@Dr Bwaa, Lady Moreta: Derive is not the halfling. I know I got the wording rather jumbled there. If you're wondering why Lucy suddenly went from high to drunk, well, you're asking the wrong person. I'm just the DM, I don't pretend to understand my players Yes, Moreta, as Bwaa said I do have a player that often breaks the fourth wall. I've come to accept and enjoy it. Lastly, I'm fairly certain that the swordsage with the 20 strength can do as he pleases with the stage curtains

Now, onto the snippet!

"Is That Good?"
"It's a mirror," Lucy said, puzzled.

"Look, I'm melee for once," Derive grumbled irritably. "Just because you can rush ahead of me doesn't mean you should. Especially when everything is likely to sprout tentacles and attack you."

Lucy looked over her shoulder at the swordsage worriedly. "Is it because eldritch horrors lurk around every corner in places such as this?"

"Nope," Lupin said as he clambered up onto the stage. "You're a cat-girl in an anime horror game. Enough said."

"Tentacles," Derive said darkly.

Lucy thought for a moment then shuddered in horror. After a brief moment of deliberation, the group split up to search the stage more thoroughly. Suddenly the floor beneath Lucy's feet shifted and gave way, and she screamed in terror as she plummeted into the darkness below. Lupin and Derive rushed to where she had been and peered down the trap door.

"Are you alright?" Lupin asked.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Lucy called up from the darkness. "I think I found the basement."

"I think I found the stairs," Derive said with a dry laugh.

The swordsage withdrew a tiny clockwork pistol from his pocket and rapidly spun a small gear on the side. The tiny gadget clicked noisily for several moments until it produced a small flame from the barrel of the pistol.

"Fine gnomish technology," Derive stated with a grin.

Lupin folded his arms over his chest and snorted. "Did you pick that thing up at a flea market?"


Lupin and Derive clambered down the rickety ladder and joined Lucy down in the basement. The wide stone chamber appeared to have once been some sort of tavern long ago, for the remnants of tables and chairs lay scattered about the floor, and at the far end of the room was a long wooden bar counter.

"Think I could get a drink here?" Lucy asked hopefully.

Lupin shook his head and let out a disapproving sigh. "I doubt it."

"Oh," the cat-girl said in disappointment. "Does anyone mind if I light up?"

"Jesus, how much devil weed did you buy?" Derive asked.

Lucy giggled as she used the swordsage's lighter to ignite her spliff. "Silly boy, Jesus doesn't have anything to do with devil weed."

"I'm going to take a look around," Lupin grumbled. "Would you two actually care to help?"

Spurred into action by the angry halfling, the investigators began to search the long forgotten speak-easy. After several minutes of poking around, Derive called out to his companions from behind the bar.

"Come take a look at this," Derive said as he slid back a small panel in the wall, revealing a narrow crawlspace.

"Hey, be careful with stuff like that," Lupin said reproachfully. "It could have been trapped!"

Derive nodded thoughtfully. "You're right. Hey Lucy!"

"Huh?" the cat-girl called out in confusion, looking away from the particularly sparkly piece of dust she had found.

"Want to come check out the hole?" Derive asked with a smile.

Lucy stuck her tongue out in disgust. "Eww, no way. It's all dirty and gross."

"I think they hid the booze back there," Lupin said dryly.

Lucy sprang to her feet and dived through the narrow hole, giggling excitedly. Derive and Lupin looked at one another and sighed in unison. After a few moments, they heard Lucy call out to them.

"Hey, I don't see any booze down here," the cat-girl whined. "Just people."

"People?" Lupin repeated in surprise.

The halfling scurried down the narrow crawlspace, Derive close behind him. The two emerged into a rectangular stone chamber just tall enough for the swordsage to stand upright. Projected onto gauzy silver screens were the images of men in black suits, each one adorned with a blank white mask with no mouth or eyes. Lucy sat in front of the screens, her eyes transfixed on the silent film before her.

"It's a movie," Lupin said after a few moments. "Just pictures."

"I can see the projectors on the other side of the screens," Derive stated.

Lupin squeezed behind the screens to verify his companion's claim. "You're right. I don't see anything powering them, though."

"Steam, I'd wager," the swordsage replied. "Gnomish technology."

Lupin came out from behind the screens, holding onto a tattered yellow book. He scratched his head in puzzlement.

"What's this?" he asked curiously.

"It's a book," Derive replied with a malicious grin as he snatched it away from Lupin.

Suddenly, the figures on the screen reached up in unison and pulled away their masks. However, before the investigators could see what was hidden behind the masks, the projectors came to a screeching halt and the images vanished, blanketing the tiny room in thick blackness.

"Is that good?" Lucy asked nervously.