Friday, July 24, 2020

Part 12: Yu-Gi-Oh Intensifies!

It's been a while, hasn't it? I guess we've been having trouble getting together. Jangle's player has been busy but told us to just go on without him, and, finally, Somen's player has shipped off for Navy boot camp. Regardless, the show must go on, and we're close enough to the end of the story that I'd hate to just drop the story without a conclusion. Jangle wandered off following the other cat, and Somen disappeared searching for them. Hopefully they manage to have a happy ending here.

In the meantime, our remaining heroes set out for the door, but upon seeing how dark it was on the other side, they stopped to consider a light source. Bubbles picked up a stick and two stones, proceeding to tie them together and, using his abilities, light them up. Savin, ever the more practical, just cast Light on his rapier turning it into a makeshift torch. continued deeper into the temple, as a door on the opposite side of the room opened once the undead monks were defeated. The doorway led into a long corridor leading down, lower and lower, until the manmade halls of the temple basement eventually gave way into what seemed to be a more naturally occurring series of damp, weirdly slimy tunnels. Already Bubbles' player was starting to sweat here being someone who knows a lot about D&D creatures, but nobody else was picking up on the environmental clues here.

Anyway, the tunnel they were in eventually opened up into a large cavern with an underground lake to the right, with a wall and door on the left that seemed to be cut from the same stone as the rest of the temple, meaning that the tunnels somehow led outside of the temple under the ground. Again, Bubbles' player was becoming more uncomfortable with each passing second.

The others, blissfully unaware of the danger they were in, set about examining the door. A large, heavy stone door with no method of opening from the outside, it seemed like the door was put there to keep something out. Savin's player pondered this for a bit, saying, "I'm debating having Savin do something really stupid."

"Stupid like how? This sounds interesting."

"I'm not going to do it because I know it'll end badly, but the thought occurred to me to use Dimension Door to try to teleport on the other side of the door, but because I don't know what's in there I run the risk of hurting myself by teleporting into a wall or something." Which, he wouldn't teleport into it thankfully, but he certainly would take damage from it.

Anyway, the party split up within the chamber to attempt to find any sort of hints that could help open the door. While Yesmae examined some old carvings on the wall of the cavern, a voice suddenly came into her head.

"Hmm, interesting. It's been a while since I've had any visitors down here. Very interesting."

Yesmae's player didn't immediately see the message that I sent her over Discord to hide info from the other players, but once she did she gasped, not because she knew what was happening, but because she was getting information the other players were not privy to. Bubbles' player is probably sweating bullets at this point.

Anyway, Yesmae responded to the voice in the most rational way possible. "Who are you?"

"I have no name, for I, that is, we, are many."

D&D fans probably see where this is going, and therefore why Bubbles' player is starting to panic.

Anyway, at this point Yesmae's player told the others what was happening, but in-universe she's still talking to the voice.

"Can you open the door and let us through?"

"Of course, of course, I do not wish to keep you for too long, for I know you have grand desires, and your work is an unhappy one. You want what's best for your country. You wish for peace. I would not want to get in the way of that."

Yesmae let on a little that she was talking to something, at which point Savin began to play some music on his musical accordion, casting a Countercharm spell in case Yesmae's unseen guest tried anything funny.

Yesmae continued to press. "Where are you from?"


Yesmae asked Savin to stop so she could continue questioning the voice.

"What do you want us to do to open the door?"

"Oh, that's easy. Just play with me for a bit."

Here it comes. Boss fight. That I might have planned for the full group.

Aren't I the idiot for assuming my party would take the murderhobo route instead of trying something else. And something else they did. For Yesmae's player opened up her character sheet and asked the others to do the same, trying to find if the party had a game they could play with the voice.

Cue silence as everyone in the Discord call, myself included, tried to process what it was that Yesmae's player was suggesting. For while this was going on, Bubbles thought it would be a good idea to cast the Light cantrip on one of his pistol bullets and fire it into the darkened part of the cavern.

What? Apparently flintlock pistol shots only fly at 1000 feet per second. That's...wait...

*quickly checks*

681.818 miles per hour?! (smart people feel free to check my math, I just googled the conversion and am not about to put in further effort)

So...whatever, it was a clever idea. Of course I was going to let him have it without examining the physics behind it, as it provided me a chance to add some atmosphere to the encounter. In the light put off by the shot, for an instant, outside of the party's dark vision, a tentacle could be seen darting into the water. By this point Bubbles' player had totally figured out what was happening, and everyone else was starting to fear that they were about to have a situation like in Fellowship of the Ring where they were stuck trying to figure out a way into a door while also contending with a monster. Which was the plan.

Instead, Yesmae suggested literally playing a game with the creature, and she began scouring her items for literally anything. Unfortunately, though she had proficiency in the game Three Dragon Ante, she did not have a playing card set, so she had to use a quill and some paper to make one, and thus offered to play with the creature.

The voice, taken aback, responded, ""Oh, that's....a surprise. Very well, show me how to play this...'Three Dragon Ante.' My appearance might be a little...shocking. Try not to be too afraid."

Out of the lake and into view of the party swam (slithered? Slunk? I dunno, whatever) an Aboleth.

Naturally upon seeing this terrifying creature, the rest of the party readied their weapons, to which Yesmae requested they not, and even the creature itself reached out to the rest of the party's minds through telepathy, saying (or thinking), "I have zero intention of breaking my oath. Nobody has actually suggested playing with me before, so you might say I am intrigued. However if this proves disappointing I am going to kill and devour you. Oh, to keep things fair, I promise to not read your minds while we play."

After some dice rolls, it was determined that the card game actually went well. As they played, the Aboleth confided that, though it was the incarnation of many, many generations of its own kind, and though it had a "roommate" in the guardian dragon of the temple, the truth is it led a rather boring, lonely existence, its only interaction with the outside world being fighting and devouring thieves that made their way into the temple and found themselves going down the wrong path. The party showing compassion and more pure motives for going into the temple impressed the Aboleth, and, as promised, it released the psionic lock on the door and opened it.

Before the group proceeded into the doorway, Yesmae asked the Aboleth what its name was. I don't remember the name I gave (I used as I do basically any time I have trouble coming up with a name, and I forgot to write it down). Needless to say, Bubbles' character wasted no time turning the name into an off-color joke. Naturally I got him back when we discovered that Grula could speak and understand Deep Speech, which is the Aboleth's primary language. She spoke with the Aboleth briefly, and Bubbles demanded Grula teach him how to say some words, including apologizing for shooting at him. I'll spare you the details of my joke. It wasn't very funny in hindsight, well, unless you speak another language and know how annoying the specifics about word use can get.

Anyway, the party proceeded inward, and as they continued deeper into the basement of the temple they could hear voices, one at a rather normal volume, and one extremely loud, booming voice. This is the place, they agreed.

For the sake of brevity I am going to cut the session recap here. What follows is a bit of an exposition dump that's going to bleed into the next session as well, and I'm already waaaaaaaaaaaay behind on getting this posted.

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