So our victorious anti-heroes have made their way back to Highbay, hoping for some much-needed rest, while the Fishman plans to perform the complicated week-long ritual required to call a patron (he plans to call for one at random).
-"What's up with you saying the fishman's name now? It's white guilt, isn't it?"
-"You should go with Sezrekhan for a patron, there's no downside!"
"I guess if you feel that being made to betray your own party isn't a 'downside'..."
"Yeah, but a lot of that is just stuff Bill was going to do anyways!"
-The PCs notice that there's very little traffic on the road to Highbay.
"Wait, do you mean traffic or 'traffic'?"
"I mean commerce"
"That still doesn't answer the question."
-Morris the thief is carrying way too many things. "I want to give away some of this stuff!"
"You are a level 1 guy, you have nothing that a 2nd level wizard like myself could use!"
"Ok, then I guess Bill can have these four wizard scrolls then.."
-The Drunken Master keeps asking the other PCs for spare change.
"Listen, I'll give you these 2gp, go drink all you like, ok??"
"Oh, thank you very much! Hey... can you spare some change?"
-When the party gets to Highbay, they find that the city has upped security. They learn this is because, after Sandy the Warrior Queen's apparent death, the dreaded Goldeater and his armies from the city of Goldhalcon swept in and began to occupy all her former territory. Now there's no buffer zone between Highbay and Goldhalcon, and the people of Highbay fear they'll be next.
The PCs are taken to see City Controller Swanlea, pretty much the only sober man in all of Highbay, who is annoyed by their presence as usual, and as usual torn between the power they hold and the havoc they always cause when they're in town.
-"Look, we just want to rest. But, we may be attacked by minotaurs while we're here."
"You seriously haven't fixed that yet??"
"Hey Mr.Controller, can you spare some change?"
"This guy is with you? Man, you guys have gone downhill.."
-"Ok, so you'll let us stay as long as we don't wreck anything, and we fight for the city if Goldhalcon attacks. But I have a question for you: will you be bothered if some of Ack'basha's cultists end up dead?"
"Not even a tiny little bit."
-"So it's settled then. While we stay here, Highbay is our own personal playground"
"That's NOT what I said!"
"Come on, Swanlea, you know how this goes.."
-"One more question: where's BOLT-0?"
"With the Time Dinosaurs."
"Those guys really exist??"
"They sure do. I'm still shitting carbonite!"
-The Drunken Master is here for the first time, and shocked at how everywhere in town narcotics are openly bought and sold.
"Ugh, drug addicts."
-Bill:"No! Come on guys, don't fight. Killing party members is wrong!"
-The PCs make their way to Ack'basha's Temple, where they meet a monk named Brother Shebubu. The cultists have apparently heard of Ack'basha's death, but now the cult has been taken over by two old cultists named Father and Mother Shebubu (apparently, every cultist is now named Shebubu, for reasons unknown) and they've convinced the rest of the faithful that Ack'basha has actually "ascended" to a higher plane and speaks to Father and Mother, telling them what the cult must do.
They've also constructed a statue of Ack'basha made of solid Smithplium.
-Unfortunately, the cultists are not at all happy to see Bill the Elf, or as they call him, "The Dark One"!
"That's a pretty accurate name."
-The PCs try to negotiate with the cultists, promising that they just want a place to stay and claiming that Ack'basha would have wanted this. Bill also hints to them that he might be able to get back the Primo Staff soon.
"We will have to perform the rite of Commune with Ack'Basha, to determine what is his will in all this!"
"So... is that like, actual magic, or are you guys just going to get high?"
"We only get high on Ack'basha!"
-The newbie PCs go shopping in Highbay.
"I would like to buy a warhammer"
"Sure! We have a 1st edition warhammer, a 2nd edition warhammer, and a 3rd edition warhammer, but that last one is frankly a piece of shit."
-Morris buys a special deal on some armor which includes a free baggie of hashish. He tries to sell it off on the street. While he's talking to a hippie, a city guard comes by!
"HEY! What are you doing?!"
"He's trying to sell me some hash."
"Oh! OK, carry on then."
-"So until now, you've been carrying around the rotting skin of a dead man in your pocket. But now that you've got a backpack, you can put it there, like a civilized person!"
-"Tell me, Brother Shebubu, have you seen any clerics in town? We're trying to find a new one for the party."
"Clerics have come by the temple from time to time, but they always leave fairly quickly in disgust, for some reason."
-The PCs decide to place a 'help wanted' ad with a local town crier:
"Who wants to join a happy band of adventurers? Wanted: a cleric with very lax morals."
-Morris tries to find a town crier:
"Hey, you.. I have some hashish with me. I want to take you to some friends who'd like to meet you.."
"Get the hell away from me you freak!"
-The Drunken Master goes looking for a town crier, but just ends up bringing back a homeless hippie more stoned than he is drunk.
-Finally, Chu and Bill realize that if they want a job done they need to do it themselves. They find themselves a town crier, and agree to the price of 1sp plus Morris' remaining bag of hash, followed by 2sp a day, until a Cleric is found.
-I should mention that the Drunken Master continues to be a master of comic relief, stealing every scene he's in. I keep imagining Zack Galifianakis in his role, but his player tells me that this guy was his actual inspiration:
-Now he's got some half-plate armor, though, after scamming the money off Morris, so he looks closer to this:
-While the PCs are waiting around the temple, there's a flash of light and not one but two minotaurs appear! They appear to have been teleported while in the middle of a hardcore BDSM session; they're both in leather, and one of them is in cuffs and a gimp outfit.
"Well, that's awkward..."
-The kinky minotaurs are slain.
"Should we move the corpses?"
"Nah, leave them there in the front lawn."
And indeed, by the next morning the PCs awake to find that roving hippies took the bodies.
-The next day, another Minotaur attack! This one was dressed as a postman. In the vicious battle that followed, Chu ends up using a flamethrower, lighting the Temple of Ack'basha on fire!
-"You have burned the temple! Get out!!"
"And what are you going to do if we don't?"
"We'll tell Swanlea on you."
-Reluctantly, the PCs move down the road, squatting in an abandoned building within view of the temple (so they can alert the town crier they hired of their new location).
The Alcoholic is unimpressed "I'm not used to living in this level of squalor!"
-Bill gives the alcoholic 60sp to occupy himself, he heads off to blow it on cheap liquor and cheaper whores.
"Dude, your character isn't Zack Galifianakis from The Hangover anymore, now you're just Zack Galafinakis!"
-In the course of his drunken revels, the alcoholic runs into a feasting group of bards, and worms his way into their inner circle. By the next day, still partying with them, he's apparently been hired on as their roadie.
-The rest of the party suffer another minotaur attack, just as the town crier was coming up the road to see them.
"hey guys, I found you a cleric! I---aaggghh!!"
-"is the town crier still alive?"
"Well, he's in two halves, and his spinal cord is hanging out of one of the halves... so no."
-The team sweeps through town trying to find a Cleric. After some false starts, they run into one; a fairly wimpy-looking low-level cleric named Mackwis. Just as they run into him, there's another Minotaur attack.
"Did you talk to a town crier? About joining a group of happy adventurers?"
"Me?? No! What??"
"Welcome to the party!"
-"I'm Chu, this is Morris, and the guy who was on fire and just vanished is Bi-- um... Michael! Michael the radioactive mutant!"
-"I don't want to go adventuring! I've only even been a cleric for less than a year!"
-"Hi! I'm.. Michael."
"You're on fire!"
"That's just because of a spell I cast. It'll eventually stop."
"I'm going to back away from all of you now!"
-"How long am I going to be on fire?"
"10 minutes per character level."
"Well, this is my life now."
-Morris hopes to find another cleric, the one who had been found by the town-crier before his untimely death, so he goes around offering the locals weed if they can find him.
"I'm not a cut-throat anymore; now I'm a drug dealer."
"This is your life now!"
-The other "cleric" does in fact show up the next day, but he's actually just a hippie pretending to be a cleric.
-Meanwhile, the Fishman had been spending all this time under a pier working on his ritual of Patron Bond. Eventually, a hippie discovers him there, and brings a friend to gawk at the weirdo.
"You don't want to make me get up. Get out of here now."
"We better be careful, man... he might cast Ekim's Mystical Mask at us!"
"...that's a low blow."
-The alcoholic has been touring with his band of bards, with the stage name "Lizardbreath".
-Unfortunately, the band broke up, leaving the alcoholic to regain consciousness in an utterly wrecked hotel room. There's weird liquid all over the floor that's probably a mix of alcohol and bodily fluids, and a dead hooker in the corner.
-The innkeep shows up demanding that the 500sp bill be paid, plus damages. So of course, the alcoholic does the only thing he can and jumps out the window.
"You failed your roll, and fell hard out the window, you now have 3hp left."
"You're still better off than when this started!"
-The alcoholic stumbles back to the Temple of Ack'Basha.
"You're not allowed in here anymore!"
"...who are you?"
-He finds his way to the squat where the PCs are staying, and meets Makwis the Cleric.
"I'm going to try to heal you.."
"...of your alcoholism."
-"But alcohol cleans wounds! It's why I have no internal injuries!"
"I'm pretty sure you have massive liver damage."
-"Ok, so my name is Michael.. but some people call me Bill."
"Bill? Like Bill the Elf?! That's awful! Why would your friends nickname you after history's greatest monster?"
-The alcoholic is confused by Bill's attempt to hide his true identity from the cleric.
"Wait, who's Michael?"
"He is." *wink*
"Oh. Pleased to meet you.. you remind me of someone I know."
-"So where were you the last few days?"
"I was in a band. They treated me to some drinks and stuff.. then things happened. There was a dead hooker!"
"I've been there, man."
-The PCs send the alcoholic away again, to try to find some new Dutch mercenaries. He starts to ask around.
"There's some mercenaries around the docks. There's also this weird fishman, a dude is charging 2cp to see him!"
"Really? A fishman?? No way!"
-Another minotaur fight happens.
"Markus are you OK?"
"It's Makwis, actually, but yes."
-"Dutch mercenaries? Yes, I remember a while back there was a group of dutch crossbowmen. But they left with some adventurers, and never returned. Isn't that weird?"
-While rooting around the port area, the alcoholic runs into a huge apeman warrior.
"I'm looking for Bill the Elf"
"I could take you to Mike... they're very similar!"
-"I'm part of Bill's adventuring party, and they're looking for warriors to hire. Hey wait.. I'm a warrior! They could hire me!"
-"I'm seeking Bill the Elf"
"Wait, the elf??"
"They call me that sometimes."
"So you are not Bill the Elf?"
"Um... let's go for a walk, apeman.."
-"And you are?"
"Chu, you might have heard of me, I'm actually sort of a big deal"
"I've vaguely heard of you."
-"So you were just lying to a cleric?"
"If you really know Doctor Theobald, this should come as no surprise to you."
-"I serve the young Queen Zoey of Coolland, who's kingdom is threatened by her wicked uncle, the Duke of Abstinence"
"I hate that guy!"
-"Why don't you get help from the Azure Order?"
"The kingdom of Coolland has had bad relations with the Azure Order. Something about body image issues."
-"The Kingdom of Coolland is a rare place of beauty in this terrible world. I want to preserve it."
"We'll try not to ruin it."
-"Why is this drunk with you?"
"We don't really know. We just fed him once and now we can't get rid of him."
-"Ack'Basha's dead?! And the Lord of Blood and Fire killed him?"
"So this is not just a job for you, you seek to avenge your friend?"
"Man, there's a lot of disinformation out there about me..."
-Meanwhile, the Fishman finally completes the ritual of Patron Bond. He chose to risk a random patron, and the one that answered his call was.. the Old Hag!
"So.. you're the Old Hag.. what's your deal?"
"There be two things ye have to know about the Old Hag: the first is that she be.. a hag!"
"Oh god, I know where this is going..."
-"So you can't offer me some form of immortality?"
"No, but ye will be able to get the aid of any old wise women ye may find."
"yeah... I think that I'm just going to try again later with some other patron.."
-Having wasted a week for nothing, the Fishman gets up to leave. But the gang of hippies who were charging 5cp for people to come see the freak try to force him to stay.
"Hey dude, he's diving into the bay!"
"Should we go after him?"
"Well.. yeah.. but.. it's water."
"Oh yeah. Bummer. Never mind."
-Bill the Elf has resorted to casting Charm Person on the cleric to keep him around.
"The cleric is going to prepare dinner for us now."
"You know he's going to despise you once the spell wears off, right?"
"He's my best friend!"
-The fishman dejectedly returns to the party.
"Hey cleric, can you heal the fishman?"
"No cleric can fix what's wrong with me."
-"Ok yeah, the thing is my name's Michael, but people... aw fuck it, I'm Bill the Elf!"
"I feel extremely upset at you, as a friend."
-"So what's your name, Mr. Ape?"
"My name is Harembe!"
-The team agrees to take up the cause of Queen Zoey, and so Bill the Elf prepares to Planar Step them all to Coolland. Unfortunately, he can only take so many people with him, and thus Harembe the Apeman agrees they should go on ahead, and he will follow them. He promises to take the cleric as well, but he doesn't sound very sincere.
-The PCs arrive in a field of adorable fluffy bunnies, within distance of Coolland's capital city of Gaga.
"I'm already regretting this."
Stay tuned next time, for more DCC insanity!
Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + Solani Aged Burley Flake