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Recap 94 Supplemental: Cthulhu Is...

October 5, 2019

Is This Real?

Having retrieved Kurtis' soul from the Mind Flayers' Soul Well, the Motley Too spend the next day going about their normal business. At least, that's what they think they are doing when suddenly, they find themselves at the bottom of a steep hill. A path runs up the hill to the east, leading to a dilapidated wooden house that looks like it was once painted white. Behind them is a craggy cliff. On all sides a twisted, impenetrable forest. The only other item of note is a box which is attached to a post that is sticking out of the ground. When they try to look at the box, their vision fractures into multiple images, like insect vision.

Sir Gyles tries to reach for his sword. After several moments of horrible splooging noises as he tries to grab his weapon, he pulls his hand away and says, simply,

Sir Gyles: I can't find my sword.

Jandove has a similar reaction when she tries to reach for her bow.

The party decides to approach the house. From the doorway, they see a living room full of broken furniture and a display case. In the corner, there is a mirror. The way its angled prevents them from seeing their reflection. The group is oddly filled with a sense of relief at that.

In the center of the room is a box similar to the one out on the post, but larger. The top is engraved with text while the text on each side is embossed. The words don't make much sense. It's clearly a riddle of some kind.

A set of rickety stairs lead up to an attic. A door to the north sports an ornate lock. Their vision continues to fracture randomly as the group members look around the room.

Inside the display case is a wind-up music box and an antique elven sword. Jandove picks up both. There is a carved bird on the top of the box. Inside is another bird.

The Motley Too drips up the stairs to the attic. There is a yellow songbird fluttering about in the room, and there is a key in its beak. Jandove cranks the music box. As the bird opens its beak to sing along, the key falls out.

Dripping back down the stairs, the group uses the key to unlock the door. It leads to a dirty, old kitchen. On the counter is a rusty knife and a long, brown sack. A statue of a bald, albino vampire blocks the door to the east.

Another box with a riddle sits in the center of the room. At this point, they realize the box on the post outside must also contain a clue or a riddle, so they leave the house to examine it.

Sure enough, the box contains a message:

Welcome to here and now.
You will soon explore some of the most amazing teritory never seen by mortals. Success requires wit, nerve, and low cunning. Abandon all senses, ye who enter here. And then, your own history. And finally, the Truth.

Using items they find in the rooms, the party is able to open all of the doors, finding more riddle boxes, five in all.

They attempt to solve them one by one. Each time they fail and push the wrong answer on the embossed sides of the boxes, they feel a little more of their sanity is destroyed. Soon, they are seeing floating, blinking eyes in their peripheral vision.

When they do choose the correct answer, the box opens to reveal a diorama. One diorama shows the Motley Too being recognized by a council comprising of Mind Flayers, beholders, and albino alligators. Another shows them floating in green goo and surrounded by Mind Flayers.

Nevertheless, they make it to the final riddle. This one asks them to each decide for themselves what they believe Cthulhu is - a demon/god, a creature that exists outside of time and space, a dreamer that is dreaming the reality they know, or some unknowable horror.

This diorama gives them a choice of allies - Crulicar, the Oblivion King, Marduke Kurious, or Aten. They choose Marduke Kurious.

The wizard/demon appears and is alarmed when he realizes where they are. Pushing them through a magickal sieve, he reveals that they are actually still in the spongey, breadlike Soul Well.

Marduke Kurious: We must hurry. The shambler is almost upon us.

Are We in a Brain?

They charge forward, away from the shambler, and towards Cthulhu. They enter a large chamber, but a wide chasm prevents them from going further. On the far end near the ledge are three glass tubes. Within each tube is a humanoid - a gnome, a dwarf, and an elf. The tubes are labeled. The gnome is an engineer, the dwarf a miner, and the elf an archer. Each tube also has a coin slot and the number 5.

Before they can figure out if they even have any coins, creatures with frog heads and millipede bodies start pushing their way through the bready walls to attack the party.

Whenever one of these toadapedes is killed, its body melts, leaving behind a coin. Eventually, they collect enough coins to open all three tubes.
The miner swings his pickaxe and blocks of stone magickally fly out and over to the gnome. The gnome snatches each stone out of the air to easily construct the bridge, but he can only get halfway.

The elf archer steps forward and shoots...Alas, the group has no idea what the archer's arrow does because they were too preoccupied with debating what they should do next. When they turn back, the bridge is complete.

The delay has allowed the shambler to catch up. Marduke Kurious assumes his Kostchtchie form and holds it off so that the Motley Too can escape.

As they start to cross the bridge, the ground swells and forms into a bready humanoid.

Marduke Kurious: Leave it! It's harmless. I will try to join you if I am able. Remember - when you face Cthulhu, what you are able to do will depend on what you believe.

The Un-Birthening

When they reach Cthulhu, it is still asleep inside a bubble. But the three Starspawn outside of the bubble keep pressing their tentacled faces into it, causing it to jiggle and disturb the elder god. Soon, Cthulhu will awaken.

Sir Gyles: This is the moment we've been training for! All we have to do is kill this evil creature, and then we can go back to killing normal evil creatures! Battle Leader!

Reluctantly, the group is inspired.

Kurtis believes he has a second mouth on his forehead and is able to sing two songs at once. And it works!

The Motley Too attack the Starspawn. As two fall, two gaps in the bubble open. The Bread Boy has followed them and mimics Sir Gyles' attacks on one of the downed Starspawn.

By now, Cthulhu is awake and grabs Sir Gyles. Adarra believes she has the Staff of Law in her hand and runs into the bubble to strike Cthulhu, a creature of Chaos. Wileu, enlarged, is able to bring the elder god down.

A disheveled Marduke Kurious staggers in and appears horrified by what they are doing.

Marduke Kurious: You chose to fight Cthulhu? This is not good.

Adarra: What?!! You told us to go with what we believed! Next time, be more specific with your instructions!

Marduke Kurious: Well, alright...*waves hands* continue with what you believe. If this is your chosen method, restore the sphere and kill the Starspawn.

Kurtis sings a lullaby to put Cthulhu back to sleep while the rest of the party kill the Starspawn. At the moment the sphere is restored and Cthulhu is once again asleep, a thought pops into each of their minds, and all but Kurtis speak them out loud.

  • Vampiric Illithids shall no longer be able to prey upon their living cousins.
  • The instances of the Alhoon shall be decreased by a quarter.
  • The Eye Tyrants shall cease their resistance.
  • The Drow shall return to the Illithid and resume their rightful roles as slaves.
  • The Elder Brain's reach shall grow ever stronger.
  • The Adversary will be kept at bay for another century.

Kurtis instead says, "The party shall have time to recover and put things right."

Marduke Kurious looks frustrated and resigned.

Marduke Kurious: You may recall I told you that the Mind Flayers believe that reality can be rewritten at the moment of Cthulhu's awakening. They planted these ideas into your heads. Everything you have just said is now true.

Jandove: Well...shit. What Kurtis said better come true, too.

Full of good news, Marduke Kurious warns them that because Cthulhu exists outside of time and space, it can awaken at any point from when the Motley Too disrupted the ceremony in Osiris' temple in the past. In order to prevent this, he can send one of them into the past to keep watch and make sure this doesn't happen. Sir Gyles volunteers and Marduke Kurious sends the paladin back in time.

The group then wakes up to find themselves in green goo and surrounded by Mind Flayers just as the diorama depicted. The only difference is Bread Boy has replaced Sir Gyles. In their minds they hear Marduke Kurious telling them that help is on the way but they must hold out for a few minutes.

More Mind Flayers appear and begin to converge on their party. But then a garbled yell is heard and the muscular Mind Flayers they encountered before appear. The muscular Illithids fight off the other Mind Flayers and help the group escape.

Unfortunately, Bread Boy is consumed by the insects that dwell in the Underdark before they make it to the surface.

Epidemic Epilogue

Once they escape the Underdark, the feel the earth shake and it feels as if the world has been twisted. Crulicar's face appears in the sky.

Crulicar: Out saving the world, eh my pretties? Well, while you've been busy doing that, I've been implementing my plans.

Somehow Crulicar has managed to warp everything - All non-humans are now fey creatures, unable to be harmed except with cold wrought iron, salt, and the like. The world is forever shrouded in twilight, allowing vampires to roam at will. The magick system that Beeblebrox created has been suppressed, forcing spellcasters to use the old system where spells need to be memorized the night before. Most of the territories are overrun by monsters. Only the Disputed Territory seems to be free of such creatures, causing the other territories to look upon them with suspicion.

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Tags: Adarra, Delphine, Jandove, Kostchtchie, Kurtis, Marduke Kurious, Sir Gyles, Tala, The Harper of the North, Wileu

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