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Welcome to Episode 48 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…
A terse meeting with Rajat outside of town led to the return of Elora’s winter cloak, exchanged for information about the Fey touchpoint to the North of Tor. The Brunch Club agreed to scout out the touchpoint in advance, and to keep touch with Rajat using their sending stones.
In exchange, Rajat informed Elora of how they met, saying they had become acquainted when the Obsidian Watch ventured into the Bloodwood.
After making travel preparations, the party ventured to Root Run, where Salys took the group to meet Aggie, a beloved old gnome whom she had grown close with when she lived in town. After spending a night in the village and saying goodbye to Aggie, the group began their journey into the mountains.
After several days of travel, Drusilla caught a glimpse of a shiny object sticking out of the snow, and uncovered a mechanical robot with a distaste for dwarves. The unit’s name has the initials B – I – L – L – Y. Elora decided to call him Sam.
Soon, they journeyed to an abandoned tower Pip spotted for them in the distance, discovering it to be inhabited by a pair of Basilisk. Wary, they decided to send SAM into the tower first.
Episode 48: “Quick and Painful”
Drusilla stared at the Monster Manual, skimming Fredward’s entry on Basilisks in hopes that something could help them prepare for the worst. The information was grim, detailing the fate of those unlucky enough to lock eyes with the creatures.
Concerned, she turned to face their new robotic companion. “SAM, are you immune to a Basilisk’s gaze?”
“What do you mean?” The robot asked, perplexed.
“Well… a basilisk can turn you into stone, just by looking you in the eye.”
With vacant eyes, SAM stared at Drusilla, silent for an uncomfortable few moments before telling her mechanically, “Yes. I am immune.”
He turned to face the tower, his joints creaking softly as began shuffling toward the entryway. An uneasiness permeated the group, the party exchanging nervous glances.
“Wait, wait,” Drusilla whispered, her eyes locked on the monster manual. The robot paused.
“Weasels!” she exclaimed. “Weasels are immune!”
Scrambling, Drusilla withdrew her bag of tricks, eagerly sticking her hand inside and withdrawing a hissing Honey Badger. It wriggled in her grip, claws thrashing angrily in the air.
“Not a weasel.” Diesa pointed out as she sharpened the blade of her axe.
“Well, it’s worth a shot instead of sending SAM to his death.” Elora said, and SAM beeped in gratitude. “I’m going to beast into it.”
Elora reached for the badger, carefully poking the creature in its side. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head as her consciousness merged with the Honey Badger, which quickly went limp.
Elora, now a small Honey Badger, gave Drusilla’s hand a small lick as she set her down. She took a few steps, flailing in the snow as she grew familiar with her new anatomy. She stumbled, glancing up at her companions and squeaking as they stifled laughter at her clumsy attempts to walk.
Eventually, she made her way to the entrance of the tower, poking her head inside to survey the giant creatures. Immediately, her beady badger eyes met the gaze of an enormous scaled Basilisk, and she froze.
She snapped back into her own elvish body, gasping as she returned to her consciousness.
“Are you okay?” Jory asked, trying to hand Elora his Boda Bag as reassurance. She waved it off.
“Definitely Basilisks. Our Honey Badger friend is officially a statue. And probably dinner.” She breathed. “Guys, they’re huge. I don’t know if we should bother with it… I’d like to make it out of these mountains alive.”
Solemnly, the party agreed, and they set to gathering their belongings to go.
“I guess weasels aren’t immune…” muttered Drusilla.
The pass through the mountains provided some shelter from the bitter cold wind as the group journeyed, six days quickly passing. The nights were cold and dark. As the sun set each evening, the group huddled around a small fire, picking at meager rations before retiring under their furs. When the sun rose each morning, so did the party.
On the sixth day, Elora realized they had strayed off course, cursing herself for not noticing sooner. They had lost a day of travel, and temperaments were wearing thin.
As they corrected course, they noted the area they were in was covered with enormous hoof prints in the snow. The prints appeared to be left by enormous, wagon-sized creatures.
“It looks like cow hooves,” Elora noted, and Jory stood in one of the giant imprints.
“Cows!” He exclaimed. “What I would do to cook a big juicy steak right now, with potatoes and gravy and just a pinch of a new spice blend I’ve been saving.”
The members groaned, all but SAM imagining a juicy, home-cooked meal.
“If I have to eat another handful of dried fruit and nuts I might lose it.” Diesa complained as she stomped through the snow.
“Oh, the rations aren’t good enough for the princess,” Salys joked, and Diesa scowled.
As the sun was setting and the group set up camp, Elora fashioned a small trap in hopes of catching game that could satiate their hunger. Morale was low, and it seemed only a proper breakfast could lift the spirit of the Brunch Club.
That night, Elora took watch with SAM. As she stared into the cold, dark night, she could feel the robot’s gaze on her. Each time she turned to face him, he quickly glanced away. Several hours passed before Elora heard a shuffling in the distance.
“Wait,” Elora whispered. “Do you see something?”
She squinted into the darkness, and there it was. A dark, gnarled, humanoid creature with spikes sticking out of its skin. Another joined beside it, and they stared at the encampment.
“Affirmative.” The robot responded.
Moving slowly and keeping her eyes on the monsters in the distance, Elora reached over to Drusilla, poking her shoulder.
“What?” Drusilla murmured, swatting Elora’s finger away.
“We’ve got company,” Elora warned.
“You saw them too?” Drusilla asked SAM, who nodded. Drusilla sat up, following Elora’s gaze into the distance. Where the creatures had been crouching before was now nothing but an empty void, and several more hours passed before they returned, the long, lanky creatures rounding a bend and emerging from behind a giant snowdrift.
Drusilla and Elora quickly shook their companions awake to face the approaching threat. Already alert, Elora reacted quickly, withdrawing her longbow and sinking an arrow into the creature’s ice crusted upper chest. She rapidly loosed a second arrow, which sailed over its head. The creature’s shriek pierced through the night.
SAM beeped and turned to Elora. “He is injured. May I heal him?”
Elora stared momentarily at SAM, incredulous. “What? NO. ATTACK HIM.” She shouted.
SAM nodded, and curled one of his four fists into a tight, metallic ball. It detached from his wrist, launching toward the creature. The hand sailed wide, landing in the snowdrift.
SAM hobbled closer to the beast, launching a second hand. It sailed through the air and collided into its chest, and the creature stumbled backward in momentary confusion.
Salys raised herself from her sleep, yawning. “What the fuck,” she muttered as she stood, her hands already beginning to glow green. “I was having a good dream,” she complained as she shot a fire bolt at the creature, blowing him back into the air. The gnome then rubbed her hands into her sleepy eyes.
Jory had thrashed awake beside Salys, his limbs flailing as he scrambled for his darts. “Take this!” He shouted as he tossed a dart into the abyss, which surprisingly ricocheted off the cliff face and rebounded into the neck of one of the beasts. In the same moment, an arrow flew over its head, and Diesa cursed her poor aim.
A swirl of silver blue light whirled around Drusilla as she cast spiritual guardian, the light taking the shape of a Raven. With several graceful beats of its wings, the light swept toward the hideous pale creatures, clawing at its skin.
Reacting to the onslaught of attacks, the creatures sent a blast of frost in the direction of the party, hitting Diesa and Copper with an arctic blast. Diesa was able to fend off the attack with her magic cloak, but Copper fell instantly unconscious.
Enraged, Elora deftly shot an arrow through the creature’s eye, and it fell to the ground with a resounding crunch in the snow.
The remaining beast roared, and the group continued to exchange blows against the disgusting creature. As the fight wore on, two things became clear. One, that the beast was able to heal itself, seemingly restoring some of its health with each attack. Second, each time it took damage a barrage of ice shot from its body, damaging anyone within a close radius.
Diesa drew back an arrow, ready to shoot the enormous creature.
“Wait!” Elora yelled, “You’ll kill SAM!” The robot was battered and frost crusted from the onslaught of ice he suffered as the creature was wounded.
SAM, having approached the beast in an attempt to get a closer attack range, had taken multiple hits from the splintering ice, and was beginning to short circuit. A series of alarming beeps escaped from his armored exterior.
Diesa loosed the arrow, shrugging. “That thing is going to kill us all if we don’t do something about it!” She yelled back.
The arrow shot into the beast’s shoulder, and a barrage of icicles shot into SAM’s armor. Several flashes emanated from the robot, and with a loud beep he seemed to shut down, crashing into the snow and falling still.
The giant, troll like creature stepped over Sam’s still body, and ran toward the group with an enraged snarl.
“Oh no you don’t,” Salys said as she released a flash of green light from her fingertips, and the beast crashed into the snow at her feet, dead.
Drusilla ran to SAM, attempting to heal him with her magic. Moments passed before he flickered on with a loud series of beeps, and she sighed in relief.
He stood shakily and marched back toward the camp, plopping himself back down into the snow as the others began to settle back into their bedskins.
“Fuck you, dwarf.” He said to Diesa as she rolled to face away from the robot.
“Fuck you, robot.”
Despite their late night battle, the party still rose with the sun, groggy and sore from the fight.
“Hey,” Elora said, elbowing Drusilla. “We caught one.”
Several yards away from where they had made camp, a hare struggled in the snare Elora had set, bright red droplets of blood sinking into the snow around its leg. Drusilla gasped.
“Oh, poor dear. Should we let it go?” The two glanced at each other, and it was clear they had opposing views on the Hare’s fate. The two elves quickly started toward the trap, racing one another toward the hare. Elora drove an elbow into Drusilla’s side as she dove at the trap, beating Drusilla to her prize.
She grabbed the hare, and without a second thought, snapped its neck.
Drusilla gasped, horrified, and Elora tossed the dead hare to Jory, who still sat groggily under his sleeping furs. The lifeless hare landed in his lap with a thud.
“Feel like cooking breakfast, Jory?.” Elora asked, and Jory took a swig from his Boda Bag before reaching into his pack for his knives. Jory’s hands trembled slightly as he skinned the hare, tossing its skin to the side to prepare the meat for breakfast.
Drusilla, still aghast, paced the camp. Elora laughed and grabbed the hare’s skin, slipping it over her forearm as if it were no more than a grusome sock puppet. She turned her hand to Drusilla, making the hare’s mouth move as she spoke through pursed lips.
“Don’t worry!” She said, opening and closing the mouth of the hare with her fingers. “It was a quick, painful death!”
Drusilla gasped in disgust, cursing Elora under her breath as she stormed to the far side of the camp.
“Er, I mean painless.” Elora corrected herself as she let the hare skin fall off her hand and onto the ground.
Well fed and in better spirits, the group continued their journey. The day was bright and sunny, but the air was crisp. All but SAM could see their breath as it escaped their lips, and Copper padded along silently beside the group.
“Do you guys hear that?” Salys eventually asked. She heard a deep hum reverberating off the icy rock faces of the mountain.
“I thought I was going crazy,” Elora responded in agreement. “The humming right?”
Deep humming pitches vibrated through the air, growing progressively louder as they continued onward. Mildly concerned but unable to discern the source of the noise, they continued toward the peak of the mountain.
As they approached the peak, the snow began to merge with pebbles and rocks, giving way to a graveled field of scattered scree.
“Careful, this stuff will slip you up,” Elora commented, her ranger experience kicking in. “It’s like trying to walk across millions of ball bearings.”
The party surveyed the ground, strategizing the best way to cross. Larger boulders were scattered throughout the field.
Opting to cross the top of the slope, they agreed to err on the side of caution and use their petons and climbing gear to traverse across. They tied a rope around Jory, who hiccuped as Elora secured the knots around his small body. Salys tied the rope around herself as well, handing the other end to SAM.
“Wish us luck!” Salys exclaimed as she and Jory cautiously stepped out onto the slippery rock surface. Jory’s foot slipped momentarily and he gasped, but they slowly crept across the gravel field, making it about twenty feet out uneventfully before turning back to the party.
As they approached one of the enormous boulders, they paused to check it out. To no one’s surprise, it looked much like any other boulder they had seen.
One by one, Jory hammered petons into the ground to secure passage for the party members behind him. They secured a safety line through which they hoped to provide safe passage for the remaining party members, with SAM holding the far end of the rope and bringing up the rear.
The group slowly progressed forward, cautiously advancing across the field of gravel. On several occasions, the members slipped, slowly sliding across the gravel field. SAM, continuously drew the party members back in with three arms, his fourth holding a smaller rope that was secured to Copper.
About a quarter of the way across the passage, both Diesa and Copper slipped, sliding down the passage and crashing against one of the enormous boulders.
“Filthy scum dwarf,” SAM bleeped as he tugged at the ropes, pulling both Diesa and Copper back toward safety.
A low rumbling sounded through the air as the boulder began to reshape behind them, rising to a standing position. The enormous rock creature glared at SAM, as the rest of the party stared back, fearful that it may attack. The rock creature stood still and silent.
In a moment, SAM slipped, dragging copper down with him. The rope went taut against one of the pitons they drove into the cliff, which precariously kept hold. He slid into the boulder creature, and gazed up at it.
“Erm, hello.” The robot said. The boulder grunted and kicked SAM out of the way. With a resounding PING, the piton dislodged from the side of the mountain.
SAM, Diesa, and Copper began sliding down the surface, scrambling to regain their footing. With effort, they were able to regain their composure and slowly progress to the other side of the pass. The enormous boulder creature watching solemnly as they haphazardly progressed.
On the other side, a second boulder creature unfurled itself, standing to face the first rock creature.
“Oh my,” Drusilla whispered as the two rocks began to hum, the deep noise they had heard earlier that day permeating through the air. Around them, four boulders began to levitate, hovering above the ground.
SAM beeped, “Dwarf. We forgot something back there. You should go back for it.”
Our tale will continue in Episode 49
Episode 48 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.