CERAMIC D.M. the final judgement is in! - Page 9





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  1. #81
    As I understood it, order was not important.
    I'm good, but I'm not THAT good....

 

  • #82

    A life in jars

    “Jars? Pottery jars? Bloody pottery jars!? Is this your master plan, old fool?”

    The pasha was clearly worn thin by the bitter siege, for his patience and insight were usually deeper. Alchemist Ibn Sagui cringed at his master’s shouting, frightened that, in his rage, Pasha Araoud would accidentally kick over some of the jars on the workshop floor. Such a event would be an unmitigated disaster and doubtless resolve the siege all too quickly. Quickly placing himself between the fort’s commander and the dozens of fired clay jars occupying every available space in the workshop.

    “Allow me to explain, master,” he pleaded, bowing his head and making pulling motions near his forehead as if tugging a forelock, though his bald and turbaned head offered no such fashion. “The jars will make it possible for you and your guard to escape, I promise.”

    “Speak quickly, alchemist. We have less than an hour until dawn,” Pasha Araoud scanned the sky through the workshop’s open doorway. Soon the deadline for the beast’s ultimatum would be upon them and he would have to surrender his people to the besieger’s ‘tender’ mercies.

    “A creature born of alchemy, can die by alchemy. For as the Prophet teaches, As a man lives, so shall he perish!

    “I do not need a theology lesson, Ibn Sagui.”

    “I know, master,” agrees Ibn Sagui, holding up his hand to beg his master’s forbearance. He dipped a long metal spoon into the cauldron simmering on the coals of the workshop’s smaller firepit. The spoon head emerged with a dollop of thick white liquid. The alchemist stepped outside his workshop door onto the rough, chalky stone of the fort’s inner yard. Pouring the liquid onto ground, he returned to the workshop firepit, taking up a burning coal. Already fairly certain of what he was about to witness, Araoud followed to witness the impromptu demonstration. He was nearly knocked from his feet however when Ibn Agui touched coal to unction, by an explosion entirely disproportionate to the amount of substance. As he retook his feet, Pasha Araoud looked in wonder through the workshop doorway at the now vast seeming collection of jars.

    “How much…?” he asked, unable to complete the question.

    “Enough that you and your men must be far away when it is lit.”

    Nodding his understanding, Araoud said, “We will go now, while the shadows are still deep.”

    ----

    At dawn the frontier fort’s only tower flew a red flag, the signal of complete surrender. The besieging warband let up a great cheer, and the sound drew the warband’s commander from his tent. Equal parts man and animal, the infamous Beast of Al Arouk had the body of slender youth, topped with the bearded head of a billy goat. The Beast’s band of blood thirsty followers had raided the border towns and trade routes for more than a year and now they were about to take their finest prize, Pasha Araoud, cousin to the Sultan himself. Naked to the waist, the Beast strode to the head of his army, watching with pleasure as the tattered red cloth flew from the tower. Seizing a spear, and with a braying shout, he ordered his men to follow him to take their latest possession.

    At the head of his rag tag band of cut throats, the Beast strode towards the rough walls of heavy sandstone which had opposed him for nearly three weeks. Now he was heedless of the possibility of archers on the rampart. Victory was his and he strode forth to claim it.

    Entering the tunnel beneath the walls his eyes scanned the murder holes for the barest of moments. A bold or desperate enemy might use this last chance to attempt an ambush. However, the Beast knew his enemies for cowards and, even if he were felled now, his men would rip the defenders to bits, so weak was the fort’s garrison. At the other end of the gate tunnel stood a single guard, and beyond, the drawbridge gate that had remained closed to him until today. As the Beast drew closer, with his best warriors striding to keep up with him, he saw that the waiting figure was not a guard, but a person of indistinguishable gender or identity, dressed in a simple flaxcloth shift and old leather sandals. With a voice that did nothing to reveal the figures gender or identity, the waiting servant said, “My master, Pasha Araoud bids you welcome, oh Beast of Al Arouk.”

    Without breaking stride the Beast thrust his spear into the servant’s belly. As the figure crumpled at his feet the Beast spat on the body, some of the spittle tangling in the hair around his mouth and then dribbling into his beard.

    “I’m your master, fool!” he said. Then turning to one of his men, he added, “If this one doesn’t die, bring it into the yard. When we’re done with Araoud, we’ll get some more entertainments with it!”

    It pleased the Beast to refer to a living mortal as an “it!” For as long as the Beast of Al Arouk could remember he had been referred to as an it by almost all men. He loved to return the favour. Striding along the short colonnade, past a single stand of olive trees, the Beast walked onto the marshalling yard of the frontier fort, expecting to see the Pasha and his few remaining guardsmen waiting to do homage. Instead the yard was empty. In fact, as he scanned the walls and doorways, he realised that he could see no one at all.

    “Where are they all?” he asked no one in particular.

    “Perhaps they are hiding,” offered one of his men with a shrug. The rest of the warband began to gather about the Beast, unsure of what to do next. This did not seem like the victory they had been expecting.

    “WELL?!” screamed the Beast at the walls of the fort, as if the stone could give him an answer. “WHERE ARE THEY?!?”

    His men shrunk back from him, familiar with his rages and fearful of impending violence. One noticed movement in the dark of one of the doorways, and with trembling hand, he pointed to his discovery. The Beast of Al Arouk pushed several of his men aside and strode with impending violence into the cool of the alchemist’s workshop. Many of the warband crowded into the small space, looking about for enemies. Some knocked over the clay jars, while others crowded around the firepit, curious as to what it was that the alchemist tended in his small iron pot.

    “WHO ARE YOU?” screamed the Beast, all semblance of control lost now.

    “I am Ibn Sagui,” replied the alchemist, calmly. “Alchemist to Pasha Araoud and the last mortal face you shall ever look upon.”

    “What?” demanded the Beast, seizing Ibn Sagui by the collar and lifting him bodily from the ground. “You will die painfully…”

    As he was lifted from the ground, Ibn Sagui let the iron poker with which he tended the fire fall hot end first into the nearest clay pot. Before the Beast of Al Arouk could finish his threat the liquid in the jar ignited, the force of its explosion setting off all of its fellows, the hundreds of clay jars. No one within the fort survived.

    Both the alchemist Ibn Sagui and the Beast of Al Arouk perished as they had lived; the one serving his master, the other in a wild, all-consuming rage.
    Last edited by NoOneofConsequence; Friday, 17th January, 2003 at 02:46 AM.
    Another Ceramic DM

    Try my story hour, Shadow of the Spider MoonCampaign(on indefinite haiatus I fear), or don't, if you prefer.

  • #83
    Wow! I've read all the stories posted so far and I think you have all done a terrific job. Way to go!
    I'm good, but I'm not THAT good....

  • #84

    Re: I'm not looking at the other entries! I'm not!

    Originally posted by mythago
    so forgive the typos....

    I presume there is no requirement that we use the pictures *in order*?
    none. use pictures in any order you wish

  • #85
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    The first duo finished!

    Where is the rest?

    good stories again!
    So many games, so little time!

  • #86
    Speaker vs. Taladas



    My mother (pic #2) was very young when she met a British naval officer. She was enthralled by my father. She married him despite her family disowning her. Even in Hong Kong marriage to a foreigner is difficult. And it is harder when the marriage lasts less than six months. My father Ensign Jon Peters left my mother and sailed away. I was born three months later.

    Mother worked hard labor for the crime she committed. Laundry, cleaning, gutting fish whatever would pay. She was stooped and shriveled. Her hands slowly becoming arthritic claws. She always was loving to me and doted as she could afford but the bitterness of her life ate at her like maggots in her soul. Self-hatred and despair rose like the ever present tide and though it might subside like the tide it would rise again. Eventually it took her life. The official reason was pneumonia but she just refused to take care of herself. She wanted it to end.

    I grew up angry and always hungry. Living practically on the streets I was in a gang and stealing before I can remember. One day I overturned a cart of some vendor and grabbed something or another and ran down the always crowded streets. Rounding a corner at high speed, I ran headlong into Lee Hung. Yeah, Lee Hung the director and star of dozens of wuxia movies, including “Soaring Falcon, Pointing Staff”. (pic #3) I had no idea at the time who he was and I tried to take off. What I remember after that was being on the ground with the wind knocked out of me.

    “Where are you going in such a hurry?” He said.

    “ I smelled your breath and was headed for fresh air.” I said still too woozy to get up.

    He laughed and pulled me up. His grip was firm and unbreakable. I should know I tried like hell to get away.

    “Would you like some easy money. I have a part for a feisty street kid in this movie.”

    It was then that I noticed the camera and equipment and the four guys he called a crew. He was serious he wanted me in a movie. I leapt at the chance. He quickly explained the scene to me. The bad guy would walk out of the building and I the brilliant street kid would run into him. He would ask me what I thought I was doing and I would make a smart alec reply. Too easy.

    The scene began and the bad guy walked out and I ran into him. He asked me what I thought I was doing and I made my smart alec remark and then he smacked me across the face sending me to the ground and then walked off. I was stunned and bleeding, his nail had caught me across the face. Before I knew it Hung handed me five pounds. Looking at the money I decided I liked acting.

    I hounded Hung for weeks after that trying to get into his movies. Eventually he let me on as an assistant and an occasional bit part. I learned martial arts, at first from some of the actors and then later at schools. I learned a lot not only about martial arts and stunt work but also about mythology and mysticism.

    I soon became Hung’s sidekick of choice and eventually a star in my own right. With real money I decided to find my father and confront him. I hired private detectives to search him out and hunt him down. I so wanted to tell him what he had done to my mother and to me. Finally after months of searching my detectives had an answer.

    My father had died about three months ago. He was dead but that wasn’t going to stop me. You see legends and mythology are the stuff a wuxia pictures. I knew every legend, every bit of occult lore there is to know. And there is a ritual to bring the dead back, and an ancient vase, The Vase of the Ever Reaching Octopus (pic #4) to do it with. I spent a fortune to get it. A fortune I didn’t have.

    I have cast the spell, here at the crypt of my father. He will rise and know what he has done. Death will not be an escape for him. Wait I hear him stirring. He rises. The door opens and he shambles out. (Pic #1) His stare is vacant as he stumbles toward me. I begin my rant, shouting obscenities at him. He reaches out and grabs me. The smell of death is everywhere. He hangs on me, tearing my flesh. I still scream at him telling of my pain of my mother’s pain. It bites into my shoulder and I realize this is not my father but a soul less monstrosity that I have brought up from hell. My last thoughts are that its breath is horrible and I want to get away.

  • #87
    Well, now that I have posted I can say whew!!! thank goodness it's done.

    Good luck to Speaker, and to all the other contestents.

  • #88
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    mirthcard vs. megamania

    I Left My Harp In Satan's Disco
    An nice antipasto for 4-6 characters of levels 1-4
    (this scenario will work best if there is at least one female character in the party)

    The Set-Up:
    While traveling along a seaside road, the players come across a man on his knees weeping next to the remains of a broken cart. All of the wheels have been smashed, no horses are to be found and a few tidbits of what must have been the cargo lie scattered about the wreckage. When approached, the man will frantically beg for help while fitfully trying to explain his predicament through intermittent sobs, his voice muffled by his hankerchief.

    The man is a merchant named Omnios who was just attacked by a band of satyrs (Picture #4). They took off with his money, his cargo of rare spices, dried fruits, nuts, cured meats and fine wine and (worst of all) his two beautiful young daughters, Gynomeo and Plastexia. He tells the heroes that his only concern is for his daughters.

    If they will rescue the girls, then they can have any and all of the gold and goods of his that they can recover from the mischievous fauns. In addition, Omnios promises to later pay the group well from his coffers at home. The only landmark that he can remember being in the vicinity is the ancient Arena of Rhetes (Picture #2), a gaming and betting locale from the olden days that lies a few leagues away near the shore. Omnios suggests that the arena is probably where the satyrs are residing.

    What's really going on:
    Omnios and his two daughters did get ambushed by a group of three satyrs named Nyx, Taureion and Kriazo. And the satyrs are living in the old arena. However, the man the party thinks is Omnios is actually the satyr Taureion wearing a Hat of Disguise in order to lure the party back to the arena. The real Omnios is actually being held captive at the arena with his daughters.

    The three satyrs just recently set up home at the Arena of Rhetes, which they love for its overgrown greenery and its closeness to the sea and a minor trade road. Honestly, all they want to do is have one gigantic, ongoing party. To that end, the fauns have kidnapped and charmed a choice few travelers in the last couple of weeks to party hard with them. Besides the merchant and his two daughters, there are four other captives here - a builder named Stias, his wife Hygateia and their two (apparently ineffectual) bodyguards, Allosko and Enkroxos.

    One key item that the satyrs gained from the capture of Stias was the massive Lyre of Building (Picture #3) he was transporting for the owners of his current jobsite. The satyrs have put their combined music knowledge into studying the strange instrument and have begun using it to make minor changes to the arena's structure. There are now only a few windows high up towards the tops of the arena's walls, and there is but one door by which to enter the building.

    The Main Event:
    As the party draws close to the Arena of Rhetes, they will just barely begin to hear the sounds of revelry over the sounds of the waves crashing nearby. The Arena is difficult to breach, but if the players try the front door they should have no problem gaining entry. Once inside, a dizzying array of action will take place.

    As the players make their way in, they will be greeted by the sight of an ecstatic celebration taking place on the center grounds. Wine flows freely, grapes, cheese and other foodstuffs are being consumed in abundance, laughter and music fills the air and quite a bit of flesh is exposed for all to see. The music that the party hears as it enters the Arena comes from the Pan Pipes of Nyx and Kriazo and Will Saves will ensue. For those that have not succumbed, Taureion, in his guise as Omnios, will try to charm the party with his pan pipes.

    If any of the party is still not charmed, the satyrs will scatter and make their way to the Lyre of Building, while the players to try and make sense of what is happening. Once they get to the instrument, one of them will play a tune and seal off the front door, leaving the high windows as the only means of egress (Picture #1) if the players want to try to get out later.

    The fauns will then begin a seige on the minds of the players by running, hiding, taunting and generally "messing with" them. One tactic they will use is to exchange the Hat of Disguise several times as they try to confuse the players by pretending to be one or another guest. This whole process should be really annoying and full of off-the-cuff role-playing nonsense. Make it truly fun and frustrating at the same time.

    The End?:
    The final goal of the players should be to get themselves and the other innocents out of the Arena with little to no bloodshed. The satyrs certainly don't want bloodshed, either. However, they do like the free food, drink, shelter and revelry.

    If the group is plucky, they could try to strike a deal with the satyrs to help them make the Arena into the sort of party place they want it to be.

    Or the players could just try to beat some sense into them (although this certainly isn't encouraged by me through the tone that I've set).

    Regardless, in the end, Omnios will try to repay the players in some fashion, but since he never made the original promises, he can't be bound to them. Stias will try to reward them as well, but his main concern is getting the magical lyre to his employers ASAP.

    Finally, what will the players do with the satyrs? They can't just leave them be, because they will just start doing the same thing over again and again. But killing them just seems wrong. Hmmm....
    Ceramic DM I & II -- http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=98651

  • #89
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    It's quarter til four in the morning here. I'm going to bed.

    Good luck megamania and everyone else.
    Ceramic DM I & II -- http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=98651

  • #90
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    Another duo finished, 2 down 2 to go (and the reserves)

    Great stories all!
    So many games, so little time!

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