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Many Alternate Doors, No Exits in Sight (MADNES) 53: Grimoires and Golems and Gnomes, Oh my!

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Last week it ate a Kraken . . .
I told you not to feed it!

Welcome back. Last week the group had just gone to sleep after a busy evening of pilfering an enemy's accomplishments. So now it was time to reap their rewards.

Steve was the first one up, but not by his own design. No, it was the sound of Delirious Michelle (the hag who had given him his dragon's eye) calling to Hazel. Of course, he jerked completely awake at the prospect of the Hag being within shouting distance.

Which turned out to be a vertigo causing mistake. Michelle wasn't in their tent, despite the sound of her voice sounding like its source was mere inches from him. Even more strangely, he was only seeing the tent he currently inhabited with the others with but one eye. The other saw a view that bobbed and wove through a crowded street, stopping only long enough for the voice to query some passerby as to the location of Hazel.

He managed to cope by only looking through one eye at a time, and quickly realized his dragon eye was seeing through Michelle's eye. (How he was hearing her was a bit of a conundrum considering eyes don't have auditory sensors; but, through the course of recent events he'd learned not to ask) He could tell that Michelle was in the camp, but not very near them. Through a reflection he was able to tell that her appearance was that of an elderly woman, as opposed to the hag they'd seen last.

He tried waking Hazel, who simply rolled back over muttering something about five more minutes. So instead he walked out of the tent and hurled his shield in the air. He watched as Michelle's gaze followed it and then shifted as the Hag began moving towards its source.

A few minutes later the guest of honor arrived, and insisted on speaking with Hazel. Where Steve's utterance of the Hag's name had not been enough to wake Hazel, her voice certainly did the trick. Well, for two of them. The others getting up quickly roused Frank.

As it turned out, Michelle had a message; Baba Yaga had a granddaughter. One who was about to ascend to the head of a witch's order. Unfortunately she had no powers of her own (talk about nepotism) and had been kidnapped. She was being held in Whitethorn, three and half days flight in the direction of one of the remaining two towers. And of course, should they succeed, Baba Yaga would certainly help them with their own issues.

The downside being it was the spirit tower which the entire group had vetoed going to. Also, why exactly Baba Yaga could not intervene on behalf of her granddaughter on her own was neatly sidestepped.

Frank was all for ignoring this suspicious request and continuing on with their mission. Hazel was (shockingly) just as dead set on helping the most infamous witch in existence. With that deadlock, Michelle suggested they might just be able to acquire some quicker transport. Apparently the furnishing of mimics was just one massive mimic.

And it wasn't happy about its size. Like all businesses, it believed it must expand or die. And, once large enough, it could even take the form of an airship if so obliged. But it would need much treasure.

Fortunately they knew where to find an entire mine of opal. Unfortunately it was infested with that most pernicious of pests: Driders.

Despite that, for some reason, this swayed the rest of the group. So, with a 3 to 1 majority, Frank sighed and followed as the group went to find their leader. Unfortunately Steelbeard was still in communion with the heart of a god. But his second did point out that the area they'd described was where Grim and his followers had retired. In fact they'd complained about a pair of Nuckelavee they'd had to kill.

Hazel quickly chatted up Grimm, by talking to the shadows as he'd taught her. As it turned out, he still felt indebted to them for their help, and was glad to deliver the opals.

Which meant they were helping Baba Yaga.

By way of a flying mimic.

What could possibly go wrong?

That decided, the group decided to go check on Adam. They found the golem partly disassembled, with Gnomes pouring over the grimoire they'd found within. Which was not at all what they'd agreed to. The Gnomes were supposed to write a new book. Something that was not evil. The group hadn't even left the book with them. Yet there it was.

When they objected the Gnomes insisted that, in order to make the golem function, it needed many of the spells in the book. When they pointed out that the book was evil the Gnomes insisted that it wasn't, just the writings inside. Frank asked them what aura it had, at which point they admitted it had an evil aura.

After many rounds (never argue with a Gnome if you can avoid it) they extracted an agreement from the Gnomes to copy the non evil portions of the grimoire into another book with all the information they wanted. You know, the original contract.

Afterwards they went to see the Bugbear Frank and Thor had made an agreement with. He had Thor's Dragonhide Plate armor (blue of course) and a set of Displacer Beast Skin Leather (reskinned (literally) Catskin Leather).

Afterwards it was time to collect their opals. They went to a large open area, only to find that the Gnomes had built stadium seats. Apparently word of their agreement had spread, because those seats were full.

They didn't even have time to comment on the failure in basic security within the army before portals opened up dropping 3 Dwarf sized chunks of opal on the ground. A moment later a carriage, pulled by three horses, each bearing a striking resemblance to Frank's mount, appeared.

But this time the carriage was the mimic. It went over to the opals, consumed them, and increased in size, transforming into an airship that could accommodate the four of them. Sadly there was no room for the horse. But that was okay; they had a job for it with the horse team. (Think of it like a demented Santa Clause. But it doesn't eat your cookies . . .)

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