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Many Alternate Doors, No Exits in Sight (MADNES) 35: The boogeyman's puppy

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

And that, boys and girls, is the reason shock fences were invented.
Kind of like that, but with 8 eyes. And six legs. And, well, looking like some kind of metal exoskeletal abomination. A Happy abomination . . .

If you will recall, last session the Cupcakes were sent to rest after their army commander discovered their intent to awaken an evil deity. Kind of like being sent to your room for sticking gum in your sister's hair, really. But they complied. I mean, they had been up quite some time. And they were tired.

{Player's Note: And they'd dinged}

Because of the reasons listed above, they slept full and well, all the way into late morning. There may have been some trumpets sounding off in the distance. They may have just dreamt it.

Later, another set of horns sounded, much closer, rousing them. Frank was on his feet, dressed, with kit ready in 40 seconds. The others took a bit longer.

They went to the tent of Noblesword to ask WTF? She informed them of a new type of problem. Because, apparently, the Cupcakes cannot rest for even a moment without all hell breaking loose.

(Then again, considering the previous day's exploits, perhaps there wasn't much difference.)

This particular problem came in the form of Huge sized golems, wandering about the crater at the center of town. At first, the army had been able to (thanks to the chaotic industriousness of Gnomes) fend them off, by grabbing that familiar silver threading and literally running with it. The golems then fell into constituent pieces as their threads were literally pulled out. However, soon after, another, better armored, version appeared. The army was having some issues with that.

The Cupcakes jumped to volunteer to head to the front, (After all, they had new abilities to try out!) but Noblesword waved them back down. Of course she wanted their help, but the Gnome Blunderbust had sent word that he may have an answer. So, there first directive was to check in with him.

They found Blunderbust and three of his assistants laid out on the floor of their tent, panting as if having just run a marathon. Across from them was yet another of those six legged dog-things with the 8 eyes and metal replacing some of its skin and fur. Panting happily . . .

When asked what was going on here, Blunderbust panted "I can't . . . wait . . . maybe . . . one more . . . time," and began trying to drag himself towards the dog thing. Steve held him back as Hazel inspected it. It seemed friendly enough, allowing her to pet it, and scratch it behind the ears. Then it licked her.

She could feel energy leaving her, replaced with a sort of giddy happiness, which explained the Gnomes perfectly: they were addicted to dog-thing.

Meanwhile, Thor was questioning Blunderbust about the 'help' he was supposed to provide. In stunted, wheezing gasps, the Gnome explained that a strange Dwarf wearing a deer skull had brought the animal, and that the animal had been carrying 'the book' in its mouth. At the mention of 'the book' he gave a lazy nod at a table at the other end of the room.

Thor investigated, finding another book, much like the one they'd found with Nebula. Come to think of it, it was in fact the same book they'd seen in front of the caged dog amalgamation in that room. The same amalgamation that sat panting happily in this tent.

Meanwhile, Hazel had gone stark white at the mention of a creature wearing a deer's skull, as her mind flashed back to that one on one meeting she'd had several days before. What with Steve's focus on keeping Gnomes away from the life force sucking dog, and Thor's focus on their actual mission, Frank was the only one to pick up on her change in demeanor. Sadly, her bluff was high enough to convince him that everything was just peachy.

Thor flipped through the book, finding information on the dog-thing, and many other creatures. At the back he found illustrations and information that looked very much like the things Noblesword had mentioned. There were three types actually. The first, that the army had dealt with, was called a Jailer. The second, that the army was now dealing with, was called a Siege. And there was one more entry about one that the creators had deemed uncontrollable and killed, called a Dreadnaught.

Thor quickly copied the information down and prepared to leave. But that still left the problem of the dog. They couldn't leave it with the Gnomes, if they expected the Gnomes to survive. And they couldn't take it with them.

It was decided that the Gnolls would probably have the best chance of understanding the thing, which just left getting it there. Fortunately, Hazel had some ability with Handle Animal and was able to convince it to follow her.

She then left the tent, and headed for Zhaluski's tent, in the opposite direction of the Gnolls. Because, since when has she ever needed a good excuse to go see the Cheron Elf? Sadly for her, when she got to the tent it was overgrown with webbing. The dog-thing got caught on some of it trying to follow her. It then bit down on the strand, making things not better.

Zhalus'ki was in the center of the tent, hanging at the top in a cocoon. On inquiry, a few smaller spiders led Hazel to the back were there were two boxes and a note from the elf. In the note she apologized for being unavailable and said she could ask for help from one of the boxes. Inside, she found statuettes of the sisters Flora and Fauna. The note indicated that the slow one would probably be of more help.

Hazel then headed back to the Gnome's tent, still with her charge in tow. Once she'd freed him of his predicament. As they left Zhalusk'is tent, it closed shut. A moment later the giant centipede they'd seen in the garden of the castle curled around the entrance.

When Hazel arrived, the group eyed the dog-thing, asking her why she still had it. To which she admitted being 'side-tracked'. In the opposite direction. Before they could lay into her she showed them the two boxes. After short debated they decided to pick Flora to help them. As they picked up the statuette it began to grow into a full sized woman, who opened her eyes.

They quickly explained the issue whereupon she offered two options. She could create massive roots to hold the center of town up, or she could provide more of her large plant constructs to fight the golems. But this second option came with a catch: the constructs could only operate in sunlight.

Realizing (for once) that they were outside of their pay grade, they took her to Noblesword. Upon seeing the strange woman, the Dwarf leader's guards attempted to bar their way. Roots quickly sprung out of the ground, grappling and suspending them over it. The woman continued, not having so much as altered her stride.

Once the situation was explained two things happened:

1: The guards were released.

2: Noblesword decided to go with the first option.

Flora then drifted into the ground in the direction of the nearest stand of trees. The Cupcakes were detailed to head towards the front. Which left just dropping the dog-thing off with its designated caretakers.

Their arrival generated quite a bit of interest with the Gnolls. One seemed to have an idea what the creature was, as she began speaking to it in Undercommon. It responded with a yip. Then came the questions. When asked where it came from, Steve relayed what the Gnolls had told them. This time, no one was able to miss Hazel's reaction to the deer skull attired Dwarf.

The Gnoll shaman least of all. On prodding Hazel was forced to come clean about the creature she'd encountered. The Shaman seemed the most taken aback, identifying the creature as a possible Boogeyman. She did state that they were not necessarily evil, but that thirty or more of them was a cause for concern.

During this back and forth, Hazel's party glared openly at her. Once finished, the Shaman told Hazel that he she needed to meet with this Boogeyman and inform her leaders. Two things she least wanted to do. She objected that she had no idea where to find the Boogeyman (men?), but the Shaman assured her that if she went into the woods with the intent of finding it, she would.

In the end she agreed and went off to find the deer skull clad Dwarf, that wasn't a Dwarf. Thor followed at a distance. Whether out of concern for her wellbeing, or out of a desire to ensure she was chaperoned from this point forward, we're not sure.

It wasn't long before their target stepped around a tree. Hazel explained her business and began asking the questions she'd been given. Namely:

  1. Why are you here?

  2. Are you Boogeymen?

  3. What are your intentions?

In the end, the fast talking Boogeyman managed to tell Hazel nothing she didn't already know, while answering her questions. Meanwhile, Steve and Frank reported this new information to Noblesword.

I mean, they obviously couldn't trust her to be up front with the truth.

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