The Bardic Chef

Broiled Beholder and Other Dungeon Delicacies

Ladies and gentlemen. I must tell you the tale of the chef bard Prianna Rein, and her unfortunate encounter with a deserted tropical island...

Session Recap: Ourbossa - 01: The TPK

By 11:05 PM

Ladies and gentlemen. I must tell you the tale of the chef bard Prianna Rein, and her unfortunate encounter with a deserted tropical island, dwarves afraid of water, and how she survived a total party wipe because her player was completely out of her mind with a fever.

As I repeatedly complain to anyone who will listen: I have bronchitis. It’s bad bronchitis, the type that makes me cough loud enough that the neighbors come check on me because they think I’m dying. Despite this, when my DM of this amazing custom campaign said “hey I’m bored, how many of you are on today?”, I jumped at the chance to play. I made myself some Swampwater tea, convinced myself I felt TOTALLY FINE, and loaded up my character sheet.

Ourbossa is a 100% custom-written D&D 5E game that I’m totally addicted to. It’s kind of like that first really good season of LOST before they tried too hard, combined with the good parts of Survivor, and my own personal episode of Man VS Wild. We all arrived by boat, boat sunk, we wash up on this very exotic and magical tropical island and have to survive. Everything is tracked, from hunger levels, to thirst levels, even to cleanliness of the camp and likelihood of illness. I knew it was going to be awesome - but once I got into the game on that first session, I realized three major problems right off the bat.
1) Prianna was the only woman.
2) Everyone else rolled dwarves.
3) Everyone else had decided they’d be the funny, unique ones and make their dwarf afraid of water - the DM knew this, and let them believe they had been the only one to do it.

Welp. Go team.

Ourbossa is a large game. Eight players, myself included, and we show up like it’s a religion every time the game is called. Prianna QUITE LITERALLY had seven dwarves on this island with her. I began to call them all by their identifying characteristics: Tipsy, Wasted, Blasted, Pervy, Nasty, Lazy, and Asshole. No, those are not joke names, Prianna has called them each those names since day one, and as of last session they had taken up using them too. You can only IMAGINE how effective this team was. Every day they’d go out of our camp site for supplies, food, or exploring, and Prianna would stay behind to cook. Because she’s obviously a 1930’s disney princess now, and she also doesn’t want Pervy or Nasty making comments about how good her ass looks while they’re out in the field. 

After many months of play, quite a few levels, and multiple attempts at proposing to and sleeping with Prianna, we had actually gotten pretty good at this thing. Prianna’s pissed there aren’t fish, because the dwarves REFUSE to go near the ocean when gathering food, but they have found a cave full of giant spiders they keep bringing back. There’s amazing fruit trees, they have a farm going, decent rainwater gathering, they have wild chickens for eggs, Prianna’s got herself a separate sleeping quarters from the rest of these guys, and she has an adorable pet toucan named Clafoutis (a french fruity dessert).

As soon as today’s session started, I knew it was going to be interesting. Everyone was very serious - today was the day when we’d explore the bottom level of this cave they’ve been dicking around in since we established the camp site location. There’s been a lot of signs of ancient magic in this cave - Prianna instantly says this is a bad idea. Usually when Prianna says something is bad, there’s a fight, and Prianna has to convince these guys after a lot of arguing that she’s right. Around the second line of the argument, my bronchitis hit me hard - the tea was not working to keep my brain functional for this - so Prianna very uncharacteristically said “… fine… just…. just go.”
There was silence.
For a long moment, I thought that maybe my own silence was golden, and that Prianna had automatically won with shock alone. Then Asshole loudly proclaimed that see - even SHE was on board - and led the others down into the cave. The DM asked me multiple times if Prianna wanted to go too, or if I was okay with splitting the party. At this point I was curled into my pillows, pretending to be active, and just watching this happen. I promised her that Prianna was good - she had fresh milk from their new goat to cook with, and that would be a bigger priority to her. The DM agreed, and focused her attention on the dwarves who went down the cave, badmouthing “prissy” Prianna every step of the way.

They fought through a few spiders and other cave-dwelling species, and finally got to the pitch-black bottom floor of the dungeon. There was a shrine that looked to be coated in fresh blood. This thing was huge, so large that their torches didn’t even illuminate the top of it, and it appeared to be monkey-shaped. Or rather, giant large gorilla shaped. Now… it’s been hinted at that anyone who wasn’t wasted on our rum stocks at night could hear “ungodly sounds from the jungle” - Prianna was the only one to hear them. Prianna was not there to say “huh okay so now that I’m thinking of it, that looks like something that could make those sounds”. Dwarves are making monkey jokes. Blasted decides to make everyone laugh by taking a piss on the altar to “wash the blood away”.  Everyone laughs. I and DM are quiet.

DM starts rolling dice. Then more dice. Then more dice. Silence. More dice being rolled. 510 damage from an onslaught of spears - LESS THAN HALF HIT - from the giant population of small gorilla-worshipping pygmies who were hidden in the dark hollows in the floor of this giant cave. Nobody had rolled Perception, or tried to cast light into the hollows - they were too busy shooting the shit with each other to look. These inhabitants had been written to be non-violent unless provoked - and pissing on the altar of their god is the ultimate provocation.WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BEFRIEND THEM AND LEARN ABOUT THEIR MAGICAL SOCIETY. Instant death for Blasted. Horror at the scale of shit they’ve gotten themselves into settles into the party, and I’m muted because I’m choking on my own coughs and laughter. One of them screams “RUN MOTHERFUCKERS”, and it begins.

See, at this point I would’ve tried talking to them and explain that Blasted is, as he always is, drunk, and does not represent the rest of us. But I didn’t go with them. Their Charisma princess is up making banana cream pies at the camp site, grumbling to herself about how unappreciated she is. The dwaves make the decision to try and outrun hundreds of tiny creatures who know these caves better than the new residents do. Our adorable tropical Disney campaign turns horror movie real quick. Torches get lost two floors up, nobody wants to light a new one. “But Arella, dwaves have darkvision” - the DM hates darkvision has a mechanic and killed it, something that everyone agreed to at the beginning of the game. These guys are in pitch black darkness, and they can hear the scurrying of tiny feet, the chanting coming from the bottom floor, and Nasty vanishes from the group. Poison darts, followed by a swarm of them overtaking him, it takes one round of combat for him to be dead from the sheer amount of them.

Not a damn one of them try to defend themselves, despite having ranged weapons on them - they just keep moving, and it becomes very apparent that they didn’t count on one thing - maybe the pygmy tribe inhabited more than just the bottom floor. Maybe they’d been in all the floors the entire time, hidden from sight, watching our every moves. Every floor, they encounter even more, along with others pouring down the walkways and ladders they’d crafted over months. Nobody stops to help each other when someone goes down, it’s very much an every-dwarf-for-himself situation at this point. I’m in tears I’m laughing and coughing so hard, because these guys are literally screaming at one another as the panic of this situation sets in.
Lazy goes next - and it becomes pretty obvious to Tipsy, after looking back, that the pygmies are also cannibals. They’re tearing the flesh from his body before he’s even completely dead. Lazy cries out for help, they keep running, leaving him to his fate.
All but Pervy die from a combination of swarms, spears, darts, cannibalism, and poison. Pervy escapes from the cave, and is relieved to see that the pygmies refuse to come out into the sunlight, and go back into their hell cave, hissing things at him. The chanting is absolutely echoing through that cave now, and it’s unnerving. Prianna pauses in her baking to take note of the sound, and of Pervy coming back into the camp by himself.

(Seen above: actual representation of the scene, she’s who I use as her faceclaim)
FOR WHATEVER REASON, Pervy decides to tell me that the others decided to live in the cave BECAUSE THEY DON’T LIKE PRIANNA ANYMORE. I would’ve had some kind of witty, in-character comeback to that, but my ill-ridden brain could not process anything beyond feelings of “you motherfucker”. He tells Prianna that he stood up for her, because she’s amazing and beautiful and yadda yadda, so he came back to the camp to be with her instead. She doesn’t believe him. She also doesn’t have time to properly respond, because that awful roaring sound comes out of the jungle - it’s midday - and trees start getting knocked down left and right.
They have summoned their god to get revenge on the dwarf that got away.
Their god is a giant gorilla.

Their god is fucking King Kong.

It takes three turns for him to get to us, and it’s pandemonium. Pervy has abandoned all his “chivalry” and bolted out of the camp to leave Prianna to her demise. I sat there thinking about all the ways Prianna has died in other games, and I have to say… summoned giant monkey god is not one I’ve encountered before. New experiences all around.
This thing is massive. Smells terrible. Looks worse. Appears to be undead, actually, and moves very unnaturally, but with incredible force.

I instantly know I’m not going to win this fight, so I need to think. Thinking… is not good right now. Hell, I had to look up what class I was twice when determining my action because  the fever was providing a massive brain fog for me. This was a very bad day to encounter a giant gorilla, guys. The worst day. Everyone is quiet. DM reminds me that the gorilla is just staring around, looking for Pervy, so I have a full turn to do whatever I want to do before he bothers with me. It just spilled out of my mouth. I didn’t think about it, I just… my fever acted for me.
“I offer him one of my pies?”
Silence. A bit of chuckling from the guys.
“She’s been making banana pies. I’m sure even undead monkeys like bananas right? I’m going to go out there and offer him a pie.”

Prianna leaves the cover of her palm-roofed shack, drawing the attention of the massive gorilla. She sets three banana pies out on the ground in front of him, gives a little bow, and slowly starts to back away. It roars, the intensity kicking up wind that sends her hair and skirts flying backward, and she has to struggle to stay upright. It’s breath is hot, and smells of death. Prianna closes her eyes, and awaits the terrible fate ahead of her - and winces when she feels the creature wrap it’s hand around her body and pick her up off the ground. Instead of slamming her into the ground, or eating her, he instead roars in the direction of Pervy angrily, and storms back off through the jungle with Prianna in his clutches. Prianna’s toucan flies at a distance behind her, following wherever she goes.

He eventually breaks through a cluster of extremely tall and dense trees that the dwarves had been afraid to explore for weeks. Beyond those trees? One giant major mega tree that was completely wrapped in a series of tree houses, with wooden bridges in between. it was a magnificent sight, and I’m sure Prianna would’ve loved it if she hadn’t been completely terrified out of her mind.
The undead monkey creature dropped her rather unceremoniously on a flat wooden platform halfway up the giant tree, grunted, and almost mechanically moved to a far corner of the clearing to sit and watch. The toucan perched itself on Prianna’s shaking shoulder and nuzzled her as she got to her feet, looking around.
A man stepped out of a step of wooden double doors. He was young, a little younger than her actually, and wore clothing made entirely of leather and leaves. Clean shaven, clean looking, nicely cut hair - he was actually the most gorgeous thing she’d seen in a long time, and despite her terror, she was very much intrigued.

He introduced himself. He was a necromancer who had taken up residence here some 400 years ago, extended his life through magic he found on the island, and had been taking care of the pygmies through his ungodly creations. It was about half an hour of game exposition from the DM as the guy, named Mordanio, escorted Prianna through all the rooms of his treehouse mansion. It became pretty obvious that this was supposed to be end-game content we’d gotten to through dwarf stupidity.
He was building an army of undead and skeleton creatures - along with pygmies. He showed her all of that too, rooms upon rooms carved inside of the tree where he caged these things.

Then he turned to her, and made his offer.
A woman hadn’t been to the island in almost 300 years. The last died - drowned in a fishing accident (DM’s last run of this). He felt Prianna was gorgeous, talented, and had a sharp mind to keep herself going through all the madness of the dwarves. She was resourceful, and exactly the kind of woman he wanted as queen of his island.
If she wanted the position? She’d have to give the word to the giant monkey to go hunt down her final teammate, to prove she was on his side. Her beloved animals and belongings would be brought here instead - carefully - and they would remain untouched by the necromancer until their natural deaths. She would live in luxury, and protect the pygmies and this island for centuries more.
“Would I have to kill anyone else? If they came to this island?”
“… and I have to kill my teammate now to prove that to you?”

Two seconds of deliberation.

Off went the gorilla.
Pervy lasted all of three rounds, cursing my name both in and out of character the entire way.
The DM sighed, and suggested that everyone show up with multiple character sheets next time, along with their new characters who will wash up on the beach. They’ll have the benefit of the skeletons of the existing camp to work from, but all the contents will be gone.
I asked if I should make one too.
“Oh no, honey. After all that shit you were put through, I made a decision. You’re the new campaign villain.”

The boys are terrified.

Months of dealing with their characters making sexual and rude comments about her has paid off.

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