We encountered the Beast of Sucker Creek care of Fiasco by Jason Morningstar this week. We started with mysteriously disappearing animals from the neighboring swamp ranches of pig farmer Bo and cattle man Frank Gaffney. Bo wanted to work with his favorite television star, Veronica “The Manhunter” Sanchez to go into the swamps and find the Beast, but Veronica was often distracted by her crush on aging aspiring actress Dahlia, devastated that she wasn’t cast in the commercial for a hybrid swamp water/milk pump Frank had invested in. Veronica was determined to get footage of the Beast, so bought Bo a suit to impersonate it, but Bo thought the Beast had been created in conspiratorial government experiments. Dahlia thought the Beast would lead her to the fabled fountain of youth but Frank thought it was the spirit of the swamp that could be convinced to protect his cattle as they wandered the swamps. To get footage for the 250th episode of her show Swampy Secrets, Veronica flew into the swamp with Dahlia to start a photoshoot while Bo walked into the swamp wearing his monster suit for the shoot and to help Frank track down his missing cattle. After a plan crash, a romantic rejection, and an influx of wild swamp hogs, the four caught a glimpse of the hairy swamp man in the distance. In the aftermath, Frank got lost in the swamp for days, lost his herd and lost his mind. Dahlia’s pet theory about the Beast was constantly belittled on the conspiracy boards. Veronica kept faking her footage for show after show. And Bo got the best ending of all, when firefighters came into the swamp to help him find his missing hogs.
This week we entered the horrific landscape of Disney World just when the masked characters began a murder spree, courtesy of The Final Girl by Bret Gillan. The story started at the Main Street USA Parade as the teenagers, employees, and other visitors milled around and met each other, but that night the plush characters attacked several people as they left the park, magically carrying them off or disintegrating their bodies. Each day, each encounter the results were bloodier and more gruesome, but each time a few survived: Kassandra a naive teenager and her younger sister Tabitha, Instagram queen TabbycatSupreme14, and her dedicated fan Charlie the intolerable dork; and among the adults Jacki the upbeat in-park Tiki Bar tender kept the peace with Carlo who had entered the park to recapture his youth and work through the crisis of his divorce. So, in the final encounters the plush characters focused on these five, a giant Maleficent dragon eating Kassandra, then Charlie and Carlo died at the Tiki Bar until Mickey returned to spirit away TabbycatSupreme14, leaving only Jacki as the “Final Girl” to face the horde. But then the scene changes to a panel of Disney executives setting aside the script shaking their heads at how horrible the idea would be for a movie. Alternative endings on the DVD included: Jacki secretly having masterminded the entire killing spree, and Jacki fleeing the park at sunrise but no one believing their story.
Our session this week was a D&D adventure in Follow by Ben Robbins. Our fellowship consisted of wanna-be hero Cybolice, local tour guide Phililip, Elven Wizard and noble Lady Dzondra, the reluctant Dragonborn chosen one Asira, Dwarven Rogue & brawler Amleth (and member of the Voguing Rogues), and nature priest & hermit Nord. Our quest was to kill the Dragon terrorizing our land, which had originally been attracted to us by the wild dragon flowers conjured by Nord’s order and the mountain of gold compiled by Dzondra’s family. Enough of us believed Asira could fulfill the prophecy of the Dragon’s ultimate defeat that we were determined to face it. Our first challenge was tracking the well-hidden beast, which we accomplished by finding and enchanting a Dreamstone, hiding it in a delicious dragon flower, and getting the beast to eat it during one of its raids. Our second challenge was to get the storm-forged weapon the prophecy said was needed. This took us to the Underdark, where we used the heart of the star performer Elvish Nessley as it fell into the mosh pit at the Heart of the Storm tavern to create the obsidian sword. Finally, we used the tracking spell on the Dreamstone to face the beast at its lair. When we’d lured it out and sealed the entrance, Asira prepared to bring it down, but once it felt the obsidian’s swords sting, it flew away and escaped destruction. Little Gareth, Asira’s greatest fan, cheered thinking this proved beyond all doubt that Asira really was the chosen one. The continued raids by the Dragon in the months to come would not change his mind.
We played Companion’s Tale by Laura Simpson this week, and created a world through which a mysterious Hero strode, leaving many questions behind. The land and story revolve around the Inner Sea, fluid as our society’s connections. Our people do not steal while opening our homes to each other; we have no locks nor thieves, but magical technology from the Magus Guild now suffuses our lives. In Act 1, we meet a maiden Rescued from a tower by the Hero against her will, a Mercenary who wields magic and daggers by the Hero’s side, and the Hero’s Nemesis who is determined to restore the Reckoner’s Guild. In Act 2, these three are joined by a Spy who the Hero sacrifices to protect, inspiring a change in loyalty; the Hero’s Childhood Friend, worried by the change she sees in the Hero; and a young villager who believes the Hero to be the prophesied savior and so becomes their Protegé. Our story concludes when the Hero leads the people to overthrow the Magi, which return our lands to tribal warfare and petty conflicts. With the loss of the Magi, the last of the ancient guilds are gone.The open doors between people close, and the companions, whether they carry on or flee, remain in the Hero’s shadow.