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Ryan Veeder
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DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS CAMPAIGN JOURNAL
FALLCREST REC CENTER PART 1

Sanitation Department News

Congratulations to Mirada, half-orc cleric (4) of Anhaga, our new sanitation department director! She was now the Sewer Czar, the Master of Mops. But, though Mirada came to the post honestly, she did not relish her new administrative responsibilities. She was not big into the paperwork, or the meetings. She could hire an admin assistant, but that type of hiring is exactly the type of work she wanted to delegate to an admin assistant! Catch-22.

City Council News

Meanwhile, former director/now city councilwoman Ffion Willowgrave pushed hard in her office to put the proceeds from the Foxhounding acquisition to good use in the community. At great length they decided to fast-track the construction of a new rec center on the east side of town. Willowgrave considered herself the spearheader of this project, but at the critical moment, it was determined that city engineer Roger Zalewski would be the one who pushed the honorary first spade into the earth at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Willowgrave stopped by the sanitation department offices to sullenly share this news with the team, and to mention with unconvincing dispassion that she would probably skip the groundbreaking to get some extra work done. It was clear from her mood that she hoped her old team would also stay away from the ceremony in solidarity.

The Groundbreaking Ceremony

Well, Halros loves groundbreaking ceremonies, and would not be swayed. And Mirada knew that if left alone Halros would probably get into trouble. And Fellissiya didn't want Mirada to get in trouble, so the whole team went to the groundbreaking! Yay!

A huge crowd had gathered out in the undeveloped Moon Hills area, and from the top of a little knoll Roger Zalewski made a boring speech about community. He held up a ceremonial golden shovel, and he spaded it into the moist earth.

At this a sinkhole opened up in front of Roger, and he had to back away all wide-eyed and terrified to avoid falling in. The pit widened, and then a shrieking ghost flew up out of the ground to drag the city engineer into the depths.

Police officers working security at the scene started pushing people away, and the sanitation department workers did their best to assist. Then the police officers told the sanitation department workers to lay off, so they left.

Aftermath of Said Ceremony

They went to Willowgrave's office, because they immediately suspected their old boss of sabotaging the groundbreaking ceremony with a ghost. Willowgrave ashen-facedly denied this, realizing with distress how narrowly she had escaped Zalewski's fate.

The next day, or the day after that... I'm gonna say it was the day after that, Mirada got a memo from police chief Zivix Van Buren. Everybody piled up in her tiny office to hear what she had to say:

- Van Buren had sent her Undead Control Task Force into the pit to rescue Zalewski from the ghost.

- But the UCTF apparently had been waylaid by gross sludge, which they weren't prepared for, being undead specialists.

- So Van Buren had sent in her Slime & Ooze Unit to rescue the UCTF from the sludge.

- But the SOU apparently had also been waylaid by the sludge, because they are not good at their jobs.

It was clear now that the FCPD was not up to the task, and with draconic professionalism Van Buren requested that the sanitation department extract everybody from this stupid hole. Mirada could only accept, since that was her civic duty, and also if she didn't then there would be no adventure. 

Now there was the question of requisitioning supplies. Everybody joined in deliberating over how many potions they would need, but Mirada wasn't interested in the task of filling out order froms, so she left it to Halros to giddily do the paperwork he loved so well, and then she signed whatever he put in front of her. Hopefully I have remembered to attach Zach's image to this post.

Thus it was only after an interminably protracted period of scenario-assembly that the sanitation department finally set foot inside of the Moon Hills Sinkhole, i.e. "a dungeon".

The Dungeon

A steep pit turned into a spooky tunnel, and a spooky tunnel opened upon a cavernous chasm. A ginormous stone drawbridge spanned its stygian depths, and above this the guano-encrusted image of a titanic minotaur was carved into the rock face. The party crossed this bridge very carefully, because there were no guard rails.

They passed under a great big gate into a disused depot. Barrels and crates were strewn about, and on the floor was a beautiful and delicate figurine of a rakshasa. Halros picked it up.

"This is by that guy! The guy who made all those figurines!"

"I think you mean Raatsun," said Fellissiya, the grad student. Raatsun was the figurine-building master from the minotaur civilization that had controlled the Nentir Vale about four hundred years ago and built Saruun Khel over underneath Thunderspire Mountain. He had made hundreds of figurines depicting historical mortals, fiends, fey, and celestials, each of them worth a small fortune today in any bazaar—although a more conscientious person would say this one belonged in a museum.

Mirada turned out to be very conscientious though and insisted it belonged right where they'd found it, so she made Halros put it back.

The hallways leading out of the depot were full of traps! They had all been last serviced approximately four hundred years ago though, so the fire trap was low on fuel, the whirling blades trap was rusted to the point of motionless, and the owlbear trap was dead. Only the spike pit trap still worked anything like the way it was supposed to, and Halros actually safely triggered that one with his staff instead of jumping in with his body.

In the owlbear trap Halros found a neat ceramic jar, but when Fellissiya detected it was imbued with "evocation" magic he decided not to open it just yet.

Finally the correct path was chosen, and the team descended to a second level of dungeon.

The Great Hall

Massive columns and tables and benches, all carven of rock, were assembled here for a host of a hundred minotaurs to sit and feast and get wrecked on mead. But the stones were unworn—the place was good as new! The only thing out of place was a pentagonal bronze rat-etched trinket, #80 on your PHB's trinket table. Obviously a plot hook.

Off of the great hall on one side was the Crypt, where thirteen minotaur sarcophagi stood. One of them was open, and sitting in a pile of slime in front of it was the halfling ranger Josie of the UCTF. She had opened the sarcophagus looking for ghosts or something, but a bunch of ooze jumped out of it and immobilized her!

Fellissiya recognized that this type of ooze could be frozen into a state of extreme brittleness. Mirada used a cantrip to freeze the ooze. Halros used his surgeonlike monk hands to crack the slime and allow Josie to escape unscathed. A perfect Triforce of teamwork! And now Josie formed the fourth piece of that Triforce as she followed her rescuers to the next chamber.

It was a boring office, with a work schedule on the wall. The only scary thing was an articulated minotaur statue that clearly was supposed to come to life and start murdering intruders, but it was inactive at the moment.

Next the party peeped around the minotaurs' thirteen sleeping quarters—each with a stone cabinet, a stone chair, a stone bed. Only one of them had anything unique or interesting in it, and that was the room with the two giant spiders. These spiders put the hurt on Halros and Fellissiya as Josie displayed her tactical ability (shooting her longbow at point blank range at a spider that was standing right on top of Fellissiya) and Mirada tried her best to help. It was a bad scene, and Halros got dropped to 0 HP. When a giant spider drops you to 0 HP, you get paralyzed.

After the spiders were dead, Josie used a Ranger spell to cure Halros, and then she used the rest of her spell slots to cast Cure Wounds a bunch of times before she got the heck out of that cave. Her expertise was with undead, not spiders. Undead spiders maybe.

Another room was a less boring office. Here was a big stone desk and a big stone chair that swiveled around to reveal a minotaur skeleton!!! Who was this minotaur? Why did he die at his desk? Why did he smash this tablet? What was this magic amulet around his neck? All of this was unknown. No, that's not true. We found out the tablet was smashed because it was a rejection letter. Mirada intuited this from how smashed it was; the text of the tablet was written in Mysterious Minotaur Language.

Another room was full of workshops! This room was way more exciting than those living quarters. Forges and drafting tables and magnifying glasses were employed here to make fine furniture and armor and figurines and goblets and crowns and beads and bookmarks and belt buckles. Many of these fine finished goods were piled up over at one end of the room. 

Another room was full of torture equipment. The skeletons still chained up in their cells were those of gnolls, and a lot of them were missing hands. These hands had been cut off by a cruel jailkeeper, and presently they began to attack the sanitation workers out of misplaced centuries-old resentment. The party had to fight skeletal hands that were clawing up on their own legs! Gross!

The Level Below That

From the workshop, Halros and Fellissiya walked downstairs to check out the next dungeon level while Mirada ultra-helpfully hung back. The stairs went down quite a way, but at the first landing there was a neat reservoir cut into the cave floor to collect runoff from an underground stream. It was super neat.

A troglodyte appeared on the other side of the reservoir, navigating the stream with careful webbed feet. He saw the sanitation workers and hailed them. He walked around the edge of the reservoir; a tentacle reached out of the reservoir and pulled him in.

Halros's darkvision didn't alert him to any of this happening so he was pretty confused as Fellissiya pulled him up the stairs. Then when all three PCs were together she explained what had happened, and they decided to leave the lower level for later.

The Temple of Baphomet

So they went back to the last room on this level that they hadn't explored, which was a huge temple to Baphomet. The gutters in the floor were clearly installed to collect the blood overflow from the horned altar in front of the monstrous Baphomet statue, but right now the only thing overflowing was awful slime that oozed out of the walls. It was gross.

At this point Halros kind of miraculously intuited that the ceramic jar they'd found earlier could be used as a pressure washer, and indeed!, as he opened it up a rush of pressurized air whooshed out. This was used to blow away some of the slime to reveal a panel which opened up to reveal a passage thingy under the altar. This had apparently been used by minotaur priests of Baphomet to collect blood from their gory sacrifices in big barrels. Right now inside of the sub-altar cavity was a goblin all gunked up in additional slime. It was SOU officer Haxor, and the party freed him from his ooze prison as they had freed Josie. Haxor said his SOU partner Morelle had gone downstairs, but that's all he knew. He got out of there in kind of a hurry. SOU guys are not the most professional dungeon crawlers in the world.

With the topological possibilities of two dungeon floors apparently exhausted, the party figured this was a good time for a long rest. It may also have been time to head back to the surface, or maybe they were going to take a long rest in the dungeon? I dunno.

In various places around the dungeon the sanitation workers found some odd carvings, which for the historical record I will attach here.
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That's why they need an admin assistant!
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There are two new episodes of CLASH OF THE TYPE-INS. We played the text adventure part of Frog Fractions and then Captain Verdeterre's Plunder with Jim Crawford, the creator of Frog Fractions. Spoiler Alert. 
EPISODE TWELVE: Frog Fractions: Just The Text Adventure Part Of It (June 8, 2015) Jim Munroe shares with us the text adventure part of Frog Fractions, after we discuss linguistics and Animal Crossing for about fifteen minutes. Certain people take fractions far more seriously than Jim could ever ...
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Experts agree that a new CLASH OF THE TYPE-INS episode now exists.
EPISODE TWELVE: Frog Fractions: Just The Text Adventure Part Of It (June 8, 2015) Jim Munroe shares with us the text adventure part of Frog Fractions, after we discuss linguistics and Animal Crossing for about fifteen minutes. Certain people take fractions far more seriously than Jim could ever ...
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Fallcrest Sanitation Department Presents: Foxhounding Manor
Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Journal Part 3 of 999

The Fourth Day

The fourth day of the Sanitation Department's adventures in Foxhounding Manor was a lot of exploration and cleanup and not a lot of story or character stuff, plus I am kind of exhausted and don't want to write a Good Prose Post. Instead here are some bullet points. Sorry.

- Party wakes up, returns to second floor of mansion. Enters guest room. There is a cockatrice in there. They kill it, and it spits up a luckstone. Mirada finds a bunch of gems under the bed.

- Party checks out a storage room. Among other things it contains a big tapestry. The tapestry depicts Ophelia Foxhounding and her many adventures through life. It is really big.

- Party fights a rug.

- Party enters the master bedroom of Ophelia Foxhounding. Mirada finds a bunch of gems and a potion of healing under the bed.

- Another mysterious entity is in the vanity mirror in here.

- On the vanity are some magic rings and a magic swan brooch.

- The wardrobe contains a canopic jar, a Mystery Cloak, and some magic boots.

- Party steals everything they can find, blow off mysterious entity.

- Party enters attic, finds Ophelia's super-fancy ritual setup. One of its functions is an answering machine. There's a message from a demon-looking guy calling about the death of Yeenoghu, and there's two messages from a green dragon

- IMPORTANT: I FORGOT TO MENTION THAT THE RITUAL SETUP INCLUDES ONE OF THE CANOPIC JARS. YOU GUYS LEFT A CANOPIC JAR IN THE ATTIC. JEEZ

- Party finds balcony over front door. Halros tries to climb up roof to reach a cockatrice. Fails hilariously. Mirada uses magic to scare cockatrice off of roof.

- Cockatrice runs all over the place and killing it takes forever.

- Party returns to stable to look for Filthy Hag, the oldest and most accomplished of Ophelia's fighting cockatrices. Filthy Hag is not where he used to be.

- Halros and Mirada use magic swan boat token to safely traverse pond full of grabby water. Fellissiya safely waits on shore.

- Halros and Mirada fight the cockatrice in the gazebo on the island in the middle of the pond. Mirada uses ice magic to freeze it into a cube.

- Party returns to freezer to investigate ice sculpture of a swan. It is mundane. Mysterious entity in freezer walls asks if party can please remove those cockatrice corpses. Awkward conversation ensues, avoiding subject of other mysterious entity in other mirror.

- Bedtime.
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INVENTORY ROUNDUP:

FELLISSIYA
- Sending Stone
- Medallion of Thoughts
- White Bag of Tricks of Mice
- Blue Potion

HALROS
- Eversmoking Bottle
- Sanakhh
- Deck of Several Things
- Cockatrice Bite Preparedness Kit
- 2 canopic jars

MIRADA
- Boots of the Winterlands
- Unidentified Bag
- Swan Boat Token
- Luckstone
- 500 GP in gems
- Potion of Healing

I forget who has the magic rings and the mystery cloak.
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MORE.NACHO.BOOK
 
I know I'll be making nachos tonight, but you could be BEING nachos tonight. Metaphorically of course, and by the second "tonight" I really mean in a few months when this comes out and you read it.
Derek Sotak is raising funds for Nachos & You: Living Your Life The Nacho Way on Kickstarter! A manual on nacho etiquette, science, theory, and living your life one chip at a time.
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With another module finished it is time for another organizational post with links to the journal entries for that module. This is mostly for my own benefit but if you click on these links nobody will know.

Previous collection, journals from "Fallcrest Sewers" module: https://plus.google.com/+RyanVeeder/posts/bnCG7XvN1bw

"Foxhounding Manor" module part 1: https://plus.google.com/+RyanVeeder/posts/WA4tckCxkH6
Part 2: https://plus.google.com/+RyanVeeder/posts/QLFvQ6NrTww
Part 3: https://plus.google.com/+RyanVeeder/posts/UXRo3V5kL3e
Part 4: https://plus.google.com/+RyanVeeder/posts/AV7DMiQCMAP
Part 5: https://plus.google.com/+RyanVeeder/posts/Sh97uiv1dVR
Addendum, a clipping from the Fallcrest Post: https://plus.google.com/+RyanVeeder/posts/i3v2KRyfee2
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Warning: Additional D&D Nonsense

FALLCREST - The city sanitation department set a new record for press release attendance today as director Ffion Willowgrave officially accepted her appointment to Fallcrest city council.

"I am humbled by this opportunity and excited to make the most of it," Willowgrave stated.

Also present were current city council members Skelding Strongbeard and Gregor Bashmu, who read a statement recapitulating his recommendation of Willowgrave.

"Director Willowgrave's organizational skills were instrumental in facilitating the acquisition of the Foxhounding Estate and its conversion into the Home for Gnolls," Bashmu said. "We are eager to maximize the efficacy of her her administrative acumen in the city council chambers."

Willowgrave's appointment fills the vacancy left in the city council since [number of] months ago, when councilwoman Ophelia Foxhounding was indicted on smuggling and conspiracy charges and fled the city. Neither Willowgrave nor Bashmu commented on the poetic justice of Willowgrave now filling the position of the individual whose mansion she had recently filled (with gnolls).

Willowgrave was unable to say who would be taking on her job as director of the sanitation department.

"It'll be the current employee with the most seniority, whoever that is," Willowgrave said while shrugging.
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Fallcrest Sanitation Department Presents: Foxhounding Manor
Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Journal Part 5 of 5

The Sixth Day

The work week had ended, but the job was not yet done. From this point on, the sanitation workers would be earning time-and-a-half.

Filthy Hag

First on the agenda was the completion of their original assignment, the extermination of the cockatrice infestation. By splitting into two teams (Mirada and Fellissiya; Halros and Lokar) (Lokar is the kobold they met the previous day) the party quickly tracked down the last cockatrice, the ancient and infamous Filthy Hag.

In the days since his magical source of infinite mice had been taken from him, Filthy Hag had slimmed back down to his fighting weight. Here was the cockatricefighting champion the workers had seen described in the pedigrees and gambling records. And a ferocious opponent he was indeed!

He retreated to the gazebo in the middle of the (animate, grabby) pond, and again Halros and Mirada rode across the (angry-seeming) water to face it as Fellissiya shot arrows from the shore.

Lokar got dangerously close to that water, and it almost grabbed his face. It probably could have killed him! But he got lucky.

Mirada and Halros punched and magicked Filthy Hag into a corpse. They transported his body back to the campfire, and his soul ascended to Kayash, the neutral evil Outer Plane that serves as afterlife to the most accomplished cockatrices, basilisks, gorgons, and medusas. Don't bother looking that up.

Captive Forces

Next the team met with the lady trapped in the bedroom mirror, whose name turned out to be Cacuetlexoch. She explained that Lady Foxhounding had summoned her from the 274th layer of the Abyss, which served as a good clue that she and her friend were demons.

Speaking of her friend, Mirada let slip that they had seen another demon in the freezer, and Cacuetlexoch demanded to hear more of him. There was a history between these demons, but they refused to explain anything. Cocoyotl did point the party toward the library to find the contracts that bound the demons (signed in blood, with their True Names no less) but the workers decided that this whole drama was above their pay grade.

Halros put on the Ring of Mind Shielding to talk more with Foxhounding's friend Meldenya, but her spirit wasn't inhabiting the ring anymore.

More Instructions

The team called Director Willowgrave to report that the cockatrices had been exterminated. Quest complete! Nine million experience points! Then they informed her of the several situations at the mansion that were still unresolved. Willowgrave ordered them to take care of that weird water thing, evaluate the portal in the greenhouse, and stay away from those demons. Easy enough.

The pond around the gazebo was a Water Weird, a type of water elemental that tries to strangle people who get close to it. It was tough to hurt, because it was made of liquid. Halros used an ancient monk technique to stand right next to the water and punch it without fear of being strangled, but this was about as effective as you would expect punching water to be. Meanwhile Mirada used spells and Fellissiya used fungus-derived poison powers to reduce its hit points. Although now I'm wondering whether water weirds are supposed to be immune to poison? Let me check.

Yeah, they are. Well, this one wasn't. It was taking all kinds of poison damage. But it was a single humble rock that finally felled it—a rock slung by the kobold Lokar, who instantaneously gained like three experience levels. What a champ. Fellissiya gave him a hug.

Next they looked at the greenhouse. From outside, the windows were frosted and impossible to see through. From inside, you could see a barren winterscape outside the windows, where giant owls swooshed ominously through midnighted skies. Fellissiya finally recognized this as the Vale of the Long Night, one of the most fell areas of the Feywild. There didn't seem to be any way for ill-intentioned fey to break into the Prime Material from here, though, so the team decided the greenhouse was safe.

They called Director Willowgrave again. Now that the mansion was safe (more or less), it was time for representatives from other, less combat-oriented city departments to come perform their inspections and inventories. The Sanitation Department could get a ride home with them when they were done.

Clipboards

The city wagons arrived not long after the party had finished packing up their campsite. They stood on the lawn to greet three men and a woman, all of them carrying clipboards.

The woman was Melanie Gerdes, who had recovered from her petrification! Thank goodness. She had come to finish evaluating the building as a home for gnoll refugees, and she was ever so glad that her friends in Sanitation had taken care of the cockatrice problem.

Two of the men were basically identical and had very similar bureaucratic functions. One was from the Treasury Department, and he carried his clipboard so as to inventory all of the mansion's assets. The other was from the Arcana Regulation Department, he carried his clipboard so as to inventory all of the mansion's magic items. A low-key power struggle raged between them as they demanded that all items the sanitation workers had removed from the premises be loaded into one department's wagon or the other.

Halros handed the ARD guy his Deck of Several Things, and the terrified inspector used gloves and tongs to deposit the artifact in a lead-lined sack. Then the party surrendered all their other hard-won magic items—————all but one. Mirada simply kept her Boots of the Winterlands on her feet, and the bureaucrats were none the wiser.

The last man was not a city employee, and his clipboard was for asking somebody to sign for a package. This Halros did without a second thought. The delivery man ran off, the crate was opened, and a curious treasure was revealed: A statue of a cockatrice wrought in silver, upon a pedestal with a plaque that read:

FILTHY HAG
by The Terrible Midnight out of Pulpy Drool
Invincible, Immortal

And beneath this, a list of Filthy Hag's notable kills in the cockatricefighting ring. The receipt indicated that Lady Foxhounding had commissioned the statue many months ago, and paid in advance. Halros figured he could find a good place for it.

The wagons were soon filled to capacity with furs and crystal chalices and dangerous artifacts, so the city workers decided they'd head back into town with what they could. This inventory stuff was going to take a while.

Aftermath

Ophelia Foxhounding's estate falling into Fallcrest's lap represented a huge windfall, and people began to wonder if the city was going to build a new pool or a fitness center. Or a bridge! Or they could get around to filling some of these damnable potholes. Or perhaps [etc., etc.]

An Arcana Regulation Department specialist figured out that the Feywild portal in the hedge maze could not be dispelled, so instead the city had to install security agents and a customs office to comply with interplanar travel regulations. The portal in the greenhouse was not really a portal; it was a bunch of panes of glass that had been set up to display a video feed from somewhere out in the Feywild. Extremely impractical but not at all dangerous.

Another far braver Arcana Regulation Department specialist took a calculated risk and broke the mirror containing Acocoyotl the vrock, who clawed the specialist for about half his max HP and ran upstairs to free Cacuetlexoch the marilith. The demon-lovers, separated from each other for decades, frenched for a bit in front of the ARD specialist before disappearing in a puff of sulfurous smoke, apparently with designs on their captor Lady Foxhounding.

The Foxhounding mansion became an eminently servicable home for the gnoll refugees, who managed to trash the place even more than the sanitation workers had. One by one the gnolls are finding jobs and places of their own to live, and city officials hope that eventually they will be able to turn the mansion to other applications, after extensive renovations.

Several Weeks Later

"One of you can wear scale armor, right?" Director Willowgrave asks.

Mirada has that proficiency, but her incredibly low Dexterity modifier makes the proposition an unlikely one. Fellissiya has the proficiency too, though, and her Dexterity modifier is +3.

"Well, one of you had better be able to wear scale armor, because I had to fight five other department heads for this. Van Buren said 'oh, no, my boys need this,' but I said: The guys who slayed the dragon deserve to get it."

Thus Fellissiya donned her new green dragon scale mail, which raises her Armor Class to 17, bestows resistance to poison damage, and is made out of the hide of the dragon Qentbaterratvey, whom Fellissiya slew with a little help from her friends Halros and Mirada and a lot of help from a giant snake mummy.

And thus Adventure Module S2: Foxhounding Manor ends! What escapades await the sanitation workers in the future? What new friends might they meet? At what experience level do they become grossly overqualified for their occupation? I will tell you when I know.
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This is an actual campaign! Regrettably the Deck of Several Things was only drawn from once, so many of its exotic and deadly effects are yet unknown.
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AND NOW: Episode 13 of CLASH OF THE TYPE-INS, ft. Jim Crawford and Captain Verdeterre's Plunder.
EPISODE TWELVE: Frog Fractions: Just The Text Adventure Part Of It (June 8, 2015) Jim Munroe shares with us the text adventure part of Frog Fractions, after we discuss linguistics and Animal Crossing for about fifteen minutes. Certain people take fractions far more seriously than Jim could ever ...
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Fallcrest Sanitation Department Presents: Foxhounding Manor
Dungeons and Dragons Adventure Journal Part 4 of 999

Night of the Fourth Day

Our heroes went to sleep with a lot on their mind. They had cockatrices yet to exterminate, yes. But they also had the snake-staff Sanakhh, and the canopic jars missing from his master's tomb. They also had those weird entities trapped in those mirrors to worry about. Also, they had too many magic items between the three of them to keep track of, and that's always stressful.

The Fifth Day

Our heroes woke up earlier than planned, because they heard cries of terrors coming from the mansion. Tossing on their armor and rushing out of their tents with sleep-crud still rimming their sunlight-offended eyes, they saw a kobold with a crystal ball in his hands running screaming out of the front door, pursued by a polar bear. Both entities were headed straight for the sanitation workers.

Mirada stuck out a leg and tripped the kobold. The crystal ball flew out of his claws and tumbled gaily down the front lawn. Ignoring the possibly injured kobold, Mirada turned with her compatriots to take care of this polar bear.

Even though polar bears are huge and terrifying, Mirada is pretty huge and terrifying herself, and she had friends helping her. The bear went down in a couple rounds, an elven arrow sticking out of its giant, deadly skull.

The Kobold

The kobold, meanwhile, retrieved his crystal ball, which began yelling at him to return to the mansion. Visible in its crystal depths was the image of a green dragon, the same dragon the team had seen on Foxhounding's answering machine the previous day. She declared that the sanitation workers were all now her slaves, and ordered them to prepare the mansion for its new mistress—herself, the dragon, Qentbaterratvey. Halros, a master of diplomacy, managed to infuriate her so much that she hung up, saying she'd fly over to deal with her new slaves herself.

The kobold was a sniveling coward by the name of Lokar, and as he followed his "captors" around he explained that Qentbaterratvey was the most powerful dragon in all the planes, and would be there within an hour or two. The sanitation workers knew there was no time to lose. It was time to call their supervisor.

She didn't pick up. Like she'd really be in the office this early in the morning! Come on. So now there was even less time to lose. It was time to plan. To plan to fight a dragon. The most powerful dragon in all the planes!

It occurred to Fellissiya that the most dragon in all the planes was probably either Tiamat or Bahamut, and maybe Lokar's words should be evaluated through the lens of a Stockholm Syndrome diagnosis.

The Plan

Maybe the sanitation workers could rig the house with some Home Alone-style traps? Maybe they could free those spooky entities from the mirrors and ask for their help? Maybe they could get an assist from that murderous mummy in the basement??? Halros was eager to pursue the mummy angle, as he had become great friends with Sanakhh. Mirada and Fellissiya were more skeptical, but with time running out they decided to roll with it.

Winning the favor of the mummy would require the recovery of his other canopic jars, so they went back to the attic to get the one they ignored the previous day. This jar was essential to the visual element of Foxhounding's ritual setup (it contained the mummy's eyes), so by reclaiming it they busted that part of the device completely, but it's not like Ophelia was about to complain.

The other canopic jar was in the ballroom, so the team returned to the upstairs hallway, where they had left the tapestry. This they transported, with some difficulty, to the ballroom.

Re-hanging the tapestry was a huge ordeal, involving Halros's Mold Earth cantrip and throwing ropes around and good grief it was ridiculous. But then the tapestry was up, more or less, and the story of Ophelia Foxhounding's life was displayed for all to see: How she was exiled from her homeland in the far North, how she ended up in the Feywild, met a blue person, invaded a mummy's tomb and stole his canopic jars, fought the gnolls in the Gnoll War and the drow in the Drow War, and finally came to Fallcrest, where she served as Lady Harbormistress and formed a smuggling ring. At the bottom of the tapestry was depicted her trial, her triumphant escape, and a last message to those who managed to find this particular artifact: "If you come looking for me, I will erase you."

Fellissiya, the smart one, went upstairs to view this masterpiece from the ballroom's balcony. Standing here, she could see the whole tapestry reflected in the ballroom floor, and in particular she could see the image of a canopic jar reflected on that particular tile right there, which Halros extracted with his Mold Earth cantrip to reveal the actual, non-woven canopic jar. All four were accounted for!

The Mummy

So the team returned to the basement where they had fought and escaped from the snake-mummy, now with Sanakhh and the canopic jars his master needed to return home. In conversation with his master, Sanakhh was hipped to one gnarly low-down: These mortals had tried to beat him up! The nerve! Sanakhh translated for his master, whose name turned out to be Iths, a pronouncement that the tomb-disturbance and subsequent battling was just barely balanced out by the return of the jars, and added that the odds that Iths would want to help out in fighting a dragon were middling to none.

It looked like the snake-guys were going to get to teleporting their crypt back to a pyramid on another continent, so Sanakhh and Halros said their final goodbyes. It was a moment of intense and numerous emotions. The party turned away. The snakes got to work.

Then Mirada had an idea. If the party helped with the teleportation ritual, would the snakes be willing to help with the dragon?

Sanakhh said they had it pretty much figured out, and by way of demonstration turned their attention to the cartouches that would define the correct location to which the crypt would be located—except all the ritual pieces were broken and mixed up. More unfortunate fallout from the battle of a few days ago! But these adventurers had seen their share of puzzles, and this one was right up their alley. It involved a QR code.

With the cartouches reset to the correct hieroglyphic coordinates, it would have been a matter of hissing a few command words to execute the teleportation, but now Iths felt like he owed the sanitation workers something. He agreed to help fight the dragon.

The Montage

There was some time to kill before that happened, though, so the party found some other stuff to prepare. It was around this point that Halros put on one of the rings they'd found in Lady Foxhounding's boudoir. It was a Ring of Mind Shielding, and it contained the disembodied consciousness of a lady who called herself Meldenya. She was a friend of Ophelia's who died in battle while wearing the ring, and was now able to communicate only with those who wore the ring until such time as she decided to pass on into regular death. She was disheartened to hear that Ophelia had skipped town without retrieving the ring that was her home. It was some heavy stuff, and Halros didn't have time to handle it all at the moment.

Fellissiya coated her arrowheads in cockatrice venom. Halros and Mirada worked on identifying some more of their many magic items. One was a "potion of frost giant strength," a series of words which sounded to Mirada's ears like the most pleasing of musical harmonies. Lokar was offstage for this part; I guess he was hiding somewhere, waiting for his mistress to show up and destroy these unruly slaves of hers.

Then the vague waiting period was almost up, and it was time to prepare the ambush.

The Ambush

The dragon, it was known, would arrive via the Feywild portal in the hedge maze. Iths was stationed inside the nearby cockatrice stable. The party stood around just outside. They were bait: The mummy-approved plan was to weaken Qentbaterratvey and then lead her to the stable so Iths could finish her off.

The two hour mark came and went. Lokar was not a good judge of how fast his mistress could fly.

But eventually/suddenly a flash of green erupted into the air over the hedge maze! It was the dragon Qentbaterratvey, and she was flying straight at the sanitation workers.

The Battle

Mirada chugged the potion of frost giant strength.

In the first round the sanitation workers managed to deal like 50 damage or something to this dragon, and also knock her prone. Iths was impressed, although this was impossible for the sanitation workers to detect. Qentbaterratvey responded with her poison breath, which dealt a total of 61 damage to the sanitation workers.

The next round was less grand: Mirada connected with just one Anhaga-blessed bolt of cold, and the dragon tore into the humanoids with teeth and claws, downing Halros despite his stony skin. Still Iths remained on the sidelines, convinced these warriors could dispatch the dragon without him.

Mirada retreated into the cockatrice stable to see what the heck Iths was waiting for. Qentbaterratvey busted in after her, busting the doorframe and getting herself kind of stuck. There was an awkward moment where Iths and Mirada had to pass each other in the narrow stable hallway, but finally it was time for the dragon and the mummy to face off.

The dragon soon had the upper hand. Iths was immune to her poison breath, but he couldn't land a blow or spook her with his ghastly visage. Qentbaterratvey tore up his linen wrappings with her grabbling claws, too overcome with animal rage to wonder what a mummy was doing here. From outside, Fellissiya took pot shots at the dragon's rear.

So the dragon turned around (causing more damage to the stable) and bit Fellissiya until she was out of hit points. Then it turned back around to bite Iths.

But Iths bit Qentbaterratvey first, and she fell to the ground dead. The mummy turned to Mirada and grinned an undead grin that Mirada would take to her grave. It was death-related stuff all over the place.

The Aftermath

As Mirada rushed to attend to her fallen companions, Sanakhh translated a message of appreciation from Iths, who relished the opportunity to fight alongside such powerful individuals. Lokar arrived on the scene and, learning that Iths had killed his mistress, pledged fealty to Iths instead. He would follow the mummy unto death!

Sanakhh said this was a bad idea, since he and Iths were planning to hang out in a tomb in the middle of a pyramid "until Zehir comes back and covers the world in snakes," so he told Lokar to pledge fealty to the sanitation workers instead.

With this arranged, the team returned to the basement, where everybody said their final goodbyes for real this time, and the teleportation ritual returned the snakefolk to their distant homeland.

Everybody sat down and spent whatever hit dice they had left.

A Cockatrice Shows Up

Then a cockatrice showed up! As exhausted as the sanitation workers were, and as counterproductive as Lokar's attempts at assistance proved to be, together they killed the bird-snake-bat thing. A bit of tired-minded brain-work determined that this was the tenth such monstrosity they'd killed, which left only one to be taken care of: the paterfamilias, Filthy Hag.

Housekeeping

Now the team finally had time to try calling Director Willowgrave again. She was not happy to hear that they had killed a dragon. That kind of thing causes problems! Plus now there's a dragon body to take care of! People are gonna want to steal that body! Plus, aren't you guys supposed to be killing cockatrices?

In addition to haranguing, Willowgrave spilled some exposition. Qentbaterratvey, it turned out, was a young dragon originally from the Prime Material Plane who couldn't find a lair of her own anywhere. She only had the one thrall, a pathetic kobold. So she dragged him to the Feywild, where she managed to get together a lair and some additional followers. From this position Qentbaterratvey negotiated an interplanar smuggling operation with Foxhounding, except it looks like Foxhounding was exploiting Qentbaterratvey's lack of business acumen quite a bit. When Foxhounding dropped off the map, Qentbaterratvey sent her fey employees (the satyr, sprite, and dryad from the hedge maze, who had spilled all this info in questioning) and then her kobold across to see if the mansion was up for grabs. It would have made a much better lair than the dumb cave she had been hoarding stuff in up to now.

But now she was dead, and what to do with her body? Mirada was still super strong, but not strong enough to drag a dragon. The problem was tossed back and forth for quite a while before Halros finally used that Mold Earth cantrip to cover the corpse up with dirt. It was not a perfect solution, but it would do for now.

Under the circumstances, the sanitation workers decided to take a half day. With extremely weary legs they trudged back to their tents, upon reaching which they were about to find out they also had a polar bear corpse to deal with.
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Ryan Veeder

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TO: vshep_piano_lover@yahoo.com
FROM: lpaul@lawpaul.net
SUBJECT: RE: RE: Not so hot lately.
SENT: 3:44 PM January 14, 2001
[Attachment]

forgot 2 attatch it lol
___________________________
> TO: vshep_piano_lover@yahoo.com
> FROM: lpaul@lawpaul.net
> SUBJECT: RE: Not so hot lately.
> SENT: 3:30 PM January 14, 2001

> hey vonda i got done writing this totally 
> sweet song. its really good

> im sending it 2 u so you should email 
> RENEE n ask her if its okay for u to sing
>  it @ th ebar tonite

> why should you do this you ask???? bcuz
> ally mcbeal (the slutty super skinny lawyer
>  slash my girlfriend duh!!!! lol) are gonna
>  have a fight 2nitewhen i see her n tell 
> her i kissedd this other woman

> so after the fight (itll take 10 min. tops)
> ill sit her down at her piano n play the 
> song n totally get her hottt 4 me again, 
> like always ;D lmao

> then ill page u,, thats the signal 4 u to 
> play the song at the bar n you will totally 
> be singin my song while were having 
> sex!!!!!!! ;D ;D ;D ;D shell think its so 
> romantic

> so all u do is wait 2 get a page from me! 
> and then you play the song! pretty simple 
> hope u can handle it.

> TTFN ta ta for now,
> -=-=LARRY P==
> ___________________________
>> TO: lpaul@lawpaul.net
>> FROM: vshep_piano_lover@yahoo.com
>> SUBJECT: Not so hot lately.
>> SENT: 3:07 AM November 13, 2000
>> 
>> Larry,
>> 
>> How have you been? For my answer you can just
>>  look at the subject line. sigh
>> 
>> I hardly ever get to sing at the bar any more.
>> Renee (You know, Ally's friend?) has been 
>> taking the stage more and more recently, and 
>> when she's not singing, invariably one of those
>> lawyers from Cage & Fish has made it into their
>> own personal open mic night. Some nights I
>> don't even bother showing up. I know for a fact
>>  the band doesn't miss me.
>> 
>> I haven't heard from you in a while! Are you
>> settling in to Boston well? We should meet up 
>> again soon. Let me know how it's going with 
>> Ally. You two make a great couple. I think you 
>> should try singing together; your voices would 
>> complement each other perfectly.
>> 
>> LOL (Lots Of Love!),
>> Vonda
>> ________
>> Do You Yahoo?
>> The #1 Search Engine, Games, Mail & More at
>> Yahoo.com
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Ryan Veeder

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Now they were up to their ankles. The heaps of bones were mountains now: Jagged pyramids of dog ribs, dog femurs, dog skulls of every breed rose around them. The rivulets of mist clung closest to Lilty's thin frame, and her teeth chattered.

"And we're looking for a gold tooth?" Skullbadness asked.

Her companions were too frightened to answer: Lilty of the grisly valley that now surrounded them on all sides, and Thinmaze of Skullbadness.

"I've slain many dogs myself. Are they all here? Does someone have to carry them down?"

Thinmaze tried to speak, choked, swallowed, tried again.

"Just the bones," he managed.

Lilty looked toward him for the rest of the explanation, but none came. Skullbadness stopped marching.

"I'm not inclined to spend the millennium sorting through all these skulls," she muttered, "so I put it to you two to draft a more efficient strategy."

Thinmaze answered this prompt with a trout's wide, cowardly eyes. Lilty looked at the bone-strewn ground and shivered. Her bare arms were clasped tight around her chest, and the mist slithered around them, around her hips, around her goosefleshed neck.

The eye of Skullbadness fixed Lilty with that dire stare, and then it rolled in utter contempt. She opened her mouth and inhaled. Lilty cringed.

"Hear me, lecherous fog!" Skullbadness shouted. "You may lack substance, yet I could seize you; you may be bodiless, yet I could cripple you. This waif is in my indenture, and you will fondle her only at my convenience. At this juncture," she hissed, "I have need of her concentration. You will unhand her, or I will prevent your ever feeling up on anything again."

All at once a hundred smoky fingers loosened their grasps on Lilty, and the mist retreated, as if blown away by a gust of wind, into the windless depths of the valley of dog bones. Warmth flooded back into Lilty's extremities, and she inhaled deeply for the first time since they had descended the staircase.

"Lady Skullbadness—" she began, but she was cut off.

"You may thank me by solving this inane puzzle," her rescuer spat.

So Lilty pursed her lips and thought. But her thoughts turned from the gold tooth, lost among a million dogs' disassembled skeletons, to the lascivious mists that had been groping at her for so long, and then to the commands that Skullbadness had spoken: full of force, rather than emotion, like the inexorable tone of a brazen gong.

Lilty blinked, and smiled. She reached into her rucksack.

"A gold dog's tooth should be..."

She produced out of the bag a key ring, from which hung a long line of tuning forks, sorted from small to large like measuring spoons or wrenches. She picked out one of the smaller forks, holding the tiny handle between her thumb and forefinger.

"...About this frequency. Not exactly. Close enough."

Then she pulled the black mallet from the rucksack, and with sudden violence she struck the fork. Lilty shook; for a moment the bones around her feet shook. The fork was a blur, and the still air of the cavern was permeated with an elemental, indivisible tone.

"Is that—" Thinmaze croaked. Skullbadness clapped a hand over his mouth.

The tone began to die down. Lilty held her breath, closed her eyes, and turned her head slowly from side to side.

"This way," she said, and now Lilty led the march, with Skullbadness close behind, and Thinmaze following at a meek man's careful distance.

Upon reaching another clearing between the bone-mounds, Lilty swung the mallet again, closed her eyes again, and turned the search in a slightly different direction.

Again they stopped. This time, when Lilty struck the fork, it was the ears of Skullbadness that perked up. She strode forward a few yards and plunged her hand into an anonymous pile of bones.

She pulled out a long, pointed skull, more like a wolf's than a dog's. Its fangs were chipped and yellowed—except one, which gleamed maliciously in the dim light, and which hummed softly the same glowing note as Lilty's tuning fork.

"Our goal was this tooth, and not the skull itself?" Skullbadness asked. Thinmaze nodded in response, although he dared not meet her gaze.

A smile tightened her lips. She crushed the skeletal snout in her fist, and the bones and teeth were reduced to powder. The remainder, the splintered braincase and its empty eye sockets, fell and clattered against the ribs below. Skullbadness opened her hand to reveal the gold tooth, still gleaming, no longer ringing.

She stowed it in a pocket as she began trudging through the bones again. Lilty and Thinmaze followed closely as they retraced their steps to the staircase, but on this return trip, the fingers of mist—if they still lurked in the valley of dog bones—kept far away.
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Story
Tagline
I am terrified of everything.
Introduction
I am a guy who enjoys playing music and fine loungewear and desserts. Somewhere on this page is a link to my Twitter. Is it down there at the bottom?
Bragging rights
I've won a talent show and an IFComp and I have a master's in linguistics. To some I am known as "the guy who made that vampire weekend joke."
Education
  • University of Iowa
    Linguistics, 2006 - 2012
Links
Work
Occupation
Knifin' Around
Employment
  • Plaid Peacock
    fiber artist and art installation person, 2011 - present
  • University of Iowa
    ESL TA, 2010 - 2012
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Rudy's is seriously the best restaurant. The people who work there are the best AND the tacos are the best AND they have ice cream AND everything else is the best. If every other restaurant on the planet besides Rudy's Tacos of Waterloo disappeared, I wouldn't even be sad.
Public - 9 months ago
reviewed 9 months ago
This building is just storage for canoeing equipment. It might not even be used for that anymore. You can walk around to the side facing the river, though, and sit on a bench under the little overhang. It's a relatively quiet place from which to look at the river.
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago
2 reviews
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