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Welcome to Episode 47 of the Rescued by Dragons fantasy fiction podcast, Tales of the Brunch Club:
My name is Brian Messmer and I am not only your storyteller but the dungeon master behind the homebrew Dungeons and Dragons campaign this adventure is based on. Please join me as I tell the tale of how my players, and the dice, ruined and improved my perfectly laid plans.
But first, a quick recap…
In episode 46, the Brunch Club, despite being hungover, made it to the Scallywag on time and set sail for Sturgeon to meet Rajat. As they got closer to their destination, Diesa noticed the ship started sailing in the wrong direction. When pressed, Captain Hubert answered why. There was a black dragon rumored to live in the bog on the other side of these waters. He wanted to give it a wide berth, just in case the rumors were true. When the wind died, and the air grew chill, and the booming ethereal voice shook the timbers of the Scallywag, he knew the rumors didn’t lie. The voice was familiar to the Brunch Club from the first night they spent in the Bitch Bog. It taunted Jory and Diesa attempting to sow discord among the group by revealing their long held secrets. That Jory was a drunk was not a surprise to the Brunch Club, but the reveal that Diesa was actually a princess who had to flee her village came as quite a shock.
The dragon flew on, and the ship’s sails filled with air and they were once again on their way to Sturgeon. Upon arrival, they went to the Black Lamb, the previous owner of which they killed because he was part of a potion smuggling ring they broke up. The new owner was drunk and asleep in the kitchen, so Jory made them all breakfast.
They later went to a popular watering hole called Jimmy’s where they asked about anyone who had been to Tor. Jimmy told them a local recluse named Fredward had been. They bought a bottle of whiskey and headed to find Fredward. They used the bottle to bribe Fredward into telling them about his adventures in Tor. It so happened he had written and illustrated a book about all the beasts he had run into in his long adventuring life and sold it to them for a large sum of gold. They bid Fredward good night and went to their rooms at the local tavern to get some sleep before meeting Rajat at dawn.
Episode 47: “Golden Gnomes”
The Brunch Club woke before dawn, dressed warmly, and trudged along the snowy road that led outside the ramshackle town of Sturgeon. Just to the north they saw the middle-aged elf standing in the road, leaning on his staff. His clothes looked dirty and rumpled, except for Elora’s pristine Winter Wolf cloak which hung on his shoulders.
He approached them. Dispensing with any pleasantries he said, “What do you have for me?”
“We have information,” Elora said.
“What information?” Rajat asked quickly.
“I’m not just going to give you information,” Elora replied curtly. “I want something for it.”
“If you want something, you have to give me something.” Rajat shot back.
Jory threw up his hands in frustration at Rajat. “Look, we’re trying to help you. I’m gonna make a fire and cook some breakfast. You can join us and we can have a civilized discussion and help each other, or you can stand there and keep playing tough guy all morning.” The halfling muttered “Chenka Jia help me,” under his breath. He stomped to the edge of the road and began building a fire.
Elora showed him the planar fork and told him about the location of the touch point near Tor.
Rajat relented a little and gave the Winter Wolf cloak back to her.
“So, we gave you what you wanted,” Drusilla said. “We got a planar fork for you and know where the touch point is. So tell Elora about her past and be on your way.”
“You’ve only read about the touchpoint in dusty books.” Rajat snarled. “You don’t actually know if it exists.”
“We can’t do anything about that,” Diesa answered flatly.
“You can scout ahead, find the passage through Tor and locate the touch point. When you do that, I will tell Elora all she wants to know.”
“That’s a big ask,” Salys said. “You gotta give her something else before we agree to that.”
“Like what, gnome?” Rajat asked coldly.
Before Salys could come up with an answer of her own, Elora quickly blurted out “How did we meet?”
He looked at her and his face softened just a little. “We first met when you and your Obsidian Watch came to the Bloodwood. You were looking for answers to a blight that had affected a distant forest. I can’t remember the name.”
“Was there something between us?” Elora asked.
“Yes,” Rajat answered.
“How did it end?” asked Elora
“You never came back,” Rajat sighed.
There was an awkward silence.
“What do you want to do? This is your call,” Jory asked Elora.
“How do we get in touch with you when we find the touch point?” Elora asked Rajat.
The druid shrugged.
“We have a sending stone,” pointed out Drusilla.
They agreed that they would scout out the path to the north and confirm the location of the touch point. In exchange for which, he would tell Elora everything he knew about her past. They also agreed to check in with him once a week.
“Listen here,” Diessa said as she reluctantly handed Rajat the sending stone that paired with Elora’s. “We’re going into the mountains for you. It’s going to be dangerous and require a lot of supplies. Anything you want to give us in the way of compensation?”
“That’s fair,” Rajat said. “I can’t give you gold, but I can give you some healing potions. That will at least help protect my investment.”
Rajat handed them some potions, wished them luck, then transformed into an elk and walked away into the woods. The rest of them finished their breakfast by the fire.
“Sooo…” Salys started as they put out the fire and Jory packed his cooking utensils. “It’s a four day walk to Root Run, we might as well start now.”
The four day walk went by quickly. The Winter Wolf cloaks staved off the bitter cold of night for Diesa, Drusilla and Elora. The three gray furry animals from Drusilla’s bag of tricks helped keep Jory warm at night. As did his mead.
Root Run was small and rustic even compared to Sturgeon. Being further north though, they were able to find a shop with the proper gear for a trek into the mountains. The shop was run by a short gnome named Podrick Tall. He outfitted them with spikes for their boots, petons, and gloves. They also stocked up on twenty days worth of rations.
Being back in Salys’ home town, she took them to meet Aggie, who was a grandmother figure to her when she was younger.
Aggie, a frail, aged gnome in a wooden wheelchair greeted them excitedly and invited them in. “I just made blurpleberry muffins! Would you like some?”
“Really?” Jory asked, suspiciously. “Blurpleberries aren’t very tasty.”
“Don’t be rude, Jory!” scolded Drusilla.
“No, no, no,” Aggie said laughing. “He’s right. They’re normally very gross. But I have a secret recipe!” she said proudly.
They squeezed into the gnome-sized furniture. Aggie brought out warm muffins stacked on a tray.
“Wow! These are delicious!” beamed Jory. “I need to get the recipe!”
She suddenly noticed that Salys looked so much older after only being gone for a relatively short time. They told her about their adventures and about the sixteen years Salys aged as the result of her wild magic side effects during a recent battle.
Salys spent the night with Aggie to continue getting caught up, while the rest of them got rooms at the Root Run Bunk House.
In the morning Salys went to say goodbye to Aggie. The room was quiet and Aggie was unnaturally still. Salys approached and noticed she wasn’t breathing. She sighed and remarked sadly, “Today of all days.”
“Ahah! Gotcha!” Aggie gleefully howled as she sprang up to a sitting position.
“Damn it Aggie, you get me every time!” Salys screamed.
“I can hold my breath for four minutes.” said Aggie, beaming with pride.
“I know! And you still get me!” laughed Salys.
That morning, after an early brunch, they began their journey into the mountains. Over the next three days they climbed higher in altitude. They followed Schitman’s map to the edge of the sable forest, and the cusp of the Aegis mountain range. They camped near the path to the northwest peak where Schitman said the touchpoint would be.
Elora contacted Rajat to update him and got a terse “Thank you” in reply.
They found the path early in the morning and continued their climb into the mountains. Near lunch time, when the sun was at its peak, Drusilla noticed a glint of light flicker on the snow ahead of them. She pointed it out and they approached it cautiously.
They saw a large chunk of metal coated with a thin layer of snow. They brushed enough snow off to reveal a breastplate embedded with crystals. Elora knocked on it expecting it to be an abandoned piece of armor. It sounded solid, not hollow. Elora brushed more snow off. She jumped back when it suddenly started whirring and a mechanical looking humanoid sat up.
The others placed their hands on their weapons. The mechanical humanoid whirred and with an arcane energy as it came to life. Its head turned from side to side. It stood up revealing its six foot height and four arms. It’s armor was covered in runes and gem inlays. Elora was closest to it. It looked at her.
“Register your name,” it said in a monotone, tinny voice.
Elora looked at her companions and shrugged. “Elora Riverleaf,” she said clearly.
It placed two of it’s mechanical hands on her shoulders. It grasped her head on either side with its two remaining arms. The crystals on its breastplate glowed blue.
“Registering!” The mechanical humanoid said. “Elora. Elf. Shall I register your companions?”
“Uh, sure,” Elora said with a little hesitation and introduced each member to him.
The metal man looked at Drusilla. Its eyes glowed. “Registered as ‘Lunar Elf.’”
It looked at Salys. “Registered as ‘Gnome’.”
It looked at the owl sitting on Salys’s shoulder.
“This is Pip,” Salys said.
It looked at the owl familiar for a moment. “Registered as ‘hoot.’”
It looked at Jory and said “Registered as ‘Human Toddler’.”
It looked at Diesa. The crystals on its breastplate changed to a red glow. In Dwarvish, it said in a disgusted voice, “Registered as ‘Dirty Filth Scum’.”
“What did you say?” Diesa asked angrily, lifting her axe.
“Wait, wait,” Jory said, “it might just be doing what its creator asked it too.”
“What are you? Who’s your master?” Diesa said as she marched toward it. When she got closer she noticed that the runes etched into its armor were dwarven runes. They read:
Bio Interactive Lifeforce Longevity … the last word had a scratch across it making it illegible, but Diesa could see it began with the letter ‘Y’.
“I think it’s some kind of healer golem,” Diesa muttered.
When it was done scanning all the members of The Brunch Club it turned back to Elora.
“Thank you for registering.”
“What in the Underdark are you?” Diesa Exclaimed
The mechanical man looked at her and said, “Bio Interactive Lifeforce Longevity Yellowmonkey” It seemed to twitch with a glitchy shudder when it said the last word.
“Uh, a what?” Elora asked.
“Bio Interactive Lifeforce Longevity Yangdeficiency” the mechanical man repeated, but changing the last word, which was said a bit faster.
“What was that last part?” Drusilla asked.
“Bio Interactive Lifeforce Longevity Yellowfever.”
“How did you get here?” Jory asked.
“I don’t know,” it replied mechanically.
“Who built you?” Salys asked.
“I don’t know,” it said again.
“Who do you answer to?” asked Elora.
“To you,” it said.
“You’ll do Elora’s bidding?” Drusilla asked.
“Yes,” it replied.
“Elora, you should tell it not to be mean to dwarves,” she suggested.
“No!” screamed the mechanical man.
“What’s your name?” Jory asked.
“Bio Interactive Lifeforce Longevity Yamnoodle,” it answered, then looked at Jory for a moment before asking, “May I see your container of liquid?”
Jory handed it his bota bag. He threw it several yards away where it disappeared into the snow.
“Why did you do that?” Jory screamed in a shrill, disbelieving voice.
“Alcohol is poison,” it replied in its matter-of-fact monotone voice.
“Okay,” Jory said. “Elora, I think the second thing we need to teach him is not to throw away Jory’s mead.”
Elora turned to the mechanical man. “I’m going to call you ‘SAM.’ Will you answer to SAM?”
“I will answer to SAM,” SAM said.
“Great,” Elora said. “Now listen, SAM. If something happens to me, you must take orders from my friends. Can you do that?”
“I will take orders from your associates,” it said in an even voice. It then twitched, and in a louder, angry voice said, “EXCEPT THE DWARF!”
“Alright, that does it!” snarled Diesa, raising her battleaxe and charging. She swung wildly at SAM. Her battleaxe clanged loudly but harmlessly off his breastplate.
SAM crouched down. All the crystals and runed on his harmor glowed red. Its voice was low and monotone, yet somehow menacing. “Defensive mode engaged,” it said. It then looked at Elora and asked, “Shall I kill Associate Diesa?”
“No SAM, stand down.”
The red glow faded from his armor and he stood up. “I should have expected that from a filthy dwarf,” it muttered in a disgusted tone.
With their new healing contraption joining them, the group proceeded on their way. They followed the path deep into the forest that clung to the base of the mountains.
As the trees thinned and they became more exposed, Salys called for her familiar, “Hey Pip, wanna fly ahead and check things out? It’s been a while since you did some recon for us.”
The adorable fluffy white pygmy owl poked its tiny head out from the hood of Salys’s robe.
“Fuck no!” it said in a gruff, annoyed voice that only Salys could hear. “It’s fucking cold.”
“You got feathers, you’ve got wings, use them,” Salys commanded.
Pip sighed and reluctantly flew into the air ahead of them. When he returned he told them he saw a stone tower in the distance perched atop a steep hill. It looked abandoned.
It was late in the afternoon so the group decided to inspect the tower in hopes it would make a good shelter for the night.
They approached the base of the hill cautiously. Salys sent Pip into the tower to make sure it was uninhabited.
Pip flew up, landed outside the entrance, and slowly walked into the darkness of the tower. Almost immediately he flew out. He shot straight down toward them.
“Oh fuck. Oh fuck,” he breathed heavily, nestling into Saly’s hood. “Two lizards. Big ones. The size of robot man.”
“Could you tell what kind of lizards?” Salys asked.
“Big fucking lizards. What else do you want to know?”
Drusilla retrieved the monster book Fredward gave them and flipped through the pages in front of Pip. “Stop me if it’s one of these.”
Drusilla showed the owl all the illustrations of lizards while Pip looked on.
“It was either a basilisk or giant lizard.” Pip told Sayls.
“Well, let’s climb up there and send SAM to check it out.” Jory said. “If it’s a basilisk it can’t turn a magical construct to stone, can it?”
“One way to find out!” Exclaimed Diesa. “I think it’s a great idea.”
The hill was steep enough that they had to walk up it carefully. They were surprised to see SAM’s bulky form stride quickly and effortlessly past them to the top of the hill.
Our tale will continue in Episode 48
Episode 47 was written by Dominic White, Bethany Powers, and myself, Brian Messmer.
The audio reording of our DnD game session that inspired this episode will be available on our podcast channel this Thursday under the name, Brunch Club LIVE!
Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:
- Bethany Powers, who plays Diessa
- JP Black, who plays Drusilla
- Liz Raychard, who plays Elora
- Anna Flemke, who plays Salys
- Dominic White, who plays Vorjhon
- And Brian Messmer, who plays everyone else
The recording of our Dungeons and Dragons game session that inspired this episode will be available on our podcast channel this Thursday under the name, Brunch Club LIVE!
If you enjoyed this podcast, please help us out by sharing it with your friends and rating and reviewing us on your favorite podcast platform. We’d really appreciate it.
More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support and follow us can be found at RescuedByDragons.com.
Thank you for listening, and please join me next week to see what my players’ choices, and the roll of the dice, have in store.