Dungeons and Dragons

Rolling With the Punches: Introductions

Anaxi Zephries has the best map collection in the known world, and he is the only living person to get anywhere close to Kwalish and live to talk about it (as far as anyone knows). His research continues, as ever, but trauma from watching all of his friends die and shame over having to eat some of them keeps him from venturing out himself. Instead, he is constantly inundating his contacts with letters requesting that the aimless and the greedy and “anyone else you can’t be bothered with” be sent to him, especially those with skills in map making. He finds himself frequently dealing with Garret Levistusson. This tiefling con artist has made off with Anaxi’s investments repeatedly, delivering maps of exotic lands, but never the one Zephries has paid for. He always returns claiming the price wasn’t adequate for the work. The only thing keeping Zephries from having him killed is the fact that Garret’s maps have at least doubled his money so far. Zephries also suspects that Levistusson has made the journey and is witholding the maps for some reason. This time, Zephries had an offer that would be his very last to Levistusson and he had found some friends to protect his investment.

Flue was led here by necessity, but he was happy about it. He was orphaned, as many genasi are, and taken in by (or sold to) a Veldalken and raised in the Izzet League. Flue had discovered in the last year that his guardian was doing research to form a neutralizing agent for some of the Izzet League’s most powerful experimental weaponry. Flue began to fear that he would be taken down when his guardian was discovered and began to look for a way out. He saw a letter from Zephries on his Master’s desk and requested the assignment. Master sent him on assignment without so much as a nod. This was odd behavior, as Flue had become first apprentice in Master’s lab and would leave behind a great deal of chores and incomplete research. This was a clue to Flue that his master and guardian knew the jig was up and sought to protect Flue. On his way to Zepries’ compound, Flue would get word that Master had been discovered dead, but not before passing on his risky research to a mutual contact in the Dimir. This contact offered the research to Flue, who then offered to sell it to the Dimir. Flue did not name a price, but instead asked his friend to keep it safe until he returned from this expedition. He would then decide whether to use this research as leverage to enter the Dimir or to sell it to his friend, who would then use it as he saw fit. Flue is tall and lithe and black as night, with a shock of firey hair that sometimes defies gravity, and sometimes hangs shaggily over his face. He has resting bitchface and moves with grace.

Zeprhries had also hired the only man in the known world he trusted implicitly, a Paladin of Oghma called Joe Gi Berreh. Zephries met Berreh on his first and only expedition to find Kwalish. He was thought to be dead, but clearly is not. Little is known of him, but Zepries has reason to believe that Joe had spent the years following their failed expedition doing research on Kwalish and his strange magic, at least intermittently. Berreh claims to have learned of Zepries needs via a rash of letters sent to temples of Oghma searching for men with a death wish. He came to the compound to chide Zephries, but was ultimately made an offer he wouldn’t refuse. Berreh is an intimidating presence with palpable, chaotic energy. He is a force of nature and the perfect protector for Zephries’ maps. Today he wore a wide brimmed staw hat with deer antlers fastened to it by a leather belt, which was in such a condition as to suggest he tanned the hide himself. He may have also constructed some of his clothes out of hyde… and the antlers were adorned with various flowers and some herbs, which looked as if they had been hung to dry. He walked about with the stature of an old man, seeming to buckle a bit under the weight of his hat.

Presently, Joe would turn to Flue and ask “If we went outside, could you make me a fire so that I can cook?” before Flue could answer, Joe had his longbow drawn and pointed out of the window. Flue floated over and got cozy with Joe, who must have sensed him, but appeared unbothered by the proximity of this flamboyant stranger. Together they followed the elk, Joe holding the drawn bow steady. They stood there, following the Elk in utter silence for some time… Finally Zephries spoke “We are all dying of starvation”.

Joe released the arrow and was silent. His intimidating presence caused all others to remain silent as well. After an eternity, he spoke.

“I shall now dress this animal, and you will all share in the drinking of it’s blood and the eating of it’s heart around the fire this evening. I shall prepare a feast and we will spend 3 days here while I dry the meat and hide of this blessed animal for our journey. Once everything is ready, we leave. There will be no negotiation.”

No one spoke as he made his way out to the elk. Joe ruminated and meditated as he walked, chewing on his impressions, contemplating the complications… Mary Greymalkin and Garret Levistusson were both powerful, talented, and garbage people. If things got complicated, he was certain that they would be no match for him, even as a team. Flue was something he had never seen before, a Genasi… a hybrid. Otherworldly. It was all much to think about. Having reached his destination, he took a braid of sweetgrass from his hat and kneeled before elk, placing his hands on the elk and kissing its face. ” Let go, Old Friend”. The elk released one last belabored breath, igniting the sweetgrass braid.

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Rolling Through the Punches: Kwalish Part 1

dndtrayToday I (God, for the unfamiliar) would like to tell you a hilarious story about a lot of misfits and how they almost got obliterated. The tale begins right at the tits… on the cliffs of the Barrier Peaks. Our heroes are presently drooling on themselves and staring catatonically at a floating monastery.

1: That the fuck is that thing?
2: Appears to be a cross between a sphinx and a winged hog
1: Well, it’s unnatural
2: Clearly
Very unnatural indeed. This creature was a gynosphinx, with glowing blue eyes and some otherworldly technology embedded in it’s skull. When it caught sight of them, it began breathing heavily and whipping it’s tail around. Gooodit!

1: What should we do? Do you think it talks?
GS: I speak many languages and I read lips. I can smell your fear, but my body is not half as formidable as my mind. Come fourth, travelers.

1: Well … it seems nice enough.
4: Poor little thing is dying for some attention.

GS. I am quite capable of destroying all of you, but I prefer a battle of wits. I challenge you each to pose a question that I cannot answer. If any one of you lot is successful, I will forego the toll and call for the ferry. If you all lose, you must pay.

1; Ok, question. What is all that shit stuck in your head?
GS: explodes
2,3,4: EEEW!!!
4: to 1: You Bastard, I’ve got guts all over me and we are about to go into a monastery. What in the hell?
1: But did you die? No, the sphinx did, you’re welcome betch
2: Okay ladies… do you see that thing coming for us?

That “thing” was the Ferry, With company. Five cultists led by an elder were on board and did not look… well… they didn’t look to be in any mood, as their faces were flayed to the point of just being skeletons. The scars went in every which direction. It was all in the eye of the beholder, really…

EM: Welcome to our humble abode. Why have you killed our sphinx?

1: I asked it a question and it exploded

The Elder Monk looked at him with a look of smugness. This party did not look to him like any sort of threat to a beast such as the Spinx. Had there been a violent battle, this lot would no doubt be dead. The lack of flesh wounds was telling.

EM: So it did. Would you like a lift?

The travelers piled on and the skiff went onward toward the monastery. Our party stood silent and internally and actually (i’ll confirm, yes) visually terrified. None were familiar with the special magic held by the Sphinx. This new magic seemed to have a chaotic nature about it and so everyone was doubting themselves, wondering if this would be the one that killed them.

The monastery floated amid the valley without aid of water or anything, Wires and metal jutted out from all sides. Ore fire could be smelt (hee hee) and seen from holes bored to the outside. This was a powerful magic and the entire monastery was imbued with it.

The Elder monk who had piloted the skiff remained silent as they arrived and de-boarded, but extended arm and finger ominously toward the Central Abbey. They all took the hint and started walking. He and his goons followed behind. Each carried a hooked pole arm, while the Elder carried what looked like a staff, but with an odd piece of metal in the top resembling the implements we saw on the ship and mounted to the sphinx.
As they entered the Abbey, the low hum became louder. It bounced around the vast expanse of space inside and made the party still more uneasy. About 10 monks huddled in dark areas of the room, and light shone down upon the Grand Master, who sat still and poised on a throne. He looked otherworldly, being quite tall and thin, wearing a large leather cape and very tall hat (which I am sure has a fancy name, but I’m God and I don’t care).

To Be Continued…

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Fiction Snippets: Best Case Scenario

We lived in a bedroom for awhile. Sometimes at night I would wake to furious typing. I would look up and see her faded red hair gleaming under an oppressive desk lamp, the smoke of her blunt obscuring everything. In these moments I knew something was going to be different about us. All my friends had workaday Moms. I couldn’t imagine any of them being so sleepless as mine, awake at 3am just thinking. Unable to turn off. Who knew a crazy woman would wind up raising the happiest kids in the world? It would be 10 years before either of us realized we were poor. I’m still not sure we were. She put us out there in the real world.

“There is no greater teacher than Nature. She will kick your ass because it is her job. She does not care about you. Caring about you is my job and I wish I was fucking dead, so dress the fucking duck so we can eat.”
I know how to survive in any climate… and I can dress a fucking duck. Nothing in this world scares me, not even failure. I have done well, but I have never forgotten the fact that comfort is a lie and failure is just opportunity. Mom would rise from the grave and choke me out if I gave her credit for all this. “Nature is God. She gives us everything. EVER-Y-THANG”

To Be Continued…

Recipe

Big Kahuna Burgers

For some reason watching Jules eat that burger from the fictional Hawiian burger joint in Pulp Fiction always makes me hungry, so here’s what I do about it:

Big Kahuna Burgers

Hawiian Buns (full size or sliders)
Pineapple rings (tidbits recommended for sliders but it doesn’t really matter)
Ground Pork
Ground Beef (I usually use 75% pork and lean beef, but you can use what you have)
Tony Cachere’s Seasoning
Franks Red Hot (or preferred hot sauce)
Mayo
Meunster cheese
Bacon (optional)
Banana Peppers (optional)
Butter (for buns)

I always start with my trusty cast iron skillet. Let it heat up to meduium high. Add a pat of butter to the pan and place your pineapple in for grilling. Grill to taste. Some like it golden, some like it burnt.
Once grilled, place it aside and if you haven’t yet, your bacon (drain the pan after).

Next comes the meat. For sliders I recommend 1/10 lb or less, for full size burgers 1/4lb per patty. I sprinkle the meat liberally with the Cajun seasoning and mix it in before molding the patties to make them super tender. You can also mix it up by putting your cheese and/or bacon inside the patty.

As you are cooking the patties, you can take a moment to make the spicy mayo… You just mix 1 part sauce to 5 parts mayo (or to taste).

Once the burgers are done, drain the pan and butter and toast your buns if you haven’t yet. You are not ready to build your burger and eat. The “classic” Big kahuna is served with spicy mayo, pineapple, cheese, bacon and banana peppers in place of the conventional pickle. Enjoy!

Slider Tip: If you are wanting to go the slider route, you can make the patties by using a cake pan and baking the meat until done. This makes a large, thin patty you can use for your sliders. Just press the seasoned meat into the bottom of a cake pan as evenly as possible. For 2lbs of meat, 25-30 minutes at 375 should do. Always check the thickest portion of meat for proper temperature (typically the middle in this case) . You can add the cheese at the 25 minute mark to make it nice and melty for serving.