Tales of the Brunch Club 006 “Side Effects”

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Welcome to Episode 6 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast: The ongoing tale of a weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign played by a group of friends in Portland, Maine.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

In episode 5 The Brunch Club gathered themselves after being taunted by the mysterious voice in the mist from the end of episode 4. They decided to share the secrets of their past with each other to prevent the voice from sowing the seeds of distrust among them. As they continued on their journey, they defeated a small scouting party of frog-like men known as bullywugs, but were stopped dead in their tracks as they came face-to-face with a dreaded Basilisk.

And now, Episode 6: “Side Effects”

Vorjhon, the large, heavily armored dragonborn, tried to stay perfectly still. The creaking board his back foot rested on had already alerted the Basilisk to their presence, but he was afraid another sudden move might cause the great lizard to turn its petrifying gaze upon him and his new friends.

Heeding Elora’s warning, they all looked away from the creature when it turned its eyes toward them. This left them at a severe disadvantage when the beast began its charge. Vorjhon, hearing the reptile’s heavy feet squelch in the muddy path ran forward to intercept it, hoping to buy his friends time to ready their powerful ranged attacks.

Vorjhon peeked above his shield to make sure his warhammer blow would ring true upon the basilisks head. His scaled feet thudded on the old boardwalk, but in his selflessness he’d forgotten Elora’s warning to not look the creature in the eyes. As he sized up his mark to swing his hefty hammer, his dragon eyes locked with the stoney gaze of the basilisk.

The rest of the party watched in horror as Vorjhon charged the creature. They looked on helplessly as he raised his warhammer above his head, and was subsequently turned to stone before their eyes. He was frozen in mid attack, lunging forward, Warhammer aloft, arm in mid-swing. The basilisk turned Vorjhon into a lifeless statue of a warrior in combat that even the most experienced sculptor would be challenged to create.

Elora was the first to realize that the stone dragonborn was blocking them from the basilisk’s view. She raised her long bow and sunk an arrow deep into its ribcage. Salys raised her hands and sent a barrage of swirling green magic missiles across it’s flank where they slammed into the giant lizard, exploding the scales off it’s hide. Drusilla called down a sacred blast of flame that did further damage to the creature.

The basilisk, screeching in pain, scrambled around the petrified Vorjhon and caught Elora’s gaze. She turned her head away as quickly as she could, but could feel her hands and arms going numb. The feeling spread across her shoulders, but she held her eyes tight, and concentrated on fighting through the effects of the basilisk’s gaze. When the pins and needles feeling began to return to her arms and hands she realized she had shaken off the petrifying gaze in the nick of time.

With mobility in her extremities restored, Elora took aim with her longbow once again and sunk another arrow deep into the lizard’s side. Salys and Elora repeated their spells and the combined attacks of the three women were enough to slay the basilisk.

Elora and Drusilla walked up to the stone statue of Vorjhon where Elora wondered if there was a way to cure him, and Drusilla thought about the possibility of selling him as a statue to a town square or park, if they could move him. “He didn’t even have the decency to die in a way I could make him into a pair of boots,” Drusilla lamented with her gallows humor.

“Uh, guys,” Salys interrupted them. “I think you need to run.”

They looked and saw Salys on her knees, clutching her hands around her shoulders. Green light seemed to be pouring out of her eyes and swirling around her. Her red hair whipped around her as though she was on the edge of a hurricane.

“What’s going on?” Elora shouted, not sure if Salys could hear her through the turbulent magical field she was surrounded by.

“It’s a magic surge” Salys said, “A side effect from not being able to tame my powers. I was warned about it but this is the first time – I don’t know what’s going to happen. You need to hide – now!”

Elora and Drusila took cover behind the statue of Vorjhon just as the green sphere of energy circling Salys exploded out so violently it shook the stone dragonborn and showered him in cascading green light.

As the green light of wild magic began to fade, so did the gray color of hard stone, slowly revealing the silver scales, silver armor, and black shield of a living, but unconscious Vorjhon.

Drusilla and Elora scampered out of the way as he collapsed forward. Drusilla touched him gently on the shoulder, bringing him back to consciousness. Vorjhon blinked at them. He sat up confused trying to figure out how one second he was charging a basilisk, and the next second he was on his back with the companions staring at him with the same basilisk right next to him, very much deceased.

With Vorjhon exhausted from his ordeal, they decided to make camp for the night. Elora got to work building an elaborate blind to hopefully shield them from the eyes of any wandering nocturnal predators.

Drusilla noticed that this portion of the bog grew cranberries. While the others set up camp, she harvested the berries to make a cranberry sauce to compliment their otherwise bland rations.

Later that evening, everyone slept except Drusila, who spent her watch reducing the cranberries over a low fire, adding a little honey to tame the bitterness. As she stirred the sauce slowly with a ladle, she heard a rustling outside the blind. She looked up from her pot to notice a lone half frog / half human poke its head through the blind. After a brief moment of startled staring at each other, the bullywug lunged at Drusilla. Drusilla, kicked the pot of molten cranberries at the creature, causing it to wail in pain, then swung her ladle hard at her attacker’s head.

The commotion ended as quickly as it began. The rest of The Brunch Club woke up just in time to see Drusilla standing over the battered corpse of a bullywug. She held the dented ladle in her hand. It dripped with a disturbing mixture of blood and cranberry sauce.

They dumped the bullywug body into the marsh and all kept watch until they were satisfied that their attacker was alone. The rest of the evening passed by quietly.

The next morning they continued their journey without the aid of the boardwalk, which had now completely succumbed to the rot of the wet bog. Not only had the boardwalk disappeared, so did any semblance of a path. They were travelling through a swamp now, sometimes sinking up to their knees in the mud. It was impassable for Salys and she was forced to ride on Vorjhon’s shoulders. Without a path of any kind to follow, they relied on Elora to guide them with the aid of the map and compass she had bought in Wyhill.

They travelled slowly for several hours. Even though sunset was still a couple hours away they decided it was best to start scouting for a dry patch of land to make camp as suitable sites would be harder to find in the twilight.

As they searched through the swamp for dryer land, Drusilla motioned for them to stop. “Do you hear that?” She asked.

They stood silently and listened. Soon they all heard a noise getting closer. It was a combination of skittering and clacking. It was too late when they finally saw the source of the noise: a twisting, writhing group of six or eight large, snake-sized centipedes rushing upon them through the cover of the swamp reeds and tall grass. One of them immediately bit Elora. She felt something poisonous creep through her veins and tried to shrug it off like she did the basilisk’s gaze, but was not successful this time. The poison had parylized her. She fell to the side and started sinking into the swamp.

With one hand Vorjhon struck one of the large bugs, crushing its head with clacking mandibles under the weight of his warhammer. With the other hand he grabbed Elora’s collar and yanked her head out of the swamp water.

Salys hopped down from Vorjhon’s shoulders to get a better stance, and fired a barrage of her signature magic missiles at the centipedes, killing a couple, and wounding a couple more.

Drusilla stabbed one with her shortsword, wounding it before it could get to her.

The centipedes swarmed on Vorjhon but could not bite through his splint mail armor. He was forced to drop Elora back into the swamp as he swiped at the bugs and struck at the ones near him.

The party quickly killed the rest of the centipedes, but it didn’t feel quick to them as they knew with every passing second the paralized Elora was under water she was getting closer to drowning. Vorjhon pulled her out of the water and held her up. She wasn’t breathing. He placed his hand upon her and cast his healing touch spell. Breath returned to her lungs. However she was still paralzyed. Not knowing what else to do, Vorjhon cast a restoration spell he had never used before. It wasn’t very powerful, but he hoped it would cure her of her paralysis.

“What the fuck,” Elora said, reacting as though she had just been bit by one of the centipedes.

They all breathed a sigh of relief and agreed finding a relatively safe place to camp for the night would be better done sooner than later.

From atop Vorjhon’s shoulders Salys scouted for dry land, helping Elora guide them to a suitable resting place for the night. They found a patch of swamp where the mud seemed to get shallower and followed it for a bit until it let them to a small but dry hillock where they could bed down with a clear view of anything approaching from any side.

They made camp and went to sleep, with Drusilla taking the first watch as the darkness of the Bitch Bog once again surrounded them.

This story will continue next week in Episode 7.

Episode 6 was written by Dominic White with help from Brian Messmer.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!