The story thus far…
Our tale began in Forlonde, a large continent in the southwestern hemisphere of the world Teranis, a land full of fantasy, magic and exceptionally ridiculous peoples. Due to thousands of years of disagreement regarding the treatment of races considered monstrous, Forlonde was divided into two nations: the unoriginal and aptly named Consolidated Realm and the vaguely evil and bizarre Teraphobian Empire. While Forlonde is a land of temperate weather and a wide variety of landscape, its main attraction is a massive, gaping chasm known as the Schism that was created in the last twenty years by a hero named Amelia in order to allow the denisons of the underland (all manner of “monstrous” creatures, including beastfolk, kobolds, orcs, demons, and more) to escape and live once more on the surface.
One fateful evening, four individuals attended gala in the Consolidated Realm to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Realm’s founding. To no one’s surprise, there was a bamboozle afoot at the gala and all of the nobles in attendance were killed, the princess was kidnapped, and general pandemonium ensued. The surviving member of the court, one Archduke Bengalor Crabbersnatch, assumed leadership of the realm and immediately pointed out the perpetrators of the coup: a scraggly Kobold geomancer named Rasker; the Baron of Commerce and adopted son of the late King of the Realm, an orc brawler named Valdur; a fluffy good boi samurai adventurer named Vladimir; and retired soldier turned private bodyguard named Hardin. As it looked like it was all over for these four, there was a flash of bright light and a creepy, skeletal creature appeared, introducing itself as Mr. Bones and offering the four a chance to escape and become heroes. Mr. Bones would supply them with temporary immortality if they would find the Staff of Mysteries, a legendary item that could repair the Schism and perform numerous other powerful feats, and rescue the princess. Not seeing any other option, the four accepted and escaped the city with a bounty on their heads.
Chapter 1: Journey to the Underland
Valdur, Vladimir, Rasker, and Hardin set out first to to the Schism to venture into the depths of the Underland. Upon arriving, they found a lively carnival set up around the entrance to the Underland. After a few games and funnel cakes, they secured passage in a cart heading down. Once in the depths of the Underland, the group discovered an entire city, narrowly avoided Sylock the Defiler (a giant monster of unknown intentions), encountered a frozen woman with an incredible power level, entertained an offer to bring the Staff of Mysteries back to the Naga Queen Ahzshara, killed a spider bartender, invented a new cocktail, allowed a young black dragon to escape the Underland, discovered the diary, cloak, the orb of the staff of mysteries, and room of the hero Amelia, and picked up a duck in a dungeon to disastrous effect. From there, the party returned to the surface with a lead — find the platinum dragon Bahamat and get more information on the staff’s final resting place.
Chapter 2: Aodalas
The adventurers headed to the city of Aodalas, a moderately sized hub of trade, temples and trickery. On the first evening in town, Hardin nearly got into a fight with a dozen guardsmen at the bar, Vladimir ran into an old acquaintance that turned out to be a backstabbing bastard being blackmailed by big bad booboos, and Rasker and Valdur helped save a bank from a terrible fire, rescuing its contents from certain demise and offering them a new home in the bag of holding. On the next day, upon hearing rumors of the Cult of the Nine committing various nefarious multi-level marketing schemes, Hardin decided infiltrating the cult would be the perfect way to gain access to information and resources to recover the staff, plus possibly bring down the cult from the inside. So Vladimir got a date with Tiffany and Valdur flirted with Jessica and Rasker flirted with cookies and it seemed as if the group’s entry into the cult was an assured thing. According to Brad, the assistant to the regional cult manager, all they would need to do is talk to the boss during that night’s ceremonial rave and all would be chill. So the group went to the rave, Hardin picked a fight with the boss, and the group was unceremoniously ejected from the party without any swag. Yolo. That’s when they decided they should just go. So they did. Annnnnd were set upon by bandits with a case of mistaken identity. Eventually, the fight came to a standstill, the bandits realized their mistake as they had been tracking an orc raiding party that had come through the area and only one of our protagonists is an orc, and a fragile truce was made for the night’s rest. During a talk with the bandit leader, Valdur learned the location of Blackfen Stronghold, his parents’ hometown.
Chapter 3: Up the Mountain
After acquiring horses, the group traveled to the mountain where it was said Bahamut made his home. Battling ice elementals in a forest and bullying banshees near a graveyard, the brave party finally reached the mountain peak and discovered a much-diminished Platinum Dragon, cursed to a small size and unable to leave the mountain after losing a bet with the Demon King Jaraxxus. Hearing the news of the princess’ kidnapping and the pact the party had made with Mr. Bones, Bahamut agreed to call a council of metallic time dragons to discuss. While they waited, the group underwent a training montage and learned the story of how the staff of mysteries came to this world and of its mysterious owner, the Former Fey Queen Morgana. Click here to recount that tale. After a week or two, the council members showed up, dinner was had, and a plan was all but formed when an uninvited dragon in the form of a humanoid rudely interrupted the gathering and RUINED EVERYTHING. Bahamut begged the heroes to defeat the demon king that “stole” his might and grant him the power once again to rule over all the other dragons and see that the world would not fall to what must surely be the most nefarious of plots. The party agreed that if they had time, they would totally do that. Then that boneheaded orc tried to pick the lock on a DRAGON’S TREASURE CHEST and was promptly chased from the mountain cave. The rest of the party followed, with the exception of Hardin, who also FRICKIN TRIED TO STEAL FROM A DRAGON’S TREASURE CHEST. Bahamut will remember that.
Chapter 4: Thus it was that the adventure began…
Valdur, Rasker, Vladimir and Hardin began the long trek through the wilds of Forlonde to the Teraphobian Empire’s capital city of Eglath, the best lead they had to recovering the princess. In time, they came to an eerie abandoned village that almost looked as if its citizens had just up and decided to evacuate their home randomly in the middle of their daily chores.Taking the opportunity to loot some alcohol and apples, Vladimir, Rasker and Valdur hardly noticed as Hardin waltzed off to look for trouble, finding it in the form of a small, weeping child. Taking pity, Hardin took the child back to her spooky, empty home, built a fire, put her to bed, and, deciding the outside was too dark and scary, took a nap in a bed in the house. The rest of the group eventually found him and actually asked the little girl, a pale, creepy child named Aubrey, what had transpired. She told them of a raiding party that had attacked many of the townsfolk, taking them hostage. The warriors who went to retrieve those taken, the girl’s parents included, never returned. Unable to just leave her there, the group set out in the dead of night with Aubrey in tow. Eventually, as the air became more still and howls could be heard throughout the night, signs of life appeared in the distance — a raging bonfire surrounded by staked figures and humanoid creatures in masks dancing about. Recognizing her family as those figures perched precariously close to the fire, Aubrey darted toward the scene, emitting a horrible scream. The group watched in impressed horror and amazement as the child proceeded to drain the life from each of the masked creatures, leaving mere husks in their place. Our protagonists helped cut the poor individuals down from their stakes and one introduced himself as Aubrey’s brother. Thanking them profusely for their help and warning them to watch out for the werewolves in the future, he took Aubrey’s hand and the villagers left on their mission to find more survivors.
That wasn’t the only strange occurrence to plague our heroes on this journey through the wilds. Tales of missing grandmas, strange fogs, mysterious creatures, and more rumors reached their ears as they travelled. Eventually, they caught up with a band of slavers who seemed to be transporting dozens of senior citizens. After coming up with a plan of attack, the group attacked, gaining the advantage in a surprise round — but not before the group’s leader, a small, sassy lizard child began to cast explosions all around them as her pet direwolf assaulted the group’s flanks. The child’s bodyguard, a monstrous muscleman, also took up arms, driving back the assault just as hard. After a sandstorm and several intense rounds of battle, the slavers were down to just the lizard child and her dog, along with the big man. In a desperate gamble, Vladimir swung his blade at the girl — banishing her to another plane. The big man managed to get away in the chaos of the fray, but in an impressive display of animal handling, Valdur gained the tenuous friendship of the direwolf and the party grew by one. After a few more days of travel, the party arrived in a fog-covered village in the countryside. Intrigued, as a town this size should be on a map, the group ventured inside the tavern, where they promptly learned there was no leaving Barovia once you were taken in by the fog. The only chance at freeing the town and escaping alive would be to confront the vampire lord who had taken up residence in the spooky mansion at the edge of town. A bard who happened to overhear the conversation immediately volunteered to take the adventurers on a tour of the mansion, as her fiance was one of those who had been captured by the vampire the night before. Hearing her story, the group agreed to help and headed to the mansion. They spent an entire day and night inside, uncovering mad science experiments that turned people into thralls, fighting crazed science experiments trapped in the lab, uncovering the legacy of Count Strahd, a former human turned vampire in his pursuit of knowledge and creating the ultimate smart thrall as a way to control the monstrous races enslaved in The Teraphobian Empire.
Many things happened in that place: Valdur discovered a hentai tentacle monster, Vareena (the bard) discovered she was dead — that sort of thing. Finally, the excursion mets its end in the Count’s throne room as the heroes had come across legendary weapons and artifacts to bring the mad vampire down. From his dying pleas, they learned the nature of the experiments being conducted in the Teraphobian Empire and obtained several vials of the thrall juice being manufactured. After helping Vareena come to terms with her death and find peace in being a banshee for all eternity, they returned to the town tavern and immediately began testing the thrall juice on people. In a spark of genius, they added the thrall juice to the water supply and, with the fog’s help, turned the entire town into a land of super productive office drones. Then they left. Quickly.
But the journey through the wilds was not yet over. After a week’s travel, the group finally made it to Blackfen Stronghold, where a hero’s welcome awaited them. Calling Valdur “the chosen one” and raising his crest on each banner and flag in the stronghold, the Blackfen orcs threw the biggest feast this group had seen since that fateful night at the gala that brought them together. Not all the orcs welcomed their messiah with open arms, however. The chieftan’s son Kakarot, believing that his own missing sister was the true chosen one, bristled at the face of this fake in his town. Naturally, Hardin jumped on this opportunity to pick a fight, got beat up, and an actual challenge was issued — first, the seconds would fight. Vladimir, being the only second around, beat the hell out of Goyle, Kakarot’s second. Next, Valdur and Kakarot began their fight. With some shitty rolls on Kakarot’s side and less shitty rolls on Valdur’s side, “The Chosen One” won and another feast was held. The group then continued on their way while the orcs of Blackfen prepared to invaded the Consolidated Realm, which had become a dictatorship under Archduke Crabbersnatch.
As they approached the border of the Teraphobian Empire, the group came across the town of Katun, which had recently been burned nearly to the ground. By recently, I mean the night previous. Suspecting the worst, Vladimir inquired as to the identity of the perpetrators even as he knew exactly who did this: the same monsters who burned his own village just south of Katun: the Teraphobian Empire. After healing as many victims as possible and directing the survivors to Blackfen Stronghold, the group began tracking the raiding party that had demolished Katun. Their search led them deep into the heart of a winter forest, and an oncoming blizzard forced them to make camp for the night in the ruins of Kiritsugu Village, Vladimir’s childhood home, where he finally told the party what had happened and why he hates elves and the empire so much, as well as his quest to bring down the six-fingered elf that took everything from him.
The next day, the heroes continued their trek through the woods, but many of the tracks had been lost due to the storm. In time, they came to a clearing where, in the middle of a circle of trees, gleamed more gold and treasure than even a dragon could imagine. Everyone but Doggo and Vladimir, being smart good boys, immediately began shoveling loot into their bags in the center of the ring. Unbeknownst to Vladimir, the party had been replaced by fey dopplegangers the moment they entered the ring and over time, they dragged him too into the ring. Each of the party member’s true selves awoke in the Faerie Court of Winter and in the audience of the Winter Queen Nero, current reigning monarch of the court. Over a series of intense, tedious dialogs, the party learned that their “gift” of immortality was a stolen one, imparted by one of the court’s former dignitaries turned traitor for the “false queen” Morgana, a fey creature named Faedick currently acting under the name “Mr. Bones.” However, in her great mercy, Queen Nero decided to forgive the party for their impudence if they should complete three quests for her. In addition, she would grant each party member a single wish upon completion. The party decided a pizza party and 10 billion gold would be adequate, while Rasker made a request of his own: allow him to retain his immortality and become a fey creature himself. Impressed and amused, Queen Nero agreed on the condition that he complete one additional quest to be decide upon at a later date. At this time, the first quest was given to the rest of the party: discover Faedick’s true objective and report back without giving away the fact that they’d been in talks with the Winter Court.
And so, the group was dispatched back the material plane where they discovered that there had been a terrible mistake — that foolish faerie Barnes had put them all back in the wrong bodies! Rasker is Valdur and Valdur is Rasker and Vladimir is Hardin and Hardin is Vladimir! Aggravated and exhausted, the party kept going while trying to get used to their new forms. Eventually they reached a tavern on the outskirts of Eglath where they spotted a group of soldiers eerily similar to the ones they had been tracking. A fight ensued and the party won. Late in the evening, Vladimir-in-Hardins-Body was accosted by slavers questioning his permits and why he was allowing his monsters to go about off-leash. Taking the verbal offense, Vladimir convinced the slavers he was not only doing the same job as them, but a better one — that is until two-day Larry pointed out several policy violations and then the party had to kill all the slavers. Thanks, Larry.
Chapter 5: In Enemy Territory
The group finally made it to the city gates of Eglath and took a rest for the night in an inn on the outskirts and ran into a band of beastfolk that had escaped a life in the fighting pits. They directed these beastfolk back to Blackfen Stronghold as a gathering place for the rebellion’s army and turned in for the night. In return, the beastfolk told them of Gordon, a doctor in the city that would be able to grant them safe passage. After a terrible night’s rest, the gang summoned Mr. Bones and managed to trap him in a portal between our world and another one, but also got transported themselves into that other, noisy world in the process. Mr. Bones agreed to tell them everything, but that they could not stay in this world — they must make their way to another portal as quickly as possible. So the odd group traversed modern day Akibahara and learned of Mr. Bones’ deep affection for Morgana. His wish was to return her leadership over all the courts and overtake the world, but that she needed her staff for her power to fully return. After returning their proper world, the party returned to the Faerie clearing and achieved an audience with the court to turn in their first quest. Nero returned them to their proper bodies and promised to send a messenger with their next quest soon.
With that turned in, the group snuck into the Teraphobian empire. Valdur revealed his roguish nature while Rasker revealed his true calling as a deity. Eventually, they were able to find Gordon, who gave them disguises to freely move about the city and one antidote each for the thrall juice (and one for the princess), which had become mainstream after Strahd’s research was perfected by a local mad scientist. The party explored the town, which was getting ready for a massive week-long festival in honor of King Joffrey’s 16th birthday party. At some point, they ventured over to FutureCorp, the corp of the future, where a six-fingered elf was giving a presentation on thralls alongside a fox beastfolk — an old flame of Vladimir’s. The wolf samurai flew into a rage and was shut down by the elf, humiliated, and thrown into prison, his disguise fading as one of the mechanical sentries in the building approached him. Hardin, realizing he was a human and had nothing to fear from the magic-dispelling sentinels, hatched a plan to break Vladimir out of jail, and within a few hours, the party was reunited.
The next day, they headed to FutureCorp to help Vladimir get justice and also get the orb of the Staff of Mysteries back, but found it abandoned save for a few sentinels, crazed thrall and a mad Kobold king riding a gorilla. This is where they got portal guns, Vladimir got temporarily turned into a puppy, and a massive underground network was discovered under the river loaded with thrall juice. From their experience with rivers and thrall juice in the past, the party knew this could be bad. They made their way back to the surface, and being careful to keep a low profile, went shopping and learned about the tournament arc taking place at the end of the week in honor of the king. Winner would be granted the position of the King’s bodyguard and paid very well in addition to gaining the ear of the most powerful ruler in Forlonde. Seeing this as a chance to get close to the King and rescue the princess, who they assumed based on several documents, invoices, rumors, etc. to be in Joffrey’s castle, the group signed up to fight. They also discovered Hardin’s children being sold as slaves. Before having another party member get thrown in jail, Valdur stepped in and purchased the children. The group prepared for battle in their own ways: Hardin bought a totally not cursed sword, Valdur negotiated with an Amazonian blacksmith, Rasker bought a hat that made him smart and elemental stones, and Vladimir meditated and perfected his technique.
The day of the tournament came. Within a matter of hours, the gang defeated a kraken, pulled the ethernet cable on Brota, killed a metric dick-ton of zombies, bonked a big-nosed boss, and kicked the anti-party's ass. Then they faced the final boss, a game of Munchkin against an old business rival of Valdur’s. Unbeknownst to the rest of the group, Valdur had been charmed by the thrall juice and was helping the boss win. He managed to gain his wits long enough to down a bottle of the antidote without the boss noticing and in a final triumphant round, the party pulled off an incredible victory. In an after party following the fights, Rasker met up with Steve Allen, a fellow kobold, and Valdur took the time to charm some old snobs out of their pocket change. Then the group was named King Joffrey’s elite squad and immediately befriended by the young man with donkey ears. Finding him not nearly as evil as the ruler of an evil empire should be, the gang actually helped Joffrey escape when the party was inevitably thrown into chaos by a slave revolt. It seemed as if every thrall in the city had violently come to their senses — and they were not happy. The group, with Joffrey, fled into the catacombs beneath the castle: the late king’s personal petting zoo filled with all kinds of monsters. In the depths, the group found the young black dragon they had once saved in the underland (and immediately, brutally, without any warning, murdered it) and also encountered a beholder, at which point they gtfo — and emerged into a city thrown into fire and chaos. So they ran, on the road once again, with only a letter from Vladimir’s old flame to meet him at The Really Awesome Place (an award-winning tavern) and a quest from Rasker’s fairy godmother to guide them.
Chapter 6: On the Road Again
The road to Falenshire was not a peaceful one. The group had to choose between a deadly mountain pass or an ominous abandoned Dwarven mine. Choosing the mountain, the heroes proceeded forward with Joffrey in tow. As a brutal storm hit, they sought shelter in a cave, which quickly revealed itself as an Ettin lair. Everyone but Hardin agreed to stay near the cave entrance and be as quiet as possible to avoid awakening the cave’s inhabitant, but the knight and Steve Allen explored deeper into the cave. They were confronted by a large, angry Ettin and a battle ensued between the three. Eventually, seeing no other exit, Hardin leapt from the cliff’s edge, putting his faith in the hundreds of feet of air and rocky ledges and certain death rather than an Ettin’s appetite. And that was the last the party saw of him, though they were able to recover his totally not cursed sword and found evidence that he was rescued by a wandering patrol. As the party arrived in Falenshire, they were met by a series of traps in The Really Awesome Place, but it was just a prank, bro. Another letter from a lost love awaited Vladimir, telling him that the six-fingered elf had moved on to Watcher’s Isle to procure a map to the vault and planned to meet the army with the princess at the vault itself to begin “the ritual.” Rasker also managed to find the elusive “barrels” plaguing the farming community, a group of druids posing as Owl Bears as a test to see if Rasker and his friends would manage a resolution without violence. The group learned that the closest portal to the Feywild to turn in Rasker’s quest also happens to be on Watcher’s Isle in the care of Shinji, a faerie creature that resides near the Temple of the Nine. Our heroes booked passage on a ship heading to Watcher’s Isle on the next stage of their quest.
And so, that is where our adventure will pick up on Act V, Episode 1 of Happy Fun Adventure Times in a Fantasy World: Of Ducks, Dragons & Dungeons