"The Tenmen are Go!" shouts Wiggy, slapping Leeplo on the back. "Rock ab Rooglgll!" croaks the man-frog. They start jogging toward the stage, but Wiggy stops abruptly and does an exaggerated about face. "Whaddya say, bosses three?"
"Bessh. Sheeet mezzic. Let's go mek some mether-fekkers bleed," wheedles Shifty, tugging at his collar and scratching his neck irritably.
A psi-witch known as Starshine Moonchilde, practitioner of something called Recumbent Kung Fu, has so far defeated all challengers and refused all alliances; many suspect him of secretly using his psychic powers.
Let's go find this psychic wizard dude who is a loner and possibly cheating and see what his deal is. If we can get him to join up it's a bonus for us. If we beat him down, lots of other people will join up (or quit in the face of our awesomeness).
I have no ideas of my own as to what our next move shall be, Wulfgar....I'm up for that. Count Buck in.
With our army in tow, (a few scouts out a little bit along the perimeter) we go looking for Starshine Moodchilde.
I second that.
I'll go with the rest.
[Go ahead and assign NPCs as your scouts as you like. Here's the roster.]
on point- Shifty McJumper
starboard flank- Mad Maruzabal
port flank- 'Leeplo
In the rear with the gear (well in the rear, without the gear I guess)- Abdul Nomascus.
Rest of us in the middle, scouts let us know if trouble is coming and pull back to the rest of the group.
Your posse draws raised eyebrows and nods as you cross the arena. The Tenmen kick into a blistering raver, loud enough to stir up dust devils in front of their Marshall stack. No one hassles you.
Off in a far corner of the arena you find Starshine Moonchilde, an emaciated hobling-vulkin with bulging temples and faintly luminescent skin. His head is shaved save for a long braid knotted with loops of yarn, and he wears tie-dyed sackcloth and ashes. His eyes are covered with gargoyle sunglasses, dead black.
The vobling chants quietly as you approach, "...shamma lamma ding dong tingsha na nama shiva om golly padme humdinger kip winger banana fana fo finger chocko chakra sunsinger..."
Creature nudges Buck and Zarko forward to do the talking, aware of limits of his own articulateness...or lack there of. He's half a step right behind them though.
Zarko bows respectfully (another boss, doncha know...) and waits for the vobling to notice him and come out of his chant.
(If he doesn't do so soon, Zarko will look questioningly at Buck and leave the matter up to him.)
"...voulez-vous coucher avec mwa ha ha hamdullilah cucaracha cha cha ch-changes..." The vobling continues in this manner for a solid minute, ignoring all of you. It's sort of embarrassing.
Zarko shifts from foot to foot, glancing at the uncharacteristically silent Buck. The chanting rises in volume and pitch.
"Merry Christmas Merry Christmas Christmas Christmas Merry Merry Dies Irae Cooking Sherry Tom And Jerry Harum Scarum Hotsy Totsy Koyanisquaatsi Jaya Lakshmi Shave And A Haircut YAHTZEE"
The vobling springs straight up in the air, does three jumping jacks, tumbles face first to the ground, and ends up lying on his side with one knee up and his head cradled in one hand. "Shalom, Brother Zarko. What's the haps?"
"Well, y'see, it's like this. We have a real contender here," Zarko says, pointing at Creature.
"And the word we get is that you're a contender, too."
Any reaction to this, so far? If not, I'll plunge right on...
"I am the stars shining and the child of the moon. I contend chiefly for a cosmic prize, Ape-evolved-from-man. I seek contentment amidst this brutal contest of flesh and blood. What is it you seek?"
[Wish Blogger had 'rainbow' as a text color option. I'm not going to individually format each letter so you'll just have to picture his speaking voice in a froot loopy array of colors.
[By all means run with it, Coffee. Rondo's been incommunicado since Tuesday.]
"Plain and simple?" Zarko says, staring right into the vobling's disturbing, half-engaged eyes. "We seek to survive. That's really the deal. We survive, we win our bets, everybody's happy."
He pauses, as if debating with himself.
"We had another goal, coming in here, but things have...changed."
"Mere survival, Zarko? Keep your feet on the ground...and keep them there?" The vobling pushes his sunglases back up on his nose, the enormous lenses covering half his face. Zarko can't even make out his reflection. "It has been said that if we are to survive we must become a little....crazy. But who is crazy enough to thrive?"
Starshine lets out a low whistle. "But I think you have not come here to ponder the sages?"
"Sages can do their thing," Zarko says with a snort. "I'll do mine.
"But the bottom line is this: Are you gonna be a threat to our survival? 'Cause if you are, we're gonna have to do something about it."
"Who can say? I get low, I get high, there is no try, only do. I have the wings of heaven on my shoes -- I am a mystic man, I cannot lose.*"
[*Gibb, Gibb, & Gibb, freely adapted]
Age of Fable
[The way he uses his walk appears to be misleading, in that he clearly has a great deal of time to talk.]
"Sure, right," Zarko says. He holds up a finger, then pulls Buck back for a whispered conference with Creature.
"Izzat all this skeezik does? Confuse people? Izzat how he wins?" Zarko shakes his head. "I don't think he's a real threat. But I sure wish we had some other dudes to send his way -- I'd like to see how he fights for real."
[Since Rondo hasn't posted since Tuesday or contacted me otherwise I'm bumping him to NPC status for the moment. Rondo is free to chime in at any time, of course, but otherwise Buck will go along with your decision. So take it away, Zarko & Creech...]
Creature is torn between two ideas that have crept into his mind:
A. Sit down Indian style and listen to the melodious musings of recumbant kung-fu master like a child at storytime.
B. Bash him over the head while he's talking to Zarko.
As of right now he's conflicted and so stands there like a dummy.
Either one of those sounds good to me.
I was hoping Buck would pipe up. I could really use his advice right about now. (It's Friday and my brain has already checked out for the day...)
(HEy! Sorry guys....I'm back...I'm trying to get caught up here....major idjitnet disaster where I work AND at home, I swear...two different servers, two diff. problems. I can only post from the house, which means checking in on things after 5 until they get this computer thing worked out in my shop at work)
Buck eyes this show-off and raises an eyebrow..."I think we better consult, guys whaddya think?"
"I'm all for Creech bashing this chucklehead on the beezer, frankly, but....what do we have in mind to do with this joker?" Buck is leaning over to Zarko whispering with his hand on the side of his mouth.
"What I'd really like," Zarko whispers back behind his own hand, "is to find some other guys to throw at this one. Then we'd see what he's made of. Either they'd take him out, problem solved, or he'd take them out and reduce the competition.
"Plus we'd get to see what we're up against."
"Hmm...not a bad idea there, Zarko," says Buck as he glances back to the Creature to see how he's handling all this. "HEY!" Buck raises his voice to the king of the flashdance... "We were wondering..." he gestures over to some of the remaining rabble that still look like they'd kick up some dust, "how 'bout a little wager....think you could knock the socks off those idiots over there?" he's rubbing his fingers together in a gesture of money. "Not sure what I can pay you with, but we'd sure like to see you in action....what you've shown us so far has been pretty darned impressive! Why dont'cha go over there and finish some of these losers off?" Buck is grinning from ear to ear.
Argue: 31% (made it)
Crowd Manipulate: 20% (made it)
Lesser Feat: 27% (made it)
Restore Courage: 82% (failed...jeez, I was on a roll!)
(hell, I'm trying 'em all...don't know what you want me to roll, and this EC stuff is a open-ended pain in the ass sometimes)
"I did not catch your name, oh pilot without a ship?" smiles Starshine, turning to regard Buck through his black sunglasses. "It doesn't matter. It's a foolish gambler who bets money he does not have on a horse with no name. Why would I wish to ramble when it is you who wants to see me rumble?"
[WRT the skills you rolled above, my thoughts: I'd say Argue is for logical, reason-based persuasion, as opposed to Command or Seduce for more emotional appeals. Crowd Manipulate is to influence a group or perform for an audience. Restore Courage could be used to rally henchmen with broken morale or save vs a fear spell. The Feats are generally for tests of physical strength only -- but if you wanted to intimidate someone you could try using Lesser Feat to do a Hulkamania type pose down.]
"Ha! Fair enough....good call....truly I am a horseless rider" Buck misconstrues what Mr. Flippant throws at him... "I do have a buddy here though, that can tear the arms off of a goon and beat him with it!" he pats Creech on his box-like frame. "How'd you come to get mixed up in this whole rinky-dink fight? You seem like you can do greater things than scrap with a buncha goofs for prize dough."
Starshine's mouth twists into a faraway smile, "On the first part of my journey I beheld life all around me: plants and birds and rocks, sand and hills and rings. I met a buzzing fly under a cloudless sky. The heat was hot and the ground was dry. But the air was full of sound. I meditated for--" he counts on his fingers, "nine days, and woke up here. It felt good to get out of the rain."
The vobling tilts his sunglasses up on his head but his eyes remain closed. He rolls onto his back, arms behind his head.
"I'm just a tiger's eye rocking in a hurricane, Buck Pulsar. Flippant is as flippant does. Do you wish to talk, or fight, or stare at the stars?"
"I, personally," Zarko says, raising his hand "would lean toward the whole staring at the stars kinda thing.
"But we've got this whole brawl thing to get through, first."
"Yea, same here....about this Brawl....you wanna help us out here? How 'bout teaming up with us or somethin'....we could sure use a fella like you." Buck extends a salute.
"The stars will wait, Zarko," chuckles the vobling.
Returning Buck's salute with a hang ten gesture, Starshine continues, "There are many things about me you do not know anything about. Things you would not understand. Things you could not understand. Things you should not understand. I am a man who refuses to take things standing up."
Starshine rolls gracefully up into a mystical posture known as the Drooping Lotus, dropping his sunglasses down over his eyes. "This is this end, my friends, of our talk. I cannot ride your bus; you must either challenge me or leave. Ride the storm or walk on by?"
"Hmm...I dunno 'bout this 'challenging you' affair," Buck looks over to Zarko and his eyebrows go up in confusion as he shrugs his shoulders with a 'now what?' expression.
He leans over and whispers to Zarko, "I say we hoof it...I don't see any point in messing with this guy..."
"Yeah," Zarko replies. "I'm with you."
He straightens out and bows with respect toward Starshine.
"It was a pleasure to have met you, and I wish you well in the Brawl."
(Good call, Zarko...well played)
"Take it easy, brothers," nods Starshine, "and remember: When in doubt, get horizontal."