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Many Alternate Doors, No Exits in Sight (MADNES) 26: Valhalla, Resurrections, and Gnoll Alchemists

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Thor deciding between Valhalla and taking a resurrection.

Last session, the group encountered a rather stiff fight. One that downed Thor in one turn. As one might have expected, Thor then spent the remaining time of that fight, in Valhalla, drinking, eating, and rooting for the DCs to avenge him. Think your favorite sports bar while the local team is playing.

In other words, he was having a grand old time. Loki was even there. And there was a great cheering as the last of the teddy bears were brought low. Then the Cupcakes started talking about resurrecting Thor, and his partying became more frantic.

Of course he was going to take the res. They were his team, and they needed him. Or, at least that's how he put it. So, while Loki was busy feeling left out, Thor was busily eating everything in reach, and drinking enough to match. (Those self filling steins are wonderful, aren't they?)

Meanwhile, the group had collected Thor's belongings, along with a generous helping of his dust and started to trek back the way they'd come. Frank had a few questions after their encounter with the crypt keeper. The group's attempts at explaining why Loki would have purchased a plot in such a twisted place took them all the way back to the camp. In the end, he still didn't understand.

{Player's Note: I'm not sure I do, and he was my character. . .}

They slogged their way past the Gnoll guards (noting as they went that the one that had been covered in blue was now high as a kite), past the camp sentries, through the milling crowd (most of whom gave their blood splattered, mangled forms a wide birth) and up to the Gnoll Shaman's tent.

Once they explain their predicament (mainly, hurt everywhere, and one dead ally) he sent runners to help with the resurrection. While they waited he healed them up after which Frank took his leave to sell their loot.

While he was gone, several Drow priestesses showed up to assist in the resurrection ritual. They danced around the Gnoll in a manner befitting a 6 year old, mumbling what could have been a grocery list for all they knew. As the ritual reached completion, the Gnoll reached out his arms into the afterlife and yanked Thor to back to the land of the living. In Valhalla this manifested as a portal that two Gnoll hands came out of, grabbed Thor by the shoulders from behind while he was engaged in his gluttony, and pulled him in.

Loki then spent the next few minutes telling everyone that he didn't think Thor had actually been resurrected. He pointed out the hands that had grabbed him, stating they looked more demonic than anything.

Of course, Thor was completely naked upon his return, but somehow, he still had half a ham thigh in his hand. A ham thigh he then offered to the elf women as thanks. For some reason, they chose to refuse his generous offer. Let's face it, few people want payment in the form of half eaten sides of pork.

{Player's Note: Personally, I think they were crazy. Imagine what food from Valhalla tastes like. You can't, right? But it would probably have been the best food ever. Hell, they could have resurrected the hog it came from and started a whole new breed of pork producers!}

Fortunately, Frank returned by then, money in hand. He divied out the loot, with the lion's share going to the priestesses and immediately about faced to his cot for sleep. Pretty much everyone else joined them. Except for Thor, that is. Apparently, being resurrected gives one quite the charge. Or maybe he was just feeling the need to work off the overfull stomach he'd brought back with him.

Sleep came easily for the rest, but did not last long; a huge explosion rattled through the camp. Frank was up and outside before the sound had fully registered, with the newly reconstituted Thor and Cap right on his heels.

As they exited the tent they could hear Dwarven cheers coming from the gate. Surmising that the Dwarves had just blown the gate open, Frank turned back to his cot and promptly went back to sleep. Cap went to check on the demolition. Thor started to follow, however, something caught his eye.

Instead, he turned perpendicular to Steve's path and walked over to investigate a Gnoll gazing perplexed at a small chemistry flask of something rather viscous. By that point, Hazel had made it out, and followed him. On questioning he learned that the flask contained the blood of the various creatures that had been found here.

As he spoke, the Gnoll used a silver stick to stir the contents up. But, as soon as he stopped, they separated themselves into striations again. Thor suggested he try a piece of iron. Thinking this a good idea (?) the Gnoll fished around for a loose nail, and dropped it in.

The concoction immediately began to fizz and shake. The Gnoll quickly put the flask into a strong box. He'd barely locked the box and stepped away when there was a slight poof. Assuming the reaction had run its course, they approached, cautiously. As they drew close the entire box began to shake.

After a few starts and stops, the Gnoll reached up and undid one of the box's clasps. The others then released of their own volition, revealing a flask of a green substance that looked much like flubber.

The Gnoll immediately fished a goblin finger out of a bag and dropped it into the flask, because that's the first thing anyone would do after having created a slime, right? Gee mommy, can I keep it?

As one would expect, the finger fell to the middle of the baby ooze and began dissolving. By that time, Steve had returned. He reported that the gate had fallen, but been replaced with more of that black tar like substance. At first it had tried to escape out of the hole, but shrank back in the sun. He'd warned the Dwarves to use sunlight to hold it back and then gone to find Thor.

By this point the Gnoll had put on some dragon leather gloves and was trying to fish the finger out for analysis. He was having trouble though, as the ooze seemed to shy away from the gloves. Which led into a series of experiments involving what other things it might shy away from. As it turned out, the ooze didn't like dragon byproducts of any kind. At hearing this, Thor suggested Steve put his eye up to the flask to see what would happen. Yet, for some reason, the Brawler refused. Not even for scientific progress.

By then, the Gnoll had thrown half a dozen items into the slime, and Thor was becoming concerned about continued feeding. It had already grown almost out of its current container. He suggested they halt any further feeding until they had a larger container for the experiment. The Gnoll told them that the only person who might have a larger one was a Drow who did not like him.

Hazel agreed to go in his stead. Finding the place wasn't that bad, but acquiring the necessary item for this little treasure hunt wasn't nearly so straitforward. For some reason, the Drow insisted she be told what it would be used for. Strange lady, that one.

And, in her own patented way, Hazel revealed far more data than was necessary. In the end she did get a larger glass container from the Drow, who spent most of their remaining time together complaining about the Gnoll it was going to. There may have been some threats leveled at anyone who broke said glassware.

Hazel returned triumphantly (for once, not expounding too much) just as the three men were discussing getting other eyes on this thing. She quickly ixnayed the idea of involving the Drow she'd borrowed the beaker from. The Gnoll then asked them to track down a specific Gnome who could help.

Hazel was on that too, and immediately went dredging for Gnomes. She hung some of that silver thread behind her like a streamer while flying on her broom, slowly over the crowd. (A rare sight indeed; usually, when witches perform such flights its to steal children in the dead of night . . .) In short order she had five or six Gnomes following her. The Gnoll pointed out the one he wanted, dismissing the others.

The Gnome in question greeted the Gnoll rather icily. It was clear that they knew of each other, and that they didn't really approve. But that didn't stop the Gnome from being persuaded to examine the thing. He made several visual tests, tapped on the glass, and then pulled out a tuning fork.

As the fork vibrated the slime began to stand up in the flask. Other than that, it was a normal ooze. The Cupcakes, seeing that they'd 'helped' enough (I put helped in apostrophes for Thor's contribution) retired back to bed.

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