Pludwump, Leader of the Wool-Tribe

Overheard in the encampment of the Moon-Stuffing Clan, Year of the Potato:

“Look, I’m telling you, there is something weird about Wool-Tribe.”

“Dude, don’t be racist. Just because they’re not like us—”

“I’m not being racist. I’m not saying they’re weird because they’re stuffed sheep, I’m saying they’re weirdos who happen to be stuffed sheep. It would still be weird behavior even if they were chickens or teddy-bears or woolly mammoths or something.”

“Well, fine, maybe they’re a little odd, but they let us pass through their territory, which is more than you can say for some of the other tribes.”

“Yeeeeeah….”

“Is this about their shaman? Because shamans don’t count. All shamans are nuts. Our shaman is nuts.”

“It’s not about their shaman. Frankly, it’s their chief. I think there’s something really wrong with him.”

“Pludwump? There’s nothing wrong with him.”

“Says you.”

“Maybe he’s a berserker, did you think of that? Do you have something against berserkers?”

“He is not a berserker. My mother was a berserker, okay? I have no problem with berserkers! Whatever’s wrong with him, it’s not that.”

“Well then, what is it?”

“….I dunno, man. Something about the eyes…”

My latest horrifying creation!
Pludwump has Seen Things in his time as Chief. HORRIBLE HORRIBLE THINGS.
He doesn’t even want to be chief. In Wool-Tribe, whoever picks the short straw is in charge.
Okay, this isn’t a clever line, I’m just proud of his back feet.

 

My latest foray into art dolls, Pludwump, Chief of the Wool-Tribe! He’s 8 inches tall, 12 inches long, 11 inches wide, and came out a little more rotund than expected. (I’m still learning how to design these bodies)

Sewing his little dreadlocks on and stringing beads on them was way too much fun…

The Six Hundredth Bird

So I went up to Philadelphia this weekend, and got a lot done. I hung out with the Dorsai security group at their get together (they are lovely people and boy, do they know their Scotch) went to my buddy Lizardbeth’s thirtieth birthday party, saw the Liberty Bell, and, perhaps most importantly, had a photoshoot with the amazing J. R. Blackwell, who is well known in the geek author community as “That person who can get a photo of you that makes you look cool and not nearly as bloated as other cameras think you are.” (This is very important for those of us who naturally have that squishy bit under our chins, which adds about eighty pounds unless the lighting is juuuuust right.) Haven’t gone through the photos yet, but am very hopeful.

But the BIG thing this weekend was the 600th bird.

Not my 600th bird. My lifelist stands at a cool 351. But my buddy Tina, who has been personally responsible for adding about a hundred birds to that total, is an ABA bird lister, and she was out in pursuit of her 600th bird.

ABA listers are a not-uncommon subset of regular birders. The ABA listers can count only birds seen in the US, Canada, a couple of islands (not including Hawaii) and 200 miles off shore. The ABA (American Birding Association) keeps a master list of birds that are known to have occurred in this area, provide rules for counting, and so forth.

There are not quite a thousand birds on that list.

A much reduced number of those actually live here–this includes all the weird birds blown in from other continents and so forth, some of which have only been seen ONCE in the history of birding. There’s an actual ranking system, 1-6, with 1 being “Regular and widespread” and 5 being “Accidental visitors recorded less than 5 times in North America.” 6 is “extinct, cannot be found” or “extinct in the wild, all specimens in captivity and not yet re-established.”

So for example, a Great Blue Heron is a 1. (They’re everywhere.) A Whooping Crane is a 2. (They’re here, they’re just hard to find.) A Bare-throated Tiger-Heron is a 5. (Get on a plane to go see this bird.) A Passenger Pigeon is a 6. (You’re a goddamn liar.)

Every bird I’ve ever seen is a 1 or a 2, except for the thirty-odd birds I got in Europe, which wouldn’t count on an ABA list.

It is probably possible to hit about 500 birds being a relatively casual birder, as I am. I go out on birding trips, when I travel I take a few extra days, I wander around with binoculars. I take field trips to the High Holy Grounds of birding, like High Island or Cape May. I would even do a pelagic trip to go get those weird birds out in the 200-miles-offshore range. But I don’t hover over the bird mailing lists to hear about rarities. I just go to places where I’ve never been and pick up all the commons. It’s a big continent.

Past that, though, you gotta be a twitcher. You gotta get the word that somebody spotted a Citrine Wagtail, jump in the car, and drive for twelve hours because there will never be another in your lifetime. Once you’ve filled in all the normal birds, the only way to increase is to start jumping when a rare bird gets blown in from Eurasia. And that’s how Tina, who is hardcore, came to Philadelphia with 599 birds on her list.

Tina had taken the great birding oath to get the 600th bird as a tattoo, and as a result, she didn’t want just anything for 600. It had to be something cool. She is also forbidden to bird alone, owing to medical reasons, and since I am usually game for anything and she likes me for some weird reason (I assume because I don’t complain about the weather and err on the side of “I have no idea what that was” when it comes to bird ID) we got up early on Sunday and set out after the 600th bird. (And as weird and obscure as this hobby is, I was legitimately honored to be along on the hunt.)

The bird we went out in pursuit of was the Northern Lapwing, a Code 4, which had been spotted in a place called New Egypt, New Jersey.

Flickr - Rainbirder - Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
This is the bird in question. Photo by Steve Garvie, Wikimedia Commons
 So we piled into the car and we drove through the wilds of rural New Jersey, following directions from other birders. I braced myself for a long and nerve-wracking chase, similar to the time we drove around for three hours checking every Canada Goose on a golf course looking for the one rare Emperor Goose hiding among them, or Snowy Owl Quest 2012, which took two days and got us stuck in a ditch and Kevin still shudders when he talks about the waves. (People from the Atlantic side of the continent do not really understand the Pacific, I swear.)

We made the turn-off. We crept past houses, past barns, past a great many cows…and there was a guy with binoculars, staring into a field.

“You got the bird?” asked Tina, in hushed tones.

“Yep,” he said. “Just in front of the red longhorn steer.”

She unloaded the scope. She set it up. We looked through the scope.

Three Northern Lapwings stood in front of a placid red cow, picking idily at the muck.

As great moments in birding went, it was admittedly kind of anti-climatic. Tina and I did the lifer dance. We hugged. Several other birders showed up, pointed scopes at the bird, nodded to each other. A very chatty man with a thick New Jersey accent tried to show us his scrapbook of photos of rare NJ birds, including a Yellow-Headed Blackbird. (We agreed that it was a very good bird for New Jersey.) As with almost any gathering of birders, I was the youngest person by over a decade.

Then we got in the car and she played Blur’s “Woo Hoo!” song on the stereo and we went back to Philadelphia.

Sometimes it’s just that easy.

Rough Seams goes to e-bay!

And you can bid on him!

(I have no idea what to charge, so am setting it at covers materials/won’t make me cry bitter tears.)

Just to re-iterate, I am new to this and he is going to be somewhat fragile as a result. This is art, not something to hand to the kids or let the cat drag around. (I wouldn’t sell him if I didn’t think he was durable enough to ship, pet, or sit on a shelf and look cute, but I feel obligated to say something because…well…it looks like a toy, and people make assumptions…)

Meanwhile, I am almost at the sewing stage on the next one!

Rough Seams

When the great shaman Cryptic Stitches led the Moon-Stuffing Clan to their new homeland, the clan found itself in a dilemma. This was certainly the homeland provided for them by Great Plushthanga—when Great Plushthanga appeared, clans miles away knew about it. You couldn’t fake a visitation from Great Plushthanga. He was a demonstrative and mostly polyester god.

But man, the new homeland was not a nice place.

The gentle Moon-Stuffing Clan were not warriors, which is why they had fled their old homeland as it fell under the shadow of the cannibalistic Eaters-of-Plush. This new land was full of ravening stuffed beasts, woolly monsters dozens of feet high, and suspicious clans who were not entirely sure that they welcomed new neighbors. And it was cold. Chill winds whipped from the north, when they weren’t whipping from the east or sauntering in from the southwest. You had to make fires all the time, which is just asking for trouble when you’re made out of cloth. And the stuffing of the woolly creatures was tough and unpalatable and had to be boiled or stewed, sometimes for hours, before it was anything worth eating.

Fortunately for the fate of Moon-Stuffing, they fell in with the last remnants of the Sun-Stitch Clan, fierce warriors who had themselves been almost wiped out by the Eaters-of-Plush. Descended from heroic teddy-bears of old, the warriors of Sun-Stitch joined with Moon-Stuffing to forge a new life together in this strange and inhospitable land.

Great Plushthanga sanctified this union of clans by appearing in the distance and giving his mighty yawp of approval as he drifted over the horizon. So there was that, too.

Rough Seams, one of the warriors of Sun-Stitch, was one of the last two surviving members of the Bonebraid moiety, which wove yarn from defeated foes into their manes, partly as a gesture of respect and partly to keep from freezing their plush butts off in the rather chilly new homeland.

 

A whole lotta mixed media.

I cannot adequately express how fun this was to do.

Seriously.

You know how I always say that nothing is ever creatively wasted? Yeah. I was so damn right I want to go back and time and high-five myself. The sewing I learned in 7th grade home ec, the very half-assed jewelry making I did in my twenties (which previously had only been useful in providing me with a fabulous set of pliers) all that acrylic painting, the vegetable-tanned leather that was too thin a gauge that I had shoved in a corner of the studio, and of course, my buddy Miss Monster’s very very patient e-mails telling me how to do a cast off a Sculpey piece…dude.

EEEEE!

Ahem.

Anyway, he’s about 7 inches tall sitting, although he tends to slouch. The head is cast plastic, from a mold of a Sculpey original, and in retrospect, I’m glad I did that because he’s a little top heavy as it is–I can’t imagine if I’d tried to make the face actually out of Sculpey! The ears, hands and feet are all Sculpey, though, and I weighted the butt with dried rice, which may explain some cryptic tweets last night. (Honestly, you haven’t lived until you’ve shoved a funnel into a stuff-animal’s ass and started trying to pour rice into it.) He’s soft-bodied and stuffed with whatever polyester stuffing crap they sell at Jo-Ann’s fabric. And the rice, of course.

This is the first thing I have sewed in over two decades, and I am so damn proud of the fact I managed to do it. Sewing is weirdly miraculous. Sharp thing + thread + turning fabric inside out = BLACK MAGIC. I tore into the bedroom in mad delight when all I had was a body with no limbs, waving my fingers through the leg-holes, and yelling “LOOK! IT IS A THING! I sewed it together and it didn’t explode and it exists in, like, THE REAL WORLD!”

Kevin slid a few inches away from me and said something noncommittal. I made a rude gesture through the leg-holes and went back to the studio. (He was much more impressed when I’d actually attached the Sculpey limbs and all.) I am not saying it was GOOD sewing, but fleece fabric hides a multitude of sins, and anyway the stuffing didn’t squirt out all over its torso. And for everything else, there’s E-6000 glue.

So I’m very proud. And will clearly have to do another one, because I’ve got the face mold and plenty of fleece left, and I wanna try it with fake fur to see how that looks, too and dude, I MADE A THING!

(It is hard to explain how cool it is to make a 3-d thing when you normally do 2-d, and digital 2-d at that.)

Red

Before anyone says anything, yes, this would make a good series!

Which means that I’ll do Orange next week, Yellow a year from now, and probably be finishing Violet on my deathbed.

Meanwhile, for those who are curious, there are eleven animals in this picture: Red Panda, Rhode Island Red Rooster, European Red Squirrel, Northern Cardinal, Red Milk-Snake, Red-Crested Cardinal, Ladybug, Scarlet Tanager, Strawberry Poison Frog, Tomato Frog and Red Ramshorn Snail. I am particularly pleased with the rooster’s expression. Guess he’s not much of a hugger.

The only problem with such a series is that the only ones with mammals will be Red, Orange, and Yellow, unless I fudge it really hard and put in a blauubuck. (A blue whale might make scale problematic…) Even the mossy sloths aren’t THAT mossy. Oh well…

Prints available, as always!

 

Alternate History II: Son of Alternate History

Dude, you guys rock. I never fail to be amazed at how many creative and well-read people read this blog. Thank you so much!

We wound up with two very good scenarios, which basically hinged on how badly I wanted Constantinople sacked and how vital the Byzantines are. In the end, I wound up sort of smooshing them together and decided that the Byzantines were really rather crucial to keeping that end of things together.

(I also am going to have to use the word “Byzantine” despite the fact that it’s of later coinage. Rhoman vs. Roman would be too visually confusing, and Byzantine is such a gorgeous word. I do feel a twinge of guilt, though, akin to the one I feel drawing humans and dinosaurs together. (Forgive me, father, for I have sinned…))

A whole lot of people weighed in with very useful bits, and big specific thanks to learnteach, babbleon1, laughingbadger, siliconshaman, siriaeve and to prodigal for naming the Templar Plague.

So!

The year is 1246.

Life went on pretty normally until the Third Crusade, which was a horrific awful disaster. They didn’t get within spitting distance of Acre, and instead all the port cities and a chunk of the Holy Roman Empire were hit with the Templar Plague, which is blamed on the filthy, filthy Templars. The Holy Roman Emperor died on the Crusade, the Crusaders pissed off the peasantry, dropped dead of plague, and the Holy Roman Empire (the Byzantines) nearly broke up. Hence the Third Crusade is the Cursed Crusade.

Saladin, aided by a very angry peasantry and the fact that Saracen doctors were credited with stopping the Templar Plague,  marched north practically to the gates of Constantinople and said “Hi, guys! I can see your house from here.”

The Fourth Crusade never actually happened as such. Venice, realizing that the Byzantines were actually standing between them and the Saracen, said “Y’know, we just don’t feel like funding that. Y’all have fun!” when the would-be Crusaders showed up, belatedly, in 1218.

What followed became known as the Byzantine War. The would-be Crusaders, aided by mercenaries and led by the increasingly unpopular Knights Templar, go after Constantinople. They get their asses handed to them, as the Byzantines have a substantial navy and their own crusaders, but the Byzantines, still smarting from the awfulness of the Cursed Crusade, are not happy with the West.

Our hero was one of those would-be Crusaders, a young idiot out to win a knighthood. He probably came to Venice in the retinue of one of the knights hoping to convince Venice to back the Fourth Crusade, but when it became obvious that wasn’t going to happen—hey, the Knights Templar are right there! We came here to fight Byzantines! Let’s go!

When the dust clears, he is eventually ransomed back to the West and returns to Venice, instilling in him a great appreciation of Saracen medicine, a loathing of the Byzantines, and some mild PTSD.

Meanwhile, in the larger world, the Lion Pope dies suddenly. (“He fell down the stairs. Onto fifty-three daggers. It’s a great tragedy. Mysterious are the ways of the Lord.”) A cardinal of St. Equus ascends and does not want to keep fighting these wars, because the world needs to rebuild and hey, has anybody noticed that there’s a guy named Khan clearing his throat in the direction of Northern Europe? Maybe this isn’t the time for yet another doomed Crusade. Maybe we should all just get along.

At the time of our story, Byzantium is becoming increasingly xenophobic and keeps screaming that Roman Catholics are devil-worshipping shapechangers. (They’re not getting a lot of traction though, because seriously, tell people the Pope is a were-horse and see how far you get.) Venice has taken over some of Constantinople’s former glory as the crossroads of the world. Saladin’s dead, the Saracen expansion has been cut nearly in half by the Turks, who are also pestering the Byzantines. At the end of the day, everybody’s just glaring over the walls and doesn’t want to start anything, except maybe the Templars, who are an embarrassment akin to people who speak in tongues at the church picnic.

While all this is important to backstory, the odds of most of it appearing in the story directly are slim–but that’s writing for you! The fact that I know is the important part.

However, the really relevant part back in England is that the Great Heathen Army of Danes that took over Northern England never went home. Everything north of Hadrian’s Wall is now Lochlann. It’s been a hundred and fifty years, so it’s nominally peaceful at the moment, and Lochlann is largely Christian, so there is commerce and travel back and forth, but there are pockets of paganism and every now and again somebody with too much time on their hands decides a Viking raid would be just awesome.

The Abbey is in a Made-Up English Town that’s near Durham. (The Cathedral of St. Cuthbert there is possibly run by were-otters!) The Abbey is also along the River Wear, and was built as a fortification against Danish raids sometime earlier.

What all this backstory means…

A) our hero, when woken abruptly, tends to go for a sword in case Byzantines are attacking.

B) There are Saracen scholars, merchants, and travelers roaming around Europe, largely unmolested. They are a rarity but nobody wants to kill them because the Saracens are helping hold the line against those awful Byzantine heretics (Did you hear what they said about our pope?!) and because Saracen medicine is held in awe, even if it’s probably witchcraft, but seriously, Cousin Bob nearly died, and this nice man went in there and made sure they kept him wrapped and warm and didn’t bleed him or anything.

C) Minor character and murder suspect in the actual book lost a cousin in the Byzantine Wars, who would otherwise have been the heir.

D) our hero might kinda be a knight, although he’s renounced all that and mostly just keeps bees. You know where you stand with bees.

E) You see a lot of Danes in town. They are considered somewhat barbaric weirdos, but they’re neighbors, so what’re you gonna do? The Danes, following the historical path of the Scots, are somewhat resentful of imposition of English law on border territories, but this hasn’t boiled over yet.

F) People get much more ticked about the Eastern Orthodox heretics than they do about Islam. Everybody’s still down on paganism, of course, although it’s probably going on in isolated pockets in Lochlann. The Inquisition is focused primarily on said heretics.

…whew. As I said, this probably isn’t going to get into the story as a big ol infodump, but it’s helpful to me for sorting out what goes where. Thank you all so much!

Also, does anybody know what language you’d be familiar with if you were our hero? What’s gonna be the lingua fraca of Venice and the Byzantines?

So I’m Feeling My Way Through An Alternate History…

…and I could use some help, because I am sort of throwing down crap and it is entirely possible that there is a decisive factor that could make the whole timeline Basically Stupid.

Caveat the First: I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, my entire knowledge of this era is from Wikipedia and a fold out map a friend of mine had in college. I prostrate myself now, so that the sounds of your weeping over my ignorance do not drown out the rest of this thread.

Caveat the Second: This has to be good-enough-for-fiction, not good enough to write a thesis on. I basically need a reasonably well thought out timeline for my character to fall into that doesn’t scream OH MY GOD HOW STUPID IS THIS?!

Caveat the Third: By throwing out ideas here, you agree it’s cool if I use them and not to sue me if I do and all you get is my undying gratitude. If you are the sort to get very attached to your Random Cool Ideas, then I love you very much but please go watch a Star Trek marathon or something.

Caveat Emptor: I am not saying this will ever get published, but if it does, reading this is totally spoileriffic. Or not. Because it may never get published, or I may decide the hero is actually a chicken farmer from Tennessee.

Right! So here we go.

The year is 1246 AD. Probably.

Our hero and heroine are a monk and a nun respectively, at the Abbey of Blessed St. Ursa. They are were-bears (although the reader will hopefully not know this until most of the way through the book.) Some saints and martyrs are, for whatever demented reason I haven’t figured out yet, animal saints like St. Vulpes and St. Leo and so forth because why the hell not, people?  The monks and nuns dedicated to the service of these saints are thus lycanthropic, some of ’em, although they don’t talk about it much. This is seen as a divine blessing by the monks. People are likely to be freaked out, though, so they keep it on the down-low and people just know that you really really really don’t mess with nuns. (We’ll see how that plays out, but I think it’s more likely that the populace is largely ignorant of this ability, and of course there are plenty of Franciscans and Benedictines and whatnot to act normal. )

There is no magic in this world, because I’m writing were-bear mysteries here, people.

The Abbey is probably in England, although if somebody wants to make a compelling case for France, I’ll listen. I’m just much more familiar with English popular history and can fake it better.

Alternate History Time:

Life seems to have gone on pretty much normally until the Third Crusade, which was even more of a disaster than it was in our world. It did not re-establish the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, but in fact was pretty much a total rout.  The death of the Holy Roman Emperor on said Third Crusade led to a quicker and uglier fragmentation of the Holy Roman Empire. Saladin, who lived about twenty years longer in this timeline and was rather more successful in gathering allies, simply moved north and took half of the former Holy Roman Empire while everyone was standing around wringing their hands and saying “But will we call it Rhomania or Byzantium?”

The Third Crusade went so badly that the Fourth Crusade didn’t get underway until 1218. This went even worse and would go down in history as the “Cursed Crusade.” The Crusaders sacked Constantinople (the Eastern Orthodox Church is probably NOT keen on were-whatevers now, if any were doing the berserker thing…) but instead of establishing the Latin Empire, they sort of vaguely remembered where they were going and headed south towards Jerusalem, looting and burning as they went.

The peasants did not appreciate this, and they appreciated it even less when the Crusaders brought some kind of plague with them. An aging Saladin sighed heavily and mobilized the army, aided by said very angry peasants, and completely wiped out the Cursed Crusade. Saracen medicine at the time was far more advanced and they could treat the Crusader Fever (might be a little too twee a name) which endeared them to the populace. A lot. What with one thing and another, Saladin found himself at the gates of the then-Republic of Venice, saying “Really, I don’t feel the need to go any farther, but seriously guys, give up on Jerusalem.”

A new pope (some say the old one was…helped…on his way out, and I would love to see Richard the Lionheart actually a were-lion and the Pope at the time, although I realize this may be just fan service) said “Y’know, I think this is a very good idea, let’s all just settle down.” This pope was originally of the order of St. Equus, and there are a lot of disparaging remarks made about how he’s a plowhorse, not a warhorse, and more interested in rebuilding than conquest.

So thirty years later, we come to our heroes.

Is the world at peace? I’d like it to be not in the middle of exploding too badly. Are the Danes doing anything? Is the remains of the Byzantine Empire still really pissed about that Constantinople thing? Are there three empires glaring at each other in this area going “Go one, somebody, make a move…”?

Say our forty-something hero was off fighting the Byzantines in his late twenties, what would he likely think of them as a group? (Presumably everyone is rather impressed with the Saracens at this point, who has pretty much proved they can kick your ass and patch it up again, although following the death of Saladin, internal politics may be causing all kinds of squabbles not quite so relevant here.) Would said Byzantines even be called Byzantines? If not, what do I call ’em? Are they still based out of Constantinople, or is that nobody’s business but the Turks?

Have I bitten off more than I can chew?

Brainstorming in comments is very much solicited, and while I can offer nothing but my gratitude, I kinda want to thrash this out in rough form before I go too much farther…

 

(Note for readers: Discussion is probably going to be centered on the LJ version of this post, owing to easier threading. Head on over if you’re interested!)

Hellhound Rescue

Yesterday, in the latest installment of the D&D Party That Means Well, we were in combat with some cultists, some Helmed Horrors, and a hellhound-thingy.

Combat was slightly delayed last week, as the paladin browbeat the Helmed Horror into writing a letter to his mother in case he was killed in battle. (Last line of the letter “Mummy, if you’re reading this, a Weaselite killed me. Avenge my death!” We may scratch that line out.)

We had dispatched most of the foe and gotten down to the hellhound when the paladin began calling for it to surrender, because…well…we just don’t feel right about killing dogs.

(The thief, who is run by a Corgi-lover, backed me up a hundred percent on that one!)

The problem, of course, lies in getting a dog to surrender.

PALADIN: Who’s a good dog? Who’s a good dog who wants a horse hoof?*

HOUND: GRRRRRRR

GNOLL: …Ooh! Ooh! Me!

PALADIN: A good dog who sits gets a horse hoof!

GNOLL: I’ll sit! I’ll sit!

GNOME: Don’t sit! We’re still in combat!

HOUND: GRrrrrrRRRRrrrr…

DRUID: You want me to translate? Well, you know the worst thing you’ve ever been called?

PALADIN: Sure. You call me that all the time.

DRUID: …worse than that.

PALADIN: Bad dog!

Clearly we needed to speak the dog’s language! Prove our alpha status! Convince him to surrender in terms he understood!

FIZZGIG: *urinates on dog’s foot to prove dominance*

GM: I…guess….that’ll be an Intimidate roll..

FIZZGIG’S PLAYER: I think he should get the urination for free. He’s really good at that. He’s basically a bladder with teeth.

GM: ….indeed.

Fizzgig flubs the Intimidation roll, possibly because he could not reach any higher than the dog’s foot. Our trusty Gnoll decides to get in on the action.

GNOLL: I’m gonna grapple him and put my teeth on his throat!

DRUID: Can’t we just kill him?

GM: Can’t you just kill him?

PALADIN: We can’t kill a dog! It’s not right!

GM: *clutches head* IT’S A DEMONIC HOUND OF YEENOGHU!

THIEF: We’ll find a rescue organization that specializes in that.

PALADIN: There are no bad dogs—

THIEF: —only bad cultists!

GM: *whimpers*

The gnoll crits her grapple roll, has the hellhound down and her teeth on his throat, and still flubs the Intimidate roll.

DOG: GRRRRRRRR!

GNOLL: GRRRR!

PALADIN: Are you sure you don’t want to be a good dog? There’s a tasty horse hoof for a good doggie!

GM: The dog looks at you like you’re an idiot.

PALADIN: Pfff, I’m used to that.

The thief uses Abashing Stab to try and hit him on the nose with a rolled up newspaper, and misses.

GM: …the dog is still not intimidated.

PALADIN: Fine, I’ll whip it out and pee on him.

DRUID: WTF!?!

GNOME: This is getting a little unsanitary.

PALADIN: We’re establishing dominance. You’re a druid, you should know about this sort of thing!

DRUID: What is this I don’t even…

PALADIN: Wait! I have holy water!

THIEF: Is that what we’re calling it these days?

DRUID: I cannot tweet fast enough for this.

GNOLL: Grrrrr!

PALADIN: If we swear that we won’t keep him for a pet and will give him up to a rescue, will you let us save him?

GM: For god’s sake! It’s Chaotic Evil! It’s a demon hound! It only accepts commands in Abyssal!

PALADIN: Dude, I speak Abyssal. You should have said.

PALADIN: (in Abyssal) Sit!

GM: …oh god, give me a Diplomacy roll, because that actually makes sense.

PALADIN: My 38 says he sits.

GM: …he sits.

PALADIN: (in Abyssal) Who’s a good doggie then?

GM: He looks at you like you’re an idiot. Again.

PALADIN: (in Abyssal) Who’s an evil but obedient doggie, then?

GM: ….you get a tiny tail wag.

PALADIN: (in Abyssal) Who wants a horse hoof for being a good evil doggie?

GM: *clutches head* ….Grrr.

PALADIN: (in Abyssal) Who wants the dripping heart of a cultist for being a good evil doggie?

GM: It’s a definite tail wag this time. I love you all. I mean that…

THIEF: (composes ad) Hellie had a rough start in life, but is looking for his Forever Home. Fence required. Does not get along with cats…

 

 

*Fizzgig and our Gnoll fighter both eat dried horse hooves as a snack. It is now our equivalent of a dog treat.