Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bujilli: Episode 76

Previously...
Bujilli, Leeja and Gnosiomandus by-passed the trapped doorway and found an alternate means of entering the Master Oneirist Sprague's inner sanctum only to discover that Sprague was being held prisoner by an impostor...


The False Sprague rose from his sarcastic bow with a fluid grace no body made of meat and gristle could hope to emulate. He, it, literally flowed as it moved. There were faint after-images in the wake of each movement. He was clearly amused by Leeja's reaction to his pantomime flirtation. He reached forth. Moved his left hand through a series of languid motions. A gesture that crackled and sizzled with growing power...

Warning

Leeja snarled. Extended the claws of her left hand. Gripped the crystal stiletto in her right. Glanced at Bujilli...

Warning

Bujilli instinctively shifted his perceptions, immediately alert and aware of the energies surrounding him, the echoing pulses and fluxes within the oneiroplasm. Like his Uncle taught him. Hostile spaces. Dangerous places. Pay attention to the traces. It was a handy mnemonic. He sensed the malevolence emanating from Not-Sprague's hand like ripples of scalding bleach. Bujilli reached out...

Warning

Gnosiomandus stared down at the trapped form of his colleague in stunned disbelief. It was a bad habit. One that had already almost gotten him killed multiple times this last year. It was something of a hazard of his profession. Perhaps. He hadn't been sleeping very well for some time now...

The Oneiroplasm went black.

Not-Sprague laughed. His voice echoed weirdly through the gelatinous, miasmic oneiroplasm.

Leeja lunged. The blade of her stiletto sparkled as it sliced through the blackened oneiroplasm. The laughter stopped abruptly. Everything went red...

Bujilli pushed away the little spells surrounding Sprague. They were old, frail, run-down and buzzing about like so many blind moths. A twist, a gesture, several of them collapsed into static and evaporating figments. Low-level spells could be renewed, but each time ran a risk of degrading their structure. They weren't meant to be maintained for weeks, months, at a time. Doing so tended to make them fragile. Brittle. Corrupt.

Gnosiomandus watched Bujilli brush away the accumulated debris of over-extended spells. It reminded him of dandruff...

The oneiroplasm surrounding them quaked. Shivered. It began to flow back towards the other room. No. It wasn't flowing out of the room. It was accumulating around Not-Sprague. Thickening. Dark scarlet matter that resembled coagulating blood.

Not-Sprague lost his attack spell when Leeja stabbed him. Now he was concentrating on pushing Leeja back by a brute-force manipulation of the oneiroplasm in the room. Fear curdled his sweaty features. His eyes glimmered like faceted black stones. The resemblance to Sprague was slipping. The entry-way Bujilli's spell had formed flickered then collapsed in a slow-motion vortex. Tendrils of oneiric matter connected it to the stuff flowing towards Not-Sprague. Perhaps he was somehow forcing the collapse.

Whoever, whatever this thing was; it exerted considerable control over oneiroplasm. Bujilli wondered if it wasn't some sort of rogue figment or ambient nightmare escaped from the mind of some spell-caster or scholar. 

Leeja stabbed the thing once more. Her blade slid smoothly through the dough-like dream-matter. It struck Not-Sprague in the abdomen.

She was hurled back towards the bed before she could register what had happened.

She only barely retained her grip on the blade.

Gnosiomandus stopped her. Not by any flashy maneuver. He looked up as she rammed into him.

They fell to the floor in a tangle of limbs that only just missed snagging Bujilli as they went.

Bujilli began to cast Zone of Normality.

Not-Sprague sagged against the lintel. Mauve ichor running down from his wounds.

Leeja untangled herself from the old man. Gnosiomandus helped the young lady to her feet.

He shook his head. Something hovered just on the edge of his recollection. It felt like his brain had been removed and packed in thick swaddling folds of gauze like one of the mummies he'd discovered in Parjang--

"Scheiss!" Gnosiomandus looked directly at Not-Sprague. Three quick little spells rolled across his field of vision in rapid succession followed by a torrential horizontal geyser of smoldering green mud that struck Not-Sprague full-on before he could recover enough to begin casting any more of his own spells. Gnosiomandus hadn't used that particular wand in decades. He wished he hadn't been forced to use it this time. It was messier than he liked.

The green mud destroyed all the oneiroplasm it touched.

Not-Sprague gurgled and gasped fitfully as the torrent unleashed by Gnosiomandus' wand carried him backwards, out of the room, burying him under close to a ton of super-heated green mud. The carpets were ruined. So was the wand. That had been the last charge.

Gnosiomandus turned to see what Bujilli was doing. Caught himself mid-spell. Waited.

Leeja moved toward the doorway. She intended to stab Not-Sprague if the mud hadn't finished him off.

The Zone of Normality shimmered into place. Bujilli expunged the lingering traces of the contaminated oneiroplasm. He forced it to evaporate, leaving behind an oily blotchy film on the furniture, walls and ceiling. The once-sumptuous room was a disaster.

Bujilli ignored the room's distress. Focused on Sprague. The sorcerous bonds on the instructor were subtle, clever and insidious. He would almost have sworn it was the work of his Uncle. Black barbed-chains of shadowy non-matter were run through the back of Sprague's skull, through the so-called 'Medium's Door,' and entwined about his brain. Another series of similarly twisted chains ran around his heart. Both sets extended deep across the Lower Oneiric, into regions far more nightmarish than wondrous. Dark, ponderous regions resonant and pregnant with terrors too well imagined.

He looked at Gnosiomandus; "No one gets this entangled..."

The old man nodded.

"...without some level of cooperation in the process."

"What are you saying? Did Sprague do this to himself?" Leeja glared at Gnosiomandus briefly, then turned back to keep an eye on the other room.

"No. He did it for a reason." Gnosiomandus cursed himself for a fool, for not realizing the extent of things before now. He felt old. So very, very old.

"But why would anyone do such a thing?" Leeja asked without turning back.

"Power. Revenge. Some sick thrill..." Bujilli started to run off the list of usual motivations for a sorcerer.

"Love."

"Really?" Leeja scoffed.

"Yes." Gnosiomandus reached out. Placed his hand on his former friend's arm. If only. If only so many, many things. He shook his head as the regrets flooded past. Truth could grow toxic if it remained bottled-up by denial and silence.

"Fine. For whatever reason this senior instructor has allowed himself to be imprisoned and replaced. For quite some time now, as I interpret the impressions coming off of these deeply invasive, deeply embedded spells."

"How long?" Leeja asked.

"Months. Nearly a year, possibly longer. All the oneiroplasm that had been allowed to settle and curdle in this room has corrupted things drastically--" Bujilli stopped. His eyes widened in shock.

"Yes. you sense it now, don't you?"

"We're trapped!"

"No. We have an option."

"This room is teetering on the very brink of Unreality. We have to get out of here before it falls out of synch with anything we know or recognize--"

The mirror cracked. Shards cascading to the floor.

The walls pulsed. Throbbed languidly.

"No. We have time. If we move quickly."

"What do you have in mind?"

"We follow the chains back to their source."

"But then we'd be trapped. Dragged into the Unreal when this room goes--"

"We can't leave him like...this."

"Like hell I can't." Leeja scoffed. "Oh scheiss."

"What now?" Bujilli reinforced the Zone of Normality's outer perimeter.

"All the green mud that buried the fake Sprague is congealing, hardening. If we're going to go this way, we'd better get going right now. Even so, I'm not sure we can force the door as it is..."

Bujilli considered the room full of steaming mud, the shattered mirror, the black chains leading down into darkness of the worst sort.

"Whatever we're going to do--we need to do it quickly!"


Which way should they go?

  1. Try to escape via the door in the other room, past/through all that super-heated green mud? That's assuming they can successfully force that door open, of course. And that the Not-Sprague is down for the count.
  2. Try to somehow re-open the sorcerous passage that brought them here. Of course, since this was a spontaneous bit of spell-hackery on-the-spot, the chance of this working is pretty slim. Bujilli has not had sufficient time to really study this cobbled-together spell, only cast it once, and never fully incorporated it into his repertoire via practice...so just trying to re-cast it might take a few attempts, and each try will have a definite, negative effect on the room. But it does make for a long-shot sort of option.
  3. Follow the black chains down into nightmare. The overlapping effects of Oneiric Bubble, Zone of Normality, the encroaching Unreality of the room, and all that recently dispersed oneiroplasm make this eminently do-able...as if diving headlong into the nightmarescape of an imprisoned oneirist like Sprague could ever be construed as a 'good' option.
  4. The mirror could *maybe* be reassembled, but it would lead off on a tangent that could prove worse than the other three options.

If someone wants to suggest another option, we can discuss it in the comments. Staying in the room is not an option, as it will shortly no longer be a room, and as it falls into Unreality, anything contained within it will be trapped within a very small paracosm that will ultimately collapse into oblivion. Not much of a future along those lines.

There is not a lot of time left to the trio, so a decision needs to be made. Like Bujilli's Uncle taught him: dithering is deadly. Especially in this current predicament...




Bujilli, Leeja and Gnosiomandus all three need to roll a Save versus Spells. See p. 55 of Labyrinth Lord for the Tables. Bujilli and Leeja both need to roll an 8 or higher on a D20. I'll roll for Gnosiomandus and post the result in the Comments.

Whatever happens next, we could use a few Initiative rolls for (1) Bujilli (2) Leeja, and (3) Gnosiomandus, thanks.

Anyone/anything readers don't roll for, I will. As per usual.
Remember:Bujilli receives a +1 bonus to his Initiative, Leeja gets a +2 bonus. Gnosiomandus gets a -1 penalty for being distracted. The girls both receive +1 bonuses due to their DEX. (as per P. 50, Labyrinth Lord.)


As usual, anything readers don't roll for, I will roll.
  • We could use 1-2 D20 rolls,
  • Three D100/D% rolls,
  • Three sets of 3d6, just in case...
What happens next is up to you, the readers.


You Decide!

Previous                                Next

Series Indexes
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six


About Bujilli (What is This?) | Who is Bujilli? | How to Play

Bujilli's Spells | Little Brown Journals | Loot Tally | House Rules

Episode Guides
Series One (Episodes 1-19)
Series Two (Episode 20-36)
Series Three (Episodes 37-49)
Series Four (Episodes 50-68)
Series Five (Episodes 69-99)
Series Six(Episodes 100-ongoing)

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion

4 comments:

  1. I vote for following the black chains. It looks like the best option for getting out, and for resolving what's going on with Sprague. Whatever event compelled him to seek this dream-state as a solution may be having a broader impact on the Academy and Wermspittle.

    I rolled saves for Bujilli and got a 20 and Leeja and got a 17.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Following the black chains would be one way to get out of there before it all goes sideways badly. It does offer a way to get more directly at whatever it is that has been bothering Sprague and there might be some answers involved, but it will raise a lot more questions no doubt.

      Sprague is a Master Oneirist, so seeking a dream-state solution for his dilemma is well within his wheelhouse, but getting bushwhacked by something, or someone on that level was not what he was expecting, not by a long shot.

      You can count on this having a big impact on the Academy and Wermspittle in general.

      Thanks for the Saving Throws! Looks like Gnosiomandus just barely made his save, so we're good to go.

      Delete
  2. Sure, follow Gnosiomandus down this dark rabbit hole. Only, I'd feel it was a better gamble if I understood what's to happen to Sprague's own body once his bedroom tips into Unreality. Is Leeja strong enough to carry Sprague alone? If she were to remain behind to force the door? At least the party is ready to act quickly. All three initiative rolls were good:

    Bujili 5 +1 = 6
    Leeja 3 +2 = 5
    Gnosiomandus 6 -1 = 5

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Two votes for following the trail down into the hole. Okay then. You raise a good point, regarding Sprague's body. It cannot be left behind, as that would be a Really Bad Idea (TM). Leeja can carry him fairly easily; he doesn't weigh much any more, having been trapped in dream for a bit longer than they might have originally estimated (hoped). Leaving anyone behind would run the risk of tipping the room over the threshold into unreality. Removing conscious, active minds from the place will allow it to settle down a bit. The more they stir things up, the more unstable it becomes, increasing on an exponential scale.

      Thanks for the Initiative rolls. That will certainly help!

      Delete

Thanks for your comment. We value your feedback and appreciate your support of our efforts.

ShareThis