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|Vampyre LARP (Lords of Darkness) Story Arc:
When Dave announces he’s joining a Live Action Vampyre game, the other Knights are a little worried. When he shows up at the game the following week with his hair slicked back and wearing black lipstick, the Knights know their worst fears have been realized. Dave invites Bob to join him at the next game and he agrees to go for a look-see though B.A. forbids it.
The following week finds that Bob, too, has fallen into the hideous psychological trap that is Live Action Role-Playing.
Soon, both Dave and Bob become dark thralls to the vampiress Bridget. Sarah informs B.A. and Brian that Bridget, the one who runs around Hackcon in a chainmail thong, is the real reason boys and men are drawn to the game. The three plan to invite Dave and Bob, who’ve been blowing off Hackmaster, to a game.
The two arrive in full makeup and Sarah unsuccessfully confronts them about Bridget. Bob and Dave leave to walk the mistress’s “hell-wolf,” but Sarah has a plan.
Sarah calls an emergency meeting with B.A. and Brian to discuss “Operation: Bring ‘Em Back, Undead or Alive” but shows up in the costume of a Vampyre LARPer. All is not as it seems: Sarah is merely going under cover. She’s changing Brian’s plan to kidnap Bob and Dave and deprogram them in his basement, instead deciding to go into the Vampyre LARP world to free the two despite B.A. and Brian’s protest.
The first part of the plan sends Sarah to a Vamp-Rave.
For the next four weeks, all Sarah reports is that she’s making progress. She informs B.A. and Brian that there will be a Thrall-Meet at the quarterly group gathering of clans that Saturday. There, Lords and Mistresses swap blood thralls. She notes that she has some thralls and informs the two that the “Dark Sanctum, Inner Circle” is just a group of 14-year-old boys from Fort Wayne who like to surround themselves with female gamers.
B.A. is convinced that Sarah is in too deep and pulls the plug. When she tries to leave, Brian jumps her. After a brief skirmish between the three, Sarah escapes.
Only B.A. and Brian are at the table the following week. As Brian suggests his Rescue-Extraction Contingency Plan, the two are surprised when Bob and Dave show up. It seems that they quit playing Lords of Darkness when Bridget traded them to a 12-year-old kid named Dexter at the Thrall-Meet.
Sarah’s plan worked.
Bob and Dave realize they have to get Sarah out! They and Brian leave to discuss the Rescue-Extraction Contingency Plan.
When they next meet with B.A., the three are equipped and ready for action. They’re only at the table to brief B.A. on their plans for attacking and disrupting the Vampyre game. In order to rescue Sarah without getting sucked into the game, the three have assumed their Hacknoia character personas, making them immune to the Lords of Darkness game by using the Hacknoia system to override it.
The three are planning on kicking some vampyre ass and disrupting the Vamp-Raves, destroying the vampyre culture and saving Sarah and all the other lost gamers through the use of nerf crossbows and paintball guns.
A week later, the three have returned to the table: Bob in a body cast, Dave with a neck brace, and Brian’s arm in a sling. In addition to disrupting the rave, they hit Seattle Dawn’s Caffeine Shack and managed to get Sarah out and into Brian’s basement for reprogramming.
Though B.A. is thankful that the whole vampyre business is behind them, the boys are ready to continue their fight against the dark side.
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|Player-Exchange Program/Grudge Match Story Arc:
The Knight’s newest characters find an inaccurate orc map to the Black Hole of Munz, allegedly orc sacred ground. After Brian complains about inaccuracies in B.A.’s portrayal of orcs, they find the Black Hole: a black spinning hole sitting on its side atop a flat, paved area marked with runes.
The Knights bravely shove their horses in first to see what happens. When they disappear, the group figures this is some kind of pan-dimensional portal. They enter to find that the adventure is co-authored by B.A. and seven other GMs in the Player-Exchange Program. Some of them have been transported to other campaigns.
At Nitro’s table, the Black Hands have found the Black Hole of Krzzyndali and enter it. After calming Newt and Gordo’s fears of being kicked out of the group, Nitro explains that they have been merely temporarily teleported to other gamemasters campaign worlds.
Stevil and Pete are quite upset when they learn they’ll be at Patty Gauzwieler’s table.
A few days later, Bob, Dave, Sarah, and Brian meet at Pizza-A-Go-Go to discuss the recent turn of events. Brian suggests some of the gamemasters have ulterior motives in setting up the game. He thinks it’s a ploy to gather intelligence on the Knight’s new characters. However, rather than report their suspicions, Brian convinces them to use the information to their own advantage: feeding misinformation and gathering their own.
They begin to form a plan.
Later at Patty’s table, she explains some of her house rules to her players: Stevil, Dave, Weird Pete, and Dirk Zuggard (of Logan’s Heroes). It’s not long before Pete ends up in the time-out corner, soon joined by Stevil after he has a run-in with Dirk.
Dave’s character is soon all by himself. It smells like a trap.
Dave finds himself a little uncomfortable in Patty’s presence since they used to date. Pete returns to the table just in time to find the “beautiful elvin princess” making the moves on Dave’s character.
Meanwhile at B.A.’s table, Crutch from Patty’s Perps, Newt Forager, Shiela Horowitz from the Dorm Troopers, and Brian are outfitting themselves for an expedition to the frozen wastes. Though Shiela and Brian’s characters seem to hit it off, Brian starts passing mysterious notes to B.A. After a fight with a blizzard bear and some of B.A.’s fuzzy logic, the party finds what they’re looking for: the orb of pan-dimensional flight. It’s guarded by a snowwyrm.
After defeating the creature, Brian gives the word to his battlelord Wrench. Wrench and 250 fully-armed Knu-Kyle-Ra temple guards surround the party and Brian tries to shake down the party. After killing the other’s characters and a swift real-world beating by the their players, Brian and B.A. look worse for wear.
B.A. berates Brian for his actions but Brian fills B.A. in on his suspicions, especially of the Dorm Troopers and Shiela. B.A. tries to get Brian to at least send the corpses of the dead characters back to their own worlds. When he reveals some of the powers of the orb of pan-dimensional flight, Brian comes up with another plan.
Meanwhile at Nitro’s table, Sarah, Cody Winkle, Chad Aguilar, and Bob are in pursuit of some hirelings who made off with all their provisions. In reality, Bob and Sarah were behind the whole thing. When Nitro calls for a break, Bob and Sarah discuss the plan to clean out the others and gather intelligence. Both of them fell terrible about doing it. They’re both having a great time playing with the others. Though Bob is unsure, Sarah manages to talk him into ending the plan and working with the party.
Nitro overhears the whole thing on the baby monitor at the front counter. But he knows something they don’t.
Meanwhile, at Patty’s table, Patty tells Dave they need to play out the next bit alone. The princess warns Dave’s character about Dirk. As Patty is just about to ask Dave out on a real date, they’re interrupted by Brian, who’s there to return Dave’s character to B.A.’s world.
He’s brought a note from B.A. explaining why his character has just arrived on her world with 250 well-armed temple guards along with the body of Father Swayze, Crutch’s character. Bob and Sarah are also there and Patty is asked to adjudicate the combat in a fair and unbiased manner. They explain that the whole player-exchange program was a set-up, a clever little scheme hatched by GMs Logan Formax, Whitey Moran, and Earl Slackmozer to eliminate the competition before the Hacktourney finals the next month.
Patty had her suspicions and wants to shut down the game but the Knights convince her to let it run its course. Brian asks Patty’s Perps to join their alliance, along with the Knights of the Dinner Table and the Black Hands. They plan on launching a combined intercampaign retaliatory invasion force to settle the score: they are declaring war on the Dorm Troopers, Logan’s Heroes, and Slackers Hackers.
Later, word of the inter-campaign war has drawn the attention of the district director of the HMPA Arbitration Board. An immediate cease fire was called to end all hostilities. When Earl and Logan were losing, they declared peace for the sole purpose of informing the HMPA to intervene and save them.
B.A. also informs the Knights that the HMPA is going to conduct a full-board inquiry of the whole situation. The Knights aren’t happy about that and B.A. suggests they challenge the Slacker Coalition to a Grudge Match. Brian draws up the necessary paperwork.
At Hard Eight, Jo Jo Zeke and Pete Skipowsky meet to discuss the upcoming grudge match. Skip is appalled to find out that he’s going to have to not only take the bus to Muncie, but that he’s going to have to work up the adventure from scratch. Jo Jo gives him something Gary Jackson had been working on before his death as well as some characters he picked up on Hackbay.
Later, Nitro informs the Black Hands that Skip is on his way for the grudge match. The Hands are all wearing the hubcaps of shame: Nitro’s punishment for letting their guard down. He’s not happy that Gordo’s character came back from Earl’s table minus all equipment and magic items. He’s angry that Newt started the pre-invasion mission without magic arms or weapons and then held up their retreat to retrieve some tent pegs. Nor is he pleased that Stevil nailed Newt to a gates of a city with said tent pegs in the middle of a battle.
Newt defends himself by complaining about Earl’s players having blasters, napalm, and disintegrator rays. It turns out Earl ran his group through module S3: Expedition to the Barrier Mountains. Though the weapons don’t work outside of a five-mile radius of the downed spaceship in that adventure, Earl’s answer to that smacked of GM-player collusion but was within the rules.
Pete has a wonderful idea for Nitro to run them through the same adventure so they can get the same weapons.
Once Skip reaches Muncie, he reports to Jo Jo that he fell asleep on the bus and has no adventure ready for the elimination rounds before the grudge match. He was planning on running them through a Hackjournal module but Jo Jo advises against it. He tells Skip that one time Gary ran an entire tournament using nothing but random dungeon and monster tables from the Gamemasters Guide. Skip runs with the idea.
Later at the grudge match, Skip introduces himself as the Mechanic sent to fix the problem in Muncie. He informs those gathered at the Games Pit that once the match is over, they’re to leave any gripes or grudges behind them as water under the bridge. Dirk does some complaining and when Skip gets hold of his HMPA card, he tears it up and kicks Dirk out, suspending him for six months for his attitude as an example about how serious the whole situation is.
Skip lays down the rules on how the grudge match is going to go. Elimination rounds will be played until only one character is left from each group - then the grudge match will be played with only those survivors.
Though Bob and Dave are confident, Sarah has reservations.
First group on deck are the Black Hands. Newt is worried but Gordo reassures him. Stevil points out that they’re screwed because all the high-tech equipment they recently got doesn’t work - they don’t have a power source.
As Skip starts the game, Stevil tries to do a little role-playing. Skip isn’t impressed and informs then that there is a time limit.
Skip’s randomly created dungeon is a little flawed. When an umber hulk “hiding in the shadows” attacks Newt, he complains. Skip arbitrarily kills Newt’s character and when Gordo notes that didn’t seem fair, he is also eliminated.
Slackers Hackers later face the same music but Skip recognizes Erik Bouchard, a power-player hired gun, and he is immediately eliminated from the table. When Greg Spears complains, he too, is gone.
Later, the Dorm Troopers fair a little better though Bridget gets eliminated. Shiela sacrifices her character to save the character of Grover Grundig, impressing Skip enough to give her the win - just as she planned.
When it’s Logan’s Heroes turn, Jeff Benard gets eliminated and Flak Jack Monty walks when Skip’s dungeon becomes too ridiculous.
Finally, the Knights come up on deck. Before Skip arrives, they reveal their secret weapons to Sarah: dice rubbed on Gary Jackson’s dead body. When Skip arrives, Bob shows his sand by challenging a gnarl-ron but when he agrees to the creature’s lesser demands, it reveals it was just testing his mettle.
Becoming impatient, Brian decides to fight one of the gnarl-rons one on one using the Doomsday Dice. However, the dice give him nothing but fumbles. When Bob and Dave jump in with their own dice, the two start losing. Brian is down before the real grudge match even begins.
Bob tries to avenge him but Dave stops him: his dice are bear-bit. He mixed the cursed dice with the rest of his arsenal and didn’t keep them segregated. Skip remembers Bob from the funeral and when he tries to get more dice, Skip won’t let them leave the table. Bob and Dave beat themselves to death with their own fumbles. Sarah is the only one left.
Later at Pizza-A-Go-Go, Bob, Dave, and Brian meet and learn there will be no spectators at the final match due to the new Player Advantage Body Language Codes. Brian reveals that he gave Doomsday Dice to their other teammates, meaning everyone on their side has some.
Crutch, Pete, and Sarah meet at the final grudge match table. Sarah advises them that her character is the weak link in the group, having very little firepower, and that they should kill her character to deprive the enemy of eps if necessary. They refuse. She learns that both Crutch and Pete have some of the Doomsday Dice. She advises them to get rid of them as Shiela shows up.
Shiela is confident her team will win with their high levels and greater power. Crutch suggests a little side bet of $25. Shiela doubles it and tells them she knows about the Doomsday Dice and that her people pitched in to buy the same type on Hackbay.
Sarah suggests they make the bet $100.
Shiela is unpleasantly surprised when she finds that the rest of her team consists of Cody Winkle and Ty Ferfel. Cody is playing a 9th level minstrel who recently lost his brownie friend Hodgy. Ty is playing a half-ogre fighter double amputee who doesn’t believe in using weapons and who’s been killed and raised 74 times. Both have the Doomsday Dice.
Skip finally arrives to lay down the ground rules: the characters must retrieve the sacred feather of victory. Though Skip advises working together to start with, Pete immediately attacks Shiela’s character. Unfortunately, he uses the Doomsday Dice and his Tarz 384 variable-charge pulse rifle fumbles. The plasma chamber seepage obliterates his character in the first 10 minutes of the match.
The remainder of the party run into three imposing-looking and familiar figures. Cody tries to parley with them and he’s shot in the kneecap with a bolt of immobility and then blasted with a deathbrusher fireball. Another is out of the match.
Sarah learns the three are called the Untouchable Trio!
Ty’s character is the next one to die by their hand but Crutch reveals he has a rod of banishment. To use it on the three will cost Crutch constitution points but he’s willing to make the sacrafice. Three soul-suckings later and Shiela is running for the feather!
Crutch has another trick up his sleeve. Pointing his rod of banishment at her, he tells her to stop as the rod has one more charge. Shiela doesn’t believe him and tells him that even if he has the rarer four-charge Hepshun’s rod of banishment, using it will kill his character. She calls his bluff.
Crutch isn’t bluffing. His character dies but Sarah gets the feather.
The winners go to Hawg Wallers to split up loot. Nitro confessing to Crutch he was the one who gave him the black die when he tried to join the Black Hands. Crutch threatens him but is just joking. Unfortunately, Nitro’s already fled.
Sarah reveals to Bob, Dave, and Brian that as part of the spoils of victory, she has the character sheets of the Untouchable Trio, alive and at full strength. She figures they’ll be her henchmen.
The boys don’t take it well.
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|Return of the Untouchable Trio Match Story Arc:
The guys are shocked when Sarah, who recently “won” the Untouchable Trio as NPCs during the Grudge Match, refuses to turn them back over. After some discussion, Sarah agrees to return the characters of Kuckles, El Ravager, and Teflon Billy, but only if they revert back to their status before the guys sold them: Fourth level and EP capped. The guys, of course, refuse.
Sarah later confides to B.A. that she intends to give the characters back, but only after she’s had some fun with then guys and taught them a lesson.
At a private meeting between B.A. and Sarah, he warns her that the entire situation is very volatile. Sarah agrees, but feels she has to teach the guys a lesson. B.A. warns her that he’ll be completely unbiased in the situation. He also tells her she must run the characters true to their nature. He threatens to pull the plug if things get out of hand and confides to Sarah that he’s worried that the Untouchable Trio being around will cause the Knights to revert to their old ways.
Sarah tells him she has a plan to make them not even want their old characters any more.
Later that same night, during the game, the guys confront Sarah about how she’s treating her henchmen. Bob calls a time out and has a group huddle with Dave and Brain outside.
While the two are along at the table, B.A. warns Sarah that Brian is pushing for a discharge of servitude argument for the trio.
When the guys return to the table, they begin resolving the situation of the lost pack pony and owlbears roaming the area. Bob takes charge and Dave, himself, Knuckles, and El Ravager go for the pony while Sarah, Teflon Billy, Heinrich (NPC halfling) and Brian scout out a good campsite. Before the party can split up, Sarah announces that she’s tripling the Untouchable Trio’s pay and setting over half of her shares to the adventuring company so they can have ownership.
While they’re alone in the woods, Dave and Bob’s characters explain to Knuckles and El Ravager that brought them up there to talk in private. They try to poison their minds against Sarah’s character, but it doesn’t work. Trying to tell them they’re free doesn’t work either. After tearful attempts to drive them off, Bob offers to pay them to leave. The stakes: 25,000 gold pieces from the temple treasury.
El Ravager and Kuckles take the money and go.
When Bob and Dave later return to the camp with the lost pony, they’re surprised to find Knuckles and El Ravager there. The two took the money but will be staying with Sarah.
The next day at Pizza-A-Go-Go, Bob, Dave, and Brian meet to assess the situation. Brian decides that Sarah’s character must die.
At the next game session, Brian suggests Sarah send the Untouchable Trio to gather more firewood. Sensing something is wrong, she hands a note to B.A.
While Bob and Brian distract Sarah, Dave is supposed to assassinate her character. Brian’s the back up but he also can’t do it. Realizing it’s up to him, Bob makes a move to kill her character. Before he can, the Untouchable Trio return to camp per her orders. Bob receives a dressing down from the three.
Later that night, B.A. warns Sarah that the situation is becoming an in-party war. She can’t wait to see what happens next.
The next day at Pizza-A-Go-Go, Bob, Dave, and Brian meet again to lick their wounds. Brian points out that due to the failure of their assassination attempt on her character, the Untouchable Trio has now become the enemy. However, he thinks he has a way of getting their characters back.
Late one night at Hawg Waller’s after the weekly gathering of the “GM Secret Society,” Nitro and Pete meet with B.A. to talk about his campaign. Pete and Nitro inform B.A. he’s heard there some big trouble fixing to land right in the middle of his campaign. They’ve heard that Brian’s exact words about the next game were “campaign busting.” B.A. reveals that Bob, Dave, and Brian actually tried to kill the Untouchable Trio - first with poison and then by hiring assassins
That only pissed the U.T. off.
Bob, Dave, and Brian’s characters fled back to the Temple of Knu’Kyle Ra to hole up while Sarah and the U.T. raised and army against them.
Pete says that though it sounds like B.A.’s campaign is under control, he thinks Brian has something up his sleeve.
At the next game session, B.A. talks to each faction privately, starting with Sarah. He confides in her that Brian has something up his sleeve and it’s going down tonight. Sarah fills him in on her plan: the first wave of the attack will go through the secret tunnels in the Temple that she’s familiar with.
She’s also planning on having the U.T. bankroll the army with the money they got from Bob earlier. That’ll give the U.T. full booty-rights to the temple after it’s taken. When B.A. tells her it won’t be enough, she tells him she’ll release them from their debt of servitude after that.
When B.A. meets with the guys, Bob’s character weaves a tale of lies about Sarah’s character for his men. Then Bob writes to Fangaerie, asking for an audience with Lord Gilead. Dave heads for the Gnome Protectorates, seeking an audience with the acting Chancellor. Brian meets with the elvish elders of the woods. Wrench is sent to meet with the Association for the Rebuilding of Hagleytown and Bob’s vice-bishop is going to talk to the Dragon Committee. He even sends his altar boy to talk to the Circle of Sequestered Magic.
When B.A. notes that the diplomatic missions won’t succeed, Brian points out that all they’re trying to do is inform the groups that the Untouchable Trio is still alive and that it would be the perfect opportunity to lay a trap for them.
B.A. excuses himself to make a phone call.
Soon, Sarah finds herself facing an army the likes of which the world has never seen. The Hagleytown Militia charge into battle and are wiped out but Sarah is too smart to fall for the trap. She does unfortunately send her cavalry through a marsh, allowing Brian to shift his heavy crossbowmen and cut them down.
Later that night, her second wave moves forward, blasting the temple with magic from Teflon Billy while Knuckles leads a charge of 2,500 elite swordsmen.
That’s when Brian cues the sun.
The rain that has been pelting the battlefield stops, the storm clouds roll away, and the sun comes out. A strange shimmering on the valley rim to the east reveals the cessation of a chain-cast concealment illusion. It reveals the 17,000-man army of Lord Gilead.
Brian arranged for the rain to help hide the concealment illusion.
Sarah’s character is killed just outside the temple gates in the battle that follows. Knuckles is killed by a fireball and his body is ripped apart by the mob. Teflon Billy and El Ravager fight back to back, perched on the overturned wreckage of a war chariot.
In the end, the mercenary army flees and the temple of Knu’Kyle Ra and the town of Winklesworth have been burned to the ground.
Brian announces it’s time to move to Phase II and collects the bodies of the U.T. to present to Lord Gilead as trophies. When they present the bodies, Bob, Dave, and Brian’s characters attack Lord Gilead. His bodyguards kill them all.
Brian announces the plan will move to Phase III.
He also decides to fill B.A. in on the plan.
Bob gives a recap on how the U.T. was lost when they had to be raised with diminished rites. He reminds him how he nixed the protégé program because the mentor/protégé status had been broken. Brian points out that the protégé/mentor status had been broken because the protégés had become higher level than their mentors. He notes that there is, however, a rule, allowing protégé to reactivate if the mentor’s level again rose above the protégés.
B.A. points out that they retired the U.T., deactivated them, and then sold them illegally. Brian notes that the only thing that allowed the protégés to be activated was the fact that the U.T. was alive again. Now that they’re dead, B.A. must make a roll to determine the status of their progress.
B.A. admits they have him hemmed in. He makes the roll and the Untouchable Trio, or at least their protégés, ride again.
Later, at the Games Pit, B.A. tells Pete that the guys found a way to bring the U.T.’s protégés back in and that they are 13th level. He also reveals that the U.T. had a slush fund ready for the protégés. Pete advises him to buck up. B.A. thinks he should stop being a GM but Pete gives him a nice pep talk, telling him that he’s got the gift.
He points out that B.A. is the reason his players keep coming back. B.A. realizes he’s right and thanks Pete for helping him not make a big mistake by quitting.
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|Protégés Story Arc:
Burgandy Lotus, El Ravager III, and Knuckles VII, protégés of the Untouchable Trio, find themselves seated at the Parched Frog Tavern in the city of Aarnz. The characters have been out of touch with their mentors for some time.
They are approached by the cleric Justinia, Sarah’s character, who’s there to inform them that their mentors are dead. Brian is a little upset that she was too blunt with her approach and so she role-plays it up a little.
When Knuckles VII tries to pay a bard to sing a great saga about the Untouchable Trio, the man refuses not only his money, but also refuses to sing for those “murderous scum.”
Bob replies with “I waste ‘im with my crossbow!” The battle is on. After wiping out the tavern and part of the town, Bob, Dave, and Brian decide to hit the bar for a drink and celebrate. B.A. goes along for the drink.
On reaching Frandor’s Keep, the new Untouchable Trio find that the executor they were supposed to meet has disappeared along with their inheritance. After several game sessions, they’re still trying to track him down and settle the score.
They reach the walled city of Darcen still looking for Duxtor the Scribe and find the city packed for grand events and fights in the arena. Brian suggests they kill some time and then hit the inns in the merchant district to find Duxtor. He suggests they do some betting on the fighting events using a scam he and Johnny Kizinski used years ago: Picking the worst possible fighter and then using magic to pump him up on the sly.
Sarah has doubts about the plan but decides to use her winnings to buy the freedom of whatever fighter they bet on.
They find that the worst fighter is One-Eyed Wilicus, with odds of 30 to one.
The U.T. decide to put up magic items to bolster their winnings then go to watch the fights. When they learn that the lower seats are all filled, Brian decides they should scout out some seats near the lower wall where he’ll be within range to use his spells. They’re surprised to find that the first two rows of seats are entirely empty.
The gladiators emerge but their faces are covered by great helms. The Knights don’t know which one is Wilicus. Brian tries drinking a potion of ESP to figure out which is which but it doesn’t work.
Bob and Dave start to hurl insults at the fighters and one of the gladiators fumbles and accidentally hits Dave. Another later accidentally shield-bashes Bob in the face.
They realize why the first two rows are empty.
The two continue to hurl insults and are soon confronted by two fighters. When Bob refuses to stop, four fighters drag him into the arena. They proceed to beat the crap out of him.
Knuckles is thrown a sword but he makes a run for it. Dave refuses to interfere: It’s a matter of honor. Brian convinces Bob to stay in the arena. Bob wants three shares but Brian counter-offers with allowing him three if he dies, two if he doesn’t, and nothing if Wilicus dies. He also guarantees Bob’s character is raised unless Wilicus dies.
Bob demands Gawd Oaths to that effect and gets them.
He stands up to the gladiators, unnerving them a bit, and demands to fight Wilicus. The man steps forward to fight him to the death and starts kicking his ass!
Brian, noting he’s sitting on his spells for when the real fighting begins again, suggests that Bob yield. Bob does so but Sarah points out that the rules of gladiatorial engagement apply only to real gladiators. Wilicus starts slapping Bob around and Brian suggest he drag out the combat in order to let him cast more spells on Wilicus. He even encourages him to take a swing at Wilicus.
Bob uses Critical Sally, one of his lesser-used 20-sided dice. He takes the swing, it’s a crit, but it only hits him in the head for a few points of damage. However, due to a serious head wound he suffered the Fall before, Wilicus suffers from Krugart’s Seizures. He drops to the ground and succumbs to a violent fit.
Knuckles is instructed to wait and see if Wilicus will live or die while Brian laments the loss of his magical items. The King gives the crowd the option of making the decision and they chose life for Wilicus.
The remaining fighters square off against each other, one pairing himself with Bob. When Bob tries to yield, the man refuses. He tries to get help from Brian, who refuses to help him. Brian isn’t even planning on getting Bob raised until Sarah points out that the Gawd Oath still binds them. Brian thought all agreements were off when they lost their wager but the actual agreement was only off if Wilicus died.
Wilicus isn’t dead!
Brian advises Bob to run while Dave heckles the gladiators. He gets no reaction except for a guy in the stands, who tells him to shut up. He gets into a scuffle with the guy and his friends.
Brian uses magic to make Bob look dead. His body is taken off the field and thrown in with the lions, which quickly tear him apart and devour him.
The group recovers the pieces of Knuckles and take them to the Glacial Rift of Audman’Tef. They are packed in ice for safe keeping until the others can find a way to raise him. Burgandy Lotus is arrested when they return to Darcen for using spells during the fight. He’s sentenced to hard labor.
Justinia and El Ravager pawn off most of Burgandy’s magic items and Knuckles is raised. They return to Darcen and successfully break out Burgandy.
In prison, Burgandy had learned a certain Brown Recluse Monk might know where Duxtor was.
A fierce battle ensues when they find the monk. Brian uses magic missiles to finish the monk and, as the one who delivered the killing blow, calls dibs on any treasure the monk might be carrying.
An argument breaks out on who was closest. B.A. makes the call that Brian was closer and he loots the body, calling dibs on a thimble which he knows is from the minor relic table: Marlok’s Thimble of Sea Weaving.
When an ivory frog with black pearl eyes is found, Brian grabs it to examine it closely and finds it’s some kind of jewelry box. When he foolishly opens it without letting Bob check it first, there’s an explosion. The force of the blast throws his body through the air. Bob had been running up to get treasure and is also caught in the blast, as is Dave.
When Bob tries to claim he was trying to run away from the fight, Dave notes that ever since Wilicus kicked is ass, he’s lost his nerve. Sarah agrees and suggests using minis again to keep track of who’s where. Brian is against the use of minis until Hard-8 goes to the heroic size over the 15mm minis but Sarah says that whole thing is just a scam of Hard-8.
The use of minis is put to a vote and passes.
The next week, the old battle map is dusted off and everyone brings a mini but Brian.
Bob has brought a beautiful Hiram Kelley miniature he bought on Hackbay. Brian reveals he was seller and Sarah gets suspicious, taking a better look at it. She finds that the thing has two left legs! Brian sold Bob back his own mini.
Brian explains he only took the mini because he didn’t want to see it thrown out. When the market on the Metal Rage minis went up, he figured he could try to salvage it. He put the mini on Hackbay with a buyer-beware marking.
Sarah decides to butt out, saying that both of them are equally wrong: Brian for selling it and Bob for using money his dad gave him for car insurance for an auction involving damaged goods.
Bob warns Brian he better watch his back.
Later, as the party moves through the forest, Bob makes sure his mini is close to the ball of clay Brian is using, just to “watch his back.” He also takes dibs on the first and last guard watches because it involves watching their backs.
Brian flips out and tells Bob to just make his move. Bob tells him he has no idea what he’s talking about and is just watching his back.
Brian and Bob take five to discuss the situation on the back porch. After 45 minutes, they return, both of them seeming satisfied. The two have made an agreement and Brian offered Bob a settlement in trade. He gave Bob an IOU for 5,000 gold pieces and Marlok’s Thimble of Sea Weaving for the return of the mini.
Sarah is not happy with that.
The next week before the game, Sarah and B.A. discuss the situation. Sarah feels that Brian took advantage of Bob being easily manipulated when it comes to the game for his own financial gain. She informs B.A. that Brian has put the Hiram Kelley back on Hackbay.
She wants to teach Brian a lesson by making sure that Bob got the better part of the deal. She notes that lately, Brian’s been showing less and less of his sweet side.
When the party gets stuck in the seaport of Santello, they decide to try to make a little money and look for Duxtor. Sarah suggests giving up and getting on with their adventuring careers but Brian points out Duxtor is living it up on their inheritance.
To make money, Bob plans to thieve, Dave will teach fighting classes, Sarah will heal, and Brian will put on magic shows. When they try to get an inn room, they learn everyone in town is down at the docks repairing nets and sails. They head down.
They see a woman who lost her thimble get injured and Sarah heals the girl and reminds her to always use her thimble. Dave has a brainflash and reminds Bob about the magic thimble.
Bob uses the thimble to magically repair a net and suddenly finds himself the most popular man in town. He’s offered money to repair nets and sails using the magic of the thimble and starts raking in the money.
The following day, Knuckles finds he’s able to take ships for trade and soon has a small fleet. Brian is very bitter while Bob ends up with so many ships, he signs a wartime commandeering act to waive his docking fees.
After the game, Sarah thanks B.A. for what he’s done.
Soon, Bob’s entrepreneur dealings and the money that’s rolling in start taking over the game. Bob sets up a banquet to help raise his social class and it looks like almost everyone is coming.
Both Brian and Sarah offer to help for compensation. Dave calls Bob on the fact that though it was about the team before, now it’s only about the money. They all note that Knuckles just doesn’t have time for them any more.
Bob sets aside some shares and allows the others to buy them. Brian starts to horn in on the business.
The banquet is a great success at first. Brian is a little upset about all the money Bob has spent on the shindig but Bob points out that the whole thing is a social mixer with message: Knuckles VII is a mover and a shaker.
As they argue, they notice several guests have gathered in the atrium to meet a large, amusing gentleman. Bob finds that it is no other than Duxtor the Scribe.
Duxtor uses one of Teflon Billy’s magic items and blows a whistle that summons bodyguards. Moments later, the brawl erupts between the Untouchable Trio and Duxtor’s guards, all of them using improvised weapons.
Unfortunately, some of Brian’s improvised fireballs light the whole manor on fire. The mayor is also accidentally killed in the flames. Later, Duxtor and Knuckles fight toe to toe and Bob finds that the months of not adventuring have left Knuckles out of shape. Sickened by this revelation, Bob tells the rest he plans on selling the business and moving on once they get their things back from Duxtor.
Brian is looting the mayor’s body and Bob has just been pinned by a burning timber when city guards burst in. Sarah blends into the crowd but Bob, Dave, and Brian are arrested.
When Bob accuses Duxtor, they learn he’s the mayor’s nephew and that’s where he’s been hiding out all this time.
Being late at night, B.A. wants to wrap up the game. This meets with some dissent from the others. Schedules are compared but Bob has an appointment at work he can’t miss. Brian suggests he call in sick. Bob says he can’t, he’s done that too many times.
Brian suggests hitting a disease control website to find a disease Bob can use and they finally find a suitable one. Bob calls in sick for the next day and the game goes on.
Back in jail, the Untouchable Trio find it impossible to escape due to their own magic items being used against them by Duxtor. Knuckles VII gets his hand smashed by a wooden mallet for trying to escape once again.
Later in court, they are all found guilty. However, the legal code has no provision for putting a man to death. The punishment is to be transported to the imperial court in Fangaerie, where they will be tried to Lord Gilead.
The group is transported to the Imperial City of Fangaerie for sentencing. Sarah finds she can’t help them out at all, especially since their guards are elite soldiers hand picked and dispatched from Fangaerie by Lord Gilead himself.
The names Knuckles, El Ravager, and Lotus leaped from the page as he reviewed his dockets.
The Trio had been knocked out by a sleeping potion in their gruel. They awaken just as the prison wagon reaches the outskirts of the city.
Brian guesses it will be several days, perhaps even weeks before they’ll be taken to court for sentencing. He starts coaching Sarah on what to do but B.A. puts a lid on that.
However, when they enter the city, they’re taken directly to the court. Knuckles makes a ruckus in the courtroom and he’s removed and given 60 lashes. Bob accuses B.A. of setting them up ever since they got their protégés in the game. B.A. points out that their characters’ pasts are just catching up with them.
After a rousing speech by Crimson Lotus, the judge sympathizes with what he hears. He decides to withdrawal as final arbitrator in the case and hands it over to Lord Gilead.
Though Brian claims he will soon have Lord Gilead eating out of his hands, it’s not to be. Gilead’s helm of lordship makes him immune to Burgandy Lotus’ attempts to verbally persuade him to ignore the facts.
The three are sentenced to life imprisonment working in the borax mine of Flindeleeze.
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|Doomsday Pack Story Arc:
[NOTE: This is my favorite story arc by far. I’d love to see Jolly run this one with the prophecies and all! It rocked. ~Andy]
As the Untouchable Trio is taken to the Borax Mines, Justinia has made arrangements to free them. She purchases a huge pack of pitbulls and sends them against the prison caravan, wiping out all of the guards. The Untouchable Trio’s safety in the prison wagon is the only thing that saves their lives.
While Brian thinks this is awesome, Sarah’s character feels terribly guilty.
While freeing the Trio, they hear the pack’s barking in the distance and are unsure if the dogs are coming closer or moving further away. When they notice some of the other prisoners are excited, they learn that one of them is from the area. Though they are worried about trusting complete strangers, they decide to go with the NPCs.
Brian forms a plan to strip the weapons and armor from the dead soldiers and hide them inside a wagon for later retrieval and sale.
As they head for the village of Raven Downs, the NPC tells them how wonderful the village is and claims his people will reward them with a huge banquet in their honor when they return.
However, as they near Raven Downs, they sense something is wrong.
It’s far too quiet and there are no village greeters. Then they notice the vultures circling high above and spot the first of many mauled bodies as well as the telltale prints of hundreds of paws.
The pit bulls have wiped out the village.
Several game weeks later, the party has been following the Doomsday Pack’s trail of destruction. The beasts have already destroyed four villages and three farms.
After discussing how Bob is making ends meet in real life, the game continues that night. The party stumbles across the remains of a wiped-out caravan of pilgrims and finds the bodies of several pit bulls peppered with arrows. More bodies are found at the base of a nearby wall where they obviously tried to set up a defense. Behind the wall are more of the dead: dogs and men.
The group has an argument about what to do. Sarah is convinced they need to continue following the pit bulls and try to solve the problem whereas Brian thinks Gilead will send the army to deal with it. They worry about following the pack with bounties on their heads. When Sarah suggests Justinia going on her own, Brian refuses, partially due to the fact that it will cost him honor to let her leave.
Examining the remains of the caravan proves that the pack has grown. Their best estimate is that there are over 2,000 dogs in the pack. It’s growing due to the typo allowing 8d100 pit bulls in any town or village. As the pack is wiping out villages, it’s adding to its own size.
The party arrives at the town of Treast to find rotting carcasses of livestock on the road. A farmer and his family are hiding on the roof of a nearby house. They start seeing the bodies and find a group of soldiers in a nearby tree.
Sarah finds her own face on a wanted poster with the name “Justinia the Butcher” on it.
At the next game session after Bob and Brian argue about mowing Brian’s two acres of scrub brush, B.A. gets the game going again.
The party finds themselves under siege in the walled town of Treast. As they were helping the townsfolk barricade the gates, someone recognized Justinia the Butcher and the entire town went after them. They managed a fighting withdrawal and locked themselves in the eastern gatehouse.
The Doomsday Pack waits outside while an angry mob of screaming townsfolk wait inside.
Sarah suggests giving herself up to the mob but Bob and Dave refuse. Brian points out that it only one of their options. He intends to use the cover story that the Untouchable Trio are bounty hunters so that they can escape long enough to get the mob behind them. Then, he says, they can insist on due process: a trial for Justinia.
Bob is unimpressed with the plan, having been on the wrong side of courts before.
However, Brian figures with the Doomsday Pack outside, it will be some time before there can be a trial, giving them more time to think and plan. It’s a stall tactic.
Bob and Dave point out that they killed quite a few people in the town and Brian says they can claim they mistook the townsfolk attack as an attempt to free their prisoner. That and a little magic should calm down the mob.
When they show the flag of truce, the leader of the mob demands they come out and stand with them. Brian tells him he wants concessions of a trial and letting bygones be bygones as far as the earlier kills. The man gives his word that no man shall hurt them but Brian sees through that, figuring they’d just be tossed to the dogs outside.
Some kind of price must be paid. Justice must be done. The mob leader suggests the 5,000 g.p. reward on Justinia’s head be used as a wergild. The Trio accepts the terms but when they emerge, the mob grabs them all and drags them to the town square. After a quick trial by the mob, they’re found guilty.
So much for a fair trial.
A week later, B.A. is down at the Games Pit looking for inspiration. He relates to Pete that during the last game, his players were really sweating. Their only chance was to talk their way out of the troubles they’d gotten into.
Just before they were going to be thrown over the wall, Brian pointed out that Sarah should make a beseechment for divine intervention. B.A. figured there was no chance but then Brian started stacking the modifiers.
Though she still only had an eight percent chance, Sarah made the roll. She managed to petition her god Benyar and he sent his ravens Mishap and Circumstance to scatter the pack. Then he spoke through an NPC cleric, announcing the party would be sent on an honor quest to give them a chance to win redemption. They’d have 30 days to complete the quest, otherwise they’ll be teleported back to Treast and the mob could deal with them.
Then B.A. told them they had to travel to the Winding Stair Mountains and enter Kretan’s Crawl. They have to find Findle’s Lyre of Hound Slaying and use it to destroy the Doomsday Pack. They also had to make restitution and construct a temple of Benyar in Treast. It all sounds great to Pete.
However, when the guys thought they had really won, B.A. talked up Kretan’s Crawl, making them expect something incredibly hard.
But B.A. hasn’t even started on the adventure and it’s only 24 hours until game time.
Pete thinks he has a little help for B.A. He’s going to let him buy one of the Monsterhaze Dangerous Trapping Sets, one of those pricey props. B.A. tells him he can’t afford it but Pete tells him he’s got a new service: Rent to Own Games. Put down 10 percent, walk out with your product, keep up your monthly payments, and at the end of a year, you own the product.
Squirelly brings out the product and Pete gives a demonstration. Since the traps and layout are all preplaced, the dungeon pretty much makes itself. B.A. buys it.
At the next game, everybody is ready to see B.A.’s big surprise. Brian thinks he knows what it is: the double EP slayer appreciation day. He’s wrong but B.A. won’t reveal his surprise quite yet.
Bob is certain the honor quest will be a blood bath and even Dave notices that B.A. has that “eye of the tiger look.”
Sarah tells them she talked to the NPC cleric and learned quite a bit. The Winding Stair Mountain is the ancient name of a mountain pass in the Daur Jor Mountains to the south that’s ten days away. Also, Kretan is the brother of the Wraith Lord Monfyr, aka Arondorph the Mad, a master thief-assassin renowned for expertise in devising traps.
That gives them pause for thought.
Brian points out that Arondorph is also a collector of magic items, including the Orb of Dragonkind, the Ruby of Wan-Kai, and even, possibly, Tremble, one of the Hackmaster-class swords. Dave gets very excited at that.
Sarah also has some poetry that she thinks is a prophecy and reads it to the group. Brian thinks B.A. is using that to cover himself and notes that the clues are very noncommittal.
They do figure that the “Ten and a half warriors, loyal to their purse” are hirelings and at least one has to be a halfling. Brian thinks the poem suggests there is a monastery on the mountain top. Dave becomes paranoid about the part of the prophecy predicting treachery.
As they later climb the Winding Stair Mountain, the halfling Babu Chhrii proves his mettle thought Brian doesn’t particularly care for him and warns the rest they shouldn’t get attached to any of the hirelings as, according to the poem, one will have to be sacrificed. He also warns that someone will be performing an act of treachery and they should be careful of all of them.
Bob reaches the summit and finds that the top is subtropical and filled with birds and other creatures. As little Babu comes up to Bob, he tells him a monkey beaned him with a sling stone. Then Bob gets hit right between the eyes.
Bob tries to kill the monkeys but takes more damage than he can land. As the battle against the monkeys continues, Brian urges them to ignore the creatures: it’s just a delaying tactic by B.A. He thinks they should start searching for the monastery but they keep getting lost in the forest.
As Bob tries to organize the hirelings to search the crater, he gets hit by another rock. He decides to burn the forest down but just then Dave has a brain flash. He stops Bob.
Dave made the connection that the monks that will show the way in the prophecy are the monkeys. Brian had only assumed there would be a monastery: they have almost no provisions.
Sarah manages to get one of the monkeys to lead them away by giving him too much food to carry and then approaching him. He runs off and they give chase, pursuing him to a hole in the crater wall that proves to be a lave tube. This leads them to an ancient roadbed, which in turn leads them to a gorge on the far side of the valley.
At the next game session, B.A. makes sure everyone has brought their minis. After a discussion about how Dave has been mistreating the hirelings (three have already skipped out), B.A. brings the hammer down to stop the table chatter and blames Bob’s complaint of lack of hack last week on them trying to settle the score with the monkeys. They wasted two days slaughtering the creatures.
Bob lets them know he won’t be able to play the following week as he’s playing Cattlepunk with his father and Weird Pete.
The game gets underway and the party heads down the ancient road. Brian has a bad feeling about it. Babu Chhrii finds a pair of iron doors. As Bob gets ready to check for traps, B.A. pauses the game for a little setup.
Ten minutes later, when they come back, the Monsterhaze set is out. Everyone is impressed but also a little disappointed with how bad their minis look in comparison. They try to get Brian to repaint their minis but then Bob comes up with a great idea: use Brian’s collection to represent them and the hirelings.
Brian refuses, noting that his minis (especially the ones he keeps under glass) are worth quite a bit. After some resistance, negotiations start for the use of the minis.
At the next game session, the others have leased museum quality minis from Brian. Everyone is impressed. For only a $5 usage fee and a $20 deposit, they got figures for themselves and their hirelings. The actual total (with insurance and other fees) comes to about $34 a mini.
Brian bought copies of lease agreements for everyone to sign and suddenly the extra fees and costs start piling up.
The game finally begins. They open the doors to Kretan’s Crawl and B.A. reveals the first room of the Monsterhaze map. As Bob steps into the room, the floor sinks slightly beneath him and B.A. places a trap on the board. Bob attempts to disarm the trap but as he picks up his mini to move it off the trap, it activates: CRUNCH! It smashes the mini and injures Bob’s character.
Sarah decides to switch back to her own mini. She can’t afford to lose her deposit. Bob says he has plenty of money and since he and Dave have both bought insurance, they might lose their deposits but will get to keep the minis. Brian puts a stop to that: the minis will be coming back to him. Then he pulls the plug: he wants the minis back. Bob notes that they signed contracts and that will put the big guy in breach. Brian says he’s terminating the contracts.
Dave doesn’t have a problem with that - as soon as he gives them each a full refund. Brian doesn’t have the money and tries to talk his way out of it but Bob stands firm: it’s a full cash refund or he’s got to honor the contract. Brian finally says he’ll honor the contracts but tells them it’ll be a bitch when it comes to turn in and rating wear and tear. He tells them they can kiss their deposits good-bye.
Bob and Dave realize their deposits are gone so they might as well have fun wrecking the minis. The two, low-crawling and scraping his mini on the board, smack right into another trap, further damaging Brian’s minis. Then Babu gets hit, breaking the mini right off its base.
Later, having been chased by gnarl-ron guards, the party rests in a corridor. When Brian and Dave find that Sarah has given the last of the healing potion to Babu, they’re pissed. Bob stands up for the little guy.
They enter some sort of temple and Dave barricades the door. They discuss Crukmeyer, a hireling who’s gotten on most of their bad sides. They also find a huge statue holding a bronze hammer and pointing to large stone urn. The urn has images of hounds upon it near a man playing a lyre. Dave shimmies up the size of the urn and peers in to find nothing when Babu shouts out a warning. The great hammer swings down as Dave jumps clear. The urn is shattered.
They search the room but hear gnarl-ron drums outside the door. As the creatures are breaking down the door with a battering ram, Babu finds a trapdoor among the broken shards of the urn. They scramble down the ladder and find themselves in a lava tube. In the center of the room, perched on a block of Kobian green marble is the lyre of hound slaying.
Brian grabs the lyre, triggering a trap that seals the shaft they came down. They start exploring the lava tubes and hours of game time later, find themselves in a cavernous chamber split by a river of molten lava. They head for the bridge that crosses it but are thrown back by an invisible force. All of them are badly hurt.
Suddenly, one of the statues by the bridge animates and tells them they must pay a price to pass: one soul. The gnarl-ron drums still close behind them, they chose Crukmeyer but are told the soul must be chosen from their number by lot. Brian forms a plan to make sure that Crukmeyer draws the short straw. As he’s about to go onto the bridge, Little Babu shouts “I drew the shortest straw!” breaking his own in half and running onto the bridge to disappear in a flash of light.
Bob breaks down crying. They wrap the game up for the night.
The next week, the party enters the only passage on the other side of the bridge. It abruptly ends. The only way out is a vertical shaft in the ceiling. Bob can’t climb it because he has a bum arm so they send their only remaining hireling: Crukmeyer. He shimmies up the shaft and soon lets down a rope. Once he secures it, he tells them to send the equipment up first, pulling up the backpacks and the lyre.
Crukmeyer doesn’t lower the rope and after 20 minutes, they call up to him. They only hear snickering in reply.
“Nobody’s up here but us pigeons,” the voice comes down, mocking what Bob called him when they tried to sacrifice him on the bridge.
Crukmeyer’s betrayed them.
A moment later, the severed rope lands at their feet. Bob is pissed but B.A. reminds them the whole quest is a test by the gods.
Sarah suddenly realizes it all fits in with the prophecy: the shattering of the vase, Babu’s death, and now the betrayal. Though Brian figures they were doomed to fail before they even started, Sarah points out that according to the prophecy, without the betrayal, ultimate victory would elude them.
Victory is still within their grasp.
A search of the walls in the supposed dead-end passage reveals a secret door and a spiral staircase leading up. They soon find themselves in another maze. Brian again gets discouraged but a short time later, they find a trail of corn dodger crumbs that are still relatively fresh.
Brian realizes it’s Crukmeyer!
They follow the crumbs until they appear to suddenly end where they find their four backpacks and the lyre outside of a door. All of their things are there though the clasp on Brian’s journal has been pried open and all the juicy parts have been dog-eared and marked for later re-reading. There’s no sign of Crukmeyer.
Bob checks the door for traps and peaks into the room beyond. He hears moaning. Dave kicks the door, revealing a small room with Crukmeyer in the fetal position in its center. He’s sobbing uncontrollably.
The boys want to kill him but Sarah reminds them of the prophecy: the last line notes that granting compassion when revenge is warranted grants the sky to them. She thinks it means if they don’t hurt Crukmeyer, it will help them get out. She finally convinces them to let her heal him at the very least so he can see who’s getting revenge upon him. She notices his eyes are wild, his eyebrows and eyelashes have been singed and he keeps babbling incoherently “Madness! Tremble! Blind!” amidst other nonsense.
She reminds Brian of one of the rumors he told her about earlier: Tremble the Hackmaster sword is in there.
After 20 minutes, Dave finally wakes up. When the Hackmaster sword is mentioned again, he drops once more. They decide to allow B.A. to run El Ravager.
They tie up Crukmeyer and find a stone sarcophagus. Lying in the shadows nearby is a beautiful sword partially pulled from its scabbard. Brian advises Bob not to touch it but to nudge it back into its scabbard. Sheathed, it’s relatively harmless. B.A. has El Ravager roll the sword up in his bedroll for safekeeping.
Sarah suggests they use the room to rest and they light a fire in the sarcophagus. Sarah breaks out some salted pork and wild onions, making a stew with a sweet potato from Brian.
Crukmeyer comes to his senses and asks for something to eat. Sarah shows him compassion but Bob and Brian want to off him - now. She’s outvoted two to one but Crukmeyer begs for his life and B.A. uses some terminology that could force an alignment change. Brian points out that if a verdict of death is ruled by a convening judge with proper jurisdiction over the accused, the executioner is totally immune. According to party charter, the party has the right to administer justice among its own members.
Brian makes a case against Crukmeyer and even Sarah admits he was guilty. Brian proposes the death sentence and Sarah doesn’t have the votes but does demand El Ravager be given a vote. B.A. votes to let Crukmeyer live.
Just then, Dave awakens.
B.A. brings him up to speed but Dave is just happy he has the Hackmaster sword. In the long run, he votes to let Crukmeyer go, thinking Sarah might be right and not wanting to die now that he has the sword.
As it takes a majority vote to institute the death penalty, Crukmeyer will live. They decide to send Crukmeyer on his way but Sarah first gives him a bowl of stew. As he eats it, he gazes at the ceiling, wondering where the smoke from their fire is going.
In a cluster of cobwebs near the ceiling, they find a flue. Peering up in, they spot the crescent moon and stars.
The prophecy has again come true.
Later, as they make camp on the surface, Bob’s pager goes off and they wrap the game up for the night.
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|Tremble/Marvin Story Arc:
A few nights after the Knights finished Kretan’s Crawl, B.A. meets with Nitro and Pete and Hawg Wallers. B.A. asks Nitro to sit in on his game next Thursday. He wants him to play the part of a non-player character, a sword to be specific.
At the next game session, the Knights wonder why extra leaves have been put into the dinner table and a place has been reserved for ... someone. Bob’s worried and Dave’s upset because he can’t sit in his regular, dice-trained spot.
As the game begins, the Untouchable Trio +1 find themselves further from the nearest town than they thought. They approach a nearby mesa to make a defensible campsite. While scouting, Bob finds a bear in the cave. The creature almost does him in but he manages to kill it. Brian harvests organs from the cave bear while Sarah heals up the others.
Their next problem is riding 600 miles in five days but Brian has a plan. He knows an elfin mage in Aber Ganz who owes him a favor. Though it’s out of their way, he thinks he can convince her to teleport them to Treast with the Lyre of Hound Slaying. Bob is worried about the plan but they decide to try it anyway.
Bob suggests Dave try to use Tremble, the Hackmaster sword, but Brian warms them it could be very dangerous. What little research he’s done about Tremble makes him wary of the sword. He suggests they wait until they reach a town. Bob disagrees.
When Dave announces he’s going to pull Tremble from the scabbard, B.A. has them take a 15-minute break. He’s got to make a phone call and cues the sword.
After the break, Dave draws the sword as Brian and Sarah back up. The blade begins to glow. Suddenly a voice cries out:
“Who dares attempt to wield me?”
It’s Nitro. He’s there to play the sword and immediately dresses Dave down for calling Tremble “his” sword. When Dave wonders if they should wait to get back to town, Nitro/Tremble informs him that it will chose whom it will serve and whom it will destroy.
Brian urges Dave to fling the sword over the cliff and Sarah agrees. The sword casts soul trauma on both of them for their interference. When they continue to try to convince Dave, he refuses.
Dave asks Nitro about the powers of the sword but Nitro informs him that the sword has not yet decided Dave is worthy to be its master and he must first prove himself in mortal combat. The sword wants him to slay one of his friends.
Brian urges him to stall the sword but Tremble wants a foe now.
Bob suggests he pick Burgundy Lotus as Brian doesn’t have any spells ready. Brian says he should go after Justinia, who isn’t wearing any armor.
Dave chooses Crukmeyer. Everyone seems pleased with the decision but when they look where Crukmeyer was standing by the fire, he’s gone, having fled for his life.
Nitro informs Dave that combat must be to the death. When Dave asks what the sword will do if he refuses, Nitro threatens him that he doesn’t even want to know.
Suddenly, Bob shoves El Ravager off the cliff. The fall to bottom kills him.
Dave’s pissed. Bob tries to apologize for killing the character and Brian suggests recovering the body immediately before scavengers destroy it.
When they reach the bottom, they find a couple of carnivorous rats already working on the body. Tremble is still clutched in El Ravager’s dead hand.
Bob constructs a travois to take the body back to camp and demands that only he shall pull it. Brian suggests that they throw the sword in a hole and bury it. Dave’s upset but they tell him they’ll draw his character a map so he can come back and recover it later.
When Sarah tries to remove the sword from El Ravager’s hand, she finds he has a death grip on it. Brian suggests hacking the hand off at the wrist but Bob decides the sword will go with Dave. When they get back to the campsite, they realize they won’t have time to get El Ravager raised before dealing with the lyre.
Bob has a ceremony and vows to get El Ravager raised. His impassioned speech moves just about everyone at the table. Then he asks how many role-playing EPs he’ll get.
Suddenly Tremble insults him. Brian asks how he can speak as sentient swords need a living host to channel their powers. Just then, El Ravager awakens. Tremble has brought him back from the dead.
Dave loves the sword and Nitro notes that until they finish their dance, there’ll be no stopping the music. He tells Dave to prove himself worthy or he’ll be destroyed. When Brian tries to advise Dave, the sword hits him with another soul trauma attack.
Dave chooses to fight Bob. Justinia tells him to wait and demands a fair fight, wanting to tend El Ravager’s wounds. Tremble is pleased that someone is finally showing some backbone. She looks over El Ravager and applies healing salve. When she’s satisfied, she shoves him and the sword over the cliff!
She suggests retrieving the body but Brian disagrees, figuring some random encounter will give the sword a foe to slay. They quit playing for the night.
After the game, B.A., Nitro, and Dave talk. B.A. tells Dave he didn’t see the party leaving him alone with the sword. Tremble is a soul seether.
Nitro and Dave go have a drink at Hawg Wallers so that Nitro can explain.
Nitro asks Dave how he feels about playing evil characters and tells him that without the help of his friends Tremble, as a soul seether, will seep into his mind and begin to exert control. Once the sword raises El Ravager, no one will be there to keep the sword from bending him to its will which will turn El Ravager chaotic evil.
Dave is delighted.
Nitro also tells him that the sword’s goals have replaced El Ravager’s. He notes that the sword will be a guiding influence and asks about the Lyre of Hound Slaying. Dave tells him about the Doomsday Pack and the quest the party is on.
Nitro begins to make plans.
At the next game, the others find that Nitro and Dave got to the table early as they had to run some things before the rest got there. Dave tells Brian he can’t say what happened and Brian tries to use the Player Advantage Code to find out. He thinks the party should take a break so he can change some of his spells memorized. Sarah realizes what’s going on, as does Bob. B.A. quickly picks up on it as they ready an ambush for Dave.
El Ravager comes down the road on foot and Bob and Brian prepare to attack with everything they’ve got. B.A. nips that in the bud, refusing to let them just shoot on site telling them they can’t take hostile action until they’ve established him as a threat.
Dave explains that after they left him, he ran into a sand troll and after killing it, Tremble agreed for El Ravager to be his master. As they prepare to head out, Dave moves behind Brian, draws Tremble, and smashes the Lyre of Hound Slaying to bits.
“And so it begins,” mutters Nitro.
B.A. is shocked.
The party flees but for days is hounded by Dave as he attempts to take control of the group. He finally corners them and forces them to fight. The battle goes against the party and Bob surrenders but Nitro screams at him to pick up his weapon and fight like a man. Sarah goes off on Nitro but Nitro urges Dave to kill the dwarf.
Within a few rounds, Dave demands that Bob swear allegiance to him or die. Brian pauses the game to clarify that Dave just wants them to turn evil. He is more than willing to do so long as they can remain a group. He just asks for a quick huddle with the others to convince them to go along.
Sarah refuses and Nitro notes if there are any tricks, the offer will be rescinded and he’ll kill them all. Dave lets slip that he and Nitro are planning on taking control of the Doomsday Pack.
Brian takes the others to one side to talk to them, suddenly slipping on a ring of quick escapes and teleporting them all away.
Nitro tells them it’s not over and the offer is rescinded.
Later that night at Pizza-A-Go-Go, Brian, Bob, and Sarah meet to plan. Brian notes that they’re going to have to take out Dave’s character. Even though Bob objects, Brian says that with Dave and Tremble working together, the entire campaign could be at stake. Bob considers throwing in with Dave but Sarah refuses. Brian suggests that Justinia could play up the angle that Tremble is sweet on her. Bob is unimpressed with the plan and Brian tells him that’s more of fallback plan if all else fails.
He says they are really not going to like the real plan. They have to fight evil with evil and there’s only one way to take Tremble out: go to Piggly Thinwillow’s grave and dig up Carvin’ Marvin.
Later, Sarah, Bob, and Brian show up at the Games Pit and ask Weird Pete if he can run them through a quick adventure. Pete is suspicious when they tell him they don’t want B.A. to know about it. He tells Pete they need to retrieve a particular quest item. Though Pete is upset that they’re going behind B.A.’s back, Brian explains what’s happened with Nitro, the sword, and Dave. He tells Pete he wants him to run the session and sign a sworn affidavit on what happens so that no matter what happens, it will stand.
Pete wonders why they picked him and they tell him his DM qualities of running a tough game and not pulling his punches are essential. Also, the quest item appeared in adventure he wrote when he used to run for them. When they tell him what they’re after, he’s shocked and refuses to run, noting that was his darkest time as a gamemaster and he wants to leave the sword where it lays. He’s nervous about reprising the role of Marvin.
When he tells them they don’t even know where Piggly Thinwillow is buried, Bob points out that Black Lotus’ journal has the information.
Pete finally agrees, only under the condition that, live or die, they stand by the outcome.
They head back for the table.
Later that same night at Pizza-A-Go-Go, a beraggled Bob, Sarah, and Brian talk about the horror they faced. After dealing with the sword Carvin’ Marvin, Justinia has chronic nightmares and a nervous tic, Burgundy Lotus will walk with a limp for the rest of his life, and Knuckles got the worst of it: what happened to him will never go beyond the table. Bob’s character has to carry Marvin as his character drew the short straw.
Brian notes that the next step is to convince B.A. to allow a beseechment of Benyar to give them extra time to get the Lyre back to Treast. He’s certain Benyar will allow it. If not, when they’re teleported back to Treast, they’ll be killed, Tremble will control the Doomsday Pack, and that will be the end of the campaign.
Then he notes that Nitro is playing Tremble to the hilt and is very intimidating. He wants to bring the same level of power and impact to their side of the table. Sarah begs him not to have Pete play Marvin again but Brian knows that Pete won’t do it. He’s got a different idea and goes to make a phone call.
The man at the other end of the line is Johnny Kizinski. After the two catch up, Brian asks him to come the next Thursday to play a sword. Brian calls in an old favor one of Johnny’s character’s promised but when Johnny notes that his character was chaotic and would have said anything, Brian hangs up on him.
Johnny tells his wife he’s got to leave town a few days on business.
A few nights later, the players assemble and the game begins. B.A. tells them Benyar will release them from the initial timeline of the contract but they’re not off the hook. Nitro is not happy.
Tremble and El Ravager head for Treast to look for the Doomsday Pack. Brian starts handing notes to B.A. Nitro realizes Brian is probably up to something.
Dave and Nitro decide to take on some followers.
Later that same night when they reach Treast, they see the town is very quiet. The sword is able to detect a nemesis coming from behind some rocks behind the trail. Brian says it’s time to cue the sword.
Sarah breaks out her cell phone and makes a call.
Meanwhile, at Hawg Waller’s on the other side of town, Johnny Kizinski and Crutch are talking about the game. Johnny notes he’s there because a friend of his needed him and says he’s going to need a few more drinks because he’s going to a very dark place. Johnny is paged and asks Crutch if he can give him a ride.
Meanwhile, back at the game table, it’s B.A.’s turn to wonder why they put another leaf in the table. Bob hands him the sworn affidavit signed by Weird Pete about the adventure he ran. B.A.’s a little upset but when he finds out they got Carvin’ Marvin, he’s amazed.
A few moments later, Johnny arrives at the table.
B.A.’s a little confused and Johnny tells him he’s there to rattle Nitro’s cage. Unfortunately, Johnny’s been hitting the bottle and Brian tells Sarah he’s a mean drunk. Dave wonders why the hell they dug up that sword and Sarah tells him they’d run out of options. They note that they had to chop up Sir Hackalot to get the sword and Bob tells B.A. he took the boots of sure-footedness off the corpse, angering Dave.
B.A. says that allowing Johnny to play Carvin’ Marvin is too much responsibility to entrust a player. However, Bob tells him that Johnny is a card-carrying gamemaster now: he runs for his kids. Brian pleads on Johnny’s behalf, noting he even met with Weird Pete to get the lowdown on Marvin. B.A. finally allows it but notes that if Johnny doesn’t play the part appropriately, he’ll stop it.
The no-alcohol policy at the table is also enforced.
The game resumes with El Ravager approaching the rocks when Tremble warns him of an ambush. Nitro sends some scouts ahead and when Brian comments about them bolstering their ranks, Dave notes the army wasn’t for them. Brian is certain of how many men they have, telling Sarah he uses scratch pads and pencil rubbings to spy on notes from his enemies.
He tells them that the only problem with the plan is if Nitro ignores them. He hopes that Johnny can goad Nitro into a fight.
Dave’s scouts report back that they found traces of 75 or so men having gone down the road. They also report that the men behind the rocks are just waiting for them to go by.
Johnny pushes Nitro’s buttons until B.A. tell him to keep it out of the game.
Dave and Nitro begin Operation Weathercock. Bob is happy as their plan of attack is exactly what Brian predicted. As Dave’s army reaches the brook near the rocks, Brian’s pastoral vale of dense foliage spell dissipates, revealing trenches full of men. Nitro urges Dave to stay with the plan and they move to the rocks and spot Bob, who disappears in a flash of light.
The only evidence of anyone having been there is a small chalk circle with a few components and a burning candle. The whole area appears uninhabited.
Brian confidently notes that Nitro’s been outfoxed and the chalk circle is actually a magic circle of target acquisition. He launches a barrage of lava-yield fireballs keyed in on the circle and destroys everything in the area including the rocks and the army there.
Nitro is unimpressed. He’s cocky and Dave’s smirking.
Bob takes Marvin and a dozen men down to the rocks to see what happened. They find the impact crater but only find two bodies. Suddenly, Dave’s forces sweep up from behind the trenches. Only two men had been in the rocks - a mirror spell had made them look like 200.
Brian has blown his entire wad of tactical spells on an illusion. The fight is on.
When Bob tries to get his men moving back to the trenches and one refuses, Johnny dresses him down for taking lip from the hirelings. Bob beheads the instigator and the rest jump in line. They head for the trench. Johnny raises a pair of dead bodies and has them fight for sport. Brian tries to tell Johnny how to run the sword, Johnny tells him to back off.
Brian, upset that he’s burned all his good spells, resorts to a fireball scroll. Moments later, as Bob reaches the trench, he’s struck by a fireball. Bob reminds B.A. about a note he sent him and B.A. realizes he should have taken less damage.
Later that night, Dave’s forces are winning. Brian is confused because he feels Nitro is anticipating his every move. Then he finds out that when they were preparing for the battle, Nitro set up situations on a sand table and asked Dave “What would Brian do?”
Brian suggests fleeing the battle but Sarah replies that Bob is stuck on the other side of the battle, fighting. Brian notes that if Bob falls, they’ll bail.
Johnny’s not satisfied with Bob’s performance and asks Nitro where he is because he wants to fight Tremble. When Brian notes that he thinks Nitro is just scared, Nitro tells them that the flanking attack was only the second diversion of the evening.
El Ravager suddenly appears behind Burgundy Lotus and stabs him. A few rounds later, Brian is in a great deal of trouble and getting his ass kicked. He uses his ring of quick escapes but only ends up about a quarter mile away. He finds a hole to hide in.
As Dave and Nitro are about to finish the group, Nitro’s cell phone rings. His wife tells him it’s time to come home. They decide to finish the game the next night: Friday. Bob notes he had plans but can probably cancel.
The next day at the Games Pit, Bob tells Shiela he can’t make the date that night. She’s upset until she finds out the reason he can’t go is game related and she understands that. She eventually decides Squirrelly can come with her.
At the game that night, Dave is wearing war paint. Brian tries talking Nitro and Dave into joining the groups together. With the two magical swords, they could take over the whole world. But Nitro reminds him that any offers of that type have long been rescinded.
Sarah notes to Brian that if he can make his way back to the battle, she can lay hands on him and heal him up.
As Bob and Sarah’s characters try to work their way towards Dave, they find their way blocked by his army. They spot him perched atop a boulder, taunting them. Dave worries about losing the army but Nitro notes that the recruit army power of the sword only works on people who aren’t very smart. The soldiers are expendable.
Dave and Tremble confront Bob and Marvin. The battle between them and Sarah is bloody. Bob keeps blinking around the field and Dave and Bob are both hurt. Nitro tells Dave to back off so he can regenerate him and both sides fall back to lick their wounds. Brian starts passing more notes to the GM as his character gets close.
Nitro decides they need to get rid of the spellcaster and Dave uses Tremble’s detect nemesis ability to pinpoint Brian nearby. In desperation, Brian starts burning spells directly from his spellbook. He manages to get back to Bob and Sarah’s lines and healed up somewhat.
Later that night, Bob’s army abandons them and El Ravager’s men chase them down and cut them to pieces. The battle between the knights is bloody with magic flying. Bob is getting cut to pieces and falls back to use his crossbow. Johnny is not happy but likes Bob’s brass and decides to let him try it his way for now. He says he’d better like the results thought.
Bob manages to thin out the ranks with his crossbow. Brian thins out the remains of El Ravager’s army some more with a cloudkill spell cast directly from his spellbook.
Bob manages to backstab several soldiers. The rocks are a killing ground for thieves. Bob spots El Ravager below; he and his soldiers have Burgundy Lotus and Justinia up against a wall. Bob botches his climb walls roll and falls behind Dave.
It looks like Dave and Tremble are going to win when Burgundy Lotus pulls his burning earring of friendly fire. The command word causes a ring of fire to blast everything in a 50-foot radius. Though Johnny, Nitro, and Dave try to convince him otherwise, he releases the homing beetle from his ring of scarabs and drops the earring.
The blast kills Bob and Dave, while Justinia survives but is knocked out. Though it looks like Brian’s character is dead too, he pulls out the modifiers to lessen the damage. When he mentions his elvin ring of fire protection, Bob reminds B.A. about the note and B.A. points out that the elvin ring doesn’t seem to have had any effect. Brian’s character is dead. Somebody switched rings for a fake but since Bob now has it, he survived the blast.
Bob and Sarah are knocked out but alive. However, Dave has not let got of Tremble and the sword can regenerate him.
B.A. tells them he’s going to take it nice and slow as Brian continues to bitch about the stolen ring. Two rounds after the blast, Bob wakes up and it takes another round to retrieve Carvin’ Marvin. Dave awakens in round three and Bob is ready to charge Dave. Johnny first has Marvin animate Burgundy Lotus’ corpse to use as a shield.
Bob and Dave battle and Burgundy Lotus proves useful as a meat shield for at least a little while. Eventually, Dave takes Bob out. Nitro tells him to claim Marvin but Dave insists on taking the boots Bob stole from Sir Hackalot first.
He wastes enough time for Marvin to animate Bob’s dead body but Dave hacks down the zombie and takes Marvin. Tremble sucks the essence out of Marvin into himself.
Johnny tries to flip the table unsuccessfully and then when Dave asks if he’s won, Sarah reminds them that her character should have come to by then. Bob is pissed because B.A. forgot about Sarah and though Brian suggests they fight the battle over, B.A. notes he knows exactly when Sarah awoke, just as Dave is hacking the boots off Bob’s character. They back the game up slightly.
Dave had just dropped Bob’s animated corpse and retrieved Carvin’ Marvin. Sarah awakens. She spots Dave, his arm over his head with Tremble clenched in a bloody fist as he yells a cry of victory. She says she’s going to sprint towards El Ravager and grab the sword lying on the ground behind him. Brian interrupts her, telling her to flee and get them raised later. Sarah refuses wanting to end it there.
Though Dave fails his first perception roll, he makes the second and turns to attack. They roll initiative and it’s a tie. The game hinges on one final roll for each of them.
Dave hits Sarah and Nitro brags that even if Sarah hits him, a small chance at best, he’ll just regenerate him. There’s nothing they can do about it.
Figuring she has nothing to lose, she decides to make a called shot to the neck and go for decapitation so Tremble won’t be able to raise El Ravager. She also decides to purge her honor, ensuring success. She’s cut down, but hacks El Ravager’s head off at the same time.
Sarah’s character dies at peace, knowing she’s saved the world.
Dave’s pretty choked up but Nitro notes he did a good job and tells him he can have a seat at his table any time he wants.
They all died fighting together and none of them have protégés ready so it’s the end of an era. Nitro takes off and B.A. realizes he’s trashed his campaign.
The next time they meet, they reminisce about all the treasure that’s still lying around the battlefield. They all had magic items and Dave notes that his army had been paid in advance and the men never got a chance to spend it. B.A. refuses to let them plunder the battlefield. He notes that they don’t know where the battlefield was and the new campaign takes place 150 years after the original.
Five generations have passed since that final battle. He updates them on the history of the world, noting that the Doomsday Pack and the events surrounding it have become the stuff of legend. The “Mange of the North” as the pack came to be known, ravaged the land for over a century. Whole nations and countries fell to the pack.
Sarah takes it hard when she finds that the Gnome Titans have been completely eradicated, political boundaries have been changed, and the balance of power is in disarray. The orcs took advantage of the situation to invade and everything is different.
The characters meet at an inn to escape a storm. Bob breaks the ice with Fingers the dwarven thief of the Ironheart clan starting a game of dice. Brian plays a mage he calls Chartreuse Lotus and joins the game. Dave’s character has a big-ass sword as usual and his name is Hasta La Vista. Sarah’s character is called Izeldaine.
Chartreuse looks at the dice and when he hands them back to Fingers, he drops one. When Fingers reaches for the die, Chartreuse cold-bloodedly kills him, getting revenge for the theft of the elvish ring of fire protection from Burgundy. Brian claims the vengeance is in his back story but B.A. points out that when Burgundy Lotus released the homing beetle from his ring of scarabs, he didn’t know of the theft of the ring yet.
Though Bob also had a plan to off Dave’s character for stealing his boots, B.A. won’t allow any of it.
A Grevan stranger joins them in an attempt to get them to go with him to Thurston’s Plunge but they are unimpressed with the B-series module. Brian notes that he’s heading for Treast to recover the bones of his great-grandfather Burgundy Lotus. He tells B.A. that when the homing beetle was sent back, Burgundy was able to describe the situation. All the Lotus family read the journals and he knows where they body lays.
B.A., surprisingly, allows it.
They make their way to Treast and find the remains of the battle. Sarah finds the remains of Justinia and they find small piles of coins scattered around the rocks. They guess that some of Dave’s army returned to loot the bodies but then the Doomsday Pack wiped them out.
Then Sarah finds Tremble or so they think. The sword speaks and claims to be the Sword of Justice. When Sarah asks about Tremble, it says Tremble was destroyed in the great melding of souls. Assuming the voice is Justinia, Sarah picks it up. However, the sword’s voice changes into Marvin’s. Sarah turns on her companions and hacks them to pieces.
Marvin has become even more psychotic since taking over Tremble and has been luring people to the rocks for years. The place is now called the Meatgrinder.
They decide to try again and for hours send more and more characters in to deal with Carvin’ Marvin. They die in a number of varied and horrible ways, limited only by B.A.’s imagination. The group finally gives up hope of taking the treasure there.
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|Bag War Story Arc:
After getting lost in the desert, Brian remembers his bag of hefty capacity holds plenty of food and water. Unfortunately, he also left over 500 henchmen and hirelings in the bag several months before. Upon opening the bag, the henchmen are not found dead as expected but have set up shop and constructed a fortress inside the bag. Attempts at negotiation fail utterly and the Untouchable Trio (plus one) go to war with Sergeant Barringer and his men.
The first assault ends badly for the Trio plus one, mainly due to the fact that they’re using candy for miniatures and most of them are getting eaten as snacks. Two more Bag Wars follow before a treaty is finally established between the Trio and Barringer. Bag World becomes a free and independent nation wherein Barringer allows the trio to store their property for a small fee.
Later, in a battle with trolls, Dave needs his sword Troll Slapper desperately but Barringer has frozen their assets due to late fees and penalties. After some discussion of how to harass Sgt. Barringer without breaking their treaty (and bringing down the wrath of the Gawds), the Trio come up with a plan. They “store” bits of trolls, a diseased muck golem, and virulent rats, resulting in Barringer’s attack on them.
Barringer’s unannounced attack is considered an act of aggression and Bag War IV begins.
The first assault by the Trio plus one goes badly as their mercenaries change sides after being approached by a halfling from Barringer’s fortress. An attempt by the Trio to bribe the men back fails miserably when Brian’s scroll caddy also changes side and joins Barringer.
The next assault is repelled by a surprise attack from a trollkin army from within the bag. The fighting withdrawal by the Trio plus one is bloody indeed.
After further discussion, the players decide to ask for a game audit when Brian resolves that B.A. is stacking the dice against them. Weird Pete conducts the audit and learns a few secrets from B.A. However, in order to explain all of the unanswered questions, B.A. reveals a secret document to Pete.
Pete later spills the beans to Brian about the existance of the Jackson Document but will tell him no more so the big guy goes to an underground and disreputable source: Earl Slackmozer. He gets a copy of the elusive Jackson Document: Gary Jackson’s “Understanding Hackmagick: Part IV: Mega Capacity Magic Items.”
The Trio reveals to B.A. they have access to the document and, under the Hackmaster rules of fair play, demand he check every mega-capacity storage device in their possession to see if it is a type that might allow them access to Barringer’s bag. After a little trouble with the dice, Bob manages to roll up a single type II bag.
Preparations are made to invade Bag World.
A jade pig is sent as a gift to Sgt. Barringer. This “Trojan Pig” actually holds a ring of telelocation which Bob’s bracers of map sense are set to hone in on. The Trio hires a small army of mercenaries and recruits skilled laborers. Plans are made to colonize Bag World after Barringer is taken care of.
As the expeditionary force prepares to set out, Brian and Sarah have an argument about how the hirelings should be treated. Sarah threatens to walk and Brian backs down but secretly plans on eliminated those hirelings who have been promised shares of the booty.
After making preparations for guarding the bags, the Trio plus one set off for Bag World. After only traveling about five miles into the place, they make a startling discovery: magic does not work in the desolate waste of Bag World between the bag zones. However, the lucky discovery of a compass allows them to continue their mission.
As they travel, scouts begin to find rich booty in bag zones nearby. Provisions are offloaded in order to take it along and Brian makes plans to start framing the NPC “moochers who earned shares.” Sgt. McGreevy begins to get suspicious of those accused of pilfering.
The mercenaries are pushed harder and harder and the Trio plus one start losing men to fatigue and dehydration. Brian suggests letting McGreevy deal with the situation and give out extra shares, throwing the problem back in B.A.’s lap.
The force finally reaches the outskirts of Barringer’s Bag Zone. A timed surprise attack by Major Kravitz’s force outside the bag signals the Trio’s men to attack as well. The surprise attack completely overruns Barringer’s lines as his troll allies flee into the shadows between Bag Zones.
Barringer admits defeat and surrenders.
However, McGreevy and other shareholder NPCs managed to evade Brian’s friendly fire. The Trio (less Sarah) start inventorying the goods and squirreling away the most valuable items for themselves. During the inventory, they find much more loot than they had originally left with Barringer.
After a celebratory drink at the bar, the Trio is caught by McGreevy with the illicit goods. McGreevy, ordered to look out for pilfering, kept his own books and knows there is booty missing from the expeditionary treasure. Dave tries to get rid of the goods by throwing his fanny pack of holding with the booty into Brian’s bag of hefty capacity, causing the fanny pack to explode in a flash of bright light.
The bag of hefty capacity suffers a bag zone shuffle. When it is opened, Barringer’s Realm is gone and all that is left are a few bags of long-grained rice and a wooden spatula.
Later that night at Hawg Waller’s, Bob, Dave, and Brian try to drown their sorrows.