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Many Alternate Doors, No Exits in Sight (MADNES) 8: More Discrimination vs. the Height Challenged

Updated: Aug 3, 2023


Attained: Gloat points over sister for one full year!
Just look at that smug bastard, beating a system that keeps short people down . . .

Well, the game is at it again. I mean, I'd like to be able to blame the DM for his rampant Ailurophobia (Look it up, I'm not your mom . . .) but the truth is he always plays short races. (No, I don't mean sprints) So that can't be it. Perhaps his dice hate them? Might explain why he always rolls so poorly, unless there's a demon in need of smiting I mean. Perhaps some higher power just doesn't like me playing short races? Given that the DM is Alex, could he be that higher power???


Whatever the reason, Loki now has plenty of fuel for his Gnome Lives Matter campaign now. As you'll recall, the last couple of sessions revolved around the group getting slapped down by Gnolls suffering from giantism. (See, place likes tall people. Bet it only tolerates the averagely sized . . .)


Of course, gear would have been nice. And they'd managed to find some gear last time around. Perhaps they'd even get something for the Undine when the witch finished counting her gems. That is assuming she managed to do so before the Gnoll search parties already out hunting for their scent didn't happen upon them first.


[But there was nothing in a medium child size to be had. Loki had managed to acquire a couple of +2 daggers (One of menacing (only of use when flanking), one of cunning (which is of dubious value)). Of course, he could only use one at a time.]


When it became obvious that she was damned well going to account for every spare half copper those stolen gems were worth anyone with appraise, or a decent int modifier, chipped in. They managed to get it all sorted and trade for a stat belt +2 str before those snuffling monsters could find them. But they were close.


At the sound of their approach the room (which had, up to this point, looked as a fine drawing room) changed to look like any other part of this rundown castle. The furniture was worn and faded. The floors were scraped and scuffed. And the image of the (presumed) Drider disappeared.


Loki then immediately suggested they all take a pull from his bottle (not like that you sicko) and join him on the ceiling. He dropped the bottle to Thor, who took a swig and passed it to Nebula. Nebula took a pull and then walked up the wall to join Loki, as suggested. The rest of the troop walked out of the room to go back to Maipherre's room. Because he totally would have gone through that routine of ripping body parts off and hiding them last episode if his place were safe right?


Loki rolled his eyes (which I imagine looks quite weird when the eye roller his upside down) and cast a silent image, making the roof appear unoccupied.


The group managed to get back to Maipherre's quarters without being discovered. Maipherre then inquired as to their goals: i.e. were they stupid or just trying to get captured? There response was interrupted by the sound of the inevitable Gnoll search party. Maipherre stepped outside to deal with that nuisance. As the explosions started those present decided this wasn't the best place to be after all. So, Thor snatched up Hazel and Steve and walked down the side of the building, all the way down to the room Loki and Nebula were cowering . . . I mean, hiding in. It was not as they'd left it.


You see, as they'd been traveling that scenic route back to their starting positions, several search parties had entered that room. As the first approached, Loki attempted to cast an image making the massive door look as it had before, figuring that, whomever won the consequent fight, the group could probably go loot the room at will. Maybe get some good gear, right? Sadly the illusion had no effect. We have no idea why.


The first party took one look around and left. After that a massive Gnoll paid a couple of visits to the room. He couldn't see anything, thanks to the concentration duration of Loki's silent image. But he could smell them. He was also not too bright.


Why do I say that? Well, when he couldn't find anything, he and the other Gnolls began ransacking the forest, cutting down trees, and destroying bushes. Not sure why. The party contained no squirrels or owls or any other creature that lives in such places in it. So, stupid.


What's more, there's a guardian spirit (currently asleep) of that garden. A quite nasty guardian spirit. One that doesn't like her orderly garden fucked with. So, completely idiotic.

Nebula heard the pleas of that spirit before Loki did. At first it was just a whispered plea that the Gnolls stop. But, as the strip mining operation continued, those pleas became louder and more insistent.


Another interesting side effect of their ransacking search was the fact that every living thing in the garden was suddenly making an exodus to the very room Loki and Nebula had designated hiding place number 1. Then Thor and Baggage showed up.


Strangely, they seemed intent on getting Loki and Nebula to come with them back to Maipherre's. This despite the explosions currently coming from that location. Loki pointed out that, if this was where all the animals were hiding, it was probably the safest spot. The others agreed (grudgingly) with this, took their medicine, and joined the Gnome and Undine on the ceiling to wait it out.


Shortly thereafter, Maipherre inhabited his wings, telling Hazel (once again operator) that he'd managed to kill the first two Gnolls, but the others had gotten him.


{Player's Note: The DM made it quite clear that he expected the group to go out and stop said Gnolls. Those being the same Gnolls that had beaten them down and taken their stuff quite handily. We didn't budge. We know a DM created trap when we see it. I mean, there was no way to know how many gnolls were currently going through their lumberjack phase. Sure, he said only 5 (the magic number that stomped us hard, I might add). Sure, he said they were spread out. Like they wouldn't have been drawn to the sound of battle like Pooh Bear to the smell of honey. Nope. Nuh uh. Just gonna sit here till they go away. Not today Satan . . . er, I mean, Alex}


After a bit the voice in there heads had had enough. We knew this because it bellowed 'ENOUGH!!!' in their ears before summoning a tree elemental to deal with this threat. Of course, Thor and Loki could not help but peek out to watch the thrashing of their would be thrashers.


Well into the fight one Gnoll was launched out of the darkness spell that had occluded most of it, in the PC's direction. As it tried to get back to its feet Loki cast grease on the square it was in, causing it to fall again. He then turned to Thor and said 'kill'. Well, that's what he would have said; in truth, Thor was already half way to the thing. He cleaved it in two as it was still trying to grapple with the situation.


A moment later another Gnoll came fleeing out of the darkness. It paused as it saw Thor standing it its path, holding his newly acquired bastard sword like a baseball bat. 'You!' it yelled as it charged. 'Me!' Thor replied, tensing for the home run swing. Sadly, it never came. A vine tentacle launched itself out of the mist, impaled the Gnoll, and drug it back in. Thor and Loki decided that discretion was the better part of valor and went back to hiding on the ceiling.


The fight lasted not much longer. As it ended there was the sound of a massive thing stomping through the garden. It passed by the window to the Drider's waiting room and began hammering at a wall. Maipherre bid the group adieu, returning to his quarters.


Meanwhile, said Drider returned saying, 'she's really pissed'. She then said warned them that this awakening was not a good thing. Something about the spirit of the garden wanting to make everyone into plants. So, Poison Ivy, basically. She then offered them a quest. It was two fold really. On the one hand they were to warn the 4 hags of this development.


That was as far as she got before Loki asked on the identity of these hags, describing the ghostly carriage dwellers that had threatened to eat him. The Drider confirmed those identities, saying basically that those were the . . . call them wardens of this twisted place. Seemed fitting really. (Near as we can tell, the inmates are running the prison).


She then continued, giving the Gnome a warning glance. She also said to tell one particular hag that she wanted her corset back.


{Player's Note: Which is just the quest every party wants right? What did you do in your epic adventure? Oh, I was in Raiment Repossessions.}


This was followed by some directions, and a pointed fact that their destination was on the way to the graveyard. The group agreed because . . . LOOT! As they stepped back into the garden there was no sign of the summoned Ent. There was, however, a massive hole in the wall separating this quadrant of the environs with the quadrant the graveyard was in. That being the same wall housing one elf monster's laboratory. Thor and Hazel knew it well.


Past the wall was a swamp. They had no trouble following the path of the Ent; everywhere it went it left sprouting flowers. That path led straight into a massive bog. At the end was the Ent which appeared to be slowly rising up out of the murk, towards the cliff overlooking that side of the swamp.


Seeing nowhere else to go, they jumped in. Loki then noted something odd to their right. That being yet another invisible path, floating just over the mud they were currently sloshing through. Unlike the last invisible paths they used, this one was visible to those who trod upon it.


The path led straight down one channel of the bog to a small shack. They were met by a kindly looking one eyed elderly woman with a tray of cookies, that quickly bade them join her inside. Loki refused, settling for looking through the window. The rest followed her in. The fools.


Surprisingly, she kept up the kindly grandma bit, right up until the Drider was mentioned. At which point the entire room darkened. The 'kindly old woman' grew into a tall, gaunt, thin monster.


The group quickly passed on the warning, and the message about the corset. The hag asked why she would return the corset when she'd won it fair and square. The group immediately indicated that they had no idea, this wasn't their idea, they're just the messengers, please don't eat them.


In the end they struck a deal with the hag. In exchange for her missing eye she would give them the corset. She had no idea where it was. Great, now they were in organ recovery. Not sure if that was moving upwards or downwards really.


With that deal made the group then asked for directions to the graveyard. Gotta get that loot. The hag kindly obliged them, and off they went. After filling Loki in on what happened of course.


Surprisingly they found the graveyard with little difficulty. Of greater difficulty was the group of sprite sentries watching it. Thor asked them which way to the Dwarf graveyard. One answered before another stepped in, stating the first didn't mean to say that, while glaring daggers at him. This proceeded for several questions before Thor asked about anyone that might collect eyes. One said there was a bar in the human area of the graveyard (what, even zombies gotta blow a load off every now and then) they might check. At which point the sprites all broke into a general melee. The group shrugged and entered.


For once they heeded the warning about avoiding the lich in the center of the quadfurcated graveyard, and staying in the dwarf area. (Yet another indication of the place's discriminatory attitude towards short people: its okay to rob the dwarf graves, just leave everyone else's alone) They were also warned not to bother the undead workers, as this would annoy the lich. Just leave them be and they'll leave you be.


Once into the Dwarven area, the group chanced upon four mausoleums. Oh, and a duo of giant skeletal constructs that appeared to be working at cross purposes. One would pull a brick from one building to place on another, with the other removing the recently placed brick to add to the first. Quite mesmerizing really . . .


The first mausoleum had a statue standing over a downfacing stair. They had no trouble identifying this or moving the statue. In the basement they found four alters to four different gods. Each one had 2 chests that refused to be opened by any means.


Thor then chose to pray to one deity. In response one box opened, granting him a Lesser Mace of Smiting. Cap got +1 Holy Axiomatic Handwraps. To everyone else (no matter how intricate the prayer) the answer was no. It should be noted here that Thor and Cap are the tallest persons in the party. Just sayin . . .


The second mausoleum contained a very richly carved tomb, with an unbreachable gate blocking them from the vary nice looking casket. They could find no way around this and eventually left.


The third mausoleum contained some sort of study. Loki looked at all the books on the shelves and quickly began stuffing his BOH full of them. The next room was some sort of twisted laboratory, complete with bodiless head floating in a jar. Every now and then the head would moan. This led to the inevitable round of questioning. Eventually the group hit upon having the head blink once for yes and twice for no. About all they learned was that the head was in pain, but did not want them to put it out of its misery.


Oh, and they found a Loki sized jar of eyes. That quickly went into the pack.


Lost as to what to do there the group walked into the next room. Where they found a headless fully opposable mannequin. Looks like someone's been watching Weird Science . . .




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