Truth & Daring: Never Croak!

Tonight we played Truth & Daring by Tim & Kristin Devine (a hack of Lasers & Feelings) about a group of kids who call ourselves the Tads and meet in The Tad Pad, a treehouse in the woods, full of walkie-talkies, camping gear, and fishing supplies. Our motto is “Frogs never croak!” and we mostly hang out at Toys 4U, a local shop. We are: Crystal a clumsy collector of all things whose determined to complete her Garbage Pail Kids set; Ray a dramatic artist whose always creating; Riley the mischievous new kid whose hand buzzer won’t be her biggest prank; Casey the curious woodsy explorer who plans to discover something, anything; Sal our would-be grifter seeking riches, honest or not; Joe the techie gamemaster with an extra set of dice and character sheets always at hand; Devon the daredevil athlete who wears a tracksuit and a small towel around his neck at all times; and Margaret our brainy nerd with her notebook of answers and several library books of info at the ready.

Hand drawing of some members of our group, including the creature in the water.

Our story begins with Casey, Sal, and Joe in the woods looking to show Riley the creature we’ve suspected lived there for years. After much tramping around and discussion, we decide that we’ll have better luck at night and agree for the whole club to sleep over together by the pond. Crystal has Devon and Ray over to her house to help her prepare for the sleepover, knowing her mom is over-protective. After recalling the messy accident when Ray spilled the Kool-Aid all over her kitchen for his spill-life, we decide that Devon must be the one to talk to Crystal’s mom about the sleepover, and Ray rushes out but bumps into Mrs. J on his way down the driveway.

That night at the sleepover, Riley wants a marshmallow roast, but we’re worried about starting a fire. As we talk about the creature, an amphibious thing with fur, Ray shows off his cubist rendering that may be cool but doesn’t help us visualize what we’re looking for. One of the marshmallows that we’ve tossed into the pond disappears, and we get very excited and begin tossing more marshmallows and watching them sink. Finally, the creature rises from the water like a great hairy frog with enormous bulging eyes and a taste for marshmallow. We lure it closer and Joe and Sal pet it, but is this a young one? What if its mother comes looking for it? We name the creature Marshmallow before it splashes back into the water. We all scramble to hide when we realize two people are traipsing out to the pond and beginning to walk around it in our direction. They seem to be two men working for the government who are taking readings of the pond; they notice an oddity at one point, something that will surely bring them back for another look in the future. Miraculously, they never notice us, not even Ray pretending to be a tree, and continue to move around to the far side of the pond.

The next day, back at the clubhouse, Casey and Margaret return from the pond with some strange-looking devices that seem to have been set up to continue taking readings. We decide we have to return them to the pond, but slightly sabotaged, but if we truly want to save Marshmallow and protect them, then we’re going to have to pull an even bigger prank…and get caught doing it. In a montage, you see us preparing our prank. Joe creates posters promoting our monster viewing at the marsh while Sal sells tickets to neighborhood kids for the viewing. Ray works in his studio creating an elaborate papier mache monster while Crystal collects fur and other bits from the forest for decorating the monster. Riley builds elaborate traps and create the right effect for viewers, including croaking sounds catapults to launch marsh muck while Margaret creates shoes for leaving fake monster footprints all around the marshes. Margaret also rigs up a way to set off the government scopes while Devon makes sure the grown-ups and other government goons find out about the viewing and show up at the right time.

We’re in the middle of our big show with the local kids when the government goons show up and see that the monster everyone is talking about is made of papier mache even if it does set off their radioscopes. Sal tries desperately to convince them that they owe us something for all this work, but they leave without arresting anyone convinced that they’ve been chasing our prank monster rather than a real one. After they’re gone, we all sit together out by the pond tossing marshmallows out to our friend and make a solemn promise never to reveal the truth about Marshmallow and to always protect it. Frogs never croak!

Behind the Magic Quest

We played Behind the Magic, by Randy Lubin in this week’s game session. We played as a fellowship of adventurers on a quest to vanquish an evil necromancer that was raising an army of undead dragons to destroy civilization.

Our characters are:

  • Ayla, the ditzy necromancer
  • Lance, the germaphobe ranger
  • Skip, the unconfident thief
  • Kor, the scatterbrained barbarian
  • Monty, the misinformed monk
  • Evodie, the persnickety tinkerer

Our story begins when Ayla puts a flyer at a local library seeking a group of brave souls to go with her on a long trip at see to reach the volcanic island where a rogue wizard has begun raising an army of undead dragons, which is not in concordance with the regulations stipulated by The Council of Necromany, where she seeks to advance in rank.

The fist order of business is finding a way to get to the volcanic island to face the wizard. Kor and Ayla go to the harbor to find passage to the island… but they end up buying a tourist riverboat. While it is sea worthy, it is slow, overpriced and requires beasts of burden to run the oars. The view and comfort from the deck cannot be beat though.

Meanwhile, Skip, Lance and Monty are procuring supplies for their voyage. Monty insists on getting rum and pinecones to use as navigation tools, Skip manages to steal a pair of oxen, and Lance promptly washes the oxen before bringing them into the ship.

Just before setting sail, the party makes themselves comfortable. Ayla is setting cute figurines in her room, the captain’s quarters, while Evodie is ensuring everyone knows what their chores are, is writing a list of ‘regulations’ to follow while at sea, and is checking the safety supplies.

The trip to the island ends up being safer than expected as the party manages to avoid a dangerous whirlpool near the island… but it takes far longer than expected, over 6 months at sea, as the pinecone and rum navigation system that Monty insisted on using is not effective, to no one’s surprise, and Lance keeps on stopping the animals from moving as he thinks it is necessary to keep all areas of the ship as clean as possible.

Eventually, the adventurers reach the volcanic island. They start trekking inland by foot, following the smoke plume blown by the volcano. Ayla gets distracted by a very cute lava monster and decides it would make a great pet for the party as it is so cute with its natural glow.

After a day’s walk, the party deems it necessary to set camp. As they scheme how to approach the wizard and the zombie and skeleton dragons they expect to encounter the next day (or figure what is the best way of taking care of a baby lava monster pet), an old vampire dragon that was nearby perched on a tree drools blood all over Lance, who faints instantly. Turns out there are four kind of undead dragons: zombie, skeleton, vampire and mummy.

The next morning, Skip, Kor, Evodie and Monty go up the volcano. (Whose smart idea was it to leave the necromancer and the ranger back at the camp when facing flying undead animals?!). As they approach the dragon’s den, they noticed they are being followed. Kor throws a stone at one of the shadows that is following them and it is a dragon that falls immediately upon being hit. Unfortunately, the party is not very attentive on their path and fall into an earth pit trap set by the evil wizard.

Monty then remembers that the wood spirits can be called to send a message. So he sends a message to Ayla and Lance via a dream to come rescue them. They arrive just in time as the evil wizard and the horde of geriatric undead dragons face them. Live dragons rarely die as they have really long lifetimes; the ones the wizard was able to raise all have severe mobility issues, acute arthritis and are no match to the party. The only real threat is the wizard with his spellbook. In a moment of unimagined teamwork, Monty throws the one book with all his knowledge, the Holy Bible, at the wizard, Skip catches it and quickly replaces the spellbook with the bible. The wizard was then unable to cast any dangerous spells and was quickly vanquished by the adventurers.

After another 6 months, our heroes make it back home where they are rewarded handsomely by the Council of Necromancy. Here the party splits and they all follow different paths:

  • Kor stays at the docks, waiting for the next boat that will take him on a new adventure.
  • Monty decides that he needs to go back to what he knows and goes back to his church.
  • Evodie wants to write a botanical medicine book with all the plants they encountered in the island.
  • Lance finally gets the ranger badge he had been wanting to get for so long. He then goes back to the island with Evodie to continue the needed research for the botanical medicine book endeavor.
  • Skip comes to the conclusion that he no longer wants to be in this line of work as it was exhausting saving everyone from themselves.
  • Ayla devotes her time to making the riverboat as cute as possible, giving it a complete makeover. Then she uses it to ferry people on a tourist trip to ‘Draconic Park’.