When last we left off in
It's been fast times in Skalreach (the city of a thousand guilds!) ever since they made a blacksmith the lord of the city. Which blacksmith? Well, nobody knows, because the castle was struck by a meteor shortly after. Not that this was really a bad thing, as now there was a fresh supply of various highly covetted meteor minerals right in the center of town! Unfortunately, many buildings and people were lost in the shockwave and Skalreach had to be degraded back to the city of merely 500 guilds.
That doesn't mean competition between craftsmen is any less fierce, however! And the forging business is alive and well, not least thanks to those big heated vents that opened up in this new crater of earth. Now absurdly high temperatures can be reached and maintained quickly! For free! Who knows what kind of crazy nonsense you could make with that kind of technology.
The only real issue is that, after the destruction of the castle, Skalreach is still effectively lordless. And this pisses the king off, because who, at this point, is he even supposed to collect taxes from!? It just ain't right. By decree of the king, another competition is to be held immediately, and the best blacksmith in the realm must be made the lord of Skalreach, or else there will be hell to pay!
@Gryphon @ugilick @hetero_malk @Yummyfood @mizal @Wizzycat it's time for one of you to claim the crown of Skalreach! Again!
For quick access from this thread
"As-salamu alaykum!" says that well-traveled man of the Orient, Pasha Malk, who needs no introduction. "Eunuchs, halt!" his team of frowning warrior-eunuchs lay his palanquin down, and quickly begin to set up a forge. Behind him follows a camel-train of his slaves, his wives, his concubines, and his bespectacled Court Jew.
"My friend, I am sympathetic to your cause. In the Capybaliphate, the position of the Court Imbecile is held sacrosanct; no man would be permitted to threaten you with violence in this way. If you insulted the Prophet or the Capybaliph, your tongue may be ripped out, but that is just sound jurisprudence. In recognition of your plight, I have created the...
Comically Large | Agate | Boxing Glove | Of Lesser Doom!"
He pulls the weapon from the sack. It's unclear when he had time to smith this weapon, but unthinkable that a man of such virtue would simply pass a piece off from his armoury as his own work. The weapon is roughly twice the size of a normal boxing glove, and formed entirely of a reddish crystaline structure. Terrifying stalactites jut from the knuckles. The weapon is engraved with magic runes that are definitely sinister, but seem less sinister than the normal kind of magic runes.
"I had my Court Jew translate Aristotle's work on comedy; he concluded that, through the inviolable laws of astrology and alchemy, the boxing glove is the funniest known weapon to man. If it pleases you, I could even mount it on one of those extendo-spring things, for further practical hilarity."
A large set man pushes his way through the crowd. He is decorated in half plate armor from the waist up and what appears to be leather armor and a cooking apron from the waist down. He has a circular shield strapped to his back that has a strange symbol that looks to be a type of food. In a hilt he carries a serrated grill spatula with a weighted handle. On top of his head of red hair is a chef's hat.
Someone from the crowd is not pleased. "Who invited this ging-" Before the full sentence was out of his mouth his throat was cut. The man wiped his spatula off on his apron and inserted it back in his sheath before speaking.
"I am Jimi Hamdrix, chef and blacksmith of The Dinner Table, locator of the Holy Grill, and destroyer of gingerphobes. I believe I have crafted a weapon to suit your purposes nicely."
He then pulls out a long case and presents it to the halfling. The halfling opens the case and pulls out the weapon. It appears to be a knife set on a handle meant for an axe. "What am I looking at here?" He sniffs it. "And is this made of... cheese?"
"It is indeed" the man says proudly. He addresses the crowd. "Behold! The Motherfucking|Parmesan|Bhuj Axe|Engraved with images of carrots, cel-shaded with erotic elements|!"
The halfling scoffs. "How will this help me defeat a knight?"
The chef-blacksmith turns to him. "I was just getting to that. This is no ordinary parmesan cheese. This is the highest grade parmigiano-reggiano out there. I had it privately made by the best cheesemakers in Italy 3 years ago. This stuff was $24 per pound! Of course as you know, parmesan is a hard and sharp cheese. I was able to make the blade as sharp as steel. The handle is made from the rind of the cheese, which was dried out further so that it could hold up against steel swords. It is also engraved with images of erotic carrots. Not only carrots, but erotic ones made to look 3-dimensional. The poor knight will be so distracted that he won't be able to defend or counter-attack. Best of all, all anyone else will see is a noble knight beaten by a halfling jester wielding a piece of cheese."
He takes a bow and strides back into the crowd, presumably to find more gingerphobes to destroy, though he might be getting his Holy Grill to craft more items. Either way no one doubts that he is in this competition to win.
There is further commotion as Jimi's voice is heard shouting "the first person who tries to arrest me is gay!" Then sounds of a struggle and an "I knew it"
"ARREST THE CHEF, ARREST THE CHEF," the crowd begins to chant.
The atmosphere starts to get hot, as more and more people from the crowd press in like sardines to see the scene. A woman is wailing at the top of her lungs; she holds her dead husband, his blood staining her clothes. Three small children, the oldest of which cannot be older than 6, stare in shock at their mother and dead father.
"ARREST THE CHEF, ARREST THE CHEF," continues. However, in the background, one can hear some of the crowd making an attempt to start a new chant of, "GINGERS SUCK", though it is not really catching on.
Suddenly, above the noise of the crowd, the sound of a large war hammer smashing into a shield is heard as an enormous troll steps into the middle. "STOP NOW!" he bellows, turning in a circle to eye the entire crowd surrounding him.
It is instantly quiet. As he turns, one can notice the letters G U A R D, on the back of his vest, as well as an emblem on his steel helm.
"STOP NOW! We are NOT going to have any disruption here! I was barely through my second mug of ale and y'all start this?"
"But he killed a dude," a random voice cries from the crowd.
"So he did," says the troll. "He will have to face the judges later; they can do to him what they see fit."
Looking at the Chef the troll grins, "If it comes to it, I'll arrest you regardless of your taunts." As the troll turns to leave to go back to his drinking, he adds, "Oh, and one more thing, Gingers SUCK!"
Mr. Hamdrix might be in huge trouble if he doesn't win the lordship!
Somewhere not far from where the blacksmiths present their inventions, a sizable vortex of swirling blue lightning, large enough to fit a carriage or two inside it, whooshes to life. It gyrates for a few wild seconds before a tall, heavily armored smith is dumped onto his ass in the muddy street. He scoots away from it with his hands and feet, and watches as a beggar, rendered senseless by this outlandish sight, is sucked into the vortex.
The tornado of energy seems satisfied by this, and promptly collapses in on itself with a sputtering phhbbbttt. The blacksmith looks around, sees no bystanders except for vagrants whom nobody would believe, dusts off his plates of armor, and heads towards the central plaza
Ignorant to the murderous events that have just transpired, he walks stoicly forth, right up to the halfling. He holds a fist up to the face of the much smaller humanoid, who cowers slightly, very accustomed to getting his shit rocked by bigger, more armored, and angry people. However, this time, the fist doesn't mash the halfling's face, but instead opens up, and resting snugly within the creases of the blacksmith's palm, is a |Comically Small| |Gold| |Arbalest| |Forged in the heart of a Dying Star| . the fine gold of the crossbow seems to sparkle, as if tiny constellations wink in and out upon its surface. It is quite miniature.
"This is my creation," the blacksmith gets out, before falling into a fit of nervous coughing. He clears his throat violently before proceeding in his just-slightly-too-high-for-someone-of-his-stature voice: "I have traveled very far and wide, emphasis on very, and far, to forge you this magnificent tool. It might seem small, even laughably so, but this'll only add to the legendary nature of your takedown of this knight. Due to the properties bestowed upon this arbalest by its presence at the death throes of an actual fucking star---pardon my language, it's just very cool---it is able to operate at full capacity despite being in 1 to 64 scale. However, the bolts are just as small as the thing, and this means that your plan to take out this knight is very simple. You see this tiny slit I have in my helmet? Well, this crossbow can sneak a shot right through here, or any other knight's visor. Imagine the tale that would make for! As a bonus, by using a weapon with range, you are able to avoid any unwanted injuries, and it is additionally humiliating for a knight to be struck down by someone with no armor, and a ranged weapon. Trust me."
"Oh, and one last point: it sparkles! I bet a lot of fine ladies will appreciate a man with such a dazzling weapon, right?" Looking at the surrounding crowd, the blacksmith motions with his hands for some applause.
Some scattered clapping does follow, but mostly, the spectators are stuck trying to remember the man's name, or if he even participated in the last bout of smithing shenanigans.
A griffin begins to approach the center from the edges of the crowd. Then, realizing he had better make a dramatic entrance if anyone is going to take him seriously, swoops up and over the crowd, lapping the square a few times, before landing in the center and drawing everyone's attention.
After assuring a number of shrieking citizens that he is not here to eat anyone, and has in fact, already dined, the griffin turns his attention to the jester in distress.
"You are clearly in need of a reliable and sturdy weapon," he declares. "None of these bells and whistles. Er, no offense," he says to the goblin. "What I present you with today will alllow you to win your deuling bout with minimum fuss and shennanigans."
The goblin inspects the griffin's obvious lack of opposable thumbs. "And you... crafted this yourself?"
"I was involved in the process," says the griffin. He reaches into the sack with his claws, and pulls out an...
Ominous | Pig iron | Awl pike | Quenched in the bowls of an orcish beserker
"This weapon was not merely forged for combat," says the griffin, "It was forged in combat! As battle raged all around, the metal was poured into the cast, and before it had even cooled, it was seized and used to skewed the orcish berserker that had been sent to prevent its creation! Which is... er... why you can see blood and guts sticking out of the metal in a few places. But you can rest assured, this will only serve to make your enemies quake in fear! They will know you really mean business!"
"And, from what I have seen, your combat style strikes me as particularly suited to that or an awl pike. This weapon will allow you to skewer your foe at a distance, while he waves his measly sword uselessly against your superior reach! Best of all, after the fight is over, this awl pike is perfectly suited for mounting your opponent's head on your lawn. Severed heads are all the rage in the horticultural community these days."
This is where the new style of dealing does come in. Everybody, send the card types you need in what quantity you need them to the customer, and they can use the generator to get new ones for you. Since this is the first round, she will also be forced to deal me in normally, and things will continue as if I was the last guy in order who joined.
Suddenly, the adhan blares from a local minaret. Pasha Malk and his retinue immediately prostrate themselves facing Mecca, going through their evening prayers with such verve that there is no way they will participate in the next round. Over the din of fervant prayers to Allah, a pasty white teenager with buck teeth and a second-hand wizard's robe rides in on a skinny white pony. He has the thickest pair of glasses you've ever seen.
"Uh, hey guys. I'm Theobald, and I'm going to be the next Dark Lord," his words are interrupted by a fit of snuffling and coughing. "Sorry, I'm allergic to my pale horse. Anyway, I need a weapon to help me conquer the world and stuff. Bonus points if I can start by using it to take revenge on the fucking Chads and Stacies down at the Wizard's Academy..."
Out of the crowds, a hooded figure skulked. His posture was low and furtive. With iron thews, his feathered arms clutched a locked box close to his Frazetta-painted chest.
"Dark Lord Theobald, you aspire to great things!" The bird man called, "But surely you realise that greatness can only arise from long and diligent work. The defeat of Chads everywhere will be inevitable if you master the fundamentals of domination and control! I put it to you, that what you're looking for isn't just one weapon, but all the weapons of the armies you shall one day command, and ensuring that they need only be pointed at your outside political opponents, rather than the rebels and upstart 'heroes' who ought to be serving you. What you need, is a system! A symbol! A hammer to crush the very will of your underlings! And I present that to you here, in this very box!"
The feathered man carefully and tremblingly undid the locks of the case he carried, and seawater spilled out. Contained there in its soaked interior were the branching coils of what looked like a large, spaghettious mass of crimson arteries, thick as walking sticks.
"DON'T touch it!" He quickly yelled, as if this was even a tempting idea in the first place.
"I have been to the Sinking Isles, and I have seen a Great Dark One there. How the people trembled before him! How they prostrated themselves without question! And I have, at great anguish, learned one of the monstrous necromantic secrets of his rule. No one would ever dare commit treason, because the gates of every town echoed with the screams of rebels suspended from these bindings!" With a trembling, gauntletted hand, he reached into the box, to gradually uncoil a length of the slimy morass, "It is a coral shaped by clandestine magics, made from untold millions of tiny fish bones, chained together by this malignant red flesh on the outside. The chain itself is as sharp as ragged glass, and the skin, when agitated, leaks a heinous poison that sears the flesh and boils the mind!"
"A combat weapon it is not. But how, I ask, can you expect to face Chad or Stacy down on the field of battle, when you cannot control your own land? This formidable rope alone will destroy the bodies and the will of even the mightiest and most cunning fools who dare to oppose you! All who ever admired them, all who would even think of rebellion, would be forced to watch them slowly rended to the bone over several days, gibbering paranoid nonsense about the Mind Gobl-" The blacksmith's breath hitched with horror and his eyes went wide, dropping the rope back into the box as he froze and stared past Theobald for a moment, before coming back to life, "I mean, gibbering paranoid nonsense that discredits their cause and saps the morale of their cohorts!"
He quickly closed the box and tossed his stained glove away.
"At any rate, there was but one flaw, in their quality control. It just so happened that sometimes, the outer skin was too thick, so that the many edges of the chain were gummed up in places and sometimes the condemned could escape..." The birdman trembled, running a hand over unseen scars, "Without lethal injuries. But, if you fill out an order for this rope, I can personally assure you that it'll all be tested for sharpness on the most detested undesirables in the land, which will give you all the more right to rule in the eyes of the people! The other smiths might offer you seapons for petty revenge and battlefield conquest in the short term, but only I can offer you the |Coral| |Rope| |Quenched in the anus of a screaming child molester|! No one else can claim such a thing!"
The armored blacksmith scans Theobald from head to toe. He thinks, I used illegal teleportation magic to travel to a nearby star, and spent thirty years, in constant fear of explosion and incineration forging the world's smallest crossbow, and he has the nerve to take a shitty child's toy instead! Clearly, effort is not the path to winning this competition.
He heads off, wondering how to best prepare this unassuming lichcel to conquer the world. He spends hours rummaging through his workshop, knowing that a weapon would probably fail to pierce even leather armor in the hands of this four-eyed nerd. Eventually, he comes upon an artifact of great disimport, wondering where he even got such a useless item. He knew it was the solution to his problem, however, and after several treatments to render it both shiny and glistening, it was ready. On his way back to the grounds, he remembered how the item came into his possession, and decided not to tell the "next Dark Lord" how it was given to him by a sad virgin. Instead, a new backstory would do, one more relatable to the the Dark Lord.
Suddenly, the plate-coated powerhouse snapped back to reality, and realized that he had wandered right into the center of the presenting plaza.
"Hello ladies and gentlemen, and uh, gentleboy, on the horse. Um, I think there's some horse hair between your teeth. Man, those are some real cho--oh, right, my item."
From behind his back, he procures |Malkalack's| |Gold| |Chalice| |Quenched in the blood of unicorns|. The creation blurs the line between cup and bowl, and seems almost comically large: the key word being almost, because the armored smith decided not to mess with any comically sized items after the last round.
After taking a moment to allow the rays of light to reflect off the shining goldware, with much the same effect as a disco ball (not that anyone in Skalreach knows what that is), the smith clears his throat and begins: "This magnificent item was procured in a suitable way to you, and enhanced to reach your standards for world-conquering and whatnot. I can see that you are capable with weaponry of the slicing and smashing variety, but this weapon is an unstoppable force of evil! To start off with the most basic aspect of this piece, it's that it's gold. Now, we know that money is the root of evil, and this thing is probably Skalreach's biggest gold piece. Therefore, as I see you're not quite full-on Dark Lord yet, this should help you transition to quite an intimidating person. Now, a Dark Lord needs several elements: ruthlessness, cunning, magic, and maybe some other things. This chalice provides all of the above. If you are in need of some extra ruthlessness, simply drink some fine vintage and watch your inhibitions about human rights melt away. If you need some cunning, simply lower your opponents' mental capacity by daring them to drink out of it. Any adventurer, king, or hero of other sort will jump at the opportunity, and quickly become as inebriated as, uh, something very inebriated, I guess. Maybe a turtle. Now, this chalice is plenty magical, and better yet, this magic is as evil as can be. Due to being permanently coated with unicorn's blood, it is not only scarring to any good-hearted individual, but also to any magical beast or spell that tries to stop you. The blood, in conjunction with its large size, allow you to ricochet all sorts of spells and smiting blows and whatnot. Now, as you are all undoubtedly wondering, I will explain who Malkalack was, and how this fellow's attachment to this artifact will make it that much more powerful. Malkalack definitely did not fit into the typical worldly stereotypes: he wasn't the coolest, or the strongest---a Chad, as you might say---but he got pussy in droves. Therefore, simply owning this chalice will channel some of Malkalack's vag-vacuuming into your, ahem, vessel. Now, as one final bonus, you can easily exact revenge upon the Chads and Stacies by clobbering the Chads with this unholy implement, and then fitting it into the Stacies', ahem, prolapsed anuses. Those were, uh, Malkalack's words, not mine."
After a few seconds of thinking over what he just said, the smith sets the chalice down and goes to find somewhere to wash his hands off, frowning. It's not the unicorn blood so much as the concept of holding a potentially phallic object. Blegh. Maybe the slight perversion will play to my strength, however.
Just as the teenager is about to make a decision, a griffin dashes out of a nearby building where the clanking of anvils can be heard. "Forgive my lateness, your darkfulness, but please consider this one additional item!"
The griffin drops a sack from its beak. "Look, I don't mean to be rude, but it's obvious that the problem here isn't you. My god, you're terrifying. Your BO alone should be sending the opposing armies running for the hills. The reason you haven't conquered the world yet is that damn horse. It's a pansy. It's almost even cute. People look at you and they think "holy crap! A dark lord!" and then they look at your adorable pony, and think "well he probably isn't THAT scary". What you need to do is beef up your horse a little. Make it match your own dark, intimidating odor... er, aura. And I have just the thing!"
The griffin takes the sack, and pulls out...
"Uh... what the hell is that?" asks Theobald.
"These are the Lead | Black-painted | Truck Nuts | Of Cruelty! Just slap these on the back of your horse, and its awing, chadlike vibe will draw stacies towards you like knights to a dragon! They'll be fawning all over you... just before you crush their skills under your heel."
"Please consider reading some reviews of our satisfied customers," says the griffin, handing a black-and-red colored paper to Theobald. "There, you can see Sauron calling our products "based and redpilled"."
Jimi was still seething from all the insults that the halfling had thrown at him and his mother. He contemplated skipping out on this part of the competition to hunt him down, but a glance at the guard told him that wasn't an option just yet. He would get his revenge, he always did in the end.
He went just outside of town and whipped out The Holy Grill. He didn't understand the "holy" part of it that much. It was at one point lit with the heart of a dragon so that it never cools and paired with emotions it can burn hot enough to forge metal on. He put his rage and resentment for the stupid halfling into the flame, as well as the disgust he felt for what he might be helping bring into the world. He was a questing knight though, not bound to that strict moral code that royal knights are.
After a few hours carefully laboring over his craft, he put the metal to one side if the grill to simmer in his hatred a bit longer. He removed the emotion from the other side and started cooking. Soon the smell of seasoned meats and onions attracted some of the crowd to eat.
After the little distraction of dinner was over, Jimi went straight back to work. By dusk he decided he was done. The young dark lord to be watched him come up with his large and strange looking invention.
"I present to you the crank-operated|Gallium|2x4|of invisibility!" Jimi holds up the awkward weapon for everyone to see clearly. It was a 2x4 wooden plank with gallium coating the ends of both sides and a crank near the padded area meant to make holding it more comfortable. "How is this a weapon?" Theobold asks confused.
The large chef chuckles. "It's meant to look useless so you can get it into places you couldn't get a weapon. The crank is the most important part of the whole thing. The crank is tuned so that the gallium makes spikes of different sizes and styles when turned clockwise, and makes you invisible when turned counter-clockwise. It also makes whatever side you use heavy enough to kill the victim by hitting them, but doesn't change the overall weight of the weapon."
After the weapon has been explained, the red-haired knight goes to his grill and sets up a sign that says "late dinner requests now only 2 silver"
Theobald disdainfully regards the candyfloss offered to him by the goblin. "This isn't going to help me dominate anyone, let alone Chad and Stacy. Plus, I don't want to look like some kind of child lurer and end up with a coral rope up my ass. Pass," he says as he disdainfully trots down the line of smiths. The pony stares longingly at the candy.
Next, he takes the chalice from the armoured smith, and inspects it thoroughly. "Hmm, the workmanship is impressive, and the unicorn-quenching is authentically evil. However, I'm not sure about my chances of forcing Chad (or even Stacy) to do anything, let alone drink from a sinister cup. Plus, Malk is half-gay and half-Jew, which adds up to one full pass."
Next, he takes the kazoo from Gerbus. He sniffs it disdainfully. "This isn't really good for domination, plus a kazoo just seems kind of gay. I might want to start using hard drug infusions later in life though, so I might come back for this one."
Just as he is about to make his decision, a latecomer surprises him. As the gryphon offers up a pair of truck nuts, Theobald ponders them thoughtfully. "Well, I do like things that are painted black, and the cruelty is a major plus. However, my pale horse is a mare, and I think it would give her some fucked up dysphoria if she had a fat black ballsack swinging from underneath her."
He looks at Jimi last. He visibly brims over with contempt at the 2x4. "A Dark Lord doesn't use a peasant's improvised weapon, you grease-stained retard. Also, your mom is fat and gay."
Only one weapon remains. Theobald takes the coral rope and gives it a couple experimental swings. "Now this is a suitable tool of domination and cruelty. Alluring underwater colours, to really draw the eye to the suffering innocents suspended from the gibbet. Plus, I the pedo-anus residue will cause horrific secondary infections, which is the kind of edge I need. Can I also use it to whip the shit out of people? I don't even care, I'll take it."
Point to Sent.
Jimi mutters something and takes out a piece of paper. He writes on it for a minute, then grabs his rejected weapon and walks away.
Me :) 1
Sodium violently explodes when it touches water. What you have there is easily a fisting device that bursts people alive (and then salts popcorn with the ensuing vapors)
Pasha Malk thinks for a moment, and then climbs into his howdah. A moment later, he emerges, holding a velvet cushion with a small cloth over it. He unveils the cloth with a moderate amount of panache.
"Diplomacy is, undoubtedly, the supreme art that a ruler must master; and one hundred percent of diplomacy is giving extravagant gifts. With what I have sculpted for you, you will surely be able to cow the other barbarians of the plains (no offense) into submission. With no further delay, allow me to present the...
Flanged | Bathroom Tissue | Duck Figurine | With Wings!"
It's an ornately sculpted statuette of a duck taking flight, formed, origami-like, from a single length of luxury toilet paper. It rests atop a ridged base.
"A wisened sage once said that all history is a series of battles in which those who wipe their asses defeat those who do not. By giving this as a gift to a rival chief, you demonstrate that yours is the hygienic tribe, and thus belongs to the victorious ass-wipers. Moreover, it demonstrates your stupendous wealth; in a vaguely early-modern, medievalish setting such as the one we inhabit, paper is an absurdly expensive commodity; show your enemies that your realm is so prosperous that you wipe yourself with only the finest substances.
There is also symbolic value in the duck. A duck is a peaceful animal, but capable of furious violence; your enemies will know that you are a woman of peace, but also capable of furious pecking and quacking, should the occasion arise. Just as a duck flies across the pond to catch a small fish, your horse flies across the plains, to deliver death to those who negotiate in bad faith."
The hooded birdman mulls over the proposition for a moment, before coming to a slow and careful realization. He reaches into the large handcart he'd brought along with him and begins to string together a strange instrument with a long neck and a triangular body. It's a heavy-looking thing, with a dark blackish-gray patina, pitted and swirling in texture, yet all its surfaces were as smooth and polished as a river stone. In the places that this apparent stone had been cut or polished down to conform to this shape, the neck in particular, a crystalline triangular pattern shone throughout the metal. He then took out a long ovoid stone of the same sort of rock, and experimentally ran it up and down the strings of the instrument to test their tension.
"Milord and lady, this humble traveler may have just the gift for you! Have you ever heard the story of the Cossacks of yon Smezchnrkgshnirov? An obscure expanse of flat land where naught but grass grows, you may not have heard of their home. But you may have heard of their many exploits! And before they became revered land raiders who sacked the cities and trade routes of all neighboring empires, they were first and foremost shipbuilders, who traveled the seas and rivers looting coastal towns for all they were worth. One such ship was blown to the other side of the very world during a storm of astronomical power, and they landed on an island inhabitted by strange folk with righteous customs and powerful magics. As a pair of sea-travelling warrior cultures with a shared love of music and corn brandy, they got along famously, and the islanders helped the Cossacks build the very grass pontoons that ended up bringing them home. And with them, the crew brought the tradition of making stringed instruments... From steel."
The birdman plucked one of the instrument's strings, then slid the stone up and down the neck of the thing, making a warm, nostalgic byooouwie sound that could only be described as "Hawaiian".
"Now, the Cossacks were a practical people who realized that you only need about three strings and a big hollow body to make most of the sounds you would ever need from a stringed instrument, which is indeed good news, because making these strings out of metal is an extremely expensive arcane process, and I had to choke so many alchemists to get any of them to tell me how to perform this distinctly futuristic feat of metallurgy. But thanks to the combined ingenuity of these two people, it is indeed possible to forge balalaikas out of meteor chunks like this! And that's not all I have done!" The birdman gestured to a detailed engraving of a particularly wide naked woman with a shadowed-away face, "I also made this art! Because, uh... It increases the value! And... Uh, it's also diplomatic. Because..."
The Penguinite barbarian took a long few seconds to put something together, "Because, one of the most powerful uses of diplomacy, is turning other people against your enemies! And so whenever you give this to somebody, and they ask about the picture of the big naked lady, you can just say your enemy's mother posed for it. And then, they'll always be associating your enemy with their mom's nudes, and they'll never take them seriously again. Not only will it be an attack on their noble legitimacy, but also, they'll have a much harder time establishing themselves as an ally in the eyes of whoever you're competing to impress, because their mom goes around posing naked for common-born blacksmiths! Scandalous! Truly there is no more advantageous a diplomatic gift as the |Meteorite| |Balalaika| |Inscribed with a profane drawing of your enemy's mother|!"
Jimi bows apologetically. "I am sorry my lady but peace is not my strongest quality, just by the roll of genetic dice. Any creation I present to you would be a weapon of war. I will see myself out for this segment of the competition."
With that he takes out his 2x4, spins the crank, and disappears.
The blacksmith looks down at his suit of fine armor plates. It would do quite nicely as a diplomatic gift. It was expensive, and very effective at what it did. You could easily charm an enemy into being a friend with something of such high quality.
The blacksmith shakes his head. Throwing away part of his identity wouldn't prove his smithing prowess.
However, after attempting to prove his smithing prowess to the world, struggling for several long hours and ultimately failing to construct anything of note, he opts for a holiday classic: regifting.
Within just a few minutes, the armored smith is kneeling beside King Vye's horse, silver-inlaid wooden box in his hands. He opens it slowly, and reveals a string instrument, although instead of being wood decorated with gold, it appears to be gold decorated by some wood paneling. This could be none other than a |Commemorative||Orichalcum||Theorbo||Of Blood|.
The blacksmith gulps before beginning. "Jing Vye and company, may I present you with the finest tool of diplomacy one could hope for. This tool is even greater than the sum of its parts, but let me just sum up the parts for you. It's made from an alloy, not pure gold, just as your partnerships should be an alloy. Plus, while this is a commemorative piece, it can still be played. Even though the sound isn't quite the best, the final property makes up for it. You might wonder, 'where's the blood, I don't see it's, and that's because this wonderful instrument was forged by blood bonds, not by blood spilled. Since then, it has been passed down through generations as a gift. Now it makes its way to you, and it should make its way from you to someone else. So far, none of the deals it's been a part of have failed. Your enemies-to-be-allies will certainly not want to break this trend."
The gryphon stumbles out of the nearest tavern, obviously drunk.
"There is one thing," he declares, staggering slightly, "That unites all people of all kinds across all of the lands. One tradition we share, one common cultural ground. I am, of course, talking about food!"
"Any diplomatic venture is best held at a banquet table--as they laugh and talk over the most exquisite dishes both realms can provide, even the fiercest of enemies will find themselves beginning to reconcile. A feast is always a cunning and delicious way to turn rivals into friends. But if you really want to stick it to your ex-enemies that YOUR country has the best and most ambitious chefs in all the land, then I have just the item for you!"
"BEHOLD!" screeches the gryphon, in an octave that shatters several nearby windows. "The legendary Peppermint-Flavored | Fart Jar | Covered in Cheese!" He whips out of his sack and holds aloft a glass jar filled with a toxic-looking green gas, and dripping with hideous yellow sludge. The crowd falls silent, repulsed. A baby begins to wail.
"I can see you are all rendered speechless by the subtle and ingenious nature of this concoction," says the gryphon. "All the great dishes of any nation come covered in ludicrous amounts of cheese. Just ask the barkeeper in that tavern. Though this great cultural tradition is non-optional, one should never miss an opportunity to spice things up!" The gryphon scoops some of the yellow goop off the jar and hands it to Vye's second. "Here, try some."
"Uh... do I have to?"
"It would be wasted on you anyway." The gryphon eats the spoon. "Ladies and gentlemen, this cheese is peppermint-flavored! I know, because I just had some. As your diplomatic prospects groan at the thought of yet another cheese-covered dish, they will be in for a minty surprise!"
"And... the farts?" asks the second, inspecting the jar.
"Farts are a cultured and hilarious addition to any social occasion," says the gryphon. "I thought that was obvious." He takes another swig out of his keg.
My senses have been violently assaulted just reading that item title!
The crowd turns to glare at the tavern owner, who had come out when his windows broke.
Hoist by my own petard! The very thing I thought would give my item the edge turned out to make it the most dangerous.
Jing Vye and her slightly disappointed subordinates depart, accompanied by the loud clicking and clopping of horseshoes on cobblestone. In the messy center of Skalreach, this horse-borne commotion results in a large amount of dust being kicked up. Most of the spectators are forced to shield their eyes while waiting for the dust to dissipate.
When the dust finally returns to its natural position, a small man is revealed within the epicenter of the mini-haboob: nearing triple-digit age, robes trailing on the floor behind him, walking stick that could be even older than the he is.
The diminutive size of the man results in most people still ignoring him, despite his sudden and mysterious appearance.
"Excuse me," he shouts. "Does nobody respect their elders these days? Rhetorical question, I'm already trying to find the answer to this. My name is Deel Finklegum, and I'm conducting a bit of an investigation into the morals of you whippersnappers, and we'll see if any of you renowned smiths can help me with my quest. Please construct me a weapon that an adventurer could use in their quests, slaying monsters and whatnot. I have only one requirement: it must be uglier than that goblin." The old man points at Eefri.
"I said I'm conducting an experiment, that should be enough for you. But, I guess I'll tell you. I need this weapon to test if one judges a sword by its sheath, so that only the worthy will choose to wield it."
The old man is taken aback by the flood of comments, and stands in a stupor, either deep in thought, or constipated—maybe both.
Suddenly he bursts out, "Man, you lot of are too young, and far too loud!"
The whispers cease. Aren't old people supposed to hear badly?
The old man waves his hands to bring attention back to himself. "Alright, I'll spill the oatmeal. My experiment is to test whether an adventurer is shallow or not. A good warrior shouldn't be concerned with the appearance of his weapon! As such, the weapon should dissuade the picky and the vain, who pick based on nothing more than outward appearance, but prove to be an asset for the wise! Not that difficult, you rowdy rabble!"
I think I know what card you have, but only because I know all the situation cards because I wrote them all manually. It seems the other players are having trouble with your prompt! Your character's intentions seem to be masked by metaphors and old-man speak. Can you add some clearer wording about what your "experiment" is and what you're doing?
Okay, it's supposed to be a weapon that is effective as a weapon but looks terrible, to reward adventurers who don't judge a book by its cover.
I assume its a reference to something and I just don't understand what so I confused everyone else.
Not a reference to anything in particular, it just is a common theme that Fairy Tales have.
Okay well sorry for the confusion I caused, hope everyone understands the prompt now.
The aven outlander approached the old man without hesitation, unrolling a scrappy deerskin to reveal a long, thin sword with a driftwood sheath padlocked to its hilt.
"Lo, Elder Finklegum, I have precisely the weapon you're looking for! In a nameless age, a powerful lich emperor created a blade so foul, so cruel to the senses, that it fell to me to create the handle and sheath that would seal it away from mortal eyes, for the safety of all. And not just any necromancer either, but The Necromancer. Yes, I speak of |Endmaster's| |Very Dull| |Jian| |That blinds all who look upon it|!" The blacksmith said, holding it aloft, "Truly, there is no greater test of an adventurer's tendency to judge things by appearances. This sword of centuries has been plunged through so many ribs, into so many hearts, that truly the entire surface is near-blunt. Yet, anyone who has read the scrolls of Jianghu and seen the Wuxia plays knows that a true swordsman need not even unsheathe a blade like this for it to be dangerous. And the appearance- Well, if the outside doesn't look shabby enough..."
He cautiously unlocks the sheath, before opening it just a bit, with his eyes closed tightly. Screams erupt from the crowd as their eyes catch the edges of pulsating and impossible geometry. He quickly shut the sword back inside as it began to murmur dark utterances.
"With his most esoteric sorcery, Endmaster uncovered a vile and inscrutable Cosmic Truth, and he weaponised it. Bound it, confined it, into the Platonic Ideal of a Sword. And over the generations since its birth, has slaughtered millions. A living thought from the mind of Beyond, a spell of unknowable purpose trapped and forged into physical form by an agent of chaos. It kills, it bites, it drinks lifeblood, and mortal eyes cannot bear to comprehend the truth of what they behold. The living cannot bear to look at it, and the dead kneel before it. I can say with confidence that there is no weapon uglier than this. I had to measure and furnish this entire sword with my eyes glued shut!" The birdman gestured to the screaming and stumbling members of the assembled crowd, "Look for yourself! A hysterical blindness befalls all soul-bearing folk who witness its hideous visage! The blindness fades back to vision when one can no longer remember its horrid shifting shape, but the glimpses... The glimpses you see before the light goes out... They will haunt your dreams and closed-eye visions for the rest of your days."
A horseman carries the news that Jimi Hamdrix was killed by a spring-loaded bowling ball
May he rest in pepperoni.
The gryphon steps forward next, and holds aloft an item. The crowd snickers. It looks very... edible.
"Laugh if you must," says the gryphon. "But this Angry | Heater Shield | Dipped In Sprinkles is far more deadly than it appears!"
"The proud and judgemental adventurer will leave this device where it lies," says the gryphon. "They will imagine that its deliciousness somehow detracts from its efficacy. But they have allowed their prejudice to blind them! For this is not merely a heater shield dipped in sprinkles, it is an ANGRY heater shield dipped in sprinkles! When a warrior throws themselves into battle carrying this shield, its rage will spread to them, giving them greater strength and ferocity than they've ever had before! And I speak from experience when I tell you there's nothing more terrifying than a plate armored barbarian with 200 pounds of muscle charging at you with a sprinkle-covered shield."
The Pasha shakes his head. "Unfortunately, my artifices can only create objects of great beauty, so I have nothing for you."
I'll pass this round.
The old man ponders the items for quite some time. He appears to be a little blind already, and isn't harmed when Endmaster's blade is pulled out; however, he hears the outcries of the audience.
He mumbles, "The weapon is certainly effective, but it might be too effective. A novice adventurer will surely look upon the blade to determine that it is indeed very dull, and then be blinded and become useless!"
He looks at the billhook, nods and smiles. "A billhook is truly a gentleman's weapon. Unimposing, yet solid. But I do not think an adventurer should be distracted by constant drinking, especially before their career begins declining in its natural course."
His eyes widen at the sight and description of Eefri's item. "Oh my, that sure is something. A little vulgar, don't you think? I feel like it would scar the minds of young adventurers. It is, however, extremely useful. I must commend you upon creating something that is equal parts offputting and powerful, without causing mass panic. Well done young lad."
The old man turns and finally sees the gryphon. Eyeing the shield, he says, "For me? How kind of you!"
After turning and glaring at the crowd for a second, he exclaims, "Finally, someone who respects their elders!" He bites into the shield. "GAHGH! What is this trickery? You have dislodged my final teeth with this foul creation! I should've known not to trust a bird!"
Nursing his sore jaw, he points at the goblin. "This green toddler is the winner!"
Point to mizal.
Nah, I just got the prompt this morning and was too lazy to write until now
Barely has the old man finished speaking, when a horrible grinding wailing sound screeches its way through the audience, shattering window panes and eardrums in its wake. The members of the crowd with the greatest constitution grit their teeth and peer towards the noise, expecting to see a banshee, or perhaps a mandrake. Instead, they see a heavily made-up individual with a mohawk and tattoos wielding a heavily modified lute and amplifier. "ARE YOU READY TO ROCK?!?!" he yells. Or possibly "sock". It's difficult to tell over the enchanted microphone screech noises.
Some brave soul casts "dispel magic" on the sound system, to general relief. The bard looks briefly disappointed, but then turns back to the crowd.
"You blacksmiths have proven yourselves skilled in the area of working with metal," the bard announces. "But are you truly prepared to work with METAL?!?! HEAVY METAL?!?"
The crowd waits for him to elaborate, but he instead dives into a wailing 5-minute lute solo.
"Anyways," the bard continues. "I've always considered myself a pioneer in the field of heavy metal. But lately I've been finding myself constrained by the tools available to me. This enchanted lute is rad and all, but it's not really designed for shattering eardrums and rending the souls of the pure and innocent. Are any of you guys up to the task of crafting the most badass METAL instrument the world has ever seen?!? Er, heard?"
"The winner of this competition will get a shout-out in my new album, 'chain mail scraping against a chalkboard'," he adds.
As soon as the bard finishes his presentation, the crowd points up at the sky in shocked terror. A massive winged creature descends from the clouds as an ancient black dragon impacts the ground creating a large crater about a half-mile outside the city. Emerging from the crater is a man with burning green eyes, brown hair, and a brown mustache, and he wears nothing but a black thong with straps that go over his shoulders as he confidently strides towards the crowd.
The man notices his attire with a disappointed look and snaps his fingers to change his outfit with instant speed to that of a green suit made of dragon scales and a black dress shirt, pants, and tie underneath. He clears his throat to speak burping out some acid on a nearby rock which was actually a rock gnome who runs away screeching in pain.
"Greetings denizens of Skalreach! I am Sylas Blackwing, Lord of the Cinderwind Peaks! I've been observing your city for a number of weeks now and originally considered burning it to a crisp though that would be an improvement given the state of affairs here," he says. "Anyways, I've decided on a new venture, that of utterly annihilating your pathetic blacksmiths in this erm, competition. I'm going to educate you misinformed plebians on what true craftsmanship is! Kobolds! My workbench!"
A small entourage of kobolds gather with a workbench and tools nearby set up to Sylas Blackwing's expectations. "Now I have a certain gift here that would be the perfect gift for this bard to blowout the next several shows he does." He grabs something behind his workbench and holds it aloft in the air for the crowd to see.
"Behold! This is my | SELF-CLEANING | BRICK | OF ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION | CONSTRUCTED BY TALMUDIC SORCERY |. Now I know what you're thinking. What could possibly be so exciting about a brick? Well, this is no ordinary brick. This brick was ripped straight off of the Ark of the Covenant!" The crowd ahhhs in awe and wonder. " The Talmudic Sorcery latent within this brick means that every time you shove it up your ass it will earsplittingly howl with the souls of the damned and possibly your own mixed within. It also doubles as a tool to practice safe sex so if you want to use it for that function simply shove it up your ass again and it will accomplish both feats at once! Also, the brick is self-cleaning so inserting it with risk of infection is not an issue to be concerned about. With this brick, I guarantee you will be the spectacle of Skalreach bursting people's eardrums with the screams of the tormented."
With that Sylas elegantly bows towards the bard nearly tripping over one of the kobolds running around his legs.
The birdman rummaged through his handcart. Resentfully, he noted a lack of spare steel. It took him a few hours, but eventually he returned with an extremely long-handled implement, that was really bordering on a metal walking stick.
"This oviparous boulevardier isn't the only one with Talmudic sorcery at hand!" He declared, holding his item victoriously up into the light. The head-end of the tool seemed to gather more than its fair share of sunlight and glint eye-dazzlingly down at onlookers for a moment, before he took it into both hands and revealed its full structure in less blinding light, "Behold, the |JEWISH| |SHITSPOON|!"
"A fine instrument if ever there was one, and a tool of bloodiest warfare!" He said, matter-of-factly, as he twirled the thing around in his fingers, "As we all know, the Pasha speaks truthfully. It's always the armies who wipe, that endlessly defeat the wipeless. So it has been throughout history, and so it will be. The wise Warrior-Semites of the Far Lands have developed an interesting design that invokes this rule- A mighty steel spoon of carefully regulated length, capable of hurling detritus at safe enough ranges to render the target ritually impure (and unfavorable in the very eyes of God) without sullying oneself. This is the surest way to confound devastate the foe- More blood has been spilled upon the deadly shitspoon in the years since its invention than the sword in as much time. I assure you, nothing is more metal than this!"
"Use of the shitspoon calls upon a powerful metal heritage! Many of the most powerful bards of Rock were descendants of the tribes themselves!" The birdman hurriedly rummaged through an encyclopedia, "Like, uh... David Lee Roth! And Gene Simmons! And Steven Adler! And the guy from Rush? Really? Huh."
"Now what, you ask, is a bard to do with something like this? Well, let me tell you, its uses for both music and warfare are a hundredfold!" He gestured to a series of carefully marked notches along the handle, "See, I've marked all the different places you can hit this spoon to tune your instruments! And it's so long that some of these go to scales not yet heard by mortal ears! Tuning forks are a thing of the past. Tuning spoons are clearly the future! And if that's not enough, I could also just bend it, and affix it to any one of your electric lutes, which would just create the biggest whammy bar. Just, the whammy bar to end all whammy bars. The spoon end will echo the ululations of your sparkling electric wails long after your lute ceases singing."
Are these really spectators or just people trying to go about their business in a marketplace? They have no choice, we're holding this competition on the way to the only fruitmongers in town.
The armored smith scratches his helmeted head. "Uh, I'm just not very musical, I think. I'll pass this round."
The Pasha ponders this, for a moment, before donning a chef's hat and apron over his resplendant raiments of honour. He enters his howdah. A faint cursing, followed by the sound of a blender loudly blending can be heard. He emerges with a curious vial of a blue liquid that seems to emanate pure evil, shimmering with vibes so bad that they cause one to shudder .
"It is well known that the greatest metal-bards have the ability to snarl, bay and growl hideously, for the amusement of their depraved fans. Esteemed bard, I have crafted for you a beverage so evil, so rancid, of such foul import, that I risk my very soul by selling it to you at reasonable cost. I have the distinct displeasure of presenting....
KIEL'S | GATORADE | INFUSED WITH THE ASHES OF THOSE WRONGED BY CAPITALISM
The Pasha shakes it up, and the ashes swirl menacingly. "One swig of this, and the torment to your vocal chords will be so intense that your voice will reach such levels of ownage and brutality that it will cause men to cut their ears off just to escape it. The liquid was extracted from the life-essence of the Arch-Pedophile Kiel Farren, and distilled into a refreshing sports beverage. The magic was then further enhanced by adding the torched remanins of a dozen Portlandian Bluehairs, so that their assmad souls can further enhance the brew."