shortly after as he finds the wall to be damp and sticky. Deeper into the darkness, he hears brief rustling noises, and small whimpers. Stepping through the darkness, Russellbob gets his feet tangled in some type of cloth. He manages not to fall, but at the noise, the whimpering stops immediately. Holding absolutely still in the darkness, Russellbob briefly entertains a fantasy about waterfowl of ill repute before continuing slowly onward. Progressing onward, Russellbob finds maintaining silence becomes more and more difficult as more unseen debris litters the floor. Russellbob reaches the end of the wall, which makes a 90 degree turn to the left. The darkness within is absolute. Deciding that the danger within is too great, he then turns back and makes his out of the building to the safety of the bear carcass outside. Heading toward the open door provides enough ambient nocturnal light to make his trip out slightly easier than his journey in.

Sticking to the outside of the house Russellbob works his way to the rear of the home, his shadow mingling with the shadows from the trees. The night has grown quite chilly, and Russellbob can see his breath. Trying diligently to maintain silence, he manages to step on every stick and leaf on they way, making himself the noisiest shadow in the night. Russellbob moves from tree to tree, following the shadows from one to another, and makes his way out past the house, and deeper into the woods. The smell of smoke is still prevalent from the day’s earlier mini forest fire. The clouds pass by the moon, at times reducing visibility dramatically. Then, to his left, Russellbob hears the semi-canine sounds of kobolds. Moving as if a piece of the night itself, he moves through the trees. Over a small hill, Russellbob has to slowly crawl through some bushes and ground scrub until he finally is able to make out two kobolds in the night. They are facing generally to Russellbob’s left, back towards the main part of the village. They carry no light, and while definitely not all that intelligent, they are not behaving like blood thirsty beasts. The kobolds are conversing in that hausfrau/dachsund language of thiers, and gesturing both towards the village, and looking back from where they came. In the dim light, Russelbob can’t make out many specifics. Russellbob quietly, carefully works his way around them and past. He is shivering from lying on the cold ground when he sees a light through the trees. Getting closer, Russellbob sees that the light is coming out from an open window on the side of a gnomish home.

Lying on his sickbed, back in Reorx’s temple, Chickens bolts upright from a particularly painful clot passing through his heart, and yells “They gave me 100 gold pieces for my old one!!” Most of this is vocalized through the spear wound in his neck, but a suddenly awakened Shaghorn gets the gist of it.

In the mansion, Turqeel is praying and giving devotions. Instead of the feel of power he normally has with this, he feels uneasy and a bit anxious.

Meanwhile, as Chickens is disclosing his past business transactions, Russellbob makes his way to the window of the house, and peers inside like the little peeping tom that he is. Being a gnomish home, the windowsill isn’t much higher than the top of Russellbob’s head. Pullinig himself up and peering in, like the village’s smallest voyeur, he sees at least a dozen kobolds sitting in a wide area of what must’ve been a workroom. They are burning furniture from the house and wood from outside. Benches have been pushed aside to make room. He notices not only kobold warriors, but five females (btw, they’re NOT hot), and a very young one. It lays next to it’s mother, sucking on the end of it’s tail, looking around with wide eyes. As Russellbob is taking in the scene, one of his feet slips a little against the outside of the house, making a slight scratching sound. The little one looks directly at him. Russellbob freezes in place and watches for any other reactions, or more reaction from the kolboldling. It only stares at him curiously. It’s eyes move to its mother for a moment. Then back to the brownie head in the window. The mother kobold is dozing fitfully by the remainder of a workbench that is burning. A couple other larger (for kobolds) males are arguing over an axe. Some type of meat burns on the fire. The little one reaches a clawed hand out toward Russellbob for a moment, then goes back to playing with it’s tail. Lowering himself back to the ground, Russellbob makes his way to the front of the house, where he finds a bored kobold standing guard, sharpening a spear. Quietly and nervously, Russellbob backtracks his way through the woods, circling wide around the area where the two kobolds were previously. Other than an aggressive pricker bush, he encounters no other creatures as he makes his way back to the House of the Dead Bear. From there, he sneaks forward until he can see the gnomeflinger with the downed net sticking up against the horizon, and uses his dimension door ability to travel to it. From there, quite drained, he walks the rest of the way to Shaghorn’s temple. Upon entering the temple, Russellbob finds Cues snoozing in a chair, waiting for his return. Cues wakes up and greets Russellbob, who responds by totally leaving Cues hanging. Russellbob walks right past him to the shimmery area in the air where the entrance to the mansion is, and without a look back, enters. He goes directly to his room, and asks for a bath to be prepared. He is chilled to the bone, and the hot water is heavenly.

Candy.

Turqeel decides to make filth soup, and takes a bath. He asks the semiopaque butler to clean his robe. The butlers are supposed to be just mindless constructs of the spell that created the mansion, but Turqeel is pretty sure that he detects an air of disapproval as the butler picks his robe up between two outstretched fingers and leaves. Turqeel soaks for a long time, reveling in the sensation of feeling clean. Long after his bath water has cooled, and his robe has been returned clean, but stained, he gets out and towels off.

A SLAM is heard out in the hallway, and Turqeel and Russellbob both dress and go to investigate. Turqeel’s robe is instantly encrusted in filth. It just seeps into the robe, complete with flies buzzing around it. The stench is terrible. Russellbob’s robe is not at all filthy. It is instead rather adorable. The two knock on a door or two trying to find the source of the noise. At the second door, Froderick sticks his head out. He has a stupid dark blue/light blue night cap on, and looks like he’s just been roused. He is quite pleased to see his friend back safely, and gets a brief report before retiring back to bed.

Turqeel takes yet another bath, and decides that if he sleeps nude, he’ll at least have clean sheets. He never asks for the butler’s opinion on this decision. By the time he is done soaking again, he is exhausted. However, his dreams provide him with little rest. He dreams of a realm of wailing souls. There is a huge tower, and the outside of it is made up of people. They are standing on each other, trapped into the surface of the tower itself. Bugs fly in a thick cloud about them, biting them, stinging them, nesting in them. The cursing and wailing is deafening. Turqeel knows there is a message in this, but can’t quite figure it out. Whatever it is, he doesn’t like it.

Hours later, Tomas rouses everyone by banging on doors, urging them to gather their belongings and leave the mansion. Turqeel covers himself with a sheet, instead of soiling another clean robe. Podmidor falls down the stairs hard enough to take damage while trying to navigate them with his head still reversed. Again, the group must traverse their way through a group of tearful butlers. They really seem to hate goodbyes!

When Turqeel steps out of the mansion, he finds himself instantly BUCK ASS NEKKID, his scrawny little ass on display for all to see. Shaghorn and Cues stand wide-eyed, trying to look everywhere but at Turqeel. Speaking slowly, an oddity for tinker gnomes, Shaghorn greets him with, “Uh…Reorx’s blessing this morning…” Turqeel hastily dresses, and
immediately, the robe becomes grimed and filthy. AGAIN, the flies buzz around him.
The stench of mold, rot, old vegetables, and skunk urine fills the air.

Ignoring the stench, Shaghorn says, “GoodtimingIwasjustgettingreadytoseewhatIcandoforChickens”. As Shaghorn begins to cast over Chickens, a hush falls over the room. A light gathers over Shag’s holy symbol as he prays,casts, and chants. The light suffuses Chickens as well…who begins screaming in pain. The hole in his neck closes, the hole in his sternum closes…The pain coursing through Chickens is unbearable, as if every molecule were at once set afire and electrocuted. Shaghorn is stunned, never having seen a healing be received in such a manner. As the warm light of the healing sinks into Chickens body, he shrieks in pain and…changes…The rest of the party is aware of the changes, but Chickens is only aware of the agony. His beard grows thinner, and nearly vanishes…his features become more rounded…softer…as his chest wound closes, beneath the shredded cloth the party sees the flesh begin to grow until two healthy B cups stare at them gloriously.

BAHAHA” bursts from Pod, the guy with his head on backwards, as his arm awkwardly extends behind his body to point at Chickens. The rest of the party is at once stunned and embarrassed. Froderick rolls his eyes and exclaims, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!” Chickens has passed out from the pain. Shaghorn sprinkles water on his face, and Chickens comes to, gagging on the smell from Turqeel’s robes. He is as yet unaware of his new accessories.

As Chickens is become aware of the surroundings and his place within them, Shaghorn casts Remove Curse on both Podmidor and Turqeel. Podmidor’s head returns to facing the correct direction, but Turqeel’s robes still remain dirty and repulsive. As Pod relishes the feeling of being able to look down and see the front of his body, Turqeel begins pressing to find a bath that he can use.

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Nyctophobia!! Get Yer Nyctophobia!! Now In New Improved Yellow!

You’re here, there’s everything to fear, and I know that my heart will go on.

We start by dipping back in time a bit. As the party is trying to fight falling gnomes and catch fire…wait, that might not be right… Chickens is lying on a cot in the Shaghorn’s temple, his body trying in vain either live or die, but accomplishing neither. During this time, he has visions and a flashback to his time shackled to a fallen tree next to Midway Lake on the Plains of Calenthia. Details of said flashback can be found here.

Since trying the basic forward approach has resulted in our heroes having their collective asses handed to them twice in a row, the group decides to try something a little different, i.e. thinking out a plan ahead of time. The group plans for Russellbob to head south at night to try to scout out the kobolds, and find out what is going on. Tomas casts Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion and the group enters. The mansion is differnent on the inside yet again, with a marvelous white spiral staircase leading upstairs. The shifty-featured, ghostly butlers are present. After some discussion, and some issues with Pod climbing the spiral staircase, the group rests and waits for night to come so that Russellbob can go scouting. When enough time passes for darkness to fall outside the mansion’s extradimensional space, the party exits long enough to see Russellbob off. Tomas casts armor on him to help protect him from those pesky pointy kobold spears. Pod tries to cast mount to help him get closer to his destination a bit faster, but hoses the spell and turns everyone in the area invisible. This takes a few moments to sort out.

Chickens continues to yo-yo between life and death, caught up in the worst game of ping pong ever.

Froderick walks with Russellbob as far as the gnomeflinger towards the center of the village that launches south. A precautionary sign has been put on it to discourage further gnomes from using it. Russellbob, doing his best to keep to the darkest shadows as he works his way through the sopping wet ash and soot, makes it through the burnt woods to the house where the first kobold battle went down. The temperature is dropping, and Russellbob begins to see his breath in the air. His progress is slow, as the moon is only at three-quarters phase and some uncooperative clouds cover it much of the time. The dead bear is still there, starting to stink. The house is dark, and Russellbob is unable to see much more than general shapes in the gloom. Russellbob enters the door, and stands in the main hallway. It reeks of urine and body odors.

The rest of the group reenters the mansion after Froderick and Russellbob leave and retires, except for Cues. Cues follows Pod into his room, and confesses to still having the Alexandrite gem that he got back from Hodge Gajados after the catastrophe at Harbvog. A long conversation takes place, where Cues asks Pod to talk Froderick into letting him join the group permanently as an equal, and for Pod to teach him magic. Pod demands that Cues become his apprentice. Shocked, Cues very unhappily agrees, knowing he is trapped between a rock and a hard place. Pod takes the gem, and assigns Pod the task of getting them new spellbooks. Cues is angered about this, as the gem was his means to acquire the necessary materials. Cues leaves Pod’s room, and after Froderick returns, all seems quiet.

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Falling Gnomes and Rising Smoke

When it rains gnomes, try not to splash in the puddles.

Froderick arrives at Reorx’s temple pulling behind a gently floating Chickens. Shaghorn opens the door and looks at Chickens, and then glances at the position of the sun in the sky. He then looks back to Chickens, and then back to the position of the sun in the sky and says, ”Really…? Are you sure you’ve done this before?” Froderick’s face flushes all the way up to his pate as he pushes his way in with a moaning Chickens, and takes him back to the sickroom and lays him down on a cot.

Meanwhile, back at the gnomeflinger, the woods behind the it are starting to burn merrily due to Pod setting fire to the webbing that was entrapping the kobolds. Tomas watches the fire move from the webbing to the trees, and mutters, “Not again…” Rorek also is taking notice that something is amiss in the treeline, while Russellbob takes measure of Podmidor’s wounds. The mages all come to the realization that while they can set a fire like nobody’s business, they lack the means to extinguish their handiwork. As smoke bellows up from the trees, alarm bells begin to clang back in the village proper. Rorek makes the observation, “Fellow that hired us is going to be happy…..”

Back in Shaghorn’s temple of Reorx, Shaghorn is studying the rusty handaxe lodged in Chickens’ breastbone. Chickens’ pallor has become clammy and white and the blood that at first poured generously from the wound has now become a dull trickle. Shaghorn looks on in wonder as Chickens’ heart stops beating altogether, then a moment later starts back up for a few beats as Chickens draws a ragged breath. When he grabs the handle of the axe and attempts to pull it out, it grinds on Chickens’ breastbone causing him to hoarsely cry out in agony. “I have no idea what’s keeping him alive”, Shaghorn exclaims in wonder. “He has almost no blood left.” With a mighty yank, Shaghorn rips the hand axe free of Chickens’ chest. Chickens jolts upwards, screaming a mighty roar of anguish, eyes fixed on Shaghorn. He then drops back to the blankets and his heart stops…only to raggedly begin to beat a mere moment later.

Back at the site of the fire, our heroes are gravely taking in the quickly worsening situation. As they debate on how to best fight the spreading fire they also wonder if the smoke is going to draw more kobolds, or drive them away. It is at this point that the first of the fire brigade is spotted, high in the air and coming in fast. A gnome with a bucket in each hand comes arcing in rapidly to the landing net…which is lying on the ground. The gnome sees this, and yells in terror and starts flailing his arms in the air, buckets flying wide. As Rorek lines himself up to get a better view of the landing site, Podmidor hollars “Hold on fella, I got ya!” and begins to cast. The gnome slows to the speed of a drifting feather, the terrified look on his face turns to disbelief, then confusion, then finally relief. He drifts slowly to the ground, trying to ignore the soiling of his britches.

As Rorek grumbles at fate’s apparent lack of humor, the newly arrived gnome informs the party that other gnomes are coming and have to be stopped. After deciphering the blur of speech, Cues, Podmidor, Rorek and the gnome all run to the net and grab a corner. Tomas says, “I’m going to go for help” and pulls a silver helm out of his bag. Etched into the metal is what appears to be a world map. Tomas says a very quiet word, and vanishes. The next gnome comes sailing in, eyes wide and buckets falling aside as he sees what is below him. Turqeel yells “BRAAACCCEEEE!!!” and everyone pulls hard on their corner of the net as the hapless tinker comes plowing in. The net, already damaged by Podmidor’s Flaming Sphere rips further, and the net is yanked from the hands of the Gnome of the Wet Pants. The incoming gnome slams hard to the ground and cries out in pain as his arm bends out sideways at a most unnatural angle. A SNAP is heard, loud enough to shrink every sac in the party.

Turqeel rushes about to find a pair of suitable sticks that are not already on fire to make a splint, and is only half successful. Podmidor verifies with the Gnome of the Wet Pants that more gnomes are going to be coming in, and the flow must be stopped. Shaking off his agony, the Gnome of the Broken Arm rushes over provide whatever assistance he can to the Gnome of the Wet Pants with his corner of the net. Another gnome comes soaring in, and while the party is able to pull the net taught enough to avoid fatality, the net tears yet further in the burned area, and the gnome slams the ground, knocking the air from him. Podmidor is nearly brained by a flying bucket.

In Reorx’s temple, Shaghorn is mixing herbs to create a potion to keep Chickens asleep. Froderick is watching earnestly when suddenly Tomas appears standing barely an inch in front of Froderick’s face. Froderick jumps back startled, his sickle appearing in his hand nearly too fast for the eye to follow. Ignoring Froderick’s surprise, Tomas gives the news of the gnomeflinger and the downed net. The three of them nearly get stuck in the door trying to rush out to stops the fire brigade gnomes from using the gnomeflinger to reach the blaze.

Podmidor gets the bright idea to cast bind on the net to reattach it to the support posts. However, not having a spellbook to freshen the runes in his mind, the magical weave escapes his control and goes wild. Podmidor’s casting The entire party stops and stares as Podmidor starts screaming his spell in agony, and his head starts slowly twisting around on the top of his neck. Even then, Podmidor is unable to end his casting. When the spell is finished, Podmidor slumps to the ground, with his head facing completely backwards. He is able to turn his head from side to side, but unable to turn it to face forward again.

While the party stares at Pod, the Gnome of the Broken Arm yells, “INCOMING!!” Everyone grabs their corner of the net and pulls tight, except Pod, who is too disoriented to act. The Gnome Who Was Winded scrambles to get to Pod’s corner in time, but is too late. The gnome slams into the net, which is held on three corners. He is screaming in terror as he comes down, and there is a very deep THUD, and he goes silent. Blood begins to pour from his nose and ears.

As the other gnomes crowd around their fallen companion, trying in vain to wake him up, the party watches for more gnome bombs. The sky becomes quiet. Turqeel uses his 2 torches and some rope from his bag to make a successful splint for the Gnome of the Broken Arm.

Froderick and Tomas ride in on Phantom Steeds. They have given word to the fire brigade at the gnomeflinger towards the village center. The brigade arrives a few moments behind them, on foot. In a surprisingly short amount of time, suggesting that this is something that the tinkers may have to do more often than other races, they have a fire brigade set up and are passing buckets of water. However, some are taken about by Podmidor’s condition, and take a few moments longer to form up.

As the buckets are being passed down the line, Podmidor tries to get used to having his hands facing downwards when he has them in “front” of him now. He fumes, believing Chickens to be at the root of the issue. Turqeel, Cues, Froderick, and Tomas all get into the line and help passing buckets. Rorek picks up Headsplasher, and begins to closely inspect it, until Turqeel notices and comes over to ask for it back. Rorek joins in digging a trench to try to stop the fire.

The next hours become an exhausting blur of smoke, soot, shovels, water buckets and blistered hands. Some are passing water buckets, some are digging trenches, and all are sweating and wearing themselves down with the mixture of raw physical exertion and breathing smoky air.

Suddenly, Tomas puts his shovel down, and goes to the woods and casts in front of the fire. He then moves about 30 feet into the woods and casts again. At first, no one knows what he is doing until the flames reach stop advancing. It’s as if a line has been drawn that the flames can’t cross. Finally, another spell is cast that brings forth a wall of wind that pushes the flames back.

The fire, denied fresh fuel, begins to die down. The turbulence behind the fire ends
A ragged cheer goes up from the exhausted gnomes. However, the buckets continue until it is evident that the flames will no longer spread. The woods in this area are burned to the ground, leaving a huge smoking, sooty area that is all too familiar to those that survived the Calenthian prairie fire. Froderick is standing bent over, hands on knees, breathing heavily
Shaghorn walks up to Froderick, and says something quietly. Froderick shakes his head. Shaghorn’s face darkens slightly, and he turns and starts walking back towards Pod and Russellbob. Podmidor asks Shaghorn, " Don’t suppose ya ever seen something like this before, eh?" Shaghorn says tiredly, which slows his speech down, “Oh, I’ve seen fires. Chickens’ home was a ball of fire just days ago. But I’ve never seen anything like your group. It’s a wonder any of you are alive at all. I can’t help you with that (he points to Pod’s head) today”

At this point, the party takes stock of their injuries, and realizes that they need a new plan going forward. It appears that their strategy of just walking up and merrily taking a head on approach is not working for them. At this point they discuss Russellbob’s potential to sneak in and get a look around. They decide to go back to Reorx’s temple, where Tomas will once again cast Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion. The faceless butler’s are discussed, as well as Cues’ desire for a new spellbook. Turqeel suggests that he’d like to get one at some point himself. Spellbook, not a faceless butler. Tomas and Frod flank Pod as the group makes their way north through the village to the Temple of Reorx. At first, Pod’s pace is excruciatingly slow, as the wrong foot moves when he wants, and his first initial reaction with his arms are to move them forwards in a normal way, not backwards. The group notices that the looks they are getting from the Gnomes of the village aren’t as friendly as they were at first. Children appear to not even be allowed outside.

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Careful With That Axe, Eugene

Death to the left of me, living to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you.

Seeing a huge tower of smoke in the distance from a couple of days before, Rorek the dwarf has decided to follow it to its source. He arrives in Tinkerhaven and asks for directions to the nearest tavern from a gnome who is trying in vain to pound a copper fitting onto an odd looking handle that is on a helmet being worn by a very unappreciative horse. The directions are confusing, and Rorek winds up in front of a temple of Reorx. To the side of the temple are two gnomes working on a wagon with three levers up by the driver’s seat. They are trying to install some type of T-bar into the back of it.

Meanwhile, inside the temple, the group has been resupplied by Shaghorn, as promised. Russelbob has not gotten a backpack, as one his size was still being made, and there was an issue with the leather stitching machine. The group gradually filters outside to head off to shoo away the kobolds, and get on with their lives. Outside, they see Rorek trying in vain to get directions to the tavern from the gnomes who are “tryingtotakethepushoutofthepushmobile.” Giving up on directions to the tavern, Rorek negotiates a price to join the party on their excursion.

As negotiations are underway, one of the gnomes begins turning the T-bar in the back of the push mobile. When he is done, he gives a thumbs up to his companion, who is waiting on the drivers seat. When the “go” lever is released, the “pushlesspushmobile” makes a thunderous BANG, fires the T-bar high into the air, and rockets out of control off into the trees. The gnome driving it is launched headfirst into the forest, and Shaghorn and the T-bar winding gnome rush to assist him. The T-bar is never heard from again.

After a brief disagreement, the group decides to approach the southern end of the village on foot. On the way, Chickens’s curse erupts, and the blade of Froderick’s sickle is lined with a cold, blue fire. When they arrive at the southern landing net, they see that it has been cut down, and laid out on the ground. Horrified by what could have happened, Chickens concentrates frantically on getting the net fixed before some other gnome decides to travel this way. The blue flames on Froderick’s sickle have extinguished. As the group is trying to figure out how to get the ropes reattached, they fail to hear the sounds of stealthy movements in the trees behind them.

With a war cry that sounds like an excited puppy mating with an angry German dictator, a near dozen kobolds materialize from the treeline, and launch a barrage of spears at the party. Rorek, Chickens and Podmidor (who experiences firsthand deja-vu) take injuries from the volley. The party scatters as the kobolds rush to close quarters. With a blast that leaves the party disoriented and near deafened, Tomas casts a sizzling lightning bolt. Four of the kobolds are blasted back into the trees where the electrical bolt causes further damage, destroying several trees and a hapless nest of squirrels. While Rorek sets to receive the charge, Turqeel hides behind the gnomeflinger, and Russelbob hides behind a pole that is supposed to hold the net, blending in an amazing display of camouflage. Four of the kobolds turn tail and run back into the scorched trees, while three, incited by an ancient ancestral rage at seeing Chickens, continue their headlong attack. One kobold sinks a spiked club into Rorek’s shield, who responds by removing his attacker’s arms with a swipe of his battleaxe. The other two continue on to rush Chickens.

Chickens, who has collapsed to his knees from the spear wound in his side, struggles to raise Headsplasher to defend himself. Time seems to falter as the rusty, notched blade of the kobold’s hand axe comes down in an arc, as if in slow motion. Froderick launches himself towards the attackers, but is too far away. The axe crunches into the center of Chickens’ chest, lodging itself in his breast bone. Chickens’ eyes widen in shock and surprise. Headsplasher slips from suddenly numb fingers. Time catches up again as an instant later, the second kobold skewers Chickens’ neck. Chicken collapses to the ground, axe still in his chest.

Cues screams “NOOO!!!”, in rage and denial and steps forward, fanning his fingers outwards, casting. A brilliant fan of colors streams from his fingers, flowing over the kobolds. They promptly slump to the ground, unconscious. Froderick jumps in, and with his sickle decapitates one sleeping kobold, and then turns and buries the blade in the head of the other. Chickens is lying on his back, axe in his chest. He is gasping for air when Rorek limps over, looks down for a second and dismissively says, “I’ve had worse.”

Chickens lies on the ground, blood burbling up with every breath…but somehow death is just out of reach. Chickens shudders, his body trying to die. Something is impeding the final release into death, and is keeping him just hanging on its ragged edge. Chickens reaches up, weakly trying to remove the axe. The grinding feel of steel on bone is enough for him to finally fall into the depths of unconsciousness. Cues vomits as chickens eyes slip shut, and limp fingers fall from the axe handle.

Froderick yells for Tomas to cast phantom steed. A dark, misty, silent horse is created, and Froderick mounts up. Instead of jostling Chickens to pass him up to Froderick, Tomas casts levitate. Chickens rises up into the air, to the height of Froderick. Froderick grabs Chickens’ hand, and guides the horse back towards Shaghorn, towing a gently floating semi-dead gnome alongside. Through all of this, Russellbob maintains his position hiding against the net support post, and Rorek takes the opportunity to loot the kobold’s bodies.

Cues is disgusted with Rorek’s timing, and Rorek is disgusted with is haul, finding only a handful of copper pieces between the three bodies. He scatters these across the ground. Turqeel asks if the group wants to head on, or turn back as Cues looks at the scene in disbelief. Podmidor sits quietly, nursing his wounds. Even Rorek is of the opinion that perhaps a healing would be a good thing.

In the distance through the woods, the party becomes aware of the yapping of more angry German canines, and brace themselves for another encounter. Five kobolds burst from the edge of the woods stopping short to throw spears. Rorek steps up and throws a hand axe as if he doesn’t want it anymore. Seriously, it passes high over their heads and off into the woods behind them. They actually completely stop what they are doing to watch it fly by overhead, and glance at each other for a second. Tomas steps up and begins casting, while the kobolds, regaining their focus, let spears fly. One kobold had much better aim then Rorek, scoring a hit on the the dwarf with a spear. Pod is also hit in the lower leg. He screams in pain and frustration. As the spears rain down, Turqeel also starts casting. The tree branches next to the kobolds grow down and start looping around them, as the grass and weeds beneath their feet sprout up around their legs. Simultaneously, a ridiculously thick layer of webs from Tomas’ spell covers everything in the area, immobilizing both the kobolds and the growing fauna. The web covers a large area around the kobolds, up into the trees, and several paces into the woods. They are totally debilitated.

With a determined look, Pod says, “I got this”, and begins to cast. When he is finished muttering nonsense, a SIX FOOT DIAMETER BALL OF HOT-ASS FIRE appears in front of him. It towers over him, flames crackling hungrily. Still maintaining his steely glare, Pod mentally pushes it slowly towards the webbing. The net immediately is set ablaze where the sphere rolls over it. Kobold bodies, spears, natural debris and insects are also consumed as it rolls closer to the trapped aggressors. The web covered lumps start to move frantically, and screams of terror begin before the fire ever gets to them. When the flames touch the webbing, the area is engulfed instantly. The screams of terror turn into eerily dog-like shrieks of torment. After a moment, the tormented cries die down. But not the flames, oh, no. The flames continue to burn through the trees.

Turqeel takes up Headsplasher and walks to the edge of the burnt area, looking for survivors. All that is left are blackened, charred skeletons. Rorek walks closer, looking into the flames in the trees for a moment before deciding that he’s probably not going get that hand axe back. The hand axe sits, imbedded into a lightning-scarred tree, silently awaiting it’s fiery fate.

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