Chaotic Crew:Campaign/Chapter 09
"As we join our heroes, we find them preparing to engage in the ancient, hallowed, ancestral rites of monetary bartering in exchange for the acquisition of material goods. (We'd call it "shopping", but then the Latex Babes would come running, and...you know, actually, let's do call it "shopping".)"
Ali bows, grinning widely at Eleihoff. "What do I have? Why, what don't I have?" He gestures at his Pile O' Wonders. "Anything in particular you're looking for, my friend?"
Eleihoff: "Do you have...a demon puppy?"
Wolfgang looks around, making sure there's nothing else problematic... besides Eleihoff, of course, then examines the merchandise with one eye to see if anything interesting pops up.
Eleihoff: Ali blinks. "A...demon puppy?"
Eleihoff: "You don't have one?" Eleihoff nearly pouts.
Wolfgang: The pile is a haphazard stack of bags, trunks, safes, athletic lockers, and various other containers, with random bits of detritus piled on and around them.
Wolfgang steps to one side, then leans on his horse's saddle.
Ali frowns. "Sorry lad, no. I sold my last one to a little old lady in Fieldsboro. I am expecting a fresh shipment next week, though."
Eleihoff: "Do you have large, yellow sombreros?"
"Ah!" Sifting through the pile, he produces a large athletic locker from the pile. Tipping it upright (he seems to be surprisingly strong for such a short guy), he opens it...dozens upon dozens of hats of every shape and color are stacked inside. "I've got yellow, I've for purple, I've got chartreuse, I've even got infra-red!"
Wolfgang: "Do you have wire cutters? Or, if not that, then knives?"
Wolfgang: "Oh! I know! Do you have one of those multi-tools? Pocket knife, wire cutters, tweezers, fingernail clippers, toothpick, pliers, all that?"
Reginar rides up to the merchant, looking thoughtful. "Do ya have anything that looks like a demon puppy?"
"I sure do!" He produces a large, red pocketknife. "Found this baby in a flea market the other day. The label says it's a "Exenon knife" or the like.
"And...well..." He pops open a trunk...dozens of toys, dolls, and action figures are piled inside. "I do have this Beanbag Buddy #666 Demon Puppy." He produces a small, stuffed, evil-looking (yet still cute) toy dog.
Reginar: "There you go, lad!"
Wolfgang raises an eyebrow and puts his hand out to examine the pocket knife. "How much are you asking?"
Eleihoff: "How much for a yellow sombrero and that Beanbag Puppy?"
He looks at Wolfgang. "For this fine beauty, only 5 gold. And..." He looks at Ieth. "The hats are 3 gold apiece. I suppose I could let the puppy go for 10 gold..."
Reginar: "...say, uh, do ya have any other interesting action figures? My ma threw mine out accidentally during Spring Cleaning one year, along with all my Dwarven Dirtbags baseball cards."
Wolfgang: "I'll offer you three gold for it." Wolfgang holds it out to the merchant, in case he wants to snatch it back.
He looks at Reginar. "Well, sir, I've got the entire collection of this year's 'ShapeChangers' line." He holds up an action figurine of a humanoid robot...with a few twists and turns, he morphs it into a tiny terrasque.
"I've also got this old thing..." he produces an action figure of what looks like a computer monitor with a face, arms and legs. "Bought it from some guy the other day. Didn't catch his name."
The merchant looks at Wolfgang. "Four gold."
Reginar: "I like that one, it's interesting-looking. I might get it. Anything else?"
Eleihoff: "13 gold for the Demon Puppy and the yellow sombrero? Sounds good!" Eleihoff pulls out a fat, happy bag out of his pack, and counts out 13 shiny pieces of gold.
Wolfgang: "It's highway robbery, but... we're on a highway." He hands over the four gold and pockets the knife.
"Thank you, sirrah!" He pockets the cash, and immediately turns to eye Ieth count out his cash.
Eleihoff mutters a few numbers to himself. "13 gold." he says, holding the precious currency to the merchant.
Eleihoff: The gold vanishes from you hand so fast, it almost seems to teleport. In its place, you find a large yellow sombrero, and a (stuffed) demon puppy. Aww, he's so CUTE!
Eleihoff grins very widely, proudly placing the large hat on his head, and cuddling the Beanbag Demon Puppy. "Yeee!"
Eleihoff: As you hug it, the puppy lets out a cute, prerecorded. "Arf!"
Reginar: "Well, I've got the Paladin Paul Beach House playset..."
Eleihoff: "Large, comfy office chairs?"
His eyes go wide. "BAGPIPES!? OH GOD, WHERE!?" He jumps behind the pile of junk, cowering.
He peeks up in a cowardly manner from behind cover...then grins, and jumps back out. "Just kidding." He opens another trunk, and produces a set of bagpipes; the bag is a lovely plaid color.
Eleihoff: "Sorry, lad, office furniture was officially banned by the government months ago."
Eleihoff: "Banned? Why?" Eleihoff says, holding the puppy up to his chin.
"The new government, I mean. They banned them after the old government all had their brains sucked out by office chairs."
Reginar: To Merchant: "I might come back for the Paladin Paul set if you're ever around again. Let me take that old figure for now. The recent ShapeChangers are neat, but... just between you and me, I'm waiting for the next line. I hear most people don't like the new designs, but I think they're sort of, well, cute. ...don't tell anyone I said that."
Eleihoff: "Brains? Sucked out?" Eleihoff squeezes the demon puppy protectively.
Reginar: He nods. "I hear you. Personally, I'm partial to the old First Degeneration set. But, here." He produces the modron figure for display. "That'll be 20 gold."
Eleihoff: The puppy barks again, its eyes glowing. "Arf! I'll swallow your soul!"
Reginar: "Oh, yeah, those were the days, weren't they?" Reginar hands over the 20 gold and takes the figure.
Eleihoff: "Awwww...it's so adorable!"
Eleihoff: "Also, how much for the bagpipes?"
"Are you kidding?" He tosses them at Eleihoff. "You can have them. Nobody buys bagpipes, kid, not even me. I only got this set from some guy who got arrested for riding around town in his wagon playing them as loud as he could while the wagon shifted up and down."
Eleihoff: "Yay!" Eleihoff exclaims as he catches the bagpipes, balancing the puppy on his new hat. He tips his head back a bit and inhales...
Reginar: "Bah. It's such a shame that the general public has no taste in music. Bagpipes are classic!"
Wolfgang prepares to sing along with Eleihoff.
Reginar prepares to do the bagpipes jig.
The merchant holds up a finger. "If any of you even thinks about it, I'm taking my stuff back."
Eleihoff stops in mid-inhaling...staying in the same position for a few moments. "Awwwwwwwww...!" he exhales instead of playing.
Reginar: "Uh... how much for you to let us play?"
Wolfgang: "...AmAAAAAzzzzzzing.... grace?"
The merchant thinks. "...37 gold."
Reginar: "What do you say, lad and laddie? We all kick in?"
Eleihoff: "37 gold? Is everyone OK with that price?"
Reginar: "I'll put in 13 of it." Reginar shows the handful.
Wolfgang: "On the condition that if he likes it, we get a full refund."
Ali grins. "Now there's a deal I can get behind!" He sits on the carpet. "Alright, fork it over and let's see what you've got."
Reginar hands over his third.
Eleihoff: "Well, if no one else wants to contribute, I can pay the remainder..."
Wolfgang puts in 12 gold.
Eleihoff counts out the remaining 12 gold and hands it over.
Eleihoff once again inhales, and then puts his mouth to the bagpipes, and begins to play.
Wolfgang sings along with the song!
Reginar dances a Dwarven jig to the song.
Ali sits and watches...the expression on his face slowly shifts from bemusement, to confusion, to disbelief, to horrified shock.
"Stop, STOP!" He stands up, and tosses your money back at you. "There, take it already!"
He looks longing after the coins, and sniffles.
Wolfgang takes his share and hands the remainder to the proper owners.
Reginar takes his third of the money back and says, "My friend, ya indeed have great taste in music after all. I salute ya." He bows to the merchant with a sweep of the arm.
Eleihoff accepts his refund, grinning.
"Ugh. Just promise me you'll never do that again." He frowns. "Alright, folks, is there anything else I can do for you?" He indicates the setting sun. "Maybe a place to stay, perhaps?"
Reginar: "We could use, ah, a secluded place to stay."
Eleihoff he then opens up one of the pouches on his pack and somehow stuffs the bagpipes inside.
Wolfgang: "I did bring a tent. It's been in my family for years, though."
Ali opens a nearby sack...he produces what appears to be a tiny house, no more than an inch wide.
Reginar: "I mean, secluded. We wouldn't want any, say, mysterious magenta-shirted wandering bandits to attack us during the night." Reginar gives Wolfgang a meaningful look.
"BobCo brand Instant Quarters!"
Eleihoff: "I've got a small tent somewhere in my pack..." Eleihoff takes the puppy off of his hat and cuddles it again.
Wolfgang: "How much are you asking? And is it reusable?"
He gesticulates wildly with his arms as he makes his pitch. "This little baby will instantly generate an eight-person sleeping shelter for eight hours. It's fully heated, and as an added bonus, it's designed to camouflage itself to be completely inconspicuous." He nods at Wolfgang. "One use only, for a measly 50 gold."
Eleihoff: "Arf! Dead by dawn, dead by dawn!"
Eleihoff: "Such a cute Beanbag Buddy!" he exclaims, as if ignorant of what it is saying.
Wolfgang frowns. "You might be right... but... would you take 37 gold for it?"
Wolfgang: He narrows his eyes, as if thinking very hard. "...deal."
Reginar pats Eleihoff on the shoulder, while looking just slightly disturbed by the demon puppy's comments.
Wolfgang hands over the 37 gold.
Ali hands the tiny house to Wolfgang. "Just put it on the ground, and it does the rest. You might want to find some place off the beaten path, if you really want to stay out of sight."
Reginar: "Not to mention avoiding getting squashed."
Wolfgang: "Thank you, Ali." He then puts the tiny house in the saddlebag on his horse.
"My pleasure, sirs." He bows. "I'll be in the area for several days yet, so if you happen across me again, don't hesitate to call."
Reginar: "I think we might, since our holy lady seems to have gone off to whatever her nightly duties might be." Reginar mutters something under his breath about needing to keep an eye on her.
Wolfgang: "Yeah, I think we're done for now. Although you'd be welcome to travel with us for a little bit."
He shakes his head. "No, no, my friends, I'm afraid I cannot. You see..." He adopts an almost heroic looking pose. "I'm a wandered...a lone wolf, looking for his place in this crazy world. I go where the wind takes me, staying nowhere for long, always moving on, searching for something out there..."
Eleihoff hugs the puppy as he tunes out the speech.
Wolfgang: "Insanely huge profits?"
Eleihoff: "Arf! I'll kill you in your sleep!"
Eleihoff: "Such an ambitious, adorable puppy!"
Wolfgang: "...that things just a tad creepy."
Reginar: "Eh, it makes him happy."
Wolfgang: "What's that say about HIM, then?"
"...yeah, that works." He sits down onto the carpet, sitting in a position as if readying to drive a horse-drawn wagon. "Besides, my cousin Reingold has invited me to dinner at his place. Can't miss out on that!" He cracks invisible reigns...the carpet begins to hover into the air. "See you around, folks!"
Eleihoff waves goodbye at the merchant. "Farewell!"
Wolfgang: "Bye, Ali!"
The carpet takes off straight up, vanishing in a twinkle into the sky, narrowly avoiding a flying pair of teenagers and a cat with a coin glued to its forehead.
Wolfgang: With a shake of his head, Wolfgang climbs back onto the back of his horse. "I'm thinking we can travel a little longer, then set up camp."
Reginar: "Works for me, laddie." Reginar stashes his new modron figure and gets back on his pony.
Eleihoff: "All right." Eleihoff hops back onto his pony as Mr. Owl lands on top of his head.
--SOME TIME LATER--
The Party continues riding through the woods, heading east, as the sun goes down. Before long, night falls. *CRASH!*
Wolfgang: "OUCH! I got hit by dark shrapnel."
Reginar: "Cheer up, laddie, it's better than sunshine suppositories."
Eleihoff: "Ooo, I hate those..."
Wolfgang: "Let's see if there's a good small clearing just off the beaten path."
Wolfgang: Searching around, you soon find a good small clearing, just off the beaten path. How convenient!
Wolfgang: "Wow, such a convenient location for camp!" Wolfgang pickets his horse and begins setting up camp. "I don't really think we need to go high security for sleeping tonight. Opinions?"
Reginar hopefully the house is crush-proof, but otherwise... perhaps not.
Reginar: "Hopefully the house is crush-proof, but otherwise... perhaps not."
Eleihoff yawns. "I just want to get some sleep some time tonight."
Wolfgang pulls out the tent and begins setting it up. "Reginar, could you work on a cooking fire?"
Eleihoff reaches into his almighty pack, pulling out a small tent.
Eleihoff: "I've got my own tent."
Reginar: "Ah, I see. If we're not using the house, then I think we will need some security."
Eleihoff: "Mr. Owl can keep watch for us."
Wolfgang: "I was asking if you thought we were in sufficient danger to justify using the house."
Reginar: "Well, that magenta-clad army, though a bit dim, was also rather large."
Eleihoff: "Have any of you tried politely asking them to stop pursuing us?"
Wolfgang: "...I've got it handled." Wolfgang gets some paper and a pen and scrawls a note on the paper. Heading up the trail, he posts the note and returns shortly afterward.
Reginar: "What did you do, laddie?"
Wolfgang: "I wrote on a piece of paper 'They went that-a-way!' and drew an arrow pointing them away from camp."
Reginar pauses, then says, "Well, I suppose it's worth a shot."
Wolfgang: "Although if they have a brighter light among them, maybe we should put a sign a little closer that says 'Not a campsite'."
Eleihoff: "Sounds like a good idea."
Reginar looks very slightly like he has a headache.
Wolfgang: "I'm low on paper. Do you have some, Reginar?"
Reginar: "Sure, laddie." Reginar hands over a piece of paper.
Wolfgang: "Hmm... care to write it? I think I left my pen back at the first sign." He's patting his pockets. "I'll have to walk back there."
Reginar: "All right." Reginar pulls out his normal inkpen and starts writing.
Wolfgang heads back to the sign, looking for his pen.
Wolfgang: In a little bit, he returns, pen in hand. "Found it."
Reginar: "Good. Here's your sign." Reginar hands over the sign.
Wolfgang takes the sign and walks out to the perimeter of the camp and posts it prominently on a tree. On his return, he proclaims, "I'll take first watch."
Reginar: "I don't mind taking first watch. I want to write a letter home now that I'm somewhere in civilization."
Wolfgang: He nods. "Suit yourself... um... if you don't mind... tone down the reality of traveling with this group."
Reginar chuckles a little. "Don't worry, laddie, I'll make ya look good."
Wolfgang: He nods and settles down next to the fire. "Just wake me up for my watch."
Reginar: "Sure thing."
Eleihoff crawls into his little tent and shuffles around a bit.
Wolfgang warms up, toasts a marshmallow on a stick, then crawls into his tent while munching it and sucking air after biting the too-hot confection.
Reginar sits down, pulls out a fresh piece of paper, and his new pen. "Look, Grandpa," he says to his Bag, "I've been wanting a nice pen to write out a letter with, and now I got one. Too bad I didn't think to ask the merchant for some stationary. Maybe next time."
Reginar then starts writing. "Dear Ma, Sorry I haven't written in a while, but the Elders keep stationing me out in the middle of nowhere. My last post was in the middle of some forest in the middle of nowhere populated by Elven Druids who eagerly await the coming of the Great Cosmic Platypus. Apparently they think that the mix of mammal and bird somehow heralds the day when all sentient beings will grow wings and take to the sky like we did back.
Reginar when time first began, before one poor sap got cursed with acrophobia by a witch and it all fell apart..."
Reginar: Reginar then starts writing. "Dear Ma, Sorry I haven't written in a while, but the Elders keep stationing me out in the middle of nowhere. My last post was in the middle of some forest in the middle of nowhere populated by Elven Druids who eagerly await the coming of the Great Cosmic Platypus.
Reginar: "Apparently they think that the mix of mammal and bird somehow heralds the day when all sentient beings will grow wings and take to the sky like we did back when time first began, before one poor sap got cursed with acrophobia by a witch and it all fell apart..."
Reginar writes on, and on, and on about his missions, the party, the Switchboard, the Sage, the magenta army, and all that fun stuff.
Reginar: You put the finishing touches on the letter, signing your name at the bottom. As you hold it up to re-read it, however, something peculiar happens...all the letters written on the page inexplicably slide off off the paper like weak refrigerator magnets, clattering into a heap on the ground in front of you.
Reginar: "What the...?"
Reginar looks at the pile of letters puzzledly for a moment, then reaches out to try and pick one up.
Reginar: You scoop up a few Es and a couple of Rs. The letters are just as small as they were on paper, but are definitely solid and three-dimensional. They remind you of the letters you'd see on a small movable-type sign.
Reginar scoops up a handful of the letters and tries tossing them into the air experimentally.
Reginar: A shower of text deluges you from above, as the letters rain down across the campsite.
Reginar picks up one of the letters and tries seeing if it sticks to his arm.
Reginar: Nope. It doesn't seem to want to stick to anything anymore...it's as if someone turned all the letters into little plastic letter-shaped pieces of plastic.
Reginar pauses, then shrugs and goes around carefully picking/scooping up the letters until they're in a neat little pile. "Well, maybe the lad will get a kick out of this," he mutters quietly. He then sits back down, tucks away the magic pen, pulls out some more paper, and writes his letter with the normal pen this time.
Reginar: *write write write DONE!*
This time, the letters stay on the page like they're supposed to.
Reginar tucks the letter away to be mailed later, then settles in and plays with his new modron figure as he keeps watch.
Reginar: "Yar!" *pew pew pew* "Gah!" *shrrrk!* "Argh!"
Reginar: Mighty armies fall before the power of Mighty Modron!
Reginar is happy.
Mighty Modron: "Squee!"
--LATER THAT NIGHT--
Reginar: After many hours of epic Modron fights, including a few battles against the fearsome Mini Letter Golems just for variety's sake, he finally tucks the Modron figure away and carefully shakes Wolfgang awake.
Reginar: "Time for yer watch, laddie. Be careful you don't step on a letter."
Wolfgang opens his eyes. "...my turn for watch?" He crawls out of his bedroll, yawning vaguely theatrically, but manages to kick a few of the plastic consonants before realizing. "Um... why are there plastic letters all over camp?"
Reginar: "Well, it seems this new pen I found creates plastic letters."
Reginar: "See, look."
Reginar pulls out a piece of paper and writes, "Hello, world." on it with the magic pen.
Wolfgang carefully scrapes a small pile of the letters together, then sits down to watch.
The letters shimmer, then once again fall off the paper.
Reginar shrugs slightly.
Wolfgang: "That's awfully useless. I mean... May I?" He holds out his hand.
Reginar: "Sure." Reginar hands over the pen and paper.
Wolfgang scrawls out a quick picture of a ball.
The circle shimmers...it falls off the paper, changing shape in midair. By the time it hits the ground, it has become a round, black rubber ball...it bounces slightly on the grass before coming to a stop at Wolfgang's feet.
Reginar: "Huh! Never would have thought of that... I'm not much of an artist, y'see."
Wolfgang sets the pen next to Reginar, and picks up the ball. "...now that's... useful."
Wolfgang: "We'll have to draw a demon puppy for Eleihoff in the morning. Good night, Reginar. Feel free to use my tent."
Reginar: "Thanks, laddie." Reginar picks up the pen, looks at it with new curiosity, then tucks it away again and heads into the tent and off to dreamland.