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Many Alternate Doors, No Exits in Sight (MADNES) 50: Thor Vs. the Double Sphinx Supreme

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

It's the overachiever's version of the Double Hamster Supreme.
He's fought bigger . . .

When it comes to contests of strength, Thor's your man. He's broken out of burlap sacks, metal cages, and even the grips of death -though he did have help for that last. He's grappled enemies, wrestled beasts, and even out-stubborned an immovable nail. (He's particularly proud of that last).

So, when he saw his opponent on the next floor, well, there was only one thing to do. (No, he did not challenge her to an arm wrestling match. Everyone knows you challenge a Sphinx to a thumb war. . .)

But we'll get to that . . .

As we left them, the DCs were back on the fourth floor with the gargoyles. They'd just finishing saving the seamed seamstress and awakening an Elder God. (No doubt the villain in the sequel campaign) So, you know, balancing good with bad . . .

They were just about to head up, no one more happy to be off of that level than Hazel (apparently she finds standing in a forest of Gargoyles a bit unnerving) when the sound of heavy footfalls came to them from below. They immediately got into defensive positions at the ramp, all but Hazel, who positioned herself to see the next level down.

And what she saw terrified her more than traipsing through a forest of Gargoyles by oneself. They were able to ascertain this because she shouted 'It's a giant black Minotaur' just before dashing away, calling for them to follow.

Because she's clearly racist. But, what do you expect from someone raised by Hags, right?

The rest of the group stood their ground. I mean, what's one Minotaur, am I right? Thor's fought bigger. (Though in a manner that the Geneva Convention might have something to say about)

Then it reached the ramp, and they realized that Hazel had actually been underexaggerating the size of the thing. It was massive, barely able to walk up the ramp at all. But it did. Faces became stern. Hands gripped weapons a little tighter. Bodies became that of taut springs.

And just before the Minotaur reached them, a small voice from further back yelled, "I told you to wait for me!" in a way a person out of breath speaks. A voice that not one of them had ever heard before, yet all recognized as belonging to their (now gender swapped) fearless leader. In this timeline he went by Steele Beard.

A moment later a Dwarf that was nearly as wide as he was tall edged past the Minotaur. The group made way for the odd duo on the landing. The Dwarf spoke, in between his labored breathing, mostly about how much he hated stairs. Apparently even more than he hated physical fitness, if they were going to be honest.

But eventually he got to the point. Apparently the PUG had acquired more up to date intel. They already knew that there was a Sphinx and an Archon up past the evil heart. They knew that they were being controlled. But, as it turned out it was not ropes controlling them, but one fine thread coming from above. (Hey, the first scouts were bugs. I suppose all thread is just small rope to them.)

This information made little change to their overall tactics; since their early intel had said that the Archon and Sphinx had been partners before they were captured, and Archons were all good, it stood to reason that the Sphinx was too. They'd already come to the conclusion that they had to release them. The intel did bring light to the use for the cosmic scissors the seamed seamstress had given Hazel.

Secondly, the Dwarf told them that they'd also discovered that the Sphinx was missing its heart, the very heart Loki had found in a canopic jar. After saying this the Dwarf produced the still beating heart, which went straight into Thor's bag.

Then the Dwarf asked the Minotaur if he was sure he didn't recognize the group. The Minotaur replied that he did not, a sentiment that Frank then echoed about him. The duo then told them they'd rest there while the DCs went onward.

They collected Hazel and informed her of what they'd learned, at which point she pulled the scissors she'd acquired from her bag. Then they moved up to the fifth level and entered the door. On the other side they found a familiar spiraling ramp, wound about a massive, beating, stone heart. They worked their way past this to another door that led to a massive rectangular room.

The room was thirty feet tall, over a hundred long, and fifty wide. Several flames seemed to be hovering in the air near the roof. One concealed an Archon with blackened skin. Roughly thirty feet down were two sigils spaced evenly, blocking their path. One was a sigil of pain, the other of fear. And past that, at the other end of the hall was a resting Sphinx, curled with its back to the group.

The only person that could see the Archon hovering in the fire was Steve, but before he could call the group's attention to it, Hazel had by using dimension door to move the group to the other end of the hall, to where the Sphinx was, because plans, apparently, are boring.

The Sphinx immediately uncurled, standing up to its full height of ten feet. As it did so it revealed that it was no ordinary Sphinx. It was an enlarged amalgam of two Gynosphinxes, its body splitting into two necks, each with their own head. And there was a hole in its chest right where it's heart would be. It carried a compound long bow and scythe sized to it. And it was most definitely angry.

Frank used a called shot to the head, hoping to confuse it, for no real end. Steve moved into a defensive position. Hazel spent her turn locating the thread they needed to cut, finding it running up from the split in the creatures' spines.

And Thor, well Thor enraged, enlarged, and grappled the creature, ensuring it could use none of its weapons. He then called out that the heart was in his bag. The creature seemed quite concerned at that as it raked Thor with its front paws.

{Player's Note: The DM really wasn't expecting that tactic.}

Being the closest to Thor, Frank rifled through his bag, found the heart, and tossed it to Steve. Steve on his turn caught the heart, did an impressive combination of acrobatic jumps and flips to make it up to the hole and jam the heart in. The creature howled in pain, waking the Archon above.

It's howl was interrupted by Hazel cutting the thread, but the damage was done. Even as the double Sphinx supreme collapsed to the floor, the Archon descended on the group.

The group attempted a rinse and repeat approach that fell flat on its face. Thor found the Archon nearly impossible to grapple. He was also unable to keep its attention as he had the Sphinx. As Hazel approached, its eyes locked on the scissors and it attacked, downing the Witch in one turn.

Steve, being nearly directly under the Witch, caught the scissors as they fell from Hazel's grasp in one hand, and caught her in the other. He tossed the scissors to Frank (The only other one with points in fly) and carried Hazel into the doorway the Sphinx had been sleeping in front of.

Frank grabbed Hazels broom, flew up, and managed to cut the thread while Thor kept the Archon busy. It too, collapsed to the ground.

About that point the Sphinx awoke, and panicked, running to hide from the others in a corner. Thor eventually was able to calm it down, at which point it offered a resurrection for Hazel in exchange for information.

They told it what they knew, learning that the two heads of the DSS had been sisters. And no, they hadn't been Siamese twins. Just sisters. To say that they were having some trouble adapting to the current situation was a bit of an understatement. But the right head (which was clearly the older head, judging by behavior) did pull itself together well enough. It dismissed the sigils on the ground and healed the party.

They then suggested that the duo head down the tower and out to the army where they could get help.

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