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Many Alternate Doors, No Exits in Sight (MADNES) 47: The Dangers of Asgardian Hot Sauce

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

It is not meant for mortal anything.
This was distilled from the peppers of an Asgardian named Odin...

There are certain life lessons that we learn at a young age. Some of those become modified as we grow up, like holding your parent's hand when crossing the street. Some, however are of great benefit no matter your age. Like being careful what you put in your mouth.

Alas, monsters don't generally have parents to teach such warnings. The salamander the group was going to meet most definitely did not.

But we'll get to that.

When last we left off, the group was breaking camp, in preparation for their final assault on the ivory tower. The do or die moment. The end of the resistance. They would either win the day or perish heroically. etc. etc.

Despite the logistical nightmare of moving an army out with such short notice (sometimes just getting the Cupcakes to agree on a course of action is a 3 day effort involving multiple meetings, fact finding exercises, arguments, and naps) the trip went as planned and on schedule. Which led to Frank's moment of bird dogging. As he was about to go in, Thor stopped the Siege Gunner and cast haste on him and his horse.

Frank flew through the open door of the tower and followed a tunnel into the center, where it opened into a massive round room. And there, in the base of the room, laying in a shallow (for it) depression in the ground, was the bird he was supposed to lure out. In the form of a colossal salamander. A colossal salamander that appeared to be sleeping.

{If you think a Dwarf is cranky after their nap, just you wait.}

So, Frank flew high above it, gave a quick caress to the lion's head BOH (as if he'd carried it for years instead of a few hours) and dropped it. As it tumbled downward it's eyes caught his as if to ask the plaintive question 'why?'. Frank steeled himself and shot it.

The hole created by the bullet caused the bag to turn inside out, disgorging its contents of 78 gallons of holy water all at once. Like a demolition charge.

The water hit the salamander, waking it up. But instead of hissing, or writhing in it, the creature began lapping up the fluid like a kitten with a saucer of milk.

Confused, Frank then pointed his holy pistol at the thing and fired. The bullet bounced off, its armor, doing no damage.

But it certainly got its attention. Frank then decided to revert back to plan A and hightailed it back the way he'd come. Thanks to Thor's haste spell, he was able to clear the gates and make it back to the army ranks before the Salamander could exit the building.

As it's head emerged, Noblesword yelled 'NOW!' and the gate was released from above, slamming down on the salamander's head. Thus showing two things: One) Noblesword watches too many movies, and Two) she doesn't really consider all of the factors when she makes her plans.

In this case the factor she omitted was the ratio of monster size to gate size. Instead of having its head crushed like a rancor, the salamander found itself pinned, as well as completely enraged.

Noblesword then yelled 'Fire!' causing many ballista and smaller objects to be launched at the prone thing. Most seemed to bounce off its armored body, doing little damage, but Frank managed to hit it in the eye with his rifle. That eye immediately closed, but he couldn't tell if he'd actually damaged it.

A moment later their quarry burst through the gate, shattering it, and lumbered out of the building. Frank and Steve immediately rode ahead to keep its attention while the ballistae reloaded. Again, the feeble attacks of individuals seemed to do little more than signal the monstrous thing's next victims.

But, as it lumbered up to the two snacks, a ballista bolt managed to pierce its armor, lodging itself in it's jaw. It responded by turning on that segment of the army and breathing a massive gout of blazing acid. Then it turned its attention back to Thor and Steve.

Amidst this were Noblesword's calls to reload, showing that she was the type that preferred to go down with the plan no matter how quickly it sinks. Frank, however was not. He flew over to her, suggesting that the Cupcakes be detached to get past the salamander. Once that was done the army would retreat. On her assent he flew to the healer's tent where Hazel had been confined.

Meanwhile, Thor was making a right nuisance of himself with the Salamander. As it approached him he dashed to the side that still had a ballista bolt stuck in it, and threw his hammer as hard as he could at said bolt. {Nat 20} The resulting impact jammed the ballista bolt all the way into the thing's face, causing it to collapse to the ground in a writhing mass of flailing limbs.

Alas, this reprieve was quite brief. It soon got a hold of itself, rose back onto its legs with a ferocious roar, and charged the one responsible. In one quick move it dashed towards Thor and bit him, grabbing the Bloodrager in it's jaws and lifting him into the air for the final swallow. All that protruded from its mouth was a pair of wiggling legs.

By this point Frank and Hazel had rejoined the field and let Steve and Thor in on the new plan, just in time to see Thor get swallowed. Steve stood for a second, torn between the need to complete the mission and his innate desire to help a helpless ally. But the muffled sound of Thor yelling from the creature's mouth that he was fine was enough to sway him.

As the others ran past the creature, Thor activated his Boots of the Lightning Leaper, turning himself into pure electricity, and shot through the salamander, exiting the orifice it had planned to excrete him from, just not in the way it had planned on doing it.

Again the beast dropped to the ground in a flailing mass as Steve remarked 'So you tried to eat an Asgardian God of Thunder. . .'

Once inside the tower, the group headed straight to the center. Frank found his holed BOH and stowed it for later repair. As they began exploring, the pit the salamander had been sitting in, it inverted, revealing a staircase that rose into the air through a shaft in the center of the structure. As it rose, it created pathways to various doors set in the shaft walls. The DCs quickly ascended the staircase and tried the first door.

It was locked. They tried looking for various hidden switches, tried pushing on the wall, and (of course) tried speaking 'friend'. Nothing happened, although they did find a hidden key slot. When none of those options worked, Thor felt above the door frame to find a key. As he brought it down, Hazel quickly snatched it from him and inserted it into the keyhole they'd found, opening the door.

She then tried to remove the key, but to no avail. She strained harder and harder, trying to free it, until Steve told her to leave it. In an angry huff she swung the door open, revealing a room that was filled with so much white light that they could barely see anything.

Frank tried his lens of true seeing again, finding the room's illumination a more subdued lumen. He stepped in and explored, finding nothing save an ordinary room with a door on the other side. He searched the furniture, behind various paintings, and even the chandeliers for a key, but came up empty.

He stepped back out to confer with the others, who were equally clueless. But, Hazel did notice that Frank's hands were now glowing brightly, as if painted in a fluorescent light. Frank shrugged this off and went back inside.

It was as he'd begun exploring the walls for switches that Hazel got bored and cast dousing rain, flooding the room. The magical paint washed off of the walls, furniture, and floor, revealing a normal room.

Also a very wet Frank who glared at Hazel.

A glare completely missed by the others who were now exploring the room themselves. Their search turned up nothing he hadn't already found. Eventually they all ended up in front of the room's second door. Frank checked the frame for a hidden key, finding none. Much to Hazel's unhappiness. Her attachment to the previous key may have been brief, but it must have been intense.

Finally, for want of a better idea, Thor pushed on the door, causing it to swing open. He gave a contemptuous smirk to Frank before leading the others through.

They found themselves back in the ballroom 3 of them had found in the otherworldly castle. But with a few changes. This ballroom was neat and tidy, in good repair. It was also manned by a female elf at the concierge's desk. An elf who took one look at the group and yelled 'SECURITY!' before bolting to a spiral staircase that led to the second level.

Fast as she was, Thor was faster. The Bloodrager caught and subdued the woman, all while trying to explain that they were friendly.

{Player's Note: Yeah, that went about as well as you'd expect.}

Hazel then started towards the podium to look for more dragon paper like the ream she'd lost. But she was stopped by Steve, who had apparently drawn permanent Hazel duty.

A moment later 12 men, some in full plate, marched into the room, some from the door the Cupcakes had just used. They seemed to be of normal races, in good health, and had the crest of Cormyr on their armor. Of the four behind them, one was a cleric.

Thor quickly released his detainee who shot up the stairs. The guards demanded to know who they were and how they'd gotten their. The Cupcakes countered by demanding to see whomever was in charge.

The leader of the group agreed, insisting that they had to be disarmed first. As they were relieved of their weapons one went for Hazel's broom. She refused, insisting that they had to give her a key in exchange. (She has a thing about keys). They of course refused.

As this tug of war increased in intensity, Frank leaned down from his horse to tell her that 'they could probably kill these guys if they had to, but really should try not to'. In retrospect he could have phrased that better.

The guards immediately tried to bind the group, with Thor and Frank refusing. Instead, Frank formed his Wyvern cloak into a stinger, and struck the guard that had just relieved him of his guns.

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