In the previous adventure, our stalwart anti-heroes were trying to stop G.O.D. from destroying the world with his Apocalypse Protocol. They needed to find a living Ancient to accomplish this, having (accidentally) killed the one they had previously found. After a lot of trouble, they finally managed to get themselves a replacement Ancient, in a cave deep below the world, only to have the insane wizard Nikos show up and take him away.
-"I have to say, G.O.D.'s half-assed over-reaction is a lot worse than G.O.D.'s half-assed under-reaction."
-Suddenly, a portal opens up, and a zombie in renaissance clothing comes out, holding out his putrefied hand:
"Come with me if you don't want to live anymore!"
-The zombie is intelligent, and his name is Giancomo.
-This campaign has gotten to the point where a talking zombie walks out of a mysterious portal, and half the party is willing to go with him, no questions asked.
-"I take you to the court of the Nightmare Queen. Is nice!"
-"I see you are still alive. Unfortunate! But is ok, we can fix!"
"I tried to do that with Bill, but it didn't take."
-"I know this is really prejudiced of me, but I have to ask: do you eat brains?"
"No, I can eat all flesh of living, is good! But brains is special delicacy!"
-Giancomo is from the Zombie Empire. BOLT-0 is not impressed: "THE ZOMBIE EMPIRE IS IMPERIALIST!"
-Even so, the party goes with Giancomo to the Zombie Empire court of the Nightmare Queen. It's a pretty civilized place, full of zombies dressed up in fancy renaissance-Italy style costumes. The Nightmare Queen looks like an impressive zombie version of Elizabeth I, bejeweled dress and wide collar and all. She has a proposition for the PCs: she'll give them immortal existence by making them zombie aristocrats in her empire, if they help her take down G.O.D.
Her plan to do this, however, involves unsealing something called the "pit of 10000 souls" which she'll use as a superweapon to blast her way into the Crown of Creation; unfortunately in the process all non-undead life on the inner surface of the world will be extinguished.
-"So we have to choose between letting G.O.D. kill absolutely everything, or helping the Nightmare Queen to just kill everything that isn't undead?"
"That's this whole campaign in a nutshell, isn't it? A constant choice between the lesser of two or more complete fuckups."
-While the PCs try to decide whether they'll accept the Nightmare Queen's generous offer, the court has a banquet in the PCs' honor. The banquet includes fancy dances, a zombie string quartet, and a large table of fine foods for mortals (Dr.Theobald particularly appreciates the bananas). The zombies have a table full of raw meat and live animals, but then the main course arrives: a group of living mortal prisoners that the zombies plan to go all 'walking dead' on.
-Ack'basha's rarely-used clerical instinct for good kicks in, and he jumps in to protect the prisoners.
"Why do I feel like Ack'Basha's trying to do the right thing? I'm confused..."
"It's so weird... it feels so wrong!"
-The Zombies very diplomatically decide to spare the mortals' lives in consideration for their special guests, and suddenly the party is graced with three 0-level newbs! One is a human dentist from Arkhome, another a Cold Mutant from the tundra, and the last is a Fishman fisherman.
-Meanwhile, the Nightmare Queen has invited Bill the Elf into her chambers. He's a bit worried that the zombie-monarch is going to try to proposition him.
"Oh, don't worry. I know I look hideous to you right now, but when you become a zombie I'll seem amazingly attractive. By zombie standards I have like an 18 Charisma."
-The Nightmare Queen knows that Bill has a phylactery, and that it is in Sezrekhan's possession. She claims that if he joins forces with her, she can steal the phylactery back for him. She'll make him a lich, like she is, and an Arch-Duke in the Zombie Empire. After all the mortal life is extinguished, she plans to expand the Zombie Empire world-wide, and he'll be in charge of his own continent.
-Bill is nearly on board, but he just about balks at the deal when he realizes that zombies can't get high from any of his favorite drugs.
"Well, we do have other ways to do that kind of thing. Eating the brains of Alzheimer's patients, for example"
-Meanwhile, at the Banquet, Ack'Basha has a surprise encounter with an old acquaintance: the Assassin King! The former monarch of Arkhome has fled in exile to the Zombie Empire, after having been overthrown by a coalition of the Halconlords and the Arkhome Old Families.
The Assassin King has an alternate offer: he has information about another surviving Ancient. He wants to steal the special scroll that would allow the Nightmare Queen to release the power of the Pit of 10000 Souls, and then help Ack'basha to find the remaining Ancient, in exchange for Ack'basha helping him retake his throne in Arkhome.
"You know, for an extinct race, there sure are an awful lot of ancients fucking around..."
-Meanwhile, Bill pretends to agree with the Nightmare Queen's proposal, but then decides to immediately contact Sezrekhan. He tells his zombie handler that he needs to use a bathroom, as a way to get some privacy, which creates the problem of the zombies having to improvise a bathroom in a palace designed for inhabitants who have no need of bathrooms.
-Sezrekhan confirms the Nightmare Queen's claim of having been a former agent of Sezrekhan, saying that in fact she was perhaps his greatest student.
"Hey, that hurts!"
"Seriously? You aren't even in the top 100!"
-With Ack'basha wanting to get the team on board with the Assassin King's plan, and Bill wanting to get the team to unknowingly help him to fulfill Sezrekhan's orders to find out who is betraying him to the Nightmare Queen and then thwart her, both decide they need to get some private time with the other adventurers.
-"Ok, let's get into a huddle.. not you, newb. You don't get to be in the huddle until you're level 1"
-The huddle is deemed insufficiently private.
"Hey Giancomo.. we need to have a room to.. um.. sleep in and.. uh.. do other living-people things"
-Giancomo leads the group to the diplomatic guest bedrooms, including the three newbies.
"So, you used to be food, eh? Congratulations! And they say you can't move up in the world anymore."
-The team now have to reach some kind of a decision.
"Let's go for a consensus agreement!"
"Oh shit, not consensus!"
-"I have a phylactery"
"Having a phylactery just means I get to kill you more than once!"
-Unable to reach a unified decision (by consensus or otherwise), the party decides to split. In spite of splitting the party having never ever been a good idea. Dr.Theobald, Bolt-0 and one of the newbs are going with Ack'basha; while Sandy, Chu, and the other two newbs want to stay in the Zombie Empire with Bill.
-Ack'basha's group gets magically snuck out of the palace by the Assassin King. Meanwhile, the other group almost immediately regrets their decision to stay behind, when Bill (on orders from Sezrekhan, having found out who the Nightmare Queen's 'inside man' was) suddenly decides that he wants to leave now.
-Ack'basha's group meet with the Assassin King, as they prepare to flee the city on a zombie gondola (complete with zombie gondolier). There, they learn that the Assassin King's agent, who had the info on the Ancient and who just stole the Nightmare Queen's magical armageddon scroll, is none other than Jal'udin the rogue! The same guy who killed Bill for the first time, betrayed the party for Sezrekhan and who murdered Marvin the Chosen One, and stopped Ack'basha from using the sacred USB cable to reboot G.O.D. the first time.
"You killed Marvin, why shouldn't I kill you here?"
"Please. If you had gotten your way we just would have been in this mess we're in now, one year earlier."
-Furthermore, it turns out that the Ancient he discovered was none other than the human boy who'd been raised by a religious sect of Polygamous Wolves! Mormon-wolf Boy had been with the PCs all along without any of them realizing it, and had disappeared mysteriously in the Dust Sea. As it turns out, because Jal'udin had kidnapped him.
"Ok, so where is he now?"
"I don't know. After I kidnapped him from you, the Time Dinosaurs showed up and kidnapped him from me."
-"So you served Sezrekhan, but the Nightmare Queen thought you were working for her, only you betrayed her to team up with the Assassin King?"
"Jal'udin is a professional triple-crosser!"
-The group with Bill, realizing they've made a terrible mistake by choosing to stick with him, decide to rat him out to the Nightmare Queen.
"Man, we really should have gone with Ack'Basha. Sure, Ack'basha will fuck you in the end, but Bill fucks you right from the start!"
-The last straw was when they realized he had been lying to them about what she'd said to him, and at that point both the zombies and the other PCs are ready to kill Bill. Bill decides it's time to bugger off, and teleports himself to the only place where he's likely to be safe for at least the short term; planewalking to Mt.Parnassus (where the timeless law of neutral ground states that there can be no violence).
-Bill finds that in the four days since he was last there, the huge assembly of the great and the good have accomplished precisely fuck all. They're still just making long presentations and speeches and breaking up discussion into smaller groups while they ceaselessly prevaricate about how to deal with the crisis. He decides to warn them about Nikos having stolen an Ancient, and the Nightmare Queen's plans.
"Why should we listen to you? You caused all this when you killed the Ancient girl!"
"It was an accident! Everyone gets one free pass, right?"
"Everyone gets a free pass to kill one Ancient?!"
"I guess that explains why they're basically extinct."
-"My fellow assembly-persons: with this new information that has come to light, and with less than 24 hours until the Apocalypse Protocol completes, I think it is very clear that we now MUST take action. Therefore, I propose a bold move: we must create a whole new Sub-Committee!"
-When the Nightmare Queen realizes that her scroll to break the seal on the Pit of 10000 Souls has been stolen, she is ready to give up. But Chu suggests that they might still be able to save the world if they can perhaps find Nikos and the Ancient he took with him. The sewers below Arkhome, the only place where Nikos is known to live, seems like the most likely place to look.
-Meanwhile, Ack'basha and the Assassin King fail to be able to find the Time Dinosaurs through divination magic. Thus, they decide to fall back on their backup: they will go to Arkhome to try to find Nikos and take back the Ancient he stole.
-Finally, Bill the Elf manages to send word to the Daemons, telling them that the only chance now might be if they can get back the Ancient that Nikos stole. They decide to send a strikeforce of Halconlords to raid Nikos' sewer-hovel. Bill himself plans to go, but first he gets high and has a vision of Nikos, and a warning that there will be mass bloodshed for everyone who comes goes to Arkhome. So he decides to sit this one out and let everyone else get blood-shedded.
-the Nightmare Queen sends the Dentist and Giancomo the Zombie to the Arkhome Sewers first, to parley with Nikos, who again looks less like a wizard and more like a greek slob.
"You serious? You send 0-level character to try to solve this?!"
-Nikos turns Giancomo human, then back to a zombie again, then slices him in half. Then he gives the Dentist little vestigial wings "So you be like cupid. Chicks like that! Women are dumb for cute! Now you go. I keep zombie legs. Might prove useful in future!"
-Bill the Elf, meanwhile, finds himself at the foot of Mt.Parnassus, where he sees the thousands of refugees still haven't gotten food or blankets, and have mostly started killing each other or dying of hunger. He remembers that when he asked Nikos what he wanted, Nikos said he wanted "$19.95". So he starts looting bodies until he finds 19gp, 95cp, climbs up Parnassus and then throws it off the edge.
"There. I've fixed everything!"
-"There are some here already. Your friends, the Warrior Woman, the Annoying Guy, and some Little Shit"
*whispered* "I wonder which of us is which?"
-The Assassin King and Ack'basha, with their assassins, arrive at the sewers, at exactly the same time as the Halconlord strike team, in a scene reminiscent of this:
-Halconlords: "The Ribond is Light!"
Ack'basha the cleric: "Freaking religious types..."
-the Halconlords and Assassins promptly forget all about Nikos and the imminent end of the world, and start slaughtering each other. By the time the fight is over (the Assassins winning, albeit with heavy losses), Nikos is already ascending in a column of light up to the Crown of Creation!
-All other options now being lost, or rather wasted, Ack'Basha tries extreme measures, using Divine Aid to try to contact the King of Elfland, hoping he can get the senile old daemon to send him back in time to fix everything. The King of Elfland mistakes him for G.O.D., and agrees that he will send Ack'basha and his friends back in time 'whenever' to recover the missing wolf-boy Ancient from the Time Dinosaurs. But then, nothing actually seems to happen.
"well, that didn't work. Maybe I should try again?"
"So, you're actually going to double down on the most insane plan you've ever had?"
"We've gotten to the point where Ack'Basha is using Divine Aid to basically prank-call Daemons"
-However, something DOES happen. Or rather, doesn't! G.O.D.'s Apocalypse Protocol appears to shut down, whether thanks to Nikos, or to the King of Elfland, or the Time Dinosaurs, or Bill's sacrifice of $19.95, it isn't really clear.
-On Mt.Parnassus, the Council of the Great and the Good declare victory: "The important thing is that we did here really mattered!"
-"As for you, Bill, you did the most important thing you could have possibly done to end this crisis: Nothing!"
-"Once again, we have restored the status quo, of our fragile reality hanging by a thread."
-Sezrekhan is quite happy with how things turned out, when Bill contacts him. It even turns out that Jal'udin is still working for him, though the Assassin King equally believes in Jal'udin's loyalty. Bill, for his part, asks for a new body; so Sezrekhan obliges him by teleporting him 80Km in the air above the valley to his death.
-Bill comes back, in the middle of a grassy field, in the body of some other mutant, being threatened by a 5-inch tall humanoid that looks like a ball of fluff.
Next time: Invasion of the Tiny Fluffy People!
Currently Smoking: Ben Wade Canadian + Image Latakia