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Fantasy The Saga of the Nameless Lands ~ A Dungeons and Dragons 4e Campaign

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  1. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Chapter the Fifth ? Robots? In DnD? REALLY? Or Obligatory Doctor Who References; Or Welcome to Hell

    The ship of the undead scourge defeated, the pirates promptly scoured it for treasure, and paid the party a sizeable dividend. The pirates then rowed to the island. That?s right, they rowed. Just chalk it up to the raw inspirational power of David Hasselhoff.

    [image=http://i241.photobucket.com/albums/ff123/admittedlyhawken/david-hasselhoff-07.jpg]

    ?I don?t know about you, but I feel damn inspired.

    In any case, they arrived at the island and disembarked. Immediately, skill checks were made, and we haven?t even gotten to the skill challenge, yet. Our heroes are a somewhat predictable lot. In any case they set about navigating the dense jungles of the Isla De La Muerta, and noticed something rather curious.

    Dragons. Lots of them, all chromatic, and all flying around like they owned the place.

    ? Well, in all fairness, they probably did. But I digress?

    After a relatively uneventful three day trek, they arrived at a temple to the old gods.

    (?Old gods??

    ?? I?ll explain later.?)

    They examined the columns that sat outside, revealing permanence magic. This will be important later, hint hint. Next, the party proceeded down a long corridor that eventually led to a barred door, which they kicked in.

    This triggered a multitude of traps.

    Buzzsaws sprang forth from the floor!

    The hallway started moving the party forward!

    The robots attacked!

    Wait? (The bard checked the script: ?The robots attacked! They cried out ?EXTERMINATE!? at the top of their mechanical lungs, save the one who missed the memo about impersonating Daleks and instead started shouting ?DELETE!? The other robots promptly chastised him? Who write this garbage??

    Ramza cried a single tear.)

    So? they fought robots. Yeah. It was suspension of disbelief shattering.

    Eventually the robots were defeated. And then David Hasselhoff flexed his muscles, destroying the traps.

    ALL HAIL THE HOFF! [face_flag]

    TO BE CONTINUED? NOW!
  2. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Chapter the Sixth - The Bitter End; Or Total Party Kill; Or Mother Earth Father Thunder

    "Now," the bard said, shifting in his seat slightly. "The party progressed through the temple with relative ease. Quite a bit of it, actually. The puzzles weren't difficult, there were no more fights... and then they came to the Room of Trials.

    "They would not leave."


    The first trial was that of fire, a young red dragon, which they battled while falling through an endless sky. The trial was long and hard, but the party triumphed.

    Next came the trial of the Earth.


    "Now, the first to go was Fie," the bard remarked, strumming a few strings on his lute. "They had but scarcely arrived when a great maw gored into her side, dragging her beneath the sand." The entertainer picked up the statuette of Fie, regarded it for a moment, and tossed it away.

    "Next there came a rumbling beneath Finde. Before he had even finished his sentence, he was gone, dragged into a vicious maw. Kriv dove after his surrogate father, and perished as well." He flicked the statuette of Findecano off the table, and then, in turn, disposed of Kriv.

    "Loriana managed to mutter that she was off to meet the demons before she, too, was devoured." He plucked the Loriana statuette from the table and discarded it.

    "Sariel stomped on the ground, which of course attracted the beast. Bye bye." The Sariel statuette vanished in a puff of smoke.

    "Leocanto and Mak, now alone, contemplated their fate. Leocanto successfully made the DM chuckle, and was swallowed whole." Leocanto's statuette exploded.

    "Last, there was Mak, all by himself. He placed his sword in the ground, said a prayer, and was engulfed in the jaws of the beast." Mak's statuette snapped in twain.

    "And so, on that day, our heroes fell."

    TO Be... continued?

    Note: Yes, there's still a session next week, sheesh./>/>
  3. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Epilogue ? A Hazy Shade of Winter

    ?Elial??

    ?Yes, Lord Ragnös??

    ?What latest news regarding? them??

    ?I last detected them on the Isla De Muerte. And then their presence simply? vanished. Almost as if??

    ?Yes. Yes? Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen. And with this next crucial stroke, nothing will stand in my way??

    ?You mean to go through with it, then??

    ?Mean to? My dear Elial, it?s already been set in motion.?


    Ramza blinked wearily as he stared over the epilogue he had just written. It was cryptic, as all epilogues of serials should be, but even he was having trouble deciphering it.

    There was a knock at his door.

    ?Yeah, yeah, just one [DELETED] moment?? he muttered. Wait? [DELETED]? He was still in the constraints of his own update. Something was very wrong here.

    Another knock.

    ?One second!? he called back, checking over the update. No, it was all written, there were no gaps left to be filled, that surely meant?

    The door came crashing down. Before him stood a tall figure in a red cloak and hood, his face covered by a Guy Fawkes mask.

    ?That is, without a doubt, the worst V costume I have ever seen,? he chuckled.

    The knife slid easily between his ribs.

    ?Oh. Well??

    He coughed.

    ?With my last breath,? Ramza muttered, darkness closing in.

    ?I.?

    ?Curse.?

    ?ZOIDBEEEEERRRRGGG!?


    ?It is done,? Ragnös intoned. ?You may leave.?

    ?I am still confused. What do we gain by killing the author??

    ?The power to create a new ending? one where I, Ragnös, am triumphant!?

    ?But then? who?s writing this??

    ?Semantics.?

    "Don't you mean... details?"

    "Pssh. Semantics."


    DM Note: And that?ll wrap it up for this plot line. Tune in for our next tale, where, hopefully, I?ll get back in the habit of consistent DM Notes.

    It?s not the notes, it?s me! I?m too lazy to write them. :p

    One thing worth mentioning, though. You?ll notice Simon & Garfunkel isn?t terribly kvlt or troo or metal. That?s because I?m allowing the soundtrack genres to diversify. There are many different bands I like, time to plague y?all with them!/>/>/>
  4. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Tale VII ? Incredibly Catchy Musical Number; Or Mind ****; Or Everything You Know Is Wrong

    ? Except our heroes weren?t really dead at all! They had merely been flung back in time, where they ran across the legendary hero Laharlt. Who was neither legendary nor a hero yet.

    They then talked, bought a map, and talked some more. It was all rather boring, though the fourth wall was thoroughly shattered by some gratuitous cross overs.

    But hey, now they?re in the distant past!

    Or were they? Little did our heroes suspect that the past they knew was, in fact, the future of Eberron!

    Or was it? Little did anyone in Eberron suspect that it, too, was merely the future Greyhawk!

    Or was it? For none in Gygax?s campaign would suspect that Greyhawk was the distant future of Mystara! And so our heroes found themselves in the far future of The Known World!

    Or did they? For it turns out that our heroes were, in fact, in the far future of our own timeline, the DnD personas merely being roleplayed by these future beings! And this future was controlled by the tyrannical, secretive organization known only as the Patriots! (?La lei lu lei lo?? someone in the audience asked, ?What?s that??)

    But little did anyone suspect that the Patriots were actually vampires, descendants of none other than the Ventrue clan! That?s right, the game was really World of Darkness all along!

    Or was it? For in actuality the characters who had been roleplaying were roleplaying characters themselves, governed by players using the Mutants and Masterminds rules!

    Or were they? For this was all merely an illusion, the product of deranged players at the hands of Cthulhu! LOSE D20 SAN!

    Or was it? For Cthulhu was merely the byproduct of the mind control drugs being used by Nazi scientists who had escaped to Brazil! We?re actually looking at a 50s spy drama!

    Or are we? For the spies were merely products in the imagination of the mecha pilots in the great Star Battle of 2300 AD. The system was BESM all along!

    Or was it? For BESM was but a fake game, created by the Illuminati to subvert the characters, who were actually 15th century investigators acting on behalf of the Roman Catholic church!

    Or were they? For at this very moment Shinji Ikari finally got a hold of himself and awoke in his hospital bed! It was Evangelion all along!

    Or was it? For no sooner had we arrived at this conclusion than HAL began to slowly kill the scientists, who imagined all of this in their cryogenic state, in his attempt to save the Jupiter mission. I?m afraid it was 2001 all along, Dave!

    Or was it? For at this?

    DM Note: I think Gainax would be proud./>/>/>/>/>/>/>/>/>/>/>/>/>/>
  5. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Tale VIII ? Actually, There?s a Parallel Universe Where This Makes Sense; Or Fake Out; Or It Was Inevitable, Really

    Our heroes spent a few days settled in the inn in a rather futile attempt to regain their bearings. Really, by now you would think they would?ve given up. It was at about this time that absolutely no one noticed the strange fellow sitting where Finde should have been, and that a half-crazed dwarf came storming into the bar.

    ?BLOOD AND THUNDER!? the dwarf exclaimed, as his entrance was accompanied by a loud thunderclap. A few tense moments passed before the dwarf, who called himself Durin (?That sounds familiar?? ?Hush!?), decided that it probably wasn?t a demon at all and the strange fellow who I think was Finde went outside to take a breather in the night air.

    Durin exclaimed that he was a member of the Stonehammer clan, the dwarves who inhabited the nearby Spineridge Mountains, and that his clan had been besieged by an army of orcs, hobgoblins, and other foul humanoids under the leadership of a mysterious man, cloaked in red, with a Guy Fawkes mask.

    ? Whoa, déjà vu?

    Anyway, a few moments passed with a game of Motsognir?s Maid, which is most certainly nothing like Old Maid and is not just an arbitrary reference to the father of the dwarves from Norse mythology. Nope. Leocanto managed to aptly win despite having never played before, prompting the barkeep to mention that he was surprisingly skilled and prompting Durin to yell ?BLOOD AND THUNDER!? You get used to it.

    Anyway, it was at about this time that a mysterious howling noise came from the outside of the inn. Wait, didn?t I just start an earlier topic with ?Anyway comma?? Bugger all! Anyway?

    Er?

    So the party ran out to investigate in as clunky a manner as possible. The howls were coming from a werewolf, and apparently right next to Finde, at that. Oh no!

    Which is about the time the bartender dashed out the door and spotted the gunwielder as Alesdair, a WoD character who had apparently gotten mixed up with Finde during the last crossover? Gainax-inspired? Look, I was drunk at the time, and it seemed like a good idea.

    The bartender vanished, banishing Alesdair back to his own dimension and hopefully sorting everything out along the way. Finde returned, along with a regular werewolf, which was promptly dispatched with.

    The bartender, apparently possessing of some incredible fourth-wall shattering and downright omnipotent feats, explained the incident away as relating to a ?timey-wimey ball.?

    TO BE CONTINUED? NOW!


    DM?s Corner ? Eh, I?ve got nothing to say, but it?s okay. Good morning, good morning, good morning, good.

    Also, the DM's Corner will be replacing the DM Notes and Quote section henceforth, with random musings from me concerning the content of the update. As the updates get more surreal and absurd (Trust me, it's a question of when, not if), look here for false hope and no real guidance.

    Wait, that's not right.../>
  6. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Tale IX ? Non-Interactive Cutscene? Or Inevitable Gary Stu Villain; Or Laughing Madman

    It was at precisely this moment that a small crossbow bolt pierced straight through Durin?s skull, killing him instantly. ?Right. Nobody move or you end up like your dwarf friend here,? came a voice from above. The party looked up, revealing a man in a red cloak and Guy Fawkes mask standing rather conspicuously on the rooftop, spinning around a small, handgun like?

    You?ve got to be freaking kidding me.

    ?So you?re the ones Ragnös kept talking about.?

    You have got to be?

    ?Ragnös? right hand man,? he continued, twirling his weapon a few more times before holstering it. ?They call me R.?

    He ignored the party and continued his diatribe. ?This? is the greatest ranged weapon ever made. The hand crossbow,? he remarked, pulling out his hand crossbow. ?Six bolts. More than enough to kill anything that moves.?

    YOU HAVE GOT TO BE-

    ?I think I?ve had just enough of you, narrator, pipe down.?

    ? What?

    ?The fourth wall doesn?t affect me. Never has, never will.?

    ? What?

    ?Look, you don?t get it, do you? I?m the ridiculously overpowered DM villain that never gets killed off, always shows up to do something badass, and then leaves mysteriously, his true identity unknown to even the main antagonist.?

    (?Where? the hell is that voice coming from???)

    ?And you, in the audience. Shut up.? There was a clicking, a twang, and the audience member ? fell? dead on the spot? a hand crossbow bolt?

    ?

    ?Now I think you?re beginning to understand just what you?re dealing with,? R chided the narrator. ?You know breaking the fourth wall? That cute little convention that the party members pull off every so often, that any given NPC can do, and that will soon become Leocanto?s defining characteristic??

    What was that last one?

    ?It all just serves to make me more powerful. I am the living embodiment of breaking the fourth wall.?

    ? What?

    ?Stop saying that, you bloody idiot! I?m in charge here. Ramza?s dead.?

    WHAT?

    ?You mean you didn?t know? It?s in the Tale VI Epilogue.?

    That?s? that?s not?

    ?Oh, it?s possible alright. I killed him. And I could kill any one of your characters, even you, at any time. Keep it in mind.?

    And with that, R swept his cape up, turned around, and vanished from sight.

    ? If you?ll excuse me, I?ll need new briefs.

    TO BE CONTINUED!


    DM?s Corner ? R (Not the Dimensions Collide R, sorry) actually broke the fourth wall so often during his speech to the party members (And some details had to be retconned, anyway), that he is officially powerful enough to carry on conversations with the Narrator?s universe. I don?t call him a Gary Stu for nothing.

    This section was originally part of the session for Tale VIII, but I'm trying to isolate and control the more serious flights of insanity on my part.

    Lastly, yes, R being powered by breaks in the fourth wall is canon. That's how he pulled off so much damage. I foresee this leading to interesting OOC/IC conflicts of interest.:p />
  7. Kahn_Iceay Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2006
    star 5
    Kid Tested, Ramza approved

    Beyond the Wall

    Finde had no idea where he was, or how he had gotten there. After being eaten, which was bad enough, and then realizing they had gone back in time, which was just down right weired He had hopped that the odd things would stop. He was wrong. They'd found a town, and an Inn, and much to Finde's joy, a bed. After paying the nightly tab Finde had gone right to his room and collapsed on his bed. It hadn't taken him long to fall asleep but unfortunately, the gods were apparently not done doing weired and unusual things to Finde.

    He awoke soon after with a start, not in his bed, nor in his room, not even any place he'd ever seen. He was floating in a vast white void, with no clear end and no clear beginning. All around him floated other people, and objects, some looked like weapons, others massive monolithic structures of steel, glass and other materials. "Hello there," came a voice directly above him. Looking up Finde saw a man, black hair and blueish eyes. He wore a strange uniform, mostly black, with purple along the shoulders. Underneath a golden-yellow shirt could be seen, and along his neck there were two golden circular dots. "You looked surprised. Not really shocked, most are when they first come here."

    "Here?" Finde said trying to steady himself, which was supersonically easy given that there was no surface to steady himself upon. "Where is here? And who are you?"

    "Me? I'm Marcus Fairholm, well Lieutenant Marcus Fairholm. I don't want you confusing me with the other one."

    "Other one?"

    "Yeah, that guy." He said pointing across the way to a young man slowly spinning around some sort of giant mechanical golum. He was laughing rather maniacally and kept repeating the words Gun and Damn between bouts of hysterical laughter. "Not exactly sure whats wrong with him, but he's really quite mad."

    "I see... and this place is it some sort of after life? Has Erathis come for me so early?"

    "Well, I don't know who Erathis is but I doubt it. This looks to be some sort of interdimensional nexus, where various realities of existence coincide together at a related point. In this case it appears to be the subconsciousness of someone called 'The Creator'."

    "Actually..." came another voice, "Its just the subconsciousness of Kahn."

    "Who are you?" Finde asked

    "People call me Ramza."

    "The DM? I thought you were killed."

    "Semantics." He said, as he floated behind a one of the large metallic monoliths, "Semantics."

    "Anyway." Marcus said continuing, "We all seem to be somewhat connected to this Creator. In a parallel dimension of sorts he created us as characters, its part of the well accepted theory that all dimensions are connected in some how. Every probability has an outcome, and I guess in one probability we're all some mans mental creations."

    "So... this Creator is a God?"

    "No, just a being who exists in another dimension who in his dimension created us as characters. We do still actually exist in our on dimensions."

    "Thats... confusing, and has to many occurrences of dimension in it."

    "You have no idea."

    As time passed this Marcus told Finde of many things. Such as how if you thought hard enough you could see how the Creator views your world as well as his own world. To this effect Muri tried, and witnessed his creator at work, viewing a white screen full of words and names. Mentioning of Kriv, and Loriana, as well as the others. He saw many things, and learned so much, but at a cost. Finde was infact viewing beyond the Fourth Wall, the invisible barrier that keeps one dimension from viewing and referencing another.

    On rare occasions the wall fluctuates and people experience Deja Vu or things that seem to make no sense but later do. But when an individual purposefully views beyond the fourth wall they risk mental damage, long or short. Some individuals, Like Marcus, exist in dimensions where this sort of thing is normal, but for Finde it is not. In Finde's case, as with many others the mental damage would be short term, few people look beyond the wall for
  8. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Tale X ? Wait? Ten? Seriously? We?re Still Going? Dayumn! Or Allow Me To Break The Ice; Or Snowblind

    The next cold winter?s morning (?Wait, winter??) Yes, winter. (?I?m pretty sure you said summer just the other day.?) Seriously? (?Yes.?) Bugger.

    Okay, so it was? autumn. Yeah, autumn. And like? er? all autumns up north, it was a cold autumn morning. Led by Durin, who had been resurrected by some conveniently located priests, the party trudged forth, up, up into the Spineridge Mountains.

    Long was their climb, until at last they received their wintery destination ? a cliff, near a bridge, that led to a hidden doorway to the village of dwarves. This was about the time that everyone snapped and started breaking the fourth wall nonchalantly.

    ?Damn right we did,? Leo remarked.

    Oh bugger, not you too?

    ?Eh, I?ll keep this to a minimum. I wouldn?t want to seem to derivative? WITH RESPECT TO R!?

    YEAAAAAAAA-

    No, no, stop it. We did this joke. I think. Carry on.

    So, the party cast a ritual to protect them from the harsh, frozen elements. Stay cool, guys.

    They then proceeded to move towards a canyon, with a bridge spanning it. The snow was coming down hard, and visibility was limited. Solution? Metal Gear Solid jokes, of course. Leocanto was sent on a sneaking mission to scope out the other side.

    This is about the time everyone?s luck ran out, and Leo rolled a 1. The enemies, alerted to the party?s presence, sprang into action?

    And were quickly decimated. Their orc leaders dead, the hobgoblins, Clint, East, Wood, and Thadeus, promptly surrendered, deciding that they really didn?t want to die over a gods forsaken bridge in a gods forsaken mountain in the gods forsaken cold, gods forsaken dammit! Durin was reluctant, but eventually agreed to take them prisoner rather than killing them outright.

    TO BE CONTINUED? NOW!
  9. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Tale XI ? The Death of a Friend

    Just when it seemed that all was under control, an assassin sprang into action, cutting off Loriana?s right hand and?

    (The bard paused for a moment, double checking his script.)

    ? He ran Sariel straight through with his sword.

    (?Well, that?s okay, it?s just a time travel device, right??)

    Loriana fell to her knees as Sariel slumped over to the ground, motionless. Durin promptly smashed the assassin?s head in, but it was too late.

    (?? Right??)

    ?C? cold?? Sariel murmured, ?I?m cold.?

    Loriana crawled over to her. ?So cold?? Sariel managed.

    ?Sa?? Loriana choked, her voice broken. ?Don?t go??

    ?Lori?? Lori, can you see them?? The angels???

    ?Yes Sa? I can.?

    ?They?re so beautiful.?

    Loriana grabbed Sariel?s hand, sobbing.

    ?Keep her talking while they try to heal her,? someone said.

    ?Don?t cry, Lori?? Sariel said, smiling. ?I always wanted to be a? an angel??

    ?I know you did Sa. You will be.?

    ?? [Kismet], Lori.?

    I can?t make out the next bit.

    And then she was gone.

    Stunned silence hung in the air for a few moments, before Loriana, perhaps mad with grief, took out her blade and severed Sariel?s hand, affixing it to where the stump of her old hand was. A few ancient words later, and the deed was done. Sariel, as far as Loriana was concerned, would live on.

    A funeral was held in the dwarven catacombs, and some last goodbyes were said before the party retired for the day.

    TO BE CONTINUED!

    DM?s Corner ? Those of you confused about the Kismet, Lori bit should consult the blog post on this webcomic, and I felt it was a bit more apropos than my usual [DELETED FOR YOUR SAFETY] bit in this case.

    Oh, and Xan, if you're reading this - Trim's idea. All Trim.:p
  10. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Less than Sagas of the Nameless Lands: Thorin's Versus Quinlan's - A Tale of Two Restaurants

    "Look, Quinlan, ye daft idiot, I don't care how tasty you seem to think undercooked - sorry, just plain raw - meats served over rice are - Thorin's serves roast meat!" Thorin roared, his eyebrows knitted in a mixture of anger and disgust. "I don't take crap from young upstarts just because they think they're on to the next big thing!" Really, the nerve of his employees, sometimes!

    "But Thorin, I'm telling you - sushi is going to be big! Bigger than roast meat! I dare say even bigger than... golf!" Quinlan's expression bordered on exasperated. Did this old codger just not get it? He was offering him the deal of a lifetime - a 50% cut and exclusive distribution on what would surely be, ironically, the hottest new food item to hit Dwarven taste buds since single malt whiskey.

    "I'll eat my own hat if that garbage ends up more popular than the king of sports! Nothing quite beats the satisfaction of driving that hobgoblin skull sailing straight into the endzone, giving your team possession of the Shillelagh of Penalty Immunity, right when the score is tied at 6 under par with 13 minutes to go in the third period. Nothing!"

    "Sushi will! We're talking a revolution in Dwarven cuisine, Thorin, just open your Moradin damned eyes!"

    "My eyes are open to the situation. You, Quinlan, seem to be the willingly blind party here."

    "My eyes are blind but I can see! ... Or something. You know what? YOU KNOW WHAT? Fine. If you don't want to be on the ground floor of sushi, then I'll start my own restaurant. Right across the way."

    "We'll see about that!" The older dwarf called after the young dwarf, who had proceeded to storm out. "I give you a week! TOPS!"


    127 Years Later...

    "Hey, er, boss," Gloin the waiter greeted, addressing the elder owner of the establishment. "It true that you and... the guy across the way, our rival, were nearly partners?"

    "Shut it, Gloin," Thorin grumbled./>
  11. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    After much quiet contemplation on the matter of speeding up combat to the point where I can still enjoy running it, I give you:

    Ramza Lethal DnD

    All PCs deal x3 maximum damage on a regular hit, and x4 maximum damage on a critical hit.

    All NPCs and Enemies deal x2 maximum damage on all hits, plus normal critical hit effects. (Healing, likewise, operates at x2 maximum.

    All movement scores are doubled. 6 becomes 12, 5 becomes 10, 7 becomes 14, etc.

    The idea behind Ramza Lethal DnD is to up the stakes to considerably in order to simulate a quicker, more deadly style of combat, much like one would see in a Kurosawa film.
  12. Kahn_Iceay Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2006
    star 5
    Now presenting, one of potentially many Behind the Scenes looks at the PC's of SoNL

    Interview with an OC


    Interviewer: Well first off thank you for allowing us to interview you.

    Finde: Oh its not a problem, I mean since Fie's net went out and she was forced to drop out of the session today we got some free time and I'm always happy to answer questions. I mean its all about the fans right? Letting them get a view into the realm of what goes on behinds the scenes and all that.

    Interviewer: Exactly. So, why don't you tell us a little bit about your character, your views and were you see him going?

    Finde: "Yeah... When I started this gig Finde was kinda bland. Not much to him. Then the whole Drinking Cleric thing came in, just as a one shot for the walk through the woods. After that though it stuck and I gotta say he's developed some nice Character. And the whole 'Beyond the Wall' thing. Brilliant. I mean, nobody saw it coming, and when people find out why Ramza' is really in Kahn's mind. Biggest mind**** of the century. Just wait."

    Interviewer: What about the background between Kriv and Finde, where did that come from?

    Finde: "Yeah, the whole Kriv being Finde's step-son thing, born entirely out of Ramza's Kriv-Finde slashers joke. Its gone quite far, lots of Character development. I mean, who would imagine, straight forward Shinies loving Dragonborn raised by an eccentric Half-elf, drunkard of a Cleric? You really didn't see it coming unless you read the back notes. That or you're Leocantopool and you accidentally reveal the information several sessions to early by breaking the fourth wall. But see, the cool thing is Ramza and the guys recovered right off the bat. True professionals that, even if Ramza's a bit. eh. you know." spins finger around ear, "insane in the membrane."

    Interviewer: So you think Ramza's crazy?

    Finde: "If you ask me, the only thing Ramza needs is an eyepatch or a fluffy white cat. Personally I think an eyepatch and some grizzled facial hair would be perfect for how he operates. I'd probably start calling him Big Boss then or something. Been enough Metal Gear references to justify it anyway."

    Interviewer: Okay... Why don't you tell the fans something about Finde they likely don't know, some sorta forgotten lore about him?

    Finde: "See what most people don't know is that Finde was originally going to be a Half-Elf Bard. But then everybody in the original party took offensive skills. Even the Paladin. So, in the best interests of the party, Finde was re-written into a Cleric. Its probably a good thing too, cause, while he's a cool guy and all, Ramza's a sick twisted sadistic ******* at heart. Not that thats a bad thing. But yeah, if Finde hadn't been a Cleric with healing abilities. I don't think some of the other characters would be around right now."

    Interviewer: And the story, is there anything you think its lacking? Any sort of addition you think it needs?

    Finde: "I think the story needs more sex. Clean sex, kinky sex, sex sex. The bad part is censors, we gotta keep this clean for the kiddies watchin' back home. But I mean, bunch of people not sure if their gonna live to see the next day, emotions flarin' up. SOMEBODIES gotta hook up with somebody eventually. Otherwise the shippers and fanfic writers will be all over this ****. I mean did you hear about what ONE fangirls comment about the show Merlin did? Simply asking if Merlin was a gay love story got the author so flustered that the show goes out of their way now to show how Straight he is. We don't need that stuff happening with us. I mean we did have the whole Finde-Kriv slash thing to contend with early on."

    Interviewer: Ok, what about all the pop culture references, whats your take on them?

    Finde: "You ever watch Stargate? I mean the show SG-1? See they had this episode called 200, and lo and behold it was the 200th episode. It was mostly about them lampshading themselves by helping a guy with a show called Wormhole Xtreme. There were plenty of pop culture references in it. But in the end they did this pseudo docume
  13. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Narrator: And now we welcome you back to another installment of... The DM's Corner.

    Interviewer: ... You know, that explains pretty much everything plot-related anyone could ever want to know about Aria of the Soul.

    Ramza: Well, now that I've explained it here, I don't feel like I ever need to bring it up again. It's very cathartic.

    Interviewer: So, your latest project.

    Ramza: Ah, yeah... SoNL. Good times. Good times.

    Interviewer: Dungeons & Dragons? Fairly controversial stuff, that.

    Ramza: Oh, not this again...

    Interviewer: But wasn't D&D connected with a murder or two? Seems like you're playing with some dynamite.

    Ramza: No, I always thought the connection between DnD and violence in the 70s was a bit spurious. Frankly, pretending to be an elf and doing some basic mathematics just doesn't make you violent. Nor is it worth killing someone over. I mean, when I kill people it's purely for sexual reasons.

    [Ramza takes a sip out of his mug]

    So, when exactly do we start filming again?

    Interviewer: ... Riiiiiight... Moving along, then. You remember Finde's interview earlier in the thread?

    Ramza: Of course I do.

    Interviewer: Do you have a response to his accusations of insanity?

    Ramza: I'm not tetrapot melon tea cucumber banana sticky wicket, if that's what you're implying. Hell, I'd go so far as to say I'm the only one that's not crazy. An only sane man, if you will.

    [Ramza takes a second sip out of his mug]

    Ahhh... Nothing like a cup of pureed baby to start your day.

    Interviewer: You really do take this whole "Depraved [DELETED FOR YOUR SAFETY]" thing rather literally, don't you?

    Ramza: Is that a [DELETED FOR YOUR SAFETY - Sonichu says "Be happy, be straight!"]?

    Interviewer: Not on these forums it isn't.

    Ramza: Touché. Well, that new female intern of yours is pretty hot. Perhaps I'll...

    Interviewer: [Clears throat] Speaking of the RPF, do you ever feel like the board restrictions... well, restrict you?

    Ramza: Creatively? No. We're AIM based, and that paradigm carries very strongly over into the gameplay. It's anything goes in an actual session. The actual problem lies in the translation to the update posts. First I have to put on my "narrator" face, and play the bard. Then I have to distill the essence of the session - keep in mind, my PCs, all fantastic performers, tough to pick what to include - in a wholesome, but comedic fashion. The bard's perceived frustration at censorship is satirical on my part - I'm attempting to point out those rules that I feel are particularly misguided.

    Interviewer: That'd be the...

    Ramza: Don't say it. You'll get [DELETED FOR YOUR SAFETY]'d. But yeah, that rule. Nonetheless, big shout out to Xan and Impy for letting me even skirt the issue as much as I do.

    Interviewer: And I'm sure our viewers appreciate it.

    Ramza: Not the ones in Uganda, I reckon.

    Interviewer: I see what you did there.

    Ramza: Damn skippy.

    Interviewer: Anything else you'd like to add?

    Ramza [Turning to the camera]: Folks, we have a lot of fun every week on SoNL. But remember, our PCs are trained professionals, as are our NPCs. Don't try the stunts you see at home - no, seriously, don't do them, we'll sue you for copyright infringement under the DMCA - and remember to spay and neuter your pets. Preferably in as metal a fashion as you can manage. I'l get the updates up eventually. Until then, keep rolling on!

    [Ramza stands up]

    To me, Fluffles!

    [A pink unicorn strides up to Ramza's side. He promptly mounts it and rides off into the air, leaving a trail of rainbows and smiles behind him]

    Interviewer: ... He... was in the closet at some point, yes?
  14. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Tale XII ? By Final Fantasy Logic, We?re Probably Horrible By Now; Or Guns In All But Name Only; Or Keep Talking

    The party continued eating and discussing the philosophical implications of replacing one?s arm with a slain comrade?s in order to take on an aspect of their personality ? ordinary lunch business, in other words ? before they decided that they needed to split up into smaller groups for awhile and talk things over. Oh, and I should probably mention that Leocanto ?

    ?Yeah, I kind of accidentally revealed Finde was Kriv?s ?father? after getting a bit too fixated on the space beyond the wall, so to speak.?

    You really need to stop doing that.

    ?Eh, let him be. Not like he does it as much as I do.?

    Oh, hush up, R.

    ?What was that? ?R, please shoot me???

    No! NO! Not that. Eh-heh. Heh.

    Heh?

    Moving along, the party split up. Loriana and Fie, whose real name was revealed to be Charnamé, discussed the implications of Loriana?s warlock abilities. Finde and Kriv went and made piece with their past. Mak ran into a man by the name of Vanklef who used a device suspiciously similar to, but not quite, a gun, who will probably be irrelevant to the plot until a later point. Leo, in the meantime, headed straight for the rendezvous bar, where he ran into? his doppelganger. Who introduced himself as? Orml Chal.

    ?That was pretty damn weird, really.?

    You?re telling me. No sooner had the doppelganger left, however, than the bartender pulled a handcrossbow on Leo. Two thugs hidden in the wings followed suit on Finde and Kriv as they entered the bar, and our three heroes were escorted into the closet in the back, to be executed one by one, on the hour.

    Meanwhile, our other heroes were still talking. Finde found a bottle, a string, and a match. Zoidberg was cursed. And not an air vent in sight to save them?

    TO BE CONTINUED!

    DM's Corner - Interestingly enough, this session revealed one of the key problems with player-to-player interaction from a DM standpoint (And this bit is format specific, really. Play by post games, the GM can just not update) - frankly, there's nothing for you to do, but everyone else is enjoying themselves enough that you don't want to interrupt them. The solution is to either find the player that's going it alone and engage them, or, lacking that player, to put on some good music and prep some encounters in advance.

    Also... wow, five months of almost continuous weekly play. That's... awesome.:D
  15. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Yet Another Combat Rules Update

    Someday we'll get this ironed out:

    PCs deal triple maximum damage.
    Enemies deal maximum damage. Healing is thus maximized. No multipliers here.
    Movement is doubled.

    Go about your business.
  16. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    And Now A Word From Our Sponsor

    Ahem, (the bard began, clearing his throat.) The management has asked that I, your humble narrator, issue a few statements on their behalf.

    (A large, collective groan emanated from the audience. Delays upon delays with updates, and now this?!)

    First: The bar is not to be used as a coat rack. There's an actual coat rack, use that. Some people would rather they could use the bar for refreshments.

    ("And booze!" yelled one particularly drunk man)

    Yes, that's... that's sort of implicit in the... ... forget it.

    Second: There will be no session this week, Ramza is taking leave for the holidays from DMing duty. He wishes his players a happy holidays, and he'll see them at the usual time on the 27th.

    ("Wait, are the players in the audience? Doesn't that sort of ruin the whole central conceit of this narrator set-up? Hell, should we even know about the players - aren't we supposed to be some kind of hypothetical parallel universe where their DnD campaign is a narrative told by one man?")

    Well, there's a very good explanation for that... Poe did it.

    ("Poe from Tide of Flames?")

    The same.

    ("Wouldn't our knowledge of that destroy all of our conceits? It precludes awareness that we are merely typed words on a message board!")

    ... Poe did it.

    ("He's just a bloody raven!")

    Poe did it.

    ("... Deep.")

    Damn skippy. Moving along -

    Third: We apologize for the delay in updates. In Ramza's defense, he's very lazy.

    ("Oh, come on, you're not even trying to preserve our narrative devices at this -")

    Poe did it.

    ("Damn, he's good.")

    TO BE CONTINUED!

    DM's Corner - Seriously though, no session tonight (December 20th). Happy holidays, merry Christmas, gut Midvinterblot, and all that crap.
  17. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Tale XIII - Coming Out Of The Closet; Or Jack Bauer Has Nothing On Us; Or Investigation - Cornered

    There was no way out. Our heroes had been foiled by the dastardly machinations of a closet, and, hell, they weren't even tied up. Over half an hour passed, even in the real world.

    ... Then Finde realized there was no such thing as Slimy Doom Poison. Something very foul was said that I dare not repeat here. Leocanto broke the bottle, and the thugs opened the door to investigate - only to be met with a scorching burst of heat from Kriv. In the ensuing chaos, the captors were knocked unconscious and were bound.

    Charnamé and Finde devised a plan wherein the shapeshifter would disguise herself as the mysterious R, interrogate the men, and find out just what was up. They did just that. Our thugs, being a cowardly and superstitious lot, accidentally leaked a sizable amount of information regarding an invasion the next day, a hidden trap door beneath R's encampment -accessible through the Dwarven mines, a dragon guarding said door, and a secret weapon of unknown design and purpose housed within said encampment.

    In other words, these villains were complete and utter morons and nearly lost control of their bowels when they realized how badly they had been bamboozled.

    "Unless," Leo said, "It was all a Xanatos gambit."

    I think you're giving R and Ramza a bit too much credit here, Leo, I really think you are.

    "True, true."

    Anyway, the thugs were then handed over to Dwarven security, wherein the party teamed up with Vanklef and rested before heading out that evening to halt R's nefarious plans and put an end to his invasion once and for all.

    TO BE CONTINUED!

    DM's Corner - There's a very good reason why this update is so late: I am an incredibly lazy person.
  18. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Tale XIV - The Ice Dragon Cometh; Or The Beginning of the End; Or Blizzard Beasts

    TROOOOOOOOOOO!!! (the bard exclaimed, spewing forth a blast of flames from his mouth. The audience stared in awkward silence.)

    Don't you get it? The song for this tale? It's black metal. Trve kvlt stvff, that sort of thing? (The audience continued to stare in awkward silence.)

    BLACK METAL IST KRIEG?! (Nothing.)

    Oh, forget it, where was I? Ah yes, later that night our heroes, accompanied by Vanklef, set out to explore the old mines.

    "You know," Leo said, "I rather like this Vanklef guy. I think he'll be really fun to have around."

    Er... yeah. Yeah, I agree wholeheartedly, (the bard replied, chuckling somewhat nervously, which was odd). So the party set out - down, down, deeper and deeper, into what seemed like the very heart of the world. The light of the gods could not hope to reach them there, blackness enveloped them on all sides, staved off only by the faint glow of the torchlight.

    "I've got a bad feeling about this," Finde muttered, looking at the earthen tunnels that surrounded them on all sides.

    "How so?" Kriv asked. To him, it seemed to be business as usual.

    "No, I feel it too," Mak concurred. "If we keep going down these tunnels - things will change. Irrevocably. I can't explain it, and yet..."

    "Best to stay on our guard, then," Loriana replied coolly.

    "This highly unsubtle foreshadowing is cool and all," Leocanto interrupted, "but I can't help but notice the oddly blue glow coming up ahead in the distance."

    "A strange phenomena indeed," Vanklef agreed.

    "Best to have the rogue check it out," Charnamé added.

    Am I ever going to get to provide narration? (the bard asked.)

    "Probably not," Leo responded. (The bard sighed).

    And so Leocanto journeyed forward... whereupon he slipped and vanished down a steep slope.

    "My baaaaaaaaaa-"

    Yes, your bad. The remainder of the party went forward... and promptly slipped down the hill. What awaited them at the bottom, you ask?

    A frost demon, straight from the pits of hell! Unstoppable darkness eclipses the land, 666, Hail Satan, SATSUGAI!

    (Somewhere, audibly from out in the audience, a cricket chirped).

    It's the corpsepaint, isn't it? Too much? Well, anyway, I was only slightly exaggerating, as what awaited them was a fearsome frost dragon, white as snow. At his side, Leocanto, entrapped in ice.

    "You've got to be -"

    Apupupup! You can't say that. Not on the internet.

    "Bollocks."

    Well, that one's okay. For some reason extremely offensive British words are perfectly acceptable.

    "That's bloody wicked!"

    For sure!

    "If you're done talking, we're committing our heroic sacrifice," Clint the goblin spoke up.

    "It's touching, really," East added.

    "Almost poetic," Wood noted.

    "Who we talk to?" asked Thadeus.

    "The narrator," explained East.

    "But we am frozen!"

    "Semantics," replied R.

    How did you get here?

    "How did I not not get here?"

    What does that even mean?

    "... You know, I have no idea."

    TO BE CONTINUED!

    DM's Corner - Because it makes no sense up in the post proper - the party fought the dragon, was totally going to die, so I sacrificed my goblin NPCs from earlier to save their lives.

    This tale kicks off our grand finale! Stay tuned!
  19. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Tale XV ~ Tale The Last

    And so, ladies and gentleman, it's come to this - the last tale of the Saga of the Nameless Lands. I honestly have nothing else I can say that can express my emotions regarding this sufficiently.

    So let's get things started! All together now: 3... 2... 1... HEAVEN OR HELL, LET'S ROCK!

    Part the First - The Cage

    The dragon vanquished and Leocanto freed from his icy prison, the party proceeded down the final tunnel. At the end, on the roof of the cave, was a small hatch. Leocanto, e'er the party rogue, went in first.

    "The coast, naturally, was clear," Leo remarked. And indeed it was, as the party followed him up into a small storage room. Looking around, Finde chanced across a small dagger, intricately inscribed with a twin headed snake on either side, and, curiously, bestowed with a special unlocking enchantment. It clearly was meant to open something - but what?

    In any case, the party proceeded up a long spiral staircase before emerging into a long, ornately decorated hall. At the end sat a grand set of double doors, the kind that just seemed to scream "Final Boss located here." Needless to say, our heroes strolled extremely cautiously, paranoid about nonexistent traps as always. (The audience, oddly enough, cheered at this.) Well, that's a new reaction.

    Swinging open the double doors, Kriv led the others into the room, whereupon they gazed at the tapestry-hewn walls and grandiose architecture of the area. At the back of the room sat a massive thrown made of golden swords, a dark figure sat in it, applauding.

    "Well done, well done," the figure said, remaining seated. "You know, I thought I had lost you - until you stumbled upon that cave in the middle of the ocean, I had no idea that others besides myself had unlocked the secrets of space-time manipulation. You ought to be proud. Still -" the doors slammed shut behind the party "I suppose I should have expected as much from Team Sea Slug."

    "That's the Army of Dorkness to you, punk," Finde replied.

    "Actually, I believe the full name of our group is Team Sea Slug: The Army of Dorkness," Leo corrected.

    "Go Team Sea Slug!" Mak added.

    "Not important! What's important is that we've come to stop R and save the dwarves!"

    "The dwarves? I would think you'd be preoccupied with saving yourselves, first."

    "Tough talk," Leo quipped. "Vanklef, ice this moron."

    There was a sound of a gun cocking, and with a thunderclap-like roar -

    Leocanto fell over dead. "You know, you heroes are always far to trusting."

    "You son of a -!" Kriv roared, swinging his twin blade at the scoundrel. Vanklef dodged the blow, leaping forward and landing multiple feet away, giving himself ample time to fire a neutralizing bullet at a spell Loriana had hurled at him.

    "You want to get to Lord Ragnös? Then face me!" the cowboy taunted, spinning his gun in the air before catching it deftly. That was all the provocation our heroes required, as they charged forward weapons drawn. What followed was a percussive flurry of gunfire and swordplay, as steel clashed against steel in an increasingly accelerated dance of death, magick flying as freely as ammunition as the henchman proved himself to be a formidable foe. "Do you even understand," Vanklef explained, as he blocked Mak's fullblade with the extremely durable body of his weapon of choice, "How foolishly you're acting? Opposition to Lord Ragnös can only end in suffering. Even now, we're hurtling through the cosmos and time itself, completely cut off from any assistance."

    "Your point being?" Finde chided, swinging in with his mace.

    "You -" Vanklef answered, shooting away the mace. "Are -" he continued, aiming directly at the cleric.

    "Dead," Charnamé finished as she blew the lackey's head off with a spell blast.

    "Pathetic," Ragnös grumbled. "It seems if I want this done correctly..."

    TO BE CONTINUED!

    DM's Corner - IT'S ON!
  20. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Part the Second - Ragnös Unveiled; Or The Invaluable Darkness, Part 2

    Ragnös flicked his cloak back, revealing... an older halfling cloaked in impressive battle armor. "I'll have to do it myself."

    "You - you're that halfling... the one with the hangover?!" Finde exclaimed, incredulous.

    "It seems your memory is as impressive as your resume, Findecano."

    "But why? Why do all of this?" Kriv asked, equally bewildered. Charnamé and Mak, by contrast, had no idea who this person was or what he planned to do.

    "Why? Because you belittled me! Everyone belittled me! Roland Gespenst was the butt of every joke in that pathetic village, and it was all because you started the damn trend!" The halfling grasped his sword, and it seemed, to Finde at least, that he grew slightly. Perhaps that was just a mild hallucination.

    "Well, no longer! I annihilated that pathetic backwater town, and I will wipe this existence off the face of creation - the world will be remade from scratch into an object of perfection, and I, Ragnös, will reign supreme as the new world god."

    "And I will serve as your executor, my lord," came a second voice. It was at this moment that the party realized a second figure had emerged from behind the thrown of swords - a face they had not seen in a long time. The face of an old friend.

    "Elial!" Loriana gasped, stunned. Finde and Kriv were equally taken aback.

    "What sorcery is this?" Kriv demanded, steadying his blade in the direction of the deva.

    "No sorcery, my dear Kriv, just the benevolence of Lord Ragnös at work. He has given me this new body... or I suppose he had given it. Or will." He examined his hand in the light.

    "You're talking nonsense," Mak grunted. "Events occur precisely once."

    "Do they?" Elial grinned mischievously. "I must confess I am not acquainted with this taller companion. He's quite the looker." He floated up to examine the goliath at face level. "I always did like taller men - and women," he added, turning to regard Loriana.

    "I don't seem to recall Elial ever being [DELETED FOR YOUR SAFETY]," Finde muttered.

    "Splendid, isn't it? R's idea, something about fulfilling a favorite trope or some such nonsense," Ragnös chuckled.

    The deva, meanwhile, had floated down to land in front of the drow. "It can't be you," Loriana muttered, her normal hand covering her mouth. "You were... you..."

    Elial smiled. "But it is me, as real as the day we first met, Lori. I have been given a new life through Ragnös." He caressed her cheek. "Won't you join us? What good is an official without a loving wife? Your powers would be of a tremendous aid in the new world."

    "I..." Loriana hesitated, turning from Elial, to Finde and the others, to Leocanto's remains, to Sariel's hand, to Elial, to the others, to Elial, to the others, Sariel's hand.

    "I..."

    "I'm sorry..." she finally managed, tears forming in her eyes. "I'm so sorry..."

    "Finde."

    The cleric felt a tremendous burst of black energy erupting from his chest.

    TO BE CONTINUED!
  21. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Part the Third - On The Edge Of Honor

    Finde buckled over on the ground as he gasped for air following the damaging magical assault. For now, he was still alive, somehow. But to Kriv that was a moot point - the sight of his adoptive father being attacked by a supposed friend was far too great to bear - and he let out a roar that would have chilled lesser opponents to the bone before charging towards the drow with his double-ended sword whirling. "You will not harm Findecáno Sindanárië!" he barked, as his sword came crashing down -

    Only to be intersected by Elial's blade. "Funny, I always wanted to face you in single combat," the deva chuckled, as he twirled his blade once for added effect. "Looks like I'm about to find out." Within seconds, the two hurricane forces of martial prowess were upon each other with the songs of pitched combat, parries being parried into attacks only to be parried yet again.

    Mak, feeling that his assistance would be necessary, took up his fullblade, but found himself stopped by a Ragnös that had grown to his size. "What madness is this?" the titan rumbled.

    "Madness? There's nothing mad about it," the too-tall halfling cackled, slashing with his immense sword. "Divide and conquer - it's an elementary battle plan, is it not?"

    "I do not have time for this!" Mak countered, as he met the blade head-on with his own. "I will stop you and put a halt to your mad desires. This ends here."

    And thus Kriv and Mak both found themselves with more than their hands full as they battled on their own against Elial and Ragnös. Finde, weakened from Loriana's surprise attack, could do little more than provide support magicks to try and keep the fights more evenly matched. That very drow, sensing the opportunity to strike, prepared to finish the healer off...

    Until a bolt of elemental lightning crashed down from the sky and interrupted her concentration. "Loriana," boomed the amplified voice of Charnamé, "I tried to help you. I foresaw your betrayal -" Another bolt of lightning struck the warlock. "And attempted to save you from your fate. But in your weakness you gave in to temptation. I am disappointed in you."

    "So...?" the drow retorted. "I never sought your approval. I never asked for your help. You never cared about my concerns -"

    "True, perhaps I did not, Char conceded. "But someone else did. What would Sariel think, Lori? If she could see you now... would she approve?"

    "That's not - of course... she would..." Loriana stumbled over her words. She hesitated for a moment. "No, Sariel would never... she wouldn't..."

    "Lori," the drow continued, her voice now Sariel's, "this isn't right. What you're doing is wrong."

    "That's not true!" Loriana's voice. "I... I'm helping Elial... Isn't that the...?"

    "Stop, Lori. Stop what you're doing. Go back to the light."

    "No... no! I have done nothing... I've done nothing..." Her body began to crackle with electrical energy as sparks from Sariel's hand ascended the length of Loriana's arm, shooting off immense discharges. "I've done nothing..."

    "Loriana," Char continued, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

    A shot of lightning came charging down from the heavens, and struck Loriana, causing a massive electrical discharge that bathed the entire room in a bright, white flash.

    When it was over, the party - and Ragnös - remained standing, but the latter was wounded, perhaps too wounded to continue. "This... isn't possible..." he lamented. "I... was supposed to become a god of the new world. Not die in the old one..."

    "Oh, was that your plan? Kill the Dungeon Master and you can destroy his campaign setting? Well, your plan was good, but..." There was a twang as a small crossbow bolt hit the back of Ragnös' head. "You were too damn cocky, kid."

    TO BE CONTINUED!

    DM's Corner - You get three guesses as to who our red-font friend is. First two don't count.:p
  22. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Part the Fourth - Return of the Laughing Madman

    "... That voice..." Finde muttered, his eyes quickly scanning the room.

    "Can't be..." Mak stated.

    "Oh, cut the plot device crap already, yes it is," R countered, leaping down from the chandelier he had been sitting on, his red cloak billowing dramatically despite the utter lack of strong air currents in the room. "That'd be because my outfit operates on the Rule of Cool," he noted.

    Not this again. We were doing a great job keeping the final chapters serious, and now you show up again and-

    "Ruin the effect? Funny, I always thought that dangerously genre savvy villains were the scarier ones."

    They are, but only if they don't decide to fulfill their cliché villain obligations anyway.

    "Their loss! I'm having an absolute ball!"

    ("Is it just me," someone in the audience said, "Or is there a slight tear in the curtain?")

    "Who the hell are you talking to?" Mak demanded, pointing his blade at the villain.

    "The narrator."

    "The... narrator?" the warden asked, confused.

    "Don't worry about it, Mak, he's just trying to confuse you," Finde answered, only too aware of the truth behind R's words. But Mak had never been beyond the wall - attempts to explain it would be rather fruitless.

    "His loss, I suppose. Still, I have to commend you all on actually surviving long enough to help me achieve my goals."

    "What goals?" Kriv growled. "Weren't you just working for Ragnös this whole time?"

    R laughed for a solid half-minute. "No, no, no, no... you see, I'm the real final boss, Kriv Mizzian, Ragnös was just a tool. Hell, in the end, most of them were just my puppets. Including you fools."

    Char spoke up this time. "We'd never stoop so low as to -"

    "Oh, but you already did. You see, this "past" you've been running around in? The one you're trying to aid?" The masked man waved his hand in an arcing motion, causing the walls to fade away, revealing the places the party had traveled to since their time warp. "All a lie. An illusion so convincing, it even tricked the bard."

    What? No, that's impossible. You couldn't possibly...

    ("Now that you mention it," another audience member said, "Yeah, there's totally a tear in the fabric behind him.")

    "But I did, you pathetic human. There was never a time warp!" With that, R snapped his fingers, causing the landscape to drift out of focus, wobble, and ultimately evaporate, revealing the Emrolus the party knew and loved... but...

    "It's been... it's been devastated..." Finde gasped. And indeed, the country had been charred to the proverbial bone. Forests leveled, cities ablaze, rivers dried up, pockets of craters dotting the landscape.

    "War," R chuckled triumphantly, "War. Never. Changes."

    "So all our fighting has been for naught?" Mak asked, gazing over the devastation they saw around them. "The war came?"

    R was laughing heartily now. "You'd better believe it!" he cackled. "How's it feel, bardy boy? I've destroyed your world! All your efforts, all your creative energy - spent like so many pennies!"

    (The bard was visibly shaking at the knees. The audience was muttering amongst themselves nervously. If the bard didn't even have control over his universe, then... who did? And where had that tear in the curtain come from?)

    "Too late! Too late! Too late! Too late!" R chanted as he continued to cackle maniacally. "It's my plaything now! All hail R! Bow before the new lord of destruc-"

    It was at this moment that he noticed the sword sticking through his chest. On the other end of it stood Kriv, his expression ice cold. "Shut. The. Frak. Up." He slashed the blade clean through to R's left side.

    "Impossible! Defeated... in my mo
  23. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Part the Fifth - The Truth of the Laughing Madman

    "I think I've seen just about enough," Mak declared, readying his fullblade. "It's time to put an end to you, once and for all!"

    "Hold, Mak," Finde instructed, extending his arm out in front of the Warden. "Judging by how easily he just took out Ragnös... and Fie... I get the feeling he's just toying with us."

    "Ding ding ding, we have a winnah! Ladies and gentlemen, your new champion, Finde! Give him a round of applause!" (The audience, shrugging, clapped.) R joined in. "Really splendid display of insight there. Let's see if it helps to keep any of you alive." He stretched his hand forward, and with a wave the remaining party members found their wounds completely healed, and Kriv's twin-headed sword returned to his hands.

    "I don't understand," Mak stated, clearly suspicious.

    "Did you ever see Street Fighter... No, no, dumb question, of course you haven't."

    Street Fighter?

    "It's a movie, you idiot bard, you're well aware of them."

    Only conceptually.

    "What a convenient plot device. Anyway, I'm a firm believer in the purity of combat. So why not fight you three at your full strength? You're still no match for my powers. Observe."

    Flicking his cloak back, R extended his right hand, palm upward, forward, until it was several feet in front of his face. He then clenched his hand into a fist. The bodies of Loriana, Elial, Ragnös, Vanklef, Charname, and Leocanto vanished from sight. He then rotated the fist so that his thumb faced the floor, which caused the walls around the party to change from a projection of the surrounding world into a swirling vortex of purplish hues.

    That was when he opened his fist.

    With a rumble and a roar like that of a thousand waterfalls suddenly being unleashed, the floor cracked and gave way to an immense, spiraling current of raw energy. The party felt themselves drifting slowly downward, unable to stand on their feet.

    "This is the ultimate power. The swirling vortex that consumes all energy. The alpha and the omega. This is BLACK HOLE!"

    "Oh, well, I'm glad you stopped me, Finde, who knows what could have gone wrong had I tried to defeat him," Mak groaned, as he found himself being pulled towards the center of the vortex. "Do you even have a plan?"

    "Of course I don't," Finde retorted. "But when has that ever stopped Team Sea Slug?"

    "Team Sea Slug: The Army of Dorkness," Kriv corrected.

    "... What did you just say?" Finde asked, a fire in his eyes.

    "Team Sea Slug: The Army of Dorkness?"

    "That's it!"

    "What's it?" Mak asked.

    "Don't you get it? That's exactly what Leo would've said! Part of him lives on inside of us!"

    "You're reaching," Mak warned.

    "Maybe, but I've got to believe. Got to think outside the constraints of this universe," Finde replied, pulling out the dagger from earlier.

    "That's just an ordinary dagger! Char even said so!" Kriv yelled, finding it harder to hear over the roar of the energy.

    "No, something was off about this dagger, and I think I just figured out what it is," the cleric explained, glancing at the design. "It's not of our existence."

    "... What?" Mak and Kriv spoke at the same time.

    "This dagger, is the dagger that's going to pass through the Fourth Wall and stop R!"

    "Isn't that just a Gurren Lagann reference?"

    "Yes, it's exactly that!" the cleric declared triumphantly, somehow staggering to his feet. "Leocanto is dead. He's gone! But he's right there in my mind, and here in my heart! He lives on as a part of me! If you're gonna fight, fight to the end. No matter what's in my way I won't stop! Once I've gone through...it means that I've won!" He pulled the dagger back, readying his aim.

    "This is a really bad idea!" Mak yelled, feeling his feet edge dangerously close to the center of the vortex.

    "Exactly! This is a horrible idea! But my dagger is the dagger
  24. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Part the Sixth - What Is Life

    I don't understand. It just doesn't add up!

    "You're implying that any of this makes any sense," Ramza chuckled, adjusting his glasses. "But of course it's beyond you, you're just my creation. You trying to understand me is like an amoeba hoping to comprehend the vastness of the universe - laughable at best, disgusting at worst."

    Finde, Mak, and Kriv sized up their surroundings, but found them to be decidedly... sparse. Infinite expanses of white void in all directions. A featureless, infinite plane.

    "How do you like it?"

    "I... don't even know what this is..." Mak grumbled, clearly lacking in fondness for his new locale.

    "This? Oh, it's my own little creation. A little corner tucked away inside my own mind. I call it The End."

    "Why one earth would you call it that?" Finde asked quizzically. "'The End'? The end of what?"

    I have a bad feeling about this.

    "As well you should, my dear bard, as you're here as well."

    "I'm what?!" the bard exclaimed, as he found himself occupying the same featureless white expanse, opposite the characters he thought he had created. "But... then... who's narrating all of this?"

    (The audience, who was somehow hearing and, more disturbingly, seeing all of this unfold, was asking much the same question.)

    "Oh, there's a perfectly logical explanation to all of this. Buuuuuut you won't be hearing it from me."

    "What happened to fulfilling your trope obligations?"

    "I moved on to 'Dangerously Genre Savvy.'"

    "... Has everyone always been talking in visible, colored dialogue?" Kriv asked, befuddled. Finde shook his head in the negative.

    "What sorcery is this?!" Mak demanded.

    "No sorcery. Just... one last twist," Ramza replied with a grin. "Are you familiar with Studio Gainax?"

    "You wouldn't-"

    "Tah-tah, gentlemen," Ramza interrupted with a bow, before he faded from sight.

    "You can't do this, Ramza!" the bard yelled. "This isn't how the session went! This isn't what happened in the AIM chat! You can't change the rules!"

    There was no reply. "I don't understand," Kriv stated. "Who the hell are you? What the hell is going on?!"

    The bard paused for a moment, tears welling up in his eyes. "Dammit.... dammit! He cheated! He cheated! He broke the agreement! He broke his own rules!"

    "Who cheated? Who broke what rules?" Kriv asked the older dragonborn he saw in front of him.

    "Don't concern yourself with that, my son," the dragonborn replied. "Come along, now, we've got a lot of ground to cover if we want to make the Ridge by nightfall."

    "Of course, dad," the young boy replied.


    "So, we've already lost Kriv, then," the bard lamented.

    "What do you mean? He's right here... isn't... Kriv?" Finde waved a hand in front of the dragonborn's face. No response.

    "It's exactly what Ramza said. Studio Gainax."

    "I'm confused."

    "Don't be," the older cleric chuckled, as he pointed to the relevant passage in the scripture. "All will become clear to you shortly."

    "Yeah, geez, don't sweat it, Finde," added Kriv, his peer and fellow student.

    The young boy nodded. "Right, sorry, I just had a... really weird daydream. I'll try to pay more attention."


    "This is... bad," Mak observed, staring at his companions who were now little more than lifeless shells. "What was it you called it, aga/>/>
  25. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Part the Seventh - Bad Ending...?

    (Ramza drove his hand straight through the head of the struggling man. "Ninety nine..." he noted, discarding the still-twitching body, "And..." He looked around the room. "No, no, no! I will not be ending this streak on 99%. All or nothing at this point!" His eyes darted to one side as he picked up on a hint of movement in his peripheral vision. "Hullo... what's all this, then?" he asked, strolling over to the side of the stage. He glanced over at the screen as he did so.)

    "So, Dad, why exactly do we need to get to the ridge, again?" young Kriv asked.

    "Rumors of a large deposit of shinies, m'boy!" the older dragonborn replied, taking a sip from his canteen. "And if I know you half as well as I think I do, then that should be sufficient reason."

    Kriv mulled over his response for a brief moment. "... Yeah, I suppose you're right," he answered with a grin.

    "He's not your father."

    "What was that, Dad?"

    "I didn't say anything."

    "Huh. Must've been my imagination."

    (That was... odd. That voice right then had been... but that was probably just a lingering subconscious effect. Nothing serious. Now, where was number 100?)


    "So, I guess this guy knew dad at some point," the bard thought aloud as he strolled down the street.

    "Understandable," Poe replied. "Your dad was a big shot Harper Agent, y'know."

    "Of course I know that. This pin right here is... odd..."

    "Hmm?"

    "Oh, I just... I must've left my pin in my pack. No worries."

    "You're too absent minded, you know that?"

    "Oh, go get stuffed. In the literal sense."


    "Father, I'm worried that I'm still not understanding the point behind the reading," Finde observed, with a bit of snickering coming from Kriv's direction. "It's not funny, Kriv, I'm serious."

    The elder cleric patted the boy on the shoulder. "Now, now, Finde, not all of Erathis' teachings are meant to be understood on the first, or even the fiftieth, reading. One does not merely read the holy word, one feels it, inside himself."

    "Yeah, Dad, seriously. Just relax."

    "... What did you just call me?"

    "Uh... Finde, duh. Why?

    "... Nothing, I'm... it's nothing."


    "This isn't right," Mak muttered, glancing around at the caves.

    "Whaddaya ye mean, this ain't right? Right as stone iffin' ye ask me. Stake mah beard on eet."

    "... But that's just it. The dwarves... the dwarves..."

    The cave began to crack, causing some odd white light to begin to creep in. "The dwarves aren't..."

    "The dwarves aren't alive anymore, is that it?" asked a familiar voice.

    "... Leocanto...?"

    "I know! And here I thought I was... oh crap, I'm dead, aren't I?"

    "I... think...? How do I know you?"

    "You idiot! We fought alongside each other for months, now."

    "... Months...?" More cracks.

    Leocanto grinned. "Months. I think you can recall our organization."

    "It was... um..." Still more cracks.

    "You can do it."

    "Team..."

    "Quit stalling and just say it!"

    "Team Sea..."

    "SAY IT!"

    "TEAM SEA SLUG!" The cave and the dwarves shattered, vanishing from sight. Leocanto grinned.

    "Team Sea Slug: The Army of Dorkness," he corrected.

    "Right... but now what? Ramza's gone."

    "Oh... you'll figure something out. I'll see you around." And with a wink and a bow, Leo faded from Mak's sight. The warden found himself in an immense white expanse, where Finde and Kriv, as well as that bard fellow,/>/>/>
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