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Many Alternate Doors, No Exits in Sight (MADNES) 25: Into the Crack of Doom

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Han Solo got off easy . . .
The newest snack from the Keebler Dark Elves: Tar Dipped Humans!

No, not that Crack of Doom. Seriously? Yes, I'm talking to you. I know what you were thinking. Like you've got plumbers on the brain. But this is a PG-13 game, thank you very much. (Mainly because most guys aren't really interested in roleplaying sex scenes in front of other guys)

As you'll recall, the leader of the Army of the Cupcake (as they have unknowingly come to be called) had asked the group to explore a crack in a city wall.

No . . . city wall is not a euphemism. Fine, the crack with the blue light . . . Jesus, now you're thinking about waffles, aren't you? Fine, I'll start again.


They were asked to explore through a gap in the outer city wall that had some form of glowing blue substance on the floors. You know, the same blue stuff that one Gnoll had had an interesting time removing.

Their goal was to work their way towards the east gate to clear an obstruction that was impeding the Dwarves working on the other side's efforts. They found the rest of the Gnoll guards over a hundred feet from the hole, clearly not interested in suffering their colleague's fate. After a quick Q and A about any activity the Cupcakes headed up to the . . . gap, to check it out.

Hazel tried her extremely useful ball of darkness on the stuff, to no effect. Likewise, dispel had no effect. They were just discussing the merits of having Hazel ferry them over the stuff when Steve noted that it seemed to retreat before direct sunlight, leaving behind a tar like substance beneath it.

So, Thor pulled out his extremely useful wand of sunlight, and cast it on his hammer again so they wouldn't get glowy paint on them. Seriously, I think he just looks for any opportunity to make his hammer glow like a light sabre.

{Player's Note: I also think the DM may be trying to use that wand up before throwing some nasty undead at us.}

As the light burned away the blue stuff, the tar began screaming, as if in pain. The group walked forward undeterred by the noise. (It's not exactly like its the worst thing they've been subjected to up to this point.) As they walked, they noted that the blue stuff was actually flowing from the east. Since that was conveniently the way they had to go, they followed the flow to its source. (Everyone knows you try to group your quests up)

As they went, they noted that the buildings all seemed as if they'd been evacuated in a hurry. Doors were left open. Often food was sitting on tables. All spoiled of course.

They wandered on, for a bit before realizing that the gate was not where it should be. Hazel then used detect magic to identify an illusion that seemed formed from pure evil, covering the gate. Thor and Frank grabbed their Holy weapons, dispersing the illusion.

Also the obstruction. This side of the gate was covered with the same black tar they'd seen earlier. As they approached, the tar seemed to form screaming faces of Dwarves, that seemed to look at each of them, as if piercing their souls.

Which had oddly little effect on the group which suggested that A) their souls had been bolsered by the events of the past week, or B) they had no souls.

The tar on the gate was fed from a slow moving river of the stuff that banked northward. As they pondered exactly how to dislodge the stuff from the gate (no doubt, having flashbacks to the flesh that blocked the last gate they tried to open) they became aware that they were being watched. Looking around, they eventually noted the source of that disquieting feeling, a large eye hovering above them.

Hazel floated up on her broom to confront the thing. As she approached, it offered a trade. She could give it it's brother's eye, or the Cupcakes would never leave this place. At first they thought it was referring to the eye 'upgrade' Steve had risked his life for; it quickly dismissed this notion. Realizing that it was speaking of her extremely useful orb of darkness, Hazel immediately refused. She'd already lost one artifact this week, and she was damned if she'd lose another.

The eye immediately flew away. As it did so, three tar golems formed out of the stream by the gate. Hazel dropped herself and Frank back down as Nebula, Steve, and Thor attacked. Between the three melee character's holy weapons, and Frank raining holy bullets (that create holy targets) down from broom-back, it was a short fight.

But that still left the tar on the gates. They could attack it all they wanted, only to have what they'd damaged be replaced by more from the river.

So they followed the river. As they went, they became aware of music coming from the direction of the source. Hazel also heard what sounded like singing. A child's singing, which is undoubtedly the creepiest kind, given the situation.

Eventually they came around a bend to see a young half elf girl dancing on the tar, singing to herself. The song was some sort of a twisted nursery rhyme (yes, more twisted than normal) about taking care of one's subjects. Which sounds fine, until taken in context with the other lines, which suggested that one should 'take care of' their subjects, before their subjects do same to them.

As they approached, the girl stopped singing and asked if they wanted to be her friends. While most of the group was busy finding anything else to focus on (would that first sight make you want to be friends?) Hazel shifted forward and began questioning her. She asked if the girl had any friends. The girl replied that she liked making friends, but in a way that made the others unsure of exactly which 'make' she meant. Frank was certain that she meant using people as raw material. After all, Necromancers had been 'making' their own friends for centuries.

Hazel asked a series of other questions, which all seemed to loop back around to the girl wanting to 'make' friends. But, when they asked about stopping the flow, well . . . that's when the tar hit the fan.

As the initiating action the girl summoned one of the conglomerate creatures they'd seen in the room where they'd found Nebula, half way between herself and the group. Only that armored custom Chimera had apparently been a runt; this thing was ten feet long. As the group got to work on that armored . . . thing, the girl then cast fear on the group, sending both Cap and Hazel fleeing. Seeing Hazel start to book it, Frank jumped off of the broom and began firing at the creature.

Then the girl created two large anthropomorphized teddy bears out of the tar, each wielding a two handed foam sword. The Cupcakes continued pounding on the first creature (heretofore to be called Waggles) as Hazel and Cap reversed their flight, ending up back where they'd started.

Then the little girl cast Fire Storm on Hazel and Frank (the other three were too close to Waggles to hit) setting Hazel on fire. Hazel spent her next turn trying to put herself out, and failed. She spent the rest of the fight alternating between Channeling energy and quaffing potions like she was addicted to them.

Seeing the girl cast a seventh level spell maxed the agro meters of Thor, Cap and Frank. Frank began working his way slowly towards her. Cap did the same at a somewhat quicker pace. But Thor was in front of them all, using his Boots of the Lightning Leaper to cut straight through Waggles, Cap (excuse me, chap), and the little girl, stopping his charge on her opposite side.

A move that turned out to be poorly considered, as the two teddy bear guards turned their full attention on him. Their swords may have appeared to be foam, but it was he who was nerfed. In one turn they brought the Bloodrager low, thanks, in part, to a critical hit. They didn't just knock him out; they flat killed him.

Then the little . . . witch, turned and raised Thor as a zombie. Fortunately, before she could give the Thorbie any instructions, Frank opened fire. Between his damage and the damage Thor had done with his lightning charge, she fell into the muck too.

Sadly, this did nothing to the constructs they were already facing. In fact, it made things worse. Much worse.

{Player's Note: Because our DM is a lunatic.}

The two teddy bears picked up the half elf's lifeless body, cradled it lovingly, and then ripped it half before gobbling it up. (I guess its nice of them to share) Both immediately got bigger and tougher, sprouting armor on their bodies, and metal claws on their hands.

Meanwhile, Nebula found herself occupying Waggles's attention all alone. Fortunately, the conglomerate thing critically failed an attack, breaking some of its armor. She soloed it through most of the rest of the fight, though it was a slow process.

Frank and Cap spent the remainder of the fight fighting the two teddy bears, to mixed results. The Gunslinger and Brawler managed to kill one, and severely damage the other, but at the cost of both being knocked unconscious at one point or another. Fortunately, Hazel's frantic channels got them back up. Still, they would most likely have died had Nebula not finished off Waggles, and come to do the same to their remaining nemesis. Frank was actually at 1 hp at the end of the fight. Cap was at less than 20.

Nebula was at full health. Damned snotty Monks . . .

As soon as the last enemy fell, Frank and Cap ran over to put Hazel out where she'd fallen unconscious. Cap then pulled another potion from Hazel's bag and force drank it to her. They each partook of a potion as well.

Then, as Cap was tending to Hazel, Frank walked over to Thorbie (who was watching all of this blankly as he was carried slowly downstream by the tar) put his gun to its head, and pulled the trigger.

He then collected some of the ash the zombie had denatured into in Thor's helmet. Cap collected the rest of his gear, and looted the bodies, finding more than enough for a resurrection.

They were just starting back when the crypt keeper stepped through a portal, stating he had a contract for Thor's burial. (Remember, Loki had purchased a plot for him that was slightly cheaper than his own) Hazel immediately interposed herself between Frank (holder of the makeshift urn) and said keeper, making it clear that he could not have this one. They were going to resurrect him. While no threats were made directly, there was no mistaking the threat implied to anyone that attempted to interrupt that process.

The keeper seemed to think it over for a moment, clearly unconcerned by the implied threat, and agreed to let them go. This time. And only this time. He then left.

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