Heroes and Heroines
Live Action Roleplaying
Source: Marius The Magnificent
Pip and Maruis’ Big Weekend Away.
Dear Lady Protector Foxglove.
The hamper was packed with the rarest of cheeses to be found in Idenia and crackers carefully selected to be fit for the delicate Goblin dietary requirement, the wine chilled, glasses of the finest crystal carefully stowed.
It was very kind of you to personally see Pip Squeak and Marius off on our picnic, we were very excited having front row tickets to the Game of Cephalopods. You spoke to us about how we were representing the Protectorate and blah blah, don’t start a war etc. Something about Diploming, Marius was sure to listen very carefully, it was quite inspiring.
It was also kind of you to send some companions along to keep Pip Squeak safe, knowing that Ms Spindle is still out there somewhere. I appreciated Valeth as a fellow Air caster, he proved mildly helpful, Lyra Blackthorn, Angel, Anduin, Tenth, Greensleeves, Piper, the wonderfully named Marius, and Kinook who seemed less annoying than usual most of the time. As it turned out it was quite lucky they were.
The Lord Artimus teleported us into the middle of nowhere and there was mud and trees. Quite frankly someone should have listened to Marius and sacrificed the Nature sphere and gotten rid of all this rubbish, but as it was we had to follow a series of arrows and fight wild creatures (according to the note we received, because it was “fun”). Finally we reached civilisation, or at least what passed for it in the Shadowsfell – we didn’t say so but quite frankly it’s no wonder Dorian, or whatever his name is, is such a messed up individual. Anyway we met lady Sardinei and her people who were all hidden in masks, there were “handlers” and “hosts”. We diplomed and stuff, though she kept saying we would compete, although Dorian said nothing of this when I paid for the tickets.
Anyway she waffled on for a bit, basically don’t kill anyone, don’t get caught cheating, and my son is a putrid piece of filth was the general gist. Sorry Dorian if you’re reading this, but it’s true. On the other hand your mother was possessed by a brain eating squid so don’t read too much into it (though we didn’t know that at the time).
There were to be other nations competing, the Iron League, Darklands, Enchantica, Malice, Stygia, Shadowsfell of course; 8 games culminating in the final Game of Cephalopods. Cash prizes. Say no more, we were in.
Pip Squeak needed to harvest some ingredients for potions so Marius and she went to do so while Piper scouted our surroundings to make sure no one surprised us. Once we were inside we were then surprised when Malice stormed in complaining that there had been an assassination on one of their number and were blaming us! As if the protectorate would cheat! I blame Enchantica, they are right dodgy.
Anyway they left and we prepared for the first game.
Game 1 – Marius’ Band 1 – Darklands 0
What’s the time Mrs Wolf of Cephalopods:
The first game was “What’s the time Mrs Wolf” where we had to sneak up on a big wolf and if we were caught moving once it had turned around then you were out (literally out cold). We won, although Marius doesn’t remember much as the nice Darklander gentleman asked Marius to assist him since Marius was clearly a gentleman of superior refinement and talent, but then a big ugly Darklander brute hit Marius over the head and everything went black.
I heard later that Valeth teleported to the finish line, there was many fears and terrors going on, Piper cheated going out of bounds, as did Marius Fireheart who discovered a bright red hat doesn’t sneak well (and a very inferior hat it was, the only use it had was when we gave it away). What was worse, they were caught cheating so were out. Lyra finally worked her way over (maybe she knew the wolf personally?) as did Anduin and Greensleeves (Spheres only know how that happened). They only managed to get 2 over the line so we won.
Of yes, when we were making our way to the game we were attacked by a horde of undead (Marius killed a Zombie and skeleton, it was glorious), no guesses as to who sent those against us. (It was cheating Malice.) There were also some animals that stole life from their victims, Marius and Tenth sharing the kills there. There was other stuff which Marius let the others take care of. Sadly there wasn’t an opportunity to sit down and enjoy the picnic which Marius had thoughtfully brought.
Game 2 – Marius’ Band 2 – Enchantica 0
The Flag Game of Cephalopods:
On the way to the second game we were beset upon by a group of elementals of immense Pussience. There were 8 of them or so, Light, Dark, earth, and water. Early in the battle Marius was captured in a great crystal prison and unable to aid his companions, fortunately he had a darkness scroll of strength with which to break his way out. Unfortunately it seems Dark Magic isn’t a good substitute for Battle and it left poor Marius somewhat terrified of Greensleeves (well, who wouldn’t be). Greensleeves was blinded by an elemental, Valeth weakened to the ground, Anduin disappeared, the others scattered to the four winds (oh where was Pip Squeak? Would she be all right without Marius there to keep her safe?). Without Marius’ staff and mighty magics it appeared his band was doomed!
Thankfully Greensleeves stumbled upon Marius and broke him out this prison, and the tide turned in our favour. Great bolts of lightning rang out across the field of battle (okay, mainly from Valeth), Marius’ fiery blade (thanks to a blade spell from Marius) cut deep into the creatures’ bodies, Piper slipped in and out of the enemy ranks, and now the Protectorate forces rallied, destroying the Elementals. It had been a very close-run thing indeed, but who amongst our opponents had the magical cunning and strength to have summoned such magical beings to weaken, or even kill us? This may forever remain a mystery.
Finally, somewhat battered and depleted, we arrived to the game of flags. Two flags, one for us and one for Enchatica who were our foes in this event. Enchantica who live and die by the use of magic. There were 3 rounds, but we only needed two. Marius sat the first round out, planning on using the time to have a picnic with Pip Squeak, but he had forgotten the hamper in the kerfuffle earlier so instead he had to watch as the two teams of 7 battled it out for the flags. Both teams split into offensive and defensive sides, and the game was on. The Enchanticans made headway into our half while Marius (the other one) and a couple of others returned the favour with a foray deep into their territory, but were driven back by a strong flag protective bundle. Our defensive team was scattered and running duels took place across the field but Valeth stood strong and repelled the Enchanticans, fighting magic with magic.
Finally Angel was close enough to the enemy flag and with a great cry of “Mass Susanne” the enemy crumbled, the flag grabbed and then launched downrange into the safe jaws of Lyra who raced it to the victory spot and the first round was ours.
Angel was now muted, it was up to Marius to carry the banner for him, big boots to fill. But of course Marius was up to it. But what cheating? The Enchantican flag wasn’t there! In the carnage Marius engaged in a magical duel for the ages with a particularly cunning and noxious Enchatican sorcerer, Marius disrupting his every move until Marius called him away, for Marius (thinking that there was an invisibility or plane shift spell in use) had borrowed a high level dispel item from Greensleeves but at the last moment realised that it has been shattered and dispursed instead.
His school of fire useless in this matter, so it was Marius of the mighty air school that Marius called for and so Marius came and, commanding the very air itself to do his bidding, gathered the scattered components of the flag, he then mended it and ran towards the home base. But as Marius was making great strides a wizard of the Earth school bound Marius’ feet to the ground (what knavery was this?) so Marius passed the flag onto Marius who took the flag and Marius and Valeth united to win us the game and the round. Hooray for us.
There was some moaning from the Enchanticans because they are Enchantican scum and Greensleeves had “Nearly” killed one of them but it got sorted via diploming and we didn’t start (restart?) any wars.
The Big Event
Finally a moment of peace and quiet, Pip Squeak and Marius got to enjoy the picnic. And it was wonderful, the finest cheeses, freshly made crackers, carefully selected grapes, a selection of delectable spiders, worms, and other Goblin delicacies, and of course a bottle of Port. Oh, and the best company an Air Mage could wish for.
Marius stared past that long, long, long, green nose and into those beautiful brown eyes, he spoke sweet nothings into her waxy ears, caressed her long luxurious hair with the mushrooms growing in it, and offered his lips to her. At that point the others asked our heroes to leave the cabin since we weren’t sharing the picnic with any of them, so we went and sat by the firepit. But then Piper and Lyra decided we needed to know the score (we were winning) and the Kinook wanted to bang his drum for a bit and it was cold but Marius had brought the sheep and a large blanket so we buried our heads under it and….eventually came back into the warmth ahead of the next game.
Game 3 – Marius’ Band 3 – Skar Silvani 2
The Diplomacy Game of Cephalopods.
A game designed for Marius. We were asked to Diplome against the Skar Silvani and since you told us to do this we were determined to win.
We were hamstrung by the rules and a lack of ways about them (despite trying every option we could think of) so decided to try talking to the other team or whatever.
Marius decided to take the (refilled) picnic, put on his best hat (being told from no less a personage as Lord Farakeen that one must always have a Diploming Hat) and set out with the band.
It was dark and we were set upon by some wild animals in the woods, finally driving them off. Arriving at a secluded hut in the woods a strange group met us, an ethereal beauty and her companions, it transpired they were not Skar Silvani but some other group. The Skar Silvani had had first go and won two pouches (although we knew this only later) so the pressure was on us, 15 minutes to diplomacy as many pouches as we could. Marius introduced himself, but it seemed that this lady didn’t (or at least chose not to) speak the common tongue. Words would fail us, what could we do?
Well, Marius stepped forward and lay down his picnic sheep and opened the basket, pouring a glass of port and plying the lady with gentle treats, a kiss of the hand and she was weak with pleasure, handing over a pouch. Marius then introduced her to Marius and overcome with two Mariui she handed another pouch in exchange for Marius’ hat. A draw, but what was this? Tangled to the big pouch – a smaller one, unnoticed had slipped through! Hooray, 3 pouches! We had won!
Our time up we bid our sad farewells and left, finding out later that we had won! And gotten some oranges. Yummy.
And we got rid of that red hat of Marius Fireheart. Triple Win.
Game 4 – Marius’ Band 6 – Iron League 0
Blind Man’s Buff of Cephalopods.
We were taken into an empty room, against us was the Iron League – each man and woman of them ready to sell your own Grandmother to win. At one side was a box made from stout oaken planks and bound with iron and crackling with Magic. A panel in the side was opened up and slowly out drew one sinuous limb after another before a face, eyeless but with a pair of pincers dripping with venom, emerged, standing silent and blind before us was a hideous and foul creature of pure terror slowly surveying the room where we stood, weaponless and exposed.
Before the game a bunch of sore losers from Malice burst in winging how they were losing and their person had been killed and blah, blah, blah, want to go home. Boo Hoo.
They couldn’t due to the wards and Lady Sardinei was in no mood to let them go early so they had to stay, and back in their room. They went away but then a horde of undead attacked us in our very base. We were taken by surprise and fell about in confusion. Marius (the other onw), Lyra and Piper guarded the kitchen while Marius (the sexy one) was in a corner duelling with some manner of undead horror. In the rest of the room chaos swirled and individual acts of heroism took place.
Defeating his opponent Marius took on a giant Zombie, being aided by an act of great heroism, Pip Squeak on her knees taking on this giant piece of meat until he turned from Marius and came against her. Taking the opportunity Marius swiftly took it from behind and knocked the creature off. Finally the Malice priest dropped all pretences and his embodies wraith took over, so Marius decided to check in on how dinner was doing while the others took the ghostly opponent down. Dinner was doing fine, thank you for asking. And we won again without starting any wars.
Anyway, back in the game this creature was a Tagliatelle, a creature that hunts only through sound. As quiet as nice we had to be, and even quieter. But then one of the Iron League pushed Greensleeves who made a noise and was attacked by the beast, one blow and he was down. As the creature prepared to feast on Greensleeves one of the hosts stepped forward and teleported his unconscious body away to safety.
After that it was every Wizard for himself and we pushed, clapped, snuck and otherwise cunninged our way through the game while the hosts teleported any fallen bodies away.
Needless to say we won, but it was again a very close run thing as the Iron League, while wonderfully pleasant people (who had tried to bribe us to lose the game), proved very tricksy.
Afterwards we rejoined those who had been teleported away, but several of them seemed to have been feebleminded. With the minds of simple idiots they had to be cajoled and entertained until Greensleeves and Anduin could heal their minds, a slow process. Attaching a bell to Marius’ hat proved popular, and those of us still with our sanity had to take turns keeping these morons from harm. What strange events was this and would it portend other, darker secrets? The plot thickened when a contingent of Darklanders joined us to share their concerns and worries about the strange things going on, they warned us to be careful of our hosts and their plans for a celebratory dinner.
Our friends intelligence finally restored we made our way back to our hut, where we were invited, as joint leaders with Shadowsfell, to a celebratory dinner. Deciding it was diplomatic to accept, we agreed, although no one was to eat anything without Pip Squeak testing it first for a handsome local lad called Lamborghini (apparently it’s Shadowsfellese for “Fast Cart”) had been telling us how promotion was earned through shaving accidents, finding a honey badger in your bed, and food disagreeing with your superior.
But what was for dinner was even stranger than we had prepared for…for it was us. And Marius didn’t expect that at all. After all the Food chain should be:
ANIMAL à PIE à MARIUS. [end of!]
We arrived at the dinner hall without incident. We were asked to leave our weapons outside but thankfully Marius kept his dagger concealed under his cloak. Once inside Lady Sardine was acting most strange, for starters there was only 3 places laid and no food waited on the table, just straws. Behind each chair stood one of the black masked hosts and around the room white masked handlers waited for us to eat.
We hesitated, although at this stage Marius was most ravenous, and then one of the blacked masked figures, the one in the centre, told Marius to step forward and sit. A lesser minded individual may have found their mind controlled by this command, but Marius’ grey matter is sterner stuff so Marius stepped forward and took the place of honour, after all we were instructed to be diplomatic so Marius was following your command, oh Lady Foxglove. To his right was summoned Marius Fireheart who’s feebler intellect fell under the domain of the black masked individual and pliantly he took his place. Lastly Anduin was ordered to take the place at Marius’ left and he stepped forward, at that the rest of Marius’ Band took action and Lyra stepped in to stop Anduin. Evenly matched in strength they fought until Angel intervened, tipping the scales in Lyra’s favour. However they simple commanded Lyra to “SIT” instead and like a good pup, she sat in the fateful chair.
At this Greensleeves stepped forward and released an invocation of Exorcism on the Lady Sardinei, calling upon the good sphere to drive out any malicious spirits possessing her, she slumped then awoke, seemingly of a clearer mind. She looked at the scene before her in shock and commanded her people to stop what they were doing, her commands falling on deaf ears.
Bereft of the Mariui and watching Lady Sardinei’s feeble attempts to stop her people in what they were doing, the party milled about in terror as the feast started. The creatures standing behind the chairs removed their masks and revealed the true horrors concealed underneath, the writhing tentacles and eldritch horror of a nest of Illithid.
Grasping straws from the table they started to feed on the brains of those seated before them. The party broke up in panic, rushing out to retrieve weapons but finding their return inside barred. In the mean time Anduin, desperate to take his place at the feast, disintegrated Angel and strode forwards, until Tenth decided that diplomacy was out the window and launched a magical bolt into the nearest Illithid. This broke the spell and chaos ensued.
Freed from the shackles of diplomacy (and the mind controlling spell of the Illithid) Lyra and the Mariui attacked their would be devourers, bolts of flame and lightning driving them back before being returned with psionic attacks that we had no protection against. The rest of the band finally regained the room and in close quarters, and then later in the open we hunted down and destroyed the foul denizens and their mind controlled minions.
But where one group exists, another swiftly followed, a single powerful bolt of pure mental energy stunning Marius onto the floor. Dragged inside and revived Marius resumed the fight and finally slew the last one of the creatures after a battle that ranged over the whole area. Afterwards we counted the cost, nearly dead, drained of power, and our hostess lost. But Hooray for Pip Squeak, the saviour of the day, it was she who rescued lady Sardinei.
Lady Sardine was right pissed off, and vowed to take action, likewise we would need to survive until the morning and indeed to midday when the wards would drop and we could be teleported away to safety and pies. Seeing her anger, Marius wouldn’t want to have Dorian’s mother angry at him, Dorian must be very brave given that she is even more pissed off at him than she was at the invading mind controlling tentacled creatures. It really would suck to be him.
After the battle our dear friend, Lamborghini, approached but Tenth slapped him and drove him away into the woods. We decided our best course of action was to find and rescue the other teams, so to the Darklanders hut we went as a thanks for their warning which .
We fought our way through a dark forest surrounded by strange and spooky noises and attacked by nasty creatures until at the Darklanders hut we discovered they were all dead, slaughtered by one of their number who was standing there possessed and shouting that they would kill us all and eat our brains for dessert. In the spirit of diplomacy we killed him then resurrected all of the dead with instructions from Marius to hide until the morning and then to return home and tell their bosses how we are all friends now. Peace made, you’re welcome.
We returned home, killing more possessed Shadowfellsders, including Lamborghini himself (I blame Tenth) and then we resurrected him with instructions to gather as many free people as possible to escape.
Barring the doors and hiding we slept a fitful nights rest for the morning may prove most horrific. Thankfully Marius had the Picnic Hamper of sustenance to keep his spirits up.
The Game of Cephalopods Final. Protectorate 11 – Sucky Squid Creatures 0
The day of the final dawned, our friend Lamborghini showed up and we checked him for malign influence using the more tried and true method of Greensleves powers, as opposed to Tenth randomly assaulting people.
Happy he was clear, Lamborghini told us that he had seen a group of the walking Calamari performing some hideous ritual. Determined to stop them we raced off (for a given value of “Raced”), but we encountered wild beasts and then a screen of possessed scouts, two battles that pushed us to the limit, and this was just the appetiser.
Finally the main course, the climactic final Game. Win this and we would win everything.
Some of the putrid Illithid were in a secluded hut, definitely different to the other secluded hut we encountered for the diplomacy game which was different to the hut we turned right at to get to the flag game. 100% different. Not the same hut at all.
In this different hut they were preparing to summon some nameless and eldritch horror from the depths, we had to stop them. Between us and them was a line of mind controlled servants who were determined to protect their foul masters, repeating only the line “The masters are busy, please try again later”.
Being impatient we didn’t wait, and no screen of jumped-up psy-wielding highly-trained peasants would stop us, Valeth teleporting into the hut and breaking one of the ‘masters’ from its’ spell. At this point things got chaotic. The betentacled monstrosity emerged with a roar and battle raged, Marius finding himself having to break the master from some evil plan several times while duals and more swirled and ebbed around him. It wasn’t looking good for the good guys (that’s us) but one of the enemy made a tactical error, he attacked Pip Squeak.
Pip Squeak, that gentle rose of the Protectorate, she who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Attacked she was and so with a great righteous fury Marius summoned the crackling power of Air to his hands and diplomatically delivered a shocking grasp to the brutes’ head, slaying the creature instantly. The tide turned, helped by Lyra soaking up huge amounts of damage while a procession of healers stood behind her pumping healing powers into her.
At last we were down to the masters themselves. Marius engaged one of the Illithid personally, preventing it from using it’s mental powers with a series of whacks with his staff (which could have been delivered a lot harder if some bunch of idiots hadn’t sacrificed the sphere of battle, you numpties) but sadly this proved a step to far, and down poor Marius went, having bought the Protectorate forces enough time to swarm in and take the last of these most hideous and abominable aberrations.
Thank the spheres for Pip Squeak, it was her who saved Marius, and therefore the day. Her tender care and tasty elixir proving the perfect solution to bring back poor Marius. Yay! Lyra also helped fetching Marius’ staff for him, yes she really fetched a stick for Marius, what a good girl.
After that it was back to our hut and more Diploming as Lady Sardinei and our newly promoted friend Lamborghini were waiting. They had noticed our victory when all the controlled people died as their brains had been eaten, still you can’t make an omelette without Marius poking his nose in the kitchen and wondering when breakfast is. We won the games and got a reward, we invited her to the protectorate for a visit and Marius himself (the diplomatic one, not the fire one) asked perhaps if there was a message for her son?
She said “No.” but she at least thought for a moment about it, which means some improvement there. Hooray for Dorian – progress.
We offered to stay and help resurrect the fallen Shadowfellsders but she told us to fuck off, which we did as soon as Lord Artimus showed up, which was several hours late (as usual), and he was drunk (as usual).
Marius and Pip Squeak had a lovely picnic, but it’s nice to be home. However Marius and his picnic of diplomacy remains at your service should you ever need him.
Thank you to all the monsters for delivering an exceptional and atmospheric event, providing an awesome challenge in all the games (you are a devious bunch for sure), the best diplomacy challenge, never ending nightmares from the Blind Man’s Buff, and just so many other wonderful moments. It was only topped by the Solstice Feast which it was a great pleasure to share with you all (so much food! So tasty! Such wonderful company!)
Thanks also to Seb for running the weekend, what a story! So much fun!! And thank you to Marius’ Band (Official name from Lady Protector Foxglove herself so deal with it.), such a fantastic party of Auxiliaries to be stuck in a Lovecroftian horror situation with (and as always such a wonderful supportive, positive, funny, and talented group of people).
I hope you all have a great Christmas and roll on 2022!