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The Island of Misfit Monsters (TIMM) 17: If Looks Could Kill

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

The look I try to evoke in every DM I have at least once.
. . . Lego would have some explaining to do

{Player's Note: Before we get right into who did what, I'd like to say for the record that what happened last session was not entirely my fault. I mean, yes, technically it was my inner chaos leaking through. But I was pushed I tell you. Pushed too far by a DM that wouldn't let us vandalize artwork.

Okay, I know how that sounds, but I can explain.}

It all started with the next floor of the tower. And yes, it started quite predictably. Killgore stealthed up the stairs and used a mirror to check the environs. Then he did an about face and reported.

What he reported was both odd and seemingly benign: a strange small man tending an intricate outlay of candles for, what appeared to be, a monstrous tapestry. He may have spent a few words on the handsomeness of the massive figure on that tapestry. Or not. I mean, who really listens to a Bugbear anyway? Oh, and he mentioned a fence surrounding the entire arrangement, stopping only ten feet from the wall. See, I listen . . .

This all seemed odd to Lucius who then volunteered to do a little personal reconnaissance. Before anyone could argue he cast invisibility on himself and snuck up the stairs. True enough, there was the fence, and within, the weird little dude with the odd candle fixation. Lucius would have to disagree with the bugbear's estimate of the figure on the tapestry's comeliness though. In truth he found it hideous, with its bulbous forehead, and smile showing far more brainless cruelty than intellect, and its strands of hair drooping lazily down the sides of his head like the leaves of a Willow Tree. But don't take his word for it; see for yourself.

Then again, Killgore is a Bugbear. That guy could well be there visage of godliness for all I know . . .

It also made no difference. What was of much more import was the relevance of the candles the little guy was worriedly checking on. What significance did it have? Was it related to the painting? Or was he just a strange little man with a candle fetish? Probably best not to turn on a black light in there, just in case . . .

But that still left the question. So he decided to conduct a series of experiments. The gate through the fence being closed, he decided to Abundant Step to the other side. It was there that he realized that the center was actually a large pool of some unknown slime. There were troughs radiating from it out to a larger circular trough. Lucius noted this in passing, as he started his battery of tests, which began with:

1) Snuffing out a candle here and there. And there and here. Usually on the opposite sides of the array, just to give the little guy some exercise. And he did seem quite disturbed by these sudden flame outs, running over to each in turn to reignite them. But there seemed to be no change in the painting or the ooze.

2) Moving a candle. Same results.

3) Dumping a candle into the ooze. This provoked an ooze tentacle to rise up and try to slap him; it failed miserably. But it did get the little guy's attention; he scurried over, shouting apologies to apparently the tapestry, as he fished it out and relit it.

4) And lastly, picking a candle up and trying to light the tapestry on fire. A small spark from the tapestry did 4 damage to Lucius, more an interesting response than anything. Certainly not enough to dissuade a devil. He kept at it, but the tapestry simply refused to catch fire. Eventually the little guy caught on. He screamed 'NO!' repeatedly as he rushed over to stop the attempted arson. Lucius responded by sticking the side of the candle to the tapestry and backing away. The little guy quickly snatched it (recieving a shock of his own, presumably from failing to protect the image) from the painting and did his best to remove the remaining wax, all while muttering apologies to 'my lord'.

Lucius was severely tempted to kill him, just to see what consequences such an act would bring. But killing a random guy was likely to upset the rest of his group, so he let him live. Instead, he abundant stepped back down stairs.

He chose to appear directly behind them, and began to report. Of course, directly behind was actually on the staircase, as they'd lost patience some time before. The half ogre was actually standing on the stairs, just high enough to peak over the threshold. Two of the others sat on his shoulders.

As Lucius started speaking they all jumped, the half ogre's being the most impressive of all. In fact, such was that relatively small movement that it thrust the two sitting on his shoulders two feet into the air. Enough to get the little guy's attention. He called out to them, warning them away.

The exact opposite thing you should do with The Delicious Cupcakes. They trooped up stairs to confront him. And immediately everyone with metal armor or weapons found themselves pulled towards the fence. This force only failed on Nelzask, which was a shame really; he was probably the only one the fence could not have held. The others (minus one Monk who had none of the above items) found themselves stuck to the fence like a fifth grader in a Gravitron.

The Half Ogre was quick to peel the closest -that being the Minotaur- off of the fence. Lucius opened the gate and offered ten copper if Nelzask could hit the little guy with an improvised Bull-man/woman thing projectile. Nelzask refused, surprisingly, instead setting the suddenly nervous Bard on the ground past the gate. He then reached for Killgore, and peeled him off of the fence.

The Slayer responded in good goblin form by firing an arrow at the little guy, who dropped immediately. Everyone but Lucius glared at him, thus confirming the Devil's (note: not The Devil, just the Devil) suspicion that killing the little man would not have gone over well.

As it turned out, it wasn't the fence, or the little guy, pulling them towards the center of the room. It was the Plasma Oozes spread about the troughs and pit. Three of which decided to leave their nice beds for a little excercise. (Who said cupcakes can't get you in shape?) The group spilled through the gateway to gamely confront this challenge. Lucius unloaded his fireballs on them before moving over to torment the tapestry.

Seeing as the oozes were immune to bludgeoning, and split with slashing, Nelzask joined him. Thus began round two of experiments, which included:

1) Killgore shooting arrows through the tapestry. Over time the holes got smaller and smaller, as if it were healing. About then the little guy popped up, dispensing with an empty potion bottle and began to protest their actions.

2) Nelzask sliced the bottom foot off of the tapestry. One round later it disappeared, reappearing at its original location. The painting attempted to reciprocate with lightning bolts. Aria countered with resist energy which, at our level, gave the entire party electricity resist 30.

3) Lucius breathed fire on it. It seemed rather nonplussed. Honestly, it didn't seem that anything we did was having a lasting effect on the thing. It was quite frustrating.

And that's when Lucius got an idea. He told Nelzask to chop the entirety of the painting down (without the DM overhearing; that part's important). Nelzask complied on his turn, flying up and hacking the tapestry from the bar holding it up.

Lucius then used his turn (which conveniently came next) to grab the top of the painting and use the Contract Devil's Infernal Contract to scribe a contract on the tapestry. A contract that read simply: I owe Nelzask 1 copper. Had he succeeded he could have turned the tapestry into a quarterstaff and been done with this whole ugly wizard guy.

Sadly, the DM's glare of death (made all the worse by the rest of the group's raucous laughter) interfered. And believe you me, it was quite the glare. Personally I didn't see the problem. There's something poetic about turning your enemy into a club you can use to beat down other enemies, if you think about it. Plus it seemed to enjoy doing electricity damage. He could certainly use that.

She began sputtering that he couldn't use a painting for a contract. Sadly, the ability said nothing about the medium used to record it. In the end, I suggested (mostly in jest) an opposed skill check. His Willpower vs. Lucius's Scribe Contract Profession skill. Vigo won, and changed the words to insult the Devil. Lucius countered by pointing out that he was very high and mighty for a guy trapped in a painting.

The next round the top foot of the painting disappeared and reappeared on the rod Nelzask had cut it from. The group rolled their eyes and focused on the oozes (which quickly multiplied via slashing attacks). It was a short fight.

About the only interesting thing to happen there was that Aria became engulfed by one, which enraged her no end. It did not survive much longer. None of them did really.

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