The Runic Storyhour: An Oriental Adventure in The Dream


Once A Fool
The following portions of Session 7 is recreated from the player of Dashing Orcblood Croons’ copious notes. The original story seems to have been irrevocably lost. I have edited the many detailed notes of the player. In addition, I may edit these portions of the session again in the future, if the author informs me that I have got something wrong. These portions of Session 7 are still written from the point of view of Dashing Orcblood Croons.

Session 7, part 2

When I wake up, the little halfling’s little monkey is perched atop my chest. I am too weak to move.

I can see a man approach the back of the warehouse and walk over to a small chest. He opens it and rummages through it. The darling little halfling seems to vaguely recognize the man, but I am certain that I have never laid eyes upon him. The poor little one seems to be too weak to move, as well. We are at the mercy of this strange man!

The tiger that climbs down from the ceiling seems to belong to this man, although there is a palpable sense of tension between the two. There is something strange about that tiger…

This man, whom the halfling calls Intelligent Chameleon Survives, seems an utterly dispassionate sort. Even his tiger can’t seem to stand him and leaves the warehouse. Fighting Man Dances sends his little monkey after the tiger. What a brave little monkey!

DM note: the tiger is actually Chameleon's familiar. It's actually celestial (Remember the ring of spiders around the tiger cub in the second session? It wasn't just foreshadowing), which means it is Lawful Good. Which is funny, because Chameleon is very much Chaotic Neutral. For most of this session, the tiger was mad at Chameleon and kept "not talking to him." For some reason, the player of Chameleon keeps insisting that familiers should "obey" their "masters," just because they are supposed to "serve" them. Feh.

Chameleon seems distraught over the disappearance of his tiger, but Fighting Man Dances tells him that his adorable little monkey has followed the beast to a temple of some sort. When the two creatures return, some time later, the tiger has some sort of stick in its mouth. Fighting Monkey Dances is hopping up and down, making impatient monkey sounds. In a moment, we know why; the halfling’s precious little voice rings out in alarm: "Someone has been stolen from the temple!" Oh dear.

The tiger taps me with the end of it’s stick and I feel a sensation of unparalleled euphoria shoot up and down my spine. I am healed! This stick is a miracle stick! The tiger seems to want me to keep the stick and use it. I have my concerns, because, after all, the tiger undoubtedly stole the stick from the temple. I feel a thrill of danger at the thought of possessing this holy item unlawfully. I feel I should faint!

DM notes: actually, Chameleon kept chastising his Lawful Good familiar for this act. I don't know why he assumes that the tiger didn't ask for it. :)

I tap the wand on the young halfling and feel a jolt of energy flow from my heart, through my arm, into the stick, and, finally, into the poor boy. He is up and about in no time. I perform the same ritual on the two hostages.

Then we find out the bad news.

Passion Readily Follows is very, very dead. Her body is bloated, withered, and otherwise prematurely decomposing. The dwarves are gone. They have simply vanished, along with the body of assassin, whom they slayed. Those unfortunate, adorable dwarves are simply nowhere to be found. I am nearly heartbroken.

The monkey once again insists, vicariously through his halfling, that there is a "stolen person" in the temple.

It looks like that is where we are headed. Chameleon, bless that beautiful man, lifts up my dead friend Passion and bears her over his shoulder. I carry the halfling on my own shoulders. The monkey rides on top of the tiger; they make such a cute pair!

The temple is not the Shugenja temple in the northern part of the city, but a small shaman’s temple in the west. There is an unconscious woman curled up at the foot of the alter; judging by her attire, I would hazard a guess that she is a sohei, guardian of the temple. She is hurt, so I run over and tap her with my miracle stick. She wakes up and frantically looks around, saying in a rush of breathless words that the "workers of madness" took her superior. The said something about "the Blessed," that "they hear the voice of dreams," and that "the sound of gongs would signal the end of time." This woman is so morbid, I could just scream!

The sohei is named Waterfall Softly Runs. She is adamant about seeking out her superior and we are content to help her; perhaps, in doing so, we may ease the troubled soul of our newly departed friend. The tiger hunts by scent, but the trail ends abruptly in the center of the street. Something strange is afoot.

DM note: I'll have to look up my notes before I update the NPC list. Waterfall Softly Runs may actually be the name of the shaman, not the sohei.

All around us, the air seems to shimmer, the sky rips open, and three creatures, each larger than the small houses on either side of the street, looking vaguely like worms crawl out. They have translucent skin and many organs can be made out just under the outer layer.

Out of the corner of his eye, our lovely little halfling spots a humanoid figure on the rooftop of a nearby house. His monkey is already chasing it. The worm-creatures are large and mean, but they are certainly slow. We have plenty of time to shout warnings to all of the inhabitants on the street and to pelt the creatures, one at a time, with arrows, bolts, and fire.

DM note: fire? Of course, fire!

I think this is the perfect time for an inspiring song and, for once, I am allowed to play my flute in peace. The music is so lovely.

As the first of the worm-monsters comes close, I stop playing my song and begin to sing a little spell that I’ve picked up somewhere over the years. The dream flinches in disgust, but I summon a swarm of tiny insects, which crawl all over the worm, and leave nothing of it when they move on.

We make short order of the other two worms in like fashion (one we hack up after Chameleon manages to paralyze it, somehow). Each time, the air around the creatures splits apart and swallows the beasts. They are so icky.

DM note: that Summon Swarm spell took me by suprise. It sure was cool, though!
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Once A Fool
Session 7, part 3

The monkey is still gone, but has headed toward the bookstore. So do we. After a short time, the tiger growls, smelling an unnatural madness. This is "The Reality Wrinkle." The front door is locked, but that does not keep Chameleon from opening the door. Inside, a startled man looks up. He clearly is not completely sane. He is drooling a bit and has a look of lunacy in his eyes. The tiger growls.

"Might I inquire of you why you have come to this store at this early hour of the night?"

Chameleon responds, "This is the time when I usually read."

"If there is anything you like, then we would be happy to sell to you."

"What types of books do you have here?"

The insane little man excuses himself for a moment and enters the back room, ducking quickly behind a beaded curtain which strongly resembles a mass of black tentacles. In the meantime, our adorable little halfling fidgets with a large book, obviously containing "secrets that halflings are not meant to know." He is clearly struggling to keep from opening the cover. In the end, his common sense prevails and the book is returned to a shelf. When the mousy little madman returns, we detain him and Chameleon magically changes his features to match those of the man—all without bothering the Dream. How does he manage that? I start to play a song again, just because the situation warrants it. The unbalanced shopkeeper, bless his heart, knows the value of a good tune; he is entirely fascinated! The shadows on the wall appear to dance in time with my song, as the Dream joins in.

Chameleon, in disguise, enters the next room and sees two men, obviously irrevocably insane, ranting and playing mahjong. There is an insane gibbering, unlike any noise that we have ever encountered, coming from behind a small, misshapen door.

The crazy men cannot sleep. They talk of the Blessed and of strange dream-messages from some "Speaker in Dreams" that make sleep uncomfortable. Naturally, Chameleon opens the door for a brief moment, then slams it shut.

Inside is a creature unlike anything that has ever come from the nightmare. It is eyes and mouths and teeth, but most of all, it is an unbearable assortment of unnatural sounds. Only, we do somehow manage to bear it. The two men at the table are not so lucky. Their troubled minds can take no more torment and they violently snap, assaulting each other and subduing each other into unconsciousness. That was convenient. It is when we hear the unmistakable sound of many footsteps on the staircase that we opt to retreat. Wisely, in my opinion.

DM note: this was actually a pretty funny, if abysmally safe encounter.

But before we go, the halfling has to get one last blow in. As we are leaving, he uses a minor magick to conjure a vaguely visible wispy hand (causing the Dream to stir, a bit, but ultimately ignore us) and open the door of the closet containing the gibbering monster.

We are content to write the whole expedition off as a failure, but unfortunately, Waterfall is still with us and insists that we must go back in to save her superior. If we will not, then she will go alone.

Drat that woman!

--Dashing Orcblood Croons

DM note: notable moments--this game lasted until 8 in the morning. By the time we quit, our brave note-taker (and author) was barely conscious and in danger of an epileptic fit. I could have gone on for hours. As a result the final page or two of notes is somewhat sketchy in comparison to the other ten.

Dashing Orcblood Croons is what all half-orcs should aspire to be (although, there's no inter-racial breeding in my game, the stats are the same)! I needed a pseudo European, lace-and-ruffles wearing, "foreign devil" kind of culture somewhere. I decided that half-orcs would be perfect. It can be assumed that they came from the other side of the ocean (in the sky, remember) at some point, but no one really remembers. But then again, memory is a fleeting thing in the Dream, anyway.

Intelligent Chameleon Survives is back! He's a very charismatic, outspoken character, a natural leader. He's also always arguing with his tiger (seems a lot like Fras, from (Contact)'s games, doesn't it? Well, if you're going to steal, steal from the best!)

Fighting Man Dances is a crafty little pyromaniac, isn't he? It didn't take the player long to realize that he wasn't playing a Lawful Neutral, and change the little monk to Lawful Good. That really becomes evident in this session. In many ways, the halfling is to his monkey what the tiger is to Chameleon.

My favorite moment requires a little bit of out-of-game information. The player of Chameleon wanted to know if he could share his spells, specifically Spider Climb, with his familiar. I thougth it sounded kind of strange, so I had him look it up. He could.

At the beginning of the game, he was running the dwarves (the player of Strong Dwarf Stands could not make it to that session). When the tiger walked out on the ceiling, the player had a look of malice (which he denies, to this day) as he caught a glimpse of the depths of my evil DM soul and readied the dwarves' crossbows to fire at his other character's familiar. He asked for it.
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Once A Fool
Broccli_Head said:
What happened to Ocean?

The player has been kept busy for a number of reasons, primarily the writing of her novel & her collection of essays. She just doesn't have the time to spend on these "hobby" things that us younger whelps do. And, unfortunately, she is moving away in the Summer. :(

We may see from her a couple more times, yet, though!

The character was swept away in the crowd at the party. Perhaps she went home to her five-year-old son. Perhaps she became a servant of House Dragon (riiiiight). Perhaps she just faded away, as people in dreams tend to do when you're not thinking about them.


Once A Fool
I will update very soon.

Now, it is written in stone.

PS-Sorry for the delay, but we have to piece the notes together from rapidly fading memories.

Too bad, too. Detail was particularly important in this one.

Ah, well...
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First Post
Hey Rune,

How are things going? Good to see you posting on the story hour again ;-)


PS: I haven't heard anything back yet, but will be checking in with "the man" tomorrow ;-)


First Post
Great work Rune! Your campaign seems great and your players seem to also do very well in writing the story hour entries. Any chance you could post the PC's in the rogues gallery at some point?


Once A Fool
Sorry for the continued delay, folk, but I'm a wee bit busy with the Iron DM contest (I'm advancing to the second round! Woohoo!) at the moment.

In the meantime, I'll repost the quiz relevant to the next update:

Rune said:

Who is the last person the party would expect to show up to help them at this point? Does this person show up to help them?

What killed all of these cabalists? And that gibbering monster?

What is that horrible rotting smell?

Where are those footsteps coming from?

Where'd the room go?

What is that horrible rotting smell?

Who's in charge of starting the fire this time?
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