The second podcast, where the characters and players are introduced to 5th Edition.

Drinking God Rules:

Rule 1 from Kellnorin “Breaking the Seal”
If a player leaves the table to use the bathroom, the remaining players can collectively finish a full drink and make them take a shot upon returning.
Rules 2 from @halfwithalfling “Playing with matches”
Everyone Drinks whenever someone deals fire or lightning damage because lightning burns so bad it might as well be fire.
The Gaul fall is also in effect this Session.

Characters:

Locations in this episode:

  • Greyhaven - a great city that lies in the Greenwald to the west.

Jokes introduced:

Play-By-Play

Prologue 003 continues directly where 002 left off…

To set the scene, the two guards are about 10-15 feet away from the door with Findizzle, next to the Duke. The Captain of the Guards is between the group and Findizzle.

Mack cries out “Not so fast, fellas. Hey, I learned this trick at an Ashleigh Simpson concert.” And using the cantrip blade ward he summons a magical beer bottle net in front of himself. A blue glowing force of beer bottles and chicken wire appears and Mack, staring intensely at the guards, slowly begins to back up.

Enraged and shaken at the table, Agholor grips the table top and stands up, “Stop!” he yells. All 7’11” of him rises into the room. Petulantly he cries out “Stop” again, like a child who hasn’t gotten their way and Agholor moves to intercept the guards and grab Findizzle. Easily overpowering the guards he yanks Findizzle from their grasp, immediately putting him behind his massive frame, like a mama bear protecting her cub. Findizzle gasps.

Chancho notices the other guards begin to mobilize and the Duke is very alarmed. He drops from the balcony onto the shoulders of the Duke, both short swords drawn and wrapping his legs around the Duke’s neck. He knocks the Duke to the ground, Chancho planted on his chest with his swords pressed firmly to the temples of the Duke. He shows his teeth grimly.

The Captain of the Guard and the two guards close then upon Agholor with the intent of bringing him harm. The first guard misses, his sword ringing loudly off the cobblestones. The second swings a nasty cutting cross, but Agholor dances back, out of range. As Agholor fends off the two guards the Captain moves to flank him. As he does so, he draws his sword, a glittering silver longsword that almost leaves a shimmering trail behind it as he swings. He misses with a slash and then pulls back, lunging forward with a stab that takes Agholor in the back. Agholor, enraged, ignores much of the wound and exclaims, “Hey! I didn’t hit anyone! That wasn’t very nice!”

The Captain of the Guard’s eyes widen in shock as he sees how little harm he’s done the Goliath and he mutters “Oh, you’re a big one.”

The Duke, pinned to the ground by Chancho, stammers and stutters and the large, silver amulet around his neck begins to grow warm. A fine, high pitched whine can almost imperceptibly be heard just before one of the front windows smashes in. A construct; a eleven foot (no nine foot, no eight foot, no 7’11”) tall man-shaped figure wearing armor made of steel and wood charges through the window and into the fracas, knocking patrons aside. Eyes widening, Chancho whispers to the Duke quickly “I wasn’t going to hurt you.” Moving at full speed the construct hits the ground into a roll and comes up with a fist right for Chancho’s head. Chancho notices that the amulet has the same symbol on it that is emblazoned on the chest of the shield guardian but he cares not as Chancho quickly stabs the Duke in the head with his readied action. As he carves into the side of the Duke’s head, his sword cuts down from temple down the side of his jaw and finally stops, digging into the soft part of his neck. Blood spills forth onto the Duke’s doublet as the Construct’s fist connects with Chancho. Flung from the Duke’s shoulders Chancho is also flung from consciousness as he topples, lifeless, to the tavern floor.
Sollen sees Chancho fall from the Duke’s shoulders. He sees Chancho on the floor a few feet away. Running up to Chancho he lays on hands upon Chancho’s brow bestowing life once again into his dying frame. His hands light up with sparks, he says absolutely nothing, and in fact his hands don’t even touch Chancho as the light penetrates deep inside of him and grants him life.

It is at this time that Brian returns from the bathroom and the party has madly scrambled to finish a drink and force Brian to take a shot. Crennan is put out because Acker knew where Brian had gone and didn’t tell anyone, but nonetheless the rule is enforced and everyone thanks Kellnorin for the drinking god rule. Brian does a shot of tequila in a Splinter glass.

The patrons of the Drunken Gryphon Tavern are confused, aren’t these a bunch of clowns about town, drunk clowns, having a good time? And where did this enraged and chittering Halfling come from?

Zorticus looks around, notices the Duke on the ground, wounded within ten feet of the door. After observing everything so far, he gives a comical wince and he moves towards the exit. As he passes by the Duke he swiftly reaches down to rip the amulet from the Duke’s neck. Failing to act in a stealthy way he all too obviously flashes his knife to the Duke who sees Zorticus’ intent. Zorticus adjusts. He places his hand upon the Duke’s wound and quietly breathes the spell friend into the Duke’s face.
The Duke looks up to Zorticus and breathes “oh, the deaf mute! Thank god you’re here.” Zorticus then deftly and deafly attempts to persuade him to pass on his amulet so it doesn’t get bloody. The Duke resists, saying “oh, I couldn’t possibly pass on to you this amulet. This is the master amulet that allows me to control the shield guardian. As long as I wear it, and no one damages it (because it only has 10 hit points), I’ll be able to successfully control the shield guardian and protect myself!”
Zorticus smiles and with understanding caresses and cradles the Duke’s head in a friendly way. “Thank you, deaf mute!” the Duke murmurs happily. And Zorticus, with the nails that he has bitten down to points are poised over the Duke’s skin while he concentrates on the spell.

Roofer looks about, unable to see a way to resolve the situation before him so he, too, closes in on the Duke to take the amulet from his person. With Zorticus so close to the Duke’s face, he doesn’t notice Roofer’s approach. Zorticus moves away as Roofer tries to push him off the Duke though to an untrained eye perhaps it looked like Roofer pushed him. Roofer murmurs “Sorry mate, just give me a little room.” The Duke responds with his voice raised for the first time ever “Deaf mute! Where are you going?” Roofer’s attempt to remove the amulet fails with the Duke noticing him for the first time. As he gasps the shield guardian turns purposefully towards Roofer.

Mack has now backed up all the way to the wall. “All right!” He shouts into the tavern. He knows when he’s in the midst of potential fans or not, and right now all the blood on the floor would suggest… not fans. But, god dangit, there was a point when everyone in the realm knew one of his songs. As a hail mary pass, Mack sings his most popular song, in the hopes of having everyone finally recognize his fame and give his group a pass on this fiasco. Bringing his guitar to the table, Tom Fonss creates a song in the moment, to which Crennan gives him advantage for:

Mack leaps to a table top and exultantly shouts out “All right, I’ll play it.” He reckons that it’s his most popular song “yeah, I’ll you the backstory behind this. You know, like, everybody, you got different phases, you got awkward phases, you got good phases. Musicians are no different. Oh, god, I done every genre under the sun. Synth, pop, reggae, rock. I also did a concept album called ‘Captain Calaco’s Crazy Caravan of Clowns’ but the cover art on that was terrifying and it didn’t sell very well. I also jumped on a trend called Emo, and this is my Emo song. This is Bed of Stars” Mack didn’t know anything about Emo but he was like ‘I think I get it.’ He’d listened to a lot of Blink 182, My Chemical Romance and A.F.I. and Death Cab for Cutie and was like, I’ll cash in on a trend, sure.

I wrote you a letter last summer in Duldorn
But you didn’t pay attention to me, to me, to me
‘Cause my lip ring, had gotten infected
It swelled up and everything
My punk rock angel sleeps on a, bed of stars
Right down at the end of my cul de sac
Pinned on her sweater of her favorite band
And cat eyed glasses so she can see
Things like my infected lip ring.
Do you think it’s strange that I sing about teenage angst?
When I’m nearly 40?
Yeah, ok. You got me. I’m 207.

David Crennan finally puts in a plug for his other Podcast, Never Tell me the Odds, which is great, btw, and Mack gets to tell the tale here.

As the song develops the patrons start to catch on, nodding their heads and beginning to smile at the lyrics. By the time the song finishes they’re ready to buy the entire group a round, and the patrons go crazy with exuberance over the song and a small localized riot breaks out. The stuffed shirted upper crust types pick up and leave and things get rough. The group gets their butts kicked.

We pick up the next day as the group moves to flee. The Captain of the Guard has put out the word that persons matching their description are to be apprehended. There are poor police sketches of the group mounted to poles and around town. In all of the chaos Findizzle was dragged off by the guards, but they had managed to maintain the map, and no one is dead. Only Zorticus knows that they probably would have been able to save Findizzle from capture if he hadn’t slyly helped the guards in the last moment.

As the group shivers from having slept outside under minimal shelter in the rain that night. A big storm had come in off the ocean that night which is what helped them escape the Drunken Gryphon Inn and elude pursuit. As the doors close on the warm, but riotous, tavern the last thing the group saw was Findizzle being rendered unconscious by a guard and hauled into the back of a carriage towards Upper Town.

While the group awaits the storm to play itself out, they see the lightning occasionally strike the surface of the ocean, lighting up the night sky out in the distance. Here and there they catch the glimpse of what looks like a dragon, swimming through the sheets of rain and lightning, like an eel through a waterfall.

Dawn breaks with the group huddled close together, inspecting the map. They have had some time to study the contents of the pouch; one archaic, old map, showing something. They have noticed that their shelter is by a small roadside shrine, dedicated to a nameless god, but it is also a place to cash in on giant rat tails. The same sort of thing they saw on their entry into the city. In fact, all throughout the city are these notices which have been freshly pounded into earth, or glued to poles, offering one silver piece for the proof of every giant rat killed brought to the Captain of the Guards. Stacks of them, tied in knots are bundled outside the entrance to this little tent.

Zorticus thinks to himself, “hmm, rats can live without tails.” A note though, as they remember Dinfizzle’s belongings and supplies was brought to the top floor of The Drunken Gryphon. The Duke left with a long bloody cut on his face and his silver shield guardian walking beside him through the rain as they returned to the carriage. The Duke shot a murderous look into the dark, intended for the group.

As dawn breaks over Greyhaven Agholor turns to Chancho and says in his low, monotone voice, “Y’know, all of Dinfizzle’s stuff is there… he kinda entrusted us to bring this stuff to the room. But now he’s in prison…”

Chancho quickly, bitingly, interrupts, “all of his stuff is already in the room. Let’s proceed with our destiny!”

Agholor responds “All right!” as Zorticus laughs suddenly and shrilly in a laugh that doesn’t sound like a natural one. “They thought I was deaf and mute! Maybe next time, I’ll be blind!!” He stumbles about their little shelter, giggling. Chancho laughs with him, enjoying in Zorticus’ humor. And each of them laugh more and more maniacally. Agholor vainly tries to join the laughter, uncertain of the intent of the humor. “Chancho, whatever you think we should do, I …” Agholor breaks off.

Chancho says “this seems fortuitous and I’m not one to fuck around.” He’s never known money, he just wants fame. He sees his destiny as one that has him going into these sewers. He, and the rest of the group take a closer look at the notice.

The notice reads “NOTICE! Giant rats have been sighted throughout the city! Anyone bitten by a giant rat should visit a temple for ministration and prayer. The city of Greyhaven hereby offers a silver coin for each giant rat slain “wi thee” its walls. To receive payment evidence must be delivered “tot he” watch captain at the Docks, between noon and dusk.”

The group begins to look for an entrance into the sewers. Greyhaven has been built upon layers and layers of city. It has been around for centuries. After a little prowling around on the streets and back alleys they find an old section of town that has descended into slums. Broad stone steps lead down a few flights to a big, stone culvert. A wide, storm pipe – 20 feet across, almost 6 feet tall that runs down beneath the buildings at the subterranean level. A smell, not as bad as it possibly could, due to the rain the night before, but a smell much like the portapotty at a music festival. Iron bars and a gate used to prohibit entry. They have rusted long ago, and it looks like the gate will swing freely open. They enter the sewer pipe which stretches out in front of them about thirty feet below street level. It is about sixty feet long until it stops at a t-junction. Another pipe, the same size, branches off. Zorticus looks about for rats and sees up ahead of him a large rat, at least 12 inches long, counting its tail. There are four or five of them in the muck, scurrying around. Agholor, Zorticus and Sollen take the lead while Mackk, Chancho and Roofer take up the rear. The stink wafts up. Agholor takes out his flashlight and the rats aggressively move towards them.

Zorticus shouts out “Hey, mutherfuckers, there’s five rats up ahead, yo! Better get to it! You’re mah best friends. HA HA!” in his most modern-gangster style voice. Roofer looks at him, taken aback and says “Well, that just happened.” While the group is wondering why they spend time with Zorticus he puts his hands on the shoulders of those beside him and says “YES” bobbing his head, enthusiastically.

Chancho leaps onto Agholor’s back and ready’s his action to attack. “Let’s go!” He calls, growling with heels into Agholor’s hips and his pelvis into his spine as though the Goliath is a human Harley Davison. “Let’s rip some rat tails off these bitches!” Agholor seems oddly very comfortable with this “Okay!” he mumbles.

Roofer’s eyes glow green and he says “Don’t forget to mention this on the comment card!” as he charges the first rat. Before he can even travel ten feet though, two giant rats drop off the lintel of the roof of the sewer pipe. These are two to three feet long, giant, rabid rats. Their eyes are blood red and their teeth are long and sharp as they open their mouths to hiss and bite at Roofer. The first one falls onto Roofer’s shoulder like a sack of flour, but rolls off unable to find purchase on him. The other digs its claws into Roofer’s shoulder, scrabbling and clawing at his neck and face. Roofer, surprised, misses at the first rat and then stomps on the back of the one on the sewer floor, crushing its back and killing it instantly.

Mack creates a minor illusion of a giant, five foot wheel of partially eaten cheese to draw the giant rats away from the group.

Agholor runs up to the giant rat on Roofer’s shoulder, shouting “No!” with the intent of pushing the rat away. He throws the rat off of Roofer’s shoulder. It lands with a wet splurt in the mud, rolling around onto its feet. It hisses dramatically . Chancho leaps from the back of Agholor, surprising the rat with a short sword in each hand. With his first hit he kills the rat dead, but this doesn’t not stop the feral Halfling from continuing to stab the rat again and again with his short swords until it’s torn in half. He cries out exultantly and then rushes back behind Agholor.

A third rat comes around the corner, scrabbling through the muck… and sees the cheese. #seizethecheese. The rat bounds towards it trying to eat the delicious gouda it sees.

Zorticus snorts with laughter and says “Daaamn, it’s working y’all.” He’s very stoked. “The big ol’ rat thing is eatin’ the cheese.. oooo oooo!” and then he just shoots a fire bolt at the rat. The rat is caught directly and the bolt sears the flesh and skin from the bones of the rat, killing it instantly. Green vapors burn off its dirty matted fur as it incinerates. It rolls onto its back and its feet curl up. The other rats simply scurry off into the sewer. Zorticus says “Anyone gonna take that cheese, or is that for me? Eh? Eh? Psych, Psych” to the general discomfort of the group. Then he slumps down, his shoulders defeated.

Zorticus, Chancho and Roofer all claim a tail. They take some time, sawing away at the gristle, before moving on down the sewer. Agholor takes a good long look down the two possible choices and says “I think we should go… that way” and points back the way they had just travelled. Down the first of the two passages of the t-junction they can see a pinprick of light perhaps one or two miles distant of possibly an opening to the outside. Down the other there is a sudden turn and nothing but darkness.

Sollen’s stonecunning is such that he knows the stone is old, a bit older than the stone buildings on the surface. The stones are possibly a couple of centuries old. Brian then leaves to use the facilities again, because he has already broken the seal and they force him to do another shot upon his return (tequila… again) and at which point Crennan realizes that the spell Firebolt was used and they all had to take a drink because of the drinking god rule from @halfwithalfling “Playing with matches”

The group turns down the passage into the darkened tunnel. They move around the corner. There is no light, but they do hear the rush and sound a large collecting well that serves as the confluence of sewer pipes of all of the rain water and sewer water in the area pouring into it. Zorticus can see this, but the dim light of the flashlight fails to reveal it immediately. As they near the cistern they see that a walkway has been built up around it, a wooden construct that was built after the cistern’s construction. As they walk down the passage there are many openings that are perhaps a foot across that open as an outlet from each building or block that spill into this passage. A trickle of wastewater spills out from each, adding to the sound, and stench, of the tunnel. It is slimy and dark.

Zoritcus sees that the passage branches at the cistern again into two opposing directions, east and west. Everything is damp and every few feet there are a few inches of standing sewer water. Chancho continues to ride Agholor and his flashlight catches the glint of gold on the side of the wall wedged partway up one of the side run-off channels. Sollen rushes over, hungry for the rare and precious material. Caught up in a clog of matted hair and organic material is a gold ring worth 25 to 50 gold. He pulls the ring free of the clog and the blockage groans and spits free a swarm of rats spills out, rushing over Sollen’s body. Dozens of rats, filthy, matted and greenish in color from the sewage, climb all over him, biting him. Suddenly a carpet of rats is undulating and moving along the passage floor, rolling over Sollen, biting his cheeks, his hands, anywhere they can find fresh warm blood. And this blood incites their fellows to greater and more aggressive action.

Zorticus cries out in a voice not his own, “Oh my! There’s so many rats!” Then he slurps his giant rat tail between his teeth and down his throat to the revulsion of the group. Sollen goes into survival mode, trying to pull them off of him.

Roofer figures he can assist Sollen so he wades into the three swarms of rats with his greenwood spar. With a massive sweep he attempts to bludgeon the rats, killing a few. He lashes out with his fists, killing a few more, but this is a swarm of small creatures, he is only able to do so much with the weapons he has.

Mackk pulls out his lute, rapidly strumming the highest note he can play on it. It is a note the human ear cannot hear, but in the hopes that this will stun or drive the rats away. The rats ignore him.

Agholor takes a few steps back and then rushes forward in a rage, Chancho clinched tightly to his back. He lumbers forward moving faster and faster and he leaps into the air with the intent to bodyslam the swarm of rats before him. As he flies through the air he cries out “Heeeeeyyyy”…

And thus Prologue 003 ends.