Damsels in distress

Previously on Dungeons and Dragons…our intrepid adventures set fire to some goat people, Tom got laid by a nymph and much shrubbery was fought by all.

In the morning the party enter a corridor. The hedge closes off and separates them. Rachel and beccamarsh are in one room…
R- Do you want to come in with me. We should probably hold hands.
…Tom and Charlie in another. The party separates IRL. I find Tom and Charlie rolling D20s.
A- What are you rolling for?
C- Omens. Mine did not bode well.
The pair find themselves in a round room. In the centre is a chest. Above them is a key. They throw stuff at the key until it falls down. There are no obvious hinges or keyholes on the chest.
C- So I suppose hitting the chest with my hammer would be a bad idea?
A- You can hit it with your hammer if you want.
C- I hit it with my hammer.
A- It says ouch.
Charlie and Tom are now convinced that Rachel and beccamarsh are in the chest.
The nymph appears and offers them a (magic) envelope. Charlie gets very excited. He had a vision about this.
C- We put the key in the envelope.
A- It disappears.
T- Shit.
I got into the other room to tell Fin that a key has just appeared in the envelope Rachel and beccamarsh have. Given that Tom and Charlie actually need this key, Fin and I find this situation quite funny. (A note for DMing- the funnier you find something, the more disconcerted your players will be.)
T- Can we lift up the chest?
A- You can. You notice a small door on the bottom. There’s a keyhole.
C- We put a note in the envelope. It says ‘Give us the key back mother fuckers.’
I relay this message.
B- We put some pond scum in the envelope.
It takes some time to negotiate the return of the key. Charlie and Tom end up with both their key and one which beccamarsh and Rachel acquired. They open the chest, release a trapped pixie, find a rod with notches on it and escape from their room.
They discover a door. It has two holes for rods with notches in them.

Charlie and Tom send a series of passive aggressive messages to the others via the magic envelope demanding their rod. The idea of waiting for their companions and going through the door together is apparently absurd. So much for loyalty.
Eventually Rachel and beccamarsh emerge. The door is opened. They go through.
C- Let me guess- it swings shut behind us?
A- No. It stays open.  
C- I think the door’s defective. Its not closing eerily behind us.
This causes an irrational amount of panic. Eventually they remove the rods from the door.
A- The door swings shut.
C- Thank god. This seems much less like a trap.

The group find themselves in a clearing with a sphinx. Behind it is a door.
R- How much space is there between the sphinx and the door?
A- You can’t just walk past it.
In a show of admirable optimism, they try and convince the sphinx to let them pass. It refuses.
C- So what will make you let us past?
A- (as sphinx) I suppose if you were to beat me, I would have to let you continue.
General groaning. Riddles ensure.
A- The answer to the first riddle is not, surprisingly, penis.
C- Is it a politician?
T- Or really shit poetry.
beccamarsh attacks the sphinx with glitter. She rolls a 20. It is so completely encrusted in glitter that it can’t see.
They be-head the sphinx.
T- Can I brain it and bring the skull with us?
He is allowed to. Through no one really knows why he wants to.

The next clearing contains a large tower of the sort used to trap princesses. There is much rejoicing.
They climb the tower and discover an empty room, strewn with books. They can hear frantic talking below them. They go downstairs and find a door.
C- I’m hitting the door with my hammer.
R- Is locked?
A- No.
R- …we open the door.
Inside is the princess, two maids and a baby. They tie the maids up, for no readily apparent reason. The princess explains that she is being held captive by an evil wizard.
A- He comes at midnight bringing fresh supplies and…terror.
The party begin devising a dastardly surprise attack.
C- We could set some booby traps.
B- You’ve still got some Molotov’s.
A- You can’t just put Molotov’s on the ground and hope someone steps on it.
R- Is there a stove with gas?
Everyone- No.

While they wait for midnight Rachel decides to question the maid.
R- Not so much I’m gonna kill you if you displease me as I probably won’t kill you if you displease me.
This does not go well.
Meanwhile Tom continues his unlikely career as a lady’s man and tries to comfort the princess. She is (delusionally) glad to have them protecting her.
F-  (as princess) You’re seasoned fighters.
T- But he’s a seasoned evil wizard.

Its approximately at this point that shit starts to go down. Beetles crawl out from the books in the centre of the room. One of the maids is transformed into a beetle demon. Charlie hoists the princess over his shoulder and runs for cover. Beetles flow down his arms.
Suddenly the princess crumbles. A mass of black beetles is left swarming around a bare skeleton.
They were not expecting this. There is some freaking out.
Rachel runs downstairs to interrogate the remaining maid. She discovers that she is just a maid and she’s terrified.
R- I want to attack her.
A- WHAT? She’s just a maid!
R- I roll a 24.
F- That’s going to hit.
R- She didn’t tell us the princess was made of beetles.
F- You disembowel the maid. Her guts spill onto the floor.
A- *face palm*
The others are engaged in an epic battle with several swarms of angry beetles.
C- But WHY is the princess made of beetles?
A- I don’t know. Rachel just disembowelled your explanation.
In an epic final battle the demons are defeated.

They go downstairs to discover that the baby is lying in a pile of guts bawling.
F- If someone crits the heal check you could save her.
They all roll. Tom rolls a 20. We all cheer.
It transpired that the princess, pregnant to a stableboy and already reluctant to rule, fled the castle following the incident which killed her parents. She had planned to lie low and return later but shortly after giving birth she was devoured by swarm of malicious shape-changing beetles (who inhabit the bodies of powerful fey creatures). The creature decided to allow the maid to live so it could raise the child. When it was old enough the creature had planned to devour it too, creating a second evil bug demon.

The party return to the kingdom bearing the child aloft. They are lorded as heroes. They rule as advisors until she is old enough to rule herself. The hedge maze is levelled. All shrubbery is banned from the kingdom.


Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year