Chanterelle joins the other members of her party at their camp, hidden deep in the woods. "My friends! I have great news!"
"You've figured out how to cast spells and wear metal armor at the same time?" Domingo teases. The Halfling rogue has had to sneak up on enemies and rescue their Half-Elf druid several times because of this limitation.
"You know that's a standard limitation of druids in this version." says the Voice of Fate. "We don't always play by the book, but some things are sacred."
Cato raises an eyebrow at Hercules. "Domingo likes banter. Oh, John, Domingo is secretly female but Halfling culture is sexist, so she's used to presenting as male on the job. Also Domingo mistakenly thinks Ranger Amalthea is straight and wouldn't be receptive to Domingo's flirtations if she knew, one of their few joys in life."
"I see," John says, cradling his new minifigure in his hand. He hasn't yet touched his little sample snack platter of Cheetos, carrot and celery sticks, and a brownie. The man John is used to thinking of as Nurse Hercules Mulligan has a huge dining table, though it's partially covered by a sewing machine and commissioned costumery in various stages of completion. Hercules is working on a pair of breeches even as he acts as their Dungeon Master.
Amalthea, as the leader and only Lawful (albeit Neutral) member, must maintain a semblance of order. "Does this have to do with our recent difficulties now that Simonides has schedule conflicts and was forced to leave us?"
"The problem with wanting to make a group exclusively for people who work at Vernon Men's First Floor Ward after dark, plus their significant others or siblings who are familiar with Vernon," Israel indicates himself and John in a single sweeping gesture, "is that someo,ne still has to staff Evening and Night shifts. We tried to do it during the day, but these three folks here have messed-up sleep schedules. So we've realized we have to have these on nights Martha has off and when Phyllis and York are in charge at the ward."
Hercules consults his notes for tonight's campaign. "It's a shame, though, because Phyllis' bard was awesome. Oh, and Israel, don't you dare get ranch dressing on that satin."
"Yes! I have found my long-lost brother through a series of improbable circumstances, and he wishes to be of assistance. Meet Sabre the Doubtless, Neutral Good Fighter."
"Hello, um, gentlefolk."
"Nothing gentle about us, except my touch when I'm taking someone's wallet," Domingo says sweetly. "What are your stats?"
Amalthea waves dismissively. "There's no need for all that. We'll address it as it comes up. Oh Voice of Fate, for the benefit of our new member, what are we doing?"
"There's a council of the Crimson Cloaks -"
"We've been hired to drive them from this land," Chanterelle informs her brother.
"By sending them to the land of the dead, if necessary," Domingo adds.
The Voice enunciates poorly, as though holding safety pins in his mouth while speaking to them. "As I was saying, last week you were told there's a council of the Crimson Cloaks holed up in a nearby farmhouse. You need to capture their leader and learn from him where their army will strike next. Without compromising your values."
"If I'm the only person who's both Chaotic and Neutral - nobody's Evil in the Duskling Fellowship, Doubtless, no matter what they say about me - shouldn't I be the interrogator? My lady?"
"Domingo, you're far too endearing to successfully bluff at cruelty, and if you resort to cold-blooded torture, as is against your stated principles, you won't be able to ride my unicorn anymore." Amalthea blushes and clarifies: "That's not a euphemism, Doubtless. I have a unicorn, but she stabs anyone who comes near her if they aren't pure of heart and intent. Not good, necessarily, but honest to themselves and others."
"Doesn't she get busy in battle?" Sabre the Doubtless asks.
"A fair question. No, because in the heat of battle, we are purely about killing or being killed. I came up with that myself, isn't it cool?"
"Focus!" Chanterelle scolds. "Now where's this farmhouse?"
"You have to find out on your own," the Voice tells them.
"I turn into a bird in order to see from above," Chanterelle suggests.
"What does that dice roll result mean?" John waves at the woman getting a drink of water from the kitchen, presumably Hercules' girlfriend. She waves back and returns to the home office. "I'm happy to try the social and narrative aspects of this, but all these numbers intimidate me."
Missy peers at the dice and consults her character sheet. "Don't worry about the numbers if you don't feel like learning them, Jack. It means that I'm partially successful but mostly fail.
"You only manage to turn into an owl. Owls don't have great vision in daylight. You have, however, eliminated the clearing forty paces southwest as a possibility." The Voice of Fate has spoken.
Amalthea considers. "Don't forget from whence they came: a tiny island across the sea where they make an entirely different style of boots. Probably. I lead a search for distinctive boot prints that will in turn lead us to the farmhouse."
"You can't do that until you have a pair of boots to consult from. Side quest!"
Amalthea groans. "Seriously, Voice of Fate?"
"Don't despair, my enterprising lady. We established last time that there's a village nearby sympathetic to our cause, but sometimes hosts Crimson Cloaks as well because they need the money and the not-being-killed. Perhaps a cobbler there has mended their shoes and knows the shape of them." Domingo looks up at the Voice of Fate, as best he can. "We follow my plan."
"Rolling a 20 is good, right?" Everyone nods at John.
"With our newfound information, I am able to teleport all of us, except for the unicorn, to a safe distance in sight of the farmhouse." Chanterelle cackles when her spell succeeds.
"Maybe we can set the farmhouse on fire, and as they run out in panic we can more easily deal with them in the open?" Sabre the Doubtless sounds proud of himself for his initiative.
Amalthea smiles, but it's guarded. "Not bad, but how are you going to set it on fire? We can't do it from a distance. Chanterelle hasn't mastered fire or lightning magic, and the rest of us aren't magic users."
"Hm. I'm only good with a sword and a boomerang -"
"Boomerang?" the Voice of Fate is delighted. "That's some out-of-the-box thinking."
"I'm not sure if I'd traditionally be allowed, but it's a weapon that can come back to you. I figure that would be useful. My sister said you are an open-minded fellowship. Anyway, are you good with arrows, Amalthea?"
"Got it. Is there some way we can make Domingo hard for them to spot, other than his size? Chanterelle, can you telekinetically move dead wood or grass at a distance and stack a bunch of it around the house? Amalthea should be able to make basic campfire fire, right, as a ranger? So she can provide cover fire after literally providing fire for Domingo's torch. I'll run up at the last minute to the front door to pick them off. Amalthea can fight with a sword too, right? She can take the back door once Domingo takes cover. Chanterelle can nab any who get past us. Is that okay?"
Everyone loves the plan, except for the dice.
"I'm sorry to inform you that recent rains have made your fuel too damp for the fire to become dangerous. To add injury to insult, you, Sabre the Doubtless, get hit by an arrow from an upper window. Sometimes that's how it goes."
"Hercules doesn't play a character, but he's full of Neutral Evil," Cato tells John.
Fortunately, Chanterelle heals her brother without a hitch, and they regroup to try something else.