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Many Alternate Doors, No Exits in Sight (MADNES) 37: Talking Heads

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Rule 62: Never leave Runt unsupervised . . .
When you absolutely positively have to get the last word.

Welcome back. When last we left off, the group had put the Dulahan to rest and returned to report to Noblesword. By the time they'd reached the tent it had stopped smoldering visibly. They reported their success, with a cowering Hazel hiding behind a stoic Thor. After that quick report, Noblesword dismissed them, saying she had no current jobs for the group. Frank requested permission to be detached to help with the constructs in the center of town, but was waved away. Apparently the army was doing just fine with them since receiving the book on their construction.

So the group headed out to whatever errands they might have. They'd taken no more than ten steps from the tent when a familiar raven (not sure what a familiar raven looks like) landed in front of them, a note strapped to one leg. The note was from the character Hazel insists on calling Porcelina, real name: Eliza Bathorie. You know, the head in a jar that the group had attached to a porcelain mannequin (Borg Queen style) against Loki's advice. In it she thanked them for helping her husband (the necromancer) while stating that he probably gave them nothing but a noncommittal thank you in return. But she was more grateful, offering the use of one of her servants. A servant that could be found with the blacksmiths.

Frank and Thor made there way over to the armory to check out the 'help'. Hazel decided to give the satchel of heads (that it turned out talked as long as were in the bag) to Runt. Of course, that meant finding him. So she rose into the air on her broom, calling out for the hyperactive little guy, saying things like 'Here Runt. Got nice heads for you. Here boy.'

Which turned quite a few other heads. Steve followed on the ground due to the unspoken agreement between the other three that Hazel was not to be left unsupervised any more. After fifteen or so minutes of this they eventually found Runt. Or, to be more accurate, he found them. They handed over the satchel of heads with a bonus of hands. Runt opened the satchel only to have the heads start complaining about the light. Runt took one look, brightened, gave Hazel and Steve a bright smile, and was off.

Meanwhile, Thor and Frank had reached the armory. The first odd thing was the fact that all of the blacksmiths were outside, staring into the forge. And, despite the location of all of the smiths, the sound of hammering could be heard coming from the forge, in heavy, even strokes.

When questioned, the Dwarves simply said 'see for yourself'. They were also warned that there would be no attacking. In fact, Thor and Frank were expressly forbidden from drawing their weapons.

Shrugging in confusion, they assented and headed inside. And, despite their given word of honor, both characters' hands immediately reached for their weapons. They did stop short of drawing them as they watched a large (for a medium creature) red skeleton hammer away at an anvil.

They approached slowly, cautiously. The Redsmith paid them no mind. Eventually they got up to it, and asked what it was doing. It stared at them, and even without facial expressions the intent was obvious.

Other questions it did answer, but in necril. Fortunately, Thor's helm of comprehend languages knew that one too.

{Player's Note: Much to the chagrin of the DM. Remember, that helm was a random loot roll. The last, I think . . .}

They learned that:

  1. It could make any weapon except firearms.

  2. It could memorize any blueprint very quickly.

  3. It could modify the enchantments on any weapon.

  4. Such modification required specific components

  5. It didn't care about compensation.

  6. The cost in components to get rid of the evil and chaotic parts of the weapons they'd recovered from the Dulahan were far too expensive. (Go figure right?)

  7. Thor could afford to have holy put on his hammer.

  8. The bow was its creation. It had been a gift to a friend of its. Fortunately, that was not the Dulahan. Still, he confiscated it from them.

By that point Hazel and Steve had rejoined them. Thor excitedly set off to acquire the items he needed to add holy to his hammer. Steve and Hazel watched the Redsmith uncertainly. Feeling left out, Frank went to ask about commissioning a Pistol of the Infinite Sky from the Gnomes. They took a 10% down payment and got to work, remembering to add the tac light (patent pending) to the item.

Once Thor had his materials, he spent the rest of the day helping the skeleton modify his weapon. Frank took the free time to sleep. Steve and Hazel wandered the camp, hearing stories of a broken down wagon that had appeared at the south entrance.

Eventually, Thor emerged triumphantly with his improved hammer. He immediately went to show it off to Steve and Hazel, who oohed and aaahed with the appropriate level of interest. They informed him of the wagon. A passer by stopped to ask them if they were talking about the 'puppet show'. When pressed, he explained that Runt had set up some sort of grotesque puppet show in a wagon at the south entrance.

They exchanged one mutual concerned look, roused Frank, and headed for the south entrance. Quite a crowd had gathered by the time they arrived. Shouldering through the crowd they found Runt seated before the wagon, the heads from the satchel floating around in it, bickering. There were 4 heads in all: 3 of the constructors from the wandering castle (including the one that had swapped one of Cap's eyes out) and Inku the poor goblin bastard they continuously stole legs from. The ten hands were also crawling around the floor of the wagon beneath them.

Closer examination showed that the mischievous little shit had ripped the bag apart, and created a perimeter the animated body parts were confined in. After some coercion, the heads admitted to having been the latest constructors from that freak show of a castle. They also (with more coercion, namely something incredibly smelly that Runt found) stated that they had been usurped by some sort of deformed Giant, named Knuckledragger, that was trying to use their knowledge to fix himself. He was undoubtedly the one behind the constructs that had been causing trouble in the center of town.

One head (The elf that had captured Thor and Hazel at one point) also offered them information on an Ilithid that was in a town to the North. In exchange for this data she wished to be put to rest. The group agreed, but Frank warned that he would dig her back up if she was lying.

After that it was back to report to Noblesword.

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