Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Origin of Thanksgiving (2010)

For those of you who have only known me for a short time, I usually do a mass text to all my friends of the Insane Origins of a holiday as I believe them to be at that exact time (The origin may change yearly). So, I've decided to do it as a facebook note this time.  I give you:

The Origin of Thanksgiving (2010)

A long, long time ago in a place far, far away (unless you live in Massachusetts, or Newfoundland for our Canadian friends).

The story goes that a group of dumbass Pilgrims got blitzed by a fast-coming winter and got their asses saved by some Indians (or Native-Americans if you wanna be anal about it).  But the truth is much, much more important.  Long ago in the Far off planet of Vestibule, there lived a race of hairy beings known as Klaatu (points for those who know where I stole that from).  Unfortunately, some of the children were born smaller and hairless due to some radioactive corn or something.  These were known as Pilgrims (which in their language meant hairless freaks).  The Pilgrims got tired of freezing their asses off and left the Planet... Whatever-the-hell-I-called-it-before to find somewhere better.  While trying to find the nearby 7-11 to enjoy some Slurpees, they got lost off the I-90 and crashed into a heap of a planet called Dirt (or Earth as it was locally known).

There they resorted to cannibalism and ate Dave cause he was kind of a whiner.  He was pretty tasty.  Kind of a flavorful taste that's you feel bad about washing down but have to eventually.  When they were done, they chucked his remains into the woods which pissed off the Native Americans since they chose not to use all of his body.  As an aside, does this mean that Karl and Ilse Koch were just following the Native American philosophy?  I'll give you a minute to google them... Done?  Good.  Now some of you think I went too far in asking that question.

Anyway, back to the story.  A long and bloody battle ensued between the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims ensued.  However after about 15 minutes they all realized no one brought any weapons, so they resolved to Duct-taping sharpened sticks to woodchucks and letting them battle it out in an arena.  Yes.  I lied when I said the battle was long and bloody. Shut up.  After the hard-won victory of Mister Fuzzy-britches over the savages' warrior, Tingles, The Pilgrims proposed peace and offered up a nice meal of leftover Dave.  And, if you want, you can insert something racist happening the next day to explain Black Friday.  I'm cool with that.

And that's how babies are born... No, wait... OK... What story was I supposed to be telling again?!  OH, THAT'S SICK, Brandi!!  Geezus...

Anyway, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

been a bit

Been a little bit since I posted anything, but I just wanted to say hello.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Demon Apes, Purrodaemons, and Horsemen OH MY!

After Arda informed the group she’d be unable to join them in the Expanse, they set out and sailed to the Cheliax controlled seaport in Mwangi named Bloodport. There they were greeted by Mitabu, a local shaman and friend of Arda. Mitabu informed the party that Nantambu was a city further in the expanse and did a great deal of trade with Bloodport and the Aespis Corporation, but had recently cut off communications due to some sort of plague. Our party traveled upriver towards Nantambu and encountered a baby Black Dragon. After the battle, the party forged onwards.

At Whitebridge, a Cheliax controlled atoll, the party was met with resistance by some guards who were afraid of being punished should an ill fate befall anyone. After Saltembanco used his bardic abilities to mesmerize the head guard, they were allowed to pass by and make their way to Nantambu. Once there they discovered that the village was indeed in the throes of infection and they seemed to blame their problems on the Ape inhabitants of Usaro with whom they’d had relative peace and trade.

During a meeting with the Chieftan, he revealed a strong dislike for Mitabu and asked the party to move on to Usaro and find out why the Apes poisoned them. On their way to Usaro, the party was ambushed by a hunting party from Usaro and fought off their attackers. During the battle, one of the Ape Generals came and stopped the conflict revealing that the hunters had been ordered to watch out for the party and escort them, not hunt them. They were then led across the bridge of cages deep into Usaro to the High Throne for an audience with Ruthazek, the Gorilla King. Ruthazek spoke to the party, utilizing translators to speak in languages he didn’t know (such as Celestial). He revealed that a mysterious creature had emerged from the Spire of Destiny and had informed him that the humans were planning to wipe out the apes through plague. Shortly thereafter (coinciding with a shipment from the human village), a plague began to spread, so he had declared war on Nantambu. After discussion, the party came to the decision that another Horseman was behind this and were asked by Ruthazek to venture to the Spire and investigate.

Upon arriving Mitabu revealed he could create an entry into the spire by manipulating the water and lowering it to reveal a cave. After entering the cave, the party realized this was an opening in yet another temple and discovered another Daemon avatar of a horseman inside. Balthazar overheard the horsemen dismissing 2 Leukodaemons, instructing them to thank Apollyon for the loan. After listening in, they realized that this was not the Horseman of Pestilence they had thought it was, it was in fact Szuriel, the Horse(wo)man of War, utilizing a Purrodaemon as an avatar.

After battle, they found another 12-sided wooden box, only this time it was being cluthed by an ancient female skeleton wearing familiar-looking white robes. Mitabu gently lowered the skeleton to the ground and removed the box, handing it off to the party.

Having previously expressed a wish to talk to Arda about her relationship to the area, Mitabu contacted her using a Pearl of Communication and was told to inform the party she would talk to them now. The entire party was then teleported across the planes and found themselves in a dimly lit cavern that was made up entirely of rotting meat. Sitting in the center near a magical glowing light, was Arda.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Something's Rotten in the City of Absalom

It had taken our party nearly a week to make the journey back to Qadira and the morning after they had returned from events of Lopul, our adventurers found themselves in Katheer, the capital of Qadira. They were summoned to the Main Temple of the Church of Serenrae. There they were greeted by 4 of the head Monks of the temple and led to a secret magical elevator which descended deep beneath the city where they found themselves being led into a temple exactly like the one they’d seen beneath Lopul. There they were surprised to meet, along with the 4 Serenrae Monks, 4 High Clerics of The Midnight Temple. The whole meeting was mediated by Rae’s father. It was revealed that both churches had worked together thousands of years ago to seal away “The Beast” and that the Key and Lock were the first seal locking it away. With it’s destruction, the Beast would be able to free itself, so they were needed to go and pick up several ancient items that were used in the original spell to seal him away.

They were informed that a freak storm had happened in Absalom (minutes after the Lock had been destroyed) and there were reports of food shortages. Rae was named as the emissary of Serenrae and Balthazar (still disguised as Mahdi) was asked to represent Asmodius under the concept that Mahdi had worked for them before and he could be trusted. The party was joined by an Aasimar named Arda who would function as their means of communication between them and the members of the two religions. With that, the Asmodean priests hired a pirate ship to take the party to Absalom.

After some disagreements between Balthazar and the captain of the ship, they arrived at Absalom where the party left the ship and went to shore. After explaining their purpose to the Guards at the watchtower, they were transported by carriage towards the Temple over the pit in the center of the city. On their way, however, they heard an explosion and discovered two grotesque creatures devouring food from one of the storehouses. They destroyed them and Balthazar’s research led him to identify them as Ancient Thassilonian constructs known as Gluttonyspawn. They met with the newly appointed leader of Absalom (his father just having died) and discovered after talking to religious representatives who stayed in the temple that the lightening from the storm had struck the base of the pit where the starstone once laid. While exploring the bottom floor, they discovered another elevator like the one in Katheer. They were then ambushed by the Captain of the Guard, seemingly possessed. They were able to tie him up and use an incantation they’d witnessed at Katheer to use the elevator.

The elevator descended into the pit and they discovered that the lightening had destroyed the floor of the pit and revealed another temple like the two they’d seen previously. Inside they encountered what Balthazar believed from his research into ancient religion to be a Meladaemon, servents of Trelmarixian the Black (The Horseman of Famine), something he had thought to be pure myth. Along with the Meladaemon, there were two more Gluttonyspawn and after listening in, Balthazar determined that Trelmarixian was possessing the meladaemon in order to enter the plane. After a battle, the daemon died with the words that “Golarian will burn.” and the team recovered an ancient, 12-sided wooden box that was magically sealed.

Arda took care of passing the box along to the priests of Asmodius and the party learned that Cheliax was having troubles in Bloodport in the Mwangi Expanse, so they would need to head there next. Balthazar as Mahdi, determined to seek restitution for the wrongs he felt he had suffered at the hands of the pirate captain, challenged him to a fight. After defeating him, the pirates of the ship swore loyalty to Mahdi and named him the new captain. The party was allowed to stay the night in the temple in Absalom before setting out for Mwangi.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Event

Our story begins in Lopul. Lopul is a small, caravan town that mainly serves as a stopping point on The Silken Way into Katheer, the capital of Qadira. The outer fringes of the town are actually caravan tents and this section changes as often as new caravans come and go. The tents are placed around a round core of the town that’s formed of simple, square, brick and clay buildings with a commons and marketplace in the center of the town, allowing caravans and merchants to trade wares with each other on their way in and out of Qadira.

As her first mission in command of a unit as an investigator for the Church of Sarenrae, Rae was called to the small caravan town of Lopul in response of reports made by several local clerics. Apparently there was a man causing a great disturbance within the town, scaring townsfolk with stories of the Apocalypse and The Beast. Originally regarded as a nuisance, he was taken seriously when someone noticed he carried a curved, spiked blade that is normally only used by the Red Mantis Assassins and in his last appearance around town, he’d been followed by small, pale humanoids. Rae and her unit had arrived late in the evening and were currently at one of the largest Inns in the town to bed down and begin their investigation in the morning. Rae was sitting in the pub of the Inn taking in the entertaining performance of The Grand Saltembanco, a bard who was performing utilizing multiple instruments at once. She had sent her unit off to the stables to ensure that their horses were being well cared for.

Coincidentally, Balthazar, an inquisitor of Asmodeus, was also sitting in the very same bar watching the exact same performance. He had been dispatched from The Midnight Temple of Asmodeus located in Egorian, the capital of Cheliax, to hunt down one of the former guards of Queen Abrogail II known only as Gormuz. It had been relayed to him that Gormuz was one of the Queen’s primary bodyguards and had stolen a rare artifact known only as “The Key” from The Midnight Temple’s archives and fled to Lopul. He was noticeable because of the Sawtooth Sabre he carried which he had taken off the body of a Red Mantis Assassin who had attempted to assassinate the Queen years earlier (this event is what had elevated him above other such guards to the rank of Commander). As he was a Tiefling, and quite evidently so, he was currently using his hat of disguise so that he could take the form of his favorite undercover persona, a merchant named Mahdi. As Mahdi, he was carefully asking the bartender questions about the crazy man he had heard wandering around the town.

Saltembanco, himself, was having a great time using all his skills as a bard in order to entertain the crowd. He had arrived in Lopul on his way to a performance in Katheer, only to accidentally knock over this town’s bard and break his arm. The owner of this Inn had been set to have him perform and so had demanded that Saltembanco take the bard’s place at tonight’s performance to make up for it. He simply viewed this as a grand marketing opportunity and a chance to build his fanbase that much more. As he was performing he noticed that the usual cheers and applause had been replaced by a strange silence. He assumed this to be displeasure, so redoubled his performance in order to impress and amaze.

Balthazar and Rae, however, had noticed that everyone in the Inn had stopped moving and was sitting absolutely still staring straight ahead. Knowing that this was easily within a bard’s ability, Rae stepped forward to the stage partially unsheathing her Scimitar and making sure to emphasizing the badge she carried that marked her as a member of the law enforcement of Qadira. Balthazar decided to check outside to make sure there was nothing else going on.

Seeing the strange, blonde, woman stepping forward and preparing a weapon, Saltembanco stopped his performance and enganged her in conversation asking if there was a problem. After levelling her accusation that what was happening was his fault, Balthazar decided to inform her that it wasn’t just in the bar as people in the street and, as far as he could see through other windows, in other houses were acting the same. At this same moment Desdeluna, a cleric of Desna, descended the stairs from her room upstairs in order to obtain a pre-bedtime snack. As she began to inquire as to what was happening, every single person inside the bar began screaming all at once. Once the party exited the building, they discovered that it wasn’t just the people inside, but every citizen of the town that had displayed this behavior. The town had become overtaken by a deafening roar of terrified screaming.

Noticing movement on a nearby rooftop, Rae deftly climbed up to see what was going on. Balthazar, noticing this, imbued an arrow with the ability of Light and fired it up towards the roof in order to light her way. As Rae stood upon the rooftop, the brief flash of light from Balthazar’s arrow served to momentarily illuminate the roof and some of those surrounding it. On the rooftops there were dozens of small, humonoids. Pale of skin and with unsettling large eyes, these could only be Morlocks. However, these were different than others she had seen. They were covered in scars and the unmistakable evidence that each and every one had clawed out their own eyes.

At seeing just a few of them from the ground level, Desdeluna fired a spell towards the rooftop, vaporizing half of the Morlocks on that roof so that only 5 remained on that roof. One of them took off, leaping and jumping from roof to roof towards the center of town whilst the other four began to engage the party. As the fighting continued, suddenly, Balthazar and Rae noticed that the screaming suddenly stopped, an event they would later realize happened at the same time that lone Morlock would’ve reached the center of town. Accompanying this silence, the 2 remaining Morlocks around them suddenly stopped fighting and were overcome with sudden appearance of terror and confusion. Rae let the one she was fighting go and it took off at full speed running towards the edge of town. Looking around, she noticed that the dozens of others were doing the exact same. Down on ground level, Balthazar was cuffing the remaining Morlock and utilizing his abilities in an attempt to question. From it’s simple and worried mind, he could only make out a sense of danger and urgency and the word “beast”. Rae relayed to the others that the other one had taken off towards the center, so they decided to head that way, bringing their prisoner with them.

As they approached closer and closer to the center of town the Morlock became more and more agitated until in a fit, he began trying to chew his own arms off to escape. Seeing this and taking pity on the poor creature, Balthazar released it and they continued on their way. Upon approaching the marketplace, they saw that there was a large stone obelisk in the center of the clearing and that the stone was cracking and falling away to reveal a large blue crystal. As soon as the remaining stone fell away, there was a loud crack of lighting and a tornado formed around it, slowly expanding in size. The party, with the exception of Saltembanco, scrambled to a rooftop to get a better view of what was going on. Saltembanco, dived into a fireworks shop to watch from inside. As the tornado expanded, they could see that it was actually digging into the ground, tearing up the earth from the marketplace and slowly revealing a large, ancient temple that was buried beneath of which the crystal was the highest spire. The storm abated at the edge of the marketplace and had left, in it’s wake, a large deep pit with the temple at it’s center. Looking around, the party noticed that the townspeople, during the storm, had moved towards the center and were gathered at the edge of the pit, standing and waiting.

Saltembanco disguised himself as a townsperson and stood among them attempting to see what was going on from a first person perspective. He was able to not that the people were completely entranced and that there was no way to wake them. He relayed this to the other party members on the rooftop and they climbed down to check on it themselves. Leaning over the pit, Saltembanco felt the unmistakable shock of static energy and felt a tinge in his head. He added that he believed the pit might be surrounded by strong magical forces. Balthazar, meanwhile was examining a villager and gently pushed on his back in an effort to wake him up. This resulted in the villager falling forward into the pit. As Balthazar reached forward to catch him, the villager burst into flames and was ashes a moment later. An unmistakable white whisp left the charred ashes and was absorbed by the blue crystal which began turning a shade of orange. Immediately, every other townsperson immolated in the exact same way, followed by a white whisp heading from each of them and being absorbed by the crystal, slowly changing it from blue to a bright, glowing orange.

Deciding that whatever was causing this must be in the temple, the party carefully descended the pit and made their way to the base of the temple. The temple was white granite, but was adorned with gold inlay artwork of a large angelic figure and a large demonic figure both striking their swords into the ground. A large entrance was on the side with bright lights pouring out of it. The party made their way inside and saw a large 60′ × 60′ cube adorned with the same artwork and chained at it’s sides and corners to the ground. From the top, Desdeluna and the others could make out the fevered laughing and chanting of a voice. Climbing the chain, they saw a man in Red Dragonskin armor, carrying a curved spiked sword on his belt, standing over the center of the stone cube holding a large spike. Balthazar recognized this as Gormuz and assumed the spike was “The Key”. Being a scholar of Ancient Golarian, Balthazar also recognized that Gormuz was speaking an incantation in Thassilonian (an ancient language) that had something to do with release. The party noticed he was holding the spike above a same-sized hole in the center of the cube and that the top of the cube, around the hole, had the design of the Church of Asmodeus. Even stranger, the circle surrounding the pentagram formed a logo of the Sun which was a symbol of the Church of Serenrae. Balthazar strode forth to challenge Gormuz, but as he did Gormuz glanced up and stared right at him. It was evident that he, just like the Morlocks he seemed to command, had clawed out his own eyes at some point. Gormuz opened his mouth and screamed, “You’re too late! The Beast shall rise and this shall all end!”

With that statement he slammed the spike home releasing a flash of light that disintegrated him him into ash. The large stone began to crack and from each crack a bright light was released accompanied by a slowly building roar. Understanding that whatever was happening was horribly dangerous, the party fled the temple and discovered the tunnel that Gormuz had used to reach it in the first place. Shortly after entering the tunnel a shockwave erupted from the temple, destroying it and collapsing the tunnel mouth. Amidst the shaking the party made their way up the tunnel only to arrive at it’s exit and discover that they were on a large hill overlooking the town. They arrived just in time to see the shockwave slowly expanding, collapsing the town around it. At this same time, four bright balls of light, surrounded by several smokey, shadowy trails escaped from the center of the collapse and took off in four different directions.

Choosing to take the witnesses back to Katheer for questioning, Rae began leading them through the desert only to encounter her unit. After a brief conversation, she discovered that they had been in the stables when the screaming started and the horses had fled the town, causing the soldiers to have to chase them down. By the time they had recovered the horses, the town was already collapsing and they had feared Rae caught in the rubble. As a group they all made their way to Katheer. A representative of Satrap Xerbystes II, the current Padishah Emperor of Kelesh, paid for the party to be put up in the nicest Inn in town to await for a meeting the next morning in which they would be questioned and debriefed. At the first chance to sneak away, Balthazar made his way to the local Asmodean Temple and instructed them to send word back to The Midnight Temple about what had happened. Told to await further instruction, Balthazar returned to the Inn and decided to sleep for the night.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Differences Between Arabs and Americans…

In what is to become surely one of many, I would like to post right now about an observation I had at work today. I was standing there, minding my own business when I overheard two belligerent overweight loudmouths begin to argue over who’s cars were better for NASCAR, Ford or Chevy. It got almost to the point of blows it seems, until the one guy’s wife (imagine that he had a wife) pulled him away (Ford guy), thus making him the defacto loser of the whole pointless argument. That’s when it occurred to me; NASCAR arguments were to Americans as religious arguments are to Islamic fundies. See, a lot of people don’t understand that the whole schism of Sunni vs. Shi’a Muslims has to do with who each sect thought should run the joint after Muhammed died in 632 A.D. (yeah, 1300+ years of bullshit over this- I know!) Sunni’s believe it should have been some dude named “Abu Bakr” and Shi’as believe it should have been “Ali”. There is a lot more minutiae to it as well, but the fundamental reasoning comes to “My guy is better than his guy!” which is akin to Bubba and Billy Ray discussing who’s car is better, Ford or Chevy. While the whole Ford/Chevy thing is much more current than something that happened over 1300 years ago, both arguments are essentially pointless and futile. Sometimes the Ford wins, sometimes the Chevy wins, sometimes the Dodge wins (Sufi Muslims? I dunno) and sometimes the Toyota wins. Sometimes a Sunni will kill his enemies, sometimes a Shi’a will, sometimes a Sufi will, sometimes a foreigner comes out of the bunch and kills his enemies (yeah, I just likened the USA to Toyota. Sue me). I don’t have the answer, but its my opinion that the whole mess could be solved with the repeal of the presidential order banning assassination. Let our S.E.A.L teams go in there and knock off a few Imams and Clerics that are annoying, leave a message that says “pick someone thats not a douchebag like Imam Massengill or we’ll be back!” and see if they can get it right. While they are at it, let the other S.E.A.L teams go after anyone with a mullet and a bad case of NASCAR wardrobe-itis.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scandal-Gate

Am I the only one who’s sick and tired of hearing the news add “gate” to the end of any scandal in existence? It was amusing when they started doing it shortly after the Watergate scandal in the early ’70s. but c’mon! 50% of the viewers watching TV don’t even know what Watergate was! Most of them don’t even give a shit about Nixon and if you asked them who he was, they’d probably tell you he was a head in a jar on Futurama. It was clever and witty to add “gate” to the end of a scandal when Watergate broke causing President Nixon’s resignation back in 1974, but now it’s horribly, horribly clich├ęd! And it’s being used for everything! It used to be that it was a major scandal (seeing as it’s namesake caused the downfall of the President of the United States) but what is it now, Veggiegate? Some people are raising a ruckus because vegetables picked on Iron Chef at the White House weren’t usable when the cooking segment was filmed over a week later? C’mon people! Just shut up and get the message Mrs. Obama wanted to get across and eat some goddamn vegetables! That’s right, put down the french fries, bloomin’ onions, and Ho-hos and eat some motherfucking broccoli!