16 February 2017 @ 05:25 pm

Who saw the ghosts? That is the question of the hour – and the answer is Elkus alone, who had observed the ghostly vessels outside in the witching hour. The DM passes a sheet of paper around for the players to write character names on.

Elkus: Are you writing in all-caps?
DM: That just means I’ll have to yell it every time I say it.

Elkus writes his name over the entire remaining sheet of paper, and Balisar, angry at being upstaged, goes to the internet to try to write his name on a map of a country. The group immediately writes off Elkus’s visions as sex-induced madness. Elkus observes the ghosts unloading the ship for some 20 minutes or so before everything disappears.

DM: Two people pour out their liquor and go back to the house. Guess you can assume they’re pretending it’s not happening too. The little event, about 20 or 30 minutes, you didn’t see the beginning of it buy you saw the end.
Elkus: Curioiuser and curiouser. What time of night is it?
DM: A little after two in the morning, you guys partied pretty hard. Your compadres are more than likely knocked out.
Elkus: Where’s Balisar’s room compared to mine?
DM: Your houses aren’t built yet.
Elkus: We’re still booking it in the inn.
DM: A couple rooms down.
Elkus: I’ll walk on down to his room, knock on his door.
Balisar: “Uuuugh. What?”
Elkus: Knock again.
DM: Elkus waits for a more appropriate noise for his title.
Balisar: (miming walking over and opening the door)
Elkus: Oh, I probably should put a bathrobe on. Oh well.
DM: Elkus’s glory shines before you.
Balisar: “Congratulations. You made it with a woman. I’m very proud. This could have waited till morning.” (miming shutting the door)
Elkus: “Huh.” (a pause, then knocking again)
Balisar: “If you just made it with her again, you shouldn’t be proud.”
Elkus: “I say, this is not what this is about.”
Balisar: “…Are you dressed?”
Elkus: “No! I can’t get dressed that quick—ah for fuck’s sake.” Is there like a tapestry on the wall or something? “All right, I’m fine now.”
DM: You notice Elkus is now wearing a makeshift toga. He actually did a fairly good job of it.
Elkus: “This isn’t the first time. Many times have I had to escape a lover’s embrace… well, let’s not get into details here. I just saw a phenomenon that I need to share with you. …May I come in?” I’m already brushing past you.
Balisar: Hold on.
Elkus: I forgot you’re six fucking feet tall…
Balisar: “I am familiar with the phenomon in which, when you become attracted to a woman, you become erect. You don’t need to show me. I realize you’re just excited about your discovery, but it is the middle of the night—“
Elkus: Gonna grab you by the ear—
Balisar: “Ow. When did I get these?!”
Elkus: And lead you to the window. “Out there, I saw a ghostly ship with ghostly members—“
Balisar: I’m on the other side of the inn, aren’t I.
Elkus: That would be funny. ‘Oh wait. Shit. Back to my room for a moment. Ignore here.’
Balisar: ‘Sorry, I can’t, due to that aforementioned thing we were talking about.’ Woioioioing.
Elkus: “Out there, there was a ghostly ship with ghostly members carrying ghostly crates.”
Balisar: Is there?
DM: Not at the moment, it’s already left.
Elkus: “I assure you, I am sober as the day.”

A long judgmental silence. Balisar holds up a finger, trying to get Elkus to follow it with his eyes.

Elkus: “Why are you—“
DM: Are you facing away, looking at him now?
Balisar: Yes.
Elkus: “I purposely didn’t drink so I would be able to do my duty!”
DM: Just over his shoulder as he’s trying to test you, further out as the mists lessen, you see more ships.
Elkus: I swear to god, if they go away when he looks, I’m going to be very angry.
Balisar: It’s the good ship Bill Murray. ‘No one will ever believe you!’

Numerous ships now clog the waterways, and Balsiar catches the end of the display before it fades away. Balisar claims he saw nothing just to aggravate Elkus.

Balisar: “Let’s wake the others.”

A pause.

Elkus: “I’m gonna go get dressed first.”
Balisar: “I’ll put on clothes and wake the others. Let us never speak of this again.”

They dress and round up the others; Valan accuses Elkus of drunkenness. They gather outside the inn, then head to the dock, but all is peaceful now. Elkus wakes up one of the old-timers who had witnessed the event, and promptly gets his face touched.

Elkus: “I know it’s rugged, isn’t it. Okay. Hands off my goatee.”
Balisar: “He just made it with a woman.”
Elkus: “Anyway, after such copulation, I saw a ghostly ship at dock!”
DM: “You saw it too?!”
Elkus: “Absolutely!”
DM: “Are you drinking this stuff too, I think it’s this stuff!”
Valan: I knew it.
Balisar: I knew it too. “But I too saw it, and as we all know I am far too boring to drink!”

This goes unremarked on as Elkus is busy swapping alcohol with the drunk guy and growing more hair on his chest as a result. The old man begins rambling.

Balisar: “I believe this fellow is useless to us.”
DM: “’Scuse me sir, I’m still here talking.”
Balisar: “I know, I stopped caring.”
DM: “…Okay.”
Balisar: “Return to your drink, sir.”
DM: “Permission received!”

The PCs realize the moon is bright, full, and unclouded – and in its brilliance, the ghosts return! Balisar mimes peering through a spyglass, so the DM lovingly describes him peering into a ghost head which has appeared immediately next to him.

DM: You believe you’ve seen the King of All Ghosts.
Balisar: ‘I, uh, I kind of thought of something. I chose the form of our destroyer…”
Elkus: I just reach over to the guy who’s sleeping, grab his drink. “Yeah, I’m gonna need that.”
DM: It’s a very particularly strong blend. It hits you quick. Any chance you had of recovering from last night’s activities is long gone.
Elkus: “Good night!”

The dock is both bustling and larger now in the moonlight – and they realize there’s an edge to this appearance. Balisar and Elkus approach it, and Balisar steps past – feeling that he’s stepped through to another place, Elkus and the others no longer seeing him at all!

Elkus: I QUICKLY pull an arm – not my whole body though, but I put an arm through to grab onto him.
Balisar: Just as I turn around to look behind me. (miming a hand closing on his muzzle and his muffled protestations)

Elkus hauls Balisar back through, but the latter seems to notice his hand is ghostly. But while he was in there, the ghosts seemed solid! The group now understands that this is another divide between parallel realities.

Balisar: “I posit that this is akin to the phenomenon by which we met our counterparts earlier.”
Elkus: All I hear is… (spooky) ‘OoooooOOoooooooh!’

Balisar, using large words, notes that they had to slay their counterparts the last time. Curious, he leans back across the line that separates the dimensions – and his floating head is spotted by a dock worker, who stares at it!

Balisar: (spooky) ‘OooOOooOOooh!’
Elkus: Don’t exacerbate things.
DM: He can’t see the rest of your body, he just sees a head. He can only see a head on the wall, and he looks at you accordingly.
Balisar: “Sir! Sir!”
Elkus: Now he only hears -- (spooky) ‘OooOOooOOooh!’
DM: Either he’s ignoring you or he doesn’t hear you as he puts the crate down and proceeds to hurriedly walk away back to –
Valan: No, he opens the crate and pulls the proton pack out from within and proceeds to shoot you!
Balisar: “Hurriedly walking guy who just put the crate down!”
DM: You watch as there’s sort of a commotion, as the other guy grabs him and says, “I think that head’s talking to you, man.” “I don’t want to approach the head that’s talking to me. I have done my shift.”
Elkus: (leaning in) “What the hell’s going on over here?”
DM: “Another one of those talking heads!”
Balisar: I step all the way through. Emerging in a misty form or some shit! Swathed in an eld-er-near-worldurword – blah, there was a word there, but it just decided to go off on its own little thing.

Balisar quickly adapts to the new world, and behind him he now sees a far larger town, which now seems to be the middle of the day. Holographic sharks attack him from a theater marquee. Balisar approaches the man who wasn’t running, and asks to see Balisar!

DM: You notice on one of the crates, in one of the corners, ‘Balisar’s Magical Industries, Where Wands and Wagons Meet.’
Valan: You’ve gone to the future.
Balisar: It’s possible. I’ve considered that.
DM: “There it is, right there! Man, you know him? He’s some magical witch guy. Designed a way of making magical goods like, bam! Bam!”
Valan: ‘It’s like he’s an artificer or something!’
Balisar: Also a warforged in this dimension.
DM: “Yeah, they say he came out here like an adventurer, and then he found a thing – I don’t know, I don’t keep track of these thing, but we ship these goods out to the mainland. They’re big out there!”
Balisar: Why do I have a feeling I found some evil thing that made me evil?
Elkus: Probably killed all of us.
DM: Are you saying this out loud?
Balisar: I’m thinking this very loudly…

Balisar asks directions to the tower; Valan suspects that the ‘tower’ is in fact the entire continent. The NPC indicates an old mansion, which corresponds directly to Balisar’s purchased plot of land. Balisar tips him a silver piece which is worthless but for weight of metal.

Valan: It’s like Confederate money. Balisar established his own currency! He’s so evil! He’s frickin’ Balisine. ‘The attempt on my life by Elkus has left me disabled…’
Balisar: We’re not sure which one of us is Balisar yet, let’s be fair. But I have to say, Balisar in any dimension is as devilishly clever as he is fiendishly handsome…
Valan: Balisar and his SUNBLADE!
Balisar: Balisar and his fists of magic item crafting!

Clouds begin to cover the sun, and the two on the other side begin to feel an awful pressure. They jump past the line of transition, which feels slimy and gunky. They realize this is the first full moon they’ve seen since arriving in this land, somehow!

Balisar: Just gonna have to solve this the Master Roshi way.
Valan: With porn?!
DM: Blowing up the moon.
Balisar: To be fair, that wasn’t a bad guess…

Fond Dragon Ball reminiscences occur. The PCs observe people walking through the line and into their own town, and pontificates.

Valan: Valkun is convinced you’re all hallucinating this.
Balisar: It’s right FUCKING there, you asshole. He can’t see it over his own fangs.
Valan: My tusks are in front of – hee! I have to take blindfighting as a feat!

Elkus eyes Balisar suspiciously, thanks to his land-usurping; the DM declares that in all worlds, Balisar has taken over Elkus’s lands. The group muses over the possibilities which may be in play here, given what little they have heard.

Elkus: “You’d think a world saturated with magical items would be a lot more disheveled.”
Valan: It’s artificing gone wrong!
Balisar: “Why?”
Elkus: “No reason.”
Balisar: “I don’t understand. What are you saying about magic?”
Elkus: “Shall we go through?”

Declaring that they MUST solve this even though it be their deaths, the group steps back through.

Tyr: It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever done.
Balisar: What was the worst thing you’ve ever done?
Tyr: Um… (nervous laughter)

To their irritation, they find themselves unable to NOT cross back into their own world. Balisar botches an Arcana roll, as he’s done every single Arcana roll in this game; he promptly develops a massive migraine! Its source: Above the mansion!

DM: You’re able to fight as you look up. You can now see the top of what looks like a tower. A beam of arcane energy – you can’t tell if it’s either going to the sun or the sun going to the other person. But as you watch the beam closely you can tell it’s existing not only in this place, but in the other place.
Valan: Send in the Suicide Squad, they can deal with sky lasers!
Balisar: “Balisar… has harnessed… the SUN!”
Valan: “Hung over, I knew it…”
DM: You guys don’t notice this. Everything looks normal to you.
Elkus: “I think you might be right…”
Balisar: Slapping Hand!

Memories flood into Balisar’s head! He goes to Mars and begs Quaid to start the reactor. Suddenly he finds himself festooned in magical items!

Valan: Did you just become Evil Balisar?
Balisar: I think I just got the Cloak of Levitation.
Valan: Well that’s broken.

He possess the Robe of the Magi now, as well as an ultimate staff of ultimate power, Elkus sadly prepares for Balisar to be very depressed while this is all over.

DM: They’re not kind of there any more. You don’t really see them.
Balisar: Oh, this IS my fantasy!
DM: They’re still in front of you but you don’t perceive them any more. You don’t perceive them any more. There’s too much information in your head.

Balisar observes the full power of the land itself focused into the sun, and remembers that he was attempting his fifth world-crossing –after murdering alternate Balisars repeatedly. In fact, his own self disgusts him!

DM: You feel your hands, they begin to encroach on your neck. Give me a…
Balisar: Wisdom saving through? I’m proficient! Ooh, a nine.
DM: Part of you is resisting. A distant part.
Valan: Oh, this is from Superman 3! Evil drunken Balisar against Gir Balisar.
DM: You can’t stop it. Your hands, they move, on their own. Now let’s see if your friends will help you…
Valan: Are we watching him choke himself?
DM: You see his hands get closer and closer to his throat. His eyes seem distant as he watches.
Valan: “That must be one painful hangover if he’s going after himself.”
DM: You see him, he mumbles to himself, talking about murder, talking about killing. He’s getting closer. His hands crushing his own neck. Choking gasps pour out of his mouth. A simple cry.
Balisar: “WHY AREN’T YOU DOING ANYTHING?!” That’s the simple cry!

Tyr finally tries to help him, and the rest of the group dives in to grab an arm or two. Tyr rolls terribly.

Elkus: Thank god he’s weak.
DM: You’re gonna roll Strength but you’re going to add your Arcana and your Wisdom.
Balisar: Oh good, so I’m only adding my Wisdom. (rolling) Ooh, yay, my inability to roll Arcana has served me well!
DM: Perhaps maybe it was the sudden shift, but you’re able to pull away. It was actually a little easier than you thought it would be.

Balisar bemoans his cursed Arcana roll, then Elkus slaps him for future-stealing his land. The game pauses as Balisar feeds a cat pub cheese with horseradish, and everyone gets a furious giggle at said cat licking his lips from horseradish spice. Balsiar the character is half-possessed still, one side trembling and full of foreign memories. The DM calls for a Wisdom check to resist the influence of his alternate personality’s goals, and Elkus slaps the stupid out of him.

Valan: Why aren’t the rest of us becoming our evil selves here?
Balisar: This is BALISAR’S WOOOOOORLD! (a beat) Excellent! Party time!

Balisar senses that his other self had no choice, after defeating the evil, but to lay control on it! The memories leech into him and he retreats from thinking over it too much.

Balisar: “I REPUDIATE YOU!” (realizing where he’s pointing) “Oh, sorry, Elkus.” (pointing at no one) “I REPUDIATE YOU!”
DM: You find yourself pointing at yourself and at the tower. It seems to fade. The headache completely gone, the memories completely out of reach. The only memory is that you had the memories, and even that’s slipping.
Balisar: “We must find Balisar and KILL HIM!” I stalk toward the manor, forgetting that I can’t get there…

The spell has seemed to diminish the sun itself, though, and the portal is gone. Ranting, Balisar leads the way!

Balisar: “The Balisar of this world has drawn upon the land and the sun itself to fuel his arcane power. A hideous and blasphemous act that turns against everything that I stand for. Worse, he has murdered several of his other Balisar companions in cold blood.”
Valan: “Seems pretty consistent with the Balisar I know.”
Tyr: Wow…

A disheveled man appears in front of them, mechanically tending crops – it is Elkus! He has a hoe, which he tosses aside.

Valan: Old Elkus is a lot like young Elkus.
Balisar: Drop that ho. ‘I’ll be back for you later, baby!’
DM: “Balisar said we were doing a good thing by going and killing the ones like us, he said they’d turn evil. But this time you came here. I guess it’ll be a little easier this time.”
Balisar: “You have betrayed everything that you stood for! You have betrayed…”(gesturing dramatically at Elkus)
Elkus: “Me!”
Balisar: (glaring at him)
Valan: ‘I am Sunblade, and Sunblade means ME!’
Elkus: “What? I don’t LIVE by the sword, I just enjoy using it.”
Balisar: “…All I ask for is a little goddamn support…”
DM: The Elkus you see, hand seems almost shriveled, as it reaches out. “So young. I remember that feeling. I remember the power. The feeling when I choked me so many times. That power felt good.”
Balisar: “Our evil counterparts are pretty big on choking in this world…”
DM: He pulls off the cloak, and what you see before you –
Balisar: Kael’thas Sunstrider!

Evil Elkus is bearing a sunblade of unbelievable power and shiny armor; Elkus is disgusted by how garish the adamantine/mithril armor is and derides his counterpart.

DM: “I don’t want it. That’s why I work my lovely fields.”
Elkus: ‘You can’t grow dead babies, what are you doing?!’
DM: What you see before you is, if someone said they were farming dirt, it would still look like a crappy field. “Don’t you see the pretty flowers?”
Elkus: “Apparently I’ve gone totally mad.”

Balisar tries to sneak by, while Valan advocates mercy-killing evil Elkus. Elkus isn’t interested in stopping them, though.

Elkus: “Are you sure we kill our counterparts?”
Balisar: “We’ll kill us or die trying!”
Elkus: “But look what happened to them after the killing. What if we absorb that?”
Balisar: “We must trust ourselves to be of better mettle than that.”

Balisar steps into the house and is promptly teleported across town, because wounding his dignity is hilarious. Producing his familiar, he attempts to send it out to investigate.

DM: As you pull out your friendly eagle, it peers out now, as if it’s not quite sure how it should navigate.
Balisar: (incredibly strained) Like THIS! Like -- (miming forcing the bird’s wings to flap, then straight up hurling it into the air)
Elkus: That should backlash on you somehow…
DM: He just has some trouble at first flying. And he’s off to the winds, flying around.
Balisar: Aaaaaand he’s gone. Fuck.
Elkus: ‘Freeeeee!’

The eagle claims the manor is two days’ flight away. Balisar hails a taxi – and, against all odds and probability, one shows up.

DM: A weird wagon comes up. There’s no horses. There’s a horse carriage there, he appears to be holding two wands. “Where d’ya need to go, buddy?”
Balisar: This is the Wizard of Uber.
DM: “You’ve never seen a wand-wagon before?”

This is a thing that is happening. Balisar calls the DM a dirtbag, while the other Elkus explains that it’s a teleport trap. He also reveals Balisar is only 10 miles away, leading the wizard to curse his really stupid familiar. Balisar boards the wagon, and the driver cracks the wands like reins, summoning a pair of horses. The driver begins explaining that evil Balisar created these items, leading Balisar to identify himself as ‘Neville Longbottom’. The wagon takes him back.

Valan: “Is this ours or one of the evil ones?”
Elkus: “I think it’s ours. Are you friend or foe?”
Balisar: (thinking about this) “I’d LIKE to think I’m a friend…”
Elkus: “Why are you hesitating on that?”
Balisar: “Because you keep GETTING on me about how I stole your farmland in this dimension!”
Elkus: “Only in jest!”
Balisar: “Sure.”
Elkus: “A little bit in jest…”
DM: The other Elkus says, “Yeah, it’s pretty common. We don’t seem to keep our land in other places either. I just gave it up to him. I think that’s what the others did.”
Elkus: “Apparently we are idiots. We’re going to change this from now on. To the rest of you, if Balisar tries to take my land, do not let me give it to him.”

Evil Elkus zones out, and so the PCs pile in through the window that should let them through. The inside reveals itself to be a glorious palace! And now the group…. Awaits the next game session!